Pathfinder: The Kingdom of Darkness

Group A: Siege of Aroden's Tower
In a place of nearly-drowned mystery, the stakes are raised...

On their way downstairs, the Arbiters ran into reinforcements- Garren, Zarishu, and Treval were sent by the Pathfinder Society to aid them. In an attempt to gain access to the basement, the Arbiters found a secret room with a marid inside; they answered his riddle, and the path to the basement opened, revealing an underwater passage. The heroes headed inside, and after a short scuffle with a surly eel, they came to the vault; the room was aglow with divine wards, and within laid a collection of Starstone shards ranging in size from pebbles to boulders. Realizing that they were not yet powerful to renew the wards themselves, the Arbiters retrieved some books from a watertight room and returned upstairs, resting for the night.

In the morning, they prepared to leave, but as they descended the stairs, they heard the footsteps of wights below them and familiar voices above them. Garren, Treval, Meg, and Zarishu agreed to hold back the undead from below, and the Arbiters returned upstairs; as expected, Spencer and Tazula were waiting for them, and a fierce battle ensued. The heroes fought bravely, but it soon became clear that they were outmatched. Just as they neared defeat, however, they were rescued by Shelyn herself; standing alongside Silhren, she guided her champion’s blade into Spencer’s chest, leaving him near true death.

Unfortunately, Shelyn was not the only outside force watching; before Silhren could strike the killing blow, a man in white full plate and a faceless mask teleported Spencer and Tazula away. As they left, Spencer warned the Arbiters to “wait until the full moon.”
After the fight, Shelyn addressed Silhren; after praising his efforts, she warned him of the dangers of the cult and charged him with the task of destroying it. The heroes agreed to do so together, promising Shelyn that they would make every effort.

Downstairs, the Arbiters found that their friends’ fight against the wights had been successful, but not without cost; Treval had succumbed to the undead creatures’ attacks, and the young man lay dying on the steps. Fueled by a fear of losing him, Suhaila desperately flooded his body with channeled energy; fortunately, the positive energy worked, and he regained consciousness.

Exhausted but alive, the Arbiters headed home. The full moon was to take place in three days’ time at the Archerfeast… and there was nothing to do but watch and wait.

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Group A: The Taming of the Lewd
After tracking down the Sczarni pervert, the Arbiters discover that he may have the stones to back up his threats...

The morning of the 29th was a grim one for the Arbiters; looking for food and comfort, they went to Meg’s; Meg expressed her condolences, promising to put Nochte’s name on the plaque dedicated to those who braved “Torag’s Best Joke”. Additionally, the Arbiters decided that they would hunt down and confront the Sczarni thug later in the day, and Meg agreed to accompany them when they were ready.

Later in the morning, Altaire decided it was time for him to hire on a shopkeeper for the new store; after asking around town, he found a suitable candidate. The man introduced himself as Jod, promising that he was the best in his field. Altaire agreed to hire him on, and they negotiated a contract.

After midday, the Arbiters geared up, picked up Meg, and headed into the Puddles district; after asking around, they learned that the man’s name was Fennec and that he had a hideout near a warehouse somewhere on the coastal end of the Puddles. As they traveled through the flooded, broken-down district, however, the Arbiters found themselves ambushed by a large group of thugs; between their deadly sneak attacks, their trained sharks, and their archers, the mercenary band was able to do quite a bit of damage to the heroes. The Arbiters fought back with teamwork and mythic power, however, and they were eventually victorious.

Because she lacked the mythic abilities of the others, Meg seemed to have struggled in the combat; after careful deliberation, the Arbiters decided to offer her the chance to touch the Starstone shard, explaining the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. Meg accepted, and her abilities were heightened by the stone’s power.

After another hour or two of travel, the group came upon what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. Sym sent Roko, his rakshasa familiar, to sneak up and look inside; Roko reported that there was a sizable number of armed men inside, watching the front door. Getting an idea, Sym made himself invisible, then climbed up the side of the warehouse, through a window, and into the rafters; he carefully assessed the situation, and then he conjured a magical fireball into the room. The fireball burst with explosive force, burning three of the men to death instantly. Just after the spell had gone off, the rest of the Arbiters entered through the main door; thanks to Sym’s distraction, Silhren, Hroth, and Meg were able to make short work of the remaining combatants.

After the fight, the Arbiters searched the warehouse thoroughly, but they saw no sign of Fennec; a look ouside, however, showed a sunken tower out in the bay and a boat heading for it. Commandeering a boat of their own, the group did their best to sail towards the tower while avoiding the arrows of its defenders.

The inside of the sunken tower proved to be an abandoned temple of Aroden; to their surprise, the Arbiters accidentally activated some of the temple’s built-in defenses, and two tentacled, watery aberrations appeared and attacked them. The heroes carefully defeated the threat while conserving their resources as best they could, knowing that a far worse fight was more than likely awaiting them at the top of the tower.

Upon reaching the top, the Arbiters finally found themselves face-to-face with Fennec and his men. They attempted to intimidate him into stopping his attempts to kill Meg and kidnap Suhaila, but he was unimpressed and brandished his gun, ordering his bodyguards to kill the trespassers. The fight was a surprisingly grueling one; the Arbiters had not expected the level of skill their foes displayed, and their fatigue from earlier fights did nothing to aid them. Still, after taking on heavy damage from the gunslinger and his bodyguards, the heroes were able to turn the fight around; they defeated the bodyguards, and one powerful blow from Lili killed Fennec outright.

Triumphant but exhausted, the Arbiters took a moment to search the room and the bodies. After a few moments, the source of Fennec’s power became abundantly clear; he, too, had possessed a Starstone shard. With some additional investigation, the heroes found a strange magical device that, when activated, projected a magical manifestation of the memories of the dead god, Aroden. The one-time deity discussed the current happenings regarding the starstone shards; he told the heroes that the temple they were in was designed to be a secret vault for the shards- a vault that still existed in the basement. He warned them, however, that the wards he had placed around the vault were weakening and would dissipate before long, and he charged them with the task of finding the other shards, returning them to the vault, and restoring the wards. The Arbiters agreed to perform this task to the best of their ability, provided that it would not interfere too greatly with their current quest to stop the Cult of the Open Armed. Satisfied, the image of Aroden dissipated, leaving them alone in the temple… for the moment.

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Group A: Divided We Fall
An attack on all fronts proves fatal...

The morning of the 28th passed uneventfully; each of the Arbiters went about their business, and by noon, Suhaila, Silhren, Altaire, Lili, and Nochte had all gathered at Meg’s for lunch. Having heard about Nochte’s attack on Garren, Silhren was reluctant to sit with him, so the snow elf sat alone. Lunch was peaceful; the Shelynites performed on stage at the bar, praising their goddess through song and dance.

The pleasant atmosphere was soon destroyed, however; assassins, who had been hiding in the rafters, dropped down into the bar, nearly killing Meg and paralyzing Suhaila. At the same time, a group of thugs rose from their table and went on the attack. The Arbiters burst into action, making quick work of the assassins and their hired muscle. After the fight, they tied up and questioned the survivors, who told them that the man who sent them was a Sczarni crime boss… the same one who had been harassing the two ladies earlier in the week. Reluctantly, they shared that the man’s hideout was somewhere in the Puddles district. Once the authorities arrived, the Arbiters departed, promising Meg that she could accompany them when they went after the Sczarni man.

The heroes decided to return home, tired out from the sudden fight. They spent some time relaxing; Suhaila used a new spell to contact her brother for the first time in years, startling him and clearly enjoying it; Silhren looked on, quietly thanking Shelyn that he had no younger siblings. Altaire, Lili, Sym, and Nochte spent some time in conversation with their temporary housemates, Zalor and Valencia; they discussed everything from magic, to the new shop, to their future plans. After awhile, the Arbiters split up; Altaire and Lili decided to go paint the sign for and advertise the shop, Sym and Nochte stayed home, and Suhaila and Silhren went to visit the tribes in the Kortos Mounts.

On their way there, Silhren spotted a very unhappy Hroth, who had been missing for the last several hours. Waving a farewell to Suhaila, he stopped to speak with him; Hroth explained that he was upset by Nochte’s racist comments, and Silhren responded with kindness and empathy. Suddenly, an arrow flew out of nowhere, striking Hroth; his bounty hunters had found him, and they attacked, forcing both of the Arbiters to defend themselves.

The fight was a grueling one for them; the hunters were trained to fight enemies like Hroth, and it was not long before he was badly injured by their arrows. Desperate to save Hroth’s life, Silhren healed him as best he could and told him to run, preparing to hold off the attackers. Out of options, Hroth temporarily retreated to a safe distance, sniping any targets he could find. His caution went out the window, however, when he saw Silhren take a devastating hit; his mythic weakness activated, and Hroth found himself in a furious rage. He plunged back into the combat, shooting arrow after arrow into his would-be enemies. Between Hroth’s vicious onslaught and Silhren’s stalwart defenses, the two barely managed to win the battle, although they were badly injured. Confused and angry, Hroth demanded to know why Silhren hadn’t run away; the paladin admitted that he had feelings for the half-orc archer, and kissed him lightly before he could protest.

Meanwhile, back at the house, a knock at the door was heard; Nochte answered it, only to be confronted by three rakshasa. Impatiently, they asked if Sym was present. Nochte tried to lie to them, but they saw through his deception and attacked; Sym came out of hiding, and he, Nochte, and Zalor desperately tried to fight them off.

In order to take one of the rakshasa out of the fight, Sym challenged him to a magical duel; he accepted, and the two of them began to fling spell after spell at each other, attacking and countering with their innate magical power. The duel was long and arduous, but in the end, Sym’s magic proved to be the stronger, and he defeated his opponent with the judicious use of fire and magical monkeys. Unfortunately, Nochte was still fatigued from the other fight earlier in the day, and he began to falter; he refused to give in, however. He fought on valiantly, even as he grew weaker, but he could only hold out for so long; in the end, a rakshasa threw a bolt of lightning at him that he could not dodge, and Zalor looked on in horror as the snow elf fell, breathing his last.

At the same time, Suhaila was interrupted in her journey to the Mounts; without warning, the harpy queen crashed to the ground in front of her, begging her to run. Just behind her, a shadow demon and two vrocks descended, demanding that Suhaila hand over the chieftainess. She refused, put the queen in her magical bag, and began to run back to town. The angelkin fled as fast as her legs could carry her, but she was no match for the demons, and it soon became clear that she could not escape them. Just as they closed in for the kill, however, a huge being landed between Suhaila and the demons; Altaire and Lili, having seen that their friend was in danger, had flown to the rescue, arriving just in time. Lili, strengthened by Altaire’s magic, made short work of the vrocks; the shadow demon proved to be a more difficult combatant, but Lili persevered until it, too, was destroyed at her hands.

After the combat, the harpy queen emerged from the bag. She explained that one of the harpies who didn’t like the changes to their methods that Suhaila was suggesting had called upon their dark god, the demon lord Pazuzu, to complain; unexpectedly, he responded, and demons had been sent to kill the entire tribe. The group hurried back to the eyrie; with the timely use of healing magic, they were able to save the majority of the tribe. Once the healing was done, the chieftainess spoke up, declaring to the harpies that it was time for them to let go of their old ways and embrace a new path; the other harpies agreed. As one, they bowed to a flustered Suhaila, thanking her for guiding them into a better life; bashful and confused, she thanked them for their kindness, and they took her home, carrying her to the city gates as Lili and Altaire flew alongside.

Upon reentering the city, Altaire, Lili, and Suhaila chanced upon Hroth and Silhren, just as the latter was expressing his feelings. With devious grins, they watched the scene unfold, joining their friends only after the moment had passed. Battered but upbeat, the heroes headed for home.
When they arrived at home, they were shocked to find the house in shambles; the living room was in complete disarray, rakshasa bodies littered the floor, and in the center of it all was Zalor, cradling the dead body of Nochte. Struggling to maintain her composure, Zalor explained to the Arbiters what had happened; horrified, they gave in to their grief at the loss of their friend.
The Arbiters had Nochte buried in the Pharasmin graveyard that evening; as they stood around his grave, they said their final farewells, knowing that they would never forget their fallen companion…

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Group A: Trouble Within
The lines between friend and foe are not always clear...

After a few hours of settling back in, the Arbiters split up for awhile. Some of them decided to go and report their adventures to the Pathfinder Society; they explained that Zalor wanted to move her keep to the Kortos Mounts and were advised to take it up with city officials.
Altaire returned to the temple of Cayden Cailean; on his way there, he met a young man by the name of Mateba, who was highly interested in Lili’s apparent sentience. Altaire did his best to explain to Mateba that Lili was a real, thinking person in her own right, telling the young mage of his time in the Shelynite temple. While the two of them discussed the finer points of eidolons, Lili decided to patrol the city from above; on her way, however, she met a mysterious woman in the skies. The woman accused her of being too much of a hero and taking all the glory; Lili did not understand. Frustrated, the woman cast a spell on the eidolon, reducing her appearance to that of a child, and fled. Lili was understandably confused by her new look, and she flew off to find someone who could fix it.

Finding solace in honing their skills, both Hroth and Nochte ended up at the archery range; they engaged in a little friendly competition, and their remarkable skill soon drew the stares of others at the range. In the end, they performed about equally, and they were both invited to perform at the Archerfeast in a week’s time. Leaving the range, Hroth and Nochte started talking about their pasts; unwilling to discuss it in public, they temporarily rented out a room to speak in. Over the next couple hours, they compared past experiences of solitude and loss, eventually finding some common ground.

Still worn out from their journey, Suhaila, Hroth, and Nochte all arrived at Meg’s, hoping to get a quiet drink; when they arrived, however, there was already a large crowd gathered around the performance stage. On stage, Garren and Treval were dueling yet again; this time, however, it appeared that Garren was actively teaching Treval, rather than fighting him. The pair sparred well, but the younger man was eventually knocked out.

After receiving healing, the fighters exchanged light conversation, talking about recent events. Suddenly, a slight movement caught their eyes; Nochte, having recognized Garren as a dhampir, had him in his sights, and shot an arrow at him without warning.

For the next few seconds, chaos ensued. Suhaila threw herself in front of Garren, taking the hit for him; seeing his mentor attacked and Suhaila injured sent Treval flying into a rage, and he charged Nochte, swinging his sword wildly. The snow elf shot the young man point blank, nearly killing him. Hroth attempted to stun Nochte with a punch, but Nochte dodged the swing, continuing his attack. Just in time, Jaistelle, who was also visiting the bar, cast a calming spell on all the combatants, ending the conflict.

Calmed but not appeased, Nochte claimed that he could not let a creature like Garren live, because of his heritage; his goddess would not allow it. Hearing this ideology enraged Hroth, who was no stranger to racism, and he stormed out of the bar. Jaistelle sympathized with Nochte on the importance of faith, but she did her best to convince him to leave the dhampir in peace. After a long conversation, Nochte apologized to Garren, shook hands with him, and left to pray.

As Garren and Treval took their leave, Suhaila followed them. She and Treval had a brief and awkward conversation; recognizing the reason for their awkwardness, Garren grinned and pulled his student away, whispering to him in a conspiratory manner about the upcoming Archerfeast.
When she went back into the bar, Suhaila was shunted into the kitchen by Meg; during the scuffle, her Daylight ability had been involuntarily triggered, and Meg didn’t want her patrons blinded. While in there, Suhaila was discovered by a child-sized Lili, who tried to explain what happened. After the magical effect was dispelled, Lili returned to the bar to accompany a now inebriated Altaire, who had arrived at the tavern moments after the commotion had died down.

A few minutes later, a strange woman entered the bar, and Lili paled; it was the woman who had ensorcelled her earlier in the day. The woman, who introduced herself as Kate Doles, had heard the commotion in the bar from a distance and hurried there in hopes of saving the day; upon discovering that the day had already been saved, she grew petulant, only brightening when she received a free drink.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and the Arbiters returned home to prepare for tomorrow…

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Group A: Redemption and Regrowth
Every time a bell rings...

Suli: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Green Room! This is a special, extradimensional space where we Kingdom of Darkness characters can look back over our recent adventures together! W-
Altaire: WHY was I not told about this place?!
Suli: Well, I asked around, but you were out at the time, so we just kinda… came here without you. But you’re here now!
Altaire: …We’re gonna talk later.
Lili: Space big! (flies around the room excitedly)
Suli: …Yes, Lili. Yes it is. Anyhow, today we’ve got Silhren, our paladin, Hroth, our archer, Altaire, our summoner, and Lili, his lovely eidolon, with us to help add colorful commentary to our latest… um…
Altaire: Epic!
Suli: Uh… Sure, that!
Silhren: (gives a graceful nod)
Hroth: (attempts to nod. Fails and bites his tongue through his missing cheek)
Suli: Uh… You okay? Y… You’re bleeding a little bit, there.
Hroth: I am fine. (blood seeps from his mouth and cheek)
Silhren: No, stop that. (heals Hroth)
Suli: …Welp, this’ll be interesting.
Altaire: Alright, let’s get on with it, then!
Suli: Sounds like a plan! Cue the playback!


Upon attempting to climb to the next level, the Arbiters were perplexed to find the stairwell empty; after some careful thought and experimentation, they figured out that the stairs up were made of shadows themselves, so light made them disappear. Before the heroes doused their lights, Lili decided to fly upstairs and scout out the next floor; within seconds, she came hurtling back down, a number of undead shadows following behind her. The party engaged the shadows in combat; the fight would have been quite difficult, but Kot, Saya, and Silhren were all appropriately equipped to damage these creatures, so the heroes made short work of the threat. Once the shadows had been defeated and everyone had been restored to health, the party put out all of their light sources and ascended the stairs in darkness, the party members with darkvision guiding those without.


Altaire: Ugh, those damn stairs. Y’know, it’s not comfortable for me to go up them; heights are bad for gnomes!
Suli: B-But… You ride on Lili all the time…
Altaire: I trust a large woman I created over stairs. Anyway, those were shadow stairs; can’t trust them things.
Lili: Lili no like meanie shadows… (shivers)
Suli: Yeah, those things are unnatural… All that darkness really rubbed me the wrong way, too.
Altaire: (bites his tongue to avoid commenting inappropriately)
Lili: (reading Altaire’s mind) …Suli, what foreplay?
Suli: Uh! Um… (pauses for a moment, then smacks Altaire lightly upside the head)
Altaire: What?! I didn’t SAY it!
Suli: (long-suffering sigh) … Moving on.


Once they arrived upstairs, the Arbiters noticed another stairwell on the other side of the room; like the previous one, it was choked with shadowstuff and inaccessible, but Daylight had no effect on it this time. Next to the stairs, the heroes found a plaque; it indicated that there were a number of bells on the floor, and when all bells had been rung, the way to the stairs would be cleared.


Altaire: So, where was Sym during all of this?
Suli: Y’know what? Let’s find out!


Meanwhile, back on the ship, Sym could hear strange noises coming from below deck; he descended into the hold with Roko to investigate their source. After a moment’s searching, the two discovered that the sound was a voice, and the voice was coming from a small box. The voice was continually muttering about being impatient and wanting to “do it now”. Unfortunately, Roko knocked something over, alerting the creature to their presence; it demanded to know who was there, then immediately attempted to burst out of the box. When it did emerge, both Sym and Roko were able to recognize the creature as a type of rakshasa; it called for Sym’s death and attacked him. The creature fought hard, but in the end, it could not match Sym’s magical skill (or the viciousness of his monkeys), and it was defeated. Deciding not to speak of the creature to anyone, Sym quickly departed for the keep and was reunited with the group an hour later.


Altaire: Ah, these damn rakshasa! I swear, one of these days, one of Sym’s little ambushes is going to get us all in trouble!
Suli: Well, I’m sure he’ll warn us about all this soon, so everything should be okay, right?
Silhren: Yeah, he’ll come around eventually…
Altaire: …


The upstairs atrium had six doors, with three on each side of the room. In order to speed up the process, Kot and Saya took on the left-hand doors, while the Arbiters chose to explore all the right-hand doors. First, both groups decided to investigate the rooms closest to the far stairwell; the Arbiters found a luxurious bedroom that had clearly not been furnished with sleeping in mind. As they entered, Silhren detected an evil presence behind the other side of the bed; Roko was sent to investigate, but he was suddenly torched by a gout of flame. Barely alive, Roko returned as a succubus arose from behind the bed, a babau demon in tow. The two attacked the party, dealing damage and crude threats in equal amounts. Thinking quickly, Altaire summoned a pit directly beneath the babau; the demon fell to the bottom of the pit, and Lili used her great strength to push the giant bed over the mouth of the pit, temporarily blocking the creature’s escape. As the babau made it to the top of the pit, Altaire immediately dismissed the old pit and created a new one, trapping the demon yet again with Lili’s assistance. The Arbiters continued to fight bravely, and they proved themselves victorious in the end.


Suli: Okay, so that one? THAT was impressive.
Altaire: (whispering to himself) Glad it worked…
Lili: How come Lili no get to jump on bed at home?
Suli: Lili, if you ever find a demon coming out from under the bed at home, you can jump on it as much as you want.
Lili: YAY! Lili want demon now!
Suli: …This may have been ill-advised.


After quickly checking to ensure that the room was secure, the Arbiters opened a door in the back of the room, revealing a giant bell with a long pull-cord. Needless to say, the heroes rang it, bringing themselves one step closer to their goal. As they rang their bell, they could hear the sound of a second bell ringing along with theirs; Kot and Saya had succeeded in their room, as well. Judging by the embarrassment on Kot’s face and the mischievous glee on Saya’s, it was clear that the room they had investigated had been designed for ulterior purposes, as well.
Temporarily regrouping in the atrium, the heroes agreed that the bells were most likely going to be in the four corner rooms, so they decided to search the two rooms in the opposite corners next. Saya and Kot split from the group again to search the door to the southwest, and the rest of the heroes opened the southeastern door, ready to face what lay beyond it.
Upon opening the door, the heroes found a maze of bookshelves punctuated by statues with arcane eyes. They remembered the statues from the floor below; it became obvious that having one stealthy person attempt the room would be wiser than having the entire party traipsing inside. After some deliberation, Nochte was selected for the job; Altaire used a spell to make him invisible, and the ranger headed inside. Using his innate stealth, Nochte avoided activating any of the arcane eyes, moved a bookcase aside from the door, rang the bell, and made it back out with little incident.
-—-

Altaire: Lili could’ve done it better and faster.
Suli: But Nochte did a perfect job! He rang the bell and didn’t get caught once!
Altaire: …Well, Lili could’ve done it faster.
Suli: But… Nochte did it in great time! He was in and out of there before the invis-
Altaire: I BUILT A STEALTHY EIDOLON. I’D LIKE TO USE IT.
Suli: Lili doesn’t strike me as the…. stealthy… type.
Lili: (jazz hands) LILI NIGHT!
Suli: …Yeah. Good for you, Lili.


After ringing their own bell, Kot and Saya met back up with the heroes. Everyone turned expectantly to the stairway, but they found to their surprise that it was still blocked; assuming that there must be a final bell somewhere, the group decided to enter the middle door to the east, in search of it. They did not expect what they found: a lillend, bound in a magic circle, with a tiny bell around her neck. Suhaila spoke with the lillend, asking her why she was there and if she desired to be freed. The lillend, Valencia, explained that Zalor had been nothing but kind to her; she gave her presents, talked with her, and listened to her music, though she hadn’t visited as much as of late; upon being told of Zalor’s crimes, she was shocked, but she seemed to accept it as the truth. The party was able to convince her to part with the bell, but under one condition: Zalor was not to be harmed if at all possible. The party agreed to this and invited Valencia, so she could talk to Zalor herself; the lillend agreed, and the heroes unbound her.
Once the group returned to the atrium, they discovered that the stairwell had been cleared; before ascending, however, they decided to open the remaining door, just to ensure that they had missed nothing important. Inside the room were a set of wax dolls; one of them looked very much like Kot, but with metallic wings sticking out of its back. The group deduced that the wax dolls were the physical manifestations of the curses Zalor had cast, and that breaking them could break the curse; without hesitation, Kot snatched up his doll and broke it. Instantly, he underwent a strange transformation; his hair grew long, his armor began to gleam, his skin turned to steel, and huge, metallic wings sprouted from his back.


Suli: I’m so glad we didn’t break him… I really thought he was broken for a second, there.
Altaire: Well, something snapped.
Lili: Altaire, Lili want metal wings!
Altaire: C… Can I do that? I… I… Uh… Lili gets feathers!
Lili: …Knives!
Altaire: No, Lili, you get feathers.
Lili: (Spreads wings) LILI KNIVES! (Feathers fly around the room)
Suli: Well, at least they can’t just blame me for the feathers anymore…


Without missing a beat, the newly restored Kot turned and headed for the stairs, intent upon finding Zalor and bringing her to justice; the party hurried after him. Before he could climb too far, Suhaila caught up with him and stopped him. She asserted that, if Zalor was repentant, she could better atone for her sins alive, and she begged him to give the woman a chance to be redeemed. Reluctantly, Kot agreed.
As the party traveled up the long stairwell, Kot fell in step with Altaire, who was riding on Lili’s back. He talked to Altaire of leadership, explaining that he had seen a potential leader in him. He went on to assert that size had nothing to do with capability, and that a leader should be able to stand tall on his own two feet. Moved, Altaire dropped from Lili’s back and continued up the stairs on his own, thinking carefully about what had been said.
Upon reaching the roof of the building, the Arbiters were less than happy to see Spencer standing out in the open, surrounded by fetchling corpses; they watched in horror as he casually snapped a fetchling soldier’s neck with one hand and turned to a clearly injured Zalor. He demanded that she give him the artifact she had been hiding from the cult; she refused. Noticing the presence of the heroes, Spencer grinned and told Zalor that she would be forgiven for her transgressions against the cult if she killed the Arbiters; then he disappeared. Before Zalor had the chance to do anything, Altaire bravely stepped up to the front and addressed her. He explained that this was her chance to turn things around; mistakes could be corrected, and if she wanted to be free of the cult, the heroes would help her in any way they could. Zalor broke down in the face of such kindness and shapeshifted into her true form: that of a young shadow dragon. She explained that she had only joined the cult to provide her people, the fetchlings, with protection; she apologized profusely for her past wrongdoings and agreed to work with the Arbiters to atone for what she’d done.
After a moment’s struggle, Kot agreed to give her the chance to prove herself; however, he no longer knew what to do with his life. He was primarily a machination of the light; he talked about having no real memories… until he was very soundly slapped out of it by Saya. She told him that she was his family, and if he didn’t have any memories, she would just have to drag him out into the world and help him make some. The Arbiters reminded Kot that he had friends in them, as well. After a moment’s deliberation, Kot agreed, thanking her and the others for their support.
Suddenly, everyone heard a voice from above; Spencer had been watching from a turret to make sure Zalor killed the Arbiters. He flung a deadly bolt of lightning at the shadow dragon; Suhaila immediately threw out a spell of her own, closing Zalor’s wounds as they formed. She and Valencia rushed over and healed her until she returned to consciousness, at which point the lillend and the remaining fetchling soldiers helped Zalor flee to safety. Still not seeing the heroes as a legitimate threat, Spencer summoned a nightwing and told it to kill them all, then teleported from the scene.
The fight was over in seconds. Taking careful aim, Hroth fired a mighty volley of undead-slaying arrows; many of them struck the creature in vital areas, engulfing it in a veritable pillar of fire and lightning. Severely wounded, the enraged nightwing attempted to charge at Hroth, intent upon killing him; however, Silhren threw himself in the nightwing’s path, spurred on by his affection for his companion; as Lili jumped from his shoulders and Suhaila channeled energy into his weapon, the Shelynite paladin swung his glaive and cut the evil creature in half with a blinding slash, leaving behind a swirling trail of feathers and prismatic light. At the pinnacle of her jump, Lili accurately kicked both halves of the monster off of the roof and down the side of the keep, where they were impaled upon the shadowy spires before fading from existence.
The remainder of the day was a somber occasion; the bodies of the fetchling soldiers who had died in defense of their queen were gathered, blessed, and buried with the proper rites. Afterward, the Arbiters discussed the possibility of moving the keep to a location near the Kortos Mounts, so that Zalor and her people could ally with both the Kortos tribes and the people of Absalom; Zalor agreed and decided to accompany them back to Absalom to help set things in order. Valencia elected to accompany her, and the group reboarded the ship, bound for Absalom.
While they were sailing, Kot took the time to speak with Suhaila about growing into one’s angelic blood; they discussed her recent wing growth, and Kot provided Suhaila with some much-needed advice on problems for a developing aasimar.
Meanwhile, Hroth was talking with Silhren and demanding to know why he had stepped in front and protected him during the fight with the nightwing. Silhren simply replied that he did it because he really cared about Hroth, not just because it was his calling.
Amidst all this, Altaire and Saya decided to drink away their time on the ship. One thing led to another, and two Alter Self spells later, the two of them made some romantic choices that were questionable at best.
After a few days, the group finally disembarked in Absalom, ready to tell new stories and make new plans for the future…


Suli: So, tragically, it’s been hard to get people into / staying in the Green Room (some sort of spatial-temporal glitch, I’m sure), so we’re just posting the rest of this as is! We dunno how long this is gonna take to fix, either, so for at least the next few logs, we won’t have anybody here. Still, if any brave souls want to try and comment on an episode, feel free to let me know, and we’ll see what we can do! Apparently, it can get you something called “hero points”… I have no idea what those are, but they sound pretty awesome!

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Group A: Unwelcome Interruptions
Sometimes, adventure and awkwardness go hand in hand...

Suli: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Green Room! This is a special, extradimensional space where we Kingdom of Darkness characters can look back over our recent adventures together! To help us tell the story today, we have a great group of characters: our elven ranger, Nochte, his wolf, Lupa, our brave paladin, Silhren, and me, Suhaila! Say hi, guys!
Nochte: (grunt)
Lupa: Woof! (HOLY BISCUITS, I CAN TALK!)
Silhren: What crazy antics did I miss?
Suli: Don’t worry, you’ll catch up. Anyway, we’re here to provide a narrative of what’s happened in the most recent episodes… and provide appropriate color commentary, of course! Fortunately for us, the magic of the Green Room allows us to know everything that’s happened, whether we were there for it or not, so we won’t miss anything. Anyway, enough explanation; let’s get started, shall we? Cue the lights!
-—————
After an evening of song and drink, the Arbiters of Absalom returned home to rest. Once her companions were asleep, Suhaila retrieved the pieces of Silhren’s ocarina and called out to their mysterious houseguest, offering to make her a new scarf in return for fixing the ocarina. An agreement was reached, and the ocarina was fixed by sunrise.
-—————
Nochte: What’s an ocarina?
Suli: Wh- Really?!
Nochte: TUN. DRA.
Suli: Sheesh…
Silhren: So… Does that mean you can’t play us the song of your people?
Nochte: I can’t, but…
Lupa: (loud howling)
Nochte: (wipes away a tear) Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s very poetic.
Suli: …Welp, that just happened. Anyhow…
-—————
Upon waking, Hroth discovered the repaired ocarina on the table; Suli claimed to have no knowledge of how it got there. In shock, he ran upstairs to where Silhren slept, thrust the ocarina to his lips, and ordered him to play it. Although thoroughly confused, Silhren complied, happy to have his instrument again.
After calming down, Hroth decided to make breakfast for everyone. Unwilling to expose her inability to eat, Suhaila ate breakfast anyway to avoid suspicion.
-—————
Suli: BAD IDEA.
Nochte: Your lies led to a woman slapping me. I will have my vengeance.
Lupa: Yip! (OOOOOOOOO, GIRL, YOU IN TROUBLE!)
Suli: Oh, HELL no. Did you see anything that happened after that? Any of it?! ‘CUZ I THINK THAT WAS PRETTY EFFECTIVE VENGEANCE.
-—————
After breakfast, Hroth, Nochte, and Suli decided to go shopping in the Coins district. On the way there, Suhaila’s breakfast caught up with her; she didn’t want her companions to worry, so she told them she was having “female problems.” Unfortunately, neither Hroth nor Nochte knew what that meant; they assumed she was ill and decided to take her to the nearest temple to be healed. Unfortunately for Suhaila, the nearest temple was a temple to Calistria, goddess of lust and revenge…
-—————
Suli: (glares at Nochte)
Nochte: It’s your own fault for lying to us.
Silhren: You really did bring it on yourself…
Suli: THERE IS NO WAY I COULD HAVE ANTICIPATED THESE REPERCUSSIONS. NO WAY.
Lupa: Woof. (You all yell too much. And yes, she did bring it upon herself.)
Suli: (sigh) Let’s just get this part over with.
-—————
Confusion and humiliation reigned in the Calistrian temple; not understanding the situation, a priestess of Calistria brought out several male prostitutes for a horrified Suli to choose from. It took some time, but eventually the confusion was straightened out; after leaving, the trio quickly made their purchases in the Coins district and headed to Meg’s for lunch.

Meanwhile, Silhren decided to head to Skyreach and do some research on the enemy that had defeated them so handily the morning before. He spent the whole morning researching, and his efforts proved fruitful. In the archives, there was information about a paladin named Tazula; she had been a Mendevian crusader lost in the Worldwound. The Pathfinder Society sent out a rescue team, but she was never recovered. His suspicions about the antipaladin confirmed, Silhren went to Meg’s to meet his companions and share the new information.
-—————
Suli: That chick is going to smash our heads into the ground. I’m not a fan.
Silhren: Well, she might smash my face in and use you for decoration.
Suli: Somehow, I’m not comforted by that…
-—————
Altaire and Lilli had little luck with their morning crime patrol, but they did manage to wander into the district of the Starstone Cathedral; true to form, Altaire found a tavern and decided to investigate. As it turned out, the bar was the primary temple to the god Cayden Cailean; Altaire and Lilli were welcomed with open arms, and the Caydenites were happy to explain the simple tenets of their religion. Altaire was enchanted by the god and his temple, and he decided then and there to worship Cayden Cailean alongside Shelyn. In order to entertain the crowd, he told them a number of exciting (if exaggerated) stories from his past; the crowd loved it and encouraged him to tell tales until his voice was sore. After a while, Altaire and Lilli departed, promising to return again soon; they, too, headed to Meg’s.
-—————
Suli: Y’know, I’m not sure I want to know what he told them about us… not after that whole “conduit of divine death” speech from last time…
Nochte: For a little man, he has a large opinion of himself…
Suli: I’m more worried about the large opinion he has of us; I’m not sure I can live up to whatever crazy stuff he’s saying this time.
Silhren: Look on the bright side; it can’t get much more far-fetched, right?
Suli: …(sigh)
-—————
Sym decided to strike out on his own for the morning in hopes of finding a catfolk community in the city; after asking around, he learned that one existed in the West End. He headed in that direction and was successful in finding the community. Enjoying interacting with his own kind, Sym purchased some food and took to the rooftops, where he was discovered by an attractive female catfolk. She introduced herself as Lana and invited Sym to a meal with the others, which he happily accepted. At the dinner, he entertained the group with a magic display, which was received warmly. One little catfolk boy in particular seemed infatuated with Sym’s magical abilities. After the meal, Sym thanked the group and left for Meg’s in search of his allies.
-—————
Suli: That little catfolk kid was adorable! I hope we see more of him.
Silhren: It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!
-—————
Around noon, Nochte and an exasperated Suli wound up at Meg’s; Suli explained her morning’s predicaments to Meghan, only to be laughed at by her friend. After lunch, Nochte learned about alcohol; Meghan brought him a glass of wine, which he enjoyed, but then he asked for the strongest drink on the menu. Grinning mischievously, Meghan returned with a mug full of “Torag’s Favorite Joke,” a beverage so powerful that the dwarven regulars were amazed a non-dwarf had ordered it. They watched in anticipation, waiting to see Nochte’s reaction.
-—————
Suli: So… was that like an ale, or what?
Nochte: It was like nightmares, is what it was.
-—————
As expected, the drink was ridiculously potent, and Nochte became almost instantly drunk; however, he did manage to conjure the balance and presence of mind to walk over and bow to the dwarves before asking Suhaila to help him leave.
-—————
Nochte: I needed to go home.
Suli: I DID try to warn you, y’know.
Nochte: No warning would have been sufficient. That drink should be labeled in bright red, “NEVER CONSUME.”
-—————
Suli took him outside and used magic to remove the worst of his drunkenness; afterward, the two returned to the bar, only to be stopped outside by Meghan. In their absence, Sczarni thugs had come to the bar; they were looking for the girl who had refused their boss and the woman who had knocked him unconscious. With Nochte still suffering from the drink’s effects, the three of them weren’t sure what to do; fortunately, Silhren, Altaire, Lilli, and Sym arrived on the scene in time to help. After preparing for a potential fight, the group confronted the thugs; between righteous anger and clear strength of arms, the Arbiters were able to intimidate the Sczarni into leaving the tavern without a fight. After they left, Suhaila had no choice but to explain the situation, so the group could be prepared for potential repercussions.
-—————
Suli: …Jerkbags.
Nochte: I’m glad it didn’t come to blows; I’m not sure my aim would have been steady.
Suli: Yeah… It would have been Grom levels of inaccuracy.
Nochte: What’s a Grom? I feel like you’re just making things up now.
Suli: (exasperated sigh) Grom is a blind halfling who throws explosives. And before you ask, explosives are things that blow up and make fire.
Nochte: (feigning knowledge) I know what explosives are.
Suli: Of course you do. (pats Nochte on the back)
Silhren: Oh, so they do have bombs in the tundra?
Nochte: (hateful glower)
-—————
After all the excitement, Nochte decided it would be best for him to head home and rest, so he and Sym left for the house. Everyone else decided to go to Skyreach; on their way in, the heroes ran into Khrane and Jaistelle, arguing once again about something or another. Upon request, Khrane bodily picked up Altaire and threw him across town and into the Docks District. Altaire and Lilli went back on crime watch for the remainder of the afternoon.
In order to establish new contacts for the tribes of the Kortos Mounts, Suhaila and Silhren sought out Marcos Farabellus and explained the situation, asking him to take a trip into the Mounts with them to meet the harpy chieftainess. Farabellus agreed, and the three of them headed there. The harpy chieftainess came to see them; Suhaila made introductions, and with some careful diplomacy, both sides were able to see the benefit of working together. Happy with their progress, Suhaila and Silhren decided to call it a day and headed home.
-—————
Suli: I’m so glad they’ve gotten off on the right foot; it’s only a matter of time before the tribes have a new lease on life and we have a united front against the cult! (high-fives Silhren)
Silhren: Sometimes love can be the most powerful thing of all!
Nochte: I saw a number of fellows at the bar react to events with the same gusto that you portray… are you… drunk?
Suli: Drunk on the happiness that comes with spreading togetherness and redemption! (sparkly eyes)
Nochte: There is nothing about this entire situation that does not sicken me to the point of agonizing death.
-—————
After a long day, Altaire and Sym both decided to head over to Meg’s for dinner and a drink. Khrane and Jaistelle were already there, serving as bodyguards for Meghan. Looking around, Sym found Garren in the back of the tavern having a glass of red wine. They talked; Garren asked Sym to not let it get around that he had been here, drinking. As they spoke, Treval interrupted them and challenged Garren to a rematch. Garren acquiesced; the two fought on the performance stage, and although Treval got the first hit, he was handily defeated shortly after. An exasperated Jaistelle healed his wounds; Treval thanked her and fled. Shortly afterward, both Altaire and Sym decided to head home; Sym walked, but Altaire elected to be thrown home by Khrane, who was all too happy to comply. Unfortunately, Altaire came down in front of the house just as Suhaila was entering it; he landed on the poor girl, knocking her to the ground. He apologized and stumbled drunkenly inside to bed, leaving Suhaila alone downstairs.
-—————
Suli: (worried) I swear, it’s like Treval is TRYING to get himself killed…
Nochte: That Treval boy… Oh! Yes. The one you stared at like a wolf in heat.
Lupa: Bark! (Damn girl, get it.)
Suli: (blushing, emanating waves of rage) …You are not my favorite person right now.
Nochte: Well I’m not a person. I am a Snowcaster Elf. So that does not make sense.
Suli: (fuse blown) PERSON INDICATES A SENTIENT BEING, YOU INSUFFERABLE ASSBAG!
Nochte: Firstly, I have no idea what an assbag is. Secondly, while I know little of your southern… “culture”… I’m sure a young lady cursing is considered most unladylike.
Suli: (circuit break) A MAN WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT MENSTRUATION IS DOES NOT GET TO DECIDE WHAT IS AND IS NOT LADYLIKE! YOU DIDN’T EVEN HAVE LADIES IN THE FUCKING TUNDRA!
Nochte: No we did not. However, we did have good manners. (small smile)
Suli: (complete power grid meltdown) THEN YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE LEFT THEM IN THE GODSDAMNED TUNDRA! MOVING ON. GODS!
Silhren: Given your knowledge of women, it sounds like you spent a lot of time doing the one-handed dance around the ballroom, Nochte.
Nochte: (rolls eyes) Damn southerners…
-—————
A few minutes later, Hroth returned home as well, having spent the majority of his day training at the archery range. He found Suli and expressed his concerns that the house was causing her illness and other problems. Out of options, Suli confessed about her new divine abilities to Hroth; she admitted that she had been choosing to not eat and sleep so she could protect the others while they rested. Hroth did his best to convince her that keeping watch was everyone’s responsibility and that she should feel safe in her own home. Just as Suhaila was about to agree with him, the door was thrown open, and an invisible cultist began attacking them. Hroth held the cultist at bay while Suhaila alerted the rest of the house; everyone woke quickly and joined the fight. With the help of a bag of flour and a carefully aimed Dispel Magic, the heroes were able to pinpoint the cultist; after taking a substantial amount of damage, he tried to flee, only to be shot down on his way out by an enraged Hroth.
-—————
Suli: Oh, jeez, I can’t watch this next part… (covers her eyes)
-—————
After stabilizing and tying up the cultist, the heroes decided to remove his mask; to their horror, they found that the man had no facial features. The cultist awoke, and Nochte effectively intimidated him into telling them what they wanted to know. The Arbiters asked the cultist who sent him; he responded, “The person behind you.” The group whirled around; nothing was there, but the overpoweringly evil presence was palpable, even without Silhren detecting evil. Frozen in horror, the heroes could do nothing but watch as the cultist was torn into bloody chunks by the invisible being.
-—————
Suli: (still hiding) Is it over yet?
Nochte: (glances over) Yes… He is now just liquefied intestines and bad life choices.
Silhren: Coming into my house uninvited is always a bad life choice.
-—————
After taking a moment to collect themselves (and settle their stomachs), the Arbiters did what they could to clean up the mess. Out of a sense of duty, Nochte blessed the remains of the cultist; unbeknownst to him, this action deprived the cultist of his rest with the Open Armed. They returned to bed, but sleep was long in coming.
-—————
Nochte: (wide smile) All has gone according to plan…
Suli: Pffft, you didn’t plan that; in canon, you don’t even know that it happened!
Nochte: (shrugs) Still one more soul than YOU’VE deprived the all powerful shredder of bodies and slayer of hopes.
Suli: I prefer to deprive it of souls by… oh, I dunno… KEEPING PEOPLE ALIVE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Nochte: Those words you just used don’t make sense in the order you used them.
Suli: (resigned sigh)
-—————
The next day, the heroes went to Skyreach and found Kot looking at a map, trying to remember more of his past. After introducing everyone, Suhaila tried to break Kot’s curse again with mythic power; although it did not break the curse, it did enough damage to it to allow some memories through. Kot suddenly became lucid and remembered where he needed to go to regain his memories. The Arbiters convinced him to wait for them, so they could accompany him. Kot gave the heroes two hours to prepare for departure.
The Arbiters made some last-minute purchases and arrangements and regrouped at the docks. Just as they were leaving, Kot was accosted by a familiar, overly-energetic kitsune; after chewing Kot out for trying to leave without her, she invited herself along, introducing herself as Saya.
-—————
Suli: I don’t think I’ve ever heard a person talk as fast at that fox-lady does… It’s impressive, really.
-—————
The group sailed for a few days, passing the time by exercising, crafting, and gambling with the sailors. After the journey, they arrived at a small, dark island with a tower known as the Keep of Zalor. Just before reaching the island, the ship was attacked by a giant, fiendish squid. The monster did its best to grab and crush the heroes, but with a combination of arrows and divine magic, the Arbiters were able to deflect and defeat the beast.
-—————
Suli: I have never expended as much holy power that quickly IN MY LIFE. I thought I was gonna DIE.
Nochte: (shifts uncomfortably, mumbling) thanksforsavinglupaireallyoweyouonetellnooneoriendyou.
Suli: (blinks) …Anytime? (tentative thumbs up)
Nochte: (shifts uncomfortably) Damn Southerners…
-—————
Upon disembarking, the group realized that this island overlapped with the Shadow Plane. Taking precautions, they explored the island until they found the gates of the keep, where they were attacked by fetchling sentries from the shadows. Quickly dispatching the menace, the Arbiters infiltrated the keep and began to explore. After some searching, they came across a strange hallway with magical traps; they took the time to test the room before entering and quickly ran through. Kot was a hair too slow and got caught, but the Arbiters freed him in time.

Moving to the stairwell, the group found it to be impassable; tendrils of solid shadow blocked them from entry. Hoping to find a way around the issue, the heroes entered another hallway, where they could hear the sounds of lustful activity coming from one of the rooms; upon investigation, they discovered an incubus and a kyton engaging in S&M-style foreplay. In the room with them was a treasure chest that appeared to contain an item that could unblock the stairs. After a moment’s deliberation, the heroes charged the evil outsiders and defeated them in the most efficient and awkward way possible. They opened the chest, which contained a wand of Daylight. The Arbiters used the wand in the stairwell room, and the shadows disappeared, granting them access to the next level…
-—————
Nochte: Ok. NO ONE knew what THAT was. That wasn’t a tundra thing, that was a “Sweet baby Pharasma, what did I just see” kind of thing.
Lupa: (whimper) (That did not look fun AT ALL.)
Suli: I’m gonna agree with you on this one… (mumbling) Why did it have to stare at me like that? Ugh…
Lupa: Bark bark! (She wanted some of that sweet, sweet caster lovin’!)
Suli: …I have no idea what your wolf just said, but I feel like I should be offended.
Nochte: (pats Lupa) She’s just a wolf; she doesn’t have thoughts like you and I.
Lupa: Bark! (I’ma cut you.)
Silhren: …Well, THAT escalated quickly.
-—————
Suli: Well, that just about wraps it up for this episode! Thanks for tuning in; I hope you had as much fun as we did! Big applause for today’s guests: Nochte, Lupa, and Silhren! Thanks for coming out!
Nochte: Am… am I on… television?
Suli: …What the hell is television?
Nochte: Oh, so now who doesn’t know what is going on?! It’s a tundra thing… you wouldn’t understand.
Lupa: Woof woof woof! (pant) (Animal Planet… That is all.)
Silhren: I’m pretty partial to The Real Housewives of Golarion, myself.
Nochte: What’s a housewife? THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DON’T GET MY TURKEY SANDWICH! ALSO, WHAT IS A SANDWICH?
Suli: …Aaaand there go the last, smoking remnants of the fourth wall. Guess that’s it for tonight… See you all next time! Suhaila Liliya, signing off!

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Group A: Eye of the Storm
New threats show themselves.

Zarishu’s captors were chased all the way to the docks, where the Stable Investment awaited her capture.

On board waited the Garundi captain, who did not expect his men to pick up more than they came to buy. He summoned a salty wooden golem that acted as the ship’s figurehead and drew a wand. The golem was tough and his spells were crafty, but Sym, who had been left behind during the chase, enlisted the help of Grom. They teleported quickly to the docks to regroup.

Grom’s explosive assistance proved valuable if a bit dangerous, due to his lack of perceptiveness. They eventually freed Zarishu and brought her back to fighting form.

They returned her to the Pathfinder Society, where Treval waited for her nervously.

Zarishu apologized for nearly taking advantage of Altaire in his drunken state. She was becoming desperate to find a husband to throw off her pursuers, and she claimed it was not fair to Altaire. Altaire asked for a formal apology, in the form of a drink with her in the future. Zarishu smiled and agreed to these terms.

The next day dawned. Hroth found himself at the archery range as per usual. Zarishu passed by with a heavy sack, dropping it near his feet. She felt that she didn’t get to thank the group properly, so she looted the Stable Investment and brought them some spoils for their trouble (after taking some for herself, of course). Hroth was speechless as usual, especially when Zarishu gave him a spirited hug.

Altaire and Lilli went on patrol in the air of Absalom, watching for scum and villainy. They were not alone in the air; Khrane and Jaistelle happened by them on the way home from a mission for the Pathfinder Society, bickering loudly about exploding harpies. They happily greeted Altaire and promised not to reveal his crime-fighting activities.

Sym strolled down the crowded streets alone before taking to the rooftops. While bounding across shops, he came across a very nervous Garren. He was taking shelter from a number of Righteous Fury knights on the ground below. Sym winked and leapt to the ground.

Sym approached the Righteous Fury captain and inquired about their motives. The captain reported that they were hunting an evil vampire-spawn in Absalom. Sym asked what he had done, and the captain could offer no answer. He gave only excuses that his lineage made him unmistakably evil, and that it would surely lead him to commit heinous acts, like feeding. Sym shook his head; these men could not be reasoned with, so he resorted to another tactic: deception.

He deflected their search to the western gate of the city, near the sleepy residential quarter of Westgate. The knights spared no time and marched to the west. Garren bounded down from the roof and thanked Sym for saving his skin.

Silhren took a stroll to the Irorium, the oldest coliseum in Absalom. On the field was a collection of actors reenacting the life and triumphs of an ancient wizard and his companions. A nearby spectator, Mateba, explained that it was the story of Old-Mage Jatembe. He was an ancient wizard and the subject of folklore for the people of the Mwangi Expanse. He hoped that one day he could become something like Jatembe, and he watched the performance with starry eyes.

Noticing that Silhren was a local, Mateba asked him to show him around. Silhren indulged his curiosity and showed him restaurants, shops and temples. At the end of the tour, Mateba asked Silhren if he could deliver something to Sym for him. He handed Silhren a sack with a tiny object inside and asked him not to open it for his own safety. Silhren agreed to do so and returned to the Rilbahn estate.

Suhaila could not find any companions to help her deliver a package of salt to the people of the Kortos Mounts, so she decided to embark alone.

By chance, she passed by Meghan in the marketplace as she purchased the salt. Meghan was out collecting supplies for the tavern. They exchanged hellos and Suhaila explained that she was going to the Kortos Mounts. Meghan decided to accompany her after dropping off her supplies at the tavern. Her husband told her he could handle it on his own while she went out “adventuring.” She was in and out quickly, already dressed for combat.

While Suhaila waited for Meghan to finish preparing, she sat alone in the tavern’s business side. This brought the attention of an unsavory and greasy Varisian man. He asked if he could buy her a drink and Suhaila politely refused; he insisted, claiming that he was important and influential in the city. Suhaila paid him little heed, so he persisted. He drew closer and closer towards her until he was nearly upon her. His head then jerked and hit the table; Meghan stood behind his unconscious body with a mug in her hand and a smirk on her face.

Suhaila insisted that they not dump his body in a back alley, and Meghan dragged him to a more humiliatingly public street.

Suhaila and Meghan hiked into the mountains with the salt. They became lost for a few hours, but found some harpies who carried them to the harpy nest near the mountain tops. They spoke with the difficult harpy tribe and managed to convince the rest that change was an option and that trade with the city could be mutually beneficial. The chieftainess was happy to hear her words, and she promised that headway with the minotaurs and centaurs would be forthcoming.

The heroes regrouped and laid to bed, save for Suhaila. Her inability to sleep gave her some free time and a moment to reach out to the little guest in their home. She promised no harm to them if they would speak to her and offered candy as a gift.

Climbing up the back of her nightgown, the guest scarfed down the sweet eatn’s. Suhaila promised that no harm would come to her from the other tenants of the estate and that she would be safe here; she also promised more candy for housework, which the guest was more than ecstatic to hear.

The next morning sun never came, as a storm began to spiral above the Kortos Mounts. The Arbiters of Absalom rushed to the northern gate, where they came across an elf named Nochte, who was being held inside by Ralpor. He claimed that creatures of darkness suddenly began pouring from the mountains, keeping anyone from investigating the source of the hurricane in the Mounts.

The Arbiters were admitted through the gate, clearly having the most experience with these foes, and the also clearly experienced Nochte was invited along.

He proved valuable to the fight, as the Arbiters managed to cut through the creatures enough to get into the Mounts. They were unexpectedly picked up by a number of harpies who had seen the source of the storm atop the highest mountain. The harpies carried the heroes to the top and stepped back out of fear of what awaited.

A man with long black hair and strange leather clothing danced at the summit. The storm danced with him, gaining speed as he performed and chanted for it. Watching him were a pair of demons and two people clad in heavy white armor the color of a full moon. The armored man in a large cloak turned to greet the heroes as they advanced. He asked the woman to his right, Tazula, to kill them where they stood before he whisked away with the winds. The woman grinned and drew her mace.

The demons and the antipaladin were upon the heroes like a hammer to the forging steel. Striking Silhren with a disturbing glee, she slammed him to the ground repeatedly, until she noticed a small ocarina on his belt. With a devilish sneer, she shattered the ocarina.

Nochte found Spencer chanting and drew his bow. His senses told him that this man was not among the living, and his goddess whispered to him that this man must die. This would be his charge from the goddess of life and death: Spencer Khalim must be destroyed and sent to judgment. Nochte succeeded in interrupting Spencer’s incantation, and the storm began to slow and dissipate. Spencer lashed out at him, nearly killing him with a single bolt of lightning.

Spencer shook his head and walked to Tazula. He assured her that there was little more that they could do here, and that their talents would be required for other doomsday projects. Before they disappeared, Tazula vowed to end the lives of the Arbiters who served the “weak goddess”.

They vanished into the air, and the sun began to shine on Absalom again.

The sun did not shine so brightly, however, for the bloodied Arbiters of Absalom.

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Group B: Rising Tides
The Heroes of Logas are now the "Enemies of Elidir."

The Heroes of Logas were welcomed into the Tayner estate and brought to the guest wing to survey the collection of tomes that Aurine Tayner had amassed about creatures from beyond. The group studied them closely with the assistance of Hanes.

Meanwhile, on the road to Elidir, a small caravan carrying a number of travelers entered the city’s borders. A ranger named Revosh, his wolf companion Fieris, and the elven gun expert Content Not Found: beshkee-jathal were among the travelers. After exchanging some pleasantries with the other passengers, they were deposited in the capital city.

As they explored the new and lawful hold, they noticed a parade entering the city. Flowers were thrown on the road and praising words flooded the street as Grand Maester Pallos was joyously greeted by the people of Elidir. He handed money to the poor and the weak as he walked, and the people could only leave his side when he entered the Ebony District, the wealthier part of town.

Noticing that masked men in dark cloaks appeared to be tailing him, Revosh and Kesh elected to follow the train into the Ebony District. Kesh took special interest, as the masks they wore seemed familiar.

The Heroes of Logas poured through the dusty tomes, while taking some much needed time to breathe. The nervous Lady Tayner sat nervously in the ballroom, waiting for their answer to her fears.

While working out on the balcony, Content Not Found: lanus spotted the procession coming down the street. He returned inside to let his comrades know, but noticed that Lady Tayner seemed awfully quiet and slumped over in her chair. He examined her more closely, calling her name, but got no response.

When he opened her mouth, he was greeted with the rancid stench of rotting flesh. Her insides had been completely rotted to an unhealthy green.

Reeling from the sudden nature of her death, they almost failed to notice the Grand Maester walking into the room with a squad of Hellknights, lead by Odd Lucan. Pallos accused them immediately of killing the Lady Tayner, and the Hellknights around him offered no argument. Pallos, with a sneer, left them to be arrested by Lieutenant Lucan.

Lucan and the heroes were both caught off-guard by the entrance of two Proxie, as well as two strangers following the Proxies. The Hellknights slowly began to see that something was off here. The Proxies were beaten, and the heroes turned to Lucan hoping to explain that they had all been set up.

Before anyone could say anything, Odd Lucan fell quiet, staring at some distant object. This object landed from her hiding place on the ceiling and slashed both of her sawtooth sabers across Odd’s neck. While his blood spilled, she took off her mantis mask, revealing a half-elf woman with blood red hair who watched Lucan die with a sickening satisfaction.

As Lucan slipped away, his brother Eaon, a Captain of the Hellknight Order of the Chain, burst into the room with more Hellknights at his command. The blood-haired woman fled out of a window at the sight of him.

Enraged by the death of his brother, he ordered that everyone in the room was under arrest, and that the knights under Odd’s command would obey his orders and take them in. He turned about to chase after the fleeing woman, claiming he would be back for Dwyn later.

Not taking any chances, the heroes, and their unexpected new cohorts, escaped into the evening streets of Elidir, regrouping at the run-down temple of Milani.

Dwyn gave chase after the woman, Shaharazad, who was the one he had been looking for. She had become a member of the Red Mantis Assassins, and had been hired to kill Odd by a man named Pallos. She gladly took the job, and she looked forward to when she might be called to kill Eaon. Dwyn couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He begged her to forget about her new god, forget about their family, forget about all the pain, and come with him.

She became quiet, turned to Dwyn, pulled him close, and kissed him passionately. Then a bolt of green energy separated them, and Hanes pointed out the saber she was drawing to stick in Dwyn. She retreated, leaving Dwyn confused and more alone than before.

Hanes and Dwyn eventually caught up to the rest of the group, who had set up a small camp for the night under the roof of Milani’s broken temple. They swapped stories, food, and welcomed the traveler Revosh and the vengeance-driven Kesh into the fold. They would leave Isger for good in the morning.

To that end, Jon made arrangements with the local magic shop clerk, Kad Brelin, to help them escape under the cover of a wagon filled with hay and pig feces. Not everyone was on board for this plan.

Kad agreed and successfully smuggled them out of the city’s limits, and bid them farewell, as they tried to put as much distance between them and the Hellknights as possible.

They decided to travel to the nation of Andoran to the southeast. They swam the Conerica river, bribed the checkpoint guards, and found themselves in Andoran territory in a few days.

No sooner had they stepped on Andoran soil a storm began to pick up. What appeared to be some kind of enormous hurricane whipped rain in their faces and flash flooded the loose soil beneath their feet.

They took refuge in the Candlestone Caverns, where they found the tracks of kobolds, and the tracks of several dragged prisoners.

The Heroes of Logas investigated the small cave system beyond the mouth of the caverns they entered and discovered a kobold hideout. They had taken several live humanoid prisoners as feed for their animals, subjects of new poison concoctions, and more vile things below.

Steeling themselves for what lay below, they plunged the depths of the caverns to hopefully free subjects of torture, experimentation, or worse.

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Group A: A Walk Through the Forest

With the Starstone shard tucked away deep in their pocket, the Pathfinders returned to Absalom from the tops of the Kortos Mounts. Having seemingly pushed most cult operations out of the city, they took a day to rest.

Looking for some merriment, Altaire helped himself to the taverns and inns. Inside the Tooth and Nail he found a loud, proud bard by the name of Kain sending off several competitors with their dignity shattered in front of a bar of drunken patrons. Altaire and Lilli saw an opportunity to have a bit of fun, and stood up to challenge Kain.

They dueled with their voices, with Lilli accompanying Altaire with dance. Lilli and Altaire left victorious, but gracious. Winning a performance contract with the Tooth and Nail, Altaire insisted that Kain have the deal. They requested Kain’s instrument as a prize, claiming that his sharp wit would be more than enough to make his due. Kain grumbled, but agreed to the exchange.

Suhaila received yet another letter from Casamir, this one containing resignation to her actions against the cult, and giving her a list of possible base locations across the Inner Sea Region.

Benneth claimed that Casamir sent most of his letters by carrier pigeons; Suhaila vowed to catch one and give it a response to send back.

Hroth found Silhren in the Pathfinder Grand Lodge training fields. He gruffly returned the cloak to Silhren, telling him that his charity was not required. Silhren kindly returned to cloak to him, telling him that he needn’t worry about keeping tabs and to simply accept the gift. Hroth wasn’t entirely convinced, but kept up his compliance long enough for Silhren to leave eyesight.

Sym, having not paid his respects to Nethys in some time, decided to visit the Nethys temple in Absalom. Located close by the Arcanamirium the temple was filled to the brim with scholars, libraries, and rooms for magic duels and training. Sym stayed behind to watch a match between two fledgling students, and was pleased to see a young Mwangi human succeed at besting his peer in a magical duel of skill.

The young man’s name was Mateba. He had come from the Magaambya, an ancient place of arcane learning in the city of Nantambu of the Mwangi Expanse. He claimed he was also fleeing Ruthazek, much like Sym, and in much the same way. He had stolen what appeared to be a ring with Abyssal inclination. Large enough to fit a normal humanoid’s wrist, it was a ring built for the gorilla king himself, and was likely not for an honorable purpose.

Sym offered to keep the ring in his more experienced hands, and Mateba also gave him a pouch that would conceal its evil aura from prying eyes. Mateba thanked Sym for his help, for he was worried he would be alone in the largest city in the world.

Gathering Silhren, Altaire, and Lilli, Suhaila purchased 200 pounds of raw meat as a present for the tribes of the Kortos Mounts. Mounting the load into a wooden cart, they had the cart pulled to the base of the mounts and had Lilli scout ahead with a map drawn by Suli to lead the tribes back to the heroes.

The harpies, unsurprisingly, were most insubordinate, but the centaurs and minotaurs caught on quickly. The harpy chieftainess assured the heroes that the offering would be split evenly amongst everyone.

The heroes also made sure to remind the tribes of the wonders of cooking their food, as well as seasoning them. The addition of salt turned out to be favorable amongst the tribes.

Meanwhile, Sym remained in the dueling room while the rest of the crowds cleared out. Standing in the room with him was a cloaked figure who could tell that Sym was no mere practitioner of magics. He wished to see his capability and challenged him to friendly duel; intrigued, Sym accepted the challenge.

The challenger threw spell after spell, as Sym countered and returned the barrage of magics which were countered by his opponent as well. It quickly became apparent to Sym that this duel did not keep up the magical wards that most duels received, so the damage he received was most lethal. As the spells continued to fly, the stranger’s cloak fell back, and he was revealed to be an eagle-headed rakshasa. He condemned Sym for his sullied heritage, and wondered allowed why he wasn’t more like the rakshasa people with his ruthless preferences in battle and skill with magic. The aggressor claimed he would kill Sym, and the dirty progeny of the traitor of rakshasa-kind would not carry on.

Hearing the commotion behind the locked door, Mateba tried to rush to Sym’s aid. Unlocking the door, Sym brought Mateba under fire from the rakshasa assassin, nearly killing him. Sym immolated the assassin with a tower of fire before rushing to Mateba’s aid. Mateba was healed by local temple sages, and thanked Sym profusely for his help.

Suhaila found an angry Treval arguing with a martial artists trainer in Skyreach. The man refused to train Treval, seeing that the boy’s intentions with the knowledge of the martial arts would not be put to pure use. Treval was left alone and steaming in the training room. Suhaila tried to speak; Treval threw weapons off the walls and pulled down weapon racks in rage, tears flowing and sobs held inside.

Suhaila asked what the problem was. Treval said it was family. His parents were gone, and they didn’t go peacefully. He wanted revenge, and no one would let him have it. Suhaila saw his pain, and assured him that what he was feeling was legitimate. She pleaded that he remember that his anger should be used for the right reasons, and that vengeance wasn’t a good one, and likely not one that would honor his parents’ memories.

Treval calmed down. Suhaila remembered her present, and handed him a small collection of seeds in a handmade bag displaying Erastil’s symbol.

Hroth decided to vent his frustration on the targeting range at the Grand Lodge. As the targeting board became nearly full of his arrows, he was approached by a curious Zarishu. Asking him questions about romantic interests did little to lessen his frustrations, especially when she asked if he thought Silhren found her attractive. Treval came to break up the discomfort. Him and Zarishu were requested to clarify some reports from a recent mission.

Zarishu thanked Hroth for the “talk”, and Hroth just shouted.

Altaire found yet another bar to visit, this time it was the bar owned by Meghan and her husband. The visit was eventful; a tipsy dwarf tried to hit on Lilli, Lilli discovered her taste for drink, and Altaire rediscovered the floor of the tavern, but not before propositioning every woman in the tavern simultaneously. Several of these girls had partners already, and a fight nearly broke out but was broken up by a bored Zarishu, who took a liking to the nearly unconscious gnome and hoisted him up to carry him from the tavern.

Zarishu got back to the Grand Lodge when she decided to toss the poor gnome into Suhaila’s arms. She asked for her to hold on to him while she found a good inn for the night.

Altaire’s body was rolled off of the poor girl, and Silhren and Sym both found their way to her aid as well. Hroth found himself approaching by coincidence. Just as Suhaila was explaining the situation, the heroes heard a scream come from down the block.

They rushed to the source to find Zarishu being loaded into an armored carriage into chains big enough for a giant by a number of Garundi men. They held the heroes at bay while she was loaded and carried to the docks.

The heroes did not lose them, and followed them to a ship in the docks.

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Group B: Ghoul's Night Out
It seems no one is beneath the wrath of Pallos.

With the town of Saringallow deep in reform and several miles behind them, the Heroes of Logas pushed on up the Conerica towards Elidir.

On sturdy horse backs, the traveling was much quicker. Dwyn caught sight of a number of tracks left behind by a group of other riders that had taken this route recently. Content Not Found: lanus could tell by their rigid formation that they were Hellknights, six of them.

Treading lightly, the rain slowly started to pick up, and the water in the Conerica river began to rise. They reached a sleepy village called Woodthorp, a small and hidden town inside what had slowly become a swamp after several years of flooding of the Conerica. Unfortunately, a number of Hellknights remained at a post outside of the town.

The Hellknights stopped the Heroes before entering the town, asking if they had seen a half-elf called Dwyn. Dwyn’s Hat of Disguise was well in use by this point, and he denied meeting anyone of that description.

In passing, after allowing them to enter the village, one of the Hellknights reminded them to keep their undine slave, referring to Syn, on a leash.

The town they found was small and pitiable. With only six buildings and a population in double digits, Woodthorp was not impressive.

The inn was still well kept and stocked, and they were still welcomed like any other traveler. Speaking to the barmaid, Dwyn was able to learn that a certain red-headed half-elf had passed through town, and seemed to be following the Hellknights.

The town was also plagued by a pair of problems, and neither could come at a worse time. One problem was obvious: a Hellknight occupation. The Hellknights planned to take the old closed distillery on top of the hillock as a Hellknight base of operations near the center of Isger. Second: people had been disappearing for the past week. A guard, a woman and her child, and several laborers. And if that weren’t bad enough, the son of the previous proprietor of the distillery, Becher, had gone into the swamps to find the deed to the distillery in order to show the Hellknights that they couldn’t legally take the building. Becher and a few townsfolk had gone in search of the barrel-aging caves where wine had been kept for aging while the distillery was a winery and vineyards grew about the town.

Learning of Becher from a survivor of the expedition, it was clear that his wounds were inflicted by Ghouls, undead creatures with a degree of intelligence.

Gathering themselves for a muddy trek, the Heroes of Logas pulled themselves through the flooded swamp, past dangerous flora, and into the barrel-aging caves, where several ghouls already waited for them.

Dispatching the ghouls, they found that the deed ad already been taken by Becher, and they followed a secret tunnel to a small stone house outside of Woodthorp. Becher was inside, clutching a heavy strongbox with the deed inside, and several Ghoul-wounds.

He received attention quickly, and they brought him back to the village through a back door to the distillery. They wound up inside the closed and dusty building, soon enough to hear a heavy knocking at the door. The Hellknight Lieutenant Ralkas demanded that they evacuate the building for the Hellknights to begin repurposing and filing reports.

Becher told them that he had the legal documentation claiming his family’s ownership, and the Heroes made sure to give it to him.

Little did the heroes know that the deed they had was a fake, with a special enchantment that would force the first person to look at the deed to take it for himself. Ralkas did just that, and ordered the arrest of those who would obstruct him.

The Lieutenant was knocked unconcious, and the junior Hellknights agreed to a truce for now.
Before anyone could get any further in negotiations, Ghouls began to pour from the forests surrounding Woodthorp, and fell upon the tiny town with claws and fangs. They were held off and destroyed by the Heroes and the junior Hellknights together.

After finding the real deed under the false bottom of the strongbox, they had no reason to stay. Ralkas was revived and had the situation explained to him, and the Hellknights went on their way from Woodthorp.

Becher thanked the Heroes for everything they had done, and asked them to wait as he went to collect a reward for them. As he ran to the other end of the distillery, a figure was spotted in the catwalk above the still room: Pallos.

Smiling and scheming and always, Pallos confessed that the Ghul infestation was his doing, and that his pet “Gonzo” was feeling a bit famished.

A muscular and gargantuan troll, with an unsettling pale complexion and long wagging tongue burst into the distillery and eyed the helpless Becher. Pallos laughed as he disappeared from the catwalk and the town in an instant.

The troll was distracted from Becher, and the Heroes managed to fell the beast, preventing the spawning of more of these monsters.

Returning to the town itself, the guards, whom Lanus had made sure were better equipped, had successfully held off their own incursion of Ghouls and kept all innocents inside the inn. The heroes were thanked by the mayor of Woodthorp and given a book with strange magical properties. Apparently a kind wizard had given it to them long ago, a kind wizard named Pallos.

Woodthorp was left behind, and after a day of travel the capital of Elidir was finally reached.

The town was well-guarded and well-cataloged by a precise and strict set of laws and highly trained forces. The Hat of Disguise made sure that Dwyn wasn’t recognized, and the heroes decided to investigate a few things.

Dwyn asked around about the blood-red-haired half-elf girl, but no one could say for sure if they had seen her.

Syn, seeing the party’s lack of ability to adequately research this cult they had been pursuing, and lacking any arcane talent whatsoever, he sought out a noblewoman by the name of Aurine Tayner who had a talented wizard named Hanes Oldwar in her employ.

Lady Tayner was a paranoid mess, asking Hanes to examine every scrap of food she ate for curses, claiming that men in white masks were searching for her. Dwyn disguised himself as a wizard and played the part in order to keep Lady Tayner sane and have Hanes step away.

Hanes sat down with Syn, who asked him to identify the book that was given to them. He identified it as a powerful magical artifact, and asked where they had found it. Syn replied that they had found it in Woodthorp, and that some old bastard gave it to the town. Syn also inquired Hanes if he knew anything about the Cult of the Open Armed. Hanes claimed that his employer believes that she had found several books that they wanted to get away from her, but he hadn’t looked through them too extensively, claiming that there was nothing to worry about.

Syn assured him that there was plenty to worry about.

The Heroes decided to stop at the Lady’s estate and have a look at these books themselves.

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