Rivkin and Friends (Campaign Record)

Official News of the Green Dragon Slaying!

The party has been resting and relaxing for the last 9 months after a close call, and a failed attempt to track and confront Seth, the evil demon who is planning something drastic in the northlands. The Chateau construction is nearing completion, and a well deserved break has ended with the party making a daring midnight passage from the Cormyrian trade capital of Marsember. Once again, Baron Harksheen has aided us in our activities.

Baron Harksheen Update

I shall summarize here all I know of the Baron, as I deem it necessary to remind myself what forces he commands and where his allegiances are. Baron Harksheen rules the somewhat new ‘province’ of Kethuul in eastern Cormyr. His lands stretch from north of the road to Thunder Gap, the land 10 miles to the west of the Immerflow, until it reaches the edge of the Storm Horn Mountains is his. The township from which he rules is called Aestvale. Aestvale has a population of about 300. And boasts a small river port (man made). Outyling farmsteads account for another hundred or so. He has very good stables for being so remote, and tells me he keeps his armory fully stocked in case Cormyr should have need of his services. His land is a small tract, but near good water. Our Chateau is his land’s northern most boundary. His responsibility it is to ensure trade on the Immerflow and ensure nothing threatening comes down the river from its source in the Thunder Peaks. He is allowed up to forty men at arms, and his own herald. The lord of Arabel is his lord. His is most appreciative of our work in putting to rest the hauntings of the chateau and the strange creatures drawn to it. He has hinted at some stranger things about its past, and I fear he may know much that we tried to keep hidden. Soldiers of Cormyr are a common site now. I know that the minstrel Surri used to be good friends with the Baron, and have since had a falling out. Surri has not been seen in these parts (or any that I can tell) for six winters. I also know the Baron has a son, who left home to join the Silver Talents. His lands are part of the Cormyrian Defense League. His right hand man, and Captain of The Watch is Thommond, a powerful warrior. He himself is a rude, vulgar man, but he keeps his equipment clean, and is fastidious about his men doing the same. Of magic, I can say that his gauntlets, his sword and a ring all radiate as though magical when detect for. Lt. He commands twelve (12) ‘regular’ soldiers. His Security Chief is Halwell, a micey little man of rogue-ish nature. Leiutenant Eli Van Cleef is second in command of the Watch, and also commands the town militia. Also a vulgar man, his merits must be, like Thommond, in his experience and as a soldier. He can bring up to an additional twelve men, but only three regularly patrol the ports and river area. None of the officers, and most of the soldiers are not well liked by the townsfolk, but they keep the peace, and do a good job of it, mostly through fear. Both Eli, Thommond and some of the soldiers radiate magic themselves. Edwin Tree Branch is the Baron’s hunter. He knows the Hullack Forest very well. The Baron has confessed to me he believes him to be a Harper agent. The baron’s symbol is a man, bearing the weight of a huge globe, his fingers piercing the globe as he desperately balances the burden on his shoulders. The Baron has mention has wizard, but gives him neither name nor abilities. (mental note: check with the war wizards to get at least a name)

In Cormyr

Regarding the chateau proper, I have arranged permission to harvest woods, and cut stone from the nearby quarry for a modest fee. The vineyards of the chateau are full of a unique breed of grapes. The harsh winters of Cormyr kill most, and we needs must fight to keep them alive every year, but they produce a rather tart, sweet wine, that is only palatable when heated, and then it is a most wonderous taste indeed. The information scavenged from the history of the chateau claim this, and it may take years before we discover the exact secret of re-creating the process. I have brought in foresters and herbalists to assist in this.

Vaide Update

Posing as one of Clavel Vaides merchant vessels, Rivkin is accomplishing a dual mission of bringing an a magical treatise from Waterdeep to the Immersea to the War Wizards of Cormyr regarding the cult of the dragon (courtesy of the temple of Mystra and Sisters’ contacts) and implicating Vaides company in a smuggling operation.

After Dragon; Procampur

The party had just finished a bout of week long informal meetings with city and country officials. A series of tariffs had been imposed upon the coinage leaving Procampur, but more interesting were the fees leveraged upon magic items. There were a few on record, known to have taken by the dragon that were not in his hoard. The party had long since removed them in secret, and hidden them in a series of shady dealings involving port officials and Rivkin. Some were accounted for in the Dragon’s ledger, but a few were never found. Suspicion was the order of the day. The boat was repeatedly searched in a series of “routine inspections” by the dock master. A relaxing week of rest, in which most were sponsored by nobles and inns to regale the crowd with stories and tales flew by in a haze of wine, song and dance. Many offered services and favors to the party members, although Xeron’s reputation as a drunkard soon spread and he was less welcome than others. Rivkin sponsored a craft festival, in which some of the loot was displayed, and local wares were sold. Tereya was asked many times to take a son here and there or even an occasional daughter for a day of tutelage. After 3 weeks of time in Procampur, the party was rested enough to return. During this time, the party has been found is under watch of the Cult of the Dragon. They have sent for Caine in Ravens Bluff, and hope that he will bring what remains of the Silver Talents (now known as the Silver Hawks Mercenary Company) to deal with the party. They are planning on trying to deal with the party for a specific item – the amulet of Non Detection that the party has. Posing as a sage, a priest of the cult named Kremlis has approached the party and offered to buy the item.

The party is suspicious and bargains for 10000gp and another 10000 gp worth of sage work. Of course, they are bargaining with an impersonator, but they do not know. The Cult of the Dragon ends up with the Amulet of Non Detection (works only for dragons), and the party is wealthier. The deception is discovered due to the cult’s own ego, and in a letter addressed to the “lap dogs of the sword coast” they implicate themselves. Rivkin intercepts this letter before it reaches the rest of the party members and hires the Rogues Guild in Raven’s Bluff (where it was sent from) to steal the item back. A bit shorter of cash and weeks later, it will be returned to Cormyr, into the hands Rivkin.

Its a quiet night in the port of Procampur. The full moon is out, the light is remarkably brilliant off the water. It is a Holy Day to Umberlee for some, and no boats sail tonight. The docks are virtually empty as you make your way along the wharf. You pass the customs office. A weak light shines in the face of the darkness around you from under the door. The knock shatters the air. You are welcomed. Papers are signed drinks are exchanged, a you are regaled with tales of bygone days from a sad old man. After an hour, you depart, all papers ready for taking a morning leave from Procampur. You leave while the city is still awake, heading for some good music and good wine, and the rest of your companions.

Up ahead, in the welcoming light of the street lamps, and old man is accosted by a beggar. The brash youth is slow tongued but insulting. Their game ends before you can choose to do anything, as the youth sees you coming. “Evening!” he shouts rather loudly. “Might ye have a coin or two to spare m’lord and lady?” He grins with half a mouth of teeth and begins to do a bit of song and dance routine.
>> Roll surprise at -3.
The youth and old beggar are undead, disguised and imbued with spells by the Dark Necromancer.
At last the youth finishes spinning and gesticulating and his eyes turn black and a twisted grin appears as the flesh falls from his face. “You are mine now” he says in a low voice looking at Rivkin. The old man scoots back in surprised fear.
>> The youth casts Hold Person on Rivkin & Ganja with a speed factor of 1.
>> The old man casts the same on Tereya & Xeron

Tereya does not get held due to the Ring of Free Action, nor does Ganja the Ranger. ____ observes this from his room in the Inn above the street. The battle ensues, Tereya yells for the Watch. She uses her amulet to drive back one zombie, the other is possessed by the Dark Necromancer, who is immune to turning. He attacks Tereya, and is driven back by Ganja. Peckie [Jamie] cast spectral hand to assist in the fight below, whichever side looks like it may win he intends to side with. Tereya kills the zombie next round, causing both to lose animation as the Necromancers presence leaves. The Watch arrives and holds everyone for questioning, especially Peckie as his spectral hand was seen floating down from above, and he is now suspect by the Watch and party for being an agent against the party. While being held for 4 hours, no one speaks to him other than the Watch commander. The party is let loose and interrogates [Jamie] on their own. He tries to convince them of his innocence, but Rivkin is out for blood. His persistence leads him to a show of good faith, as he promises to perform a task on the party’s behalf to prove his good will. Rivkin smiles and the party shakes their heads collectively. Certainly you will”, says Rivkin. “Are you adverse to travel?” Nay, I was just about to leave this place”. “Excellent, we shall gather you in the early morrow.” And the party leaves to get what rest they can at a local Inn. In the early morning, before the sun rises, workers and skiffs arrive to the _______[boat] and begins to load the cargo that had been hidden.

Cloud giant island

Rivkin arrives and helps break the party free, getting scarred in the progress. Slaps his hand over the bugbears mouth as he tries to slit his throat.
Kill mage of the Ebon Hand, taking him from his tent at night
take the carpet back to ______
“I should tell you I have had a rather stern talking to by the high priestess of Eldath, here anyway.” It went about the same for me, what could I say. There was this air of command about her, I found myself helpless before such fervor. I agreed to do whatever was necessary to retrieve there most vaunted priestess, she who has slipped through our grasp time and again.”
Baron Harksheen sends his greetings. He has sent men to the valley to make sure the damn soldiers do not ruin our first good crop of grapes. With the war, they must perish, but the crops will continue as long as the plants live. He promised to get what he could, and I also swore to him that we would return to look for his precious armor. That man can be quite single minded of purpose. I daresay his magician has availed him of Seth’s activities, or I can explain not how he knows so much. Seth is prowling the northlands, apparently having deceived and recruited our favorite wizard of Luho, Stephan, to his ‘cause’. More bad news do I bring, for Cormyr has retreated from the Dale lands to defend her own borders. The goblins of the Goblin Marches are restless again and raiding the borders. Elminster has openly warned Sembia of the folly of encroaching into the Dale Lands. And lastly, I have learned that Clavel Vaide has doubled the bounty on my head, and put a price of ten thousand upon yours Tereya. A price of two thousand has been set for those who travel with us. Rumors also speak of the Cult of Loviatar and Clavel allying themselves against us, some third party having brought them together. I would venture that perhaps his wife and our recent escapade have something to do with it. I heard that his 2 boats in port in Marsember were searched the following day, and Drow paraphernalia was found, bound for Westgate. His and his family’s operation in Cormyr is finished. That’s all the bright and cheery news I have.” Oh, Baron Harksheen’s wizard sends his greetings. I must say I never suspected that he was so powerful. It was through his spells that we came here so quick, if you understand my meaning. I wish I understood the Baron more, he and his allies sometimes give me cause to wonder.”

Sept.. As a synopsis of last night. the party was last known to be in first Waterdeep briefly on its way to, and ending up in Neverwinter. Mercy and Jacuul discovered from Sister Julianna that Seth had been seen in Neverwinter. His activities have been traced to a specific curio/antique shop (as well as others as Rivkin’s rogue guild contacts can confirm). In an attempt to lure him out, Mercy and Jacuul revealed their presence and information as possibly having a book that we believe Seth is looking for. A spell book was donated by Rivkin and enchantments placed on it to buy time, but the shop proprietor was unhelpful and Seth never showed.

From the diary of Rivkin

Today I noticed that the ravens have been seen more often at the chateau. This plague was taken care of by Ganja. The ones he was able to capture seemed, odd, perhaps ensorceled he said. I trust not the machinations of ravens after dealing with Gorfyn and his crow spies. Perhaps the druids watch. What have I done that engenders so little trust? Perhaps the druids discovered who stripped the bark from the elm in their sacred grove and have come in turn to strip something from myself.

Jacuul has expressed a desire to apprentice himself to one of the ancient dragons. More specifically, a mutual acquaintance of ours that we once aided in removing some rivals. The coloring upon the great wyrm’s were similar to a fool’s eye, and at once the peasants believed this once benevolent creature had turned upon them. Whilst his scales glint with the dark blue hue of sapphire, the pale, motley blue of the others fooled the locales. The two blues were engaged in combat and vanquished, by the three of us. Having also provided Byzanthus (the great wyrm) with a beneficial trade for magic and knowledge, he was favorably inclined to take Jacuul on as an apprentice. I gave Jacuul instructions to contact the ranger Tarnsman Ashwell at a certain inn in the city Elturel, between Proskur and Baldur’s Gate. I had maintained contact with Byzanthus through various channels and knew this man was the agent of the wyrm. Mercy (and odd name if you knew the man) and the half-orc warrior Asher Roo I sent to guard Jacuul, and to run errands for me in Waterdeep, as elements of it have become most hostile to me of late (mental note: Vaide must die). I had commissioned 2 magical constructs of stone, more commonly known as Iun Stones for assistance in the lair of the fire giants. Much knowledge and money were paid for these things, and only through divulging my reasons was I able to have the church of Eldath interviene with the Lawful Order of Magist and Protectors to proceed with the commission. Blasted guild mettles too often in my affairs, I believe that Kelban might have held some sort of personal grudge against me, which he has passed on in turn to his wife, who directs much of the LOMP activities these days (mental note: find a way to ingratiate the guild). Anyway, I digress. I have sent Brother Mongo to the Weavers and Dyers guild hall to retrieve these two stones, my contact in that guild serving as an agent in my dealings with The Salamander Guild agents, through which the funds and commission was channeled. He has been very useful in translating more of the pictographs on the tunnels which form the catacombs under the chateau. I need him to return a copy of his work to the LOMP for evaluation. He is going so as to answer any questions they may have, although I anticipate none right away. Mercy is also to retrieve war horses for our journey to the south. I have spent seven years breeding horses, and it seems time that I make use of them. The dozen horses Mercy will return with represents nearly three quarters of my stables in Waterdeep. I pray the he returns with them safe. I know they will be delayed with Byzantus, and so I have asked my companion Xeron to meet them in Waterdeep. He needs to no protection, only the fools who cross him need protection. He will meet them at the stables. I pray to Sune that the road villains will fear the power of the warrior-priest more than the greed for the horses, they represent a significant monetary investment I can ill afford to lose in these dire times.

From what I can put together, the previous actions detailed were executed as such:
Xeron traveled to Waterdeep with no problems. The rough life on the road only re-forges his toughness. The others made it to Elturel with only a couple incidents. The caravan they had attached themselves to was attacked. Out of the morning mist, the caravan master’s throat was pierced with an arrow. Later, only the combined efforts of the part saved him, Jacuul using his magical carpet to get him to Ierabor in time to save him. Some creature, large enough to throw small boulders, crushed a horse’s neck and frightened others, halting the caravan. Goblin worg riders attacked the rear. Brother Mongo conjured beasts to attack the archers in the mist, which frightened the whole lot. I am to understand that Mercy also lead the defense of the caravan. Well done both of them, and Jacuul’s carpet saved the life of caravan master Llewelyn. I must enquire as to his health and possible reward for my companions.

[16 goblins (worg riders and archers; 2 ogres; formorian giant; goblin shaman – fogs and clouds/air)]

I did not know Bother Mongo was capable of such feats, and he assures me he is quite proficient. (mental note: discover his origins) His scholarly abilities are impressive as well. He has been a great help in the translation of the old form of common to new. Perhaps we shall offer him a chance for high adventure when we make our assault (such as it is) on the holdfast of the fire giants. I was visited in my dreams by a priestess of Eldath again. She implored me to hurry. I need sleep, not guilt (note that I feel any guilt over the matter). (mental note: commission more art for the gallery in Sune’s name at Neverwinter) Riders were seen at various times. The party rested in the city of Elturel, and traveled on to Triel, to meet Tarnsman Ashwell at the contact point of the Eliach Tavern. During the trip, gnoll riders were seeing shadowing the remains of the caravan. With Dragonspear Castle active, trade must not be well for Triel, isolated on a trade route little used any more. The party was contacted in the local inn by an individual calling himself William Clay. The group confronted the man on his source of knowledge, as he claimed to know that they were looking for the ranger. He indicated that there could be no other reason. It is suspected that this may have been Byzantus himself. This individual claimed to be able to contact Tarnsman Ashwell directly. After double checking the next morning at the tavern, and learning it would be some time before the ranger came to town. They took William (Bill) up on his offer, and followed him to a game trail crossroads called, strangely enough, Ashers Cross, 2 hours north of the town. Shortly after Tarnsman arrived, seeming to appear out of a heat wave rising from the plains, whilst William vanished when they were concentrating elsewhere. Tarnsman lead them on a two-day journey, mostly during the night. Into a dark cave, down crystal caverns with flowing water into a chamber of unknown proportions. After negotiating with the wyrm Byzantus in his human guise, Jacuuls apprenticeship was assured on the terms that he perform two tasks. The first was to discover which banners flew highest at Dragonspear castle. Apparently his presence was well known in the locale, and he found it difficult to discover which lords of the netherworlds claimed presence there. The second task was to transport a scroll to Craggen Blacktongue. This individual was to be contacted through Spider (mental note: ask Spider when first messenger from Byzanthus appeared) in the Valley of Luho. The party was feasted and set forth the next day, appearing at the crossroads when exiting the dark cavern.

The first stop was Dragonspear Castle. Approaching at night, with banners of peace written in Underdark Common (mental note: ask Brother Mongo were he learned it; new amazements never end). The party was set upon by cloaked riders with dark metal visors. Mounted on some type of massive lizard, they escorted the party into the citadel. I am sure that the rather neutral outlook, and lack of hostility towards the residents helped to spare their life. They posed as merchants from the Ai’Sa Anserai house (Jacuul’s; mental note: research his family) bringing their greetings. They were greeted by a drow in black, except for white gloves. The quick thinking of Brother Mongo in giving the drow lord a monetary gift, in the seeking of their favor, no doubt saved the party. Jacuul and he contributed a hefty sum. The drow wanted slaves, live bodies. I wonder what they do with them? Perhaps I do not want to know. The darkness had prevented the accurate assessment of the penons flying over the castle. In exchange for a night’s lodging, the drow demanded a slave, asking for Mercy and decrying his value as easily replaceable. Brother Mongo once again intelligently used Mercy as the means to accomplish their goal. Exclaiming that the drow would not think so had they seen his skill, a duel was arranged in exchange for the lodging. Brother Mongo once again saved the party by casting a spell to hasten Mercy before the duel. The drow’s paralyzing poison only negated the magic, evening the field. While the drow apparently struck far more often, the two handed sword of Mercy’s had no mercy. The duel was to the death or a specified time limit. If Mercy lasted the time against their best fighter, they could stay. The hourglass was turned and the fight began. Despite several fumbles and a tough fight, both were exhausted near the end. The party was treated to a tour where they discovered and Brother Mongo drew the crests flying from the castle. Apparently Demogorgon, Lolth and some of the nobility of the Hell plane of Dis (verified in Waterdeep later) were those claiming lordship of the castle.

The group then traveled to Waterdeep. Brother Mongo acquired the magical stones, as requested and Mercy met Xeron and picked up the horses. The group then traveled on to Luho, and enjoyed the expensive, but relaxing properties of the spas. Metrio is still guardian of the valley apparently, and Spider fairs well. After two weeks, the party met with the captain of the Rogue’s Blood (mental note: make sure Spider and Blacktongue are not skimming) and delivered the materials.

The journey back to Cormyr was uneventful. Jacuul returned to Byzanthus, who sent him to return an item and deal with a woman (some woman named Branawenne) who had done wrong in her own dealing with him. Along with this was the tantalizing bit of information to the extent that one of our more notorious of opponents had allied himself with her in some manner. Seth, a.k.a. Newitt Thung was in Ordulin. I agreed to help Jacuul (how easy it is to go from the manipulator to being manipulated) with the intent not to capture or kill Seth, but hopefully scare him. I sent word to Baron Harksheen who asked that should Seth by captured (alive or dead) he be returned to the Baron for justice. I agreed. (mental note: find out how Byzanthus knew about Seth) I set Brother Mongo to task, translating some of the spell knowledge carved on the walls in the catacomb (another test) and decided to assemble a group to deal with Seth (and help Jacuul in his apprenticeship… the cost, whether he is aware of it or not, will be assessed later). I took some time to study up on the spell knowledge that had fallen to me over the years. I felt a particular spell, called Charm Person, would be very useful. I wonder why I had not gotten to examining these texts for years. They are a wealth of knowledge. Such is the way of the elves, that we must forever be taking our time. Asher Roo (a skilled, although crass swordsman), Mercy, Xeron, Jacuul and I traveled east, through Thunder Gap. Near the ___ bog we encountered umber hulks, the apparent cause for many attacks on trade caravans. We carried a skull on to Ordulin after slaying two of the three we battled. Disguised as Dris Entwyle, Bard of the east (the same alias used in Procampur; mental note: this is now the permanent facade to use in Sembia) I dealt with the Guard Captain’s question and obtained three days lodging at the finest Inn in town while they reviewed my tale. During this time I plied my trade and discovered the woman Branawenne’s location. She had been seen in certain dealings with apriest of Gond at the Temple in Ordulin. I was able to engage the priests in discourse and obliquely approached the subject. She apparently had dealings with only a specific priest, and was seen by the other priests frequenting the temple regularly, causing quite a stir. It is only known that she went east, to Yhuann on the coast.

We traced them to Yhuann, on the east coast of Sembia, a week’s ride away. Once there, she was not hard to trace. More importantly Seth was not hard to trace. While she seemed elusive, his action were far more memorable. He had apparently bought a ship, and she and Seth were staying on a carrack in port. All space around it had been leased as well, leaving no clear approach. I swam around the boat at night and by freak chance discovered a moving shadow (praise Sune for the Cloak of Shadows she has seen fit to aid me in the making of). the guards would not return to the ship despite guarding only the base of the ramp, when I threw a belaying pin upon deck. This shadow creature, whatever it was, was not discriminating and the guards feared it. I bribed the dock master to delay the ship for 2 days, using the guise of a government agent and a small bribe. Naturally, Seth physically abused the man, being the overflowing wellspring of personality and humanity that he is. We made our preparations. After ensorceling the customs agent to provide us with papers and training to pose as a customs boat (and giving him the same government agent story) we loaded up. As soon as the tow ropes were cut and the sails dropped we swooped in as a customs boat, with the strongest rowers the customs officials had. Branawenne leaned over the rail to deal with us while Seth ranted and abused his crew. I quickly wrapped my whip, with the soft touch of a lover, about her throat and unbalanced her over the rail. She was strikingly beautiful as she fell, although black lace would have suited her more. Xeron caught her and the melee ensued. Seth used weapons of acid our boat was lost. Many of us lost items to the acid rain, I myself losing that item which served to protect me against the attacks of demons. As I was counting on this against the shadow demons Seth was known to employ, i figured our tactics should change to reflect this change in favor. I summoned a boat of clouds, flexing my newly acquired magical knowledge. As our boat disintegrated beneath us, Jacuul and Seth battled. Webs were cast upon Seth’s ship, and his crew disabled thusly. After a difficult fight Seth retreated, as he was often wont to do. He attempted to destroy his own vessel, in what I believe was meant to serve as a distraction. A bolt of lightning was sent by Jacuul which damaged both shadow demon and Seth, which he was carrying away at the time. I tried to summon forth creatures of shadow to remove the foul orbs of acid from the deck, but to no avail. As Seth was transported away, I felt my last chance slipping away, and in a vain attempt to harm him as a parting shot turned out to be the boon of beauty. I catapulted my most harmful dagger, a beautiful meteoric crafted bit of nastiness filled with the grimmest poison I knew of. The magically propelled bolt of death struck Seth, filling him with the most caustic venom known. In a fit of shakes, the once mighty Seth shuddered and passed from this world. The demon of shadow dumped his body and took the amulet controlling him. Jacuul levitated the body before it sunk and we dealt with the sinking ship. The cargo of which turned out to be children, meant as slave or sacrifice to who-knows-where. The ship was sinking. It was difficult enough dealing with the casualties on out own vessel, but i knew i could not save the children in the cloud boat I had summoned. I brought forth my enchanted wind fan and began to blow the sinking ship back into port. All of the magic within the fan was used to move the drifting, sinking, hulk. When i stopped, the boat had been beached, and several docks broken. By the time i had ceased to use the fan, its enchantment was torn asunder and there was nothing left of it but broken sticks and torn cloth. Jacuul search the rear quarters for the mystical bowl that Byzanthus sought after, while the crowds gathered. I summoned the watch captain and explained my ‘secret government connections’ and how he could profit from his association. Of course having the port (willing or charmed, it matters not) authorities on my side helped, and the fact that he let a whole boat of children slip through his watch (intimating dire consequences for him should he fail to affirm my ‘mission’) combined to make the Lt. Commanded the several squads of regular army units open to my suggestion. Although he claimed to have knowledge or even initiate all ‘secret missions’ I pointed out the political value of such a coup, and we divided the credit amongst us. He took all of it publicly, and we robbed the ship blind. Whilst the children were being uncrated and released, I had Brother Mongo assist in watching over the ship. He had followed behind us by a day to watch our tracks at my behest, and now I was glad he came to our aid on the docks. Claiming fell magics to ward off the onlookers and more curious, we crated up and quickly moved all the contents of the ship to the boat of clouds. Showing another of his talents, he masterfully picked the lock to the captains quarters. We opened the door to the fell sight of a creature of the abyss, exclaiming our violation of his territory he was set to watch over. The world went dark as an abyssal pall was cast over myself as I speed into the room, hurling my deadly reign of death. All but one struck, and demonic icor splashed the walls. In the darkness and confusion I thought best to resort to close weapons and so was not able to test the magical brace I had made by the leatherworkers of Shadowdale. The knives I threw did indeed return, but I only used it that once. Its magic seems to hold out well enough, but more testing is needed. It was not to end so easily. Brother Mongo summoned forth several mirror images of himself to confuse the creature (and me!) while Mercy hefted his blade in the confined quarters. The damnable bird like abomination took after me, and strove to hurl me down. I drew forth the wheel lock pistol, grazing him only while myself subject to his multiple lashings and the kick of my own weapons. Mercy fumbled with his massive blade in cramped quarters while Brother Mongo summoned forth several minor creatures to distract the demon. In my struggles, I grasped the familiar strands of the magical sash of Martial Prowess, worn by millenia of mighty warriors. It gave me great strength and succored me in time of need. I felt renewed energy and the skill of a thousand warrior flow through my blood and I struck, and struck and struck as hard and fast as I could while the magic ran its course. In due time, The demon and I traded blows, with neither hurting the other much, although I was sorely winded. It broke off its attack, but only to conjure another of its kin from what nightmarish layer of the abyss I know not. With all my might I swung my sword, which seemed to affect the creature before. While not magical, my blade is a fine blade, known in many places as the deliverer of my wrath. I digress again. The blade bit deep, nearly severing the thing in two. Over the next few minutes it would dissipate in a noisy, foul smelling smoke of acrid smell as taste. Its brethren commenced to destroy the creatures Brother Mongo summoned while we gained our breath. I yelled for Mercy to pull back, so I need not worry about hurting him in my own actions. The moment I laid hand on my whip, I felt its lashings and hissings. I could tell that this beast within desired to caress the hide of the demon. Without thinking, the glamor of the whip overcame me and the demon found itself entangled in the coils of a harsher lover that I am sure it ever expected to find on this plane. The creature had no binding pendant, so I asked it its name, explaining quietly that refusal would bring pain. Once again Brother Mongo impressed me with the range of his talents, and cast such as spell as allowed him to serve as an interpreter. Little good it did us, as the wretched beast had little enough intelligence behind its eyes, my blows in frustration did little to help. In a rage of frustration, I smashed its beak to pieces with my envenomed dagger. (mental note: surface was marred, needs heavy polish: icor splashed on clothes ruined them by the smell too) The demon was hauled aboard the cloud boat along with the rest of the treasure and goods. In truth, I believe it attempted to open a gate and summon aid, but I am unfamiliar which such high magics and its employ by demons. Bound and entangled it remained. Maps, logs, and all manners of papers were taken. We made token effort to ‘check over’ the sailors and soldiers exposed to the evil taint on board the ship and declared it safe as the boat of clouds lifted skyward. It was right about then that we (I) noticed Seth’s body melting. I say melting for I know what he was made of. Snow and ice, as are all simulacrum. Indeed, we had not killed Seth at all, but Mr. Thung has escaped our clutches once more. I am sure he is out there somewhere, laughing at us know. Laugh long and well Seth, for it may be your last, for now I have something of yours. As I have three myself, I knew that something of the original must be in the simulacrum. I search tirelessly for many minutes to discover three fingernails of Seth’s in the water of the simulacrum. You are mine now. What really intrigued me is who of such power would work with that ass? I must discover this, as perhaps I have an unknown enemy. I had their handiwork at hand, and saved some of the water from Seth’s simulacrum. Jacuul had teleported immediately back to the lair of his master. This worries me as I see what power Byzanthus wields, and now I am concerned he will become interested in my business. For sure Jacuul will never cross him, I am sure the example Branawenne has come to serve will not be lost upon him. And yet, I have dealt with dragons before. It seems a curse, too many have I fought, and only with cunning and methods perhaps considered ‘dirty’ in some rule books have I lived to tell the tale. I have even ridden on the back of a dragon, and felt like a god, but again, I digress.

I am writing now after the battle. Firstly, let me mention that I have sent the bold warrior Kynar ahead of us to the Vilhon Reach. Thank Sune that the darkness upon her light has been lifted from the chateau. He was becoming nearly unbearable. Perhaps he can do us some good as a scout. They company that the giants keep will likely accept him with open arms.

It seems a bit of the past has once again intruded in the present. I must find out more about some of the individuals that were brought in from the north. Everyone heard of the troubles at Daggerdale, and I have had correspondence with several mages, second handedly getting news from Elminster. I must investigate further what went on. It appears only to have been a temporary solution, as trouble is always brewing where the Zhentarim has machinations. Once again, I digress. One Master Falrinth, envoy and ambassador to the “legitimate powers” of Zhentil Keep. We talked at length regarding a certain item in his possession that had recently lost its value, and claimed that Jacuul had been involved in the depreciation of this item. His hints and obfuscations left little to the imagination, and he grew rude. Blatantly he vowed that if I (mental note: discover this man’s connection to ensure the safety of killing him) would not turn over the life (for apparently that is what was stolen, and the receptacle had shattered in its loss) of Jacuul, then Levar’s would be forfeit. I told him that he should rethink his negotiation tactics if he felt like leaving with his head still attached to his body. Curses were exchanged, but I felt his threat were empty. However now I am aware of a liability, that of Levar and Jacuul’s. How they came into this predicament it may take time to discover, but I am both persuasive and dogged.

Speaking of these things, I began to question Branawenne. Brother Mongo divined the magical nature of her dagger, and I removed all her jewelry, in case of she employed some of the devices which I myself do. He was also able to divine that she was of an order of skill equal to himself in the mystical arts. Bound still, I removed her gag, under warning that should anything remotely magical be uttered, she would find her tongue replaced with my dagger. She was reluctant at first, preferring to spit upon me and my offer. I made sure my hand made a lasting imprint on her ability to make a final decision in divulging information to me. The mention of her former master’s (Byzanthus’s) name seemed to frighten her more. Several bouts with my wit and the loss of a toenail, that was at best a nuisance and she became cooperative. Oh how I wish reader, that I could go in depth as to my wit and technique employed in turning the course of a dammed river of thought. Here we have not the time, perhaps another day. At one point, in trying to “bargain for her freedom” she gave me bits of information. In turn she demanded a token of her freedom. I slapped her once again (in truth, without Tereya there, my thoughts were harsher than a mere slap). Her life was not mine to give, and in my opinion, she simply had no alternative. It turns out that what she stole form her former master the great wyrm, was none other than a powerful scrying device as well as books of spell knowledge. After many hours of discourse I also discovered that she had none of her own, having lost them to her master before that that she betrayed as well. Her fate was basically sealed with those self admitted acts of disloyalty. I cannot tolerate betrayal. She could be of no value to me with her willingness to betray. I dare not kill her though, for fear the wyrm would want her for some reason. She had leagued herself to Seth as a desperate act to gain power and knowledge apparently. He needed protection, and she was a way out of Sembia and a chance to learn or move amongst a different crowd. Mostly, I think that only the light of Sune’s beauty could break the dark veil of her true motivations. Seth is an absolute nightmare of a being. Having no social grace, ugly to his very core, and without any etiquette whatsoever, I have so far relied on the fact that no one would work with him to serve his aims. I am proven wrong. I must now re-examine what havoc Seth may have wrought without a watchful eye over him. Perhaps the baron can shed some light in this area. And so we meander our way back to my tale, in which we arrived at the chateau. Now Brother Mongo had already examined the items we took for traps, and unlocked those items which were barred to prying eyes. In due course, we were able to determine that her dagger was of the simplest enchantments, and so Brother Mongo, who had no weapon, was given it. Although he cannot wield it well, tis better to have such things as magical weapons when one does not, and face the things we face. Also gone to him are four envenomed daggers. They are small, compared to mine, and each hold only a single dose. I am surprised at the quick acceptance of his use of poison, but I am finding him more and more to my liking. Calling upon the divination magics I possessed, I was also able to identify the following (after several failed attempts and nigh 500 gold in pearls later): Ring of Readiness (given to Mercy), Oil of Elemental Invulnerability (1 of each element – party fund), 5 matched magical throwing knives (of small enchantment, but possessing no additional edge, balance or great crafting), various poisons (Brother Mongo partook of the most minor – surprised yet again), and an amulet allowing regeneration. The amulet was a filthy thing evil by nature and dedicated to Lolth the demon queen – it was left with the priesthood of Sune in Ordulin and promptly destroyed.

Although hesitant, I will mention that I used a small feat of legerdemain to palm 2 amulets the simulacrum wore into my own pocket when we recovered the body. In the confusion no one was able to look. They are 2 amulets containing the life essence of demons, and I have seen their ilk before. More specifically, they are attuned to creatures (demons) known as succubi. I have had experience with these most skillful lovers of the abyss, and they are quite… enjoyable. I will have to explore their uses later. As it was my kill (although I could not have done it without the help of everyone), I considered them trophies of the hunt for myself. I was intent on distributing everything else to others with this in mind, and it worked well.

Also taken from the body of Seth was a magnificent bastard sword, carved and decorated and estimated at over 2000 pieces of gold. The chest aboard the ship contained about 20,000 gold worth of mixed coin. I had everything appraised, the coin all converted to gold and the cost of my divinations subtracted and we all still added over 2,800 to our coffers. Although Mercy was almost more a hindrance in our fights with the demons, I felt it right in giving him the ring of Readiness. In exchange, he returned 2,000 of the gold of his share to me. I would soon put it to good use. We returned and healed. Soon, Xeron and Asher returned with our horses. I made plans to return on our path and try and discover Seth’s trail and the ladies to understand the nature of their dealings and see if I could pick up Seth’s real trail. We made a brief excursion to Arabel to visit Mellomir the Mage. I entreated him to aid us in clearing the road through Thunder Gap of the umber hulk scourge. We went over various sage ideas of the beast and what magics may be most effective against them. Apparently my ability to reflect the gaze of a creature will not nullify the confusion the beast creates. We also discussed at length, binding objects for demons and he will engage in making one for what he calls the Vrock (the demon I have captured) for twenty thousand pieces of gold. I made a deposit of 4,500 (leaving me nigh broke again) and transported/escorted him to the chateau to begin the nine months worth of work in this effort. I am afraid I must once again sell of magical items to pay for my endeavors. I will set Number One on this task, in Suzail.

I used some of this time to catch up on magical research, and learned that with time I would be able to decipher the spell known as Magic Missile from one of the spell books I had taken long ago. Along with the help of brother Mongo, we took two weeks to translate the spell Gaze Reflection into his tongue, and inscribe it in his spell books. My resources are beginning to run low, and I find myself almost out of spell ink. I was also able to understand the intricacies of Invisibility, Shield and Explosive Runes. I also found the following magic incomprehensible: Lightning Bolt, Fire Ball, Blur and Burning Hands. It seems I must spend some time studying. New magics are always a wonderment. I point to the fact that After studying the nuances of Charm Person, it immediately became useful. I also picked one such text, with pages yet blanked to carry a small amount of magical knowledge on the road with me, as my travelling spell book. In it I find 25 pages, and the covering of the book is treated against flame. Already inscribed are Detect Magic, Read Magic, Burning Hands, Charm Person, Shield and I also have inscribed Rope Trick and Sune’s Inspiration. I must spend time before the sortie against the fire giants and… the wedding. I had nearly forgotten about that in all this rush of new adventure, but it looms like an unscalable wall in my future. I suppose I must also prepare suitable groom’s fashions. I hope she wears black lace.

Another birthday passes, I feel much older this time, as the experiment with the cauldron surely aged me beyond reckoning. I treated myself to quick trip to Arabel, and several beautiful ladies in black lace.

Brother Mongo, The ranger ___ , (recently arrived from the colds of the north) Mercy and I traveled once again to Ordulin to pick up Seth’s trail. The ranger brought news of unrest (what is new?) in the north and Mirabar’s outrageous trade practices. The kingdom of Neverwinter founders against increasing orc raids from the east, of which I am sure we have Lysander to thank. Pirates have been seen more oft than not raiding Waterdeep and Neverwinter shipping. The cold has settled in the north and for the time being, things are safe. We traveled with a caravan this time, and did not encounter the umber hulks. We had discovered that more of the beasts had appeared and so were worried. Two to four were seen at a time now, and although precautions were being taken, some caravans were still being ambushed. We arrived in Ordulin, with myself disguised as a priest of Sune (forgive me beautiful goddess, but the ugliness of Seth must be do away with). I tracked down the specific priest she had dealings with, and it turned out to be the High Priest of Gond himself. In a round about fashion I hinted that I was working as an associate to a man working to solve the mystery of the harbor incident for certain (unnamed) governments. Through coercion and pressure (and the gift of a potion – Oil of Acid Resistance), he finally broke down and confessed that indeed she was his daughter, and he was just a frightened father in this case. He begged me for news of his daughter, as only hints and rumors had reached Ordulin regarding what had happened, nor did he realize his daughter had been involved. He detailed to me her discussions, and the bowl she carried (Byzanthus’s) and her furtive and distrustful manner, and also her initial dealings with Seth. Brother Mongo and ___ were able to find more dealings she had in the city, with a red robed man matching the description and wearing the livery of a mage belonging to the Order of the Ebon Hand. His actions (and theirs) were traced to Yhuann. So we traveled once again to the Sembain city of Yhuann.

Once there things began to grow cold. We found little about the boat, and how Seth was able to get the children aboard. Of the Ebon Hand wizard, little is discovered except he made almost daily journeys on a magical boat out to see, for four and five hours at a time. This boat headed in many directions, and was swift, traveling at half the speed of my Air Boat magics. We calculate his range based on elapsed time and it is indeed quite a vast expanse of nothingness he goes to. I wonder if there are islands. Once again, my dreams are intruded upon by visions of Eldath. I take this as a sign, and we leave for the chateau, to prepare for our journey southwards to the fire giants. I feel a twinge of guilt at not pursuing this further, but Seth will come, time enough for him. I have a direct link to him now.

When we return to the chateau, I send word to Byzanthus of the Branawenne’s father’s identity, and enclose a letter for him to sign. It basically sends our regrets, that she died in the service to the great wyrm Byzathus and that he should worry over her no more, for her soul has passed beyond the realms of mortals. I will send Number One from Marsember to deliver it by hand to him in Ordulin. Perhaps there will be some small reward to be had for our services in his behalf. Such reward will go all to the church of Sune I dare say, as it was in Her service which this gentlemen’s confidence was won. I am also getting word that some of the weapons hoard was been sold, specifically the kobold weapons, as well as that fantastic dwarven broadsword we found in the lair of Gorfyn. All this money of course goes to pay for the efforts of Mellomir. He works diligently, and indeed I have allowed him to peruse Brother Mongo’s work at translation of ancient Cormyrian common and some of the spells carven into the walls of the catacombs. He will also accept the transfer of some of this knowledge in payment, although thousands more are still owed to him. During this time I also had copies made of the maps we found in Seth’s cabin. I intend to send them to the appropriate naval captains in Yhuann and Marsember. It details the location of a pirates stronghold. I also received word on the phylactery that I had commissioned for Tereya. There is a great festival of Melil that we will host in 6 months, right before my wedding. Tereya does not know it yet, and we all wish to surprise her. She is off, pursuing grand mastery of her sword skills. I know not what land she finds herself in now, but it is far enough away that I am sure the surprise will keep. I gave away much money, and small magics as well as the highly power (+3) onyx hammer, that is doubly effective against creatures based of earth or stone. Both my priesthood, the church of Eldath, and that of Melil have worked upon this item. I am expecting great things.

And so we have spent the last couple weeks getting back in shape. These brief excursions made me realize how soft I have become, how quickly I get winded. I am sure Tereya will return tough as nails. I am also happy to report that I have had two letters, one by courier and one by raven. Sister send word by raven that she will help us as she can, and prepares scrolls for use in the campaign against the giants and their allies. The second is from my betrothed. She assures me her family will arrive in the fall, in nine months time. She is anxious. Methinks she does not remember our size difference, and how difficult this will be. Maybe she should marry Kynar. I have instructed her to wear black lace on our wedding day, which she insures me will been well taken care of by her family.

Jewelry worth five hundred gold pieces has recently turned up, I overlooked it my haste to divide the treasure. The (I assume dead) Lady Branawenne did bedeck herself in style. I turned it over to Mellomir for his costs in constructing a binding object for the demon. No secret anymore I think, the Baron has sent soldiers with a message that his diviner as learned of an evil presence at the chateau and wishes to discuss the bondage of such creatures on his land. I sent a reply, and will try and hold him at bay with words alone. I have moved the fell creature now from the stables to the underground chambers of the chateau. The doors stand open however, as they did when Tereya left. Without her matching ring to mine, the seal cannot be opened, so the doors stay open for now, and I have guards on them 24 hours a day. At least in certain chambers, its presence will go undetected. A am still wary of traversing those passages, the darkness there is like a weight, and light is only the strength of a dying candle no matter the source there. This cannot bode well, and we have yet to discover what other secrets there are to be revealed, as most the darkness has not seen light in perhaps hundred of years.

GM Aside: After Cloud Giant Island

I don’t think anything has taken place since the end of that doc, and it has “There is a great festival of Melil that we will host in 6 months, right before my wedding” as well as “The second is from my betrothed. She assures me her family will arrive in the fall, in nine months time” and regarding Tereya “She is off, pursuing grand mastery of her sword skills. I know not what land she finds herself in now…”.
Whence timeline:
– This was written near midwinter or a little later. Let’s say February.
– Festival of Milil to be in summer, around August.
– Wedding to take place “in the fall” – Sept/Oct sorta time.
So as to backstory…
– The current setting for this adventure will be the spring after the journal entries above, say 3 months before the festival and 6 months before the nuptials; I’ll say around May, so +~3 months.
– I have some exposition about what’s been going on (with the PCs) that I’ll reserve for Saturday, and intend to have some “What do you want to have been doing?” along with some “Here’s what else you’ve been doing”.
– To generalize on “What everyone’s been up to”: The party has reconvened in Suzail after various excursions. Katenga has stayed in the Suzail area in search of a rumored elven city sunk in the Dragonmere; Jacoule is back from Lyrabar where he was trying to contact a retired battle mage; Rivkin – well I don’t know beyond “taking care of bidness”; Crielle (Neel) is still unknown – I’ll need the backstory and some discussion to fit her in, probably as a compatriot to one of the party members; Tereya just returned from travels in pursuit of training.
– Shortly after everyone is back in town they’ll be individually contacted by one of Tereya’s infantry with an invitation.

Rivkins Efforts in Regards to his Bride

I would be seeking ways to make myself… bigger. Like a permanent enlarge? Ok, well, maybe not a permanent enlarge… but how about wedding rings. Magical ones. Her allows me to trigger her ring to cast Reduce on her. Lasts 2 hours a day. Mine allows her to cast Enlarge on me, lasts 2 hours. Each ring recharges after a short rest. The rings would have to work with my simulacrums as well. She was 11 feet and something. I would be studying giant culture as well, looking to impress the family.

I think Rivkin probably gave up on the idea of getting out of it, and embraced it. After study, and realizing the cloud giants are the nobility of the ordning, he sees opportunity. We did not work out the details of if she would live with me, or me with her, but i would hope to start a letter writing campaign which could be delivered by animal messenger… “my dearest Sorscha, i dwell in darkness without you!” I want to work up the position i have as much as possible, introducing her family (mother and father – with different emphasis on the writing style and content) to the fact i have two “organizations” and envision a world in which the moving cloud castle becomes a potential platform for merging some of our business interests – well, using my contacts to smuggle, but you now, not call it that. They would get a slice, but we would also position it as a “secure platform for expensive objects to be moved between the sword coast and cormyr”. You see where i’m going. I want my bride to understand i am a shrewd business man, but i want to shield her from the worst perspectives of what that business is. Flattery, ask her about her favorite color, childhood memories, ask about her parents (trying to find something they like/want i can exploit) mixed in. Im trying to portray my life as glamorous and exotic and interesting so that she will be open to the idea of a dangerous lover/husband that “adventures”, runs is international enterprises, and is a man of mystery. And hung like a bull.

– Wow, like a boss. A mob boss specifically. “I don’t ask Tony too much about his business and he buys me nice stuff.” Are these cloud giants that hew toward the neutral good side, or the other? Not that it matters too much in our World of Moral Ambiguity, but I have to ask. In your research into creating your ‘Rings of Tumescence’ you come across a mage in Saerloon that specializes in this sort of thing. Specifically, items related to various invocations of polymorphism. He can totally do it, and likes the challenge. 50% discount if he and a +1 can get a wedding invite.

Absolutely invite for him +1, but do a thorough background check first.
Holy shit i looked closely at some Rivkin notes. Its too much, its overwhelming the cities, contacts, and assets.
Im putting it all away for now, i can make sense of it more later. He loved black leather and silver.

I have 2 active simulacrums and a wounded third. Mersember to Prskur is one haunt, Waterdeep to Neverwinter is another. The wounded one would make appearances on the road to confuse enemies.

I believe the alignment was a screw job… like evil father, good mother, and bride undecided. I want to appeal to everyones base, but mostly appear ethical and forthright for my bride to lead her into the good side as much as possible.

– Panandremus ‘the Shifting One’ of Saerloon checks out as legit. “Shifting but not Shifty.” Known in mage circles as a bit quirky and flamboyant but on the up-and-up, he’s been in Saerloon for at least a couple decades. He’s fairly obsessed with alteration, and all his research goes into polymorph-related magic. He and his wife are known to show up at social gatherings looking… interesting. (J.F. Sebastian’s workshop anyone?) I’ll work on actual pricing for rings.
Tereya laughs at the tangled web Rivkin’s woven for himself, relishes the simplicity of single minded pursuit of personal talent. Then glances over at the cash flow ledger for maintaining 44 militia, a few hirelings and temp contractors, maintenance and capital improvements for her small farm/vineyard holding, support of churches and orphanages, and general personal expenses. The ‘income’ column includes: Once a year sale of grapes to vintners, tutoring, ‘adventuring for loot’ (who has the time!?), singing performances (which account for… room and board when in the city, via the ‘by popular demand’ entertainer feature), and… nothing. A 10 gp monthly stipend for ambassador duties for Neverwinter maybe?
It’s OK, I gotta plan for steadier income to at least help with all this if the current adventure works out. You can retro-DM whether it does.

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

Tereya’s Perspective: “some people are so broke, they cant even afford to pay attention”
Rivkin can always help, and i would say that her reputation, charisma, and goodness will afford a few opportunities. Rikin has both legit and non legit financial opportunities. After all this time, and leaning towards lawful, she would be careful and hire a consultant before entering into any dealings with Rivkin though. A cursory investigation would reveal plenty of legitimate and real businesses. Theres no reason for Rivkin to actually pursue an underworld connection any more, but the rumors and evidence clearly point to means and dealings beyond the above board ones – just nothing specific. So, you know he is tainted with demonic influence. Perhaps he simply cannot extricate himself from the thrill and rush of such activities. Or he sees no ethical issues. Either way, its far from ideal. Accepting his fate and sticking to the promise to marry the cloud giants daughter was more than you would expect from a man slicker than whale shit in an ice flow. Maybe hes turning a new leaf. But you’ve been burned by that before. In short, you trust him with your life, but not much else. Its a hard place to be in for a woman lawful and good. Maybe you can find a way to talk to him. Your good deeds do not seem enough of a lead-by-example influence… but its not like you spend tons of time together. There are time when he seems to be right on the edge of giving up his old ways, but never quite makes it. Perhaps the evil influence can be removed? Maybe it IS in his nature to want to be at least the lawful person you know him to be without the darker ties… and its that taint from a bad decision in the past thats holding him back. Surely your friendship and future is worth investigating this. This sounds a bit like “i can fix him, he just needs a good woman” sort of thing… but given the relationship it seems appropriate. And such an avenue of exploration is likely to be needed if the group is to continue to have a direct presence in Cormyr – the sword coast and the north are far more wild and woolley places where coin speaks more than actions in the right circles. Cormyr likely will not tolerate ANY implications of impropriety. And if you want to keep a low profile while the ancient lineage thing is sorted out, his actions jeopardize that. You know that most of his legit business in in the west. and that his underground is in Cormyr itself – one of the worst places for it. He just cant seem to help himself. Maybe you could go talk to his bride to be… he seems taken with the her and her family, he talks all the time about his correspondence to the entire family.

Cormyr Calls for Aid

Well, they called on Tereya. Somehow they lumped some of the rest of us – probably the war wizards have done some digging. My scrying revealed some of the portents that would play in the upcoming fight i knew was inevitable. The battle at the Chateau with the high priestess of Loviatar probably made a few waves here too. I have to do more to keep myself out of the public eye. I will talk to Rivkenno about this. Ketanga, back from his explorations, Jacoule in exile (and he brought some strange monkish character from far away), and Tereya. No Sister. Thats not going to go well if we have to fight anything like the old days. I snuck into Tereya little feast with not much notice… her security is pathetic. We all quietly remembered the old days, before we had our little empires to run, and enjoyed a meal. IT felt good to let my guard down. I find i still trust Tereya, with all we’ve been through. She is the exception. A messenger soon arrived – Tereya seemed like she half expected it with the rumors of the army in the east moving towards Cormyr. Summoned we were. With all of us in a safe group, we traveled to our appointed place outside Marsember. It was a mission. Apparently there is more than rumor. Cormyr has moved into its neighbors land to try and fight a pitched battle. However, the dying War Wizard understudy Zardoz spat out a tale of undying drow general and commanders. And poison. He died, horribly, from some evil poison. Ive seen its like, but not that exact one. It smelled terrible, and i was happy to be away from the smell when we left. I wish he’d have died sooner, but we got much needed intelligence. The War Wizards divined that the leaders of this army have their souls traveling along the Elven Paths. The Feywild. Apparently, they cannot be killed physically here in the realms. So, together we are going. We get a stone to return us all when we break it. The first prick of distrust spreads through the group – who will carry it. For too long have we been away from stark danger like this. Time passes differently there. And yet, we go without knowing exactly what we will face. I suppose thats not abnormal for us. The Drow warrior queen and her commanders must die – this is our mission.

“Rangers have backtracked Adraxa as best as possible, concluding the most likely source is Thay. Suspiciously coincident is a largely substantiated rumor of a party of adventurers heading into Thay about four months before Adraxa’s appearance. This group was led by a man called Enneres Galv, a former general in the Sembian army. Enneres was disgraced by actions that were painted as cowardly by his political rivals, and in court intrigues was ultimately stripped of his commission and titles; however, a group of his lieutenants stayed loyal and followed him into adventure and mercenary work. It’s generally agreed they’re a really awful bunch. They call themselves ‘The Merry Pranksters’, apparently with irony, as they have definitely been behind some serious atrocities. War crimes even by medieval standards. They haven’t been seen or heard from since departing for Thay. On the ‘known associates’ section of the war wizards’ dossier on Eneres is one Clavel Vaide (among many others of course). Spies report that Vaide has paid Galv for some ugly mercenary work.” (DM-only details coming in a separate message.)

Masrah al Calim: Human CG F7, shortbow +1, scimitar +2, finely crafted daggers +1 x3. Champion archetype. Archery, dueling styles, acrobatics. Blessed & poisoned arrows x10, standard arrows x20. Dex 19, finely crafted leather armor with laminate plates, equiv studded +1. 16 AC, 58 HP. Healer feat. (Born to an impoverished single mother in Calimport, her father was a trader from the Sword Coast. Hence ethnicity is a mix of Calishite and southern Faerun – via her mother – and northerner with a small amount of elf blood from her father. Hence looks that tend toward fine features but darker coloring. After running with street gangs to survive, briefly joined an smaller assassins guild, learning scimitar dueling and archery. Through sheer luck she got out of the assassins guild when it was totally wiped out by a bigger guild; she was too new to be known and happened to be away from Calimport when the take-down happened.)

In the Feywild, our tracker betrays us. I torture him for information – the usual threats against family and friends motivates him. As if we could not protect them. He choose poorly, but for Tereyas sake i let him live, releasing him in the Feywild unarmed. Good luck fool. Unicorns, gold dragons, dryads, glittering lights, giants, and wierd forests and trees. We eventually made it to where the edge of the Dragonmere was in our own world, in parallel with this one. Tereya and I went straight in, freeing the others to approach with magic or stealth and unleash their powers from surprise if possible. We faced three creatures. The Drow leader turned out to be a handmaiden of Lolth, and the others some ape like demons. Illusion covered them. It took very little effort to dispatch them, they were unprepared for a group such as ours. I never had to draw my weapon, i provided endless distractions for the others to improve their chances. I danced, jumped, and wove my way – throwing but 2 knives in the entire process. It was over within minutes.

> You contemplate your handiwork. The demons bodies boil and hiss, slowly dissolving into pools of foul smelling colors. Jacoule discerns the magic they carried. A warm breeze comes off the water, smelling of cotton candy. You can hear several small woodland creatures talking ng about your victory. You cannot shake the feeling of something left undone. A wave of exhaustion takes you. Rivkin sits on the beach, drawing his knees to his chin in silent contemplation. You hear laughter in the distance and a high whistling sound comes from far away. You can swear the sound of broken glass echoes for a moment and then dizziness washes over you. Flowers are blown all around you. A calm settles over you and you feel as though you are hungry. And alone. You find the makings of a fire your enemies had begun to build. Food and rest sound appealing before you travel away from the horde and return to the forgotten realms. Tereya unbuckles the battle harness, plops on the sand to shrug out of the chainmail, lets down her hair (literally, though I guess that’s not in the tradition of most battle hardened types) and take a moment to look out to sea as well. As with everything else here the water is unnaturally picturesque – nearly sapphire blue with dolphins leaping, etc. etc.

After 10-20 minutes of breath-catching and immediate wound binding, Tereya recommends we scout the local woods and environs to make sure there’s nothing else around. (There isn’t in my storyline, in the near term, unless Kelly adds something.) The beach runs east-west here; facing south you look over the Elfpaths version of the Sea of Fallen Stars and the setting sun is touching the beach/water to your right. Growing around the stream, up from the beach, are numerous fall fruits: apple trees, berries, squash, etc. Anadromous salmonids laze in the water – dinner shouldn’t be a problem. Beyond the basics of banking the fire, cleaning and organizing gear, and searching the area, Tereya’s action is praying thanks to Milil – which just means singing.