The Boundary Lands

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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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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