The Iron Circle

The Battle of Albridge Pt 1
The party returns to Albridge and Nazrin attacks!

September 27th

The next morning the party took no undue delays as they left the Woodsinger elves. Israfen wished them speed and promised again that his people would follow shortly. The walk back to Albridge was uneventful and nearly silent. Each member of the party seemed to be thinking of what might happen in the next few days so even the party’s normal amount of banter and chit chat was absent. Only when the party neared Albridge were they snapped out of there thoughts by the changes that they noticed.

The area for nearly a mile south of the village was totally transformed. The fields that had previously been overrun or razed were turned into training camps with tents rising quickly and groups of men talking and organizing themselves. The group also noticed huge wooden fences with spikes jutting out being positioned to direct battles to certain areas. As they walked, the party recognized members of the village of Albridge as well as men they’d seen in Tor’s Holding.

At one point the road was blocked by a checkpoint. Three men with spears stepped out from behind a blockade and rudely hailed Gore. The dwarf responded by, equally rudely, asking who these men were that they did not recognize the adventures. The three soldiers all shifted their spears a few inches closer to Gore but before the conversation could get ugly a voice from behind the barricade said “Stand down, soldiers! These people are on our side!” Ren stepped out from behind the barricade and placed his hand on the shaft of one of the spears, lowering it’s point.

“Yes, recognize our authority!” said Gore with a growl and a small jump. Ren apologized for the soldiers’ behavior and escorted the party the rest of the way to the village center. There they met back up with Dar and he explained the situation. "By this time tomorrow Nazrin will be on the move. People from every part of Harkenwold have gathered here on my request, interested only in sending the cretin back to where he came from. Now we have less than a day to organize and teach these people as best we can. Please help in any way you know how, adventurers!” Atesh turned to the gnarled human and replied “I think that if all of us use our talents we can make a difference even though time is short. Do you have any ideas as to how we can help, Dar?”

Then the game cut to a riveting montage as Dar explained his ideas on preparations and the party acted on them as well as lending a hand in other ways. Gore and Rachiev tried to teach the soldiers to be intimidating and athletic. Atesh used his magic to boost the morale and mental readiness of the collected leaders. Narisella taught a group of soldiers how to pick inedible mushrooms and eat them, effectively debilitating that group of soldiers for the next day. Later she used her religious abilities to raise a larger group of soldiers’ morale to great heights. Donaar worked with the leaders and soldiers on battlefield health and doctoring tips. At the end of the day the party felt that their contributions to the whole had been massive and even Dar admitted that if they were ever going to be ready for Nazrin, they were ready now. The whole camp went to bed to catch some much needed rest.

Dar woke the party up in the morning as he finished strapping on his leather cuirass. He had an old but ordinary sword strapped to his hip and he wore a grim expression across his face. “The battle will take place soon. We’ve spotted Nazrin’s train. He must have marched through the night. I will tell you the role that I’d like your party to play in this battle. As our two forces clash, I’d like to have the five of you remain in my vicinity. When we spot an advantageous opportunity or a need for your fight, I will send you out to the best effect. If you have other plans for yourselves though, I will not interfere.”

The party discussed their plans for a minute and decided that Dar’s idea would suffice. The older human nodded and bid the party to ready themselves for battle then. Several hours passed as everyone prepared. Finally Dar motioned to the party to join him on a small hill near the read of the guard. As the party crested the hill they were given a better view of the fields to the southeast. They could see the resistance army, standing in groups and ranks along a general line. No more than a mile beyond them stood another mass of men. Nazrin’s army had stopped nearly toe to toe with theirs and both groups just waited. If Dar was unsure of what needed to be done, none of the party was unable to discern it from his features. Several of his command looked to him for guidance but he simply watched the horizon and said nothing.

Suddenly there was a small commotion from the enemy’s troops and a storm of arrows jumped into the sky to fall among the resistance men. Dar gave a signal and a trumpet blew. All of the resistance knew that to be the cue to charge and the two armies descended on each other. The fields south of Albridge quickly became a bloodbath as farmers and soldiers mixed and skirmished. The armies swirled together then broke apart, each side sustaining casualties but not losing much ground. Dar held a hand out to the party to steel their urge to get into the fight. Several minutes later he spoke.

“There. A few hundred feet to the south of us. It looks like the men responsible for fortifying the Johnston farmstead were unable to complete their task.” Dar pointed to a single farmhouse surrounded by a low wall. The areas on either side of the compound were walled off with spiked fences but the house seemed untouched. “A group of Nazrin’s men have realized it and are going to break through the farm and flank our surrounding fighters. Adventurers… Get to that farm before they do and stop them from breaking our line!” Gore yelled out an encouraging battle cry and the party rushed to the house.

The group got the the farm just as the enemy did. Nearly a dozen men and a slimy, acidy looking drake were running toward the party as they waited just inside the farmstead. The battle was decided quickly as Atesh, Narisella, and Rachiev tore the most experienced soldier down before she could even swing her massive flail. The remaining men were inexperienced and fell quickly to the party’s attacks. The spitting drake managed to cover Donaar in acid but he was no match for the party’s combined might and he too soon fell. A messenger on horseback trampled up and spoke while the party recovered from their skirmish. “Adventurers! Dar requests your assistance along the line to the northeast. Can you see his standard there? Please return to him quickly.” And without waiting for more than the eye contact of the party’s members, he took off to the south.

When they were ready the group began marching towards Dar. As they walked Rachiev noticed that they were tailing another group of people who were threading in and out of houses, trying to stealthily make their way towards Dar’s position. The party recognized them as Iron Circle that must have broken through the line and were going to try to ambush the resistance commanders! The moment the party had a good position they attacked the Iron Circle to save Dar’s hide. Gore rushed into a house that the enemy group had been heading for. Inside he found a tortured monstrosity that only barely resembled the dark adept that his tattered red cloak identified him as.The man had eight inch horns coming from his forehead and his entire body was red and blistered and dripping with thick black tar. The tar pooled at his hands and as Gore rushed him the shifted adept threw a ball of it at the dwarf’s face. Outside the rest of the party fought with another of the terrifying tar adepts and three other Iron Circle.

The shifted adepts spread pain and burning throughout the party as they used a burning cloud and a sulphurous aura to take down Rachiev and Gore. Luckily, Narisella’s teifling heritage allowed her a resistance to fire that proved invaluable. She used her healing powers to keep everyone else alive and finally the Iron Circle squad was defeated. Without missing a beat, the party continued on to Dar’s position.

“I’m glad you made it back to me so quickly. It looks like you successfully guarded that segment of the line. Now I have something much more important for you to handle.” Dar welcomed the party with a raised sword as they approached. Then he pointed down a farmland road that wound further northeast. “Just down this road, Nazrin and his vanguard are decimating two of our platoons. I need you to go and kill him. I think you’re ready and now is the time we put the final nail into this fight! If you can down Nazrin we can clean up the rest of the Iron Circle on the field. What say you?” Atesh hefted his own sword in his hand and replied “We’re ready alright! Let’s finish this!”

The Battle Against Yisern
The party clears the Woodsingers' temple and gains their trust

Sept. 20th

While enjoying their well deserved rest, the party took some time to examine the room they were in. They looked at all of the worn and rotting tables and examined the two sets of iron double doors. On the raised platform they found a table with three scrolls a top it. Donaar opened two of the scrolls and found that they were blank. The third scroll was blank as well except for a symbol with a skull and a dragon. The chief goblin, Snilvor, had a crumpled note in his pocket that read:

Snilvor Go to Dal Nasty-er Git MAPS!!! Trick Yisern Escap Say Dall Nastyer

Unsure of what the note actually meant, the party decided to continue on and turned their attention to the iron doors. Rachiev decided to show his rougish prowess by unlocking the doors. He spent a few minutes checking the keys he picked up at the inn in Marl. The party waited patiently until he turned around in dismay. Then Narisella showed her clerical dominance by picking the doors on her first try. The whole party gathered around the doors as Gore slowly pushed them open.

The first thing they saw was the giant skull of a red dragon staring back at them. The rest of the skeleton followed behind. Bones and pieces of bones were arranged across a large table. Bits of magical energy ran through the skeleton and the party could tell that something foul was afoot. The room also contained several large brass braziers filled with flaming coals. The far end of the room was shrouded in a large mass of shimmering webs.

“You don’t appear to be the Goblins I was expecting,” came a dark voice out of the room ahead. The voice conveyed a sense of death and decay as well as any sound could. It only took a second to identify the skeletal mage Yisern as the speaker. He wore a robe of tattered silks and his eyes glowed with an unholy blue flame. “It matters little though. I suppose you’ve come for the maps.” Beside Yisern stood two other skeletons carrying mismatch pieces of armor. They stood completely still as Yisern spoke.

Rachiev, hoping to accomplish what he had been unable to do with the goblin chief, spoke up in an attempt to deceive the evil Mage. " Yes we come in lieu of the goblins. We have a note here explaining our purpose." “Hrrm… Well bring it to me then,” replied Yisern. Rachiev began walking forward but his elven senses told him that something wasn’t right. As he stepped into the room he heard a low rumble in the floor and the stone tiles below him crumbled and fell into a 10 foot pit filled with spikes! The half elf managed to quickly jump back to the edge of the pit. Then everyone looked to Yisern, who was laughing wickedly.

“You foul being! Gross son of an elf! Do you think for one second that I believed you were working with the goblins? All of you reek of dirty elf! No it’s much more likely that you’re working with those Woodsinger elves, my mortal enemies. Come to me if you dare but expect to feel my wrath!”

Determined to find a way across that pit, Donaar signaled for Gore’s help and went to find a table to bridge the gap. Atesh used his magic to quickly teleport across the pit and past Yisern. He had spotted a small lever jutting out of the wall and as he reached the wall he yanked the lever hard. A cranking and rumbling noise resonated through the walls and floors and the pit trap appeared to be disabled, however the stone tiles were still gone.

With Atesh now alone with the three skeletons, the rest of the party had to act fast to cross the pit. Gore jumped across effortlessly while the other three worked to unlock the second door. Yisern and his skeletons attacked Atesh and Gore until Rachiev finally picked the second lock. The party was running towards the battle when a jet of sticky web sprayed out of the web mass and covered Donaar and Rachiev. Then a massive spider slinked out and bit at the dragonborn.

The party fought courageously against Yisern’s great magics and the cunning of the glimmerweb spider. At one point, as the party was being overrun by Yisern and cornered by the spider, Gore grabbed the skeletal mage and used his own sinister trap against him! The mage fell into the pit with a great rattling, landing on top of one of the other skeletons who had been shoved in earlier. Unable to see the party, Yisern was prevented from attacking them while they dispatched the spider alone. Gore was the first to reach the pit’s edge and unleashed his most devastating attack. Using his weapon hand, the dwarf deftly removed his belt and allowed his trousers to drop to the ground. Sufficiently freed, Gore then relieved himself on Yisern, successfully humiliating the only being among them that had already cheated death.

Yisern, dripping and smelling of urine, launched a final attack against the object of all his rage. His hands exploded with lightning that arced out and engulfed Gore’s bottom half. Then the lightning retracted back into the pit, dragging the dwarf with it. With a thud and the clanging of metal against stone the dwarf was knocked unconscious. Rachiev rushed up and threw his magical javelin, ending Yisern’s cursed existence. The battle over, the rest of the party worked together to stabilize and rescue Gore from his spiky place of resting.

Yisern’s lair was the second half of the elven temple. Besides the half reanimated dragon, the party also saw a pair of large bookcases full of archaic tomes. There was a large iron door behind the spider webs that seemed to be completely sealed shut. The party spent nearly an hour examining every part of the room except the book cases themselves. While they hoped to find treasure, there was also no clear route that exited the temple. Eventually Narisella noticed an uneven section of the backings of the bookcase. With a little fudging she managed to pull out a hidden compartment. Inside the party found Yisern’s last valuables. Atesh took a set of teeth from the dragon, hoping to use them in magical rituals as well as to show the elves that they had succeeded. After more searching and milling around,the party finally remember the goblin’s note. Everyone gathered inside the blue circles in the earlier room and Rachiev said “Dal Nastiere” as loud as he could. A white flash engulfed the room and the party disappeared.

On the surface, the group of heroes walked triumphantly back to the Woodsinger elves. They heard the beating of horse hooves and saw Ren approaching the same forest entrance as they were. When he noticed the party he spurred his horse towards then and came to a stop only a few feeg short of Gore’s face.

“Nazrin’s forces are gathering outside of Harken! Tell me that you were successful in convincing the woodsinger elves to join our fight! " The party explained how they were and how they needed to talk to the elder and then they could return to Albridge. Ren nodded and said he had to continue on. When he was gone the party walked the rest of the way to the elven elder.

The party and Israfen talked about the elven temple and the battle to come. Atesh showed him the dragon’s teeth as proof that Yisern was dead. Convinced thoroughly, Israfen committed the Woodsingers to the war. Then the party retired to their quarters to sleep. In the morning they would return to Albridge and the battle could commence!

Ambush in Marl and the Woodsingers' Plight
The party travels to the Woodsinger elves forest to convince them to help against Nazrin

(Josh’s Note: Long session was long! Also these reviews are getting more detailed so… yea.)
Sept. 17th

It was early afternoon and the party hoped to get to see the Woodsinger Elves before nightfall. They had a few things to do in Albridge before they could leave. They visited the dwarven blacksmith, Kathrid at her shop facing the town’s square. Gore tried to purchase a spiked gauntlet to accommodate his changing martial interests. The blacksmith was able to sell him a war hammer and gave him some directions on what she needed to make the gauntlet. The party confirmed their ideas about the Woodsinger Elves with Kathrid and then left Albridge.

The road that leads to the forests south of Harkenwold also runs through the ruins of Marl. The town of Marl was completely destroyed by the Iron Circle as a warning to the rest of Harkenwold. The party got a first hand look at the Iron Circle’s work as they passed by the town’s outer limits. The houses and buildings that lined the road were all in varying degrees on destruction. Some were reduced to rubble while others looked to just be defaced and abandoned. The village proper was even worse. The party found evidence of the Iron Circle’s wrath everywhere in the way of destruction and death. In some areas the party could still see dead residents of Marl who had been left where they fell. Often times the smell was excruciating.

The party made it to the center of town without seeing a single sign of life. They decided to do a bit of exploring and split up to cover more ground. On the west side of the road was a nondescript two story building. To the east was a building with a quarter of an inn sign hanging over the door. Atesh and Gore chose to take the north while Donaar and Rachiev went east. Narisella offered to stand guard. The northern building appeared to be an administrative building of some kind. One wall was covered in bookcases and there was a destroyed greeting desk in the center. The two spent a few minutes rummaging through the mostly ruined books that were scattered on and around the bookcases. They found an entry in a registry describing a Woodsinger elf that lived in Marl. The elf’s name was San’el and she had moved to Marl some time ago.

Donaar and Rachiev walked into the dimly lit inn and surveyed their surroundings. Every piece of furniture was broken and all of the shelves were emptied. In the corner there laid another victim of the town raid. Donaar searched the room while Rachiev looked over the body. Hanging on the tattered remains of the man’s belt was a large metal loop carrying several dozen keys. The rogue pocketed the keyring and joined Donaar in his search. Down a long hallway the two found two lines of rooms behind locked doors. Rachiev unlocked the rooms in turn but they were all filled with nothing but garbage and filth. The last door was at the end of the hallway and faced east. A flurry of muffled noises came from behind the door as Rachiev fumbled with the lock. He opened it to find that this room looked very similar to the others with the exception of a five foot round hole in the wall, likely the result of some small battle outside. Rachiev caught a glimpse of golden hair as someone slipped out the hole and rushed to escape the two. “STOP! We mean you no harm!” Rachiev shouted and raced after the figure. Donaar shuffled after him as quickly as possible.

Out in the street, Rachiev’s shout was loud enough to disrupt Narisella’s boredom induced daydreaming. Gore and Atesh had also heard the shout and came out of the building across the street. “What happened?” asked Gore as the two caught up with Narisella. “I don’t know! What does it look like I was doing, standing watch??” replied the tiefling, which everyone agreed was a good comeback. In the back yard, Donaar caught up with Rachiev as the half-elf stopped to look at his surroundings. Outside the inn there was a wide back alley and then a large swath of razed farmland. To the north and south Rachiev saw more decimated buildings and piles of rubble. Then he noticed a single building, a small house, out among the field that seemed unaffected by the raid. “We come in peace in the name of Lord Faren! Show yourself!” Rachiev shouted out again to the empty alley. With no better lead, the two headed towards the small house.

In the street, the rest of the party heard Rachiev’s second shout and started running around the inn to regroup. The whole party met up in front of the small house and exchanged information. The party determined that the figure they saw might be the elf San’el and so Atesh shouted out, this time in elven. “San’el, if that is you in there, know that we come in peace and you may be able to help us.” “No no, sorry! No one’s home! I’m afraid you’re mistaken! Good day!” came a meek man’s voice from inside followed by sounds of a short struggle. The door opened and out stepped a slight figure of elven descent. She had fair skin and long blond hair and she wore the elven expression of youthful knowledge well. Behind her, an anxious looking halfling climbed back onto his feet and half followed her out. The elf spoke to the party, “I am San’el, and who are you that know my name?”

The party and San’el spoke of the register, their quest, the Woodsinger elves, and the Iron Circle’s actions against Marl. San’el had moved to Marl several years ago after she found her true love in a human who lived in the town but occasionally traded with the Woodsinger elves. Her parents disapproved and she left the elves to be with the man, James. When the Iron Circle attacked Marl, James was cut down as he did his part to try and protect their city. The halfling, Carmen, had taken her in as one of the only other survivors. Now, Carmen spent his days being extremely suspicious of the world outside his front door. The party tried and eventually succeeded to convince San’el to accompany them back to the Woodsinger elves, both for their sake and hers. She would be able to help them convince her people to assist Harkenwold.

With Carmen having already snuck back inside and locked the door, there was little to do but start off again. It began to rain as the party and San’el walked back to the road and headed south again. The rest of the walk through Marl was sad but uneventful. Just as the party was passing the last few abandoned buildings, they saw a strange sight. An Iron Circle lout was hiding, poorly, behind a tree and watching them. The party realized that he didn’t even know they had spotted him. Suspecting an ambush, they stopped casually and began talking in excessively loud voices about nothing while secretly trying to figure out what was going on.

After several comments about the weather were made and someone tried to rehash lunch, the party heard a ferocious roar erupt from the road ahead. A twenty foot long drake, bright red and exuding anger, walked out of the trees in front of them. On it’s back rode another Iron Circle fighter with a curved sword and a tired set of eyes. “Just SHUT UP! That was the worrrst stalling conversation I’ve ever heard. This is the dangerous group of adventurers Nazrin sent me to kill? I’ll be back in Harken and in his good graces muuch faster than I expected. Kill them.”

A half a dozen more Iron Circle emerged from the trees and surrounding buildings and attacked! Donaar and Atesh cut down several of the men as quick as they could reach the party. Gore came up with a ridiculous idea and tried to quickly convey it to Atesh, who agreed it was ridiculous. Out of the trees walked an Adept, spraying necrotic lightning across the battle. Suddenly, Gore was running right towards Atesh, his war hammer held high. At the last second, Atesh dropped to a knee and braced his whole body against it. The dwarf ran right up the eladrin’s back and leaped off his shoulders. Soaring amazingly through the air, Gore reached with his free hand for the drakes wicked horns just as the drake reached with his massive teeth for the flying dwarf. Both creatures hit their mark and dwarf and drake became one.

Rachiev threw a javelin that ended the rider’s life before Gore could thoroughly embarrass him and the party worked to fight off the adept and remaining Iron Circle. The drake spotted Donaar, a dragonborn, and quickly lost interest in the hard to chew dwarf. He spit Gore out against a tree and ran towards Donaar. Donaar attempted to communicate with the drake in order to control it but only succeeded in pacifying it. The adept managed to down both Gore and Narisella before she met her demise. As the last of the Iron Circle attempted to flee, Donaar again tried to sway the drake’s actions. Instead, the drake sauntered over to and climbed up a nearby tree and lazily watched the party recover. The party decided to leave the drake since it had gotten bored of fighting and continued towards the woods, satisfied in their victory.

An hour later the party was at the forest treeline. San’el took the lead and the group walked into the Woodsinger elves forest. Almost immediately they were hailed by a tall, thin elf carrying a knocked long bow. He identified himself as Eriyel, guardian of this entrance to the woods. Then he noticed San’el and the two began talking quickly in elven. After the party explained their reason for being there, Eriyel took them to see the village elder, Israfen.

Israfen waited for them at the entrance to a large tree that the elves had coaxed to grow into the shape of a house of sorts. “Hello travelers. I received word that I could expect visitors. What business do you have with the Woodsinger elves? And how have you come to be traveling with my daughter San’el?” “Whaaatttt?” whispered Gore. “You’re the elder’s daughter?” The elf met Gore’s surprised stare openly as she walked past him. Then she addressed the whole party. “Yes, I am Israfen’s daughter. And now is the time for me to return to my people’s side.”

San’el turned to her father and explained the monstrous deeds done by the Iron Circle in Marl. The party introduced themselves and explained their plight to Israfen. Although he was happy to see his daughter return, the elven elder was unwilling to help the people of Harkenwold. He was confident that the fight that was waging was not the Woodsingers’ to fight. Entering into the fray would only endanger his people unnecessarily. Atesh, Gore, Rachiev, Donaar, and Narisella all made compelling arguments in their own way, trying every approach to convince Israfen to help. Finally he agreed to move against Nazrin after the party had shown their own willingness to help the Woodsingers first. There was a magical Woodsinger temple just outside the forest that had been overtaken by an undead mage named Yisarn. If the party removed Yisarn and returned with proof, Israfen would commit the Woodsingers. Israfen gave the party a small vial of dragon’s blood and explained to use the dragon’s blood on the altar surrounded by stones to be transported to the temple. The party spent the night in the magical tree house and left for the temple in the morning.

When the party was transported into the temple, they found themselves surrounded by goblins as surprised by their sudden appearance as the party was. The room they were in was dark except for several torches mounted to the walls. It was completely carved stone, with time worn patterns etched into the floors and walls. Several tables were scattered about, littered with old, musty books and empty or spoiled bottles. In one corner there was a raised area approximately six feet off the ground. There were six steps that connected it to the rest of the floor on one side and no railing or guard on the other. On the platform was an ancient desk and a chair that appeared to be made of human bones, wound together. Then there were the goblins. Five goblins stopped what they were doing, which appeared to be tearing the room apart in search of something. They had brought two small drakes with them in cages, and the drakes were snapping at the party from behind their bars. For a few awkward seconds, no one moved.

Then Rachiev started talking, in goblin, to the only goblin wearing a big headdress, assuming it to be the leader. Rachiev was certain he could convince the chief, Snivlex, that the party was supposed to be there. His plan fell through when the goblin realized that the half elf didn’t know anything about the goblins’ mission or even how to open pesky iron doors. Snivlex expressed this concern to the party by ordering his minion to open the first crate, allowing a rage drake to burst out and start the battle.

The party dispatched the weaker goblins quickly but not before one of them released the second drake. The two drakes worked together viciously and the party started falling to their blood lust. Snivlex used his wand to try to dominate members of the party but Gore put a stop to that quickly by grabbing the goblin and shoving him into one of the cages. The battle ended with the whole party trying to kill Snivlex inside the cage while he tried to make them kill each other outside the cage. Eventually the party bested the last goblin and everyone took a well deserved rest.

The Story So Far
The Story as it has been told... So Far

First session July 13th

The party found its adventure beginning as they traveled from Fallcrest to Harkenwold. They were on a mission for Lord Faren to investigate reports that a group of raiders had invaded Harkenwold from the south. As they left the forest and were able to see a large portion of Harkenwold valley, they noticed a plume of smoke coming from behind some nearby hills. The party decided to investigate and found a farm that was under attack by bandits wearing matching cloaks. The Iron Circle was demanding taxes or they would burn the house down! The party attempted to reason with the bandits but were eventually forced to attack. During the course of the battle, one bandit was captured and the rest were slain.

July 20th

The party met Ilyana, the owner of the besieged farm. She told them about some of the Iron Circle’s actions in Harkenwold so far. Several homes and smaller villages had been razed and the remaining farmers were being extorted for “taxes.” She also told the party about Dar Gremath and the resistance that spanned Harkenwold, just waiting for their time to strike back. She suggested they take their prisoner to Dar or to go see the druid Reithann to find ways to help the rebels’ efforts.

The party thanked Ilyana for her help and she did the same in kind and the group returned to King’s road to reach Albridge. On the way they spotted the druid’s grove. Atesh decided to approach the grove first while the others stayed outside but within earshot. The druid spoke of a family that could be helpful to the resistance that was being oppressed by a group of frog men called bullywugs. The family was the Tor clan and they lived in Tor’s Hold, to the east. Atesh returned to the group and they continued on to Albridge.

They found Dar’s stables on the edge of town and met with the grisly human. He ushered them inside with their prisoner and explained further the situation that Harkenwold was in. Less than three months ago the Iron Circle had invaded from the south, moving quicker than the small defense force of Harkenwold could possibly react. The raiders had quickly picked a small town to burn down completely, then they moved on Harken. The town of Harken was overrun and Harken keep was renamed Black keep. Dar suggested the party find a place in town to sleep for the night while he talked with the prisoner. The party had barely started resting at the Mallard inn when a group of Iron Circle entered the inn and started harassing the locals. The party was forced to intercede. Afterwards the inn keep allowed them to sleep for free.

The next day the group returned to Dar. Hey told them of a number of Circle caravans that the prisoner had told him about. The party decided to go dispatch the bullywugs and return later to attack a caravan. Dar supplied them with horses and they traveled to Tor’s Holding. There they met Narisella, a teifling cleric who decided to join them. The party traveled further east to the Toadwater Caverns to complete their objective.

August 10th

The party finished their trek to Toadwater Cavern. The cavern entrance was a large hole 15ft up the side of a very tall cliff. Out if the hole flowed the largest contributor to the White River. There appeared to be a way to climb up the wall but the party choose to investigate for an alternate entrance to the caverns. Ten minutes walk to the north, the party spotted a small tunnel cut into a hill opposite the cliff. The party crawled through this pitch black tunnel for what seemed to be ages before finally finding themselves in the back of a large, dark, inhabited cavern.

Despite their efforts to remain quiet, the party alerted the bullywugs inhabiting the cavern of their presence and a battle ensued. The bullywug chief tried to use a large dragon skull as cover while spitting and croaking at the party. Eventually he tried to surrender in exchange for his life but the party feared that letting him go was too dangerous. He was killed while begging for his life. A returning raiding group of bullywugs presented a second challenge for the party. After an attempt to trick the new group of bullywugs proved unsuccessful the parties began to fight. Gore, in an amazing feet of bravery, leapt from the 15 ft cliff with his arms out in front of him clutching his great axe, while his legs were extended behind giving him the appearance of a giant flying squirrel. As he came soaring down the cliff he could feel the air flowing through his long elegantly braided beard that ever so slightly began to come undone. He came crashing into the bullywug champion knocking him backwards and prone while attacking and screaming prayers of praise to Moradin. Mean while back in the cavern Donaar and Rachiev got eaten by giant frogs. They lived though.

The party rescued a young halfling named Heron who had been kidnapped by the bullywugs. Heron told the party about his family’s ferry that ran up and down the White River. The party decided to travel along the river in hopes of finding the ferry, which they did. The boat was moored up in the center of the river for the night so the party camped on the shore and waited until morning. Just before dawn, the party awoke to the boat heading towards them. The halfling man standing on the deck had recognized his son. A ruckus started below deck and the party heard a scream and another loud, low noise before the boat ran aground.

August 17th
As the boat touched shore, the halfling man, named Ramsey, nearly fell off the boat but barely managed to recover and climbed down to rejoin his son. He told the party that something was tearing up his boat and might have hurt his second mate, Sal. The party decided to investigate and descended into the boat’s cabin. Inside, they found an Iron Circle adept and two metal creations working to disable the boat’s engine. Gore attempted to deceive the adept and learned that the Iron Circle had discovered that Ramsey was a member of the resistance and was carrying supplies on this ship. Gore tried to talk the man and his iron creations down but their back and forth quickly turned to a steel exchange.

The party fought off the adept, his hidden companion, and the two iron defenders before they could disable the boat. They realized that the Iron Circle was using small crafts and these specialized teams to disrupt the resistance’s presence on the White River. Ramsey explained that he was a member of the resistance, and that he was bringing a cache of weapons and armor to Albridge to equip the resistance members. He offered to carry the party with him and they accepted.

The party met back up with Dar in Albridge and he showed them his new Command Center. They met a dwarven blacksmith named Kathrid and another of Dar’s agents. The second man rose when he heard that the party had dispatched the bullywugs. He left the cellar to return to Tor’s Hold and coordinate with the elder there about the help that Tor’s Hold would offer the resistance now.

Dar and the party discussed their next moves. The first Iron Circle caravan was ambushed successfully by Dar’s men. The second ambush was scheduled for the next day and Dar still felt it was vital to accomplish. One of the party member’s brought up the Woodsinger elves, which Ramsey had mentioned as a possible lead. Kathrid explained that the elves lived in the woods south of Harkenwold, but they might be unwilling to help. The party agreed that it was still worth looking into. The party was released to rest for the night, with Dar promising to wake them up when it was time to leave for the ambush.

August 24th

Dar awoke the party at the very crack of dawn as promised. The adventurers prepared themselves for the day’s exploits and left Albridge with Ren. As the sun rose over Harkenwold, the party traveled out to the east. They stayed on lesser used roads and beaten paths to save time and stay away from any Iron Circle that might be patrolling King’s Road. Dar’s information was that the caravan was traveling from Harken to Eastville and that the party could set up the ambush before the White River if they the party traveled, Ren spotted the caravan traveling along a more traveled path that mirrored their own. The party found a good ambush spot next to a circle of great carved stones. The party didn’t have time to really explore the nature of the stones before the caravan arrived.

The caravan consisted of a large cart pulled by a single horse with four men and an iron defender walking along beside it. The cart was driven by another Iron Circle fighter and an Adept. As the caravan drove past the stones, Gore jumped out from behind a bush and hailed the driver. The adept and Gore exchanged words that went from pleasant to dangerous in the blink of an eye. Since the rest of the party had remained hidden, the adept didn’t see Atesh’s acid arrow as it exploded across his side and doused the driver and horse in acid as well. The horse bolted in a crazed panic, pulling the cart with it and overrunning the iron defender as it went. Eventually the weight of the cart stalled the horse and a normal battle ensued. At one point, Gore grabbed one of the fighters and rammed him face-first into one of the magical stones. The dwarf found his interest in brawling grow with each successful fight. Rachiev managed to slay one of the men using his magical javalin and Narisella’s healing abilities were used to great effect as Donaar was knocked unconscious by the iron defender.

After the dust settled, Ren emerged from his hiding place and the party assessed their captured goods. The cart had a good amount of supplies that would be of great use to the resistance as well as several items that the party took for themselves including a set of armor covered in razor sharp spikes. Rachiev chose to search the surrounding area for anything else of import and found a mysterious stone that turned out to be pretty normal. Atesh turned to study the circle of stones that they had used as their ambush cover. The circle consisted of four groups of three stones positioned around a small stone bowl atop an altar. Each stone was around ten feet long and 4 feet wide and thick. Two stones were stood on end and one was rested atop to make a stone gateway. After some study, Atesh was able to identify the stones as a portal used long ago to teleport long distances. It was an ancient magic and None of the party had any idea how to activate the portal. Unconvinced that they couldn’t figure it out, the party burned the entire group of Iron Circle corpses atop the altar. The blood soaked bodies were too large ti rest on top of the altar, so the party piled them on as best as possible and lit a fire. Immidiately the altar and the circle were engulfed in a flash of bright light and the flame that had been ignited turned a deep blue. The area directly above the altar burned incredibly fast and within minutes the altar was clear of debris while the bodies surrounding the altar burned more slowly.

Satisfied by the stench of burning flesh and unable to activate the portal, the party set of back to Albridge to report to Dar Gremath. Ren drove the cart while the party rode and walked. Atesh was able to meditate in the back of the cart and spent the ride back recovering his senses. When they arrived back at Albridge, the party returned to Dar’s command center under his stables. Dar congratulated the party excitedly and told them more of how the people of Harkenwold were mobilizing against Nazrin. Everybody agreed that the last peice of the puzzle was the Woodsinger elves. If the party could get the elves to agree to help them, Dar was sure they’d be ready for anything Nazrin could throw at them.


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