Fall of Vrazuk

Introductions and first combat
oh dear

Sindri traveled to Fallcrest after hearing word that the town was having trouble with kobolds. In order to restore his honor, Gharash came to the town in search of more information on the Syndicate, while Lucen traveled to Fallcrest in search of revenge against an Orc named Grashnok.
Sindri begins asking around and ends up speaking with the mayor. The mayor tells him that there is a dwarf mine, Coppernight Hold, started by Kavalar Coppernight, and the mayor has sent 2 Mercenaries to investigate some trouble at the mine. They found it had been overrun with kobolds. Sindri loves killing kobolds. He accepts a map from the mayor who directs him to the Nenevar Inn where Sindri finds a drunk dragonborn.
Gharash, who had spent the entire day unsuccessfully trying to find information regarding the Syndicate, was enjoying having more than a few drinks at his inn, which was not an easy task for a being his size. After several hours, he started hearing an annoying child-like voice coming from somewhere near him. After a moment, a small gnome, jumped on the table in front of him demanding assistance in killing kobolds. Since Gharash was wanting to get back to his drinking and was generally annoyed by the pesty gnome, he demanded 5000gp to help, knowing that no one in their right mind would accept that offer. Sindri, being annoyed at the dragonborn’s ridiculous offer, begins intimidating him with threats of everlasting mental anguish if he does not accept his offer of 100gp. Since Gharash was very impaired by his night of drinking, he succamb to the threats of Sindri and agreed to join him on mission. Afterall, he was nearly broke and some money was better than none.
As they discuss their plans to attack the mine, they are approached by a cloaked ranger wearing a mask to hide his face. He is interested in helping with the attack on Coppernight in exchange for help taking down a local half-orc mobster, Grashnok. Gharash agrees to allow the ranger to join the group as he himself is also interested in taking down the same syndicate, but he still does not trust the ranger and is unhappy about splitting the loot 3 ways. Sindri is still wary but has sympathy after hearing that Lucen’s family was also tragically murdered by Grashnok’s goons. Sindri agrees to give up his share of any gold found in the lieu of payment for the ranger’s help.
The next day, the group follows the map to the mine where they encounter a group of kobolds and several minions guarding the mine. The group fairly easily defeats the kobolds with the last remaining one fleeing.
Highlights

While Sindri teleports over the fence surrounding the mine and Lucen is able to fire arrows over or through it, Gharash is without an elegant method of reaching the kobolds to damage them. He decides the shortest distance from point A to B is a straight line and charges the fence, smashing through it, roaring in draconic what Sindri and Lucen believe translates roughly to “OH, YEAH!”

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The Dragon, the Witch, and the Passageway

Sindri foolishly rushes down the hole after the fleeing kobold while the others clear the area above. The group moves through the hole clearing the area until they come upon a statue. Lucien notices some small creatures hiding behind the statue and relays that information to the rest of the group. Gharash decides to charge the statue in an attempt to knock it over and crush the creatures while lucen fires an sunrod-arrow above the enemy group. Gharash roars his battle cry and the attack is successful. Four enemies are crushed. The remaining enemies are stunned.
A wyrmpriest infuriated gharash by hitting him with a cold attack. Gharash uses all his might and proceeds to heave the statue on top of the wyrmpriest. The kobolds and minions pee their pants.

One kobold has played dead throughout the battle, but after the action has settled down, Lucen notices he is still breathing. Sindri began to interrogate the kobold:
Sindri: Looks like we got a possum over here! Let’s see if he wants to chat. Now, besides you, we know there’s another scaley patrol here somewhere. And if they had any “special” help, that’d put our lives in danger. Now if you ever want to see another living member of your tribe again, you gotta tell us what we’re up against. How many there are, and what kind of weapons they have, and any magic they might have at their disposal.

Kobold: You’ve got to be joking! I wouldn’t do anything to put kobold lives in danger!
Sindri: This is no joke! I need to know why you’re here, who else is here, and where the dwarves are or I’ll have my dragon buddy bash your brains in with that big hammer. He just got a new one and he’s really enjoying trying it out on your kind.
Kobold: Your offer is tempting, but I will have to respectfully refuse.
Sindri: I was sort of hoping you’d say that! Watching your head explode on the side of this cave is going to be most fun I’ve had in a long while.

Gharash crushed the heads of one of the kobold’s fallen comrades under his feet on his slow approach toward his target, softly pushed the face of his hammer against the kobold’s jaw, and as drew back his hammer and roared, the kobold screamed, “WAIT! STOP!” The kobold told the group that there is another room ahead with lots of other kobolds. They are being lead by a baby white dragon, Puff, that gathered them there to aid in attacking the town. Also, there is a witch that has been seen conversing with the dragon. All the dwarven survivors are being held prisoner somewhere in the mine. The kobold also tells them of a passage that they were trying to find in the mine.

Sindri: Now, we’re going to let you go, but I imagine you won’t want to tell anyone you spilled the beans to some little gnome. So I gotta give you something to make sure you and your friends never forget what happened.

Sindri carved the symbol of Garl Glittergold, arch enemy of kobolds, into the kobold’s chest.
Lucen noticed a crack in the wall where Gharash knocked the statue into the wall. Lucen could see through the crack. Gharash repeatedly attempted to bash a hole in the wall until he made a hole big enough for the other adventurers to pass through.
The group discovered stairs on the other side of the hole, and believes this to be the passageway the kobold was referring to. Sindri was at first reluctant to take a break from the pursuit of kobolds, but Lucen convinced him that any treasure a dragon would be seeking must be very good and would probably help them more easily take down the kobolds. The adventurers followed the stairs down, down, down. Sindri defeated an arrow trap they found at the bottom of the stairs and the group proceeeded to a room with text in a strange language around the door.

They discovered a room that had obviously been used for rituals. The room has fallen columns, a crumbling altar, and a pool that gave the adventurers a warm fuzzy and provided a view of an alleyway in fallcrest. While looking for loot, the group found some stones speaking dwarven that mentioned the name of Kavalar Coppernight. The stones are sending stones that allow the group to communicate with the captured dwarves. They find out that the syndicate is involved with the kobolds, and the witch is Shadar-Kai.

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Imprisoned

The group returns to the statue room where the previous battle took place. They decide to go after the dragon, and Gharash smashes the door to the room in, charges in and starts smacking kobolds while Lucen is firing arrows. Sindri runs in behind and wills a group of five kobolds to attack the dragon. The dragon is far too high and their attacks all miss, they scream out in agony as their attacks miss. Half of them hemorrhage blood from their eyes and fall dead. As the battle continues the group hears cries of agony, which they believe to be from the captive dwarves, from the opposite end of the hall.

Sindri is incensed at hearing the screams of the dwarf and charges the nearest kobold screaming, “You will regret this you bastards!” As the kobold attacks the warlock, Sindri disappears and the kobold winces in pain from Sindri’s curse. Sindri reappears on the opposite side of the room and attempts to open the door, which he finds is locked. He turns around and blasts eldritch energy at the kobold that attacked him and it is vaporized. As the battle continues, Sindri demands the nearest kobold tell him where to find the key to the room. The kobold cries that he has no idea and falls to the ground dead.

After the fall of several kobolds, Gharash slowly made his way to the dragon, only to find it out of reach. Enraged by the cowardice of the dragon hovering above him, he begins shouting insult after insult at it. In a reply, the dragon flies a little closer and takes a deep breath. As the group prepares for the worst, their fears are relieved as the dragon only manages to produce a small snowball, which misses everyone completely. After being mocked by Gharash for his pitiful excuse for an attack, it finally descends to the ground to physically attack the fighter. Unfortunately for the beast, it did not stand much of a chance as Gharash easily blocked and dodged it’s attacks. Enraged by his hatred for the evil beast, Gharash retaliated with two mighty blows, nearly slaying it. As he prepares for the final blow, two arrows skillfully whiz past him and hit the dragon, striking it in it’s heart and killing it instantly.

Sindri searches the room for a key while Lucien watches the door for more enemies. A Shadar-Kai witch opens the door where the dwarven screams were coming from, covered in blood. She stares at the adventurers as their attacks fly past her. Gharash lands a successful blow that brings cheers from the group until they realize the witch shrugs off the damage.
After a long while of slowly whittling the witch down, Grash-Nok enters the room, and tells her that her play time is over. The witch protests but finally relents. Gharash and Lucen are both enraged at the sight of their nemesis. Gharash charges him but Grash-Nok knocks him out before he has a chance to land an attack. Lucen fires arrow after arrow until the room is overwhelmed with orc soldiers who restrain him.

Grash-Nok says “You have all turned out so well. My plans are coming to fruition”
The witch ran back into the room where she had been torturing the dwarves.

The group awakens paralyzed and naked in the floor of the statue room. Grash-Nok brands a symbol similar to tiamat symbol (beholder looking) into the right hand of all three adventurers, which he tells them will serve as a reminder that they belong to him now and forever. He then tosses the group into the portal in the arcane room from earlier, and they land in an alleyway in Fallcrest.

The group is discovered by a guard who clothes them and offers them a drink. The guard obliges their request to see the mayor. The group notices something odd a man standing with the mayor. The man tells them he will enjoy watching them fight as gladiators in Shadowmeade, and several guards restrain them and they are taken to a jail cell.

The group has a few moments to rest inside the cell and decides they must escape. Sindri curses a rat and uses it to teleport out of the cell, steals the guard’s keys, and frees the other two. The group unlocks the door to their cell block and Gharash grabs the guard by the throat, throws him against the wall, and questions him. The guard knows very little except that the man with the mayor was carrying a chest of unknown contents.

The group decides to try getting their gear back before searching for Grash-Nok. They sneak their way out of the jail and into the mayor’s office where they find a note from Grash-Nok that says he is pleased with how the group is turning out and hopes to see them in Shadow-Meade, a very large town northeast of Fallcrest.

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Three Days and Two Nights of Poo

The group ransacks the mayor’s office, and finds a hidden room behind a bookshelf. While they are searching the room, they hear footsteps coming up the stairs, which are at the opposite end of the hall. The group hides in the secret room to avoid being captured again. A servant enters the room to discover the dead mayor, screams in terror and quickly leaves to fetch the guards. The group takes an opportunity to escape and exits the building unnoticed. They decide it is best to leave town before someone suspects they had a hand in disposing of the mayor.
The group heads east from the town, towards the nearest small town in the direction of Shadow-Meade. On their journey they come across an abandoned non-gingerbread cottage. Sindri peers in the window, but only sees dusty and broken furniture. He is reluctant to enter, but convinces Lucien to enter the cottage where he discovers a diary containing a treasure map. The group follows the map and Gharash uses his shield to dig up some treasure, which is mostly random trinkets but also a few poos.

Lucien sets up camp for the night and does an incredible job camouflaging the camp. Unfortunately, his lunch did not agree with him, and he is very gassy. Sindri and Gharash worry that their camp may be found simply by following the poo smell. During his watch Gharash hears a small group of men approaching. He wakes Sindri and Lucien, who sneak off to investigate. Deciding it is better to not draw any more attention to themselves, Sindri creates an illusionary sound of some travellers in the distance trying to escape. The men quickly run off after the sound, and Lucien follows them to insure they continue away from the group’s camp.
While travelling the next day, the group comes across a fallen pillar with arcane runes similar to the those they found in the mine and on some of their equipment. The entire area has a feint magic aura but they find nothing of interest except a few pieces of poo.

Later in the evening, the adventurers come across a small group of kobolds. Sindri feels it has been too long since he has tormented a kobold, and sneaks closer to their camp to have some fun. He uses his arcane powers to force one kobold to push the other into the fire and make the other retaliate. While the burning kobold is frantically beating himself to extinguish his flaming clothing and cursing the other for pushing him in the fire, Lucien lets loose an arrow which pokes through the face of the non-burnt kobold and drops him… into a pile of his own poo. The remaining kobold, still smouldering, runs screaming to his tent to hide. Lucien fires a flaming arrow to set the tent ablaze, and the kobold screams again as he flees the tent only to be confronted by Gharash charging at him roaring “Oh yeah!” Gharash’s hammer connects with the kobold on the upswing which sends him flying twenty feet, followed by a trail of flame, smoke, and poo. Sindri makes a wish on the shooting kobold that they would find some more playmates. Sindri carves Garl Glittergold’s symbol in the chest of the intact kobold’s corpse.

Later in the day, the adventurers find another group of three kobolds digging a hole. The adventurers make quick work of this group, knocking them into their hole as they fall. Gharash searches the hole in hopes of finding something of value, but discovers only poo. However, he finds a horned helm in the bag of miscellaneous junk they were carrying. It also bears symbols similar to the bag of holding and handy haversack from the mine.

While sleeping, the group is awakened by more kobolds! Gharash charges after one kobold, impales him on his horned helm, and flings the corpse toward Sindri. Lucien fires a perfect shot, which splits the remaining kobold. Unfazed now by the regular encounters with kobolds, the group easily returns to sleep and wakes the next morning to travel a whole day without event.

After crossing a shallow stream, the group hopes to finally get a good night’s rest and sets up their camp for the night near a tall tree. Lucien is in the tree, Gharash beside it, and Sindri underneath. The group is once again awakened by the sound of kobold voices, but this time, upon investigation, they find 33 kobolds marching by! Gharash is furious! He will never get a good night’s rest! He charges at a tree to knock it on top of them, killing five instantly. Sindri and Lucien pick them off a few at a time, but the battle is going too slowly and they want to get some rest! Gharash acids the forest, hurting a few more and weakening a few trees. Lucien fires flaming arrows into the trees amongst the pack and the fire begins to spread to the kobolds. As they try to escape the fire, Sindri creates a maniacal ghostly laugh in the midst of the group, mocking them. The final two kobolds surrender, and Lucien, unaware of the surrender hobbles one kobold by shooting him in the leg. Sindri is a bit closer to the action and realizes the kobolds have surrendered, but beams with joy as he runs after the remaining kobold who has chosen to flee. Gharash is angered that Sindri would kill a surrendered foe, but Sindri exclaims, “None of my family was spared when these monsters came to slaughter everyone I ever knew! I will not suffer a single one to live unless he is forced to carry my memory with him to others.” Sindri questions the remaining hobbled kobold and finds out that the pack was headed to a kobold encampment nearby. He marks the kobold with Glittergold’s symbol and sends him running in the direction opposite the encampment. The group is forced to set up a new camp upwind from the battlefield as the stench of all the poo released from the kobold corpses is overwhelming.

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Sindri's Slaugher

The group finds the kobold encampment, but instead of soldiers the only kobolds that remain are a few grown male cooks, some mothers, and a few children. Sindri sneaks around to the entrance of the tent where they are eating, and observes them unnoticed from the shadows. Sindri watches the parents playing with their children and sees the joy they are experiencing together, and he is filled with a blinding rage as the memories of the day his family was tortured and slaughtered replay in his mind. He has flashbacks to the days when he played with his brothers and sisters and enjoyed time with his parents. Without thinking, acting nearly totally on emotion, he slides the family members all near each other and mentally forces the parents to attack their children. The children who are able to avoid their parents’ attacks watch in horror as the adults reel in pain with blood seeping from their eyes and noses. However, the parents who do manage to strike their children are met with a worse fate. They can only watch in horror as they kill their children with their own bare hands. As Sindri blasts one of the remaining children, Gharash yells for Sindri to stop taking innocent defenseless lives. Sindri is completely oblivious to what the dragonborn is saying but notices him quickly enough to dodge out of the way as he charges at him. Sindri kills another child as

Gharash charges back at him, but this time his shield connects and knocks Sindri to the ground. Before Sindri can recover, Gharash stands over him with one foot on his chest.
Gharash: “What are you doing?!”
Sindri: “This is justice!”
Gharash: “By killing women and children?!”
Sindri: “Yes. They came, unprovoked, to slaughter my family and everyone I ever knew, and now they will pay!”

Sindri fires another Eldritch Blast at a child and teleports across the room. The remaining kobold parents sit helpless in the room, holding their children’s lifeless bodies in their hands, and completely in shock at the horrible act they have just committed. Gharash flings a table past Sindri as he blasts another child. Outside, Lucien begins to wonder what is taking so long and decides to flush the battle out of the tent by firing two flaming arrows at the tent. Gharash charges through the room and swings at Sindri with his hammer and connects a mighty blow. Sindri seems to disappear from existence. Gharash looks around the room, thinking that perhaps Sindri has finally retreated when he hears one of the remaining parents gasp in pain and gush blood as Sindri reappears with the kobold impaled on his short sword. Sindri yells, “Your race does not deserve to live! I will wipe out your entire existence!” and smiles at the kobold as it falls off his sword.

Gharash roars, “If you won’t stop this, then I will!” as he charges again and lands a solid blow, drawing blood this time. Sindri’s blood mixes with the kobold’s as it leaks from his wounds.

He continues to ignore the beating he is taking from his comrade, turns to stab the second parent, and exclaims, “Burn in hell!” Gharash’s eyes are beginning to sting as smoke fills the tent, and his next attack fails to land. Sindri rips the last child from his parents’ leg, holds it by its tail with the face directly in front of the parent, says “Your bloodline ends here!” and explodes the head with another Eldritch Blast. Sindri uses that final soul to teleport out of the tent and runs into the forest to heal his wounds, leaving the remaining parent to die an agonizing death in the fire. As he is escaping, he hears the mournful cries of the parent, and he is again reminded of the day his family was slaughtered. Lucien arrives at the tent’s entrance and is unaware of the events that have transpired. He is slightly confused that Sindri would leave a kobold alive, but fires an arrow, ending its life. The rain comes down harder as Gharash exits the tent. He roars in frustration, and smashes his hammer into the soft ground.

Lucien follows Sindri into the forest to keep an eye on him. Sindri stops to rest near a tree, catching his breath and contemplating the massacre that he just committed. As he is wondering just what differentiates him from the kobolds that he so despises, Elah appears to him as a vision, and congratulates him on a job well done. She says she is thankful for the bounty of souls he has brought her in the past days, and offers him the Rod of Reaving that was stolen from him by Grash-Nok as a token of her gratitude. The last few seemed particularly young and strong. Sindri graciously accepts the praise, and reassures himself that his acts were just. A few more moments pass. Sindri tends to his wounds, and returns to the encampment. He finds the corpse of the oldest kobold and carves Glittergold’s symbol into his chest as a sign to any other kobolds who travel here.

Gharash has had some time to cool off, but there is still tension between he and Sindri. They do not look at each other, but Gharash sighs and says to Lucien, “Let’s go. Nothing else can be done here.”

As the group continues traveling, they came into a swamp and encounter three crocodiles. Lucien attempt to calm and move around them, but they attack Gharash (he is the only one in the water.) One manages to latch onto his leg. Sindri and Lucien attack from a distance, and manage to take out two of the animals before Gharash finally kills the last.

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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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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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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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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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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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