ATC - Politzania GL Shadow Paladins

Tracking back to the Shadow Paladins

After Boss spent some time in prayer for his paladin mount and received a warhorse, we debated a bit and decided to try to track the signal back to the Shadow Paladins. We put the green torch in it's signal sconce, turned into birds, and flew down to the ogre camp. The ogres really couldn't see the torch during the day, but once the sun went down, they saw it easily. They debated what to do since "the powerful ones" had taken away their "unfood birds". They debated between trying to scout out and find the mad sorcerer and asking him where to deliver the message, scouting out Randall's surviving rangers and giving them the message, or beating up on the neighboring valley's ogres and then taking their "nonfood birds" to deliver the message. Unsurprisingly, the choice to beat up other ogres won over searching for people "out there somewhere".

We trailed after the ogres as they marched for over a day to the next valley with only one encounter in which we rescued a poor human trapper who bumped into the ogres. He had managed to hide in a pine tree after losing his mule and supplies. We gave him some money to recover his losses, birdformed him and sent him home. When we arrived at the next valley, we found they did indeed have 4 homing pigeons there. We watched in amusement as the two groups postured and challenged each other, and finally charged in to beat each other up. The attackers numbered a few more, but two of the defenders had new shiny swords. The defenders won, with only the one "enraged" by Yuri actually dead. During the battle, though, Yuri snagged all the pigeons, befriended one, and we followed them "home". Home was around 100 miles north of Bartertown on the ridge, but since Tom ran off with my maps, I'm not exactly sure.

We found 3 buildings well hidden on a ledge halfway up a steep hill behind some trees. There were only 3 people there, but we quickly learned that over the next few days everyone was due back and that some new envoy from the Shadow Paladins was due to arrive in the day or so after that. We waited as the number grew to around 20 guys. We were debating which group to take out first, the rangers, then jump the envoy when he arrived, or ambush the envoy as he was leaving, then take out the rangers later. We decided the envoy was more important and also unpredictable, and so waited for him to arrive. He soon did, flying in on a giant bat. A meeting was gathered. Zaldiston and Rastik's psi-spider are watching the meeting, and the rest are back safely away and in bird form. Rastic is chirping out what he sees through the spider and Yuri is interpreting to the rest of us. Zaldiston is out of communication range now. The envoy does not radiate magic at all, and appears to be an "efficiency expert and bureaucrat" and the rangers aren't taking it too well. They wanted firepower to do what had been asked of them, not an organizer. Anyway, Neville suddenly said that now was the perfect time to attack, and we all agreed. We made quick plans: Encase the envoy in bubble wrap and fireball the building to cinders. Every ranger is together in one place, no guards are up, and we'll never have such a perfect chance again. With that, we broke up, and will begin with the battle next week. If all goes as planned, it'll be anticlimactic, and we'll have the envoy to then use to continue to backtrack to the shadowpallies. But when does all go as planned?

It goes as planned. The envoy is bubble-wrapped and the rangers die in a firestorm. The envoy is then charmed and tells us all he knows, which is little. He was hired by a huge corporation "Halliburton" to organize these rangers and assess their potential. He knew little of who hired him, really. He was to stay here as long as superiors thought this venture worth funding, and was to submit his first assessment in a week. At this point, he joined the rangers. We popped back to Lonng to share info with the High Priestess and plan how to lure out the shadow paladins. We made a plan to leak information about the commander in the underground ship to lure a Quester out there whom we could then capture. Since that would take awhile to set up, we zipped back to the ranger hideout (destroyed and overgrown to frame the druids for the destruction) and waited for the courier to arrive. He did so, on time, and after he scouted around for a bit on batback, he left. We followed him to a destroyed keep north of Gateway. He lived there with 3 blind servants, alone, living only to serve his masters. His letters show that he loves the female who saved his life and healed him, but hates and fears the male. They are playing him along, good cop / bad cop. Anyway, he didn't seem to know a lot, and maybe doesn't know how to contact them, but he did confirm that Halliburton is very closely tied to the Shadow paladins if not totally their creation. The servants also recognize that the shadow pallies are just pulling his strings, but he seems too smitten to see it.

Unsure of where to go next, we finally broke up. Should we take this guy out and see what information we can get? Should we send a message from the female asking for his aid and then follow him? Should we go back and ambush the Quester at the ship? Some people are convinced this guy is worthless, while others think he probably knows more.

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