Darkness Falls

Strange Happenings
When odd things happen to (normal) people

While unconscious from their battle with the Bound Orcs, Haduk Grimword had a vivid dream:
He awoke in a cave, hungry and nervous. Looking around revealed that he was a fox. His vision, smell, and hearing were all enhanced and he could detect prey nearby. He did not go after the prey however; he fought all the urges in his body and moved with single minded determination to some unknown destination. As he drew closer, he recognized many of the smells as those of a large city, and after passing through a drainage opening in the wall he found himself in an unfamiliar city. He moved through the streets as though he knew exactly where he was going, and soon came to the building he was looking for. He sat quietly in a dark alley way, waiting for nightfall. When night came, and the busy streets grew empty, a man walked over to the building he had been watching for some time and opened the door. He stood, and made his way inside. There he found a woman in bed with a man, both asleep. He tore the woman’s throat out and viciously clawed at her body, and then when he was sure she was dead he quickly exited the building. As he fled his shoulder was struck by something and the dream faded, making way for another. Haduk was himself this time, standing in a crowd of people, watching as Errwihn Osis was tied to a stake to be burned alive for murder. Haduk stepped forward and asked to be given one more chance to prove Errwhin’s innocence, and then he awoke.

As Looran and Venrek came to in the wagon, Errwhin called out from the front that there was someone on the horizon. The group prepared themselves for combat, and waited as the stranger came towards them. As he drew near, it became apparent that he was skipping and humming. He stared at the oxen pulling the wagon and did not seem to notice anything else. He came to a stop in front of the oxen and stared at them quietly. Ultimately Haduk greeted him, and the man looked up in bewilderment. He looked over the group once, then snapped his focus back to Looran. He greeted Looran like an old friend and extended his hand in warm welcome. Looran had never seen him before in his life, but shook his hand regardless. He introduced himself as Theraklin; and after a brief, confusing conversation, he explained that he had come out that way to meet someone. He thought about it for a moment, and then decided that he was supposed to meet Looran and give him something. He searched his pockets for a moment, and not finding what he was looking for he then searched the ground. He exhaled excitedly as he reached down to pick up an ordinary looking rock from the ground, then he handed the rock to Looran and told him to keep it because it was important, critical even. Looran accepted the rock, and then Theraklin looked up at the sun and proclaimed that he was late for another meeting and ran off, away from the city.

To be continued…

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Converging Paths
Doing the PC Shuffle

Errwihn Osis , Neyvin Tilweyn , and Tyranis Kor headed back to Varitas. Upon arriving, Tyranis left the group to continue his search for artifacts of the gods. After reporting to UlCyrus Rivin Errwihn and Neyvin prepared to depart once again for Krishnar Keep pass. As they reached the town gates a messenger approached and handed Neyvin a sealed letter. She read the letter, and then quickly excused herself without explanation and left. Alone once again, Errwihn decided to seek a mercenary to keep him safe on his journey to Krishnar.

Errwihn hired Looran, an elven mercenary from the local guild. The two of them travel south to reach Krishnar Keep, speaking very little. The mercenary was surprised when they passed a dead giant and Errwihn did not bat an eye towards the monstrosity.

Upon reaching Krishnar Keep, a large half orc stopped them at the entrance, introducing himself as Haduk grimword, a visionary that is supposed to travel with the mage in search for a blessed silver spear in order to be able to slay a summoned demon from the twisted planes who would otherwise destroy the neigh unconquerable Keep. Haduk’s drinking buddy, Venrek one of the blacksmiths for the keep, was listening to the encounter and decided that the whole affair sounded like too much fun to miss and followed them as they headed out of town. Errwihn, no longer needing the services of the mercenary Looran, released him from his contract. However, Looran was also intrigued by Haduk’s tale, and decided to remain with the group. Glad for the company, but concerned for the sanity of his new traveling companions, Errwihn quickly left the keep and headed for the location he believed to be the final tomb of Diamitriis.

A short distance outside of the keep the party encountered a group of Troglodytes that appeared to be waiting for someone or something. The troglodytes attacked the party, and the recently acquainted group had a few kinks to work out in their battle plan. Errwihn used a web to trap the Troglodytes, and the remainder of the group crept forward, unsure of how to proceed. Ultimately Venrek pulled out a torch, and Errwihn encouraged him to light the web on fire. Venrek rushed forward with the lit torch, and hurled it towards the web. The torch landed a scant 8 feet away from him, only half the distance to the web. Amidst the howls of laughter, Venrek explained that the sun was in his eyes, and his breakfast that morning had been rather greasy, so it wasn’t really his fault that the torch had slipped out before he could put his full strength behind it. Haduk quickly picked up the torch and lit the web. Ultimately the party destroyed the Troglodytes, and proceeded to the tomb.

Arriving at the location a little after noon, the party set about searching. by nightfall they had located the entrance and found the secret lever to open it. Haduk entered the dark cave and began exploring while the party secured their belongings outside. He found a room with a beautiful statue of Minara singing an ancient elven battle hymn. The remainder of the party took a different path and soon located a mangrove tree growing underground. They believed it to be the same one Diamitriis was buried under immediately following the battle for Krishnar Keep: moved to its current location at the same time as Diamitriis body. They discovered Haduk sitting next to the statue, though to all of them it was broken and singing quietly. Venrek channeled magic into the statue in an attempt to fix it, and had a great deal of energy sucked from him to restore the statue to its original state: the same statue Haduk was seeing. Once completed, the statue opened a secret door leading deeper into the tomb.

Deep under the ground, the group discovered the final resting place of Diamitriis. There was a room covered with finely woven tapestries telling the story of Diamitriis life. While admiring the craftsmanship and exploring the tapestries they noticed the distinct and deliberate absence of any mention of either the island Orisetia or the events that took place there. Uncertain what to make of it, and finding no other useful information the party prepared to leave when Looran noticed a miniature sapphire woven into the last tapestry. Closer inspection revealed it to be a magical opening into a hidden chamber. Once inside the party discovered Kinslayer and Dragon Tongue. Unsure whether to take the weapons or leave them Haduk prayed to Diamitriis for guidance. He received two visions, one of a champion of peace wielding the weapons to protect the mysterious spear wielder from his previous visions, the other of a dark mage standing over the body of the spear wielder with the weapons held up in triumph. Concerned that their opening of the tomb would reveal its location to the dark mages and bring about the second vision, Haduk took the weapons and vowed to protect them until he found the champion of justice and the spear wielder. The party then left the tomb and did their best to reseal and hide the entrance to the sacred place.

Having found one of the four locations and no treasure or spear the party decided to press on towards Nystal and then to search for Diamitriis birthplace. About a days travel from the town they were attacked by Bound Orcs. The orcs, though caught off guard by one of Errwhin’s new spells, still managed to fell Looran, Venrek, and Haduk before finally succumbing to Errwhin’s magic. Wounded and believing two of his new companions dead, Errwhin did his best to treat Haduk’s wounds before loading all three into the wagon and continuing towards the city. As Venrek lay near death he was visited by Diamitriis who granted him a second chance at life if he would promise to help Haduk keep his weapons safe. Looran was visited by Thilas, and granted a second chance at life if he vowed to help Errwhin fight against the dark mages. Both agreed and were returned to their shattered bodies.

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The End of "R"it All
First Blood

UlCyrus Rivin Requested that the party stop by Edgewood on their way to Krishnar Pass to check on the villagers as it had been several days since he had heard anything from there. The party agreed as it only added 3 days to their journey. Upon arrival they discovered two mages and a small band of hobgoblin mercenaries interrogating a few villagers about the location of the “Spear of Ristor”. Errwihn Osis recognized the name of the spear and remembered that there was some mention of the spear being brought to Krishnar Pass shortly after being stored in Edgewood. The party made their presence known, and the mages questioned them about what they knew. Errwihn told them what he knew about the spear, and the head mage then instructed his apprentice to “wipe them or kill them” and used the forbidden spell Lacerate on one of the villagers they had been interrogating. Before the party could react he then teleported away, leaving them to deal with the hobgoblins and his apprentice.

After a fierce battle which nearly killed them all, the party discovered 20 villagers who had been infected with a strange plague (most likely caused by forbidden magic). Neyvin Tilweyn examined them and determined that, while incredibly swift (the villagers most likely had less than a day to live), the disease did not appear to be contagious. After communicating their findings with UlCyrus, the party was instructed to burn the village and all the inhabitants. Errwihn decided to make the villagers comfortable until they passed normally and only then to burn the town. Taking turns, the party tended to the villagers as they slowly perished throughout the night. Early the next morning the villagers rose from their beds and attacked the party. Several blasts of concentrated positive energy from Neyvin, and a good deal of fire from Errwhin’s lamp laid them to rest permanently. During the battle Errwhin was infected with the same disease that had killed the villagers. Leaving Rit Tigs to (loot and) burn the village Errwhin and Neyvin gathered a few horses and prepared to ride as fast as possible back to Varitas in the hopes that UlCyrus would be able to cure him before he too succumbed to the disease. On the way, Errwhin prayed to Thilas asking for the disease to be slowed long enough for him to get help. Thilas answered his prayer and cured him completely, but took the opportunity to task him with finding and stopping the dark mages behind the recent troubles.

No longer needing to race back to Varitas, Errwhin and Neyvin went back to meet up with Rit and the party continued on to Krishnar Pass. While traveling through the pass the party encountered a hill giant who refused to let them pass. After several attempts to negotiate and or sneak past, the party gave up and confronted the Giant. A short battle ensued and the party emerged victorious. A search of the giant’s campsite led to the discovery of a hidden underground passageway, which the party decided to explore. The passage came to a T a short distance in, and obeying Errwhin’s dungeon delving rule of “always go left first” the party found their way to a long stone bridge crossing over a deep chasm.

Tossing a rock over the edge revealed that the chasm was deep enough to keep the sound of it hitting the bottom from reaching them. Concerned about the sound of “breathing” below them, the party moved across quickly. They came to a large stone wall with no doors, levers, or any other markings. The bridge appeared to be a bridge to nowhere. Rit searched for secret doors or hidden nooks, but found nothing. Errwhin came over to look, and his keen elven senses immediately detected the presence of magic. Using his limited knowledge of the school of illusion he was able to breach the magic and pass through the wall, leading the rest of the party through after him. On the other side they came to a magically trapped door. Unable to bypass or disable the trap, the party decided to simply open the door and hope for the best. The trap triggered a magical wall of force to begin pushing them slowly back towards the chasm and bridge. They also noticed another wall; angled so as to push them off the edge of the bridge should they reach it. Trapped with no obvious way out, Rit jumped off the side and attempted to grab the edge of the bridge and wait for the wall to pass over head. Regrettably he misjudged the distance and was unable to get a hand hold. The party watched in horror as Rit Tigs plummeted to his death. With time running out for the party, Errwhin reached into his repertoire of spells and used the only one he thought might help. Casting a web between the bridge and the far wall, he created a hammock of safety which He and Neyvin jumped into to wait out the wall.

After the wall passed over them, they struggled out of the web and proceeded through the door. On the other side was only a single room, filled floor to ceiling with books. Errwhin noticed that some of the books were magically chained to the shelves, and others contained runes from languages he had never seen before. Excitement got the best of him, and he climbed to the top where he saw a few spell books. Reading through them he discovered several powerful spells, and many forbidden spells. Whoever owned this room was a powerful dark mage. While Errwhin was looking through the spell books, Neyvin searched the remainder of the room for useful information. She discovered three different versions of “The ballad of Diamitriis” one of which revealed a different location for Orisetia. The party decided that it was too dangerous to remain in the room for long, as they would be unable to defend themselves if the owner returned. They took the three books Neyvin found and retreated back to the entrance of the passage. As they prepared to leave, curiosity got the best of Errwhin. Reasoning that while part of the same passage, it was going in the opposite direction, and that therefore the owner of the reading room would likely ignore it, Errwhin and Neyvin set off down the other side of the passage. They first discovered a group of rooms, each one basically the same: a 20 foot by 20 foot room with a bed; a small cooking area; a bookshelf full of children’s stories and picture books; and an unlocked chest with bits of granite or quartz and other assorted “junk”. Further along the passage they came to a small room with 4 guards, they could make out a cage of some kind on the far wall but as they were mostly defenseless with Rit gone, they quietly left without confronting the guards.

Down a long side passage they heard singing, and upon investigating they discovered a hideously deformed female dwarf singing by a fire. A brief conversation in broken elven ensued. She gave her name as Neviya. Errwhin recognized the name; the queen of the dwarves during the elven insurrection was named Neviya. She ordered the dwarves to retreat to their caves and seal them off. After Diamitriis helped the humans defeat his elven brethren, The humans broke into the dwarven caves and captured Neviya. Mages cursed and then banished her. Closer examination of the fire revealed that it was magical in nature, and seemed to be binding Neviya to the cave. Errwhin found it hard to believe that Neviya could have survived the centuries since her banishment, but conceded that it was possible for magic to have played a role in keeping her alive. The party decided to leave her there until more information could be gathered. They then retreated to a small campsite about an hour’s travel from the cave to rest before exploring the final passageway.

The following morning The party explored the only remaining passage way. It was a long sloping tunnel which lead to a circular room filled with statues. There were 3 groups of 3 statues. The first were clad in Emerald and pointed spears towards the center of the room. The second were clad in ruby and pointed swords toward the center. The third group, located closest to the entrance of the room, were clad in sapphire and pointed bows towards the center. The pattern seemed familiar to Errwhin, and after examining everything closely he remembered that it was one of the three patterns found in the dark mages hide out in the swamp (see the final part of New Friends, New Enemies). Stepping cautiously into the room Errwhin recognized that the sapphire statues boosted conjuration spells cast within their triangle of influence. The other two triangles also boosted certain schools, though Errwhin was unable to determine which ones. The increase to his already powerful Conjuration spells gave Errwhin the confidence to attempt taking on the guards they had seen the previous day.

Errwhin approached the guards, and attempted to converse with them. Similar in appearance to the dwarf claiming to be Neviya, they spoke in broken dwarven and did not appear to know any other languages. After a brief, fruitless conversation, the guards pursued Errwhin down the hallway towards the summoning room. Once inside the conjuration triangle, Errwhin summoned a giant spider to fight them and quickly lost control of the creature. At about that same time Tyranis Kor was walking past the slain giant and, hearing the commotion, decided to investigate. Tyranis walked in on the spider biting one of the dwarves in half. While the spider rampaged after Tyranis, Errwhin decided that he would be able to handle the summoning spells now that he knew what to expect and summoned a fire beetle, which he promptly lost control of. With a bit of creative spell casting and a bit of luck the party was able to defeat both the dwarven guards and Errwhin’s rogue summons.

Introductions were made between Tyranis and the party, and as both were seeking weapons of the ascended gods, they decided to travel together.

Searching the guarded room revealed a magical jail cell with an unconscious elf inside. While investigating Errwhin heard a voice in his head claiming to be the elf, who introduced himself as Ryven. Errwhin, suspecting a trap, blocked the voice out. Eventually finding the mechanism to release the elf, the party loaded him onto their cart and headed for UlCyrus in the hopes that he could be revived.

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New Friends, New Enemies

Our heroes are escorted to a ship waiting to sail to Del Gorim. On board already is an elven scholar on sabbatical who introduces himself as Errwihn Osis. Rit Tigs and Neyvin Tilweyn befriend Errwihn durring the journey to Del Gorim.

1 week out of Del Gorim, the ship was boarded by sea faring creatures that spoke an ancient dialect of Draconic. Errwihn parlayed with the creatures, at first speaking in the common tongue, which proved fruitless. Once the celestial tongue was spoken, the leader of these odd ell/shark/humanoid creatures took notice of Errwihn, and returned the conversation in an ancient draconian language, asking for Errwihn’s identity. Barely able to understand, Errwihn stated his profession. Upon further prompting, Errwihn stated his own name (with pride). At the mention of Errwihn’s name, the leader smiled, and ordered the attack on the crew. After slaying 3 of the creatures and driving the others into the sea Errwihn examined them closely and determined that they were Bound creatures. He relayed this information to the captain who requested a message spell be sent to a Captain Selayis asking for a meeting at a set of predefined coordinates. The ship altered its course and a few days later was one of 7 set off shore from an uncharted island.

The party decided not to go with the captain, who returned later that day and instructed his men to wait until dawn to set sail. By morning all the other ships were gone. The ship reached Del Gorim without any further excitement.

Once in Del Gorim Errwihn rented a room at one of the dockside merchant inns, and requested that his new friends Rit and Neyvin accompany him on his latest escapade. He revealed his intent to go after the treasure of Diamitriis, and requested that they accompany him to Crying Oak Books to attempt to decipher the epic poem. After pouring over the poem for the better part of the day the party had determined 4 possible locations for the treasure: Krishnar Pass, the location of the battle in which Diamitriis died; The ruins of Diamitriis’ home town; The location of the war camp where Diamitriis raised his army; and The secret island base (marked in the middle of the ocean – possibly a translation error, or an island that is no longer in existence.)

For economic reasons, the party decided to purchase a wagon and 2 oxen and proceed overland to the first of their various destinations. On the trail the party was ambushed by Orcs, a brief, but exciting battle. The battle was dangerous for the wizard, but the cleric and the ranger held their ground like heroes. The oxen were pulling the wagon up the mountain road as fast as they could, and the orcs were running along side, slashing and jabbing into the wagon’s cloth covering, hoping to slice anyone they could. Errwihn summoned two celestial fire beetles, and upon witnessing a beetle take a massive hit and survive, he exclaimed, “Fear the beetles!” in his most fearsome orcish accent. The orcs did indeed become scared, and nearly half of them fled from Errwihn’s mighty fire beetles. Ultimately, the companions left 4 orcs dead and the others scared off. Searching the bodies, the party came across an Obsidian Figurine.

Upon reaching the village of Ovan, the party immediately realized that something was amiss. The villagers seemed to be wandering around aimlessly, though no obvious reason for their confusion could be found. Once in the village, Rit began looting the various places of business while Errwhin tried to identify the source of the villager’s condition. After careful consideration Errwhin determined it was more forbidden magic, the powerful Mind Blast spell. He sent a message to the university asking for instructions. The university instructed him to visit with UlCyrus Rivin in Varitas. Gathering the mindless villagers (in order to escort them to safety, and to seek help for the hapless folk), the party set out across the swamps towards Varitas.

Once in Varitas, Rit went to various temples to see if any of them were interested in purchasing the Obsidian Figurine. One dwarven Cleric at the Temple of Dulvan seemed particularly interested in the figure, but attempted to hide his interest in it and refused to pay more than 10 gold for it. This sparked Rit’s interest and he decided to search for an historian who might be able to tell him why the dwarf would be interested, but unwilling to pay for the figure.

Meanwhile, Errwhin was speaking with UlCyrus about the town of Ovan. UlCyrus gave him a scroll to use at the town, that would help him identify the source of the magic and help him track down the dark mage responsible. Meanwhile, UlCyrus would stay and work on restoring the villager’s blasted minds. Rit’s search for a historian led the party to the home of Scutt Tinderslaph, the gnomish alchemist, who lives on the outskirts of town. Scutt was at first reluctant to speak with the party, but at the mention of the words “Obsidian Figurine” and “Dulvan”, he opened his door to get a better look. He immediately recognized it as a unique key, that would open a single dwarven vault from the era before the other races were created. There were 16 vaults known to exist, each with their own unique key. To date only 2 have ever been found. He placed the street value of the figure at approximately 11 Gold 6 Silver 3 Copper and 1 blade of grass. Rit thanked him for the information, and handed him a single gold coin. Scutt took the coin greedily, bit into it to test its purity, and then tossed it into a bubbling cauldron at the far side of his home. The party left as he closed and locked his door.

The party then traveled back to Ovan, where Errwihn used the scroll that UlCyrus had given him. The spell took shape, showing large glowing green circles where the forbidden magic had been cast, with smaller green circles following the footsteps of the mage as he walked around town. Slowly, each step and each casting of the spell were revealed to the companion’s eyes. A pattern or order to the castings could not be determined, but upon discussion the group suspected either random targets, or a well educated mage taking out the best targets first. The spell ended with an elabotrate, giant arrow pointing exactly northward, indicating that their quarry headed into the swamps. Leaving the wagon and oxen behind, the party followed Rit, and with his excellent skill in tracking, he led them through the swamp after their quarry. It was two days through the swampy waters before they reached dry land. In the distance they could make out a large stone carving of a bird. As they came closer they discovered that the bird statue was protecting the entrance to a small cave, by means of a magical barrier around the entrance. The barrier seemed to emanate from the statue’s eyes. After some trial and error, Rit finally disabled the statue by covering its eyes with his large tent.

The party entered the cave and began searching. Errwihn noticed a small groove that didn’t make sense from a dungeoneering perspective, and at his prompting Rit was able to figure out how to open the secret door nearby. The party decided to follow the secret passage, even though the trail left by the dark mage clearly led further down the main passageway. At the base of a large spiral ramp they heard a creature breathing heavily. Rit snuck forward carefully, and saw a massive Bound creature sleeping in a widened part of the tunnel. Rit decided to sneak up on the creature and kill it before it could fight back, but tripped an alarm spell before he could get close enough. The screeching alarm spell woke the creature, which immediately started to fight viciously, nearly killing Rit several times. Through cooperation and teamwork, they managed to fell the beast. Upon searching its lair, they found that it was actually a rudimentary prison for a single prisoner. Rit cut open the creature to see if there was anything of value, and found 3 jet black pearls. Closer examination revealed them to be Pearls of Power. Finding nothing else of interest in the prison, the party ascended the passage and continued their search for the Dark Mage. They ultimately found only an empty ritual room and evidence that the mage had recently made his escape. Within the room was multiple elaborate arcane patterns, with ancient and powerful symbols engraved around the room. It looked perfect for any ritual casting any mage could think of. From the looks of the tracks, the mage walked to this room to teleport away. Errwihn copied three of the arcane symbols, the only three which were unfamiliar to him (he later discovered that he only copied one of the symbols correctly). After some thought of destroying the ritual circle, Errwihn contacted UlCyrus via a message spell, and was instructed to destroy the circle and the symbols, to prevent the dark mage from using this chamber again, as well as collect the candles and anything else he could. Errwihn transcribed necessary destruction symbols over the more ancient symbols and the ritual circle, and ended this caverns use of magic for some time.

Once the task was complete, the group traveled back to the Village of Ovan, and retrieved the wagon and oxen. They then traveled back to Veritas, where Errwihn brought the items from the cavern’s ritual room to UlCyrus.

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Darkness Falls
The Beginning

Rit Tigs and his recently hired companion, Neyvin Tilweyn, were relaxing at the Emerald Dragon Inn when a mysterious stranger entered and offered to buy everyone in the place dinner if they would listen to a business proposition. Never one to turn down a free meal, Rit agreed.

The stranger introduced himself as Quistis Burnhilt and explained that he worked for the king. He told the group that they needed a problem handled discreetly; a hedge wizard was causing increasing numbers of animals to drag civilians into the sewers. He offered 10 gold up front and 100 gold each on completion if they were able to kill the wizard and bring his head as proof.

Out of money, Rit and Neyvin agreed. Shortly after striking the deal they were attacked by a group of skeletal rats, which they dispatched with ease. The following morning they set out into the sewers where they encountered several more groups of rats, both living and un-dead, and a few other unpleasant residents. Neyvin was severely wounded on more than one occasion, keeping the party from reaching their goal for several days. Deep in the sewers they met a wererat sitting on a throne of bone and wearing a fancy purple cloak with silver symbols set into it. He introduced himself as a King, and asked about the group’s purpose. Rit told the creature that Quistis Burnhilt had offered to pay them 200 gold each to slay the hedge wizard responsible for the attacks. The rat laughed and offered double that amount to instead kill Quistis. Rit refused because the rat did not have the money on him.
After a fierce battle, Neyvin lay unconscious on the ground and the Rat was dead. Picking up the cloak and rapier the rat had used in the battle and taking his head as proof, Rit hastily retreated from the sewers and to the safety of an inn unaware that the cloak was in fact a symbol of royalty. Several people suspicious of a Halfling royal called the guards who arrested Rit and Neyvin for impersonating royalty.

Upon searching their belongings the guards discovered the head of the wererat and immediately recognized it as that of Prince Delvorin: 2nd in line for the throne. Rit told them that he was acting on the orders of Quistis Burnhilt. The guards went and found Quistis who recognized them. The group explained what had happened while under the effects of a zone of truth. Quistis agreed that the Prince had to be killed, but also that the Prince’s killers could not remain in Mournhold. Quistis confiscated all of the Prince’s belongings including the rapier (which was determined to be magical) and cloak, then deducting the cost of passage from their promised reward and instructed the guards to escort the party to the docks and put them on the first ship towards Del Gorim.

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