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…
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.
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…
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.