Shadow Guard Rise of the Phoenix

Episode 4

Episode 4 (10/19/2013)– An Awkward Ending – Lucien, Pahn, Myrmidon, Traendithas, and Trauban

At a foot bridge spanning a river, some Grey Cloaks harass a Dwarven peddler trying to cross with his mule. “You should have paid Spidas”, they say, as the heroes approach. The well-armed heroes try to intimidate the guards, but when they call for an Ogre lurking under the bridge the tension becomes calculating. Lucien remarks that a fight would be costly for both sides and the guards relent, allowing the heroes and the peddler to cross. Traendithas remarks that they should kill the Ogre and guards, but the heroes dissuade him, just as Raglor notes an additional group of Grey Cloaks arriving behind them.

At the north side of the bridge, a single Black Cloak hides out. His companions had fled when the Ogre arrived and he fears to go back to Raven Hill. He directs the heroes to the Lake Village where many of the ex-nobles have settled. Traendithas mentions that the Labrie family of the King, may be found there.

The Lake Village seems wary, but not nearly as unwelcoming as Raven Hill. Fishermen greet the heroes and direct them to where the Labrie’s may be staying. A stout Ael with thick side burns and less hair introduces them to Lady Labrie, a frail older woman. She seems shocked that her son is alive and much less a newly crowned King. She seems less inclined to leave with the heroes but does wish to have a letter delivered to her son, Vax, the King of Alphatia. She would later mention that her husband is not well and she is tending him.

The heroes make camp with the Black Cloak at the river, to await Lady Labrie’s letter. That evening sounds of fighting are heard on the other side. A Grey Cloak lands on the heroes side of the shore with a sickening thud. Fleeing Grey Cloaks are barred by Myrmidon, but are allowed past once they surrender a whistle used for the Ogre. A second Grey Cloak is thrown across the river followed by the Ogre’s bellow, “PAAAHHHNNNN!!”.

As the Ogre wades across the river, the heroes take up positions on the shore and the bridge. The Ogre’s eyes blaze with an eldritch light, a charm of some sort. Tristana tries to use her crossbow, but it misfires and plops into the river below. Traendithas is more successful, sinking several arrows into the beast before it meets the heroes on the shore. Raglor takes the first attack and is thrown back, before Myrmidon, Trauban, and Traendithas bring it down.

A black clad defender from the Lake Village, briefly appears and mentions a terrible magic was near but now gone. A search of the remains of the Grey Cloaks finds a chest with 12 gold, silver, and copper coins. Pahn gives everyone 2 gold and keeps the lesser coins. Most of their weapons are broken and the heroes decide against looting the downed guards this time.

In the morning, twenty Black Cloaks and their Captain, Keetha, arrive to sort things out. She thanks them for their service to Raven Hill and offers quarters in the castle, which they gratefully take up after a rather poor night’s sleep. The Teamsters are also picked up and asked to join the company. The heroes agree to stay for the funeral as well.

At the funeral, the priest Ollum and Lady Ballentine lead the procession to an ancient family tomb. Ollum says some words about the Saints and the need for hallowed ground to suppress the dead from rising again. His eyes glow with unearthly light and he then calls for Pahn to enter the crypt below. Weapons are drawn and Ollum grabs Lady Ballentine, clawed hands at her throat. Lucien suggests they will let Pahn go below only if Lady Ballentine is released. The possessed priest agrees, but once Pahn goes below the light fades from his eyes and the Teamsters attack the heroes!

As Lady Ballentine pushes Ollum away, Myrmidon rushes down into the crypt. The Teamsters wound Traendithas and Lucien, but are eventually cut down. No one really notices if their eyes were glowing or not, but Lucien and Tristana stabilize one of the Teamsters, while Traendithas loots a sack of coins from the other, letting him bleed out.

Meanwhile, in the crypt, Pahn finds the heavy bronze sarcophagus is now unchained. The lid opens with white smoky tendrils and a pallid clawed hand of The Albino pushing the lid away. Pahn prays for protection from evil, just as Myrmidon charges in with his halberd. Seeing the sickly spectre, the Warforged charges and wounds the creature, but it seems resistant to his steel, unnaturally leaping from the sarcophagus. The battle done above, Trauban rushes down and is nearly charmed, but shakes it off with disgust. Myrmidon and Trauben trade blows on the beast, eventually breaking it into a pale fog that flees the crypt. Lucien tosses in a burning hands as it flees, just for good measure!

After the battle, a distraught Lady Ballentine rushes down into the crypt where they find not her deceased husband’s remains, but a sarcophagus filled to the brim with coins! Pahn and Trauben are pulled away from the treasure trove, but not before pocketing a handful (or two) of the coins. Traendithas remarks that the gold is theirs for the taking, but the heroes agree to seal the tomb instead, letting Ollum and Lady Ballentine to complete the “burial” and take their leave.

The surviving Teamster is revived and briefly questioned, before it is revealed they were likely charmed as well. He seems distraught that his companion (the other teamster) was killed and demands to know who did it, but is only told “we did it” by the heroes. Lucien further burns the letter (3 of 4) given to the Teamster and he leaves their company, running off towards the woods.

The heroes fall back to “The Temple” to recuperate and process the last few day’s events. During the afternoon, after a “few cups”, Raglor flies into a rage and begins slamming Traendithas against the wall of the tavern. Traendithas tries to grapple the larger man, but eventually has to pull a dagger to break free. The grinning barbarian rages that if he wants to fight with weapons he is more than happy to oblige! Traendithas flees outside as Raglor gives chases with his maul. He gets of a couple of arrows off before Raglor’s maul turns him into a bloodied corpse.

Raglor returns to The Temple and set’s a bloodied sack of coins on the table – The teamster’s coins. It turns out that Raglor, Tristana, and the Teamsters were all Shadowguard and former shipmates for the Dread Pirate Roberts. As Raglor sits back down with his cups, he mutters, “No one messes with the Shadow Guard…”

A year ago a violent earthquake destroyed the capital of the Sea Duchy. Refugees fled to the Old Kingdoms as Bretons and Pirates pillaged the remains. Katarina, a pirate captain from Donglaive, seized power and proclaimed herself the new master of the Sea Duchy. Her pirate fleet defeated the Bretons and captured the port of Tol Barad. The new Sea Duchy was re-named Alphatia, after the first kingdom.

Katarina – Phoenix Queen, ruler of Alphatia

Vax – Shadow King, ruler of Alphatia

The Phoenix Queen burned so bright… The Shadow King disappeared from sight…

The two were wed in blood and fire… A dragon’s death to say their vows…

Alphatia’s banner rose high that day… The first kingdom reborn, to all’s dismay…

The Shadow Guard serve the King of Alphatia. They will serve the King in in the shadows on missions to support the crown. Dread Pirate Robert and Silk are your contacts in Tol Barad at the Sea Devil tavern.

Brogan – Dragon slayer, champion of Alphatia

Gywdion – Shape changer and master woodcrafter

Nok’Gar – Magician and Governor of Tol Barad

Dread Pirate Robert – Captain of ships, Normandy crew

Silk – Tol Barad contact, Normandy crew

Raglor – Breton barbarian, Normandy crew

Tristana – Night elf rogue, Normandy crew

Teamsters (2) – Normandy crew, 1st MIA and 2nd KIA

Lucien – Night elf magician, new recruit

Pahn – Breton rogue/white mage, new recruit

Myrmidon – Warforged, new recruit

Trauban – Dwarven warrior, new recruit

Traendithas – Ael Ranger, new recruit, deceased

**

Plot Synopsis

Shadow Guard is hired to escort Lady Ballentine to Raven Hill. The wagon train includes 12 Bombards and the Lady’s deceased husband. The bombards are for the Royalists in Raven Hill and the deceased husband is to be buried at an ancient ancestral resting place. Fears that a vampire may be involved turn out to be true, but actually have more to do with Pahn than Lady Ballentine. The sarcophagus turn out to be hiding a treasure trove in coins and a unnatural fiend called The Albino seems to be hunting Pahn.

The New recruits are to be (covertly) evaluated during the mission by senior Shadow Guard and the client. The client has letters she turns over to Lucien, Tristana, and a Teamster. The Teamster’s letter is destroyed by Lucien. The 2nd Teamster is looted by Traendithas and allowed to bleed out, which eventually enrages Raglor who winds up killing Traendithas in a fit of rage. Tristana eventually explains that they were all (Raglor, Trist, and the 2 Teamsters) Shadow Guards and part of their mission was to help evaluate the new recruits and see if they have a part in the new kingdom of Alphatia…


Awkward Ending Explanation

OK, so my idea for how things would go did not pan out. I was unable to save Traendithas and wound up killing him with Raglor (as an NPC). Doug can make another character, but I may have role played Tim into a corner too (sorry!).

Tristana and the Teamsters were all Shadow Guard from the get go, but I had planned to make Raglor one as well, a sort of sergeant at arms for the group, to keep the recruits in line. He fell into that role when Tim mentioned decking the Teamster that sucker punched Pahn.

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