Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Session: 2007-04-15, 2007-04-28
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris Talandro
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +4/Duelist 1

What have I gotten myself into? The gnome — Feralis, or whatever he’s calling himself now — seems to be some sort of psychic beacon, since he’s got a whole bunch of crazed people who want to follow his every whim, including this half-orc named Ankya. Well, except for Ankya, they’re trying to carry the gray render back to Stormreach… like that’ll work… since the gray render won’t fit in the airskiff. This is, of course, at Allia’s request.

And then there’s Blaze. He’s still at it with all this stuff about propriety and “fair lady” and “dear sir” stuff. Huh. I wonder why he bothers. I go to a great deal of effort to not act particularly ladylike.

***

I have reached a conclusion. Specifically, everyone I’m traveling with is completely insane, with the possible exception of Sovalem. We already knew Mike was crazy. Swear off magic items? Pah. That, and he always seems to be the first to be struck by whomever we’re fighting…

First off, the druid, Anson, decided that he wanted to “explore the wonders of nature” for a little while. In the jungles of Xen’drick, no less!

We were traveling north from Stormreach, originally planning on heading back to Sharn… when we received a magical message from Viorr Malik. We learned that Breland had fallen to the Lord of Blades… and that now-occupied Breland was attacking Thrane! Ack!

While we were flying past Sharn (from quite a ways away) we could see the smoke. It seems as though the fires are still burning there. And Feralis (or whoever) was perfectly willing to drop that kalashtar — what’s his name? — over the side just to have a look. And he was willing to go, if his master wished it. Insane. Blaze even checked to see if he was being compelled against his will, which he wasn’t. Crazy, both of them. Blaze ended up just flying over (magic has its uses) to have a closer look. He says he saw… well… warforged…

In any case, we’re now headed to Flamekeep.

***

Flamekeep. Kahlia visits here fairly often. Praise the Flame, Sovalem consented to “adjust” my appearance a bit. He also disguised Allia, so she looks a little less… dead.

We did pass by Kahlia in Flamekeep. Considering everything that’s been going on, I’m not surprised she’s here. She gave me a funny look, but kept on going, thankfully.

Blaze, I think it was, said something about making up with my relatives. Oh, that’ll go over well. I think that can be put off until later.

In any case, after a lot of wandering around and trouble, we learned that the king of Breland is dead, but there’s still some members of the royal family around, and Viorr Malik is, of course, here as well. A lot of people from Breland fled to Thrane.

It seems that Karrnath is now allied with Thrane against warforged Breland, and that Aundair is being all neutral. Stupid magicians hiding behind their towers while we make agreements with undead and necromancers to keep the crazed warforged from conquering Khorvair. This is not what I had planned to do when I first left home…

In any case, Malik had a task for us: go and deal with an important warforged lieutenant, and knock out a bridge near the Mournlands, to slow the advance of the warforged. Sounds good to me.

***

This airskiff is highly useful. Being well above everything keeps you from being attacked.

However, Sovalem decided to show off his talent for a bit, so we few between a number of trees for a little while… until we were attacked by a bunch of vines. Vines! One of them even pulled me off the airskiff. I landed on the creature, so I was fine. These new bracers I’ve got came in handy — pointed me right towards a vulnerable spot I can’t usually see at all. We managed to deal with all of them, although at the end, Ankya was looking a little strange… almost as if she were going to go after me for lack of a better target. Ugh. Feralis, or whatever that gnome’s name is, and his following are rather disturbing.

After that, Sovalem declined not to fly too low, although Allia wanted a closer look at a hydra we passed. I’d rather not get snapped at by one of those heads unnecessarily.

We reached the lieutenant’s keep, and approached the entrance. I was all for doing something a little less direct, but, well, this group includes a nine going-on 210 halfing girl, a crazed gnome, and a paladin. Subtlety is not their style.

The first this that happaned was someone let a huge dinosaur — a tyranosaurus rex! — out of the gate at us. Killing it was straightforward. While that was going on, Sovalem did something… he made a large tornado-type thing, and it smashed up the keep pretty well. We were all in the eye, of course. I guess dragonmarks have their perks.

In any case, something survived all that (although a large number of warforged apparently did not) and taunted us. Right.

Meanwhile, Anson showed up. He’d gotten Blaze’s message a while back, and had been flying over when he saw Sovalem’s unnatural tornado. Allia was distracted by the deceased dinosaur… I knew she would want to do something with it. And the gnome joined her for tea. The insanity…

Except for Allia, the gnome and their undead and living followings respectively, we went into the keep. I tried to suggest caution, but gave up eventually. It just doesn’t seem to work with these people, except for Sovalem. Of course, he had his troubles, too.

We first found a caged gold dragon. A young one, by their standards, whatever those are. He was named Andrexanezmanel, but he said that calling him Adrexan would work. Apparently, the dragons in Argonessen are concerned about what’s going on, but don’t want to interfere. Adrexan, however, thought he ought to help or at least find out what’s going on, but was captured. We apparently prevented him from being used in some terrible arcane experiment. I don’t even want to know what they had planned to do with him.

Blaze tried to break the lock on the cage (the cage was adamantine, to keep the dragon in), but was rewarded by a blast of fire from a trap. Smart. Sovalem shattered the lock with a spell, and Adrexan did the rest on his own. He flew off to warn the other dragons, and perhaps bring back some to aid us. All the better.

After that, we fought the lieutenant, who wasn’t a warforged at all, but some sort of very strange, disgusting creature. Ugh. I felt that this would be a good time to use that dagger I keep in my left boot, but the poison didn’t do any good. At least I still have a dose of the good stuff left.

Having killed that unnatural thing, we checked the rest of the keep. Sovalem checked the door to the room at the foot of the tower for traps, didn’t find any, and then promptly walked in and set off another trap, which caused the room around him to start shrinking. Between him, Blaze, and Anson wildshaped into a rhinocerous, they were able to bash the door down before he started being crushed.

The only item of note we found was an amulet in a chest. Blaze said that it radiated a powerful aura of evil. And reading the note with it, I’m not surprised. It said that this kept the vampire Lucan (whom Anson and Mike met before) under the power of the Lord of Blades. And presumably whatever allies Lucan has as well. Not good.

Once we were sure that there was nothing else of import in the keep, we took as many of the adamantine shards from the cage as we could (Adrexan broke it up pretty well, and adamantine is valuable stuff).

We took a quick detour to destroy the bridge, which was handily done by Anson’s earth elementals, with some help from Blaze. That paladin seems to be all about the most direct, forcefull way of doing things. I’ll admit, I’m not much at chopping through stone.

I’m writing this on the airskiff. And by the Flame, Allia’s new tyranosaurus skeleton is keeping pace. Watching her and that monster drink tea earlier… no one will ever believe I have seen a tyrannosaurus drinking tea.

We’re going back to the ziggurat where they found Lucan before, and we’re going to face him. If he’s still there, then I have no respect for him. I mean, what sort of person stays in the same hideout for months after it’s been discovered?

In any case, we don’t want to have this vampire on the side of the Lord of Blades. Although, it does sound as though he’s not willing, since this amulet is necessary. The party is divided on what’s best to do. If we destroy it, we simply release Lucan, and then, who knows what he’ll do. We’re probably going to end up killing (or unkilling?) Lucan and whatever minions he’s gathered.

That does worry me, though. Apparently, Lucan killed two former members of this group. I worry that they’ll be part of his entourage. In any case, it even sounds as though Lucan might not have wanted to become a vampire in the first place. But chances are, if we were simply to free him from the Lord of Blades’ control, he would go about his own evil agenda. And then there’s Allia… evidence that not all undead are utterly evil.

And Thrane is allied with Karrnath in all of this. The enemy of my enemy…

I remember how the survivors looked after meeting Lucan — not good. And my brothers, after returning from a vampire-hunting expedition. Tired, drained, but ultimately successful in their case. I’m not in competition with them, really I’m not, but maybe… maybe if this all works out, my family will recognize that I don’t have to be a cleric or a high-and-mighty paladin to do good.

They’ll probably want me to pay back that money I took when I left. Oh, well.

Player’s Notes

Considering we’re getting close to the end of the campaign, it might be nice to tie up Taris’s familial issues at the end of this. At least partly, anyway.

Now, being epsilon away from 10th level, Domenic has declared this close enough. I think I’ll just take the next level of ninja, since that involves more chances to be invisible, more sudden strike, and more tumbling excitement. +21 tumble => 4/5 chance of being able to tumble through enemy spaces. Hm…

Also, Taris put a dose of “the good stuff” on her dagger. Just in case the vampire employs something nasty and susceptible. Probably when she thought nobody was looking…