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Vil-hatarn

Shadows From the Past

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Copyright info: this game will use Paizo Publishing’s Pathfinder RPG rules.

 

Welcome to Galduria, a small fishing town on the shores of Ember Lake. The midsummer trade festival is about to begin, and the presence of a Varisian caravan adds further to the festive atmosphere. But while the mood is light in town, trouble is brewing in the surrounding lands. Evil creatures lurk in every shadow, and dark deeds of the past haunt all whom live where ancient Thassilon once stood.

 

Players/Characters:

Qwyksilver/Razevan Zandor, Varisian ranger

kuma da/Carmine Adriano Sforza, Chelaxian paladin of Iomedae

Wanderingchild/Mika Shriikiri-Quah, Shoanti druid

Valkyrie/Logan MacConley, half-orc Shoanti Varisian bard

Libs/Esmenas Cabbini, half-elf Varisian rogue

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The merchant caravan arrived late this year; thus, the “midsummer” trade festival falls at the end of Erastus (the second month of summer). The day dawns bright and cool; a perfect day for a festival.

 

Razevan: You wake early in your small bedroom on the second floor of the sprawling Zandor homestead. Once dressed, you descend to the central room of the house, a large common dining area more akin to a tavern than a private residence, with the exception of there being a single massive table. Breakfast is even more chaotic than usual, thanks to the presence of numerous Varisians from the visiting caravan. You don’t recognize any of them particularly—the last time this caravan passed through, you were but a child.

As you enter the room, your cousin Mirela waves you over. “Father says to meet him out by the tannery once you’ve had breakfast—I think he wanted your help with something.”

 

Logan: You wake in the small wagon which you have shared for the past two years with Viorelo, a Varisian adolescent just beginning to manifest the magical talent common among the Varisians. He appears to already be up and about. As you emerge from the wagon, blinking in the bright morning sun, Viorelo, wearing his signature bright purple tunic, comes running up to you. Speaking in the Varisian tongue, a subtle language incorporating aspects of Taldane, Thassilonian, Giant, and Orc, he says, “You’re finally awake! I was worried that odd instrument of yours might have stolen all the air out of you!” Laughing, he continues, “Elder Izakeru wishes to speak with you before everyone heads into town for the festival—he wouldn’t say what about.”

“I’m off to find some grub; it’s nice to be welcome somewhere for once—there’s breakfast in the Zandor house, or at least there was.” He heads off in the direction of the house (a short walk; the caravan is camped in an empty field near the house).

 

Carmine: You awake in your room in the town inn, the Polished Diamond. Despite your late arrival the previous night, you were able to acquire a room to yourself—perhaps due to the high rates; though based on the excellent stew you had last night and the quality of your accommodations, the prices are fair. As you enter the common room, one of the serving girls, a human of Chelaxian descent based on her dark hair and pale skin, comes over. “Good morning, I’m Marissa. Thiera (the innkeeper) is busy preparing for the festival, so just let me know if you need anything; we have some scones if you’re looking for breakfast.”

 

Mika: Having camped by the roadside the previous night, you wake with the dawn; though a bit damp, the morning light quickly dries you out. While you undertake your daily meditation, Felix wanders to a nearby stream in search of breakfast. You found the young bear two months ago, just after descending the cliffs which separate the Cinderlands and the Storval Plateau from the rest of Varisia. You formed an immediate connection with him, and he has since followed you in your travels. Though he is still often nervous in the presence of people, especially in towns, your diligent training means that he usually behaves well. Setting out to the south, it takes you less than an hour to reach Galduria, where you intend to acquire supplies which nature cannot provide. On the way, you pass several farmsteads and ranches, as well as a collection of brightly colored wagons—a Varisian caravan. You don’t encounter anyone else until reaching the open town gates, next to which stands a guard leaning on a spear. On seeing Felix by your side, he immediately becomes much more alert. As you approach, looking more at the bear than you, he shouts, “Hello! Here for the festival?”

 

Esmenas: You awake in the cramped room which has housed you these past few weeks. You arrived in Galduria several weeks ago; hearing of the upcoming festival, it seemed a perfect opportunity to find some easy marks. In the meantime, you’ve been lying low, renting a room above the town’s tavern (noisy, but the price can’t be beat). The common room is quiet and empty at this hour, as well as being a chaotic mess of tables, chairs, and empty flagons. The owner, Jak Rialam, is nowhere to be seen. You emerge from the tavern, situated near the docks in the lower portion of the town. Usually, the port would be bustling at this hour, but with the festival, most of the ships lie moored and empty; the few people you see are all heading towards the upper town for the festival. Turning right and heading along the lakeside, you pass numerous warehouses and small residences. You next pass the shipyard, owned by Issak Tanrov, one of the leaders of the community. The gate into the compound, located on the peninsula, is closed, but you can hear activity inside as you pass by—you recall overhearing that a delegation from Nybor, the next major town as you head down the lake, was coming to the festival to acquire and pay for a commissioned ship. You’ve caught glimpses of it once or twice—while small compared to the average oceangoing vessel, it dwarfed most of the small fishing boats usually seen on the lake. As the road turns inland and slopes up, bringing you to the upper town, you pass a number of fine houses belonging to members of the town council. Coming to the town square, you see preparations for the festival are well under way; many of the shops on the square, as well as the town inn, the Polished Diamond, are setting up stands outside their shops, and artisans from other parts of the town and from the surrounding farms are filling in the spaces around them. Only the space in front of the town chapel is left open; it features a low stage intended for speakers or musicians. From what you’ve gathered, the best musicians won’t be playing until later tonight. Where would you like to go first?

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Carmine

 

It's dark and there's no roof and she's hanging by her heels from the gibbous moon, watching him. Carmine looks up at the Voice of Iomedae, who's wearing a floral dress, and then down at his surroundings. There's nothing to either side of him but meadow, grassy and rolling.

 

"Nice place you brought me to. It beats tundra." His nose itches, and although it's much too early in the season for hayfever, in dreams anything is possible.

 

"You like it?" She sounds delighted, but then a frown wrinkles her brow. "I suppose it is a little bland. I could add some spice?"

 

"No, really, it's okay." That's what he starts to say before the goddess preempts him. There's a puff of brightly colored smoke, and alligators rain from the sky. The meadow welcomes them with fleshy thumps.

 

"Better?"

 

"Uh...yeah."

 

"I thought so." She grins and her head rotates like an owl, doing a full one-eighty to survey the reptilian carnage. She would be quite pretty, for a meddlesome hallucination, if she didn't insist on doing things like this. "I just wanted to set the right tone."

 

"Well, uh, good job." Carmine looks down at himself and is pleased to find that his body is formless. It's much better than discovering that he's temporarily become a stack of gold coins, or a flamingo. "If I might ask, what did you want to have this talk with me for?"

 

"Weeellll...." She draws out the word until, abruptly, the moon becomes a puff of flower petals and the Voice drops to the ground beside him, breaking into porcelain pieces. Inside the rubble, fractured lips move. "I just wanted to give you fair warning. Your life's about to get interesting. Ta."

 

With an icy surge of dread, Carmine wakes up.

 

-

 

"Good morning to you too, Marissa." Carmine scoots into an available chair at the bar. "If you could just wrap up a few for me, I'd be much obliged."

 

After exchanging a modest handful of change for the scones, he gathers together his gear and heads out into the street, looking for the local church of Iomedae. Maybe he can volunteer some help if they're involved with the festivities.

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Carmine: While Marissa is wrapping your scones in a small square of cloth, a large group comes down the stairs into the room. Two men, the apparent leaders, are dressed in fine clothes; one is skinny and angular, the other slightly portly. Of the other six, two are women; all are dressed like an average commoner. Marissa says she'll be right with them; the commoners are seating themselves around a large round table as Marissa hands you your scones and says, "Enjoy the festival!" As you turn towards the door, there is immediately a commotion of some sort; you are unable to avoid overhearing a flurry of epithets, followed by the skinny one scolding the commoners, "You fools! The payment could be gone already! Grif, Durian, get back up there right now! That chest is not to be unguarded a single second until we've paid for the ship." The named individuals quickly scurry back upstairs as Marissa heads over and offers them breakfast.

 

Emerging from the inn, you find yourself at the center of one side of the town square. Directly across from you is a large stone building--the only major stone building you can see, in fact. Though the exterior lacks any characteristics indicating a particular deity, it appears to be a chapel of some sort. All around the square, artisans, farmers, and merchants are preparing for the festival. In front of the chapel, the finishing touches are being put on a small stage. Nobody pays you much mind, the few people out and about being primarily concerned with getting ready for the festival in time.

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"Ach, Laddie! They're called bag-pipes!" Logan shouted after his companion.

He blinked in the bright morning sunlight. Muttering to himself, he grabbed his equipment and started to suit up. He hated the mornings. It was always too bright for him, and the party and performance last night left him with a sour taste in his mouth and a bad headache. Picking up his bag-pipes, he looked out in the direction of the Zandor house.

 

"Mmm, wonder what Elder wants?" he asked aloud, as if Viorelo were still standing behind him, "hope it doesn't get in the way of the gig they want me to play in town tonight."

 

With that he made his way off to Izekaru's wagon, humming a rather joyous tune to raise his spirits.

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Carmine

 

Carmine wanders into the chapel. A few minutes of quiet reflection never hurt, and perhaps the clergy inside might be looking for help with festival preparations.

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"I'm sorry...festival? I'm only here to purchase supplies for my travels."

 

 

This was slightly unsettling for Mika to hear. A festival would mean people, and Felix was still learning to be comfortable around people... but perhaps it would be a good learning experience.

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Logan: Knocking on the Elder's door, a muffled voice says to come in. You open the door and step into the wagon, your eyes grateful to escape from the bright morning sunlight. While only inhabited by a single person, this wagon is at least as cluttered as your own, perhaps more. Scrolls, crystals (especially amethyst), and two heavily-bound books clutter the small desk; one appears to be a chronology of some sort, while the other is in a script you don't recognize. As you enter, Elder Izakeru is perusing an entry in the datebook. He looks up as you step inside; his chaotic white hair framed by a purple headband.

 

"Ah, Logan, I see Viorelo found you. Please, sit down", he says, indicating a small stool currently hanging from the ceiling. Once you have seated yourself, he continues, "As you may or may not be aware, today marks the 15th year since we found you near Kaer Maga. While the typical Varisian youth is accepted as an adult on the 16th or 17th birthday, I am aware of your...accelerated lifespan. It is the tradition of the clan to perform a Harrow reading upon such an occasion." He opens a small drawer in the desk, and retrieves a stack of worn cards from it. He shuffles the card, places them upon the table, and then mutters an incomprehensible phrase while holding an small, perfectly formed amethyst over the deck; the gem glows briefly, then goes dark. As the Elder reaches to turn over the first card, it flips over of its own accord, followed by five others, which arrange themselves in a hexagon around the deck; the top card then flips over, remaining on top of the deck. The Elder is visibly surprised, but collects himself quickly. "You must have a strong and complex destiny for the magic to react so strongly...a seven-card Harrowing is extremely rare." Gathering himself, he leans forward to investigate the cards. "Let us see...hrrm. Six towers surround the unknown seventh...history...wits...chaos...revenge...the knight...and shadow. And on the seventh tower, the two roads." He sits quietly for a moment, and appears to be pondering. "This Harrowing is beyond my ability to interpret fully; however, the seventh card is clear. This pattern, one card of each suit surrounding a seventh, represents the seven towers of Desna's palace...the seventh tower corresponds to the unknowable future. You will soon come to a choice of paths; beyond that is a mystery."

 

"In light of this...I believe it may be relevant to remind you that you are free to stay or leave the Ukzarani as you wish. You are always welcome in our caravan, but we more than any other people understand the need to wander."

"Though we know little of your family background, a kapenia (a scarf incorporating a Varisian's family history, given at adulthood) has nonetheless been made for you; it shall be given to you tonight, after the festival has concluded and our people have returned to the wagons. For now, go out and enjoy the festival! The Zandors agreed to have one of their youths watch out for you--we don't want another incident like that time in Harse. It is unfortunate that prejudices make this necessary, but it is good to know another Varisian is watching out for you, yes? Desna keep you, Logan." As you depart, he intensely scrutinizes the amethyst used in the Harrowing.

 

 

Carmine: The chapel consists of a large hall with two smaller, hallway-like segments attached to the sides. You recognize a symbol of Erastil above a simple altar; the rest of the hall is filled with simple, well-made wooden benches. Small alcoves along the sides contain shrines to a number of other gods--you quickly recognize symbols of Abadar, Sarenrae, Pharasma, and your own Iomedae, as well as several that aren't immediately familiar. A number of acolytes are busying themselves with simple chores about the chamber. Overseeing them is a middle-aged woman, dressed in practical clothes; as she approaches you, you see she wears a simple brooch with a longbow carved into it. "Welcome to our hall; I am Mother Astia. I don't recognize you...is there anything you need?"

 

 

Mika: Still eying Felix, the guardsman answers you, "Yes, the midsummer trade festival! You should be able to find anything you're looking for--if it's clothing you need, find Greta Malesta and tell her Lars sent you--she's my aunt."

 

"If you don't mind me saying so, you don't appear to be from around these parts. We don't see many Shoanti here...nor many with bears following them around. You some sort of shaman or something?"

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Esmenas felt bored and a little hungry. She'd been laying low for too long, and itched for even a little mischief. In the midst of the crowds setting up, she saw a well-dressed, pompous-looking gentleman barking orders at everyone around him. Perfect. She usually didn't steal from anyone who looked like they couldn't spare it, but this man obviously could, and the hustle and bustle of the setup made it almost too easy.

 

She moved through the crowds as best she could, eyeing the bakery across the way. She bumped clumsily into the gentleman, and he stopped mid-order to give her a "watch where you're going!". She wondered as she continued through the crowd if he'd even miss the few coins she nicked from his pocket. Doubtful, she thought.

 

She spent half the coins on her breakfast- delicious fresh-baked pastries from the bakery. She perched on a low stone wall as she enjoyed the spoils of the morning and watched the chaos of the setup. Then she strolled down the way to the town's main temple, smiling innocently at a black-haired human man on her way in. She dropped the rest of the stolen coins in the donation box, another occasional practice of hers. She wasn't loyal to any one particular god or goddess, but she figured it couldn't hurt to drop a few coins in a temple box or a beggar's cup once in a while. She wasn't totally selfish.

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Logan

 

Returning to the bright sunlight, Logan had much to ponder. The Harrow reading had be rather intriguing, even if he didn't understand it. Logan had always thought Izakeru a little off, but he respected him for his tomes of knowledge and ability. This particular encounter puzzled him more so than usual though. Why did Elder seem to think it important to remind him about travel outside the caravan? he furrowed his brows trying to comprehend an answer.

 

While his mind was busy trying to munch on these thoughts, he made his way to the Zandor ranch, his rather large stomach starting to rumble audibly. Maybe he'd run into Viorelo.

 

"Heh! Now there's a thought!" Logan chuckled aloud, "Maybe Izakeru was talking about Viorelo!"

 

He wouldn't mind some extra time with the youth. He seemed to like his performances.

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Esmenas: There seems to be a lull in the preparations; with little to do, you lounge in the shade of a large tree near the temple. You've been there twenty minutes or so when you are approached by a human woman wearing a simple green dress. Her hair is dark, and almost seems to have a greenish tint itself...but that couldn't be right. "Welcome to Galduria! I don't believe I've seen you around before, you must be here for the festival. I am Pyra Marin, the head of the town council. You should know that those of elven heritage are very welcome here; half the town council has elven blood of some degree." She smiles, and continues, "Is there anything you'd like to know regarding the festival?"

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Carmine

 

Carmine smiles and sweeps a quick bow to Mother Astia. "I was about to ask you the very same thing. I am newly arrived here, and there appears to be a festival on. Perhaps I could be of service to the church in preparing for the celebration?"

 

Across the room there's a faint clinking of coins disappearing into one of the donation boxes, and Carmine murmurs a habitual "bless you, miss," before returning his attention to Astia.

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Logan: You make your way to the Zandor ranch, entering into a large room not unlike the common room of an inn, with the exception of there being a single large table. Most of the Zandor family appears to have finished and moved onto morning chores, but a number of other Ukzarani are present. While no longer warm, the pastries on the table are still quite fresh.

 

Carmine: "Most of our preparations are nearly complete. However, there is one small errand you could help with, if you wish. Laessa Soldar, my predecessor, has been carving a new visage of Erastil to grace our altar. However, it's quite heavy, beyond her ability or that of our acolytes [you notice they're all fairly young]; if you could head over to her house and get it from her, that would be a great help. The Soldar house is on the street behind the inn--head to the east end of the square and take a left, it's the second building on the right."

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Razevan groans when he hears he has been summoned to the tannery. "It's always the tannery and never something fun." Turning, Razevan grins like the cat that swallowed the canary as he piles some food onto a plate.

 

"My sweet, sweet dear cousin Mirela..."

"Such a beautiful young lady..."

 

"Is there anything I could possibly do for you, that would make you forget ever seeing me this morning?"

 

Mirela spins away from Razevan laughing. "Little Evan, such flattery. I'm not going to face your father's wrath by helping you get out of your chores. Now run along before I tell your mother of your laziness."

 

Mirela snaps a tea towel at Razevan as he races out of the door to the tannery and clucks to herself, "Wild young colts. Always need a strong hand to break them. I feel sorry for the young woman that has to rein in that one."

 

As Razevan races across the grounds, cousins and siblings and family friends all laugh. Several call out "Evan, you'd best hurry," or "He doesn't look too happy," or "You know he's been waiting for you all morning." Every jest spurs the young man to run a little faster.

 

Breathless, with a mouthful of breakfast, Razevan arrives at the tannery and tries to call for his father, almost choking on a piece of toasted bread. With a gulp, he raises his head, flushed in equal parts from exertion and embarassment and stands before his father.

 

"Mirela said you wanted to see me Da?"

 

 

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