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Wednesday, 11th May, 2005, 04:09 AM #1
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Shadows of Greatness, a Forgotten Realms campaign UPDATED February 1, 2008
Well, here we are.
"Shadows of Greatness" began in February of 2003. I have been its unofficial chronicler since the beginning. I chose to write my records of the campaign in the form of a private journal kept by my character, Telemnar Rohendil . Our party began as the students/charges/family members of a group of higher-level NPCs, who had recently decided to reform for another mission of great importance.
Hopefully you'll find Telemnar's adventures entertaining.
Cast of characters:
Erim Ithron - a sun elf sorcerer from Evermeet (Player: patv)
Liadan Telskaya deSeyruun - a human fighter from Cormyr (Player: Hedrin)
Phaele NaSarade - a human sorceress from Halruua (retired from play April 2006)
Rock Battlehammer - a dwarf barbarian from parts unknown (Player: Zora)
Sandrue Davants - a human sorcerer from Halruua (Player: Setni) (retired from play in 2005)
Telemnar Rohendil - a sun elf fighter from Evereska (Player: Sniffles)
Nekaya - half-elf paladin of Horus-Re (Player: Jubilee) added with campaign already in progress
Nicos Aporos - human urban ranger/Bloodhound/Master Thrower added to replace Sandrue, retired from play April 2006 due to player departure
The Beginning - Cormyr
I have kept a journal since I first met my beloved Erendis, but when I look back I see that I seldom wrote but when she returned to our home from her many travels abroad. Perhaps now that I ride by her side I shall fill this small tome with our experiences together. The journey will also give me a chance to season Aratan, for he is young and spirited and will someday be a very fine steed.
It is now autumn, near to the solstice. We departed from Evereska some weeks ago, riding to the west to the point where we were meant to meet Erendis' companions. We skirted past the borders of the GreatDesert and came to the western land of Cormyr, a kingdom of Men among the StormHornMountains. At an inn in a small town we met with Covenant, the Man whose summons called Erendis forth into the outer world once more. I had not thought that a Man could have such wisdom and dignity. He reminds me of the Hill Elders of my home. He is a knight devoted to a god of Men, Lathander the Morninglord. Had Erendis not told me of this it would nonetheless be obvious for he wears the symbol of his deity everywhere on his person. He rides upon the most impressive steed I have ever seen, by name Califax. Like Telperien, the fine mare I trained for my wife, Califax is not a young horse, but he is as wise as a man and as strong as a horse of few years.
Also with Covenant came a young woman of the name Liadan deSeyruun. It seems she is his student or squire. She is quite young even in the short lives of Men, and her eyes follow Covenant with awe at all times. She is tall and broad-shouldered for a human woman, and her hair is the silver color sometimes seen among the Gray Elves, though I do not think she has elven blood. We had overshot the point at which we were meant to meet the rest of Erendis' companions, so we rode in good company with Covenant and his charge to the appointed place.
As we neared another small town of Men we heard the sounds of fighting. Covenant at once rode forward with all speed and my wife followed him. We came upon a group of young bravos engaged in a brawl with a dwarf. Though the young humans were many the dwarf stood against them as though an army in himself. He had worked himself into a fury and flung them about like sacks of meal. Covenant went forward to bring peace; his very presence brings calm to those about him, though this did not have so much effect upon the infuriated dwarf. Erendis went to offer healing to those of the Men who had been harmed in the fighting.
A group of Men on horseback arrived, seeking to imprison the dwarf for some damage he had caused in the town. Covenant offered them gold in reparation and proclaimed that the dwarf might join our small company. The dwarf had struck Covenant with a plank of wood before his wits returned to him and he appeared much chagrined by the damage he had caused to Covenant's attire - which also revealed that Covenant has a very fine shirt of mail beneath his silken garments. Nonetheless he accepted the dwarf's offer to pay for the damage to his tunic, though the dwarf confessed that he did not then have the funds to make such payment. The townsmen were satisfied with what Covenant gave them and rode away.
The dwarf introduced himself as Rock Battlehammer, a strange name to my ears and perhaps not his true name, but the one he wishes to be known by. He had no horse, only a pack mule which he calls Filthy Beast, though I have seen that it is well cared for and he does not treat it harshly. Covenant has increased the dwarf's debt to him - or so Rock sees it - by purchasing a fine riding pony for the dwarf's use.
Thus our group of five companions came to the town of Shadow's End. The Storm Horn peaks are filled with goblins and orcs, or so I am told, and the town is fortified against them for it is a meeting place of roads. Its fortifications seem little to my eyes, but it is a town of Men and does not have the power of elven mythals. There are two inns in the town and Covenant led us to the smaller, the King and Pawn. We were the first to arrive and we made ourselves comfortable to await the rest of our group.
After some little while an older Man of kindly demeanor entered the inn. He was accompanied by two young folk, a boy and a girl who are his students or apprentices, for he is a mage. His name is Havin Wayfinder. Covenant and Erendis greeted him with great pleasure. His two young companions were introduced as Sandrue Davants and Phaele NaSarade. Sandrue is a tall and handsome young man of serious mien and formal speech. He listens more than he speaks. Phaele is slight of build and red of hair. Her demeanor is of one who finds all that she sees amazing. When all had taken seats Liadan spoke with Sandrue and told him much of her life, eliciting surprise when she proclaimed that she has twelve brothers. Though Men are many I had not thought their families to be so large.
I found it difficult to choose whether to follow the converse of my wife and her old friends or listen to the speech of the three young humans. But my attention was caught when Havin remarked that someone was watching us. Another young human man was pointed out to us as the watcher, and he at once made to depart from the inn. When Covenant called out to him he fled with much haste. Rock the dwarf, who had been sitting apart from our company, made to follow the stranger. But as he strode toward the door his journey was interrupted by the sudden arrival of two elves who appeared by some magical means in the center of the room. The other patrons of the inn were much disturbed by this event.
Rock was most startled by the appearance of two more strangers and mistook them for assassins. His misperception only grew deeper when one of the new arrivals and Havin Wayfinder both pointed to a man at a nearby table and cried out the name Garret, which I recognized as another of my wife's former companions. But Rock became angry and struck at Garret with his weapon. Garret's appearance abruptly altered, from that of an ordinary traveler to a man of dangerous quality. Rock made a blow with one of his axes that connected with Garret but did him no injury. The second of the two elves chanted out some magical incantation, and the dwarf dropped to the floor and began to snore.
Garret was much perturbed by the attack upon his person and made to lay hold of the sleeping dwarf, but my wife prevented him and calmed his ire. The two elves were introduced to us as Jastra Moondown, a Gray Elf who had come from Evermeet, and her student Erim Ithron, who is of my own people though he also dwells in Evermeet. Jastra had at first found great humor in surprising us with her magical entrance, and she and Havin had been much pleased at identifying Garret despite his disguise. But Jastra was sorrowful that her appearance had caused such trouble.
When once all tempers had been soothed by Covenant's good humor, Garret called upon the young man who had earlier fled the inn and introduced him as his own student, by name Fallon. Fallon said little and did not join our table, though once Rock had awakened he was persuaded to sit with us. Though he did not explain for what purpose this group had come together - and my wife has not told me - Covenant announced that on the morrow we would depart and seek a portal. We shall make quite a caravan as we travel, for we are twelve companions.
Last edited by sniffles; Saturday, 2nd February, 2008 at 07:12 AM.
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Wednesday, 11th May, 2005, 04:17 AM #2
Novice (Lvl 1)
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Leaving Shadow's End
This day we departed the town of Shadow's End. Though Covenant sought to begin our journey early in the day it was difficult to manage with so many folk of different kinds. Last evening many of our company remained in the common room of the inn long into the night. Rock the dwarf was the first to retire to my surprise, for I have heard that the dwarves are hardy folk. Once he had gone Liadan took great pleasure in recounting to Fallon the tale of the dwarf's altercation with Garret. Erim and Sandrue began a game of chess after Liadan and Phaele retired for the evening. Havin was the first of the Erendis' friends to take to his room, being the eldest of the humans present. After a time Rock returned to the table and tried his skill in chess against Sandrue. They played still when Erendis and I departed for our own room.
We rose at dawn for my wife to make her prayers to Lord Corellon, then rode for a short while as we awaited the rising of our companions. Covenant seemed disappointed that we would not be able to depart from Shadow's End as soon as he had wished. Once all the group had joined our table in the common room, he asked each of those with whom he had not traveled before if they chose to join his as-yet-unknown venture. No one wished to remain in Suzail as he suggested, which pleased him. When we had broken our fast we gathered our belongings and departed from the town. I wonder how Jastra and Erim came by their mounts.
For the remainder of the day we rode to the north into the StormHornMountains. At midday we paused to rest and refresh ourselves, and my wife called upon the blessing of Lord Corellon to provide a fine repast. When we had dined, she and I spent time honing my skill with the blade, using the practice swords she has brought. I observed that some of her old friends also have capacious magical bags such as hers. We saw that Garret and Fallon also practiced their martial skills - or perhaps I should say that Garret drilled Fallon in his skills, for it seems that Garret needs no practice. I am glad to say that Erendis does not use the harsh methods that Garret employs. Fallon was afflicted with many bruises and bloodied knuckles after their short training.
As sunset neared we came upon an ancient ruin, which we were told was once a temple to some now-forgotten god of Men. This would be our campsite for the night. All during our journey Garret has seemed anxious, as though he expects foes to come upon us with every step. Though we have seen nothing of danger, Covenant recommended that those who went to gather firewood go in pairs. Perhaps Garret is not altogether overcautious. My wife tells me that Garret was once Covenant's protégé, and that Covenant may find Garret's constant wariness a disappointment, for it does not suit Covenant's open and friendly manner. But as I have said, since we arrived at this ruin Covenant has grown more cautious and we shall stand watches this night.
Our watches last evening were without event, and we rose before dawn to make our departure at sunrise. It seems that the portal is here in the ruined temple, and it can only be activated at sunrise or sunset. I suspect that we would have used the portal yestereve had we not arrived too late. Covenant called upon Liadan to use the power of their deity to activate the portal. We made our way swiftly through the magical gateway with all our mounts and pack beasts, Covenant coming after. When we stepped through we found ourselves in another structure. There we met two Men of fierce and scarred appearance, who greeted us as foes. Many of our number went to draw weapons, but I saw that both men wore the same emblem that Covenant and Liadan wear and left my sword in its scabbard. When Covenant emerged from the portal the men greeted him with familiarity. It seems that he had left them to guard this end of the portal, though against what we do not yet know.
Last edited by sniffles; Wednesday, 11th May, 2005 at 04:24 AM.
Wednesday, 11th May, 2005, 04:23 AM #3
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The Cloven Mountains
We have arrived in a large ruin among the Cloven Mts. near the Darkwash in Tethyr, far to the south of our starting point. The two men who guarded the portal are called Brandle and Chosn, though I will learn little more of them it seems, for one of them is now dead. We had scarcely taken in our surroundings when another group of travelers was observed approaching this place. Some twenty folk arrived, led by a man called Nethimil who was known to Covenant’s companions. It seems they are Red Wizards from Thay. I have not heard good things said of that people, and after today I am inclined to believe the ill words spoken of them.
One of Nethimil’s company was a large fellow of fierce aspect called Rogan. He seemed glad to meet Covenant, though not in a wholesome manner. Nethimil demanded that our party depart the ruins at once. Covenant replied in his customary friendly manner that our group might remain here for some little while. This appeared to anger Nethimil’s folk, and Rogan at once charged up to Covenant to challenge him to combat. Erendis said to me that I should not become involved in any fighting, for there would likely be much magic about. In retrospect this seems wise advice, but at the time it was difficult to stay my hand from Sulian’s hilt. As I have seen before, Covenant wears some fine armor of mithral beneath his silken garments. This stood him in good stead against the vicious blows of Rogan. It seems that Nethimil commanded his red mages to cast spells to aid Rogan against Covenant. Though I could not see much from my vantage, Havin and Jastra were soon flinging magics back at the Thayan company.
The others of our group who are new to adventuring were evidently also told to refrain from getting involved in the fighting, but Rock found this as difficult to do as did I, and he acted more quickly. Soon there were several warriors facing Covenant alongside Rogan. The dwarf ran out to try to give some aid. I was preoccupied with my wife. Though in all the years of our marriage I have known that this life she has chosen might bring her death, it was hard to see her coming to harm and be able to do nothing. I do not flatter myself that my blades could have had much effect against the warriors in Nethimil’s retinue. Still, when one of the red mages struck my wife with bolts of magical lightning I could not refrain from running to her side. It was foolish of me. Her swift arrows soon dispatched her spellcasting foe.
In the meanwhile, Covenant had disposed of the loutish Rogan. Nethimil’s folk had ordered some of their servitors to close with Covenant. These people were no warriors; some of them were armed with little more than ordinary tools of their trades. It now appears that they may have been under some magical compulsion. But their attack on Covenant drove Rock into a rage and he rushed several of them. Among the mages with Nethimil there was still a fellow dedicated to some fire god who continued to trouble our party. I said to Erendis that I wished for some way to help, and she directed me to use my bow – I feel ashamed now that I had not thought of that myself. I plied my arrows to little effect, so perhaps it does not matter that I was so slow to think. My wife’s arrows disposed of the fiery fellow. Covenant and Rock had little difficulty in eliminating those poor serving-men and women who were forced to fight on the Red Wizard’s behalf. Nethimil now found himself entirely alone on the field.
It came as a great surprise to me to see that evidently the Red Wizard was blind. He groped about him sightlessly for a moment as he realized that all of his companions had fallen. Then he cast some spell that permitted him to flee the area. None of our party were close enough to act against him before he vanished. I heard Jastra remark that he could not have gone far with such a spell, but Covenant did not wish to pursue him. Instead we saw to our own wounded and to those of the Thayan group who still lived. Not all had been slain; some had fallen to spells of sleep. These were wakened and allowed to depart. Jastra had enspelled one warrior so that he would serve as her ardent defender, but she set him free to leave with the other survivors. Of our own group several had suffered wounds, but none were severe and all could be healed with the magics of the gods. The most serious harm had come to Garret, who had been struck by a spell that rendered him immobile. No one could remove the spell, but it was our good fortune that it wore off after a short while.
I learned after the battle that both Liadan and Sandrue had stepped into the fray against Nethimil’s servitors and had slain someone. For both it was the first time to have caused the end of another human life, and I can see they found it hard. I do not know how I will feel when I have used my sword to end the life of another person. I do not think I will take it as hard as they did, in particular as Liadan did, but I must wait until my time comes to know the answer. Today was not the time for me. Curiously, Fallon seemed to greatly enjoy fighting and had no regrets if he slew anyone.
By the end of this struggle it was only mid-morning. We gathered up our horses and continued our journey, taking on some of the horses left by Nethimil’s group. When we had traveled a short distance from the ruins it was asked of Covenant that he explain our purpose here. He told us that he seeks a great artifact called the Sword of the Dreadnaught, which he hopes will be used to turn back some terrible evil – though he does not know what evil, for his knowledge comes from a book of prophecy.
To find this sword he needs another object, the Gauntlet of Dawn, which he believes to be part of the hoard of an abyssal dragon that lives in this area. He hopes to treat with this dragon, Ssurrathrax by name, for possession of the gauntlet. But before we seek the dragon we must meet with a mage called Gadron. After we set up camp he produced a huge emerald, which he somehow employed to contact Gadron. We should meet the mysterious wizard on the morrow according to Covenant.
Last edited by sniffles; Monday, 17th October, 2005 at 07:51 PM.
Saturday, 14th May, 2005, 06:20 PM #4
Novice (Lvl 1)
Devo here, GM to the "Shadows of Greatness" game.
When we started this game, I was looking for some new way to bring all of the characters together, so came up with the idea of making all of the characters apprenticed to more powerful people. That is just one of the meanings of "Shadows of Greatness".
The heroes that our group followed were an exceptional lot, and the "classical" adventuring group. Here are some details that the players haven't been told, yet.
Covenant: Human, male, 16th level Paladin
Califax, Covenant's horse. (Califax is going to be important to the story later on! )
Erendis Rohendil: Sun elf , female, 6th lvl Cleric (Correlan Lorethan), 9th lvl Hospitaller
Garret Weis: Human, male, Ranger 4/Rogue 6/Watch Detective 5 (a "Theif-catcher")
Havin Wayfinder: Human, male, Cleric 5/Sorcerer 1/Harper Priest 1/Connection 8
Jastra Moondown: Moon Elf, female, Wizard 6/Harper Mage 5/Diviner 4
They've been adventuring together for quite some time, but went their seperate ways a bit before the game started. What could bring them all together? Stay tuned to find out!
Saturday, 14th May, 2005, 06:28 PM #5
Novice (Lvl 1)
The game's been kind of tough up to this point, because the players are over-shadowed by the NPC's. For the most part, the PC's have just been following their elders. It brought a certain challenge to the game.
For the most part, though, the mentors kept to themselves -- at the inn that first night, there was definitely an "adult's table/kiddie table" thing going on.
As difficult as it was, though, I knew this would work because I've got a great group of players -- good roleplayers all. They did a great job of interacting amongst themselves as their characters made new friends.
At this point in the story we've got six players with one PC each. In the next session, we introduce the seventh player. Hi, Nekaya!
Also to come: Covenant's Quest, or "I suppose you're all wondering why I called you here together."
Saturday, 14th May, 2005, 07:48 PM #6
Thought I'd drop in on this as it's nice to see another Forgotten Realms story hour knocking about.
Well, I was damn pleased that I did. The lack of dialogue threw me a little at the start, but I soon got caught up in the swing of things.
Looking forwards to next installment!
The CR-never-applies Story Hour A Chronicle of Ice, Luck and Honour continues with Chapter 13: Stairway to Heaven Updated 19th December.
Tuesday, 17th May, 2005, 12:01 AM #7
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The Saga Continues...
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll continue to enjoy the story as it progresses.
Here are a few more installments:
Among the Cloven Mountains
We rested for the remainder of the day after our unpleasant meeting with the Red Wizard and his followers. Everyone seemed subdued, for I think that some of the young humans were still dismayed at having to take lives in the struggle with Nethimil’s servants. I have begun to sense that Covenant is perhaps not as forthcoming as one might wish; not that he dissembles, for I think that is not in his nature, but that he dislikes admitting that all may not be well. I remarked on this to the dwarf, as he has traveled longest in Covenant's company but for Liadan. I fear that the young human lady may be too awed by Covenant's presence to admit of any shortcomings in him. Rock agreed with me, I think, but does not seem much concerned by Covenant's overly optimistic attitude.
The remainder of the day passed without incident and we rested comfortably during the night. This morning we were startled by the appearance of a trail of green smoke that rapidly approached our camp with a sinuous motion like a snake. Some of our more experienced members seemed concerned, though Covenant was not. When the smoke trail had come very near it resolved itself into an older human man clad in long robes and a tall pointed hat. This was Gadron, the wizard whose arrival we awaited.
He brought with him an object referred to as a glowstone, a thick and heavy disk of amber that did indeed glow from within. It is apparently a magical artifact of some considerable power. Covenant plans to trade this to the dragon in exchange for the Gauntlet of Dawn. This prospect did not appear to please Gadron, who expressed a desire to keep the glowstone himself and offer the dragon some other item from his own personal collection. When the mages discussed how powerful this glowstone is, Phaele spoke up and asked if it was wise to give an abyssal dragon an object of such power that the dragon might put to ill use. Though Havin seemed to think it unlikely that the dragon would misuse the object, Gadron appeared to find this a valid concern and asked to speak privately with Covenant.
They talked for some little while, eventually inviting Jastra to join their conversation. Though I tried to ignore them, I saw that the conversation did become heated at one point. Covenant's normally cheerful mood darkened somewhat. He then asked for all of his old companions to join him and requested that the rest of us return to the ruins and seek the reason the Red Wizard had come to that site. This request I found a bit disappointing, for it seemed yet another example of Covenant's desire to present only the favorable side of his affairs to us. Phaele was quite angry with him, I think. As we prepared to ride off, Covenant approached our group and made apology for sending us away. He explained that his church has forbidden him to speak of certain matters. This went a long way toward assuaging my own doubts, and I think soothed Phaele's ire as well.
We rode back to the ruins a bit apprehensively, having only the day before been engaged in deadly combat in that place. In our effort to see what about the place might have attracted a Thayan wizard, we intended to first examine the ancient temple. Liadan and Fallon went ahead to make certain the ruin was safe to explore. While they climbed up the slope the rest of us noticed that the graves we had dug on the previous morning for Nethimil's slain servants had been disturbed. Rock heard some noise nearby and went to investigate. We had seen signs that goblins had been about the area, and the dwarf soon found that they had been disturbing the graves. When several goblins swarmed up to attack Rock, Erim suddenly cast some spell in that direction. It seemed to cause a number of goblins to fall to the ground – but it also caused the dwarf to collapse as well.
I had little time to reflect on this, for more goblins appeared. I meant to rush to the dwarf's aid, but was drawn aside when I saw that Liadan was being attacked by an orc that had appeared from another part of the ruins. The orc struck her but she withstood his blow and I was able to catch him from behind as he tried to flee. Then several more orcs appeared and I was occupied in helping Liadan and Fallon to battle them. Fallon was also wounded but Corellon smiled on me and spared me from harm.
When the group of orcs had been slain I ran back to where Rock had fallen and fought several goblins. I did not see much of what the others did, but all of them were hurt. The goblins that had fallen to Erim's magic began to rouse themselves, as did the dwarf. We struck the goblins down swiftly. When Rock was able to get to his feet again he seemed most angry, and to my amazement he struck a blow with his fist at the young wizard from Evermeet! It is fortunate indeed for Erim that the dwarf did not mean to kill him. I am not quite certain why Rock behaved in this manner, but I have little knowledge of dwarves.
We determined that it would now be wise to return to our camp down the mountain and meet with our friends. Liadan was able to use the power of her god to heal several of the others' wounds, but we were all wearied and we knew that another wave of goblins would likely be too much for us. As we made to mount our horses and depart, however, a piece of ground collapsed near to where Erim and Sandrue stood. Sandrue was scarcely able to keep from falling into the resulting pit. Erim tumbled in but by some magic was able to float lightly to the ground. At the bottom of the strange pit we could see an unusual amount of light.
A New Companion
It has been a very strange day. Erim fell into a pit that opened before us as we prepared to depart the ruins and return to our companions. Sandrue very nearly fell in as well, though I was able to help him back to solid ground. It seemed that the pit contained some glowing runes upon its walls, though I could not see this for myself. In the moments after Erim's sudden descent, we were surprised by the arrival of a young woman on horseback. She did not appear to wish us any harm, though she carried a weapon of very strange design, an axe-like blade set vertically at either end of a long pole. I have never seen its like before. While Sandrue and Liadan spoke with this newcomer, Erim appeared to have discovered some subterranean ruins.
When Erim did not immediately make to climb up, Sandrue suggested that Liadan should aid him. She clambered down into the pit at once. Thinking that she would tie a rope about Erim's waist to draw him up, I took charge of Shadowcast and began to back her away from the pit to pull them up. But it seemed that the young mage had other thoughts than getting out of the pit at once. While we waited for him to finish his examination of the underground structures, we learned that the new arrival was called Nekaya. She seems to be partly of elven blood, and comes from the distant land of Mulhorand. She claimed to be seeking the fire priest who had been in Nethimil's retinue. She told us that the priest had slain her master. We did not have time to explain to her the previous day's events, but she was much interested when Covenant's name was mentioned. Her master was evidently a friend to Covenant and had intended to meet him elsewhere.
After some little while Erim was persuaded to come up out of the pit and Liadan with him. He had observed some strange doors – or perhaps a cupboard, I am not certain – that he found intriguing. Sandrue hazarded a guess that this might have been what Nethimil sought among the ruins. We agreed that Nekaya should accompany us back to our camp and tell Covenant of her master's sad demise. On the ride back we explained to her how Nethimil's folk had battled our companions, and that Covenant himself had slain the fire priest she sought. She had vowed vengeance upon the priest, and now wished to express her gratitude to Covenant.
We found that in our absence our companions had finished their discussion and broken camp. Gadron had vanished. When we arrived we were told that Covenant wished to leave at once. He welcomed Nekaya and greeted the news of her master's death with sorrow. I am not certain if he was surprised or disconcerted when she pledged her allegiance to him. Rock did not appear to care, but I suspect that Liadan will be disturbed by this development. When some in our group wondered why we must leave so quickly, Havin expressed his desire to speak with us all. Covenant agreed with him, and so we gathered to hear what they would say.
It was explained that time is short for completion of Covenant's mission. He still intends to meet with the dragon and attempt to trade the glowstone for the gauntlet he seeks. But my wife and her friends seem more dour in their outlook now. Jastra has made a divination that proclaims, "By this quest the chorus will fall silent". Long ago some person of power told my wife and her friends that they are like a chorus, best when all work together. They all appear to believe that this prophecy means one or all of them will die in their current quest. I hazarded to remark that perhaps the prophecy only means that the chorus will cease to sing together, but none seemed to find this thought heartening.
The mood has grown much more somber among us, particularly since Covenant has forbidden those of us newer to this adventuring life to accompany the others to the dragon's lair. I think that Phaele and Liadan especially were very angry with this. They argued that we too are part of the chorus now. Rock had not said much since he struck Erim, but he now spoke up and made a worthy point that a chorus must have a conductor who tells each member when to sing, and Covenant is ours. I do not think this assuaged the frustrations of some of the others, but I agree with him.
Sandrue then surprised our other companions by calling all of our group aside. Covenant has offered us the choice of remaining in a nearby town or camping near the dragon's lair. We have discussed this and chosen not to wait in town. As I told the others, the waiting is not so strange for me as it must be for them, but this time I will have companionship during the wait.
It will take us four days to reach our destination. Covenant wishes to move swiftly. Though I try to recall my own thoughts on the prophecy's true meaning – who can ever understand fully such things? – I find that the oppressive weather and the mood of my companions has begun to weigh upon me. I have always known that one day my Erendis might not return. It is much more difficult to face knowing that I might be close by and unable to help. I must be patient and trust in Lord Corellon's mercy.
Farewells and Departures
Our journey to meet with the abyssal dragon continues at a somewhat hurried pace. Jastra has divined that we have four days to complete this portion of our quest. Though Covenant maintains his usual cheerful demeanor, I have observed that he is less talkative than before. This could be said of our entire group in truth. The weather continues to be oppressive and we have all grown tense with anticipation – and not a little fear, I think.
So eager is Covenant to proceed without delay that when we came to a river that flowed too rapidly to swim the horses across, my wife expended a portion of Corellon's magic to allow all the mounts to stride across the surface of the water as if it were earth. I must confess I am impressed by the power that she is granted by Corellon Larethian. She has little occasion to display such divine blessings when we are at home in Evereska.
It seems that though most of us have accepted that we shall await our companions while they seek audience with the dragon, Fallon argues with Garret that he should be allowed to continue to the dragon's lair. I have not heard their words, but there is a certain tension in Fallon's manner that suggests to me he is not willing to remain behind.
Our companions have begun to prepare themselves for greater danger than we have faced on our journey here. Havin now bears a sword, and Jastra has armed herself with both sword and bow. It is strange to see them armed. If they do not believe their spells to be sufficient weapons, then this dragon is truly more fearful than I had imagined. As we ride, Havin tells us that the nearest town is called Camber, and gives some rough directions. Perhaps it is as well to be prepared for any eventuality. Without the spells of conjuring food and drink that my wife can call upon, the remainder of our party will run out of supplies in a short while. I doubt that many of us are good at hunting, other than the dwarf, who seems to have some knowledge of survival in the wilderness.
In the late afternoon of the third day we make camp. Jastra has detected magical wards that she believes to indicate the presence of the dragon. Garret has found a campsite that had been used in the recent past by unknown travelers. I wonder who else would come here. Our companions at first intended to depart at once, but Covenant decided that a meal together would be pleasant, particularly since our meals during the rest of the trip have been brief and simple. Rather than conjure foodstuffs from the air, Havin has volunteered to prepare a meal. Our companions have taken up most of the duties of setting camp. My wife and I remain close to one another, speaking only of inconsequential things.
After the meal it is time for our friends to depart on their mission. Rock has said farewell to everyone as if he expects never to see them again. Perhaps that is a dwarven trait. I attempt to act as I would at any time that Erendis prepares to depart from me. It is difficult now. This is very different from our partings in the past. I try to convince myself that the prophecy is not as dark as my friends believe. To my surprise she has given me a sword that she says is especially effective against goblin-kind. I will hold it for her until she returns and use it to protect my friends if need be.
To occupy ourselves for the remainder of the evening we have practiced with our weapons and determined a schedule of watches for the night, as these mountains may be infested with goblins. The watches must be longer because there are fewer of us to watch. I meditated during the first watch, preparing for my time to watch with Rock during the middle portion of the night. After I had said my prayers to Corellon I went to check on the horses – our companions did not take their mounts to the dragon's lair, so we have quite a number of animals to look after. Nekaya had volunteered to watch with Fallon during that period. She came to me to tell me that Fallon had gone off into the darkness, telling her to wait, and that he had not returned.
After we had waited some little while longer to see if he would reappear and had not heard or seen anything, I awakened Rock and told him what had occurred. We decided to search in the direction in which our friends had departed, hoping that perhaps Fallon had followed them. It is very difficult to look for any signs of his passage in the oppressive darkness of this mountainous land. We do not wish to stray too far from our camp. Rock's vision is keen, but we found little to tell us if Fallon had passed this way.
It does not seem wise to go roaming about in the darkness, so we have waited until sunrise to search again. Sandrue and Phaele, who are especially quiet since the departure of our other companions, have volunteered to watch the camp while the rest of us search. This time we will seek in the direction in which Fallon departed the camp.
Some way from the camp, after seeing a few signs that may or may not have been left by Fallon, Erim has detected something magical ahead. He suspects it may be the ward that Jastra warned of. We do not wish to risk crossing it, having no knowledge of what effect it may have. We have approached it cautiously, hoping to find Fallon there. Nekaya has found a boot print and hand print on a rock that seem very likely to have been made by Fallon. But we have seen no other sign of him since discovering these marks. He has either passed the ward or gone on so far ahead that we have no chance to catch up with him.
Rock is furious with Fallon for deserting us in the dark of the night. At first the rest of us thought that perhaps some ill had befallen him, but now it appears most probable that he did desert us deliberately. I have come to think that Fallon is a very foolhardy young man.
This day has been very quiet. Covenant had remarked that he thought our friends would return by this morning, but we have not seen them and none of us are surprised by this. There has been no sign of Fallon. I have taken some time to familiarize myself with the sword my wife gave to me, and Liadan and I have grazed the horses. We have decided to take it in turns to prepare meals for ourselves. Liadan and Nekaya did well enough at the noon meal, but Rock's effort to make the evening meal was rather disappointing. I hope that we will not have to rely on our own cooking skills for long.
This night we have determined that due to Fallon's disappearance we must handle our watches differently. Because some of us need not sleep, we will overlap our watches with those of the humans. This means that Erim and I must maintain our vigilance longer than we have done in the past. I hope that the young wizard is up to the task.
It is my turn to watch with Rock and Nekaya. Something is watching us.
Last edited by sniffles; Friday, 27th May, 2005 at 07:28 PM.
Saturday, 21st May, 2005, 06:48 AM #8
Novice (Lvl 1)
It's the little things that I like.
This story was started in the late fall, because I wanted to capture the dreary oppresiveness of winter in the opening chapter. Winter of this first year is going to be dark, and heavy. By the time spring rolls around, though, the group will be ready for a new beginning.
Fallon was an NPC from day one, which might tell you something about his return. But I always have an NPC in the story -- usually on par with the characters. Too many times, I've needed to add my voice to the group's discussion, and I need someone there to do that. What is Fallon doing? What will happen to him? Only time will tell.
Covenant represents another important theme in the game: faith that there is good in all of us, and that every bad ending leads to a new beginning. His insistance on dealing with an *Abyssal* dragon -- instead of killing it like a proper paladin should -- is very important to Covenant's character and will be very important to the story. Why would a paladin give an artifact of such power to an evil dragon? What is this quest that he's on, and why is it's completion worth such a desperate act?
Again, my players did a great job during this part of the story. They were left alone -- abandoned, perhaps. In the least, they were left behind to watch the horses while the adventurers went of to accomplish great deeds. They did a fantastic job of roleplaying through the situation, and the tense days awaiting their mentor's return.
So now they wait, as the days move on, the return of their mentors seems less and less likely, and winter grows ever closer. Dark days, indeed.
Tuesday, 24th May, 2005, 06:19 AM #9
Novice (Lvl 1)
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Sorry about the weird look of this. Apparently the combination of Word documents, Internet Explorer, and this forum just don't mix well.
During this period of the campaign I was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemotherapy, so I missed a few sessions. Our brilliant GM, Devo, whose comments you can read here, kindly allowed me to keep up with the rest of the party so my character level wouldn't fall behind.
I feel a great darkness has descended upon my heart. I will not allow myself to think the worst. I must put my faith in Corellon Larethian.
Our watcher appeared to flee when detected. It seemed a creature of man-like size. Rock and I determined not to awaken the rest of our party. When Nekaya grew too weary to remain awake I roused Erim again. I hoped this would not disrupt his ability to memorize his spells. The remainder of the night was fortunately without disturbance.
On the morrow Liadan, Nekaya and Rock searched for the tracks of the watcher to determine if it was a goblin. The watcher wore boots, which Liadan tells us is not usual for goblin-kind, but perhaps the goblins of this land differ from those of Cormyr with which she is familiar. Little else could be determined from what they found. We decided to make two fires in the evening in an effort to light a greater area. After this was done we began a discussion of how long we should wait for our companions to return. We have only enough food for perhaps a little more than a week. We determined that we should wait a week and depart before our supplies fall too low. We will most likely travel to the nearby town of Camber that Havin told us of to seek further supplies. I suspect after that we would return to our campsite here.
I do not know if our darkest fears have been realized, but Califax has fallen. We were roused during the first watch by a terrible cry of pain and despair. I confess that I was so panicked by this sound that I sprang up in confusion. When I saw that some of the horses had broken their picket line and were fleeing into the darkness, I pursued them without thought for my friends. By the time I managed to catch one animal I came to my senses, but by then I had to calm the frightened horse before I could return with it to our camp.
When I returned I found that Califax had fallen to the ground and lay insensible. The terrible cry, it seemed, had come from that mighty steed. Liadan was beside herself with grief. Nekaya explained that a paladin is bonded to his mount in a way that no ordinary horse and rider can understand. Califax's condition indicated that something dire may have befallen Covenant. Liadan at once swore that she would go to the mountain as soon as it was light. I foolishly promised to accompany her. I would not go back on my word, but it would have been better had I thought before speaking. I could only think that if Covenant has fallen, what may have become of my beloved?
As we spoke of seeking our companions, Sandrue seemed to lose all confidence. He felt that he was too weak and useless to offer any aid. Phaele spoke urgently with him to convince him to remain with us. I think he might have packed up and gone to Camber alone, but she was able to persuade him that this would be a foolhardy choice here in the goblin-infested mountains.
Thanks to Corellon, we were able to recover all the horses. Liadan would have spent all night praying at Califax's side, but Rock and Nekaya were able to persuade her to attempt to sleep. She also agreed not to make any decision until Califax’s condition could be seen in the light of the sun.
Other troubles soon distracted us from our worries about Covenant. Brigands attempted to steal some of our horses later in the night. They fled when I challenged them, which woke some of my companions. Phaele was able to return to sleep, but Sandrue remained awake. I fear that he has lost hope.
When dawn arrived Sandrue seemed to have recovered some of his confidence. Ever the mediator, he called upon us to think carefully on what we would do. He is right to think that we have no hope to fight the dragon. None of us are so foolish as to think we could take on such a powerful creature. But we will not be satisfied until we can at least attempt to determine what has become of our teachers and loved ones. We cannot seek them while Califax lies helpless, however, for it is part of Liadan's charge to care for the horse. Liadan is not happy with this. I am certain it must chafe her to remain here looking after a sick animal, particularly one that has always been most unfriendly toward her. Only yesterday he bit her, though it seemed a rather half-hearted snap compared to his usual demeanor. But she agreed that it would not be right to leave him untended, and we are not willing to split up our party.
While Liadan and Rock made an attempt to get Califax on his feet, Sandrue and Erim discussed going to further examine the magical ward that surrounds the mountain. It would be well to know more of this before we attempt to pass through it. Nekaya and I agreed to accompany them as guards. They took some time to cast spells that would allow them to learn more of the ward, which is invisible and intangible to me. They spoke of necromancy and various other schools of wizardry, but it seemed that their spells could not tell them precisely what effect the ward would have on one who passed through it.
As we stood near the ward, we caught a glimpse of a man peering among the rocks at us from the other side of the barrier. Soon two other heads were glimpsed. Sandrue and Nekaya called out to them. One man spoke with them, seeming quite interested when Nekaya introduced herself as a paladin. This appeared to assuage some of his fear. He came out and introduced himself as Stork, asking if we had any food. Nekaya tossed packets of trail rations to him. He indicated that he knew where our camp lay and that he was aware we had many horses, and he asked if we could spare some for himself and his companions. He was told that we could spare some food but not any of our mounts. Sandrue attempted to question him about his knowledge of the mountain area. At length Stork and two of his companions, Van and Essex, came down to join us and agreed to accompany us back to our camp for more food.
Though they denied this, we are certain that some of Stork's companions were the would-be horse thieves of the previous night. As we came down to our camp we found that some others of their group had been spying upon the camp and had aroused Rock's ire. He had struck down a man called Igenhaus and chased away another fellow. Liadan had bound the unconscious Igenhaus and held him prisoner. Stork did not seem much concerned with this and chatted quite companionably with Sandrue. He had not seen our other companions, nor anyone else among the mountains. Though he did not say so in so many words, it seemed that he and his friends were fugitives.
While Sandrue spoke with Stork some of Stork's other compatriots appeared among the rocks to the west of our camp and called upon us to release our hostages. Stork and his two friends departed to show their other companions that they were not held prisoner. Liadan released Igenhaus and Nekaya expended some of her holy power to heal his injury. He fled at once when he caught sight of Rock.
A short while later Stork and the rest of his group returned and sought parley. Their leader, a man called Filit, swore to offer no harm to us and to take nothing that was not offered. In return Nekaya prepared a meal for all of us. The fugitives outnumber us, but they are not heavily armed and they are poorly provisioned for life in the wilderness. I would not relax our vigilance, for despite Filit's promises I am not certain they will not again attempt to steal our mounts, but I do not fear that we could stand against them if they attempt to attack us.
It seems that perhaps we will not need to concern ourselves with these fugitives. As Sandrue spoke with Filit, I noted that the sword my wife had given me had begun to glow. A goblin had entered our camp. Much to our surprise the fugitives seemed to recognize the creature by name, but rather than greet or attack it they sprang to their feet and fled the camp!
(Player's note: I missed a session here due to illness)
Our journey has taken a strange turn of events, and I have had little time for this journal of late. I will do my best to bring my saga up to date.
By some miracle Califax recovered his health and led us all to the stronghold of the wizard Gadron. Gadron did not seem entirely pleased to see us, though this may be only because we were able to enter his sanctum without his leave. He has agreed to do what he can to seek the fate of our missing companions. Toward this end Califax has remained with the wizard.
As for the rest of our party, we have taken up residence in the town of Camber which Havin pointed out to us before our companions departed to meet the dragon. It is not a large town, but it is walled in defense against frequent orcish raids during the winter. To combat the orcs and goblins the town maintains a militia, and as we will be dwelling here for several months it seemed as well that we offer our assistance in protecting our new home. All of our group have joined the militia.
Though I do not consider myself a great warrior, it seems that my training has put me ahead of most of the townsfolk in skill, and now that we have been here several months I find myself in a position of some small authority among the militia. It is most interesting to me that the commander of the militia is a Halfling woman, Serrah Puffleweis. She seems to be well experienced and knowledgeable, which I would not have expected from one of her folk.
Liadan has spent much of her free time working with Mistress Saffron, an aged gnome who is the head priestess in the local temple of Chauntea. Mistress Saffron has been too ill to conduct her duties, and Liadan has been working with Nekaya and Phaele in an attempt to find a treatment for the lady's illness. She has also been helping the local blacksmith, whose son recently moved away leaving him without an assistant. Nekaya has fit well into the militia, having been a temple guard previously, while Phaele has found some small success as an alchemist.
I see little of Rock of late, for he has volunteered to take night watches. He has occupied himself much with repairing the house we have rented for our lodgings. In fact, he has been so busy that he has entrusted the care of his mounts to me. I have also taken responsibility for looking after all of our spare horses. We decided to sell two of them to save expenses on their care, but we still must provide stabling and feed for the remaining animals as well as our own mounts.
After we had been here some little while we received a package from Gadron, delivered by some magical means. It pertained only to Sandrue and Erim, who were asked to translate some magical tomes for the wizard. Thus far Gadron has not been able to provide any news regarding the whereabouts of our missing companions.
As winter set in the orcs began to raid outlying farms. Many townsfolk brought their livestock into the town for safekeeping. Strangely our patrols discovered three farms where everything had been taken, including apparently the people. This is not typical of orcish raids. We have not been able to determine what has becoming of the missing people.
Since all Liadan's efforts to aid Mistress Saffron have been fruitless, Nekaya has volunteered to take a small group of militiamen to the town of Fort Arran to seek aid at the temple of Chauntea there. Commander Serrah and Mayor Corwin have approved this plan and taken up a collection of funds to pay for what may be needed. Nekaya has ridden out with 9 companions. I would that I could accompany her, but I feel that my place is here.
Today brought a very strange development. For several days our scouts had observed a wagon train of orcs and goblins approaching the town. The wagons appeared to be empty. This peculiar procession had with them several ogres and dire boar to draw the wagons. We watched them closely as they circled the town and approached the gate. A small party led by a well-armed orc stepped forward to address the representatives atop the gate. The orc demanded that we give them supplies, else they would burn the town.
I was not privy to the discussion that followed among the town elders, but after some little while Commander Serrah gave the order to fire. We rained arrows down upon the orcs, managing to drive the dire boars wild and send them fleeing. Strangely one of the ogres used his great body to shield the orc leader, but this availed the orc nought, for the ogre was slain and when his body fell away the orc leader soon succumbed as well. A few of the other goblinoids fled. Commander Serrah has sent a sortie to bring in the wagons and gather up all useful arrows.
Nekaya's party has been gone for a month. I hope that they will have no difficulty with these orcs on their return trip. It seems that the orcs have a new warmaster and are better organized than they have been in the past.
As always, I pray each night for the safety of my wife and her compatriots.
Winter in Camber
After we had removed the remains of the orcish wagon train, several small patrols set out to hunt down those few who had escaped. It was felt that this would send a more definitive message to the orcs' new warmaster. I joined one of the patrols and we swiftly dispatched a lone orc. Rock and Sandrue went with another patrol in pursuit of one of the ogres. Sandrue has learned the folly of getting within an ogre's reach, I think. He was fortunate that Nekaya's party returned then, and she was able to heal his wounds.
Nekaya brought with her a cleric called Esther, and an assortment of potions and magic items to aid in healing Mistress Saffron. Once Mistress Saffron had recovered sufficiently from her illness, the mayor held a banquet to celebrate her recovery. We were all invited to attend. It is touching how the townsfolk have come to accept our little group of strangers.
All of the news since our victory over the orcs has not been good. Two patrols have vanished. We set out to discover if we could what had become of them. Before our departure, Sandrue and Phaele consulted the local wizard, Master Sonnum, but I do not know if he provided any help.
While checking some of the area farms through which the missing patrols would have passed, we stumbled upon a corpse frozen in the snow. He appeared to be a traveler, a stranger to the area. As our party examined him, a rod was found in his pouch. Nekaya declared that this object radiated an aura of evil. Much discussion then ensued about what to do with the item. Nekaya wished to destroy it at once, but Sandrue wanted to keep it for study. Liadan averred that she could smash it with a divine spell. Eventually it was decided that it would be safer to destroy the object, so Liadan took it aside and called upon Lathander's might to tear it asunder.
But when the rod was destroyed a dark shape emerged from it and began to advance upon our group! I do not know what evil this bodes, or how we will overcome it.
Last edited by sniffles; Wednesday, 25th May, 2005 at 05:21 PM.
Tuesday, 24th May, 2005, 06:25 AM #10
Novice (Lvl 1)
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Again, I apologize for the way my previous post looks. I didn't intend to make it that annoying font. I'm copying and pasting these from a Word document, and for some reason I can't change the text color or font once I paste it into the reply window. I had changed it before I pasted it but for some reason it reverted back to the original font after I posted it. Any suggestions are welcome.
(Edit) Well at least Hedrin fixed the font for me. Thanks, sweetie!
Last edited by sniffles; Tuesday, 24th May, 2005 at 04:13 PM.