The Keys of Legend

Session 3: A Midsummer's Night War (Part 1)
In which the party kidnaps the princess

Sant Alard quickly skidded down to the other end of the bar. "And what can I get you today?" he said, putting a grin on to hide his annoyance. It was a busy day at the Devil's Fortune. When the customer looked up, Sant recognized him. The youth was tall for his age, and had long blond hair. This kid had hired Sant two days ago. The youth grinned. "Evening, Mr. Alard. It's time."

Onto session 3! The group's moving right along, and how!

Our session started with Lysander. As a recap, Lysander hired the party to break his lover, a women named Eliza Faradolvi, out of her arranged marriage with a one Demitri and to the house of Lysander's aunt, far outside of the city of Draug Town. Lysander traveled through Draug Town picking up the party and taking them to a room he had rented in an inn. He planned for the group to create a plan of attack, but as it turns out, that didn't take long. Damakos didn't have much to do in the woods beside scheme, and scheme they did. Their plan was tweaked and agreed on, and soon they were off to the Faradolvi plantation.

Outside of Draug Town lies a collection of ranches and plantations all spread out from the town and each other. The Faradolvi plantation was at the outskirts of even that, on the boarder of the tree line. On a quick outside investigation of the plantation, it was a two-story, clay-brick building given a rustic feel by curtains of ivy. There were two doors: the front door, and a smaller one at the back.

The group found a place to hide, and their plan was set into motion. Aoth was sent to the front door. Opening it was a young high elf, presumably the butler of the house. Aoth introduced himself as a wandering cleric in need to a place to stay the night. The butler ran off to get the master of the house, leaving Aoth in the entrance hall to look around. Before him was a sparsely decorated room, a pair of double doors across from the entrance and a staircase leading to another set. On that note, the master of the house entered. John Faradolvi was a large, well-dressed, and tanned man with a large beard and a quiver of arrows on his back. He had just been about to hunt, but didn't mind being interrupted by a priest such as Aoth. He was offered and shown a hammock in the guard's quarters, in which Aoth found where the smaller door led.

Aoth asked the butler, named Maldorn, to tour the plantation. He was shown a trophy room of taxidermy animals, a sitting room, and large dining room. The master bedroom and the upstairs, where Eliza's bedroom was located, were off-limits. Aoth exited the plantation on the pretense of taking a walk, and informed the rest of the group of the layout of the plantation. Then, he went back inside and waited.

Night fell, and the people outside acted. Eliza's room had a balcony jutting off of it, and this was their point of entrance. Sant hammered pitons into the wall while the household was distracted with dinner. When they went off to bed, as seen via windows, Lysander and Sant climbed to the balcony. Through the glass door of the balcony, Eliza could be seen, preparing for bed. Lysander got her attention, and his appearance gave her joy, but she motioned that she couldn't leave. The door was locked. That didn't stop Sant, who quickly pulled out his lockpicks. The door swung open, Lysander and Eliza enjoyed an embrace, and the three of them ran off into the forest. Then it was Damakos' turn. They clambered into Eliza's room. A large flame appeared in their hand. They grinned. This would be a fun night.

Aoth was sitting up in bed, waiting for his signal. This quickly came in the form of flaming debris and a cackling Damakos, leaping from the 2nd floor. He screamed "Fire!," waking up the house guards. They quickly abandoned the building, only to be terrified by Damakos. Damakos smiled.

"Catch me, or save your house," they cackled, pointing to the flaming house. "Your choice."

With that, they ran. Aoth stuck his head out the door.

"Help! Put the fire out!"

The guards ran to a nearby well and returned with buckets of water, throwing them upon the house. The fire wasn't spreading, but it wasn't exactly dying, either. Aoth ran into the hallway, only to be passed by John Faradolvi, hatchet in hand. He ran up to Eliza's room and hacked at the locked door, howling for his daughter. With that, Aoth made a weak excuse about getting religious help and joined the others.

The forest was dark and wet with rain. Wind rustled through the trees. Damakos magically lit Sant's lantern to light the human's way, and Lysander led them onwards, the sound of crying and crackling fire in the background.  After walking for a while, Sant stopped the group. Voices could be heard through some overgrowth ahead. He instructed the group to hide, then attempted to run up a tree himself, only to fall out of it with a crack. The voices stilled.

"Who goes there? Show theyself!" The call came.

Damakos approached the overgrowth, as Sant, followed by the young couple, hid more successfully. Behind the plants were a collection of creatures of the forest. A trio of wood elves and a pair of satyrs accompanied a massive centaur, a massive broadsword and a longbow strapped to his back. He gripped this sword at the sight of the tiefling.

"Who are thou, tiefling? State they business!"

Damakos tried to calm the centaur, but to not much avail. The elves and satyrs were uneasy as well, spears drawn and readied. He told the centaur they were simple travelers who only wanted to leave the woods. As a show of faith, Damakos called to their companions, and introduced them. Sant refused to show himself, though.

"One of my companions is out hunting," Damakos explained.

The centaur glared. "Hunting?"

"Hunting for berries, that is."

The centaur said something to one of the satyrs in a language no one else knew, and the satyr ran off into the woods. At that note, a rustling sounded behind the centaur and company. From the bushes stepped a group of eight men in dark hoods and masks, all wielding swords. At their head was a balding man with a mustache, no hood and no mask. On his shoulder he carried a ferret, which he occasionally whispered to. Damakos, knowing the language of animals, could translate: "It is them, master! Them!"

The man with the ferret smiled to the party around the centaur.

"Hello, key holders." He said.

"What is the meaning of this?" The centaur looked angry. "What is thy business?"

The man with the ferret held up a palm. "We mean no harm. We only wish to retrieve what is rightfully ours from these people. We have a lockbox, which requires opening. And these people have the key."

The centaur glared at the party. "A key?"

Damakos tried to explain, but before they could, the masked men struck at the centaur's elves. Combat started poorly for the elves. They mortally wounded a masked man, but their ranks were thinned by the men's retaliation. Damakos hurriedly cast a curse of the man with the ferret. Wisps of smoke, like purple ribbon, burst out of their hand and wrapped around the man's neck, forcing themselves down his throat. Damakos them shot at the man. Where their crossbow bolt hit, the smoky ribbons burst out, proof of the curse's effect. The man attempted retreat behind his men, but the centaur and Aoth gave chase, knocking masked men aside as they went. The centaur was quickly distracted by these men, but Aoth pounded on the man with the ferret with his mace. The man glared at Aoth, his eyes glowing with magic. His voice resonating with power, he commanded Aoth: "KILL."

Meanwhile, in the trees nearby, Sant hid. He had been picking off masked men with his shortbow without their noticing. He knew exactly who these men were, and was more than sure they deserved to die.

Aoth felt the command burrowing into his skull. He mustn't do it, he mustn't do it. They all had to die, he could just take his mace and- No. Desperately, Aoth focused on prayers to his god, Apollo, and the magic dissipated. Before he could retaliate, the man with the ferret had disappeared. By now, the combat was more or less over. All the masked men but one were dead, and that one was pinned to a tree by the centaur, where he was being interrogated. The elves had only suffered a single casualty, and none of the party had been hurt at all.

The interrogation was going poorly. The centaur and the masked man were just screaming insults at each other. Sant hopped down from his treetop perch, waltzed over to the man, and broke his nose. The crack of his bones breaking seemed to persuade the man into talking.

The centaur glared at Sant. "I assume thou art the berry-picker, then?"

Before Sant could respond, he threw the masked man over to Damakos. "Thou can deal with him." He then approached Aoth. "Thou art a priest, correct? Would thou give our fallen comrade his last rights?" He gestured to the dead elf. Aoth obliged. He remembered enough of elven culture to competantly pray for the elf.

Damakos' interrogation was going well, when spirited along with the threat of a fiery death. The man worked for a group called the Ares Initiative. His orders were to capture the party and take the key. Yes, the key was meant for something important, even earthshaking, but no, he didn't know exactly what. No, he didn't know where the man with the ferret would've gone. The man was named Reind. Then Sant asked his own question. Yes, the man had heard of another masked man named Fenrir. He was a high-ranking debt collector. No, he didn't know where Fenrir was. Probably out extorting a shop. Damakos looked questioningly at Sant at this, but Sant only said, "Later."

The centaur thanked Aoth for performing the rites. He lifted the corpse onto his back, gestured to the elves to leave, and told the party, "You human friends ran into the bushes." With that, they left.

And with that, Lysander and Eliza were retrieved from the bushes, and the party continued onwards.

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Session 2: Out of the Labyrinth, Into Trouble
In which the party gets gored to death

Session two! Sorry for the lack of a session one. Portal didn't autosave properly and I lost it, so here's a quick recap:

The party, Sant, high elf rogue, Aoth, human life cleric, and Damakos, tiefling warlock, were picked along with seven other people to be part of an annual sacrifice to a massive Labyrinth on a nearby island. They were shipped there, only to be plagued with traps and their victims, risen as the undead. Eventually, they came across a clan of kobolds living in the center of the maze's first layer. The kobolds swarmed the party, and attacked them with a clockwork war machine when that failed. The party then accidently stumbled upon the kobold's workshop in the center of the maze's first floor, where they were swiftly captured.

We pick up with the party, as well as the surviving sacrifices, trapped in the kobold's jail. It' a medium-sized room, the entrance barred and padlocked. The party was disarmed of their weapons, but not anything else. Sant and Aoth quickly began worked to cut themselves free with the contents of Sant's burglars' pack, at which they failed miserably. Failing that, Sant pulled a bell out of his bag and began ringing it. The kobold's boss walked in, took the bell away, threw Sant in a stock, and left. Damakos chatted with their guards, a pair of kobolds, but learned nothing useful.

The kobold's boss, an urd with a decanter of endless water, entered the cell to interrogate the party. She hadn't quite believed the party when they told her their story, and came back to try again. After a bit of negotiating, they made a deal. Something was killing kobolds in the second layer of the maze, and she wanted the party to go kill it in exchange for their freedom. Whatever it was. They agreed to this, and were led by a few kobolds into the center of the second floor.

The center room of the second floor was a large, well-lit, sandy room. Despite being well-lit, visibility was bad: the room was stuffed with wooden struts holding up loose parts of the ceiling. The party's kobold escort led them into the room and prodded them into they went inside, and then left. A grunting and shuffling noise was coming from somewhere among the struts. An experimentory crossbow bolt from Aoth attracted the noise's source: a minotaur, massive battleax in tow.

The battle was short, but bloody. Sant hid among the struts immediately, while Damakos readied their witch bolt spell. The minotaur charged within range, crashing through any struts in it's way, and the party struck. Aoth missed his mace attack, but Damakos trained their witch bolt on the minotaur, and Sant dealt a sneak attack with his rapier that massively injured it. But then, things turned south. Sant was thrown across the room and knocked unconscious by the minotaur's ax, and Aoth only managed to get in a single swing of the mace before going down as well. But the minotaur was badly injured as well. Sant and Aoth had dealt huge blows to it, and Damakos' lightning bolt hadn't left it's mark the whole time. The minotaur turned to Damakos and charged, but the warlock was able to deal the killing blow before being gored to death.

Damakos stabilized their companions and then searched the minotaur. On it, they found one small golden key, and another larger key made of some light silvery metal, with a bull's head on the end. Both, they pocketed. The kobolds, not hearing any noise for a while, came back. They were immediately grateful for the death of the creature killing their people. They helped reawaken Aoth and Sant, and took them back to the kobold boss, who guided them back to the maze's entrance, which was opened with the small golden key.

The party exited the maze to find the ship that had taken them there, still docked. It had been ordered to wait a week, in case anything dramatic happened, and then sail back to Wolfhall. The soldiers on the ship quickly gathered up the party and the other sacrifices, and set sail for home.

On the ship, Sant was approached by one of the commoner sacrifices, a blond human youth, who introduced himself as Lysander Albano. He was impressed by the party's heroism in the maze and wanted to hire their services. His lover, a woman named Eliza Faradolvi, was forced into an arranged marriage by her father to Lysander's rival, Dimitri Moldor. Lysander hoped to elope with Eliza to the home of his aunt, a wealthy recluse living in the forest outside of Wolfhall. The party was being hired to sneak Eliza out of her home and escort them to Lysander's aunt. He assured Sant that his aunt would pay the party gold for their services. After a bit of negotiating over price, Sant agreed on a deal, and they decided to meet the night after next.

The soldiers on the ship escorted the party to the king of Wolfhall as soon as their ship landed. The king was a massive balding human, who kept a dinner table and several meals in front of his throne. The party explained their story to him, and presented the key with the bull's head on it as proof. The king was shocked by the sight of the key, but for no obvious reason. He asked to inspect the key, which Damakos reluctantly allowed him to behind his throne. The king emerged from behind there looking shaken. He returned the party, and had then sent their separate ways.

Aoth chose to go back to his rooms in the basement of a local temple. He lived comfortably there, and was close to his god. Damakos didn't have a home. Instead, he roamed the woods, hunting food, dodging the local elven clans, and sleeping under the stars. Sant retreated to the Red Light district of Wolfhall, renowned for it's shadiness and cult activity. There he ran a gambling hall and night club with his associate, a streetwise high elf named Byron Amikiir. The club had ailed in his absence: the Thieves' Guild had been taking a large cut of their profits recently.

And so, they waited for their meeting with Lysander.

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