Ire of the Gods

Reflections of a misfit....

I have been silent for most of the past year or so of adventuring with the party. Whether it be because of mistrust, lack of interest for goings on, or what have you, I feel with what seems to be the coming end of this great task bestowed upon this lowly group of mismatched personalities, paths diverted and intersected into one grand route laid before us by the Gods themselves, it is time to reflect upon my feelings, possibly the first “real” feelings I have felt in a very, very long time. Detached from reality and normalcy as a child, I never knew what it was like to have friends, or even a family. I never had a way in life that was ever comfortable. I convinced myself that to make it through life, I had to thieve, lie, and fight my way out of situations, ultimately looking out for myself, believing I and I alone was the only one to care about me.

Now however……..was I wrong? Could I have been wrong? Did I need to do those things to now feel this way? Did I need to act that way to truly see?

I have traveled a long way with these “companions” and have been through many trials and tribulations, all for a purpose that only mere months ago, I did not truly believe in. In life, I had always gone the way of opportunity, even at the cost of others. If there was a chance for profit, food, any possible way to come out on top of a situation, I took it with the idea that I had to keep going, moving, putting myself first and foremost.

Honestly, I am starting to see that there is more at stake here. I have others to worry about, people that have gone out of their way to help me, people I have gone out of my way to help.
Most of all, people who care about other people. People they have never met. People they never will meet. People that will more than likely never thank them for their service, or even know that they have committed such a service, overcame such a task, such a force.

Why? Why do they do this? Why do I feel like I need to do this?

Ivan, though stubborn and seemingly distrustful of me, is always putting himself on the front line, crying out in service to the Mighty Torag, bringing Justice to those who oppose him.

Wjotek, silent but strong, carefully surveying all that is going on, then quickly adapting his strategy to provide the team much needed support.

Ugg, one of the dumbest but kind-hearted creatures I have ever met. Never once thinking of himself, even though his Orc-wired brain should do nothing but think of himself, and also where his next battle/meal will be.

A.C. Slayer, strange but proud, always looking to help out. Always where the action is.

Ttef, the closest thing I have ever felt towards a brother. Lately, he seems to always be by my side, even when it is not such a great place to be.

….I care for these people. I feel like they are my family now, and I am afraid of letting them down.

Recently, Slayer, Ttef and I were taken prisoner and forced to tell the truth of our intentions and I was driven to reveal my plans to side with who appeared to be on top, so that I, once again, could remain on top. My services would ulimately lie with Marganis if he appeared to be my way out. I felt regret for my plan when the words left my lips, in front of these people that I initially swore no real allegiance to. I am not sure if they told the rest of the group and I hope this did not damage my reputation and trustworthiness with the party.

These strangers at one time now are what I call my family, my brothers. Shamed for the way I felt, the way I intended on conducting my business with them, I feel the need to redeem myself. With the Order of the Sere Leaf dispatched, Marganis must be stopped and if these brave souls are the only ones who will stand against what may very well be the end of everything as we know it, then I, Cyril will proudly fight at the side of my family. My allegiance is no longer for sale.

-Cyril Arlen

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June, 2012

June’s session began with Ivan deep in prayer. Using a Commune spell to send a message to his god, Ivan informed Torag of his plan to destroy the astracite and asked his deity to deny the spells that Ivan was about to cast if it truly was Torag’s wish to aid Marganis. A few moments later, Ivan succeeded in sending the astracite to the Elemental Plane of Fire. Torag allowing him to do so confirmed Ivan’s suspicions about Calistria, and gave Ivan just one more reason to cave in Marganis’s skull.

With the astracite disposed of, the group was debating what their next course of action should be. Cyril then shared with the rest of us a vision he had received while keeping watch for Ivan that showed our wizard friend Berillindra Foxheart in captivity and badly beaten. I still don’t trust Cyril, but our Dwarven Bard had the same vision. More than that, we had nothing better to go on! Combining magical abilities with the group Sorcerer, Ivan was able to Scry on Berillindra and send a Message to her to find out where she was located. Her reply was less than thrilling. She was being held in a dungeon within a city comprised of many people claiming hellish ancestry and entirely devoted to the goddess Calistria. Not one to be deterred, Ivan negotiated ships passage for the group with the good Captain Artemis of the Sea Spray.

The ocean voyage was uneventful, and we quickly arrived at the docks of Cheliax. Asking around for a temple to Calistria led us to a brothel. Considering that Calistria is the goddess of lust, none of us were surprised. Bluffing his way past the fiendish madame, Ivan was led into the basement and was able to find the cell containing Berillindra. Cyril and Ttef were able to provide a diversion upstairs, though Ivan doesn’t know the details of how or why the two of them would pick a fight by themselves in a house of devils. Nonetheless, their actions allowed Ivan to Plane Shift with the sorcerer and Berillindra to the Positive Energy Plane where she quickly recovered from her injuries. Ivan then used a Dismissal spell in a very unorthodox fashion to send himself back to the Material Plane, where he arrived just in time to offer healing to the battered Ttef and Cyril. They dispatched the fiendish madame, and then the entire group made a mad dash for the docks where the Sea Spray awaited. Captain Artemis was not pleased to have us arrive with a mob of devilish pursuers close behind, and Ivan plans to compensate him for his inconvenience when time allows. We made our escape from Cheliax across the sea, at which point Ivan used Plane Shift again to retrieve his sorcerer and wizard friends from the Plane of Positive Energy. We left off debating our next course of action aboard the Sea Spray, more determined than ever to find Marganis and see him undone.

-Ivan Thunderbeard

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May, 2012

May’s session picked up right where we left off and launched us into the action. The Druids of the Sere Leaf had been waiting for us to come back up to their lair from the deep caverns below. Still angry about our enemies using an ancient Dwarven city in their schemes, Ivan wasted few words on the Druid leader Prol. He was a traitor to everything it was to be a Dwarf! Both sides knew that only one party could leave this place alive, and neither side was about to pull any punches.

Realizing that he and his allies were outnumbered and outgunned, Ivan started the fight with one of his most powerful spells. The Blade Barrier effectively split the room in two, as no one on either side wanted to take the chance of passing through. From that point on it turned into a magical battle, with Ivan throwing Flame Strikes and Searing Lights into the enemy ranks while they hurled Fireballs and Fire Storms back at us. Our bard (I’m sorry I can’t remember his name, and I don’t see him listed on the site) added his own talents to the fun by singing a rousing hymn of battle and sending a destructive Shout spell through the barrier at our enemies. Cyril, whom Ivan still doesn’t trust, and the enemy warrior were content to fire arrows and crossbow bolts back and forth rather than step through the Blade Barrier.

As both sides took heavy damage, Ivan managed to keep everyone in our party alive. Maintaining the offensive pressure on the enemy and simultaneously healing our group, however, was extremely taxing on Ivan’s reserves of healing energy. At this point, Prol decided to cast a spell that I like to call a ‘game changer.’ Pointing at Ivan, he uttered the words of a Finger of Death spell, and only Ivan’s Dwarven resistance to magic saved him from being slain outright. Ivan returned fire with a Searing Light, finishing the leader of the Sere Leaf. Then it was a simple matter of finishing off the enemy wizard, the only enemy left standing at this point. The fight was complicated when the wizard entangled Ivan with a Black Tentacles spell, which we will never speak of again, but our Bard was able to dispel that effect allowing Ivan to hurl a warhammer through the air and put a final end to the Sere Leaf druidic order.

Immediately following the battle, our party was visited by the goddess Calistria. She informed us that the gods had formed a council, and wished us to cease our efforts in opposing Marganis. She said that we were instead to aid Marganis in the resurrection of Theomancy with the end goal of returning the faith of the people of Golarion to the gods. Ivan, of course, doesn’t trust this wench half as far as he can throw her. He knows full well that she is the goddess of trickery, lust and revenge. The session ended with Ivan making plans to destroy the rather substantial quantity of Astricite now in his possession, and his companions keeping watch at the door while he prayed.

-Ivan Thunderbeard

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Feb. 26th, 2012

After camping out in the Green Room at the end of January’s session, Ivan Thunderbeard and pals woke up refreshed and ready to continue their foray into the lair of the Sere Leaf druidic order. We mean business now. Knowing the druids’ plan to destroy all civilization, our adventuring band called in all guns. We gathered our full number and pressed forward.

The first room we came to was rather unmentionable at first glance. However, Ttef Abob was suspicious of a dark alcove off to the side of the room. Upon closer examination, narrowly avoiding a pit trap in the process, he discovered an altar of some sort. It was overgrown with vines and contained a large book that referenced the summoning and control of denizens of the elemental planes. Ivan was about to set the dead vines wrapped around the altar on fire when he noticed Cyril approaching and examining a door on the room’s north wall. Strongly suspecting where that course of action was leading, Ivan made a hasty retreat a short distance down the nearest hallway. His caution was proven warranted when a bolt of searing white lightning shot through the room a few moments later. Rather than being glad that he had taken the precaution of leaving the room, Ivan just narrowed his eyes. Was Cyril TRYING to get someone killed?! I still don’t trust him.

At this point, Wjotek discovered a hidden door on the southeast corner of the room. He managed to open it and peer down the tunnel beyond, but wisely chose not to explore that avenue too far as several other party members were displaying the attention span of a fruit fly and wandering down the northern tunnel out of the room. Ivan just shook his head and held his position in the room. He wasn’t leaving Ttef or Wjotek behind. Ug, the half-orc, also stayed close to Ivan, having apparently taken a liking to the Dwarf that made Ivan’s skin crawl. It was just unnatural.

After all the party members gathered, the group proceeded down the northern tunnel. Temperatures dropped drastically as we descended into the earth, and the Dwarves among us could tell that we were well over a thousand feet below the surface. Eventually we came to a gigantic cavern. It was so vast that even those of us with Darkvision couldn’t see the other side. Ivan cast Light on a crossbow bolt and launched it into the darkness hoping to gauge the size of the cavern. A shadow moving in the light 800 feet ahead of them was all the party’s new sorcerer friend needed to start the fireworks. He began hurling fire down the cavern, even going so far as to make the very ground erupt into molten stone and ash. It was quite the impressive show, and the rest of the group wasted no time in following his lead. Our heroic charge across the cavern brought us face to face with an Earth Elemental, which quickly fell to our combined strength.

Pressing forward, the group came to what appeared to be a ruined ancient Dwarven city. Cyril did some scouting and found a basement of some sort with a ritual taking place. A master wizard and several acolytes were using a huge, probably Elder, Earth Elemental to summon more Elementals. That explained how Marganis was able to have so many of the Elementals excavating and carrying wagons for him. Angry about all the trouble Marganis has caused with his scheming, and furious that these men had the gall to use an ancient Dwarven hold in such a way, Ivan couldn’t have cared less about stealth or tactics. He drew his weapon and stomped down the stairs to say hello. Following his lead, the rest of the group charged into the room. Ivan blinded the enemy wizard with a spell to severely limit the wizards spell choices, while Giles and Wjotek began ripping into him with oversized fury. Cyril snuck around to find an advantageous position from which to strike. Our new Dwarven bard sang a rousing battle hymn that lifted Ivan’s heart to greater glory, and Ug just wanted everyone to be friends. There’s something wrong with him. Anyway, the wizard and his acolytes fell in a matter of seconds. When the wizard fell, however, the magic binding the Elder Elemental failed and it set upon the group. The beast was terrible and mighty, but proved to be no match for the sustained assault of our group. Ivan was healing the damage faster than the elemental could dish it out, and it too soon fell. We ended the session there, but Ivan is eager to continue next time. The Destroyer of Worlds must not be set loose, and Marganis must not be allowed to access Theomancy. We have work to do!

-Ivan Thunderbeard

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Meet you at the Crossroads
January 15, 2012 Session

Darkness. Everything had gone black like a candle snuffed out by the wind. I then had a feeling of absolutely, positively, waking up, very quickly and sufficiently. I had the sensation of normalcy; I had all my five senses, and they were extremely acute. All pain and pressure was gone. I felt I could see very clearly, but the problem was I saw nothing but absolute, total blackness.

No wings and harp. No tail and pitch-fork. No tunnel with a speck of light. This was death and just when I thought this was my fate Ivan Thunderbeard brought me back to the world of the living. My disdain for Dwarves is well documented but I am indebted to him for the releasing me from… limbo….

The grass looked so green and perfect and the sky albeit dark and cloudy was more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Never again will I take these things for granted. With my companions at my side we descended down the stairs back into the dungeon with the crafty Cyril taking point. I could never admit it to the group but as I took each step a small inkling of fear started to creep into the back of my head, returning to the place where you were killed will shake even the those with iron will. I was so preoccupied almost walked into the back of Ivan who was stopped in front of me because Cyril was disabling a trap. I take a few more steps as we all finally reach the landing and sitting about 30 feet in-front of us is a lone troll; Advantage us.

As Ugg and Ivan set the carcass of the troll on fire Cyril, Wjotek and myself continued down the tunnel as we came towards the end Cyril stopped and yelled “Crap!” We all soon found out why. Swarms of centipedes came pouring out of the wall. We all swung our weapons with force hard enough to cut most challengers in half but it had little effect. Then it seemed as if the swarms decided I would become the main target, as I tried to create space between myself and one swarm the other would just crawl on me. Perhaps Half Orcs produce a certain pheromone that is secreted during combat that attracts centipedes? More research will be done on this…

As I run back in forth in this tunnel Ivan and Cyril were able to team up and disperse the swarms using water and fire, I never thought the two went together but none could argue with the end result. Ivan used the power of his good to heal up those who were hurt by the centipedes and we moved on until we heard voices from around the corner. Ugg and myself recognized the voices were speaking Orc and this sent Ivan into a frenzy. Any attempt to formulate a plan other than decimating this group was now fruitless as Ivan cast a spell and proceeded to charge around the corner. Orcs aren’t my favorite group of people but I was suggesting a less forward approach but I digress.

This battle is blurry as I remember just bit and pieces as I swung at every enemy within reach but I vaguely remember seeing both a 15 foot Gorilla and Dwarf but it could have been a side effect of my battle frenzy. After the last Orc was dispatched we had three doors to choose from and ultimately decided to send Cyril to the room that was blocked by a stone wall since he could still climb on walls.

Cyril climbed over the wall and as we waited Ugg said he heard people talking so Wjotek lifted him up over the wall. About 20 minutes passed and Cyril came walking over the wall before dropping to the ground on his feet. The Druids that inhabit this dungeon said they have the power to release the “Destroyer of Worlds” from its slumber. Cyril also had written down the symbols that were on a massive door in the room as well. Wjotek was able to translate confirming what he had told us.

I cannot help but think that if they had the power to do so then it would have been done already, they must be waiting on something…

-Ttef

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January 15, 2012

After returning to the surface, Ivan Thunderbeard and Ttef Abob gathered their allies and headed back into the lair of the Sere Leaf druidic order. Recalling how much fun it was to dangle above the floor in a net, Ivan let the rogue take point this time. I think his name is Cyril, or some such nonsense. He might be an Elf, the way he climbs on walls and whatnot. I don’t trust him. Anyway, he skillfully disabled the trap we knew would be at the entrance to the Greenhouse, as I’m now calling it. Who puts a jungle underground?! It’s not right. Tunnels should be worked stone and traps positioned five feet off the ground! I digress… As we walked into the Greenhouse, we were confronted by a Troll with a very high opinion of himself. Ivan just grinned a wicked grin and proceeded, with the help of his friends of course, to pound said beastie into a bloody pulp. The corpse, what was left of it, was set ablaze. We all gathered round the fire and roasted marshmallows.

What happened next can never be repeated where other adventurers might hear it. We would lose all credibility in the eyes of our peers. Cyril(?) failed to detect the trap leading out of the Greenhouse. He stumbled into the trigger, and the group was assaulted by thousands of tiny centipedes. We swung at them, stomped on them, and some of us screamed like little girls, but there were too many of them to fight. Some of us tried dragging the flaming troll remains into the swarm, but they just scurried away from the fire. Eventually they were dispersed by large quantities of water dumped on them by Ivan and a torch wielding rogue. I still don’t trust him.

After our shameful display of combat prowess against the swarms of vermin, we proceeded to a large room full of Orcs and Werewolves. Ttef wanted to try and bluff them. Ug wanted to open a diplomatic dialogue! Ivan couldn’t believe what he was hearing!! Diplomacy with Orcs?! Holding to the tried and true Dwarven philosophy that the only good Orc is a dead one, Ivan forced the issue with a Wall of Stone spell strategically placed to stop any of his soon to be dead enemies from escaping the room. Our group held a defensive position in the hallway until the Orcs got tired of charging to their deaths, at which point we took the fight to our remaining foes. As Wjotek charged down the hallway, Ivan shook his head at the absurdity of a 15 foot tall scythe wielding gorilla. Refusing to be outdone however, Ivan grew to nearly 10 feet tall himself as he called the Righteous Might of Torag into himself. Together the two over-sized allies spearheaded into the room, thus opening a path for the rest of their friends to join the fun of the slaughter.

When the battle was done, Cyril and Ug climbed through a hole in the Wall of Stone and proceeded down the hallway. They found several members of the Sere Leaf in a cavern. I don’t know all that was said, but Cyril came back and reported that the druids plan on releasing the “Destroyer of Worlds” and wiping all civilization off the face of Golarion. I don’t know about anyone else, but Ivan would rather crack all their skulls open with his hammer before that happens. Just sayin…

- Ivan Thunderbeard
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December 4th, 2011

The session started out with Ttef Abob, Ivan Thunderbeard and Tengriden Shadowdeath heading into the underground lair of the Sere Leaf Druidic order that’s been working for Marganis. In true Scooby-Doo fashion, the three of them left the rest of the party outside standing watch as they descended into darkness. It didn’t take long for the trio to come to the first room in the subterranean network. Eager for another crack at the druid who narrowly escaped the group’s clutches last time, Ivan strode right into the room and set off the first trap.

As Ivan found himself dangling 15 feet above the floor in a net, the layout of the room became clear. It was magically enchanted to be as bright as a summer day, and was overgrown with lush vegetation. It was literally an underground jungle. As Tengriden set to work lowering a very annoyed dwarf to the ground, the three were set upon by four very unpleasant tigers that had been hiding in the brush. Ivan spent a good portion of the battle wrestling with a tiger from inside his net while Ttef and Tengriden engaged the remaining three on the ground. Ivan tried to keep up with healing from where he was, but the tigers fought ferociously and eventually Ttef Abob met his end. Seeing his ally go down, an enraged Ivan drew the power of his god into him and escaped from the net. Together, Ivan and Tengriden quickly dispatched the remaining tigers.

After searching the body of Ttef, Ivan realized that his fallen companion was carrying enough diamonds on him for Ivan to perform a ritual that could bring someone back from the dead. Ivan prayed that night to Torag for the ability to do so, and as the sun rose the next day Teff Abob rejoined the ranks of the living. The trio once again descended into the underground network and did some exploring. After locating an illusionary wall, bypassing a Wall of Force, and Shattering the lock on an adamantine door the adventurers three were hit by two traps in quick succession. The first, a Chain Lightning Spell, softened them up a bit but did no serious harm. The second summoned a massive Dire Tiger that immediately attacked. The beast was powerful, but it quickly fell to the concerted efforts of the ranger, the rogue and the cleric.

The three adventurers proceeded further until they saw a room occupied by scores of orcs, many with vicious werewolves held on leashes. As far as the adventurers can tell, they were not spotted. They decided to head back to the surface and rally their allies before charging into that room. Ivan, for one, plans to return and leave none alive.

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July 2011

Your adventures started by taking on a job from an old employer involving the capture of some kobolds. Having accomplished that mission, you were heading back to meet the employer at the Inn of the Lost Sparrow in the city of Absalom when you overheard a woman being beaten in an alleyway. After rescuing her, you find out that she is in fact the old man who hired you, and that the old man persona is her favorite disguise. Berillindra Foxheart is a disciple of the goddess Sivhana, and Sivhana has used Berillindra as a medium to deliver instructions for an important task.

Willing to prove yourselves and assist, you traveled to the docks of Absalom in order to stop a shipment of mysterious ore called astracite; supposedly having come from the bottom of the sea. A battle broke out with those carrying the valuable cargo; the fight was deadly on both sides. Having proved yourselves dedicated to the tasks asked of you by Berillindra, you all entered a deep trance where you had a vision of a woman—maybe an elf?—veiled with seven multicolored sheer cloths. A desperate plea settled among your thoughts—do not let the ancient resurgence of Theomancy resurface. Experience and wisdom flooded your souls. You emerged from the dream-like state personally enhanced and more powerful than you could have imagined possible. Surely this goddess is sincere and giving. The cost of failure must be steep for such a direct divine intervention.

Ready to begin such a massive undertaking—you begin where all good adventures begin; by asking the bartender what he knows! Tomcek (pronounced TOM-check) Bombadil, a portly human, is the keep at the Inn of the Lost Sparrow. He knows much of what goes on inside the Merchant’s Quarter, and is a personal friend of Berillindra. Tomcek sets you on the path of locating one of his top informants, Sven Bloodshield, for more information on the shipments of astracite.

Bloodshield is an eccentric half dwarf, half elf (unbelievingly, at least that’s what he appears to be). He’s an illusionist, like Foxheart, and utilizes his powers to adjust the appeareance of his quarters. His homestead constantly changes, you come to find out. Bloodshield keeps his interests mobile, however, he’s currently holed up in the Wise Quarter. He gives the party information regarding caravans of wagons that leave the city at night and race north with supernatural speed.

Meanwhile, Ug, the selfless Paladin in your party, has set up a soup kitchen in the distraught section of Absalom known as The Puddles. A faithless, drunk friar named Friar Jacobson has been given managerial status over the soup kitchen. What’s more, Ug has given a poor family, the Scotts, 500gp to run the soup kitchen. It’s most dutifully run by the Scotts’ only son, Henry.

The trip northwards out of the city to investigate the mysterious caravans brought the party to revel in the sight of the glorious and intimidating Kortos Mountains. Quickly the party learned that the caravans were being escorted by earth elementals. After an initial battle with a caravan, the party succeeded in recovering some chunk of the raw ore which contains the astracite. That ore was placed in a bank safe-deposit box.

Knowing that whoever or whatever has been buying up this ore must reside in the Kortos Mountains, and that this person/thing is now missing a shipment, the party split up in order to avoid detection. However, realizing that the wagon driver who was killed in the previous battle more than likely had information on where the ore was going, the dwarven cleric Ivan Thunderbeard, set out on his own in order to cast Speak with Dead on the corpse of the driver. His plan to be stealthy did not succeed, as Ivan did not know that earth elementals have an ability called tremorsense that allows them to “see” anything that is on the ground, and since the party’s victory over the previous wagon, the security had been stepped up a bit. Ivan Dismissed one of the elementals outright, but was unable to do so to the next two. Air Walk provided a nice defense for Ivan, who was holding his own until Ttef Abob, the half-orc ranger, appeared from the south. Ttef was one of the first party members to go rooting around Absalom on his own a few days prior and had not been seen since.

With another arrival on Ttef’s heels, the dwarven crossbowmen Garrick helped to even the odds. The wagon got away but not without sustaining heavy casualties from an Air Walking dwarven artillery unit. Ivan cast Speak with Dead on the corpse of the wagon driver from the first encounter and learned of a riddle that all wagon drivers are given:

A riddle is powerful where a key works naught,
Because unlocking one’s mind can never be bought.

As a map is useless without a mind to interpret
The three answers of this key will go to one who deserves it:

The maw of the rhino is docile and tame,
Yet three points to its north are deadly by name.

To anger a Gold, one must wish to die,
Yet to appease a Gold is to light up the sky.

Strike once, strike twice, strike thrice to show
The realm of the Gold in the valley below.

The corpse’s final words were that of a mysterious “Mapmaker” who gave him a map along with the riddle. Unfortunately this map was never found. Assuming that the Mapmaker then can help out the party just as he/she helped the wagon driver, a search for this mapmaker began.

Reconvening in Absalom, the party took different tacks: the dwarven druid, Wjotek (pronounced WO-tek), turned into a shark and swam to the southern continent where he explored Osirion, the Ancient-Egyptian-like kingdom. Unsuccessful there, he flew, in the form of a bird, back to Absalom.

Ivan spent time making a shiny new piece of armor. Ask him about it.

Finally, Wjotek tracked down the actual name of a mage called The Mapmaker who resides within the ancient school of magic, the Arcanamirium. Reuniting with Ivan, both entered the Arcanamirium, guided by the attendant shield golem. The school is arcane magic at its best. Led down an unnerving hall that actually spiraled like a screw, Wjotek and Ivan entered a large room that contained a massive glass sphere. The sphere was illuminated with different maps of the world, only to dissipate with a flash of gold light that outlined the contours of the lands themselves, and reconfigured into a different map in a liquid movement of cartographic awe.

A door appeared in the sphere, and the two adventures stepped inside a beautiful study room, with dark wood bookshelves on either side. A halfling sat behind a large carved and inlaid desk. The halfling known as The Mapmaker is a wise mage known as Baldwin Alec. He gives Ivan and Wjotek a map of the Kortos Mountains for a fee—the same map that he draws all of the patrons who come to him with that riddle. The map is magical. Baldwin also lets it known—through casual conversation and an assumption on his part that Ivan and Wjotek know their employer based on the fact that they have the riddle—that the person in the Kortos Mountains who has requested Baldwin’s help in drawing the maps is named Marganis. The Mapmaker doesn’t seem to be in collusion with this Marganis, but rather simply performing a service that he’s obviously been handsomely paid for.

Now with a general understanding of where to go, Ivan and Wjotek headed into the mountains, but not before the ran into Berillindra Foxheart, who had been missing for months. Berillindra warned the duo that werewolves were in the mountains, and she herself had been infected with the disease of lycanthropy. Ivan Thunderhead took Berillindra to one of the largest churches of Torag in the city of Absalom; with its mountainous spires and crenellations, the church is nearly a citadel. Ivan spoke with some of the higher echelons in the clergy and told them of the happenings to the north. They cured Berillindra and gave Ivan access to the church’s armory where he was lent a silvered warhammer. The warhammer is lent with a cost of tithing to the church.

Berillindra tells Wjotek and Ivan that the werewolves seem to be working together with a large army of orcs that have made a home in the Kortos Mountains. Also, a vicious Cyclops was spotted in the area, which is extremely off because a Cyclops has never been reported on the Isle of Kortos.

Wjotek and Ivan headed north into the mountains where they witnessed, from afar, the Cyclops destroy a contingent of orcs. While they were viewing the carnage, a centaur stepped out from the foliage and introduced himself as Kalis. Kalis asked their business in the valley and, although generally friendly, was rather curt as most centaurs are. He told Ivan and Wjotek that the fey would be keeping an eye on the travelers, but also gave them a warning to stay out of the Cyclops’ way. The centaurs have not solved the mysetery of the caravan wagons that have been winding their way through the vales of the Kortos Mountains, but many of their scouts have followed them.

Shortly after the meeting with Kalis, Ivan and Wjotek were set on by four werewolves in the forest. They quickly dispatched these, but have not yet discerned why werewolves have sided with orcs.

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