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The Turquoise Tree

1629

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Fay-Jee, City of the West

The year 1629 began fairly quietly for The Company. They were soon disturbed by the arrival of Kallyr Starbrow who once again needed their help. She needed a reliable group to travel to the west on a secret mission. Having failed to recruit such a group she had decided that The Company would have to go instead. With her was Akara, a sultry priestess of Yinkin, who was to assist them with scouting and subterfuge, never the groups strong point.
The Company members who set out on the mission were; Serenity, Fost, Miko, Akara,Lucifer, Scratch-E and Flower. They were accompanied by Ardele Trentraeth, an Issaries cultist from the clan who was to serve as a trader.

The Company then purchased passage on a ship to Fay-Jee, posing as Orlanthi mercenaries (under the command of Lucifer) who sought employment by the Prince of that city. The city was rumoured to be a hotbed of competing factions and its ruler was said to be in desperate need of warriors. They saw a chance to make a useful ally in the West. The voyage was even less eventful than the last and all of them were glad to reach land once again.
They registered their arrival with the watch, paid their dock fees/taxes, and then headed towards the palace to enlist in the service of Prince Yorge, ruler of the city. Ardelle, the trader, was sent off to get in touch with their House Ingilli contact in the city.
Fost acted a spokesperson for the group, pretending that Lucifer was under a vow of silence. All of the group adopted an alias as they were supposed to be keeping their identities secret. After a fairly perfunctory series of tests of their abilities (during which they downplayed their actual skill levels so as not to arrouse suspicion, despite this they were by far the best recruits available that day, most of those present were inducted into the watch) they were hired as roving agents of the Prince. All were issued with a silver armband as a sign of their allegiance to the Prince and the group was given accomodation within the citadel.

The Company spent a few days preparing for their journey and then travelled to Corflu to catch a ship to Notchet from where they intended to travel to Fay-Jee, their ultimate destination on this mission. The journey to Notchet via Corflu was largely uneventful apart from a brief encounter with a pirate ship. This  proved to be somewhat anti-climatic as a pirate look-out recognised Lucifer and so they avoided The Company like the plague, much to the disappointment of Serenity who was becoming rather bored with the sea voyage and wanted to kill someone (or two). The Company spent about a week in Notchet, a largely uneventful period in which they caught up with old friends and went sightseeing.

Taverns and Taxes

They were soon given their first assignment. A tavern keeper (Mr Tovoi) in the dock district was running an illegal gambling and trading den. The group was instructed to persuade him to run his business in a more legitimate fashion(ie pay his taxes). This was accomplished fairly simply and with a lot less violence than The Company typically uses on its missions. Fost and Miko entered the tavern and 'negotiated' with the malefactor. Lucifer, Scratch-E, and Flower blocked the front door, preventing thugs employed by the tavern keep from entering to assist him (it seems that they decided they were not being paid enough to fight a massively-built, platemail clad Death Sword and his friends). Serenity dealt with the guard at the back door and Akara used an esoteric magic to hold it closed.
As soon as he had assessed the situation the rogue tavern keeper decided to comply with their  demands and accompany them to the Palace. He then came to an agreement with the governments representative and was permitted to return home. The group were commended by Sir Brian Notfromhere, their superior officer, and sent away to rest and get ready for their next mission.

Dodgy dealings in Blue Town

The Company were summoned by Sir Brian a few days later. He wished them to deal with Jonus Pohar,an unscrupulous moneylender in Blue Town, an Orlanthi shanty town just outside of the city proper. They were told that he had connections to pirates, slave traders, and was very popular with elements of the Orlanthi community. Sir Brian informed them that it was believed that local informants would tip him off as soon as the Watch entered Blue Town and he would flee, something the Watch would probably be comparatively powerless to prevent. It was also feared that there would be riots if the Watch attempted to arrest him as he had managed to build up a good reputation with the locals despite his ruthless and nefarious activities. The group was asked to deal with this situation delicately, preferably by ruining his reputation and then arresting him, or if need be by killing him quietly.
The Company decided to set up a watch on the Jonus's residence and to send Akara into Blue Town to gather information germane to their situation. She soon established contact with Redfish, a local mafioso and rival of their target. Through her they were able to come to an agreement with him which they hoped would help them complete their mission. They agreed to help Redfish acquire the moneylenders books which he said would enable him to ruin the moneylenders reputation thus leaving him open to arrest without running the risk of riots.
That evening Akara broke into the  house while other members of the group hid nearby, ready to assist her if neccessary. Her burglary was mostly successful. It required a staged fight outside (between Scratch-E and Fost) to distract the guards attention briefly but she obtained the books they sought fairly easily. Unfortunately she ran into guards on her way out and was forced to hide. She used mindlink to inform Serenity that she was in trouble and it was decided to send in a group to help her escape by providing a distraction. Fost, Scratch-E and Flower, knocked loudly at the front door of the moneylenders house and pretended to be watch members raiding the house as part of a search for a wanted criminal. When confronted by the guards they eventually allowed themselves to be persuaded that the person they sought was not in the building and that they were attempting to search the wrong address. The chaos and noise that this created allowed Akara to make good her escape while the guards and Jonus were distracted by the 'watchmen' in the front hall.
Akara took the books to Redfish immediately and he began to read through them, looking for information that would help him expose Jonus as an extortionist who was ripping off his clients. Meanwhile the rest of The Company remained near to the house, watching carefully in case he attempted to escape. His goons searched the streets for the unknown burglar. Three made the elementary mistake of beating a local woman in an attempt to extract information from her and were ' treated' to a trip on a sylph to high above Blue Town. Sadly for them their trip did not include a return leg and they found out the hard way that it is difficult to survive a  three hundred foot fall.

Over the next twelve hours or so The Company kept watch on the moneylenders house whilst Redfish disseminated information gleaned from the books to the people of Blue Town, especially those who had been ripped off by the usurous rogue. As the locals were made aware of his wrongdoings they became increasingly incensed and The Company decided to arrest him before a lynch mob formed. They assaulted the house from two directions and quickly overcame and arrested all within. Their prisoners included five pirates, customers of the moneylender. Serenity summoned the watch to take formal custody of the prisoners while Fost interrogated the pirates. He was able to find out where their ship was (but little else) prior to the arrival of the watch.
The watch took the prisoners back to the citadel and they were executed after brief trials.
The Company decided not to go with the watch and instead set out in search of the pirate vessel. Following directions given by one of the pirates they flew to a small cove about a dozen miles from the city where they discovered a beached longboat guarded by a small group of pirates. The pirates were defeated with ease, the ship looted and then The Company returned to Fay-Jee. Akara went to see a high-ranking contact that she had made within the navy and informed him about the location of the pirate ship so that he could send a crew to get it back to port. The Company were rewarded with a generous sum in prize money.

Following the moneylender mission they were summoned to appear before Prince Yorge. He revealed that he was aware of their true identities and seemed to be concerned about their presence in his city. Fost explained to him that they were in Fay-Jee to adventure, establish trade links, and find allies. They swore an oath to serve him loyally and assist him in securing his rule of the city, an oath which seemed to satisfy him. They were given a week off as a bonus. This was used (by most of The Company) to explore the city and get drunk/relax. Serenity spent her time in the Palace library, learning about local history and politics (trying to get an education as Miko might say). Miko spent most of the week studying in the library but was evasive when asked what she had been reading about. Bloody sorcerors. Akara spent most of the week with a sailor friend. Bloody Yinkini.

The Red Lotus

The next mission given to the group was to prove considerably more taxing. Sir Brian ordered them to investigate mysterious deaths at a local brothel, The House of the Red Lotus. It was rumoured to be haunted and several people had been killed. It emerged that the Red Lotus was a high quality establishment catering for wealthy patrons with unusual and somewhat unpleasant tastes. Sir Brian wanted the problem dealt with before any more wealthy/influential people were killed. Serenity pointed out (with evident displeasure) that he didn't seem to care about the girls who had been killed, but did not press the arguement too far (a first, possibly why it merits a mention in this esteemed journal).
The Company then headed off to the Red Lily and soon secured an appointment with the madam. After hearing their story she proved to be a useful source of information and informed them that the brothel had been recently extended into the old city that lay below. It was following this that the hauntings had begun. This information led the group to explore the cellars where after some searching they discovered a blocked up passageway and little else of interest. They decided that this was probably their best lead and decided to excavate it. Lucifer, Scratch-E and Fost began to remove the rubble (with the help of some of the brothels employees), the others started to patrol the brothel in case the haunting creature appeared.
Not long later screams could be heard from an upstairs room. Not brothel screams but dying screams. The Company raced to investigate. Serenity, who was closest, was the first to get there and upon entering the room saw a humanoid creature composed of red mist feeding upon one of the patrons. She slashed at it with her sword and it fled, melting into a wall. The patron was dead but his hire-girl had been saved by her prompt action. The Company resumed their patrols but it was decided that Serenity should go to the Palace and see if her librarian friend had any idea what the creature was as none of them had any idea about it.
The librarian was very helpful and located an ancient scroll bearing pictures of beings similar to the one that she had seen. They were priests of an ancient and mysterious cult that had once ruled the old city, the dwellers in the Dark Sun. The scroll revealed no other information about the cult so she returned to the Red Lily. Shortly after her return there was another attack.
This time it was Miko who was first on to the scene. She hit the red mist with her sword and it dissipated almost instantly. Unfortunately both patron and girl had been slain by the mist. The Company held a brief meeting and decided that Miko should attempt to scry beyond the still blocked passageway while Flower assisted the diggers. Serenity and Akara continued to patrol the brothel, one on each floor.
Miko's divinations revealed that there was a vast network of tunnels and corridors beyond the blockage but she was unable to locate the red mist within it. Just as she was concluding her observations she decided to check the other side of the blockage carefully for she had noticed that it had been deliberately bricked up, unlike on the groups side where it consisted principally of tightly packed rubble. She noticed that it was guarded by a powerful warding spell of unknown origin and effect. Concerned by this and aware that very powerful sorcerors had lived in ancient Fay-Jee, she suggested that Serenity return to the palace to consult the librarian and if possible secure assistance from one of the palace sorcerors. Fost instructed the madam to evacuate the Red Lily for that night at least and was pleased to find that she was happy to agree with him on this matter. Miko resumed her scrying and Akara guarded her while she was in a trance.
Serenity raced off to the palace and after speaking to the librarian was taken to see Prince Yorge himself. Seemingly concerned by their discoveries the prince decided to go with her to the Red Lily so that he could observe matters for himself.
Prince Yorge spent some time investigating the wards but was unable to identify them. he did however determine that they were designed to keeep something in. The situation was discussed at length and it was eventually decided that The Company should attempt to breach the barrier, discover the lair of the red mist priest, and investigate the tunnels more. Prince Yorge summoned some of his sorceror allies, The Demon Feeders, to assist him in establishing a warding so that the passageway would be blocked after the group broke through the ancient wards into the tunnels beyond. 

Lucifer led the way through the wards, all in The Company were heavily protected by Shield/and or Spirit Block  spells, and they travelled into the dark tunnels beyond. They found the remains of many dead warriors and Lucifer could detect the presence of ghosts in the hallways nearby. The undead fled before the powerful presence of the Death Sword, evidently deciding not to engage such a well protected group and their mighty Humakti champion. The party continued to explore the tunnels but were initially unable to locate the lair of the red mist. They continued to search and about an hour after entering the tunnels encountered a ghost. The undead creature seemed to retain its sanity and spoke to the group but was careful to maintain a good distance from Lucifer. They told it that they sought the red mist priest lair and that they would spare it if it would tell them where it was. The ghost readily agreed and told them that the creature dwelled in a room nearby but that the tunnels that led there were filled with water except at low tide. As the tide was rising The Company decided to return to the Red Lily and rest, intending to return at low tide the next day.

Shortly before the next low tide The Company began its journey towards the tunnels leading to the lair of their quarry. After a couple of hours of travel through damp and mold-infested passageways they found themselves at the top of a slime covered spiral staircase. the steps proved treacherous and even the most sure-footed members of the party struggled to keep their footing. As they descended the stairs most of the group fell at least once and there were several potentially dangerous accidents. Eventually they reached the bottom of the stairs (having sustained only minor injuries).
The Company found itself within a large circular room which glowed with a mysterious light that was an unhealthy tinge of red. There was nothing there. This rather perplexed our intrepid adventurers who had expected to find some kind of unholy altar or a grave of some kind from which the creature they hunted would emerge and suffer an inevitable defeat at their hands.
They discussed the matter at some length until Akara pointed out that the creature had preyed only on those committing sexual activities. This reminded Serenity that the librarian had informed her that the priests were believed to have been responsible for the punishment of the sinful within their society and The Company came to the conclusion that the creature must have been disturbed during the expansion of the Red Lily and that it was attempting in death to punish those that it would have punished in life.
Akara then had an excellent idea and suggested that the group could probably lure the creature out by commiting some kind of sinful act in its lair. She proposed that she spank Serenity while the other members of the group stood ready to fight it when it emerged. An impartial observer might note at this point that The Company (especially Serenity) embraced this idea enthusiastically, possibly suspiciously so.
A spanking ensued and within moments the creature manifested and attacked Serenity, wounding her severely. The Company sprang into action and the creature was slain within seconds. It was decided that she should be spanked again in case there were more of the creatures. This proved not to be the case and an impartial observer might suggest that the girls seemed happier to continue with their attempts to lure any more of the creatures out than was strictly necessary. It was in fact quite difficult to stop them.

The Company then set out to return to the Red Lily and inform Prince Yorge of their success, intending to return another day and explore more of the tunnels. On their way back they encountered the ghost they had met the day before and had a further conversation with him. They came to an agreement with him, promising to find his remains and free his spirit if he gave them further information about the tunnels. Lucifer was not entirely happy with this but accepted that it was a good way to lay the creature to rest as it would take a long time to find its remains without its help and The Company would gain valuable information at the same time. After this they returned to the Red Lily and informed the Prince of their success in defeating the creature.

The Company were sent away to rest up and recover from their exertions.

Turning Japanese

The Company were soon summoned by Sir Brian who needed them to resolve a delicate issue. A contingent of Vorumaini had settled in town and were causing trouble and not paying taxes. The Company was to deal with the situation.
Serenity was elected as spokesperson mainly because she was the only person in the group who could speak any Imperial, the language of Vorumain.
The Company travelled to the house containing the Vorumaini and attempted to gain entrance peacefully. They were greated by a truculent gate guard who insulted them and demanded that they bow before him. Serenity killed him and then  demanded that the guards treat the group with the respect it deserved. She requested that they be taken to see the leader of the Vorumaini.
The guards complied, although the party was made to wait for some time before being seen.
The Company was introduced to Masumato, leader of the Vorumaini. Serenity led the negotiations and carefully explained the purpose of their visit to him. They quickly reached an agreement about the problems the samurai were causing in the city, a situation that had arisen because of "cultural differences". Serenity and Miko were both aware that taxation would be unacceptable to the proud samurai, and proposed instead that Masumato provide a small contingent of warriors to assist the Prince. They were aware that this was well within Masumato's ability to concede without loosing face or feeling aggrieved. Masumato deided to think on the matter and agreed to furnish them with a reply the next day.  The group returned to their lodgings.
The next day they returned to meet with Masumato. An agreement was finalised in exchange for Serenity's services as a language tutor to assist the samurai with their interactions with the city. A squad of fifteen samurai was assigned to the city guard.

Rokari Bully justly chastised

The Company, accompanied by an escort of samurai, set off to return to the castle. On their way back they encountered a beligerent Rokari priest who insulted them greatly. Serenity engaged him in debate and the priest soon became quite agitated. A crowd had gathered and things grew heated as the debate continued. Eventually agents provocateurs began to throw rocks at Serenity in a futile attempt to injure her. At this, the rest of the group moved in to protect her and a riot broke out. The group gave good account of itself but unfortunately Serenity killed the priest with a headbutt and things started to get out of hand. Magic was used to calm the crowd down following which members of the City Watch ensured that the crowd dispersed peacefully.
The Company returned to the castle and went for debriefing at the hands of Sir Brian. They informed him of their success at resolving the Vorumaini issue and spoke briefly about the riot. Serenity used this meeting to negotiate on behalf of the City of Pavis and secured the offer of a building to be used for an embassy in Fay-Jee.Sir Brian then informed them that he needed them to leave immediately on an important mission.
The Company, accompanied by the samurai, were to escort a valuable cargo of gifts to the HeronWalk clan. He informed them that bandits were known to be operating in the area. He also requested that they visit the Blue Pig trading post to investigate unusual goings-on. He was none too specific about the nature of these goings on except to mention one word......truffles 
 

Taking trinkets to Barbarians

The Company prepared quickly and then left on their mission. They were accompanied by fifteen samurai and a small group of drovers. Fost assumed the mantle of leader for this mission. Akara remained in the city and her position was filled by Flower.
They had an easy journey along the road leading to the tula of the HeronWalk clan. For some distance the road ran through woodlands and they soon noted that they were being watched by men in the woods. The Company chose to not indicate that they were aware that they were under observation and used their animal companions and mystical abilities to keep a watch on their observers.
At the end of the first day they had just about cleared the woods and made camp in a clearing a short distance away. The men watching them observed their preparations and then left. Miko's familiar, Claws, was sent to follow them and later reported that they had returned to a camp in the woods about five miles away. Further scouting discovered that the band was well organised and about eighty strong.

The Company discussed this news and soon decided on a course of action. They decided that it would be better to attack the bandits at their camp than try and defend the caravan in a set-piece battle. With this in mind they made quick preparations, left the samurai to guard the camp and travelled by sylph to the camp.
The group split up and attacked the camp from a variety of points. Serenity, Fost, and Flower jumped into the centre, Lucifer charged in on his bison, and Miko followed in his wake. This highly effective and sudden assault quickly forced a surrender.
The bandit leader identified himself as Kogrun and revealed that he and his men had been paid by the Solanthi to harass trade caravans in the area . The Company offered him good terms to enter their service instead and after some negotiations, some forty men of Kogrun's Company became part of the Pavis City Guard. Serenity and Flower then returned to the camp to reinforce the samurai. The rest of them remained to pack up the bandits camp and bury the dead. When this was done they marched to the caravan camp site and joined up with the others.
The next day they travelled to the HeronWalk clan tula and approached the chief's steading. The wall guards were initially mildly rude but quickly became courteous when the Orlanthi in the party manifested the wind to display their status. They were taken before the chief, Olaf the Lofted, and presented gifts to the clan from Prince Yorge and The Company. They were welcomed warmly thereafter and then spent the night there, getting drunk, eating and celebrating. Several members of the group drank too much Powzie and had to led around like sheep for a while. The group left the next morning and headed for the Blue Pig trading post.

Of Pigs and Truffles

The Company arrived at the Blue Pig trading post after an uneventful journey. They immediately went to speak to Raunesay, the prince's agent. He informed them that he was beset by troubles. His prize truffle-hunting pig had kidnapped his children and the truffle harvest was promising low returns, despite hiring a low-grade shaman type to help him with it. The Company quickly agreed to assist in hunting down the rampaging pig and rescue/recover his children.
Serenity used her Vingan powers to locate the children and found where they were quite quickly. The Company then set off in that direction  and after a short while located them, hiding in a tusk-rider barrow in a clearing. The pig guarded the clearing and was chasing squirrrels. Miko used her magics to scout the area and they rescued the kids using stealthy tactics (which shocked the DM). The rescued children had been changed by their experiences and were gradually mutating into tusk-riders. The group agreed that this wasn't acceptable and resolved to cure them.
After a lot of travelling, recruiting a shaman, killing a low-grade shaman, negotiating with tusk-rider spirits, and burying some bones, the party was able to cure the children and then returned them to their parents at the Blue Pig trading post. Everyone was happy.

Diplomacy?

Following their pig-related adventures the group set out to do diplomatic things. Apparently they did well, Serenity can't remember cause she was still suffering the effects of a Powzie binge. Ask someone else.

Elk!

The company had returned to Fay-Jee following the truffles incident. After a short while Sir Brian sent for them and outlined another important mission that he needed them to undertake. Trading rituals between city merchants and the Pralori elk-riders were being disrupted and the Prince wanted them to resolve the issue. They were sent to BlueCat village to meet a local guide, Arith Blitzkrieg, a Storm Voice of Orlanth.

After Arith joined the group they travelled to Staghearth, scene of the disrupted rituals. It turned out to be a shitty little island in the middle of some marshy woodland. The Company scouted the area and then constructed hides as observation points. They settled in and organised watches. Arith sought further information from the locals and was able to find out that someone had been stealing from the ritual deposits of trade goods and that was likely to disrupt trade with the Pralori. The Company resolved to catch the thief/thieves.
After a week or so of little activity at Staghearth, the Pralori began to arrive and the trading rituals began. The group kept a close watch on the ritual site. Later on in the day, Fost spotted an almost invisible figure stealing from the piles of trade goods. He used magic to inform his allies and The Company sprang into action. After diligent searching and a brief tussle the thief was caught. It turned out to be a Vingan in the service of Greymane. After some debate the group decided to ransom her back to Greymane in exchange for her oath not to work against them or Fay-Jee.
The ransom amounted to 100 cows, fifty of which they gifted to Arith's clan and the remainder were given to the Blue Pig clan. The Company returned to Fay-Jee and reported to Sir Brian.

More Diplomacy????

Following a few days of leave The Company was once more summoned by Sir Brian. He asked them to travel to the Orlanthi clans of the region and attempt to secure their support in the event of an attack by the Solanthi. He introduced them to Kallath, a hunter from the Blue Cat clan who was to serve as a guide when they travelled to meet the clans of the Fleshman Hills.The Company quickly provisioned and equipped themselves and then set off. They decided to visit the nearby clans of the Venellian League first and travelled in the direction of TwoBears Stead, home to the HeronWalk clan.
Akara and Scratch-E went ahead to inform the HeronWalk of the delegations visit and request that they summon the clan councils to TwoBears  so that the message that the delegation bore could be delivered to all of the clans at the same time and in an open way. The pair delivered their message but observed that there was a Solanthi delegation there, apparantly hoping to secure the support of the Venellian League.
The Company arrived at TwoBears Stead in the late afternoon and were informed that the clan councils would listen to their missive the following day, along with that of the Solanthi. The evening was spent feasting and drinking, although relations with the Solanthi delegation were strained at best.
At the gathering the next day the Solanthi proved arrogant, demanding the Lion's Tribute from the clans and threatening them with dire consequences if they failed to pay up. Fost was able to capitalise on this when he spoke to the clans and after a brilliant speech, persuaded them to side with Fay-Jee in any forthcoming conflict. He promised to help provide arms and armour for their underequipped warbands and sweetened the deal by gifting the clans a substantial herd of cattle which The Company had received as a ransom payment.
The Solanthi delegation left in a huff. The Company stayed for further feasting that evening. The next day they set off towards the tula of the Black Cypress clan, travelling by sylph so as to avoid the joys of wading through marshland.
They met with the leader of the Black Cypress, a shaman called Boris the Odd, but were only able to secure limited promises of assistance from them in the event of a war with the Solanthi. Boris felt that the Solanthi were unlikely to threaten his people given their poverty and the natural defences provided by the marsh surrounding the tula. The Company was disappointed not to have secured his support but pleased to find out that the Black Cypress would not be assisting the Solanthi and would in fact fight any who entered the marshes.

After speaking to Boris they left Black cypress and began their journey to the Blue Tusk trading post. The trip was largely uneventful; Serenity and Akara spent some time hunting ghosts again but other than that it was a fairly mundane journey.
The Company arrived at Blue Tusk late in the afternoon. After a conversation with Bogani, the trader recently placed in charge of the post, they decided to arrange a meeting with the local clan chiefs at Blue Tusk. Bogani sent messages to the clans on their behalf. They then sat down for an evening of drinking. Akara and Kallath spent part of the evening chatting to the locals and gathering information. Kallath discovered that the Solanthi had already approached several of the clans but had been turned away because of their unreasonable demands.
The next day saw the arrival of the clan chiefs and a long meeting was held. Serenity pointed out that any invading Solanthi would require passage through their lands and had promised to raid clans that had not paid the Lion's Tribute (a tribute that the poor highland clans could not afford to pay).The Company was pleased to discover how little this appealed to the Blue Tusk clans.They were persuaded to support Fay-Jee in the event of war with the Solanthi and were promised armaments for their warbands and fyrd which were poorly equipped.
An evening of feasting and drinking followed the agreement. The next day the group discussed how best to provide the equipment that they had promised to the clans. Eventually they decided to raid nearby Solanthi clans for equipment, hoping to both provide for their allies and reduce (albeit slightly) the ability of the Solanthi to wage war. They planned their journey, gathered as much intelligence about the area as possible, and prepared for the journey and raid.

Raiding the Solanthi

The Company travelled stealthily towards their targets and were not spotted by patrols. A few days later they arrived at Nar's Stead, home of the Polangi clan. It was a small walled village dominated by a solidly built broch and well-defended by a warband of forty or so weaponthanes and about one hundred fyrdsmen. Serenity pointed out that they would have been much better defended if Vinga was widely venerated in the area. The Company spent a few hours observing their target and deciding on a plan of attack. They decided to wait until the next day before attacking.
Next morning The Company struck.  Miko, Fost, and  Claws assaulted the gatehouse and walls, supported by missile fire from Akara and Kallath. Serenity used magic to jump to the broch and assaulted the doorway, seeking to make it difficult to reinforcements to emerge and assist their fellows in the village.
The defenders of the village were soon overwhelmed and after  seeing Serenity kill the first fifteen men to emerge from the broch (quite easily it appeared), the door to the broch was barred. The Company then assaulted the broch. After  attacks on the doorway and an aerial assault from the top of the tower it fell and the remaining clansmen surrendered. The Company gathered all of the armour and weapons present and looted the broch and village. They treated their prisoners well and sent several off to tell other local Solanthi clans of the raid.
Once they had secured the loot, Miko used magic to transport it back to Fay-Jee, and The Company  set out towards its next target, Old Elm Stead, home to the Old Elm clan. They arrived late in the afternoon and discovered that the clan had summoned the fyrd to defend the stead (as they had hoped when they released the Polangi prisoners). Serenity used her oratorial skills to issue a challenge to the clan champion, persuading the chief that many lives would be saved if the matter could be resolved through single combat. The Company agreed to leave if she lost.
The champion lasted almost two seconds against her before he lost an arm and a leg. This seemed to disturb the Old Elm who quickly surrendered as agreed. The Company took their weapons and armour but otherwise left the clan and stead largely alone/unlooted, happy to agree to reasonable terms to save bloodshed. After gathering their loot they then teleported back to Fay-Jee where they informed Sir Brian of their activities so far and arranged to have the armaments that they had obtained transported to the local clans (as agreed). They received a substantial commission for their efforts.

Moon Boats, Maps, and Machines

Shortly after their return The Company was summoned by Prince Yorge and informed that a moon-boat had arrived bearing a Lunar delegation. He informed them that the Lunars wished to establish an embassy in Fay-Jee and had sent an ambassador to establish diplomatic relations with him. He asked them for their advice on the matter and after a lengthy conversation it was decided that it would be best to allow the Lunars to establish an embassy as it was deemed imprudent for him to offend them. The Prince agreed that this was probably the wisest course of action. The Lunar delegation was summoned and granted permission to establish an embassy within the city, although the arrogance of the ambassador (a sun worshipper) nearly caused the prince to eject them from the city. The moon boat that had delivered the delegation then flew off but was observed flying over the coastline near Fay-Jee. Fost persuaded the Prince to summon the ambassador and ask them what the boat was doing. He was informed that they were making maps to facilitate trade and transport between Fay-Jee and the Empire, and was offered a copy of the maps when they were completed.
The Company decided that the Lunars were up to something more nefarious than simply mapping, an activity which was dubious enough anyway as they were well aware that good maps are one of the requisites for invasions. Akara's spying and Miko's spells had revealed to them that there was a powerful sorceresss and several rune lords on the boat, far more than was required for mapping or delivering an ambassador. The Company decided to try and discover what the Lunars were up to.
Travelling by sylph they headed off to the south-west and began to search for the moon boat. It took some time to locate and when they finally found it they discovered that the sorcress and the runelords were not on board. They decided to attack it and after a short battle defeated the crew and looted the vessel. They discovered substantial quantities of sorcerous equipment and rescued a tiny girl that they found prisoner in the mages cabin. They found that she had been shrunk using foul Tapping magics and resolved to find a cure for here as soon as practical.
The Company was initially unable to find out where the sorceress and her companions had gone to as none of the crew had been left alive after their assault on the vessel. They consulted the maps, narrowed down a search area and then flew off to loook for the Lunar party. After some time they spotted a strange hole in the sea created by magic and decided to investigate. The hole proved to be a sorcerous passage to ruined buildings at the bottom of the sea. The Company decided to investigate.

They went down the tunnel and found themselves within a large air bubble surrounding a massive temple-like building. Around it could be seen  the ruins of many other buildings, constructed on a monumental scale and in a style unknown to them. The doors to the 'temple' were open and The Company decided to investigate further.
They advanced along long-abandoned corridors, finding little of interest bar the body of a Lunar killed by traps, and the body of a strange creature that appeared to be half-man and half-machine. Their exploration was interrupted by the sound of fighting from ahead and they prepared for action. Screams were heard coming from a room at the end of the corridor and they advanced cautiously.
Suddenly a panicked Lunar, probably the mage to judge from her garb, emerged from the room. She was followed by a tendril of green mist which quickly enveloped her and seemed to drain her life force, leaving her a shrivelled husk on the floor.
Somewhat disturbed by this, The Company continued its cautious advance. At the doorway to the room they could see the bodies of the remaining Lunars, all killed in unpleasant ways, but no signs of their opponent. They then entered the room and beagn to search it while Miko attempted to use magic to locate the being(s) responsible for slaying the Lunars. She was able to pick up on a faint presence hidden away in the corner of the room and Serenity used her magics to render it visible.
The creature was similar to the half-man/half-machine that they had observed in the corridor. It taunted them and then attacked. Powerful magics assaulted the party as they moved in to attack it. Fost was smashed into a wall by a powerful gust of wind, Akara was wounded by invisible blades slashing at her, and Scratch-E was pummelled by invisible forces.
The Company was able to surround the creature and began to melee it but to little effect. The magical attacks continued but Miko was able to disrupt its defences with her magic and this eased the situation somewhat as Fost then hit it with a powerful bolt of lightning which seemed to injure it considerably. The party continued to batter away at the creature while it attacked them magically and in melee. Serenity impaled it twice only to see her swords consumed by the creatures body, other attacks seemed to have little effect. Miko then damaged it using a bolt of lightning and following this Serenity manifested the Wind Sword and cut it down. A somewhat battered Company was much relieved to see the creature die.
They healed up and then began to search the room. It was at this point that they were once again interrupted. This time it was by the sudden appearance of Jar-Eel and a large bearded man. This caused brief panic but Jar-Eel soon revealed that she was looking for the Lunar mage and intended them no harm. She introduced her companion as High Mage Stumpy and told them that they were in the ruins of a God Learner city and that the  sorceress had intended to locate some kind of power here and take it for herself. She told them that the creature that they had defeated was called Shingallion the Machine Lord, and seemed quite disturbed that they had managed to defeat it.
The High Mage examined Shingallions corpse for a while and The Company chatted to Jar-Eel. The two Lunars then left and after looting what they could The Company returned to Fay-Jee.

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