Tales from Elrond

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

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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.

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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."

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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.

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Severius' Journal- Casualities of War (Day 8 Cuersaar 1630DR)

Our victory against Commander Merroska and the corrupted members of the Feathergale Society was bitter sweet. Our direct confrontation with Merroska in front of the majority of the Society, bolstered by the presence of Lady Savra to personally address the allegations concocted against her, went as planned. Merroska’s loyalists, ignorant of their leader’s evil nature or not, faced off against Lady Savra and those of the Society that saw the truth of our accusations, or at the very least questioned the status quo. As often happens when heated words are exchanged and cold steel is quick at hand, debate escalated into violence.

This was a proud moment, standing alongside my friends with newfound allies that were interested in truth and justice as much as we were. I could feel the power of Gorm flowing through my body and knew that we were righteous. I knew that no matter what happened, the survivors would share what had transpired, and those on the surface world would know of Gorm again.

I knew this was no trivial affair, especially when that accursed bard Windharrow revealed himself in the guise of Lord Daylon and spewed lies about us in an effort to turn those Society members of good hearts against us. I weep knowing that Daylon is no longer with us, killed by Windharrow and his body dumped somewhere in the Valley like refuse so the bard could puppet his form as an instrument of his twisted schemes. The demented bard was able to escape death during the battle, but not before revealing that he was overjoyed to see the Feathergale Society tearing itself apart. My companions and I fear what Windharrow’s true objective is, for the preservation of the air cult does not seem to be one of them.

Merroska was slain and victory was ours, but it was not without cost. Several Feathergale Knights that fought at our side lay dead, Lord Daylon was dead, and much to our group’s dismay, our strange but beloved Allegro had perished in the battle. I used my power to call his soul back to the mortal realm but it refused to return. I do not know the reasoning for this unwillingness, and can only speculate that whatever tormented Allegro in life he was free from in death. I hope he is indeed truly free…

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Silent Succor

Magnara, Gibbet, Valyrian, Lester, Gwen and Takashi entered the dark portal and found themselves in a small simple room with no sign of their path of entry, seeing only a sarcophagus with the well-crafted image of a cloaked sage-like figure on its surface and a passageway leading out. There was a subtle sense of burden, like the feeling of a weight bearing down on the party members. It was pitch black and Valyrian lit a torch to assist those without darkvision. Cautiously making their way through the silent halls and rooms the party started to realize that foul magic was amiss- every time they proceeded through a doorway into a new room or corridor there was a minor feeling of fatigue, like part of their vitality was being drained away. Valyrian and Lester speculated on where they were, their theories ranging from this place existing on another plane, to being a pocket-dimension or perhaps just a hidden area on the material plane accessible only through magical means. Regardless, the place felt unnatural and finding the Witching Hour’s Sage and leaving became the only priority.

The party first attempted to traverse a room encased in magical darkness, but suffering injuries from unseen foes forced them to backtrack and revisit a chapel-like room with a strange religious service taking place. Several silent figures clad in faded decaying robes sat in pews watching a similarly robed figure preach a silent sermon. The figure looked like he was talking but no words were heard. At the figure’s beckoning, the party took a seat in some empty pews at the back of the room but there appeared to be no end to the service, and impatient they decided to investigate the door behind the preaching figure. This did not appear to be an approved course of action as the figure became insistent on his silent gestures for the party to return to their seats.

Ignoring the figure’s gestures, Magnara attempted to engage the figure in conversation, asking to proceed through the door. Receiving no response, other than to sit back down, Gibbet finally got frustrated and grabbed a hold of the man to move him aside. This triggered a response from the man and the entire congregation and they advanced on the party. Gibbet threw the man down and pinned him to the floor, becoming surprised when the man’s hands locked on his throat and started draining his vitality from him. Meanwhile the rest of the party found themselves under attack as the parishioners, still silent, tried to pummel them with their fists. The combat was quick and brutal as magical fire from Lester and magical lightning from Valyrian slew several of the parishioners while the others assisted in dispatching whoever remained, including the priestly figure. Nothing remained of their opponents except the brown robes they wore.

Proceeding through the door, the party found a library with shelves filled with books that looked like they were semi-transparent. A lone librarian gestured in silence for them to be quiet. Valyrian and Lester inspected the books and found that they became substantial when touched and the ones they selected appeared to historical in nature regarding specific events and locations in Elrond. Lester attempted to speak to the librarian but received nothing but silent gestures to be quiet. When Lester continued to force the conversation, two additional librarians suddenly manifested to reinforce the gesture to remain silent. Hoping for progress, or perhaps to just be irritating, Valyrian decided to cast Thaumaturgy to amplify his voice. This decision proved to be an unwise one as three additional librarians appeared and they all proceed to advance threateningly on Lester and Valyrian- three of them quickly knocking Lester unconscious. The rest of the party rushed to their comrades’ aid and found the librarians to be quite capable of handling themselves in a fight- they were resilient to most weapons and magic, and the vitality was sapped from those they touched.

Luckily, the librarians were vanquished and the party decided to rest for several hours to recuperate and regain their spells. While the period of rest passed uneventful, the party was concerned to find that some their wounds did not heal and some of their magic did not return- something about this place was draining magical and divine energy, as well as their very life force. 1457551473726.png

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Severius' Journal- The Miracle of Life (Day 2 Cuersaar 1630DR)

I have only a rudimentary knowledge of Dwarven religious rites, having interacted with some of their kind when they would come to Cynidicea to trade and sell goods. Fortunately Brundlethar and Dovak were on hand to provide additional insight into the proper protocols for how to set-up and enact the resurrection ceremony. I believe that our actions paid proper respect to the Dwarven deities and my hope was that the righteousness of our cause would be taken into account when determining whether or not to grant our prayer to resurrect Lady Savara. I believed that every member of our party, especially Lord Daylon, were wholly vested in our efforts, though I sensed that Dovak had some apprehension, perhaps even disdain, that we were dealing with Dwarven deities. I found this interesting and concerning, believing that it is natural to have some affinity for the gods of your race, and to see that this was not the case with Dovak hinted at something amiss. Perhaps something in his past had occurred in which Dovak felt his gods had abandoned him, or perhaps he blames them for some slight or injuctice he experienced. Whatever the case, it helps to explain his readiness to pledge himself to Gorm in order to save the lives of his comrades, there was obvious no allegiance to any of the Dwarven god.

We laid Lady Savra’s body on the small altar dedicated to the Dwarven goddess Sharindlar and I acted as the facilitator of the process, Brundlathar leading the others in the proper chants and prayers. Each of us, including Dovak, offered either a pleading request or an offering to Sharindlar to honor our request to bring Lady Savra back to the world of the living. We spoke about her courage to stand up against evil and tyranny. We spoke about her work unfinished. We spoke about her role in the upcoming confrontation against the nefarious members of the Feathergale Society. There were many heartfelt words and the altar had a small pile or coins, gems and jewelry from our coffers. The ceremony lasted for a little over an hour.

Brilliant, dazzling light briefly obscured the entirety of the room. When our eyes were finally able to adjust back to normal we saw Lady Savra gasp taking a breath…

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Severius' Journal- Cleansing the Shrine of the Tender Oath (Day 29 Quen'Pillar 1630DR)

It took us four days to make the journey from Red Larch to the Shrine of the Tender Oath. For the most part our trip through the Sumber Hills was uneventful, broken up only by an attack by a group of Gargoyles, which we easily dispatched, and a patrol of Air Cultist vulture-riders which we managed to slay all but one, he was able to escape and likely has reported our whereabouts to Merroska.

The Shrine of the Tender Oath was one of many ancient Dwarven temples dedicated to their pantheon, all of them nestled amongst cascading waterfalls flowing through the Sumber Hills and into the Dessarin River. Bruldenthar explained that this area was called the Vale of Dancing Waters, it was built by the Dwarves of Tyar-Besil and while that kingdom no longer exists, it is still an important pilgrimage site for Dwarves. It was indeed a sight to behold. The magnificent Dwarven stonework. The walls of falling water. Nothing like this existed in Cynidicea and despite feeling sad that many of my people would not be able to see such wonders of the surface world, I felt a sensation of tranquility and peace being here. Hopefully one day, my people will be free of the shackles of their self-imposed exile due to despair, drugs and misplaced fanaticism. I am thankful that Gorm has granted me the opportunity to have these experiences, and it gives me motivation to return to my homeland to do what I can to stop the extinction of my people.

The Shrine of the Tender Oath lay at the end of a narrow path carved into the side of the one of the steep hills. Its entrance was flanked by two large statues of the Dwarven deity Moradin carved from the rock of the hill they stood on. We enter the temple courtyard, which contained a massive statue of Moradin’s wife, the goddess Sharindlar, during what initially appeared to be a Dwarven wedding ceremony. We accepted the invitation to stay and watch the event only to discovery it was all a ruse and we were attacked. We later found out that a group of unscrupulous treasure hunters had slain the priests and caretakers of the temple hoping to dig from the temple’s inner sanctum into one of Tyar-Besil’s secret treasure vaults. The lone survivor of our initial battle in the courtyard fled to the upper inner sanctum and, horrified by the desecration and murder this group had done for nothing but monetary gain as their motivation, we decided that justice must be met. Allergo used majick to turn himself invisible and scouted the area where the rest the enemy lay in wait. We waited for several long minutes and were about to investigate Allegro’s status when his lifeless body was tossed into the courtyard from one of the upper level windows like discarded trash. A brash warning came from above that the rest of us would meet Allegro’s fate if we did not leave this place.

Aszh and I rushed to Allegro’s side while the others stood vigilant for an attack. I was happy to find his body still warm, despite his throat being cut, and was hoping that there was still time to call his soul back before it was beyond my power. Luckily this was the case and Allegro heard Gorm’s call to return to the mortal world. He returned, vengeance in his eyes and we were happy to assist him with it. Still recovery from being brought to the living, and unable to speak because he was missing his doll, Allergo drew us a rough map of the layout and opposition upstairs- more Dwarves, some of which were majick-users. We quickly decided that the best course of action was to rush en masse, each half of our group taking one of the two staircases leading to the upper sanctum.

What followed was a desperate battle of melee and magic. Magical flames, blasts of frigid cold and hypnotic patterns of lights bathed the inner sanctum as our party clashed with our foes. None of us held back, Bruldenthar and Lord Daylon, just as committed as the rest of us to address this desecration of life and sanctity. I found myself in single-combat with the enemies’ leader, a dark-haired Dwarf trained in the assassination arts. Despite my best efforts at defense and Gorm’s majickal guardians pressing the attack, the Dwarf’s skill with the blade was beyond my capabilities and I succumbed to it and the poisons he coated it with. Fortunately, death did not come for me and I was revived by my companions in time to contribute my efforts against the remaining foes, the Dwarven assassin had already been vanquished and we were victorious, taking the remaining enemy survivor captive, the same female Dwarven priest that had fled from our first battle in the courtyard. Aszh tied her up while we tended to the wounded. vale_of_dancing_water.jpg

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Severius' Journal- A Conflicting Offer (Day 25 Quen'Pillar 1630DR)

After several uneventful hours of monitoring the quarry at Mellikho Stoneworks for the strange stone masked figures being reported there, we decided to head outside of town to meet with Suruki. Wary of possible treachery, Allegro split off from the rest of the group and followed out of sight.
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We found Suruki at the designated spot, standing under a small copse of trees. He was accompanied by several companions, two of which were doing a terrible job of trying to conceal themselves in the nearby bushes. As we approached Suruki, strangely I could smell the aroma of the ocean seemingly coming from the water Druid and his companions, who were attired similar to the pirates that attacked us when I first arrived at Red Larch, when Takashi and Lester were still in company. Suruki and his companions took no aggressive actions toward us, their demeanor appeared cautious but friendly. After exchanging greetings and thanking us for answering his summons, Suruki told us a wealth of information regarding a secret war taking place in the Dessarin Valley and his affiliation. His information shed light on much that my companions and I had deduced and I think that it will benefit our decisions regarding future actions.

Suruki explained that for the past year the Dessarin Valley has been a war zone for four competing elemental cults- Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Each cult is trying to gain dominance over the others for control of the Valley. The activities of the cults have caused the strange weather and environmental phenomena that have affected the Valley and have contributed to the disappearances of the Valley’s denizens. While each cult is ultimately working toward their own self-interests, they have made allies with other cults to further their goals and to strengthen their position against opposing cults; Suruki expressed that he was a member of the water cult and that they have an alliance with the earth cult, together they oppose the air and fire cults. Suruki stressed to us that each cult is made of individuals that believe in their cause, though the methods of some of their members may not be as honorable as others. He told us that in contrast to the other cults, the water cult is mainly motivated by greed. He admitted that members of his cult extort boat captains and residents that live by and ply the Dessarin River, but that some of these proceeds are indeed put to fund the protection of the waterways and surrounding areas. Suruki admitted that this was not an honorable activity, and again stressed that this type of activity was not shared by all of the water cult members, but in comparison to the activities of the other cults (who were involved in murder and kidnapping) the water cult was the least dangerous to the residents of the Valley.

Suruki explained that the war between the cults has reached a stalemate and that he has sought us out, hoping to recruit us to support his cult’s efforts. He believed, because of his experience fighting alongside us against Dryflagon and the stories he has heard of our exploits, that we would be interested in joining forces against the other cults. He explained that should an alliance be made, the water cult could provide assistance, such as monetary compensation and transportation on the Dessarin River, though the final terms of the alliance would have to be negotiated by his superior, an individual named Jolliver Grimjaw.

My companions and I discussed Suruki’s proposal. Both Aszh and I felt that Suruki might be holding back in his description of his cult’s nefarious activities. We put it to a vote and came at an impasse because while Allergo, Biggle and Enna did not see a problem with joining in an alliance to fight the air cult (an endeavor that we planned on doing with or without an alliance) and reaping some extra resources, Aszh, Dovak and I did not approve of working with an organization that infringed on the welfare of others for greed, even if some of that income was potentially going to a noble cause (protecting the waterways).

In the end, we told Suruki that we could not yet provide him with an answer, and that we would need some time to consider his offer. He understood and bid us farewell, telling us that he could be reached via a message to Gilheeda, a serving maid in Red larch at the Swinging Sword Inn.

Armed with more knowledge about the activities going on in the Dessarin Valley, we decided to continue with our plan of traveling to the Vale of Dancing Waters in the hopes of resurrecting Lady Savra so that we may confront the leadership of the Feathergale Society, bolstered by her presence…

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Severius' Journal- Aerial Assassination Attempt (Day 24 Quen'Pillar 1630DR)

Praise to Gorm! The despicable air cultists dared to attack one of Gorm’s faithful servants on his holiest day of the week. Of course these efforts failed, as Gorm protects those who put their trust in him and carrying out his work on Elrond.

Everyone in the group was attacked by an invisible assailant, an elemental assassin is what Aszh described it as, while we carried about our business in pairs. Dovak and I were injured the least, which made sense since we had the protection of Gorm. Biggle and Aszh survived their attack only by the timely intervention of the town guard. Allegro and Enna faired the worse. Their invisible assailant laying them both low but failing to deliver the death blow. They survived but I cannot help but to wonder what stayed their attacker’s hand. I do not believe it was incompetence. Perhaps a test? Or did something else play into what happened, something we will learn the consequences of later?

Biggle has brought to our attention that he has received a message from Suruki, one of the Druids that assisted us in our battle against Dryflagon. He has requested to meet us secretly on the outskirts of town tonight. He appears to want to share information about what has been going on and I am looking forward to hear what he has to say…B6F78863-CC94-412C-9E62-F73B8D8366E9.png

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