The Unnamed Saga

Episode 13b - It Always Comes to Clubs at Pubs
Please ensure that your swashes are buckled and securely fastened

The hooded figure collapsed in a back alley, limp and wordless without a sound. It was nothing extraordinary, especially in the dock wards where many a drunken sailor or weary traveller took leave in the scattered stinking detritus of the Waterdeep’s harbor.

The perfect opportunity for a little petty crime… the off-duty bartender thought as he witnessed the sight on his way home.

With a careless heave, he flipped his victim over and riffled through the pockets. Sighting a heavy coin purse, he snatched it away and with a satisfied grin, he hefted it and started counting the coins.

A flash of icy-blue light and a caustic snap of shock jerked his hand away paroxysmally. The golden coins jangled across the cobbled stones and were swiftly forgotten as the hooded figure stirred and groaned.

The amateur cutpurse’s eyes widened and he scurried away, eager to escape unwitnessed, still grasping a necklace. Sadly, this was not his fate. He glanced back quickly and locked gazes with intense blazing dark eyes. The cloaked man grabbed a curved staff off of the ground and a whip of water pulled the ends in, binding them like a bowstring. A stinging blast of icy wind was focused into the shape of a wrath-filled bolt and struck the bartender in the chest, felling him with the blow.

Episode 13a - Mongering Wishes
You Can't Always Get What You Want; But Sometimes if You Try...

1547 DR, 8th Day of Marpenoth the Leaffall

The Final Option.

I find it only fitting that my last entry finds me reflecting upon the first time I performed magic and the sins I committed thusly. I have since come to understand the grave responsibilities that come with the powers of monitoring and manipulating the Weave and its Shadow. It’s too bad that all such lessons come at a price.

James Amcathra was my cousin, a brother in arms so to speak, as we both grew up under the same household. By accident of time, I was the first-born of a first-born and had all such noble privileges by tradition and was given more than he as the son of the second-born. James was also several months younger than I and had all of the hand-me-downs, wearing the clothes I had discarded, the toys I no longer cared about and the second-rate service. As a child, it did not yet occur to me that I hadn’t earned such a birthright but I must shamefully admit, I found every opportunity to remind him of our differences in status and earned my fair share of resentment among many. James did have one gift that was not granted to me. It was a small toy soldier armored in tin and covered with delicate tracings of the old guards of Netheril. It was encased in a crystal cube and frozen in a battle stance. It had been a item recovered from a tomb in one of the mountains along the Sword Coast before his father died at the hands of other tomb-raiders. It had been delivered to James at his father’s funeral and meant a great deal to him. Naturally, this made me want it for myself.

Episode 12 - The Last Embers of Life And Magic

Inside the ruins of Amcathra’s once grand library, Drengy and Klemnon began gingerly placing the band’s most powerful magic items into the basin of the arch-wizard’s magi-mechanical masterpiece. Drengy’s powerful cloak, Feral’s guardian shield, Vyrellis’ sunleaf armor, even Klemnon’s prized cord of divine favor- a relic blessed by the fallen Pelor- all were needed sacrifices to power the machine. It was a desperate move, but perhaps their only chance to survive. For anyone to survive.

Klemnon had been the first to sense it, the silence not just of the world but reaching into the heavens. He and Drengy paused before closing the power chamber hatch, Klemnon reciting a familiar prayer to his now-silenced benefactor, Drengy to scowl even more intently- if such an act was possible. Nearby, Tin busied himself prospecting through the debris covering the former library’s floor, looking for something familiar or useful. In a corner, the eladrin warlock Lengara whispered in elven to his cousin Vyrellis trying to make sense of the world in which he had awoken.

Episode 11 - As the Whirled Turns
In which the Party Discovers why You Shouldn't Sell Your Soul or Carry Tons of Poisons Around

The leathery fleshy sac of buoyant tentacles and eyeballs finally met its doom at the hands of the blooded and battered but triumphant party.  The beholder gnashed its pointed teeth and gurgled like a floppy balloon as it slowly deflated.  Matching its slow decline, the center of the room where the illusory Vyrellis once stood started sinking into the floor revealing treasures much prized.

Episode 10 - Chaos By The Numbers

Although the party had defeated the hulking werewolf which had been unleashed upon them, at what cost!

Both Feral and Tin were now suffering from advanced infections of the lycanthropically spread Moonmadness disease. Tin was twitching and oddly euphoric, a partially crazed look plastered across his normally inquisitive face. Feral showed less mania but exhibited potentially permanent physically changes: unable to revert back to his mostly humanoid form and instead partially trapped in the bestial werewolf shape he had taken to survive the prior battle.

Episode 9 - The Sun and the Moon
Of Vice and Men

A wizened elderly man sat lightly in a rickety old chair surrounded by darkness. He tended to many flickering candles nearby but the room seemed only dimly-lit through his rheumy cataracts. It was a quiet room, well-suited for solitude and contemplation, with walls so far and wide they faded into the smoky yonder. Dim whispers echoed through the thick and heavy air like muffled prayers through the stony walls of a cloister. The man himself was a rather curious fellow with a too-large billowy robe draped over his frail and sickly body and a balding, glistening head with flickers of white hair drifting like a halo of light.

Episode 8 - Plumbing The Depths Of Hell

Renewed by their first extended rest after many battles, the group headed out to further explore the prison, but first the half-werewolf Feral needed to talk to Vyrellis.

Feral explained that one of the highest honors of the wild tribe in which he was raised was for parts of deceased tribemates to be taken into battle by the living, like in a clasp within a lock of hair, or a necklace made of finger bones. In this way, the honored past was always in mind and with the living brave. Feral wished to express his respect and appreciation for Vyrellis by affixing the obsidian orb in which her spirit was contained in the empty eye-socket of the decapitated stag head that he used as a weapon. Vyrellis would be treated like a member of Feral’s tribe, and have an unique, front-row vantage point from which to observe the band’s progress. With thinly veiled disgust bordering on terror, the stunned Vyrellis declined, leaving the bestial Feral genuinely disappointed.

Episode 7 - Echos Of A Shattered Mind

As the rest of the group searched the whispering library, Feral noticed Vyrellis peering intently at her own statute, growing visibly upset by the moment. It was supposed to be here, she explained, a part of her essence was contained in the statute, but now its gone. When she was cast into the prison, she was shattered into pieces, but can sense those parts still in the dungeon, a distance from here, higher and to the east.

Varis and Drengy meanwhile discovered 500 gold worth of ritual components, and in a bone and a glass case found two undamaged mystic scrolls containing the spells Consult Mystic Sages and Raise Dead, respectively. Varis also found multiple volumes of works that looked like contemporaries to Calavakos’ Journal, but their contents too had vanished. Klemnon meanwhile was studying the whispers in the room, listening intently to try and make sense out of the hundreds of voices. He could barely detect some similar note, but could not discern any particular message.

Eventually calmed by Feral, Vyrellis explained that this library had contained the collective knowledge of anyone who was in the prison, but she didn’t know what had now happened to its contents. Wondered why Calavakos’ prison would contain a monument to Vyrellis in it, Tin asked Vyrellis again just what her relation ship with the Chained Wizard had been, only to be dismissed on a topic the eladrin spirit was uncomfortable discussing.

Near the point of exhaustion, the party pressed on, north out of the whispering library. They entered a modest study with two other exiting doors, a couple of writing desks, and a child sized cherub like statute atop a small stone pedestal. When approached, runes associated with the god of magic Ioun began crawling over the surface of the statute, and a painful, stunning glow began expanding out of the statute. Simultaneously, more thought eaters, as well as the two thought eaters that had escaped the battle in the library, barged in the two doors and assaulted the party.

More familiar with magic traps than the rest, Varis yelled out that the statute’s energy could be disable by someone familiar with disabling intricate works, to which Tin leapt forward to disable to trap with chisel and hammer. With Feral and Tin preoccupied by the statute, Varis rushed forward to hold the assailants at bay, and was grievously injured by repeated attacks. Drengy began raining arrows down on the attackers, but they pressed forward threatening to overwhelm the group.

Outside the far doorway, stepped a staff wielding theifling, with eyes which simultaneously expressed fury and confusion, his face twisted like a person struggling to speak but being unable to form words. Vyrellis screamed in terror, “Look out, it’s an Aspect of Calavakos, it must be destroyed!,” and the identified wizard blasted the band with a succession of force arrows and arcing lighting.

Cursing under his breath, Tin struggled with little success to counteract the statute’s damaging aura which threatened to expand into the whole room. Seeing the fight beginning to spiral out of control, Feral yelled for Vyrellis’ to act, and was teleported over to the door in front of Calavakos so he could slam it shut and press his back up against it. Feral had just about enough time to begin to think the plan was working when the Aspect of Calavakos effortlessly shot a concussion blast of thunder into the door, blasting it open and throwing Feral across the room and back into the statute’s stunning aura.

Stepping up to lead the group, Klemnon passed on a healing blessing on the bloodied Varis, and rushed over to close and lock the door through which the archer Though Eaters were still located. He could see the locked door shaking as the monsters on the far side tried to gain entry, but the door held. With at least some of the attackers locked out of the room by Klemnon, Varis and Drengy focused their attacks on the Aspect of Calavakos, and the other adventurers worked to finish off the thugish Thought Eaters in their ranks, just as Tin finally shut down the relentless statute trap that had been raking him with psychic attacks. They heroes were met with relentless lightning attacks, psychic screams, and a conjured black energy sword that hounded Varis, but they eventually finished off the foots soldiers and battered the wizard enough that he withdrew into the room he had come from, allowing Klemnon time to rush over and close tight the door to that room.

With two of the team badly hurt and running on fumes, an anxious moment of indecisiveness was shared as the group considered whether to let the injured wizard time to recover, or to finish the fight before things got worse. Though thoughtful Klemnon was in mid-sentence weighing the options, Feral saw (or thought he saw) Drengy, Tin, and Varis in quick succession give him a thoughtful nod of approval, and off he charged, bashing open the closed door and rushing up to stab at Calavakos.

The Aspect of Calavakos had taken refuge in the center of a magic circle made up of glowing runes rotating simultaneously in clockwise and counterclockwise directions. Nearby against the wall was a richly colored tapestry concealing a large portion of the wall. Just as Tin charged in to brutally assault the arcane teifling, the two previously excluded Thought Eaters emerged from behind the curtain and pelted Feral and Tin with a storm of arrows, and Calavakos again blasted the band with waves of forceful thunder energy, knocking Feral out of the room and Tim unconscious.

Klemnon stepped up, and with eyes ablaze in radiant light sanctified the ground near Calavakos and delivered inspiring healing magic to bring Tin back into the fight. Although not even in the room, Drengy launched an arrow from his enchanted bow with somehow sailed in, took a right turn near one of the Though Eaters’ heads, and smashed into Calavakos knocking him prone. Then the team finally went to town, with Feral yanking the wizard out of his runed circle with a sudden blast of pulling vines, Varis slashing at the enemy, and Tin assaulting the archers with ferocious abandon.

Stuck between raging assailants, Calavakos launched one more devastating thunder blast, then crawled to the curtain, into which he instantly vanished. The party’s melee warriors then pressed Calavakos’ archers into a tight corner, forcing them to draw short swords – which did not serve them well, and each fell. But before the party could celebrate, with a slam the door which Klemnon had locked flew open and out rushed the battered but still murderous Aspect of Calavakos, coming up right behind the surprised Drengy and shocking him with blasts of electricity which flowed through him and assailed the rest of the band in the next room.

Though still stinging from being badly shocked, Varis raced forward and struck the Aspect of Calavakos with a spinning assault that only grazed his target, but a fraction of a second later ripping shadows exploded out of the otherwise minor wound, finally dropping the wizardly tiefling. Shortly after falling, a blue orb of shimmering light rose up from the Aspect of Calavakos’ body, and shot upwards vanishing at an angle through the ceiling of the room. On the body of the fallen image of Calavakos Varis found a Staff of Storms +2, and an adamantine key covered with strange, sharp runes.

None of the group could read the odd runes, but Vylleris from her obsidian stone could, and when asked to help she explained that the runes were written in the draconic language, the language or dragons and ancient magic, with the runes on the floor stating “The key of knowledge shines beneath a ring of holy stars,” and those on the adamantine key stated “First in hardness, not in place.”

Meanwhile, Tin had meticulously completed his safety check of the locked chest found in the bedroom behind the colorful curtain. Feral impulsively challenged Tin to open the chest before Feral could turn all the way around, and completed a quick full turn to see that Tin had not only already opened the chest with one sharp snap of the back of his ax, but had picked up and was appreciating an ornate ivory cherub worth 250 gold. The rest of the party swarmed around the loot, discovering a silver necklace worth 250 gold, four jade stones worth 100 gold each, and 800 gold in loose coins. Perhaps a more significant discovery, Varis found that the additional volumes of Calavakos’ Journals that were found in the Whispering Library now had fragments of words and sentences in it- and effect perhaps facilitated by the destruction of the Aspect of Calavakos.

Exhausted from fighting, the group had finally found a secure room in which to recover their strength. To defend their position, the woodsman Tin set up a series of simple alarm traps on the doors leading into the room in which they camped, assuring that no one would drop in without making a racket. Apparently of the mind that no amount of prevention is too much, Drengy added to the defenses by piling each piece of movable furniture into a haphazard pile against the main door.

Each welcomed the chance for 8 hours of sleep, albeit Varis merely needed four hours of meditation to feel renewed. The group felt recharged by the extended rest, with the exception of the shifter Feral, whose sleep was deeply troubled by disjointed dreams not of his own past. Abruptly injected into his thoughts were fleeting images: of a regal Calavakos standing proudly atop a parapet overlooking the valley below Karsus’ Hope; of the wizard sitting comfortably in a grand dinning room across from the eladrin princess Vyrellis, and of innumerable hordes of misshapen demons wildly rushing through a deep and dense forest. Something in the yawning shadows was beaconing the monstrous army forward. Calling. Calling to the demons. Calling to Feral. Feral awoke dripping with sweat, momentarily disoriented as to where he was before the grey stone walls and cold stone floor brought him back to the realization that he was still in the prison with no exit.

Episode 6 - So You'll Come To Know, When The Crossbow Bolt Hits The Bone

Dementa watched the new arrivals to the prison bickering about what to do about some discovered bauble, ravenously anticipating the feast he would make of these five lost souls.

As a thought eater, Dementa was invisible and insubstantial while stalking, and given substance and purpose by one thing: consuming and destroying the thoughts of others. Though his kind could sustain themselves by consuming written ideas from books and scrolls, such food was bare subsistence compared to the lasting nourishment they took from dying victims. True feasts for these monestrous abominations came from their victims’ memories of pain and loss, including their fleeting memory of dying at the very hands of the thought eaters.

Episode 5 - A Karsus Of Conscience

The group expected a welcoming party around the forested bend, perhaps ambushers haphazardly hiding behind makeshift defenses, but when the band crept through the strangely desecrated undergrowth they were stunned to discover a massive fortified keep with recently repaired battlements and towers, and a deep, deep chasm separating them from the fort and mountain pass beyond.

The Nethril fortress was overgrown with vines rising up its walls, had huge closed wooden doors at its gate, and a retractable forty foot bridge which could be extended to cross the hundred foot deep gorge. Skulls and random bones ominously littered the ground between the walls and ravine. Standing near the winch which controlled the bridge was a gigantic bonecrusher skeleton being ordered around by a human in wizardly garb. The mage was ordering the skeleton to retract the bridge, destroy any intruders, and he then entered the keep. No other defenders were visible on the walls or towers.


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