October 6, 2012

Alturiak – 30 – 1479 D.R. – Main Page

Alturiak 30th (con’t)

[Shadowfell Realm]

Andraste hasn’t been asleep very long when she hears her trap bells. Hearing a hushed voice that might be Cutter’s she sneaks out to investigate. Three dark, winged shapes are crouched in the clearing along with several armored humanoids. As she gets closer she also sees Cutter being held at spear point. A harsh voice questions Cutter about trespassers which Cutter denies. The questioner barks that he’s lied and threatens to let the winged creatures tear him to shreds.

Andraste pulls her bow and shoots at the head of the soldier holding the spear. The arrow flies true and slices through the soldier’s temple killing him in one shot. While the other soldiers are surprised Cutter grabs the spear and drops into a fighter’s stance. Andraste shoots another arrow wounding a second soldier. The 3 winged creatures launch into the air.

Cutter drives the spear into the wounded soldier, killing him. The remaining soldiers surround Cutter and attack him but he manages to hold them off taking a few small nicks. The flying creatures are circling the battle and screeching in some apparent form of communication with the soldiers. Andraste moves in on the battle and draws her sword and dagger.

As she gets closer the humanoids seem “different” – there is something wrong with their eyes. Cutter and Andraste finish off all but 1 of the guards while dodging swoop attacks from the winged creatures. Andraste moves away to find cover, leaving Cutter to finish off the last guard. Before anything else can happen though the winged creatures manage to grab them both, lifting them into the air.

Andraste kills the creature holding her and phase steps over to the creature holding Cutter. She fails to grab it however and starts to fall. Cutter grabs Andraste preventing her from plummeting to the ground. While trying to attack this flyer Andraste fumbles and drops her hat of disguise and her bow.

Horns blare, closer. Andraste looks in the distance and sees a vast army. Iron Circle banners dot the landscape.

Andraste and Cutter manage todamage the wing and the creature drops them. They are severely injured by the fall but manage to stealthily hide in some nearby ruins. They work towards patching each other up.

[Faerun – 3am]

Nimrozan emerges from the study to talk with Adrian. He has found something in the shodowfell books. He claims that the veil can be made “thin” by the use of magic to allow for easier travel. He also says the veil can be measured by ensorcelling a piece of obsidian. Performing the ritual the obsidian turns a translucent color indicating the thin veil. He recommends that trusted people take the obsidian and spread out, finding out how widespread the thin veil is. He gives Adrian 6 pieces of ensorcelled obsidian.

Adrian tracks down Evon and explains the magic obsidian and the “thin” veil. Evon goes to check out the study while Adrian goes to get Elantris. Elantris begs off so he can complete his reverie. Adrian heads for the stockade.

Evon and Adrian use the rocks to scout the grounds and city. They determine the thin veil ends at the edges of the city. The only anomaly is the Septarch’s Tower which has a wide circle around it which has not been affected.

When Elantris finally emerges Adrian fills him in on the details of the veil. Elantris, however, has an agenda he feels passionate about with the approach of the 2 armies. He has drawn up a draft of martial law for Lord Markelhay to review, change, and ultimately sign. Further a draft should be instituted to augment the city’s forces. This will be used to force the Gravelstokes to release their soldiers or bring a confrontation to a head prior to the external armies arising.

Elantris, Adrian, and Evon discuss Andraste’s fate. Elantris doesn’t believe she should be a priority and is concerned we don’t know how to get to the shadow realm, how to find her once we’re there, nor how to get back. Nimrozan pipes up that Elves are not unknown to shadow magic, at least in the past where they trained small numbers to “fight fire with fire”.

Elantris pulls out the map of the Tyela Neuma. Nimrozan’s ears perk up, “Did you say Tyela Neuma? How well versed are you on the ancient Elven tongues? That translates to ‘Shadow Key’. One of the ancient artifact of the old world. The elven mage who constructed it made it to unbind or unlock things. However, tomes that I read in Candlekeep, also say it can bind as well as unbind so it can be used as a lock.” He looks at the map and declares it’s gibberish.

On a whim Evon pulls out the Dethyk enscorelled letter and presents it to Nimrozan. He recants a spell and confirms it’s spelled but has no idea what the runes mean.

Evon expresses his desire to go into the shadow realm, not only to find Andraste to assess the evil represented there. Nimrozan grabs a pack and a book, “Let’s go.” Adrian pipes up that he is coming. Elantris asks Nimrozan how time works between the two realms. Nimrozan claims that hours pass in the shadow realm while mere minutes pass in Faerun. That decides it for Elantris, he is coming. He summons the chamberlain and gives him is notes and instructions.

Nimrozan performs the ritual and portal of inky blackness appears. Evon steps through the portal. The rest follow.

[Shadowfell Realm]

Evon steps into some ruins. A few seconds later Adrian and then Elantris emerge. Behind Elantris the portal closes – Nimrozan did not come through. We search the grounds and find signs of a skirmish – blood trails and drag marks leading in different directions and some discarded weapons and armor pieces. The sky is just starting to lighten.

Having no good way to discern Andraste’s location Evon prepares to perform the Hand of Fate ritual. The others scout a ways, scaring off some shadow cats. The cats appear to be the ones that dragged off and ate the corpses. Adrian finds an elven arrow through a head on one of the bodies.

As we enter the trees we find some crude noise traps and surmise Andraste was here.

Evon finishes the ritual and they hear a horn blare in the distance. They ask their questions.

“In what direction should we travel to reach our companion the elf Andraste Miritar?”

The hand points towards where we heard the horn sound.

“In what direction should we travel to reach Lady Allande Markelhay?”

The hand points once again in the direction of the horn sound.

“In what direction is the safest route to return to Fallcrest in the Nentir Vale on Faerun?”

The hand points the same direction a third time.

Our course is clear. We set out, searching as we go along. Our obsidian stones are nearly clear.

We find an elven bow and the Hat of Disguise, both of which we recognize as Andraste’s. We continue marching towards the horn sounds. We find a ruined tower which Adrian ascends to view the surroundings. He sees a valley with a river. In the distances is a castle. The valley is filled with the troops of a vast army, ten thousand troops or more. He can see them performing training and preparation exercises.

We decide our best bet is to get to the castle. We start skirting the army, Adrian dons the Hat of Disguise and assumes the visage of an Iron Circle guard.

We ambush a patrol to get gear for Elantris and Evon to disguise themselves in non-magical fashion.

Andraste and Cutter hear a commotion. In particular Andraste hears a familiar invocation to Bahamut and motions Cutter to follow. As they approach a clearing she sees 3 figures, 2 of which she recognizes as Elantris and Evon. She does a bird call the group has used in the passed and tells Cutter she knows 2 of them. Cutter steps out and motions everyone to hide, “The flyers will be back.”

After a quick standoff by both sides to make sure everyone is who they say introductions are made. Cutter abruptly announces, “I’m leaving. As I suspected you are trouble.” We offer him food and drink to take with him but ask him some questions first. He says the Iron Circle army arrived a few weeks earlier from another realm.

We find a place for a secure campsite as many of us still need rest. About midday Elantris hears a voice, “Is this where my bacon has gone off to?” Nimrozan wanders into our camp. He followed the magic of the spelled obsidian and found us. Apparently the portal collapsed before he could enter and he had to make another one to follow us.

Elantris stays up with Nimrozan while the rest of us finish sleeping. We break camp and it’s early evening.

We discuss our options. The first is to attempt to transport back to Faerun and try to seal off the Shadowfell. The problem with this option is the time difference between the realms. With time passing far more slowly in Faerun the Shadow Queen may execute our plans before we can do anything.

Our second option is to try to cut the head off the serpent as it were and take out the queen. Nimrozan suggests he can teleport us directly there, following the objects she has brought from Faerun. We decide on this course of action.

Nimrozan casts the spell and we all pass through… into a walk in closet of sorts filled with clothing, jewelry, and many other objects. A thick curtain drape covers the entrance of the closet. Beyond we hear a woman’s voice.

“Tell me Lord Vennick, when will the troops be ready?”, asks the queen. By the voice it is obviously Lady Markelhay.

“My queen, the troops are ready. We can make the crossing to Fallcrest at your command,” a gruff voice replies.

“Very good. Let me make the necessary preparations and we can finish what we’ve started. We can strike before the defenses of Fallcrest have time to prepare. After we have seized the city we can move on to the next phase of our plan. Soon I will have what I need to open the keep outside Winterhaven.”

“You have no qualms dealing with the Bloodspears?” a hint of concern in Vennick’s voice creep through.

“They know their place. All will tremble before our dark master when he walks the lands of Faerun. All will die as he unleashes his wrath. If there is nothing else to report please leave me to my preparations.”

“As you wish my queen,” Vennick says and retreats. As the door closes behind him Andraste peaks out of the room. Lady Markelhay appears alone, adorned in black robes. She stands atop a small dais looking out a large window in the far corner of the room.

Andraste sneaks out while the rest of us wait and garrotes her, preventing her from casting spells or calling for help. Andraste whispers, “Bet you didn’t expect to see me bitch,” into the surprised queen’s ear.

The rest of us close in on her to attack. Just as we finish killing her an alarm goes off throughout the castle. (Nimrozan accidentally cast an alarm spell instead of a wizard’s lock spell on the door but the group does not know this.)

The doors burst open and guards pour in.

Andraste searches the body of Lady Markelhay while the rest of us move to engage the guard. Nimrozan finishes the guards off with an arc of lightning. Andraste finds some jewels but not much else. Just then a huge figure with a flaming sword bursts into the room. The efreet growls, “You will all die,” and we recognize the voice as Lord Vennick.

We kill Lord Vennick and with his dying breath he mutters, “The dark lord will have his revenge.”

We burn the bodies of Lady Markelhay and Lord Vennick. Andraste finishes searching the room and puts several items in the packs – symbols of Orcus, the book from the pedestal, more jewels, a holy relic of Tiamet, and some correspondence letters we’ll go through later.

We head for the dungeons to see if there are any prisoners from Faerun, particularly Dar Gremmeth or Raethann who are currently missing.

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October 6, 2012

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