Barrier Campaign

Chapter 21
Island of the Lost, Part I

After a long and uneventful sea voyage, the fleet made it to the Island of the Lost. Scouts were sent out to explore the various parts of the Island, the party being among them. The party made a long trip across forests and mountains, being harassed by ogres, goblins, and reptiles of various types… and let’s not forget those owlbears. After a month of hiking, the party managed to make it back to the relative safety of the ships. There they learned that not all of the scouts sent out have returned home.

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Chapter 18
Oaths, Secrets, and Pacts

After the shenanigans at the Tebarian estate; Li Thun, Barrowe Gateway, & Alf Schumway woke up alone and chained to the floor of a very well kept and completely un-smelly dungeon. They were interrogated by a handsome elderly gentlemen by the name of Papa Jacob Yardley. The party had been captured by the town guards after the Tebarian incident and been remanded to the custody of the Imperials at the Fortress of Zamberlay. After some polite questions from the Imperial investigator Jacob, the truth about what happened at the estate was discovered. Though Jacob believed their story, it seemed that nobody else did. The townsfolk were out for blood and the parties’ version of events was outlandish, especially so since all of the evidence supporting their claim had vanished and the witness who might have backed them up where either lying on death’s door or had just simply vanished.
Jacob tells the party not to give up hope as their is a deal to be had. He takes Li, Barrowe, & Alf to the hospital wing to visit their recently awakened associate Ronan. Searching for Styl who was still in a coma proved more difficult as he had been mysteriously moved by orders from the General of Zamberlay. A quick but powerful magic spell by Jacob lead the him and the party down into the underground storage areas inside the fortress. Just as the party approached what they believed to be their lost party member, a terrible noise and an explosion rocked the room ahead. They rushed forward expecting a battle or at least a monster, but instead found only Styl, barely awake and attempting to stand. The lifeless bodies of the General and four guards lie amidst the Puppet Master rune in the center of the floor. It appears their ritual did not go according to plan.
Acting quickly, Jacob lead the party to a storage room where the parties’ belongings were being held. In quick order, Jacob produced a bound demon (a Fallen King) and asked the party to swear a most inconvenient oath in the name of Jungen Thul. The party accepted the oath (except Styl, whom the demon refused to let participate) and re-equipped themselves. Now having a very urgent and time sensitive mission to perform.. to acquire one of the Puppet Masters and deliver them to Firehold.
Secret doors, some overland travel, magical wards… they found the place where one of the Masters was hiding. The assault went… well, I suppose? They did however manage to take all the human puppets alive, but the Master escaped. After a long journey through forest, field, swamp, and a brief encounter with a tree; the party tracked her to Middlevale, barely an hour behind her. Through the diplomacy of money, they bought some information. The assault upon the safehouse was done with an equal amount of precision as the assault the previous assault, though with positive results this time. The Puppet Master surrendered herself to your custody and you began the long trip to Firehold.
The trip went without incident… unless you count the battle between huge armies of flying bugs, birds, and beast (some of whom were undead). After reaching Firehold, they were greeted warmly by the King who gave them a handsome reward and “asked” them to stay at Firehold while they interrogate the prisoner and got to the bottom of this Puppet Master nonsense. Our story begins after the party has had an extended rest (5 days should be marked on the calendar). The party let it be known that they would welcome the opportunity to strike at these Puppet Masters, and so we begin…

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Chapter 17
The incident at the Tebarian Estate

Last Session:
Acting upon intelligence receive by a friendly tribe of Bullywogs, you located what you believed to be a Puppet Master base of operations, deep within the heart of the city of Mast, the estate of the Tebarian clan. Questions were asked, locations scouted, and a plan was formed. The party would knock on the door, pretending to be friends of the Justicar that was suppose to be recuperating inside from injuries sustained whilst saving the life of one of the young Tebarian daughters (from a swarm of demonic insects no less). The plan went smoothly, the party went inside, to the top floor; where they found the Justicar recuperating upon a lounge. After several minutes of polite conversation, the party became aware that the Justicar was hiding something, then the Justicar became aware that the party was hiding something. Words were exchanged, weapons drawn, and a battle commenced.
I will spare you dear reader of the terrible tale of the Tebarian clan and skip to end of the confrontation. The Puppet Master Acolyte lay dead upon the floor with nearly all of the inhabitants of the house. The sole survivors were the party, the Justicar, 2 guards, and not to forget; the 3 horses. Looting the house of valuables, the party came across a locked box. After the rogue was healed from his wounds, he managed to open the box. revealing an obsidian orb which the party believed to be a communication stone as well as an ornate horn. Upon seeing the horn, the bard with great glee took up the horn and gave it a might blow. The magic horn sounded with such force that the entire city heard its cry. Fearing discovery, the party quickly tried to stash away their valuables and flee the bloody scene before guards arrive. But in their haste, they activated the trap placed upon the orb, which promptly blew up (psychically), rendering the party unconscious and unable to escape being discovered.

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Chapter 16
A well conceived plan

The heroes decided to use one of the books as bait. An attempt to lure the puppet masters out of hiding by selling the book in an auction. After a consult with the box, the party decided on a book to sell “The Old Ones”, but were warned that the Justicars; if they found out about the sale of the book, would try to confiscate it. So the party attempted to use their contacts in the trading town of Bridgeport to try to make the auction happen there. But the party failed to endear themselves to any of their contacts and were rebuffed. Fearing they may have been sold out to the Justicars, are heroes high tailed it to the small village of Kingston, where they intended to gain the help of Sam (Styl’s longtime friend and mentor). After a brief visit with Sam and some quality family time, the party had a date and time for the auction. So they set off to the auction (being held at an unused theater). There they met the auctioneer, a member of good standing among the society (a secretive semi-criminal organization). The auction was held in good attendance: A mage, a middle aged man in armor, a ratling, a group of toughs, and two shady looking sorts in hoods. Eventually the man in armor won the bid; paying his money and taking possession of the book. With the auctioneer and her society guards quickly leaving, the toughs decided that they would take possession of the book and proceeded to attack the man in armor. A scrum ensued with the various parties attacking each other our of fear and or greed. The party did not stand idly by while there was a good fight happening, they attacked the gang of toughs and the armored man. Eventually killing the toughs and cornering the armored, forcing him to barricade himself in a room with only the bard as a companion. The armored man was eventually killed, but not before the rest of the gathering had safely departed. Being somewhat richer, but no closer to finding out anything about the Puppet Masters the party departed back to their secret base. Unfortunately, 2 members of the party were stricken with a fever from the bites of the Ratling; Barrower and Ronan, with Ronan quickly succumbing to the fever while Barrowe shrugged it off. Beyond their ability to cure naturally, the party headed off to town to buy a scroll of “Cure Disease”. Though successful in their quest for the scroll, they became aware they were being followed by an animal. The party laid a trap for the wild beast and quickly killed it (a pet of somekind named At’a’boy). After returning to the base and curing their friend, a rest was in order. While Ronan recovered, Barrowe went out to parley with a tribe of wild bullywogs that had recently discovered the party’s secret base. The bullywogs were happy to discover someone who could speak their language and greeted Barrowe warmly. They told him of a string of animal attacks the tribe had recently been experiencing. One of the tribes scouts had tracked one of the beasts back to it’s lair deep within the city. The place was well guarded and in the heart of the city, the bullywogs could not attack it without drawing the ire of the Dynasty. They gave the party directions to the compound and asked them to investigate these animals and their owners.

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Chapter 15
Aftermath

It has been nearly a year and a half since the party was all gathered together. Though each member has been pursuing their own goals, agendas, vendettas, and secret plans; they find themselves all meeting on the steps of the Library of Mast. The box has arranged this, bringing the gang of four back together and even providing them with a case of sorts. A old librarian thinks his son had been charmed (which he had) and asked the party to help out. After a brief but not particularly stealthy search for the son they discovered him, or rather he discovered the party. After a small fight, the party managed to take david alive, but were arrested by the guards. After a night in the lockup, the party was released and set out to reunite father and son, only to discover that poor Ian was now possessed as well. After a brief fight with the possessing wizard and some magical book, the party managed to capture Ian alive, but not before he set fire to the library. After father and son were reunited, the informed the party of the cults evil intent, to claim a hidden cache of books. The party took the books, Ian, David, some treasure, and high-tailed it to a secret lair to lay low until a plan could be formed to deal with these puppet masters once and for all.

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Chapter 14
The Children

Directed to a secret rendezvous at the behest of the box, the party met with the Children. The Children are like the party, aware of the box and able to communicate with it; though they refer to him as Father. The Children need your help; 6 holes is now a haven for undead, and they need the parties’ help in dealing with the evil creatures. Once the evil is dealt with, the children will make their way to the room with the divine seal and use the pool in a dangerous ritual. The party agreed and swept the dungeon of most of the undead. One dangerous vampire child managed to escape while the party was recovering from a poison trap. The Children managed to complete their ritual with only taking 30% casualties. The party was offered a chance to participate in the dangerous ritual. Only Styl and Alf took them up on the offer. After that, the party returned to the war where they served out the remainder of their contract with the White Company without incident. After that the king gave some of the party their promised rewards and everyone went their separate ways, except are latest addition (Luke) who helped Alf with a personal mission of his own. Barrowe managed to survive a grueling test of his managerial and personal skills and finally joined a faction (Kopans). Styl headed home for some much needed family time. Ronan headed off to parts unknown on information he got from the King. It has been almost a year and a half since the party has seen each other or talked to the box, but a series of strange events conspire to once again bring them back together again.

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Chapter 13
Firehold

After managing a a rest in the lovely town of Haven, the party was transfered to The Holding via a long patrol with a bunch of Justicar Knights. Though mostly uneventful, the final days of the patrol saw your forces scatter before a superior foe. The party managed to evade the enemy until within a day of The Holding. The party cleared the field of enemies thanks mostly to a series of reckless charges by their newest member ‘Alf Schumway’. After the battle, they high tailed it to the relative safety of the Holding. At the holding they managed a partial rest, but most of their days was spent helping the camp build makeshift fortifications. After a few days enough of the enemy gathered to begin an assault. The party was then assigned to guard one of the strange diamond shaped structures called Heavy Batteries. Though one of the other batteries was destroyed in an aerial assault by the enemy, the party themselves saw little action until day 4. A might aerial assault swooped down upon the party’s tower and was only diverted at the last second by the timely intervention of 2 white dragons. Unfortunately the aerial assault was only phase one and a group of ground assault troops had managed to climb up the steep hill aside under cover of magical darkness. The enemy then began their assault in earnest, quickly breaking through the front door and forcing there way inside. They managed to injure part of the machine responsible for the magical battery’s power, which seem to slow down but not stop the battery from firing. They were finally driven off, back into their magical darkness only to be quickly replaced by an injured red dragon, the sole survival of the diverted aerial assault. The dragon made short work of the battery itself, somehow injuring itself in the process. The party quickly attacked the wounded dragon, killing Kitharax before he could escape. With the charge destroyed, they reported back to High Command only to be quickly reassigned to the front lines, for the Imperials have been driven back to their fallback points by the Legion and were on the verge of collapse. But by the time the party got to the front line, the Legions had withdrawn to a holding pattern, with no more attacks coming during the day. During the night however the Legions had redeployed most of their forces to the backside of The Holding, probably hoping to box the Imperials in and force their surrender. But as the sounds of battle on the hilltop reached your ears, a great spell was cast. A mile high column of twisting/turning wind and flame tore through the enemy lines burning legion after legion alive. After the spell stopped, the Emperor called for the immediate surrender of all Legionary forces. Soon after, the Legionaries surrendered and were transported into the Holding as prisoners. The party was then assigned to hunt down some orcs who had escaped the battle and fled off to the east. Soon after embarking on the hunt, the box interrupted them. The box said “Don’t worry about the orcs for they are already dead, but don’t head back to camp just yet. I believe you still owe me a favor.”

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Chapter 12
The Lost Cause

Retreating back to Margosa, out band of heroes finally made it to the safety of her walls. There they found a respite from the constant skirmishes of the war. The party was put to work helping with sorting refugees, healing the injured, and organizing supplies; for the city was to be abandoned. In the darkness of the night before departure, assassins struck both the party and a VIP. Both attacks failed. One of the King’s agents let the party know the truth, the attack on the VIP was known to the King. It failed only because the enemy agent involved heard about your presence in the town and decided to take vengeance upon you for your well known involvement in ‘The Slaughter’ of the Golden City. The King’s agent informs the party that they are to be sent as escort to this VIP, to make sure that when the enemy hopefully attempts to capture him again, the party can make sure they succeed. The King’s agent believes it is vital to the empire that the enemy acquires the VIP’s information. The party is expected to make a show of it, allowing the VIP to be captured, but not without a good fight. First the party was attacked by a small band of wolves and a lone orc. Believing the orc to be the enemy sent to capture the VIP, they attempted to feign a believable defeat; they failed. Style failed to persuade the wolves that he was in fact dead, so they bit him some more (its possible they believed him to be dead and bit him some more – they are wolves after all). Barrowe attempted to distract the lone wolf with a blow before attempting an escape or some other ruse, but unfortunately hit the orc to hard; slaying him and leaving only a pack of unintelligent wolves to capture the VIP. Hoping they didn’t fail their mission, the party continued on their way to the safety of Haven. Within sight of Haven they were met with their real challenge. A Large red dragon by the name of Kitharax blocked their way and challenged the party. After a mighty battle the near bloody red dragon decided that acquiring the target was more important then killing some would be adventurers; so he grabbed the VIP and flew away. The party then reported to Haven informing the commander of the outcome of their mission. After debriefing, the party got to spend at least 5 days resting in town before further orders came down from on high.

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Chapter 11
Winter's War

With the location of enemy forces unknown, the party was assigned a scouting mission to a magical shrine. The shrine turned out to be desecrated by a follower of Messa Yiel, so the party was attacked by a group of Ice Elementals. After dispatching the elementals and restoring the shrine to its former glory, the party discovered a host of Legionaries marching toward Barad-Gaitan. Rushing back to camp to warn the Imperials of the enemy, the party found the camp already preparing to leave. While the party was away enemy forces had crossed the mountains passes in the south and had already secured two of the forts and were in the process of besieging the third. Not wanting to be surrounded by the Legion, the commander of the Imperials then ordered a full retreat back to Maragosa. The party was ordered on ahead to Talon Gate, where they were to protect the fortress until the army could retreat through it. Most of the army made it through the gates, but near the blood moon the camp was attacked by a host of Legion Auxiliaries (Orcs and Ogres). After defeating the Auxiliaries the camp learned that several legions were approaching from the north and west. The captain of the camp ordered an immediate withdraw to Maragosa. A small force of Legionaries skirmished with retreating imperials, but were driven off with little or no casualties thanks to the timely intervention of a force of Justicars. The party and the retreating Imperials made it to Maragosa with no further complications. There they met back up with their Company and managed to have a ‘Full Rest’ before any further assignments.

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Chapter 10

After fighting the guards at the sanitation station, the heroes went to much effort to sneak across the city to the safe house, choosing to flee through the hunting grounds. There they were attacked by a bear handler and offered him escape in return for guidance. To escape a hunting party, they entered a magically hidden cave that turned out to be a shrine to the Pale Lady, complete with undead attendants. The heroes left donations (but not a human sacrifice) in return for the hospitality, then proceeded to their destination in the craftsmen’s district.

After delivering the orb, the mercenaries were to stay there (with their anti-scrying measures) for 10 days while their contact activated it. Upon the completion of the ritual, the Box realized and informed the party that the package was a weapon of mass destruction that would wipe out the population of the Golden City. The Box said it could save the heroes, but no others unless one of them would sacrifice himself to help direct the protection; none of them was willing to make this deal, so they found themselves in a city of ashes, with a bound dragon and demons escaping. The Box called their white dragon ally, who offered to drop them off near her home on the Imperial side of the border.

Upon their return, the dragon was rerouted to the aerie below Barad-Gaitan, the mercenaries ordered to report back. Maegar and Terios showed no worry about the fact that the heroes had survived the mission, and sent them back to work on the front lines, with a back-order for rewards.

At some point, the Box also replayed to the party a vision of what had happened to the Red Raven after he had gotten her off their tails. Apparently she had been hunted and killed by her two colleagues, a male drow and a female half-elf. After they were gone, the Pale Lady had raised her as an undead in her service in return for another chance at the heroes if the Lady’s protection on them ever expired.

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