7th Sea

The story begins

Primus 16th, 1668:

In the rural Castillian town of Marbella Katy, Nigel, Content Not Found: jean-c-leste, and Henri heard news of a demon being captured at a nearby farm. They traveled to the farm and everyone but Henri convinced the locals to let them investigate. Inside the barn they found a dark skinned giant tied to a post. They talked with him and he identified himself as Federico from the island of Kanuba in the Midnight Archipelago. Henri, who snuck in, has heard of the place and confirmed it could be a true story. The local militia guards ordered Henri out of the barn and Henri fought them, knocking one out.

A group of inquisitors arrived led by a female Knight Inquisitor who paid the farmers for their barn and comes inside to interrogate the demon. The heroes come inside as well despite the inquisitors ordering them to stay out. Henri picks a fight again and disarms one of the Defenders of the Faith while Katy frees Federico. The Knight Inquisitor ordered her people out of the barn to discuss their options with the locals. The heroes realized that she meant to burn the barn down with them inside so they escaped out the window after Jean threw horseshoe out the other side as a distraction.

Unfortunately Katy and Nigel weren’t stealthy enough and attracted attention exiting through the window. A fight broke out and eventually the heroes escaped into the night with an especially dramatic Federico pole vaulting over a crowd of stunned peasants. Jean was pursued by the inquisitors and is caught and crippled in the wheat field but is saved by Katy who hauled him onto her horse and rode to safety.

Nigel attempted to steal an inquisitor’s horse but was bitten on the hand for his trouble. He did manage to overhear them planning to come back in the morning with hunting dogs.

The heroes met up in the fields north of the farm house and took cover for the evening. Making due without a fire they were uncomfortable in the cold but made due. Federico used his medicine man talents to heal some of Jean’s wounds. Over the course of the evening Federico told his life’s story but everyone else was tight lipped about their pasts. They decided to head north toward an Explorer’s Society camp near La Selva de Fendes for help. Far to the west, a lone wolf howled.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, the peasants and inquisitors worked to save the livestock before the whole barn went up in flames. Once the building became an inferno the Knight Inquisitor stood close with her arms out and a look of serenity upon her face while the commoners looked fearfully on.

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Pursued through the cold

Primus 17th-21st, 1668:

The heroes traveled north through the farmland and plains of rural Rancho Aldana. They omitted a fire for fear of attracting their pursuers. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and several of them were suffering from exposure to the cold and wind.

The afternoon of the 18th they came upon a wide creek that was partially frozen over. They travelled upstream to look for a place to cross and as they searched they heard the sounds of hunting dogs coming up behind them. Eventually they found an area where the creek was frozen enough to pass but a group of mounted Inquisitors were almost upon them. A fierce battle ensured where the heroes took turns crossing over the ice while holding off the Defenders of the Faith. Katy was the last to cross on her horse but the ice didn’t give way in her wake as she hoped.

The Knight Inquisitor and her defenders followed. The heroes managed to hit one of her allies so hard he smashed through the ice leaving a jagged hole leading to the freezing water. Jean taunted the Knight Inquisitor and she threw him into the ice hole as well for his insolence. Afterward she stabbed Henri, knocking him out. She had taken some wounds but in her righteous fury she showed no sign of backing down until Katy invoked her runic magic and blasted the Knight Inquisitor with a lightning bolt. Rather than risk confronting a sorceress while wounded, she announced a retreat. Once the Inquisitors had made it to the far side of the creek the heroes smashed the rest of the ice with stones until crossing was no longer possible.

That evening they warmed up by a modest fire but most helpful was the change of weather brought about by more of Katy’s rune magic. A cold winter’s night turned into a moderately cool evening which allowed the heroes to recover much of their strength.

After a couple uneventful days they arrived at Sienna de Guzman del Torres’ Explorer’s Society expedition camp at the edge of La Selva de Fendes. Henri’s membership allowed them entrance where the heroes got access to medical care and good food. Federico took charge at the cooking fire, putting on an impressive show along with preparing a fine meal impressing all the Explorers. Meanwhile, Henri reported on the journey’s events to Sienna and his mentor Franco Reyes. Franco and Sienna informed Henri that the heroes could not stay at the camp if they were being pursued by the Inquisition and they would need to leave the country as soon as possible. They came up with a plan to have the woodworkers of the camp create a raft that the heroes could take to El Rio de Delia and cross over to Montaigne occupied Castille and safety.

Henri informed the rest of the heroes about the plan and claimed he could pilot the raft across the river, after all, how hard could it be? Nigel and Katy weren’t impressed by his confidence and approached Franco asking for a skilled pilot. That evening Franco introduced them to Hans Schmitt who would pilot their rafter across the river. The heroes were also able to scrounge up spare equipment such as warm clothing, horses, and rations for the trip.

The next morning Hans, the heroes, and the raft headed west toward the river bank. Sometime after they’d left the Inquisitors rode into the Explorer’s camp, 20 men strong. The Knight Inquisitor demanded to see someone who was in charge and Franco came forward. He told the Knight Inquisitor that he’d seen the heroes but sent them on their way as fugitives and they’d fled into the forest. The Knight Inquisitor stared deep into his eyes and declared that she didn’t believe him. Her men held the Explorer’s at gunpoint as they hauled Franco over to the fire. She told him that the flames would burn the truth out of him as she grabbed his palm and held both their hands in the fire. Eventually Franco started to scream and told her everything she wanted to know. The Knight Inquisitor let him go, his hand a burned mess and hers untouched. She gave the order to continue the hunt toward the west.

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Across the River

Primus 21st-29th, 1668:

The heroes traveled west toward El Rio de Delia along with their raft and captain Hans Schmitt. The evening of the 21st they talked around the campfire. Hans explained his background as an Explorer Shield Man and asked about how the heroes’ ended up where they are. Federico and Jean gave out their history once again. Henri said that he grew up as the younger son of a noble family. Without many political prospects and having an interest in puzzles and exploration he joined the Explorer’s Society.

Nigel explained that he fought in the Avalon civil war that brought Queen Elaine to power. He hadn’t had much luck in the military lately and transferred to an overseas positions as one of Elaine’s Knights. Federico made a joke about Nigel taking an “arrow to the knee” to which Nigel scowled and gestured to his eye patch. “It wasn’t my knee that got hurt.”

After some prodding Katy admitted that she was pursuing a Inish man named Finn O’Doul who had run off after she loaned him 1,000 guilders. Henri said that he’d heard of Finn when he was staying with Don Mendez. Apparently the Inishman had been staying with some local nobles and been involved with a scandal. The Castillian’s tracked him north but lost him near the Montaigne border. Nigel also said he knew the man, Finn served with him during the war. O’Doul was a young Glamour mage who had a habit of getting in trouble when off-duty.

Nigel asked Katy what she was going to do when she found Finn and Katy said she was going to make him pay her the money back with interest. “And what if he doesn’t have the money,” asked Nigel.

“Then I’ll make him work it off. I’ll chain him up and zap his butt with lightning if I have to.” replied Katy.

Hans, noticing Federico’s interest in stories, also told everyone a traditional Eisen bedtime story that his mother told him growing up.

The next day as they neared the river they noticed a group of people riding on horses toward them from the south-west. As they got closer they realized it was a group of Castillian soldiers. The heroes coordinated their story, Nigel was helping Katy track down the Inish scoundrel Finn O’Doul along with the rest of the men. When the soldiers arrived their leader, Lt. Emillio Vasquez de Zepeda, demanded to know where they were going with a raft. Federico quickly responded “across the river.” The rest of the party shushed him while Katy and Nigel explained their cover story. The soldiers were satisfied with their explanation, having heard of the Inishman escaping justice the previous month, and wished the heroes luck on their journey.

A few hours later they descended the small valley to the river bank and prepared the raft for crossing. To pass the time Hans told another story, this time one of his favorites because it was about an old Eisen hero names Hans.

Finally they had the raft ready to go with the horses in the center for safety. As they shoved off from the river bank they head the clamor of horses coming down the path. The Knight Inquisitor had caught up to them! Fortunately they were far enough out in the water that the Inquisitors could not follow. She and her 20 followers dismounted and readied a firearm volley. Hans and Nigel used their shields for cover while the rest of the heroes hid behind the horses. Everyone took minor wounds as over a dozen bullets rained down on the group. The horses paniced and raced off the raft in a small stampede.

After the volley the Inquisitors tossed several flasks toward the raft. Nigel blocked one with his buckler and Henri caught one in his hands. Two others crashed against the raft leaking oily liquid all over the wood. Henri checked his flask and confirmed it was in fact lantern oil. The inquisitors got out heavy crossbows and lit the bolts on fire and started pelting the raft with them. Nigel protected Hans while Hans manned the makeshift rudder. Katy and Federico used cloaks to douse the flames when the raft caught fire while Henri and Jean paddled madly for the center of the river. After several minutes of enduring crossbow fire the raft made it out of the Inquisitors’ range. Henri had been badly wounded and passed out in the center of the raft and others were hurt as well but they were alive and safely out of reach.

The Knight Inquisitor told her Defenders of the Faith to mount up. “They may have escaped us for now but I’ll teach them how long the arm of the Inquisition can reach.”

The heroes landed safely on the other wide of the river and dragged their raft onto the bank. They made camp that evening while Federico gave Henri the last dose of his healing balm. That evening, as Federico and Hans were on watch, Federico heard someone sneaking up on the camp. He called out to some shadowy figures who rushed forward with their rifles with bayonets affixed. A Montaigne soldier patrol was attacking! Katy woke up and calmed the situation down quickly. She explained the cover story of tracking down Finn and invited the soldiers to share their fire. Their leader, Lt. Felix Bonteco, accepted, on behalf of his squad. There were five soldiers in total. One of the privates named Jerome was quite talkative while the rest mostly ate and turned in to sleep. During the meal the lone wolf howl pierced the night once again. The Montaigne soldiers looked pale and shuddered at the sound. The heroes asked them what was wrong and Jerome explained that it was the sound of the black wolf.

Apparently while sieging a Castillian fortress months ago a group of Porte mages teleported into the fortress and brought along wolves that went mad and caused chaos among the defenders. However, not all the wolves died. After that day there were sightings of black wolves the size of ponies stalking through the countryside. They had somehow developed Porte magic of their own and could appear out of nowhere to attack and vanish before your weapons could hit them. Two days ago their squad mate, Aristad, had left the campfire long enough to relieve himself, and they heard him scream. By the time they got to him all that was left was blood and rags in the snow.

The Montaigne commander has put a 1,000 guilder reward out for the beasts’ head but no one has managed to track the monster down. It has been picking off soldiers all winter and most of them are terrified of it.

The next day the heroes followed the Montaigne soldiers back to their base camp farther up the river. The military encampment held several hundred soldiers and was led by Captain Charles Riche du Pourisse. The heroes were able to get medical attention but didn’t receive that warm a welcome due to supplies being low all winter. Federico made himself useful by joining the cooks and quickly ingratiate himself with the soldiers. Katy sold some of her jewelry to the officers.

While recovering from his wounds, Henri managed to solve the puzzle box and opened a secret compartment that had some papers. He gave them to Jean who shared some of the information with Henri and consulted with Katy about accounting figures on some of the pages.

After resting for several days the heroes decided to escort Hans back to the raft so he can head back to the Explorer’s camp. Katy tried to acquire horses from the stable master but he refused to let any of his horses go to a group of strangers who wandered into camp. Apparently he’s lost several horses to the black wolf as well as one to a mysterious robber (Katy assumed this to be Finn). He was open to giving them horses if they killed the black wolf. The heroes settled on traveling back to the raft on foot and then hunting the wolf once Hans was safe on his way.

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Blood in the Snow

Primus 30th – Secondus 10th

While resting at the Montaigne camp the heroes hear soldiers grumbling that the war would have been over by now if Montegue was still in charge instead of being exiled to Ussura. They also heard rumors about a masked vigilante attacking Montaigne soldiers in the Castillian cities they are occupying.

Snow started falling as the heroes escorted Hans back to the raft so he could return to the Explorer’s camp. After that they returned on foot to the Montaigne camp and planned how to hunt the black wolf. First they tried tracking it. Federico was able to find some tracks but they kept disappearing after a few dozen yards. After a day of searching in the cold they decided to try and bait it.

The next day Henri stood alone at a tree to relieve himself while the rest of the heroes laid in wait nearby. A black wolf the size of a small horse appeared from a bloody portal and savaged Henri from behind. Nigel pelted the beast with arrows, Katy shot lightning at it, and Federico and Jean charged into melee. In short order the wolf was wounded and vanished through another portal without a trace. The heroes took a seriously wounded Henri back to camp to plan their next move.

Nigel talked to the leadership of the camp and came up with a plan to embed bloodied arrows in the wolf’s hide and then teleport to its lair using Porte magic. They then tracked down and slew a deer to leave it as bait for the wolf. Once the wolf appeared to eat the deer the heroes charged. Henri ran ahead of the pack and got ambushed as the wolf appeared behind him. Nigel missed with his first bloodied arrow. Federico and Jean wounded the wolf seriously and it teleported away before Nigel could hit it with a second bloodied arrow.

Thinking quickly, Federico climbed a tree and spotted the wolf retreating through the snow hundreds of yards away. He gave chase through the snow with the rest of the heroes trailing behind. By evening Federico had tracked the wolf back to its lair which was a cave in the side of a hill. The rest of the heroes arrived a couple hours later, exhausted. The next morning they tried to flush the wolf out of the cave with Katy’s lightning. When that didn’t work they threw burning logs into the cave to smoke it out. Eventually the wolf started crawling out of the cave in a desperate attempt to escape. Federico speared it in place while Henri slew the beast with his sword.

Federico skinned the body and the heroes took the corpse back to the camp where they were greeted as saviors. Federico told the story of the hunt to the entire camp and a celebration was held that evening in their honor. Katy turned the teeth and bones into jewelry that she sold to the soldiers for a tidy profit. The heroes also accepted and split the reward money.

The next day one of the Porte mages at the camp, Lt. Alain Sices du Sices, offered to transport the heroes with him to Arrisent where he was headed to deliver military messages and reports. They accepted and gathered their belongings. Private Jerome approached Nigel about carrying a letter to his fiancé Valory. Nigel turned him down but Jean, who overheard, accepted the request.

The heroes were warned by Lt. Sices to not open their eyes on the mists and keep ahold of each other’s hands so they don’t get lost. He then reached out and tore a bloody hole in space that the heroes stepped in. The journey took about 45 minutes and part way through the heroes were tormented by voices who tried to trick them into opening their eyes. Some of which imitated people that were important to the hero. On the other side the heroes arrived in a well-furnished foyer in a building in Arrisent. They stepped out into the busy street to get their bearings.

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The Lost Bride

Secondus 12th – Secondus 30th

The heroes bought horses and travelled to Vannes to deliver Jerome’s letter to Valory. They found the Green Frog Inn but Valory no longer worked there. They convinced him to tell them what happened to her. Apparently Jerome was reported dead from by letter from the military and Valory accepted a marriage proposal to a local noble Viscount Yanick Bisset du Verre who lived at his estate about a day away.

Katy posed as a merchant travelling with her bodyguards who had a letter to delivery to Valory. The Major Domo of the estate let them in and insisted they stay for dinner. At dinner the Viscount refused for the letter to be given directly to his wife. Federico was sent to kitchen where he made an amazing meal after which the Viscount tried to buy out his “contract” guarding Katy. Katy refused but did agree to let the Viscount borrow Federico for the Emperor’s ball at the end of the month if Katy could deliver the letter to Valory. Katy was especially eager because the Viscount mentioned that brining Federico would show up the Celeste family who kept bringing that “Inish scoundrel” to parties.

The next day Katy met with Valory in the library and gave her Jerome’s letter. Valory read it and burst into tears then fled the room. The heroes prepared for the ball with Nigel getting an invitation from the Avalon embassy and Henri getting one for himself and Jean from his family. Everyone arrive in Charouse on the 30th for the ball which was held in the Emperor’s palace which was the most decadent building anyone had ever seen. The food was amazing and the guests were clothed spectacularly.

Katy found Finn telling tall tales to a group of courtiers. She confronted him about his debt which he denied existed. She produced a contract and he denounced it as a fake. She labeled him a liar and a thief, he claimed she was an angry ex-lover. After trading insults, Nigel ended the gathering with a blunt uncouth insult against Finn and the courtiers wandered off. Finn told Katy she was wasting her time and there’s no way she could prove the contract was real and left to find more interesting company. Meanwhile, Henri followed him from a distance to make sure he didn’t get away.

Nigel also traded some barbs with the Grandmaster of the Rose and Cross, Aristide Baveux. Federico talked with the socially ostracized Cardinal Erika Brigitte Durkheim. Federico also gave a grand presentation of his cooking and impressed all the nobles at the ball, including a nod of approval from the Emperor.

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Duels of Wit and Sword

Secondus 30th – Tertuis 1

The heroes continued socializing at the ball. Federico was approached by Cardinal Durkheim and she asked him a few questions. Henri confronts Finn about the gossip he was spreading about Katy and challenged him to a duel. Finn accepted and on the way to the dueling room he repeatedly insulted Henri to unnerve him. Katy jumped into the conversation and engaged Finn in a battle of wits until Finn’s self-confidence was shaken. Henri promptly trounced Finn in the duel and Finn begrudgingly agreed to pay Katy her money back after the ball.

Meanwhile, Jean noticed that Cherie Celeste was introduced and he waylaid her on the way to the duel to talk with her. He briefly explained that he had incriminating evidence against her father and together they pieced together the names in the letter as belonging to her Aunt and Uncle. If the box belonged to Nicolette and she was Jean’s mother then that made them cousins. Cherie hinted that Jean should take her dancing and he did so. Afterward Jean was confronted by Marquis Celeste who told him to stay away from Cherie.

Jean was also confronted by Marquis Claude Valroux who wanted the incriminating information on Marquis Celeste. Jean professed ignorance while Valroux attempted to bribe and threaten him. Katy came to his rescue by lavishing affection on Jean which got a jealous reaction from Cherie. Valroux left the situation rather than be involved in a petty cat fight and Katy apologized to Cherie and explained she only did it to save Jean from the nobleman.

Henri, Nigel, and Federico witnessed Yanick being embarrassed by Valory when a group of nobels made light of starving peasants. Yanick took Valory out of the room for a while, probably to discipline her with a beating. The heroes opted not to get involved.

Federico was approached by a Voddace nobleman and his courtesan companion who introduced themselves as Cleto Vestini and Antonia. They wanted to discuss trade arrangements between Voddace and Kanuba so Federico followed them to their carriage where they knocked him out with drugged wine.

Nigel was summoned to talk to the Imperatice who told him a lot of information regarding his “curse.” Every time his Gesa changed fate he would pay a price of something important to him. To break it he would have to see the druids who placed it on him in the first place. She then dismissed him saying that he needed to go save his dark skinned friend.

After the ball Henri and Katy went to get the loan payment from Finn who gave Katy a bag with 250 Sols in it. Jean and Nigel tried to track down Federico but failed to get anywhere. The next morning Katy found that the bag of money contained only 50 Sols and 200 pebbles so she would need to track down Finn again to get the rest of her money back.

Federico awoke chained to a post in an abandoned distillery as a captive of the Knight Inquisitor. She did a bunch of demon and sorcery tests with Federico’s consent and he passed. The next morning she gave him a long lesson about the Vaticine church and Federico officially converted complete with a baptism. The Knight Inquisitor identified herself as Maria Lopez de Angelez and explained that she now needed Federico’s help to cleanse Katy and Federico agreed.

Meanwhile, the rest of the heroes tracked down the distillery where Federico was held and came in the front door after Henri picked the lock. Federico came up the stairs from the basement to try and settle things but the heroes seemed to be headed for a fight.

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Inquisitors and Thugs

Tertuis 1 – Tertuis 2

Nigel kicked a Defender of the Faith down the stairs which knocked over the brazier and started the basement on fire. A pitched battle ensued upstairs that ended up with all the Defenders knocked out, Maria running downstairs to rescue some of her allies from the fire, and the male Knight Inquisitor thrashing Jean but not able to knock him out.

Katy managed to convince the male Inquisitor to stop hostilities until everyone could be evacuated from the burning building. Everyone on the top floor made it out safely and Federico started first aid as the locals organized a bucket brigade to stop the fire from spreading to other buildings.

Suddenly Maria emerged from the flames with two other Defenders of the Faith who were close to death. Federico managed to stabilize them both. Afterward, the male Knight Inquisitor accused Maria of having sorcerous blood because she was not burned from the fire. Maria passed out from the shock and Federico managed to convince the male Inquisitor to leave Maria in his care to pay the debt for saving his men’s’ lives.

The heroes went back to the inn and Jean found his room had been broken into by a trio of thugs. The heroes managed to stop them from getting away but the musketeers, led by Captain Chevalier, showed up and brought Jean, Henri, and Nigel in for questioning along with the thugs. While taken to a room for questioning, Jean was visited by Marquis Claude Valroux who threatened Cherie unless Jean gave him the information on Marquis Celeste that he wanted. Jean was given one day to think it over.

Meanwhile, Federico took care of Maria until she woke up. She was in serious denial about what had happened to her but Federico and Katy convinced her to not return to Castille until she had spent a few days thinking over her situation.

That evening Katy was approached by a Voddace woman named Anna whose mistress wanted to hire a discrete and reliable courier. Katy agreed to meet Anna and her mistress in the ruins under Charouse the evening of the next day. Regarding Jean’s predicament, the heroes decided to have Jean and Nigel leave town the next day while Katy and Henri attempted to warn Marquis Celeste about the threat to his daughter. They successfully met with him and told him about the threat. Katy tried to keep it vague but the Marquis teased out that the threat was from Valroux.

That evening Katy and Henri slipped into the sewers and followed the directions Anna gave them. Unknown to them they were reported to the musketeers by some riffraff and Captain Chevalier took a squad of musketeers into the sewers looking for them. They met Anna and her mistress, Princess Dominique Montaigne, in the Star Room of the Syrneth ruins under Charouse. Dominique was about 7 months pregnant. She explained that she needed a letter taken to her husband General Montague who was waging a war in Ussura. She said the letter would let him come home and she needed it delivered as quickly as possible with the utmost discretion. There were many in Montaigne who would kill to make sure the letter was not delivered and it could be construed as treason. She also gave Henri a compass of Syrneth origin that she said would point to its matching pair in Montague’s possession. Dominique offered the heroes 5000 guilders and any supplies they needed for the trip. Katy asked for remounts when Chevalier stormed into the room with his musketeers and pronounced that everyone was under arrest! Anna whispered that the mounts would be available at the north gate before spiriting away Dominique. Katy and Henri were forced to run…

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On the Road

Tertrius 2-20

Federico consulted with Cardinal Durkheim about Maria and eventually left Maria in the Cardinal’s care. Jean and Katy ran from the musketeers in the ruins under Charouse. Katy was gravely shot during the chase and they eventually escaped through a theater during an opera performance. They met up with Federico to leave town but were unable to acquire the extra horses because the musketeers were keeping a watch on them. They left through a different gate and met up with Nigel and Jean. Everyone was filled in on everything that happened and the group decided to travel south toward Prevoye and then east over the mountain pass to Eisen.

On the way to Prevoye they encountered a farming town that had a burning stable. They helped save it and the town doctor helped stich up some of Katy’s wounds and the townsfolk misdirected the musketeers when they showed up. The heroes also heard rumors about Cherie having an affair with Finn.

Meanwhile, back at the war front in Castille, Private Jerome saved an officer’s life in battle. Rather than promoting him the officer gave Jerome an honorable discharge, a fast horse, and a full money purse so Jerome could go home to his fiancé, Valory.

The heroes made it to Prevoye where the rumors about Cherie had intensified and now claimed she had become pregnant from her affair. They also heard that musketeers came into town via Porte magic and were looking for criminals thought to be headed this way. The heroes headed out of town following the road east into the woods before the musketeers could find them. A couple days later they heard yelling from off the road and found a woodcutter being attacked by kobolds. They saved him and he introduced himself as Leblanque. He offered to guide them through the woods as thanks for their assistance. The next day Leblanque noticed that riders were following down the road very quickly so he led the heroes into the woods to avoid them. That evening Leblanque revealed himself as Fleischwulf and started taking the souls of the heroes one by one. He subdued Federico and Katy but Nigel was able to keep his wits about him while feigning fear and cut open Fleishwulf’s carved figurine which caused an explosion as his magic backfired. Jean and Henri woke up from their sleep and managed to run the wounded Fleishwulf out of camp but not before he swore revenge. Katy and Federico had their souls restored and Nigel sported a lock of white hair from the ordeal.

Federico was able to guide the party back to the road where they found a clear trail of fast riders who had gone ahead of them, likely the musketeers. They entered the mountain pass and encountered a group of shady individuals led by a Captain Kurt Gregor who claimed to represent the Clenched Fists who are the elite soldiers of the Sieger province of Eisen. Federico paid them off for safe passage for the heroes. From there it was an uneventful final days until the party reached Stahlfort on Tertius 20th.

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Across Eisen

Tertrius 20 – Quartus 4

In Stahlfort the heroes stayed at the nicest lodging, which was a low bar, the Dark Tree Inn. As soon as they entered they noticed a group of musketeers watching the door in the common room. Henri and Katy tried to hide up in their rooms but the musketeers came after them and after not getting any response tried to open the door. Katy shocked the first musketeer with lightning through the door handle so they broke the door in after that. A fight ensued that was broken up once the local guards demanded it. The guard Captain took everyone outside and got both sides’ stories. He decided to take them to see Eisenfurst Sieger for judgment.

The impatient Eisenfurst listened to Katy and Chevalier. Chevalier pissed him off by making demands in the name of the Emperor and Sieger had the musketeers banished from his province. He did insist on reading the letter that Katy was delivering. Afterwards he gave the letter back and kicked the heroes out of his keep.

The next day the heroes headed north toward the Fischler province. Meanwhile, the musketeers were met by one of Sieger’s guards who told them the heroes were destined for Ussura. The heroes travelled overland through the Sieger, Fischler, and Heilgrund provinces encountering the occasional Waisen packs as well as burnt villages and old battlefields.

Finally they made it to the Wische province and the capital Siegsburg. There Jean talked to Baron Claus Richter who was an old friend of Marquis Theodore Celeste. He read the letter that Jean found in the music box and explained what he knew of Theodore and Nicolette. Based on the information he speculated that Jean was their son, Quinten, who had somehow survived his parents’ death at the hands of Edmond Celeste. This would also make Jean the rightful Marquis Celeste. Baron Richter offered to help Jean reclaim his birthright and Jean said he’d think about it but wouldn’t be able to do anything until after he returned from his errand in Ussura.

They also met a friend of Baron Richter’s, Maxwell Reinhardt who was a member of the Order of St. Gregor. Maxwell talked to Katy about a missing Dracheneisen belt and asked her to let him know if she hears about it. She also found out that Finn was mooching off the Wische court so the next day she went to confront him with Henri. Finn showed her a signed receipt he got from when he paid her in Charouse. They took the issue to Baron Richter who said that while he considered Katy more trustworthy his hands were tied because Finn had paperwork showing he had paid the debt. Katy vowed to get a statement from the Vendel embassy attesting to him cheating her with fake money and Finn said he’d just move on to where Katy would never go looking for him.

After that the heroes left Siegsburg and headed east toward the river, intent on taking a boat to the border of Ussura.

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The Orphanage

Quartus 4 – Quartus 11

The heroes got on a river boat named the River Mist and sailed to Freiburg. They didn’t stay long and hopped on the Water Runner bound for Genheim at the end of river near the border of Ussura. From Genheim they travelled overland on the only road headed to Ussura.

Near the border they came across a small settlement that consisted of an inn, an orphanage, and a Vaticine church. The inn was named The Last Drachen and some orphans came out asking the heroes to stay the night. They said it was the last chance to sleep in a civilized bed and after some pleading wore the heroes down. Nigel insisted on sleeping outside but everyone else went into the Last Drachen to get some dinner. The community was run by Mother Matilda, an Eisen priestess. The children helped out to various degrees with the older kids being almost like employees. Federico helped out in the kitchen and Jean talked to one of the older boys named Karl who wanted to join the military now that he was old enough.

After dinner Nigel heard some shouting from the kids who were cleaning up around the stables. Some bizarre insectoid creatures were swarming toward the inn from the forest. They were hideous creatures with eight grasshopper like legs on a bulbous larvae body with a round mouth filled with a circular pattern of teeth. Nigel sounded the alarm and held some of them off as they passed by the stable. The rest of the heroes joined the right and from the second floor of the inn musketeers, led by Chevier, jumped out of the windows to help defend the inn. Each time one of the creatures died a number of miniature versions escaped from their bodies and attacked as well. With the musketeers help they killed all the creatures without any of the children getting hurt although three musketeers died and Chevier was seriously wounded. Henri noted that the creatures looked similar to the monsters that frequently are found in Syrneth ruins. Chevier agreed to put their differences aside long enough to investigate where the creatures came from. Henri, Katy, and Jean accompanied them into the woods, backtracking the creatures’ trail.

A few miles away they came across the site of a battle with another two dozen dead creatures and half a dozen human bodies. There was one left alive, a Voddace man slumped against a tree in critical condition. His allies were of various nationalities, Eisen, Vesten, Avalon, but were all dead. Henri asked where the creatures came from but the Voddace man refused to say. They improvised a travois and brought him back to the inn where Federico was able to stabilize him. In his delirium the man seemed to recognize Federico and said “Grandmaster, what are you doing here?” While operating Federico found that the man had a black wooden prophets cross around his neck. The situation made Katy think of Die Kreutzritter, an old order of knights that was wiped out centuries ago.

That evening the heroes talked with the musketeers. Since they had helped save the children, Chevier was willing to talk things out since it was clear they weren’t just common criminals. Everyone involved debated back and forth until they finally agreed to read the letter so they could determine whether it was treason or not. It said:

My lord husband,

I pray that the travelers who bear this message find you in good health. Your son and I are both doing well and eagerly await your return.

I have tracked down the proof that you asked for. My father indeed sent you to Ussura to die. Please return home as swiftly as possible. Surely a soldier cannot be expected to follow orders intended to murder him.

-D

Chevier said that he considered delivering this letter to be treasonous because the Emperor had his own reasons for sending Montague to Ussura and it was not up to them to question his will. If Henri insisted on delivering the letter Chevier would fight him in a duel to the death, regardless of his wounds. The heroes withdrew to discuss amongst themselves about what to do.

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