The Corruption of the Silver Marches

TCotSM - Episode 2 - Horatio's Camp

Verrily it is that we rejoin our heroes three, Vachedai, Bryn and Torinn, as they journey through perilous forests to destinations they know not where.

They have joined with a man named Horatio and, after a terrible spell in the forests of the Silver Marches, are now heading to his camp where he claims they will be safe.

As they arrive at the camp Horatio, who has sold himself as naught but another man upon the road, they are treated by soldiers, nobles and one grizzled looking General who they discover is named Geradd. Horatio is greeted warmly and Geradd addresses him as “My Lord Prince”… stood with Geradd is a woman named Helene, sister of Horatio and princess of Everlund, and with her, two younger brothers. Also, a stout dwarven Paladin who seeks out the trio as they are given space to rest and introduces himself as Otto, a dwarf of some legend in the Silver Marches and new found friend to Prince Horatio.

Otto soon falls in the group, spending much of the afternoon speaking with them of recent events, and the state of things in the Silver Marches. Before long, a young and ostentatiously dressed spearman approaches, introduces himself as Lasarka, and invites them to a grand feast that Horatio is holding in the centre of the camp.

An evening of feasting, quaffing and the sharing of tales is had, before the night winds down and Horatio tends to business, inviting the four adventurers to cast their eyes across his maps. He points out their location, where they have travelled and where Everlund is in relation to them – he explains the plight of Everlund, how the 9th Regiment had marched out months ago to assist their allies in Silverymoon break the siege under which they’re locked, but had come back only a month later, now with a mysterious man named Eroth at their head with the Captain Clavin.

Parades and street parties were held for the return of the 9th, but whilst the folk revelled, the regiment were at work, relieving guards and dismissing patrols. By morning, they had marched upon the Royal house, citing revolution and claiming the tyrannical rule of the Queen was over, and the power would now be shared with a representative of the people, namely Eroth.

Within a week, a curfew had been enforced, with grim gangs of the 9th patrolling the streets and arresting those who did not comply. Within a fortnight, an attempt had been made upon the life of Horatio’s youngest brother. Eroth used this as an excuse to place the Queen under house arrest “for her own protection”. Indeed, this was all the sign Horatio needed – he gathered those few still loyal to his mother, grabbed his siblings and made a valiant escape from the city to this camp in the woods, where they have been evading Eroth’s 9th Regiment for weeks.

His only link with Everlund now, Horatio explains, is a network of spies made up of the guild of thieves in Everlund. Their head, the halting Bren Sheelgren (ostensibly a master baker in the city) has been smuggling information out to them, and leaving them at the Rusty Mace where they are picked up by Horatio’s men. It was whilst on his way there for just that reason that he was intercepted on the same night as our adventurers.

Horatio explained that, in light of the Rusty Mace being put to the flame, he is concerned about the safety of Bren, and asks our party to infiltrate Everlund to see what is what. They agree, and have barely begun formulating a plan when tragedy strikes, and the camp is attacked by a pair of undead ogres and a horde of zombies. The party set to work, holding the horde at bay whilst Horatio evacuate the civilians with him. It is long bloody work, but through heroics heretofore not seen, the horde is destroyed, but not before the last ogre in a flail of desperation brings down his mace upon Vachedai who is crushed beneath it.

Panting, bloody and exhausted, Otto is soon by his side, his blessed hands call down the healing power of Ilmater to mend one who has given so much to protect those who would otherwise suffer so much. Before long, Vachedai is healed – to a point – but will carry with him the burden of such an injury for many long years to come.

The group come together, to think what to do next – they can hear more of the undead coming from the east and no their time is limited. They are discussing this when a bloody and weary looking Lasarka appears from the west, handing them a piece of parchment bearing the seal of Horatio and requesting assistance from any who would be able to offer it, and thanking the group for helping his family in such a time of need. And so, purpose in hand, they travel north to meet the river, with the hope of finding a boat to take them to Everlund….

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TCotSM - Episode 1 - The Rusty Mace

The adventure continues, and this episode sees our heroes making their way valiantly northwards on the long road to Everlund. By the time they reach The Rusty Mace they find it has been put to the torch. Unintimidated by flames, Vachedai runs into to help those poor souls trapped inside. Putting shoulder to the front door of the inn he finds it is weak and gives way beneath him – he lands hard on his side only to find himself surrounded by more horrible denizens of the grave!

The trio spring into action and make quick work of the vile creatures who were trapped in the burning inn. No sooner have they put the undead out of their misery but they find they’re surrounded by the 9th Regiment spearmen and their leader, Captain William Clavin. Capt Clavin addresses them, stating they’re under arrest for putting the Rusty Mace to the torch, then putting all who tried to escape the flames to the blade! FRAMED! The heroes are stripped of their arms and locked into a prison wagon where they find a fourth prisoner, a moustachioed man who introduces himself as Horatio.

The carriage is soon pulled underway and during the journey Horatio tells them he is a merchant of Everlund, and that dark times are upon the Silver Marches. Captain Clavin and his 9th Regiment were apparently considered good men, heroes of the city until they were sent north to assist with the siege of Silverymoon. When they returned, only two short months later, they brought with them Eroth a scholar unknown to the city. From that point on, the 9th Regt. have been little more than bullies – that combined with the legions of undead sweeping across the region have proved to be a burden upon the region.

When the cart eventually stops, our heroes find that they’re left locked up, but can see a small temporary camp has been made. The men of the 9th Regt make fires and settle down to their fires and their cups. Through clever use of Thaumaturgy, Vachedai causes a ruckus in the camp, distracting the guards whilst Bryn picks the lock and frees them from the cage. No sooner are they free than Bryn and Torinn sneak to steal back their confiscated arms. The four of them then flee into the woods before their absence is discovered.

It’s hard night of travel through the dense northern forests of The Silver Marches before the trio and Horatio are able to stop for a rest. They agree to take turns on watch as the others sleep, and so begins their first night’s sleep in days. It is Bryn’s watch and the night has been quiet, no sign of pursuit from Clavin’s men. The night wears on, and the stars track their paths, when Bryn sees movement in the tree line of the clearing in which they’ve settled. He goes to investigate and within a moment a great death dog is upon him, giant paws pinning him to the ground, two snarling and gnashing heads fighting to get to taste his gnome flesh first.
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It is not long before Bryn is bitten, great teeth pierce the flesh of his shoulder and the searing hot pain of poison burns in him. He thrashes with short sword and keeps the beast at bay just long enough for Vachedai and Torinn to come to his aid, the sound of the fight waking them up. Torinn hurls fireball after fireball at the creature, searing it’s flesh with her arcane flame. Vachedai for his part wrestles with the great creature, grappling with it and lifting it’s front off of Bryn who, despite his wounds, sets about the creature with a now free sword arm. Vachedai wrestles the creature, finding himself in the clutches of it’s jaws but too strong even for it’s bite to pierce. Before long, the beast is done… it’s sides torn open, it’s four eyes lifeless as it lays in a pool of it’s own gore upon the ground. Celebrations would be in order, but all eyes are upon Bryn who after the bite, and the exertions of the battle, promptly vomits black bile and passes out.

Horatio tells of a shrine to the Goddess Eldath which is only a day and half’s march away – with Bryn over Vachedai’s shoulder they set out with time against them in their race for Bryn’s life.

Hard travel and sick companions make for melancholic adventurers, but upon reaching the shrine of Eldath they find themselves in a verdant grassy avenue cut into the forest, at it’s terminus a small cave cut into the hill side – inside it glitters gold. The air is full of beautiful song, the source apparently a beautiful elf maiden sat atop the cave’s mouth – perhaps Eldath herself?

As they approach, the song turns maudlin, and Horatio is soon bewitched by it’s tune. He wonders onwards aimlessly despite the reticence shown by his comrades. Before he has taken too many steps, great wings erupt from the back of the elf maiden, her face turning sinister and cruel as she leaps from her perch and swoops down to attack Horatio. Harpy!
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The party spring into action once more, with Vachedai’s sword arching through the air to slash at the Harpy. Within minutes the creature is destroyed and Bryn brought into the shelter of Eldath’s shrine. The cooling water of the spring in the shrine soon restores him, and all poison is expunged from his body. Eldath appears in voice only and welcomes them to stay with her a short while to rest. Whilst there, she blesses their journey and bestows gifts upon her, so that the world might know that she favours them above others. A long sword is bestowed upon Vachedai, and an enchanted cloak is given to Torinn.
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Soon enough, the party are under way again, their destination Horatio’s camp. The forest seems to almost make way for them as they travel, Eldath’s blessing upon them. When soon enough they arrive, it’s to a grander camp than that of a simple merchant…. armed men step aside for Horatio, and he is welcomed by many soldiers and folk of Everlund. A grizzled of Veteran of a man steps out to great him….

“My Lord Prince… we had thought you were not going to return…"

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TCotSM - Episode 0 - Pinedale
The Story So Far

The Story So Far…

In the small town of Pinedale on the southern fringe of the Silver Marches, three bold adventurers find themselves taking shelter from the night in a small inn named The Sawman’s Blade.

Met with indifference by the few townsfolk they had so far met, the three brave travellers were forced together when the vile undead fell upon the town. Never one to miss an opportunity to do what needs to be done at the time it needs doing, the behooded Vachedai sprung into action, throwing himself out into the street and meeting the gruesome menace head on.

Before long, his Greatsword had struck down one of vile denizens of the grave and laid it out upon the floor. Soon, the scaley visage of Torinn could be seen in the doorway, bringing forth her mighty prowess in the arcane in support of Vachedai. Not so easily seen was the gnome, Bryn, creeping around the town’s central square where he then struck out with deadly accuracy.

Between the three of them, the threat was soon dealt with, but before celebration could be had the yelping of a young boy could be heard. Across the square from them another walking dead had backed the child into a corner and surely his death was all but inevitable…

…. surely inevitable, were it not for the speed of Bryn who was upon the undead creature within seconds, risking life and limb despite the odds. He distracted the creature long enough for Torinn to summon powers arcane with which to freeze the zombie solid. Soon enough, he was in pieces upon the floor and the child was saved.

The Inn Keeper, Jackmerion, invited them to take rest in the Sawman’s blade, which they accepted. As they walked back to the inn they couldn’t help but notice the villages small militia watching from their small barracks – they hadn’t helped at all. Cowardice had descended upon Pinedale, it would seem.

Jackmerion and the small boy told them of the relentless tide of the undead who stream northwards with increasing frequency. The small boy said he had heard that the undead would congregate at the Erlinger Tomb in the graveyard to the north of the town. Jackmerion lamented that it would be a fine thing were some heroic types to take a look and see if they could put an end to this tide of the undead…. but alas…

The following morning, the trio set out northwards from Pinedale. The road took them through northern forests and open fields until eventually they hit upon the graveyard which had the tomb set in the middle of it’s grounds carved from a solid piece of rock. Around the cemetery they could see a number of graves had been opened, but crucially opened from the ground, not from within. Unperturbed, they pushed on into the crypt which had large stone doors which had been smashed in. Above those doors was some very archaic writing and stone carved skull wearing an old crown.

Through many rooms they came upon more and more of these mindless creatures milling amongst the crypts of the many long deceased folk of the Erlinger family. Each more ornate than the last, and each smashed open. Eventually, they worked their way around to the oldest room in the crypt, many meters under ground. Here they found more undead, and a Ghoul sacking each grave with uncommon concentration. They made quick work of the undead, and despite Bryn learning a lesson on the difficulties of firing a bow in a dark and cramped space, soon had destroyed the ghoul. As an eerie silence fell upon the crypt the trio began investigating. Torinn found some innocuous looking playing cards, but could sense their magical worth and pocketed them. Vachedai found some gold and considered it fair payment for the work done that day. Bryn, however, looked deeper into the room whilst finding his failed arrows. There, he couldn’t help but notice the a small pendant, the shape of a skull wearing a cross, a symbol they had seen gracing the front of the crypt. Clearly worth a few gold pieces he pocketed it, and as soon as it was about his person Torinn noticed that magically, he disappeared for her – she could only see him visually. Very peculiar.
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The trio returned to town, where Jackmerion was grateful for all they had done. After feeding them with hot dinners and offering them another night’s stay in the inn he had one more favour to ask…. would they mind checking in on his poor cousin Billious? He runs an inn further up the north road called The Rusty Mace. Jackmerion is very worried about Billious and would be grateful if they would check on him.

The following morning, they head out of Pinedale northwards again to seek out The Rusty Mace and find the fortune of Billous the Inn Keeper.

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