Chronicles of Serillian, part 13

In Phlan

During our brief time here in Phlan, our adventures have been many. After our initial foray into the uncivilized area controlled by humans proved unsuccessful, we returned to the Bitter Blade Inn and took a couple of days to regroup and strategize. My notes will be brief as there is much to do in this place and time is of the essence to most of our missions. The forces of evil do not rest to recount their tales as I would.

Darsun recruits some mercenaries to help in the quest to find his father Biltow. The party grudgingly accepts these new members temporarily, who are Darsun’s responsibility. One of their members, a gnome wizard simply known as the Grim, proves himself exceedingly useful. I spend my time seeking information regarding the possible whereabouts of Biltow and his band, as well as other rumors of the city.

After two days, we follow a lead that there is a band of orcish slavers outside the city. On our way to their camp, Grim and I scout ahead and come across a green dragon. We follow it for some time until we can no longer keep up with it, and note that it flies off towards the mountains to the northwest. Perhaps we will hunt it down later and seek the treasure of its lair.

Upon arrival at the encampment, it is raining and the orcs stay inside their makeshift buildings. After a quick survey of the area, we discover where the prisoners are kept and determine that it would be foolish to attempt a full on assault of the place. We use magic, illusion and the storms to distract and confuse the orcs. We extract all the prisoners safely without a fight. It is a daring but wise rescue. Biltow is reunited with his father, and they once again are both free to walk different paths.

We return to town and meet back with the New Phlan Council. We tell them of the humanoid army massing outside the city a few miles out. A council member entreats us to explore the library, as it may hold important information to help defeat the occupying forces. We set out for the library the next day. We part ways with the mercenaries, save the Grim, who has for now joined with us.

In the couple of days since we last entered the slums and area by the well, it seems that the troops and adventurers have pushed back the humanoid forces. We boldly and quite foolishly walk through the area we previously battled the kobolds and hobgoblins, since we saw no obvious signs of them. For our arrogance, we are met with a rain of arrow fire. We quickly dodge this and make our way to the library.

We enter the library, and there is little left that seems useful to us. We wander through several rooms and search for the information that the council member has asked us to find. There are several books of interest that we find, but nothing seems to immediately impress us. Darsun does find a manual of note that instructs one how to improve their health and stamina. Other volumes give names of dark powers and their locations on other worlds. One book references a magical pool. We keep what seems of importance and leave the rest.

In a room filled with debris a strange creature we haven’t seen yet fixes his gaze upon our small gnomish friend. He is instantly turned to stone! We do what we can to avoid its eyes and the same fate as Master Grim. With spell and sword, after a few close calls we slay the creature. It has a modest treasure that we collect, and I carefully remove its eyes, tongue and claws for preservation and use in my magical research.

The diminutive, but life size, statue of The Grim is placed in Darsun’s magical sack for safe keeping. You know that you’ve been accepted by a group when they dub you their garden gnome. Rest assured, little friend, we will see you returned to flesh again.

There are a few apparitions that haunt the place, and one particular creature sat fixed at a desk watching us. While we eventually vanquish these fiends, one has laid its icy hands on the heart of Orson, partially draining him of his life force.

After a few hours of searching, it is agreed that there is little more to interest us here. We decide to make our way back to the civilized area of Phlan with the information we have. We’ll seek a way to restore our friend to life and further adventure.

Back in town, we decide to split and be as productive as we can. Betal and Hope visit with Bishop Braccio, who implores us to take back the Temple of Ilmater that has fallen to the scourage of Bane’s influence. He agrees to return The Grim to flesh to assist us in this quest, as long as someone in the group will accept a spell that guarantees our completion of the task.

Darsun visits with the New Phlan Council and turns over the books that may be useful to the council. When alerted to the chance to bring back The Grim, he meets with the bishop and takes responsibility for his restoration. The Grim is made whole again, and we prepare to make our way to the temple the following day.

Meanwhile, I attempt to decipher the nature of the items we received while in the library. We have a magical bag that can hold many times its apparent size, a potion of healing, and two other concoctions that I cannot comprehend. When The Grim returns, he completes the analysis. We have a potion of strength and a jar of healing salve. These items are distributed to Betal, Bowser and Hope. For the next several hours, The Grim and I compare magical knowledge and exchange arcane formulas. It will be good to have another wizard to coordinate spells with. The Grim has many spells that I am grateful to obtain. And for his part, the gnome is surprised by the selection of spells I have. It is a good night of study and discourse.

We carefully avoid the mysterious fog that surrounds the river leading to the temple area. We land unseen in the compound and look to avoid the patrols. The first building we enter we surprise the occupants; a few simple male orcs and a female orc cooking something that is surely unfit for our consumption. A melee ensues, and we easily come out on top. The ruckus has alerted others to our presence, and we now take chase to try to silence those that have seen us so the entire place is not aware of our infiltration.

Through a series of blunders, we end up slaying many orc warriors in a barracks room. In our haste, we have probably caused more damage to ourselves than our enemies have. I have tripped and sprained my ankle, slowing my pace, and get a nasty cut on my face. Darsun has somehow managed to lose grip of his blade and hit himself. Some of our group is hit with friendly fire.

In his zeal to try out his new spells and slay our opponents, Grim attacks with a blast of fire, which consequently sets the place ablaze. At first, we attempt to put the flames out, but soon realize that it will be no use. We abandon our voluntary firefighting and the building as well to flames.

We come out to see arrows coming down from the sky firing at more orcs. Broknar has been outside taking care to keep any soldiers away. We run down and kill a few more orcs of no importance. Orson takes a leather symbol of some type one of the orcs was wearing and puts it on. As we turn the corner, we see the entrance to the temple.

Darsun and Orson make their way in first. They are met with an old and nearly blind orc, who feels the symbol and lets the two inside. Bowser, Betal, Hope and I gather around the Grim, and he once again has us vanish from sight. We slip into the temple before the old man closes the door. Broknar remains invisible and in flight.

There are several temple guards posted around the pillars, and an altar of sacrifice to the far end of the temple. The old orc shuffles around, leaving Orson and Darsun free to explore the temple. Curiously, no one questions their presence and they search a few rooms without finding anything. The remainder of the group huddled around the Grim move down the temple as well.

Soon Orson tires of this and creeps up behind one of the guards. He slides his blade into the neck and spine of the orcs, and it instantly falls. The guards seem to take no heed of this, and we kill them without much of a struggle. We search the temple more thoroughly and find what must be some artifacts of Ilmater. These are gathered and we make look to make our way out of the temple.

As we go to leave the temple, we hear reinforcements coming. We’ve been spotted, and most of the group decides to meet the enemy in the streets. Darsun comes out of the temple, but decides his odds are better fortified inside its walls. I would rather have easy means of escape outdoors should things go badly, and the battle begins.

Hope takes a great leap of joy and is on top of one of the buildings. The Grim and I round the corner, seeking cover and preparing to cast spells. Betal, Bowser and Orson are more exposed in the center of the street, and Broknar remains somewhere nearby invisible still.

The Grim strikes first and black tentacles erupt from the ground in the middle of their forces. Several of the enemies are struck by the ebony tendrils and some are caught in their grasp. I use a powerful spell to become completely invisible to gain the advantage of surprise.

Their forces have both priestly and arcane magic, and the tendrils are dispelled. Betal is frozen in place, unable to move. Then a huge wall of fire appears, catching Betal and Bowser in its flames. I am close enough to feel the searing heat from the flames. Protected by magicks, the heat does little damage, but enough to ruin my spell. I instead grab a potion that gives me flight and drink have the vial. I get out of the heat of the flames unseen. Bowser grabs Betal and moves towards the temple, also away from the fire, while Orson moves towards the building that Hope is on top of.

Betal is immobile, and Bowser and Grim are pinned down unable to get around the wall of flames. Bowser drinks a potion to give him the strength of a mighty giant, grabs his axe and begins to break through one of the boarded up windows. They’ll be inside the temple within minutes to hold up with Darsun. Orson climbs upon the building that Hope is on top of. Broknar is nowhere to be found. Hope stops moving, frozen by an unseen force.

The leader of the forces pulls back with a few key figures, and I make my move. I cause a powerful force to erupt in their midst, and many of them are trapped within its confines. Their leader isolated, several of the troops in plate armor rush back to support and protect him. None can penetrate my magick. The Seldarine have smiled upon us. I drift directly over the group and release a shimmering ball of lightning that, while cannot penetrate the magick of my sphere, kills or severely hurts most of the guards that went to support their leader.

While Bowser is smashing through the wooden planks to gain entrance to the temple, the ogre mage appears around the wall of fire and hits the group with a ball of fire. His hair singed, and with a vengeful glace, he charges the magick wielding ogre. With two mighty blows, he plants his axe deep into the chest of the ogre, nearly splitting him in two. With a look of disbelief, the ogre drops to his knees. Bowser looks him in the eyes, spits in his face and hurls some dwarvish insults at him. He watches as the ogre collapses in a pool of his own blood.

A few of the forces are make their way towards the temple doors. Orson leaps down from the building he was on to attack a couple of enemies that have come up to the side of the temple. He stumbles, but is still able to cast his magic rope at them. They are bound tightly, and no help is near to free them from this ensnarement. Orsun grins as he draws his blade, relishing the thought of slicing their throats.

The tide has quickly turned. The two remaining soldiers, seeing their leader helpless and their other forces failing quickly before us, decide to retreat. I watch as they get in a small boat and head down the river. I decide to hover and land on the roof, still invisible to, to wait for their leader and his henchmen to emerge from my sphere.

The two other remaining soldiers in plate armor force their way into the temple and meet Darsun in combat. Bowser finishes smashing through the boarded door, and the Grim enters the temple through the window. Darsun had drank a potion to make him an even more potent in battle, and begins to pick apart the plated enemies. The dweomer binding Betal has faded as well, and both she and Bowser enter the temple. The Grim uses fire magick and a ray of flame erupts from his hand, burning one of the soldiers to the ground.

I yell to my comrades to surround the sphere, so we can take the leader in a few minutes once the field comes down. The group follow suit and begin to surround the sphere. While I cannot make out his curses, I am sure he is spitting hate at us. Then he begins to chant. He turns and slays one of his own! The other underling turns in horror and attacks the master, but is no match. He, too is felled, and a wicked grin spreads across the leader’s face. A darkness emanates from the sphere, and a booming voice calls out ‘not yet, my faithful servant’ as ominous clouds block the sun from the sky. In a moment, the rays of the sun show once again. The magical sphere I created dissipates, and the darkness fades as well. The leader is gone, with only the sacrificed bodies of his companions remaining.

The battle is won, and we gather a king’s ransom of items from the bodies. We return to Phlan and present the temple artifacts found to Bishop Braccio. We are greeted as heroes, and given accolades and promised aid and favors as long as Bishop Braccio runs the temple that will now be rededicated to its rightful god. Bishop Braccio immediately gathers his forces to eliminate any remaining orcs and retake the temple. Darsun is released from his bonds. I feel that a celebration, well earned, is soon to ensue.

Chronicles of Serillian, part 12

The desert lands beyond, where the Star Gems and death await.

The strange new land we are in takes a few weeks to become familiar with. I spend most of the time perfecting my art, studying mystic writings and weaving magicks. We hear strange tales of the desert and are warned of places not to go. Places that no one will dare visit. No one except us.

We make our way into the desert and travel north as Aman Al-Raqib bids us. We have a few chance encounters where we meet strange snowmen, common bandits, and bugbears. All fall before The Swords, or disperse after we ravage their initial forces. My skills with the blade have noticeably improved. I am truly becoming a fine sword mage.

One night, I awake to see that Rochendir has been partially swallowed by a huge purple thing that has come up from the sands. It is flailing him around half way in his mouth. He is unconscious, and his cloak is pulled over his head. While he is defenseless. the rest of the team assaults the huge beast and brings it down. We secure Rochendir, and decide to see where the worm came from. With effort, we haul the great carcass out of the ground. It tried to swallow Rochendir whole, so I suggest that we gut the creature and look for more fallen prey or to see what else it has inside it’s stomach. We recover some trinkets, and Stonebreaker is pleased.

We find a part of a huge statue buried in the sands and begin to investigate. This must be where one of the Star Gems are hidden. The sand nearly swallows us as we slide down into an ancient building. There are a few giant spiders that we quickly dispatch. We find a pair of doors that are impassable, locked by some powerful dweomer. We attempt to tunnel into the sand in search of another passage. We dig directly into the lair of the tarantulas! They begin to swarm out from everywhere, and we rush to find a path to escape.

As we run past a hall, we enter a large set of doors. Stonebreaker attempts to save the mounts, and with it our supplies and treasure. It is too late, the animals have been poisoned. He and Rochendir rush back to the rest of the party as we slam the doors shut. The room is filled with three sets of large statues with staves that reach all the way from the floor to the ceiling. At the end of the hall, lies a magnificent gem atop an altar. This must be the first of the Star Gems. But how to get to it? It seems too easy.

As we approach the first set of statues, what appears to be a thin silk curtain of blue appears between staves. It is impassable, from floor to ceiling. I toss a pebble at the blue, and it freezes and bursts instantly. Now we need to figure a way around it. I have a way to avoid the freezing power of the blue veil, but my concern is that other sets of statues will not be the same type of trap. It would be a complete waste of a powerful protective scroll if it allowed us only to pass the first barrier. We continue to search for some clue to get us past the statues.

We finally discover a secret door with what appears as a clue to get past the statues. Upon approaching the blue veil, I speak the words and the veil drops. Success! As we approach the second set of statues, I again toss a stone past them. This time, a yellow veil appears, and the stone is shattered by a field of electricity. Good thing we didn’t waste the scroll, it would have been of little use here. I speak the second phrase, and the veil drops. The third set of statues has an orange veil of fire to pass, and with the command words we safely transverse it.

At last, the first of the Star Gems is in front of us. It is black and sparkling like the night sky of stars. It is beautiful. The gem sits on a box, with the box upon the altar. I attempt to grasp the gem, but it is stuck. There is a powerful dweomer on it, but I can sense no trap. I pull with more force, and the gem comes free in my hands as I stumble backwards. A wisp of vapor appears, and as it rushes past us we hear a maniacal laughter fill the halls. This cannot be good. Have we already freed the efreet?

We have little time to contemplate the consequences of our actions, as we need to collect the remaining star gems. I unroll my magic rug, and tell Rochendir, Stonebreaker and Broknar to get on. Our new dwarven ally sprouts large, black bat-like wings with a smile. What a sight this will be to see, a flying dwarf! We open the doors and fly past the remaining tarantulas, heading toward the doors which we first came upon that were unpassable. With a phrase, the doors open before us. But this appears to be a dead end.

It’s time to leave this place, but Stonebreaker is insistent on reclaiming our treasures and supplies. He swoops down with the carpet after the rest of the team flies out to safety and waits. In a few moments, he returns with that smug look on his face that says ‘we don’t leave valuables behind’.

We continue to travel north in the desert, without our steeds of pack animals. We are slowed down, and the burden is heavy. Luckily, Rochendir and Stonebreaker bear the burden well. We switch to traveling by night and resting by day, as the heat of the desert is too much for travel when the sun is at is climbing in the sky.

We meet a few wanders and hunters, but nothing of note. When we come what appears as a pool of water in the desert, I first assume that it must be some type of illusion-a mirage that a wishful, thirsty mind conjures. Luckily, the pool is no mirage, but is a magical. Rochendir investigates the pool, and seems transfixed for a few moments. He does not appear as though he has fallen under any enchantment, but I will be cautious to take note of his actions and words the next few days. One can never be too careful with magic pools, as we have already found out!

Then again, magic pools are sometimes a boon. What at first appeared like a simple pool now becomes a true oasis. Trees that we did not notice appear and shad us while we are there. The water is cool and reinvigorates us. We fill our water skins and continue on our journey.

We soon come upon tent city in the desert. A tribe of nomads perhaps. We are approached by their guards, and we tell them of our quest. It looks as if these people are allied or the tribe of Hetmann, and we shall make camp here with the merchants for the night. We’ll meet with their leaders and hopefully get more information on where to find the next of the Star Gems.

Stonebreaker’s last recollections to us: “We have slain and intimidated the evil doers and obtained a piece of the puzzle we are trying to solve. Thank Helm for our insightful brother elf, we were able to bring forth some treasure from the belly of the worm that nearly devoured Rochendir. I am pleased with my new dogs and they have already proven useful in battle. I only hope they do not meet the fate of nearly every horse who makes our acquaintance. Our new brother, the dwarf is full of surprises. His bat like wings and mighty axe will surely aid in our endeavors if he does not join our previous party members in death. I hope that the leader of the oasis has more information than the other travelers of the desert we have met. For people so adept at surviving this harsh environment, they don’t seem to have much useful knowledge. Possibly it needs to be beaten out of them. I would certainly like more information on the rumored jeweled city. It gives me great pleasure that this adventuring life is full of opportunities to kill the evil of Faerun, but it certainly could be more profitable. As slavery seems to have some acceptability in these lands I wouldn’t mind freeing some slavers of their purses and maybe some amount of their blood.”

The captain of the Pegasi riders brings us to a plush tent in the center of the camp. Such fine creatures, they remind me of home. While I am not part of the Green Isle’s air defenses, I should love to learn to soar with these magnificent beasts. I have already flown on a dragon, perhaps there will be time for me to return and learn to be a wind rider myself. Could you image my return home, a Keryfaern riding a Pegasus, or even a Dragon! I will have to visit Kaitlyn, our Steel Dragon ally, and see if she will grace me with more time upon her in flight.

The large, luxurious tent is obviously the lodging of the leader of these people. We are introduced to the sheik and what appears to be his second in command. There are several dancing and serving girls, as well as a few large guards with scimitars. The captain speaks to the sheik and his adviser, and at first there is little interest in us, although we are clearly out of place in this strange land. The sheik finally signals for the dancing to come to an end, and we are given an audience. In these situations, I usually act as the diplomat for the Swords. After relating our strange tale and discussing our mission to help bring the completion the prophecy of Martek, there seems to be a little more interest in our presence. Of course, in this land these are bedtime stories and fables, so we need something a little more substantial for credibility. I produce the black gem of night, the first of the Star Gems. There can be no doubt now that we are more than just strangers.

The sheik relates a tale of intrigue and asks for our assistance. His first son’s bride to be bares an ancient mark that might be a clue for us to complete our mission. She disappeared, abducted, and she is not the only person to go missing. Somewhere among the sheik’s people there is a faction that seeks to overthrow him. He asks that we help return his first son’s (Hassan’s) bride to be (Shadala), and offers us enchanted scimitars as assistance and reward. In addition, he offers his second son, Korus, to guide and work with us to help find Shadala. We offer to assist, and accept his scimitars as partial payment for our swords.

We are given basic quarters and provisions, and begin to consider the possible suspects. There is a dervish cult that worships the old gods, as well as the Sand Voyager’s Guild, the merchant group of these lands. Of course, Broknar and Stonebreaker mention the other obvious culprit-someone from inside the sheik’s inner circle that would benefit from his downfall. That places the sheik’s second son, Korus, as a prime candidate as being involved in the plot. Of course, it’s not as outsiders can simply go accusing the sheik’s son of conspiracy. We need to have proof and be certain of who is actually behind this crime. Most importantly, we need to recover Shadala and discover the clue that she has for us to find the next Star Gem.

It’s midday, so we decide the go out exploring on our own. No doubt we’ll be watched by the sheik’s network of informants, and may even have attracted the attention of the conspiracy. We’ll have to be vigilant. The first place we decide to visit is the Sand Voyager’s Guild outpost. Perhaps we’ll pose as slave traders from a foreign land.

We arrive and decide to do a quick survey of the landscape. An older building, the guild’s warehouse and offices, the local cantina (Happy Hogan’s Desert Igloo), a bookseller and a fortune teller. I guess it’s time to get our fortune’s read!

The old lady offers for read our fortunes for a mere copper. Stonebreaker gives her a silver, and we each receive a reading. Rochendir’s fate is interesting, so I’ll relate what I recall. There is a red hawk with a broken foot. Tied around its claw is a black ribbon with a crow’s feather. I do not know what it means, but it must be of significance. After we all hear our fates, we ask if the she there are any known enemies among the traders of the sheik. She says that all are saddened by Shalada’s disappearance. She also quietly mentions that Tolonus, the master of the guild, is rumored to be missing as well. When Stonebreaker asks about the slave trade, the old lady changes her demeanor and says that there is no slave trade here. We should change our cover as traders of animals.

Just prior to departing, the old lady signals to me, recognizing me as an elf who must be of some importance. She whispers of some strange intrigue to me. I thank her for what she has shared and quickly rejoin the group. A few have moved on to the cantina, but I take a few moments to go the bookseller. The only useful information that I gather from him is that the oldest building at the entrance of the encampment is that of elder gods.

We meet the proprietor, a fine Halfling, Master Hogan. He brings us warm mead and welcomes us. Again, the slave trade seems to be tolerated here, as Hogan has a few slaves serving in his establishment. However, the trade does not seem to be active in this post. We ask about Tolonus, and the Hogan asks what we know of him. We gain his trust, and he says something is not right. He received written word from Tolonus just two days before, but no one has seen him. The new guild master has supposedly taken residence in the encampment, so we’ll try to pay him a visit. Of curious interest, it seems that the date from the sacred white palm grow trees within a ten-day! I would surely like to get a few of those and bring them back to Evermeet, or maybe as gifts to the elven people I visit throughout Faerun.

The new guild master will not see us, and we decide to leave that see what information the old temple may hold. In the old temple, I decipher the runes after some time. The writings and voice of the alter guide us to a location near the white palm. More cryptic clues, does anyone in this land speak straight?

We head toward the white palm oasis and come upon an obelisk in the sand. As we are examining the writings on the obelisk and about to enter into a hidden passageway into it, we are ambushed by assassins. The attempt to kill us with poison darts, but of course that does not work out too well for them. They must not know whom they have been sent to kill. We manage to slay three of the four fools, and I place the last one under an enchanted slumber. When he awakens, Broknar is threatening him with his own poison dart. Instead of allow us to interrogate him, he throws himself upon his own poison barb in Broknar’s hand and is slain. So much for acquiring any knowledge of who may be behind the plot. We’ve drawn someone’s attention, but whose? The elder god’s cult worshippers? The Sand Traveler’s Guild? Someone from inside the sheik’s own camp? We are no closer to answers.

We enter the obelisk and procedure to explore the structure. The first door appears to be magically trapped, and I use my magic to temporarily dispel the dweomer. Stonebreaker forces the gate open, and as he begins to lift it, we see zombies guarding the mechanism to open the door. We quickly dispatch the undead, and secure the door. A few more zombies arrive in the area which we also dispatch. We cross a series of liquid troughs in the next room, which leads to a magically trapped antechamber. With no apparent way past the glyphs, we stumble blinded and singed through to the next room. I get a sample of the red fluid in a flask that Stonebreaker had before we press on.

The next room opens to a huge vaulted ceiling with several columns and a statue of one of the elder gods. Its eyes gleam with brilliant red gems, hypnotically calling out to Stonebreaker. He does a quick search for traps and sees nothing, so he scales up the statues and begins to pry out its eyes. Of course, we all suspect that no good can come from this, and even Broknar states the obvious that this can’t be good. Stonebreaker’s moment of glory is cut short, as two huge arms appear from the statue and swing at him. He evades them, throws the gems into his pack and scales back down the statue. In a few short moments his pack begins to glow and smolder! The gems become incredibly hot, and Stonebreaker dumps his pack out. The gems turn molten before Stonebreaker’s eyes. Easy come, easy go my friend. There is sure to be more plunder in our future. Treasures that do not belong to ancient gods.

We enter another chamber with three basins of colored fluids. I attempt to gather some of the clear liquid as in a flask but am burned by the pure evil of unholy water. Stonebreaker begins to ponder getting some of the ichor substance, but I caution him against it. It is best to leave this place now. The last time Broknar disturbed a basin of water in shrine, he angered the wrath of Mystra. The goddess probably has still not forgotten the offense.

Broknar continues to occasionally do the opposite of what we suggest or would expect. We come upon a pair of doors, and as Stonebreaker, Rochendir and I look to head toward the one on the right, he leads Bowser to the left door. I do not know if both or only one of the doors was trapped, but we fall into magical trap that has us looping into the pit by the statue with the burning gem eyes. I unroll my flying carpet, and Bowser uses his bat-like wings, and we head towards a lower opening of the pit of never-ending descent.

We wander through a passage and come upon a small stone pillar. Broknar asks a simple question, and to our astonishment a voice speaks an answer. Unfortunately, the questions was of no consequence and neither was the response. Perhaps we can finally get some useful information to help us on our quest. I ask about the whereabouts of the Star Gems, the princess and the conspirators. The voice speaks answers, but they do not make any sense. When we ask the last question, the voice repeats an answer. Another confusing distraction, but we will find the answers we seek.

Next we come upon an altar of an unknown god. As we approach, the altar speaks to us, seeking a sacrifice. Stonebreaker and Broknar proceed to place their scimitars on the altar, and they are granted a strange glove- like item. The items are powerful weapons against the undead, but are only useful in the hands of a priest.

Continuing on, we come upon a bridge over a chasm. The group takes flight over the bridge for safety, and come out to a room from behind a statue. There is a trail of platinum pieces leading to the statue, and Stonebreaker happily gathers them all. Doors on both sides of this chamber lead to exits. Again, Broknar decides to take the opposite door that Stonebreaker, Bowser and I move towards, and Rochendir fool heartedly follows him.

As Stonebreaker opens our door to an empty chamber, we hear a shout from Broknar. Rochendir rushes into to room, and we all move to help. I see the first of the undead fall before Rochendir, and Stonebreaker rushes in as Broknar lets fly an arrow. When I get to the door, I see both Rochendir and Stonebreaker struck by the undead fiends, and become visibly weakened as part of their life force is drained. I fire a blazing beam at one of the creatures, searing it with a blinding light. Rochendir and Stonebreaker fell two more of the creatures, and one comes out to attack me. Broknar fires a couple of arrows into one and it falls over. The beast on me attempts to steal part of my essence, but I swiftly dodge it. As the wight turns to engage me again, Bowser’s axe comes down upon it, and it finally falls motionless.

We recover a few items the undead were guarding, but at an immense price. Two of our companions have been weakened, victims of the life draining ability of undead. Perhaps this will convince Rochendir that he is indeed one of the living, and not becoming a creature of the dark. Be careful, for if you are not cautious, you may become one of the living dead after all. And brother Broknar, must you continue to take the opposite course of action we recommend?

Ancient prophecies, conspiracies, kidnappings, cryptic fortunes, assassins, voices with nonsensical answers. This is truly a land of confusion!

From the first, I was unsure of rogue, pirate and freedman known as Stonebreaker. Maybe we as elves are no better than the other races, for we all have our prejudices. No matter that Stonebreaker was a zenar’hakavarn (half-orc), in the end I considered him a ravanthas (friend). Let these pages be an honor to his memory as he honored us with his all too brief time with us.

After battling the undead, we took a moment to reconsider our somewhat impulsive and reckless ways. Time is so short for my companions, they sometimes become impatient and make poor decisions. We discuss tactics that would perhaps slow us down, but at the same time prevent another disastrous encounter. If we only would follow the plan…

We continue on our way through the halls, searching for the Star Gems and the means to defeat the evil karaskillis (flaming demon). The corridors of this place seem to be filled with an endless array of traps. After a few twists and turns, we come upon a rotting corpse in bandages that should have died long ago. Not desiring to take any chances after our last encounter with the undying, I decide to take care of this creature myself. I summon a cube of flames to send the creature back to the fire pits it came from. Darsson smiles as the creature burns to cinders.

Round and round we wander, and we see another person ‘just dropping in’. Stuck in another trap of continual falling. I use our enchanted rug to stop her endless descent, and bring her to the next level we have yet to explore. As the gods would have it, the young human is a priestess of Lliira. A little disoriented, she says ‘you have a flying carpet’? I answer ‘doesn’t everybody’? I guess my humor is a bit out of place.

She relates to us that she was exploring the Haunted Halls with a group of fellow adventurers and ended up transported here by the magicks of one of the tapestries. She is, literally, a gift of Hope from Lliira to us. Perhaps the goddess still watches over us and sends aid in this dark place as thanks for our part in assisting her not so long ago. Although her jingling bells are somewhat, how shall I put this delicately, inappropriate for us to maintain the element of surprise, I am actually very fond of our new companion. Her joy and spirit is sure to lift us from the foul mood we are now in.

While we were finding Hope, Broknar decides that having target practice on another mummy in the endless falling trap would be entertaining to pass the time. After several shots, the creature stops struggling but now continues to perpetually dive. Falling forever; as forever as his corpse remained animated unnaturally in this world until now.

Several passages later, we come upon a room with blinding light. Light so bright that we can barely see anything in it. It is likely a trap, but we can think of no immediate way to see into the room. I pull out my unpredictable friend Sykerylor (Maelstrom), point the wand and speak the necessary words of power. In seconds, a beautiful, plush green carpet of grass covers the floor of the room. I smile as it reminds me of my living island home. More importantly, it somewhat mutes the overpowering light, allowing us to see a couple of focused light beams running the length of the room at differing heights.

While we discuss what to do next, Stonebreaker let’s his impatience get the best of him. He begins to hug the wall towards the left, hoping to find a way through the room. He moves into the room a few feet and looks back at us with a snort, as if to say ‘see, there’s no need to be so cautious’. The last vision I have of Stonebreaker is his cocky grin as a new beam appears a few feet later. In a flash, all that he was or will ever be disappears in a wisp of smoke. There is nothing left of our companion or anything that he carried. At least he did not suffer, and he now is forever free. Goodbye, old friend. We will not forget you.

Broknar and I discuss the idea of starting a fire, and perhaps the smoke will allow us to see the rest of the dangerous beams of light. Hope tries a prayer to Lliira, but it seems to have little effect. Broknar and Bowser get the body of diving mummy and we soak it in oil. While I hate to destroy beautiful grass I have just grown, it seems we have little choice but to try this. What I would hate even more would be to perish in this place. We light the mummy ablaze, and the smoke reveals another pair of beams cutting at angles across the room. Down the center of the room we crawl to the other side of the room, with no further loss of life.

Shortly after we pass through this trap, we come upon a room shrouded in darkness. Hope calls upon the goddess Lliira to shed light, and we are suddenly face to face with an immense being of fire. The amulet that the sheik gave me hums and glows, and a blast of blue light emerges, striking the efreeti in its chest. The creature snarls in pain and releases a ball of fire in response. Hope falls from the burst of flames, while the rest of us are still standing. Some smoldering worse than others. Myself, I am just barely singed by the blast…

Khalitharius, Evil Efreeti Prince, Scourge of the Desert People

Shortly after we pass through this trap, we come upon a room shrouded in darkness. Hope calls upon the goddess Lliira to shed light, and we are suddenly face to face with an immense being of fire. The amulet that the sheik gave me hums and glows, and a blast of blue light emerges, striking the efreeti in its chest. The creature snarls in pain and releases a ball of fire in response. Hope falls from the burst of flames, while the rest of us are still standing. Some smoldering worse than others. Myself, I am just barely singed by the blast…

We are no match for this creature without the power of Martek, but we cannot retreat without at least slowing Kalatherius down so we can safely crawl through the room of beams. Broknar turns to run, and Bowser grabs the limp body of Hope. Rochendir rushes to attack the fire lord and I stand fast with him. By the grace of Correllon Larethian, Rochendir is protected and his daggers pierce deep into the efreeti. Still reeling from blast of my amulet and now the sting of Rochendir’s blades, the evil one slips into the astral as I see the silver cord before it disappears.

Once the fire lord is gone, we begin to search its chamber. There is lush bedding and a huge lamp. I rub the lamp, half expecting to see Lemmy appear before us. Perhaps I was still mourning the loss for Lemmy’s former master, our fallen comrade Stonebreaker. Unfortunately, nothing happens. Then I notice that the there is a stopper on the bottle with some runes on it. I open the stopper, and instead of a djinn appearing, it’s the bride-to-be of the sheik’s first born son. She thanks us and asks to be returned to her people.

I ask if she has any idea why the efreeti would capture her, but she is unsure. She does know that the amulet and the mark on her palm are somehow part of Martek’s prophecy to defeat the fiery elemental. I ask to see the mark on her palm, and match it to the amulet. Once I match the amulet to her palm, I am able to get valuable information. It speaks of the city of Phoenix, and words of power to speak once we get there. There is nothing else of value here.

Rochendir and I rejoin the others, and we give Hope a potion to heal her. When she comes to, she uses a scroll and is instantly healed. She helps heal Rochendir and I take a few quaffs of potion myself. As we return through the beam of light room, we meet another traveler. Hope shrieks ‘Darsun!’ and throws her arm around him. Darsun and Hope are the last two from their group that were adventuring in the Haunted Halls, and they have been reunited.

I greet Darsun in the language of his mother, for he is a zenar’quess (half-elf). He has taken his human father’s surname, and has the skills of both mother and father. A loyal follower and priest of Solonor Thelandira and a ranger of the woods. I have both Hope and Darsun given a Harness of Seeker, and explain the powers to them. Priests can be useful in this accursed place.

While continuing to look for the way out, we come across a room with a brilliant red stone atop a high pillar. A beam of light shines down upon the stone, and is refracted throughout the room. This must be another of the Star Gems! Sensing a trap, Hope wisely evokes the power of Lliira to discern any unseen dangers. Of course, the room is not safe to enter. To avoid any immediate danger, I unroll my carpet of flight and several of us hop aboard to claim the jewel. When we retrieve the stone from the pillar, it raises up, and more beams begin to flash throughout the room. I quickly replace the gem on the pedestal, and it sinks back into place, with only the original refracted rays visible. With the use of Broknar’s merchant scale, I empty out a waterskin to match the weight of the stone. This time, when we take the gem, I put the waterskin in its place. The pillar does not fall, and the rays are quelled. Success, the second Star Gem is gained!

We have recovered another Star Gem, saved the girl and have valuable clues to help us on our journey. Darsun is anxious to leave this place, and I concur. It’s time to return the princess-to-be to her people and continue on our mission. We look to find our way back to out. In this place, that is no easy task.

Seeking a way to the desert above, we come upon a room with a skull atop an altar. This is obviously a tool of evil, and we decide to not tempt the gods again. As we exit this room, we are met by a group of assassins as we met outside the obelisk, led by what looks like an evil priest.

Without hesitation, we attack. Hope begins to encourage us with a chant, arrows fly and Rochendir enters the fray. He slays one assassin, but then is struck by an arrow in his left arm that Broknar let loose. Wheeling from the pain, he is then hit by an assassin’s blow dart. His body falls, certainly from the poison that they use.

Enough of this, we will not lose another Sword, nor will I allow the evil priest to turn the tide. I unleash a sticky mass of webs, and all the enemies are held fast. Broknar and Darsun pick off the assassins with arrows, but I ask them to leave the priest to me. I pour some oil on him, and ignite my finger with magick. I let the flame die out, but the priest knows what I mean to do if he does not cooperate. I ask him what he knows, but he is more concerned about the skull from the other room. I say that we have the skull, and it is apparent that he has no more useful information he is willing to share with us. Broknar launches an arrow into his heart, and he passes. With any luck, whatever evil master he thought to serve now torments him in eternity. The only thing remaining is to take whatever is valuable from his body, and I recover an enchanted mace and a ring.

It’s time to leave, but there is some debate about what to do with the skull. I say leave the evil rot in this place, but Broknar and Bowser have other ideas. They decide that leaving the skull is not the right thing to do, and so decide to remove it from the altar. The rest of the group begins to leave, and we hear Bowser yelp ‘ouch!’ as he attempts to touch the skull. They finally end up removing the skull from the room. I cast a glare back at them as let them know that they should stay well away from me with that thing of evil.

We finally emerge from the darkness into the welcoming glow of the moonlight desert. The air is surprisingly refreshing; warmer than the air from underground, but much cleaner and true. Although exhausted from both combat and the tension of being constantly alert, the starry night invigorates us all. We are one step closer to defeating the evil fire-dweller.

Darsun and I decide to take no chances and escort the princess back to her people by means of flight. The remaining adventurers, Broknar and Bowser (who have grown close from battling side by side), Rochendir and Hope decide to dispose of the skull. While I was not in favor of taking on the accursed item initially, I have to admit that I am happier to see it in our hands than in those that would use it for evil purposes. Hope plans on using the joy of her goddess to destroy or weaken the powers of the skull, and if that fails they will bury it deep in the desert so no one shall be able to use it again.

We shall meet back at the camp of the sheik and return the bride-to-be to his first born son. I am not fond of splitting our forces, for there are unseen eyes in the desert that have no heart to do us well. If we do not see our companions by midday, we’ll take to the sky and look for them. May all the Seldarine (elven gods) guide them back to the camp safely and swiftly.

Chronicles of Serillian, part 11

At daybreak, we head towards the rendezvous point of the Dragon Cult and Zhentarim. We leave the large dragon parts, teeth and claws and scales, in the hidden chamber and conceal it once more. Having acquired a flying carpet, the group uses this while the female slave is carried by Steel Heart. As we get close, we set down and see that the Dragon Cult is on the shore, and there is a huge war galleon flying the banner of Cyric. Four long boats bearing approximately 50 members of an envoy are making their way towards the shore. There is no way to overcome the Dragon Cult, let alone the army of the Zhentarium galleon. The only way to be successful is to make these two parties turn on each other and undo their alliance.

We are going to try a dangerous gamble, but a good strategy. I will fearlessly ride Steel Heart, she in the guise of slain red dragon Flame Shoot, and attack the galleon. I’ll use my magic to make it appear that the red dragon breathed flames on the ship, and with any luck the Zhentarim will think they’ve been betrayed by the Dragon Cult. If this fails, the rest of the party will fly back up on the magic carpet.

The dragon soars high and then begins to dive, using the sun as a partial shield from sight. As we get close to the ship, she drops a few flasks of oil and I yell ‘Long Live the Dragon Cult!’, as I let forth a jet of flame to lights the ship. We do a fly over of the beach, and I scream ‘Death to the weak Zhentarim, take them now!’ and we make our way towards the path of Moortown. We then dive low and turn to regroup with our band.

As we had hoped, the two parties turn on each other. The wounded Zhentarim galleon is no match for the dragons, and what I had started with my false dragon fire is now finished by the real thing. The Zhentarim are defeated on both land and sea, but not before they take down one of the mighty red winged beasts and half the cult members. Wounded and dazed, the cult marks the sight of the battle, burns all that remains, and makes its way back towards Moortown. They will surely not be happy when they see what waits for them there.

Once the coast is clear, we asses to see if there is anything we can salvage for our efforts. On the beach, the only thing worth taking is the standard of Cyric, which I roll up and keep. It may be useful later. Stonebreaker walks into the Moonsea and goes through the wreckage of the galleon. I hope this makes him feel like a true pirate, as he returns with a chest of potions, coins, gems and jewelry. It’s been a very successful day indeed!

We hurry back to report back to the wizard Thusk to see that Glister is in some disarray. It seems an undead dwarf creature came out looking for death and other still living dwarves. It took the life of one of the bearded folk, but was then forced to flee by priestly powers.

Thusk is gracious to accept us at his tower again, and we regale him with our tales. He acts surprised to find out that Kaitlyn is really a dragon, and says Elminster would have known. Whether truthful or not, we collect our remaining reward and secure a safe room in his tower. No sooner do we finish sharing the information with him about the Dragon Cult and Zhentarim that he asks us to investigate the undead dwarf king. We know a little about this creature from our past, but attempt to get what information we can from Thusk.

We agree to move on in a day after I get some spells transcribed from the wizard as per our arrangement. Stonebreaker begrudgingly leaves some of our treasure behind, as well as the sword from the evil mage, the ax that slays elves, the standard of Cyric and a few other items not necessary to the next mission. He promises to get the woman to safety, and Broknar gives her his share of the reward so she may start a new life when she arrives back home. Steel Heart thanks us and says she will return to her homeland and continue to live amongst the humans there. She will stay vigilant to the Dragon Cult activities, and says that we may call upon her in the future should we be in the area or need her assistance. A steel dragon is a most powerful ally to have indeed!

Map of the ancient kingdom of the Undead Dwarven King

With only a few short days of rest, we head out in search of the dead dwarven king. We are always in such a hurry to defeat the next foe or take on the next quest, I sometimes wonder what the hurry is. I would have preferred to stay in the company of Thusk and see what he had to teach me about the arts, what knowledge he possessed, to discuss philosophy, to have a fine drink in front of a warm fire, perhaps even to have a conversation with his dancing cat. But this band is wayward bound and has no time for these things. When we get to Elventree I’ll have to insist that I stay much longer and visit with my kind.

We make our way towards what seems like the rocky outlier of a desert. We’re resupplied by a gracious Thusk, who too urges us to hunt down the undead bearded one. As we make our way through the mountains, we are driven into a cave for shelter by a storm.

Unfortunately, caves are also sometimes are home to other most unpleasant things. We set up a camp and Broknar and I decide to make sure that we are not going to have any unwelcomed visitors greet us unaware. A narrow channel leads to a smaller chamber, and we instantly recognize the stench of foul trolls. There are bones of creatures and steeds littered about the chamber, but no sign of the trolls, nor any sign of other passages out of the cavern. There is, however, a small box and two scrolls amongst the debris.

We bring what we have found and report back to Rochendir and Stonebreaker. Stonebreaker of course cannot help himself but to take a look in the small chest. Without even checking, he opens the box to reveal five small cubes with runes inscribed on them. I can instantly sense a powerful dweomer on them. Of the two scroll cases we have, one is open and one is sealed.

I read the opened scroll first to see if either has any clues to the functions or history of the cubes. It contains a message that seems to have never been delivered from Amin Al-Ra’Qib. It implores the help of a group of heroes to help a in a magic quest. The scroll mentions Elminster, and so Stonebreaker feels that this must be a just cause. I should like to meet this Elminster and discover his association with those that harp. Many times have we now run into the agents of that secret society, and still do not know truly what role they play in the realms and in our own journey. In any event, the scroll continues that the instructions to activate the cubes are on the other document.

I read the second scroll and assemble the cubes. In a flash we one by one tumble into a room, almost toppling its occupant. As we recover, the man scrambles to pick up the cubes which have become strewn about on the floor. He introduces himself as Amin Al-Ra’Qib and thanks the gods for sending us to him in this desperate time. He begins to tell a tale that may lead us on our next adventure.

An ancient and powerful wizard trapped an efreeti long ago. The wizard knew, however, that the evil would one day escape and wreak vengeance upon the land. So he conjured an ally, a djinn, one of Lemmy’s kind, to keep the evil at bay. The wizard also prophesized that when the time came a group of heroes would answer the call and bring him back to power. When restored, he could vanquish the efreeti once and for all. He set about a challenge for those would be brave souls to find the star gems and bring return him from where he slept. The wizard’s name was Martek, and have now been given the chance to help him.

We now have a dilemma. Do we allow this quest to distract us from our dead dwarf? How to choose the needs of which lands and which people need our assistance more desperately, more urgently. While I long to get to see my kind in Elventree, I cannot ignore the chance to help others. The Swords are also restless, but we are here today, and this is now our task at hand. Hopefully we can complete this mission in a timely manner so as to be able to hunt down the undead dwarf king before he slays again or gathers a dark army.

Our group is ready for action, our swords are poised and ready to go wayward once again. What will Amin Al- Ra Q’ib be able to supply us in terms of information and protections on this quest? Will he be able to return us on our journey to the trail of the abandoned dwarven realm and their king? What evil is there to overcome and wondrous treasure lay before us in these lands? When do we begin?

After seeking refuge in a cave from a storm of monumental proportion you found a box with five cubes. Placing them in the pattern described in the scroll found with the device you were teleported to a room of strange architecture. Greeted by the old wizard Aman Al-Raqid, who welcomes you to Bralizzar.

Insistently Aman calls us the heroes of the prophecy of Martek, Grand Vizier of Raurin, The Greatest of Mages. Over the next month of living as honored guests you discern from the wizard that Martek lived over 1,000 years ago. The prophesy which your arrival has triggered tells of an evil efreet (opposite of djinn) of great power will be unleashed and from Mulhurand cover the world in darkness for a 1,000 years unless stopped by a band of heroes.

Our quest is simple enough locate five large enchanted gems called the Great Stars which are scattered across the desert. Once the gems are found they can be used to locate or at least unlock the Sphere of Power, which will destroy the efreet, Khalitharius, forever and should return you safely to your homeland, which you discover you are now months of travel away from. Hesitantly and for various reasons, all of you accept the quest and graciously accept Aman’s hospitality.

While studying and practicing your skills, gathering supplies and studying the maps, legends and texts Aman provides you, you get to know (as best you can) Fuigarm, Aman’s body guard. Fuigarm is a mute hill giant, that stands 12’ 7” and weights well over 450 lbs. he is small for hill giant but sticks out among the smaller framed Mulloharndi that inhabit this area. As you explore Bralizzar, Fuigarm serves as your protector at the order of his master. No thief or charlatan dares target you.

You meet Alham Pasha Burak Hetmann of Bralizzar and friend of Aman. Hetmann, as he is called, is formal and reserved and very well respected by the people of Bralizzar. He is a just ruler. He enjoys listening to your stories; at least you think he does. You learn from him that there have been rumors of fighting in the desert not far from the sacred palm. He is concerned that it may be a sign that the war in Thay to the north maybe spreading south. He issues all of you a copper medallion as an affidavit of your transient status.

You also find your way to the Golden Palm, a small inn and tavern. Tekuna Chand, Female Innkeeper, imparts a few rumors:

  • The Sheik of the Oasis does not trust strangers until they prove themselves worthy. He has been known to accept gifts, however, but these should be expensive or magical.
  • There is an assassin working in the Oasis. His name is Zorath Blackblade. Beware of him. You also get the following information from several patrons:
    • A palace of gold and gems once glittered on the northern horizon. Many people saw its spires of gold, but no one has ventured in that direction because of the curses.
    • There are tall crystal obelisks in the north with writing all over them that tell of great people and deeds, but they are evil places where death awaits. No one who has gone to study those stones has ever returned.
    • Beyond the hills the world ends. There the sky is bottomless. Ships sail the clouds and their spectral crews attempt to bring the souls they capture to the ancient Cursed City of Stone.
  • Crypts are usually haunted by evil things, and this especially true of the crypt of the evil amphitheater. Don’t go there if you value your life
  • The gates to the desert curse all those who enter, just to remind them that they are stepping into terrible ground.
  • There are said to be caravans of slavers. These travel by night and will not allow any strangers to come near them.

Moments after we ‘drop in’ on our new host, we are met by a fellow adventurer. A surly erkatam (dwarf) comes through our portal. As I question the late arrival, he introduces himself as Bowser. I ask what he was doing and how he came to pass here. Apparently, the bold fellow was hunting for Drow in the caverns where we had sought refuge from the storm. When we activated the portal, it opened the floor and pulled him up from the level below us. Aman Al-Raqib smiles on this as providence and quickly proclaims that Martek has meant for this to be, and we are the heroes that he has foretold in his prophecy. While obviously not the brightest dwarf I’ve met attempting to stalk the Drow alone, I can’t help but admire his motives. He shall have my steel and spell should he need it.

Ravanthasi (friends), gather. For a great gift has been given to me, perhaps to all of us. I did not know its importance until now, nor truly understand its meaning, but I must tell you what I have seen.

As I stared down the dragon I battled at Moorstown, our gazes locked. I thought surely that I would pass to Arvandor before my time, but by the grace of Corellon giant arrows pierced through the beast and brought it down. Face to face with the dying dragon, I no longer saw its eyes, but something else. It was gone in a flash. That I was saved by giant arrows was no chance event. I think that I was given two great gifts that battle-my life, and this vision.

Time is not the same for elves as it is for you. It does not always move from one point to the next in a straight line. Instead of sleeping, we relive our lives many times over. What you call memories are a reality that we can touch and feel throughout the time we have on this plane. Sometimes our memories are dream-like, and our memories are that which have yet to come.

There is a great quest that we are now about to undertake. In order to be successful and to have many other adventures, I have seen us do things that we are not yet able to do. We have been in such a hurry to help others and gain reward that we have forgotten that we must also take time to ready ourselves. What we need is time. Time to prepare, and time to understand our place in this vision.

I think we should hone our skills before we pursue restoring Martek. I am sure that our host will grant us sanctuary here in these lands. I have acquired powerful magicks and have yet to learn to properly wield them all. I have texts that I have yet to study, and strange items that I do not yet know how to command. Perhaps our host Amin Al-Ra Q’ib can help us find tutors in this place, or even serve as a guide to me. Each of us should prepare in their own way for the challenges that lie ahead, and help each other improve the skills that we can pass along.

Let us make the best use of this time we have now, lest we rush foolishly into battle evil and not have the power to overcome it. Let us not pass up this opportunity. For that was the gift of my vision, that time is the key. As the dragon’s time expired, I gained this most precious time to prepare for our next journey. We all have. What say you, shall we take the necessary time to prepare for the great task at hand?

Chronicles of Serillian, part 10

Our first encounter with a takal (wyrm), a young black dragon bearing a dark rider. It spits a dangerous stream of caustic fluid.

A dark image rises in the sky and swoops past, spraying us with a vile substance. I manage to dodge most of it but it’s spittle still burns. The great beast lands and turns to face us. There’s a rider on it that we can now see. Stonebreaker rushes up to the lizard and pierces it’s hide with Jacked Tooth. It howls in pain and lashes out. The rider dismounts and attacks as well. The dragon is obviously young, only about 15′ in length. I blast it with fire, but it seems to have no effect. Rochendir joins Stonebreaker in combat with the dragon and rider, with Broknar adding to the fray with arrows. I move to secure one of the sleeping orcs. The battle is over in a matter of minutes, with the last two orcs retreating after they see us overcome wyrm and rider.

As typical, Kaitlyn reappears after the battle. We pillage the body of the dragon for useable parts-teeth, claws, scales, a vial of blood. Kaitlyn is visibly disturbed by our actions, but was overcome with an awkward bloodlust to slay the orcs. Odd indeed. I explain that these dragon remains may be useful in our further efforts to defeat evil dragons and the cult. She still is not very understanding of our treatment of the fallen beast

.

Down the road we come across another gruesome scene. A stone marker commemorates the death of a white dragon named Frost Nax. Apparently, it died in combat supporting the cult against another dragon the likes of which I’ve never heard of. I again begin to see what viable pieces can be salvaged, and two large boring insects come out and attack. As we begin to face off against these, some creature bubbles up from the marshes. It obviously recognized the girl and threatens to take her life. Now, is that anyway to speak to a young lady in our charge?

It appears to be decaying, and I fire a beam of blazing light at it. Unfortunately, it’s a glancing blow, so I draw my sword and the rest of the party engages the fiend. We quickly dispatch of both the warrior that arose from the swamp as well as the dragon scavengers. There’s a third figure in the distance, and with more tears Kaitlyn rushes to it.

I approach Kaitlyn and I can now see it. She’s no longer able to hide it when I tell her that I know that she’s a dragon. Amazed, she tells us that these are our parents. I offer her passage to Evermeet, where the good dragons live and help protect my people. Curiously, she states that her kind prefer the company of humans. Well, no one is perfect. I offer to help properly take care of her deceased parents after we complete our mission.

There are some huge tracks and a path of destruction leading away from Kaitlyn’s father. What appears to be another large dragon was grounded and making its way from the scene. We follow the tracks and come upon what remains of a town called Moortown. We had found a scroll case with a map showing this location near the body of the white dragon. We see humans, orcs, ogres and, by the Seldarine, TROLLS!!! I had a special surprise for these foul creatures, some enspelled flasks of liquid fire. Unfortunately, these were lost when our ship capsized. Before we attempt a frontal assault, all too common a tactic for us in the past, I suggest a more strategic option. We should backtrack and make camp to come up with a plan. Some of our team are more injured than others, and I could use the time to recover some of the arcane energies. We may even have a scouting expedition to gather some additional information before me decide to make our next move. As a Keryfaern (war wizard), it makes more sense to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our adversaries. Then we can decide to how to disrupt this cult’s operation as much as possible and report back to Thusk.

Stonebreaker says “I am not sure how we should proceed. We have had trouble with trolls in the past, and it seems that there will be more to face than these retched beast. I have potions of flight, giant size and levitation and we can utilize them however will allow us to defeat the evil dragon cult. We should possibly consider eliminating the trolls first, especially if we can do that quietly. I do not understand how a little girl can be a dragon, but I have seen a man turn into a bear. Will the child be of any aid in this battle? She has avoided all violence to this point in our journey. I am willing to use the cover of darkness to gain more information before we approach. I am open to all suggestions, as I believe this may be one of our greatest challenges yet.”

I say we take a day or two to plan. We can recover our health and magic, as well as gather information on the town and the cult’s forces. I can get us close to the camp virtually undetected for short periods. I, too, hate trolls, and had some special surprises for them that are now lost at sea. I still do have some special gifts for them, but it won’t be quiet. The girl will probably be of little use to us in this fight unless we desperate, she is a very young dragon. It may not be completely necessary to defeat the cult. I think we should look to weaken them as much as possible and report what we know back to Thusk. We’ve already taken out one dragon and 20 harkavarn, plus an undead warrior of some type. By surveying the area we can gain an advantage. There is no need to attack head on. They have to protect their city, so they can’t all come out at once. Let’s draw them out so we have the upper hand, and do what we can to avoid the red dragon!!! I also have some magic that may prove useful if we can just figure out how to use it. Anyone care to play cards with me at camp tonight?

With Trolls patrolling Moortown, we take a moment to assess the situation. I’m cautious and suggest a day of rest and intelligence gathering before we decide on our next move, but my party is a group of action. It seems what is left of the town is unprepared for us, so we strike now. We put a quick plan together and plan a picnic for our troll friends. Unfortunately, we fail to inform them that barbequed and skewered troll is the main course!

We see the trolls fighting over an animal, and we quickly devise a plan. Stonebreaker summons Lemmy and he drops a feast in front of the wretched beasts. Hesitant for a few seconds, the trolls surround the banquet and are close and distracted. While the rest of the party throws a few flasks of Greek fire that I had, I get close enough to engulf the trolls in a shroud of flames. In a few moments, the trolls are burning to almost nothing, and Rochendir, Stonebreaker and Broknar quickly sweep up the remains with a few strikes and arrows. Enjoying the roast, I sneak into the town with Kaitlyn.

There’s only a few guards and some strange noises emanating from one of the buildings. We spread out and take cover around the various structures. I cast a protective spell to increase my agility and we begin to see more. The sounds come forth from a small pen, and there are 3 young red dragons that must have caught our scent! The guards at first try to get the creatures back into their caged area, but once they notice something is wrong, they regroup and let the dragons out.

Stonebreaker gives a command to Lemmy the Djinn, and then he engages a small red dragon. Caitlyn disappears as typical. A large roar and head and wings of a larger red dragon appear from the building that Rochendir is next two. There’s no sign of Broknar yet, made invisible by his magical ring.

A figure in black robes appears in a window and seems to yell for silence. You’re mine, wizard! Surprised, instead of coming forward to engage us, he hurries back into the house. I had prepared a spell to prevent him from using his dark magic against us, but it is ruined as he disappears from my sight.

Stonebreaker engages a guard which tries to break off from him. He’s also attacked by a small red dragon. Lemmy valiantly attempts to combat the dragon, but even his power is no match for the red winged demon. Lemmy is vanquished. I hope our fallen friend is now freed to whatever end he may find.

Rochendir attempts to engage the large red dragon. For whether it is bravery or foolishness, one cannot say. His first dagger thrusts simply bounce off the creatures hide, but incredibly one them find the throat of the beast. The dragon roars a strange, half muted sound as blood pours all over Rochendir. The large monster kicks Rochendir back several feet almost without effort.

And then it happens. A giant sized Broknar appears, shooting arrows the size of long spears! He must have used his growth potion, and he’s now taller than the dragon at approximately 30 feet in height! Maybe we won’t be destroyed so quickly after all.

Rochendir is mauled by the small dragon, but continues to attack the large beast instead. Broknar attacks with his spear-arrows. I’ve lost sight of the evil wizard, but see a small dragon now spy me. I drink a potion and prepare to engage it in battle. About this time, a steel grey dragon appears from the sky and engulfs the dragon that felled Lemmy in a cloud of gas. The dragon screeches and takes flight to engage the air. Stonebreaker continues to battle the two guards, and Rochendir and Broknar bring the large beast down. Rochendir then turns his attention to the smaller dragon that has been tearing into him. As this happens, the small red dragon is upon me and I draw my sword. The dragon attacks first, but cannot hit me as I dodge and parry with cat-like grace. I strike at the dragon with Lorson, but fail to find a weak point on my first round of strikes. Before the dragon can attack again, two spear like arrows pierce the dragon from behind, and it falls before me. I have now stared face to face with a red dragon, and live to tell the tale!

The steel dragon tears the wing off of the small red dragon and it crashes down outside of the encampment. I make my way to the building to see where the cowardly wizard has disappeared to. I see a human female cowering inside, and quickly ask the whereabouts of the wizard and of any other forces we may need to defeat.

The wizard had headed out the door and sees he will face Stonebreaker and Rochendir. The mage wisely casts a spell in an attempt to prevent the two from engaging him in combat, and a billowing noxious cloud of gas appears. Undaunted, Rochendir tackles the wizard through the cloud. The wizard recovers and draws his blade as Rochendir strikes with his daggers. The dark robed one attempt to enter the building, but I am there with blade in hand. I see the look of shock as a short blade runs through him from behind. Rochendir smiles as he wipes Jacked Tooth clean, and I can see it in his eyes. ‘Well, where’s the treasure?’ I am sure is what he is thinking.

We start to spread out and search the town. I instruct the warriors to burn down the stables where there are a few orc forces. I tell them to keep at least one alive for questioning as I begin to search the wizard’s chamber for important clues. I procure his spellbook, a carpet and two scrolls, one with vital information on the Cult.

As we search for treasure, we find a hidden door beneath the hatchling pen. It appears that these fools have not noticed it. We enter an area sacred to Tempus, and in it are some items of great value. We regroup and I share the information on the cult’s activities. They are making a treaty with the Zhentarim, although from the instructions there is clearly mistrust and the alliance is yet to be completed. Kaitlyn implores us to prevent this unholy alliance from taking place and to help her avenge her parent’s death. There are still two large black dragons and two large red dragons with the cult, so this will be no easy task. We take a day to heal and for me to discover the nature of some of our arcane items.

Chronicles of Serillian, part 9

The Swords of the Wayward Sons have arrived!

Swords of the Wayward Sons

Adventuring Company of Cormyr. Founded in Arabel the month of Elient, 1332 (DR; 1307 CR). Sponsored with gracious support from our truest friends and allies at the Six Coffers Market Priakos. For all your trade and merchant needs, look no further than the Six!

Charter Members Broknar-Human Ranger Rochendir-Half-Orc Ranger Stonebreaker-Half-Orc Rogue (deceased) Serillian Lokirra-Elven Fighter-Mage

Sword-Tales of the Wayward Sons

Arabel, Trade City of Cormyr and home to our adventuring co.

Arabel has, for now, become our company’s operating base. I have no real measure of other human cities, but this one seems to be quite fair. The rule of law and commerce permeates most of the streets, and folks tend to be carving out their existence as they wish in peace. I’m a bit of a novelty here, as there are few true Tel’Quessir (elves) in this place. I’ve tried for the most part as of yet to keep a low profile, tending to stick to the learned sage Jamund Aver and our group. Upon our return, I should like to continue to seek alliances with mages of light, the proprietors of the local Elhazir’s Exotica shoppe, and possibly an audience with the ruler of this city. As an emissary from Evermeet, it would be most beneficial to establish relationships with as many outposts of Faerun as possible. In the blink of an eye, our people will no longer be here, but we’ll still need to keep ties with these lands. Besides, it would be rude to not introduce myself and offer my services.

The rest of the company has been doing much the same I expect-training and preparing for our future adventures, enjoying their time and treasures and seeking new trinkets. Unfortunately, Stonebreaker and Rochendir, being zenar’hakarvan (my closest proxy for ‘half-orc’ in common) find it a little more difficult to navigate the city freely. They long for more thrilling adventures and physical pursuits. There will be time enough for that, but I also enjoy the wisdom of writings and magic, and the enlightened secrets they reveal to me. I’m glad I am Tel’Quessir, for I will have time for all things.

We headed to a place that Stonebreaker assured us would help secure items to increase our success in further endeavors. It is called The World Serpent. It seems that there is no lack of places from those that wish to dwell in the shadows. We enter this place with a knock and special phrase, and there is obviously great magicks here.

We meet the barkeep and are greeted by name-already at a disadvantage. Our contact is not here, so we wait. Soon trouble arrives, in the form of a beautiful female trickster. Letting our guard down, we laugh at her parlor tricks and accept a drink from her. Of course, it turns out that in this place that means we are now in the service of a being of seemingly immense power. I think I will rename this place The Doorway for Pawns…

We meet with our new ’employer’ and are charged with finding a hound to breed with hers. And so the adventure begins. Soon we have whisked away to other worlds and visit strange and enchanted lands. For the most part, it seems that we are truly pawns, and the other pieces are knights and bishops, kings and queens. In the end, everyone seems to have something that another wants, and we wearily facilitate exchanges. Arabel truly is the crossroads of commerce!

For our time, or lack thereof, as in this place time has seemed to stand still to the city, we are rewarded. Each member of our company gets a mystical item as compensation for our ‘voluntary’ service. Stonebreaker, a blade known as Jack Tooth; Rochendir a pair of daggers, Broknar a bow, Avoden a holy vial of Tempus, and I a quill to inscribe spells from the goddess Lliira. For myself, I am glad to be back on the streets of Arabel.

Shortly after this last excursion, we begin to escort Llewyth, our one-time adventuring companion and future head of the Six Coffers, to Marsemba. The group is once again excited to be leaving the confines of civilization off on wayward travels. Stonebreaker is particularly excited as the road we travel this time will be paved with waves. I know he has spent time on a pirate or slave ship, but it’s obvious he fancies that the ladies see him as a handsome swashbuckler. Careful, my friend. Let us be truthful, you are zenar’biir (half ugly) to human eyes. It is not your visage that the ladies are eyeing, but your purse strings! Besides, the charm of a ‘lady’ is how we ended up being played as part of the last game!

Truth be told, I am happy to be traveling once again myself. While I thoroughly enjoy the esoteric pages and musings with master Aver, I am an elf of action. I seek adventure and excitement with spell and steel. I’m only 120 years of age, and there is so much of this world that I have not yet seen. I hope to return to my island home occasionally during my mission, but I also hope to visit and explore Faerun while I can. I miss my people, but I also know that the more I learn here, the more helpful I will be to them in the future.

For spending as much time on an island as I have, I have no great love for the sea, for I am much more at home in the cities and forests. I’m always amazed at the great navy of Evermeet and grace of the Alu-Tel’Quessir, or sea elves as most would call them. One thing that both the forest and sea have in common is the moonlight sky, so I’ll take great comfort in being under her as we make our way to Marsember.

The open waterways to Marsember start off in mist and rain. Not quite what I would have preferred, but it is better than being in a foul hole somewhere under the earth. The sky cover did not provide the view of the moon and stars that I hoped. Our priest has been retained in Arabel, so only four of us make the journey. Some gods are fickle and require much attention. Luckily, my lord allows for great freedom and devotion along a lifetime when it is convenient for all. I have chosen a path that does not require the dedication of a priest, but I will make sure to honor the elf gods when I can.

We had a few encounters on the first leg of our journey. A small fishing boat that we hailed that was of no consequence. Not having full command of the water, our small band is tense as we learn how to distinguish friend from foe.

Stonebreaker is much more at home aboard a ship than I. He has no fear of climbing to the crow’s nest and surveying the seas. I serve in the army of Evermeet and am much more comfortable on the shores of the island than on its waters. I’ve had some training on ships, but must admit that I had always seen myself defending our lands should the enemy overcome our naval defenses. I prefer the living forest, climbing real trees, to the dead wood of this human vessel. Still, adventure it is, and so I am pleased. My role as emissary to the lands of Faerun also please me, and I have seen many new places in my brief time here.

Our first threatening encounter with another vessel ends without conflict. At a distance, it is not easy to tell the intention of an adversary and so we play a waiting game. After what seems like an eternity, the captain indicates that the vessel is surely taking an aggressive posture. We need to develop a prepare a strategy. As a war wizard, I know when it is advantageous to engage an enemy and when there is no need.

Stonebreaker’s adventures have brought him back to the seas more prepared than any of us. I consul him to summon his djinn and use his powers call upon a swift wind in order to outrun our adversary. In classic Stonebreaker style, he says ‘well, there’s probably no profit on that ship, so why waste our time with them”. He summons his servant, and we easily sail away from the enemy vessel.

I’m not sure if the other craft saw the djinn materialize and drive the winds into our sails, but I am sure that the crew of our ship did. Sometimes we rely on stealth. More often, we rely on brute force. And sometimes, it is better to simply produce a show of strength. This impressive display would surely illustrate to anyone that the Swords of the Wayward Sons are now becoming a power to be reckoned with.

Upon arriving at Marsember, we are introduced to Llewyth’s father. Although they are cordial, they do not seem to be extremely close. One thing that all of the Sons have in common is our unusual relationship with our own families. I count myself lucky to have been raised with my people on a beautiful island from a very young age. I still wonder the fate of the rest of my family. Broknar has a stormy past with his father, but the details are somewhat obscure. Rochendir obviously has no idea of what he is despite the preponderance of evidence starring right back at him, namely Stonebreaker. He’s so unaware he thinks he’s a vampire! And if that wasn’t enough, saying that Rochendir has no love lost among his tribe is an understatement. As I will learn later, his ‘family reunion’ is not quite what I was expecting.

After regaling Switzel, Llewyth’s father, with our previous adventures, he asks that we continue to escort Llewyth and a small contingent of merchant ships to Hillsfar. This will take several weeks and we’ll be well into winter. As we’ll be passing through Westgate where we’ll port for some time, enough time that Stonebreaker thinks we’ll have time to make proper introductions of his new blade to his clan. Hillsfar is near Elventree, both outposts of the Elves. Obviously, this of great interest to my diplomatic duties. We’ll also have the opportunity to port in at a temple of Mystra, where Broknar hopes to atone for the disruption of her shrine in the Haunted Halls. It’ settled, and we prepare to head to Hillsfar. This time we again simply exchange passage for protection. The next time, I think we need to be paid for our services.

We arrive at Westgate and Stonebreaker now invites us to his ‘family reunion’. Not wanting to seem rude, I begin to decline the invitation. Whatever would a Tel’Quessir want to do with a tribe of hakarvan? I’d probably rather be at his family’s funeral than a reunion. As it turns out, Stonebreaker reveals that he’s come back to send his father to the depths and free his enslaved mother. How could I refuse that invitation? Unfortunately, when we arrive at their last known location, they have been gone for at least a season. We return to Westgate, where Stonebreaker makes some inquiries as to their most recent whereabouts. There just is no time left to make his ‘surprise visit’, so we’ll have to return another day.

We depart Westgate and set sail for the coast of Sembra by the Sea of Falling Stars. A small band of sea-dwelling ogres makes an attack on us one evening, but being all on one vessel and in force, they are no match for us. We are the sole escort and defense of Llewyth and his crew, so they look to us for protection. As much as they look to us to get them to safety, we are dependent upon them to help us learn the sea. It is a fair exchange with the Six Coffers, and we continue to build our relationship with a powerful merchant family.

We make a stop Saerloon in order to port and visit the temple of Mystra. I stay aboard one of our ships and retain Broknar’s bow. He promises to offer the ax enchanted to attack my people as a sacrifice to Mystra. Stonebreaker decides to tag along, as he’s always fond of sniffing out places where magical items may be available. Stonebreaker returns with a few magic arrows after trading an item we had no use for, but Broknar still has the weapon that is an affront to my people.

When we leave Saerloon, we decide to split our forces in case more than one vessel gets attacked. Broknar and I are on one ship, and Rochedir and Stonebreaker on another. The third ship is between us, protected on either side.

After a few days, while Rochendir and I are on watch, I see Rochendir attacked by tall, gangly beasts. Those these creatures must be native to the coastal waters, I’d recognize their awkward gait anywhere-trolls! Several creatures board the ship and being to engage Rochendir. In the past, we’ve had serious troubles defeating these monsters, as they are deceptively fast, ferocious, and continual heal and attack. I’ve been almost defenseless against trolls in the past, but this time I have something special I’ve been keeping for them.

Rochendir is taken by surprise and shouts in pain. I alert Broknar to the struggle and drink a potion of flight in order to get to Rochendir quickly. Rochendir strikes back at the trolls, but one manages to overwhelm and grapple him. In an instant, he’s pulled over the edge of the ship into the dark waters.

Quickly I’m in the air and hovering over a pair of trolls. I summon a cube of fire that surrounds the creatures. Surprised and unaccustomed to the intensity of magical flames, these two decide they had enough. They make their way over the deck to the sea in order to escape. Broknar surfaces from below and readies his bow and fires a few shots at one troll while Stonebreaker exchanges blows with another.

As we concentrate on the remaining two trolls, Rochendir must have either killed or broke free from his assailant and climbs back aboard over the rail of the ship. Meanwhile, I turn my attention to another troll and unleash a jet of flame from my hand. With the flames still engulfing the troll, Broknar fires a few arrows at it and it falls incapacitated. With one troll left, Stonebreaker’s blade and Broknar’s arrows bring the foul hakar (enemy) down.

We gather the two bodies on the deck and we cover them with oil. I raise them over the deck of the ship with magic and light them afire. I shout to the trolls that fled like relosa (cowards) in my native tongue “this will be the fate of all evil that faces us”!

I bind Rochendir’s wounds and the rest of the night is uneventful, as is the rest of the journey. In a few more weeks, we see the shores of Hillsfar. It’s been nearly a month since we left Marsember, and winter is now upon us. The merchant ships will more than likely port for the winter and take their leave back to Marsember with fine elven steel as soon as the weather permits. In the meantime, we’ll explore Hillsfar, Elventree and the surrounding coast and lands of the Moonsea.

I’ve tried to be optimistic about our sailing expedition thus far. And for the record, there is something to be said about being on tranquil waves underneath the moon and stars. I’ve also made no secret that I much prefer the solid ground beneath my feet. Give me a moonlit forest in the autumn, on a crisp night where I can smell the earth and leaves. Even the splendor of the great Elven cities are more to my liking, made of stone and earth and trees.

Upon approaching Hillsfar, we quickly turned from our original course. The port flew the flag of plague, and we wanted no part of that. We turned back to the vast lake, which did not welcome us with open arms. The captain steers a course toward a city called Phlan. I do hope to get to make our way towards Elventree soon, and the plague has not reached their fair citadel.

At night, the winds and waters begin to rage and the ship is forced to change course and ride the waves to prevent the ship from being smashed. Unfortunately, the storm overcomes us, and we’ve heard the twisting and breaking of the deadwood ship. We plunge into the cold waters and lose track of the crew. I quickly rise above the waters with my faithful companion Lorson, but Broknar and Rochendir struggle to hold on to remnants of the ship. Stonebreaker quickly summons Lemmy, his djinn, to use his powers to drag us to calmer tides. His blade, Jacktooth, make his time in the deep and above it much more amiable than ours. It is an unpleasant few days at sea until we reach land. To say that I now have no love for the open sea is an understatement. In a life as long as mine, I am hesitant to speak in superlatives. But I can say this with certainty, this elf has had enough of the sailing life for at least a few hundred years.

 

We take a day and build a makeshift camp close to the beach we land at. Without an indication of where we are, or where or really what Phlan is, we decide to head inland to find civilization, or whatever passes for it in these lands. The crew and cargo are a complete loss. We agree that there was nothing that we could do save the ship. As escorts, we dutifully protected the mission from friends that tried to attack. How could we possibly combat a plague encircling an entire port, or control the wrath of some unknown sea god? In fact, I propose that the crew has not lived up to its end of the bargain by failing to get us back safely to land and navigate the sea. That’s their business, is it not? I’m sure the Six Coffers may not be thrilled with the loss of man and materials, but I think we will be able to find it in our hearts to not charge them for the near loss of our own lives and supplies!

Without many incidents, we eventually find a path and signpost. It points to a town called Glister. We make our way to the outskirts of what appears to be a spontaneously build trading fair. There’s little help here, but I notice the absence of elves. I have my helm on but draw the hood of my cloak over my head. There are orcs and ogres here, and I am uneasy in this place. I suggest that Stonebreaker make contact with some orcs trading inferior goods, and they provided nothing of use to us.

Not by accident, we are approached by the apprentice of a local wizard name Thusk. While I respect and am more comfortable than the rest of my group with those that practice the Art, in a strange place going to a wizard’s tower is a dangerous game. With apparently few other options, we make our way to his tower a short distance away.

Thusk greets us with his ‘friend’, Sebastian. From the actions of the feline, I surmise that this is the mage’s familiar. The comforts me for two reasons. The cat seems non-threatening, and you can tell a lot from the demeanor of a wizard’s familiar. And if things get dicey, a wizard’s companion can make an excellent bargaining chip. I do not think it will come to do this, but if the choice becomes the cat or us, I think I know who will be most unhappy in the end!

Thusk had a table and fine meal awaiting us. We approach with apprehension, as the last time we were presented in this manner we found ourselves the pawns of a very powerful forces. I get to the point of interest as quickly as I can without being extremely rude. The wizard had mentioned that he may need the assistance of a band of adventurers such as ourselves. He’s already relaxed Stonebreaker and Rochendir with a show of his dancing cat and something called ‘coffee’.

He instructed his assistant to fetch something. He returned with a young girl they called Kaitlyn. He spins a sad tale of loss and abduction. And of, by the way, did he mention it was done by a rider on a HAKARMASKANNAR (DRAGON)!!! Surely, a brave band of adventurer’s wouldn’t mind seeking out this beast and something called ‘The Dragon Cult’?

Of course, wizards have a tendency of, how shall I say this, omitting important details. Like, how did this 12-year-old girl escape the slaughter of The Dragon Cult, led by a red dragon? It obviously didn’t add up. However, I hear him mumble something about Elminster, and I then recognize the badge of the Harper. So whatever he’s ‘accidentally’ left out, it’s probably not with malicious intent.

For a mere 200gp and a potion of healing each, we take on the cause of Thusk the Harper. I negotiate a few extra spells in exchange for the assistance. It can’t hurt to continue to get allied with those that harp. We have two rides to return with whatever information we can use to Thusk, and disrupt whatever of their operations that we can.

We take off the following day with the escort of locals hired by Thusk. The take us two days travel towards the scene of the abduction. With that, the escort makes a hasty retreat and was left to our own with Kaitlyn. At the crossroads of Thar and Vaasa, we ask Kaitlyn which path to choose. She directs us towards Vaasa . We start down the path through the bogs and are attacked by giant wasps. We dispatch them quickly, and while Kaitlyn at first indicates she wishes us to retreat, during the skirmish she disappears. Once the bugs are squashed, Kaitlyn reappears. It’s odd behavior for a 12-year-old girl…

A short while down the road a pair of orcs stop us on the road. They demand we join them or die. I’m not so sure that my companions are into joining any cult. Besides, our The Swords of Wayward Sons is doing just fine. So we do what any reasonable band of heroes would do. We begin to slaughter them!

Of course it’s a trap, and of course, we’re surrounded on both sides. And of course, the girl disappears. Luckily, the hakavarn (orcs) are as a good a shot as an elf without a bow. Which means, they are as useful as most orcs, which is no use at all. No offense to present companions.

Stonebreaker summons Lemmy to start to blow through part of the orcs. Rochendir engages in melee and starts to decimate their visages. Broknar snickers and shows the orcs how to use a bow. I cast a spell and put two orcs to rest for the battle. Good to have someone to question when it’s all said and done.

The orcs have a shaman with and mistake Stonebreaker for a conjurer since he summoned a djinn. In an instant, there is no sound around him. Little does the shaman know that normally, this would be of benefit for Stonebreaker to silently stalk his prey. Personally, I never thought he sounded better! Luckily, his mistake means that I can continue to use my magic against our enemies.

We begin to route their forces, but oddly they do not break. In a moment, we hear why. The whooshing sounds can unfortunately only be one thing. DRAGON!