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(If it is your time to die, that you shall. If you need assistance please feel free to attack.)
Tanis (Barrister Extraordinaire)
The SMC-AD needs people to conduct an intelligence gathering mission. If interested, come to the Selenic compound at the Portal Farm, building 31, at noon.
After spending a good while debating what the acronym SMC-AD stands for, adventurers show up at the fortified compound on the edge of the Portal Farm, and are escorted in quickly. They are greeted by a man in a large military planning room who identifies himself as general Dagen. He states that heís a member of the Selenic military, who are currently engaged in a long war on another world, called Aileron, with a race of people known as Talarians. He states bluntly that the master goal of the Talarians is to capture the main transit hub that connects the worlds of the Selenic coalition. However, their initial plans were to take the gate on Aileron quickly, but now, the war has dragged on and is coming to a stalemate. He says that they have reason to believe that a group of Talarian troops has made landfall on Jaern and is planning to bypass the front lines on Aileron by capturing the gate here. He says that the evidence lies in a half mad marine who was found adrift near a small group of islands. The marine had been tortured, both mentally and physically, and babbled unendingly about strange looking elves and a great golden eye, the prior being a description of the Talarians themselves, and the latter being the symbol of their religion. Dagen states that his people are still trying to put the marineís mind back together, and that it is come to light that two fishing boats and a marine vessel have disappeared while traveling near this small chain of islands. He wants the group to check out the islands and see if the Talarians are there, what they may be up to, and if possible, to disrupt their plans.
The adventurers agree to the terms and set off on a boat rented by the employer. On the way to these islands, they are attacked by a small group of lizards attempting to drill through the bottom of their boat for potential salvage rights later. The surviving lizard who is captured states bluntly that their water mage had yet to learn Demolish, and that the drilling method had worked before.
The boat reaches the island chain on the evening of the fourth day, and a small light is spotted at the southernmost island, barely larger than a big rock. Tanis flies out to investigate and finds a small boat half sunk and resting against the island, with three humans on board clustered around a lantern. Tanis flies back and reports this, and the adventurerís boat cautiously approaches, hailing the beached vessel. The three men hail back, stating that they were fishermen who had wrecked here five days ago. They had been sailing along and then felt a sudden hard bump, their boat taking on water quickly. They managed to beach their ship before it sank completely and had been waiting ever since. The group offers then a trip back to the mainland, which they quickly accept. In the meantime, Jacob searches the wrecked ship, finding a neat trapezoidal hole punched in the hull below the waterline. At this point, Cal begins a flyover of the entire island chain, looking for any heat sources, something that takes most of the rest of the night. He returns in the morning, stating that the only notable heat source came from the largest island, and it was quite dim. The group sails their boat offshore of the large island, dropping anchor and rowing over in a longboat. They explore over this island, finding two dormant volcanic peaks overlooking a sea cliff. On the face of the cliff, however, they notice something: a concealed doorway with small protrusions from the rock face on each side, which are cut in the rough shape of guard towers, with several arrow slits and a concealed ballista mounted on the top of each. Jacob uses an item of See to look inside, and sees several people matching Talarian description, all of them armed. The group debates how to proceed from here, and eventually Jacob and Darnell just make a shadow-draco, catch the doors in a halt time, and burst inside. They find a large sea cave with a dock inside, two moored ships, and several Talarian troops. Cal flies out quickly to engage one of them, only to get caught in one of the multiple halt times that are thrown afterwards. Dalia conducts some unique tactics in teleportation, getting her spear stuck in a door as she goes after the one trooper who was not caught in a halt time. The main caver connects to a smaller offset one, which seems to be being used as a supply room, and the only other way to go are some broad doors which are faintly tinged with magic. Nobody volunteers to touch them. The group converges on the three troopers who were caught in one halt time, dropping the spell and attempting to capture all three of the Talarians, who prove quite resilient, despite being outnumbered, though eventually all three of them are captured and tied up. Nefta takes the opportunity to mess with one of their heads. Cal is released from the accidental halt time.
With no one coming out of the large doors, and nobody willing to try and open them, the group begins looting the places they have access to. In the midst of the looting, one set of large doors melt away, revealing four more troops who immediately assault the adventurers, both with swords and with magic, before being either killed or stowed in halt times. With the way clear, the adventurers explore the rest of the caverns, finding a small base, though it seems to have been mostly evacuated of both troops and equipment. They find a large planning room, barracks, a prisoner area with no surviving prisoners, a couple of penned up, very large wolfish creatures, as well as a pair of upright columns with a faint field between them. Nobody volunteers to touch the field, though Jacob rigs up a few Defers to disable it once the group is well away. The group also notes that one of the moored boats sits very low in the water and carries a trapezoidal ram on the prow, below the water level, and they believe it was what attacked the other ships.
The group leaves the base and rejoins with their ship, with Jacob setting off his delayed action Defers. No blinding explosion is seen, which causes some disappointment. They sail back, rejoining Dagen at the Selenic compound and turning over their prisoners to him, as well as stating what they had seen, and that they had made quite a mess of the base. Dagen is quite pleased, stating that he plans to send a detachment of his own troops to see if there is anything else to be learned. He pays the group the agreed price, plus a bonus for bringing back prisoners, amounting to 800 silver apiece.
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