Read all the Kith’takharos Campaign session recaps here.
Kith’takharos slowly recovers from the poacher attack. Those who fell will not be soon forgotten. All of Kith’takharos attends the funerals, especially the moving service for Koran Thelig, where a burning skiff holding his body is pushed out onto the Big Water.
Dorian Orsova survived, as did Xanthus Bome. Patch was deactivated and Zzhastor Brune does not know whether the construct can be revived.
Despite the sorrow, Kith’takharos experiences a singular peace. The poachers are no longer a threat and the Swamp Man tribes remain subdued under the leadership of the surviving Harlass Orn. Perhaps the Swamp no longer needs heroes. The group discusses how they will track down Jory Strong’s sister; Huygens Tierney once claimed that she is being held by elves in the Eastern Frontier.
A few days after Tierney’s assault, Lady Salmissra invites the group for a private dinner in Kith’takharos Keep. She explains that Christophe Moreau’s parents died when he was a child; his father was executed as a poacher although the boy’s mother insisted her husband had been wrongly accused. Lady Salmissra’s mother looked after Christophe, sending him to Port Lissup for an education, and the lad never gave any indication that he might harbor ill feelings toward Kith’takharos. Who could have predicted such a confluence of talent and malevolence?
In appreciation of their deeds, Lady Salmissra offers each member of the group a boon. If there is something they desire that is within her power to grant, they need but ask. Ironbeard requests an aetherogenic pocket. Jory asks for a position with the Order of the Jade Leaf. Gabrielle wants a pardon for the poacher Travan; she will use this as leverage to gain additional information about Jory’s sister. Bron hints that Lady Salmissra might have something in particular to offer, although he is willing to accept magical augmentation of his healing abilities. Cheyl does not attend the dinner.
Meryl Dunestal puts out feelers for Travan. Within a week one of the few surviving poachers comes to town and sets up a meeting with Travan north of Kith’takharos. The poacher leader tells all he knows of Elizabeth Strong in return for the pardon. He also sells Ironbeard the magical item that allowed him to jump from the Teleportation Tower and survive.
The group prepares for a journey to the Eastern Frontier. Meryl offers a ride on Transit Guild skiffs to a Transit Guild riverboat heading to Port Lissup. At Port Lissup they are directed to Captain Joseph Crane, who owns a paddle wheel boat named Jak’s Surprise. Crane makes regular trips to the Trading Post at the edge of the frontier.
Captain Crane recognizes Jory. Before moving to Kith’takharos with his late sister Sasha, Jory fought bare-knuckle boxing matches on riverboats. Crane offers free passage to the Trading Post if Jory will come out of retirement for one more fight; Jory has such a reputation that the fight will bring in a lot of money for Crane. Jory agrees, but Cheyl and Ironbeard also want to fight.
The fights take place on the second day of a three day journey. In the first match, Cheyl faces off against Arlene the Amazon and defeats her after a three round see-saw battle. Next, Ironbeard goes up against Talan the Swamp Man. Ironbeard had conspired with a shady gambler to throw the bout, and took a drug that would render him unconscious sometime after the first round; Talan brutalizes him before the drug can take effect. In the marquee match, Jory fights the huge Skullcrusher. Yet Jory lands a stunning blow and knocks out his massive foe in the first few seconds of the first round.
Jak’s Surprise docks at the Trading Post the next day. The small wooden fort has been built on a small lake, within the shadow of a two hundred foot tall cliff bisected by a thundering waterfall. The land above the cliff is known as the Eastern Frontier. The group meets many people at the Trading Post, including its most prominent citizen, Hammerhead Jak Vogron. They learn that there is indeed an elven village in the frontier, and that the elves are generally not friendly.
The group needs a guide to reach the eleven village. The merchant Gimpy Strothers agrees to supply a guide for a price. The guide will lead them to the Grandfather Tree, the largest tree on the frontier and roughly the halfway point between the Trading Post and the elven village. The tree is rumored to be magical and sacred to the elves. After that, travel is just too dangerous for any amount of pay.
Gimpy ferries the group across the lake on a raft, and they climb a stone stairway to the top of the cliff. Their young guide Arthur leads them into the dense forest. For the next two days they subsist on game and wild plants harvested by Arthur. On the third day, Ironbeard grows uneasy, feeling that Arthur is not heading in quite the right direction. The dwarf climbs a tree to prove his point.
After some harsh questioning, Arthur breaks down and claims that a elf girl told him the group would come to the Trading Post, but that he did not intentionally lead them astray. The elf resembles their former comrade Mala, who was possessed by the Veilwalker Dreamseeker many months ago. It also seems clear that the Dreamseeker influenced Arthur to divert the group from their true goal and that the lad is not at fault. He is eventually set free and the group continues alone.
Late on the third day they reach the Grandfather Tree, which has a trunk at least twenty feet in diameter and a height of over four hundred feet. A voice calls out from the forest, and proclaims itself the elf war leader Kyquin. He makes it plain that the group is surrounded and should carefully consider their next actions.
Perhaps surprising given the group’s violent past, they assume a conciliatory posture and talk peaceably with Kyquin. Once the elf learns of their mission, he readily agrees to take them to Jory’s sister. It has been a long time since Kyquin met outsiders who had no interest in desecrating sacred sites and appropriating elven treasures.
Kyquin moves deeper into elven lands, following no obvious trail yet clearly aware of his position at all times. Within a few hours he stops at a ring of seven large trees. Kyquin directs Jory to step into the ring. Soon Jory hears a whispering wind speaking in his sister’s voice and he learns the tale of Elizabeth’s “death”. She was exploring a place called Mersah Matruh with her husband and other companions; the others died and she fled with her injured husband, half carrying him into elven lands. He died, and she eventually succumbed to insidious magical injuries. The only choice for life was to infuse her spirit into the magical trees.
While Jory feels a great sadness, he is also happy to know that his sister’s spirit lives. It seems that his concern for his sister has impressed Kyquin. Perhaps the group has found an ally.
I originally intended this to be the last session of the campaign. In fact, it would be only the second campaign in thirty years as a GM that I could actually consider completed. But the players have an interest in learning about Mersah Matruh. We will take a few months off Kith’takharos to pursue other campaigns as other group members take over the GM duties. At that time, this may no longer be the Kith’takharos Campaign, but the Eastern Frontier Campaign.