Out of Character Note: Starting with this post I intend to begin including the in game dates during which the games events take place, allowing us to track the passage of time within our campaign. I will be including an in game calendar in our campaign wiki as a reference.
26-27 Eleint or the 26th-27th of the Fading.
Burdened by their prisoner, the party took most of a day returning home, arriving on the morning of the 27th of Eleint. Swinging wide to observe the remains of the battlefield they found a portion of the town guard working alongside the orcish soldiers from Many-Arrows to remove the dead from the field, the enemy corpses being thrown on great pyres, while the few fallen defenders were carted away to receive proper funerary rites. Approaching the East Gate the heroes were found a group of guardsman overseeing the passage of the dead from the field, as they approached the leader of the guardsman informed them that the high council was currently in session and that the party was to join them as soon as possible. As they passed through the gate the heroes were startled when the guardsman paused in their duties to salute them. Making their way through the streets to the Council Hall the heroes found that this reaction was not limited to the gate guards, everywhere they went they received salutes, bows, and nods of respect from guardsman and citizens alike. Bolstered by this recognition of their deeds the companions marched confidently into the Council Hall, only to find themselves walking into a tempest. They arrived to find chaos in the hall as several of those in attendance strove to shout over each other, the loudest voice belonging to an enraged dwarf who seemed to want to blame the council for the loss of King Bruenor and his Companions.
Noting their entry, Clan-Master Dosashi stood, and speaking softly, admonished all to be at peace that a plan could be arrived at. He then passed the floor to Guard Captain Aragoth who promptly made introductions between the heroes, Kuyutha, Ciani, Sparkles, Eldaryn, and Jinhadur, and the varied guests in the meeting chamber. He began with the still disgruntled commander of the dwarven forces, Torgar Delzoun Hammerstriker, his second in command Shingles McRuff, and the missing king’s bodyguard Thibbledorf Pwent, whom the party already knew. Also in attendance was the orc general Varcas Spear-Shaker, a moon elf warrior speaking for the Moon Wood Lierin Vatariel, and the commander of the Kurth`Hanour mercenaries Captain Runedar of clan Bloody-Spear, as well as the mage Alistair, and the half-orc seer Sorchia.. Following the introductions the heroes presented their captive, the fallen orc warchief Kullamon the Black. After ascertaining that he had little fight left in him, Captain Aragoth ordered his guards to escort the prisoner to the barracks to be held for questioning.
Once the prisoner had been removed Aragoth revealed that he had been able to learn little from the Shifter, who had proven surprisingly resistant to questioning, and Keerak, the kobold wizard, had proved to have no further information that was of any use. It was hoped that Kullamon might be more forthcoming, but in the mean time the true priority had become the finding of the Companions of the Hall. All those present pledged their support in any effort to find the wayward King, but surprisingly it was Torgar who raised his voice to gainsay such a plan, believing that too large a force trying to trail the missing Companions would only get in each others way he proposed the idea that a small group that could move freely be set to the task. Clan-Master Dosashi pointed out that just such a group was in attendance, and had proven themselves to be both resourceful and skilled. So it was that the party found themselves being volunteered to seek out a group of legendary heroes who appeared to have been kidnapped. Speaking for the first time the moon elf Lierin offered the party the assistance of her daughter, who was a skilled tracker. Accepting graciously the party then awaited the end of the meeting, learning that the dwarves of Mithril Hall would remain until either their king returned or they got orders to the contrary from Mithril Hall. The orc forces also intended to stay in case their aid was needed. Aragoth had things well in hand with the organizing of the town’s defenses, and all appeared to be going according to plan. As the meeting adjourned Ciani, who had been unusually quiet through most of the meeting confronted the moon elf woman, informing her that she bore the same name as Ciani’s supposedly long dead mother. After learning the name of Ciani’s father Lierin revealed that she was in truth Ciani’s mother, and that she had obviously not died, but instead had been forced to leave her child behind when called away by her duty. After a brief, but touching reunion Lierin pointed out that her daughter Vanya, the tracker that would be aiding the party, was in fact Ciani’s half-sister. She left it in Ciani’s hands to decide if Vanya should know of their relation, before leaving to attend to her own duties. Before departing Torgar paused briefly to grimly encourage the party. Captain Aragoth then took the time to reaffirm the grave importance of their task, not only for Mithril Hall, but for Abhain an Tsolais as well. Reminded of the possible political repercussions of King Bruenor’s dissapearance the party was even more determined not to fail, although they feared that any foe that could claim the Companions of the Hall would be beyond their own meager skills.
As she made her departure, Sorchia passed a note to Eldaryn, who upon reading it announced to the group that they needed to stop by Alistair’s tower as soon as possible. Hoping that the seer had some idea of how to find the lost king the party made their way to the wizard’s tower. Arriving to find the door open and Sorchia awaiting them, she quickly led them to the third floor of the tower, which had apparently been designed for magical experimentation, where she took up a position before her scrying bowl. She then explained that she had not, up to this point, been able to scry out the missing Companions, but she had a plan that might bypass whatever magic was blocking her power. Rather than seeking the Companions themselves she intended to focus her search on the distinctive weapons they carried which had become equally legendary. Approving of this plan the heroes awaited Sorchia’s magic, praying that all would go well. Slowly an image formed, initially blurry and indistinct, but soon clearing to show Wulfgar’s famed hammer Aegis-Fang along with the rest of the Companions gear. Realizing that they were looking at the inside of some sort of container Sorchia shifted her view, her magical gaze falling upon an uncarven stone wall deep beneath the earth. Slowly she shifted the view taking in an image of a cavernous chamber filled with massive stalctites and stalagmites that had been intricately carved with beautiful statues and decorated with magical faerie fire. Beginning to suspect the nature of the place the Companions had been taken to the party quickly had their suspicions confirmed by a visibly shaken Eldaryn. This darkly beautiful place was none other than the drow city of Menzobarranzan, a bottomless well of evil only thinly veiled by its grandeur.
Continuing to shift her magical gaze Sorchia finally found the Companions themselves, chained to a wall the missing heroes were being interrogated by a pair drow priestesses. Identifying one of the two priestesses as Triel Banere, the matron mother of the most powerful house in Menzobarranzan, Eldaryn seemed to be growing more uncomfortable by the second. As the party watched helplessly the second priestess began beating Drizzt viciously, seemingly enraged by his stoic resistance to questioning. It was at this moment that a third drow stepped into view, a male that was even more flamboyantly dressed than Eldaryn. Easily identified as the infamous mercenary, and opportunist, Jarlaxle, this new presence seemed to be calming the two females as he reasoned with them. After a brief period of discussion with Jarlaxle the two priestesses returned their attention back to their prisoners. In this moment of distraction Jarlaxle turned his gaze directly towards the watching party, and lifting his signature eye-patch, winked.
Uncertain what to make of this action, but concerned that their scrying had been detected the party quickly suggested Sorchia end her spell. Once this had been done they began discussing what to do, knowing that rescuing the Companions from Menzobarranzan was well beyond their ability. It was at this moment that the kobold Keerak, who had also taken up residence in Alistair’s tower, approached and suggested that he knew someone who could help. He insisted that his mentor, The Great Wahooka (or Wahooka the great if you prefer), had the means to aid the party. Eventually succumbing to the kobolds persistance the party learned that to summon the strange little goblin they must chant his “full” name three times. So it was that with the third Wahooka the Great barely leaving their lips they were greeted by a puff of smoke that cleared to reveal Wahooka himself. Quickly ascertaining the nature of their dilemma Wahooka suggested that he did indeed have the means to help them, offering to magically disguise them, and transport them to the drow city.
The party, not seeing an alternative, reluctantly agreed to this plan. Wahooka then began his magic, transforming Ciani into a drow priestess, Kuyutha, Jinhadur, and Eldaryn into drow warriors, and Sparkles into a goblin slave. As he was completing their transformation a beautiful wood elf archer ascended the staircase. Confronted with a room filled with four drow, two goblins, a winged kobold, and a half-orc, the wood elf reacted with instant hostility. Quickly identifying themselves the party was relieved when after a moment of tension she lowered her bow and introduced herself as Vanya Caladwyn. The party quickly explained the situation, and despite the fact that they no longer needed a tracker they decided to ask Vanya to accompany them anyway, believing they could use all the help they could get. Once she agreed Wahooka quickly transformed her into a drow and whisked the party away.
As the smoke cleared the heroes found themselves in what appeared to be a drow tavern. Here they learned that Wahookas boasts that he was welcome everywhere seemed to be confirmed as he was greeted effusively by the bartender. Despite a momentary slip on the part of Kuyutha the party soon fell into their act under the guidance of the native Eldaryn. Careful not to draw too much attention they made their way out of the tavern and, following the bard’s subtle gestures, made their way through the city towards the cave where the Companions had been seen. As they made their way through the city they couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of drow architecture, but were oft reminded that underneath that beauty was naught but evil. As they neared their destination they entered a little used section of the city, finding themselves to be the only people traveling through the area. They soon realized that they were being followed, and fearing that their cover had been blown, prepared themselves for the worst. Just as they were ready to turn on their pursuers they found the road before them blocked by a drow warrior. Practically oozing confidence in his every gesture this warrior insisted that the strangers accompany him, claiming his employer wished to speak with them. Not wanting to start a fight they feared they couldn’t win the party followed the strange warrior who led them across the city to a deep chasm, following a narrow path down the side of the chasm they found themselves in a hidden network of tunnels. Arriving before a doorway filled with a strange blue glow the party was ushered forward. As they pressed forward they felt as if they were passing through a thick wall of pudding.
The party emerged to find themselves in a comfortably appointed office, and sitting behind the desk waiting for them was none other than Jarlaxle himself. Greeting Wahooka warmly Jarlaxle bantered with the party briefly, obviously enjoying their discomfort, and casually mentioning that the warrior who had escorted them was a former weapon master of house Baenre named Berg`inyon. Eventually tiring of his games Jarlaxle revealed that he knew the heroes true nature, and their purpose. He warned them that they were in over their heads, and that he had things well in hand as he had sent the Companions all the aid they may need in the form of the assassin Artemis Entreri. He offered them a gift, a scroll sealed with black wax stamped with the sigil of a rose, which he insisted they wait to open until they had returned home. He then bid them return to the surface. Wahooka promptly teleported the group back to Alistair’s tower, where he took his leave of them, chuckling to himself as he did so.
Despite concerns that it might be some sort of magical trap Kuyutha broke the seal on the scroll, triggering a final message from Jarlaxle that informed them the Companions of the Hall would most likely return in approximately two weeks. Unrolling the scroll the party soon learned the nature of Jarlaxle’s gift as they found a map of the Silver Marches with two slowly blindking magical lights on its surface, one glowing a dark blue, the other a vibrant red. Guessing that these lights indicated Drakosh’s last two lieutenants, the fallen paladin Croi`Tsolais Ulfain, and the Cambion priestess known as Tiamat’s Pyre, the party quickly rushed to the Council Hall to report what they had learned.
Upon their arrival they found Captain Aragoth in conference with Clan-Master Dosashi, they reported what had come to pass and presented the enchanted map. As they discussed the significance of these events, and whether or not they could trust the word of Jarlaxle they were suddenly startled as Captain Aragoth took a rapid step away from the table. After a moment he approached it again explaining that one of the glowing spots upon the map had moved. As they all stared at the map they began to gradually percieve the movement of the blue dot as it slowly shifted closer to Abhain an Tsolais. As they realized what this must mean they were interrupted by the sound of some massive winged creature settling to the ground outside the Council Hall, accompanied by the general tumult of the townspeople fleeing. Gradually the heroes, accompanied by Aragoth and Clan-Master Dosashi, worked up the nerve to step outside.
They found themselves confronted with an ancient gold dragon, massive beyond anything they had ever heard tell of. As they exited the Council Hall the dragon greeted them before shifting down to the form of a beareded old man clad in cloth of gold robes and leaning on a staff. He had come to inform them that the dragons, all dragons, were not going to be participating in the conflict. The word having been passed down from Io himself that this was a mortal matter, and that the balance was in mortal hands. He mentioned that their was a single rogue, a blue dragon that accompanied the oathbreaker Ulfain, and that they would have the assistance of a single dragon to balance the odds.He warned them then that a vast force was marching upon them, not only Ulfain’s force from the South, but also the Pyre’s forces in the North would be assaulting them. He then touched each of the heroes on the arm, smiling benevolently. Having finished what he had come to do, he resumed his true form and winged away to the South. Moments later a significantly younger silver dragon descended to the street, informing them that he was to aid them by dealing with the rogue blue dragon. After introducing himself under the name of Celandris he then took on the form of a moon elf warrior clad in shimering mithril chainmail and wandered off, hinting that it was not the first time he’d visited their town.
Uncertain what to make of all this the heroessoon realized that they had not yet informed the dwarves from Mithril Hall about their king. They easily found the dwarf commanders, Torgar and Shingles, brawling with several of their kin in the Night’s Song tavern near the center of town. Torgar quickly put a halt to the fight upon sighting the party, demanding to know what they had learned. The heroes quickly told him of all that had come to pass in the Underdark, as well as the rest of what they had learned. Unhappy about the continued absence of his king, but understanding that there was little more the party could have done, Torgar pledged his forces to the defence of the town against the coming onslaught. He then sent runners to warn the orc general in the hopes that he would join the towns defenders.
As the dwarves cleared out of the tavern Vanya departed, mentioning that she needed to inform her mother of what they had learned. Moments later Eldaryn took his leave making allusions about visiting Sorchia, and magically conjuring a rose. Weary from the days events the party slowly went their seperate ways, intending to get a good nights rest.