Dragonrealm

An Assassination Attempt
34th Session

It was the 7th of Descent when Khiss first met Riedan. The dragonborn sorcerer had heard of one of the most lethal assassins of Shahrazhad, and now that he had seen him, his preconceptions were right. Riedan was a focused, smart and terrifying person. Or at least would have been, if Khiss were a mere normal person and not Shahrazhad’s favourite sorcerer.

Riedan had spotted a target of opportunity: The so-called Heroes of Dusk Coast, the group responsible for the unification of Dusk Coast, had returned to Duskport. Shahrazhad had placed a bounty on them, and Khiss could see why: Their demise would deal a serious blow to the morale of the frustratingly tenacious defenders of the coastal nation. Riedan had contacted Khiss to provide backup, as the group was rumoured to be resourceful and fierce. After some deliberation, the pair of Shahrazhad’s servants agreed to take the opportunity.

It was quite trivial for Khiss to find out that the group was planning to travel to Kolmhaag, with his appearance-altering spells and his highly honed skill of subtle spellcasting. To his surprise, the human fighting champion had disappeared somewhere, followed by some dragonborn that had apparently travelled with them. The Nailo offspring was also not present, so the core group had dwindled to just the sorcerer and the Kiln scion. This bode well.

Khiss discussed with Riedan the possibility of ambush during the journey, but the group’s ship was a tough nut to crack, with its crew and difficulties on getting aboard after it set sail. So the assassins decided to travel to Kolmhaag and recruit someone local to track them, should they leave for the wilderness. The only candidate that they could find was a human who called himself Draxus: He knew how to hunt and track, took gold as payment and did not ask further questions.

The trio made a hasty journey to Kolmhaag, nearly killing their horses in the process. The Huntress had already arrived and the city gates were carefully guarded. While Khiss could easily step over the walls with his spells, Riedan was slowed down by the checkpoints. But the assassin was a professional and his merchant identity held water. Inside the city Khiss found out that some elf noble had joined the group, and that they were heading to the dwarven subterranean settlement. This also slowed their pursuit, as they had to procure travel documents for the dwarven elevator.

While Khiss was forging deals, another complication arrived: The Nailo elf arrived, riding a griffin, of all things. While he resolved not to, Khiss was impressed with this. The group had apparently been doing something significant abroad. Riedan, however, saw this as an opportunity: The elf would lead them to the group.

After the elf had descended to the dwarven settlement, the assassins followed. The dwarven industriousness was impressive to behold, but Khiss had lived in the shadow of Shahrazhad and had been accustomed to remarkable architecture. Immediately they set to work, attempting to find out where the group was going, which was apparently into the Depths proper. Wasting no time, the trio gathered provisions and headed out the gates, where they began trusting on Draxus’ tracking skills.

For three days the assassins tracked the Party in the subterranean tunnels, remaining silent and focusing on their task. The lack of light was oppressive and weighed on Khiss, but he pushed the Melancholy away with pure dedication, as did his partner. The sorcerer’s invisibility was a great boon, but the places where the party rest were not opportune for an ambush. But after the third day, in 13th of Descent, they finally had their opportunity. The group had decided to rest in a larger cavern that provided lots of cover, shadows, and a higher ground from where Draxus could suppress the group with spells.

The plan was set. Under Khiss’ invisibility, Riedan sneaked to the group while they were eating and poison their rations, while Draxus had climbed to a vantage point, poised to pierce their prey with arrows. The foreign elven noble fell for the poison, but the sorcerer proved resilient. Riedan remedied that with a lethal thrust from his sword. When the commotion was audible to his hiding place, Khiss arrived and flung a fireball at the group who had fortuitously entrapped Riedan in some sort of force field, protecting him from harm.

Everything would have gone well, if it weren’t for the Nailo elf, who countered Khiss’ teleportation spell, trapping him next to the human swordsman and saved the group’s sorcerer. Draxus managed to fell the elf, but it was too late: As Khiss was busy with the swordsman, the half-elf blasted him with lightning, and unconsciousness awaited. Although the dragonborn did not witness it, after seeing the group’s fierce spirit, Riedan and Draxus decided to retreat, only taking an attack of opportunity at the human swordsman and leaving him for dead.

After what felt like an eternity, Khiss regained consciousness, only to find himself in a force bubble and looking at the battered group holding him captive. They cut his wand, depriving him of his important magical focus and made certain that his life was in their hand. Admitting defeat, he submitted. But as they dispelled the cage, the half-elf sorcerer cast another spell, which the wild magics of the cavern transformed into a fireball.

This time it was only Khiss’ draconic blood that saved him. As he again regained consciousness, pain followed. The group interrogated him about his agenda and Khiss was too much in pain to resist, admitting that they were Shahrazhad’s assassins. After the initial frustration at this difficulty on their journey, the group asked why Khiss didn’t stop serving the dragon. Khiss entertained this thought for a while, but the reason was always the same: A visit from one of Shahrazhad’s assassins in the dead of night.

With his secrets out, Khiss waited for a sword blow to end his life. But it did not come. Instead, the party offered their hand. The sorcerer, Carric, painted a picture of a future where no-one would need to fear in the shadow of a dragon and invited Khiss, a dragonborn who just attempted to assassinate him, to join them. Everyone in the group seemed to agree. The elven bard, Althaea smiled and accompanied Carric’s descriptions. The human swordsman, Dulkan, nodded along. And the foreign elf who had revealed herself to be a wizard, also did not seem to hold any grudge. Khiss was cynical, distrusting and self-centered, and he knew this. But the group’s sincerity and optimism was infectious and the dragonborn agreed. Maybe he signed his own death warrant in the process, but that was then. Soon after he fell asleep.

On the following morning, or at least when he woke up, Khiss led the Party to the spot where the assassins had left their supplies, only to find them gone. Without food and a magical focus, Khiss felt vulnerable, even with his decision to trust this group of people, off to change the world.

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Intrigue Under the Sun
33rd Session

After confirming the existence of Titangold, the Party decided to spend the rest of the day poring over the books in the library and following Armen, the Master of Pen on the chance she would attempt something. But all of her time went to organizing the remaining work of the evening’s mighty event: The 200-year anniversary of the artificial sun of Weisohl. The books told very little, except for the metals that Titangold was an alloy of: A hard yet brittle metal called titanbone and gold.

The Party watched the preparations for the anniversary celebrations unfolding while they planned their next move. After most of the speeches had been made and the mirror lowered into the light cup, creating an ultraviolet-laden dusk. Before they could make their move though, they were presented with a surprising yet joyful sight: Althaea arrived from the elevator!

The elven bard told them her tale: Soon after the Party had left Adalrik’s Paradise, the people from Trodgaf valley began arriving. Althaea helped and instructed them to take care of the gardens and the buildings. But then came a different arrival: An injured griffin, brandishing several orc scalps. With Althaea’s help, the griffin was healed, and with no other contenders, the chieftain of Kjus gave him the crown. With its power the griffin king could communicate by thought, telling Althaea a worrisome story: The white Dragon Alahkoralithis had attacked the pride, scattering the griffins to the four winds while looking for the Party. Farpounce, which the had been called, was a loyal, brave and somewhat simple-minded creature, so he had continued doing what he thought was important: Kill orcs and become King.

Althaea, figuring that the Paradise was safer if she left for somewhere else, asked Farpounce to take her back home to Melenne. With nothing else to do, the griffin agreed and the pair took to the skies. After a cold and windy journey, with only stops for resting and feasting on a deer, they arrived in the Nailo Estate. Bade gave them a warm welcome, and a letter from Anthea, instructing Althaea to go to Kolmhaag if she wanted to rejoin the Party. Despite the inviting rest and recuperation that the Moon on the Rise promised, Althaea continued to Kolmhaag, where she was further instructed by Vulcan to take to the Depths, where the Party had gone. She did and her search was over.

Now again reunited, the Party began working. With Althaea’s dancing and pleasant discourse, they managed to make an impression on Karl, the Master of the Anvil. They invited him to their quarters and asked him about Titangold, showing the Dragonslayer’s glaive tip. Seeing the material roused his suspicions which Carric obfuscated by insinuating that they were rogue wizards. Apparently satisfied by the answer, Karl explained that while he knew about Titangold, they couldn’t forge it in Weisohl. Based on his sincere outlook, the Party decided that he probably didn’t know anything about the clandestine veil surrounding Umura.

Their next plan was to use Antinua’s divinations and try to locate any outgoing Titanbone crates. The wizard’s trail led them to a warehouse which she infiltrated by transforming into mist. From there, she found a guarded wagon belonging to a dwarf named Rhuben Ariman, containing gold coins with Avarothul’s visage and masks worn by the Followers of the Guardian. After delivering the information to the Party, she learned that Avarothul was the second dragon who had fallen to the Dragonslayer.

With this information the Party joined a group of rowdy traders who were enjoying the evening. With clever banter they managed to find and talk with Rhuben, who attempted to oust the Party by a code phrase. With an incredibly insightful, not to mention lucky, guess by Dulkan, aided by Althaea, they managed to slip past Rhuben’s guard. Soon after he left for his office, where Antinua followed. An intense discussion followed where Rhuben slipped that he was taking orders from Umura and at least co-operated with the Followers of the Guardian, but unfortunately Antinua’s careful approach was rebutted and Rhuben directed her to talk to her superiors.

Despite this setback, now they had their target. After Rhuben had left for his home, the Party investigated his office, aided by the mages’ magics. From inside they found several hidden work agreements and a permanent, confidential reservation of a steam room and a suite in The Melting Sorrow, a public bath.

As midnight was rapidly approaching, the Party infiltrated the bathhouse, eventually finding a room with a drunk dwarf named Dolmyr inside. Antinua changed her appearance and talked with him, expecting again a battle of wits. But Dolmyr was not a subtle person. Drunk as he was, he bragged about being the caravan leader who brings supplies to Umura. With a clever usage of cards and her wits, Antinua managed to easily gain the location and the directions to the workshop of the legendary dwarven smith.

Finally, the way to their goal was clear.

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The Weeping Cavern
32nd Session

The 7th of Descent dawned cold and rainy. After having spent the night at the Nailo Estate, the Party prepared for their journey to Kolmhaag and the dwarf territories below. Dulkan left to find Borel and Glinish, while Lady Antinua and Carric delved into Duskport’s library to find any accounts with similarities to Lady Alexha’s condition. Both endeavors ended in failure.

Both books and a bard dancer called Whirl being unable to shed light on Alexha’s situation, and the two mages returned to the Huntress, where Dulkan had found a worrisome fact: Borel had apparently knocked two sailors unconscious and left with the Assassin’s Boots and Ixthoth’s Ring. Glinish had given chase. Despite Dulkan’s efforts, neither was to be found.

After waiting one more day, the Party had to set sail, having now lost three members, although providence had brought Lady Antinua to them. By 9th of Descent they arrived to find Kolmhaag under siege by the greenskins to the east of the Weeping Mountain. The citizenry was united under Lord Uratha’s leadership to face their ancient enemy. But the Party had no time to spare for the battles of Kolmhaag, they needed to get deeper into the Depths. Dulkan’s mentor and friend Vulkan gave him a letter that would allow him access to the dwarven elevator that took them deep underground. Before boarding, they spent a lot of their fortune preparing for the trials and tribulations of the Depths and to arrange magical goods to be shipped to their wizard lair of Assarna.

The next day, 10th of Descent, they indeed descended. The elevator took them to a tunnel where strange fungus growing on the walls shed ultraviolet light, casting the Party in a strange glow. A short walk forward took them to the heart of Weisohl, a dwarf name for “The Weeping Cavern”. A humongous, egg-shaped cavern where a ball of reflective metal illuminated the entire room with warm light reminiscent of the Sun. The edges of the cave were circled by walkways and doors, and every surface was covered by either green plantings, rich tapestries or colourful paints. From two cave mouths, streams of water flowed down to the bottom, where a water reservoir lay, covered in lilies.

As they took the sights in, the Party planned their next move. They knew from Dulkan’s experience that the dwarven community was ruled by four Masters: Masters of Coin, Anvil, Pick and Pen, responsible for Trade, Smithing, Mining and Culture, respectively; The lifeblood of dwarven underground existence. Guided by a greeter, they headed first to Armen, the Master of Pen, figuring that the keeper of culture would know of dwarven myths. But as they approached the tattooed lady and asked their questions, she rebuffed them, evading their questions and challenging their motivations. Lady Antinua’s keen eye saw that she was concerned, but for what they could not find out. Eventually, she just left them with a dwarven guidance: Follow the money.

Puzzled by this, the Party retreated to their room in the expensive inn of Highsun. Finally, they had hit some sort of knowledge. Now that they knew that something was afoot, they decided to try Lady Antinua’s divinations. With a bit of on-the-fly-tweaking to her spells, she attempted to locate the same substance that the glaive tip was made from. They did: A small sliver, somewhere in the underground city. Without wasting time, Carric turned them invisible and the Party headed to find that sliver. It was found in an obscure museum of materials in the crafts district, a knife made from the golden silvery metal, with a name attached: Titangold. After a harrowing close call involving a scribe of some sort, the Party returned, just in time before the spell ended.

Now they were close. The truth of the Dragonslayer’s weapon was very, very close…

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A Wizard's Arrival
31st Session

Noon sun was warming the otherwise windy day as Dulkan and Carric arrived in the Nailo manor to see Lady Alexha Rivan. The dragonborn noble was still comatose, even after visits from several doctors and priests, all giving different, yet equally unsatisfying diagnoses. Carric was unconvinced and performed a rite of magic detection, yielding a faint trace of some sort of enchantment or a curse, or a similar effect.

Pondering on this they left the Lady’s room, only to meet Lady Anthea Nailo and another elven woman, this one clad in pure white silken clothes and a curious headdress, commenting “I’ve seen you before”. After initial confusion, Carric realized that the comment was addressed to her staff, Adalrik’s Protector.

Lady Anthea introduced the Party to the newcomer, Antinua Xilosient, a noble from far away and gave them a room to discuss. Quite quickly it became apparent that Antinua was a wizard. She listened to the Party’s adventures and their main objective: To find Edessa, lost in the dimension of Demonis. Not only was Antinua a student of divination, she apparently had some experience in breaching the void between the planes. And, most importantly, she was interested in helping the Party.

With a shake of hands, Antinua joined the Party. No longer did the lack of wizarding experience hinder their efforts. Now they could plan their next move…

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Borel's Descent
30th Session

The first dawn of Descent came down with cold drizzle. While the Huntress was loaded with supplies and the crew prepared to sail again, the Party decided to ask the local dwarves if they knew about Umura. They found Kessic, the weaponsmith of the only forge on Bowmeet, who told them that Umura was a myth: A dwarven smith legend whose weapons apparently changed the world. Kessic argued that it takes more skill and craftsmanship to forge a hundred hammers than one sword.

With this knowledge in hand the Huntress departed for Assarn for a meeting with the Party’s investments. On the way Sunder had been listening to the ring that Borel had found from the Murder Grass’ battlegrounds. Along with a recipe for a dreadful poison and many dark plans for death, the ring had an even more worrisome whispers: The ritual necessary to transform one’s soul to a phylactery and become a Lich. Borel, who had been ensuring that the ring wouldn’t affect the elven sage, listened to Sunder’s concerns regarding the knowledge with curious intensity.

On the 3rd of Descent the Huntress found herself docked on the rocky southern coast of Assarna. The Party took a longboat to the partly submerged dock and were greeted by an unknown dragonborn. After a confused greeting, the dragonborn was revealed to be a villager from nearby that Kenkirk and Pivot had hired to restore the Wizard lair to a working condition. The previously dark and foreboding dungeon was bustling with repairs and organisation. The wizards themselves were happy to see the Party and to present their efforts. While the current magical object they were working with wasn’t ready, the place itself was starting to become a proper magical nexus.

The duo knew about Umura more than Kessic: Many tomes of magical knowledge had mentioned methods of enchantment and forging that were attributed to Umura. How to find the dwarf clan or person they had no idea.

What made the wizards extremely giddy was the spellbook of Adalrik. Finally the Party had someone that could read the arcane texts and translate their content. Some of the spells were too complex for the pair of wizards, but they could start copying the spells into scrolls that Carric could use. Another gift that the Party had was the Extrapolator and its extrapolation of the flying machine. A moment’s examination revealed that the wizards could with relative simplicity reconstruct it, assuming they had the raw materials for the frame.

The last thing the Party required was a gift for Karanox, something to trade for the Cubic Gate. The wizards had an appropriate design in mind: A cube that could manipulate fields of pure force. But it would take considerable time to construct, at least a couple of highmonths. This long construction time was worrisome, and Dulkan had a more pressing concern in mind: His silvered rapier had been useless against the golem guardians of Adalrik, and he desired a weapon to wield against more formidable foes. The wizards stated that arcane construction, accurate as it was, required a lot of careful work to weave the strands of magic in the item. But there was a more rapid method of producing magical artifacts: Divine blessings. Their theory, based solely on their own speculation, was that the Divines tend to bless only items in circumstance great enough to warrant their attention. They gave Dulkan back the vial of Khariss’ blood, as it might be useful in such a situation.

The supplies for the flying machine and the necessity of asking dwarves about Umura gave the Party their next destination: Kolmhaag. Seeing as their gift would take time to become reality, the Party decided not to hurry and first spend the rest of the night in Arry, which was just a couple of hours eastward.

In the relaxed town of Arry the Party headed to the Golden Goat where they learned the news from Dusk Coast. The situation in their pride and joy was cloudy and stormy: The greenskins from the Steel Plains were attacking the Long Wall to the north, Kolmhaag was apparently under siege by their ancient nemeses from the Drylands, and Shahrazhad’s people were attacking the provinces south. The neighboring dragons were finally making their move on the carcass of Khariss’ domain. But the spirit of unified Dusk Coast was high and the people were fighting back. In Arry, as Alexha had not arisen from her coma, Agent Kerach had taken her place. Curiously, Timothy had not risen to control the region and had left to paths unknown.

The following day, 4th of Descent, the Party met shortly with Kerach before leaving towards Duskport. The dragonborn felt tired and haggard, obviously struggling with the political responsibility and keeping up Alexha’s optimistic legacy. Two days later, on 6th of Descent the Party landed on Duskport, the familiar city rendered strangely alien by the flags of Unified Dusk Coast flying proudly in flagpoles, and the Palace’s balcony demolished to create space for a large banner of the new order. The Dragon Knights had gone through a name change into the Winden Knights, and recruitment posters hang in many street corners.

After a tour in the city, provided by the harbormaster, the Party arrived at the Palace. A large group of people and children had gathered behind their carriage as word of the Heroes of Dusk Coast’s return spread. Carric spent a moment bringing a smile to their faces with a display of magic before heading to meet the Council. The same faces waited them in the council chamber and everyone were eager to exchange news. Dusk Coast was fighting the dragons’ first pawns while trying to keep everything working. The Followers of the Guardian had attempted to get a foothold on the coast, but had failed, which was somewhat of a relief to the Party. The Council took the news from the outside without greater comment, although at least Ser Morgath Kuon expressed interest in the Dragonslayer to keep the neighboring dragons in check.

After the meeting, the Party left to see Alexha and speak with Lady Yagasha, who had created a lodge of Sorcerers, apart from Borel who said that he would go enjoy the city’s hospitality. While they did not know it, that moment when they parted ways in the entrance hall of the Palace of Duskport would be the last time they saw Borel for a long, long time…

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Unfolding the Shroud of Secrets
29th Session

The Party, saddened by Althaea’s decision to remain behind, was confronted by a worrisome sight: The northern hill of Trodgaf was alight with torches and a progression of orcs were marching towards Clan Kjus’ home. Glinish and Dulkan raced ahead to observe the group and head to the village before the orcs.

In the end, the progression was a small but serious group of greenskins, informing the villagers that Alahkoralithis, the dragon master of the orcs, demanded to know who killed their sentries in the tower. Dulkan, with his intense dislike of the beings, suggested the clan chiefs to inform the orcs that the party was heading to the western mountains, hoping that the griffins would kill the group. The gambit worked and the orcs left. The Party, not wanting to leave the village to suffer the consequences of their quest, decided to remain behind and observe the situation.

The next day, 21st of Shedding, the Party had discovered that the group of orcs had indeed been slain by the griffins; A reminder of the creatures’ fierce nature. They also had learned via a clandestine scouting trip, that the orcs were not massing to attack, but their stronghold was, in fact, a dragon’s citadel. They returned to the village to inform the clans that the orcs were not the threat; The dragon was. Knowing their vengeful nature, the Party suggested that the clans move south, where they could also find Adalrik’s Paradise, a haven for at least some.

As the village started packing, dejected, the Party also left back towards the Huntress. The journey took two days, which were filled mostly with travel and extrapolating the items they had collected. The first one they attempted was the fragment left in Khariss’ heart. The Extrapolator drew into the air a vision of a beautiful and terrifying glaive, gleaming gold and silver, blade impossibly sharp. The glaive was currently in a barrel filled with other impressively crafted weapons in various stages of disrepair. But there was a single dwarvish rune present in both the glaive and the tools on the barrel: Umura. Despite Dulkan’s knowledge of dwarvish clans in and out of Kolmhaag, the name eluded him. Regardless, now they had a name.

The next day they extrapolated another object: The hand Borel had found. It proved problematic for the divination device: It showed simultaneously a rotting hand that it was, a rotting yet walking corpse of Ixthoth, and also a golden chalice, encased in a lead box, shifting between the images, as if it couldn’t decide what the real rotting hand was. The information did not show anything helpful, except the nature of the phylactery of the Lich.

The arrival to Fargrave was also uneventful, and the Party was reunited with the Huntress and her crew. On the ship, as the Party was planning their next destination, Glinish sent a message to Thivaraxia, informing that they had found out a detail about hte Dragonslayer. Her answer was brief: She congratulated them and told them that she had something for them.

On the week-long voyage the Party extrapolated the rest of their intriguing items: The broken object held by the dwarf in the Hydra’s lair and the flying cloak. The object was a strange, round, book-like map, pointing out several points on the Realm… And other places. The cloak, however, proved to be a part of a huge, hollow bird-like machine, along with a ring they had found and the large fan. Drawing blueprints of the device, the wizards in Assarna could now construct it! With the rest of the time the Party attempted to extrapolate on Edessa, but she was still on the other side of the Void.

On the 30th of Shedding, the Huntress landed in Bowmeet. After a quick chat with the harbormaster they found out that the Patron of Shadow was slowly but surely taking over the city with the people’s support. Not wanting to interfere further with the politics, the Party headed directly for Thivaraxia’s lair. Inside, Thivaraxia received the party, pleased with their progress. She told them that she had discovered the existence of a magical object, used in the Age of War to attack the daemons: The Cubic Gate. One had survived the time, ending up in the dragon Karanox’s hoard. Daunted with the prospect of having to request or steal the Cubic Gate from Karanox, Thivaraxia offered her aid… Provided the Party find Umura and ask them about their involvement with the Dragonslayer.

Dulkan and Carric asked Thivaraxia with one more favour: They had one scroll with a messaging spell powerful enough to cross the boundaries of the planes written on it, and they required the assistance of a wizard to help Dulkan cast it. The dragon gave them access to one serving her, and so the party found themselves in a damp, improvised wizard laboratory, where one slightly unhappy arcanist was waiting. The process of learning to cast just the one spell took the entire evening, and finally Dulkan unleashed the magical energies from the words in the parchment. They proved too much, and the spell was miscast. Instead of sending his message to Edessa, he heard her thoughts for a brief moment:

…I hope he knows what he is doing, the distance is too far… Wait, that’s weird. Almost like… magic? But I’m not casting anything right…

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The Extrapolator
28th Session

After dealing with the golems, the Party again gathered and decided to examine the rest of the smaller towers. One was an impressive water tower, providing a pool and a shower. The other one was a divining tower, containing little mementos and fragments of objects… and people. On the top of the divining tower was a lantern-like, magical object.

This object was their goal: Adalrik’s greatest creation, the Extrapolator. The object’s name and function the party’s Arcane masters discovered from testing and the main tower, which they explored the following day. The Extrapolator was the pinnacle of Adalrik’s research into the nature of divination: It could extrapolate the true nature of objects, what “group” they belonged in and what the group’s current status was.

By feeding the lantern Edessa’s mementos that Dulkan had brought with him, the Party hoped to gain knowledge in where she was. The Extrapolator worked, displaying Edessa based on her lucky coin and dagger… but as they attempted to infer her status, the device fizzled. The only explanation was that she was beyond the barriers that separate the planes from each other. While this news was disheartening, the party could rest easy with the Daemon situation: If Edessa was in another plane, she wasn’t constructing their portal.

Along with information about the device, Adalrik’s main tower provided some useful potions, scrolls and other insight, which the party loaded themselves up with as much as possible. Adalrik, ever the foreseer, had written a helpful note to anyone intruding in his tower, beseeching any visitors to not defile the place and leave his servants alone. After gaining everything they needed, and dispelling the enchantment hounding Glinish along the way, Carric and Althaea decided to leave and not disturb the wondrous paradise any further. But as soon as they were leaving, Borel spotted a little creature attempting to hide from the Party: Adalrik’s homekeeper, a homonculus. Enraged by the defences of the lair, Borel interrogated the creature. Despite Althaea’s and Carric’s protestations, and the sorry nature of the being, he ripped it apart, killing the last remaining keeper of Adalrik’s home. No longer would the main tower have a tireless servant keeping it spotless and in order; Nature would overtake the hidden paradise, burying all the collected lore and history below a layer of leaves and critters.

…at least that was what Althaea could foresee. The sadness of the loss of this beautiful, magical place was too palpable. Feeling guilty about Borel’s act of cruelty, Althaea decided to stay in the Paradise, learning all she could about the place and capture its essence into memory and music. After a heartfelt goodbye, the rest of the Party continued on, saddened but steadfast.

But now, 20th of Shedding after a day’s worth of exploring, reading and divining, the Party was again back on track, with the Extrapolator in tow. With Carric’s plan to charge it with Adalrik’s staff, they could divine the nature of many of the objects they had collected during their travels: The hand Borel had discovered with divine guidance from the Murder Grass. The wings and fan they had discovered. The fragment of the blade they had found in Khariss’ heart. Other options were to check on the wizards now living in Assarna, and even asking whether Thivaraxia’s inquiries had borne fruit.

But first, the journey back to civilization…

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Adalrik's Paradise
27th Session

The morning of 19th of Shedding was an exciting moment for the entire Party. Everyone gathered to the Wishing Well of Trodgaf, having first lit the signal fires. As they approached, the first thing they saw was Sander, eagerly pointing southwards, where a fourth fire was lit. This was the sign they were waiting, so the Party started towards the fourth fire.

After a difficult journey through the woods, along which the Party had had to abandon their wagon, they arrived to a mountain climb. The light was coming from an arrangement of lenses and an illusionary arcane light. Beyond the curious signal was a further path to something magical…

Five elegant, organically grown elven trees, planted in a huge hedge maze, on top of a large, round clifftop. All overgrown and full of birds, insects and small critters, earthy aroma of fruit and leaves spreading in the air. Adalrik’s Paradise, his lair.

With Carric’s lead the Party headed into the maze. After a moment’s wandering, they ended up in one of the four smaller tree-towers. Carric disabled the arcane locks with his magic and discovered an art gallery. Displayed were amateur paintings, signed “M” that told a tale of a human woman, painting the solitude of Adalrik’s Paradise and the love between them. At the top was a platform and a vine rope, connecting the tower to the center one. The gallery tree was dilapidated and full of signs of animal life.

Dulkan, with help from Carric’s spells, climed to the big tree and painstakingly mapped the maze out from his vantage point. With this information, the Party headed to another smaller tree. Again they disarmed the locks, but this time they faced an added protection: A magic glyph activated when Glinish stepped inside, instilling a command to him: Bring a Purple Lotus here, or die. Not willing to die, the ranger headed out to find the rare plant from the maze. The rest headed inside, carefully. This tower was a home at some point, possibly belonging to the painter, the mysterious “M”. Carric and Borel broke into a locked room, later revealed to be her bedroom. Here Carric, using his magic vision, spotted another glyph. Seeing no way to pass it, he decided to brave it. The glyph triggered, and a voice commanded Carric to find a pink diamond and bring it to the bedroom… or die.

Braving the spell, Carric attempted to dispel the spell. The dispel worked, but not before the command nearly killed him. During their investigations, the guardians of the place finally located the Party. Two massive golems, made from stone and clay, attacked them. After a short but furious battle, Borel and Dulkan were in bad shape and both spellcasters were running out of spells. But finally, they had defeated all the guardians of Adalrik’s Paradise, and were ready to explore the rest of the amazing garden…

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Hail to the King!
26th Session

Fog rolled in Trodgaf the following day 18th of Shedding, an omen of things to come. As the last tower on their list was the one occupied by griffins, the Party split in two: Sunder and Carric remained by the well in the village ruins, ready to observe the horizon as the flames were lit. The rest left to the Western tower. Before they left, Althaea spoke with the severed orc head. The head was not very forthcoming, but they did learn one thing: Alahkoralithis, a young white Dragon was controlling them.

The ascent to the signal tower was fearful: Borel’s attempted infiltration was spotted by the keen-eyed sentinel griffin, and the following situation escalated into violence. As the sentinel grabbed the warrior, the rest of the Party attacked it, prompting the creature to drop him. Not willing to plummet to his death, Borel held on and managed to land more or less safely to the top. As Dulkan raced up, Althaea revealed that her musical aptitude had pierced the veil of space: She teleported herself and Glinish to the top to aid their friend. Glinish, using her own magical talents, warned the griffin to cease hostilities. But Borel’s rage made it difficult, and only Althaea’s voice managed to calm him down, just before more griffins arrived.

Taking cover inside the tower allowed the Party to finally negotiate with the flying lion-eagles. Piecing together from their speech, the griffins had lost the mark of their King: An apparently talking crown. It was lost in a place they called Murder Grass, where occasionally some griffins left to quest for it. Only some returned. Softer hearts prevailed, and the Party agreed to search for the crown, provided they allowed them to clear the top of the tower, which had apparently been the nest of the King.

After beholding the map of the Murder Grass the griffins had meticulously created, the Party was flown over the mountains to the East, in a chilly and exhilarating flying journey. Eventually they landed at the edge of a plain next to a river: The Murder Grass. Glinish’ concentrated on the land and sensed the foul stench of the Undead permeating the area.

Borel had an ulterior motive to aid the griffins: He had a mysterious feeling that he would find that which he sought at the what proved to be an ancient battleground. He led the party into the fog, guided by the feeling. Along the way the Party exhumed a half-buried fallen soldier, and with Althaea’s magic learned of the battlefield: The Griffin King, wearing a crown, had been spotted attacking the left flank. The soldier and the King had belonged in the army of a forgotten Dragon against a chilling foe: A Lich.

As the Party neared the place Borel was taking them, the fog became more oppressive, and the ghosts of the ancient battle mixed with its present state. Eventually the Party found the ghostly remains of a command tent, inside of which skeletons and a dark apparition still speculated on the ancient battle plans, overseen by a corpse sitting on a throne. The only real aspect of the corpse was its hand and a ring on its finger.

Grasping the hand was a nearly fatal choice. The undead remnants of the soldiers noticed the Party’s presence and promptly attacked them. The Party dispatched them, but not before the wraith nearly killed Borel with its life-draining energies. The mad dash away from the camp was also a harrying experience, as skeletal horse archers gave chase. But eventually the Party escaped, worn and spent, grasping the hand and the ring, which muttered quiet words: Some sort of task list.

Still, the griffin King’s crown was to be found. The Party explored the battleground and managed to deduce the location of the left flank by listening to an ancient siege engine crew’s ghostly commands from a nearby hill. In the location they found a ghostly griffin with a crown on its head, taking cover from very real arrows occasionally launched from the fog. Pretending to be its reinforcements, the Party attacked the being shooting arrows: An undead commander of some sort. The two sides met in a conflict, echoing the events that unfolded centuries ago. And, like in the past, the living were victorious. The ghost of the griffin King, his ancient enemy slain, finally allowed itself to rest, falling inside a small mound. Inside the Party found the King’s bones, along with a golden crown.

As the Party returned to the tower with their airborne ride, Althaea noticed that as long as she held the crown-like helmet, she could understand and speak the griffins’ cries and keens. With this ability they negotiated the griffins’ a new tradition: The next full highmoon, the one griffin that brought in most dead greenskins to the village of Kjus would be the next King.

The rest of the evening the Party used to recuperate, clear out the signal tower and deliver the crown to the chieftains of Kjus. The next dawn the towers were ready to be lit, and the Party was ready to finally find the path to Adalrik’s lair…

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Love in the Air
25th Session

While Borel, Althaea and Sunder were introducing themselves to the Clan Ymgir, Dulkan, Glinish and Carric scouted out the northern signal tower. Again with Carric’s invisibility spell they ascended the hillside on which the tower lay undetected. There they met a creature with grayish-green skin and big lower canines, bursting through the lip… an orc. A sentry, leisurely scanning the southern treeline. Dulkan, owing to his upbringing in Kolmhaag, disliked the creature and gave permission for Glinish to kill it. Two arrows to the throat ended its life, allowing the group passage into the tower’s yard.

Standing on top of the hill, the party saw a small, hidden campsite with the rest of the tower’s four lookouts, and a more sobering sight: A large settlement, just a short jaunt away from the hill, home to maybe hundreds of orcs. Still, now committed to clearing the area, Carric took Adalrik’s Protector and unleashed a torrent of cold on the unsuspecting orcs, freezing them solid. With the sentries dead, the tower was theirs… for the moment. The inside of the tower was well-kept, stocked with fuel. Deciding against lighting the fire, the group merely loaded the fuel, ready to be lit on a moment’s notice. They also took one orc’s head to be interrogated by Althaea and her ability to get the dead to sing.

Meanwhile, Borel heard the call of his inner wolf. Wishing to incorporate the spirit of wolf in his totem, he left to find a wolf pack. Maybe with his tracking skills, maybe under the call of a wolf spirit, he found a pack whose Alpha he challenged and won. After running with the wolves, he found a huge dire wolf, living alone. He attacked and slew the creature, taking a trophy of it with him.

The next day, 17th of Shedding Clan Ymgir headed to Kjus’ village in the crack of dawn, annoying the other clan with their early arrival. Now gathered together, apart from Glinish who elected to remain at the tower, the Party prepared to ensure the blessing ceremony’s smooth progression.

From problem to problem they sailed, putting out fires as they arose. When the clans met, Isadra from clan Kjus was attempting to get Hurna, a hunter from Ymgir to give up his weapons for the ceremony. Carric and Borel diffused the situation with an apt argument: What would Hurna do with his tools? Next the clan chiefs were arguing about the early arrival. As luck would have it, Borel had a bottle of wine from his earlier adventures, and he shared it with the chieftains. As he left, a wave of shock and fear went through the participants: Clan Ymgir’s craftsman, a Tiefling by the name of Hawk had appeared. His demonic looks drew suspicion and fear from the others. Fortunately, Carric had seen tieflings before, so he introduced himself to Hawk and Hawk to the others, defusing the tension somewhat.

When the ceremonies started, Borel had given his golden chain, originally from Khariss’ hoard, to the chieftains as a gift to the child. As the chain was obscenely valuable, the chiefs decided not to open their own gifts right then. Soon, however, the star of the party, Hilde, had remained in her yurt, feeling the pressure of the event. Althaea, however, had a plan. She magically disguised Borel as Hilde’s father and used him to get to her yurt. When she got close to the poor nervous wreck, she sang and emboldening melody, pushing the fear away from Hilde’s mind and giving her courage in this glorious day.

Outside, Tissu, a halfling girl, was up to mischief. Borel found her crafting a mask of Hawk to scare some partygoers. The barbarian found this funny, however, and let the girl go. Very soon the Kjus’ smith was storming to Hawk, angrily claiming that he had attempted to steal his soul. As things nearly spiraled out of control, Althaea again cast a spell, mesmerizing the aggressors in a show of flashing magical colours.

Then began the last part of the ceremony: A feast. Thistle, Ymgir’s bard, started the feast with a song, biased towards the clan’s achievements. Sensing the others’ difficulties, Althaea joined in the chorus, forcing Thistle to improvise. To her amazement, the dragonborn bard handled it well, managing to annoy the Kjus’ people, but at least Althaea prevented a full-on fight.

Carric, seeing the children of Kjus bothering Hawk, decided to join the tiefling. He had been asking about the reason why the man didn’t drink anything, and the answer was that he was an angry drunk. Fearing that the children would push him, Carric invited Hawk to bond with him, safely out of town. Meanwhile, Borel had been keeping an eye on Tissu, who was now trying to sneak something extra in the food of one of the guests. He caught the sneak and demanded to know what she was planning. Tissu’s vocal protests drew many curious and concerned gazes, which Borel quickly placated by pretending to give a ride to the halfling girl through the air. He ran around the partygoers, keeping Tissu high in the air and rolling her until she couldn’t take it anymore. As she wobbled away, Borel confiscated the bottle of hot sauce she was planning to empty in one of the dragonborn’s steak.

And finally, the skies went dark. Carric and Hawk provided improvised fireworks as the folk started passing out around the village in each others’ laps. Shellwhite, tired from her ordeals, thanked the Party and promised her aid in lighting the eastern signal tower. Grateful and satisfied, the Party too decided to rest.

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