Thylison

A friendly discussion

Having been driven out of the tower basement by the dangerous plant creature, the party was forced to enter a dialogue with the young elvish woman and her strange plant like companions. The woman introduced herself as Vermisillia, an exile from a now mostly disbanded clan of Wild Elves who succumbed to a wasting disease. She explained that the few surviving members of the clan sought refuge in this abandoned outpost after learning that the previous inhabitants had learned long forgotten rituals to harness the power of primal nature spirits.

According to Vermisillia the clan leaders who began using the magic underestimated the strength of the nature spirits, and it was not long before the elves were overrun and enslaved, with most of the adults being slaughtered while the youth were kept as captives, a ransom to ensure that Vermisillia would serve as their above ground liaison to the outside world and ensure that they received a steady supply of organic material to continue to expand their own forces which grew through fungal decomposition.

Vermisillia explained that she has thus far managed to keep the elven children safe from being consumed by the plant creatures because she has managed to trick the goblins into being lured into the outpost where she turned her plant creatures upon them. Vermisillia did all she could to assure the group that she wanted nothing more than to save the remainder of her clan, as well as putting the malevolent spirits to rest, and that while she was unable to assist the group directly, she could provide them shelter and indirect protection should they need to recover. She also advises them that there was a nearby Elven Tribe, the Gold Moon Blade Tribe who may offer some additional assistance.

After some internal discussion the group decided to visit the other elven to see if any aid could be provided before attempting another expedition into the well-guarded basement.

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A strange ruins

After learning of the location of the highly contested ruins, the adventurers made a cautious approach through the dangerous and oppressive Tamrest Forest. Upon reaching the clearing the group conducted a bit of cursory scouting, discovering that several strangely colored goblins stood stock still at various junctions around the crumbling wall of the outpost. Within could be seen a young elven woman slowly making her way in and out of several of the small stone buildings, accompanied by a trio of small plant-like humanoids.

The group used clever tactics to lure enough of the altered goblins close enough to dispatch and examine closer, and discovered that these goblins seemed to be also afflicted by whatever strange condition had already been described to them. It was then that the group decided to conduct a reconnaissance mission into the outpost, scouting a few outer buildings and discovering that several goblins had been captured and were being held, as well as a separate grouping of young elves who seemed to be better treated, but also captive. It was decided that whatever the source of this problem in the outpost was, it was likely found within the center tower of the outpost, and so the group quickly made their way to that building.

Their stealthy ingress into the central tower was foiled by some well-hidden scouts in the interior of the building, small plant like creatures with crude spears. The battle was turned using some fire magic, though one of the diminutive creatures fled the building crying an alarm, which forced the group to head below, to the unknown subterranean level of the tower. Within the basement the group found an overgrowth of thick vines and vegetation covering both the floor, and most of the walls. A strangely large bulbous plant sat at the center, which attacked with a mind-altering spore cloud that led to a near disastrous defeat for the group, causing them to return to the surface and enter a tens treatise with the young elf they had previously spied upon.

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Into the Woods

The initial foray into the Tamrest Forest was met with immediate peril, as was expected of the adventurers. Although the plains between the town and forest are relatively well traveled, it is not an area free of threats both natural and not.

Upon arriving at the border of the forest, where the easily travelled plains begin to give way to thick trunked, primordial trees home to numerous predators, the group was beset upon by a raiding party of goblins, led by a seasoned Hobgoblin leader. The raiding party had used a wounded and crippled elf prisoner as a distraction, bringing the group within range of the leaders bow, while setting the feral and wild goblin fodder upon the group. Being a seasoned group of combatants, the adventurers were able to make short work of the goblins, as well as rescuing the now crippled Elf from his captivity. A brief parlay with the elf provided the group with the basic information that the goblins have been capturing and feeding off of the limbs of many of the local elf tribes, as well as some information as to where the source of this strange fungus could be originating from.

The Elf advised the group of an abandoned outpost within a few days walk of the border of the forest, which was a hotly contested encampment site for many of the areas tribal groups. Most recently it was known that a particularly savage group of goblins had claimed it as their own, but this same group had been displaced by something even more powerful, which had lead them to start capturing elvish prisoners like himself. Knowing that they were looking for strange goblin activities, the group decided that this outpost was their next location to explore.

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A triumphant return

Having found the missing squires and made some headway in generating a mutually beneficial trade agreement with the Ratfolk the group returned to Karakest and reported back to [[Alianna Jean with their results. With the group providing results that exceeded the initial expectations, the mayor was able to reward them generously with a resupply and a letter of credit for personal goods as well.

In addition to the rewards from the mayor, the group had also earned the thanks of the [[Knights Ascendant]] via Rathos Runar and the local priestess The Revered Mother Lindra. The Revered Mother Lindra insisted that the group join them in a small private dinner at the temple, with the squires, as well as Lindra and Rathos. The dinner was a simple but well prepared meal with pleasant conversation. At the end The Revered Mother Lindra presented the group with her thanks, as well as some minor magical relics from the church.

After a brief respite from their expedition to the east, the group was once again summoned by Aliena Jien to discuss the remaining issue to the town, the previous disappearance of the towns hunters. A recent Sky Dwarf caravan had arrived in town with reports of strange attacks from goblins that did not exhibit the normal rabid behavior associated with their kind. Rather the creatures remained utterly silent and seemingly devoid of their cunning tactics, instead just throwing themselves recklessly at the caravan, devoid of self-preservation. In addition, the huntsmaster Yaral Quirand had also done some scouting and discovered the remains of his own scattered band of missing huntsmen, themselves infected with some sort of dangerous yellow fungus.

The group was outfitted with travel supplies and sent out to the Tamrest Forest to investigate the strange fungal infection and odd behavior of the goblins, as well as what potential threat either posed to the town.
]]

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A brief Detour

After following the instructions given to them by the Ratfolk, the group came within sight of the crumbling tower just in time to see a trio of panicked Ratfolk being pursued by strange squat creatures with dark leathery skin. The creatures seemed intent on ending the Ratfolk and they did not immediately notice the heroes. Seeing an opportunity to both do some good, and have some questions answered, the group rushed into to interceded on behalf of the ratfolk.

Although the battle was swift and in the favour of the heroes, the Ratfolk were in no position to wait and see if they were safe and by the time the group had dispatched the threat and entered the ruins of the tower, they discovered the beast that had been preying on the ratfolk, which had also preyed on the ratfolk who merely sought safety.

Although disheartened by their failure to save the fleeing ratfolk, the group returned back to the warren with the remains of the victims and the news that the creature that plagued the ratfolk was slain. The Ratfolk also studied the fallen scaled humanoids, confirming the suspicions that the heroes had regarding the unique and previously unknown nature of these creatures. One thing that was of particular concern to the ratfolk was that the creatures all wore a similar brand on their clothing, a strange eyeball with several stalks rising out of it.

After several more days of negotiating and performing valuable tasks for the Ratfolk, the knights were suddenly located, disheveled and confused, but otherwise unharmed and the heroes returned triumphant to Karakest, the chagrined youth in tow, as well as the promise of negotiations for official trade treaties between the Ratfolk and the human town.

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Meeting the Ratfolk

After spending some time questioning Tessell the Younger, the group decided he was likely not any more knowledgeable of the whereabouts of the missing knights than they themselves were, though he seemed genuinely inclined to help the town in finding them. Still suspicious, but touched by the young Ratfolks enthusiasm and innocence, they agreed to escort him, as a prisoner of the town, back to his warren home of Tangleweed.

The journey was a fairly short one as Tangleweed was only a few days ride from the town, and the mayor was invested enough in discovering the whereabouts of the missing knights to outfit the group with horses and provisions for travel, as well as an official letter from the town giving them authority to speak for her in any negotiations.

Upon arriving to Tangleweed, the group found that the community was appropriately named, as it was a large briar patch with a well fortified set of tunnels beneath. The Ratfolk had taken their own defensive preparations seriously and created several hidden hatches and doors from which they could escape from, or be aware of potential threats to their community.

Although they were escorted by a native of Tangleweed the group still had to deal with some of the more aggressive defensive countermeasures of the warren before they could show they were simply there on a diplomatic mission. Once they had managed to call for a Parley, a well armed and distrustful group of Ratfolk emerged, led by an old and frail clan elder named Binder.

Binder listened to the demands of the group to produce the knights with an impassive and almost bored demeanour, before announcing that he would take Tessell back to the warren to hear his side of his brief imprisonment before making any decisions. He welcomed the group to avail themselves of the bare-bones accommodations that were in place for non-ratfolk visitors and quickly disappeared back into the safety of the warren.

After a long and frustrating night of no activity or communication from the Ratfolk, Binder and a much less aggressively armed group returned to the party from Karakest. Because Tessell was treated with dignity and respect, the ratfolk elder had agreed to assist the group in finding the knights, but only in exchange for a service to the warren as well. A disgusting and twisted creature had recently set up a lair in a crumbling tower nearby the warren. The tower was not significant in and of itself, but it did serve as a landmark in which ratfolk Caravans could rest and draw fresh water from a nearby stream. The stream also served as a primary source of clean water for Tangleweed as well and with this creature now lairing so close, it presented a drastic threat to the Ratfolk. If the group would deal with this threat to [[Tangleweed and show themselves to be operating in good faith, Binder agreed to question all of his own people, as well as sending out emissaries to some of the caravans travelling through the area.

With little else to go on, the group agreed to help the Ratfolk and set out immediately.

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Mysteries and Research

Having been tasked by Aliena Jien to find the missing squires sent by the Knights Ascendants, the group thought it prudent to begin by asking about the town itself to see if anyone had heard any suspicious news regarding the disappearance. Though the town itself is predominantly human, it frequently serves as a gathering place for a myriad of the regions various races. The group quickly surmised that the ideal target for their questions would be a Ratfolk, or several, as they would likely be the most knowledgeable on the habits and nature of the common place Ratfolk caravans that bring goods all throughout the region.

After conscripting a small group of town guards it quickly became apparent that the Ratfolk that normally permeate the town were conspicuously missing, to a body. The missing knights and sudden disappearance of every Ratfolk in the town had only increased the already present suspicion of the group, and so they set about town themselves to track any information they could. It did not take long for the group to locate one lone Ratfolk who had not disappeared with his brethren for reasons unknown.

The young Ratfolk was an enthusiastic and energetic merchant prospect by the name of Tessell the Younger and was seemingly completely devoid of guile. The town guard had escorted him to the cells to be questioned by the newly appointed agents of the mayor.

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A choice is given

Having decided that this newly formed group of agents would be suited for her goals, Aliena Jien decided to present her proposal to the assembled group. A dispatch of Knights Ascendants were supposed to have arrived in the town of Karakest within the last week, but they had not arrived. Although Aliena Jien had become accustomed to operating the town with great autonomy, she did understand the political significance of having even a small complement of knights in her town.

Although short delays of travel were not uncommon within the region, the group was to accompany a caravan of Ratfolk, and the diminutive merchants are not known for tardiness. Aliena’s intent was to dispatch the group to discover the whereabouts of the missing party, but as she was discussing the details with the adventurers the meeting was interrupted by the aggressive barging in of Yaral Quirand, the local hunts master.

The huntsmaster was concerned about the disappearance of several townsfolk who had been assigned to collect game from the Tamrest Forest and were long past due to return. He was insistent that the mayor dispatch a team of both guards and woodsmen under his supervision to locate the missing party. The huntsmaster was quickly escorted out of the office by the Mayor’s personal guard, but she knew that his concerns were valid and that she needed to do something. Faced with the reality did not possess the resources to properly address either concern, she plead with her would-be agents to determine which course of action they were most likely to be successful in pursuing, and to leave her to deal with the consequences.

After some discussion between the four, it was decided the political ramifications of the missing knights would have longer term ramifications to the town than the risk of the town going hungry for the impending winter. With the reluctant blessings of the mayor, the group set off to see what they could discover around town about the missing Knights.

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A group is formed

After having spent several months in the town of Karakest doing minor odd jobs assisting the town, and serving the Mayor Aliena Jien, a small group of stand-out individuals was collected, hand-picked by the mayor herself. These individuals were identified as potential candidates to carry out important work on behalf of the town that couldn’t be trusted to “official” members of the town guard.

The first of these individuals was Flynn St. Tallon, a knight dedicated to serving the common folk in any manner that presented itself. Although his training was provided by the Knights Ascendants he chose to distance himself from their order, having a distasted for their political and religious ideology.

The second was Strahl Turstal, a Deep Dwarf from deep beneath The Ironbeak Mountainssent to Karakest on a trade and diplomacy mission, though he was ill-suited and ill-prepared for it. After some initial struggles in learning to speak the common tongue of the humans of Karakest Strahl was able to ingratiate himself to the townsfolk enough to carve out a small niche of use.

The third was Rolland Wyrmring, a half-elf scout from the nearby Tamrest Forest who was sent by his elven brethren who raised him in a gentle form of exile. While in the town of Karakest he also sought to learn more of the human mother he barely knew.

Last, and by know means least was Ferinia, the diminutive Iron Gnomes from Ironhold. She left her home filled with dour survivalists hoping to find a community that would appreciate her love and talent in performance.

Although only one of the four was human, their racial diversity was exactly what [[Aliena Jean]sought, as Karakest had the unique position of being nestled between several very diverse cultures, and unofficially serving as a meeting place for trade and minor diplomatic issues amongst them. Aliena Jiensaw an opportunity to take steps in officially uniting the groups in formal trade agreements, which would not only benefit each party, but also the entirety of the groups involved. Though the four agents she collected were relatively unknown to her, she was hopeful that they were exactly the right team to serve the region.

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