Anthera: Secrets of Shara

The Storm
Prologue

Brightspring 14, 276ce

Mac huddled under the log that once supported his lean-to. It had been cozy, moments earlier, his thatching just enough to keep the drizzle out and allow a fire. Then the storm blew in. The first gusts took away his roughly built wall and roof, leaving him only the thick log he used as a support beam. Huddled underneath the log, Mac was able to keep dry for a short minute before water began pooling around him.

“Maybe the storm will push in some bigger critters,” Mac said to himself hopefully, thinking of the crab traps he sunk earlier that day, " ’n make all this worth it."

Mac grinned at the idea. Whenever he brought in an impressive haul, his master gave him a gold piece and skipped the whippings for a whole day.

A wrenching crash woke Mac up from his daydream. For a moment, Mac thought it was a close peal of thunder. But no, it seemed to come from below him, from the beach. He squinted into the storm, looking down towards the surf. Lightning flickered and Mac gasped. He crawled out from under his log and ran down the sand. In that instant of light, he had seen a ship raked into the beach.

Mac’s mind raced with excitement. Maybe he could save someone important. Or maybe everyone was dead and he could claim a treasure no one knew about. He wouldn’t even have to tell his master about that…

Lightning flashed again. Mac froze. He was close to the surf. He could hear it despite the storm. But there was someone standing between him and the wreck.

“Are you..” Mac stammered.

Something about the figure terrified him. It was too big and it had been too still in the storm. Alert. Watching him.

He started again, louder, “are you hurt? I can help!”

Mac shuffled ahead slowly.

“Hello?” he yelled into the wind.

Lightning flashed. The thing strode towards Mac with purpose. It made eye-contact with Mac, yellow eyes peering from a flat, gray-scaled face. Mac started running back up the beach. He knew what the thing was. He knew there was nothing for him on that particular ship.

Mac died before the lightning flashed again.

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Arrival
Introduction

Brightspring 15, 276ce

[To Muriel and Lestibournes] Your ship should have docked last night. Shortly after leaving Anvora, a storm blew up. It’s a miracle you have made it to Tergryn Island at all, with the winds it was easy to imagine your ship sinking. That’s what you assume happened to the sorry piece of human flotsam the crew fished out of the strait just before dawn. [gesture to Rar] The man is as broad as any human you’ve ever seen, naked, aside from the blankets one of the seamen put over him. He hasn’t said anything all morning, and still clutches the chunk of jagged wood that saved his life – a broken mast or maybe a large oar. Strangest of all, the man is pale. Not albino-white, but a pinkish flesh color, just like an Astreli.

Now, your ship has finally made it to the “port” of Abermad, home to a handful of small fishing boats and little else. A handful of stone buildings are clustered around the dock. Behind them, a dirt path leads up the hillside, weaving through a single line of shanties. At the top of the hill, you can make out the red-shingled roof of what must be the fabled “Red Lion:” the only inn on all of Tegryn Island.

A small cluster of Blackshod soldiers stand at the base of the dock, a dark patch of red and black against the dreary gray of the port buildings. Captain Rotheart is the first off the ship, striding towards the soldiers purposefully. He swiftly salutes the officer who advances to meet him, a lieutenant by the plume on the helm he holds under one arm.

“Lt. Elwrit, sir, I’m glad you’re here today,” the ship captain says.

“Make it quick, Rotheart,” the lieutenant replies, “I’ve got to meet an ethrotten Kingsward.”

“Er, yessir, she’s on board. But, er, anyways, I picked up a castaway. I’d like to leave him with you”

The lieutenant snorts, “heh, I’m not dealing with some refugee you picked up in the storm, Rotheart.”

“Well,” Rotheart replies, “this one you’ll want.” He leans in and whispers something to the lieutenant, then finishes loudly, “and if all that is some hoax, the kid is a draken slave, probably worth a fortune. I’m heading across the sea to Cornvald next or I’d take him back to Anvora myself.”

The lieutenant nods slowly, “that’s quite a claim, captain… you’re giving him up willingly?”

Rotheart laughs, “well, how about we call it even for last time…”

“Heh, sure. This just might cover it.” [To Horst] “Sergeant, get the draken slave from the ship and take him up to the Red Lion. [quietly] the captain says he’s got Astreli-skin. If it’s true, try to keep him out of sight as best you can.”

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Meetings
Session 1

Brightspring 15 -16, 276ce

  • Muriel introduced herself to her overseer, Lt. Elwrit. Elwrit encouraged her to leave him alone and suggested she ask Sgt. Falkenrath if she needed any assistance.
  • On the second night after leaving Abermad, a band of scaphlings prodded a tortured aurochs into attacking the group’s campsite.
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Lestibournes
Session 2

Brightspring 17, 276ce
Sgt. Falkenrath brings his traveling companions to Summerhill Outpost and gets them settled in.

Ralf notices Rar and gets in Horst’s good graces, offering to help with the scaphling threats.

Lightboot Adela Mardock reports a draken shipwreck on the Island. Sergeant Holcomb Macwin sends scouts to monitor the draken and to recall Lt Elwrit.

Muriel is courted by Sgt Macwin.

Lestibournes meets Adela. She passes a message along from Therius, telling Lestibournes he is expected and agrees to map instructions for him.

Lestibournes is taunted into conflict with Grath, a blackshod. The brawl escalates, three blackshod footmen and Lestibournes are killed.

Muriel and Ralf go through Lestibournes’ belongings. They discover Kingsward Therius’ note, which Ralf reads but Muriel keeps.

Brightspring 18
Sgt Macwin makes it clear to Horst that he doesn’t intend to take major action until the Lieutenant returns.

Rar meets with Sgt Macwin, expressing his interest in fighting the draken and insisting he be allowed to do so.

*The protagonists spend time sharing (some) information.

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Lestibournes
Adela's Narrative

Adela watched Lestibournes leave her table and she exhaled slowly. He was nothing like Therius, whose quiet arrogance put her at ease. This Astreli was too astute, and the way he spoke to her, with casual familiarity like they were close acquaintances, made her uncomfortable. She stiffened as he turned back, but he wasn’t coming back to her table. Instead, Lestibournes turned towards the ale casks. Adela noticed his eyes flick upwards and saw his lips move silently. She following his gaze to where a sleek martin clung to the rafters.

Adela began chewing on a strand of knotted hair. She hadn’t seen the creature when she had entered the pavilion and she hadn’t seen it climb up to its perch. She assumed it was unnatural, clearly it was connected to Lestibournes in some way. That didn’t bother her, but the fact that she hadn’t noticed its arrival made her heartbeat rise. She spat out her hair and quickly began eating her stew, glancing behind her at the cool comfort of the darkness outside the pavilion.

Lestibournes walked with several pitchers towards a table where the Blackshod, Grath, and seven of his cohorts sat. Adela paused, curious. Had the Astreli befriended the brutish blackshod? Grath and his buddies were some of the most volatile soldiers at Summerhill Outpost. Adela watched Grath. He stood up, his body language tense, his face stiff with animosity. No, Lestibournes hadn’t won over the soldier, but he was foolishly trying. Grath and Lestibournes exchanged some words that Adela couldn’t hear across the pavilion. Grath cocked back his arm and swung wildly at Lestibournes. The Astreli clearly saw it coming, casually stepping back to avoid the punch.

“Get outta here, scarecrow,” Grath shouted, “we’re not looking for new friends.”

Lestibournes shrugged and turned to leave. Grath pushed Lestibournes from behind, causing the Astreli to stumble. Lestibournes turned back slowly. He snapped open a book and said something incomprehensible. There was a noise like a hollow crack and oily smoke billowed from Lestibournes’ outstretched hands. Adela saw a flash of fear in his expression, briefly replacing his confident smirk. She realized that something had gone wrong with his magic.

Grath recoiled from the smoke, then pulled a knife and lunged at Lestibournes. In an instant, Grath’s companions were there as well, surrounding the Astreli. Lestibournes continued chanting in a quick, staccato language. Oily smoke began to seep from the air around him, coalescing into of several duplicates of the Astreli. The soldiers mobbed Lestibournes, the duplicates sowing confusion amongst them. When the duplicates were struck, they dissolved, smoke billowing from them. A soldier grabbed Lestibournes from behind, who continued his chant. Grath stabbed low but his blade turned aside at the last moment, a burst of smoke rushing away from Lestibournes. One of Grath’s companions grabbed a halberd from an on-duty blackshod and began harassing Lestibournes from atop a table. Smoke grew into more duplicates, and as Lestibournes’ chant rose to a shout, a blast of flame erupted from him. Grath and the soldiers in front of Lestibournes were engulfed. Adela saw their overcoats incinerate and they staggered away, giving Lestibournes a moment of space.

The soldier holding Lestibournes shoved him to the ground and the soldiers piled around, crowding in, kicking and stabbing. Adela couldn’t see Lestibournes but she heard his muffled chanting. The soldiers surrounded a tangle of smoky shapes. Another blast of flame hurled Grath into a table. His face was charred. He didn’t move. The other soldiers continued to batter Lestibournes and Adela couldn’t hear the chant anymore.

Bells were ringing. Blackshods on duty were being called to arms.

“Rogue magician in the pavilion! Get Sergeant Macwin!”

Adela tasted blood and started. She realized she was standing on her table and had chewed into her cuticle during the fight. Sergeant Macwin rushed into the pavilion and called off the soldiers beating Lestibournes’ body. Adela briefly met eyes with Sergeant Falkenrath as he entered, only a moment behind Macwin. Falkenrath quickly began talking to the soldiers and once his attention was diverted, Adela slipped off her table and into the darkness.

Kingsward Therius was expecting Lestibournes. Adela bit her lip. She knew she wasn’t obligated to do so, but realized she was already planning to make her way back to Therius’ camp to inform him. Why did she care? She didn’t usually like people and she found that she liked Therius. It made her anxious. She didn’t even really like Sergeant Falkenrath, and he was one of the only respectable men at the outpost. Had Therius done something to her mind to make her serve him? She didn’t remember anything strange during their meetings. She didn’t even know if he was capable of such a thing.

After only a few minutes, Adela had packed her scouting rucksack and was climbing to the roof of her barracks. Because of her report of the draken shipwreck earlier that day, the gates of the outpost were closed and barred. They wouldn’t open until the next day. Adela quickly hauled herself over the wall, quietly dropping down on the outside. She breathed the night air and let the tension ease from her neck and shoulders. The moon shone from behind Mount Tregeron, silhouetting the mountain’s peaks, making navigation simple. Adela tighten her sack over her shoulder and jogged into the darkness.

As Adela made her way into the darkness, a weasel-shaped shadow flickered along the wall where Adela had crossed, then slowly oozed back inside the outpost.

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The Battle at Ram
Session 3

Brightspring 21

  • Lt Elwrit’s orders arrive at Summerhill Outpost. Macwin is left in charge of the outpost with a skeleton crew and Falkenrath takes the 15 remaining soldiers south towards Abermad.

Brightspring 23
• Sgt Horst’s group arrives at the staging area set up by Caderyn.

• Late that night, Adela arrives and reports to Sgt Falkenrath. She reports evidence that the draken attacked the fae camps on the Northwest side of the island and are marching south.

Brightspring 24
• Horst commands his unit to march south to try to intercept the draken raiders.

• Adela sent north to warn Macwin and continue her surveillance.

• A camp guard hears moaning in the dark and Horst, Rar, Ralf, and Murial find a well in a copse of trees with a lantern hanging above it. Ralf convinces the scouting party that something cult related is happening and it should be left alone for the time being.

Brightspring 26th
• Horst’s unit reaches the hills near Ram and learn from scouts that the draken are getting closer. The soldier hide in a low point.

• Horst’s unit catches the draken between themselves and Elwrits troops. They draken are defeated with moderate casualties for the Sharans.

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Hunting Party
Session 4

Brightspring 26
• After the battle, Horst is left in charge of tending to casualties
• Horst speaks with Elwrit and decides to take a small force to rid the island of the remaining draken.

Brightspring 28
• Horst, gatherers his group and departs for the NW coast of the Island.

Brightspring 29
• While on watch, Ralf sees a person being chases by two draken.
• The entire group chases the draken down and kill them in a copse of trees. The person they were chasing escapes into the night.
• Horst and Ralf track the chase back to a point where they smell smoke from a camp site.

Brightspring 30
• The group cannot find the campsite Horst and Rar detected the night before and continues north along the coast.

Brightspring 31
• At camp, Muriel sees several hunched forms ahead on the beach. They quickly retreat the way they came.

Brightspring 32
• The group sees the draken palisades around midday and begins planning.
• Ralf splits off from the party and is able to see that the draken camp is deserted.
• Caderyn finds a string of drowned goblins on the mudflats in front of the draken shipwreck during low tide.

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Scaphling Ambush
Session 5

Brightspring 32
• Horst’s party leaves from the shipwreck, heading back to Summerhill Outpost. Horst plans a route cutting through the northern foothills of the Mt. Tregeron.

Brightspring 33
• Muriel sees scaphling following the group from afar as the party travels.
• At sundown, a large group of scaphling and pine wolves attack. Kingsward Therius and Adela arrive during the battle, warning that more scaphling riders are approaching.
The group follows Therius towards a defendable outcropping of rock. En route, Therius refers to Rar as “slave” and Rar lashes out, but is quickly smote down by the Kingsward.

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Return to Summerhill Outpost
Session 6

Brightspring 33
• The group, along with Therius and Adela, defeat the pursuing scaphling and pines wolves.
• Everyone travels north, camping together.

Brightspring 34
• Before dawn Therius leaves. He and Ralf have a short conversation before Therius moves towards Mt. Tregeron.

Brightspring 35
• Early in the morning, the group reaches Summerhill Outpost.
• Horst de-briefs Sgt. Elwrit and learns that Exarch Morcain has arrived with an invitation summoning Rar to an audience with the King.
• Muriel runs into Sgt Macwin who invites her to dinner, scheduled for the next night.
• Muriel breaks a young man out of the Summerhill Keep dungeons, traps him in a sea cave, and begins torturing him.

Brightspring 36
• Exarch Morcain speaks to Rar, extending the King’s invitation.
• Elwrit hold a council and plans a defense of the southern hills of Tegryn Island against the missing draken.
• Caderyn talks to several blackshod, learning that Sgt. Macwin has been out of sorts. He speaks with Macwin as well, who listens to his account of traveling the north side of the Island.
• Horst talks to Rar, explaining the implications of the King’s invitation.
Ralf talks several blackshod and sends a missive to his superiors.

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Midnight Attacks
Session 7

Brightspring 37
• Exarch Morcain visits Muriel, interviewing her about her progress investigating the roots of the scaphling of Tegryn. He also inquiries about Rar and Horst, and ensures Muriel will help him return Rar to Anvora.
• Ralf and Caderyn overhear a blackshod talking about being chosen by Macwin to search for Adela and bring her to camp. Horst decides to speak with Lt. Elwrit about this.
• Muriel attends dinner with Sgt. Macwin. During the conversation, Macwin tells Muriel he knows about the man she took from the dungeon, but that he has covered her tracks for her. Then, Macwin charms Muriel, forcing her to want him sexually. When she comes to her senses, Muriel leaves.

Brightspring 38
• Horst speaks with Elwrit, who confirms he did order Macwin to seek out Adela. Elwrit explains that Adela hasn’t been reporting as required, and she is to be brought in for questioning. Horst requests permission to bring Adela in, but Elwrit refuses due to Horst’s connection to Rar.
• Ralf and Horst speak about Adela, and Ralf suggests they liberate Rar in a ploy to seek her out.
• Sgt. Macwin departs the outpost with 2 blackshod and 2 lightboots.
• Horst speaks to Rar about escaping the outpost and the reality of the King’s Invitation. Rar agreed to attempt to flee when the opportunity presents itself.
• Muriel visits Rar and speaks with him, trying to convince him of the prestige in visiting the King Voranthis. He refers to her as “breeding stock,” and she departs.

Brightspring 39
• Muriel kills her sacrifice and sees a force of Draken attacking the outpost in a storm. As she sneaks back up the cliff-face she stumbles across Macwin, huddled at the base of a tree. After a fierce struggle and chase, Muriel kills Macwin, revealing that he was possessed by a demon she recognizes as Geist.
• Horst and Rar, and Caderyn and Ralf are woken by the attacking Draken and defend themselves.
• Caderyn seeks surviving blackshod in the outpost while Horst rushes toward the combat in the keep. Several blackshod defend Elwrit, who is unconscious, and one of Exarch Morcain’s Crimson Guard holds the balcony. When Rar reaches the keep, the draken focus on him and attempt to capture him.
• After the attack, 12 blackshod remain alive, most injured, and 10 draken corpses are recovered.

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