SKT - Follow The Cleric

Moonlit Veil
Abridged Spoiler Free Version

19 Eleint 1487

The coming of age ceremony has wound to an awkward close, and the party is together in the Nightstone Inn, drinking. Between the supplies of Morag, the innkeeper, and Envar’s stash of port, there is plenty of alcohol to go around. Oak’s father has already retired for the night.

Oak had planted her staff of the woodlands in the town square earlier, producing a tree full of ripe pomegranates to add to the feasting. The tables are still littered with the pithy white remains of the difficult to eat fruit, and but the small bursts of unfamiliar sweetness were appreciated by Nightstone’s inhabitants. “They’re difficult to eat, very sweet, but kind of annoying—just like me,” Oak explained. “Tough.”

Between the alcohol, the amulet, and the assurances of the party of her safety (and imminent retribution against Lorcan), Muse has begun to loosen up. She no longer looks over her shoulder every few minutes, and no more buildings have caught fire as a result of her tale telling. She reaches out to Muse and Envar, asking what the plan is? What do we do next, now we know?

Envar has some ideas. “We need to get you somewhere safe. I am owed a few favors from the priests of Corellon in Silverymoon; you can stay there. As while you can’t be scryed on, it’s easy to find us, and find you that way.”

“Can Ferrindale stay there with me?” Muse asks.

“I wanna kick some demon ass!” Ferrin puts in immediately. “I’m not letting you stay like this!”

“Hiding out indefinitely won’t fix anything,” Envar says.

“You have the good fortune—or maybe the bad fortune—of being under contract with a demon we already have beef with,” Atarah says. “It’s one more good reason on the list of reasons why he’s going to die, and then you’ll be free of him.”

“Oh. I guess I’m in good hands.”

Tranled, somewhat the worse for wear with drink, perks up a little. “Oh. Right. It’s Lorcan who holds your contract.” Muse nods. “Hiding from Lorcan isn’t going to do you any good. You can’t fight someone like him either. He’ll squash you like a bug. Honestly, you should just accept your fate. Fighting him will only drag you down into a darker and darker place, until you’re eventually ground to dust—”

“Tranled, do us a favor—” Envar cuts in, “Go somewhere dark and write some bad poetry.”

“You mock me!”

“Yes.”

“But I actually understand what we’re facing! And giving Muse false hope isn’t helping her, it’s hurting her.” Tranled stares at Muse. “I’m telling you— you’re going to die if you fight Lorcan.”

Muse begins to cry.

Atarah slams her mug onto the table. “Or—you could run. Like you did. Just, keep running.”

“It’s better than dying.”

“You did both.”

“Wasn’t my idea.”

“Why are you here, Tranled?” Atarah says, cutting over his every attempt at explaining why he’s in Nightstone, or with the party. Why, she wants to know, is he on this plane. “Why are you here_, Tranled? Why are you *_here*?”

“I— I don’t know, why are any of us here?! Maybe the whole thing is pointless!”

“Just part of the cosmic dance,” Envar adds.

“So if we’re all going to die anyways, we might as well do it for something.” Atarah snaps.

“It’s a pointless battle. Augh!” Tranled runs his hands through his hair in with a frustrated growl. “I didn’t want to be here! But trying to put a falsely chipper attitude about the whole thing isn’t going to change the reality of it!”

“And being grim about it won’t either!”

“…I think,” Oak says, “What would be best is, Tranled, if you go… and come back when you have a better attitude about what we’re trying to do here.”

“So that’s it, you want to get rid of me now?”

That is not what Oak is saying.

“Are you even going to help us?” Atarah snaps again. “Or are you going to run again, when we need you?”

“I—I don’t know—”

“Then figure it out,” Envar says. “Quickly.”

“I don’t… I don’t know myself anymore. I don’t know what to think.”

“Yeah, we know,” Atarah says, more gently. “But none of us can figure you out for you.”

“We’re not defined by what we think, but by what we do,” Envar says.

Atarah continues, “You don’t even have to know the reasons for it, just make a choice and stick with it! What do you want to be? Not what you are or what you were but— make a choice about who you want to be. That’s what our Oaths are for! To give us a goal—”

“Your Oath!” Tranled cuts in.

“_OUR_ Oaths!” Atarah snaps right back.

“It wasn’t mine—”

“You chose it!”

“Yeah—I was trying to be like you and it was a mistake—”

“So— Choose again! Own up to it, say “I fucked up” and keep going! And be better. That’s what it’s for!”

“You know what? I do know where I want to be.” Tranled growls. “I want to not be in this room anymore.” He shoves his chair back from the table and leaves, slamming the door open and calling up his mount.

Atarah yells after him. “I’m coming back for you—”

“He’ll be back,” Envar says quietly.

Muse isn’t crying any longer, but she is looking worried and scared. “Is it true? Am I going to turn out like him?”

“No!” The rest of the party says immediately, emphatically.

Oak asks if there’s any more port, and Ferrindale reassures Muse that she is much smarter and it’s not going to be like that. Atarah emphasizes it’s not about how smart you are—it’s about making a choice about who you want to be, and aiming for it, and making sure the people around you help you—and if they don’t, they were shitty friends anyway. And she stomps off into the night as well.

Oak and Envar affirm Muse will be fine, she is being loaned the amulet and they will get her someplace safe. The amulet prevents teleportation, but they can easily get to Silverymoon via the portal Oak creates in large trees.

More port? More port!

The evening continues with drinking and celebrating. Ferrindale displays to Muse that now they can do this cool trick they couldn’t do the last time they were together. It is very impressive; Ferrindale is a Stilt Master.

As usual with Oak, the drunker she gets the stickier her fingers become. Gold goes missing. She acquires a bag of humanoid teeth, some sheet music, and then Envar’s flute also goes missing and Oak now has a flute to play the music with!

Oak begins to play—it is a very beautiful song. Ferrin, attracted instantly to music, comes over to see what it is. It’s designed as a vocal piece, a line of melody and a single line of harmony, but easily adapted.

The night wears on and eventually folk wander off to bed, to rise late, with hangovers.


- -

20 Eleint 1487

Envar is the first awake as usual, after his elven meditations. He pitches in with the continuing efforts to rebuild Nightstone while the rest of the party is still asleep, helping with construction tasks. He has learned, since they arrived, the town is short on adult labor, as many of the lost ones during the previous year’s tragedy were adults, fed to the goblin boss’s pet giant rats.

Lady Catalina Auraest, who traveled to Nightstone with her daughter Atarah and Atarah’s next-younger sister Corona, comes to see him before most of the rest of the party is awake. Envar is in a open-walled workshop bordering the main town square near the general store, a space shared by carpenters and blacksmiths with a forge and anvil at one end and lumber at the other.

“Good morning! Is there anything we can help you with?” says Lady Auraest.

Envar shrugs and gestures, finding some rope needing coiling properly— Catalina and Corona begin working on that, and while they do, Catalina speaks. She has heard much about Envar and is thankful Atarah has such competent friends. She speaks of how the family is preparing to deal with the Summerheart problem—calling in favors and gathering information. She offers Envar advice: Pit Fiends can cast Fireball at will, it is advised the party finds something to counter or resist that.
“I have a favor to ask of you,” Catalina eventually says. “I know your time is valuable, and I am happy to compensate you with gold or other favors—”

“Money is of little consequence,” Envar says, and Catalina nods, as though she was expecting this answer.

“Nevertheless, you will have my gratitude. I’d like to introduce my daughter, Corona,” Catalina says, and beckons Corona forward. Corona is sixteen, also an aasimar, of shorter stature and slightly more square, stubborn features than her sister, but long limbed and rangy. Her white-blond hair is cut short at the chin and her eyes tending towards green instead of Atarah’s blue. She wears clothing much like Atarah’s, in browns and blues, good quality cloth and leathers but practical adventuring gear. She has the same stubborn tilt to her chin as her older sister.

“I can talk, Mama,” Corona says, and bows politely to Envar. “Ser Envar. I have heard from the stories of this group you are the Master of Archery. I would like to ask you to be my instructor, and teach me to be a proper instructor.”

“How much experience do you have?” Envar asks.

Corona has won several local competitions near her home, and is a decent hunter, she says.

“So you’ve shot at targets and rabbits.” Envar sounds dubious.

“Yes. But I can get better! If you teach me. I won’t slow you down. I won’t even talk much.” She shows off her shortbow, and Envar looks it over with a disapproving expression.

Envar has her set up a hay bale target in the square and shoot at fifty, and then a hundred paces while he and Catalina look on. She does well at the shorter distance, but the longer one gives her some trouble with the wind. Eventually Envar calls her back over.

“You have my attention.” Envar says. “You’ll need to travel with us, of course.”

Corona agrees eagerly and Envar sets her to menial apprentice-type tasks until the rest of the party wakes up. Atarah eventually comes and helps with the construction efforts, as soon as she is properly awake, and after her mother has left. “Hey, squirt,” she greets Corona affectionately.

When Oak first appears that morning, Envar glances at her, notes her hungover state and his still-missing flute, and immediately goes over to bang forcefully on the anvil for a minute or two. Atarah starts swearing, startled out of the woodwork she’d been working on—”What the— what are you—?”

Oak winces and shrinks down, clearly in pain, and contemplating hangover cures with hot peppers. After a little bit, Envar takes pity and casts Lesser Restoration to cleanse the hangover. He’s had his petty revenge, after all. Though he does instruct Corona, only half-joking, to hit the anvil anytime Oak comes within twenty paces.

The party discusses where they need to go next; Silverymoon first, and anything they cannot find or accomplish there, Oak will take them the day after to Waterdeep to finish their search. It is a little after midday when Oak recovers wits sufficiently to take them through the trees to Silverymoon.

Before they leave, Atarah leaves a note with Destiny, Tranled’s sister, asking her to let him know the party intends to travel to Silverymoon and then Waterdeep in search of more information. None of them have heard from him since last night.

Korotir declines to go “shopping” or visit the prissy elven town; he will stay in Nightstone for a little while longer to see if Tranled returns, and then go to his people in Neverwinter. Atarah offers to bring him back a smoothie.

On their way through the Tree Portal, Envar spots his people, the elves of Ardeep forest, watching from further in, and does not give into the temptation to walk through the portal backwards flipping them off. He merely nods at them, and vanishes.

Silverymoon is home to beautiful art and culture and knowledge. There is a major temple to Corellon and Lathander here, and it is there the party goes to after arranging for the rooms for the night they know they’ll need, as Oak cannot open another portal until after the next dawn. The city is enchanted with civil magics: calming and cleaning effects, “a pleasant vibe.” Oak doesn’t know what to do with herself absent her near-constant panicky energy.

“It’s like I drank tea—but I didn’t drink any tea!”

The party makes sure they are clean and presentable; Envar in his nice clothing, Atarah in her polished mithril and orichalcum armor, and they all head to the Northbank and temple district of Silverymoon.

Along the way, from the tree walkways above them, someone yelps. “Oh no— Wait— Aaah!”

They plummet to the ground; Oak leaps toward the falling form with her giant-rune active to fly. She slows the figure’s fall but they still hit the ground with a lethal-sounding crunch.

And then hop up, brushing themselves off. “I’m ok! I’m ok. I should have remembered that.” It is an elven male acting decidedly un-elflike, with dark reddish curly hair and bright green eyes, ragged in appearance. “Everything’s fine, nothing to see here—”

As he heads towards the nearest staircase, calling up it, “I’m fine!” Oak immediately runs after him, curiosity at full strength.

The rest of the party stares after her.

“Well, we’ve lost Oak,” Envar comments.

“That calming effect didn’t last long,” Atarah adds. “She knows where we’re going—See you later, Oak!”

Oak comes up to the man, who is grumbling about “Whoever thought it was a good idea to—Ah! Hi!”

“How did you survive that?”

“Uh… I’m sturdy?”

“No, how did you survive that?”

“Aaah… Hello? It’s nice to meet you? My name is Felgolos?”

Oak introduces herself as well, totally disregarding his personal space to examine him. She peers at his eyes. “You’re not an elf, are you?”

Felgolos is inching backwards. “Oh, uh. You’re a Tabaxi, aren’t you?” He hasn’t met many tabaxi. She keeps pestering for what he is, and Felgolos asks her how she feels about the Zhentarim. She shrugs. Felgolos is not supposed to talk about this. “If someone asks about the wagons it wasn’t me. No, wait, I’m not supposed to talk about—Oh. Uh—”

“I just want to know about how you survived the fall?”

“Oh? The fall? I’m a dragon.” He freezes. “Wait, I wasn’t supposed to say—”

“A dragon! You’re a dragon! A brass dragon?” she guesses.

“I can’t talk about this here?”

“How about somewhere else? Come meet me later, I’ll tell you anything you want to know about tabaxi.”

Felgolos agrees, and they arrange to meet up for drinks later. He keeps heading up the stairs, and Oak skips down them, saying, “I met a dragon, I met a dragon! And he wasn’t a douchebag!”

She catches back up with the party very quickly. “I met a dragon!”

Envar, Corona, Muse, and Ferrindale have split off to go to the Temple of Corellon, while Atarah headed off to the Temple of Lathander.

Corellon’s temple looks like it contains a starfield, continually lit by moonlight. It is designed so well with the trees growing around and through it, one’s mind can never decide if they walk through a forest or a building. The Keeper of the temple recognizes Envar as the Bearer of a Moonblade as soon as they enter, and approaches with greetings.

Envar explains why they have come. “I have a companion who needs somewhere….safe… and quiet to stay for awhile. There are some… complications.”

The Keeper understands; they have dealt with this sort of situation before. They ask further clarifying questions; what kind of creature are they hiding from, are there any bounties outstanding, and between Envar and Muse and Ferrindale, they relay the relevant information. The Keeper assures Muse they are safe here beneath the protection of Corellon. Muse may speak freely here.

Priestess Flethi is the magical contact at the temple; they will add additional protections against fiends and are happy to send or receive messages for Muse while the party is out taking out Lorcan. Are there any further magical services Envar requires while he is in the temple?

Envar asks about fire-resistance magics; the temple can offer potions and advises as to the use of physical shields against them. Flethi also speaks of looking for the red line the caster uses to target the fireballs to help guard against them.

They also ask Priestess Flethi about the runes Atarah saw in her dreams of her father; they had copied them out.

The Priestess says she will need to do some research to discover their precise use, but she knows enough to know they are dangerous, and restricted information. The temple charges a fee of a thousand gold for this service, however. The runes are not exactly harmless.

Ferrindale pipes up immediately, “I’ll pay it.”

Flethi nods. “Then come back tomorrow, and I will have the information you seek. And any further information on the context of these runes will let me tell you much more about them.”

Envar doesn’t feel it’s his information to share, but he will go find Atarah and ask her.

Flethi also says, as Ferrindale is retrieving the gold, that as they are the ones paying, they will have first access to whatever information she finds. Even though the group held the knowledge of the runes in common, they probably don’t understand the full extent of what they could mean, and it is… dangerous knowledge. Flethi would like to meet with Ferrindale privately first, so that they can make a complete decision on what to share, or not.

Ferrindale understands. And, “Please, take care of Muse.”

Meanwhile, Atarah and Oak went to the temple of Lathander, Rhyester’s Matins. Oak is still very excited about the dragon.

“Atarah! That guy, that fell, and didn’t die? He’s a dragon!”

“No shit? What’s a dragon doing in Silverymoon?”

“I don’t know but we’re having drinks later!” Oak pauses. “Wait, is that a date? Am I having a date with a dragon?”

“I think you’re having a date with a dragon.”

“Weird! I’m not… attracted to him? Oh well. We’re having drinks!”

“Good luck?”

Rhyester’s Matins is a tall building made almost completely out of glasteel, facing into the rising sun. Prisms and stained glass are set into the walls, spreading colored light across the inside. The altar, at the far end, is situated so that the light converges on it.

Atarah is mistaken for a follower of Lathander in her shiny armor by the attendant priest, Morningmaster Kuth.

“Ah… I’m not, actually?” She stumbles over an explanation. “It’s more like… he’s my divine… grandfather?”

“Ah, you’re one of the Auraests, aren’t you? They had been staying with us for awhile, while in hiding, but I believe that’s over with now?”

Atarah nods. “I’m Atarah, the second born.” Kuth wonders who the first is— Aelius—but he’s never heard of Aelius. Atarah thinks that’s probably a good thing; Aelius doesn’t want to be known. She explains she’s come to petition Lathander to accept her temporarily as his paladin.

“Temporarily? Usually an Oath is for life.”

“I am a paladin of my father—of Summerheart. But he has been captured by a powerful demon, a demon I intend to slay. But they have done something to him to prevent him from granting me power, so I come to ask Lathander if he will, so Summerheart can be freed.”

Kuth nods. “Have you gone to Neverwinter?”

“Uh. I’ve been there a few times, yes?”

“Come with me.” Kuth leads them to a back office, one wall of which is covered in cubbyholes. Some of them contain letters and papers, and it is one of these he retrieves. “Atarah, yes…. Here. The Temple in Neverwinter had copies of your father’s Will sent to the other Lathander temples, in case—”

“I know what happened to my father, he’s not dead.” Atarah is vehement about the fact Summerheart is not dead.

“It’s complicated,” Oak puts in, with reassurances for Atarah.

“Yes, well. I can tell you… gods never truly die. They can be divided, or mixed up with each other, or —”

“I know what happened to my father. Please. I just— I just want Lathander’s blessing, to help my father.”

“There is a ritual we can do, to make a new Paladin. Come back by dawn, and we can perform it. Is there anyone you would like to witness it?”

Atarah nods, and says she will invite the rest of the party—those who are here, in any case. Oak, Envar, Ferrindale… her sister, Corona. “But will Lathander accept me…?”

“We will find out during the ritual,” Kuth says.

This is not exactly the assurance Atarah wanted.

Oak asks about knowing how gods are split and recombined — does Kuth know how? Has that happened before?

Kuth doesn’t know. Most of those occurrences happen on the Astral Plane, and they have not witnessed them. They only know it has happened historically. On the Material Plane, wars have been fought over powerful artifacts believed to be able to help or harm those processes, but whether they do… only the Gods know. And the Gods — all of them, good or evil — are banned by mutual accord to not step foot onto the Material Plane. They sometimes send avatars and champions, such as Summerheart or powerful demons, to do their work on the Material Plane instead.

Oak asks if the Astral Plane is the best place to attempt such a rebuilding of a god? Kuth nods—any of the Outer Realms, really; each of them have different metaphysical properties and some are better than others, depending on the god or what is happening there already.

Atarah asks if Lathander’s order has any advice on fighting demons.

Kuth says yes: Demons can only be destroyed in the Outer Planes. Defeating them on the Material Plane sends their souls back to their home Planes where they regenerate. At least the more powerful ones. Minions will die anywhere.

Oak asks if Kuth is familiar with the places where one can shift to the various planes—He is, and in fact has studied them extensively. The Temple keeps a map of such places, which can be copied (magically) for a fee.

Atarah heads back into the main sanctuary to pray and prepare herself for another Vigil, and Oak follows Kuth down the hall to the scribes and cartographers. Kuth leaves her there to do his own preparations for the Paladin ritual.

Cartographer Coothbert can do several different qualities of maps— a basic one, for fifty gold, a very detailed one with all the demiplanes they know of for five hundred, or one woven of attuned materials that works as a focus for plane-shifting for thirty thousand. Oak opts for the middle option.

It is a magical preparation, and Cartographer Coothbert lays out the ink and does the magical equivalent of screen printing, and then seals the resultant map against weather and dirt, rolls it up and puts it into a very large scroll case for Oak.

On her way out, Oak returns the letter she accidentally grabbed of Kuth’s desk earlier. “Sorry about that!”

Envar arrives to the Matins, and asks Atarah if she will come give the Corellon priestess the context of the runes. She agrees and after speaking to Flethi, and assuring herself of the priestess’s trustworthiness and discretion (Envar vouches for her), tells the story of how she came to know of the runes, who was being contained, and what was happening to them— Summerheart and Lorcan. Atarah wants to know how to break the circle.

Ferrindale adds, “Basically her parents split but only one of them—” causing Atarah to splutter “What…!? That’s… not… ” and Oak to giggle, “Ooh, too soon.” Envar hides a smile behind a disapproving look.

Flethi nods and thanks them for the information, and goes off to research.

Preparing to disperse again, Atarah offers Oak a necklace to wear on her “date” but Oak isn’t sure any more it is a date? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t! They’re just going to talk. Oak doesn’t want to wear the necklace it feels weird, and offers it back.

“You mean it’s weird because someone gave it to you?” Envar quips.

“What?”

“Nothing. Come along, Corona.” And Envar wanders off.

The party leaves Atarah to her vigil, and Oak to her date. Envar takes Corona to a practice field and has her shoot targets till her fingers bleed—to develop those calluses, and because one may not have time in a battle to put on a glove. She appears to have a very high pain tolerance, because she doesn’t stop and keeps going until Envar notices it is affecting her shooting and calls an end to it. He wants to see how serious she is. (Atarah had reminded him this family has stubbornness issues.)

Envar assures her when she asks she is, in fact, improving. Slightly.

“When are we going to learn the cool stuff, like arcing arrows and hitting things you can’t see?”

“When you can shoot a damn sight better than that.”

Corona sighs. “That’s fair.”

She shadows Envar for the rest of the day— nearly literally.

Oak asks Ferrindale on the way back to their lodgings what they know about the Zhentarim? Smugglers and “legitimate businessmen” mostly. Not exactly the Robin-Hood kind. Most ruling authorities tend to ignore their activities so long as they stay within bounds, though, and it’s fairly easy to locate them through their iconography. Oak thinks Felgolos might be Zhentarim.

Felgolos appears on time, knocking at the door. His hair has been tidied and pulled back into a ponytail, and he’s wearing nicer clothes than he was in earlier.

Oak is excited. “Hello again!”

“Uh, Hi! So… we were going to have dinner, right? So, my friends tell me there’s a nice place to eat… uh. Called the Moonlit Veil? So I thought we could go there?” He definitely thought it was a date.

Felgolos does not jump over the rail—at first— because elves walk down stairs on their normal elven legs. Oak comments, “Well… if you want to jump, I can survive the fall.”

“What, do you have slow fall or something?”

“Or something.”

“Oh cool!” and Felgolos jumps without consulting her further. Oak shrugs and jumps after him, activating her giant rune to drift gently to the ground. Felgolos ends up six inches deep into the dirt and complaining about ankles and shins. “…I thought you had Slow fall!”

Oak casts Cure Wounds on him and they continue on to dinner.

The restaurant is the kind of very nice place where the waitstaff (mostly human, in this case) have towels over their arms. Oak orders mint tea, and asks why Felgolos is in disguise?

“Oh, well… you’re not a bounty hunter, right? It’s not, exactly, a disguise… some dragons just know how to change shape. It’s a skill; not every dragon can do it. And I know how to turn into a person. Why, have you met any other dragons?”

“Oh, yes, but it was never very good because they were all—”

“Chromatics! Ugh, Chromatics are the worst!” Felgolos doesn’t know why there are so many chromatics, something about survival rates. He’s seventy two, when Oak asks. (Only a few years older than Oak!). He’s a bronze dragon. Lightning and stuff (complete with finger guns and lightning pew-pew noises and bitty sparks).

Oak can do cool stuff too, and makes the drinks in the glasses dance. Felgolos is entranced. Oak asks what Felgolos is doing in the city?

“Oh, hanging out with some other… people. I had a bad time… Some of my friends and siblings say I have poor risk management— I mean, they call me the Flying Disaster? And I got captured by cloud giants but my new friends saved me so now it’s like a life debt thing and I’m hanging out with them for awhile.” They aren’t here right now, though. Felgolos doesn’t hang out with invisible people, that would be weird. (If Oak is hanging out with invisible people she doesn’t know it. Felgolos thinks this is very deep).

The conversation moves on to whether Oak has fought any dragons— once or twice, but she and her party will be hunting an evil blue dragon soon, one who’s kidnapped their friends. Iymrith.

“Why, have you heard of her? Don’t hurt yourself,” Oak adds when Felgolos starts making pained faces.

“I’m not supposed to talk about it!”

“You know something about her! You are going to tell me everything,” Oak says as Felgolos continues making pained awkward faces.

“Aaah… Ummm…. Ok. Maybe we… should talk about something that won’t get me killed?” He stage whispers, “She’s scary!”

“Yes, I know, that’s why we’re going to go kill her.”

“Oh! Ok, then.” Felgolos is suddenly much more relaxed. “Well… that’s good. Maybe I could come with you when you’re going to do that… do you, like, have a calendar or something on when?”

Oak does not keep a calendar. But Atarah does! Dates are important to her. Felgolos asks if he can be pencilled in on that one. “I… I may have killed her son. Uh… You know, sometimes when you’re flying and someone else is flying and you need your wings to fly… It was… like heat of the moment, and I may have ripped his wings off and it all went downhill from there. I felt really bad about it later! Even though blue dragons are bad news. We’re both immune to each others’ lightning at least—can we talk about something else?”

“When did you kill him?”

“That sounds like the same thing…. Uh. Two days ago.”

Felgolos again asserts he shouldn’t be telling her any of this, she’s not a bounty hunter right? Right. She won’t tell. He’s laying low for now, clearing bounties from him from the Zhentarim. They…. Foolishly… thought he was attacking their caravans carrying slaves and drugs and stuff but it definitely wasn’t him, nope, it was some other lightning breathing blue dragon…. Who’s dead now! Definitely unrelated.

Felgolos doesn’t interact with a lot of people. It’s clear. Oak is a tabaxi, been one her whole life! This is very cool to Felgolos. The conversation continues in this sort of manner for the rest of the evening, and eventually the two end up outside of Silverymoon and its wards as Felgolos offers o take Oak flying on his back as a dragon. After a ride, she shifts to a giant eagle and joins him for a little while.

Before they part, Felgolos and Oak trade contact information so he can come fight Iymrith with them—Felgolos is usually with a sorceress named Zalira, he can get messages from her. Oak has a friend who can do that too.

21 Eleint 1487

The next morning is the dawn light ceremony of Atarah’s Oath re-affirming, to Lathander this time. Atarah is still uncertain. Her prayers during the vigil night have all been along the lines of, “I know I am not who You would have Chosen to be your Paladin. But—you did Choose my Papa. And he Chose me. Please, please— help me get him back.”

Envar lays his hand on her shoulder before she goes into the ritual and says, “You’ll be fine. He’ll accept you.” (Guidance) and Ferrindale gives her a broad wink and a thumbs up (Inspiration).

As the sun rises behind the altar, the light fills the entire room. A beam lances off the altar and strikes Atarah, and she feels the wellspring of divine energy at her fingers. Gold dawn light halos her as she steps back down away from the altar. The ache in her chest she’s carried for the last weeks fades away into relief and slightly manic energy.

“Aah… I think the answer was Yes. Let’s go kill some Pit Fiends!”

From Lathander’s temple they head straight over to Corellon’s. Flethi greets them, and whisks Ferrindale away to her private office to share the information she’s gathered from her research. Atarah, “It’s my dad!”


-

Oak and Atarah practically pounce on Ferrindale as soon as they come back to the main room. “So! What did she find out?”

Ferrindale gives them a pretty good summary of what the priestess found out, only leaving out a few details. Atarah asks more and more questions until eventually Ferrin tells Flethi she can tell the rest of the party what they were told already.

“Oooh Kay! Now that I’ve brightened everyone’s morning… I’ve got places to be. And I will catch you later!” Ferrindale takes off at speed to find Muse, somewhere in the complex.

Muse never heard chanting in the Slarkethel memories—the incantation Ferrindale recalls was part of Atarah’s dream that Ilwar ‘helped’ with and Ferrindale entered. But Ferrindale explains the situation anyways. “I know he was kind of a jerk to you the other day, but he’s still my friend. If I can stop him being lost to darkness — literally rather than figuratively — I intend to do something about that.”

“I mean, we all die at some point… but yeah. That sounds… really bad.” Muse shakes her head. She remembers mostly things from her own life, or the crew… but the stuff with Tranled didn’t mean anything to her, so she didn’t pay attention. “It’s like waking up from a dream.”

“I had a dream I wrote a really great song and when I woke up it was gone!”

“Exactly!” Muse agrees. “But… maybe you’re not giving Tranled enough credit? I mean, sure, he was a bit mean, but you’re asking him to face down a monster from his childhood. And… uh. That can make us feel like we’re kids again — small and powerless. I kinda get where he’s coming from. Anyways… ‘you wanna go to hell?’ isn’t exactly a good pickup line.”

“I’m working on that.”

“Maybe… you guys could track down some of the Fallen Oak society here on the Sword Coast? I have some information on that I could give you to track down people locally, instead of… you know. Giving Lorcan the home turf advantage if you don’t have to.”

“I’m not the brains of this operation—” Ferrindale says. “I’m just going with whatever they tell me is going to be advantageous.”

“Since… I mean, you remember how I used to be… since I was captured because I didn’t think out clearly what I was going to do, so I’ve started trying to plan ahead of time, now. I’m not perfect, I still have my impulses, but I kinda had to learn by running into a brick wall.” She sighs. “Lorcan had a plan, the Fallen Oak Society had a plan, I didn’t have a plan. And so, they got me.”

“Yeeaaah… I’ve… sorta seen that in action.”

“Sorry, I’m not trying to damp down your free spirit, it’s what I love about you. But.” She shrugs. “Man, when did I become such a drag! Look, this place is gorgeous. It’s beautiful. I love it here. If I had to hide out anywhere in the world, I’m glad it’s here. So I will be here, chilling out, sipping martinis while you guys go take care of whatever it is— and when it’s all sorted out, we can get back to being wild and crazy together, ok? No plans.”

“The plan is success! And fun!” Ferrindale grins.


Meanwhile the rest of the party is discussing the gathered information, and what will happen afterwards.

…And depending on how forgiving Summerheart was feeling….

Atarah states her dad is very forgiving — A lot more forgiving than she is. Oak thinks Tranled yet needs to be redeemed— but that is a choice only he can make, Atarah says. It’s a hard sell. The party can only encourage him, even though in the past he hasn’t much been listening.
“I shouldn’t have said what I said, what I said while he was drunk. While I was drunk,” Atarah says, scrubbing at her face with a groan. “I meant it— but I could have said it better. Should have said it better. Just… make a choice.”

“Maybe he’ll forget it,” Envar says.

“I don’t know… did you see how much of the bottle was left?” Atarah asks, only joking a little.

Envar shrugs. “People get drunk and forget things.” Atarah isn’t sure that’s any better.


With the decision made to go to Neverwinter to acquire more information and sell off their excess magical items to the artificer Gart Deepden, the party collects Ferrindale and reassembles. Before they leave, Atarah makes sure to trade in the shield she bought the last time they were in Silverymoon for one with Lathander symbolism instead. Oak finds Felgolos to say goodbye.

Oak opens the portal to the forests just outside Neverwinter.

They immediately spot a knight on horseback. He appears injured, and there is a broken lute strapped to his back. The shield hanging from his tack has Order of the Gauntlet—Atarah’s faction— magery etched into it. He is riding away from the forests, heading into Neverwinter.

“Knight of the Gauntlet!” Atarah hails him. The knight turns, and spotting them, smiles.

“Hail. Good fortune to all of you.”

“You look in need of aid,” Atarah says, holding up a hand that now glows again with divine magic. The knight is instantly relieved, “Yes, please,” and Atarah lays her hand on his knee.

Oak pats Atarah on the back, proud. “You’re using magic again!” Atarah grins back, slightly giddy.

The knight must have been hit harder than he thought, he hadn’t seen them when he rode by. (“We’re very quiet,” Envar says.) He notes their weapons, and asks if they are men (and women) at-arms?

“Yes,” Atarah says, “I am of the Gauntlet as well. A Paladin of Lathander,” though she winces slightly at the god’s name.

“I am Ser Jordeth Havelstone,” the knight introduces himself. Envar inquires as to his injuries? “There was a frost giant scouting party— two of them. One of them has been slain, but not before my squire was killed as well. I have just returned from burying them. The other giant was wounded, but made off in that direction— “ he gestures, and Envar inquires further, it was only a an hour or so ago. He believes the giant is making for the coast, to meet up with the frost giant ships that lurk out to sea.

“I don’t feel right leaving a giant rampaging about,” Envar says.

“One giant, already wounded? We can handle them,” Atarah says, patting the hilt of her sword.

“My squire would rest easier if we put this one down,” says Ser Jordeth. “I would appreciate your help.”

“Alright,” Oak says, “But then we’re going to go straight and finish what we came here to do.”

“It’s only one giant,” Envar says.

Atarah summons her mount—but Rivka appears differently this time. No longer a sabertooth tiger, Rivka has gained the wings and foreparts of a harpy eagle: she is now a gryphon. She offers the rest of the party a ride behind her—Ferrindale climbs on, Envar would rather run, and Corona asks Oak if she might ride with her instead? As Oak transforms into a giant eagle.

The giant’s trail is ridiculously easy to pick up, between the knocked over trees and very large footprints. They catch up with him after an hour of fast travel, as he is about to break from the forests into a stretch of grassy plains broken by large rock outcroppings sloping down to the beach.

Envar looses arrows at the giant to get its attention, so it stops running and faces them, but the giant ignores them. Just before he would break into the plains, the giant drops down into the trees and the group loses sight of him.

Envar spots him looking up, holding a net, and readies another arrow to shoot at the giant as soon as he stands again. The arrow gives him a new nose piercing, but doesn’t stop him from flinging a net over Oak as she passes overhead with Corona on her back.

The net pins Oak’s wings to her sides, but Corona still manages to get a shot off through the net and hits the giant.

A second net is flung in Atarah and Rivka’s direction, but it misses.

Oak drops her wildshape and grabs Corona, then casts Freedom of Movement on herself, freeing them from the net. The giant rune she bears activates and floats them gently to the ground, taking no injuries.

Atarah stands in her stirrups and hollers down at the giant, “Maybe you haven’t heard! King Hekaton lives, and rules, and he is friends with the Small Folk! You can surrender to us and leave peacefully, or you can suffer Hekaton’s wrath! Which would you prefer?”

The giant pauses, fishing the arrow out of his nose.

Atarah keeps going while he thinks. “Because, I have a lot of people here who would like nothing better than to kill you. You wouldn’t be the first giant to fall at our hands. If you’d like to keep your life, I advise you to surrender.”

Out past the beach, there are a few more frost giants waiting in their boat. They begin jeering and yelling at the party, “Crush the smallfolk!” They are too far away to be heard further.

The giant finally puts up his hands. “Alright. Don’t attack. Don’t… Kill? No Kill?”

Atarah makes a gesture, asking the rest of the party to hold their actions. They do, though it takes a stern look from Atarah to get Corona to back down.

The giant says something in his native tongue, which none of them understand. He switches back to Common. “Speak… Giant?”

They shake their heads. Atarah asks “Do you speak this language?” repeating it in Celestial and Dwarvish, the only other languages she knows. The giant doesn’t know those either.

The giant says, “You… speak Hekaton. Why?”

“He’s alive. Hekaton is at home.”

“Hekaton… dead?”

The party affirms loudly, no, “Hekaton lives. Hekaton rules! With Sarissa.”

The giant nods and gestures at the boat. “Me, go home.”

Atarah says, “No killing Small Folk. Hekaton angry. Tell them, Hekaton lives.”

The giant walks cautiously away, watching the party, who watches him warily back.

Corona sidles up to Envar and asks why we are letting the giant leave? Didn’t he just kill a lot of people?

Envar explains sometimes it’s better to not kill, otherwise none of the other giants would be informed of their King’s return, and there would only be more raids.

Corona gestures at the giants in the boat. “We could take them!”

Envar sighs. “Put your bow away.”

Ser Jordreth catches up with them, and Corona gestures to him. “But, he’s Gauntlet! We take care of our own!”

Oak speaks up. “Child. We are not in charge of life or death.”

“Nor are all of us Order of the Gauntlet. More good can be done by breaking the cycle of violence than continuing it.” Envar explains.

“Write that one down,” Oak says, and Corona hurries to comply.

Atarah lands in front of Ser Jordreth and absorbs his unhappiness, explaining about the treaty and how they were working with Princess Sarissa. Jordreth thinks they all should die, and Atarah says genocide is not warranted.

“Take all of your high-minded morals and tell Aryanna’s parents about this!”

She will. “Where are they? I will tell them…. Look. I’ve lost people to giants too, it sucks. But to keep more people from dying, we have to let them know about their King, the one who can actually control them— he’s enforcing the treat. Otherwise we’ll just keep fighting them over and over and over again, to more deaths.”

“I prefer justice when it is swift.”

“The right choice isn’t always the easy one,” Envar says. Atarah agrees vehemently.

Jordreth isn’t convinced. He quiets down, but Oak can see he is still not satisfied by Atarah’s paladin ethics about retributive killing. She can tell he is only waiting for them to leave before he plans on going to pick a fight with the remaining giants.

“It’s not worth it,” she tells him. “It is not worth the deaths to come.”

“I asked for help—this is not what I wanted,” he says.

“No, we may not have given you exactly what you wanted, but what we did was the best for the long run.”

“Killing them is what they deserve,” Jordreth says.

“Giants are a full sentient race of creatures, with a range of personalities, types and morals just like us. They have their own government, and we have brokered a treaty with them that will be enforced. But in order for that to happen, we have to hold up our end of it. If you kill that one, the message of the treaty, the news, is not passed on, and the deaths will continue.” Oak explains.

Jordreth huffs and mounts up.

“Uh… I… can maybe… do something about that. Your squire. I can try to bring them back? I have magic that can do that.” Ferrindale puts in.

“Oh! You’re a powerful wizard?”

“Uh. Bard. I can’t guarantee it will work, but trying is better than not trying, right?”

Jordreth agrees. Oak’s fur is on end; resurrections feel wrong, now. Ser Jordreth leads them back to the location he buried the squire, and Oak at least moves the earth away and moves the body to the surface, but refuses to participate in the ritual.

Ser Jordreth prays. “You’re too young. You have a lot to live for. Please come back to us. If you can hear us, please come back.”

Atarah kneels. “Tell me about your squire.”

“Aryanna was—is—a very caring person. A people-pleaser, always wanted to make everyone around her happy. But there was a lot of tragedy in her life; she decided joining the Gauntlet was the best way to make sure other people could have their own happiness. She was training under me to become a Knight. A decent fighter… But maybe a better musician.”

“Does her family live?” Atarah keeps prompting Ser Jordreth for tales and stories of the squire, showing how she is remembered and known and loved and wanted. Look at how you are remembered, come back, you can do still more.

Ferrindale starts playing a song for Aryanna, something she would have loved, on the lute. Something cheerful and happy. “C’mon lil girl, there’s a lot more world out there left for ya. Don’t leave us hanging.”

Envar cleans and mends the squire’s broken lute.

A ghostly image of the Squire lays down into the body and the girl gasps another breath, sitting up and dislodging crumbs of Earth. Atarah immediately leans over and lays on hands, pouring more healing into her and Envar offers her a hand up with Cure Wounds.

“Phew! Wow. That giant hit me hard. Uh. Sorry to freak everyone out,” Aryanna says. “Looks like we really attracted some attention. Uh. Hi. I’m Aryanna, how are you doing?” She greets politely.

The party introduces themselves.

“Welcome back,” Atarah says.

“Uh. Yeah. How long was I out?”

Atarah shrugs. “Like an hour or two. It was a giant, he hit you hard.” The girl looks a little flabbergasted. “I’ll let Ser Jordreth tell you all about it. You’re doing great.”

“Well, we should hit the road,” Envar says brightly.

“Thanks a lot!” Aryanna says. “Hope to run into you again!”

Oak, still disturbed, leaves without comment.

“Enjoy yourself out there! Stay safe!” Ferrindale says as the party leaves.

Outside Neverwinter is a very familiar encampment of Orcs against the walls. Korotir comes out to greet the party. Two frost giant heads are prominently displayed on pikes outside the encampment.

Atarah throws up her hands. “We left you alone for two days. You were there for the treaty!…. I am trying to be a good paladin, I swear.”

Oak explains they are going to go shopping again and he doesn’t want to come, does he? Korotir nods. “Thank you for respecting my culture.”

Atarah leads the way to Gart’s shop again, where they ring the bell and wait for him to emerge. They have brought him bits from their fight against the Kraken cultists and tanned merrowskin. The bits are not terribly well preserved, having been in the bag of holding, but Gart can still making something of it. The party makes a decent amount of gold from the transactions, somewhere in the vicinity of thirteen thousand.

Atarah asks if he can answer some questions, now that they’ve brought him so much interesting items. Gart will do so, for free, even!

“So… we may have a spirit in need of a home soon, and I was wondering… how does one go about making a sentient weapon?”

Gart balks. Some things are proprietary knowledge.

Atarah backpedals— “I don’t need, like, technical details, just— it’s possible, right? Is it a property intrinsic to the forging of the weapon, or can you like, put something in it?”

Gart temporizes. “Ah. There are a lot of misconceptions about this sort of thing. I can tell one of you, but I’d have to take you on as an apprentice. It’s… complicated.”

“We don’t need to know details… We just need to know that it’s possible… and if we were in a position to want to make it happen, what would we need to do in order to enable someone with the skill to do it,” Envar says.

“You’d need someone with the skill to do it—present. I have that skill.”

“Do you want to take a trip with us?” Atarah asks.

Oak drags the rest of the party away, “For, uh, just one moment. I need to talk to them.”

“Guys,” she hisses. “I have that spellbook. We could trade it for the information—?”

“That’s up to you. I just… I wanted to give our mutual friend the option.” Atarah says.

“Maybe… we should talk to our mutual friend first. Before we explore this more,” Oak says. Envar agrees. “Because if…they don’t want a sentient weapon?”

“What’s in the spellbook?” Ferrindale asks.

Oak doesn’t know. It belonged to Schultz, she assumes it’s good stuff, something that Gart would want.

Atarah shrugs. “But. It is a possibility. That those sorts of things can be made on purpose, instead of… accidentally. I know sometimes they’re made only accidentally.”

The party agrees. It’s on the table, at leas.

Oak breaks up the huddle and asks if Gart can do anything with this? And she breaks out a jar of blood she took from a half-orc Kraken cultist. It’s just regular blood, nothing he can use he declares after testing it. Oak will keep it then.

“Is there anything else you’d like to offer in trade?” Gart asks.

“Oh, about the sentient weapon.” Envar muses. “We need to go and discuss it with other interested parties further before coming back with an offer.”

“But it’s good to know it’s a possibility,” Atarah puts in.

Gart accepts this. “I will tell you, you will need me or someone as skilled as I am present, and my services are for hire. I can take care of myself in a fight.” There’s not much more he can tell them about the process.

Atarah and Envar discuss options to the side about controlling the where of the event involved, ways of identifying the item and keeping it safe before bringing it back, instead of something happening uncontrollably. It seems the safest bet.

Oak thanks Gart, and he thanks her, only a little sarcastically, for the bucket of disgusting cultist goo. Atarah asks if he has a wishlist? Dragon parts. He can always use dragon parts. And since a big issue with dragons is transportation, he has a logistics chain that can handle harvesting in situ.

Talking about it, the party realizes they have no way of preserving future… icky things… and purchases a “Bag of Colding” — a preservation-enchanted Bag of Holding— for future harvesting.

Gart also warns them against other crafters, they can be squirrelly. “There’s some guy down in Waterdeep who’s a couple bolts short of a full wagon, if you know what I mean.”

“Lucky for you we don’t know of any others!” Atarah laughs as they leave. Time to find Korotir, and Tranled, and take the next steps.

View
The Unspeakable Contract

11 Elesias 1487

They are off the boat; Seafir and the crew convene in the Maelstrom. Seafir is given earth and light to heal. Quabbis is laid to their final rest amid respects from the Seafir crew.

Over the next month, the party leaves by ones and twos to follow their own inclinations, to rest or learn or seek information on their next steps. They resolve to meet in Nightstone in a month, where their story began.

Zalira returns to the Maelstrom via teleportation with the vultures in tow, so they have transportation.

Korotir will go back to the Ulgin, to speak with his people. He offers to tell Tranled’s wife that he’s died—which is both true, and a lie. Tranled sends her a letter and a preserved piece of a merrow as a gift.

He still recieves messages every morning from someone in the Ulgin, “Brettag” who is little. The elders wanted her to keep tabs on him. He eventually replies when she says Volstag doesn’t think she’s using the spell correctly. Korotir says, “Do not worry. I am coming home. I can take care of myself.”

The Ulgin have been slowly migrating south over the course of the summer; they are in the Crags, the foothills of the Spine of the World, when Korotir catches them up. He explains his plan, and one of the warriors complains, “I don’t want to build walls!”

Korotir knocks him down. “How dare you. Have you forgotten to whom you speak?”

“The whelps need straightening out.” Volsung, the elder, and Korotir speak of the Ulgin’s new direction, to become sailors and pirates and to spread the Ulgin everywhere, to new lands across the sea.

Targath, the eldest Elder, brings Korotir and the council together for a discussion. “Is this a vision you have had? It feels like a sudden change. I do not doubt your leadership, but could you tell us more of what you plan?”

Korotir brings out the tentacle from Slarkethel. “The pack I run with, we have seen many things. This is the tip of a god, and I have killed it. If we do not rise to meet them, history will grind us underfoot and we will be forgotten. We must grow, and become stronger, and this is how.”

The elders will support him. But there are things which have come up while he has been gone, such as the child who keeps messaging him and the ‘new arrivals’.

Brettag is an unusually small orc girl. She can work magic, and demonstrates by causing the rock beneath the snow to cover Korotir’s feet. Korotir is impressed she has made up for her small size with something else.

Korotir comments they can take the mountains with them with this child. Volsung grumbles, and gives a story about how a long time ago, the god of the Stone Giants blessed the Ulgin, several hundred years ago. But the stone magic has not been seen in Korotir’s lifetime, until Brettag. It is a sign Scoraleus (the god of the Stone Giants) has returned the blessing to their people. It is possible there were others with this gift but born too early, and they need to quest to the Stone Giants to find whatever magic well it is they use for this sort of thing, holy places deep within the mountains. Korotir will find them.

Brettag is Very Excited to go with Korotir back with his pack, and teleport, and fight dragons, and tarrasques? Korotir does not know how to react to this. But he will stay with the people for awhile as they prepare to move out.

Korotir also teaches Brettag general orcish things like fighting and hunting.

Ferrindale approaches Muse—Quick? — after coming back to the Maelstrom, who they recognized when Muse’s mask fell off briefly in the battle.

Muse doesn’t seem to know what Ferrindale is talking about at first, being separated from Ferrindale, until they bring up Neverwinter. Muse drags Ferrindale away from the ship to talk, towards one of the smallfolk scale rooms, and threatens the current occupants (The Dwarves Three) out in order to have privacy.

“I was hoping you wouldn’t notice,” Muse says, taking off the mask. “I know you’ve probably got a lot of questions, but we’re most likely being listened to and I cannot speak my mind without endangering you.”

“Where did you go?” Ferrindale asks.

“I’m sorry, I can’t, I was hoping this wouldn’t come up. I’m glad you’re alive. I can’t use proper nouns or specifics—” Ferrin agrees. “Ah, Look. You can tell me things, if you want, I just can’t answer questions.”

“I turned my back for two weeks and you were gone! Off the face of the planet! And they called it off and I had to go home and I did nothing for a long time and you know I don’t do that and—what happened? Where were you?”

Muse hugs them. “I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I was trying to protect you. You know what they were after—”

“I didn’t picture it going like this either.”

“I mean, we talked, we said our goodbyes, said it would be a good time to wrap up our adventures! Sorry about the disappearing act. You know my other identity was associated with… that. I had to leave it.”

“Where can we go so we won’t be listened to?”

Muse doesn’t know; it’s a magic thing. Isn’t Ferrindale enchanting—”Yes, enchanting, and deeply powerful, yes, I know.” Muse grins, and meant, can’t Ferrindale do magic? Yes they both had their roles. Ferrin couldn’t scale two stories and be in and out in a minute, either.

Muse talks about how Ferrindale is something she cares about and, doesn’t want them threatened because of what she’s wrapped up in. And hey, haven’t they had great adventures? Did you see the hallucinations when the Kraken showed up?

“Yes!” Ferrindale says, pulling out the ring they wear around their neck, “But I think I know what this means now!”

“…But that’s full of proper nouns I can’t talk about!” Muse is curious and also upset they can’t talk about it. They can still be friends. Muse just can’t take off the mask.

Before they go, Ferrindale gets Muse to sing their anthem together (song!).

Ferrindale spends the rest of the month travelling and making new music.

—-

Oak spends her month with her Father, going back to the Grove outside of Goldenfields. One day, Oak bursts into her father’s room. “Wake up! Wakeupwakeup I need to show you something, and take you somewhere, come with me!”

They go to the rock with the view outside of Nightstone, the mountain. “This place became a place of contemplation after I lost a lot of friends, the first time I adventured. You taught me a lot, here. You gave me a beautiful sunset, and I wanted to share a sunrise with you here. I may not have created it, but it is an appreciation of Nature as it is, which is both dear to us, I know.”

As the sun rises, Oak transmutes a rock into a coin sized sculpture, on one side is a moose and the other is a tree of life, and she gives it to him. “We are two sides of a coin. This is how we different, and how we are the same.”

Aidelweiss appreciates it. “Thank you. This has been… the best decision of my life. Coming back to see you again. You have a much more interesting life than me. A bit exhausting at times, but… there are enough naps, I can keep up for an hour at a time…. Aaah, sunrise. New beginnings. New hope.”

“All a matter of perspective. If you are content, then it was a good life.”

“When did you become the wise one?” Aidel smiles. “…Is there anything else you want to do, as father and daughter, before… before the journey’s end?”

Oak doesn’t know what else there is. She will learn anything he has to teach. Aidel asks if she’s ever been to the Feywild? She has, but not for a long time. Aidel has spent a lot of time there. He will teach her to go there, the ancient druidic magics of planeshifting. The Maelstrom is one place where it is easiest to shift, that one leads to the Plane of Water. The Feywild is his favorite.

Oak keeps an eye on Tranled while she is gone, scrying every once in awhile on him.

——

Envar goes to Silverymoon, to the temple where he originally became a cleric, and spends some time in prayer and contemplation and learning more. He also visits the Princess they saved from the Fire Giants’ slave camps.

Under Kotorir’s direction, Brettag starts messaging Envar, who responds, 3 or 4 days after it starts, with Elven. Eventually she starts parroting his Elven back at him so Envar teaches her to say rude things about Korotir in elvish.

The Princess asks Envar about where he grew up, and the Ardeep Forest families. Envar speaks of how he was kicked out, and doesn’t know anything about them. The Princess says that is not right, what happened to him.

Envar is philosophical about it. “If that hadn’t occurred, you wouldn’t have been freed. What happened, happened.”

The princess offers to speak to her father about it, get him a letter of recommendation or something. It isn’t unusual for an elf of their age to go a-journeying, after all, it doesn’t have to be a banishment in retrospect. Her father offers to send an envoy to the Ardeep Elves with Envar and straighten everything out. “It’s a hell of a way to make an entrance.”

Envar asks for that to be postponed to a later date, but otherwise accepts. The Princess, coyly, “We’ll await your message. I would like to get to know you better.” and sends him off with an elvish gift basket.

——

Tranled goes to visit his sister in Nightstone, after asking Oak to send him as close as possible via treejump. He walks in to town after dispelling his horse.

The gates of Nightstone are closed, and there are archers on the towers. It looks much better defended than last time. They hail Tranled, ask him to state his business.

“I come to see the herbalist, Destiny Agannor.”

“And you are?”

Tranled hesitates. “I bring news of her brother.”

The guard tower consults with each other. A lady leans out and asks, “What are you, anyways?”

“I don’t tan well.”

An arrow lands at his feet. “We’re not dumb, we can tell you’re not human. What are you? A Lich?”

“…if I were a Lich, would I be talking to you?”

There is more banter back and forth, the guards claim it’s a warning shot and standard procedure. Tranled knows procedure and out-bureaucracies them. The gate opens, and Tranled is allowed inside, flashing his Harper badge.

The lady comes to meet him; she wears medium armor and a sword. They exchange news about the town, how it has fared since the giant attack a year ago. They’ve cleared the fallen rocks and built a monument made from them in the center of town, where the titular night stone used to be. Carved into the stones are the names of those who died during the attack; each one is a memorial. The top one says, “Nightstone — Once Crushed, Never Defeated”.

Tranled knocks on Destiny’s door.

She opens it. “Hello… Come in. What can I do for you?”

Captain Erin asks her to keep an eye on Tranled, as he’s “new” to town. Destiny can handle herself. She gives Tranled the usual sales speech.

Tranled asks for calming teas. She gives him options and prices, and he buys five boxes of the expensive stuff (her entire stock).

“Tell me… where are you from? How do you know of this place? We don’t get many out of towners.”

“I…bring news of your brother.”

Destiny drops the box. “Oh. Did it finally get to him?”

Tranled asks if they can share one of the teas. Destiny asks so it’s that bad? But she brews a pot and offers a chair, and they talk.

“Some strange things have happened.”

Destiny narrows her eyes. “Does he owe you money?”

Tranled shakes his head. “Tranled has died twice. And the second time… the second time he became me.”

“That’s… cryptic. Is this a fortune thing?”

“I am what is left of your brother… I am he, and he is me, although sometimes I am not so sure.”

Destiny glances at the door.

Tranled speaks about before they were taken, about how their parents took them to the lake to swim, because their father was adamant they needed to know, even though Tranled hated it. And Destiny could swim easily. And afterwards they would sit by their mom’s campfire. And— he speaks of things only Tranled would know.

“Oh, god, it is you.” Destiny remembers his emo identity crises. She talks about, remember when you wanted to be an artist and taught yourself the mandolin and had a doofy band name? She understands, as he was taken and raised by crazy warlocks, that he doesn’t have the same sort of emotional security she had. But he’s too hard on himself; Destiny thinks he needs to chill out.

Tranled tries to explain how he contains the dark consciousness of a benevolent god and Destiny has no idea what he’s talking about; he’s making no sense. Tranled doesn’t know what he’s talking about either. But he brings out the runes he copied from the vision, and says he needs to figure out what they mean in order to find himself.

Destiny says he always knew more magic than she did (because he cheated, being a warlock… but he also died twice so) and she is not up to this level. She doesn’t know what that is, but she knows where he can find someone who does know. (She recognizes the pieces of a spell scroll, and that it is ancient Draconic, but she doesn’t know any more). Consult with a wizard, best bet is one from an adventurer’s league, perhaps in Waterdeep.

He will. He asks to spend some time with her and her son, to be family. He’ll do a coming of age ceremony with him when the party returns to Nightstone. He makes some inquiries in Waterdeep but doesn’t have enough gold to induce a real wizard to speak with him about the runes; but he’ll be back with the party.

——-

Atarah goes home. To her family estate, where Mama and Kastris and the horde. She rests, and recuperates, and on the third day her Mama banishes the horde and makes Atarah tell her whats wrong. Mama seems unsurprised, and says she’ll get the armor out.

Atarah did not realize Mama could fight? Mama says, well, your father and I didn’t exactly meet in a library. How do you think she survived this long? Atarah says “…uhh…. your good looks and quick tongue?” Mama eye-rolls.

Atarah reads through her father’s journals. (nat 20 hist check) Pyrrhus and Lorcan have a long, long history. Pyrrhus made a deal once—only once— a long time ago, and Lorcan never let him live it down. Lorcan is a devil, from the lawful side of evil, a ladder climber, who must get one over on his foes to get promoted.

Lorcan and Pyrrhus worked together just before Pyrrhus’ death, a kind of devil you know, lesser evil thing, against the Left Hand. But Lorcan tried to run off with a black-book of Left Hand’s genealogies and Pyrrhus attacked him, ending their working relationship. The journal entries end soon after.

19 Eleint, 1487

It has been a year since Atarah and Korotir set out with Natalia and Titan to Nightstone. So much has happened since then. The party meets up again in Nightstone, in time for Tranled and his nephew’s coming of age Ceremony.

“The young shall bring the fortune of Nightstone back.” He goes on for an hour and punctuates the end by gesturing to Atarah and and saying, “And now we feast!”

Atarah stares at him. “What?”

“Can’t… can’t you do the feast thing again?”

“…I haven’t been able to do magic since you died.”

Awkward pause. The crowd whispers. Tranled goes paler than normal. “Uhh. Envar! Help me!”
Envar can make a bowl for hero’s feast but it’ll take awhile. Tranled backtracks and says, “The feast will be after the entertainment!” and gestures wildly at Ferrindale. Ferrindale hisses accusation, but starts playing.

Envar and Destiny work out food arrangements between them without Tranled noticing. At the end of the night, Tranled stands up to perform— Envar casts silence just in time, and dispels it as soon as Tranled is done, while the party signals the assembled crowds to clap. Tranled feels appreciated. It was his magnum opus.

Korotir deadpans, “I am glad to have been here to witness it.”

Korotir tells the story of their fight in Nightstone to Brettag and Ferrindale. “And this is where I held the leader of the Seven Snakes up by the throat. We took all their valuables. It was hilarious.”

Oak notices Muse is trying to pretend like she doesn’t know Ferrindale even though they clearly do; it’s not anything to do with their relationship. Oak sits down and is nosy. “So… do you two know each other?”

“Yessss… Hey! You’re just the person I wanted to see!”

“Oh good!” Ferrindale asks Oak about that time when they couldn’t tell anything and their head would explode and Oak did something about it? Oh yeah, there was an amulet. Oak gave it to Korotir to keep someone from talking in his head—just that morning.

Ferrindale is slightly disappointed. “Oh. Can you ask him for it back?”

Oak is confused. “You can ask him for it?… are you scared of Korotir?”

“No!” Ferrindale says instantly. “…Uh… talking to him makes my neck hurt.”

Oak picks up a chair and heads off. “Well let’s go talk to him!”

Retrieving the amulet from Korotir is very easy, he hands it over, but does get in range of terminally-curious Brettag, who messes with Ferrindale’s pointy ears. The two of them, Ferrindale and Muse, go off to attune to the amulet and talk without fear of magical eavesdropping, though one of Ilwar’s frustrated pixies shows up and makes a throat-slicing gesture before vanishing. Ferrindale hastily prestidigitation’s away the pixie dust.

Muse explains that one time they tried to tell someone and they burst into flames, and even smothering them with a blanket didn’t help.

“Ferrindale, your parents are still alive.”

“…ok!?”

“They’re just being held. I was investigating a group called the Fallen Oak Society, and they do something with bloodlines. I was investigating the disappearance of the family line of Neverembers in Neverwinter, and it had to deal with this society. Your parents knew something about it, and they were being held. I was being held too, with a demon, and… I’m not going to say his name, because I doubt this amulet blocks everything… and well. I got out… but there were contracts involved.”

“Where is he? I’ll punch him. With my face.” Ferrindale is invested, instantly.

Muse describes where she and Ferrindale’s parents was being held—a all-metal building, hot, maybe underground? There was lots of screaming in the background.

Ferrindale wants to rescue them, but they are concerned after so long, they might be different people. Muse speaks about being forced into contracts, and the demons don’t recognize ‘under duress’. Then freaks out about “No, we did this wrong! It’s all connected…oh, I should have attuned to that!”

Ferrindale gives her the amulet, Muse takes it and runs, without speaking. Ferrindale takes off after her once she doesn’t respond. Oak’s feline reactions kick in and she is already after Muse, tackling her before she even realizes she’s moving. Muse’s mask comes off in the struggle. There is no speech.

Envar runs after them as well, noticing the commotion, and pins Muse. Her eyes are distant and frantic.

“Oak, can you cast Greater Restoration? Please?” Ferrindale’s voice is somewhat frantic, but Oak agrees and casts the spell.

Muse snaps out of whatever had her. “What happened?”

Envar is suspicious. Between Envar, Oak, and Tranled, they get out that Muse is bound to Lorcan, and he took over her body, made her run. Muse doesn’t remember running. The party asks where to take her? What to do with her?

“Take her to Lathander’s temple. It worked for Tranled,” Atarah says, quietly.

Korotir scruffs Muse (who is small, being a gnome) and they start towards the temple. A nearby house ignites and the celebration quiets, someone yelling about who is messing with firecrackers.

Aidel offers to help, and rains out the celebration to get folk to go inside and put out the fires. The new priest of the temple in Nightstone is a halfling, and asks what they need? Sanctuary, Atarah replies. The priest makes holy water at their request.

Muse finishes attuning to the amulet, and when they ask her to talk, insists maybe Ferrindale is better to talk. Korotir just wants to know where Lorcan is so he can kill him.

Envar can tell, based on what Atarah speaks of from her father’s journals, and what Muse speaks of about Lorcan, he most likely is a resident of the City of Brass. And that is where they will find him.

Tranled wants to know what Muse got in return. She cannot speak of it.

The party speaks of preparations, and information seeking, and holy weapons. Envar will take Muse to the temple in Silverymoon, to see if they can break the contract. Atarah will go to her paladin trainers at the Temple of Tyr, to see if they can help. Oak will find where they can shift planes to Hell.

Tranled pulls Atarah aside and asks in a whisper if Pyrrhus made a deal with Lorcan for Tranled, and his oathbreaking caused all this with him—

“How the fuck should I know?” Atarah snaps. Tranled wants to know if it’s the kind of deal Pyrrhus would make. Envar puts in, “Because it’s all about you.”

They will make preparations. They will hunt Lorcan, rescue Summerheart, free Lorcan’s victims from their contracts and his captives.

Envar and Oak encourage Atarah to speak to Lathander, to swear to him in the service of rescuing Summerheart. Atarah is reluctant; it feels like betrayal. But Envar says it is receiving strength from an ally to complete a mission, and Oak says, “How would Pyrrhus feel about it?” Atarah doesn’t know. She needs to think.

View
The Morkoth

9 Elesias 1487

Ferrindale has been sequestering themself in the cabin and refusing to admit they are on the water. The Captain at one point comes to Envar and asks if it is true Ferrindale is a bard? As they could be useful. Are they sick? Is it quarantine?

Envar assures no, it’s no sickness. The Captain would like Ferrin to come and play some things to help morale. Envar agrees to attempt to coax them out, and bangs on the door.

Any particular reason Ferrin isn’t coming out? They don’t like it. Envar sighs. “Tough. You’re stuck here. Come play something, take your mind off it.”

Ferrin gives a harmonica scream (all the notes) and Envar isn’t impressed. The crew didn’t hear that. Can Envar open the cupboard door? Ferrin can stay in there and play? Nope.

The Moonblade buts in. “Envar, if you are to coddle this child—which you should—there is no need to be so soft. An elf should not question.”

Envar, nonplussed. “Are you coming out?”

“I already did that a while ago, it’s no secret,” Ferrindale says instantly. After a pause. “I can hear you out there thinking of a witty response!”

“I don’t do witty responses. I was trying to decide if it would be cruel to tell the cook to not feed you while you’re in there.”

A hand creeps out, snatches a biscuit, and retreats. “What’s the trade off?”

“I’ll stop annoying you, I can be quite persistent.” Ferrin is not impressed. They can be persistent too.

“Alright, have it your way.” And Envar goes off to speak to the cook (a beautiful elven lady) and convince her to not feed the ‘child’ in the cupboard. The lady has a soft spot for poor, terrified Ferrin. Envar says, “They won’t get less terrified staying in a cupboard.”

The cook declines to not feed the adorable smol. But she can… do something. Possibly ethically questionable. Envar is listening. Short version: Cook can use magic to get her out. What sort of magic? …Fairly harmless magic? …Go for it.

The sweet voice of the Cook comes to Ferrindale. “Dearest. I have someone out here who would like to talk with you. It’s safe here. All the windows are closed, it’s safe to come out. Please come out now.”

Ferrindale trusts her. Ferrin climbs out, still wearing their stilts. This feels ok. It feels like they’ve somehow, calmly, forgotten about whatever was keeping them in the cupboard. (The Cook suggested they come out.)

The Moonblade butts in again. “Would I could look you in the eye, Envar, I would tell you. This child, though they vex us both, is broken from their heritage. They are an elf, and they need to learn what this means. They do not know how to trance. You should teach them.”

Ferrin hesitantly retrieves their instrument and Envar accompanies them on his flute, and more crew start gathering to listen. Ferrin is really, really good.

Three dwarves are the first to arrive, piling down the stairs to accompany in an a capella addition; and they dance! In synchronicity.

Everyone has a good time!

Ferrin feels better and even goes up on deck. The Moonblade keeps pestering Envar about teaching Ferrin to be a proper elf, so he goes and gets them to wear his Cloak of the Manta (?) and then sits them down to teach them how to trance; it might help the whole Scared of Water thing.

“Does this have anything to do with the guy who was in Atarah’s head the other night? Cuz he was freaky.”

“…what guy?”

Ferrin describes the hobo image of Ilwar and Envar assures them, no, no, nothing like that. He does explain the elven life cycle, of past lives, and how trancing works with recalling memories from past lives until they lose that ability and become adults.

Ferrin remembers the view from their window. It was high, and the window was tall, and they could see most of the city. The city Neverwinter. They had an annoying little brother. They don’t know where he is now.

There is a flash of memory, of approaching a well, of lowering its bucket…. And then there is a shove, and Ferrin falls. They see the circle of light at the top of the well, and a shape of a person, leaving, Ferrin treading water until they have no more strength—and the trance is broken. Ferrin is freaked out.

Envar assures them, “You’re not going to drown. The Cloak I gave you—it lets you breathe underwater, helps you swim. You’re not going to drown. …Also, this seems like a really sturdy ship. I don’t see it sinking anytime soon.”

“Thank you, Envar.”

They speak some more of what Ferrin dreams of, and how to discard the things that weigh them down. Ferrin is now very intrigued.

Oddissour has been watching this whole time from the rafters and now says, in the most foreboding voice, “The dead tree falls upon the last of the family tree, and causes her to fall.”

Ferrin is ?? “Well, you do you, cat.”

Envar threatens with magic missile (because it doesn’t involve getting up) and the cat scampers.

Ferrin confesses actually they are 27 and they were lying…! Envar is not shocked. The Moonblade inquires how does the mantle of mentor fit Envar?

Envar tells Ferrin he won’t tell anyone else their age.

“Thanks, Dad!”

“….now I might.”

——

10th Elesias 1487

Jerond calls from the crowsnest, Land Ho!

The captain is hoisted to the top and examines, then climbs down and calls all hands.

Ferrin’s suggestion has worn off and they are VERY NOT OK. But they ask, (suggest) if maybe, the cook could use these spices for whenever they make something for their friends next? (It’s whatever Oak snuck into her gear). They have a suggestion-off, Cook says, oh, of course! Would you try some? …from the burning scent in the room already, no. Nope!

Ferrin realizes interfering with Cook in anyway is a bad idea. But eats the bit of pepper anyways, knowing full well what it is. And dies. Figuratively. “You experience culinary transcendence. You are transported within your mind to another plane of existence where you realize the love and care which went into these peppers, cultivated by a druid named Stonefoot, weaponized by Titan, imbued with magic by Oak, and this pepper’s name is Charlotte. Yow wake up an hour later covered in sweat, next to the Cook, under the blazing sun. You are now addicted to spicy food.”

Envar takes pity on them and casts Lesser Restoration.

Korotir has put his armor on, just in case.

The Captain talks about their quarry is sighted. She now says the full quest: The Morkoth sails around these isles, crewed by evil cultists, and they are the ones involved in capturing Hekaton the Storm Giant. We will rescue him and put an end to all suffering caused on the seas by Storm Giants! This is the beginning of better relationships between Giants and Small Folk!

She offers any of the crew a chance to leave if they do not want to be in this situation. No one does.

Oak takes shifts with Kublick both in the crowsnest and beneath the water, looking for underwater threats.

The rest of the day passes with no sign of their quarry; though Envar spots clouds in the distance and a campfire on the shore of the Isles.

Oak spots a light late at night, but her vision is such that no one else can spot it. The captain is asleep, but Oak informs the first mate, a woman named Muse who wears a white mask. Muse considers the information, and begins turning the ship in the direction of Oak’s light.

As they get closer, Oak can tell the light is two sources at either end of a ship, and they will intercept around dawn. She recommends the Seafir’s lights be doused, and goes to rouse the rest of the party. Muse wakes the Captain.

In the early hours of the morning of the 11th of Elesias, Oak spots the enemy vessel. She climbs down and prepares a Hero’s Feast for breakfast, knowing we have some time before the ships can engage.

The ships are coming bow-to-bow. At 300 feet we can hear shouts, very faintly, from across the water.

Kublick, the lizardman druid, casts Windwall to protect the Seafir from enemy ballistae. Two bolts make it through before the wall goes up, ripping holes in the sails but otherwise do not harm anything.

Ferrin inspires Envar, and Oak casts Ice Storm on the enemy ship: the Morkoth. Hail begin to pound the enemy into the deck.

Envar aims a few arrows onto the Morkoth at long range, not expecting to hit anything but does manage to hit one unlucky bastard.

A flying person (by magic) floats over to the Seafir, a hundred and fifty feet out, and yells: “All who oppose the Kraken will be crushed!” etc etc villain speech. “I will give you one more chance to bow before SSlarkethel!”

No one but Envar paid attention in history class. Slarkethel is not like a regular Kraken but some sort of primordial ancient one Kraken, who is in the business of making Warlocks and has some sort of beef with the gods of Faerun. Then he casts a spell: Chain Lightning. ow that was a lot of damage.

Muse is hit and goes down to one knee, in pain.

Balistae bolts hit the ship. Seafir begins groaning, a groan which turns into a low thrumming warcry. The crew takes it up and begins yelling; the Seafir turns to begin paralleling the Morkoth.

Harpoons burst from the water. Several of them impact crewmembers; the Captain grabs one and stabs it into the deck. “We’ve got Merrow! Oak, I need you in the water, now!”

Ferrindale is yanked into the water by a harpoon. Cook tries to stop her, “You’re strong, you’re powerful, you got this—” but then her grip slips. Ferrindale goes over.

Korotir is hooked, too, but QujMeh plants her paws and holds onto the chain. Korotir drags the chain and pulls a bewildered merrow up out of the water onto the deck.

Atarah is spinning a grappling hook in one hand but flying warlock jerk is not yet in range. Tranled appears at her elbow. “I can get you there.”

Atarah considers. “Take him out together?”

“Like old times.”

“Do it.” Tranled grabs her and his ghost wings unfurl, rocketing them into the air. Atarah throws the hook and catches the jerk’s shoulder. He tries to flee, and the chain goes taut; Atarah and Tran won’t let him flee.

Korotir stabs the merrow he dragged on deck and skewers it with the trident, killing it with one blow.

Ferrindale compels the merrow; most of them ignore their commands, but two listen and go to the surface, taking them along. Ferrindale inspires Atarah at the surface with a quick song.

The ships are now 160 feet apart.

Oak casts healing word on Muse, then causes a whirlpool to appear on the other side of the ship from Ferrindale, catching as many merrow as possible into it.

Bulwark shoots merrow.

Envar turns his bow onto the flying warlock and makes him into a pincushion.

Thultz (warlock) attempts to petrify Atarah, turning her into stone.

Tranled yells, “We need you on the other ship!” to the rest of the party. Cultists from the other ship fire boiling water streams at Atarah and Tran; one splashes up her neck.

The crew yells at the Seafir; “Can’t we get there any faster?” and the Seafir reaches out a huge hand of wood underwater and grabs the Morkoth’s bow, drawing the ships closer together.

More harpoons clatter off Korotir’s armor.

Atarah tries to chuck the javelin of lightning at Thultz but her hand stiffens up and she drops it onto the Morkoth. A cultist picks it up just as the lightning goes off and he drops.

Captain Hild roars a warcry, spitting lightning, inspiring everyone.

The Seafir is taking heavy damage from the ballista of the Morkoth.

Ferrindale casts Synaptic Static on the Morkoth once they are in range; affecting a twenty foot radius of the other ship and eleven cultists on it. They start screaming and grabbing at their head, then begin staggering around looking very confused. Several of them drop dead.

Some mean looking Orc drops into the water with Ferrindale. “You’re just like the other one! I. Hate. Magic.” and attacks but can’t get contact.

Oak looks at the Morkoth beneath the surface and casts Pass Wall, making a nice neat five foot hole in the hull. She hands Muse some goodberries and then jumps onto the Morkoth.

Envar tracks the Orc menacing Ferrindale and turns him into a pincushion as well. The orc, enraged, turns his entire attention to Envar, but the last arrow takes him in the throat and the mouth and kills him.

Other crew jump to the Morkoth.

Thultz is thinking about hiring more competent minions. He yells, “Release the Giant!”

Hekaton sits up from the hold of the Morkoth. His eyes are burning purple and octopi cling to his ears, and starfish and sea urchins form a crown-like circlet.

The cultists attempt to touch Oak inappropriately but she’s too fast for them. Muse slashes at a cultist near Oak, slashing their neck open. But instead of blood a crab comes out of the guy and latch onto the blade. Other cultists open up into a pinata of sea-life.

Merrow go after Ferrindale; one distracts them and the other gets a savage hit.

Atarah attempts to slingshot Thultz into balista directly below them and smash him into pieces. Tranled’s grip slips and drops Atarah as well, right on top of Thultz. Thultz casts a spell which encases him in a glittering sphere; the balistae is smashed but he is unharmed. Atarah takes the fall damage instead.

A cultist erupts into tentacles.

Kublick casts Jump on QujMeh and then slides into the water. QujMeh pounces sixty feet and smashes into two cultists. Korotir Hunter’s Marks King Hekaton and runs to climb King Hekaton.

One of the few remaining cultists wraps Tranled in a tentacle-themed Hold Person.

Ferrindale casts Fly and gets onto the deck of the Morkoth, “Get this off me please please quickly,” landing next to Oak.

Oak casts Polymorph on King Hekaton but it fails, but turns to heal Ferrindale.

Hekaton fires a bolt of lightning down the length of both ships, taking out far too many people. Oak absorbs some of it and holds it.

Envar begins shooting at Hekaton’s sea-creature jewelry; killing on octopi.

Thultz casts TimeStop. He removes Atarah’s grappling hook and flies to the Seafir, cracking it in half with a Wall of Force. “Turn back from your quest now or I’ll crack your ship in half! It cannot withstand more than a few moments more! Lay down your arms or we will both go down to Slarkethel together!”

Atarah says “See you in hell, fucker!” and pops her wings in desperate need to move, flying for Hekaton’s octopi. The petrification wears off.

Captain Hild calls, “We won’t back down!” and disappears below decks.

Hekaton stands up with one of the chains which had previously bound him and takes a step towards the front of the boat, making it lurch. As he passes Atarah, she swipes the last octopi from his ears. He shakes his head but doesn’t stop moving, running into the wall of force.

Oak notices when Hekaton first woke up, Thultz was concentrating on him, but now Thultz is concentrating on the wall of force. Hekaton is acting much less aggressive and more confused.

Korotir gets up and climbs onto Hekaton’s shoulder. “King Hekaton! I am King Korotir. Sarissa sent us. Help us kill this mage!”

Hekaton shakes his head as though from a bug but doesn’t reply.

Ferrindale flies into the Morkoth’s crowsnest. Oak downs a healing potion and begins to control water, dropping the Seafir away from the wall of force. Captain Hild ducks under the wall of force and gets back to her helm.

Kublick grins at the water moving and casts Tidal Wave on Thultz. Thultz loses the wall of force and is smashed to the deck of the Seafir. A raptor appears to menace him.

Envar begins to run to Thultz. Thultz sees him coming, terrified, and splits into four versions of himself, all rolling away in different directions.

Captain Hild grabs one of the Thultz-es and growls, “Never threaten my ship!” She stabs him, and it pops and dissipates. She grabs another.

Atarah drops onto Hekaton’s other shoulder and explains, “Hekaton. You have been held captive by servants of the abyss, of a Kraken, for a year gone. Sarissa sent us to find you. She needs you. The Giants need you. Please—!”

Hekaton shakes his head. “You said Sarissa?”

“Yes, that’s what I said,” Korotir growls.

“And that one did it?”

“Him, under the direction of an ancient blue dragon named Iymrith.”

Hekaton glows with lightning and brings the chain down onto the Thultzes; dissipating two of them. There is one left, and Ferrindale sings, “If we’re going down then you’re coming with us,” and casts Dissonant Whispers.

“No,” Thultz says, grabbing at his head and backing away. “No, Slarkethel is all powerful. I cannot fail to you miscreants!”

Envar stabs hims, (double crits) ripping across the abdomen and then again down into his neck.

Somehow he doesn’t die, and a rip in space appears behind him showing grey rocks. “No… no!”

Ferrindale stops the gateway spell; it snaps shut and takes off his arm.

Thultz is whimpering. “No, I’m better than you!”

Captain Hilde steps forward. “No, we’re better than you.” She takes off his head with a single stroke. The body dissolves into black ink.

The clay golem wanders over and begins mopping.

Oak turns herself into an octopus and goes searching the sinking Morkoth. Envar retrieves a bucketful of Cloud of Slarkethel (Hekaton’s “jewelry”).

Oak and the octopus friend find the first mate’s cabin. There’s words carved into the floor of the captain’s cabin: Sarissa, Iymrith. In the first mate’s chest is 180gp and a spyglass worth 1k gold, and a jar of blood from Rool. There’s also a diary, but the water has rendered it unreadable, and a wizard’s spellbook (from a level 20 caster).

Ferrindale rushes to Muse, before it is too late, and casts Revivify from the scroll they were given. They grab Cook to help. Cook slaps down a paper on Muse’s chest: “This is the wanted poster of the murderer you never found. You have unfinished business!”

Muse sits bolt upright: “I have work to do!” and her mask went flying. She looked like she recognized Ferrindale. But she grabs the mask and slaps it back on before marching off.

The rest of the crew has weird barnacles on them, and the crew and party start prying them off.

Ferrindale attempts to raise the gnome from the dead but the ritual fails. Ferrindale runs off and barricades themselves in the cupboard.

Kublick informs them quietly that they have a problem. There is a shadow in the deep, coming for them. Probably tentacles.

Atarah stumps off to inform King Hekaton. There is talk about teleporting Seafir with them to the Maelstrom. They decide to take the chance, but as they move to circle the bow, they are all locked in place by an immense psychic presence.

Something rifles through the party’s memories, and shares it among them. They witness Korotir and his brother sparring, his father telling them how his brother will be Chief, because he is older. And he acts. Korotir thinks too much.

Then the party is in the Ardeep forest, a teenager, with Envar and his rival, where the rival is covering something up in the woods. “What is that?”
“A gift, from a secret admirer.”

Prying, it is a dagger, dark, with a spider motif. When it touches the sunlight, it dissolves into smoke.

Oak recalls right after her father disappeared the first time, a leopard showed up. Oak was upset, in the forest by herself. The Leopard was friendly-cat and her first encounter with nature, but now she sees it from the leopard’s perspective: it was her father.

A small human girl, feels like Ferrindale, seeing something dubious, running back to the house to tell daddy, but they are stopped, told to fetch a bucket of water from the well first.

Oak half-snaps out of the memory rifling, and spots tentacles climbing the side of the ship. Slick, sliding sounds. She transforms into a massive octopus, wrapping around the bow of the ship and each of the crew and party in turn, about to blow the conch.

They are on a dark plane, and can see Pyrrhus on one side and Lorcan on the other, and are dead. They can see Tranled dive through Pyrrhus; but the memory switches to Pyrrhus perspective. He is still in the afterlife. Lorcan approaches, clutching his chest, and he is holding a small, faceted mirror. As he does, one can see with chains bound and a containment circle, he begins to draw Pyrrhus into the mirror.

Oak, half in the mind link still, knows this is one of the six facets of the mirror she saw in the High House of Wonder during the Red Wedding.

The sees a flash of Tranled walking past a mirror and seeing Pyrrhus’ face instead.

Slarkethel screams, “Damn the gods, every one of them! Pyrrhus must never find the mirror. I must have the planeswalker!”

Atarah drops, writhing from the scream, and falls unconscious.

A tentacle is reaching for Tranled.

Envar and Korotir snap out of the psychic hold and run toward Tranled. Envar casts healing word on Atarah.

Oak blows the conch. Parts of the ship, along with Tranled, the captain and some crew, Ferrindale, disappear.

Atarah gasps and comes to, reaching for people, knowing she needs to . The remaining crew, Korotir and Envar, grab her. She yells at King Hekaton, “GO!”, and blows the conch.

She has a glimpse of Hekaton scooping up the last of the crew and tell the water, “Another time.” He blows the conch.

They get through, but Atarah is unconscious. Stable, but done for a while.

The Seafir comes through, but broken, the back-half scattered. Oak casts Speak with Plants immediately.

“Pain,” says Seafir. “Pain, hurting. I am in water. What happened?”

Oak explains the kraken. Seafir is very proud of himself for surviving a Kraken. He wants it carved into his side. Oak calls up dirt to give the Seafir a much needed soil mudbath. It sprouts roots and settles.

Storm Giants come running, expecting an invasion, but Hekaton says, “Peace, my people.” They bow immediately.

Sarissa phases through a nearby wall, the full spectral dragon active on the Wyrmskull Throne. She sees her dad, drops the scepter, and flings herself at Hekaton, yelling, “Daddy!”

It is deafening. Envar finally casts Silence, creating a dome of peace for the small folk. Korotir props Atarah on his shield and stands over her.

Tranled is looking around, overwhelmed. He would be saying “What just happened?” but Silence.

fin

View
Open Oceans

9 Flamerule 1487

Aidelwiess comes over to Oak in the afternoon. “I would like to give you a present. I’ve been thinking I missed a lot of holidays and birthdays, and what I could give you… I might be able to make you a present. In Tabaxi fashion. It’ll… take some patience on your part, is that alright?”

Oak agrees, and the pair go for a walk on the beach, Oak asking questions as to the nature of the present. Aidelwiess speaks of how their magic comes to the coast, how they have a special connection here. He will show her. He finds a large stick and carves patterns in the sand, then starts a ritualistic dance, watching the sky. It begins to darken overhead; a massive thunderhead develops over the next twenty minutes or so. Once it is established, he begins walking down the beach. Oak follows. They repeat the process several more times, and then Aidel asks Oak to bring up earth elementals and quartz.

Aidel dances, while elementals bring him quartz. He calls to the thunderhead, which moves toward him. As it moves, it begins to discharge lightning. It is a beautiful lightshow as the lightning strikes the crystals and flashes and dissipates into the beach. Aidel is still dancing: he has been creating a latticework of cloud cover that catch the sunset light and send it streaming down onto the beach. It is a beautiful natural painting, just for her. Oak is crying. They sit in silence for the rest of the evening, enjoying the sunset.

Later that week, Oak pesters Pyrrhus with further divinations. She gets very emo answers; “Leave me be.” “You wouldn’t understand.”

Oak says “I don’t need to understand, I just need to know where you are!”

“I am wandering alone, without a path, without a purpose.”

One night after working, Korotir is awakened by a kid’s voice in his ear. “And that’s how the spell works! And then you just say your message—what?”

There is no one there. Korotir is unamused by magic. He tells the voice to come to Neverwinter; it’s been arranged.”

In the morning, he hears the voice again. “Idiot, what do you want? I guess I’ll hear from you tomorrow.”

It has been long enough that Gart has Korotir’s trident ready. Gart did want to see the shield, so Korotir asks about it. Gart sets up a demonstration with a piece of ogre plate mail and asks Korotir to try to score it. Korotir obliges and mostly just dulls his blade.

Gart returns with a trident made from strange metal alloys, white and black. With the tiniest amount of pressure, the trident sinks through the ogre plate like butter. Gart assures Korotir he is not supernaturally strong, it’s just that the voidsteel is really, really rare and for good reason. Which is why the trident is going to cost him 10k gold.

The price could be lowered by allowing Gart to investigate and take a sample of his shield (down to 8k). Between the gold the party has and some magic items they haven’t sold yet, maybe they can cover it. Gart asks for the history of the shield and Korotir obliges while Gart takes samples.

Korotir offers to kill Gart’s enemies for a further discount. Gart doesn’t have any? But he will buy any monster pieces from Korotir. Or items used in the slaying of magical creatures.

Once the transaction is complete, Gart tells Korotir about the voidsteel. It’s very fragile but also incredibly sharp, hence the alloying. If it fractures, pick up the pieces with metal tongs and keep them, and Gard will reforge it no cost.

19th Flamerule

By the end of the week, everyone’s errands are complete and preparations have been made. It is time to get on… the Ship.

There is gossip on the way to the docks about the formerly-missing Egg of the Golden Dragon God (which Oak klepto-stole during the Red Wedding) and how the magic shop in Yartar is now under investigation for connection with the Fallen Oak Society (aka the Left Hand). Oak is chagrined.

They have been told to look for the captain who is a blue dragonborn and thus hard to miss. The ship is a longer two-master, a large sailing ship.

Tranled notices a large male tiefling wearing a cape as part of the crew. They grim-off.

Atarah hails the captain, staying down on the docks until the Captain approaches. (Captain Yarrenest Hilde of the Seafir). They greet each other and exchange small talk; the Captain has a black housecat following her who speaks: “The dark one stands between her and her father.”

“Oh, Odissour likes you.”

Atarah is ?? and asks which dark one? but the cat ignores her. Oak is suspicious. The Captain gives out ground rules: no damage whatsoever, no flaming objects or magic. They go to her quarters for business talk.

Captain wants to know who and where and why for the journey. Envar is suspicious, but with the benefit of her Amulet of Truthseeking, Atarah is happy to tell their tale. Captain is satisfied.

Atarah asks, “What is your cat?” The cat explains: he is a Glorious Red Mage in Time-Out and is Not to be Trifled With. Huh. The Captain explains he is skilled in petty revenge so really, don’t piss him off.

The deal is made. Quick and Kill will show the party their quarters. Four bunks per room, below decks. QujMeh will sleep on deck. The ship will leave in the morning on the tide; they have one more day to finish anything else.

Korotir and Tranled find a pub. They toast: “To the furthering of the Ulgin.”

Korotir asks Tranled if he’s going to get a tattoo around his eye like Korotir’s. Since it helps you keep an eye on those you need to. Tranled says he would rather have it on his fighting arm. They stumble out to find a tattoo parlor (Korotir is not drunk).

“All these names around my eye; they are my brothers and sisters. I am going to get you guys added to it,” Korotir says.

Korotir neglects to tip the sailor that tells them where to find the Inkwell. Tranled pays him with a haiku; the sailor is never helping anyone again.

Korotir wants to know if the tattoo shop will add each other’s blood to the ink used for tattooing. Inkwell will do that? But you guys are weird. Tranled gets names around his arm, and Korotir gets the party’s names as more rays to the sun-ish pattern around his eye.

When they’re done being stuck, Korotir drags Tranled off to get into a fight. They ask the long-suffering sailor again where to find a fighting arena and pay him in another poem.

Alfdan Purpleplume arrives to arrange the fight, popping up out of nowhere at the prospect of profit. Korotir doesn’t know why his hair is purple.

(Meanwhile on the ship, Atarah has gotten tired of being good the entire week and pesters Envar into sparring with her. This is frustrating because he is too fast and Atarah can’t ever get to him to hit him until he takes pity on her and settles down for a proper bout).

Tranled and Korotir do a tag-team cage match with the Bulwark—the big red tiefling from the Seafir— and a few others. Tranled wins the first match and Bulwark tags in a lizardman to go against him. The lizardman gets him good with piston-blows to the face; Tranled instinctively flares his aasimar ghost-wings and gets the upper hand — the organizers call a halt to the match because magic. Korotir tackles him back down to the ground and tells him they need to leave. Tranled experiments with the wings a bit until he notices the bouncers with the crossbows pointed at him. The boys headbutt each other to get bloody and go back to the ship.

20th Flamerule

They leave port; Tranled notices one of the crew is the purple haired halfling to which he owes two favors for arranging the fight. Oh, god.

The crew is gossiping about Tran’s scary wings. Atarah leans over and says, “He’s not the only one of us who can do that.” She smiles and winks and moves on.

Oak finds the cat to have a discussion about what he said about Atarah’s father. The Cat says the way this works is that she gives him something and he’ll give her something. Oak offers Salt. And Herbs. And a gem. The cat is unamused: “Not those kinds of things.”

He wants to know if she’s heard of a temple with powerful stored magics. She might have. Why does he want to know?

Because he seeks to know everything. If she seeks his knowledge she must give him knowledge in return. Oak wants to know more about him first. The Cat says he will be happy to ignore her for a full day until she sees reason. Oak says Ok Bye!

Later, Oak and Tranled are nearby when the Captain introduces Oak to someone who may have something in common with her. The Lizardman from the cage fight climbs up onto the deck.

The Captain explains Kublick here is a member of the Emerald Enclave; his job is to look out for underwater threats so he’s usually under the ship. She leaves them to talk.

Tranled asks the captain if he may borrow some of her books? So long as they are not returned damaged. She also assures him that lizardfolk do not hold grudges and he is safe on the ship; which book were you interested in?

Tranled wants to know if she has any favored or hidden books? The Captain does not have any hidden ones; it’s a small ship, but she does have a particular fiction favorite.

22 Flamerule

They start to go off course, not that any of the passengers notice. The crew does not seem concerned. There is a serpentine shaped angry cloud out on the horizon—the incorporeal leviathan.

Oak goes back to talk to the Cat. She mentions the Air Temple of Elemental Evil where there’s magic. He is interested; where is it?

She’ll tell him when he tells her of the dark one.

The Cat sighs. Talks about how he is a master of divination magics but they come in symbolic forms. He saw Atarah and he saw a shadow humanoid figure standing between her and the figure of light. And the shadow split away from the light so that it was half shadow and half light. The darkness was silent but solid, and there was a voice in the light.

Oak comes to sit next to Atarah at the stern of the ship. They speak of everything Oak has learned and scried and put together about Summerheart — that Summerheart has been torn apart; that Tranled maybe is embodying the Shadow side of Summerheart. Atarah doesn’t know what to think about this. But they have time to figure out how to put a god back together.

Atarah thanks Oak and gives her a hug; and ties off the line she was fishing with. She climbs the ratlines and sits in the crowsnest, in the full sun, and withdraws her father’s holy symbol of Lathander. She prays — not so much a request as desperation, :How:

After an hour and a half, she feels calmer.

Just in time for something to attack the ship.

Kublick-the-lizardman-druid rises out of the water as a sea serpent and asks Oak and Envar if they’d like to join him below. Envar with the cloak of the Manta Ray, waits . Atarah and Tranled hurry into their armor.

Korotir was tying himself to the stone golem as an anchor point when a harpoon arcs out of the water and embeds itself into his arm and try to drag him backwards into the water. A second one hooks him in the chest and drags him overboard. Merrows attack him with scratching and biting.

A harpoon hits another crewmember; Envar’s acquaintance from months ago. He goes overboard.

Atarah grabs the rope that Korotir had tied around him and calls to KujMeh to PULL — both of them start pulling but don’t have a good enough grip to pull Korotir back on board. A harpoon clangs off her armor but she doesn’t manage to grab it before it slides off the edge again.

Tranled activates his Giant Rune cloak to negate further harpoon attacks, then Compels one of the monsters onto the deck. It’s a merrow, and it focuses entirely on Tranled.

Oak jumps into the water and casts Freedom of Movement on Korotir, then shapeshifts into a Giant Giant Octopus.

Korotir spits at them to Hunter’s Mark one, and attacks with his shiny new trident. When he gets done with them they are bloodied and looking hurt; one breaks and attempts to swim off. The other bites into his neck and claws at his face.

Envar dives in and attacks the merrow who took his friend and takes off its tail in one hit, killing it instantly. He helps his friend to the surface and then dives back down after more merrow. The ladder rung on the ship itself moves to pull his elven friend up. (this is a cool ship).

<…missed…>

The compelled Merrow slashes at Tranled but some of the crew has surrounded it and are attacking. The orc crewmembers do a good amount of damage.

There’s a few going after Envar as well and get a few hits in; none sufficient to break his concentration.

KujMeh drops the rope and pounces on the compelled Merrow, biting the flopping tail and dragging it backwards to neatly set up Atarah to bisect it. One more down.

Tranled compels another onto the deck and swings at it but misses each time. But at least it’s on the deck.

Oak grapples one, winding tentacles around the thing. It struggles but cannot escape.

Korotir dispatches his last opponent, bisecting it upwards and then heads back to the ship, leaving Envar and Oak to handle the very last one in the water. Envar stabs it in the face.

On the ship, the last merrow is compelled versus Tranled. He Rebukes it in a welter of fire damage, and Atarah finishes it off with a stab through the chest. Tranled thunder-smites it off the deck.

The crew starts cheering after the all-clear signal is given.

<…missed…>

Envar sees sea elves in the distance, under the water. One of them waves at him; he waves back and they approach and make hand gestures. He doesn’t understand them so they go up to the surface to speak; they smelled the conflict and asks if there’s anyone in need of medical assistance. They don’t want to alarm anyone. Envar will check.

There are scratches and cuts but no one in need of serious medical assistance. The Captain says now is not great but they’ll be happy to speak in about an hour after they have dealt with their injured and repairs to the ship.

The sea elves offer to escort the ship; there’s an elemental rift nearby and there have been sauhaugin troubles. They saw a Storm Giant go by about a week and a half ago; a heavily armored female with a trident, but the elves try not to trouble the giants.

Envar asks if the giant was acting unusually? No, not really. They talk about the Maelstrom and other landmarks in the area, none of which Envar knows.

the Captain tells Atarah the Seafir says not to worry about it, he understands. Atarah ???. The Captain asks if she wants the story? She wants the story but is now really a good time?

The ship used to have a different name but it took a lot of damage. They beached and repaired it, but only after they put back out to sea did they realized they’d accidentally cut down an awakened tree or an ent or something and built him into the boat. Originally he was quite disgruntled about it but has learned to love being on the ocean, has grown and is slowly taking over the rest of the ship.

Oak is ecstatic. She wants to make Best Friends with Seafir and they realize its possible to maybe treestride to the ship and anywhere else.

The elves escort them for four days. (26 Flamerule)

On the 10th of Elesias they sight the Purple Rocks on the horizon.

View
Duets

27 Kythorn 1487
Evening

Tranled and Korotir spar; Tranled insults Korotir’s chieftainship and Korotir pounds him into the dirt. Just before he passes out, Tranled reaffirms his orcish fealty to Korotir. Atarah and Korotir drag him off to one side and lay him out with a blanket, his shield, and a mug of ale.

Oak and her father retreat to the top of the makeshift treehouse and talk for a while.

Lady Auraest and Kastris inquire as to what Atarah’s been up to since they last saw each other (“uh… well I’m level 12 now…”) Atarah vacillates between excited to show off her new stuff (flaming sword! sabertooth cat mount!) and chagrined child (am I in trouble).

They ask if they’re camping here—yes? Kastris rolls his eyes at their treehouse and casts Magnificient Mansion and invites everyone in for dinner. Lady Auraest gives Atarah a box with a present (holy symbol of Lathander, magic item): Amulet of the Truthseeker. Used to be Pyrrhus’. “You can only speak the truth, if not directly, while wearing this.” (needs to be attuned)

The mansion is in Elven architecture, high class, lots of decor. The octopus gets to play in the fountain and splashes Kastris.

Eventually, Lady Auraest asks “Where is Tranled?”

Atarah shrinks into her chair. “Uhhh… that’s complicated.” She explains in broken sentences, helped by Oak and Ferrindale.

Lady Aurast nods as though this explains things. “Ah, we have a family member in distress. It explains why some of the kids have been having more nightmares than usual. We’ll see what we can do to help.”

Lady Auraest would like to come with them to Neverwinter, though not on the boat to the giant. The mansion is available for all who would like them.

Atarah dreaming: a vision of Pyrrhus in an infinite black plain. He is crouched, begging for help. There is a tattered hole through the middle of his chest. He is reaching for someone, asking, “Help me—”
A bolt of magic comes in from the side and lances across, hits Pyrrhus in his already injured side. He drops, and Atarah wakes.

28th Kythorn

Ferrindale wakes up early and wakes everyone else up with a spirited rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee” because it’s their birthday and they’re not going to let anyone forget it. Atarah gets the ephemeral servants to make them a cake.

until the 30th they spend the time riding along a road. Lady Auraest hangs out with Atarah and talks and sometimes does the “getting to know you” bit with the rest of the group. Eventually they need to split off the road and cut through the Neverwinter Wood.

Lady Auraest does the mom thing and admonishes her not to lose her resurrection supplies. “Do you have your diamonds? Your scrolls?” “My what?” Kastris gives Ferrindale a scroll of Revivify.

And they leave.

Later that day, Envar spots a wood elf territory marker and thus is the first to notice a group of wood elves. He calls a halt to wait for them to approach. Atarah moves up beside him, so do Korotir and Tranled. Oak watches the other directions.

The lead elf (female, red hair) approaches. Artatiel offers to escort the group through the Neverwinter woods to skirt their actual territory. Envar speaks for the group and takes their offer.

They spend the next four days (4th Flamerule) following the elves through the woods.

During the trip, Oak comes up to Tranled to talk. “Do you remember anything after you passed but before you came back?”

Tran “I can tell you what it felt like.” (moodily flipping through book of poetry) “glint of diamonds what am I supposed to feel what am I supposed to be my veins are a raging torrent my heart is as hard as stone” (poetry did not catch all of it)

Oak “I hope we can help you… but that doesn’t really answer my question’

Tran: ‘Lorcan was there. Goading me. Belittling me. Essentially telling the truth of what I am.”

“I don’t think Lorcan’s ever told the truth. Of everyone to listen to he’s not one of them.’

“It felt like the truth at the time. but none of that compares to Pyrrhus’ disappointment. He wasn’t disappointed me but in his failed choice”

“Is that what he said”

“No but I could see the lament in his eyes. Feel it in the tone of his voice. And my skin and the hairs of me bristled with his disappointment. For I am not a failure once but twice, thrice over.”

“What happened…?”

“Lorcan—always the opportunist—jumped at the chance to use this to my disadvantage. His goading and truth-saying pushed me away, pushed me through. I could find no other exit, release… but I saw one through Pyrrhus. I thought if I retreated through him, I would find reprieve. But I just found the shadow of life.”

“So what are you going to do now? Besides travel with us. Do you want…?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what my destiny is. What I want. … When I fought with Korotir—we will keep this between us, right?”

“If that’s what you want.”

“I was goading him to kill me. Because I am not strong enough to do it myself. To kill myself. And that is how low I have come.”

“Well… if you’re going to try dyinig though fighting, might I suggest doing it for a purpose?”

“Thank you for your advice.”

“You have given me things to think about. I look forward to killing Lorcan with you.”
“I’m glad we had this chat.”

“Mint?” Tranled accepts it from Oak.

Atarah has the same nightmare over and over again, with a second more time each time it repeats. Finally, after going to the edge of everything she knows how to do, she calls on Ilwar as she falls asleep. Ilwar can help, but is weird. He moves the dream, lets her see more.

A clawed hand pulls Pyrrhus by the neck. “You are a fool to come here, so far from your home.” He wraps a chain around Pyrrhus’ wrist and chest and drops him to the ground. Sigils appear on the ground, on the demon’s hand, and they appear to sap Pyrrhus’ light. The demon clutches at his own chest.

There is blackness. Ilwar offers to help burn the sigils and the demon’s face into her mind so she can remember them. Atarah, stupidly, agrees.

5 Flamerule

Atarah doesn’t wake that morning. Oak concludes she’s dying, casts Greater Restoration. Doesn’t work. Ferrindale has Dream, the spell, and offers to go investigate on the scene.

Ferrindale shows up to only a black void, can’t see Atarah though can see Ilwar. Ilwar is talking to both of them. Ilwar disinvites Ferrindale but they stay.

….dream battle.

They try and fail to charm each other, Ferrindale is ejected. Ilwar instructs Atarah to get something of Ferrindale’s for him. Atarah, immune to charm thanks Paladin, says “Uh, get it yourself? I’m not in charge of them?”

Atarah wakes up screaming about the demon. Everyone is startled. “You’re not dying!” She explains what she did “Remind me not to ask Ilwar for help.” “If you need Dream help you can ask me.” says Oak.

Atarah explains the dreams and what she saw. She writes out the runes and Oak and Tranled recognize it as Infernal, as a containment spell of some kind.

Tranled speaks an emo poem for Ferrindale’s birthday. (Tran has also redone his hair to look like Korotir’s).

Oak takes this opportunity to scry on Pyrrhus; Atarah gives her a token of her dad’s from her hair. The spell connects but all Oak sees is the party’s own campfire. The spell flickers and fades. Oak is very, very confused and looks at the space over the campfire.

Envar gives Ferrindale a flute and an apology. There is talk of how mutually dumb they’d been and promises to be better.

6th Flamerule

Oak casts Divination to speak with Pyrrhus. “How can we help you?”

The response is, “Just leave me alone, I’m in the Dark right now.”

9th Flamerule

Arrival in Neverwinter!

Envar wants to contact the Emerald Enclave and source a Cloak of the Manta Ray. He finds one for 700gp.

Tranled looks for the local Harpers place to get any information on King Hekaton. The Harpers believe he’s dead as he’s been missing for over a year. They don’t have any more information relative to the giants. Tran asks about Lady Natalia Cuvelier—she’s doing great, got a promotion, becoming active in Waterdeep politicking, a real up and comer (living her best life)!

Korotir goes to the captain of the city guard about getting a place for his people in Neverwinter in exchange for helping rebuild the city. There is some back and forth about tribal discipline vs young cadet discipline and how that’s going to cause problems. Until they can resolve that they can’t move forward about living in the city. A good first step would be camping outside and helping rebuild the walls. “Why don’t you come back tomorrow?”

Ferrindale wants to go somewhere familiar and hang out at a tavern. Something about tattoos and getting drunk.

Atarah has a long list. First: Find potions—-nope Oak can do that. Second, find a Quiver of Returning for her lightning javelin. She finds and artificer shop run by a dwarf, Gart Deepden. He can make her a Chain of Returning in cobalt for 3k gold. She balks at the price but Envar just drops the cash.

Korotir negotiates for a cool trident in return for looking at his shield.

Atarah goes looking for Gauntlet members to help her hire a ship. The Gauntlet leader recognizes her and can help. “Captain Hild” kind of an unofficial member, has a big ship. She’s a blue dragonborn. Can help. But they’ll need supplies; let’s get money from the Lords Alliance together.

The Lord’s Alliance person is guilt-tripped and annoyed at the zone of truth amulet sufficiently to give them 2kgp to get out of their hair. Atarah counts it a win.

Envar and Ferrindale walking together hear someone playing a song Ferrindale wrote. They chase after it, but it fades away. The next song that starts up is a song that Envar knows because it was the first one he was taught. The song comes from a toy shop named “Mischief Unlimited”.

The shop is overflowing with stuff. Some of it, worthless knick knacks and wood toys. There is an elderly elven woman behind the counter—very, very old as even to show signs of age is rare for an elf.

Ferrindale asks who was playing music and how they know the song?
She heard it. They ask to play it together? It is very nice.

The elderly elf offers Envar a seat while Ferrindale shops and there is the sound of a whoopie cushion. The elven woman bursts into laughter, claims the enchantment was worth every gold piece.

Ferrindale is once again delighted to find their reputation precedes them. And procedes to fill their bag of holding with random obnoxious toys.

Envar asks her name but she is very evasive. “Your mother always said nice things about you! It’s nice to finally get to talk to you.”

Ferrin finds something for them in the shop, supposedly from their parents? It has signatures of famous musicians and a message from them. Ferrindale is freaked out and needs to leave. Once they pay and get out, they look behind and the shop is gone.

Atarah goes to the Temple to Lathander to ask them to say prayers for her Dad, but the Priest hands her a scroll instead, basically a goodbye letter from her Dad. She closes it up without finishing it and passes it to Korotir, who reads the last bit “There is a ritual the Lathander priests can do, to let you draw on Lathander’s power, to be a Paladin of him.” Atarah insists He’s Not Dead and storms out of the Temple. Korotir crumples the letter up and tosses it into the gutter.

Atarah finds a carpentry yard and drops 300gp to have them work in the slums, preparing as many houses as possible for winter. Korotir helps. She will start in the morning, for a week at least. The Foreman is Mike, he’s impressed at her pragmatism.

Korotir suggests a soup kitchen, too. Atarah says they’ll find one, or something like, and help it.

Atarah drags Tranled into working with her for the week but he flees to the pub immediately at the end of the day.

Ferrindale finds him amidst a pile of crumpled up attempts at letters to Natalia. “This the one that got away?”
“This one never wanted. I feel no one’s love”

DUET! with harmonica even “running out of similes”

fin

View
Fathers Lost and Found

25 Kythorn 1487

In the city of Yartar, after Ferrindale’s expulsion from the Inn where they were staying and Lord Dryland’s death-by-curse. Eventually they, in a hangover daze, found a place to finish sleeping off the hangover.

They dream of being humansized, draped over pillows, being fed delicacies by adoring attractive fans with bardic charm. An old school enemy comes in and lays down a putdown, but a snap of your fingers snaps their head. The room goes silent before everyone erupts into laughter. Ferrindale wakes in a panic, blood running from their nose, pulling straw from their hair. They are in a horse stable, but at least the hangover seems to be gone.

Ferrin cleans themselves up and tries to find where they are, and where the rest of the group is. They take the ferry to the opposite shore and starts heading down river, expecting to find the party. About an hour later, they find themselves in a chair, in the shade, with a stick of street meat. What were they doing, again?

Meanwhile, the rest of the party travels in frosty, sullen, tense silence back to Yartar under the shade of the forest. Oak attempts to get the Octopus to tell her its name. It insists she has to guess. Timmy is not the correct name. It’s something far more grandiose and important, pronounceable with those lip and teeth things, maybe something involving Destroyer of Worlds.

Atarah takes the lead after an hour or so, somewhat pointedly. A note on Tranled’s summoned horse: It is a firemane—completely black with a firey red mane and tail. Oak studies the papers she stole from Lord Dryland’s office; they seem to outline his political ambitions and gentlemans’ agreements, plans to expand his influence. Some of them speak of the Kraken Society, but there is no mention of King Hekaton or giants.

Korotir is somehow, always between Tranled and Atarah, preventing him from getting too close.

The group pulls up to the city gates and runs into Ferrindale. “Hey everyone. Where’d this guy spawn out of?”

Silence. Tranled says hello. “It’s me.”

Ferrindale offers him a skewer of street meat and asks for an explanation. Oak provides. Ferrindale says, “This is fine. Everything’s going to be fine! It’s just an opportunity to get to know you all over again!”

“Did you get back to the inn?”

“Oh. yeah. So, I might be a wanted criminal. There was a lot of blood!”

Entire party: “What.”

Ferrindale gives an abbreviated account of the last night but is clearly still feeling the effects of their night. Atarah reaches out instinctively to call on her father’s power and cast lesser restoration—it fails, and her chest aches. The rest of the party notices—what happened? She doesn’t know, but it hurts. Korotir declares No Magic.

Oak immediately casts Greater Restoration on Ferrindale. Tranled and Envar notice a rune tattooed behind Ferrindale’s ear flash and disappear into dust. They feel much better now and are able to give a fuller account of Dryland’s confession.

There is discussion about how to find the ship Morkoth and the Trackless Sea. Time to find a map.

There is some bickering between the group, Tranled snipes at Korotir and vice versa. Oak offers Korotir mint but it is turned down, Oak is sad, she doesn’t offer mint to just anyone. She offers some to Tranled, who takes it. The octopus takes Korotir’s mint and disagrees with it vehemently.

The group inspects this side of the river; it’s mostly industrial. Tran tries to hail a ferry, and yells. (Ferrindale: “Oh thank god, at least he’s still stupid.”)

Atarah sends Rivka away to get into town and cross the river; Tran follows her example and sends off his horse. They find a cartographer and examine the map. Seems best to go overland to Neverwinter and hire a ship out to the Isles.

Tranled is fixated on avenging his own death. The party fights over it, Atarah declares she has no Oath of Vengeance to fulfill and if he wants to kill the woman doing her job, that’s his problem.

Atarah has something to do, it will take her a few hours. Oak and Korotir decide to go with her, Envar will keep an eye on Tranled (and Ferrindale by association). (“I think Matt’s character should be 4 levels higher. So when we kill him, it’ll be more of a fight.” Korotir’s player to Tranled’s player)

Atarah finds a low-to-middle-ish class general store type place and asks for who is the neediest, person who frequents their shop. The proprietor will give it to her, for a price. Atarah rolls her eyes and asks to see who does his books, on to who keeps accounts for the neediest. Korotir tries to follow her into the back room but she assures him she can probably handle a general store owner. She’ll scream if she needs him—she’s very loud.

The bookkeeper is a tall dwarven woman, Kameen. Atarah gets information of a family —single mom, 3 kids, father was in the guard but their pension is not coming through— who sell charcoal and buy a little from the store. Atarah drops 50 gold and says, “anything they want. It comes out of this money, until it’s gone.” “Who shall I say it’s from?” “Summerheart.”

She finds a guard and asks for where woman lives (nat 20 persuasion) — the guard leads them there. Atarah (and Korotir and Oak, but Atarah is driving it) spends the rest of the day doing their manual labor, making their meals, fixing their house—basically do a week or more of their labor in a day. Atarah also (badly) hides another fifty gold in their house while she works. It’s her penance, her charity, her “what would dad do?”

Oak pulls her aside, out of Korotir’s earshot, at one point, and tells her how the resurrection ritual failed, but Tran is still here. Atarah puts the pieces together—pain from Dad, the fallen divine heritage, the lack of divine magic—and realizes, whatever happened, Tran came back against Dad’s will. It wasn’t supposed to happen. He’s not supposed to be here. We’ll take it a day at a time and figure it out.

Meanwhile, Tran is trawling the dockside bars, trying to find some sort of normalcy and information on the snake lady so he can kill her. Envar is shadowing him, and Ferrindale is trying to understand why. “Do you still do music?” “I don’t know.” (cue epic song from Ferrindale’s player on a ukelele) (and Tran replies with a goth-er song)

Tran, much later, after lots of drinks, confesses to Ferrin that everything’s been different since the first time he died, and he should have died then. Ferrin says that they like him around. His presence is not a burden. Tran looks over at Envar (20ft away, watching from another table) and asks then why does he see suspicion in Envar’s eyes; he knows the look of someone who is going to kill him.

Ferrindale says “It takes time for people to adjust to something new. People change. They can keep changing, it’s ok.”

Tran “I can’t take any more abandonment. My birth parents, my adoptive parents, all abandoned me. I feel like this new family will abandon me too, because i have become some monster.”

Drunk Tran and Ferrindale decide to go on a boat. To Waterdeep. Because they had a good time the last time they were there. And yell for more mead, and to bring some to Envar. Tran pulls out a deck of Gwent cards and calls for Envar to come play with him. Envar agrees because he’ll win because they’re both smashed. He’s playing against both of them. Somehow Tranled still wins. Twice. Envar is still happy because they’re all still in the tavern and not lighting anything on fire, so.

Tran tries to wager his giant rune cloak against the Moonblade. Envar says “Do not insult my honor.” Tran claims it was a joke. Let’s find the boat!

They have a trip-off on the road, Envar would have won and tripped Tran except for Portent. Because that was a thing to use it on.

Tran is still fixated, drunk, on the boat. Envar decides to beat them to the boat, but, oh yeah it’s gone because they have a sunset to sunrise schedule not upset by the death of Lord Dryland.

Ferrindale decides to polymorph into a Giant Eagle, so they can fly to the boat. Envar asks “What are you doing?”

“Going to the boat! Whoo!”

“And what are you going to do when you get to the boat?”

“Boat, wheee! I’m…. going to be… the Captain!”

Envar tries to slip a rope around Ferrindale’s leg; it works and he ties the other end to a piling or something. Ferrindale notices the rope. The bird brain’s gears spool into motion but not fast enough to not get yanked to a stop in mid air. Tran manages to stay on, and cuts the rope. The eagle lands in the water, unharmed but waterlogged. Ferrindale panics, terrified of water, and drops back to their normal self, clutching onto Tran. Tran unstraps his armor and tries to stay focused. Envar dives in after them.

Tranled gets ahold of Ferrindale but they’re both still sinking, flailing towards shore. Envar arrives and gets ahold of them and they end up swimming better towards shore. Tranled detects thoughts on Ferrin to try and calm them, and only gets images of being shoved and drowning over and over again. Tranled’s new ghost wings stretch wide and he expends their healing energy keeping them alive until they hit shore.

On shore, they are wet. Cold. And very, very sober. Tranled casts Calm Emotions on everyone. Tran asks Envar What the Fuck was that.

Envar says “They would have killed you if you’d gotten on that boat.”

There is an argument. Tranled summons his steed and leaves. Ferrindale thanks Envar for saving them and apologizes for the dumb idea. They spend a few hours on the beach and calm down and dry off by a campfire, and go back to town by first light. Envar stays awake.

26th Kythorn

Atarah has nightmares. One in particular replays; A dark void, with one bright spot in the middle. Summerheart is down on one knee, with ribbons of light coming from his back, as though he were made of paper and a hole was shredded through him. There is feverish distress.

Oak has always had her druid training from dreams and visions, a shapeless presence helping her along. Her mentor has always remained enigmatic; whenever Oak has tried to prod for more information, they have evaded or Oak has woken up. Oak always got the sense it was protective, of itself or of her. She suspected it might be a diety, but deities don’t usually act that way. Oak has been fine leaving it that way for very long, but recent events have been… disturbing.

Before sleep, Oak meditated, reaching out for her mentor, asking “I need to talk. Please, will you come to me tonight?”

In her dreams, she finds herself at Shadowtop Cathedral—rows of trees bent over into natural archways; a sacred site of the Emerald Enclave. Oak feels more lucid, alive and powerful here in this dream. A purple amorphous wisp floats down to her, saying, “You called?”

“Something happened. I attempted to bring a friend back using Reincarnate. The spell failed, but he still came back. But not as he should be. His presence here is against the natural order of life and death, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to fix it. He’s a friend, I don’t want to kill him, but… I don’t know what to do.”

“Do you… sense that the person who came back is still serving the goals of the one who died?”

“No.”

“They may not be the same person.” A pause. “Magic is often… convoluted in its effects. It all has limits. Death is the greatest…” The purple mist flickers and almost goes out, then flickers again. “The greatest limiter. What do you think you should do?”

“I would hope there is a way to bring him back to who he was. But his presence is not aligned with Nature. …Were you aware? Of what happened?”

“Aah. Only a little. I do not know any more than you do in this case. It is not really in the domain of nature…. I sense magic in this one that feels like the Unliving. But different, somehow.” The purple fades and comes in again. “There is something else we need to discuss. Do you feel the training you have recieved has benefited you?”

“Oh yes.”

“Has it led to a happier and more fulfilling life?”

“It has allowed me to see and do so much. I have been able to help so many, and see so many amazing things.”

“There were hard times too.”

“That’s life.”

“Are you willing to take the good along with the bad? To take more of this life?”

“Absolutely.”

“You know. When a druid reaches harmony with nature, they cease aging. If you continue down this path, you may live forever. It requires a level of peace with the pain and claws and the death and the eating and the growing—babies, watching them grow old and die—it’s not all the good things. It’s all of life, in its intensity.”

“I will happily continue on, help others, maintain the natural order of things, the good and the bad, as long as there is good.”

“Hmm. I am not sure I agree… It is a story I should have told you a long time ago. I feel like the longer I have gone without telling you, the harder it is to speak of it. …It’s not something we should speak of in the Dream.”

They speak of travelling, Neverwinter, and coasts, and sea journeys and islands.

“Wait, are you here? Can we meet in person? I would love to meet you—”

“When we are children, the whole world seems magical and full of joy. But part of growing up is finding out the things we thought were perfect are not so. I think this one of those things. You may be disappointed.”

“Why would I be disappointed? You have changed my life. I want to meet you in person!”

“We’ll see. …I’ll find you on the road. Look for a moose.”

Oak wakes up, very happy.

The party meets up. There is an interlude discussion of what happened over night; all Envar says is that Tranled gear is in the river, and needs to be recovered, and that’s all he says. He asks Oak to retrieve it.

Tranled returns and meets up with the group on the road. Blood is seeping through his gambeson in stripes across his back. Envar dumps his gear out for him. Atarah asks if he wants to keep those (the stripes): “They remind me.” Envar says no need to thank him and the Moonblade snipes.

No moose sightings the first day.

27th Kythorn

A moose is found in a very beautiful wooded area. Oak runs after it; it’s limping. Envar runs after them, and so does Korotir. The moose is scared and the Healing Word Envar casts doesn’t seem to affect it.

Atarah stares after her friends and shakes her head, then starts to make a tree-house camp.

Envar and Korotir back off (Korotir: “Oh it’s magic. I’m leaving.”) and Oak gets closer. It is an elderly moose, and it sits. Moose are not made for sitting. “Are you my mentor?”

The moose sighs and changes into an elderly male tabaxi (gray lynx). Oak bursts into tears and so does the Tabaxi. The lynx starts apologizing over and over again, Oak hugs him, and he cries harder. “I’m sorry for leaving you.”

“But, this is the first time we’ve seen each other.”

“No. You were very young. But it’s not the first time. I didn’t get to see your mother before she passed.”

Oak takes a step back.

“I understand if you’re disappointed. I didn’t… I didn’t know how to tell you.”

Oak splutters. “I’m… going to need a minute.”

The lynx says, “It was easier to be a spirit guide than a real flesh-and-blood person. That wanderlust you have… you didn’t get that from your mother. You got it from me. I’m sorry.”

“…I wish I had told you a long time ago.”

“I tried, so many times. And. The longer I waited the harder it got. But you seem to be doing well on your own.”

They speak of Druid things, of the “Slow Death” of remaining for too long in animal form, where things are simpler. Of how old druids shift one day and never come back. How Oak is his greatest accomplishment. Oak says he needs to meet her friends.

They return to camp. “Hi, Oak’s dad.” “Oh, you can call me Eytelis.” The party prepares a meal to share, nothing too spicy (Titan has the Spice, Tran has all the salt lol).

Oak and her dad speak of family things. Relatives, family, boringness. Outliving them, or not. Envar is older than Oak’s dad. Atarah feels really really young.

Tranled shares some poetry. The party is really?

Envar breaks out the port if we’re all getting philosophical.

Korotir, “Can we kill things now?” Atarah offers to fight him. Tranled wants to join in. Tranled casts compel duel—

Just as a thin, redheaded man and a dark-haired woman step out of the forest. “It’s rather rude to toast without us,” says the man, materializing a bottle of fine wine.

Atarah sits back down and looks immediately as though she wasn’t going to get into a fist fight with her bros. “Oh. Uh. Hi Kastris. Hi, Mama.”

“These are friends, not intruders?”

“That’s my mom, and that’s Kastris, who was with my Dad, when… and they he watched over us, after, and. Yeah. That’s Kastris.”

“Huh.”

end

View
It's Too Late for Wisdom Now
scenario 16

24 Kythorn 1487

(small flashback to Korotir dressed up, tries to get hired on as security to the boat, fails. Oak casts invisibility on him as well, they both sneak on)

Minderhild is an older woman who seems to take pity on Atarah’s shitty playing (since she’s really there to get gossip) and tries to teach her, as well as asking about her family, who’s with her, notices the calluses on her hands and remarks about how much exercise Atarah gets (Atarah flexes). Envar, somewhat shell-shocked at the environments, is standing back and watching.

Atarah has purposefully picked a table underneath where Tranled disappeared to (the office) so she can cut her way upward if necessary.

Ferrindale has met up with Mara Derry, the entertainer, and brings them up to play with the band tonight. They pick lively songs (easy to beat people up to since everyone is sort of background expecting trouble) for the set. People start trickling up to dance in the very small space.

Korotir (invisible) is focusing on Tran’s blood, to be able to focus on him if there is trouble. He’s blocked from the office by the dance crowd.

Oak, under the table, is really trying to figure out how to slide the box into her bag of holding, but it’s not going to work.

Tranled is rambling about how he got the name Summerheart. Oak is lifting every small object off the shelves with very high sleight of hand rolls.

<missed>

Oak tries to charm Dryland but fails, dropping her invisibility. (Korotir is still invisibile)

Lord Dryland grabs Tranled’s arm, twists slightly, and says “Why don’t you tell me the real reason you’re here?”

Tranled casts Silence. Twenty foot radius sphere. It reaches Atarah, below, and part of the band. Atarah rubs the bridge of her nose — oh, no. (Initiative!)

Ferrindale, confused as to why it is suddenly quiet When They Are Performing, jumps onto the crowd and surfs to get out of the range of Silence, casting dispel magic to pop the Silence and drop the bass.

Tranled curses the air blue and punches Lord Dryland with a really overkill divine smite cast on his ring.

Korotir smells human blood and starts shoving through the crowd to get to Tranled. There are two guards standing in front of the door, who have put ears to teh door and gone, “Boss? Boss?” After no response, one motions to the other to get the door. Korotir says “Magic is too complicated,” and kicks in the door.

The invisibility drops. The door rebounds off Tranled, though Oak dodges.

Envar starts in the direction Tranled went.

Po Ming, on the gambling floor, notices the door crashing, and goes diving out the window. Her guards look surprised. The her dress disappears going up, out the window. A snake, blue and jeweled looking, appears on the deck beside Korotir, threateningly.

Atarah starts casually heading towards the other staircase and attempting to talk her way past the guard there to let her up.

Oak turns into a spider and hides in the lock to the chest. She sees mostly a lot of money inside the chest.

Tranled turns to the smart guard and Suggests “The Boss has been attacked through the window by an assassin; I’m medically trained and can help. You should go look for the assassin outside.” They fail their wisdom save and believe Tranled, going out through the window to follow Tranled’s Suggestion.

Korotir notices Po Ming flying outside the hall window, tossing another snake inside the window. He attempts to deflect it with his shield, one deflected to the window, the other disappears when he hits it.

Envar walks in and casts Spare the Dying, stabilizing Lord Dryland. Tranled “Uhh… I found him like this?” “…What happened here?”

Tranled: “He was asking some very invasive questions and it made me feel uncomfortable, so I thought through my options and tried to do it quietly but that was the first time I’ve used that spell?”

Envar “Why is this guy bleeding on the floor?”

Tranled, with a bloody hand. ‘I… don’t know? Things got out of hand!”

Envar: “Just… sit there and don’t talk any more.”

Korotir hears Po Ming say “This isn’t necessary. Just go for a swim.” and thinks this is a great idea, and dives out the window. There’s still a snake attached to his shield. He’s sinking but can hold his breath for a good long while.

Atarah persuades the guard to let her upstairs, he needs to check on something anyways so he comes up behind her. She heads to the splintered in doorway and notes the situation and says “Wow, I’m so Glad there is a Cleric here to Help!” referring to Envar crouching next to Lord Dryland.

Oak spider-jumps past Atarah and out the window, dropping form and casting Water Breathing on sinking Korotir.

Atarah wonders what happened, loudly, allowing Tranled to repeat the story about the assassins, and successfully convinces the guard who followed her, emphatically stating “How lucky we were you were here to help! and that we have a Cleric here to Heal him!”

Po Ming is pissed, orders everyone out, and when Tranled whines and over-acts, tries to Suggest him into swimming as well. But since as Atarah is here, it fails in the face of her aura.

Tranled attempts to speak to her but she interrupts and flings ice at him. He dodges.

Po Ming orders all hostile combatants out of the room unless they can help Dryland, Envar casts healing word and Atarah lays on hands. She also casts Zone of Truth along with Tranled’s Calm Emotions.

We have a very circumspect conversation about why we’re all here. Dryland orders us all off the boat because he believes we’re all together. Atarah and Envar object on the grounds of “We’ve just healed you.”

Oak turns into a shark and picks up Korotir to go swimming to catch up to the ship. Oak drops Korotir off at the shore and goes for the ship, underwater.

Envar starts putting his adventuring gear on “If you’re going to kick me off into the wilderness, I’m going to be ready for it.”

Atarah rolls her eyes and goes back downstairs as if to continue gambling. But is disallowed. They are escorted off the boat.

Tranled shakes Lord Dryland’s hand in leaving, and Suggests he meet us back at the Eel Tavern.

On the ground, Atarah rounds on Tranled and punches him. “We were under Zone of Truth and you said you punched him first!”

“I thought he was going to kill me!”

“What is your Oath?!”

“…oh, right.”

Atarah punches him again. They all head for town, except Oak who gets back on the boat, invisible, to listen.

Tranled attempts to get back to the boat by jumping off the Stone Bridge (that both Envar and Korotir have flashbacks to). Ferrindale convinces the boat pilot to go under the bridge to see the moon.

The rest of the crew decides to go back to town. Tranled lingers on the bridge then decides maybe going by himself is a bad idea….. sees Ferrindale wave at him…. and then jumps. (fails an intelligence check on the timing of casting Featherfall) (smacks into the water with 77 damage) Po Ming is very pissed and definitely saw him.

Oak sneaks into the office and starts sweeping papers into her bag of holding, noticing some of them deal with the Kraken society but cannot read them.

Po Ming casts Cone of Cold which reduces Tranled to a frozen corpsicle and goes back to the boat. Ferrindale, horrified, goes back inside.

Oak, still looting, notes the aquarium on the desk and casts speak with animals and animal friendship on the octopus.

“Well. I suppose you probably have a reason for being here,” says the Octopus.
“Hi I’m Oak!”
“Oh, hello! I’m very starved for decent communication…”

The octopus is here to keep an eye on the idiot (Dryland) who works for his master. He cannot speak the master’s name (also his creator) or the world will end. Oak is very complimentary. The Octopus is vain. He wants to touch her amulet, and flips it over in its tentacles. The master is very powerful, he has two more tentacles than the octopus. Giants are people who reach the doorframe.

Oak asks the octopus about King Hekaton, circumspectly. It doesn’t work. She gives him the elven statue but he’s not as interested since it’s not magical. He takes the Ioun Stone from her inventory and fiddles with it. He offers a trade; the stone for the name of his Master. Because it’s clearly worth more than the world.

His Master is the Great Kraken Slar’krethel.

Oak leaves and the Octopus comes with her.

Atarah tries to drag Tranled’s iceberg back with the group to town but it breaks into pieces. Oak spots them on her flight back. She can work a ritual to restore him though in a new body, possibly not the same body. But not until tomorrow.

They build Tranled a tomb, though Oak keeps one of his arms for the ritual. Atarah uses the Arbiter blade to thaw the corpse and she and Envar take his gear for the hope of a successful ritual. Atarah stands vigil through the whole night, unarmored, with nothing but the sword, glowing softly. She meditates on Oaths, and family. “I’m sorry I punched you.”

Back in Yartar, Ferrindale (who last they saw, saw Tranled die) is about to collapse into sleep when Dryland shows up. Dryland wants out, thinks their group can get him out of whatever he’s in. He offers whatever information they want in return for getting out from the Master’s thumb. Tentacles. Ferrindale is very drunk.

“Some guy. kidnapped, gone. He. Him. Very tall.”
“How tall?”
“Like WOW.”
“….you mean King Hekaton.”

Dryland definitely got Hekaton kidnapped. He gives them the information to find Hekaton. “Not now. none of it will stick. Wait. Friends.”

“The ship you’re looking for is called the Morkoth, it’s travelling the northern isles of the trackless seass—-” he starts coughing up blood and dies in front of Ferrindale, who bursts into tears.

Two hours later Ferrindale is woken by the proprietor screaming in her doorway, “Get out! Never come back, criminal!” Ferrindale jumps out the window — hungover, very headache-y, into a very bright morning.

—-
Tranled. You have been in the Elysium fields before. You have been in the Ethereal plane before. This is not either of those places. There is black gravel underfoot. Wisps of flame dance in the distance, hidden and revealed by black smoke.

Tranled calls out “Show yourself. I know your name, which I spit upon.”

The smoke parts to reveal the somber face of Summerheart. “I noticed.”

Tranled falls to his knees.

Summerheart speaks. “Tranled. You have broken your Oath. You took an oath of redemption, to see the best in people, to seek peace. When you were confronted with Lord Dryland, you saw the worst, and acted on it.”

“I have nothing to say in my defense. I am unredeemable.”

“If that is what you believe, you did not understand the oath in the first place.” Summerheart speaks of universal redemption, of bringing peace to the world. Second chances. Defeat is not about slaying evil, it is about turning enemies into friends. Into turning someone from bringing pain, to bringing peace.

Tranled is afraid of Lorcan behind every bush. Summerheart speaks of love, of friendship being greater than all these things. He does not want to carry arms any more.

“You have those tools to defend the helpless. But you count yourself among them. You are not helpless. You are strong. Your surrogate family raised you to be vulnerable so they could control you. But you can stand up to it. You can hold up to it. You can take more.” He pauses. “I think I hear your family calling. Will you answer?”

“Mother and father are here?”

“No, Tranled. Your current family.”

“I think Atarah is the only one who would shed tears for me.”

“Let’s go and see.”


25 Kythorn 1487

Back into the wilderness, morning. First thing in the morning, Oak wakes and casts a powerful Dispel Magic on the octopus. There is a psychic scream and an image of a Kraken shatters. The octopus’ mind is blown.

Oak starts preparing the ritual space. Atarah is still standing guard. Flowers and ivy and seedlings start growing.

Atarah cuts off one of her braids, with all her beads and trinkets, and drops it in the circle, then cuts her palm and drips her heartsblood on the image, while praying. “Dad. You speak of found families and second chances. If anyone deserves another one, it is Tranled. Please send my brother back.”

“The wolf is the pack, and the pack is the wolf. Pick up your shield, Tranled.” Korotir scratches off the orcish on Tranled’s shield and translates it, then puts it down. And offers the necklace Atarah gave him as well.

Envar offers his flute, and pulls Tranled’s journal out and reads quietly one of Tranled’s poems. “Tread carefully, for you tread on my dreams…”

The party waits, quietly. Expectantly. (Tran must roll and beat a 7 to come back. He rolls a 4).

On the other side of the veil, Lorcan arrives to taunt Tranled. “You really going to go out like a punk?”

Tranled speaks a poem, which ends with “Time to die,” takes off his ring, and throws it at Summerheart’s feet.

The demigod turns translucent, and the world can be seen through him. Trying to get away from Lorcan, Tranled dives through him, back to the material plane. Light burns him, rips over his skin and burns off his horns.

Tranled appears in smoke, as a Fallen Aasimar Oathbreaker. “We have a snake mage to kill.”

Atarah feels the detonation of Light and goes to one knee in great pain. “…Are you with me, Tranled?”

“As long as we are after the same things.”

“…Are you still my brother?”

“I don’t know. Many things have changed.”

Tranled dons his gear, minus the Summerheart pauldron, summons a jet black horse, and goes with the group back to Yartar.

fin
whatthehelltimefordrinks

View
Wild Goose Chase
Scenario 14

Flashback to 21 Kythorn: Envar

Envar has gone into the mines to free the slaves and keep them from being killed during the changeover of authority. He has determined mostly that killing the slave masters will be sufficient for the moment.

Envar heads for the ore depository first, the easiest way into the mines. A salamander stands guard over three shield dwarf slaves. He strikes the salamander with the moonblade, is wrapped up, and then promptly dispatches the thing with another flurry of blows.

Envar moves further into the mines and encounters more guards (fire newts). One goes down in one attack, the other takes off running. Envars shoots him in the back before he gets to the Ogre waiting down the hall. The ogre, who understands what arrows are, squishes two slaves and then moves to block the entrance further into the mines while Envar pounds arrows into him. Envar draws the moonblade and goes for the Ogre, dispatching him with a final, single blow.

There are three remaining prisoners in this room, two humans and a dwarf. The two the ogre squished are a dwarf and an elf; Envar attempts to cast Spare the Dying on them but they are very very dead. He asks the other prisoners to hide the bodies so no one catches on before he finishes dispatching all remaining guards. There is another fire salamander down the hall, 200-some feet away and slightly down some stairs.

Envar retrieves his bow and moves down the hall, firing arrows as he goes to soften up the creature. It attempts to throw a spear at him and yells for his hobgoblin companion. The hobgoblin is terrible at shooting and misses. Envar is transfixed by the salamander’s spear again as it closes range and begins constricting.

Once again, Envar uses the grapple as an opportunity to just kill it better, then turns and takes the hobgoblin out. Slaves come out of the woodwork (mineshafts) to see what has happened. One of them is a rock goome with broken glasses (Envar casts mending, the rock gnome is !!!). They converse about who sent Envar and he repeats his requests to move the bodies and hide them so he can continue dispatching the guards.

The rock gnome (old Weery) tells him about the three other work groups on this level and offers to guide Envar around. She also offers a mechanical mouse as a distraction if necessary.

Further down the right tunnels is a female hobgoblin wielding a whip over another work group. Envar readies his shield and charges at her with the moonblade ready. He does damage, but the whip wraps around Envar’s neck. Another hobgoblin steps out with a longsword and attacks; when Envar doesn’t go down, the female drops the whip and dives into the group of slaves. She takes a hostage but Envar casts magic missile and takes her down before she can even monologue. The second hobgoblin goes wide eyed and attempts to take Envar down, but is unsuccessful and cut down in turn.

Eventually, after finishing off the last of the guards, Envar comes back up to the chaos of what the rest of the party left behind when they absconded with Fulmerous. He decides to go back down into the mines for a rest before attempting to sort that out.

Eventually Sarissa sends down Promise the tiefling down to Envar. She fills him in what happened, as far as she knows, and where is his party he asks? Promise has not seen them. Envar goes to speak to Sarissa.

She can teleport or scry him wherever but it will be a few days until things have settled down. Envar is happy to wait since he wishes to make sure the slaves are freed and taken care of anyway.

23 Kythorn 1487
Oak, Ferrindale, Korotir, Atarah
(Korotir’s Player is absent this scenario)

Yartar: the Eel tavern. The night was spent in reconnaissance, fight club, and finding information on the Kraken Society. A League of Suckers. Etc etc. Atarah was last left off with a dead man. She drops him and demands to know what Ferrin did, “Normally people don’t die in my arms unless I’ve hit them with my sword.”

Atarah props the guy up against the nearest wall and Oak helpfully puts an empty skull-and-crossbones bottle next to him.

A couple mangy feral dogs slink out of the shadows and threaten the group, Atarah growls back and draws her sword, “I do not have time for this. Get!” (18 Intimidation) and they slink back off. Everyone is tired and starting hallucinating Ilwar whispering.

Oak hunts down a relatively nice place, with carousing nobles, for the group to stay in. (The Golden Timbers Inn). It was a long night. (The party is distracted talking ooc about the “Seemingly Harmless Inn” and rogue turn-down services).

Oak starts interrogating Ferrin about the Kraken Society in yes or no answers to avoid being blood-from-eyes-syndrome. Atarah joins in. Atarah’s too dumb to put it together (involving magic circles). Ferrin says we need to go to the Golden Goose for the next step anyways. Oak is much smarter, and figures it out, but it’s not helpful at the moment.

Nap time!

Switch over to Tranled, sleeping after following Fulmerous’ burrowing through the ground in a fuming lavatube.

Dreamscape: A stone-walled cottage, redolent with the the aroma of freshbaked bread. Tranled pokes his head out and calls a suspicious Atarah (who thought it was a nightmare or Ilwar messing with her) inside and they have a conversation about how Tranled thinks he’s made a mistake and hasn’t fully embraced his oath. Atarah sympathizes, she too didn’t know what her Oath meant until recently. He has a friend who can help him get back, Atarah ribs him a bit but leaves off when Tran is less than usually ok with it. She does it because she missed having a brother around. They talk, Tranled will come and meet them as soon as he can.

After letting go of speaking with Atarah, Summerheart draws him gently into another dream, a hilltop with an oak tree, mountains and thunderstorms in the distance. “Welcome back, Tranled.”

Tranled admits he’s made mistakes, spoke in anger, made decisions in anger.

Summerheart speaks of forgiveness, of always offering forgiveness. Theirs is not a contract; but a relationship, he pulled Tran away from his previous master not to lock him in but to give him a choice. Tran can always walk away. Oaths are hard, they are a struggle. But that is the point of them.

Tran wants to go back to Atarah, he feels he makes better decisions with her around. Summerheart insists that he has strength within himself, but he will arrange for Tran to get there, pick up Envar too. Go to Mirabar, discreetly ask for the stable hand Jasper discreetly and say Summerheart sends him to Yartar. “Do it discreetly, but don’t be timid. You can manage both.”

When Tran wakes up, he is still in the lava tube. Fulmerous is still asleep. Tran dimension-doors back to the surface and starts getting the party back together.

24 Kythorn 1487
Envar and Tranled in Mirabar.

Tranled finds Jaspar and hits it off telling adventurer stories (in poem form). Jaspar offers to make them temporary Harper deputies to get them through the magical teleporter network, since they have an interest in seeing the giant problems solved. Tran wants a badge, is given one (silver harp on a blue field).

Jaspar also fills them in on the other giant problems—stone and frost giants, fleets and tearing down stone structures.

Tran attempts to redeem his loyalty points from the Zhentarim and transfer them to Harper points. Jaspar doesn’t understand his terminology. Envar asks about stabling the vultures, or possibly sending the vultures back to the Grove via teleportation.

It only took a year and a half, but Tranled finally convinces Envar to play a round of Gwent while they wait for Jaspar and the vultures.

And now everyone is in the same town again.

Tranled immediately goes for ice cream and drags Envar with him, orders two pistachio ice cream.

Oak is looking for a specific magic item, in the shop next to the Silverymoon Consulate, the shopkeeper is an elven woman with brown hair, gray eyes, and a scar. Oak wants something for anti-scrying or divination. (nat 20). She finds an Amulet of Protection, brings it back to the counter along with a a lot of other things she didn’t remember picking up. The Amulet is 450g. Oak does not have coin but she has a Gold Orb from the Altar of Mystra in Waterdeep.

The woman’s eyes light up. Gives Oak 80g in addition to every single item she put on the counter in trade. (The other party members oOC: what the heck was that Orb?!)

The pile of things Oak ends up with includes:
Potion of Superior Healing with a fancy top and a handle
*Wand of Magic Missiles
Enchanted Armband of Shielding (+1 AC)
Pipes of the Sewers (control and summon rats and giant rats)
Ring of Resistance (resistance to necrotic damage)
Ring of Animal Influence (3 charges regen-able, Animal Friendship, Fear or Speak with Animals)

After this, the crew head to their appointment at the Grand Dame. Tran is dressed up in high-rollers outfit. Oak is invisible, everyone else is dressed relatively nicely and arms and armor are hidden away in bags of holding. (Korotir can flashback to wherever he likes)

Thirty other rich patrons are heading inside, being greeted by Captain Storn. An exotic woman is next to him, Pao Ming, also greeting patrons.

The Captain recognizes Ferrin, greets them enthusiastically. Asks if they are going to be performing tonight? Ferrin could be. Storm asks Pao to see to the entertainment schedule if there is possibly a space.

Everyone except Tranled passes their deception checks (gogo Gadget Racism, poor tiefling brother).

Oak sneaks on board easily and starts checking entrances, exits, etc. She heads upstairs to snoop and listen. There is a dimly lit stage where musicians are setting up, but otherwise there is nothing but hired hands setting up. There are several exits, one of which is blocked by a red curtain. Oak waits for someone to go through it before following behind. It leads to a hallway with several rooms branching off and another red curtain at the far end, leading to the bridge.

The bridge has a spiral staircase leading down to the casino floor, where Captain Storn has just come up. The Captain is giving orders to unmoor and get underway. This room is fairly bare, only some maps tacked up on the wall. Oak backtracks, searching for an office. Two of the other rooms along the hallway are full of hammocks, the other is an office. Ta-da!

The office door is locked but there is fine carpeting on the other side. Oak listens but hears nothing from beyond. She camps out and waits.

Ferrindale is mingling, looking for anyone they knew from a year ago. There’s one person left among the crew; Mara. White-haired, amber-eyed, round faced, dressed in performer’s fake luxury. Mara was inspired by Ferrin and is a musician now, shows Ferrin her setup and dishes the gossip.

“Lord Dryland likes to be friends with certain people, but he’s set aside a private dance hall and that’s where I [Mara] play. It’ll be a little while before he starts inviting people up.” They do performer talk and invites Ferrin to play with them.

Tranled does some high-stakes carousing, aiming to lose a thousand gold as quickly as possible. He’s got a strategy to get to the highest stakes table. And then requests and gets 2k from the group fund to gamble that one more properly. He is eventually introduced to Lord Dryland (kind of a pirate looking guy in a nice outfit).

“I make it a point to know all the wealthy and influential people in Yartar and I’ve not met you yet.”

Tranled makes up a story about being a tobacco merchant from Goldenfields on holiday, looking for More Risks. Lord Dryland invites him to his table, they go upstairs past the dance hall to the office where Oak is waiting. She ducks inside as soon as there is space and finds a place to hide. There’s a fish tank with coral and an octopus. The office is a testament to bad taste in clashing violet colors.

Tranled distracts himself from drinking the offered wine by asking about the “trained” octopus. Tranled asks about “You asked me here on business? Who else shall we play with? Surely not the octopus?”

“Hmm. Well. You said Summerheart, did you? Tell me, what do you know of giants?”

Fin

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Tangled Tentacle
Scenario 14

The night of 21 Kythorn > 22 Kythorn 1487

(missing Tranled and Envar and Oak’s players ;_;)

The lava dragon settles, the rest of us take wary watch. Korotir is finding weak spots in case we have to kill it and making terrible small talk with Ferrindale. Tranled has been drugged into snoring sleep.

Ferrindale and Korotir discuss how one kills things. Ferrindale doesn’t use a shield. Korotir is nonplussed. Ferrindale insists they need all their hands for their instruments, and bad jokes. “How many bad jokes does it take to kill an ancient blue dragon?”

Atarah catches Korotir up on what happened in Waterdeep (including Zone of Truth shenanigans).

Oak talks about how the giants use us as tools and aren’t we doing the same to the dragon? Yes, but what other choice do we have?

Discussing how to get the dragon to Imyrith because he can’t fly, won’t be polymorphed, and doesn’t fit through the tree-stride portals. Nor can we conch-teleport to the Maelstrom with him, since all the fuss we went through to steal him from the Giants in the first place. We’ll have to walk him all the way to wherever Imyrith .

Oak asks about what else Sarissa asked us to do; find her father. The only lead is this wood coin with a gold duck on it. Ferrindale recognizes it as from a casino they used to work at and tips out a whole bag of them.

“Where did you get those from?” It is explained. The casino is in Yartar.
Atarah remembers her dad had a contact in Yartar—old Kolbaz. Now the party is split onto what to do— go to Yartar? Sneak the dragon there? Or just go to Imyrith?

Oak pipes up—it will take her a few days to even heal Fulmeris, and a while to fix the skeleton deformities. She’ll find other druids on the way to help, and start walking towards Imyrith. That will give us time to investigate in the casino to find King Hekaton. Atarah frets about how to get there; the vultures are back in the Grove and Envar has the conch (we have the cat mounts, but still—walking is not as fast or straight as flying).

Korotir takes the first watch. The dragon digs itself deeper into its lava pit. Tranled wakes up and starts calling for Korotir and Atarah. Korotir gives him water and tells him to shut up, people are sleeping. Tranled decides to go on a walk; needs to think, but is feeling slightly calmer.

Korotir trades with Tran for the next watch and beds down with QujMeh. Atarah was going to take second watch.

Ferrindale wakes first in the morning (they are totally an elf and don’t need sleep. totally) and spots a letter folded on Tran’s sleeping bag. It’s addressed to Atarah but Ferrindale reads it.

“Atarah, I have some things I need to take care of on my own. Don’t try to follow me. I’ll be back once my heart knows peace. With all my heart, Tranled”

Ferrindale wakes up Atarah (who comes up with sword in hand) with a yell. Atarah notes he has left his sleeping back (but did take food supplies)

Atarah asks QujMeh to track him, because dude needs his sleeping bag in this cold. The trail goes up to the lava pool where Fulmeris slept, and then out again to a lava tube in the middle of the woods. The tube dead ends fairly quickly.

Atarah gets suspicious and starts trying to sense for fiends and infernals. Finds nothing.

Ferrindale looks too, finds a message in cooled lava (nat 20): Tiefling, I can give you the vengeance you seek.

Atarah is annoyed. Korotir is resigned. But at least it isn’t Lorcan. Oak says she’ll go with the rest of them to Yartar and can open a tree portal. Atarah spends some time praying to Dad Summerheart first, asks him to watch over Tran (because done a stupid and potentially breaking his oath). Gets some worry but mostly bemusement, will definitely watch over him. This is what parenting is.

Ferrindale gives Oak a description of Yartar to be able to scry for a large enough tree to stride through. Park with a dessert shop (instant desire for ice cream), lots of hanging baskets with pansies—

We dive through the tree portal.

It is warmer here, and so there’s a lot more smells. Fish, old fish, horse dung, sourdough. The ice cream store is still there. It’s pricey but totally worth it, run by a mage college dropout with ray of frost. Five silver a cup, we splurge. Peanut butter flavor apparently is popular with half-orcs? Atarah buys mint for Oak and gets neapolitan for herself. Korotir gets a lavender flavored slushie.

Marko doesn’t work for the ice cream shop any more, he got a better offer. Sad. Atarah tries to wheedle the info out of the shopkeeper as to where he is, Korotir claims he’ll fight the entire town and whoever defeats him can get 10k gold, or if their name is Marko they can have 20k.

The shopkeeper tells Atarah maybe she’ll do better without the war getup. “Look, just because I have a fuck-off big sword—”

Korotir claims he’ll find him. Ferrindale says he’s a halfling and probably doesn’t want to fight a hulking half-orc in full plate. Atarah accuses Korotir of just wanting to fight, which he admits. “We can do an exhibition match if you want to hit something, bro.” This sounds like a great idea to Korotir.

The ice cream vendor (Mrs. Robbins) tells Ferrindale that Marko took a job on the docks and that was the last she saw of him. So the party heads that way.

Atarah pulls a guard aside on the way and asks for directions—the casino we’re looking for is a ship, called the Grand Dame and has a duck flag. There is insulting banter.

Ferrindale gives the grand tour of the dry docks while looking for Marko, tells about tavern experiences at the “Dry Magpie” and “Duckfeathers,” asks about Marko on the way.

Some random dock worker catcalls Oak, because Tabaxi are rare, and Atarah scruffs them and threatens a broken nose the next time that worker catcalls anyone.

Eventually, someone grabs Ferrin and offers to tell about Marko, for a price. Atarah, who noticed Ferrin get taken, looms: “Oh really, how much?”
Dude will not work with Atarah — the beacon— tells Ferrin if they want to do business to come back with 500g and without the beacon. “16 Charisma huh?” “It’s not SNEAKY charisma! I am not meant for sneaky!”

Korotir did not notice the dodge, gets accosted by another half-orc who says I heard you want to fight? Talks about the Eel Tavern, they have fights there, but the rules are no armor, no weapons because we’re not fighting your purse.

The group reluctantly agrees maybe Korotir and Atarah should take off their armor. We go grab beds at the Eel tavern hostel, Korotir rents a chest for his gear with a confused tavernkeeper who doesn’t understand being tipped.

The half-orc who talked to Korotir is named Mog. Fights are till knockout. The tavernkeeper recognizes Ferrin, invites them to play during the fights because business is always better. “Mr. Orbrider”

Atarah dumps her armor in her bag of holding and attempts to dye her hair again. So since Korotir apparently has an appointment, and Ferrin’s gonna play, Atarah will sit and drink and try to gather some gossip about whoever was hired to kidnap a giant. Atarah makes sure to sit close enough to the ring Korotir can benefit from her paladin aura.

Ferrin’s playing brings in a huge crowd and eventually pulls in 20g worth of small tips. The fights begin, they are ranked.

Orbrider gets Korotir’s name wrong (“Lockbreaker” not “Giantbane”) but the fight begins, first up: The Demolisher. Korotir wins without much effort.

Next: “The Terror of the North” — human, older. Not as strong as Korotir, does have some fighter levels but not as many. He takes the first round but then Korotir pounds him into the dirt.

Next: “The undefeated Mog!” Evenly matched, Korotir takes a good hit but badly injures Mog’s leg, and Korotir takes advantage. He goes down once, but Mog is a halforc and comes back up. Korotir outlasts him.

Atarah is spending silver like water, buying the defeated fighters and anyone around her drinks and encouraging them to talk about previous fights and unusual contracts in the last x months (when Hekaton was kidnapped). After the fight she kicks on Aura of Vitality and heals all the fighters.

(the older fighter is named Yurgen Kaneko, Atarah discovers, which makes her player choke because that’s the Bull of the North in Exalted) Yurgen is from Fireshear, is thinking of heading back to deal with the frost giants there to keep his family safe.

There was a big throwdown with Frost Giants four months ago but they were chased off.

There was talk that the Lords Alliance were the ones who took out a Storm Giant who visited Waterdeep, assassinated her. Not what Atarah is looking for. Atarah invites him to join the crew mustering at Grove Keep for taking out the Frost Giant Jarl.

Yurgen finally recognizes Korotir, talks about the Ulgin. Asks if he’s considered conquering other Orc tribes? Korotir has considered it but wants to know why? Seems to Yurgen they’re weak, could use Korotir’s leadership.

Yurgen wants to take out the Frost Giant plague; Atarah says they have a solution but they need more information. Yurgen will help any way he can; they explain the kidnapping and the coin.

The Grand Dame is a ritzy place. Yurgen doesn’t go there.

Atarah smacks herself in the head. They’re going at this backward. She knows who hired the people, so she should be looking for who Imyrith hired, not contracts on giants. Yurgen doesn’t recognize the name and is sorry he can’t be more helpful.

Atarah takes another tack: has anyone come unexpectedly into a lot of money recently? YES. (nat 20) Yurgen tells about a ship that comes in recently with no cargo but flush with cash, who hired a bunch of locals hush hush. That crew took off and hasn’t been heard from but the old crew is still here spending cash like water.

Ferrindale notices the hat man from earlier loitering. They go over to talk, and promises to tell Korotir if pummeling needs to occur. Ferrindale makes the deal with him for the info and calls Atarah over for cash. Atarah drops a handful of platinum as a down payment, says the rest on delivery. He tells them to leave first because he doesn’t want to be seen with them and go to the door from earlier.

Atarah gets the location of the where the old crew hangs out from Yurgen, and physical descriptions. They leave the Eel Tavern. Korotir gets his armor and QujMeh (who has acquired a frisbee new toy stolen from scared college students).

The door from earlier—the hat guy is concerned that our Siege Engine (Korotir) will break down the building. It is threatened that if they mess with our friend, yes, that will happen.

There’s a magic circle inside for privacy. They step inside, along with Ferrin, activate it, and tell Ferrin everything about Marko. The ship Marko went on was owned by the Kraken Society — tentacle obsession. The only other times this has been mentioned; just saying the name guys shoot blood out of their eyes and ears and die horrifically. The Kraken Society is a cult to a dark god. Marko is wrapped up with them. They show up, hire a bunch of dockhands, tell them they’ll be “guards” and ship them out. They went downstream, their boat is equipped for ocean travel.

Word is, members of the Kraken Society are trying to worm their way into the authorities of Yartar, and Mr Dryland (Casino Owner) is helping them; and rumor is he or his creepy mage have mind control powers using to corrupt the aristocracy and take over Yartar.

Guy asks: What are you going to tell your friends? You can’t tell them the truth. Avoid proper nouns.

Also he wants his payment. Korotir wants the hat. But he’s kidding. It takes a moment for that to be realized.

Ferrindale: “So I’ve been told that your heads are going to explode if I tell you anything I was just told, but I’m pretty sure there’s a way around that so as soon as I figure that out I’ll tell you.”

Korotir: “Wait, our heads are going to explode?”

Ferrindale: “Oh I probably shouldn’t have told you that.”

Atarha ignores this, “…Let’s move on and find drunk crew to beat information out of, ok. Ok.”

Ferrindale helps find the old crew with a nat 19, has an octopus tattoo. Atarah and Korotir start smelling something on fire. The drunk sees Korotir in armor and starts trying to flee. Atarah goes to grab him (19 vs 2) and pulls him in.

He slurs No no no… very drunk.

Atarah casts Lesser Restoration, the guy snaps sober and says “You shouldn’t have done that,” and starts bleeding from the eyes and nose. Dies in seconds.

Korotir tries to knock on doors and find a place we can talk to this guy, gets no answers.

Atarah tries “Remove Curse” and then “Revivify” — it doesn’t help, he dies again in blood and agony.

End Scenario

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Epilogue - Into the Jaws of Fire

The enormous red dragon sat surrounded by his accumulated treasures surveying a semi circle of Crystal balls. “Fulmerous you fool, you deserve every ounce of suffering you receive but you are an unworthy custodian of such ancient power. It has been millennia since the last time I saw one wield the Fire of Earth.” He peered through the orb and saw a possessed mouse being carried through a tunnel carved in a tree. He shook his head “You are such an embarrassment” the ancient wyrm rolled lazily onto his side and fished out a carpenter’s roll made of woven mithral. His claw slid delicately over each sample until it settled on a small red scale labeled ‘Fulmerous’. He flicked the scale across a second crystal ball, tsking to himself all the while. “Those Yak devils finally figured out the recipe. Shame they don’t have the strength to defend it.” He watched the other dragon settle down into his lava bath and then with the effortless patience that comes from millennia of observation waited for nightfall when the stars were visible.

Satisfied with the answer, he began giving commands, expecting them to be followed unquestioningly. “Pack the circus tent into the airship. I want it folded into one quarter and run a drawstring around the edge.” The dragon smiled to himself, he had picked up the tent because it matched his color scheme: red with orange stripes. Color coordination was important to a dragon. Circuses had stopped using that color scheme since he picked out the first one. Something about dragon raids being bad for business. Moments perhaps hours later he spread his magnificent wings outside his estate and dove down the mountainside into his valley to build up speed. He did a circle to let his clumsy caddy catch up to him. “Your magnificence!” shouted the captain, his voice cracking while leaning out the side of the airship. “Where are we headed?!” He couldn’t hold back a toothy smile. “Ironslag! Ice Spire Mountains” he barked then filled the sky with fire over his town. That should get them in the right mindset.


The Yakfolk were waiting and wary when the balloon supported airship finally puffed down to their cliffside. As the dragon cultists disembarked Yikari, the new Yakfolk chief, continued the charade he’d seen played out so many times before. “Greetings weary travelers. Have you come to save us from the horrible Fire Giants? We can offer you great bounty in return.”

“Oh we already have all the bounty we could want” Captain Hue strode confidently into the middle of the village. “Come on out! I have a message for all of you, not just your chief!” The yakfolk warriors warily drew their weapons. The cultists drew swords and circled up as their captain continued. Though the yakfolk had already taken losses from invaders they still clearly outnumbered, and outmassed the cultists who were completely surrounded. A few more heads poked out of tents, then went to retrieve weapons and join the circle.

Facing down an entire village of goliath Yak demons, Captain Hue was completely unflappable. “You may now serve a new master. You will be taken to a new home where you will be safe. This is your last chance to come peaceably.” Yikari scoffed and began to respond but was cut off by a wave of hushed epithets from everyone facing the cliffside. Unable to fight the urge, he craned his head around to see where the shadow was coming from. Completely incongruous without sound was a massive red dragon claw clinging to the edge of the cliff face. A colossal slitted eye with a scar cutting through the red scales was focused with piercing intensity on his congregation and in that moment of descending shadow Yikari realized that his whole village was packed into a small circle. The last thing he saw was Captain Hue running past him towards the dragon and diving under the tent as the shadow enfolded his village.


The ancient dragon hummed to himself as he cinched up the tent and flipped it over into a giant carrying bag with two dozen Yakfolk inside. When he flipped the bag, their cries of surprise and pain brought a warm feeling to his heart, so he gave the bag a good one-two shake. He sized up the bag then size up the puny airship balloon. “I suppose I’ll have to carry this all the way back, won’t I?” he said with mock sincerity. Captain Hue made a flourishing bow “None can compare with your strength, oh ancient one!”

“Yes, yes, well I suppose I’ll need to get you something bigger now. That wasn’t too incompetent.” He heard a small ripping sound from the tent and without another word burst into the air. The dragon held up the bag and shouted “We’re a thousand feet above the forest floor. You can certainly cut your way out of the tent. You may even be brave enough to fall to your death. But are you brave enough to make that decision for everyone?” The cutting sound stopped. There was a chain net back in his lair of course. But he liked it best when people were prisoners by choice.

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