Fall of Vrazuk

Laptops are like dragons

Suddenly, an ancient laptop teleported in front of Unk, making him flat-footed and unleashed a psychic attack. Unk, being weak against this attack, fled in terror until his heart finally exploded out of sheer fright. Lucien, seeing his comrade’s bloody end, starts to unleash split the tree upon the horrid beast; however it senses the attack and unleashes a instant counterattack: Horrors of Old. Lucien lost his sanity and unleashed split the tree upon Chocolate instead, killing her instantly.

Hearing the screams of the crowd, Sindri starts heading that direction, curses the target and unleashes eldritch blast. The laptop emits a sinister laughter sound effect while it amplifies the attack and redirects the attack to Lucien, obliterating him instantly. Sindri, knowing that he cannot defeat this foe, attempts to teleport away. Unfortunately, the laptop senses this and redirects his teleport in a bag of holding, where Sindri begins to suffocate.

The laptop then starts an unknown dark ritual summoning the forces of “Dell” and “WinXP”. Sensing the world is in peril, the mastermind decides he must intervene to balance the world. Unfortunately, the binary aura of creature hits the master, and forces all his rolls to be 1s. After a few thousand level 1 orcs and kobolds have appeared from out of nowhere and instantly were slaughtered, leaving only poo stained leather armor on the ground, the ancient laptop finishes the ritual. The ancient forces of Dell and WinXP combine with the ancient laptop, sending a blast so powerful, it penetrates the magical apple armor of the world’s master, and causes his mind to shatter

The foul beast cackles in glee at his victory, knowing no one could tame it. Just as the world is about to be destroyed, a bright blue blast radiates from the beast, freezing it in it’s tracks. The blue light continues to gain intensity, causing anyone that looks at it to instantly go blind, start bleeding from the eyes, and begin dying a horrible, blue death! The power of the light eventually became so strong that the coersion of space and time eventually shatter, leaving only a bright blue abyss.

Lucien wakes up and goes to the predetermined meeting place, however Sindri is nowhere in sight and “Gharash” is wearing leather armor and a sword without a shield….
Laptops are like Dragons… the more ancient, the harder it is to win…

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The Mysterious Chocolate

Lucien hears rumors that the three chosen ones are in town. Everyone is afraid of them, and they are afraid of them because they destroyed the Summerville Syndicate. Sindri makes a deal with a local jeweler to steal goods from his competitor. Chocolate asks around to learn more about the syndicate, how to join, how she can meet Barglurg. Chocolate confronts Unk as Barglurg:

C: Are you married?
U: No, I have several concubines… companions if you will.

Unk wonders wtf is going on.

U: Are you looking for some companionship for the night?
C: I’m used to companionship as far as family and friends and such so I’m looking for a new adopted family. But not just for a night. I want several nights. Maybe every night.
U: We can discuss things. We can go down here to the bar and discuss what we can over a couple of drinks.
C: That sounds wonderful.
They walk to the bar, get a pint, and sit in a secluded area.
U: So. Drink up it’s all on me. What do you have in mind?
C: I’m pretty sure I made that clear already. I’m kind of just looking for a new group to travel with. I have many MANY skills.
U: So what do you specialize in?
C: I would usually take my time, but you’re so powerful and all. You could probably figure out what my skillsets are. I’m so small… and flexible… nimble… and acrobatic… ambidextrous. Why don’t you give me a chance to prove myself?
U: Oh yeah. I’ll give you an opportunity to see what you can do for me.
C: I’m here to serve. I just want to be accepted.
U: Let me get another drink real fast.
Unk quickly chugs his pint
U: Ok, let’s get out of here. I’m ready to go.

Later in Unk’s office:

U: So. Show me what you got.

Chocolate reaches into her bag and pulls out her thief’s tools and begins explaining how good she is at picking pockets.

U: WTF?
C: Oh my other skills. I’ll show you acrobatic skills.
She begins flipping around the room, swinging around on the ceiling fan, and such.
U: Oh, I think there’s been some miscommunication here.
C: Oh, well, part of my other skill set, I can combine my skills. I’ll show you my lock-picking skills.

Chocolate retrieves some handcuffs from her bag of tools.

U: That’s what I’m talking about!
Chocolate handcuffs him to the bed.
C: Now now…

Chocolate reaches behind her back, retrieves a dagger, and plunges it into his heart, activating her shadow powers. Shadows form all around him and claw at his life force. He quickly morphs his hands into nubs, pulls them from the cuffs, yanks the dagger from his chest and calls his sword to him.

U: What the hell are you doing?
C: WTF did you do with your hands and how did you get your sword:
U: Why did you attack me?
C: Nothing personal. Are you or are you not Barglurg?
U: What do you mean?
C: Do you not understand what I’m saying?
Unk stabs her dagger into the wall.
U: Why are you trying to kill me.
C: Nothing personal. I was hired to kill barglurg.
U: Fine. you want to know the truth.
Unk polymorphs into Chocolate
U: I killed him this morning and took his place to take his place as the leader of the syndicate.
C: O… k…
U: You have a couple options. We could have it out right here.
C: I have no need to now.
U: I’m used to it. Women stab me in the heart anyways.
C: So where is his body?
U: I uhh… shattered it. But if you’re looking to get at the syndicate, the big boss is in Shadowmeade, and there’s a tournament with great prizes. Plus, I think you kind of owe me for the stabbing.
C: To be fair, you were impersonating a syndicate boss. This puts me in an odd position for collecting my money though. You’ll be walking around dead.
U: Well, tomorrow I’m causing the entire local syndicate to attack the Summerville syndicate. If I die, I won’t be able to keep the town peaceful. I’ve got a nice longsword you can have though.
C: How long do you plan on staying in this form?
U: As long as it suits me.
C: Well, fine. I did enjoy the chase.
U: Well sucks to be you. I’m done here. You can come with me or not

Unk leaves and heads back to a different room.

Sindri knocked over the jewelry store and made off with the entire inventory.
While Lucien is checking around for equpiment, he notices the half-orc talking to a halfling and they walk off together towards a local bar. He purchases alchemist’s fire and ice and blinding bombs, and some nice arrows.

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Climbing the Crime Ladder

As the group continued on to Brookbarrow, they came across a small group of spriggans, which they fought and killed.

Further along their way, the group came to a clearing in the woods and discovered an abandoned house in the middle of a field of an unknown crop. While searching the house, Lucien noticed a picture frame that is slightly askew. Upon moving it aside, he discovered a safe, which Sindri hastily tried to open, tripping a small trap in the process. The group discovered a nice stash of jewelry and gold pieces in the safe. As they left the house, Unk claimed to have heard Lucien say they should torch the place. So Unk set fire to the house with his sword.

As the group left the house, they encountered a giant bee. Lucien attempted to tame the bee using the smoke from some of the on-fire grass surrounding the house. The group quickly discovered that this was not ordinary grass, but Happy Grass. Lucien finally tamed the bee by getting it high, and Unk quickly attempted to mount the bee. However, Unk’s weight proved far too great for the bee and it promptly fell to the ground. By this time, the fire was spreading fairly quickly, and the group had to move quickly to avoid be consumed in the fire.

Later, they came across a man rushing towards the blaze. Unk took the form of an attractive woman to distract him and find out who he was. It turned out he was a Happy Grass supplier for the syndicate, who was on his way to find the source of the fire. As he tried to continue on his way, Unk knocked him unconscious, and Lucien shot him point blank with his bow to kill him. After traveling a bit further, the group set up camp.

During Unk’s watch, some Brookbarrowians passed by on their way to fight the raging forest fire. On Sindri’s watch, he heard sobbing and went to investigate. He found a tiny wood sprite whose home tree had been burned down in the fire. Sindri vowed to care for her as his familiar until his life takes a new path.

The group finally made it to Brookbarrow. Unk entered through the main entrance with some fellows he had been chatting with. Sindri entered the far entrance as a dwarf, using his hat of disguise, and Lucien waited outside for nightfall.

Sindri first tried to sell their stolen jewelry to the shopkeeper it was stolen from and barely escaped by distracting the shopkeeper and teleporting away from some guards. He changed to a hobbit disguise to avoid being noticed as he went through the town.

Unk traded in his leather armor for hide with the same enchantment. He then took the form of Darryl, the Happy Grass supplier, and proceeded to investigate the whereabouts of the local syndicate boss, Barglurg. Once Unk found him, he infiltrated the syndicate hideout and convinced them that the Brookbarrow Syndicate was under attack by a boss from another town, and they needed to speak privately. Once alone, Unk fought and killed the boss, and took his form. He then disposed of the body (freeze and smash) and told the henchmen to gather the syndicate’s best equipment to prepare for an attack on the syndicate in Summerville.

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Gay Dwarf

Among the spoils from the battle with the Sahuagins was their leader’s headdress, which Sindri determined to have properties that would increase his will. Eager for more power, he hastily placed the item on his head and immediately felt a surge of power. Sindri looked forward to unleashing his new power on his foes and began dreaming of watching their little heads explode as he smote them one by one. Just as he was fantasizing about exploding a red ancient dragon head, he heard bellowing laughter coming from the other two adventurers who were now doubled over and pointing at him. Confused, Sindri looked down to notice that he was somehow wearing a pink tutu. He exclaimed in a loud, echoing, nasally voice, “Ooold Greegggg!!” as he covered his mouth in shock. Sindri hurriedly tried to remove the headdress, but had a difficult time as it was stuck to his head with Sahuagin sliminess.

Just as he removed the headdress, the group heard a bubbling sound coming from the lake and quickly took cover behind some trees. Although slightly wary of the headdress’s effects, Sindri was anxious to test it out so he put it on as ten more Sahuagin warriors emerged from the water. He cursed the nearest one, whose head promptly exploded. Then the two adjacent to him exploded and the next two and so on. Once all the sahuagins on the shore were beheaded, plumes of water began erupting from all over the lake, and the entire lake began to take on a green tinge. As the group realized that Sindri had likely just killed an entire town, they turned to him with wide eyes and quietly mouthed “What. The. Hell?” Sindri shrugged his shoulders, removed the headdress and replied, “Tutu or not. I’m keeping this thing! Let’s hurry to the next town! I’m dying for a shot of bailey’s.”

The group continued towards Brookbarrow and made it to a camp site to rest for the night. They set up their typical alarms, and Unk took first watch. An hour or so in, he noticed some men walking nearby and quickly woke the others. Sindri once again donned the Sahuagin headdress and began sneaking toward Unk in his tutu. He whispered the Feysworn Blessing in Unk’s ear, but instead of changing into a fearsome snakelike monster, he polymorphed into an angry, rainbow colored, sword wielding, dwarf poofball. As the battle continued, the enemy became increasingly troubled that the gay dwarf or tutu gnome might do worse than kick their asses. Finally, Unk froze the last enemy, a hobbit, in ice and began questioning him. The hobbit informed the group that they had been hired by Waggugat and Wagglug from the syndicate in Summerville to track and kill them. He also told them that the syndicate leader in Brookbarrow was Bargurlg before one of Lucien’s bears grew impatient and took the hobbit’s head as a midnight snack.

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Friendly Fire and Da Bears

After Sindri’s eye-opening encounter with Gharash in which he discovered the truth about Vharash, Sindri was anxious to have a word with the changeling and began looking for him after Gharash sent him back from the ancient ruins. The first place Sindri looked was the spot where Vharash had been sleeping, but instead of finding a dragonborn or a changeling, Sindri discovered a dwarf wearing Vharash’s clothing and armor! Sindri quickly devised that the dwarf must have ambushed Vharash when he returned, killed him, disposed of the body, and been so exhausted from the encounter that he decided to sleep in his place! He was enraged at the thought of having lost his new ally.

Sindri yelled in anger as he set out to avenge his comrade’s death, he quickly grabbed his implements, cursed the murderous dwarf, and let loose a powerful Eldritch Blast, giving the dwarf quite a rude awakening. Just as the dwarf began to open his eyes and catch sight of Sindri, Sindri’s eyes flashed a bright light and he disappeared from the dwarf’s sight just before the dwarf collapsed, bleeding heavily, in Vharash’s bed. At this point, the dwarf morphed into a changeling, and Sindri realized the horrible mistake he had just made. He exclaimed, “Oh Garl! I killed the changeling! I’m a bastard!” Sindri and Lucien quickly rushed to their ally’s side to stop the bleeding and prevent him from dying.

When Unk finally woke up, he complained of being very sore and having a horrible headache. Sindri explained that Gharash must have been annoyed with his attitude and returned him upside down in the air. The group waited a while for Unk to more fully recover before continuing on its way to Shadowmeade with the next stop being Brookbarrow.

After an unusually peaceful day of traveling, the group set up camp. During his watch, Sindri noticed two bears and a bugbear walking in the woods and woke the group to go attack the bugbear. After handily defeating the bugbear, Lucien and Sindri were opposed to fighting the bears. Sindri was willing to let them go, but Lucien wanted to train them as pets. He proceeded to offer them food and befriend them until they were willing to follow the group back to camp.
While traveling the next day, Lucien continued to train the bears to “heel” as well as “charge!” Vharash also frequently tried to convince Lucien to give them a taste for gnome. After another uneventful day, the group set up camp again and had a rather uneventful night. The night was so uneventful the group began to wonder if the Sun was still moving around the earth.

On the third travel day since their meetin with Gharash, the group came across a small group of Sahuagins. After Lucien informed Sindri of how evil they are and Unk how challenging the battle will be, the group decided to put an end to their existence. The battle seems to be going well at first until the monsters manage to surround Unk. Although Sindri, Lucien and the bears are doing what they can to take them out, by the end of the battle, Unk is bleeding profusely and looks like he may fall with another well placed blow. Luckily, the monsters fall before they are capable of landing another attack.

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Gharash Meets Vharash

While searching the ruins of the Vrasuk encampment, the group finds a treasure chest full of magic items with a note from Grashnok thanking them for thinning the herd by taking out some of his weaker associates. Grashnok also reminds the group that he is looking forward to seeing them in Shadowmeade.

The group sets out to find shelter for the night. Lucien appears to have a lot on his mind, and insists on walking separately from the group. Sindri attempts to question him about Gharash’s new powers, but he seems not to even notice as he stares off into the forest.

With the battle over, and feeling a little less on edge, Sindri begins questioning Unk, who he still believes may be Gharash, about how he could begin wielding such powerful magic.
Sindri, “So… where did that new fighting style come from? That’s pretty powerful stuff.”
Unk, “I told you! This new sword is great!”

Sindri, somewhat skeptical that any sword could hold such powers, asks, "Really? It must be really impressive! Do you mind if I take a look at it? I’m always interested in learning about arcana.

Unk, expecting to have a little fun with the gnome, hands over his sword. Sindri takes a close look at the sword, and deciphers that the sword merely carries a Lifedrinker enchantment, hardly capable of producing the light show he saw earlier. Discovering the deception makes Sindri more skeptical of Unk’s claimed identity.

Sindri: “Wow! That is a really nice sword! It would have been really nice to have back when we were killing all those women and babies that kobold encampment!”
Unk: “Yea, you’re right! It would’ve been great to…”
Sindri exclaims, “Imposter! Who the hell are you really?” as he readies his implements, preparing for another battle.
Unk: “Hold on a second! Whoa there! Yes, yes, you caught me! I’m really, uhh… Vharash! Gharash’s twin brother!”
Sindri takes a step back, squints his eyes, turns his head sideways, and asks, “Well… if that’s so, why didn’t you just tell us right off? And where’s Gharash?!”
Unk: “Gharash said he wanted to devote himself to hunting the ‘Werebutterfly’ and asked me to take his place with you guys for a while. I thought it would be more entertaining if I just stepped in and let you guys be amazed for a while.”

Sindri, “It will be good to have someone around with a sense of humor! That Gharash just didn’t know how to take a joke, and he was always so serious. Say, what’s the deal with that tattoo on your arm though? I wouldn’t want to have one of those nasty things if I could help it! You may have taken this thing a bit too far.”

Unk explains, “Oh this? It’s just temporary. Since you figured me out, I guess it’s time I got rid of it,” as he covers the tattoo with his hand, pretending to rub it off. The tattoo disappears as he polymorphs his arm to a more natural state.
With Sindri’s concerns satisfied, the group continues on to set up shelter a few hours from the syndicate’s fort.

The next day, the group begins searching in ernest for the famed ruins, and comes across a small group of 3 gnolls and 2 centipedes. With the old ruse behind him, and the new ruse before him, Unk is free to show off his swordmage powers a bit, including one round where Sindri intentionally draws an attack from a centipede, allowing Unk to teleport to the monster, attack it, teleport it near the other centipede, and force it to attack its ally, giving Unk another free attack against said monster. Woe to any monsters who decide to attack Sindri or Lucien when Unk is pursuing them.

After a full day unsuccessfully searching for the ruins, the group sets up camp, and begins to rest. Just as the adventurers are falling asleep Sindri and Lucien are very suddenly awakened by an intense burning pain originating from the tattoos in their arms. Unk is startled awake and rolls his eyes. The pain is unlike any they have felt before, and the tattoos themselves are glowing with arcane energy. As the pain begins to reach a new height, the group is transported to a forest of trees older than even Lucien or Sindri have ever seen. They are unable to enjoy the splendor that surrounds them though as they are still writhing in pain.

Out of the distance, the true Gharash approaches the group and places his hands on Sindri and Lucien’s marks and the pain subsides. Gharash seems to have a peace and clarity about him that the group has never seen before. He explains that he has met the All Mother and she has removed Grash’Nok’s mark from him and granted him new wisdom. As Sindri exclaims that he is really excited to meet Gharash’s brother, Gharash gives Unk a powerful stare, reverting him to his true changeling form. Sindri is shocked, but still more amazed at Gharash’s transformation and his surroundings.

He tells the group that they must seek out the challenge that awaits them in Shadowmeade to prove that they are worthy before they can be free of their burdens. Unk, laughs that he won’t have any trouble proving himself anywhere, and he’s been saying they should go there all along. He then quickly jibes Gharash about his butterfly hunt. Gharash responds that the challenge may not be a physical battle, and intermittently removes his hand from Sindri, allowing the pain to return, as he explains that he’s aware of the butterfly prank. Gharash and Unk exchange a few more words with Unk growing more arrogant with each turn, and Gharash eventually transports Unk back to the forest. After Gharash has finally told the remaining two all he is able to tell them, he transports them back to their campsite.
Upon arriving back at the campsite, Sindri is anxious to confront the changeling again to find out what is really going on, and notices that there is a dwarf wearing Unk’s armor sleeping in his place…

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Lucien's Slaugher

Unk, in Gharash form, and Lucien continue traveling through the forest toward the Vrasuk encampment and by chance come upon a very short orc, who is also traveling toward the encampment. After a quick double-take, Lucien realizes that the orc is simply SIndri wearing a Hat of Disguise.

The group spends a few moments recounting the past events including how Sindri came to be captured by the orcs, and the battles that “Gharash” and Lucien encountered on their way to find Sindri. Sindri questions the sudden change in Gharash’s gear (sword and leather armor), and accepts Unk’s explanation that it is all to make him more nimble and capable of engaging the butterflies. Sindri thinks his response is very odd, but attributes it to Gharash’s degrading mental state. Sindri takes his usual traveling position in Lucien’s bag of holding and the group continues on toward the encampment.

As the group continues through the forest, they discuss how much they are looking forward to laying waste to an entire Vrasuk encampment, and hopefully getting some answers regarding their tattoos. Each member describes in detail how they are anticipating nailing an extraordinary kill. The conversation reaches a quiet point as the group comes around a bend in the path they are following, and they notice Vrasuk symbols on the side of a small fort, which is surrounded by abatis on all sides. As if the conversation leading up to the had not gotten Lucien’s adrenaline going enough, the symbols sent him into a blind rage.

He immediately releases two arrows and drops the two guards at the nearest entrance before they can alert the others to the oncoming storm. Lucien then silently charges the fortification with an alarmed and confused Sindri riding along in his bag. He pulls a glass bottle of lamp oil from his bag, lights it, and tosses it over the wall onto the nearest building. He then runs around to the next entrance, firing flaming arrows and tossing more molotov cocktails into other buildings. The entire fort was quickly ablaze and full of confused orcs scrambling to figure out what is going on and ready for battle. The group quickly took care of the first wave of smaller orcs, and had little trouble with the second wave of slightly larger orcs. (there were also a few points where Sindri was very confused by the weird attacks from “Gharash”)

After the group utterly defeated the encampment, Sindri and Lucien restrained and questioned their leader. Each unsatisfactory answer, of which there were many, was rewarded with a lost finger. The leader did not know where Grish’Nak . Unfortunately, he proved to be mostly useless except that torturing him provided a bit of entertainment, though Unk said that the torture was “boring” and he wanted to move on. The leader did not know where grishnak was (snip AAAGGGHHH). He said he only captured Sindri to be able to see the chosen ones for himself (snip AARRGGHH) And to gain favor with Grish’Nak (snip AAAAAAHHHHH) He also said the tattoos were simply to mark us as belonging to Grish’Nak (snip WAAAH) All of the dismemberment and torture had become a bore to Unk and he decided to end it by removing a final appendage – the shaman’s head, but Lucien beat him to it by lighting the shaman on fire and left him to burn to death.

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Gnomenapped

After helping Lucien retrieve the Dragonkin, Sindri informs the group of the ruins that may be out to the west, and of the Orc encampment in the same direction. He tells them that he would rather go to the ruins than the encampment, but the other two are more concerned with going after the orcs. With a sad look on his face, Sindri agrees to meet the other two outside of the southern gate in the morning and then heads off to stay at the nicest inn the small town has to offer (which isn’t saying too much). Sindri hangs around the inn’s bar for a while, chatting up the locals, trying to get them to be more green (reuse wood for construction, recycle paper, etc.), telling jokes, performing simple magic tricks, and flirting with the ladies. He has a few of them buying him drinks, but he isn’t really interested in any of the giant human women. After having a few drinks, he starts feeling a little light-headed, realizes how late it is, and that he has a long day ahead of him tomorrow traveling to the next town.

He bids the patrons goodnight, goes to his room and tries to get some sleep, but his curiosity about the ruins keeps him thoroughly awake. Just as he has just about convinced himself that he’s going to go on without the other two (why does he need them anyway, he’s done quite well on his own up til now), when he looks out the window and sees a large werebutterfly, which looks exactly as Sindri did earlier, going down the street in the darkness with a Dragonkin chasing behind.

Sindri pinches himself to make sure he’s actually awake, and once he’s sure he’s not dreaming, he hastily packs his things I don’t see why not and gives pursuit, questioning his sanity the entire time. The werebutterfly stays ahead of the dragonkin the entire way out of town and off toward the west, when the creature begins to slow down. Sindri thinks to himself that it almost looks as though it wants to be caught by Gharash, because it keeps looking back over its shoulder and Sindri could swear he saw it smiling. It doesn’t take long for the dragonkin to overtake the creature, but it’s at this point that Sindri is caught unawares by two large Orcs. They bind his hands and feet, but before they can gag him, he’s able to yell for help once. However, when he looks up he only sees the Dragonkin heading back toward town with a sword in hand and wearing leather armor, completely oblivious to the gnome’s cry for help. Sindri wonders to himself, “Sword and leather armor? What about that nasty hammer and his death-cut stuff? That doesn’t seem right.” The orcs begin heading west with Sindri in tow.

Sindri teleports to a tree about 25 feet away, hides behind it, and uses shadow walk to further conceal himself while he listens to see if the Orcs give any indication as to why the Syndicate would want to recapture him after letting the group go in Fallcrest. The Orcs are completely unaware of where Sindri disappeared to, and he overhears them saying to each other, “Boss is going to kill us if we don’t bring him the chosen ones!” “Yeah, we’d better grab him so we can lure the others!” After hearing this, he uses ghost sounds to make taunting sounds of him fleeing, “Ha-ha! You’ll never catch me stupid orcs! <step>” in the direction of their encampment.

As the orcs quickly run in the direction of the yelling, Sindri blasts his bindings with Eldritch energy to free himself and runs after the two orcs. The orcs run for a few hundred feet and stop as they can’t see any sign of Sindri. Sindri catches them off guard by attacking from the shadows using eyebite to make himself invisible to them alternately. As they are getting close to locating him, he deals a death blow to them. He takes the hat of disguise to make himself look like a midget orc, and continues toward the base.

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Chasing Butterflies 2

In true small town fashion, the rumor that the Dragonkin is a member of the syndicate spreads quickly. Before he’s even finished drinking at the bar, almost the entire town “knows” of his involvement; even patrons of the bar. And so before long, Gharash had more drinks in front of him than he knew what to do with. All the while he was thinking that they where just happy that he saved them from the butterfly menace.

After selling off the gems, Sindri wanders around town trying to gather further intel. At first hears nothing but random gossip, of which there was plenty (Dynenemsere is quite a hussy, Zeimack is quite the ladies’ man, Dynech had his shop ransacked because he couldn’t afford the protection fee, etc.), but after a little while he began hearing some more substantive information. He talks to someone who was on his way to Shadowmeade to take part in a contest of skill taking place there. The prize of which, he said, is rumored to be of enormous value. While talking to a stableboy, Sindri also discovers more about The Syndicate operating in the area. There is a fortified encampment of orcs to the west of the town where The Syndicate members stay. Sadak is their leader in the area, and spends most of his time at the camp or in the surrounding areas. On occasion, he travels to Shadowmeade, where he meets with the leaders of the other local bands of the Syndicate. Sindri then wanders into an eccentric looking shop filled with all sorts of ancient and arcane trinkets. He talks for a bit with the store owner and finds that there’s rumored to be some ancient ruins somewhere in the area to the west; though there are varying stories of it’s precise location. The store owner perks up and tells Sindri, “some say it’s only a days travel, and others say it’s just shy of a week away. No one has verified the existence of these ruins, because no one can seem to find them. Those that have claimed to see any sort of ruins say that they were just traveling along when, without their realizing it, they were in a section of woods that seemed to be incredibly ancient. The trees, they say, are bigger around than most houses they’ve seen, and that there’s a soothing feeling radiating throughout the forest. Some travelers say they saw large statues off in the distance, but they were never very sure, and the next thing the travelers knew, they were more or less in the same area they were at before visiting that ancient forest.” Sindri notices that there’s a sort of nostalgic look to the old man’s eyes, and begins cheerfully thinking to himself that he might find some relation to Ela there.

Once Sindri gets the impression that he’s gotten all the information he can from the townsfolk, he begins to spread some rumors himself, just to liven things up a bit. The first rumor is that the syndicate was responsible for the mayor’s murder in Fallcrest. The second rumor is of a horrible, multi-colored, winged monster terrorizing the country side. Sindri has seen a huge dragonborn and mysterious elf valiantly pursuing it. Mere men should stay clear of it though as the sight of it has been known to drive people mad. And before he knows it, Sindri begins hearing the very rumors he began spreading. He silently pats himself on the back.

As Sindri is wandering around, he sees Gharash stagger out of a bar supported by a rather large fellow (though not when compared to Gharash), who hands Gharash a bag which appears to be full of coins and points him towards the inn. It’s at this point that Sindri gets an idea that he feels to be the best he’s had in a while. He gets in touch with Lucien over the sending stones and informs him that the butterfly menace has been spotted in the town, near the west gate. He dons his Hat O’ Disguise and takes on the form of a were-butterfly looking creature.

After having destroyed a few tables and other furnishings of the bar while protecting it from the evil butterfly menace, Gharash is very kindly shown the way to the nearest inn. Gharash thanks his new friend and begins on his way toward the inn, when all of a sudden he hears a loud booming voice echoing throughout the town. “SO THIS IS THEFEARLESSWARRIOR WHO KILLS MY CHILDREN?! PREPARE TO DIE, FILTHY DRAGONKIN!” Gharash looks around to see the source of the loud voice, when his eyes land on a creature he can only describe as a werebutterfly. He cries out in response, “I will put a stop to this once and for all! I’ve been hounded long enough by your kind!” as he begins charging after the werebutterfly. Having seen him coming, the werebutterfly begins running/flying (Gharash can’t quite tell) away, and Gharash gives pursuit all the way out of town into the west woods. Just as Gharash is about to overtake the monster, it disappears, and Gharash’s legs feel paralyzed for a moment. As he struggles to regain movement, Sindri and Lucien run up behind him. They congratulate him on getting so close to catching the butterfly. Lucien tells him that, unfortunately, it must have some serious teleporting powers because it is no longer on his butterfly radar.

Giving each other an amused look, they lead the drunken and somewhat befuddled Gharash back to town. On the way back to town, Gharash continously mutters about how he must defeat the winged menace in order to keep the town safe. He also blames himself for always letting them continue get away, just when he has almost caught up to them.

Sindri informs the group of the nearby Syndicate encampment, and of the ruins rumored to be in the area. Sindri excitedly says, “I’m just as much in favor of getting revenge on the Syndicate anybody, but these ruins sound awesome! I mean… the werebutterfly would probably be hiding there. Butterflies like trees.”

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Chasing Butterflies

Lucien says that he wants to tan the hides from the crocodiles, and Gharash needs time to tend to the wounds incurred from the crocodile fight so the group finds a nice grassy knoll on which to rest. Sindri grows bored watching Lucien work and Gharash rest, and decides that a practical joke would help lift the group’s spirit. He sees that Gharash is beginning to fall asleep, and creates the sound of several warriors charging at him from behind. Gharash is startled awake, jumps up with hammer in hand, poised to strike, and lets out a ferocious roar, but quickly notices that there is no impending battle. He looks back, puzzled, at the other two, who respond with quizzical looks. Lucien’s keen elf perception had allowed him to notice Sindri’s actions, and the two snickered as Gharash tried to fall relax again. A few minutes later, as Gharash had began to relax and convince himself that it must have just been a dream, the sounds came again. Gharash again sprung into action, ready to destroy whatever any foes that would dare confront him, but as he held his hammer ready to strike, the only living thing nearby was a butterfly that came to perch on his hammer. Gharash shooed it away, looked back at the other two, who were by this time standing next to each other, giving him the same raised eye brow. Lucien smirked, “Great job fending off that killer butterfly, gigantor!” This went on for an hour or two, and Sindri would occasionally let Gharash get a decent nap in before waking him (or driving him further from sanity.) For some reason though, the butterflies seemed to be attracted to Gharash’s hammer. Finally, after being woken about a dozen times, something snapped in Gharash when the butterfly landed on his hammer… for the last time. Gharash quickly swung his hammer down into the ground, obliterating the butterfly. A few bits of it’s guts and wings remained on the hammer as he pulled it from the soft ground. “Finally! Maybe I can get some rest from these damn butterflies!!”, he exclaimed and went back to sleep. After seeing the sudden change in Gharash’s demeanor, Sindri and Lucien decided that maybe that was enough, and they should give their companion a rest before they did any permanent damage.

A few moments later, Lucien noticed the swamp was moving in an odd way. He was slightly suspicious that Sindri might be having a go at him, but looked back to see Sindri studying some nearby trees and paying no attention to the swamp. When Lucien looked back at the swamp, three mud monsters oozed out of the muck. Lucien yelled to draw Sindri and Gharash’s attention, and Gharash was once again awakened by the sounds of battle. However, this time he saw Sindri and Lucien were finally joining the fight. Gharash surveyed the battle field and charged at the most fearful, dangerous, foe he could find, The Great Monarch Butterfly! It stood at seven feet tall with a twenty foot wingspan. Unfortunately, it was only visible to Gharash. He chased it around the knoll, swinging wildly with his hammer. Although he was able to destroy some of its minions, the giant insect somehow managed to elude his blows. “It must have magical powers obscuring it from me!”, thought Gharash. Meanwhile, Sindri and Lucien are covered in mud and slowly losing ground to the oncoming attackers. After the minions were vanquished, the cowardly Monarch teleported away. Unable to pursue his new nemesis, Gharash joined the group to help in defeating the mud monsters.

After the battle, the group continued toward Summerbridge and set up camp for the night. In order to quell the Gigantor’s fears and hopefully aid the party in getting some rest that night, Lucien informed Gharash that he has “Magical Butterfly Radar” that allowed him to alert the group of any Demon Butterflies that may be approaching. But this was in vain, for Gharash still hallucinates a few butterflies during the night, wakes the group, who tell him to go back to bed. In the morning, Gharash sees The Great Monarch Butterfly and runs most of the way to Summerbridge before regaining his sanity.

The group finally arrives at Summerbridge, and encounters a guard who says they look suspiciously like three suspected murderers from Fallcrest. Sindri attempts to bluff his way into the town, but fails miserably, naming their home as a town in the wrong direction. When the guard confronts the trio about his suspicions, Gharash quickly steps up to defend them and finally intimidates the guard into letting them in.

The group separates to gather information and finds that most people in the town do not suspect that the murderers are in town. Gharash attempts to gather information in the more seedy part of town and after having no luck gathering intel, ends up at a nearby pub. Unfortunately, after a few drinks his sanity starts to waiver. A man walked into the pub wearing a cloak that looked like, to the mentally unstable and slightly drunk dragonkin, that it was a large butterfly attacking the poor gentleman. Seeking to protect the innocent man, Gharash charged to the rescue, ripping the attacking insect off the man and then proceeded to beat it to death. The locals in the bar, who had drank more than their fair share, cheered on the fighter as he saved the day.

Sindri takes some of their gems to a jeweler where he learns of the local syndicate, and how they are hated by local shopkeepers for extorting “protection money.” The shopkeeper comments that the infamous scourge-of-butterflies dragonborn might be syndicate member and Sindri jokes that he could be one. Why else would someone kill a harmless little butterfly? The jeweler believes him and begins spreading rumors and most of the town believes that the famous scourge of the butterflies dragon is a syndicate member.

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