Antinua


Adventure: Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade
Session: 2007-01-14, 2007-01-27
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 5

Dear Kanathas:

Again, I apologize for taking so long to write. Although I intend to finish this letter while I have the time, I expect that I may not send it for a few days. I am on the lightning-rail once more. This time, Indigo is avoiding the small children.

I am still bound by my oath to maintain secrecy in the nature of our mission, but I suspect that much of it has been determined or inferred already from our actions. We seem to leave a great deal of death and destruction in our wake, which prevents us from being the less obvious agents that Viorr Maelak most likely wanted.

Nevertheless, some details are not yet public knowledge. I will tell you what I can; when I can be certain that my spells will not be needed for other purposes, I intend to cast explosive runes on this letter, so that only you, Uthen and I can read it.

Our efforts in Trolanport required gaining entrance to a masquerade ball sponsored by the Aundarian Embassy, and the ambassador, Neya Ir’Krell. Unfortunately, having enough familiarity with home to find the embassy was little help in gaining admission, and I suspected that giving my name would be more likely a hindrance than a help—although I doubt that the ambassador to Zilargo would be aware of our family’s troubles. As such, Xame found admission through the servant’s quarters; as for the rest of us, we purchased costumes. I charmed one guard at the entrance, and made a suggestion to the other, hinting that we were important enough to be let through, even though I had “left our invitations in our rooms.” We had a moment of trouble when I cast the second spell, but I said this was an attempt to improve Anson’s lower-quality costume.

We then joined the party. Malik scanned the area for magic—since he has some talent that permits him to do this easily—and found a number of people bearing items of interest. We also noticed a certain familiar halfling among the waiters. Much of the details of why we did as we did I cannot say; however, we noticed two people whom we had previously met, and attempted to meet them again. Mike went to speak to a known spellcaster. Malik and I took a turn on the dance floor. Despite my disinterest in lessons in deportment and his similar lack of practice, we managed to avoid stepping on each others’ toes. We were able to hear a few snatches of conversation. Then, the person whom we were observing changed partners, and the situation deteriorated almost immediately.

Since Mike had not previously met this spellcaster, although the rest of us had, we had asked him to speak with her. Clearly, he has great difficulty in telling falsehoods; she immediately left her table and went to meet her compatriot. I observed the other person’s partner attempt to charm him. This failed, as I expected; the man is a vampire. He drew a sword he had managed to sneak into the ball. I cast dispel magic on it, to prevent any magic properties it may have had from functioning. His dance partner, and now opponent, we later learned was an agent of the Royal Eyes by the name of Mina. Her guards entered the fray, as did some of the gnome guards. Meanwhile, most of the ordinary guests panicked. Malik avoided them, and began to breathe after the manner of dragons. Meanwhile, Xame and Mike subdued the spellcaster. After escaping the mob of frightened dancers, I cast light of Venya, since I know this spell to be particularly effective against undead. Unfortunately, the vampire was also apparently aware of this, and immediately tackled me as being the greatest threat.

As general advice, do not fight in close quarters with a vampire. They are capable of draining their opponent’s blood if given the opportunity. I would have been in even more serious trouble had Xame not healed me, and had I not cast light of Venya. A single bolt of that spell was sufficiently effective to force the vampire to assume his gaseous form and retreat. We were unable to capture him.

After the dust settled, the Royal Eyes departed. It is a pity we did not have time to speak with them; they might have been helpful. How helpful, it is difficult to say; considering that Mina did not know what the vampire was, I suspect not very. The ambassador seemed very irritated that her party had been interrupted. Since she had been dancing with the vampire prior to these events, we asked her for information; she was somewhat reticent, apparently knowing the man as a man, not undead. In fact, we were fortunate that she did not have us arrested to causing such a large disturbance!

Again, Mike apparently is a poor liar; he believed that learning the vampire’s destination and method of travel merited revealing by whom we were sent. Of course, if ir’Krell had been clever, she could easily have refused, and, based upon the fact that we arrived from Sharn, easily deduce by whom we are employed. However, she did tell us the truth; we left on the airship Cloud’s Destiny, bound for Karrnath, a mere half-hour later. We had to combat a number of uncooperative gnomes, and then bribe the captain, in order to come on board so late and without regular travel papers.

We explored the vessel, and found a number of lockers on the lower deck, one of which emanated magic. This might explain the difficulty that we had in persuading the captain; based upon this, and later experience, he was probably paid by the vampire for safe passage.

Even after resting that night, I continued to feel anemic; the effect of the vampire continued, and was beyond the ability of Xame to heal. Nonetheless, I was able to knock at a locked door, and make Xame invisible, so that he could investigate magic found in one of the lockers. Inside, he reported finding an extradimensional space, a coffin, and the vampire therein. The vampire being more awake than not, Xame left the compartment, which was closed soon thereafter by an alert crewmember. Now that we knew where the vampire was on board, we began to plan for another encounter.

However, we did not have another confrontation with the vampire; instead, just before dawn that day, we heard someone on-deck call, “Sky raiders to starboard!”

Needless to say, the following fight was very bloody. Cloud’s Destiny was boarded almost immediately by a number of skiffs. These people all wore the emblem of the Emerald Claw, and attacked the crew immediately. They said that they would not harm us if we let them pass to the lower decks, but this did not seem credible. We fought most of them off, much due to the dragon-breath of Malik. I tried to defend myself and remain out of the way of the others. Xame cast shield other on me. I find him impossible to understand; one moment, greedy and seeking after nothing but his own interests; the next, apparently being altruistic. He probably felt that helping me would be in his own interests in the long run.

Malik, being most effective, was also a favorite target of the opposing archers; Mike was attacked by the boarding party, and knocked to the ground. Again, Xame’s healing talents were needed. As for me, I stood by the stairs to the middle deck, and did my utmost to prevent them from entering. It was apparent by now that they, too, were searching for the vampire. I managed to prevent three soldiers from going below, primarily by just being in the way. Two of them were sufficiently clumsy that they tripped. Unfortunately, the next simply ran me over, and the soldier after him leapt over me to the stairs. This was quite problematic later, since it seems they were not intent upon capturing the vampire, but on sabotage.

By now, except for those still in skiffs, the attacking soldiers had perished, as had the captain and most of the crew. Something happened on deck out of sight; Xame, helpful as always, said that there was “something interesting” over there. As Anson sent his summoned earth elementals, I had a look; the vampire had come on deck, probably in gaseous form since he would have had to climb over me if he wanted to use the stairs.

What happened next was a consequence of something only Mike noticed at first; the raiding airship coming toward us until it rammed into ours. I lost my balance and my rapier. Furthermore, the elementals that powered each ship escaped; one being fire, the other being air, they began to fight against each other, entirely ignoring the falling airships below them. Upon observing this situation, Mike picked up Xame, and leapt over the edge, flying safely to the ground. Anson transformed himself into some kind of large eagle; his new animal companion, an ape, could not do the same. Malik and I were forced to search the bodies of the fallen crew of the falling airship, and found that they carried potions of feather fall in the unlikely case of emergency. Malik took one, and leapt; I paused to find a second, since I know that timing the use of such a potion can be tricky. I was able to do this accurately at the first attempt; I kept the second, in case of emergency. In the midst of the chaos, a bat flew from the deck. I do not doubt that it was the vampire.

After the crash, we found no survivors other than ourselves. We did make sure to burn the coffin. Anson, fascinated by the elementals, chose to take and keep the Khyber dragonshard that had previously bound it to the ship.

We had crashed near the town of Sterngate. Unfortunately, the House Jorasco facility there does not see many cases of vampire-induced anemia, and was unable to help. From the proceeds of selling a pair of sets of magic armor retrieved from the wreckage, the party purchased a cloak of resistance for me in the hope that this would improve my chances of recovering on my own. Using other resources, we purchased tickets at the lightning-rail station, and prepared to depart.

Our departure was somewhat complicated by a pair of dominated guards and two swarms of bats. We were able to evade them and board before the car left. I do not doubt the vampire’s involvement.

Since then, we have had little trouble. We did meet a young, inquisitive and somewhat naive kalashtar by the name of Nevitash. I do not know how much you know about them. His people originate in Sarlonna and are known for their psionic capabilities. I do not believe my companions recognized him as a kalashtar at first. They can be distinguished from humans only by subtle differences in appearance and manner. Nevitash was friendly and curious; he mentioned almost immediately that he was an egoist and liked to help people. In fact, he was generous enough to use his abilities to cure my anemia. I can only wonder how long it would have taken me to recover otherwise. In any event, I owe him a favor if we meet again.

Perhaps Uthen would be willing to cast some protection on your letters; then you could send more detail about how you and he are faring. Of course, I expect that it will be difficult to reach me, until this mission has ended. My uncertainty about you and Uthen worries me, much as my reticence must worry you.

Your sister,

Antinua

Player’s Notes

I actually had this written up, pretty much, last weekend. Which is rather appropriate, because it was all nicely done before character death. Darn vampires. Antinua never did get around to casting explosive runes on that letter, much less anything else. In fact, that letter is still in her pack… in the Dhakaani ziggurat… very sad.

There was also some mention of what happens when a vampire blood drains you to death… something involving the DM taking your character sheets… very ominous.

In any case, there is one little loop regards the “family” bit that I’d like to tie up—specifically, that Antinua wasn’t the type to go harping on about Uncle Uthen’s peculiarities, and so forth. So, to sort of wrap things up with that character, I’m going to talk to Michael at some point about a little conversation between Antinua and Mike on the lightning rail—since she would never discuss somewhat sensitive matters with Xame (she knows what “commoner” means) or Anson the militant druid (seems destructive and doesn’t know him well), and Malik doesn’t quite seem the type to be on the receiving end. Hm; he’d probably catch her letter-writing while the others were in the lounge, or something like that…

Meanwhile, I have character creation to do in my free time.

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Adventure: Whispers of the Vampire’s Blade
Session: 2006-12-02, 2007-01-05
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 4

Dear Kanathas:

I apologize for having failed to write. I have been rather busy, and may not write again for some time. Further, since this letter is posted from Zilargo, I cannot send it through our regular courier. I am not certain when I will return to Sharn.

Some weeks ago, Vior Malik contacted the group with whom I have been working. We seem to have gained something of a reputation. As I am certain you already know, this man is the leader of the Dark Lanterns, who play a role in Breland similar to that of the Royal Eyes.

He had the group of us perform demonstrate our abilities by capturing a large ape. This was easily accomplished, and he awarded us a task on behalf of the Dark Lanterns.

However, he required an oath from us that we would not disclose the nature of this mission. I will honor that oath unless some greater good demands otherwise. Rest assured that it does not threaten Aundair.

I can let you know that our group seems to be returning to its normal state. This is the state where Xame is having a disagreement with someone. Some young gnome attempted to pick Xame’s pocket. This is clearly a case of one “commoner” against another. Xame caught the gnome in a lasso, but Mike forced him to release the gnome. They immediately started to argue. During the argument, the gnome was able to take a few of Xame’s coins and depart. Xame was quite annoyed. I left to discuss matters of more importance with Malik before the argument became more heated.

When Uthen returns, could you ask him about a spell of which I have heard? It preserves the secrecy of written material by destroying it if read by the wrong person and discourages that person from continuing to pry.

Your sister,

Antinua

Antinua’s Notes:

Received information from Vior Malik.

Lucan Stellos, skilled member of Dark Lanterns, tall blond human; has stolen the soulblade, demonstrated strong skills not previously observed, probably magic.

Stole soulblade, sword with ruby in pommel. Orignally belonged to Karrnathi warlord. Both strongly magic and strongly evil.

Sister, Grilsha, red hair; believed to be aiding Lucan, seen leaving Sharn through east gate.

Part of burned note found; mentioned Trolanport, “krell.” What is krell?

Mission to recover soulblade, Stellos, preferably alive.

Provided magebred horses. Excellent.

Valith concerned about cause, working for Dark Lanterns; turned down mission; Mike remained behind to attempt to convince; expect will catch up soon.

Anson enhanced horses, increased our speed. Mike may take time to catch up. Met, dealt with bandits. Heard rumors of man, woman and black coach. They are changing horses.

Caught black coach. Red-haired driver, probably Grilsha. Anson slowed coach with entangle. Very useful spell. Experienced demonstration of fireball. Would prefer not to do so again. Malik retaliated by burning the coach. In smoke and flame, woman vanished. See invisibility revealed nothing. Bat departed burning coach; caught by Anson’s air elemental; vanished by means unknown. Found coffin in coach. Vampire at all related to Raidith/Garrow? Peculiar. Must remember to research vampires at next opportunity.

Continued journey, assuming they would still be going east to Trolanport for purposes unknown.

Found pair of exhausted horses beside road; no additional indication of direction.

Reached Trolanport. No information regarding persons of given descriptions. Assumed reached Trolanport before them, waited by gate several days in hopes of catching. Assumption apparently incorrect.

Aided Xame in searching for information. Audairian ambassador in area, Naya ir’Krell. Krell? Masquerade ball planned in near future, less than a fortnight, involving people of importance. Expecting trouble. Still need to find way to gain admission other than bashing in door. Speak with ir’Krell?

Mike reached Trolanport. Apparently failed to convince Valith to rejoin group. Also had more trouble than we did on the road.

Many canals in Trolanport. Minor trouble with sahuagin.

How many pickpockets are there?

Player’s Notes

The secrecy bit prevents much of the “writing home” bit, since Antinua has no reason to break her oath. This means I had to come up with some other way to record the adventure. A set of notes on the goings-on is the best I could come up with. Presumably these are kept somewhere reasonably safe — such as tucked inside her spellbook. Considering their jotted-down nature, the handwriting is probably pretty terrible.

Meanwhile… yay, 3rd level spells! The small mention at the end of the letter refers to explosive runes, which, while she hasn’t bothered to study it yet, she will eventually, since that spell seems to have severe amusement value.

Adventure: Shadows of the Last War
Session: 2006-12-02
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 3

After securing those items, we prepared to depart with all possible haste, as there was no telling what mischief Failin was accomplishing, or that he had even waited for us. Additionally, the dire wolf agreed to depart with us, and wished to take her pack with her. While Xame and Mike hauled them up, Anson and I decided that were should speak with our driver, and assure him that we were still among the living.

However, we did not find Failin. Instead, we found a number of skeletons, a necromancer, a cleric, and a large number of guards wearing the emblem of the Emerald Claw. Although the vampire from before was nowhere to be seen by mundane means, it was he who spoke. In essence, he demanded the schema and threatened our lives. I insisted that most of our comrades had perished, and that we had failed to find the schema. The necromancer chose to examine us for magical auras; fortunately, Mike had the schemas and the disk, and so she found nothing.

Being of the opinion that continuing negotiations would not have positive results, I dashed back into Whitehearth. Anson did the same. The vampire responded by saying something much like, “Don’t bother, we have all the entrances guarded. They’ll have to come out eventually.” This was not reassuring.

We gathered our group together to plan a method of escape. Fighting our way out was clearly foolhardy. However, there was still some debate over methods. I had enough skill to make three persons invisible, and Xame indicated that he had means for traveling very quickly if need be. Anson suggested that we could simply leave through the opening that the fire elemental had used. I pointed out that the Emerald Claw claimed to have all entrances guarded, and Mike stated that they were unlikely to have missed seeing the fire elemental departing.

Our ultimate plan of action was this: first, Anson would employ his magic to lift him up through the ceiling in the heated chamber. He was rewarded for his efforts by an arrow in the side. Thus, we executed the rest of our plan. I created a mist before the entrance we had used, to obscure our movements. I then cast invisibility on myself, Mike and Anson. While we left both quickly and quietly, the wolves and their dire leader ran out into the mist. Xame, carrying one schema, dashed out, waving that schema aloft as a diversion. We hoped to be able to avoid detection, regroup, and leave the Mournland without further incident.

Xame, true to his character, dashed out as planned. He was either too far away to notice or too intent upon his own escape to help us when we ran into trouble.

Though the wolves held their own, the guards and skeletons they attacked killed a number of them. As for the rest of us, we would have managed our escape; however, we soon found Failin next to the land cart, unconscious. Furthermore, an invisible opponent who could see all of us attacked Mike, who was now carrying one schema and the disk. This attacker was the vampire we met before, and also apparently both Raidith and a changling. I cast a spell against Raidith which failed to stop him. Mike was severely injured, and so did what he could; that is, he threw the schema away from himself. The vampire/Raidith ran, took the schema, jumped onto a horse, and rode. Anson immediately mounted on a horse himself. Watching that druid ride would have been amusing, save for the circumstances.

In the meantime, a pair of men arrived to aid us. I had met neither before; however, it was clear from the actions of the first that he is a paladin. The other is affiliated with dragons, judging by his ability to breath fire. The paladin was able to lay his hands upon Failin and heal him, despite being in the Mournland. Failin willingly drove the cart away from the area, after Raidith.

I find it interesting that cure fails in the Mournland, while the skills of the paladin still function. Perhaps it is a more direct channeling of divine power than cure, and therefore can pierce through the effects of the Mournland.

The paladin introduced himself as Valith; the dragon-like one, as Malik. They had known Raidith as Garrow, and were tracking him down for other crimes.

Anson entangled Raidith, and Malik was able to finish him. We retrieved the schema, as well as a few magic items of interest, from his remains. I am puzzled, however, by the fact that he did not attempt to control any of us, as had been his favorite tactic in Sharn. He might have been able to escape had he done so. Perhaps losing his coronet reduced his abilities.

Why were Raidith and the Emerald Claw so interested in the schemas? The Lord of Blades’ interest is simple to see, but what is the connection between the Emerald Claw and a creation pattern? Perhaps they were looking to weaken House Cannith, but that again leaves the question of why. What do you think of all this?

By then, we had had enough of the Mournland, and left with all possible haste. Our driver was no less eager to leave than the rest of us. When we met Elaydren, she was pleased to have both schemas and the adamantine disk, and did pay us well for having found them. Thankfully, she also agreed to notify the families of Tui and Alain. We could not bring back Tui’s remains, and, due to the impediments to our departure from Whitehearth, could only take a few of Alain’s ashes.

That leaves another mystery, however; we did attempt to move Alain’s body, but needed to take off his armor to do so. When we did, we noticed that he bore a dragonmark of House Deneith. Clearly, he had used his abilities to shield Elaydren from the warforged when she originally gave us her instructions. I wonder why he did not mention his relation to that house. Then again, need I ask when I do much the same? He did not wish for us to know, and I will respect that.

I also wonder about this Malik. Apparently, he is from Argonnessen. He can breathe fire like a dragon and wield wands like a mage. He says he is searching for information about a Dragon Prophesy, and is very interested in dragonmarks.

Also, I must add that I did find a decent Audarian wine to use when I identified the few magic items that we recovered. I will probably use the Brelish wine next time. The Audarian vintage reminded me too strongly of home.

Please reassure Uthen that I have not been neglecting my studies. Let me know what is passing in Fairhaven, and take care.

Your sister,

Antinua

Player’s Notes

That is one thing I’ve been wondering (now that I think about it) — why didn’t Raidith/Garrow/vampire/whatever use his psionic abilities to control one of the party? It would have definitely improved his chances of escaping. In fact, he could have just dominated Mike and had him hand over the schema without needing to fight him. Even if leaving behind the coronet removed his abilities, he couldn’t have needed that much effort to replace it. Hm… maybe this is another one of those “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” sorts of things.

Adventure: Shadows of the Last War
Session: 2006-11-19, 2006-11-26
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 3

Dear Kanathas:

You will be pleased to know that I did not need to chastise anyone regarding Indigo’s safety. He had been playing with a young gnome, and the boy had decided that he wanted to take Indigo home. With some assistance from his mother, I convinced him that Indigo would be happier with me.

I believe I left off in my previous letter with the events at Rose Quarry. I will resume there.

The location of Whitehearth was well within the borders of the Mournland. We had some difficultly in persuading Failin to take us there; he was rightfully afraid of the Mournland, and demanded a very high price to enter it. Mike paid him immediately. Alain took the handy haversack with the supplies in it from Mike after this. It is likely that Failin would have accepted a lower price if we had bargained with him. Mike seems to see little use for money.

What I had read about the Mournland did not fully prepare me for the reality. It is surrounded by gray mist; inside, day is a perpetual twilight. The ground is littered with molten glass and rubble in areas that were once inhabited. The bodies lie as they fell, untouched by scavengers or the decay that normally follows death. I was grateful for the land cart that hastened our journey; the Mournland is not a pleasant place to linger.

We would have reached White Hearth without incident, save for Xame. Our “commoner” cleric was curious when we passed an old battlefield; he apparently detected magic in some item, and leapt from the cart in order to satisfy his own greed. The rest of us were obligated to stop and defend him from a trio of skeleton trolls. Xame turned one, Anson entangled another, but the last injured Mike rather severely. I repaid that skeleton with the light of Lunia, although it had far less effect than I had hoped. We managed to delay the undead long enough to return to the land cart and outrun them.

When Xame attempted to cast cure on himself, the spell failed. Apparently, just as the dead do not decay, healing magic does not work in the Mournland.

I must mention two other things about my companions, if I have not done so previously. First, Xame is apparently a cleric of Olladra. This gives me some small comfort, as the good goddess may restrain some of Xame’s less admirable qualities.

We reached the entrance to Whitehearth just as the day came to a close. We were reluctant to camp inside the entrance, since we did not know what to expect inside. Unfortunately, this was a poor choice. We set watches, with Tui and I on the second watch. I had finished my trance, and was preparing my mind for matters of magic, when an undead, predatory bird decided that I was a suitable target. My response to the bird was sufficiently loud to wake the others. We eventually subdued it, but not before it had removed significant pieces of my shoulders.

The rest of the night passed without interruption. That morning, we made another unpleasant discovery; despite our rest, none of us felt much improved over the previous day. No one’s injuries had even started to heal. The Mournland appears to be a place of stagnation. Little grows, the dead do not fade, and wounds remain as they were.

With this upon our minds, we entered Whitehearth. The entrance, and just beyond it, were simple caves. We entered, and went down the first tunnel to our left. There, we found a metal panel, a door of some sort, which contained a socket. An otherwise inexplicable item from Elaydren’s supplies, a short rod with a sapphire on it, fit perfectly. Alain placed it in the socket; for his trouble, he was shocked by lightning. The door opened, revealing only the rock floor. Clearly, this was one means to prevent unauthorized intrusions. Anson had a hand of the mage with him, and used it to withdraw the rod without injuring himself. We were forced to explore the remaining passages, and found that each of the other three had similar doors.

It is fortunate that Anson had his hand of the mage, since the Law of Murphy was in full effect. Only the last of the four doors did not exert lightning. This last door opened without protest, into darkness. Mike dropped a small rock down, to see how deep it was. There was no sound.

We eventually realized that this was only a spell; a room existed not far below. It was spherical, with a table in the center. There were various sockets in this table, each with a color; the blue ones clearly matched the sapphire-topped rod from Elaydren’s pack. In each case, inserting the rod caused the opening in the spherical room to turn to the side, permitting the user of the rod to enter another chamber.

I will spare you the details of our exploration; suffice it to say that it required considerable time and effort. We found two other such spherical rooms, and were forced to search for the other rods. We encountered an awakened dire wolf that was leading a pack of more ordinary wolves. She gave us another rod, which opened another area. As she requested, in exchange we destroyed a menacing stone wolf. This was at a cost; most spells were ineffective against it, and it had its own magical defenses. Alain was injured almost to the point of death by the creature.

We also encountered a total of three living spells. They were fantastic! Admittedly, they were quite unintelligent. We were forced to destroy both a living flaming sphere and a living color spray, due to their dangerous nature. However, I wish there had been opportunity to examine the living rope trick spell. I suspect that it, like the others, would act to do what the spell would do ordinarily; that is, the former two attacked, and the rope trick itself was most likely to attempt to “consume” unwary travelers, and keep them within its extra-dimensional pocket. It would be a fascinating experiment to attempt to duplicate such a living spell; clearly, the duration is much greater than that of an ordinary spell. Controlling the spell would be an issue. If it were possible to endow the living spell with an increased intelligence, one might even be able to train the spell to follow basic instructions.

I seem to have digressed; Uthen would find this interesting, but I know that you do not.

By now, all of us were more or less severely injured. Having little alternative, save exiting the Mournland in this unfortunate state, we continued on.

One of the other spherical rooms required a second, red rod in order to it to open to anything other than a deep well. Unforunately, when we first tried it, we did not have this rod; most of us kept our balance, and Alain had been left in the main entrance, owing to his severe injuries. Tui’s plate armor, however, caused him to overbalance and fall. The impact with the water must have knocked him unconscious; by the time Mike was able to descend with a rope, Tui was lost in the depths.

We did manage to find a scroll for an ordinary rope trick. Reasoning that if we were in an extra-dimensional space, we would not be in the Mournland, and therefore healing spells would function, I cast it. Thankfully, this hypothesis was correct, and Xame’s divine magic sufficed to restore all of us.

Then there was the chamber of heat and flame, where the schemas were kept and guarded by a pair of fire elementals. I did not enter, for I had already exhausted most of my magic on earlier obstacles. Xame and Mike entered quickly, to obtain the schemas and other contents of the chest; Alain and Anson worked to contain the fire elementals as best as they could.

While Mike and Xame worked with the chest, the greater fire elemental gathered itself up, and barreled into Alain. Whether it was the heat or the strength of the blow that did him in, I do not know; whatever the ultimate cause, it was more than Alain could stand.

However, the smaller elemental had been vanquished, so I could enter and examine an alcove that Mike indicated. I had not dared enter before, since I realized that these elementals would be too strong for me to face. I am certain that the blow that felled Alain would have killed me twice over. But now I could enter safely. There was, in fact, a control mechanism in the alcove. At first, I could not understand its purpose; after a moment, I remembered a book I read a decade or two ago, General Mechanisms in Architecture. This panel strongly resembled one of the basic diagrams, and suggested that adjusting certain controls in the appropriate manner would open the ceiling. I did not see what purpose this could serve; I hoped it would let in water or some other cooling method, and I was concerned that it would unleash more fire elementals upon us.

I need not have worried; the moment the ceiling opened, the greater fire elemental cried, “I’m free!” and departed through the opening. That was most unexpected. However, I am left to wonder what would have happened had I entered earlier, or been brave enough to pass the fire elementals before Alain perished. I fear that I am partially responsible.

I am nearly out of parchment; I fear I will be forced to ask Tui for—

But he is lost. I will have to wait until we arrive in Sharn.

I hope that the schemas and the adamantine disk are worth the price paid for them.

Player’s Notes

I wonder if it’s possible to cast living spells by some means other than creating another Mournland… that could become very interesting…

Adventure: Shadows of the Last War
Session: 2006-11-11
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 3

Dear Kanathas:

If you would, please tell Uthen that it is a pity he has not previously encountered many psionics. However, considering my experience with Raidith, this may not be an entirely bad thing. I am glad to know that you are both well. I myself am in good health, which is fortunate, considering the activities in which I have been involved of late.

I must apologize for not writing for so long. I have been traveling on behalf of House Cannith, and therefore have been out of touch, out of Sharn and out of Breland altogether.

I also apologize that my handwriting is worse than usual; I am writing this on the lightning rail back to Sharn.

We were passing by a post office for House Sivis, to check for a message from Lady Elaydren, when we noticed that it had been damaged. We entered, and found the place in serious disarray and the clerk, unconscious. When the poor gnome awakened, she said that one tall humanoid and a number of smaller creatures had entered. The taller one had demanded, then apparently taken, a number of the messages.

Afterwards, an owl delivered a letter from Lady Elaydren. She had apparently noticed that transferring messages through House Sivis was unlikely to be successful, and asked us to meet her in the usual place.

Soon thereafter, we again met Lady Elaydren in the Broken Anvil. A somewhat broad human druid and his wolf accompanied her. She seemed anxious, and did not waste time with introductions. She gave us a pack, and stated that it contained both supplies and instructions. She also suggested that we would be well rewarded if we succeeded.

We had little more time before a tall, cloaked humanoid and a large number of kobolds entered. He fired an arrow directly at her head; however, it was somehow deflected to her shoulder instead. Additionally, a wound appeared in Alain’s shoulder at the same time. I took note of this at the time, but did not consider the implications beyond those of the magical capabilities of Elaydren’s enemies.

After a skirmish in which we all demonstrated our talents for subduing kobolds and causing mayhem in taverns, we found that the lead attacker was another warforged. This seemed hardly surprising, considering the interest of the Lord of Blades in the matter of the schema.

After this, and a quick application of Xame’s healing magic, Elaydren stated that we should leave as soon as possible; we asked her to join us, but she apparently had other tasks and means for departure.

We soon discovered that the sack she had given us was a handy haversack, and contained many useful items, notably a letter of credit with House Orien. It also held the critical instructions, which were essentially thus:

We were to meet a man by the name of Failin in the Bloody Market of Rhukaan Draal. He would take us to Rose Quarry, where we would be able to determine the location of Whitehearth, a House Cannith workshop. We would then go to Whitehearth, and retrieve another schema, which was connected to the same creation pattern as the one we had previously retrieved on Elaydren’s behalf. Afterwards, we would meet Elaydren in Rhukaan Draal.

This task was somewhat more arduous than we anticipated; Whitehearth lies in the Mournland. I did not remember enough of Uthen’s warnings about the Mournland before beginning this venture. Tell him that I consider his “I told you so” to already have been said.

The well-fed druid introduced himself as Anson Silverkin, of House Orien.

Thus, we took advantage of the letter of credit from House Orien, and rode the lightning rail most of the distance we needed. However, Rhukaan Draal is not sufficiently large to merit a station of its own. We accompanied a caravan that traveled there, and defended it from a group of bugbears and kobolds. I learned something of the negative qualities of thrown spears, but there was little trouble otherwise.

We reached Rhukaan Draal without other incident, where we eventually found Failin. He was formerly of House Orien, and operates an elemental-bound land cart. He was willing to ferry us to Rose Quarry, for a price. He also seemed to be in rather a hurry.

The reason for the hurry was a pair of bugbears who claimed that Failin had cheated them. After some confusion, we managed to evade them. Thence, we boarded his land cart, and began the journey to Rose Quarry.

We reached Rose Quarry around dusk. Some calamity had befallen Rose Quarry. Most of the area was burned, or covered in molten glass; much of the rest was touched by frost. Many of the buildings were reduced to the foundations, disconnected bits of wall, and rubble. We approached with caution. By “we,” I mean all of us save Failin, who was content to remain in his cart.

We immediately observed that a large group was camped within the ruins. The details were difficult to make out without a closer approach. Xame claimed that he would be the stealthiest of us, and I did not doubt it. I cast invisibility on him, which permitted him to observe the camp unnoticed. He described the camp as being guarded by both skeletons and living guards; he also observed a human woman who was apparently a necromancer, and a strange cleric. They all wore the symbols of the Order of the Emerald Claw.

When Xame returned with this information, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and chose to examine the parts of the ruins away from this group. We did not get very far. When we passed one of the more vitrified buildings, a group of dwarf zombies emerged. They were burned, covered in glass, and floated rather than walked. I pity the dwarves who died in Rose Quarry; I wonder how many more of them did not find their proper rest.

As zombies are unintelligent creatures, few of my ready spells would have any effect on them. I had not expected to meet undead. Tui, Alain and Mike held them off, while Xame called upon his divine powers, and turned a number of them. However, this problem would not be so easily resolved. The noise had attracted the attention of the members of the Emerald Claw; a pair of clerics came and rebuked the undead, sending them against us again.

By this time, we had determined that we would rather not remain in this position. We departed in the direction of one of the more intact buildings, from which a light could be seen. We entered as quickly as we could, and left Alain and Tui to guard the door. They were most effective, as their plate armor protected them from nearly all of the zombies’ blows. It took them time to deal with the undead due to the difficulty inherent in striking an enemy protected by glass.

Anson, Mike and I went towards the back of the building, to determine from whence the light was coming. In one chamber was another glass-encased dwarf, hauling rubble. In the other were two human guards, a man and a woman, both in the uniform of the Emerald Claw. Between myself, Mike, Anson and Anson’s wolf, we managed to subdue them.

Anson himself used his club to smash the male guard into oblivion, after the man was already unconscious. Anson is a rather brutal druid.

Alain and Tui joined us afterwards, having defeated all the zombies and seeing no other opponents in near proximity. Apparently the Emerald Claw thought that their zombies and the two guards were enough to destroy us. This is at least one case where it is better to be underestimated.

Xame healed the female guard, but only for the purpose of questioning her. She was rather strong-willed, and refused to say anything. He then attempted to forcibly persuade her. Torture is not effective; Alain, Tui and Mike were also of that opinion. Something of a tussle followed. As a result, no torture occurred and no information was given. I suspect that there was little to gain in any case. We then had another argument, over whether or not we should kill her to keep her silent about us! I seem to have joined a group with widely varying moral philosophies.

We had sufficient time to examine the chamber in which we had found the guards. It contained an unlabeled map of Khorvaire on the floor, as well as three hearths of different colors, one of which was white. Each had two statues, one on either side; each statue had written directions on the back, leading to a particular location on the floor and, thus, Khorvaire. One of these clearly indicated the location of Whitehearth. We took this information, and left the living guard. Before we were able to leave, however, we encountered a strange vampire. We asked no further questions, and simply dashed for the land cart.

I am afraid that I must resume writing later. Indigo seems to have gotten himself into trouble.

Your sister,

Antinua

Adventure: Sheep’s Clothing
Session: 2006-11-04
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 2

Dear Kanathas:

I will resume with our meeting with Klid and his “friends.” Between the four of us, we managed to keep him cornered and kill his rats. I have determined that Indigo likes rats in the same state that I like them; that is, dead. Also, Klid is a lycanthrope, apparently a wererat. At one point, Mike and Klid were wrestling each other, with fur and feathers flying. I attempted to send both of them to sleep, thereby eliminating the problem. It is a pity that the spell cannot be directed to a specific target. Unfortunately, it only affected Mike. I apologized once the situation was resolved. I will remember to be more careful with spells in the future; hindering one’s allies is not the best use of one’s magic.

We kept Klid contained long enough for them to arrive and take charge of the situation. Klid was taken to prison, where we explained that he was probably trying to kill us and was likely responsible for the clerk’s demise. He had a number of interesting items as well, which the Watch consented to show to us. Notably, he had a message from his “master” and a wand of Nystul’s magic aura. The use of such a wand would explain why I found no magic auras in Grayson’s office.

In the council session that morning, the matter of Klid’s arrest was discussed. Many people were upset with Raidith. We managed to muddy the waters ourselves. Alain spoke to the council and tried to present the message in Klid’s possession. Unfortunately, it was not in Raidith’s handwriting, and only angered the council. To make matters worse, we had not been able to find Lady Elaydren that morning, which was very peculiar. Those who know her said that she is almost never late or absent from work.

Unable to find Elaydren, we decided to speak with Raidith. He was not particularly subtle. He hinted that he had kidnapped Elaydren, and suggested that we meet at his house for dinner and discussion.

We accepted, but with reservations. Expecting trouble, we explained the situation to the Baron himself, who agreed to lend us a pair of warforged guards to assist us in the event of trouble. We finished our preparations, and went to Raidith’s house.

The grounds were unpleasant, and covered by some strange mist. We were intending to enter through the front door; however, we immediately noticed blood on the front step. That did not appear promising, so we started to go around the building. One window was broken, with a roughly halfling-sized hole in it. Around the back, we found a door which had been pushed open… and Xame, who is roughly halfling-sized. He was also looking for Elaydren and Raidith. We then opened the front door from the inside without incident, and the two warforged stood by, waiting for a message from me if we were in trouble. Everything on the first floor was covered in dust and apparently abandoned. Raidith has strange tastes.

We proceeded to examine the second floor. We found little of note, save that this area was clearly inhabited. In the chamber that was apparently his bedroom, we found a few darts in his wardrobe. None of us wanted to examine them too closely; Tui suggested using Indigo to determine their properties. The idea! However, after speaking to Mike for a moment, I decided that attempting to explain why I was so offended would probably only cause more trouble.

In any case, we eventually found a room containing bookshelves along the walls, Lady Elaydren, and Raidith. Elaydren’s eyes were glazed. Raidith said that he wanted us all to die, and began work to accomplish that goal. Again, he demonstrated a lack of subtlety; I had expected him to at least attempt to bribe us first, or perhaps do something to convince us to let down our guard. But no.

That was just as well. The fight that followed was quite confusing. Elaydren was under his control, and knocked out Tui with a color spray. Fortunately Alain and I managed to keep our eyes shut when she cast it. Raidith appears to have a fondness for traps; at some point, an object was thrown at the bookshelves, triggering blades there. Raidith is even friendlier than Klid.

While the others attacked Raidith, I tried, and failed, to prevent Elaydren from producing an obscuring mist, which complicated matters further. Raidith had some way of making himself very difficult to see. I attempted to cast sleep into the mist, but it had no effect. While I was completing the spell, Alain took a swing at me with his flail, and missed due to the mist. He was now under Raidith’s control as well, and proceeded to strike at Mike. Xame appears to have gained some new skills; he used a pair of scrolls of protection to temporarily remove Alain and Elaydren from Raidith’s control. He seems to have become a cleric, although as of yet I do not know of which deity. He still adamantly denies having been anything other than a commoner before.

While Xame was explaining the situation as quickly as he could to Elaydren, the warforged and the rest of us worked to corner Raidith. I had few spells remaining, and his magic made him very difficult to strike. Seeing that there was little chance of otherwise assisting, I attempted to charm him. I was astonished that I succeeded despite the fact that we had all been attacking him only a moment before. If it was he who removed my charm person spell from Klid, this was a most ironic development.

I was able to convince him to release his control of Alain and Elaydren, but not to let me have the circlet that enhanced his psionic abilities, or to come with us back to the House Cannith complex. We departed for a few minutes, to regroup and gather supplies. Upon reflection, this was a poor decision, since he had left by a secret exit by the time we returned. However, he left his now-depleted circlet behind. I suppose it would have been too distinctive.

Soon, Grayson and a number of others were removed from Raidith’s control, and, due to recent events, the treaty is sure to fail. Also, the Baron needs to find another new councilor. Perhaps the man who was passed over for Aveska will now be chosen.

House Cannith was quite grateful for our services, and rewarded each of us. I have received a dragonshard already attuned to me, which contains a number of interesting spells. I had certainly not expected such a reward as this, but it is not at all unwelcome.

I have become somewhat interested in the psionic arts as a result of this encounter with Raidth. Would you ask Uthen if he knows anything of interest?

I am sorry to hear that your progress is slow, but I am glad that you and Uthen are well. Give Verdana a morsel on my behalf. I wonder what she and Indigo will make of each other.

Your sister,

Antinua

Player’s Notes:

I still wonder how they would attune the dragonshard to Antinua. The “it’s magic” explanation works, I suppose…

It really would have been amusing, I think, if Raidith had bothered to try to buy off the party first.

Adventure: Sheep’s Clothing
Session: 2006-10-30
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 2

Dear Kanathas:

I received your last letter; I notice that you had not yet read my previous one. No matter. I understand your concerns about our communications. I am perfectly capable of being discreet. Also, the courier you found appears to be trustworthy, and less expensive than the services of House Sivis.

We spent some time resting together in Sharn after our last escapade. By “we,” I include everyone except for Xame. He was still rather unhappy about the distribution of newly acquired wealth, and the rest of us were none too pleased with him.

As for me, I spent a large fraction of my gains from traversing the sewers upon the materials I needed to finally summoning my familiar. Uthen will be pleased; Indigo is a small snake, and rather resembles his Verdana, except in color.

After I had finished my task, Tui returned with a new object of his own. He had apparently visited the blacksmith’s and obtained a strange double-bladed sword. He seemed ecstatic, although I do not truly understand his excitement over a bit of newly-forged iron.

A few days later, the entrance of the stranger disturbed my evening trance. She was preparing to insert a dagger into Alain. A loud shout on my part was followed by the unexpected entrance of a number of guards, who dealt with the woman. None of us were injured, although we were all wondering why she had made the attempt. She was human, and her eyes appeared to be glazed over, as if she were enchanted or drugged.

Unsurprisingly, the four of us were again summoned to meet with Lady Elaydren at the Broken Anvil.

Elaydren explained that the woman who had attacked us is a member of the council of House Cannith. Or was; due to her strange actions, she was being replaced. Another problem, very likely related, was a treaty with Breland currently being discussed by the Cannith council. In addition to this woman’s actions, one of the other councilors had suddenly changed his position from being against the treaty to being for it. She invited us to aid her in determining what was taking place. The four of us readily agreed.

As for the rest, I will summarize events as best I may; however, this all took place over several days.

We visited a council session, and learned something of the treaty. An insufficient number of details were discussed for us to know the exact terms; however, it seemed to involve giving some technology to Breland. Grayson and Raidith, another councilor, were for it; Genna was against. However, before the decision could be made, a fourth councilor needed to be chosen. Unexpectedly, this was one Aveska, a lower bureaucrat, who lacked experience, rather than the more talented, and apparently preferred, candidate. The ultimate decision was the Baron’s; however, he is heavily swayed by his council, and usually follows their advice.

We spoke with each of the councilors. Aveska was rather weak-willed, and intended to follow whatever the majority chose to do—which currently supported the treaty. Grayson appeared calm and knowledgeable. Strangely, he denied every having opposed the treaty, and others also said that he was generally very truthful and an excellent councilor. Genna opposed the treaty, because it gave far too much to Breland and gained too little in return. She was puzzled by Grayson’s change of heart. Raidith was the most unpleasant of all of them. Klid, a rather unsociable individual, guarded his door. Raidith himself was cool and unfriendly. While there, I examined both Grayson’s and Raidith’s offices for magic. In Grayson’s, I found nothing significant. Aside from a few baubles on his desk, Raidith wore an unusual circlet, whose magic properties I could not identify.

During our investigations, we met Xame, working in the records department. Or so he claimed. Considering our presence and what we knew of him, I had little doubt that he was there to do more than file papers. He was helpful, however. We found Aveska’s application to the council position, and found that it was forged. This explained why she had been so surprised about the matter.

Although I suspected Raidith of playing some part, due to his demeanor, unusual magic, and being the only councilor with a bodyguard, there was no evidence whatsoever to support this. Furthermore, our time was limited; the issue of the treaty would be decided in only a few days.

That evening, we had a most peculiar experience—Klid, in rather a hurry, dashed down the hallway. Tui and Alain followed until Klid started to run into the lower parts of Sharn. At least Alain did not follow then. Tui impulsively continued the chase, and became lost in the lower levels of Sharn. He did not return until the following evening, hardly worse for the wear, to his good fortune.

In the meantime, Mike, Alain and I continued. The morning after the meeting with Klid, one of the clerks who had been friendly with Aveska was found dead in the lower levels, from some strange sort of clawing or biting wound. We asked around, and eventually found his office. Inside was a note from Klid, inviting him to a meeting. This was not at all suspicious.

That afternoon, I charmed the unsuspecting Klid, which made him quite uncharacteristically friendly. By pretending to be an old friend he had forgotten, I encourage him to talk about himself. He said that he and Raidith kept each other safe, and that a few “friends” of his had dealt with the unfortunate clerk, who had apparently learned too much. However, I could learn little else from him; he kept his secrets. I managed to encourage him to meet us in a tavern later, where we could, presumably, obtain more information from him in a more private setting while he was still under the influence of my spell.

We found Tui, and went to the tavern at the selected time. We found Klid in a corner, where he announced that he had brought a few friends of his along; specifically, four rats and two dire rats. I dislike rats.

Clearly, some ally of his, quite possibly Raidith himself, had lifted the charm person spell. I found this to be most annoying.

I seem to be running out of parchment. I would rather not need to borrow some from Tui. I must learn to write more concisely. I will send another letter with rest of the details later.

Until I find parchment,

Antinua

Player’s Notes:

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” I’m still working on that one.

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