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De Exilio
Chapter 4 — Ambush Averted
~ third-day, 13th of Nightal, The Year of Wild Magic, dusk
Adbar Road

By dusk, the wind had thankfully calmed. They had left Citadel Adbar behind them and now traveled over the snow from pillar to pillar.

   Suddenly, Kytharrah stopped, sniffing the air. There was something new, but similar to a familiar scent. "Puppies?" he said.

   Belvin began a guttural chant, waving his arms wildly. The magic revealed the shapes of animal auras where his eyes could not see them. "Eight large wolves, just in front of us!" he warned, using the Elven tongue.

   Solisar reached into his component pouch, spoke some magic words, and tossed some silver dust into the air. "Goblins," he shouted, "on wolves!"

   "Yes!" said Leokas. Remembering the animosity his friend had towards goblins, Kytharrah growled.

   "Fight well, my friends!" said Tavis, who then turned and ran to put distance between Kaedlaw and the danger.

   With an elven grace, Galadrel dismounted from behind her son. "Ilthian, to me!" she called.

   Ilthian tumbled off the back of the camel and landed in the snow. She drew her carving knife before standing to her feet.

   Mythlos drew his sword and waited.

   Kytharrah was confused. He could smell the puppies, but he could not see them. Maybe they were still far away and only the elves could see them. He knew that elves could see far. He grabbed the javelin he had acquired from one of the dead ogres in Tosvin's fortress and readied to throw it. "I do not see the puppies!" he complained.

   "You will in a moment, Kytharrah," said Solisar, who was fumbling for a tiny vial of mica, which he snapped open between his fingers. He tossed the powder in the direction of the opponents that only he could see.

   There was a burst of sparkling dust, which outlined the form of two wolf-riding goblins. "I cannot see! I cannot...." shouted one of the goblins in its own language, which only Leokas could understand. He was silenced by the javelin from Kytharrah, which sailed perfectly through the air and took its target in the chest. The glittering goblin outline fell from its mount, impaled by the shaft. An instant later, the second goblin dropped from its mount, pummeled by blasts from Cassiera's fingertips as she sat atop her camel.

   Leokas, no longer with a goblin target, sent an arrow deep into the hide of one of the outlined wolves. "Leave some for me!" he called from his mount.

   Szordrin had cast a spell and held his hand as if ready to throw something. "Where do I aim my magic?" he called out.

   "Ten yards to the west of the others!" shouted back Solisar.

   A moment later, a flash of fire and heat erupted near where Solisar had indicated, accompanied by high pitched screams of pain. The snow below the blast was now slushy and splashes were kicked up as the invisible foes moved about.

   Belvin still saw the auras of the eight wolves and with a tribal yell caused the snow around their feet to turn as red as blood. Two of the wolves, also blinded by the glittering dust from Solisar, collapsed to the snow, as the magic sucked their strength away. Only two wolves were not now standing in the U-shaped stain. One of them was off to the side, standing back; the other, quicker than the others, had avoided the blood snow and bolted toward Mythlos. Its rider became visible to everyone as he broke the spell by swinging his morningstar at the moon elf, striking at the thick leather on his shoulders. Mythlos swung at the goblin's mount but it leapt away. It gave him an evil look with its red, glowing eyes.

   "Not wolves," shouted Mythlos. "Worgs!"

   Leokas dispatched the goblin with a single arrow in the back of the head and then sent two more into the worg.

   Solisar spoke more words in High Elven, and two more warg-riding goblins appeared, their magics dispelled, south of where Szordrin had unleashed the fireball. They were moving slowly from the effects of the red snow. Kytharrah bounded over and was upon the nearest in mere moments, slamming the rider from his seat and then swinging at the worg. The beast growled and avoided the blow, but its growl turned into a yelp as its side was pierced by one of the minotaur's horns. The second now-visible goblin rode up to defend his fallen companion and strike at Kytharrah's back, but he was blasted off his saddle by a burst of magic from Cassiera. Barely ten seconds had passed, and six of the eight goblins were already dead.

   The worgs, however, were much more of a threat. The one near Mythlos, with two of Leokas' arrows in its side, caught the elf's leg in its jaw, yanking him off his camel. The camel nuzzed and bolted, and Mythlos hit the snow hard. Belvin charged over on Kamil and then leapt from his camel's back to defend his friend, but Mythlos was already back to his feet with a kip-up and swung a blow with enough force to nearly severe the head of the worg that had attacked him.

   The other riderless worgs now had them partly surrounded. Kytharrah struck one as it darted past, and it tumbled onto its chest. Leokas shot at it twice while it was down, before it could get up on its feet again.

   Another faced down Hakam, who had dismounted and stood with his sword drawn. It growled at him, and then it spoke. "Smell tasty!"

   Hakam swung, striking it on the snout but barely drawing blood. "Stay back, fiend!" he shouted.

   "Bite your head...!" began the wolf, but then magic from Cassiera and an arrow from Leokas between its eyes finished it.

   One of the two remaining goblins, the one who was standing back off to the side, suddenly became visible, floating oddly in the sky. This one was clearly a shaman or adept of some sort. Pointing his dark dagger at Hakam, he shouted a command. (Leokas understood him to shout, "Fall down!") Hakam felt a strange sensation, but he fought against the urge to lie down with his mind and resisted the spell. Magic bursts from Szordrin's fingertips assured that "fall down" would be the last words the goblin would ever speak.

   Solisar was more concerned about the remaining goblin that only he could see. This one was wearing a full suit of goblin-sized armor, and he was holding his worg back just at the edge of the blood snow, waiting for an opening and watching how the other worgs fared. Solisar tossed more powdered mica at him.

   So the goblin leader, now effectively visible and sparkling, entered the fray. He charged at Mythlos, and swung his morningstar down at the elf, who interrupted the swing with his sword. At the same time, the goblin leader's worg lunged low and took Kytharrah's hairy leg in its mouth. It could not trip the heavy minotaur, however. Kytharrah lowered his head and charged the armored goblin, but the little creature deflected the attack with his shield, giving a deafening clang. Kytharrah was shocked that the little creature was still on his mount. The leader turned his attention from Mythlos to his attacker and struck the minotaur on the head with the armor-breaking weapon. Kytharrah's thick skull withstood the blow, and he cared little about the bump it would leave. He snorted a challenge back at the goblin.

   Most of the party now ganged up on the leader. Belvin and Leokas loosed arrows, Solisar and Cassiera sent bursts of magic force, Belvin sent a ball of fire, and Mythlos and Kytharrah swung their blades. The goblin could not avoid either the magical or mundane arrows, but his thick armor spared him severe harm. The worg dodged the flaming sphere, while the rider was surprising well-trained at defending the melee attacks with his morningstar and shield. At last, the minotaur, in frustration or perhaps an act of cunning, hooked his enemy's shield with his horns and, bellowing, ripped it off the goblin's arm with a toss of his head. It flew through the air and landed on the snow near Galadrel and Ilthian. "Stupid shield!" said Kytharrah.

   Meanwhile, Hakam found himself facing two of the remaining worgs. "Eat you together from both ends," said one worg, licking its jaws. They each kept snapping, but the cleric defended himself with his longsword.

   "Hakam!" shouted Ilthian, but Galadrel held her back.

   Szordrin heard her call, however, and galloped over. A burst of fire spread from his open palms and engulfed one of the wolves. It yelped and ran off, fur burning, before it collapsed and was still.

   The other worg, though, landed a bite on Hakam's shield arm. Hakam yelled in pain, and Solisar sent bursts of force into the worg until it released the cleric from its grip. Hakam then stabbed the beast.

   It growled and snapped again but missed. Szordrin opened his palms again, but no fire came out this time. "Curses!" he shouted.

   A short distance away, the battle continued against the armored goblin. His worg bit at Mythlos' legs and yanked its head to the side. Mythlos was thrown down onto the snow again, and his sword slipped from his fingertips.

   At the same time, the worg's violent thrashing caused the goblin leader to fall from the saddle. Kytharrah stood over the goblin in an instant and brought his axe down, cleaving breastplate and chest in two and driving the creature deep into the snow.

   Leokas loosed an arrow. "But his worg...." He loosed another arrow. "...will not...." A third arrow. "...fall!" Cassiera shot at the beast with her magic as well and Belvin directed the sphere of flame to strike the worg on its hindquarters. Singed and with several arrows stuck in its side, the worg would not give up. It stepped forward and mauled Mythlos, who had just reached his sword but was still prone. He called out in pain, as the worg chewed into his leg, and touched himself with the side of the blade to ease some of the pain with the sword's positive energy. Kytharrah rushed over and rescued his friend, striking down the leader's worg at last.

   One worg remained.

   "Curses again!" shouted Szordrin, who failed a spell a second time. Hakam was managing to hold his ground against the final red-eyed wolf. Each continued to inflict minor wounds to the other by tooth or sword. Cassiera galloped over and tossed a vial over Hakam's head that splashed acid unto the wolf's dirty fur. Belvin commanded the snow, and some of it rose up from the ground and shaped itself into a long lance of ice. Then it shot forward like a ballista bolt... and struck Hakam in the lower back, piercing into him and then bursting into shards of ice. The cleric fell forward to his knees.

   "Belvin!" screamed Ilthian. "What did you do?"

   "I missed!" shouted Belvin, and his voice showed genuine concern. He rushed over, hands glowing with positive energy, to try to repair his mistake.

   The worg took the opportunity to attack, clamping down on Hakam's right shoulder, but magic projectiles from Mythlos and Solisar killed it, releasing Hakam from its grip. Hakam fell back unto the snow, covered in blood, and Belvin touched the spot where the icelance had struck him. The magic sealed the wound, and Hakam stopped grimacing in pain.

   "I apologize," said Belvin. "Had I intended to kill you off, I would have done so back in Calimshan."

   "I am sure of it," said Hakam.

   Kytharrah ran up to Leokas, and said proudly, "I killed a goblin!" Then he paused for a moment, frowning. "I like playing better than killing."
Session: 86th Game Session - Wednesday, Mar 08 2017 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tyranny of Dragons
Session 44 (6 April 2017) Xonthal's Tower
Using the hourglass key, they are transported to a room that is clearly not in the tower, however, if it is below the tower or on another plane entirely is unclear.

In this room are three dead cultists and a blood trail leading to a room that contains a fire and two earth elementals. Speaking with these Magnus learns that they are here to destroy intruders and that Magnus & Co are intruders. The party then decides to get their retaliation in first.

The fire elemental is dispatched speedily by Krega but the earth elementals are more problematic as they use their Earth Glide ability to conceal themselves in the walls, floors and ceilings and strike from unexpected directions. Eventually, Ella banishes one of them and Rider holds the other and the fight comes to an end.

They then pass through a series of rooms that are clearly the laboratory, study and library of a wizard including a room with a portal to the City of Brass. Crossing a passageway hanging unsupported in a starry void, they narrowly avoid being struck by shooting stars.

In a hourglass shaped chamber containing two huge hourglasses the come upon the dead body the cultist Iskander and the Blue Dragon mask. They secure the mask and Ella raises Iskander, who is suitably grateful while still remaining an evil, despicable but disillusioned dragon cultist. He explains that Severns plan to bring Tiamat to the world would be a disaster for everyone and while he is a selfish, greedy pig with no concern for anyone but himself, Iskander knows that he falls within the group "everyone" and what is bad for "everyone" is bad for him.

The party takes a well needed short rest and bonds with the magic items they have found, Rider claiming the blue dragon mask. It's a fake! Rider is particularly peeved and wants to do something drastic and possibly terminal to Iskander. However, close questioning under magical interrogation confirms that the mask being a fake is just as much a surprise to Iskander as it is to the party. Rider sheathes his rapier mumbling under his breath about how he never gets andy magic items, consarn it!

They finish exploring this area by interacting with an imprisoned efreet named Tariz the Fair. In return for a promise that he will never harm them they Banish him back to his home plane Tariz cannot believe the bargain he got as he was willing to do anything to escape.
Session: Session 44 - Thursday, Apr 06 2017 from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
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Tags: Battle , Journal , Recap , Summary
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Tyranny of Dragons
Session 40 (9 March 2017) Waterdeep
The Cult lanches an all out assault on the party while they are relaxing between council sessions in Waterdeep. A group of cultists supported by a summoned demon and an adult black dragon that was either smuggled into Waterdeep polymorphed or teleported in charges into the tavern where the party is discussing their options.

Rider polymorphs into a T. Rex which lasts until damage from the dragon's breath weapon causes him to lose concentration, after which he uses the same spell on Krega. Magnus falls back on the old staples of Hasting Ella and Krega and dropping Fireballs once the civilians have run away. Krega rages - whether as a T. Rex or himself this is pretty scary. Ella tries unsuccessfully to banish the demon, who has a good run of saving throws, but who is ultimately banished by a heightened spell from Magnus. Krega takes down the dragon but not before it renders Ella unconscious. With the dragon and the cultists dead the party heals their wounds and monster the demon to death when it returns from its sojourn.

In the wreckage of the tavern they are met by Lady Laeral Silverhand who is very complementary that the party is obviously seen as a big threat by the Cult. She warns them that after this defeat they will probably try again - with greater force.

She and Leosin urge them to take the embassy to Thay. Even though it will be hazardous and Thay would prove to be a problematic ally: the Red Wizards are powerful and would be very useful in thwarting the Thayan exiles who are needed by the cult to perform the ritual for Tiamat's return.

Leosin describes Thay as a rigid hierarchical magocracy led by the lich Szass Tam and with everyone in the hierarchy being a mage, undead or both. The only point of common ground between Thay and the Council is they would both like to see an end to the rebel Red Wizards who are helping the cult, the so called "Thayan Resurrection".

The embassy is to a Tharchion named Eseldra Yeth who has ruled Lapendrar for nearly a century. The Thayan emissary, an Tharon named Nyh Ilmichh, will teleport them in and out. The Council will provide diplomatic warrants stating that they are representatives of the Lord's Alliance, The Order of the Gauntlet, the EMerald Enclave, the Harpers and the Zhentarim, however, in Thay these may only be worth the paper they are written on.

As always the party considers their options and opines: "Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?"
Session: Session 40 - Thursday, Mar 09 2017 from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM
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Tyranny of Dragons
Session 39 (2 March 2017) The Misty Forest & 3rd Council of Waterdeep
Exploring the green dragon's lair, Rider gets into some potent elvan wine and with a lowered sense of danger, sets off a Glyph of Warding. They discover that the wyrmspeaker they have captured is actually Neronvain, the missing second son of King Melandrach who represents the elves at the Council of Waterdeep. How will this play out? Having a son who is high up in your enemy's heirachichy could be considered a political embarrassment.

As they get ready to leave, they find that they have been tracked down by a hunting party from the cult led by an old friend, Langdedrosa Cyanwrath who is accompanied by a young blue dragon. Long time readers may recall that the last time Krega, Ella and Rider had parted company with Cyanwrath they had ensured that his head was disjoint from his body. Cyanwrath boasts that he has been looking forward to settling scores, however, things don't quite pan out as he expects as Rider Dominates him and then puts the dragon into an Irresistible Dance where missile attacks make short work of it.

Through interrogation, they learn that Cyranwrath was raised with the specific purpose of hunting them down and he has already disposed of Illusar. Although he cannot confirm it, he may not be the only deceased "old friend" that this has happened to. Given the capabilities of the Cult this reveals, the party determines that they will be taking live prisoners where they can and thoroughly destroying the bodies of those powerful Cultists they unavoidably kill to prevent more revenant lead hunting parties.

Making their way back to Waterdeep with their prisoners they lay out the results of their activities. In general, the council is well pleased even if King Melandrach is mortified by his son's treachery and Brawnanvil is mortified at being required to apologize for the historical dragonmoots; in his view, a fully justified mechanism for dealing with "misbehaving" dragons no mater their colour. The overall vibe is that most if not all of the factions are fully behind the party.

Two new missions beckon:

  1. An embassy to the Red Wizards of Thay, or
  2. An expedition to Xonthal's Tower to extract a Dragon Cult defector.

Session: Session 39 - Thursday, Mar 02 2017 from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM
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Tags: Battle , Journal , Recap , Summary
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Tyranny of Dragons
Session 38 (23 February 2017) The Misty Forest
Penetrating behind the waterfall they find a large cave complex. At the edge of an underground pool they are challenged by a group of elves. Their attempts at passing themselves off as members of the cult fail dismally when they are unable to name any of the cultist ranking structure (although a creditable effort was made at the ranks of Catholic Church).

Combat is initiated and while they dispatch the elves quickly, the entire complex is alerted to their presence. This leads to a rolling melee between the party, a group of ettins, more elves, some cultists and an annoying invisible magic user: several times Rider would say "Counterspell", only to follow up with "Damn, I can't see him!".

Magnus takes out most of the cultists with Fireballs, Ella takes out most of the elves with Spirit Guardians, Rider is Blinding ettins and Inspiring like crazy and Krega is wailing with Hazarim. The opposition is reduced to the invisible wizard and an elven knight, and then the dragon and the wyrmspeaker come ...

Rider Polymorphs Krega into a T. Rex and he immediately grapples the dragon and throws it to the ground. Magnus judiciously places a Wall of Fire on the now immobilised dragon and leaves the raging T. Rex Krega to hold the dragon in it and pound on it to boot.

The dragon manages to get off one poison breath which knocks Ella and Rider unconscious, severely damages Magnus but barely hurts a T. Rex. It is then reduced to mundane attacks and while dragons do a lot of damage, raging T. Rex's are resistant and have a lot of hit points. The dragon has a brief moment of hope when it successfully suggests to T.Rex Krega that if he lets go he could get at the dragon's more vulnerable neck. However, even when this happens, rising from prone leaves the dragon within reach of Krega who promptly reinitiates the grapple, and the prone and drags the dragon back to be roasted. (D&D aficionados will note that Rider falling unconscious should have ended the Polymorph, however, in the heat of the moment everyone overlooked this - ultimately it would not have mattered as Rider was up before Krega's next turn and could have cast another Polymorph)

Meanwhile, Magnus gives Rider a healing potion, Rider cures Ella and Ella then proceeds to cure everyone. All the while, Rider and Magnus and giving the wyrmspeaker hell with long range magic. The wyrmspeaker decides to bolt but Magnus cuts him off with a Dimension Door and renders him hors de combat with a Hold Person.

Session: Session 38 - Wednesday, Feb 22 2017 from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM
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