A Light in the Dark

Pursuing Tiamat's Pyre
and taking an unexpected journey.

28 Eleint – 11 Marpenoth or 28th of the Fading – 11th of Leafall.

Having done what they could to aid their leaders in defense of the town, the heroes of Abhain an Tsolais rose the next morning ready to contribute what they could in preparing the town for a siege. However, after a brief meeting with the leaders of the various forces defending the town the heroes found themselves instead investigating the death of the High Priestess who had been slain by a goblin arrow during the battle with Kullamon the Black’s forces. The High Priestess, a ranking member of the council, and spiritual leader for the dragonborn clan of Croi`Tsolais would not have been in a position to be in danger from stray arrows. Her young replacement, Mirith, had preserved her body in preparation for the traditional funerary rites. The ranger Vanya inspected the wound, as well as the arrow which had been withdrawn from it, and found that this was no stray arrow at all, but a deliberate assassination by an extremely skilled archer. Expressing her admiration for the shot, if not the shooter, Vanya hypothesized that the archer would likely still be lingering in the area, as it was likely he would be awaiting another opportunity to strike down one of Abhain an Tsolais’ leaders. After some discussion the party decided that it was time to take the fight to their enemies, and prepared to depart for the citadel of Tiamat’s Pyre far to the north in the Spine of the World Mountains. They planned to travel a circuitous route taking them first through Mithril Hall, and then past Dark Arrows Keep, in hopes of learning more of what was happening with their allies since they had received word that the elves of the Moonwood were beset by the People of the Black Blood, a vicious clan of lycanthropes. The heroes also hoped to draw out the mysterious archer, if he was still in the area, that they might stop him from doing further harm.

So it was that the party departed for Mithril Hall once more, this time feeling secure upon the road for they traveled with an experienced ranger who had a habit of disappearing into wilderness around them to scout out their path. For three days they played cat and mouse with the mysterious goblin archer, allowing themselves to be bait as Vanya slowly stalked him. This deadly game was interrupted on the third day however when they encountered an unusual orcish merchant and his caravan, who were making their way to Mithril Hall. The merchant, who wore silks from calimshan, and had several wives of various races provided an amusing distraction until an arrow struck their shared campfire. After discerning that the archer they sought hid in the rocks above them the party prepared for a battle that proved more one-sided than expected. For even though the heroes below him had not discerned his position, Vanya had, and she struck with deadly accuracy. Putting an arrow through the goblins thigh, Vanya soon had dragged him down to camp, where he was interrogated by an enraged Kuyutha. It was quickly discerned that this unusual goblin was nothing more than a hired killer, with no real knowledge of value, but that he was wanted by the authorities at Mithril Hall. Having decided to drag their wounded prisoner to Mithril Hall to face dwarven justice, they returned to the road along with the orcish merchant. Together they arrived at Mithril Hall on Highharvestide, only to learn that the dwarves of the hall were not celebrating the holiday, for were under attack by a Duergar army from the tunnels deep beneath the mountain.

After handing their prisoner over to the dwarves, the heroes parted ways with the orcish merchant and sought out a dwarven smith that had been recommended to them by the wizard Alistair, who strengthened the enchantments on their gear. After making their purpose known to the dwarven authorities they were given access to a tunnel that would allow them to travel swiftly, and safely through much of the kingdom of Many-Arrows. Availing themselves of the tunnel, and escorted by dwarven soldiers, the heroes had a comfortable journey. Arriving on the surface once more around midday on Marpenoth 3, after which their escort returned to Mithril Hall, and they began following the road to Dark Arrows Keep. Near evening they encountered a strange contraption, like a wagon, but powered by some internal engine that belched steam, rather than horses or oxen. Driving this strange steam wagon were a pair of dwarven craftsman, the elder of whom introduced himself as Brandalur Thunderforge, of Thunderforge smithies. The party found Brandalur almost as intriguing as his wagon, as he was a gold dwarf, and was a long ways indeed from his native lands in the south. Brandalur swiftly demonstrated that his wagon was not the only unusual technology at his disposal as he brandished his goods, explaining that he was a smith and weapons merchant that specialized in smoke-powder weapons. These strange Gondish devices used smoke-powder to hurl metal at unbelievable speeds. He was on his way to Dark Arrows Keep to hawk his wares, and was planning to journey to Abhain an Tsolais next. Once he had finished beguiling the heroes with his exotic weaponry Brandalur introduced his daughter, and apprentice, Moira, and offered to travel with the heroes. Seeing no harm in traveling with such formidable companions the party accepted, and prepared camp.

The next day the party drew near Dark Arrows Keep, only to find it under siege by its own forces, learning from orcish refugees upon the road that two out of the five armies that defended the kingdom of Many-Arrows had rebelled and were attempting to bring down the keep. Vanya provided a solution however, having scouted ahead and found a route through the foothills that would allow them to bypass the keep and it’s besiegers. As they prepared to take this new route they found that their new friend was intent on making his way into the keep, and so they watched with some degree of awe and amusement as his fortified wagon blasted through the surprised orcish siege lines, and was allowed through the gates of the imperiled orcish city. Having ascertained the safe arrival of their friend, and caught a glimpse of the legendary King Obould Many-Arrows, the party prepared to bypass the troubled orcs, but chose to use the scrying stone given to them by Sorchia to communicate with the seer and inform the leaders of their town of what they had learned of the goings on in the world.

They made contact with Sorchia, only to learn that the forces of the fallen paladin, Croi`Tsolais Ulfain, had begun to encircle their town, and would have it fully besieged within a day. After exchanging news with the worried looking seer they broke contact and journeyed onward, traveling ever deeper, and higher, into the Spine of the World Mountains. After a week of traveling deeper into the mountains they arrived at their destination, an ancient citadel high atop one of the ancient peaks of the mountain range. The citadel hugged a cliff edge firmly on one side, and with it’s strange triangular curtain wall, presented only two sides to lay siege to. Rising from the center of the courtyard was a tall spire of stone that peaked approximately one hundred feet above the ground it stood upon. The curtain wall, and spire alike were sheathed in thick layers of ice and snow. After contemplating this place for a time the party chose to contact Sorchia again, hoping that with her aid they might use the scrying stone to pierce the magical protections Drakosh’s lieutenants seemed to possess and discern what manner of forces the Pyre might have awaiting them within her seemingly deserted mountain fastness. They made contact with Sorchia, and found her busily bandaging a wound in the shoulder of General Varcas Spear-Shaker as Ulfain’s goblinoid forces assaulted the town walls. She swiftly agreed to aid them, and leant her magical might as they pushed the scrying stones power within the walls of the tower. They found Tiamat’s Pyre seemingly deeply involved in studying ancient dwarven lore in the highest room of the tower, below that there were two great scaly beasts caged in a darkened room, and then a guard room occupied by six bored orcs. The bottom two floors of the tower seemed empty, and unused, filled with cobwebs, dust, and frost as the cold seeped through the broken door at the base of the tower.

Having discerned what they could the heroes decided to attempt to breach the gate quietly that they might take their foe unawares. Vanya, using some minor magic, ascended the curtain wall and removed the bar from the gate, allowing it to be opened by her companions on the outside. They ascended the tower slowly, and carefully until they arrived at the foot of the stairs leading up to the room occupied by the orcish guards. Kayutha, having a clever plan, lured several of the orc guards down into the dark where the party made short work of them. As they were finishing off the second group of guards however, they heard one of the remaining orcs fleeing up the tower. Hoping to prevent the orc from warning his mistress of their presence they swiftly ascended higher into the tower. They were delayed by the last of the orcish guards however, and found themselves confronted by two massive lizard-like creatures as they attempted to ascend in pursuit of the fleeing guard. They quickly found that the large lizards were in fact mere beasts and easily cowed, bypassing them with little trouble. They arrived on the fourth floor of the tower to see the final orc, seemingly the leader of the small troupe they had slain, descending the stairs from the Pyre’s chamber to confront them. Seeming unwilling to back down, the orc guard stood bravely, but foolishly against the heroes, and was cut down by a mighty slash of Kayutha’s blade.

The party swiftly ascended to the top floor of the tower to find it denuded of all furniture, except a single table with a lit candle resting upon it. Sitting across the table from them was the cambion priestess known as Tiamat’s Pyre, who greeted them smugly. A brief confrontation ensued during which the Pyre mocked the heroes, and let slip that Tiamat had made alliances with other gods of evil with the intent to overthrow the gods of good at long last. It seemed that the assault upon the Silver Marches, and Abhain an Tsolais in particular, were meant to be a symbol of evil’s ascendance within the realms, hoping to strike fear into the rulers of other kingdoms and shake their confidence. After boasting that her goddess was the true leader of this alliance of evil the Pyre revealed that she had nothing to fear from the companions, for she had already fled, leaving them to converse with an illusion. She hadn’t counted on the unnatural sensitivities of the drow however, as Eldaryn revealed that the candle left sitting upon the table was in fact a gateway to an unknown place. Fearing the escape of their quarry more than the dangers of the unknown the heroes plunged through the portal only to find themselves deep in the mire and muck of a swamp. Uncertain where they were, but knowing it was a long way from home, the party began attempting to discern their location even as Eldaryn retrieved the magical candle, pulling it through the portal. Vanya, now accompanied by the two large lizards from the tower, began attempting to track their quarry even as the rest of the party used the scrying stone to learn that they had traveled far indeed. They found that they were in Lizard Swamp, many miles south of Waterdeep on the Sword Coast.

After a few moments Vanya revealed that she had discerned a trail through the muck, and eagerly lead the pursuit of their quarry. Some hours later, time being difficult to track in the fog shrouded depths of the swamp, the parties journey was interrupted as a rudely awoken black dragon rose out of the water near them. After amusing itself with their fear for a time the dragon seemed intent on making the heroes its breakfast, but turned aside at the last instant, growling something about the party being protected. Baffled by this, but not willing to risk asking questions, the party swiftly moved on. Making their way through the swamp once more they slowly began to find their feet resting on dry land rather than deep in the mire, and they continued onward more easily until they began to hear the sound of some sort of primitive celebratory music ahead of them. Unable to resist, Eldaryn withdrew a flute from his pack and joined in the music, which quickly proved to be a mistake as the music came to an abrupt end. Shortly thereafter they found themselves confronted by a pack of bullywug warriors demanding tribute for their king. After repeated spear shaking and demands of “shinies” for their ruler the bullywugs were mollified when Sparkles presented them with a rock imbued with the light spell. Relieved that this simple trick allowed them to pass the not-too-bright frog people the party questioned the bullywugs about their quarry, only to learn that she had passed recently, but had given no tribute other than death by fire.

Encouraged that they were closing upon their prey the party proceeded onward, only to be confronted by an small, but fierce, bullywug youth who sought vengeance against Tiamat’s Pyre for the death of its father. After calming the young bullywug they learned that it knew where the priestess had fled, and could lead them there. Following the little fellow they soon found themselves in the midst of an ancient dwarven temple of Moradin, at the heart of which was a staircase descending deep beneath the earth.

View
Seeking the Companions of the Hall
and finding nothing but trouble.

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.

View
The Fall of Kullamon the Black
and the disappearance of a king.

Having made their report to Clan-Master Dosashi the heroes took their leave of him, departing from the Council Hall. As they left Eldaryn seperated from them, claiming he had a personal matter to attend to. Parting ways with their friend the rest of the party made their way to the Guard Barracks to speak with Guard captain Aragoth Fullic. They entered the barracks to find the usual state of organized chaos with Captain Aragoth at the eye of the storm. As soon as they entered Aragoth gestured them over to his desk, where he had laid out a map of the region. In a quick concise manner the captain laid out his plan for the party.

His scouts had kept him informed of the movements of Kullamon the Black and his primarily goblinoid warband, marking his path from the North-West towards Abhain an Tsolais. At his current rate of speed it was estimated that he would arrive in approximately two and a half days. Meanwhile King Bruenor Battlehammer’s forces were making their way East from Mithril Hall and should arrive in about a day and a half to bolster the town’s defenses. King Obould Many-Arrows was sending a force South under the command of one of his finest generals, an orc named Varcas Spear-Shaker, who would be arriving in two days time. Varcas’ forces were expected to make first contact with the enemy, harrying them South towards the towns East Gate where Aragoth would sally forth at the head of the town’s own fighting force, bolstered by the best warriors of clan Croi`Tsolais. They were daring to venture forth because the dwarves of Mithril Hall would be shoring up the remaining defenders with their legendary skills in case of a secondary assault from another direction. Meanwhile Kullamon’s forces, driven by the combined efforts of the orcs and townsfolk would be driven East into the waiting arrows of the elves of the Moon Wood. Pinned between three deadly forces, it was hoped Kullamon would flee South towards his master’s only known stronghold which lay on the other side of the River Rauvin. The only safe ford close to the battlefield was just West of High Hold. On the other side of the ford is a tall ridge of stone with only a narrow path cutting upward from the river. It was intended for the heroes to await Kullamon at the top of the path where they could easily trap and defeat him.

Having laid out his plan Aragoth bid the party depart in the morning, allowing them the rest of the day to prepare, and warned them to keep a sharp eye to the South out of concern that their may be a second force being sent to bolster Kullamon’s meager warband. He then sent them on their way, after informing them that the seer Sorchia, who lived on the edge of town, wished to speak with them. Having most of the evening ahead of them still the party decided to stop by Sorchia’s before seeing to their other preparations. They arrived at Sorchia’s hut to find her awaiting them, looking haggard and weary, but alert. Not wishing to waste energy she got straight to the point, offering them an enchanted crystal capable of scrying distant points that they could use to communicate with her. The only drawback to the object was its odd tendency to show distant events unbidden by the user. After handing the crystal over she returned to her work attempting to spy out any additional enemy forces that may be taking advantage of the distraction created by Kullamon the Black.

Having finished their business with Sorchia the party decided to head to their favorite hangout, the Broken Bow, to enjoy a few drinks and some camaraderie before calling it a night. Their quiet companion Jinhadur promised to meet them their after he had stopped by his home. So it was that Kuyutha, Ciani, and Sparkles arrived at the tavern run by Sparkles’ father Nicket to find it somewhat busier than normal. Sitting down at their favorite table they began quickly began sharing drinks and enjoying a meal. They were distracted from their meal however by a most unusual sight as a Kurth`Hanour (People of the Wind) walked into the bar. The Kurth`Hanour (commonly referred to as Thunder Monkeys by other races because of their resemblance to man-sized howler monkeys and the natural ability to literally belch thunder) was dressed as a warrior, his red feathered wings carefully folded against his back as he approached the bar and ordered a grog. Overcome with curiosity Ciani offered the strange creature a drink, accepting graciously the powerfully muscled stranger introduced himself as Runedar of the Bloody-Spear clan, Captain of the Avalanche Riders mercenary company. He and his company had arrived in town seeking employment, having heard of the recent troubles. He was to meet with Guard Captain Aragoth to discuss their contract in the morning. After brief pleasantries Runedar took returned to the bar to drink alone, passing Jinhadur as he did so. Jinhadur took a moment to marvel at the rare sight of one of these noble warrior peoples away from their native mountain homes before making his way to the table shared by his companions. With some urgency he relayed the news that their drow friend Eldaryn may be in some sort of trouble. He had been told a rumor about a drow causing some ruckus at the Balanced Scales, the upscale inn on the wealthy side of town, and was concerned that Eldaryn may have been somehow involved. After a brief discussion the tow dragonborn, Kuyutha, and Jinhadur, set out to see if Captain Aragoth knew more. Their friends Ciani, and Sparkles, chose to trust in Eldaryn’s ability to handle himself and remained behind to drink.

Arriving back at the barracks the two companions found Aragoth receptive to their questions. He informed them that several witnesses had seen a drow with a nearly uncanny resemblance to Eldaryn dressed in long black robes walk into the Balanced Scales where he spoke to the bartender in an unknown language, presumably drow. Angered by the bartenders inability to understand him the drow shattered the bar with a blast of eldritch energy before throwing the enraged Uthgardt warrior, Raloth Ulfgarsson, across the room with nothing more than a gesture. He had then departed the inn, losing the following guardsman in the seedier side of town. He was last seen heading towards Sorchia’s hut.

Concerned for the safety of the seer the two companions quickly agreed upon a plan of action. While Kuyutha returned to the Broken Bow to collect their wayward companions, JJinhadur would rush to Sorchia’s to insure her safety. However Kuyutha was dismayed to find that his comrades had become thoroughly inebriated during his absence. Ciani was still moderately functional, but Sparkles was barely coherent. Indeed in a misguided attempt to cast a spell her magic went wild, dramatically altering Kuyutha’s appearance. He found that his scales had been turned lavender, and he had small, sparkling, pink flowers sprouting from his nostrils. Barely containing his rage he grabbed Ciani and led her swiftly through the streets, leaving Sparkles in her fathers care. As they ran through the streets Ciani managed to activate the scrying crystal given to her by Sorchia earlier in the evening, revealing that Sorchia’s hut was in flames. In the name of haste Kuyutha threw the inebriated Ciani overhis shoulder and ran the rest of the way to Sorchia’s. As they arrived they observed two things, the first was Jinhadur blasting his way out of Sorchia’s hut with the unconscious seer carried in his arms, the other was a mysterious robed figure rounding the corner a half block away. Dropping his burden Kuyutha rushed around the corner in pursuit of the mysterious figure, unfortonately colliding with his friend Eldaryn who was rushing in the opposite direction. After making a snide comment about the damage to his wardrobe Eldaryn rose to his feet and explained that he was seeking the mysterious drow whom he believed to be his long missing brother. After returning to the others Eldaryn was startled by the sight of the beautiful young seer. Using the magic of his song he healed Sorchia, rousing her to consciousness. Startled to be receiving aid from what she initially took to be her attacker, Sorchia swiftly realized that Eldaryn was not the same drow that had struck her down. After Kuyutha rescued Sorchia’s personal effects from the hut, and Sorchia doused the flames with her magic, everyone calmed down enough to compare notes.

Eldaryn started by explaining that he had an elder brother named Sithis Mel`Faus that he had never known. According to his family’s stories this brother had gone mad, turning his back on Lolth and pledging himself to an ancient, alien power from beyond the edge of the multiverse. The family had banished him, wanting nothing to do with his strange dealings, and he had dissapeared into the Underdark never to be seen again. During his time sailing the Sword Coast Eldaryn had hear rumors of a drow travelling towards the Silver Marches that matched his missing brothers description. Wishing to know the truth he had traveled East pursuing this mysterious drow, but had lost his trail shortly before arriving in Abhain an Tsolais. Sorchia was then able to add some information, stating that the drow had burst into her hut demanding she scry out the location of an ancient artifact known as the eye of Kalroula. This artifact was said to be all that remained of a powerful creature that had nearly conquered the multiverse in the name of its alien masters before being cast down and destroyed by the gods. This artifact was said to contain great power, but most disturbing was the rumor that it could be used to ressurect the dread beast to which it had once belonged. When she had proven unable to locate the object the drow had grown enraged, striking her a blow to the head with his staff. The next thing she knew was when she had awoken to find the companions standing over her. After discussing the matter for a time the companions decided that their was little they could do about the mad drow at this juncture. Eldaryn, seeming quite taken with the seer, offered to escort Sorchia to her father Alistair’s tower as the companions went their seperate ways to find respite through the night.

Awakening in the morning to find that Sparkles had a raging hangover, and Kuyutha had fully recovered from the effects of her misfired magic, the adventurers began their preparations for departure. After gathering at the East Gate they found that the enchanted horseshoes given to them by Alistair no longer held any power. Undismayed they ventured forth, finding their journey to be uneventful. Upon arriving at their destination they scanned the southern horizon for signs of enemy forces, but sighted nothing of interest. They then used the scrying crystal to make contact with Sorchia, updating her on their progress, and learning that despite the dwarves from Mithril Hall being slightly delayed by an encounter with a small group of giants all was going according to plan. They then surveyed the area laying out a simple, but effective, plan for their ambush. Following this they set camp under the cover of a small copse of trees and bedded down for the night, taking turns at guard so that all would be well rested. During the midnight hour their peace was disrupted by a large, possibly draconic, creature flying overhead. The creature passed by swiftly, seeming to be traveling North. After determining that they were not under attack the party returned to their rest, thinking to determine more in the morning. However when morning came they found themselves concerned with other things as they discovered that Sparkles had slipped away with her pony some time during the night.

Concerned for the safety of their impulsive little friend, the party turned the powers of the scrying crystal to finding Sparkles. They were startled, and dismayed, to find her sitting in a clearing calmly conversing with a large green dragon. Initially concerned that they were about to witness the death of their friend the companions slowly realized that Sparkles had seemed to have charmed the dragon with her endless cheer and playfully inquisitive nature. Indeed the dragon was cheerfully chatting away with the little gnome about a variety of topics, and happily answering her questions about dragonkind. Reassured that Sparkles actually seemed to be in good hands, or claws as the case may be, the party decided to turn the power of the scrying stone South seeking to reassure themselves that no additional forces were approaching. After scanning the horizon, they chose to push the view presented by the stone further, reaching the edge of the High Forrest. Their they found the astonishing sight of a gathering of numerous green dragons of all ages, seemingly presided over by an ancient dragon so massive that he dwarfed even the eldest of his kin. Concerned by the signs that the dragons were preparing for battle the party watched further until they realized that these powerful creatures attention seemed focused not North as they feared, but rather to the South. Pushing their view further South to the very heart of the High Forrest they found a massive gathering of dragons, from young to ancient, of every color metallics freely mixing with chromatics, only the greens seemed to be absent from the meeting. Indeed it seemed as if the other dragons were impatiently awaiting their absent kin before beginning whatever it is they had gathered for.

After discussing the matter for a time the companions came to the conclusion that whatever dealings these dragons were involved in, it was beyond their understanding. So they once again turned the crystals gaze North hoping to observe the battle. They were soon reassured to note that the towns defenses were bolstered by the presence of the dwarves of Mithril Hall. As they watched from afar Kullamon the Black’s ragtag band was pushed onto the plains before the East Gate by the disciplined push of the orcish shield wall. As they reeled back Kullamon’s band was struck a blow from the West, the forces of Abhain an Tsolais sallied forth. Led by Aragoth they formed a wedge formation that smashed Kullamon’s forces against the orcish anvil. Morale swiftly flagging Kullamon’s force staggered East, driven by the combined might of their foes, directly into a rain of arrows from the elves of the Moon Wood. His forces swiftly being decimated by the skillfully executed assault, Kullamon abandoned the field. Carried by his ettin bodyguard the warchief fled South towards the ford, and the heroes’ ambush.

Unfortonately the orc, carried by his giant companion, was fleeing directly towards the clearing where Sparkles was speaking with a strangely friendly green dragon. Concerned the party once more turned the stone’s gaze to their absent friend to find that the dragon had already noted the approach of fleeing giant. Settling Sparkles in a secure location the dragon faded into the tree line. Moments later the giant burst into the clearing, gasping for breath it lowered its burden to the grass before settling into an argument between its two heads. Meanwhile the powerfully built black skinned orc warlord began searching through his pack, as if trying to retrieve something important. Their brief respite was interrupted as the green dragon erupted from the tree line, bowling over the ettin and making short work of it. Even as his giant companion was being slain Kullamon fled the clearing, wanting no part of a battle with a dragon. Meanwhile the dragon, having dispatched its foe, resumed its conversation with Sparkles as if nothing had happened.

Fleeing ever South Kullamon made his way to the ford, where after crossing with some difficulty he began to climb the path up the ridge. Nearing the top he found himself suddenly confronted by a pair of powerfully built dragonborn warriors Kullamon fought valiantly, but was overmatched. After a brief, but bloody struggle, the orc collapsed to the ground his leg severed at the knee. casting aside his axes as he fell. Kullamon apparently acknowledging his own defeat thrust his hand into his pouch yanking for an amulet set with a smoothly polished black stone. Calling upon his fellow lieutenant Croi`Tsolais Ulfain, Kullamon begged for aid, only to be rebuffed by mocking laughter emenating from the stone. A smooth, vilely charming voice informed the fallen warchief that he had been nothing but a pawn before breaking off communication. Mortified, and unwilling to be taken alive by his foes, Kullamon ripped his own dagger across his throat with a cry of rage. However the swift thinking, and swifter action of Kuyutha stopped the orc from bleeding out, allowing the party to take him prisoner. As they gathered his gear together Ciani lifted the amulet from the grass only to be greeted once again by the voice that they assumed to be Ulfain. Making light of the orcs death, the distant oathbreaker was startled when Ciani taunted him with the fact that they had taken Kullamon alive. Ulfain angrily insisted that the orc would be of no use to them before breaking off contact.

The party then began to scan towards the North with their crystal, finding that Sparkles was casually riding her pony back towards them, and that their was no sign of the dragon with whom she had been speaking. They then turned their attention back to Abhain an Tsolais to find the docks had apparently suffered an attack, and the dwarves of Mithril Hall seemed strangely demoralized. Deciding that they needed to exchange information, they sought to make contact with Sorchia. Finding her awaiting word from them they quickly updated her on their progress. Sorchia then gave them the grave news that while the docks were under attack by a blue dragon, King Bruenor and his companions had somehow vanished. The battlerager Pwent was apparently beside himself with concern. Disturbed by this news the party broke off contact to begin their journey home with their newest prisoner. They soon encuontered Sparkles who was in an even more effusive mood than usual, having been delighted by her conversation with the dragon. She informed them that the dragon had let slip the fact that he was bearing a message to Drakosh, informing him that aid he sought was to be refused him due to his choice in allies. Uncertain of the meaning of this message the heroes began their journey home.

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Alliance with Mithril Hall
and legends in the flesh.

Having finished their business with Captain Aragoth the party left him to his work, going to council hall to respond to a summons by Clan-Master Dosashi. Upon their arrival they found the Clan-Master working in his office, and were greeted cordially. He took time to praise their efforts, and then settled down to business. He had called on them because he, and many of the other council members, were concerned that Kullamon the Black’s impending assault on their town was nothing more than a feint. They believed that Drakosh and his surviving lieutenants may be planning a greater assault from another direction while Kullamon draws the attention of the town’s defenders. To ensure the safety of the town it was felt that it was time to call upon old alliances. Handing the party a scroll he asked that they journey to Mithril Hall with the magical assistance of Alistair Torlan to speed them on their way. It was hoped by the council that King Bruenor would lend Abhain an Tsolais the aid of his forces. Wishing the party well on their journey, Dosashi bid them make haste before returning to his work.

Bidding Dosashi fairwell the party made their way to Alistair’s tower, and were greeted by an open door. Entering carefully they were shocked to find themselves not in the familiar surroundings of Alistair’s tower, but a vast extradimensional space. A place of pure light confronted them, the monotony of the white broken only by an enormous mirror the size of a giant. As they watched the mirror rippled, disgorging Alistair himself who, with a dismissive wave of his hand, returned them all to the more mundane surroundings of his tower. He then furnished them with enchanted horseshoes that would speed their journey. He then gifted them with an enchanted cornucopia that supposedly would disgorge endless numbers of beasts upon use of the command word, however he displayed his usual twisted sense of humor in informing them that he no longer had the command word. He then sent them on their way, not enjoying the company of others overmuch.

After making certain they had everything they might need for their journey the party applied the enchanted shoes to their mounts hooves and departed. They were both surprised and delighted to find themselves traveling not only at unimaginable velocity, but through the very air itself. Flying above any danger, they were able to relax and enjoy a journey that should have taken days, but instead only took a few hours. Arriving at Keepers Dale, they soon recalled the tale of how the hidden door was to be breached. They made entry only to find themselves confronted by a platoon of battle-ready dwarves. Seeing that the intruders were no threat the leader of the dwarves spoke with them briefly, leading them to his king once their purpose was ascertained.

Arriving in the grand throne room of Mithril Hall, the party was confronted with the legendary King Brueonor Battlehammer himself. Attending him was his general, a surly dwarf named Dagnabbit, his bodyguard and friend the infamous battlerager known as Thibbledorf Pwent, and a drow that could only be Drizzt Do`Urden. They presented the king with the scroll given them by Clan-Master Dosashi, entertained by the antics of Pwent as he read. King Bruenor was swift to promise his aid, indeed the heroes were shocked to find that the king seemed intent on journeying to their towns aid himself. As the king began barking orders and making preparations they found themselves being escorted to a smith named Bluster, whom they had been referred to by Alistair, by none other than Drizzt. Speaking little they found themselves arriving at their destination all too soon, and after ensuring that Bluster had matters well in hand Drizzt departed.

Bluster quickly took them in hand, and instructing them to turn over their armor and weapons of choice, began to work. Using ancient dwarven techniques, and forgotten arts Bluster enchanted the heroes equipment, ensuring that they would be better prepared for the trials to come. After thanking them for the opportunity to practice his art Bluster sent them on their way to the Hall of Kings.

Arriving in the Hall of Kings the party found a large force of dwarven warriors nearly prepared to march. In addition they were shocked, and a bit concerned, to see Pwent with his renowned Gutbuster Brigade working themselves into a frenzy. As they stood watching the dwarves preparations they were stunned to find themselves confronted with the famed Companions of the Hall. After taking a moment to regard one another King Bruenor broke the silence, suggesting that the party journey on ahead to inform the town of their impending aid. Agreeing with this plan the party began preparing to depart, only to find themselves interrupted by a frantic, if a tad confused, dwarf named Dinnet McGruff. Claiming to be the nephew of the merchant Torval McGruff he asked to accompany them back to Abhain an Tsolais. Seeing no harm in it they allowed the strange little dwarf to tag along.

Returning as swiftly as they had departed the heroes quickly made their way to Clan-Master Dosashi to inform them of the success of their mission. They found the Clan-Master in a jolly mood, as he informed them that they would also be receiving aid from the elves of the Moon Wood, and that King Obould Many-Arrows had agreed to send a force south to help contain the threat to the regions peace. He then informed them of a plan to trap Kullamon, forcing him to flee South to his master, and asked that they lie in wait for the renegade orc along the path they knew he must travel. Despite some misgivings the party tentatively agreed to this plan, and taking their leave of the Clan-Master, began preparing.

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The Story thus Far
or how it all began.

Our adventure started, as so many do, in a small dockside tavern named the Broken Bow where our heroes were sitting down to lunch, and enjoying the company of their friend “Sparkles” whose father owned the tavern and was working the bar. As they were enjoying their meal a rather flamboyantly dressed drow walked in and introduced himself to the room at large as Eldaryn Mel`Faus, then proceeded to leap onto an unoccupied table, pull out a lute, and begin performing. After giving an exceptional performance that included song, dance, tumbling, and sleight of hand tricks Eldaryn found himself interrupted as the table he stood upon was heaved upward. The dirt floor of the tavern rippling in a most unnatural fashion, Eldaryn then leaped aside as the table toppled, the dirt vanishing to reveal a mysterious tunnel into the earth. Most of the bar patrons fled, but the heroes stood their ground, as did Eldaryn, and a quiet black scaled dragonborn named Namgum Jinhadur that had been eating alone in the corner. Jinhadur backed up onto the stairs to the upper floor while Ciani, and Eldaryn stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the bar. Sparkles and her father took positions behind the bar as Kuyutha drew his greatsword and stood his ground near the hole itself. As the heroes positioned themselves a group of five kobolds came scrambling out of the hole. Kuyutha ordered them to surrender, and was met with hostility and expletives from the largest of the group. As a melee ensued the kobold’s leader, a winged kobold made itself known. Eventually the leader stood alone against the party, and yet chose to fight rather than flee, dying bravely on his enemies swords.

During the confusion of the melee Eldaryn had used a poisoned crossbow bolt to put one of the kobolds to sleep. Having a live prisoner, our heroes chose to question the attacker. Kuyutha tricked the kobold into revealing that it worshipped Tiamat, and that it served a black scaled, winged being named Drakosh. Before they could learn more Jinhadur slew the kobold in a fit of rage, revealing a deep-seated loathing for servants of Tiamat. Shortly afterwards the party crossed paths with the captain of the guard, Aragoth Fullic, who informed them that the assault had been city wide, and asked them to join him in meeting with the town council to share the information they had learned.

At the council meeting they learned that this had not been the first incident involving assault by worshipers of Tiamat citing service to someone, or something named Drakosh. The council, lead by Clan-Master Dosashi, wisely advised Aragoth to begin fortifying the town against future assaults. The party (Ciani, Kuyutha, Sparkles, and Eldaryn), was then asked if they would attempt to gather more information about the nature of the town’s new-found enemy. Before they left they also learned that Aragoth’s son had been assassinated during the assault.

They were advised to seek the wisdom of Sorchia, a seer that lived on the outskirts of town. They arrived at the seers hut to find themselves confronted by quite possibly the oldest, most hideous half-orc woman they had ever seen. She invited them into her hut, offering to tell them of their deaths, which was rejected by all, except the over curious Sparkles, who was told by her allies that it was best she not know. Sorchia then advised the party that a mage had assisted the assault on the town from afar, and gave them the location of this mages lair, in the foothills of the Spine of the World mountains a weeks travel to the north. Sparkles suddenly remarked that Sorchia was covered with an illusion, Sorchia dropped her cover with a chuckle, revealing herself to be an attractive young half-orc woman. Suddenly she seemed to have some sort of attack, stiffening in her seat she began speaking in an unusual voice speaking the following prophecy.

Scales of night lead the way
The shadow of five heads
marked by the shadow of five servants
all bend to the will of one
fear the son of the dragon
fear the wings of night.

Baffled by her mysterious words the party asked Sorchia for an interpretation, however she was only able to tell them that she had spouted this particular prophecy once before, in the company of the black scaled dragonborn Namgum Jinhadur. The party found this information intriguing, beginning to suspect the dark scaled warrior-monk of being a spy for Drakosh.

The party took the time to gather information around town about their suspect before approaching him. Learning from Kevi Underfoot, a local information broker, that Jinhadur seemed to be a devout follower of Bahamut who had avoided trouble of any kind and kept to himself since his arrival in town a few years back. Having doubts about their suspicions they decided to approach Jinhadur directly, arriving at his small and rather spartan shack they confronted the monk only to learn that he was indeed above suspicion. His reclusiveness being due to his order’s preference for silence. Speaking as little as he had to he explained that his purpose for visiting Sorchia was to look in on family that he had left behind.

Leaving Jinhadur to his meditations the party prepared to depart, seeking to confront this mysterious mage in the mountains as soon as possible. The council provided the companions with horses, a cart, and all the supplies they might need before they departed. Their journey was relatively uneventful, they spoke briefly with a moon elf patrol on the edge of the Moon Wood, learning that a group of goblinoids had diverted the moon elves attention while the kobold force had passed by them. They then passed through a small orc village on the edge of the kingdom of Many-Arrows before arriving at their destination. There Sparkles activated a wand given to her by a local mage, Alistair, to reveal hidden things. Alistair apparently had a twisted sense of humor, for the wand indeed revealed the entrance to the kobold’s tunnel complex, but it did so by destroying the side of a nearby hill with an explosion.

As the party was recovering from the shock of the explosion they found themselves confronted with a must unusual creature. Appearing out of nowhere, an ancient, shriveled goblin dressed in a tattered robe and bearing a twisted staff appeared atop their cart. He introduced himself as Wahooka the Great, or if they prefer, the Great Wahooka. He claimed to be the former master of the mage they sought, and offered to expedite their assault on his student by teleporting them directly to the enemies sanctum. Deciding that this was preferable to fighting their way through an alerted tribe of kobolds in their own tunnels they accepted Wahooka’s offer despite their suspicions of the strange little creature.

Finding themselves standing in a small room filled with various articles of magic, the party was surprised to find themselves confronted by a rather small albino winged kobold. As soon as he sighted them the kobold, introducing himself as Keerak in rather good common, surrendered. Uncertain at first they began questioning their rather cooperative prisoner, who was found to be a font of information, revealing much about their enemy. They learned that Drakosh was a black half-dragon, and that he was served by five lieutenants. Keerak was the least of the lieutenants, above him was an orc warchief with a goblinoid army named Kullamon the Black, then their was the mysterious Shifter of which Keerak knew little, followed by the fallen dragonborn paladin Croi`Tsolais Ulfain who was a traitor to Kuyutha’s clan, and god, and finally their was the cambion priestess of Tiamat known only as Tiamat’s Pyre.

Escorting their prisoner the companions made their way safely out of the kobold tunnels only to find themselves entertained when Wahooka assaulted Keerak with his staff, beating him about the head and shoulders before vanishing in a huff. The party then made their way home, hoping to present both their prisoner, and his information, to the council as soon as possible. A day or so short of arriving home their rest was interrupted by a massive fireball crashing to earth about a quarter mile from camp. Rushing to investigate they found a downed gnome airship with a small clan of rock gnomes scampering around it, attempting to extinguish the flames. The leader of the clan, Sauli “Dinglehop” Vixic, turned down their offer of aid. The party then moved on, returning home a day later.

Introducing their prisoner to the council, they allowed him to speak for himself, giving him the opportunity to broker a deal in exchange for further information, including the location of one of Drakosh’s lieutenants, as well as the meeting place where Drakosh discussed his strategies with his underlings. Keerak was then remanded into the custody of the captain of the guard. The party left the council meeting with new purpose, to learn more of this mysterious Shifter if they could.

Once again the party sought the aid of Sorchia, hoping that she could reveal more about their mysterious enemy now that they had information to work with. Using a magical scrying bowl that the party had procured from Keerak, Sorchia sought out Drakosh and his underlings. In the process they learned that Drakosh was a monk, a renegade from the same order that their friend Jinhadur had been trained by. They also learned that Kullamon the Black was marching on the town with a small army of goblinoids, about a weeks march away. Most importantly though, they learned that the Shifter was hiding somewhere in the docks district of town. Thanking Sorchia for her aid the party departed for the docks, hoping to learn more of their enemy.

Stopping to visit Jinhadur, they learned from him that Drakosh was not only a deadly warrior, and renegade from his order, but that he had turned his back on Bahamut to worship Tiamat. In a murderous frenzy Drakosh had slaughtered two of the order’s grand masters before fleeing into the desert, until this moment he had been presumed to have died in the sandy wastes. Jinhadur then offered his aid, joining with the party in order to help them defeat this traitor to his order.

Gathering information from a number of sources the party learned that there was an unusual number of new dock-hands in recent history, as well as a strange rise in the rat population. Becoming suspicious of an assassin that worked for the leader of the smugglers on the dock, they delved into her activities only to find that her caginess had been caused by an affair with a lieutenant from the thieve’s guild. Having followed this red-herring as far as they desired they returned to the Broken Bow to re-assess their options.

During their discussion they noticed a group of the new dock-hands rise and leave together, intrigued by the unusually flighty attitude of this group they decided it was worth-while to follow them. So it was that they split the group, Ciani, and Eldaryn following the mysterious dock-hands, while Kuyutha and Sparkles went to speak with the harbormaster, Daloth Kent, in the hopes of learning more. As Ciani pursued the strangers, Kuyutha learned that among the new-comers their was one that stood out, an uthgardt barbarian woman named Sithis who worked as a foreman. Meanwhile Ciani, and Eldaryn observed a clandestine meeting between a six foot, red haired barbarian woman and a handful of dock-hands, who quickly revealed themselves to be were-rats. After speaking with the were-rats, the barbarian woman offered them a meal, a beggar pulled off the streets. Unable to stand by and do nothing Eldaryn brought his magic to bear, putting the were-rats to sleep. As the were-rats drooped to the floor the tall barbarian woman slipped into the shadows, seeming to simply disappear.

After rescuing the beggar Ciani, and Eldaryn returned to the Broken Bow to find their friends waiting for them. Comparing notes they determined that the mysterious barbarian woman in the warehouse had been Sithis. They then sought out Kevi Underfoot once more, hoping to learn more about Sithis and her were-rat underlings. Kevi was able to inform them that Sithis had three lieutenants that shared a small houseboat, sleeping in shifts. After imparting this information Kevi left to call a meeting between the leader of the smugglers, an orc named Kulroth, and the master of the thieve’s guild, a dwarf named Daggit Ironbreaker. His intent being to call on the two underworld groups to band together in dealing with the were-rat threat, which residing mostly in the sewers would be difficult for the town guard to confront.

The party proceeded down to the docks to the houseboat where Sithis’ lieutenants supposedly resided. Approaching stealthily they infiltrated the houseboat to find themselves confronted by a sun elf quickly rising out of his trance. As they moved to confront him he began to shift, revealing himself to be a were-wolf. After a nasty brawl, during which the were-wolf was badly wounded, the creature surrendered, reverting to his elf form. The party questioned him, learning that Sithis was in truth the Shifter, and that her other two lieutenants were were-boars. His loyalty going only as far as he had been paid their captive willingly revealed where Sithis could be found, and that they had four hours before his capture would be discovered. His final revelation was the worst, as he revealed that Sithis was the one who had murdered Aragoth’s son in an attempt to take his place.

Taking their captive to Aragoth to face justice, they also filled him in on current developments. They then proceeded back to the docks to confront Sithis before she could learn of their actions. Approaching carefully they managed to surprise Sithis, who found herself nearly surrounded by foes. A brawl ensued as several of Sithis’ were-rat servants joined the fight alongside one of her were-boars. Sithis dove into the crowd only to be confronted by the poisoned blade of Eldaryn. The crowd scattered as her true form was revealed. A gray skinned doppelganger stood in the middle of the street, all avenues of escape cut off. Her were-rats were slain, and her were-boar lieutenant, badly wounded, fled the only way he could, by dropping into the river. Sithis, seeing no other choice, surrendered to her foes, claiming that they could neither kill her nor draw information from her.

The party turned the Shifter over to Aragoth for questioning, informing him that this creature was the one responsible for his sons murder. They then learned that their presence was desired by Clan-Master Dosashi.

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