Session 12: How to Stage A Coup, Part 2
Or, How to Fight Creepy Demon Ghosts
Interlude: Rumors Abound!
In the wake of the party's grand entrance, rumors of the event circulate throughout the city of Venth.

By the night after Tythis’ speech, everyone has heard of the showdown at the fountain square. Eyewitness accounts of the event vary, but all agree that the scene was spectacular, and more than a little confusing.

Everyone agrees that the fugitives wanted for terrorism a month ago have returned. Everyone also agrees that terrorists attacked during the speech, because two of the soldiers guarding the convicted terrorists to be hanged were killed, one shot straight through the eye, the other strangled from behind. Where accounts tend to differ is whether the fugitives were part of the terrorist plot, or whether they were working against the terrorists.

Some say the fugitives acted as a distraction for the terrorists. Others say they acted to reveal some sort of treachery on the Magistrate’s part, and the terrorists simply took the opportunity. Everyone agrees that Il Duce is back, and that he has a score to settle with Magistrate Tythis. His reputation, tarnished by his branding as a terrorist and the revelation of his true identity, has given rise to several theories as to his motivations. Some believe that he has always fought with love for Venth in his heart, but most people are more cynical and see a power struggle between the new authority in Venth and the son of Venth’s now deposed highest-ranking military officer.

There is mention of Sahara, the priestess of Jozan thought to have been taken hostage by the fugitives during their escape from the city. She appeared alongside the fugitives and pronounced Jozan’s judgment upon Tythis, a startling development to be sure. Some of the more learned tavern-goers have suggested Stockholm syndrome as an explanation, but most people don’t know what that term even means or where it comes from.

But most of all, people are talking about Araevyn Volaris, the young Knight Arcanum who had held a position in the Stormhawks before being branded a terrorist and fleeing the city. Although it was his father Durian who interrupted Tythis’ speech, it was Araevyn, the long-fled fugitive, who appeared as if by magic at his wounded father’s side, and it was Araevyn who held off the guards weaponless and single-handed as he leveled accusations of treachery and corruption at Tythis. Some say that he stopped a half dozen men in their tracks with but a glance, and others insist that he broke the hafts of their weapons with a touch and a word of magic. His voice carried that day, outstripping even Tythis’ magically-enhanced vocalizations. Here, some make mention of a mysterious cloaked figure with a staff beside Araevyn, but no one seems to know any more about this enigmatic stranger.

No one seems to know exactly why Araevyn has it out for Tythis, but everyone has a good theory or three. Of even more interest are his accusations against Tythis – treason, treachery and terrorism? Weren’t those the charges leveled against him? Tythis has done far more in the past month for Venth than the queen, and is even now bringing Incarion troops in to protect us … there’s no way he could be behind the terrorism … right?

Session 11: How to Stage a Coup, Part 1
The party plans their strike against Tythis, only to improvise a dramatic introduction during Tythis' speech.
Session 10: The Return to Venth
The party searches the battlefield for Anton LaRoche, then returns to Venth via the Warrens after a detour to Oxenhold.

Fill me in!

Session 9: A Close Encounter of the Terrifying, Diseased Kind
The party flfees from a creepy, plaguescarred lodecaster, heading south again towards Venth

Fill me in!

Session 8: The Road to Corennon
The party travels to Corennon along the Trade Road, and meets with the King of Corennon

The party began the session by leaving the Venthian army camp once again, and making for the trade road running from the Central Passage to Corennon, north along the mountains that divide the provinces. Along the way, the party encountered Beren Windsong, Lucan’s master, who had been smuggled out of Venth by Janus and other high-placed Venthians to carry a message from Queen Morianne Halconeth of Venth to King Geord Brazer of Corennon. The message explained Magistrate Tythis’s usurping of her influence and begged the king to consider a truce. The party decided to accompany Beren and help him deliver the queen’s message.

The party continued north, following the road, and passed through several villages along the way, populated mainly by Incarian settlers. They also encountered a group of bandits led by an arcanist, whom they dispatched with some difficulty. The arcanist had laid a trap using ritual magic, but thanks to Callidus scouting ahead, the party avoided the trap (at the cost of Callidus’s personal health).

The party continued on, finally arriving in Corennon to find a city going about its business, seemingly unconcerned with the war that had been started barely a week before. They followed Beren to the house of Jenya, a wealthy Corennan and potential ally, and found that she was willing to arrange an audience with the king.

The party traveled with Jenya the following day to meet the king. They traveled across the lake to the island at the center of Corennon, where they found Geord Brazer waiting for them. The king was skeptical of the queen’s intent, and requested proof of her claims, which the party didn’t have. He was vehement in his desire to see the Venthians driven back to the plateau before even thinking about a truce, but Lucan was able to wrest a promise from him that he would seek a temporary cease-fire after driving the Venthians back across the river, to give the queen time to substantiate her claims.

After meeting with the king, the party traveled back to Jenya’s house to plan their next move. They were talking into the night, when Jenya stumbled back through the door, mumbled a warning, and promptly collapsed. Behind her came a menacing black-cloaked figure, whose only visible skin was the lower half of his face, which was scarred with the marks of a terrible plague. The session ended as he entered. Shit is about to go down …

Session 7: Divergence
Faced with the reality of the situation, the party must make a difficult choice...

Turning from the rescued group of Knights Arcanum and Knights Crimson, the party shared a brief moment of victory. The smiles were wiped from their faces though as their eyes met those of Durian Volaris, his face burning with barely-controlled rage. He curtly motioned for them to follow, and as they fell into step behind him, Araevyn attempted to talk to his father, but was harshly rebuffed. Reaching the Commander’s tent, Durian ushered them inside where a heated argument began between him and the party. After hearing their side of the story, Durian withholds any action on his part before proof and verification of their story can be offered. Disturbde by what he overheard, Marshal Anton LaRoche enters the tent, barely sparing a thought for what is occurring around him. However, the glance he does spare for Durian and the party gives them the distinct impression that nothing escapes this man’s notice. Quickly granting the party’s requests and verifying Callidus’ identity, LaRoche sends them out to see to their own business as the rest of the army has not been informed of their wanted status. Giving them the orders to meet him at the southern edge of the camp in an hour, the party departs to the enraged bellowing of Durian Volaris.

After various tasks, errands and acquisitions were made, the party met LaRoche and a distinctly calmer-looking Durian at the edge of camp. Leading them to the spot where the party had fought the “Venthian” troops, LaRoche and Durian inspect the corpses and battlefield as the players realize this is not a natural ford, but actually a site of ancient ruins. Remembering the one soldier who escaped, they put their heads together to try and figure out if there perhaps were nearby ruins where he could hide out while waiting for a clear opportunity for escape. Unable to determine if he would have found any ruins, they decided to simply see if they could track this man from the battle. Finding and following his tracks was an easy task, and it wasn’t long before the party arrived at a recently abandoned camp. A cursory search revealed that there were at least 5 or 6 men in this camp, not the one they had been expecting, although a minute later they found that he was still there. His corpse had been tossed further into the trees after what appeared to be torture and a brutal yet business-like execution, and he couldn’t have been dead more than a few hours.

Realizing this was yet another dead end, the party sat down with LaRoche and Durian to determine their next step. After providing them with a map and some sage advice, LaRoche and Durian left the party to their decision, returning to camp to prepare for war with Corennon. After debating the merits of each direction they could go, they finally decided on making for Corennon along the trade roads, even though the road that awaited them would surely be paved in blood. Heading out, the party put on an air of confidence, although surely there were doubts lurking in their thoughts…

Session 6: The Heart of Battle

After surviving a violent assault along the River Erimae and convincing a Corennon contingent filled with blood-lust to abandon pursuit, our noble warriors and unlikely heroes (not one-and-the-same) came upon the dreadful scene of full-out battle as they crested the last hill to the Venthian encampment. Sensing the urgency of the situation, and having discovered the hopelessness of the original plan to find Araevyn’s father before anymore bloodshed, Araevyn and Sahara dashed ahead with what was creatively titled “Plan B” (read: fuck it, we’ll do it live). Meanwhile the less noble and more cautious members of the traveling party held back for fear of Venthian reprisal, as they had become all too familiar with on their journey to the Alabaster Stair. Rent in two, the party nonetheless discovered through one means or another that the commanders of the Venthian force, and none other than Araevyn’s father, were stranded on the north face of the river all but over-run by Corennon forces flooding out of the forest.

Araevyn and Sahara dashed through the chaotic press of the camp towards the front line and were quickly lost to their compatriots waiting along the outskirts. Callidus slipped into a soldier’s tent to liberate some disguises for the otherwise conspicuous “terrorists” of Venth. Using the turmoil of battle as cover the three stragglers soon deduced the noble yet bull-headed actions of the other two and made their way to the front in an urgent yet less heedless fashion. The river crossing was a crush of bodies eager to enter the fray and salvage a sense of order. Sahara and Araevyn made their way onto a raft without too much effort, their burning desire to save Durian Volaris overcoming the crowd of nervous but adrenalized soldiers. As arrows rained down on their crossing Araevyn was knocked into the water by a spooked horse but still managed to come ashore under his own power, just a bit soggier. Callidus vaulted the crush of bodies and secured a spot on a raft further upstream as Lucan and Zaltiar struggled through the press but eventually found another raft.

As Sahara and Araevyn made landfall they were greeted with the sanguine horrors of battle and dashed straight into the fray, carving a bloody path towards the Venthian commanders’ position. Callidus leaped from his raft as it skidded into the soft river bank and dashed through the initial onslaught, his trained senses carrying him harm free from the heart of battle to the outskirts where he was able to slip into the forest unnoticed. With a final glance he saw the last two, Lucan and Zaltiar disembarking from their transport. Zaltiar dashed headlong for the cover of the forest and Lucan, lost in the fury of battle, was forced to follow suit or be crushed by front-line combat which was not his particular specialty. Unlike Callidus’s stealthy approach, Zaltiar decided to take his chances and cover the distance from the river to the forest as fast as possible. Unfortunately he learned the hard way that no matter how fast you are you can’t outrun arrows, and the Correnon archers hidden in the forest rained steel-tipped death upon the hasty adventurers caught in a battle they wanted no part of. Callidus looked on at the mad charge and with a dismissive shake of his head left them for dead. Yet somehow they survived the dash to cover with just a few more holes than their makers intended, and the two fugitives took cover to assess their situation.

Araevyn continued his headlong assault up the front lines with Sahara by his side knocking back blow by blow with her shield. The fighting was fierce and they took between them many wounds that might fell a lesser warrior, but their resolve was impervious and they battled on under Sahara’s divine encouragement. Callidus dispatched an enemy archer with minor inconvenience and took his cloak as a disguise to carry further on into the Corennon ranks and see what kind of discord he could rustle up. As he approached nearer to the Corennon main front he happened across the unit commander of the archers in that sector. Unnoticed, Callidus slipped his garrote wire around the unsuspecting man’s neck and they disappeared into the underbrush. After the rustling had quieted, Callidus slipped away with a new hat to top of his cloak. Lucan and Zaltiar, having assessed their situation in full, had come to the decision that they had no place in the front lines and decided to continue on through the forest as quietly as possible. Unfortunately forest terrain is not like that of the cities and despite their best efforts at stealth, somebody kicked a rock, or stepped on a squirrel, or something. After dispatching a startled Corennon response the two decided that their best choice was to start causing confusion. With a chill in the air Lucan set flame to the underbrush of the forest. Whether by design or just skillful miscalculation, the fire took to the woods with a ferocity. The two quickly found that their position of safety was now compromised by their own trap and were forced to make their way to the front as the eastern flank of the Corennon forces were thrown into disarray by the sudden blaze. As Araevyn and Sahara continued to battle from the south, Callidus strutted out in full regalia through the Corennon ranks. Donning his best accent, he shouted for reinforcements on the western flank. Split between a raging blaze to the east and the thought of a Venthian push to the west, the center of the Corennon line was suddenly much lighter.

With a final push Araevyn and Sahara drove into the Venthian defensive position and turned their arms outward. With the path ahead of him relatively clear Callidus threw his disguise aside (no sense in getting killed by the people you’re trying to save) and dashed for the Venthian line. Just as he reached it a hammering blow came from behind, dropping Callidus to the ground. Rolling over he found a towering soldier looming over him. Sweeping the man’s legs from out underneath Callidus vaulted off his attacker into the outstretched reach of the Venthian line and took cover behind their shields. Lucan and Zaltiar, seeing no other choice but to make another harrowing dash across an open warzone, rallied their will and charged towards the Venthian defenses. Zaltiar knocked heads left and right, his strength carrying him to safety with only a few more wounds than he had started with. Lucan was not so lucky. Close-quarters warefare not being his area of expertise, he was ruthlessly struck from behind as he ran and fell to the ground. Callidus snatched a shield and charged out of the line under a hail of arrows and an onslaught of blows. Hauling Lucan to his feet he turned heel only to be face by the pressing forces of the Corennons he had rushed past to get to him. Lucan would have none of it. Tired of battle and irritated with his poor luck, he cast an expert blast of cold and ice, frosting the ground ahead of the two trapped companions and stopping mens’ hearts cold. The two dashed past rigid-cold corpses to the Venthian line.

Through the fugitives’ efforts, the Venthian forces were able to push back against the disarrayed Corennon army. It was just in time too, as a unit of lodecasters stepped out of the forest, ripping flesh from bone and drawing blood from the skin of men around them. The terrified Venthians would have been cast into hopeless confusion had the liberated commanders not been there to rally them. Calling an organized retreat, the surviving contingent of the Knights Arcanum moved hastily back across the river. There was a brief sense of respite as the sounds of battle became more distant, but it quickly dissipated as the Knights Arcanum realized who their unlikely allies actually were. A deathly glare passed from Durian to his son and an uncertain silence befell the group.

Session 5: The Perils of Cross-Country Travel
The party survives a harrowing descent off the Venthian Plateau, and stumbles into a war as they head for the front lines.

The party made their way with haste across the Venthian plateau. Deciding the risk of trying to catch the army before it reached the Stair was too great, they decided to travel cross-country and meet up with the army as it set camp outside the Spires. The journey took several weeks, during which the party had a chance to greatly hone their survival skills.

Unfortunately, they would need to find a different way down the plateau, as the military outpost at the Alabaster Stair would undoubtedly be more diligent in their search of travelers than the guards of Bluehall. Unable to find any footpaths or animal tracks, the party was forced to search for a scalable descent from the plateau. After finding what appeared to be a promising location, they set their horses running back towards Venth with Corennon accoutrement, on the hope they would serve as a red herring to pursuers.

From very start, this climb seemed to be ill-fated, as Sahara determined that the most expedient way down would be to shield-surf. Fortunately quick thinking and the quicker hands of Callidus saved her from what surely would have been a grisly fate, although her Uncle’s shield was lost, skittering down the slope into the trees far below. After that, the party was able to safely negotiate their way down the first slope of scree to a small ledge before a steeper cliff they would need to climb. Once again they were up to the challenge, and handled the small cliff and steep descent following with a minimum of difficulty. The final stretch, however, proved to be much more dangerous than it had first appeared, as the cliff was slightly undercut, leaving a free fall of around 200 feet between the party and relative safety. At this point, only having 50 feet of rope, they debated attempting the climb back up and searching for a better location. Determining that the best path was to continue forward, Zaltiar offered to climb down the cliff a short ways with the rest of the party belaying his rope, just to scout ahead and see if the climb was doable in any sense of the word. Offering two of his daggers to strap to Zaltiar’s boots, Callidus and the others wished him luck and took up their grip on the rope. Only a short way over the edge however, their grip began to slip, and Zaltiar plummeted towards the rocks far below. Adrenaline pumping through his body, he kicked his feet into the rock face in front of him. With a flash of sparks and a sharp snap, one of the knives found purchase in a small crack in the rock, while the other broke off at the hilt. Nearly at the undercut, Zaltiar peered down and spotted several vine clusters not too far down that could perhaps serve as makeshift rope. Returning to the ledge, he helped secure the rope better, after which Callidus climbed down and gathered enough vines to make the climb to the base of the cliff. Lashing the rope together, Callidus made it safely to the bottom, Lucan slipped near the end and sustained several nasty injuries from the fall, Araevyn slid jauntily down the rope reaching the bottom with a fluorish. As Sahara attempted to begin the climb, she lost her footholds, and fell from the lip of the ledge. With a mighty lunge, Zaltiar managed to grab her by the wrist just before she fell to her death. Shaken by this, Sahara had a fall further down the rope similar to Lucan’s, also sustaining several grisly injuries. Last, Zaltiar climbed monkey-like down the rope, reaching the ground as Sahara finished tending to her and Lucan’s injuries. Reaching the river Ermiae, night was fast approaching and so the party made camp.

After several days heading upriver, they were nearing the army’s encampment when they spotted a large plume of smoke rising from the forest to the north. Continuing on, it was not long before there was a crashing in the undergrowth and several Venthian soldiers burst out, running in full flight scross a natural ford in the river. Hailing them, Araevyn attemoted to learn what was going on, but seeing who they were, the leader ordered his men to kill them, as a hail of Corennon arrows lanced from the trees and the sounds of pursuit grew ever nearer.

After a hectic and bloody combat, the party and the pursuing Corennon troops had a brief standoff over the river and the Venthian corpses, one of which now Callidus had identified as yet another Watch agent. In the hurried exchange, the Corennon spokesman mentioned the onset of war, as he and his men faded silently back into the forest.

Startled by this turn of events, the party pressed onward, bearing dire news for the Venthian commanders…

Session 4: Flight of the Terrorists
The party takes their first steps away from wanted criminals!

After a sudden turn of events left the party no choice but to flee the city of Venth with bitterness and revenge in their hearts, they find themselves deposited unceremoniously on a canalbank in the tundra, still battered and bruised from their harrowing escape. Taking measure of their surroundings, the party quickly split up to search for shelter and provision from the rapidly approaching darkness. Unfortunately, none came prepared for such an eventuality and so the party was forced to spend a cold night in uncomfortable, shivering misery.

At the break of dawn, they arose to see shapes flitting on the horizon, it appeared Tythis had already sent pigeons forth carrying word of the escaped “terrorists”. Everyone decided it was in their best interests to make for the nearest settlement, Bluehall, take stock of the situation, then make for the border and meet up with the Venthian army led by Marshal Anton LaRoche and Durian Volaris, Araevyn’s father, hoping they would lend a friendly, or at least understanding ear to their plight.

And so the allies of convenience sallied forth, gathering their energy and stamina for the hectic journey ahead of them. A few hours after setting out, Callidus, who had been scouting ahead, saw metal glinting on the sun along the road ahead and listening closely, was able to make out the tramp of booted feet and the chatter of voices. Rushing back to the group, he informed them of the approaching guards and they all scattered, scrambling for the nearest available cover. Sahara tripped, and was laying on the tundra in plain view as the guards approached. Hearing sounds, they began to search the area, it would be only a matter of seconds until they spotted Sahara! Quickly Araevyn cast ghost sound in the opposite direction from Sahara to mimic the sounds of an angry bear rooting in the undergrowth. Catching on, Lucan used magehand to rattle some of the grass and brush near the sounds. Their quick thinking and quicker spellwork was enough to save Sahara, as the guards backed cautiously away and continued on towards Venth.

Continuing on, they reached the Silk Canal shortly after midday, breathless, muddied, and sweating. Deciding it would be best to journey along the canal until they found a barge to ferry them across, they turned north. This also would allow them to enter Bluehall from the north, perhaps deflecting suspicion from themselves slightly. Not long after, they came upon a barge crewed by several large rowers and an old, ornery-looking captain. Responding to their hail, he moved his barge to the bank and disembarked. The party attempted to barter with him for passage, but disliking their looks, and sensing their lack of experience in such matters, he charged them a ridiculous fee to cross the canal. Unable to avoid such a fleecing, and unwilling to lose any more time, they grudgingly agreed to his terms. However, Callidus took the opportunity to rifle through the contents of the barge, pilfering a new cloak and set of robes for the conspicuously-clad Lucan.

Finally, they approach Bluehall from the north as dusk is approaching. As they near the city, one of the field hands looks up, spots them on the road, and begins trying to flag them down. When it appears this isn’t working, he hurries from his post to catch up with the party. They make no effort to escape, nor to slow down, so he reaches them after several minutes, breathless from his haste. After a hurried and confusing conversation, he leads them to a currently unoccupied rest hut. Sensing potential danger, the party positions themselves so as to have a good view of what’s happening outside, while they open their ears to the conversation at hand. The worker warns them of the danger of entering Bluehall, even under cover of darkness. He says that the troops are looking for them and that wanted posters are already circulating amongst the townsfolk. He claims to be a faithful devotee of Il Duce, in complete support of his actions against the Venthian government and suspicious of any “propaganda” they might put out about him. He is however, concerned about the source of the wanted notice, and hands one to Il Duce for his inspection. After beginning to unroll the parchment, Zaltiar quickly lets it snap back into his hands, claiming that it was just a plain old wanted poster, nothing special here, and thus aroused the suspicions of the rest of the party. Apparently he was hiding something printed on that poster. Unable to confront him now, they decided to ask “fanboy” if he could procure them horses so as to expedite their journey to the border. He agreed, took their money, and told them he would return in several hours with the horses. Not trusting him in the least, Callidus headed out to follow “fanboy” and make sure he stayed true to his word. Araevyn and Sahara took up a vigil alongside the road, posing as beggars, while Zaltiar and Lucan hid in the fields. The time was almost up when a cadre of workers returning to the hut passed nearby Zaltiar’s hiding place and heard a rustle in the bushes. They began to snoop around before Lucan prestidigitized the distinct musk of skunk and Zaltiar made “skunk sounds”. About the same time, a guard in backwater regalia stopped Araevyn and Sahara on the road and asked if they could come with him, as he hadn’t seen them around before and needed to verify their identities. Upon entering the village, they ran into Callidus, several horses in tow, who claimed they were his feeble-minded and ill manservants and the guard had no right to detain them. Of course, the guard determined that Callidus needed to have his identity confirmed as well and so told him to come back to the barracks in fifteen minutes to retrieve his servants. Callidus hurried to the hut and, unable to find Zaltiar or Lucan, left the horses with the nearest field hand. Meanwhile, upon entering the barracks, Araevyn and Sahara sensed they were in deep trouble as they saw wanted posters festooned around the place with their names, descriptions, and crimes printed for all to see. As the guard brought them to his associate, Araevyn hurriedly rushed to the poster and began shouting, “I see them, I see them”. Now having the guards unwavering attention, he and Sahara led them back to the road where they had “seen” the terrorists, bickering over the specifics of it the while time. On the way they ran into Callidus reentering the village and he was swept up in their ruse. However, once they arrived, he began to arouse the second guard’s suspicions with his insistence that this was all a misunderstanding and they should be let go. Calling his bluff, the guard demanded that they reveal their faces completely that instant. Knowing he had only one chance, Araevyn began thrashing and flailing madly to cover up his casting of ghost sound. Suddenly a voice burst from the fields a short distance away, “Quick, run Il Duce!” coupled with the thud of running footsteps. The guard of course took of into the fields after the sounds, sending his companion back for reinforcements. Seizing the opportunity, they returned to the hut, only to find Zaltiar and Lucan returning from chasing down and incapacitating the field hand who had tried to make off with their horses.

The close call fresh in their minds, they galloped their horses off north into the darkness, towards the edge of the plateau, and, they hoped, their chance at freedom…


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