Tyranny of Dragons

Session 28

I apologize for the illegibility of this entry into this continuing log. My writing hand has become transparent, numb and I’m unable to control it. Which makes writing impossible and really destroys my love life.

No, I meant it’s hard… I mean difficult to play my instrument… Women love music, that’s all and I can’t play.

You know that awkward feeling when an aside you thought was witty completely fails? This is my moment and the ink is indelible.

After binding our wounds and bringing Paelias back, we continued our quest into the Misty Forest. We were met by Delaan Winterhound, requesting aid. Something has happened to the village of Altand, he requests that we investigate a missing priest and the events in Altand. We agreed and began our journey to the Elven village.

We approached Altand and caught the acrid smell of a green dragon’s poison breath. We ready our weapons and heightened our watch for the dragon that we knew would be in the area. Our caution was not necessary as we drew into sight of the village, or what was left of it. The upper works of the village were decimated and poison coated everything in sight. We were amazed to see villagers moving about the ruins, attempting to put their lives back together. From our experience from previous dragon attacks, we had expected no survivors. Yet, here they were.

We stopped a young woman named Dottie to get the story of what had happened here. She confirmed that a green dragon had attacked the village. With him came humans in purple clothing, Cultists, and joined in the massacre. Atop the dragon rode what appeared to be a human in purple armor. However, he seemed to have the fluid motions and grace of one elven bred. Dottie scoffed at that, after all, what elf would consort with evil dragons?

She confirmed our fears, the priest that we’ve been looking for had tried to fight the dragon using his divine arts. However, the dragon simply swallowed the priest whole and the rest of the villagers lost cohesion at his death. Galin, the village’s warden, stepped in and rallied the routed villagers and fought back. He was in the midst of the heaviest fighting. We asked directions to Galin which Dottie provided and moved to her work.

We found Galin in his home in the upper branches of the village. Immediately, our suspicions were aroused. Though we had been told Galin had fought in the middle of the thickest battle, the elf before us bore not a mark or wound. He twitched and glanced about as though he would be heard.

His story echoed what we had heard below. His wife had died in the attack and he was understandably distraught. We didn’t wish to cause him further hurt, but we simply weren’t convinced he was telling us the whole truth of the matter. We pushed him for more details. Galin flushed between anger and what looked like guilt before he insisted that we leave. As we left, we noted Galin’s raven that we had seen upon entering had departed. Elyria had an idea, one that offered us the best chance at success that we could see.

We waited for Galin’s raven to return and intercepted it before it could reenter the home. A simple ritual for Speak with Animals and the raven began to speak with us, giving us the information we asked for.

As a side note, ravens are among the smarter breeds of birds, which is one reason so many are used as wizard familiars. Their intelligence, however, comes at something of a price. They are quite talkative and tend to ramble. They remind me of a gnomish child who had snuck into his mother’s sugar shack. We had to continually bring the bird back to the topic at hand. But, I digress.

Slowly, we pieced the story we had been looking for. Galin has been meeting with the green dragon and its rider. The raven often followed its master deep into the woods and would speak to the rider. By the tone of scene the raven described, I guessed the communication had been one of master dictating instructions to his slave, with Galin being said slave. The bird hadn’t understood the words well enough to give us the instructions that Galin had been provided, after all birds speak very limited humanoid languages, only a few command words. Luckily, Speak with Animals is a relatively long term spell, so we were able to confront Galin, bird in hand.

We decided, first, that we needed the support of the village. We found Dottie and she listened with skepticism while we explained Galin’s apparent treason. The talking bird helped enough that Dottie was willing to listen. She, and a few other villagers, accompanied us back to Galin’s home and we pounded on the door.

The door flew open and Galin’s angry face lost their flush, turning to a bloodless white when he saw the raven we were carrying and the villagers that had accompanied us. We asked the raven to relate what it had witnessed and the bird began to happily implicate its master. Galin’s pale face began turning ashen with each word. He sputtered, denying the whole story and accusing us of being in league with the dragon. He contended that the raven was only speaking those words because of a spell we had planted and not the real story. It was a weak attempt, his face was full of guilt and terror.

We were finally able to break him. He collapsed into abject misery as he admitted to swearing loyalty to the dragon rider. During the combat, Galin had encountered the dragon rider and begged for his life, he would do anything. The rider apparently agreed and broke off the attack. Later, he was summoned in the night to meet with the rider, swear fealty and began to feed information on surrounding villages in exchange for his life and those of the village.

We asked about the location of the dragon’s lair, or any detail that would help us locate the dragon. Galin didn’t know. He only observed the dragon flying off to the southeast and that the rider’s clothes were often wet. When asked if there were any lakes in that direction, he shook his head, instead saying there was a swamp. Green dragons love swamps. We found our best place to look. We left Galin to the discretion of the village and began to move to the southeast and the swamp.

Along the way, a loud crack, like that of a breaking branch caught our attention. It was followed by calls for help. We elected to investigate. An old woman was caught under a tree and called for us to help her. Edward and I returned our weapons to their sheathes and found places on the tree that looked to be the best to lift it.

Initially, the tree was as heavy as we expected it to be. Then the effort became easier and easier still. Without warning, the tree raised itself out of our hands as we stumbled back in shock. The old woman beamed as she stood and dusted off her dress. She was overjoyed at finding travelers that were still willing to help the helpless even in the world that seemed to be doing its best to destroy any kindness.

She began to pluck flowers from her hair and expertly wove garlands for each of us. She hummed as she worked, the tune reminded me of singing birds and the night frogs. Once she had placed each over our heads and around our necks, she admonished us not to remove them before our quest in Neronvain’s lair had been completed. With a warm smile for her nominal heroes, she flashed into an owl and flew away. The tree which had lain across her, and two other trees that we had not seen, shambled after her on foot. We looked at each other after this odd, bizarre, encounter, then shrugged. Who knew what you would see in the Misty Forest.

We could see the miasma and ruins in the distance when we encountered a vast webbing. The sides were impassable and we elected not to backtrack to find a way around them. The entrance to the lair was a mere quarter of a mile beyond the webbing and we could make good time once we were through.

We were about half way through the webbing before the first of the creatures attacked. As a side note, anyone who has not seen an Ettercap, consider yourself lucky. They are rather ugly beasts, resembling the worst of spider and humanoid. If a black widow and a troll had a baby, it would look like an Ettercap.

It was a desperate fight, more due to the sticky webbing than a true challenge. Our visibility was virtually nil and our ability to move even more limited. The cocooned animals and other smaller beasts did little to improve the property value of the location. The Ettercaps are going to have to have a long discussion with their realtor before they decide to move. Fortunately, I know of one. Unfortunately, the contact card was at the bottom of my pack and they, along with their spider minions, appeared more interested in killing us than taking realty advice.

Somehow I became separated from the rest of the party and surrounded by the spidery posse. Bards aren’t known for their toughness and spiders aren’t known for their taste in music, unless it’s a bard in a webbing. I had no intention of becoming a meal, so I cast about in my mind, looking for something, anything that could get me out of this. It was then that I hatched a desperate, almost suicidal plan.

Teiflings are known for their affinity for heat. What the others might call scorching heat, like the desert perhaps, I find a pleasantly warm spring afternoon. However, even with that affinity, this was going to hurt.

So, yeah, I dropped a fireball on myself. Well, not on myself directly, but enough to not include the remainder of my party. Party members appreciate the judicious targeting of things like fireballs or lightning bolt. They tend to get a little annoyed by taking damage.

But, the gambit worked. My lute smoldered where the heat had caught it, but no real damage was done. Around me, the bodies of Ettercaps and spiders lay smoking. A few of the tougher ones stood singed, but badly damaged. We were able to finish them off with little trouble.

The trail we were following ended at the base of a large waterfall. The pool at the bottom would have been picturesque if not for the green miasma and the brackish water. Beyond the fall a cave opened into the lair proper.

This is a good place to stop. My hand is cramping and a bard knows the value of suspense. Tomorrow, I will pick up again and spin a tale of how we assaulted the lair and I poisoned myself.

Session 27
Cult Strikes Back

Lucas Higgs (Bosun)
Edward Gursk
Sven Evenhand
Tairen Lairoth
Elyria Wolfsbane

What key to write this epic in, for it is an epic? It needs to be something strong and moving. Something full of ups and downs, victories and defeats. A minor key perhaps? Which one?

An F minor and its funereal moaning seems a little too melodramatic. A G minor is no better with its ill temper. The D # minor would seem to fit the bill, except that it only expresses my thoughts and angsts. So, perhaps it is a little too greedy. It would ignore fair Elyria’s unrivaled skill with the bow or Pahlius’s incandescent faith in his god. What of the brave and strong Azujhan or the silver-tounged Sven? It would hardly do to ignore the contributions of savage Edward and talented Tairen and his army of undead. They have had their share in this fight and their stories must be told as well.

We left Luskan aboard the frostskimmer that the council had loaned us for our trip north. The trip was non-eventful and the weather warmed as we made our way back to Waterdeep.Out of the corner of our eyes, dark shapes flit across the sky. Even Edward’s keen sight could only determine that the passing shadows were dragon shapes and flying far to high for us to get a better look.

We arrived in Waterdeep and made our way to the council chambers. In our absence, there had been a few changes to the council. The new Open Lord of Waterdeep, Lady Laeral Silverhand, now sat in the central seat, guiding the meeting. Lord Neverember sat beside and a beautiful young human lady sat next to him. On the other end of the table, a tiefling named Rian Nightshade represented the Zhentarim interests.

This meeting went better than our previous one. We took a moment to catch Sven and Pahlius up with the current council status. Neither of them had been at the previous council. We don’t seem to have pissed off the council with our previous actions. The Emerald Enclave seemed a little put out that we hadn’t simply gotten rid of Varram when we had the chance. However, I don’t think they held that against us.

The beautiful woman, Elia, stood and addressed the council. She had come bearing an invitation to a council of metallic dragons. While the timing was tight, we could make it if we didn’t allow ourselves to become distracted by too many side quests. However, there was one quest that we felt needed to be handled immediately.

Delaan Winterhound of the Emerald Enclave expressed concerns with reports of dragon attacks in the Misty Forest. King Melandrach attempted to wave off Delaan’s concerns; however, it appears as though Delaan didn’t place much trust in Melandrach’s patrols and fortifications. Since the trip to the Misty Forest wasn’t too far out of our way, geographically speaking, we agreed to investigate further.

We arrived in the Misty Forest and began our investigation. The first night, as Elyria stood watch, something alerted me from out side my tent. I reached for my sword to investigate and suddenly the woods around us exploded with a Cult ambush.
They came in fast and a young blue dragon accompanied them. I stepped out of my tent in time to see Pahlius’ tent collapse and a bright spot of blood begin to seep from the wounds of the paladin beneath the canvas. It was a difficult fight, made more so by the confusion of the ambush. We were on watch for an attack, but nothing could prepare us for the sheer size of the forces against us. Once were got organized, we were able to coordinate our attacks and defenses and the dragon flew off once we had drawn enough of it’s blood.

We had barely enough time to bind our wounds when the second wave struck, more powerful than the first. Two dragons, one white and one black, accompanied this band. By this time, we were running short on resources, the strength needed to cast spells was fading. But, we had no choice but to expend those resources and pray for some respite. We eventually took them down, I had to be revived a few times from my wounds, but neither dragon escaped alive.

In the distance, we could hear the roar of more dragons on their way. Elyria and Sven chose two trees on the edge of the glade that we had camped in. They climbed them and prepared for the attack we knew was coming.

The third fight was even more grueling than the first two. The foes were the same, but we were so tired and our wounds were taking their tolls. I had run out of spells and had resorted to casting brave words of distain with what little energy I had. Unfortunately, my assistance wasn’t much. I spent most of the fight unconscious. I would get some healing, reviving me, only to take another wound which knocked me out again.

Pahlius wasn’t so lucky. Somewhere in my unconscious mind, I could hear his grunt of anguish and his last breath. I was powerless to help, but a part of me registered it.

The rest of the crew took down the last of the dragons and the cultists, which let me come back into the battle and help finish the fight. Now we need to get Pahlius returned from the dead.

Perhaps I was a little hasty dismissing the major keys as an option for my epic. While I’m writing this, I find that I’m improvising a tune in F# major. It’s something of an odd key, but cries out in joyous triumph over difficulty and the sighs of a soul that has won through to a difficult goal. While it may seem a little premature to assume that we will ultimately be successful in this endeavor, there is no harm in writing this in a consistent key that would be encouraging, is there?

Session 26
Mushroom Room, Dude!

Elyria Wolfsbane
Lucas Higgs (Bosun)
Sven Evenhand
Tairen Lairoth

The others have groaned about my verbosity, so I he promised to be more concise in my entries.

We came, we saw and we destroyed the big ugly in the psychedelic mushroom room.

Very well, to make the reader more satisfied, I’ll provide a little more detail.

Once we were able to shake the momentary blindness from our eyes from the transport from Diderius’s crypt, we found ourselves in a dimly lit, circular room. Dank, swampy smells assaulted our noses and a miasma floated across our sight. It wasn’t particularly dense, but it was noticeable.

Figures moved in the gloom, resolving into lizard like creatures, simple lizardmen guarding the portal and entrance to the caves. They moved to attack and we defended ourselves. The lizardman shaman caused us no end of difficulty. I cast a hypnotic pattern, floating above him and he froze in place, transfixed on the swirling colors and patterns.

The other lizardmen assaulted and I had advanced too far into the room and found myself surrounded by these creatures. Swords bit into my flesh, those which weren’t stopped by what armor I had. Then a flash of heat washed across me as a wall of fire from Tairen’s hand flared around me. The Lizardmen screamed as their flesh snapped and popped like a pig that had been thrust into hot coals.

After we finished off the lizardment, we tied up the shaman and began questioning him once I let my pattern dissolve. We weren’t able to get many answers from him and were disturbed by a rush of feet and yuan-ti entered the room, weapons at the ready. This fight was more difficult and distracted our attention from the shaman, who began his spell casting again. For that, he paid the price of a quick trip to his snake god, whoever that might be. The yuan-ti were more challenging, but dispatched with a few thrusts of blades and magic.
We paused for only a moment to catch our breaths. We didn’t have time for a longer rest, this was not a good place to be taking our ease.

Beyond the chamber was a stone bridge that sloped downwards. Slime coated everything here, making footing difficult and requiring our complete concentration. Elyria suggested hammering in a piton into the floor to anchor a rope to assist in sliding down. Unfortunately, the layers of slime made making fast the piton tricky and required several attempts. I grew weary of the delayed and decided to take my chances sliding down the bridge’s slope. After all, thou only liveth once after all.

With the help of the rope attached to the piton, most of us were able to traverse the bridge. Our paladin was unlucky and took a wrong step in the muck and lost his footing. Twisting, he tried to grab on to the bridge as he slid over the edge. His fingers found no purchase and he fell into the deep chasm below.
From below the sibilant hiss of serpentine bodies sliding against each other was hurt over the disgusted invective from our paladin. Seriously, where had a paladin learned so many expletives and curses? I found myself nodding approvingly at his grasp of Common.

The cursing halted suddenly as grunts of pain came from our paladin. The young snakes that had been hatching and maturing in this pit did not take kindly to a metal encased half-elf landing in their home with all the grace of landslide. On second thought, a landslide can be graceful, this, however, was not.
He began his climb, fighting off the swarms of snakes with his free hand until we could reach down and grasp his hand to pull him up. He wiped his gauntlets on his tabard and dug a few snakes who had squirmed between his armor and the padding beneath it. These the threw back into the pit and he gestured for us to continue.

We continued down the hall and passed another hall extending to our right. We could come back to explore that in a little bit. At the end of the hallway we continued down, a door stood closed. We opened it to find what appeared to be some form of chamber. It appeared to be some kind of altar, although there were none of the typical accoutrements you would expect to find at an altar. All that stood here were two statues and four suits of armor. As we entered the room, destined for the door on the other side, the sibilant sliding of snakes came as hundreds of small snakes slithered from the statues towards the suits of armor. We watched in horror as the snakes began to form themselves into the musculature of arms and legs. Their movements were jerky at first as they reached to pick up their weapons, but smoothed as the snakes became better coordinated.

We took some wounds, but nothing too serious. Indeed nothing in these chambers were particularly difficult, but we could feel our strength draining as the repeated encounters sapped our resources. We were weary, of that there was no doubt.

Beyond the far door, another hallway stretched into the gloom. Sven, as normal held a hand for us to wait while he examined the area for traps. He found none and we advanced.

It should be noted here that our faith in Sven’s trap-sense waned as a hail of darts erupted from the walls. Most of us were hit. The damage was negligible, but we could feel a searing heat in our blood as the poison from the darts pumped into our veins.

The door to the north, beyond the trap that Sven didn’t find, opened into quarters. A yuan-ti and a few lizardmen looked as we entered. I won’t bore the reader with details, but let it suffice that we dispatched the creatures, extending our weariness even further.

Leaving the room, we continued down the hall. A door to our left opened into a prison with a few poor souls who appeared to be undergoing the metamorphosis into yuan-ti. While it may sound cruel that we slew these as well, I assure the reader, we provided the best mercy we could and ended the suffering they were in. The transformation looked painful and no creature should endure it.

Beyond that, we had a choice. To our right another passage extended. A quick review of our path in the crypt led us to the conclusion that this passage probably met up with the one we had originally encountered after the bridge. There would be time to explore that, but our attention was caught on the next room and the lights which shown from the open archway.

It’s difficult to describe this room. Colors of all shapes and hues swirled as though the feet of giants trod on the walls. Each “step” caused a point of color which swirled and spread into the next step. We could hear the slithering of feet and sibilant chuckles of a predator stalking prey who had come too close to the predator’s den.

The illusion of the colors was of arcane magic so Tairen stepped forth and murmured words of negation. Nothing happened and Tairen gathered up the last of his strength to try to negate the illusion. This time the colors disappeared, replaced by stark gray walls, lined by slime and algae. It was poorly lit. Lizardmen paused in surprise, much like a guilty child will stop when their parents catch them in the act of something particularly nefarious.

Beyond them, the expected altar was set on the far side of the room, guarded by a huge… thing. It’s difficult to describe. The abomination certainly had the origins of the snake, but grossly exaggerated and larger than many of the trolls we had encountered earlier. In one of his hands, a dwarf in purple and white hung unconscious, Varram.

To the side a priestess stood in placid disinterest as we approached. With my flailing strength, I flung out my hypnotic pattern against the priestess and the abomination. Both shrugged off the hypnosis, though one of the lizardman guards stood stock still. I stood in minor disbelief and no small amount of disappointment and gathered my strength for one last attempt.

This was more successful. The abomination froze in place as it caught sight of the pattern, the dwarf still hanging limply. I was unable to entrap the priestess, but taking the abomination out of the fight was more than enough. We defeated them in detail and roused Varram.

We really hadn’t planned on capturing Varram alive. I think we had gone into this thinking we would be forced to fight him. Little did we know that he would be handed to us defenseless, which leaves us in quite the quandary. Do we kill him, or bring him with us to Waterdeep? For now, we have decided the best thing to do is to bring him to Waterdeep and let the council decide what to do with him. Perhaps, by not killing him, we can regain of the lost favor with the elves.
But, then again, perhaps not.

Session 25
The Divination Pool

Lucas Higgs (Bosun)
Elyria Wolfsbane
Edward Gursk
Sven Evenhand
Tairen Lairoth

Well… Shit…

No other two words occur to me to describe my current situation. The hands of the righteous I looked forward to in my last entry have become, instead, the hands of a poet. However, if anything good has come from this, my memories have returned to me. I remember the touch of my mother and the odd red tinge to my father’s eyes. I remember my journeys with Azujhan aboard the Neptune. More importantly, I remember the disapproval stark on the face Tyr, resignation on Torm and sympathy on Ilmater.

After we finished our rest with Ilda, we reassured her that we would gather the books and return them to her. We moved to the next room, what appeared to be a throne room. Along the far wall, a large giant, 12 ft. tall and clad in purple toga stood in front of a closed door. We went to look at it, looking for a way around and open the door. As we approached, the giant animated from its unnaturally still stance. From its mouth, a smooth baritone demanded tribute to pass the door. I drew a potion from my pack and laid it at its feet, atop the other offerings. The giant, who I could see was an illusion over what appeared to be a clay golem, gazed upon my offering and nodded acceptance. He moved aside enough that I could step behind him and moved through the door. The others followed suit while we waited in the hallway.

Beyond the door, we saw what appeared to be a banquet hall with six demons sitting at the table, eating ravenously. They looked up as we entered and smiled widely. They joyfully welcomed us and invited to partake of the food and drink on the table. Something tickled in my mind and the glint in their eyes told me that the risk of not accepting their hospitality far outweighed the risk of poison in the meat itself.

They relaxed slightly as I thanked them and began eating a roll. They were left here by Verram to guard the door to the south. Wraiths and specters tended to inhabit the room to the south and occasionally journeyed into the dining hall. Their orders were simple; don’t let any creature from the south door beyond them. We were a curiosity; we had come through a third door.

This was an opportunity. Since we hadn’t been specifically covered as not being permitted, we sensed that they could accept a … consideration in exchange for access to the door beyond them. While not extreme, the amount they seemed to expect would have raised eyebrows. Fortunately, we had the funds and were able to satisfy their expectations.

We followed the hallway around the corner and arrived at set of double doors that had seen better days. The heavy iron doors were just cracked open and torch light flickered from the room beyond. I reached out and pulled on the door cracked open. I pulled at it harder, it still didn’t budge. I looked at Edward and he nodded. Then he lumbered over and we nodded and pulled with all of our strength. With a sharp crack, the hinges to the door came apart and began to tumble. With unnatural swiftness, I leapt to the side, the edge of the door caught me and spun me into the wall. Edward wasn’t as lucky and only the rubble on the floor, and the awkward angle of the wall saved Edward from being trapped under the door. Edward pulled himself out and chuckled at the bruises that were beginning to form under his skin. He waved off our attempts at healing; a simple bandage bound the cut on his arm.

Beyond the door was a dimly lit room, a large, dry basin dominated area. The pool was bone dry, though stained black. Lying prone, a body stretched before the pool, the blood beneath is was still wet, not yet congealed.

I rushed to the side of the body and knelt, unmindful of the gore under my knee. I was relieved to feel a pulse, weak though it was, barely a timid throb spaced entirely too far apart. I lay my hands upon the body and channeled some of my faith into healing energy and revived the body.

As he gasped, I noted that it was a half-elf, one that took its stocky, muscular build from his human parent. We sat him up as he tore at the robes that covered his armor. He appeared to be confused, blinking and reaching instinctively for a sword that wasn’t there.

His name was Pelius, a name that I recognized as a brother in the Order of the Gauntlet. I had never met him before, but his name was known in the deeper circles of the order. His mission, so as I understood, was to infiltrate the Cult of the Dragon and work from within to gather the information we needed.

Our first reaction was that he had been exposed and executed. However, as we continued to talk about it, it became apparent that Pelius was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He told us of the grim sacrifice the pool had demanded and he was chosen, seemingly at random to be the sacrifice. Obviously, he didn’t have much say in the matter or that he was thoroughly over-ruled.

We were able to get him settled and back to some semblance of order. We judged it best for him to continue with us rather than finding his own way out of this place. I vouched for him and welcomed him into the group.

I wandered over to the pool and peered into the dry basin. On an impulse, I took my sword, Delilah, and lay it in the basin. From my pack, I pulled the bottle of water that I had taken from the cistern in the source room. As I unstopped it, the water seemed to boil away and rush from the mouth of the bottle. Quickly, I poured what remained over the sword and watched as the water turn from its crystalline purity into a hideous memory of black oil. There was a rush of wind in my head and a bright flash and I stood in the pool room, brightly lit in an all-encompassing rush of light. The colors seemed muted by the sheer whiteness and I turned to find my colleagues missing.

I turned back to the pool, searching for an answer, but the pool was gone. Replacing it was a dais of pure gold. Three figures sat enthroned upon magnificently carved chairs. Instictively, I recognized the faces and felt my heart sink. I’ve already mentioned the looks on their faces, so the reader is already familiar with the mood those faces set in my heart.

“Lucas,” Torm’s voice boomed. “We are most disappointed in you.”

Tyr spat heatedly. “Disappointed! By Ao’s beard, we’re furious that you would betray us!”

Torm lay a calming hand on Tyr’s arm and Tyr quieted back to his fuming glare.

“You have given in to the evil of your nature and taken it upon yourself. We offered you the chance no other mortals dream of, righting the wrongs of their ancestors, and you failed us.”

Torm squared his shoulders as though passing judgment.

“Lucas Higgs, you are found guilty of abrogating your vow to us as a paladin in our cause. We strip from you the powers we have granted you and return you to the bard we found you.”

Tyr spoke in a clear, coldly furious tone. “You will remain a tiefling to remind you of your failure.”

Ilmater cleared his throat pointedly and Tyr grimaced and sat back. Torm resumed his judgment.

“Our brother,” Torm motioned to Ilmater “has reminded us that we are to be better men than mortals. You may break your oaths. We will not.”

“You were promised the cleansing of the taint on your bloodline in exchange for the defeat of Tiamat. We hold to that oath. That does not mean that we must still support you as our paladin, but you still have a goal to aspire to. Do not fail us again.”

There was another flash of light and a deep tearing pain. I then found myself back in the room with the divination pool, panting and reeling. The weight of my armor began to crush me and I was unable to bear its weight. I fell to my knees and began tearing at the armor that bound me while the others stared at me as though for the first time.

The water was gone from the cistern, but we knew where we could find more. Unfortunately, the dark nature of the pool hinted that the needed sacrifice was not going to be something as paltry as an expensive bauble. Delilah had been accepted because of the soul trapped in the blade, which gave it the sinister power. The others would need a similar sacrifice. Fortunately, there were acceptable ones in the room we had just left.

The fight with the bearded devils was painful. My new role was a strange one to me. It felt odd to stand back and strum my lute while the others fought with blade and arrow. Yet, my songs were of the best help that I could provide, granting wisdom and healing and sapping the will from those who would attack my friends.

We returned to the pool with the requisite souls and each of us took turns releasing the water and making the sacrifice necessary.

Elyria stood silent for a moment as she cleared her head. Her movements were less furtive and more confident. Her back straightened as newly found strength surged into her.

Sven looked into the waters and new light flared behind his eyes as new knowledge flooded his mind.

Tairen appeared to be confused as he stepped back from the pool. He had been focused on his admission to the Arcane Brotherhood that he seemed to not be prepared for his transformation.

Edward’s eyes grew sharper and an amulet rose from the pool to settle around his neck.

Pelius, our newest member, found his mind opened to new heights and new ideas while a gleaming circlet of metal settled upon his temples.

Once we finished and the pool had once again dried, we took a moment for rest. We redistributed the items we carried and attuned ourselves to the new ones. I gave my armor to Pelius, I certainly wasn’t strong enough to wield it any longer. My dragon eye that granted me immunity from cold had to go as well. I simply refuse to have any evil artifact upon me, regardless of its source. Tairen gave me his staff of healing that he wasn’t able to use and thought I would find it useful.

Curiosity got the better of us and we retraced our path to the stairs leading to the room the demons were guarding against. Wraiths and specters phased in and out of the walls Tairen’s skeletons were a handy wall that helped us channel and contain some of them while we dealt with the rest. A few of them died (again). See, my bardic humor is already returning!

The room was a treasure room and we found some very nice artifacts. I kept a ring of spell saving while Tairen favored a ring of spell storing.

We returned to the divination pool to continue our quest. Through the door we found a sarcophagus and the voice of Diderius boomed.

“You approach Diderius in repose. I know what you seek. Yuan-ti have taken the one called Varram beyond their portal in the northern wall. Be prepared, for I shall open the way to peril."

We nodded our understanding. We were ready. We had a firm grasp of our goal and knew where to find him.

Session 24
Tomb of Diderius

Elyria Wolfsbane
Lucas Higgs (Bosun)
Edward Gursk
Tairen Lairoth

Oh glorious day! Oh what happy, blessed time to be alive! My heart sings and my soul soars. But, my exuberance is overshadowing the reason of this journal. The reasons for my joy can wait for the moment.

After we defeated the white dragon, Arauthator, we completed our business in Oyaviggaton and prepared to leave. The ice toads have agreed to remain at their duties, maintaining the library and collection left by Arauthator. The leader, Marfulb, wished to journey to the tower of the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan as we escorted McCath the Crimson home.

On a quick personal note, I have decided to return to Oyaviggaton after this business with Tiamat has been concluded. It is a tranquil place, perfect for quiet contemplation; something my soul sorely needs at a time such as this. I will endow the work of the ice toads and look after the villagers, my villagers.
Returning to the narrative, we rode the ice skimmer back to Luskan and bid our farewells to Marfulb and McCath. The journey was uneventful and rather pleasurable.

We were returning to the skimmer to return to Waterdeep. Both the Council and Drakhorn required our attention. Azujhan had deduced that the Drakhorn had a short range and that, to hear it when we were in Waterdeep, it must have been close to Waterdeep. Just shy of the skimmer, a familiar face sat atop an empty peir. Jemna smiled her wide grin and lept off the pier to speak to us.

The Zhentarim had information regarding the location of Varram the White. He was recently seen en route to Boareskyr Bridge, seeking the White Dragon Mask. Varram had lost the mask and was seeking it without alerting the other cultists to its disappearance. If we were to capture him, we would need to postpone our plans for the Council and the Drakhorn. This was simply too good a chance to pass up and such an opportunity to grab Varram may not present itself in the future.

During the conversation, talk turned to what the Zhent wanted out of the Council’s deliberations. They were willing to provide assassins, spies and the like, but were reluctant. They needed assurances and favors, both of which we, as a group, were unable to promise. We agreed to discuss this at the next Council in a circumspect manner and lend what support we could to the Zhent cause.
We were beginning to ask Jemna more about her recent activities when a shout was heard behind us. We spun and froze in confusion, the skimmer was on fire. One of Tairen’s eyebrows rose. This was an illusionary fire, he said. We turned back to Jemna, but she was gone. Obviously, the “fire” was designed to distract while she slipped away in the confusion.

We made our way to Boareskyr Bridge and the way side tent village that had arisen to service the Trade Way. For those who haven’t visited Boarskyr Bridge, It’s a trip worth taking. The bridge itself is a disturbingly beautiful black granite affair with carvings of Cyric and Bhaal faithfully sculpted into its stones. Even in evil, there is beauty. Perhaps that is what draws so many to the dark ways of evil.

The largest tent was Bolo’s Tentside Inn. We entered and were greeted by the owner, Bolo. She was a friendly person, but one who guarded the privacy of her patrons seriously. She grew suspicious when she perceived we asked a few too many questions about the dwarf who passed through.

However, Bolo was also a consummate businesswoman and the rental of a few luxury tents smoothed over her curiosity. We still didn’t get much information, but we were able to discover that the dwarf in purple and white had left towards the Serpent Hills. We left shortly thereafter without occupying our tents.

We followed the trail, and prints, towards the hills. For the most part, it was a quiet, pleasant journey. Midway through the day, Elyria stopped suddenly and she began to look around as if she was detecting a threat. Before we could discover why she had stopped, the threat broke through the underbrush to fire upon us.

The attacks hurt. I took a couple arrows through my shoulder, but the searing explosion of poison staggered me. I nearly dropped to my knees before I could use the power of my faith to heal the worst of the wounds. Edward, however, did go down, unconscious, having taken more hits than I had. The first of which before he could build his rage to fevered passion.

Eventually, we took them down. Tairen and his zombie minion stayed with Elyria and offered long range support while I and a newly recovered Edward finished off the bandits. We left one of them alive to question, though he had taken quite a beating. It took a few minutes for him to regain his senses enough to communicate with us.

The “man” was actually a Yuan-Ti scout. The attack wasn’t directed at us, specifically. It was more a case of them protecting their lands against incursions. The last “visitors” had done damage and they were not keen to allow more into their lands. The dwarf, apparently Varram, had invaded the Tomb of Diderius and was desecrating the temple. As a clarifying side note, it should be explained that Diderius was a powerful wizard and father of the Yuan-ti. His memory is considered sacred among the Naga and their Yuan-ti children.

We arrived at the tomb and met with the elders outside. Three trolls were guarding the door and the group didn’t have the strength to dispatch them to root out Varram. We volunteered our services and the elders accepted. We didn’t mention that we were going to capture Varram anyways, so this commitment was hardly out of our way.

We opened up on the three trolls with a sleet storm from my Wand of Winter, damaging them and slowing them down as they stumbled over the sleet. While advancing, I took out my potion of firebreath and drank it. We needed some form of fire to keep the trolls down and keep their bodies from regenerating.
After the trolls, we advanced to the entrance, guarded by two statues. One of the statues was of a human male, older and wearing exotic clothing. The right a younger human male carrying a shepard’s crook and sword. As we approached, the grating of stone against stone accompanied the movement of the two statues.

“Halt! You come before Diderius, ether walker and conduit of clairvoyance. Behold ye now his wonderous triumphs. Diderius extends his wisdom, Diderius offers knowledge and Diderius promises a new start with transformation. Which do you seek?”

I remember the words quite clearly. The spin of the words was poetic and lodged themselves squarely in my mind. Each of us stated our choice. Mine was knowledge to defeat Tiamat. The answers seemed to please the guardians and a final benediction and warning issued from them before they once again became motionless.

The first room was a hall lined with six statues of cowled creatures. Their hoods were up and their faces hidden in impenetrable darkness. A warning whispered in my mind; however, I had advanced too far by that time to avoid the trap. I felt myself pulled into the darkness of the cowls and foreign knowledge flooded my senses. I can’t remember the next minute or so, my companions claim I was stunned and spoke only noises without form. However, with the fading madness, I find my mind clearer than I can ever remember and new knowledge resides. It’s not permanent; I can feel it slipping away even now. But, for now, I shall use it in our quest.

Leaving the room of statues, we entered a chamber with a beautiful tile mosaic of a chimera and a knight. The door to our left was marked “SAFE” in what appeared to be chalk. Something out of the corner of my eye alerted me to movement. My mind dismissed it as a figment of movement, a by-product of the constant alertness we must hold to here. Yet, paranoia luckily won out and I began turning towards the mosaic. I say luckily because it was at this moment that the tile chimera sprang to life and began to attack.

Each hit sprayed tiles across the room instead of blood. It was disquieting to see. A final slash, and the entire creature collapsed into a pile of tiles on the floor, motionless.

We elected to journey through the “SAFE” door and explore the room beyond. We found a pool that dominated the room. The water within was still and mirror like. A bronze bucket sat near the top and a lever protruded from the side above a trench. Obviously, the lever released water which sluiced down the trench to some unknown location. There was little here to keep our attention. There were mushrooms that lined the walls, I harvested a few to place in my pack. You never knew when a strange plant would come in handy. I filled the empty bottle from my firebreath with water from the well. The water itself is odd. It seems to be of such purity that it is barely contained in the confines of the well. It borders on evaporating even before I can get the stopper on the bottle.

We returned to the mosaic room, keeping a cautious eye on the pile of tiles which had been the chimera. Occassionally, the pile twitched. Tairen knew it would reform itself after a period, but was of no harm to us at the moment.

We moved through the door on the other side. We examined the room for traps and found none. The hall sloped down to a door at the far end. As we began to move, a sudden noise from above drew our attention to the ceiling above us. A large ball of skeletal figures dropped from a ceiling trap that we had neglected to spot. I was able to dodge out of the way. Edward was not so lucky. He was caught in the boulder as it rolled down the hall and crashed against the far door. On the impact, the stone exploded in a cloud of bone dust, leaving Edward among the bones.

Beyond the door, a strong smell of incense flooded our noses. Again, a warning spoke in our minds. “Humility proffered in the manner of Mystril shelters those opening the way to seeking knowledge”. Obviously, this was another key to another puzzle and our experience in the stone statue chamber had taught us to heed those warnings very cautiously. Tairen remembered that the homage to the deceased goddess Mystril involved bowing the head and raising the arms. We looked at the doors and selected the one to our left. As we opened the door, each of us paid what we hoped was the appropriate gesture. Obviously, this was correct, and no further hazards accosted us.

Beyond the door was what appeared to be a study and library, though its shelves were empty of any books. A ghost appeared and welcomed us. Her name was Ilda and she served as guardian to Diderius’ library. We looked around and told her the library was bare. Ilda blinked ghostly eyes and a moan of pure misery echoed from her mouth. She had failed to protect the books and tomes. She pleaded with us to return those books so that she may, once again, rest in peace.

We agreed and she, once again, smiled. I guess that some form of hope had been returned to her. She then spoke of Diderius and his work here. She explained about the divination pool and the benefits. Those who seek knowledge receive it. Those seek wisdom are granted it. Those who seek transformation are rewarded with rebirth.

And so brings me back to the source of my joy! Finally, I can cleanse the taint from my soul. I can rid myself of Delilah and the hellish stink of the fiend, returning once again to who I was, a tiefling fighting for the righteous cause of blessed Torm, Tyr and Ilmater. Already, my soul aches and my excitement builds.

We have taken a moment in this study to quickly bind a few wounds and make preparations for the remaining journey. My preparations were minor so I decided it was an ideal time to write a few notes on our journey to date. I can hardly wait for the next entry when I shall be free and clean. I can write with the steady, solid hand of the pure and righteous.

Session 22
Death of Old White Death

Elyria Wolfsbane
Edward Gursk
Lucas Higgs (Bosun)
Sven Evenhand
Tairen Lairoth

Oh gods, what have I become!? How can I have fallen so that Tyr and Torm no longer answer my prayers? Even Ilmater seems to be reluctant in his blessings. I wonder if the taint of my evil heritage has finally won out.

After a short rest, I found myself reaching to the other tome. I was compelled to open it and read its alien and horrid text. It was as if the tome sang in discordant harmony with my soul and the sinister counterpoint to the evil blade I carry. The psychic shock from attempting the previous tome sabotaged the reason in my mind and I was unable to resist.

As I read the fiendish text, a mantle of evil settled upon my shoulders. I could hear the maniacal cackle of the Fiend echo in my soul, another victory won. My mind reeled from new concepts and new powers. I was drunk with the ecstasy of evil.

My first taste of the Triad’s disappointment showed itself as we left the scriptorium and made our way to the lower levels of the lair we explored. It was colder yet, though I felt none of it. I did what I could for my friends, nay family, giving what clothing I could and remain decent. It seemed to help; however, I could see their shivering under brave facades.

We elected to descend via the hole south of the refuse room. The hole in the scriptorium seemed to be unnaturally deep and we doubted that we could climb down from there. From the second hole, we could barely make out a plateau below us that would make the descent easier. I noticed the others slipping on the rope. My reflexes have not been the best, so I elected a more direct approach, one in which depended on the favor of the Triad to safely land on the plateau. In short, I jumped. The Triad rejected my prayer and I found myself on my back, on the plateau staring up at my snickering companions.

The sound of my impact alerted the denizens of the lair. In the distance, we could hear the approach of something large. Multiple large things. We barely had time to get ourselves organized before two scrags appeared from the icy gloom. I lifted a battered hand, drank a healing potion and charged. We defeated the aquatic trolls with only a few difficulties, for which we were grateful. We still had a white dragon to face and no time to gather our wits and tend wounds. We moved further into the lair, into an even colder end. I led the way, my dragon eye amulet would prevent the dragon’s breath from affecting me. My compatriots would not fair so luckily.

We rounded the corner of an icy range of peaks and entered the chamber of the dragon. The dragon was waiting for us. In fact, we truly had no expectation of surprise, but one can hope. The boasting of the dragon was typical of most dragons that we have encountered during our adventure. I neither remember the exact words, nor are they important. Our job here was to establish some resolution with the dragon, preferably one which resulted in his death.

The cavern rocked and icy stalactites fell among us. We dove from under them, but I was not as nimble as the others, and was struck. It was then, with inhuman, nay draconic, agility the dragon was upon us. It breathed its cone of icy doom. I was immune and suffered no damage. I was not so lucky against the tail and talons. A wave of dragonfear threatened to overwhelm me, but my strength held. Perhaps I am not so far from the Triad as I was afraid of for they sustained my will. However, no sooner than I pushed aside my fear that I fell to the dreadful claws.

I woke to the taste of a goodberry and felt some strength return. I groggily stood and took my bearings. Tairen had used a scroll to cast a wall of fire that encircled the dragon, infuriating it in waves of magical fire. Edward and Sven were nowhere to be seen, only an icy wall stood between me and the direction I had last seen them running. They later told me that Sven had been pushed into an icy, slushy pond and his constitution failed him. He succumbed to the cold and would have frozen to death if not for the heroic efforts of Edward dragging him from the pond.

Elyria reached into her quiver and nocked a particularly nasty looking arrow to her bow. The dragon seemed to flinch from the sight of it and I recognized it as one of the spoils we had won, a dragon slaying arrow. Her shot flew true and the dragon convulsed as the magic of the arrow threatened to overwhelm his life force. Elyria quickly nocked the last of the two magical arrows and followed the first shot. Again the dragon fought against the mighty magic of the arrow.

The arrows failed to kill the dragon, but we could tell that it had neared the end of its endurance. Blood flowed freely as we continued our gory business and finally dispatched the dragon.

From there, there isn’t much to add, the ice toads were distraught but accepting of the death of the dragon. We invited them to stay in the lair, I would endow their efforts to preserve and research. The leader agreed to accompany us back to Luskan and visit the Arcane Brotherhood. We have returned to Waterdeep and await the judgement of the council.

I sit here, warmed by a pleasant fire, drinking deeply from a tankard of ale while I write. Even now, I can feel the Drakhorn as it sounds in the distance. We know that it is close, we learned that it has a finite range. Eventually, we will seek it out.

But, what still haunts my sleep is my dereliction of my sworn duty to Tyr, Torm and Ilmater. I have neglected my gods and focused on physical prowess instead of strengthening my faith.

I have decided that it is time for Delilah to be set aside. However, it’s difficult, even now, to ponder such an idea. Between the fiend that flows in my blood, the power of the fiend that I took upon myself from the book, and the sword, a harmony of evil is a sweet, bitter lethargy of warmth and cold. I so long to be free of the taints that I have taken unto myself, yet I feel comforted by their influence though I know them to be wrong.

The path before me is difficult and the task of cleansing myself has made it harder yet. It is a path that I have carved for myself. One that the Triad intends for me to follow. To punish. To humble. And to prove my faith through strength and dedication.

Old White Death
Session 21

== The Party ==
Azujhan Yarjrev – Dragonborn Monk
Elyria Wolfsbane – Wood Elf Ranger
Edward Grusk – Half-Orc Barbarian
Lucas Higgs (Bosun) – Tiefling Paladin
Sven Evenhand – Half-Elf Rogue

== The Story ==
This will be a longer entry so I will skip unimportant bits like the combat unless something of import happened.

Sven was waiting for us when we left the council chambers and got back to the rooms. We filled him in on the meeting and what choices we were given and what choices we made. Of course he questioned everything we did and said.

Regardless of the bickering we had decided to head north to investigate the Drac horn and the council had made arrangements for us to do that so the die was cast as they say. Sorry Sven.

Dala took us to a supply store to procure cold weather gear and gave us a little more information on the Drac horn. She also told us about a member of the Arcane Brotherhood named Macath the Crimson that had gone in search of the horn. She had kept in contact with the brotherhood until three years ago when all communication stopped and she seemingly disappeared. Apparently none of the magical attempts to locate Macath were able to find her. It seems they never actually sent anyone physically to her last know location to verify her death or disappearance.

After gathering our supplies Dala lead us to a long boat called FrostSkimmer and captained by Larusta Half-face. And yes the name is apparently literal, half his face being scarred by severe frostbite. Being a dragonborn cold is not my friends so I had already put on my clothing.

The trip itself was fairly uneventful. As was most of the exploration of the ice flows. We did encounter Merrow at one point when they tried to tip the boat. Several of us were thrown into the water but managed to get back aboard. The fight itself was standard with us quickly faining the upper hand. The most exciting part was when Edward ran from one end of the boat to the other to take down a merrow. Now, if you’ve never seen a barbarian run you are truly missing a sight. The single mindedness of the movement and the shear viciousness is typically enough to terrify anyone on the receiving end of that run. Anyone with half a brain anyway. But this time was special. Remember, we were in a boat. in the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by ice.

Each step was a massive impact and I expected his foot to drive straight through the planks at any point. They held however, showing the quality of the craftmanship of the boat. Edward did get one foot caught on one of the seats and he tumbled forward. However he never actually fell. He dropped to one knee, touched the bottom of the boat with a single hand and pushed off, never once losing momentum.

The merrow he was targeting saw this and began to slowly sink behind the edge of the boat back into the water. He didn’t move fast enough. As I looked around at the others I realized all of us had seen Edwards action and all were dumbfounded. It was a feat of extraordinary strength and one none of the rest of us could have likely matched.

Later, we beached the boat on an ice berg ad set up camp. Those of us who had fallen in need to get our clothes dried and quickly or suffer the same fate as Larustas face. And of course Skags (basically amphibious trolls) chose then to attack. Likely drawn to the earlier conflict with the merrow.

Again the fight went quickly, especially when we remembered that trolls regenerate if not killed by fire or killed while on fire. Afterward we rested (finally).

The next day we continued our search, finally finding the berg we were looking for after five long and boring days.

As we began to explore the berg we encountered the Ice Hunters that we had heard about, only they were a lot less friendly than we had been led to believe. After fetching one of the oarsmen from the boat that could translate for us we learned they wanted us to leave. They told us the dragon was dead, having been killed by ice giants. They refused to budge from their statements and insisted, repeatedly, that we leave. Even going so far as to surround us.

Finally we decided not to push it any farther, even though Sven really really wanted to investigate a giant hole in the ice. They let him look down the hold and he saw that the ice was unnaturally smooth. Our translator clued us in to the fact that every action the Hunters were taking was highly unusual. With that we managed to pull Sven away from the hole and made our way back down to the boat. The Hunters seemed content with this and didn’t follow us down. After some discussion it was decided that Edward would take one of the potions that turned you into a gaseous cloud and head down into the chasm Sven and looked into to see what was actually down there. He returned about an hour later and , after reverting to his normal form, told us that the Hunter known as Barking Seal, the one that had insisted that the white dragon was dead had lied. The caverns below were filled with kobolds and ice trolls and had every indication that a living dragon was still occupying them.

Sven and Elyria decided to stealth their way into the village to try to locate a way down to the caverns as Svens Hole was filled with shards of ice and jagged bits that would make descending that way nearly impossible. So in the morning we confronted the Hunters with the knowledge that they were lying. They resisted but ultimately relented and challenged us to a duel. One of us versus their champion. We win they tell us everything. We lose we leave the berg.

Of course Edward won. So they invited us to a banquet in which Barking Seal tried to poison us. Elyria realized this and when we confronted them Bonecarver, the shaman, took us aside and explained that the chieftain (Barking Seal) was only looking out for the tribe.

He explained that the dragon was in fact alive and threatened the village any time adventurers came near the ice berg they lived on. While we understood the reasonings the tactics were less than honorable. Bonecarver explained further that he would show us where the entrance to the caverns was but that we should expect those living below to be on guard for us.

Not like it’s the first time we walked into a trap.

The telling of the tale.

== The Party ==
Azujhan Yarjrev – Dragonborn Monk
Elyria Wolfsbane – Wood Elf Ranger
Tairen Lairoth – Human Necromancer
Edward Grusk – Half-Orc Barbarian
Lucas Higgs (Bosun) – Tiefling Paladin

== The Story ==
So this journal entry will be shorter than most. Partly because we didn’t do much other than attend a stupid ‘council’ meeting. The other reason is because I’m still upset at the events at said meeting.

After delivering the teeth and eye to the hag we made our way back to Skyreach and traveled to Waterdeep. Blagothkus dropped up off a few miles from the city as to not alarm anyone about a giant castle showing up. After a bit of trouble at the gate where Tairen had t leave his remaining… toy, outside the city walls.

Once inside we eventually found our way to a Harper building where we were finally able to relax for the first time in months. Many of us bathed, others rested. Eventually we all dressed for the occasion and were taken to meet with Leosin. He let us know some of what we should expect but wasn’t able to tell us as much as we might have liked. After a short conversation we were escorted into a chamber where representatives from each of the Factions save the Zhentarium were present. In the case of the Lords Alliance where were four representatives.

Onthar was there for the Order of the Gauntlet. An elf named Delan, a friends of Elyria’s father, represented the Emerald Enclave, Remla Haventree stood for the Harpers. For the Alliance there was the Lord of Waterdeep himself, Degalt Neverember, Laurel Silverhand, Conrad Brunavil, Marshall Alder Ravenguard, King Meldrak and Tarn Thunderspells Hemblade.

A Sir Istaval was there to gather information and report back to Cormir. He himself was a Purple Dragon Knight.

Before things ever got started some of the council put a sour taste in my mouth. King Meldrak and Tarn Thunderspells Hemblade, began questioning Tariens loyality simply because of where he had been born. And questioning Lucas because of his race. These are my friends, I have put my life in their hands countless times and will do so again and again without question. How dare they question the loyality of those that have saved their plump behinds.

Eventually they asked us to recount our story for them. I won’t get into much detail because anyone that has read this journal up to this point knows that story. On several occasions the telling was interrupted to ask us questions. And to judge us.

I have let down Arian. I have let my anger get the best of me. As we told the story of finding the dragon eggs in the hatchery outside of Greenest Delan began to question us. He questioned if we were the able to make proper decisions because we had made a choice. It was then that I let my anger out. I have not been that mad since …. well, the captain. I am ashamed of it but I will not apologized for it. These self-righteous, pompous, self-centered people who dare to sit here and presume to judge.

Question? Fine. Ask if there might have been another way, if there might have been another option. Do that. But they do not have the right to judge us. I don’t care what they have done in the past. We made the choices we made because they were the best ones we could make at the time. To hell with this so called council.

Afterward we were basically given a choice, go after the White Mask and Varhim or go stop the Drac Horn. Since I’m beginning to hear it we decided that might be the best option to eliminate first, otherwise we will be facing a lot more dragons.

As it is, we will likely have to face the father of the white dragon we killed earlier. That should be fun.

There and back. Again.

== The Party ==
Azujhan Yarjrev – Dragonborn Monk
Elyria Wolfsbane – Wood Elf Ranger
Tairen Lairoth – Human Necromancer
Edward Grusk – Half-Orc Barbarian
Lucas Higgs (Bosun) – Tiefling Paladin
Sven Evenhand – Half-Elf Rogue

== The Story ==
I learned a very important lesson in our latest encounter, well two actually. First, never piss off the hag that is helping you. Second, never attempt to infiltrate a dragons lair when you have a debilitating disease.

After returning to her hut on the night we took care of the Ettin and other feywild creatures that were harassing the hag she offered us the changes to get another potion, all we had to do was prick ourselves with a needle infected with something. Turned out to be cackle fever and I almost immediately fell victim to it. The next morning she made a second offer for a greater potion if we take the needle again. And because we are slow to learn we did. And I contracted a second, more virulent version of the disease. A choice I would later regret. Well, technically I wouldn’t regret it as I would be dead.

We started out toward the dragons lair which was on the other side of a stream. As we crossed we were attacked by what amounted to shambling mounds. Sven saw kobolds inside the cave, and we all expected to be attacked by them in short order. Except we weren’t.

After dispatching the mounds we concocted a plan whereby I would stealth my way in carrying a stone with Silence cast upon it, and once I encountered something I would teleport back to the entrance and inform the rest of the party. I didn’t think I made that much noise but apparently there were a great many winged kobolds hanging on the ceiling waiting. Several threw pots of poison and other substances, and it was then my fever decided to assert itself leaving me incapacitated. With no way to notify the party of the circumstances I died. Again.

What follows next was relayed to me after.

The others finally figured out something was wrong and began to make their way in. Turned out to be a lot more kobolds than we thought. Over 40 to be exact. Seems Tairen was the hero of this story as he dropped vast numbers with his fire magic. Many thanks to him for his actions in recovering my body.

After defeating the kobolds the others took my body back to the hag who charge a rather obscene amount of money for my resurrection. They paid it willingly I’m told and never questioned if it was the proper thing, but I wonder if they don’t regret the cost. Or will in the future.

On the upside, I am no longer affected by the fever.

After resting for a bit allowing me to get my bearings and caught up on the recent encounter we decided to once again set out for the dragons and the soulgem. I could give a blow by blow accounting of the encounter with the twins but it would consist of a lot of repetition and tedium. Sufficed to say we barely held our own. Sven and Elyria both fell to injuries, healed by Tairen, and continued fighting. I got a momentary chance to ride the back of a black dragon as I teleported above one and slammed into it’s back. I leapt off and dashed for one of the columns to avoid it’s retribution. It went after the others first but quickly rounded on me. I was able to dodge most of the attack but I was not doing well again. Seeing that we were close to losing this fight both Lucas (as I no longer think of him as Bosun) decided to head for the jem in an attempt to get it out of the cavern and hopefully turn the tide of the battle.

At first I was unable to move as the dragon knew where I was told me not to take it, being susceptible to suggestion by the gem. I drop it and Lucas managed to pick it up. He too was affected but in a different way and managed to get about halfway to one of the cavern entrances before being attacked by a pool of water controlled by the dragons.

After avoiding another attacked my the enraged creatures I made my way to where the gem had fallen, and this time scooped it up with my backpack, rather than touching it with my skin. Doing so did as I had hoped, it prevented be from being influenced by the effects of the gem. it also turned the twins attention solely on me. So I moved with all haste out of the lair. I ran at top speed well past the hags cabin, pretty sure she waved through the window.

I was thankful for all the training Brother Wilkin forced on me at the temple as there would have been no way for me to maintain this pace otherwise. After about 5 minutes of running I had a choice to make. Continue and increase the distance between myself and the others or turn back and risk an attack by the dragons.

In reality I had no choice. If I didn’t turn back and they caught me (which they were slowly doing) I would fall far away from any help. If I turned back I had the chance to avoid their attacks and if I did fall I would not be that far away from help and aid.

So I turned back, again thanking Brother Wilkin for his training. The twins swiped at me and I did manage to avoid their attacks. I did not manage to completely avoid their lightening attacks. I fell about 100 feet from the entrance of the cave. Just as I succumbed to darkness I saw Lucas pull something out and a stream of white streak out and impact both dragons, freezing them solid.

After being healed by Tairen we dissected the dragons and brought parts back to the hag. We still need to raid the lair and retrieve any treasure we wan or want to. But we now have the soulgem of Rezmir. Tarien decided to replace her soul with his, thereby eliminating the life-saving effects. So next time we met the half dragon she will die permanently.

Session 18.1
Supplement to Azujhan for missed session entry

Of all the sins proscribed by the Triad, I must confess to the most grievous, that of sloth. I have neglected my duty and commitment to my friends, and the readers, to chronicle our quest. Azujhan has already updated his portion of this log, so this will be out of order, but it’s only fair that I seek to rectify the error that I have committed.

For my sloth, I can only plea my fascination with the sword. Though the name Hazirawn is etched along its blade, I have come to find myself secretly referring to the sword as “Delilah” after the temptress of long ago, mentioned in the book of an esoteric and alien religion. How I know this is beyond me. I don’t recall having read such a book. I can only attribute this to my previous life. I’m told that I was a bard of the college of lore; perhaps I read the book during one session of research or another.

Delilah was the downfall of an ancient king named Samson. While he slept, the enemy cut his hair, robbing him of his power. While I don’t claim royal blood, I can’t deny the allegory to my own story. The sword has fascinated me and my focused study of it has zealously absorbed my every waking moment. The reasons should become apparent as the reader continues through the entry.

Azujhan’s entry does a very good job of covering for my failure. In the interest of not boring the reader by repeating what he has already eloquently written, I will, instead, add my account as a supplement to his.

We were advised to fly to Waterdeep to attend a council designed to address the danger of the Cult of the Dragon and their attempt to raise Tiamat. En route, it occurred to us that we had not explored all parts of the castle. There was still one area we had avoided, the home of the vampire I had discovered in my search of the castle. The lower door was locked so Blagothkus was kind enough to lift each of us through the hole in the top of the tower. I readied myself as the vampire was already awake and ready for our arrival.

Again, Azujhan does justice to the pact we struck with Sandesyl. I’m not comfortable with the terms of the agreement; however, the loss of life should Tiamat come forth would be much greater than the blood of a few. The pragmatism burns at my soul, but I pray that Torm, Tyr and Ilmater will understand.

We were able to obtain the information we needed and a name to direct us.
Without delay, we asked Blagothkus to steer a course for the swamp. With no room to land the castle in the swamp, Blagothkus was forced to land outside the environs and it was up to us to make our way to the contact.

We faced multiple foes, shambling mounds and the like, but they were dispatched with relative ease. Only a few cuts and bruises were testaments to those encounters. The hag, herself, was a rather pleasant person, as Azujhan has already mentioned. She agreed to provide the information, provided we pass a test. She demanded rare mushrooms for her potions. A few mushrooms? Such an easy task for the reward of information. She guided us to the stagnant pool with enormous mushrooms and we began our task.

It should be noted at this time that we made a critical miscalculation in our expectations of these “mushrooms”. Nothing on this quest had been easy, so why we were under the impression that this task was easy is beyond my comprehension. As we began to gather the mushrooms, clouds of spores flooded the area. The hag merely looked upon our efforts and cackled from the porch of her house.

The replay of blow for blow, spore to spore action is both unnecessary and repetitive. Although there are two observations of note to be made of this encounter.

First, Myconids, as we learned the nature of these mushrooms, are difficult adversaries. Most noticeably, the spores emitted are quite potent. I found myself under the influence of these hallucinogenic spores multiple times, at times feeling euphoria, at others fear.

Second, and most relevant to me, the sword, Hizirawn showed its nature. I felt the failure of one of my clumsy blows and felt my body begin to stiffen, my blood sluggish through my veins. The effect only lasted a few seconds before I returned to my full functionality. I marked it down to simple misperceptions of battle. However, I felt it again after another wild swing far missed its mark. The effect was tougher to shake. Like before, I was able to shake the feeling, although with more difficulty.

And thus we turn to the reasons behind the new appellation I am secretly given the sword. A rational individual would immediately toss this sword into the nearest volcano and be done with it. I can’t. Delilah saps ration from my thoughts. Instead, I’m drawn into contemplation of this black blade. If only some time will let me unlock the secrets of this blade and give me the insight to safely use its gifts and minimize its curse.

I may give Delilah to the volcano one day. I’ve lost weight from not eating and my duties in updating this journal have faltered. Yet, I still feel the need to carry her into battle against Tiamat and whatever evil lies beyond.


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