The Boundary Lands

Chapter 12 - On the Northern Ice Sheet (s. 28)
12.1 Divine Intervention

The party spends a restless night in the ruins of the castle, keeping a tense watch out for more undead. Fortunately, they make it through the night undisturbed, and the large group of soldiers packs up their belongings at first light and prepares to head out. Though some soldiers were lost in the battle, with the addition of Sam’s followers, the party’s group of recruits has actually increased in size on this trip. The party now must decide where it is they’re all headed.

The party and their growing pool of recruits are committed to bringing the Empire of Nerath back to power. However, there is no seat of power to return to. Verind’s Edge, the last bastion of the empire, was wiped out by the Arinfax Colossus and the goblinoids of the Torin Plains. More importantly, political rulers are paranoid of any semblance of the empire sprouting up in their domain. After decades of fighting and bloodshed to earn their independence, the nobles that rule the dotted city-states and regions throughout the northlands have no interest in giving up their newfound authority to a reborn Empire of Nerath. If the party is open about the heir’s heritage he would likely be exiled from anywhere they go, or possibly even assassinated.

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Chapter 11 - The Return Home (s. 27)
11.2 Army of Darkness

The party looks out grimly at the undead army spreading out before them. In all, they count 40 undead minions – assorted zombies and skeletons that don’t look like too much of a threat to the party or they’re well-trained allies. In addition, they can pick out some much more powerful undead – eight Dread Knights lurk amongst the unholy horde, well-armored and equipped with black blades that radiate necrotic energy. Finally, the undead’s leader, Uthrin, stands in the back of the force. Even from this distance, Erik and Invicto can tell he is not a ‘lich’ as Larindra described him, as he was not a powerful wizard in his former life. He is most likely a Deathlock, a powerful undead creature that is granted a number of magical necrotic powers by its master when raised.

Uthrin calls out to his troops, “Forward my minions! Find the heir to the Empire of Nerath and kill him! I will see the Empire ended once and for all tonight!”

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Chapter 11 - The Return Home (s. 26)
11.1 Shocking Discoveries

During the long journey at sea, Invicto finds his skill at demon summoning is growing. He fully masters the four rituals he learned earlier, and no longer has any trouble controlling the demons and devils he summons to complete the rituals for him. The Zaza makes an interesting discovery of her own as well. After enduring a dose of the infernal poison of a Pit Fiend’s barbed tail in the arena and surviving, she finds that that which did not kill her has made her stronger. She has developed a small resistance to poisonous attacks.

The party finally arrives back in Arastur, and they are delighted to see their new home come into view. When they left Arastur, winter had just begun and snow was falling as they pulled out of the docks. But, having been gone around four months, spring is now in full bloom, and the forested city is truly a sight to behold. Lush trees spread out as far as the eye can see, and patches of wildflowers blanket the hills leading down to the coast.

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Chapter 10 - Debts Must Be Paid (s. 25)
10.4 The Sad, Lonely End of Ignacious Malatar

As the party prepares to journey into the mountains northeast of Sijil to track down Ignacious Malatar, Palloth mentions to Aramil the issue of the 18 new recruits that signed up to follow the party yesterday. Before the group leaves the Jeweled Cities to head north, the recruits need to be screened to ensure that only those who are actual capable fighters are accepted. Some of those that signed up are likely untrustworthy, unskilled louts, just looking for some quick coin. The party is confident they can handle Ignacious on their own, so Aramil agrees.

Razzing Aramil

Palloth, Brutus, Azaz, and Azad begin making preparations to test out the new recruits. Aramil insists, however, that those who choose to leave, or who are rejected, are given a gold coin each, to ensure there is no hard feelings. Aramil wants to be certain that the party’s reputation is solidified as an elite fighting crew rather than a cheap one, and paying a gold to the rejected candidates will show that they were not accepted purely based on their skill, not on the size of the party’s payroll.

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Chapter 10 - Debts Must Be Paid (s. 24)
10.3 Bounty Hunted

As the party catches their breath at the Wind Sailor Tavern, they debate what their next steps should be. They agree that they can’t let Ignacious roam free, and will have to do something about him. The natives of the Jeweled Cities, Palloth, Brutus, Azaz, and Azad speak up with their assessment of the situation. They say that not only will House Malatar be banned from the arena, given how out of hand things got, they may face a hefty financial penalty from the city. Moreover, Palloth notes that the spectators in the front rows that were slaughtered by some of the devils were likely the sons of nobility or wealthy merchant houses. If that’s the case, the mayor of Sijil won’t be able to overlook their deaths. The city will likely seize their assets as recompense to the families who suffered losses. Before the week is out, House Malatar may not even exist anymore.

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Chapter 10 - Debts Must Be Paid (s. 23)
10.2 Ignacious’s Ruinous Revenge

The party arrives in Sijil with eight days until they’re scheduled fight in the arena with Ignacious Malatar’s mysterious opponents. They are still debating what course of action to pursue – to try to uncover what their opponents might be, to try to free Lucinda and Old Breddy, or to just try to assassinate Ignacious. The first order of business, though, is to book a room at an inn in Sijil. As the party makes their way from the docks through the streets of the city, The Zaza’s keen eyes notice a dark, hooded figure following them.

A Mystery Solved

The Zaza and Erik stop at a market stall while Invicto and Aramil continue on. The shadowy figure hesitates, but then continues to follow Invicto and Aramil. As the stranger passes The Zaza and Erik, the dragonborn and the wizard can see that it is a female half-elf following them. After she passes, The Zaza and Erik begin moving again, following the half-elf as she follows Invicto and Aramil. The gnome and the warlord both start to slow their pace and eventually turn around, catching the stranger in the middle of the party.

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Chapter 10 - Debts Must be Paid (s. 22)
10.1 Law and Order

Waiting for Aramil to arrive, Erik picks through the gnolls’ equipment and finds little other than a few gold pieces. He does, however, find that one of the gnoll soldiers’ shields is magical, so he slings it over his shoulder to keep. Aramil arrives, and once the party comes around they are glad to see the eladrin has been cured, although they would’ve appreciated it if he had arrived sooner with his large Thri-Kreen war party. Aramil and The Zaza both try out the magic shield Erik found and find that it’s a little light for the well armored dragonborn, so Aramil tosses aside his old, battered shield and straps on the new magical one. The Thri-Kreen head off to the location in the salt flats that the traitorous shaman tried to lure the party to while Aramil and the beaten and weary party members head back to the village.

Rewards in Disguise

They are greeted as heroes by the Chieftain and he offers thanks in the form of a few small gifts he has accumulated from travelers who have perished in the hot sands of the desert. Speaking through the ‘junior’ shaman, he produces two items he says are supposedly magical but that Thri-kreen can’t make use of as they are designed to be worn on the head. The items just won’t fit on the bug-men’s oddly shaped insectoid craniums. The party inspects them and finds that the first is a Circlet of Mental Onslaught, which Erik excitedly dons.

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Chapter 9 - The Desert Wilds (s. 21)
9.2 Shamanic Complications

The party notices that one of the gnoll lurkers is still breathing so they bring him back to consciousness to interrogate him. He asks the party what they want with the gnolls and Erik replies that they are the ones asking questions. Through a mixture of threats and promises to let him live if he talks, they get the gnoll to tell them the location of the leader, whom the demon-eye gnoll refers to as the ‘Fang of Yeenoghu’. He is apparently in the gnolls’ hideout, a shallow cave a few hours southwest of the Thri-Kreen’s village. The gnoll provides a couple of relevant landmarks that will help the party find their way and assures them that if they go there it will be certain death for them.

Having obtained the information they wanted, the party lets the gnoll go and he lopes off into the desert. They debate about what to do next, and they all agree that, though Aramil has little time to live, they have no hope of saving him by pressing onward. They plan to go back to the Thri-Kreen village to rest and regroup and then to seek out the gnoll leader tomorrow. They cut off the heads of the gnolls they have vanquished and bring them along to prove to Chief Grux’Nichil that they are making progress. Certainly he will be pleased that they have slain at least five gnolls.

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Chapter 9 - The Desert Wilds (s. 20)
9.1 What’s for Dinner?

Making good headway into the desert, the party finally stops to rest in the blazing heat of the mid-afternoon sun. They’ve seen no sign of pursuit from the castle of undead, and figure it’s safe to rest awhile. Aramil collapses in a heap and is struck by another vicious fit of coughing. He feels incredibly weak and realizes he must be ill. The rest of the party helps examine him, and they soon come to the conclusion that when he was struck by the mummy in the party’s last battle he contracted mummy rot, a deadly magical disease that has claimed the life of many an adventurer.

Prognosis Negative

Through their various religious and arcane training, the party pieces together what they know of mummy rot. The disease can only be healed by magical means and if Aramil isn’t healed he will most assuredly die.

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Chapter 8 - Castillo del Mortes (s. 19)
8.2 Flight from Darkness

In the aftermath of the battle The Zaza senses that her Axe of Light is immensely pleased with its new owner. Through images flashing in her mind, the Axe shows her new ways to use it in battle against undead foes and the paladin is eager to put it to use again soon. Despite The Zaza’s thirst for more battle, the party knows they’ve got to get out of the castle as quickly as they can. They debate about what to do next. They decide that if they can’t recover their furniture, they’ll try to win their case with a magistrate by offering proof of Jal’imry’s death. They attempt to stuff Jal’imry’s entire body into their magical Bag of Holding, but find it is a tad too large, so they simply cut off the head and drop it in.

By the Skin of Their Teeth

Rushing out of the grand dining room, they quietly approach the main entry hall to the castle where they came in. From the landing at the top of a grand staircase they look down into the entry hall and see at least 50 of a variety of undead creatures milling about just inside the castle’s doors. Suddenly a pack of ghouls comes around the corner of a hallway on the party’s level and spots them, shouting and giving chase. The mass of undead creatures below joins in the pursuit, and the party turns to run for their lives, an army of undead close on their heels.

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