Chapter Eleven: Forgotten Temple

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holy_slayer_by_thebastardson-d4ae8um

Summary

  • Reunited with Dash and Eldana, the party takes Princess Siana of Caerwyn east aboard the Crimson Hawk
  • they travel north, around the border of the Elven forest of Ley Serne
  • as they near Grayfell, Tarkonus mentions an abandoned Ethereal Knights temple that’s on their way, which may contain some forgotten treasure
  • Plains of Grayfell, near the ruins of Vanyard
    • Encounter – Orc Raiding Party
      • Azeem saw a group of orcs, ogres, and a hill giant in the distance
      • as they approached, he mowed them down with a rain of arrows
      • they belonged to the Bleeding Hand tribe, as signified by the red hand symbols in their tattoos, markings, and banners
  • Ruins of Vanyard, Grayfell
    • the party enters the ruined city, leveled during the Demon War
    • Encounter – Orcs and Trolls
    • Ethereal Temple
      • the temple is mostly intact
      • Encounter – Orc Elite
        • inside, the party faces a group of orog-hai with a giant, supported by some orc shamans
        • during the battle, an orc chieftan swoops in atop of wyvern
      • after the battle, Ezekiel finds a stairway behind the altar
        • he follows it down into a small chamber with two stone statues flanking an ornate set of doors, with orc corpses strewn before them
        • Ezekiel approaches and the statues come to life and attack him, he turns around and finds that the exit is blocked by a sphere of annihilation, and is beat to near death
      • as Ezekiel falls, the sphere disappears and the party is able to enter the room
        • they heal Ezekiel and defeat the stone guardians
      • past the door, they find a chamber with the same circles of runes that they saw in the previous temple
        • Tarkonus plays his flute, activating the runes, and transporting them into an ethereal vault with a chest full of treasure

Items

The Emerald Sword

Spellguard Shield

Candle of Invocation

Cube of Force

Adamantine Breastplate

Chapter Ten: Imperial Escape Redux

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seraphim__set_the_sky_on_fire__by_thedurrrrian-d7gb1uo

Summary

  • Imperial Palace, Harthanmoor
    • Tell Princess Siana of Elemey they’re here to rescue her
      • Siana tells them the Imperials cured her illness, but are now keeping her hostage as leverage over her father, King Griffith
    • As they open the door of the throne room, the full might of the Imperial forces is arrayed outside
      • Grandmaster Seraphina, four Magi, a company of guardsmen, two blue dragons, and two gunships
      • the party is encased in a wall of force
      • Corbin promptly shuts the door
      • the Magi teleport into the throne room
        • Seraphina tells the group to surrender
        • she recognizes Ezekiel as the Dragonslayer and Nathan’s ward, and says that was strange since Nathan had vowed never to train anyone again
        • she says she’s known Nathan a long time
    • suddenly, the world becomes hazy and all color fades from it, one wall collapses behind them as the arm of a Nightmare reaches in and snatches one of the Magi
      • Seraphina teleports away, and the wall of force drops
    • the party runs outsides as the Magi attack the Nightmare
    • the entire company of guardsmen are standing in a stupor, in the next courtyard a dragon circles a giant Nightmare that towers over the wall
    • an Imperial gunship crashes through a nearby wall, and lands in the courtyard
      • Corbin rips open the door, the entire crew is in the same dazed stupor
      • they through out the crew, tie up the Navigator, and Ezekiel pilots the gunship, flying them north, over the mountains
    • an Imperial gunship gives chase
      • Azeem and Korrac man the two cannons, while Corbin and Tarkonus reload them
      • Azeem fires a shot that nearly tears the Imperial ship in half
      • after slugging it out, the Imperial gunship eventually falls out of the sky and crashes, but their ship isn’t looking much better
  • Mountain Range North of Harthanmoor, the Empire
    • they take a short rest while they come up with a plan
    • they decide to head to Kendreoth to warn them of the Imperial attack, and then bring the Princess home to Elemey
    • they force the Imperial Navigator to fly the ship overnight to save travel time
    • shortly after they take off, while Azeem is watching the Navigator, the Navigator turns invisible
    • Azeem wakes the rest of the party, and they search and find one of the exterior doors is open
    • they park the ship in the forest for the night
  • Overland, The Empire
    • after days of uneventful travel, they hear the roar of a dragon as it lands on their ship
    • they go up top and find a Magus riding a blue dragon
    • Corbin tears into the dragon, and before it flies off Korrac finishes it with a well shot from the cannon, and the Magus detaches herself and falls through the sky
    • Ezekiel does some fancy flying and catches the falling Magus, as she hits the top of the ship, Corbin removes her head, and Azeem puts an arrow through it as it sails through the sky
  • Tortaron, Kendreoth
    • Ezekiel lands the ship outside of the city and they destroy it
    • they arrive in the three-walled city safely

Chapter Nine: Another Castle

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room_sketch_by_donmalo-d7pgy3x

Summary

  • As they approach Harthanmoor, a giant blue, beam of lights shoots into the sky from the city’s direction
  • Harthanmoor, The Empire
    • the city is in high spirits as they prepare for St. Aldren’s Day
    • they hear news of a big annoucement later in Aldren Square
    • Aldren Square
      • the Imperial Magi and Knights are lined up, with Grand Master Seraphina at the head of the assembly
        • she announces that the Empire has an ancient artifact that controls blue dragons, the nation of Elemey has allied with them, and they’re going to war with Kendreoth
        • two dragons land with magi riding them for emphasis
        • Eldaine, an Imperial Magi that Ezekiel had met when he helped Cynder the gnome warlock escape at the start of the campaign, sees Ezekiel and sends him a message telling him to meet her at the Silver Sparrow
    • Silver Sparrow Brothel
      • the party meets Eldaine in a backroom
        • she explains that the Princess has been cured of her illness, but is being held hostage to blackmail Elemey into helping the Empire in the East
        • she also says no one knew that the stones they’ve been looking for could control dragons
        • she notices that Tarkonus is an ethereal knight, and says that they might have had a way to get into the palace, as they were close to oligarchy before the Empire took power
      • Tarkonus remembers the location of an Ethereal Temple in the mountains north of the city
  • Ethereal Knights’ Temple, Mountains North of Harthanmoor
    • after a day of travel, they find a hidden entrance in the mountain range
    • the temple is abandoned, but has demons, traps, and treasure
    • at the end, they find a rune circle, which is actually the notes of a song
      • Tarkonus plays his pan flute and it transports them into the ethereal plane, where a passage leads back towards the city
  • The Imperial Palace, Harthanmoor
    • the ethereal passage leads them into Imperial Palace
    • they sneak through part of the palace, then fight through Imperial Knights and Magi in the courtyards, to the main keep and in the throne room
    • Ezekiel notices that the Imperial Magi have a familiar fighting and casting style
    • find Princess Siana in a lavish bedroom

Items

Bracers of Archery

Wand of Fireballs

The Belt of Crimson Might

 

Chapter Eight: At A Loss

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through_the_mountains_by_88grzes-d7w3vpp

Summary

  • Kiryat Masana, Auranoch
    • The party regroups at the Aurani stronghold with Lethias and Selendriel
    • Silvaras and Valandriel arrive and break the bad news to Corbin, their father, King Myer of the Desert, is dead, killed by Mawganar
    • rumors have spread about how Ezekiel killed one of the red dragons, earning him the title “the Dragonslayer”
    • Ezekiel finds an ancient fairytale about a boy who finds six stones and summons a powerful spirit, who asks if he wants to save the world, or destroy it
    • the halfling smuggler, Korric, has heard there’s a miracle gemstone keeping the Princess of Caerwyn alive
    • Lethias gives Azeem a Quiver of Souladil and twenty magical arrows
    • the party decides to travel to Watcher’s Rest and speak with Kronus
  • Highpass, Delrune
    • the town seems fearful in the light of the attack on Auranoch
    • short stop for supplies, and the party keeps moving
  • Along the Highroad, Sanctuary
    • to the south, at Vanyard, now a ruin since the Demon War, there was a chapter of Tarkonus’s extinct order, one the six ancient knightly orders
    • Encounter – Elemental Ambush
      • the party is ambushed by air and earth elementals
      • Tarknous exploded an earth elemental for 104 damage with a crit, lvl 5 inflict wounds
    • a mile off the Highroad, they find half the wreckage of a airship, possibly destroyed by a dragon, picked clean by orcs
    • find the remains of a caravan, attacked by orcs
  • Watcher’s Rest, Sanctuary
    • meet with Jacques, the door guard, and Kronus the Black
    • Kronus has had no luck extracting the stones
      • they have homogenized with each other and the host, Magus
      • unable to manipulate them as they are, would probably have more luck with a sample
      • Corbin asks if they could somehow use the demon lord inside him to fight the dragon, which Kronus tells him is pure crazy talk, the demon lord would kill them all
    • the halfling smuggler finds an airship that’ll take the party to Caerwyn
    • hear that orcs and gnolls are warring to the southwest
  • Overland, between Sanctuary and Elemey
    • they pass over the forest where orcs and gnolls are warring
    • Azeem detects a dragon presence in the forest as they fly over
  • Caerwyn, Elemey
    • Azeem detects a dragon presence in or around the city
    • dragons have been sighted around the country
    • the castle guard tells them that the Imperials were here a couple days ago and have taken Princess Siana to Harthanmoor, the Imperial Capital
    • they get an audience with King Griffith of House Rhaewyn, Rightful Ruler of Elemey, and Faithful Servant of Aurasanna
      • he says the Imperial Magi came and said they could cure his daughter if they could bring her to the Imperial Academy
        • desperate to cure her, with no other options at that point, he agreed
      • Princess Siana was cursed by a Stranian sorcerer, Illarion Voronov, the former heir of the now defunct Warstran, a month prior
        • Illarion sought the Princess’s hand in marriage as his first step in restoring Warstran
        • the memories of the King and the guards gets fuzzy after that, they don’t remember what he did exactly or how he left
        • she grew severely ill, and it seemed her death was certain
        • one of her mother’s gemstone necklaces, a blue sapphire, miraculously seemed to stave off the sickness and stabilize her
      • the party decides to travel to Harthanmoor, resecures the services of the same airship, pay him enough to brave the dangerous skies

Interlude: The End in Flames

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His city was burning. Winged dragonmen descended from above. And a crimson shadow dominated the sky, headed this way.

Everyone knew the stories. The legends. The ancient lord of fire made flesh. Death on crimson wings. Mawganar.

As his wife cut down one of the dragonmen, it exploded into a cloud of rust. She coughed, backing towards him until she brushed against him. She looked over her shoulder, and her eyes went wide.

“You need to get out of here,” Myer said.

“So what?” Selendriel said, her face cross. “So you can fight that thing alone?”

“We don’t both need to die here,” Myer said. “Find the kids. Keep them…”

“Safe?” Selendriel said. “I can’t… I can’t just leave y—”

Myer silenced her with a final kiss.

“We always knew you’d outlive me,” Myer said.

Before Selendriel could say another word, he bolted off with a blast of wind.

Leaving her with tears in her eyes.

♦ ♦ ♦

“You are impressive for a man, Desert King,” the ancient wyrm boomed.

Each breath was a struggle. Blood ran over his eye. But he held his ground, Levana and Allefye still in hand.

“The best is yet to come,” Myer said.

Mawganar’s head snaked forward, and Myer slid under the massive jaws. The dragon twisted and its enormous claw dug into the stonework as the King of the Desert hurtled past.

The bladedancer ran up the dragon’s hind leg and became a living storm of blades. His swords flashed, slicing through its weathered scales, carving through its flesh, drawing dragon’s blood, as Myer raced along the serpent’s spine and up its neck.

Before Mawganar could blink, Myer drew his blades across the dragon’s eye, splitting its scales and slashing through the pale, yellow orb and its black slit pupil.

The dragon roared and thrashed about, wracked the palace walls. Dust billowed up in clouds with a shower of clay and glass. Mawganar whipped its head around, breathing arcs of fire.

Myer rolled under the flames, came to his feet. Smirked.

“Father!”

Across the courtyard. Behind the dragon. A sword in each hand. His daughter.

“Lana!” Myer shouted. “Run!”

Mawganar paused and raised its head. Turning towards the new arrival.

♦ ♦ ♦

The dragon towered over her. The palace. Everything. It didn’t seem real.

Mawganar reared its head towards her. One eye a ruined mess, the other fixed firmly on her.

“Lana! Run!”

But she couldn’t leave him to die. Wouldn’t leave him to die. She steadied her sword and her heart.

May Souladil guide my bla—

A rush of wind knocked her off her feet.

A shadow blotted out the sky, fell upon her. A dark maw opened and rushed to meet her.

And she saw a light at the end of it.

She grunted. The world was a spinning blur. She heard something. The snap of jaws. The clink of metal. But she wasn’t dead.

She struggled to her feet. Her father’s blades rested on the stonework before streaks of blood. Behind them, his hands—ending halfway down the forearm.

She looked up as the ancient dragon swallowed something.

Someone.

A chill spread in her, from her gut to her toes, her fingertips. Her face—numb.

“Father?” she whispered.

Blood dripped from the dragon’s jaws. Crimson droplets spattered at her feet.

She couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t help but stare at the ancient dragon, its maw gaping wide to devour her.

But something gripped her arm. And the world twisted away.

Interlude: The Ruined Camp

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death_valley_by_leventep

Everyone is dead?

One knight nodded.

Check them all again. We need to know who did this.

The knight bowed, strode off, and barked orders to the acolytes.

The entire camp. Slaughtered to a man. Brumvir included, laying full of arrows in the entrance of his cave, several deep wounds carved into his leg and torso. The bodies of the hobgoblin legionnaires were strewn all over. Some slashed nearly in half. Others blown to pieces. The kennels empty, the worgs dead as well. Who could have killed the entire legion and the giant?

“All this, done by only five or six,” Avrum said. “Formidable opponents, indeed.”

That’s it?

“A small band snuck in here, I imagine,” Avrum said, surveying the ruined camp. “The gate is unbarred, and unbroken. I imagine it’s the same group that caught Belagor and destroyed the cell outside of Watcher’s Rest.”

The ones with the Ethereal Knight?

“He travels with dangerous company.”

Lusyllec’s tentacles writhed. He arched one smooth brow.

“The Red Reaper for one. They were seen together in Oriac. That would explain why they came for the Princess. I imagine the tracks outside must be the Prince, himself.”

You imagine much. Ask the Shades.

“As you wish,” Avrum said.

The cleric cleared a space around himself. Avrum drew from his pouch a bleached skull, stained red from the eyes, and communed with Tornara’s servants. Beckoned the Shades.

“Did the Red Reaper destroy this camp?” Avrum asked.

And the Shades spoke to him.

“Does he travel with the Ethereal Knight?” Avrum asked. “Have they returned to Oriac?” He turned back to Lusyllec. “It is as I said.”

I heard.

Chapter Seven: Oriac In Flames

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8124d3273eddf055deaeb261d8544d09-d5dg38l

Done with NaNoWriMo. Here’s a long overdue summary.

Summary

  • Hobgoblin Camp
    • they sneak into the tunnel and free Valandriel
    • they alert the entire camp to their presence
      • with thaumaturgy, Tarkonus shouts out a challenge
    • Corbin rushes out to fight the fire giant mano-e-mano
      • does tons of damage before being hammered into the ground
    • Ezekiel blows away groups of hobgoblins with THUNDER
    • Silvaras pretends to get stabbed, no one is amused
  • Oriac Invaded
    • after they return to the capital, an army of draconians descends upon Oriac from the north east
    • Waves of Draconians
      • Corbin jumped up to catch a flying Kobaaz and dragged it to the ground
      • Corbin was thunderwaved off a building by a draconian sorcerer, flung across the alley, smashed into the building on the otherside, and fell through a market stall
    • Karsyan, young red dragon
      • Azeem does tons of damage, as usual
      • Ezekiel chases down the Karsyan and finishes it off with a thunder orb, blowing off its wing and the dragon crashes into some buildings, and tumbles to the ground
  • Mawganar, “Death on Crimson Wings”
    • when they think they’ve won, a legendary dragon appears overheard, flying towards the palace

Items

Ring of Fire Resistance, “Forge-sight”

For the clumsy blacksmith.

I kept burning myself and thought to myself, you know what I need? A magic ring.

+1 Studded Leather Armor

When normal armor just isn’t cutting it.

NaNoWriMo: Project Wildspace

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Speeeed_paint_by_AndreeWallin

Participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. I finished last year, and and well on my way to finishing again. It’s not taking as much time up as I thought it would, and though I thought I wouldn’t have time to run my DnD games, I should be good to go, keeping on schedule with them.

This year’s working title is Project Wildspace, a sci-fi novel about I’m not sure what yet. Somehow I don’t have a main plot after an entire week of writing, even after I blew up the Earth. But I do have a crew and a ship, so that’s a start.

Chapter Six: The Captive Princess

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sand_storm___spitpaint_by_jeremypaillotin-d6u0h0y

Summary

  • Left for Auranoch aboard the Crimson Hawk
    • Encounter – Council of Thorns
      • ground of Sun elf pegasus riders attack the ship lead by Council druids
      • find out Azeem is an outlaw wanted by the Elven Commonwealth
  • Oriac, Capital of Auranoch
    • meet Valandriel, Corbin’s step sister, who hasn’t forgiven him for almost killing their brother, Silvaras
    • meet Silvaras, Corbin’s step brother, who appears out of thin air and has a giant scar across his face from Corbin
    • go to the palace and meet Myer, King of the Auranoch, who refers them to Lament Greyward, for more information on the ancient knightly orders
  • Yesher, Auranoch
    • small town along the Nadera River
    • meet Lament Greyward, retired commander of the Red Riders of Auranoch
      • explains that the Red Riders were originally one of the six ancient knightly orders
      • asks the heroes to slay a hydra that’s been seen in the area lately
    • Encounter – Hydra in the Nadera River
      • kicked its ass
    • Corbin receives a Sending spell message from Silvaras, Lana’s been captured by hobgoblins
    • the heroes rush back to Oriac
  • Oriac, Auranoch
    • meet with Silvaras
    • a caravan told him that Lana held off a hobgoblin ambush so they could escape
    • the heroes along with Silvaras set off looking for her
  • The Desert of Auranoch
    • travel a day southwest along the Highroad and find the ambush site
      • find a ton of hobgoblin corpses bearing the cracked skull, some worgs, caravan guards, and a some dead knights
    • track the hobgoblins a day south to a camp in a small canyon in the side of a mesa
  • Encounter – Hobgoblin Camp
    • base of a legion of hobgoblins, worgs, and a fire giant
    • all bear the cracked skull of the Knights Torment
    • Silvaras casts invisibility on the party and they infiltrate the camp and find Lana

Supplemental Information

The Ancient Knightly Orders

  • formed by men of the First Age to pass down tradition, knowledge, and techniques so that they could compete with the elder races
  • many of them have stories of gems from the Second Age
  • Knights Sanguine
    • became the modern day Red Riders
    • have the legend of the God’s Blood, a gem of fire and fury that could raze a stronghold to the ground
  • Knights Radiant
    • became the modern day Knights of the Halo
      • disbanded when the Empire was formed
    • had something called the Heaven’s Spark
  • Knights Zephyr
    • knights of the Locean Sea, who dominated the eastern coastline
    • slowly lost their way, eventually becoming nothing more than pirates
    • had something called the Light of Dawn
  • Knights Aether
    • knights who sought divine power
    • became the Ethereal Knights, but were wiped out
    • had something called the Spirit of the Sky
  • Knights Torment
    • hated all the other orders
    • still around
  • Knights Shadow
    • disappeared in the Second Age

NPCs

Valandriel Crowbourne

The first of Myer’s half-elven twin children. Determined not to rely on her family, she joined the Temple of the Sun and became a paladin of Souladil. She fights with two swords in the blade dance style of her father.

Silvaras Crowbourne

Valandriel’s twin brother. A nasty scar runs across his face from one of Corbin’s outbursts. The sorcerer served in the Red Riders alongside his step brother.