The Wardens of the Eclipse

Chapter 8-11. Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass.

- The party scales the tower and battles their way to the top.
- They defeat the lizardfolk within before encountering the dragon and a Netherese commander. The two foes retreat, beaten back by the Wardens.
- Resuming their journey in the tunnel, the party emerges in the lower depths of the dungeon below the keep. There they encounter and battle a myriad of strangely adorned undead, before realizing they were in the lair of a fairly demure Halfling Necromancer named Herbert.
- Though upset, Herbert decides to let the party go up to the main floor, supplying them with potions to assist in their efforts. The party storms the ground floor, slaying numerous giantkin and lizardfold.
- Moving to the second floor, the party finds several powerful and hostile ghosts. Beaten back to a retreat, the Wardens resolve to address that problem later.
- Heading to the top floor of the towers, the party encounters the dragon again. It approaches them, speaking in Netherese. Begging the party to kill the Shadovar agent who controls him, he vows not to attack unless forced by the agent’s ring.
- Gathering their strength, the party assaults the final hold of the tower. There they find a powerful Beholderkin, a Death Kiss, who fights desperately against the Wardens. The Shadovar agent attacks from the rear, along with the last of the Lizardfolk. Though flanked, the Duskcloaks are unhindered. With their combined strength, the enemy is no match for them, and they strike each foe down save the dragon, who escapes.
- Dragging the carcass of the Death Kiss onto the ramparts, Tonden hangs the bloated eye from the walls as a warning to all the monsters in the land: The Wardens of the Eclipse have taken the keep, and are here to stay.

……………………………………..

- The Warden’s allies arrive at the keep with a detachment of Purple Dragons. They bring with them labourers who immediately begin rebuilding the Keep to it’s former strength. Using the considerable wealth found within the Keep, the Wardens also commission several specialized facilities within for Enchantment, Alchemy, Beast-training, and the like.
- The Wardens have a home now, and what a formidable fortress it is…
maxresdefault.jpg

View
Chapter 7. And by his hollow whistling in the leaves.

- The party takes the lay of the land and decides to venture south toward the woods. There they make camp.
- They are attacked in the night by powerful zombies, animated by large vines in the earth. They decide to move camp, narrowly escaping another attack.
- Guessing that the zombies originate from the forest or the large tree on the hill, they elect to go the long way round the town, cutting around the old quarry and towards some stairs in a cliff face that lead up to the large watchtower on the eastern rise.
- At the quarry, they spy a group of lizardmen with an ogre, bringing a load of the area’s signature stone out of the mines and toward the keep. They decide to keep their distance and head as stealthily as possible for the stairway.
- Finding the secret stair, they begin a careful ascent. Halfway up, their progress is interrupted by a great beating of wings. Tonden opens a passage in the cliff face, sealing it up behind them, leaving just enough of a crack to spot the source of the noise: a large black dragon.

View
Chapter 6. Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i' th' mire,

- The party says their farewells, provisions themselves, and heads off for the Golden Ruins.
- Cobblestone insists on joining them.
- The party enters a large swamp between them and their destination.
- A group of Gnolls attempts to ambush their tower in the night, but is easily frightened off.
- The Gnolls attempt an ambush the following day. It does not go their way in the slightest.
- The party happens upon an old abandoned town, with a single occupied hut. Aedan’s augury leads them to believe it is safe. Inside they meet two thirds of a coven of witches, Bertha and Marie. They eat and parley with them, and convince Marie to help lead them through the swamp.
- Using her primal magics, Marie opens a faster path in the swamp and the party finds themselves on the outskirts of the cliffs of the Golden Keep.

View
Chapter 5. And summer's lease hath all too short a date

29 Flamerule, 1490 DR

- left Immersea
- crossed to Juniril, arriving in time for the final day of Midsummer
- got all dolled up for the Midsummer Festival.
- Festivities were interrupted by the Summer Queen, who goaded the party into a competition in order to keep her from kidnapping townsfolk.
- Captured numerous beasts, including a displacer beast and two green dragons.
- The party far outshone the Queen’s own hunters, and she thanked them for their hospitality and returned to the Feywild empty handed.
- The party retired to various places for the night.

Present: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Tonden.

View
Chapter 4. On horror's head horrors accumulate

28 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party binds their wounds and heads deeper into the Upperdark. Ignoring the voice in their head, taunting and threatening them, they follow trails down into cavernous paths. At a large crack in the earth, they are attacked by mutated Kuo Toa, their arms warped into fleshy wings and their feet curled into gnarled claws. Though the party fends them off easily, they begin to throw jars of rot grubs at the party. One of them hits Elara, and the small insects burrow deep into the flesh of her left arm. With no other choice, the party amputates it just above the elbow.

After bypassing the chasm, the Duskcloaks are ambushed by cloaked figures and small brains with limbs, later identified as Darklings and Intellect Devourers. After a hard battle, two of the attackers flee, and the party chases after them, where they find two heavy doors. Moving through, the party uncovers the lair of the mighty Aboleth, Yog-Koshath.

The frozen chamber pulses with aberrant power. Ashtar attempts to leap across a gap in the floor, but falls into the ice-cold water of the Aboleth’s subterranean lake. Splashing into the water, he feels the sudden warping of the Far Realm begin to mutate his body! His legs immediately fuse into a grotesque snake-like tail, becoming all but useless. He sinks beneath the waves. Elara also falls in, and feels the aberrant corruption shrivel up her remaining arm, making it completely ineffective.

Aedan leaps down toward the water, and massive wings spring from the back of the Breastplate of the Nightingale. Snatching Elara from the water, he then flies her back up onto dry land, as the wings fade as quickly as they’d appeared. Tonden summons his stone homunculus with the chisel given to him by Ta’Liza’s Father. Elara is placed within, taking control of its stone form. The party battles on furiously, but the minions of the Aboleth are overwhelming, and they find the tide swiftly turning against them. While Aedan and Tonden try to keep the party alive, Ashtar is attacked by the Aboleth directly, and tries twice to hurl his Dagger of Banishing at the monstrous fish, but both times narrowly misses. Succumbing to the effects of the water and his wounds, he passes out and begins to drown.

Tonden lifts the stone under Ashtar’s unconscious body, pulling him out of the water. One of the Darklings goes to recover the Dagger before the party can recover it and use it against the Aboleth. As Tonden runs to the treasure hoard and attempts to grab the Wyvern Claw, Aeden is swarmed by Grell, who knock him out and begin feasting on his flesh. Elara, seeing the dagger, runs for the Darkling and pulls it from its grasp. Tonden grabs the Wyvern Claw, as well as the potion that the Aboleth has been using to mutate the Kuo Toas. Elara takes the dagger in her homunculus’ stony fist, takes aim at the Aboleth, and throws the blade. Striking true, the dagger explodes into a portal and drags the beast back into the Far Realm, unable to return for half a century.

The minions of the Aboleth pass out at their sudden mental release. It is then that the party realizes that Ashtar, badly wounded, mutated, and diseased, has suffocated from the poisonous water in his lungs. He is dead.

As the party encourages him and Tonden begins trying to resuscitate Ashtar, Aeden attempts to plead with Amon Re to spare Ashtar’s life. After a tense moment, Ashtar returns to life, coughing up buckets of water. As Aeden breaths a prayer of thanks, he feels his connection to his goddess deaden slightly, and watches as his Holy Symbol, a Hooded Lantern, crumbles into a pile of rust and ash.

Aedan, Elara, and Ashtar are all still severely mutated and wounded. Quickly looting the chamber, the party rushes as fast as they can up the way they came and back to Immersea and Castle Redstone. GIving the potion they found to young Edmund, the boy transforms into a massive Wyvern before collapsing, unconscious, to the ground.

The party is taken to the city’s priestess of Selune, who with the money from the Merandus family backing her powers, heals all of the party’s ailments and wounds. Exhausted and bruised, the party retires for the night. Aeden and Ashtar sleep long and hard, their recoveries in hand. Tonden, relatively unharmed, relaxes in the sitting room. And Elara, her rest interrupted by Mander, watches as her Egg from Father hatches into a small black Wyvern, it’s shoulder emblazoned with an identical birthmark to her own.

Present: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Tonden.

View
Chapter 3. To unpathed waters, undreamed shores
The party ventures to the Underdark to save a life.

25 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party leaves Suzail. As the Wardens get settled in for the journey, Ta’Liza’s Tiefling shape is revealed to the other hirelings, who react with varying levels of shock. The Wardens reassure them, and the group rides on with the army.

A few hours into the journey, the sky darkens and a massive thunderstorm engulfs Calantar’s Way, forcing the army and the party to make camp prematurely. That evening, the party sups with the Oversword of the Purple Dragons, when Moira’s enchanted Amulet gives off a signal. Amblethorne has contacted the party with grave news: Elara’s brother Edmund is deathly ill with a family sickness. Promising to hurry home, the party waits out the evening.

26 Flamerule

In the morning, the storm continues to rage, but the party decides it cannot wait any longer. The Wardens saddle up the horses and ride into the wind and rain. After a grueling day, the storm begins to subside as evening draws upon them. Deciding to make camp once more, Moira conjurs her Instant Fortress, where the party makes a comfortable (if worrisome) evening of it.

28 Flamerule

After days of travel, the party finally arrives in Immersea. There they are rushed to Edmund’s bedside, where he lays unconscious, his skin slowly hardening into dark scales. Amblethorne tells the party that Edmund’s disease is rare and unique to the Wyvernspur family line. “Paton’s Sickness”, as he calls it, can only be cured through the aid of an ancient family heirloom, the mummified claw of a Wyvern. A distillation created using the dust of the claw can cure the sickness, while also bestowing upon the consumer the power to transform oneself into a Wyvern. This power, bestowed once in a generation, was once a famous trait in the family, but in The Year of Blue Fire the shrine where the claw was held was struck into the Wyvernwater, sinking deep below the waves. In the years since, the waters of ‘Wyvernclaw Cove’ have become fouled: no fish live there, and any who moor in the waters complain of headaches and bad dreams.

The Wardens promise to venture to Wyvernclaw Cove and attempt to recover the claw. Armed with a ritual of Water Breathing, the party prepares to depart while Elara visits her grandmother, Lady Margaret. Inconsolable, Lady Margaret reveals that her firstborn daughter died of Paton’s Sickness. She begs Elara to take care, imploring “I cannot lose him. And I cannot lose you again.”

Arriving in the Cove, the party is ambushed by a group of Bugbears and Kuo Toa, all of whom seem possessed by some dark and otherworldly magic. They receive a visitation from the Heretic, who warns them of the great danger that they face in the waters below. A great evil he calls Yog-Koshath, ‘The One who feeds the Key’, lurks there, a creature from the Far Realm with the power to control minds and warp perception. He gives them a burst of his own power to assist them, but warns them that once they descend he will be powerless to intervene.

Diving into the depths with the aid of the ritual, the Duskcloaks find the sunken shrine, but instead of a Wyvern claw they find a deep pit leading straight down. After a long descent from the ropes that have been tied there, the party realizes they have climbed into the Upperdark. Treading with caution, the begin to move into the cavernous underground. The waters grow progressively fouler as they skirt the underground lakes and streams, until they happen upon a pair of Grell. Moving to engage, the party is caught by surprise as a stalagmite springs to life. They have been lured into a Roper’s feeding ground!

Monster_Manual_4e_-_Roper_-_p222_-_Warren_mahy.jpg

After a frightening battle, the Wardens emerge victorious and nearly unscathed. As they tend their wounds, suddenly a sensation pricks at the back of their minds, and a voice speaks inside their heads…

“Mortals… you who would profane and defy our Sovereignty… turn back, or die…”

Present: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Moira, Tonden.

View
Chapter 2. Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep
The party spends an illuminating final day in Suzail.

24 Flamerule, 1490 DR

“These acts of aggression shall not go unpunished. Therefore, Cormyr has declared war on this cowardly nation of Sembia, and on all who would assist them. May our sons and daughters of the Purple Dragons drive back these traitorous dogs who would kill our King and ravage our lands. May the gods of war smile on us, and long live the King!”

With these words, Cormyr is at war. As the square clears and the herald leaves, the onlooking Wardens of the Eclipse ponder their next move. The decide that their next course of action should be the reclamation of the Golden Ruins, for use as a stronghold.

Peraps the Runner informs them that they are invited to a War Council, and that Brother Aedan’s presence is requested before the Council of Sages to discuss his request for permission to preach. The party spends their time leading up to the War Council running errands. During highsunfeast at the Cormaeril compound, the Duskcloaks as Ta’Liza if she would consider accompanying them on their quest to the Ruins. She agrees, grateful for an excuse to leave the city.

At the War Council, the party learns of the Crown Prince’s plans for the counteroffensive. They offer guidance and insight before agreeing to accompany Irvel west towards Marsember. Following the meeting, Elara goes to recruit Mander the Animal Trainer, while the rest of the party goes to recruit Dolain. Mander agrees to come along for two Lions a day, while Dolain refuses to budge on his price of ten (citing his great risk, material costs, and his dislike for Ashtar). As the group negotiates, Ashtar leaves.

He changes appearance to look like Dolain and goes to leave the inn, but is accosted on his way out of the taproom by an armored woman with a nasty sword. She hauls him into a booth and demands to know what was said in the room. He tells her, maintaining his disguise, that the party wanted him to accompany them on a journey. She offers to pay him 200 gold pieces for the plans of the ‘old man.’

e847cbe5e22c386f591c6e2fde8fcf3c.jpg

Meanwhile, Aedan attends the Council of Sages, where after a heated debate (and much protestation from the Doomguide Ondarn), the Crown gives him permission to preach his faith in the countrysides of Cormyr, though not in the Urban Centres. For that, Aedan must prove his faith’s loyalty and ability to the crown by accomplishing a great task. Ondarn names it: to find and return the Lost Swords of Cormyr.

The group reconvenes, and Ashtar comes clean about what happened in the taproom. The group is concerned by Tonden’s reaction, and press him until he reveals the woman to be a figure from his past who has been hunting him. She seems to have knowledge of a group of Earthsoul Genasi who want Tonden dead. They agree to have Ashtar maintain the disguise and feed her misinformation.

Ashtar meets with her again, and tells her they are heading to the far North. She is reassured, and tells him to pass on a message to Tonden: Lynn says go north, then go west to home. Gwarch needs him, the Stormhorns have been stirring, and if he didn’t return home the Earthsouls would find him… and she would help them do it. She says that she will be telling the Earthsouls that they are heading west to Marsember to throw them off their tail, then leaves in a rush for the gates.

Ashtar returns and the party decides that, due to the unforseen mixup, they will indeed head north, passing the way they came through Immersea. The woman, Lynn, is confirmed to be Tonden’s estranged daughter. The party eats supper, then agree to attend a Seance with Marion Cormaeril and her guest, Madame Risa.

As the seance commences, suddenly the party is frozen in place, and Madame Risa reveals herself to be Ashtar’s Mother. She is angry and disappointed in him for agreeing to help the Heretic, and warns him to have nothing more to do with him. After an ominous and strange conversation, she releases the party and vanishes through a fiery portal. Ashtar explains that he has great powers he believed to be inborn, but that apparently come from his Mother, who may be more than she appears.

The party, coping with all this information, retires to bed. Aedan informs his home at Penumbra of his success via a Sending, and the response tells him to receive aid at the Waterdeep Portal before first light. Elara arranges via a runner for Mander and Dolain to meet them at the Cormaeril Compound at Sunup. They all rest peacefully, in the softest beds they may have for several days.

25 Flamerule

In the morning, Aedan slips out and is met by a Harper Agent from Waterdeep, who gives him a wrapped package containing a cold-iron holy symbol in the form of a Hooded Lantern. The party is joined in front of the Cormaeril Compound, where the expedition members are all introduced to each other. Riding off to meet the Purple Dragons, the party joins the army in their trek North along Calantar’s Way.

Present: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Moira, Tonden.

View
Chapter 1. And lean-look’d prophets whisper fearful change
Moira undergoes her trials to become a War Wizard.

21 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party is ushered out of the bloody and battered Royal Courtroom and into a waiting area. After a few moments, Lord Edwin Morahan enters and thanks them for their rapid response and eager defense of the Royal Family. He asks them not to reveal what has befallen to anyone, so they may try to uncover what all has occurred here.

23 Flamerule

Two days later, Moira and her allies are summoned to appear at the College of the War Wizards to stand before Ganrahast and the council of Alarphons. He informs her that, due to her successful training and in no small part because of her actions during the assassination attempt, she is to be put through the trials of the War Wizards. If successful, she shall be granted the mantle of a fully-fledged War Wizard of Cormyr, with all rights and privileges awarded to that office.

Ch1.1.jpg

Moira, Elara, and Aedan prepare their gear and spells before beginning the eight trials: one for each school of magic. Surpassing portals, puzzles, potions, and pitfalls, the party at last make it to the penultimate trial, Evocation, where they are confronted by a ravenous Bonechill Chimera. The beast is a formidable terror, but neither the monster or the War Wizards planned on Moira’s new secret weapon. Conjuring her Instant Fortress, she crumples the beast into a heap before finishing it off with her Maul.

ch1.2.jpg

They arrive at the final test, Abjuration. Elara and Moira’s familiar are teleported into a cage, over which is suspended a great glass cauldron of bubbling acid. Across the room is an identical cage, but in the place of a captive stands the Banner of the Royal Family of Cormyr. Moira, knowing that her true allegiance must always be to the Crown and Kingdom, ruefully takes up the offered key and unlocks the cage with the banner, plunging the entire vat of cauldron onto Elara and her fox friend and dissolving them into a puddle.

Upon exiting the room through a portal, the distraught Moira and wrathful Aedan find Elara and the fox unharmed, if a bit traumatized, waiting with the War Wizards to congratulate her. Moira has passed six of the eight trials (having failed on the Illusion and Enchantment tests), and has more than proven herself worthy of the title of War Wizard.

The Alarphons gather, joined by Moira’s teacher Amblethorne, and Moira swears her fealty to the Mage Royal, the Realm of Cormyr, and its Monarch. Jubilantly leaving the College, the party exits to see a massive force of troops, moving North through the streets toward the Dragoneye Way. War has been declared, and Cormyr marches East for Sembia…

Present: Aedan, Elara, Moira

View
The Duskcloaks Christmas Special!!!
It's a magical disaster!

22 Flamerule, 1490 DR

It is the day after the Duskcloaks thwarted the assassination attempt on the Royal Family. The Wardens are celebrating their hard-fought victory when suddenly a large crowd moving towards the docks draws their attention. Investigating, they find a ship coated in magical ice… in the middle of summer.

Peraps the Runner arrives, with a summons from the Eastgate: apparently someone attempting entry into the city has dropped their name. They arrive to discover Ta’Liza, Fledgeling Mage being held by the guard for attempting to enter the city with a Hat of Disguise. Securing her freedom, she reveals the reason for her arrival: her Father is in trouble, and she needs their help to visit his Glacial Island in the Dragonmere and secure his rescue.

Hiring a ship, the Duskcloaks sail through the ice and snow, eventually landing on the remote floating glacier. There they find the locals, a group of tiny snow creatures, being menaced by some deadly animated Snow Golems. Defeating their icy foes, the Wardens find a pair of magicians on the beachfront. Ta’Liza introduces them as her adoptive siblings. The first is a Drow named Linus, his blue cloak stained with the sweat of battle. The second, a Sun Elf named Cindy, her wispy blonde hair tied into a high ponytail atop her head.

They explain that one of their ‘brothers’, an aspiring Goblin Sorcerer name Grinwich, has rebelled against their Father. Freeing the White Dragon Carrolifax, long held prisoner in the Ice Caves, he has seized the Crystal Wand of Father and imprisoned his master in the Dragon’s former prison. Using the wand, he has constructed the Snow Golems to raise an army against the mainland and, at the Dragon’s urging, prepares to march on Cormyr.

The party decides first to head to the Holly Groves on the far side of the mountain to gather Father’s flock of Peryton’s, set free by Grinwich. After a brief scuffle, the party grabs some staves of Holly and use them to command the beasts into submission. With the beasts, they will be able to use Father’s Enchanted Chariot to help combat the dragon..

Next, they head to the Ice Caves, where they find Father frozen in ice, under guard by two Snow Golems. Striking with surprise, the Duskcloaks reduce the two creatures to a puddle of ice and slush. Breaking through the ice, they melt Father free, only to hear his breathless warning… “Look out…”

Around the corner comes a massive Snow Golem, its fearsome jaws gnashing and many arms swinging! The party fights desperately, finally bringing the horrifying monstrosity down! Father rejoins his children, and they all pile into the Chariot to lay down an aerial assault while the Duskcloaks strike at Father’s Warehouse from the mountainside.

Approaching the peak, the party sees the massive Young White Dragon Carrolifax, as well as the Goblin Grinwich, clad in one of Father’s signature red robes. He summons more Snow Golems to rush the party while the dragon flies in and attacks!

The Duskcloaks make short work of the Golems, but the Dragon proves too much, striking some down in its first great charge! But Father’s Chariot flies in, he and his three children all brandishing wands, and lays down a barrage of fire and healing spells for the dragon and party respectively! The party rallies and, with renewed resolve, battle the dragon into submission, knocking it’s flapping body into unconsciousness!

Thanking the party for the rescue, Father piles them all into the Chariot and flies off for Suzail. Lighting upon the rooftop of the Cormaeril Compound, he expresses his thanks for their help once again, bestowing gifts on each of the party members. Flying off into the night, the party watches enchanted as the great flock of Peryton’s are silhouetted against the moon, the jolly old artificer’s chariot in tow…

View
Book 1: Heresy in Cormyr

Chapter 1: The Heretic

IMG_20160704_221632.jpg

1490 DR – The Year of the Star Walker’s Return
29 Kythorn

In the small town of Crossroads, three wanderers enter a lonely roadside tavern. Seeking shelter from the oncoming rain, they find instead a mysterious robed stranger… with a mysterious Master who offers them great power.

Following the robed figure to a nearby abandoned farmhouse, the party (along with a pair of Zhentarim mercs) enter to find a strange and unearthly shrine with a glowing symbol emblazoned upon it. An ethereal mist forms, and out of it steps a handsome, slender, well-kept man with deep black eyes and a charismatic smile. Tomin, the hooded man, drops to one knee and the new figure introduces himself.

He is the Heretic.

Promising great powers in return, the Heretic asks the party to help him fight a conflict in the Far Realm. Showing them the monstrous void, he offers them the deal. Should they accept, they will receive unique abilities in exchange for their assistance whenever the Heretic might call for it. Should they refuse…

Let us say that misfortune may befall them.

With varying levels of reluctance, our travelers agree (though the Zhentarim mercenaries have a much grimmer fate). Returning to the mortal plane, the party finds a group of angry farmers who have lynched Tomin for heresy, and attack the party. Bolstered by the power of the Heretic, the party makes short work of the enemy, striking them down one by one. Fleeing into the woods, the party escapes the wrath of the oncoming mob and makes camp in the forest, resolving in the morning to make for the nearest city…

Chapter 1, part 2:

Meanwhile, deep in the Hullack Forest on the borders of Cormyr, a lone priest, Brother Aedan of Penumbra, is following the trail of a missing caravan. Upon finding the shattered remains of the wagons, he followed the trail left by those who had set upon the caravan. The trail led to the mouth of a cave guarded by two skeletal warriors. While trying to get a closer look, Aedan is discovered by the guards, who waste no time in attacking him. The young priest managed to destroy one of the skeletons before being knocked unconscious by the remaining guard.

Upon waking, Aedan finds himself locked up in a cell. Adjacent to his cell is another full of surly looking bandits, and guarding both cells is a fresh looking zombie. Aedan asked the bandits how they’d come to be imprisoned. Apparently the leader of the bandits who inhabit the cave had hired on a necromancer, and the two of them had decided that it would be economical to slowly replace the living bandits with undead. The bandit underlings took a different view and so were locked up. Aedan made several unsuccessful attempts to get the cell key away from their zombie jailor, and was shackled to the wall for his trouble. With nothing to do but wait, the priest fell into a fitful sleep.

He awakens in a starry void. Before him stands a handsome, slender, well-kept man with deep black eyes and a charismatic smile. He introduces himself as the Heretic, and appears to have intimate knowledge of both Aedan and his religious order. He tells Aedan that he is looking for soldiers to fight for him in an impending conflict, and in return for his loyalty, he will assist Aedan in his current predicament. Upon receiving assurances that nothing will be asked of him that conflicts with the commandments of his goddess, Aedan agrees. The Heretic suggests that the priest find a group of three others sworn to his service, as it is dangerous for a servant of the Heretic to travel alone. Aedan is magically branded with the symbol of the Heretic, and the starry void begins to fade away into a dense fog.

Aedan awakens suddenly, finding himself fully rested, released from his chains, and with his spear and holy symbol lying at his feet (wrapped in a black bow). His cell door has also been miraculously unlocked. Making short work of the surprised jailor, Aedan takes the keys and offers the bandits their freedom in exchange for their assistance in dispatching the necromancer. They heartily agree, and Aedan, naively taking them at their word, unlocks their cell. Two of the four bandits immediately flee the room in fear, while the remaining two turn on the incredulous priest. With little time to waste, Aedan knocks the first bandit unconscious with the butt of his spear, and then offers the last bandit his freedom in exchange for his help against their captor. The bandit prudently agrees.

Bursting into the main chamber, Aedan and his new bandit companion see the necromancer nearing the end of a ritual to raise more undead from the corpses of the dead caravan guards. Fighting through the bandit chief and some more skeleton guards, Aedan manages to disrupt the necromancer’s spell and wound him gravely. The necromancer, fearing for his life, shrouds himself with an invisibility spell. As Aedan continues to battle the remaining enemies, he notices the necromancer reappear in the doorway just in time to dive for cover as the fleeing spellcaster unleashes a fireball into the room. Aedan is the only survivor and when he comes to his senses, the necromancer is long gone. The singed priest gathers what’s left of his stolen equipment and sets off into the forest, in search of the others that the Heretic spoke of…

PRESENT: Ashtar, Elara, Tonden, and later Aedan.

IMG_20160704_221551.jpg

Chapter 2: The Shadovar

Screenshot_20160717-235734_2.png

30 Kythorn, 1490 DR

Ashtar, Elara, and Tonden, having fled south into the Hullack Forest, pause in the eerie wood to make camp. Finding a crumbling stone structure, they build a fire and settle down to rest.. As the night wears on, suddenly there is a shape in the shadows, and charging from the trees with a mighty hoot is a hungry Owlbear!

The party rushes to action, defending themselves, and as the noise of battle wears on, Aeden is roused from his sleep at his own nearby camp. Grabbing his spear and Holy Symbol, he rushes to assist the strangers. Together, the four travelers fell the beast with spear, sword, fist and stave.

After slaying the Owlbear, the party acquaints itself with their fellow traveler, who reveals he has been sent by the Heretic to join up with the group. After skinning the beast and butchering it’s meat, they settle down to finish their night of rest.

Awakening, the four travelers head south to the town of Hultail, a large fishing centre upon the Wyvernwater. Their weapons are peacebonded by the local Purple Dragon garrison, the Leviathan Guard. In search of a legitimate adventuring contract, the party proceeds to the Town Hall, where they receive an audience with Celindor, a War Wizard of Cormyr.

Celindor does not have the authority to give out such a contract. He can, however, grant them a tenday Mercenary contract, allowing them to freely carry weapons, should they prove themselves in service of Cormyr. Celindor informs them that an outpost to the north, Hullack Hall, has fallen silent.

The troops he sent to investigate never returned.

The party agrees to investigate in exchange for the contract. Heading North once more, the party sets out for the Hall. On the way they find strange tracks. Upon closer investigation they find booted footprints, accompanied by Goblins.

Approaching Hullack Hall, the party finds it overrun with Goblins, led by cloaked figures. Staging a surprise attack, they make short work of the Goblin troops, as well as two of the humanoids, revealed to be Shadar-kai, in the garb of the Netherese.

The Shadovar perpetrated this assault. They have struck at Cormyr’s borders in an unmistakeable act of aggression. And the party sets out to make them pay.

Approaching the manor itself, the alerted Shadovar within are prepared for the assault. They fight with malice and an almost manic bloodlust. The travellers are nearly repelled, but press forward, taking the main floor in a hard battle. Pausing to recuperate, they surge upward to the second floor, where the leaders of this assault lie in ambush. After a gruelling and drawn out duel, the heroes eventually win out, and the last Shadar-kai falls to the bloodstained ground.

The victory is hard won, but the taste is bitter. After an exhaustive search, the party finds the lord of the Hall, Idgen of Thunderstone, hidden away in a rooftop saferoom with his son. His wife and the boy’s mother, Commander of the Garrison there, died protecting the secret of their hiding place.

With the blessing of the grateful grieving Lord, the party loots the corpses of their treasure and buckles down for a night of rest. They will need it for the morning, and the long journey back to Hultail…

PRESENT: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Tonden.

Chapter 3: The Brawl

1 Flamerule, 1490 DR

Arising in Hullack Hall just in time to stave off a Goblin Attack, the party escorts Lord Idgen back to Hultail. There they are granted a Mercenary Contract with the Purple Dragons, good for one tenday. Visiting a local bar for lunch, they decide to take a contract to escort a group of pilgrims to Juniril, to be paid by a Gold Dwarf by the name of Ghysby. They decide to set out in the morning for the trip to Juniril, and take the evening to revel in their success.

Visiting a local restaurant, the Plate of Eels, Aedan, Ashtar, and Elara sit down for an elegant meal and some fine wine. With some duplicity from Elara, Aedan soon succumbs to the strong liquor and becomes belligerent with the wait staff. A small brawl breaks out and Aedan and Ashtar let a few blows fly, before Elara calms the situation and they are escorted out (Aedan being forcibly ejected from the establishment). They head to the Sixcandles Inn to sleep it off.

It is there that Elara steals into Aedan’s room at, waking him with a sword at his throat, demands to know his divine allegiance. He begrudgingly tells her, and she leaves him to sleep, disgruntled.

2 Flamerule, 1490 DR

In the morning, the party awakes to find First Sword Borne and two of her best guards waiting for them. They march them to the edge of town and unceremoniously request they be on their way as swiftly as possible. The party meets up with the pilgrims and head south down the Thunder Way toward Juniril…

PRESENT: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara.

Chapter 4: The Journey

2 Flamerule, 1490 DR

On the road to Juniril, the party spies horses on the horizon. Hiding the pilgrims in the ditch, Aedan and Tonden are surrounded by three priests of Kelemvor, as well as a mob of armed mercenaries. Calling themselves the Urlspur Reavers, they ask about the whereabouts of the pilgrims. The two bluff their way out of it while Elara watches from the hiding place. The leader, Ondarn, orders two of his men to stay and escort the party along their way, while he and his force ride off in the wrong direction.

Elara clumsily springs a trap, and within minutes the two mercs are knocked out, bound, and gagged in the ditch. Ghysby the pilgrim explains that they are devotees of the Heretic, and Ondarn has been hunting them down to put them to the sword by order of the Countess Odette of Thunderstone.

The party resumes their journey.

3, 4, and 5 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party arrives in Juniril days later just before sundown. They are greeted by the small militia, led by Sir Cobblestone, the aged Constal of the Juniril guard. He welcomes them heartily, riding ahead to inform the Manor House of their arrival. Vansel, the grumpy Steward of Chartwell Manor, ‘welcomes’ them in and prepares a meal and beds for the night. There they also meet Ellery, the loyal chaimbermaid of Elara.

As Tonden drinks deep and sleeps deeper, Elara apologizes to Aeden for the previous altercation. She explains her goal: to reclaim and restore the Prison City of Wheloon, and asks his and his gods’ help in the task. He tacitly agrees to assist.

The party arranges for transport across the Wyvernwater to Immersea aboard a Sailing Ship called “The Renegade of Telvanka”.

_6 Flamerule, 1490 DR_

Setting sail the next morning, the party braves a thunderstorm and an attack by Shrieking Eels. The next day, the docks of Immersea peek out over the misty horizon…

PRESENT: Aedan, Elara, Tonden.

Chapter 5: The Basilisk

7 Flamerule, 1490 DR

Arriving in Immersea, the party leaves the vessel and sends word of their presence to Castle Redstone, the ancestral home of the Merandus family. Arriving just in time to catch the family at breakfast, the party faces the walking pyre of furious indignation that is Earl Kenway Merandus, Elara’s father.

Reasoning with him, they petition for an extension on their soon-to-expire Mercenary Contract. Swayed by his wife, Valenice, but primarily by his Mother, Margaret Wyvernspur, and Court Magician Amblethorne, he begrudgingly agrees to do so.

The party must first meet two conditions, however; the first is the taking on of a chaperone in the form of Amblethorne’s Half-Orc apprentice, a Battlemage by the name of Moira. The second is that the party of ‘misadventurers’ prove their loyalty and mettle by assisting the local garrison with a problem down by the docks.

After meeting Elara’s younger brother, Edmund, and making a brief stop at the High Towers to speak with Amblethorne, the party meets with Cyna, Lionar of the Wyvern Guard. She informs the party that people have gone missing down by the docks, including a Purple Dragon Blade whose body was later recovered in the sewers, completely turned to stone.

The party tools up and heads into the sewers. After a swift encounter with a group of diseased ROUS’s (they DO exist), the party encounters a large group of statues, all seemingly gathered in one place. Suddenly, some of the statues come to life and attack the party fiercely. Striking down the statues with some difficulty, aided greatly by the new addition of Moira and her Maul, the party presses on.

Finding a fresh camp and the statue of a Tiefling woman, Tonden secures the area with a conjured stone wall while the party searches the area. Uncovering two scrolls of Greater Restoration. Aedan uses one to restore the Tiefling, who introduces herself as Ta’Liza and tells the party of her meeting with the Basilisk. She blindly gifts their weapons with temporary enchantments as a thank you and a way to aid in the coming battle.

Tonden crumbles his wall to reveal two more statues and the Spellscarred Basilisk, which wields the power of it’s Scar to dominate it’s statues. During the fierce battle, the party averts their eyes, but at a crucial moment Moira’s eyes meet the beast. Within moments, she has turned to stone.

After a fierce struggle, the party downs the beast, and it’s statues freeze upon it’s death. Using the last scroll to restore Moira to her natural form, the party searches the cave to find a single Basilisk egg. Taking it and various trophies from the beast, they return to the surface to bring news of their victory.

PRESENT: Aedan, Elara, Moira, Tonden.

003-fantasy-portraits-sandra-duchiewicz.jpg

Chapter 6: The Market

7 Flamerule, 1490 DR

Having successfully slain the beast in the sewers, the party seeks out Earl Kenway at dinner and publicly announces their achievement. Following the meal, Earl Kenway grants them an extension on their Mercenary License, granting them an additional Tenday.

8 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party arises to Market Day in immersea. Perusing the various shops and specials throughout the town, the group enjoys the sights and sounds of the festivities and even pick up a few odds and ends. Participating in the many events (including an ill-fated three-legged race), many revels are had.

In addition to their revels, much business is conducted. The party takes out a loan from the Earl of 1000 Golden Lions, to be repaid by the end of Flamerule. After many revels, much of the party retires for the night, but Moira and Elara continue on to look for some action.

That evening, the pair meets an elf named Cenfa, distressed that her small caravan had been lost to a pair of ogres. Elara and Moira agree to go out in search of Cenfa’s goods in exchange for the contents of her strongbox, which the ogres should have in their possession. Upon reaching the camp of the ogres, they find a clumsy ambush lies in wait. The two ogre brothers fight, initially with an upper hand, but are soon bested by the two experienced combatants. Slaying the ogres, Elara and Moira return to Immersea to hunt Cenfa, who clearly set them up.

Upon arriving, however, they find that Cenfa has left the city, and is no doubt long gone. Frustrated but a little richer, the two retire to their various bedchambers and sleep through the night.

PRESENT: Aedan, Elara, Moira.

Chapter 7 – The Massacre

9 Flamerule, 1490 DR

While the party sleeps, they have a communal visitation from the Heretic. He tells them that the Urlspur Reavers have begun to menace the town of Gladehap, where they are hunting down his faithful followers. He asks them to go to the Fort they have constructed and slay Reverend Emberstone, the dwarf lieutenant who commands the force.

Setting out from Immersea, the party heads into Starwater County and approaches the small town. Arriving at sundown, they find all the doors locked and windows shuttered. A figure calls them to the door and they make their way into a house. The man introduces himself as the mayor, telling them that the Reavers have been rounding up villagers in batches and taking them to their fort. Most return, but some do not.

It is then that a party of the Urlspur Reavers arrive in town, a large prison wagon in tow, and call all the villagers into the square. The mayor urges them to stay hidden, and goes with the group to face the inquest. The Reavers begin using trained Drakes to sniff out the villagers, and any time they pick up a scent of Heretical magic the villager in question is bundled into the wagon. Taking several prisoners, including the mayor, the wagon and half the patrol begin to ride off, while the remaining stay and continue to search the streets.

It is then that the party attacks, cutting down the Drakes and slaying the remaining soldiers, but not before one gets a blast off on a bugle. A rider returns from the wagon party, but seeing his comrades fallen, retreats on horseback to the Fort, warning the garrison there of the party’s arrival.

The party makes their way swiftly from the village before anyone can get a good look at them, rushing to the treeline around the fort. The watch towers see them coming, however, and begin to use catapults filled with flaming coals to flush them out. The majority of the party goes to ‘surrender’ themselves, while Tonden successfully sneaks around to the back. The party inside is disarmed and shackled, brought before the Reverend, who prepares to lock them into pits in the ground with the villagers.

It is then the party strikes, attempting to break free. Though they put up a struggle, aided by Tonden’s surprise collapsing of part of the rear wall, the party realizes they are sorely outnumbered. Fighting fiercely, they put up a grueling fight, but it is too much for them. As one by one they are struck into unconsciousness, some of the remaining members call out for aid from the Heretic. As Tonden escapes over the wall, and the last of the remaining party members are bashed into unconsciousness, the last thing they hear are the screams from the watchtowers. Tonden looks on as hundreds of shadowy individuals descend from the trees onto the fort. All he hears are screams and the sounds of battle.

As the party awakens, they find themselves surrounded by innumerable bodies. The Reavers have all been slain, and over one hundred dead villagers litter the fort, their eyes glassy and the symbol of the Heretic carved into their foreheads. Realizing the dark cost of the Heretic’s intervention, the party makes a decision. Crumbling a Heretic shrine they find in the center of the fort, they round up all the bodies inside the Fort and burns it to the ground, leaving no trace, no bodies, and no witnesses.

As they flee into the night, hugging the riverbank for cover, the party reflects on the horror they have just been participants in, and wonders at the great cost of their powerful ally’s patronage…

PRESENT: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara, Tonden.

Chapter 8 – The Shootout

11 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party is shaken and badly wounded after their ordeal in Gladehap. Elara has several broken ribs, while Ashtar is sporting a broken arm. In addition, Aedan has vanished, called away by the Heretic, and the party has no way to heal their wounds. Not wanding to be found anywhere near Fort Vigilance, however, they decide to keep moving despite their perilous injuries.

Riding up to the minuscule town of Kallamarn. Riding up to the Sunrise Saloon, they hear a large bang. Entering the tavern, they find an in-progress altercation with a half-elf archer, a Calishite Gold Dwarf, and a group of bandits armed with strange mechanical wands. The party intervenes, and with the help of their new ally take out all the bandits save the leader, Yharnam Ironsights, who escapes with a Wand of Dimension Door.

The archer introduces herself as Lilith, a half-elf Ranger from the North-East, and the party meets Dolain Yn Garag, the Gold Dwarf inventor who created the strange “fireslings” the bandits were armed with. He explains that Ironsights had ambushed his caravan, stolen his prototype weapons, and made off with his assistant Tycho. He implores the party to retrieve his assistant from the nearby Orchard Caves where the bandits have holed up with several other hostages from the town.

As they go to leave, the party is tailed by a small boy who asks them to rescue his mother, who had been taken by the bandit raiding party. They agreed, with Lilith in particular swearing to bring her home safe.

Arriving at the Orchard Caves, Ashtar reveals his plan, as well as his gift from the Heretic: the ability to change his form and appearance to mimic other people. Taking on the guise of Dolain, he walks in claiming surrender. It is not long, however, before the rest of the party is spotted, and a fight breaks out.

Tripping traps and dodging bullets, the party presses into the cave. Hexing, cutting, burning, and shooting their way through all opposition, they eventually reach the main storeroom. Accidentally tripping one final trap, the entire store of Black Powder and ammunition goes up, nearly taking half the cave with it. The prisoners, however, are unharmed, and after taking a moment to patch themselves up, the party discovers Tycho to be a small (and angry) Chultan Spider-Monkey.

Rescuing the other prisoners, including the boy’s mother, they are told that the cave held only half of Ironsight’s force, the other half having doubled back to the town in case the ambush failed. Hearing this, Lilith charges off ahead back toward the town as fast as her feet will carry her.

Arriving in Kallamarn, the party fast on her heels, Lilith finds Yharnam Ironsight with a Firesling pressed to the head of the young boy from before. He calls out Lilith, ready to finish what was started in the Sunrise Saloon. The two meet in the street, facing off. In an instant, both go for their weapons, there is the twang of a bowstring… and Yharnam Ironsights falls to the ground, an arrow through his skull.

His gang, hidden among the buildings, springs to action, and the party goes to work. After battling in the street, alleys, and rooftops, at last the final bandit falls.

The party reunites mother and child, dwarf and monkey, and are rewarded with prototypes from Dolain and a party from the townsfolk. As the sun hangs low in the west, the party mounts up on their horses and rides off into the sunset, towards Calantar’s Bridge and distant Suzail.

PRESENT: Ashtar, Elara, Lilith, Moira, Tonden.

Chapter 9 – The City

16 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party arrives, at long last, in the capital city of Suzail. After a brief interview at the city gates, the party is granted admittance and makes swiftly for the Cormaeril Compound. There they meet Elara’s eccentric Aunt, Marian, who welcomes them with a meal and a Wroth reading.

After they have eaten, the party takes the family carriage to the Royal Court. There they meet Lady Eleanor Thond, Royal Herald, and register as an Adventuring Party. After much deliberation, they eventually settle on a title: The Wardens of the Eclipse. They agree to call themselves the Duskcloaks in casual conversation.

Following this, the party arcanists appear before the War Wizards for testing. Moira passes her tests easily, while Ashtar is revealed to be a Warlock, brand and all. He tries to cope with this revelation, while also realizing that he shall be under the War Wizards watchful eye.

After the party runs various errands, they proceeds to search for employment. They meet up with a local merchant named Audreyn, who asks them to destroy a mask of dark power that was stolen from his shop. The item, called the Mask of Vaprak, was believed to have been stolen by a man named Randall Chantham. Heading out of town, they use an old wine cellar to gain access to the network of tunnels that run beneath Suzail.

It is in the tunnels that the party finds a number of undead: mummies and skeletons, intent on preventing passage into the lower reaches of the tunnels. Something is clearly afoot…

Chapter 10 – The Tunnels

16 Flamerule, 1490 DR

Moving deeper into the tunnels, the party encounters more undead. Carving their way through, despite the threat of mummy rot, they continue onward until they reach a large chamber. It is here the party finds the perpetrator of the theft and the source of the undead: Randall Chantham, who is also the necromancer Aeden bested before encountering the party. With a command from their master, the skeletons attack, led by a fearsome four-armed Tomb Guardian.

Aeden, channeling his divine power, turns the first wave of undead, who begin to flee in awe. The necromancer, using a fireball to renew his raised troops’ resolve, slings spell after spell at the party. Empowered by the mask, and defended by his powerful undead servant, he fights the party tooth and nail. After a grueling fight, and with the aid of Beans “Snarls” Barkley, the party emerges victorious, slaying the necromancer and smashing the Mask of Vaprak.

Searching the chamber, they find a letter among the necromancer’s belongings. Written by a ‘Silakul’, it speaks of a mysterious ‘Engine’, a smuggling ring, and a plot against Suzail. The party loots the room and returns to the surface.

Taking the letter to the War Wizards for examination, they then return to their benefactor for payment for the job. Afterwards, the party disbanded for a few days to enjoy the sights and the sounds of the city of Suzail…

Chapter 11 – The Wizards

18 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The party goes about their various business. Elara arranges a meeting between Dolain yn Garag and the Armorour’s Guild, and is called in for a meeting with Princess Raedra. Tonden has a meeting first with Edwin Morahan, and then with Ossani Eveningspire, the Sage Royal, where he discusses a mysterious symbol on his back, as well as a famous hero of the north. Moira has a meeting with Vainrence, the Lord Warder of the War Wizards, who commends her for her work in acquiring the letter.

20 Flamerule, 1490 DR

After a few days, the party is summoned by Vainrence to a council. They have analyzed the letter with magic, and determined four locations in and around Suzail where the mysterious ‘Silakul’ may have been in the last tenday. The party is sent to a mansion outside of town to deal with any threats there and to apprehend anyone they may encounter.

The party is teleported to the mansion. Barging through the door, Tonden and Moira immediately meet with resistance, in the form of several thugs and archers wearing robes with a strange symbol. As they engage the enemy, Elara sneaks around the back to the second story window. Peering through just as a mighty roar erupts from the upper floor, she sees a terrifying sight: a Red Dragon wyrmling.

As the Battlemage and the Monk brawl it out on the stairwell, and with the wyrmling distracted with mauling it’s former captors, Elara dives in and strikes a mighty blow, drawing the beast’s attention. Tonden’s earth-manipulating powers turn the tide of combat, but bring the mansion crumbling slowly in on itself. The three heroes escape the mansion before it collapses, three prisoners in tow. Moira and Tonden rush to Elara’s aid, distracting the beast, giving her the opportunity she needs to strike a fatal blow on the wyrm, slaying it.

With trophies and prisoners in tow, the three victorious heroes make the return trip to Suzail.

Chapter 12 – The Heroes

Previously:

19 Flamerule, 1490 DR

Brother Aeden seeks out Edwin Morahan and submits a petition to preach openly in Suzail. He is sent to speak with the Sage Royal, Ossani Eveningspire, and makes his case for his faith. She hears him out, and accepts his submission for review. Meanwhile, Ashtar spends an evening trying to contact his mother, but all he receives are a painful jolt from his strange new brand and a mysterious message to go meet someone by the southwest docks. He finds a man named Trowel, who expresses Ashtar’s mother’s displeasure with him, and assures him that when she wants to talk she will come to him.

21 Flamerule, 1490 DR

The day after the fight with the Dragon, the party is summoned to Royal Court. There they see King Foril, as well as Crown Prince Irvel and the rest of the party. Before they are presented to the court, however, the Doomguide Ondarn appears before the King on behalf of the Urlspur Reavers. He reveals to the court his discovery of the massacre at Fort Vigilance, and urges the King and Crown Prince to declare the Heretic and his followers enemies of Cormyr. The King assures the paladin that he will consider the matter with grave diligence.

Then Vainrence steps forward and reveals the plot against the city, seemingly by the Cult of the Dragon. He presents the Wardens of the Eclipse to the court, and the King thanks them for their role in the disruption of the scheme. At the suggestion of Prince Irvel, he invites the party to attend the grand banquet that very evening.

The party is then brought before Vainrence in private, who reveals that they found an ancient artifact at one of the safe houses they raided. He believes it to be a Mythallar Relic, an ancient Netherese artifact, now useless without a Mythallar to power it. He asks the party to keep their knowledge of the item a secret.

After running several errands, the party gets all dolled up for the event. As the night of feasting, drinking, and dancing goes on, several of the party members start to feel a sense of unease. They see Ganrahast, the Royal Magician, suddenly be called away, overhearing talk of the strange artifact. Then a jester steps forward and begins a slew of bad jokes, before suddenly revealing an artifact of his own. Aeden tackles the man, but the spell is cast. Shields spring up at all the entrances, exits, and windows, trapping everyone within the Hall. Suddenly, the guests, guards, and heroes, are surrounded on all sides by assassins, who spring to action with the rallying cry, “For Urmlaspyr!!!”

Before the Assassins get a chance to carry out their murderous deeds, however, the Duskcloaks spring into action. In a flurry of spells, blades, mauls, fists, and arrows, the heroes launch with fierce resolve at the would-be assassins, giving the attackers reason to be afraid. As the heroes fight, so too do the guards and the Royals. The assassins give as good as they get, however, striking with deadly swiftness at the King, stabbing him with poison daggers. With the intervention of some well-timed healing spells, as well as the quick action of the Duskcloaks, Purple Dragons, and War Wizards, the King’s assailants are soon distracted. The battle rages on for several tense minutes, when suddenly the shields on the room drop and just as suddenly the room is filled with armed and angry War Wizards. In a flurry of Arcane missiles, all but one of the remaining attackers are felled in an instant, leaving the room in bloody disarray… but the Royal Family alive and breathing.

The Wardens of the Eclipse have thwarted disaster, and prevented the toppling of a dynasty. What shall await the heroes in the next volume of their journey?

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.