The Time of Shadows

Seeing Some Results
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and the group start their trek to the ruins known as the Egg of the Gods. Several days of swamp walking brings them back to the The Greenscale Tribe main encampment. Where before their group was met with thinly veiled hostility, now there is an inkling of respect in the lizardfolks eyes. For a group of foreigners to return from the Sun Gods ruins, where even the lizardfolk have stopped entering, is no small task. Mustafa searches out a hedgewitch that can brew him some helpful potions and then seeks the shaman that sold them the ritual for ease of travel in the marsh. The shaman is ecstatic to see Mustafa and crew because he knows that they were sent to the ruins for answers and solutions regarding the Great Serpent. Within the last couple days the shaman has noticed a stronger connection to the Great Serpent. Stronger than it has been for months, years almost! The shaman is so happy with Mustafa that he gives them the ritual for free and casts it himself. Thanking the Shaman, Mustafa and his band head north for the next ruins. On the second night, they are attacked by a lone Yuan Ti, commanding a group of snakes with a flute. Mustafa pulled out some fancy sword work and showed some impressive teamwork with Cor Mag to deal with the assault. Combat wraps up and the group enters the outlying area of the Egg of the Gods a short time later. The group notices several hostile groups of lizardfolk wandering the ruins. Mustafa tries to sneak past the majority by taking out a lone enemy silently, but the enemy manages to alert his nearby friends before he dies, leaving Mustafa and his companions to fight.

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The Importance of Piety
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa investigates the temple area around the Statue, finding not much. Brogan is appalled by the disgraceful state of the effigy of his God and begins to clean it as best he can. Though there are symbols and runes apparently painted all over the Statue in yuan-ti and snake blood. Close inspection reveals that the scrawls are there with a purpose and that they should be removed as soon as possible. Kailey and Jacob modify a ritual used to banish darkness so that it will instead affect the runes painted in blood. At the ritual’s completion, the Statue seems much better looking. Brogan begins to pray and practice devotion to the effigy, which seems to return some power to the long lost deity. Brogan suddenly finds himself the mouthpiece to his God as the Winged Serpent trades words with Mustafa. He learns that there are 2 other such effigies in other temples that would help to restore him to power. Mustafa asks about the area in the marsh where darkness seems to be gathering in, but the Winged Serpent isn’t strong enough to pierce the veil covering that area. Perhaps with the other Statues freed from Zehir’s corrupting influence.

Mustafa and crew start out towards the Egg of the Gods’ ruins. After a couple uneventful days, Mustafa has the night watch when he notices ripples on the nearby pond rippling and streaking towards the camp. concerned, Mustafa draws his sword and finds several shadowy figures in the water by the enchanted light the sword gives off. Quickly raising the alarm, everyone fought back and dispersed the shadowy foes. All except one, which flew directly through Mustafa, seemingly stealing the warmth from his body before disappearing all-together. Perplexed, but out of immediate danger, Mustafa lets his roused companions sleep again. About an hour later the ripples start up again, more plentiful than before. The alarm is raised and a handfull are dispatched, but a few more are still around until they too fly directly through the crew. Even colder now, the rest find it hard to go back to sleep. Another hour and the same ripples return, with a lot more ripples than previous. Once again, the alarm is raised and the crew faces off against a veritable army of shadow figures. A quick area attack from Kailey clears a swath, but there are so many, by the end of everyone’s efforts, many still remain. All converge and pass through a member of the crew or another, leaving a bone-cracking cold that nobody can get rid of. Silence reigns until the ripples return. Mustafa has several ideas for facing the horde that he knew would materialize, one of which was to not draw his sword. Without the magic in the enchanted weapon drawn, Mustafa’s attackers never materialized. Satisfied with that at least, he waits for dawn. With the arrival of the sun, the cold leeches from his bones and Mustafa feels normal again. The strange occurrence behind them, the crew moves on towards the Egg of the God’s Ruins.

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Zehir's Adherants
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa and crew venture forth carefully down deeper into the ruins, finally coming to a long, flooded chamber. A path straight through the middle was barely under the water level and led to an impressive statue of The Winged Serpent. Or at least that is what Mustafa assumed because the statue was covered in grime, slime and lords knew what else. He got the feeling this was once a place of reverence, but had since become a den for the followers of Zehir. Said followers were noticed hiding behind one of the pillars that flanked the pathway to the statue shortly after entering the chamber. Mustafa and his companions made to close with the cowardly snake, but not fast enough to stop him from summoning some help from his twisted god in the form of a corrupted and undead Winged Serpent, one of the Couatl. Battle was soon met with the animated creature. During the melee, an assassin appeared and not only blinded Jacob, but nearly slit his throat and ended him. Mustafa held the attention of the summoned thing while Kaylee and Joacob focused on the assassin. Their foes were wily and agile, but not terribly sturdy. Enough hits and both enemies fell. Now confronted with only one cowardly snake worshiper, Mustafa and crew cornered him and killed him in time to stop his god from interfering more. Whatever the Zehir devotee was trying to summon, he never will because with a mighty charge and strike, Mustafa ended him with an acute case of metal poisoning to the brain. The chamber empty of foes, Mustafa pondered his next move.

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Snake Way
The Adventures of Mustafa
Faced with a horde of foes on the path ahead and a noxious and unfathomable depth of swamp muck below, Mustafa and friends prepare. The combat starts with the wraith-like lizardfolk charging. Their spectral swords made limbs leaden and imparted poison to the victim, but the early fighters were dispatched my Mustafa easily. Shadowy snakes proved no match for Kailey’s magic and Jacob’s Pike. The masters of the fiends were hanging back, arranging themselves further along the path to create bottlenecks that would give them the advantage over the heroes. But Mustafa had other ideas and hopped onto Cormag and flew into the rear of the enemies careful battle formation. This succeeded in getting him and Cormag swamped with foes and beleaguered with status effects. Kailey supported as best she could from across a gap too large for her to jump across. Jacob races along the path, being without the benefit of a flying mount, to join the fray. Mustafa is alternately dominated by the insideous divine influence of Zehir’s followers and bitten and poisoned by the summoned snakes and wraiths. All the while, the Lizardfolk archer from the previous fight is peppering the group with arrows. Cormag and Mustafa manage to pare down the number of foes around them and Jacob finishes his mad dash to reach the battle to help mop up. Mustafa commands Cormag to ferry Kailey closer to the remaining enemies as he and Jacob braved the slippery path. The cowardly archer continued to retreat along with the last Yuan-Ti until. After a vicious critical hit from Mustafa bloodies the Yuan-Ti, it looks only to escape and overtakes the lizardfolk to flee before Kailey, astride Cormag, block the exit. The Liazardfolk sees inevitable death in Mustafa’s blade and decided to take his chances swimming through the muck to escape. A desparate attempt, but ultimately, futile; as the lizard eventually drowns. Mustafa and his group tend their wounds and rest a moment before moving after the retreating Yuan-Ti. Fully expecting another ambush from the fleeing Yuan-Ti ahead of them, the group moves cautiously deeper into the ruins.
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Fiery Fight at the Gate!
The Adventures of the Bobbletones

The fight at the front gates of the fortress starts out with a headlong charge from Six, which draws the fire of the waiting hellish defenders. Soon Six is surrounded and begins to take a pounding from all angles. Bastet joins the melee and takes some of the heat from her friend and along with ranged help from Bob, one of the brutes is felled! But the assault is still focused on Six and it seems the combined attention is too much for the metal man! Six starts to fall unconscious but an ounce of prevention is worth a gallon of cure as Six’s magical ring activates and he rebounds with a healing surge! Identifying one of the big threats, the group focuses their efforts to take the war leader, the Mistress of Chains, out of the fight first. Successfully stunning her, the rest of the group pours on the pain and manage to bloody her, but stirring her rage might be more dangerous than they know…

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Gaining Entrance
The Adventures of Mustafa

The Yuan-ti ambush was sprung, but Mustafa and his Order of the Twilight escorts managed to persevere without grievous harm. Though the last of the attackers managed to flee back into the ruins through a rather small and dark crevice. Deciding that a future meeting was probably inevitable, the group decided to explore the ruins through the nearby submerged entrance. Fighting for breath, the group finally passes through a natural U-bend and can breath easy once again. Exploration is cautious as Mustafa notices that there are recent tracks leading deeper into the ruins, assuming they are from the Lizardfolk that escaped earlier. Moving stealthily, the party eventually happens upon a long, open chamber. The floor becomes a raised path that snakes and swerves through the large chamber. Below the path is stagnant, smelly water that promises a horrible experience and a difficult climb out should any member fall into it. At the end of the path Mustafa can see a huge statue of the Winged Serpent bracketing the exit to the chamber. A little ways in front of the exit is none other than the escaped ambusher and what appears to be comrades. He is talking animatedly and gesturing towards the hallway Mustafa and crew occupy. The lizardfolk’s gestures draw the others attention to the indicated hall and Kailey is spotted! Immediately, the enemies jump into action: summoning wispy forms of deceased Lizardfolk and shadowy snakes from the muck below! Looks like Mustafa and the rest must fight their way through to learn more about the Sun God!

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LIzardfolk Legendary
The Adventures of Mustafa

The hunting party guides Mustafa and his companions to the ruins occupied by the Greenscale Tribe where the tribe has some fairly negative reactions. Almost to the chief, mob mentality wins over. Angry at the arrival of outsiders, stones are starting to get lobbed at Mustafa and the rest. Before it can get too out of hand, Mustafa summons Cormag again to impress the mob. Most are in awe of the wyvern and the human to summon it, but those closest to the wyvern are decidedly freaked out and try to flee, threatening to cause a panic. Fortunately, the Chieftain brings swift order to the mass of his tribesmen and beckons Mustafa to him. Starting out suspicious and hostile, Chieftain Darkclaw changes his tune when Mustafa asks after the legendary figure of Sheera Star, known to the lizardfolk as The Serpent Tamer. Mustafa learns that the Winged Serpent, the lizardfolk’s deity, is also tied to Sheera Star. Though the Winged Serpent has been absent of late and all the shamans who have sought it aren’t heard from again. Mustafa asks to seek the missing god as well, hoping that repeating the actions of Sheera Star might lead to obtaining her boon. To make an educated decision, Mustafa is taken through the ruins of the city to learn what is left of the lore of the Winged Serpent.

In essence, Mustafa learns that the Winged Serpent, known also as the Sun God, protected the lizardfolk since ancient times. At some point, some dark force struck down the Sun God and the lizardfolk were victimized and corrupted for a time. Sheera Star came and brought the Sun God back to the lizardfolk and might have helped save the tribes. It is said that Sheera Star stayed with the Sun God until her final days and that she was laid to rest beside the Sun God while it watched over the tribes.

And so Mustafa decides to head to the Sun God Ruins first. Borgon is reticent but realizes that since Mustafa volunteered to seek the Sun God, if he refused to be his guide, Borgon would lose much standing with the tribe. Before leaving, the party receives a ritual to make travelling the marsh easier. A couple days finds them nearing a well known holy site of the Sun God Ruins. Before they can enter the ruins, a Yuan-ti ambush is sprung! Could this be what happened to any other shamans that were seeking the Sun God?

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Into the Marsh
The Adventures of Mustafa

Asking to be kept up to date on any strange goings-on, Mustafa leaves NOL to head to Delta Village. At the village, he is introduced to Borgen, a surly and lithe Dragonborn who refuses to guide Mustafa to the The Greenscale Tribe by demanding an outlandish price for his services. Mustafa doesn’t hesitate to agree, stunning Borgen, who can’t help but accept since he set the terms himself. After a quick supply run, Borgen guides Mustafa, Jacob, and Kailey to the nearby lake to make the beginning of the trek faster. 6 days into the Marsh and a Greenscale hunting party finds the group. They aren’t happy that people are trespassing and promise to forcefully escort Mustafa and crew from Greenscale lands. Mustafa does some swift talking and summons his Wyvern, Cormag, to show that he is a friend to reptiles and lizardfolk. The lizardfolk have a variety of reactions, but the hunting leader is awed and agrees to take Mustafa to the chieftain.

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The last place you want to end up...
The Adventures of the Bobbletones

After clearing out Bailen’s Keep of the undead that were plaguing it, Bob and the rest of the group return to Bob’s Tower to rest and recuperate. Bob begins secretive research on some of the items pilfered from the Keep, while Bastet decides to start selling the more mundane items that were found. She heads to South Port to check what deals she can swing in the Wonder district. Not incredibly successful at the art of bargaining, Bastet is soon joined by the concerned party members Mustafa and Harlequin who take over the negotiations with the shop keepers. All said and done, the Bobbletones find a neat little profit over the appraised value for most of their swag. Thus unburdened, the Bobbletones prepare to retrieve the first piece of regalia from the devil’s that stole them. Bob researches how to open a portal to the planes of hell and even succeeds in finding a pathway through the ether that would set the party close to the goal.

Upon stepping through the portal, the Bobbletones find that their entrance to the plane has not gone unnoticed. The fortress is alive with activity and large siege weaponry is trained on the party quickly. The party double-times it to close with the nearest outlying gate, taking some siege fire in the process. Once close enough, the siege weapons stop and devilish troops begin to pile out of the gate to face the party!

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Hunting Down A Lead
The Adventures of Mustafa

Mustafa decides that there are more crisis than a single group can tackle. He informs the Bobbletones that he will see what can be done about some of the other threats cropping up while they seek the Regalia.

Mustafa met with some of the local Vigil members in Five Lakes Hold, Jacob and Kailey. Together, they went to the fallen Unterbloom to see if Lord Greasius needed any help. Greasius was fairly abrupt and dismissive of Mustafa’s offered aid and the group decided to contact Corrnelius for a little guidance. Mustafa used a Sending ritual with Kailey’s help and Corrnelius offered to scry for information on Sheera Star, one of the original members that fought the Shadow Lord. Corrnelius told Mustafa it could be a little bit before his scrying gave results, so Mustafa returned to Bob’s Tower where he obtained Shady from Six. Corrnelius used Ophelia to glean some info which he entrusted to a Vigil member, whom he sent to South Port to meet with Mustafa. Upon arriving in South Port, Mustafa and his Order escorts immediately noticed an odd behavior from the people. Everyone was avoiding the deep shadows if they could. The bustling and exotic bazaar lacked most of the tents that were commonly set up; instead, each shop had a makeshift fabric wall that delineated its boundaries. Meeting with the messenger from Corrnelius inside a local inn, the group noticed that the interior was brightly lit with torches and lanterns even in broad daylight. The messenger relayed what was learned from the old wizards scrying: Sheera Star became a well traveled diplomat after the Shadow Lord’s defeat. She spent most of her time living and working with the Lizardfolk whose descendants would later populate Greenscale Marsh. The original tribes of Sheera’s time are long gone now, changes in leadership and tribal warfare over the years have seen to that. But it is said she had a great fondness for the Lizardfolk and her last known whereabouts are somewhere within the marsh.

Before Mustafa heads to Delta Village, he asks around about the strange behavior of the South Port people. Many are hesitant to speak of the strange whispers and unusual urges towards suspicion that seemed to start growing whenever anyone stayed in shade for very long. Gradually, people would notice they felt unease in the shade and noticeably better in the light and so the current situation stands until someone can get to the bottom of this mystery. Mustafa also stopped into the South Port branch of N_O_L and finds that his companions Tallon and Lily are inside. Tallon is idling by and falls into conversation with Mustafa about how N.O.L is faring lately. The most unusual thing Tallon mentions is that cults are being found more and more lately and that there might be a link between the cult leaders and a strange correspondence that had been found on them when they were arrested. Tallon finishes his update and takes Mustafa in to see Lily, who smiles at his approach since it means catching up with a friend, and a good excuse to stop doing paperwork.

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