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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Interlude: The Regent of Jhothûn
~ fifth-day, 25th of Nightal, The Year of Wild Magic, evening
miles above Toril


"He will allow us to use the portals as we will, and we may request our wishes through magical sendings."

   Hakam was filling in the details of their visit to Jhothûn to the others. Tavis and Kaedlaw had remained behind and the genie and Tavis were to discuss what the throne's revelation meant for the boy, for Hartsvale, for Jhothûn, and for all of giantkind.

   "My geas has been fulfilled, and our exile is over," said Leokas.

   "We await word from Tavis, as we may need to fly him home, but after that, we can go anywhere we would like," said Hakam. "The question is, where next?"

   "With this vessel," said Szordrin, "nothing prevents us from flying to the Rock of Bral and tracking down the Interlink Consortium. All our destinies are intertwined with that one rock. Only if we know where Samber has been in the past will we be able to know what he is truly up to. And where better to inquire than Bral?"

   "I agree that we should visit Bral eventually," said Leokas, "but I think that we need more information first."

   "I am inclined to agree with Leokas on this," said Solisar. "I admit that I know very little of the place."

   "Teshburl, then?" said Szordrin. "We can follow leads on Walker, who we know had dealings with Samber."

   "Or we could rendezvous with Jayce at Lantan," said Hakam, "since he seems to be making progress with his investigation into Samber's background. Plus, Ombert, The Daisy's captain may be able to use the stars to guide us all back to Samber's island so that we can return Ilthian to her family."

   "We also told Mythlos, Cassiera, and my mother that we would meet them again at Mythlos' keep in Tethyr," said Leokas.

   "This is perhaps lower priority," said Solisar, "but a visit to Evermeet would permit me speak with my grandmother about what I learned about Iyraclea while on the Great Glacier."

   "You intend to stay with us, then," asked Leokas, "now that you have the option of leaving?"

   "I am greatly intrigued by the matter of Samber," said Solisar, "perhaps more now than ever...."

   "And you, Belvin?" asked Hakam, "Has your jungle god given you more visions?"

   Belvin shrugged. "I shall decide where Kamil and I are to travel when I need to."

   "One thing that I have wanted to do since Thultanthar," said Hakam, "is return to Sseth and retrieve Allu's genie bottle. I warrant that we are prepared to speak with the efreeti now and question him about how he obtained Samber's omlar gem. I think that I shall send Sseth a message in the morning."

   "I am against the idea of going to Allu's palace," said Szordrin. "Both Allu and the blue dragon could potentially be there."

   "Fair enough. I agree that Walker is probably as good a source about Samber right now as is Allu," said Hakam.

   "I also wish to return to Silverymoon, before heading to Teshburl," said Szordrin. "We have many things to sell, and from your descriptions, it sounds like there is much we could purchase."

   "I agree," said Leokas. "We are out of provisions. We can probably ask the genie here for a day's food, but genie-created food lasts no longer than that. Our new vessel could also use some ballista bolts."

   "Some furnishings would also be appreciated," said Hakam.

   "...And some sailing implements," added Solisar.

   "Well, then there is the matter of what to wish for...," Hakam began.

   This second discussion took them nearly an hour, and they arrived at no full consensus, though they were leaning toward some way of protecting the spelljammer. Ultimately, they decided to sleep on the decision.

~~~~

Just after dawn of the next day, Hakam woke the others. "I sent a message to our brass dragon friend about meeting up with him sometime in the future to retrieve Allu's bottle. I had to waste two sending spells to get a response, but he rambled something off about 'skeletons swarming toward Allu's palace from... the Altar...' of the Air. At least I assume that he meant the Altar of the Air; he did not get all the words out."

   "That may change my vote," said Leokas. "We should visit with Sseth in person and learn more."

   "I agree," said Szordrin, "but we should still stop at Silverymoon and Teshburl on the way."

~~~~

Several hours later, each of them were scattered about the spelljammer, resting and waiting. Ilthian and Solisar were in Ilthian's room, writing out math problems to solve how long the spelljammer's magical bubble of air would last before they would need to return to the surface to replenish it.

   Suddenly, Belvin leapt to his feet from beside Kamil. He had spotted a cloud of vapor coming over the railing. "The Ice Queen!" he shouted to the others, and then he began chanting. An instant later, a column of fire appeared, striking the growing cloud at its center.

   The cloud took shape, as the others rushed over. No sooner had a thick hand formed from the gases then a ray of frost and ice shot forth from the fingers, covering Belvin's skin with white.

   Calm yourselves, they all heard in their heads. It was the qorrashi's voice. I have been sent by the Regent of Emperor Kaedlaw to summon you.

   Belvin wiped the frost from his face and shivered. He was very cold but otherwise not harmed. If the ice genie was injured, he did not show any sign of it.

   "How did you find us?" asked Leokas as Solisar arrived onto the deck to see what the commotion was about.

   I am no longer bound by oath not to leave the palace, said the Prince of Jhothûn. As a genie, I need not air for flight. I suspected that you would be somewhere up, and it is not difficult to spot a sailing craft in the heavens if you rise high enough.

   "I assume that by 'Regent' you mean Tavis?" asked Hakam.

   No, said the genie, I did not. Though the emperor's father may wish to speak with you as well. Do not keep the Regent waiting. If you join hands with mine, I can take you there immediately through the Astral Plane. However, I warn you that the touch of my skin is painful to most mere mortals such as yourselves.

   "Anachtyr, protect me from the elements," Hakam prayed. Then he said to the qorrashi, "I shall take your hand."

   Kytharrah rushed up excitedly and grabbed the genie's left hand. "Very cold!" he said, as the frost nipped his fingers, but he wore a toothy grin on his face. Hakam took the genie's right hand and grimaced at the cold, which was painful despite his prayer.

   I can carry several others through as well, if more of you wish to come. Simply join hands with your companions. Solisar joined with Hakam and Kytharrah, since he hoped to see more of such a historical site as Jhothûn, and Szordrin did as well.

   They all felt a strange and momentary sensation, then found themselves standing in the throne room of Jhothûn. There, leaning against one of the pillars, was Tavis, who was restringing his massive bow. Nearby, the throne of ice and stone was empty, but beside it was a larger obsidian throne of simpler design. Sitting upon it, was the misshapen form of Basil of Lyndusfarne.

   "Am du paart, Solisar of Evermeet!" said the old verbeeg.

   "Am du paart, Regent of Jhothûn!" the sun elf replied.

   "I trust that you have been well this last month or so?"

   "Ignoring the fact that I was stabbed to death by a lamia noble, yes."

   "Annam's juveler!" said Basil.

   "My god returned my powers, and I called him back to the living," said Hakam.

   "Clearly, we have much to talk about, friends," said Basil, as if he knew all of them, though in reality he had only ever talked to Solisar before.

   They learned that Kaedlaw had already returned home to his mother, by the power of the wish. Tavis would be returning home soon in the same manner, but he had wanted to thank the members of the party and say goodbye before departing.

   Brianna and Tavis had spoken with the Prince of Jhothûn at great length, and it had been decided that Basil would reign as regent until Kaedlaw came of age. This would require a long time spent in near solitude for the verbeeg, but at the moment, the idea of exploring the four floors of the citadel excited him more than any concerns of loneliness. Besides, the powers of the genie could wish friends back and forth from Hartsvale three times a day if needed.

   As for Queen Brianna and Tavis, they had much to consider in regards to what to do with the fact that their son was the future ruler of not only the tiny kingdom of Hartsvale but perhaps of all the giant tribes of Faerûn! For now, they intended to wait and seek out advice from what giant and giant-kin allies they had. They suspected that most giants would not accept the news readily. At least they had many years for Kaedlaw to grow up.

   In regards to the portal, they had decided to leave the delusional orc druid on the Sea of Moving Ice and the ice devil Tosvin as portal guardians of Karffbadh and Gharreil, respectively. They would serve as first line of defense for the hidden citadel. Now that the qorrashi was no longer bound by oath to the palace, he could pass through the portals, or indeed go anywhere he needed, to also defend the secret. For the portal at Choshein, Brianna had sent Hrodmar, the frost giant guard of Earls Bridge, to serve as guardian. (Hrodmar was happy to give Kytharrah one last wrestling match.)

   The genie provided them with another luscious meal and also with temporary provisions that would last them on the journey to Silverymoon, where they planned to first stop to resupply.

   Solisar sat next to Basil while they ate and told him some of the details of his brief visit to the Fugue Plane. Then the conversation turned to what Basil had learned so far of Jhothûn.

   "Iseheim, I mean Jhothûn, contains no books that have survived the ages," said Basil, "but the genie here revealed to me that there are ancient crypts below. I expect to spend a good deal of my time there examining what friezes I may find. I believe that the base of little Kaedlaw's throne shows the handiwork of stone giants, and I would not be surprised to find more gifts of theirs from the earliest days of Ostoria in those crypts. The steinjotunen were the only true record-keepers of the Jotunbrud. Surely, you will want to stay and explore them with me?"

   "Believe me when I tell you that I would like nothing more," said Solisar. "What scholar of the Jotunbrud would not? However, I seem tied into something greater — or at the least, more urgent — taking place perhaps among the human gods. My companions have been exiled now many months, which has kept them from their true quest, and I am now a part of it. As they are at last free from exile, they are anxious to set out again. May I kindly request a postponement?"

   "Of course!" said Basil. "Remember, I am a verbeeg; what is mine is yours."

   "He means to say, 'What is yours is his,'" said Tavis.

   "Basil, I must warn you of something," said Solisar. "The guardian of the portal at Gharreil is an evil entity who serves a powerful priestess of the human goddess of winter. She is perhaps immortal, so great is her magic. I know not yet the full extent of her plans, but she lusts after the treasures hidden in this city. I do not know how her magics compare to those of the genie who now serves you, but be aware of the matter, and use caution."

   "I thank you for this," said Basil.

   After the dinner, they said goodbye to their friends. "Tell Leokas that I enjoyed the challenge of shooting archery with him and learning of the beasts of the High Forest," said Tavis to Hakam. "I shall remember him if ever I nock an arrow against a goblin."

   Tavis then gave Kytharrah a large bear hug, and lifted the minotaur off his feet. This surprised Kytharrah, but he snorted happily.

   "Keep following the guiding light," said the firbolg.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Thursday, Jul 20 2017 from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM
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Pointer-left Investigator__male_2_thumb
Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 2 — Pajabbar Play
~ third-day, 3rd of Marpenoth, The Year of Wild Magic, dusk
the Plain of Standing Stones


"Allen, do you want to hold my guiding light?" asked the minotaur, holding up his everburning torch to one of the Shadovar soldiers.

   The monotony of the rocky desert through which they now traveled was getting to the young minotaur, and he was thoroughly bored as he stood outside the tent, surrounded by a handful of guards. Leokas had "played" archery with the adolescent monster several times already, but now the elf wanted to conserve his remaining arrows for an actual fight. Leokas had also at last finished the large, composite bow he was crafting for the minotaur, its draw weight being so heavy that even the minotaur struggled to pull it back. Unfortunately, it also required longer arrows, and there was no wood available in the middle of the dry wasteland.

   Allen was the soldier who had let the minotaur watch him saddle the bats. The man laughed. "We, too, have many such torches. There are several in our — what is the word? 'barrage'? — in our group tent."

   "Why do you like so much dark?" asked the minotaur.

   "Only the shades like the darkness," said Allen.

   "But the big guiding light lets you see colors!"

   "I know!" said Allen. "Neither had we color in the land whence we came."

   Setting the magic torch down, the minotaur lowered his horns slowly toward Allen and waited for something. "What art thou...?" Allen began, but he instinctively moved his ranseur into a defensive position, which the minotaur took as engagement in a play scuffle. The minotaur swung his head with his horns, catching the ranseur in one of the curves. He shoved back, sending Allen nearly off his feet and back a yard.

   One of the other guards immediately stabbed the minotaur in the side, which drew blood, but not a considerable amount, because of the minotaur's thick hide. The beast spun around to face the new "playmate" and attempted to lock horns with his ranseur, while a few other guards tried to stab him and missed, as he jumped about, snorting happily.

   Allen shouted out something in his own language to the others, but then he heard a couple of the soldiers call out a foreign word forcefully. The minotaur felt a strange wobbly sensation for several seconds, and his thoughts grew cloudier than usual, which made him pause.

   From the corner of his eye, the minotaur saw several of the guards fumbling for various items from pouches at their belts and speaking strange words. One of the guards tried to touch him with a hand glowing with sparkly red light, and a crackling beam of energy shot at him from one of the soldiers' hands, also missing. The guards pulled back. Then he heard the sound of a cricket. "Gulêt!" Allen commanded, and the minotaur lost consciousness.

~~~~

The minotaur awoke to find himself lying on the ground with Hakam over him. "You were just asleep," said Hakam.

   He heard Cassiera speaking to the guards. "He just wanted to play; the poor thing is bored. You didn't need to stab him."

   "Anything you say, beautiful," said one of the soldiers.

   "This I understood," said Allen. "That is the reason for which I caused him to slumber."

   Cassiera tried to explain this to the minotaur. "You cannot play with the guards," she said. "We have to wait to play later. Why don't you play fetch with Leokas' wolf?"

   The minotaur approached the soldier who had stabbed him — there was still blood drying on the point of his polearm — and patted him on the shoulder. "You play good!" said the minotaur.


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Interlude: Two Princes in Deadwater
From the journal of then-Prince Darren of Shushan

Whitescale, Day Eighteen, Twenty-first hour

Truth be told, I wished it could have been anyone else. But in my dream, the Fates had made it clear. The odd Drow and I were to travel into Deadwater, as the rest scaled Howlmount.

More truth told, I didn't envy them. Even before I heard them recount their trek, I knew it was a deadly place. Few adventurers ever make it back down from its gnarled peak.

I had only told Malthar we were looking for an antique, of sorts, and that we'd need a thief's touch to get it. As we hiked into town, I was beginning to think twice on the secrecy.

"So, what kind of antique is this? Is it the kind that helps you steal more things? I like those kinds of antiques. I also like the kind of antiques that help you acquire a large empire in a short amount of time."

The scarred 'Prince' was carrying a large sheaf of paper and a writing quill in one arm. His smile made me nervous.

"Shorter the better."

I could just make out that the top sheet read "Contract" before he tucked the sheaf into his haversack.

"So the steal-y kind - or the empire-recruitment kind?"

I relented.

"It's an ancient device -a mechanism - for your metal friend. In a dream, The Fates told me The Raven Queen can control minds, but this will allow at least Moi to protect himself."

"Strictly curiosity - but how much do you think it's worth?"

"Please, just wait until after we save the world."

By then, we had reached town. If you've never been to Deadwater, don't feel like you're missing out on anything. It's nothing compared to even the quaintest village in the Communes. Magic is forbidden in Janrenia, and it shows.

Stone buildings jut out from Howlmount itself. Narrow passageways wind between "plazas" with nothing more than a guide rope and a three hundred foot fall to comfort you. A slow trickle of melting snow ends in a stagnant pond at the center of town. Hence the name, Deadwater.

The Fates had told me to make contact with a village elder. Here at least was one blessing, an ancient crone was hobbling toward us. She was blind, carrying a walking stick. A large purse jangled at her side.

In hindsight, I should have guessed Malthar wouldn't have been able to resist.

What happened next - is still a blur. He moved in. I tried to stop him. Then two figures leaped out from behind a house.

The next thing I knew was darkness.

I was gagged, tied up, in a cold stone room.

The door creaked open.

"So, this is how the Seven Swords act? Common thieves? Scoundrels!?" the old woman's voice shook with rage.

"For 1,200 years my family has been on this gods-forsaken rock, watching, waiting, to deliver the Blackrose Mechanism, and this is how we are rewarded?"

I tried to answer - but you know- the gag.

She left, slamming the door behind her.

Several hours passed - no food, but the guards did try to pour some water through the cloth of my gag. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

Through my tired eyes, I saw something the guards didn't - a shadow in the corner of the room that didn't quite fit right.

Malthar's blade slit their throats in seconds. Without cleaning it, he moved on to the ropes binding my legs and arms.

"I hope you're ready to pay up. I had to trade a fairly expensive-looking timepiece to find where you were. Granted, I had stolen that from someone else- but Taker's Keeper's, right?"

After he pulled the gag, I told him he'd have his pick of a new one from the treasury.

That's when a prison of light gleamed around us.

"I thought you said magic was forbidden here!"

"It is!"

Of course. The crone stepped slowly into the room, one hand tracing invisible runes across the sky, maintaining the force cage.

"What King Korrent doesn't know can't hurt him. Now, you've tried to pickpocket me, broken into my home, and killed two of my sons, tell me why I should let you live."

I tried to reason with her, but Malthar ruined my chances in an instant.

"Yeah, uh, correction. I didn't try to pickpocket you. I did."

From his pocket he pulled out a strange metal plug-- with thin lined patterns running along it, and a black rose stamped at the front.

Her rage gave me the chance to act. I hadn't accessed the aether in ages. I'm not very good. But this time it came to me hungrily. (A side effect of a land that has banned magic? More research needed.)

The bars fell. I ran. And Malthar swung into motion. Seconds later, the crone lay dead.

But the true shock came next. We watched from the window as a blinding white light enveloped Howlmount's peak.

"I'd say our friends were successful. Now let's leave and never come back."

I tossed 500 gold on the table. At least the family's job was done.
Session: Chapter Eleven: Finding Folly - Sunday, Apr 26 2015 from 2:30 AM to 5:30 AM
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Sam
Posted by the GM
Kiera's Blades
Interlude: Jerald's Escape
"Hurry up Jerald!"

With bloody palms, two children scrambled up the sheer walls of the Baron's castle.

"For Kord's sake Kaelant," hissed the younger, "shut it. Anyone hears us and we're dead."

"Better dead than back in his bedroom." Kaelant was no more than 11. His long, blond hair was tangled, matted with cold sweat.

"The quarry ain't no picnic either," Jerald whispered.

Jerald had turned eight two weeks ago without knowing it. His small, wiry frame moved gracefully over the rough stones.

He paused for a moment, waiting for Kaelant to catch up.

"Where do we go when we clear the barony?"

"North along the sea. Maybe to Noven."

"The Quarryman says Liturgists are proof religion can make good people do bad things"

"Can't be worse than The Baron."

The two crested the wall, Jerald first. Kaleant second.

"See that?," Kaelant whispered, pointing at a low-hanging, violet star. "That's the one we follow. It will take us to the sea, and we just turn left when we hit the port."

Jerald's eyes squeezed tight, as he bit at a fingernail.

"Okay. Let's go."

Getting down was easier than going up. The boys scuttled silently from window to stony outcropping.

Jerald jumped off the wall like a cat, the grass only rustling in protest as he touched down.

"Come on," he motioned to Kaelant, still about fifteen feet up. "It's easy."

The world seemed to freeze for Jerald as the older boy jumped. Kaelant was coming down the wrong way, legs tense, one awkwardly forward.

The leafhoppers' chirps were interrupted by a sick crack.

Kaelant's scream cut through the quiet of the night like shears.

Jerald looked in horror at the bone jutting out of his friend's leg. They heard distant murmurs, then both their hearts dropped as the alarm bell began ringing tinnily.

Tears welled up in Kaelant's eyes.

"I can't walk. You have to go. They'll be here any second."

"I'll come back."

"No you won't. Go. North to Noven. It can't be as bad as here. Anywhere can't be as bad as here."

Jerald sprinted across the fields, praying to any god that could get him safely out of there.

In the distance he heard The Baron's displacer beast bark wildly, and Kaelant screamed again.

And just for a second, the low-hanging star seemed to pulse in the distance.

Jerald ran for hours- until his feet began to bleed.

He kept his gaze locked on that star, like a drowning man hanging on to driftwood.
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Sam
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Kiera's Blades
Interlude: 1,213 Years Ago
An excerpt from "Forged: Untold Tales of Kiera's Peace Watch," Marcandros Tyr (p. 49):

Very few scholars are familiar with the happenings around modern-day Frain six hundred years ago, but through a careful analysis of ancient bard's songs, art and pottery, any well-read historian could stumble upon the same discovery that I have.

Kiera's Claw did not have power until a good time after it had reached the Marshes.

Consider: How could Kiera safely transport it through the country without catching the attention of the Druids? We have certainly heard the rather comical tale of Kiera delivering Curse to the mariners of the north. We can assume most - if not all- her blades were forged for someone else.

Contrary to the popular, but abysmal "Berrogian Timeline"(pg. 93), I believe Kiera delivered the blade roughly six scales after her husband's death.

A tapestry still hanging within the Arnel museum depicts five figures marching amidst a terrible storm. Though snow covers the ground and the wind is howling, the trees remain full of green leaves. This was not the weaver's mistake. I believe the art matches with current climate studies, suggesting a rare summer Howlstorm swept through the area while Kiera was in it.

The figures in the tapestry undoubtedly depict Kiera, her guard Baelinn, and an unknown dwarf, elf and a human.

I suggest Baelinn's Betrayal happened within the Marshes, directly after Kiera woke her Claw.

Consider: Legend has it Baelinn only revealed she had been recruited by the Raven Queen's followers after a taxing fight. Those in Frain will be quick to show you what they believe to be dragon clawmarks within the trunks of the Meeting of Kings (Three King-Trees growing together - for those who have not picked up a geography book. My editor tells me I would be remiss to exclude this fact).

Now consider further: What if those are actual dragon marks? An old bard's song amidst the Mercenary folk goes as follows:

The paladin was first to die,
As Baelinn looked him in the eye,
The dragon's flames flickered in her gaze,
She served death, death till the end of her days.

Twas next she moved for the druid young,
But vines like rope she was caught on.
And the swordsman with a blade like wind,
Sliced Baelinn the Betrayer end to end.

Now call o'er a wench to warm up this lap,
and I'll tell you the rest if good ole Iron Ale's on tap."

(Last line optional depending on how much the bartender has had to drink.)

If my theory is correct, the dragon's flame is no metaphor. Is it too wondrous to believe Kiera, and a small band of her trusted allies could slay one of the fearsome beasts? Not for me.

I believe Kiera woke the Claw's power with the magic of the Kings, yes- killed a dragon - and then only barely survived an attack from her trusted guard Baelinn.

Is it any wonder Kiera's next move would be heading to Bokkor?

(Historian Note: The above story is recorded only as a quote within a popular history primer used to tutor children in the Princely Communes. The only known copy of Forged was purchased three hundred years ago, and reportedly burnt by Seraph Luxen of the Liturgical Province.)

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