Session 43 – Zirithian and the near-TPW

The party defeats Maarth and his allies without much trouble, and continues on to the temple. Which, they notice, now seems to be on fire.

The huge stone doors have been bashed in, and a trail of blood and broken bodies leads them to the main chamber. Within, they meet several demons, a handful of a new type of Eater, and, standing before an arcane portal, the vampire lord Ziritihan.

Battle ensues, with the vampire proving especially troublesome. He summons the “Winds of Deadhold”, which scatter the party around the room, and, when knocked off his pillar, avoids falling on the spikes below by transforming into a cloud of bats. This new breed of Eater proves dangerous by invading the heroes’ minds and plaguing them with visions of their own death, while the demons attack with fire and poison.

With the tide initially against them, many of the heroes are brought near death, some of them more than once. But the tenacious group wins through, pulling together enough to position Peren to deliver the death blow to his father’s killer. At the last moment, Zirithian’s blade, NightBringer, betrays him, and Peren strikes the killing blow.

The Hand of the North, bloodied and exhausted, now stand again before a portal – yet this one has not been corrupted. It opens not to the inky, tentacled darkness they have seen before, but rather to a bridge made of webs, which leads off into a vast, empty space and a flicker of sickly purple light off in the distance.

NightBringer, an ancient and powerful artifact, offers them assistance. Without help, it claims, they will never survive their journey through the wastelands of Deadhold to Hordethrone where they will find Kalarel.

The group considers their options.

Session 42 – Betrayal by the Drow. Who saw it coming???

The heroes barricade themselves as best they can in the old barracks and rest.

In the morning, they attack the fortified noble house. Zirithian’s second-in-command, Lareen, leads a coterie of vampire spawn and evil spirits against the party, but is eventually defeated.

The group decides to rest again before heading back to Matron Urlvrain.

The next day, en route to the the temple they are intercepted by Urlvrain’s minion, Maarth. He informs them that Urlvrain ordered him to kill them once Lareen was dead, but then Zirithian made him a different offer. Maarth says Urlvrain should be dying just about now, and soon Zirithian will have all he needs to reopen the gateway to the Rotting Throne.

As several of Maarth’s allies emerge from the shadows around the heroes, he says that unfortunately, the requirements of Zirithian’s offer are similar to his orders from Urlvrain …

Session 41 – Just one big fight.

  • The party proceeds to the noble house in search of their next target, Lareen.
  • There they encounter a swarm of demons and giant spiders.
  • Reinforcements arrive in the form of a troop of drow warriors.
  • The heroes are eventually victorious.

Session 40 – “We don’t know him, who cares if he’s dead?”

In the morning, the party proceeds next door to the reported location of the necromancer Jhaelant.

They find the only entrance magically locked, but Phaean’s magic overcomes the protection. The party moves inside and is attacked by Jhaelant, a web golem, and a giant gloomweb spider. Jhaelant protests that the heroes are acting as mere pawns of Urlvrain, but they – either sensing a lie, not willing to be drawn into drow politics, or just from lack of interest in his side of the story – press on, slay him, and loot his home.

The group returns to Urlvrain to report their success. She is pleased, and lets them know the location of their next target. Lareen, Zirithian’s second in command, is directing their forces from her villa to the southwest. In order to reach it, the party will need to first make their way through the ruins of Lareen’s former noble house, fight their way through the barracks, and finally assault her fortified villa.

As the party prepares to leave, Urlvrain also lets them know that there are reports of a member of the mages of Saruun, someone calling themselves “The Ordinator”, trapped within their embassy to the east. On the chance it is Lenina, they decide to investigate there first.

The heroes find the embassy being ransacked by a troop of battle wights. The undead proved surprisingly resilient, and were able to force their way into a barricaded back room and kill The Ordinator hiding there. Removing the dead mages mask revealed it to not be Lenina, but rather a human man unknown to anyone in the party.

Searching the bodies of the ghouls, the party finds their pockets stuffed with a number of documents relating to the Mages of Saruun, as well as the names of a number of Underdark settlements where the order has a presence. A check of the Ordinator’s papers turns up a schedule that suggests a trade caravan is to arrive at the outpost from the surface world shortly.

Session 39 – The one where no one can hit a minion.

The party takes refuge in one of the abandoned drow houses. They fortify the entrances as best they can, and keep watch through the night. Aside from the constant sounds of running battles all around, the night passes uneventfully.

At what passes for dawn in the Underdark, the group makes their way to the large temple in the center of the city.

They convince the drow on guard there that they are hunting Zirithian, and are allowed to meet with Matron Urlvrain.

The heroes learn that several weeks ago, Zirithian and Kalarel reopened a long-forgotten planar cyst within the city, and brought through an army of demons from the Rotting Throne, a realm beyond the cyst’s gateway.

Urlvrain offers the party a deal. If they will help her restore order to her city, Zirithian will undoubtedly seek them out to end their interference. Once he is defeated, she will lead the party to Kalarel. The best way to draw Zirithian out, she claims, would be to kill his two chief allies – Jhaelant and Lareen.

Jhaelant is a necromancer, responsible for the undead plaguing the city, and has fortified himself within his home to the southeast. She bids the party to eliminate him, then return to her.

The heroes agree, and head out through the city.

They locate Jhaelant’s home, built on a raised area of the city which requires them to pass a walled structure. Guards walk the walls, and immediately open fire on them as they approach.

The group responds in kind, a war troll and several minotaurs emerge from the structure, and battle is joined. Despite a baffling inability to hit any of what are clearly minions, the heroes are eventually victorious. Exhausted, they occupy the small compound and rest.

Session 38 – Not Guilty! (*Flee the city anyway*)

Day two of the trial opens with defense statements to the Council.

While Brynnan stands mute, Rayndn says that “I walk in the light of Erathis with you all, let justice be done.”

When witnesses for the defense are called, a bloodied and battered Irel enters and takes the stand.

He speaks: “Gentlemen, and My Lady, allow me to submit the following, as the true, singular and only, Irel of Winterhaven. If half of you weren’t conspiring to kill each other, I’d be insulted you were taken in by Rathgar’s puppet.

The esteemed Councilor Malynd, you see, plans nothing less than to murder the lovely Lady Tammess, seize control of the council, and open the city to invasion from an army even now assembling beneath the Miser’s Pit.”

“Preposterous, what proof of this can you show?* interrupts Ildamar.

Irel replies, “Ildamar, you poor fool, can’t you see that Rathgar will have your head on a pike before it ever sees a crown?

Gracious council, if you will examine the packet of documents I present here, you will notice several discrepancies – chiefly that Rathgar’s BattleHounds number more than twice their reported membership – enough to match the number of Vigilents in service.

Also, further evidence therein, obtained by myself and the defendants, records of communication between two specific Council members regarding rather dark speculation on the situation of the *ahem* “trafficking of the citizens of occupied Alwhar northward to the Black Oasis for sale on the slave market.”

(At this, Onster Glarrak guffaws loudly.)

“Shall I go on? I am certain that, if one were so inclined to visit a chamber deep beneath Stormguard, one might discover the trappings of a dark ritual are even now under way, to unbind the Raging Flame – for the demons to be loosed on our streets care not if they must pass through fire to claim this city …”

By this point, the crowd has begun to grow out of control, benches are overturned, and Ildamar breaks, squawking over the crowd that “This is preposterous! No part! I had no part in this!”

Rathgar stands coldly and shouts “Enough of these lies – Vote, and do so now or be damned – I say GUILTY”

Tammess rises and states simply “Innocent”.

Onster stands and walks away chuckling, tossing an amused “Innocent” as he passes through to the rear chambers.

Seeing the tide against him, an unsteady Ildamar rises, and cringes violently as someone in the crowd strikes him with a well-aimed hunk of stone. He looks nervously between Rathgar and Tammess, and shouts “Abstain! I Abstain! I had no part in any of this, and I refuse to be drug down into this improprietous lovers spat!” He flees quickly after Onster.

At that, the adjudicator running the trial announces over the rising clamor, “The present quorum of councilors have passed their decision, and it stands at Innocent. The accused are free to depart.”

At these words, Irel advises retreating to the manor as quickly as possible. He leads them into streets brimming on the edge of riot while Vigilants and BattleHounds skirmish in the streets, and to a waiting boat that takes everyone to the manor.

Everyone grabs their things and heads out of the city’s eastern gate.

Rayndn, now free, intends to leave for Fenabeth in Glimhane to rejoin his wife and child. Brynnan states his intention to accompany Rayndn to Fenabeth, and try to start over there. Both agree with Irel that they are still in danger, and will be better protected in the legendary city. Awkward thanks and goodbyes are exchanged.

Irel states that it is only a matter of time until word reaches Zirithian that their plot is exposed. Despite being in league with Kalarel, Zirithian has grown unpredictable, and it is no longer clear whose side he’s on, if any.

Zirithian is in Phaervorul, a drow city beneath the Miser’s Pit deep in the Lolthspire mountains to the north. But also, and perhaps even more importantly, the settlement stands atop a planar cyst, an unstable gate that provides access to a strange domain in the Shadowfell called the Rotting Throne.

Since Kalarel obtained the ritual of Portal Corruption from the hag Trilleste at Fort Dolor, he has been searching for a functional portal to perform it on. Since the heroes have thwarted his plans at three portals already, Kalarel will likely be on his way to Phaervorul as soon as word reaches him. “You must reach Phaervorul and defeat Zirithian,” Irel informs them, “before Kalarel arrives.”

The party departs into the mountains, following a well-worn trail. After several days of travel, they reach the Miser’s Pit – a gaping dark hole in the earth, so deep the bottom can not be discerned. The group descends the carved steps that circle the pit into the darkness below. After what seems like miles of travel, the pit branches out into an enormous system of caverns. They ignore any side passages and continue on the trail to Phaervorul.

After nearly a day of travel, the heroes stumble upon a drider and several drow locked in combat with a group of the undead. Sides are muddled in the combat, but eventually the undead are slain, while the drider and one surviving drow are driven off.

After a short rest, the party carries on and comes to a yawning chasm, easily 100 feet across and dropping away into darkness. A wide stone bridge arches across the rift to a cavern on the far side. There, red light swirls through the air to reveal a ghastly scene. What appears to have once been a large Underdark outpost is now a sprawling battlefield wreathed in smoke and a sinister glow. Buildings set atop numerous bluffs rising from the rough stone floor burn and smolder, and the destruction appears widespread along a huge rise in the center of the cavern. Atop that central bluff stands a temple of black stone in the shape of a spider. This, they surmise, is Phaervorul.

Crossing the bridge, they are set upon by a giant spider and several horrible creatures that attempt to drag them over the sides into the chasm. Several in the group are snared and pulled off, but manage to cling to the giant webs covering the underside of the bridge. After a short battle, all the creatures are killed.

Moving on into the center of the outpost, the party is again attacked – this time by a roaming horde of undead drow and a pair of vrocks. Complicating this encounter was the source of the strange glow they noticed earlier – the very air above them is rent by a roiling mass of energy, flaring with unearthly light as tentacles of raw energy reach out to ensnare both the heroes and their attackers. Those grabbed are drawn into the light and disappear briefly, returning a few seconds later covered with a black flame that rots flesh. The heroes eventually dispatch their enemies and, battered and exhausted, seek out a safe place to rest.

Session 37 – “It might be easier to just start killing people.”

The party gets an early start the next morning, and starts by visiting the prisoners.

Rayndn welcomes the PCs warmly enough, but is slightly cold to Pype. He addresses Pype as father, and states plainly that for a long time he blamed Pype for everything that had befallen their family. But after Zirithian killed Krista , through the wisdom of Erathis he has come to understand, if not approve of, what Pype has done. He will ask that the party respect the rule of law in all things, including this trial. If Erathis sees fit that he and Brynnan pay for what they have done, then so be it. He intends to plead guilty and offer the court penance of their choosing.

Brynnan warmly welcomes Ionoa, and apologize for his sudden disappearance. He always meant to come back when it was safe, but it never was. He shows sadness that she got wrapped up in all this. He would have been equally happy to meet Phaean, but Phaean chose not to attend. He asks them to help him escape if he is found guilty, but he has no idea how that could happen. He asks them to find Irel (who he believes can figure something out), and to visit him the morning before the trial and work out an escape plan.

After speaking with the two prisoners, the party believes they have put current events together, uncovering a plot to overthrow the city of Alwhar and open the way for an invasion:

The City Council member Rathgar Malynd was approached by Zirithian with an offer to kill his fellow council member (and ex-lover) Tammess Eldrake. In return, Rathgar’s BattleHounds would sieze control of the city and pave the way for an invasion from Phaervorul.

City Council member Ildamar Yeskrel is pulled into this plot, with a promise to be made King of New Alwhar for his help. He is merely a pawn, however, and unaware of what the invasion would entail. Rathgar has no intention of sharing power, and intends to eliminate him (and the rest of the council) after siezing the city.

Irel, Brynnan, and Rayndn became aware of the plot, and began operations in Alwhar. They impersonated Vigilents to raid Battle Hound offices to search for evidence of the conspiracy. Brynnan and Rayndn burglarized several high-ranking Battle Hound officers’ homes and safehouses. During one, they were discovered and killed two Hounds while escaping.

Zirithian then laid a trap, luring the three of them to Lothar’s Hearth, where two Eaters attempted to kill them. The three escaped, but Irel was badly wounded and they were separated. They tried to regroup at the Black Boot, but Irel never showed, and everyone was attacked by Eaters there as well, and would have been killed had the PCs not arrived just in time.

Armed with this information, the party then (eventually) tries to meet with each of the four Council members present in the city. Rathgar denies everything, and threatens the group. Tammess was not going to attend this trial, but the PCs arouse her curiosity about Rathgar’s plot. Onster does not believe a plot exists, and keeps an amused distance from their pleas. Ildamar refuses to listen to the group at all.

The next morning, the first day of the trial begins. A string of witnesses are brought against Brynnan and Rayndn.

  • Able Vohst – human BattleHound, present the night the two killed two Hounds after bluffing their way in as Vigilants. Identifies Brynnan and Rayndn as the killers.
  • Bekka Vellak – eladrin BattleHound, also present, backs up Able.
  • Connor Setallia – human BattleHound, also present, also backs up Able.
  • Davvik Westhand – human Vigilant, reporting officer for the murders.
  • Atrien Grimwine – Manager of Lothar’s Hearth. Testifies that he Brynnan, Rayndn and a tiefling had a fight in the Hearth. Also mentions that Pype and Phaean came to the Hearth asking about the attack as well – very suspicious.

And then to the party’s great surprise, the next witness is announced as “Irel of Winterhaven” …

However, the tielfling who takes the stand is not the Irel the party knows, but rather Kielno Varim, the tiefling warlock, and member of the Ena Indistel’s Dead Crows! He admits “his” guilt, and to his conspiracy with Brynnan and Rayndn.

He gives a short speech:

My name is Irel of Winterhaven. I admint freely and without coercion to my part in a conspiracy alongside the accused, Brynnan and Rayndn. My concience was strained at first being thugs for hire, but when it came to murder, and now open battle and the streets flowing with innocent blood … I can bear it no longer. Together, we sought to undermine the power of this Council and bring false charges against Rathgar Malynd and his BattleHounds. I did not know who our paymaster was, but my co-conspirators hinted heavily that it was a high-ranking official. I can only say I now see the error of my ways. With full acceptance of the implications, I hereby allow the Court to decide my fate.

Rathgar makes a big show of this “confession”, and vows to root out all conspirators. The courtroom explodes in outrage and arguments, and court is adjourned for the day.

The PCs decide to return to Andra’s estate. As they arrive, she is recieving a delivery at the door. A human woman dressed in a brown cloak embroidered with a black dog’s skull, is pushing a small wodden box into her hands. The woman says something to Andra, who looks frightened, then turns and begins to walk away. The PCs give chase and, after a short battle with her and several BattleHounds, they capture her and discover that it is Shonvurru – yet another of the Dead Crows they fought beneath Thunderspire.

The warrior is completely fanatical to Ena, and gloats that, “Irel is safe and sound and … under guard *giggle* you could say. You can’t get to him, he’s safe from the storm.” When Ena is mentioned, she angrily states, “Ena, Ena, pretty thing she is. You killed her love, she’s going to make you pay.” Through their interrogation, the party manages to put together that Irel may be at Stormguard, the Battlehound headquarters.

Inside the decorative wooden box is a dead bird. It is one of Irel’s sparrow familiars. Its eyes have been removed, and its neck broken and twisted backwards. Its beak has been removed and replaced with a dog’s fang tooth. The message Shonvurru spoke was “Blind eyes or a broken neck, your choice. You can’t save anyone, so maybe it’s time for you to leave.” A visibly shaken Andra states her intention to leave the city and return to Lenina.

With no other information to be gained, and not wishing to resort to the cold-blooded murder of a prisoner, the party releases Shonvurru.

The PCs take some time to discuss whether they have reached the point where just killing people is an easier solution to everything. Later in the day, they notice another sparrow has landed on Andra’s windowsill. It looks to be the same one Irel left with Ionoa in Moonstair. It is badly injured – broken/missing feathers, one wing is bent at an odd angle, one toe is missing – and half starved. Ionoa performed healing magic on it, and gives it food. For a while it huddles morosely near the box Shonvuruu delivered, but after a while, the PCs ask it to take them to Irel, and it leads them to Stormguard.

Showing unprecedented restraint, the heroes manage to infiltrate Stormguard without killing anyone, and locate a bloody and battered Irel chained to the wall in a basement. At his request, they escort him back the estate. He suggests they keep everything a secret for now so that he can make a dramatic entrance at court the next day. “If there’s one thing this town loves more than trade,” he advises, “it’s drama!”

Session 36 – Family Reunion

The party wades into the fray, and sees that the two figures are indeed Brynnan and Rayndn.

An enormous rotting creature, crawling with undead crows, stands at the center of the obscuring aura of birds. From all corners of the square, black-robed figures emerge and attack – some of them Eaters the party has fought before, but most a new breed filled not with sand but explosive powder!

Most of the first wave of responding Vigilant city guards are overwhelmed by the creatures. As the heroes press their attack, they notice one of the rotting crows will burrow into any body that falls, raising it as another of the explosive Eaters. The giant creature focuses on Brynnan and Rayndn, calling itself “Kaius”, and taunting them that “the Evergreen Company is finished”, and the “Eater Lords are legion”.

It lashes out with powerful tentacles and blasts of necrotic energy, and when bloodied begins shrinking its aura – recalling its undead swarm to heal itself. Brynnan and Rayndn both fall, but are protected by the party as they win through and kill Kaius.

In the aftermath of the battle, the intersection is swarmed from all directions by Vigilants and FireQuench Wizards. Too battered to resist or flee, the heroes surrender. The Vigilants take everyone into custody, breaking the party up and separating them from the unconscious (but stable) Brynnan and Rayndn.

Luckily, Alwhar’s justice system is a model of efficiency – a scribe (armed with a lie-detecting quill and parchment) arrives in the morning at their various cells to take their statements, which are given truthfully for the most part. The party is informed that since their individual statements and those of witnesses corroborate their story, they will be released pending their hearing three days hence, with 20% of their assets held as bond.

They are also told that they will be permitted to visit Brynnan and Rayndn tomorrow if they wish. Those two will be held until trial, as they are charged with multiple offenses including robbery, impersonating Vigilant officers, and murder.

The heroes are then freed, and take a moment to ponder their next move.

Session 35 – Old Friends

As the party once again enters Moonstair, they are thronged by a crowd of wellwishers and admirers. The dragonborn Bax emerges from the crowd, wearing the markings of Captain of the City Guard. He smiles, shakes their hands, and speaks, “Honored friends, please follow me.”

The group is escorted to Moonstair Keep, up to the Mayor’s office. Mayor Kelana Dhoram sits at her desk, flanked by the Eladrin Rualiss, and Bax takes a place on her opposite side. A halfling sits in the guest seat, with his back to the door, caught midsentence as the PCs enter the room.

“… taught them almost everything they know, you know! Made quite a name for themselves down there, with my help of course. You understand how it is, knowledge passed from teacher to student …” His voice trails off as the party enters. Balgo turns in his seat and smiles at the party. “Hello friends!”

Kelana speaks – “Your old friend here arrived yesterday, bearing a ‘letter of great import for the Heroes of Thunderspire from the Lady Lenina of Winterhaven’.”

The letter reads:

Honored heroes,

Your deeds speak well of your good intentions and your continued concern for the civilized lands. I write to you to ask for your help in a most troubling matter. For the past several weeks, I am certain you have observed a glittering, dark streak in the sky. Last night, the comet thrice flared like a star, each pulse clouding the stars from the sky. If my readings are correct, this heralds an event of great evil in your path. I dare not reveal what I know in this letter for fear it may fall into the wrong hands. A mutual friend has led me to believe that your travels will take you soon to Alwahr. On your arrival, I beg you to make due haste to Copperstreets and find the Blaude estate, south of West Stonekettle Bridge.

In recognition of their deeds, the party is gifted with two pieces of property in Moonstair, one a large house and the other a storefront with lodging above. Bax will see to their lease and usage until the party returns to Moonstair. Rualiss agrees to perform the ritual that evening.

Everyone retires to the Inn to say their goodbyes over an early dinner.

Later, the night brings a viscous thunderstorm. Kelana, Bax, and Rualiss meet the party behind the Keep at the foot of the “moon stair”. Bax and Kelana again offer their thanks and goodbyes. Rualiss escorts the heroes to the top of the “stairs”.

Atop the crag stands a wide ring of moss and flowering plants, which surround an ancient stone arch. The arch stands 20 feet tall and equally as wide, inscribed with eladrin runes on the landward side.

“The ah, materials?” Rualiss asks, producing a finely crafted arrow with no head and an empty stone bowl. He hands the arrow to Perren and holds out the bowl, eyebrows raised. Pype sighs, and bleeds into the bowl as Rualiss performs a small ritual of blood magic. Pype’s blood boils and hardens to a sharp, blunted arrowhead. Rualiss motions for Peren to take it and affix it to the arrow.

Rualiss arranges everyone before the arch and begins the second ritual. As he chants, the storm intensifies. Rain and thunder lash the area. The runes and arrow both flare with a bright, purplish glow as Rualiss’ chant comes to an echoing finish.

“Now! Fire!” he yells over the howling wind. Perrin’s shot is true – the arrow sticks in the air below the arch, and the runes flare and rearrange themselves. Rualiss cries out and says “They must be spoken, but they are unfamiliar to me!” Only Phaean can read them. He translates the words for Ionoa to speak. When she finishes, Peren gets a strong feeling of being pulled, and chooses to pull the others with him. With an explosion of purple light, the party disappears.

The party appears facing north on a wide and level dirt road. Fertile green fields spread to the east, while to the west the ground grows first rocky, then sandy, before reaching an ocean perhaps a mile away. To the north the road becomes cobbled, and through the rising haze of heat, they can see the shape of a great wall, perhaps twelve miles distant. It is just after noon, and is intensely hot and humid, especially for northerners like themselves.

The road is busy. Heading north, they have several encounters.

First, a deeply tanned human riding a horse rushes past them heading north, shouting in a foreign tongue.

A while later, Anat Beladeen, a merchant heading south from the city with a new load of goods and his two kobold assistants Brix and Gullsy. “Not a glim, not a glim to be found this day my friends!” he cries. The party buys clothing more suitable for the environment (decent but three seasons out of style).

Lastly, they come across a Vigilants patrol heading south. A Senior Watcher (Turush), Junior Watcher, and 10 Trustswords march along the road. All of them wear identical uniforms of black leather armor and boots with black metal helms and breastplates. They carry short swords, daggers, and cudgels. On the breasts of their armor is emblazoned in silver a badge, which is a single staring human eye surrounded by a backward ā€œCā€ (points to the left rather than to the right). Turush welcomes them to Alwhar, and offers them water and directions.

The PCs make their way through the dazzling streets of Alwhar, and arrive at the Blaude Estate. There they find Andra (Lenina’s nurse) staying there temporarily. The party is welcome to stay there as long as they wish.

Andra has the following info for the party:

  • Lenina has left Thunderspire. Word had reached them that agents of Kalarel had discovered her identity and she was in danger. Andra will not reveal where Lenina has relocated, only that she hopes the party is well and hopes to see them again soon.
  • Irel was supposed to meet her here several days ago, but has not shown. He was supposed to be making contact with Brynnan and Rayndn, but did not return from that meeting. A private room was arranged at Lothar’s Hearth, a very expensive and exclusive darren across the Sardarstream in Dawnside.
  • Some kind of plague or blight is affecting Winterhaven. Details are sketchy, but travelers say the trees around the swamps are dying off and they are worried it may spread to the crops once planting season arrives.

Lothar’s Hearth is a darren (gambling club) catering to the new-money inhabitants of Dawnside. Phaean quickly discovers that there is a dress code (latest fashions only, 350gp outfits or more), a strict no weapons no armor policy, and anyone desiring entrance must open an account with the house to the tune of 2500 gp. Making himself invisible, he takes a quick circuit of the club, and notes that one of the back rooms is sealed off.

After some misadventures with the off-duty wait staff, Pype and Phaean secure entrance to the Hearth. The Hearth is owned by Lothar Grimwine, but managed by his half-elf son Atrien. Atrien does his best to make the PCs know they are unwelcome and is very reluctant to release any info about the private rooms. “New-coins need to know their business is handled with the utmost discretion and that is the very foundation of the Hearth.”

Pype manages to bribe their way into the sealed private room. The room is a shambles. The table is on its side, mirror shattered, couch ruined, two chairs broken, as well as three broken wineglasses and several spilled/broken bottles. There is black sand present, identical to the type the party has seen seeping from an Eater’s wounds. There are also a decent amount of bloodstains. Ether two people were wounded or one was severely wounded.

Phaean also notices the remains of an arcane message left in the mirror:

B/R –
If I’m not here, know this –
Phaervorul key to K’s plan.
Z/NB there but unstable.
Rumors of war on/between Drow?
Next meet Black Boot, (tonight’s date).
-I

PS –
Kids appear to be OK.

The groups makes all haste towards The Black Boot, a notorious sailor’s inn on the southern side of town.

They rush down Mendsail Lane, waiving off vendors and beggars, and pushing their way through the crowds. Just as they are making the turn down Leldar’s Ride, a tremendous BOOM rolls up the street from the west, followed shortly by screaming and the sounds of commotion.

Rounding the corner, the party sees smoke rising from a black building two blocks down – The Black Boot Inn. Out front is chaos, as hundreds of citizens flee the area. There is another fiery explosion, screaming, and the sound of battle. Two armed figures emerge from the Inn, and the heroes have just a moment to see them – one older – human, wild and grizzled, the other younger – half-elven, his face oddly familiar – before the two are immediately set upon by black-robed figures emerging from the crowd.

A split-second later, with a sudden roar, an enormous flock of rotting crows appears from nowhere and descends on the square, obscuring it from vision.

Everywhere, there is panic.

Session 34 – Vard’s Last Stand

  • The party uses the Throne to travel into the Feywild.
  • They make their way to and through the ruins of an ancient fortress, and descend into the caverns below.
  • The heroes find and defeat Vard, the Troll King reborn, and his Ghost Troll minions, as well as a group of Eaters.
  • With the destruction of the Eye, the Stone Cauldron is also destroyed.
  • Within Vard’s treasure vault, the group discovers SunWrath, the ancestral sword of the Therund family. A Bear clan family in the nation of Turrion, the Therund had sent their nephew Etheran and his companions to Moonstair on a doomed quest to destroy Skalmad.