Tales from Elrond

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- 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- 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- 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.

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- 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.

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…

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

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…

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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