Mooncrash

Episode 121 - Belly of the Beast
Redemption of the Ocean's Pride

Game Date: Durek 13 – Durek 21, 341 F.I.
Starting Point: Chicken Bone Islands
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Dondo Whitewave, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

On a wave-tossed rock in the Scarlet Sea, a goliath shaman informs Chogaruk that the only way he can ascend to the Basalt Throne of Witcomanee is by finding and slaying the Demonmaw, the very creature he has named his legendary axe after.

Summoned back together by an ominous missive from the Abbey of All Monsters, The Nameless Company convenes in Althoren Zencaré’s secret headquarters – high in the mountains of Dread Salarza. It seems the Sunken Sisters wish to sacrifice Captain Bixby, the last remaining survivor of the Bad Omen to the Demonmaw and are calling upon the adventurers to complete their half of the previously agreed-upon bargain. Uncertain precisely how they intend to honor these agreements, the heroes nonetheless travel to Yaor Bay to collect the destitute captain and enlist his aid in rescuing his crew.

In Usago, The Nameless Company meets the Sunken Sisters and agrees to participate in their ceremony. A derelict vessel, filled with Oslite blasphemers – Bixby included – waits in the middle of the deep, awaiting the arrival of the Demonmaw. The adventurers row out to join the Sisters, hatching a plan that will see them swallowed too. Once the reverse-rain – magical weather influenced by the mooncrash – begins, the priestesses start their chant, the water starts to churn and massive fangs sprout from the water all around the derelict. Rowing quickly, Vaca manages to position the rowboat between the teeth at the very last instant, right before everything is sucked downward and into the utter blackness below.

The next thing the adventurers know, they’re inside the gullet of the creature – an unfathomably large body of black water, roofed by ribs and littered with the shattered derelicts of previously swallowed ships. Exploring around, the Nameless Company discovers many survivors – including the Bad Omen and its crew – but many are under the effects of a terrifying transformation, warping them into wet, muculent creatures called skum. Speaking with Mqueque, one of the harpooners, they learn of three potential exits from the creature’s massive belly – a magically guarded doorway, a pair of gnashing jaws and an infected artery. After reconnoitring the whole massive stomach, our heroes braved the gnashing jaws and started their exploration of the Demonmaw’s innards, seeking some escape route.

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All squeezed atop Zencaré’s floating disc, the Nameless Company travelled down the inexplicable intestine of the Demonmaw. First, they encountered a forest of baleen, stretching from floor to ceiling, that they needed to cut through. Next, they crossed a hall of polyps where rasping tongue reached out to give them battle. During the fight, both Chogaruk and Dondo fell through open arteries and were nearly crushed by the fleshy walls, had not their allies come to their rescue. Lastly, they encountered a bladder that slowly flooded with acid, forcing them to muscle open the Demonmaw’s own muscles to escape.

Finally, they emerged in the beast’s heart chamber, where they were confronted with the great organ – protected by angels, by rasping tongues and by skittering parasites. As his companions rushed forth to battle, Dondo Whitewave was confronted with a conundrum – his Mother. Behooving him to cease this attack, Dondo spent many rounds negotiating, arguing and eventually splitting with his Mother’s faith.

In the battle, our heroes were faced with numerous challenges. Roundly defeating the parasites and the tongues, they found the angels and the heart much harder to deal with. Protected by a shield of magical energy, the heart would repel any damage it was dealt back out across the chamber, striking everyone with exactly as much force. Once all the other foes were slain, they pondered precisely how this could be done. With nowhere else to go, the heroes instructed Chogaruk to deal a killing blow to the heart. The wave of energy that rippled out proved too much for both Vaca and Dondo, crippling the former and slaying the latter outright.

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The moment the Demonmaw was slain, the Nameless Company had precious little time to evacuate. The massive gullet began to drain, sucking all its ships and derelicts down into a churning whirlpool. Clambering onto the wreckage, they were sucked into the creature’s bowels, a surging rapid of whitewater and waste. Skum came crawling onto their rafts and they repelled them. Their rafts split and they leapt onto new driftwood. Soon, they were all ejected into the open ocean and – nearly drowning in the process – they reached the surface. Discovering where they were, our heroes reconvened with the Bad Omen and accounted themselves as successful survivors – only Vaca has lost all feeling in his legs.

On Witcomanee, Choagruk is crowned chieftain of the Ta’de’zalé amid blood and splendor. All surviving members of the Nameless Company receive an ominous message from the Abbey of All Monsters, telling them to watch the waters. Dondo Whitewave awakens on the Open Ocean, with a small sailboat and an uncharted map. A naked eladrin woman stands shivering in the rain outside Zencaré’s office at the Belltower Collegium, demanding to know who she is and where she came from.

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Episode 120 - For Old Time's Sake
The Wedding of Vaca L'oy Dakursa and Culas, Hero of House Amethyst

Game Date: Zahal 15, 341 F.I.
Starting Point: Belltower Collegium
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Leviathan, Zanna

All across Qairn, a humble reaches the scattered five members of The Nameless Company, inviting them all to attend a bizarre wedding in the Ironshod Hills outside the small city of Belltower. From Arkhosia to Witcomanee, from the Azure Sea to Dread Salarza do they come, one and all, the legendary heroes that reforged the world and, with them, come all the companions that once they knew and fought beside on their long journey. For one of their own, their dear friend Vaca, is finally, finally getting married.

They assemble on the parade ground before the Collegium and exchange brief stories, where they’ve been, the battles they fought, the scars they’ve earned since last they parted. Some come alone, like Leviathan, fresh from the briny sea, some come with great retinues, like Zanna and the captains of the Haggard Host. In short order, the four friends are joined by Alecta and a gaggle of professors from the Collegium and, together, they depart down the road towards the wedding.

Along the way, they meet the halfling crew of The Distressed Damsel, reinstated to their previous post and Captain Yolanda at their head. Once they arrive at the Lunepomme Orphanage, they reunite with Drek, the crowd of shifter children and the groom himself, Vaca L’oy Dakursa, arguing with his parents, Mason and Benita, as they scramble to ready their wedding preparations. As an even larger group, they continue to head further and further from town, towards the looming Ironshod Hills.

As they wind through the forest, protected by patrols from The Blue Banners, they cross paths with representatives from both the Arkhosian Crown and from House Amethyst, neither group particularly pleased by the wedding’s remote venue. Before long, torches and streamers and candles guide them to the site where, in the shadowed caves beneath Challenge Rock, Vaca conspires to hold his wedding.

In accordance with all dwarven weddings, the heroes commence with the Rebam Abo, the Mingling phase of the wedding. Vaca and Culas make their rounds, meeting and greeting Lanakhiz, Tawel and Baron Zuss. Meanwhile, Leviathan makes the acquaintance of Gnish Humanfriend, Zanna has an awkward conversation with Alazne, Chogaruk frets over his gift and Zencaré, with some effort, manages to tame the hordes of crows that swamp the wedding. That is, until Levi hears the approach of Tojezen, Dracoempress of Her Selfsame Empire and the wedding’s official lectern.

After picking a brief bone with the wedding invitations, Tojezen proceeded to officiate the wedding of the two heroes, during the Zavan Avo, or the Weaving. Culas read her vows first, while Vaca fumbled through tying his ring into her hair. Next, Vaca read his vows while Culas expertly tied her own ring into the shifter’s hair. With a kiss, the two were married. That done, Tojezen’s guards deposited three strongboxes of rubies (possibly as bedding?) and immediately took off.

Next came The Presenting, the Jozam Azo, in which all the guests presented the lavish gifts they’d brought. Everything from swanboats to statues, knighthoods to songs, every guest that came (with a few notable exceptions) presented their gifts to the happy couple, including The Nameless Company. Zanna presented Vaca a custom helmet, a permanent pavilion in the Haggard Host and the eternal title of the Field General’s Shield. Leviathan gifted Vaca a chunk of his outer plate, the one on which he’d first etched his drawing of Vaca. Zencaré gave to Vaca an enchanted quill that, when asked, would ask any historical question that Zencaré could answer. Chogaruk dropped a red dragon’s partially rotted head at his feet and was suddenly quite violently ashamed at the prospect he might not actually like the present.

No sooner was this gift delivered, however, when another pair of wingbeats sounded overhead. It seems their old enemy, Calexzar the Vitriolic, Firebrand, the Unquenchable Flame, had come to ruin Vaca’s day of bliss. Working quickly to evacuate the wedding, The Nameless Company hurried out onto the pinnacle of Challenge Rock to meet the ancient red dragon, in pitched battle. Exchanging a few brief threats first, the fight was soon begun in earnest!

As with all great battles against the Unquenchable Flame, there was fire and claws and eventually Chogaruk (and Leviathan) atop the dragon’s back. In short order, the wyrm was driven from Challenge Rock and, even shorter following that, Calexzar was scooping up Vaca againt and taking to the sky. As he made swooping destructive runs against Challenge Rock, the party needed to work quickly to evacuate the entire wedding, to clear all their loved ones from the present danger. No sooner had they done this, when all of Challenge Rock came crumbling down.

A firebrand of rage, Calexzar descended amid the destruction and gave mortal combat to The Nameless Company. The blows were many, savage and fierce, more than one hero dropping to the ground during the battle. As it always was with these pitched battles, it is Zanna who delivers the killing blow the world’s oldest dragon, exploding the creature into ash and fragments of bone.

Soon as the battle was won, heads were counted and a number were found to be missing – all shifter orphans, hidden in the rubble. Four of the missing five were recovered alive, if injured. One, Trok, did not survive and the day looked to be dampened when, with some divine intervention, Levi appealed to his “”/wikis/osl-" class=“wiki-page-link”> mother" and asked that he be restored to his original body, and that Trok be placed in his old metal shell. This done, Dondo Whitewave is returned to the land of the living and Trok, once a wereboar shifter, is now a warforged.

As the remnants of the wedding gather at the orphanage for the conclusion of the festivities, The Nameless Company are led, by a somber Vaca, to a small hill behind the Lunepomme, where they, beneath a full moon and with scattering moonbloom, perform Thistle’s funeral, three years after they all first met.

The End.

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Interlude - Another Year Passed
The Adventure Awakens

Spring, summer, autumn, winter – each dawns and sets upon the changed world of Qairn, as steady as the sun and one lonely moon. The year of 340, a year of turbulence and bloodshed and ultimately rebirth, draws to its close with the timely celebration, once again of Earthentide, the dwarven holiday of fasting, meditation and isolation. When those individuals who keep the solemn holiday, dwarves and all else, think back on the year’s events, on the changes they’ve seen their world endure, for the first time, they may be filled with hope and good will towards Qairn, untarnished by the looming pall of war and famine and disease.

The reclusive monks of Harbor Abbey make their announcement and, at midnight on Eartentide Day, the “341st Year Since The Fall of Imald” has begun.

As the world’s imperfect but inspiring figurehead, the fate of the kingdom of Arkhosia betokens the fate of all Qairn. For she has a new Queen, and though that queen may not be a golden dragon herself, but to some, she is nonetheless a beacon of promise – young and driven and committed to reform. The rule of Queen Mexa, First of her Name, is not without strife; dissenters are many, the shadow of Ptolomos and Truarkhism looms over all and neighborly relations – between dwarves, goliaths and blue dragons – are strained as ever. Yet, once more is the Arkhosian Kingdom, that gleaming figurehead, pointed ahead, rather than behind.

The Fallen Moon, the most ravaged by the fires of war, has taken the greatest steps towards its own recovery. Now, in place of three squabbling Regents, bickering over too little territory, a single ruler has stepped forth – Tepemkau Nebet has been declared Supreme Regent of Imald and All the Fey Provinces, those wild lands in southern Colcambria. In exchange for sovereign control of these regions, the great archwizard has bent all his magics to the halting of the Feywild’s spread, sparing mainland Arkhosia the gruesome fate the rampant fey powers laid before it. Now, Tepemkau rules with unquestioned authority over all that is eladrin and gnomish in the world.

Peace, too, has come to the Empire of Tojezen, the Raborox Rebellion long over. Though gravelly injured in the Duel of Dragons, the dracoempress is not be bedridden long and even now, she seeks to further her conquest, adding more and more cities to her expanding empire. This inspires no small tension among her neighbors, Arkhosia and the Seastone Republic both and, for the moment, Tojezen restrains her interest to coastal cities in farflung western Irmina, but who knows where next that greedy draconic eye may turn, looking to claim more treasure still?

The Great Dwarven Houses are in disarray. Buoyed by their discovery of Jëbebror, House Amethyst has recently claimed the supremacy previously held by the now shattered and fractious House Topaz. Following their defeat in the Second Battle of the Ashway, House Topaz is scattered and leaderless, its Craftmistress vanished without a trace. Against the newfound might and prosperity of House Amethyst, House Onyx is pushed slowly from its holdings in the Kazalhan, while House Jasper continues to study and record its history, as ever it has for hundreds of years.

So too has it become an age of wealth and prosperity for Three Seas Shipping. Granted access to the portico, the massive merchant conglomerate has taken to the Purple Moon, plying the seas of Palune and returning with untold foreign treasures, the likes of which Qairn has never before beheld. Among these treasures are immigrants, dusk elves and gnomes seeking to escape the oppression of the Viziers, and they have settled in sporadic colonies across the world’s three oceans.

With slavery abolished in every corner of Qairn, the goliath people are once again free. To them, this rise and fall of True Arkhosia was but a brief blip on their long years of peaceful (or warlike, as the case may be) existence but it could spell the beginning of a whole new paradigm for the relations between their stoic people and the greater world. For the first time, there are official relations between the Arkhosian Kingdom and the many goliath tribes that border them, from the Soot-Sands, to the Colored-Coral, to the mighty Saltspray. Tension there is still, of course, but perhaps these two rival cultures can learn to cooperate as one.

There is one force, a force too powerful to be forgotten or brushed aside, that is absent from this brave new world. When the smoke cleared from that final battlefield, the one that decided the fate of Qairn, so too did The Nameless Company disperse, blown to the five corners of the world. Some stayed to aid the new Queen of Arkhosia manage, protect and rule her beset kingdom. Some went home, to attend their families or to settle old scores. Some went into exile, for research, study or the betterment of themselves.

Do not think that this new world, forged in the heat of their exploits, no longer has need of heroes. Once again, a great need will rear its inevitable head and summon back these legendary champions back from the edges of the map but it may not be the need they anticipated.

For, in the humble town of Belltower, the wellspring of so much adventure, wedding bells are ringing.

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Episode 119 - War, Part VII: Victory or Defeat
The Die Cast

Game Date: Zahal 12-14, 340 F.I.
Starting Point: Ashway
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

While war rages below, while tens of thousands of lives struggle for victory hundreds of feet below, heroes and villains draw swords and come to blows. Chogaruk leaps across the ship’s deck and engages Metarkh Ptolomos directly, thwarted in his attempt by the holy Aspect of Arkos that materializes above the tiefling warlord. The remaining soldiers – Truarkhs and trueforged alike – descend upon the adventurers alike and a tense battle, possibly the toughest of the Company’s career, is joined.

The fortunes flop back and forth, sometimes favoring the heroes, sometimes their adversaries. The trueforged simulacrum of Ûbolya is dispatched with haste by Chogaruk’s axe and Zanna spends more of the combat unconscious than she spends fighting, dropped to her knees multiple times. Zencaré shouts encouragements to the troops battling below through the ship’s loudspeaker system, while Vaca engages a whole squad of Truarkhs at once. It’s ultimately Chogaruk who brings down the Metarkh, gambling all on a risky charge across the embattled deck. Zencaré breaks Hamessu Betrest’s will, after sending his fellow lich on a terrifying journey to another realm.

Their foe vanquished, The Nameless Company hatches a devious plan to crash the skyship into the unsuspecting Truarkh ranks. In the attempt to both crash the ship and escape with their lives, Vaca sacrifices himself to save Zanna. When they, picking through the wreckage, discover the shifter’s body, its utterly lifeless, pierced through the heart by a piece of debris. In rage, The Nameless Company fights their way through whatever Arkhosians stand in their way and emerges onto the battlefield proper to discover that the day is won.

Queen Mexa stands high upon a mountain of slain enemies, surrounded by her cheering throngs of Arkhosian loyalists, the burnt and damaged Standard of Eternal Battle wafting in the breeze. Chogaruk mends things, if temporarily, with Tawessu and tends to his slaughtered flock of goliaths. Tojezen is the only of the four dragons to survive the battle, Xandromox and both Wyrmling Princes among the dead. The Haggard Host survives in its entirety, swollen even by those Boozy Battalion mercenaries that join its numbers.

The greatest casualty, in the hearts of the adventurers, is, of course, Vaca, their brother-in-arms.

They return to The Nightowl briefly, to inform Drek of the bad news and receive a pair of letters the fighter once wrote, months earlier, before departing into Dread Salarza; one addressed to The Nameless Company, the other to Culas of House Topaz. Their eyes misty with tears from Vaca’s touching words, the adventurers hurry away to Lazandromûs and Culas’s alpine estates. Working quickly, the Hero of House Amethyst summons her house priest and casts the necessary rituals to contact Vaca beyond the grave.

Wandering in Nifol, the soul of Vaca L’oy Dakursa meets a stooped crone and starts his long journey. Voices materialize from the mist, asking him to convert to the faith of Gad, the Earththinker. This he does and is brought before the Library of Lore, Gad’s astral domain. Inside, he meets a familiar young dwarven scholar who leads him out of the afterlife and back amongst the company of his friends.

In Culas’ parlor, Vaca’s eyes snap open.

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Episode 118 - War, Part VI: Duel of Dragons
The Final Battles Begins

Game Date: Zahal 12, 340 F.I.
Starting Point: Ashway
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

On the outskirts of Iar Adri, Metarkh Ptolomos Phyrenos gives a stirring speech to his soldiers, an amassed 100,000 troops – Arkhosian and warforged alike. Outside the commander’s tent in Zalkabad, Zanna addresses her own men, with Vaca standing near to hand, holding the slain body of her father and general. Their respective armies riled to bloodlust, both the True Arkhosian Front and The Nameless Army go marching off to war, marching down the Ashway to victory or defeat.

Back upon the Ashway, now thrice as wide, the battle lines were redrawn. As the heroes arranged their troops, a single tenser’s floating disc approached, bearing the flag of the white drake of truce. Ptolomos, Content Not Found: hamessu-betrest and a trueforged simulacrum of Ûbolya of House Topaz arrived to offer the adventurers terms. Instead, The Nameless Company threw their terms back at them, Zanna even threatening Ptolomos’ very life. With that, the Metarkh flew to his hovering skyship and ordered his amassed forces to charge.

Rushing forward into glorious battle, The Nameless Company is met with stern resistance on all sides. Though they deal grevious blows to the warforged ranks, the Mizkwinashange are decimated in the bloody battle. The Haggard Host and the Arkhosian patriots have difficulty gaining traction against the warforged they’re arrayed against. The eladrin, meanwhile, divide their attention between both flanks, their wizards making surgical strikes on both sides.

Meanwhile, in the sky, the four dragons – Xandromox, Tojezen and the Wyrmling Princes – gave one another furious battle. Up and down they fell and fought, with fire, ice and lightning, with tooth and claw and tail. In the end, both the silver dragon and the blue dragon fell beneath the might of the twin reds, but not before taking one brother – Asborolkash the Elder – down with them.

On the field of battle, things start to turn against the Nameless Army, until they resolve to reveal Queen Mexa and make their ploy. Screaming her identity to all who can hear and brandishing high the Standard of Eternal Battle, twenty thousand Truarkhs swing suddenly to The Nameless Army’s side and the scales tip wildly in their favor.

To chase this success, The Nameless Company regroups and, astride Zencaré’s phantom steeds, make haste for Ptolomos airbourne mobile command, the skyship. Should they claim the Metarkh’s life, they feel assured that their victory shall be cinched. With a flourishing and a heroic pose, the four adventurers land on the skyship’s resplendent deck and face off against the triumvirate of evil: Metarkh Ptolomos Pyrenos, Protector of the Realm, Ûbolya, Craftmistress of House Topaz and Hamessu Betrest, the Regent of Rose.

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Episode 117 - War, Part V: On the Eve of Great Battle
A Nemesis Slain, A Mentor Lost

Game Date: Sangor 96, 339 F.I. – Zahal 12, 340 F.I.
Starting Point: Tepemkau Regency
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

As a team, The Nameless Company makes surprisingly quick work of the iron bulwark that is Aiqor Tharax. No sooner has he fallen, however, than battalions upon battalions of warforged come pouring from the open maw of the dragon-shaped siege tower. The heroes do their best to stem the tide – even manage to destroy one tower by dropping a barrel of flaming residuum down its central shaft and exploding its lowest floor – but they’re ultimately unable to hold back such unstoppable numbers. As soon as they can, they retreat to the lowest level of the Ijo Mal and linked portal back to Zalkabad, their tails between their legs.

Unsurprised by their defeat, Tepemkau Nebet still honors their agreement and sends 15,000 Isetnofret Marute to come and aid their cause.

The year passes, Earthentide all but unobserved by the heroes. Over nearly sixteen days, The Nameless Army waits, ever vigilant, for any move from the True Arkhosian Front. Those 50,000 Truarkhs within Tepemkau’s borders engage the lich’s forces in many pitched battles, back and forth across his lands before his dwindling eladrin forces are pushed back to Iar Gyasi, the Regent somehow unconcerned about his prospects of defeat. Queen Mexa receives assurances from a dozen Arkhosian Legates that they’re ready to turncloak against Ptolomos at her signal, with the hope that many more might as well. Two dragons, Xandromox the silver and Tojezen the blue, arrive in the war camp with much fanfare and are included in the war councils.

On Zahal 12, both the Wyrmling Princes strike out, burning more of Nypacia’s countryside and expanding the Ashway into triple its previous width. Under these conditions, The Nameless Army’s previous advantage of a bottleneck is denied them and the entire True Arkhosian Front – 100,000 soldiers in all – comes marching along abreast. The final battle looms.

Scrambling an emergency council of war, The Nameless Army’s many commanders debate, back and forth, their chances of victory. During the meeting, one of Txomin’s officers brings the Field General a strange notice, collected from the battlefield, with only the word “Surprise” written in Dwarven upon its House Topaz letterhead. When uttered, the mechanical hands of Captain Mose spring to life, stabbing the Field General in the back with his blade, suddenly enchanted with the dreaded and fatal finger of death disease.

Chogaruk and Zencaré instantly disable the enchanted swordarm, whereas Tojezen drops Captain Mose with a lightning bolt. Though Vaca and Zanna make a valiant effort to resuscitate him, Txomin the Locust perishes. His last earthly act, however, is to remove his helm and hand it, in trembling hands, to his weeping daughter Zanna.

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Episode 116 - War, Part IV: Siege of Three Towers
Outnumbered and Overwhelmed

Game Date: Sangor 96, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Caliphate of Nypacia
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

The battered but victorious Nameless Army comes trooping back to their camps and cookfires, thirty thousand dead behind them on the bloody field of the [[Ep. 115 – War, Part III: Battle of the Ashway | Battle of the Ashway]]. Several joyous days are spent carousing and celebrating, tinged with a mournful note for all those who gave their lives in defense of the realm of Nypacia. At their next war council, Alazne promises, on behalf of the Calipha, that no attempt shall be made to resow the Ashway, that it will stand as memorial for all those who gave their lives.

More news comes flooding in when the war leaders assemble for council. Mexa returns to them, not as a Princess, but as the 13th Queen of All Arkhosia, with a black steel crown upon her head. She has publically denounced Ptolomos as a traitor and waits only for word of her condemnation to ripple through the nation and the tide of public opinion to turn against them.

Tepemkau Nebet, however, delivers less pleasing news. A force of 50,000 Truarkhs and warforged have assailed his poorly-defended southern borders. He asks The Nameless Company for aid, to lead the defense while he marshals his own troops. In exchange, he offers to browbeat the loyalty of the Isetnofret Regency into aiding the Nameless Army.

The valiant heroes rush away southward, to the relief of the embattled eladrin, but inherit a situation stacked hopelessly against them. Thousands of warforged, with Truarkh strike teams and great engines of war, assail the three understaffed towers, Ijo Ias, Ijo Mal and Ijo Dhe. With too few men and spread too thin, The Nameless Company is unable to prevent the landing of three great firebreathing siege towers. Nor are they able to avert the destruction of Ijo Ias’s precious crystal, maintaining the impenetrable wall of force that keeps the majority of the Truarkh host at bay.

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Just when the situation seems more dire, who should come striding out of the main siege tower but Aiqor, their hated and undefeated foe.

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Episode 115 - War, Part III: Battle of the Ashway
The Bursting of the Clouds

Game Date: Sangor 93, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: The Ashway
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

The predawn light colors the idyllic forest midnight blue. Torrential rain pours from the angry sky. Slogging through the slurry of soot and cinder and slime, the True Arkhosian Front marches deeper and deeper down the Ashway and into Nypacia, marches down the warpath. Only one force, a small collection of half-orc savages, stands opposed to them.

Suddenly, a twig snaps the forest. The Arkhosian legions come to a sudden halt. Something else is watching. Something else has surrounded them.

With a cry, The Boozy Battalion breaks cover to the north and south of the Ashway, charging recklessly into battle. On their heels, comes the entire strength of The Nameless Army – screaming goliath barbarians, canny mercenary companies and elusive eladrin wizards. The Arkhosians, never one to shy from a fight, turn and meet their foes head-on. The battle lines crash and the Battle of the Ashway is begun.

In the opening stages, the goliaths of the Mizkwinashange deal the most damage to the foe, smashing heavily into their lines with all the force of five thousand battering rams. The Haggard Host plays coy, only committing a portion of its forces and feinting with many false defeats and half-retreats. War wizards of the Tepemkau Regency obliterate lines of the enemy defenders with exploding fireballs and bolts of streaking lightning. It’s the Dogs of Salarza, positioned as the bait, that receive the brunt of the Arkhosian’s power, both cavalry charges meeting at high speed.

The first Arkhosian host is utterly shattered, partially surrounded and dotted with tragic last stands. From behind come the rank upon rank of warforged, moving to fill in the gaps the Arkhosians leave, emotionless machines of death. The fighting becomes bitterest here, as The Nameless Army begins to appreciate the tremendous odds stacked against them. Through superior tactics – and the strong advantage of their bottleneck, they manage to decimate the combined two hosts of Arkhosian and warforged before the second Arkhosian host, breaking into two formations and charging at goliath and mercenary respectively, come galloping to relieve them.

All throughout the battle, The Nameless Company cheers and chides, boosting the morale of their allies while breaking the spirit of their enemies. By the time the second Arkhosian host arrives to the killing fields, their will to fight is all but vanquished and the horn of retreat is sounded.

It’s at this time that “Princess Mexa” emerge, waving the Standard of Eternal Battle gloriously back and forth. With the aid of the heroes, she manages to sway two thousand Arkhosian loyalists to the fledgling Queen’s side and together, they drive the foes further back. Victories come in waves, however, when the second host of warforged freeze in their tracks, victims to Zanna’s well-placed strike team of Blue Banners.

When Alpharazon the Younger descends to cover the escape of the routed Arkhosian host, The Nameless Army knows they’ve won the day. In the mad scramble to escape, Chogaruk is nearly slain, lost amid the jumble of retreating goliaths and battle-crazed Arkhosians. Luckily, it’s Vaca who pulls him from the carnage and carries him to safety.

When the smoke clears midmorning, nearly thirty-five thousand fighters lie dead, the vast majority of them Arkhosian and warforged. Regrouping to lick their wounds and count their death, The Nameless Company is overjoyed at the stunning victory they’ve won and always cognizant of the much larger numbers arrayed so fiercely against them.

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Episode 114 - War, Part II: Parlay
Words Are Wind

Game Date: Sangor 91-93, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Zalkabad
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

Retiring to the extradimensional manor with their bound captive, The Nameless Company endured a long and grueling several hours of interrogation of Ûbolya, Craftmistress of House Topaz. They learned much – how the warforged are controlled by squads of artificers in deep meditation beneath the Ramparts, where the extra 50,000 soldiers were stationed, that Ûbolya was the true mastermind behind Ptolomos rise to power – before, in their eagerness, they pressed the dwarven woman too hard and she passed out.

While they awaited her recovery,Princess Mexa received word from the Kyra Drathox, the secretive Crownkeepers, summoning her away to Sozinex to be crowned Queen of All Arkhosia. After an internal debate, she decides to heed the summons and leave the battlefield. In her stead, The Nameless Company devise a scheme to disguise a Haggard Host mercenary who bears a passing resemblance to the Princess, as Mexa and use her to rally the troops.

Before long, however, The Nameless Company receives a sending from Metarkh Ptolomos, imploring them to come and exchange hostages at the Hippogriff Alehouse in Belltower. Hastening with all speed, the adventurers arrive to discover Asborolkash circling the town and Ptolomos and Aiqor waiting patiently outside the Alehouse. In exchange for Ûbolya’s life, Ptolomos offers to spare the orphanage and the college from destruction. Reluctantly, the heroes agree before receiving frantic word from the front lines – the Arkhosians are attacking!

Back in Nypacia, Alpharazon has burnt a fifteen-mile stretch of gnomish forest to cinders, creating a perfect pathway for the dragonborn and warforged armies to march down. Marshaling their soldiers with all speed, they move to encircle and blunt the advance of the army. Meanwhile, two dragoons of Blue Banners are dispatched, to hopefully deal with the artificers of the second and third battalions of warforged, hoping to cut the enemy numbers in half.

As the battle lines are drawn, The Nameless Company prepares to lead their men into the fray against overwhelming odds.

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Episode 113 - War, Part I: The Palace Job
Thieves in the Night

Game Date: Sangor 90-91, 339 F.I.
Starting Point: Zalkabad
Player Characters Present: Althoren Zencaré, Chogaruk, Lord Vaca L’oy Dakursa, Zanna

As night falls on Sangor 90, The Nameless Company warps into an unsuspecting eladrin home within the occupied city of Iar Adri. The mistress of the house, Althoren Qakaré, is surprised to discover her maimed and undead son, Zencaré, appearing suddenly on her veranda. There’s no time for reunions, however, as the son warns the mother of the impending collapse of the Palace Airborne and the devastation that’s about to be wrought upon Iar Adri.

Mounted aboard their phantom steeds, The Nameless Company takes to the skies, their approach to the flying castle obscured by a light snowfall. Thy evade the notice of the skyships encircling the Palace. They even evade the predatory circles of Alpharazon the Younger. Alighting atop the Dignitary’s Tower, ill luck gives away their position to the sleeping Asborolkash the Elder and, with the furious red dragon hot on their heels, they’re forced to flee into the Palace.

As the Wyrmling Princes destroy the tower around them. The Nameless Company, led by the Sworn Guard, penetrate Ûbolya’s suite of rooms and quickly locate her. They dispatch, with haste, her bevy of warforged bodyguards, only to have the breathless Craftmistress escape down a surprise chute she’s constructed through the bones of the Palace. Leaping after her, The Nameless Company chases Ûbolya through the complex of twisting tunnels, until they’re all – rather conveniently, it must be said – deposited within the castle’s gearworks.

As the great gear of the Nameless Empire spins to keep them all afloat, The Nameless Company makes quick work of the chamber’s dozen warforged bodyguards and manages to apprehend Ûbolya. With a powerful expenditure of his arcane magic, Zencaré deactivates the gear and, blessed by his mass fly spell, they race from the collapsing palace and into the snowy sky beyond.

Only to come face to face with Asborolkash the Elder.

As Metarkh Ptolomos is ferried to safety on the back of Alpharazon the Younger, The Nameless Company flees, at top flight speed, over the rooftops and spires of Iar Adri, a firebreathing dragon on their heels. They dive deeper, attempting to lose themselves among the city’s tangle when, out of nowhere, a golden streaking missile – Shokedo, the Sworn Wyrm and his rider, King Mycrete IV, both armored for war – strikes Asborolkash, long enough to allow the heroes to escape.

Hiding among the rooftops of the city, they watch the King’s last stand as both red dragons emerge to rip and tear the silver dragon and the twelfth King of Arkhosia torn to pieces. As the dragons fan out and search the city, The Nameless Company casts their ritual of escape and flees back to Zalkabad, leaving abject destruction and incredible loss of life in their wake.

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