So this week in the Anduwin Chronicles…

Brant wakes first, and noticed he has somehow wet himself in his sleep. He is freezing, and looks around to see it may not be urine, but icy water. The damp seeps into his body and frost spreads across his clothing. Gradually, the rest of us each wake. Abraxos wakes with a loud scream inside his head, ear splittingly. He is convinced the noise is coming from Brant. Confused by the noises in his mind, he suspects the voice is Brant, which should be impossible due to his ring. As Brant explores his body for the source of moisture, he finds a bright glowing cian object in his pocket. He uses his dragonhide gloves to move this into a secure pouch from Amelie (which held his instrument). Abraxos asks why Brant is screaming, after the item is moved to the pouch. The screaming is lessened either by exposure or by it actually reducing. Karl sets out a ritual casting of his oxen steed. He plants a small seed, and prays until it grows over ten minutes into an ethereal mushroom, morphing it’s shape into that of his ox once more. Abraxos shares he can speak with and hear the personalities and voices of Anduwin artefacts. Brant explains this item is the Ice Stone, which he suspects is not a true artefact. Abraxos interrupts that the stone certainly screams like one. He asks the bard to conceal it, to reduce the level of noise from the stone.

The sea elves awake and prepare themselves for the race, whilst Karl sets out applying shields and barding to Ollie the ox. Granuelle eats her ArchenTurnip- a rare and ancient magical vegetable. A dim divine light emits out of her, like a halo. On her radiance she feels more charismatic but slightly less hardy than she started the day.

Before too long, the door in the rooms floor opens again, and a figure roses up. A more snakelike male well armoured and brandishing a trident. He gestures back through the door, holding his hand out and waiting for us to move through. After limbering up, we head through and enter a sandy tunnel corridor with huge stone pillars descending down. Ahead, bright lights break the darkness illuminating large wooden doors, next to a semi floating barge. The barge itself is tethered to four magestic looking winged horses. By the barge, another well armoured yuanti solider tells us, in broken language that we have only a short period of time before the doors open, and the barge must begin the race. Kavan reviews the magical nature of the barge while other get about inspecting the vessel for tampering and possible damage. He detects a magical levitation on the barge, and lot of magic beyond the doors outside. Granuelle reviews the structure of the bargeand notices a weakness- if we are struck from the side, it is anticipated Wayne vehicle will crack and fall. Brant goes to collect additional lumber from the rear of the chamber where spikes exist. It seems these spikes are here to encourage barges not to waste time here, and to slam into competititors if they don’t race. He finds some, and between Karl, Abraxos and Granuelle Wood is applied to reinforce the weak spot on the barge. Just time time, the door begins to open, and the spikes begin to whirl closer to the barge proper. The final cut of timber is affixed in place and a war horn is hear blowing beyond the doors.

Farandril volunteers to drive the vessel, and control the winged horses, so he takes his position at the helm. The doors open further, and an announcement is heard magically in a language none of us can speak. And the race is begun.

We charge out and are first through the gates into the course. Above us, water, and below a deep drop and into magma. A second barge burst out with loud music and a rave atmosphere. Omega team appear, to challenge. Patch reaches out a hand and immolates one of omega team’s winged horses. The humanoids manage to keep hold as the barge lists to the side. Kavan opens fire as well, with another magical bolt of eldritch energy, collides at the same moment as an arrow from Abraxos connects with the horse. Their barge begins to slow with half the steeds. The killed horses are dropped and fall into the magma below as a third barge skims out to the side of the second. This is manned by men with long poles, robes and glass orbs. Their barge begins to lift upwards as one of the men raises his arm. Karl realises this new foe is out of range of him, so he tries to inspire the crowd by slamming his weapon into his sheild, but rather than a symbol clash, it scrapes and fails. Granuelle pirouettes on the barge and as she rounds, she releases a cantrip of firebolt into the base of the levitating barge. However, before it collides, the same Mage lifting the vessel expressionlessly moves his hand to the side and the fire strikes at nothing.

Brant instruct Farandril to start to pull up, so we have higher ground. Karl issues a command to Ollie to ram the side of the barheimmediately behind us, who have lost two horses already. The ox strikes but breaks the reinforcements rather than the vessel. To retaliate, the omega team pass around a box between people. Inside are three maracas, which are ignited, and one is then thrown toward us, missing wildly, but then exploding below in green and blue powder towards the magma. A second member of omega team leaps onto Ollie in a jump of faith, taking tight hold, and then Ollie and halfling explode. The barge is caught in the blast. As the eruption clears, Ollie is somehow still floating there, having survived the assault. The shock of the boom shakes the barge, and seven of omega team fall and tilt to their deaths into the magma. On our ship, the sea elves also encourage Farandril to move up, as the female takes out a flaming arrow and her long bow, firing up towards the higher craft, then another shot. Both arrows miss as the mage moves his hand subtly again. A third barge approaches now. Staffed by Greyborn wielding guns. Their barge is metal and has an armourment on top.

Patch draws a sigil in the air and another horse is lighted in divine flame. The barge above us takes some damage but all the horses remain. In response one of the mages twitches his hand, and omega team’s ship begins to fold in on itself, as though under some sort of gravity effect, and their surviving team is crushed. Another barge enters staffed by a man with three spears strapped to each arm, and three more to his back, apparently operating his craft solo. Kavan reaches his magic into the mind and body of one mage, but the individual resist it. Another ship emerges, which is some sort of living octo-creature with a rider, rather than an actual vessel, ridden by a lizard folk. Karl notices that there seems to be an alliance between the Greyborn and the mages as both ships race and float side by side. Karl warms us of this, as Brant strums his instrument and the vibrations glow into magical energy which makes a beam targeting the Greyborn metal ship. Not damaging much, but leaving a glowing target on the base of the ship, so the next strike may be easier or more accurate. Karl loosens an bolt but it flies wide, in his frustration, he reloads his crossbow and fires again, but misses again.

A the sea elf casting a spell swirls his hands in a spell, and a rune shimmers upwards, making a shield appear at the rear of our ship. “This will hold for a time” he says. His sister fires again. Another arrow at the horses of the mages craft. As the arrow approaches it splinters into a hail of thorns raining down pain upon the horses. The all falter and stop moving, before falling to the magma. The mages turn their attention to our ship, as three pull their glass orbed staffs together to draw energy into a response. Abraxos takes aim at the glowing area on the base of the Greyborn ship and fires two arrows, the first puncturing the hull, the second sailing past. Patch losens another sigil and tries to break the mages concentration on their spell. One of the mages catches fire but manages to maintain their concentration on their spell, completing the incantation and teleporting onto our ship. They immediately try to strike us from our ship using their long staffs. We amazing to avoid their shoves with a combination of strength and acrobatics. They seem to communicate by looking at each other, but Abraxos hears them in his mind claim we are more agile than they thought. Abraxos reveals he can hear their thoughts and communications. Granuelle retaliates by casting her green flame blade spell on her warhammer and swinging. The fire catches onto the mages, and her hammer swings wide and connects with Karl’s armour. Kavan leaps and teleports midair towards the Greyborn ship and as he appears he swings his blade and instructs them to sleep, but the Greyborn resist the magical effect. One Greyborn slowly stands and looms impressively over Kavan’s form. This solider swings his blade at Kavan but misses, and then fires into our sorcerer. The Greyborn ship then also opens fire onto other vessels behind us, as more soldiers are deployed, and it fires in a machine gun style. The sight of this weapon ripping into other contestants causes Abraxos to flash back to memories of the war. The crowd react in cheers and the Greyborn ship which caused this pain is rewarded by a green beam of light. Everyone on board, including Kavan is empowered by the energy to feel stronger. The next thing Kavan knows it the man with the selection of spears has jumped fro, his barge onto the Greyborn ship and clawed his was up, before aligning himself with Kavan against he Greyborn and killing two of them, kicking them off the ship into the magma below.

Brant looks up at the mountains to the side of the race course and sees a weak point, hoping to cause a rockslide to strike the vessels behind us. Karl sheaves his blade and goes to bear huge one of the mages. He squeezes and in his pull, casts a necrotic spell to inflict wounds. The spell takes effect and Karl pulls tighter, crunching the spine, before turning and dropping the mage off the edge of the ship. The body melt, but his orb connects and bursts in blinding bright light. The crowd goes wild, and a blue light shines down onto our ship. When we move our bodies shimmer and we feel we are all faster. The female sea elf, Karlina puts away her bow and takes out two daggers which she throws beyond the mage. The blades whistle as they fly, curling back on themselves, which one dagger smashing into each of the remaining mages on our ship. Our samurai then strikes with a lunge into another mage, leaving just one remaining. Abraxos kicks the staff off the barge and the orb melts again into a bright light again. Patch swings quickly follow Abraxos’ lead and takes out the last mage. Granuelle picks up the last orbed staff before hurling it towards the Greyborn ship. It collides as she pushes her praise strength into it, shattering on impact. The orb spills down in pieces and as each shard hits the barrier below several bursts of light are seen, but smaller then previously. Granuelle baits the Greyborn and challenging them to come down to our level. They level their weapon on us. Kavan side steps around and cleaves his blade through a wounded Greyborn, before moving to assist the spear wielder. Farandril continues to pull forward and up slightly. The weapon of the Greyborn opens fire. The sea elves deftly avoid the most of the machine gun fire, while the shield absorbs most of the fire. The damage rips through our party and our ship, dealing small amounts of damage but each hole from bullets weakens the vessel. The back of our ship begins to crack and start to fall off. One of the Greyborn unloads a shotgun fire at Kavan, but the shot is in a wide spray and seperates to only injury Kavan slightly. The spear solider charges at the large Greyborn with the spears equipped to his back, as a head butt style charge.

Brant tells Farandril to slow our barge and prepares to jump from our ship onto the Greyborn one, as another barge rounds the corner, which we see as that final other competitor- the living cephalopod being. Karl jumps onto the ox, and heals his beast before commanding it to charge into the shotgun armed Greyborn. The ox misses but in retaliation, the gun trigger is pulled and the shot spreads wide. Ollie takes the brunt of the assault but having been healed by Karl, has just enough health left to survive. The shotgun is thrown from the greyborn’s hand by the force. The gun falls and much like the orbs, this too explodes in a radiant shockwave, causing all the barges to shake. Brant is thrown skyward but is able to grab hold of Patch’s tail to steady themselves. Abraxos isnt fast enough and begins to fall from the barge. The elves continue to focus on the fight, used to people dying in this event. Karlina seems to know what the cephalopod is and she fires, the arrow looks to be wide, but Farandril turns his attention at the right time, and a guiding light steers the projective to his the beast. The arrow ignites and so does the alchemists fire, causing on going flame damage. Abraxos in his fall conjures his wings and makes his way to he nearest vessel knowing he can only keep his wings for a short time. Patch briefly panics having seen Abraxos fall. But spots familiar looking wings. He draws a familiar sigil and aims his magic at the Greyborn operating the machine gun, but misses. Granuelle throws a firebolt but also misses, and then in frustration pulls the trigger on her crossbow aimed at him, but also misses. Kavan steps up to him, and swings his blade at the shotgun foe twice, for a significant portion of his health. The Greyborn opens poison vials on his arms and slicks his weapons. The coated blades find a home in Kavan, poisoning him. The larger Greyborn pushes the spears from his body, as Kavan appears behind him, and swings his enchanted blade, with radiant light.

The cephalopod being raises up, and shadows over the Greyborn ship dripping acid from it. Voices are heard making announcements proclaiming the arrival of two huge golden barges from above. These are the Emperors personal teams. Two beams of red light start to empower the newcomers. Due to repeated explosion and magical twisting, the light seems to slow them, rather then speed or strengthen the emperors team’s. They settle alongside the Greyborn barge and line after line of archers fire. We avoid as best we can with arrows tearing flesh, but Kavan, Karl and Ollie take damage as the arrows don’t pass through but in stead sink in to them. Ollie is killed and so disappears magically, letting Karl fall as he does. Brant strums again and sends energy towards another point in the mountain to try to start a rockslide. Karl tries to twist his body in his fall to try to grab hold of one of the new golden vessels, but as he falls past, he cannot seem to take hold of anything, until the last moment, clinging onto the side. He begins to shimmy upwards, and enchants himself with a dreadful aspect to inspire fear into them. The effect is half of them fall under the effects of the fear and move away from him.

The sea elf siblings leap from our failing barge onto the Greyborn ship, and firmly tells us to get to land, whilst they fell another larger Greyborn. Two foes remain on this ship. Abraxos flies higher and joins Karl on the deck of a golden vessel, and begins to clear some space, by swinging his blade at foes who are not afraid of Karl. The first is slices in two in an instant, the second also killed as the samurai’s strides are frosting and he himself is burning with radiance.

Patch runs up the length of the barge and loosens the chains around a winged horse and rides it away from the race towards the lands ahead, instructing Farandril and Granuelle to do the same, and the pair follow suit. Kavan unleashes his magic into the mind of a Greyborn commanding him to get us to land as soon as possible without any tricks. Kavan then picks up a pistol and fires, but having never used this kind of weapon the gun misfires, exploding and taking another finger from the sorcerer. This time from his left hand. Our initial barge twists and crumples to its demise as the Greyborn weapon fires into a golden ship- the one Abraxos and Karl aren’t stood on, taking out large numbers of the crew and causing the ship to slow down. The spear solider takes his strike against the Greyborn gunner and finally fells him.

The cephalopod beast has managed to keep pace with us, but turns its attention towards one of the wounded ships. The urn effected golden ship with our party on it. The beast opens a pore on its body and oozes out a dark ichor choking out the people on the deck. The ooze clumps into gooey bodies which pick up weapons from the dead, arming themselves before turning their gooey attention to the paladin and the samurai. The rider of this beast drops down and moves towards a coughing snake warrior and engulfs her. She thrashes wildly before her neck is broken from within a swallowing pouch. The rider turns his attention to another snake warrior, as they charge him, eager to engage him and save their compatriots, the gooey minions move to try and strike, and in the commotion Abraxos helps Karl to move to the side, away from the fray.

Brant strums on his instrument a third time, and energy smashes into the mountain, finally triggering a rockslide onto the golden vessel which is lagging behind slightly. Faintly we see a small black dragon shape fall off the mountain and be buried in the rocks, crushed. Back on the golden ship, the snake warriors fight the ooze and Karl touches himself with healing magic to try to stop his choking. Abraxos moves up to the paladin, and hooks his arms to try to lift the man. The samurai starts to fly the pair towards the Greyborn ship, as Karl continues to cough up blood. Kavan hurls the misfires gun towards the cephalopod beast and casts a spell on it, to cause it to shatter. The weapon erupts in the spell, but it also catches Karl and Abraxos in the shockwave of the magic. However, it breaks the Anduwin crystal in the gun. At this point there is a rapid sucking in of energy and then an explosion, cutting the barge in half, and letting the back drop into the abbys. The cephalopod tries to move away from the massive explosion. All but one of the army of oozes is destroyed as are many of the snake warriors. The front half of the ship curls and twists, hurling the survivors as well as Karl and Abraxos into the dirty land, bouncing, rolling and then laying still. Both unconscious. Farandril, Granuelle and Patch have reaches the land on their winged mounts at this point, as well as the few survivors from various groups, looking up at the mountain and the beasts, drakes and wyrms that roam this mountainside.

And that’s where we left off.