The puzzle wheel loomed before them in the moonlight, it’s cryptic letters gleaming with an otherworldly light that seemed to come from within. A few minutes passed as they worked to solve the riddle, eventually leaving one of them to proclaim what they believed (correctly) was the answer: “COMMAND WORD ORPAR”
At first, nothing seemed to happen, but then…Thrum Thrum Thrum
The sound of giant beating wings grew louder and louder until from overhead came the group’s worst nightmare…a giant Ancient Green Dragon! It landed on the end of the ouctropping, dwarfing the party with his massive size. Aethervox, The Fang of The Wild had come. It became clear that, despite his obvious capability, he didn’t seem intent on destroying them at that moment, mostly out of surprise they were able to make it to his inner sanctum at all. He offered a glimpse into his hatred for the city of Jiyutoshi, his seeking of balance for the lives of the animals/wilderness taken by the denizens of the city, and his desire to destroy Lady Kyoko. He offered them a dire warning: if anyone is to survive, they must convince the people to leave the city.
Pluefin noticed a green glow coming from the throat of the dragon, and also that upon inspection, the dragon seemed not to be made of dragon scales like expected, but rather seemed to be constructed of the wilds themselves. His body made from tightly woven vines and twigs, his massive horns resembling gnarled tree branches.
After he had delivered his warning, he transported them magically to the top of a long mining tunnel with 2 mine carts waiting for them…but behind them, the tunnel began to collapse! They hopped in and raced through the tunnel, dealing with the many obstacles that were thrown at them…vines across the tracks, a gap in the bridge, a giant spider setting a trap for prey…The last stretch of tunnel was done on foot and they dove out into the forest just as the tunnel came down JUST behind them.
They found themselves in the forest where they got lost on the way back tot he city, but eventually made it. Seeking information about what the hell just happened to them, they sought the council of Kurgi Gemheart, the librarian on loan from the Supreme Atheneum in Stonehaven on Vramora. Upon hearing of the green glowing light, he told them The Legend of the Eldritch Fragments of Duli, and bade them to seek the remaining lost fragments. He had 2 leads, one in High Pengard with King Hamish, the other in Tel Kir’ah on Sudreas. They chose King Hamish
They were given horses and set out for Mah Puana. Along the way, found a caravan of covered wagons where some shit had gone down. learned their kids had been stolen by a pack of Gnolls and Kobolds. Rolph the half-orc accompanied them. They got lost (Arauka) and accidentally disturbed an Owlbear which they miraculously killed. They eventually found the right path to a cave where the gnolls and kobolds were holding the children, under the command of a fearsome Troll! An epic battle ensued, and in the process, they discovered the grisly truth: 1 child had already been consumed, another lay dead in a boiling cauldron, and a 3rd was stabbed to death during the struggle.
Upon returning, they met Madame Wanderjoy of Madame Wanderjoy’s Traveling Cavalcade and Minstrel Revue. She rewarded them with trinkets and a safe passage back to Mah Puana. They stayed a few days and set off.
Arriving in the Capitol, the found a tavern, The Wench and Chalice, where the bartender Rolando directed them to the Wicked Squid, where he said they could procure inexpensive passage to High Pengard. Upon arriving, they found the rowdy bar a roiling mass of brawling sailors and scoundrels, but 3 captains sat undisturbed in the center of the room. The trio eventually learned them to be Mira Seaspray of The Windhammer, Dubdha of the Maiden’s Vengeance, and Sesca Veetay of The Leviathan. They relayed their situation, and heard the proposals of the 3 captains, eventually choosing Dubdha and The Maiden’s Vengeance as their vessel of choice, who was able to leave the next morning in exchange for their hard work and effort as part of his crew on the way.
They returned to the Wench and Chalice, and as they were having a drink in the great room, a thin, mustachioed man approached them with a proposal…but it ended up being essentially extortion, as the man made it suddenly apparent that the entire population of the bar was under his command. He bade them to meet at “Wooden It Be Nice – Fine Carts and Wagons” and find a man named Cecil. From there, they would take a stocked cart to a designated spot about an hour’s ride outside of the city. He offered half their 100gp fee up front (suspiciously quickly), and said if no questions were asked and the goods arrived unspoiled and without the group looking, they would receive their 2nd half and be done.
As the party left the tavern, it was immediately obvious that they were being trailed by several individuals. Po decided he would not take part in this plan and headed towards the dock and The Maiden’s Vengeance to try to wait it out until the morning. The remaining 4 headed to meet Cecil and retrieve the cart. They concocted a plan wherein Hettle would pretend to be sick (and produce an awful stench with his magic) and the others would act as his concerned friends helping to escort their ill friend to a specialist outside the gates. The two guards, a young rookie and a jaded vet, began to allow them through, but just as it all seemed in the clear, their captain arrived and smelled a rat! He drew his weapon and called for more guards!
They fought hard to open the gates, and eventually overpowered the guards and managed to get the entire party (including an unconscious Hettle) onto the cart and speed off into the woods beyond the gates!
Meanwhile, Po found himself pursued by the agents of the skinny man from the tavern, but managed to evade their many furious attempts to tackle/injure him. He made it to the water where his Genasi heritage allowed him to escape safely under the surface of the water. From there, he found the Maiden’s Vengeance and clung like a barnacle to the hull, waiting until their morning meeting time…