Shaintar: Legends Awaken Rangers of Sky

The Stonekey Investigators I

As previously decided, the heroes were to try and find the history of the doorway and it’s six keys, as well as the probable location of the keys.

Scrollkeeper Benedict approached the heroes as they entered the Library of Starcross. He begged their audience and said:

‘I know you’re here to study, but I wonder if you may aid me with a problem? It seems the recent skirmishes in the jungle have disturbed some of the local wildlife and the libraries undercroft has become infested with enormous centipedes, bigger than Ivan here’.

He went on to say ‘as you can no doubt guess, we are not really able to deal with such things given our dedication to more cerebral pursuits’ so I wondered if you may be able to help?’

The heroes chose to help hunt down the centipedes before starting their research; Edwin and Caelor also wanted in on the action and decided the investigation could wait. After an initial ambush by one of the massive creatures, which injured Edwin badly; they went through the rooms of the undercroft, found and destroyed the five centipedes aiming to cause as little destruction as possible. They were truly massive creatures with a strange kind of poison that made muscles lock, joints freeze and tendons to tighten.

Benedict led the heroes back to the library and began their research. They managed to uncover some information about the history of the key and the locations/previous owners of four of them.

1 – Many decades ago, the Pirate Princes who created Starcross were given six keys by a very strangely coloured dwarf. They were told it led to a treasure more valuable than silver or gold. Consequently the pirates began to fight over who should have all the keys and thus all the treasure.

2 – One key fell into the possession of The Red Store, and likely remains there, somewhere in the Poop Deck.

3 – One key was given to the leader of the Tor Mastak on Sky Island, who shortly thereafter disappeared.

4 – One key remains with Kevdak – the last of the Pirate Kings.

5 – One lies at the bottom of Barkadeer Lake, lost when Captain Lazlo Roughnight’s ship sank 200 years ago, he was the last of his line of Pirate Princes.

Hearing mention of The Poop Deck they went to see Alieris, who confirmed she had a key which had belonged to the previous owner of the tavern, whom she suspected was of The Red Store. She went and found they key and handed it to the heroes.

They resolved to find the key which lies at the bottom of Barkadeer Lake, as it were closer and likely to be less dangerous an acquisition than the other two.

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The Childer Cauldron IX

This report is compiled from letters received and filed by Otiian, the scribe of Stoatra, as he is nowhere to be found (for reasons explained in report #6).

The heroes discovered it would take about a week to mass the army from the islands villages, towns, and cities. Therefore they decided it was prudent for them to go into the jungle to the mapped location of the Cauldron.

Zanros led the way into the jungle and after avoiding three large encampments of Childer manages to reach the locastion of the Cauldron. They entered a clearing in the jungle which contained only a small hill. The map was wrong! Zanros reminded the heroes that he had told them it wouldnt be right. Chalking it down to small errors in the translation of data from the map they found so long ago, Zanros noticed a small trail leading off to the west.Along the trail about 2 miles, Zanros and Nava saw another small clearing, this time containing a stone ‘doorway’, a half dozen ratzin, Traaver and the greasy looking human he often has with him. They return to the other heroes who join them.

Reaching the clearing brought them to the attention of the Ratzin who alerted Traaver to their presence. After an amiable greeting Traaver informed them that they must talk after a small matter was taken care off; he signalled the Ratzin to attack and the heroes destroyed them with frightening ease. Once the Ratzin were all dead Traaver admitted he did not know how to open the Cauldron and that things had got out of control somewhat. He was drawn to Shaintar from Norcan Darr by a Sorceror, and after killing him found himself trapped. He fell into the company of some Childer, which included the Thratchen and learned of the cauldron. He wants to use it only to return home to his pack (at this point the heroes realised he was in fact a Werewolf) and had no interest in causing the deaths of the islanders. Sadly the Childer had seen this as an excellent opportunity to claim the island as their own and he could not dissuade them, so he went along with their plot until now.

The heroes move off to the side of the clearing to discuss what to do. They unanimously agree that they should not activate the Cauldron as it was far too dangerous. While this discussion was going on a voice and a familiar smell came from the jungle telling them to have a better look at the ‘cauldron’ as he didnt think it went where Traaver thought it did – and Stoatra walked into the clearing, bandaged but alive. Caelor and Edwin walked over to the cauldron and sure enough found strange symbols reminiscent of the numbers they had been following; Builder writing, a relief of a city and a cauldron with wires and cables connecting it to strange and eldritch machinery. Although they couldnt understand the writing, the concept of it all they got all too clearly – it would appear the ‘cauldron’ was in fact a doorway leading to a place where a Builder cauldron was located (an Arcfire Cauldron as it were). As they closely inspected the markings and drawings they noticed there were six keyholes; three on each side of the ‘door’. Caelor recalled from his studies of the island, legends of six keys which were owned by the Pirate Princes when they established Starcross so many years ago – they were said to guard a great secret, but he had thought nothing of their significance until now.

They decided all this needed further research, so rubbings and drawings of the reliefs and markings were made so this could be done at the Library in Starcross. Edwin was incensed as he felt Traaver had lied to them about the structure being a Cauldron and stormed over to confront him. As Edwin spoke, Traaver got angrier; he did not know of this, he had been led to believe it was a way home for him – he was furious he had been lied to and resolved to find the Thratchen and kill him. As he angrily stalked off into the jungle, his form twisted and shifted into a truly massive werewolf, and with one last look at the heroes he ran off into the jungle.

This left his scruffy companion alone with the heroes. Quickly he introduced himself as Thana and said that he was willing to serve the strongest masters. Edwin decided to take him on as a manservant rather than leave him to the mercy the jungle, at least until they reached Starcross.

Edwin and the others resolved to follow him and help in the fight, and were set to go, until Stoatra reminded them of how dangerous the Thratchen was, and should they go, he would have to start looking for new heroes. This brought them to their senses and they decided to travel north join the road at Woodbush and travel back to Starcross, to the army. This route was chosen so they didnt run into any of the pockets of Childer hidden within the jungle. At Woodbush they tagged along with militia who were heading to Starcross to aid in the fight.

Once at Starcross they geared up for war. As the Heroes of Starcross, various items were given to them to aid them in the battle and during future adventures. Edwin was given a Holy Symbol from the Church of Light in Starcross, Ivans lamp was enchanted so it aided (Blessed) the heroes when lit, Littleclaw was given a white silver Lo-sska, Zanros a belt that aided his fightng and Caelor figured out that his chain of command boosted his ability to cast spells. Thana, having seen how strong the heroes were asked to remain in Edwins service and to be his manservant through their adventures, Edwin agreed to this, despite advice from some of the others.

When the fight came it was swift and very decisive. a thousand of Skys’ finest met the eight hundred strong rabble of Childer, and each time battle was met more Childer died; they kept their nerve to the last even faced with the might of the Brinchie, the unstoppab;e force of Ivan and the power of Caelor’s magic. For five days battle raged in the jungles of Starcross, until finally the last of the Childer were put down! At the end it was discovered that apart from varying degrees of injury, not one of the Defenders of Sky had been killed in the battle. The people of the island rejoiced that the Childer had been eliminated from Sky (apart from a tiny pocket in the Childer Hills to the north of Desperation) and that their own Heroes of Sky had had a part in it all.

When the bodies were disposed of, it was revealed that the Commanders of the Childer army were all wearing collars similar to that carried by the Goblin earlier in their adventures, and found with Ivan when he was a baby. Although the symbols are different, the collars are the same.

Of Traaver and the Thratchen – nothing has been seen.

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The Childer Cauldron VIII

This report is compiled from letters received and filed by Otiian, the scribe of Stoatra, as he is nowhere to be found (for reasons explained in report #6).

The heroes arrived back in Starcross without Caelor, who had gone to warn the pirates about the Childer threat.

Upon returning home to Starcross the heroes set about performing some much needed information gathering tasks; Edwin headed to the library to try and solve the mystery of the collars, Ivan and Zanros went to Lookout Point to see if there was any clue as to the whereabouts of Stoatra.

Alieris was tasked with finding out which nobles in Starcross would provide soldiers to help against the Childer, and to spread the word to the other communities of the island.

Edwin discovered that both the collar dropped by the goblin and found with Ivan were similar to those used long ago by Kal Necromancers. The victims wearing them when given a comman would slavishly follow that command until it was done. They essesntially made them a puppet of the collar-owner when given specific tasks. Why they have been found on Sky and to what purpose they are being used remains a mystery.

Ivan and Zanros discovered Stoatra was still missing. Trax had apparently been working in the caves below Lookout Point and went beserk, attacking Stoatra then fleeing. I (Otiian) have been asked to use Stoatra’s network of contacts to warn others of the Childer.

The next morning at The Poop Deck, the characters were approached by a pirate. he said he was a messenger from The Cove. he deposited Caelors trademark blue armor from the sack he was carrying. Zanros kept his temper and thankfully didnt shred im as he went on to say that if they wanted Caelor back they had to bring a ransom to a desginated point on the coast ten miles south of Starcross in two days.

The heroes decided to pay the ransom and so gathered at the collection point. They had resolved to rescue him without paying a ransom; Sessrik and Ivan decided to swim out and meet the boat, and take Caelor from them before they reached shore. Sure enough the ship moored a half mile from shore and Caelor and four pirates took a boat heading inland, roughly halfway – Sessrik leapt from the water, one flick from his powerful Dregordian tail carrying him over the boat, snatching Caelor as he passed him, and headed for shore.

The pirates, no doubt realising their fate should Caelor get free from the mage shackles, fled back to their ship and made for the horizon.

Once Caelor was safely back on land, dried off and he explained what had happened:

“He found a small group of pirates just as he entered The Cove. He gave one of them the note as his friends gather around him commenting on hisshiny blue armor. The pirate reads the note, gives a wry smile and says “Thanks for the information, seems to me the Childer would be doing us a favor by killing you landlubbers – we might even get Starcross back. As I see we have a celebrlity here Mr Caelor, i wonder how much your friends would pay to have you back intact”

With that he felt a heavy blow to the back of his head, and as it all goes dark he saw Nava running away.

He awoke suspended in the air over a cargo bay, his arms and face bound in mage shackles making speech possible but no spellcasting. He was told by the same pirate he gave the note to that a ransom has been sent, and that he is on the ship ‘Laguna Breeze’ moored a mile off shore from The Cove."

The heroes decided their primary mission was to raise and join an army to fight the Childer and break off to go and investigate the ‘Cauldron’ whilst the battle carried on. The Pirates were not a concern and they felt they deserved to suffer if the Childer attacked them.

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The Childer Cauldron VII

This report is compiled from letters received and filed by Otiian, the scribe of Stoatra, as he is nowhere to be found (for reasons explained in the last report).

The heroes push on to the next location from the map. The clue this time is:

" Make your way to the look-see point in Stonemoor, and glance to the North east. She will reveal herself to you."

As the heroes reached halfway between the village of Flotsam and the town of Wavegold a rather wizened and one could say corruped looking Goblin stepped out from a cave entrance and told them he had been sent by Traaver with a message and a gift. The message “Come no further north, you are not ready to face me in combat” and the gift; if the Goblin could be defeated in weaponless combat he was to give them a copy of Traavers map. The combat was long, Ivan their chosen combatant didnt seem able to land a blow on the agile Goblin. The fight went on so long that Zanros and Littlclaw got bored and waded in, but he was too dextrous even for the claws of the Brinchie. Littleclaw finally ended the battle with a well placed blow and as promised the Goblin drew them the map like theirs with all the points Traaver had visited marked upon it. The Goblin then left. walking back into the cave which he came from.

Edwins sharp eyes noticed the Goblin had dropped something when he left. he discovered this to be a note and a collar bearing a strange mark. The note read “Draw them the map if they fight fairly and just, like the heroes I hope they are – Traaver”. It was determined that the collar detected with Necromantic magic, and it was similar bar one curve on the symbol to the collar found with Ivan when he was a child.

Off to the south, the players can see a pitched battle going on about half to three-quarter mile out to sea. A Pirate ship and a merchant ship locked in deadly combat. Edwin thought he could help the merchant by sending a message via semaphore for the pirates to see and possibly drive fear into them and make them flee. Using his picnic sheet, he stood between ivans lamp and the sheet so his silhouette may be seen by the pirates. Using the semaphore he sent “Starcross navy en route” hoping the pirates would flee. It transpired that the pirates didnt see the message, but the merchant ship did … It turned and rammed the pirate ship, its crew fighting with renewed fervour. This did not go well, as the merchant was crippled – the pirates looted the ailing ship and left the survivors with it sinking. The heroes rushed to Wavegold to raise the alarm and help rescue the survivors. About half the crew survied but the captain was lost.

While in town, the heroes took the opportunity for some shopping; Ivan bought a Whitesteel sword and Caelor bought some blued chainmail. They stayed over at ‘The Vulgar Squirrel’, all except Littleclaw who went looking for Adepts. He met Eria’la who introduced him to Adokro and he wa s taught some new techniques for managing his natural Brinchie anger.

As the heroes left the next morning and continued along the road, up the caldera wall and along the top of the cliffs, they had a quiet morning til they reached sight of Aldspring, whereupon they saw a large number of Ratzin carrying villagers off to the jungle. One of them shouted “Edwin, Caelor! Help!” it was Alierris Fiedlerson, bound and being carried off. The heroes gave chase, as just over a dozen Ratzin ran towards them, pausing to fire bows and then charged to the attack.

Quickly dispatching the Ratzin, our heroes rescued Alierris thanks to Littleclaw’s acrobatic attack. She said the Ratzin had caught them off guard. The heroes resolved to rescue the villagers and chased after the Ratzin into the jungle, Nava leading the way. A short while later the group found Nava sat stock still at the edge of a clearing (hidden from above by the canopy). The clearing contained a LOT of Childer (approx 150 based on rough counting), at the far end the villagers were being put into cages for unknown purposes. After some discussion they resigned themselves to the inevitable; there was no way of rescuing the villagers without dooming themselves. After saying a prayer for the villagers, Edwin led the group back up the caldera wall. A short time later he stopped, he found himself with a long curved dagger held to his throat. There was a familiar smell and he realized the knife was being held by a Thratchen! The childer monologued about his people running free and supreme on Sky Island, using the Island as a base to strike into Shaintar and that all would die; Pirates, Red Store, heroes and civilians. he then told the heroes he was allowing them to leave this time and teleported away after telling them to face the inevitable and just surrender to death..

The players resolve to get to the 4th map point as fast as possible and then plan what to do next. Reaching the observation platform in the village ans looking North east they see a statue of a woman lodged high up in a tree, and from the viewing angle the fourth symbol ican be seen on her bare left breast.

Combining the data they have gathered with that of the map provided by Traaver, they locate the position of the Childer Cauldron. The heroes resolved to return to Starcross and raise an army against the Childer forces in the jungle, Caelor suggested warning the Pirates of the Childers plans, to flat refusals by the rest of the group. They headed back to Starcross while he resolved to go and warn the pirates of The Cove.

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The Childer Cauldron VI

This report is compiled from letters received and filed by Otiian, the scribe of Stoatra, as he is nowhere to be found (for reasons explained below).

The heroes move on to the next locale following the map and the clue:

“Climb ye the jungle wall and atop yer’ll see Emperors Vantage. Scale it but don’t dare step within and look to the north West. There you’ll see what ye hope to find.”

So, after Edwin provided more information on the Church of Light to Markahn (the inkeeper at the Wandering Quail) the group left Corville and headed South along the Coast Road.

The heroes determined their best course of action was to travel to the town of Oceandell along the Coast Road, then head west, inland to the village of Vantage Keep. From there its a short trip through the farms and up the caldera wall to Emperors Vantage.

As they travelled along the Coast Road, they saw strange markings in the sand leading from the sea, inland across the road and onto the slopes of the caldera wall. They determined these to be the tracks of Giant Crabs, who regularly go inland for some unknown purpose. This led to rumbling stomachs as they thought of the lovely taste of crab meat and discussed the best way to cook them.

Over the next rise they saw a half dozen of the very same creatures making their way across the road. Their shells were over 6 feet across and they stood nearly 4 1/2 feet high. Four of them looked in the heroes direction and broke off from the rest in search (we assume) of further food to fuel their journey.

After Edwins unsuccessful attempt to bring the word of Archanon to the Crabs a short fight ensued with Caelor taking two out with magic and Zanros finishing the other two. The decision was made to stay the night so as to clean the shells of the crabs for sale and to cook the choicest meat for themselves. The rest was left for other crabs and the seabirds.

They reached Oceandell by the next lunchtime and went their seperate ways within the town; Edwin to the Church of Light, Ivan to the Armory, Caelor & Zanros went searching for more rope. Ivan traded the crab shells for a full suit of chain, which the armorer said would be ready in two days.

When the heroes met up again outside The Yellow Cask a messenger ran up to them bearing grave news; Trak, the Ogre they befriended after they first met Traaver (who had previously been his slave) had gone beserk at Lookout Point – smashed up all the work he had done for Caelor and attacked Stoatra, gravely injuring him. Trak fled for the Childer Hills and Stoatra left Lookout Point for locations unknown.

As the heroes reacted to this news and before the messenger could speak again, he fell stone dead with an arrow through his eye. Looking for the assassin, the heroes see a man with a bow galloping away along the road out of town towards Vantage Keep. As the rest give chase, Edwin readies his crossbow and fells the villain with a single shot, through the back of his head and out of his eye. Searching the body finds a note from Traaver, telling him to “Strike when the time is right, as we agreed and you will be paid handsomely”, that reward will go unclaimed for this assassin. The heroes arrange burial for the messenger using the coin they found on his killer, and leave town with their newly acquired horse, heading to Vantage Keep.

As dusk fell they reached the village, only to find what seemed like half of its inhabitants blocking the path and telling the heroes to turn back as they were not welcome. Despite attempts at diplomacy, and some outright pleading by Nava the heroes retreated a quarter mile and made camp beside the road to Oceandell. During negotiations, Ivan had turned off his lighthouse and as he faded into darkness he quietly sidestepped off the road.

As the others made camp and the villagers returned to their homes, Ivan began sneaking around the village. It all seemed normal in the beginning until he came to a large hut from which he could hear chanting. Crouching down to see through the window he saw a handful of villagers led by a man in a robe were grouped around a standing corpse amid arcane symbols drawn on the floor. As he watched the corpse moved and looked at him! It lunged toward the window, mouth opening impossibly wide baring long needle-like teeth …

The heroes at camp were disturbed by the sound of Ivan thundering down the road, head lamp lit and bouncing furiously as he ran full pelt towards them, screaming like a woman. He stopped when he reached the safety of the firelight and the horrible thing that followed him screeched to a halt in front of them. Staring at them it hissed, opening its mouth so wide you could have fitted Edwins head within it; it looked truly dead, its cadaverous body blistered and burnt. Fearful of it, the heroes stood scared, until Zanros lunged forward with the pamphlet from the Church of Light which he had been reading and rammed the folded paper through the eye of the monster shouting “Have you heard the word of Archanon?” whether through the holy content of the paper or the Brinchies strength (or both), the creature died, clutching at its eye as it fell to the ground.

Taking no chances, Ivan kicked the monster into the fire, where it burned well.

That evening, Caelor and Nava went back to Oceandell to inform them of the actions of the villagers, and to bring the militia to deal with them. He said he would catch up with the other heroes in the morning.

As morning broke the heroes left for Emperors Vantage. After a short climb they reached the small plateau upon which it stands. Towering above them at 250 feet in height is the impressive tower. Zanros elects to climb the tower and use a rope to pull the others up. All went well for the climb until the last fifty feet, where he slipped and only his claws saved him from a fatal fall. As Zanros reached the top of the tower Caelor rejoined the group having left the militia to deal with the folk of Vantage Keep.

Once Caelor and Edwin were atop the tower they looked north west as the clue dictated. Sure enough the third symbol was formed out of pathways or gaps in the trees so far below in the jungle. As they marked it upon the map the gaps began to widen and change and they heard the sounds of axes and guttural voices which implied Childer activity.

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The Childer Cauldron V

The heroes must travel to Corville and then onto the road to Eriden in order to find the next map point, following the clue:

“The second ye seek on a half cut step ’tween Corville and Eriden. Turn your backs to the sunrise and look into the jungle. It is a fair tower to be sure.”

I (Stoatra) recieved a message from Edwin and Caelor detailing the events, which I have provided below.

The heroes were ambushed by bandits before they even reached Corville, and after a show of strength (and the accidental damage to a tree from caelor’s powerful magic) as well as the might of Ivan, the bandits were slain.

From the caldera caves to their right, about 150ft up a Ratzin appeared. Ivan recalled it was the Ratzin they had killed in the Childer cave near Desperation, it threatened them with revenge and ran into the cave out of sight. After cutting down and putting out the fire on the tree the heroes resolved to catch the Ratzin and so went to climb the caldera wall.

After some difficulty they climbed to the cave to find the Ratzin long gone. Ever the intrepid heroes they ventured into the caldera tunnels and after Ivan triggered a trap they were fired out of of another cave by a water jet. Only Caelor landed heavily, severaly injuring himself, luckily Edwin was at hand to repair the damage.

Being bored in Corville where I sent him, Littleclaw came to meet the heroes and happened upon them just after they were fired out of the cave.

After finally reaching Corville, the heroes learned the Childer were mobilising forces; reports from the jungle said an army was massing in the interior. Nava and Littclaw were full of nervous energy after nightfall, and while the others tried to sleep, they made a nuisance of themselves around the town.

The following day as they planned to leave, a local Bandit Prince by the name of Lamin paid them a visit. He has heard of their quest to stop the opening of the Cauldron and certainly didnt want it to occur, thusly he offered safe passage through his lands as he did not want evil to triumph. Despite Caelors rude dismissal of him, Edwin felt he would keep his word.

The innkeeper at the Wandering Quail took information from Edwin about the word of Arkanon, so hopefully we may have another convert to Light in the coming weeks.

Halfway along the road to Eridan following the clue they found a step with the Builder rune ‘2’ chiselled into it. Looking to the west from there showed a large tree, towering over its neighbours by a good 100 feet.

At this point, the Ratzin appeared from the caves behind them, and his allies from around them; he spoke briefly about how he intended to kill the heroes, before his allies attacked and were inevitably slaughtered. A close look at the Ratzin revealed him to be a corpse, somehow animated with the semblance of life. The heroes burned all the bodies as Caelor obfuscated the location of the Builder marks on the steps.

The heroes resolved to return to Corville, and from there travel to the next map point, after Edwin had provided more information to the innkeeper about the Church.

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The Childer Cauldron IV

The heroes determined they must rush to reach the first map point to identify the clue to the location of the cauldron. Knowing Traaver is also after the same goal has given them a spur. Trak, the Ogre whom the heroes befriended earlier remained behind in Starcross, as I (Stoatra) felt he would slow them down.

Following Nava who determined the direction of travel taken by Traaver, the heroes came across a merchant on his way to Starcross and besieged by Raztin. After a hard battle including some excellent crossbow shots from Edwin, vaporisations from Caelor via his Eldritch Lance and of course the phenomenal battle prowess of Zanros and Sessrik – they were triumphant. The merchant ‘Vicamros’ shared his food with the group and I (Stoatra) decided to escort him into Starcross while the heroes pushed on after Traaver.

Clambering over a ridge in the jungle the heroes could see in the distance three figures, which they assumed were Traaver and his companions. As they moved on, motivated even more by sight of their quarry, one of the trio ahead stopped as if to wait for them.

Sure enough the greasy scruffy human who was sat with Traaver in The Poop Deck waited for them. Under a flag of truce he explained he had done so to offer a deal on behalf of his master and friend; he extended the offer of a shared effort to find the Cauldron – and when they have done so to then determine who should have it through a fight or some kind of contest. Sessrik utilised his Adept powers to determine the human was, in fact being completely honest. After discussion, the heroes refused the offer and allowed the human to go free as he had approached under parley.

Just before they reached the first location on the map, Traaver and his companions awaited them; the scruffy human and a tall hooded figure. He spoke at length about their mistake in not accepting his offer as Edwin made tea – thats right, Edwin made tea and shared it with Traaver and his companions as they and their foe talked (I am always amazed at the actions of these noble heroes, I’ve known many who would have simply attacked, and none til now who would share tea with their enemy).

Finally Traaver told them they were welcome to their turn at the site, and that he and his companions were now leaving unimpeded by the heroes; Zanros, by now was just needing an excuse, however small to launch at them – Edwin was trying to determine the identity of the oddly tall figure by Traavers side as he laid a hand on the Brinchies shoulder to stay him … that hand turned to a strong grip as he realised … an odd loping walk, a head that looked like a horned helmet, that strange smell in the air,Traavers companion could only be … A Thratchen. Visibly scared he told Zanros to just let them go. Traaver and his companions turned their backs to the heroes and walked away into the jungle toward the second of the locations in an anti-clockwise direction.

The heroes discovered the first location on the map is a stone pillar in a rocky outcrop of the jungle, standing with their back to the pillar they faced the wall of the caldera, and there upon it was a strange symbol, which was invisible untilyou stood in the exact spot. It was identified by Sessrik & his Ancient Knowledge that the rune was the number ‘1’ in the Builder language. This then was the first landmark in order to find the cauldron.

Just after that there was a terrible rumbling and crashing around them as the very rocks themselves started to fall, although the heroes were struck with some large pieces, everyone escaped injury. Realising it was magic, the heroes traced the residual magic into the jungle where a well armored ratzin and his four companions awaited them.

Three died almost instantly as Caelor launched arcane energy at them, and the others were dispatched quickly by the rest of the heroes. The leader was wearing a potion bottle harness, which still contained two potions (they reasoned the Quake must have come from a potion), which were identified as Phantasm – given to Sessrik, and growth – given to Zanros.

The heroes quickly decided they must move on, and rather than risk running into Traaver and his companions again so soon, resolved to go to the locations in a clockwise direction. Thusly, they returned to Starcross as it was between them and the second map point. Their intent is to resupply, maybe gain extra companions and move on. I am torn in my decision whether to remain here in Starcross, return home or accompany the heroes, as I may not see them again for some time. I have despatched other allies around the island, so they will have reinforcements if needed. I am assigning Trak to go along with the heroes, as I feel his combat aptitude will come in handy.

Again, I am troubled. Why would a Thratchen work with a human like Traaver? Maybe there’s something about him we haven’t noticed yet? I’m curious to get to the bottom of that mystery, but we have more pressing matters – my hope is that by the time the heroes meet Traaver along the route, they may be strong enough to defeat him, or at least deny them access to one or more map points.

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The Childer Cauldron III

With the discovery of the map and note on the body of the ratzin leader, I (Stoatra) sent the heroes to Starcross to investigate the contents of the map and to see if Alierris Fiedlerson can help identify the ‘Traaver’ mentioned in the note.

The heroes decided to travel by boat across the lake rather than a land trip, upon arrival at the dock, the City Guard thought Sessrik the Dregordian was a Childer, and although they tried to persuade them otherwise, they were taken to Alierris , although they had originally intended going to the library first.

It is worth mentioning at this point, that shortly after they left, a man arrived at Lookout Point asking about renting one of the lower rooms for his fishing nets and tackle, while I was retrieving the ledger from the draw I was struck on the side of the head and rendered unconscious.

At ‘The Poop Deck’ in Starcross they met Alierris, when they asked about Traaver she remembered he was a regular and pointed him out, sat near the door with a couple of his henchmen.

After several furtive attempts to gain intelligence upon them the heroes decided to challenge him, which resulted in Traaver scaring the taverns customers by ranting about activating the Cauldron and laying waste to the island.

As they went to usher him outside, he grabbed an amulet he was wearing and vanished in a flash of blue-white light. In his place was massive Ogre with an axe, luckily Sessrik managed to disarm him and he prompt;ly surrended. Turns out the ogre was in the employ of Traaver and suffered constant abuse from him. The Ogre named Trak told the heroes that Traaver was headed for the Library to find the location of the Cauldron.

They could find no sign of Traaver at the library and through a stroke of good fortune Edwin found the exact book and deciphered the map almost immediatley. Despite Caelors best efforts to obfuscate their success, Edwin was watched while he copied the information they needed from the book and when that was completed he heard someone running away.

Following the running Scrollkeeper the group were led outside to find the runner falling to the ground, his throat cut, and Traaver on horseback making for the gate from the courtyard into the city. He told them if they followed he would have me (Stoatra) killed as they held me as a hostage, and they threw my hat as proof of my capture.

He escaped unimpeded, save for Nava following him, Edwin healed the Scrollkeeper and they discovered, Traaver had promised them a ship full of books for the library in return for their aid.

At this point I (Stoatra) had awoken in a small waiting room, I heard a commotion outside and when I went to find the noise I was at the Library and the noise was the the heroes in the courtyard.

We retired to an Inn while we discussed our options; and it was decided we were to seek the clues to find the cauldron and prevent its use by any means necessary.

I will gather together heroes for the search and report when we have more news. As we are venturing into the wilderness of Sky, I will be accompanying the heroes – I don’t intend to be anyones bargaining chip!

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The Childer Cauldron II

Following the recent discovery and subsequent removal of a Childer camp raiding the village of Desperation, further intelligence pointed toward a larger force of Childer being present in the area, and evidence of their location in a coastal cave to the West of Desperation.

Anticipating trouble I (Stoatra) brought in a few more allies and a group of five went to the cave.

When the group returned they carried a worrying tale. The cave was overun with Ratzin, with a larger leader, and although they were all despatched (some by their own hand by all accounts) the fleeing Childer led the heroes into the clutches of a huge Gargoyle. This fearsome beast destroyed the rope bridge leading to its lair, seperating the group and only through the blades of the Brinchie did they prevail.

The Ratzin leader was carrying a sheet of paper with a drawing upon it and a note on the back “Ensure that Stoatra’s heroes are given a good work out, use any of the forces I have made available to you, we must determine their strengths and weaknesses” This was signed by someone named Traaver.

The drawing they determined to be of a cauldron superimposed with a map of Sky and several strange magical symbols, possibly clues to its location? – I will send them to the city library and see if they can make sense of it. Maybe Alierris Fielderson of Starcross may be able to aid them.

It is concerning that someone on Sky seems to be intent on knowing about us, and seeking a way to determine our capabilities; this does not bode well, especially if the drawing does show the location of a Cauldron. A Cauldron … on Sky … I am beside myself with worry over this, I may have to ask for reinforcements from the mainland.

Of special note: Never underestimate a sorceror, apparently he killed several Ratzin with his magic, completely vaporizing one of them. Also I need to find a way to enchant a lantern for the Ogre ….

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The Childer Cauldron I

Following some disturbing intelligence from an outlying village I instructed zanros to meet me (Stoatra) at The Slaughtered Calf, an inn on the waterfron in North Harbor, he was to bring with him one or more willing volunteers.

Upon my arrival I saw that Zanros had met up with the human sorceror Caelor, which I saw to our advantage as he is a capable spellcaster which is always handy to know.

I shared my intelligence regarding Childer having been seen near the village of Desperation a few miles away from North Harbor. Some children have gone missing, presumed taken by the beast-men. Caelor agreed to help Zanros in determining what hapenned and they left to do that.

The next morning the duo returned to Lookout Point with disturbing news; when they arrived at the village, several houses were on fire and there was evidence of a massive axe wound in the support pillar of one of the houses. They both aided the villagers in clearing valuables from the burning buildings, before gaining information from the village Elders.

Childer had been seen for the preceding couple of nights in the area of a small cave to the west of the village. They had raided the village on both ocassions – firstly killing and taking some livestock and then that day setting fire to some houses and taking a half dozen children for purposes unknown. Despite a delay while Caelor sent a runner yo collect his armor, they managed to head for the cave before nightfall.

Along the way they encountered two Ratzin which were very quickly dispatched by the claws of the Brinchie and the powerful spells of the sorceror.

At the campsite near the cave they saw two more, as well as the owner of the mighty axe that caused the damage at the village; a Minotaur! That lumbering beast charged the Brinchie who miraculously survived a blow from said axe. Somehow with his sorcerious tricks Caelor managed to effectivley blind the Minotaur leaving him an easy target for both the brinchie and Caelors dog “Nava”. We know Zanos is a fearsome opponent, but Nava held his own well, seriously injuring the Minotaur with a clever bite to his genitals before Zanos carved his guts out with his sharp claws.

Seeing the demise of their leader, the cowardy Ratzin fled, only to be taken down a few yards away by Zanos and Nava while Caelor searched the camp for the children. nava disembowelled one from behind and underneath and the last was shredded into bloody gobbets by the claws of Zanos.

When they returned to camp they found four of the children alive, the others had been killed and consumed by the Childer. Caelor took the survivors and the remains of the others back to the village for proper burial.

Ratzin have been seen several times on Sky, but never a Minotaur until now; we were lucky these two brave individuals managed to prevail, I do hope this is not the beginning of a larger force of Childer, or we may need many more heroes before it is over.

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