|07/08/2004||06/28/1374 DR - 06/30/1374 DR|
With some free time on their hands, the party decided to divide up the items that they found. Both the +2 elfbane bastard sword and the amulet of proof against detection and location were sold, and the proceeds were split among everyone. The eyes of the eagle were given to Eltairin.
Daria, for her part, continued to work with the ages who were investigating the remains that the party had recovered from the well. Her time was spent mostly flipping through tomes, trying to identify the tiara, but she got to meet several renowned scholars. Later in the week, the High Lady called in several powerful wizards, and Daria was not privy to their work. On 28 Kythorn, the party received a message of an audience with Lady Alustriel for the next morning.
That evening, the party happened to be walking through the older section of Silverymoon near Helmer's Wall when they something caught their eye. They saw two fast-moving figures who seemed to be having some sort of conflict on the second floor of a nearby house. A lean, hooded man grasped the throat of his robust opponent. The latter raised a dagger, but the hooded man caught his wrist to stop the incoming stab. After a few more moments of furious struggle, the window exploded in a shower of glittering shards as the robust man was thrown outside. He fell without a cry, hitting the ground with a dull thump. The robed man leaned out of the window, ready to jump, when he spotted the on-looking party.
Kartoffl and Eltairin immediately ran to help the fallen man. Eltairin arrived first, and the man, barely conscious, whispered, "That thief! Catch him!" just before passing out.
As soon as Kartoffl arrived, Eltairin began to walk up the side of the building in pursuit of the hooded man. Kartoffl, in the meantime, healed the man, bringing him back to consciousness.
Yassel climbed up the drain spout, arriving on the second floor just after Eltairin did. They entered the second floor apartment, but the hooded man was no longer there. The sound of broken glass in a nearby room told them where he had gone.
Thistle ran for the alley next to the house. A moment later, glass descended upon him. The hooded man made a spectacular leap from the window onto the nearby roof. Thistle fired arrows, hitting the fleeing man twice, but did not slow his progress.
Daria and Romae (and eventually Kartoffl) followed on the ground, trying to keep track of the fleeing figure. Most of their time was spent in a futile chase. Late in the pursuit, Daria tried several times to climb a nearby drain pipe to no avail. Romae was confounded by several locked doors, and no visible target.
Yassel and Eltairin both tried to jump across from roof to roof as the hooded man had done. Unfortunately, neither gauged the distance properly, and both found themselves crashing to the ground from several stories up! Slightly injured both physically and in their pride, and continued to pursue the hooded man.
Thistle spotted a wooden board spanning between two buildings. He set about to guard the board, and the alley that it crossed, hoping to get another shot at the party's quarry.
Setara cast a fly spell, and took off in pursuit. By the time she arrived on the scene, he was already several roof tops beyond, and she could not spot him. Eventually, she saw him in his hiding spot, and called out his location to the rest of the party. She then launched several magic missiles, striking him as he tried to flee.
By this point, Eltairin had climbed up to the roof of the adjacent building, and was about to cross the board that Thistle was guarding. When Setara pointed the hooded man out to the party, he immediately spotted him some distance away. He released several arrows at him, striking him numerous times. The hooded man dropped upon the impact of the arrows, falling through the wooden roof into a family's living area.
Setara was first on the scene, and began talking with the family whose sleep had just been interrupted. She was able to determine that their quarry was deceased. Yassel and Eltairin soon arrived to help Setara secure the area. Daria, Thistle, and Romae arrived a few moments later with the guards.
The Knights interrogated the party as to what had happened. Fortunately, they recognized the party from their many recent exploits around Silverymoon, which made the questioning much easier on the party. The Knights took charge, escorting the victim to safer quarters, and removing the body of the hooded man.
During the questioning, the party learned that the robust man that they had aided was none other than Kalier Goloda, the treasurer of Silverymoon.Evidently, the hooded man, whose name was Corlag, was a sometimes associate of Goloda. They were supposed to be meeting that evening, and Corlag unexpectedly attacked Goloda.
The next morning (29 Kythorn), the party met with Lady Alustriel. She thanked the party for recovering the remains, and informed them of sages' findings. Through use of the legend lore spell, the sages were able to learn that the body was probably the remains of Adthene, who was the daughter of former High Mage Sepur. She was abducted, probably around the time that he abandoned Silverymoon. She also informed them that it was lucky that the party did not try to keep the tiara as it seems to still be haunted by her spirit, and the sages were still trying to deal with that.
As a reward for their services, the sages granted the party 30 man-days of free study time in the Vault of the Sages. In other words, one party member could conduct research for a total of 30 days. More than one party member could conduct research for free until the amount of time was used up. In addition, Lady Alustriel gave the party 7 cure moderate wounds potions enchanted at 10th level.
In the afternoon, the party met with Kalier Goloda, at his request, in his offices at the Star Court. He thanked them for their aid, and inquired if they could aid him further. He told them that Corlag, his assailant, was a rogue who was sometimes hired by city officials for various tasks. Corlag was currently in his employ, trying to investigate a merchant by the name of Odals Alzota.
Odals Alzota had contacted him about 12 days ago, inquiring about the possible purchase of a medallion that had been in Golada's family's possession for many years. (It had once belonged to Golada's great-grandfather, who had also been city treasurer almost 150 years ago.) Alzota offered an immediate payment of 1.000 gp for the medallion. As Goloda could barely recall the medallion, he asked for time to think about the deal. Alzota agreed to return in 3 days.
Goloda found the casket containing the medallion and read the attached note written by his great-grandfather, Brolin Goloda. Inside was also a document that he could not read, and had not translated yet. Wisely, he decided that he would not sell the medallion until he better understood the object and its history.
The note read: "This box contains the medallion of the accursed Yenejg Togan, left in the city's treasurer's custody by Falerjan, paladin of Helm. Only he or his brothers can retrieve it."
When Odals Alzota returned, Kalier asked him how he knew about the medallion. The merchant calmly explained that he had learned of it in a remote temple of Helm by reading a biography of Falerjan, paladin of Helm. Kalier asked for 3 more days to decide on the matter.
The merchant was visibly disappointed. He mentioned that his next visit would be his last. He also raised his offer to 2,000 gp.
Kalier explained to the party that he had hired Corlag at this point to shadow Odals Alzota and gather information about him.
Corlag followed him from a local inn to the wilderness of Tarwood. Worried by the grisly tales of the forest's occupants, the spy went no further and returned to report his discovery to Kalier. After receiving this information, Goloda decided to keep the medallion from Odals, afraid that the merchant was somehow connected to the tyrant Yenejg Togan.
When Odals came again to buy the medallion, he faced a neat refusal. Without showing disappointment, he asked to at least see the object. A that point, Kalier realized that Odals was trying some kind of magical enchantment trick. Offended by the attempt, he cried out to the guards, and turned to draw a sword hanging on the wall.
As soon as Kalier drew the sword, magical darkness filled the room. The soldiers were held at bay by a magically blocked door that defied their best attempts to break it down. Kalier slashed the air blindly while Odals uttered more arcane words only a few steps away. When the door finally gave way and the darkness dissipated, the merchant was nowhere to be found, but the medallion was still safe.
Alarmed, Kalier ordered Corlag to enter Tarwood at once, find out whatever was there, and report on any activity. to overcome the rogue's fear of the woods, Kalier gave him enough money to hire a small group of mercenaries. The day after, Corlag went into the Tarwood with 3 companions. Only Corlag returned -- with an odd and insane desire to destroy his patron. The party witnessed the rest of the story.
Kalier then asked the party to look into the matter. He wanted them to explore the Tarwood, find out what had happened to Corlag, learn the whereabouts of Odals Alzota, and basically find out what was really going on. As payment, he offered 3,000 gp. The party accepted his offer.
Kalier described Alzota as a slender young man about 30 years old. He had penetrating black eyes, long dark hair tied in a braid, and expensive purple clothes.
He then showed the party the box, medallion, and the 2 notes. No one in the party could translate the longer note, but Daria used a comprehend languages spell to decipher it. (It was written in Celestial.) That note turned out to be a first person account of the attack on Yenejg Togan written by Falerjan.
After leaving Kalier, Daria tried to recall everything that she knew about Yenejg Togan and the Tarwood. She remembered hearing a few tales of Yenejg Togan. He was evidently a High Mage of Silverymoon soon after Sepur departed the city. His short reign was one of terror as he was quite evil. She did not recall any details, however.
Daria recalled that the Tarwood was a section of the Silverwoods, located about 3 days south of Silverymoon. The Silverwoods are a hilly, wild forest, located south of Silverymoon between the Nether Mountains and the Evermoors. It was once a part of the Great Forest; however, continued logging in the vicinity of Everlund caused it to become separate. Many trolls and other monsters from the Evermoors roam this woodland in search of game or the occasional unwary woodcutter.
The Tarwood had a reputation of being haunted, and evil. It was deep in the Silverwoods, and generally not visited. Given this information, the party decided to visit the Vault of the Sages the next morning (30 Kythorn).
|07/21/2004||06/30/1374 DR - 07/04/1374 DR|
In the morning of 30 Kythorn, the party had a brief discussion about trolls. Only Yassel, Thistle, and Kartoffl had ever encountered a troll, and they warned that trolls were vulnerable to fire; the troll they had encountered seemed to regenerate all other types of damage. Consequently, they bought a few flasks of alchemical fire and several flasks of lamp oil.
They then went to the House Invincible, the temple of Helm, to see High Priest Hykros who Yassel, Thistle, and Kartoffl had worked for almost a year ago. He was busy at the time that they arrived, but could see them in an hour. They retired to Helmer's Wall to wait.
When the hour was up, the returned to the House Invincible to meet with Hykros. After introductions were made, Daria explained their latest mission to him, and asked him about Falerjan. He had heard of Falerjan as he was a hero to the followers of Helm in Silverymoon. He knew that Falerjan played a leading role in the overthrow of an evil High Mage about 150 years ago. His action were responsible for the establishment of the current temple in the city. He knew little else, but promised to research the matter for the party.
She then asked him about whom a paladin of Helm would consider to be "his brothers." Hykros initially stated that the term commonly would mean clerics or paladins of Helm, but could be extended to followers of Helm in certain situations. He also noted that it was sufficiently vague, and so might well extend to clerics and paladins of allied deities or compatible alignments in times of dire need. Although he thought that it should rightfully be turned over to the House Invincible, he was pleased that it was currently in the possession of the High Lady at the High Palace.
The party also consulted him about potential powers and risks involved with Yenejg's medallion. He asked if any divinations had been cast upon it, and was told that they had not. In his opinion, he believed, that under controlled conditions, both a detect magic and an identify should be perfectly safe to cast upon the item.
The party thanked Hykros for his consultation, and left to buy pearls for an identify. They, of course, went to Naaman's Magical Emporium where they have an agreement to purchase 4 pearls for the price of 3.
Next, they visited Kalier Goloda at the Star Court to get permission to test the medallion. Luckily, he was available at the time, and gladly granted them permission. He said that he would notify Lady Alustriel to inform her that they should be allowed to view the medallion.
Leaving the Star Court, they went to the High Palace to speak with Fredegar. After Daria explained the situation to him, he told them that he would have to speak with the High Lady about the matter. Unfortunately, she currently was in a series of meetings, and so he would not be able to talk with her until later in the day. Fredegar asked if the party could return in the morning. The party agreed, and departed the High Palace, retiring to Helmer's Wall for the evening.
Daria caught Tremayne's (Dominique's brother's) attention, and he came over to the party's table. Daria explained parts of their mission to him, and asked him what he knew of the Tarwood. He regaled them with tales of the Tarwood; many of which were quite far-fetched. One thing that did become clear was the evil reputation of the area and the reoccurring mention of towers in the Tarwood. Tremayne eventually left the party as he had spent a good amount of time at the party's table.
A later private meeting between Daria and Tremayne produced little additional information.
Romae, in the meantime, was decided to introduce Yassel to a new drink, inspired by his talk of combining elven wine with dwarven ale. She brought over several tankards of ale and a bottle of whiskey with a few small (shot) glasses. Romae encouraged Yassel to fill the small glass with whiskey, drop it into a tankard of ale, and then consume the mixture. Needless to say after a few of these, Yassel was quite inebriated. He staggered home, much to Romae's pleasure.
The party met with Fredegar in the morning of 1 Flamerule. He told them that the High Lady had agreed to allow them to view the medallion, and brought them into a secure room in the High Palace. Setara first detected magic on the item, and found that it radiated both strong conjuration magic and strong transmutation magic.
Her identify spell uncovered 4 properties of the medallion. It once had the ability to warn Penfavasta from a distance, but that ability was somehow severed and only a residual remained. Setara could not determine how that ability worked as it was no longer functional. The disk also acted as a key to open a magical door and as a key to activate a teleportation device. The location and natural of these could not be determined. Finally, it brings misfortune to lawful or good bearers. After leaving the High Palace, the party returned to the House Invincible to see if Hykros had been able to find out anything. Hykros was able to uncover some facts, and retold the tale of Falerjan's campaign against Yenejg Togan -- none of these facts were new to the party, however having already read Falerjan's account.
He then noted that it was believed that Togan had 2 bases of power. One was his residence in Silverymoon that Falerjan raided. The other was thought to have been a tower somewhere in the Tarwood. It was never raided as Falerjan's company was decimated in the attack on Togan's residence in Silverymoon.
Thanking Hykros, they finally went to the Vault of the Sages. There, Daria read dozens of tales of the Tarwood. Many featured towers. Yenejg's tower was mentioned, and presumed to be in the center of the Tarwood; however, many more tales had towers in the northern Tarwood. From this research, the party concluded that the actual tower might well be in the northern section. All of the tales agreed that the Tarwood was evil, and was 3 days, as the crow flies, south of Silverymoon in the Silverwoods.
The next day (2 Flamerule), the party set out for the Tarwood, walking as their horses would be useless in the rough terrain. Aasan, Setara's familiar, did a great deal of scouting for the party, allowing them to avoid several potential problems along the way. Consequently, the first 2 days of travel went without incident.
They awoke on 4 Flamerule with the Tarwood about 1 day's travel away.
|07/29/2004||07/04/1374 DR - 07/06/1374 DR|
The party continued journeying toward the Tarwood. By the morning of 5 Flamerule, they noticed the trees around them becoming more twisted and gnarly.
In the early afternoon, Yassel smelled something foul, but could not recognize the odor. Only Thistle's familiar also smelled it, but could not relate exactly what it was to the rest of the party. The party advanced in the direction of the odor, and soon spotted a body lying up ahead.
Kartoffl inspected the body, and recognized it to be a naked bugbear. A large circular head wound was undoubtedly the fatal wound.
Yassel searched around for signs and tracks nearby. While there were signs of movement around the body, he did not find any indication that a battle had been fought nearby. There were some tracks belonging to humanoids, going southwest.
Late afternoon, the party encountered a band of bugbears carrying longbows. A long-range battle through the trees commenced. As Romae and a few others charged the bugbears, Eltairin and Thistle launched arrows at the foes. Setara further weakened them with a series of fireballs. The bugbears fought a battle of shoot and retreat. Soon, those bugbears who survived fled. A single bugbear was captured by Daria.
Using her comprehend languages spell, Daria attempted to question their captive. Since the spell only allowed her to understand but not speak the bugbear's language, she resorted to a series of charades and drawings in the dirt to get her points across.
The bugbear told Daria that there was no wizard's tower nearby. There was a ruined tower, one day to the south. It claimed that there were no bugbears, monsters, or people around. It also said that there were no trails or roads nearby.
Following the interrogation, the party released the bugbear, naked and unarmed. Romae alone objected to this, wanting to kill the creature instead.
The party collected goods from the fallen bugbears. They took 4 longbows. Eltairin took the 40 arrows that were recovered. There were also 4 morningstars; Kartoffl identified this as the probable weapon that caused the head wound in the bugbear that they had found earlier. They then continued toward the ruined tower. They camped for the night, a few hours later.
In the midafternoon of 6 Flamerule, Aasan located the ruins of a tower ahead. Yassel and Daria scouted ahead along the perimeter. It stood on a low plateau on the lower slope of a much larger, steeper hill. Daria detected magic, and found no magic in the area. Likewise, Kartoffl detected evil, but noticed nothing evil in the vicinity.
On the outskirts, they saw a barely recognizable gravel field surrounded by a low stone wall. Beyond a rotted wooden gate to the left, the remains of a small stable and a well were still visible under the growing grass and vines. A ramp of stone steps led up a low, rocky slope to a higher courtyard. There, a truncated tower topped by a makeshift roof stands beside two smaller, ruined buildings.
The party decided to travel up the ramp towards the courtyard. The ramp and courtyard were paved with cobblestones. Both were in very good condition, showing little wear since the time when the tower was occupied.
The truncated tower looked firm in spite of the damage caused by the collapse of its upper stories. The top of the tower was uneven and ruined, but a makeshift roof had been built over it. Part of the rubble around the base of the tower had been cleared to leave a free passage to the entrance.
As the party walked towards the tower, Kartoffl heard a soft, female voice calling out, "Is there anybody out there? Oh, please, for Mielikki's sake, help me!" The source of the sound, however, remained unseen.
Kartoffl alerted the party, and everyone listened to try to locate the voice. This time, Yassel, Daria, Setara, and Thistle all heard the voice. Kartoffl then saw a slender hand reaching out from one of the many drainage gratings in the courtyard. He still had his detect evil spell running, so he looked at the woman and noticed that she was evil.
Daria, being suspicious, started to cross-examine the unseen voice. The female voice pleaded with Daria to free her. The woman tried to explain that she was being held captive by some male wizard, and had been tortured. She did not know how long she had been held, but knew that it had not snowed since she had been captured. She tried to tell Daria that she had little time before the wizard came back, and he would be angry if he bound her talking to people on the outside. She claimed to be from Silverymoon and she did know that Alustriel was its leader.
Kartoffl moved closer to the grating. As he approached, he felt the slight tug of a resisted enchantment spell. Through the grating, he saw a young woman, but there was something else to her that he couldn't quite define. It was almost like she was a centaur or a gynosphinx. He believed that what he was seeing was not an illusion, but was reality.
At this point, Eltairin decided to "drop" a vial of holy water down into the grating. The woman was surprised when the holy water dripped onto her. She gave no indication that it had injured her in any way. -- As Kartoffl pointed out, holy water only harms evil undead or outsiders. Eltairin then dropped a continual flame stone down into the grating.
Daria cautiously approached the grating. She saw the young woman being dragged away by a man dressed in a purple cloak. She was pulled out of the room and into a hallway. The door closed behind them.
Still slightly confused by the scene that Daria had witnessed, the party turned away from the grating to consider their next move.
|08/04/2004||07/06/1374 DR - 07/06/1374 DR|
|08/11/2004||07/06/1374 DR - 07/06/1374 DR|
The party followed the elusive woman into a room containing a large cistern fed by rainwater coming from the cellar; Thistle and a few others remained behind in the cellar and hallway. The cistern appeared filled almost to capacity, but they found no sign of the woman.
Those standing close to the cistern were attacked by a large water elemental, rising out of the cistern. A battle ensued between the party and the elemental.
A few rounds into the battle, Thistle spotted a robed wizard hiding behind one of the pillars in the large cellar, spying on the party. It appeared to be the same one that Daria had seen through the grating, dragging off the woman. Thistle called out a warning to the party, and opened fire with his bow. The wizard cast mirror image on himself, and fired a pair of magic missiles at Thistle.
The battle was now engaged on two fronts. Yassel moved in on the wizard only to be drained of 4 points of wisdom and then slept! Likewise, Daria and Kartoffl were drained of 3 points of wisdom each, Kartoffl's occuring in 2 separate strikes. Finally, the elemental was defeated, and shortly thereafter, the wizard was killed. When the wizard fell, she transformed back to her original form, and it was revealed that she was not a wizard after all, but a lamia with a human top half and a lion body.
The party then followed the 10-ft passage out of the cellar. It led to a large, rectangular room that overlapped a T-junction among 3 corridors. The corridor continued south across from where they entered the room, and another exited to their left. A large, 15-ft.-wide polygonal niche was carved in the middle of the east wall. Flanking the niche were 2 wooden benches that stretched along the east wall. A round table of white marble, carved in the likeness of a squatting demon, stood in the center of the niche. The table was empty.
The party searched this room. Yassel found a small peephole in the right hand wall. Behind it, he saw a lit chamber. Eltairin promptly plugged the hole up, so that it could not be used to spy upon the party.
At this point, the party received a message to parley from someone unknown. After a brief discussion, they returned to the large cellar area to meet the one who had communicated with them.
When they arrived, a man matching the description of Odals Alzota, the merchant who had attempted to first purchase and then take Yenegj's medallion from Kalier Goloda. He wished to make a deal with the party, saying that they had impressed him with their fighting prowess.
Alzota wanted to join forces with the party to explore Yenegj's secret dungeon, claiming that he wished to recover a family ring that had been taken to the dungeons back in Yenegj's time. He also claimed that the octagon chamber a little farther down the hall was a teleportation chamber to the dungeons. He had studied it, and claimed that the medallion was the key to operating the device.
The party was understandably reticent. They questioned him about his involvement with Corlag's murderous behavior and the disappearence of his companions.
He claimed that he had no part in that. They had run afoul of Gleir, the lamia, and the bugbears. The lamia probably had charmed Corlag, and sent him back to Silverymoon. Alzota claimed that he tried to avoid Gleir whenever possible.
Seeing that he was not making much headway with the party, Alzota tried to appeal to the party's sense of right. He explained that there was great evil in Yenegj's secret dungeon that must be destroyed or it might escape to run amok. The party did not buy this, reasoning that if it had not escaped in over 100 years, it was not likely to do so. Thistle finally proposed that if Alzota was telling the truth that he must travel back to Silverymoon and make his case to the party's boss. If he could persuade her, then she'd authorize the mission and allow him to accompany the party. Failure to do so would only prove that Alzota was untrustworthy.
Alzota obviously was not interested in returning to Silverymoon with the party, and tried to persuade the party that this demand was unreasonable. The party was not convinced, however.
He told them that there were great dangers in the tower dungeons. The party would need his help if they were to survive. He had spent some time in this area, and knew some of the dangers. He could help the party.
Finally, Alzota was totally frustrated with the party's stubborn insistence over his returning to Silverymoon with them. He told them to continue exploring then, without him. He would return in 2 days and take the medallion from their dead bodies. After saying that, he teleported away.
After a few moments, the party continued their investigation of the dungeon area. They recognized the first room that they searched as the room that the imprisoned woman had spoken to them from through the grating. The smell of a savage beast permeated the air inside. A pile of straw covered by filthy, poorly tanned deerskins rested in one corner of the room. An opened wooden crate contained a heap of bare humanoid skulls.
They next found a room that looked like an old prison cell. It contained an old wooden pallet, the remains of an old woolen blanket, and an empty clay jar. A search of the room turned up nothing else of note.
Walking back towards the telportation room, Eltairin noticed a secret door just before the party left the large cellar room. After Yassel checked out the secret door, the party opened the door.
The small room beyond was was dimly lit by an old oil lamp that rested on a stool in one corner. the only other objects in the room were a bedroll and a small backpack. Since they presumed that these items belonged to the merchant, they left the room as they found it.
They continued down the the teleportation room. It was a 30-ft-wide room shaped like an octagon. On the opposite wall, they saw a bas-relief carving of the medallion extending from floor to ceiling. Six brass levers protruded from the remaining 6 walls. A slim, 3-ft-tall pewter post jutted from the exact center of the floor. the vaulted ceiling of the room was covered by a dense network of geometric carvings and mystical inscriptions. Not wishing to disturb this room any further, the party continued down the corridor. About 60 ft. before the corridor turned to the right, Thistle's familiar and Yassel's dog reacted to a strong smell that only they could detect. The party paused the consider was what going on. At the far end of the corridor, just beyond the turn, they were able to see an old green curtain hanging from floor to ceiling.
© Copyright Maryrita Steinhour, 2002, 2004.