The Boundary Lands

Chapter 8 - Castillo del Mortes (s. 18)
8.1 Into the Deserts

A couple of days after their renowned victory in the arena, the party is enjoying a meal in a local tavern. An imperious looking man enters and approaches them. He introduces himself as an agent of House Malatar, the house that owned the dragons the party defeated. The party eyes him warily, and asks what he wants with them. The agent assures them he is not looking for trouble. He knows the party used some kind of magical dragon-slaying blade in their battle. House Malatar would simply like to know who gave them the item.

Foreshadowing

The party sees no need to deceive the man, as they did not violate the rules of the arena by using the dagger. They admit to receiving the gift, but assure the agent of House Malatar that they received it from a cloaked figure who did not wish to reveal his identity. The agent finds this hard to believe.

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Chapter 7 - The Jeweled Cities (s. 17)
7.2 Dragon Slayers

After arriving in Sijil, the party has a few weeks before their fight. So, they ask around town about House Malatar’s dragons to find out what they are up against. When the dragons fight in the arena a magically constructed, enormous steel cage is set over the battlegrounds so that the creatures cannot fly away. The cage is dome-shaped, and at its peak the height of the dome is low enough to keep the dragons within range of melee attacks at all times, so the party does not have to worry about the front-line fighters, The Zaza, Daza, and Aramil, ever being out of range.

Studying the Enemy

They also discover that the dragons are very young, giving the party hope that they can actually defeat the beasts. Fully grown, adult dragons would surely spell doom for the party – they are steadily becoming very accomplished fighters, but still have little experience with such epic threats as an adult dragon. The dragons are of two different types. One is a black dragon, a dark-scaled monstrosity that spits caustic jets of acid at its foes. The other, which is slightly older and more dangerous, is a blizzard dragon, a deadly creature that sports icy white scales and is encircled in a powerful aura of frost that ebbs and flows throughout the battle. More specifically, they learn that the blizzard dragon slowly builds up its elemental power as it fights, periodically releasing it all in a crescendo of icy death for its enemies.

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Chapter 7 - The Jeweled Cities (s. 16)
7.1 The Daza

The rest of the party’s journey is thankfully uneventful, and after about three weeks at sea, the group arrives in the city of Unayzah, northern most of the Jeweled Cities. The Jeweled Cities are known as a land of intrigue and opportunity, an exotic locale, unlike any other place in the world. Unayzah certainly seems to live up to this reputation.

As their ship pulls into dock, the party is assaulted with a variety of sights, sounds, and smells they have never witnessed before. The party disembarks and finds the air is filled with odd scents as peddlers cook a myriad of strange fruits and vegetables wrapped in some kind of flat, unleavened bread to offer for sale. The sun beats down on the city making it stifling hot, even by the water. Amongst the crowds there are some large segments of tieflings and halflings, and the native humans sport a dark brown skin tone, rarely found in the north.

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Chapter 6 - High Finance… and Pirates! (s. 14-15)
6.1 Missing Shipments

The party wakes up the next day and finds snow falling on the city of Arastur, as winter has fully arrived. They first head to the residential property Erik was given. They find it to be a large, luxurious spread, already equipped with a handsome half-orc butler named Hunrit. Hunrit welcomes the new owners and the party is very pleased, to say the least, with their new home.

Then, they head down to the business district of the city and seek out the New Moon Merchant Company’s offices. They aren’t particularly impressive, but aren’t completely run-down either. The company seems to be a fairly small but successful operation. Entering the establishment they speak to the current manager of the business, an elf named Yinlis. They present the seal and paperwork they received from Varna and Yinlis quickly accepts them as the new owners. He updates them on the merchant house’s current business outlook which is fairly grim.

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Chapter 5 - A New Home (s. 12-13)
5.3 The Sad, Lonely End of Luwin Istalis

The party debates for a while about what to do next. Aramil insists that Luwin must be ‘taken care of’, as he is a blight on all civilized society. Erik talks with his father about the situation, and Varna has apparently still not given up on his son, even though Luwin attempted to murder him. He insists that Erik leave Luwin be, and that his adoptive brother will somehow come back around one day. Erik is tempted to do as his father wishes, but the rest of the party sides with Aramil, and after further discussion Erik agrees to head back to Osteros to finish off Luwin once and for all.

Perin decides that punishing villainous nobles and constantly risking life and limb is not what he was interested in when he signed up to travel with the party. He is happy to have journeyed with the party back to the forests of Quinalyn, and he decides now would be a good time to take his leave and return to the simple life of a hunter. He bids the party farewell, and The Zaza, Erik, Invicto, and Aramil press on with their task at hand.

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Chapter 5 - A New Home (s. 11)
5.2 A Family Reunion

The party arrives in Erik’s home town of Trannyth so the lone human in the party can pay a visit to his adoptive elven father, Varna. Aramil asks about Erik’s relationship with his parents, and Erik attempts to explain his strained connection to his adoptive parents, and relates the story of what he knows of his birth parents, with his adoptive father having an affair with his birth mother and then taking Erik into his family thinking he was his own bastard son, but then realizing he wasn’t, and how Erik later slept with the Queen of the Empire of Nerath to discover that his birth mother is now married to the vile Sir Uthrin, whose kingdom was somewhat warring with Verind’s Edge and the Empire of Nerath before it was destroyed… Aramil tries to listen attentively, only letting his eyes glaze over a little, and eventually nods with a “So, it’s complicated…”

A Chilling Reception

Walking through the town, Perin recognizes some old acquaintances, as he spent some time hunting in the forests of Quinalyn. Invicto and The Zaza, the only two party members who haven’t spent significant time in Quinalyn are quite taken with the raised homes built into and on the trees of the town. The party’s entourage of Verind’s Edge survivors heads into the center of town to find a tavern at which to pass the time. Erik remembers the streets of Trannyth well, and figures he should get straight to what he came for. The party soon turns onto a quaint wooded lane, and Erik is flooded with memories of his childhood. His parents’ home stands in the shadow of several massive trees. A richly adorned house, it is one of several homes in Trannyth that was constructed to stand on its own, rather than built into a tree. Erik strides up and knocks on the front door.

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Chapter 5 - A New Home (s. 10)
5.1 Fond Farewells

As the party searches for a suitable ambush spot, Fargrim begins an incessant stream of grumbling. He eventually brings the party to a halt and declares that he was a fool to ever agree to head south and that he must pursue the ancient dwarven relic, the Hammer of Tharmak, and try to reunite the dwarven clans of Arnathon. In fact, he can’t waste another minute traipsing through these mountains playing hide-and-seek with orcs and goblins. He must strike out to the northeast immediately to seek out the Hammer. The party is slightly taken aback at Fargrim’s announcement, but they must admit they aren’t too surprised. The loss of their home and everything they knew hit the party hard, and affected them each in their own way. The gruff dwarven warlord has decided to find himself a new home amongst the dwarves by forging a legacy of his own with the clans of Arnathon.

Charm, who always had a strong connection with Fargrim that they both tried to deny, speakes up to say she will go with the dwarf, but she must help the party defeat the tribe of goblinoids hunting her friends from Verind’s Edge first. Fargrim insists that goblins and orcs fight like babies and that the party will have no trouble handling them without him. Times-a-wastin’ and he must get busy reuniting the dwarven clans of Arnathon. He utters a gruff goodbye and a “thanks for the killin’”, then hikes off to the northeast. Charm promises to catch up to him and Fargrim shrugs without turning around. Charm chuckles, confident she’ll be able to catch up to the dwarf in no time with his stubby legs.

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Chapter 4 - The Terrible Wrath of the Arinfax Colossus (s. 9)
4.3 In which the party is set adrift into the great, wide world

The party heads up to the next level of the watchtower and is relieved to see windows on this floor. Even better, the windows seem to be fairly high off of the ground, giving the party hope that they may be near the top of the tower. This floor consists of a large circular room. Two strange arcane symbols are inscribed in the floor on either side of the room, and a series of columns lines the back of the room. Invicto draws on his arcane training to vaguely identify the inscribed runes as some type of summoning circles.

Defeat is in the Eye of the Beholder

The party advances cautiously into the room, ready for the next trap or guardian to spring on them. Shortly after filing through the door, they are not disappointed. Two huge creatures magically appear on the far side of the room, in front of the row of columns – floating heads, each with one large central eye, a gaping maw of sharpened teeth, and several additional eyes on the ends of a number of wriggling eye stalks protruding from the heads. The party immediately recognizes these twisted creatures as beholders, a legendary monster that has spelled the end of many a hero. Fortunately, Erik remembers from his arcane studies that these particular beholders are beholder gauths, the weakest breed of the strange eye creatures. But the weakest of the breed still makes for a formidable opponent.

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Chapter 4 - The Terrible Wrath of the Arinfax Colossus (s. 8)
4.2 The Watchtower

The wagon holding the party is rolled into the Dead Hand Bandits’ hideout, and comes to a rest in the main cave entrance. The bandits escorting the party greet their comrades heartily and they stop to share a drink. Another group of bandits has apparently just returned from a sortie, and Invicto picks up some interesting bits of conversation:

“Drink well tonight boys! We caught a supply shipment heading out of Huntington to Verind’s Edge, and made quick work of it.”

“Uthrin still holding to his offer?”

“Aye, he’s still paying good gold for supply shipments to Verind’s Edge. They’ll be a little hungrier in Verind’s Edge, but it’s more coin for us!”

Invicto makes note of the latest despicable act of Sir Uthrin’s. After the bandits finish their drink, they escort the party deeper into the cave complex. After winding through numerous tunnels and passageways, the party emerges into what appears to be a huge underground amphitheatre. An open arena is surrounded on all sides by rows of stone benches extending upwards. At one end rests a huge stone throne. The entire structure seems very ancient, though it appears to have been put to recent use, as the party notices some discarded mugs scattered throughout the seating areas.

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Chapter 4 - The Terrible Wrath of the Arinfax Colossus (s. 7)
4.1 Captured!

The party emerges from the shores of the lake holding the city of Calipha and searches for their horses. Lock thanks the party profusely for helping him escape the Feywild prison. Erik asks Lock if he knows anything about the pregnant women being escorted into the ‘Nursery’ building in Calipha. Lock somberly relates that, in his time in the city, he saw many pregnant women taken away before giving birth. They returned a month or two later, childless, and had no memory of being pregnant. Lock has pieced together that the spirit powering the city requires life energy to survive. He believes any children born in the city are taken to the spirit to be consumed. The mothers are then held for a time until their memories are fully erased. The party shutters at this practice and are thankful they were able to escape the city of Calipha.

Searching through the forest, the party finds the bodies of their horses where they had left them, but they appear to have been dead for a very long time. Rather than fresh corpses, the party only finds skeletons half-buried in the underbrush of the forest. Fargrim confirms again his suspicions of the Feywild, grumbling that hundreds of years have likely passed while the party was in the city.

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