Where We Are, And How We Got There

It started with odd jobs. Local merchant, Gavyn Martel had a problem. He owed people money. A shipment from the local meadery was late, and a deal with the local tribe of frogmen never came through. Having already worked together on some small time security jobs, the adventuring group to be decided to help out Martel with his problems. Both turned out to be bigger problems then simple delays, the meadery has been smashed apart by boulders as tall as a man and invaded by malevolent fey. The frogmen had been beset by a tribe of marauding goblin and orc kin, who had been under orders from an unknown organization with a strange seal. Martel also proved to bring plenty of problems upon himself, and the party and the merchant quickly found themselves at odds.

The attacks seem to be coordinated, and attempting to illicit help from Bellis proved to be fruitless. The Aspis Consortium had defacto control over the city’s docks and local merchant Thomas Ormond operated effectively as middle man for any other trade in the city. The party found evidence that treants had been responsible for the attacks on the meadery and that the mysterious note in the goblin camp was connected to an ancient elf cult that was devoted to inhabitants of the fey-kin first world conquering the known world. Worse, others attacks of this nature had already occured throughout the River Lands. It seems Bellis was to be the next human settlement to fall to first worlders bent on controlling the Sellen River.

With little help from Bellis’ citizens, and threats coming from the Aspis consortium. The party decided to hunt down the attackers for themselves. Eventually they found the treants, although they had been horribly corrupted and a ferocious battle broke out. The battle was costly, and by the end half of the party was unconscious and Alucaryn dead. In the back of the destroyed walking trees, Bellanie found an enormous emerald that radiated powerful magic, the apparent source of the treants corruption. Returning to Bellis, the party was able to have Alucaryn revived by the small local church of Sarenrae’s faithful. The experience left Alucaryn changed, and her already tenacious faith in the dawnflower’s cult took a new life.

The battle had been costly, and the party had little to show for it. Rumors had begun to spread (their origin perhaps leading back to a certain silver-tongued elf) that Aspis had been behind the attacks on the strange but well-liked frogmen and the meadery and that Ormond had known about the attacks but had done nothing to stop them. While the rumors weakened Ormond, Aspis simply ignored them (people had worse things to say of the Consortium). Aspis decided to go on the offensive. Bellanie was notified through contacts on the docks that a “special” shipment had arrived for Ormond. Upon investigating the crates, Bellanie’s blood ran cold. The crates had tell-tale holes drilled into them, small enough to go unnoticed to an untrained eye but clearly visible to the half-elf who’s past had run afoul of this dark trade before.

Bellanie quickly gathered her friends after seeing the crates loaded into a cart driven by one of Ormond’s men. They gathered outside of the trader’s manor and watched as the cart loaded with the goods drove through the front gates. Bellanie informed her friends that she needed to see that shipment for herself. The guards recognized Beren, Tomiko and Bellanie from earlier meetings, and were able to convince the guards to let the party pass into the grounds proper. Bellanie made for the cart, wedged upon the crates and discovered what she knew she would find. The crates were full with freighted starved children.

At this time Ormond came out to greet the party and while angry words were exchanged, the party came to believe that Ormond was as shocked as anyone to see slaves being traded through his shipping business. A thorough search of the house and manor grounds eventually produced a ledger that contained details on an elaborate slave trade. However Bellanie quickly realized that the document was a forgery, already being familiar with Ormond’s writing. It was apparent Aspis had set up this entire encounter, hoping the party would turn on Ormond, allowing the consortium to rid themselves of the trader and his small empire and take control of the lower Bellis completely for themselves. With this evidence, the party gave Ormond little choice. While they had caught Aspis in the act, the evidence against Aspis was thin and the the consortium powerful. If Ormond had any hope of living, it would not be in Bellis. While reluctant at first, the trader realized he was outplayed, and took as much wealth as he could reasonably carry upon him. Leaving the manor to the party’s care.

The party however was not content to do nothing, and quickly set out to gather what they could of Ormond’s sprawling trade empire under their control, expecting that Aspis would react quickly to the consortium’s plans running afoul. Eventually the party managed to bring in most of Ormond’s business under their control, but Aspis instead played a more subtle game as crates containing more and more children came to the docks marked for Ormond. The situation was getting out of control and rumors were already flying about Ormond’s overnight departure and the swarthy collection of adventurer’s attempting to build a functioning orphanage out of the old manor house. The party formed a plan. Tomiko and her sister Sayuri would become the public face of the newly crowned Nine-Tail Orphanage, working with the local church of Sarenrae to see their displaced charges into new homes. Meanwhile Bellanie, Alucaryn, Tárira and Beren would assault the source of the shipments, Fangwood Keep.

Not only would taking the keep stop the incoming flow of orphaned slaves, but it would deny Aspis another access point along the Sellen River, and hopefully prove to be a friendly way station for the party’s burgeoning trade empire. In addition, the party hoped to hand over the fort to the rangers of Kyonin, who had been fighting for control of the keep for centuries between bandits and armies from whatever recent nation had formed on the opposite shore from within the River Kingdoms. The elves hated the consortium, and would be the only group whom Aspis could not simply buy out. The keep was also ancient and no doubt filled with treasures that would see to the party’s personal fortunes, which had mostly been poured back into the manor and bribing local shop owners.

Along the boat ride north, the party met the dwarf Banic of Highhelm, a cleric of Torag who had once been an adventurer like themselves, but had to return to his homelands to mediate clan rivalries that threatened civil war among the Five Kings Mountains. Ever eager to return to his travels and no friend of Aspis, the cleric signed on. First contact with the seclusive elves went as well it could it have been expected; travelers being unwelcome anywhere within Kyonin’s lands but the rangers accepting of the purpose of the party’s incursion. The two groups agreed to work together and the rangers provided supplies and a necessary distraction so that the party could slip into the imposing keep and drive off it’s undisciplined by numerous garrison of thugs.

With the elves aid, and with clever scouting from Alucaryn’s elemental friends, the party discovered a buried secret entrance to the keep and they quickly began their assault, quietly taking down the unaware defenders. Eventually the party isolated the mercenary groups leader and forced her to submit, although not without a pitched battle. The orc woman would surrender if she would be allowed to take the remaining number of her men and never return. She and her men had been hired by Lady Alimorel Pegason an agent of Aspis that the party had confronted before. While Alimorel wasn’t present herself, one of her personal agents had been given command of the keep, a mysterious cleric of Calistria who was searching the keep for unknown reasons. With the garrison clear, the party set about investigating the ancient functioning ruin and tracking down Alimorel’s agent.

Down and down the keep’s basement floors the party traveled coming across strange and bizarre relics of once incredible arcane power. The basement floors of the keep were flooded with planar energy, denizens of various planes of existence having been thrown haphazardly throughout the basement warrens. Eventually the party found Alimorel’s agent, and the apparent source of the keep’s once incredible power. The entire keep was once a powerful arcane engine, used for an unknown specific purpose and this engine had drawn it’s power from a powerful artifact known as a Book of Many Spells, although the artifact had withered considerably in it’s centuries of use. Alimorel had hoped to gather the artifact for her personal use, the half-elf apparently connected to the Children of the Flame. Alimorel’s agent attacked the party, but was quickly overwhelmed. Bellanie, unwillingly to kill a a priestess of her own faith, allowed the woman to leave, but not before a vigorous interrogation. When the book was removed form it’s connection to the keep, the various planar oddities ceased and the keep was finally secure enough for the rangers to oversee it’s garrison. The party spent a few days gathering themselves (and any treasure) and head back to Bellis, their goals having been acomplished.

Where We Are, And How We Got There

Kite Co. Pathfinder Team Best: Naoto, Kanji, and Teddie Pyralissa