Chapter III: The Wicked Witch of Dal'Krosh


Dal'Krosh
The city of Dal'Krosh


The Long Road to Dal'Krosh


     The party, slightly hungover except for Warsch, head out with the town's blessing towards Dal'Krosh, to seek an audience with Servilus the Iron Sorcerer. As they prepare to leave, they collect the town's armor from Haggard: Blue tunics with the bolt of Zeus on the chest, along with steel chainmail. Spider's cloak surprisingly did not suffer the ill stench of slithers, and Crow Lord remained in bird form for all of the foul explosions. Tharyn is given a new robe, with a blue hood along with blue pants and new leather shoes.
     "I look like a blueberry," she scowls. Everyone laughs at her, but Warsch, who slaps her on the back.
     "There is nothing wrong to being fruit, although you look well in blue. It compliments your golden hair!"
     Tharyn had never been complimented before in her life, but despite the taste of the previous meal making its way back up, she feels a sudden warmth from Warsch, but not welcoming it, suppressed under her hidden rage.
     Their journey takes about a day, a shorter time than the trip to the Troll Cave, but the weather is dry and hot, no thanks to the head of the sun overhead. Upon reaching its perimeter, they find themselves standing before a tall stone gate, with an even taller stone wall extending well into the mountains surrounding it.
     At the gate lies two Orc guards, who stop the players. "What is your intentions in this city? Do you seek trade, safety, or death?"
     Warsch steps forward. "Greetings, honorable guard. We are on a quest to meet Servilus, the Iron Sorcerer. We do not mean trouble, but must seek entry.
     The guard immediately trusts Warsch, in his blue tunic over chainmail, depicting the symbol of Zeus.
     "You may pass, but I do not like that look on that witch's face!" He points at Tharyn, whose resting face looks mean and resentful, as if she just ate something bitter. "10 silver for her to pass."
     Warsch sighs, and walks up to the guard. "We have walked for miles, and our bodies and feet are very sore. We ask for peace, but for your city's hospitality, this is a poor display. Perhaps I'll just camp out here and recite for you the tale of the Saint Zanjiub, whose generousity is sure to rub off on you. T'was the 5th year of the Displacer Wars, and all had forgotten-"
     "Alright, fine. You may pass.. but if we hear a single complaint about you folk, I will remove thee myself."
     The guard opens up a small hatch on the wall, and speaks in giant into a black hole. As the echoes of his voice vibrate into the void, Tharyn hops on her broom, massaging her sore feet. As she places her last boot back on, the great stone doors snap open slowly, scraping the ground with their great heft and weight. After what seems like several minutes, the party passes through the gates. Tharyn looks at the guard who she had been eye-balling before, and sticks her tongue out at him.
     The group passes into the large city, taking note of all the shops. The city, built with stones and pillars of rock, stands very tall, casting a shadow over every street and corner. They follow the main road north, until they reach the
     Judge's Mansion, a large castle built out of square red brick. As they approach the front gate, a dwarf guard stops them.
     "Halt! The Judge is not taking visitors, as the court is in session with those that fit the schedule. We do not allow simple..." He takes one look at their garments, smirking at the blue tunics of some small airship village, "Peasants." Meet with the Court Advisor in the morning to schedule an appointment. Be gone!"
     As the party try to talk their way in, the guard steps past the opening on the gate, and pulls a lever. The gate crashes down, barring all entry. Tharyn's golden eyes turn red for a second, causing the guard to draw his sword.
     "This is the most inhospitable town I have been in. Being a wizard, that is quite shameful of them, as I have dealt with a lot of crap up until now." Spider places her hand on Tharyn's shoulder, pulling her away from the guard. The party takes their leave, heading off towards the center of town.
     They stumble throughout lost in this new city, looking for taverns with rooms and board. After getting ready to quit, they come upon a shoddy looking place called Ogrun's Outpost: Trade and Tavern. Crow Lord walks in, ready to be done with the day. He walks up to a bartender, and using his druid magics to create a bouquet of flowers with the words "Information needed."
      The bartender, a Dwarf named Ogrun, asks for 10 silver .
     Crow Lord hands him 1 silver and a list of questions to answer, which he had written after his incident at Zeus. No discrimination, right to the point, short and simple. Or else the fists get involved...
     The bartender, sighs, and begins reading the paper, answering the questions for the party, who all sit around the bar.
     "First thing's first: Ale for the Bird."
     Crow Lord is delighted, slamming down two silver for the ale.
     "Next up, I know nothing of a Cao Cao, nor has anyone ever seen a Mulan male who wields a long thin blade like the one you talk about. There are elders, old people, but no silvered hair humans in the area, or anywhere on the continent as far as I am concerned, besides your friends over there."
     The dwarf motions over to Warsch and Tharyn. "Why don't talk, Bird-Man?"
     Crow Lord takes off his mask, which he hardly ever does. This is the first time that everyone gets a good glance at his face in decent lighting, but a large red scar stretches across his throat. His skin is very pale, hardly ever being exposed to sunlight, but several scars stretch across his face. His eyes, green like a spring leaf. His hair is silver, which is an odd pigment hardly seen in humans.
     "Oh... your throat. Sorry."
     Crow Lord deposits the last of the silver the barkeep asked for on the table, staying true to the man's demands.
     Stormdrake speaks up next. "We are trying to meet the court sorcerer, Servilus. But we were stopped at the gates, given our appearances and called peasants. How do we get in?"
     The barkeep, cleaning out another glass for Crow Lord, looks at Stormdrake. "No one has been in court who isn't a noble or very wealthy for a long time. Only those who gain the Judge's eye can get in. Criminals who require sentencing and bounty hunters get in quite often, however."
     Crow Lord jumps from his seat, fists clenched, ready to start a fight as he prepares to head out the door. Spider lauches a web, encasing him in a cacoon that covers him from his feet all the way up to his elbows. He falls forward, unable to crawl and prevented from starting another crazy bird adventure involving the beat down of anyone who crosses his path. Spider scolds him
     "I've heard of your fiasco back in Zeus! No more crazy bird fights!"
     Crow Lord turns his head around, and begins angrily kawing at Spider, who leaves him tied up for the duration of their converstation with Ogrun.
     "However, I do know of a good rumor that might yield your entry. But I would like a service in return. Stay the night at my Inn, 3 gold for a bedroom of five. I'll provide breakfast in the morning, and you guys can have all the pillows you require!"
     Stormdrake looks at the party, who all seem to agree. He gives the barkeep the 3 gold.
     "Rumor has it, the people who stand in the top percent are turning evil. Just in the past few days, the Captain of the Guard was found with a load of stolen evidence! Lost his job, and a few days later was found in his cell, heart missing from his chest. Like the thing just wanted out, burst from his chest, but it was nowhere to be found! And just last month, the richest banker in town lost or stole everyone's gold. The whole vault was empty. People raged and mobbed him, beating him down asking where their gold and silver be at. One night, full. Next morning, empty. After the guards broke apart the mob, his head was missing! Someone stole his freakin' head! And this isn't the first time someone at the top came crashing down and died in a weird manner. It's been going on for years. Some no name comes out of nowhere with the best business imagineable, and then they take a plunge."
     Tharyn, being rude, asks "Is that what happened to you?"
     Ogrun gets slightly red in the face, tears pushing up in his eye. "No, my luck's always been this way. Anyways, enjoy the place to your own whims. I'll be back in a bit." As the man exits around the counter, he throws on a coat and walks out the door. The group all look in on each other, dumping the last of their tasteless drinks into a sink near the counter. Crow Lord is removed from his webbing, and everyone goes upstairs to their rooms.

Ogrun's Outpost: A New Dawn


     Everyone spends the night at his place, sleeping on cots that felt worse than the several hour journey to Dal'Krosh. When the party awakens, they find themselves before the best breakfast they had every laid their eyes on. Pork, sausage, and a bar full of new, happy customers. Ogrun walks up to the party, thanking them for their faith in him. "I don't know what happened! It's like you folk brought me business to life! Whenever you are in Dal'Krosh, feel free to stay!" Crow Lord notices a leaf-green pendant around the man's neck that wasn't there yesterday. He reaches for it, but Ogrun swats his hand away.
     "This here is a necklace from a dear friend of mine. That's close enough, Bird-Friend!"
     Before the party heads out, they ask Ogrun who the most obvious top-percents are.
     "That would be Praticia, master herbalist and potions-master. Lore says she can heal and cure any wound with her tonics. You can find her near the city gates, it's the shop with the green door with the patter of metal vines on it."
     "Next up would be Qwarn, who navigates the stone taverns beneath Dal'Krosh. Normally collapsing at the slightest touch, Qwarn has been mining those parts for about three years, giving us access to several gems and ores the other mining companies are too afraid to go near. You should be able to find him quite easily, just follow the sound of mining."
     "The last person I secretely admire is Taggark, a stone mason who can build and shape any rock structure imagineable. He built the expansion on the Judge's mansion, you know. The tall tower, near the great wall. Tis the study of Servilus, the Iron Sorcerer. Taggark runs a workshop near the Judge's gates, the small stone building set with red brick. Can't miss it - Taggark's Living Stone!"

Taggark The Troubled


     The party parts way with Ogrun, who looks stern as they are leaving, a slight worry in his eye that they take for a bitter passing. They travel to the judge's gates to find Taggark, who is sitting in his shop, shaping stone into a fine stone sword. He is enchanting the stone with an odd magic, which glows tan with black specks, unknown to even Tharyn.
     "What kind of magic is that?" she inquires. Taggark looks up, grasping its hilt quickly, but relaxes when he sees the party.
      "It is the magic of my people, the Stone-Orcs of ancient Dal'Krosh. A lost art. What can I help you with? If it is stone, I can build!"
     "We'd like to talk to you about the recent odd deaths of the Captain and the Banker. Did you know either of them personally?"
      Stormdrake asks the mason, who quickly responds, almost as if on instince.
     "Not personally, although the Captain arrested me once for judgement. 20 days behind bars! They're dead now, that's what you get when you steal from people."
     Stormdrake continues the conversation. "Do you think they really did steal from those people? All those items, all that gold, seems a little bit unnatural..."
     Nope. The Captain wasn't a paragon of civilization, and the Banker was about as dishonest as villains get. They were thugs who got lucky.
     Warsch picks up on this information, calling him out.
     "I thought you said you didn't know them personally? That sounds pretty personal... Thugs, dishonest, villains... What do you know?"
     As Warsch is saying this, he notices a green-stoned pendant, very similar to the one that Ogrun was wearing, around Taggark's neck.
     "Where did you get that necklace?"
     Taggark places the necklace back into his shirt. "I got it from a friend. You people are making me nervous. Leave before I call the guard."
     Warsch places his hands on Taggark's desk, slamming them down with force and shaking the table. "Where. Did. You. Get. That. Necklace?"
     Taggark stands up suddenly, knocking over his chair. "It's not your business! LEAVE!!"
     As they are leaving, Warsch says to the mason: "We are going to figure out why people are dying. If you feel unsafe, which is why I'm guessing you are making weapons with your stone magic, then you need our help. Maybe we need your help. Just so you know, we will be back, that's just how these things turn out. Next time, be more welcoming and answer truthfully."

Praticia's Tonics & Herbs


     The party heads over to Praticia's, the tonic-master. As they walk in, they see that her hair is frazzled and dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep. Crow Lord and Tharyn notice that her shop is spotless, even her clothes. Her bottles are cleaned out perfectly, no spots either. Her clothes look recently changed. Ingredients are kept in their perfect storage environment, some being kept cold, others in a hot environment. Some are dried and placed in jars, others are in moist packaging.
     Tharyn speaks up to the woman. "You keep a nice shop here, but that would explain why you are the best of the trade, I suppose. You know who else was at the top? The Captain and that Banker. Did you know them by any chance?"
     The alchemist looks frantically at Tharyn, her eyes filled with panic. She tries to calm down, hiding her true feelings, but the entire room can see her fear.
      "I did. As matter of fact, we and a few others would meet over at the Hangman's Noose Tavern."
     "Who else was there?"
     "Besides me and them, it was Taggark, Qwarn. That's where the hag operates from, we've learned, and just last night we met Ogrun. It was really weird seeing a tavern owner in another tavern."
     Tharyn notices her attire, including a pendant quite similar to Taggark's, except this one is brown, like the color of dead leaves.
     "Where did you get that amulet? And please tell me more than 'a friend gave it to me.' I want a name."
     Tharyn is getting very close to Praticia's face, putting pressure and intimidation on the Tiefling.
     "I don't know the woman! She had green skin and was a Tiefling, like me! Her eyes were black, but her hair was silver. I saw her with Ogrun last night, but I hadn't seen her around those parts since I had met her!"
     Tharyn, feeling completed, pulls away from the bar. "Where do I find this Hangman's Noose?"
     The party exits from the shop, a feeling of 'mission complete.' Spider speaks up, for the first time in a while.
     "So, either Ogrun was lying, or he somehow met with that green tiefling over night. Silver hair? He knows something."

The Hangman's Noose


     The party enters the Hangman's Noose Tavern, where they come across into an empty bar. The tavern keeper is nowhere to be seen. Everyone splits up, however Crow Lord transforms into a wolf and sniffing around for clues. Stormdrake checks upstairs, where he finds the body of a man missing his legs, which were ripped off his body, pulling out parts of his tendons and hipbone out of his body. It looks like he tried to crawl to the door, but upon further inspection, finds neck broken from a rope that was pulled back hard enough to end him.
     Spider and Tharyn come up to inspect the body.
     "He has bruising on the back of the neck. I'm willing to bet he had an amulet, and whatever came in tore it off . But what could possibly rip a man's legs off?"
     As the party is investigating the voice of a guard enters. "Come on out with yer hands up. We got the place surrounded!"
     Spider looks outside the window, discovering five guard outside the tavern.
      Warsch makes his way down, hands up in peace. "Greetings, honor gua-"
     The guard cuts off Warsch, issuing a threat: "Breaking and entering are against the law, citizen. You will come with me to report to the Judge for trial, where you will be sentenced."
     "Now hold on, friend. I am here on a holy mission, investigating the deaths of the town's social heirarchy. We are here on important business, and believed the owner's life was at stake. As correct, the man was murdered."
     The guards follow Warsch to inspect the body. Five guards and a party of heroes don't fit well into one room, but somehow everyone manages.
     "There's no one here who could do such a thing. I must be honest with all of you, this town is plagued. Rich folk don't get misfortune this often, and their deaths always involve dismemberment. Are ye familiar with the prophecy of the endtimes? 'the bourgoise shall be cut down; their bodies cut open; their flesh becoming one.' Is this part of it?
     Spider looks alarmed. "What prophecy?"
     Stormdrake answers her question:
     "The blade of a god will smite the earth and all will die - my sword-spear and my brethren, who all perished.
     A ship will sink, and on it's shores the snake of blood will rise - I'm guessing that was the cave with all of those trackers.
     This is the next bit; they are cut apart and their pieces will be join together. But who, or what, is responsible?"
     Wharsch is very curious and asks what the next bits are, causing Stormdrake to continue.
      "The dreams of the squirrel will be eaten; the winter's harvest will be burned and a heart of evil will be born."
     "The blade of a god will turn black; It's power used to command lightning and the lever will open the gate."
     "The gate will open, and the abyss will swallow us all."
     "That is the prophecy; So far everything is fitting together."
     The guard looks shocked by what he is hearing. "So you think that this is... the end times?
     Warsch bends down, similar to the human guard. "We believe this a part of it. We must find the miner, Qwarn. What is the fastest way to get there?"

Qwarn's Mining Site


     The guard takes the party to an elevator, powered by some sort of machine with an enchanted stone of Lightning. The elevator lowers the party down into the mines, where they are greeted by a foreman of Harme'Narg.
     The guard states the emergency, and the foreman takes them to the correct mines where Qwarn is excavating, testing the rock and securing a safe zone to mine.
     The party is about 1/8 of a mile from Qwarn, barely seeing him and the four miners he is with, when a sudden collapse blocks off the tunnel. Rubble blocks their path, and everyone begins trying to clear out the mine. Stormdrake jumps up some rocks to help, but his foot slips and he tumbles down the rumble, hitting his head as he falls, dazing him.
     After a few minutes, the party clears enough of the collapse for spider to squeeze through. She squeezes through, seeing a Green Hag rip a miner in half, and approches Qwarn, and begins slicing him apart with her claws. Spider is too far away to stop most of the carnage, as the hag rips off his dismembered arm from the joint, pulling out the muscles and tendons, but as she starts pulling the other arm, Spider arrives and shoulder-tackles the hag, sending it away from Qwarn.
     The Hag hisses at Spider, and lifts up her claws menacingly. The Hag swipes at Spider, catching her across the forearm, which tears down through her skin, blood dripping out profusely. Spider takes a deep breath, the bleeding on her arm stopping, and then she launches a palm strike into the hag's arm, snapping a bone in half, the splinter jutting out of it's skin. Spider kicks upwards with her foot, connecting with the Hag's jaw, disconnecting it and sending a few teeth flying out.
     Tharyn climbs through the tunnel, with a small crow flying along side her. The witch slices sideways with her claws, slicing into her side and tears town across her abdomen, peeling the flesh open, exposing the muscles underneath. A large gush of Spider's blood pours out, spraying the witch's feet.
     Tharyn fires a Ray of Frost into the hag's chest, causing a coat of frost to blanket the hag's cloak.
     The small crow flies towards the hag, and pecks out one of the Hag's eyes. The Hag, in great pain, slaps the crow away, sending it fluttering into the wall. The hag then hops on her broom and takes off, flying down a cavern with Tharyn on her broom giving chase. The Hag has more speed, but Tharyn sees enough of the Hag to find her flying off down a cavern into the Great Chasm, where the hag vanishes into the darkness of its impenetrable depths.
     Tharyn returns to the party to find Warsch, Crow Lord, and Stormdrake healing Spider and Qwarn, alongside another cleric.
     Spider's wounds are healed perfectly, like nothing happened. Her cloak mends itself, covering the sites of her previous wounds.
     The party enters the tent of Qwarn, who wants to speak to Spider and the heroes alone.
     "Who are you, and how did you fight that thing away?"
     Spider speaks to the man, having saved his life.
     "We are heroes on a Witch Hunt across this continent. We came here after defeating a coven of Sea hags, and heard the rumors of rich people dying odd deaths. We'd like to know why."
     Qwarn, with his last arm, pulls a chain off his neck.
     "It is because of this, " he says, revealing the brown stone pendant. "I used up all of its charges. She came after me, just as she said she would. Four years ago, me and some other homeless and talentless losers went to the edge of the Great Chasm. We were going to kill ourselves. But then, a beautiful green skinned woman flew out of the dark, telling us to stop. She gave us these necklaces, for a price. When the last charge is used, she would collect from us. For the Captain, it was his pure heart. The Banker, his level-headed brain. But a deal with a witch!"
      "And for you, your arms?"
     "Yes, I hope one is good enough. Praticia and Taggark are next. If they're necklaces are browned, they will die soon. You must do what you can to save them, and quickly!"
     "One more question: what do these pendants do? How did she save you?"
     "The pendants each have 3 charges, allowing you to do three things before they run out. The charges do not return daily. Charges can be spent to either turn a failure into success, gain proficiency in any skill, tool, or activity, or increase one of your abilities. The stones start off white, until a contract is signed. After the first charge is spent, the stone turns green, fresh with life. Then it turns yellow, a warning. Finally, when the stone browns, you die. The witch gave use four years of life, or until we used up all of our charges."
     "Why did you use up your last charge?"
     "I had a recent accident, you see. I'm suffering from age, and my constitution is slowly decreasing. I used it to regain somewhat of my youth, and on a scale of 20, I feel like an 18."
     Crow Lord high fives the man, kawing quite acceptingly.
     "Anyways, you must find everyone who bears these amulets! You must save them from themselves!"
     The party exits the mines, returning to the surface of Dal'Krosh. Tharyn speaks up, saying "We should split up to cover more ground. Spider and Warsch should interrogate Taggark one more time, while Crow Lord and I talk or make bird noises at Praticia. Stormdrake, check on Ogrun. The fool is going to use his charges in a week, I just know it."
     "Let us all meet up at the fountain, near the center of town." Warsch adds.

Stormdrake: Ogrun's Folley


     Stormdrake heads off to Ogrun's tavern, but he feels an odd chill in the air as he approaches. The street is silent, the shadows are moving around him, but when he turns towards them he sees nothing. Stormdrake heads inside the tavern, where he finds Ogrun manning the counter.
     "I need to see your amulet! Now!"
     Ogrun is taken back by the large scary dragonborn. "No... it's mine! From a friend!"
      Stormdrake rushes up to the man, grabbing the chain around his neck and yanks it off. The stone on the amulet is already brown, and then fades to black.
     "How in the seven hells did you manage to waste all the char-"
     The doors to the tavern blow open, and a very cold chill fills the room. Normally, beer doesn't freeze quickly, but a large mug on the counter cracks open and a cylinder of beer falls to the floor, shattering all over. Stormdrake looks at the door, and a large goliath walks through the doors. His eyes are solid black, and spit dribbles from the corners of his mouth.
     "Pretty Lady says you travels with some friends. Make trouble for her, tried to gank her. It's me and you now. And little man over yonder - I will be taking his arm."
     "Two of us are making it out alive, buddy. I don't know how a Goliath walks around with hags, but you really chose the wrong side today."
     The goliath charges forward, punching out with a spiked fist at Stormdrake. Caught off guard, Stormdrake's only response is to leap back and swing upwards with his spear at his foe. The Goliath expects this, and parries the spear, causing Stormdrake to lose balance and fall sideways. The goliath grabs a table by the corner, picks it up, and smashes Stormdrake in the side with it. Stormdrake flies against the counter, falling onto the floor. The goliath grabs ogrun by the beard, pulling him up over the counter, and raises his fist. As he prepares to brings it down upon Ogrun's face, Stormdrake conjures a blob of Sacred Flame, which envolopes the titans arm. He roars in pain, clutching his burning arm, trying to brush off the burning tar. Stormdrake charges forward, spear thrusting forward, and stabs through the goliath. blood pours all over the interior of the once peaceful inn, but the goliath returns to clarity.
      "Urrnng... Thank you.. Hag... Took my mind! Urg, she comes! You... watch out!" The goliath falls to the floor, Stormdrake's magic spear sliding out like a knife through a piece of paper. All of a sudden, hideous laughter fills Stormdrake's head, and then the doors upstairs fly open, crashing against the walls. Then, from the backroom approaches a Tiefling, with green skin, black horns, and a really fine figure. The woman that Qwarn mentioned!
     "Now, I've come for that man's life, dragon. Most people last several years, but he... oh jeez... he lasted a few hours, almost a day. What rotten luck, eh? Hand him over, his worthless life, and nothing bad will have to happen to you. I'll even make you the same offer: 3 charges, 4 years or until all the charges are gone. How does that sound?"
     Stormdrake remembers his previous life, the one where he was a kobold before the spear. The weakness, the shame. The gods shaped him into an image of strength, true perfection. Nothing this hag could offer could match the grace of a god. "I think I'll pass. I just polished my scales, don't need to tarnish it with your hag filth!"
     The hag reverts to her true form, her spine extending, cracking, hunching forward, her arms stretching and her nails extending like wicked blades. However, the wounds from Tharyn, Crow Lord, and Spider have barely healed, and the hag is not at full power.
     Stormdrake screams at the top of his lungs "THUNDER!!" Lightning courses from him, knocking over tables, striking bottls of liquor and food, and for a brief second it appears as if Stormdrake is levitating! With a loud crack of lightning, he flies forward, his spear carrying him towards his mark.
     The hag raises her bad arm to parry the blow, but her wounds slow her down, and the spear stabs through her arm and into her torso. The hag groans out in pain, but with great willpower the hag grabs the spear with her good arm, pulling it out of her and snapping it from her arm. Despite his strength, the hag tears the spear out of Stormdrake's grip, and tosses it without hardly any effort towards Ogrun, slicing clean through his shoulder and severing the arm. Then, she grabs Stormdrake by the neck, choking him with great might and lifting him off the ground. With every ounce of effort, Stormdrake tries to summon a spell to ward off the hag, but he has no ability to speak. Before consciousness falls upon him, a priest clad in blue walks in.
     "Hands off, Hag, you've already killed enough!" He pulls out a symbol of a white circle from his cloak, and blasts the hag with Magic Missile. The first few bolts stab into the hag's shoulder, piercing into her neck and some fly low into her torso. Despite the injury, the hag laughs at the mage, raising her arm at the mage- cleric and quickly opens her palm, sending out a large blast of force towards the mage, knocking him far back against the wall, as well as some tables and chairs.
     Stormdrake rolls over to his side, and crawls over to his sword-spear. As he grabs onto it, the hag walks over to Ogrun and grabs him by his jaw. Ogrun gasps out, his remaining arm pressing against the hag, trying to escape. His efforts are futile, and before Stormdrake can throw his weapon, Ogrun's neck is snapped. The hag walks over to his arm, grabs it, and then walks out the door. The room returns to a normal temperature, ambient noise returning to the scene. Stormdrake bursts out the door, turning the corner, but alas he sees nothing. He goes back inside and finds the mage slowly standing up.
     "Thank you for your help, mage. Who are you, and why did you help me?"
     "I am the Iron Sorcerer of Dal'Krosh. The people around here call me that, as a form of courtesy, I suppose. However, it's a bit odd considering the fact that I am not a sorcerer: I'm actually a mage, with some experience as a cleric. I would appreciate it if you just call me Servilus. I've been hunting for the source of the mischief that has been plagueing this town, working side by side with my Solanari brethren. I detected... something... that has been across the city. It's been wrecking havoc across the town. I could use your help, taking this thing down. Are you injured?"
     Stormdrake rubs his hand over his throat, but nothing is broken or damaged. "I'll be fine. My group is working the case already. We don't need-"
     "You talked to everyone who has one of the necklaces yet? Or are you still working on that? Do you know how to diffuse the magic of the amulets?"
     "We will find the hag, and kill it. That's it." Stormdrake raises his fist, clenching it against the pain in his chest. The mage looks at his chest, offering a spell to heal it. Stormdrake looks at him sternly, and heals it himself.
      "The magic of the amulets will linger for any hag to pick up on."
     "Well, then we will kill them too."
      "And what of the people who've been marked? Do you know anything of alteration and its permanence?"
      "It alterates matter. The Architects of Vle'Anos dictated that it's some sort of rearrangment of the molecules, but The Grand Cathedral tried to bury that. A god's might to bless and change things, to grant wishes and desire."
     The mage shakes his head, slightly amused.
     "Yes, a very good school book explanation. But that is not what these amulets do. They alter the body's capabilities to store humanity. The body, once corrupted, becomes a conduit for the hag's magic. It calls to them, beckoning them to kill. Once dead, the target loses it's soul, but the body waits."
     Stormdrake tilts his head in confusion. "Waits for what?"
     Servilus smiles. "Anything. Possession by spirit, a demon, angel, you name it."
     Stormdrake shakes his head. "So if the body is prepped, why remove a limb?"
     The mage nods, and then lifts up a finger. "That's what I'm trying to figure out. The hag's are tossing out good corpses. It's like something out of Frankenstein's Monster."
     Stormdrake pulls up a chair, thinking that this might take a while. "What else do you know about these amulets?"
     The mage smiles. "Nothing. But get up, I think we should all meet up. Your friends and I. I think we can help each other."
     "We don't need your help."
      "Oh really! Because I did some sneaking around, observation. Your buddy, the half-angel... He's got a bug on him. Never seen that before. It's burning him up on the inside. I think you know what I mean: He gets angry. I'd like to look at it, maybe remove the malevolent force behind it."
     "Anything else you'd like to snoop in on?"
     "Well, that monk is pretty cu-"
     "And that's where our conversation ends. Fine, we might need your help after all, Servilus."

Spider: Warsch and Taggark Round II


     Warsch and Spider walk into Taggark's shop. The half-orc spits out his ale, drinking himself to death it seems. Warsch feels an ember brewing up inside of him, a great anger taking control of the wheel. Intimidatingly,Warsch clears off the table, knocking everything against a wall. Warsch grabs the man from across the table, pulling him closer.
     "Didn't think we'd be back in time to watch you kill yourself, huh?" The mason begins sobbing uncontrollably. "I don't want to die! Please!"
     "Tell us what you know about the hag, Taggark. She flew down into the Great Chasm, but where!?"
     "I don't know! One minute, we were standing on a ledge, and then next thing I know I'm standing in an area with bright greens, gardens, and forest. I was in the chasm, surrounded by darkness, but this area, I don't know how you can't see if from above! I swear! I know nothing of how to get there!"
     Spider tries to pull Warsch away from Taggark. She places her hand on Taggark's forearm, trying to calm him. She speaks softly.
     "Did you see any land marks? The walls of the cavern by any chance?"
     "We were standing by this tree, a large dead one on the north end, and then bam! Night turned to day! Maybe I passed out, but it didn't seem real!" Warsch forces his way forward, grabbing Taggark by the scruff of the neck and yanking him over the desk with strength.
     "Gods, you are of no help. Come with me, we will keep you safe until this matter is ended." Warsch grabs Taggark by the wrist, pulling him out the door.
     Taggark tries to resist Warsch, shouting "if you bring me to that witch, I'll be dead! She will kill me!" As soon as Warsch and Spider get out the door, Taggark breaks out of Warsch's grip, shutting and locking the door behind them.
     "The witch can have him," Warsch grunts. They leave, heading back to the fountain.

Howling At The Moon


     Tharyn and Crow Lord enter Praticia's shop, where they find her writing a letter, to a relative or as a will. Tharyn speaks to Praticia.
     "We need your help locating the witch's hut. I tracked her into the chasm, but she was too fast and slipped away into its shadows."
     Praticia, being an intelligent woman, responds to Tharyn with manners. "I am going to die. The witch will find me, no matter where I go and no matter how far away I flee. If it means saving my life, and maybe everyone else's, then I have a plan which might work. The Witch will come for me, so I say you set up a trap. When we met the witch, we were by a Tree with a noose by the northen edge of the Great Chasm. If we camp out, we should be able to see where she comes from, and where she goes when she flees. I hope we manage to kill her, too. She wants to take everything out of me, from under my ribs down to my waist."
     They head back to the fountain, where they meet up with Warsch, Spider, Stormdrake, and a strange cleric clad in blue robes.
     "Everyone, this is Servilus, a mage-cleric of Solinari. He's gonna help us against this hag, but in return he wants to look at your amulet, Warsch. Anyways, Ogrun is already dead," Stormdrake states, with a stern look on his face. "He had his arm torn off, the one that Qwarf did not lose. As Tharyn expected, he had used up his last charge. In one day, a person can get themselves killed. What foolery exists in this city!" Tharyn speaks, telling every Praticia's plan. Servilus speaks: "We have a good plan set up, however we should set up magic traps against the hag. Once the hag drops into our circle, we lock her in and extract information. "
     Warsch looks at the mage with curiousity. "Have you dealt with hags before, Pavel?"
     Servilus looks with a worry on his face. "I have not fought in combat against them before, except for my chance meeting with the dragonborn. I used to live near Kraken's Port, a small fishing village to the south. However, my family and several villagers were murdered by a cult of possessed children. After the kids had done the killings, they left and were never seen again. However, in my pursuit of them I learned of hags, and joined up with the Chapel of Solinari. I want to rid the world of them!"
     The party nods their heads in agreement, stocking up on rations, and buy several items which will help them against the Green Hag: tarps for concealment, monoscopes for observing from where the witch flies from, and several rope traps for entangling the hag. Servilus returns with several chalk lines, a few boles, chicken liver, and herbs.
     Tharyn sniffs about, detecting the herbs. "Oh, so you're fashioning the Chains of Ctharus. Do you think it'll be strong enough?"
     Servilus nods his head with confidence. "Of course! We used this ritual to trap a necromancer a few years back. Stopped the fiend from raising our loved ones."
     Tharyn fakes a smile. "Good hunting!"

Praticia's Trap


     As night falls, The party sets up camp over the chasm, observing from where the Hag flies from. An hour passes, and nothing happens. Another hour passes, and Crow Lord passes out, his snores sounding like "kaw... kaw... kaw kaw." Then, from about a quarter mile from the edge of the chasm, the hag flies out, a large smoke from the chasm following her up several feet. The party throws up their tarps, covering their scent and forms from the hags sight. Crow Lord is woken up by Spider, who presses his mask into his lips, muffling his surprise.
     The hag flies over to Praticia, the sound of sincerity on her tongue. "Praticia, you've had a good long four years. You've come far, made a name for yourself, but now your time has come. Give yourself to me, peacefully, and I will make this quick. Turn me away, and I will ruin your name, erase your existence, and kill you painfully. Please, make this easy on me and yourself."
     Before Praticia can say yes, Warsch bursts out of his tarp, throwing a javelin at the witch. Despite their previous encounter, the Green Hag's only injury is her eye. Her bones have been moved back into place, her cuts healed, and her strength restored. Warsch's javelin flies over the Hag, who is now alerted to the party but doesn't move quick enough to avoid Servilus's trap.
     Four chains of bright light burst from the ground, turning over the dried soil beneath the hag's broom. Each chain launches into each of the hag's limbs, pulling her off her broom and onto the ground. Despite her injurings, the hag begins to laugh maniacly.
     Tharyn launches from her tarp and fires three bolts of Scorching Ray, which burns through the hag's robes and skin, exposing her ribs.
     Spider raises her palm, casting web to prevent the hag from escaping, but the hag tears through the web, her nails glowing red and setting it ablaze.
     Warsh feels the heat of his anger at the Hag. The people she ruined, the lives she has taken. A great flame rises from inside Warsch, and he erupts, flames pouring from his eyes and mouth. Crow Lord and Stormdrake are burned and sent away by the explosion of Warsch's radiance, and nearby flora such as weeds and the dead tree light up in holy flames. Warsch walks towards the hag, his footsteps leaving behind prints of flame. The hag raises her hands to shield her from the light of the flames, which begin to lick at the hag's flesh.Warsch lifts up his mighty hammer, which burns white hot is engulfed in radiant fire, swinging downward. However, Warsch's attack against the prone hag misses, due to his eyes being on fire, and his blow lands in the dirt near the hag. Warsch falls unconcious, the flames affecting him extinguish. The hag begins standing up, the chains popping from her arms in a spray of blood all over Warsch's back. The blood begins to boil, and then begins to evaporate.
     Crow Lord casts Entangle on the hag as she tries to get up, laying her flat on the ground for certain death. The hag just lies there, but her skin is as cold as ice and the roots begin to freeze over.
     Stormdrake walks up to the hag, pulls out his holy symbol and casts Inflict Wounds on the hag. Black magic pulses from his symbol into the hag, but She laughs menacingly at Stormdrake, her black eyes peering up at him.
     The Green Hag grabs at the vines, breaking the frozen vines into several pieces. Stormdrake slices downwards with his spear, but the hag rolls out of the vines and avoids the spear. She stands up on her feet, her boom flying to her side, and prepares to leave. Stormdrake swings again at the hag, but the hag pulls up sharply and his swordspear tastes nothing but the night air.
     She laughs at the group, flying away from the ambush site with her middle finger raised. She is fast, but not fast enough before Tharyn hops on her broom flies off towards her. Crow Lord transforms into a Large Crow, who Spider jumps onto, and the trio fly after The Green Hag.
     Stormdrake checks on Warsh, who is sweatting profusely, his eyes and mouth bleeding from the surge of radiant flames. Checking his injuries, Stormdrake deduces that healing will restore him completly without any adverse side affects, hopefully removing any chances of Warsch going blind. Praticia offers Stormdrake a healing potion of fire mending, who rips off the cork and plugs that sucker into Warsch's throat. After Warsch unconsciously chokes down the last of the potion, Stormdrake begins casting a healing spell.
     As Stormdrake's healing hands pour into Warsch's face, Servilus kneels down on the other side of Warsch, and places the backside of his hand against Warsch's cheek.
      "I have never seen anything like that! The heat, that fire... It's... something out of a holy book!"
     Stormdrake turns toward Servilus. "How can this be holy? The flames wounded him. Warsch is part angel, he shouldn't be wounded by anything remotely holy."
     Servilus thrusts up his index fingure, pointing up towards the sky. "Exactly, half angel. Warsch is an Aasimar, but from what I've read, only two types exist: the Protectors and the Fallen. Each type has a transformation: Protectors can grow white wings, capable of flight and they glow with radiance. The fallen can sprout bone wings and radiate with unholy fear. But Warsch is... on fire. Holy flames. Stormdrake... This is something new. Something completely unheard of!"
     Stormdrake looks irritated. "Look, just calm down. Whatever is happening to Warsch, must be a result from that amulet."
     Servilus shakes his head. "No, I think it's something else, like his soul is fighting against the amulet, similar to the way an immune system works.
     What we are looking at here, I believe, is Warsch growing up."
     Praticia's eyes widen. "But, like, the guy is already way past maturity. Puberty ended several years ago for him and-"
     Servilus: "Not puberty. His body is half human, that part is done growing up. But the angels live long lives, so it's possible his soul is finally catching up with his body. Warsch's soul, an angelic soul, is just simply evolving." Servilus smiles, and it's a pretty creepy smile, enough to make Stormdrake uncomfortable.
     "The point is, my friend is being plagued by some sort of scourge. I can heal his wounds, but he is in pain."
      Praticia walks over next to Stormdrake, putting her hand on his shoulder.
     "Whatever is wrong with him, my potions and herbs will help. And, if I can get a sample of his blood, I could whip up a potion to-"
     Stormdrake slaps her hand off his shoulder. "Warsch's blood? Against his permission? I don't think so. When he awakens, you can try. But no one is handling any angel blood against Warsch's unknowing!"
     Praticia looks very insulted. "Why, I'm not planning anything insidious. I'm just trying to help."
     Stormdrake blows some steam out of his nostrils. "Silence is helping. When everyone gets back we can talk, until then, no talking."

The Wicked Witch's Adobe


     The trio make their way down into the darkness, where they spotted the witch coming from, descending as slowly as they can. Tharyn makes her way down into the Great Chasm, seeing through the darkness with her elf eyes. Spider sees through it far better, being a drow, but has to guide Crow Lord to a safer landing area.
     The trio, after searching for about an hour, eventually come across the Hag's adobe. The moment they step into the area, the sun comes up, the plants turn vibrant green and bear fruit. Looking backwards, the trio can see the darkness of the Great Chasm; a large bubble surrounds the area, casting dark on anything looking in.
     The area has no trees, but several gardens ripe with fresh ingredients, fruits, and vegetables. On a small hill lies a small hut, nicely built with brick and shingles. A chimney juts out the top, and smoke is billowing out, channeling into the large screen of smoke that surrounds the area.
     As they walk up to approach the hut, a woman is tied up to a post, one of her eyes missing, pieces of her flesh torn off. She screams at the trio "Please! Untie me, before the witch tears at me once more! I can't even..."
     Tharyn and Spider don't think anything of this and walk over, just another victim of the cruel witch. Crow Lord has his doubts, but is unable to warn Spider and Tharyn of his concerns. Just as they get close enough to the woman, the Green Hag reverts her form, her black eyes turning into a void as she casts Eyebite. She gazes at Spider and the magic spell puts her immediately to sleep.
     The Hag grabs onto Tharyn, pulling her closer by the head. "By my death your curse begins; your heart of stone will take your flesh; Only a true love's blood filling your stomach will break your curse!" Tharyn is pushed back, shocked by what the Hag said. Crow Lord flies over, ready to defend his friends and fight with a hag, who is very weakened from the fight before.
     Crow Lord flies in with his talons, but misses as the witch ducks underneath his flight path. Crow Lord lands, and brings his beak down towards the Hag, who side steps his attack. The Hag looks at Tharyn, her Eyebite trying to put Tharyn to sleep also, but Tharyn shakes off the spell; She only has enough opporunity to be cursed once today. Tharyn channels an open flame, ready to cast Scorching Flame once more, but as she is about to send three beams at the Hag, her spell vanishes. The Green Hag is pointing at Tharyn's arcane focus and shouts "Counterspell! Fool!"
     Crow Lord flies up and pierces the distracted hag with his talons, digging into her chest and scraping downwards. Large torrents of blood cover the Hag's robes, which can be seen clearly in the daylight of the magical sun. As his talons exit from her, Crow Lord brings down his beak towards her other eye, but misses her completely, thrusting past her shoulder.
     The Hag loses concentration of her Eyebite from the wound Crow Lord dealt. Angrily, she hisses at him, and grabs him by the beak, her fingers cracking it slightly as she wrests her fingers into the opening of his mouth, trying to pry open his jaws. Tharyn summons a Flaming Sphere and rams it into the Hag, whose back is ripped open by the flames. Crow Lord, with the hag's hands in his mouth, clamps down as hard and fast as he can, but the Hag pulls her hands out before he can rip them off.
     The Hag swipes her claws at Crow Lord, tearing apart his feathery breast. "Looks like I'll be having chicken tonight! Kaw Kaw!" Mocking Crow Lord would be the last thing to come out of that Hag's mouth. Tharyn casts Firebolt at the hag, hitting her in the left shoulder. Tharyn then rams the Flaming sphere into the Witch's back, incinerating her robes and flesh even further. As the witch's hair and skin is burned from her face, the last of the skin around her lips begins to curl into a horrendous smile that stretches from ear to ear. As Tharyn is holding her hands out in front of her, controlling the orb, her fingers begin turning to stone, from there to her elbows, and begins quickly making its way up her arms. Tharyn tries to scream, but her throat turns to stone and she cannot make a sound.
     Spider awakens from her deep slumber, freed from the Hag's spell. She gazes upon Tharyn, cast in stone, and looks over at the very wounded Large Crow, his chest ripped open. Green magic begins to flow around Crow Lord, speckles of green passing into and out of his wounds, mending his chest. Crow Lord and Spider load up Tharyn onto his back, and then he flies away. Watching him fly away, Spider pulls a tomato from a stalk nearby and takes a bite. "Say what you want about hags and their disgusting nature, but their horticulture is off the charts!" Spider heads inside, looking for loot to nab. As she steps up into a large bedroom, Spider finds a large chest, filled with silver, gems, a Potion of Growth, a 3rd level Spell scroll, and a Wand of Magic Detection. She also picks up several hand bags from a rack nearby, with one weighing about 10 pounds, but putting her hand inside reveals an alteration to have a very deep pocket, along with the clinking of some gold coins. She puts her hand in further, and discovers many gold pieces. "This must be the stolen gold from that Banker!" she says, and then tests out the other sacks, which are sadly normal. With great dissappointment, Spider tosses aside the normal bags.
     Spider walks over to the night stand, finding the Hag's journal:
     "I always believed all my life that I was meant for true love; a family, friends, a nice house. All that was taken from me the day I turned 13, a dark desire to carve human flesh took inside me. I resist it every day, even despite the torture and ridicule of my fellow hags. I fled, setting up in small towns over the years, until I ended up in Dal'Krosh. Before I fled, I stole a ritual book very important to them, depicting rituals and such of Green Hags. The only ritual I was most common with were Amulets of Second Life, which gave people in despair a new life, set with new skills, hope, and beautiful talent."
     "The Annis Hag, Bleurhelga, approached me last night. If I do not do as she says, she will rip me to pieces and leave my city and it's suffering to another. I cannot allow that to happen, so I agreed to fulfill the contracts with the locals. I must kill those that made contracts, however I might be able to extend the time limit Bleurhelga is putting on their lives. No one deserves to suffer as they have, or are about to."
     "Bleurhelga is creating the largest coven I have ever seen. She has Sea Hags, several Green Hags, and a Bheur Hag. Hags don't group up like this. This isn't right, but she says that only together can we complete this ritual. Together, we must form the Key and the Golem of Evil."
     "It took forever, but some of my previous contracts have finally reached completion. I've grown restless, waiting, tearing apart, and killing. The blood, oh gods the people I've killed. Felt so good... like a part of me. This is it. The hag side of me, it's crushing my humanity-"
     As Spider flips through the pages carelessly, eventually find a few pages telling about a ritual to create a flesh golem, Crow Lord lands. Spider exits the house, book in hand, and checks out the Green Hag's corpse, finding 1 iron tooth and grabs her broom, which doesn't fly as she was hoping. Crow Lord appears out of nowhere, smoke following him down into the bubble of daylight.
     After the body is finished being searched, Spider grabs onto and rips the hag's head off her shoulder, pulling up bits of flesh as well as her spine. As her head is removed, the everlasting sun goes out; the green grass and open fields turns to darkness and decay. Tiny feet can be heard scurrying from the distance, and monstrous noises can be heard coming towards Crow Lord and Spider. Spider hops onto Crow Lord, who flies off and lands near Stormdrake, who helping Warsch to his feet.
     Stormdrake turns to Spider, questions flowing like the wind.
     "What happened to Tharyn? What did you find on the Hag? What took you so long?"
     "Easy easy there! I only grabbed what was needed, and then some more. For example..." Spider pulls out one of the Witch's amulets, and tosses it to Servilus, who eyeballs it.
     "Servilus, how to do we activate one of these things? Perhaps its magic could be traced back to it's true origin?"
     Servilus goes to catch the trinket, but fails and the trinket hits him in the throat. After a few seconds of coughing, Servilus holds the trinket in front of him, eyeballing the amulet with great horror and tossess it away into the dirt.
     "Holy Solinari! What are you trying to do, kill yourself?!" As he is scurrying away and about, Praticia pulls her amulet out from her tunic, the stone white.
     "The dark powers... gone? Then I am free from my certain doom?"
     Stormdrake eyeballs her, regretting saving her. "It would seem, for the moment, that the magics which bound you to your contract are broken. Do you still possess mastery of potion brewing?"
     Praticia looks at several herbs, pulling them from the ground. "I don't feel any different. In truth, when I asked to be made more intelligence, I forgot what it was like before I was changed. I'll find out after I make some more potions."

Return to Dal'Krosh


     The party begins heading back to Dal'Krosh carrying Tharyn on several tarps, connected to Crow Lord transformed into a mule. As they near Dal'Krosh, about twenty minutes away, a large tower connected to the Judge's Keep crumbles off, falling off and crushing several buildings. Servilu's jaw hits the floor.
     "That's my tower! My stuff was in there! NO! My notes, my relics... AAAHH!!"
     As they make their way back, the town guard lets the players in. "The tower that Taggark built crumbled, killing several people. The Judge is considering this to be an act against the city, and Taggark is to be held on trial soon."
     They make their way to the castle of the Judge, but the same guard stands in their way. Servilus walks past the guard, who recognizes him as a member of the court. But his hand comes up and stops the rest of the party.
     "Not ye again. Tell me, peasants, why do you seek to gain entrance into the court THIS time? Theres a trial in session, and-"
     Stormdrake speaks to the guard, "We have succeeded a bounty on a witch *Spider pulls the head out of a shoulder bag* and wish to collect on it."
     The guard, impressed at the hag's head, nods approvingly. "Alright, I'll let ye in. But cause any duress to the Judge or the court trial, and I'll haul all of ye to jail myself!"
     The players enter the courtroom, where they find parties affected by the tower collapsing sitting on chairs to the right and left of the court. In the center, Taggark is held in chains, bolted to a stand for all to look at. He is pleading for his life, saying he had nothing to do with the collapse. With a heavy sigh, the judge, a Dwarf clad in fine red robes with golden hair, beckons to the party.
     "And who might you be, to walk in late to my proceedings? I am the Judge, Raq'bramn. Speak now or be dismissed... immediately."
     Warsch is dealing with a migraine or something, as his head is hurting him quite intensively. Spider takes charge.
     "My lord, we are here on behalf of Taggark to summon witnesses. We have here Praticia, a friend of his, who knows how the tower collapsed, where the banker's gold went, and why the Captain stole those items. She is also aware of their true cause of deaths. Please, Praticia. Take the stand."
     Praticia walks forward, and sits down next to Taggark's podium.
     "We were the target of a vile witch who sought our undoing. Her goal was to erase all of our great deeds and our very names from people's memories. You see, both the Captain and the Banker were my close friends, as is Taggark and Qwarf. She marked us for being successful, bringing us to ruin, and when we were at our lowest she would kill us. Ripping off our heads, tearing our limbs off, pulling our hearts out. She would've been successful, had it not been for this group of heroes before us, who followed me to my almost certain doom. As the witch approached me, they attacked her, killing her in mighty blows. Before she died, she cursed one of their party members, a wizard named Tharyn, turning her into a statue."
     The judge looks most honerably at the heroes, smiling wide and tries to stand up, but doesn't.
     "A very good case indeed. I agree that a 2,000 gold bounty will be placed on said Hag. Turn over her head, and claim your reward. Also, any discovery of the stolen gold will yield in a formal title for you all, along with an estate which will treated like royalty at all times."
     Spider stands there, thinking very hard on what to do. On one hand, she has 10,000 gold. She could buy some nice stuff with that kind of money. On the other hand, a place to call home and a title, where no one will question her involvement with the drow. The Witch Hunters, should they ever find her, will discover a noble instead of a drow.
     "We have already discovered the location of the gold, your Honor, and brought it to you." Spider pulls out the bag, and hands to a court servant, who walks it over to the judge. His eyes turn wide, amazed at the capacity of the bag.
     "Then it decided. From this day forth, you will no longer bear the blue tunics of Zues, but will now be Known as the Hammers of Dal'Krosh, and will given red tunis with the symbol of the Hammer. Your estate will be the former Banker's estate, and you will have servants to the city's choosing who will keep the place spotless in your absence. If you require furnishings, I will give to you a Court Payment of 4000 gold. Not actual gold, but every store in Dal'krosh will accept this, and you will obtain goods worth the amount."
     The court is dismissed, and the party makes their way to Servilus, who greets them in duress. He rubs his brow, and then clears his mind.
     "I am glad to see you all again. Thank you for your aid against the green hag who was plagueing my town. I don't think I could have handled that situation without you five. If there's anything I can do for you as a favor, I will.
     Stormdrake speaks. "We need to have you look at a few things, such Warsch, Tharyn, and some hag tokens we found."
      Servilus looks at Warsch, who asks him if he is having visions, and what they are.
      "There is a very large man, clad in black smoke, speaking to me. Telling me to find the other items that belong to this."
     Warsch holds out the Amulet of Hell's Tongue towards Servilus, who touches it for less than a second.
     "It is a cursed object. It may grant you powerful Charisma, however, the words you speak are not always yours. I cannot do anything about this, as much of my notes and artifacts have been lost or destroyed. However, if we head over to the Chapel of Solinari, I have some friends who might be able to help."
     Servilus then moves towards Tharyn. He waves his hand over her form, casting a spell to break the curse. However, he grunts with a sigh as he realizes he cannot break the spell permanently. "It would seem that this curse is much stronger than I expected. Hag magic be damned!" As he finishes his sentence, Tharyn crumbles out of the stone statue, falling to the ground. Servilus helps her up to her feet.
     Servilus helps her up. "It would seem your curse only lasts at night. I managed to temporarily reduce the curse, so that you only lose out on 4 hours of the night. I cannot do anything more, as the complexity of this magic are well beyond my comprehension. There aren't many ways to break a curse that I know of, however, what did the witch tell you of it?"
     "She said that until the blood of true love fills my stomach, I am cursed."
     Servilus opens his eyes in wide horror. "Well, all you have to do, it seems, is kill the person who you love the most, drink almost all of their blood, and you should be cured!" Tharyn rolls her eyes, annoyed at the prospect of love.
     Stormdrake hands Servilus the iron tooth. "Well, this tooth is enchanted. I have seen its kind before, on children being preyed on by an Annis Hag. For many years, I have been dealing with the absence of children. In most cases, I have succeeded at finding the child before the family is murdered, however I have had no luck hunting down the Hag. These teeth are usually given to children as a means of communication, telling the child to kill their family, or wander in to the woods. It starts off with the child breaking common and important house rules, like don't leave candles going, or don't leave the kitchen stove running. Recently, the child vanishings have, well, vanished. How did you get one of these teeth?"
     Spider speaks to servilus. "We killed a group of Sea Hags near Zeus on the east coast, directly east of here. Today, when we killed the Green Hag, we found another."
     Servilus looks very confused. "Perhaps the Hags are using these to communicate with eachother?"
      Servilus focuses upon the iron teeth, trying to cast Scry but his magic has no effect. "These teeth are reversed enchanted, meaning magic cannot affect them. However, with two teeth I could catch a glimpse into its workings. The curious thing about this enchantment is that the more teeth and the closer they are together, the weaker the enchantments get. Meaning, find more teeth, and We can scry the location of the Annis Hag." Servilus holds both teeth in his hand, and begins channeling a light blue ball in his palm. His eyes turn white, and he gasps out. His eyes return to normal, and he speaks. "Onatar's Gate. That's what the teeth are directing me to. The hag is there, but I don't hear the voices like you do."
     Tharyn steps toward Servilus "Why haven't you been able to do this before? You said you would hunt the hags, and that children would have the teeth. What was different then?"
     Servilus looks at the teeth in his possession. "The hag would always remove herself from the iron teeth and the tooth or teeth would fall apart in my hands. Whenever a hag creates a tooth, it's magic is bound to all other teeth of the same magic. So, destroying one tooth would destroy the others. However, this time the Hag isn't willing to destroy her teeth. That means that we can finallly rid this land of her foul play. I say we head out while we can, before Tharyn is turned back into a stone statue."
     Before they leave the court, a royal servant returns the shoulder bag to Spider, along with several items: several keys to the estate, an envelope of the 4000 acquisitions, and a bounty of 2000 gold.
     Spider stops by a shop to sell all of her stolen gear from Zeus, selling the gems and silk sheets. When she takes out the Captain's Hat, Crow Lord appears at her side, grabs the hat and places it with pride over his mask & hood.

The Chapel of Solinari


     The party stops by the Chapel of Solinari, where both Tharyn and Warsch get looked at. The are greeted by a man in blue and golden robes, with gray hair and a wrinkled face. He takes a long look at Warsch's amulet, and then looks into Warsch's palm for some time.
     "Yes, it would seem that we can try to block off some of the Amulet's adverse effects, particularly the screaming and beatings. However, what's happening to you is actually an adverse effect of the amulet's presence on you. This may sound weird, but your soul is going through puberty."
     Warsch shakes his head, completely bewildered. "Puberty? I'm 28 years old, it's a little late for all th-"
      Servilus walks up to Warsch. "Like I was telling Stormdrake, you are half human, half angel. Your body, slightly altered, is human. The body is gone growing, your soul - an angelic soul - isn't. Angels live long lifespans, however the Aasimar don't. To put it bluntly, your lifespan is shorter, causing a quicker growth in your angelic powers. Now for the second part! The books we have here can help you, but let me give you the short explanation: We are aware of two types of angels: the Protectors, the Fallen, but not you. When you transform, it is like a great holy flame." Servilus squints his eyes. "What are you?"
     Warsch scraches his hair, parting his hair out of his face. "I am the child of a Solar, from what I have been told by my mother. But I don't know much about him, other than he serves the Silver Flame. That's why I became a paladin, so that I can find him."
      Tharyn shifts around, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "So, you're father is basically God's right hand man, eh? Does that make you a demigod, Warsch?"
      Warsch laughs. "Ha, no. Nothing like that. Look, he abandoned me and my mother. He left us for dead at the hands of the Duergar. Whatever I am, it doesn't matter."
      The elder priest places both of his hands on Warsch's shoulders. "It does matter. Your soul is strong, Warsch. You are going to become something greater. Your powers, the ability to channel light and heal, they came not from your faith in the gods. Maybe a little bit, maybe, but YOU can channel the light in a way that no one can. Continue your holy quest, and never turn away from the light. You are an angel, Warsch. That is something you must become. Accept it!"
     Warsch begins pulling out the gold, however the Arch-priest turns his hand away. "There is no need for gold, as you have already saved my life today." He pulls out an amulet, set with a white stone just like the other amulets. The party sees this, knowing full well that this man made a deal with a Hag. The Wizards begin preparing for the ritual to cleanse Warsch of the amulet's possession.
     Tharyn is observed by several mages including the elder, however they all shake their heads. The Archpriest speaks to the Tharyn.
     "What happened to you is something that I reget to talk about. Everynight, you will turn to stone. A Hag's Curse cannot be broken, even by the hag who administered it. Only by completing the terms of the curse will you be freed."
      Tharyn gets very sassy. "But I'm unlikeable! And I hate people! I've never known true love, let alone any kind of affection! I'll be cursed for the rest of my elven existence! Noooo!!"
     The ritual on Warsch is completed within the hour, and the party takes their leave of the Archmage, who smiles at them as they leave. Servilus has an odd look on his face, then turns and walks off through a door.
     The party walks out of town towards Onatar's Gate, following the dashing crow with his proud hat. As the gates prepare to close, a loud "Wait!" can be heard, and the doors stop moving. Servilus, dressed in battlemage armor with a travel pack on his back, chases after the party.
     "Where do you think you are going, without me? I am on a hunt for witches, and I'll be damned if I sit idly by while you heroes risk your necks on my behalf. Onwards!"

Proceed to Chapter 4: The Gate of Madness