17th of Summertide
The Wyrmling's Rescue
After killing the Cursed Sisters and escaping their lair, Roan, Kiet, Taran, and Quinn emerge from a tunnel system onto a rocky cliff face above the ocean. Led by the wyrmling that they found in the lair, the party all immediately experience a searing pain that leaves Roan and the wyrmling unconscious. The party then resuscitates Roan, unsuccessfully heals the wyrmling, and gathers their surroundings, before jumping into the waters below and swimming to the nearby beach. Hearing the wyrmling's cries in the distance, Kiet and Quinn decide to scale the cliff face in an attempt to bring it back with them. They discover a glowing purple line on its stomach that shimmers when touched. With great effort, they carry the wyrmling across the cliff ledge and slide it down to Taran and Roan, who are able to catch it as it falls. They then attempt to get the wyrmling walking to no avail. Roan feeds it a crab, which it eats in two bites. Taran and Roan then head off into the inland swamps to catch food for the wyrmling as Quinn and Kiet stay to watch over it. Taran and Roan return with a bundle of dead pythons that they feed to the wyrmling. Quinn climbs up a tree to scout the location of Kaius, which appears as a blob of grey in the distance. Before heading back to Kaius, the party rests for the night, setting up camp on the beach.
Return to Kaius
18th of Summertide
In the morning, the party sets out inland towards the canal city of Kaius, where the mayor awaits their arrival. They make their way through the swamp, encountering surprisingly little wildlife as they carry the immobile wyrmling. They reach the city gates, crossing one of the three large bridges connecting two the opposite moat walls. As they walk through the town towards the mayor's offices, the townspeople react with a great amount of confusion and fear. Upon reaching the mayor's office building, they see that the guard presence has increased. The guards react to the wyrmling with the same confusion as the townspeople. The mayor, hearing the commotion, comes outside and ushers the party into his offices. Kiet stays out with the wyrmling. The rest of the party converses with the mayor, having left the heads of the Cursed Sisters with the guard outside. The mayor thanks them but asks that they leave within a week to not arouse any more suspicion from the populace. The party seemingly agrees and they part ways with the mayor.
Roan, Kiet, and Taran take the wyrmling to a back alley behind the inn in which they previously stayed. Quinn remains near the offices, darting into an adjacent alley and camouflaging herself with her cloak of elvenkind. She climbs the wooden beams jutting from the office building and stealthily opens the second-story window latch of the mayor's office. Seeing him at his desk, she drops down to the first floor and does the same. She then quietly climbs the staircase to the mayor's office and conceals herself beneath it, hanging by her fingers and feet. Quinn waits until the mayor finishes his work and walks out of the building before swinging back onto the stairs and entering his office.
Meanwhile, Roan, Taran, and Kiet drop off the wyrmling in the inn's back alley. Roan finds a plank of wood amongst the debris behind the inn. Taran cuts it to length and Roan wedges it under the handle of the inn's back door to keep it shut. Roan, Taran, and Kiet then squeeze the wyrmling into Roan's bedroll.
Within the mayor's office, Quinn finds a scattering of paperwork and a small, separate cabinet of drawers on the back desk. She also finds an open journal on top of the desk, which reveals some personal information and sentiments of the mayor. Flipping through the journal, Quinn finds a passage that implies both a connection between the mayor and the orcish invasion and a possible second upcoming invasion. Quinn closes the journal and walks to the small separate cabinet on the back desk. She opens the top drawer and sees a latch on the bottom, which she opens. The latch opens a hidden compartment within the cabinet and Quinn finds a stash of brown-colored foreign paper bills. She takes one, covers her tracks, descends the staircase, and exits through the same ground-floor window before meeting back up with the party in the alley behind the inn.
Nogard the Dragon
In the alley, the party makes plans for their next week in Kaius. Quinn shows Roan and Taran the paper bill, and Taran recognizes the writing as Orcish. Deciding to keep quiet for now, the party splits up for the next eight days to regroup and gather information.
Roan spends the week in the smithies and forges, recreating his firearm prototype and finalizing the design. Quinn, albeit unsuccessfully, tries to gather information about the orc threat and the presence of dragons from her contacts in the Blackwater. They both manage to haggle for a decent price for the gems that they took from the Sisters' lair. Kiet and Taran, on the back of Kiet's charm and way with words, hustle a sum of gold from civilians by challenging them to brawls with Taran (all of which she wins).
During this time, Taran decides on a name for the wyrmling: Nogard.
Confronting the Mayor
26th of Summertide
On the eighth morning after the mayor's ultimatum, the party wakes to a small group of armed guardsmen at the doors to their inn rooms. Roan is completely naked, which perturbs some of the guardsmen. After getting dressed, the party follows the guard to the mayor's office, where he informs them that it's been a week since he gave them their notice. Quinn immediately shows him the paper bill and demands answers. The mayor is shocked, and through gritted teeth informs the party that what they're doing could put the whole town at risk. He also implies that the situation is out of his control and lashes out at Taran, assuming that she's affiliated with the orcs. After some convincing, the mayor decides to let the party stay in town for a single night more if they unquestionably promise to leave the next day. Begrudgingly, the party agrees. Roan spends the final day finishing his first firearm at the blacksmith.
27th of Summertide
The next day, no one arrives to usher the party out of the city. They wake, equip themselves, and visit the now vital-looking Nogard in the alley behind the inn. After a few minutes, the party is able to help Nogard onto his feet and he takes his first steps since his rescue. As the party slowly make their way towards the northern bridges out of town, they attract a large number of stares from onlookers, both curious and frightened of Nogard. Despite this, they pass out of Kaius without incident.
For the next three days, they travel north through the swamps of Apotheon, living off of tropical vegetation and fauna. Nogard seems to grow healthier by the day, snapping up large snakes as his main form of sustenance.
29th of Summertide
On the night of the third straight day of sloshing through thick swamp mud, the party wades through a wide, shallow river fen and sees a sprinkling of torchlight in the distance. After a few minutes of walking, they come across an encampment of wood-reinforced tents with a ring of torch poles surrounding it. Making their way inside, they are stopped by two guardsmen with spears who direct them to a large wooden cabin structure further in. Upon entering the cabin, they're greeted by a hideously dressed man who treats them with dismissiveness. He arranges for them to have a small tent nearby for lodging, but when Roan spreads five gold on the table, his eyes light up and he offers them both the small tent and a much larger one in an adjacent row. The party accepts, and splits up to rest for the night.
30th of Summertide
In the middle of the night, Roan, the only member of the party still awake, is modifying blueprints for his projects when he hears a whistling sound in the distance. Less than a second later, an arrow tears through the tent and lands a foot away from Roan. He immediately gathers his equipment and rushes to wake the rest of the party. Roan, Kiet, Taran, and Quinn gather at the small tent and prepare for battle, hearing nothing but the sound of their own breathing. Suddenly, Roan and Taran see four figures approach from the south side of camp, past the wall of now extinguished torches. Two relatively large figures with erratic movements sprint into the camp and over rows of tents as they approach the party. Roan looses two bolts from his crossbows as they run, catching the two orcs in the chest and severely damaging them both. As they get closer, Quinn finishes one off with an arrow to the head and Taran lops off the other's with her axe.
Another figure appears in the darkness, and the three figures now rush towards the party. The figure in the middle careens through the camp, its enormous frame bashing and trampling through the already broken lines of tents. Building speed, the minotaur comes into view and lunges at Taran with its horns, but she readies herself and manages stop the full force of its charge by digging her feet in and grabbing its horns. Looking at the creature, she recognizes it as Banthas, someone who had dealings with her former tribe leader and treated her with respect. Kiet turns his attention to the minotaur and bashes into it with his quarterstaff and fists. Nogard unleashes a torrent of blue energy from his mouth at Banthas, making him roar in pain as some of his jet-black fur hardens into ice.
As the minotaur confronts Taran, one of the figures further back draws a shortbow and lets loose a volley of arrows, one after the other. One catches Kiet squarely in the shoulder and the sheer shock makes him lose consciousness. Quinn fires back at the leather-clad humanoid figure after lighting a torch, and she sees it recoil as her arrow finds it.
Meanwhile, the last figure moves into view as it runs toward to party, and they see Tristan of the Kaius city guard, still in his uniform. He engages Roan, who fires two shots from his newly crafted scattergun into Tristan's ribcage. Tristan's left and right obliques are completely eviscerated as Roan's shots explode outwards. They exchange blows with their longswords until Tristan staggers past Roan and reaches for a blue-colored vial at his belt. He drinks from it, throws it to the ground, and his eyes begin to glow with a bloodshot blue hue as his muscles writhe and grow. He attacks Roan with a renewed vigor, cutting into his midsection with his longsword. Only a few seconds after his consumption of the liquid, however, he freezes and begins to convulse. Tristan falls to the ground with a look of agony and a network of blue veins across his face and neck.
As Roan and Tristan battle, Banthas swings at Taran with a flurry of mighty blows from his enormous greatsword. Taran fights back with a frenzy, cutting deep into his forearms in an attempt to sever them. Banthas roars in rage and his wounds seal up slightly. His greatsword cuts into Taran, and they exchange another bout of massive blows. Roan, after Tristan's defeat, rushes to join Taran. Their combined strength wears on the minotaur, but in one cataclysmic strike he cuts down Roan, who falls to the ground. As the fight wears on, Nogard backs away from the fray, seemingly in fear of the minotaur's presence.
Quinn, now engaging the leather-wearing human in close quarters, strikes at him with her shortsword, which buries itself in his chest. He falls to the ground, begging for his life as he bleeds out.
Banthas, the only enemy still standing, roars again and slams Taran with his greatsword, dealing massive damage. Her eyes flutter closed for a split second before a red tint begins to cover her vision. With a furious vigor, she regains consciousness and chops at Banthas with her greataxe. Upon seeing this, he recoils and is struck with the full force of her attack. He freezes for a moment before falling to his knees and toppling over, barely conscious and still watching Taran with his yellow eyes.
While interrogating Banthas, Taran finds out that the mayor is the one who has sent the troupe to them. Before losing consciousness, Banthas tells Taran that he would not have sought her death had he any choice in the matter.
Quinn stabilizes Kiet and Roan before tying Tristan and the other man up and taking their possessions. On the unknown man, she finds a few vials of black poison. On Tristan, she finds a jar of a familiar blue-colored dust, as well as two vials of a blue liquid on his belt.