Kingmaker

The Thorn River Camp

After breaking camp, Nikolai offered to make contact with the fae. After an offering, a creature that identified itself as the lord of the Narlmarches. It spoke with the voices of the group, and demanded the group swear an oath that they would not defile the forest. The discussion became heated, though Nikolai was able to smooth things over. The fae told him about the bandit camp, and that they are waiting for the group. It also told them of a dead fae that the bandits nailed to a tree.
After exploring, the group came across the camp. After a brutal fight, the group was able to subdue the bandits. Denea attempted to interrogate Kressle, the leader, but she was very uncooperative. Denea then hanged her.
Nikolai and Korjun then questioned another bandit that called himself Trapper. He proved cooperative, and made a deal for his freedom. He told the group about the Stag Lord, staying in a fort to the south. He also told them that the Stag Lord is expecting a delivery of rare alcohol. He said it should be easy for the group to disguise themselves as bandits and sneak in with the bottles.
The group was split on how to deal with the bandits, with Barok and Denea being very upset that Trapper was spared.

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The Biloko Tree

The group continued to explore the strange tree. Going deeper, it began to get warmer. They found more of the repulsive biloko, and encountered their leader, some sort of a priest or shaman. After a grueling battle, in which Denea nearly died, the group was able to kill all of the loathsome creatures. Delving deeper, they discovered a chamber with a strange stone archway. Growing out from the archway were vines and other plants that Ram was able to identify as being native to the south.
When the group made it out of the tree, more time than should have had passed. They decided to burn the tree down, and left to find Bokken.
When they arrived at his hut, they had a tense negotiation with him that ultimately proved fruitless. They left for Oleg‘s.
At Oleg’s, they found that trade has slowly started to resume. They also found two men, sent by the Swordlords. Barok, a priest of Abadar, and the mute Dra’hnu, a strange monk. The group was informed by several people at Oleg‘s that Dra’hnu had followed Svetlana, and had nearly gotten himself killed. Korjun took responsibility for the monk, and moved their camp outside. The next day, the group continued their exploration.
In the Narlmarches, the group stumbled upon a glade filled with hidden bear traps. These traps were not baited, and seemed to be set for people.
Later that night, during Nikolai’s watch, he heard strange noises that he attributed to the fae. When morning broke, the rest of the group found Nikolai fast asleep, with his belongs scattered about.

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The Death of Vas

The group left Oleg‘s to explore the eastern edges of their contracted area.
Stumbling upon some foot prints, the group followed them to a small cave. Vorich, the hunter living there, seemed happy to have company. He shared some of his game, and told the group about the people of the Stolen Lands. The group learned about two bandit camps; one in the Narlmarches along the Thorn River and a larger one in an old fort along the Tuskwater.
The group’s exploration continued. They came across a small group of elk, and were able to kill one, despite it giving chase.
The group also found signs of a brush thylacine, a rare predator. Nikolai suggested that the group hunt then down. It was easy to track them back to a den, where the group tried to get one to come out. Nothing they could do would get it to leave, and Nikolai began to suggest that this was a mistake and they should leave it be.
Eager to prove himself, Vas used protective magic on himself and went into the den to pull it out. The thylacine was waiting, and Vas attempted to kill it. Though he wounded it, the thylacine got it’s jaws around Vas‘s neck, tearing out his throat and breaking his neck. Denea was able to pull him out, but it was too late. A few arrows were able to finally bring the thylacine down, but Vas too was dead. The viciousness and danger of the Stolen Lands was made clear to the group.
Returning to Oleg’s, the group buried Vas with the help of Kesten, Andrej, and the Piotrs.
After taking a day to rest, the group decided to back into the wilderness. They discovered a giant, dead tree. After finding a door way growing in it, Nikolai declared that this is definitely some sort of fae structure.
The group entered, and announced their presence. A small, red creature met them, and began to speak to Nikolai in Sylvan. As they were speaking, Ram remembered reading about similar looking creatures, the Biloko. Biloko, he explained, are murderous, cannibal fae found in the Mwangi Expanse. Nikolai, under the influence of fae magic, disagreed, and continued to speak with it. Ram attacked, and the others followed. Rushing past the fallen creature, the group found a small band of them, waiting in ambush. Having dispatched all of them, and the influence over Nikolai faded, the group looked around at the remains of dozens and dozens of creatures littering the chamber. The path continued, leading deeper into the earth.

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The Peryton

The peryton retreated, but continued to watch the group. Nikolai was able to speak to it, and said that it wanted to kill Korjun. The group split, some trying to ambush it in it’s hiding place. It then made another attack on the horses. Korjun was able to make it back, when the beast came straight for him. He was ready for it, and smashed it with his earth breaker. Wounded but alive, it tried to fly away, but wasn’t able to get high enough to avoid Korjun finishing it off. Inside the ruined tower, the group found a large sack of coins and the books that Bokken had mentioned.
Returning to Bokken, he said that he couldn’t read the books, and wasn’t interested. He did heal Korjun‘s wounds as payment.
When the group returned to Oleg’s, they found that a work crew had been sent from Restov to repair the road and resupply Oleg. They also met Jhod Kavken, a priest of Erastil that told them there may be a corrupted temple somewhere in the south.
The group continued their exploration of the Greenbelt, venturing into the Narlmarches. They heard strange noises that night while they slept, and Vas said that something had tried to use magic on Denea and Ram.
In their exploration, the group discovered a small cave with veins of gold running through it.

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The Arrival of Nikolai and Kesten

With the bandits taken care of, the group planned to set out into the Stolen Lands. That night, however, an ice storm came in and forced them to wait.
The next day, everyone was surprised by a banging on the main gate. A group of armed men, sent from Restov, had arrived. When they were let in, Oleg was less than pleased. His guard reinforcements had arrived, but there were only four of them. They had no food or supplies, and were led by Kesten Garess, a noble of the Garess family. With them was Nikolai Medvyed, who was tasked with going along with the expedition. Oleg was furious, both at the fact that there were more nobles and that there was still no food. There was some tension that night, but the situation was made clear to Garess, who assured the group he really was there to help.
The next morning, the group made their plans to leave, while the guards began to plan how to best defend the trading post.
The group set off, exploring the land just south of the trading post. They saw the edges of the Narlmarches, and were able to accurately map and measure the area.
In their travel, they came across a small cave that Vas identified as the den of a tatzlwyrm. As they were speaking, the dragon rushed out of the cave to attack the intruders. It was quickly put down and skinned.
The next day, the group found the hut of Bokken, a hermit that Oleg told them about. They spoke for a bit, and the group bought some of his potions. He seemed impressed with Nikolai, who, aside from being a hunter and woodsman, was apparently an alchemist. The group offered him some deer they had caught earlier in the day, and the six of them shared a meal. Bokken offered them a special mead he made, later informing them that is was brewed with strange mushrooms.
During their meal, Bokken told them of his brother, whom he described as “mad” and “feral,” living in the woods somewhere in the south. He also told them of a strange, ruined tower. He had found a cache of books in it, but was startled by something rustling around. He said that if they are able to retrieve the books, he may trade for them.
The next day, the group found the tower. The area surrounding it was littered with corpses, mostly animal. Their heads were battered in, their sides were slashed, and they all had their hearts torn from their chests. Vas and Korjun thought that they looked to victims of a peryton, a dangerous beast. The group began to explore the ruins, and were startled to hear a horse scream. When they ran out, they saw Vas‘s horse was dead, and the peryton was circling in the sky. Ram and Nikolai began to shoot at it, and Vas sent one of his fiendish eagles to fight it. The beast ignored the arrows and bolts, dispatched the eagle, and flew over the group. It flew directly over Denea, and, bizarrely, stole her shadow. It they then wheeled around and began to attack another horse. The group surrounded it and began to attack, apparently unable to wound it. Korjun screamed and charged it with his flaming earthbreaker, and seemed to break the beast’s leg. It roared in pain and attacked Korjun, badly injuring him. Vas said something in a fiendish tongue, and took on the appearance of a strange, horrifying creature. Wounded, the beast flew away, heading for a high point on the tower.

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Setting Off into the Stolen Lands

The newly formed group set out from Restov to Oleg’s Trading post. On the way, they saw that they were leaving civilization for wild and untamed lands.
Korjun challenged both Denea and Vas to a fight, to test their mettle. After receiving a jarring shot to the head and a terrible leg wound, Korjun seemed satisfied.
Upon arriving at the trading post, the group met Oleg and his wife, Svetlana. Oleg was angry at the lack of support he has been receiving from Restov, and did not seem pleased to see Denea.
The group was informed of the bandits that have been terrorizing Oleg and Svetlana, and were able to ambush them the following day. The bandits, confident and completely unaware of what was coming, were completely outclassed. Ram was able to keep the apparent leader from bleeding to death, but when it was clear he would not survive the night, Korjun put him out of his misery.
In gratitude, Oleg and Svetlana promised the group that they were always welcome, and that they would have a bed and hot food any time they were there.
The group then began to make preparations to head south, into the Stolen Lands.

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