Out of the Smoke

Story so Far, as of 7/7/13
The Entire History

It all started when the group was sent to collect three items of power from various locations by the magistrate of a small town. Briefly, the items were: a crown found in the layer of man controlling a horde of orcs –the same horde of orcs which had been attacking the small town; a dagger in the possession of an infamous bandit king; and a staff being used by kobolds for nefarious purposes.

After collecting the three items, the group was sent by the magistrate to collect a fourth item of power, a set of armor, from the Dwarven King. After many days of travel into the Northern Mountains, the weary adventurers arrived in the Dwarven Capital City (Tiskad) and set up an audience with the King. While the group was talking with a very confused Dwarven King a guard came running in announcing that red clouds could be seen spreading over the lands of the Empire (the land in which the adventurers had been adventuring).

Quickly deducing that their recent adventures could be in some way related, the party ran outside to see the red clouds for themselves. Deciding that the present would not be a good time to return to the Empire, the party retired to the Foreign Quarter for lodging. Shortly thereafter, the party joined the local branch of the Fighter’s Guild, hoping to get back into the adventuring game with a fresh start. After a short amount of time, the party received an assignment from the Guild to guard a diplomat from the Halfling Lands. Upon arriving at the specified destination, the party noticed that the other guild member assigned to the guard detail, Marcus, had not shown up.

The group escorted the diplomat to the meeting chambers and was instructed to remain outside while the discussion took place. After some time, a scream came from the meeting chamber and Marcus came running out, spattered with blood. The group rushed in to help the diplomat, and he was rushed to a Church. Unfortunately, he later died of his wounds (which included poison).

After the assassination, the group investigated Marcus’s quarters in the Fighter’s Guild, and found various spell components. The group took some of Marcus’s belongings to a nearby wizard and paid him to scry on the assassin and to teleport them to his location. Finding themselves in a large open field of grass, and surrounding a very confused Marcus, the group proceeded to beat the assassin to unconsciousness. After checking his pulse and finding that the assassin was in fact dead, the group attempted to determine where they were, and realized they had no way of teleporting back.

After some confusion, the group saw a thin pillar of smoke in the distance and went to it, arriving at what appeared to be a tribal camp of some sort. From this, the group inferred that they had teleported to the Savage Lands, to the West of the Empire. The group stayed with the tribe for some time, then set out into the forest to make their way back to the Empire.

While travelling through the forest, the group was taken captive by a band of orcs (one by one), and woke up in a slave pit. Through much cleverness, the group managed to free themselves from the pit, and continued on towards the Empire.

By the time the party arrived back in the Empire, the red clouds had cleared, having stopped at the borders of the Empire before dispersing. While travelling through Imperial lands, the group soon noticed that things weren’t quite right, what with there being nothing living and all. Upon finding and investigating an inn, the players found signs of violence and some bodies which had been dead for some time, as well as finding that the upper story of the inn had something crash through one of the walls. After finally arriving at a city, the players saw smoke rising from somewhere within.

At the source of the smoke, the party found that a group of survivors –including Royal Soldiers and a Prince –had set up fortifications within the city’s arena. The adventurers explored the city for a day, then retreated back to the arena and vowed to never go back, after encountering many unsettling things during their exploration. Back at the arena, the Royal Guards, after hearing that the group planned to travel back to the Dwarven Lands, asked the party to take the Prince with them and deliver him to a relative of his who lived there, and who would reward the party with much gold.

The party agreed and set out, eventually making it into the mountains without much trouble. Arriving at a Dwarven Inn, the party found out that the Halfling Nation had gone to war with the Dwarves (a fact which they chose not to comment on upon finding out). The party proceeded to deliver the prince to his grateful uncle, and continued on towards the capital city.

In the capital city, part of the group joined the mercenary branch of the Dwarven army, which was preparing to hold off the Halfing Army while the city was being evacuated. The Dwarves lost the battle, and the group reunited afterwards, travelling onwards to seek new adventures. After a brief detour, the party found out through fellow travelers that the world was much bigger than citizens of the Empire were led to believe, inspiring the party to seek out these new lands. After skirting around the edge of the Imperial Lands, the party arrived in what they would later find out was called “Cordellia”, a prosperous nation which had recently entered into a period of peace.

For unknown reasons, the party joined a caravan to the Kingdom of Tirrens, a poor nation to the North of Cordellia. After a moderately successful mission from a noble to free some peasants from a group of out-of-work mercenaries, the group travelled to the capital of the kingdom, a depressing grey town also called Tirrens. There, the group found out that the kingdom was defending against a menace attacking from the North, a race of Dwarflike creatures known as the Ice Men. Although the Kingdom had a long history of suffering attacks from these creatures –even building a series of walls to keep them out –the attacks had intensified in recent months (a timeframe which roughly coincided with the fall of the Dwarven Kingdom), and had just as suddenly began to decrease again.

Due to the lack of manpower caused by the war, the party was asked by the King of Tirrens to rescue his bride-to-be, a low-born woman, from what was believed to be a cultist stronghold situated in an abandoned mine. The party travelled to the mine and discovered that something thoroughly unpleasant had occurred within the mine recently (involving the creation of many horrible creatures), but persevered in freeing the princess. The group delivered the unconscious princess and received their reward, and was invited to attend the feast being held in honor of the upcoming marriage and the end of the Ice Men Invasions. On the day of the feast, the party took part in the celebratory tournament, with participating members taking first and second place. During the tournament, the one party member who had been present during the earlier adventures discovered that he was fighting a disguised Marcus, and raised the alarm. Marcus escaped, but the party warned the guards that a known assassin was loose within the city.

After the feast, the party was asked by the Royal Advisor to eliminate some Ice Men who had holed up inside an abandoned watchtower, and who had repelled all previous attackers. The party travelled to the tower, dispatched the Ice Men, and returned, only to find that the newly married Queen had imposed martial in the city after the Royal Advisor had been jailed for poisoning the King.

After learning that the political situation had caused the beginnings of a civil war, with the Southern Lords backing Lord Innefarn as more suitable replacement ruler, the party set about trying to profit from the situation. Recalling previous negative experiences with joining the army, the group attempted to get work directly from the lords. After being taken advantage of and generally mistreated by Lord Greenwoode, the party gave up on this tactic and fled the city (after one member of the party put an end to Lord Greenwoode).

In the city of Rivergate the party split up, with two members forming the Blackgate Mercenary Company and the other member travelling to Lord Coprin to try and sell the party’s services in the war. Recently, Blackgate is attempting to gain renown.

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