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?

From the Personal Journal of Keryx

It has been quite some time since I’ve had any news to report. I received a special mission from Gonah on behalf of the Harpers several months ago. This has been my most challenging assignment yet. At first, I thought it would be simple. Find Serillian, bring him to Gonah. They had met before and departed on good terms. It really shouldn’t have taken this long, but every time I got close, I would receive word that he was suddenly thousands of leagues away. Alas, it has allowed me to see many parts of this wondrous world. Once I have seen all there is to see, perhaps I will follow in my father’s footsteps and explore other worlds.

My sources directed me to a lost temple of Amun-Re, and I met a halfling who was headed in that direction as well. We decided to travel together and shared stories by the evening’s campfire. I found it curious that he never did divulge where he was heading. He seemed content to tag along with me, so we entered the temple together.

What a spectacular place! I had never seen such confusing hallways. We wandered for what felt like days until we entered a room with four levers. I used my danger sense to ascertain that this room meant trouble, but I couldn’t tell my halfling companion exactly how I knew this. Most find my abilities scary, while some primitive cultures may consider me a demi-god. The truth is that I am far from either. My mother always said these gifts come from my father’s blood. Apparently, wandering the temple with no idea how to leave and my reluctance to explain myself pushed the halfling over the edge. As I was thinking of a way out of this maze of madness, I received a blow to the back of the head. When I awoke, my quarry was in front of me! Luckily, his reputation as one who avoids violence unless absolutely necessary proved true, as I was not harmed nor bound when I awoke.

They had found the drawing I was carrying and once I explained that Gonah had sent me, I seemed to no longer be under suspicion. They didn’t ask too many questions, so I did not have to deceive them. I didn’t tell them my real name, for we all know there is power in names. Serillian did not wish to abandon his current quest and join me in returning to Gonah. Apparently, this group unknowingly unleashed an ancient evil upon the world and are now seeking the legendary Star Gems to set things right. I, therefore, must assist him with his mission so that I may complete my own.

We finally made our way out of the maze, finding a catwalk above that led us deeper into the temple. In one of the rooms, the ceiling fell upon us and seemed to be alive! I had read of such creatures, but never dreamed I would encounter one here. I used my armor of gaseous form to escape from underneath the creature and helped slay the beast. No one was too gravely injured, and we continued on our way. We heard some tapping in one of the walls and discovered a gnome named Prit. He appears to be tunneling simply for the joy of tunneling. Ah, to live such a simple life! He tells us there is a treasure at the other end of his current tunnel, so we squeeze through. We found not gold, nor silver, nor gems, but a strange container with a heart in it. I believe it may be some sort of phylactery used by a lich. The half-elf Darsun senses evil and we immediately attempt to destroy it. The container is much tougher than it looks, but we shatter it just as its owner arrives.

Continuing on, we find Amun-Re’s burial chamber. Searching around for this Star Gem, I discover that a painting on the far wall is actually some sort of portal. There is a ship floating and on it appears to be our missing Star Gem. I use my armor again and float to the deck of the ship. We pull it close, retrieve the gem as well as a tidy sum of gold and platinum. Serillian discovers how to teleport out of this temple, using the staff and gem. He is every bit as smart as Gonah told me. After all the goods have been brought out, we load them into Serillian’s portable tower. How convenient! I must learn more about such a wonderful item.

I can see great potential in this group of heroes. Their hearts seem to be pure and their intentions good. Some of their decisions have been a bit rash, but I think that is a fault we all share. Time will tell if I can reveal my powers to them. For now, I shall keep up the ruse as a traveling bard with a knack for acquiring things, be it information or something shiny…

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!

Chronicles of Serillian, part 8

The fever finally broke and I awoke from strange, dream-like visions. Dark evil, a serpent’s kiss, all is blurred. As I awaken, I’m not sure what was real and what was fantasy. All my companions are safe with me, and I live to tell another tale. Of this, I am thankful.

Five days I’ve been slipping into and out of lucidness. Are we really in Myth Drannor? It seems so familiar, and yet, I cannot be sure. Something is very strange here. My magical powers seem to have been robbed from me! But no magic now appears to work in this place. Have the ancient stories of the one-time powerful mythal that protected this place become this?

I attempt to communicate with some forest creatures in these woods, but they do not seem to help. What can I expect from satyrs, who have little care in this world except to enjoy themselves. I envy them. Sometimes I too would like nothing more than to be carefree. Someday, but for now, we have to find out where we are or find our way back.

We make our way further from camp as we explore this strange place and find a dryad in a fairy circle. I call out to her yet she only smiles, seeming to beckon me to come to her. A group of centaurs comes closer. Though not menacing, they too seem to think that we do not belong here. A fey flirts with me and flies back to the circle. And again. Does she want me to follow her into the circle? I do, and I am no longer in the forest.

Momentarily the rest of band appears. Are we back in the Haunted Halls? It looks similar, but we’ve not seen this section before. We attempt to get our bearings and figure out where we are. Where ever we are, we press on. There is evil to vanquish, treasure to be had, and a way out to be found.

We come to a room with several chests. Stonebreaker can hardly contain himself! We slowly start to investigate them. As always, not all is as it seems. Stonebreaker certainly has a knack for finding creatures that can change their appearance. Unfortunately, he does this the hard way. Repeatedly.

Further along, we come to a summoning circle and a glowing demonic face. Fearful, I cast a charm of protection from evils. Against my warnings, someone is foolhardy enough to tempt the gods and dance with the devils. A creature of darkness appears in the circle. He peers around the room leers at us, and suddenly two more minions of evil appear. Somehow, we manage to send the beasts back to where they came.

For some reason, the group decides to spit in the face of evil yet again. This time the demon that arrives is even more ominous than the last. Most of the group flees in terror, but I steady my steal and attack. Of course, my attacks do nothing. I am overcome by a fearful, unnatural urge to flee despite my protection and I attempt to escape. We all run for our lives, however short they may now be with a demon in pursuit. All except Rochendir.

Suddenly, the fear is gone. We stop running for our lives, only to find Rochendir has single-handedly slain the beast. Maybe he does have vampire in him…

We continue to push forward through the passages and come to a deceased dragon. A great battle must have been fought here, and all that is left if the beasts skeleton and the signs of conflict. As we move to leave the room, I catch something from the corner of my eye. A secret door!

Maybe this was the cache of the fallen dragon, but it’s amazing! I know that the great wealth of my people is immense, both in precious metals and magic, but this is more than I have seen before. We decide to hold up and try to figure out what we may use to help us on our adventures. We spend the next few days examining the objects and deciding who should get what. We have an amazing amount of mystical treasures, and Stonebreaker can barely contain his excitement. I suggest that we secure the treasure we cannot take, but he’ll have none of it.

Above all, there are two items that seem special. The first is a ring that Stonebreaker had claimed some time ago. I can tell it’s very powerful, but anything else is beyond my comprehension. Undaunted, Stonebreaker continues to attempt to learn the secret of the ring. Muttering to himself, he rubs the ring and a creature appears! The genie, a faithful servant to the bearer of the ring, is seemingly the answer to all of Stonebreaker’s prayers. In particular, the fact that he can carry nearly all of the treasure make Stonebreaker snort in satisfaction.

The other object is much easier to identify, as it actually speaks to me. Not in a whimsical or emotional way, but as in IT ACTUALLY SPEAKS TO ME! The blade introduces itself to me as Lorson, the Drow Bane, and says that it would travel well with me. This elf needs no more urging than that, and I accept the blade as my ally.

With our new items and treasure, we press on. We decide that it’s time to seek out the murderous little band that slew our friends. Now it’s off to the kobolds lair.

Soon we find our way back to their lair, but they seem to have abandoned it. We’ve had our fill for the Haunted Halls for now. Someday we’ll return and finish what we started here. Its back to Eveningstar and then go on to Arabel.