16 Changewind 509
The entire Crimson Cord is camped out on the grounds of the Lord Mayor of Aldasar. That morning, the party discusses their next move—are they going to Leodin to deal with the Dire Wolves? Surm wants to take some time to first go to Lord Cannach’s estate and deal with the doppelganger there. For him, this is situation is a personal affront—Lord Cannach was his friend and he wants to do something about this outrage. However, the party eventually takes a vote and he is outvoted—they are going to go to Leodin and take all of the troops with them.
Surm and Lynecit heads over to Ulliam’s Resting Place to speak with Willton Ginnis. In a private conversation in Willton’s room, Surm explains what is going on and that the Cord will be heading over to Leodin. Willton indicates that if Lord Cannach is truly dead, then his lands and holdings will be retained by his liegelord—who is the Lord Mayor. Willton also informs Surm of a secret entrance into the manor house that may be needed by those who are going to deal with the doppelganger. This tunnel and entrance into the manor’s basement was only known about by himself and the real Lord Cannach. It was an emergency escape route in case of attack. The entrance is about mile from Lord Cannach’s lands in an abandoned farmstead. Surm indicates that Willton should take this information to the Lord Mayor and offers to take him back there with him. Willton says “of course.” After a pause, Surm then asks Willton to tell him the details of this entrance—just in case.
Returning to the estate, the party then discusses the blue dragon purported to be in play at Leodin. Surm gives them all the information he knows on the beasts—he is quite knowledgeable. They have no weaknesses per se, and in fact, several potent defenses. It will be a tough fight. After a long discussion, the only plan that they determine is that they are going to go to Leodin and “take care of business”—whatever that entails.
Before they leave the city, Savaric purchases 50 dragon bane arrows for his quiver.
The party bids farewell to Willton and the Lord Mayor and make their way from Aldasar toward the mining village of Leodin.
Alasir has the troops maintain a tight column while the main party continue to discuss their plans, or lack thereof, along the way.
Should they teleport to the old lich lair? Where should they enter the town from? Finally, they decide to use the old lich lair as an entry point—provided that the town hasn’t sealed it up. They also think that Surm should try to scry Grazella Domane, the leader of the Dire Wolves to try and get more information about what is going on and where.
That night, as the party makes camp, Surm performs the scrying with the crystal ball—but sees nothing.
17 Changewind 509
The Cord continues on its journey toward Leodin. That night, Surm tries to scry again—but sees nothing. They decide to go ahead and teleport into the lich lair and start to get some reconnaissance on the village. They collect the Agent’s Clasp from Alasir and explain their plan to him. If the party doesn’t return by morning, Alasir is to take the Cord and continue on to Leodin. Surm then teleports himself, Savaric, Krrish, and Rilka to the library within the old lich’s lair.
Apparently the room is not filled in as the party arrives safely. Savaric and Krrish are going to go into the village and scout it out. The party then has a long discussion about what to do if Krrish and Savaric encounter this priest, Coldtongue, or Grazella Domane herself. Should they go ahead and try to take them out? If the opportunity presents itself? There are moral implications to this assassination, considering that they only have the word of others to go on as to how evil these two are. Surm doesn’t care one way or another—he’s convinced that they are bad folks and can see that it could make their way easier if it were done. But also understands the quandary. Rilka is against it—it is a cowardly act that she cannot condone. They decide against it—Savaric and Krrish will just scout. Surm gives Savaric the Agent’s Clasp so that they have some means of communication.
First, the two scout out the lich’s lair to make sure that they encounter no surprises. The honey-comb shaped complex has been completely cleaned out. Savaric even spots the marks on the corridors where they marked the previous traps. They then head out of the lair into the mine tunnel and to the mine camp outside it. It looks like this mine hasn’t been used in a long while.
Savaric and Krrish venture ahead while Surm and Rilka follow some ten minutes behind. Several times during their five-mile journey to the village, the two scouts spot the dragon flying overhead. It doesn’t appear to have spotted them. Savaric notifies Surm and Rilka of the fly-bys and continues on.
Eventually, the two scouts come to the outskirts of Leodin. Savaric immediately spots something that wasn’t there before—this large structure comprised of standing stones and arches arranged in a series of concentric circles. Patrolling the area are three heavily armed warriors—each wearing half-plate and carrying a greatsword.
Meanwhile, Surm and Rilka find cover from which to hide from the dragon fly-bys.
Krrish goes to check out the edifice and see if there is a way to sabotage it. Savaric keeps watch on the outskirts. Krrish does a good job of avoiding the roving guards as he makes his way inspecting the structure. From an arcane point of view, all he can tell is that this is definitely a portal of some sort. Each of the stones are etched with arcane sigils and symbols. He also determines that short of ruining the etchings, which could take a long time and a lot of effort, that toppling one of the stones could disrupt the effects of the structure. He finds an arch with a weak keystone that could be used to such an effect. He eventually makes his way back to Savaric. This inspection takes an agonizing twelve minutes.
The two decide to split up with Krrish checking out the north end of town while Savaric takes the south. They will rendezvous at the other side of town. Krrish heads over to the tavern, where he notes that lights are on inside. He sees a group of laborers sitting at a table. By reading their body language, he determines that they are most likely commiserating with each other about their dire situation. They are tired and despondent. After considering trying to sneak inside the tavern through the closed door, he decides to move on.
Savaric has Ilona turn him invisible and then heads over to the large structure that he remembers as the granary. He checks the doors and finds that all of the double-doors are barred. There is a regular door on the side that is locked. He hears no movement or sound inside. He moves on to the large market house at the far end of town.
Krrish heads up to the houses along the northern boundary of the village. At the large home at the east-most end of the line, he spots a man smoking a pipe on the porch. He thinks that this may be Coldtongue. He sneaks about the house, seeing that the parlor is currently lit and that there is a bedroom on the ground floor. He sees closed, unlit windows upstairs.
Behind the house, he spots three large tents. He hears snoring from within. He creeps up and looks inside. There he sees, in each tent, three warriors with similar gear—half-plate and greatswords—as those patrolling the edifice. He moves on.
Savaric checks out the market area. The stalls erected outside the main building are all empty. He looks into a window at the rear and spots a man sleeping on a bench with a jug resting beside him. He seems to be alone and is dressed like a common laborer. He moves on to the two large houses nearby.
Krrish checks the rest of the houses and sees various common people having dinner, settling in for the night, etc. Everyone is lethargic and seems despondent and tired. He heads for the rendezvous spot.
Savaric checks one of larger houses and spots a couple in bed and a figure that is presumably their son in another room. The second house is larger and boarded up and locked. He heads to the rendezvous spot.
At the rendezvous, Krrish and Savaric share information and then decide to check out the boarded-up building. They duck for cover as the dragon flies overhead once again. It seems to be swinging by every hour.
At the large, boarded-up house, Krrish listens at the locked back door—he hears nothing. He pulls out some picks and goes to work, unlocking the door. The two scouts head inside. There they find that the house is well-furnished, though everything is covered in linen sheets. Over the fireplace is a large portrait of Lord Cannach and various trophy heads of animals. They find locked cabinets that Krrish opens, revealing the house silver and the good liquor.
They head out of the house and re-check the other home. They see the same scene as before. They then head to the granary where Krrish unlocks the side door. Inside, the granary is largely empty save for some bags of grain and some hay up in the loft. The only window is a small aperture in the loft.
They head back toward the other end of town and check out the tavern again. There they see the three laborers getting up to leave. They move on and eventually reunite with Surm and Rilka.
The two scouts report what they saw in the village. After he describes the man, Krrish is informed that the man on the porch is not Coldtongue, but Anghus Norren—the village reeve. Perhaps they have an ally here that can help…
After speculating on the possibility that he’s actually a doppelganger or not, they decide to try and contact him for information on what is going on. Surm wants to get closer and cast message to talk with the man. Krrish will move in and watch the house as backup.
Surm moves to the north of the edifice, closer to the house, and casts his spell. “Anghus Norren—do not react to my voice.”
The reeve whispers, “Master Ulrich?”
After establishing himself, Surm begins to ask questions about the Dire Wolves’ leaders and the state of the village. The two leaders are upstairs in that very house asleep under the guard of their “specialists.” Norren explains that he had an official writ from Lord Cannach to cooperate with the Dire Wolves. But they’ve stopped mining operations and are making the town build this strange edifice with stone gathered from the mountains. They’ve made no mention of Shax, only someone called “The Revered One.” Grazella Domane communicates with the dragon with some sort of bronze wire device she carries on her person. Surm assures him that the so-called orders from Lord Cannach are false and that the Crimson Cord is here to fix this and deal with the situation. He asks the reeve if he can slow down the completion of the edifice. Norren thinks he can—wheels come off of carts all the time, you know. But there may be some beatings involved. They largely leave the old folks and children alone and only concentrate their ire on the workers. Norren also confirms that his nightly smoke breaks are a routine—it’s his only reprieve from the misery.
Surm heads back to rendezvous with Rilka and Savaric. Krrish follows close behind. They then teleport back to the camp with their troops, about a day and a half away.
Krrish asks if they want him to go in and steal the communication device. They decide not to, as it will be noticed if it is missing and they don’t want to reveal themselves just yet. Besides, they may take it out on the townsfolk and they also don’t understand how the device works. It could be too dangerous. They wonder where the dragon goes to sleep—there was not sign of trampled ground in the village area. Their approach is going to depend on where the dragon is.
The party spends a great deal of time planning and discussing the situation. Krrish says that he has a portable alchemy kit and may be able to brew up a sleeping poison. However, it would take hours to just get one dose and one dose isn’t going to be very helpful. They decide to table the discussion until tomorrow.
18 Chillwind 509
The entourage moves closer toward Leodin. They camp that night about a half-day’s journey from the village. They begin discussions about their plan again and Surm calls Krrish out on his assertion that he can get in and out unseen. He’s getting tired of his secrets and his vague answers. Krrish merely asserts that he is “very skilled.” But Surm is trying to get at why and how the man is apparently so skilled. He gets no answers.
Savaric corrals the horses in a nearby clearing with some found logs. The party rests a bit and Surm tries to scry once again. He sees nothing.
Surm teleports himself, Savaric, Krrish, Lynecit, and Rilka to the granary. Before they go, they tell Alasir to await their return where Surm is going to start shuttle the rest of the troops into the granary via teleports.
In the granary, Surm climbs to the loft where he sends a message to Anghus Norren, who is out on his porch again. He learns from the reeve that the dragon apparently stays in the foothills of the mountains by day, after it is relieved of guard duty in the morning by Grazella Domane. The guards shift every morning. Surm asks if Norren can get everyone to safety once the Cord strikes—the reeve says he can, that everyone knows to head to the Market building if an emergency happens. Surm finds out that the workers did slow down work today—though a few black eyes are had to show for it.
Once again, Krrish offers to steal the communication device. They learn from Anghus that the device is usually on Grazella in her belt pouch. Krrish thinks that maybe they can use it to send the dragon away. Surm isn’t so sure—from an arcane point of view, the device is more likely to only be communicative in nature, not a control device. He thinks that maybe it will be best to attack tonight while the dragon is on its wider arc. They have another long discussion in which Krrish offers to kill the two leaders in their sleep. Rilka objects, but Krrish believes more innocent lives will be saved that way. Rilka finally acquiesces to allow Krrish to make that move, though she doesn’t approve of it. Surm is still skeptical that Krrish can pull that off without backup.
Anghus tells the party the layout of the house and position of the guards. They take another hour discussing their plan before finally implementing it.
They finally decide that Krrish will move on Coldtongue while Surm and Lynecit take care of the guards in the tents, some of the troops guard each of the doors into the house, and Rilka and the remaining troops await the dragon. Savaric will be on the rooftop shooting at guards and at the dragon when it approaches.
They give Anghus thirty minutes to get the townspeople safe. At that point, the Cord will strike.
Krrish sneaks up to the house and levitates up to the window of the room Anghus indicated Coldtongue sleeps in. He breaks open the latch on the window and waits to head inside.
Surm teleports the rest of the troops into the granary and briefs them on the plan. Savaric casts communal darkvision on them all, while Surm casts communal resist electricity.
Finally, everyone moves out and the plan goes into action.
Surm and Lynecit move into position and get things going with his black tentacles spell cast on the tents with the soldiers inside. The troops move into position at the doors and Rilka and her group stake out their ground where they hope the dragon will eventually land. Savaric takes to the rooftop and, according to the plan, Krrish now heads inside (though no one can see him).
Surm follows up his black tentacles with fireballs into the warriors. They are tough and, while injured, refuse to go down for good. Rilka and her group continue to wait, though they eventually can see the dragon making its way back to the village. Savaric fires into the guards running from the edifice back to the house while the guards at the door face them in melee.
The Dire Wolves are tough, experienced, fighters. They nearly kill Leif before Savaric and Alfhild manage to take one down.
The guards at each of the doors now start to encounter the specialists as they emerge from the side of the house—apparently they didn’t try the doors, being as how they were guarded. They exited through the windows and are now menacing the Crimson Cord guards.
No one knows what is going on inside the house, though Krrish seems to have taken out his targets and is now moving downstairs toward a pair of specialists assessing the situation through the windows.
As the battle rages on, the dragon approaches ever closer…