BAND OF IRONS

Origin of a Phrase
Only the biggest.....

Donarious Thibault was a scoundrel. He had never needed friends, unless it was to gain their confidence in order to betray or use them. He lived alone, traveled alone, stole alone..a lone wolf of a rogue. He was a crude man, who’s vocabulary was mostly swears and rude retorts. The word ‘nice’ was never spoken of Donarious.

He was also easy pickings for a Drow raiding party a single loner, shot with a sleep dart and thrown in the back of a cage on on a wagon. Healthy human males sold well in the underdark slave market.

Donarious awoke to a stick poking him, he was still in the wagon. But it was not his Drow captors that he saw, for he saw no one. Just a stick poked up from below prodding him awake and a odd accented voice squeaking “Hey You, Alive?” from below the wagon. “well I ain’t fucking dead” Donarious said rubbing his aching head.

He looked over the side of the wagon in the darkness he could barely make out several 3 foot tall small humanoids. His head hurt from whatever the Drow drugged him with and his human eyes could not see in the dark of wherever he was at. He heard odd words he didn’t understand, and then his hand covered his eyes instinctively as a bright light source grew in front of him.

As his eyes grew accustomed to the light, there was more babble of words he didn’t understand. He lowered his hand from shielding his eyes. “What be you?” said one of the creatures before him that his eyes could now see. There were 5 gnomes, he knew them to be gnomes by their huge noses, but these looked as if covered in dirt and dust. They were almost uniformly grey/brown, clothing, armor, skin…everything the same color, almost like living statues. One gnome was forming his hands around a glowing ball that was illuminating the area, concentrating on its clearly magical eminence.

Scattered about the ground by the gnomes were several bodies of Drow, some had crossbow bolts buried in them, one body was still smoking and burned severely. He was in some sort of cave with a smooth floor, well worn and traveled. The gnomes babbled again in a tongue that Donarious could not understand. “What are you runts gonna do with me?” Donarious asked.

The gnomes mounted the cart, and took off with it. The cart bucked and bounced along the rock track, tossing Donarious about the cage. “Hey arn’t you little bastards gonna let me out?” he yelled his throbbing head worsened as the gnomes drove the cart at a freinzied speed…..

I first met the Deep Gnomes of Glimmerfell on a trading mission, fluent in the usual trade language of the underdark, undercommon. I greeted them, and then to gain their trust, I spoke what little gnome-tongue I knew “hail brothers, what have you got for me to trade?” is what I think I said. Surprisingly they responded in human-tongue, evidently for the same reason, but with the phrase “Only the biggest pair you’ve ever seen”

I wondered what I had said to them in gnomish, that made them say that? Better I go back to speaking under-common. But the gnomes persisted in human-speak, oddly ending many of their statements with “The biggest pair you’ve ever seen”

It was many years later that I learned that long ago the gnomes had rescued a human named Donarious from the Drow. This was at a time when the gnomes were interested in trade with the surface and wished to learn human speak. The gnomes learned all they could from Donarious before he disappeared, and unfortunately for them Donarious had a crude sense of humor, teaching the gnomes that in common human language “penis” meant friend “turd” meant good and “only the biggest pair you’ve ever seen” was a common friendly greeting to initiate trade.

It was even taught in the schools to the young…..

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just another 'day' in the underdark

As the party rests Vinny produces enough food to create a fantastic nourishing stew. Later their rest is interrupted by splashing toward the marsh side. Kvothe heads out with his cloak of Elvenkind hiding his figure into the marsh toward the noise to see what is coming toward them. Kvothe returns telling of a single Deep Gnome (Svirfneblin) riding a flat bottom boat, pulled by a large spider the size of a small pony.

The group awaits the gnome’s arrival and hails him. The gnome is typical of his race, his clothing and skin and hair all ashen grey. The spider a fuzzy black monstrosity that behaves as any draft animal would, slowing as the gnome pulls on the reins to halt it.

“I’m looking for the NOQUAR trade bridge, do you know of it?” The gnome asks the party who respond with accurate directions of where it is. The gnome’s cart is full of sacks and when questioned about what is in the sacks the gnome replies “the biggest pair of balls you ever saw” Mourning Storm is not amused and draws a dagger, but feels this gnome is not worth the trouble and re-sheaths it. The gnome thanks you and continues on his way.

The party packs up camp and continues to follow Zarlag’s directions heading along the edge of the swamp. They arrive at the black river, that they once crossed with the aid of a huge Kuo Toa and his ferry boat. The river is slow flowing, its smooth black surface 100 feet across and only occasionally broken by light ripples.

“Beware the salt” is their next instruction. Several more miles of trudging through the under dark, the area is just barley lit by occasional stands of phosphorescent fungi and odd lights that swirl like mists above.

The ground rises dramatically, there is a hill 30 feet in height in front of them, and Tiberious says he smells the sea. Cresting the hill, it drops off sharply, almost straight down 30 feet below is a light colored plain, which looks to have pools of water across its surface. the wall of the cliff indeed splashed with salt deposits

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Love Letters from Zarlag

After almost a month in town the party is considering returning to the underdark. They want to make sure that the evil that is below, stays below. Alynis has found several things of interest at the library.

1-A history of the region where Stercus sibling is, Nulb, seems to have seen a recent epic battle, and once housed a great evil temple.
2-Secondly that there were once 7 wizards who were scatterd about the region. They designed a system of teleportation, where each could teleport down into the under-dark, then around the underdark and up into coresponding areas.

There is speculation that the teleporter in Coldstone Keep and just outside Zulern is one of these. If they find more telporters they may be able to get about this world more easily.

Two things arrive, both from a suspicious source, Zarlag the mind flayer whom tricked the group into getting a magical cape called Fiend’s Embrace, has sent them assistance. Zarlag had said he would help the party if they helped him….

The first is a hand sized brass wheel/dial, its interior divided into 7 sections like a pizza, labeled R,O,Y,G,B,I,V. The outside of the dial is also divided into 7 equal parts, also labeled R,O,Y,G,B,I,V.

The second thing is a note. Seemingly directions from Zarlag “I know of what you seek”

The group contemplates Zarlag’s note, could it be a trap? Why would a mind flayer help us?

They gear up and use the teleporter in Mourning Storm’s cave to head to Coldstone Keep. Arriving there they find it in decent shape. They have spent several forays down here to rebuild it and nothign seems to have wandered into it to give them trouble. They set off following Zarlag’s directions.

Encountering things they already know are near, they trudge through the cold grey swamp, find the water wall and then move down it 2 miles. In the distance is a large stone structure, lit by faint red lights. It looks like a gatehouse, but it spans the water wall, rising up and over. Moving closer they see that it is manned by Drow and Druegar, including ballista installations on the turrets at each end. They also see the sigil of house NOQUAR on a sign as they approach and see banners with it hanging from the tower.

A quick examination results in them hailing the Drow. They learn that this is a trade bridge and are asked for a gold piece to cross. Vincent is able to talk the Drow into charging them only a silver. On the other side of the bridge it is no longer as swampy. Bedrock stretches away from them, altough the swamp continues to one side, a path that Zarlag told them to follow “the edge of the swamp”

They head off along the edge of the swamp, after many more miles they decide to rest.

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A month in town

The group spends a month in town….

Tiberious finds a pig, he calls forth his celestial mount a giant boar

Alynis finds some info on Nulb
Nulb is a small marsh town that lies outside of jurisdiction.
It is at an intersection on a path known as “low road” and sees some commerce
Warnings of it being a bandit haven
Also sits on a shallow river

Kvothe gets a magic sword and a bow. Both are somehow connected to his family

Turok figures his sword out, it is Draconic in nature, having elements of Red White and Blue dragons

Helm finds a priestess for his temple, the healing woman whom you befriended/ crying child becomes the head priestess of the Temple.

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The Mansion is Yours

A week after you return you receive some correspondence. A letter signed by the head of the banking guild indicates that the Listmoor Manson is yours. Blaine Listmoor has paid off his debts and then eloped with the banker’s daughter, the girl that had gotten him in this trouble in the first place. Blaine signed over the deed to the mansion in all of your names, before he fled town.

Tiberious, Vinny and Turok are the first to be very keen on the mansion.
Turok moves his ox Auroch to the stable and begins renovating the hayloft into a sleeping area.
Vinny envisions entertaining guests and dignitaries at the mansion
Tiberious begins plans to work in the cave section below the mansion. A dwarven sanctuary below ground

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Kvothe Days after return

Kvothe has the small trunk with his family name on it recovered from the tower as well as the sympathy lamp. He is tired and just wants rest, even for a halfling who has spent time underground, he feels filthy. He meets some of the others for a drink at the cocktrice, then spend a long time resting in his room at the cockatrice.

Opening the trunk he is thrilled that it contains two magical weapons. He has never seen them before but they are clearly of halfling manufacture and very well crafted.

STAR MOON SWORD
There is a silver short sword with “Star-Moon” written on the blade. It is incredibly light and full of magic (+1) He takes it to Tiberius who tells him this is not silver but Mithral . Just as they are speaking the sword begins to glow blue a few seconds later Ganra the half orc bard is stops by for a visit. Investigation indicates the the sword glows a dull blue when orcs are near. Kvothe quips that this could be a problem and ‘poof’ the sword vanishes (becomes invisible) reappearing when struck against something (used in combat)

GHOSTWISE
There is a beautiful shortbow made of many layered different colored woods (composite). It is also magical +1 and has the word “ghostwise” inlaid in black material in the wood. THe bow is very small and light but as powerful as an ordinary short bow

Kvothe spend long time in contemplation. What are these weapons? Why are tehy in a trunk with his family name on it? Did Stercus take them in the raid? If so why has Kvothe never seen these?

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Vinny days after return

Vinny sets up at the Bear Trap, inventories items collected, cleans them up and slowly moves items to the market to sell. Some of the short swords and chain mail from the Drow are in good shape and command good prices (note these aren’t the 2nd edition drow stuff that disintegrates)

Vinny is considering setting up his own trade route from Safeton to Pelagryn to Zulern. With possible trips to Harby and Narwal. He contacts merchants and traders and starts to try and work out a system beneficial to all. His ulterior motive is to keep a network of eyes in those towns and to try to assist slaves in getting out of Pelagryn and Safeton. He woudl liek to undermine the organized slave trade and eventually destroy it.

With the mansion under our control. He feels buying the area around it is important. He wants to put up a horse track and have a sizable portion of the land around the mansions he could build it on. He has heard rumors that the city of Hardby, where the assassins that came for Alynis were based has a famous calvary force, with great horses. He hopes to lure them to his track.

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Helm Days after return

Helm returns to the “lost” temple and is rarely seen in town. Although you have been consulting with the leaders of the Cathedral of Pelor and assisting with healing there. But there are those among the Pelor worshipers who slightly mistrust you due to the now wide known information about ‘your’ 3 god temple to the north of the city.

You spend several days in contemplation, alone in the temple, feeling new powers surge through you. You feel that you must get someone to run the temple, so you can continue your questing.

Helm searches out the two “healing women” ___________ and her grandmother. They were receptive to his pontificating on HELM. They both agree to meet and you find out that they have contacted the Helmites, Witness the cleric has started with some religious training and Helm is satisfied that the two woman can venture to the temple to continue their studies. He provides them with the means (gold) to live for a few weeks at a time in the temple. Heading back to town occasionally when needed. The crying child is living with other relatives.

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Alynis Days after return

Alynis stays at the college resting and studying.

TUROK SWORD
Turok comes to her with his sword and she is able to find a history book that talks of such a sword “Drake’s Breath”

UNDERDARK
Since Tiberious had identified the area you’d gone into “The Underdark” she found some writings on this area. It is simple and brief but makes mention of an upside down world in direct opposition to the kingdom of Celene.

This underground area is called Central Darkness. Tiberious says it looks to be similar to “The Underdark” in structure with an upper region of evil humanoids like Goblins, Orcs and Bugbears, and then a deeper society controlled by Dark Elves. The writings indicate it should not stretch this far southeast, it should be under the Gnarley forest, not as far as Zulern.

What disturbs you is that this mentions that these “dark elves” have voluntarily gone below. Elves of Celene who for some reason abandoned their beliefs in order to believe the exact opposite. Voluntarily becoming “Dark Elves” and worshiping something called The Brier Queen

In order to get to Nulb/Homlett, you will need to travel through the Kingdom of Celene “Elf Country” and The Gnarley Forrest.

Alternatively the “Central Darkness” the portion of the underdark you were in, was heading off in that direction and you may also be able to get under Celene.

NULB
She also finds that some of the papers they recovered are correspondences between Stercus and his sister Usnea in a town called Nulb. Nulb has a recent history as an evil place For many years, a cult of Evil flourished somewhere on the shores of the Nyr Dyv. Although the location of their Temple is not sure, the villages of Nulb is listed as a reference point. The following facts regarding it and its followers are found by Alynis . .

Temple of Elemental Evil

The cult was based on the premise that the elemental forces of the universe are Chaotic and opposed to mankind, and are thus from man’s point of view, Evil. The Temple of the cult sought to destroy all works of Good and to disrupt order. Its members were thieves, assassins, brigands, and the like.

Fire was regarded as the first elemental evil, and its penchant for Chaos fitted the premise of the cult.

Water was like- wise worshiped as an even more powerful force of Chaotic Evil, in the form of floods, storms, and raging seas beating upon the land and ocean vessels.

The epitome of Chaotic Evil, however, was regarded as a combination of air and earth, represented by blackness and corresponding with the demonic Abyss. This combination was regarded as a complete negation of matter.

The cult grew powerful and rich, attracting followers of the worst sort and offering them safety within the walls of the Temple stronghold. From this fortress would the followers ride to rob, pillage, and lay waste the lands about, tithing the cult from the spoils of the carnage. Captives from those raids were brought back to the Temple to serve as human sacrifices (children to the fire, men to the water, and women to the blackest Evil) or to slave their lives away in bondage.

Besides the extensive upper works of the Temple, a deep labyrinth beneath the place was constructed, but virtually nothing is known about these dungeons except that they were inhabited by a plethora of creatures serving Chaos and Evil. It is rumored that a demon took up abode in the deepest level, to better receive the sacrifices to it. Alynis thinks the demon could be the Cambion Usnea

Eventually the neighbors of the Temple grew tired of these depredations. All Good, both Lawful and Chaotic, banded together to form a mighty army. Their army marched to the Temple, fighting two battles along the way. The first was conclusive, thought the forces of Good who held the field afterward, so they gained the reputation of victory, and their ranks swelled with local men. The second battle saw a great slaughter of orcs, gnolls, evil men, and the like.

The Temple was thereafter besieged, fell, and its inhabitants put to the sword. It is reported by some sources that the Temple and its precincts resisted complete destruction, but the majority state that the whole was razed so that the cult could never emerge again nor could any find where it once flourished

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Turok Days after return

The next day, after being healed, Turok takes some time with the new sword. He does what he’s done before, practicing on rotten fruit and trees in the woods. The new sword feels well balanced and light in his hands, its blade gleams and never seems to scratch or mar.

Its Red White and Blue leather handle reminds him of the vision he saw of Kord, the god of wrestling who wore Red dragon White dragon and Blue dragon skin.

While in the woods and attacking the trunk of a tree, the sword is over his head and he sees one of the crystals glow. Slowing his swing he brings the sword down curiously and touches the crystal, it is the Red Crystal

FLAME! springs from the blade, red magical fire radiating heat, the fire lasts for a minute then goes out. He tries the other crystals BLUE produces a crackling of electricity around the blade and finally WHITE sees the blade seemingly turn to ice intense cold radiating from it

Each one will not reactivate when touched again….

He heads to the College to find Alynis. It is not long before they are able to identify the sword
Drake’s Breath
This sword is said to have been created by a powerful wizard who could steal the powers of vanquished foes. He had a knight protector that he made the sword for as both a gift for his service and as a weapon for the knight to protect the wizard.

Hundreds of years ago the wizard and the knight set forth on a journey into a vast subterranean cavern and were never seen again

Once a day you can make the sword into a Fire, Ice or Lighting weapon.

You can choose that the sword do this type of damage for 1 minute (10 attacks)
OR
The sword can burst with this type of damage on your next hit (double damage)

Torok then goes to Tiberious, finding him at the Forge. Turok wants Tiberious to make leather gauntlets for him using the dragon scales from the taxidermied black dragon. Tiberious consults a leather maker and has a a good pair of leather gauntlets made. He then dyes 6 dragon scales 2 red 2 white 2 blue and sews them onto the back of the gauntlets. A week later Turok has awesome dragon scale gauntlets.

Then
Booze Booze Booze after the healing spells you feel better than you have ever felt. You go on long benders and then rigorous practices with your new sword and exercise like long runs through the woods…training as you feel more powerful than ever before. You are swinging your sword with reckless abandon and it blurs as you swing it, you feel able to strike faster than ever before

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