The Chronicles of Uth

Fowl Play
Season Two, Episode Seven (Air Date: 1/27/2011)

After a night’s rest, following King Codrus’ duel with Yeenoghu, the king and his entourage made their way to Black Roost, the largest settlement of Kenku in the Nentir Vale. It was the king’s hope the Kenku there could be rallied into the cause of Ruul against the Yuan-Ti. Upon arrival, they discovered the community facing a coup of its own—the leader of the Black Roost Kenku had died the night prior under mysterious circumstances. One of the Kenku, called Bleak, claimed to have proof of treachery in their leader’s death. Before Bleak could reveal his knowledge to the community, he was attacked by mysterious aberrations before everyone’s eyes. The king’s entourage helped defeat the aberrations, and then decided to track the one which had fled with Bleak all the way to its lair.

Before leaving the settlement to locate Bleak, they underwent some information gathering. During this process, they discovered that Tetsuoko—none other than the twin brother of their fallen comerade Jinsoku’s nemesis, Kenzukuo—was most poised to lead the Kenku of Black Roost in the prior elder’s wake. They also came to understand that Kenku were resistant to the idea of entering into any form of open conflict, preferring to skulk in the shadows and profit from its back-and-forth unseen. The king and his entourage began to face the truth that it would be highly unlikely they could drag the Kenku into the war without a truly willing leader.

It came as little surprise to the king and his entourage, upon tracking the aberration to its lair, to discover that Tetsuoko was behind the elder’s death. Arriving just moments before Tetsuoko could kill Bleak, they entered into a dialogue to get to the bottom of everything. Tetsuoko revealed he had grown weary of waiting for the elder to die, and had merely taken matters into his own hands. As they talked, Codrus’ came to realize that under Tetsuoko it was far more likely the Kenku could be made to take part in the war. Tetsuoko agreed to commit the Black Roost if the party would let him kill Bleak, silencing the truth of his treachery forever, so that his power over the community could remain secure.

A long debate among the party ensued, before the king made his decision: they turned a blind eye as Tetsuoko cut Bleak’s throat, silencing his one and only critic forever.

The Primal Beast
Season Two, Episode Six (Air date: 1/6/2011)

As King Codrus and his gathered allies were making their decision of returning to Saruun Khel for an audience with the waiting Yeenoghu, Kuono found himself pulled into a strange vision, where he waited by a fire, along with his patron goddess, Avandra, as Lorzod made his way, along a dirt road in an alien wilderness, toward their camp. The bugbear ranger was lost, and confused, unsure how he had come to be where he was. Kuono then realized that to successfully navigate this vision to its conclusion, he would have to help the wandering stranger make an important choice. As the conversation played out, Kuono and Avandra both tried to explain to Lorzod the very reality of the trappings of Fate—and the idea of being fated for anything, out of his own control, did not sit well with Lorzod. Kuono also found himself disturbed as well, though not by his patron’s words. It was her presence which was most unsettling, for she had not appeared in this vision in her usual form to him—a beautiful minotaur—but instead as one of the hairless apes, slaves of the invading Yuan-Ti, and seemed unwilling (or, perhaps, unable?) to cast it off.

Kuono’s divinations for Lorzod revealed that he had two choices: two walk back the way he had come, to a path of bloodshed; or, to continue forward on his current path, to a place of unknown change that left everything behind him. Perhaps for no other reason than an unwillingness to accept his fade, Lorzod chose to choose neither path, instead picking a cardinal direction not defined by the road he had walked toward the encampment, bidding Kuono and the goddess farewell as, with a raised eyebrow, she murmured in his passing, “I believe this game has just become very interesting.”

With the vision at its completion, Kuono snapped out of his reverie in time to watch as the king and his entourage gathered their things and, along with the goblin emissary Twicks, began their journey toward Saruun Khel, bidding Kuono and his companions return to Gorn and the front line of war.

Along the way, Dyrdruh asked the party questions about the city, as she had never seen one and wished to know what to expect. In turn, the party discovered that she had known their ally, Rog, in her youth, and finally learned to which tribe Rog had shared blood before making his way to Ruul and swearing fealty to Torm: none other than the Stormcrow. Dyrdruh also hinted at some dark history which may have played a part in Rog’s modern penchant for silence.

Once arrived to the city, Buteo checked in with a human slave who had been captured during the early stages of the war, and which he had taken it upon himself to build rapport with in an effort to bridge the communication gap with the apparently primitive slave species. Though a modicum of progress was made, his efforts overall yielded no major breakthroughs, and little fruit, thus far. Dyrdruh stuck closely with Codrus and Culgecka, who visited the city armor for a resupply and to arm Dyrdruh before preparing to meet with Yeenoghu. Meanwhile, Kazakorn made his way to the Kobold Worker’s Union, to check in with its leadership and make sure that the leaders of Ruul had thus far been honoring their agreement, and had begun to treat the Kobolds who fueled their forges of war with the equal standing they deserved.

Sarna had other business with Kazakorn, however. He took his kobold fellow to a local tavern, and introduced him to a minotaur named Greth, who Sarna said was a lot like Kazakorn, in that he claimed to share the empowerment of a god, much as Kazakorn had claimed to carry on behalf of Torm. Greth revealed to Kazakorn that he served Shar, and offered his services to the empire of Ruul on behalf of his goddess. Gathering the new ally, Kazakorn made to reconnoiter with Codrus and the rest of his traveling companions.

Together, they made their way to the throne room, where they found Yeenoghu and Chauntea already waiting. Yeenoghu sized up the king, and took a moment to explain to all gathered the folly of the game of empires which Torm, and even the Yuan-Ti, had begun, going so far as to cite that the dream of civilization which the people of Ruul believed to have been born with Torm was not, in fact, such a new idea at all, and hinted that times such as these had come before. The portent was dire, and Yeenoghu made his belief that, regardless of the war’s outcome, the end result of the experiment of order and empire would be apocalyptic in scope. Still, he confessed that the gnolls loved a good war, and that he could bring them into the service of the empire on one condition: that Codrus defeat him in single combat, then and there.

The king agreed, and a vicious standoff ensued. Both the king and Yeenoghu fought with all their ferocity, skill, and might, while Chauntea and the king’s allies looked on. At the long battle’s conclusion, both the king and Yeenoghu where beaten, bloodied, and bearing permanent scars. Yet, with little more than a single breath of his own remaining, Codrus brought Yeenoghu to his knees, and the fallen warrior swore the gnolls into his king’s service for the war to come.

As Yeenoghu limped from the throne room, and Codrus himself collapsed, wracked with pain and covered in blood, onto his throne, perhaps for the first time feeling as though he had truly earned the right to sit where Torm once had, the gnoll offered one last piece of jaded wisdom.

“You wish to know how to win a game of empire, King of Ruul? I will tell you. The only way to win this game of thrones, in which you and these serpents have cast yourselves, is if everyone chooses not to play.”

Gruumsh Lives!
Season Two, Episode Five (Air date: 12/30/2010)

Smug and Smash parted ways with King Codrus and his entourage as they returned to Denvuh, intent to make good on their promise of escorting her out of Malachi’s tower and to the relative safety of the refugee camp. Culgeka questioned Smug’s decision to further accompany the very woman who had held him captive, but it soon became apparent that fighting side-by-side with Smash through the trials of Malachi’s tower had changed his disposition toward her, and perhaps her disposition toward him as well.

Upon the party’s return to the refugee camp, they went immediately to the Eye of Gruumsh to deliver Gruumsh’s petrified eye, fulfilling the first part of their agreement with the cult’s leader. The Eye of Gruumsh then bid the party good night, to prepare for the gathering of refugees which would occur the following morning and bring the final pieces of their agreement into place.

Before the peace of sleep could claim them, Dyrdruh arrived at the King’s tent. She explained rumors had swept through the camp that the party brought back a survivor from the Stormcrow rebel encampment, and that the survivor was Denvuh. Dyrdruh revealed the woman to be her sister, and thanked them for returning her safely. Sensing there may be more to Dyrdruh than it first seemed, Lorzod pressed her for more information and discovered that she and her sister were not only Stormcrow, but also the daughters of Solemn, the late Stormcrow chieftain who had died valiantly in battle against the Yuan-Ti, protecting his people but leaving them without definitive leadership. With none to lead them, the Stormcrow had fallen into infighting and dissent, which drove even families apart. Lorzod asked her to embrace her heritage and stand with Codrus in the morrow to unite the Stormcrow, for they would rather ally with her than be forced to trust the Eye of Gruumsh. Ultimately, she declined, revealing that whether or not the Eye could truly be trusted, she as leader of a united orcish people could never knowingly lead them into a war which, she believed, would destroy all the beauty within the cultural heart of the orcish people, leaving only insatiable rage in its wake. Respectful of her decision not to claim her birthright, Lorzod and the party retired to sleep, unsettled by Denvuh’s words and their revelation that in drawing the orcs formally into Ruul’s war they might very well be party to the destruction of a way of life and the birth of something sinister in its wake which could neither be predicted nor, perhaps, contained.

As Codrus and his entourage slept uneasily, the fires of war continued to burn throughout the Nentir Vale: the newly mobilized, but significantly outnumbered, Ruul militia marched ever westward, toward the Nentir River, in hopes of harrying, long enough for Codrus to bring the orcs into the battle, the Yuan-Ti legions pushing ever eastward and crushing everything that laid between them and Saruun Khel.

The following morning, the refugees gathered. The Eye opened with a moving speech, fueling the excitement of the gathered orcs, and ended with the revelation that the fallen warlord, Gruumsh, whose dream of orcish unification had remained with the Eye in spirit after his death, would return from the land of the ancestors to lead his united peoples to victory against the Yuan-Ti if they would but put their differences aside and unite as one blood. The Eye of Gruumsh cast his eye patch to the ground, and slipped Gruumsh’s petrified eye into the barren socket. Before all gathered, the Eye of Gruumsh transformed into none other than Gruumsh himself. At this moment, Buteo noticed a twisted shift to the energies in the air, and cautioned the king that what they observed could in no way be natural.

The gathered orcs did not know, or seem to care, but erupted into a furious cheer at the rebirth of their greatest warlord. Codrus then made good on his end of the agreement, kneeling before Gruumsh and apologizing, on behalf of Ruul, for his unjust slaying, and then asked that he lead his people into battle against their mutual enemy as an ally of Ruul. Gruumsh took the king’s hand, lifted him to his feet, and they stood before the gathered orcs for the first time as allies.

The moment of unity was very nearly short lived, for it was then that Gruumsh’s guards brought onto the stage the weakened Denvuh, in chains. Gruumsh then turned the party’s reason for returning her to the encampment on its head: he informed the orcs that she was the last survivor of the Stormcrow rebels who had hoped to sabotage Gruumsh’s dream, and that the party had captured her and brought her back to the camp to face her just punishment: death.

Lorzod stepped forward, notched an arrow, and leveled it at Gruumsh, saying without fear, “If you harm even one hair on that woman’s head, I will kill you.”

Silence rippled through the crowd.

Shock, with a touch of evident respect, rocked Gruumsh’s face.

Codrus tried to explain to the crowd that Denvuh had helped them defeat the Stormcrow, but Gruumsh countered his pleas by insisting that, while her redemptive actions guaranteed her a place among her ancestors, the mortal punishment for betrayal must still be carried out.

As the crowd’s opinion stayed firmly locked with Gruumsh’s decision, Kazakorn stepped to the king’s side and, guiding the conversation with his own able tongue, turned the king’s plea toward pursuing an alternate form of punishment such as exile. To this Gruumsh countered that in her weakened state exile into the wilderness would simply be a slower, crueller death sentence, and that a quick death by his blade was the more merciful of sentences.

Buteo advised the King and Lorzod that this was an internal issue among the orcish people and that Ruul had no right to influence its outcome. Still, Lorzod refused to back down and Codrus found himself in the unenviable position of having to choose between his loyalty to his ally, or to the newfound alliance with Gruumsh.

Codrus acquiesced to Gruumsh, and the desires of the gathered crowd.

But when Gruumsh attempted to carry out the sentence, Lorzod took his shot! The orcs flew into a riot, screaming out for Lorzod’s blood. He tried to fight off the mob even as his allies ran in and tried to save him from the throng. Gruumsh joined the fray, lashing out at Lorzod. Kazakorn took an active role in defending his friend, lashing out at Gruumsh and drawing blood!

Wielding an unknown, alien power, Gruumsh struck Kazakorn down with a single blow.

Culgeka took advantage of the moment of distraction, attempting to subdue Lorzod and drag him away—but the strength of the gathered crowd proved greater than his own, and he was forced to watch as the raging crowd pulled Lorzod from his grasp and ripped him limb from limb.

With the battle at an end, Gruumsh demanded Kazakorn’s life for attempting to kill him. Codrus pleaded that enough people had died today. Gruumsh then plainly stated, “You will give me the kobold, or our alliance is at an end.”

Gritting his teeth, Codrus consented.

Gruumsh cocked his head, looked the king up and down, and said, “You are truly ready to sacrifice your man to me, in exchange for our support in your war?”

“Yes,” Codrus replied, without hesitation.

After a moment of taking the king’s measure, Gruumsh sheathed his blade. “Perhaps if you can make such hard choices so readily we stand a chance against these Yuan-Ti yet.” As he strode from the site of the battle, he said over his shoulder, “You may keep your man, but the Stormcrow woman is mine.”

Tasting bittersweet victory, the party gathered Kazakorn’s unconscious body and wasted no time in fleeing the orc encampment, before more damage could be done. As they traveled, Culgeka caught sight of a lone figure following them and ventured into the field to meet them. The figure lowered her veil, and Culgeka found himself staring into the tear-filled eyes of Dyrdruh.

“There is nothing left for me there,” she said. She asked to accompany them on their journey, and Culgeka brought her to Codrus, who welcomed her company. They resumed their journey.

Meanwhile, the armies of Ruul crossed the Nentir River and met the Yuan-Ti legions for the first time in the field of battle. Against this backdrop, Gorn once again summoned Hungrig, Loodra, Kuonu, Melgar, and Graz. Impressed with their handling of the Kobold rebel leader, he offered them a new assignment—the safe escorting of a goblin emissary, Twicks, to Codrus, as well as the delivery of a sealed letter into the king’s hands.

Thanks to Graz’s able tracking skills, it didn’t take more than a day for them to catch the king’s trail—but hot on their own was a Yuan-Ti scouting party, who struck with vicious mercilessness. It was a quick, brutal battle, but the five warriors survived the skirmish, proving their mettle once more. Several hours later, they arrived at the king’s encampment with Twicks and the letter intact.

Twicks revealed to the king that he had come to negotiate the terms for goblin commitment to the war, but as Codrus opened the sealed letter he discovered a more pressing concern: Yeenoghu, most feared among the gnolls, had come out of hiding to meet with the king. He presently waited in Saruun Khel, but would wait for no more than a day before disappearing into hiding again.

Unwilling to lose an opportunity to levy the mythic warrior’s support in his war effort, Codrus ordered the return to Saruun Khel, for the meeting with Yeenoghu…

The Shadow of Gruumsh (Part Two)
Season Two, Episode Four (Air date: 12/23/2010)

Little did the party know, as they made their way through the Cloak Wood, that they would soon be fated to cross paths with a former ally. At that precise moment, Smug had found himself captured again for trespassing—this time, not by a community. Instead, a headstrong goblin vixen called Smash had caught him rummaging through her home, taken his weapons, tied him up, leashed him, and begun to drag him along on her adventures as her servant and toy. As the pair made their own way through the Cloak Wood, Smug caught sight of the party and, recognizing Codrus and Culgeka among them, called out for help. Though the party halted Smash so they could speak with Smug, he discovered that his two old companions were no less than amused by his present condition. Still, when Codrus explained their reasons for journeying through the wood, and the extent of the impending Yuan-Ti threat, even Smash heard the call of their need for aid. She agreed to release Smug so that he could help them, at their request, and also offered her services, at least insofar as dealing with the Stormcrow orcs. Together, the newly bolstered party continued their journey to the Stormcrow encampment.

When they reached the area of the Cloak Wood where the Stormcrow could be found, they discovered an ancient tower rising up out of a dead clearing. Lorzod overheard a whispered exchange between Codrus and Culgeka, in which Culgeka told Codrus he had wandered these woods many a time and this ancient tower had never been there before. Lorzod was quick to speak up, explaining that Culgeka must be mistaken, for he had also traveled these woods many a time since his birth, and the ancient ruins had been there since well before his own childhood. Rather than wasting time arguing over the matter, it was agreed that something strange must be at work.

Not wanting to move forward without further information, the party sent Lorzod to scout the ruins and investigate. What he discovered along the structure’s perimeter was a small number of shambling, undead orcs, awakened by some fell energy, and aberrant, leather-clad humanoid creatures with indescribable, tenticular flesh. Regrouping with the party, they worked together to rush the creatures and test their mettle. The conflict was short and brutal. Thereafter, the party worked together to pry open an ancient entrance into the tower, only to be greeted by a huge creature of animated flesh, wrangled by an orc whose physiology had been altered by, no doubt, the same fell and aberrant energies which had animated the dead. Codrus and Culgeka were struck with a sense of familiarity as their thoughts returned to the horrors discovered among the ill-fated Gnawstubble clan, Smug’s brethren…

After making short work of the flesh golem and its aberrant orc master, the party carefully crept through the decrepit halls of the tower. Along the way, they encountered an orc woman whose pours secreted a strange, clear slime as her flesh, before their eyes, slowly mutated and changed. Wracked with pain, she still stood with several of the leather-clad aberrations and demanded the party explain what they were doing in the home of her people. Due to Lorzod’s insight, the party realized the woman, who identified herself as Denvuh, was terrified of and resistant to the change taking place within her. Buteo and Smug reasoned with her, explaining that perhaps they could help her escape her fate if only she would help them. At last, she gave in, agreeing to tell the party anything they wished to know about her leader, as well as how to reach him safely, if they would help her return to the orc refugee camp to receive healing and aid.

Before she could make good on her promise, the aberrations furiously attacked. Acting swiftly, Smash stepped between Denvuh and the aberrations, protecting her and taking the brunt of their blows as the rest of her new allies beat them back and cut them down. When the battle was finished, Denvuh thanked the party and answered their questions about Malachi: he was not an orc, and had come to the Stormcrow many years ago, prophesying that this day would come, and displaying miraculous powers which brought the orcs into his service. Everything that had happened, every step the Stormcrow had taken against the Sky Eagle, had been a part of his years-long plan leading up to this very moment. She could not tell the party what he was, or even where he came from, and only advise that they would have to see the full extent of his power for themselves.

Using advice she gave them on how to navigate the tower safely, and reach Malachi, the party succeeded in avoiding any further conflicts before finding their way to a long battlement, where Malachi stood flanked by two aberrant hounds called Destrachan. He held up the eye of Gruumsh, asking if the party was truly prepared to die in their quest to recover such a “trifling little thing”. The ensuing combat was furious, as Malachi let loose his Destrachan, and summoned into being one of the very creatures which Codrus and Culgeka had fought against in the Sea of Residuum, during The Chaining of Tharizdun, to further aid his battle. When Buteo summoned Sandahoku to aid the battle, Malachi joined the fray as well, wielding a sword of pure Residuum and wielding that essence of creation itself as a weapon, which also generated an aura of psychic destruction.

It was Smug who ultimately slipped through the ranks, driving one of his daggers into Malachi’s chest and twisting it, throwing the wounded tyrant to the ground and ending the battle. Malachi rolled and rose to his feet, backing away. The party watched as the psychic essence which enveloped him began to emanate widely, tearing flesh and sinew away until only Malachi’s soul remained. Then, they watched as his body re-knitted itself around him, revealing his true identity.

When the ritual finished, they saw, staring back at them, fully healed, none other than the goblin sorcerer Gnash. He smiled a fanged smile at Codrus and said, coyly, “Well played, old friend.” Then, laughing and tossing the petrified eye at Codrus’ feet, he waved a hand and the party watched as reality itself peeled apart behind him, not unlike the manner with which they had already observed the goddesses open strange portals into places beyond time and space. The vortex reached out, grabbing hold of Gnash and snapping him away, his laughter echoing even as the portal faded, and Sandahoku charged after him, weapons drawn, determined to catch up with his old friend, his new enemy, through the tear, into the void, continuing their hunt…

The Shadow of Gruumsh (Part One)
Season Two, Episode Three (Air date: 12/16/2010)

While Gorn’s men made swift work of the rebellion’s remnant, Codrus and his entourage completed a day’s journey to the orc refugee camp. It soon became evident that finding one voice to speak for the hodge podge of tribes might be difficult. It was considered that maybe the best course of action would be to make a public call to recruitment, and take whichever refugees they could get into the militia fold. While the group argued amongst themselves about how best to proceed, Culgeka wandered the camp site to gather his bearings, and stumbled upon an orc child who suggested he speak to a woman named Dyrdruh. Culgeka and his allies made their way to a large tent, to which the child had directed them. There, they met the woman, who it soon became evident was a nurse tending to the wounded, sick, and dying among the refugee thrall.

Codrus explained the party’s intention for visiting the camp. It took some persuasion for Dyrdruh to open up with them, but eventually she agreed to take them to see one who could possibly help. That man turned out to be an ambitious member of the Sky Eagle tribe, who had taken up the cause of the recently deceased warlord, Gruumsh, to unite the twelve tribes of of the orcs as one. Calling himself The Eye of Gruumsh, he explained that his movement was beginning to take hold among the displaced refugees, and that if he and the empire of Ruul could come to some agreement, he would be willing to commit the whole of the gathered orcish peoples to the war effort. His terms were clear: Codrus must publicly renounce Ruul’s outright slaying of Gruumsh at the Siege of Ogrefist Hold, and then tell those gathered that Ruul would recognize the sovereignity of a united orcish people. It would also be necessary for the king and his entourage to venture into the nearby Cloak Wood. There, refugees form the Stormcrow tribe, enemies of the Sky Eagle, who refused to live among the refugees falling increasingly under the Eye’s thrall, were in hiding after stealing an important symbol of the Eye’s movement—Gruumsh’s petrified eye. If the king would recover the symbol, return it to the Eye of Gruumsh, and make the public professions the upstart orc leader had requested, the Eye of Gruumsh believed it would be the final steps needed to secure his rule of the gathered orcs, and he would then be able to commit the forces to the war which Ruul was requesting.

While the party discussed among each other whether or not this was a wise course of action, Buteo consulted with the spirit world, and received a veiled warning from Sandahoku himself: the long term effects of orcish unification would be unpredictable at best, and there would be no way to truly know what its ramifications may be for Ruul or its people. In light of this, Codrus briefly considered turning down the offer, but ultimately decided it was the best course of action to deal with the immediate threat.

Together, he and his party began their trek into the cloak wood. On their way to the Stormcrow campsite, they were ambushed by several orcs. A bloody battle ensued. In the end, they succeeded in capturing one of the orcs, who revealed an eerie fanaticism and loyalty to a mysterious entity which he referred to simply as Malachi. Even threatened with pain of death, the orc refused to say more, except that the party could not even begin to comprehend the true scope of present day events. As the orc descended into fanatical, zealous ramblings, Lorzod stepped forward and forced him into a moment of clarity in which he could choose whether to aid them and live, or die. The orc toyed with him for some time, dragging out his answer, before choosing death with a smug lack of hesitation. With equal lack of hesitation, Lorzod drove one of his own arrows into the orc’s jaw, with his bare hands. The party left the corpse in the small, wooded clearing, and continued their journey toward the Stormcrow encampment.

Kobolds of Uth! Unite!
Season Two, Episode Two (Air date: 12/9/2010)

Weary but undeterred, Codrus and his entourage gathered in the throne room of Saruun Khel to discuss a strategy for dealing with the encroaching Yuan-Ti threat. Shortly, Gorn arrived with word from Ogrefist Hold: the Cairngorms had fallen to the Yuan-Ti, and the invasion force swiftly marched east even as those gathered with the king devised their strategies. It took mere moments for the king and his allies to conclude it was time to muster the Ruul militia as a legion and march west to meet the invaders in the field of battle. Gorn and Chauntea both advised the king that in the meantime it might be wise to seek out allies among the other people’s of the Nentir Vale, for Ruul would need all the help it could get to dispel the Yuan-Ti menace from their lands.

It was at this time that Kazakorn spoke up for the Kobolds of Uth. Long had they been slaves to the kingdom, in their fields and mines, toiling without the same benefits enjoyed by their minotaur lords, or even afforded the same status as other species of Uth, such as the orcs and goblinkind, who could at least enter the militia’s service to earn a right to be something other than slaves. Despite the prejudices that Kobolds could not be able-bodied warriors, it was a fact that Kazakorn had proven otherwise by standing side-by-side with the king during the Battle of Saruun Khel, and certainly there were others like him. This fact, coupled with Codrus’ memory of the strength of the Kobolds at the Coppernight Mine rebellion as well as his own sense of honor, led the king to decree that all Kobolds of Uth would be afforded the same right as other non-minotaurs: to serve in the Ruul militia as a route to independence within the community and out of their lives of forced labor.

The decree would soon prove to be too little too late, as before he could announce his decision word came from the militia command. Rioting had broken out within the city, the mines, and the kingdom’s fields in the wake of the Yuan-Ti attack. It seemed the Kobolds were taking advantage of the chaos to rise up and cast off their shackles through violence. Hoping to end the bloodshed before it could get out of hand, the king made his way to the center of the city itself, the great Seven Pillared Hall, with rioting under way all around him. Flanked by his allies, he claimed the highest position he could, to be heard by the most people, and began to implore the kobolds to cease their violence because their dream of freedom had come to them with Ruul’s new king. With the assistance of Kazakorn’s passionate tongue, the king was able to get the truth of his intent to make its way from mouth to mouth among the rioting kobolds, and the city’s conflict slowly died down.

A kobold message runner made his way to the king and informed him that the united kobolds, under the moniker of the Kobold Workers Union, would send a representative to negotiate with him the terms under which the kobold “strike” could cease and harmony be restored to Ruul. That representative turned out to be none other than Sarna, survivor of the Coppernight Mine rebellion. Negotiations initially went well, as Codrus, Culgeka, and Buteo worked together, using a mixture of diplomacy and intimidating reminders of the threat encroaching on their doorstep. However, they were cut short when Lorzod grew impatient with the negotiations and struck out at Sarna with physical violence. The kobold emissary left the proceedings, postponing the negotiations for a full day. In the meantime, the Ruul militia remained occupied with the rebellion within the streets of Saruun Khel and were unable to begin mobilization against the Yuan-Ti forces, which slowly worked their way further eastward, toward the city.

The following day, negotiations resumed. The king and Sarna came to an agreement, which Sarna took to the Kobold Workers Union. All but one of the Union’s leaders agreed to the terms. That leader refused to give the kobold rebels under his command the order to cease action. In a secret meeting between Sarna, the king, and his allies, Sarna suggested it may be in the best interests of the city to expedite the situation by having the uncooperative rebel leader assassinated. The king readily agreed. Wanting to waste no more time, Codrus ordered Gorn to assemble a small force to infiltrate the rebel leader’s personal stronghold and end his life, while Codrus and his own entourage headed west to the fields surrounding the Moon Hills, where Gorn had reported refugees from orc tribes beyond the Vale, who had already fallen prey to the attacks of the Yuan-Ti, had fled and set up camp. There, Codrus hoped to rally the flood of orcs into Ruul’s cause against the invaders, to further bolster the militia’s ranks in the war to come. Rog would stay behind to assist Gorn in preparing the Ruul militia for war.

Meanwhile, Gorn gathered five members of the Ruul Militia. The gnoll warlock Hungrig, bugbear druid Loodra, gnoll rogue Graz, bugbear barbarian Melgar, and minotaur runepriest Kuono, accepted the charge to crush the kobold rebellion. They infiltrated the rebel leader’s stronghold, cutting down all opposition, and taking the leader’s life without mercy. With the one defiant corps of the Kobold Workers Union dealt with, the Union and Chauntea, ruler pro tem of Ruul in Codrus’ absence, brought swift resolution to the strike, and the Ruul militia finally began to mobilize, preparing to meet the greatest mortal threat the Nentir Vale had yet to face…

The Battle of Saruun Khel
Season Two, Episode One (Air date: 12/2/2010)

The streets of Saruun Khel ran mad with chaos as the Ruul militia fought hard to beat back the Yuan-Ti invaders and their human slaves. Deep within the labyrinthine cave systems of Thunderspire Mountain, Yuan-Ti poured forth like a flood through an arcane teleportation matrix, butchering kobold slaves and their minotaur slavemasters without discrimination. One such kobold, called Kazakorn, drifted into sleep as he bled out on the cavern floor. As the battle raged around his unconscious form, Torm appeared in a dream. He explained to Kazakorn that he was no longer king, but had become something more, and that the kobolds would play an important role in the fate of the kingdom. He called upon Kazakorn to stand as his champion, to help Uth’s heir, Codrus, properly guide their fate. Upon his acceptance of the charge, power flooded into him, a gift from the new deity, creating Uth’s first paladin.

He woke to find himself surrounded by the bodies of the dead. Alone nearby and preparing to battle the Yuan-Ti who bore down on him stood Buteo, a minotaur shaman. Lurking in the shadows nearby, an unseen survivor of the surprise attack—Lorzod, a bugbear ranger—tried to settle on his own course of action. At this precise moment, Chauntea’s portal opened and Codrus, Culgeka, and Rog came leaping through, back into space and time, into the fray. Buteo and Lorzod threw themselves into the fight, and Kazakorn rose to his feet, fully healed by Torm, to join the battle as well. Working together, they cut down all of the invasion force occupying the small cavern with ease.

With the immediate threat dispatched, Buteo turned his attention to the energy stream of the teleportation matrix which flowed through the cavern. By tapping into it, Buteo was able to not only shut it off—keeping more invaders from pouring into the mountain and its city—but also reverse it. All surviving Yuan-Ti and human slaves were instantaneously sucked out of the city and transported back the way they had come over arcane currents.

Though this momentary victory bought Ruul time, Codrus knew it would not be long before the city faced a more conventional assault. Together with his allies, both old and new, he made his way to his throne and began planning the coming war.

The Chaining of Tharizdun
Season One, Episode Nine (Air date: 7/22/2010)

Avandra and the Advents of Ruul emerged into the voidlike flux of residuum, at the heart of all creation and outside time itself, where they were joined by other allies: the goddesses Chauntea and Shar, as well as King Torm. There, Torm took Codrus aside and told him that he could no longer remain king of Ruul, as he had chosen to assist the Elder Goddesses in their ritual and would not be able to return to Uth as the mortal he currently was once it had been completed. King Torm then named Codrus as his chosen successor to the throne.

After Codrus’ acceptance, the Advents, the Elder Goddesses, and their king gathered together to lay out their plan. The goddesses explained that an extra-dimensional prison had been constructed to contain Tharizdun, and four islands bearing specially constructed shrines which would be used to empore the prison presently orbited it within the sea of residdum. Torm and the three goddesses would take up position on each shrine and offer up portions of their own energies—divine in the case of the goddesses, and Torm’s own life force filling out the fourth portion. The interweaving of these energies would bind Tharizdun into his prison. The sorcerer Gnash would be responsible for conducting the ritual. Meanwhile, the rest of the party would have to remain vigilant against the residuum itself. It would see the ritual as invasive and retaliate, like a natural force, spontaneously creating from its own essence aberrant creatures to attack and disrupt the ritual.

As the ritual progressed, all remained unaware that the alien creature which Gnash had seen in his visions at the Gnawstubble hideout was none other than Tharizdun. Enticed by the power Gnash believed he could wield if the god’s energy could be harnessed, Gnash worked his own arcane ritual into the one which had been planned by the goddesses, attempting to open a channel into the god’s prison which he hoped he could use to command Tharizdun’s power. The success of his ritual had unanticipated results for the power-seduced sorcerer: Tharizdun reached out through the conduit, taking possession of Gnash to actively fight against the ritual with physical form beyond his divine cage. Under the deity’s control Gnash first lashed out at Jinsoku, slaying him outright.

The killing blow proved also to be a moment of rebirth; once a figment of his imagination, Jinsoku’s patron Sandahoku came into physical being as he reached out for his aid one final time, with such faith and belief in his patron that the energies of creation within the residuum made his existence a reality. Sandahoku entered into mortal combat with the possessed Gnash and cut him down in an epic battle, while the surviving Advents continued to protect the shrines from an onslaught of indescribable aberrations.

With the immediate threat dispatched, Sandahoku completed the ritual which had originally been intended. The great Abyss which had been woven into being to contain Tharizdun’s cage—a prison within a prison, hidden away within the deepest layers of creation—swallowed the god, Uth’s creator, and closed behind him, sealing him away.

Sandahoku promised the Advents that he would continue to watch over them, and return to them at a time of great desperation and need, before he parting ways. As Shar and Avandra made their exit, Chauntea informed the new king that he would be returning to a nation under siege by the Yuan-Ti, and offered to open a portal for him and his allies to return to the thick of battle. Torm, newly ascended into godhood as a biproduct of the ritual, offered his blessing and hope that his work as a mortal would not completely crumble—that instead Codrus and his companions would be able to save his dreams from total destruction.

And then, the party stepped through Chauntea’s portal to return home.

On the Threshold of Fate
Season One, Episode Eight (Air date: 7/15/2010)

The party awoke in a dungeon of unidentifiable architecture, and were surprised to find their fellow Advent, Rog, imprisoned with them. Unwilling to resign themselves to their fates, the party worked to find some means of escape… to no avail.

Soon, they were surprised by the arrival of Di-Kala, who chose to repay her debt to them for saving her life by betraying her own people to aid their escape. After releasing them from their cells and redistributing their gear, she parted ways with the party so as not to face incrimination for her assistance, and the Advents began the process of escaping the fortress of the Yuan-Ti. Culgeka took the lead, applying his dungeoneering knowledge to the task of navigating the structure’s unmapped halls.

A wrong turn found them not heading for the exit, but into a large audience chamber. There, they hid in the shadows and observed an exchange between a mysterious woman, cloaked in shadow, as well as a group of Yuan-Ti in regal garb, and a gargantuan, red-scaled dragon the others referred to as Dal’Sarnquin—a name, and a presence, that struck an unspoken chord in Culgeka.

Knowning themselves to be outmatched, they continued their journey to the exit, breaking a complex magical seal to exit the fortress, whereupon they swiftly discovered from observance of the stars that they were easily months from home. Settling on a cardinal direction of escape, they began their trek home, stumbling along the way upon a small agricultural field and tent city. There, a group of Yuan-Ti slavemasters were in the process of punishing a group of primitive, bipedal humanoid creatures. Choosing to save the “hairless apes”, the party found them to be helpful allies: one recognized the party as having been brought through a nearby magical portal, erected by the Yuan-Ti.

The slaves led the party to the site of the portal, and Gnash began the process of deciphering how to set the arcane coordinates for a return trip home. Before they could utilize the portal, a third mysterious woman appeared. She identified herself as Avandra, and Chauntea and the woman cloaked in shadow as her sisters, explaining in the simplest terms early mortal beings could understand the basic concept of what the three of them were: goddesses.

She explaining that the fallen star the Advents had been sent by their king to investigate was not in fact a star, but their father: Tharizdun, Lord of Chaos. Imploring the party that a fate far greater than that of Ruul’s against the invading Yuan-Ti would very soon befall the whole of Uth without their aid, she enlisted their assistance in her and her sisters’ plot to chain Tharizdun in a grand Abyss, created by them to imprison him, as a last hope to save all of Uth from an untold destruction.

When the party accepted her task, Avandra diverted the coordinates of the portal and infused it with her own divine energy to peel back reality itself, and pull the party over the veil and into the very void of residuum from which all reality had first been created, where waited her father and the prison constructed for him, to be activated by the hands of Uth’s first heroes, its first adventurers: the Advents of Ruul.

Snakes on a Plain
Season One, Episode Seven (Air date: 7/8/2010)

The Advents of Ruul made their way deeper into the Gnawstubble hideout, at last confronting their leader in an acquifer with a strange, radiant pool of alien liquid. From it emerged a mass of goblins that had somehow been magically contorted into a giant flesh golem. After slaying it, and the goblin leader, the party investigated the pool and discovered it to be some form of bleeding wound in reality, opened by the impact of the fallen star. As they worked together to find some way to slow the bleeding, Gnash’s attunement to the cavern’s strange energies triggered a vision of an indescribable, alien creature.

The sorcerer chose to keep the knowledge of this vision to himself.

After the deed had been done, the wound in space and time temporarily plugged, the Advents received word from Gorn via Rog’s sending stone that the orc Warlord and a battalion of orcs had disappeared on patrol. The party was also stunned to discover that they could not make contact with King Torm via his sending stone, which he had sworn he would have on him at all times. The party quickly wrapped up their efforts in the caves and made their way back to Crossroads.

Camping for the night, they awoke to find Di-Kala gone with a parting gift of freshly hunted food; then, they continued their journey, whereupon they were ambushed by a raiding party of Yuan-Ti, expertly cut down, and captured…


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