Karaadia -interregnum

Return to the fey lands...
Who is this guy and why do we care?

Upon returning to Septia our heroic party was torn as to whether they should attempt to stop the locust plague that was certain to bring famine, profiteer off the plague or just get out of town while the the worst of it burns it’s self out.

While they pondered this Mortases Ishtalla was grappling with his own family dilemma. For when his sister Camilla Ishtalla was the only member of the family there was no obligation to the family to provide sons for military service now that Mortases and Gaius were members of the family there were two sons of Ishtalla of recruit-able age for the legions. One would certainly be required to go now that the war was heating up. Ever the pragmatist, Camilla instructed Mortases to purchase a slave for the family, this slave would then be manumissioned and adopted into the family. The slave would then be sent to war while Gaius and Mortases could remain home attending to the family interests and fortunes. The slave in return would not only be a free citizen if he survived the war he would also have a family name.

Wanting the family represented well on the battle field, Mortases purchased the meanest most undisciplined slave he could find. The slaves back was a patchwork of whip scars and callous the slave had been a laborer in a rock quarry but his violent nature and tendency to attack other slaves and overseers on little or no provocation had landed him on the auction block. If he hadn’t sold that day he would have been executed and written off.

Mortases felt it was important for the slave to be kindly disposed to him as there was a remote chance he’d be mean enough and strong enough to survive the war and so took him to a local dive tavern and bought him all the liquor, and whores he desired along with a fine steel blade before enlisting him in the legions. While he was in the tavern however he was confronted by the arrival of a high born Tythian knight, Ser Reginald Oxprey – Knight Errant of the Endless Queen, Hero of the Rees Mignion uprising, and Slayer of the vile dragon LeafBlight.

Mortases, facinated by the People of Tyth and their culture. Engaged the knight in conversation learning that he was a questing hero of his people, traveling the world to recover ancient relics of his queen that were seized by the Arcane Council during the Empire’s occupation of Tyth 300 years ago and his trail had lead him to one of the abandoned imperial way stations along the old road north in forest now nominally part of the empire but now in truth an enclave of the fey and contested between the summer and winter courts. To reach the outpost, he would have to venture deep into winter court territory.

Wanting to leave the city before the famine truly set in and enticed at the promise of lost Arcane council treasures. Mortases and the party agreed to join the old Knight and act as guides and guards as they had traveled the old road earlier and faced it’s perils once already. The object the knight sought was a relic known as the Lamp of revelations a true relic with a variety of magical uses in revealing the true nature of things and an object of substantial value.

With an entourage of pages, squires, drovers, and servants the brave knight and the party set out for the north coming at last to edge of the fairy domains. A lush forest as yet untouched by the locust swarms ravaging the lands south…

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Murder, mayhem and multiplanium
Rise of the crabmouse!

Upon returning to Septia, Nero found her personal fortunes significantly diminished. While he had been successful in his counter espionage efforts, payment from Lord Colovius for those efforts might be long in coming for the lord was leading his soldiers in the field to lift the siege on Errana and it would be months before he was in a position to take his claim to the lord assuming the blessed lord survived the conflict at all. A disturbing possibility, as covert service by it’s very nature is often poorly documented, it was highly questionable if the lords family and heirs would be able to verify and honor the debt. Worse he’d gone out of pocket to bribe the Plague knight and while he was reasonably hopeful the lord would reimburse him his family very likely would not.

In the meantime his noble born wife was trying to maintain respectable appearances and social standing in their palatial new home (mostly purchased on credit). If his new family was to avoid the humiliation of public poverty, or begging his father in law for money, Nero would need an almost immediate infusion of cash.

Fortunately his wife, ever seeking social connection had a potential solution. She knew a distant cousin by marriage of the exalted lord Novinia who feared there would be action taken against her soon and wanted a capable man for protection as her own husband was well into his dotage. One potential snag however, there was a teensy possibility that the people she’d need protection from was the Seekers of the Arcane Council who are tasked with enforcing imperial law as it pertains to spell casters within the empire.

Undaunted and desperate Nero took the job and persuaded his faithful companions to come with him. The journey was short and uneventful but upon arriving they learned the seeker had arrived before them and was beginning his investigation. It turned out he’d been called because servants and farm hands from around the estate had been vanishing and the local serfs and peasants had pointed the finger at the lady and lord of the house as being heretical unbound spell casters.

With careful investigation the party discovered that deep beneath the manor house was an elaborate alchemical laboratory where the missing victims and a number of animals had been subjected to exposure to a strange substance that had warped and mutated them into terrifying abominations. Including a mouse who’s front paws had warped in crab claws and eyes now extended on stalks from its sockets.

There also was a massive metal sarcophagus with pipes and tubes pumping the strange substance into it and something VERY strong banging on the inside attempting to escape. The ranger Kinitas horrified at the unnatural creatures destroyed all the lab experiments except the crab mouse which was keep by Gaius as a pet.

Confronted with what they’d discovered the lady upped her payout offer and the party was given an alchemically animated head, and enough alchemical apparatus to frame someone for her crimes. After due consideration they decided to frame her steward. Hiding the head in his chambers and setting up a decoy laboratory in a cave near the estate. They then had a party member seduce the steward then killed him under an accusation of rape.

They then stood back and allowed the head and lab to be discovered in the follow investigation in the wake of the killing. The seeker seemed to accept the narrative but was concerned by the animated head. By imperial law he couldn’t take it into the an imperial city and so sent for an expert from the council to evaluate it.

Before the expert could arrive however someone slipped into the seekers bedchamber and murdered him in the night.

The expert upon examination declared that the head had been animated with Dallonite a mysterious new substance the Empire and council jealously controlled the only source of. It’s presence here indicated a hole in their security and so they send for the high seeker and began preparations exhume and question the body of the steward who his source was.

They were surprisingly unconcerned about the assassination, as such things had become depressingly common since the onset of the civil war. The party desperately needed to keep the body from being questioned as it would rapidly destroy their narrative. So Mortases and the lady worked late in the lab cooking up an alchemical solvent that would destroy the body completely. Then in the late hours of the night under a hat of disguise they exhumed destroyed and reburied the body.

The next morning the seekers had the exhumation carried out and were angry to discover the body had completely decomposed in the short time it was underground. Stymied they opted to wait for the high seeker.

Upon his arrival, the high seeker Dallon Lyceren arrived and began his rambling cordial questioning of the party. Despite his apparent distraction he noticed everything and swiftly deduced the rest. Taking Martases aside he explained that, as these murders were alchemical and magical in nature they did not fall within the purview of council justice. More over he, as the high seeker, really didn’t care about murdered peasants on the ass end of the empire. What he did care about was the breach in his security, he was going to find it and plug it, and strongly suggested that Mortases should provide him with the name of person who sold them the dallonite crystal.

Mortases, eager to avoid being mindraped and destroyed went to Nero and the lady and explained that snitching was probably the only way to live through this. The lady reluctantly consented and gave the name of a man with connections to the council and blessed officers in the legions but not much money to speak of.

True to his word the high seeker took the name, closed the council investigation, and left them in peace. The party turned for home triumphant but were disturbed in their travels when the skies above them were darkened by the wings of vast swarms of locusts arising just in time to destroy the budding spring planting…

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Filling the gaps
The tale not told... Due to laziness.

Continuing north our party discovered the site of a vast battlefield still littered with a sea of fallen soldiers rotting in the sun. Upon crossing the field the party learned the hard way that previous imperial edicts prohibiting the use of summoned lower planer creatures had been set aside by factions of the council and the field was now haunted by swarms of uncontrolled lemure’s who had been summoned and then abandoned on the field and now glutted themselves on the corpses of the fallen.

Beset by the creatures the party started to fight but soon realized the creatures were too vast in number to defeat and their slow slug like crawl made standing against them unnecessary opting instead to simply evade them and flee north.

After crossing the battle field the party reached the lines of the northern army and were soon confronted by a reconnaissance party. Identifying themselves they were taken into custody and held for a few days while their story was verified. Once verified they were cleared to travel down the line to the officers garrison where Titus Colovius was stationed for debriefing.

Colovius was thrilled to learn the party had been successful in their sabotage of the city the northern army was about to besiege and released the party to return home to Septia.

The return home was joyous but short lived for soon after returning they learned that the armies of the Northwest district were marching in force on the allied City of Errana Capital of the central district and vital center of the industry for the north. Blessed Lord Colovius had returned from the front and would be leading new levies of troops from Septia and Pyellia west to attempt to lift the siege. This however would take time and Errana would have to hold until the relief could arrive.

Nero was recruited once again to undertake a covert operation for Lord Colovius, this time with the promise of payment should he succeed. The party would be dispatched by council courier to Errana ahead of the siege to investigate a series of events suspected to be the work of enemy agents. Their mission was to investigate and terminate enemy operatives wherever they were found.

Upon arrival the party learned that a massive city granary had been burned. A serial killer was stalking the market streets at night, eviscerating victims and absconding with the viscera, and plague was running rampant in a particular neighborhood.

Their investigation revealed the granary was probably an accident resulting from a lantern being dropped by a drunken caretaker. The plague was being seeded by a plague night of Mortania, and the the serial killer was actually a number of free willed undead summoned and set lood by the same knight.

Ever cautious and alert to opportunity, the party quickly deduced that the plague knight was a mercenary and not a partisan in the war. Thus he may be susceptible to a better offer. With effort and a short expedition into one of his strongholds (wherein they learned about the undead) the party was able to make contact and set a meeting with the plague knight.

During their meeting the knight revealed that while he would view flipping on an employer as an act of the highest unprofessional-ism, the literal terms of his contract were fulfilled, having loosed undead in the sewers and seeded plague through the city. He had made no promise to stay in the city and attempt during the cities efforts to counter his attack, and given that he was now exposed sticking around seemed unwise to him. He was also more than willing to accept new contracts and so with minor negotiation he agreed to visit his former employers army encampment and subject them to the same treatment he’d just given the city of Errana for the bargain price of 10,000 imperial crowns.

Their mission complete, they spent a couple more days in the city while they arranged for a return teleport by council Courier to Septia. Finally returning home for what they hoped would be an extended stay.

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Triumphal return.
Death of a Moon Priest

When last we left our increasingly nefarious band, the party had completed their job in Tyth for the glory of the Fox King. After journeying to the far north of Tyth and stopping through to visit the capital, they had discovered that their target was not a lycanthrope as they’d suspected, but instead a devotee of the ancient twin goddesses of the moons Selia and Appia. This is a terrible crime under the law of Tyth, for the Lich Queen has long forbidden the worship of Gods. Furthermore, it was a terrible affront to the Imperial sensibilities of many members of the party. For the twin goddesses are Elven deities, their worship in Tyth dating back to a time when the elves ruled over human kind in that region. In this at least, the Lich Queen can be seen as a liberator.

After a difficult fight, the party eventually was able to overcome the priest and his moon cultists. The Ranger Janus completed his task for the Fox King, ensuring his continued favor within his court. The Fox King’s emissary kept her word and returned them to their own lands. Nero’s wagons of Mencha and the strange iron box were safely returned to the party, but the drovers where nowhere to be seen. Likely, they had fallen victim to the perils of Underhill during the party’s absence.

Just outside of their target city of Telthenus, Nero went in alone while the party gained a head start out of town. This was fortunate as the party rapidly came across the retreating forces of Overlord Sectius Akkentia. Nero’s wagons were commandeered to carry the wounded. The Mencha dumped unceremoniously on the ground. The party salvaged what they could, and more importantly, were able to smuggle the hidden Amorite out of the wagons.

Meanwhile Nero completed his mission, opening the box of the plague queen in the heart of the city, and escaped just in time to avoid being sealed into the city for the coming siege. The party is pushing on to the Northeast with vague plans of identifying themselves as spies of the central district, counting on the writ from blessed Lord Titus Colovius to see them across the lines.

It seemed as though the worst was behind them, but for the oily black swarm of carrion birds on the horizon.

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