Dorset Style - 06. Kingmaker

10th december

Ante room, two ghosts in here. More ghosts arrive, we fight them all.

We search these rooms. Its servants quarters.There’s a well in the kitchen with diseased looking dead rats around it, no water in it, a pantry with no food, and a room used for growing herbs and spices. In the herb room there are stairs downward into what is probably a cellar. There’s bits of equipment about the place generally.

We go down into the cellar and run into the hag we met before. We win. She’s got some odds and ends of magical stuff.

Upstairs and onward to the first floor. The Great Hall. There is a pair of wyverns here, slightly different to standard. Statues look like the same woman we keep seeing, and the sword they’re holding all look like Briar. We win.

we go through a secret door into what looks like servants quarters, no-one in there. We turn around and go back. We try the northern wing. There are stairs up. |We explore the corridor first. Nicer rooms along here. Guest rooms, dusty and unused but ready to receive guests. Final room has a spiral staircase going up. We go look. Eeek, there are Devourers, a type of undead. 3 of them. Ability to energy drain.Can devour your soul if they touch you, killing you outright. Spell deflection on certain spells. Dark vision. At will they can do many different spells including spectral hands and vampiric touch. We win, there’s a trap door into a room above.

Zomok, tree step, can put out fires, vulnerable to fire, can make oak trees its protector, its a draconic plant. It basically has a nest up there. Its a guardian, second in command to the Jabberwock, we try to persuade it not to fight but it says it will unless we leave. We say we will leave the room, and it says to let it know if we are in the courtyard leaving. Then it vanishes and reappears out of a tree int he courtyard.

We sneak up some more stairs to have a look whats up there. Its completely destroyed, still within the building but have had a lot of damage and destruction (not disrepair). No-one seems to have done anything about it, tangle of rubble and stones, vines and plants, destroyed statues of all sorts of creatures strewn about the place.

Someone is spellcasting in a room down the corridor. Its a medusa, but not the standard appearance for a medusa, something has happened to her to make her unique, shes been made more lizardlike, has more scales teeth and claws, scales are colours of the rainbow (orange and green), also has an almost ethereal beauty about her, green natural side of things, she also very stonelike, they have a petrifying gaze, her extra aspects are a bit like the ones Rena has, or the grumpy old hag who isn;t evil. We manage to kill her without getting turned to stone.

We check the rest of the rooms, then move on to door to west, Cade senses there are at least 3 creatures within.

We run into 3 giant flytraps. First world versions. Plant, not sentient, not susceptible to paralysis, sleep, etc, good at grabbing things and digesting them, can feel people coming for quite some distance. Digestive juices very acidic, may have some acid resistance. Room is full of vines etc and there’s a rippling pool of water at the centre. We kill the plants. The pool is magical. Cade & Rena invesigate it. It’s a portal, you need to stand in the pool and think of a specific image – one of 4 portals that go to a location, once activated it will take the activator + 5 others who are in contact with them to the location. We get 4 images. It goes to an extra dimensional space but on this place. Person who last used it is maniacal, insane, and scared. Other portals are tallest tree in courtyard, throne, a bed. Each linked to a different part of the space. To activate tree flying as a crow through endless forest, bed caressing or embracing lover, pool lying on back facing sun, throne speaking in front of crowd. We touch and activate. As we go through we see a filed that goes on forever in every direction with a very high sky, but we break through the illusion. Its actually a small room. We go back as theres nothing there. We go check the room to the south. Its a lab/library, there are notes here about what she was trying to do with the Stolen Lands, there’s a magic tome, we take both. The tome has a strong universal aura about it, a study book for strength (+3). We go look through the final door. Its ruined pretty much, dusty, had been a grand treasury at some point. Few bits of treasure here. Magical rapier, scroll, dented magical helmet. We go through the floor into a closet with fancy clothes in it, its obviously in use regularly. There are people on this floor. We find a defaced nymph. Her eyes have been plucked out and she is crying blood, but no sound of crying.

She attacks us with weird shit. She’s been hurt and twisted and tortured, completely mad, hates herself. Will inflict pain on helpless victims. There are more of them.

We run away. We get to the throne room and use the portal, find Nyrissa and kill her. The dimensional room is collapsing, her body goes up in black lightning, we grab her toys and vanish. Gale whips through the Castle of Knives, we teleport away to a safe distance to watch. Mass heal to fix us up. We try and regenerate the nymphs. Once she’s dead they dont seem to be guarding anything, they’re still suicidal, Rena restores their sight etc and takes away the pain, they’re cured of their insanity. They suppress their abilities now, we round them up and take them to other fey to try and help them. They will tell us that since the uprooting of the Thousand Breaths, she was getting confused at regular intervals, and was fatigued, also that she could watch us anywhere in the castle.

9th december

On the gate to the house we face ghostly guards who are ethereal, look elven. Portcullis is closed, walls are smooth and shiny, 40 ft high, towers at the end, arrow slits in walls. We go into mist form and set off to the south, the ghosts watch us and follow us. We turn back to solid, while we do we spot a lesser jabberwock in the courtyard below, very powerful, type of dragon, first world fey creatures, linked to air and fire, different attacks depending on what type of world it came from, will have an immunity to a given type of damage, fear of vorpal weapons, they are quite frightening to be around, they can do whiffling, make winds wioth their wings, 30 ft radius, reduces effectiveness of ranged attacks, need to be quite strong to approach it to attack it. A door opens and a ghost comes through. The Jabberwock takes off and tries to rise toward us. We fight it and the ghosts. Eventually the jabberwock withdraws. We kill it on its way past, and the ghosts, then go down and investigate the stable, which has a dead horse in it, hanging its head over the stable door. It’s technically a phantom steed. It’s effectively a magic item. Stable when you open six doors there is a phantom steed caster level 20 in each stall for 20 hours. So we go back up into the tower and into the corridor.

Lost loads of notes.

3rd December 2017

We collapse the witch’s house, to be on the safe side.

We’re off to the black tower to find the troll. We head north and come to a clearing, which is dark overshadowed even though its daytime, ghastly yellow light illuminates it, light coming from heads on spikes around the edge of the clearing, as we get closer we see that some of the lips and eyelids are twitching and writhing in pain. Surrounding the black beehive structure in the centre, are a dozen large black feline creatures. As we approach the clearing they get ready to pounce, look like they will jump us as soon as we step in. The lantern really is a female human head, eyes have been gouged out, flesh isn;t pale enough to look like its been dead a long time, like just the head has been kept alive, mouth is jammed open to show the light from inside it. Don’t get the impression that this is a creature, its more like a magic item. Smilodons attack. We fight, at some point a misbegotten troll comes out of the black beehive and starts directing the cats. We win. The troll had a necklace with miniaturised pixies in cages that redirected any wounds to them, only one is still alive, it tells us the wiggly man captured it, and that he has captured the sister of a famous pixie, who is a friend of Pervilash, thinks she is probably in the House at The Edge of Time, It says the wiggly man is very very scary. Says there are stories that the wriggly man and Nerissa have been trapping fey for many many years, trapped physically and in their heads too, so they’re on her side. Tells us the lanterns are the misbegotten trolls former wives, its safe to touch them, we can bury them as well as the pixies. We use greater dispel magic on them then bury them.

2nd December session

We head for Pitax to rest up and

We still have to go through some trials, we have to find out where various creatures (including Nerissa) have come through. Cade is worried that the Roc is close to Littletown. Before we head out, we put forward who should be our successor if we die on the quest to destroy Nerissa.

Rena – Jayana
Cade – Terrion Numesti
Amina – Priestess of Erastil in Tatselford, Latricia Evanore

Rena casts Vision on the black dragon to find out its story. Female black dragon, notorious for several centuries for raiding river kingdoms and even Brevoy. Relocated to Thousand Breaths after a visit from Nerissa, was credited with removing a midnight black Roc from [somewhere] to Tallow’s Peak (the statue that is currently on Tallow’s Peak) – killed all dragonslayers who ever went after her. Must have seen some advantage to siding with Nerissa.

Rosa has vivid and painful nightmares overnight, it appears that the Roc is actually something called Nightmare Rook – creature of the first world, a colossal sized magical beast, able to inflict living nightmares on people (which can kill), can target multiple people in its area, can cause fear, to defeat the nightmares is to ignore them. Briar tells us we should be going and smiting it.

Rena thinks it likely that the troll will also not be a normal troll. Denizens of first world often have enhancements because of being first world, more powerful – bigger, stronger, physical differences like extra arms or tails, usually no 2 creatures are exactly alike.

Amina passes her journal to Jayana so that she knows everything we know about Nerissa and the first world.

Rena makes a speech, which the heralds record, to be spoken around the kingdom.
Explains all about Nerissa and her crimes, and her attempt to destroy our world by merging it with hers. He explains that we 6 foiled her great plot, however she now roams Sancturary with her own cohorts and sends maddening dreams to people that can kill them. So we 6 are going to face her, we will succeed, United Kingdoms of Sanctuary will survive and continue, but if one of us should fall, it is a price we are willing to pay, we have nominated successors, the Queen and heir will rule in Rena’s stead should he fall, he exhorts everyone to look out for each other and stay safe while the threat still looms over us, be on high alert while the kingdom faces this, please pray to your gods to help us in our fight. We are all one kingdom, all one great family, standing united against this mad queen, regardless of race. Iomedae, Erastil, give us strength….

Messengers are all very serious and stern faced and totally believe what Rena has told them and will convince others to the best of their ability.

We fly north.

We suspect the Nightmare Rook is in [B8] area, so we head there. Takes us about an hour. We can see from some distance away, there is a mile wide clearing in the forest, looks new, something has happened to clear it, shattered the forest canopy, in the middle of clearing is are jagged hills and thorny plains (this is clearly recent), single stone spire in the middle of it and on it is a large, motionless crow. We approach in air form, we look like mist, it turns its head and starts to watch us as we move towards it, from quite a distance away.

Once we are within 100 yards inside clearing, it shrieks, spreads its wings, flies from perch and swoops towards us, 80 ft speed, and we fight it. we win. We go check on its nest. Nothing in it.

We are now looking for the mire, for the thing with the tentacles. We head west. We see a patch of trees where it’s more like a fen. Trees look sick, some have very vibrant algae on them, some look old and some not so old. Water is algae covered and there are red dots whirling in the water. 6 gargantuan sized worm things in there. Mire worms, fey version. Poisonous, they like to swallow people whole, if they bite they will grab you, they have tremor sense. we beat them.

So the next job is to look at the ‘town’. Narrow clearing surrounded by very broad trees. Centre of clearing is two dozen or so houses tangled together to form one house, smoke from chimney, tangled thorns fence surrounds it. Movement in front of the garden. 3 Creatures tending garden, tusks, third arm. Atachs. Type of giant, extra arm can attack as a swift action. Don’t mind the cold. Rena speaks to them and asks who’s in charge, they say the knurly witch, he asks if she’s in, one of them says he will go and get her and comes back with a person. Amina and some of the others recognise her as an annis hag, monstrous large humanoid, large, generally not considered very nice. She has a holy symbol round her neck, Gyronna. She says that all creatures that were in the realm were controlled by Nerissa except the waterfall and the owlbears. She says Nerissa has lots of ghosts, the wriggling man, wyverns, a medusa, devourers,

Rena says she’s under arrest for the worship of Gyronna which is illegal in Sanctuary.

We fight her and she word of recalls, we search the house and can’t find her, but we do find a shrine to Gyronna, which we destroy.

There’s still those giants in the garden. So out we go. We win.

2nd Gozran 4715
​Entering Thousandbreaths


The First World is a difficult place to reach, and mortal magic can be untrustworthy in providing a means of travel there. Plane shift does not normally allow travel to the First World, although it functions fine when used to travel to other planes from the First World. Gate is the only mortal magic capable of providing a guaranteed link to the First World, and even then the points at which a gate opens into the First World are subject to the whims of the rulers of whatever lands the gate leads to—a gate opened to Thousandbreaths always opens to the Byway. Yet a fixed portal does exist that links Thousandbreaths and the First World

Aware of the thinning of the realms and the link of the thousandbreath and the thousand voices the group find the Castle of Knives in Thousand Voices. As the blooms begin it starts to function as a portal to the First World.

The Castle of Knives is little more than a crumbled ruin today, hidden away deep in Thousand Voices near the central Branthlend Mountains. Once the blooms begin, though, a remarkable transformation takes place — the castle seems to appear as it did long ago, a strange structure of sharp towers and confusing architecture of dozens of colors that seem strangely too vibrant for the surroundings. The entire castle is surrounded by a wrought iron fence that contains a single gate f lanked by statues of beautiful women. This gate does not normally permit non-natives of Thousandbreaths to pass, but the presence of at least three different trophies gathered from blooms is enough to trick the portal and allow those who carry enough trophies to pass in and out. THE use of Use Magic Device also allowed them to trick the portal into allowing any creature to pass through it for a minute per successful check.​

Watchers on the Whirling Shore


The forest clears, and a broad lake of dark water fills the majority of the resulting glen, leaving a fifteen-foot-wide path around the lake’s edge. Dozens of black swans glide along the lake’s surface, apparently unimpressed by the immense but strangely silent whirlpool that churns at the lake’s center. Along the forest edge, many of the trees seem to be dying or dead, their twisted branches drooping and their trunks scarred with disease and burns.​

The Fruiting Orchard


​A thirty-foot-high brick wall encircles a large clearing in the woods—within, the riot of growth continues, but as a tangle of mushrooms and fungus rather than actual leafy plants. Bulbs of brightly colored fruits the size of a man’s head hang from or grow on the trunks of many of the mushrooms— many of these bulbs twitch and pulse as if something within were attempting to escape.​

​This noxious orchard is where Nyrissa allows the “children of Thousandbreaths” to dwell— hundreds of thousands of tiny little mandragoras. The bulbous “fruits” on the mushrooms are in fact growing mandragoras nearing “birth.” A solid blow to such a hanging fruit causes it to burst and shriek like a newborn baby as it disgorges its malformed contents onto the thick, moldy soil below.​​

​Thousands of tiny mandragoras swarm up into a mound, quickly building their mass up and spreading their malleable bodies apart and together to form a single 35-foot-tall mandragora; an impressive trick they do quickly as soon as any threat is presented. ​

The Shunned Falls


​A waterfall cascades between two immense stone hands carved from the peak of a stony cliff, tumbling into a large pool in this two-hundred-foot diameter forest glade. The pool is crystal clear, its shores thick with reeds and water-flowers of dazzling hue. A number of great trees hang over this pool as though trying to protect it from something above. Several large leaves the size of small boats float near the pool’s shore.​

A mated pair of what serve in the First World as predators dwell in this glade — flying owlbears.

The Frozen Boneyard

​Snow falls steadily in this forest glade, which appears to be an ominously oversized graveyard. Dozens of ten-foot-tall headstones rise from the snow, with what must be driftburied paths winding through the graveyard where no stones loom. An old tower leans precariously against the supportive branches of several trees at one end of the glade, while an immense marble vault looms at the other, at the edge of a frozen lake.​

​The temperature in this glade is rather frigid, functioning as extreme cold.

The four-armed frost giant barbarian Kargstaad and his six giant followers dwell here, eternally provided for by the glade when it comes to hunting for food or water.

1st Gozran 4715
Day 1: The Whirling Lake

The whirlpool that appears in the lake is 500 feet across and reaches all the way down to the bottom of the lake, where the vortex is only 50 feet across, leaving a circular area of the lakebed exposed to the air. The water in the vortex doesn’t “drain” anywhere, but it does continue to churn nonstop.

Eerie, silent black swans seem to congregate in the waters surrounding the whirlpool; as they’re drawn into the vortex, they fly up into the air and settle down back in the water some distance away only to slowly drift back into the whirlpool over time. The swans are ill-tempered, but otherwise normal.

The elementals ignore the swans and any animals of that size or smaller, but quickly move to attack other creatures that approach the vortex, splitting off of the whirlpool in their own vortex shapes and assuming their natural forms to attack as soon as they take any damage. In their natural forms, these water elementals look like immense swans of dark water.

When all four elder water elementals were slain, the central vortex immediately collapses in on itself as the bloom vanishes. The resulting geyser of water calms quickly, and all of the black swans die and bob to the surface.​

11 November

We do some diplomacy with the Brevoy noble houses to see who they would back to take over from Surtova other than themselves.

Seminus of Restov is second choice after Medev for House Garess, Orlovsky is third choice because they’re too conservative for their own good.

Lebedia: Medyed, second is Seminus of Restov, third is allying to Sanctuary.

Medvyed: not Sanctuary would not be good as it would cause kingdom breakup, Issian/Rostland divide is a problem. Anyone taking over would need to reduce the divide between them. First choice is Orlovsky, Medvyed, Sanctuary (would make a common enemy!)

Orlovsky: Garess would not be good. Medyed first, Restov mayor second, Sanctuary third.

Restov are asked and they would prefer to be independent, please! Would support Issia and Rostland becoming their own states. Least bad of the bunch is Medev. Sanctuary first, Medev. The head of the sword lords has a brother of marriageable age but he’s a bit neutral. The Mayor doesn’t have any suitable relatives.

We arrange to meet Lord Medvyed and his half sister Isabella (the one that has a blood claim to the throne). We invite them to come to us. We arrange teleport. She’s very plain. He’s quite ordinary too. They’re nicely but plainly dressed. She’s very understated. He shows his very physical lifestyle (hunting, feasting etc). She’s very ‘invisible’ – she’s a watcher, sits back, has a natural ability as a go between, puts people at ease, it’s all too easy to open up to her, she’s a listener. No strong feelings/opinions about her at all. Very neutral.

Rena asks her for her thoughts on current state of things in Brevoy. We can all safely agree current situation not sustainable. Kingdom that is holding breath, nervous, people are emigrating, they’re going to the fight at the World Wound, which she feels is wrong, we should be sending the best, not cannon fodder. She feels all economies will falter if all kingdoms are on a war footing. She feels there are ways through this, and there will be consequences for all of them. Best scenario would be form an alliance with Sanctuary to benefit both peoples. The people need stability but they are proud of their identity, but if an outside entity is involved, they will suddenly be proud to be Brevoyan. So Sanctuary is being used as a scapegoat.

Rena says he believes Surtova standing down would be the best thing for Brevoy, they are the single most divisive element in Brevoy. Restov wishes to be independent, which would be doable, even though he thinks would not get them what they want, it would leave them as a very small nation caught between 2 large nations. Rena wonders of an event could be held to allow the hotheads in a Restov to compete and duel and realise that they’re not as good as they think they are. She says the young ones like to go to Mivon and have a go at a competition, but often can’t afford it. Perhaps something could be arranged for the Aldori sword lords? That would get the hotheads out of the way. But then we come to politics. Getting Natalia out of the way would be an issue. Even if we could get them to step down, she would probably disappear and turn up later with Numerian warlords. Unless we could prove she had committed any crimes. Apparently she has fallen in love with a woman, which is a crime in Brevoy. Best marriage she can think of would be a promise for the future. House Orlovsky’s ruler has a grandson, Nikolai, who is 10, Orlovsky are not considered as great leaders, too conservative, this would give a connection for the future. They have support and loyalty and blood ties to the actual dragonscale throne itself as they were closest allies to lost house Rogarvia, if we want to stay traditional, that would help. Or, marry the head of the house of to someone (he’s a widower in his 40s). Best to marry them to someone in Medvyed. Rena tells her about what the other houses said about Medvyed being a good choice (to greater or lesser degrees).

She suggests marrying Alana Lebeda into Restov (one of the sword lords), need a link to Orlovsky with Lebeda too. She suggest marrying the children off, and put Selimus Lord Mayor of Restov in as regent for 6 years. He would teach them how to run things. Alliances through marriage between Orlovsky, Medvyed, and Lebeda. Garess is always going to be a problem because their heir is a dwarf and that doesn’t sit well with the people, and they are poor (although that should change now thanks to us). There is a prophecy that says dwarves will make moves to take over land.

Rena suggests bringing the 5 houses together to talk here. We will arrange it for a month’s time and arrange by teleport, and it must be kept completely quiet or Surtova will start arresting people.

Rena talks to the young heir to house Lebeda, who wants to go adventuring and thinks his sister would love to be the heir. Rena says he can abdicate and name someone else as heir. Or continue and eventually become leader, or he can marry his sister off to an ally (e.g. a sword lord). Or abdicate in favour of Rena and put his sister in as regent, then set her to work trying to change the laws of Brevoy so that women can inherit/rule. Rosa and the boy go to talk to Alana, then bring her back. Rena talks to her about our ideas. She suggests she could marry the Lord Mayor. She has various ideas how we could make things work. She says that Natalia has made people disappear, but she has no proof.

The plan is to marry the mother off to the Lord Mayor of Restov, and then look to having them adopt an Aldori Sword Lord as heir to their family, then brother can abdicate, she can marry the sword lord (she’s already in a relationship with one that she quite likes and can control).

Next meeting is patriarch of House Garess. More teleporting and sneaky meetings. Hard to get him alone without his heir. There’s always someone keeping an eye on him. Manage it eventually. Rena asks why he made the dwarf his heir. Basically because he was there for him when their two families disappeared. The clan of the Stonefists, although the boy is not one of them, it made a difference in relations with them. They have a claim on lands in Garess. Also in Stolen Lands there’s an old dwarven stronghold in southern greenbelt – the troll fort. They’re probably not our kind of people though. Some of them are ok, but there are extremists who will murder etc to get what they want.

So, the meeting of the rebels – Restov, Lebeda, Orlovsky and Medvyed (Garess stay out of it till its all over) – agree it needs to be done slowly, planned over months, so as not to disturb the people unduly. Need a reason to arrest them – disappearances, murder of political opponents perhaps? Evidence for this. So that we can put them on trial – preferably according to their own laws, but we can get round it if its something the populace will find evil.

We need to send out spies etc to find evidence, then get a high ranking official of a neutral church e.g. Abadar to actually run the trial. So the noble houses do the arresting, but e.g. Abadar does the prosecuting. Assuming they’re found guilty, we assemble the council of noble houses plus Restov, and they need to chose the new king, so that needs to happen quickly. Rena advises they agree amongst themselves well beforehand so that when the day comes, they can act decisively. Rena says that as a noble house, Medvyed was most favoured, followed by Lord Selimus of Brevoy. Rena tells them a suggestion has been made (bit awkward), but could work to stablise things and could be a good thing, youngster of house Medvyed and Orlovsky should marry, with a nominated regent and protector in the meantime., which Rena suggests should be Lord Selimus.

1st Gosran 4015, Rena wakes from a nightmare in the early hours of the morning. Feels thirsty and sickened. He casts Prognostication. Now is the time of change, but you will become one, or one will disappear. It starts before the full moon, it will end before the next.

Eep, next full moon is Saturday. Sends messages that we should gather at Littletown. By lunchtime, one of us hears theres a problem. Messenger comes to Amina, people and fish dying at Lake Hooktongue, theres a whirlpool and black swans. Amina sends her bird to Cade, and Rosa sets up mass telepathy. Day one we lose the hex in the Lake. Rosa and Cade teleport and round everyone up. We go to Freehold. There is a commotion at the docks in Freehold. Number of fishermen brought back who have going blind and are very ill.

Rena tells us the merging of the realms has begin now and will be completed by the end of the following full moon, so we have just over a month to stop it. We windwalk out to the lake to investigate, Cade has also cast Getaway. Hex L6 the whole area feels odd, it’s changed, this is the cause of Rena’s bad dream, he somehow got a warning. 500 ft across whirlpool, 50ft at bottom, it churns non stop. Would be hard to swim in that. Eerily quiet black swans keep being drawn into pool and keep flying out and then get caught in again, rinse and repeat. Amina sees 4 shapes in the water, she thinks they are corrupted elder water elementals. Cade is sure this is a planar breach, not stable enough to allow creatures of the first world through, but we are connected. We think there will be an object that if we break it, it will break the connection. The black swans are just swans. Planar breaches would take a massive amount of ritual to do, its beyond our capability. Its very rare they happen, something will be holding it in place, once that is destroyed, there will be a ‘bloom’ that remains. If it’s not stopped, it will spread – a hex per day.

We go solid and cast fly so we can interact with the elementals, we think we should get rid of them. We fight them and beat them. As Amina strikes the last blow on the last elemental, the central vortex collapses in on itself and the bad feeling disappears, all the black swans are killed, but afterwards there is only one black swan carcass. That swan is surrounded in green light and there is a sort of high pitched keening sound like a wounded rabbit or deer, energy is weird and disturbing. We try to detect magic on it, the bloom itself has vanished, but the swan corpse remains as an anchor with a sort of connection to the first world, like a key to open a portal, it will take time to fade, at a guess, 3 months. It would need something more than just this to open a portal. SO we take the swan with us. Rena casts Gentle Repose on it and puts it in a bag. The sword Briar has changed metal type, and is now a cold iron sword.

We check the lake to see if Hooktongue had woken up. Amina goes swimming to have a look, there’s a gargantuan sized creature on the bottom, its embedded in the silt etc, but its moved a bit recently, it’s not awake but its more alert.

We pick up supplies ready to head to Thousand Voices, and then go over to Littletown to see how its doing. It seems to be recovering a bit. We go on towards Thousand Voices where we know the Shallowing is. Wood got its name before humanity came to the region. On the other side is a deadly hideous wood realm of Nerissia. We fly in. There is supposed to be a connection. Book published more than 4 decades ago in Pitax. Count’s last mistress, several glades connected by rivers and paths. She lives in the House at the Edge of Time. Glades function as foundation of her realm – without them, her rule would weaken. Anyone who enters always appears at the iron gates. Even if you portal, that’s where you land. Gate normally does not let non natives enter – presence of at least 3 different trophies may disguise this e.g. the swan. Thousand Breaths is in eternal twilight, always sunset. Time passes normally though. Each of trophies is connected to a glade, that may give us an advantage in that glade. Zudigger showed all symptoms of a living nightmare that continued after he returned. Nerissia controls the realm, it doesn’t follow normal rules, limit to how high you can fly, and how low you can swim, paths are not measured in distances, its random how long it takes. Travel through woods difficult off paths and rivers, walls of thorns that cannot be dispelled. Swords that statues at gate hold look like Briar.

We go back to Littletown and Cade calls an Archon. WE ask if a rift will open, yes, within 2 weeks, but not yet clear where. Would it be advantageous to explore the Shallowing before the next rift opens? – we can find gate but won;t be able to explore. Will the keys required to open the gate only appear at the rift? Yes. Is there anything we can do to thwart N’s plans before gaining entry to her realm? No. Would going to the first world before 1000 Breaths be advantageous? Unlikely. Will Hooktongue wake up in the next month? Not unless you poke it. Will any of council we spoke to about future of Brevoy betray plans? Maybe. Isabella Medvyed is the maybe.

We go back to the Shallowing to look for the gate. Hidden deep in woodlands in this area, its changed since we travelled through, its strangely vibrant, and there is a castle now, sharp towers and confusing architecture, colours too vibrant, wrought iron fence with single gate surrounded by statues of beautiful women. We trick the gate into opening. We are at the Byway.

We are going to try and follow the story, we think. We hear voices, source of the region’s name, disembodied voices, helplessness, crying, howls, cries, every now and then we hear someone close to us calling out, pain and agony of people we have travelled with in the past like Lehava, forest is dark, difficulty illuminating very little of the path ahead, strange lights dance in the sky. We walk for an hour towards the glade, we are interupted. On grassy trail littered with statues of curious creatures once human ior animal, parts of people woven into trees, some speaking nonsense. Forest clears, lake with a 15 foot path round, swans on lake, whirlpool, trees round edge damaged or dying scarred burned diseased, we get jumped by some very stealthy tree ents. Very advanced lightning tree ents, they cast lightning spells, and they are immune from electricity. They quire resistant to damage unless its slashing. We defeat them, and we feel a shudder, as if the glade is trying to uproot itself. It doesn;t, but it feels like there is a greater chance of it doing so.

We travel on north towards the mushroom garden. All the rivers flow away from the top of the map towards the lake we were just at. 3 hours to the next place. Narrow path only 10 foot wide. -2 on attack rolls and dex based check rolls while on this path.

Next up, the fruiting orgchard. 30ft high wall surrounds a garden of mushrooms and fungi, with fruit that twitch and pulse as if something inside is trying to escape. We try to sneak through quietly. The fruits are mandragoras. A load burst forth, they form up into an immense mandragora instead of a swarm. Plants, need light, vulnerable to dark, poisonous. And they appear to have regen.We win, There is a minor shudder but no real change.

1 hour to get to the waterfall from two stone hands. Trees hang over pool. No obvious guardian at first. Then two creatures, quite big, with wings and fur. Owlbears. This place seems calmer and less shrieky than everywhere else we have been. We manage to get one owlbear for the taxidermist. Not sure how we’re going to get it home, probably have to come back for it later. We think these were pets, not guardians, as there’s no shudder when they die.

It takes an hour to get to the frozen graveyard. 10 ft tall headstones. Old tower leans against trees at one end, marble vault at other end near a frozen lake. Temperature is extreme cold. 6 frost giants (4 arms each). We have a summoned triceratops helping us.

We win. There is a shudder again. It’s a big one, we feel like the creepiness of the place is slamming into some other existence. Sound of a thousand screams. The realm collides and we are momentarily dizzy, and we find ourselves in the forest. In the glade in the thousand breaths. We are in the thousand voices forest in a normal glade, but bodies of giants etc have been transported through with us. Rena gets the feeling that we have just done to her what she wanted to do to us. We’ve torn part of her world out into ours. Rena thinks she is now here in the forest with us.

We hear a huge dragon roar. Guess that means its here with us too. Oh boy. We think the dragon is in B7, and we landed in B9. We are coming towards a glade where there is now a badly damaged and falling apart ruins, its combined with them, a mound that was probably a high tower of white stone, whole area is littered with lifelike statues, linnorms, tree ents, giant worm things, some are covered in moss etc, some not, arranged in neat rows. Sitting on the tower ruins, huge black dragon, sleeping. One eye opens and watches us approach. Dragon is casting mage armour. She casts another spell, Cade casts a fireball. We fight and we win. Hoem for a rest before we try to take anything else on.

We work out what has come through where. Go look for owlbear corpses.

29th October

We discuss whether to let the Rushlight festival go ahead, Irrevetti having announced that the prize for the winner is the Rod of Lordly Might. This is currently packed away with other stuff to go to the festival. It’s up to us what we want to do. It’s a good 6 weeks away, so parties probably having been sent out yet by the other Lords. Doubtless they will be sending envoys to find out whether it’s going ahead. So yes, we’re going ahead, and we’ll enter.

There are some pirates we need to deal with before then.

Also we need to get the stallions back to windchaser so he knows what’s going on and whether he can trust us.

We need to deal with Mivon.

Carnivorous trees need dealing with. There’s also a bunch of thieves guild people camped out. The weretigress was their captain, she’s now dead.

There’s also the business with the sleeping creature called Hooktongue which is probably an ancient water wyrm.

We need a chat with the Mivon envoy chappy. We meet him in the pub. He gets us drinks. He tells us he’s here for his own safety and that of his loved ones. He’s effectively in exile. Rena tells him honestly what we’re thinking. He comments that Selline is getting on a bit, he’s still mayor because Tellick defers to him, nobody can beat him. Tellick is protecting him while he learns everything he can from him, and will probably take over once he’s finished learning. Rena proposes bringing his family here to protect them, and then we would sponsor him to challenge the Mayor. He’s to let us know what he needs. He will organise getting the people he wants to rescue together in one place so we can go and get them.

Sarain would like to be independent and not have a constant war between Mivon and Pitax over who controls them.

We’re going try and find the Cat’s Paw camp and try to recruit them as a rogue army for us. We go Air Walk and find the camp. It’s in G9.

G7 is where the Pitax army is that needs disbanding. Word sent to do this.

E6 is the location of the Tusker Riders.

So we walk into Cats Paw camp. Rena uses Clarion Call to tell them we just want to talk, and that we have already defeated their leader, Alyson the weretigress. Slowly one person comes to the front, clearly scared. Get impression they’re taking visual clues from someone else. We can spot someone in crowd, sort of hidden in the crowd, that the ‘spokesperson’ keeps looking at. Everyone around them is very uneasy. There are snipers around with stuff trained on us. The spokesman tells us he is the war leader, but can;t speak for everyone. The chief torturer is the guy in the crowd. Speaker not sure whose orders the snipers are following. Rena makes the offer to them. Speaker says that they will need to make the decision as a group. Emphasises their loyalty to each other. Asks about pay. Rena says yes, if they become an army for Sanctuary. Says it’s unlikely the chief torturer will be welcome. Lots of others look like they may be of the same mind as him. We look around at them trying to gauge how many of them there are. Around 500!? (Huge army of humans, snipers, masterwork weapons, magic armour – very scary bunch). Going to be hard work shifting this group’s attitude. However they agree to do it. We need to put someone strong in charge of them, as they will need a strong general. Terrion Numesti, possibly?

We’re off to see the giants on mastodons, and pick a fight. There are 50 of them. We wait for them to stop so we don;t have to attack while they’re mounted. We go invisible and Zone of Silence, buff, and then surprise them. We take out their handsome leader early on. Its a long fight but eventually we kill most of them, and then chase down the badly injured ones that ran away. We talk to the mastoodons and let them know that Hillstomper is waiting to welcome them back, and those that weren’t from his herd should go too.

Eliste Strocalle of Darkwind Trade House, lots of people suspect she’s a bad ’un, but no actual witnesses prepared to come forward.

Xapiri Yasmina has more or less forced the Cattenei family to give her the controlling interest in the trading house, she could ruin them. Nothing provable. Very mysterious, nothing known about her.

The drug dealer has gone underground.

The theatre is putting on much better quality performances now.

There are two towers, the Tower of the Fallen – they used to bury people on the hill but it attracted ghouls, so they created underground sepulchres; and the Lighthouse which was damaged by pirates and left to rot, people think the drug dealer had been using it recently as his lab. Sewers need repairing and clearing as well. Irreveti had neglected a lot of things during his reign.

Thinking of sending the cohorts into the mountains and pay adventurers to explore the rest of the unexplored territory here.

Cade uses abilities to look at Yasmina to see if she is what she appears. She is disguised and has used some illusion to help. She has branding that suggests she is or was a Chelaxian slave, and a Tiefling.

Evindra has taken up residence in Pitax when she’s not following us and the sword around. Spending a lot of time in The Crow’s Feather, which is very expensive and not very good, but strangely is doing very well. It seems the landlord has lots of books, but if you want to read them, you have to buy the food and drink. He’s got a lot of old history books, and wizard stuff.

We go see Dr to tell him about the town that phases in and out. He tells us about gates and anchors to the first world. If you anchor something in one world to another, they’ll take on some of characteristics of the other world – e.g. snow and ice where it shouldn’t be.

Rena asks him about the story of the nymph who went mad and became the fey queen, and how they took her capacity to love and made it or put it into an item. Rena says he doesn’t understand the logic, wonders if Dr does. He says the Eldest do not feel and reason the way we do. It would be a very different type of justice system to ours. Just giving her back her love will not change her nature. Only the Eldest would have the power to use it to its full capacity. It may be the key to getting her love back, which might mean her Love as well as the emotion. It could be a key to the Shadow Plane. Destroying the sword might release it, or trap it forever. There might be a way to use it that might allow her to be reborn. Dr has a lot of speculation but nothing concrete and definite. There must have been a reason for her passion and love to be taken, as justice. There must have been something more to it than just her falling in love and declaring herself an Eldest.

Rena thinks we should go look at these carnivorous trees in the woods where we think there may be a link to the plane of Thousand Breaths.

We send explorers out to cover everything except the woods.

Cohorts come back and report Thousand Voices is more swampy and tangled near a big waterfall, many of trees have been burned or melted, there’s a dragon skull impaled on a rock. Typical signs of a black dragon lair, specifically a black dragon wyrm. This fits the description fits the lair of the black dragon who killed the dragon we resurrected. Looks like it may currently be empty, for at least one season, judging by the regrowth.

In this hex, something feels very very odd, but don’t find anything that would explain it. Best they can describe is that it feels closer to the first world than anywhere else they’ve ever been.

Cohorts face off against a beastie. It eats rock and it can Stonestep. We beat it.

Aria spots a tree that isn’t quite a tree (in B9). The cohorts move away from it and head home.

We all troop back a day or so later to have a look. We go in very cautious. Aria identifies it as an advanced Quickwood. Its a plant creature. Quickwood wood is very absorbent of spells (can be used to store spells), they are resistant to spells, and almost extinct for this reason. Trees have 360 degree vision up to 360 feet around it from a sort of clairvoyance using oak trees in the area. If its connected to an oak tree, it cannot be flanked. Immune to lots things, including electricity, fire and mind affecting stuff. Not renowned for being especially evil, though it will kill people if it comes across them in the woods. It is just a carnivorous plant.

We go into see it. We find it. It attacks. We knock it down, then revive it and Rena tries to persuade it to work with us by joining a druid grove and working with the druids. It agrees. Takes a while for it to get its head round difference between animals and humans. It agrees. Its been here a very long time. Its aware of how close this is to the fey world. Beware the Castle of Knives, its a ruin in here. When it shows, it will be close.

We round up some druids who are delighted at the idea of working in the Thousand Voices with the Quickwood.

And then we go look at the Dragon’s Lair. We take down the dragon’s skull and bury it. We go look at the waterfall to see if there’s anything behind it (like a cave). Nope, but in the pool there is a nest at the bottom. It was a big dragon. We search the nest. There’s an odd coin or two but clearly the treasure hoard has been taken elsewhere. There’s no magic here either.

We wonder if Irrevetti had access to this, however, judging by the ledgers, no. He took on a very wealthy kingdom and bled it dry.

We finish exploring the area.

Next stop, Rushlight festival. We think we might enter archery, we ask people about the logsplitting contest – female human from Daggermark has tell tale signs of being a sorceress. Mr Levixian brew blackberry mead. Wants people to drink it in the midnight joust as the sponsorship would boost his business. Bertrand Orelen lost tournament 3 years ago, thinks there’s cheating. Will give magical arrows to anyone who can spot and expose a cheater at this year’s festival.

Archery first: Rena enters. Pitax (well, Sanctuary). Aria watches for cheating. The Daggermark candidate is switching arrows. She shouts it out. He is checked and he is indeed cheating. He’s disqualified. Florante Mayank from Grouton, takes her time, one shot per round, aims for green target. Mivon shooter is making a show of it, trying to get crowd on her side. Half orc from ???? goes for red target. Winner by one point is Florante Mayank.

Test of the axe: Crowd is mocking Daggermark contestant, who is small, slim female sorcerer. Joint last are Pitax and Daggermark but Amina has done more damage to her final log. Grouton comes higher only because of the extra two handaxes he threw. Then Mivon and Timon, and Cade wins.

Boasting: Rosa wins, Daggermark, Aria, Tymon, Mivon, Grouton disqualified.

The Midnight Joust: We win. We win the festival overall and get our Rod of Lordly Might. Get some magical arrows. 3 flaming burst and 5 magical beast slaying arrows.

The mead guy gets his orders and boosts our economy.

Mivon duelling notes

7th October

The fight goes quiet, We go looking for Irrevetti. To the south we find a troll nest (at least 8 trolls probably use this), and a strange bedroom for a large human. There’s a chest in here as well as the big bed. Signs of there being more than one occupant. There are bloodstained manacles on the bed. Aria opens the chest. There is a load of money in it – a wages chest, belonging to the captain of the guard. Probably one of the people we fought that came in later.

To the north we find a room full of dirty laundry and dirty dishes, we remember Irrevetti had supposedly sent all the servants away. On one table is are 6 half eaten meals, still warm, so we interrupted somebody’s breakfast. We find more sleeping quarters. And long corridor with lots of doors off (unlatched doors, like sleeping quarters). Tallis finds a storage room, very cluttered, mostly mess room supplies. We find the kitchen, but nobody in it. We find a privy and someone hiding in it. They tell us Irreveti’s room is downstairs. Rena asks them to agree to take no more part in the fighting, he agrees, very scared. We tell him to go to the kitchen and take anyone else who doesnt want to fight and stay there. We find another one and send him to the kitchen,. There is a corridor to the south with secret doors in it. We find another store room (cleaning and bedroom stuff). More bedrooms. A lot more bedrooms. One of them has someone in it. They surrender and head for the kitchen. We keep going, more corridors. We find guest quarters. There is cat hair in here. Guess the weretiger assassin was staying here. There are lots of war books in here. We found the library. Books are a bit questionable in subject – lot of rubbish, some poetry, but there are some decent books on local and noble history. Next to it is a conservatory, lots of musical instruments. There appears to be a solarium above it. There are 2 guards in there. They surrender.

WE go downstairs in the library. We find a chamber decorated with lots of hides and bones and stuff of animals. There are also two huge dogs, a human that is being mauled by the dogs, and something thta looks like a gargoyle. Amina recognises it as being indeed a gargoyle, they can fly, they can see in the dark, difficult for inexperienced adventurers to hurt as the damage often bounces off. Dogs are a type of hell hound (Nessian) size of a draught horse, like huge wolves, rumoured to be type kept by Asmodeus, tireless trackers, fierce and snarling horrors in combat, immune to fire, breathe and fight with fire damage.

FIGHT! More join the party after we open the double doors, including a troll. There’s a room down the corridor with some giant cats in, locked from the outside. We leave them there for now. Move on to another room with A CREATURE IN IT. It’s a Remorra(?).

Several years ago in one of Irreveti’s many expeditions, went to the realm of the ? Lords, brought back a creature which he led back through the city to great fanfare, it has been used to entertain guests of his , he’s fed it prisoners and criminals, Aria says creature is predator, not normal that it could be led through a city, had to be under someone’s control. Never attacks audience, just the ‘food’. We leave it locked in. At the end of the corridor, stairs go up again.

At the top of the stairs we find a fighting pit. We are on the floor level, there are balconies above, 20 ft high. There is a secret passage across the pit from us, under the spectator gallery to a corridor behind.

Amina is aware of smell of sweat in the year, suggests troll and humans sparred here earlier but no evidence of death. We climb up onto the spectator balcony. We find stairs (50ft down) and a secret door, with more stairs down. Very difficult to spot this secret door.

At the bottom of the stairs we find a door and it opens into Irrevetti’s bedroom, he’s in there with a creature that looks like a nymph, but isn’t. The creature is Spirit Naga. Charming gaze,poisonous bite, clearly got magic due to shape changing. It’s really hard to hit. It takes some work but we defeat them. Irreveti yields just before Amina strikes a killing blow, so she subdues him instead. The naga is dead.

T-Rex checks out the pool for us. Room is full of fancy valuable arty stuff. Also on the naga is a magic ring. Irreveti has a rod which looks like it becomes a pole arm. A nice breast plate (mithril), boots, item with very strong enchantment on it – heard rumours about stuff from Numeria, think its one of those – potions, 2 scrolls, and a wand. Has a master key for the whole of the palace. There seems to be a flow of water in the pool, it’s not static, there’s a current, there seems to be an in point and an out point. Amina can’t see what it is, so Cade goes to have a look and finds secret doors. There is something floating on the water into one of the chambers, its a sword wrapped in a white shawl. The other door opens into a tunnel that seems to go on for a while.

We go get Evindra and ask her about the sword. There was a prophecy that the sword could destroy Nerissa. Rena reminds us of the prophecy about our kingdom. There are things that can awaken the sword: defeating powerful creatures of the first world, certain magics of the first world. We need to keep the sword covered or hidden, until there is a relevant battle that could be used to awaken it.

We now need to dash off and stop executions, and we’re going to take all the guards with us. We find the diva and the rest of the prisoners.

We head to the executioners’ scaffold, but Cade is coming separately with Irreveti, flying in last minute. Calvos tells us something about the gargoyle . A few years ago, there was a serial killer in Pitax, the Riverfront Ripper, Irreveti and his guards captured the killer and gave him a job. It was the gargoyle, he told Calvos that he was the killer, he was employed to torture Irreveti’s prisoners. At 10 minutes to midday, it goes quiet as the wagon with the prisoners in arrives. Rena uses clarion call to shout ‘hold the executions’. It goes quiet again. Rena appeals to the crowd, have you not had enough blood. Irreveti has fallen, he took you to the very brink of war that would have seen you and yours die. This man has committed kidnap, murder, torture….Calls him a tyrant and a slaver. Tells them about the gargoyle. They start cheering Rena and hailing him king.

The headmistress is neutral good. Yasmina is lawful evil. Kharne Vereel probably neutral evil. Nunzia Arpia, he is the master of ceremonies and counsellor (true neutral), Hadreth Sodorak female dwarf grand diplomat has also done a lot of smoothing over , Cattenei head of family were founders of Pitax, not too bad, Strocalle are utterly mercenary, Liacenza son runs tavern (hates Mivon because they stole family lands). Master of ceremonies has been known to lose orders if they dont suit how he thinks things should work.

Suggest we need to talk to Athalia, a druidic nymph who cares about justice, the cheese monger, Liacenza family.

We call the servants back in to clear up the mess (and so they can get paid).

Rosa and Aria run round hoovering up the magic items and loot.

So called hero going round stirring up trouble in taverns, saying we’re rubbish and he should be leader.

Approached by a noblewoman who wants to know what we’re doing about leadership.

Belind Howton, proper noblewoman, doesn’t want to be involved in leadership, what she really wants is for people to know she’s a great benefactor and her family are wonderful, a couple of monuments and a theatre in her name would be fabulous. A fortune teller told her to buy a thing because the future leaders of Pitax would need it, something that can make a significant difference in our endeavours. He said she should buy a rare book called Zidiggers Picnic. Amina and Aria remember its a short picture book published in PItax 42 years ago, painter made it, after frenzied journey into another realm, made book as a record, woodcut illustrations, he went mad 3 years after the incident, went on a killing spree killing someoen every week, used a citizen to recreate scenes from his journey, book is now a highly sought after collectible, worth 1500 gp, mint condition is 500gp. Said to give you a map of the Thousand Breaths. She swears fealty to Sanctuary, follows Abadar.

Zuddiger’s Picnic is a short picture book, written and published in Pitax 42 years ago. – important guide to Thousandbreaths.

​The author and artist of this book was a talented painter named Karn Zuddiger. His inspiration for this book was not imagination but the result of an actual horrific and frenzied accidental journey through Thousandbreaths. This adventure and his miraculous escape did not leave him unscathed—mad with inspiration, he spent the next 3 years of his life crafting the woodcut illustrations and story for Zuddiger’s Picnic, hoping to drive out the images in his head with art.​ ​Only a month after the book’s publication, however, Zuddiger succumbed to the madness inflicted by his trip through Thousandbreaths — creating the book had not expunged his visions, only inflamed them. He went on a killing spree, murdering a new victim every week and using the remains to restage scenes from his illustrations for the citizenry of Pitax to find the next morning. He was caught soon enough and swiftly executed, and the majority of his books were burned by shocked and scandalized parents.

Hailing from Pitax, Aurex Thewsen often brags about his dragon-slaying skills. He challenges the leaders of the Stolen Lands to prove their worth by slaying a dragon themselves, in order to prove why they should remain leaders in the River Kingdoms.​

Belinda Houten is looking for a legacy; she wants a theater and several monuments built and dedicated to her family name. She happens to possess a book that a strange fortune-teller told her the leaders of the Stolen Lands would some day need, but she won’t part with it untill she has her buildings.​ – Build a theater and four monuments in Belinda’s honor (all must be in different cities). ​

Weird rumours about a sculptor who created gargoyles out of rivals who he had turned to stone. He works only at night.

Are we going to leave town and map the area, and who will we leave in charge?

Some of the trade house people come under the heading of unrepentant evil – we will have to deal with them.

We leave the headmistress to keep things ticking over while we’re out trying to kill an army of wyverns.

Evindra wants to stay near the sword, so she will go wherever the sword goes.

Rena wants to try and see if the cats and the other beastie have been trained at all. He talks to the cats and they agree to follow him if he will lead them to food and hunting. The other thing is a magical creature and he’s not sure what to do with that one.

Prophecy thing from Rena again – The upstart waits to tie her land to yours to bring destruction as the link manifests .

We set off to try and find this wyvern matriarch, exploring on the way. E9 first, D8, D7, C6. On the day we reach C6, don;t seem to be many large animals here, we are on Pitax river, narrow, lots of brambles and small annoying things e.g. crows, ticks, etc, but some of us can see someone has been living here, there’s a campsite. Someone who is trying to hide. We decide to try and track them. Camp is one person, light on foot, able to travel through the brambles – druid or fey perhaps? Rena thinks druid, they might be able to help with this wyvern. Worth finding them. We manage to find the camp, they’re there right now. Smell of meat cooking. It’s a ranger, two old tents, very well hidden camp. She has set up very conveniently to be hidden, close to water, but also good position to observe others, wears filthy rags but has well looked after short swords.

She’s going to lead us to where the Eater of Kings is tomorrow but not get involved.

An immense wyvern, a matriarch of her kind, has laired in Hungerdark for nearly 2 centuries. Known by the regional barbarians as Minognos-Ushad (“Eater of Kings”), the wyvern has survived countless attempts to slay her and has more than earned her name from the countless warlords she’s consumed. Although quite old, Minognos- Ushad is still very dangerous. She spends an increasing amount of time slumbering in her den, emerging once every few months to seek out prey in Glenebon’s hills.

We fight and kill her but she poisons Cade. He recovers. We go to the wyvern army with the matriarch’s head, and try to communicate with them. Two of us speak draconic, so we go to try and negotiate. Rena tells them that she is gone, Irreveti is gone, we wish them to fight willingly for us. They agree to take her old territory and we now have to feed them.


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