Legend of the Leviathan

Session 36: Remember when things were simple?
"Is that... no... a Terrasque?"


"What about squirrels? Should we turn them into squirrels?" – Itrix So'ban


When we last left the party:

 

  • They snuck into the sewers beneath Castle Waterdeep, where they encountered a grave altar for a recently deceased Dragonborn and a dog-sized rat. Thereafter they met a family of Thri-Kreen who asked them for aid in destroying some "Squishies"; ooze monsters consuming the biological waste of the castle's occupants. The party defeated these oozes, one of which was more elemental than ooze, and decided to send Kay up through the plumbing to investigate the largest of the chutes. There, Kay discovered the existence of a Storm Giant Queen named Imrith who was masquerading as Lady Silverhand. Avoiding her rage, Kay used his negotiation skills to persuade the Queen to reassess her position in the Alkahest ultrastructure. She invited him to her room under the promise of safety to contact "the Ordning" and see whether it approved. However, she used a harp to summon something unworldly, an Aboleth, which tried to enslave him. Instead, he single-handedly decimated it with the godly hand of Annam guiding his blow. He liberated the giantess and they returned down to their companions, where Queen Imrith gave them information about Alkahest, the Kraken Slakarthel, and the Aboleths who are enslaving the Giant leaders. Thereafter, they agreed to arrange for her to wait beneath the Waterdeep Docks while they rendezvoused with Midnight before parting ways – hopefully for good.

In Brevitis

 

  • They rode a gryphon down to the Docks Ward, who turned out to be a polymorphed debtor to the Zhentarim named Mackie. The told Mackie to flee and exercise his new freedom.  
  • They picked up Siras from the docks, Thaldrak not being afraid to drop a few names about the Zhentarim… and Midnight… much to the interest of the dockwarding Calimshani. 
  • To be able to message Imrith, they ventured into the city to find someone from whom they could buy magical scrolls. Local vendors directed them to an old Kara-Tur woman ("Mama"), who offered them scrolls from her collection at a price of their choosing…  the "Kara-Turian way". She asked them not to let the House of Wonders find out, as they held a monopoly on the selling of spells, and bullied other merchant competition using their political connections to the Masked Lords. The party paid several hundred gold pieces for the scrolls and ventured on their way, contacting Imrith en route and requesting that she meet them at an arranged meeting point near an Amnian Merchant Vessel. 
  • Once Imrith was together with the party, they corresponded with their allies at the flying Netheril City and schemed of a way to be transported back. Their only option, according to Anael and Dumbledilp, was for Anael to meet them at the Harper teleportation circle, teleporting down to the circle in Berdusk, then to Waterdeep, back to Berdusk with the party and back to the Netheril City after notifying Foreign. They agreed, and after a rest, ventured back to Curious Past, where the Harper Teleportation Circle was in the basement.
  • In the store – which had been ransacked in the last days – they arranged the disposal of the bodies of Bronwyn Caradoon and her two half-orc companions while waiting for Anael. As the mists around the circle stirred, though, several forms appeared. Itrix So'ban, father of T'avin, and two Kraken Society members, dressed in beige robes and weilding deadly weapons – Swords of Sharpness and blades of fire. More concerning, though, was the fact that Itrix held the staff of Laeral Silverhand. Seconds ticked into the combat as blades and hammers flung out of their sheaths and straps, striking blows against bodies all around, but it climaxed as Itrix raised the staff above his head – bleeding from Thaldrak's blade – and spoke:

    "Persistent and pathetic. You will never understand just how insignificant you are." As he brought it down across his knee, breaking the staff and sending a shuddering blast of cacophonous energy rippling out, which decimated himself – who turned to a watery mist – and his allies, who disintegrated into a red haze of gore and guts. Thaldrak was knocked down, but quickly tended to by Kay as Imrith buckled, reverting back to her true form as she leaned forward over the group, preventing the collapse of the structure upon them. 
  • Anael appeared and the group followed her through the circle and to Berdusk, from where they returned to their floating city. They then filled in Dumbledilp and the other remaining agents about what had transpired, as Dumbledilp tried to explain the consequences of the Zhentarim knowing about the scrolls. Foreign and Dilp also indicated that robed individuals atop Wyverns had attempted to land upon the flying city, but were struck down by Foreign and Yao Min.
  • T'avin discovered that they were being scryed by unknown eyes, using his "See Invisibility" spell. Foreign was rather upset about this, because normally scrying is impossible on the Island, due to the Mythallar and Displacer Beast blood that lines the Chapel walls. 
  • They spoke more with Imrith, who told them about her father, King Hekaton, who was imprisoned by Slakarthel. They scryed the giant using Imrith's crown – which was made of King Hekaton's own rib – and found him imprisoned within a dragon skull resting atop a sleeping beast, chained to one of it's scales. The sheer size of the beast made them assume the worst… could it be a Terrasque? The Sleeper? 
  • Using the wand of his father, they scryed Alkahest to find them – Itrix (in multiple copies), Manion, Vigil and 18 henchmen – traversing a sandy tomb in search of a Wish spell from a Djinni Lord and, presumptively, the fourth set of nether scrolls… Planus Mechanus.
  • Bree attuned to Philock's Fist, an artifact that enhanced her constitution and allowed them to communicate with it's denizen; Gwennys. She gave them information about Magnum Opus, that he wants to become the new God of Magic. She said that Mystra existed in seven parts which were tied to morals and magical artifacts, and Magnum Opus was trying to destroy them all. She gave the names for each of the Seven Sisters to Thaldrak, before Bree "shut her off". 
  • Finally, the group continued to discuss where they should go next, debating options ranging from Calimport to Neverwinter.
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Session 34-35: A Solo in the Symphony of Madness
"This is not of the ordning"


"No longer will you control Giant-Kind!"


In Brevitis:

 

  • The party battled Magnus Mortensen and the Mind Flayer of Alkahest, together fighting against them in Emerish's tower with Kraken Society allies. Our heroes were nearly defeated, but determinedly fought on until the Zhentarim arrived to back them up. Together, they captured the Illithid and one of the Kraken Society members, killing the rest and discovering the Magnus Mortensen to be but a copy of the original. In the battle, Viktor Kray was killed, as well as Siras.
  • Following Midnight back to a Zhentarim safehouse, nearby (in Madame Amy's Menagerie), they interrogated the Kraken Society member, a Thayan who told them about Slakarthel, a Kraken existing beneath the sea. During the interrogation, Thaldrak let slip that Dumbledilp was still alive.
  • They then tried to interrogate the Mind Flayer, who blasted them with a mental cone of energy that knocked them down and stunned many in the room, or else knocking them unconscious. The creature tried to escape, but was captured by nearby Zhentarim guards.
  • Midnight arrived, explaining that she had to suppress the knowledge of the fight in the tower, and gather intel about Magnus Mortensen's true position. Furthermore, she worried about the mobilization of the city guard, under the thumb of the imposter Silverhand. She informed them that the Zhentarim had believed Silverhand to be a Yuan-Ti, based on the intel that they had gathered so far. She killed the mind flayer and led the group to a secure place deep within the Undermountain, a completely shut down and evacuated Skullport, to continue the interrogation of the mind flayer.

 

  • There they reincarnated the Mind Flayer as a dwarf and interrogated him, learning much:

    • The Mind Flayer used to belong to a city called Ch'chul, which apparently was either disbanded or destroyed after some event that led to his exile in "The Thousand Darks", either a ubiquitous name for the Underdark or a specific location, there. 
    • In "The Thousand Darks", the Mind Flayer heard the "Call of Slakarthel" and answered it, heading to the Kraken Society and joining to collaborate with the Kraken, itself.
    • The Mind Flayer was to serve as a bridge between the Kraken Society – Slakarthel – and Alkahest. 
    • The Mind Flayer had persistently heard the "call of the symphony", which he often referred to interchangably as "the choir", "the symphony of madness" and other things. 
    • It spoke of the existence of three otherworldly entities that had competing interests and tentative collaborative agreements.

 

  • Siras was resurrected using the reincarnation spell as a Wood Elf, but kept as collateral by Midnight.
  • The party decided to infiltrate Castle Waterdeep that night, in an attempt to take care of the Silverhand impostor while she slept. They made an arrangement with Midnight that she would take the impostor's place. 
  • They made it to the Dock Ward and from the docks, sailed toward the cliff-face where they found the secret passage underneath the castle. 
  • In the secret passage they connected to a sewer system that ran beneath Mount Waterdeep and Castle Waterdeep. They passed an altar upon which was laid a dead, white dragonborn, laying beneath a canine-sized rat among a peaceful bed of purple flowers. As they approached the altar, sad, harrowing music played and echoed along the underground passage, softly. A poem was etched upon the wall behind the body in rigid, non-colloquial draconic:

Where will you be at the end of the world
When the sky shuts like a blinking eye
And the fire beneath our feet unfurls

Love in your heart for all who live
When anyone would take, you only would give

You saw past fur, cuticle and skin
To see the soul residing within

More than a friend, like a father to all
You never failed to answer a call

For help or to be found when alone
Without need of gods, glory or gold

Where will you be at the end of the world
The last time that we will sail the blue
We will accept it, our tears will be few,
For you'll be with us and we'll be with you.

  • Not long after the altar, they ran into a creature that was trying to sneak up on them from one of the sewer passages. They greeted it, and learned it to be a Thri-Kreen named At-At. At-At offered to guide them through to the Castle if they were willing to "destroy the stickies" – gelatinous monsters which occupied the sewers.
  • The party agreed, following the creature and destroying the monsters. One of them stood out, a bluish mass of water that crackled with occasional lightning energy and viscous fluid. It nearly drowned T'avin, but the sorcerer's companions destroyed it and saved him in time. 
  • Three other Thri-Kreen emerged from the darkness to thank the group for their help, providing them more information about the sewer system. They said that ever since "the big poops" started appearing in the sewers, it had attracted creatures from beyond the Castle toward the city. They pointed to a recently created, larger opening that led upward. Among the holes in the ceiling that led above – to the latrines, according to the Thri-Kreen - this was the largest. The party decided that Kay would head above and scout what laid ahead. 
  • Climbing the shaft, Kay was careful to avoid the dangerous mold and fungi which coated the vertical stone toilet, being sure to pay special heed to where his climber's kit was taking him. When he eventually emerged through the hole to the other side, he saw beyond to an oversized bathroom, renovated into several floors of a tower. The room was full of giant-sized furniture, including a basin and a stretch of fabric large enough to cover several human-sized houses, hanging from the wall as a towel. 
  • Kay carefully looked around and spotted three Glyphs of Warding surrounding him, but none on his current position. He realized then, only too late, that he had likely set off one of these glyphs. Hurrying to his feet, he tried to find somewhere to hide as thundering footsteps resounded in the room beyond the open doorway, and the occupant made her way to the halfling. 
  • What transpired next was a precarious game of cat-and-mouse between Kay "The Toilet Thief" Glimshine and the Storm Giant who had emerged from the other room, trying to catch him. It ended in a stalemate when the giant loomed into the toilet, holding her hand threateningly around the circumference of a bolt of lightning. Kay had climbed down some 150 feet, stalled invisibly and unwilling to further move or risk being fried to a crisp. 
  • Kay then began to speak to the Giantess, whom he learned to be named Imrith. He negotiated with her extensively – his life depended on it, after all – and learned that she was impersonating Silverhand, not a Yuan-Ti, as was originally indicated by the Zhentarim. 
  • Kay rekt an Aboleth 1v1 and saved Imrith from it's enslavement. 
  • They learned some useful information from the freed Imrith, who met the party (and the Thri-Kreen) in the sewers beneath Castle Waterdeep.
  • Midnight took Imrith's place as the impostor of Laeral Silverhand. 
  • Midnight told the party that she had been ordered to send them to Neverwinter, where their presence was requested. She didn't seem enthusiastic about enforcing this upon them, though, and freely let them go to the Dock Ward where they could pick up Siras and be on their way. 
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Session 33: 40%
"They were stacked to the brim with magical items..."


When we last left the party…

 

  • They had returned to Waterdeep to take care of personal and group business. Silverhand was being impersonated, and both Kay and Thaldrak wound up in some sticky situations. Kay avoided the grasp of a brain-hungry member of Alkahest and his pet, while Thaldrak landed himself in prison… but escaped. Thereafter they informed their agents of the situation, and the Zhentarim broke in on the plot. Thinking of a plan to depose the Silverhand imposter, the party made their way back to Curious Past, the shop concealing the Harper teleportation circle. There they found three Harper agents tortured and killed, and beyond the circle, at the Altar of Tiamat, found themselves face-to-face with four members of the Kraken Society, armed to the teeth with magical equipment.


In Brevitis:

 

  • The party defeated the Kraken Society members in a battle within the Altar of Tiamat, in the Green Fields. During the battle, one of the members escaped to "inform the Great Eye", and Thaldrak lost his own left eye to a magical slash from the sword of their leading member. Thankfully, Viktor was able to tend to Thaldrak's eye, thinking quickly and cauterizing the wound with a magically conjured, cigar-shaped object.
  • Once defeated, the abundant magical equipment and potions that the opponents held crumbled to ashy dust. Thereafter, the party teleported themselves back up to the flying city and debriefed with Hector, Anael, Dumbledilp and Foreign. They tried to contact Emerish and Robin, but were unsuccessful. 
  • During their discussion with the others, they came to the hypothesis that Alkahest already had two of the five Nether Scrolls – Arcanus Fundare and Magicus Creare, and were able to both create/delete spells from existence and create magical items. 
  • They formed a plan that the city would start travelling North toward Berdusk, away from the Altar, where they feared Magnum Opus and his cronies were lurking about. Berdusk contains the ruins of the previous Harper headquarters, and has a hidden teleportation circle still linked to their network, so the group could easily get back to the flying city from there (they needed to be beneath it to teleport without risk). 
  • Meanwhile, as the city's Mythallar waited to recharge for 3 days prior to the additional 3-day journey North, the party would return to Waterdeep to tidy up their affairs and try to set into motion a plan to de-seat the imposter. 
  • Using the key from Curious Past as a focus for the spell, Anael teleported them back to Waterdeep the next day, where they took care of some shopping while scoping out Emerish's tower and Harper hideout. 
  • Kay investigated the building and saw no sign of foul play or destruction; the locks were even in place. He realized a bit belated that he had forgotten to check for wards and magical traps, but nothing seemed amiss in hindsight. 
  • The halfling noted a covered Calimshani man keeping an eye on the place, though was easily able to avoid his detection. 
  • Meanwhile, Thaldrak and T'avin heard from a street vendor named Ryan that Silverhand had recently bought some snakes from an exotic pets vendor. Investigating, Thaldrak met with the butler of the Manor, who gave him a pamphlet for Madame Amy's, which showcased the various animals she had for sale or sought out. In addition, she also charged a steep fee to hear tales of legendary creatures that she claimed only a handful knew about. The butler confirmed Ryan's story that Silverhand had purchased some animals there, and Thaldrak rejoined the group.
  • Then, they set out to find the Calimshani and – hopefully – their agents. However, in the process, they had to shake a tail. Following them was someone wearing a cloak, disguised as a small Amnian child. They lost the pursuit and looped back to the tower, sneaking back in and investigating further. There, Siras spotted a bloody garment of Calimshani clothing, similar to one that Emerish wears. As they discussed what to do next, they noticed that Siras had heard movement and voices downstairs. Trying to be quiet and get into a position of Ambush, they shifted about the room. However, Viktor, being hung over, couldn't contain himself, and farted. Siras burst out laughing, and the rest of the group sighed. Bree flung open the trap door of the tower's top floor, where they currently resided, only to be greeted by a fireball that flung toward the upper chambers.
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Session 32: Palatine Incubation
"I will taste of your brain-flesh..."

When we last left the party:

 

They brought Belelor the Brave voluntarily back to the floating Netheril city, where they attempted to interrogate him about Alkahest. However, he was wearing a ring of mind-shielding, and refused to take it off. When they pressed the issue, he teleported away. Thankfully, Foreign is an asshole and rigged the mythallar to prevent teleportation outside the city, instead transporting spellcasters to the latrine. The party rushed there to find the faecal-covered Belelor together with the decapitated corpse of his wife, who they killed days prior in Philock, cursing a million and crying out that he had already informed Alkahest… specifically, Itrix So'ban… T'avin's father. They fought and defeated Belelor, killing him. After spending a long night figuring out what they should do next, they eventually decided to head to Waterdeep and attempt to intervene in Silverhand's impersonation. There, Kay visited some old colleagues and got ambushed, Thaldrak got arrested while Bree and T'avin tried to keep things on track in the city of splendors.



"Every resource we have will be poured into finding these Nether Scrolls." 


In Brevitis: 

 

  • Kay defeated the Mind Flayer and it's brainy pet in a bout of halfling intellect and strategy, fleeing for his life to the "merchant" leader, to whom he recapped many details of the past weeks. He reaped some rewards for this, growing in renown and power among those of common trade and craft.
  • In a parallel ploy, Thaldrak escaped his capture at the hands of Connerad Brawnanvil, with no shortage of bruised and battered Brawnanvil vanguard and upset nobles. 
  • Meanwhile, T'avin and Bree met up with Viktor Kray, Emerish and Robin Skavo at Tymora's Favour, where they debriefed the agents about the situation. However, the Bartender halfling overheard that Silverhand was dead and T'avin possessed her staff. Bree tried to catch him, but even with a spell of Haste, the halfling was too elusive.
  • The party decided to head back to Emerish and Robin's safehouse, where they debriefed them and received more information about the situation in Waterdeep:

    • The Dwarves have mostly left the city and returned back to the Dwarfholds, where their economies have started to sink, a theft has occurred in citadel Adbar, and their trust of the kingdoms in the Lord's Alliance is at an all time low. They planned on further facilitating the underdark trade routes between their Dwarven cities and fortifying their internal structures and defences. 
    • The Dwarfhold with the fire primordial is the recently reclaimed Gauntlgrym, the Western-most Dwarfhold North of Waterdeep.
    • Silverhand had kicked out the Neverwinter Nobles and allowed Calimshani and Amnian investment into Waterdeep, which some people are happy about, but many don't like.
    • Magnus Mortensen is the new Hanlon Razor, and the House of Wonders has been focused primarily on Evocation magic ever since the "Thayan Incidents" in Waterdeep to defend against future incursions. 
    • The city guard is working independently of Silverhand's Vanguard.
    • There have been no noticeable changes with Aurunsun Blackstaff, the Archmage of Waterdeep and husband of Silverhand. The party briefly discussed visiting him at Blackstaff Tower. 
    • The agents were planning on establishing an undercover meeting with Silverhand under the pretense that Emerish would be investing in properties in Waterdeep. They didn't expect that Silverhand herself would show up.
    • Emerish told the group that her dad was known in Calimport as a fixer "The Favour Trader" who does as his name suggests, in order to get things done for important people. 
  • They debated a few different plans of attack on Silverhand, also proposing fixing T'avin's sister, Siras, to get her involved in the politics of the situation. T'avin and Bree went to Curious Past to go to the Teleportation circle, though the store was locked. They returned later with the key and found three tortured bodies by the circle. Taking it to the altar of Tiamat, they found the decapitated bodies of the three hags… and four robed individuals with the symbol of the Kraken Society upon their blackened garb. 
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Session 31: Back to the City of Splendors
"Can't we just destroy it with fire from orbit?"


When we last left the party…

 

They defeated the Alkahest expedition in Philock and claimed the silver gauntlet the group were looking for – King Philock's Fist – and captured a stone giant, a Half-Orc knight named Grimlach Stonefist and his Duergar soldiers, as well as a wizard of Alkahest and husband of the slain Talia, Belelor the Brave. Grimlach told them the Duergar wanted their homeland, Cairnheim, reclaimed from a Stone Giant Lich named the Dodkong using King Philock's Fist. They also learned from the stone giant that King Ignitus needed the gauntlet to activate the Vonindod. They learned from Belelor that Alkahest already had one set of the Nether Scrolls and knew the locations of four others. They then tried to convince Belelor that Alkahest was run by a Beholder and a Death Knight, but didn't manage to convince the Dwarf of much other than he needed to be more skeptical. In their exchange with the Dwarf, he grew upset when Bree held the corpse of his wife, and noticed Siras wearing her clothes, and struck Bree with a spell of feeblemind which he later fixed once the party came to an agreement with him. They were unsure about how to proceed with him and the other captives… was it safe to let him live, or would they be forced to take the less humane option?


"Well, shit… this isn't going so well, is it?"


In Brevitis: 

 

  • The party agreed to bring Belelor up to the flying city under the agreement that he isn't made aware of where he is. They parted ways with Grimlach and the Duergar, who wished them a "safe flight". 
  • After some awkward interactions trying to sort out the situation from the Altar of Tiamat, the party eventually let Four-N teleport them up to the Mythallar. Unfortunately, Belelor recognized it immediately for what it was, and Four-N for who he was, and from there deduced where they were. The others began to flip their lids about bringing an Alkahest member aboard, but they insisted that if he is subject to the Circle of Truth spell that he would provide useful information, and could be a handy ally.
  • Hector cast the spell while Belelor prompted the party and the others with questions about the place and their location, then stepping into the circle and agreeing to be interrogated. During the interrogation, he claimed that Itrix So'ban, the father of both Siras and Ta'vin, was a member of Alkahest in charge of one of the strike teams. Belelor spoke of the organization of the group, saying that they were not all informed about each other and subdivided into groups and teams with delegated members responsible for more or less. He mentioned that Virro, Haxiris, Talia and Itrix were the only ones who had met with Vigil, but did not know about the rest.
  • During the interrogation, Kay noticed that Belelor still donned the Ring of Mind Shielding, and realized that this could prevent Hector from telling if he was lying. He informed the others and they requested that he removed it. However, Belelor refused, saying that he remained in constant communication with his dead wife, and refused to be separated from her, again. A tense verbal confrontation ensued, leading to eventual violence, before Belelor attempted to teleport away with Talia's body.
  • At first feeling defeated, the group were informed by Dumbledilp that Four-N usually restricted teleportation from off of the floating city, and could redirect any personally cast teleportation to an alternate location on the island proper… the latrine. He usually did this as a joke, Dilp informed them.
  • They ran to find Four-N, who confirmed this, and then confronted a shit-coated Belelor in combat. They defeated the Dwarf wizard, who professed his vengeance for killing Talia and informed them that he told Itrix everything – about them, the floating city… everything he knew. They slew him and took what was on his person before regrouping and resting the night, aiming to replan.
  • In the night, Bree received a sending from Charles Nandar asking about her wellbeing and that of the group.
  • Kay received a sending from the Hand requesting his presence in Waterdeep, impatiently.
  • T'avin received a sending from his father, Itrix, who goaded the reincarnated man and taunted him with hints of his past.
  • After much debate, the group decided to venture to Waterdeep, where they could rendezvous with their agents there and attempt to put a stop to the would-be Silverhand imposter, and Magnus Mortensen. They learned that Magnus Mortensen was the new Hanlon Razor at the House of Wonders, and that "Silverhand" had amped up political tensions in the region by ousting the Neverwinter Nobles from Waterdeep and facilitating greater economic ties with Amn and Calimshan. 
  • They let Four-N teleport them to Waterdeep, requesting that Anael scry them so often as possible (Viktor or Ta'vin, since the rest had amulets of non-detection). There, they formed a plan to meet at an inn before accompanying Kay to see one of his contacts in the market, Kingfisher.
  • During that confrontation, Thaldrak was escourted away, T'avin following him to find that he was led to the house of a Dwarf noble recently hired to provide a personal vanguard for the new "Silverhand". 
  • Kay ventured off on his own to deal with some personal business, while T'avin and Bree set out to see what they could do to help Thaldrak and rendezvous with their agents.
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Session 29-30: The Silver Linings of Darker Truths
"You killed my wife!" - Belethor


When we last left the party…

 

They hatched the Mithril dragon egg, which was revealed to house Ta'vin, reincarnated into the humanoid body of Solomirthnius; as a Mithril dragonborn. He spoke of a prophecy and of his resurrection being due to divine intervention, though saying that his soul still belonged to Ghaunadaur, the deity that took his life, originally. They found a way to break into the temple compound beneath them, Philock, which they learned was originally constructed to protect an ancient gauntlet. This gauntlet, known as King Philock's Fist, was forged by the dwarves long ago which could handle primordial fire and open a vault in Shanatar. When entering the compound via the primary entrance, they triggered a complex trap close to the main doors resulting in a flow of lava and tumbling boulder. When bursting into the temple, they came upon Duergar miners and wizards of Alkahest. After a brief attempt at stealth, the party engaged them in combat, after being spotted while attempting to invisibly bail out of the compound by a wizard who could see invisibility. 


"Beholder? Dying gods? What are you talking about… stop this nonsense… you killed my wife, and that's all that I care about!" – Belethor


In Breivitis: 

  • The party defeated the wizards and captured the Stone Giant as well as the half-orc paladin, Grimlach Stonefist. During the battle, they accidentally tore a hole in between the planes and brought forth a trio of hags with their cauldron, who disappeared. The party learned that he was raised by the Stoenfist Clan, Duergar in Gracklstugh. He led a band of Duergar to help Alkahest find the gauntlet. In exchange, the wizards were to help the Duergar reclaim their ancestral homelands in Cairnheim, which was now ruled by a Stone Giant lich named the Dodkong. Dwarves originally lived there before being attacked and imprisoned by the Illithid, their warped time in imprisonment leading to their misshapen transformation to the Duergar, the escapers establishing the dark dwarf society in the Underdark. Their abandoned city was taken over by stone giants, though Grimlach did not know anything about the Dodkong. 
  • The party formed an uneven truce together with the remaining Duergar and wizard, Belethor the Brave. Grimlach insisted that the party not kill his remaining miners, to which the party obliged. 
  • A tense standoff ensued between Belethor and the rest of the party. He blamed them for killing his wife, Talia, and would not listen to any of their attempts to inform him of the Beholder or the Death Knight. He only insisted that they bring him Talia's corpse. 
  • Siras went back to retreive the corpse and, together with Grimlach and Bree, brought it to Belethor. Enraged at the sight of Bree holding Talia's head-smashed and looted body aloft, Belethor struck her with a spell of feeblemind, crippling her intellect and sending her spiraling into a state of juvenile regression and simple-mindedness, before Belethor dropped to his knees and wept aside the body.
  • They came to an agreement with Belethor and the Duergar that they would be submitted to a circle of truth spell and tell him everything they knew about Alkahest's "true nature", as well as promising to help reclaim Cairnheim when they were finished with the gauntlet. 
  • The party did so, spending the night at the dig site among the tense atmosphere of upset Duergar, grieving Belethor, and retarded Bree atop the stone giant. The next morning they underwent the circle of truth, and began to try and convince Belethor to come back with them to the flying city. 
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Session 28: Hickson et al.,
"Surrender! Lay down your arms and we will take you to vigil."


"These two people… they're not dead!"


When we last left the party: 

  • They defeated one of Alkahest's members when venturing deep beneath the former Well of Dragons, discovering an ancient Dwarven complex. They interrogated a dead gnome and learned some information about what Alkahest might be looking for. They decided to head back and try again to raid the complex.


In Brevitis:

  • The party filled in the agents about what was going on.
  • They tried again to invade the Dwarven complex, but got caught in a trap and had to bail out of the battle. 
  • They found out that neither Ta'vin nor Arentian are presently dead, or in a resurrectible state.
  • They put the dragon egg into the room from where the fire giant came.
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Session 27: Hammer, meet face
"We wanted to take her ALIVE!"

 

When we last left the party: 

  • They had recruited 8 agents from either the Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, or freelance markets to accomplish various tasks, then transported the flying Netheril city to the Troll Mountains, aiming to head to the Well of Dragons in pursuit of Gwennys' message. While scouting out the city, they found a valuable collection of texts and maps and a workshop to create quasi-magical items, made by the Netheril. 

 

 

In Brevitis:

 

  • The party tried unsuccessfully to communicate with the Treant occupying their floating island, and noticed the wilderness smothering it to be suffering; the foliage was losing its color.
  • They started settling into their new home, and got information from both Four-N and Dumbledilp about the egg and more. 
  • Harshnag was aged by the Epoch Engine, though it didn't seem to affect him physically aside from an extensive increase in his hair and beard length. 
  • They headed down into the Well of Dragons, where they discovered a hidden tunnel that eventually led to a hidden dwarven complex, where they discovered Alkahest was searching for something. 
  • They sprung a trap on a member of Alkahest named Talia and her gnome companion – or at least, a giant in a gnome's body – while the gnome's spirit remained trapped in the stone giant body. 
  • They annihilated the gnome and dwarf, fleeing after being discovered by an invisible duergar, thinking that the Stone Giant was leaving the tunnels to head to the surface, where he would intersect with their arriving agents. 
  • They encountered the Stone Giant en route and engaged him, though he got away.
  • After meeting their agents, they interrogated the dead body of the gnome using the spell Speak with Dead and learned that according to the spirit of the stone giant: 

    • The Vonindöd's construction is complete
    • The giants require only a fire primordial to activate it
    • And some other things, that were hard to decipher given that the body had no teeth left.
       
  • Bree went with the diaper-clad Yao-Min to the top of the massive stone Cathedral. There, Yao-Min became ecstatic about the Mithril Dragon Egg and induced a spiritual experience in Bree. She then found herself conversing with a Bronze Dragon atop of Mount Evereska.

 

"You have three more questions."

 

"Where's my boyfriend? Have you seen my boyfriend?"

 

"No and no…You now have one more question."

 

"Oh… shit."

View
Session 26: Decisions, Decisions
So where do you plan to go first?


"We could tame the Roc? Who's in favor of taming the Roc? Raise your hand." – Kay, during a discussion on how to get to the floating Netheril city.


When we last left the party, they…

  • Saved Ravenstone and uncovered a plot to rouse the giants and construct the Vonindöd
  • Discovered a link between the giant activity and a shady guild, named Alkahest
  • Joined the Lord's Alliance and banded together with Lady Silverhand to stop the guild
  • Blew up the inside of the House of Wonders and a Waterdeep Inn, and received a chilling prophecy
  • Traveled North to drop off orphaned children from Ravenstone (3 originally; 1 captured & 1 killed en route) at a monastery, then head further North to follow-up Alkahest leads.
  • Roused up some Calimshani and recruited a battlerager-cleric named Alamathar 
  • Met and recruited an ally bladesinger, Zephyr Zanzibar, son of one of the Alkahest members and – supposedly – of the Zsass Tam, Lich-King of Thay.
  • Were attacked by assassins, whom they defeated, but whom also successfully poisoned Arentian and Alamathar with the Mark of Bane.
  • Healed Arentian at the Monastery, and agreed to help them find two missing monks in the Sword Mountains, in exchange for a diamond to cure Alamathar.
  • Lost T'avin in the ruined and desecrated temple of Shar when looking for the monks.
  • Discovered the giants had taken the monks, and set out to reincarnate T'avin with the help of Drothakk, a new Orog ally.
  • Met the brother of Thaldrak, Benthran, and an academic, Dr. Pilgrim, who led a digging expedition to find the tomb of the Orog high shaman, where he believed a map to one set of the Nether Scrolls laid.
  • Swapped out Drothakk for Dr. Pilgrim (to the displeasure of the Orog) and set out in search of the tomb, which had already been raided. En route, they met a stone giant who sought a long-lost Dwarven kingdom of Shanatar.
  • Saw Dr. Pilgrim get killed in the tomb by a trap, and the party escaped to the surface, empty-handed (save for a lot of platinum they found in a vein nearby).
  • Uncovered that the Dwarves were killed by the rampaging Stone Giant, which the party discovered upon re-emerging from the mountain.
  • decided then to head toward the hideout of an Alkahest member, Haxiris, where they uncovered the truths concerning a horrific disease decimating the draconic population known as the Draconecrogen. Haxiris blamed Silverhand for releasing the disease.
  • encountered Haxiris in the hideout, as well as Zalara and Virro. They parlayed, and learned much about the guild from the Wizard, who had reincarnated himself as an Orog from a Dragonborn to avoid the necrogen.
  • Took part in a horrific battle between the Guild and faction leaders, whereupon they slew three of the guild members, but Silverhand and Hector, a leader of the Order of the Gauntlet, were both slain by a Death Knight that had appeared.
  • Defeated a horrific monster in the hideout, but not before Benthran was horribly killed.
  • Discovered a Mithral Dragon egg in the monster's lair, and the bodies of many individuals, including Gwennys, a missing charge of Thaldrak, and T'avin/Siras' younger brother.
  • Met up with Dumbledilp, whose corporeal form was trapped in the Astral Plane, but sought to still help them in the fight against Alkahest. 
  • Learned that Silverhand was supposedly still active in Waterdeep, and assumed it to be an imposter.
  • Reincarnated Hector, and tried to reincarnate Benthran… but he came back as a Dragonborn. Knowing the necrogen would do it's work, they put him back to rest.
  • Pulled from the Deck of Many Things, resulting in Arentian being Donjon'd and a Netheril City being plucked from another plane of existence.
  • Went to the nearby gnome town of Ierithymbul, where they sought to fix a small airship tied to a device from Mechanus known as the Epoch Engine. 
  • Met a new ally in Ierithymbul, Bree Hodge, the (pregnant) girlfriend of Arentian who joined them until they could find the silver-haired sorcerer again. 
  • Fixed the Epoch Engine, though this resulted in Kay growing 120 years older, and flew off to investigate the Netheril City that had appeared.
  • Were attacked by a Roc Bird and nearly lost their lives as their airship was destroyed, crashing into the side of the flying island. The epoch engine was tangled in the vines and foliage descending from the floating mass.
  • Met Ioun, who asked them to lift a curse from the island.
  • Released a Frost Giant, Harshnag, and a Fire Giant, Ephestimus, and took and defeated a Dracolich. The fire giant was killed, but they imprisoned the Dracolich in a magical blue cube they found in the House of Wonders, known as the Octochoron.  
  • Lifted the curse after finding the Earthbinder, a mysterious magical entity that oversaw the use of the Mythallar in the Netheril City. 

Most Netheril cities cameth crashing down aft'r Karsus' Folly, but a few did escape to the Shadowfel. We did escape to the feywild. But this wast our doom. – Ioun


 


In Brevitis: 

  • The party decided on agents to recruit and dispatch for specific tasks and missions, diversifying what they can accomplish across the Sword Coast. Some were from the Harpers and some from the Order of the Gauntlet, a few were even free agents:

    • Anael Aeraloth – Diviner stationed at the Netheril City (ETA 3 Days)
    • Dr. Viktor Kray – Doctor / Aberration Hunter
    • Hannah Ellerslie – Mastermind
    • Robin Skavo – Cleric
    • Emerish Amsalumani III – Diplomat
    • Sir Chadwyck – Paladin
    • "Dusty" – Giant Hunter
    • Yao-Min Fa – Spirit Guide
  • Kay received a message from the Zhentarim, demanding an in-person meeting within 17 days.
  • They decided on a plan of action, aiming to first head to the Well of Dragons to investigate Gwenny's message, and taking Dilp's teleportation circle there to Waterdeep, where they could attend to the imposter Silverhand.
  • Foreign was instructed to teleport the city to the area above the Troll Mountains, Southeast of the ruins that are the former Well of Dragons. 
  • The party investigated the city thoroughly, finding:

    • The Treant, who could only speak Sylvan
    • A forge that was used to make tools and ceremonial weapons, which was decapitated and overgrown
    • A massive interconnected study area containing ancient books, maps and calligraphy was available for them to study and examine.
    • A magical workshop the Netheril used to manufacture and enchant quasi-magical items, which only retained their magical properties while within proximity of the Mythallar. 
  • Prepared to head down to the Well of Dragons.
View
Session 20-25: Netheril
"I WILL SEE WHAT SHE HIDES DEEP IN THAT MIND. "

When we last left the party…

  • They saved Ravenstone from the experiments of a terrible, mad wizard, and set off to Waterdeep to warn of a giant attack on the town.
  • In Waterdeep, they uncovered a greater plot by a Wizard's guild, which they would later learn to be named Alkahest, linked to the giants. An explosion in a wizard's academy and local inn resulted in many deaths, but before the party could set out, they tied themselves to the various factions – Mainly, the Lord's Alliance and Lady Laeral Silverhand, herself. 
  • Silverhand asked them to investigate to the North – they were headed there, anyway, to drop off some orphaned infants from Ravenstone at a Monastery – to investigate the hideout of one member of the guild – Haxiris. Too, they were asked to investigate rumors of giants around the town of Triboar, and a Hill Giant occupying the town of Longsaddle. Then, onward to Luskan, where the bread crumb trail seemed to lead to two to three of the wizards. 
  • Along the North Road, the party had many unfortunate and fortunate adventures. They lost two of the children – Midge Nesper and Grim Agganar - and had a rather unfortunate run-in with a passing Calimshani caravan in Amphail. Later, two assassins tried to spring upon them, but despite all of this, the party remained steadfast on the trail to the monastery.
  • Along the road, they made a new friend in a bladesinger wizard named Zephyr Zanzibar who covered his face, as well as a dwarf battlerager/cleric named Alamathar. 
  • Poisoned from the assassins, Arentian and Alamathar found themselves clinging onto the delicate threads of life as the group rushed onward to the monastery in the Northern Sword Mountains. There, they healed Arentian, but did not have the resources to help poor Alamathar. So, they set out on a quest to help their new companion, leaving Enthoril behind, who wished to stay and aid the dying dwarf. They began a quest to find two missing monks in the mountains, with the hopes of earning the use of the monk's most prized possession – a diamond known as the Oculus Eye.
  • Gone for naught but two days, tragedy befell the group: T'avin met his demise at an abandoned temple of Shar, which they learned was cursed by an ancient and mysterious diety named Ghaunadaur. 
  • Continuing along the trail for the missing monks, the party headed south, following tips from an Orog that they rescued from the temple curse. Drothakk, the orog, led them to where he had seen the Frost Giants heading, knowing well that they had taken the monks from the cursed orc-kin. Along that route, they also ran into T'avin's sister Siras, who was sent to rendezvous with them on behalf of Lady Silverhand. 
  • Once they came before the Frost Giants, it was clear that the party was outmatched. They chose instead to follow a legend told to them by Drothakk, speaking of reincarnation magics buried beneath the mountains that once belonged to his shaman leader, Uthuk Urkrypt. West, they went, their hearts heavy as they understood that it was likely already too late for the poor monks, and for poor Alamathar. 
  • Eventually, they arrived at the site of where the tomb would be buried, deep under a mountain and at the exact site of a dwarven dig site. There, they met Dr. Pilgrim, a gnome archeologist and academic who was searching for the same tomb as them, as well as the brother of Thaldrakk, Benthran. Benthran had supposedly undertaken a spiritual quest to find his brother, which led him in advance to the mine, whereupon he had worked for months, waiting for fate to bring his brother forth. 
  • Dr. Pilgrim and the party struck a deal whereupon they could help one another – clear out some baddies from the dig site, and the party could look around. During their discussion, they learned that Dr. Pilgrim truly sought the tomb because of a legend that the high shaman was buried with a map to one of the sets of Nether Scrolls, powerful, ancient artifacts tied to the origins of magic, itself. 
  • While helping Dr. Pilgrim out in the dig site, the party incidentally discovered the entrance to the tunnels, which presumptively led to the tomb! Excited, they began the arduous journey down to find it. En route, they discovered a mysterious giant who roared about a personal quest, but eventually made their way through to the place… only to find that someone had already been there.
  • The traps of the tomb were discharged and the sarcophagi looted; Dr. Pilgrim and the party were too late. To make matters worse, when trying to get out of the tomb, Dr. Pilgrim was killed in one of the traps, and both Kay and Arentian suffered terrible diseases from the same. 
  • Finally, they emerged from the tomb onto the surface, only to discover that the giant they had encountered had laid waste to the digsite, killing most of the dwarves. 
  • They continued on to the hideout of Haxiris, where they learned a horrible secret – a disease known as the Draconecrophage was ravaging the draconic populations of the Sword Coast, eliminating them entirely or placing selective pressure to induce the birth of new varieties. 
  • Then, resting in the hideout, they were discovered by none other than Haxiris himself, as well as two other known guild members… Virro, the mother of Zanzibar, and Zalara. Thankfully, there was room for negotiation, and the party learned much from the group. Most disturbingly, that Haxiris thought Lady Silverhand to be behind the release of the necrogen. Suddenly, though, they were faced with a terrible choice. Silverhand was on her way – with three others – and didn't know about the guild's presence! They chose to await her arrival.
  • When Silverhand arose, Haxiris confronted her, and a combat erupted. When the dust settled, three guild members and one of Silverhand's paladin allies were dead, one Alkahest member – Virro - as well as Zanzibar and the leader of the Harpers, Dumbledilp, were unaccounted for. Silverhand herself was slain… by a death knight. 


The combat was over. Many were dead; many enemies, indeed. Though, it was not clear who had won. Silverhand was dead, reduced to a pile of ashes by a horrific undead creature, a Death Knight, as well as one of her greatest allies. Her only other remaining ally, a wizard and leader of the Harpers, was unaccounted for. Though they weren't the only ones. Zalara, Salsalaniir, and – for better or worse – Haxiris were also no more. Though Virro and her son – and the party's former companion, Zephyr Zanzibar, were also unaccounted for. As the group looked over the carnage, their halfling rogue stood on the second floor of the hidden mountain hideout, now a literal stone graveyard.

Kay stood over the corpse of Salsalaniir and pulled out one of the darkened bottles of Mortu, a terrible magical acid that, when poured upon the eyes of a corpse, sever the spirit's connection to the material world and prevent reincarnation. As the evil gelatinous goop dripped out of the vial and sizzled onto the disintegrating, dead eyes of the black tiefling wizard, the halfling did what only came naturally – he eyed the possessions of the wizard. Taking what he deemed valuable, the major peculiarities were the red jacket and spellbook of the wizard, a black, leathery tome chained to his belt that felt uncomfortable – almost sticky – to touch. 

Down below, the others began to do the same with what was left of the dead from their combat. Silverhand's staff was nowhere to be seen, but they managed to produce quite a magical arsenal of equipment, weapons and clothing. Arentian nearly met the same fate as T'avin when he approached the body of Zalara, a tentacled rod whipping out at him, propelling itself forward to the sorcerer with it's own ravenous hate and otherworldly consciousness. Thankfully, though, Thaldrak was there to tend to his friend's wounds as Siras destroyed the thing. "That's what killed your brother," Thaldrak added, as the rod shattered into thousands of obsidian shards that sprinkled across the stone cobbles. 

The morbid deed was tainted a bit by the appearance of Astrus, Haxiris' pet Void Dragon, who emerged from the Smoke Room together with Max when the silver-haired sorcerer went to check on their safety. Astrus wailed and moaned in sorrow as he saw the corpse of his former master, the orog laying crumpled in a heap on the ground among the scorchmarks and bloodstains that marred the otherwise pristine stone entrance. Siras offered the Dragon a few words of sympathy before heading upstairs, closely followed by Thaldrak and Arentian. 

Once reunited with Kay, Siras took notice of the book in the halfling's hands. Immediately, she took it up and opened it, but something wasn't right. Her mind began spinning and her chest became cold and hollow… she felt a change, deep within her. The others took note, as her face blanched and her eyes rolled back, for a split second. But her tone became sharp and scolding as she dismissed their concerns, and urged them onward to explore the rest of the hideout. They shrugged, presuming her change in attitude to be due to the trauma of the battle, and the loss of her own master, Silverhand. They inspected the nearest two doors in one side of the hall and found only one to be locked and trapped. On the opposite side was a small closet with extravagant clothes, whereas a large door was locked with an impressively intricate lock mechanism. "I can unlock this, but it will take me some hours," Kay said, aloud. 

Huffing, Siras uncharacteristically shot an insult their way and opened the unlocked door opposite the one the halfling inspected. Immediately, a click resounded as she looked into the artfully painted room, but saw it only for a split second as a green-acid bolt slammed into her chest and propelled her into the door opposite. She slumped unconscious, a scalding concaved wound showing her sternum and ribcage sizzling beneath acid-burned skin. Thaldrak rushed toward her and bandaged her wounds, doing his best to keep anyone else from dying in that place. She came to after a few minutes, though her chippy dark sarcasm was replaced by a bitter blame directed at her companions. They, too, levied loud voices her way, chastizing her choice to enter the room unbidden, when they started to notice an abnormal manner to her tone and behavior. Clearly, something was influencing her. Clearly, it was that book she still held in her hand, despite her brief lapse in consciousness. They tried to take it from her, but she refused, and among a tirade of words, they had to resort to restraining the woman as she flailed about, doing everything in her power to stop the – in her mind – unjustifiable assault. Faces tight with concern and frustration, the group decided to knock her unconscious and remove the book from her hands, stashing it away in the bag of holding where it wouldn't be read by anyone else, anytime soon. 

For the third time that day, Thaldrak tended to the wounds of his friend, and Siras came to. She felt lighter and fatigued, not recalling anything since the moment before she opened the book. Needless to say, she was shocked and apalled to hear their account of what had transpired in the recent minutes… never mind the horrific scalding upon her chest. Thaldrak helped her up as Kay offered some chipper words of comfort, and they agreed to enter the room, then… this time, together. 

As they entered the room, they came upon a breathtaking sight. Opposite where they had entered was a masterful mural painted upon the walls of the room, stretching from left to right, each wall depicting one of three different scenes.

  • On the left wall, a pale, long-haired and robed individual stood alongside a werewolf, posed mid-howl as the moonlight reflected across a glean coat of fur. They stood parallel, looking from a cliff-face over a foggy and decrepit landscape of wilderness and ruins, while the blanket of night stretched atop them. 
  • On the right wall, a raging sea storm tossed about a massive caravel, the wooden ship being crunched apart by great, purple tentacles that reached from the angry waters to bind the vessel. Sailors leapt or fell overboard as parts of the ship crunched and crumpled under a brown sky, dark clouds split by veins of lightning and a curtain of rain.
  • Finally, on the wall opposite them, was depicted a single eye, from which yellow sun-like beams emitted alongside shadowy parallels. The centered eye was unlike anything they had ever seen: a literal microchasm of a clear night's sky sprinkled with stars and adorned with a single, twinkling, pupil-like ball of white light in the center. Nothing about the eye seemed benevolent or peaceful; on the contrary, it was overbearing and penetrating, like a metaphor for every aspect of the feeling that "someone is watching".

The hairs on their backs stood on end as they investigated the room. Thaldrak walked about with his hands running along the smooth, stone walls, inspecting the mural, while Siras took note of the runes inscribed on the floor. She recognized them as those of a teleportation circle, and pointed this out to her companions. They all agreed that they should disrupt the circle, rubbing aside the runes once Siras inscribed them onto some parchment. Kay, Benthran and Siras then started outside as Thaldrak ran his hands along the far wall, and suddenly a voice entered his head. It seemed low and probing, uttering impossible, layered words of nonsense not ever pronouncable by the dwarf's tongue. He shuddered as he rushed to join his friends in the hall. 

They continued along then, moving a few dozen feet to the right, where an identical, locked door awaited them. Kay got busy with the contraption, breaking out his tools and slipping them into the crevasse. Easily, the lock gave way as the mechanism became clear to the halfling, and the door unlocked. Cautiously, this time, they formed a plan to open the door, Thaldrak running downstairs to grab a table (while Benthran sipped… or chugged wine) to use as a barrier. Though despite their caution, no danger awaited them in the empty room, beyond. These walls were undecorated, though the floor was adorned with a similar teleportation circle. As they did in the previous room, Siras noted the runes and smudged the circle, and they continued on, again. 

On the opposite end of the top floor was the smoke room – which they had already entered – and a room that they had yet to explore. Opposite that was a small closet stuffed full of ceremonial clothes from various regions and countries of Faerûn. Benthran wasted no time in dressing with a feathered hat and ceremonial tribal garb of leaves tucked about a harness… all of that beneath a massive fur coat. His brother could only roll his eyes. 

As Kay got to work on the lock mechanism for this final door, they prepared themselves with the propped-up table and readied positions. The lock sprang, and they opened the door… but no trap awaited them. Inside was a large, double-bed with fanciful furniture and artwork; a bedroom. They entered, taking special care to eye any traps or out-of-place objects, and looked around the place. The only thing of note were some small paintings of Dragonborn children beside the bed, and a family portrait of sorts above the bed. In the portrait, a blue Dragonborn family stood – likely that of Haxiris – with man, wife, and two children. A tragic tale unfolded in their minds as they realized that Haxiris' wife and children were likely killed by the necrogen, and they sighed with a heavy heart as they thought of his reincarnated Orog corpse, downstairs, knowing that despite his efforts, his family line was at an end.

Benthran explored the far side of the room as Kay and Thaldrak thumbed about the portrait, searching for some hidden compartment. Benthran discovered only the toilet, but the others found a hidden indentation in the stone wall, hiding a sack of treasure, scrolls and gemstones. "His getaway bag…" Kay explained, doing a mental tally of the treasure before him. As they looked in the bag, Benthran walked over to the bedside. Before the bed was a wide, low chest that stretched from his new friends to the wall… nearly ten feet. Must be nice stuff, inside! Benthran thought, as he reached down to open it. "Wait, don't…!" Kay, Thaldrak and Siras shouted in unison, noticing just too late as the druid grabbed the clasp and pulled. Immediately, dark runes surrounding the lock puffed out a black, negative energy that quickly expanded and exploded, bursting out in a cacophonous FWOOM that enveloped the druid. He quivered as it stretched through his body, shaking his head when it finally stopped. His friends gave him quite the verbal lashing, then, as they shouted at him for being so stupid and risking their lives. Kay bent low to examine the chest, unlocked the clasp and saw a second trap, within… linked to a circle of death spell. 

"Alright, so if you open this, I'll kill you!" Kay said, pointing his finger into Benthran's chest.

Siras looked down at the pair, and sighed, "Can we please get some rest before continuing to open trapped things…" 

They agreed, and headed downstairs to find a safe place to rest. Astrus still laid atop Haxiris, where he now slept, occasionally muttering Draconic pleas of sorrow for Haxiris to return. They checked out the remaining rooms, being careful to not open any chests or wardrobes, finding one such chest in a hidden room along a storage of wine. The last two remaining rooms were an abandoned alchemy laboratory and a living room, of sorts… an eternal fire burning within the fireplace lighting the furniture in the room. Cots lined the perimeter as exotic sofas and tables filled the center. They decided to rest there, and set up camp for the night. 

Before they rested, though, Arentian asked Astrus if it would be better to give the dead man a proper funeral, offering to fulfill Astrus' wishes. The dragon agreed, and the pair dragged Haxiris' corpse to the fireplace room, where Astrus obliterated it to ash with his dragon breath. They then set up to rest.


That night, their rest was troubled by eerie moaning and humming sounds coming from the second floor. Thaldrak told the others about the voice he had heard in his head, and they all agreed that the mural room was a troublesome place. Thaldrak went upstairs during his watch to have a look in the keyhole… and a bloodshot eye lowered to look at him, back. Withholding his shriek of surprise and slight terror, the dwarf rushed downstairs to tell the others. However, none could validate his claim, as they saw nothing in the keyhole, and nothing in the room. Thaldrak shuddered and shook his head, thinking that he only needed some extra sleep, and that the duress of the last days had begun to wear upon him. 

Things only intensified during the watch of Benthran and Arentian. Benthran heard an eerie laughter in his head that echoed from up the stairs. At first he ignored it, but it began to beckon to him. Again, he tried to ignore it, going instead to the abandoned alchemy room in an attempt to mix up some potions or poltrices from the rotten ingredients. He had no success, however, and the voices only continued… one speaking with a whisper right in his ear. He spun around and saw a ghost of a little girl Dragonborn in the doorway, calling out to him. When he refused, she shrieked, shattering all the glass in the room. Thinking a fight with undead to be at hand, Benthran rushed out of the room to retrieve Arentian, but when they returned, they saw all the glass intact. Nothing had been broken, and Arentian did not hear the voices. 

Benthran continued his watch, then, walking alongside Arentian. As they made their way up the stairs, the voices intensified. They came from the bedroom, and when Benthran checked inside, he saw a trio of ghosts… a female Dragonborn and two children. They bid him to enter, and could seemingly physically touch him. Arentian saw no such thing, though, and encouraged Benthran to leave the room and ignore the voices. Though the dwarf, now curious, let them lead him into one of the wardrobes, that depicted a painting of Haxiris with seven female wizards and one terribly old male wizard. As the ghosts disappeared behind the painting, Benthran moved it aside and saw a small tunnel, leading onward into deep, ultimate blackness. 

He shook his head, though, and pulled away from the ghosts, joining Arentian and telling him what he saw. They agreed to check it out the next morning, after a good rest and with all of their friends. 

They did so, returning to the room to finish their exploration, for one, and tend to their druid companion's claim, for two. They all saw the hole in the wardrobe, and the tunnel that led down to the blackness. Even with Razzik's Eye, Kay saw nothing but a spinning void, an eerie black emptyness. The ghosts remained, but none could see them save for Benthran. They did as they had the previous night, and led him on into the tunnel. Feeling that this was somehow important, Benthran complied with their urges, and climbed into the tunnel. They all watched as Benthran crawled further and further, but twenty feet into the congested space, when Benthran's hand reached out into the blackness, he felt a terrible vaccuum tug at him and a searing pain from his elbow as he howled in surprise and pain. He backed up as fast as he could, the others rushing forward to pull him out, as he looked at where his hand had used to be… a stump was left behind, bleeding and torn like it had been obliterated in an instant. Suddenly, realization came upon Siras and Kay as Thaldrak freaked out, grabbing at his healing kit and tending to his shocked and bleeding brother… who had just survived a near-death encounter with a sphere of annihilation. 

Once all was said-and-done, they ensured that Benthran was alright to continue, and continued to explore the place. They wouldn't know it yet, but it was only the first of many terrible things to happen, that day. Kay set to work on the large, intricate lock mechanism that adorned the two doors they had yet to open. It took him a few hours, but when it was done, the door slid back into the wall, a thick iron slab that revealed a second iron door, with a simpler mechanism. Upon this door was depicted a strange, blobby outline of a peculiar shape. None of them could make anything of it, and they decided to unlock the next door. As they did so, and it, too, slid into a recess of the wall, it revealed a terrible sight. A horrific, tentacled creature – as large as a dragon - burst out from the room beyond which stank of dereliction and death. It crunched the bones and bodies of dead that lined the floor as it's four legs rushed toward the group, and it's mouth tentacles reached out to snatch or lash them. 

A cone of mental energy first fell upon them, then, – FWOOP – as they staggered with the blast. Weapons were drawn as they flung into combat, trading blows with the thing. Benthran transformed into a bear as they slashed and jabbed at purple tentacles that swooped out to wrap onto Benthran and nearly onto Kay. Thinking Benthran tough and safe, they were shocked to see the tentacle crush the bear into submission, as the form reverted to the one-handed dwarf. Desperately, they worked to free their companion, rushing onward to slash at it more, as milky white blood poured out onto the floor and mixed with their own. 

They could only watch in horror, though, as the longest tentacle of the thing tore a hole under Benthran's cheek and jabbed into his face, sliding under his skin and penetrating the cheek of his skull. He shrieked in agony and fear as the loud crunching of bone stopped and was replaced by a sucking and slurping, as his face went blank and his thrashing body quivered, then stopped moving. It consumed his brain. 

Tossing aside his body, the creature met a raging Thaldrak, who cried out in emotional agony and denial, screaming to the gods for tearing away his brother, at this creature for killing him, mere days from being reunited. He rose his weapon and jabbed or slashed, backed up by the quickening from Siras and daggers that sailed above his head and into the creature. Siras and Kay unleashed their own magical or thrown fury, respectively, but neither could match that of Thaldrak. They took blow after blow, but soon emerged victorious… the creature's head lopped clean off by Thaldrak's blade as white, thick blood sprayed out from it's neck. It writhed about, jerking in the spasms of death as Thaldrak fell to his knees in grief. 

When he did so, as the battle rage ceased, his eyes fell to the ground, at the decomposing bodies that littered the room, of which his brother's was one. There, his grief was multiplied logarithmically, as he saw a second corpse that he recognized… Gwennys. For months… nearly a year… he had been searching for her. Desperately, trying to right an incidental wrong. Long ago, he had been charged with escorting her – a diplomat – from Mithral Hall to Waterdeep. However, after a few drinks at an inn en route, he slumped into an unusual slumber and when he awoke, she was nowhere to be found. Since then, he had seen no sign of her, and had been stripped of his honor, his dignity and pride. All of that felt torn from him, lost to the winds of fate by this terrible creature and those who had kept it, as he wept for a long, long time. 

Kay, Arentian and Siras moved into the room to comfort their friend and take full inventory of the terrible sight, then noticing behind the creature a peculiar sight. A massive silver egg – the size of a human being – laid upright in the center of the room. It shone as if a light glimmered upon it, revealing it's various metallic contours. It looked almost as if it were a metallic statue cast from a forge, with contours and textures resembling that of hardened molten metal. Arentian examined it from a distance, knowing full-well what it could imply. Though Siras placed her hand upon it, recalling that her prayers to Bahamut had in recent days gone unanswered, and felt the warmth of life. Before pointing it out to the others, she, too, looked about… and she, too, noticed a corpse that triggered recognition in her mind. Her brother… her other brother… laid dead on the ground. She searched his body, immediately, finding some papers hastily etched in an unfamiliar language. She pocketed them and moved alongside Thaldrak, who continued to weep, his shoulders shaking.

As his tides of his tears began to stem, Thaldrak wiped away the wetness of blood and sorrow from his face and growing beard, then began the terribly morbid task of investigating Gwenny's corpse. She was nude, but in her hand clutched a single pebble-sized object. He took it, and examined it more carefully. It was a note wrapped about a seemingly inconspicuous stone, but Thaldrak immediately recognized it as a Diplomat Stone; an object kept by dwarven diplomats to leave one-time verbal messages for themselves or others, activated by a codeword. He read the instructions on the note, and spoke it aloud. The stone warmed as it glowed bright red, and he heard the message in his mind.

Once finished, Thaldrak stood, thinking to tell his companions about the message at a more appropriate moment. He examined the egg, which he recognized to look nearly identical to Mithril, a precious nearly-magical metal found deep in the most rich of Dwarven mines. Siras explained that it was a Dragon egg, and likely that of a metallic dragon. They agreed to keep it safe, and together rolled it to a far corner of the house.

They then decided to finish the task of exploring the house, before moving to take another rest. They headed to the bedroom, and Kay set to the task of defusing the Circle of Death spell. As he did so, he saw in the chest a single, massive, unimpressive tome, as well as a few other objects, among them a bottled potion and two scrolls. Siras identified one of the scrolls, etched with white ink on paper black as ash or obsidian… a scroll of Power Word: Kill, the most evil and deadly spell known to magic. She then took the book, written in Draconic, and began to read it, as the others investigated the black box that was also in the chest. They found a music box atop the side table, and Kay assured them that it was not trapped. As he opened it, a song began to chime. They shrugged, looking at the little aquamarine, mechanical draconic figurines that danced about atop it, and continued to explore. While they did this, Siras read the book, which apparently documented Haxiris' life story, thus far. 

She didn't get far, though, as Kay grabbed the music box and lifted it, the bottom gave out, and a familiar stone plummetted onto the ground… "Oh no," Kay said, under his breath, as the room suddenly filled with a raging inferno, fire exploding outward from the pearl-sized stone that hit the ground. Everything non-magical and flammable was incinerated in the blast, including the book and all of their clothes and hair. Siras and Arentian went down, nearly gripped by the firey hand of death, but were thankfully saved by Thaldrak's healer's kit. Shaking off the pain of their misfortune, they gathered their senses and looked about the charred room. 

"Dammit!" Kay shouted, "Not this, again!" 

Siras, too, bit back her frustration, her face flushed with the heat, but also the frustration of knowing that she will never read the book they found. 

Then, they continued downstairs, investigating the last, remaining chest of the hideout. There, they uncovered a pair of magical boots and other various items, of which included a magical staff that appeared as an icicle topped by some kind of tribal beads and ceramics. As Arentian gripped it in his hands, he sought to figure out what it did, and pointed it at a corner of the room, willing power out of the item. 

Unfortunately for them, this power arrived… as a storm of ice and wind lashed out of the staff and into their faces, filling the room with a plume of cutting iced glass and frigid, biting wind. It stopped as suddenly as it started, though, as Siras and Arentian went down, again, for the second time that day. 

Cursing audibly at the absurdity of the situation, Thaldrak rushed to them to tend their wounds. "You… stupid!" He shouted at Arentian. "Stupid! I have only enough bandages for one more of these!" 


Their rest began, Thaldrak took watch. Not long after, he heard activity when the front doors of the hideout began to move. Fearing the worst, he awoke the others and prepared for combat, thinking that the Death Knight had returned to finish what he'd started. Thankfully, that was not the case, as a spectral wizard – Dumbledilp, by his word – emerged. Dilp explained that during the battle, Virro had triggered a magical tear that sucked her, Zanzibar and Dilp to the Astral plane. Once there, Dilp saw no discernable sign of the pair, but took immediate notice of the disarray and chaotic organization that was the astral plane. He tried to explain this succinctly to Thaldrak, but the abstractness of it all detracted from the purpose, as Dilp rounded to the point to explain that when he tried to teleport back to the Material plane, his corporeal form remained behind. This left him unable to interact with the physical world outside of magical objects and divination spells. He pointed then to a bag of holding that hung from his shoulder, and explained that he had returned to bring the party aid, knowing full well what had transpired in the hideout and seeking answers of his own. 

Satisfied with this, Thaldrak brought him in to speak to the others. There, they informed Dilp about their story from beginning to end, being careful to leave out details that he needn't need to know. In turn, Dilp informed them of something that Siras had learned, herself… Silverhand was supposedly alive and well, or at least someone posing as her was, in Waterdeep. Siras learned this as she magically contacted her mother. 

By the end of their long, exhausting conversation, the group agreed on a few things. First, they needed sleep. Next, they had some planning to do… A LOT of planning… as too many things needed their attention. 


The next morning, Dumbledilp produced the sack and showed them what he had brought. In addition to what they had found on the dead combatants, Dilp produced a small arsenal of his own. He distributed the items and investigated or identified those they had found in the hideout, laying everything out so they could decide who would weild what. What caught their attention most, though, was the black box. 

"A deck of many things!" Dumbledilp shouted, his spectal voice echoing in the room. He explained what the item did, and the various risks and potential rewards that awaited those who would choose to draw from it. "This is one of the most powerful magical artifacts in existence… yes, an artifact!" Dumbledilp cautioned. "Drawing from it warps the very fabric of time and space itself, as the weave enacts to induce the fate called upon by the card! I know only of the most terrible and the most incredible of these … the worst is the Donjon, a terrible card that, when drawn, traps the drawer somewhere unbeknownst to all; sealed away in a limbo for all time! But the best… the best card yields unto you up to 3 uses of the spell Wish… which can, upon it's casting, alter reality and re-weave the fates, themselves! You could wish an entire being into or out of existence… think of the possibilities! There are many of these such decks, with differing numbers of cards. I count… 53, here? So that's 51 possibilities that I could never tell you." 

As Dumbledilp explained how the deck was used, they felt the tingle of the possibilities. What if they drew something that would help them in defeating the guild… or what if they got use of that wish spell?? The prospect was too enticing to miss… and they did draw. 

As they finished their draws, the effects happened simultaneously… a sudden lightening of Thaldrak's pack and then, POOF, the disappearance of Arentian. "Oh no!" Dumbledilp cried aloud… "The Donjon!"


As they recovered from the theft of their companion from their party simply by the cruel hand of fate, the group took inventory of what had happened. Thaldrak lost all of his wealth, and all the wealth of the group had also disappeared. This meant the pounds and pounds of platinum that they had found! They cursed aloud when realizing this, feeling as though Tymora herself has twisted this luck against them. 

After the shock had worn off, they tried to think of a way to recover Arentian, but the disbelief of the situation was real; there was nothing they could do. Distraught, they moved on to the next order of business… reincarnating Hector, the only dead person whose body remained, intact. Dumbledilp had granted them three reincarnation scrolls, and they intended to use at least one to bring back the mighty paladin. Unfortunately, upon the first casting, he was brought back as a Dragonborn. Realizing the implications in light of the necrogen, Dilp ordered him killed and a redo… as they used a second scroll. This time, Hector re-emerged as a halfling, stout and Kay-sized with dark, long, waivy hair and a glorious moustache. 

Needless to say, the paladin wasn't overly pleased with his transformation. He loudly bickered with Dilp and Sirus for a while before the group brought him up to speed on what was happening.

"Okay then, so…" Hector looked between them, "What next?" 

"Well, we have a number of threats," Dumbledilp began, 

"And no easy way of getting to any of them," Thaldrak said.

"We could go to my mother?" Siras suggested, openly.

"Siras, your mother is in Luskan. So far as we know, that is where this guild is based," Kay began, "It took us nearly a month to get here, it would take twice as long to get to Luskan, or more!" 

"Right, we have a problem of transportation," Dilp nodded in agreement. "And I might have a solution. The gnomes nearby, in the village named Ieirithymbul, they have an airship. That's the short story. They're shipwrecked explorers from Lantan, an island far to the south that worships Gond, the God of invention and innovation. They owe me a favor, and if you can get their airship working again – which I know how to do – then maybe they will let you use it. Or if not, at least you can sail with them to Lantan and purchase a new one." 

"With what money?" Siras asked, exasperated, "we lost all of our gold!" 

"Well, one thing at a time," Dilp responded. "So?" 


They agreed, and set off to the village. Once there, they were greeted by a fairly grumpy old, black gnome. All the gnomes were black, they noticed. And not black like those from the southern lands, but black like a drow. Deep gnomes; svirnebli! 

Their village seemed largely built underground, with only the tops of the structures protruding from the ground. Each of them were interconnected by large, rotating logs which eventually led to string of massive water mill buildings. They went through the typical process of being vetted by the gnomes, checked for security reasons and brought over to the town inn, where they had gathered to discuss "serious matters". When they entered the large, packed inn, though – and it was packed with at least 80 of the gnomes – they immediately noticed something odd. And not the conveyor belts that sent drinks and snack flying across the room, nor the gears spinning on the walls or the peculiar bottles of liquor that seemed to litter the shelves randomly placed in blank spaces between them. Standing in the center of the inn, drinking from the bar, was a familiar red-haired woman. Fair-skinned and donning only simple armor, she wore a belt made of beast hides that was far too large for her waist, and her muscles seemed to bulge beyond what they would expect… yet they thought it was… Bree Hodge? 

"You guys! I've been looking for you fucking guys for weeks!" The woman arose in a fury and slammed her glass onto the bar table, smashing it into pieces. 

What ensued was a tirade of curse words and ranting by Bree, who had been searching for Arentian. Apparently, the young, silver-haired slick had knocked her up those weeks ago in Ravenstone! She was upset that he had never communicated back to her with the ring he had supposedly picked up from the masked Lord in Waterdeep; little did she know, however, that it had been taken by the Garrote. As the tirade neared it's end, the wrinkled svirfnebli leader spoke up and demanded answers concerning the flying island – yes, island – that had appeared above the mountains. 

Flabbergasted by this claim, the group refused to believe that such a thing had appeared; they had never seen it, after all! But Bree affirmed the claim – a floating island, complete with an overgrown city, had appeared above the mountains before being obscured by clouds a few short hours later. Having lived through a metaphorical, magical rollercoaster ride in the last day or two, the party collectively moaned and thought back to the Deck of Many Things. 

They agreed to help the gnomes investigate the island, but first had to undergo a kind of test to permit their free traversal around the community. Kay and, surprisingly, Bree, both passed the test of knowledge, but Thaldrak and Siras were unable to answer the gnome's questions. Thus, Kay spent his time in the town bar, aiming to get ahold of the bottle Dilp had earlier referred to (while pocketing something for himself) as Siras helped him with a few songs to distract what gnomes remained. Meanwhile, Bree and Thaldrak visited the shrine of Gond, built by the gnomes to the God of Invention. 

Having completed his task, Kay then turned in for rest before the others joined, as they discussed their plan of action. It was here that Bree decided to follow and help the group – so long as they would find Arentian, so she could punish him herself, of course. After a restful night in the gnomish town, Kay headed with Bree to attempt to repair the gnomes' fallen airship. According to Dilp, the task shouldn't be too difficult. Dilp had informed Kay that a

  • Kay fixed the ship, but activated the Epoch Engine, which physically aged him nearly a century
  • The group departed together with the gnome leader to investigate the island. 
  • En route, the party was assaulted by a gargantuan Roc, together with a flock of smaller birds
  • Their ship was nearly destroyed, and they crashed into the side of the island. The epoch engine became tangled in the vines overtaking the place, but they managed to climb to the safety of it's floating surface.
  • They explored the small ruins of the city on the island, which was over-run with living plant-like creatures. A giant treant occupied the center of the city. 
  • They entered the largest building in the center of the city. There, they saw a massive white globe, and met Congenio Ioun, a Netherese Lich and creator of the famed Ioun stones.
  • Ioun asked if they would lift the curse of the island, but was vague about what this was and how it would be accomplished. He sealed the doors of the cathedral behind the party and undead attacked them.
  • The group defeated the undead and learned from Ioun that they had to descend to the bowels of the city beneath the cathedral and find his phylactery, then destroy it. 
  • They headed down and decimated another group of undead in a close fight whereupon they incidentally summoned a unicorn named Heather from the Beastlands, and nearly became the victims of a horrific banshee. 
  • In these catacombs, they encountered five differently-shaped doors which were marked with different runes. They discussed which they should take, and recognized one of the runes as matching the same on the Oculus Eye stone in the center of the Lockridge Mine near the monastery. 
  • They investigated each door. One was triangular and led to a small passage down, either circle doors were both frigid cold or scalding hot, the massive rectangular door was heavily fortified, and produced loud banging noises as Kay approached. The final door was unremarkable and held a humid atmosphere.
  • They decided to head toward one of the square doors that felt humid. Kay opened the door easily, and behind it they observed the decrepit remains of a jungle overflowing with undead dinosaurs. 
  • While investigating, the party mistakenly lured a zombie T-rex out of the wooded area. Siras attacked it with a fireball, and it engaged them in horrible combat. They easily defeated it before quickly investigating the area before it burned down – Siras stopping briefly to channel T'avin, decimating a group of a dozen Velociraptors with a single Fireball spell.
  • They then opened the warm circle door, where they encountered a Fire Giant named Ephestiphus. He emerged naked from boiling lava, attacking them. They defeated him rather easily, however, and he told them that a dragon was kept behind the rectangular doors, and that a Frost Giant was kept behind the other circular doors. They made him promise to help them fight the dragon, reasoning that it likely guarded the phylactery.
  • Following this encounter they confronted the Frost Giant, who was named Harshnag ("Hashtag"). He formed a bond with the party almost immediately, thanks to his carefree, agreeable nature… with a healthy side of overconfidence and aggression. He, too, agreed to help them fight the dragon.
  • After a rest to prepare, they headed to the large door and initiated the hardest fight of their lives, so far… against a Dracolich and nearly two-dozen of his skeleton cronies. While they nearly lost both Harshnag and Bree – and Ephestiphus died – they decimated the skeletons and defeated the Dracolich, capturing it in the Cubic Prism, the Octochoron.
  • Their victory was bittersweet, however, as they did not find the phylactery in the room the Dragon obviously guarded. Instead they found a single piece of parchment, that seemed to contain a code or puzzle. Siras and Kay immediately took interest.
  • They headed down to the final layer beneath the place, then, where they encountered a peculiar individual of unknown origins and make named the Earthbinder. He was bald and muscular, with spectacles dangling at the tip of his nose. His skin was a leathery brown, rough and textured, covered in red, swirling and thorned tribal tattoos. Purple strips of fabric dangled from his collarbone with no visible way of physically hanging from his body, giving the impression of a shoulder-less robe. He was surrounded by wispy creatures of various elements and makes that seemed to giggle and cackle while they spoke in high-pitched, jittery voices, in an unknown language. 
  • They learned that the man – or being – was some kind of representative of an ancient being known as the Terraseer. The Earthbinder told them that the Terraseer foresaw Karsus' Folly and advised many Netheril cities to flee to other planes of existence. Several fled to the Shadowfel, but Ioun instead directed the Earthbinder to send them to the Feywild. There, their magics did not work, and while the island remained suspended, they could not leave to retreive food or water. Eventually, the population started to starve, and Ioun asked the Earthbinder to enact the curse – turn them undead, and Ioun into a lich. It was meant to be temporary, reversible for up to a century, but much more time than that had passed, and it was too late. He directed the group to the Phylactery, which he kept above his bed, and Thaldrak destroyed. 
  • The Earthbinder claimed that he was responsible for controlling the Mythallar, the large sphere in the cathedral that suspended the city from the ground and gave it it's magic. He explained what the city could do and how he would permit ownership of the place to the party. 
  • Furthermore, the Earthbinder agreed with the party's cause and offered to help, telling them that the Netheril did not, in fact, pen the Nether Scrolls, but merely found them. They were written by an ancient race – one of the first sentient races on Toril, a "creator race" - known as the Sarrukh.
  • The party told him about the Epoch Engine and asked Harshnag to retrieve it, and asked the Earthbinder to teleport them down to Dumbledilp, so that they could explain their situation. 
  • Once below, they explained what had transpired to Dumbledilp, who had informed them that he had penned a list of trusted contacts that they could hire or recruit to accomplish more than one task; forming strike teams of agents while the party took care of the most pressing objectives. 

 

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