Path of the Burning Sky

Adventure Log One
The longest night

From the letters and papers of Arialwen Faranae

Dearest Mashka,

I do not know when this will reach you, since war is coming to Gate Pass. The Ragesian army is almost upon us. They think to parlay first, hoping to send in the Inquisitors to exterminate or capture any practitioners of magic. The council is divided on this issue, but general opinion is that the Inquisitors will be let in. There must be bounties on the heads of spell casters already, since I’ve had to break up a few fights over the last few days. Well, attempted kidnappings, really. Those who use magic are currently free within this city, and I will defend them.

Perhaps because of this, I’ve been asked to meet with a select group of people this evening. Everyone has heard the rumors of a resistance to Ragesia, and there have been murmurs that people are organizing in Gate Pass as well. Gate Pass has not been my home long, but I will not submit to those forces that would overrun it. I will send this before the meeting.

Love,
Arynka

Dear Mashka,

Well, I supposed I should be addressing this as “Dear Journal,” but I’m so used to writing to you that I can’t seem to give up the habit, even if there is little chance that you will ever read these words.

I arrived at the meeting last night, knocking at the back door of a shuttered inn. Along with me were three other sentients: two human males and a mostly-human man. I later learned that the first man was Yadrian, a merchant; the second was Piotr, a wizard; and the third was Ejunn. We entered the inn and spoke to a human cleric of Gozreh. She was part of the local resistance, who had been expecting a valuable package from their spies in Ragesia. If we agreed to help, our task would be to find this package and find a way out of the city. In preparation for the coming attacks, Gate Pass has been locked down. No one can enter or exit.

We agreed to do this, and had just received some details when bounty hunters attacked. Unfortunately, they were not the only things to attack. From overhead, we heard the beating of gigantic wings, and bombs rained down on the city. Several struck the inn where we were fighting. At last, though, we defeated the rogues. The final one fled, and his leader decided that his men had enough of us for one night. They left.

The five of us ventured out into the night. Torrent, the human cleric and resistance leader, came with us. She is to help us obtain and escape with the intelligence. Our next step was to contact a gnome in the next district over. Along the way, we sought to aid as many as we could who were fleeing from fire and danger. Once we reached the gate between districts, a dark shadow passed overhead. The crowds panicked; stampeding and leaving many wounded. We eventually made it through the gate and found the rendezvous point. Which was hard to miss, really, since it was a secure tower where people and businesses can keep their items and money.

The meeting went…oddly. The gnome addressed us by the wrong name, and seemed to think that we were bringing him the chest. It didn’t take long to figure out that this person was not who he said he was. And once he knew that we knew, well, hostilities commenced. The gnome was not a gnome at all, but an elf. And, a Shahalesti elf of a house with some importance, since he had a lantern archon to aid in his defense. We eventually defeated him, and in exchange for being allowed to flee, he told us what he knew.

He was working with a group of Shahlesti spies who had been sent to intercept the chest, and was under the impression that it would self-destruct unless we gave them the secret to opening it. Their leader was a student at the local magic academy, and she had taken the chest and left the erstwhile “gnome” behind to find out the way to open it. The actual gnome was bound and gagged upstairs. The elven spy fled, and we hastened upstairs. Upon freeing the gnome and the remaining vault guards, the spy’s story was confirmed. He had indeed brought the chest from the Resistance’s contacts within the Ragesian court. The ringleader spy and her fellows had taken the chest from him, though he was able to convince them that ordinary means would not open it. Fortunately, our conversation with the spy had not disrupted this belief. He also had some ideas about how we might be able to leave Gate Pass, once we retrieved the chest.

We headed to a temple for safety, rest, and another resistance contact. Along the way, though, we saw a Ragesian wyvern rider crash into the city. Screams followed, and he ran off into the night. We followed him as best we could, and finally found him seeking shelter in a small home. We were too late to save most of the family. I confronted him within the house, and he took the last remaining person, a small boy, as a hostage. I promised him that he could leave the house if he let the boy go. He did indeed leave the house. Then we set upon him. The boy was unharmed, and the enemy soldier dead.

We finally were able to reach the temple with gnome and boy in tow. The main part of the temple was crowded with frightened people, and we did a little to try to ease their fears. The resistance cleric took in the child, then lead the rest of us to a secret room where we could rest and tend to our wounds. And that, my Mashka, has been a faithful recounting of my first eight hours as a resistance fighter. I’ll write again as I’m able.

Love,
Arrie

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Intermission in a small town

Having survived the burning forest our heroes continued on their journey. They travelled to the small town of Swallowfield. While selling off some of their acquired items they also were able to wash the ash from the road off. Getting ready to find mounts the next morning an incident happened in town and the local mill started collapsing into a sink whole in the river. After rescuing some of the local guards the party and a local Summoner were able to rescue the guards and then proceeded in to investigate further and rescue the miller and his workers and local wizard. The facility while slowly filling with water appeared to be an old monastery. After taking down the undead monk and his followers they were able to rescue everyone and find some loot.

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Shelter from the Storm

On a rocky coastal spur on the far side of a
remote swamp, on the southern tip of civilized lands,
an old city was swept into the sea. An earthquake
collapsed its coastline, and volcanic geysers obliterated
its people. All this happened centuries ago, but
eventually people forgot the legends of curses, and
sought to inhabit the land again. A clan of wizards,
remembering only that once the peninsula had been
home to a mighty fire mage in ages past, established
a school, the Lyceum, on the rocky coastline, and
brought slaves with them to tend to their needs.

Students, headmasters, and even slaves
came and went, until only free men lived on the
now-verdant rock spur. Around Lyceum grew a
large town named Seaquen, home to just over
a thousand fishermen, craftsmen, and former
students. Spellcasters from around the world travel
to Lyceum, no longer a school simply for wizards,
but for all those who practice the magical arts.
Lyceum and Seaquen have never known danger.

But now once-peaceful Seaquen is overrun with
refugees, diplomats, spies, and heroes. A Scourge
from the north burns its way outward from the
Ragesian Empire, which seeks to capture or kill
spellcasters disloyal to their realm; thousands have
flocked to Seaquen in hopes of safety and salvation.

Lyceum, after proclaiming it will fight the
Scourge, has found itself the rallying point for all the
fleeing refugees. Most seek safety in numbers, some
want to help, others desire an alliance; but a few wish
to end Lyceum before it can affect Ragesia’s plans.

Among those arriving in Seaquen are heroes
bearing a message from Gate Pass, a neutral city
besieged by Ragesia. After escaping
a city under siege and fighting their way
through a burning forest to shake pursuit, the
heroes arrive in Seaquen, where they can find
allies to help fight the Ragesians or work toward
other goals. But Seaquen is threatened by many
foes, and the heroes are in a unique position to
defend it. If they fail, Seaquen will be destroyed,
and slim will be the chances for allied resistance
against the might of the Ragesian Empire.

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This place...is CLEAN

Ending the party’s time in the forest of Innenotdar and the threat of Indomitable has taken an investment of time, and more importantly, the lives of one of our companions the Sylph Ejunn. The party leaves the forest with a new ally in one of the Seela, a bard named Tiljann. The sacred tree of the Seela has been reborn and Indomitable has been released and sent home without having to engage it in direct combat. With the forest Inneotdar no longer on fire the way is open for travel around Gate Pass for the first time in some 40 years though more importantly, ends the suffering of it’s inhabitants.

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The Indomitable Fire Forest of Innenotdar

The heroes have escaped from the city of Gate
Pass with vital military intelligence as the Ragesian
army’s assault came down upon it, and have set off
toward the town of Seaquen and the mage school
of Lyceum. The heroes, the sea-cleric
Torrent, and the haunted seer Crystin) have arrived at the
edge of the Fire Forest of Innenotdar.

Forty years ago, Innenotdar was home to an
elvish people who wanted to remain neutral in the
conflict between Ragesia and Shahalesti. One day
refugees began to flee from the forest, claiming it
had been put to the torch, though no one could
agree on who had been responsible or why. While
the refugees settled into a walled ghetto in Gate
Pass, they were shocked to learn that the fires that
had driven them from their homeland were not
dying. For forty years, Innenotdar has burned
relentlessly, with no signs that the flames will ever
either abate or burn out.

The heroes have chosen to brave this dangerous
pass because it is too hazardous for Ragesians to
pursue them therein, and because, whereas it
would take weeks to travel through the snowed
in mountain passes, with the proper magic
(potions of stand the heat, of which they possess
many), they should be able to cross the fire forest
in less than two days, taking the old Elfroad from
the Otdar mountains to the northern border of
Dassen, beyond the reach of the Ragesian army.

But the forest is still a home to some, and
Ragesia will not give up pursuit simply because
there is danger.

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