A Rising Tide

Is this all just a smoked red herring?

How it is that events always turn for the worse. The Con Artist’s friend Taz — more of a friend of her other friend Wrist, really — tracks her down in a panic. Wrist is kidnapped! Stolen away! Forced to return to his home village. What?

The green-eyed man from the Isles appeared and with Wrists’ cousins, forced him away. Probably back to his home village, Calder’s Run. What could this mean?

The Con Artist, naturally, gathers her army. The Blacksmith doesn’t feel the urgency, but goes to get the Historian anyway. Perhaps the Historian should now be the Apprentice, for that is how he spends his time in Dishun’s Apothecary — as an apprentice. Dishun sends him on his way with a mysterious glass vial filled with something green and evil.

To the east the army travels: The Merchant, the Blacksmith, the Apprentice and the Con Artist. Plus, of course, the army: The Merchant’s Bodyguard, Taz and three of his dubious friends from the dockworker’s unions and Mutt, the bouncer at the Con Artists’ regular hangout.

Into the foggy east they go, knowing it is a fell time to walk the fens. Hags are about, as are the Grey Ladies, either bringing a horrible fate though one brings more spilled blood than the other.

Calder’s Run is an unwelcoming place. Strange fishy totems guard the wagon track, and fog threatens to swallow the interlopers into the muck of the swamp. But they perservere.

It is midnight when eyes are set upon the village, and the little army sees bustling activity. Midnight in a village readying itself for a wedding. How strange.

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Scribes and scrolls and all things dusty

The Blacksmith’s key is miraculous, and opens a door which leads to further mysteries. Whatever happened to Lady Thea, it appears it was unpleasant. The Con Artist worries that her friend might be in deeper trouble than they thought, and convinces him to leave town for a bit. After, of course, handing the amulet to her.

Amulet in hand, the party wonders what to do? Can they give it as a gift to the nobility and hope that the high and mighty will resolve everything for them? Sometimes passing the buck is harder than it looks.

The Con Artist visits the city’s archives, and hires a scribe to gather information from old tomes and dusty scrolls. Perhaps something in history might point to what this amulet is about? Information is costly, however, and there is concern that they may not be able to pay for it.

Meanwhile something seems terribly wrong with the Historian.

Events continue to march forward, and the party is ever caught in its wake.

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A Key in the Night

The world never seems to slow. Even as the weary party returns to Marinburgh, hoping for rest and hot food, events continue to race forward.

The Countessa is due for motherhood in the next few days, bringing into the world the next Red Duke or Duchess.

The Merchant’s family worries about how to put their best foot forward in these changing times.

The con artist discovers that her friends on the street have pilfered a trinket that had slipped her mind, and now its owner has gone missing.

The party gathers, with the Blacksmith miraculously producing a key from a leaden lump of metal, they are ready to delve further into mysteries.

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Of Stone Tablets and Burning Bushes

The party has grown desperate, trying to discover the secret of Mary’s Ford.

The Blacksmith, the Scholar, and the Con Artist recruit a few townsfolk to help them dig further into the ruins in the swamp. Here they discover a tablet of stone, glowing strangely, buried beneath the fallen ruins. The Scholar is forced to wear the cursed ring once more, but shares little of his insights once he recovers.

The Merchant remains steadfastly at camp, attempting to ignore the goings on and pretending that all is normal.

The Blacksmith, and the Con Artist take the cursed ring, and the tablet, into the Cob Hill and succeed in unleashing a terrible energy that knocks them like rag dolls and shakes the earth.

Upon awakening, they find the village abandoned. The fields sprout with weeds and long grasses. No one has been here in some time. The Merchant’s cousin, a caravan master, has lucked to stumbled upon them, and promises to return them to the safety of Marinburgh.

The mysteries of Mary’s Ford remain undiscovered.

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A ring of confusion

Following the surgery on the poor guard, The Historian, Con-Artist and Blacksmith head back to the swamp to poke around the stones. The Merchant stays behind with their bodyguard, only to witness the poor guard dissolve into feathers and ash and brittle bones.

At the swamp, the Blacksmith begins an excavation showing the standing stones are really the tops of buried pillars. Much work needs to be done, more than a single man can do. On the way back they chat with the witch, Dania, who feeds them stew, and sends them on their way.

In the village, the three find their companion drunk on moonshine so they go off to find the priest. A heartfelt discussion later, the Con Artist feels like they are no further ahead. So back into Cob Hill they go. Forcing the Historian to wear the gold ring opens the secret door, but leaves the Historian in progressively worse state.

He reads the frescoes, and tells them about an ancient war behind a Queen and her consort. Where her consort rebelled, summoned demons and tore about the kingdom. She captured him, but could not bring herself to slay the madman. Instead, locking him up for all eternity in a magic prison.

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Dangly bits and other horrors

Following the discoveries beneath Cob Hill, the party regrouped outside. The Merchant decided he wanted to go home. The others were adamant to stay, particularly the Con Artist at least to continue her charade a little longer. Eventually they resolved to stay for a day or two more.

The Con Artist and the Blacksmith decided to go visit the witch, Dania. Wisely, the Merchant and the Historian stayed behind at camp. The Historian caught some mice for lunch, then naps. A nap filled with nightmares.

The witch turned out to be surprisingly reasonable. She fed the two cake. She fed them bacon & potato soup. She told them some history, pointed out some other local ruins, and may have accidentally implicated Father Matthew in the deaths of the children.

The Con Artist and the Blacksmith went to investigate the ruins, but resolved little. The Merchant became worried, and headed off to find them. They met on the road, and cake was shared.

Later that evening a man was found running naked and raving through the village. He was concussed by the Merchant and may never awaken. The party recognized him as one the Merchant’s guards, sent off to find supplies. This was concerning, for where were the others?

The Historian awoke, and performed surgery on the guard. From the incision, ravens flew free. Eyeless ravens, with too many wings and beaks. They escaped into the sky, despite the Blacksmith’s best attempts.

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Birds of Feather

Something was clearly not right in this village, and the team was suspicious.

Struggling to piece the clues together, they gathered at the site of Cob Hill to investigate. Here they found that the landslide had revealed a passageway inside the mound. Opening into a large buried temple of some sort, they poked around amidst the detritus of a long gone era.

The historian put on a found ring and immediately collapsed, though a door opened at the same time. The party investigated deeper, carrying their unconscious comrade with them. The historian dreamt dreams of eyeless ravens, torment and torture. His friends found an abandoned, looted crypt, and evidence that they were not the only recent visitors.

A secret door was found. The Historian struggled against the Bride. The others descended further, to find a hall of frescoes and odd glowing corals growing from the walls. Coral which burnt flesh and drank the blood of those who stumbled into them. The party smashed a lot of coral.

The Historian awoke when the party found a room of glowing crystal imprisoning an old man. They found touching the crystal to be quite unpleasant.

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A Village of Fears

Having not consulted maps, the wayward party travels unprepared to the village of Mary’s Ford. Surviving on potatoes, and foraged mushrooms, morale falls and bitter arguments ensue. But the trial lasts only three days, and afternoon sunlight washes away anger as the village comes into view over the crest of a hill.

But not all is tranquil here. The deeply religious locals have found a savior in the Con Artist, for she has been sent by Safaya. Nightmares plague the town, and children have been drowning themselves in the river. A witch, Dania, is said to be the cause.

The Historian/Survivalist, and the Merchant go out into the woods to hunt but turn up nothing but sharp words. The Merchant sends all but two of his guards east, to Handorf, to get supplies and perhaps aid.

The Blacksmith uproots a stump, while the Con Artist investigates Farmer Patrick and the mystery of Cob Hill.

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A road less travelled

And the plucky team of Blacksmith, Con Artist, Historian(?) and merchant head south to the village of Mary’s Ford, chasing rumors of wealth in farmer’s fields.

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Town Criers Update

The Criers Guild, High Sung Notes of Red Glory, has been busy spreading news through the streets of Marinburgh.

The Green Mountain Guild has shared good spring tidings: the roads to Handorf are once again free of avalanche. Foot traffic can once again proceed to the southern lands. Messengers are travelling swiftly to bring delayed letters to their destinations.

Word out of Ancarnia is that unrest continues. Baroness Avril, of no particular house, has marshalled enough arms to take a large section of the countryside including the old capital of Vonitsa. Travellers are warned that she takes a dim view of visitors. In other Ancarnan news, House Evreux is reportedly beginning a migration to Marinburgh. This wealthy house is likely to cause much upset in the marble halls of the Red Duke’s palace.

As everyone will remember, the Countessa went into seclusion in late fall. The Royal Midwife is excited to announce that the Countessa is with child. The Red Duke’s heir is expected for early summer. Countessa Dashelle is expected to return to her public appearances. The ladies of the Mosaic of Summer guild have already begun preparations for a spring festival in honour of the Countessa and her child.

Captains from the Blue Sunset guild, returning from the far off Isles of Khem, report that a Khemreni Trade Fleet is building with intent to sail south to Marinburgh. Such a spectacle hasn’t been seen since before the fall of Louria, and it promises to be a once in a lifetime event.

House Baudissin is planning a joust, at their estate west of Port Neresheim

If one were inclined to such things, there is word that the arena beneath the Cathedral of the Saviour is once again hosting the Ruby Fist championships. No holds barred, no rules, and a very large pot of money to the winner — or should we say, survivor?

Rebuilding efforts are under way, in Low Town, following the riots and fires of last fall. The Silent Order of Safayah, however, are forbidding any work to one particular area near the harbour. Notable amongst the Silent Order, Father Isadore has finally recovered from the Night of Madness and has been seen in the streets once again. The Countessa’s Regent was severely injured during the riots, and remains reliant on a crutch.

As it is again Spring, citizens are warned that there are Hags about in the eastern fens. Travel with care.

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