Defenders of the Realm

Layla
Returned from the Fey

Brathour pokes Layla making sure it is no illusion. Layla and Nymeria hug and there is a flurry of questions and answers.
Layla has been with the queen of air and darkness and grown to be 100 years old. She has been sent on a mission and part of it was to stop Amelia from summoning a fiend.
Most of the party begin to help and talk to the villagers as Nymeria and Layle chat about more personal matters.
Harry explains that Amelia hired him to make the cages although he had no idea how they were going to be used.
Everyone helps the villagers with the wounded and deceased, back in Erdale graves are dug and a funeral held. With mixed emotions the party drink and chat away at the towns only pub. Brathour confides in Arileigh that he doesn’t trust Layla and her motives.
In the morning the group are quick to head off towards the city. Arileigh scouts ahead of the group and comes across another group heading back towards Erdale. The party consist of 1 half elf, 2 dwarfs and 3 humans they question Arileigh closely about a half elf, elf and tielfing traveling together. She feels they are talking about her own traveling group so quickly wraps it up and back tracks to warn everyone. The party scramble to hide as the second group pass by. With more reason to get away from the area the group travel more swiftly down the road.
With the new fast pace the group are caught unaware as an arrow just misses hitting anyone and a wild elf jumps out of the brush hitting Brathour with a great axe. Vines entangle all the horses and the party can see 3 different wild elves.
The wild elves are no match for the coordinated attacks of the party and only Brathour comes away with wounds.
Further down the track the group make camp and although Arileigh hears travellers on the road the group have an uneventful rest.
Last day before arriving at the city the group hear some odd thumping, they leave the road to investigate and come across 3 bug bears and 1 hobgoblin attempting to tie down a dinosaur. The group jumps in to the defence of the poor animal.
The bug bears drop like flys and the hob goblin follows soon after. Immediately Brathour begins a ritual to speak to the beast and Noire and Raven untangled it from the ropes. The dinosaur runs off as the last rope breaks free. Brathour misses his chance to speak with it but is not discouraged.

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A Luminous Raven.
Level 5

During a restless slumber Raven is given a vision form the Queen of the Summer Court. Raven walks though a deserted fey wild, a familiar place but somehow strange. No souls in sight when the Queens voice can be heard behind Raven, cool and terrifying “there is a town near by, follow what you find there to help our kind. If you do this I may forgive your transgressions”
Raven wakes up with a start and all the camp are looking confused. with no explanation they begin to travel on.

The group come across Erdale and it is completely deserted, not a person in sight. the group split up the search for the villagers. Brathour finds himself in the tavern and helps himself to some ale. Noir is about to slip into Harry’s house to look for some gold when Arileigh calls out. She had found all the peoples tracks leading the the town centre and then they stop, there are strange marking on the ground that are not animalistic or natural but they lead into the forest. The Black Nights set off to save the villagers from what ever horrors they had come too.

They come to a clearing up ahead and can see movement, Raven pulls out the Potion of Clairvoyance they fold some while ago, after casting a language spell Raven drinks the potion. Raven reports back to the group that there is 4 large metal cages containing all the villagers, they are guarded by some small fling creatures, imps. In the centre of the circle of cages is a large pool of water and floating in the centre is Emilia Lioncourt. She is casting some sort of ritual spell as she chants and concentrates.

The heroes align themselves and prepare to attack, Noir is the first to fire but as he does Emilia turns to look at him and laughs. Screams then come from each of the cages as Emilia drains some of their life force. A woman falls down dead and Emilia is completely healed from Noir’s arrow.
The plan quickly changes and Brathour chargers forward to attack an imp, as he pounds it into the ground he also swings at the cage, breaking a lock and allowing the villagers to run to safety.
Raven then receives a whisper in the ear from the Queen that shatters Ravens faith in her “Kill the villagers”
Beast pounces forward and another imp is pinned to the ground while Araligh brings up a magical fog cloud around Emilia, as she does so a dark cloud appears in above the fog and more screams from villagers as she draws more energy to feed her spell.
Noir taunts Emilia and questions her motives and master “I am doing my masters will” she replies
Brathour charges forward a second time and breaks open the second cage, Nymeria uses an ice knife on an imp and this freezes the 3rd cages lock which allows Noir to crack it with the butt of his blade.
Raven dashes up to the pool and Arileigh follows. Lightning the slams into the fog and a child in the last cage falls to his death as the others scream in horrific tortured screeches. Emilia then sayd “you are doing well my former friends, I am almost done and my master will reward me”
Raven Breaks at this statement and screams “no reward is worth this!”
Brathour breaks the final cage but before the villagers can escape another imp appears in the doorway, Noir sneaks up behind Brathour and digs a silvered rapier into its chest. At this Raven then blasts Emilia through the fog cloud and we all hear a splash. Raven screams again “No reward in the world is worth these innocents, my master wanted me to help you kill these people but I wont”
Em,ilia replies “You have no idea, your master may not have wanted you to help me little feyling” And then Emilia disappears.

As the realisation settles in that she is gone a voice can be heard by all, Ravens Queen speaks to the Black nights
“Those who travel with my child, you do not know what you have done for my kind. Perhaps not the most direct way but I will reward you.
I will return what has been lost”
“Arte” calls out Arileigh
the pool in the clearing begins to ripple and a light shines from below, forming a pillar as it rises up. A being then comes to the edge of the pool, a young but fully grown elven female. Brathour recognises the similarities in her face and then the woman looks directly at Nymeria.
“Mother?”
Nymeria is overcome with emotion and falls to her knees and bursts into tears of love, joy and relief.
“You have no idea, your master

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The Untraveled Road
An absent Raven

With a sick Raven, the party decide to move on with haste. However coming around a bend in the road they almost run into a wee camp including a hobgoblin & two goblins (at first the group think it is the escaped hobgoblin from their last skirmish).
With Arileigh & Brathour swiftly taking out the goblins, the hobgoblin unleashes a frost storm taking both Noire & Beast out.
Arileigh finally catches the hobgoblin in the eye with an arrow finishing him off.
After reviving both Noire & Beast the party decide to travel at a slower pace. Travelling through the day without incident, the party set up camp.
Brathour taking first watch hears movement in the surrounding forest. Arileigh & Noire scout out the area discovering another hobgoblin with three chained apes.
After a discussion on whether to engage, with the decision split down the middle. Nymeria decides to take a closer look, but the hobgoblin & his apes are alerted to her movements.
With Raven still unwell & sitting the fight out & the other Black Knights not fully rested from their earlier fight the ensuing skirmish is a very close call.
With the hobgoblin taking out Nymeria, Brathour & Noire come to her defence.
With Brathour reviving Nymeria with a healing potion brought from camp. Noire gets pummelled into a blooded pulp by an ape just after shouting how the skirmish was swinging their way…
Beast finished the battle notching up his second kill, & arriving in the nick of time to defend Arileigh fiercely from attack.
After Nymeria revived Noire for a second time in one day, Noire could feel the stare of Brathour saying I warned against this fight…
After a long rest & level up they turn to Raven to notice their fellow Black Knight emitting a strange luminous glow…
Concerned looks are passed between the group…

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Painting of Minitures
Bringing life to the Knights
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Emerging From the Crypt
Miniature Black Knights

Heading through the hallway to exit the crypt the group after some effort manage to open a large trapdoor and find themselves back in the forest. After covering the crypt entrance to avoid unwanted visitors the black knights head back to the campsite next to where the crypt was first entered only to find kobold tracks as they get closer. As the group gets closer they find the campsite ransacked, the horses gone, and make the unfortunate discovery of Alex slumped up against a tree with her throat cut with all signs pointing to the group of kobolds the group encountered in the crypt. The group spends the next few hours rounding up the horses and wrapping up Alex’s body. With the horses all rounded up and the camp remade the black knights decide to cover the entrance to the crypt to keep it safe then settle in for the night. In the morning the black knights set off for the lumber camp and return Alex’s body to them. The group then decides to take the orb back to Erdale via the main road. After some time the group sees a crumbled tower in the distance and decide to get closer to investigate and find a starved giant sitting in a pile of filth chained up to the tower wall. Brathour who has met giants before tried in vain to befriend the giant with a ration bar but insteads nearly gets his arm bitten off before Arileigh fires an arrow at the giant. After a short struggle the group manages to kill the giant and search the tower. With night time approaching everyone tries to forage for food and set up camp for the night. After a couple hours sleep the group is ambushed by a group of bugbears and hobgoblins who the black knights dispatch of in short order but the hobgoblin leader manages to escape in the heat of battle. Grumpy and tired at being woken up from their slumber the black knights return to their bedrolls to get some rest before the long ride in the morning.

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The Secret Door

After a long rest the band of merry adventurers head toward the discovered secret door. Before entering Nymeria & Raven find a vase behind the alter. Nymeria tips the vase to discover a kitty of gold.

The secret door leads to a corridor, midway down a healing potion is found with a scroll Nymeria discerns to be “Sleat Storm”.

The corridor ends with another secret door which leads to the large chamber where the chest of gold was found.

Raven & Noire head to the entrance with Ashtongue & YipYip. Whilst attempting to deactivate the Muriel trap Arileigh, Brathour & Nymeria are ambushed by a pack of Kolbolts.

Once the Kolbolts have a round of attacks, mostly punishing Brathour. It’s inevitably the Black Knights turn…

Arileigh nails one with a swift arrow.
Raven hearing the ambush casts a her Kolbolt favourite ‘Sleep’ & sends 4 into a deep slumber…

Ashtongue knocks Raven to her knees by casting “Poison”.
Nymeria casts “Flaming Spere” onto the last Kolbolt awake from the ambush party.
Noire misses with a rapier strike but manages to gut Ashtongue with his cold dagger…
Brathour cleaves a sleeping Kolbolts head in two with his mighty axe.
Beast ends another sleeping Kolbolt.
Arileigh plunges her dagger through the eye of another dozing Kolbolt.

The ambush has backfired & is looking like a massacre, highlighted by another hapless Kolbolt igniting in flames from the residual heat of the Flaming Spere & their largest warrior fleeing…

On the other side of the room Raven punches a hole through the chest of YipYip, with the Eldritch blast striking the Muriel & setting off the trap. Raven without hesitation grabs Noire & hauls his skinny ass to safety.

Nymeria shifts her Flaming Spere to the last remaining Kolbolt standing, who is fleeing. When he’s still standing she gracefully launches an arrow into his shoulder.

With only a brief thanks to Raven, Noire covers the room to fire an arrow into the leg of the last Kolbolt.

With the Kolbolt still standing, a sudden but booming “Iron Within!” Is heard followed by the sickening thud of the Kolbolt’s head being bounced of the wall by Brathour. This putting an end to his retreat & ambush.

A quick search of the Kolbolts reveals nothing of interest, whilst Arileigh heals the weaken Raven.

After a recoupe the group head to the room with the Dragon fountain, after placing another gold piece in the fountain they continue down the corridor previously missed. Half way down they branch of, heading to a door seemingly leaking sunlight.

Upon entering the grassy sunlit chamber they notice a huge tree at its centre.
“Greetings Young ones.” The are met with from a deep, knarled old voice.

The tree speaks to Nymeria, talk turns to Dragons, the great (unknown) war, & the reason the Crypt was built. Father Oak doesn’t remember much of the past, his transformation into the Guardian has been for too long, his former self too faded…

Father Oak reveals the Orb they seek, isn’t complete & that only one piece is kept in the Crypt. Father Oak gives Nymeria a flask of “Growth”. Also he talked of the Fey & how there is portals into their world.

The Black Knights talk of their growing unease of Theren Nightbreeze. During the discussion Raven feels a strong need to meet with Queen Cyriana.

Leaving the chamber & continuing down the corridor they come to a door which Brathour kicks down.

Inside the room they are met with a group of Elemental creatures called “Minfits” who are tending to 5 model dragons sat upon pedalstools. “Boss” the Ice Element is the most talkative, but after an amusing few minutes the Black Knights realise no real sense is being made, so leave…

After trashing two library’s the group comes to 3 doors ranging in size from large to small. After trying the large door which lead to stairs, the group decides to hit this door last & after finding a dead end in the middle they open the small door which leads to a room with a huge mirror at the far end.

Looking into the mirror they see a reflection of the room which held the ’Minfits except instead of model dragons on the 5 pedalstools there are real Dragons. Brathour attempts to tap the mirror with his maul. Raven casts “Fey Presents” to stop him & removes the group from the chamber.

They then head to the large metal doors…

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Deeper into the Crypt

Our brave adventures continue their way through the crypt, walking into a chamber containing a beautiful dragon head fountain and doors to either side. The party stop with suspicion and search for a trap. no one can find anything in particular but something doesn’t feel right. Raven considers the wishing well like fountain and decides to offer the dragon fountain a gold coin. There seems to be no reaction and the party passes through the left door with no problems.
Noire scouts ahead through a dark corridor towards a door at the end. As he gets closer he can smell the scent of death. The group hustle forward and enter the room.
There are 3 dead humanoid corpses at the back of the room. Everyone steps closer and 2 carrion crawlers descend from the ceiling. The group are quick to react and dispatch of one very quickly. The second gets a big hit on Beast and he falls unconscious. Noire dodges a hit to himself and realises a wild magic killing the creature. The group look at Noire with stunned expressions on their faces.
Arileigh revives Beast as everyone else investigates the corpses. The dead turn out to be Kolbolds who haven’t long been dead.
Brathour takes the lead down another corridor which enters into a huge grand chamber. The walls are adorned with gold and patterns. At the end of the chamber are large double doors but the groups focus goes straight to the middle of the room where there are 2 Kobolds sitting around a camp fire.
“Please help us” one pleads as the group approaches. Through some questioning the party find out the Kobolds found the crypt and have been searching for the treasures but have lost most of their party to the various creatures living within. Now with only 2 of them left they can’t make their way out to safety. They plead with the group to help them escape. The party cautiously agree to help them out.
Everyone approaches the double doors at the end of the chamber. There is strange script over the door way. Raven reaches out to touch the script, maybe she will be able to understand the writing.
“It seems to say that only the righteous can enter.” The party encourage Nymeria to try the door. It doesn’t open. It is locked and no one can find the key. Noire picks the lock and the party step through.
Inside is a Huge chamber and floating in the middle is a set of large animated armour. It beckons the party in to fight.
Our black nights are quick to jump into battle and get some devastating hits on the armour. It retaliates with strange bolts of lightning, hitting out at Noire. Wild magic springs from Noire and he grows a third eye. Another bolt of lightning hits Brathour hurting him severely.
The group attack again with vigour and the armour begins to look worse for wear. It stabs Noire not realising what a mistake it was making as Noire reacts with Hellish Rebuke, defeating the armour.
Noire has again shocked the party as they notice a third eye on his forehead.
Arileigh picks up the blackened and charred helmet of their foe before searching the room.
Raven and Nymeria head to an alter at the far back of the chamber. Sitting on top is a golden half sphere. Not exactly what they expected. Raven wraps it up.
Brathour is in need of healing and decides to chug down a potion the party suspected was a healing potion. Luckily it was.
Arileigh calls out to the group as she finds a secret door. The party are exhausted after the battle so decide to take a long rest by the kobolds fire before continuing on.

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Search of the Crypt

The group continue to search the crypt and come across a room with 3 suits of armour, a human an elf and a dwarf suit, each with a large sword. Raven spots a bookshelf on the opposite side of the room and strides across the room to get to it, without checking for any traps.
The armour suits then awaken and begin to attack Raven, their swords fighting independently from them.
After some intense fights Araligh brings down the drwarven armour, Raven takes a lot of blows and retreats with some bad wounds.
Beast claws at a sword but also takes damage.
The armour then charges at Raven who hides behind Nymeria, she then slams it with a flaming sphere.
Araligh is then swarmed by a sword and collapses from her wounds. The flaming sphere disintegrates the human armour then Nymeria heals Araligh.
Nior uses his skills with his daggers to defeat another sword and when all of the armour and swords are down the group heals up the wounded.

Nior finds an Arcane focus on the bookshelf on the other side of the room, the group also finds:
-A vial of orange liquid
-A glass comb and ring
-Silver ribbon
-Perfumed candles
-and a small temple carving
The room also contained a large chest of coins, Brathor drags the chest back to the main foyer room with his brute strength.

The group then attempts to take a long rest however is it interupted by a ghost that attacks Araligh.
Brathour defends her with his maul but it passes strasight through it, Nymeria becomes a mountain lion and goes to bite it but misses. Araligh takes another shot at her favoured ememy.
The ghost screams a frightening sound but its affects do not work on our groups who have been through so much already.
Raven casts an eldrict blast from the bed roll on the floor and the ghosts starts to wink out but comes back moments later. Noir then digs his daggers into the being and it disappears altogether this time.

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The Retreat of Penny Knucklebones
Level 4

After making a bargain with Sarah the Hag, the party make their way out of the cave. Crossing the dark pond again, this time Raven falls in. She manages to catch some fish on the way out and feeds them to Beast.
When they arrive back in Erdale the party split up to inform Harry and Marlee the fate of their children. Brathour and Arileigh go to see Marlee but they are met with anger and disbelief at the news of Stephies passing. Arileigh and Brathour leave Stephies bones but there isn’t anything else they can do to help her so they leave for the pub.
Raven, Noire and Nymeria go to see Harry. He is distraught at hearing of Sarahs transformation into a Hag. After some questions and explanations Harry learns that the Hag wasn’t killed but that they group bargained for her to leave.
The group meet back up at the pub for some much needed rest and relaxation. Although each member of the party has much to consider in light of what the Hag has revealed to them all.
The next morning the group set out to find the crypt for Threon. They decide to take an old track that will lead them past Brathours former village. Perhaps they a=can find some clues to help Brathour seek revenge.
Along the path Brathour notices a caved in passage leading into the mountain. It has dwarven writing above it but it is too worn to read. He begins digging out the passage and the rest of the group soon help out. With the passage uncovered the party follow it up and through the mountain, finally arriving at a room containing 6 sleeping mountain lions. The room also contains a stone chest so Noire sneaks past the lions. He returns safely with a brooch and red dragon scale.
The party continue on to Brathours village which is overgrown ruins now. Brathour sets up an animal trap as the party go to bed, ever thinking of food even while reliving his sad past.
When morning arrives Brathour begins to lead the group towards a woodcutters camp. They will find someone there to lead them to the crypt. The party soon notice that Brathour is lost so Arileigh takes over and leads them to the camp with ease.
They speak with Alix as she is the one who found the crypt. Noire offers her 10gp to lead them there and remain until they return.
A hole in the ground is the entrance into the crypt and everyone lowers themselves down. They follow a passage which opens out into a chamber. They group is entranced by a large mural covering the walls. It appears to be depicting a war between the humanoid races and Dragons. without realising the group set off a trap which fills the room with fire.
The party are quick on their feet and nobody is seriously hurt. As they continue up the passage it reveals a chamber with an intricate alter depicting many different gods.
Carefully the group turn left down a passage and look into a room with 2 ankheg inside. Brathour shifts around to get a better look but alerts the bugoids to their presence. Battle begins.
The party were ready and get in some quick strikes at the Ankhegs. They retaliate with a nasty acid spray which enrages Brathour. The Bugs die swiftly after.

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The Hag of Erdale
Black Knights resumes adventures

After our battle with the swarms of ravens we turn to see a small cottage in the middle of a beautiful field, all but Arilegh know it’s a trick as we move closer.

An old lady’s voice comes from inside the cottage “what are you doing dearies?”
Brathour and Raven look at each other and then approach the cottage “what are you doing living all the way out here?” asked Brathour. Raven casts detect thoughts

“Come inside” replies the lady and so they both step inside. Raven immediately confronts the lady “drop this facade”. The Old lady drops the spell and underneath a dirt rotting ruins appear, Arilegh gasps with shock and confusion. The Lady herself also changes, she is hunched over and wrinkled, she has clawed hands and a black/purple skin tone, she is covered in oozing scabs and welts. She is the Hag terrorising the village.

Peggie Knucelbones looks around the group “What do you desire?” she asks “your daughter” settling her gaze on Nymeria, “knowledge” moving her eyes to Raven. “We are here for Sarah and Stephie” replied Raven who can here the Hags thoughts “Sarah is me, Stephie is part of me, sacrifice”

Peggie Knucelbones responds “stop meddling in my town” and then offers Raven spells as payment for them to leave. Nymeria steps forward and declines the offers of knowledge “I would not trust someone like you even for that”

Raven then questions the Hag further “do you stay here at Erdale to be close to your father?” and then uses his charming fey presence. Peggie Knucelbones laughs toward Raven and says “you will have to do better than that dearie”

Noire then suddenly shoots and arrow at the hag, she disappears before it hits and we see her darting into the waterfall across the field.

At the waterfall we find a 50ft wide pool at the entrance to a cave, testing the waters we see dark shapes under the water Brathour attempted to cross against the wall but struggles, his foot slips into the water and fish begin attacking his flesh. Nymeria takes her spider shape to scale the rock wall around the pool into the waterfall. Raven and Beast make it across expertly and then Arilegh follows, she however falls into the water, Beast ready’s to jump in to help her but Arilegh tells him to stop as she does not want him hurt in the water. Raven throws out a rope and pulls her into the cave. Noire is last and climbs across with his great acrobatic skills.
In the cave is a tunnel, raven’s dancing lights move up ahead until they cast a light on the Hags shadow.

“Come out come out where ever you are. Surly you not afraid of a little group like us now are you?” Raven taught as noire slips the potion of heroism. Nymeria scouts as her spider on the ceiling of the cave and then beast senses something, she is here.

Peggie Knucelbones then suddenly appears and attacks with her claws at raven who responds with an eldritch blast. Nymeria drops on tops of the hag and bites into her with her poison fangs.
Arilegh lands a marked arrow into the hag, noir coming at her from the shadows behind with his dagger and rapier. The surprise is all too much when beast pounces and Brathour swings his maul.

Peggie Knucelbones then casts a spell, sending Nymeria and Beast into a magical slumber. Raven looks her in the eye and said “that magic doesn’t work on me little girl” Noir comes up from behind again and steals her human skin sack from her side and sneaks back to the shadows.

Raven takes another clawed attack to the chest and in on the edge of death when Arilegh and Noire attack again, this time Peggie Knucelbones disappears into the darkness once she realises her sack is missing.
We all run back to where Noire has hidden the sack, there is nothing inside so Raven taunts the hag again, tying the sack to his belt, noir attempts to steal the sack for himself but is unable to do so.

Peggie Knucelbones then begins to discuss the terms for her to leave the town and never return to any of the surrounding areas of Darromir. She makes an agreement with binding words and each of the party receive something they desire when they give the sack back.

Raven is handed a small black book containing ritual spells to identify and locate magic.

Nymeria “your child is somewhere familiar to this one (raven) she is with the fey”

Arilegh ‘lover boy, captured by hobgoblin army, on the move 200miles south of here”

Brathour “stumpy one, the Orc that commanded to attack on your village goes by the name Lash”

The hag the placed a hand on Noir, as she touched him his scar burns “you are marked by dark magic, I cannot touch your body while this is here. But perhaps this” draws hand across his armour and gives it a “magical nature”

Peggie Knucelbones then disappears from the cave.

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