Throne of Bloodstone

5 Flamerule 1364

After defeating the Trap-Door Spider, the Knights gathered together to assess their situation. From all directions, the sounds of tormented souls reached out for relief, accompanied by the steady chittering sounds of mandibles of spiders of all sizes. On the floor beneath them, tiny spiders emerged and bit at their feet causing mild irriation and provoking Grosh to stomp the ground in a vain attempt to kill them all. Dol’varinn noticed that his ability to detect magic revealed that everything in the Demonweb detected as magic and that no differentiation was possible between artifact or item. Lucas’s ability to detect evil was similarly overwhelmed by the palpable evil of the place, a situation that caused him to develop a splitting headache that nothing would cure. Dol’varinn pulled out the Staff of Fenmarel to see if perhaps the Orb of the Firedrake was somewhere on the plane, and as he did so, a glittering gold dust came off the floor at his feet, coalescing into a sphere at the top of the Staff.

An image formed in the sphere, a female face, pale and radiant. Loviath’s face spoke to Dol’varinn in the language of long-dead Netheril, “I have programmed this image to deliver a message to you, certain that the language cannot be decifered by the fiends of Lolth. I hope that this is received by the Knights of Damara, loyal servants of King Gareth. The King has fallen and we have retreated into the Temple of Neheod with the few untainted survivors of Bloodstone. The dragons of Tiamat have been defeated and the items of the Melding that the dragon queen acquired, we have recovered. All are safe inside the Temple, along with the Eye of Helm which you brought to me. Many good people of Bloodstone are in the slave pits of Erelhi Cinlu, we dare not risk alerting Lolth to our presence by leaving the Temple to rescue them. It is vital that you go into Erelhi and recover the Scroll of the Melding, the Comb of Elistraee, and Sune’s Gown. All are being held by House Tormtor. Neither Lolth nor her priesthood knew about the Melding or intended to come to Faerun, it was an accident of magic caused by the attempt by the House Mage of Tormtor to gain the implements of beauty necessary for his Matron Mother’s vanity, combined by the poweful gate to the Abyss that the Quicksilver Pool under the Bloodstone Mines represents. The priestess drug Erelhei Cinlu back here by force and have only now discovered how their city came to Faerun. Lolth herself is approaching at the moment and considering whether or not to send the city to Damara or back to Oerth. She is also considering what to do with House Tormtor or at least that is what the slavers of House Kilsek we captured indicated. We were successful in beating the Kilsek drow back and, gratefully, no reprisals have come up from Erelhei Cinlu. With the items in the temple, I should be able to work a spell that brings us back to Damara. Neheod forged a very powerful connection with the temple that should help us make the return. I am sure you have considered many possible strategies for accomplishing your task. I suggest you not neglect to consider the fact that Lolth has many enemies throughout the multiverse and even in the Demonweb Pits itself. She is also easily distracted and her whimsy can sometimes be cultivated by offerings of power. To that end, I forced one of the Kilsek drow, who had an orb of dragonkind somehow, off the chunk of Bloodstone and into the Abyss. Sadly, it seems that Lolth’s power will not allow her minions to fall to their deaths and he fell onto a platform below us with many doors. I do not know what became of him but I suspect that the orb and its power is what accounts for Lolth’s pause in coming to deal with us. Finally, I regret to inform you that our good King Gareth has died. Resurrection is impossible here in the Demonweb. The priests of Neheod have gathered his body and are preparing the necessary funeral rites. I am using all of my powers to conceal our presence from Lolth so that she does not single us out for annihilation. I do not know what will happen to our nation when we return. Good luck!”

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1 Flamerule 1364
Planning an inflitration

Dol’Varinn sits next to King Ruggardo. “We had a plan to destroy the drow city, from what you tell us it will not work. The stone there is too strong.”

The Svirfneblin gathered flash knowing looks around the glowing phosphorecent fungi pit that served as an informal gathering spot for those left in Burrock. Ruggerdo knew how the Vault’s exterior walls resisted every pick, axe, and spell. Only the waterways flowing through the Vault into the larger Underdark beyond seemed to have the ability to reveal openings in the solid mass of volcanic glass that shaped the Vault.

Seeing the concern on Ruggardo’s face, “Do not worry, we just need to come up with a new plan. I feel we need to see the city first hand, to better come up with a solution for it and the item that creates the darkness.”

“I presume your people have been close enough to the city to possibly learn a few things and if you have fought them you may have learned a few more things to help us.”

“If we are to go in in disguise, we need to know specific things about these drow and their city. Hopefully you can answer this for us. For starters, do they speak drow as we know it? Do they use the same currency as us? Have they started to carry coin with our kingdom’s markings?”

Ruggerdo nods to a small svirfneblin to the right of Dol’Varinn. The deep gnome rose and rubbed his hand on the top of his head, the slightest rumor of stubble being apparent on the top of his head. “I am Gavin Wellharn, pale elf. I was part of the last infiltration team into Erelhei Cinlu. My uncle, Olaf Wodehopper, and I went into the city just a tenday ago. They speak a dialect of elven that is intelligible to my ear, although their accent is very different from that which I heard you speaking earlier when you were fighting the beholders. I am no expert, but it seems like you should be able to understand them. They also use the undercommon that passes for a trade tongue in the land beneath the sun; I think their partnership with the mind flayers has helped them in that regard. I don’t know what language drow speak, I just know that this bunch is pretty clear to me. For money they have their own coin and they have a mint in the Ghetto of Foreigners where they melt down foreign coins to make their own. All of their coin has the imprint of their Queen, Lolth.”

“Is the city light with Fearess or some of the glow in the dark fungus we have come across?”

“Their city is not lit with faezress. I know of that dangerous radioactive rock and it is common down here but I haven’t seen it inside the Vault. We call it a Vault because it is so solid. It is like one big oval-shaped stone that just materialized here six moons ago. The Vault is brilliant and beautiful for those of us with darkvision. The phosphorecent fungus the rest of us use is there too, but in smaller quantities and carried mostly by foreigners.”

“Is the city exclusively drow? Do other races, like orcs, goblins, trolls, and giants walk freely in it? Is there regular traffic entering and exiting the city.”

“The city allows in foreigners. I can’t say I have seen many giants. Orcs are present, but mostly just in the gladiatorial arena. The most common non-drow are the bugbears. They have a lot of slaves, the drow, and their slaves come from a lot of different species; a lot of humans from up above but they mostly disappear off to Lolth’s temple. I have seen mind flayers, beholders, and duergar walking around freely. Slaves of the drow have been humans, dwarves, goblins, bugbears, other drow, and just about every kind of undead you can imagine. I hate to think what they would do if they broke through to Deepearth and took over the Thanatos Pool.”

“Drow are traditionally matriarchal, do the females rule here too?”

“I don’t know about drow traditions. I do know that these drow all serve their Queen, Lolth, and that her priestesses dominate. There are 8 noble Houses in the city and a ninth that has been sent up to the surface to harvest slaves from Bloodstone. Each House seems to be supervised by a Matriarch of the Queen. These agents of their Queen can take life whenever they like and they seem to be gathering a large number of sacrifices for her in her palace.”

“When researching the drow, we learned they like to use Adamentine weapons and armor. Given the drow you have fought, if we are pretending to be drow, will we stand out if we do not carry adamantine weapons or armor?”

“I don’t know how you will pretend to be drow. They have a complex series of hand signals to communicate with each other; we haven’t been able to figure it out totally except that they seem to be different for each House. Olaf was captured when he tried to use an access sign we learned from one House as we were investigating another House compound. I wish I knew where he was now, my illusions were barely good enough for me to escape. The drow do use a lot of adamantine but they know each other mostly by the House markers and hand signs. We never try to impersonate the drow ourselves; instead we just acquire the cloak of a foreigner by bringing in a merchant House marker to the Black Gate along with some reasonable trade items. That way, the guards treat us just like any other servant race pursuing some errand of one of the merchant houses. We usually disguise ourselves as duergar or dwarves. Svirfneblin aren’t killed on sight but we are harassed and tend to draw a lot of negative attention. I definitely wouldn’t go in as an armed elf, that seems to be a certain path to death given their artwork. As for gear, I can’t imagine that it matters much. The drow have acquired a lot of items from around here during their time here. They are greedy, evil thieves and assassins. You’d best have a really good plan if you plan on trying to take the city out.”

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30 Klythorn 1364 (from the point of view of Sir Lucas Wyrmbane)
Outside the Vault of the Drow

After reviving Lucius, Lucas gathers the party in front of King Ruggardo to say a few words. Lucius will cast enthrallment, DC 17 if it has one at all. Its not cast in the sense that its aimed at the audience like an attack – instead, its done as an intricate ritual taught to battlepriests and paladins of Tyr alike when telling tall tales of the maimed one’s glory. Special hand movements and magical symbols and runes materializing in the air is what begins the “enthrallment” process of said spell. And once the ritual is done, Lucas begins to tell his tale. Lucius fills in parts of Lucas’ speech with magical effects thru divination and a bold singing of Tyrran battle hymns.

“Tyr has blessed us before. With both the choice to keep living in his glory, and the choice to deny our enemies the gift of life. Tyr sees justice in all extermination of evil. But the way things happened tonight, I feel that there has been nothing but bastardization of all the good things Tyr stands for. There was very little justice today. The foul things we saw in the Beholder’s lair – King Ruggardo, I cannot help but feel pain inside when I think of all the bones in their pit..bodies chewed on for simple dark pleasures. Tiny little hip bones and mangled hands strewn about like dice made of carcasses. So small and fair. I cringe at the thought that they could have been once…. your loyal clansmen.”

Lucas turns his back from the king, hoping his speech is instilling both sorrow and anger in him. Lucius sees his cousins eyes and smiles as he throws his hands into the air to carve runes known only to Tyrrans. Lucas then turned to the king to stare him down.

“But as my heart bled, your highness, my mind began to race. I felt the soul in my sword beg me to strike at the source of this darkness. We freed what little survivors were left after we extinguished the terrible monsters that held them there. And if Tyr has any more mercy to give, I’m sure the maimed one will at least grant them the same strength he gives his followers, followers like me – blessed with the strength to smite with just one hand. Who needs TWO arms? Tyrrans don’t thats for sure. So if anything, the survivors would be blessed tenfold if the maimed lord of justice gives them their freedom AND the power of one armed living.”

Lucas looked around to see both puzzled and tearful gnome faces scattered throughout the crowd. Lucius on the other hand was waving his hands frantically to create images of Tyr smiting evil with one arm.

“Then your highness… after carefully treading these brilliantly placed tunnels, we found the mind flayers. And Tyr’s wrath came down on them hard. Lucius over here melted one to the very ground with a pillar of holy flames!” Lucas made hand gestures of explosions hoping his cousin would catch on. Surely enough, a bright rune made of flames erupted out of his Lucius’ palms.

But Tyr is also a merciful god. And a compassionate god. And the halfelf we saved turned out to be a thorn in our side. They have now shown themselves to us, good king. A dark and powerful drow family is out there, waiting, to sneak in and destroy all that you love and cherish. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Just as they thought they can come here and smear my cousin’s entrails all over a hut, that we will cower and back down?! NO! Not now. Not ever. We are but simple men. Simple men with great destinies, and the mightiest of the good gods to help us. We are knights of Damara. We are champions of Tyr. Tell me good king, will you burrow in your holes or will you march with us and trample this drow family that lives for nothing but the hope of us being their tortured slaves, or worse… feeder for beholders? Come, brave Svirfneblin. We have our blades. You have your vast and superior knowledge of the underdark. And your innovation and creativity is known all over Faerun. Help us crush this family once and for all. The house of Torm Tor must be served justice. For if not now, then soon, we all shall fall.”

Lucas tucks his chin into his neck and stares at the ground as Lucius makes all the runes disappear like a dying candle. The room is dim once more.

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Dol'Varinn's shopping Trip

Dollan, having been in Plan earlier goes to the magic shop that caught his eye before. He could feel the power emanating from it, it was obviously a true magic shop. Anyone with any bit of talent should be able to feel it. People can be so oblivious to the weave sometimes…

Entering, Dollan’s senses are assaulted by the raw energy of the magic. Dollan hesitates, steels himself to the magical assault. Correction, not an assault, more of a sense of wave washing over him like a wave at the beach.

Behind the counter, an elderly man chuckles. “Those with talent are always taken a little a back the first time here, what can I do for you?”

“Not sure, was drawn to your shop. Wanted to see what you had here. See if anything caught my interest.”

“If you got gold, we got plenty…. Names Kooter, let me know if you got any questions.” Kooter, studies Dollan for a moment, “what you got there, I don’t allow anything invisible in here.”

Dollan, puzzled for a moment quickly realizes what Kooter is talking about. “Oh, that is Gneut, my friend. Gnuet show yourself.” Gneut becomes visible, shyly she replies “Sorry, I meant no harm. All the people outside make me nervous. I forget sometimes I am invisible.”

“By Bahomet, a real fiery dragon, I heard of them but I have never seen one before, sorry if I scared you little one.” Gnuet defensivly replies, “I wasn’t scared… I have faced drow and demons….”

Dollan interrupts, “Gnuet!”

“Drow and demons you say, powerful enemies I am sure.” Kooter, looks to Dollan and realizes Gneut may not be exaggerating. “You must really be talented to face either of those and live.”

Dollan shakes his head no, “more lucky and I travel with powerful friends. I am looking to find something to help. I was recommended by a priest to get a scroll of planar ally to summon a solar but apparently you can’t buy scrolls in Phlan”

Kooter chuckles, “yah, never much agreed with that rule but the law is the law. I may have another way for you to do the same thing though. Where did I put that”, he moves several boxes. “Here it is, this is a candle of evocation, one for good. It can summon a solar if you are…” We are interrupted by a crash as several staffs fall over knocking down a suit of armor. Gnuet, floats above it looking very guilty. Sheepishly, she says “Sorry, I was trying to reach the necklace. Everything just fell down.”

Kooter looks at the mess and says “No worries, nothing looks broken. It’s my own fault, I had to disintegrate the cleaning lady. Everythings been a mess sense”

Gnuet, preoccupied isn’t listening, she is already wearing the amulet she found. “Mirror, I want a mirror.” Inpatient, Gnuet casts a minor spell to see her reflection. “Oh, pretty. It matches my scales.”

“You got good taste little one, that there is a amber amulet of vermin, and yes it compliments the color of your scales and eyes.” Dollan flinches, exasperated Gnuet replies “Really?, my eyes? Mom always said I had pretty eyes.”

Dollan looks at Kooter, “You did that on purpose” Kooter smiles innocently…

“Dollan, I want it. Can I have it? Please…. I saved your life when you were fighting the frog monks. You never buy me anything.”

“Gnuet, you did very good against the frog people. I just gave you two wands.”

“But it matches my eyes” pouting.

Kooter interrupts, “the candle can summon this Solar you were looking for, I’ll include the amulet cuz it matches Gnuet’s eyes and scales so much for the bargain price of 9,600gp.”

Dollan sighs, looks at Gnuet. “How can I say no” and pays the man.

Flying in circles, Gnuet sings “I got me an amulet. I got me an amulet. It matches my eyes.”

Dollan, shakes his head… “Your as bad as Shirley.”

Gneut smiles broadly. “Shirley doesn’t have an amulet that matches her ruins and eyes but I do. I mean my scales and eyes… Can I get ruins too? I want ruins that match my eyes. Where did she buy the ruins?”

Dollan looks to Kooter, “So, what does the amulet do?”

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28 Klythorn 1364
A Serial Recollection

_A story told in several parts, from the point of view of the characters who experienced it….

First, Shirley takes a turn:_

Ok after spending 9 hours resting and training in PHLAN (the city of custard) we did some exploring and someone hit GROSH with a fish?

Then we realized we did not know anything about the Drow? So we inquired with the local experts-that led us outside the city

(I like outside it smells nice)

And after an encounter with some very confused doppelgangers that did not know they were doppelgangers we arrived at the house of Professor Gordo-Er-Gold-Er-Gorier—er

GRRRRRRR

Professor Dumbledore

Who for a large fee answered all our questions about our new enemies and provided some suggestions. Personally I don’t think he was a good man-he mentioned some very bad things and I think Lucas should pay him a visit

But

(OH SQUIRL!!!!!!!!!!!)

We returned to PHALN (city of custard) to shop for acid.

Now normal acid was not good enough for DOLLAN and GROSH-Sigh-Oh No.

They had to have super acid.

Adventures have been using normal acid for 30 years and not complaining but oh not us.

So we had to go look for super acid-which led us to the bad part of town

I did not like the bad part of town-It smelled like cat.

(Dirty cats)

We went to a dwarf bar and met some dwarf thieves who told us where we could go steel some super acid

So we did that-

During the fight GROSH threw some of the super acid and it made a sink hole that ate the building-seems it’s a lil stronger then we had expected.

Well

That was scary

(I found a ball)

Then the Dwarf thieves showed up and we found out they were just using us-but that’s ok because now we have a lot of the really dangerous super acid and no idea what to do with it.

Then we had to recover

(Throw the ball)

Then Dolan did his magic thing and we went back underground

(I do not like the underground_I cannot smell the wind)

We went back to the fish person place and swam down to the gate-but the gate had changed since last time. So either we were in the wrong place, or something had happened? We saw a strange alter and did what it said

And poof

We were in another room

It was scary with lots of disturbing images on all the walls of the fish men doing bad things

I think I may have been in this room before and I do not like it

GRWOLLLL

And now—-we wait

_And Dol’Varin takes over the narrator’s chair: _

We rested in Phlan for 9 hours. After witch Grosh got it in his head we didn’t know much about the drow. Everyone decided to research the drow. We were told of two experts, one of which in the bad part of Phlan, the other outside of Phlan.

The group went to see Dumbledore. Dumbledore, of very questionable morals, was very knowledgeable in the drow, their affairs and Lolth’s goal to become a goddess in this world. He knew about the white elves, which came from ErelhiCinlu, a city from another world where Lolth is already a goddess.

Dumbledore told the group how he would hire beholders and black dragons and acid to fight the drow and how the drow use adamantine weapons to break their opponents weapons.

Not caring about Dumbledore’s questionable nature, Grosh told him about the evil temple with the evil artifact to the fish people’s god. He told him where he could find it, even after Dol’Varinn tried to stop him.

Learning acid was how Dumbledore fought the drow, the group wanted to buy acid. Dollan thought it was ineffectual – not enough damage. Someone (Matt) mentioned Zents had stronger acid. Dol’Varinn refused to teleport to Zentinal Keep, the group decided to go into the Cyric side of Phlan.

We meet some dwarves, who later turned out to be thieves. After buying them drinks we learned of a stash of acid the cyrics were going to uses on the Helm Knights. We snuck over, used magic to trick our way inside the Cyric’s where house to acquire the acid we sought.

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19 Klythorn 1364
Dreams in Phlan

Grosh continued to trek steadily forward, his eyes stinging from the intensely bright sunlight glaring off the frozen and barren landscape of the Great Glacier. The wind cut like knives across him, so cold that it burned, but he ignored it. He needed to keep going, needed to find who was calling him. He knuckled the water from his aching eyes. He’d be glare-blind soon, he knew. Like the wind, though, he ignored this.

Opening his hand, he peered at the glint of metal cradled there. It was hard to make out with his failing eyes, but he knew what it was. It was the Ring of Vaasa. How he had come to have it, Grosh didn’t know. It had vanished along with the pearls, and should be in the elemental plane of Water. But it wasn’t. It was in his hand. He didn’t know what to do with it. He had considered putting it on as his large feet crunched his way forward on the ice. For some reason, he didn’t.

He was in the Glacier now, walking through the ice. No cave or fissure leads to where he was going. It was impossible to get to where he was going, yet he was getting there. He walked through the ice as if it wasn’t there, moving downwards steadily. Even so, he could feel the harsh bite of the frozen sea against his skin. Was he even breathing? Yes, he was. How, though, he couldn’t tell. He had the ring. Maybe that was why?

The mass of ice he was passing through ended and Grosh was in a cavern of solid ice. The walls were slick and seamless, curving up to the great domed ceiling. It had an ethereal glow of bluish-green, from the sunlight filtering through so much ice. In the center of the cave was a massive block of ice. He could barely make out a shadowy form inside, like a man, but much too large. A giant, perhaps?

Around the block, several vaguely humanoid shapes scurried about. They were a little taller than he was, maybe eight feet, and snowy white. The beings looked to be a cross between a man and a mantis. They were busily tending to the block of ice, paying Grosh no mind. None of this made sense, but he felt like it should.

There was something in the back of his head, like a long-forgotten memory, that told Grosh he should know this place, should know these beings, and should know the form in the ice. Clenching his fist around the Ring of Vaasa, Grosh moved forward, walking among the mantis men.

Yes, this was the place. This is what he was being drawn to. This is where he needed to be. The form in the ice remained unidentifiable, even when he drew nearer. The shadows played from the glittering walls and obscured the features of the being in the ice, but he could see something glint. It may have been a trick of the odd light, but it looked as if blue and green crystals of ice hung around the neck of the being in the ice.

Before he could get close enough to be sure, he heard a feminine voice behind him. “The Dreamer is awakening.” He spun around, but there was no one there behind him. He was alone, save for the mantis men and the giant humanoid in the ice.

“We must do more to keep him cold,” she said. Grosh slowly turned in a circle, head cocked to the side, trying to find where the voice was coming from. It seemed to bounce off the walls, coming from everywhere at once. There was a clear note of worry in the voice as she continued. “The Melding is coming too soon, and he will soon be free! It is not yet time!”

Then, with a jolt, Grosh was awake. He was on the mat in his room at the inn. The idea that it was all just a dream was dashed by the reality that he was covered in a thick layer of rapidly melting frost. He clenched his fist, reflexively, remembering the Ring of Vaasa. Something was in his hand, and it was cold.

It took some effort, but Grosh was able to uncurl his fingers. In his hand was a thick leather thong of icicles. They were blue and green, like the icicles around the neck of the Dreamer, and they were carved all over with runes in giant. There was blood in the runes. His hands were slick with blood, and the throb from his torn fingernails made it clear that it was his blood. He had carved the runes into the ice with his own nails.

Still feeling like he was dreaming, Grosh read the runes. They were complex and complete, and expertly carved, especially considering that he did it in his sleep with his own fingernails. The icicles were carved with the Dream of Ulutiu.

It was clear what this meant. Somehow, he’d become a Chosen of Ulutiu. The Eternal Sleeper had visited Grosh in his dreams, or possibly the other way around. How or why, he didn’t know, but he had pretty definitive proof sitting in his bloody hands. Slowly, and with a feeling of dazed reverence, he draped the icicles, the holy symbol of Ulutiu, around his neck.

He sat for a while, staring at his hands. The blood was becoming sticky as it dried, and the rest of him was becoming slick as the frost melted from him. His eyes moved past his hands and too the floor next to his mat. There was blood there, too. Drips and splatters were evident, but he didn’t pay much attention to them. He was too focused on what his blood spelled out in Damaran.

“The father of Grosh Silversmith is the key to your understanding,” his blood intoned. “Seek ye Gog in the deepening depths amidst the tentacled horrors. Your servant shall be your guide.”

Grosh had no idea what it could all mean. His father, Fillius Silversmith, was dead, and had been for years. He had buried his father behind the cabin himself. Clearly the tentacled horrors were the mind-flayers, but who was Gog? For that matter, who was his servant?

He’d need to tell the others about this.

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16 Klythorn 1364 Pt. II
Off to Hillsafar Hall

The party’s acceptance was sent back to the Giants by Dolvarin’s bold declaration. While many wondered about the long-term ramifications of the decision, the scared citizens of Windless were well pleased by the decision. Princess Artemis herself, inspired by their courage (and concerned about its political implications for her here in Bloodstone), stepped forward and announced,”For my people and our future, I will go forward with you and see that the evil sphere is removed from our land and the blight of this evil giant Ingrid is cast down.” Her announcement brought up a strong cheer from the town’s huddled masses. Daran-El, seeing now that the very nobility of the Barony was engaged in this quest, trotted forward to her side and proclaimed, “Princess, with Chaunsleaf safely freed from this Giant King’s captivity, I will delay assessing vengeance and see the sphere removed as well.”

Just as the people’s fear was beginning to dissipate in the face of such intrepidity, King Snurre broke his silence and filled the small town with his rumbling voice, “Now that Damara has acknowledged my sovereignty over the Glacier, and to seal our alliance to defeat Ingrid and her damnable drow allies, I must demand some assurances. First, the watchtower you seized illegally at the foot of the Glacier must be returned and all of your heretic priests removed. I will have no arbiter of justice on the Ice but the Ordning. Second, you must send me a hostage who I will release once the heretics are gone and you are engaged in the battle against my lapsed daughter. Remember, I want her brought to me, dead or alive! Who do you choose to stand hostage?”

Lucas Wyrmbane, curiously silent throughout the encounter, stepped forward and spoke clearly, “I, Lucas Wyrmbane, am Tyr’s Hand in this realm. It is my judgment that brought Tyrrans to the Glacier and while I do not agree with the wisdom of abandoning the Glacier to you, evil-doer, I will see this agreement fulfilled so that you menace no longer this land. I will stand guard over your withdrawal and see to it that my people relocate themselves to Hillsafar Hall. If your ego requires you to consider me hostage, then so be it. But know that my sword is sharp as justice and my will is the Hammer of Tyr!” He strode forward and marched directly towards Hillsafar Hall. As the giant king commanded Brazzemal to take to the sky and the giant army to withdraw from the heights surrounding Windless, the remaining Knights prepared themselves to journy to the Dwarven fortress themselves, and into the Underdark beneath. Marching solemnly to the rhythm of the war drums of the fire giants, the Knights considered that never before and likely never again would Knights of Damara journey under banner of truce with Fire Giants. Truly, the world was a strange and mysterious place.

As the sun rose high and then settled in the West, the Knights approached Hillsafar Hall and wondered if this would be their last day under the sun of Faerun.

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16 Klythorn 1364
The Day of Snurre

The day passed without major incident. Dolvarin’s steady cycle of teleportations and commercial purchasing, leaving behind the telltale scent of caramon and occuring with the gentle whoosh of the wind through the trees, provided an irregular soundtrack to the goings-on at the Sleeping Dragon Inn. After the morning prayer with Grosh and Shirl-E, Mayaheine departed to Morningdawn Hall to insure the continued safety of the Morninglord’s flock. Grosh turned in for a nap while Shirl-E amused herself by exploring the small town of Windless. Unseen Phoenix, for his part, spent the day walking among the people, listening to their concerns, and learning what he could of recent events. Things took a turn for the worse as the sun settled below the Western Mountains.

First, as the Knights sat down to enjoy their evening meal together and listen to the latest tale of commercial genius from Dolvaren, Lucas entered the Sleeping Dragon Inn, a bound and gagged Sir Gareth Corneil thrown in to the floor before him. “Here he is, friends, the vile blackguard who infiltrated the Halls of Justice itself and presumed to deceive Lord Grimjaws. It took some doing to arrange to get him out of Waterdeep but he has too many friends in the City of Splendors to receive justice there. Gratefully, Blackstaff agreed with me and sent me here so we could deal with him ourselves. And to think, he was carrying this holy blade of justice! What ho, was I interrupting dinner? Excellent, let us feast our reunion and this opportunity to work justice by our own hands!”

DM Note: The Sword is Illuminator, a Sword of Intercession, and a relic of Tyr’s Procession of Justice, the time during the Age of Thunder when Tyr led a great crusade across Faerun and established His church. It has a tremendous relic value to the church of Tyr.

This magical weapon is aligned LG and dedicated to Tyr. A character of any different alignment may wield a sword of intercession, but it will function as a

normal, nonmagical weapon. A character of the same alignment as the sword may wield it as a +2 weapon. A character who worships Tyr may wield it as a +4 sword, and in addition

gains SR 19 and a +2 bonus on all saving throws so long as the sword is held or carried. If the wielder is a paladin, once per week, the wielder may maximize a Smite attack but the sword will function as a nonmagical sword for a tenday thereafter. Such a character will also be able to commune with his deity once per week, asking one yes-or-no question at that time. The sword will not work for those who have only converted to their new alignment or religion within the last year.

While the party launches into discussions of Lucas’s absence and what to do with the prisoner, the boisterous discussion is eventually drowned out by the sound of drums rattling the rafters of the Inn. The Knights grab weapons and emerge out into the street to be confronted by a most ominous sight.

All around the narrow valley in which Windless had been built, the Galena mountains pressed close by. The hamlet had only two buildings of more than one story originally, the Inn now owned by Dolvarin, and the Tranth House, on the opposite end of town, currently home for Princess Artemis. In between the two large buildings, a single street connected Hobart’s Way with Windless as it passed from Arcata to Bloodstone. To the East, the Tower of Algorthas had been transported to avoid the black sphere engulfing Bloodstone. To the West, on the slopes of Mt. Velidelio, the rough tiny outline of Morningdawn Hall could still be seen in the dying light of the day. But on the mountains, more than 40 torches were visible, and the sounds of drumming pounded through the valley. In the center of the square, a dwarf male lay bound on the ground. Perched on the roof of the Tranth House, its talons tearing loose dozens of shingles, sat a monstrous red dragon with a huge fire giant mounted astride the beast.

The giant spoke first, his voice bellowing and booming through the valley. “I am King Snurre, lord and sovereign of the fire giants of the Novalarond. I had no quarrel with you but you made me your enemy by entering my home and robbing me of my property. I am come to have either my vengeance or redress my losses. My forces will level this town and every living thing in it if I do not have satisfaction. I do not require your death, however, and I am prepared to be merciful. Bound in the center of the square is a dwarf you will recognize. I have instructed him as to the terms of your survival. You would do well to listen to him. My forces will stay their hand, for now. Do not think to barter with me, I am a King.”

While Lucas and Grosh both felt their hands curling around their weapons, Mayaheine the Dawnknight strode calmly from the West into the Square. He knelt down at the dwarf and picked up his crumpled form, tearing off his bonds in a smooth motion as he did so. Deliberately, steadily, he lead the dwarf into the Sleeping Dragon Inn, and as he passed the Knights he said this,”My friends, there are more than 40 fire giants arrayed around the town. They have boulders aplenty and that dragon is Brazzemal. I was able to see them coming towards the town late this afternoon from Morningdawn Hall, they were coming from the direction of Hillsafar Hall. A great smoke was rising from Hillsafar; my scout has not returned yet from there. I fear the stone giants and the garrison may have been slaughtered. We must be very careful lest all the good people of Windless die. Please come inside with me now.”

The Knights reluctantly agreed, seeing no immediate way to overcome the giant’s commanding position.

Inside, they shoved Sir Gareth to the side and looked upon the face of Iron Duke Mongo Garumbelly of Hillsafar Hall. The Dwarf’s red beard and piercing blue eyes were exactly as described and the dwarf looked relieved to be free of bondage.

“Garumpf, ach, what a bad business this is. First elves incite the Giants against us and we are driven out of the Hall, now I am here, forced to act as messenger for King Smoky-pants! Bad bad bad. Any road, you need to know what His High and Mightiness wants right? Ach, here it is then. That King up there, he has been happy ruling over his kind in the mountain furnaces of the Novalarund for a couple of hundred years. Some of his younger stones, they want him to rebuild Ostoria, some mythical kingdom from days of yore. I get the same nonsense from mine about Tharazdum. Any road, the King’s daughter hits on a scheme to do it and she takes herself off to the South, bearing a false message from the King to Nosnra, that filthy Hill Giant you rustled out of my house. With that, she gets herself a small army and begins building up a little throne for herself atop the Bloodstone Mines. Soon after, she is making some powerful allies all over and draws the attention of the Drow down in that big forest where they used to have some sort of elfy-green kingdom (Myth Drannor and Cormanthor). She makes a deal with them to use the Mercury Pool in Bloodstone to let them accomplish some sort of evil God ritual that their bitch Queen Lolth, spits on the ground, wants with a bunch of relics from all over the Realms. Next thing, word gets to the King that this Melding thing can bring any god back to life and it seems that many start paying attention. Zhents, Banites, Cyricists, all of them start getting real curious about stuff up here in Damara. Well, that makes the King realize that what his daughter is doing might go beyond a little willful indiscretion and might pose a real risk to his High and Mightiness.

Sure enough, right about then, the Frost Giant Jarl shows up with some little elf woman, carrying some sort of loom claiming that Ingrid, his daughter, had offered a huge bounty for the loom. The King sends his own ambassador with the loom to talk things over with Ingrid and you know what the bitch sends her dad back in reply? The head of his own ambassador, her uncle. The head had a magic mouth cast upon it reporting that Ingrid only recognized the one true king of giants, Moloch, the one who destroyed the elves once and would do so again. Well, that had the King all upset. He decides to muster all the tribes and eliminate this heresy before it got out that it was his own daughter what was doing this. Thats when you all show up, tearing apart the Jarl’s Rift and destroying the remnants of Nosnra’s force. He had just about decided he needed to make a deal with King Gareth when word comes back to him that Gareth was off fighting the dragons of Castle Perilous, an old irritation to Snurre since the white dragons of the glacier were usually just predators except when those dragons got them all fired up. Of course just as he comes to that conclusion, you all show up in his own castle and steal his treasure and interrupt his grand council. With all the magic you have and the damage you did the Chief and the Jarl, he decided he needed to settle things with you direct.

Not that he can own up to that in front of his troops, no, that would cost him dearly, probably provoke a challenge. So, he tosses me in here to tell you his terms in private.

So here it is: He will spare Windless and release any claims he has south of the Great Glacier on two conditions: 1) You bring his daughter to him, dead or alive. 2) You make no claim on the Glacier or Novalarund. That land is the hunting grounds of the giants from the days of Ulutiu’s Betrayal and will always be so. He also suggests you get to work preventing those drow from completing their ritual and offered me my freedom to show you how to get into the Underdark. Apparently, the sphere is an intrustion of the Demonweb Pits into this realm, above the ground things are warped but below the ground an entire drow city has been brought. That is bad news to me, up till now all we have had to deal with are the remnants of some weak-old fish people. Part of why the stupid hill giants were able to defeat us was many of my warriors were busy cleaning out the fish-men’s nest; apparently they have been hidden in the Underdark for centuries. Anyway, you all should be able to make short work of them on our way to the drow.

So, what do you think? Are ye ready for some adventure?”

The dwarf awaited the Knight’s response.

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15 Klythorn 1364
A Night Vigil

The Knights, safely entrenched at the Sleeping Dragon Inn in Windless, took some time out to rest and recuperate. While Dolvaren tended to the endless details of moving assets earned and stolen from evil beings, Grosh and Shirl-E approach Mayaheine, the golden elf Dawnknight of Lathander….

Mayaheine asks you both to come sit vigil with him through the night and at dawn, when the light of the Morninglord returns to Faerun, he will attempt to commune with his god to provide you with an answer. Grosh reluctantly puts down his die making tools to do so and Shirl-E joins her Jarl with quiet acceptance. As the dawn breaks over Windless, both notice that lightning in the mountains adds a ozone taste to the air, unusual for this time of day.

A ruby radiance surrounds Mayaheine, whose quiet chanting through the night made both of you wonder about his sanity, clerics are odd to begin with and this one was an elf to boot! He looks up at the two of you and his eyes glow with a golden light. “Grosh Silversmith, you are called to a destiny far greater than you believe. Your dreams are filling with the voice of the Dreamer of Palruvia and your path is one of service and honor. Listen to the words of the ice and by defeating the designs of one trapped inside you will free the dream of the One Encased to make a new home for all His children.” Turning to Shirl-E, he continued, “You have been rescued from mindlessness by a guardian from beyond for a purpose divine. That spirit watches over you today and his name, Zagzagel, has been unspoken for an age. Your own true name was lost at the hands of the mind flayers you are drawing inexorably closer to. When you have dispatched them, you will again be given the freedom of choice they took from you.”

The sun’s disk fully emerged from night’s shadow and as it did so, the radiance faded from Mayaheine. His voice returned to its quiet chanting and after another 14 minutes, he stopped.

“So my friends, what did the Morninglord share with you?”

“I was told that my ‘dreams are filling with the voice of the Dreamer of Palruvia,’” Grosh informs him. “It was kind of implied that I’m on a path to serve Ulutiu. I’ve had a few dreams about him recently, but Ulutiu is the father of giant-kin and the Great Glacier. I know I’ve been spending a lot more time than usual on the Glacier lately, but that’s hardly a reason for him to pick me, isn’t it?

“And I’m not giant-kin anyway,” Grosh continued. “My dad was human, not giant. I mean, I’ve gotten taller, sure, but I’m just a regular half-orc, not a Vaasan half-orc.” Grosh paused and thought for a moment. “Is it possible that Ulutiu has changed me?”

Shrilly just smiles “The morning lord spoke to me of a purpose Devinne, that a spirt watches over me. I can feel it in my heart, like a true and trusted Friend.” Then her face grows grim “Then he spoke of something called a Mind thief or Mind Flayer? That I am being drawn to them and they stole my name and put me in the ice-He said once I defeat them, i will get my freedom back.

I don’t understand-I feel free. Free to follow the path of the morning lord, free to serve my Jarl, free to run and play? What could he have meant?”

The sun rose into the sky, while in the distance, drums beat an army to war.

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12-14 Klythorn 1364

After a dangerous discussion with the dear departed priests of Mystra in Waterdeep, the Knights return to Damara, poorer but wiser for their trip to the City of Splendors. Despite expecting to meet up with Lucas, the paladin of Tyr did not make the rendezvous and the press of time made it essential to return home.

Upon arrival, the party was tremendously impressed to learn that Dolvaren had earned title to the Sleeping Dragon Inn in Windless, a location that represented a significant upgrade over the frozen ice outpost at the southern edge of the Great Glacier. With a comfortable night’s sleep behind them, they updated Loviath and conferred with the priests of the Morningdawn Hall under construction on the slopes of Mt. Velidelio. Mayaheine, a Dawnknight, negotiated with Dolvaren for the purchase of the Stained Glass Golem he had acquired, and the golem was put to good use defending the Morninglord’s new shrine in Damara. The sphere of blackness was revealed to be the work of Lolth and a counter-weight to some sort of battle the drow were losing against the pale-skined elves in the Underdark. Loviath urged the party to finish their defeat of the giants, believing that the giants were somehow connected to the pale-skinned elves and that access to the sphere could be had through the Underdark.

Accordingly, reprovisioned and rested, the party teleported into the Fire Giant King’s Hall. With stealth and tact, they dispatched a monstrous hydra and took the King’s personal wealth back to the Inn for their use. Upon return, they proceeded forward cautiously only to stumble into the King’s main audience chamber.

Into the maelstrom the Knights were committed, battling Vercinabex Tor, the Cloud Giant who had so vexed them, Nosnra, the Hill Giant Chieftain, Grugnir, the Frost Giant Jarl, and King Snurre himself. While they hewed and slashed, the giants clearly overmatched them. After the petrification of Dolvarin and the incapacitation of Risen Phoenix and Shirley, the barbarian Grosh stumbled into the snow, insane and out of his mind.

After two cold days in the ice, he was rescued by Dawnknight Mayaheine. The elf restored his wits, his health, and re-equipped him. Together, the duo returned to the King’s Hall using a secret entrance utilized primarily by a red dragon who had been menacing the area for weeks. They slipped in in time to see that Shirley was already conducting an escape of his own. Restoring Dolvarin with Mayaheine’s magic and defeating the guards, the party was fortunate to rescue Chaunsleaf, a high ranking Centaur shaman, and Daran-El, a Centaur Knight of Damara, before returning to the Sleeping Dragon Inn.

Now, certain that Snurre knows of their plans to destroy him, and sitting atop a mountain of stolen giant wealth, the Knights must carefully choose their next step. Was Vercinabex lying, as he so often did, when he said that the King had a use for them? Is simple annihilation of either the Knights or the Giants the only path forward? Where is Lucas Wyrmbane?

The answers to these and so many other questions awaits our adventurers in their next installment.

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