Tales from Elrond

Severius' Journal- Feasting, a Manticore Hunt and the Sacred Stone Monestary

The Feathergale Society did not disappoint, and neither did Biggle. The feast that the Society had prepared for the tenth anniversary of their founding was beyond the likes that I have ever tasted. Deliciously rich foods of such variety accompanied by a likewise selection of wine and spirits. Biggle’s performance did not disappoint, and the Society were certainly impressed by his performance, granting him the use of one of their limited tower suites for the night and an open invitation to play for them again when he returns to the area in the future. Biggle weaved an entertaining tale of our group’s adventures through the Dessarin Valley, utilizing song and magic to enthrall everyone in the Hall. Surely nothing could top great food and a great performance but there was still one more thing to make this a night I would surely remember- the Manticore hunt!

When the sentries burst into the Hall at the conclusion of Biggle’s performance to announce the sighting of the Manticore in the mist cover Valley the knights erupted in a fervor of activity. Commander Merosska announced the award of one of his own personal jeweled rings to the person who brought him the creature’s head. We were even offered a chance to participate, riding atop a giant vulture mount of our own.

The hunt was an experience that I am at a lost for words to describe. The rush of wind blowing on your face as you ride atop a flying beast in ever shifting mists, the darkness occasionally lit up by the moonlight with the ground far below and playing cat and mouse with a creature that was very much capable of playing the role of cat or mouse. While the Feathergale Knights flew off in one direction we decided to stick together in our group, hoping that teamwork would bring us victory.IMG_1362.JPGOur decision proved to be a good one as we suddenly came upon the beast and the dance of death high above the earth started. The creature was not interested in closing the distance and used its ability to fire spikes from its tail at us while we attacked it with magic or javelin in the case of Aszh. Gorm was with us, and despite the shifting mists, we were able to reacquire the beast when it hid from us and Aszh finished it with a javelin that pierced its skull and sent it plummeting to the valley floor. We returned to the Tower, the Manticore’s head in hand and received Merosska’s reward in the midst of the Knight’s applause.

The following day, following Lady Savra’s advice that the way to the Sacred Stone Monastery would be hard to travel with a wagon, I made arrangements to have our wagon and horses stored and cared for in the Tower and, with Lady Savra as our guide, we headed to the Sacred Stone Monastery. On her hippogriff, Savra scouted ahead by air, looking for potential dangers and the best path for us to take on the ground.

During the occasional periods of rest, Allegro and I attempted to learn more of Savra’s decision to leave her husband and family and tried to convince her to return to her homeland. She did not seem to have any intention of returning to her previous lifestyle, and after the experience I had last night I could not blame her. She had left behind a lifestyle of strict duty for one of freedom, adventure and excess. She did mention that her coffers were running low and she would soon be unable to pay her dues. She was contemplating returning home to ask for more money, and should this course of action be taken I do not foresee a joyous homecoming for any of the parties involved. IMG_1363.JPG
With the exception of a potentially deadly encounter against a pair of Bulettes, which Aszh would have surely perished in were it not for the healing power of Gorm, the trip to the Sacred Stone Monastery was uneventful. We arrived early in the evening and our speaking attempts to investigate its residents were stonewalled at the door. The golden masked individual told us that we would not be allowed entrance and not be allowed to speak to the abbess; we were told not politely to leave.IMG_1364.JPGAszh thought that the individual at the door was hiding something and further investigation into the Monastery was warranted. This began a heated discussion amongst the group about how to proceed, and whether or not an assault on a potentially innocent recluse monastic order without cause would be justified. Eventually it was decided that Allegro would attempt to infiltrate the Monastery when night fell and get us some information to help us decide how to proceed.

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Severius' Journal- "The Feathergale Society"

My companions and I began what would be three days of travel down the Larch Path in search of the tower which the Feathergale Society uses as their base. The trip started off most pleasant with perfect weather and no events of concerns. I actually enjoyed my time amongst the rolling hills looking out as far as my eyes could see and still seeing that the countryside continued in the distance. It was a great contrast to the dark confines of my home, Cyndiciea, and while I have finally become somewhat comfortable with the openness of the surface world, I do not think it would ever take the place of home. Despite the troubles of my home, there is still a comfort in its dark confines, similar to being in an affectionate embrace. I’m sure that this feeling would not be shared by those not of the subterranean races who would likely find the environment claustrophobic.

The second day was the worst weather I have experienced since my time on the surface. Rain does not naturally occur where I’m from, neither do thunder and lightning, and the tempest that assailed us throughout the night was a horrorific deluge with no cover to be found in the hills. Despite his best efforts, the Wood Elf Aszh was unable to get a fire going and we all spent the night huddled in our soaked cloaks and blankets trying to stay warm and get some sleep. I had heard the stories from the past and knew of storms through my teachings, as Gorm is a god of storms, but those stories came from thousands of years past when much of Cynidicea was still above ground and long before my time. Now in Cynidicea storms only exist as myth and legend.

Unfortunately the storm was the least of our worries, for while we camped amongst some ancient Dwarven ruins we were attacked by foul rocklike creatures called Gargoyles while Aszh and I were in watch. Seemingly made of stone the creatures seemed resistant to normal weapons and I thank Gorm that he had granted me his spiritual guardians to wreck vengeance of these foul creatures who dared to attack Gorm’s faithful servant. The golden angelic forms of the guardians dived and flew around the creatures while stabbing and slashing with their swords of radiant light. My companions added their efforts to the fight and we were successful in vanquishing our forms with only minor injuries.

Waking up the next morning feeling more exhausted than we did prior to retire for the night we trudged to the tallest hilltop nearby and sought out the tower. We could make it out nestled in a valley and jutting skyward. A formidable and elegant looking structure. Aszh plotted a course and we were on our way, taking till early evening to reach our destination. Hippogriff riders circled above monitoring our progress and after a short group meeting to discuss a plan, it was agreed that Enna, being of noble blood, would serve as the spokesperson for our group amongst these nobles that made up the Feathergale Society. IMG_1317.JPG I was certainly surprised when the first person from the Society to formally greet us was Lady Savra, the sister of Lady Anyyam who we had been asked to seek out and convince to return to Muluk and her husband. She appeared happy as a full member of the Society, a Feathergale Knight, and explained the freedom, adventure and high-quality living that she enjoyed as a member of the Society. She expressed some sadness about missing home but did not seem interested in returning anytime soon. Not yet revealing that her sister had asked us to seek her our, Allegro and I remained quiet on the issue and took advantage of the tour of the tower that Savra was offering. She told us that we had arrived at a most fortuitous time as a feast was being held that evening to celebrate the Society’s tenth anniversary of founding.

We were introduced to the leader of the Feathergale Society, Commander Thurl Merroska, and he appeared to be a strong capable warrior that certainly had the bearing of noble blood. He seemed very happy with Allegro and Biggle’s offers to provide entertainment for the evenings festivities, and explained the recent abrupt departure of their previously scheduled performer, a fellow named Windharrow, and his band of minstrels called the Windwyrds. The mention of Windharrow’s name set Allegro into an immediate rage and I thought he was going to attack Commander Merosska when he got in the commander’s face demanding answers on Windharrow’s whereabouts. I’m sure that didn’t make a good impression and Merosska advised Enna to control Allegro implying that things may not go well if she failed to do so. Enna was able to get Allegro under control and Merosska informed us that Windharrow had been requested to play for Queen Aerisi Kalinoth, a moon elf that Enna understood had left her home in the Fey Wild to reside on Elrond.

While the rest of the party toured the tower I remained on the roof using the tower’s telescope to study the vast view I was offered of the surrounding hills, an opportunity I have never had before. I was worried about Allegro, he sat nearby on the battlement wall petting his puppet and looking quite depressed.

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Az'Al'Bani

Az’Al’Bani had become a bane to the party and their mission to cleanse the Phase Spider infestation from the cisterns. A ghost, a spectre or perhaps a wraith, none of the party knew for sure what type of undead abomination Az’Al’Bani was but it was apparent that he was persistent and formidable. Twice the party had defeated his undead minions and run off the undead creature but each battle was a challenge and death came close for various members of the party on both occasions. The undead fiend mentioned a place called the Court of Bones, but it’s significance and location are unknown to the party, and they only wish that they would stop crossing paths so that they may continue to the cisterns and finish their original task. Az’AL’Bani had had severely weakened the party after his last attack and they have taken refuge in a relatively dry and secured part of the labyrinth to recover before striking out to the cisterns again. IMG_1287.JPG

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Infestation in the Cisterns

Partly because they want to learn the secret location of the fabled Witch’s Hour Sage to get answers to questions about Takashi and Lester’s father, and partly because it seems the right thing to do, Takashi, Lester and Magnara agree to assist Surina, a Dragonborn servant of the goddess Erathis, with cleansing the spider infestation that has taken root in the ancient cisterns that lie beneath the Seven-Pillared Hall. Surina leads the way and the journey is uneventful. Arriving at the cisterns the party finds channels of contaminated water with dry areas covered in thick strands of webbing. phase-spider2.jpgMaking their way through the cistern network, it doesn’t take long before the party is ambushed by the first of what would be several strange giant arachnids that appear to possess the ability to phase in and out of existence. The spiders’ attacks are deadly as massive poison-injecting fangs nearly kill Surina and Lester as the spiders mainly choose to attack the weakly armored warlocks. The fighting in the cisterns is brutal and it is only after two encounters with the spiders’ brutal ambush attacks that the party becomes concern with their ability to sustain a sweeping advance through the labyrinth tunnels without stopping to rest and recover. After locating a very ill man who had wandered into the tunnels and contracted sickness from exposure to the foul water, and vanquishing another spider, the party decides to return to the Seven-Pillared Hall to recuperate before heading out again.

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Severius' Journal- "The Wee Folk"

Despite being educated by some of the finest institutions available in the city of Cynidicea my knowledge on the “Wee Folk” as my friend Aszh refers to them is extremely limited. Part of the reason for this is that while there is the occasional questionable story told of fey sightings, most of these are looked at as tall tales or fabrication of an alcohol or narcotic-fueled mind, and even these isolated story are far few in number. I questioned Aszh about this, whose worship of this fey goddess Titania has given him extensive knowledge on the fey and their society, and he told me that while the great majority of fey inhabit the surface world, there are indeed a limited number of fey that inhabit the subterranean realm. It would be understandable that my society’s contact with the fey would be limited, and perhaps non-existent.

Aszh assures me that like most intelligent races, the fey are made up of individuals and each possess their own beliefs of what is acceptable behavior and whether something is good or evil. I should not let one chance encounter with a small group of fey, an aridni and two domovoi, fey folk who are known to engage in banditry and thuggery, mainly due to their bitterness at their species ill-treatment by the elves long ago, speak for all of the Fey. I believe Aszh to speak true but after my party was robbed of many valuables and I myself was subjected to beguiling magick when one of those creatures charmed me and made me their agents to attack and restrain my comrades, I find myself quite prejudice against the Fey folk whose stories revolve around trickery and with my firsthand experience I can add robbery.

I have some belief of reassurance from Aszh’s presence in the party. His worship of this fey goddess and the good deeds I have witnessed him do in her name speaks volumes to his patron and the type of people she chooses to represent her interests. I will keep that in mind the next time we encounter the Wee Folk.

The loss of coinage and valuables that we had on our persons that the fey stole from us is only a minor setback in my eyes (though I can tell that Dovak sees this as a major setback to our quest). Gorm will provide, I have no doubt, and we still have more than enough funds at our disposal to pursue our quest.

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Severius' Journal- "The Mirabar Delegation Found"

It appears that we have finally achieved success in our goal to find the Mirabar Delegation…or at least partial success.

Our trip to Summit Hall proved to be most fortuitous. The Knights of Samular proved most hospitable and the deity they worship, Tyr, appears to value the same aspects that my beloved Gorm does. I found their company to be refreshing and look forward to returning when my task is complete to speak with some like-minded individuals. Their Grandmaster, an elderly but formidable-looking woman named Lady Ushien Stormbanner, informed us that a shepherd recently reported the location of several shallow graves off the Dessarin Road just outside of Beliard. She made arrangements for us to speak with this shepherd, a halfling man by the name Larmont Greenboot and he told us of the graves he found while tending his flock. He offered to lead us to the graves for a fee and surprisingly Allegro paid him a generous sum of five gold. Allegro is an odd fellow and never ceases to amazes me though I confess that he brings me despair at times because his make-up and strange mannerisms remind me of home and those of my people who have sought escape through narcotics, fantasy role play and alcohol.

The day long trip to the grave site was uneventful and after resting for the night we explored the site the following morning. There were three sites altogether off of a side road that lead from the Dessarin Road to the River Dessarin. It was readily apparent that a battle had taken place. We found wagons with looted cargo containers scattered about, the skeletons of several individuals wearing clothing bearing the red axe symbol of the Kingdom of Mirabar and a coffin bearing the skeletal remains of a Knight of Samular. Enna and I both could sense a faint aura of elemental magic still present in the area and the way the earth was cratered and upturned it made sense that magic was used to disturb it.

Greenboot showed us a pair of cairns on a nearby hillside and one of these contained the bodies of several bugbears wearing leather armor bearing a strange triangle symbol that none of us were familiar with. The other cairn contained the single body of a human woman dressed in robes and wearing a golden mask shaped in the visage of a Gargoyle or demon. It reminded me of Lady Stormbanner’s inquiry upon meeting me because of my golden mask of Gorm as to whether I shared allegiance with a monastic order in the Sumber Hills called the Sacred Stone Monastery. We suspected this woman was a member of that order though that order is in no way related to the worship of Gorm as Gorm would only allow his true followers to wear masks with his visage and my inspection of the mask showed that it was not gold but most likely gilded tin, which Gorm would also not approve of.

The third grave site had four bodies- a dwarf in artisan robes and a woman that both bared the red axe of the Kingdom of Mirabar on their clothing, a man in strange stone armor (which none of us were familiar with) and a man in a white cloak with feathers adorning one shoulder. While we did not know what to make of the last two bodies, we were fairly certain the first two were members of the Delegation and suspect that the dwarf was the remains of the great Mirabar Dwarven smith Rhundorth. Finding the graves was both cause for relief and despair. We had found some of the Delegation, apparently the victims of an attack, but were the rest of the Delegation still alive, and if so where are they? Also who attacked them and for what reason?

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The Dwarven Dead of Khundrukar

After cleansing the undead from what was most likely the tomb of the great dwarven smith hero Durgeddin, the party decides to leave the duregar-controlled level of Khrundukar to see if their companions Dovak and Biggle had returned from the mission of ensuring the prisoners they freed were able to make it to safety. On the mountain level with the entrance to Khrundukar, they find Dovak waiting and he tells them that Biggle accompanied the freed prisoners back to Dellmon Ranch.

The group has a short meeting to discuss if they should return to the Ranch to see if the death of the Great Ulfe gave the defenders at Dellmon Ranch the advantage they needed to repel the Iceshield Orcs or if they should return to cleansing the undead from the duergar-controlled level of Khrundukar. Passionately opposed to allowing the undead abominations to continue to exist, Aszh, Severius and Enna want to destroy the rest of the undead on the duegar-controlled level; the rest of the party agrees to accompany them.

Upon returning, the duegar insist in the payment of a new “toll” and after some tense negotiations, a price is agreed upon. Using Aszh’s paladin ability to detect undead and fiends, the party clears room after of the ancient dwarven fortress. Many rooms are full of nothing but dust, broken furniture and the harmless skeletal remains of dwarves and orcs from the long ago final siege of Khrundukar, but some rooms contain the undead skeletons of ancient dwarven warriors and animated decorations, such as a giant carpet and a suit of armor, that attack.
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The party sustains some wounds, but for the most part has little trouble until they encounter an angry dwarven ghost. Impervious and resistant to some of their attacks, the ghost manages to take possession of Dovak and turn him against his companions. Fortunately, Severius is able to call on the power of Gorm to cast the angry spirit out of his friend and the ghost flees the area. After a couple minor battles, the ghost returns and attempts to possess Aszh this time but the Paladin of Titania is able to resist the spirit’s attempt and despite several of the party frightened by its haunting form, the group is able to rout the angry again.
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The last abomination that the party clears from the level is a fiend that attempted to fool them into gaining their trust by using the guise of a beautiful young woman that was claiming to be the prisoner of an evil wizard. The party believed her story, except for Aszh, who was able to use his power of detection to see the fiend’s true nature. When he called the fiend out, she cast a charm spell on Dovak and ordered him to attack his companions while she attempted to kill Aszh. The heavily armored Dovak ended up being the more difficult foe to deal with and after the fiend disappeared before their eyes (most likely to safety) the group concentrated their attacks on Dovak and were able to beat him into unconscious and secure him with rope until the effects of the charm spell wore off.

With no other rooms to explore in this section, the group decides to take a rest and the following day they return to Dellmon Ranch to see who was victorious. Trails of smoke mark once burning buildings and funeral pyres and bodies of both orcs and the Ranch defenders alike litter the field. A cheer goes up as the party approaches as the defenders of the Ranch praise the party’s return and thank them for killing the Great Ulfe. They explain to the party that when word spread through the orc ranks of the death of the leader, in-fighting and flight took over the Iceshield Orcs and the defenders were able to easily fight off the disorganized orc army.

The party joins Lord Dellmon for dinner and conversation where they exchange stories of what each party endured over the past few days. Gracious for what the party did to save his Ranch and his fellow countrymen, Lord Dellmon gives the party some magical potions and a pouch of magical dust as a token of his appreciation. He also offers them the opportunity to settle some of land (their former owners recently killed in the battle) which some of the party seem interested in but that will have to wait as they must continue their quest to find the Mirabar Delegation.

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Severius' Journal- "Deeper into Khundrukar"

After the challenging battle with the ogre Iceshield tribe chieftain, the Great Ulfe, my comrades and I were in desperate need of rest and recuperation. Wary of what other enemies still remain in the subterranean halls of Khundrukar, we improvised a fortified position by stacking crates and sacks from the store of loot that the orcs had pillage from the countryside around a little used section of the cavern they were using as a warehouse. Biggle and Dovak decided to check if the two prisoners that we had freed had made it to safety and it was agreed that we would return to this location in two days if we failed to hear from them beforehand.

After a much needed rest and healing from Gorm, myself and the remaining party members decided to explore more of Khundrukar. We happened upon a nearby cavern that contained a door with several charred orc skeletons before it and a large stairway carved into the rock leading down. Deciding to explore the door first, we quickly found during our efforts to open it that it was trapped to shot jets of fire into the area in front of it. After sustaining some burns, we were able to successfully disarm the trap mechanism and found that there was nothing beyond the door except the trap mechanism and the vat of oil that fuel the flames. Seriously wounded for our efforts, we decided to rest inside this room (which should prove haven enough from the orcs) and I used the power of Gorm to heal me and my companions.

Following that long rest, we continued our explorations by proceeding down the stairs into the cavern below. The stairs lead to an underground stream and a flock of stirges, which we eliminated easily enough and continued out explorations. The caverns on this level appeared more natural and not cut out as they did above and there were several options on where to proceed. We randomly chose a path and came upon two reptilian-looking humanoids that appeared to be mining the walls of a cavern. Aszh’s attempt at conservation with them was met with an immediate attack and a third creature with a large bear arrived as reinforcements. The creatures (which I later learned with Troglodytes) were dispatched and after several unsuccessful attempts to befriend with bear with calm words and food, we killed it as well.
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Our continued explorations found a large cavern naturally lit by light-emitting fungi. This area held dangerous creatures (strange snake-like creatures with star-shaped toothed maws) that were able to camouflage themselves with the surrounding stone. They ambushed our party from several directions at once and several melees broke out as we tried to coordinate our efforts. I must commend Aszh for stepping into the role normally taken by Gorm’s loyal servant Dovak, as he positioned himself to take the attacks of the majority of the creatures expertly used his sword and shield to fend off the blows while the rest of the party concentrated on killing the creatures. It was a successful tactic and we dispatched the creatures will only some minor wounds.

A search of this cavern showed several routes of exploration, including a well-made door of dwarven craftsmanship. Allegro was able to successfully pick what he told us was a very complicated lock and we proceeded past the door up a stairwell that lead to a small room containing three dwarven statues of axe-armed warriors. After some trial and error (as well as injuries), we were able to locate a secret door behind one of the statues that lead to another level of Khundrukar. Like the initial level we entered the mountain at this one was carved into smooth walls, floors and ceilings and it was occupied. We were challenged by dark kin of the dwarves called the Duregar who claim rule over this level. Not knowing their full numbers and not yet seeking a fight, we were able to negotiate passage through part of their level for a toll. They spoke of parts of the level haunted still by the undead and Aszh and I were able to convince they others that we needed to cleanse the undead from this place…

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The Bloodreavers Are No More But More Tasks Await Our Attention

Bloodly, battered and their abilities expended, Lester, Takashi and Magnara return to the Seven-Pillared Hall for much deserved rest and recuperation. Electing to hold off on publically announcing the defeat of Chief Krand, the party lies incognito as best they can in the Halfmoon Inn before venturing out the following day to engage in some buying and selling with some of the various merchants.

On the way to House Azaer to sell some arms and armor, the party is approached by a hostile party of duegar dwarfs from the Grimmerzhul Clan Trading House. Apparently, the duegar’s business interests were utilizing slave labor that the duegar were purchasing from the Bloodreavers and the actions of Lester, Magnara and Takashi have jeopardized the duegars’ profit margins. A heated exchange between the dwarfs and the party commences, as well as some questioning exchanges involving Lester and his companions when it comes to light that his patron is the devil Asmodeus. Because of their shared master, the duegar seem a bit hesitant to act but believe the situation needs to be addressed, hinting at hostile intentions.

Fortunately, the exchange is interrupted by the sudden appearance of the Ordinatus Arcana representative from the Mages of Sarunn who orders an immediate halt to the confrontation and orders that the laws of the Mages be respected and obeyed or suffer the consequences. The two groups go separate ways and the party is surprised and intrigued when the Ordinatus Arcana tells them to present themselves at the customs house in the hour.

The party concludes their business with House Azaer merchants and the non-duegar dwarves of the Deepgem Company before going to the customs house. After a brief battle of verbal and posturing machismo with the Mages’ head enforcer Brugg, the party enters for a meeting with the Ordinatus Arcana who tells them that their actions have caused some complications for the Mages and their business interests by going after the Bloodreavers. The Mages are willing to quell any issues brought forth by the duegar (or others affected) if the party undertakes a task for the Mages that is a concern of the Mages, as well as the denizens of the countryside outside Thunderspire Mountain, but not so much of a concern that the Mages want to leave their studies and experiments and deal with it themselves.

One of the Mages of Sarunn has recently gone rogue- he left several months ago speaking of conquering the lands outside of Thunderspire Mountain and is refusing to answer summons from his Order. This mage, Paldemar, is a powerful threat, but more so to the people that live outside the mountain than to the Mages themselves. Nonetheless, the Mages want to know what Paldemar’s plans are and want him punished (even sanctioning killing if appropriate) for turning from the order. Information suggests that he is living somewhere in the labyrinth. Should the party complete this task, they will be rewarded and any issues with the duegar (and other offended parties will be dealt with). The party agrees to look into the matter.

While heading to another merchant shop, Gendar’s Curios and Relics, the party is approached by a beautiful brass dragonborn female warlock named Surina. Identifying herself as a servant to the goddess Erathis (goddess of civilization and law) she exclaims her approval and support of the party’s actions against the Bloodreavers and shares that she has been tasked by Erathis to fill the subterranean halls of Thunderspire Mountain with a prosperous population. Her efforts have been hindered by organizations, such as the Bloodreavers, and foul creatures that lair in the labyrinth and prey on travelers and residences. She hopes to enlist the aid of the party to help her address these obstructions to advancing a civilization here, starting with the clearing of a group of giant spiders who have a lair near the city’s ancient cisterns.
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The party is interested but speak of their ultimate quest to find Lester and Takashi’s father and tell Surina their story. She states that there is an ancient entity in the labyrinth called the Witch Sage who legend has it can answer any question posed to it for a price. Surina tells the party that she will inquire to her patron the route to the Witch Sage’s secret location in exchange for cleansing the spider menace, to which the party agrees.
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After one more stop of buying some magical arrows from the drow Gendar (for an expensive price), the party heads back to the Bloodreavers’ stronghold in the Chamber of Eyes to ensure the slavers have been throughly dealt with. Upon arriving, a search shows the stronghold to be empty of slaver and slave alike and the only thing in residence is a creature (an Otyugh) that surprises the party from a huge pile of refuse in the dining area. It’s surprise attack quickly incapacitates Lester and his companions rush to intervene before the creature swallows the warlock. Waist deep in the garbage, Magnara’s armored form holds the creature’s attention while the dragonborn slashes at it with his magical longsword and Takashi hits it from afar with his arrows. The huge monstrosity is slain and the party heads back to the Seven-Pillared Hall to report their success to the masses in defeating the Bloodreavers.

Unfortunately, their trip back holds more danger as they are attacked by a group of Ankhegs. A bloody battle follows as the party is assailed by acid and large biting mandibles. Partly depleted from their battle with the Otyugh, the party pulls victory from the brink of defeat. Barely standing, they limp their way back to the Seven-Pillared Hall.

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Bahamut has Passed Judgment on Chief Krand

With the addition of more people joining the group in the search for the Mirabar Delegation, Takashi decides that it is time for him to leave the search for the Delegation and join his half-brother, Lester, in the search to find their unknown father. Making haste, Takashi is able to catch up to Lester in the settlement of Goldenfields and finds that Lester has learned of a rumor that a Dragonborn paladin named Magnara is in possession of a ring similar to those that Takashi and Lester each possess as the only memento of their father.

It takes them two tenday to get to the remote town of Winterhaven, where Magnara is said to be recovering after as a guest of Lord Padrig. Takashi and Lester learn that Magnara is a hero of renown in these parts, earring the gratitude of the people and their ruler after Magnara and his group of adventurers stopped a plot by and evil priest of Orcus to open a portal directly to the Negative Plane, which would have unleashed hordes of undead on the region. Sadly, the victory was not without cost and Magnara was the sole survivor of the raid that killed the priest and destroyed his forces.

Takashi and Lester meet the Dragonborn paladin and find him to be an imposing and regal figure with gold dragon ancestry. The valiant servant of the god Bahamut has been waging a war on the local slavers and Magnara shows Lester and Takashi a ring that he took from one of the slavers’ senior leaders after he slayed her. The ring is identical to the one that Lester and Takashi each possess.

Magnara tells Lester and Takashi of his plans to travel to Thunderspire Mountain, which has an entrance to a former subterranean kingdom of the minotaurs. The slavers’ leader, a hobgoblin named Chief Krand, is rumored to have a stronghold in this subterranean realm. Originally intending to venture on this quest alone, Magnara is more than greatful for Takashi and Lester’s company, as they join the paladin pursuing the only clue their have to their father’s identity and whereabouts.
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The journey to Thunderspire is uneventful with the entrance into the mountain, the Minotaur Gate, easy to follow by an ancient and well-made but partially overgrown road. Inside the main road is lit by magical light and easy to follow and the massive scale of the subterranean realm is easily noted by the numerous passages that branch from the main path. During their travel, the trio stumbles upon a group of hobgoblin slavers who have captured a halfling. Magnara, Lester and Takashi easily dispatch the hobgoblins and free the grateful, named Rendil Halfmoon.

Rendil leads the party the rest of the way to the Seven-Pillared Hall, a massive chamber held up by seven pillars. Filled with buildings on the floor of the cavern and carved into the walls, the Seven-Pillared Hall is the main nexus of trade between the denizens of the mountain and the outside world. Rendil’s family owns an inn in the Hall, and they offer the group free room and board during their stay in Thunderspire Mountain as a gesture of their appreciation. They also share some of the history and politics of the Seven-Pillared Hall with them, explaining that the Hall is ruled by a powerful group of mages called the Mages of Saruun, who enforce an atmosphere of conflict-free trade and protection within the Hall as long as all remain civilized within and pay the required tax on all business transactions. All in the Hall, regardless of alignment and historical differences, respect the Mages’ law and business affairs are conducted with no issue. Outside the Sever-Pillared Hall is a dangerous place indeed as the Mages’ laws do not apply and deadly monsters wander the halls and rooms along with the various humanoid denizens.
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The location of the slavers’ stronghold is no secret and upon hearing of their mission, Rendil tells the party where the stronghold is, in an ancient temple called the Chamber of Eyes, and how to get there. After announcing their intentions to the Mages (in an effort to head off any offense), and not knowing whether the Mages got their message or not, or if they care, the party heads to the Chamber of Eyes with the intent to kill Chief Krand and his slavers. With Rendil’s directions, the party has no problem navigating the mountain’s numerous corridors and they are fortunate not to encounter any hostiles on their route.

At the entrance, the group chooses to bypass the main door by climbing onto a raised balcony and utilize the door leading off from it. Making entrance with Magnara leading the way, The does their best to stealthy explore the rooms and passages of the slavers’ stronghold. It is not long before battle is joined and the party takes on a group of bugbears and goblins in a vicious melee. With their foes fallen at their feet and the alarm surely raised, the party continues their exploration and encounter a duo of duegar. Battle again rages and this would be the start of a prolonged and desperate engagement as the duegar call for aid and Chief Krand himself, accompanied by a hobgoblin shaman, join the fray.
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The Chief and his forces are quite formidable. The shaman calls foul magic from her deity to curse Takashi, severely hampering his fighting abilities. Lester and Magnara fight against the odds sustaining severe injuries in the process and exhausting all of their spells and special abilities. In a desperate act before being struck down unconscious and on the verge of death by Chief Krand, Lester pours a potion of healing down Magnara’s throat as he lays on the ground dying after being pierced by Krand’s spear and the gamble pays off as Magnara rises and beheads the hobgoblin. Chief Krand is no more.

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