The Wardens of the Eclipse

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

- The party receives news from across the kingdom.
- After finalizing plans and setting the Golden Keep’s denizens to 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 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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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.

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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.

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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

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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…

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