The Wardens of the Eclipse

Chapter 2 - The Battle of Arabel Field
The party punches through the Daggerburg blockade.

SUZAIL

- The party attends the firearm demonstration. It goes less well then anticipated, but the crown pledges money for further tests.
- The party is introduced to Murgatroyd Rothskilne, retired soldier and renowned author. His compatriot, Lord Vescaras, asks the party to take him and a shipment of wine with them to Arabel. They agree, welcoming Mur to the team.
- After final preparations, the party makes their way to Arabel.

ARMY CAMP
- Passing streams of refugees, the party passes through Immersea before arriving outside Arabel. They work with the army commanders to plan the assault.
- The Army of the Eastern Marches attacks the Daggerburg Goblins. Though pushing an opening for the convoy, the Cormyrans are outmatched and sustain heavy casualties punching a hole in the enemy lines.
- The party fights furiously to the gates of the Palisade, losing one wagonload of food in the process. Successfully pressing through, however, the wounded but successful Wardens enter the gates of Arabel as the Palisade burns behind them…

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Book 3: Chapter 1 - Tides of War
The war becomes more dire.

- The party receives news from across the kingdom.
- After finalizing plans and assigning the Golden Keep’s denizens to various tasks, the party departs for Hultail.
- Arriving in Hultail, they penitently convince Annan Borne to send a caravan of dried and salt fish to Arabel.
- Making the long journey to the Capital, the party passes through Wheloon before arriving in Suzail.
- At the war council, it is revealed that Crown Prince Irvel has disappeared and Prince Baerovus has been struck into a deep sleep. With the Crown Prince missing, the kingdom is in crisis.
- Having learned this, the party finalizes plans to head to Arabel after taking care of some business in Suzail.

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Interlude - The Tenebrous Cabal
The party says farewell to one of their number...

- While resting and repairing the Keep, a portal opens and out pour hellspawn, led by Ashtar’s mother Diadria, pursued by assassins and ghosts.
- The party engages her enemies before following them all into a portal.
- Emerging in the Nine Hells, the party is nearly slain by a family of Erinyes before their allies rush through to aid them.
- Pursuing Diadria, they eventually reach her inner halls, where a Lich offers Ashtar a choice: join the Tenebrous Cabal by killing his mother, or walking away.
- After a tense moment, Ashtar stabs his mother, who is then revealed to be Destin Greyscar, his long last father. He had killed Diadria tendays ago, and was testing Ashtar’s loyalty to her.
- Destin welcomes Ashtar into his organization, and Ashtar says his farewells.

Present: Aedan, Ashtar, Elara

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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…
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.’

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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.

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