The Vale

Recap of what has happened

Aeli arrives to Westport and meets Tironell looking to hire adventurers to explore an old destroyed Wizard’s Tower (Zenopus’s Tower) that has begun to show strange signs of activity – lights, figures, sounds. Aeli’s first adventures in the wizard’s tower. Set up base of operations at Inn of the Dancing Sea (Burlbur) Meet the armor/weaponsmith – Thumbold (Dwarf) Hires two new guys – Turchao and Rather – they say they are brothers, Rather mainly says “yea!” to everything, Turchao is the talker. They look nothing alike.
Aeli meets Worlale – priest of the temple to Cheliduus (Goddess of sea)

Aeli has visions of a dark man, probably Calypso.

Aeli and Company continue to explore the ruins of the Wizard’s Tower, run into more and more goblins and bandits. A very bad goblin attack leaves them all very badly wounded and hireling dead. In order to get healing, Aeli agrees to do a service for Worlale, help Lord Risz with an issue with the castle of Westport and its food stores. Knights had gone chasing bandits and in meantime, a strange monster has appeared in the food cellars of the castle.

Aeli goes back to tower with Tironell, finds a wizard at the top, kills him. Lots of treasure and books and a strange ring.

They meet Nicodemos, a book seller and sage, who will buy the books and research the ring. Aeli keeps/hides the ring after showing it to Nicodemos.

Meantime, news comes of a rich merchant offering a reward for his daughter who has been kidnapped by bandits.

Aeli’s adventure under the castle to free the food. She kills a gelatinous cube, runs into a strange man, Markus, who ends up being a wererat, and loses Nodwig the torchbearer to a horrible and lonely death to a pack of rats. Lord Risz names Aeli “Champion of Westport”, grants her privileges such as continuing to explore the Wizards Tower in Westport. He also mentions knowing her family – the Therran family. She reveals that her sister, her sister’s fiancee and a cousin were the only survivors of the attack.

Nicodemos tells Aeli that the ring belongs to Um Loran – the mage in the tower was a black mage. This is bad and she will be marked. He tells herthat her family comes from the famed Kellus who helped free the Vale from Alaxus, an evil wizard. She remembers Calypso wearing a similar ring. Nicodemos says that Calypso must be Um Loran mage. He must be hunting something related to Kellus and killed her family for it. To find out what it was, she will have to seek out ancient mage towers and go to mage schools to learn about Kellus. Thyckletray in Caleston is the school that Kellus was instrumental in founding.

They come back to find their rooms have been robbed and the ring taken. The Inn was set aflame. The sword that Aeli found (which reads “Desire Me”) keeps causing her to “black out” and continuously clean/sharpen it during these blackout times.

To help out with Bandits, Aeli travels pretending to be merchants to Valetown. They are set upon by 4 bandits who fight to the death. They arrive in Valetown. She meets/hires Quellan, son of the jeweler Asham. They hear of a strange ruin that teens found, with skeletons. The teens were investigating it because of a rash of cattle deaths. They go to investigate. It’s the ruins of a wizard’s tower built into the side of a hill. They find a passageway leading into the hill from the base of the tower. They explore, find a ghoul who has been eating the cattle, but it was holed up in an old library. They fight undead and win. Many old books. They chase the ghoul through secret passage, icky swampy tunnel and into a strange room with a tile floor with a design in it. A stone circular door with runes the door. In room is an iron door with bull’s head and a lock. Ghoul had the key in a box. They come to a bridge over chasm with 4 skeletons in front of a door on other side. Aeli decides to back off and build a giant slingshot.

They return and Aeli is now the “Hero of Valetown.” according to the Bards.

Aeli goes bandit hunting, does recon at the “Vicious Pixie” and finds Nib. With Nib’s “help”, they plan an ambush of a temporary bandit campsite. It’s successful and Aeli captures some bandits. Nib runs away. There is confusion at returning as the badits argue they are innocent and it’s Aeli & Company who are the real bandits. After a night in jail, the owner of the Vicious Pixie – Ghax – vouches for Aeli’s story.

She meets with clerk who speaks for the Patriarch – he is impressed at the description of the library. She gets the slingshot created, hires a cleric. At the wizard’s tower, all the bodies are gone. Doors are closed. She opens, cleric turns the skeletons (let down!). They find an adventurer’s body and a small dog, which Aeli starts to beat up on. Rather befriends the dog. They run into more skeletons and then find a strange smokey dragon who scares the crap out of them. They retreat to figure this out. Tironells says that the runes on door radiate evil, when he cast a spell on them.

The Patriarch’s clerk recommends she finds a sage who might help break the mystery of the smoke dragon.

They take the bandits back to the Keep, where Captain Equay reveals that the goblins and bandits are working together – somehow. Nicodemos agrees to research the smoke dragon if Aeli will keep bringing him books and information. In the meantime, they return to Zenopus’s Tower to explore it more. They capture a goblin and take it to the Keep (Notuk – naked goblin parade).

Tironell won’t tell Aeli why he’s not in a school.

The goblin reveals that the Goblin leader is called “Green Iron Fist” and has made a pact with the bandits. They are keeping the guards away from the docks and shore so the bandits can operate to capture merchants and learn of caravans so that goblins/bandits can capture them.

Aeli & Company return to Zenopus’s Tower, explore more, find the mask room and the sundial. It activates and answers her question about Calypso – it knows nothing. It answers one question a day. Aeli finds the bandit camp which was an unknown cavern leading to the sea right next to the docks. They “rescue” Lemunda and get a rewards. Nicodemos is very interested in mask, and he talks about why he’s interested in Kellus – Kellus studied magical myths, strange things, things that most mages don’t care about. Nicodemos accompanies them to the mask (and is attacked by a wandering ghoul who paralyzes him for awhile). When mask is asked if Zenopus had anything to do with Kellus, mask says that Zenopus studied Kellus.

Nicodemo finds answers to how to defeat smoke dragon – it’s a construct. Find the item that it is bound to and destroy it. He also tells her the story of Alaxus, who was 1 of 4 wizards who founded Um Loran. He was an evil overlord, who enslaved the lands of the Vale for his use. Eventually, a female paladin bearing a famous sword “Blade of Runes” defeated Alaxus, but his body was never recovered and she was never seen again. He believes the tower might have been Alaxus’s main headquarters. Alaxus was known as the “Minotaur Mage” for some reason.. and a Minotaur is half man, half bull. The iron door with bull’s head is strong clue to Alaxus.

After returning to Valetown, Aeli gets to meet the Patriarch. He reveals that more skeletons were seen at wizard’s tower and they chased workers away. The Patriarch was having the books removed. He is surprised to hear that the library and tower might be Alaxus’s but he agrees. As the leader of the local church, he agrees to help her with healing and help.

They return to the tower and defeat the smoke dragon who was bound to a brazier. They find a door in the cavern wall which leads to a series of hallways and chambers. The chambers have obelisks in the center and paintings on the ceiling of Alaxus’s career. They encounter a gelatinous cube and the party takes the worst of it. Aeli loses her “pretty sword” as it gets stuck in a wall. They have to run away. On the way back to Valetown, they are robbed by goblins. It’s a low point.

Thanks to help by Patriarch, they re-equip, re-arm and return to the tower, now believed to be the tomb of Alaxus as well. They defeat the cube and recover Aeli’s prety sword. They come to a second chamber and find “ratlings” – creatures that are bipedal rats that seem intelligent. They have several battles and decide to retreat to rearm and re-equip. They decide to try and see if there was another way into the tomb, since the ratlings had to come from somewhere. They find the opening and sneak in. They find the tomb… only to have the door shut in their face! The bull heads morph into a lock and keyhole. They encounter the ratling leader, who has the key, and a glowing blade with runes on it – the Blade of Runes! They defeat the ratling king, recover the blade, Aeli dons the armor of a skeleton who they now realize is the famous paladin. Then… Aeli starts having serious blackouts with her “pretty sword” and they realize the sword is cursed. Back to the Patriarch to get rid of the curse. On their way back, they encounter bandits and Nib! He’s captured and taken in chains.

Now freed of the cursed sword, Aeli returns to the Tomb, opens the door with the key and the team working together, they defeat Alaxus!

They recovered many books written in the black tongue of Mhaldor, gold and a strange black crystal orb, that was embedded in the coffin lid. Above Alaxus is a painting, showing him holding the black stone, the Vale, his Tower near Valetown, another Tower near a waterfall with a dragon statue holding a green stone, similar to her black orb, near the town of Valegate. Further on is the black towers of Um Loran.

Upon returning to Valetown, they celebrated. Aeli was involved in a diplomatic incident with an ambassador from Southron. She has been forbidden to ever enter the lands of Southron. She was summoned to a meeting with the Patriarch and farmers. Strange creatures, perhaps dragons, are terrorizing the farms, near the town of Valegate.

Aeli took the orb and books to Nicodemos in Westport. He cast spells to try to translate the books, but was unsuccessful. He said that she should go to the school of Thyckletray in Caleston, that the mages there could probably help with the books and orb.

It looks like from her notes that she decided to go traveling to Caleston. A “Kenthrix” will help her there?

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A recap of the game so far - Part 2

Aeli and her band met up with a hired hand driving a horse and cart to the Vale. This driver, Ruffalo, could only speak about the rumor of goblins being seen in the hills. Upon arriving in Valetown, Aeli and her band were summoned by the Patriarch, the mayor of Valetown and spiritual leader of the Vale. He spoke of cattle being eaten or carried off and a strange fallen tower discovered by a hunter tracking the killer of cattle. No hunters would approach that tower and the Patriarch had petitioned Lord Risz for months for assistance. Apparently Aeli and her band were now that assistance.

Aeli and company found the path and crumbling tower that the hunter had spoken of, as well as a second entrance. They found undead zombines skeletons as well as a nasty ghoul that had apparently been the mysterious source of cattle death. They also found an extensive library and symbols which lead the Patriarch to surmise that the tower belonged to the mysterious Alaxus. This Alaxus had long ago enslaved the Vale and performed unspeakable magics – he had also created the school of Um Loran.

Aeli began to explore the second entrance that seemed to extend into a hillside, but she was confronted by a bridge over a deep chasm guarded by skeletons. Unable to get around the skeletons, Aeli returned to town to much acclaim over the death of the cattle killer. Celebrated as “The Hero of Valetown”, Aeli decided to take a diversion for a few days and hunt down the bandits that had been preying on caravans going from Westport to Valetown.

She was successful in luring the bandits into a trap where Tironell could perform his magic and immobilize many of them. In the ensuing confusion with returning with the bandits to Valetown, Aeli was briefly jailed, but then released.

Aeli and company returned to the tower with a cleric and a giant slingshot to destroy the bridge guarding skeletons, which she successfully defeated. However, after some more exploration, they came to a great cavern with a dragon made of smoke guarding it! It intoned a threat to her and Aeli decided to flee and discover more information about smoke dragons before returning.

The Patriarch asked Aeli to take the bandits to the Vale for judgment by Lord Risz. Upon returning the bandits to Westport, Aeli was informed that more bandits had seemingly been appearing out of nowhere to attack and steal ships from the port itself! Aeli met with Nikodemos to learn more of the smoke dragon. Nikodemos would need time, and gold, to find books and sources to learn more of this strange creature. In the meantime, Aeli decided to investigate the Tower of Zenopus a bit more to learn if the bandits were using it as a hideout.

Aeli captured a goblin from the tower and took it back to Lord Risz for questioning. She returned to the tower again and discovered a strange feature deep in the dungeon – a mask in the wall that speaks when the sundial has light cast on it to 4’o-clock. It would answer questions at length and was a unique find! Aeli asked the mask about Calypso, but it knew nothing of him. So Aeli pressed on. She discovered an underground beach that led to the sea, a group of pirates and a kidnapped daughter (Lemunda) of the rich merchant Lenovo. They returned Lemunda to Lenovo who rewarded Aeli and her band richly.

A few days later, Aeli escorted Nikodemos to the speaking mask. Apparently the mask had been created by Zenopus himself! The mask admitted that Zenopus had studied the work of Kellus and felt that Kellus was exploring the history and biology of strange mythical creatures like dragons. It knew nothing else of Kellus. Nikodemos was thrilled at the discovery of the mask and said that he now owed Aeli a great deal. Nikodemos gave Aeli the key to defeating the smoke dragon – since it was a construct, find the object that the smoke dragon emanated from/was tied to and destroy it.

Upon returning to Valetown with this information, Aeli and company was unhappy to learn that the Patriarch had attempted to remove the library from Alaxus’s tower. Apparently that effort had been foiled by the return of more undead!

Aeli returned to the second hillside entrance and fought more undead until she reached the smoke dragon. In a difficult battle, Aeli was able to defeat the smoke dragon and found a rich reward. She also discovered a secret entrance that had been covered up in rubble – she had discovered the lost tomb of Alaxus! Her and her band pried the door open and entered the tomb only to find themselves fleeing a gelatinous cube that caused Aeli to lose her magical sword! During their trip back, the band was robbed of the rest of their treasure and equipment by sneering goblins of the Green Iron Fist. This marked a very low point for Aeli and her band.

The Patriarch kindly refitted Aeli and her followers and they set off back to the tomb. The Patriarch had told Aeli of the legend of Alaxus’s defeat at the hands of a mage-hunter and this mage hunter’s magical sword – the Blade of Runes. Upon returning to the tomb, Aeli and her band destroyed the gelatinous cube, recovered her sword and continued to explore the tomb – only to find it was now the lair of rat-people! Despite being outnumbered, Aeli managed to retreat from the tomb and return to it again later, investigating the hill to see if they could find out how the ratlings were entering the tomb. They did find the entrance, but decided to return to Valetown to re-equip and think over their plans further.

This is where the adventure stands as of now.

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A recap of the game so far - Part 1

Aeli is a young human woman, 20 years old. She is tall, and her most distinctive feature is her long brown hair, silky and usually braided.

Aeli’s recent history was filled with a terrible tragedy and one that has left her with a single purpose in life – revenge. She was of a rich noble family. The family was rumored to have held great secrets from an ancient relative who had brought them to their noble status. A mage by the name of Calypso befriended Aeli, seeking to take advantage of her naivetee.

After learning how best to infiltrate the family’s home, he did so, seeking the scrolls. He attacked the home with many hirelings and a horrific battle ensued between the bandits and her family’s men-at-arms. They were eventually overcome. The mage could not find the ancient secrets, and he killed the majority of her family (some where not present during the attack) trying to get the information on where the scrolls were kept.

Aeli was not at the family estate, as she had been away preparing for her impending marriage. Upon learning of the attack, she ran off from her family and fiancee to track down the mage and make him pay.

Aeli travels found her in the city of Westport, short on money. She fell into a group of adventurers, led by a young mage named Tironell. They were seeking to enter the Tower of Zenopus, a strange old crumbling building on the edge of Westport. Aeli agreed to join the adventurers. Unfortunately, they had only gone in for a little while when death struck and the party fled.

Over the next few days, Aeli and Tironell returned to the Tower to investigate its depths. Fighting goblins, undead skeletons and a giant snake, Aeli and Tironell eventually made it to a secret workshop. A powerful mage was inside, but a timely first strike by Aeli slew him before he could cast any spells out of a wand he was holding. It seemed that Tironell and Aeli had stumbled onto a great treasure of books and magic. Aeli also found a strange black ring on the mage’s body, one that she would later remember was similar to a ring that Calypso used to wear.

Aeli’s adventures drew the notice of the townsfolk of Westport, including one of the widows of a deceased hireling, the weary priest Worlale who worships Cheliduus, the Sea Goddess and others. It was also at this point that Aeli gained lifelong friends and followers – Turchao and Rather. Aeli had hired them, protected them and paid them well and they grew to respect and devote themselves to Aeli’s cause.

A sage and book seller, Nikodemos identified the ring as belonging to the black mage “clan” of Um Loran. Nikodemos warned Aeli that Um-Loran would want the ring back.

Aeli’s successful adventures in the tower led to her being summoned to the Westport Keep. There, the Captain of the Guard, Equay, asked Aeli and her band to investigate a problem of a “monster” in the Keep’s storage tunnels. The rest of the knights and men were off chasing off a bandit problem, possibly a goblin raid. If the tunnels were not recovered, a great deal of food would be lost. Aeli agreed.

Upon entering the tunnels, which had been blocked off by the scared castle guards, Aeli and her band found a strange creature, seemingly almost invisible, sticky and very large! Aeli, seeming to be possessed, cleaved her way right through it and it “melted”, leavings coins and bits of metal in the goo. After exploring the tunnels further, the band found an area where the stored supplies had been completely eaten by a horde of rats. The rats seemed to be under the control of a lost guard named “Marcus.” There was something wrong with Marcus though, he ended up being a wererat! Aeli and her band killed him, but it was a near thing as Turchao ended up diseased, Rather had contracted lyncanthropy from being bit by the were-creature and their beloved torchbearer, Nodwig, was lost in the darkness to more giant rats.

Aeli and her band recovered from their wounds and diseases and the Lord of Westport, Lord Risz honored Aeli by naming her “Champion of Westport” and awarding her living quarters. He also permitted her to continue her explorations of the Tower of Zenopus, while also mentioning that there were problems of a different sort in a nearby rural town – Valetown.

Unfortunately, Aeli and her band came away from the Keep back to the Red Dragon Inn to find their rooms robbed and burned – the ring of Um-Loran plus many of the valuable magic books were gone.

Nikodemos told Aeli a bit about her family history – a history that she wasn’t much aware of. Her family traces back to the famous wizard Kellus Therran. Kellus founded Thyckletray, the great white mage school. There were many rumors that Kellus had been investigating strange theories in his later years, but nobody knows for sure what he was onto. Nikodemos surmised that perhaps Calypso did know, or had a clue. If Calypso bore a ring of Um-Loran, then he would most like be a black mage as well – and thus Aeli now had a dangerous enemy. Nikodemos advised Aeli to investigate more of her family’s history and learn what she could of ancient mages, in order to find out why Calypso was searching for.

After conferring with Equay, Aeli decided to venture forth to Vale and Valetown to see if she could find the source of the bandit problems and perhaps help out the leader of Valetown with a problem he was bothering Lord Risz about.

That will be covered in the second recap.

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