Eternal Ambitions

Badrick"s departure

While the other members of the party are still asleep, Badrick saddles his horse quietly, being as silent as possible. He takes one last look around the camp to see if he has forgotten anything. Rummy stares at him with one open eye but says nothing. Badrick gives him a nod, and Rummy nods back. With that, he climbs into his saddle and leads his horse out of the camp. He’s not sure if he’ll make it home, but he knows he has to try…

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Tymora's hangover...
Tonan's Internal Dialogue

_Not sure what has happened to me, but my head is a bit foggy. I feel like I’ve been drinking Peat beer, and chasing it with cheap dwarven spirits.

Anyway, I’m growing tired of being pushed around. I’m not someone’s fecking step-kender, I’m a dwarf, by Tymora! But still, here I am, ruminating instead of taking action. Perhaps this is Tymora’s real punishment for me. To be trapped inside my own body, with no control of my own actions.

My memory, however, is somewhat intact, thank Her mercies. While I can’t be sure, because there are definitely some holes in my recollection, I seem to recall watching Rummy and Badrick bag some rather odd items while we were inside that snake-pit of a temple. Those, along with whatever other stuff they’ve surely got hidden away. Not sure what they do, but if one of them might restore me to my former self, I’d be mighty pleased.

Eh, who am I kidding? They don’t give a goblin’s arse for me. I’m just a horse-watcher by day, and a silent one, at that. At night? Who knows. I can’t seem to remember anything after the sun sets. I sure-as-hades hope they aren’t… No, not going to think along those paths. A dwarf has to have SOME self-respect, after all.

Oh well. If I don’t find my way out of this brain-fog on my own, I suppose I’ll never know what all those bagged goodies do._

Tonan’s subconscious mind

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Roughing up the locals

25 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

Having spent the night at the home of Liam Roummos, the party headed out early for Ambroth, to report to Lady Iselda, and to warn her of a potential threat to her well-being.

Upon arriving in town, the party were witness to a clerk from The Money Man Banking and Lending serving foreclosure papers on Orik at the Pixie and Dixie Tavern. When questioned about it, the clerk, Xaver Moyaux, explained that a loan had been secured by Burgo, and it had not been paid. The Pixie and Dixie Tavern was held as collateral, and as such, was being foreclosed to satisfy the terms of the loan.

Orik was distraught, but the paperwork all seemed in order, so he was forced to watch his father’s tavern fall into Xaver’s hands.

Mesmer, Badrick, Liam, and Anders proceeded to Lady Iselda’s manor, where they spoke to her of the letter they found in the cultist’s temple. Standing nearby, Lady Iselda’s steward, Gervais Burguet conversed in whispers with a maid, and raised the suspicions of Badrick, who promptly accosted him. An ugly scene transpired, with Gervais ultimately denying any wrongdoing and storming off to look after the house.

Convinced of the danger to herself and her family, Lady Iselda agreed to be escorted to Liam’s home by the party and to stay there until the threat was neutralized. She sent instructions with Anders for Gervais to secure records of any transactions between the Money Man and Burgo.

The party returned to Ambroth, and upon receiving the documents from Gervais, determined there would be no way Burgo could have signed for the loan in question, since his hands now shake too bad to even feed himself. The document had been forged, but by whom?

After some bar-hopping for information (and copious amounts of liquor, of course,) Rummy and Badrick made their way to the Money Man Lenders to question Xaver. However, when they arrived, dusk had settled in and Xaver was nowhere in sight. A well-dressed female halfling, Therphina Distantvale, was exiting the Money Man and had just locked the door when Rummy and Badrick loomed over her.

Pointing to the sashes bestowed upon them by Lady Iselda, the pair demanded to speak with the halfling inside the bank. Scared witless, and quite sure she was being robbed, the halfling refused to be taken inside the bank alone, and requested she be permitted to ask a guard to stand nearby while the trio spoke out front. Rummy didn’t like the idea, and in the end, when Therphina made a break for the guardhouse next door, took a swing at her. Badrick did the same, but Therphina proved too nimble and darted between them, screaming for help.

The guardhouse emptied into the street, protectively surrounding Therphina and demanding answers from Rummy and Badrick. Emboldened by their sashes, and perhaps by a false sense of authority, both adventurers decided to push the issue and deny any wrongdoing on their part. As no physical harm had been done, the guard captain ushered Therphina inside the guardhouse and dismissed the two instigators.

The party took rooms at the Traveler’s Haven, and resumed their inquiries the following morning.

Anders, being more level-headed than Rummy and more charismatic than Badrick, tried his luck in speaking with Xaver inside the Money Man, but the conversation quickly went sour and Xaver demanded he leave. Showing Anders to the door, Xaver turned his head and Anders spotted a familiar tattoo behind his right ear. Deciding discretion was appropriate, Anders took this information to the rest of the party.

Rather than directly approaching either Therphina or Xaver, Mesmer donned a clever disguise as a hunched old man and went inside the bank to do business. Speaking with Therphina, Mesmer was able to convince her to take the conversation to a more private location, and Therphina quietly escorted Mesmer to a side room.

Meanwhile, Rummy grew tired of waiting, and stormed inside to confront Xaver. Xaver darted to the rear of the room, and crashed through the door into the private room Therphina and Mesmer had gone into.

Inside, Xaver grabbed Therphina and pressed a dagger to her throat. Rummy blocked the door, and the rest of the party gathered behind him. A tense confrontation ensued, and in the end, Xaver lay unconscious, while Therphina trembled across the hall, having been rescued by the same men that had accosted her the night before.

Xaver was loaded across a horse and taken out of the city. Once inside the woods, Rummy and Badrick sent Anders, Tonan and Mesmer ahead while they “questioned” their captive.

Xaver defiantly denied knowledge of anything more than where to drop coin for the cult, though Rummy and Badrick suspected he simply refused to be tortured into submission. In the end, Xaver died quite painfully, but not much information had been learned from him.

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Escape!

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

Exiting Gulaol’s chamber, the characters found themselves under a sudden barrage of tiny projectiles. Across the chasm, several cultists now had blowguns, and the needles whizzed through the air all around.

Amidst the cultists stood a mage, chanting and pointing her outstretched fingers at the party. Diving for cover, the characters narrowly avoided being pummeled by thousands of tiny flaming spheres that pounded the floor and walls where they had just stood.

Rummy quickly nocked an arrow and sent it streaking toward the mage, who let out a blood-curdling shriek and fell backward as the arrow ripped through her arm. The party took the opportunity to beat a hasty exit, and dove into the other hallway, needles lodging in their clothing and cloaks.

The hallway sloped down and away to the left, and the party followed it until it opened to a dock over the underground river. Boarding two rowboats, the party set off down the river, dodging projectiles from the angry cultists.

Soon, the sounds of the cultists dwindled behind them, but the relief was short-lived. The river ran directly under the latrine room on the first level of the complex, and the boats were slathered in urine and feces.

Stinking, slimy, and nauseous, the party rode the current until it dumped them into the east end of Lake Weng, where they destroyed the boats and made their way to the Keczulla-Ambroth road.

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Looting Gulaol's Chamber

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

With a horde of cultists across the chasm hurling nothing more painful than insults, the party regrouped and assessed their situation. Rummy fired off a couple of arrows to keep the cultists behind cover, while Badrick hacked off the heads of the snake-men. With the three heads rolling around on the floor, Rummy took the opportunity to taunt the cultists by waving Gulaol’s head in the air, then tossing it, unceremoniously, into the river below. They bagged a pair of kerambit knives and a fanged whip from the snake-men, and a large golden ring from the hand of Gulaol.

Exploring the passage Gulaol and the snake-men had attacked them from, the party found Gulaol’s private chamber. Tonan called upon Tymora to aid him, and he charmed a writhing mass of snakes into clearing a path for Rummy to search the room.

Rummy discovered a locked chest, but it quickly opened to his picks. Inside, he discovered two ceremonial daggers, a pair of bracers wrapped in red linen cording with a Triad symbol burned into them, a small coffer with approximately 500 coins in it, and a platinum medallion with a crescent moon cradling a harp etched on one side, and an inscription on the other.

While Rummy pilfered the chest, Anders scooped a set of papers from a table, and discovered detailed maps of nearby cities, including Ambroth, as well as troop counts and shift breakdowns. He also found a missive from a High Priestess Shiruxis, addressed to Gulaol.

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Gulaol and his priests

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

Moving beyond the curtain, the party faced a massive temple chamber extending some 70 or 80 feet before them, and opening to a width of nearly fifty feet. Immense columns, intricately carved into the likenesses of all manner of serpents, rose to meet the vaulted ceiling high above, with vast braziers hanging from chains between them.

The light from the braziers cast living shadows across the walls, which were carved into bas relief depictions of serpents and lizards of all shapes. At far end of the chamber stood a twelve foot statue of a coiled snake, rearing its head back as if to strike. An eerie light glinted from its jeweled eyes, and a white, viscous liquid dripped slowly from its exposed fangs. Huge curtains hung to either side of the serpent statue, presumably concealing other passageways.

The noise of a rushing river, however, drew the party’s attention away from the carvings and glittering gems. Stretching from north to south, a great chasm bisected the chamber, and the floor and ceiling were blackened as if by some powerful explosion. The chasm dropped some forty feet to a pile of crushed pillars and stone being churned by a surging river. Spanning the chasm stood a wooden foot bridge, suspended by corded ropes.

The party cautiously crossed the bridge, careful to keep a wary eye on the statue and upon the door they had entered through, lest they find themselves beset from behind.

As they reached the other side, Rummy went directly to the statue and climbed its scaled back to rest upon its head. Setting to work with a dagger, he pried the eyes free from their mountings, and quickly pocketed the fist-sized gems.

Just as Rummy pried free the second eye, however, the curtain on the southern side of the statue parted and two massive snake-men came surging into the room, weapons held in their humanoid hands, and forked tongues flicking from their fang-studded mouths. Behind them came a truly terrifying specimen, though. Coming forward on his great belly, Gulaol himself slithered forth, waving a long, curved blade studded with heavy rings along its rear edge.

The party thought to rush back across the bridge to relative safety, but when they turned to do so, they saw the far curtain shoved aside by a mass of cultists pouring toward them. Their retreat was cut off, it would seem.

Badrick acted quickly, hacking the ropes of the bridge and watching it fall into the chasm, cutting off the cultists. However, this left the party stranded with the snake-men, who seemed less-than-inclined to chat.

Melee was joined immediately, and the fighting was fierce. The snake-men swung their whips and viciously curved daggers while striking with their great maws, inflicting painful wounds upon the party, but the companions stood their ground and refused to submit.

Summoning an orb of pure darkness, Gulaol disappeared inside it and the already chaotic scene became even more terrifying for the party. Now, they couldn’t even see the enemy, and the mob of cultists were bringing in tables from the mess hall to try to span the chasm.

Over the next several minutes the battle raged, with Anders, Rummy and Badrick finally dropping the two smaller snake men, and leaving only Gulaol to deal with. Somehow, Tonan had been knocked unconscious inside the darkness, and his fate was unknown. Gulaol cast a nasty Polymorph spell on Mesmer, changing her into a small snake, and she returned the favor by biting him repeatedly.

In the end, with Badrick near death, Anders struggling to fend off Gulaol’s attacks, and Rummy struggling to maintain his grip on his dagger, Tonan came to and stumbled out of the darkness. At the last minute, he sent up a prayer to his Goddess, and brought down her healing powers to save Anders. Moments later, Gulaol slumped under the onslaught rained upon him by Anders and Badrick, and Mesmer was able to slither out from under Gulaol’s immense bulk.

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Serpentine copulation... what next?!?!

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

Exploring the passages leaving the robe room, the party discovered they both curved downward into the same chamber: an ornately carved stone antechamber lit by braziers and echoing with a dull roar emanating from behind a set of massive double doors on the eastern wall. Two other doors exited the chamber, on the north and south walls, respectively.

While the shadows of serpents danced all around them, the party crept toward the door in the southern wall and cautiously peered inside. A vast chamber opened before them, busy with dozens of tattooed men and women wielding pickaxes and shovels. A pair of robed figures stood nearby, poring over diagrams laid out on a stone table. Erring on the side of caution, the party quietly stole from the room and closed the door, hoping nobody inside the room had noticed them.

Crossing the room, they checked the northern door next. It opened into a hallway that split at the end, heading east and west. Behind a door at the end of the western branch, the party found a large room with thousands of snakes covering the floor, writhing around and over one another. Anders suggested that Tonan pray to Tymora, and through her divine powers, the mass of serpents was pushed against the far wall. While the nest pulsated against the far wall, the party looted a chest against the northern wall and found a massive set of upper-body field plate armor, of which they bagged as much as possible. Underneath the armor lay a coiled whip, festooned with nasty barbs along its length, and the party took this, as well.

Exiting the room, the party closed the door and approached the other door. Behind it, they found a similar room, though the serpents in this room were far larger, and engaged in a frenzied orgy, rolling and undulating across the floor from one end of the room to the other.

Anders darted into the room and grabbed a handful of papers off a desk, and froze in fear as the mass of copulating scales brushed against his legs. The party held their breath, and the snakes moved on, rolling toward the far wall. Anders darted back out of the room, relieved to have survived the encounter. Looking at the sheaf of parchment in his hands, however, he discovered he had risked his life for a pile of serpentine hymns and sermons.

Rummy and Badrick, meanwhile, had spotted a small chest near the table, and made their move. While Badrick held Liam’s Handy Haversack open, Rummy scooped the chest from the floor and stuffed it inside. They both exited the room just as the mass of snakes rolled their way again, and they shut the door.

Growing tired, the party considered barricading the doors and resting in the hallway, but thought better of it. How big could the temple be, after all? And with so many cultists nearby, would their luck hold out and allow them to rest? They pressed on, eager to finish their mission and get away from the sinister cult.

With just one avenue unexplored, the party warily made their way to the double doors in the antechamber. With a mighty pull, Rummy dragged the doors open, revealing a wide, dark chamber that ended in a heavy, elaborately embroidered curtain hanging across its width, blocking from view the chamber beyond.

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Into the Snake Den

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

Having dealt with the immediate threat, the party began to assess their situation. Nine dead figures lay in the dirt, six of whom were nearly naked, and covered in tattoos and body paint. Two were dressed in rags, and filthy, to boot, and one lay face-down just outside the cave mouth, wrapped in dark green robes, a nasty sickle still gripped tightly in his hand.

Investigating the corpses, and, perhaps, looking for a bit of coin, it was discovered that the two in rags had the same tattoos as the others under their clothes, hidden from view. More curious, however, were the tiny tattoos of snakes behind each corpse’s right ear. Further examination proved that every corpse had the same tattoo, and the party knew they had at last found the Cult of the Asp.

Venturing into the cave, the party found another corpse in the dirt, his throat slit wide open, a puddle of blood growing beneath him. Perhaps this was the third voice from earlier?

A passage was found behind a pile of refuse, and the party carefully crept through the darkness into a man-made tunnel. After about 20 feet, the passage split, heading east and west, with a massive brass bell hung from a sturdy framework.

Quietly, the adventurers made their way to the east, where they found a four-way intersection, lit by torches. Ahead, it appeared the passage forked northeast and southeast, but directly to either side of the party stood stout wooden doors.

Carefully, Rummy edged open the door to the south, revealing a large mess hall of sorts, with a small group of tattooed individuals sitting at a table in a far corner. While Mesmer and Tonan, who still wasn’t acting quite himself, watched the other door, Rummy, Badrick and Anders rushed into the room, weapons drawn. They met the cultists head-on, and laid them to waste, but the noise of battle could not have gone unnoticed, could it have?

The three quickly investigated the rest of the room, and, finding nothing of value, returned to the hallway, where Mesmer and Tonan (mostly Mesmer, for Tonan wasn’t talking much) reported no other disturbances aside from the faint sounds of battle through the apparently very noise-proof mess hall door.

Steeling themselves for another battle, and readying their weapons, the party slowly forced open the door to the north, prepared to charge inside. However, rows and rows of double bunks, nearly half of which were occupied by sleeping forms, gave them pause. After several minutes and much debate, it was decided that it was too risky to try to dispatch everyone in the room, so the door was shut quietly and Mesmer placed a spell of Alarm upon it, to alert the party if the door was opened at a later time.

Creeping further down the corridor, and to the fork, the party assessed the area and decided Rummy would investigate the southern passage first, where a heavy curtain hung, concealing the rest of the tunnel. Rummy crept behind the curtain and into a winding passage until he came upon another curtain. A foul odor emanated from somewhere beyond the curtain, and Rummy fought the urge to gag. Carefully pulling aside the second curtain, Rummy discovered the source of the stench a moment before it reached his nose in full force: a large room whose floor was completely covered in human waste. Two nearly naked men, with rags wrapped around their faces, wearily used heavy push-brooms to shove the offal into bowl-shaped indentations in the floor, where it disappeared. The men gazed up at Rummy, but returned to their labors, a look of defeat in their eyes.

Rummy turned around and headed back to the party, leaving the men to their disgusting task, and the party then sent him into the northeast passage, where the soft glow of torchlight flickered.

Rummy returned a few moments later, backing carefully down the hall, a male figure in tow. Rummy held one arm around the man’s neck, and used his other hand to grip a dagger he held to the man’s ribs. The party began to interrogate their prisoner, and seemed to be making some progress, when the man suddenly began stabbing a sharp object into Rummy’s leg over and over.

Rummy plunged his dagger to the hilt, and ended the man, but the damage was done: at the floor by his feet lay a small dart, the tip covered in blood, and the rest of the shaft coated in a milky liquid. Rummy staunched the flow of blood, and luckily was not affected by whatever foul venom the dart had delivered into his leg.

The party dragged the body into the northern passage, and searched a large room full of crates for any obvious treasure. It was soon apparent, however, that it would take entirely too long to ransack the whole room, so they gave up on their search with the intention to return later, when they had more time. Before leaving, however, they discovered two expensive vases and several large, ornately framed paintings portraying the grounds of Drestyn Manor: a possible tie to the murder of Drestyn?

Heading back the way they came, the party passed the barracks room, whose door still bore the enchantment Mesmer had laid upon it, and headed for the western passage beyond the bell-chamber.

The passage sloped sharply down, and curved north and then further, to the east, before leveling out and emptying into a large chamber lit by heavy braziers and lined with tables full of dark green robes of all sizes. Two passages curled out of the room, one each to the north and south.

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The Road to the Cult
or: Does the Paladin HATE Us?!?!

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

The party took advantage of the early afternoon sun and proceeded through the woods at a brisk pace. Pretty soon, they noticed the sounds of wildlife had diminished, and, investigating, Badrick climbed a nearby hill to have a look around.

While atop the hill, a large snake dropped down atop Badrick, and he froze as it slithered away, down the hill toward the party. However, rather than allowing it to depart, Badrick followed it, and it soon sensed his presence and altered its course, challenging Badrick. The serpent wrapped itself about his legs as he once again froze in place, and it began climbing his torso. Grasping for the snake while precariously balancing on a wooded slope is not advisable, however, and Badrick wound up grabbing the snake further behind the head than he had planned, allowing it to strike him on his wrist. Letting go of the tree he was using to support himself, Badrick grabbed the serpent behind the head and pried its fangs loose from his flesh.

Meanwhile, Anders was frantically scampering up the hill to assist Badrick, and as Badrick gained some measure of control over the snake, Anders drew his dagger, intending to stab the serpent through the head.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, however, and as Anders thrust his dagger at the snake head, his foot slipped ever-so-slightly, and the dagger missed the snake, stabbing into Badrick’s already bleeding wrist. Badrick gritted his teeth and snarled at Anders to “remove the dagger from my wrist, priest, and kindly cut the SNAKE with it this time!”

Anders, abashed, withdrew the blade from Badrick’s gushing wrist, and, this time, carefully sliced the snake’s head off.

After tending Badrick’s wound, the party continued their search for the Cult in the hills nearby. Soon, they caught a whiff of cooking meat, and quietly made their way through the woods toward a cave entrance in the rock face of an escarpment.

Rummy snuck forward, listening at the entrance, and heard three voices laughing, arguing, and drunkenly cavorting inside. As he tried to figure out what they were doing, one announced he was headed out to piss, and Rummy concealed himself beside the entrance just as a dirty, bedraggled fellow crawled out, stretching his back and groaning.

The man ambled over to a tree and began relieving himself, and Rummy took the opportunity to sidle up behind him and interrogate him at the end of his dagger. The fellow explained that he and his friends had been turned away from Keczulla, and, growing weary, had taken refuge in the cave, where they had spent a couple of days drinking away their misfortune and dodging the snakes that infested the woods. Rummy summoned the rest of the party to his side, and then coerced the fellow to invite his friends outside for a parley.

Within moments, another figure exited the cave, and the party held him at sword point, awaiting the arrival of the owner of the third voice. However, instead of his arrival, the party was treated to the distant sound of a bell being rung, and, sensing they were quickly losing control of the situation, the party ended the lives of the two bedraggled men.

Seconds later, the vines and undergrowth around their feet began to writhe and wrap themselves around their ankles, and Mesmer spotted several figures approaching furtively from the base of the hill. The party scampered up the rock face, narrowly avoiding being completely entangled in the vegetation, and Mesmer slunk into the shadows of a large tree.

Moments later, six nearly naked men, their bodies colorfully tattooed in serpentine patterns, burst from the trees in pursuit of the party. As the first figure passed Mesmer’s hiding place, she jumped out, whispering words of arcane energy and spreading her hand in front of the rest of the pursuers.

A burst of dazzling colors sprang from her hand, enveloping the tattooed men, and all five crashed to the ground, their minds momentarily scrambled from the hypnotic light show.

Badrick launched a handaxe at the remaining pursuer, and it buried itself through his chest, its blade sticking out between his shoulder blades.

The party carefully climbed back down, and began dispatching the unconscious men, but Tonan lost his footing on the rock face and fell, knocking himself senseless at the mouth of the cave.

As the party slit the throats of the slumbering men, a robed figure dashed out of the cave, raising a sickle above his head and aiming for Tonan’s neck. Seeing the danger, Anders lunged across the gap, intending to impale the robed figure on his rapier. However, he became entangled in the undergrowth at the last moment, and plunged his rapier not through the attacker as planned, but through the shoulder of Tonan Anvilwork.

While not exactly what Anders had envisioned, his errant skewering of his companion did have its desired effect, causing Tonan to gain his senses and recoil from the pain, and thus dodge the descending sickle, which lodged in the ground where his neck had been a split-second before.

The party dispatched the figure quickly, and listened for any other sounds of aggression, but were met with only the silence of the woods.

Anders, cursing his luck, carefully tried to help staunch the flow of blood from Tonan’s wound, while avoiding the questioning glances from his other companions. For his part, however, Tonan took the wound without complaint, again not seeming to be fully present.

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Drinks with an old man

24 Eleint 1384 D.R.
Year of Three Streams Blooded

Winding their way through the woods past the Manor, the party came upon a disused path leading south through low-hanging trees, and somewhat overgrown with creepers and light vegetation. Dismounting, they followed the path until it crested a slight ridge, where they spied the thatch roof of a long cabin, and a large garden beyond. Tonan didn’t quite seem himself, so the party asked him to keep an eye on the horses while they looked ahead, and he did so, albeit absently.

Not trusting the motives of a mage that would leave a taunting note inside a haunted house, the party set a watch while Rummy snuck down to the cabin for a closer look. Creeping around the back of the cabin, Rummy climbed up to a window and was just about to look inside when a voice called out to him from the garden: “If you’ll come down from there, perhaps we could have a drink and get out of this sun.”

Rummy climbed down, and stepped into the open, where he was able to see a stooped old man tending a row of carrots and radishes. Tentatively, Rummy introduced himself, though Liam Roummos seemed already to know him and his companions, and, indeed, had been aware of their approach since they left the main road.

Rummy called for the others to join them, and Liam invited them to join him on his porch for libations and a chat. Heading to the cabin, Liam whistled, and a massive, translucent canine emerged from the woods and trotted alongside him. Liam introduced him as Rufus, and the dog took up his place atop the steps, seeming to slumber contentedly.

Liam provided the party with drinks from his cellar, and proceeded to explain his role in “recent” events.

Liam explained that, having left the Host Tower of the Arcane in 1356, he had sought someplace quiet to retire to, and Ambroth had fit the description.Through his story, the party learned Liam had ventured into the Manor after Lord Drestyn’s demise out of boredom, and had rummaged through whatever remained after the cultists had finished their looting. Liam had left the magic mouth on the fountain, as well as other clues to guide whoever came upon them.

Liam vouched for Lord Drestyn’s character, and gave some insight into the Cult of the Asp, informing the party of the particulars of a raid the Host Tower had sponsored to curtail the Cult’s growth.

Informing Liam that they intended to investigate the Cult themselves, the party asked Liam if he would join them, but he declined, citing his frail body and aging bones, though the party doubted if he was anywhere close to frail.

Liam bestowed several gifts upon the party before they departed, hoping they would help in some way in his absence. Among the items he gave them were the Ring of Nine Lives, Liam’s Handy Haversack, and a few potions. Liam offered to take care of the party’s horses, since it was doubtful they would survive in the woods if the party ventured inside any temple they found, and the party took him up on his generous offer.

Heading out, the party made their way back to the road, shadowed by Rufus, who chuffed as they left the footpath, disappearing back the way they had come.

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