The Gathering of Power

Hoods undoing

DM – This the the scene as viewed by the adventurers from a tower as they fight off a gnoll assault.

In the distance you see what appears to be some kind of black flying shape. It’s hard to tell from such a distance but it appears to be a writhing cloud of black material maybe 30 or 40 feet wide. The huge ball of rippling living material moves through the air steadily closer to the tower then, almost too quick to catch a lance of yellowish green light stabs out of the trees below passing straight through the material.

Immediately the huge roiling ball loses cohesion and starts to drop to the forest floor though it appears whatever pilots the thing is still able to somewhat control the descent. Maybe halfway down another line of green light jumps up and part of the material shears away and you see a large humanoid figure fall out and plummet to the ground.
Eventually what remains of the black material settles to the ground some way distant and disappears from view into the trees.

DM – From this point on this was read to the players to the following two pieces of music

The battle for middle Eart – 4 Darkness falls

Requiem for a Dream

Though a chaos of gnolls scramble around the foot of the tower a foreboding silence settles about the scene.
You see the hillside drop away into a narrow valley and for a second you catch the glint of steel hidden in amongst the trees off to the West. You realise intuitively that the natural choke point in the forest must be where the Archmage, The Sister and Pity are to make their move.

With a leaden feeling in your stomach the scene plays out.
A tight black knot of creatures resembling ogres move into the far end of the valley but your eyes are drawn to the hooded figure at the center thin but incredibly tall.
A shudder runs through you. The air is heavy with powers waiting to be unleashed.

You remember The Sister called this ‘A roll of the dice’
You hope for all your sakes she knows this game well as the monstrous cowlled figure strides ever closer to the tower in which you wait.

The enemy reaches the center of the stage. The mighty ogres now clearly visible. Huge clubs and rusty blades clenched in knarled fists. But behind them you see walking altogether deadlier foes. Shadows maybe. Or vampires. Clawed beasts of the like you have only seen once before in a monastery many leagues from here.
A so as the play unfolds right there in the valley below you.

The Sister and the Archmage are the first to make a move stepping out into the valley.
A hand is raised and a dull thunder of hooves is heard as Waterdeep’s knights pour forth from the trees.
Hundreds of armoured riders bearing down upon the ogres. A steel shrouded wedge of Paladins at the fore.
They smash into the foe bringing them to death.
But as ogres fall, altogether darker creatures take their place.
Knights are pulled from their saddles and horses flee as claw and tooth tear flesh from bone.
A core of Paladins still stand their ground – divine powers staunching the blood and closing wounds of those fortunate enough to be close.

But you can see it simply isn’t enough.
The play their role with a grim determination but still the enemy moves forward ever closer.
Slowly you see thickening green vapor clouds form on the sides of the valley and roll down towards the enemy, searing the skin of the shadow creatures and you guess that the Sister’s hand is behind it.

The Archmage Alsarion, grasping his staff in both hands, rises into the air, blinding bolts of lightning flickering down at the steadily advancing hooded figure.
Another gesture from the wizard and the sky is torn open by flaming meteors that hurtle to earth smashing the ground and enemies alike.
Strange lashes of power flick forth from The Sister, the destructive energies sliding down the sides of protective spells Hood has wound about him.

The Sister redoubles her attacks.
Strange birdlike creatures of shimmering energy wheel around Hood, slicing the heavy magics protecting him.

The Archmage gestures and two mighty heroes of Waterdeep teleport right into Hood’s path.
A massive Barbarian, enchanted Axe rending the shadow creatures. The second figure spins forward, a blur of movement enemies dropping around him.
But Hood sees his danger and unleashes his own devastating magic.

The very air around him shudders. A terrible keening noise racks your senses as blood starts to tear itself from the living and the dead.

Blood streams from the eyes and ears of the Barbarian champion and he falls mere feet from his target.

You taste blood in your own mouths.
The Sister staggers back giving ground.
And suddenly Alsarion’s protective magics shatter and collapse.
The Archmage plummets towards the ground spinning spells at Hood as he falls.
Magical orbs and bolts slam into Hood from every direction. Tearing Arcane spells smash against him. But then an explosion of blood is torn from the mage even before his shattered body hits the ground.

Waterdeep’s greatest mage lies unmoving. The Sisters re-gathers her magic in ragged attempt to withstand Hoods awful power.
The stick-thin figure strides over the broken ground his terrible will focused solely on The Sister.
She desperate attempt to stop his advance she plasters the air in front of him with green and violet lines of force that detonate as he crosses them.
Heavy, dark-crimson energies form in Hood’s hands and move forward slowly but with an unmistakable power.
The Sister staggers back falling to the ground the terrible spells shearing away her remaining defenses.
And so Hood stands now above The Sister. Killing spells held ready.
But from your vantage high in the tower another figure appears.
A diminutive figure steps forth from the tree line close behind where Hood now stands.
A young woman clad in ancient Paladins armour. Sword in hand.
Pity finally enters the stage
She covers the ground quickly Hoods attention held on the Sister but at the last second something makes him turn. His attention locks on Sorrows Morn

Pity breaks into a run …… And Hoods responds.

Magic pours from him.
Hideous black – red stabs of fearsome power.
Rending, shattering concussions, followed by a howling scream. Fearfully loud.
For a moment driving Pity to her knees.
But somehow she moves forward head down fighting against the brutal onslaught.

Finally within a yard of Hood she raises Sorrows Morn. And you see her speak.

And for a moment the fury of spell energy ceases and Hood stands silently transfixed.

Then he tears his gaze away. Head twisting and turning as though suddenly looking for an escape. A portal flickers into existence next to him only to dissipate just as quickly as his attention is wrenched back to look at Pity.

For long seconds nothing moves. And then a Hood puts back his head and a guttural wail breaks the silence, his whole body shaking. And he kneels before her.

Reaching up she places the tip of the blade over Hoods heart.
And as you watch, with one sharp movement Pity brings that black blade down stabbing its blade in Hoods chest.

And so it ends.
And nothing moves save for the trees in the wind. And all is silent.

Drawing Out Hood

Seeing Yeethyak’s body exploded from Zalius’s magic missile I could not help but laugh. The look of surprise and shock in the faces of Rhogar and Orin was priceless. Finally someone in our party besides my self exercised free will and did what they wanted not what some Lord, Sister ,or god has commanded. There is no turning back now. I love this! The Sister will be none to happy if we don’t come up with some way to draw out Hood. But I don’t think anyone cares about this except Rhogar. I’m not sure why he can’t get rid of that damned amulet the Sister gave him. I hate that it affects him so. Ever since she gave it to him he has convinced our group to do her bidding. With nothing left but to make it out of here alive Zalius and I rush back up the stairs to provide cover from above, while the rest of the group clears the lower levels and tries to secure the door. Upon reaching the windows above the door, we scanned the surrounding landscape only to be delighted by a hoard of Gnoll archers and swordsman bearing down on the tower. The upcoming fight should bring many more nocks im my Kill Log. I load a full magazine into my crossbow and prepare for battle reciting a quick prayer“Blessed be Hextor my strength which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.” My mind wonders from the thrill of the upcoming kills for a split second to the futality of defending this tower to draw out Hood.

I sure wish Zalius would start opening the portal.

Commandeering a spare Gnoll carcass laying beside me I was able to throw it out the window crushing the first charging attackers. Zalius was also successful in placing a couple of magic missiles into the mass of Gnolls. Our heroic efforts seemed to be working for now.

Why has Zalus not started opening the portal?

The door started to give way under the might swings of a Gnoll ax warrior. As this was happening Rhogar screamed for Zalius to come help him. Obviously there must be kobalts in the lower levels. As Zalius ran to aid Rhogar, Orin ran up with some alchemist fire pots. After hastily laying them on the ground, Orin disappearing back down the stairs instructing me to aim carefully. As if I would do anything else! How easily the little guy forgets who The Zerash Brothers Traveling Circus archery champion is. The expertly placed fire seemed to momentarily stun the charging army, but to my astonishment I was incapable of holding off massive onslaught all by my self. Normally holding off wave after wave of charging enemies by myself would be no problem. Clearly I must affected by some unknown force. Where is everyone else, and why have they not secured the door with some of their hocus pocus crap. As the door is breached I hear arrows fly by my head. Everything goes dark. I am pulled slowly back into a dream Lindane planted in my mind.

A royal palace appears before me. A beautiful well dressed courtesan speaks of the abandonment by her husband to an unknown person. She surmises how he is off womanizing thinking nothing of her. Out of the window is a hot desert landscape. They must be somewhere in the south, and as the woman turns I can see the face of my beloved wife Keely.

With a rush of light I am torn from this haunting dream. Standing across the room from me is Orin and two Gnoll archers. As much crap as Rhogar gives Orin for not healing us he does come through in the end. I will never doubt his importance to our group again.

I really hope Zalius has got that portal open.

I rushed down the stairs holding of the archers until everyone but Aak is in the room on the second level. Aak follows directly behind me and the doors are slammed shut. A wall of stone is immediately conjured up by Rhogar to reinforce the door. As I enter the room I notice a welcomed site, Zalius in a meditative state opening the portal. The fates must have heard my cries. It also seems the the kobalts have run off but left Rhogar looking like he has been to hell and back. Most importantly I notice in the corner by Zalius a chest. Not one to shy away from finding things abandoned by others, I investigate immediately. Barley noticing the green poison as I marvel at all the shinny gold coins left for me. I sure hope no one is watching. Noting could steal my attention away from the gold in front of me. Not even the gargoyles (pronounced harhoyles) attacking us or the Gnolls breaking through the door. I do however come back to reality when some of the stones from the wall next to me break free to reveal the battle outside.

What I see is as follows………

The scene from the tower – Hoods Undoing

Poxy Shortsnouts - the kidnap goes wrong

The last thoughts of Yeethyak – Gnoll Commander in the service of Hoods army

…the fight in the upper room of the squat defensive tower was drawing towards an inevitable conclusion and Yeethyak knew it.

Despite the surprise attack the big Gnoll commander had been confident. The enemy ranger had gone down under a pile of snapping Hyena jaws and his troops had the other poxy short-snouts under control.
He had assumed it would end up just like his many other fights – with Yeethyak gnawing on the carcasses of the fallen (on second thoughts, probably just the human and the half-elf – he would leave the tougher orc and dragonborn meat to his warband and perhaps throw the gristly dwarf to the hyenas).

Well, something had quite evidently gone wrong.
He had only let himself be distracted by that cursed dwarf for a second and all of a sudden the picture looked very different. The Dragonborn (the only enemy in the room who could match Yeethyak in height or size of teeth) had jumped in to save the ranger who was now back on his feet and he could no longer see his summoned hyena-spirits. Presumably they had been returned to the abyss from where he had called them.

Damn it! This deal was getting risky.
Still, Yeethyak hadn’t risen to the position of commander by losing his head.

At one point he had actually considered complying with the dwarves calls for him to give up.
If he could somehow convince them to let him operate the scrying bowl then Hood would be aware of his capture and, with his knowledge of the troop deployments would surely come to rescue him.
But Yeethyak was wiser than that. He knew Hoods appearance would be less a ‘rescue’ and more a ‘termination’.

No, there was nothing for it but to attempt an escape. For some reason these attackers seemed to want to capture him rather than kill him so perhaps he could use that to his advantage. It was a gamble worth taking.
One mighty charge for the stairs and he should be able to make it down to the bottom of the tower to gather together some of the boys. He was sure as hell going to have to get back in there and finish these guys off. There was no way he was going to explain to Hood why he’d lost the tower to a band of just only five adventurers.

Momentarily slipping on blood that now poured from a myriad of wounds Yeethyak rounded the top of the stairs to the lower level.
In sight of his escape route Yeethyak couldn’t resist one final taunt.
He remembered a few words of the common tongue from a human knight he had once killed and barked out a couple of hyena-like laughs as he called back over his shoulder “You’ll never take me alive!!”
Yeethyak thought himself very amusing.
A couple more steps and he would make it to the door.
Yeethyak just had time to hear the human wizard say “As you wish” before a magical bolt of energy punched into his back and emerged from his chest in a fine spray of blood.

Strange… As his vision darkened and he slid to the floor he was sure he heard that same wizard say something that sounded like “Oooops”

A kidnap attempt

From the DMs hand…

Having agreed with Su’Sariel that the Eladrin tribes would be better served without the temptation of the powerful weapon Sorrow’s Mourn the party rested up and headed for the portal taking them out of the Fey Realm.

Rhogar was once again contacted by The Sister who impressed upon them the need to move quickly as the enemy army threatening Waterdeep was close at hand.
Finding Balasar waiting for them on the other side of the portal the group ignored the Sisters arranged form of transport and headed back to Waterdeep via a portal conjured by Zalius.

Heading out of Waterdeep to meet the Sister the group encountered [Greevus], still looking a little worse for wear but now accompanied by one [Swale Faomfollower], an ex-cleric of Melora who had been helping him fix up their ship The Lonesome March.

The meeting with the Sister was short and Sorrows Mourn was returned to Pity with little fanfare. Killian (on asking for a reward) was given a small chest with some treasure including two ornamental jeweled daggers.
The Sister explained that the enemy forces were led by an enemy known by some as Rashai’ell or the Grey Scion but most commonly called simply Hood.
She outlined a plan that involved the party kidnapping an enemy commander in the hopes that this would draw out Hood, gambling that he wouldn’t want the intelligence known by that commander to fall into their hands.
In practice this would mean sneaking into enemy territory via some old tunnels and fighting their way into a tower now occupied by the enemy commander who went by the name Yeethyak.
Once in the open Hood would be attacked by the Sister, Pity and the Archmage of Waterdeep – a mage called [Alsarion].
The adventurers left to take up their part in the plan pausing only to swap thinly veiled insults with [Antir Silverhammer] the Paladin and leader of another adventuring group called The Light of Pelor.

The party made short work of the gnolls guarding the approach to the tower and made a grand entrance by flying, levitating or simply running up the tower walls to enter via the upper windows.

There they surprised the enemy commander Yeethyak surrounded by a number of his men.

The plan was simple. Capture Yeethyak alive and draw out Hood. What could possibly go wrong….?

Sorrow's Mourn

Session 2:

Beholders. My scales crawl at the thought. Creatures out of a twisted nightmare, somehow birthed into reality. Bahamut give me strength to smite these foul beings. They are a blight on all that is good, all that is right. Even evil fears them…

We gathered ourselves after the fight with the Eladrin and the beholder. They… seemed to serve the beholder. Strange markings of eyes were either sewn on their clothes, worn as jewelry, or tattooed on them. Beholders can control the minds of other beings, to a point. To control so many Eladrin at once… no. I dare not think how many there may be.

Zalius cast his ritual for a safe dwelling place. We all rested well in the structure. Killian decided to scout the area for us before heading out. I’m not sure exactly where he was at in the whole process, but we were quickly surrounded by another large group of Eladrin.

Clearly there was a leader among the Eladrin. He kept shouting something at us in the Eladrin tongue. I couldn’t understand what he was getting at. I looked to Zalius, but he was yelling something at the leader. I’ve seen enough battles, seen enough war leaders, to know that this Eladrin would not stand down.

Fearing for the worst, I decided to try and end the conflict quickly. I thurst my blade into the ground and knelt, hands upward, as a sign of peace and deference. One of their archers loosed an arrow – thankfully it did not connect.

The leader was… surprised… to say the least. The situation was tense, but the leader ordered us to follow him. I… did not care for this Eladrin. Clearly, Zalius did not either. I think Zalius and I should keep an eye on this Eladrin…

We followed them for quite some time until we arrived in their camp. A female Eladrin came out to meet us. She introduced herself as Su-Sariel-kek, and the leader as Lindain. It is hard to exactly determine where to start with her story. The kek family had ruled for many generations, after “Sorrow’s Mourn” (which we took to be Pity’s Sword) had fallen from the sky thousands of years ago.

Sorrow’s Mourn, apparently, had the power to control the will of others. As Su-Sariel explained that to us, I saw a hunger grow in Lindain’s eyes. The man is false to the core. He cannot be trusted.

Recently, the beholder’s had managed to capture Sorrow’s Mourn, and were using it to control many of the Eladrin. It was like a focal point for their mind controlling abilities. Su-Sariel explained how the village had been changed by the beholders. She also described the great pyramid in the middle, where she believed the sword to be at.

Su-Sariel revealed their plan to storm the village and try to reclaim Sorrow’s Mourn. I volunteered our services, for which she was incredibly grateful. She explained that Ka’Sariel-kek, her brother, was once the leader of the Eladrin. He had been slain and pinned to the wall. She said he had powerful bracers and a brilliant blade that often led the Eladrin. She asked that I retrieve them and claim them for my own. I gave her my word as a dragonborn and a paladin that I would do so.

Unfortunately, for her plan of storming the village to succeed, Su-Sariel needed the help of the Eladrin imprisoned in the mine. I conferred with the rest of the group and we agreed that for such a large assault to take place, we would need to help of these Eladrin. We agreed to help her with this plot.

Lindain sneered the entire time and almost became hysterical at the thought of us helping. He nearly drew his blade when Su-Sariel said if we recovered Sorrow’s Mourn that we could probably take it with us. The man wants Pity’s Sword for himself. I see now that his soul is as black as an eternal sleep.

A weapon of such great power belongs with its rightful master. I fear to even touch Pity’s Sword…

We carefully worked our way to the mines, trying to avoid detection. We rushed the mines and destroyed their gongue to prevent further forces from arriving. After dispatching the guards inside the entrance and the guard station, we entered the mines. Needless to say, we encountered some heavy resistance. Long, skinny halls with archers make for a very uncomfortable dragonborn…

Session 3:

Mines… Mines are no place for a dragonborn. But I had to press on, as our need was great and time was urgent. Vexokolkith was lurking somewhere far below with many Eladrin trapped. No creature should ever be forced to serve. Greater than that even, no creature should ever be subjected to the will of a beholder. We must free them.

We made relatively quick work of the remaining Eladrin forces that stood in our way. Orin masterfully led us through the mines until we came to a very large cavern. My scales crawled when I saw where they were holding the trapped Eladrin. This was also not a battlefield: this was a trap…

We worked out a strategy where Aak and I would lead, Orin would follow, and Zalius and Killian would provide covering fire for us. As we approached the first bridge over the underground stream, a massive beholder, Vexokolkith, floated out to greet us.

He was arrogant to a fault. There were Eladrin archers and mages attacking us, but Zalius and Killian made quick work of them. Orin summoned his accursed hammer and happened to summon a vampire. Thankfully, the vampire attacked the enemies just as much as it attacked us. Vexokolkith made a critical error: he was so focused on quickly destroying us out that he failed to see the danger of being pinned between Aak and myself. His eye rays did incredible damage, but Orin managed to keep us alive. Aak and I kept him trapped between us while Killian and Zalius kept the magic and arrows coming.

In a surprisingly short amount of time, we had slain the foul beholder and its minions. We released the Eladrin and explained to them the plan. As we searched the bodies of the fallen enemies, we found Ka’sariel’s bracers.

Session 4:

We returned with the rescued prisoners to Su-Sariel-Kek’s encampment. I showed her the bracers that we had recovered. She thanked me for retrieving them, and entrusted them to my keeping. I think this will prove to be most trustworthy…

Su-Sariel revealed the plans for the attack. There were three main attack parties for the main gates and one attack party for the giant oak tree. We were also informed of a master mason who lived in the village that could give us some information about the pyramid.

Finally, she introduced us to Avanass and Sol’su. Avanass warned us that he feared that Lindain may be planning on betraying us. He would blow a whistle to let us know if Lindain did betray us.

We rested that night, weary from our times in the mine and in desperate need of sleep for the battle ahead of us. Orin, oddly enough, elected to do some scouting before the battle. Sometimes I wonder what goes through that little dwarf’s mind…

In the morning we split up into our respective parties – Aak and Zalius would attack the tree. Orin and I would attack the main gate. And Killian would sneak his way to the master mason’s house to retrieve the information about the pyramid. We agreed to meet at the pyramid’s entrance after we had entered the village.

As we approached the North gate, I saw Ka’sariel’s body pinned to the wall. Enraged at his betrayal I vowed to retrieve his blade and avenge his death! The Eladrin, Orin and I stormed the wall. Orin flared brilliant bursts of light that distracted many of the enemies. I took flight with my Arkhosian wings and retrieve Ka’sariel’s blade!

“Ayende” – “Justice”. The name rang true in my mind. I landed on the wall and cried out, “Ayende!”. Ka’sariel’s blade morphed into a bastard sword, singing to me for combat. Incredibly, as I called out “Ayende” I saw the great oak tree burst into flames. I knew that Aak and Zalius had accomplished their task.

Despite all of our attacks, the enemies at this gate proved to be a formidable enemy. At the last moment, we managed to overrun them and secure the gate. Orin and I pushed on toward the pyramid.

We met some resistance along the way, but the Eladrin, Orin and I were able to easily remove these obstacles. Aak and Zalius arrived at about the same time as we did. Shortly after Killian appeared with news about the pyramid.

Before we could take Killian’s advice to enter the crypt, we hard a shrill whistle. And then we remembered – Avanass! We rushed to where he was and found him… nearly dead. Orin quickly cast his strongest healing magic on Avanass in an attempt to save him. Avanass came around just enough to warn us that Lindain had betrayed us – and that he had a giant eye in his chest. That monster… betrayed Ka’sariel and joined the cause of the beholders…

Session 5:

Armed with a new determination to retrieve Sorrow’s mourn, we headed to the crypt. Once in the crypt we followed Orin through. We met a most interesting specter. He seemed… amiable. So I began to speak with him. Incredibly, he understood draconic! We began to talk about the pyramid, about the Feywild, even about Arkhosia. Home.

He offered to show us through the pyramids, and of course I followed. He kept asking me so many questions and offered up much information about the pyramid and the beholders and the Feywild. And then… Killian was beside me. Knife in hand. Bloody. My blood. Had Killian just betrayed me??

And then my mind cleared. The specter had confused me, tricked me. Foul spawn of darkness! Bahamut take them all! They dare to come between me and my quest?? The wretched creatures proved more resilient than I’d have imagined. Yet we were able to be rid of them shortly.

Orin’s trustworthy knowledge of mines and dungeons led us to where we needed to be. I flew up and dropped down a rope for everyone to climb up. These wings are proving to be MOST useful… if only I hadn’t been forced to sleep for so long…

Zalius had his imp scout for us. The steps leading down went to a room full of beholders. The steps up seemed a much more preferable route…

At the top of the steps we found a small antechamber. We opened the door to a huge room. There it was! Sorrow’s Mourn. It was enveloped in some bizarre energy sphere. Its powers were almost… oppressive.

And a huge beholder floated out from beside it: Xithxin. The creature stank of death. Zalius cast a barrier of protection against necrotic energy before we engaged this monstrosity.

I flew up to Sorrow’s Mourn and found that I could not retrieve it! The sphere seemed to be linked to the beholder, and enhanced by three cyclops skulls!

More disturbingly, after each attack Xithxin made, the sphere released a burst of necrotic energy. Thanks to Zalius, his barrier simply nullified any damage that it might have done.

Killian and I destroyed the cyclops skulls to prevent anymore necrotic bursts. Unfortunately for some of the party, Xithxin dropped a trap floor which unveiled a lower floor with nasty spikes.

After a long and bloody battle, I rammed Ayende into Xithxin’s center eye. Wretched, foul beast return the depths of hell from whence you came. Ayende! Ayende! Release your grip on Sorrow’s Mourn!

Unfortunately, Aak had been turned into stone. We would need to act quickly to save him. I pray to Bahamut that Orin has some healing ritual.

Upon Xithxin’s death, Sorrow’s Mourn clattered to the floor. Killian and I rushed to pick it up, but suddenly it vanished! Then there was Lindain standing before Killian. And suddenly Killian just knelt before Lindain!

I rushed in to save Killian (he had saved my life, after all) and found myself under Lindain’s spell as well. Was it real or not? The sleepers… are so many of them truly dead? Am I one of the few that survived? One of the few that will actually awake? Is my quest truly over? Should I look to be a force for good in this world and abandon hopes of a new empire?

I fought the image and roused myself. Lindain must pay. I crashed into him and we briefly exchanged blows. Unfortunately, that coward hid himself again and rushed through Zalius’s wall of fire. I could hear him scream and smell his flesh burning.

Unable to see past the wall of flame, I saw Zalius fire a bolt of electricity on the other side of the fire. I didn’t hear Lindain scream, and I knew he still lived. I flew over to Zalius just as he succumbed to Lindain’s spell.

Transpositioning myself with Zalius I thrust my blade into Lindain’s grotesque chest eye as I appeared in Zalius’s place. He coughed, spurting blood and disbelief that he could be killed with Sorrow’s Mourn.

“This blade never belonged to you. Its purpose is greater than you can know, and its master is more than you would ever be” I whispered to him as I removed my blade.

Carefully, gently, I wrapped Sorrow’s Mourn in a sheet so that I wouldn’t accidentally access any of its power.

A New Plane

After the exhausting events previously recounted, it was wonderful to have a few days of rest before we set out on the airship. I was able to find a sage with a few useful rituals that I plan on learning, and we were all able to catch up on what we had missed from each other’s adventures.

Old Ren, the proprietor of the Fiery Flagon, had taken a bit of license and used us to promote a big 3 dragon ante tournament sponsored by a Volo looking to make a bit of a splash in local politics. (I’m not entirely sure which Volo this was meant to be. I’m sure the Waterdhavians know). We didn’t really mind our names being used so freely, as we were ready to cut loose a bit, and it was a fun party in the end. Rhogar won the ‘celebrity’ match and added another pile of coin to his stash from the ship, while I came out a bit ahead myself thanks in part to the young noble’s bankroll.

I also got to spend some time talking with Greevus about the Lonesome March. I have some ideas grinding around in my head about what to do with her, and being on the ship sparked something in Greevus as well. He is going to need some time to recover from the terrible disease he contracted from the ghouls, and I suspect that he will be spending a lot of his time learning from the sea merchants. “Captain Greevus,” he said once as we were talking, and I could see the gleam in his eye.

But time moves on and soon enough we were being hauled up into the airship, surrounded by the gnomish airmen and whatever goods were being transported along with us. I was not looking forward to this trip. The sky is no place for a dwarf, and I dimly remembered the horrific trip on the Griffons. That mental haze was not due to time, as it was only weeks prior, but due to the copious amount of spirits I consumed before the trip. But I digress. The airship was surprisingly stable and I could almost forget that I wasn’t on land, mercifully, and I began to think that maybe the next few days wouldn’t be so bad. I studied my rituals and generally bided my time, catching up on more rest. Many humans think that dwarves and gnomes must get along, being ‘the same height’ and everything, but most dwarves think of that as an insult. We are clearly taller than the gnomes.

We were very nearly to our destination when we heard alarms being raised around the ship. I had seen some defensive weaponry placed around the ship, but hadn’t paid it much heed – I was about to see it in action. We made our way to the stern and were quickly briefed by a stout gnome in ridiculously spiked armor. He pointed out the large ballistas, which I now realized were used to fire, not missiles, but gnomes at their attackers. This seemed pretty insane to me, but I wasn’t surprised in the least to see Rhogar charge over to one of them and start strapping himself in to some sort of harness.

We saw 3 gray blurs in the distance that quickly resolved themselves into gray dragons. Quicker than I thought possible they closed the distance and were on top of us. It was a strange feeling. On the one hand, you’re relieved to see that the dragons are only the size of a small cabin, but on the other hand there are blasted dragons swooping down on top of you. The gnome commander had already launched himself at the nearest dragon, but missed and was being reeled in when one of them came straight through where Zalius, Ack, and I were standing. It was too low and we were able to get in a couple shots but I knew we wouldn’t always be so lucky. I scrambled up onto the platform where the gnomish archers were attempting (pathetically) to take aim and tried to prevent them from shooting their own allies in their errant zeal.

The skirmish was going rather well, but it is always terrifying to see a dragon settle down in front of you, and one of them did just that. Rhogar, having failed to get into the ballista in time (those harnesses must have been designed for gnomes), leapt over and managed to shred one of the dragon’s wings so he couldn’t escape and we were nearly able to put it down before its companion came to help. I don’t know how the gnomes expected to be able to repel an attack like this without seasoned adventurers around, but they were lucky this time, as we were able to take care of the other dragons relatively easily.

That proved to be the only matter of note on the whole voyage and we were soon over the Serpent Hills where the portal to the fey awaited us. We were mostly following Rhogar’s lead, as he is the one in some sort of communication with the Sister, though there was certainly dissent on our course of action. Killian was particularly adamant that we should know more about The Broken before handing them a weapon so readily, and I admit that his argument was persuasive. I would have liked more information before we decided on our action. In the end though, we didn’t know exactly what Rhogar was feeling and decided to get the sword first. Time will tell if it was a good decision.

It wasn’t hard to find where we were supposed to be, and as we moved through a narrow defile the light changed and we were in the Feywild. We exited out from the ravine into a scene from a wild dream. Colossal trees, impossibly lush foliage, a startling array of colors and movement, it was as though we had stepped into a glee man’s story. We followed Rhogar’s lead and came to an monument in a wide clearing. It was clearly ancient and centuries of supplicants had worn grooves around the base. There were signs of more recent use, with suspiciously dark stains on a new alter constructed over the older foundations. Zalius could pick out a few details of the script around the base, and Killian copied it with his fancy quill for later examination. After some fancy arcane mumblings Zalius was able to decipher it and we found an ancient legend of “the skyblade, Sorrows Morn” and how it came into the possession of Kay’ool’kek who united the communities of Eladrin under his will. This sounded very much like a legend that has grown up around Pity’s sword. We can only hope that Kay’ool’kek’s descendants are kind, reasonable people and will hand over the sword if we ask politely. Yeah, right.

We continued on the path until we were warned by Zalius’ imp that there were beings ahead of us. We got close enough to see a giant on the ground, with what looked to be Eladrin all around, but we couldn’t tell what was happening. We tried to circle around but weren’t able to pick a path that wouldn’t intersect with whatever was happening in front of us. Two Eladrin walked towards us from the enormous glade, bows on their backs. Rhogar walked forward into the open and, being Rhogar, sat on the ground and put his weapon in front of him to show that we meant no harm. I guess the Eladrin just thought that meant he was an easier target, because they loosened their bows and began to fire on us. We joined battle and were not too worried, but quickly realized that there was more to this than a simple territorial dispute, when a large beholder floated around a stone circle and came towards us. I had never seen a beholder before (it wouldn’t be my last), and I know now how Zalius must have felt when they stumbled upon the mind flayers in the Undermountain. My bowels turned to water, but Kelemvor granted me courage and I summoned his divine hammer as I charged towards the beast. A skeleton appeared along with the hammer but was easily brushed aside. There was bigger game in this forest.

The archers proved more troublesome than I had initially assessed, as they were able to fire over the width of the entire glade while we were pinned down fighting the beholder and some sort of Eladrin mage. We finally put down the threat but I had a sneaking suspicion that this was not the terrifying beholder of legend. It was a little too dull – and a lot less lethal – than I would have imagined, but its presence here portended a greater threat than finding someone with the sword and negotiating for its release. Why is it never simple? As we exited the glade we passed the fallen giant – a Cyclops. Its lone eye had been carved out of its head.

A Great Evil
Orin's Tale - Part 2

Help Arrives

I found a tough-looking street kid to deliver my message, figuring that he would have a better than even chance of breaking the quarantine, and sent him off to the Fiery Flagon. I could have sworn that I’d seen him somewhere before… Oh well. I just need him to get through and inform the others that I could use a little muscle from Greevus or Rhogar. I didn’t have too long to wait at the barricade

Quarantine of the Docks
Orin's tale - Part 1

After leaving Zalius at the Wizard’s Guild, I wandered a bit around Waterdeep before heading back to the Fiery Flagon. We were having a bit of lunch and beer when a disturbance was started by a wizard having an altercation with another patron. I didn’t take much notice, but I saw a group of women who seemed to be taking more than a little interest in the confrontation. Curious, I wandered over asked

Wizards in the Undermountain

Excerpt from the journal of Zalius 29 day, 10th Month, 1479 DR

I started today with nothing but time on my hands. With a couple of day left until the air ship arrives, I had to find some way to pass the time. I really wanted to look at those scrolls, it’s just that I couldn’t. Apparently I could not look at them unless I was part of the local Mages guild, and I was still waiting on approval on my application. It’s not that I was overly excited about being a part of this guild per se, but

What Was Theak's Is Now Mine (Killian)

Without having to worry about Rhogar “The Honest” nagging me and keeping me on the strait and narrow I set out looking for MISCHIEF. Remembering a certain red quill I headed off to Edin Theak’s an official of the Sewers and Plumbers Guild. On my way there I could tell that someone was following me


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