BAND OF IRONS

BlackHaus
Brothel

TO the right of the road sits an impressive stone structure. Looking like a fortified mansion it has a sweeping stone front staircase flanked by two guard towers. Large red burning braziers light the base of the steps atop of which is a smartly dressed Drow and some kind of huge White Wookie/bear which is breathing heavily. They stand to each side of huge bronze doors.

Drow and Druegar are atop the turrets and there is a large sign say BLACKHAUS in the ground out front. Vinny ascends the stairs just as two Drow in leather robes come out the front doors, they pass as he is greeted by the smartly dressed Drow standing near the front door.

“Business?” the Drow asks and Vinny again answers “pleasure” To which the Drow responds "We have lots of that here and opens the door for Vinny. Inside is a 40 × 40 room with a high 20 foot ceiling supported by 6 columns that lead to a second set of bronze door on the far wall.

These doors are flanked by Drow guards wearing chainmail and carrying crossbows. There is an orc and a Druegar near one of the columns, they seem to be arguing, but quietly. Vinny approaches the next set of double doors and pushes the m open. A cacophony of voices and noise comes from inside.

Vinny sees a worked but elegant room, red tapestries adorn the high walls, at dozens of matching tables at leas 40 various humanoids are drinking and talking. To each side is a long bar manned by Drow and Drueagr, to the far side some sort of armored cupola and behind that 2 doors set in the wall, both with Drow and Druegar guards.

Chandeliers burning red and torches light the place with a low red light. Tehn Vinny notices the women. To the far side is a bathtub, two statues of succubus spray water on a Human and Half Elf female who are naked and kissing.

Wandering about the table are females and a few males of various races, scantily clad carrying drinks and rubbing up against patrons. Vinny wanders to the bar and buys a pint of good ale. He asks the bartender if there is a place to get a good game in around here. the bartender chuckles and replies this is a whore house, gambling’s is across the street.

Vinny sips his ale and wanders about the room, watches as the girls and boys slide in and out near all the male patrons. Occasionally a patron rises with a companion and moves back to the cupola, Exchanges money and goes through the first door toward the back. Vinny then sees the balcony above the room. It is dark and not prominent, but he can see guards overlooking the room.

As his drink is finished he sees a human male emurge from the second door toward the back. His clothes are mussed had his hair assunder, he looks to have a fat lip. He moves to the bar and buys a drink. Vinny finishes his and walks back outside

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Monty Turok's Flying Urine

The remainder of the party has scouted the outside perimeter. The "island’ is a half mile diameter with a 25 foot high defensive wall that stretches all the way around, dotted with 30 foot high stone turrets. There is a good field of fire on all the “beaches” with good visibility for the troops in the turrets. It would be hard to assault this fortress.

At the rear is a small gatehouse. Two 30 foot towers side by side with a heavy closed portcullis between them. There looks to be no travel in and out of this area, but it is heavily manned. The group decides to enter, sending Toruk and Tiberius Hammersmyth first, the two walk toward the gatehouse.

The Drow and Drugar atop it shout down “What is your business?” Turok answers “We want to come inside” One of the Drow looks down and says “You have to go in the front” The Drow returns to speaking with someone that can’t be seen atop the tower.

Inexplicably Turok lowers his shoulder and crashes against the portculis. He bouces off alerting the Drow on the turret. “Hey what the fuck are you doing there?” the Drow yells down clearly agitated. Turok ribs Tiberious, saying softly “Hey Tiberious aint those the guys you don’t like?” Tiberious head shakes in anger as he desperately tries to suppress the need to kill some Drow.

Turok yells up again “We want to come inside” The Drow looks over, crossbow in hand and speaks slowly realizing he is dealing with an idiot “Go….around….to the….front….” he motions with his crossbow around the outside of the wall.

Turok stands there motionless looking up, seemingly unsure what the word ‘front’ means. Another Drow steps near the first and slaps against his helmet with his two gloved hands and sticks out his tongue. “Fetch the piss bucket” says the first Drow to the oddly behaving second who moves off.

“We want inside now!” Turok bellows as Tiberious sees the second Drow reappear holding a stained and dripping wooden bucket. “Run away” Tiberious says and backpedals away. Toruk isn’t running from anything, as the second Drow dumps a latrine bucket over the barbarian. Urine and feces cover him.

Toruk finally moves back to Tiberious position, “Should we go around to the front?” Turok asks…..Tiberious shakes his head “Come on” he says leading the now very foul smelling barbarian back toward the front gate…the others of the party shadow them.

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Vinny into Danger

Vincent Rhodes dons the disguise of a tall blond human, one of his trading personas, and wanders out of the mire toward the front gatehouse of the compound. The central column is truly impressive stretching into the blackness above.

The gatehouse is a thick-walled stone structure, turrets flanking the open courtyard behind which a tunnel goes through the building to the outpost behind it.. Vinny notices numerous fighting positions

He is challenged at the gatehouse by a young male drow in chain armor and brandishing a crossbow, two heavily armored Druegar with short Halberds back him up.

“Business here?” says the Drow. Vinny answers he’s here for fun. The Drow does not smile but says “there’s lots of that to be found here” The Drow looks Vinny over then says “Don’t cause trouble” and Vincent moves inside

Vinny walks through the courtyard, two half orcs are arguing and several Drow and Druegar are atop the battlements. The building behind has a tunnel/passage with multiple open portcullises and many murder holes in the ceiling. He casually walks through and into the “town” beyond.

The road little more than a more worn area of rock, forks left and right, with the massive stalagmite ahead. Humanoids come and go and Vinny sees Orcs, Hobgoblins, Humans, Drow and Druegar, most armed and most mean looking.

To the left the road rises slightly and the buildings are larger generally clean. Vinny passes what looks to be a decent Inn but these buildings look mostly like homes. The area is mostly Drow and Druegar occupied, Vinny sees only a couple other humanoids, and he sees regular patrol of Drow and Druegar soldiers.

At the top of the rise is a large 3 story mansion, well guarded by Drow and Druegar. Its regal appearance may indicate that it is the “governor’s” mansion. It butts up against the central column. There are large braziers of burning red flame to either side of the doorway. Like the rest of the compound, there are numerous red burning torches giving the whole of the place a red tint

Vinny turns and head back toward the gatehouse, the road slopes slightly downward and the buildings are a bit more ramshackle. There is a larger variety of huminoids including goblins and more orcs. Vinny sees a pony sized spider being used like a draft animal pulling a wagon loaded with rock.

The road widens into a market place. Vendors in open stalls are selling numerous items, it is just as the world above, except the humanoids here are a bit concerning. Vinny presents himself as a buyer and wanders the market. After the purchase of some poison he sees two items that eat his interest. A vendor is selling minor rings of dark vision His sales pitch is for those slaves that can’t see in the dark. The rings are greatly inferior to the actual ability dark vision, BUT vine knows this will allow the two humans in the group to be able to see in the darkness that they will be in for sometime. Vinny haggles and haggles, even walking away before the vendor gives in. “Hell no one needs these down here anyway” he says selling the rings to Vinny at half the cost he had originally asked

Past the Market are more ramshackle domiciles and then two larger buildings, behind which is a coliseum of some sort.. Vinny wanders to the coliseum “Next Challenge in 3 days” says a sign. Vinny returns to the two large buildings….

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To Coldstone!

The group holds hands and teleports to the tower in Coldstone keep. Tiberious has filled the bag of holding with mortar and tools and they set about piling debris in the rear collapsed wall. Securing the gatehouse and bricking up the entrance to the tower that contains the teleport pedestal.

After a long rest the party climbs to the top of the teleport tower and uses the rope of climbing to descend into the brackish cold water of the mire they head off in the direction in which they encountered the thick mist.

The group is unable to find the swirling mists that menaced them with falling notes, but they do find the mound of long dead skeletons and rusting armor, where they slew the banshee. It is only 2 miles from the keep leading them to believe they were walking in circles while in the fog.

The glowing arrow marker is still in the ground and they head off in that direction, finding a second one a half mile later. Another mile and the outcropping overlooking the rock tower is found.

As before there is a large island rising up form the brackish water. The island slopes slowly from 50 to 100 feet before the 25 foot high stone walls topped with battlements and occasionally dotted with 30 foot high towers is located.

Past the walls are numerous stone buildings as the ground continues to slope gradually toward the center of the island then abruptly rising in a shear rock column, like a huge stalagmite that disappears in the black of the sky. You have no idea how high it goes as you can not see the roof of the immense cave you are in.

The column is at least 1/4 mile in diameter and has several openings on it which faint red or yellowish light is flooding out of. The whole of the area seems bathed in dull red light, torches and braziers of burning red cast an “emergency lighting” over the area.

Drow and Druegar man the turrets and walls, there is a gatehouse and as you watch a group of orcs in battle gear slog out of the water and mover toward the gate, they appear to be greeted and let inside.

Vinny is off to infiltrate the area and says little as he leaves, the rest of the party deciding to head around the perimeter and check everything out while Vinny scouts the inside of the outpost.

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Chandarian/Cambion review

When they meet near the teleportation cave Kvothe gives a review of the Chandarion/Cambion. Several of the demon lord Iuz children have been loosed on the world to cause havoc. Rotcod’ohw has tasked you with trying to stop them as some of their paths have crossed your younger selves. Most notably Kvothe, who knows one of the Cambion, Stercus, to be the leader of the raiders who killed his father.

Kvothe has read as much as he can in the Library but can find little info

You trapped one (Cyphus) in the Vampire Lighthouse
You killed one (Ferule) at Standing Stones
Kvothe has been invited by one (Stercus) to “come inside” You has previously seen him at The Lost Temple
Kvothe has dreamed about one (Usnea) “awakening”

Kvothe DOES KNOW that there are 7 total and the others are named
Dalcenti, Alenta, and Alaxel

He also has some hints from a poem, of which Alynis also has

Cyphus bears the blue flame.
Stercus is in thrall of iron.
Ferule chill and dark of eye.
Usnea lives in nothing but decay.
Grey Dalcenti never speaks.
Pale Alenta brings the blight.
Last there is the lord of the seven:
Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane.
Alaxel bears the shadow’s shame.
__

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Market, Rotcod'ohw, Guards

Vinny is sent to the market to gather provisions. He stocks up on his usual restocking of chalk, charcoal, paper, ink, and pen. Making sure there are things like shovel, broom and crowbar are in good working order and in bag of holding. He has a grappling hook and line too, even with the rope of climbing he can’t be too careful. Water, rations, even dry socks.

Tiberious and Helm head to the watch commanders keep to the south of town They meet with the commander of Zulern forces. They go over the Kou Toa emerging in the library and then again in the marshes to the east by the mansions. They explain about what they found under the mansion and about the teleportation cave.

Fortification against Kou Toa
The commander is hesitant about stationing men in Coldstone, in the Underdark. He says that unless they had control of the stone and its ability to teleport at any time he will not send men down there. He is also concerned with this 2nd mansion that no one seems to know where it came from

BUT he will station an outpost at each location and build fortifications to see that if anything comes out of the water in the mansion basement, or the cave would have to fight through a fortified choke point.

Rotcodohw
Kvothe’s Rotcodohw ring is used for a call on two separate days

Where is Alynis?
She has traveled out of this town, to a small town to the east, by choice. She does not look to be in imminent danger, yet there is danger there. And there are magical forces surrounding her. The magic is a barrier that I am having difficulty seeing through. She is in contact with the dead, but I do not know what the dead want from her.

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Meeting at Firestrike

Tiberius Hammersmyth has been workign at the premier blacksmith in town called FireStrike. It is a large building dominated by a large forge on the first floor. Firestrike primarily produces armor, but also works in weapons. Firestrike is owned and run by a female dwarf named Gola Firestrike.

There are several other humanoids who are working there, most notable two gnomes and a half ogre. Over several hours the party assembles at Firestrike.

When all are assembled Tiberious climbs onto a table adn begins an empassioned speech about the evil that is Tharizdun, the evil that must be held at bay by the continued existence of the lost temple not becoming “lost” again. With that he says that even if you have no allegiance to this town or to the order of law, if Tharizdun gets free, the world will end.

Helm Tallstag follows with a much more concise, “we are going back into the under dark to try to secure this area” supporting Tiberius’ ideas, and then prays for HELM’s protection over the town.

Mourning Storm informs you he has moved his druidic shrine into the teleport chamber to watch over the device. Since we have that magical bag of putting a lot of shit in, he suggests that we use it to transport the crab woman statue into the underdark to see if that helps stop the migration of the Kuo Toa to the surface.

Kvothe says he received a note from Stercus, one of Iuz Cambion sons who you saw at the Temple. It said

Saw you checking my place out,
Why didn’t you come inside?
Come on, we’ll have a bunch of fun
Talk about the old days
-Stercus

He then says he had a dream about another of Iuz children Usnea, it was his father’s voice saying Usnea awakens

Toruk says the Alynis has left town, no one knows where she went

Tiberius wants to tell the town of the danger and see if they would send a detachment of guards to Coldstone. The group agrees and decides to provision up and meet at the teleport chamber tomorrow

Helm recommends we contact Rotcod’ohw to see if he has any insight or way of locating Alynis and/or seeing if she needs assistance or is in any danger.

He also asks Vinny is his network has any insight into her whereabouts.

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Back to Zulern

The group goes their own ways once back in Zulern, but not before a sending stone idea is agreed on if the stone knocks twice meet at Firestrike the Blacksmith’s

Storm moves his druidic sanctuary into the teleportation cave.
Tiberius works at Firestrike, and assists at the Pelor hospital and Lost temple
Helm is at the Lost temple and Pelor hospital
Alynis goes back to work at the Library
Turok and Kvothe are at The Cockatrice Inn
Vinny starts selling items at the market, or is at The Bear Trap
Armand is at his druidic sanctuary to the west of town

Everyone notices
When you “saved” the town of Zulern, there was a female Paladin doing a great deal of fighting before you got there. You watched as she was killed and ascended, seemingly taken by her god which was Pelor

For the religious this was a powerful sight. Tiberious especially sees to die in battle and have your god choose you as the way things should end

In the months since this battle, there has been a new group that has semi broken away from the church of Pelor, they haven’t left Pelor, but they are worshiping this Paladin whose name was Mayaheine. Some in the church do not like it anymore than the discovery of a temple where 3 gods one being Pelor were worshiped together. These are trying times for the Church of Pelor, the dominant religion in this town.

Kvothe
Kvothe awakens from a dream, the only memory of it is of darkness and his father’s voice “Usnea awakes, Usnea awakes Usnea awakes….” Kvothe has seen Sterccus in the HELM temple and Sterccus saw him, but he has had no leads on where he could be.

Chandarian so far:
Cyphus-imprisoned in the sarcophagus in the Vampire Tower
Sterccus-last seen in temple
Ferule-killed was disguised as a bard
Usnea-awakens?
On the heals of his dream saying that Usnea is awakening, Kvothe is told by the innkeeper of the Cockatrice that a messenger delivered a note for him

The note is of rolled parchment sealed with red wax, a large stylized C is stamped in the wax

Kvothe opens the note which is written in Halfling

Saw you checking my place out,
Why didn’t you come inside?
Come on, we’ll have a bunch of fun
Talk about the old days

-Stercus

Helm
Library Study:

Tharizdun is a God of insanity, chaos, and nothingness.

Tharizdun was imprisoned ages ago by a coalition of deities to prevent the destruction of existence itself. Some of those dieties were evil. Tahrizdun is so dangerous that he thretens the very existence of everything good and evil.

Although imprisoned, Tharizdun still has a degree of his original multiverse-threatening power.
Some had begun to "leak’ into this area through a black cyst. Representatives of three Gods (Pelor, Pholtus, Helm) came together to keep Tharizdun at bay. Using Light and vigilance to keep the evil below. They built a temple atop the black cyst to hold it below.

An invading army destroyed the temple

What you also know from finding the temple is that subterfuge from Tharizdun cultists from below also helped “lose” the temple. The three gods representatives worked together. Tharizdun must have truly been dangerous for those three to work and to worship together. Now that you have “found” the temple the original mission to keep Tharizdun below should be accomplished. As long as the temple remains “found” and does not get lost again

Two large human tribes here are Flan and Oeridian. Pelor is a Flan god and Pholtus is Oeridian
Your temple with the three gods (Pelor, Pholtus, and Helm) only works for those who believe in the danger of Tharizdun.

HELM
Helm knows that HELM is active in the temple in so much as to be vigilant to keep Tharizdun below. Helm was called by HELM to accomplish this. You have found only the 2 other worshipers of HELM (Watcher and Witness) and the Two “healing women” that now frequent the temple. You know HELM wanted you to do this and you feel you have gained favor with him due to it

PELOR
The Catherdral in Zulern is the seat of Pelor power, although there has been some pilgrimage to the temple, only a handful of Pelor worshippers have assisted you. Many believe that this a trick or false in some way. Althoguh both Helm and Tiberious are in good standing at the Cathedral of Pelor in Zulern. The Priests have sought to control any worshipers venturing to the temple until more information is known.

PHOLTUS
As per JPs background, Tiberious does not hear Pholtus in the temple, nor anywhere else. But he does fear Tharizdun. He sees HELM as a tool of the gods to watch over this area.

He is not surprised that the Pelor worshipers are skeptical, he is skeptical himself BUT fears Tharizdun and will defend the temple purely for that reason. He feels the Pelor worshipers have some old Flan vs Oeridian racism going on, as well as a protectionist racket to keep them bound to the Cathedral of Pelor, rather than the potential to hear the one true god, Pholtus

Tiberious is able to semi convert several or the Pelor faithful who journey to the temple. Although difficult when he is unsure himself of his god. There are 12-15 general worshipers of what is being called the TEMPLE OF VIGILANT LIGHT In addition to workers and guards Helm has hired.

Toruk,Kvothe, son of Arliden , and Vincent Rhodes find out Alynis has left town

A runner comes to all members with a note from Tiberious to meet at FireStrike

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The Spire

The group wanders for a bit trying to gather their bearings when they find a faint glowing arrow on the ground. 3 feet long and looking to be made of stone, covered in glowing lichen.

Those with dark vision see it as a light source and can see it from far away as if it were a torch.
It is clearly pointing in a direction, the group walks in the direction the arrow indicates You follow the arrow after walking for a half mile you see lights in the distance, there is another glowing arrow on the ground.

About a half mile the lights roughly outline a rock spire which reached upward. There looks to be some lit “windows” on the rock, some as high as 50 feet. (think office building at night)

The spire is much wider at its base, making the spire look as if it is growing from a large island. On the Island you can see many torches burning with an eerie red fire that lights the whole of the area, you also notice that the air is no longer as cold, (not frigid, but still underground cold)

On the Island there looks to be a complex of some sort. A protective wall snakes around the outside dotted with guard towers. There looks to be buildings inside and a main gate.

You get within a few hundred yards and notice that the entire complex is manned with Drow (dark elves) and Druegar (Grey Dwarves) The all seem to be guarding together, watch towers are manned by both. Since Druegar females also have beards it is difficult to tell but you are pretty sure all the Drow you see are male

You spend some time looking at the Drow/Druegar encampment

Notice it manned by Druegar-Grey Dwarves and Drow-Dark Elves

Several times small groups and in one instance a caravan of flat bottomed boats pulled by large spiders come to the front gate and are allowed inside the complex.

You see a few other underdark denizens among the visitors, Orcs, Deep Gnomes, and goblins as well as 2 humans come in the caravans and groups.

This looks to be some sort of trading hub, a small outpost or city.

This looks to hold at least a hundred humanoids in a living community, with maybe another 50-100 there at any time trading

The group heads away from the encampment and after a bit of searching is able to find Coldstone again. They teleport back to Zulern

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Snow White and the Seven Adventurers

The group is still unconcerned that they are lost or not, and continues slogging through the mire. It begins snowing again and the familiar leaflets fall from the sky

There is no escape
There is only a way in
Danger level 1
The HOLLOW BEAST shall knock, knock, knock

Flum Flum Flum something is “knocking” and the sound is coming from above. Faint purple, lights swirl slowly high above. An arrow is loosed at the lights and a cloud of stinking gas descends on the group as the lights fade

Alynis says she thinks she still sees one light, but no one else can see it. The group moves and it snows again

Countdown zero
The Hollow Beast is with you
Extreme Danger

The mists slacken and before you is the low island covered with skeletons and rusted weapons, it seems you’ve been walking in a circle. Even the humans can see a blue light rise from the center of the island, in it a female form comes from the ground. She turns toward you quickly.

The hideous face of a twisted female elf, nose broken, eyes bulging a wave of fear sweeps over the group, Helm turns and runs blithering “SHE’S COMING TO KILL US” then the form wails, a loud remorseful moan that pierces through the skulls of all those near, it shakes the earth and Storm, Alynis, Kvothe Vinny and Tiberious crumple to their knees. The wailing looks to have drained their minds of sanity (Everyone failed saving throws)

Turok stands alone, he rushes the form his broad sword raised. He begins slashing at this banshee, it claws him in return. His sword slides off the translucent form of the banshee, he strikes it again and again with little effect.

60 feet away Helm shakes his head, “Why am I running? I must go back and fight!” (made his save) He turns and sees the barbarian in trouble, blood is pouring from slashing attacks the banshee is hurting him, yet he bravely swings his sword.

“BY THE POWER OF HELM BE GONE” Helm’s holy symbol thrust ahead of him does its job, the banshee turns to run. Helm kneels by Alynis and Tiberious touches of helming and they are back on their feet, Alynis hurling Magic Missile and Tiberious running after the banshee. The rest of the group is raised and the banshee succumbs to their attack….

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