A Gathering Darkness

1st Adventure, Part 1

Players
Dan (Cazmus), Hillary (Alorenval)

Cazmus & Alorenval find themselves lost in the Orlesian city of Val Firmin after a crooked Orlesian caravan leader abandoned them there without pay. As the two survey the scene, two young boys clad in sky blue cloaks steal Cazmus’s throwing axe and Alorenval’s money pouch and run off into the crowd. Alorenval notices the thieves and alerts Cazmus. The two Fereldens manage to corral one of the children in a back alley where Cazmus brutally cuts down the young cutpurse.

While Alorenval hides the body in a nearby hay cart Cazmus enters a nearby tavern covered in the child’s blood and orders a drink. Alorenval wounds herself to play up the elf slave angle and loudly apologizes for making her master (Cazmus) mad. playing the blood off as hers. Before the two even have a chance to rest more blue cloaked children attack with throwing knives before racing into the crowds.

The group races into a crowded thoroughfare with Cazmus in the lead but loses sight of the child. Realizing how conspicuous a blood spattered Ferelden in middle of Orlais look, Cazmus decides to duck into a tavern to quickly wash off the blood. Meanwhile Alorenval remains outside and notices a merchant flag down a group of city guard visiting a local tavern.

Realizing that Cazmus has been made, Alorenval decides to wait and watch for an opportunity. Seeing a young messenger run by Alorenval flags down the boy and sends him in to the tavern to warn Cazmus with a cryptic message. Cazmus shrugs at the vague warning and continues to cleanup. The boy runs out with the scary Ferelden man’s reply to the consternation of Alorenval. She prepares to send the boy in again when she notices several city guard surrounding the tavern.

Realizing she can do nothing for Cazmus, Alorenval begins to leave when she notices several more guardsmen canvasing the street. She also notices the merchant signal for the guards and nodding in her direction. Alorenval attempts to avoid the guards and mix amongst the crowd. However she is quickly captured and detained.

Cazmus fares no better when he attempts to leave the tavern and is surrounded by city guard demanding his surrender. The two are disarmed and taken to the garrison where they are informed that the boy Cazmus killed was none other that the son and heir of Baroness Brienne Valmonte du Val Firmin.

The young boy had gathered a young gang of ruffians as his own Thieves Guild denoted by the sky blue cloaks they wear. The city guard turns a blind eye to their petty thievery due to his status as heir to Val Firmin and close ties to the Empress of Val Royeaux

The duo are manacled and together and loaded into a prison wagon sentenced to hard labor in the Salt mines of Salumet near the Abyssal Rift

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1st Adventure, Part 2

Players
Dan (Cazmus), Hillary (Alorenval), Nick

The Fereldens meet Nick’s character, an Antivan merchant who’s business partner, Baroness Brienne Valmonte du Val Firmin betrayed him to gain his share. The three plot their escape in the evening when the guards make camp. However, before they enact their plan their wagon is overturned and the sounds of battle permeate the air.

Freeing themselves from the wagon the group views a pitched battle between the guard and a raiding party of Genlocks and blight wolves. Following a path of debris from their wagon to the middle of the campsite they also see an ogre swatting a group of guardsmen with a tree.

Alorenval makes a dash across the campground to the supply wagon where the guards sequestered her gear. Cazmus picks up a fallen guard’s longsword and rushes headlong into battle against an ogre. Nick’s character decides to push several of the other prisoners out of the smashed wagon as a distraction before making a mad dash to the guards’ supply wagon.

Alorenval is beset upon by by several Genlocks as she tries to retrieve her gear from the supply wagon. Nick’s character assists her as best he can using a heavy-laden lockbox. Cazmus manages to distract the ogre by tripping it into the campfire in the middle of the battle. however several grievous wounds from the ogre, make him reconsider his headlong rush into battle. Cazmus regroups with the others and helps them dispatch the last of the Genlocks.

The group runs off into the forest leaving the raid behind them. After several tense hours evading the darkspawn, made more miserable when a torrential downpour soaks the party to the bone, the group loses their pursuers.

The group stumbles across a small hamlet and decides to rest there. The peasants watch the sodden trio warily but their attention is soon focused on an even stranger duo, a dwarf and a qunari wrapped in heavy cloaks. The qunari takes a table in the corner while the dwarf has a quiet conversation with the barkeep.

Fearing that the two are bounty hunters of some kind, the trio also observes the unlikely duo. The barkeep motions towards the party and the dwarf nods. With a confident stride the dwarf approaches the party and asks them about their travels. Nick’s character notices a symbol on the dwarf’s armor, a griffon, the symbol of the Grey Wardens.

Nick’s character asks the dwarf why Grey Wardens have an interest in the party’s travels. the dwarf quietly explains that there have been rumor of darkspawn raids in the southern parts of Orlais and being that the party are not part of the town they are also more likely to have seen or heard something.

Alorenval professes an abbreviated tale about the caravan being attacked, leaving out the parts about them being prisoners. The dwarf immediately heads out with Alorenval to retrace their tracks but the rainfall has obscured their path. Returning to the inn the dwarf introduces himself as Riegger and his qunari compatriot as Grakkus of the Grey Wardens. The dwarf elists the aid of the party to retrace their trail as best they can in the morning. Nick befriends the local blacksmith and bargains a deal to purchase a small cart and horse.

The next day the group retraces their path to the prison caravan. As they search the caravan the group notices that none among the dead are women. Alorenval mentions that there were at least two other women among the caravan. The dwarf and qunari share a troubled look and state that they need to hurry and follow the darkspawn.

However before the group can depart a squad of cavalry wearing the surcoats of Baroness Valmonte’s Sunguard approach the party and order the surrender of the Cazmus and Alorenval. Riegger, not wanting to lose his only link to the darkspawn attacks, informs the knights that the former prisoners have been conscripted into the Grey Wardens and are no longer the knight’s concern.

The two get into a heated argument until Riegger loses his impatience and attacks the leader. A massive brawl ensues. Two of the knights manage to escape the onslaught but the party does not leave the battle unscathed. Grakkus is severely wounded and the rest of the party is injured as well, although Nick’s medical expertise helps the party along.

The dwarf mentions that they should loot the bodies and quickly move on before the ogre’s tracks become too difficult to read. The party strips the dead knights and take their gear and horses and continue to follow the ogre’s tracks.

That evening Riegger takes the party aside and informs them that he did not intend to actually conscript them into the Grey Wardens as he had told the knights. However he does mention that with Grakkus injured they will need help braving the Deep Roads and asks the party if they would be interested in joining making no illusions as to the danger. (“The pay sucks, people don’t like you, and you’ll most likely die in the dark all alone. But on a good day you save the world. So what do you say?”

Nick declines but offers to assist the group in their journey and afterwards using his merchant contacts to getting a decent price on the formidable loot the group carries. Cazmus readily agrees after Riegger’s appraisal of his ogre-fighting skills. “You went up against an ogre with no armor. Kid you’re my kind of stupid”. Alorenval agrees as well not wanting to leave her fighting partner.

Riegger takes the two aside and performs the Joining ritual. Both pass the trials. The dwarf explains that now the two are Grey Wardens he can inform them of the urgent need for rescuing the kidnapped women. That the darkspawn take females prisoner to turn them into broodmothers. He also informs them that few outside of the Grey Wardens know this secret and the Grey Wardens intend to keep it that way even if it means silencing those who learn too much, like Nick’s character.

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2nd Adventure

Players
Dan (Cazmus), Hillary (Alorenval)

Riegger and Grakkus task the new Grey Wardens with procuring provisions for the journey into the Deep Roads and order them to visit one of the nearby villages to confiscate whatever food they can find while Riegger and Grakkus continue on to a ruined Chantry monestary known to have an entrance to the Deep Roads.

The Fereldens, with Antivan merchant in tow, travel to a nearby village where they discover wooden palisades surrounding the remote fishing village of Roussillet. The party announces their approach as Grey Wardens much to the relief of the beleaguered village.

The mayor informs the party that Roussillet has become the last bastion of civilization thanks to the predation of the darkspawn raiders. Villagers from the outlying farming communities have fled to village in hopes of finding some safety. He also mentions that those with weapons left a week ago to pursue the darkspawn, but none have returned.

Cazmus asks the mayor how the food stores are. The mayor informs him that while they should be ok with smoked fish their grain stores are quite low since the darkspawn have raided the outlying farms. Alorenval attempts to negotiate for the grain but the mayor will not yield.

The group discusses their options while the mayor and what few hunters he has left watch the Grey Wardens warily. Cazmus suggests taking the food stores by force. Alorenval suggests an alternative and asks the mayor how many farmers it would take to reap the fields that are still out there to replace the stores the village already has. The mayor mentions that they have no way to carry the grain back to the village. The group offers the use of thier cart provided their other goods are stored somewhere that they will not be damaged or stolen. The mayor offers to store the party’s excess gear in the winter boathouse.

She offers on behalf of the group to guard the workers while they harvest the fields that hopefully have not been corrupted by the taint. The mayor asks for volunteers and five youngsters step forward.

As part of the trade for the grain Alorenval and Cazmus hands over 6 of the longswords taken from the baroness’s soldiers and begins training them while Nick’s character oversees the unloading of the cart.

Once the cart is ready the group departs to the fields. The corrupted wilderness does not go by unnoticed by the party and the group realizes that they need to search farther out from Roussillet. Eventually they arrive at a grouping of fields that appear untouched by the taint. The farmers immediately the farmers go to work while the Grey Wardens patrol the perimeter.

Surprisingly the farmers work unmolested and gather the grain. However their toils do not go unnoticed and a large pack of blight wolves notices the group and tracks them as the parry heads back to the village.

As the sun sets the blight wolves swarm the the Grey Wardens and their wards. The group manages to drive off the corrupted hounds but one of the farmers is wounded. Cazmus, believing the man has become tainted, cuts the farmer down in cold blood in front of the other farmers.

When the Grey Wardens arrive with the grain the farmers inform the mayor about he Cazmus’s brutal slaughter of their friend. The mayor grudgingly gives the grey Wardens the grain and orders them out of the village.

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3rd Adventure

Players
Andrew (Decado/Dante Del le Croix), Dan (Cazmus), Hillary (Alorenval), Rachel (Elyse Del le Croix)

Prelude
Elyse is sent on a mission on behalf of the Circle to meet find various rare herbs located in the Dales. She will be escorted by a young templar by the name of Johain. Before she leaves Master Picard informs her of her mission, to meet a group of Apostates, former circle magi known as the Broken Circle, who are in league with Jean-Luc and follow them to an unused entrance to the deep roads at the ruins of an old abandoned chantry monestary to pay for a large order of supplies from a group of dwarven black marketeers.

Once the supplies have been purchased Elyse is to bring back a small portion of the goods while the Apostates take the rest. Master Picard lets it be known that if the templar Johain, a fairly corrupt individual, somehow grows a spine and confronts the apostates, Elyse is ordered to kill him.

Elyse and the young templar gather their mounts and go to purchace supplies in the city. Decado, an apprentice to Jelasco “The Croaker” of the Antivan Crows notices the young mage and her escort travelling through the city. While older than the last time he saw her as a small child, Decado recognizes his long lost sister.

Distracted by this sudden revelation, the subtle assassination he and his mentor were tasked with goes wrong. What was supposed to be an “accidental” death turned into a vicious brawl. Jelasco kills the mark but due to the obvious cause of death he knows people will be looking for them. The Croaker berates Decado and orders him to gather their things and informs him that they will be leaving to Ferelden until the heat has dissipated.

Decado leaves to gather their things but secretly follows his sister. Discretely questioning the different merchants she visits he discovers her task and destination. He returns to his master and the two leave Val Royeaux hours after Elyse and her escort leave the city.

As the weeks pass by Elyse meets up with the apostates in Val Firmin and heads south to the ruined monastery. Decado attempts to steer his master onto the same path as his sister but Jelasco insists on taking the imperial highway all the way to Denerim.

Realizing that his sister is heading into dangerous territory, made all the worse by the persistent rumors of darkspawn bands raiding the countryside, Decado decides to leave his master and follow after his sister, even though it means a potential death sentence from the Crows.

Elyse and her party enter the Deep Roads to meet the dwarven marketeers but is ambushed by darkspawn. Several of the apostates are slain and the rest are forced deeper into the Deep Roads to lose their pursuers. Unfortunately in their haste the group stumbles into a nest of giant spiders who quickly defeat the group, cocooning them for later meals.


The Present

Decado notices the Grey Wardens and their cart full of goods heading towards the chantry monastery. He easily evades notice and heads to the courtyard where a foul reek originates. Riegger and Grakkus are disposing of the corpses of several darkspawn, burning the bodies to prevent the taint from corrupting the land anymore than it already has.

Riegger and Alorenval search the tracks at the entrance to the Deep Roads and notices a pair of slim boot prints. Riegger surmises that the tracks are made by an elven woman or a small child. Alorenval compares her bootmark to the other imprint. Both agree that the print is most likely from an elven woman, an added worry to the group of women that were already taken.

As the two return to prepare for the jouney underground, Decado sneaks to the entrance and notices the dainty tracks and decides to enter into the Deep Roads ahead of the Grey Wardens.

As the Grey Wardens head out, Alorenval notices a new set of elven prints that were not there before. Riegger calls out to the elven stalker to reveal themselves. Decado continues to explore the Deep Roads heedless of the dwarf’s threats.

The travel ins intense but uneventful until Decado enters a darkened chamber burrowed out of the rockface as a detour around a collapsed portion of the Deep Roads. With surprising speed Decado is ensnared by a giant spider’s webbing and is slowly drawn towards the arachnid.

His struggles to get out of the webbing gain the attention of the Grey Wardens and Elyse who is cocooned nearby. She screams in spite of her worries that she will draw the attention of the other spiders lurking nearby.

Alorenval, Cazmus, & Riegger charge into the fray and assist the elves in narrowly defeating the den of arachnids. After the battle Elyse uses what’s left of her power to heal the group as best she can but the battle had depleted her strength.

Riegger orders Elyse to question the elves as to what they are doing in the Deep Roads while he harvests the spiders venom. After speaking with the elves the party members search the cavern. Elyse looks for signs of the other mages and Johain. All she discovers is the desicated husk of a templar in rusted armor, but is unable to discern whether it was Johain’s body.

Alorenval finds a group of letters on the armored corpse and secretly palms them without Elyse noticing. When Alorenval scans the letters she notices they are written in a language which she does not recognize. She decides not to inform the circle mage of the letters and pockets them for further examination.

The group decides to camp in the cavern for the night so Elyse may regain her power.

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4th Adventure

*Players *
Andrew (Decado/Dante Del le Croix), Hillary (Alorenval), Rachel (Elyse Del le Croix)

The party rests for only a couple of hours before Alorenval, who is currently taking watch with Riegger, notices movement down the tunnel. Riegger informs her to wake the others while he goes to take a closer look. Alorenval quietly does so.

Riegger quickly return and informs the group that a large force of darkspawn are heading their way from the tunnel they originally entered and that several ogres are with them. The group scurries to depart deeper into the Deep Roads and avoid detection. Worried that they cannot hitch the horses to the cart in time, Grakkus pulls the cart by hand with great effort while while the rest of the group leads the horses deeper into the Deep Roads

The group manages to stay ahead of the darkspawn raiders and comes across a fork in the tunnels with a pair of worn wagon tracks

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