Thanks to all our players for a fun start to our next story arc, The Relic of Tur’dar. In our first session of this storyline, the player characters regrouped after over a month of rest in the capitol city following the events of Dolyos Miren’s defeat. Friends parted ways, new friends were made, and the adventurers had decided to leave the city and head north toward a city named Cyopolda in the Djenndan Protectorate where a rumored relic of untold riches is said to be buried. The group gathered supplies in various districts throughout the city and prepared for their long journey, but ran into some unexpected encounters along the way. When they finally did begin their travels on the northern road, it seemed like they’d brought with them a bit of a mystery.
This session was staffed by the following players:
Hodjai, the honorable Djenndan fighter, played by @Evan
Sookta, the crafty and world-wise Djenndan blacksmith, played by @xSubNuke
Lemur-o, the dream-walking kahlnissá ghost, played by @Terri
Ts’uviti, the goat-whispering viantu savant, played by @saelbrin
Aurelia, the lawful-good Pulnagá newcomer, played by @JudyWhoShouldSignUpForAWebsiteAccount
After a long respite, the player characters had gathered at Marwin’s Clear Bottle, what had come to be one of their favorite establishments in the capitol city. Rory Untarr was on his way to Vostiar’s Hold, but the adventurers were joined by Aurelia, (a new PC) who had met with Ts’uviti and Sookta some time past in the Brolean Expanse. Dyrakos and Kishsahat were also seated at a table with the adventurers. There they all discussed various rumors they had heard over the last month and decided that the Empire’s political intrigue could do without them for a while. They wanted to head north in search of fortune, and so they sat discussing how they might search for a priceless relic that Sookta had heard about.
Over the last month, Sookta had found a fragmented parchment containing symbols unfamiliar to him, but some sketched Alldedan writing that spoke of “The Relic of Tur’dar.” Asking around revealed that the relic was some old amulet said to be worth more gold than could be found within the Empire. Wishing to learn more than rumors and grandiose claims, Sookta took the parchment to a local scholar while in the capitol and learned that the symbols written were ancient Alldedan, and that they did indeed refer to the Tur’dar Relic. The relic was said to be an amulet that served some specific purpose, though what that purpose was remained unclear. The scholar noted that this fragmentary parchment came from a larger book, a fabled tome among Djenndan scholars. The corner of the parchment bore a watermark stamp that was all too similar to the Craftsman’s Seal, though far older and embedded with the ancient Alldedan symbol for Cyopolda, a city in the north. The scholar seemed deeply interested in retrieving the book to which the parchment belonged, stating that it could be worth more than any amulet’s gold. Sookta had thanked the scholar for his time and had insistently kept his fragment of parchment.
That fragment now sat on a table in front of the group at Marwin’s Clear Bottle. After some deliberation, it was decided: they would explore what this relic was about. But first they needed to gather supplies.
The group traveled around East Market Row in search of weapon and armor upgrades. Aurelia, especially, worked find goods that were worthy of such a long trip. She traveled off to procure further items and food stores for the trip. The rest of the group contributed a sum of gold to purchase Kishsahat a new cart, since they had destroyed her old one last month. Sookta wanted to take advantage of several craftsman in the city who were said to be able to enchant items, imbuing them with exceptional properties. He entrusted his sturdy hammer of precision to one such enchanter, committing a fair sum of wealth for the task. Something went wrong with the charm, however, and left his hammer browned and too hot to touch. Not wanting to give up on his hammer, though, the Djenndan crafted an elaborate, hardened leather glove so he could hold the hammer and continue to use it. Its searing touch might just have a burning effect on his foes.
Ts’uviti wanted a mount of his own, and spent time touring the city’s herd merchants, livery stables, and animal tenders. After hours of searching, he found a mountain goat at an exotic animal vendor. The goat seemed to take a liking to Ts’uviti, so the viantu decided to see if the strange creature was smart enough to serve as a riding mount. The vendor, Branniken Vell, was perplexed by Ts’uviti’s requests, and insisted that the adventurer just buy the goat and be on his way. Ts’uviti did just that, but in short order proceeded to domesticate the creature. The mountain goat, who Ts’uviti named Daxen, seemed to have an innate connection to his rider and an uncanny ability to serve as a reliable mount and companion.
When each member of the party had gathered supplies and the group finished compiling their caravan, they evaluated their goods and realized they were still holding onto this odd-looking Torlish candle holder that they had found within the ruins in Pelmoran lands. After much deliberation, they decided that they didn’t need it around, and so they should sell it. The group searched around for merchants in East Market Row who might be interested in such a ritual artifact. They spied an Uskelian merchant who seemed as if he might be interested. The merchant asked to hold the candelabra, and upon taking it he turned the object upside down and touched the underside with a clumsy twisting motion. Before the party could protest, the Torlish candelabra opened on the bottom side. The Uskelian merchant looked inside, then quickly closed the secret door he had exposed and handed it back. “I’m afraid in its current state I could only give you 20 threnns for this trinket,” The merchant said, his common words thick with the slippery Uskelian accent. This did not please the adventurers, and so they decided not to sell, but inquired as to who might know more about this strange candelabra that seemed to have a secret opening at its bottom, and apparently be “missing” some item. The Uskelian merchant smiled crookedly and directed them to Slab Alley, to seek out a dark merchant named Dadrauth.
The adventurers were hesitant to go to Slab Alley, and with good reason. As far as neighborhoods go, that one was the worst, most poverty-stricken, smelliest, and certainly most dangerous that Thrennum had to offer. Long ago when the capitol city was first formed, it was the first part of the city built on the slabs of rock from the toppled buildings that stood here during the age of the Four Kingdoms. But now Slab Alley was the epitome of a slum. Finally, though, the group decided to take their chances there, though. They needed to learn more about this candelabra.
Not two minutes into the neighborhood, Lem’ caught a young boy trying to pick her pocket. She grabbed the boy’s wrist, and when he couldn’t wrench free he lurched up and punched her in the face. The ghost was surprised and recoiled, releasing the wretch’s wrist, but Sookta grabbed the kid by the scruff of the neck. The boy spit in their faces and screamed that they should let him go. He was a scrawny thing, covered in tattered rags and filth. Lem’ tried to reason with the boy. Aurelia tried to sympathize with him and offer encouraging advice. The gutter rat would have none of it, and continued to hurl insults, mocks, threats, and spittle at the adventurers. After a time Sookta dropped him in the dirt, and they told him never to cross their path again. The boy made rude gestures at them, but it seemed he got the message. He ran off into the crowd. “Nice neighborhood,” said Kishsahat.
A few inquiries about the crowd pointed them toward a stone ruin of a house toward the north edge of the neighborhood. There they found Dadrauth, who had the look of a dark sorcerer about him. He invited them into his hut. It had all the trappings of one who dabbles in potions and witchcraft. The air was thick and stale in the house, too, enough to send shivers down Hodjai’s spine and make the hair still growing back on his right shoulder stand on end. The adventurers began to inquire about the ritual candelabra, and told their story of how the Uskelian merchant had opened the bottom.
Dadrauth was not surprised, and told the group that this was no mere candelabra, but rather it is called an Echrile. The Echrile, or “Candle of Dreams,” is a ritual device that is said to predate Torlish culture, but was certainly used by Torland dream walkers to a myriad of purposes. The merchant was most likely opening the Echrile in search of rare items, which are placed inside the candelabra while it is burnt. Different components are said to produce different effects. The Uskelian merchant, deduced Dadrauth, was likely just looking for gold flecks but had not real idea about what the Echrile’s purpose truly was.
Dadrauth seemed oddly intrigued by and even fixated on the Echrile. When he finished discussing the device’s purpose and the merchant’s intent, he flatly offered the adventurers 700 threnns for it. This made the adventuring party suspicious. Ts’uviti wanted to know what Dadrauth intended to do with the Echrile. The sorcerer was elusive, but poised, and encouraged the group to realize that they were trying to sell it, and he was offering a more than fair price out of intellectual curiosity. After they conferred among themselves for a time, they decided that 700 threnns was an incredible price for something that they had just found. They were on a quest of their own and didn’t need to take any responsibility over what Dadrauth was or was not going to do with this Echrile. Dadrauth retrieved a sack of gold from behind a leather shroud, and weighed out the sum for the sale. When he handed it to the group, he extended his hand toward Lem, and they closed the deal with a handshake. As soon as she touched the sorcerer’s hand, she felt warmth grow from her palm, and for a moment smelled pine needles, as if standing in the spring forests and feeling the wind rush over the pines. As soon as the sensation hit her, it subsided, and the group was on their way, 700 threnns richer. The party hauled their caravan to the ferry docks, where they loaded up and boarded a ship bound for Asranat.
The group discussed their experience in Slab Alley and with Dadrauth as they made the journey across the channel by ship. But Lem’s thoughts were unusually occupied by Dadrauth and the details of their meeting. Even as the party arrived in Asnarathia, and as they unloaded their goods and animals, Lem would speak often of details she remembered from their encounter with the sorcerer. The others in the party grew tired of her constant chatter, and so she decided to hold her tongue as they continued their journey, but the thoughts did not subside. The adventurers pressed on past the port city headed north, trying to make use of what daylight they had left and trying to beat the coming rains of the cold season waiting for them just south of the mountains. They made camp six miles north of the port city.
That night Lem’ had an oddly vivid dream. She was walking through shrubland, reaching her hands out and touching pine needles as the wind rushed the smells of pine toward her. Her hands suddenly became sticky, as if they were smeared with pine pitch. When she turned her palms over, the pitch turned to blood, and she heard screams behind her. Panicking, she turned around and was suddenly in a field running toward the sounds of the screams, which came from a burning house. She felt the warmth of the fire as it burst from the front of the house toward her. That’s when she woke, panting, in a sweat. Lem couldn’t sleep so she spoke with Kishsahat who was on watch over camp. The dream was strange, but Kishsahat was not much of a listener, so after a time Lem returned to her tent and was able to sleep the night.
The next day the adventurers had breakfast and broke camp early, and made use of a wonderful day. They only weird encounter they had was meeting a rather large falcon in the center of their path. The weather was warm and they made impressive time covering well over twenty miles as they made their way up the north road. They made camp at nightfall, and after a meal curled up for rest after a long day’s travel. That night, Lem dreamt of being in warm water, feeling content to wade, until the water seemed to turn to blood. She touched the blood and it was viscous, like pitch, and held her feet down so she could not move. As she began to panic, she was in a field, hearing screams come from a burning house. She approached the door and reached out, searing her flesh as she tried to open and find out who was inside. She woke in a sweat, and once again couldn’t get back to sleep. She sat next to the fire and spoke with Hodjai, who was on watch for the night. She mentioned the dream, and Hodjai asked if she’d been thinking about Dadrauth still, or if he had anything to do with what she was experiencing. “He did call that Echrile the ‘Candle of Dreams,’ after all.” Lem mentioned that she still had been thinking about Dadrauth, but was keeping it to herself. When Hodjai pried, she began to make the connection of the details she experienced, but this made Hodjai uneasy. Hodjai seemed to get fed up. “Lem, speak no more of that place. That man sent chills down my spine and meeting him was an unwholesome experience. It’s best to think on brighter things.”
The following day, the group continued to see good weather and dry roads ahead. After a modest breakfast they broke camp and continued on their journey. They spoke of their expectations in Cyopolda and what this relic might offer them. Meanwhile along the journey, Lem continued to suffer nightly dreams, the imagery of which involved blood, pitch, fire, and screams. Embedded in that fire was a haunting face that had no shape. It seemed to be watching her, seeing what she would do, yet the pitch was always present and prevented her from ever seeing inside the house.
How will their journey continue? We continue in our next installment as the adventurers arrive in Virrad along their journey north. Join us next time!