Darkness in the Mists

Session 3 Recap
Part 2: The Carnival

Into the Carnival

Whatever caused the Kobolds to attack, it seemed to have flipped a switch. Our heroes tried to rest, but out of the darkness and mist came a pair of shambling, undead horrors. They latched onto Jurgen Jurgenson, attacking relentlessly, but the combined strength of the party managed to destroy them. The next day, as the sun started to set on another day of nothing, they saw shapes in the mist: Wagons. A great circle of them. A cheery, large-bellied man came out to meet them. Entry to the Carnival would only be a copper a piece.

Kallisti generously paid the entry for the lot of them, further handing out several silver pieces’ worth of coppers to pay for other shows and events. The party was wary of any place that would appear in such a mist, so they stuck together and waited with Jurgen as they prepared for the Brute, prophesied by what he saw on the poster. When the fight was about to begin, Tindal explained the rules: When the fight is over, it’s over. Don’t kill anyone.

He immediately asked about some kind of reward. The only truly acceptable reward, he decided, would be the hood. After handily crushing the masked man, he demanded it; the fighter pulled him away and explained that though he respected strength, he could not relinquish the hood. When pressed, he removed the hood, away from the wagons; he was an orc! He commented that he disliked the way that people looked at him, here; he preferred the anonymity of the mask. Of course, he said, it was perfectly dashing back home, but he wouldn’t go back. Jandar accepted his reasoning, and asked to trade then his axe for the javelins Jandar carried, which he eventually accepted.

The party went, next, to the House of Horrors. Kallisti fit in quite well here, enjoying herself immensely as she picked up conversations with the workers, in particular a wretched-looking man who ate all sorts of disgusting things and a fire-eating woman. she even went so far as to explain to the fire-eater about her cult—of course, no requirements on her part, just faith. Her bargaining was convincing enough that even over Serenity’s protestations, the young fire-eater was convinced. Assuming it didn’t require anything of her, of course.

But Kallisti, even still, was not impressed. ‘Where were the real horrors,’ she asked, and the bespectacled Doctor Pacali, who ran the House of Horrors, whispered that for another negligible fee, they could see the real scares. They paid, of course, and he took them into a dark tent near the back of the House. When he lit the torch sconce, they were treated to horrible, misshapen forms — some with three legs, some with horrible, bony hands, and others with misshapen mouths. They languished in cages sized just large enough for them to stand.

These truly caught everyone’s horror and interest. They spent what felt like hours trying to get the doctor to reveal the source of these abominations, but on that he was silent. They asked for passage, and he offered it… at a price, of course.

They decided that the only answers to their questions could be had from the mysterious owner of the entire establishment, Isolde. However, they could not entice a response from her wagon, no matter what they did.

As they did that, though, they were approached by three men — Tindal, a giant 10-foot-tall man with plain-looking features, and a thin, mostly-nude man covered in tattoos.

Joining the Carnival

They explained that they had had a few guests several hours before that had been a bit rude, but when they left all was fine. They’d gotten their reward. But then they’d realized that a certain alchemical recipe had been stolen, and it absolutely could not get out. The Carnival has no fighters, save for the Brute, and though Isolde could deal with it, she could not leave the Carnival behind. So the adventurers seemed the only option. Of course, if they could find the recipe and return it, then they might be offered safe passage with the Carnival through the mist…

They rested through the night and set off in the morning. The group was not hard to find, nor were they far ahead, and by the end of the first day, the party found themselves less than an hour behind, but they were too tired to force another hour of marching, so they broke for camp. Which is when another group of undead shambled in out of the mist; they were dispatched readily, but no one got to sleep that night but for a few hours.

The next morning, they caught the group up, and battle was joined. The heroes came out readily ahead, slaughtering them easily. They found the recipe and headed off back to whence they had come. Once again, though, ill fate befell them, and they fought a group of orcs that stumbled onto their encampment. Two of the orcs, fell, but in the course of the fight, Kallisti and Serenity both accidentally struck Jurgen, and he was nearly brought low, saved by some quick healing by Serenity.

On the next morning, though, they made it out safely, and returned to camp. Jurgen offered to trade a set of three massive axes they’d taken from the bodies of the orcs for the mask; when Kallisti offered to fashion something to replace it temporarily until someone could make a new one properly, he finally relented.

The party found some cots in one of the wagons and settled down for another night in the carnival…

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Session 2 Recap
Episode 2: The Carnival

In Greenest

The party took a long rest through the better part of the morning, and awoke to find Governor Nighthill nervously awaiting them. He begged them to go out and rescue an artillery engineer who had been taken by the raiders; at the sound of being offered 125 gp cash in advance, with more on the way when the job was completed, the heroes were (mostly) sold. Jandar Abzan worried about the party’s odds if they had to fight a dragon again, but Nighthill assured them that they wouldn’t be expected to put themselves in such grave danger — merely gather information and retrieve a hostage.

They took the rest of the evening to buy supplies; all but Kallisti bought a pair of Health Potions, and Jurgen Jurgenson picked up new armor. However, twilight had fallen and it was only getting darker, so they decided to rest through the night and pick up the trail the following morning.

On the Trail

The trail wasn’t hard to find; it was the tracks of an army of hundreds, and cut a wide swath through the rolling hills of Greenfields. After a full day’s march, the party broke camp. When they awoke, fresh eyes realized that the heading was almost dead-on for a route to Elturel. At the pace they were going, it was a little less than three more days’ march to the River Chionthar, and then the city across that.

On the fourth day, however, they ran into a worrying scene. A half-dozen Kobolds killed, along with the body of an Elven monk. They checked the bodies, finding only a few things of interest: An empty journal with three missing pages; a ring, with the inscription ‘Love, Katerina,’ and on the Monk’s person, a Holy symbol. Kallisti took the things from the Kobolds’ bodies, while Jandar Abzan took the Holy symbol.

The majority of the rest of the day was spent burying the Elf’s body; his grave was marked with a hammer from Jurgen’s pack, and a dead bird Kallisti found. The party marched a few miles away before they made camp.

In The Mist

The next morning, the morning mist that had greeted them each morning since leaving Greenest was much thicker; one could hardly see a hundred feet in any direction. The party lost the trail, but continued in much the same direction they had gone. They did find their trail again, the next day. The third day of thick mist, they decided to depart from their trail slightly, heading slightly diagonal to the path. And that was when they found the town.

Greenest, Revisited

The town was abandoned; that much was clear, at least. They couldn’t find anyone, and the locks were smashed on the doors nearby. Jurgen split off, trying to find any sort of landmark that he could; he found the Castle on the hill. Then he immediately went to find the rest of the party and bring them there, as well.

When they climbed the parapets, looking out over the town, they saw three other major landmarks: the Church, the Mill, and a town square.

At the Church, they found bodies—dozens of them, massed into one corner of the Church as if it would protect them from the spears that had cut them down. At the mill, they found it burned down. Suddenly, the entire place seemed awfully familiar, though nobody could place it. And then they went to the town square, and it became all too clear where they were.

A pair of crosses stood in the middle of the square, and from them hung two tortured-looking bodies: those of Governor Nighthill and his Castellan. Serenity panicked and cast Detect Magic, believing that it must be some sort of illusion, but it seemed to be all too real. While the spell affected her sight, Kallisti had her look at the ring and the journal. While the ring had no magic, the journal was subtly magical, but Serenity couldn’t identify what sort of magic it was.

They left the town behind and spent the second half of the day marching ever onward. The next day, they spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out ways out of the mist—Kallisti wrote “Let us out of the Mist” in the magical journal; Jurgen breathed his fire, Jandar Abzan lit a flame in the grass. But even still, the day passed uneventfully, following the trail that had been exactly where they’d found it in Greenest the first time.

The next day, Kallisti found in her journal a slip of paper that had not been there before: a flyer. Each of the heroes saw something different: Kallisti, a promise of abberant horrors; Jurgen, a challenge to his bravery; Jandar saw a man who saw himself as beautiful in a mirror; and Serenity saw a promise of safe haven in the mist. All of them, though, had one word at the bottom:

CARNIVAL.

There was no explanation for it. And there was nothing for the party to do but march onward. Where they made their second unsettling discovery for the day.

Six Kobolds and an Elven monk, dead from sword wounds. Their things were still there, as if they’d never been taken, so naturally Kallisti took a second ring, and Jandar offered her a trade: she could take the second Holy symbol if he could take the second journal. She accepted.

Only, as they tried to leave, the Kobolds got up. The fight with the undead Kobolds was fierce, but in the end the party was triumphant. They made camp for the night, wondering what horrors would face them in the morning.

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Session 1 Recap
Episode 1: Greenest

Entering Town

The party saw Greenest being attacked by a dragon from a distance. As they approached, it became clear that more than just a dragon attacked, as humans, kobolds, and drakes ran around the city as well, terrorizing the populace.

The party helped a commoner, Linan Swift, defending her family from kobolds and eventually escorted them through some back channels to the castle. Once there, they were begged by the Governor, Tarbaw Nighthill, to help defend the keep. They agreed, ushered by Princess Serenity, and he directed them to his Dwarven Castellan, Escobar the Red.

Escobar informed them of a group of a number of problems: The mill was going to be burned down, and the guards heard reports of citizens attempting to hide in the Church.

After looking around, the party realized that the mill was a trap — it wasn’t really being burned down at all, but rather being made to look like it as a facade! The Church took priority, then. They killed some enemies setting a fire outside the walls and snuck in through a back door.

Jandar convinced the people to follow everyone out as Jurgen went outside to pick a fight with some more Kobolds and Drakes. When they were dead, he scared off another group with a particularly fierce roar.

The people taken back to the Keep, the party turned their attention to the Dragon attacking the keep. Kallisti convinced him to back down with an incredibly moving argument that he would be better served guarding his own hoard than helping some humans to steal a pittance of treasure, and he flew away.

The party was exhausted at this point, but as the sun was just coming up, a giant of a man, half-draconic, strode out of the morning mist and shouted a challenge. He would return four of the prisoners taken in the raid, if someone would come to meet him in single combat. Unbidden, Jurgen Jurgenson stepped forward to take the challenge.

Cyanwrath proved too much of a challenge for the adventurer, and Jurgen was struck low, but he managed to pull through with the aid of local Clerics, as the raiders marched off into the misty morning.

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