"Imperial Entanglements" - January 19th, 2002
Will sat slouched and haggard atop the great bay stallion. The taste of trail dust fresh in his mouth. The rest
of the Finders were stretched out in a weary line running some hundred yards behind him. An ambush now would undoubtedly
be effective, but they feared little being less than a league from the ruins of Greenmark.
The coming of spring had cheered them, but their weariness could not be abated after escorting another group of settlers on the long trek to the foot of the Azure Keep. They now sought only a hot meal followed by a soft bed. Morning would no doubt bring pleas from another group of hopeful townspeople, seeking the comfort of their steel on the journey to the city by the lake. The city of hope some had taken to calling it.
The burnt out husk of the Green Grape was a welcome sight indeed. Thomas Furfoot would no doubt have a cook fire going in the old chimney and with luck a pot of his rabbit stew simmering over it. The halfling had set up several tents to shelter what travelers came this way yet. Taking their gold all the while planning the new and grander Green Grape that he intended to build in the City of Hope. Will doubted however that he had set up the three great pavilions just behind the remains of the Grape. When he spotted the Imperial banner flying over the largest he was sure of it. He'd have to check that out in the morning, but for now no thoughts but food and bed could test his mind.
A pot of turnip soup and flat bread had been all Thomas could muster, but the weary Finders were grateful none the less. With full stomachs they had been able to lay down for the night with only half of it gone, and so they were none to eager to heed the muffled cries that invaded each of their dreams.
IMPERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS (by Chris Stevens)
Vikos joins the pack of disheartened adventures. People have come to calling them ‘The Finders’. The move to City of Hope is moving slowly. The Imperial visitors are not making it easy, as they are demanding and take a lot Galen’s and the Major’s time.
2nd Attack on Greenmark
A very organized attack by Gnolls is under way. The have Magi among them. This attack is too well planned. They
attacked from all sides, dividing the best combatants. Oren was on one side of the town. Zeek was lead down an
ally to save two townspeople. Ruadin was in another. Only Vikos and Kit were near the target of the attack.
A field of vines entangled most of the tent in a 40 foot radius. Then a sphere of darkness was placed on top of that. Things were not going well for Kit. She had at least three very strong gnolls pounding her back. She suddenly disappeared into the darkness.
Wave after wave of gnolls seemed to come from the woods. Vikos tried to levitate for a better field of vision, only to be pelted with a dozen arrows. Zeek ripped the arm off one of his adversaries and used the body as a shield against the archers. There were so many things happening at once. Only a few people new what the intended target was, The AMBASSSDOR! Yes, they kidnapped the Imperial Ambassador to the Azure Kingdom.
Had The Finders been focused on the ambassador, they might have been able to stop them. But no one could understand the value in his capture. Possibly it was for a ransom? Maybe it was to shut down communications with the Empire? The only clue gained was a single prisoner of war. One gnoll was captured for interrogation. He says a Mind Flayer paid them for their part in the caper. Once his usefulness was done, Vikos the Avenger dispatched him, but in a friendly way.
The remaining three advisors called a town meeting and offered a reward. They offered this reward to all, every farmer, maid and innkeeper. It became quit evident these Imperialist had little care these wilderness folk. They only cared for their careers and own hide. “What of the townspeople?” cried Zeek. But it was too late. The reward of 5000 gold Kerns was too much for anybody not to ignore. Any able bodied person set out to find the missing Ambassador.
The Finders were asked to join the Advisors in a private meeting. There were two teams of adventurers in attendance. The Band of Nine is how they were introduced. Never had they been heard of, through legend or otherwise. A standoff was at hand between the Band of Nine and The Finders. Magiks were at play on both sides.
Those of the ‘arts’ were in secret concentration, casting Detect Majiks, Detect Evils and Detect Thoughts. Poor Zeek was left to negotiate with the advisors and the leader of the Nine. (A shady character in his own right.) Zeek started by saying to the Advisors, “All I want to know is: why are you three still alive? In my homeland we would have died to save our leaders! And why have you sent the entire town to do your work? You have signed their deaths and I will hold you responsible for this!” Zeek asks the leader of the Nine, “Which way shall you go?” He answers, “West, and we shall go alone.”
Zeek rolled the bones and asks the spirits the direction the Ambassador is located, “The Rising Sun shall light your path.” Zeek ‘assumes’ this means east, but is confused on the Nine’s response. Afterward, three of the Band of Nine are found to be outright evil. Not trusting them in the least, The Finders head East.
The Search is On....
A hastily thrown together search party made up of farmers and peasants is arguing. There is beautiful woman leading the group. It is apparent that she has the ‘gift’. Zeek thinks to teach them a lesson and send them home. He puts on his panther fur and rushes onto the path, screaming like a banshee! The townspeople scurry about trying to ready an attack. Zeek suddenly stops and says; “Sorry, I thought you were someone else. What are you people doing here? Shouldn’t you be back in the safety of the town?” Zeek is smitten by the woman. It is agreed that most of the people will be sent back to the town. The woodsman and nina are to go with the group. Suspicion rises when we run across one of the advisors in the middle of nowhere.
How did he get in front of us? He doesn’t know the land. He says he knows where the Ambassador is. We follow…into a trap! An ambush is more like it. A cliff is in front of us with a Troll and two mean looking Gnolls. On top of the cliff is a platoon of archers. Two horns are heard from the north and south, echoing against the cliff wall. The spirits are screaming at Zeek, saying run. Cloud of Mist envelopes the party. Zeek sprints back to Nina, to find her half dead. The woodsman is gone, forever. Zeek struggles to stabilize her.
On to the Dungeon....
A single length of ancient castle wall is found in the middle of the forest. Two lone guards stand back to back,
facing each other. After an eternity of mis-planning, Kit and Zeek quickly take them out. A set of stairs is found
leading down. Kit enters shaped as a gnoll.
A Mind Flayer and his best friend (A human) are found in the first room beneath the ground. Half the party is disabled; Kit, Gungkrot are out for the duration. Oren takes out the gnolls while Vikos, Zeek and Jeremiah try to dispatch the human and the flayer. The two enemies seem to work very well as a team. When the human fighter is close to losing, the flayer dimension doors the two of them to another room. After three disappearances, they are no longer to be found.
The ambassador is found in an adjacent room. An ancient evil resides in a tomb, in the third room. Vikos must be pulled away from the tomb. He wants to raid the tomb. Zeek has come to calling him ‘Tomb Raider’. Much is found magical in the tomb.
It was cold that night, for most other nights within the city limits were always laid in warmth among the closed
doors of inns, shops, and houses. This night Oren could lie on his back and look at the stars; while still being
within the inns walls. Just recently, the undead army had shattered Greenmark.
Oren was tired, and didn't sleep well during the night. Dreams of the previous attack had rested on his shoulders. The thought had crossed through his mind at one point to kill a member within the group at Galen Greens dinner. This deeply troubled Oren, for every time he looked at Jeremiah, he would think about that split second of disbelief. The overall decision was the right one, even though Oren was ready to die. Even though the outcome was moral, the thought continued to linger.
Upon rolling over, screaming could be heard outside of the scorched building they were in. Oren quickly sat up, checked himself and his weaponry. A fear had emerged over him, for the slight thought of his own personal acts could have caused these screams. Oren sat back, and chuckled at himself. The screams were not from his actions, and he was safe in his bedroll.
A second scream was heard, and then it had dawned on him; someone was in danger. By the time Oren had realized that there was another threat in the vicinity, half of the group was already up and out the door.
Jeremiah, Zeek, and Ruadhin were the first to leap out the door. Oren then heard the faint screams and battle cries. "Bah! My luck is no good. It will take me forever to get my armor on." Oren had grumbled. Looking over, Gunkrot was standing there confused. Oren had a theory that the Orcish kind never woke very well to surprise. Gunkrot instantly grabbed his armor and started to throw it together.
Meanwhile, Vikos had stepped outside into battle. Oren soon followed with shield and axe ready. Instantaneously, arrows started zipping by at Vikos in the air. Oren quickly surveyed the field, and realized an attack of Gnolls was advancing. Vikos had climbed into a 'vertical' position, while Jeremiah and Ruadhin were in melee combat. Zeek was nowhere to be seen, but only heard. "By the spirits within.. Ah! Oooh." 'Bank' Were noises coming from behind the building. Oren instantly knew Zeek was alone. Wielding his axe, Oren positioned himself between two buildings attacking any approaching gnolls; while offering safe passage to villagers in the area.
Before long, a battle broke out. Citizens were fighting back, screams were heard across the battlefield. Swords were clanking and bashing, while arrows flew overhead of those in combat. These were all too familiar sounds to Oren. "What an excellent way to start the DAY" Oren screamed at one of the gnolls as his axe decapitated him. Soon, there were no more gnolls to swing at. Oren then advanced to the position Zeek was in, for there were no more noises being made there. Zeek was nowhere to be found. "Damn fool! He should know better than playing hero. Where did he run to now?" Oren had thought to himself. "ZEEEEEEEEEK." Oren shouted a few times while surveying the area of dead bodies.
With no response, Oren rushed back to the middle ground of the battle. It was mostly over, with a few gnolls
here and there wounded on the field. A black aura circled one of the tents, and most of the party members had
gathered around that spot.
Oren's legs move back and forth quite rapidly as he approached the other members. Upon reaching the tent, the aura had dissipated, and conversations among the citizens were occurring. "He's gone!" One citizen said. "I saw a huge bat attacking one of the kidnappers" another shouted. While catching his breath, Oren looked to Jeremiah and commented, "Who died? What's going on here?" Jeremiah had quickly summarized that the ambassador Hunsberg was kidnapped while an onslaught off gnolls attacked. Attempts at tracking them were futile, for the woods covered any traces.
Meanwhile, a few of the party members had resurrected a gnoll for interrogation. Oren had gone back to the burnt inn, to get battle ready. As he grabbed his armor, Gunkrot was just finishing the final touches from installing his armor. Oren glanced over to Gunkrot and commented "weakling." Gunkrot turned to Oren, not hearing him all the way and smiled. "Figures. Damn Orcs." Oren mumbled.
While exiting the building, Oren caught sight of another gnoll near some of the party members. Rising his axe, Oren shouted "LEAVE HIM FOR ME! I WILL LET THIS GNOLL HAVE IT FOR WAKING ME UP SO EARLY!" As Oren charged the group, everyone looked back at Oren in fear. "Someone stop him!" Jeremiah had yelled. Ruadhin had approached Oren quickly cutting his path off.
The party had just convinced the gnoll that they meant no harm, and were his friend. They were questioning him when Oren had caught glimpse, and were afraid that his interference would jeopardize their progress. The interrogations went well, finding that a 'Mind Slayer' had hired the gnolls for the kidnapping and assault.
When Oren had understood what the purpose of the gnoll was, he had calmed down and approached the gnoll with Ruadhin. After the interrogation was complete, Vikos had commented that he would release the gnoll back into the forested area. All members of the party headed back toward the center area of the disarrayed Greenmark. Oren had stayed back with Vikos, picking on the gnoll. Vikos then pulled out his axe and asked the gnoll to put his hands up to cut the rope. After the rope was cut, the gnoll turned and Vikos took a huge swing, slicing the gnoll in half. Turning to Oren, Vikos commented, 'Shhh." then followed a wink.
Back at the center area, some of the close members to the ambassador were calling a town meeting. "Here ye here ye! The ambassador has been kidnapped! This horrible action taken by the gnolls must not be completed! A reward of 5000 gold is offered to anyone who brings back the ambassador from these horrible goons!" One of the aids had shouted.
Before long, all of the remaining towns folk were scrambling around forming groups. They were gathering small weapons and intended on bringing the ambassador back. The citizens of the ruined city, Greenmark, found this was their chance to rebuild their lives.
Oren surveyed the crowd and noticed that almost everyone there would be slaughtered if they attempted any rescue whatsoever. On the other side of the opening, there were a group of nine members talking amongst themselves. They were equipped nicely, and looked like the only other formed band of adventures. Soon, the party quickly noticed them and they quickly noticed us. Instantly, for some, this had stopped being about retrieving the ambassador alive; rather who would retrieve the ambassador first.
A messenger came to our group bringing a note requesting our presence with the advisors, one hour from the original announcement. The party formed a plan from the knowledge gained during the gnoll interrogation. The hour went by quickly, and the party had entered the tent where the ambassador had once camped.
Entering the tent, the party noticed the group of nine individuals standing on the right side, with all of the ambassador aids up front. While taking position within the tent, each member from both parties eyed each other carefully. The meeting had started, and the aids were indicating that we, both parties, were the ambassador's best hope of survival. Soon after, each of the members in our group started hounding the aids about how the events unfolded, the causes, or any known enemies.
Meanwhile, Oren approached the first member from "the band of nine". Oren quickly commented "Hello!" to one of the armed men, and started looking them over. Jeremiah shook his head, and pointed out to the rest of the group what Oren was up to. The men were rude to Oren, not commenting much to his questions of detail. After Oren was done with his questions from one, he moved down the line. At one point, he approached one of the figures in a robe outfit. His appearance would indicate not of the fighting sort. Soon after a few questions, Oren started to sweat.
At this time, the meeting came to an end. The group of nine had left the tent headed about their ways to find the ambassador. They headed off to the West, under direction from the aids. Soon after our departure, Zeek had inquired to the spirits of which direction the ambassador would be found. The answer revealed the direction opposite of the other group; East. As the party headed out East, information was revealed about some of the members in the other group. Three of those members had been deemed 'evil', and information regarding their thoughts was clear: their goal for money.
As the party headed through the woods, attempts were made to cover any previous tracks so that the other group would not follow us. Deeper and deeper into the woods the party went. Coming to a somewhat clearing, commotion was heard up ahead. The group agrees that a spy should be sent up to check out the commotion. Zeek and Jeremiah snuck into the brush, finding a group of towns folk arguing. "We are almost there! We need to go this WAY!" One of the female group leaders was shouting at the other members in her team. Soon Zeek ran into the clearing screaming, "GRRRRAR!" He stopped just short of stumbling on them, and noted "Oh! I thought you were someone else."
The party members heard the indistinctive cry of Zeek, and rushed into the clearing only finding a group of scared towns folk arguing with Zeek and a female leader. Once everyone was in the clearing, the party attempted to convince these folk to head back to Greenmark; for certain death would be their fate if they stayed here.
The leader of their group, a female named Rona Battelle, stood her ground. "I have brought my party this far. We know where the ambassador is! There is no way we would give up each of our share when we are this close!" she yelled. After further attempts of sending these citizens home, Zeek had noticed that Rona had been very accurate with her findings of the ambassador. She had also claimed to be able to talk to foreign entities, such as the same of Zeek. Soon, Zeek had requested that all of them leave, excluding Rona.
Oren noticed Zeeks new fond attention, and was adamant of sending them all to battle. If they all were to fight a few gnolls, sure they would see their doom. But, this would be just a few less that Oren would have to kill. Zeek had wanting nothing of it. Soon, the party had convinced to share their winnings with the other members, if they had gone back to the town and perform some 'jobs' of lookout. Rona and her friend Wilf stayed with the group to venture forward.
Again, Oren noticed something odd about Wilf. Wilf seemed to have some attraction to Rona, in which he would become defensive when Zeek pressed himself onto her. This amused Oren, but soon got old. With Zeeks mind influenced such the same, he was rendered useless. Oren had contemplated using the flat side of his axe, and putting Rona to sleep, for the party's sake; thus allowing Wilf to return her to Greenmark. Before Oren had a chance to implement his plan, some commotion was heard up ahead.
After pushing back some brush, the party noticed the ambassador's aid, Sanders Bingington. He was standing ahead looking into the clearing. Zeek sprinted up to him, and quickly questions his activities. Soon, Sanders had indicated that he thought he knew where they were hiding. Zeek brought Sanders back to a little clearing where further interrogation was conducted. The party was curious on how the aid was able to pass them. The answer was clear; for the party had zigzagged there way to their location. Sanders had noted that up ahead was an entrance where the ambassador was being held captive, and that the party should do something quick.
The party instructed Sanders, Rona and Wilf to stay back while the party went to rescue the ambassador. After leaving them in the clearing, Oren turned to Jeremiah. "I don't like this one bit. I think there is something terribly wrong with this picture. I should have interrogated Sanders my way; for the truth would have been known." Before Jeremiah had a chance to reply, the group came to a cliff edge. There at the cliff edge, were gnolls, trolls and archers. The group spread out in attacking formations while Zeek sprinted down the tree line. Before any plan was instigated, loud horns were played from each side of the cliff. The party froze, trying to decipher these sounds. "Battle horns! Battalions forming!" Oren cried out. Before much of anything, Zeek had sprinted back to the party at the same pace he had left. "AMBUSH!" Zeek shouted as he approached the group.
Zeek stopped by Oren, and gave news to what he had seen. There were lines of gnolls forming on the left side flanking us. Zeek had estimated fifty or more getting ready to attack. Oren commented about this being a trap, then Zeeks eyes glazed over. "RONA!" Zeek mumbled while all out sprinting back to the clearance where came from. "Retreat!" Oren shouted to the party members. To haste the group's retreat, a mist cloud was cast in the area where we stood.
Each member ran all out back to the clearing where Rona, Sanders and Wilf were left. Upon each of the members arriving back in the clearing, Zeek had been kneeling on the ground over two lifeless corpses. Zeek was doing anything he could to revive Rona back to life, while Wilf had laid with his throat slit. Sanders were nowhere to be found.
The party was successful in reviving Rona back to health, but unfortunately for Wilf, he was not. Oren had pondered that Zeek may have intentionally not assisted Wilf, due to the affection he had for Rona.
After all the commotion had ended, everyone noticed Kit was missing. Jeremiah quickly snapped at everyone, "Where is Kit?" Assumptions were made by many, and talk of going back and looking for her had started. Some members in the group had opposed this, while others demanded it. Not soon after the group was in an argument, Kit came strolling into the clearing. After harsh words were exchanged, she explained that she stood back and hid trying to find clues to the ambassador's whereabouts.
When Rona had become conscious, she had indicated that Sanders had slit Wilfs throat and then attacked her. Sanders had changed form and fled soon afterwards. Grief soon filled the party, when the collaborative assumption of a doppelganger had deceived them. With everything set aside, the party agreed to continue looking for the ambassador before time was up.
While marching further west, the party came to an old torn stonewall. On the wall, stood two gnoll guards. The guards had been very tame, and were not providing an adequate watch. The group assembled quickly, and attacked stealthy making no noise. Soon the guards were killed, and down led a stairway into the gnolls nest.
Kit took form of a gnoll, and was attempting to use an excuse for tobacco to eye out the party's competition. As soon as Kit made it to the bottom of the steps, one of the gnoll captains immediately questioned Kits intentions. Kit also noticed a Human figure associating with the gnolls. The captain became furious that this gnoll guard, Kit, was not on watch duty. Quickly, a fight broke out. The party rushed down in formation and attacked the gnolls.
A battle broke out, and gnolls were killed instantly. The Human fighter proposed a tuff task of eliminating, and knocking many party members to the floor. Oren and Zeek took positions past the bottleneck fighting off remaining gnolls, before a Mind Slayer appeared. The Mind Slayer approached the many of the group members near the stairs and started casting viscous spells. The Mind Slayer dropped Jeremiah, Gunkrot, and Ruadhin.
Oren and Zeek chased the Mind Slayer back and forth from his teleportation. After many more swings of the axe, and punches of his fist; the Mind Slayer and Human Fighter disappeared. The party concluded that the Mind Slayer was near death, and escaped to save himself.
On further exploration, Oren found the ambassador tied up in a chair. Upon approaching the ambassador, Oren slapped him in the back of the head with the flat side of his axe, rendering the ambassador unconscious. Oren didn't want to risk any more doppelganger incidents again. The party explored the site further, attempting to collect any valuables whatsoever. Once everything was collected, Oren carried the ambassador while Zeek carried Rona. This bothered Oren, for he knew she could walk under her own power. The party headed back to Greenmark with their new treasure.
Leading Players: Oren, Vikos, Zeek, Kit, Gunkrot, Jeremiah, Ruadhin
This Summary is being wrote from Jeremiah's view point. As such he can only speak from what he actually saw.
Part 1: Gnolls Attack
As our Adventuring group was coming into GreenMark with the added addition of the Ambassador Edward Hansberg and the Lady Rona Battelle. A single individual was heading out of GreenMark in search of his fiends.
Jeremiah raised his hand and motioned to the single individual, a yell when from Jeremiah. Is that you Will Fitzpatrick. Will shouted back where did you go and what have you been doing. The town was hit by Gnolls and for the past day or so I have been hunting them down. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't seen the rest of you for a day or so. So I was headed out to find you when you just happen to show up.
Jeremiah turned to Kit, Kit will you go with the others and take the Ambassador back to Terrance Stintson. Please grab my share of the reward and we will meet up later today after I explain what has been happening with the group to Will.
Will, I guess it would be best if I told you the whole story from the beginning. Yesterday morning as you know the town was attacked by Gnolls. Well, it started as we were sleeping in a burned out building. When we woke to screams from outside. Someone was yelling that the town was being attack. This caused the group to wake and run out into the streets with weapons drawn. Everyone except Gunkrot, Gunkrot elected to stay and equip his armour before heading to the fray.
I believe that I was the first one out and like an idiot I ran at two Gnolls with sword out. I was immediately drawn into a battle. Thankfully Ruadhin the Paladin was standing next to me the next second. As the two of us fought I looked around and saw that Viko's, was to my right in front of him a globe of darkness. I could not see through the Globe but Viko's was casting magic at it and through the globe. He actually even summoned a large bat that went into the globe. At the time I didn't know what Viko's was fighting besides the darkness but I, assumed it was Gnolls. But later I found out that an Ambassador was being kidnapped hidden from our sight by the Globe.
To my left I noticed Kit she was headed around our battle and I assumed that she was trying to navagate around the globe of darkness to see what was on the otherside. This didn't seem to be working for her, due to the fact she had been stopped by three Gnolls of her own. Kit was impressive on her own, she casted a lightning bolt and damaged one or two of them. But she was outmatched and alone. I attempted to summon aid from Hieronous in hopes of helping her. Hieronous sent down a couple of flame strikes that killed one or two of the Gnolls. This gave Kit enough time to withdraw from the battle and hide in the Globe of darkness, until the battle was over. Kit had been badly hurt by the Gnolls and really had no choice but to hide. So, Will don't think harshly of her for hiding. It was the smart thing to do.
As for Zeek and Oren, I never actually saw them fighting but I could hear them behind me cutting down the Gnolls one at a time and saving the townsfolk that had been caught out in the streets by the Gnolls. Later I found out that they acted as brave as any and to there credit. They killed many Gnolls by themselves with no aid from anyone but the skills and weapons they carry with them this seemed to be enough thank Hierounous the God of Valor and Justice because he must have been by there side.
With the aid of Ruadhin the two that we were fighting finally dropped and the battle was winding down at this time either the Gnolls had lost there taste for battle or had gotten what they were looking for because they were retreating from the battle site of GreensMark. This is where Terrance Stintson showed and spoke to us. Requesting that we meeting him in an hour. On the other side of town. We went back to the building we were sleeping in and got our equipment and headed over to speak with Terrance Stintson.
Part 2 Meeting with Terrance Stintson aid of the Ambassador Hunsberg.
Will, we showed up an hour later to speak to Mr. Stintson as he had requested. Mr. Stintson was with two other aids of Mr. Hunsberg the Ambassador that was apparently kidnapped during the battle. Mr. Montahue Tage and Mr. Sanders Bingington was standing to the side along with the Seargent of the Guard Mr. Telgard Magruson. Later we found that Mr. Magruson the Seargent and Mr Tage were both dopplegangers but at the time of the meeting we had no clue. But I am getting ahead of myself.
We had thought that Mr. Stintson was going to be addressing us only but in reality he was addressing the whole town. He explained that Mr. Hunsberg was kidnapped and that he was offering a reward for the rescue of his Ambassador in the amount of 4000 kerns. This set the town afire with greed and stupidity. Everyone was wanting the 4000 kerns to start a new life with. I guess that with everything that had recently happened in the town It should have been expected. Either way the town was in a hurry to leave and collect the reward. This is where we noticed that another adventuring group was in town. They called themselves the Group of Nine. We spoke with Mr. Stintson for a while. This gave some of us the opportunity to cast some non combative spells on the Group of Nine and we noticed that at least three of the Nine we evil and all were well equipped and seem more than up to the task of taking on a group of Gnolls.
With the aid of spells and some discussion with Mr. Stintson we ascertained that the kidnappers headed North. So we were off to rescue Mr. Hunsberg and possibly save the townsfolk from getting themselves killed.
We headed north and within a couple of hours we heard some arguing ahead of us. We snuck up to a group of townsfolk in the woods outside of GreenMark. They were arguing about which way they should head. That is where we met a woman named Rona Battelle. This woman seemed to have some latent magical abilities that allowed her to ascertain that the kidnappers went one direction or another. The arguments seemed to be that the rest of the people in her group wanted to go one direction and were not listening to her guidance. Everyone but a woodsman named Wilf Paimont who was standing by Rona's side telling them that she was there best bet at finding the Ambassador. Either way after some long discussions we were able to talk most of the group into going back to town or looking in another direction we felt that this would be the safest tactic for a bunch of untrained towns people.
So off we went with Rona and Wilf heading North again in search of the Mr. Hunsberg. While on the trail we ran across Mr. Tage. He seemed a little out of place in the middle of the woods. But we were in a hurry and didn't stop to question him to the level we should have because he had stated that infront of us and to the North East he had spotted the Gnolls and the Mr. Hunsberg.
We left Rona, Wilf and Mr. Tage behind in hiding as we proceeded to rescue Mr. Hunsber. We traveled a little while going through the woods and right into a trap that the Doppleganger (Mr. Tage) had set for us. In front of us we spotted a troll and a few Gnolls at the bottom of a hill/Cliff facing and on top of the cliff facing stood about ten Gnolls with bow's and swords. We were still covered by the woods that we were in. Zeek head to the left to sneek around as everyone was spreading out for the attack. A horn blew which startled the group and Zeek came running back he had noticed a regiment of Gnolls about 80 of them to our left and we heard coming from the right noise we could only assume that we had been surrounded by Gnolls on the left and right. We had walked into a trap. We had only one choice we had to run. I prayed to Heriouns and he granted the forest a fog that we could hide in and would obscure the vision of the Gnoll bowmen. We ran back to the hiding place we had left Rona, Wilf and Mr. Tage. Apparently Mr. Tage was a doppleganger because he had attacked Rona and Wilf and left them for dead while we were gone. With some quick thinking we were able to save Rona. Then we headed back to our original theory and headed north.
A while later we came across a rock wall with two Gnoll guards posted we managed to take the Gnoll guards out and found a trap door behind the rock wall that lead to an underground lair. Kit was the first one down using a spell that allowed her to take on the appearance of a Gnoll, then followed by Viko's, Zeek and Oren. We heard fighting and the rest of us followed. Once down there we found four Gnolls, a Human fighter and a Mindflayer. A battle emerged that was extremely hard to win. A couple of the group fell by the mindflayer's use of Mind blast attacks and the Figher was extremely skilled. And kept the group hopping and fighting for there own lives. Just so you know the Mindflayer took out Kit, Gunkrot and Ruadihin with its mindblast attacks. But the Gnolls were no match for Zeek and Oren but the figher and the Mindflayer were a match for us. The mindflayer and the Figher would attack together and the Mindflayer would blast the party with his mindblast and it was decimating to our group. In the end the Mindflayer and the fighter had apparently thought that we were more trouble than the ambassador was worth and teleported somehow and fled. Leaving the group to find the ambassador. We licked our wounds and found the ambassador tied in a room at the back of the lair. We gathered what treasure we could find and came back to GreenMark.
DM's SUMMARY OF IMPERIAL ENTANGLEMENTS (by Mike Cross)
The sound of clashing steel and muffled screams woke the Finders. Another night in Greenmark, another invasion.
This was getting repetitive.
Rushing into the streets, the Finders saw Gnolls seemingly everywhere. They were chasing citizens and causing general mayhem and destruction. The group quickly set about defending the populace but noticed that the bulk of the activity was taking place around the pavilions flying the Imperial banners. Several members of the group noticed a couple of large Gnolls had taken someone from one of the pavilions and was attempting to hustle them off into the woods. Vikos quickly cast a web spell in an attempt to ensnare the apparent kidnappers. Kit attempted to move into position to cut the Gnolls off, but was waylaid by three more of the creatures. A darkness spell was cast on the pavilion from unknown sources and so the Finders lost sight of the kidnappers. Kit cast a fireball at her attackers but was forced to retreat into the darkness after they closed with her, and delivered several wicked blows. Oren was defending the remains of the Green Grape from a bevy of Gnolls, which were moving towards it. Zeek was pursuing a group of Gnoll archers after dispatching several Gnolls who had been attacking a villager who was putting up a spirited if unskilled defense. Jeremiah and Ruadhin, were engaged with a couple of Gnolls, who had been chasing an older townsman and his wife, right behind the pavilions. Vikos was attempting the engage the fleeing kidnappers from a distance as evidenced by his web spell. However he was coming under heavy and moderately effective archery fire. The darkness provided cover and the kidnapping Gnolls were able to break through Vikos web and flee the village with what the Finders latter discovered was the Imperial Ambassador, Edward Hunsburg. The Finders found a Gnoll who was still alive on the battlefield, and Vikos healed and charmed him to gain information. From him they found out that this unit of Gnolls had been involved in the battles with the kobolds described in A Second Chance. The unit had been hired by a Mindflayer named Allahandrous, and ordered to attack this village and take the Imperial Ambassador alive. After gaining the information, Vikos took his new friend into the woods and exacted the revenge of his God, unknown to the other members of the company.
Shortly after the skirmish a member of the Ambassador's staff went through the streets shouting that an announcement would be made at the Ambassador's pavilion in one hour. The announcement was that the Ambassador had been kidnapped and that there would be a reward of 4,000 Imperial Kerns for his safe return. This announcement sent the remaining population of Greenmark into frenzy of activity. Groups of friends and families rushed off to search for the Ambassador almost immediately. The lure of 4,000 Kerns so soon after the destruction of their homes, had every towns persons attention. That kind of money could provide a tremendous start in the new City of Hope. After the meeting the Finders where quickly sought out by the Ambassador's advisor, Montahugh Tage. He asked them to come to a meeting with the Ambassador's staff as well as another adventuring/mercenary company who happened to be in town, The Band of Nine. The Finders in a round about way, offered to cooperate with The Band of Nine in finding the Ambassador, but were advised by their leader that, "We will keep our own counsel". This made The Finders more than a little wary of this new group and during the meeting they surreptitiously used some detection abilities and spells to discover that the leadership of The Band of Nine was evil. At the meeting the advisors asked the two groups to seek out the Ambassador and gave the two groups of "professionals" a clue discovered by the Sargent Magruson of the Ambassador's guard. It was the location of tracks leading off to the east. Presumably made by the kidnappers as they fled. The Finders now had not only some trepidation regarding The Band of Nine, but were also developing the same feeling towards the advisors. Some detect motive and alignment magic was directed at the leader of this group, but he appeared to check out. But they still expressed their concern for the safety of the townspeople now traipsing all over the woods. They feared they stood no chance against the Gnolls who had taken the Ambassador. The Aide explained it was his feeling that the more people looking for the Ambassador the better. If a few people happened to get hurt it would be a shame, but they could take comfort it was for the good of maintaining good relations between the Azure Kingdom, and the Empire. After the meeting broke up, Zeek sought the advice of his ancestral spirits to discover which way they should search. The spirits revealed they should search to the west! This coincided with the views of many of The Finders who felt the tracks to the east were too convenient and probably placed to mislead rescuers, and was confirmed by a divination spell thrown by Jeremiah.
Searching towards the west, The finders pressed on for four or five hours, finding the going rough in the rugged woods surrounding Greenmark. The coming of dawn eased their way a little. At about an hour or two before mid-day, Zeek and Kit heard voices coming from in front of the party. They snuck up on the source of the noise and discovered a group of Greenmark citizens. They were engaged in an argument about what they should do next. They were obviously out here in search of the Ambassador. Their apparent leader was a woman named Rona Battelle. After Zeek jumped out and surprised the other group they had a discussion in which Rona revealed that she is a psychic, in touch with the spirits much as Zeek was. She told them that the spirits had advised her to search to the west. This made Zeek believe in her abilities, as that is what the spirits had told him as well. Zeek was immediately smitten by the rather comely Ms. Battelle. The Finders tried to convince the group of townspeople that this was no job for them and that they should return to Greenmark. After quite a bit of talking, they managed to convince all but Rona. When she announced that she would not return though, another of the group, Wilf Paimont, a local woodsman, decided he would not return either. Apparently Zeek had a rival for Ms. Battelle's attentions. Just before the rest of the townspeople started back to Greenmark, Zeek heard a noise towards the west, and shortly they saw a single figure coming through the forest towards them. This turned out to be Sanders Bingington, one of the Ambassador's advisors. He was out of breath but announced that he had spotted a group of Gnolls off to the northwest. The Finders at first were incredulous as to how the advisor had gotten ahead of them, but after listening to his story, they quickly decided to follow up on his lead. They headed in the direction he had indicated, leaving the advisor with Rona and Wilf.
Following the advisor's directions, The Finders came upon a cliff face with a clearing in front of it. They spotted two large Gnolls and a Troll in the clearing, and as they approached a group of six to ten archers could be seen on top of the cliff face, some fifty or sixty feet above. The group started to fan out for an attack. However, Zeek fanning out to the left spotted a huge (40-50) group of Gnolls working their way towards The Finders. If a similar group was working in toward The Finders from the other flank they could be in big trouble. Zeek yelled a warning and retreated. He suddenly realized they'd been lead into a trap and with that realization came the thought that Rona could be in danger and sprinted through the forest at break neck speed, the rest of The Finders save Kit following. Kit stayed behind to try and gather intelligence, however their were just to many Gnolls milling about and even with a change self spell she was unable to come up with anything useful. Back where the party had left Rona, Wilf and the advisor, Zeek discovered the two townspeople, both with their throats slit. Wilf was obviously gone, but Rona clung to life. Zeek frantically worked on her using what healing skill he had, until Jeremiah could return and lend aid. When Jeremiah finally did return, he and Zeek managed to return Rona to some semblance of health. She told them that it had been the advisor, Sanders Bingington, who had attacked them.
After discussing the situation, The Finders decided it was clear that they were dealing with a Doppelganger somewhere in he midst of the advisors, but they should continue on towards the west to find the Ambassador, who should be their first priority. It still being before noon, they decided they should rest to regain spells and press on come evening. Latter moving further to the west a couple of miles The Finders came upon a dilapidated castle wall. One section still stood, the others littered the floor of the small clearing that must at some time have been much larger. Spying out the wall they saw two rather lax Gnoll guards. Kit and Zeek snuck up on the two and with the help of spells from Vikos and Jeremiah they dispatched the guards and discovered next to the wall a stairway heading down.
The Finders decided to head down the stairs feeling that they had maybe found what they'd been looking for. At the bottom of the stairs the company found a large room, outfitted with tables, chairs, beds, and a stone pedestal and coffin. The room had obviously at one time been a burial chamber. Four Gnoll guards and a human occupied the room. Battle was immediately joined. The Finders had their way with the Gnoll guards easily but the human put up a little better showing and he was shortly joined by his master the Mindflayer Allahandrous. The Mindflayer flitted about the room by means of some arcane teleportation magic. Doing damage and removing himself and his human servant from danger as necessary. He displayed terrible mind magics, which delivered painful stunning blasts to the minds of its victims. Eventually though, Oren's axe, Zeek's hands and the magic of Jeremiah and Vikos damaged him and his human lackey to the point that had to flee the battlefield. The underground complex contained four rooms in total. The first being the only one defended. One was a bedroom/study, obviously used by Allahandrous, in which the company found extensive treasure. Another appeared to be a chapel, in which the Ambassador was found, bound and gagged. The last was crypt that contained several crypts set into one wall, and which detected as strongly evil. The Finders wisely took the freed Ambassador and their treasure and left the problems posed by this room to another day.
Epilogue: Upon returning to Greenmark The Finders discovered that the Ambassador's Steward of the Exchequer, Montahugh Tage was missing and presumed to have been killed by a Doppelganger who had posed as him. The Sargent of the Ambassadors guard, Telgard Magruson was also missing and presumed to have suffered a similar fate. Two other guards and an advisor had been killed in the attack on Greenmark.
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