That Which Can Eternal Lie

The Legend of Kingsport Parts 1-6
Journey from Magnimar to Kingsport (GM summary)

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Part 6. Arrival in Kingsport
After averting an almost disastrous encounter with a starving grizzly bear, you and your fellow party members arrived in Kingsport on the morning of the eighth day since your departure from Magnimar (historically known as Wuldar’s Way).
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You learned that recent unfortunate events in Kingsport have led the citizens to hold a town rechristening festival on this very day. Nearly everyone is participating in the festive occasion, and most businesses have closed for the holiday. You did manage to rent rooms at the Rusty Dragon and alert the owner, Ameiko Kaijitsu, an ex-adventurer familiar with the StoneShield family, to Volunder’s (Volunder StoneShield) presence in your group. You also paid a perfunctory visit to the new cathedral and its high-priest, Father Zantus (Abstalar Zantus), before finding your way to one of the few open establishments, the Pillbug’s Pantry and its short, rotund proprietor, Pillbug (Aliver Podiker). Delighted by having customers and then by the quality of the healing mushrooms shown to him by Kalinda (Kalinda Nwosu), Pillbug traded healing potions in exchange for the mushrooms.

Part 5. Kingsport on the Horizon
You discovered that the two-headed monster trailing you was a demon, but in need of rest, you chose to scrape its putrefying corpse over the cliff edge and remain in a somewhat protected location. Hours before sunrise, you resumed your journey to Kingsport and crossed over the bridge where you first encountered Tom and Rob (such memories!). Shortly afterward, goblin riders on goblin dogs spied your torches in the darkness and pounced on you.
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Being cowards who avoid a fair fight whenever possible, two ganged up on Whisper (Whisper (Tiatha Thistlewood)), and despite her killing one of them, the rogue quickly became dog food. Exerting your prowess, you eventually won the fight – including a battle-field execution of the goblin captured by Volunder (Volunder StoneShield) – and suddenly a stranger on a horse appeared. Looking exhausted and weather beaten, the man offered his aid and introduced himself as Evan Orm, and using his skill in the healing arts, he brought Whisper back from death’s door. To your mutual benefit, you allowed the stranger to travel with you for the day and then made an early camp so he could recover from his exhaustion. Grateful – in his somewhat acerbic manner – for watching over him, he rewarded you before departing on an errand to the east.

It is late evening, and you are camped just outside a wooded area a few miles from Kingsport. You have not recovered your strength from the day’s travel. Do you enter the woods now, or wait until morning? What is your plan when you reach Kingsport? Will Tar (Tar Sighard) get over the shock from facing a demon?

Part 4. Marching to Kingsport
You and your fellow adventurers have just slain a foul, snarling monster with two heads and four arms. Your watch (cough Bran (Brannigan Stryker), cough Whisper (Whisper (Tiatha Thistlewood))) failed miserably and did not notice its approach until too late. After scaling the rock face in a flash, the monster surged into your camp and withstood the grievous wounds many of you inflicted. With a vicious slash from a hooked sword, the creature snagged Bran and chomped down on his shoulder with one of its grotesque heads. The devastating attacks nearly killed the samurai, who incredibly remained conscious despite his massive injuries, and the veteran warrior had just enough strength to gut the creature with his katana.

The sky darkens with the setting sun, and you are all heavily fatigued from forced marches these past two days. From what you have seen and felt, you know evil is taking hold in Varisia, and you intend to stop it … if there is time.

Part 3. Weirdness at Westmont
Having sent Tom on his way with a firm good riddance, you were accompanied by thickening clouds on your side trek to Lord Westmont’s estate. Upon reaching the badly damaged manor house, you found it overrun by strange little plant men who fiercely defended their new lair with claws and poison darts. In the battle, Whisper (Whisper (Tiatha Thistlewood)) and Kalinda (Kalinda Nwosu) tried to pick off the creatures on the roof, while Bran (Brannigan Stryker) heroically launched himself onto the roof to confront the swarm. Volunder (Volunder StoneShield), with Rob protecting his flank, and Tar (Tar Sighard) approached the main entrance, and horrified by the number of creatures and bulging corpses inside, the dwarf tried to burn them out with his precious pouch of tobacco. You also unexpectedly regained Tom as a companion, who re-aggravated his injuries trying to help. Volunder, adhering to his code of ethics despite Tom’s apparently useless and irritating nature, assisted the disabled soldier to move out of range as your party retreated from the vicious horde.

It is the late afternoon of the fourth day since your departure from Magnimar. Sunset approaches.

What will you do?

Part 2. Seeking Lord Westmont’s Estate
You have added Tom and Rob to your party and are traveling to find the estate of their former liege, Lord Westmont, whose defenses were supposedly over-run by goblins nearly three weeks ago. After you set up camp for the evening, Tar (Tar Sighard) began watch by circling the perimeter, and he accidentally uncovered a hidden underground chamber, long forgotten and undisturbed.

Volunder (Volunder StoneShield) entered ahead of everyone else … and undead skeletons burst forth from the far wall and rushed him!
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For unknown reasons, the dwarf collapsed to the ground before the onslaught hit him, and the grisly creatures swarmed past him to attack the rest of you. It took a mighty effort by all — including the valiant Rob but perhaps not so much the inept Tom — to fend off and destroy the monsters. You discovered twin secret vaults holding gold coins and magical treasure — a katana, a vial of liquid, and a ring.

Part 1. On the Road to Kingsport
You are making the journey to Kingsport, approximately three days northeast of Magnimar (historically known as Wuldar’s Way), to investigate the legendary haunted house. You are working under contract ( Bonaventure Contract) for Bonaventure’s Bold and Brave, a fledgling adventuring company based in Magnimar and operated by Jarza Bonaventure.
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During your first night on the road, you easily defeated a band of goblins apparently drawn to the light of your campfire, although they acted oddly and were quite far from their inland strongholds. In the late afternoon of your second day of travel, you met sentries guarding a bridge and collecting a toll, however, mayhem ensued — you slew two of the guardsmen and knocked out the spokesman, while the remaining guard surrendered herself and pleaded for mercy.

What now brave adventurers?

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Letter to Lord Alforge StoneShield
by Bran Stryker

My Lord StoneShield,

I know that, like the others I have written, you will never read this letter in this life, for you have passed to the other side. Much is still foggy about what happened that day…but enough of that…Much has happened since I left to search out your only remaining son. I write this while recovering from wounds received at the claws and teeth of a bear. It is nothing serious. I will be myself in a day or two. It was a minor thing, but I could not run and hide if it meant leaving others in harm’s way. Your son, Volunder, was there.

Volunder has changed. He has become something different than what your family raised him to be. He is not what he was. He has become something more. He has grown into a good man. But the bigger question, the one that I cannot answer yet, is if he has become the one that can lead the StoneShield family back, that can lead us back…

Bran Stryker

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 7
The Rechristening Festival (GM summary)

Volunder (Volunder StoneShield) recovered from his allergic reaction shortly before meeting the mysterious Irena, who was also contracted to investigate the haunted house of Kingsport. After regrouping outside of Pillbug’s Pantry, you decided to participate in the rechristening festivities and enter the Kingsport Festival Contest as a team. Tom was allowed to attend to his own business, while Rob, despite Volunder’s best efforts to broaden her thinking, faithfully and loudly cheered for the StoneShield house. StoneShield! StoneShield! All of you placed in different events ( Kingsport Festival Contest), and in the end, your team nearly defeated the heavy favorites, the Scarnetti family. Although some citizens were irritated by your victories, you won over others with your skill and sportsmanship, especially when facing off and winning against the Scarnettis.

Now the day is over, and the closing ceremony approaches. Did you attempt a forced march simply to play in some games? What was the hurry? Was Lord Kringle waiting for you? Was the haunted house put up for auction?

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 8
Attack on Kingsport (GM summary)

You and your comrades have successfully repelled the undead forces assaulting Kingsport at the eastern bridge. During the previous evening and earlier today, you learned more about Kingsport, now officially renamed Sandpoint, and its citizens … and they learned more about you. Tar Sighard certainly learned more than he wanted about Shayliss Vinder and her cellar. After being warned this morning by the elven hunter Shalela Andosana of an impending attack on the town, Mayor Deverin requested your aid, despite opposition from Titus Scarnetti and other townsfolk.

After masterfully executing your plan of defense, you have a moment to survey your fallen enemies. You note that they were obviously animated dead but unusually fast in their movements. Even more strange, though, was the one creature that emerged from the magical darkness and wore a tattered black cloak that did little to cover its pale and mottled skin and gaunt frame.

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After it conjured forth a stinking cloud of poison fumes to engulf half of you, Volunder (Volunder StoneShield) heroically leapt from shore onto the bridge to grapple with the monster. Along with some creepy hissing, the creature defended itself with long sharp claws and a deadly necromantic touch, and it took the combined might of Volunder and Bran (Brannigan Stryker) to slay the surprisingly tough foe. You do not know what it was, and you are filled with wonder and loathing as it rapidly decays into dust.

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Memories
by Whisper

Demon begone! The evil, choking stench of that foul creature brings water to my eyes as I try not to gag while the forgotten memories crowd my mind forcing out all reason.

It is getting dark, I should go back soon but I haven’t ever been this far and how jealous will Keegan be that I have explored someplace new that he has not been yet. I cannot wait to see the look on his face when I tell him! I just hope he keeps his mouth shut and does not say anything to Mama & Papa.

There are too many of these rotted trees around, it must mean I am getting closer to the swamp. Maybe I should go home now. Gran warned me about playing near the swamp, and I am hungry, afterall. I suppose I can come back here tomorrow.

Wait! What is that over there? I thought I saw something move… yes, there in the trees! Perfect chance to practice my sneaking. Just stay quiet behind this tree and carefully peek around…. blood red eyes looking back at me. What is that thing? Oh no! It sees me.

Cold. I feel so cold. I cannot look away from those burning red eyes. MAMA! HELP! No sound comes out. PAPA! There is only silence and then the crunch of snapping branches as the creature slowly moves towards me.

Run! My feet are anvils. I wish Keegan was here. That smell. Worse than skunks or rotting carcasses. The smell burns my lungs. The thing is getting closer. HELP! PLEASE! I have no voice. The thing laughs at me. A sound that is worse than the smell. I am going to die. I know it. My eyes will not close. It comes closer. MAMA! PAPA! It reaches a claw out and I feel the needle sharp nails before they even touch me. I scream. I hear the hellish shriek. I had no idea I could make that kind of noise. No, wait, that is not me. That is the creature screaming.

The thing is dead. Who are all these people? Where did they come from? Hands touch me, a soft voice whispering in my ear. Mama? No, it is not Mama. This one is …. human? What is a human doing in Kyonin? I do not understand her words but I like her. I hope she never stops talking. There are more humans and some that look like elves but look human too. And that one over there, so short, like someone squashed him. I wonder if he has a face underneath all that hair?

And then they are gone. Along with my memory

Until now.

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Letter to Lord StoneShield
by Bran

My Lord StoneShield,
There is little doubt now. Volunder is your true heir. My duty is clear—I must find others of like mind who are willing to serve. Rob and Tom are with us. Rob is a true soldier and understands duty. Tom—I was unsure if Tom would prove worthy at first, and though I still believe he has his faults, I do believe he will find a place in our army. We will together take back the land and holdings of the StoneShields of Hook Mountain. But we need others…

“The warrior who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” – the writings of Lord StoneShield

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True Shot
by Kalinda

My arrows are flying true. I am being the warrior my father raised. But the beings we are assiduously being victorious on are being unimaginable, unearthly, unnatural. The warrior Kalinda is being tested. I am thinking this is the desire of the Great Being and then I am thinking that I am not yet being sufficiently knowledgable for this combat.

I am being caught unawares and my companions are being no more prepared than am I. There is living a shadow force that is lurking beyond my senses but is calling me as well. I am thinking it is being a part of my mother’s pointed-ear baring. Perhaps Whysper can be telling me more of this feeling.

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 9
Attack on Kingsport - continued (GM summary)

Apparently the other town defenses were less stout than yours, as you heard the sounds of continued fighting to the north and south. Although weary after holding the eastern bridge, you hastened toward uptown and the northeastern wall to reinforce the militia. Atop the wall, swordsmen clashed with goblin zombies while archers fired arrows at the advancing forces down below. You aided in protecting the wall, but goblins blasted apart the wooden gate to the road. Through the smoke and debris, goblins and goblin riders rushed in haphazardly to ransack Kingsport and attack its defenders.

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Several of you received fearsome wounds during the battle, including Rob in her overzealous attempt to reach the gate, but you successfully defeated the attackers with only marginal damage to one building.

Now what has happened in the south?

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Pete? Is that you?
Here comes Peter Cottontail

Happy Easter!

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The Legend of Kingsport Part 10
Restoration, Reputation, and Rumor (GM summary)

It is the day after the second attack on Kingsport. Rob severely injured herself in the battle by leaping off the wall to help her liege defend the fallen gate, and Tom has sunk into a despondent stupor. Casualties and damage were high in the south part of the city, and Lucretia Scarnetti was among the gravely wounded. Many of the citizens expressed their appreciation for your valiant and successful efforts in protecting the east and north sections of the city. Also, some of you saw Evan Orm providing aid in the aftermath of the attack, but he was not too keen on talking with you.

Early this morning Sheriff Hemlock (Belor Hemlock) left for Magnimar to recruit more militia forces, and during breakfast at the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko Kaijitsu alerted the party that the Merchant Council would be inviting them to a meeting so the Council could become more familiar with them. You also learned from her that Morton Zyman and Evan Orm were known acquaintances, so some of you sought to find out more and possibly meet with Zyman. During your exploration of the town, you picked up some local rumors, heard different tavern songs ( Sea Shanties mostly), and learned that Zyman was a scholar of Varisian ( Varisia) history, art, and engineering. At Cracktooth’s Tavern, Kalinda Nwosu also encountered your nemesis, Shayliss Vinder, as Kalinda was attempting to intimidate information from a kitchen boy. Jubrayl Vhiski then warned Kalinda that Shayliss and her father would turn the town against the party, and he offered to help the party get right with them.

Meanwhile, Irena and Volunder StoneShield investigated the southern outskirts around the town and discovered that multiple groups of attackers joined up in the surrounding forests. They also encountered Shalela Andosana, who was scouting for further threats. She reluctantly spoke about the Haunted House and warned that talking about it would put Kingsport citizens in jeopardy, and she was not willing to endanger them. She said it would take an extreme amount of trust for any of the townsfolk to speak about the house with the party. Before continuing her mission, Shalela asked Volunder give a gift to the elven hunter and the other archer in the party. On the way back to the Rusty Dragon, Irena shared information with Volunder about his father, Lord Alforge StoneShield.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party went to visit Morton Zyman, and the town locksmith, Volioker Briskalbeard watched them case the scholar’s house before letting them know that Zyman was at a meeting with Mayor Deverin (Kendra Deverin). After going to the town hall and dealing with the second-rate clerk, the four adventurers started back to the Rusty Dragon, when Tar Sighard and Whisper (Tiatha Thistlewood) both saw, or thought they saw, a strange malevolent creature on the edge of their perception …

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