Monday, May 25, 2015

The Mages Four and one More

“Well met Balder” Smendric smiled as he took the dwarf’s hand. More than twice the size of his it was dry and calloused, a warrior’s hand still possessing great strength despite the dwarfs advanced age. “It’s always a pleasure to meet a native of Toril. I would be interested in hearing your opinions on the state of the realms I don’t have the opportunity to make it back as often as I would like. I am glad you agreed to attend. I think you may be able to share a unique perspective on this evening’s discussion.”

Balder shook the hand of his overly excited host with regard. Shar had only briefed him on the wizards he was to palaver with this evening. However he had purposely forgone specific details as to avoid coloring any first impressions. He now stood eye to eye with what could only be described as a human child. Standing only a few inches taller than Balder he couldn’t have seen twenty winters. He briefly wondered if this was an attempt at humor from the drow, but quickly dismissed the idea as the wizard continued speaking.

“This is a just a dinner party and a light hearted discussion among friends”. Smendric smiled as he nodded to the large dwarven war axe strapped to Balders back. “You won’t need that and you certainly don’t need to stay fully armored”.

“I am not fully armored” Balder said without hesitation. “I wore half plate, it allows for greater mobility and comfort”.

The smile slowly faded from Smendrics lips as he realized the dwarf was not joking. “Well as long as you are comfortable master dwarf. Shar will introduce you to the other guest”. As Smendric moved past the drow he whispered “get him a drink quick”.

“Excuse me gentlemen sorry to interrupt my name is Sera”.

“I didn’t expect you until tomorrow Smendric grinned as he moved to Sera’s side. Everyone meet my wife Sera and soon to be first born.

Jerit McCaugh chuckled at the thought of the Traveler putting down roots.

Shar and Myrddin Og exchanged glances, while neither of their facial expressions seemed to change they both knew what each other was thinking.

“No this is for real guys, in fact that’s one reason I called you all here. I am officially retiring from the road. I plan on spending the rest of my days compiling all my memoirs and building a strong family base.

Sera interjected, “Now Smen they did not come all this way to listen to you preach your new found family values. Unfortunately I can’t stay, but I won’t make you guys suffer through my husband’s cooking. Uttering a phrase the large oaken table was covered with a heroic feast. The unseen servants will take care of all you menial dinning needs, as well as all the clean up.

Myrddin failed to hear the remainder of Sera’s farewell. Her incantation had triggered a forgotten memory deep within the ancient elf. Though he couldn’t recall the specifics he was certain it was important. As he focused on Sera he was unable to glean any information beyond what she was willing to give. Her body language, speech inflection, nor facial expressions hinted at anything other than a gracious host. He was unsure if she was a master of deception or if his centuries spent removed from society had caused him to lose his edge. Either way her incantation was beyond that of a normal hero’s feast. He set down the wine, no reason to handicap himself should there be need for action.

Shar bowed deeply to the lady Sera as she exited the small cottage. Turning to the large round table he glossed over the magnificent feast to focus on the tables new center piece. A magnificent hour glass, held in place by a trio of dragon heads on each end. While the drow did not sense the presence of evil in the artifact it radiated extremely powerful Transmutation magic. He stood unblinking, fixated on the piece for what felt like hours trying to identify some clue as to the crafter or realm of origin but could find none. “Interesting piece” Jerit said breaking Shar’s focus. “Seems out of place considering Smendric’s history with dragons”.

“Agreed” Shar said as his fingers traced the detail on one of the dragon heads. “Though he always had a penchant for style.


After dinner Smendric stood to address the group. “Friends as you all know I have traveled vast distances in search of knowledge. I can tell you that in all my travels I haven’t come across a more accomplished group than those gathered here this evening. I would like to purpose making this meeting an annual event. Once a year we gather to pool our resources and perhaps solve problems that cannot be solved by others. I believe our group could have a lot to offer all our worlds if we decided to offer it. You have all put extreme efforts into your own research and objectives. And while everyone has secrets and differing agendas the thought of spending centuries in isolation seems wasteful. I thought tonight we would start with a simple discussion centered on the concept of destiny.  The question: which had the greater impact on the man you are today your heritage or experience? Balder since you are the guest of honor you can go first”.

Balder stood and met the gaze of every wizard in attendance. “I was born to be a champion of The Father of Battle. Clangeddin chose me; while my experiences certainly played their part my heritage was the basis for who I am today”.

The half-elf nobleman stood next. “The McCaughs have been pact mages for generations. That alone has greatly impacted my studies from youth. My family has always strived to become the ultimate source of magical knowledge in all the isles. A mantel I have worn over the last few hundred years. I would say my heritage has had the greater impact on who I have become”.

Shar arose after taking a moment to contemplate his answer. “Do I believe I was destined to become what I am today? I believe each one of us has the potential to be great but to admit I was fated to become the mythic spellcaster I am, then I would be no better than a puppet on a string or an actor on a stage. We each change with experience trying to become the best of who we are using the skills we were all given; the difference between good and evil is that those of us who are moral and walk in the light unselfishly defend the powerless, spread goodness, and empower the weak while evil only serves itself and forces its will on others.

Myrddin looked to the drow “ Well I am in favor of walking in the light. I also believe the choices we make are what define us. Had I been faced with different choices, I most certainly would not be here today.

“Wait what”? Smendric interrupted. “If you were faced with different choices, what do you mean”?

“Yes” Myrddin nodded in agreement. “Different choices would lead to different temptations. That could radically alter the chances of survival. There is the very real possibility that if we had made other choices not only would we not become who we are we may not have survived at all.

Smendric smiled “so based on what your saying if I were to go back in time and remove baby Og, Shar, or any of us from his home and delivered him to a village on a remote island”.

Myrddin immediately tried to calculate the havoc such action would cause. “That would have a catastrophic affect on multiple worlds”!

“Relax” Smendric said with a chuckle” this is all hypothetical you know academic”.

Jerit leaned in and whispered to Shar “the hourglass”. The Monitor of Magic gazed upon the glass its sand frozen mid air as if time itself was holding its breath.

Smendric began to circle the table as he continued. “I have to say with the greatest respect I disagree with your opinion on choices. I believe in destiny, I believe we were predetermined for greatness. While our choices may affect minor details of our existence, from birth we were destined to become what we are today.

“And what is that “the Og asked.

“Legend” Smendric said with a smile.      

Sunday, May 24, 2015

(Murder In Amphail) The Old Historian

“I am getting really tired of visiting murder scenes.” Balder said over his lunch of beef stew in the Stag-Horned Flagon, it was his fifth serving of the meal. Rugar had agreed to put up Balder, Hilmar, and Shar while they were helping with the investigation; Balder was able to negotiate free meals as well. Hilmar, on the other hand did not display an appetite and as for Shar, he was too engrossed in drawing out a map.

Earlier this afternoon Lieutenant Callam had led the companions to another gruesome murder performed last night in accordance with the previous killings. Once again Balder could sense the evil permeating from the blood that soaked the ground. However this victim rang familiar to the brothers Loab and Garl Eagleshield, it was a cousin named Marika who had left behind a small child.

“We haven’t made any progress at all; we need to anticipate where the killer will strike next.” Balder said presently wiping his bowl with a biscuit. The pall of evil was clearly agitating the warpriest who desired action; empathy was not his expertise.

While at the murder scene Marika’s son Lyn was seen fleeing when he was noticed because despite Shar’s attempt at disguise the boy seemed to have seen through it. The boy had blood across his chest that caused Balder to react by giving chase to the boy. Retreating under rafters his home, it was Balder of course who was small enough to coax Lyn out but when Balder examined the child for injuries there was none. Instead painted in his mother’s blood across the child’s bare chest was the words ‘help me’.

Back in the Stag-Horned Flagon, Balder noticed how Shar had drawn a seven pointed star over a rubbing of the Amphail map on the Shalarn monument. It was at that moment Lieutenant Callam decided to walk in to the Flagon and up to join the trio. The guard leaned over and oddly enough seemed to become interested in Shar’s drawing.

“Do you know what this is?" Callam asks the table, to which Balder shakes his head slowly. "Neither do I, but I know someone who might."

Amphail was teeming with life during the day, however the unspoken grief shared by everyone in the community was apparent in the way people took care to ease everyone’s distress. This was odd to each of the companions, but in different ways. Hilmar was used to the instincts of grief shared in the animal kingdom, a trait seldom shared in civilized populaces; Balder was comforted and was reminded of Dwarven shared love of hearth and home, but with Shar it was a phenomena  shared by all surface communities.

Through all this Callam leads the three to the door of an ancient home of Loremaster Syle in the heart of the town. A sign hung over the doorway, depicting an open book. Just as Callam was about to raise the knocker an elf with eyes that seem older than the sea stands at the threshold looking at each in tum but stops when he notices Shar. "Yes," he says quietly, unmoved by the appearance of a drow, "how can I help you?"

Syle was dressed in long brown robes and moved slowly but deliberately. It is said he is proud of his
Syle Loremaster and Historian 
legacy as the keeper of Amphail’s history, and seemed eager to show off some of his greatest works and finds.

“I’m sure you have heard about the curfew,” Callam began but stopped when he saw the elf shake his head which caused Balder to shake is own in frustration.

“Loremaster Syle,” Shar began wanting to bring this investigation to a halt before anyone else was hurt. “there have been seven murders in Amphail as of late.”

Taking out his rubbing of the town’s features Shar showed the elven loremaster the locations of the murders and how linking these sites seemed to create a symbol. Taking the parchment Syle retreated to a room where its walls were filled from ceiling to floor with shelves of books.                                                                                                                                  
The loremaster's research quickly proves enlightening. Pulling an ancient tome from a high shelf, the elf begins shooting out facts about the symbol from its pages. “Apparently,” Syle began in a tone of victory, “the seven-pointed star is a symbol of Umeil, the demon of waste and bile. It appears that a few hundred years ago, Umeil was summoned by an ambitious necromancer who sought to bind the demon to do his bidding. The demon fought the binding, absorbed the flesh of the necromancer, and made the usurper's body his own.”

Each of the individuals regarded each other in disbelief, but it was Balder Ironshield who knew was beginning to understand the evil at work here.  

“At the time,” Loremaster Syle continued enthusiastically, “the city was under the protection of six elven knights who had been cast out by their kin. The knights, in exchange for a place to live, had offered to protect Amphail from harm so when the demon arose, a band of citizens and farmers led by the knights sought to slay the abomination.”

“The common folk would not have magical weapons, how did they defeat Umeil?” Hilmar asked the ancient elf.

“Those armed with only common weapons were dispatched quickly by the demon, but the knights who carried what’s referred to in the text as Luminous Blades were able to battle and eventually defeat the demon.” Syle answered as he continued to read between three volumes of historical text.

“During the battle, four of the six knights were killed. The fifth, who was also the eldest, was mortally wounded. The sixth, as well as the youngest, was able to score the killing blow, banishing it from the Realms.” Syle quickly grabbing another book continued his monologue.  “That remaining knight it says here in the texts, sealed the beast away with the creature's own symbol, the seven-pointed star.”
Luminous Blade

“Has the lineage died away?” asked Balder with a tone of bitterness.

“Is there any mention on how the necromancer was able to summon Umeil in the first place?” Shar asked hopefully.

“The youngest lived on, protecting the city until his death. He took a human bride who gave birth to a half-elf child.” The loremaster said between pages of books, “the descendant of that child, yes Highmore, it appears to these records he still resides in Amphail.” Syle said pointing out his source.

“And to answer your question Shar, eight living sacrifices had to be made to raise the demon, each performed in order as the moon sailed overhead. The eighth had to occur where the first took place to complete the cycle of summoning. After that, the text then gives an explanation of how to banish the demon. Once the demon is stricken down, the seven-pointed star must to be carved into the demon's flesh with a blessed silver blade. Once that is completed, the demon needs to be set ablaze, banishing it for at least another five centuries.” Syle said with the tone of finality.

“I know where Highmore's tower is,” Callam said.

“Great,” said the dwarven warpriest as he hefted his axe, “let us see what he knows.” 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

05/20/15 Virtues Session 3: Dungeoneering 101

The five companions walked deeper into the dwarven stone mines. Along the walls at irregular intervals lanterns hung that illuminated the worked tunnel. The mines had a strange odor that reminded Dolgrin of oil, metal and a strange taste of decay. Coming upon a three way intersection the five friends considered their course while continuing their conversation from earlier.

I don’t understand how are you going to cauterize a wound if you do not possess a torch?” Kyras asked the Syrendross. “with your crowbar?” The druid’s tone was one of incredulity but his eyes betrayed his  playfulness.

But Syrendross did not immediately respond, the drow was thinking back to his sense of Deja -vu when he first stepped into the mines. He felt a strange comfort here feeling the walls, the firm stone under his feet, and the sardonic words of his friends.

If I need a torch Kyras I’ll use one of Dramon’s.” Syrendross said with a grin as if the answer was obvious.

Torwar Darild 
Our session begins on the way to the mines, where we pass a wagon with two injured survivors of the dangers now lurking in the dwarven stone mines. Working our way down the bowl of the mines we see exotic mining equipment as well as a dozens of dwarves and humanoids toiling the marble from the rich stone.

Just as the shadow of dusk fell upon the mine we come to the foreman’s hut, where we encounter another injured individual bandaged and in better shape than the two who were carted away.

Inside the foreman’s small hut we find maps and notes and other papers necessary for Torwor Darild to oversee the mines. After inquiring about the help wanted in exchange for indulgences at the church of Zeus, Torwor explains that these giant ants are making the mines unstable causing cave-ins that have cut off individuals and have made working hazardous. He suspects they have a nest nearby and have been encountered in groups of one to two. Two groups have gone in ahead of us: one group have brought proof (antenna) while the other group had met with disaster.

After formalities we descend further into the mines fighting giant ants as well as soldier ants of unusual size. Along the way Syrendross had a sharp memory- standing in a chamber with other drow loading up giant ants as beasts of burden because the house was under attack, drow were fleeing and in the vision Syrendross was referred to as Shar.

During our brief adventure below we were able to rescue the trapped individuals and retrieved several drow items that were secured to the giant ants with light-proof silk webbing. We divided the spoils except two things that were retrieved from what was likely a dire rat- Ratatouille got away however. Secured on the rat-mount were fine items a rider would have as well as papers from a drow house stating their intent to occupy one of the abandoned mines.  The second was a ring that could prove to be most helpful in uncovering our past.

Seeing now that Torwor Darild has more to worry about than a nest of giant ants we travel back to the foreman’s hut to report our findings about the coming drow. He rewards us five hundred gold for the bad news, the injured survivors and honors his debt for our petition to the church of Zeus. We also receive our second character level. 

We begin next session taking the injured survivors with us to the church of Zeus. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ritual Spellbooks

Torphine Athraky will ask Rydin Meirdarel to look at a unique book when the five of you arrive at the Palerium.  It will take two days of at least eight hours study each day to fully decipher the tome which will reveal this is a ritual book of the ancients, written under the old ways of magic.  Rydin’s magical helm will allow a fully functional translation of its contents. 

Arch Mage Endroth Rynmund

Coincidentally, Endroth Rynmund is speaking on specific ancient tomes that he believes were lost in the destruction of the Arch, The Seven Rituals of Sin. His current class teaches graduate level students on several types of magic the ancients practiced and theories regarding their loss.

The leather wrapping of this book is of an indeterminate type, and gives off a faint and unpleasant scent, as of charred meat. The writing inside is in a jagged hand, and many notes on the ash-smudged pages indicate its previous owner sought ever more damaging magic. A glittering rune in the cover’s center is shaped vaguely like a lightning bolt.
Protection Average lock (DC 25)
Oppositional schools Divination, transmutation  Value 900 gp with preparation ritual
Spells A “S” indicates a spell from the caster’s specialty school, whereas a “OP” ndicates a spell from the spellbook creator’s opposition school.
3rd—fireball S, lightning bolt S
2nd—acid arrow, darkness S, ghoul touch, gust of wind S
1st—burning hands S, color spray, corrosive touch S [APG], hydraulic push S [APG], hypnotism, magic missile S, ray of enfeeblement, shocking grasp S

Preparation Ritual
Harmful Surge (Su) You can maximize a spell, but doing so damages you. Spend this boon effect as a free action when you cast a wizard evocation spell. When you do, you can treat that spell as if it were cast with the Maximize Spell metamagic feat, but you take 1d4 points of damage × the level of the spell that you are maximizing. The damage you take cannot be reduced in any way.

Each ritual spellbook is a unique reflection of the personality and capabilities of its creator. Many of these tomes contain more than just spells, such as notes on the caster’s other research, personal diaries, naturalist sketches, or even political treatises. Most contain preparation rituals, each of which grants a boon—or sometimes a hindrance—to spellcasters who use the book to prepare their spells.

Ritual spellbooks and ritual formula books list a description of the book, information on the caster’s specialty school and opposition schools (if any), the book’s spells, and a preparation ritual. Some books also contain precautions against prying eyes.

A standard spellbook includes all cantrips from the Core Rulebook except those in the wizard’s oppositional schools. Books containing cantrips from additional sources are noted in the content description.

Using Preparation Rituals

When a spellcaster who prepares spells uses a ritual spellbook, as long as he prepares at least three spells (not including cantrips) from the spellbooks, he gains a temporary boon granted by the ritual. The boon lasts until its effect is spent (as specified by the boon description) or the spellcaster prepares spells again (at which time it can be reapplied by preparing at least three spells from the book). A spellcaster can only take the effect of one preparation ritual when she prepares spells, no matter how many ritual spellbooks she uses to prepare spells. (Source Ultimate Magic)

Monday, May 18, 2015

The City of Tingis

“People don’t visit Tingis but they do escape sometimes”  Unofficial City Slogan

Tingis is actually the fourth iteration of the city since the arch fell, with each of the three previous versions now sitting in ruins, further and further west from Tingis’ current location.  The ruins are now inhabited by outlaw kings and monsters, some even claim dragons.

Corruption +3; Crime +8; Economy +8; Law –6; Lore +6; Society +1 Danger +15
Qualities: notorious, racially intolerant (halflings, elves & humans), Slavers, Bountiful food

Tingis Government secret syndicate

Population 20,000 (6,000 humans; 1,500 halflings; 1,000 half-orcs; 750 dwarves; 750 gnome, 10,000 Other)    Notable NPCs
King Andreus 

Andreus 1/2 Giant King of Tingis                              
Belsipin Arkoth Barakas

Belsipin Arkoth Barakas male half-orc fighter /rogue: Occasionally known to show mercy to the mentally handicapped.
Headmistress Zalamandra Kalais female drow wizard Tower of Necromancy and Shadows
Zalamandra Kalais

The Drunken Demon: Duegar Bard

The Purple Sails, group of pirates that trace their heritage to the original Purple Pirate

Verrtia  Tiefling Female Priestess of Angazhan Demon lord of Apes, Jungles, and Brutal Tyrants

Chaurn Echym

Chaurn Echym Human Male Egyptian Slaver Priest unknown deity                               

Sulishia Female DragonKin Slaver Sorcerer Thief

Vercidra Hobgoblin Male Ranger, known to have a magical dancing blade

Saturday, May 16, 2015

An Investigation of Youth

Rhios Ranoughy
The adventurers left the gazebo, their earnestness, youth and nativity the exact traits that Rhios was looking for.   The five adventurers consisted of a strange racial brew, a drow travelling with an elf, a dwarf, a half-elf, and human.  They carried themselves without shame offering no explanation of their makeup or their trust of the deep earth humanoid.  Could there be such a thing as a dark elf that didn’t worship extra planar evil?  None of them appeared to be very experienced but there was something about them that piqued Rhios’ interest.  The Ranoughy nobleman decided that the strange group deserved investigation and called for his gnome manservant Rioldey.


(Murder In Amphail) Escaped Thieves

Where is everyone? Scratch thought to himself looking out at Amphail’s night streets; his tall gangly figure was like a fold of shadow against a backdrop of darkness. He was standing just inside the doorframe of the stables belonging to the Stag-Horned Flagon waiting for a mark to materialize. Scratch could hear the big man Jallone breathing heavily somewhere in the stables calmly sharpening Icebreaker. Scratch did not know what was more unsettling, Jallone’s penchant for rage or his silent introspection.

Then, like a sudden unexpected waft of manure Magilla returned to the dark and quiet stables, he was stout and broad but moved with a fluidity unmatched by many other rogues half his weight. While scratch was considered an expert with knives, the rotund Magilla could disarm foes and then would alter his tactics to fisticuffs. Jallone thought it was a thing of beauty to watch.

“Well, there seems to be a curfew on Amphail, I cannot find anyone on the streets,” Magilla said evenly. “It seems there is someone out there with a taste for blood, murders I hear. I did by the way see that the city guard have stepped up patrols by two more groups of three.” Magilla finished looking at Jallone for their next move.

Jallone was not a killer, his philosophy was that you can rob and burglarize the living over and over, but the dead only once. Jallone and company came to Amphail yesterday to escape Waterdeep and to help fund his further travels have been looking for just the right mark.

“You don’t make a run of it in a small city,” Jallone was telling his compatriots, “you find one mark and make it count then you get the hell out of town.”

Jallone stopped sharpening his sword, slammed in into its sheath and stood up from the shadows; his face was a mask of frustration. The three Shadow Theives came to Amphail because some Waterdeep nobles were known to reside in Amphail, but word of his escape may not have reached the local Lord. They had maybe tomorrow before Jallone had to worry about being exposed, dawn was a few hours away, and they had to do something quickly. 

Just as the weight of the silence was too much to bear for Scratch, a man strode out from near the Old Dead Rowan; the man appeared deep in his cups the way he was casting about singing to himself. Jallone identified his destination as Mother Gothel’s, they had to move quickly.

As the companions approached an intersection both Shar and Hilmar stopped causing Balder to stub his foot; Shar because of his acute hearing and Hillmar because of his urban survival instincts. Balder however, “By the gods, warn a dwarf?!...”

But with a lithe ebony hand over his bearded gob Balder was shown four men in the street up ahead. The one in the center was highborn and obviously intoxicated. The others, to Balder’s fierce eyes, appear to be three young toughs preying upon the inebriated noble. One of the thugs was tall and frail appearing, the second was short and fat, and the third was a balance between the two but built like an ox. Balder knew that one and Icebreaker on sight.

Jallone ordered Scratch and Magilla to dawn their masks and to find positions along this man’s path before coming in sight of Mother Gothel’s Inn while Jallone would stalk the mark close behind. As a cloud moved in front of the moon, Scratch and Magilla tumbled from behind a nearby well flanking the noble cutting off his escape. Having the element of surprise the two thugs easily subdued the man despite his struggles. But those struggles were short lived as the masked Jallone brought Icebreaker’s tip to the noble’s throat, replacing his slurred words of protest with panicked tears.

“All we want is your gold and jewels, and know that your life is in your hands.” Cryptic words from Jallone, but he knew his victims would understand the implication that if they gave up their gold they would live another day.

But as the noble was reaching for his belt pouches seven whirling stars of force appeared around the group and suddenly attack the tall and gangly Scratch; the sudden swarm of shuirkens distracted the thug causing him to lose hold on the noble.

Likewise a second weapon appeared, this time over Magilla, an axe of force indistinguishable from the Axe of the Champion. It was enough for the noble, to fully escape unharmed because as Icebreaker came down on the noble a long gleaming sword suddenly appeared to block Jallone’s attack. Jallone looked to see a man wielding a double-sword, spinning it about challenging the large masked rogue.

Scratch recovering quickly, produced knives in each hand to defend against the spiritual shuirkens; however the last thing Scratch remembers was a dark figure with silver hair had entered his fading vision. Magilla dodge the axe right into a brutal shoulder block from Balder Ironshield dropping the fat thief hard onto the ground knocking him out cold.

Jallone could not contain his rage as he looked around and saw he was surrounded, and with other guards on the way. He dropped his sword in a gesture of surrender.

As Hilmar kicked the sword out of reach, the ranger was overcome with nausea and a painful voice in his head: "You and your friends must stop. Let the cycle complete itself!"

It was just the distraction Jallone hoped for. He reached for his sword only to find a dwarven boot securely holding the blade down. “Going somewhere are ye?”

The next day Shar, Balder, and Hilmar were having what was their first meal of the day, onion and mushrooms, scrambled eggs with flatbread, and grape juice. The Stag-Horned Flagon was busy today so Shar was disguised as a priest of Mystra, a human as to not attract unwanted attention.

“So what do you want to do with the bounty on Jallone?” Balder asked his companions.

“We give it to charity.”

“It will be even more if we deliver the thugs back to Waterdeep…” Balder was just finishing when the word charity rang in his mind.

“We give it to the people who have suffered losses here in Amphail, the Ilzimmer children for one.” Shar said resolutely. And in Balder’s heart the dwarf knew it was the right call as he remembered the evil he sensed the night before.

“Last night I was mentally attacked.” Hilmar said without preamble. “Contacted would be more accurate, but it was so unsettling…”

“What? Why did you not say something?” Shar asked unbelieving while Balder glared intently at the ranger trying to make sense of this revelation.

“I could not make sense of it until now; we need to stop these ritualistic murders before…”

“Before what?” Balder asked.

“Before the cycle completes itself.” Hilmar said in a perfect imitation of the voice he heard in his mind.

But before any further questions could be asked Lieutenant Callam pushes his way into the crowded Stag-Horned Flagon not seemingly in the mood to argue about manners. “It has happened again my friends, last night on the other side of Amphail, come with me."