The Blood Company

Into the North

After departing Northern Gaul, the Cohort crossed the Narrow Sea and landed in Northern Brittania, just south of Hadrian’s Wall. The Seeker had been sent by the Crown Princess of the Britons to bring the Cohort back to fight a dark evil coming to pass. To prepare, the Cohort has distributed itself among the many wall forts, learning the terrain, climate, and most importantly, how to work with their new elven allies.

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Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Romans during the conquest and was the furthest extent of their reach. North of the Wall live the Picts, the most primitive and savage of the elves. They resisted Roman conquest and refused to join the Britons when the Occupation ended. Instead they are a people until themselves. The Wall has been a semi-peaceful border for 200 years, but that is because the Britons stay to the south and the Picts to the north. There is some interchange- trade occurs at the Wall’s forts and delegations of Britons are allowed to travel to holy sites in Pict lands.

The Immunes have been gathered to conduct a recon mission. A member of the most recent religious delegation return. He looked like this.

Viridain emissary

The emissary is unable to provide any cogent response and no one knows what happened. The Specialists mission is to retrace the path of the delegation, find out what happened and rescue any who still survive. Of course, the Princess believes this is a taste of the evil to come and any information would be helpful.

We start with the selected team conducting their mission briefing.

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The Dark Tower II

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

Lotus quietly listened as Slight chastised Reacher. Although he agreed with Slight’s sentiment, he would never have threatened the pyromancer. At least not so directly.

With Slight watching the main doors and Goat watching the stairwells, Lotus delivered his orders. He sent Slight, Goat and Reacher up the north stairwell, while Teach and Wander were to follow him up the southern one. They would meet upstairs.

Both teams, quickly noticed that the stairwells were craftily constructed to make them easily defensible- the Keep would be difficult to take by force. More double barks echoed through the halls as they reached the top of the stair. Suddenly, Lotus was almost bowled over by Half who was fleeing a pursuing hellhound. The infernal beast was no match for half a dozen warriors and wizards and was quickly sliced, diced and incinerated.

Half informed them that he had scaled the outside wall and slipped in the narrow windows. This floor was Kalash’s living area and he had seen no other threats. However, Half had seen a party of 8-10 soldiers returning to the fort in the distance. Lotus sent Wander, Slight and Half (the NPCs) to secure the fortress and keep the returning soldiers busy. He ordered everyone else to search the rooms for the secret to Kalash’ power.

Reacher ultimately found a secret compartment, but a subtle nod from Teach hinted that perhaps they should keep whatever inside a secret. Lotus sent Reacher and Goat to go kill people, much to their rejoicing, while he and Teach explored further.

Goat and Reacher returned to find an empty mead hall, with the soldiers just walking right in. Goat issued a challenge, leaped upon a table and promptly started kicking ass. Reacher was more subtle, but no less effective sending streaks of fire into the enemy. Suddenly, arrows, daggers and spells sprang from the shadows to overwhelm the soldiers. Caught in a crossfire ambush the soldiers died loud horribly entertaining deaths.

The compartment concealed a secret stair ending at a revolving door. Once past the door the pair navigated a small labyrinth only to enter a completely dark room. The sound of multiple murmuring voices clashed with the tinkling of bells, the song of a bird and the gurgling of a fountain. Teach whispered up a light spell revealing posh living quarters decorated in an Eastern style. A marble fountain, a gilded birdcage, a divan, several sculptures and a bed- all works of art- decorated the room. The most beautiful component of the room was a woman dressed in elegant black robes and clearly of Persian descent by features and accent. She was also remarkable for her porcelain white skin… and petrifying gaze.

Shortly thereafter, Goat burst on the scene with his usual gusto and began blunting his axe and elephant goad against the mysterious gorgon. Teach was able to finally discern that the source of Kalash’s power was in the remaining darkened corner of the room from whence the murmuring came. He also informed everyone that Holy had engaged Kalash and the team need to act fast.

While Teach, Goat and the newly arrived Reacher attacked the gorgon, Lotus investigated the foreboding dark corner. He found four ancient elves bound to marble slabs each reciting magical spells over and over. Deciding that they must be under some compulsion, Lotus did not kill the spellcasters, but only gagged their mouths, ceasing their ritual.

Goat was able to overcome the powerful gorgon, destroying many of the room’s great works in the process. She went down hard, but she went down and even Teach should have recognized Goat’s courage and determiniation. He didn’t, but he should have. Instead he focused on the mission and declared that the Murmurers were empowering Kalash, but there was still another spell linking the tower to Kalash. A quick look around revealed yet another stair.

Upstairs the party found a ritual circle drawn on the floor. In the center of the circle was a young teen covered with minor injuries, bruises, and lacerations. Around the circle walked a shriveled husk of a man chanting and liberally splashing the boy with blood. The man introduced himself as Marvesh and rather helpfully explained that he was a sangromancer. Kalash had completed a blood-tying ceremony with the boy and all injuries Kalash suffered would be transmitted to the boy. Marvesh was supposed to keep the boy alive to act as a sponge for Kalash. This was the secret to his battlefield success. Teach was able to confirm the broad brushes of Marvesh’s claims and added that the circle acted as a focus for the blood link. The heroes were faced with a moral choice- to complete their mission they had to kill the innocent boy. If they did not, Holy would have to face a fearsome opponent who would not suffer injuries until the boy died. Who to save- the boy or Holy? Complete their mission or fail it.

Depsite the hand-wrangling and bad suggestions, Reacher finally suggested that spells cast on the boy, might transmit back to Kalash through the link. One “Sleep” spell later and Kalash hit the ground snoozing. The team held their collective breath hoping that Holy would not simply slay a defenseless opponent as the deathblow would kill the boy. Of course he didnt! They were able to rescue the boy, take Marvesh prisoner, free the Murmurers, and loot the treasure room for valuables.

Within a few days, the rebel lords had consolidated power and assumed control. The Legion claimed Marvesh and the Murmerers as prisoners of war and several of the magical artifacts as spoils. They also offered asylum to any of Kalash’s supporters who wanted to join the Legion. Over 50 armored and mounted knights and nearly 100 men at arms signed up nearly doubling the Legion.

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Temper's Reckoning

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

As the last zombie fell smoking to the floor, Reacher felt a broad smile spread across his face. There was nothing more satisfying than watching your enemies burn. Unfortunately, the smell leaves something to be desired, especially burning zombies.

Temper was shook from his reverie by someone jerking him around and shoving him against the long tables. Slight, the archer, had snuck up on him and now stood nose to nose with him.

“What the hell is your problem?” Slight shouted. “What possessed you to just burn down those peasants out there.”

“What does it matter,” Temper was confused, “they’re just peasants. And ENEMY peasants at that.”

“You didn’t have to kill them, they were running for cover,” Slight shook with anger, but breathed deeply to calm down.

“They could’ve been going for help, or weapons, or to send a signal to Kalash. I thought the idea was to take the fortress… and we took it.”

“Then we could have taken them down without killing them. That’s not how we do things in the Cohort. You have a lot to learn “New Guy”. From now on, you don’t do anything, until you’re given orders." That was exactly the wrong thing to say. Temper hated orders and he knew that he had to stand up for himself immediately or Slight would continue to try and boss him around.

“Look here, I saw a situation and I acted. My instincts said ‘kill’. You better back off before I start listening to my instincts again.”

Slight didn’t twitch. "Let me warn you. I may seem like a nice guy, to you, but you really don’t want to mess with me. But I’m not what you should be worried about… See the elf over there pretending not to listen? He nodded toward Lotus. “He’s a quick as they come and he’ll bury that sword in your chest before you raise your hand to start casting. Likewise, the dwarf wiping blood from his axe isn’t fast enough to close the distance, but I’ve seen him throw that axe with deadly accuracy. It’ll split your head like a melon. Wander can have the stone beneath your feet open up and swallow you. Lastly, notice who you don’t see? Do you really think Teach is gonna let you do anything to harm me.”

Temper’s eyes flicked from side to side and he tried to look tough, but inside he realized that Slight was right. They were all old friends and even if he took out Slight, there would be serious consequences. He was bold, but no fool.

“What makes the Cohort dangerous is that we look out for each other. We work together and as disorganized as we seem, we follow orders, express and implied,” Slight continued. “Right, now I suggest you all gather around and see what Lotus has to tell us.”

With that, Slight turned away from Temper and took up a post guarding the door and listened as Lotus gave his orders.

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The Dark Tower I

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

The Immunes headed inland an hour after dawn, although the heavy dark clouds hanging low in the sky promised no sunshine. They took a wide arc around Kalash’s approaching army following a path laid out by the Cohort’s scouts.

Just as they were passing the bulk of the Kalash’s forces, the team encountered an enemy patrol. At Lotus’ command they arranged an ambush and took the patrol with no losses. They then planned to disguise themselves in the enemy uniforms and use them to sneak into the fortress. Half and Goat wouldn’t fit into the uniforms, but would pretend to be prisoners.

At an outcropping about a mile from the fortress, Wander sent a falcon to spy out the situation. Through the falcon’s eyes, he saw that there were no soldiers left at the fortress… only women, children, the elderly and the sick. Kalash had emptied his lands to bring his entire army against the rebel lordlings. As the falcon got close to the dark tower, a bolt of lightning shot from the clouds, frying the falcon and severely disorienting Wander because of the magical link. Teach explained that the tower was impenetrable to his scrying and he had no additional information.

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Using their disguises, they approached the postern gate. When challenged, Wander decided to dispense with trickery and just take the castle. She used his earthwalking ability to go under the wall and unbar the gate. Her sudden arrival caused some surprise and the peasants inside began to flee. Goat bashed in the heavy gate and the other Specialists rushed in. A few axe strokes and flaming spells later and the few peasants were… dispatched.

The team quickly cleared the courtyard and gathered at the front of the tower. There Teach identified two massive gargoyles as bearing the Mark of Khorne, the Blood God. It gave him some insight into what was powering Kalash. Despite a sense of dread emanating from the tower, the team entered to find… an empty foyer. However the foyer was decorated with tapestries with dark sigils laced with evil power and the cumulative effect was terrifying enough to send Wander running from the hall.

Lotus, Goat and Teach (invisible) continued inside, while Reacher and Slight provided cover. The foyer opened into a great mead hall with long tables and benches. The room seemed empty, but from the furtherest shadows came a shuffling and then the stamp of booted feet. Six zombie warriors leapt at them and a desperate battle began. The zombies wore heavy metal armor and carried great blades and spears. It wasn’t until Reacher created a serpent of fire to hold back the undead, that they had enough light to realize that their mistake. It was not armor or weapons, but black metallic prosthetics grafted onto undead flesh. CYBORG-ZOMBIES!!!

Hearing the battle raging inside, Wander was able to overcome her terror and return to join her brethren. She arrived in time to sense the approach of several hellhounds from each stairwell. Teach was able to cast an illusion to keep two of the hounds at bay, while Reacher fried the others. Lotus and Goat were fighting a stalemate against the zombies, while Slight was able to score a few miraculous shots. However, Reacher finally delivered a decisive blow, by igniting the dark ichor spewing from their damaged parts. All of the zombies were consumed and clattered to the ground.

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Interlude 2

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

The fleet pulled into a little cove in northwestern Gaul and the Cohort disembarked. The Primus Pilus began drilling them while the Captain, Bright, Teach and the Standard Bearer headed out using the Knight’s horses. They returned at nightfall leading a string of 20 additional horses.

The Captain called the centurions together had a conference while the men erected a camp and ate. Afterward Boot came to Immunes to give them the scoop.

“OK, we’re in upper Gaul. Roman reforms didn’t take so well up here, so the government is feudal. That means a bunch of petty lords who raise small armies and fight among themselves. The Imperials don’t care who’s in charge as long as the proper taxes and tribute is sent south.

Anyway, the current local overlord is Kalash. Three of his lordlings have convinced themselves they can rule better than him and have raised troops against him. They’ve got 300 all together and Kalash has 200, but his guys are meaner and better trained. Further, Kalash has some major mojo and can’t be killed. So of course, we’re going in on the lordlings’ side.

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Kalash, Dark Lord

If it were up to me, we’d let Spook, Teach and New Guy (referring to Restus) just burn him to cinders, but Kalash has some kinda magical protection and Teach has figured that the source is back at his keep. The Captain also thinks that we need this to be a military victory so we can impress everyone and get some recruits. So, the lordlings are leading his forces out to the coast and the Cohort will join up with them. When Kalash sees us, he will think we’ve sprung our trap.

But that’s really the diversion. Most of you guys are gonna slip behind enemy lines, and find out what’s giving him the extra power and disconnect it. Why? Because Holy is gonna get chopped to bits unless you pull the plug. Holy and the Knights will lead the charge and personally attack Kalash. Once you cut off his power source, Holy can take this Kalash out. Once we do that, the Captain figures we can offer asylum to his troops and steal a bunch of well-trained and equipped soldiers before we start the business with the Seeker.

Here’s the hard part. If you cut his power too early, he may just not fight. So you’ve got to be in position, but not strike until Holy is already engaged. Teach is gonna have something set up to alert you when Holy gets close and then you do what you do. If it works, it looks like our best troops took out the biggest badass in the region. We make allies of the lordlings, steal Kalash’s troops and you finger-wagglers get to poke around with whatever Kalash is hiding in his castle.

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Half's Reckoning

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

Two days after leaving Sandpoint, Half pulled himself onto the rail and looked out over the dark sea. The night was chilly and the moon faint, giving little light. He stretched lazily and scratched himself with one hand as he pulled his cloak tighter with the other. As such he didn’t have a hand free to reach for his dagger as he heard a throat clear behind him.

“Good evening, Half,” said Lotus, “i’ve been meaning to talk to you.”

Half was caught off guard, but knew how to regain the conversational initiative. “Wow! You’re pretty quiet. Nearly as quiet as me.” It always helps to use praise; most people can’t resist praise.

“My people are always unusually quiet, but it helped that I timed this well. I know you’ve been taking extra watches from the men. It’s ingenious. You know that as soon as we hit land the Captain is gonna start training to get us back in shape. That’s when you’ll want to sleep the whole night through.”

Half grinned sheepishly. Lotus had nailed it. There was nothing to do on ship but sleep, gamble and drink. Taking a late watch wasn’t so bad when there was nothing to watch for and you could sleep late the next day.

“So as the General said: Strike when the enemy’s resistance is weakest- so I chose now.”

Half’s hand crept closer to his knife. “Are you calling me your enemy?”

Lotus spread his hands in a conciliatory gesture. "Only metaphorically. I wanted to catch you off guard when I told you. I know you killed Gopher and tried to kill Rear Guard back in the bar at Sandpoint.

Half didn’t crack; he had spent his whole life hiding his emotions and lying to people. His hand closed around the handle of his dagger. Lotus was definitely the most dangerous swordsman in the Legion, but Half might just catch him off guard.

“I noticed that two men had their throats neatly slit by a sharp blade during a bar fight with sticks and clubs. The only edged weapons in ther room were my blade and your knives. Who else could have done it.”

Lotus turned to face out over the rail and continued, “The strength of the Legion is unity. Teach says that under Captain Drussus, the Legion dropped to 24 men! But they brought it back because they were united as brothers.”

“Are you suggesting I’m not loyal? You know what we were up against! It was the spell!” countered Half.

“I don’t doubt your loyalty,” Lotus answered softly, “or that you were compelled. I just think that a brotherhood like ours cannot last if we keep secrets. Our strength is our unity and our unity demands truth. Think about that while you’re on watch.”

As Lotus strode away, Half slumped and thought back to those precious minutes he was overcome by the urge to kill his Legion brothers. Rearguard had died, but Lotus and Holy’s quick intercession had saved Gopher. He had wanted to tell them he did it, but was afraid of the consequences. Lotus was right, he should ‘fess up. But he couldn’t. He stared off into the night.

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The Riot in Sandpoint

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

Half, Goat, Lotus and Holy snuck ashore and posing as adventurers entered the town the day before theCohort entered port. They took up quarters in the Crusty Crab Tavern. They pretended to listen to the recruiting speeches, but spent more time uncovering the movers and shakers in Sandpoint.

Lotus and Holy discovered that the City Watch was trusted, but the Captain of the guard was hiding something- a dark secret. His second in command, Lt. Pulsiver was a fine swordsman and way too talented for his position, but he was loyal to his post. Lotus figured he would be a great recruit, if they could get him. They took him to watch the Cohort tryouts at the fighting pits and get to know him better.

Goat and Half spent their time learning about the underworld. They first met Restus, a dangerous pyromancer from the far eastern edge of the Empire. More interesting, they discovered that Black Lorren O’Nine and the Raven have smuggled in a load of weapons. A few well-placed coins earned Half the location of the stash.

Half immediately saw an opportunity for profit and decided it needed his attention, even to the detriment of the mission. A few drinks made Goat more cooperative and the pair drifted out into the dark recesses of Rat Alley. With Goat standing guard, Half confirmed that the weapons were Imperial gladii (short swords) and guarded only by two men shooting dice.

In the meanwhile, Goat overheard a commotion in a nearby alleyway and a quick investigation showed that a group of six townies overseen by a guardsman were kicking the crap out of Goldie. Goldie was one of the Legion’s nicest guys and Goat couldn’t imagine him pissing off 7 people all at once. A sixth sense, or more likely, a drunken epiphany, warned Goat that he didn’t want to dive in swinging.

As he approached, he was shocked to see the group grabbing tools, sticks and other improvised weaponry to take on the other Redcloaks back at the Crab. He slipped in the crowd as they marched back to the tavern. About this time, Half made his way from the shadows in time to see Goat headed back toward the tavern and two more guardsmen following the mob. He shadowed the guards, already able to hear the mayhem ahead.

At the Crab, the mob used Goldie’s head to open the back door to the tavern and then commenced a brawl with the Red Cloaks inside. Amazingly, Goat was fighting on their side. Goat found himself caught up in the moment and with an overwhelming urge to fight. Fortunately, Lotus, Holy and Lt. Pulsiver had returned to the tavern. They were able to hold off the rabble and the guards. Half slipped through the melee and hid under a table, where he tried to talk some sense into Goat. Unfortunately, he then succumbed to whatever was driving everyone else mad. He immediately began dragging wounded Legionnaires under the table and slitting their throats.

Fortunately, Holy shouted “flare” and created a blinding white light. The Immunes knew to cover their eyes and were unaffected, but the Red Cloaks and townies were blinded. He then negated the rage effect. Freed of the enchantment, Half distanced himself from his grisly handiwork and began urging the blinded soldiers out into the street.

Outside, the sound of raging mobs echoed throughout the town. Realizing that the Cohort was the target of the rage, they raced toward the docks, only to find themselves cut off by a torch wielding mob. Holy cast a sanctuary spell, rendering them invisible as long as they maintained peaceful thoughts. Goat was unaffected, but the mobs ignored him, confirming that the anger was directed only at the Cohort.

Lotus made contact with Teach and Wander and was able to confirm that a squad of the Cohort were at the fighting pits and the Captain was attending a formal dinner at the central keep. While Half slipped through the town to warn Boot and the guys at the pits, Holy and Goat took their squad to the weapon cache Half had previously uncovered. Lotus went back to find Lt. Pulsiver, certain that he would have some clues. Pulsiver had only one notion- Elder Wistan, the same councilor who refused to allow the Cohort to bring weapons into Sandpoint. The team reunited at the weapon hideout and shared their information and plans

Using Teach and Wander’s magic to communicate, the Captain issued orders for the Immunes to neutralize the source of the rage effect. According to Teach, it was an old man standing over a flaming brazier, but he must be using something to focus the rage effect on the Cohort. The Tavern squad remained in hiding at the weapon cache ready to rescue the Captain, if necessary. The Pit squad, lead by Boot, worked its way stealthily down the river trying to avoid roving mobs of townies. The Immunes and Lt. Pulsiver headed to Wistan’s directly through the city.

Despite Holy’s word of caution and Half’s offer to scout ahead; Goat kicked in the door to Wistan’s mansion and just started smashing his way through room after room. It was dumb, but effective. A dull red light attracted him to a library and after smashing down the door, he was surprised to see THREE Wistan’s glaring at him. Behind them a flaming brazier sent a cloud of red smoke up the chimney and out to the city beyond. The rage effect washed over Goat, but he was already angry enough that the sorcerer had tried to turn the entire village against his Cohort. He sprang into action decapitating the middle Wistan’s head.

The results were explosive… as in the corpse exploded in a blast of fire, knocking the great dwarf stumbling back and dazed. Lotus was also hit by the rage effect and although he knew it was a poor idea, found himself rushing into combat with the other Wistan duplicates. The real Wistan rose from behind the brazier and sent coals flying from it like a Roman candle. Everyone in the room was blasted back by the attack and Holy had to drag Lt. Pulsiver back to the hallway to heal him. Two big explosions later, the duplicates were dead, but both Lotus and Goat were badly burned. Even worse, dark ethereal forms rose from the corpses of the duplicates.

Holy unleashed holy fury, but only one of the spirits was destroyed. Lotus and Goat tried to engage them with their weapons, but it was useless. Wistan realized that Holy’s power tipped the scales against him and surrounded the room with his dark flame, disrupting Holy’s contact with his power source. Fortunately, Half was able to dramatically enter the room with a ridiculous riddle; completely distracting the wizard from pressing his advantage. Holy was able to rush up to melee range, while Pulsifer was able to hurl his spear. Neither attack was successful, but provided enough of a distraction for Half to circle around and catch Wistan unawares. The blow was instantly lethal and the spectral forms and ring of fire immediately disappeared. Half immediately checked the corpse for gold, but only found an odd scarab. Lotus noticed that on the wall behind the brazier was a faded, patched Legion cloak, later revealed to belong to Gracchus, the Pit Master and retired Red Cloak. Pulsiver suggested they burn it, but Lotus suggested that Holy merely cleanse it with a blessing.

Just as Holy finished cleansing the cloak, Boot charged into the room with the squad from the pits. Seeing the men in their polished leather and red cloaks reminded Half that he and his team weren’t supposed to be Cohort. He pulled Lotus aside and whispered his plan to Lotus, who asked Lt. Pulsiver to go along with the story.

Once the mystical smoke cleared and the town returned to normal, Lt. Pulsiver informed the Captain of the Guard and the Council that the he had seen the strange smoke coming from Wistan’s chimney and came to investigate. On the way, he encountered the Cohort squad coming from the pits. Boot put his men at Pulsiver’s disposal and together they raided the house and subdued Wistan. Killing the wizard had lifted the curse. The testimony of the highly vaunted Lieutenant of Guard in conjunction with the evidence at Wistan’s made the Cohort the heroes of the hour. It wasn’t far from the truth and everyone wanted to find common ground after the horrors of that night.

The Cohort was wildly celebrated and recruitment stepped up tremendously. Within the next two days, they gained 50 new men including Lt. Pulsiver and Restus, the traveling pyromancer, who had missed all the fun.

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Interlude 1

NOTE: Please begin reading with “The Story So Far…”. The Adventure Log is posted in reverse chronological order.

Halfman clambered gracefully up the rigging of the Night’s Whisper and looked back upon the docks of Vertia. He had spent the last three years on Africa’s northern coast and he was going to miss it. The Cohort had seen some tough scrapes there, but he’d had some great fun in the towns. Ancient cities built by traders and merchants meant there was plenty of distractions- foreign foods, music, dances and stories. And women in all varieties of shapes, sizes and colors. It wasn’t home; never could be, but he would miss it.

He gazed longingly at the docks, his view clouded by the morning fog. Then slowly the mist parted; revealing a figure on the docks. Cloaked and hooded, Half could not make out any features, nor even recognize the build or clothing. The figure lifted its arms; one holding a slightly curved rod and the other what appeared to be a short scythe. The fog billowed, obscuring the figure… and when it parted again, he was gone.

Half shook as chill ran through him. He couldn’t explain the feeling of dread destiny that coursed through him. And since he couldn’t explain it, he paid it no mind. Whatever it was, he was leaving it behind…

The journey to Sandpoint

The Legion departed Africa in 5 half-empty crew transports and one cargo vessel. They had to leave most of their mounts and only brought the Knight’s heavy warhorses. They crossed the Mediteranean to Malaga in Hispania, where they took on supplies and retired a few soldiers. True to his word, the Primus waited until they were underway to tell the Captain about Spook’s assault on Brody. He had time to cool off after hearing the news and only ordered Spook restricted to the hold until the voyage was complete.

Unfortunately, the Captain was keeping their ultimate destination a closely guarded secret. The only clue was that Teach discarded all his light linen robes for thicker woolen breeches and jackets. The Immunes took the hint and did the same. After only a day in Malaga, they headed west through the Straits of Gibraltar and then turned north.

A few days later the small fleet began station keeping off Hispania’s northern coast, near Brigantium. The Captain had been in contact with a retired Legionnaire, Gracchus, who ran fighting pits in the small coastal town of Sandpoint. He was willing to host the Cohort and help with recruiting. Unfortunately, the town council, headed by Elder Wistan, refused to allow a large armed force into Sandpoint becuase the XII Legion had visited 6 years ago and ran roughshod over the city. A agreement was reached that only 20 men, unarmed and unarmored, would be allowed in the town at a time.

The Captain called in his staff, including Boot and explained that he had a funny feeling about this situation, but he needed to recruit new troops to meet the Seeker’s request. He would play nice… for the most part. The main body of the Cohort would clean up to Roman grooming standards- high and tights, polished leather and clean scarlet cloaks. Halfman would lead a team of Immunes into the city undercover. Their mission was to gather info and see if anything weird was going on. They would also be the Captain’s “ace in the hole” in case something went wrong.

In the Cohort, something always goes wrong…

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Spook's Reckoning

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

Two days after the defeat of the Regent and Spook is sitting on a crate on the docks at Vertia watching the Legion embark. The Seeker was true to his word and had ships ready to take them north. Spook was glad, it was too damn hot down here.

He watched the men clambering aboard, each laden with stores and equipment, while he sat around and ate dates. Boot was a good sergeant and had convinced the Captain that Immunes deserved a break after their recent efforts. The other guys were off saying goodbyes to friends, visiting favorite whores or drinking away their pay. Spook preferred to sit back and watch the other men work; pleasantly enjoying the suffering of others.

Then he saw a ghost. Brody walked up an gangplank struggling under a sack full of oranges. Two days ago Spook had opened his throat and drank his blood to cure a bad case of stomach rot. Of course Brody deserved it; during a skirmish he went crazy and cut down his corporal and another squadmate before someone konked him on the head to put him down. He was already as good as dead before Spook walked in the tent, so no harm no foul. He had totally forgotten about the murder in the aftermath of ambushing the Regent and the quick departure north to Vertia.

But the dead don’t normally do manual labor, so Spook decided have a talk with this particularly helpful corpse. Just as Spook jumped down off the crate a hand fell heavily on his shoulder. “Let it go,” he heard. The deep resonant voice was full of command, but no malice. “I think you’ve done enough already.” Spook spun around to find himself face to chest with Holy. And flanking the tall armored knight were Bright, the Prefect, and the Primus Pilus, both looking grim.

Spook’s mouth opened, but no words came out. He knew lying was useless, so he decided to play it tough. He narrowed his eyes and said nothing.

“Oh, don’t worry,” continued Holy, “he didn’t rat you out. And neither did the guard you pushed past. Brody’s too old school to snitch and the guard too chickenshit to cross you.” Spook had to admit that both were true… but then why was Holy onto him?

“I know you wanted some payback for Cork and Roundhouse; we all did. But you screwed it all up. When the Captain summoned him for his court martial, they found him in a puddle of blood and his own shit. Brody wouldn’t say what happened. He said that during the battle he felt a dark overwhelming presence and after that he only had vague glimpses of what happened up until now.”

The Captain had me check him over, but all I could sense was your power. I told the Captain there was “something” there, but couldn’t say what. I couldn’t confirm or deny his story about being possessed, so it was just enough doubt to save Brody’s neck. Don’t worry, I didn’t tell the Captain about you; instead I told the Primus and here we are"

“We’re Legion,” started Bright. Like Holy he was full of himself and his airs always talking about honor and nobility. “That means we’re better than the rabble sellswords you see everywhere. We have rules; traditions handed down for generations. We don’t take the law into out own hands! Brody killed two of our brothers and all he’s still breathing clean air. All because you couldn’t hold in your rage!”

“I know you’ve got some… problems,” Holy soothed, stepping between Bright and Spook, “keeping your inner demons in check, but you’ve got to maintain your control or you’re a bigger hindrance than help. We need to count on you and know that you’re gonna do things the Legion way. But who am I telling, right? You were Legion when the our grandparents were still soiling themselves.”

The relief that he was not being charged with murder suddenly reminded Spook that he HAD in fact killed Brody. How did he survive? Holy must have taken his dazed reverie as a silent assent because he continued.

“And therefore you know the Legion way is justice. You assaulted a prisoner and interfered in a court martial investigation. The Primus will tell the Captain once we get underway. He’ll want to skin you alive, but after a few days at sea, maybe he’ll kill you first… you just better hope for for good weather. Until then, we’re staying away from Brody and the Captain until we land… after that you’re on your own.

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The Leonin Civil War

NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.

The day started off normal enough. Spare Boot, the new sergeant of the Immunes, woke them up bawling about repairing the palisade and earthworks. Slight did health/welfare checks and found out that Spook had some type of intestinal worms. It wasn’t fatal, but caused cramping. Wander and Slight put their heads together and came up with a cure that required Spook to wear a garland of flowers and made him smell like jasmine. He just loved that.

Fun and games quickly turned to work and while most everyone dug in the mud, Teach was sent to confer with the Captain. And Spare Boot sent Halfman to listen in. While pretending to hunt rats (they’re not just for breakfast anymore!), he discovered that the Leonin were coming to the Imperial headquarters to conduct “peace talks”; which would really just be “war talks”. The Cohort was expected to show up in inspection dress as part of the Roman forces.

After the morning duties were done, each of the specialists were able to worm some free time out of Spare Boot. Goat and Half went around collecting gambling debts, Slight disappeared and Wander went looking for herbs/plants necessary for her various poultices. Holy spent his afternoon in prayer and Spook spent his contemplating murder.

His stomach was still rumbly and he couldn’t stand the smell of jasmine anymore. If he could’ve found Wander or Slight, there might have been trouble. As he wandered the camp, he came upon the stockade- in this case a tent reserved for legionnaires on restriction. Right now there was only a single prisoner. Brody had tried to desert during the last action against the bandits. He had cut down his sergeant and another man before he was brought down. They should’ve just killed him… the Captain surely would.

Thinking, why waste a perfectly good bag of blood, Spook bullied his way past the guard on duty. Pulling his sacrificial knife and bowl, he began a ritual designed to heighten the victim’s terror. At first it worked, but just before Spook drew the blade against his throat, Brody spoke in a voice full of authority. “You better make sure you kill me…,” the threat hung in the air for a moment before Spook shrugged and struck. A few minutes later Spook left the tent, stomach full and content, smelling nothing like jasmine.

When the dignitaries finally arrived, the Cohort was placed too far back to see anything. Fortunately, after the opening ceremonies, the Captain met with a potential employer, a secretive figure covered completely in dark blue robes calling himself the Seeker. The Captain agreed that the Romans would likely just send the Legion to their deaths; but reluctantly refused his offer because of the pledge to the Imperials.

Spare Boot was able to pick up a subtle hint from the Captain that their pledge only lasted through unseating Khemba, the Regent, and that they would never have a better chance than tonight while he was at the camp. Boot made arrangements for the Seeker to meet the Legion at the port of Vertia in two days. He then ordered Immunes to eliminate the Regent during his return trip after the negotiations. Wander developed a plan to poison the pteradon mounts forcing them to land and then spring an ambush. Teach provided transportation and Slight, Spook, Lotus and Halfman would do the dirty deed.

The plan worked perfectly. Wander led the Regent and his skyhunter honor guard into a ravine and the killzone. Slight nearly took out the Regent in a single well-placed shot, but his ancestors must have intervened because he was able to fight on. While Spook took on a granite form and started making leonin paste, Halfman sprang from hiding and diced and sliced at a second guard, ultimately laming and blinding him. Wander was able to both call lightning to blast at the Regent and dodge the remaining skyhunter.

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The tide began to turn when one skyhunter grabbed Lotus and carried him nearly a quarter-mile away before dropping him to the ground and then returning to smash into Slight. Meanwhile, the Regent seemed to regain his wind and activated his steelskin magic and challenged Spook to a mystically empowered brawl- granite strength against armored steel and claws. Finally, one of Wander’s lightning bolts was able to drop the Regent and Spook was able to rip out his heart. The sudden and horrific death of the Regent took the heart completely out of the leonin who surrendered or fled as best they could.

The team was able to make it back to the camp without incident and report a complete success.

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