Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Seekers of the Ashen Crown, Part 7

Starday, Richfest 1, 552 CY (50 AN)

Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Emma, Peren, and Torinn awaken and breakfast before meeting Captain Kalaes at the Citadel. Confident in their preparations, they head to the Citadel. He asks if there are any further developments to report, and they indicate that nothing further has transpired since yesterday. He then reminds them of their mission and leads them to the merchant caravan awaiting their departure.

The journey is uneventful. After a week traveling with the caravan, the group finds themselves in Vonseloth on Reaping 1, the following Starday. Having no business in Vonseloth and needing no further supplies, the group sets out on foot to Graywall.

The trek is a hard one, taxing to the group, though they manage to persevere. On the second day of their walk, they find the road running next to a sheer cliff face, looming about twenty feet above them. As they walk, they hear voices ahead, hidden around a bend in the cliff. They quietly creep and find a group of three men, dressed as hunters, interrogating a bound goblin in the roadway. Peren notices that two others hide in a thicket atop the cliff, and that they wear brooches bearing the mark of the Broken Chain. Informing the others, they quickly develop a battle plan and move. Torinn and Peren immediately set upon the Broken Chain cultists while Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Emma launch spells upon the cultists. Bosabrieln requests that one is left alive.

The cultists on the ground enter into the melee with their swords while the cultists atop the cliff fire arrows upon the mercenaries on the ground. On contact, a glass vial on these arrows shatters and releases a blazing blast of alchemical fire upon the party members. Nevertheless, they quickly dispatch the foes on the ground.

Turning their attention to the cultists on the cliff, Bosabrieln attempts to force one to blunder off the edge of the cliff, though he manages to catch himself on the edge before he falls. Bezaldooz keeps him pinned with a bolt of energy, though the cultist regains his footing and the two fanatics return fire with another volley of exploding arrows. Torinn then quickly scales the cliff face and charges at the man, kicking him off the side of the cliff. He lands painfully after the twenty-foot drop, and is knocked unconscious shortly thereafter. Peren scales the cliff after him, and with the aid of Torinn, the two keep the last cultist busy while Bezaldooz dispatches him with another bolt of arcane energy.

After searching the fallen cultists — the group finds 180 gold pieces as well as several arrows, both mundane and alchemically-treated — the group binds the surviving cultist with rope, rests for a moment, and sees to the goblin. After he is untied, Emma prays over him, healing his wounds. Speaking very little, he says only that his name is Govaan and that he is a mercenary returning to Vonseloth after a pilgrimage to the goblin monuments of Six Kings. He was captured by these hunters and interrogated, though he does not know what they were seeking. After everyone introduces themselves — and he remarks that Bosabrieln’s surname of Zivkovic as a Vistani surname — he thanks them and takes his leave, giving them a silver necklace as thanks. As she often does to travelers, Emma gives him a hug before he leaves, and she follows it with a kiss on the cheek. Somewhat confused and embarassed, he thanks the group again and takes to the road. The group then turns their attention to the battered cultist.

Peren slaps the cultist in an attempt to awaken him, and Bosabrieln decides to greet him. Standing over him menacingly, Bosabrieln learns through his questions that the cultists worked for Demise and a man named Captain Warrick — some members of the group recall him as a guardsman in Scandshar who was found to be a member of the Broken Chain, and so fled to parts unknown. Demise ordered the cultists to not interfere with those seeking the Ashen Crown, though Captain Warrick disagrees with her. The cultists were not expecting the group and did not mean to interfere with them. Peren and Emma ask if he will renounce the Broken Chain, and though he says he will, they can tell he is lying. Bosabrieln ultimately says that the man can go if he will take a gift — a journal and a quill — and promise to write in it. The man sheepishly agrees, and once he is untied, he hesitates for a moment before running. The rest of the group continues moving to the northwest.

On the third day, the group finds a razed village, though they determine this to be the work of raiders rather than Broken Chain cultists. They find nothing of value and cannot determine any useful clues from the remnants, only that the raiders are likely still about.

After all the clues of the third day, they note horns in the distance. After traveling for a time, they notice smoke from an encampment. Moving quietly along the trail, they come across a lone gnoll sentry armed with an axe and a bow. He guards a nearby camp with some other humanoids gathered around a fire. The group dispenses with talking and ambushes the sentry. However, another gnoll — robed and brandishing some sort of holy symbol — warns the group to surrender and their lives will be spared. He then unleashes some guttural chant and Peren, who initiated the attack upon the sentry, suffers blinding pain as his flesh starts to peel. Heedless of this threat, battle is joined. The gnoll sentry is swiftly defeated as two orcs from the camp launch themselves into the fray. A large, black shape moves from the camp and takes cover behind a rock, though the group does not get a good look at it. The group manages to force the gnoll priest to retreat, focusing their attention on the orcs. However, as the weakened orcs fall, the gnoll priest returns with the thing that took cover — a barbaric minotaur in scale mail, armed with an axe. The weakened and battered gnoll priest is swiftly defeated by Peren, leaving only the minotaur. As it is locked in combat with Torinn, the others hold it in place with their magics. Emma calls holy fire upon it as Peren returns to the group. Among the five, the minotaur is swiftly defeated. After resting and recovering a sizable collection of gold and jewelery, the group returns to the road.