Parallax

The Story

The peace that Prince Rhys Durant brokered three years ago with the Nomadic people of Doanlec has been shattered. The Prince has since been labelled a traitor and has gone missing. Oran Mac Duibhshíthe, Marshall and head of the King’s Guard, is forced to provide orders for several new garrisons along the border that are only half-built, at best, and now must stand as the country’s first line of defense against invasion or attack. As if the Nomads, with their excessive strength, durability and abnormal healing factor, weren’t bad enough, there are also rumors circulating that they have some sort of alliance with Necromancers who are said to roam through Doanlec at their leisure.

Daulurrak does not have many options for allies itself: to the south, the people of Kolmorol refuse to dirty their hands in a war they don’t believe in. To the north, above Doanlec, the people of Katerbreen have kept to their side of the mountain and are not interested in the conflicts erupting outside of their borders. To the east lies Artedin, a country with an impressive military but who is perhaps still nursing a grudge from Daulurrak’s secession a century ago; an uneasy truce lies there that could become a strong alliance, or a grave mistake.

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Episode 1
A Backstabbing Assassin?

Declan and Walter arrived in the city of Moat at the end of an escort mission for a man named Col, who was travelling to Morighan—some kind of underworld leader. Ailbhe, Walter and Declan’s Guild Master, had told them they were free to carry out any additional tasks Morighan set them to if asked. Upon dropping Col off safely, they were given the option to be hired out as bodyguards for Druwaine, Morighan’s “nephew” by Fiachra, Morighan’s right hand man. Druwaine meanwhile wasn’t to know anything of the job but was tipped off by Morighan’s granddaughter Rioghan (who then informed Declan and Walter that she had informed Dru of the job).

 

Morighan claimed to have no knowledge of the information Druwaine was visiting her for, but Rioghan told Druwaine that he should check with the Scout visiting their abode, whom was out at the moment but would return. In the few days they have been waiting for the Scout, Druwaine has led Walter and Declan through a dance of keeping up with their charge and the three have run into an Assassin, Esben Brandr, whom Dru introduced as his boyfriend after a misunderstanding between the bodyguards and Esben in the street. Druwaine then set up shop in the Mercantile District to sell some dresses, and Walter helped while Declan stood guard. An archer on a nearby roof took a shot at Dru, winging him in the arm. Walter took off after the archer but lost him in the streets. In the meantime, guards approached and a Healer was led to Dru by one of the guards. The Healer then tried to stab Dru, as he was a secondary killer in disguise. Declan fought the fake guard who had brought the “Healer” over and Dru tried to get information from the “Healer”. After receiving very little information, Dru was brought back to Morighan’s place by Declan and Walter and the fake guard was brought into custody. (The fake Healer died of his injuries at the scene.)

 

Word reached Fiachra later that both the archer and the fake guard had been killed, and it looked like a professional job. We left off the session with Fiachra intimating to Dru that perhaps his Assassin friend was not as loyal as he appeared if he killed their only leads as to who is trying to kill Dru.

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Episode 2
Overflowing Cups

Aksinya the Scout finally arrived back at Morighan’s estate and received a letter to deliver back to her commanding officer. Dru (and therefore Walter and Declan) semi-successfully tailed her through the estate and then approached her outside of it to gather information. They had coffee at a place away from the docks called The Bodyguard’s Cup and Aksinya agreed to let the three tag along with her to meet Blythe, the commanding officer of Skyhold, the Scout Guild branch located in Skystead, roughly a three day’s trip North West of Moat.

 

Along the journey the foursome met Lorcan, a hunter who roams the villages about a day’s journey outside of Moat and invited him to spend the night in the burrow Sina had discovered (as he often used the burrow before, and happened upon the travelers accidentally and almost got his throat cut by Walter for it).

 

The next day found our adventurers in Arbordale, where Dru bought a puppy and dropped it off at the Assassin Guild branch to have it sent to Esben Brandr. Declan asked after his Assassin friend Aldus Braden and a woman named Catriona said she’d get in touch with Aldus and ask him to pass on messages to both Skystead and Moat for Declan. Declan is looking for information on his friends Arka Tasker and Bannon Teel. (Speaking of friends, on the road it was discovered Dru had had some dealings with Walter’s friend Ashby Keswick's subordinate soldiers during war time as he was trading goods.)

 

Still in Arbordale where they were planning to spend the night, the group ran into an Assassin acquaintance of Dru’s and decided to both have dinner and rent rooms in the Cup and Club Inn, run by the charming Embla. We left our adventurers as they were bedding down for the night—Dru’s room between Declan and Walter’s (who took the one nearest the stairs) with Sina opposite the hall from Dru and both other rooms in the Inn occupied by other guests. There is still a day and a half’s journey to reach Skystead where Dru hopes to get information from Blythe.

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Episode 3

Setting out from the Cup and Club the next day, the group runs into trouble on the road—a bandit gang with three archers and four melee fighters. Sina and one of the archers entered into a duel with bow and arrows while the rest of the group engaged where they could. Eventually, it became clear that the spear-wielder in the bandit gang was a caliber or two above his compatriots and Declan and Walter began to compliment and speak with him. While the leader of the bandit gang had been killed in battle, the spear-wielder (whose name they learned was Ruaidhrí) made a deal that he would stop the fight on two conditions: Declan beat the second-in-command whom he was currently fighting and the Ruaidhrí would be able to freely take whatever members of the bandit gang he chose and go on his way.

Declan did indeed win this fight while Walter and Ruaidhrí had their own duel and the others watched, and Sina continued her fight with the archer. Once the fight was over, Walter told Ruaidhrí to go to Summerloch and his Mercenary Guild and to drop his and Declan’s name to see if they would be accepted and find work there. Ruaidhrí decided to go there with Suibhne, the sword-wielder, and their archer friend Ainsley. The archer who had been fighting Sina was dismissed after Ruaidhrí put a spear through his chest when he wouldn’t stop fighting on command. The third archer, however, was angry at this turn of events and with the fact that Dru had been needling him throughout the fight and that the other bandits had let it happen. He still, however, went off with the others.

The group decided to camp for the night and continue on in the morning. During Dru’s watch, he was attacked by that same archer who had split off from the other bandits and doubled back. Dru was able to kill this foe, however he charged into the woods screaming a Nomad war-cry which woke Declan in a panic, as he had heard those same cries before during the war. Convinced the camp was under attack by Nomads, the others ran after Dru into the trees. Walter tripped over Dru and the archer scrabbling in the dirt and Dru killed the archer by slitting him open.

Later, washing off in the stream with Walter as his guard, Dru spotted and communicated with a Nomad who had been drawn by his cry. After a peaceful exchange (which Walter saw Dru’s half of) the Nomad left and Dru cut the heart out of his dead enemy and burned it while praying to offer it to the God of Blood. Sina, the only one not to see this display, acted as normal while Dru’s bodyguards were full of questions (and maybe misgivings).

Upon arriving in Skystead at night, it was decided Sina would go to Skyhold and report in while the others sought out a place to stay for the night and meet Blythe in the morning. Sina recommended the Imp and Queen and the Duchess and Hawk Inns as good places to stay, but told the group they’d get more for their money at the latter. The group purchased rooms at the Duchess and Hawk, with Walter and Dru rooming together so Walter could question Dru about his connection to the Nomads.

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Episode 4

While camping in the woods a day's travel from their destination of Eastborne, the group was approached by a man looking to share the fire during a cold snap. It was the second-to-last watch of the night and Sina was on guard duty. She allowed the man to warm himself by the fire and during their conversation discovered he was a Scout. Upon seeing her branch's symbol on him and not recognizing his face, she began to slyly question him while appearing to make conversation and discovered in the process that he was an imposter.

 

The fake Scout ran into the woods and Sina gave chase, ultimately capturing him by rendering him temporarily lame in one foot. Declan showed off his first aid to stop the man from bleeding out while Walter and Sina played good/cop bad cop for more information about the situation. Throughout the interrogation, the man insisted he had found the Scout uniform on a dead body and just took it to make travelling alone easier. The group carried the man to Rowan, Guildmaster of the Scout Guild, whom they were planning on meeting with anyway. 

 

Rowan confirmed that a dead Scout had been found but also noted that the Scout had been attacked, and after stabbing the imposter with his own blade confirmed it was the same marking. Unconcerned with Walter's information that the guard at the gate wanted the imposter when Rowan was done questioning him, Rowan choked the man to death while simultaneously holding a meeting with our heroes. 

 

Upon learning that Dru was the man being targeted by assassins which Morighan had been requesting Rowan look into, Rowan let Dru know that Morighan had more information than he did. He provided Dru what he knew: that the attacks are being orchestrated by a Noble in a neighboring country and that he hadn't been able to scare up the name as he had to tread carefully. Rowan suggested Dru not go there looking for answers. Dru settled on returning to Morighan to demand answers, and Rowan asked Sina if she'd like the task of accompanying them back as it's somewhat on her way to her own guild branch. Rowan is also allowing Dru to carry his reply back to Morighan. 

 

Meanwhile Declan caught up with an old army friend and drunkenly fell asleep on his bed and Sina went to take a nap while Walter and Dru were left chatting at the inn. There are plans to introduce Declan to his first Courtesan and to sell more compasses in the future before the party adventures back to Moat. 

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Episode 5

 

After waking up in Aldus’ bed, the Assassin filled Declan in on his drunken antics the night before and let him know that Arka and Bannon had been sent to a Garrison and that there was probably a letter waiting for Declan at his Mercenary Guild in Summerloch. While Declan was being treated to his first Courtesan Guild experience (as promised) by Walter and Dru, the gang spent one more night (which was both raining and hailing) in Eastborne before setting off in the morning in a miserable but manageable rain. Dru carries Rowan’s letter with him, with the intention to present it to Morighan himself and seeking answers yet again from her when he gets back to Moat. Meanwhile, Rowan has asked Sina if she would continue to travel with the party and collect any information she can from Dru’s future assailants if any are captured. Walter and Declan, as Dru’s bodyguards, also continue to travel with him.

Declan expressed his wishes to go to Summerloch, so the group passed through Porthcaul on their way there where they were charmed by an inn called The Worn Chant. The place has bookcases instead of walls and seems to be occupied by all manner of scholars. Sina found the book written by a former friend, of which she had a direct impact on the formation of, and Dru found an interesting read about sleight of hand. Speaking of interesting books, the group was able to find shelter between towns in an abandoned and slightly falling apart cabin, in which Dru found a coded diary he is still trying to crack.

At the side trip to Summerloch, it was learned that Ruaidhrí, Suibhne and Ainsley had indeed made it to the Mercenary Guild and had impressed the members enough that Ailbhe practically begged them to join. Currently, no one has beaten Ruaidhrí in a fight and he has expressed that he would like to finish his duel with Walter in the future. The three are leaving in a day for their first mission together, on which Ailin may join them, but Declan has said he will mention this request to Walter and see if the duel can be arranged before they leave. Meanwhile Declan did find his letter from Arka and Bannon explaining that they had been sent to a Garrison for disobedience and that they would be staying there for a few years.

 

Sina, having never been to Summerloch before, is intent upon some sight-seeing while Declan goes about catching up at the guild and Walter watches Dru.

 

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Episode 6

The group spent some time in Summerloch where Walter received a name from the woman who runs The Golden Smith in order to further his interest in watch-making: Bate, in Woodburn. Dru played a bit of a prank in the shop, unnoticed by the group.

 

The adventurers hit the road again to go back to Moat. On the way, they were followed by a child named Kirusha who approached Dru a day outside of Moat, seemingly drawn in by Dru’s singing. The child appears as if he’s lived on the road for a while, and said something about his mother singing Nomad songs before she had to go away. He appears anywhere from age 9 to 12 and he told Dru that “Moat isn’t there anymore” as it “had an accident”. Kirusha also said that the destruction of Moat was being blamed on the Nomads but it isn’t true.

 

Kirusha led the party away from Moat, letting them know that survivors are being hunted. He led them to a group of survivors where “scary man” said they could join the camp. “Scary man” turned out to be Lir and Dru was reunited with Rioghan, who gave him a letter from Morighan and informed him of her (and probably Fiachra’s) passing. Rioghan blames the troops from the parent country on the massacre, stating they also collapsed Morighan’s compound on top of them and that they targeted Scouts first who were fleeing. According to Rioghan, one Scout made it out and was rushing to Rowan in Eastborne. There are also hints that people may still be corralled in Moat, alive. Troops from the parent country had been coming through for a couple of weeks before this happened.

 

Rioghan’s band of survivors wanted to sneak into Riften, so Dru and the party did some scouting with Kirusha. There are some parent country guards there, but Dru’s contact Dionisia at Dead Robber’s Inn agreed to help smuggle the survivors in. Sina asked for a contact at the Thieves Guild and Dionisia passed her a piece of paper with the name Rossi written on it. Sina was told to go find someone named Vanja and give him the note. Once she had done so, Sina was led by Vanja into a network of tunnels under Riften until she was brought to Rossi who, after flirting, agreed to help with the distraction to smuggle Rioghan’s people into the town.

 

On the way out of Riften, the group was passed by a soldier of the parent country riding a horse quickly with someone else slumped in the saddle. He asked to speak to a Captain immediately as it was urgent from Moat. The party kept going.

 

The next day dawned windy and with lightning and thunder storms. The group saw smoke rising from Riften and feared the worst. Upon arrival, however, they realized Rossi’s idea of a distraction was to set the barracks on fire. Sina ran to check it out and found Rossi there helping to put out the fires, which were being spread by the wind and blamed on the lightning. Dionisia filled the group in on the “official” story of Moat: Moat was helping the traitorous garrisons as they rebelled against King and country on the front lines.

 

Rioghan’s band was smuggled into the Dead Robber’s Inn  and down into the tunnels, where Lir collapsed with infection to his wounds from Moat. The group realized he needs a real Healer and fast so Dionisia ran to tell Rossi to “rescue” four horses from the barrack stables and get them to our heroes so they can ride to Skystead with all haste and “borrow” Blythe’s Healer on retainer.

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Episode 7

Our adventuring party started the session with a mad ride on stolen horses through a bad storm. They safely reached Skystead and Skyhold where they interrupted an argument Blythe was having with some town guards. Blythe dismissed the guards and allowed the group to borrow the Guild’s Healer, Majken (Mie-ken), who rode back with them to Riften and was able to close Lir’s wounds and take the edge off his infections. (Sina forgot to let Blythe know about Ashton, the dead Scout, in all the rush and excitement.)

 

The next day Lir was spotted up for breakfast and the Healer said she could take herself back home while Dru frantically got the party ready to go back to Eastborne to seek answers from Rowan. This time on their journey, our heroes realized they were seeing soldiers from Country 1 everywhere now.

 

Once in Eastborne, the party learns that the Assassins Guild there is on lockdown and no one is allowed in or out. It is also being watched at any time either by town guards or Country 1 soldiers. However, inside Rowan’s house they find an Assassin named Faolán. When Declan inquires if he can send a message to Aldus, Faolán informs him that Aldus is out on a mission. When Declan becomes worried, Rowan chimes in to let him know that the mission should be comparatively safe and that the task was actually set by Rowan—it is a retrieval rather than an assassination. It is also strongly implied that there are tunnels connecting Rowan’s house to the Assassins Guild that the town isn’t aware of.

 

Rowan reads the letter Morighan wrote for Dru and informs him that Dru’s uncle is the one after him, and that his family is originally from Country 3. Rowan warns Dru not to go there as it would be dangerous for him. Rowan also doesn’t have all the answers, or at least doesn’t appear to.

 

Next the group takes a detour to Podunk so Walter can check in with some people. He learns Frode Albertsen has passed away, and visits Birgit Albertsen and Horace. From Birgit, he learns Horace fancies a woman in the town, Idella.

 

Next, in the Capitol, Walter visits his parents with Sina where he catches up on his mail and learns that more orders have been placed for the Dane Stone since the foreign soldiers have arrived. He and Sina also learn that some Nomads have started using guerilla tactics such as ignoring the garrisons to gut the towns beyond them or to kill soldiers in their sleep while leaving no trace. Walter also visited the Artisan Guild to pick up books on watch-making.

 

Meanwhile, Dru learns Esben is out on business by someone in the Assassin Guild and after asking for Vibeke (and proving his identity is Dru) is lead to “Serenity”, the Courtesan Guild where Vibeke works. There, she and Dru have a chat and Dru gets some leads on where Esben might turn up while Declan enjoys the services. At the end of speaking with Vibeke, Dru and the group decide to go to Eastborne again.

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Episode 8

Before leaving the Capitol, the group stops in the Scout Guild branch there only to discover it completely empty of Scouts and mostly empty of small furnishings and other such evidence of occupancy. Puzzled by the emptiness but finding no sign of struggle, the group moves on.

 

As the group enters Eastborne they realize there is a fire going, and lo and behold they discover the barracks on fire. There is also a large fight going on outside of Rowan’s place/the Assassin Guild between soldiers/guards and Assassins/Scouts. The group spots Rowan and jumps into the fight to bolster his ranks. After the fight is won, everyone congregates outside of Eastborne where Dru is given letters by Esben’s Guild Master, Zephania.

 

Everyone disperses and our heroes head back to Riften, where they discover Dionysia’s bar has been burned down, along with Vanya’s shop, and the tunnels between destroyed—effectively sealing off Rossi’s headquarters (“secret base that everyone knows about”).

 

In a hurry, the group decides to steal horses from the barracks—conveniently stealing the same ones they stole earlier, to Declan’s delight. (Except for Walter, who bought a horse and waited outside the wall.) Declan assisted Dru with the improv while Sina snuck into the barn and saddled up. They bust out, the boys grabbing onto their horses as Sina rushes by with them, and they are not chased very far outside the city gates before successfully escaping.

 

The group then sneaks upriver of Moat and Dru is about to swim to Moat proper when he’s stopped by a Nomad scout who reveals the battle is over and Esben, along with a larger group, is in a Nomad camp further north. The Nomad also reveals that Garrison Teal helped in the assault. Kirusha is also there and is to serve as their guide to the camp, but when the group decides they need to get more affairs in order before going to the camp, Kirusha elects to stay behind with the Nomads. The Nomads will patrol for a bit longer with an eye out for ally stragglers.

 

The gang finds itself again making its way to Podunk where Birgit urges Walter to leave before he gets caught and tells him people are looking for him. She gives him some money, assures him she’ll have Horace check in with his parents and shoos him out the door. Dru goes over the finer points of being a vagabond with Walter and how his promissory notes are meaningless as most likely his accounts are frozen. Walter learns the art of the hair beard.

 

Dru also concocts a plan, which involves Sina’s undergarments, to fake Walter’s death and puts it into practice when the group reaches the Capitol. Sina and Dru head off to do this and check in on a place for word of Esben. While Dru doesn’t expect anything to be there he finds Esben himself waiting for him. Dru tells Sina to rent a room and there they prepare to wait until Walter and Declan’s business is concluded. (Walter had said if they had no word in a week to go without them and assume they were captured.)

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Episode 9

Dru and Sina diverge from the plan of waiting in the Capitol for Declan and Walter and head to Summerloch, Esben in tow. This is good, because Declan has gotten himself jailed by admitting to treason when Boniface stopped him at the gate looking for Walter (who, with hair butchered by Declan, snuck away).

 

Walter skulked around Summerloch under the guise of a cheap weirdo who sleeps in the woods (where he conveniently hid his horse), waiting for Dru and Sina and trying to find out what is going on with Declan. When the trio arrives at Summerloch, a plot to free Declan is hatched.

 

Sina prepares forged documents, with an assist from Dru on the seals, deciding to pose as a Scout with mercenaries hired to transport the prisoner to another location. The party also decides to tip off the Mercenary Guild that their man has been imprisoned on "trumped up" charges. Esben slips into the Guild and leaves the note with none the wiser.

 

Declan is questioned by a soldier from Country 1 before it's interrupted by a guard for breach in protocol; the prisoner is not to be questioned without Summerloch guards to witness. Declan was fairly honest with his inquisitor however, informing him that he was involved with smuggling Moat refugees into Riften because Country 1 soldiers razed the city and were cutting down citizens on the road with impunity. Declan does not reveal any names in his tale.

 

After this, Ailin, Ailbhe and Ruaidhrí storm the jail, demanding information and a visit with the prisoner. Ailin is allowed to enter and gives Declan the sage advice of speaking to him next time before confessing to treason. Dru and Sina had followed the Mercenary group in while Esben checked out the perimeter and Walter staked out the front of the jail. Dru and Sina being seen with Ailbhe's Guild, however, puts a snag into their plan.

 

Outside, Ailbhe and Ailin return to the Guild while Ruaidhrí lingers. He is filled in on what happened in Moat and offers to help spring Declan from jail using brute force instead of careful planning. The jail break is set for night and the party rests while Ruaidhrí packs (and leaves a note).

 

That night, Esben is relegated to the position of horse thief (third time's the charm for Declan's horse Aggro) while Ruaidhrí takes out the perimeter guard with one punch and gets the group inside. Meanwhile, Ainsley and Suibhne prepare for the escape by explaining to the guards that a company of mercenaries needs to urgently ride out to aid against bandits and the gate needs to be opened for them. (Suibhne collects the horses from the woods and readies them.)

 

Inside the jail, the group makes short work of the two remaining guards and frees a very grateful, and contrite, Declan. Ruaidhrí's group breaks off from the party outside, with Ruaidhrí on his way to Moat with a score to settle. (No one destroys the town he grew up in and gets away with it, no matter how many soldiers they have.)

 

The party, now with more time since Dru knows Esben is safe, makes its way to Garrison Black to discover the fate of Declan's friends who have been out of contact (and perhaps to learn a little about the garrison rebellions rumored to have started there).

 

Upon arrival they are met with the burned-out shell that used to be Garrison Black. There is evidence of peaceful Nomad occupancy, but someone obviously tried to destroy the garrison—even resorting to hacking down the trees and flowers used as memorials to the fallen. Among this desecration, Declan finds evidence of Bannon's demise.

 

Dru finds a trail leading from the back of the garrison that seems well-used and is headed in the direction the group needs to go in general. Our intrepid heroes decide to follow it.

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