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Scarred Lands: The Stricken Forest Kidnapping

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July 18, 2009
Scarred Lands: Stricken Forest Kidnapping
First Wildday of Madrer, 150 AV

The group had just reached the edge of the seemingly blighted Stricken Forest. In the fading light of the day they peered into the woods and noted the lack of underbrush and the profound silence that suffused the area. Dead trees jutted from the ground like the fingers of a corpse struggling to escape from the earth.

Rather than enter such a horrid place during the night as Belsameth’s moon gazed down at them, they decided to make camp on the edge of the forest and attempt to make their way through on the morrow.

During the course of the night they took their usual shifts to keep watch. Rutgar, Karel, and Mr. Proctor stood watch as the deepest part of the night approached. As the dwarf peered into the darkness, his keen ears heard the sound of something moving near the camp. Looking around he saw Karel hunched over a book near the fire, and Mr. Proctor shambling his way to Lavidia’s sleeping form. As he wached, Proctor reached down and lifted Lavidia’s backpack from the ground and began carrying it into the woods.

Rutgar finally asked Karel what Proctor was doing, and startled Karel out of his reading. The young necromancer looked around in surprise that Proctor would be doing anything without having been given any orders. Noting that his skeletal minion was indeed acting of his own accord, Karel dropped his books and notes and chased after his wayward companion. Rutgar roused the rest of the group sensing something amiss.

Karel ran to Proctor as the rest of the group stumbled from their beds, and looked just in time to see the skeleton draw his blade and slash his master savagely across the chest spraying blood everywhere.

With a collective gasp they grabbed their weapons in hopes of saving the youngest member of their group, but the idea was short lived as 3 fiendish apes materialized out of thin air to block their path.

The battle was brief, but long enough for Mr. Proctor to render Karel into unconsciousness and then carry the young necromancer and the backpack with the silvery tome deep into the woods. Once the party had finished off the apes which boiled away into nothingness at the moment of their deaths, they decided that they had to follow as best they could to retrieve the book, and Karel. However, they reasoned that they couldn’t do much until the sun rose, so they opted to attempt to get some sleep and begin first thing the next morning.

At the arrival of Madriel’s blessed sun, they began their search, with Phoenix and Safaria pooling their talents for survival in the wilderness and tracking in the city, allowing them to follow the path of the skeleton.

As they tracked Mr. Proctor, it became evident that he had acquired two additional companions somewhere along his travels. Not knowing what to make of this, the group began to pursue the skeleton with greater diligence.

They made their way north, following the tracks of the kidnappers, and came across a shapely young woman, sitting in the middle of what might have been a beautiful grove of wildflowers or some such at one time. However, she proved her malevolence as she called to a pack of wolves that surrounded her and began to sing. Her voice rang through the air and into the minds of the group. Phoenix, the letch that he is, failed to throw off the shackles her voice wrapped around her mind.

The party made short work of the Dananshee, and evil fae creature born of the Divine War as a malevolent version of a nymph or a dryad. After her death, Phoenix was freed from her dominating song, and the party was free to track Proctor once more.

On the second day of following Proctor and his mysterious companions they encountered a Displacer Beast wandering the fiendish woods. They were able to dispatch the cat-like creature with relative ease, since they’d encountered it’s like before.

A wandering Hornsaw Unicorn was the second foul beast that they encountered that day. Despite the tainted unicorn’s formidable combat ability, they were able to defeat it with a combined group effort.

On the third day, travelling ever northward in the heart of the Stricken Forest they encountered something altogether different. With a small “whooshing” sound, a man appeared from thin air. He had pale white skin, and seemed to have a thin frame clothed by a black robe with red trim. He had black claws on the end of his hands instead of fingernails, and one of his hands was wrapped around a staff. He had obsidian black rams horns sprouting from his forehead and a sinuous tail waving wildly behind him.

As the group immediately dropped into a defensive stance and prepared for combat against something that obviously seemed like a threat. The man put up his hands in a gesture of surrender. As began deliberations as to how to handle this, Safaria called upon her abilities as a paladin of Corean to sense the presence of any evil, and naturally the man with the horns reeked of evil. Lavidia took it upon herself to approach the man and ask his business.

He introduced himself as A’Starothe and a member of the Wizards of the Obsidian Pyre. Then he launched into a tale about two renegade wizards of his order who had absconded with some magical artifacts and were no doubt the ones behind the kidnapping of their companion. A’Starothe admitted that his order would normally not have such problems, save for the theft of powerful magical objects, and the apparent discovery of a way to hide themselves from magical tracking. Then he proposed a deal to the skeptical Lavidia. He and his order would allow them safe passage from the Stricken Forest, if they would find the magically hidden hideout of the two renegade wizards.

After considering for a moment, Lavidia agreed and A’Starothe presented her with a crystal. He told her all she would have to do is throw the crystal to the ground and speak the word “Shakithe” and it would give a focus to the magical tracking of the pyre wizards. In another moment with a mumbled phrase, he was gone.

Lavidia returned to her companions and briefed them on the agreement. And while the group voiced some displeasure at accepting an agreement with someone who was obviously an enemy of Corean and Madriel, Lavidia convinced them that they really didn’t have a choice especially if they wanted to find Karel before something irrevocably bad happened to him.

They all agreed, with Safaria and Halder being the most skeptical, and continued north following the tracks of the wayward animate bones. They ended up reaching a small cave in the side of a large hill.

Rather than attempt to fight two renegade wizards after a day of travel and fighting, they decided to make camp a few yards away, and keep a fire to a minimum. They planned to assault the wizards in their cave the next day.

The next morn, they prepared themselves for battle. While those who were going to be on the front lines armed themselves, Phoenix set a tripwire along the front of the cave. As the group moved up to the cave they felt a life draining chill surround them as they moved, and only Halder succumbed to the effects as his life drained away. But he ignored it in hopes that Karel could still be rescued alive.

The wizards summoned more fiendish apes and augmented their forces by having Mr. Proctor attack as well. Coupled with their formidable spells, the group was nearly killed. They were saved only by some quick thinking on the part of Lavidia, who after seeing her comrades felled by foul magics, she threw down the crystal and shouted the word she had been told

A’Starothe appeared in a wave of power, eradicating the summoned creatures and rendering the two wizards unconscious. The horned wizard swept around the camp and turned his nose up at the pile of bones that was the destroyed remains of Mr. Procter who’d been killed by Safaria’s blade.

He waved his hand over the wizards, who vanished in a fiery inferno, then turned his countenance on Lavidia. A’Starothe thanked her for her help and said that their group would not have any difficulty from the Wizards of the Obsidian Pyre as they left the forest. Then he vanished.

The group entered the cave, and immediately split up. Phoenix began gathering anything of value while Rutgar began looking over the small amount of magical paraphernalia. Safaria remained at the entrance, and Lavidia and Halder began caring for Karel.

The young necromancer had been beaten and bloodied within an inch of his life and strapped to a table in nothing but a loincloth. Halder surmised that the wizards had planned to use him as a sacrifice of some kind. Lavidia immediately cut him from the table and began dressing his wounds.

As they worked, Lavidia heard a voice calling to her from one of the long shadows cast by the small hearth. After caring for Karel, Halder watched as Lavidia sauntered over to the shadows on the wall, and then slipped into it, vanishing from sight.

The cleric screamed her name as she vanished and ran to the wall and began searching for a passage to follow her. Only shadow covered rock met his fingers and a few seconds later a small bag with a letter attached to it flew out of the shadows and landed a few feet away. Halder picked it up and read the letter as it was addressed to him.

Karel finally snapped out of his reverie and immediately asked where Mr. Proctor was. Phoenix got great pleasure out of informing him that his companion had been destroyed in battle.

The group then retrieved the book and turned the small cave into their next camp as they recuperated from their wounds and discussed their next course of action, to get out of this forest and to the Old Sage without losing anyone else.

Alright, so my muse for writing seems to have abandoned me, along with any desire to sit and write anything, campaign logs included. Hopefully I'll get caught up within the next couple of days. As always comments are welcome!
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Updated 09-14-2009 at 12:09 AM by RMajere

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