The Forgotten Five

How many pints of blood are in a half elf?
I hope I never find out.

From the journal of Mathias Murdoch.

Never would I have imagined myself huddled in the corner of a hallway in a demonic citadel, clutching this healing wand like that one time I saw Jensen passed out with his ha-

the rest of the page is obscured by bloodstains

-and was that an angel?

I think we’re in hell. I wish Bjorn were here…

Allies and Arenas in Camis

Nearfrost 10, 276 RE

Following their triumph over all foes subterranean and aquatic, the party ascended to the surface of Camis to bask in the glory of their victory and unload a prodigious amount of looted weaponry. While looking for a buyer for the various oversized armaments stripped from the corpses of the Aboleth’s ogre minions, Bjorn and Mathias visited the Arena in hopes that such a bastion to martial prowess would be more than willing to accept the unconventional gear. Their suspicions were correct, as the quartermaster of the Arena Cyrus Hammerhelm was more than willing to purchase the equipment. He offered a reduced price on the goods but bartered in a place in an Arena fight, thus circumventing the traditional lower tiers one must normally ascend in order to compete on such a lofty stage. Mathias and Bjorn readily agreed to his terms, knowing their companion Jensen would be ecstatic to compete.

Nearfrost 11, 276 RE

Jensen awoke early in the morning and set out into the city to acquire breakfast for his companions. Upon leaving The Restful Repose, he was met in the mist-shrouded streets by a cloaked figure who simply asked if he was Jensen Healey. As soon as Jensen said yes the mysterious figure attacked, pummeling Jensen with fists and kicks. Jensen fought back valiantly, forcing the attacker to back away after a few bouts. Apparently satisfied, the stranger revealed himself to be Tsao Kumo, emissary and servant of the Musabi clan and the person that Noriko told the party would be joining them during the final leg of their journey to the lands of the Ascomanni.

Jensen spent much of the day preparing himself for his debut in the Arena, going to so far as to commission a carpenter named Joseph to construct him an easily destructable facade of a Purple Worm so that he might make a dramatic entrance. Despite the encouragement of his companions, Jensen felt decidedly nervous about the upcoming fight: the Arena had a reputation of fierce and deadly competition. Still, Armsman Healey boldly went forth to fight his opponent: Owyn Twinslice, an Arena regular of medium standing in the ranks.

Although it was swiftly apparent that Jensen was outmatched by the flashing dual blade technique of Owyn, Master Healey continued to fight on bravely. Even when he found his trusty halberd sundered by the assault, Jensen persevered. In the end, he was simply outmatched and our brave hero fell into bloody unconsciousness. His defeat was a disappointing one, particularly to his companions who had wagered a sum of 6,000 gold pieces on him.

Gone Fishin'
Blood and Thunder! Victory at (subterranean) Sea!

Nearfrost 10, 276 RE:

Entry in the journal of Teller Mathias Murdoch.

I have had my doubts as to the power of the Gods before, but not until today have I ever witnessed first hand the true might of Asator. As a “spell singer,” as the mages are content to brand me, magic comes naturally to me. I have always assumed it to be some arcane spark in the bloodline, and naturally assumed that divine casters shared the same spark, although with a different justification. I am content to leave that line of questioning to someone else, because I am currently left in awe of my companion Bjorn Storson. I shall set the scene:

My companions and I were commissioned by Magistrate Lee to investigate the sewers beneath the Market District after the attack by the purple worm. In our investigation we explored a labyrinthine maze of abandoned sewer tunnels, complete with valuable treasure deemed by Bjorn and Vladimir to be evil to be sold. I questioned their judgement and was rebutted harshly by Vladimir, who threatened to leave my company were the items not sundered then and there. I wish it had not come to that, but the events which followed have strengthened my trust in Bjorn’s judgement. As his opinion is frequently shared by Vladimir, this trust extends to him as well… mostly. I digress; We discovered the tunnel bored by the purple worm which descended further underground. It was protected by a gang of fearsome, amphibious, humanoids who caught us by suprise. After the battle I recognized them to be Skum, a cruel species commonly held as thralls by creatures known as Aboleths. I also found a small token engraved with the three eyes of the Aboleth and eleven notches which I can only assume correlate with Slomesh of the Eleven. I dread that our paths may be intertwined with this fearsome power, but in the face of such a monster I will not back down so long as I have legs to stand on and a voice to be heard.

The following evening saw our descent down this tunnel. Vladimir’s divinations found the bottom of the tunnel to be clear of assailants, so we hung a rope and made our descent. Nobody fell, not even Jensen. The tunnel was long, dark, and strangely absent of any opposition. Eventually it opened into a large, cavernous chamber. Inside we were assailed by the sound of rushing water, although none was to be seen. Upon setting foot in the chamber a strange, irridescent fungus lit the vaulted ceiling and we were set upon by archers from on high! Skum were entrenched in small caverns high along the walls, peppering us with wicked, iron arrows. I escaped injury but Vladimir insists they hurt much more than normal arrows after he discovered a certain spell, which he believed protected him from all arrow fire, did not have the desired effect. I am content to take his word for it. Rising from the ground were several large stalagmites, roughly five total, obstructing our view of the back of the cavern where I assumed the Aboleth would be hiding. It was at this point I noticed the absence of a source of water, despite the rushing sound we all heard. This moment became a tale I will forever tell in regards to learning a lesson the hard way. Aboleths, as Bjorn would soon discover, are masters of illusion. As he approached one of the stalagmites, a wicked, slimy, tentacle appeared from the bare rock and wrapped, by my count, four times around Bjorn’s legs. After a futile struggle, it dragged him into the stalagmite with a dreadful splash. Fearing we had seen the last of our companion, Vladimir dismissed the illusion and discovered that all the stalagmites were illusions covering holes in the cavern floor filled with a brackish, still water. To our dismay, two of the stalagmites concealed enlarged Ogres. Skorn has quite a scar now. After dealing with the Aboleth’s thralls, my companions and I were set to brave the brackish water and rescue Bjorn. Having researched the methods used by Aboleths to enthrall their victims, I feared some of us might not make it back out of the water.

I inhaled deeply, savoring what may be my last free breath, when Bjorn arose from the water, his mighty hammer held aloft, gasping and sputtering! After tossing his helmet aside and shaking the water from his eyes, he let out a thunderous cry as though the mighty Asator spoke through him directly, “BLOOD AND THUNDER! VICTORY AT SEA!” My deep breath released as a joyous shout as my companions and I pulled Bjorn from the water. Bjorn’s abjurations against evil-doers shielded his mind from the Aboleth’s depraved will, and from what he told us through gasping breaths from the cavern floor, he defeated the Aboleth in single combat! Vladimir changed forms to retrieve its corpse and was nearly filleted by Jensen upon surfacing in the form of a shark. (I had no idea he could do that.) As promised, we carved the eyes from the dead Aboleth, a frightful creature, burned its insidious corpse, and returned to the surface.

It seems the members of our party continue to find themselves in rather intimate _ situations with large, hungry, _(and slimy, and evil, and depraved, and scaly, and carnivorous, and determined) creatures. I fear I am next, luckily I have obtained an item which I hope will save me from digestion of any sort.

Invitations & Investigations in Camis

Nearfrost 7, 276 RE: While Vladimir continues his work on constructing magical items, Bjorn, Jensen, Mathias, and Ruota decided to explore Camis in greater detail. Before leaving, Mathias instructed his followers to go out as well in order to find additional rumors or news happening in Camis. The wizard-less companions traveled to District 1 to visit the Great Lodge of the Aesir, the headquarters of Bjorn’s faith. While there they met with Hrolfdain Odinson, disciple of Wotan and Chief Gothi of The Great Lodge. He extended a hearty greeting to the companions and invited them to participate in a large fest that was happening that very evening. The group readily agreed, particularly Mathias as he heard the skald Brethec would be in attendance. Mathias hopes that if he impresses Brethec enough that perhaps he could gain entrance to the Bardic College of Camis which is located in one of the hitherto forbidden Wards of the city.

After returning the Restful Repose, the party was met by Inspector Moffen and a group of town guardsmen. The Inspector explained that someone of authority had requested a meeting with the group and he was had been sent to collect them. After waiting for Vladimir to finish his daily toils on magical items, the group went with Moffen to District 4’s guardhouse. There they met Magistrate Lee, a person of some authority in Camis. He commended their efforts in the slaying of the purple worm the day before and extended a writ of credit to the party in the amount of 1,000 gold pieces. He also offered them an opportunity for additional employment: it seems the sewers beneath District 2 have been sealed for quite some time and the local government wishes to commission the group to determine the possible cause for the purple worm attack and also ascertain if any others should be expected. The group decided to discuss the matter further amongst themselves, stating they would let Inspector Lee know when they had reached a decision.

That evening the party decided to go to the Temple of Palain before attending the fest at the Great Lodge. The clergy of Palain were well-known for hosting fighting tournaments and Jensen wished to compete as he did back in Somesborough. Competition at the Temple had an additional benefit, as those who distinguished themselves there stood a good chance of being invited to compete in the Arena circuits. Jensen decided to fight in tandem with Ruota, feeling that the presence of a troll would add some welcome spectacle to the proceedings. They were paired against a duo of half-elf archers, the Dulos Brothers. Though the elven-blooded twins put up a good fight they were no match for Jensen and Ruota, who beat them soundly with a minimum of effort. After collecting their winnings from the Temple (as well as a small wager Bjorn and Mathias a surreptitiously placed on the side) the party left for the Askomanni fest at the Great Lodge of the Aesir.

Commerce & Clitellates in Camis

Nearfrost 6, 276 RE: The party has set up operations in The Restful Repose, a high-class inn located in District 4 of the Free City of Camis. After some initial shopping in District 3 the party decides to travel to District 2, home of the Great Exchange. As they pass through District 1, the temple district, they come across an animated speaker by the name of Willex. Willex was railing against the perceived “injustices” of the God’s and their clergy, inviting people to give up worshiping them in order to bring about a new era of mortal development. Towards the end of his rant he began saying something about “the prophet Alu-“ but he was cut off by some local guardsmen and arrested for going over his allotted time. Mathias believes that Willex was going to say something about Aluman, the cryptic word given to the group by the Necromancer Versabian Pallast, and so is determined to find out just what Willex knows.

Continuing on to the Great Exchange, the party was struck by the wide variety of wares on display, though finding just what they were looking for proved difficult in the cramped and chaotic environment of the bazaar. Larceny proved to be a further hindrance as several pickpockets tried to make off with the party’s wealth: luckily for the group the keen senses of Mathias foiled any such attempts. Eventually the group found its way to a small tent that had been pointed out by many of the bazaar folk as being a likely place for those seeking rare and exotic items to go. Vladimir and Mathias entered and inside they encountered a wizened old man with exceptionally long and gnarled fingernails. He claimed to be able to answer questions they proposed and provide goods they desired, but he would not name his price. Rather, he requested Mathias and Vladimir to produce what they were willing to pay and he would answer accordingly.

Mathias went first, laying down several gold pieces and inquiring about the Prophet Aluman. The old man delivered some more cryptic information about Aluman, stating that he was in a place people are put when they are meant to be forgotten. Vladimir went next, requesting that the old man sell him a magic item and providing a sack of 1,000 gold for payment. The old man hefted the gold sack to test its weight and set it back upon the table. He reached into a sack of his own and produced a rock some three or four fists in size clutched between his gnarled fingernails. After handing it over to Vladimir, the old man left his tent leaving the sack of Vladimir’s gold behind. As Mathias inspected the sack of gold, he discovered that it was instead filled to the brim with all matter of insects and rodents. Dropping the bag in disgust, the party left the tent with some haste.

After leaving the tent, Vladimir attempted to find out more about the rock he purchased. He discovered that the item was giving off a faint conjuration aura but there were some irregularities about it. First the enchantments upon it seemed incredibly intricate, much more so than its relatively weak aura would suggest. Secondly the enchantments didn’t seem to correlate to the physical dimensions of the rock as if they were tied to another object within the piece. He resolved to investigate it more thoroughly at a later time.

The trip through the market was abruptly cut short when a cacophonous roar followed by panicked screams were heard. The party rushed to investigate and found a tremendous purple worm tearing up the bazaar. They engaged the beast and despite several of their number being swallowed whole they were able to slay the monster, Jensen himself delivering the killing blow from the within the bowels of the worm. After the incident, the party was taken by the town guard to be questioned by Inspector Moffen. After determining the group was not responsible for the appearance of the purple worm, the Inspector thanked the group for their efforts and let them go.

Returning to District 4, the party decided to let off some steam at the Wild Animal Tavern, located next to the Restful Repose. It was there that they discovered a group of five bards performing miserably. Mathias and Jensen mercilessly heckled the entourage till eventually they were booed off the stage. Mathias immediately launched into an epic performance of oratory and singing and quite easily entertained the audience for several hours. After leaving the inn, he found the terrible bards waiting for him outside. Expecting trouble, Mathias was surprised to learn that they actually wanted him to teach them how to be better performers. Mathias agreed, accepting the five bards as his followers.

The Story So Far...

It has been five years since the band of adventurers known as The Forgotten Five where found on the doorstep of the wizard Fildren, stripped of both possessions and memory of how they came to be hear. All they had was the knowledge of their names and the dim recollection of past skills. They were a diverse lot to be sure:
Mathias Murdock a warrior bard whose appearance suggested both Ascomani and Elven bloodlines;
Jensen Healey whose skill at arms was matched only by his utter lack of social graces;
Vladimir, a mage of Visajj origin who possessed an insatiable thirst for knowledge and language;
... a warlock who also was of the Visajj, but marked by his striking red hair: a portentous sign amongst his people.
and Rumpleteeny, a seductive rogue whose charm and guile belied her swift reflexes and keen blade.

For five years these individuals lived under the care of Fildren in the village of Almsbury, honing their skills and dreaming of the day they could begin to unravel the mystery of their forgotten past. The abduction of young Bessie Tam, the daughter of the local blacksmith Bertram Tam, by goblins would provide the impetus for their journey of discovery. Trailing the goblins back to their lair carved from the subterranean ruins of a forgotten complex, the party slew the vile humanoids and their grotesque ogre master.

After returning Bessie Tam to Almsbury, the party decided to continue to explore the underground complex they had uncovered. There they encountered a variety of undead monstrosities and a multitude of sinister traps that spoke to the vile purpose of this facility. During this time, ... and Rumpleteeny decided to leave the group, traveling with Fildren to the floating island of Umbria, home of the University Arcaenum. The party was shortly joined by Bjorn Storson, an Ascomanni cleric devoted to the Thunder God Asator. Bolstered by the divine might of Bjorn, the adventurers continued their explorations of the underground chambers before finally encountering a massive steel door they could not open. The door was protected by a powerful Chojain mummy named Sho Kumash, but the heroes where able to overcome the undead menace due to the liberal application of fire magic supplied by Vladimir.

Bolstered by their success but still unable to open the imposing steel doors, the party decided to travel to the nearby town of Somesborough to spend some of their acquired treasure. While in Somesborough, Bjorn learned of a Chojain noble named Noriko who was seeking translators for a journey into the lands of the Ascomanni. Following various leads, the party was able to track Noriko to the house of Pasha Khan, a notorious slaver.
While the heroes where able to soundly defeat Pasha Khan’s guards, they were overwhelmed by a powerful gas that plunged them into unconsciousness.

Upon regaining their wits, the party found themselves still within the house of Pasha Khan. Curiously they were unharmed and all their possessions were intact. The house had been completely abandoned and the only thing remaining was a large sack that held the kidnapped Noriko and a mocking letter from Pasha Khan. According to the letter, this slaver apparently knew the party and referred to three of them by strange names: Feldrios, Armos, and Jellak. Frustratingly the note gave no indication who was whom, but it was clear that Pasha Khan held some sort of knowledge of their past. Unfortunately the note also informed the group that he had gone from Somesborough, intimating that “a change of scenery was in order.”

Having no other leads to pursue in Somesborough, the party decided to travel with Noriko to the northern lands of the Ascomanni where she hoped to raise an army to free her homeland from the grips of the Oni King Omshadru. The journey north led through the treacherous Hult Marshes, where a contact in Somesborough said a monastery laden with treasure was. He also warned of a powerful dragon, Krizzalthormush who reigned supreme in the marsh. Traveling to the monastery, the group encountered and soundly defeated several cultists of the demon god Grishtlenex who were using the ley lines the monastery sat upon to summon several vicious demons into the world.

Taking refuge in the abandoned monastery, the group soon discovered clues that the complex was built to secure and imprison a powerful creature. Plagued by unsettling dreams, the party abandoned the monastery and continued on their journey north. They were soon ambushed by Krizzalthormush and an epic battle was fought. The group was able to overcome their draconic adversary and where determined to continue their journey north.
However, this was not to pass as a vicious storm halted the party’s progress. Taking shelter in the monastery, Bjorn surmised that this was a sign from Asator that they had business to attend here.

Descending into the depths of the monastery, the party encountered and overcame a variety of twisted abominations that seemed to be imprisoned below. After encountering a vicious group of creatures known as psurlons, the party discovered the rotting remains of what appeared to be an adventuring party. Amongst their possessions they discovered a spell book that was heavily warded by powerful magics. As soon as Vladimir touched the book, the air spiraled with motes of arcane energy which coalesced in the incorporeal form a wizard who identified himself as Illios. He explained to the party that he and his companions had came to the monastery in search of treasure, only to be slain by the creatures that lurked within. Illios himself was struck down in the process of casting a spell, which somehow reacted curiously with the ambient arcane energy of this facility and transforming him into a sort of “arcane echo” bound to his old spellbook. He told the party that this information had been revealed to him several years ago by a powerful necromancer that was exploring the complex. He also revealed the nature of this monastery, stating it was created by the Brotherhood of Shem, a mysterious offshoot of the Church of Palas. However this underground complex was far older, and Illios could offer no insights to its origins.

Continuing their exploration of the underground chambers, the party came across several links of shattered chains suspended over a great pit. Inscribed on the walls was a mysterious language similar to Auran that doggedly resisted any attempts of magical interpretation. What they were able to decipher was “Slomesh of the Eleven, the Caller in the Darkness.”

With nothing left to explore in the facility, the party continued their northward travel taking the spellbook that contained Illios and other assorted treasures along with them. They were soon met by the lizardman Hrushsek, who commended them for their defeat of Krizzalthormush. He led the party to the beasts aquatic lair where they encountered several humanoid concubines of the dragon as well as his many half-dragon offspring. Opting to leave their fate in the hands of Hrushsek and his tribe, the party continued north across the watery expanses of the Hult Marshes atop the back of a massive dragon turtle, the Ssorthush.

Arriving at the borders of the Hult, the companions traveled on foot through the forests beyond. Shortly into their journey they were approached by a pair of pixies, Komui and Aiomi. The fae came on behalf of the dryad Lieomi who sought the aid of powerful warriors. The grove of Lieomi’s sister I’aime had come under attack by twisted, unnatural creatures and a powerful force was needed to liberate it. Joined by the mighty troll Katla, the party traveled to I’aime’s grove and encountered more psurlons like they had fought in the Shem Monastery. After vanquishing the vile abominations, the party soon found itself overwhelmed as the corrupted tree of I’aime spat forth a menace far greater than they could defeat: Slomesh, the caller in the darkness.

It seemed that the heroes would meet their end at the hands of Slomesh, but they found themselves saved by an unlikely ally. Versabian Pallast, the most powerful necromancer in the land drove off Slomesh and dispelled the vile magics the creature had placed up the group. The necromancer seemed to have prior knowledge of the forgotten origins of the party, though he was reluctant to reveal what he knew, citing a promise he had made in the past. He did impart one clue for the frustrated adventures: Aluman.

Traveling with Katla to a nearby troll village, the party was greeted as heroes for the role in the liberation of I’aime’s grove. Mathias even attracted the services of a troll ranger named Routa who became his cohort. After leaving the village the party traveled to the city of Camis, where they secured lodging for two weeks to spend their treasure, enjoy themselves, create magic items, and prepare for the next leg of their journey to get Noriko to the lands of the Ascomanni. And perhaps find out just what in all the hells Aluman means…


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