The Damocles Inquisition

Main Campaign - Forest Festivities
Session 03

A Good Nights Rest

Realising that the sun has almost set, and the light is drawing in ever faster, the party decide that it would be best to make camp where they are, rather than to attempt traversing the forest at night.
Kitty Lock and Eleana decide to sleep in the confines of the carriage, whilst Persephone climbs up on the roof, and takes the first watch. As a Tiefling, she can see clearly in the dark, so they see no reason to light a fire.

A few hours go by and all seems quiet and the night is thick and dark, when suddenly Persephone notices hundreds of little glowing eyes hiding amongst the undergrowth. Looking around, she sees that they are everywhere, surrounding them.
Gently she thumps her foot on the carriage roof, to rouse the others.
Kitty Lock is the first to emerge, who quickly climbed to the roof of the carriage, followed drowsily by Eleana.
After showing the others what she see’s, Persephone jumps to the ground and walks as close as she can get to the trees on the roadside, without leaving the road itself. Unfortunately she can see no more clearly what the eyes may belong to, as they are too far away. With that, Kitty Lock determines to head off the path to ascertain what kind of creatures they may be. She gets out a torch but, as she lights it, the eyes rapidly move to be more concentrated around her. They have moved no closer, but are far more concentrated around her.
Out f concern, Persephone preys to her deity (And rolls a natural 20…). Suddenly and without warning, the lit torch that Kitty Lock held burst into a mass, perfectly circular ball of flame, roughly three foot in diameter, covering her arm but, oddly, not hurting her. The area was lit up as though in daylight, for a hundred feet around them.
Looking around them, the eyes have gone, and no trace of them remains.

Feeling somewhat safer now, Persephone and Eleana head into the carriage to sleep, whilst Kitty Lock takes over the watch.
As soon as Persephone falls asleep, the torch goes out completely, and all is dark again.

Fire in the Forest

Everything is quiet for the next hour; no wildlife rustling, no mysterious glowing eyes., just silence. Then, far off in the distance, a small fire lights up amongst the trees. Quickly, Kitty Lock bangs her feet on the carriage roof, to wake the others.
Drearily they crawl out and look over at where Kitty Lock is pointing (Which takes a bit of hand holding for Eleana, due to her lack of sight in the dark. Knowing that there are no other signs of other people in the woods, curiously they decide to investigate.

Kitty Lock runs ahead, as fast as she can and as quiet as the night itself; leaping and bounding from tree to tree, and bouncing across the thick moss covered ground, not making a sound. An impressive feat for someone who cannot see an inch in front of her, in this blackness.
She is followed quite quickly, but not quite as silently, by Persephone.
Eleana takes things a bit slower, being more careful, so as not to trip. She walks along at a slow, steady pace.

As Kitty Lock and Persephone get closer, they can hear beautiful, lively music emanating from the direction of the fire. It sounds most wonderful.
Ever closer still, it becomes apparent that the fire is a small bonfire, in the middle of a clearing. Around it are many silhouettes of figures dancing around gaily.
The silhouettes appear in all sorts of shapes and sizes; some with horns, others with tails or wings, and all manner of other strangeness.

The party decide to creep carefully closer and, as they reach the edge of the clearing, the revellers can be seen more clearly in the light of the fire. They look perfectly human; a group of festive celts, dressed in their typical attire. No horns nor wings could be seen amongst them.
The celts are dancing and playing beautiful melodies on pipes, drums, and stringed instruments, whilst others sit around eating and laughing together. It seems like a fantastic joyous celebration, perhaps a pagan seasonal festival.

Persephone looked at the others, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, she said.
However, cautiously intrigued, Kitty Lock decides to risk any perceived danger and introduce herself.
Sheathing her weapon, she walk into the clearing with her hand open and outstretched, and said “Hi.”
Immediately, the music stopped, the fire extinguished, and everything fell deadly silent.

Repeat and Run

For a few moments everything was quiet, as the party stood there in bewilderment, when suddenly they heard the familiar sound of music, further in the distance. Turning around, they saw another campfire casting shadows amongst the trees.

Fearing some sort of trap or danger, and concern of losing their way in the forest, the party decide to head back towards the carriage. With all of the confusion, Eleana and Persephone have lost all their bearings. Kitty Lock, however, has kept a close eye on which way they went and points them back towards the carriage.
The new campfire is in the same direction, slightly off to the right.

Due to the poor visibility, and their wish to go slower, and more quietly, they got out a rope and tied it around each of them. With Kitty Lock taking the lead, the rope around her tail, followed by Eleana and Persephone, both tied around the waist, they wandered carefully.

As they near this campfire, a wonderful smell emanates from its direction. To each it smells like their favourite food, prepared so exquisitely.
Without warning, Kitty Lock and Eleana were pulled harshly towards the fire, as Persephone jerked clumsily towards it. Her friends try and pull her back, but her strength is too great, and she just trudges on forwards in a trance=like state, making no reaction to their calls and pleas.
Hurriedly they try to snap her back to reality; Kitty Lock pulls out some spoons from her pocket and throws them at Persephone, but still no response. Fervently Eleana fumbles in her pockets and pulls out a bunch of Winterbite leaves, wafting them vigorously under Persephone’s nose, but even that had no reaction.
As a last resort, Eleana pulls out a small, thin green bottle and uncorks it with a “pop”. Persephone jumps as if awakening from a dream, as the bottle is wafted in front of her face. Her eyes wide open now, she looks around alert, and confused.
“Absinth”, says Eleana, proudly, as she places the cork back tightly on the bottle and pockets it away.

Realising that there is something trying to draw them farther into the woods, and as their fears got the best of them, they determined to continue towards the carriage, and to get as far away from the campfires as possible,
Agreeing that there was no longer a need to be overly discreet, and as it is pitch black, with only Persephone having any visibility, Kitty Lock lit one of her torches to guide the way. Instantly the campfire extinguished and the music stopped, just like before, reappearing a distance behind them.

Leading the way, Kitty Lock advanced back towards the carriage, leaving the strange campfires behind them.
Once there, Kitty Lock took watch, whilst the others slept. The rest of the night was, fortunately, quite uneventful.

Outward Journey

The party woke early the next morning, the dappled sun shining through the small gaps in the canopy of leaves as they set off East, along the worn road.

They carried on along the road for quite some time, passing many small paths and various different plants until, in the distance, there stood a tiny grey statue, about 2 foot tall, in the middle of the road. It was very smoothly carved, but with basic detail; a large, friendly grin covered his face, with large happy eyes, his body small and rotund, with short stubby arms and legs.
As they got closer it moved! Looking up at them, it smiled even wider and seemed to do the motions of a full bellied laugh, but without any sound. It then waved and ran up a side path, to the left.

Confused and wary, the party trundled on cautiously, towards where the statue was. As they got closer, the statues head popped out from behind the bushes and gave another huge hearty smile and wave, before diving back down the path.
Looking down the path, it is unlike the usual dirt tracks that they have passed. It is paved with large, light coloured slabs, quite expertly done, and adorning the sides are hundreds, maybe thousands, of small stone statues much like the one that ran down there just moments before.
They are all different sizes, ranging from no more than 10 inches to 2 foot tall, all with the same wide-eyed grin covering their chubby faces. Some have their arms crossed, others have one or both arms protruding outwards, with their roundish hands outstretched. They are all motionless, just as statues should be, and it is impossible to tell if the one from the road is hidden amongst them.
The path continues only goes a short way before taking a sharp left turn, the view of which is obstructed by the statues and surrounding trees.

Out of fear, the party fled quickly from the area, deciding not to investigate the statue filled path. Carrying on East, they eventually reach the outskirts of the forest without any other incidents.

Session Highlights

  • The party camped in the carriage overnight.
  • During the night the party noticed many glowing eyes around them, in the distance. Lighting a torch drew them closer.
  • Persephone prayed to her deity (Rolled a 20!). Suddenly Kitty Lock’s torch became as bright as daylight and the eyes disappeared.
  • Later in the night, the party saw a campfire in the distance. They chose to investigate.
  • When closer they saw silhouettes of many strangely shaped figures dancing (Horns, long arms, animal legs, etc.). Music and laughter could be heard.
  • Upon reaching the campfire, they could see that the revellers were human looking.
  • Kitty Lock walked into the clearing. As soon as she did the music abruptly stopped, the fire went out, and everything was quiet.
  • Moments later, another fire started up in the distance, and music could be heard.
  • The party headed back to the carriage instead of the campfire.
  • As they passed the campfire, a smell of the sweetest, tastiest food wafted over from the festivities. Persephone was overwhelmed by the smell and started walking blindly towards the campfire, as though in a trance.
  • Eleana managed to break the trance, by wafting Absinth under Persephone’s nose.
  • Kitty Lock lit her torch to see, and again the campfire extinguished and re-appeared behind them.
  • The party headed back to the carriage, where they slept overnight without any mishap.
  • In the morning they headed East towards Cúan.
  • On their way through the forest, they saw a small statue of a little rotund figure, with a big grin on his face, standing in the road.
  • The statue waved at them, laughed, then ran to the left, up a side road.
  • Up the side-road were hundreds of the statues adorning the sides of it, in all different sizes, completely immobile.
  • The party chose to carry on out of the woods.
View
Main Campaign - Cúan Rùn
Session 02

Loop De Loo

Leaving the ambush site and continuing West, the party following the tracks left by the other carriage until they come to a group of trees covered in blood. Looking up, they see walkways and lookouts built in to the trees, all of which are completely destroyed – shattered wood litters the ground and rope bridges dangle down.
Around them, are drag marks, accompanied by small, light footprints, the kind that Gnomes would make, heading towards the bushes and disappearing behind a wall of brambles and thick, thorn filled shrubbery.

Kitty Lock climbed up a nearby tree, to scout the area, and examine the treetop constructions. Looking down, she realises that the area is more than just similar to the ambush site; it is identical!
She climbs back down to the others and tells them.

The party realise that they are in the exact spot that they left shortly before, but the bodies of the Gnomes have disappeared.
Confused, they try and ascertain how, whilst following a straight, clear track, they have seemingly gone in a complete circle.
Whilst talking, Kitty Lock gazes down the Western path and notices that everything looks slightly hazy; some of the trees are fuzzy, and the path looks out of focus. As she concentrates, the fuzzy trees vanish, as though a mist clearing, and the path appears to alter ever so slightly – rocks appear where no rocks were before, a slight bend in the road is no longer there.

“It’s an illusion!” Kitty Lock cries, as she points down the path.

The others look and immediately Eleana agrees. Persephone, however stands there perturbed, as nothing looks different to her.
Eventually, after both Kitty Lock and Eleana explain what they see to her, she too can see through the illusion.
With that, they carry on their journey, Persephone driving the carrriage.

A Powerful Evil

After riding for a short while, they come to a long, straight section of the path. In the distance, they can see a small cart, much like there’s; blood red, with a large hand emblazoned on the back. The head of the driver can be seen above the roof, wearing a dark red- wide brimmed hat. This must be the Inquisitor that they were following.

Instinctively, Persephone casts Detect Evil on the driver. Suddenly a sharp shooting pain strikes across her head and she collapses, unconscious.
Eleana quickly grabbed the reigns, but the horses buckled and she lost grip. Before the horses could go too wild, Kitty Lock jumped down from the roof, where she was clinging on, and held the reigns tight, bringing the horses back to a steady trot, before stopping them.
I few seconds later, Persephone came to, looking shocked. She explained to the others that the driver of the other carriage was definitely evil, and so powerful that he was overwhelmed by it’s aura.

They all decided to continue following the carriage, but at a safe distance, so as to not be noticed by the Inquisitor.

The Road to Cúan Rùn

Even though the carriage in front was pulled by a single horse, they had difficulty keeping pace, with their two horse drawn carriage.

As they were driving in pursuit, every so often, branches snapping as if something was running through the undergrowth could be heard, but no other sounds of wildlife. A little further down the road, the snapping sounds where accompanied by child-like giggling.
Looking around, they could see dark shapes, in the distance, darting between the bushes and shrubbery – to small to be a person, but too dark to make out.

This continued for several hours whilst they followed the carriage, until suddenly, Kitty Lock heard the carriage stop. She brought their own carriage to a halt, as they turned a bend.

A short distance in front of them stood the carriage; the driver no longer visible, and the side-door left wide open. In front of the carriage, the trees opened up to what looks like a large clearing.
Carefully, Persephone climbed down from the carriage and snuck in to the woods, creeping towards the Inquisitior’s carriage.
Peering into the carriage, it is empty, except for a few sets of manacles bolted to the floor. The driver has clearly gone, and any captives removed.

Cúan Rùn

Persephone gingerly stepped out of the trees and looked down into the clearing. In front of her was a large, sandy beach, sloping steadily down towards the ocean.
To the South was a large line of trees curving around the beach and far out into the sea, creating a tail shaped cape, called Cape Eàrr, which also shields the beach from the view of any passing ships. Greatwood Forest surrounds the each to the North. Far in the distance, near to the point of the cape, sits a large ship.
Heading down the beach, towards a small row boat, is a large figure dressed in the familiar garb of an Inquisitor, riding a large black horse. A small, pink haired gnome limps next to them, shackled at the wrists and ankles, and a metal cage around his face.

Quickly Persephone runs back to Kitty Lock and Eleana, to tell them what she saw.
Thinking hard, the party decide that engaging the Inquisitor directly would be a bad decision, seeing how easily they seemed to dispatch the Gnomish ambush. Moving quickly, they unbuckle the horses from their carriage and gallop into the trees and up, along the cape, to get a better view. However, in their haste they forgot any essence of stealth, and the Inquisitor notices them.
The crimson figure looks up, their face covered by a black mask, as they draw their sword and point it towards the party. The blade is jet black, like a shard of obsidian, with a strange glow covering its surface.
The party stops, stock still, unsure what to do, as the Inquisitor stares at them for a moment, then sheathes the sword and turns away. The pink haired Gnome is hastily pushed in to the row boat, along with the large horse, and the Inquisitor sets off towards the ship, seemingly ignoring the party.

Kitty Lock pulls out her crossbow and takes aim at the boat. However, she realises that it is too far away and decides against it.

The part decide to continue on horse-back as far as they can, then carry on by foot, towards the point of Cape Eàrr, to get a better view of the ship in the distance.
Once there, they can see that the ship is no ordinary vessel; along the length of its hull are arrays of cannon hatches covering several floors, three large masts adorn the deck – with the sails furled, it’s anchor weighed, and room enough for a legion of men. It looks built for war.

Focusing on the ship, Persephone reels back in shock. She recognises name on the bow of the ship, which reads, in thick golden letters, “Royal Virtue”. This is the main warship of the Church of Virtue, which they use as an advance fleet in their crusades; sometimes it is the only ship they send, as it is large enough to contain an entire army, and is very well armed.
Persephone explains to Kitty Lock and Eleana that the Church of Virtue rules the Island of Origin, which is a covered by a great walled city. They often send crusaders out to other lands to destroy what they class as heretics or blasphemers.
She went on to explain how the Inquisitors are the Church of Virtue’s highly trained special arm of the military, whom usually travel in groups of three, called a Triad, specifically to combat a typical witches coven (Mother, maiden, and crone). Much like a witches coven, a Triad have their roles of Hunter (To find the heretics), priest (To convert/torture them), and executioner (To finish them off). As there were three carriages, it is a safe assumption that each was ridden by a member of the same Triad.

As all Inquisitors wear full face masks, it is impossible to know what they look like, but each one wears a unique mask. Unfortunately, the party were too far away to ascertain any detail on the mask, except that it looked black.

Journey back

Realising that there is no way of catching up with the Inquisitor now, the party decide to return to their carriage.

Once there, Persephone looks quizzically at the bonsai tree, “Are you an Inquisitor?” she puzzles. Casting Detect Evil on the bonsai shows nothing, and it appears to be friendly.. as far as a tree can be.
Feeling thirsty, Persephone pulls out her flask and takes a swig, also pouring some on the bonsai tree.

Session Highlights

  • The party headed West, following the Inquisitor in the cart
  • Following the path, they found themselves back at an ambush site. Turned out to be the same one they left – an illusion. Once broken they can continue
  • Persephone used Detect Evil on the Inquisitor driving the carriage and immediately collapsed (Stunned)
  • Playful / mischievous gigging could be heard amongst the trees, and small shapes could be seen scurrying in the distance
  • The Inquisitor left his carriage and took his captive down the beach, on to a row boat, and to a large ship off shore
  • Persephone Recognised the ship as the Royal Virtue, the main war ship of the Church of Virtue – Very heavily armed, full of military personal
  • Before the Inquisitor boarded the row boat, he noticed the party (Who were out of reach), he bore his sword, but did not engage
  • The party headed back to their carriage
  • Persephone Used “Detect Evil” on the bonsai tree – returned not evil. She then attempted a sense motive on the Bonsai tree, which seemed like the tree was “friendy”. She the watered the bonsai tree, from her drinking flask
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Kitty's back story - The Crown
Session 03

Back Inside

Standing on the far side of the bridge, Kitty catches her breath, waiting for Merisiel as she pats herself down to ensure that the flames are out.
Looking timidly around, Merisiel joins Amber, her hands now covering what her trousers no longer can..

A large door lies between them and the main castle walls. Not being able to sense anything on the other side of it, they push it open and gaze in wonderment; All around them are chests overflowing with gold, gems, and other treasures; suits of gold laid armour hang on stands, with jewel encrusted helmets; handwoven tapestries hang on the walls, depicting great battles.
Immediately Merisiel ran to the armour racks and found a padding hose/chausses to wear – they were big and very ill fitting.

As thieves do, they then raided the chests for treasures, before leaving down the spiral staircase at the front of the room.

The floor below is a large stone-walled room, with rows of long tables lined up along its length, and no other apparent way out.
Searching, they notice that the plaster on the a small section of wall, in the top-left corner of the room, is a slightly different colour; tapping on it produces a hollow echo.
A small, unlit torch hangs on the wall beside it, which piques their interest as it’s the only of its kind in the room. Kitty yanks on it, the torch pulls down, like a lever, and… nothing.
After about 30 seconds, a clicking sound can be heard, getting louder, grinding as though stone on metal. Suddenly, the wall slides to the side, revealing a very small winding staircase, going down to the floor below.

As they go down a floor, a plaster wall stands where you would expect to see a doorway. The stairs, however, do carry on downwards.
Inquisitively, they tap on the wall – a resounding echo emanates from it – another false wall!
Looking around, they see another torch. As expected, pulling on it makes a grinding, clicking noise, as the wall slides to the side.

The King’s Chamber

A short hallway lies in front of Kitty and Merisiel. To the left, an exterior door, leading to the battlements; to the right an ornate, windowless door.

Not wishing to head back outside, they sneak down the hallway, towards the decorative door.
Pushing it open, they are greeted by a most ostentatious room. The floor is encased in perfectly symmetrical black and white tiles; The walls are covered in intricate, gold inlaid carvings, which trail up to the ceiling and crawl overhead, encircling a large, golden chandelier – a mass of candles standing in its flower-shaped holders.
On the far wall, a large stain-glass window stands tall to to the ceiling. It depicts the king, looking triumphant, in full battle regalia; sword in one hand, the decapitated head of a foe in the other.
On the opposite wall is a large organ, the pipes of which rise high and then curve along outwards. Beside it, another beautifully adorned doorway, leading to the King’s private bedroom.

As they enter the bedroom, they are confronted by the humongous furled face of a grizzly bear; it’s maw open, bearing it’s fearsome teeth, a snarl on it’s face and it’s eyes staring towards you.
It lies on the floor, ready to pounce, although, it’s not. Looking more closely, it’s body appears to be oddly flat, and it’s eyes lifeless. Kitty and Merisiel look at each other in relief – it was just a bearskin rug.

Re-composing themselves, they look around; against one wall is a very large four poster bed, with plush red velvet cushions and cover; a small doorway lies opposite, leading to a small room with a bathtub and latrine.
Kitty, thinking of her profit margin, immediately tries to steal what she can, by shoving one of the plush pillows under her top. Looking around for more items to steal, she notices that a section of the wall, beside the bathroom is made from the same odd plaster as the secret doors that led them here. And, as before, a small torch hangs on the wall beside it.

As she pulls the torch the wall swings to the side to reveal a very small, cupboard sized room. Inside stands a small, but finely crafted, dark wooden table, with an exquisite red velvet cushion on the top. Resting atop the cushion is the King’s crown.
It glimmers brightly, even in the dim light of the room, it’s jewels glistening colours against the walls. Kitty steps in to pick it up but, as she does, the bedroom door swings open and in strides the King – a plethora of guards by his side, armed with halberds and swords.

“I have you at last!” The King booms. He turns his head, “Thank you Merisiel, you will be rewarded greatly”. Merisiel, her head hanging low, steps back behind the guards and stands furtively in the corner of the room.
Kitty, in shock, stammers, then pounces towards the guards! Instead of diving into them, she lands squarely on the head of the closest guard, and bounces swiftly to the next; bounce, bounce, from guard to guard, when suddenly she loses her footing and comes tumbling to the floor.
The king strides up to her, his sword raised. He brings it down with so much force, hitting Kitty on the top of the head, with the flat of the blade, knocking her unconscious.

Tower Escape

Kitty wakes up and opens her eyes. She’s in a dimly lit stone walled room. There is some light coming from a series of small barred windows, and a large window in the centre. She is alone; Merisiel is no-where to be seen.
Suddenly a wizzing sound passing passed Kitty’s head, followed by a sharp thud. Turning she sees a large arrow embedded into the wall behind her. Attached to the end is a thick rope, which trails back and out of the large window. The tip of the shaft of the arrow is encased in a small roll of parchment, and has a pendant, on a chain, wrapped around it.
On closer inspection, the pendant is the very one which Kitty found in the box earlier. Unravelling the parchment, it contains a message which reads:

“Forgive me, Merisiel”

Kitty is furious! Not only did Merisiel betray her, by selling her to the King, but she also stole her necklace! Calming her anger for a moment, she follows the rope over to the window and looks out, to find herself at the top of one of the castle towers. The rope trails all the way down the stone wall, to a small wooden boat lying in wait, in the water.
Due to the height of the castle, the bars on the window are not too close together and Kitty manages to squeeze through them and carefully climb down to the boat below. Once there, she finds a large bag with all of her belongings and weapons in, except for the King’s pillow.

Is Merisiel really sorry, and trying to find forgiveness?

Session Highlights

  • They find lots of gold and jewels in the top room of he castle
  • Merisiel finds some trousers!
  • They find the crown behind a false wall in the King’s private chamber
  • It’s a trap set up by the King, informed by Merisiel, who betrayed Kitty
  • Kitty gets captured by the king
  • Merisiel shoots a grappling arrow through the prison window, with a note apologising and the necklace attached
  • Kitty escapes by climbing down the rope to a waiting boat, which contains all of her items
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Main Campaign - Introduction
Session 01

Captives

You wake up, groggily, your head beating like a hundred ogres playing “Flight of the bumblebee” inside your skull; your eyes dreary and fighting to stay closed, you force them to open. Not that it does much good – wherever you are, it’s pitch black, except for a very small square of light shining from the side of what must be a wall, not far from you.
Your wrists and ankles feel heavy, restricted by cold metal clasped around them, binding your hands and feet. You can feel the same icy touch of iron surrounding your head, against your mouth, and pushing down your throat, making it impossible to utter any pleas for help, without choking on your own tongue.

Confused, with no memory of how you got there, except for a few fuzzy recollections of what you can only assume were the previous night – sitting in a very packed bar, mostly gnomes, but a few other races. Dancing, music, whizbangs of Gnomish variety. The entrance door slams open, pain, then blackness.

As your senses return and the beating in your head recedes, you notice that the ground beneath you is moving, shaking violently. A constant grinding noise can be heard as if wheels on stone.

The aggravated rocking and vibrating continued for what seemed like hours, when suddenly a loud scream pierces through the cacophony of sound around you. An abrupt jolt knocks you over as the floor beneath you pivots to a steep slope. The wooden boards creak under the pressure, as they settle. No more shaking, no more whirring of wheels; just silence.

A moment later, footsteps can be heard from outside whatever box you are in. Faint and distant, but getting slowly closer. It’s difficult to tell, from the muffled thumping, how many sets of feet there are, but they are now right on the other side of the wall.

Whispered, but heated voices can be heard from where the footsteps stopped.
thunk thunk clang.. thump

The wall opens, and the small window that provided minuscule light is now dwarfed by the harsh brightness that now blinds you from this new opening. If you look around, you can now see clearly that there are several other people chained in the wooden box, like you.
A silhouette stands in the doorway, the shape of a crossbow visible in their arms.

The silhouette shouts something, <gnome> “It’s okay, they’re normal!”, and then proceeds to climb in, crossbow held firm. You can tell from her voice, and stature, that the silhouette is female and either a Gnome or a very thin Dwarf.
One-by-one she leans down to you all and carefully pours a thin line of black powder, from her satchel, on to your restraints. You see the sparks of a flint and the powder is ignited; moments later a deafening bang rings through your ears and the shackles come clattering to the ground, along with the bridles, that were so uncomfortably gagging you.

Looking down, all of your clothing and belongings have been stripped from you.

Outside

Persephone gets up and walks towards the opening, as Eleana joins her and looks outside.
They find themselves sitting in the doorway to a small wooden carriage.

The cart is tipped at an angle, having lost its front-left wheel, which is lying on the ground several feet away.
The wooden carriage is stained a dark red, the colour of the inquisitors. A large wooden chest is built in to the outer-rear wall of the cart, with the Inquisition insignia on it, and a rather hefty lock.
The horses that once pulled the cart have seemingly vanished.
In the front seat, where the driver would have sat, is a small bonsai tree, with it’s roots very firmly wrapped and entrenched around the seat. Over it is draped the recognisable, but ripped, red cloak of an inquisitor, almost as though the tree is wearing it.
Apart from that, the cart is undamaged.

The cart is directly at the centre of a junction, facing West, assumably the direction it was heading in.

4 horses are tied up against a tree that stands just to the South of the junction, happily grazing on the grass.

There is no sign post at the junction, but there is a small stone, similar to a milestone, where a signpost would usually be.
A small ring of stones, less than a foot high, encircles the junction.

The Gnome which freed you stands outside and introduces herself as Niza Surespark. Beside her stand her companions, Dave and Harry, also Gnomes.

Niza explains that you were captured by an Inquisitor. She explains briefly that the Inquisitors are the military arm of a very powerful religious cult, that are trying to destroy anything that they deem heretical or demonic – which is most likely why Persephone was captured, although she’s unsure as to why Kitty Lock and Eleana where as well; perhaps just a case of wrong place and time. The were only expecting the single captive to be the Gnome that was in the carriage with you.

She also shows you the carriage seat, where the driver sat, which now contains the bonsai tree. In a bemused smirk, she explains that it was the driver! There was a loud bang, the horses vanished and the driver appeared to have become a bonsai tree.

After a brief “What on earth!” moment, where Persephone checks whether the bonsai tree is evil (it’s not), the party is told that two other carriages came through just moments beforehand; one headed North, towards the The Wilds, whereas the other headed West, towards the Greatwood Forest.
They’d known about the planned attack for along time and had planned an ambush in the forest for the carriages.

The party decided to come with Niza to the forest, to ensure that the ambush went without a hitch. Fortunately, the carraige wheel was easily re-attached, and they could continue at speed, once the Gnome’s horses were hooked up to the carraige.

Greatwood forest

The western road is wide and barren at first, but after a few miles, small shrubbery starts to crop up, growing out of the rocks and partly covering the road. It is clear that this was once part of the main road system, from the sporadic mixture of large and small slabs of stone that would have once covered the way, but are now sparsely dotted around and worn over the years. Especially now, as the road has become less used, allowing for the flora to take over once again, with brambles threatening to trip the unwary traveller and grass down the middle tall enough to hide a young Gnome in.
The road is just wide enough to fit 2-3 people standing abreast or a small cart.

Ahead of you is the vast forest of Greatwood, which is roughly 200 miles wide and and over 600 miles long.

Although the forest looks quite dark from the entrance, once inside it’s actually quite bright with dappled light falling through the gaps in the leaves. A worn path, spotted with old cobblestones, trundles ahead of you, through the mass of trees. The ground is covered in thick waves of spongy green moss, ranging from bright green down to a dark brownish hue. You can hear birds calling high up above in the trees, and a sense of calm fills the air.
It’s quite picturesque.

As you go further into the woods, it gets quieter and less birds can be heard. Two thick gashes slice across the road, as though a cart was forced to swerve to the side and thick, erratic hoof-prints dot the area.
Both the wheel marks and hoof-prints then straighten up and carry on down the road.

The ambush

A little bit further down the road is chaos; The road is again churned by wheels and hooves and shards of wood scatter the floor. You can see blood spattered over the mossy ground and the bodies of many Gnomes lie haphazardly, limbs broken, protruding at odd angles, their faces full of anguish. Looking up, there are several just as unfortunate Gnomes dangling from various branches.

This is the ambush spot. There are several makeshift, wooden walkways amongst the treetops, with interconnecting bridges, and a series of swing ropes, for swooping down on whomever may pass along the road. These are also dotted with the bodies of many Gnomes.

Out of the many Gnomes that are lying around only one is alive. A young Gnome, around the age of 30 (Adulthood is 40), not even an adult, let alone old enough to fight. He has short, spiky, bright green hair and a row of freckles across his cheeks.
He has apparently fallen backwards into a small bush, with his feet sticking out. His left arm is broken and a sharp shard of wood sticking out of the lower part of his stomach. He is conscious but very weak.
Eleana calls out, to let the others know that she’s found a survivor. Immediately, Niza Surespark spins around and wails, ‘Sprik!’. As she runs towards him, tears stream down her cheeks.

Although his wounds are extremely sever, after several hours, Eleana manages to stabilise him and stitch up his wounds.
After a while he is strong enough to talk. however he is absolutely terrified. He keeps crying about how “It should have been easy, it was just one man … Am I going to be all right? It hurts.. Am I going to die?!”
Between his murmurs, you ascertain that the carriage came through and the Gnomes carried out the ambush on a lone driver, dressed in dark red robes, a matching red hat and an evil looking mask. The figure single-handedly killed the Gnomes, laughing as he did so, apparently revelling in the pure destruction and horror that he was inflicting. The mask he wore seemed to incite a lot of fear in the young gnome; a dark red mask with large fangs.

Time to leave

The party offered their assistance with Sprik Fitzbarrow and anything else required, but Niza Surespark, distraught and mad with grieve simply shouted at them to “Go! Just leave!”, even turning down the offer of the party leaving the carriage for them.

With this, the party sadly left, deciding to try and track down the main in the carriage.

Session Highlights

  • The party were bound and gagged in a carriage, by an Inquisitor
  • A small group of Gnomes, headed by Niza Surespark freed them
  • The carriage driver was turned into/replaced (?) by a small bonsai tree
  • The party is told that there were two other carriages – one went North, towards The Wilds, the other headed West, into Greatwood Forest, where a Gnome ambush is waiting for it
  • The party decided to follow Niza Surespark into the forest, to meet up with the ambush
  • The ambush site was destroyed, with only one survivor, Sprik Fitzbarrow. The inquisitor killed the others with apparent ease and continued through the forest
  • Eleana spent hours healing Sprik Fitzbarrow.
  • Once stabilised, they left to follow the other carriage, as Niza Surespark was very upset and insistent that they leave them alone
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Kitty's back story - The Crown
Session 02

Around the walls

As they reach the window, they hear a congregation of people passing through the hallway on the other side of the glass. It sounds as though there’s some sort of party going on. Deciding that they can’t risk going in through this way, Kitty and Merisiel head back out through the gateway and attempt to sneak along the thin ledge that runs around the side of the castle.

As they pass beneath the large, ceiling high, stained glass window, that decorates the castle’s main hall, a small section of it opens and the head of a young boy pops out. Although surprised to see Kitty and Merisiel, they manage to convince him to play hide and seek. He goes off to count as they sneak off.
As they follow the corner of the castle around and find themselves in front of a thin bridge, which leads to the outcropping tower, another window opens above them. Again, the small boy looks out, “Found you!” He cries, “It’s my turn now, I’m going to ask mummy and daddy where to hide”, and he closes the window again.

Quickly, Kitty gets out her grappling arrow and shoots it above her head, to another bridge, above them. Deciding not to try and enter the castle here, they run across the bridge, to the tower. The door is locked, but easy to pick.

The tower

Once inside, they find themselves in a small, dark room. Another room, in front of them, contains a spiral staircase, leading both up or down.
Behind the staircase, Merisiel finds a small, decorative wooden box. She tries to open it, but fails, so Kitty snatches it and tries herself. She easily breaks the lock open and finds a small necklace inside, with a pendant attached. Quickly shoving it into one of her many pockets, they go to the stairs.
Heading up, they can hear guards in the next room, and again on the next floor, and on the next. They keep going up, until they reach the top floor where, again, guards can be heard talking.

Deciding to risk it, they open the door to find a lone guard, standing in front of the door which would lead them to the outside of the tower.
The guard notices Merisiel’s head peering around the door and he unsheathes his sword. Quickly, Kitty runs towards him and bashes him over the head with the blunt side of her Kunai. Merisiel then ties him up with her rope, just as two more guards come bursting through a side door. Panicking, Kitty makes a dash for the exterior door, throwing it open and rushing across the bridge, back towards the castle.

Merisiel turns to do the same, trying to throw her alchemist’s fire at the guards as she retreats. Panicking, she drops it at her feet and the flames fly everywhere, burning her trousers clean off, and shooting towards the guards.
As the flames catch them, they scream and run towards Merisiel, diving straight off the bridge and down into the sea below.

Session Highlights

  • Kitty and Merisiel go around the outside of the castle wall, towards the outer tower
  • A small boy sees them out of the window and plays hide and seek with them. He then runs off to get his parents
  • They climb up to the lowest bridge adjoining the tower to the castle, and enter the tower
  • Merisiel finds a locked box. Failing to unlock it, Kitty snatches and unlocks it, finding a necklace inside, which she keeps.
  • At the top of the tower, they encounter some guards. It ends with Merisiel setting fire to her trousers and the guards (Who jump off the tower to their deaths)
  • Kitty and Merisiel then cross the bridge to the castle
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Kitty's back story - The Crown
Session 01

Introduction

Kitty has been notified of a job and is to meet an informant in a small clearing in the woods.
She takes her colleague, Merisiel, with her. Merisiel is a fellow thief with whom she has had many dealings with in the past.

As they arrive at the meeting point it is raining hard and it’s dark. A shadowy figure steps out of the shadows of the trees; pass phrases are exchanged, to confirm the drop, and the figure hands Kitty a small piece of parchment:

Target: Ulmade’s crown
Location: Ulmade castle
Reward: 1000GP

Beneath it is a drawing of the crown.

I can take you to the castle, and show you a way in, but you’re on your own from there”, the figure said, as he turned and started walking. Disappearing behind a group of trees, he comes back with three horses. He mounts one, and starts trotting off, expecting Kitty and Merisiel to follow him.

After a short trek, the arrive at the top of a high cliff. The air smells salty and the wind is rough. In front of them is a castle, surrounded by the sea waters, with only a small bridge connecting it to the land; this is Ulmade castle.
The man dismounts his horse and gestures for you to do the same. Quietly he moves towards a large bush and starts parting it aside. Beneath it is a small wooden door, old and covered in dirt. He tugs hard at it, and pulls it open. He points inside, “You can get in through here and that’s where I leave you.” Quickly, before Kitty and Merisiel can say anything, he remounts his horse, grabbing the bridles of the other two and rides off, leaving them both without any transport back.

Looking down into the hole, a small dark tunnel lies before them, and the start of some old looking stone steps can be seen, fading into blackness.

Entering the darkness

Kitty and Merisiel enter the tunnel; it smells damp and the air is stale. The walls are roughly hewn from the cliff rocks and the steps very steeply take them further down.
As they near the bottom of the steps, there is a small flat area followed by another set of steps heading up, but less steep.
They sneak up the stairs and find a large, heavy, locked door. Easily unlocking it, they find themselves in what looks like a storage room, with only one other door. Kitty sniffs, she can smell something; people, sweaty, they smell like guards.

As Merisiel opens the door it creaks loudly. Silence. It looks like no-one heard it.
A long corridor lies before them, brightly lit not by torches, but by an array of tall arrow slits that mark the walls. A large archway lies halfway down the hall, covered by a set of metal bars, with a small doorway in it. Behind it is a small round table with three guards sitting around it – one is snoring, fast asleep and the others are noisily playing cards.

Kitty and Merisiel easily manage to sneak passed them and to a large hall, filled with old, worn tables and set for a meal, and a narrow hallway leads off to the left.
As they sneak passed, and down the passage, Kitty stops to steal several (18!) spoons.

The hallway is dark and narrow and, after a short distance the floor comes to an end and the hallway continues as a motionless pool of water. At the far distance is a circle of light, pouring on the water from above.

Kitty shoots her grappling arrow towards the light and it catches. Both of them grab on and swing across, hoping to reach a platform over the other side. Suddenly, bang, they hit a solid brick wall and Merisiel loses her grip and falls into the water; it’s only a few foot deep.
The hallway comes to an abrupt end just the other side of the light. They pull themselves up the rope and out through the circular opening of what turns out to be a well.

Out in the open

Looking around, they’re in a small grassy courtyard; a large apple tree sits in one corner, bushes and flowerbeds dot the area.
Seeing the apple tree, ripe with plump, juicy apples, both Kitty and Merisiel decide to pilfer a few. Suddenly a couple of guards, who are walking along the battlements above, notice them, their crossbows aimed straight and Kitty and Merisiel.

Who goes there?”, the guards say with a scowl.
Kitty looks up, innocently, “We’re the gardeners.
The guards look at them, then at each other, “Okay then, I guess you would know.” Then they walk off.

A small gateway leads out of the courtyard, and to a small bricked area that lies outside of the castle walls. Out here is a door large, heavy door, of which the lock is too strong for either to pick, so they head back into the courtyard, with the intention of breaking through one of the windows, into the main castle.

Session highlights

  • Kitty and Merisiel are given a job to steal King Ulmade’s crown – Reward of 1000GP
  • They are taken to the castle, shown a secret entrance, and provided a map of the first floor
  • Kitty steals 18 spoons from the soldier’s mess hall
  • They end up in a courtyard, where they convinced two guards that they are the castle gardeners
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