Dargona

Episode 4 - Payday
Other stuff glitters, but gold is better.

Waking from their first good night’s sleep in days, the three agents ate breakfast in the Hand’s headquarters, then met with Jonathan Withrington. Along with offering what little information he seemed to have about the problems in Saltstone Cove he delivered their pay. The agents were to have liberty until the scroll could be translated. Using the secret tunnel into the city, the three went their separate ways.

Oliver visited Faldarin Market and haggled for some new armor and then stocked up on arrows at the Archers, Bowyers, and Fletchers Guild with an eye toward the archery range and maybe the next contest.

Angelique went scumming for rumors at the Cub’s Den near the city wall. She heard some odd talk about Lucien searching for something in a storeroom, but it was the apparent disappearance of a man in a black cloak in one of the shadowed corners of the pub that caught her attention. Her search turned up nothing and the barman offered only hints that she should mind her own business.

Remi went looking for answers about the odd dealings in the Cove. He visited Scott Lunasol’s herb shop, The Twisted Staff. It also houses a small library known for dealing with the occult. Scott took an odd interest in Remi, and cheerfully offered his library for a nominal fee. Inside, when Remi attempted to reproduce one of the glyphs from the saltstones, Scott grabbed Remi’s hand to prevent the final stroke. Implying Remi had been about to do something dangerous, he instead opened a large book with seemingly blank pages. When Remi looked closely, he suddenly saw glowing runes. Scott seemed pleased and gave him a letter with a not-so-subtle hint it should be delivered to the Hand.

Back at headquarters, Kyle Malshara the Librarian for the Hand had finished translating the scroll more quickly than expected. It contained a prophecy that the Queen and Jonathan claimed centered on the three agents, calling them the Sword, the Hunter, and the Steward. Understandably skeptical, the agents’ questions forced Jonathan to take them to Carin Darklight for “education.”

Carin openly admitted to being a sorceress and told them the true story of the Shisa Vale’s origin. She claimed the three gods of Anorak, Solvak, and Talmag were in fact three ancient dragons who ruled the planet 4,000 years ago. Each of the three ruled differently, but Solvak’s harsh rule lead to rebellion that Anorak’s subjects also took up. The men used the magic taught them by the dragons to craft weapons with which they slew Anorak and Solvak. When the dragons died, the pure magical energy contained in their bodies exploded, laying waste to their kingdoms. But Talmag had warned Anorak of the plot and together they raised the Worlds Edge Mountains to protect the Vale from the cataclysm. The Royal Hand is part of a conspiracy to protect the Vale from the wastes beyond and from itself by keeping the truth of the outside world a carefully guarded secret.

The prophecy the agents recovered is a page from the Codex. A book written in Solvak’s blood, on parchment made from Solvak’s hide, by a wizard driven mad by the poisonous magic that flooded the planet as the dragon’s died. Carin believes that whoever sent Alain for the scroll is trying to reassemble the Codex in order to resurrect Solvak. Fortunately, the Syndicate is safeguarding the bulk of the Codex, but many pages remain lost. The agents are now in a race for the pages so that they can prevent Solvak from returning and taking his revenge.

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Episode 3 - Bump In the Night
Under Siege

With several of the agents heavily wounded from the encounter with red-eyed man and his wolves, little else could be done the next day but tend to their wounds. Ever suspicious, Angelique poked around the Trustee’s manor looking for evidence that Walter was responsible for the strange happenings. Oliver and Remi went into the forest to help Lara, the head servant, collect wound-healing purpleroot. The trek was successful and Lara reduced the leaves to a potent healing paste. When Angelique interviewed Lara, it was revealed that the paranoia of the Trustee had forced all quarters upstairs.

Refreshed by the healing herbs, the agents attempted to organize a defense and patrol but few were willing to participate. The group convinced the manor servants to keep watch from their quarters hoping to have an alarm raised if the red-eyed man returned.

And return he did. During the third watch on of the servants raised an alarm. Oliver awoke his compatriots just in time for an arcane blast to tear open the door. The red-eyed man and 4 wolves burst in, but the man did not engage the agents. While several wolves ran at the trio he and the remaining wolf took to the stairs. With all the servants awake with the alarm chaos erupted.

Eager to catch the red-eyed man the trio’s defensive formation quickly broke apart. Remi and Angelique managed to work together to slay several of the beasts, but their quarry found cover on the second floor. As they dispatched the wolf set upon Oliver gunshot rang out from the balcony where Walter had finally found his courage. As Lara joined the fray with a broken table leg as her weapon, they did away the final wolf. The agents arrived at the study, the red-eyed man’s apparent goal, to find Walter in a standoff with him. Walter seemed to know him, but the Trustee’s nerve broke and he accidentally fired. Both his shot and the return from the red-eyed man missed their marks, but the opening allowed Oliver to engage the man.

With each blow struck at the man, he began to change. Growing into a hideous mockery of a wolf, he fought with renewed ferocity. Remi managed to glean from the once again panicked Trustee that the now beast-man was the woodcutter’s son, Alain Rose. He pleaded to let the young man live, and Oliver wrestled the beast to the ground so that he could be restrained.

The agents interrogated him, but he seemed like there were two people inside his mind. Only one was willing to be of any help. Alain was agitated and constantly glanced at the floor where the agents discovered a loose tile hiding an ancient stone box. Against the pleadings of the pitiful Alain, they opened it to find a scroll written in an unknown language. Walter was flabbergasted at the discovery.

After hauling the corpses out of the house, the agents decided they had more than worn out their welcome at the Trustee’s and decided to make for Elaron’s Bluff with their prisoner and the scroll before sunrise. Jonathan Withrington met them outside the city and led them to a secret entrance. They were led to an underground hall apparently cut into the Bluff itself. Jonathan dealt with Alain, took the scroll to the Hand’s library, and showed them to their quarters.

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Episode 2 - Unexpected Guests
Some things are what they seem...really f***ing weird.

The second day of the assignment began in a frenzy. Angelique awoke to find Astrid missing. A search began, but no trace of Astrid or her passage could be found. The agents intended to interrogate their prisoner, but they found him crazed and screaming gibberish. In a lucid moment, he pleaded for death, but the confused agents could do nothing before the man’s grotesque fate overcame him. Accompanied by the sound of crunching bones and tortured screams, the man’s legs twisted into those of a giant goat. Remi, reacting more from surprise than training, quickly ended the beast’s life.

Following an awkward breakfast, the three agents attempted to investigate the village. First speaking to Willam Laconn, a saltreaper, they heard of the strange behavior of the town drunk. Willam attributed the strange happenings to an unseen force lurking in the drunken stonecutter’s cave. Willam also mentioned the recent disappearance of the woodcutter’s son.

With no evidence on the Saltstone themselves, the trio then interviewed Mr. Rose the woodcutter. A down to earth and pragmatic man, Mr. Rose attributed his son’s absence to wanderlust and youthful folly. As for the strange marks and attacks, he simply said the town was dying, and Nature wanted the cove back.

On the short walk to the stonecutter’s house, events took an ominous turn. As a couple were tending the afternoon tide’s catch in their trap, the whole catch exploded. The only damage was to the trap itself and the fish, but the agents proceeded with trepidation.

The stonecutter Horace Flint proved to be just as much of a drunk as was promised. The addled old man told tall tales of being attacked, and of a red-eyed monster that ransacked his home. In the cave where Horace worked his trade the agents found a small recess with time weathered markings around it, but no explanation was forthcoming.

Out of daylight, the agents set discreet watches in their rooms. On Oliver’s watch an ominous growling, identical to that of the monster described by Horace, came from the woods and passed by the Trustee’s manor. Oliver heard strange footsteps from above and woke the others. In order to convince Walter to let them outside they had to agree they would not be let back in. A mistake that would become evident quickly.

Outside in the torchlight by the Trustee’s door the agents came under attack from an archer deep in the darkness. The agents struggled to come up with a plan of action and after several near misses they found themselves ambushed by a pack of extremely large wolves. During the battle, Remi nearly fell to one of the wolves, but the still injured Angelique slew one while Oliver valiantly fought off the other two.

Victory, however, was not to be grasped by the trio this night. While the wolves engaged the agents, the archer stopped firing. The agents found out why several minutes later when a nearly blinding green light revealed a human silhouette atop the old saltstone. As he opened his arms wide, his eyes glowed a fiery red and a truly blinding flash consumed the scene. The figure disappeared into the darkness, and shortly thereafter a whistle cut through the night signalling a retreat to the last remaining wolf. It was clear the dark figure had achieved his ends.

Now broken and battered, the three remaining agents face an unknown foe with the new moon rising the very next night.

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Episode 1 - The Rabbit Hole
All journeys begin with a huge mistake.

Swordmistress Angeligue Bleu Fouchet, Journeyman Remi Seltaire, Fieldmaiden Astrid Dupuis, and Forestwalker Oliver Hunter each received a mysterious invitation to an audience with the Queen. Each arrived, Oliver under duress, to be informed that their respective guild masters had offered their service to the Queen as part of an ancient pact. Made members of the Royal Hand, the Queen immediately ordered them to travel to Saltstone Cove where strange occurrences were disrupting the flow of salt to Elaron’s Bluff.

With a late start, the agents hurriedly rode for Saltstone Cove, but were waylaid by a band of brigands. A pitched battle ensued as the agents attempted to pass the roadblock. At first the tide favored the bandits, but the unquenchable bloodthirst of Astrid slew two of the men and won the battle for the agents. A third was felled by Oliver’s blade, and his arrows hobbled the last. While the rest of the group bound the injured man to deliver him to the Trustee of Saltstone Cove, Oliver discovered a track into the forest it appeared the bandits were using to set their roadblocks.

Arriving in Saltstone Cove as the sun set, the agents found the villagers locked tight in their homes. Even Trustee Walter Seille who was expecting their village appeared reticent to open his door for them. When the group was finally admitted, the Trustee stammered tales of monsters and midnight attacks. He claims the heavy oaken door of Horace Flint’s house was ripped from it’s hinges and shattered. Spouting a lot of superstition about witches and black magic, the Trustee clearly believes that these ill omens will come to a head at the new moon two days hence.

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