- Natasha – Zabrina (tiefling warlock)
- Sarah – Saria Ravenwood (human rogue)
- Talin – Havril Oakhorn (dwarf cleric)
Part 1: The Journey Begins
May 21, 2020
The morning after Scheff’s hit Ballad of the Heroes of Mid-Spring debuted, Zabrina woke from a dream-vision sent to her from her patron, Pazugo. In it, she saw the Serpent Scepter she was questing for and felt the threat of the Naga obtaining it. As she sat up in bed with a start, she heard her patron whisper:
“Return my treasure to me and a boon shall be yours…The Holy dwarf will lead you to the Lord of Doors.”
As she walked into the tavern hall for breakfast, Zabrina saw Saria talking to a dwarf cleric with a Holy symbol emblazoned proudly on his armour. Havril Oakhorn, adventurer and guide, had heard of the Lord of Doors, said to be a strange sorcerer in the court of King Rexazal in Battzistan. For the right price, he could take Zabrina across the Fields of the Fallen and through the Battzista Mountains to the capital city, and a deal was struck that included Saria.
Not wishing to waste a moment, Zabrina wrote a letter of farewell to the party and departed with Saria and Havril right away. Dodging the undead as they crossed the Fields of the Fallen was Havril’s specialty, but he wasn’t prepared for the animated Scarecrow and the Death Dog serving Black Alice, a Night Hag with a Nightmare steed.
The party seemed doomed until the crone reacted to Saria’s name, recognizing her as one of the Heroes of Mid-Spring. However, instead of wrathful vengeance, Saria received warm thanks for eliminating Nanny Nox and vacating a spot in her coven which Black Alice sought to fill. Once Zabrina agreed to tell her everything she wanted to know about Sir Typye, Ranger and Scheff, Black Alice let them be on their way unmolested.
Eventually, Havril brought Zabrina and Saria to the gates of Maxilum, city of Evil and staging point for every aggression against Agvazetum. The first leg of their journey was done.
Part 2: Crossing the Mountains
May 26, 2020
Havril lead Zabrina and Saria down the Appalan Road that winds its way through the jagged Battzista Mountains, dominated to east and west by the volcanoes Zog and Azog.
With freshly bought horses, the trio were able to cross the mountains in half the time it would take on foot. The road took them through the ancient and oppressive city of Magrada near the smouldering Mount Zog, where the ancient wyrm Battzista herself slumbers.
As the adventurers reached the other side of the mountains, they came upon the site of a wrecked carriage and an apparent abduction of a noblewoman. Only her dragonborn lady-in-waiting, her chauffer and her porter had survived an encounter with a warlock, his goblins and his pet monster.
After hearing the pleas of the survivors to rescue their lady and realizing such a gesture might reflect well on them, the adventurers headed off-road into the craggy landscape in search of the villains. Soon they came upon the site where the warlock was about to sacrifice the noblewoman and the party engaged the enemy to rescue what turned out to be the Princess Roxaza!
The bratty princess had been eloping in secret with a lover in the town of Skalden and the party swore an oath to secrecy until they could return her to her father, King Rexazal. This they did the next day and Zabrina was rewarded with an audience with the king’s associate Jackerel, the Lord of Doors.
When Zabrina met with the charming and handsome Jackerel, she explained her quest for the Serpent Scepter in the Pyramid of Tutumbek and negotiated for him to open a portal into the pyramid so she could complete her quest. He agreed on the condition that any and all other treasures would be given to him and Zabrina arranged for her party to be ready.
Part 3: Inside the Pyramid
June 2, 2020
After meeting with Zabrina, Saria and Havril, Jackerel invited them to a non-descript house where he would open a portal into the Pyramid of Tutumbek. First, they passed through a door into a room seemingly cut straight from some sort of greyish-red marbled rock where another door stood opposite. This door would take them to the pyramid. The Lord of Doors then left them to it.
The portal he had arranged would manifest in whatever space would support a door closest to the treasure vault, and it turned out to be directly into the vault where three items were held or worn by mummies ensconced equally around the wall of a circular chamber. There was no floor, only a four-way bridge suspended over a deep pit full of bones.
As the adventurers explored closer, they came under attack from a Gelatinous Cube on the bridge which would reform when killed. The mummies attacked anyone trying to lift the jeweled scarab, the ornate horn, or the Serpent Scepter they held, but they were highly vulnerable to Zabrina’s magical bolts of flame.
Although the Serpent Scepter was successfully obtained, the horn and the scarab fell into the pit of bones. Adamant about fulfilling her promise to Jackerel, Zabrina insisted they retrieve the lost items. The bones in the pit animated into skeletons which attacked anyone entering, but the heroes were able to locate the items and draw them out with minimal danger.
In the end, the adventurers made it out with all three items and they safely returned to the house in Battzistan.
Part 4: Farewell Adventure
June 9, 2020
Upon their return, Jackerel’s assistant Saddison bade them wait until he retrieved his master and the adventurers took to examining the magic items they had stolen from the crypt of the first king. During this time, a scarab beetle was observed to crawl out of Zabrina’s robe and up into a painting hanging on the wall as if it were a window.
Just as this happened, Jackerel arrived. He was displeased with only two meager treasures compared to an artifact like the Serpent Scepter which grants the wielder dominion over all serpents. He offered to take Zabrina on and become her patron in exchange for it, but she was adamant about giving it to her original patron, Pazugo. Jackerel then resorted to a magical Suggestion spell to get her to hand it over.
As the double-crossing Lord of Doors turned to leave, Saria lunged and grabbed the Serpent Scepter from him, handing it to Zabrina who then ran and leapt through the painting where the beetle – the symbolic animal of Pazugo – had crawled. She was followed quickly by the rogue and the dwarf, although Saria suffered an intense burst of magic missiles from the offended Jackerel who was, for some reason, unable to follow.
Through the painting, the adventurers found themselves in some kind of borderland between a mysterious twilit forest on one horizon and a craggy, dismal badlands on the other across which the lights of a city could be seen. Overhead, the sky was slate grey and unchanging. Time appeared to stand still.
The party decided to head for the city and came across several hostile undead on the way. After a rest, Zabrina tried to commune with her patron who had seemingly led her through the painting and she came to realize that Pazugo, being Arch-fey, resided on the fringes of Elfland, the eternal twilight forest, which lay opposite from the Shadowlands into which they had been moving.
With a sinking feeling, Zabrina realized they had been going the wrong way. Worse than that, the deeper they went into the Shadowlands, the harder it became to get out, such that it would be hopeless by now. The only chance they had was to go to The City and find a Night Hag who might be persuaded to guide them to Elfland.
Fighting off a flock of bat-like Darkmantles, the party eventually arrived at The City and passed the skeletal gatemen to find a population largely made up of the undead. Some sort of mystical compact had to be in place to stop them from attacking the living who also shared space in this city between worlds and the adventurers were only too keen to make their stay as brief as possible.
Mad Mary the Apothecary was pointed out to Zabrina and negotiations were made with the hag. She took a special interest in the fact that Saria was one of the Heroes of Mid-Spring who killed Nanny Nox, opening a spot in her coven for other hags to fill, such as Black Alice whom they had met at the start of their journey.
Mad Mary agreed to guide the party to Elfland in exchange for Saria’s help in luring Sir Typye and his companions into a trap, thus proving her worthy of joining the coven. From Elfland, Mad Mary could help Saria crossover back into Hyracanum in Midvale Forest where Sir Typye was sure to be searching for the coven. Havril wanted nothing to do with the hag and decided to try his luck in Elfland instead.
Having reached the end of her long quest at last, Zabrina paid off what she owed to Havril and said her farewell to Saria. After meeting in the sewers of Gazeera thirty-five days earlier, the two had hunted down Hanuba, faced Nyarthep the Naga, killed a Cloud Giant and a Red Dragon and hatched a Couatl before crossing the Battzista Mountains and rescuing Princess Roxaza, only to then raid the tomb of King Tutumbek and escape beyond the bounds of Hyracanum into the Shadowlands and Elfland. It was a brief but intense comradeship and tears were shed when Zabrina walked off into the mists of Elfland to join her Arch-Fey patron.
Havril went his own way and Saria was returned to Sagasvale by Mad Mary.