8. Bloodied on the Tracks

The party made haste to try and catch the goblins and caught up with them in a decrepit train-yard. Ru’shaak and his men had made two trains ready for travel and were preparing to depart west for the Mournland when the party intervened. A short parley quickly dissolved into a brutal melee between the two evenly-matched groups. Despite the interference, Ru’shaak activated one of the trains and commanded his troops to board and withdraw, warning the party that to follow would mean their deaths. After a brief rest and a chance to heal their wounds, the party managed to gain control of the second train and boarded it in an attempt to catch the Bladebearers before they reached their goal.

7. Planes, Trains and Elemental Conveyances

As the sky darkened and a torrential rain began to fall, shouts rang out around the Gatherhold that the refuge was under attack. Zombified half-giants, the remnant of Gareth’s Goliaths, streamed in to attack the party and bystanders alike. Above the fray, riding a giant undead bat, the Necrorider oversaw the chaos.

The party, with the help of dwarven Rolf Deepsmiter and his traveling companion Pali, eventually triumphed over the undead and drove the Necrorider away. By interrogating a grateful Pelucidus, the party learned that the goblins had used the commotion as a cover for their escape and that they planned to use the nearby decommissioned lightning rail station to find a quick path into the Mourning.

6. Just Critic

The reunited party arrived at the Gatherhold to find it abuzz with activity, as the halflings of House Ghallanda made preparations for a festival in the town square. The chief Steward, Pelucidus d’Ghallandar, welcomed them and introduced them to Master Door, a warforged actor and head of The Door Men, a troupe of traveling gnomish performers. The party also met Kratta, the kolboldian publisher of the Gatherhold Gazetteer and affirmed cultural enemy of Master Door.

The party attended the festival that night only to discover that the company of goblins that Stielo warned them about where also staying at the Gatherhold, posing as “merchants”. Their leader introduced himself as Grand Marshal Ru’shaak and his force consisted of goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears.

Pelucidus announced that there would be a mock combat performance to celebrate the Remembrance, a commemoration of the ancient Dhakkani goblin empire repelling an invasion from the Plane of Madness, but all was not well. Gareth’s Goliaths, another traveling band of performers, had not arrived to take their place opposite the Door Men. Master Door suggested that the party take the goliaths’ place and that the goblins join the ceremony as well. Before the game began, Kratta approached the players and told them that if they sabotaged the event and disgraced Door, he could provide them with travel documents to Karrnath.

Both sets of contestants took the field and the mock combat resolved into a symbolic ball game, where the party, changed by illusionary magic into the twisted denizens of Xoriat, faced off against the gobilns, who were playing the role of their ancient ancestors.

Eventually, the party was victorious and Ru’shaak and his goblins left the field in disgust. Door congratulated the party on their victory and it was revealed that he possessed a severed warforged finger similar to the one they found previously. When pressed, Door revealed that the finger belonged to Song, Door’s lover and that they had exchanged fingers as a sign of commitment.

The party began to hatch schemes on how to gather intelligence on the goblins when the sky began to grow strangely dark and a familiar and chilling moan could be heard distantly on the wind.

5. Eat Desert First

The bats and their ghastly leader (whom Grayvus dubbed “the Necrorider”) were defeated, but the damage sustained by the ship was too great, forcing a crash-landing in the canyons below. The party was chiefly unscathed as was Blackleaf, but Captain Demurrage was found dead in his cabin under mysterious circumstances. Before the party could regain their bearings, Stielo announced that he was leaving and that Stazo was coming with him, producing Stazo’s wife’s apron to punctuate the threat. Powerless to resist, Stazo joined Stielo and the Halfling as they set out east across the Talenta Plains. Spurred on by menacing (and familiar) groans coming from the recesses of the canyon, the party quickly set out after Stazo (accompanied by Blackleaf), but lost the trail soon after leaving the canyon.

With few options before them, they decided to continue on their journey north, making for the hopeful safety of Fort Griffonclaw. But, upon arriving there, they found the fort overrun with vicious lightning-spewing lizards and were forced to flee. Short on supplies and facing exhaustion, the party made camp for the night but was quickly attacked by a band of djinn, lead by a shadowy figure who possessed the appearance and skills of Nymm. The outlook of the battle seemed grim until the party was joined by a female ranger, who added her two longswords to the party’s strength. After driving off the invaders, she introduced herself as Belonna and explained that she had been monitoring undead activity in Talenta when she discovered the party’s tracks. She warned that attacks from undead and creatures from the Mournland were on the rise and explained that she was tasked to study their patterns and eliminate threats where she found them. As she mounted her steed Bramble and prepared to depart, Nymm asked Calzara if he would release him from the terms of his employment and mounted his own horse to follow Belonna into the night.

4. 'There's Always Room For...'

The party defeated the warforged pirates and regained control of the ship, but not without sustaining damage and veering off-course. Upon closer inspection, the warforged appeared to be signifacntly decrepit and were possessed of a collection of seemingly random items. One of the dead warforged wore around his neck a leather thong with a gold-metalled finger hanging from it.

Captain Demurrage was severely wounded in the melee and unable to take control of the ship. Without his skill or dragonmark, the party faced the prospect of being adrift in the skies above Valenar. But, fate intervened in the form of Stielo, who appeared shortly after the battle ended. He explained that he and his ever-present halfling companion had booked passage on the Scorpion several days earlier. Being possessed of a Mark of Passage, Stielo was able to pilot the ship and the journey resumed its course.

The party struggled to gain their bearings in the severe storms that were beginning to form along the border between Valenar and the Mourning. Stielo indicated the presence and passage of living spells: mobile discrete agglutinations of weaponized magic that had shown signs of sentience in the days after the Mourning. The sharp eyes of the halfling picked out a flock of distant shapes approaching from the shadows of the Mournland. Giant mutant bats swarmed the Scorpion and Stielo attempted to elude them by flying into a narrow canyon while Stazo and Calzara manned the ship’s spell cannons in an attempt to bring the pursuers down. A combination of skilled flying and accurate shots had almost freed the Scorpion from its attackers when a high-risk maneuver sent the ship careening into the canyon wall and the crew was set upon by giant bats as living spells swept the deck.

3. Resigned to Freight

The party drove off the attacking gnomes, but learned nothing of their intentions. Responding to the disturbance, Aereni Deathguards arrested the party, bringing them to the Hall of Justice where they were thrown into a overpacked cell, reuniting them with Jak. The minotaur (who was familiar with the ins-and-outs of the criminal justice system) doubted that they’d see release soon. However, Cortege, the elven councilor the party saved in the fight with the Emerald Claw, arranged their escape (with the help of Traek Cenotaph, Calzara’s bad egg cousin) and they were soon on their way out of town and back to Calzara’s home for a rendezvous with an airship headed for the mainland of Khorvaire.

Calzara’s father, reluctant to see his daughter go, impressed on Stazo (and by extension, the party) to defend her and help her complete her quest to find the reasons for her murder. Accompanied by Traek, the party boarded the Jade Scorpion, an unregistered airship piloted by smuggler Freid Demurrage and his engineer, Blackleaf. The journey began well, with the ship reaching the mainland uneventfully, but when the party neared the border between the deserts of Valenar and the mountains of the former Cyre, they were attacked by missile-like craft launched from somewhere below. The missiles breached the hull of the Scorpion and out of them poured a band of warforged bent on pillaging the ship. The party engaged the living constructs on the engineering deck of the ship, as the malfunctioning fire elemental that powered the vessel threatened to consume both enemy and ally together.

2. Horns and a Dilemma!

The undead were defeated, but the trouble had just begun. The party was detained at the site of the battle and ordered to submit to an investigation led by Jakalwe Terious, a minotaur inquisitive with eccentric habits and chemical dependencies. The investigation revealed that the necromancer leading the undead had been horribly mutilated to hide his identity, but Jak was able to conject that he was a member of the Order of the Emerald Claw, a deposed Karrnathian paramilitary and religious sect. The necromancer was carrying a vicious ceremonial dagger that would be ideal for removing someone’s heart…the way Calzara’s had been, weeks earlier.

Returning to Shae Mordai, the party found the normally sedate streets of the Aereni capital choked with dissident Aereni elves, protesting the actions and philosophy of the Undying Court. En route to their temporary lodgings at the Tombstone Inn, they met and took on Dimurti, an imposing druid who was more than willing to use his transformative abilities to clear a path through the protesters.

Once at the Tombstone, Calzara is taken by Belbao, Cortege’s creepier superior and replacement, to answer a summons from the Court. This time she is met only by Catafalque, the “youngest” member of the triumvirate. Catafalque apologizes for her treatment earlier and tells her that the Court fears her because of a fragment of the Draconic Prophecy that states that a “child that was taken” will be the downfall of Aerenal. He believes that the prophecy has been misinterpreted and answer can only be found by discovering who is behind her death.

Meanwhile at the Tombstone, the furtive Nivi was persuaded to meet with a Cyrian refugee who said he had news from her colleague in Zilargo, one Ceil Spyglass. But upon reaching the alley where the meeting was to take place, she was ambushed by a group of shadowy gnomes, looking to recover something from Nivi that she vociferously refused to remit.

1. Choose Unlife
Dead and about in Aerenal

It all started when Calzara died…

An elven girl is brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances and against all odds is raised as one of the Undying, the “good guy” zombie elves of the island nation of Aerenal.

Stazo Nazrud, now walking (if somewhat uncertainly) the straight-and-narrow, has arrived in Aerenal, his partner and companion Nivi Sparkartist in tow, hoping to secure a purchasing contract with Columbian Soarwood, the logging business run by Calzara’s father.

An employee at Columbian and a friend of the family, Grayvus, is a newcomer to Aerenal and may or not be a warforged, though the thick cloak and swaddling wrappings he wears constantly aren’t revealing much.

A young elf, lean and powerful and trailing the dust of the road behind him, arrives in Shae Mordai looking for whatever adventure and challenge the Spirits of the Past put in his way. His enemies and his friends (if he had any) know him as Nymm.

Five strangers meet in the Halls of the Undying Court where Petendithas, Calzara’s father is waiting for them, along with Cortege, a councilor to the Court and four representatives of the the major nations of Khorvaire. Calzara is ushered in to meet the undead elves that lead the Aereni religion. Looking for answers, Calzara is shocked when the Court describes her as an abomination and tells her it was a mistake that she was spared from death. Meanwhile, the party meets Caribe Stielo, a competitor for Columbian’s soarwood and Stazo learns that he has lost the contract to his rival. After Calzara returns, the party is invited to take part in an ancient ritual: the hunting of the island’s deadly Beasts. But before the ritual can reach fruition, the group is ambushed by a ravenous horde of the undead, led by a necromancer who may hold the answer of Calzara’s murder.


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