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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Prelude
"Dead slow!" shouted the halfling. "Prepare for landing."

   Captain Ombert Stronghull's orders were relayed from aftcastle to main deck to the helm room in the forecastle.

   Toward the aft of the main deck, young Oma yr Raisa el Catahras crouched low in her violet gown with her arms around her knees. "Oh, I do not like the idea of landing," she said.

   The seven-foot-tall, 300-pound frame of the half-orc Nargroth Kilmander, in stark contrast, was half-hanging over the port railing, enjoying the rush of a controlled fall out of the sky. "I do not like the idea of crashing;" he called back. "Landing is great!"

   "You are not helping!"

   "Lay down!" called the Captain. Oma sprawled herself flat on the deck, not understanding the naval command.

   "Lay down!" echoed Martin, a human sailor standing near the forecastle with a daisy tattoo on his bicep.

   The 40-ton bulk of the Frihet was now some twenty feet over the deep waters of the Shining Sea — now fifteen feet, now ten feet.

   "All hands, brace for landing!" shouted Ombert.

   ...now five feet.... The flying galleon struck the surface with a slap, as walls of ocean spray shot forth on both sides to collapse again in a sizzle. Beneath their feet, they felt the wood of the deck surge.

   Tied up within a small pen in the center of the deck toward the stern, a dromedary camel and a white warhorse nuzzed and neighed. Nargroth stroked the back of each of their necks. "Do not be afraid, Kamila and Cloud," he said soothingly.

   "Helm down!" commanded the Captain, and his order was echoed once again. Suddenly, a cool breeze reached them, carrying with it the smell of salt water, as the atmospheric envelope surrounding them was dispelled.

   "Jayce's landing was more vigorous than yours have been," noted Hakam yn Hamdulah el Anachtyr, as he clutched to the aftcastle rail to the right of where the captain stood on a crate behind the wheel of the mundane helm.

   "He did a fair job," said Solisar Keryth, who was standing next to the Calishite cleric. "Remember that the spelljammer travels much faster now," added the gold elf.

   Ombert licked his finger and held it to the wind. "Of course! We are coming in against the wind...," he said. Then he called out, "Stand by to go about!"

   Nargroth made the two large animals lie down, and then he and Martin rushed over to the main sail. Two other pairs of sailors rushed to the other sails. There were Gren and Niff to the bow and Loreene and Brad to the stern.

   Jayce, looking as out-of-place as usual in his dark eye lenses, stepped out onto the main deck from one of the doors to the forecastle. "How did I do? Amazing piloting, eh?" He removed some flint from his pouch and prepared to light his pipe.

   "Rougher than I would have preferred," answered Hakam.

   "You almost made me puke, orcwit," said Oma.

   "Ready about?" shouted the captain.

   "Aye, aye!" called back the six sailors in near unison.

   Ombert spun the wheel counterclockwise, exhibiting more strength than one would expect from such a small humanoid. "Helm's a'lee."

   "Lee ho!" called the six sailors in unison, as they yanked simultaneously on taught ropes.

   Jayce ducked at just the right moment as the boom of the main mast swung overhead as he approached the aftcastle steps to join his friends.

   The Frihet was tacking into the wind, which was from the north. The three adventurers now looked to starboard to take in their destination, the great city of Calimport, the most populous city in the known world.

   "I must admit that sailing under the power of the spelljamming helm is far simpler than under the power of Akadi," said Ombert. "The wind is always behind us when we are aloft."

   "I could cause it to come from the bow if you prefer a challenge," said Jayce.

   "The wall is indeed impressive," said Solisar. He was referring to the twenty-foot tall sea wall that surrounded the capital of Calimshan.

   "In the stories of my people," Hakam said, as if quoting from memory, "the foundations of these walls were laid by marid and dao during the time of the reign of Calim."

   "We know," said Jayce. "You are talking to a bard and an historian, remember?"

   "They are signalling us," said Solisar. A series of colored flags of various shapes had been run up a pole atop one of the towers of the wall.

   "Yes, yes, I know what the wind speed is," mumbled Ombert, as if someone had spoken to him. Then he called out, "Signal our answer!"

   A spindly gnome at the forecastle was rapidly attaching flags to a rope. (Ombert had hired him and several other sailors on at a town in Lantan, after Hakam and Jayce had convinced the hin to captain their magical vessel, since the Frihet was somewhat larger than the halfling-built Daisy.) The gnome had a rather pointed nose, and the other sailors (at his request) called him "Gullbeak".

   The flags were displayed, and they waited for the harbormaster to respond with a new set of flags.

   "We are permitted entry into the port," said Ombert.

   "Then take us in, good captain," said Jayce.

   Under Ombert's expert piloting, the Frihet passed between the two guard towers at the gate of the great sea wall, which was thirty feet thick. It was an annoyingly slow process and required the efforts of many sailors.

   "That is a good number of boats," said Jayce. He was severely understating the view before them — literally half a thousand sailing vessels were within the sheltered harbor. The waters themselves were covered in debris, both floating trash and the tops of wreckage. Rising from the wooden docks at the shore was the great metropolis of Calimport, with stone and mud-brick buildings of every shape and size surrounded by tents and flags of all colors and punctuated by domes, arches, and minarets galore. Rivers of people could be seen in the streets leading down to the water.

   "I dropped him off at the marina there," said Hakam, pointing to the left. He was referring to their wizard companion, Szordrin Dundragon.

   "Aye, but the harbormaster is sending us to those larger docks on the other side," said Ombert.

   "Where did you tell him to meet us?" asked Solisar.

   "At the marina," said Hakam.

   "Well, it will not hurt us to step aground for a bit, will it?" asked Jayce.

   "The longer we tarry, the greater the chance that Yrevkethend breaks through to the refugees," said Hakam.

   "I am just going to get a single drink with Loreene and Gren," said Jayce.

   "And with me," called up Nargroth from the main deck.

   "Fear not, good cleric; we are not going to visit a festhall!" continued Jayce.

   "Hey, maybe you aren't!" said Brad as he tied off a rope behind them.

   Hakam still looked annoyed at the prospect of a long stop.

   "Look, I have not been to the mainland in months; I am not going to stand on the ship while you search for a tiefling amongst all these people. Also, recall that I have sat on my hindquarters for the last eight hours and that magic chair is no Calishite floor pillow!"

   So, once the ship was docked, a good number of the sailors headed into the taverns of Affar Drudach of Ylar Sabban, the Inn Sabban, while Hakam and Solisar struggled to push their way through the crowds west toward the marina. The streets had an overwhelming smell of seafood from all the fishmongers selling their wares.

   "Watch your money pouch," warned Hakam, who was clearly uncomfortable with the throngs of people about.

   "Is Memnon like this?" asked Solisar, referring to his friend's home.

   "Not at all," said Hakam. "It is far less crowded. Also, I rarely go down to the street level; I walk the drudach walls."

   Solisar glanced to the right and noticed an elevated pathway with steps periodically leading up to it. Many of the buildings had entryways opening to this walkway rather than to the dusty ground below. They were approaching an archway in one of these drudach walls and passed through.

   "We have entered a new district or sector," explained Hakam.

   They passed through another similar arch as they followed a winding road through the Dock Ward, passing countless bazaar tents and booths, inns and taverns, and sea-related guildhalls, until they reached the marina in Bayown Drudach of Jarûz Sabban and walked out onto the floating wooden platform.

   Hakam was correct to assume that Szordrin would be waiting for them at the same spot where he had dropped him off months ago. The black-bearded wizard stood by a couple barrels, and his weasel familiar, Ferry, was curled up and napping atop one of them.

   "Alae! said Solisar. "It is good to see you, Szordrin."

   "Why do you have two barrels?" said Hakam.

   "They are full of spices," said Szordrin. "Calishite spices are the rage on the Rock of Bral, remember? I have arranged for us to make a good profit from this."

   "Black market spices, no doubt."

   "Not at all! They were legitimately purchased from Pasha Halus!"

   "Even so, we have no need for more cargo. Captain Stronghull and I already arranged for a trade agreement with the Lantanna. The Frihet is full of smokepowder and clockwork inventions, purchased from the sale of The Daisy."

   "So we are sailing a large explosive into wildspace now? It seems that spices are a safer route. I spent my own coin on these barrels up front; they are coming with us."

   "Fine, but you are going to have to wait here for me to go get Nargroth and another sailor; Solisar and I cannot carry those!"

   "I shall be here waiting as before."

   So Hakam and Solisar left the marina to find Nargroth. As they walked away, Ferry clicked and chirped at his master.

   "Yes, Ferry, I am well aware that Pasha Halus is the leader of the Loyal Order of Fishmongers, not the Spicemonger Fellowship."

~~~~

   "So, I poked me head in a place called the Copper Ante," said Brad. "Learned today that hin dames look just the same as human dames under their clothes."

   "Why wouldn't they?" asked Loreene. "Hin are just miniature humans."

   "Racist," stated Niff, who was himself a halfling.

   "I expected them to have hairier feet!" explained Brad.

   "Why would they have hairy feet?" asked Gren.

   "Haven't you seen the captain's feet?"

   "What I don't understand," said Martin, "is why did they need to be without clothes for you to notice their feet? As usual, you do not make any sense!"

   "It's the style these days for ladyfolk to shave their feet," said Niff.

   "Is it the style for menfolk these days to shave their heads?" asked Gren. (Niff was bald.) "And why are your feet shaved?"

   "Hey, look! It's our favorite trickster wizard, Szordrin," said Martin.

   Hakam, Solisar, and Szordrin were coming across the gangplank. Behind them Nargroth and a sailor named Guttar were carrying the two barrels over their heads as if they were baskets of laundry. (Guttar was a huge, muscular man who never spoke.) They carried the barrels to the cargo hold in the steerage deck.

   "Let me show you what my kin did to enhance the ship," said Solisar, guiding Szordrin into the forecastle and past the open door to the small room where the magic helm sat. "First of all, it turns out that the helm that we had was a Netherese spelljamming helm, which was only a rumor among the scholars of spelljamming history. They were much slower than standard helms but had the added feature of causing a ship to hover for many hours, even when the helmsmen vacated the chair. You can see how this would be useful to a nation with many flying cities. The elves were delighted to have come across a real specimen and offered an even trade of a modern major helm for our Netherese helm, which they wanted to study and display in a museum."

   The new helm had a more elegant look to it than their old helm. Solisar led Szordrin further on to the steps down to the lower deck and continued, "I agreed to the trade but also got them to agree to refurbish the ship and build separate cabins. As an example, here is our new wizards' laboratory."

   The lower deck, which used to be a mostly open space, except for the first mate's cabin and the galley in the stern. Now had a narrow hallway leading aft with doors on each side. Solisar opened one on the left to reveal a small rectangular cabin with a desk, a shelf for books and scrolls, and an assortment of candles and writing implements.

   "Across the hall here is our crew lounge." This room was a bit larger and had a table and chairs for eight.

   About this same table, Hakam, Solisar, Szordrin, Jayce, and Oma later sat that evening, as above deck, the captain and his crew piloted the ship out of Calimport harbor.

   "Mythlos arrived at the keep," Hakam explained to Szordrin, "but he found it destroyed, flattened to the ground by the blue dragon. Yrevkethend managed to track Rinald there. Rinald was able to evacuate a good number of the keep's inhabitants into the dwarven ruins below. They are all, including, Mythlos, now holding up there, but their supplies and food are running out. We have already stocked the ship with food for them."

   "How long ago did this happen?" asked Szordrin.

   "Near the beginning of the year."

   "I suspect that this was motivated by the dracorage," said Solisar.

   "It must be what caused her to violate her agreement with Sseth and the bronze dragons," said Jayce.

   "I have already notified the duchess of Tethyr," Hakam continued. "She was aware of the rage, but her armies are spread thin with other matters. Before we can head into wildspace, we need to rescue Mythlos and Rinald and any other refugees."

   "It seems to me that Rinald should have offered himself to the dragon and spared the destruction and loss of life," said Szordrin. "He put his own family at severe risk."

   "You never met Rinald," said Jayce. "He was a good man and would certainly have sacrificed himself if it would have changed matters."

   "In a manner of speaking, I did meet Rinald."

   "A statue of Rinald does not count," said Jayce.

   "We will reach the Rock of Bral shortly enough, Szordrin," said Solisar. "The new helm is significantly faster. We will make up lost time."

   "We have no deadline in any case," said Hakam. "Leokas is free from his geas; we are free from the ice devil Tosvin; our exile by Samber is over; and Ilthian is back on her island."

   "Presumably," said Solisar.

   "The more time we give Samber, the more powerful he will become," said Szordrin.

   "Cassiera and Galadrel arrived safely at the High Forest before Mythlos left them," continued Hakam, ignoring Szordrin's protest.

   "Cassiera was that snake woman who stowed away on The Daisy, was she not?" asked Oma. "She followed you into the mine before you all vanished, but who is Galadrel?"

   "Galadrel is Leokas' mother," explained Solisar.

   "She was his wolf, Stormshadow, in disguise this whole time," said Szordrin. "We only found out becuase we entered an anti-magic field in our travels."

   "A werewolf?" she asked.

   "A lythari," corrected Solisar.

   "And what about Samber?" asked Szordrin. "He is, after all, the only reason all of us are together."

   "I was just waiting my turn," said Jayce. "Let me tell you what I have already shared with Hakam and Solisar.

   "Samber was born in the settlement of Dtakkar on the island of Suj about 50 years ago. His full name is Samber Lamstrand. Both names are common Lantanna names. He staerted out with a typical story. Like many boys in Dtakkar, he took an apprenticeship in one of the clockwork toy factories. He also became a follower of Gond and became one of that church's temple boys.

   "I found that Samber learned magic from a young friend named Ronan who was an orphan and raised by gnomes. The boy was not Lantanna, and he was described as having silver hair and golden eyes."

   "A half-gold half-silver elf, perhaps?" asked Solisar.

   "No, he definitely was not an elf," continued Jayce. "In any case, this boy who introduced Samber to arcane magic and his whole gnomish family vanished one day, and no one knows where they went. Samber, I am told, was not that bothered by it."

   "He probably murdered them," said Szordrin.

   "As a child?" said Oma.

   "If Samber were a murderer, I believe that all of us would be dead by now," said Solisar.

   "His sins are deeper than that," said Hakam.

   "That is all I know of Samber's childhood," said Jayce. "Once he reached adulthood, he became a full clergy member of the Church of Gond. Those who knew him during that time claimed that he was one of their most promising priests. He mixed his arcane and divine magics to animate the toys that he created and became mildly famous for this in Dtakkar. This fame attracted the attention of a woman named Avilda SeKorc. He proposed, and the two were married after about a year of courting."

   "And Avilda looks like Ilthian?" asked Szordrin.

   "Yes," Jayce replied, "but she had red hair, green eyes, and pale freckled skin, like the average Lantanna maiden.

   "Samber and Avilda seemed to have had a happy marriage, at first, but they were unable to have children. This devestated both of them, and they tried a wide assortment of solutions, including herbs and the most bizarre gnomish contraptions, all without success.

   "I spoke with Avilda directly, and she told me that she left Samber because he 'loved his work more than me,' but the town gossip says differently. See, Avilda remarried and had four children with her new husband. Samber is the one who is infertile. He knew this and tried his hardest to give his wife children. According to the elderly neighbors, Avilda left because Samber began experimenting with creating a child using magic, which ended with disturbing results.

   "The priests of Gond told me that Avilda's departure threw Samber into a severe depression. Her remarriage drove him mad, and he disappeared. No one in Lantan has heard from or seen him since."

   "When did he disappear again?" asked Solisar.

   "About 35 years ago."

   There was a knock on the door. It was Nargroth. "Milady, the captain is calling to lay aloft. We have cleared the harbor; you are needed at the helm."

   Oma rose to head to the spelljamming helm.

   "Well, that is the story I have," said Jayce. "Now I am off to bed. Wake me when we reach Belvin and Leokas."
Session: 101st Game Session - Wednesday, Apr 18 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Tags: Background , Recap
Unter Löwen Pt. 2
Vor den Toren von Travinianshall, 29. Travia 1033 BF

Der Boden wurde zusehends morastiger, als sie sich dem Dorf näherten und die Kopfsteine, derer sie auf dem Weg noch hier und dort ansichtig geworden waren, waren schon kurz hinter der Kuppe mit dem atemberaubenden Blick über das Ochsenwasser zurückgeblieben. Was blieb, war ein mit aufgeschütteten Kieselsteinen nur notdürftig befestigter Weg, kaum breit genug für ein einzelnes Fuhrwerk. Auch die Bewegungen der Pferde unter ihnen waren steif und angespannt und so war Wulfgar froh, dass das Gelände nicht zu allem Überfluss auch noch stark abfiel, sondern auf einer Linie mit dem gewaltigen See auf die von Schilfrohren und Sumpfgräsern dominierte Uferzone und das darin liegende Dorf zuführte. Natürlich begünstigte dieser Umstand die Feuchtigkeit des Bodens, aber zumindest war der Pfad in einem besseren Zustand als viele der getrampelten Lehmkuhlen entlang des Neunaugensees, die mit tiefen Pfützen und unvermittelt einknickenden Unebenheiten zur tödlichen Falle für den ungeübten oder auch unachtsamen Reiter werden konnten. Graf Hagen strahlte, wohl aus diesen gemeinsamen Erinnerungen schöpfend eine größere Gelassenheit in seinem Tritt aus als Arunas schlanke und elegante Stute, die unruhig über den schlammigen Kies tänzelte. Sicherlich war Roana aus den Drachensteinen an steile Geröllfelder und unwegsame Bergpässe gewöhnt, aber Wulfgar vermutete, dass die Amazonenburg Yeshinna so hoch oben im unzugänglichen Gebirge lag, dass schwarzen Wolken ihre Last zumeist schon an den niederen Berghängen abgeregnet hatten. Steine ja, aber das unter den Hufen schmatzende Wasser schien ihr nicht geheuer. Aber auch Wulfgar musste zugeben, dass er sich wieder wohler fühlen würde, wenn er wieder festen Stein unter den Stiefeln spüren konnte. Offensichtlich hatte auch die Ankündigung durch den schneidigen Korporal der Zweimühlener Grenzreiter, Bastan Erlgau, ihre Wirkung nicht verfehlt.

Rund um das kleine, kaum eine Wagenbreite messende Tor herum hatte sich eine Traube von Menschen gebildet, die gespannt und tuschelnd im Schatten des steinernen Torhauses ihrer Ankunft harrten. Zwei Frauen in polierten, silbern schimmernden Kettenhemden und strahlend weißen Wappenröcken, die lediglich am Saum den einen oder anderen Schlammspritzer aufwiesen, hatten links und rechts von der Toröffnung Stellung bezogen und beobachteten das Treiben aufmerksam. Sie trugen eiserne Spangenhelme, die ein Nackenschutz aus Kette und ein dunkler Pferdeschweif zierten, und hatten die eine Hand locker auf einen schweren, tropfenförmigen Reiterschild gelegt, während die andere wachsam am Schwertgriff ruhte. Auf ihrer Brust prangte dasselbe Wappen wie auf dem bemalten Holz der großen Schilde. Roter Löwe und rotes Einhorn, in stummer Eintracht einander aufsteigend zugewandt, auf silbernem von sechs blauen Balken zerteilten Grund in blauer Borte. „Sieh mal, Vater, eine Amazone!“ drang aus der Menge die aufgeregte Stimme eines Mädchens zu ihnen herüber. Wulfgar schmunzelte und dachte daran, wie sehr sich die Menschen im Zweimühlener Umland und den angrenzenden Baronien doch schon an das Auftreten und die Erscheinung seiner Gefährtin von den sonst in diesen Landen kaum verkehrenden Amazonen doch gewöhnt hatten. Wie besonders es war, hatten viele schon vergessen oder verdrängt. Die berittene Gesandtschaft reihte sich jetzt, da der schlammige Pfad sich weiter verengte wie auf einen unausgesprochenen Befehl in eine geschlossene, enge Linienformation ein, die dem voranreitenden jungen Herren von Erlgau folgte, dem Wulfgar erst kürzlich das alte Lehen seiner Familie an der Reichsstraße zugesprochen hatte.

Durch den Torbogen konnte er jetzt erkennen, dass eine kleine Delegation von Gerüsteten auf das geöffnete Tor zuhielt, um zu den dort bereits postierten Wachen zu stoßen. Wulfgar hob die Hand und seine Stimme dröhnte, vom über das Ochsenwasser streichenden Wind getragen über seine Begleiter hinweg. „Absitzen!“ Es war eine kleine Geste, aber wenn es nach ihm ging, eine der wichtigsten. Er wollte ihnen auf Augenhöhe entgegentreten. Praida, die sich halblaut über den Schlamm und ihre frisch geputzten Stiefel beschwerte, erntete einen kurzen, strengen Seitenblick, der die blonde Hünin verstummen und dem Vorbild Wulfgars, der sich aus dem Sattel wuchtete und im weichen Erdreich mit einem lauten Schmatzen aufsetzte, Folge leisten ließ. Aruna, Bastan und die Uhdenberger taten es ihm gleich. Wulfgar klopfte Graf Hagen aufmunternd auf den grau gescheckten Hals, dann griff er den Zügel fester und lenkte den Tralloper am jungen Erlgau vorbei, der ihm jetzt respektvoll die Führung überließ. Der Blick zum Torhaus verriet ihm, dass man auch hier besser Vorsicht als Nachsicht walten ließ, hatten sich doch jetzt über der Gesandtschaft zwei leicht gerüstete Bogenschützen auf dem niedrigen Zinnenwerk des kleinen Wehrbaus eingefunden, die sie mit am Bogen aufgelegten Pfeilen aufmerksam beobachteten. Sie hatten nicht angelegt und alleine das wertete Wulfgar als Teilerfolg. Vorsicht war angebracht, gerade in der Wildermark und … noch mehr in den sich abzeichnenden, unruhigen Zeiten, die noch vor ihnen lagen.

Die Linie der Kettenhemdträger vor ihnen öffnete sich und ein gütig lächelnder Greis in bis zum, bei den Witterungsverhältnissen unvermeidlich, schlammbesudelten Saum, strahlend weißer Robe trat ihnen entgegen. Für die 70, vielleicht sogar 80 Sommer, die er zählen musste, wies er eine bemerkenswert aufrechte Haltung auf und aus seinem faltigen Gesicht leuchteten ihm unter dichten, buschigen und schlohweißen Augenbrauen lebendig strahlende, dunkelblaue Augen entgegen. Den Kampfstab in seiner Linken fest im Griff hob der Mann die rechte Hand zum Gruß und gab den Blick frei auf das komplexe Siegel, das im Zentrum einen Greifen trug, ließ sie jedoch wieder sinken, bevor Wulfgar alle der darauf befindlichen Details hätte erfassen können. „Im Namen des Ordens des Heiligen Zorns der Göttin Rondra begrüßt Euch Serafin Feuerblitz, Wächter und Hüter des Wissens und Magister Magnus des Kaiserlich Garethischen Lehrinstituts vom Schwert und Stabe zu Gareth und der Accademia Contramagica Cusliciensis in Travinianshall, auf Wacht Greifenfeste.“ Ein verhaltenes Lächeln umspielte seine dünnen Lippen, seine Stimme war stark und klar. „Wulfgar Nordfalk von Moosgrund, Vogt von Zweimühlen und Edler zum Zweimühlener Land, erwidert den Gruß und dankt Euch für das persönliche Empfangen sowie, in Travias Namen, Eure Gastfreundschaft, die wir für die Dauer unseres Aufenthalts nach altem Recht und Brauchtum dankbar in Anspruch nehmen. An meiner Seite um Einlass bitten Aruna aus Yeshinna, Schildmaid Weidens, Trägerin des Greifensterns in Gold und Edle zum Zweimühlener Land … Bastan Erlgau, Vogt des gleichnamigen alten Familienlehens entlang der Reichstraße sowie die Burgoffiziere Praida Unkenspringe und Uribert Habertümpel von Baliho, beides verdiente Recken aus der Heldenschmiede Schwert und Schild. Jene unter dem Banner der Uhdenberger Legion dienen unserem Geleit.“

Der Magus ließ mit einem freundlichen Nicken erkennen, dass er befand, dass Wulfgar die vorgeschriebene Etikette und Höflichkeit gewahrt hatte, die er sich erwartete und er winkte sie mit einer einladenden Geste näher heran. Der Weidener und sein Zug, die zur Begrüßung kurz innegehalten hatten, folgten seiner Einladung. Das hallende Gemurmel der Schaulustigen schwoll an als Wulfgar und seine Begleiter in den Schatten des Torhauses traten. Feuerblitz trat ihm entgegen und tatsächlich loderte im von Alter gezeichneten Gesicht des Mannes die Flamme des Lebens, die ihm vor allem aus seinen dunkelblauen Augen prüfend entgegensprühte. „Meine Brüder und Schwestern werden sich um Eure Tiere kümmern. Wenn ihr mir bitte folgen mögt … Wächter der Wacht Phelian Winterkalt von Travinianshall und Obristin Thyria Ehrwalt erwarten Euch.“ Ohne sich das kurze Zögern, dessen Ursprung in der Natur der Wildermark begründet lag, anmerken zu lassen, drückte er die Zügel von Graf Hagen einer jungen Ordensritterin in die Hand, lächelte seinem Schimmel aufmunternd zu und klopfte ihm liebevoll den staubigen Hals. „Dann wollen wir sie nicht warten lassen.“ Die wenigen verbliebenen Ordenskrieger, die keines der Pferde in die nahen Stallungen führte, formierten sich locker hinter der Gesandtschaft aus Zweimühlen, die sich von dem Magus über die lehmige Hauptstraße des kleinen Weilers zu der heruntergelassenen Zugbrücke der stolzen, mit Efeu umrankten Wasserburg in der Mündung des Dergel führen ließ.

Wulfgar war überrascht von der Geschwindigkeit, die der greise Magier auf dem schlammigen Grund an den Tag legte und gab sich Mühe Schritt zu halten. „Sagt, Herr von Moosgrund, was führt Euch ans Ochsenwasser? Reist Ihr im Auftrag der Kaiserin?“ Der unverbindliche Plauderton des Magiers ließ ihn vorsichtig, aber nicht unhöflich bleiben. „Nein, hochgelehrter Magister, die Legitimation meiner Person als Vogt des Zweimühlener Landes ermächtigt mich nicht dazu, im Namen unserer kaiserlichen Majestät für den Städtebund zu werben. Ich bin einzig und allein als Einzelperson und der Mann, wie er hier vor euch am Ufer des Dergel steht, zu euch gereist um mich mit den ehrwürdigen Hochmeistern des Bundes zu beraten. Über das, was war … das, was ist und das, was noch kommen mag.“ Das Nicken des alten Magisters ist fast unmerklich. „Sehr wohl, Euer Wohlgeboren. Die Kunde von eurem … nennen wir es Sieg … über den Falkenbund hat weite Kreise gezogen und für einige Unruhe in den angrenzenden Baronien gesorgt. In Rammholz, Oppstein und Echsmoos heißt es gar, dass die Barone ihre offene Unterstützung für den Cronverweser ausgesetzt oder zumindest etwas vorsichtiger formuliert haben.“ Wulfgar beobachtete mit einem schmerzlichen Lächeln, wie zwei Kinder, ein Mädchen und ein Junge einen ausgelassen bellenden, durch den Schlamm tollenden Hund durch eine der Gassen zwischen den einfachen, auf niedrigen Pfählen über den feuchten Grund erhobenen Lehmhütten jagten. Beide hielten inne, als sie ihrer Gruppe gewahr wurden, aber es dauerte nur einen Moment bis das Mädchen auf dem Absatz kehrtmachte und mit heller Stimme nach seinen Eltern rief. Offenbar hatten sie sich so sehr in ihr Spiel vertieft, dass ihnen die entstandene Aufregung im Dorf völlig entgangen war. Umso größer jetzt die unverfälschte, ungebändigte Freude über die unverhoffte Entdeckung, die sich jetzt Bahn brach. Der Junge warf ihnen … Aruna, ihm, seinem Gefolge mit großen, leuchtenden Augen einen Blick zu, dem ein Respekt, eine Bewunderung anhaftete, die sich in dieser ungetrübten Form nur noch selten, wenn überhaupt, in den Augen eines Erwachsenen entdecken ließ. Wulfgar lächelte.

„Es steht Ucurian zu für das Lehen seiner Tochter einzutreten, es spricht gar für seinen Geist und Mumm als Vater. Aber er hat viel gewagt, als er hoffte Talf für den Falkenbund einzufordern und sich eine breite Achse entlang der Reichsstraße zu sichern.“ Der alte Serafin musterte ihn eindringlich. „Ein ungewöhnliches Bündnis habt ihr dort auf den Ausläufern der Baernfarn-Ebene geschmiedet. Answin der Jüngere? Der alte Haudegen Bregelsaum? Sie sind sich selten grün und noch weniger hätte ich erwartet die goldene Scheibe neben dem Raben über ein und derselben Schlachtlinie flattern zu sehen.“ Wulfgar begegnete der unverhohlenen Überraschung des Magiers mit einem lediglich angedeuteten Schmunzeln. „Ebensowenig wie Ucurian. Es ist meiner Gefährtin zu verdanken, dass sich Talf selbst gegen den Falkenbund stellte, obgleich die Übermacht erdrückend schien. Rondra war mit uns und in diesem Moment scherte sie wohl nichts weniger als die Farben und Wappen der Banner … Ucurian von Rabenmund bedrohte mit seinem Vorstoß die so mühsam errungene Ordnung in unseren Landen und es erfüllt mich mit Hoffnung, dass selbst alte und tiefsitzende Ehrenhändel und Streitereien zum Erliegen kommen, wenn jemand den ohnehin brüchigen Frieden zu erschüttern wagt.“ Es entging ihm nicht, dass ihn der erfahrene Magister aushorchte, aber er hegte deshalb keinen Groll. Die Wildermark war gefährlich und das begann direkt bei der Wahl seiner Verbündeten. Wulfgar konnte es dem Magier nachsehen, dass er zumindest schon einmal ein grobes Bild davon gewinnen wollte, wen er hier vor sich hatte. „Es muss dem goldenen Falken wirklich schwer gefallen sein die Entscheidung zu fällen und das Schlachtfeld zu verlassen.“ Der Magus ließ seine Vermutung unkommentiert im Raum stehen und diesmal blieb ihm der Weidener eine Antwort schuldig. Natürlich hatte die Größe der drohenden Feldschlacht eine Rolle dabei gespielt Arnôd von Eulenberg von einem Angriff abzuhalten, hätte sie das Mächtegefüge innerhalb der Wildermark auf einen Schlag in die eine oder andere Richtung kippen lassen können. Aber weder davon … noch von dem nächtlichen Gespräch mit Ucurian … musste der Weißmagier erfahren. Die Ungewissheit … die Gerüchte waren eine mächtige Waffe, wenn man sie zu nutzen wusste.
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Heimkehr
Die hölzernen Dielen knarzten unter seinen Stiefeln, als er durch die, mit feinen Schnitzereien und Glaseinlassungen verzierte Tür nach draußen trat. Der frische Wind, der vom Pandlaril her an der nahen Außenmauer emporstieg, vereinte sich hier mit der tobrischen Brise, die von der Schwarzen Sichel her über das Land strich. Feiner Blütenstaub bedeckte das weiß getünchte Geländer der Veranda, als sich seine ledernen Handschuhe darum schlossen und er sich auf dem hölzernen Querbalken abstützte, um das Treiben auf der Herzöglichen Straße zu beobachten, die hier ohne sichtbaren Übergang mit der Reichsstraße gen Süden verschmolz. Der Duft der Blumen, die in voller Blüte die Töpfe vor dem Eingang des Hotels Pandlaril mit Farben und leuchtendem Leben erfüllten und sich leicht im Windhauch regten, erfüllte die Luft. Ein leichtes Schmunzeln glitt über seine Lippen, als der drehende Wind den Stallgeruch unzähliger Rinder durch das Südtor in seine Nase trug, den Paske nicht müde wurde zu jeder Gelegenheit zu erwähnen. Er störte ihn nicht, ebenso wenig wie der beißende Geruch des billigen Knasters, den der blonde, sommersprossige Bursche an einen der Stützpfeiler gelehnt, nur wenige Schritt von ihm entfernt schmauchte.

Die Glieder seines meisterhaft gearbeiteten Toschkril-Kettenhemds klimperten leise, als er sich streckte und mit langsamen Drehbewegungen seines Kopfes seinen Nacken lockerte. Zum ersten Mal seit langer Zeit hatte er wieder den weißen Wappenrock angelegt und über seiner Brust spannte sich umrahmt von einem gleichfarbigen Schild der schwarze stürzende Falke, der mit angelegten Flügeln und vorwärtsgeworfenen Krallen nach unsichtbarer Beute griff. Er hatte die Farben seines Hauses lange nicht getragen. In der Wildermark … außerhalb Weidens maß man Ihnen wenig Bedeutung bei und er war auch schon Rittern begegnet, die sein Wappen nicht erkannt hatten. Es fehlte die goldene Borte mit den goldenen Kugeln, die heraldische Abbildung des Orden vom Blute, die Ardariel ums Wappen trug und hier auch am Tor, das zur Südstadt führte, nur träge im Wind bebte. Er selbst führte das unverfälschte urtümliche Wappen der Nordfalks, dass sein Vater selbst fast ausschließlich auf Turnieren getragen hatte, die er aufgrund der unruhigen Zeiten, auf die sich sein Wirken beschränkte, nur selten besucht hatte. Der Kampf gegen die Answinisten, die Schwarzpelze und das Jahr des Feuers, ein Leben im Schatten der vielen Konflikte … das er aber, wann immer seine Pflichten es ihm erlaubten in der alten Feste über Moosgrund bei seiner Schwester und ihm verbracht hatte.

Er sah zwei schmutzigen Gestalten mit dreckverkrusteten Stiefeln und staubigen Gesichtern dabei zu, wie sie ihre Pferde an den schweren Messingringen am Brunnen neben der Straße vertäuten und sich gestenreich unterhielten. Der Mann, ein schlacksiger, fast hager zu nennender Kerl mit dunklen, schulterlangen Haaren und einem nicht ganz gleichmäßig seine dreckstarrenden Wangen bedeckenden Bart zog die Handschuhe von den Händen und klopfte sie an seiner abgewetzten Wildlederhose ab. Zeitgleich entrang sich ein grobes, aber deshalb nicht weniger aufrichtiges Lachen seiner Brust, während seine Begleiterin mit den blonden, von der Sonne ausgebleichten Haaren und der niedlichen Stupsnase mit fröhlich glitzernden Augen eine Geschichte, eine Zote, einen Witz, was er alles von hieraus nicht hören konnte zum Besten gab, während sie zeitgleich einen Eimer aus dem Brunnen nach oben zog. Er betrachtete sie nachdenklich. Abgenutzte Lederkluft, breitkrempige Strohhüte, die sie auf den langen Ritten vor dem zunehmend durchdringenderen Blick von Praios flammendem Auge schützten.

Handbeile in Axtgehängen an den Satteln der Pferde und schwere Dolche an den Gürteln. Die Packtaschen aufgebläht, ausgebeult von allem, was man auf einer tagelangen, ja wochenlangen Reise so brauchen konnte. Am Sattelknauf des Pferdes des Mannes baumelte noch der frisch erlegte Hase, den er wohl noch auf dem Weg in die Stadt geschossen hatte. Ein hartes, unerbittliches Leben … das hatten die Stimmen in den Absteigen, den Kneipen der Viehtreiber immer verkündet, die meisten davon gehörten aber den Rinderhirten selbst. Ein freies Leben? Nein, eher die Weite des Weidener Landes vor sich und dennoch die Gewissheit die kühle Kette zu spüren, an der die Rinderbarone sie an die Herden und ihren Zug fesselten. Was nützte die Freiheit, die ein Pferderücken versprach, wenn man sie nicht auskosten konnte … sich nicht überall hinwenden und reiten konnte, wohin Aves einen lockte? Seine Mundwinkel krümmten sich zu einem schiefen Lächeln, auch er hatte seine Freiheit, das größte Geschenk seiner Entscheidung gegen den Werdegang eines Weidener Ritters eingetauscht … abgegeben, ja vielleicht besser … eingeschränkt. Gegen Zweimühlen.

Eine Entscheidung, die er nicht bereuen konnte, ganz gleich wie sehr er es versuchte. Auch gemessen an dem, dass sie alle einen Preis dafür bezahlt hatten. Nichts war umsonst, aber wenig fühlte sich besser an als die Erkenntnis um das, was sie taten. Für die Kaiserin … das Reich … und für die Menschen. Die Wildermark.

Und jetzt, hier, an diesem Ort schien es, als hätte Satinav diesen Ort auf seinen Reisen übersehen, vielleicht gar gemieden. Etwas von dem erhalten, was sich seit einem Dutzend Götterläufe unberührt vor der Schwelle des Hotels Pandlarin ausbreitete. Ganz so als würde die Zeit stillstehen. Eine Reise in seine Vergangenheit. Lediglich der Blickpunkt hatte sich geändert. Damals war er ein Teil Balihos gewesen … heute kehrte er zurück als Reisender. Doch die Menschen, die sich hier über die Hauptstraße drängten, schien es nicht im Geringsten zu stören. Er war nur ein kleines Rad in diesem Mühlwerk und solange er nicht zum Grund wurde, warum das Räderwerk in Stocken und Rattern geriet, war er einer von ihnen. Das liebte er an Weiden. Paske schob sich an ihm vorbei, seine Satteltaschen geschultert und pfiff leise ein fröhliches Liedchen, während er auf den Stall zuhielt, in dem Grimmerich und die anderen standen. Esra folgte ihm in ihrer bunten, an den Ärmeln hochgekrempelten Robe und vereinzelte Wortfetzen ihres Tuschelns wehten zu ihm herüber, die sich allerdings im Gemurmel und Lärmen der Gassen verloren. Es war an der Zeit. Er stemmte sich hoch, schritt zur Tür und griff um den Rahmen herum nach den Packtaschen, seinem in Leder eingeschlagenen Zweihänder und wuchtete die schweren Beutel vom knarzenden Boden hoch. Sie waren auf dem Weg. Nach Hause. Zu dem Ort, an dem er das Licht Deres erblickt hatte.

Zu dem Ort, den er damals ein Knirps in Leder und Leinen im Sattel vor seinem Vater sitzend verlassen hatte. Und zu dem er jetzt unter dem Banner Zweimühlens wieder zurückkehrte.
Session: Wind in den Weiden - Moosgrund - Monday, Jun 11 2018 from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM
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Lhynard
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De Exilio
Interlude: Kiira
~ seventh-day, 27th of Nightal, The Year of Wild Magic, evening
River Rauvin, southeast of Silverymoon


"What in the Nine are you wearing on your forehead?" Szordrin stared at Hakam as he joined the rest of the group. They were all standing around Solisar as he read from a scroll purchased from Xara Tantlor.

   "It does look silly," said Ilthian with a slight giggle.

   "It is a phylactery," said Hakam, as if everyone would understand.

   "Did you become a lich now?" asked Szordrin. "As if being a lawyer were not bad enough!"

   "He asked me to purchase one for him from the temple of the Triad," Leokas explained. "I do not know its purpose."

   "Did you buy me a head-box too?" asked Kytharrah, with a hopeful tone.

   "You already have a flying rock, big brother," said Ilthian. "That is much better than a phallic berry, whatever that is."

   Szordrin snorted to hold back his laugh. "Yes, much better," he said.

   Solisar also cracked a smile but managed to maintain his concentration.

   "Do not disturb him, Ilthian!" said Belvin. "It may ruin the spell."

   "Phylactery," Hakam repeated slowly, emphasizing the T. "Priests of various religions wear them as a visible sign of their faithfulness to their deity. This particular one is magical. It will ensure that no mistakes like the matter with the werewolves are made again."

   "Can I have a head-box?" asked Kytharrah again.

   "Solisar bought you an even better present," said Ilthian. "Remember, it is a silver color you can put on your axe, in case we fight any devils again."

   It had been nearly five minutes that Solisar had been reading the arcane words from the scroll. Then he set the scroll down on the deck and picked up a few tiny items that he had placed there ahead of time, all the while still repeating key magic words. He stuffed a wad of cotton in each of his pointed ears. Then he overlaid a piece of dark glass with a thin lead sheet. Holding these in his left hand, he began to walk slowly around near the walls of the vessel and sprinkled powdered, chrysolite from his right hand. The cursive characters on the scroll glowed as Solisar continued his preparatory walk. When he finished marking a powdered, green border on the first deck, he took the wooden stairs to the deck below and continued his task.

   When Solisar departed, Hakam clutched his holy symbol, calmed himself, and prepared to pray for the power to send a message to the Prince of Jhothûn.

   Solisar came back up the stairs, still casting, and then connected the trail of powder. He then held the sheet with the glass in front of him and completed the final words of power. For a quick instant, all around them, everywhere that Solisar had placed the powder, walls of iron and opaque glass appeared to their eyes and then faded from existence. The powder was gone, as were the lead sheet and glass in Solisar's hands and the cotton in his ears.

   "How do we know if it worked?" asked Leokas.

   "Come above deck and see," said Solisar.

   All of them, except for Hakam, who was now deep in prayer, climbed the stairs to stand below the starry night sky. Solisar pointed at the cargo grate. They knew that the deck below was lit by Kytharrah's everburning torch, but all they could see through the grate now was a black, foggy mass. Nor could they hear the sound of Hakam's praying.

   Satisfied that their plan to protect their new spelljammer from either magical scrying or mundane spying was working thus far, they went again below deck to wait for Hakam to finish his role in their plan.

   Suddenly, Hakam ceased speaking in Alzhedo and switched to Common. "Prince of Jhothûn, I wish that the effects of the spell of protection just now cast by Solisar upon this sailing vessel would last forever."

   "Did he respond?" asked Belvin.

   "We are protected," said Hakam. "Our second wish is granted. No one will be able to watch us anymore."

~~~~

An hour later they were on their way due south through the sky, powered by magic drained from Leokas. No longer were they trying to follow landmarks from above; they simply wanted to reach the coast so that they could follow it south all the way to Calimshan, to Teshburl, where they had agreed to travel next. Solisar and Leokas had assured them that Silverymoon was well west of Calimshan, for the western edge of the continent of Faerûn was roughly diagonal, especially in the north.

   While Belvin remained above deck as a watch, the rest sat on the floor in a circle and discussed the things that Szordrin and Solisar had learned from their research in Silverymoon. Szordrin had found a document from the court of Tethyr by Count Gamalon Idogyr, a report to the queen about the Rock of Bral. Count Gamalon supposedly had lived on the Rock for many years. The report, which was only two years old, was a helpful overview of what they might expect when they were to visit the asteroid city.

   "Gamalon was the name of one of those two paladins who were briefly with us in Tethyr," said Szordrin, "but I do not think he was secretly a count. The last name sounds familiar though, but I cannot place it."

   "His surname was different," agreed Hakam, "but we do know an Idogyr. Oddly enough, that was the surname of Sir Gamalon's partner, Rhinda, the woman taken by the gnolls in Tethyr. Gamalon may simply be a common name in that country. I suppose that I could send a message to Rhinda to ask her how she is related to the count."

   "We have had no contact with her since her abduction," said Leokas. "While we know she was rescued by the king of Tethyr's people, we were told that she did not fare well from the ordeal."

   "What did you discover, Solisar?" asked Szordrin. "You were late meeting us on the Moonbridge. What took you so long?"

   "I was nearly overwhelmed by the wealth of information available to me in Everdusk Hall," replied the gold elf. "We — I tracked down the last known locations of each of eleven tel'kiira, the greater lore stones of Myth Drannor. I sought this information out because of the evidence that Szordrin and I found, during our time in Thultanthar, that Samber had been reading in the library there about their creation."

   "What is a tel'kiira?" asked Ilthian. She was now able to sit with the others during such discussions, since their new magical sanctum protected them from magical eavesdropping. "And what is Myth Drannor?"

   "Myth Drannor was once a beautiful elven city in the forest of Cormanthor, which is now part of the Dalelands east of Anauroch," Solisar explained. "While an elven city, it was known as the City of Love and the City of Song, a place where all races were welcome, where dwarves and elves and humans alike all lived in harmony. It fell nearly 700 years ago to an army of yugoloths in the Year of Doom. Silverymoon is the closest place left to it on Toril, and indeed, many refugees from Myth Drannor settled in what would become Silverymoon. As for Myth Drannor, it remains a haunt of evil to this day."

   "Yugoloths?" asked Ilthian.

   "Fiends, purely evil creatures from the Blood Rift," said Solisar. "They are akin to the devils, such as Tosvin, or to the demons, which, thankfully, we have not encountered in our times together."

   "But the tel'kiira?" asked Hakam.

   "Yes, the tel'kiira were the greatest of the kiira. A kiira is a tiny gemstone that one can magically affix to one's forehead. Depending on the particular kind of kiira, this grants the wearer powers of memory enhancement. For example, a lesser kiira can store a number of images that one sees for later recollection. They are popular among mages as an alternative to recording spells into spellbooks. Using a kiira is like seeing a perfect, realistic drawing — in color — of a past thing seen, as clearly as if one was seeing it again with his or her own eyes."

   "Is not that how all memories are?" asked Ilthian.

   "No," said Szordrin. "Is that how your memory works?"

   Ilthian nodded.

   "Fascinating," said Solisar. "I am not surprised, Ilthian, considering your superb aptitude for learning, but no, most of us remember things as a blurry representation of what we saw clearly with our eyes."

   "But the tel'kiira?" asked Hakam again. "How are they different from these so-called 'lesser' kiira that you describe?"

   "The tel'kiira are greater kiira, or true kiira, if you are an elf, for they go beyond just the storing of a limited number of memories and allow one to store nearly all of the memories of one's entire lifetime! Such high magic was created by the elves, and only an elf could ever wear a true kiira. The combined memories of thousands of years would overwhelm other races. The tel'kiira were passed down from generation to generation among the elves of the noble Elven Houses. They were a sign of status, but more than that, they were a means of great power, for each noble wore on his or her forehead a means of accessing the memories and knowledge of all of his or her ancestors!

   "Consider what this means," Solisar continued. "In many ways, an individual like you or I is the sum of all of his or her memories. For this reason, some claimed that kiira were indeed the stored souls of their wearers. Some said that the kiira were even partially sentient, that the dead elven nobles lived on in the tel'kiira and could sway the current wearer to their combined wills. So you see, while immensely powerful items, they were also very dangerous. Only the most powerful of mind could hope to wear such a gemstone without being driven insane or rendered mindless by the overwhelming knowledge."

   "Are you thinking that Samber was seeking a way of cheating death, by storing his mind in such a stone?" Szordrin asked.

   "Indeed, that was my thought," said Solisar. "However, Samber is not an elf; he must know that he could never wear a true kiira. More likely, he hopes to make something similar to a kiira. Other non-elves have tried such things and failed. One famous tale tells of a half-elven wizard named Vhyridaan, who tried to teach himself high elven magic and to create a kiira. He was absorbed into the stone both mind and body, the legends say. The result was a sort of intelligent ioun stone, which played into other tales about the fall of Myth Drannor.

   "I think that Samber is wise enough to know of the cost of such failures," continued Solisar. "I discovered, however, a kind of kiira more powerful than a lesser kiira but not as powerful as a greater kiira. These are the kiira N'Vaelahr. The N'Vaelahr were the Shadow Soldiers, the secret service of the army of Myth Drannor. The kiira worn by the N'Vaelahr — and there were only two dozen in number made, according to the histories — also allowed for mental communication. Moreover, it is rumored that the powerful human wizard Khelben Arunsun of Waterdeep has one of the stones or something very similar to it, yet he lives — and in his right mind. Granted, he is also said to be one of the Chosen of your goddess of magic, but it shows that it might be possible for other races to wear at least something very similar to a kiira, if not an actual kiira, after all. If Samber were to find one of these 24 lore stones, he might be able to adapt it to his purposes. Thankfully for us, few ever succeed in entering Myth Drannor and escaping with their lives — the place still swarms with fiends and undead."

   "And we know that he is imprisoned for the time being," said Leokas.

   "While this knowledge is intriguing," said Hakam, "I do not think it changes our course of action. We have no reason to visit Myth Drannor ourselves: Samber is not free, as Leokas noted, and we still have leads to follow in Teshburl, Lantan, and the Rock of Bral."

   There was a loud crash from elsewhere in the ship. "Someone better check on the lunk," said Szordrin. "We probably left him alone for too long."
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Through the Looking-Arch
My head swims with all the various events shown to us by the portal, and I take the earliest opportunity to retire to some privacy. I begin conjuring illusions from my memory, and then comparing them against my journal to see which relate to events in our past. Hopefully I've gotten my mind into some sense of order now:

* A Red Woman is sorting through gems, and handing them over to Drow
* This reminds me of Vaniffer - a half-demon dancer\concubine from Greyhawk city.
* Before the timeskip, she led the Eternal Flame cult, one of the four factions serving the Elder Elemental Eye, AKA Tharizdun. The gems had to do with a ritual to free Tharizdun.
* She led the gnolls of the Hellfurnace Mountains (banished Longtooth, whose band wiped out Ganaway), and was involved in the kidnapping of Taggus' uncle.

* A meteor hits a dome (the World Shield), and drow are picking up pieces of meteorite.
* This also happened before the timeskip - we were assisted in gathering meteorite pieces by the sage Quizlat, who used a magic telescope to put together a map of where they had fallen.
* Back then, Vaniffer's gnolls were trying to gather the meteorite pieces, as part of the cult's plans for freeing Tharizdun.

* A sinister, hunched-over figure in dark robes, leaning on staff with tentacles, leaves the ruined dwarven city (Besilmer?) from a side room.
* This was the long-forgotten kingdom of the Blusterhelm clan - known for mining mithril. Their king, Torhild Flametongue, was known for a magical axe - Orcsplitter.
* Before the timeskip, the ruined city was being used as the current site of the Temple of Elemental Evil - dedicated to Tharizdun.
* We fought the various elemental cults, and disrupted their plans to harness the power supply of a trans-dimensionally stuck device (ie: Tardis) to break through the World Shield. The dark-robed figure is presumably a high-ranking cultist or one of their allies.
* This is where Oscar got his Iron Fang (aka Sonic Screwdriver)

* A Red Woman sits in a well-decorated throne room speaking to people in red-inscribed black robes and 'black thorn' necklaces.
* These cultists are a faction of the Scarlet Brotherhood called the Black Thorns - before the timeskip, they attacked Varis in Hokar.
* Apparently, during the timeskip, the Scarlet Brotherhood took over the Sea Princes region. It's unclear what happend to the previous leader - the Plar of Hool.

* A vampire follows us out of the portal from Barovia; Later, he is in a dungeon, speaking with Black Thorns cultists.
* It's unclear if he's allied with the cult, or simply sharing information (about us?)

* In regards to the Storm Giant King Hecaton - Oscar (during his time as a fire giant) is holding a key and is locking a big portal door. He takes a jeweled cask and sneaks away. As he leaves the Hellfurnace Mountains, a Drow watches him go.
* This is presumably from the time of Oscar's engagement to a Fire Giant princess, and the chaos he caused on his way out (pissing off Snurre).

* Wierd fire giant rods/flails have inscriptions of tentacles
* We encountered a group of Fire Giants with these rods in the Barrier Peaks - they are presumably now involved with Tharizdun as well.

* King Snurre stands over a huge metal figure in pieces with indentations for gems (something about the number 333). It is apparently an Ancient Suel construct. A wizard in ornate robes floats in the distance, surrounded by demon lackies, controlling the construct as it crushes armies.
* The only ancient Suel Wizard we're familiar with is the Plar of Hool (a Suel Lich), who hired us to clear out the Temple of Elemental Evil.
* We ended up in Sigil & then Barovia before we could get paid for our efforts (10,000gp each). We still have a fingerbone he gave us - if crushed and eaten, it takes us to his teleportation circle in Hokar (again, probably under the Scarlet Brotherhood's control now).

* Tharizdun (the Chained God, Elder Elemental Eye, etc.) - shown as a cloud contained within the World Shield. Down under the world; a circular chamber with chaotic faces (happy, crying, etc.) - slumbering, but waking.
* Tharizdun is an Elder Elemental God - The current Gods locked him within the World Shield by turning his own power against him (a partial trap he weaved around himself). He can influence the world, but can't break free without aid.
* We may have stopped the plots to free him pre-timeskip, but he's constantly recruiting new followers and making new plans, and it has been a long time.
* It's unclear if the circular chamber also refers to Tharizdun, or something else related to him.

* The Snow Queen's Iceberg fortress - The Snow Queen holds a black pearl, and a giant kraken rises up and grabs the iceberg.
* Possibly she's using it to move her fortress?

* Mordenkainen - in a study somewhere, head in hands; other wizards nearby & upset. We see a wizard walking into the wastes (of Suel)
* Presumably this was someone trying to retrieve Suel artifacts (which seem to factor heavily into Thazridun's plans).

* Blackened circle of stones in Valley of the Mage - Valley Elves kneeling in front of Thing in circle.
* This may explain why they are shunned both by light and dark elves alike - the first thing that comes to mind would be that they aided Tharizdun.
* However, Tharizdun may now have Drow working for him in addition to the Valley Elves? It's not clear yet.
* Battle of Em-radin Meadows? Original Temple of Elemental Evil?
* The door containing symbols of all the gods likely has something to do with all of the gods joining together to trap Thazridun.

* Petrified Tree\Tower in Valley of the Mage - was around & alive during the age of the Dinosaurs

* A villiage surrounding a tower is wiped out by a huge landslide. Cultists enter tower and leave with Black Orb (like the one downstairs?). A Black Orb hovers in a stone circle, with black-robed cultists around it.
* The Black Orbs may be a sort of power source for various Ancient Suel Artifacts (the mephit touching the one downstairs seems to have partially-activated the Arch).

* Zepheros - in his tower drinking tea.

* Storm Giant King Hecaton - in warded room, banded up & unconscious; This may be in the Hellfurnace Mountains - specifically in the mountain keep near Kusnir and Ganaway, which we defended from an army (Fire Giants leading Gnolls, Hobgoblins, etc.). Bands of fire giants are maurading in the Sea Princes region.
* Pre-timeskip, we saved Gerd, daughter of the Fire Giant Bloodfyre. She had apparently been kidnapped by an Ogrillion wielding an arifact called the Gauntlet - with the intention of starting a war.
* Gerd was trapped in 'The Prison', a magical book with 36 compartments controlled by black and white gems (located deep within the keep) - this could be where Hecaton is now?

* Suel Empire Dragon Sword - A Knight comes from the shadows and stabs a powerful wizard (the one controlling the construct from before?)

* Ancient White Dragon from the Snow Queen's Fortress - Female, and meeting with weird dragons; A war is starting? Dragons are no longer being controlled?
* This may be retaliation agains the giants, an attack on us to recover her eggs, or both. If we have some way to return the eggs unharmed, it might be a good idea.

* Someone is trying to poke a hole in a barrier to get in. A Fire Giant cleric tries to cast a ritual to break into Barovia, while King Snurre watches impatiently.
* This was from when Snurre was trying to reach Oscar, after his flight from the engagement, and the resulting chaos.
Session: Valley of the Mage! - Tuesday, Feb 13 2018 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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