Campaign of the Month: September 2018

Shadows of the Rift

Session Ninety-Four
Dire Victory


18 Chillwind 509

The battle with the Dire Wolves rages on as the blue dragon draws ever closer.

Surm puts up a Wall of Bones to curtail those warriors that escape from the Black Tentacles. The other squads continue battling their formidable opponents. Krrish follows two of the Dire Wolf specialists out a window of the house and joins in battle with them. Jerrik, Garth, and Burask fall to the Dire Wolf onslaught. Burask is slain, while the others are merely injured.

The dragon flies by the Crimson Cord warriors gathered with Rilka. It breathes is lightning breath and injures one of the Crimson Cord guards. It comes back around to land and proceeds to bite Alasir viciously, ignoring the mostly ineffective attacks of the other guards. Savaric fires on the beast from his rooftop perch with the dragon’ bane arrows, doing a significant amount of damage. Krrish tries to use the copper wire he got off of Grazella Domane to control the dragon, ordering it to surrender. It responds “I think not” and continues its assault. Finally, Rilka comes forward and finally dispatches the beast, removing its head.

The Cord then proceeds to clean up the remaining Dire Wolves, finally dispatching them all. The bodies of the fallen are gathered to be healed, as well as the standing injured. Surm and Savaric call Rilka over to tell her about Burask. She has Alasir bring Kortash to her so she can break the news to his twin brother. Kortash spends time alone with his brother’s corpse while the others gather the bodies for loot and for disposal. Krissh brings out the bodies of Grazella Domane, Coldtongue, and specialists inside the house. He also finds plans for the gateway and a ledger. The plans mention the armies of a “Belphagorus”.

Surm heads to the marketplace to see Anghus Norren to confirm that all of the Dire Wolves are accounted for. The reeve comes to the battle site and confirms that all have been slain.

The main members of the Cord and Anghus discuss what to do with the gateway. Surm brings up the fact that the Queen may want to use it to strike back at this Belphagorus—perhaps they shouldn’t dismantle it just yet. It only works from this side of the gate, so as long as none of the townsfolk have the arcane knowledge to complete the edifice, it should be safe. Surm could figure is out with time plus they have the plans. Anghus says that he would rather dismantle it, but if Her Majesty wishes to utilize it, then he will of course defer to her. He only cares for the safety of the townsfolk.

Surm also breaks the news that Lord Cannach is most likely dead, having been replaced by a double. Who will Anghus answer to now? Whoever Lord Cannach’s liege lord was. Hopefully they will take over soon so they can have some stability. Anghus serves at the will of the lord of the lands. Surm says he will put in a good word for him.

After the bodies and loot are gathered, the Cord sets up camp for the night.

19 Chillwind 509

The next morning, a small service is given for Burask. Rilka says a few words regarding his bravery and other speak up regarding his camaraderie. He is interred in a small grave on the outskirts of town. The Dire Wolves will all be cremated upon pyres.

Surm, Rilka, Savaric, Krissh, and Lynecit all teleport to Aldasar to meet with the Queen of Leilior. Surm takes them to the Lord Mayor’s bedchamber. They eventually meet with him and tell him of what has occurred back in Leodin. He agrees to arrange for an audience with Her Majesty. He is Lord Cannach’s liege lord, and so will be taking over his lands. Surm tells him of Willton Ginnis’ role in revealing this plot, as well of Anghus’ loyalty and good work gathering the townsfolk during the battle. The Lord Mayor agrees that he will keep Anghus on as reeve.

The Lord Mayor also reveals the the Queen sent squads of her elite soldiers out with inquisitors of the church of Cereth to purge the doppelgangers from the ranks of the nobility. About a dozen were found in all, including Lord Cannach’s double. They were all destroyed.

The adventurers wait in the Lord Mayor’s parlor while he makes the arrangements for a special audience with the Queen. About forty-five minutes later, he summons them to a carriage to go to the palace. The carriage arrives after a few checkpoints and the companions are escorted to a receiving room by a royal steward. There, they see the Queen seated upon an ornate seat at the end of a lush red carpet. The companions come forward and bow in respect.

Surm reports on the events that took place in Leodin and their subsequent victory over the Dire Wolves. He also tells her of the edifice/gate and how they left it in place. The Queen states that she would rather it be dismantled than use it—she doesn’t know what her troops would find on the other side. Krrish comes close to volunteering them to find out that information, but they do not.

Surm also tells her Belphagorus. Though the Queen is stony-faced, he does see a glimmer of recognition in her eyes. He presses her on it and she reveals that this Belphagorus is a follower of the demon lord Shax and has already assassinated her sister and was caught gathering an illegal cult in Kalimsport. She doesn’t know the source of his ambition to overthrow her.

The Queen also bestows the title of Baronet on Rilka, Surm, Savaric, and Krrish. She gives them a sealed proclamation to go with it. She will also be knighting Willton Ginnis for his work in revealing the plot.

Sensing a dismissal, the companions ride in their carriage back to the Lord Mayor’s estate.

Session Ninety-Three
Strike on Leodin


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…

Rage and Raven: To Slay a Dragon (Part II)
Web of Danger


5 Starfall 508

The party is in Almathriel seeking Sonina Mooncrest, an elven ranger who is crafting a weapon against dragons. They have gotten word that she can be found at the Red Dragon Inn—the very inn in which the party is staying.

They find Sonina and make a deal with her—she needs to procure the venom from the great spider Sheeltielle. The party will help for the sum of 300 gold pieces and a Quiver of Dragonsbane—the weapon that Sonina is making.

After making the deal, the party has a good dinner and a round of Highland Whiskey all around. They then head to bed, except for Tag who goes to play dice. Unfortunately for the halfling, he loses most of the time. He returns to the room and talks with Regna, wondering why Lenoria is mad at him. They come to no conclusions.

6 Starfall 508

The party heads out of Almathriel to the lair of the Spider Queen Sheeltielle. Regna gives Lenoria the “stink eye” for most of the journey. Tag apologizes to Lenoria if he offended her goddess. Lenoria accepts his apology. Other than that, the day passes without incident.

8 Starfall 508

As the party travels, Sonina reveals that her village was wiped out by a green dragon—fueling her desire to make a weapon. Tag says that his uncle, Joaxen Relicshine, saw such a dragon outside of Almathriel once.

Tag gets into a discussion with Lenoria about family. Tavayne joins in. The bard has three brothers and two sisters back in Glofthall. Lenoria has a sister and her mother and father still live in Sianae. She bears her family no ill will but had to leave due to issues with her faith. Tag asks Rhain if he has a big family—the barbarian responds, “Family’s dead. Shut up.”

11 Starfall 508

The discussion of family continues. Tag thinks they should visit each other’s homes. He reveals that his father is a turnip farmer, among other things. Lenoria’s mother was a seamstress. Tag wants to Lenoria write a letter to her family. Tag continues to talk to Sonina of his exploits.

They also talk about Sheeltielle, the Spider Queen. She comes from a race of intelligent spiders—maybe she can be reasoned with. They decide to try this first rather than use force.

12 Starfall 508

Sonina discovers the entrance to the spiders’ territory. Soon after, they are attacked by spider sentinels. They finally defeat the creatures, with Tag climbing over and flipping over one of the beasts to flank it and get a kill-shot. Rhain kills the other, and points out to the others that no one tried to talk first. So their path is probably more violence.

Sonina tracks the creatures back to the heart of spiders’ enclave. There they see the mighty Sheeltielle and a phalanx of spider warriors.

Lenoria casts tongues so that she might understand the creatures an d translate for the group.

“Who dares to approach the enclave of Sheeltielle?” the mighty queen asks in Sylvan.

“What tribute do you bring to the great queen?” one of her fellows asks.

Lenoria looks to Tag for an answer. “The gift of song,” he says.

The spiders allow the party to come forward, but force them to leave the horses behind.

Tag introduces Tavayne as a great bard of land who will gift the queen a great song. Sheeltielle scoffs and says she only wants a song of screams. But finally she says “I will hear this song.”

Tavayne sings a well-wrought improvised song of Sheeltielle’s greatness and majesty. Tag vows to spread this song across the lands, in return for some of the great queen’s venom. Sheeltielle acquiesces.

The venom is deposited in the special bag that Sonina has prepared for it and then the spiders start to gather round, closing in on the group. They run for their horses and ride out of the enclave as fast as they can. Regna casts stone call, raining stones down on their pursuers to cover their escape.

The party runs until they are an hour away from Sheeltielle’s lair. There they finally slow down and then settle in for the night, confident that they have eluded their pursuers.

17 Starfall 508

Today is Tag’s birthday. As the party makes its way back to Almathriel, Regna gives the halfling a paper hat in celebration.

18 Starfall 508

The party arrives at Almathriel at sundown. Sonina heads home to begin work on the quiver. The party all head to the Mithral Dagger. The proprietor casts prestidigitation on the party to clean them up from the road. They all order baths and rooms. In the common room, Tag orders baijiu for everyone to have celebratory shots. Lenoria gets directions to Sonina’s house and the local Postal Guild.

19 Starfall 508

The party heads over to the Ivory Orc to drink. Regna buys Tag a hat for his birthday. Tag gets into a drinking contest with baijiu with a half-elf named Anodel and a human named Varis and wins.

Session Ninety-Two
Double Double


15 Changewind 509

Savaric and Krrish have just returned to the Crimson Cord base camp after following the Lady Mayor of Aldasar to a clandestine meeting. Surm and Rilka have also just returned from meeting with the Captain of the City Watch and the Bishop of the Church of Halor.

Krrish reports what he saw and heard at the meeting. The Lady Mayor left her home alone and ducked into an abandoned building in a seedy part of town. She met with two others. Apparently this “Coldtongue” will be finished with a portal soon and this dark conspiracy will be dealing with the Lord Mayor himself in couple of weeks. Krrish and Savaric followed one of these conspirators to the city gates, but then returned here.

Rilka recognizes the name “Coldtongue” as belonging to a some kind of cult leader that is associated with the Dire Wolves. Much discussion follows as they wonder who the other cloaked figures were and if they’ve been replaced or are controlled. Where is Coldtongue and this portal? Probably in Leodin with the Dire Wolves. Should they try to grab the Lord Mayor’s wife to get more answers?

After some discussion, they arrive at the frame of a plan. Krrish, who volunteers that he has some skill in disguising himself, can disguise himself as the Mayor while they try to get the Mayor’s wife out of town. The Mayor himself will also be lying low. Perhaps Lord Springvale in Almathriel will be willing to help them in this regard. If only Telly, the Mayor’s attache knows, perhaps the halfling can run interference for him on political matters for a short time until they get the answers they need from the Lady Mayor. They can also beef up security on the Mayor in the meantime, as they now know that an assassin may be coming for the Mayor.

The main party (Rilka, Savaric, Surm, and Krrish) head into the city to inform the Lord Mayor of what they’ve learned, the details of their plan, and to secure his cooperation. The Lord Mayor is taken aback by the news, but is keen to find out what is going on. He will cooperate with the plan. He can publicly send the Lady Mayor to their villa in Braith to prepare it for an upcoming Transition celebration, with the new year coming in just a couple of weeks. They also get a strand of hair belonging to the Lady Mayor from the Lord Mayor with which to later scry the Lady if needed. The Lord Mayor has a small lock of her hair in a locket he keeps in his vest.

Surm, Rilka, and an invisible Krrish accompany the Lord Mayor to his home. Once there, Surm memorizes the location of the Lord Mayor’s bedroom as a teleportation location. Meanwhile, Savaric finds a surveillance vantage point on the roof of the building. Rilka and Surm then walk out of the home and start heading to the base camp.

Krrish hides in the bedroom while the Lord Mayor makes a show of sending his wife away on a trip. He overhears a fight from them that spills into the bedroom, where the Lady even mentions the strange ways the nobility have been acting as a reason that the Lord Mayor is sending her away. Eventually, servants come in and start packing trunks.

Krrish later sees the Lady Mayor return and write a brief note, seal it, and then hand it to a servant she calls named Jameson whom she orders to deliver the note to Lord Cannach Ma’leod. The servant leaves.

Rilka and Surm arrive at the base camp and retrieve the other half of the Agent’s Clasp from Alasir. Surm briefs him on the situation and the plan and also indicates that Lynecit will be staying with the guards. Rilka and Surm then teleport to Almathriel and visit briefly with Lord Springvale to ask permission to use his basement as a place to interrogate the Lady Mayor of Aldasar, with the permission of the Lord Mayor, of course. Lord Springvale is taken aback by the idea—this could be dicey from a political point of view with members of nobility of foreign lands being involved and all, but he is willing to allow it, relying on Surm’s discretion in the matter.

Leaving Rilka in Almathriel, Surm then teleports back to Aldasar and has Krrish give the clasp to Savaric so that they have a means to communicate with him. Krrish reports the scene he witnessed with the servant leaving with the note and Surm tells Savaric to follow and intercept that servant. They get him a note sealed with the house seal of the Mayor (found in the nearby desk) to belay whatever order the Lady Mayor gave. They also tell Savaric that he can tell Jameson that Telly will corroborate this. Jameson is most likely just doing his job and Surm doesn’t want him hurt.

Meanwhile, the actual Lord Mayor arrives—he’s been delaying the carriage with his wife in it waiting for Surm’s re-arrival. They work out his alibi and Surm teleports the Lord Mayor to Almathriel to wait with Rilka for his next arrival with the Lady Mayor. He teleports back and then makes his way to the carriage under an invisibility spell. Meanwhile, Krrish (with Telly’s help) is disguising himself as the Lord Mayor with the help of the man’s actual wardrobe and the Lady’s cosmetics.

Surm lies waiting, invisible, in the carriage. Finally, the Lady Mayor comes to the carriage house and starts to get in the carriage. However, right before she alights, Surm feels a strange probing at his mind—but he manages to resist it. With his knowledge of the arcane, he identifies it as the use of a detect thoughts spell. The Lady sits in the carriage. The carriage driver shuts the door and the conveyance begins its journey north out of the city towards Braith.

Meanwhile, Savaric dives off of the roof and starts heading toward Lord Cannach’s estate, hoping to head off this Jameson person. Eventually, he does meet up with the man on one of the small roads outside of the city. He calls to him and gets his attention. Jameson turns, but does not meet the unfamiliar half-orc halfway. Savaric comes to him and explains that the Lord Mayor sent him. That message he has for Lord Cannach is not to be sent. He hands the servant the sealed note. Satisfied, but a bit put out at being sent on a long walk for nothing, starts heading back into the city. Savaric offers to accompany him.

The carriage eventually makes its way out of the city along the northern road. Surm immediately jumps over to the Lady Mayor and covers her mouth. “Coldtongue sent me. There’s been a change in plans.” He then enacts his teleport spell. She apparently buys the ruse because she doesn’t resist the spell.

The two arrive in Lord Springvale’s basement. “Get out!” Surm calls to the Lord Mayor, who is enjoying sandwiches with Rilka, provided by the always-hospitable Lord Springvale. The Lord Mayor heads upstairs and out of the basement. Rilka moves to grapple the woman and hold her in place.

As the two grapple, the Lord Mayor’s wife…changes…into an exact copy of Rilka! The real Rilka manages to keep the other subdued, but it is disconcerting to see the two together. Surm casts detect magic on the woman and detects no magical aura. This is no illusory spell being cast. She has actually changed.

As Rilka keeps the other “Rilka” pinned to the ground, Surm gets fine rope from Elbereth, Lord Springvale’s right-hand. Surm then questions the woman. “How many of you are there?”

“We are legion,” the faux-Rilka says. “Rowena will fall.”

Surm realizes who that means—Rowena Ma’Geddes. Queen of Leilior.

Meanwhile, Rilka browbeats the body double until she seems to yield. This takes about twenty minutes. The relenting creature shifts out of Rilka’s form and into that of a grotesque charcoal-grey featureless humanoid. Surm recognizes this creature as a doppelganger—insidious creatures who often work independently, but also sometimes work with demon lords, to infiltrate human society and cause trouble.

Rilka and the creature exchange barbs, with the creature indicating the “while the shadows move, the dagger strikes.” But it also indicates that the doppelgangers work in small cells, so they don’t know who all is actually in on the plot. She was working with doubles for “Lord Cannach Ma’leod” and “Ban Ma’trosen.”

Surm rushes up the stairs and gets the Lord Mayor and informs him that this plot is against the Queen herself. He teleports with the Lord Mayor back to his bedroom right about the time Savaric arrives again with the servant Jameson. They manage to secure the note that was written by the doppelganger for Lord Cannach—or, presumably, his double. It is written in Abyssal—which, strangely enough, Krrish is apparently able to read.

Something is wrong. The fool has caught on. Tell B. to strike soon.

Surm says that this means the end of the decoy plan. They have to get to the Queen and let her know what is going on. The Lord Mayor says that Duchess Fenalla Ma’Geddes can get them to the Queen. Surm, Krrish, the Lord Mayor, and a contingent of guards will head to the Duchess’ estate while Savaric stakes out the home again. When they head out, if anyone tries to sneak away, they may be another doppelganger and Savaric can catch them.

Meanwhile, Rilka is continuing to hold the doppelganger and get information out of it. She learns that they apparently serve the demon lord Shax, which Rilka recognizes as a the demon lord of violent murder, envy, and lies. He is also knows as “The Blood Marquis.” Apparently someone called Belphagorus is gathering an army of beasts in the Eastern Wastes to send through the portal to take Leilior and depose Rowena.

Rilka, who now has Surm’s clasp, messages Savaric a brief version of the information of what she’s discovered. She continues to hold down the creature, though, waiting for word from the others. She gets this message to them before the others for the Duchess’ estate. Surm recognizes the name “Shax” but only that it is a demon lord of murder.

Surm, Krrish, the Lord Mayor, and a contingent of guards all head via carriage to the Duchess Fenalla Ma’geddes’ estate. The Lord Mayor makes himself known to the Duchess’ guards and that he needs to see her as it is a state emergency. They guards allow them entrance and the sleeping Duchess is summoned.

Back at the Lord Mayor’s house, Savaric looks to see if anyone leaves the house in a hurry after the others head out. Sure enough, he sees a heavily-cloaked figure leaving through the servant’s entrance. He dives off of the roof, landing beside the figure and asks them what they are doing. The person attacks—with clawed hands—but fails to find purchase on the nimble ranger. Savaric manages to wrestle the creature down and slap some manacles on it—right about the time some house guards come by inquiring about what is going on. Savaric tells them that he caught this creature while on the business of the Lord Mayor and points to what now appears to be a frail old man, who looks confused and asks the guards to please help him. After some awkward explanations, the guards decide to take both of them to the nearby City Watch garrison to sort them out. Savaric tells the guards to have Master Telly come by and he can corroborate his story.

At the Duchess’ house, they are met in the drawing room by an imposing woman with red hair and a stern demeanor, despite being in her bedclothes. When she is told the bare bones of the plot, she seems angry at the audacity of someone to actually try and usurp the throne from Rowena. Determined, she summons a carriage to take them all to the palace to meet with Her Majesty.

An older man with the bearing of an old soldier pokes his head in the room and asks what is going on. “Treachery. Of the lowest kind,” the Duchess answers. “Shall I get my sword then?” he asks. “Indeed, Ban. Indeed.” the Duchess says. The man makes his exit. The Duchess announces that she shall change her clothes and be ready in a few minutes. She heads upstairs with an invisible Krrish following at Surm’s suggestion.

Sure enough, when Krrish gets upstairs and listens at the door of the bedroom, he hears signs of a struggle within. He sneaks inside and sees the Duchess fending off attacks from the man who had poked his head into the drawing room a few minutes ago. He is wielding an old longsword, but the Duchess is holding her own barehanded. Krrish sneaks into position and stabs the man, killing him. The man’s body shifts from that of the old soldier to a featureless charcoal-grey humanoid. The Duchess looks angry and determined, even as a single tear flows down her face. Krrish picks up the body and he and Duchess head downstairs.

Back in Almathriel, Rilka’s prisoner manages to escape its bonds. Rilka decapitates it with her falchion. She gets Elbereth to help her clean up the mess.

Surm, the Lord Mayor, Krrish, and the Duchess all ride in her carriage, with a phalanx of guards, to the royal palace. When they get to the gates, the Duchess whispers something to the gate guard, who goes wide-eyed, and they let the carriage pass through. The Duchess tells them that she’s enacted an emergency protocol so that they don’t have to go through the public pomp of an audience with the queen. Surm questions the wisdom of this, as they don’t know who all is in on the conspiracy. The Duchess says it’s a risk they are going to have to take, as a public entrance will alert the conspiracy that something is wrong and could accelerate their plans.

The carriage goes to one of the small outlying buildings of the palace grounds, sort of a classroom used for the tutoring of palace children. They all go inside and wait. Krrish hides. The body of the doppelganger is placed in one of the desks. A rhythmic series of knocks is heard and the Duchess indicates that this is what she is expecting. She checks the door and allows in three figures, all heavily cloaked. One removes her hood to reveal a stern woman with red hair held back by a simple golden circlet—Queen Rowena. The other two, man and a woman, are clearly professional guards.

Krrish reveals himself, and the guards spring into action—weapons drawn and the Queen moved back. Krrish apologizes and Surm explains that he’s with them. The Queen places a hand on one guard’s shoulder and says, “I think we’re all friends here.” The guards relent and allow the Queen to step forward.

Surm explains the situation and the plot with the doppelgangers. The Queen seems particularly interested in his thoughts that those that have been replaced are probably dead. She also seems to recognize the name “Shax”—which Krrish asks about. She says that she has heard the name, and that it is one that should not be uttered in the light.

She has apparently heard of the exploits of the Crimson Cord. She asks if they would be able to see about ensuring that this portal that is apparently going up in Leodin is shut down. Surm assures her that they already were making plans about that. Surm asks if there is some way that they can prove that they are working with her authority when trying to sort through these doubles and such in the city. She tells him that she will have a writ for him delivered by dawn.

She also reiterates to Surm that the nobility are not only the rulers of the land—but her family. Can he give her any hope that those that have been replaced still live? He says that it could be possible they are being held somewhere. He brings up that he was planning on trying to scry the Lord Mayor’s wife and see if they could find her. This seems to satisfy Her Majesty.

The Queen tells Surm to continue to work through the Baron (the Lord Mayor), who will work through the Duchess, who will report to her. She thanks them all for their services to the kingdom—and to her family. She then takes her leave.

The Duchess, Surm, the Lord Mayor, and Krrish all leave the palace. The Duchess returns to her home while the rest head to the Lord Mayor’s home.

Surm teleports to Almathriel to update Lord Springvale and to pick up Rilka. They get Elbereth’s help in covering the body in a garden tarp and hiding it in Lord Springvale’s garden. Surm and Rilka then return to Aldasar.

By this time Savaric has finally returned to the Lord Mayor’s home. Telly was able to sort most of the situation at the garrison out, but they are holding the “old man” overnight to see if the story checks out—he was lurking about the Lord Mayor’s estate at any rate.

Surm asks for permission to bring the rest of the Crimson Cord’s troops to the camp on the Lord Mayor’s grounds. Permission is granted and the arrangements are made. The Lord Mayor also arranges to have the “old man” remitted to his personal custody. He will be under guard by the Crimson Cord.

Krrish calls for a meeting with Surm, Savaric, and Rilka in the Lord Mayor’s drawing room. There he reveals that he as been disguised magically this entire time. He is, in fact, a half-Drow. He is not from Tarsas, but from Eacenia. His mother, a druid, nursed his Drow father back to health and the three leaved in isolation in Eacenia until a local noble found out and had his parents murdered. Krrish was found by his stepfather and raised with Eldeshi and taught his trade.

Rilka casts zone of truth on Krrish and asks him a series of questions to ensure his sincerity. He seems to be telling the truth, as far as it goes.

Surm says he doesn’t like being lied to. At first Krrish tries to claim he didn’t technically lie about being Tarsian, which does not go over well. Krrish offers to leave and Rilka says she’s not at that point yet. Krrish says that if she’s already saying “yet”, then maybe he should leave. Rilka says that he was pointed toward them for a reason. Krrish says he doesn’t want to cause any tension and Surm responds that he should just tell the truth. Krrish says that his services may not be wanted.

Savaric, clearly exasperated, says. “No more lies! Are you cool with that? You’ll be on a trial period. You can’t bail now—that’d be crappy. Does that sound fair?”

Krrish says yes.

Rilka leaves to interrogate the prisoner with Savaric while Surm goes to try and scry the Lady Mayor. Krrish watches the Lord Mayor’s house from the rooftop.

The prisoner, still in his confused old man guise, confounds Rilka at first because he’s very convincing. Nevertheless, she starts intimidating him into talking. It takes about an hour, but he finally breaks. They get a bit more information out of him—one more name (Lady Ma’yarrow). Also, apparently they do murder their victims and dispose of the bodies in the harbor, in mills, or have them carted out of the city. This creature taunts Rilka, testing her courage at “doing what needs to be done,” which is striking down a bound man—not exactly a brave act. Still, Rilka kills him with a coup de grace.

As Krrish is watching the house, he manages to see a figure creeping onto the roof right about the time they spot him. The figure rushes Krrish, but doesn’t managed to attack with its clawed hands. Krrish destroys the creature in a whirl of blades.

Surm’s scrying of the Lady Mayor is unsuccessful. There is likely nothing to see.

Rilka goes back go the manor house and tells the Lord Mayor that his wife is dead. He is clearly grieving and asks to be alone; Rilka is very kind and understanding and takes her leave.

The Crimson Cord guards coordinate with the Lord Mayor’s house guards to watch the grounds and the party settles in to finally rest for the night. It has been a long eventful day.

Session Ninety-One
A Friend in Need


8 Hearth 509

The party has arrived in Almathriel at the estate of Lord Springvale after dealing with the foul sorcerer Sakka the Grim. They are planning on how to present this news to the royal family of the elves.

The rest of the Crimson Cord is due to arrive in the elven capital in three days. Lord Springvale has sent word to the Prince of the Stars, the ruler of the city and the son of the Queen, that he seeks an audience. He receives word fairly quickly from His Highness that a meeting can be had on the 11th of Hearth.

11 Hearth 509

Surm receives word via the Agent’s Clasp from Alasir that the remaining troops from the Cord have arrived at the camp outside the city. He, Rilka, Savaric, Quintrell Borathin, and Lord Springvale all take a carriage to the Rose Crystal Palace to meet with the Prince of the Stars.

The meeting with the prince is short, but cordial. He asks for a report of everything that happened on the journey. He does indicate that a parade through the city with the body of the traitor Sakka would not be welcome to Her Majesty. However, he will send a delegation of guards to Lord Springvale’s residence to collect the Imrakurse and the body of Sakka the Grim for the Queen. He also indicates that Her Majesty wishes to have an audience with them in the throne room on the 13th of Hearth and that the Saelfsidhedal are extremely grateful for their services.

13 Hearth 509

Surm, Rilka, Savaric, Lord Springvale, and Quintrell Borathin are brought before the Queen in her throne room in the Rose Crystal Palace in the heart of Almathriel. The throne room is full of courtiers dressed in the grand and ethereal style of the elves. The Cord are dressed in militaristic finery, with long coats, high boots, and crimson highlights. Lord Springvale is dressed in his finest clothes, as is Quintrell. After being announced by the herald, they come forward to the throne of the queen and kneel before her.

“The Saelfsidhedai owe you all a greatly for the service you have provided our realm. It has been brought to my attention that not only was this Sakka the Grim a thorn in our side, but was courting open rebellion and invasion. And through your efforts, he was thwarted in his ambitions. For this, we thank you.”

A steward begins coming by each of the Cord and Quintrell and bestows a platinum medal embossed with the sun, moon, and stars symbol of the realm upon it. “Rise, Surm Ulrich, Keeper of the Seal. Rise, Rilka Lazarsdottir, Keeper of the Seal. Rise, Savaric, Keeper of the Seal. Rise, Quintrell Borathin, Keeper of the Seal.”

To Lord Springvale, a scroll is given. “Lord Springvale, I think you will find this expansion of your holdings a suitable expression of our gratitude.”

The Queen makes a motion, and it is clear that everyone is dismissed.

Once everyone is in the carriage heading back home, Lord Springvale explains that Keeper of the Seal is both an honor and a responsibility. “It is a title, though not an hereditary one. However, should the Queen call upon her host, you are obligated to heed her call.”

Lord Springvale also looks at his scroll and discovers that he has been granted a villa in Celandacair, a coastal city to the north.

When the party returns to Lord Springvale’s home, they find that each of them have been given 100 pp as well.

After the party returns to Lord Springvale’s residence, a visitor is announced that is seeking out the Crimson Cord. He is brought in and introduces himself as Krrish. He appears to be a Southron male, dressed in the Tarsian style. He is polite, but seems troubled. He wishes to speak to the Cord in private and Lord Springvale is happy to accommodate.

Krrish speaks of visions of a great evil emerging from the sea with tentacles and eyes, as well as a great Northron warrior that laid waste to those around him with a mighty greataxe. His visions seemed to tie him in with the Crimson Cord. He indicated that he believed that the visions were sent by someone dear to him.

Rilka and Savaric indicate that they have heard of this Northron but that they have been given information from their gods that they are not ready to face him yet. But that they will be pursuing him at some point. And that they have a place in this great battle against the evil that is coming. They want to discuss this new development. Krrish says that he is staying at the Mithral Dagger and that is where they can find him.

The party then discusses their next move after their meeting with the Queen of the Elves. Will they be going to Kalimsport? What’s next?

Rilka heads to the Mithral Dagger to speak with Krrish. She finds him there and she gets a list of references from him, all from Kalimsport, where he apparently does the majority of his business from a spice shop that he works with his sister. He also indicates that, as far as skills he brings to the table, he is quiet nimble and stealthy.

Rilka heads back to Lord Springvale’s and the party continues their discussion of where to go next. Surm arranges a farewell banquet for the “Cordlings” at the Mithral Dagger.

The innkeep at the Mithral Dagger clears the common room of those that do not have rooms, so Krrish gets to stay. The tables are put together and food and drink is shared by all. Rilka watches Krrish through all of this and sees nothing untoward. She tells him that she will check his references when they teleport to Kalimsport and will meet up with him when he eventually arrives there by horse.

Surm makes a grand speech about the plans for the guildhall coming soon and the future of the Crimson Cord.

After the banquet, everyone adjourns to either the camp or Lord Springvale’s, except for Krrish, who stays at the Mithral Dagger.

14 Hearth 509

Krrish starts to make his way to Kalimsport.

Savaric asks Lord Springvale to pick out a subtle elven wine to serve at his new tavern venture in Kalimsport. He wants an authentic “seal of approval.” Springvale promises to talk to some wine connoisseurs he knows and get him an answer.

Surm teleports himself, Rilka, Savaric, and Mahgnus to Kalimsport. Once in the city, Surm makes arrangements to speak with Kalys Penwyck, vizier to the Overlord of Kalimsport. Rilka begins making arrangements to upgrade items and check on the progress of her shrine to Bruni. Savaric, too, goes out to make arrangements to update items. Mahgnus leaves the party to begin making arrangements for Surm’s Crimson Cord guildhall (of which he will be in charge) and to find a suitable brewer for Savaric.

Later, the three core members of the Crimson Cord meet in one of the drawing rooms of the fortress of the Overlord of Kalimsport. There they are met by Kalys Penwyck, the vizier to that esteemed ruler. She indicates that she assumes that they are there to discuss the death of Mõrvar Ulrich. She will release his belongings to them, though she wishes to discuss one of the belongings—the sword that they found on his person. She says that if it were up to her, she would turn it over to the temple of Cereth for destruction. However, the Overlord has stated that he wishes to leave that decision up to the Cord. Surm tells her to do what she will with the blade. She also will deliver to them an urn with Mõrvar’s ashy remains—with the caveat that the Overlord has their every assurance that he will not be resurrected. They all so swear. Surm inquires about his brother’s account with the Bank of Kalimsport. Kalys says that the account has been closed, but that she will provide them a writ to allow them to claim the contents.

The goods are delivered to the Cord by servants after Kalys takes her leave. The three leave the compound and make the proper arrangements with the Bank.

Rilka goes out and checks out Krrish’s references and tries to get some “word on the street” about he and his sister, Eldeshi. Everything seems to check out according to Krrish’s story. Rilka then decides to visit Eldeshi herself.

She finds the spice shop in the Northern Market District. Rilka discusses her brother with the merchant and is a little surprised to learn that Krrish was adopted and that Eldeshi knows nothing of a druid in the family or of Krrish’s mother.

Once the party rejoins each other and Rilka brings her findings to them, everyone seems satisfied with Krrish. Surm acknowledges that the “vision” thing is a religious thing and not really his bailiwick.

The three return to Almathriel and informs the soldiers at the camp of the fate of Mõrvar. Savaric buys food and ale for the troops and Surm delivers a moving eulogy for his brother. There is not a dry eye in the camp. Memorial drinks are had all around.

Rilka, Savaric, and Surm take their leave of the soldiery and head into the city to take Quintrell his share of the treasure. They return to the Goblin and Mug, where the bartender, Trusk, continues to try and flirt with Rilka. Quintrell takes them to his nearby apartment where they turn over the coinage. He is pleased for the windfall—he clearly didn’t expect it. As they leave, he speculates on the possibility of purchasing a polymorph to turn him back into an elf.

Surm then teleports the three of them to Uncle Thormax’s hut in Jossia. Surm tells him of his brother’s demise. The old man is sad, through he feels as though such an end was inevitable due to the darkness in the young man’s heart. That night they cast Mõrvar’s ashes into the winds and then spend the night in Thormax’s hut drinking and telling tales.

15 Hearth 509

That morning, the three friends leave Uncle Thormax’s hut. Rilka and Savaric are taken back to Almathriel and then Surm teleports to the village of Aeth to inform the rest of the family of Mõrvar’s demise. He also informs the King of the Aethlyngs of the end of the possible threat. Surm tells them to keep the rings that they were given in case of future threats, however. Surm also gives the family monies from his brother’s bank account, for which they are grateful. Lothar offers Surm his hand, and Surm, after a pause, takes it.

He then teleports to Yrda and inform King Sigurd and their other friends there of Mõrvar’s demise.

Next, he is off to Aldasar, to the estate of their friend Lord Cannach Ma’leod. There, Surm is surprised to be turned away by the Lord’s guards, not once, but twice. Disconcerted, Surm heads into the city and decides to look into this further. In his wanderings, he happens upon Willton Ginnis—the (apparently) former chamberlain to Lord Cannach.

From Willton Ginnis, Surm learns that in the past two weeks Lord Cannach has been acting very strange. He’s hired a mercenary company, the Dire Wolves, to apparently guard the village of Leodin for no apparent reason. He’s been short with staff and summarily fired Willton for questioning his hiring of the mercenaries. This all began, according to Willton, shortly after a Lord Cannach returned from a trip to the city with blood on his person. The noble claimed he had survived a mugging attempt but that the City Watch was handling it. Since that day, things had been odd in the household. On top of that—other noble houses have experienced similar oddness. The help is talking and none of it is good.

Surm gives the old man 100 platinum pieces to live on and to use in bribes to gather information about what is going on. He tells him that the Crimson Cord will return to Aldasar in two months.

Surm then teleports to rejoin his friends and share his disturbing news. They continue with their plans and vow to return to Aldasar in two months.

28 Hearth 509

Krrish finally arrives in Kalimsport.

29 Hearth 509

Rilka meets with Krissh at his spice shop. The two go for a walk. Rilka informs him that his references and story check out. She is a little concerned that his sister didn’t know about his mother, but he assured her that he likes to keep his privacy about such matters. Rilka offers to let him travel with them—with the caveat that they are not going after the man in the vision just yet. Krrish takes the offer.

They two visit with Alfrun at Rilka’s shrine and then share a good breakfast at a nearby eatery.

Over the next few weeks, Rilka spends some time with Krrish, trying to get to know him.

Savaric spends time in Kalimsport establishing his brewery/tavern and in Yrda, spending time with Mirka

19 Longnight 509

Rilka holds a dedication to the new orphanage she has built on the lands given to her by the Overlord of Kalimsport.

14 Changewind 509

Over the past few weeks, much work has been going on in Kalimsport. Savaric’s new brewery/tavern, the “Crimson Brew” opens, as well as the opening stages of the new Crimson Cord guildhall.

Finally, the guards of the Crimson Cord have been set to march toward toward Aldasar while the rest of the troupe, Rilka, Surm, and Savaric, along with Krrish, teleport there. Surm gets more information from Willton Ginnis on the problem with the nobility. He gets some specific members of the nobility that have been acting strange—including the wife of the Lord Mayor of Aldasar. He has also learned that there is apparently some sort of spellcaster with the Dire Wolves in Leodin—someone called “Coldtongue” and that they have also somehow employed a blue dragon to patrol the area on their behalf.

Willton will use his connections to get an audience with the Lord Mayor for the Cord.

The Cord meets at the base camp of the troops outside the city to discuss the Lord Cannach situation. Surm also introduces Lynecit, his new valet.

What could be the malady striking the nobility? Is it possession? A curse? Some sort of disease? Most think that a disease is unlikely. A curse could be detected by a detect magic spell—though it would be very difficult to see. Possession might also be detectable through magic as well. They are ultimately left with more questions than answers.

15 Changewind 509

The core members of the Cord and Krrish all pay a visit to Willton Ginnis, who has managed to get them an audience with the Lord Mayor. They may call upon him anytime at the Hall of Law. The four head to the center of the city, near the royal palace, and are admitted into the hall by the guards and directed to the proper wing. Once there, they are taken to the offices of the Lord Mayor and meet Telly, the bald halfling attache of the Lord Mayor. He is the only other person in the office as the Cord introduces themself to Baron Feargus Ma’leod, Lord Mayor of Aldasar.

The Lord Mayor is a heavy-set man with a broad mustache and a usually jolly disposition. He recognizes the Crimson Cord for their exploits and their “reputation for getting things done.” When asked about any strange behavior from his wife, he reluctantly admits that, yes, for the past few weeks she has been acting strangely. She’s been very “ugly” to staff, very course and vulgar in her discourse, very improper—very unlike her. Yes, there was an incident where she was apparently accosted by someone in the streets, but the City Watch had been notified and was looking into it.

The party decides to stake out and follow the Lady Mayor. The Lord Mayor will allow this as he is very concerned for his wife and the Cord’s implications that this may be a wider problem in the city. But he does caution them to be discrete.

It is decided that Savaric and Krrish will watch the Lady Mayor and follow her. Krrish assures everyone that he will locate her. “Magic?” Savaric asks. “A combination of things,” the young man answers.

The two head out and take up positions on the roof of the Lord Mayor’s house, which is located on top of the same large hill on which the Hall of Law is located.

Meanwhile, Telly leads Surm and Rilka to the Captain of the Watch at the nearby garrison. Her name is Saraid Clyne. Speaking with her, she knows of no attack reported on the Lady Mayor—and she is certain that a report of such an attack would have been flagged for her attention. She can have someone look into the reported attack on Lord Cannach if they like, though searching the records could take some time. In their conversation with the Captain, the two learn that there have been a lot of religious processions going through the city of late and tensions between religious figures and the nobility. They decide to go to the temple of Halor and see if they can learn more of this development.

Back at the Lord Mayor’s house, Krrish sees the Lady Mayor leave the house and turn down the offer of a carriage from one of the servants. She puts up a hood on a dark cloak and moves away from the home. Savaric and Krrish manage to keep up and follow her at a distance. They follow the woman to a seedy part of the city where she slips down an alley and into the door of a seemingly abandoned building. They both hide, with Krrish at the front of the building and Savaric running behind and then on top of the building. Both Krrish and Savaric feel some kind of force pull at their minds briefly, but nothing else happens. Krrish listens at the door and hears the Lady in conversation with someone—apparently they are waiting on a third. This third person soon comes down the alley, also dressed in a dark cloak. He slips in and Krrish slips in behind him.

At the temple of Halor, Surm and Rilka meet with Bishop Aldiss Innismore about the strange behavior of the nobility and the portents and visions Rilka and Savaric have been seeing and addressing. The Midron gods, too, have been sending signs and portents of a great evil that is on the rise. They are making mystical preparations for the event and are trying to move the temporal rulers of the lands to make ready as well.

At the back alley, Krrish listens as the Lady Mayor and the new arrival listen to the third. He informs the other two that “Coldtongue assures me that the portal is nearly complete.” The Lady Mayor mentions that the Lord Mayor is growing suspicious. The first speaker assures her that “he will be taken care of in a couple of weeks.”

The three then begin leaving. Krrish slips out unseen and hides. The two follow the last one to leave, the first speaker, to the edge of the city, where he leaves through the city gates.

Eventually, Savaric and Krrish make it back to the base camp where they reunite with the others who have returned from the temple and the guard garrision.

Session Ninety
Dark Invasion


7 Hearth 509

The party has just slain the Bandersnatch after a well-executed plan. Surm hears a voice near his ear ala a Sending spell. The voice is familiar—it is Kalys Penwyck, the vizier to the Overlord of Kalimsport.

“The Overlord of Kalimsport is saddened to inform you of the demise of your brother, the outlaw Morvar Ulrich, at the gates of the city.”

Surm takes in the information and says, “Thank you for informing me.” None of the others hear the message as they are assessing the situation with the Bandersnatch.

Savaric debates on whether or not to take any of the gigantic creature’s quills as a trophy. He ends up taking five of them and putting them in his Efficient Quiver.

Rilka prays to Bruni to receive Detect Magic and the party starts heading toward the hut that Surm had seen in his bird form earlier in the day.

The hut looks like it has seen a lot of rot from the surrounding swamp land. it is relatively small…about fifteen feet long and square. There is a door and two shuttered windows on the side facing the party.

Rilka casts Detect Magic on the hut and detects no magical auras. Savaric senses no movement from within.

Savaric approaches the hut stealthily with Rilka, Uther, Quintrell, Halvor, and Alfhild at the ready. Savaric goes to one of the windows and takes his sword, trying to move the shutter with the point.

Suddenly the entire hut moves, with the windows becoming eyes and the door becoming a giant maw. Savaric is caught by an enormous sticky tongue that emerges from the door/mouth of the mimic/hut.

After a brief fight with the large mimic, Surm slays the beast with Scorching Rays. it finally releases Savaric.

Surm changes into a bird with beast shape and flies up to look around. As he surveys the area, he spots a…flaw…in the reality of the area and sees a tower beyond what is obviously, to him, an illusory wall. He returns to the party to report.

The party assumes their usual marching order and starts heading toward the “wall” to find the hidden tower.

After a bit of convincing, everyone eventually sees through the illusion and passes through the wall and sees the tower sitting in the middle of the swamp. The tower is three stories high with a crenelated roof.

Savric and Rilka approach the tower, with Savaric looking for secret entrances and Rilka using Detect Magic. Neither find anything unusual. Savaric checks the front door for traps and finds nothing out of the ordinary—but does determine that it is locked.

The rest of the party comes forward and Surm attempts to pick the lock—to no avail. Darvin attempts as well—no joy there, either. Surm takes his time and eventually succeeds in picking the lock.

Gwyn opens the door with a spell. Savaric listens though the open doorway, but hears nothing. He sneaks inside. Rilka detects no magical auras in the bottom floor. Savaric searches the bottom floor but finds nothing unusual.

The bottom floor is filled with crates and barrels. There is a ramp that leads up to the next level as well as a narrow iron spiral staircase leading upwards.

The rest of the party moves into the bottom level. Tarben, Gwyn, and Surm take the stairs whhile Alfhild, Rilka, Bragara, and Savaric take the ramp.

The second level appears to be bisected into a kitchen and a dining area. Savaric searches the area out. The hearth is cold and he finds nothing unusual—but he does smell and acrid stench coming from upstairs. The ramp ends here but the spiral staircase continues to the third level.

Surm casts invisibility on himself and heads upstairs. Savaric gives him a moment and then uses Ilona to make himself invisible and follows him upstairs. Rilka gives them both a couple of minutes and then follows, not invisible and not stealthy.

When Surm goes upstairs he sees what appears to be a workshop of some sort with book shelves, alchemical accoutrements, and a large cauldron that seems to be the source of the acrid stench. He hides himself on the side of the room.

Savaric comes up and sees the same thing and hides himself near the bookshelves.

Rilka comes up, making noise and is very visible. At this point, a hideous, hag-like creature with no eyes appears right beside Savaric and attacks Rilka!

As Rilka encounters this creature, and Savaric attempts to aid her, a second hag appears on the other side of Savaric.

Surm manages to take out one of the hags in a rain of fire and thunder!

During the fight, Bragara starts heading up the stairs, followed by Quintrell. Savaric manages to stun the remaining hag. Surm burns her with a spell while Bragara manages to do small amounts of damage to the fell creature. Finally, Rilka decapitates the hag with her falchion.

Surm casts detect magic on the ichorous fluid burning in the cauldron. He determines that it is some sort of summoning fluid connected to the Plane of Shadow. He casts drench on the fire feeding the cauldron and lets the fluid die, ceasing the connection.

Savaric finds nothing in the room save for various potions and elixirs on the shelves. Rilka casts detect magic on the potions and finds that about ten of them are magical in nature.

The party then take some time to discuss where Sakka the Grim may be, as they haven’t found him in this tower.

Surm uses beast shape to turn into a bird once again and flies to the roof, to the Bandersnatch, and to the pond. He sees nothing of interest along the way.

Savaric searches the tower again and finds a secret door hidden on the first floor of the tower beneath a false crate.

Rilka takes the alchemical notebooks and potions from the top floor of the tower.

Surm returns to the Material Plane from the pocket dimension and has the remaining troops to move their camp. He then returns to the pond and flies back to the tower.

Savaric continues searching, finding nothing more of interest in the tower.

After Surm returns and they tell him of the secret door, Savaric opens the secret door. It triggers a spell trap that was not found (the detect magic spell could not penetrate the crate it was hidden behind). Savaric is nearly dropped to unconsciousness by a harm spell. Rilka magically heals him while Surm identifies the potions that Rilka found.

The door opened by Savaric reveals a dull red light, a hideous, sickening stench, and a narrow shaft with a iron hand holds leading about twenty-five feet down into a cavern.

Savaric heads down first, followed by Rilka, Surm, and Quintrell. Tarben and Einar follow—but Einar is soon overwhelmed by the stench and is replaced by Halvor.

The shaft leads down into a tunnel. The tunnel leads further into a cavern. The cavern is full of ten-foot-tall plant-like pods with a vine-like protrusions. The pods are blood-red in color. The vines are semi-transparent and seem to have some sort of viscous fluid flowing through them into the pods. The pods are hard, with the consistency of wood. They seem to be the source of the sickening stench that fills the tunnel and the cavern.

Moving through the cavern, the party can hear a chanting sound coming from the other side of the “forest” of pods. As they move carefully through the pods, they determine that there are probably about a hundred and fifty of these pods in the cavern.

Emerging from the “forest” they come to an alcove at the far end of the cavern. At the end of the alcove is a stone archway. In the archway are three rose-quartz crystals glowing with the red light that has been lighting the cavern and the tunnel. Within the archway is an image of the throne room of the Rose Crystal Palace of the Queen of the Sun, Moon, and Stars—the Queen of the Saelfsidhedal—the Monarch of the Elven Nation. There is a space for a fourth crystal, which is being held in the hand of a dark-haired elf that stands before the archway. This elf’s body is twisted and hunched and he has a series of tattoos on his face and arms. On either side of him are four large, twisted tree-like beings with horrific, distorted visages.

Surm recognizes the four tree-like beings as being Inrakurses—elves whose bodies have been wracked by fleshwarping magics of the darkest sort. He puts two-and-two together and realizes that those pods are more Inrakurses, ready to hatch. This is what Sakka has been doing with the elves he’s been kidnapping. He’s been forming an army.

Rilka casts silence over the party and they approach quietly. When they get close enough to strike, Rilka rushes forward to interrupt Sakka’s gate spell with her silence. Surm casts his black tentacles to trap the inrakurses. Savaric strikes against Sakka—killing the sorcerer in a series of well-placed shots.

In a series of spells and strikes, the Inrakurses are finally put down—but it is a tough fight. Sakka is searched for magical items. The party then returns upstairs to the tower to find flammable fuel. They also find a hidden chest in the topmost floor. Surm detects and dispels the trap that was placed upon it.

Using the flammables they found in the alchemical lab, they splash the pods below the tower. They also take the bodies of Sakka the Grim and one of the Imrakurses.

Surm teleports the party back to the pond and they all reconnect with the rest of the guards.

The main party returns through the pond and to the tower. They descend once again below the tower and retrieve the gate stones. Surm casts fireball on the pod forest before they leave.

At sundown, Surm teleports Jerrik, Leif, Savaric, Rilka, and the two dead bodies back to Almathriel. The rest of the troupe will be marching back to the elven capital.

Back in Almathriel, the party is met on the lawn of Lord Springvale’s estate by Elbereth, the aristocrat’s majordomo. Unflappable as usual, she bids the party to take the bodies to the carriage house and then come inside and clean up. The carriage keeper is a bit upset at the development, but Surm manages to talk him down.

Lord Springvale is happy to see the party and embraces Surm, particularly happy to see that he is alright. He orders food and drink and to hear the story. Everyone then goes to bed, with plans to discuss tomorrow what to do next.

Session Eighty-Nine
The Quill is Mightier than the Sword


22 Harvest 509

The Crimson Cord is in Almathriel, guests of Lord Paranthiel Springvale. They are discussing the next mission they plan to undertake—finding and removing the threat of Sakka the Grim, an elven sorcerer who is plaguing the Queen of the Sun, Moon, and Stars of the Elves.

The party is also awaiting the arrival of their guards, which should take place in about eight days’ time. They are traveling overland to the elven capital from Khazak-Ur.

The party discusses the merits of visiting with the Queen either in public or in private, in open court or in a private audience. They eventually decide that Lord Springvale and Surm and can arrive in open court, place word of what they are attempting to do in the ears of the audience, and hope that Her Majesty takes the initiative and calls them in for an audience. The next occurrence of open court is Harvest 27th.

They will also start a buzz in the noble community about Lord Springvale’s dealings with the Cord and how they are being called in to take care of something “important.” This will be done primarily by Lord Springvale’s majordomo, Elbereth Calidor. She has connections amongst the “help” in noble society which will be the best conduit through which to seed information that needs to the get to the nobility.

The party also has Mahgnus arrange for a camp situation for the troops when they arrive. They also decide to purchase a banner around which the camp will rally and it will be marked for those to see who they are.

27 Harvest 509

Mahgnus has made arrangements with the city bureaucracy to bivouac the troops outside the city, near the south gate. Permits are made and paid for and the banner has been commissioned to mark the site for the troops.

That evening is the time of the open court. Surm and Lord arrive in their finery to the event. The are many carriages coming up to the wing of the palace in which the event is held. Surm is resplendent in a set of robes which bear an magically animated design upon their face. Lord Springvale is dressed in a colorful court-appropriate outfit.

They are led through line to the entrance where the two are announced: “Lord Paranthiel Springvale, Lord of Valehome, and Master Surm Ulrich, Voice of the Crimson Cord.”

There are many dignitaries and noble folk milling about the lavishly decorated ballroom. Gauzy streamers festoon the ceiling, as well as small floating lights that illuminate the scene. The two meet several people while mingling.

  • Drannor Raltoris, an old friend of Lord Springvale’s.
  • Nidrol Fennys, a rather snotty and hostile nobleman, apparently one of the old cronies of Lord Springvale’s former beau.
  • Ysildea Beirieth, another old friend of Lord Springvale’s.
  • Ayda Liafiel, a rather hostile and haughty noblewoman.

They also note that Surm is not the only non-elven guest to the festivities. Baldin Windskipper, Herald of Ebongate, is announced from the entryway. She is a very friendly and gregarious halfling woman. At one point she approaches Surm and introduces herself. She has heard of him and the Crimson Cord.

Finally, the royals make their appearance.

  • Pantantriel Theisadalra, Prince of the Stars, ruler of Almathriel
  • Irinriel Thisadalra, Princess of the Moon, heir to the Ruby Throne
  • Imraela Theisadalra, Queen of the Sun, Moon, and Stars

They take their seats on a raised platform and a receiving line forms for courtiers to greet them. At some point, Surm is mingling through the crowd, the Princess of the Moon makes eye contact with him and smiles.

Throughout their mingling, it is clear that Elbereth did her work well. Rumors are already circulating among the nobility that Lord Springvale is planning something big with the help of the renowned adventuring company. Further, it is clear that the fame of the Crimson Cord has even reached the heart of the elven nation.

Later in the evening, Surm and Lord Springvale are greeted by the Princess, who acknowledges recognizing the Crimson Cord. She makes some reference to having been away from the capital for awhile, coincidentally she was apparently in the “the North” (Jossia), though she does not elaborate. Surm and Lord Springvale take the opportunity to indicate to her some of what they intend and how they hope to be of service to her mother, the Queen.

Finally, the evening starts to wind down and everyone starts to head to their carriages and back to their estates.

29 Hearth 509

Lord Sprinvale receives an official summons from Prince Pantantriel for a meeting in the palace. The summons is for himself and “the Crimson Cord.”

30 Harvest 509

The rest of the guards of the Crimson Cord arrive in Almathriel to their camp. Savaric has hunted for fresh meat and is providing kegs of ale. Rilka checks in with Tarben on religious matters. A joyous reunion is had.

1 Hearth 509

Surm, Rilka, Savaric and Lord Springvale return to the palace to meet with Prince Pantantriel. They meet in a conference room in the palace; the Cord, His Highness the Prince, and a retinue of the Prince’s guards. The Cord are dressed in their “Captain Rilka” gear and holding their signature weapons. They note that even though they are meeting the Prince and ruler of the city, the guards do not seem to be worried about them keeping their weapons. Here they discuss the mission that Lord Springvale is commissioning the Cord to undertake—to take care of the “problem” with Sakka the Grim.

Throughout the meeting, the Prince never seems to acknowledge the half-orcs, though he shows them not ill will either. They all discuss the mission and the experience of Quintrell Borathin, the Queen’s Guardsman who was killed by Sakka the Grim and later reincarnated into a halfling by a druid. The Prince, in the end, acknowledges that this would, indeed, be a great boon to Her Majesty and will gladly carry the news of it to her ears. The meeting, overall, seems to have gone positively and in line with the Cord’s plans to help Lord Springvale.

After the meeting, the guards are given leave and the main coterie of the Cord go to the Goblin and Mug to find Quintrell to let him know that are moving forward with the expedition. From him, they find out that the site of the battle he had with Sakka and his beast took place about a hundred miles north of the city in the forests between Almathriel and Imdarinis. As they all sip on their dishwater-tasting ale, Quintrell also reveals that according to rumor, Sakka actually resides on a small demi-plane of his own design. He must use some sort of portal or extra-planar magic to travel back and forth with himself and his creatures.

Quintrell agrees to camp tonight with the guards outside the city and to depart with them tomorrow. Rilka also camps with the guards—Kortash in specific.

Surm goes to the Spire Ring and purchases a gate scroll.

2 Hearth 509

The party departs Almathriel in search of Sakka the Grim. They travel in a column through the forest, due to its thickness. Quintell apparently travels with a set of darts and a board on which he practices his throwing. He and Savaric have a game during one of the breaks in travel. Savaric places a fine showing, critically hitting the board in the bullseye. Quintrell is impressed.

4 Hearth 509

After a couple of days of travel, the party is attacked in the night by a band of werewolves. The party is handily victorious with no casualties or injuries. Savaric tracks the source of the band, finding tracks leading northwest. However, he is persuaded not to follow them, as it is a distraction from the matter at hand.

7 Hearth 509

In the afternoon, Quintrell notifies the Cord that they have reached the site of the battle in which he was killed. Looking about the area, the party finds a nearby pond where old tracks have led. Surm casts detect magic on the pond and does sense a magical aura indicating conjuration magic emanating from the pond. After a bit of planning, he and Savaric decide to cast invisibility on themselves (though Savaric uses Ilona to do this) and walk into the pond holding hands.

As they submerge themselves in the pond, they find that they emerge, after a disorientating shift, from the pond on the other side of a planar barrier. They rise and find themselves in a swamp. On the shore, they see a band of goblins—but goblins unlike any they’ve ever seen. These seem to be mutated in various ways: wings, extra limbs, etc. Savaric resubmerges into the pond to return to the others to report what was seen.

As the others make their way through the pond, Surm casts black tentacles on the band of goblins and manages to get them all grappled in the mystical appendages. He then casts a fireball on the restrained goblins. This manages to take all but one of them out.

They also decide to leave Sorcha, Leif, Sigrid, Garth, Burask, and Jerrik behind in the “real world” to guard the horses and equipment.

They take the goblin prisoner and try to question him. He only speaks goblin, however, and Savaric is the only one that can speak to him. When asked about the location of Sakka the Grim, the goblin tells Savaric that he can be found “in your bunghole.” They finally intimidate him into giving more information—though only that Sakka is deeper in the swamp. Savaric punches the goblin out.

Savaric then tracks the goblins as Surm goes invisible and flies as a small bird to get the lay of the land. From his point of view, he spots, far ahead of them, a hut nestled in the swamp. He also sees a large, quilled beast (probably the famed Bandersnatch from Quintrell’s story) roaming the swarm between them and the hut. There is a also a clearing in the swamp between the party and the Bandersnatch.

After a bit of discussion, they decide that taking out the Bandersnatch might be a good idea and that the hut may be their ultimate destination. They formulate a plan to lure the beast into the clearing where the party can ambush it. Rilka will use the flying ability of the celestial armor to lure the beast and hopefully move fast enough to elude it.

The party sets their ambush and Rilka flies forward to entice the Bandersnatch. She is successful—but the beast is far faster than she anticipated. Further, it is able to launch its quills into the air as massive missile weapons. She is struck by one—and it is incredibly painful. Still, she manages to fly into the clearing, leading the creature hot on her heels.

The ambush is strung. It is difficult to fight—to close with it and strike it with a melee weapon means being pricked by its mighty quills. Tarben manages a critical hit on the creature, but injures himself in the process and Quintrell fires at it with his bow, hitting it in the eye. Surm blinds it with gloomblind bolts. Savaric finally gets the kill.

One of the quills is stuck in Rilka, but Savaric manages to remove it without injuring her further. They also notice that the creature was wearing a collar of some sort—it resembles a ring of thorns. Surm casts detect magic on the collar and determines that it emanates enchantment magic capable of controlling the creature and sending the creature’s current status information to another person.

The party now discusses what their next move is…

Session Eighty-Eight
A Debt is Paid


15 Harvest 509

The party has returned to Khazak-Ur after having dinner in Almathriel with Lord Springvale and Valerian Tarsinia, a potential buyer for the dragon egg that they acquired deep beneath the dwarven capitol. The party retires to their rooms at the House of Warship.

16 Harvest 509

Savaric goes into the markets of the dwarven city to commission a necklace to be made for Mirka. He originally wants a silver compass that magically always points to him—but finds that such an item may be too much gold for his tastes. The magical proprietor, Phaedre Silverspike, suggests finding a more mundane jeweler and silversmith.

He finds a jeweler by the name of Tolman Glittergem who has a half-elven silversmith on-site that could meet his needs. Savaric decides on a silver compass pendant with a small ruby chip to represent his heart. The “compass” always points at the ruby chip. This comes much closer to his needed price range and will convey the same message he wants to convey to Mirka—that she can always find his heart. The necklace will be done in three day’s time.

After their shopping spree, the party teleports to Yrda to visit for a short time. Rilka, Kortash, Savaric, Surm, and Gwyn (one of Surm’s new cohorts) make the journey.

They arrive in the center of the village and momentarily startle two guards that are patrolling the central square. The two Northron men wear symbols of Bruni around their necks. Soon, they recognize the Crimson Cord and offer to help them in any way they can. When asked if they wish to see the king, Surm says that they probably should. One of the guards, a young man named Taos, offers to lead them to where Sigurd is seeing to the finishing touches of a new wooden wall around the village.

Sigurd is pleased to see them and offers them the hospitality of the village. He also offers his sympathy for the break that the group has had with Mõrvar. Most of the troupe will be staying overnight, but Surm and Gwyn will be leaving in the evening. Sigurd vows to make space available in the main longhouse for Rilka and Kortash and, with a knowing glance toward Savaric, assures them that Savaric will surely have space in the Hall of Ulfethinn.

Surm takes Gwyn on a tour of the village, stopping first with Rilka at the Hall of Bruni. Savaric goes to find Mirka.

At the Hall of Bruni, the head priest, Dag Falcorsson, welcomes them and gives them some news of the village. As per their previous instructions, the village is being fortified and all strangers are being watched. They don’t want a sneak attack by someone claiming to be their friend. Mirka takes the fellow cleric aside and asks him about any news of a man bearing a strange symbol causing trouble in the Northron lands. Surm and Gwyn leave to continue their tour of the village.

Dag tells Rilka of a tale that a passing skald told of trouble in Rosemeedt on the western coast. Apparently a strange man, in tattered clothes and bearing a greataxe, emerged from the sea covered in ice. He passed through the town, laying waste to all in his path as he made his way out of Rosemeedt. He did, indeed, wear a strange symbol about his neck. Rilka makes note of this information to pass on to the others. She then goes to the central sanctuary of the hall to pray.

Surm and Gwen tour the village and look in on the orphan half-orc babies that they left here some weeks ago. Both Jewel and Cord are doing well and the village as a whole has rallied behind their care. The babes are said to bring the “luck of the Crimson Cord” with them to the village.

Meanwhile, Savaric finds Mirka working on the roof of the entryway to the Hall of Ulfethinn. She notices his approach and deftly leaps down from the low awning. She embraces Savaric and tells him that she has some work for him to do inside. Savaric eventually catches the innuendo and follows her inside to her chambers.

After Savaric’s “work” is done, he tells her of their adventures and the dire portents that have been following them of late. Mirka acknowledges that she can tell that a “storm is coming” but is unsure as to what that means.

That evening, a feast is held at the Hall of Yülthn where Surm is called upon to tell them tales of their adventures. He does a fair job—not up to his standards but more than entertaining enough for this friendly audience. Mead and ale are passed around, along with roasted meats. When asked about her impressions of this village that call the Cord heroes and insists that that they are “home,” Gwyn acknowledges that Yrda is very “quaint.”

After the festivities, Gwyn and Surm teleport back to Khazak-Ur. Rilka and Kortash bed down in the longhouse while Savaric accompanies Mirka back to her chambers.

17 Harvest 509

In Khazak-Ur, Surm goes to the Halls of the Maker to speak with the dwarven priests there about portents of evil and of any news of this murderous man with the greataxe. He speaks to a priest named Fangrim Slatedge. According to the priest, the “Anvils” have seen signs of grim tidings. According to some, The Haduarkan should begin preparations to “return to the bosom of the earth” and that the coming evil is “not a dwarven matter.”

Surm is very dissatisfied with this answer and leaves. He later receives a sending from Rilka via the Agent’s Clasp and he teleports back to Yrda to pick the others up. This time, he brings his cohort Uther.

Upon arriving in Yrda, Rilka, Kortash, and Savaric all gather with Surm and Uther and return to Khazak-Ur.

Rilka goes to the common room of the House of Warship and asks for tidings of trouble from the bards that have come there. They do mention that there have been troubles, but mostly in the human lands to the west.

Surm returns the clasp to Alasir and shares all of the information they have been gathering with him.

18 Harvest 509

The group continues to stay at the House of Warship in Khazak-Ur, waiting for the pieces of the Spear of Salvation to be completed. Savaric picks up his finished necklace for Mirka.

20 Harvest 509

Finally, the group receives word from Tasvian Hammerfall that The Conclave of the Forge have finished the spear pieces.

The group is brought to the central forge where the work has been done and see, sitting on a cloth that has been lain across a folding table in the center of the chamber, is the shaft of Ysarian Steel and the spearhead of orange Cassite crystal.

Savaric reverently approaches the pieces and picks them up. His eyes go start to glow with a strange orange light and he moves away from the table and sets the pieces before him. He then begins to recite prayers in Jossian to the Northron gods: Ulfethinn the Thunderer, Isranthr the Hunter, Saehildr the Flashing Blade, Saemundil the Guardian, and to Bruni the Brave One. He then takes the pieces and melds them together with his hands. The pieces—steel and crystal—mold together as if made of clay and fall into place. Savaric sets the completed spear on the floor and then recites prayers of thanks to each of the same entities. Finally, his eyes return to normal and he finds himself, bewildered, sitting before the completed Spear of Salvation.

Savaric apparently has no memory of saying the prayers and forging the Spear. According to him, he was in the clearing outside of Isranthr’s hall. There, the god thanked Savaric for his work and indicated that his debt was paid, but that the gods would have him fulfill one more task, though he has no debt to pay. Keep the Spear safe until such time as it is ready for him to use. He will know when that time comes. Savaric agrees to do this. Then, the half-orc wakes up sitting on the floor before the completed Spear.

Rilka thinks that Savaric is destined to hunt down this evil.—including the strange man who is wreaking havoc across the lands. Surm is not so sure…he thinks that they are to wait for the time to come. His point is that they don’t “know” anything and that this weapon is for something far worse than that man. Savaric is inclined to hunt down the man. Perhaps the man is a precursor to what is to come and if they can eliminate him, they can stop the evil.

Savaric also shares with the others what he knows about the spear—how it is a powerful artifact against aberrations dedicated to Chaos and that the spearhead, while powerful, can be broken by an ill-placed strike.

The Cord return to the House of Warship with the Spear, after first thanking the Conclave of the Forge for their work.

Back at the inn, the Cord discusses what their next plans are.

Surm reiterates the doesn’t think that they should hunt down the man with the greataxe. They should keep the spear safe and save it for something bigger.

Rilka disagrees: from a strategic point of view, it makes more sense to hunt down the man and deal with him in anticipation of dealing with this coming evil. Savaric is inclined to agree with Rilka.

Surm says that they should rely on their faith and wait. They have been charged with fighting a war, not preventing it. To him, having faith in their gods means standing back and doing what they are told, despite what their own urges tell them.

Rilka concedes that they can’t prepare for the coming evil without more information. Surm suggests that they pray for guidance.

So where will they go next?

They decide to go to Yrda again, first. Savaric wants to give Mirka his gift. Rilka opts to stay behind. So Surm, Savaric, Uther, Bragara, and Darvin teleport to Yrda. Surm introduces the new members of the Crimson Cord cohort to the village while Savaric finds a leatherworker to make a special sheath for the spearhead of the Spear of Salvation. After those arrangements are made, he goes to Mirka to give her the necklace.

Mirka, for the first time since Savaric has met her, is speechless. She embraces him and takes him back to her chambers.

Rilka, in the meantime, fasts and meditates on the problem and prays to Bruni for answers. As she meditates, she finds the world around her fade away and she sits in the Hall of Bruni with a familiar figure. He warns her that she has been calling in a lot of favors of late. She acknowledges this as truth but shares with the figure the confusion and ambiguity of purpose that she is experiencing now in regard to the coming evil. The figure tells her that the gods try to let their charges work their own wills on the world and do not act directly. That figuring out that purpose is part of the journey to the Halls of Aesenjeim. Rilka acknowledges this as truth, but nevertheless seeks guidance. With a sigh, the figure tells her that they are not yet ready to meet the Harbinger. “Travel, quest, grow stronger, and when the time comes you will face him when you have strong enough.” Rilka then finds herself sitting in contemplation, alone, in her room.

Savaric is spending the night in Yrda while Surm and his cohorts return to Almathriel to call on Lord Springvale. The elven lord is delighted at always being surprised by who comes with Surm when he visits. Springvale reveals that he has received an offer from Valerian on the dragon egg: 5000 gold pieces. Surm is unsure as to whether or not that is reasonable offer. Lord Springvale says that he is not sure either, but does know that griffon eggs tend to go for 3500. He also says that Valerian wants the egg before it hatches, not after. This gives Surm pause—why would she want the egg only before it hatches? At any rate, he tells Springvale that he will discuss the offer with the others before committing to it.

Surm also asks of any rumors of dire portent that Springvale may have heard in Almathriel. The nobleman does reveal that there was an incident in the northern port city of Celandacair. The Rose Guard was sent from the capital to help with a rampage that was occurring in the Celandacair docks. Apparently a band of cultists, being led by a large human with a greataxe, were rampaging on the docks and stole a ship. There were some twelve to fifteen cultists and this mighty warrior who, by the accounts Springvale had heard, was unstoppable.

This rumor disturbs Surm. He theorizes that perhaps the warrior was trying to make his way to the Eastern Wastes without crossing the Rift. He thinks that this warrior, whoever he is and whoever he serves, is heading for Godscar—an ancient ruin in the heart of the wastes. It is also the site at which the ritual for which the Cord is searching for components is to be completed in order to achieve the power to “walk among the gods.”

21 Harvest 509

That morning in Yrda, Savaric picks up the completed leather spear sheath. Surm makes several teleport trips from Almathriel, to Yrda, and to Khazak-Ur, eventually getting everyone back to the dwarven capital.

As the Cord relaxes in their suite, discussing their various options and the information that they’ve gathered, Savaric recalls that the dwarves existed before the Rivening—unlike the humans and the elves, at least, according to popular lore. This leads to speculation that perhaps they hid in the mountains during that cataclysm as well.

Rilka asks if all the gods of the various pantheons are sending messages to their priests. Savaric wonders if there will be different weapons made by different pantheons to face the coming crisis.

Eventually, the discussion comes to the perennial question: What’s next?

They have information on how to acquire the Heart of the World for the ritual that they have been seeking components for. This would be of use to their friends at the University of Kalimsport and to the dwarves.

There is also the lead on Sakka the Grim that Mõrvar wanted them to follow when they were on the way to the Rift. Perhaps seeking out this sorcerer will help the Cord get in with the Queen of the Elves? This Sakka is reputed to have killed a member of the Queen’s Guard. Perhaps this is a problem they can help Her Majesty with?

Do they want to take the offer on the dragon egg? Or make the offer elsewhere—like say the Overlord of Kalimsport? They end up deciding not to take the egg to the Overlord. There may be more questions than they want to answer there.

Surm, Darvin, Savaric, Uther, and Rilka teleport to Almathriel to visit with Lord Springvale. There they learn that Lord Springvale doesn’t attend court formally anymore. A bit more prying gets him to admit that long ago he had a dalliance with the Prince of the Stars, Rintheril Theisadalra (a non-inheriting son of the Queen of the Sun, Moon, and Stars). The dalliance ended badly and Springvale was embarrassed and never returned to the court. Apparently, the Prince ended the affair harshly and quite publicly.

Surm urges Springvale to return to court, but with a “win” under his belt. He needs to make a grand re-entrance to court society. Springvale promises to think on it.

The party also show off the Spear of Salvation to the nobleman, who is highly impressed.

After meeting with Lord Springvale, the party heads out to hit the streets for rumors of Sakka the Grim. They learn that the Sakka is a sorcerer that lives in the northern forests of Saelfsidhedal. He is said to control a demiplane of his own that serves as his lair. He has some sort of grudge against Her Majesty the Queen, though no one is sure why. Further, it is clear that “Sakka” is not this figure’s real name.

The party approaches Lord Springvale and Surm asks if he can talk to his friends from court to get more information. He says that he will, but it may take a few days.

Surm also has a new suit of nobleman’s clothes tailored for him for Almathriel. The clothes have a magical design that blooms and shifts as he wears it. It is very chic.

After Surm is measured for his new suit, the party teleports back to Khazak-Ur. There they talk to Alasir. The guards are to start marching toward Almathriel with Surm’s cohort. Rilka puts Tarben in charge of the daily devotional exercises to Bruni.

They check out of the House of Warship and pay the hefty bill. They then bring Mahgnus back to Almathriel with them. There, they are welcomed to stay with Lord Springvale as they wait on more information and for the rest of the guard to arrive.

As the sun begins to set on Almathriel, the party goes to the temple of Celandian, the chief elven deity, to see if they have any dire portents of what is to come. The temple is located in the nearby Rose Ring of the city. The temple is actually a sacred grove with tall, thin columned gazebos placed throughout. The columns have carvings of elves, leaves, and stars upon them. A priestess approaches them, wearing the white robes of her station. Her name is Larinis.

According to Larnis, there are dire portents “writ upon the stars.” An evil comes that will “blot out the sky” and “it’s Harbinger walks the earth.” They have been charged to gather their magics and to have the Queen gather her host to prepare for the coming battle. Rilka and Savaric tell her of the Spear of Salvation and Larinis nods. “It is fitting, that the children of the Aedonii and the Ysar should band together to fight off this evil.” When asked about the Ysar, she tells them that they are said to worship creatures “of the stars and waters.”

After speaking with Larinis, Rilka thinks that it would be good idea to forge alliances and pass the word of the coming danger.

22 Harvest 509

As the group waits for more information from Lord Springvale’s contacts, Rilka recalls that the druid that first told them of Sakka the Grim was named Arianel and that she had reincarnated the Queen’s Guardsman into one of the Vale Folk. Perhaps they can find this halfling and get more information.

They hit the streets and learn that the former Queen’s Guard that is now a halfling is named Quintrell Borathin and can often be found at the Goblin & Mug tavern. He lives in the Traveler’s Ring of the city.

The party heads out to Traveler’s Ring to find the halfling. The Goblin & Mug is a bit of a ramshackle place. The barkeep is a half-orc with long mutton-chops. A drunken human bard performs in one of the corners of the common room. A couple of humans are sitting together playing dice. An elf sits at a table with a half-elf woman in a low-hanging bodice in his lap. And a halfling is playing darts alone in another corner.

The Cord introduces themselves and asks if they can talk to him. Quintrell acquiesces and takes a seat, after throwing his darts expertly at the board to free himself of them.

They sit down at his table, where he has a sizable tankard sitting. He takes a sip from the tankard and asks them what they want to know. They ask him to tell the story of what happened to him in the northern forest.

With a sigh, Quintrell tells how he and a courier named Celand Fornis were traversing the forest when a huge beast emerged from forest. It was big and bore large quills on its sides. Quintrell tried to intervene, but fell. It happened quickly. Then, he woke up—like this. He points to his now halfling self. The druid that saved him, Arianel, saw the sorcerer, Sakka the Grim, emerge from the forest while Quintrell was fighting the beast and make off with the courier. Arianel concentrated on helping the fallen Guard and reincarnated him as a halfling. The sorcerer apparently told the druid as he disappeared that he would have his revenge for her working against his will. He made his way back to Almathriel and tried to continue in the Guards, but it was clear he didn’t belong. So he “retired” and now spends his days here. At the Goblin & Mug, even if he is short of stature, the patrons don’t look down on him. it’s been three or four months since the events in the forest now.

Rilka goes to the bar for drinks and is flirted with aggressively by the half-orc barkeep, who introduces himself as Trost. Rilka rebuffs and takes their drinks back to the table. Throughout the conversation at the table, she looks up to see Trost waggling his eyebrows at her.

Surm asks for a complete description of the quilled beast and determines that it was probably a Bandersnatch—a powerful fey hunting beast. It has little to no weaknesses and is a fierce creature.

Have there been ransoms called for those this Sakka the Grim takes? None that Quintrell is aware of. Have others been taken? Quintrell doesn’t know.

Quintrell asks why they want to know all this and Surm reveals that they intend to find and deal with this Sakka the Grim. If that’s the case, Quintrell will guide them to where Celand Fornis was taken. He wants to help deal with this sorcerer who killed him and took the elf he was in charge of protecting. The Cord accepts his offer and will keep in touch.

As they leave, Rilka refuses to look toward the bar at Trost, but can feel his eyes on her.

That evening, Lord Springvale tells them of the information he’s gained from his friends in the elven court. Sakka the Grim has plagued the Queen for about a century now. He waylays travelers, couriers, and the like, seemingly just to be an irritant. He is reputed to be quite insane and is reputed to have strange creatures under his command. Apparently, the was cast out of the elven court, as well as exiled from the elven lands, for practicing dark magics. He vowed his revenge upon leaving. This former nobleman was called Branderis Voltaran, Keeper of the Seal before his exile and subsequent name-change to Sakka the Grim.

Session Eighty-Seven
Red Harvest


4 Harvest 509

After the battle, in which the Crimson Cord has slain a roper and not one, but two, dragons, they sift through the hoards for useful items and plan their next course of action.

Some of the hoard items are distributed to cohorts for their improvement. It is decided to keep the dragon egg—Savaric places it securely in his backpack. They also combine the two hoards into one in the hoard chamber.

Having sorted that issue, they send Savaric to continue exploring the caverns. He starts sneaking deeper into the cavern, taking one turn and coming upon a large pit dugout in the floor of the tunnel, almost as is something had tunneled up from deeper below. He doesn’t approach very close to the pit, but instead backtracks and takes a different turn.

These new tunnels seem to be largely empty—until he comes into chamber in which the shimmering blue form of a dwarf, armored and with his mouth open in a silent scream materializes. Savaric bolts, with the Nemhain chasing him down the corridor back to his friends.

Surm and Rilka, having heard Savaric’s warning yell, take up positions to face the Nemhain. Savaric runs in and takes up a position near Surm, while Rilka strides forward, with courage, and thrusts the talisman toward the Nemhain—and it dissipates into a blue mist before disappearing completely. The talisman worked!

Continuing down this corridor, the group finds the chamber with the Cassite. They backtrack to the dragon chamber and regroup. After a brief discussion, they decide to check out the pit, just to be thorough.

This time they bring the guards and the cohorts and head up the corridor. Savaric ventures ahead and peers into the pit—and is met with by a gargantuan gaping maw with four tongue-like tentacles surrounding it! A huge, worm emerges from the pit and grabs Savaric with one of its tentacles!

Rilka ventures forth to face the creature and it spews a cone of acid, covering her and Savaric with the stuff. Luckily, Savaric takes no damage from the onslaught, evading it, while Rilka manages to fend off part of it herself. Surm and Gwyn lob spells at the beast while Rilka slashes at it with her falchion and Savaric tries to break free. Uther manages to get close enough to channel energy for the two Cord members in the lead and jog back to the others. The creature attacks both Rilka and Savaric’s minds, though they mostly manage to fight off this onslaught. Surm casts black tentacles which help grapple the beast, but it manages to produce another cone of acid, which takes Savaric out and drenches Rilka. Surm finally pulls out a scroll of power word: stun and stuns the creature, allowing Rilka to remove the beast’s head in a triumphant stroke. The remainder of the worm’s body slides back down into the pit.

Rilka revives Savaric with the healing power of Bruni, along with Uther’s healing from Cereth. Both Savaric and Surm gaze down the hole—Savaric with his sixty feet of darkvision and Surm with a dancing lights spell. After two-hundred and sixty feet, neither can see the bottom of the pit or the body of the worm. They all decide to leave this as a problem for the dwarves.

Savaric begins skinning the dragons while Surm studies the cassite chamber as a point to teleport to. Then he, Gwyn, Rilka, Garth, and Sorcha teleport back to Khazak-Ur to conduct some business. They find a taxidermist in the upper city named Koeltha Stonehide who might be willing to preserve the head of the worm and take the dragon hides that Savaric is working on. As she’s heard of the Crimson Cord, they arrange to meet again on the following day, giving Koeltha time to find a buyer more interested in the hides. She will take the worm head, however. Surm calls it a “tentacle worm” and Koeltha accepts that as its name.

They also head to the marketplace and purchase a large bag of holding at “Sundries by Silverpike.”

Finally, they meet with Tasvian Hammerfall, reporting their success. She assures them that the Conclave will work quickly to acquire enough cassite for their spearhead and then they can begin on the Ysarian Steel shaft. She says she will meet with the Conclave and then see them the following afternoon, after their appointment with Koeltha.

The small party teleports back to the cassite chamber and then help load the hoard into the bag of holding.

They take the newly-skinned dragon hides and the hoard to the abandoned campsite and camp for night. The night passes quietly.

5 Harvest 509

Rilka and Tarben start the day with obediences to Bruni and the entire entourage prepares to travel back to Khazak-Ur.

Around noontime, Surm, Leif, Halvor, Savaric and Rilka teleport to the “House of Warship”, their inn in the city to prepare to visit the taxidermist, Koeltha Stonehide. There, they pick up Mahgnus and head to the upper city.

At Koeltha’s shop, they are met by another dwarf who is introduced as Targus Splitaxe. He is an armorer interested in the dragon hides. He offers 950 gold pieces for the hides, which Savaric accepts. He sells the teeth and claws to Koeltha for another 200 gold. Targus offers to let them see the suits of armor he’s going to build from the dragon hide and tells them that his shop lies in the lower city, two streets over from the Lonely Throne.

After their business is done, the party heads back to the inn where Rilka gets groomed. Savaric, for his part, is growing a beard. They head to the common room for dinner and dismiss Leif and Halvor to their own devices.

Over dinner, Mahgnus describes the information he found. Apparently a man wearing that strange Aedonii symbol was seen in Jenna about two months ago, raising havoc, killing random people. Then, he disappeared. Apparently he was there before heading off to the Saelfsidhedal (or “the elf-lands”). There has been no word on Mõrvar Ulrich—and Surm makes a point of insisting that Mahgnus not refer to him as “Master Mõrvar.”

After dinner, they head to Tasvian’s forge. She reassures them that she has met with the Conclave and work is beginning on refining the cassite for the spear head—it should be ready in about a week and half. But, until the Cord releases all of the information on the Ysarian Steel, then she can’t know how long the spear will take. Surm says that he’s ready to divulge that information and Tasvian takes them to Darius, the Recorder for the Conclave. But before they leave, she hands him a bag of 250 platinum pieces as a bonus from the Conclave for taking on the worm (which Tasvian identifies as a neothelid) and an extra dragon.

At Darius’ home, which is near Tasvian’s forge, Surm recites the secret of Ysarian Steel while Darius eagerly records it in a leather-bound journal. After about an hour, the Conclave has the information they need. Tasvian estimates that the shaft will take about fifteen days to forge.

The party returns to the House of Warship and sends to Alasir via the Agent’s Clasp to get an idea of where the rest of the party is. Alasir informs him that they have just entered the city and are making their way to the House of Warship. The party gets an additional suite for the cohorts to stay in and learn that the soldiery has been staying at the Thane’s Decree, while Alasir, Leif, and Sorcha are at the Three Wells Inn—there was not enough room for everyone at the Thane’s Decree.

The troops arrive and have a joyful reuniting of the troupe. Rilka makes plans to visit Kortash later, though he is staying in the common room at the Thane’s Decree. After the reunion, everyone heads to their separate rooms for the night in anticipation of waiting out the forging of the spear.

8 Harvest 509

Over the past few days, the Cord has been waiting for the forging of the pieces of the spear—the Cassite head and the Ysarian Steel shaft. Rilka makes arranges to have her magical headband upgraded. Savaric spends his time watching the forging process—but is sworn to secrecy by Tasvian—the Conclave doesn’t want any trade secrets getting out. Surm asks Bragara if she is familiar with “The Heart of the World”—she does not.

So on this day, Surm goes to Tasvian and takes her aside. He asks her if she has heard of the Heart of the World. She seems shocked to be asked and admits that, yes, she knows of it, though she’s not supposed to. When pressed by Surm, she reveals that it is an extremely rare mineral found in the deep wells beneath the city. At least, it was. She knows of only two sources now. One, she knows that the temple of Skondir has about 10 ounces of the stuff that is revered almost like a holy relic. The second, she has heard rumor of a vein from a drunk old miner named Koram Flintspire who frequents the Lucky Cup. The source isn’t very reliable though. When Surm asks if the temple might be persuaded to part with their Heart of the World, Tasvian laughs that off—a non-dwarf who shouldn’t even know of the material’s existence, much less it’s location? No, they would not part with it for him.

After talking with Tasvian, Surm takes Mahgnus and the cohorts to the Lucky Cup. The Lucky Cup is a ramshackle dive of an inn. There are a handful of dwarves, some humans, and even a couple of half-orcs sitting at tables about the room. Surm and the others, in their clean clothes and finery, make quite an entrance.

After a brief exchange with the bartender, whom Surm manages to charm with his personality and a bit of coin, they learn that Koram is indeed here. The barkeep points to an unconscious, white-haired dwarf lying face-first on one of the tables. Surm and the others go to join him and Mahgnus wakes the dwarf.

The dwarf, with unkempt beard, long hair, and horrible breath, comes to. He has a wide gap between his teeth and blinks about, asking who they are. Surm asks if he’s Koram Flintspire and he affirms that he is. Surm then whispers to him that he wants to ask him about the Heart of the World and that he was told Koram was the man to talk to.

The old dwarf blinks in surprise and says that they can’t talk about that down here in the common room. Surm gets a room in the inn, free for an hour from the barkeep so that they can talk in privacy. They all head up to the room and they can all see that Koram has a distinct limp.

When they get up in the room, Surm gets the dwarf to tell his story. Apparently he was a part of a mining outfit funded by the nephew of a Thane. The nephew’s name is Rolgar Graniteshard. While they were in one of the deep caverns beneath the city, Koram saw that they had opened up a vein of the beautiful mineral known as the Heart of the World. But before they could mine it, the tunnel wall was opened up by a Ghorazagh, a monstrous, many legged horror of the deep caverns. It nearly took Koram’s leg off as he tried to get away…the others were not so lucky. No one in the expedition survived except for him.

The nephew sent two adventuring parties down into the shaft to clear out the Ghorazagh—neither returned. Now no one will take the job. So the rare mineral lies un-mined down in the deep, guarded by aberrations of the deep.

Surm indicates he wants Koram to lead them to the shaft. Koram laughs at that—he isn’t going back down there. He nearly died and friends he knew did die. He prioritizes his life over gold and glory. He does tell them where to find Rolgar Graniteshard, though.

Surm pays the man five gold for his time and he, Mahgnus, and the cohorts return to the House of Warship to report to the others.

14 Harvest 509

Surm teleports to Kalimsport with Mahgnus, Rilka, and Savaric to spend the day establishing their building projects in the city.

15 Harvest 509

Surm has been spending his time teleporting back and forth from Almathriel, visiting with Lord Springvale. Lord Springvale is fascinated by the tales of adventure Surm brings back, and by Surm himself. He asks Springvale if he would be interested in the dragon egg that they found. The elven lord demurs, saying that he is more interested in antiquities. But he does offer to ask about and find someone who does.

During one of Surm’s subsequent visits, Springvale tells him that he thinks he knows someone who might be interested in the egg—a lecturer at the Spire of Magic named Valerian Tarsinia. She is interested in such things in her studies and was a classmate of the Princess of the Moon. Lord Springvale can arrange a meeting if Surm wishes—and Surm indicates that he does.

The following day, Springvale informs Surm that dinner has been arranged for the 15th. Surm asks if the others in the Cord are welcome, and Springvale says “Of course!”

The party arrives for the dinner and Springvale is gracious and welcoming. He indicates that Valerian is already here. He leads them all into the dining room where an attractive elf female with long brown hair, that shimmers like gold in the light, stands by the sideboard with a glass of wine. Her lavender gown is exquisite.

Introductions are made and Valerian is reserved, but polite. Dinner of roast goose with vegetables is brought out and everyone takes their seats. Lord Springvale tells Valerian of the Crimson Cord’s exploits, almost as if he is showing off that he knows such illustrious adventurers. Valerian seems to be interested in the story, but is still very reserved and not very demonstrative. Polite, but quiet.

Finally, she brings up that Paranthiel spoke of an egg. Surm takes up the story and describes the egg. Then he has Savaric present it. Savaric brings it out of the backpack—and notices a slight throb in the egg. Just once. He lets Valerian touch the egg and she notes how warm it is to the touch. She seems genuinely fascinated and asks to examine it. Savaric acquiesces.

About this time, dessert if brought out—custard with fruit. As everyone is enjoying their desserts, Valerian says that she will consider the matter of the egg and send word to Paranthiel if she is willing to purchase. This is amenable to all involved.

Valerian takes her leave and Rilka comments on her reserve. Springvale indicates that it probably due to all of her dealings in the court—one must maintain ones reserve there or have one’s desires and wants used against them. Rilka, and only Rilka, hears a hint of bitterness in the lord’s voice when speaking of the court.

Springvale is willing to hold the egg until Valerian makes an offer, though he jokes about the possibility of it hatching on his watch. With this, the Crimson Cord takes their leave.

Session Eighty-Six
Dragons Fall


24 Chillwind 509

The Crimson Cord have decided to wait eight days before descending into the depths beyond Khazak-Ur in search of the Cassite chamber…and the dragon.

During this time, Surm Ulrich hits the streets and recruits the first four cohorts for his design of a new and expanded Crimson Cord. There is Gwyn Emberbright, a half-elven female sorceress; Bragara Stonemantle, a dwarven female fighter; Uther Meryton, a human male cleric of Cereth; and Darvin Barrelight, a halfling male rogue. Surm is hoping to train these new recruits in the ways of the Crimson Cord and send them out into the world to spread the name and glory of the Cord.

Rilka, for her part, is getting her falchion further modified by magic to help face the coming the fight with the dragon. Savaric debates buying poison for his arrows, but decides against it, thinking it may go against the teachings of Isranthr.

3 Harvest 509

The Crimson Cord, with the new cohorts, and their guards, find Tasvian Hammerfall and she begins leading them all through the city down into the far reaches of the mountain on which the dwarven capital is perched. Tasvian takes them all through a series of tunnels and chambers, all leading deeper and deeper down into the ancient rock. Finally, after nearly a day of travel, they come upon a camp that used to belong to dwarven miners—before the dragon was discovered and it was abandoned.

Here the entourage decides to make their own camp—but not before encountering a cloaker that was hiding on the ceiling of the chamber. After a brief fight, it is Gwyn that eventually deals the killing blow. After the fight, the group is able to make their camp in peace.

4 Harvest 509

That morning, Tasvian passes on the talisman to use against the Nemhain to Rilka and explains how to use it. It is mostly used to turn the creature, but there is a remote chance that it could be destroyed outright. She explains that the set of the chambers where the cassite can be found is located about a hour further below. With this, she takes her leave.

As they make their way down, the party decides to send Savaric ahead to scout once they get close to the dragon’s lair. As they descend, the temperature begins to rise—not enough to harm, but it is simply noticeable and slightly disconcerting. Soon, they begin to hear the deep sounds of heavy breaths—possibly from a huge creature—echoing up the corridor..

Savaric uses Ilona to go invisible and he stealthily makes his way into the next chamber. There he finds the dragon, looking about and on its guard due to the noise of such a large group traveling down the corridor. As Savaric continues to scout the passages and avoid the dragon he discovers yet another adult dragon in an adjacent chamber. This one is slumbering. He cautiously makes his way back to his comrades and makes his report.

The Cord spends some time planning their next move. The dragon, on its guard already, calls down the corridor: “I hear you whispering, little rats. Plotting your theft, no doubt.”

After formulating their plan, the main party forges ahead to face the dragon, leaving the guards and cohorts behind in the corridor. Savaric sneaks ahead invisible to set up an advantageous position near the dragon from which to fire his arrows.

Once they begin their attack, the dragon is caught unawares by Savaric’s barrage of arrows. Surm heads forward, invisibly, and sets up an invisible wall of force in the chamber, blocking the other dragon from coming to its compatriot’s aid. In the meantime, Rilka and Savaric are dealing with the dragon, with Surm lobbing spells after setting up his wall. Finally, the beast is felled by one of Savaric’s many arrows.

The party briefly regroups and then Surm dismisses the invisible wall to allow them to face the second dragon. This fight goes well and Savaric is also able to bring down the fell creature with his well placed arrows.

They bring the guards and cohorts forward into the dragon’s chamber before beginning to explore the other chambers. They find a hoard of coins and other objects near the main chamber. They also find the second dragon’s hoard tucked away in a narrow cavern—and, with it, a single leathery egg. Finally, as they full explore the area, they encounter a roper—a hideous aberration that disguises itself as a rock formation. This creature is also brought down by Savaric, though not until it puts up a hard fight, shooting its tendrils out at Rilka and Surm.

The Cord regroups in the dragon chamber, ready to face the Nemhain and find the cassite in the northernmost chambers of the cavern…