Our latest adventure begins with the adventurers having set out across a strange unknown land in search of Nightfall Station.
Heeding a map passed on from the denizens of Bludin Cove, the heroes started off on a five day hike from the docked airship Enki Zephyr in the direction of Nighfall Station, planning to meet up with the river that ran next to it. Not far into the journey, Raven and Zefir felt a change in the air that signaled they were crossing in and out of a dead magic zone.
Along the way, several encounters pushed the heroes even deeper into the swampy forest than they had planned. First a cloud of mosquitoes threatened nausea if the party didn’t swing around them in a wide detour. Then three leather bound Gnolls approached and warned them not to come any nearer. Both groups parted peacefully, avoiding each other. Later, a great ruckus was heard as a tentacled beast came crashing towards our heroes through the brush. After the beast took a swipe at Bru and inflicted some heavy damage, Raven conjured a pit that swallowed the monster whole. Leaving it behind to its own fate, the group wasted no time and continued on into a valley, where they could see the river at the bottom that they sought.
As they got closer to the bottom of the valley, the group saw a river boat approaching. Fearing the worst, they decided to hide as it passed. They looked on as it ran aground, and some humans jumped out of the boat to help push and guide it through the rocky riverbed. It appeared to be the people of Bludin Cove, and as they recognized our heroes, they waved. On the way to help, the heroes passed by a road that was disturbingly littered with corpses and bones. Although they attempted to communicate about this troubling discovery, the heroes didn’t speak the same language as the crew of the river boat, and the source of those corpses would remain a mystery for the time being. Succeeding in freeing the boat, the heroes jumped aboard and continued down the river toward Nightfall station.
Passing under a canopy of trees and wildlife, everyone aboard the boat spotted one of the most beautiful birds they had ever seen above them in the trees, and our heroes noted that it didn’t resemble anything familiar from their lands. A day passed, and the river boat passed the ruins of a shipwreck, dotted with shurikens and surrounded by a cloud of red stained water. Not long after, smoke was seen on the horizon, and great concern showed upon the faces of the river boat crew. Debris began to float downstream, consisting of wreckage and burnt wood. The group was convinced something drastically wrong was happening at Nightfall Station.
Entering Nightfall station, they tied up the boat at an eerily quiet dock. As they approached, the city almost silently burned and appeared empty, save for destroyed houses and the dead. Human corpses littered the ground and showed signs of blunt trauma, burns, and many of the bodies had shuriken stuck in them.
Suddenly the group was ambushed by nine halflings. They quickly assassinated one of the river boat crew members, and a tussle broke out in the smoldering street. Zefir cast an offensive sleep spell that knocked out many, and the halflings that weren’t afflicted by it soon fled the scene. The heroes then grabbed one of the sleeping halflings and withdrew into an abandoned house to question the drowsy attacker. He refused to speak out loud, but the group learned through much trial and error that generally the halflings sought to kill the humans and viewed them as invaders. The group decided to let the halfling go, and in the process, parted ways with the surviving crew members of the river boat too, who respectfully bid their goodbyes and left our group alone in the abandoned house.
Around twenty minutes passed and a rushed knock at the door was the group’s first clue that the house was now surrounded by a gang of halflings. Mat answered the door and attempted to speak elvish with one of them, learning that the halfllings wished to take the hero’s weapons, but that in return promised no harm would come to anyone. Mat sensed that they were either lying or leaving something out of the story that would change things. He continued to negotiate with the halfling and soon a slight change came over him that seemed to indicate he wasn’t completely hostile any longer, and just really unfriendly.
Agreeing they had little choice in the matter, the heroes gave up their weapons, and joined the halflings outside. They led the heroes outside the city into the countryside where there were even more of halflings surrounding them. Hopelessly outnumbered, the adventurers continued to make peace with the halflings, and after many negotiations had taken place, the halflings offered to train the adventurers in their ways.
The first step in their culture they taught: Don’t speak. Instead, take in knowledge. It was beginning to make sense why some of the halflings they had crossed paths with had seemed to be mute.
Several days passed under the halflings tutoring, when suddenly horn blew, putting the entire halfling camp at alert. The heroes’ weapons were returned to them, and everyone scrambled to a skirmish that was about to break out at the edge of the forest. A large group of humans approached, signaling for war. The halflings rallied, as did our heroes. But as soon as the first blows had been traded- every last one of the halflings turned and fled, leaving our group facing a mob of angry people. Zefir cast a sleep spell to turn the tide of battle, and the group used non-lethal damage to overcome the rest, leaving several to flee in terror.
Frustrated, the group decided to leave this place entirely, and head back along the river the way they came. They were soon attacked by a large four-armed gorilla creature, but with a combination of luck and a well-placed sword thrust, Bru dispatched the creature before it could cause much harm.
Next, the group ran into one of the halfling leaders from the camp, who expressed that the skirmish was only a test – and one that we had passed. He then gifted the group with a magical stone that to a trained eye practically oozed moderate transmutation magic, and said that if someone was to stare at it, the stone would bring enlightenment. He expressed thanks on behalf of him and his people, and that now they felt they understood more about the world, after their time spent together. Then he left the heroes on their way.
Once they made it back aboard the Enki Zephyr, Omar Zuman claimed he had discovered that this entire land mass dated back no further than twenty years, and that the people here had no memories of a time before that. Heading back towards Sothenopolis, the heroes all agreed that they had enjoyed their time adventuring with Omar, and would accompany him on a quest to Goblin Island before heading back to Meadowheart.
As the balloon ship sailed over the ocean, Zefir decided to use the magical stone. She stared at it intently until a sudden flash occurred, and the heroes all peered at each other for any signs of changes. All appeared normal except for Raven, whose eyes glowed a strange yellow and green color for about a minute. But he otherwise appeared to be fine, and nothing else seemed to be amiss, so the group had no other course of action than to proceed to Sothenopolis. Once docked and inside the city however, Raven claimed to be seeing strange frog-like people with claws, in place of what everyone else saw as ordinary people. Mat had the knowledge skill to conclude that a demon may be involved somehow.
And as simple as that, a new mystery had began to unfold…