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Tag: tethyr

Chapter 1 — Sage Advice
Gullbeak called back from the outlook that the River Ith was approaching, and Captain Ombert began calling out orders to the sailors to bring the ship down to land in the river upstream from the city to the east.

   Oma safely lowered the spelljammer, finding it far less scary to land when in control of the vehicle herself from the spelljamming helm in the center of the ship. They picked a spot at a bend in the river, sheltered by trees, hopefully avoiding being seen by any of the farmers in the region. They did not want to scare anyone with a flying sailing vessel.

   Hakam, Solisar, and Szordrin were to accompany Mythlos to visit the palace, while Jayce intended to find the bardess Jimena, with whom he had previously recorded music magically for profit. Belvin stayed onboard in case Yashiera's reply came, and Leokas stayed with him. Kytharrah wanted to join the others, but he was forbidden, as it was not thought that minotaurs would be welcome in the human city. "I will stay with you, and we can practice some axemanship," Nargroth had said.

   "Have you heard from your grandfather or friend since we last saw them?" Jayce asked Mythlos, as they walked along the river west toward the city.

   "Faelar and Gargantos went to the Forest of Tethir," Mythlos explained.

   "I have always wanted to visit Suldanessellar," said Solisar.

   "They went to the very place. Faelar wrote that it reminded him of Moonspinner Web."

   "And you?" asked Jayce. "I hear that you were not present for their most recent adventures and their second encounter with Samber."

   "I found a mentor in the High Forest, who could teach me the ancient elven art of spellsinging," said Mythlos.

   "Do you still carry around that magical frog with you?"

   A loud croak from Mythlos' pack confirmed it.

   They reached Darromar from the southern side of the river, entering the city on the Ithal Road, which became Star Street once they passed through the gates.

   "Some of the architecture here reminds me of Calimport," said Solisar.

   "The former name of this city is Ithmong," said Hakam. "It was one of Calimshan's holdings."

   They came to the Wheel Market on their right, one of Daromar's two large marketplaces. "Asdefk's Inn is coming up on our left," said Jayce. "That's where I am meeting Jimena."

   "Is not that where we spent the night when we were last here?" asked Mythlos.

   "It is," said Jayce.

   "They had moderately good Calishite food," admitted Hakam, "for a Tethyrian establishment."

   "Very spicy," said Mythlos.

   After Jayce entered the inn, the other four crossed over the Ithal Bridge and entered the Royal Quarter, walking along the Riverside Road uphill toward Ithal Crag, the rocky hill upon which the royal palace of Faerntarn sat. Passing through the Garden of Rhinda, a beautiful flower garden, they circumnavigated the hill and presented themselves to the palace guards at the north gate, having assented the steep trail up the side of the crag.

   "We are the party of Sir Mythlos Moonspinner, Lord of Barony Nadjar," said Hakam and motioning toward Mythlos, "here on appointment to see the duchess Valmeyjar."

   One of the guards inspected Hakam's signet ring and official documents. Once cleared and confirmed as registered visitors, they passed under a barbican gate with a series of three heavy portcullises and were welcomed into the courtyard of the main keep, surrounded by its fortified, granite curtain wall. They were led by one of the young armored knights, a member of the Warriors of the Star, to one of the four halls located within the greater complex. Several other guards followed in the rear.

   They followed the lad up a set of stairs, down a hallway, and through a closed door. The young man announced the nobles within before the visitors had even stepped into the room.

   "Saers, I present to you Lady Vajra, Royal Warlady, Duchess of Ankaram and Regent Royal for Princess Cyriana; Lady Perendra, Countess of Elemetar and Court Vizera; and Lord Gamalon, Count of Spellshire and Court Sage. Ladies and Lord, I present to you Sir Mythlos Moonspinner, Lord of Barony Nadjar; his personal cleric Hakam Hamdulah Anachtyr; and two mages, Solisar Keryth and Szordrin Dundragon."

   "Northerners can never introduce someone properly," mumbled Hakam.

   They stepped within. The room was long with a high ceiling. Two large tapestries of seaside imagery hung on the long walls. A chandelier hung over a long wooden table. At the back of the room was a wooden pole with a small beam at the top upon which perched an owl.

   Around the table sat three humans, a man and two women. The man was older, with a salt and pepper beard. He had several old scars across his face and a green gem where his left eye had once been. He had dark skin and a bald head. He dressed in wizard's robes, and several Ioun stones were orbiting his head.

   One of the seated women was exceptionally tall. She rose to her feet when the adventurers entered and stood over six feet. She had dusky skin and short dark hair, except for a single long braid that hung behind her almost to the ground. While dressed in a formal gown, she also wore thick metal bands around her wrists and neck. She looked like she did not belong in such attire. Her muscular arms looked confined in the tight sleeves of her dress.

   The other woman, in contrast, looked like she was born to wear nobles' clothing, and her high-necked, long-sleeved yellow dress was clearly tailored to her form. She too had dark skin. Her hair was tightly cropped, and she had a large forehead and brown, almond-shaped eyes.

   Hakam recognized both women from Countess Kyrin Hawkwinter's wedding. The taller woman, Vajra, Duchess of Ankaram, was the lord of Mythlos' lord, Count Oxsal Keeneyes of Monteshi.

   "Yes, yes, we know who these brave adventurers are," said the Court Sage, also standing. (The second woman, Perendra, remained seated.) "They were in part responsible both for exposing the crimes of Duke Hhune and for ensuring the rescue of my grandniece Rhinda. Come in and welcome! Please, take seats at the table with us, wherever you find it comfortable."

   Szordrin sat himself closest to the Court Sage Gamalon. "I am an admirer of your writing," said Szordrin, as one of the servants in the room pushed his chair in for him.

   Gamalon chuckled. "I was not aware that I was known as an author. What, pray tell me, have you read of mine?"

   "I read of your experiences while living upon the Rock of Bral," Szordrin replied. "Perhaps we may speak more of Bral after the official business is completed."

   "I would be pleased to do so," said Gamalon.

   On the other side of the table, Vadja turned to Mythlos and asked, "Where is your bard, Jayce? I was to notify him that the queen herself listens to the magic keyboard enchanted with the J&J Duo's music."

   "Forgive me, your ladyship, but what is the J&J Duo?"

   "Jayce and Jimena, Mythlos," mumbled Hakam.

   "Yes, of course," said Mythlos. "He is, as a matter of fact, attending a meeting with Madam Jimena at this very hour."

   "He is collecting royalties for his work," said Hakam. "We could arrange a private performance at reduced cost for this present company."

   Vajra laughed, "There is little time on my busy schedule for entertainment."

   "In that case," said the cleric, "perhaps I should provide a full report on the my lord's keep."

   "You may give it."

   "As I informed you by magic, the blue dragon Yrevkethend targeted a dragon slayer of renown, one Rinald Overman, whom we had once in our employ. The monster tracked him to Sir Moonspinner's keep and leveled it and the nearby village of Stonethrow."

   "We believe that the dragon Yrevkethend is affected by the Dracorage curse," explained Solisar. "Indeed, we have assisted a brass dragon companion of ours in fleeing this very plane, because he too was feeling the effects of it."

   "I also have a close relationship with a brass dragon," said Gamalon. "A noble race. His name is Alaerurrgos, and I have been a sort of tutor and protector to him after Iryklathagra slew his family in the Year of the Gauntlet. He began acting very strangely on exactly the first of the year, which aroused my suspicions. Ultimately, we had to use magic to hold the poor creature in temporal stasis.

   "We have been in contact with many of our most knowledgeable wizards," continued the old sage. "The greatest minds in Faerûn are at a loss to explain why a dracorage appears to be happening now. The only clue we have is that dracoliches, undead dragons, seem unaffected by the curse. So busy have I been investigating this rage, that my good wife Mynda effectively rules my county of Spellshire in my absence."

   "For my part," said the Lady Vajra, "we are trying to keep track of the activities of the most powerful dragons of the region. The blue wyrm whom Gamalon just mentioned, Iryklathagra, is known to be raging throughout Calimshan. Earlier in the year, she razed the Twin Towers of the Eclipse on the border of Amn, a site sacred to Bane. The loss of a dark god's temple was of course no loss to us, but the attack was very close to our northernmost territories. I suspect her eyes are now on Calimport, as she has a deep and ancient hatred for the Shoon Empire that once held power there."

   "May it never be," said Hakam quietly.

   "The first destruction that we had confirmed in Tethyr was the loss of a settlement on the Dragon Reach at the end of the first month of the year. Thankfully for us in West Faerûn, the most concentrated dragon destruction has been far north of that in the Cold Lands north of the Moonsea and bordering the Great Glacier, such as Damara, Impiltur, or Narfell."

   "The Great Glacier?" inquired Solisar. "Do you think that this rage has any connection to the ice witch, Iyraclea? My people of Evermeet have been concerned about her recent activities."

   "Have they?" said Vajra. "Perendra, has the embassy of Evermeet informed us of this?"

   The other woman shook her head, but said nothing. Indeed, she seemed rather unhappy. Szordrin whispered in Ferry's ear, and the weasel scurried off his shoulder. A few moments later, Ferry appeared on Perendra's lap. A smile appeared on her face, and she began to pet his soft coat. The owl on the stand behind her, however, stared directly at Ferry and licked its beak.

   "We will look into what we may regarding Iyraclea," said Lady Vajra. "In any case, here, far from the Glacier, our army has been under great stress for the last several years. In the Year of the Tankard, two towns of Amn defected to join Tethyr. Gamalon and I have spent much of our time in the north working with the citizens of these towns. In that same year, we lost the town of Kzelter in the south to the city-state of Mintar, which had fallen under the sway of the Church of Bane. Thus, we had to send our troops to two fronts. On top of this, an army of goblinoids, ogres, and other foul races rose up and attacked Amn near our western borders with that nation, giving us no small amount of concern. And now, dragons are raging! Thus, we have little choice but to mobilize our militias." She turned to Mythlos. "Sir Moonspinner, will you be able to lead the people of your fiefdom of Nadjar in Monteshi if called to arms?"

   Mythlos rose and bowed, "Of course, my liege. It is both my duty and an honor to defend the people of Tethyr. I can also call upon aid from my grandfather Gargantos in the Forest of Tethir. He may be able to persuade a number of elves to join us."

   "That would be a feat," said Vajra, more to herself than to anyone else. "Foxfire and Mirthal have had little success."

   "Is there any means to draw the raging dragons away from the cities, using bait of some kind?" suggested Hakam.

   "Perhaps, but none of us know clearly enough the workings of a dragon's mind when it is not raging," said Gamalon, "much less when it is sick with madness."

   "Whatever can be done to help rebuild, I repeat that I am at your service," said Mythlos.

   "I thank you, Sir Moonspinner," said Vajra. "There will be a meeting here at Faerntarn in half a tenday with all of the warlords of Tethyr to discuss a strategy for defense against the dragons. Will you be in attendance?"

   "I shall."

   "If so, then I believe our business here is done, unless you have further questions of us."

   "Do you have further news about the paladin Rhinda?" asked Hakam. "And did I correctly hear you that she is a relation of yours, Lord Gamalon?"

   "Yes," said Gamalon. "Rhinda is the granddaughter of my brother Kessel. She is recovering, though slowly, from the trauma she experienced at the hands of the gnolls. I believe that she will be fully healed in time."

   "What about her paladin companion?"

   "I know not of him or her," said Gamalon. "What name?"

   "Interestingly enough, the young man shared one of each of your names." said Hakam. "He was Gamalon Valmeyjar."

   "Mine is a common enough name," said the sage.

   "My surname, however, is not," said Vajra. "I was orphaned as a young girl during our civil war. To the best of my knowledge, I am the last of the Valmeyjars."

   "If we learn anything of him, we shall send word to you by spellmagic," said Gamalon.

   Since there were no further matters of state to discuss, Vajra excused herself from the meeting and left to attend to other matters. The Lady Perendra followed her out, with the owl now perched on her extended arm. Ferry returned to Szordrin's lap.

   Gamalon looked excited to talk about Bral. "So, you have questions about the Rock? Do you have means to travel there?"

   "We have a acquired a spelljammer, yes," said Szordrin.

   "Our divine quest is leading us there," added Hakam, "but we are not at liberty to share more details than that."

   "My first question is about the Interlink Consortium," said Szordrin. "Do you know it?"

   "The Interlink Consordium? Of course I know of it. A reputable source of portal paraphernial for the planewalker. It is located on Wasp Street, next to Frada's Provisioning, on the port side of the Great Market in Middle City. (I should note that north and south are meaningless on the Rock! Everything is given in terms of the direction of the Rock's orbit around Toril, as if it were a massive sailing vessel. The docks and Low City are toward the leading edge. 'Starboard' is to the right if one is facing toward the docks.)

   "You should also know that they have moved their headquarters off-world. They still maintain their 'flagship' store on the Rock of Bral, but the business is run elsewhere. Prince Andru's taxes were too high for them. As a noble of Bral, the taxes are not as heavy a burden for me to maintain my own shop there. Plus, I ran a curio shop, not a factory!

   "Now, if you are, by chance, curious for curios, my shop is on the starboard side of the Great Market. I think that you may find items of interest to you there."

   "Do you know what a Galormansko's sequencer apparatus is? We know that the Consortium sells them."

   "I do not know what a sequencer apparatus is, no, but I do know the name Galormansko. He was a mage from the world of Oerth, the same world as the famous mage Mordenkainen. Both mages did a fair amount of planar travel. I once met Galormansko on the Rock, during a cross-crystal-sphere wizard's fair; he was a very old fellow, hard of hearing and almost deaf. He spent most of the time falling asleep during other wizards' speeches. I imagine that whatever a 'sequencer' is, he sold the rights to its manufactor to the Interlink Consortium."

   "What about a wizard by the name of Onran?" asked Szordrin, mentioning the name of his former master, who had been murdered, presumably by a drow assassin. "Have you heard of that name?"

   "I have not; I am sorry."

   "May we use you as a reference?" asked Szordrin. "That is, may we claim that we know you if we run into any... trouble... on Bral."

   "Certainly," said Gamalon. "In fact, you may have my card." He handed Szordrin a small wodden card with a runic image burned into it. "That will prove to other wizards who know me that you have met me in person."

   They thanked Gamalon for his extra time. As they were getting up to leave, Mythlos, who had only this day learned of the plan to visit the Rock of Bral, asked, "How far away from Toril is the Rock of Bral?"

   "About 183,000 miles from Toril, by our scholars' best calculations," said Gamalon.

   "183,000 miles! How large is the whole crystal sphere?"

   "By most estimates," said the sage, "Realmspace is some three billion and two hundred million miles in radius. Wildspace is larger than anything you have ever imagined. If you are journeying to wildspace, prepare to have your understanding of the world changed forever."
Session: 102nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jun 13 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Chapter 1 — Calishite Mores
"Give me that," said Belvin angrily, snatching back the parchment note. He seemed to be able to read the words without any magic.

   "What does it say?" asked Szordrin.

   "It is a private message and none of your business," said Belvin.

   "Belvin fathered a child with the fortune teller," said Hakam, with great displeasure on his voice.

   "Fortune teller?" said Solisar. "What fortune teller?"

   "The crazy druid in the jungle?" asked Jayce. "How? When?"

   "You found her attractive?" asked Leokas in Elvish.

   Belvin muttered something back to his friend in Elvish.

   One of the sailors slapped Belvin on the back. "Doin' it in the jungle like the wild animals!"

   "Shut your trap, Brad," said Loreene.

   "We have all been invited to Mount Abbalayat," said Belvin. "We are making a visit before we head to Bral."

   "No, we are not making any more delays," said Szordrin.

   "I have been with this group longer than you," said Belvin. "I say that we are going to Mount Abbalayat."

   "Mount Abbalayat?" said Solisar. "As in The Phoenix Prophecies?"

   Everyone stared at the gold elf with confusion, except for Hakam and Jayce.

   "Are we supposed to know what those are?" asked Szordrin.

   "Wait, some of you have not heard of The Phoenix Prophecies?" said Jayce.

   "Do phoenixes really come back to life if you burn them?" asked Gren.

   "They are a collection of famous prophecies from my homeland," said Hakam.

   "Indeed," said Solisar, "they are known and studied all over Toril. My grandmother has studied them thoroughly. In part, it was a prophecy within them about the ice queen that sent me to the far north for so many years."

   "What does any of that have to do with the fortune teller?" asked Loreene.

   "Yashiera was one of the Abbalayar," said Hakam. "I do not know how I did not see it when we met her. Of course."

   "The Abbalayar are a legendary race of seers from Calimshan," explained Jayce. "In any case, I would not mind a trip to receive another prophecy for myself; my last one expired already."

   Except for Szordrin, they all agreed that a trip to Mount Abbalayat would be worth the slight delay from visiting Bral.

   "Does anyone have a pen and ink?" Belvin asked. Solisar provided one, and Belvin wrote a short response on the back of the original notice. "I will give my answer, and Yashiera will send us directions to the mountain."

   "How do you mean to deliver the message?" asked Loreene.

   "It must be a feather token," said Hakam.

   "The feather is magical," said Szordrin. "I confirmed it."

   "Your letter had better include that you shall provide for the child," said Hakam.

   "Belvin says that they made a verbal contract that released him from such a responsibility," explained Leokas.

   "There are moral rules that carry greater weight than verbal agreements," said Hakam.

   "Since when have you cared about moral laws?" asked Szordrin.

   "Calishite traditions, then. Call them what you will. Yashiera is a Calishite, and their child is a Calishite. There are mores that need to be followed."

   Belvin held the feather up in the air. "Yashiera," he said.

   There was another "explosion" of feathers, and a tiny songbird appeared, perched on Belvin's finger. He rolled up the note and the bird happily grabbed it in its claws and took to the air, flying away to the southwest.

   "It looks like your child was born before your camel's," said Jayce, referring to the fact Belvin's camel, Kamil, had impregnated Hakam's pack camel almost a year ago.

   "How long are camel pregnancies?"

   "Very long," said Hakam.

   Ferry squeaked.

   "Ferry says that weasel pregnancies are only five weeks," said Szordrin.

   "We are going to be in Darromar," said Jayce. "We could visit Malick's old tower and set up a date for him with Neesha."

   "Ferry does not like blind dates;" said Szordrin.
Session: 102nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jun 13 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Tags: Chapter 1 , Recap , Tethyr
Chapter 1 — The Dwarven Temple
The seven adventurers — Belvin, Leokas, Jayce, Hakam, Szordrin, Kytharrah, and Solisar — stood with Rinald and his children at the stone path, looking down at the motionless automaton that still guarded the ancient bridge.

   "That's the door from which the drow came and where they went when they fled," said a man who had not yet been introduced, but he held Miri's hand as he pointed down with the other to the doorway directly below them. "If you walk over to the other side, you can see the metal doors."

   "Hakam or Belvin could simply unmake the bridge with their magic from underneath the golem," suggested one of the adventurers.

   "Kytharrah could probably bull rush it off the bridge," suggested another.

   "Why do we need to destroy the construct?" said Jayce. "It is a valuable tool to destroy. If not for purely historical reasons, should we not leave it undamaged in case we stumble upon its control amulet?"

   "How do we pass it then?"

   "Sir Mythlos simply teleported below," said Miri.

   "None of us have access to such magics," said Szordrin. "Solisar and I could fly past the construct, and I could climb like the drow, but what would the rest of you do?"

   "It is not a great drop from here to the bridge," said Leokas. "Will the guardian turn to attack us if we land behind it?"

   "The drow probably used magical darkness when they climbed past the guardian," explained Rinald's youngest son.

   "The doors are also heavy and take some time to pull open," said Torm, Rinald's eldest son.

   "Why risk that or falling from the bridge," said Belvin, "when my thoqqua can dig us another tunnel?"

   This plan pleased everyone, and the lava worm made quick work of boring a tunnel straight down. When it vanished to return to its home plane, a circular hole in the floor was left behind with a fifteen-foot to the ground a level below.

   They told Kytharrah to drop himself down first, and Szordrin gave himself the ability to fly and followed after. Hakam floated down safely with his ring of feather falling. The rest had to set up a rope and climb down somewhat more slowly. Solisar cast the ability to see invisibility upon himself and brought up the rear.

   Light from Hakam's glowing shield and Kytharrah's everburning torch filled the large chamber, which was clearly of dwarven architecture with its sharp angles and smoothed stone. It was a single large room, octagonal in shape but stretched, 40 yards long and a bit more than half that distance wide. At the very center was a massive octagonal column supporting the ceiling. Surrounding the whole perimeter of the room were ten raised daises. The two nearest daises were empty, but the others had massive statues erected on their surfaces.

   "Mythlos!" Hakam shouted. His voice echoed through the chamber.

   "Hey, this one is a bard," said Jayce, examining one of the statues. "He has a lute."

   Szordrin was across from Jayce, examining the nearest statue on the right side. It was of a barefoot, feminine figure, standing on one foot as if in the middle of a dance. The voluptuous figure wore a long dress and had a long, flowing beard. While clearly a dwarven female, the statue was the size of a giant, and it was the shortest of the statues in the room. The tiefling wizard glanced down at a symbol carved into the face of the stone, which looked like a stylized flame about a sewing needle.

   "Do you like the bearded look on women?" Jayce asked him.

   "Szordrin, we could use your talents for spotting any traps," said Leokas, who was himself seeking out Mythlos' footprints. "He headed to the far side of the room," Leokas noted, after a few moments of investigation.

   They hustled to the other side, ignoring the dwarven statues for now.

   "He could have gone through any of these doors," said Jayce, noting the several metal doors that presumable led to side rooms.

   Kytharrah sniffed. He could smell an earthy smell from above. He glanced up and pointed. "Hole," he said.

   They all looked where he was pointing. The stone wall was broken apart just above the height of an average human, and the hole was large enough for the same to squeeze through.

   "Mythlos!" Hakam shouted again.

   Szordrin spoke to his familiar, who always rested around his shoulders. The weasel scurried down his clothing and to the ground, then up the wall and into the hole.

   "Ferry will report back if he finds Mythlos," said Szordrin.

   Meanwhile, Belvin knelt down next to the dais next to the broken wall on the right. This statue had crumbled and collapsed.

   Szordrin pointed at the stone at the base of where the statue had once stood. "This one was destroyed on purpose. See, the runes and symbol have been smudged out."

   Leokas had wandered into the center of the room. "Every inch of this column is covered in Dethek runes," said the ranger.

   "For the first time, I wish that I could read Dwarven," said Solisar. "This column alone is a historical treasure!"

   "This must be a dwarven temple," said Hakam. "These are their gods. Those must be Moradin and Berronar, the heads of the pantheon."

   He indicated the two largest statues, which were a the farthest wall from the entrance. Moradin was portrayed as a bulky dwarf with a huge warhammer and a bear hanging well past his belt. One of his hands was extended over an ornate metal door to join with his wife Berronar. The rotund dwarven woman held a heavy mace in her free hand and was portrayed with a short beard braided into four strands. Each wore a circlet on the head.

   "Thard Harr is missing," said Belvin.

   "I do not think that this one was Thard Harr," said Szordrin. "See, here is the remains of the chin. No beard. Obviously, dwarven women can grow beards, but the males always do, right?"

   "Szordrin knows his bearded women," said Jayce.

   "Maybe Thard Harr's was moved from one of the two empty daises near the exit," suggested Leokas.

   "Big axe!" said Kytharrah, who was admiring the statue clockwise from the ruined one. Then the minotaur noticed a new smell, coming from the door located between the axe-bearing statue and the dancing statue. He followed the smell to the door.

   "Ferry is happy," Szordrin announced suddenly. "He must have spotted Mythlos."

   They gathered by the crack in the wall. Suddenly, little Ferry appeared and chirped excitedly, but Szordrin gasped, because his weasel had blood all over his silky fur.

   "Ferry, what happened?"

   "It is not his own blood," said Belvin. "He has no wounds."

   "It is drow blood," said a voice from above them.

   "Mythlos, alae!" said Leokas. "It is good to see you."

   The moon elf leapt down. He appeared unscathed.

   "We thought that we were going to have to rescue you," said Jayce.

   Mythlos looked confused, as if the thought was absurd. "There will not be any further raids from the spider-worshipers," he said.

   "Does that matter?" asked Hakam. "We came here to evacuate you, not to stay for a tenday."

   "Even if the keep has fallen, this is still my land," said Mythlos, "and I have a responsibility to protect it from desecration."

   "Then let us close off the wall permanently," said Belvin. He followed his statement with a spell and touched the wall. The stone closed together tightly and sealed off the hole.

   "We should go," said Leokas, "or have we forgotten about the dragon?"

   "I feel there is something to learn from this temple," said Hakam. "Why was the one statue destroyed, why is that one dais across the way elevated higher than the others, and why are two of the daises empty?"

   "I agree with the cleric for once," said Belvin, who had joined Kytharrah by the strange-smelling door. "There is a potent aromatic mold all around this doorway, a kind that I have not seen before."

   "There are a score of weak, hungry, and vulnerable humans above us," said Solisar. "As Mythlos said, this land is still his. This temple is not going to vanish when we leave, the drow have been sealed out, and after this dragon rage is over, we can always return to explore it again."

   "You are right," said Hakam. "Let us go. I shall remind myself to read up more on the dwarven religion at a later date."

~~~~

An hour later, they were all sailing through the sky away from the danger of a dragon attack and north toward Darromar, the capital city of Tethyr. Nargroth, the half-orc cook, was passing out bowls of warm soup to all of the refugees.

   Now in relative safety, Rinald introduced his family. His wife, Maegyn, looked startlingly young to be his wife. Now in the daylight, they noticed that her face was covered with the scars from severe burns, but no one dared ask about it. Therion was the name of his youngest son, who was sixteen years old, and Torm was two years older. Miri was the oldest, and her husband was named Stedd.

   Hakam informed them of their plan. "After we report to Mythlos' liege, we are heading to the Rock of Bral, in the Tears of Selûne. Unless I am gravely mistaken, dragons cannot fly into wildspace. You and your family will be safe there."

   "Most of them cannot, it is true," said Rinald. "A blue dragon for certain cannot. I have always wanted to see Toril from the heavens. With my age, it may be my last chance to! Your plan seems a good one to me."

   The conversation was interrupted by loud chirping sounds from multiple animals. Szordrin looked down to see his weasel with a songbird in his mouth. The bird was still alive. Clutched in its tiny claws was a tiny rolled bit of parchment, wrapped around a long feather.

   "Szordrin, make your weasel release that innocent creature!" commanded Belvin. The two crouched down. Szordrin held onto Ferry, and Belvin gently removed the little bird from the mustelid's mouth.

   The elven druid carefully removed the parchment from the bird's claws. "There you are; be free," he said in Elven.

   The bird exploded.

   "What in the Nine Hells?" exclaimed Gren.

   Tiny feathers floated about, which then themselves burst into sparkling dust and vanished.

   Belvin pulled out the feather that had been wrapped. "This is not the feather of any bird of which I know."

   Solisar said, "It must have been a magical message."

   "For whom? What does it say?" asked Jayce.

   Hakam snatched the parchment from Belvin's hand and opened it. Szordrin and Solisar looked over his shoulder. Neither of them had even seen the script before.

   Hakam spoke a brief prayer and opened his eyes. The letters reformed themselves on the page.

   "Belvin, shame on you!" he said.
Session: 101st Game Session - Wednesday, Apr 18 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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Tags: Chapter 1 , Recap , Tethyr
Chapter 1 — Moonspinner Keep
~ 1st of Tarsakh, The Year of Rogue Dragons, Moondark
Barony Nadjar, County Monteshi, Tethyr


"Keep your enchanted eyes out for the dragon," Leokas said in the Elven tongue. "I shall watch the ground."

   "The skies are clear, my friend," answered Belvin, "I assure you."

   It was the darkest hour of the night, yet it was the turn of the month, so the moon was full, and so Selûne's glow illuminated much of the landscape of southern Tethyr below them. The two elves stood on the main deck of the spelljammer Frihet as Jayce's magic kept the ship aloft. The elves had joined the rest of their companions only a few days prior, having been picked up from the shore of the River Arran, west of the great Chondalwood, Belvin's home, where they and the minotaur Kytharrah had been dropped off months before that.

   Leokas' concern was the blue dragon Yrevkethend, the one who had sacked the keep under which their friends Mythlos and Rinald and many others were now trapped. The forward ballistae and the rear catapult were loaded and manned in case they had to defend themselves from an attack from the air.

   It was warm for an early Spring night — the equinox was only a tenday ago — so the end of the first watch was pleasant for the two elves. Kytharrah was also nearby patting Leokas' new white wolf, Sif. The wolf was fun to play with, and Kytharrah had spent a good deal of time playing fetch and racing with the dog, though he was always expecting it to turn into a woman like Leokas' last wolf friend had done. One of the sailors — a red-haired man who looked similar to their new friend with the silly-looking glasses and smoke-making thing in his mouth except without the glasses or the smoke-making thing — was telling Kytharrah about his travels to different lands, but Kytharrah was not paying very much attention. He preferred physical activities over excessive talking.

   "I've heard that there are centaur tribes in the Chondalwood," said the sailor. "Did you meet any?"

   "Centaur?" the name sounded familiar to the minotaur. Was a centaur a kind of minotaur? The words sounded alike at the ends.

   "You know, like horses but with human upper bodies instead of horse heads."

   Now Kytharrah understood the question. Indeed, he had had great fun with many centaurs at a big party in the woods on their first night there. There had also been goat-men, like the one Belvin sometimes made appear for brief moments. They had horns like he did, and they played happy music and liked to dance. And there were big, bald elves, as big as their giant friend who had traveled with them over the desert when Hakam's magic had been broken. There was lots of food and lots of drink that made him feel silly, and he learned new games of rock-throwing and knocking over things while dancing — although Leokas told him that that one was not actually a game — and he wrestled and raced. The big, bald elves were tough to beat at wrestling, and the horse-men were very fast, even without magical shoes like his, but he beat some sometimes.

   Kytharrah laughed at a little goat-man who had charged at him, and Kytharrah had tossed him through the air after locking horns. Belvin had to fix him with magic, but the goat-man thought it was funny. The sailor looked at him expectantly, and Kytharrah realized that he had not answered the man's question. "Oh, yes; they eat a lot of food. I also got very, very hot and fell asleep, and my friends had to drag me out of the cave."

   "Centaurs live in caves?" The sailor was confused at the minotaur's seemingly random change of topic.

   "The cave was smelly," said Kytharrah.

   "We took him to a vision cave," Belvin explained to the confused sailor. "It is a tradition of my people to seek visions within the intense heat of steam from natural hot springs. This young minotaur had a vision of his own."

   "A little guiding light," said Kytharrah. "It talked too much."

   "Belvin, the sky!" called Leokas.

   Belvin scanned the horizon in all directions. "Still clear," said the wild elf. He then spotted something below them. "I have, however, found some clear evidence of a dragon." He pointed.

   They were directly overhead the northernmost portion of the Forest of Mir, flying roughly west. Belvin was pointing to just past where the trees of the forest ended. A village was approaching, but the village had been leveled flat, the timber of every last building scattered in a mess of wood.

   "The village of Stonethrow," said Leokas somberly, "or what is left of it."

   "It was not scorched," said Belvin. "This was the work of a blue dragon, not a red."

   "I shall let the pilot know that we are close." The wood elf moved to the aft castle of the galleon, and Sif followed at his heels. The night's pilot, a dark-skinned Turmish man with dreadlocks, stood at the wheel. "Rimardo, we have spotted our destination." The elf pointed out the village to Rimardo, who nodded, adjusted the wheel, and called out orders to the sailors who were manning the sails. A message was passed down to Jayce, at the spelljamming helm, to slow their speed and reduce their altitude. The vessel adjusted course and began descending gradually.

   Leokas returned to Belvin. The wild elf pointed to another spot below. "And there is our moon elf's keep."

   Leokas, even with his elven eyes, could not yet see the ruins, but Belvin wore magical lenses, which allowed him to perceive a pile of rubble that was once a keep.

   "Not a tower remains standing," said Belvin.

   "Yes, now I see it," said Leokas. "The keep has indeed fallen."

   The other members of the adventuring party were woken and congregated on the main deck.

   "Mythlos claims that the dragon is now lairing in the cave tunnel south of the keep, the original entrance to the dwarven site, from which we exited last year." Hakam explained these details to his companions. "If it emerges, we will have only a mile distance between it and us."

   "I shall continue to watch the skies," said Belvin.

   "Do we have any idea where the dragon is now?" asked Oma.

   "It has resisted all of my scrying attempts," said Hakam, "and I cannot scry on a location, only a creature, and I hesitate attempting again, lest it figure out who is trying to scry on it."

   "I could send a magical sensor to examine the cave," said Solisar, "but it would be little use without a source of light."

   "I suggest that we wait this out a few more days," said Hakam. "Each day we can carefully approach from the north and see if we can find any evidence of the dragon's presence. Mythlos may have to be our eyes from the ground, however."

   "We are going to need a place to land," said Solisar. "Jayce cannot keep the spelljammer aloft forever."

   "The River Ith is twenty miles to the north of us," said Leokas, "or we could head back to the Lake of Steam; it is only a few hours now that we can fly so much faster."

   "The River Ith is swift, if I recall," said Belvin, "and would attract unwanted attention."

   "Was not there a sizeable pond near Stonethrow?" asked Hakam. "We could stay there."

   "I fear that that is too close to the dragon," said Leokas.

   "Ah, but it already sacked the village; it would have no reason to go that way again. It may be especially safe for us there."

   So, for the next few days, the spelljammer spent most of its time floating in a pond south of the former village of Stonethrow. Hakam used his magic to send messages to Mythlos, who scouted down the exit tunnel to where the dragon had barricaded it with boulders. He could not confirm whether or not the dragon was on the other side. During the day, however, Solisar was able to scan the cave, during one of the hours where the sun was at the right angle to provide some light. The cavern entrance was indeed empty, but there were clear signs of the dragon's former habitation — the carcasses of consumed cows, claw marks on the walls, strangely shaped glass, and scattered golden trinkets. At the far wall, the stone bricks of the entrance to the dwarven tunnel had been torn away, as the dragon had clearly been trying to widen the tunnel, ripping the stone supports away and digging at the rock and dirt of the natural walls and ceiling. This destruction continued for some distance until it appeared that the dragon had given up and resorted to barricading the tunnel instead.

   In the ruins of the keep itself, it was found that the former elevator shaft to the dungeons below was likewise completely blocked with large stones. (They considered using magic to shape or move the stones, but they did not have the means to reconstruct the elevator itself.)

   They repeated these scouting visits for the next two days, but there was no sign of the dragon. On fourth-day, they decided to risk the rescue. They had had the several days to work out the details of their elaborate plan.

   Oma helmed the spelljammer and took it to a position about half a mile south of the keep and north of the cave entrance. They found a position between some hills and with tree cover, so that they would hopefully not be immediately noticed from the air. The sailors removed the white sails to help reduce their visibility. The young Calishite wizardess brought the craft as low as she could, and the party of adventurers was lowered to the ground in the rowboat.

   It had been arranged with Mythlos, that he should come half way down the tunnel. Hakam was able to determine Mythlos' exact position below them by using his divinatory magic to target the silver elf's moonblade. Belvin then summoned a thoqqua, a tunneling worm-like creature from the Plane of Fire, to dig and melt a tunnel directly down toward Mythlos' location in the tunnel underground. While they waited, Solisar cast several defensive magics on the group, including the ability to detect if the dragon attempted to scry on them.

   Once the creature of fire and earth reached the tunnel, they heard Mythlos' voice call a greeting up to them. This filled the group with hope, but nervousness still filled their hearts, as they feared the dragon might return at any moment. Szordrin had a rope in hand, in case he needed to create a magical escape route into an extradimensional space.

   Belvin commanded the thoqqua to now return to the surface, this time melting a tunnel at a climbable angle. It took nearly all of Belvin's magic to summon the extraplanar beast enough times for it to complete the escape tunnel with dimensions wide enough for humans and a minotaur to utilize. Then, they had to wait for the tunnel to cool.

   When it had cooled, Leokas and Szordrin led the way, descending quickly down the steep earthen and stone slope. Leokas held Kytharrah's everburning torch, and looked around. They stood in the middle of the old dwarven road. The tunnel floor was smooth and straight, with a gentle decline to the north. It was fifteen-feet wide and ten-feet high. Stone brick archways supported the ceiling every 20 feet.

   Mythlos, however, was not there to greet them.

   "Where did he go?" asked Szordrin.

   "These are his footprints," said Leokas, crouching low. "He went back toward the dwarven settlement. There is another set of humanoid prints as well."

   Hakam now joined them, shield magically aglow and covered in dirt.

   "Where is Mythlos?"

   "That was my question," said Szordrin.

   "I am out of sendings," said Hakam.

   "Something is not right," said Leokas. "Why would he have left this spot otherwise. Let us hurry."

   They moved as quickly as they could in the darkness down the dwarven tunnel. After fifteen or twenty minutes of hustling, they could see the flickering of torch light up ahead, where the tunnel pinched to a narrower opening. Leokas cringed, knowing that at that very spot last year, an ancient dwarven trap had crushed him and sent him prematurely to the Fugue.

   "There must be an override mechanism here somewhere," said Szordrin.

   "Mick, someone who traveled with us for a brief time," said Jayce, "found a hole in the wall on the other side with a release mechanism."

   "I shall fly over there and check," said Szordrin. He did so, after casting the appropriate spell. With the tip from Jayce, it did not take him long to find the release switch hidden in the wall. "You will have to give me a moment, but I am sure that I can disable it. I learned how traps like this work while spending some time in the Muzad...." He took a kit of tools from his pack.

   "Muzad?" asked Solisar.

   "Calimport's undercity," explained Hakam.

   "There," said Szordrin. "It will no longer activate. It is safe to come over."

   "I am still going first," said Leokas. As he had learned personally, the trap had been designed to drop after a delay, such that the first person crossing it was able to pass with no issue.

   Footsteps approached them, and a skinny youth appeared with a torch. "Thank Torm! You have come at last. And it could not have been at a more needed time. Our food is gone. Rinald is poisoned. Sir Mythlos has chased after the drow. Come on!"

   "The drow?" asked Szordrin, clutching his dagger.

   Kytharrah sniffed for danger.

   The young man had already turned to go, but Hakam stopped him. "How do we know that this is not some elaborate trap? Tell me, how did Mythlos, your master, win this keep?"

   "Sir Brygolf — may his soul rest on the shores of the Silver Sea — he told me that Sir Mythlos won the keep from Sir Gorgon."

   "You had best not be leading us into a trap," Hakam replied.

   "He is telling the truth," said Jayce. "We are wasting time. Take us to Rinald, son."

   They entered the large cavern. The ceiling was only fifteen feet above them, but the chamber was about 50 feet in radius. The majority of it was filled with a massive pit. The young man led them to the beginning of the winding ramp that spiraled down into the ancient mining shaft.

   "This is where I found my buckler," said Belvin, glancing around the cavern.

   "A giant?" asked Kytharrah. He had spotted a large figure in the center of the deep pit, standing on a narrow stone bridge. It was a roughly humanoid construct of wood and stone.

   "Is that a shield guardian?" asked Solisar.

   Jayce answered in the affirmative.

   "Do not play with it!" said Szordrin.

   "Do not even talk to it," said Hakam.

   The stone path was narrow — so narrow that Kytharrah had to be especially careful traversing it. It had been carved like a screw to spiral counterclockwise down into the shaft. There were several openings in the wall, and they followed the youth into the first one, which they reached after ten yards or so.

   They stepped (or crouched) into a low room about 30 feet square. They were immediately greeted with excitement.

   "They are here!"

   "We are saved!"

   "Do you have a priest with you?"

   "I am a cleric," said Hakam, answering the teenager who had asked this.

   "Please come right away, father has been poisoned."

   "I did not pray for such powers that can help," said Hakam.

   "I can neutralize the poison," said Belvin. "Where is he?"

   They were led through one of the three other doors in the room to another of the same shape and size. On a bedroll on the floor lay Rinald. Hakam approached cautiously, still having his doubts about the situation.

   "What poisoned him?" he asked.

   "Drow crossbows. They climbed up the walls like spiders." The speaker was a young woman of about Szordrin and Jayce's age. She knelt beside Rinald. Belvin joined her at his side and examined the wound.

   "Where are the drow now?" asked Szordrin.

   Kytharrah sniffed the air, but he did not know what a drow smelled like.

   "Father cast a spell to defend us," said the boy who had brought them to the room. "They fled like cowards, but he had already been struck with the bolt."

   "They had shown themselves once before, but between Sir Mythlos and father, they were scared away. There were more of them this time." This speaker was another boy, slightly older. Both were older teenagers, perhaps past the age of majority. There was also a second woman in the room, but she stood off a ways in the shadows, weeping quietly.

   "Torm,... my brother, sent me to get Sir Mythlos right away," said the younger boy. "I ran up the tunnel to get him. That is why he was not there to greet you."

   "He used his magic sword to teleport behind the guardian and pursue the drow deeper into the dwarven ruins," said Torm.

   "You tended his wound well, woman," said Belvin.

   "Miri," she replied. "Thank you. I thought it best to pull the bolt all the way through the other side, since it is barbed."

   "Yes, that was wise." Belvin than began a feral chant, causing Miri to jump back in surprise. Power flowed through Belvin's fingertips and into the wound, and it closed before their eyes. A second chant caused Rinald's eys to open.

   He then sat up with a start. "Drow!"

   The woman in the corner of the room rushed over to hug Rinald tightly.

   When she was convinced that he was fully healed, she released him.

   "My friends, you came at last," he said, rising to his feet. He did not look as useful as he had the last time that they had seen him. Now, he looked far closer to his actual seven decades in age. He still sported the large white moustache and the long hair tied back in a ponytail.

   "I apologize that we could not come sooner," said Hakam. "All of us were scattered over various regions of Faerûn, and we also had to ensure that the dragon was absent."

   "We should discuss the dragon's behavior later, but were is Mythlos?"

   "He pursued the drow who shot you," said Leokas.

   "Always reckless," said Rinald.
Session: 101st Game Session - Wednesday, Apr 18 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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Tags: Chapter 1 , Recap , Tethyr