Order within - Chaos without

11. The Measure and the Chain
Justice of the Chain

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After installing Drax’karn as the temporary chieftain of the goblin tribe the rest of the party went back to the gnome town of Umok. Their tall stature in comparison to the residents of the town made them easy to distinction on the horizon and so the guards of the gate had summoned the mayor Kolbe to greet them. The party had brought Big Bozz Big Yök back to town, so that he could receive tough but fair justice at the hand of the town.

As a reward for bringing back both the artefact of the town and the thief who stole it, the party received 2.000 gold pieces each and the day was declared a national holiday in commemoration of the heroes and their feats. The following day a court was set. The heroes were considered the local embodiment of justice in the town, and so they were asked to join in the proceedings as magistrates. Having caught the thief red handed with the artefact in his position, it was an easy verdict. The verdict was 500 whippings with the chain to be applied to the hands of the goblin, so that he would never put his dirty fingers on the belongings of others again. The goblin only lived to witness a quarter of the whips, though that didn’t stop the executioner for carrying out the sentenced punishment.

Having assured that justice had been served the party returned to the citadel. They had decided that the Stinkbat Tribe needed a new and more just ruler in order to keep them in line and protect the surrounding area from further goblin attacks. They couldn’t think of a more suited leader than their Hobgoblin friend Turgrim.

As soon as they entered the citadel they were summoned for yet another round in the arena of the nine layers of hell. This time they fought in the fourth layer: The layer of Phlegethon. The layer contains the hideous forges of Hell, where unsuitable souls are recast into something more fitting to the infernal eye. The arena contained conveyor belts, endless pits and huge machines that would easily crush anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the machinery. After a long and tough fight Draco Night emerged as victorious and was awarded a magical belt and the position as leader of the squad as a reward. Furthermore the heroes were told that the officers of the order were very pleased with their progression and that they would soon be ready to ascend to the rank of Hell Knight. For now however, they should continue their hunt for Azalin that would lead them further north.

They went north to fort of Wolfpoint and they were accompanied by their drill instructor Richfred Grimacar. There were rumours of unruliness in the area and a maralictor was needed to set things straight! When they arrived at Wolfpoint, Octavian felt that the force was pulling at him from two directions now. Both north and north-west. They decided to investigate the source to the north first, since that would allow them to travel by boat up the river.

Before they departed a raven carrying a letter from the citadel reached them. The letter reported that the mighty dwarf Topol Badut had returned from his pilgrimage in the southern lands, and that he would join them shortly. Topol had been away for a long time, but the road had been long and the dwarf’ legs had been so short.

On the second day of the boat trip, the party came under attack by nefarious outlaws. They had hidden in bushes close to the river, and as the party came close to the shore, the bandits ambushed them. A brief but very close fight was fought, and one of the bandits managed to escape the fight with his life and a sack of loot. Everyone in the party had survived but that was only due to the glorious healing powers of blessed Ermis Aradippou.

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10. Fighting the Stinkbat Tribe
Taking down Bigbozz Big Yöck

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Exploring the Settlement
The adventures did not need to search far, though, as they quickly spotted another wave of goblins running towards them!
Under attack from several sides and with arrows whistling in their ears, they ran in cover behind a cottage to catch their breath and prepared for the incoming battle.

Finding the inner peace and sending a prayer to which ever god was listening, they ran in – sword held high and a fierce fight commenced!
Draco slayed several Goblins with his fearsome long sword and Ermis supported from behind, while Drax showed his impressive acrobatic skills and climbed a tower to take down a sticky-potion-throwing goblin, standing on its top.
We will never know what Ermis whispered in those few quiet moments behind the cottage, but what ever it was – the God of Luck was defiantly not impressed! While there were lots of targets, Ermis ended up doing more damage to himself than the goblins, fumbling around with his sword and taking one bad decision after another.

All luck must end though, even the bad kind, and while Drax finished his one-o-one with the Goblin in the tower, Draco and Ermis charged after the retreating Goblins, finding some svirfneblin also fighting the goblins!

The finished off the last stragglers, but not before preventing the last Goblin ringing the big iron bell, warning the rest of the camp. While Draco and Ermis investigates a surprisingly sturdy and well-made lifting mechanism to a tunnel, Drax fumbles off down the tower breaking his ankle. As I said, all luck must end.

The decent
The svirfneblin tells the group about a large underground complex and the heroes decides to continue exploring the Goblin settlement underneath them.
Down in what appears to be a long tunnel, it doesn’t take long before Draco and Ermis falls into a nasty floor-spike trap – especially Ermis is having a beef with the God of Luck, as he falls back into the spikes, while trying to climb the walls up and out of the trap.

Well up and healed, the band continues and in the distance sees a clear white and green light. Drax, always with a nose for gems and other valuables, follows the green light and finds a big glowing, pulsing and warm gem, clearly the one sought after by the mayor Maximillian Kolbe. No sooner does he pick up the gem though, than 2 Goblins and a Hobgoblin Battlepriest runs towards them. The Hobgoblin Battlepriest enlarges herself several times over and starts to throw evil spells at the heroes of our story.

While everyones attention is on the new and terrifying threat, one of the svirfneblin stole the gem from Drax. Steeling from a rouge is no small feat, and it must be said that it was only possible due to the duress that Drax was feeling seeing the large Hobgoblin. Before Drax could do anything, the gem was flying through the air, past the Goblins and the large Hobgoblin Battlemage, summoning a huge earth elemental from the ground – and a battle between giants began!

It quickly showed to be an unfair fight though, as the earth elemental started to pound the battlemage into the ground, body liquids flying through the air and the remaining Goblins trying to retreat – only to run straight into Drax’s knife.

Bigbozz Big Yöck
After clearing out the room, and not being heroes to sleep the day away, they quickly went down to the next level – finding Bigbozz Big Yöck and company, ready to greet them – and charged straight in!

An epic fight happened, with the earth elemental again summoned to deal with several Hobgoblins, Lord Octavian appearing to attack Big Yöck and the remaining band joining in. Only Draco, appearing seeing something funny in the situation, spent the whole fight doing a ROFL on the floor, almost as if the earth was slippery.

When only Bigbozz Big Yöck remained, he succumbed to despair – throwing down his weapons and pleading for mercy. The band, in their immeasurable mercy-fullness, decides to accept his surrender. After freeing the remaining enslaved svirfneblin they decided to make Big Yöck responsible for the actions done by the clan and laid the following plan:
1. Take the gem back to the mayor.
2. Take Big Yöck to the mayor and make him answer for his crimes against the svirfneblin.
3. Get a hold on Turgrim and make him the new chief of the clan, while Drax keeps a watch on the Goblins, that they stay lawful while the rest of the band are away.

Postscript
In the following nights – alone, and with only Goblins as company – Drax started to remember the Earth Elemental in a whole new way…

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9. Searching for the Stinkbat tribe
A lost artifact

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Waking up at sunrise the next morning, the party got an early start as they set out west, through the edge of the forest, in the search of the Stinkbat tribe and the lost artifact that Mayor Kolbe had described to them. Although autumn was starting to make its mark on the lush trees, the weather was sunny, and the mood was high in the party. After a uneventful day, the party camped for the night. Draco made a perfect bonfine, while Gargamel keeping in distance, set up a makeshift tent. In the middle of the night, on Draco’s watch, he heard something rattling in the bushes. He woke the others as fast as he could, as a large hulking creature came rushing out of the bushes and kicked out the perfect bonfire, leaving the party in complete darkness. Ermis jumped to his feet, drawing his faithful longsword Thrandrall to give the party some light, but with no time to don his heavy armor. He managed to get a few hits on the creature, but so did the troll, and it knocked Ermis unconcoius. The three other party members battled bravely and managed to kill the beast, only to find that it quickly came back to life. In the second attempt they made sure that it stayed dead.

The second day on the journey started as uneventful as the first, the silence interrupted from time to time, by Lord Octavian who still posessed the mind and body of Ermis. “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam” was the only sentence of the old Azlanti gibberish that made any sense to the party. I’ll either find a way or make one – it sounded valiant in the ears of the proud paladin, as he beagn to think that it wasn’t so bad being possessed by this spirit.

Into the afternoon following a narrow path in the woods, the party was suddenly ambushed by a pack of goblins in league with an Owlbear as the one the party had encountered just days ago. With swift action from the group, the enemies were subdued. The sole survivor, a goblin named Gorgus the Goblin was interrogated and mercifully set free by the fair leader Ermis, as he gave the party useful information about the whereabouts and nature of the Stinkbat tribe. They also found a map that should help them locate the settlement of the tribe, that apparantly consisted of both goblin, hobgoblin and underground gnome creatures. Their leader was called Bigbozz Big Yöck on account of his enormous nose, that might be held as a sign of virility in the goblin culture. Judging from the map, the party could reach the Stinkbat settlement the following day.

On the third day, the party reached their destination. Through the trees, they looked down upon a hilly terrain, where one of the hills had a steep cliff side. Goblins were suspended in robes from the top of the hill, down the cliff side, chisseling out a face. Goblinoid in nature with an enourmous nose, it had a tribute to be their leader. The party snuck around to the hilly side and began their ascend towards the settlement on the top of the hill, that was enclosed in palisades, and bustling with life it seemed. Facing the problem head on, the party went right up to the gate, and demanded to be let in to talk with the leader. To everyones surprise it worked, as the two hobgoblin guards swung open the gates from atop the battlement on the palisades.

But it wasn’t to go so smootly, for as soon as the gate closed behind the party Gargamel made out high cry from one of the goblins to mean “Attack them!”. Gargamel swiftly became invisible and moved unseen into the fray, as Ermis covered the battlefield around him in a dense fog. A wave goblins and hobgoblins attacked the party and some were caught in a stickty substance thrown by the hobgoblins on the wall, fixating them to the ground, but the party fought back with great strength, and also Lord Octavian joined the battle, as he left the body of Ermis, and began tearing out the soul of the unlucky goblins close to him. When the fog cleared, the attackers had all been killed and after searching them the party continued cautiously further into the settlement.

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8. The City of Umok
Owlbears look so cute <3 xoxo

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The last thing the ghost of Lord Octavian did prior to his insurgence into the body of Ermis was presenting a ring to the party. The aura of the ring clearly showed that it was a ring of magical powers, but Lord Octavian didn’t tell them what the magical powers were.

The party had been told to look for the missing black stones far to the north, and inside his own body, Ermis could feel the presence of the spirit of Lord Octavian and how it almost pulled Ermis north as if to guide him there. He felt that the stones was far north. Even further north than the forest of Chitterwood. To avoid the unruly forest and the wild goblins inhabiting it the party decided to travel around it. They chose the eastern way since that would lead them through their home in Citadel Dinyar.

When they reached the citadel, they spoke to with Paravicor Emanror Pinard to brief him of the grim status of the town of Gillamoor and of their latest acquaintance Lord Octavian. They entered the tower of the paravicor interrupting him in a very important session of wine tasting. The mentioning of hordes of zombies and an ancient spirit quickly caught the interest of the wizard however. During the party’s travels back to the citadel the spirit had on more than one occasion taken brief control of Ermis and spoken to the others in a most strange language. They suspected it to be the old and almost forgotten language of Azlani. A language that the paravicor mastered to almost perfection it seemed. Lord Octavian left Ermis’s body for a short period to have brief conversation with the paravicor. As a gesture of gratitude for presenting the spirit before him and in order to help the party in their quest, the paravicor presented them with a handful of gifts and revealed that the magic ring presented to them by Octavian was in fact a magical ring of protection.

The party ventures yet again out through the gates of the citadel to face new adventures and challenges and yet again, the first challenge of the day is the steep and slim track down the mountain. The track must be cursed with an everlasting slipperiness because yet again it made half the party fall down half the track and soil their clothes. After a somewhat embarrassing tumble in the mud they decided that their next destination would be the gnome city of Umok. There the party would decide their next course of action. On their travels to the city of Umok they only mad short rest in the cave of huge owlbear. The owlbear didn’t seem to welcome the company but swift justice had no time to wait for an invitation.

The next day the party arrived at the city of Umok. Strangely enough the city was cleared of vegetation in a large radius around the city and wildlife lived in the city alongside the residents. It did seam quite funky and not at all like how it was in the hard and grey Citadel Dimyar. Above the city loomed a giant green bronze statue of the paladin Chelin. In old times he had defended the city from the hordes of goblins that now stirred in the forest once again.

Seeking rest after the long journey, they vent to the local inn. Only one inn in the town was suitable for visitors of the human size. It was the inn of the Merry Song Bird. Here the party ordered exotic wine and dined like kings and noblemen. They were joined by the mayor of the town Maximillian Kolbe. He told them, that the city had lost a most pressures artifact. If the party could help bring it back from the evil goblins they would be rewarded with as much gold as they could carry. The artifact had been taken by the vicious Skinkbat Tribe and had been taken deep underground. The party agreed to the terms and decided to move venture forth on the sunrise of the next day.

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7. The Battle Of Gillamoor

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The small party of brave heroes looked out over the too-quiet city, with a vast tower looming in the distance. Sensing that something was terrible wrong in the city that appeared to be completely abandoned, the party walked back and forth on the great wall, unsure how to proceed. They found an old Wall-Tower, where Gargamel (always eager to try new things) tasted something on the floor which turned out to be bat-shit.
The Wall-Tower was, as the rest of the city, quite abandoned and it looked like it had been left in a hurry. As usual, Ermis scoured the tower thoroughly, and in the corner he found an old weapon rack which was still fully stocked. Proudly he showed his newly acquired Crossbow to Draco, but the only reply from the newest member was a “just don’t shoot me, with it!”.

The small band decided to go into the city, and before Draco and Ermis had blinked twice, Gargamel showed some surprising woodwork-skills as he turned the weaponry into a makeshift door-lock, should that be needed.

Not more than a few steps was taken, in the silent city, before Draco and Gargamel spotted a ghost in the distance – clearly looking at them and waving them on towards it. The Hellknights here showed their true bravery, as they without hesitation started out towards the ghost. Across what was once Festival Square, and through the trees at the city’s Town Square, and the band still followed the ghost, which was always far away and started looking more and more anxious.

Though Ermis always pictured himself as being “quite the stealthy type”, it was clear that not everyone agreed – as a hand, half rotten and defiantly not meant to be alive, shot out of the earth and grabbed his ankle. Not one to be easily surprised, Ermis immediately started Channeling Light which created a large circle of light around the small band, banishing the dark but also revealing a suddenly worrying activity, on just the other side of the circle, as several more zombies started to climb up of the ground.

The Hellknights had no idea what they had started, as Draco quickly dispatched the nearest zombies while Gargamel rained death from above with his Pebble spell and Ermis channeled more light, to effectively put down a score of zombies.
But for every zombie killed by Draco’s mighty sword or Gargamel and Ermis’s powerful spells, another two appeared as from nowhere. While heads where flying around Draco, Ermis was boxed in by the many zombies and Gargamel vanished to start summoning a monster to help the small band.

All the while, the band slowly moved towards a great tower, that the ghost was leading them towards. They kept fighting, but things quickly got more and more desperate as they watched Gargamels monster being pulled apart, limb by limb, by the many zombies. The Hellknights had no doubt that the same would happen to them, should the falter – and thought more than 100 zombies had been killed by the Hellknights, the fear was as chiseled into Draco’s face, as he watched Ermis go down, surrounded by several zombies.

Draco quickly ran to Ermis and started pulling him away from the zombies, greatly helped by an Unseen Servant, summoned by Gargamel. Watching the ghost disapear into the tower, Gargamel decided that the only chance must be inside. As Draco ran through the horde of zombies, with Ermis over his should, he clearly felt Iomedae’s light shine upon him, as all zombies missed their attacks on him.
As they came inside reach of the tower, they where shocked to see the zombies not coming nearer, as some kind of unseen barrier was holding them back.

Gargamel and Draco, carrying Ermis, followed the ghost up and up in the tower, finally arriving in what appears to be an old study. Here the ghost produced a blue flask which was able to revive Ermis. The Ghost suddenly started talking, presenting itself as Lord Octavian, the old First Consul in the area known as Gilla Veramova which later was known as the city of Gillamore.
He tells a story of a Seer who, though appearing to help the Consul, proved to be evil and made the First Consul’s soul unable to ever find rest, condemned to always wander around within the city. The story points out his grave-chamber as a dark place, and the Hellknights senses a relation to the Black Stones, as the First Consul describes some stones very like them.

After muttering some words (which Gargamel, with his great understanding of language, interprets as “I’ll either find a way or make one” Lord Octavian agrees to show the grave chamber to the band, and after spending a night in the tower, without much rest as the sounds of a thousand zombies, just outside the tower kept the heroes awake, he lead them to the grave-chamber in the morning.
The unseen barrier around the tower, seemed to suddenly come from the First Consul, as the zombies spread before him and the Hellknights.
He leads them to the crypt where the Seer was burried, which is filled with Obsidian which appear to almost be growing. A frightening similar view to the Hellknights, who are reminded of the crypt in the Obsidan Cave which almost proved fatal to most of the Hellknights.

Lord Octavian gets clearly frustrated as he discovers that the Black Stones are missing. He feels that one of the stones are towards the north and asks the band to quickly hunt it down. Before anyone can do much though, the First Consul mutters some strange words and with a WHOOSH he dives into Ermis and disappears!

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6. Going to Gillamoor
Ready to grasp the second chance

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After being bedridden for a week, the party came of the infirmery ready to resume their adventure, but not completely spared from the scars, both physical and mental, that fighting a mad lich king will give you. Topol‘s lungs had been damaged, and his most prized posession, his long copper full-beard had been wiped from his face. Now he looked like he was in constant agony. As the party went down the long corridor to the office of Arnald Halmarma Gargamel veered away a little every time they passed a torch on the wall. He appeared to have developed a fear of fire after being burned to death by the lich’s fireball. Draxkarn who also succumbed engulfed in flames, now looked even more sinister and unpleasant as his entire face had been covered in exuding wounds. Ermis that now suffered with a bleeding eye, thanked his god Iomedae for bringing the party back to life. They were definately meant to continue their fight against the undead evil.

Halmarma looked a little smug, when he addressed the roughed-up party. “Nice to see you on your feet again. You look like you could need some assistance”. Besides him stood a tall butch man, dressed in a full plate. He introduced himself as Draco Night, 24, strong figther, and sole survivor of his former party’s last encounter. As he stood there shining in peak fitness condition, it seemed he had escaped the fight without a single scratch. The party leader Ermis warmly welcomed the fellow longsword wielder to the group.The parties next journey would take them south to Gillamoor, to learn more about the undead blight they had encountered amongst the goblins, and maybe to seek out one or more dark gemstones, which Pinard had learned might be the source of the evil behind the undeads. After a quick tour of the Dinyard smithy, Ermis was now clad in a shinig fullplate armor, custom made by the Haust blacksmith and delivered here for enchanting. Pride and glory radiated from the clreic-paladin as he lead his band of brothers-in-arms out of the mountains, and south over the rolling hills towards Gillamoor.

After two uneventful days throgh the the pleasant landscape, travelling along the edge of a gorge going through the hills, the dwarf felt not his beard – but his rage itch. He had spotted an angry looking giant on the other side of the gorge. While the party started firing arrows at the giant, she in turn used the sheep she was holding as missiles. Ranged combat wasnt any of the combatant’s strong point this morning, so Draco Night and Topol Badut decided to face the brute head on. Draco got in some good hits, and Topol swung his axe furiously. As the giant bowed down to mock her little opponent Topols axe-swing was timed precisely, and chopped her head clean off. Everyone rejoiced at his awesome feat, and Torag, the stoic dwarven god, might have also been watching, for now the dwarf’s beard miracously began to grow back, as a divine gift to the Giantslayer.

The party continued south, and around evening, they reached the gates of Gillamoor. The gates was barred from the outside with a mount of carts and rubble. The young nimble party quickly scaled the mouth and stood upon the city wall, staring out over a desolate and quiet city, pillars of smoke from a couple of big fires being the only thing that moved in their view. Ermis, new to his beloved, but heavy full-plate armor had not mastered the balance of it quite yet, and it seemed impossible for him to scale the wall. On the brink of giving up, he finally succeeded in his 17th try. The city seemed too quiet to him, and although he detected no evil around him, he felt the party should proceed with caution.

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5. The Battle of the Obsidian Cave

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The adventures stood outside the obsidian door and examined it – hoping to find a way to open it. The dwarf Topol regarded himself as somewhat of an expert when it comes to stonework, but even his “vast knowledge” did not help them finding a way to open the door. He did however notice that the finding of a solid obsidian wall and door in a place could not be natural.

Ermis tried with the spell “Shatter” in an attempt to force the door open, but little did it help. Their companion the hobgoblin had told them, that the hooded man, who had come to the dungeon earlier, had opened the door by use of magic. Even though Ermis did not like to turn to the darker powers for help, the party did not see another way, if they wanted to enter the room beyond the obsidian door. Ermis cast a dark spell of pain and agony and as the magic struck the door, the eyes of the two skulls that adorned the door started to glow. Moments after the door opened with a loud noise from the stone scraping against stone.

They entered a dark and long room. By the walls stood several statues. They were in the form of various undead monsters; zombies, vampires and even a lich. In the center of the room, and running down to the far end, was a purple substance that lit up the room. The dim light showed a huge statue on the far end of the room in the form of a humanoid body with a skill for a head and its arms raised together as though it had been holding something in its hands.

While the party searched through the room, Drax’karn noticed movement from the purple substance in the pool, and without further notice, a battle was on. Three goblin zombies came up through the liquid in the pool and attacked the party. After a short but fierce battle, the zombies lay dead before them. Topol had taken quite a few blows and needed the healing powers of Ermis. While Ermis attended Topol with his “magic wand”, Turgrim recognized the slain undead goblins. Last time he saw them they had been alive and well and in the company of the hooded man known to the party as Azalin. He had seen the four of them enter the room but only Azalin came out again. The goblins had been dear friends of his while he was chief of the tribe, and in their memory, he played a sad song on his flute. The Rolling Stones he called it. The party did not find it as amusing as the Beggar end the generous whore, but that song did not seem to fit the sad moment.

Further inspection of the room showed that in order to reach the large statue by the far wall, a feat of acrobatics was needed. The purple liquid blocked the path to the statue, so Drax’karn tried to reach it by balancing on a narrow and greasy edge that ran along the pool. Without falling into the pool he reached the statue and was safe on the other side. The statue was indeed a humanoid creature with a skull instead of a face, and it seemed like it was supposed to hold something in its hands in its extended gesture. The statue had been gaged, which seemed quite strange. In order to further inspect the statue Drax’karn tried to scale it. This time however his feet failed him. As he was half-way up the statue his feet slipped and fell face first into the purple liquid. It seemed to drain the life force out of the half-elf, and as he crawled out of the liquid he seemed almost drained of all his energy. Done with trying to do any further examination of the pool, he called to the others for help.

The rest of the party did not want to try their luck on the slippery edges, and came up with the idea, that they could create a make-shift bridge, if they threw a few of the stone statues into the substance. As the statue of the lich was standing nearby it was chosen as the first few feet of bridge in their construction.
To everybody’s surprise, the statue came alive as it was submersed into the liquid. Out of the purple pool rose a fearsome lich.

Now followed a heroic but sadly very brief and utterly humiliating fight. Drax’karn and Gagamel was the target of a powerful fireball spell cast by the lich. The last glimpse Drax’karn had of the tomb was the words “Jewels of the Masters Crown”. The words were cut into the giant skeletal statue, alongside many other words and symbols that Drax’karn did not understand. The rest of his friends fell victim to a green and toxic cloud that the lich conjured out of thin air. Fausto fell victim to a powerful blow from the lich and only Turgrim the hobgoblin was the only one to escape the wrath of the awoken lich.

Despite the punishment the party received they all woke up hours after the fight. Turgrim had returned and had found the lich transformed back into a statue and took care of the heroes as they regained consciousness. They had no idea how they had survived a battle with such a powerful foe, but they must have been saved by Pharasma the goddess of fate. Surely, they must be destined for great things.
Recognizing that the content of the Obsidian Cave might be a bit too much for them to handle they went back to Citadel Dinyar and brought back Paravicor Emanror Pinard. After his examination of the room and having heard the tale of Azalin the robed man, he resolved that this might be connected to the Whispering Way. The huge statue in the back of the room and the gaged skull was a common symbol of this death cult. The Obsidian Cave might have been the tomb of one of the black stones. Relics dating back to the tyranny of the Whispering Tyrant! The Paravicor ordered the party to investigate this matter further and gave them orders to investigate the rising of the dead in the city of Gillamoor.

They party was then brought back to Citadel Dinyar. The counsel resolved that they were ready to enter the third layer of hell in the battle arena. The layer of Erebus. After a long at fierce combat Ermis stood as the last man in the arena and as the victor!

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4. The Black Cave
Seeking out the root of evil

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Before Topol knocked on the wooden door into the office of Emanror Pinard, Ermis meticulously checked if all stains of mud and blood had been washed off his robe and sword. Presenting yourself as shining and clean as possible was a virtue he shared with his mage elder. The green glowing sword, that had been given to Ermis as a gift for protecting Haulst from the goblin attack caught Pinards eye. Thrandrall, as it was named had been the sword of Sir Batho, and held great power by being wielded by a noble hand and heart of good for a lifetime. In time it could be made even more powerful. As if the level of righteousness Ermis was feeling wasn’t enough the sword only added to that, and the thought of putting that righteousness to use in battle against evil made him almost shriek of joy.

Topol told that the party’s plan was to locate the so-called back cave from whence the vile goblins had probably come. He battled the thought of accepting an offer from Fausto, the half-orc in Haulst to join the group in their fight. Could a creature with orc-blood running in his viens be trusted? Pinard explained that judgement and the fitting measure of punishment should only be passed onto the evildoer on basis of his actions, not his being itself. Unless that being happened to be undead. Such an abomination that distorted the holy order of life should always be dealt a death sentence. Before leaving Dinyard also Grimacar and the higher ranked Paralictor Paralictor Arnald Halmarma told the party that their actions had been noticed and that it had been a joy to watch them battle it out in Dis.

Through a portal, the party found themselves back in Haulst, where the whole town were working on erecting palisades to protect agains further goblin attacks. After a nice day of hard labour, the party rested in Hurrigers cosy inn. Julia, Huriger’s daughter brought them beer and blushed when she kissed Erims on the cheek. “Silly girl” Ermis said to himself, as he pondered on his own and Iomedae’s views on chasteness. Fausto had happily joined the party, and were thrilled that the sugar dady and big spender of the group, Draxkarn had equipped him with a new chain mail and a giant axe. The young farmhand Bartho had recounted the way to the cave he had discovered, and by the mornings early light the party set out west, in search of the little Trolls Creek, that would take them north hoping to spot the black cave.

Quickly they found what they were looking for, and as they cautiosly entered a little dark cave opening, Ermis was ready with his bless spell. In the hallway leading further into the cave, was a big pit, and a suspended wooden bridge raised up under the ceiling The party had to find a way over, and Draxkarn, maybe a bit too optimistic of his own dexterity and Fausto’s strength asked the half-orc to throw him over on the other side. Miraculously they suceeded, and the all continued forward into a large empty cave room. Suddently they heard a roar, and behind them from the corners of the room, swarmed forth a large pack of undead goblins. Topol and Fausto with almost unison axe-work cleft a lot of the pack, and Ermis, standing behind them channeled the good energy from Iomedae, which brought many of the undead down. Draxkarn looked a little ovewhelmed on his own with a large group of goblin undead surrounding him, but a large hobgoblin ran forth from the back of the room, fighting side by side with Drax, against the goblins.

When the battle was over, the party sat down and questioned the strange Hobgoblin. Turgrim, he called himself, and had been the former cheif of the goblins of the cave. Four days ago, he had been approached by a shady character named Azalin, who tried to hire his goblin trbe as mercenaries for 1000 gp, and wanted them to make an attack on Haulst. Turgrim was doubtful of his agenda, and had declined the offer, but Gormus, one of the goblins had attacked him, bestowing himself with the title of goblin chief. Turgrim had been hiding in the back of the cave system since then.

The party believed his story, and fed him well. He also told that there was black door in the back of the caves, and that Azalin had been the only one that could open it. Ermis took a look at it, but couldn’t make out what magic it held. He tried a few positve enegy spells on the door, but that only struck him back rolling on the floor with a burst of force. What stood behind this door and how was it sealed? Had it something to do with the goblins turning undead? The party decided it was time to consult their elders about what they had found, but they would certainly be back to bring light to all of the Black Cave.

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3. The great battle
Plenty of death and goblins

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Haulst Thrandrall
Our heroes sleept noisily and peacefully in the beds of the Inn after a night of talk, ale and hot food.
Next morning after a hearty breakfast a scream rang out from outside.
While Draxkarn Brizag’Dekhel and Ermis Aradippou tried to get their wits tuned to the situation, the ressourcelacking dwarf showed his resolve and rushed towards the sound in eager hope of battle and glory.

A band of goblins has set upon the village people, who surprisingly lacking men in uniform struggled to hold them back while signalling “whY!”.
Topol Badut got first use of his new repeating crossbow but decided quickly to rush the intruders now followed by his comrades in order and arms.

The goblins were easily slain but their warg proved a tough and dangerous opponent.
Even before the first band was subdued another charged from another direction sending the local merchant to the eternal marketplace. The aspiring hellknights split up with Drax and Ermis joining the butcher, the smith, a halforc and a travelling cleric in taking on the new band now trying to catch a fleeing wizard.
As the battle commenced yet another band emerged from a new angle and the dwarf charged them knowing that it takes only one hungry pissed off dwarf to smash five goblins and a mutt with teeth.
While the battle raged another larger band arrived and the defenders lines were stetching dangerously thin. Splitting up and splitting skulls were the only way out of this.

Topol Badut and a feeble innkeeper finally got the best of their opponents when Ermis Aradippou got his divine magic flowing. Draxkarn Brizag’Dekhel valiantly flickflacked through enemy lines realising the goblin warcaptain had entered the stage with 3 wargs. Surprised by the halfelf suddenly breathing him in the face, the battleharden goblin captain clung on to his trusted crossbow a little to long to save his life.

One rolling goblin head at the time the battle luck turned to the defenders favour and shortly after the last goblins fled and the panting defenders could use their staggered breath to utter a cheer for our heroes who clearly tipped the scales from death to life for the village.

The innkeeper Huurigar being the town elder considered the village people lucky to only lose one soul permanently and called for celebration in his inn promising the comrades lifelong board when they visited Haulst .

A merry night of ale and displays of gratitude from the locals followed. There was a steady flow of various gifts, among them was the longsword Thrandrall given by Batho. Furthermore there were promises, lofty words of praise and a little affection of the flesh.

While debatting the reason for the sudden boldness of the cowardly goblins a local lad told of a hooded unpleasant stranger passing by two months prior to the attack. He seemed to be disappointed by the farmers not knowing of an object he was searching for.

Next morning while maintaining the hangovers and preparing for going to a cave said to habour the local goblin tribe, the air suddenly bend and twisted creating a portal to the overly neat office of Maralictor Ricfred Grimacar who gave his soldiers a seldom word of respect and promt order calling them back to the Citadel Dinyar.

Once more it was time to be tested against worthy opponents: each other.
This time the battle maze was a open arena with stairs to objects and high walls obscuring the view. Topol Badut and Ermis Aradippou quickly met and while they exchanged blows in a primitive punch out Draxkarn Brizag’Dekhel managed to tumble himself to unconsciousness after a series of ambitious but unsuccessful acrobatic manoeuvres on the walls and stairs which he seemed to deem present because they must be scaled.

In the same second both Draxkarn Brizag’Dekhel and Ermis Aradippou fell to the sand and were spared from the crowds cheering and the dwarfs scream of joy.

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2. The First Mission
Justice to those who defy the order of the grave

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The following night our heroes slept heavily. The day had brought them the first taste of real battle as they had fought and killed the ambushing goblins and tested each other in The Battle Maze. In spite of the near endless training sessions by Maralictor Ricfred Grimacar, this day had been the most eventful for our heroes in months.

Justice however knows not of rest or exhaustion so even before the sun had risen the following day, the party was summoned to the champers of Paravicor Emanror Pinard, the Grand Magus of Citadel Dinyar. He told the company of the region Isger, and how the goblins had roamed the plains of the region and spread their terror during the years of the Goblinblood Wars. This however was all in the past. Lately the Paravicor had heard disturbing news regarding one of the region’s more southern villages. Rumors told of the dead awakening from their graves in the area surrounding the city of Gillamoor in as defiance to the order of the world. Paravicor Emanror Pinard wanted the company to investigate these rumors.

Before the party was dismissed and send upon their first real mission, he turned their attention to the grand iron bell rising in its tower in the courtyard. If the bell sang, its voice would resonate in the Aspodell Mountains and its call of summons would call every member of the order in the region of Isger to the defense of Citadel Dinyar.

As the party prepared for another descend from the citadel and into the lowlands they decided, that the rumors of undead called for a little extra gear. They found a store in the courtyard selling healing wands and other trinkets of magic. To the group’s dismay, the price of such trinkets was a bit out of their reach. The price of justice is not cheap it seemed. All of a sudden, Draxkarn Brizag’Dekhel presented a 1,000 gold pieces from various hidden pocket in his leather garments. How the rogue was even able to walk around with such a heavy load, the others did not know. They knew better than to ask a rogue how he procures his gold, and swiftly bought a healing wand and went out of the citadel gates towards new adventure.

The party traveled through the woods on their way south, following a animal trail. Without warning four goblins and one of their rapid infested dogs were upon the party. The cowards had been laying in ambush. One of the goblins, a goblin shaman, used his primitive magic, to put the dwarf into sleep. In spite of the downed party member, the remaining two made short work of the goblins. Draxkarn used his stealth and swift rapier to inflict precise strikes while the proud Cleric swung his long sword with righteous fury. As the last goblin fell to the ground, Tobol regained his consciousness. Waking up and swinging his axe in wild flurrys through the air, as if though the goblins were still surrounding him.

As night fell upon the forrest the party decided to make camp for the night. A tent was risen a short distance from the animal trail and Draxkarn took the first watch of the night. As the half-elf watched over the camp, the silence of the night only disturbed by the snores of the dwarf, a rustle in the leaves caught the attention of Draxkarn. Through the trees limped the corpse of a goblin. As the half-elf stood nailed to the ground, baffled by the sight of the undead abomination, the undead charged him. Still over confident by his succes in the earlier skirmish of the day, Draxkarn thought his enemy so slow and clumsy, that there would be no need to awaken his friends in the tent. This danger he could handle him self. After a few futile strikes the undead’s chest, and after receiving several slams and bites from the abomination, Draxkarn realised, that this battle would be over soon, with him laying on the forrest floor, if he didn’t reach out to his companions for help. As his friends stormed out of the tent, weapons in hand and as naked as the day that Iomadea had created them, Draxkarn received a near fatal blow to the head, that rendered him unconscious. The zombie fought fiercely, and as all hope seamed lost, the noble dwarf Tobol Badut swung his mighty axe and slayed the vile being, thus claiming his first kill as a member of the Hellknight order. A tale that no doubt would be told in many a tavern in the future. The healing wand proved to be a good investment, as both the human and the half-elf had been near death.

On the next day the party continued southward. They reached a cavern where the entrance was blocked by a wide board and a thick trunk. Beside the blockaded entrance to the cavern, a skeleton clad in robes lay stretched out on the ground. On the board the party found a magical seal placed as a warning to by-passers, so that they entrance would remain shut. The heroes however, were always looking for adventure, and surely what waited inside this cavern couldn’t match what they had already faced. They were the dealers of justice and preservers of order, and they would fear no enemy. The cavern was prison to a goblin zombie and a goblin skeleton. They were dealt with swiftly, as the time in imprissonment had deteriorated the corpses, and with a single hit to either, their bodies crumpled into dust.

Inside the party only found dead bodies. These were truly dead and the cavern must have served as a larder for the undead creatures.

Their spirits lifted by yet another challenge conquered, the party continued their journey south. The rumour of the undead threat now truly confirmed. They encountered a patrol of knights of the empire. They warned the adventures, that the region in the south had been contaminated and thus put into quarantine. Any one who traveled into the region would not be allowed to leave again, in an effort to zeal in what ever magic or sickness which plagued the region.

The party decided to venture north west, following the edge of the forrest, and then cut in east back to the citadel. They have learned about the truth of the rumour of the undead plague, and needed to report back to the order.

On their journey through the forest they encountered a lonely goblin, its leg trapped in a spring trap. Before they half-elf and the human had a chance to get any useful information from the poor and wounded goblin, the dwarf too forth his axe and presented it to the forehead of the creature, killing it instantly. It almost seamed as if the dwarf tried to make up for his lack of killing blows by stealing one where ever he could.

As the dwarf boasted of yet another heroic victory, the party went onwards. Soon they came upon the village of Haulst. A mere speck on the map, this town was little more than a rest-house for weary travellers like those of our heroes surrounded by a few homes, a smithy and a local farm. The inn in which they sought to rest for the night was called Hadrian’s Hallow, likely named after some legendary hero of old. It was quaint but comfortable. The food was hot, the ale cold and the bartender, a big man by the name of Huurigar, was quite friendly. The party spent the night relaxing after a couple of days filled with more adventure than a simple farmer would see in a life time. Draxkarn, to the surprise of the other members of the party, seamed a fantastic storyteller and performer. As though Iomadea had decided to gift him with a talent for entertainment he told the tales of their travels so far to every customer in the tavern and they all listened closely.

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