Tales from Elrond

Severius' Journal- Divine Direction (Day 14 Cuersaar 1630DR)

1.jpgThere was a golden radiance…a radiance full of warmth and awe. I am sure that my eyes were crying tears of joy despite being closed from sleep. The voice…it was pure power and love. Stern and compassionate. I knew that I had been blessed. That Gorm would take time to speak to me…so minor of his servants. His appearance was hard to describe- it was both clear and unclear at the same time. How could a mortal comprehend a being of such holy magnificence? I knew no other words to describe my experience except awe and joy to be blessed with such a miracle. The voice told me what must be done. This test of faith. This trial of faith. The Knights of Samular had lost their way. Had lost their divine leader. Their god had abandoned them but a few remained still, waiting to serve. That was my charge, what Gorm expected of me. I must depart to Summit Hall and seek an audience.

The Witch's Hour Sage

Witch_s_Hour_Sage2.jpgAfter negotiating a magically wind-filled room with concealed pitfalls, Magnara, Takashi, Gibbet, Gwen, Lester and Valyrian made it to the heart of the Witch’s Hour Sage’s domain. A mysterious figure, the Sage sat on a simple throne of wood surrounded by blobs of flesh that were covered in a multitude of mouths and eyes ever babbling in a cacophony of random words and languages. Occasionally, the party members could pick out a word or sentence relevant to their personal experiences, sometimes expressing a secret known only to themselves. The Sage sat in silence within this tirade of words, small wisps of ghost-like figures flying around its form.

The group prodded Lester and Takashi forward, and the attention of the Sage was gained by their inquiry, “Who is our father?”

The Sage replied that it could provide an answer, though payment would have to be provided first- the price was one of their party members. This disturbed the party, and casting his divine sense about the room, Magnara was able to see that the Sage and the tiny ghost-like figures about its form were undead of some sort. Taking this information into account with the draining of their life force and magical energy since their travels in this domain, Lester and Valyrian proposed the theory that this domain was a phylactery of sorts, the energy it takes from the living used to sustain the Witch’s Hour Sage. There was little doubt about the fate of anyone used as “payment.”

Payment was non-negotiable- the party would not give the Sage what it wanted and the Sage would take nothing else. Negotiations quickly collapsed bringing the Sage’s ire and battle commenced. The Sage and it’s minions were slow to act and this advantage enabled the party to quickly dispatch their foes, though defeated, the Sage could not be destroyed. It stood incorporeal, telling the party that their efforts, and the brief respite they had given it from the maddening babble of voices, had earned them an answer to their question and expulsion from its domain.

“I will not tell you his name, but I will tell you where to find him.  Travel to the east to the Kingdom of Ghyr.  There fate will be your guide for what you seek."

Severius' Journal- Ways of the Undead (Day 14 Cuersaar 1630DR)

The events of the last few hours have me perplexed. The teachings of Gorm specifically call out the evil of undead abominations and the dark hearts of those who would practice necromancy, but my previous meeting with the necromancer Nightshade and now this interaction with a lich who was the brother of the founder of the Knights of Samular, Samular Caradoon, has me questioning all that I believed was true. Both of these individuals claim no evil intent and instead claim to be victims of tragic circumstances who seek only solitude and to do harm only in self-defense, this of course is contrary to the madness that was obviously possessed by the necromancer of Lance Rock that we had slain when we had first arrived in the Valley. It is not only what they say, which seems logical, but the fact that Gorm sent me on the path to this “insight.” I believe that all that happens is because of Gorm’s divine will, especially in the case of the lich Renwick Caradoon, where he specifically tasked me with meeting the lich and negotiating a compromise between him and the Knights of Samular. I believe that Gorm cannot be wrong, and while I may not understand the path he sets me on, I understand that it ultimately supports Gorm’s plan.

Renwick’s case is an interesting one. A powerful wizard who fought at the side of his brothers during the many battles of the Second Troll War. And, if his words are true, created a potion to achieve lichdom, but forsook it because of the evilness of the act only to become a lich when he fell on the battlefield and Samular Caradoon, in an act of brotherly love, used Renwick’s potion to spare him death. Renwick knows what he must do to sustain his evil state and claims that he only drains as little life essence as is needed and only from creatures with evil in their heart. I find that I believe Renwick and this has caused me discomfort. Renwick does not deny what he is, but he has, and continues to (in a limited capacity) to do good. In fact, Renwick states that he wishes to entomb his brothers in the Sacred Stone Monastery and has built a proper area in the hopes that it will become a site of pilgrimage to those wishing to honor his brothers’ memory; Renwick’s younger brother, Amphail the Just is already entombed there. Renwick is hoping that the Knights of Samular will honor his request but thus far they have refused because of his undead nature.

While I initially had my reservations, and condemnations, Renwick was quite convincing and my party and I have agreed to assist him by talking to the Knights. Renwick presented us with tokens of his good intentions, I was given a magical necklace that was worn by his brother that has the power to enhance my constitution. Additionally, Renwick has agreed to clear the evil monks from the ground and 1st sub-level of the Monastery and to ensure these areas are safe to those that wish to pilgrimage or seek shelter. Other than Renwick being a lich, I could not find fault with anything he had done or proposed. I must pray for Gorm’s guidance.

Severius’ Journal- Changing Times (Day 17 Cuersaar 1630DR)

I am pleased to report success! My companions and I were able to sway the remaining leadership of the Knights of Samular to allow Samular Caradoon’s entombment in the area that the lich Renwick had prepared. There was definitely difficulty in convincing some of the Knights that Renwick’s intentions were honorable, apparently they have known of the lich and his heritage for some time but, like me, did not trust him because of the undead abomination he had become. I am surprised at my acceptance of this matter. In the years previously I would not have entertained consorting with the undead, but my recent experiences with Lady Nightshade and Renwick have challenged my perspective. While I am wary of this “change,” I can only assume that because it was Gorm’s will it must be acceptable- the Knights of Samular’s agreement with the proposition and their pledge of service to become holy servants of Gorm is proof of that. I look forward to teaching this group of new converts on the ways of Gorm and I see opportunity in the future of Summit Hall becoming a bastion of Gorm, though the fortress is in dire need of repairs.

After our successful negotiations, Tobias expressed some dissatisfaction with our group’s battle tactics. He appeared to be somewhat of an expert in these matters and had many suggestions about battle formations, battle roles and contingency plans. There was some disagreement and some offense was taken, I was one of the offended parties I will admit, but in the end, there was a level of acceptance to what Tobias was saying and an agreement was made to try some of his suggestions. Having a bit of a break to wait for the Knights to prepare and transport Samular’s remains to the Sacred Stone Monastery, it was decided that we would head north to Beliard to look into these rumors of giants pillaging the countryside and perhaps allow us an opportunity to test some of our new tactics.

Accompanied by Lady Allison, one of the Feathergale Society members, we utilized their hippogriffs to make the long trip to Beliard short by flying overland. We had about four days before we were due back at the Sacred Stone Monastery for Samular’s entombment ceremony so we made haste in gathering information about the giant problem. The giants were indeed ravaging the countryside, mainly interested in taking cattle and food stocks. The raids had caused such a shortage that the cattle ranchers had put up a reward for the location of the giants’ camp so that an organized effort could be made to deal with it. One of the ranchers we spoke to told us about a recent giant sighting near an old watch tower out in the countryside past the ranchers’ land holdings and we decided to investigate.Hill-Giant-Raider.png

Severius' Journal- There Be Giants (Day 23 Cuersaar 1630DR)

I have really not had any extended contact with the giant races. Before meeting Moog my only prior experience was with the two Hill Giants that attacked us in the Sumber Hills. Giants were not known to me prior to my travels to the surface, understandably so since I’m sure the tight confines of the Underdark are difficult to travel for those of such high stature. Moog appears to be a being of low intelligence, temperamental and driven by wholly basic survival and immediate gratification needs. Aszh tells me that not all giants are such, and that there are different races of giants with varied levels of intellect and capabilities. I am told that Moog is a Hill Giant, considered the lowest caste of the more common giant-kin. Our alliance with Moog has been very demanding. She is always demanding more food, demanding that we rescue her husband and quick to bawl and scream at us, threatening violence at times. I can see why the ranches of Beliard are worried. If one giant has this much of an appetite and is so quick to anger, a sizable group of them would be a dire threat to any living in the area. While formidable in brute strength, we do not see Moog as much of a threat to our combined might and tolerate her antics so we can complete of goal of locating the lair of this Chief Guh, which Moog claims is the giants’ leader. So far Moog has been leading us in an easterly direction and we have been traveling for two days through a constant downpour of rain.

We did have an encounter with a group of foraging giants which Moog identified as Flab Giants. They were short for giants, about the height of an ogre but their bodies were twice as wide, covered in thick rolls of fat. We set up an ambush for them, Biggle using some of his illusionary majick to draw them to us. Our plan almost failed due to Moog believing the illusionary boar for a real one and running off the Flab Giants. We had to take action quickly to cut off the Flab Giants’ escape while worried about Moog’s temper when she discovered the boar was not real. The battle was relatively quick, with Aszh being the only one in our party to sustain significant wounds, which Biggle and I were able to heal with our majick.

By the time we reached Chief Guh’s lair, what Moog called Grudd Haug, the rain had finally stopped and was replaced by sunshine. Despite the bright light hindering my vision, I was still able to see that Grudd Haug was a massive construction. Simple but intimidating, it looked like a giant mound made of dirt and trees. Aszh described it as similar to a giant beaver mound, though I do not know what a beaver is. A fence of stripped tree logs protected one end of entrances and a high wooden watch tower overlooked the countryside. Our arrival, likely announced due to those in our party flying on hippogriffs, was spotted and a gong began ringing. Somewhere inside this mound of dirt was Moog’s husband. I’m sure that he is only one of many giants waiting for us. 28F64AAE-2D88-4538-B44F-A3EE8E50089C.jpeg

Severius' Journal- The Power of Love (Day 23 Cuersaar 1630DR)

While the rest of us took cover in the sparse forest surrounding Grudd Haug, Tobias flew in for a closer look at the Hill Giant fortress. He came back with a couple of minor arrow wounds but he was able to note an entrance into the Haug near a section of the forest that had yet to be cut down. We decided this was the best point of entry for us and instructed Moog to remain at our campsite and wait our return. Even this simple request drew the giant’s ire and further debate from Moog, who insisted on yet more assurances that we would bring back her husband (as well as supply her with more food). These continued exchanges with the Hill Giant have been taxing and I’ll be happy when we can finally bid her goodbye.

Tobias took the vanguard but (possibly due to his lack of the night sight) quickly found himself in trouble as he ran into Hill Giant guards shortly after making entry into the steading. A brief but fierce battle ensued as we rushed to his aid against the giants and their reinforcements. Luckily the noise of our battle only alerted the enemies in the immediate vicinity and we were able to continue our search without immediate danger.

This bottom level appeared to be a storage area for food and livestock (surely the stolen bounty of the Giants’ numerous raids in the nearby farms and ranches. The smell in these parts was foul (I do not think I have smelled anything else as bad) and instead of proceeding further in this muck and stench, we decided to exit out one of the caves which brought us into contact with a group of orcs that were guarding pens of sheep. We tried to deal with them as quickly as possible but some of the fire-fueled magicks that Enna unleashed set fire to some of their tents. We vanquished the orcs, but the Haug was aware of our presence and the alarm gong started ringing out.

We realized that time to continue our search was quickly running out, lest we wanted to fight the entirety of the Haug’s forces. It was decided we would head to nearby upper entrance, the one we observed being guarded by a lone Hill Giant. By the time we got there, the Giant was just finishing with moving a boulder to block the tunnel entrance and turning to face us.

Aszh started to speak to the giant in its tongue just as a trio of giants approached our position, returning from what looked like a raid on a farm. Some of us moved to intercept this group while the rest held back to deal with giant door guard. Many of our blessings and spells had been expended by this time and some of us were still injured. I lead out our attack by using the Bane of Gorm to weaken the giants and this did much to give us an edge in the battle.

Fortunately, the tide continued to turn in our favor when it was discovered that the door guard was Moog’s husband Hruk, and after a quick exchange with Aszh, the giant abandoned his post and headed to where Moog was waiting. We dispatched the trio of giants, grabbing as much of their loot as we could carry and made haste back to our camp.

Severius' Journal- Burial Rites (Day 27 Cuersaar 1630DR)

Having reunited Moog with her husband, Hruk, we bid the two Hill Giants goodbye (much to the party’s relief) and made haste to the Sacred Stone Monastery to make the ceremonial entombment of Samular Caradoon alongside his brothers. There was some discussion about what to do about Lady Allison (who was still waiting for our return in Beliard) but ultimately we couldn’t spare the time delay to return to Beliard and made the decision to go immediately to the Sacred Stone Monastery. Luckily, with our hippogriff mounts, we were able to cover the vast distance easily from the air, and the lack of any complications from hostile forces, we were able to make the trip with a day to spare. The only incident of note on our journey was the sighting of a massive castle sitting on a bank of clouds. I have never seen such a sight, and had no idea such things existed, but we were unable to investigate it further as it was traveling the direction opposite of ours and time was of the essence.B185694B-C2C0-4896-A0D2-D5A9B9BA4608.jpegUpon arrival at the Sacred Stone Monastery we found it firmly secure in the hands of the Knights of Samular. Lady Stormbanner met with us personally and reported that it appeared that the Lich Renwick had fulfilled its end of the bargain and cleared the top two floors of the Monastery. Lady Stormbanner has posted guards on the entrance to the lower levels of the Underdark as a precaution. Preparations were underway for Samular’s entombment and I was requested to emcee the ceremony and work with the Knights to create a ceremony that would honor the traditions of the Knights and the tenets of Gorm, which I happily agreed to.

When the day of the ceremony came I was filled with much joy. This was a momentous occasion. A significant display of my success in the work I had set out to do. Being the first of my people in a very long time to leave the Underdark and go to the surface world, looking to bring as many as I could to the light of Gorm, was an ambitious endeavor. Here I was leading a historic funeral service for a Knightly order that had recently pledged themselves to Gorm’s service. I looked back at the great deeds me and my companions had accomplished. I know that my work was being noticed and word was spreading. I know that Gorm has taken notice and approves by the blessings he has sent me. I feel my power growing everyday and have complete faith in my success in the task I have set out to do.

Severius' Journal- Across the Stone Bridge (Day 28 Cuersaar 1630DR)

P_Stone_Bridge.jpgAfter Renwick returned us via teleportation majicks to Beliard so we may report to the authorities the location of the Hill Giant fortress known as Grudd Haug, as well as to inform Lady Allison of our welfare, there was much discussion amongst the group about what to do next. The still missing Delegation members and the nefarious activities of the elemental cults in the Dessarin Valley were still a concern, but the recent reports Giant-kin rampaging through the countryside without cause and causing much death and destruction also garnered much consideration. The bounty on Giants being offered by this “Lords Alliance” when taken into account with the honorable interest in stopping this deadly behavior certainly made investigation of this phenomena an appealing prospect, but in the end we elected to continue our quest of finding the missing Delegation members and decided to return to the Sacred Stone Monastery to explore its subterranean levels.

Unfortunately we were far from our destination, perhaps four or five days of travel by foot. The rest of my companions had mounts and so I elected to purchase one of my own, deciding on a warhorse I named Arion. This being my first steed (since such things are not commonly used in Cynidicea), I believed that a warhorse would be fitting for a battle Cleric of Gorm.

Our first day of travel took us to the ancient Stone Bridge of the no longer existing Dwarven kingdom of Besilmer. This is my second time traversing this two-mile long marvel of Dwarven engineering that spans the Dessarin River and I was just as in awe of the sight as I was when I first saw it. It was near the mid-way point of this fifteen-foot wide construction that we crossed paths with a Giant accompanied by two Hell Hounds. This Giant was much larger and possessed better martial skill than the Hill Giants we had fought previously. It was accompanied by the smell of a forge fire and it immediately charged our party, Tobias intercepting it while the rest of us rushed to his aid. The battle that transpired was challenging and there were a couple of close moments when Aszh and Tobias were nearly thrown off the Bridge, a fall they would have surely killed them. Aszh tells me that the various Giant races differ in power, with Hill Giants ranking on the lower end of the spectrum. This Giant, whichever kind it was, was certainly no Hill Giant and it gives me pause that there might be Giant types more powerful than it.

Severius' Journal- Divine Assistance (Day 1 Duscar 1630DR)

I pen these words on the morning following a day of near catastrophe. Our party was nearly vanquished and Dovak would have been lost to the living if it was not for the blessed intervention of Gorm. I find myself both shaken, thinking back on what had transpired, and in wonder over what I saw yesterday and the freshly fallen snow that now covers the ground. I have never seen or felt snow until this moment. Aszh says that it is still too warm for it to last past noon, but in a few tendays I shall have plenty of snow, so much that I will be tired of it.

Dovak seems physically and mentally fine, ever brooding is his nature and it is difficult to tell when he is actually distressed past his regular mood. I know of no other who has been brought back from death so many times by Gorm’s will- surely Gorm sees something of worth in the Dwarf to grant his continued existence. I do sense something underneath Dovak’s stoic and dutiful mannerisms, which I believe has something to do with whatever caused him to leave his home of Thunderdelve Mountain. Perhaps in time, I will learn of what happened and be able to help him.

The giants we had fought, and almost lost our lives to, if not for Gariena’s help and the divine might of Gorm, were stronger than we had originally anticipated. Incredibly strong and with the ability to breath fire, all of us but Enna (who retreated to safety), quickly fell to their counterattack. Luckily for us, Gariena and her sprites were able to rescue us before the giants returned from their search for Enna.

We recovered in Gariena’s camp, Enna reuniting with us a short time later. Gariena explained that she was investigating the giant problem in the Desarrin Valley. She confirmed what we heard in Beliard, that giants of all types were ravaging all over the world for unknown reasons. Many people have been killed and several communities have been devastated. Seeing that the Valley was also plagued by this threat, she intends to travel to Golden Fields to petition the Druids there for aid. Tobias appears to be quite taken by our Druid rescuer and they both appear to enjoy each other’s company.

Of course we could not allow the giants who had defeated us to roam free in the Valley to continue their path of destruction, so after healing the majority of our wounds, we pursued them with the intent of having a re-match, one we were better prepared for. We easily found them feasting on the horses from the caravan they had attacked previously and we set an ambush for them.

Despite taking them by surprise, this battle was just as challenging as the last. Aszh, Enna and I had not yet recovered most of our majicks and our wounds were not wholly healed. As my companions became incapacitated one by one I knew that we needed aid and I called to Gorm for help. I have been in his service since my youth and never have I beseeched him for aid like I did then. I did not take the decision for making this plea lightly as I knew there could be consequences for calling out to Gorm as he expects his servants to be competent and resourceful with his blessings.

Suffice to say my lifetime of faith and servitude to Gorm was total and Gorm saw this and blessed me with the aid of his most powerful of servitors- a Serph. Prior to this I had never seen one, only heard stories and seen the few remaining works of art in the Temple of Gorm with its likeness, but none of these truly captured the majesty of justice incarnate. It appeared in our midst, our minds filled with calming words of righteousness. The giants felt the Serph’s just wrath and all was good.5D2A54B3-51CB-43C5-BF05-2E05BEAE5DC5.jpeg

Severius' Journal- Into the Depths of the Earth (Day 1 Duscar 1630DR)

Committed to finding more members of the Mirabar Delgation, we acted on the only verified information that we had available, that at least two Delegation members were taken into the subterranean levels below the Sacred Stone Monastery by Earth cultists. We reached the second sub-level of the Monastery and found a bridge over a chasm guarded by Gargoyles and a stone-armored wielder of magic. This figure warned us there would be no entry and battle commenced when we pressed forward. This would be the beginning of what would be a protracted battle against the cultists within that took us deeper into the re-purposed Dwarven ruins.Burrowshark.jpg In a great entry hall we were besieged on all sides, and even from below, by Duegar and stone-armored warriors, some of which rode Bulettes as mounts. This enemy was no crazed mob, but one of tactics and cunning. They assisted each other and chose opponents based on their vulnerabilities. Enna was singled out for attack because of her destructive majick and she had to flee to safety on the opposite side of a closed portcullis to avoid death. Twice, I was forced to uselessly expend the Spirit Guardians of Gorm because the enemy forced me to break concentration. Though I believe that we were more powerful, the enemy had the weight of numbers on their side and this started to take its toll. While I am sure the battle took mere minutes, it seemed like an eternity. The magical blessings of our group were dwindling due to the enemies’ numbers and resiliency and several of my party, including myself, were knocked unconscious and had to be revived at least once during the battle.

At one point, things got so desperate for our side that Aszh called to his Fey goddess Titania for aid. As Gorm had done for me, his patron honored his request by sending her most powerful servitor which Aszh called a Sidereal Vizier. It appeared as a majestic-looking elven figure with star-speckled skin that looked like it was taken from a section of the night’s sky. Chain lightning shot from the Vizier’s fingers, decimating the ranks of the enemies and our foes quickly turned their attention to this new threat. The Vizier did much to assist us before it was called back to its home plane and the damage that it had caused was enough to significantly turn the tide of battle in our favor. We easily dispatched remaining enemies. While we were victorious, none of us thought it wise to continue deeper into the Earth cult’s base in our weakened state. We decided to recuperate in the safety of the level above before returning to continue our search.C774CD90-DF55-439F-96E8-DE35B50AD50D.jpeg


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