Pondera

Battle!

Our heroes had just arrived back to the plateau. When a soldier walked up to them.

“We’re short on patrols,” A young soldier told them, “The Dusk Knights have not arrived yet. It would be a great help if you could be one of our patrol groups tonight.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem,” Najar shrugged.


Patrolling was quiet work. The moon rose in the sky casting an eerie glow over the landscape. The occasional roar of some savage beast could be heard every now and then. Several hours into the watch they were approached by a man dragging his feet, fresh blood stained his armor and face.

“Oh thank the Platinum Dragon!” He collapsed by their feet, “You must warn Vizer’s Peak! They’re coming! They must’ve been planning this attack for months. They attacked just before the dragonborn fell ill. All of our outposts were simultaneously attacked. They sent weekly reports via hawks back to the peak. Sometimes if we took too long to answer Lord E’shek’iel would send messengers to make sure they were fine. Tiamat’s followers were clever enough to hire changelings into their ranks. I was a messenger along with my friend…”

He coughed up blood and Antoinette rushed to his side to heal him. He continued,“Jeremiah was suspicious…and wanted to wait until nightfall to sneak into the outpost. We did and found out who the imposters really were, but they found us before we could sneak back out. They killed Jeremiah and nearly killed me. I awoke under a pile of corpses…and tried to make my way back to the peak.”

“Stop talking,” Antoinette urged, but the soldier Tomas continued.

“I don’t know when then they were supposed to come, but they will come…”

In the distance the avenger noticed a tremor, soft, but growing. A roar, a loud one, not too distant came from the east. It was definitely a dragon; there is no doubt about it and not a young one either.

They urged their animals back to the peak. Malbert threw the wounded soldier onto his pterodactyl and they rode into the night sky.


The party was able to make it to the peak in record time. Once the army was alerted the encampment was thrown into a whirl wind of action. Catapults were loaded. Soldiers grabbed whatever weapons and armor they could from the armory. Rail (the gold dragon) looked up at the sky when another roar was heard. He clutched his weapon so tight that his knuckles were turning white.

“Dragon,” Gathe murmured, “Chromatic most likely.”

The officers bark commands at their soldiers, “The portals should be stable enough for a bit, get as many sick away from this area as possible!”

The sky darkened, in the distance there they were. Hundred, thousands of them banners of Tiamat waving in the fluttering in the air along with wyverns with riders. A huge red dragon with two smaller dragons a red and a green flanking its sides roared.

“He’s issuing a challenge,” Najar whispered, “Not good.”

They saw Rail let our a roar before going to the edge of the plateau and shifting into a huge golden dragon taking to the air ignoring the warnings of a trap from soldiers.

“Don’t just stand there like loons! Fire the Catapults!” One of the commanders ordered, “Give cover to the hippogriff battalion!”

“Sir Ewan, they’re breaking through our front line!” The soldier yelled back just as an arrow pierces the base of his skull.

“FOR THE PLATINUM DRAGON!”

“Sir! A small group are headed for the med tent!”

“That crazy cleric bitch and her friends are still there. E-shek-iel will kill me if anything happens to her,” Ewan growled and directed his attention to the party, “Don’t you five stand there take a small group and get yer arses to the medical tent!”


As they fought through draconian after draconian a small gnome with white hair let loose a huge wave of radiant energy searing a large group of enemies. She spotted the familar face of our intrepid adventurers in the crowd.

“Thank the goddess I found you!” Pip rushed through the groups of soldiers, “Vecna cultists… we have to hurry! They cut off the portal before we could send the sick through. My lady and Marques are still fighting them off.”


They successfully made it to the medical tent when…

“Dracolich!” Lek shouted as she pointed to the sky. A large decrepit creature descended upon them.

After defeating a small number of cultists, “Where’s Snow?” Marques asked as he wiped off some blood.

Just as he finished speaking a cultist fell over dead from behind a tent, a white dragonborn with a pole with a sickle-like blade at the end stepped out and sheathed her weapon. The dragonborn visage faded to that of a changeling.

“I have a sneaking suspicion these Vecna cultists want me,” Snow said.

“Their shouting of ‘Osay wants the white haired bitch was not an indication?’” Marques asked.

“Though they meant the old one,” Snow replied.

“I hate to interrupt the harping on the old woman, but we have more company!” Lek huffed, “To arms!”


The battle was won with quite a few casualties. After a week of helping the army Lek, Marques, Pip, and Snow produced a list of ingredients that they needed to combat the plague. It was agreed upon they Snow would be sent to Dighton to be kept safe from Osay. Osay probably wanted her because she knew of advance technologies from the other side of the world. The party would go find the ingredients, which included Roc Egg, Eye of Cyclops, Panite, Willow Branches, Heart of a Metallic Dragon.

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Deeper into the Mine

As soon as the duergar were cleared out the laborers regained their senses and began to thank the heroes for saving their lives when a woman rushed out of the cave screaming.

“Please the other miners are still in the pit you must save them before they all perish!”

The heroes followed the distraught woman. They could hear voices being carried by the drafts in the mine, crying, begging for mercy. At the end of one corridor there was a massive hole in the ground. Other than the light from the top of the hole, there looked like there wasn’t any other light at the bottom of the hole. As soon as they went to the edge a human woman darted from the darkness and gazed upwards.

She pleaded to the new onlookers, “Please help us…Oh gods its coming help us please!!!” She ran back into the darkness and coming in view was this large red ooze dragging itself across the floor following where the woman had just ran.

Without another moment of hesitation they leaped into the pit and faced off with a acidic blood ooze surround by numerous ghouls. They were already bodies of laborers that had been dead for a while. The battle was difficult, Malbert found himself trapped with the belly of the jelly many times. Each time thinking that the acidic chemicals would eat away at him until he was nothing but bones. But the adventurers proved resilient and defeated the ooze.


They decided to travel around the mine. There were large spiders that inhabited the trash pit. The trash pit turned out to be a huge cavern with an underground lake. There wasn’t any light here other than the light filtering from the hole they just came down from. There were bodies of humans and two duergar. Antoinette revealed that they were bitten and injected with a poison. Giant spiders burst from the darkness and began to attack them. At the water’s edge just as another spider came down, a large splash was heard, the spider disappeared as this large reptile head snapped his mouth around the spider, crushing it in its beak.

The large creatures peered at them through the darkness and let out a laugh, “Well…well…I recognize the two of you. How have you been my friends?”

The large creature was Odin, the large sea turtle they met very early on. He told them that an earthquake had opened a path of underground river ways that eventually led out to the sea. He made his way here. He also told them that a few nights ago he saw a what looked like a huge meteor crashed in Skorukh.

“The trail and fire coming from it was unlike any I have seen before.”


With things at the mine taken cared of they decided to see what Odin was talking about. When they reached the site it turned out that meteor was an airship. Around it were a few dead white dragonborn. Near the wreckage was a golem of sorts that looked inanimate and a white hair pale woman.

The woman was called Snow, an avenger of the Raven Queen sent by her house to apprehend a criminal who had stolen an old artifact from them. During her pursuit of the criminal Garrett, she was caught in a storm and landed here.

After some exchange everyone deducted that Snow was from the other side of the world. (She told them of Sharne and other land marks they had never heard about.) Najar and the others realized that with Snow’s knowledge of magic that she might be the key to stop the plague Osay is testing.

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The Dragonmauls are Back in Town

They posed as traders with a wagon equipped with a hell behemoth named Helly. The bait worked. A four minute battle later two volcanic dragon laid dead at their feet. After traveling a few more miles, it was clear that the battle with the dragons had taken more out of the behemoth than Antoinette previously thought. So they decided to rest for the night.


The night passed without incident. In the morning our heroes were roused by the sound of Helly chewing on some blood red rock. They packed up camp and traveled north. The path became much narrower as the wagon started winding into the crags of the small mountain range. The air smelled of sulfur.

On the side of the path was a wagon or what looked to be the remains of a wagon. They could barely make out the burnt corpses of what they thought were once some kind of humanoid figure, maybe human or elf. It wasn’t fire but a mixture of fire and lava that did this. In the wagon spilled to the side were bar of adamantium. Malbert decided to loaded it into the wagon to deliver to the army camp when they were done at the mine.


The trail winds through the mountains end at the entrance of a large rock quarry. Medium size boulders decorate the edges out and inside the quarry. Charcoal skinned dwarves some with white hair others with red work in the quarry accompanied by large creatures with multiple arms and a large gaping mouth atop their heads equipped with serrated teeth.


As Varis sneaked up to edge of the quarry and the boulder shift into what looked like a rock-like person and glared at you with white eyes. During the battle a monster was pushed over the side of the quarry and alerted the duergar below, who joined the fight immediately, but our heroes disposed of them.

After the battled it was discovered that these duergar were part of the Dragonmaul mafia. There were instructions on them, most likely their superiors, telling these individuals to take advantage of the abandoned trade route.


Inside the mine were more gray skinned dwarves accompanied by humans in ragged clothing. They were clearly being mind controlled by these evil Dragonmauls. Our heroes flew into battle careful not to gravely injured the humans.

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Dragon Country

Once outside of the Black Temple, Antoinette heard the voice of someone familiar in her head. The young yuan-ti took this time to scamper away unnoticed.

“Lek is in need of your assistance immediately. Go to her home in Wingfall ASAP.”


They teleported to Vox first to sell a few items then arrived in Wingfall shortly after. Lek’s monastery looked the same as always. When they arrived in the study, Lek motioned themt to be seated. Pip and Ixen were also present. Antoinette noticed that for once that the tiefling wizard didn’t appear to be drunk.

“I see you have a new companion. There will be time to exchange pleasantries later. We must attend to business first.” Lek apologized, “I’m glad you came as quickly as you did. Did you find anything on your travels about Osay that we didn’t know before?”

When they presented her with the rubbings form the Black temple with the rubbings, Ixen took them, “These are extremely old. There is Abyssal on here.”

Najar added, “I think they are some kind of code. The phrases are nonsensical.”

The saint of Melora tossed a scroll onto the table. The seal on it belonged to that of the Platinum Covenant. An order of Bahamut followers, most of them paladins, were currently in Shoruhk participating in the War of the Dragon against Tiamat forces.

Gathe read the scroll outloud,

“Saint Lek Nohk of Melora,
I am in need of your assistance. Our dragonborn have been struck ill and only dragonborn both adults and children. Symptoms include Abdominal pain bleeding due to blood clotting problems, diarrhea, fever, nausea, organ failure, vomiting, and muscle weakness. Most suffer from severe weakness, but few have died…for now. I fear that number will rise soon.
Our clerics have tried everything. Their neither spells nor remedies work. Because of this sickness Tiamat’s forces have made a sufficient push against us. I know that your skills as a healer are unmatched.

We are desperate and if things continue down this path we will lose Verthicha di Ixen and with it Io’s scale.

I am currently in Vizer’s Peak, where his staff and jewel meet. The majority of the sick are here. For reasons unknown I have not been infected. Perhaps it is because I am Platinum Dragon’s Chosen, I am afraid I do not know.

We await your arrival.

Sir E’shek’iel.”

“The symptoms he describes in the letter were those experienced in the elves before they died from their plague. As you know the outsiders used ones aura to infect. A dragonborn’s aura is very specific, they have the narrowest spectrum,” Lek explained.

“What does all this fancy talk mean?” Malbert grumbled.

“If this is indeed Osay’s work and he has learn to manipulate who he can infect then this doesn’t bode well. Luckily it seems he cannot control the strength of the illness or maybe he’s just testing it. Who know? What I do know is I need to go to Skorukh, but I am old and not what I once was. Ixen and Pip must stay here especially now that you brought those rubbings. They have several other things they have to work on. To put it simply I need guards. We will have to get to the border and then travel through by normal means.”

“If there is evil to be destroyed then we shall be there,” Gathe said.

“Skoruhk is a volcanic region, hot ash is a problem for all who wish to travel through there,” Pip commented.

Ixen mentioned, “I have a ritual for you some resting and avoiding the ash.”

“Gather any supplies you need and we will depart in the morning. The biggest worry we will have are dragons especially those of the red variety. You might have to assist the army while we are there also,” Lek glanced at Malbert and Varis, “Dragon body parts fetch nice prices at the market, in case you need some incentive…The tricky part is preserving them, but I’m sure you can figure something out.”


The surrounding area was rocky. Peaks of active and extinct volcanoes litter the region. There is barely a trail much less road that carves through the area. Every now and then jets of steam shoot from the cracks in the ground.”

As the traveled they came across a group of scouts being attacked by a red dragon. Our heroes literally destroyed the fiery beast. The scouts led them to Vizer’s Peak. It sat atop of a reddish plateau with Tents covering the entire surface. The scouts mention that the sick were quarantined on the other side of the camp and the only dragonborn allowed here is E’shek’iel. They brought them to the largest tent where they said their leader is waiting.

When they entered the tent there were a group of armored warriors gathered around a large round table pouring over maps. A green dragonborn in golden armor and an impressive yet familiar looking longsword, turned in their direction and immediately Lek froze. Antoinette and Malbert remembered a portrait of a dragonborn in Eagle-Eye’s home with multiple daggers and arrows through it.”

“Skelesh,” Lek growled, “We thought you were dead…”

The dragonborn nodded, “Now is not the time. If you wish pummel me, you can do it later after helpt he sick.”

Lek begrudgingly agreed, “Give me a few clerics and I’ll see to them. In the meantime, they are willing to help. Treat them with respect you bastard.”

Surprisingly Marques the wizard Malbert and Antionette saved earlier in the yearn was there to help also. While Lek was off attending to the sick E’shek’iel asked the intrepid heroes to exterminate some volcanic dragons that have been plaguing a road. This road was vital for it led to mountains north of Skoruhk , where the army received admantite for weapons and armor.

“Volcanic dragons are evil, correct?” Gathe asked.

“Yes.”

“Let’s go.”

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Black Temple

The black temple was truly one of the best examples of pre-war elven architecture. Its elegance yet delicate designs graced the other walls as if someone embroidered them on. The stone’s polish had been worn away with age but even that and the thick jungle vines had not greatly diminished its beauty. Yuan-Ti paroled the outer walls.

Our heroes hopped off their dolphins and scouted the area. it looked like the temple had taken a beating. Bit said the only other people in the area were a tribe of goliaths in the mountains. During tactical discussions a yuan-ti patrol wandered into their area.

The young yuan-ti, who was intimidated very easily, told the adventurers that his people had recently had a territorial dispute with the goliaths.

“We are not stupid,” The yuan-ti said, “We heard what you did to the blasphemers to the north.”

“If you aren’t inclined to fight us then have your leader meet us and we’ll talk,” Najar demanded.

“Go get her,” The young yuan-ti said nervously to his comrade.

Moments later a large yuan-ti abomination wearing colored feathers and wielding a huge metal staff slithered out of the temple. When questioned about humans that have been in the temple, the abomination recalled three the most recent tens years ago and it was a teenage boy. Her guards had chased him into the aqueducts and left him there. The aqueducts were the only area in the temple the yuan-ti weren’t about to clear.

“If he lived then there must be a way out down there,” The abomination said.

“We won’t attack your people if you agree to lead us down there and not to engage with the goliaths,” Najar offered.

“It’s not as if we have the numbers to attack anyone at the moment,” The abomination thought, “Besides they’ll kill the monsters in the aqueducts so we don’t have to.”

“Agreed and you might as well take that sniveling yuan-ti you captured or we’ll execute him anyways.”


It was dark, pitch black. The aqueducts smelled strongly of mold and dirt. The structures here had not been taken cared of and the water in this place did not help in the deteriorating process. The platforms on the sides looked as if they are ready to crumble.

Down in the crumbling aqueducts they fought a fearsome hydra that also defeated Malbert if it weren’t for the heroics of Varis giving him that life giving potion at the last second. They also found two unaltered rooms both had murals.

A series of pictures were shown on the wall. It started with the birth of a boy, then humans being abused by elf masters. The boy in the carvings joined some type of order and went through with making a pact with a devil. The family of the boy was promptly slaughtered two panels later and then he was snuck onto a ship by an elven woman. Then the finding of the temple and what looked like a small phylactery. It went through joining another order and the acquiring allies and followers it ended with him fighting a group of adventurers. The rest of the carvings looked unfinished. In the other room were the pictures detailing on how the phylactery was made.

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Dawn

In the morning, the adventurers contracted a boat to take them close to the area where Osay had been shipwrecks ten years ago. While they rode on their dolphins, Antoinette heard a rope snap. Almost immediately after that Malbert’s dolphins disappeared and the dwarf fell into quicksand. From the treetops several feathered arrows landed next to the quicksand trapped victim. Among the foliage were halfings with paint on their faces, feathers in their hair, and tattoos on there bodies.

Bit immediately started yelling in a primitive broken elven and waving hands about and then in common said, “Stop no one fire. I know them! They are Litian!”

One of the halfings tossed a vine to Malbert while another spoke to Bit. Varis and Antoinette were able to pick up words snake people, kidnapping, and fear.

Bit said to the heroes seriously, “You told Eagle-Eye you’d compensate me if I took you to the Black Temple. If you help me kill some yuan-ti that’s all I need.”

Bit explained they walked to the tribe’s settlement that lately the yuan-ti have been stealing his tribesmen into the night. They had been taking to a temple located in the Alabaster ruins. For what purpose they don’t know.

“Apparently we have impeccable timing…their latest victim was my younger sister, Sina…The chief has more information for us…”

After traveling through the jungle for about an hour they came upon a walled village with thatched reed houses that sat in trees. There were dozens of halfing men, women, and children dressed in loincloths, feathers, and painted decorative beads sharpening weapons, skinning freshly killed animals. A few of the children stopped in their tracks and stared at all them.The hunter’s leader guided them through the village to the largest hut.

The interior was lit by a small fire. There were several men inside with spears and sitting in on a brightly woven rug was an older individual with very elaborate tattoos on his face and chest with a large piercing in his nose similar to that of a bull. Najar noticed there was a human in the corner of hut dressed simple woolen tunic with a very large well kept blade on his back.

“Father,” Bit nodded in the chief’s direction.

“Please sit,” The chief said in common, “I take it the hunting party told all of you what was going on.”

The chief explained the abductions started 3 months ago. They started small, a hunter would be missing from a party as he was separated from them during the hunt, but then women and children started to disappear and by this time they knew who was doing it. They tried sneaking into the ruins to find our own, but there were too many of them…especially the abominations.

“We found the human a week ago injured,” The chief said.

The peasant figure nodded, “I am Gathe. I was part of an envoy sent to discover why there were Yuan-Ti and a green dragon at the Alabaster Ruins. Unfortunately, my band was attacked by yuan-ti, accompanied by wyverns and dragonborn. I am the only survivor.”


Bit knew where the ruins were so he, the adventurers, and the newly acquired Gathe went. They found their way through the courtyard with almost no difficulty. During there fight in the main temple of the ruins they discovered that the tribal halfings were being tortured because their life essence was being used to prolong a dragon’s life. The dragon had been cursed causing her life span to be shortened. The yuan-ti were helping the green dragon because Dawn (the dragon) proclaimed that she was an aspect of Zehir.

Of course the party trounced the yuan-ti and dragonborn thoroughly, but Dawn escaped.

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Circus of Doom

Bit told them the easiest way to get to the shipwreck’s location is by boat, and one could probably be hired in the Broken Isles. When they go to the Sein Lenn’s harbor they ran into their old friend Captain Arboreal.

“Well well if it isn’t my old friends,” Captain Arboreal hopped down from some crates, “I don’t expect ye be looking for passage somewhere?”

When they told the good captain where they were headed he agreed to give them free passage once again. He had lost half of his crew on their last trip but he was able to find some new hired help.

While they were on the ship Bit explained that the term cannibalistic halfing, in his case, was a little misleading. During funeral rites the decreased is consumed, in a strange way its done so each person always carries a part of them within. However there were halfing tribes which view humanoid flesh as a delicacy especially those of different races.

Bit explained that they had to be very careful in the jungle. It was thick and would take them at least four times the normal time to get to somewhere. The Wilds can be looked as three sections, in the north is mostly populated by jungle elves and halfings, in the west are the golitath and half-orc tribes and the south there the yuan-ti make their home.

“Well we travel with phantom steeds so that should minimize traveling time,” Najar commented.

Bit said, “The black temple like I mentioned before started out as a Corellon temple, when elves from Nanenlaer were sent to populate the Wilds., but the region proved too untamed. After the site was abandoned, Vecna cultists made the temple their own, eventually they too abandoned it and now its infested with Yuan-Ti.”


Five days into the journey the ship slipped through the night silently. A portion of the crew was sleeping below deck while the others taok care of menial tasks. Earlier the captain told them that with this good weather they may reach the Broken Isles quicker than usual. Antoinette experienced a brief moment there was a picture and a sound that flashes in her mind. It was a scream that came from above deck and the violent shaking of the boat. When she snapped back to reality the captain was there just talking with her.

“Everybody down!” The gnome cleric cried.

A mysterious The sea monster lets out a shriek of pain and descends back into the depths. Several sailors are badly injured and many of the wooden planks are broken. Bit and our heroes leaped into action and defeated the sea kraken.

“Thank you for saving my crew,” Captain Arboreal stared into the water, “I have never seen a kraken before…the last one I heard about was one called Ted, but never witnessed one…they are frightening.”


They arrived in Siren’s Call 5 days later. The Kraken had done extensive damage on the ship making their journey even slower. Siren’s Call is one of the larger islands of the Broken Isles. During this time there was a festival taking place in honor of a sealord’s birthday.

As they walked through the festive streets Bit, Najar, and Antoinette looked over their shoulders only to catch a glimpse of a shadowy figure..

“Did you see that?” Bit motioned them to keep walking, “I think someone is following us. Suggestions?”

“I’m the stealthiest of all of us,” Varis spoke, “I will pretend I have business elsewhere and while he follows the rest of you I was observe him.”

The rest of them agreed and began to walk down the road. Varis followed the shadowy figure who turned out to be a tiefling rogue. When his comrades went into a inn he observed the tiefling watch the from a window and jolting down notes. Varis attempted to steal the notebook he was writing in, but the other rogue proved too quick for him.

It was then Varis’ friends followed the tielfing who lead them to a group of Dragonmauls, which they caught by surprise and killed. The Dragonmauls had been hunting our heroes in hopes of getting a reward from their leader.


During their stay on the island. Varis was approached by a gnome dressed as a clown who was desperate for help because his usual knife thrower was sick and their was a tent full of children that had to be entertained. Varis along with Malbert and Jade (who had daggers thrown at them) performed for these orphans as the half-elf demonstrated his dagger mastery.

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Parties, Art, and Old Flames

Lek told them, “I will take my leave now with Stephen. Ixen or I will contact you if there is any change with Osay’s forces. So far other than Briarthorn his followers haven’t been very active. I will try to obtain more information for Stephen, but it might take a while…The boy…respects the mad man very much. It’s easy to look up to someone who you share ill experiences with.”

And with that bit of information Lek left. In the morning while the others were talking amongst themselves about the next course of action Varis decided to poke around the scroll shop, not that he was going to steal anything… When he heard these two elves talking about a party a nobleman in Dindulin was going to have in two days. Varis’ became more interested when he heard the words “expensive art”, “very wealthy”, and “corrupt briber”. With the idea lights flashing in his head he headed back to Malbert and Antoinette. A short chat with them and Abigail later and the two short folk were on board on a planned heist the half elf rogue concocted. They were able to talk these two elven merchants into traveling with them.

It was now March. The dirt road was muddy and the morning dew clings onto near bare branches. During their travels they came across other fey folk most of them look liked merchants, farmers, and rangers.


Their ears picked up the sound of screaming. A human boy with cuts with deep cuts all over this body stumbled out of the brush.

“Help! The trees, the trees are alive!”

The boy pointed into the woods with a shaky hand, “We were cutting up fallen trees to be made into weapons when Henry accidentally swung his axe into a live tree. THEY CAME ALIVE! He’s still in there,” He sobbed, “I just ran….”

Our heroes rushed in, saved Henry, and dispatched the living wooden creatures.


Dindulin, the capital of Nanenlaer is a bustling city. Most of the structures were located high in the tree. The party they were trying to find was at the estate of Klindel. It was to celebrate his engagement with a powerful elf sorceress called Hazel.

Our heroes obtained some fake invitations with the agreement with the inn keeper that they were take a certain small sculpture from the estate anything else they could get was theirs.

During their little break in they found out some interesting information. The demons that patrolled the area who were said to be under Klindel’s control were really under Hazel’s. Varis let it slip that he knew about the real cause of Datshun’s destruction and a succubi accidentally let it slip to Varis that Osay was her true master.


Sein Lenn was a large harbor city, but smaller than Rion. A mass iron-like vines matted and twisted together made a wall between the city and the surrounding forests. Buildings sat in large weeping willows that looked like they were hundreds even thousands of years old. The trees here were infused with magical properties ages ago which prolonged the plants life-span. A few of the denizens looked at the heroes strangely as they walked pass.

The Watery Foot sat atop an oak tree close to the town’s main square. Inside the store there were a variety of food stuffs most of them were from different countries. Behind the counter was a young blond elven woman with golden eyes scribbling things down in a large red cover book.

“Greetings and welcome to the Watery Foot, my name is Ina. Is there anything I can assist you with this wonderful afternoon?” She smiled.

“We need to speak to you, dear lady…about Vander…” Antoinette said quietly so the other employees could not hear her.

When she hears Vander, she immediately froze. She reluctantly called a fellow employee to work the counter and took them to the storage room in the back.

“I thought he was dead…not that I expected to hear from him after I snuck him onto the ship. It was better that way. I wanted to go with him, but my parents would have tried to find me and if they did…they’d find him too. So he is alive? Where is he? What has he been doing all this time?” Ina asks desperately.

After they gave her the news.

“No…that is not the Vander I knew…He wouldn’t kill those innocents. That can’t be him. I refuse to believe he’s…a this mad man this monster…He’s a good man…he only turned to the dark arts because he…they wanted a way out from the vicious cycle that plagues all non fey in Nanenlaer. He has a good heart and I refuse to believe that he is this so called evil man now. Please…I know it’s pointless but if you can…please don’t kill him. There has to be some kind of explanation for this,” Ina stared them down, “I won’t give you the name of the ship until you promise me…you’ll try to capture him alive…”

Antoinette said, “We promise to to everything in our power to capture him alive.”

“Give me a couple hours. I would like you to bring him a letter when you capture him.”


The Fly Crane was the name of the supply ship and from what Ina said it was destined for Gadarn. However the ship never made it there. It crashed into the mountains of the southern Wilds. She doesn’t know where the exact location was, but the harbormaster would probably know.

Harbor Master Klin “Eh? I’ve got all the records? The Flying Crane you say?” He looked in his records, “Shipwrecked in the Branded Mountains. It was carrying elven artwork and other decorative pieces to Gadarn. What exactly ya looking for? Aye fortunately everyone on the ship survived. I be having a list right here. I also have a list of goods if that’s whatcha looking for.”

Osay was not on the list.

“I can be giving you the located of where the ship was wrecked…may I be asking why you want to know?”

“A client wants something retrieved,” Varis lied.

The old sea dog looked up from his notes, “Oooo the Wilds? You be nuttier than a loon if you want to go there.”

Klin explined that The Wilds can only be reached by boat. The Wilds are an extremely dangerous place. The only town is Haven which is more like an outpost. Klin stressed that they would not survive without a guide. Their best bet was to find Eagle-Eye and employ one of her rangers. One of them probably knows their way around the Wilds very well. The natives in that area aren’t for the most part a welcoming bunch.


Taking the captain’s advice the sought out Eagle-Eye again and was given a halfing as a guide. Bit is a halfing originally from a cannibalistic tribe from the Wilds. As a young fella he decided he wanted to see what laid beyond the Wilds. A student of Eagle-Eye, Raina, found him in Haven and took him to Eagle-Eye after he explained his intentions.

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Morality

“Blizzard dragon!” Malbert roared, “Jade and I will take of that. Najar, Antoinette take care of the dead ones!”

They had been walking through a vast ice canyon when a roar had interrupted their musings of how the hell a place like this could fit into a dungeon. With the dead also bursting from the ground and their rogue friend that suffering from a episode of frost bite the heroes they began their assault.

The undead were dispatched easily followed by an wind elemental made of air and rock. The undead were struck down with radiant bolts of energy.


Without resting they pressed on through the next room once they had rested. They were surrounded in a walled city with burning buildings.

“So…” Jade looked to her companions, “You’re human?”

“Speak for yourself!” Malbert grumbled.

“If I didn’t know better,” Najar interjected, “I would say we are playing the part of the outsiders against the elves of Briarthorn.”

“Foulspawn!” A grand armored warrior roared waving his sword, “Briarthorn will not fall today!”

They clashed! The elven warriors charged head first into their “enemies” spells flew and steel met with steel. Each elf warrior was cut down until only the captain was left standing.

“With my mortal body I fight to the end for Briarthorn!” He swung his sword against Malbert only to be blocked by a shield and cut down by raining steel.

The burning city disappeared and on a small platform appeared the captain still in fully battle regalia.

“Well done,” The captain shrugged, “You have defeated me in battle. I supposed I should introduce myself. I am Captain Kalon Dryearlylth and what you participated in was the last battle of Briarthorn before it became a smoldering ruin.”

“What can we do to lift you of this curse you all seem be be suffering?” Najar asked.

“Heh unlike the others I didn’t choose to stay here,” The captain scoffed, “But until Briarthorn is returned to its former glory I cannot leave not until my people get their heads out of their asses and stop bickering with the non-fey. It’s all politics now. Now let’s get you folks equipped so you can fight this new evil I heard about from these Vecna cultists who keep on bugging me!”

“Before we leave,” Antoinette spoke up, “What should we know about the cleric quarter?”

“Janin is weird,” The elf captain informed them, “His quarter I hear is different from everyone’s. He has these questions or tasks you’ll probably have to pass more mental stuff than physical.”


The cleric quarter was made from marble with golden inlays. Words of the end of the war were written on the walls. Stephen mentioned that the cure was in the inner sanctum of this place. Noe one survived here though.

To enter the cleric dungeon there was a portal of sea green energy. With his knowledge of the arcane Najar knew the portal required that each person who wished to enter must reveal his or her darkest secret. The creator of the portal would know said secret. So they whispered to the portal their secrets and one by one they fell through the floor, landing onto a polished white marble floor. For a catacomb this area was very well lit but there were no torches in sight. It dawned on them that nothing in these halls had seemed to decay. The other parts of the dungeon had a couple rocks falling, chips in the walls, or mold, but these halls were pristine. As Antoinette, Najar, Jade walked through these halls there was a presence, one could only described as angelic.

There was another set of double door they entered, which led to an enormous space. The structure they had set foot upon looked like it was placed in a blue sky floating among clouds. A wide staircase led up between two white pillars which ends could not be seen through the clouds. Statues of Avatars of the gods were placed on the ground floor, the statue of Ioun was the most grand depicted.

At the top of the stairs was an elven man dressed in chain mail with staff on his tabard. On his back was a gnarled quarterstaff. A thick brown leather bound tome rested in his hands. Slowly his closed the book and started his way down the steps.

“I am Janin Orlerith, founder of Briarthorn. I know you seek the cure to the plague which greatly diminished my people’s numbers. I also know that you seek to destroy a follower of Vecna. You shall receive both the cure and help on your noble quest if you are deemed worthy.” The cleric waved his right hand and several doors appear, “Each one of you must answer a few questions or complete a task. Do not try to lie…SHE will know if you do. we seek only truth.”


After stepping through the door there was a flash of white light that temporarily blinded Malbert. He found himself in combat with a female orc warrior. He realized he was part of a patrol when they discovered a band of them had crossed over the Ironfast border. Upon seeing them his unit attacked.

As he was about to strike the final blow an orc child stepped in front of her. He’s trembling, but ready to defend as he clutches a broken spear.

“Kill them!” His superior roared as he took on his own orc.

Malbert quickly knocked them unconscious. When his superior was finished fighting he ordered the other members of the patrol to do away with the dwarf fighter for disobeying.


Antoinette appeared in a cozy cottage with a little girl stroking a white fluffy cat by the fireplace. There was something about the girl that seemed familiar. She slowly turned sensing someone else in the room besides herself.

“You…” She yelled, “you left us with her…how could you leave us?! Why didn’t you do anything?!”

“What are you talking about?” Antoinette asked trying to calm the little girl down.

“You left us in Hope…We are no more…what reasons did you leave…if you knew what was going to happen to us would you have stayed…I thought followers of Avandra were supposed to help free people," The little said.

“We couldn’t sacrifice those people…We couldn’t have Mittens competely destory those souls,” The gnome cleric tried to explain.

“We are all dead because you wouldn’t stay!”


Najar’s eyes glazed upwards a blue dragon grand in stature loomed over him with a look of what could only be described as bemusement.

“I am Aasterinian of exarch Avandra,” The blue dragon said, “Today I give you a choice. Whatever you choose has the greater chance of coming true.”

With a wave on her talon two stand still images appeared. One image was of fifty people of varying humanoid races, they all looked beaten, worn out, and a few look like they were on the verge of death. The other image was of a young woman, who he immediately recognized; she was in a similar state if not worse than the group. Her body shows years of abuse and some of her injuries looked very fresh.

“In the south of Robur there is a harsh tyrant who has enslaved these fifty individuals to work in a mineral mine. The conditions are brutal and the death rate is high. However in this one is someone you know I believe, a certain avenger of Avandra tortured by Sultaness Barafuli. So your choices freedom for the slaves from their master or a loved one…Which would Avandra wish you choose and could you live with such a choice knowing what might happen.”

Najar overcome with emotion took a moment before answering, “Avandra would want me to free the slaves. I follow her will and it is her teachings that have brought me on this path today. I choose the many.”


The air was filled with smoke from a large bonfire that had been burning up the remains of what looks to be balhannoths. A young soldier walked up to Jade.

“Ma’am we have located the outbreak of this plague,” The human soldier pointed to a village, “What are your orders?”

“Please we haven’t done anything wrong!” Some of the women behind the wooden walls cried.

“As you know Commander this disease is easily transmittable and cannot be cured. We cannot tell who is infected except when they turn into balhannoths,” An elderly elven wizard informed her, “The afflicted humans will feel compelled to travel and spread the disease.”

“Commander!” Another soldier ran up to the deva, “The villagers are trying to escape. We have sorcerers and wizards ready with unless fire upon them at your command. What are your orders?”

“Burn it all down,” Jade ordered immediately.


“There were not any right or wrong answers. All I cared about was that you answered questions or completed tasks the way you would normally. This is just a reminder thought I do not think the likes of you need to know that there are always two sides to a coin,” The cleric walked over, “As promised the cure to the plague is yours and my assistance.”

The cleric explained that this cure to the plague was not complete. It was enough to cure the imminent threats to the elves but the long-term effects were never reversed. This is why the elves compared to ones of the past were more fragile and their left expectancy dropped from 1000 to 400 years of age. They would have to find people to work on the cure to make it more potent.

With their task done they headed back to Sanda village to talk to Abigail.


When the adventurers returned Abigail was at the counter of the scroll shop eager to hear what they had found.

“This is oh so interesting, but I have someone here that was even more eager to hear from you. I was afraid that all of you had perished after you didn’t come back in two months.”

They noticed that Abigail bowed in respect as Lek walks through the door.

“I can explain that,” Lek said, “It wouldn’t be too farfetched theory that the time in the dungeon and the outside world do not coincide. It is not strange for places of great magical power to act this way. Abigail is part of an order called Melora’s Talons. When I said I had contacts I meant it. With Ixen and Abigail help I was able to track you down. Just wanted to check how you were faring.”

They explained what they found out so far about Osay and the cleric of Melora merely nodded then turned her attention to the child. At which the heroes explained that Stephen was/is part of Osay’s Vecna cult and that he was a warlock.

Lek summoned the devil devil that had the pact with Stephen freeing his soul.

Now on to Sein Lenn to find Ina and the name of the boat Osay had left on many years ago.

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It Eats Magic Stuff...Damnit

The walls were made of jasper with shadowy figured that since to dance with the flicker of torchlight. The quarter however did live up to its name. There was danger at every turn, danger in the form of large skeletal bats and rotting undead.

As they moved the silver ancient elven script spoke about a series of battles versus the outsiders. Before the door to the main quarter there was a corpse with metal armor that looked as if it had been eaten. With a deep breath Malbert burst into the room only to be cornered by Fey Spiders and giant rust monsters.

The battle was a long one, but out heroes did not come out unscathed. One of the larger monstrosities had eaten Malbert’s scale armor leaving him in only a suit of chainmail. On thing that is notable is that the giant room they entered that was a forest turned into a large stone room. It seemed that that this dungeon turned into a habitat most suitable for a monsters.

The next room also had another corpse in front of the door. This was belonged to a Vecna cultist and he looked like he had froze to death.

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