Return of Hadrach

Like a Whisper
18-Laifus through 19-Novui

Captain Marigold Wright, Privateer to her Imperial Majesty, Aradia Corvallia VIII of the Argentier Empire, had been experiencing a run of bad luck. Having found herself on another world entirely with no obvious way to get home, she made the best of things, acquired a new ship and a new crew, whereupon she spent the next year doing whatever it was that occured to her to do with such things. Upon pulling into the harbor of Chytri, however, her ship was shot by necromantic energies from the black tower and only she managed to escape being turned into an unliving servant of Anmor and the Cult of Hadrach. Bound by a cursed collar which punished her for using her witchcraft, the poor captain was given over to the tender mercies of the Yevnor the Butcher and his trolls. After a long day’s labor under their cruel whips, she was about to settle down into a filthy corner of the slave pens when she heard a commotion, and looked up to see the wizardess Shakaari, whom she had, more than a year ago, met in some sort of twisted dream, surrounded by trolls and defended by a summoned Hound Archon. The trolls lept upon the invaders, giving the Archon only enough time to mutter the words “not again,” before being torn apart and devoured. As the littlest Voco saw her short life pass before her eyes, Marigold took the opportunity to escape the pen, teleporting herself to the far end of the room even as the collar sapped her vitality.

Meanwhile, in Elvira’s bedroom, the bard Jarbold expresses his concern for his master, Griangi’s, wellbeing, and convinces the young druidess, now recovered from her latest bout of food poisoning, to rush to the aid of the party. On the way, they run into the cavalier, Jinora, who disappeared in a fog bank a week or two previously, reappearing briefly during the adventurers’ sojourn into a pocket dimension filled with terror. The bard pled with Jinora to join them in their quest to save Griangi from almost certain victory; the woman agreed, provided the bard sings her praises as well as those of his master. Torn, the bard reluctantly acquiesced.

In front of the warehouse, the troll guards had met the fury of Rothgar’s bow, the pure raw power of Griangi’s mighty axe, and the graceful electric death of Akiara’s exotic twin blades, and were found wanting. Also Juniper was there. Upon the fall of the last horrific, regenerating beast, the rogue found the warehouse door locked. As she began pulling out her locksmithing tools, Keets, the brownie familiar of Shakaari, ran up shouting that the wizardess was about to die. Juniper stopped picking the lock momentarily, considering whether or not to wait until after the young mage was lining the stomach of a troll before continuing. For whatever reason, Juniper decided not to wait, opening the door to see a troll rushing her and the other party members.

Somewhere around here, Jinora, Elvira, and Jarbold arrived.

Akiara, possessed of the elvish penchant for noticing doors, went around to the side of the warehouse, and opened one, finding Marigold behind it.

Inside the warehouse, Shakaari, now flanked on all sides by the Butcher and his underlings, attempted to cast a Dimension Door spell, but failed. Noticing Marigold against the eastern wall, the troll underlings rushed to mash her into pulp, leaving Shakaari with only the Butcher to deal with, who promptly launched her across the room with a smack from his enormous cleaver. Flat on her back, severely injured, and about to be oozing out from between the Butcher’s toes, the wizardess noticed the sliding door open and Akiara walk through it, and promptly swore. Deftly rolling out of the range of the two closest trolls, Shakaari fired a lightning bolt through the both the Butcher and the two trolls who rushed to attack Marigold before shifting herself into the slave pen. Griangi, Rothgar, Jinora and Juniper made short work of the charging troll, and Griangi then proceeded to challenge the Butcher to personal combat, much to the chagrin of Jinora, who had called dibs.

Shakaari, now surrounded by bedraggled slaves who were convinced she was only going to get them eaten quicker, struggled but failed to cast a spell in the midst of the throng. Rothgar, Juniper, and Jinora turn around to find that many of trolls they thought already dead had risen up again and were somewhat angry about their recent eviscerations. Shakaari shifted herself back out of the pen just as Griangi brought down the Butcher. The party killed the remaining trolls, and Shakaari summoned a group of small fire elementals to burn the remains.

Rothgar immediately charged up to the office to search for loot, only to find a man dressed in the brown robes of a Hadrach cultist was already robbing the place. Rothgar failed to bring the man down before he leapt out the window and escapes. The ranger does, however, find a sizable stash of loot, including Marigold’s personal effects.

Elvira and Marigold start healing the party while Shakaari immediately goes to the aid of the caged prisoners. Angry that no-one else is helping her, the wizardess admonishes Rothgar, whose response is essentially “Whut-eva — I gots ta get PAID!”

The party finds the elven merchant’s daughter and the two are reunited. The prisoners are moved to underground quarters and the merchant asks the party to train them to fight so that they may participate in an uprising to free their city. The party agrees and they spend the next month preparing for the insurrection.


insert party activities here***

Shakaari makes contact with her grandfather, informing him of the situation. He asks for a date on which Draiman Marines who make landing at Chytri. Concerned that the Tesrans will react poorly to a Draiman invasion force, Shakaari consults Griangi and sends a message to Fleet Admiral Farinost to the south. She sews a large banner featuring Griangi’s official crest and sends it back to him, suggesting that the expeditionary force should fly that rather than Draiman colors.

Griangi takes the Butcher’s head and places it on display in a prominent place as a symbol that the revolution will soon begin.

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Little Girls and Abbatoirs
6-Laifus through 18-Laifus

The party awakens in an inn of Chytri, almost two weeks having passed since they boarded the ship in Tesra. after discovering that the city of Chytri is afflicted by one of Anmor’s necromantic towers, the party makes plans to destroy it. The discussion reaches an impasse with some, notably Shakaari, advocating an immediate frontal-but-stealthy assault on the tower and others advocating inciting forces within the city to open revolt. The issue is further complicated by the existence of a cadre of trolls who hold prisoner a stock of elves and other humanoids for the purposes of butchering and consuming them.

In the midst of this discussion, Jarbold, Herald of Griangi, dusty and exhausted from a long wild goose chase, rejoins the party and begs his master’s forgiveness, believing that Shakaari’s ruse was a sort of punishment for having displeased the mighty gnomish warrior. Shakaari informs the bard that she needed him to spread the outrageous lie that Griangi intended to raise an army to sack Voruub and thereafter marry Akiara atop a pile of innocent corpses in order to cover their escape from the Draiman Combine. When Akiara objects, being apparently unaware that this was an element of the ruse, Shakaari apologizes for suggesting that anyone would ever marry the elven swordmaster.

A compromise is reached when it is suggested that others (including and especially Jarbold) be sent to rescue the trolls’ captives at the same time the party assaults the tower. The party is approached by Edire, an elf merchant who owns gold foundries across the bay. Edire declares that he will not help unless the party first rescues his daughter from the stockyard; when Shakaari declares that his daughter is not worth the whole city, Edire storms off. Griangi admonishes the girl for letting her self-righteousness overwhelm her diplomatic skills, and orders her to chase the man down. Tail between her legs, the conjurer pursues the merchant through the city and manages to convince him to come back to the negotiation. Finally, at the insistence of Juniper, who’d gone days without stabbing anything and was experiencing withdrawal symptoms, the party decides to just go kill the trolls and get it over with.

But first, a scouting mission — Rothgar, Akiara, Juniper, and Keets go down to the trolls’ warehouse to get the layout of the area and work out the logistics. With a toss from Juniper, Keets infiltrates the warehouse via a high window. The poor brownie is immediately overcome by the stench of trolls, humanoid waste and unwashed bodies; but, rather than give in to nausea, she bravely soldiers on. Juniper, Rothgar, and Akiara scout the outside of the warehouse and the surrounding buildings, observing that the entrance is guarded by three trolls and that its supply of meat is regularly supplemented by passers-by, who are grabbed by the guards and tossed straight in the waiting hands of the butcher. Keets, on the inside, observed the butcher immediately put one on the block and begin making human chops. Keets looks around for an elven girl matching the description of the merchant’s daughter, and discovers one, who turns out to not be the girl she was looking for. This girl, however, loudly begins calling for the actual target, riling up the other prisoners and drawing the attention of one of the trolls. Upon discovering the girl in question and realizing she’d potentially just gotten the girl killed, the brownie shoves her master’s Cloak of Elvenkind onto the girl and tells her to hide before disappearing with out so much as a puff of smoke.

The party comes back at night and gets ready for the assault. Shakaari places a Clairvoyance sensor in the middle of the warehouse. Akiara uses a stolen cart to conceal the party members on the ground and give them the element of surprise. Akiara, Griangi, and Juniper attack the trolls guarding the front entrance while Rothgar fills them full of arrows from a distance. Shakaari, from a nearby roof, summons a Hound Archon while Keets takes up a sniper position with the Wand of Scorching Ray. Griangi keeps the trolls attention as Kia and Juniper cut them to ribbons and Rothgar continually rains destruction upon them. Keets attempts to burn the trolls from the rooftop, but accidentally drops the wand, and jumps down to retrieve it. Finally, as the warriors bring the last troll down, Shakaari decides to teleport in, taking the Archon with her, only to find herself surrounded by four angry, armed trolls, with no exit…

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Wolves and Admirals
2-Laifus through 4-Laifus

The party set out that night to find the last of the werewolves plaguing the city of Tesra. Scouting through the city, around midnight, they finally come upon a group of wolves led by a huge dire wolf. A pitched battle ensued, and after the last of the wolves had been dispatched, they discovered it was a druid in control of a pack of vicious wolves.

Having killed the wolves, Baron Gleushau scheduled an appointment with Admiral Farinost to negotiate for his shard of the Lodestone of Hadrach. He revealed that he did indeed have the shard and would be willing to trade it for a pound of Etult’s Earth. The trek would take them far to the north, a place called Uliss, where it is rumored some of the substance remains.

They also learned that the city of Chytri has fallen under the influence of a black tower and little information comes from there. The party vowed to go to Chytri in hopes of finding the Necromancer Anmor, so they could kill her.

The party gathered their belongings and set out on a trek to the city of Chytri via ship.

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Empty Buildings Full of Suspicion
2-Laifus

Breakfast was served buffet-style in the common room of the Purple Hearth, a social event with many of the patrons dressed in finery and gossiping about how someone named Master Griangi and his group of heroes had killed the wolves that had been attacking the city. The party received a note from Baron Gleushau that he had additional information for the party.

Meeting with the Baron netted the party a list of victims with some details about each of them. The party headed out, and soon felt they were being followed, but despite their best attempts, failed to actually catch or even spot a tail.

The Empty Warehouse (Attack #10)
Party determined the empty building was being used as a warehouse of some sort, that had been cleaned out after the werewolves murdered the four people there.

Adrian’s Imports (Attack #9)
The teenage human there allowed the party into the back where the two people were killed, her uncle and the company’s clerk. There were some hints the owners had been involved in narcotic trafficking (later determined to be mageweed smuggled from Draima in clay pots from Warren’s Mill). The party learned the 5th attack was also at a warehouse owned by the same merchant.

Finding a kebab vendor for a midday meal, a young pusher offered some mageweed to the party, which resulted in the arrest of the kebab vendor and city guard looking for the boy.

Adrian’s Imports Warehouse (Attack #5)
Heading over to the warehouse owned by the same person as Adrian’s Imports, the party found an investigation already underway by a rather haughty inspector who finally let them in on the narcotics smuggling investigation. Evidence of additional missing crates among the dead.

The group decided it would be good to interrogate the victims they had saved the night before, and also head back, get some rest and prepare for a night patrol to find more were wolves. They made it back to the Purple Hearth in time for dinner, and a note was brought to Juniper, who, after reading it, very clearly stated it wasn’t for her, she wasn’t Juniper and she hurried up to her room.

Attack number Murder number Name Gender Race Occupation
1 1 Roscoe M Halfling Street Vendor (kebabs)
2 2 Veronica F Halfling Street Vendor (charms)
3 3 Solvi M Human Importer (Solvi’s Draiman Goods)
4 4 Wharik M Dwarf Banker – Aleaos and Taybios
5 5 Brottnal M Dwarf Bartender – Rusty Bucket Alehouse
5 6 Kukama M Human Carter
5 7 Gerimund M Elf Porter
6 8 Imios M Human Foreman
7 9 Ana F Human Escort – Rusty Bucket Alehouse
7 10 Thamivo M 1/2 Elf Stevedore
8 11 Garic M Dwarf Longshoreman
8 12 Rayaos M Human Longshoreman
8 13 Llusios M Human Longshoreman
8 14 Peretia M Human Stevedore
9 15 Arin M Human Importer (Adrian’s Imports)
9 16 Zook F Gnome Clerk (Adrian’s Imports)
10 17 Hastein M Human Bodyguard
10 18 Erik M Human Merchant Envoy (Chytri)
10 19 Alya F 1/2 Elf Wife-Merchant Envoy (Chytri)
10 20 Eniavol F Elf Foreman
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New Beginnings are More of the Same
1-Laifus

After Shakari sent a couple of air elementals to destroy the sails of the pursuing ship, leaving them far behind your own ship, the Kestrel’s Fortune made it into the port city of Tesra, capital of the Nation of Tesra.

Once there, Baron Gleushau, Master of the port, warned the captain of your ship to keep his people aboard, especially at night as there have been a number of wolf killings and disappearances in the city over the last week. He contracted the party to hunt down the wolves, and in return, he would provide history on the Admiralty of Tesra. The party also learned of Ferinost, the only man in the history of Tesra to have climbed to the rank of Grand Admiral from the lowly rank of cabinboy. If the party successfully wiped out the wolf threat and provided proof, then Baron Gleushau would set up a meeting with Grand Admiral Ferinost.
The party also asked for a list of names of the dead and missing, and access to the most recent killings.

Entering the city, found an inn called the Purple Hearth, a high-end inn not far from the market district. The party later looked for someone to purchase the books found underneath Draima. They located Wizard Mazukel who offered 2,500gp each. Not entirely satisfied with the offer, the party asked Mazukel to find a buyer for a 10% commission.

They also looked at the bodies which had not yet been prepared for burial and Jinora determined that they were actually victims of a werewolf attack. The party purchased a couple bottles of Silversheen and went hunting werewolves that night.

They heard about 6 wolves howling that night and later in the deep fog of the night, found two werewolves attacking a couple. The party successfully killed the two werewolves, rescuing the civilians. A humanoid figure was spotted watching the fight from atop a roof, but then vanished. The party then reported to Baron Gleushau and on the way back to the Purple Hearth, Jinora vanished while the group passed through a strangely thick bank of fog. The remaining party members made it back to the Purple Hearth hoping to find her, but she is entirely missing.

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Leaving and Letting Go
13-Etnui through 28-Etnui

In the aftermath of the battle with the bone devil, Kal offered the party one of the Gems of the Horn of Hadrach and gave suggestions on how to use it.

Kal also made it clear that if they turn the head in and report the murders and the bone devil, it will probably bring an end to House Voco as one of the Council of Ten ruling houses of Draima, and he would prefer to see House Voco fall. The party agreed.

He also weighed in on the party’s current goals, pointing out that your opponent, Hadrach, is merely a man who was (un)lucky enough to obtain the Sword and Shield of Hadrach, while you have the Horn and part of the Lodestone.
Kal said that legend holds that when the real Hadrach died, his soul was too small to be accepted into the afterlife as a god, but too big to transported to the afterlife as anything less. Thus, his soul was broken into four pieces and placed into the Artifacts of Hadrach, and they are known by different names:

  • The Rage of Hadrach is the Sword
  • The Hope of Hadrach is the Shield
  • The Soul of Hadrach is the Horn
  • The Mind of Hadrach is the Lodestone

Using these artifacts can release Hadrach and open the user up to being possessed by a portion of Hadrach’s soul. This has what has happened to the man who wields the Rage and Hope.
The party now has a choice that had been made for them until now:

  1. - Gather the last pieces of the Horn and the Lodestone and give them to the False Hadrach to complete the possession and fully resurrect him.
  2. - Continue to fight against him, to destroy the artifacts. It is likely you will need some powerful items to combat him.

The party later made it to the surface and turned the head of the bone devil over to House Augraine and the head of the house gave it in turn to the people investigating the bone devil. It was determined the party should probably leave town quickly to keep from being embroiled in further political maneuverings.

The party went down to Simak’s landing left a false trail story with Jarbold involving attacking Voruub and hired a ship to sail to Tesra – a sixteen-day journey. Late that evening, a ship was spotted trailing them and a quick recon by Elvira revealed that the deck is full of soldiers bearing the crest of the house of Evokers from Draima…

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Under the City
12-Etnui

After a great number of questions asked and answered, the heroes were saddened to learn one of their own, Razad “Raz” Shegar, chose to step away from the group and pursue a safer, more academic lifestyle. The party forged ahead, following their clues to explore the depths of tunnels and caverns under Draima, hoping to find the location of the Bone Devil’s lair, and slay it.

In wandering around the depths of the caverns, a veritable city of chambers, galleries and tunnels, all abandoned by whoever lived there before. Deep in the tunnels they found a study with a single older man who introduced himself as Kal. Once he learned they were after the Bone Devil, Kal guided them through the tunnels and galleries to a point where he explained if they went one direction, they would find the Eternal Stair. The other direction would lead them into a particularly dangerous part of the tunnels that he promised would lead to the Bone Devil.

The party climbed the Eternal Stair to prepare for a foray into the depths underneath Draima. After preparing, they returned to tunnels underneath Draima. Fighting through the horrors, they found the lair of the Bone Devil, fought it, and defeated it.

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Questions and Answers
7-Etnui through 11-Etnui

Several days have passed while the party has pursued leads regarding the Bone Devil that erupted from Aledar Kosul’s body. A list of facts have been discovered:

- Apparent connection to School of Conjurers
-

Additionally, each night since the Bone Devil emerged, it has attacked a family and kidnapped one member, killing anyone else in the room.

In the middle of the investigation, a terrible explosion engulfs the Conjurer wing of the School, collapsing one major tower and raining debris across a wide area. The tragedy was witnessed from the roof of House Augraine and predicted by Shakaari’s mother – who at that point said, “And so passes Ludavik Voco, unloved heir of House Voco, survived by his single daughter, Shakaari. May the gods have mercy on her soul.”

After 4 nights, the party found an anomaly when the Devil apparently attacked two homes. Further investigation revealed one of them was a librarian for the School of Conjuration who faked an attack on her home, attempting to escape with her daughter.

The party caught up with her the next day, getting her away from the Bloody Hand Cartel.

That afternoon, the party ventured into the tunnels underneath Draima through one of the Cartel’s access points. Hours of wandering through the tunnels underneath Draima found a veritable underground city, apparently abandoned by the surface. Deep underneath the city, the party met an older, rotund, red-headed man who called himself Kal (later his name was told to be Kalithrax). Kal seemed confident and wise, aware of a great many things. However, when the party mentioned Travant DeGarde, Kal became very serious and said that DeGarde wouldn’t be able to help them here.

A great deal was discussed, but among them, several points stood out:

- Kal is not a fan of the Council of 10 or the especially House Voco.
-

When the party declared their intention to destroy the Bone Devil, Kal offered to lead them to its lair, and they accepted. He led them down through dusty corridors and ancient galleries to a stairway set in a floor. A foul odor wafting up from the darkness. He also left instructions on how to escape from here, a quick 10 minute walk and up the Eternal Stair

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Dreams and Death
6-Etnui

The party awakened in their rooms, the entire inn apparently transported to an unfamiliar city, with the skeletal Hadrach and several former party members in the courtyard below.

Griangi charged and was the first to die to Hadrach’s flashing blade, cut to pieces in front of the eyes of the party. Raz collapsed in terror, Juniper chose to flee but was unable to escape the courtyard. Elvira stood with her badger, and was cut down for her trouble. Shakaari attempted trapping him in a pit, which he neatly sidestepped. Hadrach then turned towards the inn where Rothgar fired arrows down on him and Kia remained in hiding. He threw open the door to Kia’s room and thanked her for showing him this new land for him set humans free and destroy the “lesser, non-human races”. When he burst into Rothgar’s room he stabbed Rothgar just before the ranger fled to the courtyard to try to protect the horn in the pit.

Hadrach burst through the wall of the pit, and scooped up the bag with the Horn, his victory cry dragging everyone out of their slumber.

The party gathered after recovering from the dream to discuss the goings-on and make sure the Horn of Hadrach was still among the party’s possessions.

The next day, the party decided to find the fugitive and attempt to capture him while Shakaari worked to make magic items. The party eventually located Aledar Kosul at an opium den controlled by Kidios Ll…, and were preparing to arrest him when he had a seizure and died before their eyes.

As they were deciding their next course of action, a hideous bone-colored monstrosity grew out of Kosul’s skin, the last of his flesh sloughing off. The party gave the creature a serious beating, but it turned invisible and escaped, smashing through a wooden wall to get out.

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Courtesan Bear Hag and Juggler
26-Sarixui through 5-Etnui

The party left Fraviano with the blessings Theurge Chidel, making their way once again towards Draima. After several uneventful days of travel, they came across the Black Wolf Gypsy Clan, encamped by the side of the road, selling wares and offering divinations to travelers. The party allowed their fortunes to be read via a Harrow deck, the result of which brought forth 5 significant cards: Courtesan representing a powerful woman and social niceties, Bear representing a power thought to be under control but actually not, Hag representing a struggle between kin, Juggler representing someone trying to control too much and about to fail, and the Tangled Briar representing an ancient power – a person or artifact whose influence binds and affects the present day. Several individual fortunes were told, and information shared with the gypsy leader, Mistress Ravenna. Ravenna indicated her tribe is likely to head north, away from the coming conflict.
The party stayed the evening, continuing their journey to Draima the next morning.

Arriving in the city of Draima, the party looked to find the inn from Raz’s dream – the one where the city of Draima was burning, full of dead bodies. Content Not Found: Rothgar determined it was the Three Trolls, a high-end inn that serves primarily the House of Kedris. The innkeeper was generally as helpful as he could be, just uninformed to matters outside of the inn.

The party went on and took rooms at the Black Hydra, a somewhat less elite inn not far away. There they learned of a bounty on Aledar Kosul, a dangerous sorcerer that escaped the Tower of Law and the wild rumors surrounding his escape. After securing rooms there, the party split off do do a few things – Rothgar and Shakaari looked for additional leads about Kosul. Juniper left to deliver a package to the owner of the Steel Goblin – a shabby tavern in The Sprawl that was being fixed up by the owner. There was an explosion in the tavern right after she left, probably killing the owner – but no one could really prove she actually was the cause.

When the party had gathered back at the Black Hydra, Shakaari stated she needed to go tell her family, particularly her mother and grandmother that Thrandir had died. Hiring a carriage, the entire party accompanied her to the House of Voco, home of High Archon Aminda Voco, who holds the seat of Conjuration. There they met the Matriarch, Aminda, and it was revealed she had locked Shakaari’s mother in a suite and left her to her own devices. Aminda made plain her disgust with Shakaari and disdain of Thrandir, and while not explicitly saying so, it became obvious that Aminda was hoping her daughter-in-law would come to a quiet end in that room.

The party, however, took pity on her and moved her to the House of Augraine, and left her there, with her father (Shakaari’s grandfather) who seems much more kindly.

Returning to the Black Hydra, they eventually retired to wake up in a burning, unfamiliar city, a horrific dream-vision with an undead monster calling himself Hadrach, demanding the horn.

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