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Warwick Summary: The Quest for the Windsock: Recovering a Phaulkonian Artifact, as Scribed by Lanoi the Cleric

"The Tent of the Night hides an unknown threat."

Following his conversion to the Phaulkonian faith by Alegra, while undertaking a
top-secret government venture in the mountains of Cromwell, Warwick, Principal Ranger
of Cromwell, became keenly interested in one of the Holy Quests that Alegra had often
mentioned. This Quest was the recovery of the paired artifact of Phaulkon known as the

The Windsocks were a powerful, but relatively minor, artifact of Phaulkon lost forty or so
years ago in the Darkwood (in the Northlands). The Windsocks took the form of two
indestructible stockings which when worn together had the
major power of being able to place a step wherever you wanted in the air. That is, the
Socks could be used to climb an imaginary staircase in the air to reach the roof of a high
cavern, or step higher to get a shot over a friend in combat,
or any number of other uses. There were other powers as well, but not a great number
of them. More importantly, the Socks were an important artifact that needed to be
recovered and brought back into the hands of Phaulkonians.

It was known from _Communes_ and other sources within the Church over the years
since their loss that the Socks had both left the Darkwood sometime afterward,
separately. One of them had shown up in the New World and had been
found by an adventurer who wished them to find their way into the hands of the
Phaulkonian Church, but needed money for his efforts. Unfortunately, at the time, the
Church was (as usual) low on resources and could not front the 10,000 gold pieces to
have the one Sock in hand. The adventurer was represented by an attorney in Dunthrane
City (Bimwiddle, who purports to provide "the only representation for non-Nevronians in
the land!") who maintained the offer at 10,000 gold pieces through the years.

Since Alegra was busy with other endeavors, Warwick sought to prove his willingness to
work on behalf of Church goals by finding the Windsocks. He gathered together the
Cromwellian STRanger Leon (2nd level), his trusty Druid
henchman Tristan (5th level), his new Phaulkonian Cleric henchman Lanoi (3rd level), his
friend Buck ("Weapon X"), several animals and provisions, and prepared to undertake
the Quest. Over months at the Observatory at the
Church in Hochoch, Lanoi undertook an astrology reading on the Quest in general. The
result was:

"Ill omens surround your journey. The tent of the night hides an unknown threat."

Warwick was not to be put off by "ill omens," and so they packed their things and
headed off to Dunthrane City to retrieve the known Windsock. (Warwick had to verify
beforehand that he in fact actually had the 10,000 gold, which he
did, but just barely).

Upon arrival in Dunthrane, Warwick and company (represented by the high charisma
Tristan), made an appointment with Bimwiddle, the attorney who represented the chap
who had found the Sock. After a few days, the group
was ushered in to speak to the lawyer. Over days of finger sandwiches and further
meetings, the story of Binkley the Cleric of Kor came to the front. Binkley had once been
a Cleric of Hindus, the god of thieves, who desired to
leave their organization. A successful search through this lawyer for other religions to
join, turned up the Korian faith. Binkley was received into the religion, but there was one
problem. Binklet had a substantial debt to the Church of Hindus, and so until he paid his
debts he could not come out of hiding. When Warwick purchased the Windsock for the
10,000 gold, Binkley was able to pay off his debts and so come out of hiding. Binkley
wanted to join Warwick & co. on any Quest to recover the other Sock, which after a
little bit of misunderstood dialogue, became abundantly clear. So, the group decided to
meet Binkley in Teft when they journeyed there for the start of their Quest. At that point
it would be decided if Binkley would be an appropriate addition to the team.

The lawyer pulled out the Sock from a drawer and handed it to Warwick. Warwick put
it on and could immediately sense the other sock somewhere far to the west. Later it
was discovered that when Lanoi the cleric wore it he could sense the weather for the
next 3 days. Alegra wore it once later on and could sense it for 8 days. It was clearly
level-driven for the Clerics who wore it.

On the way to Teft, the party was stopped by ogres. They were summarily slain and the
party journeyed on. Unfortunately, the party was now without horses, and so had to buy
them from the border guards on the Dunadorian Long Road. After a brief period of
embarrassment when the Dunadorian men-at-arms discovered that Warwick was a
member of the Cromwellian government, the horses were purchased, and the party
hurried on to make it in time for High Holy Day (Lanthalassa-te) on December 28 (until
January 3) in Teft. The party arrived about December 10 in Teft and met Binkley.

Binkley turned out to be a good guy, who you had the feeling had never adventured
before, even though that was clearly not the case. He said a lot of things like "Cool.
Wow, you guys must be big-time adventurers, or something. Neat!" He definitely
down-played himself, and he was easy to forget he was there, but he was good natured
and good company. He came and observed the services for High Holy Day.

Lanthalassa-te is the most important holiday of the Phaulkonian year, and one at which
worshippers and Clerics are ordained into special Orders most of the time (only under
unusual circumstances are ordinations into Orders performed
at other times of the year). So it was on these the Holiest days of the year, that Buck
was admitted into the Church, and that Warwick was ordained a member of the Order of
Light. As a Warder of Phaulkon, Warwick would be a defender of the Faith, a staunch
Quester, and a seeker of Truth and Liberty. To inaugurate his admission to the Order,
Warwick officially began his first Quest by displaying the one found Windsock and
declaring that he would find the missing one.

A mission of this importance couldn't be undertaken blind, and the High Priest of Teft
was plainly uncomfortable with letting the one Sock out into the world (and danger) in
order to find the other. But on the other hand, he didn't wish the Socks to be lost forever
as a pair, and so he helped as best he could. Previous information about the Holy
Hosiery :) had determined that Binkley was not an enemy of Phaulkon and that the
owner of the missing Sock knew its worth.

On High Holy Day, though, the answers were not forthcoming. It appeared that the
Sock had disappeared into an undivinable area when every question related to it was
"unanswerable." But an intriguing answer came with the news of the Ranger Marriott that
had come from Cromwell.

Marriott years ago had encountered a strange, old peddler in Cromwell while on a quest
for Rochester, the High Druid. This strange peddler man had offered Marriott a
"powerful good artifact - a stocking," and some things of personal value or importance to
Marriott if he would give him the staff he had recovered for Rochester. He had refused
and had gone on this way. The peddler had had a mule and a little cart, with a weird
little tent on the back of it. This tent immediately brought to mind the "tent of the night"
from the astrology reading, and so a Commune question was asked about the peddler
himself. When any information about him was unanswerable, it was clear that the
peddler and the Windsock were linked. But, there were two interesting points of
information that were perceived: it was a good idea to take Binkley on the quest
(Phaulkon said so!) and Warwick could still sense the whereabouts of the Sock, even
though the _Commune_ could not locate it.
After the conclusion of Lanthalassa-te, the Company headed out toward Cromwell,
where the Sock drew Warwick. At various stops along the way, Warwick fired off
letters to the Church in Teft letting them know of his progress, and this happened
throughout his Quest. While on his way, Warwick encountered an old friend and bounty
hunter named Targ, who was hunting some escaped criminals from a minimum security
prison fire that had recently happened. He didn't sound terribly excited about the job,
but he and Warwick talked shop for a few, before they both headed on their ways.
Warwick finally ended up just north of Chendyl, in the Furyondy region of Cromwell.
There, he observed a peddler stopped at a farm when the change in direction of the Sock
became rapid. He noted that the peddler's progress followed his sense of the Sock and
started to feel a sense of impending Danger (one of his granted powers) at his approach
to the peddler's wagon.

When Warwick got very close to the wagon, his sense of the Sock vanished entirely, and
this made him uneasy. The rest of the crew were nearby. Warwick asked about the
peddler's wares, and through a series of VERY subtle enquiries, the peddler produced
some odd socks from a compartment and in the stack was obviously the missing
Windsock. Though Lanoi and Warwick both thought about grabbing it and making a run
for it, they did not, based on the bad vibes they got about the whole deal. The peddler
stated that he sold to "only one buyer," and that for any item there was "one price and
one price only, to be
discussed only with the one buyer." At this, the rest of the group went away a bit, and
Warwick chatted calmly with the peddler.

After a few minutes, the peddler turned to his mule and headed off to the south, and
Warwick stood there a little bit angry and a little bit curious, but overall confused. The
party rejoined him, and he explained the situation.

The strange peddler man had made him an offer for the Windsock. He had stated that
because the Nevronians many years ago had destroyed the defenses and Phaulkonian
Temple at the artifact-location known as the Fane of the Winds in the Near Realm, that it
was time a balance be made for that transgression. He offered Warwick the means to
desecrate the Shrine of Nevron in retaliation for this attack. Warwick was certain that
the peddler had the means to do so, and that the peddler assured him that "Nevron
would never find out who did it." Needless to say, Warwick was a little thunderstruck by
this. The peddler was
unwilling to discuss any other price other than the "Ultimate Price," which was at the very
best slavery until death and at the very worst, eternal slavery. When Warwick was not
forthcoming, he headed on.

There was much discussion about the nature of the peddler. Was he a godling or weird
supernatural creature? Did he represent ultimate Justice? Perhaps ultimate Balance?
Was he just spreading anarchy? Perhaps ultimate Evil, pitting good people against one
another? The only obvious conclusion was that he did not represent Good and for
Warwick and company, that was the part that made the decision easy. Obviously there
would be no bargains on that scale, so how to get the Windsock?

It became obvious that Commander Gring at the Academy should know about this. A
man willing to travel the countryside and bargain to desecrate the Shrine was a dangerous
man to have in your country. Gring, a fanatical Nevronian, agreed with him. While
research was undertaken at the Academy to determine the nature of the peddler, other
news came in. Warwick had filled him in about the peddler's whereabouts when he had
found him. There was a strange coincidence there...

It seemed that the prison fire had perhaps been no accident, despite the indications. A
man escaped from the prison and was indestructible for a time. He killed many men and
wreaked havoc in the countryside. A prison guard who was killed wasn't the only one.
When the area where the peddler had stopped was investigated, it was found that the
prison guard's entire family had been sacrificed to some evil power in a series of vile
rites. Coincidence? We think not.

The research on the peddler came in. Orimaxes provided some interesting info. Many
stories provided hints of these in the distant past, but one trend he noted was their steady
progression eastward from the Realm over time. One in
recent history came not that long before, when a Nevronian Church Elder in Urnst(?)
found himself getting older. It seems he decided to slow the process after talking with a
strange peddler. Somehow, from the peddler, he ended up with a beautiful cane. The
Elder lived much longer than he should have, and then died. Upon his death, his library
of rare Nevronian tomes burned to the ground, and the cane disappeared. An Academy
Team blamed "supernatural forces" for the loss of the cane. And when Orimaxes sought
a way to extinguish the Black Flame when his child had joined the Cult, he discovered
that a very important source that he needed desperately had only existed in the library of
that Elder, and was now unavailable to his battle against the Cult. This perturbed
Orimaxes to no end. An interesting aside that he noted was also interesting. The Telvar
Bestiary (which he possessed, but did not appear to be cognizant of how it ended up in
his office) showed an interesting, and possibly related creature in the K'owei, or

Further research revealed that Dunstill and Illic had fought one in the Far World who was
trying to manipulate an evil artifact into the hands of Evil. They killed it, but it was very
difficult to kill. It seemed to have a number of "minor" spell abilities, and required highly
magic weapons to even affect the creature. It was magically resistant to a high degree. It
was determined based on all of this that Warwick and co. would follow it, since he had
the only means of actually following the peddler since the guy carried some sort of
anti-divining zone along with him ("the tent of the night").

So it was that Warwick, Warder of Phaulkon, and his stalwart compatriots kept moving
forward and followed the slinking evil peddler in his crossing of Cromwell.

On the way to Verbobonc, the party encountered a couple of things. A "lake pirate"
attack site with lots of dead humans and part-orcs. A ship had clearly been by, as had
the peddler. Doing a kind deed, the party took the time to bury the dead.... and
discovered that they had no souls even though they were dead very recently. This
alarming sign pointed to the peddler's evil
influence and some kind of sacrifice taking place. At a village further on, an old man in
the village was found dead next to the decomposed body of his long-dead grandson who
had been buried before. Though the grave was completely undisturbed, the grandson's
body had indeed been removed, which they discovered when they reinterred the body.
The priest in the village said that nothing about the burials were unusual (no soulless
burials) but this Monkey's Paw-like tale had the peddler's wheeling and dealing written all
over it. It was from this that the peddler became known as the "Cosmic Broker."
Indeed, the peddler had come through days before.

With the feverish pace of the peddler's deals (despite a 6" movement rate), Warwick
decided that they could not let this creature get away from them to ditch the Windsock so
he could not be followed. He let Gring know that he would continue to follow and that
he thought it imperative that they eliminate this threat to the country's people.

The peddler marched on towards Verbobonc, then skirted around it and headed towards
Hochoch. The party followed and they eventually passed him and went on to Hochoch.
When it became apparent that he was headed to the city, wherein lay a Phaulkonian
Church, the party schemed to attack the peddler. An urgent request was sent to Gring
for powerful and overwhelming force to kill the Broker.

Over the next 30 days or so, several heroes of Cromwell and Shabrund showed up with
devastating weapons. Marriott the Ranger, with +4 arrows; Todd; the dwarves Phage
and Tor; and Ybleth, a Cromwellian Paladin. This made the
magic number of 11, which had been fortold as a rising number of importance by a series
of astrologies. Also, the Phaulkonian Church in Hochoch agreed to be well back from
the combat to provide healing support where necessary.

Things were timed, and an ambush point was selected, with camouflage blinds and a neat
_stone-shaped_ rock cave from which Warwich would fire the first +4 targeted arrow to
begin the combat. Then, the group of powerful men waited
for the peddler to arrive and surprise him. Hopefully, the party could launch an
overwhelming attack before he could mount a defense. And if nothing else, the party
would hopefully recover the Windsock and maybe some other items even if we couldn't
defeat him. Of course, none of the party expected to lose, when so much power had
been gathered in one place.

Well, the group had every inclination to think they were right, but it didn't turn out how
they expected.

When the peddler stepped exactly into Warwick's point-black range (30'), he stopped,
turned to Warwick hidden in the rock, and tipped his hat (ESP!!). Warwick was
shocked by this, but he let fly his arrow nonetheless. The arrow stuck in the peddler, and
the attack began.

At that same instant, the entrance and attack hole to Warwick's blind were sealed with a
_Stoneshape_ effect, and he was trapped inside.

The invisible fighters, including Leon, charged the wagon, while Marriott moved into
position to fire his arrow. Lanoi grabbed the pitchfork and moved around behind to try
to grab the Windsock and anything else he could pull off the cart, while the battle raged in
front of him. Leon fired at the mule, in case it was some associate of the creature's and
also in order to stop him from
getting away with the wagon. Buck picked up Phage's second spear (Phage was
wielding Seeker, the +4 anti-chaotic spear) and hurled it.

At this point, the Broker clearly saw the charging invisible fighters, and unleashed an
incredibly devastating _Fireball_ to encompass the whole group, himself, and the mule.
The mule and Leon were killed instantly. The peddler was obviously completely
unaffected by the blast, though the wagon began to catch fire. The other warriors were
sorely injured, but they valiantly came on anyway.

The rakshasa was hard to hit (at an AC of about -7), and the +3 weapons did only half
damage when they hit. The heroes facing him had an extremely difficult time hitting, even
though they were excellent warriors with superior weapons.

Lanoi attempted to pull stuff out of the wagon. When he triggered the second trap, he
collapsed in a heap and was out of the battle. Tristan dragged him away.

Lightning bolt, magic missile, and other 2-segment innate abilities continuously went off.
The party was rapidly being annihilated. Every once in awhile, the party would do some
damage, but it was not that significant. Eventually, the peddler, who was chuckled
continuously throughout the encounter, started to climb into the back of the wagon from
his seat, and
reach for magic items. When he became injured enough, his true form was revealed. A
huge man-tiger, orange and very tall, snarling with his fanged mouth at the party. At last
the astrology about the color orange had come true...

He turned the dwarf Phage, along with Seeker, into stone. Tor struck several times with
his battleaxe, was downed, healed, and then downed again. Buck and Marriott tossed
Phage's secondary (+3) spear several times before finally connecting. Buck was
knocked unconscious as he tried to levitate above the Rakshasa and perform a kamikaze
manuever. When the rakshasa
killed the Paladin Ybleth, the Paladin's horse took off at top speed towards the town.
Binkley then used his thief abilities, since he was a half-elven multiclass thief, with a
magical shortsword, to attack the beast. He successfully struck it, but did not last long in
the face of its wrath. This left standing Marriott, who didn't have a weapon which could
affect it. He began pulling the +4 arrows out of the creature and firing them at him.
Unfortunately, it was also doing damage to him. When he damaged the thing, it began to
look close to death. He then grabbed for one of the magical weapons on the ground, a
+1 short sword which could hit anything, and it sprang into his hand. But by now, the
rakshasa had seen that he could not win. So, he used a flame effect to destroy his
magical tent, and then vanished, his clothes collapsing to the ground as Marriott

At the end of the battle, three of the five heroes were dead, one was stone, one alive.
The original party had Warwick, uninjured but trapped in the cliff face, Buck, who was
healed up to consciousness, Lanoi, who was paralyzed but okay, Tristan, who was
uninjured, Binkley, who was dead, and Leon, who was not only dead, but unraisable
since he had taken about 75 hp of damage from the _Fireball_ with only 20-something
hitpoints himself!

Amidst the wagon, several impressive items were recovered, though some were lost
forever. Found were a Regeneration scroll, a Resurrection scroll, the Circlet of the
White Mages, the Windsock, an Elixir of Youth, an Amulet of
the Fates, a Tome of the Elder Warrior, a Potion of Glorious Might, and some other
stuff, including gold and gems.

At the close of the adventure, the fates of the warriors involved were unknown (were
they successfully raised or not? would Leon want to be reincarnated or not?). With
great cost, and without defeating the primary enemy, the Windsocks were once again
claimed and brought together by a Phaulkonian Quest. But on the other hand, I'm sure
Gring's not that happy with the outcome.

The End, for now.

--Lanoi (Kyle)


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