Lords of the Green

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Sessions 68 and 69

19 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords spend a wakeful rest period at Ilthuliak’s tower and then venture along the trail leading out of the clearing. Soon enough they come to Nyrissa’s castle – the House at the Edge of Time – a stone edifice of weird angles and many-gabled roofs. The House sits at the centre of an isle in a large lake atop a mesa. On one side it overlooks Thousandbreaths, yet behind the House stretches an endless gulf of stars and blackness.

A long stone causeway leads across the lake to the House. A gatehouse flanked by towers guards the entrance to the House, while in the courtyard beyond can be glimpsed huge trees. Hundreds of windows stare out of the House itself, and stone angels hang from every gable. The outline of the House is as beautiful as it is dangerous, with knife-like crenellations, spear-topped towers, and eaves and shingles made of blades.

Knowing that time is of the essence, the Greenlords waste little of it mounting their assault on the House. They are waylaid on the causeway by two of Thousandbreath’s guardians – a mighty tarn linnorm and the Nightmare Rook itself. Things do not get any better at the gates. There the Greenlords are swarmed by ghostly elf guards, and attacked from the courtyard by one of the most feared creatures in the First World – a lesser jabberwock. The group continues their assault on the back of the House. They are pursued by a strange, dragon-like plant creature (a zomok, as Mistral recalls), but manage to get into the back of the House with a phase door spell, leaving the zomok temporarily behind. Entering on the second floor, the group finds itself in a series of personal chambers – a bedroom, study, sitting room, and so on. Inhabiting the room are nine pitiful creatures, abused, defaced nymphs, their empty eye sockets streaming blood – Nyrissa’s bruised attendants. Yetar is momentarily stunned when he realizes one of the lamentable beings is none other than Lady Quintessa Maray, erstwhile spy and murderer of Svetlana Leveton. Before Yetar has a change to react, Quintessa falls to another Greenlord’s magic. The other nymphs are in no mood to parlay with the group, and a prolonged fight ensues within the confines of the House. The nymphs are soon joined by an unusual adversary – an astral deva who demands the Greenlords leave the House as it is protected under the mandate of Heaven. The group sees through the angel’s forced lie, however, and continues to fight. The angel’s summoner soon joins the battle. The wizard appears to be a human at first, but a glimpse under his robes reveals nothing but a mass of wriggling worms. Mistral has heard of the so-called Worm that Walks before, but knows little of its strange powers.

More of Nyrissa’s guardians join the battle over time. The zomok melts the backside of the House into mud and attacks from the rear. Two fey-touched wyverns attack from a room past the living chambers, but are momentarily halted when Alys sends that end of the House into a raging inferno with a firestorm spell. The wriggling man and the nymphs are finally put to rest, and it appears that the group has only the zomok to finish with before getting a breather.

Session 68 Treasure
Session 69 Treasure

Session 68 XP
Session 69 XP

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Session 67

18 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords kill the great wyrm Ilthuliak, looting her massive horde and putting an end to thousands of years of myth and legend.

Session 67 Treasure
Session 67 XP

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Session 66

17 to 18 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords continue to explore the glades of Nyrissa’s realm, doing battle with a gargantuan mandragora composed of thousands of the shrieking root creatures and surviving an ambush by two ankous – shadowy assassins of the First World. Kreeger surprises the other Greenlords (except Nisha) when he shapeshifts into a weretiger during the fight with the giant mandragora, but the group decides it best to save any penetrating questions about the matter until they’re on safer ground. Moving on, the group comes to a forested glade featuring a high waterfall cascading between two immense stone hands carved from the peak of a stony cliff. The falls plunge into a crystal clear pool in the glade, its shores thick with reeds and water-flowers of dazzling hue. Giant trees hang over the pool as though protecting it, and several large leaves the size of small boats float near the shore.

The waterfall glade is seemingly peaceful compared to the rest of Thousandbreaths. The Greenlords observe at least two very large winged owlbears high up at the waterfall’s crest. The owlbears don’t appear interested in disturbing the group as long as they remain at the bottom of the falls, and the Greenlords decide to camp near the pool. Kraig tries to contact the owlbears after a time of rest, hoping they might let the group travel upriver. He finds the creatures become increasingly hostile as he approaches the top of the waterfall, and after several attempts at reasoning with the owlbears he decides to give up on the attempt.

The Greenlords continue along Thousandbreaths’ pathways. Hours later they enter another glade, this one a huge field of thorny brambles twisted and grown around thousand s of stone statues. The statues depict different and strange denizens of the First World, from giant worms to lightning treants to terrible linnorms, nymphs, and more, and each is encrusted with moss and lichen. At the centre of the clearing rises a low but strangely round hill, atop which rises a three-hundred-foot-high tower of white stone with a peak consisting of three conical rooftops. An immense archway gapes at the base of the tower, wide and tall enough for a pair of elephants to walk through side-by-side. The twilight of Thousandbreaths is eerily silent in this glade.

The Greenlords approach the tower: Kraig, Torgrim, and Kreeger on foot; Mistral, Nisha, and Alys in flight; and Yetar hiding in shadows in the rearguard. Twenty feet ahead of the massive arch leading into the tower, the path under Kraig’s, Torgrim’s, and Kreeger’s feet suddenly turns to mud, plunging the three thirty feet to a hard surface below. They hit the ground hard and find their immediate vision blurred by a heavy, acidic fog that burns their skin through armour and clothes. The three can just make out a pair of eyes in the acid mist, large orbs that burn with a purple-red fire. A chilling voice fills the cavern, something like of the sound of leathery skin dragged across a jagged rasp:

“It has been some time since Ilthuliak enjoyed the tender flesh of mortals. Do give me some sport, won’t you? Something on which to reminisce for another century.”

Session 66 Treasure
Session 66 XP

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Session 65

13 to 17 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords endure several nights of dread, with citizens throughout Olegstaadt reporting terrible nightmares and restless sleep. Many experience terrifying living nightmares where, similar to Yetar’s ordeal with the black tentacles, they find their dreams continue upon waking. By the time the Greenlords manage to end the persistent nightmares (by directly confronting the giant roc inhabiting each dream), nine residents of Olegstaadt have lost their lives.

With the defeat of the nightmare bloom, the group comes into possession of another trophy, this time a single black roc feather. They decide they can wait no longer, and travel to the ruins of the Castle of Knives in the hopes that they can find a way to stop the First World blooms altogether from there. The arcane mirage of the fully complete Castle of Knives is still in place, and around the structure is an illusory wrought iron gate with a single entrance – an gate formed of a pair of beautiful, identical women holding their hands together in an arch. In their other hand each holds high a sword that bears a striking resemblance to Briar. With the three First World bloom trophies in hand, the group steps through the illusory gate. As they do so, the blooms emit a slight ringing sound, and the swords grasped in the statues’ hands glow with a green light. Briar glows green in response, and the view beyond the gate seems to melt and morph before the Greenlords’ eyes. They each feel as if they momentarily lose consciousness, and when they open their eyes again find themselves to be in some otherworldly place.

The illusory Castle of Knives is no longer visible. In its place is a grassy pathway winding through a twilight forest. The trees rise high on either side of the path, casting flickering shadows in the purple starlight. The utter blackness of the forest is punctuated by occasional points of light – blinking eyes and other mysterious pulsations. Then there are the voices – disembodied cries and distant screams, tortured, helpless cries. Screams that endure for minutes before tapering off into whimpers. Others that end suddenly, as if violently cut-off. Beyond the screams there are other sounds – weeping, singing of children’s rhymes, shouts of anger, feral cries, and howls. This is Nyrissa’s realm of Thousandbreaths.

The Greenlords have little option but to travel along the path. They do so cautiously, scanning the dark forest for threats and seeing them in every flash of movement, hearing them in every deep growl. An indigo-furred, First World cat confronts the group three hours into their trek, but thinks better of it and slinks back into the forest. Four hours after starting on the path, the forest clears, and a broad lake of dark water fills the majority of the resulting glen, leaving a wide path around the lake’s edge. Dozens of black swans glide along the lake’s surface, apparently unimpressed by the immense but silent whirlpool that churns at the lake’s centre. Along the forest edge, most of the trees seem to be dying or dead, their twisted branches drooping and their trunks scarred with disease and burns.

Four paths appear to exit the glen – two rivers that feed into the lake and two more grassy pathways. The Greenlords are attacked by six strange fey-touched treants that are able to harness and use electricity against their foes. The lightning treants fall to the Greenlords greater numbers, and the group pauses to consider its next move, reviewing the sketch of Thousandbreaths in Zuddiger’s Picnic.

Session 65 Treasure
Session 65 XP

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Sessions 63 and 64

3 to 12 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords deal with several more incursions and threats from the First World. Near Tatzlford, in the Narlmarches forest, a bloom of First World flora and fungi preludes an influx of mandragora swarms – miniature root creatures that sicken and nauseate with their terrible shrieking and poisonous flesh. The Greenlords deal with the mandragora swarms with fire and magic.

Not long after the mandragora bloom, Nisha explores the ruins of the so-called Castle of Knives in the forest of a Thousand Voices and discovers that it appears whole and undamaged – an impossible structure of tall spires and unnatural angles. Further inspection reveals the majority of the structure to be an elaborate illusion, and that only rubble and ruins remain of the ancient dwelling. Nisha does find evidence of activity at the site, however, and with the rest of the Greenlords learns that a small force of ettins and great cyclopes has appeared and is advancing towards Zelenoy. As reports of cyclopes and ettin attacks in different cities emerge, the group springs to action to defeat the threat. They discover that the force is led by a powerful satyr ranger calling himself the Horned Hunter. The Horned Hunter attempts to trick the group into giving up Briar, but his fey music luckily does not sway everyone, and the satyr is eventually dealt with.

Finally, on the night of the 12th of Rova, many of the Greenlords find their sleep interrupted by unsettling and twisted nightmares – visions of being chased through strange wooded realms, being savaged by wild animals, and especially of being pursued by an immense night-black bird whose wings blot out the stars. For Yetar, in particular, the dream becomes a living nightmare. In the fetchling’s nightmare, he finds himself struggling to keep afloat in a turbulent black sea, never able to keep his head above the waves for more than a second or two. The massive black bird circles in the sky above, a black blot against the already-dark sky. As Yetar flounders, he feels the presence of something in the water beneath him, and feels his legs suddenly gripped by the tentacles of some hellish creature of the depths. Yetar suddenly wakes from the dream, and for a moment thinks it is over, until he realizes he is being held to his bed by a mass of writhing black tentacles.

Session 63 Treasure
Session 63 XP

Session 64 Treasure
Session 64 XP

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Session 62

3 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords investigate the strange vortex in the middle of Tuskwater Lake. Nearer the phenomenon, they notice the waters grow darker closer to the vortex, and rife with strange foliage and plants that sometimes move against the prevailing current created by the whirlpool. Nisha notices that the dark waters appear to be spreading quickly.

At the sight, the Greenlords witness the heart of the vortex. The slowly churning whirlpool is 500 feet across and reaches to the bottom of the lake 200 feet below, leaving a circular area of lakebed 50 feet across exposed. Eerie, silent black swans seem to congregate in the waters surrounding the pool; as they’re drawn into the vortex, they fly up into the air and settle back down in the water some distance away. Every once in a while the black shape of some massive water elemental shows itself within the whirlpool, exiting a portion of its body in the shape of a huge black swan.

With the help of Triffid, the sentient plant creature and co-caretaker of the Erastil’s temple in the Narlmarches, the Greenlords determine that the vortex is some sort of First World intrusion upon their kingdom, a breach in the planar fabric separating the material and fey realms. With little else to go on, the rulers of Zelenoy agree that eliminating the fey water elementals is the first course of action, and hope that the elementals are somehow linked to the vortex’s continued presence. Luckily, their hunch is right, and by destroying the elementals, the First World bloom is destroyed. With the destruction of the sixth and final elemental, the energy contained in the vortex rises up in a pillar of green light into the sky and emits a high pitched keening like the sound of a mortally wounded deer or rabbit. The green pillar spirals back in upon itself and the whirlpool collapses.

The sword Briar pulsates and grows hot. Kraig nearly drops the sword and then the heat suddenly dissipates, and the half-orc finds Briar to have grown in power – it is now a cold iron bastard sword.

As the frothing waters finally settle, there remains only the carcass of a single black swan. The carcass radiates strong conjuration and transmutation magic. Further examination back at Mistral’s tower in Winter’s Gate determines that the black swan carcass may be some kind of link or anchor between the Material Plane and the First World.

Through communion with her god, Abadar, Alys comes to the same conclusion. She also learns some more information about the nymph queen Nyrissa. Abadar’s agent reveals that the Whirling Lake has an analogy in a forested realm within the First World called Thousand Breaths – Nyrissa’s prison. Thousand Breaths is said to have a connection to the forest of Thousand Voices in the Stolen Lands, but very little is known about the place, even amongst the gods. Thousand Breaths apparently consists of a number of glades connected by rivers and paths, presided over by Nyrissa in a strange house called the House at the Edge of Time. Most of what is known about Thousand Breaths comes from a rare picture book called Zuddinger’s Picnic, published more than 40 years ago in Pitax.

The Greenlords resolve to find a copy of this book.

Session 62 Treasure
Session 62 XP

Sound of a Thousand Screams - Session 61

3 Erastus, 4727 AR, to 2 Rova, 4730 AR

The Greenlords confront Minognos-Ushad in her mountain lair and overwhelm the great beast with superior numbers and power. The ancient wyvern is defeated, and her massive head put on display in the halls of Winter’s Gate.

Time passes. Seasons turn into years. Zelenoy settles into a period of relative peace. Relations with Pitax improve, and city becomes a vassal of Zelenoy.

Alys and Maegar spend some much needed time together. A second daughter is born to the queen and king of Zelenoy. The child’s aasimar heritage, perhaps touched by the fey influences in the region, are clear.

Torgrim courts Grand Diplomat Singer. The two dwarves clean the troll stink out of the old dwarven outpost in the southern Greenbelt and begin mining there anew. Singer proves unusually fertile, or Torgrim quite verile, and the couple have one son with another child on the way.

Nisha establishes her base at Whiterose Abbey, where she is free to conduct her research and experiments in relative secret (and out of Alys’ sight). A friend of Kraig’s begins renewing the vineyards around the abbey, and generally stays out of Nisha’s way.

Kreeger makes regular vists to Nisha at the abbey. The half-orc fighter and tiefling witch strike up an unlikely friendship, or at least an arrangement of sorts. Following his visits to Nisha, Kreeger often goes missing for weeks at a time. Reports from Hillstomper and northern border patrols claim that Kreeger is sometimes spotted amongst the bands of Tiger Lord barbarians near the Numerian border.

Kraig visits Delphos Hasara, his mentor and leader of the cavalier Order of the Dragon in the northeast Inner Sea region. Kraig challenges Hasara for the post, a duty the old warrior is only too happy to cede to the half-orc. The order’s main chapter house is moved to Olegstaadt, where Kraig begins training new recruits.

Mistral spends his time researching spells, perusing lore on Numerian technologies, and delving into studies on the First World. Mistral is not entirely convinced that the self-styled nymph queen Nyrissa has turned her attentions from the Stolen Lands. The sylph travels far and wide gathering information – from Absalom to Kyonin, Cheliax to northern Irrisen.

Yetar establishes spy networks in Pitax and begins to cultivate agents in foreign nations. Mostly, however, he obsesses over finding his betrayer, Lady Quintessa Maray. He finds no sign or word of the beautiful bard, but with some help from Nisha determines that Maray has been removed somehow from the Material Plane and resides somewhere out of time, a demiplane or space that exists in the future, past, and present.

Finally, on the 1st of Rova, the first day of autumn, Zelenoy’s peace is broken. A fisherman arrives in Winter’s Gate speaking of a great vortex in Tuskwater Lake, surrounded by hundreds of black swans. The following day dawns clear, and from the castle parapets the Greenlords can see the vortex in the distance, a vast whirlpool at least 500 feet across. Divination magic suggests creatures reside at the edges of the pool – huge elementals of some sort. Something is brewing….

Session 61 Treasure
Session 61 XP

The War of the River Kings - Session 60

21 Sarenith to 3 Erastus, 4727 AR

Kreeger defeats Villamore Koth in single combat to win the adoration of the Tiger Lord barbarians, who are only too ready to follow the wielder of Ovinrbaane and (in their point of view) successor to the legendary Armag. Kreeger sends the army north and establishes an encampment just beyond Zelenoy’s borders, near the southeastern edge of Numeria.
The Greenlords spend some time stabilizing the realm following their brief war with Pitax. The group travels to Pitax with a sizable force, ready to face whatever unrest and resistance arises in that city of deception. It becomes clear that annexing Pitax will prove a lengthy and difficult process. The Greenlords are unused to navigating the politics of a city-state like Pitax, with its feuding houses and secretive (but powerful) thieves’ guild. Luckily, the majority of Pitax’s commonfolk throw enthusiastic support behind the Greenlords, seemingly ready for a change of tone in the city. Talks with the city’s four most powerful houses begin, and the Greenlords prepare themselves for months, if not years, of negotiation.

Meanwhile, the Greenlords are visited by the leader of a ragtag band of rangers calling itself the River Razors. Its leader, Ilora Nuski, is a striking figure – thin, ragged after years of living in the wild, coarse-tongued, but one who carries herself with a certain amount of pride and obvious skill. Ilora wastes little time with niceties or protocol. She pledges herself to the Greenlords immediately, thanking them for removing Irovetti from power, something her River Razors have been trying to do for years. She says she has come to see Irovetti hang once and for all, and to ask for asylum in Zelenoy – time for her band to recuperate or start new lives in peace. She claims she was never much of a leader, and offers information to the Greenlords if it will help her case.

The Greenlords bring her in and Ilora’s case. She claims the River Razors harried Irovetti’s men whenever they could, but over the past year had been reduced to a mere ten men. She says she was holed up just south of the Branthlend mountains, where things have been quite active of late. Tiger Lord tribes north of the Branthlend mountains claim they have seen the legendary black wyrm Ilthuliak flying amongst the tallest peaks. Ilora says Ilthuliak has been dead for a thousand years, and believes the barbarians have seen Minognos-Ushad, the so-called ‘Eater of Kings’, rather than the mythical Ilthuliak. At least she hopes so. The ancient wyvern matriarch is said to have a lair somewhere in the mountains near Thousand Voices forest, a place called Hungerdark.

Since Nisha has also caught sight of Minognos-Ushad, the Greenlords decide to travel to the mountains to investigate and perhaps remove the old wyvern. Once there, they come across a mammoth herd in a large box canyon on the Numerian side of the mountains. They discover the mammoths are led by an intelligent, awakened mammoth called Hillstomper in the common tongue. Hillstomper suffers numerous injuries. When asked about his wounds, the mammoth says that a young crag linnorm has invaded the mammoth’s ancestral graveyard – this very box canyon – and has taken up residence in the caves at the end of the canyon. Hillstomper has tried to evict the violent creature himself, to little avail. He asks the Greenlords to help, and pledges a portion of ivory from the graveyard in return. The Greenlords deal with the mammoth’s linnorm problem before moving on, happy to count Hillstomper as a possible ally so near the Tiger Lord lands.

Two days after helping Hillstomper, the Greenlords finally discover what they are looking for. Within the tangled reaches of the forest of a Thousand Voices, a dark cleft cuts up the face of the mountains, almost as if a titanic axe struck the cliff-side. The Greenlords follow the cleft a quarter of a mile or more into the mountain, until it opens up into a deep cavern strewn with bones and debris. A brackish pool of water collects in the deepest recesses of the cavern. Massive columns of rock rise up from the floor of the cavern. The ceiling is open to the air, 500 feet or more above. The entire place reeks of something unwholesome and reptilian. There is no doubt that they are in Hungerdark, the lair of the ‘Eater of Kings’.

Session 60 Treasure
Session 60 XP

War of the River Kings - Session 58 and 59

21 Sarenith, 4727 AR

The Greenlords press on through Irovetti’s maze-like palace. Irovetti’s defenders, the oni General Avinash Jurgg, the barbarian cousin of Villamore Koth, a weretiger rogue that shreds ribbons from Kreeger’s flesh, and a sadistic gargoyle all fall to the Greenlords blades and spells. The remaining wardens and heralds in the palace wisely give the Greenlords a wide berth. One of the heralds points the group to the stairs leading to Irovetti’s personal chambers underneath the palace.

There, the Greenlords directly confront King Castruccio Irovetti of Pitax. His bedchamber is opulent – festooned with lush silk and brocade, inlaid ebony and rosewood, and lit by gilded and filigreed lanterns. West of the bedchamber lies a placid pool that reflects warm lantern light throughout the space. Within that area the Greenlords wage a final battle with Irovetti and his consort, a vile spirit naga that originally takes the form of a green-skinned fey woman with indigo hair before reverting to her natural state. Irovetti’s deception magic and skills at duping combatants into believing they should be fighting for him fail miserably against the Greenlords. Although Irovetti is invisible for much of the encounter, the Greenlords manage to zero in on his location quickly between Mistral’s magic and Kraig’s keen blind-fighting abilities. Irovetti and the naga are no match for the superior might of the Greenlords, and the bard-king finally throws down his Numerian weapons and begs for mercy at the end.

The Greenlords exit the palace in the pre-dawn hours with Irovetti in chains. Queen Alys of Zelenoy rises above the city of Pitax and announces Irovetti’s surrender as the sun crests the eastern horizon, illuminating the aasimar in a nimbus of celestial light. Alys declares the city free from the yoke of the Liar-King, and as the sun rises the long shadows blanketing Pitax grow shorter and shorter until they disappear. The citizenry, for their part, are nervous, peeking out of doors and windows but hesitant to venture out. Pitax has no shortage of skilled orators, and the folk here are used to posturing and grand displays. As Irovetti is escorted from the city to Zelenoy, the Greenlords come to realize that they will have some work to do if they wish to bring Pitax under their kingdom’s wing.

The Greenlords return to Black Dragon’s Rest after Pitax’s hasty liberation, mindful of the fact that a sizeable army of battle-ready Tiger Lord barbarians waits camped outside the city’s gates. With Irovetti on display, the Greenlords parlay with the horde’s leader, none other than the dour Villamore Koth. Villamore seems nonplussed when confronted with Irovetti’s defeat, brushing aside the former king’s capture as a likely end for a liar and a thief. Koth insists his army is no mere band of mercenaries or city militia. His Tiger Lords crave battle and blood, and follow only strength. Koth sees no reason to deny the horde blood or the ring of steel when it is so close.

Session 59 Treasure
Session 59 XP

War of the River Kings - Sessions 56 and 57

16 to 21 Sarenith, 4727 AR

  • The Greenlords return to Winter’s Gate with Evindra. Back in Zelenoy they receive grim news – Councillor Svetlana has been murdered and the suspect, the Lady Quintessa Maray, has fled. The group raises their long time friend Svetlana and learn that she was attacked and killed by Maray after she confronted the bard on the ambush at Whiterose Abbey.
  • Incensed by Maray’s treachery and the escalating war with Pitax, the Greenlords decide to bring the battle straight to King Irovetti’s doorstep. Nisha continues to harry and vex the advancing armies of Pitax, while the rest of the Greenlords ensure defenses are in place for when the armies eventually reach Black Dragon’s Rest. With the nation ready to meet its aggressors, the Greenlords teleport directly into Irovetti’s throne room in the so-called House of a Hundred Doors based on eyewitness accounts from captured Pitax wardens.
  • The Greenlords materialize into the throne room in the pre-dawn hours of the 21st of Sarenith. Despite the hour the room is manned by several wardens and troll guards. Battle is joined, and the sound of ringing steel and fiery magic echoes throughout the palace. An alarm is sounded, and the Greenlords face wave after wave of Pitaxian guards. Alys uses powerful magic to pinpoint the exact location of Irovetti’s Numerian artifacts – somewhere under the palace and to the south – and the group begins to fight its way there. While cutting their way through troll guards, wardens, and heralds, the Greenlords come up against a couple of Irovetti’s generals – the ogre mage Avinash Jurgg and a raging axe-wielding barbarian (a sibling or cousin to Villamore Koth by the look of him). In response to the ramped up defense, Nisha the witch summons unlikely assistance in the form of an osyluth, or bone devil. The devil’s presence unsettles many of the combatants (including the Greenlords), but the battle continues as the Greenlords attempt to advance deeper into the palace.

Session 56 XP


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