WotBS Lylandra's War of the Burning Sky continued


hm, I'd say we're in transition from adventure 7 to 8 as the war council happened before the Temple episode because some elf wanted to draw the Shahalesti away from Ycengled ASAP.

But yeah, the story will continue :)

next up will be some more visions and chaos and chaotic visions for which I accidentally dug up some of [MENTION=63]RangerWickett[/MENTION] 's earliest posts in these forums.



now that we finished, i can start reading this thread. I had promised not to peek because of possible spoilers.

My thanks to Lylandra who made heavy adjustments to this adventure path to suit our characters stories. I am a little sad that it has come to an end. :cool:
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more visions

Don't be sad, I am really trying to brainstorm ideas for a continuation. That's why I already planted some seeds for further hooks last session ;)


After the vision of Syana, the world shifts again. This time, they are in a forested area, looking at a group of Taranesti elves who appear to be on the move. They see Tharaleth Shelenbîl as the leader of the group and he's holding a young red-haired boy by his hand. They soon look for a place to rest for the night and Tharaleth takes his son on his lap and carefully tries to explain to him that his mother won't come back to them as she had to stay behind to protect something really important. In this very moment, a small, translucent beam of gold strikes tiny Cuin'halar's chest and disappears there.

“Oh, I see. So she wasted the gift I gave to her...” the voice of 41 says.

The scene then shifts to a manor in Calanis. There, a very young Tinuviel is playing with some toys as Mariel Shalandil and Magister Clathan discuss the boy's strange magic. Clathan explains that he hasn't really seen this sort of magic displayed by an elf, but there are tales about “more powerful beings” who wielded it to great effect. Mariel gets that he's hinting at the Torch's creation and insists that Tinuviel's powers are to be kept secret from Shaaladel. They both agree that he'd need to learn control his powers and decide to send him to Gate Pass to Archmage Gabal who's said to be perfect for educating young mages.

The world then changes to a grand ballroom. A moonlit lake is visible through a grand glass window and standing in front of the window is Emperor Coaltongue, dressed in his full imperial regalia. It seems like he's enjoying himself as he tells tales of battles past and shares seemingly unbelievable feats of strength.

The group realized that this must be a scene that happened a few years ago and they are pretty much surprised at the sight of two of Coaltongue's other guests, namely Lord Shaaladel and Princess Shalosha. There is a second surprise as none else but a younger Katrina, maybe 18 years old, comes to the Emperor's side and makes herself noticed. Coaltongue isn't really happy about Katrina's appearance and he assumes that Leska has sent Guthwulf's young acquaintance to ruin his party.

Katrina shyly shakes her head and then explains that she's been sent to tell Lord Shaaladel that he missed an appointment with Leska. Surprisingly, Shaaladel's face turns pale which makes Coaltongue laugh at the petty squabbles between the Shahalesti and his Supreme Inquisitor. He then asks Kat to attend to her mistress quickly as he really doesn't want Leska to ruin the mood of the evening. Before the sorceress can leave, it seems as if the air in the ballroom turns to ice as a woman in a beautiful red gown enters the room.

Judging by her elaborate, ivory mask and chilling presence, this can be none else but Leska herself. She gazes coldly at Shaaladel and then advises him to look after “his adviser”. Shaaladel seems to be shocked even more, grabs Shalosha by her hand, excuses himself and leaves the room at once. Leska seems quite amused at Shaalael's reaction and then asks the musicians to start playing again. She then turns around and everything turns back to the normal party atmosphere.

Note: Originally it took me a while to understand that this was the day when Aurana got forcefully turned into a vampire after an assassination attempt gone bad. And yep, Shaaladel had to be scared as hell. All in all, the visions of this adventure explain so much of the character's backgrounds that some details are easy to miss. But I found every scene to be perfectly scripted.

As Leska leaves through the door, another group enters the room. To everyone's surprise, they are just the very same people they saw before: Katrina, Kiernan, Shalosha, Telshanth, Rihalles, Nahrem, the ragesian red knight, the two inquisitors and a bear. The two groups stare at each other in disbelief for a moment, but then Telshanth demands to be handed the Torch as their opponents are clearly outnumbered. Cuin, of course, refuses and demands that the others leave right now as he won't hold back this time.

Meanwhile, the scenery changes and the soft Song of Forms fills the room. Cuin'halar's blade resonates with the song and this calls forth a vision of Anyariel's battle with Indomitability at the bank of Lake Seela.

“Oh, this is going to be fun”, the voice of 41 says from somewhere far in the distance.

Katrina takes a moment to assess the situation, then utters an incantation and throws a disintegrate spell at Shalosha.

“Die, you treacherous bitch! How can you betray your own family?!”

Note: It took some time to un-tangle the madness that are the motivations of all members of the “other fellowship”. Telshanth and Rihalles were both sent by Shaaladel after he heard about the plan to reignite the Torch.

Shalosha realized this and secretly approached Telshanth (who she knew quite well after their journey to Seaquen in adventure 3) and offered him to intensify their cooperation. But she would need to be the one who brings the Torch back to Shahalesti as the future queen needs to prove her worth to her people. This was never her plan of course. But Telshanth saw it as a good way to improve his social standing and so he accepted her proposal.

Katrina had been in contact with the Ragesians ever since as she kept up her double-agent status as long as possible. But the more she was working with Simeonne and the team, the more she realized that she'd have to take sides. And after she became BFFs with Torrent and after the elves protected her so fiercely from Guthwulf, she decided that she'd never betray them.

Kiernan has always been wary of Katrina and he eventually found out about the Rags trying to contact her again and again. He decided to have a closer look at her, but after the near-destruction of Seaquen, he fell into despair and realized that all he could do was trying to make the Inquisitors spare Seaquen. By handing them the Torch, he would have a good offer to make them protect his city in return. Of course he knew that Simeonne would never give in, so he approached Katrina.

Kat was contacted by the Inquisitors who also knew that the party would try to repair the Torch. They believed that she was the best bet against the trio as she knew them better than every other Ragesian.

Karedan was originally Team Magdus, but Etienna, whom he secretly loved, approached him and convinced him that an immortal being like himself wouldn't need to serve mere mortals. So if one should be qualified to rule Ragesia and the world, then this would be immortal Leska.

As for his immortality... it wasn't explicitly stated anywhere, but I thought that maybe he was the one who cut Leska's throat after she returned to Coaltongue with the secret of immortality. And in good-olde Orc fashion, he decided to lick her blood from his blade.

Regarding Shalosha and Katrina... both are on the party's side and both originally thought that the other was betraying them. But Shalosha succeeded in sensing Kat's motives while Kat didn't in reading Shalosha. So yeah, she thought that Shalosha just threw herself at the next-best powerful person after her Magdus escapade failed.

Fortunately, Shalosha doesn't turn to dust, but she's still wounded by the spell. This sudden attack enrages Rihalles who jumps at Katrina.

“How dare you attack the Princess of Shahalesti!”

Meanwhile, Tinuviel sneaks to the backs of the inquisitors and stabs Ursus in the back. He then declares that all inquisitors are enemies of Seaquen and the Alliance, so the others should sort out their allegiances quickly. Next, he turns to Shalosha and pleas she may side with them. He vows that, should she leave this serpent's nest that is Calanis behind, he'll always be her sword in the dark. For now he'll guard her back against the enemies and asks her to join them.

As the scenery shifts to Ycengled where a younger Rihalles assists what appears to be Lady Aurana Kiirodel in an onslaught against the Taranesti, Shalosha declares her allegiance to the Alliance. This leaves Telshanth and Rihalles in shock. Cuin asks two elves to pick a side as well: Stick with Shaaladel's orders or follow their brave princess to a better future. Telshanth growls at his own naivety to let Shalosha accompany him and turns against the party. Rihalles seems torn, but then decides that he's ultimately a Solei Palantis, sword to protect and serve the Shining Lord.

There is one Shahalesti, however, that Cuin doesn't give the chance to be spared: Nahrem, the “Scourge of Ycengled”. He signals the still-hidden Rhuarc that the time has finally come to bring justice to the Necromancer. And despite being protected by a fearsome bone golem, the old wizard doesn't stand a chance. As he dies to scimitar and arrows, the vision shifts once again to the same place, Ycengled, but in another time. There, Shaaladel stands besides Nahrem and he orders him to chain one of the Taranesti prisoners to a tree. Shaaladel then demands that the Taranesti reveals the location of Trilla, but the elf doesn't know.

“Fine. Then you'll die for your defiance.” Shaaladel says before turning around and leaving the scene.

This vision leaves its mark on Shalosha and she stares in terror at the younger version of her father. Meanwhile, Torrent does her best to heal Shalosha and to explain to her friend Katrina that the princess is truly on their side now. Shalosha's emotions seem to resonate with the room and the scene shifts again as Tinuviel kills Ursus and moves on to Kiernan who's decided to put up a fight with Katrina.

The scene shifts and reveals Calanis, again. This time it shows a young Shalosha who's staring out of a window in the royal Palace. Next to her is Lord Shaaladel who's looking at her with a worried face.

Shalosha seems to be upset at her father's decision to separate her from a friend who she wanted to play with. She insists that the boy was harmless and would have kept her secrets. Shaaladel looks at his daughter with a loving but determined face.

“My dear, lovely Shalosha. I really believe that this boy meant no harm. But you see... he's a child and children tend to talk. They are mischievous rascals who act first and think later. Just think about it... how would it feel if your friend, your dear friend, would talk about your deepest thoughts and secrets, your hidden emotions and your fears to another friend. Who, too, has a dear friend he shares all his secrets with. Soon all of Calanis would know all of princess Shalosha's secrets. Everything you wouldn't even dare tell your aunts.”

“But father, I only...”

Shaaladel takes a step towards his daughter, then puts an arm around her shoulders and embraces her gently.

“I'm terribly sorry that the burden I chose to bear has become yours as well. But I'm sure you'll bear it with pride and master your duties like the noble person you are. You are my daughter and all that's left for me. The shining land can live in peace now. The days when we lived in the shadows of Morrus are behind us. And I swear that our people will never be forced out of Shahalesti lands ever again. One day, when you are the queen of Shahalesti, all elves will gaze up to their shining regent and find no flaw in her very essence. No, they will bathe in her light.”

“But father, I don't know if I can really do that. I don't know if I want this either... being a ruler, I mean. Bearing this responsibility. I feel so... alone, you know?”

“But you'll never be alone. No matter what happens, no matter which obstacles you'll find on your path, I will always be there for you. We are both one family, one blood. And together we'll find the wisdom and the courage to lead our people. We are one, you and I.”

Shaaladel then embraces his daughter and sings an ancient song of the Shahalesti which lauds unity and solidarity of their people and their families and which encourages them to stand up for one another until they are all one family under the bright sun of Ossirian.

Note: I shamelessly borrowed this part from Simba: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcOJTCSyvx8 . All in all, I wanted to show that Shaaladel does have a bright, loving side. If you happen to be on his side that is.

Shalosha is still struck, but she manages to get up again and joins the party against the inquisitors. The scene stays in the palace, but time move forward quite fast until a much older Shalosha confronts her father about her concerns that the war will tear their people apart and that she cannot understand why he has to fight again and again. Shaaladel, again, swears that he will do everything to protect his daughter, even if this means that he has to do terrible things. He's also certain that Shalosha will act with grace and honor in her own, first mission to Seaquen.

This encourages her to stick with her decision to stand with her cousin. Together they fight against Etienna who's being protected by Karedan. Cuin'halar knocks out Kiernan when the next vision is triggered.

All the emotional turmoil seems to calm down as the scene shifts to a dark room where Etienna is braiding the hairs of another woman. Judging from the headdress and mask that lies nearby, this woman has to be Leska. She seems wearied by the lack of progress in the classical foot-war. Etienna tries to lift her mistress' spirits as she explains that Kreven's scourge is close to completion which means the war will be won soon. And which also means that Leska wouldn't need the Torch anymore. This doesn't give any relief to Leska as she doesn't trust promises, only results.

The vision then fades as Tinuviel repeatedly stabs Etienna's chest. Meanwhile, Rihalles recognizes the dark half-elf that shot Nahrem.

“I know you, traitor! A sellsword who fights everyone. Thought you died that time for good, but I can fix this mistake.”

Before Rihalles can act, the visions whirl around and freeze everyone in place.

“This has been all fun and games, but I'd love to go deeper. Strong souls, show me what forged you”

Then everyone receives a vision centered around himself:

Cuin'halar stands in Innotendar where Timbre releases the Living Blade from the bond with Anyariel. She states that she gives the life of the Seela to him and he vows to protect them. The scene then changes from the original as Cuin looks firmly at himself and vows to protect all life.
Young Tinuviel stands on a field where he plays with Empathy. The two promise to be best friends and Empathy then vanishes. He then swears to protect all the people he cares for no matter the cost.

Torrent takes her vows as a priestess of Yara in a temple in Shahalesti. She finally managed to earn the elves' trust and fully feels her goddess' embrace for the first time.

Rhuarc's vision turns out to be more violent. He's fighting against other Taranesti who look like assassins. He curses them and calls them traitors who'd soon stabbed his back had he not taken action against them first. At his side there are humans and Shahalesti who try to gain control of a stronghold. Rhuarc fights mercilessly until he reaches the command room. To his surprise, he's already awaited by a beautiful Taranesti with devilish features: His own mother, Stacia.

“My dear son... finally you find your true destiny. Just look at you. Look at the man you've become. So strong, so graceful. Such a perfect weapon. A dagger that may pierce through the armor of every knight in this world. A mind filled with such splendid hatred that it is hard to fathom, even for one like me.”

“Mother... you're alive?”

“Of course I am, dear Rhuarc. And you've been so blind, my son. Haven't you seen that the last of these Aquilinans, the man who managed to escape my wrath, this bastard Marinus, happens to be among your companions?”

Stacia smiles at her son with a devilish smile and opens her arms as if she'd like to embrace Rhuarc.

“You... no, this cannot be. You are not my mother.”

“How clever, dear Rhuarc. But yes, I am Stacia. I am the existence she chose the moment she realized that her dear Galad wouldn't come back.”

Rhuarc shakes his head in disbelief and pain. He then draws his weapon and seems ready to attack Stacia.

“But my dear, dear Rhuarc. Do you really wish to miss the chance to bring the last of your father's murderers to justice? This trophy should be enough to offer me your soul, like you mother always planned. Like she always wanted. Or do you wish to slay me, your mother, and break the pact I once made? It wouldn't change a bit as your life would still be forfeit, even if it could free your soul.”

Rhuarc seems to lose his temper at this last taunt and he spits on the ground before charging at Stacia.

“You know nothing about me, bitch! All I did till this day was your doing. But enough is enough. It ends now!”

With this words, both engage in a deadly dance of blades. They battle each other through the Taranesti stronghold while humans, Shahalesti and Taranesti slaughter each other. Then they reach a ritual chamber where Stacia manages to paralyze Rhuarc with a spell. She then moves towards him to draw his soul with a kiss of death. But Rhuarc can shake off the paralysis and pierces her heart with his assassin's dagger before he beheads her with Shaalguenyaver. Stacia's soul is then visibly drawn into the blade and Rhuarc takes a moment to contemplate what he has just done.

“Mother... now I understand. You've given me this chance. And I'll be forever thankful for it.”

He then heads downstairs, as calm as he could ever be, until he spots an experienced knight. He then moves in front of this knight and looks him deeply in the eyes. The knight stares at him blankly in return.

“My name is Rhuarc, son of Galad. You killed my father. And today you will die for this sin”

Then Rhuarc's scimitar comes crashing down at Marinus. For once, his thirst for revenge seems quenched.

Then the voice of 41 can be heard yet again: “Back then, you truly believed your heart could find peace. But all you did was lose your purpose. Peace... is an illusion”


+1,000,000 XP

Such a lovely roleplay payoff and build for the future

Thanks especially for pointing out that Leska was referring to Aurana.


As far as i remember Tinuviel had asked Shalosha to join them and "fight back to back" with him when he contacted her with a sending spell before the party left for the temple.

He used the same words again when he met with her in the temple and at the same time tried to get Kathrina not to fry Shalosha to a crisp. For a moment it seemed like Shalosha would retaliate and attack Kathrina. As far as i remember Kathrina accused Tinuviel of misjudging the situation till Torrent finally stepped in and healed Shalosha. It was a moment of mild panic as Tinuviel had to watch two of his "family" bickering like in a cat fight.
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right, he said that and Shalosha remembered it.

As for Katrina and Shalosha... usually I decide on the NPC's stances by background, general attitude and narrative. But there are times when I simply cannot decide between two or more options and then I simply roll the dice. Hence Shalosha's (good and successful) sense motive vs. Katrina's (good) bluff and Katrina's (rather bad and failed) sense motive vs. Shalosha's (okay-ish) bluff.

On top of that, Kat really hated Shalosha because, in her eyes, the princess' very existence made Torrent's life miserable. Her being a perceived traitor was just the icing on the cake. Shalosha, on the other hand, didn't know about Katrina at all. All she knew was that this woman is Simeonne's secretary who's deceiving the Ragesians into thinking she's a spy.

So Kat had a killing intent while Shalosha got caught by surprise. And then realized this was just one big misunderstanding. And yeah, it took a while to get Kat off the "Shalosha = bad" hook.

So all in all... Tinu's fault :p


Poor Tinuviel. I wonder why Don Juan, Zorro and Casanova never seem to have had such problems. Maybe Tinuviel should have studied the mysteries of the black arts of seduction more carefully.

Well, that got all solved, when we came to the end of the temple dungeon. *tried hard not to spoiler anything and failed miserably*


This isn't even my final form

While the fight against Karedan (who's really angry that Tinuviel stabbed Etienna), Telshanth and Rihalles goes on, the vision shifts to another part of Rhuarc's, or rather Stacia's past.

They see a red-haired Taranesti wizard who's fighting alongside other Taranesti against a batallion of morrusian humans in the borders of Ycengled. She's no Syllith, but rather a summoner who's also adapt at wielding destructive spells. Among the humans are knights who are wearing symbols that look pretty much like older versions of aquilinian emblems.

Nearby, a small black-haired Taranesti boy is hiding in the underbush and he's looking terribly afraid. The fight doesn't look so well for the Taranesti as they are driven back and fall one by one. As the situation looks very bleak, Stacia asks her comrades to protect her for one final summoning. She barely manages to finish her incantation and summons a devil with the last bit of her strength.

She then asks the devil, a fearsome female fiend, to slay her enemies and help her avenge her people. The devil agrees to her request, but her help, of course, has a price:

“You shall have your revenge. Your body shall be my vessel, your blood the price you pay for your vengeance. Your soul shall be mine once we destroyed all members of the Aquilinian Cross to the last man. But as you brought your child to life in a tidal wave of blood, he will find his death in a tide of vengeance and your fate will be his own.”

Stacia seems to understand the means of this bargain and she asks for a few more moments to consider the pact. She withdraws while the devil is still standing among the battlefield and Stacia's comrades fall like flies. Meanwhile, she brings forth a magic weapon, a black scimitar, and finishes some last enchantments upon the artifact. She conjures a powerful spell in which she binds Rhuarc's and her own soul to Shaalguenyaver, so they will end up in this weapon after death and not be dragged to hell to suffer an eternity. She then leaves the weapon and a letter to “Torveth” behind.

Stacia whispers “I will avenge you, Galad.” and then returns to the devil. She then agrees to the pact and the devil fuse with her. Once the devil and her have become one, Stacia massacres all of the remaining knights. All but one: A young man who manages to escape her wrath.

41 laughs in amusement while Rihalles and Telshanth are knocked out during this sequence.

“Now, shall we see what this is truly all about?”

The vision shifts again while the group takes on Karedan. They are now in an environment they've seen before: A young Coaltongue and his orcish horde are fighting Syana at the edge of a waterfall. Trilla, her daughter, is chained up at the cliff and guarded by none other than Karedan himself and a bone devil. A group of Taranesti, Rhuarc and a trumpet archon among them, try to reach Trilla.

Rhuarc initiates combat with Coaltongue and manages to shatter his axe with Shaalguenyaver. Coaltongue panics for a moment and kicks at Rhuarc who falls into the river and then down the waterfall. Meanwhile, the trumpet archon slays the bone devil and advances to Coaltognue. The warlord rips out the femur of the dead devil, gets a grip at the archon's neck and crushes his head with the improvised club.

This causes the club to glimmer with fire and Coaltongue orders all of his men to shoot Syana. The dragon manages to ignite all of the arrows with her fiery breath and she approaches Coaltongue and Trilla. The orc then drags the young dragon down and places his boot on her neck. He threatens to kill Trilla, but Syana draws another breath, hoping to incinerate Coaltongue before he can bring down his club. But Coaltongue strikes Trilla nonetheless as they are all engulfed by fire.

The vision ends abruptly as the group strikes down Karedan and the room grows dark. When the light slowly returns to the room, a small diamond sliver lies on the floor and the party immediately recognizes this relic to be the missing soul shard of Trilla. Cuin'halar picks it up carefully and immediately gets the vision of a sleeping elven child.

“So this is what you were coming for. Isn't it a bit ironic, dear Rhuarc? Too bad that none of you will get out of here alive.”

With these words, a shadowy figure appears in one corner of the room. To everyone's surprise, the man who they believe is 41 seems little like a wizened but crazed guru, but more like a healthy young brawler with the arms of a bear. He spars with them a little, but is brought down soon.

Just when they are about to think that this was way too easy, 41 reappears, but in a different form. He now looks like a lithe elf with dark glowing eyes who seems to be a master of psionic arts. This times, he's a bit stronger, but only manages to scratch them. Hie dies again, laughing.

Now they all get the feeling that something isn't right at all. Their gut feeling turns out to be right when 41 reappears, this time in the form of a shadowy golden wyrm.

“You wish to see the legacy of Syana? Let me do you a favor!”

Tinuviel realizes that there must be more to it and tells Cuin'halar mentally that this 41 might be only the projection of the real one. He then tries to hide in the shadows and sneaks to the end of the room while the others engage combat with the biggest dragon they've ever faced. They barely scratch him as he's drawing a deep breath.

The last impression Tinuviel gets from his comrades is that of a big surprise and then – nothing. He quickly asks Empathy to block off all of his emotion as he desperately tries to find a way out, a way that might lead him to where the true 41 is hiding. He's fortunately quick enough to not smell the smell of burnt flesh as he runs through the corridor connecting the trial chamber with the golden shrine room.

His acute senses allow him to spot the feeble monk's body in no time and so Tinuviel flies towards 41 and kills him in a single blow.

Note: I used different stats for 41 throughout his three incarnations. The first one is based upon a shifter/monk, the second one is a psychic warrior and the third one... well, he was Syana. I always planned to let them be revived once during the trial and so I didn't fear to go all-out on them. Of course they didn't stand a chance against the breath of a great wyrm. Sorry guys.

Believing that all of his friends are dead by now, Tinuviel returns to the trial chamber where he find a puzzling sight: Haathon and other spirits he doesn't know stand inside the room, surrounding Katrina, Cuin'halar, Torrent, Shalosha, Three Weeping Ravens, Rhuarc, Rihalles, Kienan and Telshanth who are hovering in midair. They appear to be unconscious, but alive.

Haathon turns toward Tinuviel and smiles at him. “Thank you for freeing us. Let us return to you what you have given. Become one with your soul. Become who you want to be.”

Tinuviel realizes that this offer to “become who he wants to be” includes him as well, but he's quite comfortable with who he is right now. However, as the others are regenerating, he sees that Torrent transforms into an elf in front of his eyes. An elf who appears to be neither Shahalesti nor Taranesti.

Note: Thanks [MENTION=6781484]Mrpereira[/MENTION] for this inspiration. I really wanted to allow them to retrain whatever they wanted at this point, but it appeared that they were quite comfortable with their decisions. Torrent on the other hand knew that she wanted to become an elf, so she took the opportunity to change her race.

While regenerating, unconscious Cuin'halar dreams about his mother Eshânii. He's only a little boy in his dream, practicing basic magic. She seems happy about his progress and wraps her arms around him. She then whispers “Let me show you something we'll do once you get older, my sweet Cuin.”, takes his tiny hand and weaves a tiny spell of soul magic.

Then he's back again, lying on the floor of the trial chamber while Tinuviel is staring down at him in disbelief. The two brothers then embrace firmly and are soon joined by Torrent. Together they repair the Torch and then... the dragon egg resonates again, shortly after the soul shard is returned to the Torch.

“Not now... why now?!” Cuin utters in panic as he puts the egg out of his bag and sees that it is about to hatch. He then asks Tinuviel to take care of the rest while he has to make sure that the hatchling is safe.

“Whatever happens, let none enter this room!” he shouts while running down the corridor towards the room with the golden pagoda. Tinuviel does as he's told and so he ties up Telshanth, Kiernan and Rihalles and takes their equipment as reward for saving their lives.

Note: As he left these three in nothing but their undergarments, Telshanth soon became known as “Admiral Underpants” within the Lyceum. He clearly lost his reputation this day.

Cuin'halar takes one comfortable spot in the other room and cradles the egg in his lap while it shakes and cracks. A few minutes later, tiny golden eyes meet his own as a newly hatched golden wyrmling tries to climb out of her shell. Cuin gently helps the dragon baby and takes her in his arms.

“Welcome, Eshaya. I am Cuin'halar.”

The wyrmling looks at him curiously, then opens her mouth and returns with a squeaky voice:

“...haya... win-halalalala.”

Note: Yep, Cuin'halar is a dragon mom now :)


That was a scary moment. Syana fighting with Tinuviel's extended family and he had to decide to fight with them or to end the fight by risking all. He asked Empathy to suppress all his emotions because he was afraid he would turn back to fight alongside his friends. (Fortunately 41 died by failing his fortitude save for the sneak attack enhanced coup de grace. :cool:)

Tinu reentered the room hoping to find a way to resurrect Torrent who would be able to resurrect Cuin and Shalosha. (I think he had one limited wish scroll or some kind of psionic power to do this but i do not remember what level and equipment we had back then.) Finding his friends more or less well and Torrent even benefiting from the situation was a pleasant relief. The next moment of panic came when the dragon egg hatched. Tinu was really tempted to kill Telshanth, Kiernan and Rihalles just to be sure they would not see the newborn dragon.

Torrent's transformation was the unexpected solution to Tinuviel's fears to loosing her to old age. Lylandra will tell the tale of the sweet romances during the most epic war the realms have ever seen.
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An unlikely alliance

Meanwhile, Tinuviel offers Shalosha, Torrent, Rhuarc, Katrina and Three Weeping Ravens a teleport to the Lyceum. As Shalosha pretty much turned against Shahalesti officials this day, she gladly accepts. When Tinu returns, he signals Cuin that the air is clear, but Cuin is still pretty much captivated by the tiny wyrmling. So Tinu carefully approaches his brother and is very much surprised to see a dragon sitting in his lap. When Cuin finally realizes Tinuviel's presence, he greets him with a broad and blissful smile.

“This is Eshaya. Syana's last gift. She's a... miracle. Say hello to Tinuviel!”

“Inu...fiel...” the wyrmling responds with a cheerful squeak.

Tinuviel looks at the wyrmling for a while and then puts a hand on Cuin'halar's shoulder.

“And I will protect her with my life. We both know that Shaaladel will hunt her should he ever know of her existence.”

“Then let's make sure this doesn't happen. Those who may know about Eshaya must be people we trust unconditionally.” Cuin says while Tinuviel concentrates on a shielding power to protect Eshaya from divinations of all kind. The three then return to Seaquen by teleport.

The two then show their room to their new guest and discuss on how to proceed. Tinuviel stresses out that Shalosha seemed utterly lost after seeing her father during the visions of the temple and that he cannot leave her alone in such circumstances.

“You know... the reason why Shalosha was hurt so much, why this gaping rift between us emerged in the first place was because I had to lie to her all the time. Don't you think she deserves at least a partial truth? Right now, she has no place to go and she made all of these difficult decisions on her own. Never knowing who to trust. Maybe it is time to offer her a place at our table.”

Cuin'halar nods quietly and takes a moment to think about the Shahalesti princess for a moment.

“Alright then. Let's tell her everything. So please, bring in our ladies. All of them.”

Tinuviel smirks shortly, then jumps to his feet and rushes out to rally Crystin, Torrent, Katrina and Shalosha. He leads the four to his and Cuin's room to present the previously missing Cuin and his new baby. Needless to say that they are all instantly smitten by the cute little whelp who tries to imitate their words with high-pitched squeaks.

Note: I somehow imagined Crystin do the Fluttershy here. “It's a BABY DRAGON! SO CUTE!”

The two then take Shalosha aside to tell her that she mustn't tell her father about the existence of this dragon at any cost. They then explain that they had to keep many secrets from her because they feared that her knowledge may fall into the wrong hands. Next, Tinuviel asks her to concentrate on her celestial sight to look at himself and Crystin (who's still busy playing with Eshaya). She's pretty much surprised to see that the young woman exhibits the same strange dual pattern as Tinuviel.

“That's because we're not alone.”, Tinu explains. “We both share a bond with a dream creature called Trillith, born by the dreams of Trilla, the very same gold dragon your father tried to use for his Torch experiments. The reason why he killed almost all of the Taranesti. And I'm pretty sure he'd experiment on us, too, would he ever know that we're connected to the very same power that gave birth to the Torch of the Burning Sky.”

Cuin takes the opportunity to hook into Tinu's arguments and asks Eshaya to come to him. He then presents her to Shalosha, causing tiny violet eyes to lock with those of the princess.

“Look at her. She's an innocent, curious wyrmling. The last remnant of our people's guardian and her generosity. Just imagine the atrocities Shaaladel could commit should he ever lay a hand on her. This shall never happen. Promise me, Shalosha.”

Note: Psychological warfare at its best. But honestly, a newborn dragon baby is a trump card against anyone with a heart.

Shalosha, of course, promises that she'll keep Eshaya a secret and Cuin then goes on to discuss more esoteric, but also more existential topics. Namely the elemental imbalance they know about and their eventual mission to restore the heart of the Stormchaser Eagle. A legend of old that's pretty much real and that's also the source of Coaltongue's and Leska's immortality. And another secret Shaaladel shall never know about.

After the dragon petting is over, Cuin then asks for Rhuarc who's brooding in the shadows. Cuin asks Rhuarc if he remembers their exchange in Ycengled and the egg he had shown him as proof that there is still hope for the Taranesti. When Rhuarc confirms this rhetoric question, Cuin then explains that said egg actually hatched after being exposed to either Trilla's or Syana's soul remnants in the temple and he's also in for a round of “say hello to the dragon”.

Seeing Eshaya causes Rhuarc to smile faintly for a moment before he dryly states that he will cut anyone down who dares to threaten this new life. He then adds that he isn't quite sure what to think of Shalosha being so close to so many sensitive secrets and Cuin explains that he and Tinu just decided to tell her everything after she got estranged with her father and the Shahalesti in general.

“So... she hates her old man now and wants to kill him? Makes her one less target on my list.”

“We're not quite there yet. But maybe she'll understand that her father has to be removed from the throne should there ever be a chance for peace between our people. At the very least, she's on our side now.”

Rhuarc nods quietly and is about to withdraw to the shadows when Cuin raises his voice again

“Oh and one more thing: We need someone to carry the Torch during our assault at the Ragesian fortress. Someone who's independent and who'd mercilessly kill everyone who tries to steal the Torch. Someone we all know has absolutely zero interest of conquering the world with an army of his own. In other words: We need you.”

Rhuarc is a bit surprised to hear that, especially since he knows that the rest of the Alliance will probably want to know the Torch's whereabouts during the assault with the artifact being their only way of retreat. Still Cuin doesn't want to draw any more attention on his team or risk losing the Torch to the Rags should they get captured during their mission. Rhuarc isn't so happy about being delegated to the sidelines, but he agrees nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Tinuviel fears about Shalosha, both in terms of her mental health and her standing. So he meets with Xavious Foebane to suggest that maybe Shalosha could be his military aide on the battlefield. He explains that the princess is trained in commanding squads, knows some brilliant tactics and is surely a great inspiration for those around her.

He also explains that, while he knows that Shahalesti pretty much withdrew from the Alliance by trying to get their hands on the Torch, Shalosha remained loyal, turned on her closest allies and therefore deserves a chance to prove herself. Xavious agrees to this suggestion and confirms that he will take Shalosha under his wing and that he'll also try to talk her out of any solo-action.

After all the preparations for the attack on the Needle and the Fortress are set and done, the now rather big bunch of friends and allies decides to go to the northern harbor area of Seaquen to have one big feast before tomorrow's battle. They all know that this might be the last time they can come together like this, so they (and especially Torrent) party as hard as they can. Tinuviel and Cuin also take the opportunity to tell Shalosha that the upcoming battle might be crucial for the Shahalesti representation, which is why she has to remain in an open and official position, even if she might feel the need to join the rest of the team in their strike force. She reluctantly agrees and makes them vow to return safely.

The next morning, the Alliance armies assemble on the large fields surrounding Seaquen. Xavious and Simeonne seem both quite satisfied to see the Ragesian rebel army of Magdus side by side with Sequen's own ragtag team of refugees and local recruits. They are flanked by the cavalry, infantry and mage units from Dassen, led by Lady Timor and Lord Gallo, as well as the Sindairese led by Gasparde.

Simeonne raises her voice first, thanking everyone for their effort on this mission that may or may not be one without return. Still, everyone has seen the effects of the Koren Obelisk, a weapon that is very much able to destroy whole cities in mere seconds. She explains that, while she's no war wizard at all, she does feel the need to contribute to this mission and will act as source of communication between the two central pillars of their upcoming battle on two fronts.

Xavious hooks up here and lays out his plan: The large army will attack the pass known as “the Needle” with as much caution as possible and as much force as necessary to draw the Ragesians away from their inner fortress. This way, a small strike team can infiltrate the shielded areas around the Scourge Fortress where the Koren Obelisk will be placed. Sheena Larkis and the Wayfarers will use the Torch and their teleporting abilities in synch to get the armies there and back again and the Torch will be carried by an independent Taranesti elf during the battle.

Cuin steps up next to explain that their strike force is basically formed around the very same team that got their hands on the Torch in the first place. Which is why their chances at succeeding are not so bad, even if he perfectly knows that his team is about to go on a suicidal mission. He also thanks everyone present for risking their life in this desperate attack on what may very well be a deadly trap. But he also stresses out that Leska and the Inquisitors managed to do what none else could have done: To create a threat so big that people who once considered each others enemies came together to form an Alliance. An alliance of people who decided to draw a final line which shall never be crossed and which has clearly been crossed by the Scourge and the creation of the Obelisk.

Then Sheena finally presents the Torch and creates and the wayfarers, including Tiljann, form a huge teleportation circle. The strike force is the first group to step through the circle, so they bravely enter and are instantly teleported to an icy landscape with howling winds. As soon as the first troops emerge behind them, they decide to use the time until the camp is set up and the battle may begin to carefully scout their surroundings.

They turn invisible and fly towards the Scourge valley while looking for obvious traps the army may encounter or other signs of defensive magic. This way, they find the contingent spells, the symbols and the stone golems. As they already knew that the area is warded against incoming teleportation and divination, they manage to find the borders of the forbiddance area with ease and are pretty much surprised by the amount of material that must have been invested here. Once they realize that entering the forbiddance might alert the Ragesians prematurely, they return to their meeting point to support the arriving forces and report their information to Simeonne.

It takes quite some time to get the whole army through the Wayfarer's circle and Sheena hands the Torch to Rhuarc afterward. Cuin takes some time to have a private moment with Lady Timor where he asks her to stay safe as their plan “simply” requires constant pressure and no quick advance. Myriam returns the request as she knows that he'll be the one with the most dangerous mission. She then reminds him of her thumper and the elemental forces she may call for help, so no need to worry. Cuin reminds her that the stone golems will easily outmatch the Timor mages, so she should be careful about these. They say goodbye with a short kiss and both return to their respective teams.


One of my current players plays a 14 year-old-girl warlock. Every time we meet a creature she goes, "Oh! It's so cute." She has tried to acquire te dire weasel, the celestial badgers, and definitely Takasi. The little baby dragon would have been one more that she would have tried to befriend.

...and then there was another player from a few years ago who was a bit disruptive (it's what my character would do!) and would try to kill it because it was a dragon.


Once upon a time we were playing a rather serious campaign where one female player insisted on playing a druid with a baby tiger as an animal companion just because baby tigers are so adorable. *shudders and faints*

For some reasons players tend to befriend cute or strange npc. in my first epic campaign Quin'halars player ended up employing some of the opposing lich and pit fiend wizards as teachers in his characters wizard academy .... .

When i introduced a fairy dragon npc in my Zeitgeist storytelling, Lylandras first ooc question was: "can we keep him?" So Flying Spark got a job as a RHC agent and the host to Dr. Meridith's mind. They made a fine team as the RHC historian and protecting the king at the peace conference in the Aurum as an invisible bodyguard. :cool:
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