Of Daggers and Dreams - Season One: Sharn

Episode 12: Swordfish
Red sky at night is a sailor's delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning

In which Channara d’Medani sends a summons and you reply with a Half-elf, and proceed to encounter ancient Mariners in waterfront taverns who know all your evil backstory secrets and then load you into a stupidly fast galleon and sail off to almost certain death with you to look for a little golden ball in the mountains.

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Episode 11: Hearth and Home
In which things get a little rocky.

Brasshead goes to the university with Hanamelk in his head, looking for leads on the Orb. The party decides to follow Hardans’ map, which leads them to Malleon’s gate. There is a quippy encounter with some Ogres, and you enter the superbly grotesque Scarlet Leer (which I am immensely proud of as a set piece). They find their way to The Hall of Stone; many statues, the whole sneaking around bit, and Basilisk a ambush. Battle, followed by the petrification of Galair. Crafty immobilization, discover the library, mandatory training sequence…pet Basilisk. Great. They proceed south, accompanied by whispers, and meet Cavallah the Ogre Mage and her plans. She knows who they are, that they owe her, and so Galair swears a binding oath. The party is now working for Daask. Won’t Brasshead just be tickled pink…

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Episode 10: Back in the World, Part II
All you really need in this world is a Dragonmark and a lot of bullshit.

In which some sleuthing shows that the Changeling assassins were hanging out at the docks. The party goes there, but to no avail. Time is short, they have a flight to catch. They start walking, while the druid scouts ahead and discovers that Hanamelk is a hostage of Velan on the skydocks. There is some swashing, some buckling, and rather a lot of falling off of towers. Hanamelk dies and takes up residence in Brasshead’s mind. Velan is dispossessed. The King’s Citadel shows up, and an elaborate bluff is played in which Tabitha reveals her Dragonmark and Brasshead name-drops to get them out of trouble. Or into deeper shit…
They head back to the Inn, and make a new contact: Hardan, a House Tharashk treasure hunter looking for the orb. He gives them a map to get them started and makes them a wager. They grab some breakfast and head upstairs to sleep.

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Episode 9: Back in the World, Part I
There's a ritual for that.

In which a LOT happens. The party has killed Velan and kept his corpse. They find an inn, go shopping, buy stuff, and try to do some banking. They visit the Wayfinder’s Foundation where an obnoxious secretary fills them in on the quest for the Orb of Merrix, which sounds awfully familiar. Then it is evening. Galair heads to the skydocks to see what he can see, and falls in with a young Lyrandar ensign on shore leave. They head Downstairs for drinks and wind up at the Charred Boar where Galair learns that this airship has been chartered privately by Deneith and the crew sent home for a bit. Interesting. Brasshead is keeping watch at the inn, but feeling drowsy, which is concerning. There is a letter for him in the morning, a summons from Saidan. They return to Boromar, who is pissed that they went missing, and so has his best fence. Hmm.

The order of events here is damnably fuzzy. At some point there is a visit paid to the temple district by the Druid, The Dwarf, and Manekatari. She manages to gain information on the whereabouts of a Kalashtar enclave. There she must make a choice about the path she is going to walk: Path of Light, or forest trails. Galair has a very intimate conversation with Hanamelk, and there is much backstory revelation, just after the scholar has revealed the Orb for what it is (NOT the orb of Merrix, but perhaps a derivative implement) and warned Tabitha about the Deva. Brasshead and Oryx beat the shit out of each other in the cafeteria.

And then they leave the Gathering Light and return to The Oaken Boar. They need to talk to Velan and they call in a favour from Sharlan. They visit Vundry’s shop; the pixie has a close encounter with a blunderbuss. They go looking for Zanne, find him missing, reanimate the artificer’s body in the abandoned warehouse and bring back a Quori by mistake. There is a battle of wits, and it is revealed that this particular Quori killed Galair once upon a time. Then they go looking for Chance, but he is missing too…and then they are attacked by a bunch of Changeling assassins in a bar. Sons of bitches.

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Episode 8: Meet the Maker
Beware he who only needs one arm to kick your ass

In which the party opts to go forward instead of back, and finds themselves in the Cannith Foregehold. They open a door the probably shouldn’t have, run into the One-armed Man (Velan), a bunch of Cannith guards and a group of mages. There is a BATTLE!! Surprise. They escape, find tunnels, run into Jacquelin again…and she lets them go. Hmm. They exit through The Traveler’s shrine and find themselves back on the Wet Road, which they follow out to the Bridge… fade to black

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Episode 7: Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?
Well, um...you do.

In which the party is thrown into The Temple of All Dooms, encounters an Eidolon of the Traveler, and narrowly escape with their lives. There is a crypt, a bunch of really hardy ghouls (coughshittyrollingcough), some fancy clothes, and an Iron Cobra. Oh…and a giant fey crocodile that has been living in a pit of blood surrounded by grisly Changeling sacrifices powering corrupted Psiforged berserkers. Excellent…

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Episode 6: Travelers in the Shadows
There's a light at the end of this tunnel...

In which a dragon has been slain, and the party must go ONWARDS!! . But first, they loot the room. They find the staircase upward, to where they do not know. The party opts to follow the secret tunnel through the back of the library, which bypasses the caved in North Tunnel. Then they turn left into the sewers, which take them down and down and down and…into the goblin city. Eventually they give up on the city, try a new sewer to no avail. And then the wolf rolls in the mud. Oops . Battle with the mud monsters , and a flight up the tunnel…to find themselves back in the ass end of the Dragon’s lair with the leftovers of a Halfling explorer. Dammit. Eventually they head back into the sewers, and find their way to the wet road, The Traveler’s shrine…and have a vision. All of them. Except the Dwarf. He gets ambushed.

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Episode 5: Dire Straits
In which an oatmeal stout is offered in friendship, and repaid in blood.

Orcs become friends, and a lost library yields a large, angry, fiery foe. The party engages their first dragon, and the skirmish ends in betrayal. Also, the boar escapes…

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Interlude: Kidnapped!
Brasshead always knew they just wanted him for his body.

They are maybe a mile down the Middle Road when it happens. A dark voice accosts them from the tunnel behind, and turning they find themselves confronted. Three figures in black robes, two of them armoured, bearing the golden badges of Deneith Blademarks and with longswords drawn. The third is hooded, and it is he who commands their attention. His right arm is sleeved and hidden from view, but his left is exposed. Its metal skin gleams dully in the dimly lit tunnel. It is the arm of a warforged, gloriously crafted in brass and blued steel. It is this arm he raises toward them, an orb in his hand. There is a blast, and a sound like rushing flame. Brasshead collapses where he stands. A wave of pain ricochets through the psychic bonds shared by the party, and Manekatari screams aloud. Reeling, they find themselves on their knees as the world swims violently about them. The Blademarks have sheathed their swords and are dragging Brasshead back down the tunnel. And then there is another blast, and Tabitha can taste Khyber in the air, on the dust that fills her lungs as the roof of the tunnel comes hurtling down and the world fragments into chaos.

The road is blocked. The party pores over the rubble, calling Brasshead’s name and looking for a way through, but to no avail. There is only one way left for them to travel, and that is the way they were headed anyways. So they trudge onwards, their number lessened by a member, their hope lessened by far more.

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Episode 4: Heartbreak Bridge
A tale of love and war

The soldier’s name is Jacquelyn; the warforged Doberman is called Rusty. Aside from that, she hasn’t said much of anything. Nor, for that matter, has anyone else. The road through Ashblack is long and quiet and awkward. The only noise comes the rasp of warforged feet on the hewn stone of the cavern road and from the tunnels that branch off to left and right, echoing with the clang and bellow of industry. The air gets hotter and thicker as they venture further into the Cogs, oppressive with the burning sulfurous weight of factory, furnace, and forge. And still nobody says much of, well, anything, until the druid sidles up beside Brasshead and nudges him. “There’s, um, well I think there’s someone following us.”
Brasshead looks back. A tall, thin figure in a white cloak is striding calmly down the road behind them. Brasshead halts and the others, hearing his footsteps stop, come to a stop and turn to look. The figure is..shimmering, drifting in and out of view, never completely disappearing but not entirely there, either. Brasshead unshoulders his shotgun and stands, waiting, as the ethereal form approaches. It…he, stops about ten yards away and looks at the gun, then up at Brasshead. “I have never seen a mechanism like that before, but I assume it to be a weapon. You can put it away; there is no need for violence.”
“Khyber’s socks there isn’t. What do you want?”
“Frankly, just your company. You are traveling the same way I must go, a dangerous road indeed, and there is strength in numbers. I hoped to join your party.” The figure holds out his, palms up, a gesture of supplication. “My name is Galair. If it consoles you any, I am pretty good in a fight.”
Jacquelyn is watching the proceedings with a bemused expression on her face. The dog is scratching itself, sparks skittering across the ground. Brasshead opens his mouth to tell the pale stranger to shove off, but the Dwarf intervenes at his elbow. “Come now, my monumental metal man. Surely we can find room among us for one more. Besides, he looks like a decent lad.” He grins beerily up at Galair. “Oryx Shalehammer’s the name. We’re a strange lot, ain’t we? Ah well. Ye’ll get used to it.” With that the Dwarf turns back to the road, and starts walking. Jacquelyn takes the lead once more and whistles, and Rusty falls into step alongside her.

A mile drags by, and another. As the company approaches a small plaza leading onto a long, narrow bridge, Tabitha silently steps to the side and transforms, taking flight in the form of a raven and winging off across the chasm ahead. Her small form is lost in the underground murk, and the others look at each other and shrug. Whatever she wants to do,y’know. They enter the plaza, moving down a wide flight of stairs topped with a statue of an armed Warforged facing back towards the city, and approach the bridge. As they take their first steps out over the chasm there is a cry, and looking up see the panicked form of a raven flapping frantically back towards them. It comes to a frantically feathered halt in front of them and turns back into Tabitha, panting desperately: “Across…the bridge…monsters.”
There isn’t even time to panic. Barely has Tabitha finished her breathless warning than a voice booms from the plaza behind them. “Alright! That’s far enough. Hand over the chest, and we might just let you live.”

There is a burly and unpleasant looking minotaur on the stairs behind them, and he’s in no mood to negotiate. He wants the chest that Brasshead has slung across his back. Unfortunately, Brasshead’s not in a negotiating kind of mood either. Combat is joined! The minotaur, flanked by two bugbears, begins to move down the stairs towards the party. Tabitha drops to all fours…and morphs into a primal bear, ravening and muscle-bound and hurtling back towards the plaza in a flurry of fur and claws. Jacqueline draws her longsword and sprints after her, Rusty at her heels. Oryx shrugs, turns, and saunters after them. Meanwhile Brasshead has wheeled to accost the threat from the other side of the bridge: another Minotaur and a group of hobgoblins with longbows that have ranged themselves around the other end of the bridge and are readying their first salvo. The minotaur is charging up the bridge towards the Warforged and Galair, who appears to be readying some sort of enchantment. Brasshead holsters his shotgun and runs to meet his foe. They are still some twenty feet apart when Brasshead launches himself through the air and tackles the beast, hide and forged steel colliding with a crunch. An arrow whistles through the air overhead; the hobgoblins have started firing, and that first shot is answered by Manekatari’s bow as she glides to the side for a clear shot around the bridge. Another goblin shot, answered by a howl of pain from the plaza as the arrow thuds firmly into the shoulder of a minotaur who, faced with a warforged hound and an angry bear, already had enough to deal with. Rusty sinks his fangs into into the Minotaur’s haunches as the bear slams an anvil-sized paw into the side of its head and sends teeth scattering like dice across the cobbles. He’s having a bad day…and it’s only just begun. Galair finishes his incantations and a pale green smog fills the air on the bridge just behind the minotaur that Brasshead is beating the living snot out of. The mystical haze effectively blocks all sniper fire from across the chasm. The pale wizard turns and, waving a hand, refracts the mind of the minotaur into a thousand psychic mirrors.
The monster reels. His consciousnesses is no longer cohesive, but a blinding kaleidoscope of psychic fragments. Through the pain he sees the bear loom up in front of him. He raises an arm in vain as the ursine behemoth rends a horn from his head and, daggerlike, plunges it into his chest. Pain and confusion cloud his senses. On the sidelines the dwarf makes a small but decisive gesture….and the minotaur feels his heart melt. Nothing matters but the realization that his entire existence has been for this moment, this closeness, that he would give the entirety of his being to be with the bear looming before him. He feels love. The dwarf’s hand moves again, imperceptibly. Romance gives way to devastation. All is lost. Ragged and bleeding he collapses, victim to a broken heart. Oryx grunts, and turns his attention back to healing.
Jacquelyn is in the process of subduing one of the bugbears in the center of the plaza; the other has fallen prey to Tabitha and Brasshead, returned from his skirmish on the bridge. There is choking, gagging sound from the center of the great span; the cloud of smog dissipates to reveal the asphyxiated corpses of the unfortunate goblins caught in air too toxic to breathe. Arrows resume their buzzing flight across the chasm, back and forth between Manekatari and the remaining hobgoblin sharpshooters. One by one they drop, until with a final soft thrum Manekatari sends a long dark shaft through the chest of the last of them, staggering him and pinning him to the wall. The battle is over. Our heroes have persevered.

Closer inspection of the monstrous corpses reveal necklaces and cloaks bearing round brass emblems, ornamented with a single D…"Daask". Wonderful. Their cargo secure and having ascertained that the raiders were carrying nothing else of consequence, our party and their guide move on. They cross the bridge, coming to a pair of plain iron doors set into the stone wall, and passing through them. They find themselves in an entry hall of sorts, a chamber created by the convergence of three roads. The one directly ahead of them is a thoroughfare, or was, once upon a time. Well-carved from the stone of the earth, carefully shored, and rutted with ancient cart tracks, the tunnel curves gently away to the right, disappearing into the gloom. To the party’s right is a black tunnel; there is no other description to do it justice. It looks as though someone built a subterranean road along a seam of coal, for the walls of this tunnel are smudged and blackened, and the tunnel itself is so dark as to appear impenetrable. It is narrow, roughly hewn from the earth and low-ceiling’d. It is not the least hospitable of the three. To the left the road drops away into a shallow gully and a narrow path, barely a foot wide, branches off from the main road and turns into a thin set of stairs carved into the side of the slope. Where the main road is dry and dusty with disuse the gully at the bottom is damp and slimy, and at one end of it is a dark and dripping gash in the rock. These, Jacquelyn says, are the three roads, and this is where she must leave you. At this there is much protest. She imparts some words of wisdom before she goes, though: all of these paths lead to the place you are trying to get to, and one is safer than the others. The party presses her aggressively for less cryptic guidance, and she eventually points to the stagnating gully to the left. “That road is the one I know best”, she says, “and it has not yet failed me.” Then she turns and walks back towards The Cogs, Rusty trudging methodically at her heels.

The party grumbles amongst themselves for a long time. Finally, they opt to travel the middle road, “the lesser of two evils” as it were. They set off between smoothly carved walls, their feet making tracks in the dust of an age and then some. Somewhere ahead of them lies the person who wants their cargo. Somewhere under Sharn lie answers.

Fade to black.

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