Hidden History of Alaraan

Into the Swamp

The party awoke in Hogsfeet Tavern to find two of their party missing. Oddryk and Fizzle had vanished from their rooms overnight, the only clue to their disappearance being an incredibly strong aura of divine magic the Doctor detected in their rooms. After an "altercation" with the kitchen staff of the tavern, Beikas brewed up a rather intense stew from a mixture of sticks, goodberries, and any small creature unlucky enough to wander within his reach. Bellies stuffed with stew and possible dysentery, the party set out to cross the swamp.

The road through the swamp was winding and slow. Yialis could have shaved several hours off the trip if it weren't for the buggy's inability to go off road. A few hours into the trip, Beikas noticed a rustling in the roughage off to the side of the road. A bit of druidcraft startled a young girl out of the brush and onto the road. She was a girl of 13, with brown hair and sharp green eyes. She introduced herself as Ellie the Great, and expressed her desire to join the party's adventure. Nami was joyed at the idea of having a new pet, and after a slight "initiation" by the Doctor, the party accepted Ellie into the group. Further down the road, the party encountered an odor among the most unpleasant in all of Alaraan. A catoblepas. The large beast loomed over the road, blocking the way, and as the party noticed, protecting a young calf. The road and nearby swamp was littered with the bodies and skeletons of dead bullywugs, as well as the freshly dead carcass of the catoblepas' mate. While the party debated their situation, a croaking sound echoed from the swamp. The party readied themselves, the Doctor and Yialis landing some preemptive shots on the incoming bullywugs. During the battle, the Doctor sensed a strong aura of all types of magic from the bullywugs, with enchantment and divination being the strongest. The party handled the bullywugs very capably with the help of the catoblepas, while Ellie buried herself deep in the buggy attempting to escape the stench of the beast. When the battle had cleared, the wounded catoblepas took her calf and left into the swamp opposite the direction the bullywugs had approached from. While examining the bodies, Nami found that they were all wearing identical necklaces. Each one had a heart shaped pendant carved from bone, which the Doctor determined to be the source of the divination and enchantment auras. After harvesting some meat from the dead catoblepas and the bullywugs, the party moved on a bit more before attempting to rest for a moment. No sooner did they stop the buggy than they began to hear the telltale croaks of more approaching bullywugs. The party continued to cross the swamp, while the following bullywugs appeared to keep their distance as more and more arrived to join the pursuit. They managed to cross the border of the swamp before the bullywugs could enact whatever they were planning. It was also noted that that bullywugs would not cross the border of the swamp. An eager one attempted to follow and was immediately pulled back in by two of its frightened looking companions. Confident they were beyond harms reach, the party made camp for the night, Beikas commanding the spirits of nature to prepare their becrolls and campfire.

Waking the next day fully rested, the party found themselves in the ruins of Dewford within the hour. Just before entering, the party began to feel an uneasy tinge on the back of their necks, as though someone, or something, were watching their every move. The town was leveled. Bodies were found littering the streets, though it was noted there were too few bodies for a town of such size. Ellie procured herself a rapier from one of the fallen soldiers, and began to practice with it. The town was filled with the taint of evocation and abjuration magics, whose auras became stronger the closer the party drew to the mayor's mansion,  the number of bodies increasing as well. The mansion was of modest size by mansion standards, but still rather impressive by the standards of the town which used to stand around it. The gates had been blown inward with great force, barely on their hinges. While searching the mansion, Nami discovered a chest bearing the same symbol as the Orbs of Umberlee. The chest's lock was smashed, and the chest itself lay empty. The party attempted to locate any trace of the attackers, but found none, even with Beikas' heightened best senses. Convinced there was nothing more to be gained by staying, the party continued on.

Approaching the town of Beckton, the sense of being watched finally faded. Once they were within earshot of the town, Nami and Beikas began to hear screaming coming from Beckton. Continuing closer, several Kuo-Toa were seen rampaging through the town. Beikas in wolf form, and carried Yialis and the Doctor towards the town, while Nami stayed behind to protect Ellie. The Doctor and Yialis managed to fell 2 Kuo-Toa on the approach, and draw several more out of the town, including a Whip, a larger Kuo-Toa who seemed to be in charge of the attack. Fortunately for the party, Kuo-Toa are VERY stupid. Being very sensitive to sunlight, they had decided to attack the town close to noon. During the battle, Nami noticed the creatures shouting about "sacrifices for the Slumbering One". The Kuo-Toa landed some lucky blows, and managed to net some of the party, but in the end, they were no match. Despite Nami's best efforts, Ellie managed to involve herself in the battle, slaying two Kuo-Toa with the help and guidance of her new mentor, Beikas. When the last had fallen, the group made their way into the town. The guards in the town were shocked by the party's arrival, mostly due to Beikas having shifted into a grizzly bear near the end of the fight, and still remaining in that form. The Doctor eased their concerns, and the guards thanked the party for drawing such a large number of attackers away from the town. The party offered to aid in the clean up of the battle in exchange for rooms for the night, and retired to decide their next course of action.

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