The Republic of Darokin
After the destruction of the Immortal artifact known as Skarda's Mirror and having foiled the treachery of the crazed wizard himself, the party were invited to remain as Duke Stefan's guests at his hunting villa in the Marilinev estate of south-western Karameikos.
Returning to Specularum a while later, the characters spent a while running their inn (for a change, rather than leave it to the hired help). During this period a familiar face appeared in the city - Terlon Budanter, Lama's father. The enterprising sea merchant was journeying with a companion Davon, himself a wealthy trader, to the Republic of Darokin - a prosperous land of merchants and diplomats to the north of Karameikos. The companions agreed to accompany Terlon and would act as his escorts as far as the city of Selenica.
The caravan of around thirty wagons left Specularum in late Svifttmont with the party (including Karnus' brother-in-law) in tow. They followed the Duke's Road through the hobgoblin-infested Black Peaks, before descending into the more settled lands of Darokin. Before long, on 6 Eirmont (during celebrations for the local Harvest Festival) the party reached Selenica, the Republic's second largest city. Here they encountered the cleric Phoenix Tremontaine, a follower of the Sun-Immortal Ixion who was known to wield an enchanted mace. After a period of sight-seeing the companions took their leave of Terlon and Davon and set out on the road once more. They travelled west, passing through the towns of Nemiston, Halfway, and Dolos, the latter being reputed throughout the land for its warm welcome and hospitable inhabitants. Nemiston, on the other hand, was home to more frosty individuals.
On the road to Dolos the party was set upon by displacer beasts, rumoured to have escaped from a glade of so-called "bad" magic known as Dragontree. The existence of this magical phenomenon was confirmed by guards whom the party assisted in pacifying the catlike creatures. Having seen little true adventure in this land, it was agreed that the party would investigate whatever magic was causing monsters to appear out of thin air.
Upon entering Dragontree the heroes discovered a portal - a tear in the fabric of space - out of which emerged a ten-headed hydra. The party fought to defend themselves against the monster but suffered heavy casualties, notably Threy and Vasily but also Lana's giant ferret Whiskers who, during an uncharacteristically heroic moment, was savaged by one of the hydra's snakelike heads. The giant ferret was saved from death by the healing power of a passing druidess, who thanked the companions for their part in keeping the glade's unpredictable magic in check.
Ready to depart, the party pressed on and finally reached Darokin City. Heading firstly to the world-famous market, Karnus purchased magical robes which would resist any stain or splash of liquid. While in the marketplace a careless trader loosed a rust monster, and it was only through quick teamwork that Drewen and Lana were able to capture the beast without harm being caused to the monster or anyone else.
Vasily befriended a Traladaran adventurer named Nicolai and his halfling companions Sass and Bob. The trio claimed to have been doublecrossed by an evil dwarf, who murdered a member of their party to steal their shares of a dragon's hoard. The two parties decided to join forces to bring the treacherous dwarf to justice, and get back the treasure which had been taken - a pouch of valuable gems. Through use of Karnus' crystal ball the murderer was tracked to a riverside tavern.
Negotiations began however it became clear that the dwarf (known as Sourbeard) would not relinquish the dragon's gems and a standoff ensued. When a guard patrol was summoned to arrest the murderous dwarf, he downed a Potion of Human Control and fled, ordering bystanders to interpose themselves and thwart his pursuers. Karnus used magic to take to the sky and pursued the dwarf relentlessly, bombarding him with missiles of lightning and fire, however none of these so much as slowed the resilient murderer. Sourbeard cast off his armour and was seen diving into the Streel River, and did not appear to resurface.
Despite having failed to apprehend the criminal, the heroes were rewarded for their efforts with the gift of the dwarf's armour which had been found to be enchanted. Drewen already owned his own suit of magical plate (from the trap-filled dungeon at Makrast); since this offering was of no practical use to any of the others it was traded with wizards in the City Market for a Wand of Secret Door Detection.
The party subsequently returned to Selenica where Lana was asked by her father to spend time with his business associates, resulting in her retirement from adventuring for a period. (This was a contrived absence since I was at university and unable to play my PC! The game nevertheless progressed, with Lana being NPC'ed by Martin on the occasions when she rejoined her companions.)
During this time the four remaining companions came under attack by orcish raiders from the north. A multitude of similar events had led the Darokinian government to offer 100,000 Daros to any party willing to venture into the wilderness of the Broken Lands and obliterate a major humanoid settlement. Though the party were tempted by the vast sum of money offered, they had no doubt the task would be highly dangerous. After a brief expedition to sate Vasily and Drewen's curiosities, the party gave in to their feelings of homesickness and returned to Specularum to resume running their Inn.
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