Corruption of Azim

Chapter 13


Asmodeus heard Dustin grumble a little as snow began to fall lightly around them. But the wizard didn’t mind the storm. He was too preoccupied with reflections on all that had happened since arriving in Fallerun. Besides, it’s the last day of October. We might as well get used to the cold weather; we’ve got a long journey ahead.

After escaping from Renferell’s fort, the party retrieved their horses and loaded them up with as much as they could carry. They rode hard that night to get as much distance from the town as possible.

For the next two days they traveled southward, keeping well away from the main road. Although there was no telling when they would discover the nobles and their armies on the road, no one wanted to take any chances.

Overall, Asmodeus was pleased with what they had accomplished. His original goal to overthrow Jacob Renferell was met. The mayor and his meddling cleric were dead, and they had hauled away a significant amount of treasure. They’d also made two new allies along the way.

But not everything had gone as he had hoped. White as the falling snow, Fallacy reminded him of the horse’s true owner. He wondered what had become of Shandra. Had Tyrus rescued her? Was she in prison, a slave, or even alive? What had become of Tyrus? Asmodeus shuddered slightly as he wondered if the blackguard had turned werewolf.

Curse that Kailden! But at least he was dead. The other enemy they’d made still lived, though the half-orc was imprisoned. And Lady Isley had gotten away. I don’t think she saw us directly though.

Asmodeus wondered what would happen to the town. The nobles would no doubt install a new mayor over the city. So Fallerun would not yet be rid of the Validran menace. The wizard hoped that the note he left on the mayor’s guard would stir up further trouble between the Isley and Corbain families.

“So, do you think Elandra is alright?” Dustin asked, interrupting the wizard’s musings.

Elandra had not stayed with them. After fleeing the fort, she had returned to the town despite discouragement from the group.

“She knows how to take care of herself,” Asmodeus replied. “Besides, didn’t she say she wouldn’t be in town much longer anyway?”

“Yeah, I guess she’s packing up and moving. I had wondered why she was flirting with all those merchants. Turns out she was moving some of her stuff through them.”

“Figures. She always makes it a point to stay a few steps ahead of Jonathan Riker and any other noble.”

“She’s not much for goodbyes though, is she?”

“No. Never has been.”

Gaimon pulled up alongside with Nock riding behind him. “So where to next?” the elf asked.

I intend for this chapter to be very short. The purpose is just to wrap up the Fallerun story arc so we can start a new chapter in a new place. Therefore I’m not expecting a lot of dialog or specific actions, but feel free to put in anything that you want included.

Gaimon’s question at the end is specifically so we can move along to your next destination. From chatting with Eryx over IM, I believe the group will want to go to Fort Hamden next and see if they can’t find Shok’Ragal’s contact and learn about this dragon quest. Please confirm if that’s the case, or give new direction if needed.

Also, if there’s anything specific the group would be doing along their journey, please post that as well. If you’re headed to Fort Hamden, expect a gap of about 2-3 weeks between this chapter and the next.

Asmodeus, Dustin, Nock, and Gaimon all receive 1500 XP for completing the story arc.

Regarding treasure, I think the party would have been able to carry most everything they wanted from the cache and treasury and still be able to ride their horses. But the 3 sets of armor would be heavy (~50 lbs. each), and there were a smattering of masterwork weapons. Let me know if you would have left anything behind buried in the cache; otherwise I’ll just assume you’ve got everything and your horses will be slowed slightly.

Elandra wasn’t in a hurry to share what she’d taken, but if you want the glove that Asmodeus tossed to her, you can have that. All the other magic items from the treasury are in your possession. You also took some art items, gems, and a total of 26,734 gp in assorted coins. (If no one else, I figure Nock would have taken the time to count the money.)

“I seem to think that Dustin was keen on the idea of the dragon in the Calinor Marshes, was that right?” says Asmodeus. That will be the wizard’s vote as well.

In counting the money (Asmodeus would have helped) he would have specifically looked for the Renferell Edition of the gold coins. Such coins should be defaced so that it’s not clear what noble is on the coin.

Asmodeus will continue to teach Dustin Draconic.

At some point, Asmodeus will cast Detect Magic to look at all of the items for a full 3 rounds, and I authorize the DM to roll spellcraft checks for each of the items.

Corbinian will be sent to watch the road to see when they are past the nobles and their retinue.

Also, at some point during the Journey, the following conversations will happen.

“You were really worried about the Golem, weren’t you?” Gaimon asked the wizard. Asmodeus glanced over at him.

“Of course I was. One blow from such a creature could ruin one’s day.”

“I appreciate you asking Nock to help heal me.”

“That’s his job.”

“But you said ‘please.’ ” Asmodeus will look over at the elf, then smile. “Didn’t want your day to get ruined. It would have ruined mine as well.” Then he’ll drop the smile. “As well as all of the days after.” Gaimon will give a knowing half smile, but say nothing else. Nothing else needs to be said.

Then, at some point:

“Nock, I know you don’t like Asmodeus. But you can trust him. He may be bossy and think he’s in charge of all of us, but he will look out for you.”

I assume, Karasu, that we should just divide up the money equally? I’m thinking there’s no reason not to take all the armor and things with us. We should try to liquidate all of it into funds and bank accounts, etc. Asmodeus would have an account with Kessler and Sons. I’ve been keeping track of ALL of the loot in my Asmodeus character sheet. Asmodeus and Gaimon would both be comfortable giving Dustin a totally fair share of the proceeds from the armor. “Consider it payment for helping kidnap Lady Isley,” the wizard says. “No need to get picky about money.”

When they get to Fort Hamden, Asmodeus will buy everybody a banquet at a nice inn, giving them a toast with a nice bottle of wine he also bought for the occasion, “To New Friends,” and pay for a week’s lodging for them at the best inn he can. He wants to show his new allies he appreciates them.

And just so we’re keeping track accurately, Nock used Cure Moderate Wounds 3x, and Asmodeus Used Bull’s Strength 7x (2x at the gate, 2x inside just before combat, 1x when Gaimon was getting beat on by the Golem, and then 2x at the gate again). That right?

The count of wand charges looks correct to me.

First of all, Eryx, I’m totally good with splitting the money evenly, as you suggested. (Is that split four ways or five for Elandra?) Nock is interested in buying some ingredients to make his poison again. He misses it. He’ll make separate and discreet purchases along the way if any shops are available. If not, he’ll wait until they arrive in Fort Hamden.

Dustin is delighted to be off to the Calinor Marshes for two reasons: He really wants to meet the Shok’ragal, and he thrills to be in dragon country.

Nock will be surprised at Gaimon’s comment: “I’s no like humans as a rule. But that dark one is’t too bad. Just at times I’s need to do things my way. Is my nature. ‘Sides, not all goes to wizard’s plan. And not every orders should be followed. I’s follow when I wont, but I’s help plenty, and am plenty helped.” In an odd display of emotion, Nock tossles the elf’s hair as he walks back toward the group. It’s unclear whether it’s mocking or friendly.

The following episode will also occur: On several successive days, Dustin will itch and itch. The incessant scratching will be quite obvious to the others. “What a time to come down with a skin allergy!” he’ll moan. “Did that elf maiden have any, ah, skin conditions, Asmodeus?” But it’ll become clear that this is no allergy. Dustin’s skin is thickening as he takes a level of dragon disciple. He’ll take up muttering to himself in Draconic as his lessons with Asmodeus progress. His eyesight and hearing also improve just slightly and after much practice with his sword and sickle, he seems faster and healthier than ever before. “Must be all the outdoor air,” he’ll say. But secretly he wonders what effect the dragon nature within him is having on his body.

Split things 4 ways. Elandra already took (more than?) her own share which wasn’t included in what I detailed above. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any cities or shops along the way. You may happen into an occasional village (much smaller than Fallerun), but you’ll have to wait until Fort Hamden to make any real purchases—in the next chapter the party will have time to do so, therefore feel free to begin thinking about what you’ll want to buy. You won’t necessarily have free reign to buy anything, but they’ll have quite a bit available.

I plan to wrap up this chapter in my next post (which will hopefully happen sometime this week). I’ll try to include as much of these conversations as possible, though I may include some of it (especially Dustin’s bit) in the next chapter.

I think Asmodeus will understand what’s happening to Dustin, as the sorcerer has talked about his draconic heritage before. Just in case:

Knowledge (Arcana): 16 (roll) + 14 (bonuses) = 30 total.

Therefore, in response to Dustin’s question about Elandra and “skin conditions,” Asmodeus will laugh and simply say, “No, but I think your Draconic is coming along better than either of us expected it to.”

Splitting the cash up 4 ways leaves each character with 6568.75 gold. I’ve added that much to my character’s inventories. I’ll keep the rest of the loot listed in my Asmodeus inventory sheet until we finish fencing the armor and weapons and magic items that we don’t want . . .

Edit: I’ve just sent you both an e-mail with a vignette about Dustin taking his first level of dragon disciple. I like it much better than what I wrote here. DM, can you please incorporate it, if you find it fitting, into the next chapter? And Eryx, can you revise any of Asmodeus’ lines that seem inconsistent with his character? Also, isn’t 26,734 gp divided by four 6,683.50 each?

I like the “mini-story.” You’re right about the money. I typed it in wrong to my character’s sheet, and so had the wrong number. I’ve updated my character’s money accordingly, I hope accurately.

“I seem to think that Dustin was keen on the idea of the dragon in the Calinor Marshes, was that right?”

“I’ll be delighted to meet this Shok’ragal,” Dustin replied. “And I’m quite fond of dragons, you know.”

Fort Hamden it is then,” said Asmodeus. “That’s where we’ll find our demon’s contact.”

That night as Asmodeus shook the snow off his tent and prepared to retire, Gaimon approached wearing a rare, contemplative expression.

“You were really worried about the golem, weren’t you?”

“Of course I was,” Asmodeus answered. “One blow from such a creature could ruin one’s day.”

“I appreciate you asking Nock to help heal me.”

“That’s his job.”

“But you said ‘please’.”

Asmodeus turned his attention fully away from his tent, then smiled as he looked at the elf. “Didn’t want your day to get ruined. It would have ruined mine as well.” The smile disappeared as he concluded, “And all the days after.”

Gaimon responded with a knowing half smile. There was nothing else to be said. The warrior turned away and the wizard entered his tent.

For several hours Asmodeus sat in the dark in silent meditation. Thoughts of their experiences in Fallerun faded away as he contemplated the future. What would Fort Hamden have in store for them? What was Shok’ragal after? Would this group work well enough together to survive an encounter with a dragon?

Then the faint sound of voices broke the silence of the night and interrupted his train of thought.

“Nock, I know you don’t like Asmodeus.” The voice was Gaimon’s. “But you can trust him. He may be bossy and think he’s in charge of all of us, but he will look out for you.”

Asmodeus was surprised by the candor in Nock’s reply.

“I’s no like humans as a rule. But that dark one is’t too bad. Just at times I’s need to do things my way. Is my nature. ‘Sides, not all goes to wizard’s plan. And not every orders should be followed. I’s follow when I wont, but I’s help plenty, and am plenty helped.”

Dragon, bring your worst. We’ll rise to your challenge, the wizard thought in amusement. This group would work just fine together. Indeed, they already had proved more than capable. The future was bright with possibility.

The wizard then rolled over and slept soundly.

That’s the end. Woot. I’ll get started on the new chapter soon. I’ll also post Karasu’s story at some point soon.



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