Super Pretzel

The Forest Keep of Malrien

Reunited after Ashlynne’s recon of Priam’s village the party entered a dark, overgrown forest. Finding a clear path leading towards the mountains they set off to investigate the source of the mind-controlling waves and hopefully find the townsmen. A few hundred yards into the wood however, they were diverted by a series of deadly traps set across the path. The party chose to move off-path and eventually found a stream bed which allowed quick travel towards the mountains. Night drew in and they overnighted next to the stream.

Overnight the party noticed the lack of predator sounds, it appeared as if the forest wolves were all silent or gone.

Waking early to avoid attack the party continued along the streambed until they smelt smoke and found 4 gnoll huntsmen apparently breaking their fast although they acted strangely.

Utilizing the element of surprise and their tactical advantage from the forest cover the party attacked the gnolls, knocking one into the cookfire and scattering the others. Baldwin struck quickly, smashing a gnoll into a nearby tree and bisecting it’s head like so much firewood. A battle ensued as the remaining gnolls attempted to flank the party and Theren deployed a gloaming shroud over the stream, temporarily stopping the incoming arrows. The gnolls were quickly routed and were found to be carrying a crude map indicating their current position as well as what appeared to be a large forest hold to the north.

Theren notified the party that there was someone following them.

The party moved quietly through the woods, growing more concerned by the lack of forest sounds and wildlife, eventually reaching a break in the woods which opened into a large marsh backed with foothills. In the center of the marsh lay a large wooden fort with 40 foot armored towers angled away from the center keep and anchored with heavy cordage. The fort bristled with guards, wolves and trebuchets but the front gates were open, allowing the party to view inside. They saw several guards leading townsmen to a simple wooden cage that they closed behind them, without locking. There were also several guards walking the perimeter with wolves that appeared to be staring directly ahead without taking notice of their surroundings or attacking the guards. All appeared to be under some kind of mind control or dominate. The party attempted to communicate with their hidden follower but he refused to identify himself or aid them as he could not be convinced of the fact that they were not under mind control or dominate. He indicated he would be happy to help as soon as he could confirm their intentions and desires.

Further reconnaissance of the fort identified an overhanging cliff face roughly 30 feet over the western walls of the fort and a group of rotting trees, apparently the last in the area, to the south of the fort. After extensive planning and food poisoning, the party opted for a nighttime surprise attack on the fort.

Telesphorus teleported himself and Theren to the roof of the keep, attempting to gather intelligence on the inhabitants. Appearing quietly, they noticed a group of a dozen soldiers being fed from a cookfire and what appeared to be an altar or platform with much equipment stacked on it. Flashing back they coordinated the attack plans with the rest of the party.

Baldwin headed towards the south to use his strength to push the rotted trees into the fort walls while the remainder of the party scaled the cliff to the south to launch an attack from there.

Using silk cordage from Baldwin’s supplies, Theren created a rope line for Ashlynne to the wall while Telesphorus teleported them to the wall walkway. Ashlynne grabbed the feet of a passing guard, throwing him to his death while Baldwin dropped a massive tree on the southern walls of the fort, creating a gangplank for the dragonborn to assault the fort. Rushing a guard Baldwin threw him from the walkway and chopped through the retaining line on the tower, causing it to tumble.

Nearly simultaneously, Telesphorus? cut the northwest tower cable, causing it to fall but also causing the wall to start falling apart underneath them.

This noise caused guards to flood from the keep but Theren and Ashlynne used area denial attacks to cause damage to these lackeys while they concentrated fire on the walls and approaching guards. Meanwhile, Baldwin rushed the southeast tower but was attacked by wolves and more guards. Defeating these he snuck through their line of fire and managed to cut the southeast tower loose with the help of their forest friend, causing more wall damage before he dropped down into the interior of the keep.

Sensing the wall crashing apart below them the party dashed, teleported and roped down the wall to the ground and began running to the east.

Baldwin, meanwhile hacked through the crude pikes blocking the entrance and freed the caged townmen who were very confused by the sudden appearance of a dragonborn. Baldwin then waved a torch to their forest ally who immediately joined the fight, taking down two wall guards with his arrows and informing them that his name was Tally. He also turned the forest wolves to the party’s side.

A hacking, smashing, biting fight ensued while the rest of the party made their way to the front of the fort to support their new human allies and Baldwin.

Tally proved helpful and was able to scale walls quickly using his grappling hook and quick speeds. The battle seemed in hand until the appearance of a tower of fire and smoke.

The towering inferno killed friend and foe alike until Telesphorus was able to break through the mind domination and reveal that it was actually a powerful con artist using a psyranthus shard to dominate and control minds. The enemy was identified as Malrien, a female who utilized two crystalline daggers and incredible speed to battle the party.

Quickly her strengths were shown as the party found themselves literally unable and unwilling to attack Malrien as she appeared as a pitiful groundling to them, hardly worthy of an arrow or blade edge.

She appeared to dash in and out of the battle using her ability to dominate hearts and minds to kill off many of the friendly wolves and townmen and began sneaking close to attack the party. It wasn’t until she openly attacked the party were they able to take the offensive against her. The party chased her into the keep, cornering her and blocking her exits using area denial spells and attacks. She was eventually vanquished and the remaining guards were mopped up by Ashlynne and Tally.

Tally joined up with the party and began filling them in on their current situation.
Malrien was merely a henchwoman of a greater controller, Horoveth.
Horoveth has taken up residence in the far mountains as it is the only source of the psionic crystal, psyranthium.
Using pysranthium-enhanced Third Eye Dominate, he is able to control males of the nearby town of Priam and uses them in his mines.
Tally has a brother who is in Horoveth’s inner circle and who is aiding the resistance.
Quartznium is a sister mineral to psyranthium and capable of destroying it if forged into weapons
There is a smith in the foothills capable of forging quartznium weapons but he is very difficult to deal with and notoriously anti-social
The people of Priam’s village absorb psyranthium through their food and water and so have mild telekinetic powers. They use these to herd reindeer and keep wolves at bay. Priam himself is an older man and has a lifetime of psyranthium in his system so he essentially has Jedi powers.
Use of psyranthus crystals causes on-going damage and will eventually kill you or age you extremely quickly unless you are immune or use spells against it’s effects.

The party found quartznium, mining equipment and RANDOM LOOT.

The party was given a cloth insignia to identify themselves as part of the rebellion.

Tally has taken 5 of the townsmen with him and will train them as fighters. The remaining 15 men returned to Priam’s town to defend their village.

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