Dalun

Journey into the Temple
The heroes explore a mysterious temple

After the party left the ruins of Ulnath Ultyr’s castle and reunited with Aegishand and Gylek they made their way to an ancient temple enshrined in ice deep within the tundra of Imnisvael. The main entrance was encased in ice, so the party climbed the exterior wall and descended into the main hall. The floor tiles were cut from a brilliant blue and white marble made into the shape of a crescent moon. Twelve statues stood along the exterior of the moon depiction within the floor.

As the party was investigating the ruin a wyvern descended through the breach in the roof and attacked. To make matters worse spirits awoke within the statues and waylaid the party as they battled the lesser dragon. After the party dispatched the phantoms and slew the wyvern they activated the magic within the twelve statues revealing a passageway delving deeper into the temple.

Underneath the temple the party found a long corridor with tall columns which seemed to mystically recreate the seasons. Roughly one quarter of the length of the tunnel was cold and dry, another quarter length was warm and humid, another length was hot and dry and another cool again. At the end of the passageway the party encountered a bearded human who claimed to be a werewolf. He told a story about how he and his people have come to this temple in search of a way to take control of their lycanthropic curse instead of getting rid of it. Also in the chamber with the werewolf were three magic doors. The door to the left of the entrance appeared to be a circle of magic runes set within the floor, perhaps a teleportation circle. The door to the right was a stone carving of a doorway set into the wall of the chamber with a glowing depiction of a faraway land set within the frame. And lastly the “door” straight across from the entrance appeared to be a magic mirror which did not hold the bearer’s reflection, but instead an uncertain swirl of smoke and fog.

The party discussed the possible choices before them, but ultimately decided to take rest and recover their spells before striking on.

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Seeking the Gift of the North

Einar explained his position as prince of the Riddare and that he is hiding out in an old family manse at the edge of R├╝dvaar lands because an Ogrek shapeshifter masquerades as himself in the royal court back home. He also explained that he would like the adventurers’ help taking back his birth right and title and to help them return to Dalun some day. However, he acknowledges that in their present state without their equipment and without some type of boon or blessing they will not survive the arctic cold of Imnisvael. He told them a story of how Ulnath Ultyr, the founder of the first Riddare settlement, came to Imnisvael and constructed a great castle in a nearby valley. If there is any hope that the adventurers would be able to endure the harsh cold of the north it would be by exploring the ruins of Ulnath’s castle to uncover some boon or gift from the spirits of the Riddare.

Before they left, Einar imparted what power he could to stave off the extreme cold and wished them well. The party headed East into the mountains. As they traveled they found that the sun never quite went down, though after many hours the sun hung low in the sky, it eventually rose again before touching the horizon. The orange rays of the sun along with Einar’s blessing, kept the adventurers warm enough as they entered the valley where Ulnath’s ruined castle stood. They picked their way through an abandoned ruin of what once was a small city nestled in the mountains. Part way they were ambushed by lesser Ogrek creatures resembling grey-skinned goblins. They slew the creatures and made their way to the castle where they easily made their way inside through one of its may crumbled gaps.

The castle itself was cold and dark with numerous collapsed chambers and passages. Twice a floor segment or portion of wall collapsed nearly injuring the adventurers. After doing battle with a number of other creatures and navigating the precarious mountain castle, the adventurers encountered a ghostly spirit still working on a seemingly invisible weapon. The spirit explained that the weapon will take shape for whoever takes it up and swears to avenge the spirits of the Riddare. Solgrin drew the sword from an icy block beside the spirit’s forge and the party set out to the castle’s upper levels to do battle with a dragon that has long haunted the ruined castle.

On their way to the top the party found a crystal ball within a high chamber near the top of the castle’s tower. Golthiron peered into the divining stone and saw his homeland, it was verdant and green with no signs of danger or darkness, but then the image faded. Larkspur peered into the stone and saw a temple not far from the ruins which may hold secrets pertaining to the deadly curse upon himself. When the party reached the highest height of the castle ruin they sounded the “Challenger’s Horn” and summoned one of the castle’s many foes, a white dragon called Xeralane. They slew the dragon atop the castle and in doing so caused the nearby camp of Ogrek forces to flee in terror.

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Escaping Skaulheim

After the collapse of Lanyr’s realm the party found themselves teleported to Imnisvael. There they traveled under the never setting sun through the bleak tundra until they could not march any longer. They were captured by vile, ogre-like creatures and taken to a subterranean fortress. Hog tied, the party worked together to cut themselves free using a piece of broken arrowhead provided by a fellow prisoner, Einar. Einar and the party ambushed a squad of impish guards, taking their weapons and killing the odious wretches.

Navigating the subterranean halls of Skaulhiem was difficult because of the numerous monster patrols, but also because the party did not have access to their weapons or equipment. Still, the group was able to use stealth to overcome flat-footed sentries and their athleticism and magic to overcome obstacles and impasses.

While the party managed to sneak and fight their way past most foes they knew that even once they made it to the surface they would likely freeze. Einar explained that in order to endure the cold like his people can they would need “The Blessing of the North” something that he could not give to them without his possessions and certainly not while attempting to escape Skaulheim. The party quickly formed a plan to make their up the mountain where Einar would sing to his people from afar. He claims that the song of the royal family can be heard at great by those who are loyal to the king of the Riddare.

Without much of a choice, the party garbed themselves in what layers they could from a nearby storeroom, took some captured weapons and ascended the nearest peak. They mounted a stone platform where Einar began his song. The vile Ogrek and a nearby drake heard the singing and attacked the party. It was a bloody battle, but they slew many foes and just as the harsh arctic air was gripping them they were rescued by what appeared as angelic beings from beyond the clouds.

When they woke they found themselves in a warm, rustic lodge. A Riddare healer and Einar greeted them as they came to. He smiled and welcomed them to his lands.

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The Evil Wizard's Domain
Confronting Lanyr

The party awoke from their strange encounter with the forest creature (who later revealed his name to be K’miec) and found themselves about a campfire in the woods. Strangely, they were clad in grey robes but were otherwise unharmed and had all of their possessions. Even more strangely perhaps, was Solgrin’s arrival. The dark warrior stepped out of a cosmic rift and appeared before the party explaining that Aust, Lorgrium and he just slew Tyrannax the Destroyer and in the battle the Dragon’s Eye Gem was shattered. The release of energy sent Solgrin through the fabric of time and landed him here in Lanyr’s realm.

The team regrouped and made their way to the nearest site of power to begin dismantling Lanyr’s control over this place and permit them to escape. In a nearby cave they found a mighty chimeric beast which they slew. As Aegishand recovered the sapphire gem containing Lanyr’s power a vile ooze of tentacles descended from the ceiling of the cave and assailed the party. The dwarf rogue smashed the sapphire gem on the pommel of his shortsword releasing a magic gale of tremendous cold freezing him to the ground on the spot. The entire cave was encased in ice, Aegishand along with it. The party lit flames and thawed the dwarf from the frost and escaped the cave.

The team then made their way out of the forest towards the village to the west. Larkspur explained that the sun moves differently on this plane of existence which made navigating more difficult, but the party managed just as well. Upon arrival to the village the party was greeted with little more than curious faces, but no one approached to speak with them. On the far side of the village was the home of the village “sin eater” whose calling was to consume the sins of the dead through a ritual. K’miec explained that the Sin Eater was one of Lanyr’s sources of strength, so the party met with him. He appeared as a simple man who had not aged well, but was otherwise unremarkable. There was a brief discussion of what the man’s fate would be and while there was resistance from some members of the party Golthiron was not deterred and slew the man.

The last place of power was said to be a shrine up in the mountains, so the party traveled north. The journey was long and the company rested for the night. During the night each member of the party was visited by a taunting specter of Lanyr. He mockingly asked the question “where do your dreams go when you sleep in my domain?” The cruel wizard claimed that when their minds return to their bodies they will be different some how. Indeed when the party awoke each of them had forgotten something vital about themselves. After dawn the party traveled up the mountainside and entered the ruin of the shrine. Within they found the bodies of those who Lanyr sacrificed during his necrotic experiments, they estimated that there were over 100 corpses in the chamber. At the center of the hall stood a bone pedestal and a tome bound in flesh and written with blood. Gylek was drawn to the book, seemingly unable to control himself. He began reading the incantation which was supposed to reanimate the bones of the dead and set them upon the folk of the village below the mountain. The undead would then jealously take the lives of those who survived Lanyr’s experimentation. Doing so, however, would release much of Lanyr’s power.

A few of the members of the party, Larkspur in particular, felt that this was too high a price to pay and stopped Gylek. After several minutes of discussion the party more or less agreed that killing all of the folk of the village was too far and that they would just have to confront Master Lanyr without attempting to subvert him here at the undead shrine. They composed themselves and marched through the day and night not stopping to rest this time for fear that Lanyr would make them forget more of themselves. They arrived to his palace which was a grand structure sculpted from marble.

Within they found and confronted Lanyr as well as a set of marble statues that resembled each member of the party. Taunts were exchanged, neither side backed down, and battle was joined. The statues sprang to life and attacked the party while Lanyr cast destructive spells. Ultimately the evil wizard was cut down, but in his final moments he entreated them to bring to him his tome of necromancy to “prevent this world from collapsing.” They did not heed his warning and slew him which immediately brought about the destruction of his realm. The walls fell down and the very ground dissipated from under their feet. The party fell through the immaterial darkness that exists between planes, their senses waned and blurred.

When they came to from the extraplanar travel the party found themselves laying sprawled in a vast tundra where the sun hung low in the sky and prismatic lights danced along the opposite horizon. They surmised that this place must be Imnisvael, the Center of the World…

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The Wizard's Plane
Leaving Dalun

The party had little choice but to step forth through the magic door that took them into Master Lanyr’s demi-plane of existence. Before them they saw a brick road that wound its way past a large forest, through a village, around a mountain and up to a palace at the top of a broad hill. Lanyr’s plane of existence is a magically created world inspired by a man whose traveled Dalun’s southern kingdoms. Its appearance does not favor any one particular realm over another, but the marble columns and antiquated homes are reminiscent of the classical paintings and descriptions of the old kingdoms. Without too much of a warning, or certainly any welcome, a pair of minotaurs roared and charged the party. With the wounds from their previous battle, the fight proved to be bloody, however in the end the beasts were slain and healing spells cast.

After the battle Gylek explained that in order to channel the positive energy needed to create healing magic he must balance this power with negative energy. After healing the party Gylek then began using necrotic magic to animate the bones of the dead Minotaurs. To power the spell he crushed a captured fairy in his hand and drew power from the Icon of Zethos that he had been carrying in his possession. Before the party’s eyes the Minotaurs rose once more, this time suspended in death and under Gylek’s complete control. Naturally the reanimation of the dead triggered an ethical discussion amongst the party. Gylek explained that this expression of negative energy is necessary in order to maintain his healing powers.

While some members of the company voiced opposition to the use of Necromancy and the undead, some were more passive or accepting, but ultimately the party deemed it best to just move on. Following Larkspur’s lead the group made their way towards the forest hoping to hide from any divination spells that Master Lanyr might use to spy on them. After traveling for about a day the party set up camp and rested. Upon waking in the morning they found that Golthiron had vanished, so they set out to track him down. As Larkspur followed his tracks night fell once more and one by one the party was separated from each other.

The party reconvened in a dark, stone chamber underneath the earth. A mysterious, elf-like being, explained that Master Lanyr is keeps a wrathful eye on all of his subjects. He uses the folk of the nearby village for experimenting on with spells and uses his magic to observe all that moves within his domain. The elf-like creature also explained that here in his place Master Lanyr holds great power, but this power comes from three different sources across the demi-plane. There is a “sin-eater” who lives just beyond the village who maintains the villagers’ sanctity who also holds a portion of Lanyr’s power. Within the mountains to the north there is a shrine atop a cliff which houses a third of Lanyr’s strength. And finally within the forest they entered a day ago there is a shallow cave which also fuels Lanyr’s might. The party can seek out and destroy these sources of power to make their confrontation with Lanyr easier or they can attempt to infiltrate his palace unnoticed and catch him unawares, albeit at full strength.

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Attack on House Imirun

After the battle in the city dungeon the party connected the agents responsible for the prison riot back to a local wizard by the name of Master Lanyr. Solgrin took the Dragon’s Eye Gem and joined forces with Lorgrium and Aust to pursue the Tyrannax the dragon while Aust gave the party a lead to speak with a nobleman by the name of Lanner Calsbree. Calsbree had his house mage cast an illusion spell to allow the party to sneak into Castle Imirun, the home and headquarters of Master Lanyr. The quest was to confront and take down Lanyr because he tried to frame the party for the outbreak in the city dungeon, has ties to Nurvaal, is believed to be a necromancer, and is openly building a rival faction against the Wizards of the Kowl.

Lanner Calsbree’s illusion spell successfully granted the party access to Castle Imirun, however shortly after passing through the main gate the magic was dispelled by Lanyr’s defensive wards. The house guards assembled and attacked the party slinging crossbow bolts and spells. The house mages used necromancy to reanimate the bones of any slain guards which did not seem to disturb the other, still living guards. The party seized a ring of keys from a gnome guard and moved their way through the armory and fought their way up a tower.

After a brief exchange with a magically animated candelabra Larkspur tricked the “butler” into taking tea to Master Lanyr. The evil wizard was conducting a complicated spell and was angered by the party’s intrusion and launched a deadly fireball, sacrificing his minions to further power the magical attack. Despite a strong opening by Lanyr, the party was able to overwhelm his magical defenses, however when Aegishand stabbed the wizard his body did not collapse to the ground, but instead flashed into smoke and ash. Where he stood an arcane door sprang into existence. Peering through the portal the party could see another world, one with a grassy hill, marble columns and creatures of myth wandering about. Atop the hill at the end of a stone footpath stood a great temple or palace. The party could hear more guards and mages rushing to the aid of master Lanyr just behind them…

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Chaos beneath Drithkowl
A violent prison riot

The party weighs their options and decides that the best way to help Rokourd and defeat Golthos is by meeting with Aust and Lorgrium. They are being held as prisoners in the city dungeon below Drithkowl, so the party decides to infiltrate the dungeon to meet with or perhaps free Aust and Lorgrium.

Larkspur donned the cloak of disguise and distracted the door guard while Aegishand sneaked into the dungeon, opening a door from within. After only about a minute inside the dungeon a riot erupted and a full blown prison break was sprung. It quickly became clear that there were other agents at work organizing the prisoner uprising.

Solgrin rallied the flat-footed guards and suppressed the riot on the first level of the dungeon. As the party moved deeper in they found cultists and heretics wielding sorcerery driving the prisoners on in a blood frenzy to kill the prison guards and secure their freedom. Gylek banished a mighty tentacle beast that had ruptured the ground and broke through the floor of the prison and the party defeated a mysterious black-clad provocateur who admitted to inciting the prison riot. It was not clear what his motives were beyond laying blame for the riot on someone else, possibly the members of the party or possibly Aust and Lorgrium. The evil provocateur wore a skull mask and used powerful magic, but was ultimately slain.

The party rescued a guard who agreed to tell the truth of what happened including Solgrin’s push to retake the prison with the other guards. Moving to the lowest level of the dungeon the party spotted a magic door rippling along a stone wall which they entered and found an open chasm. Within was a vast, abandoned subterranean dwelling which appeared to be a type of underground settlement belonging to some long extinct underground civilization. Amongs the old stone buildings and aged skeletons, a pair of mage initiates attacked the party saying “it’s not them, but let’s get them anyway!”

After the fighting it was revealed that the attackers were sent by a Wizard of the Kowl searching for obsidian stones used to animate the bones of the dead. Pressing forth the party encountered the bodies of additional apprentices of this Kowled Necromancer and eventually made their way to the surface where they encountered Aust (in animal form) and Lorgrium doing battle with a group of mage initiates.

Once the parties united they spoke and revealed their plans to each other. Lorgrium explained that he and Aust were captured following up on a lead while pursuing The Dragon’s Eye gem. They were doing this because they were given a quest by a roguish man named Ridden. They now know that the gem has great power and Lorgrium indicated that it could be used to “reveal all dragons” and possibly be used against Tyrannax the Destroyer. He offered that Aust and he could hunt down and defeat Tyrannax while the party pursued Nurvaal White, saving Drithkowl and taking away Governor General Hallour’s excuse for not helping Eltgaard.

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Journey to the North
The party heads for Rokourd

After having slain Saazixthumei and returning to Tradekeep the party reconvened at The Grinning Goblin to discuss their next move. It was decided that Golthos the “king of giants” has gone unchallenged long enough. Aegishand left some of his gold from the dragon horde with Erel to help expand the Grinning Goblin’s business opportunities and then the party headed north.

The party left Tradekeep in the middle of October, traveled over the Suncrest Peaks where they cannily outsmarted an ettin and continued on their way in peace. By early November they arrived to Westwater where they were met with a rather cold reception, so they restocked and kept moving. There were few incidents on the road through Vyankal and the party reached Lathlor without facing any peril.

While travelling along the edge of The Glarwood the party heard from some of the elven communities that the warmth and power from within the forest was fading. There are whispers of a great corruption spreading from within.

Determined to complete the quest that they set out upon, the party continued on their way and arrived to the city of Drithkowl where they were bidden to meet with Governor-General Hallour, the master of the city. In meeting with Hallour the party learned that the heroes of the north, Aust and Lorgrium, had been captured attempting to break into the Fortress of Lazandroth. The party asked how they could seek their audience and Hallour said that he would release Aust and Lorgrium to the party if they slew the mighty dragon, Tyrannax the Destroyer.

Frustrated with this “offer” the party met with Traggath, the lord commander of the Drasguardian Knights Hospitaller and his men who have camped out just beyond the walls of Drithkowl. In their meeting, Lord Traggath revealed that he has been sending spies into the city in an attempt to gain audience with Governor-General Hallour to discuss “saving the north” from Golthos, Tyrannax and the vile necromancer Nervaal White. So far, however, the Governor-General has not granted audience with Traggath or any of his diplomats.

Traggath estimates that Golthos has a force of over ten thousand orcs and goblinoids. His band of hospitallers numbers close to one hundred, but he knows that Drithkowl’s garrison is 3,000 to 5,000 strong. Aegishand gave a large sum of money to Lord Traggath to pay for the hiring and training of mercenaries while the party looked into their remaining options: rescuing Aust and Lorgrium, seeking out and defeating Tyrannax the dragon or looking to Edril or beyond for aid.

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In the Lair of the Dragon
Battle with Saazixthumei

Travelling south out of Vaelyngroth the party made for the lair of Saazixthumei, the Green Terror, dragon of the Elernain. The journey took a number of days before the party arrived to a hill darkened by a thick canopy of spider-infested trees. The monstrous arachnids were many, so the party fought a moving battle to reach the entrance of the cave. Werler, who demanded be brought with, was struck by spider venom and paralyzed. It was Gylek who carried him safely inside despite the peril to himself.

Once inside the party navigated the rocky depths for a time, avoiding the goblins who called the upper levels home. They crossed an uncertain bridge where some members of the party nearly fell through the rickety wooden boards to the chasm below. It was too dangerous to keep going with Werler in his paralyzed state, so the party decided to leave him with a dagger in a dark crook near the bridge. Creeping past a dungeon ooze monster and using fire to thwart a cave infested with poisonous mushroom creatures the party entered a large hall built by ancient hands.

Throughout the chamber gold coins crunched under foot and columns of thick worked stone reached up to a high ceiling. At the center of the massive treasure horde was the dragon Saazixthumei. It appeared scarred, but uninjured and was furious with the interlopers for entering its domain. Threats were made, swords drawn and battle was joined.

Saazixthumei opened with an impressive attack of poisonous breath. The party rallied; Larkspur crippled the dragon’s wing with a pair of arrows while Solgrin and Golthiron mounted the dragon’s back and hammered it’s scales. Aegishand dealt a telling blow with a sneak attack critical hit from his crossbow.

In the end the party was victorious with no casualties. They recovered the Dragon’s Eye Gem and used a portion of its power to release the dragon’s many captives who had been encased in emerald stone prisons. The company of about 100 some gathered up what treasure they could fit in their pockets and bags and made for Tradekeep.

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Among the Elves

The party reconvened at The Grinning Goblin and spoke of their next move. They discussed news of Aegishand’s home, Eltgaard and the dangers there as well as a means of locating this forest spirit of the Elernain that seeks to restore itself. The party decided that this spirit must be the same that cursed poor Werler who was last left distantly to the north east of Tradekeep at Vaelyngroth and so made the elvish fortress their destination. After crossing over the mountains, then east along the Eredral River, and into the Elernain the party arrived to Vaelyngroth two weeks after leaving the Goblin.

When they arrived they found that the fortress appeared nearly exhausted of troops. In fact, when the party implored the castellan for assistance in their quest to locate Saazixthumei he refused unless they agreed to help him first. Reports of monsters, invaders, forest spirits and the undead have caused a great deal of unrest in the region, but Commander Calundor claims that he does not have enough troops to counter these threats. The party chose to help a pair of scouts in their mission to rescue a group of human and elf commoners being held captive by a vicious band of gnolls believed to be in the service of “the Warboss.”

The journey to the gnoll camp took a day and a half and the mission was a success. There were nine prisoners held in plain sight in a sturdy wooden cage located centrally within the camp. The camp itself was protected by a wide stream of the Eredral river to the north, a natural cliff wall to the south and makeshift walls to the east and west. The party devised a strategy to rescue the captives and split up. Solgrin and Gylek assaulted the front gate slaying many gnolls with axe and spell. Larkspur and Aegishand snuck into the camp, sprung the captives from the cages and ferried the commonfolk across river using a makeshift raft. Solgrin slew the gnoll chief and Aegishand personally rescued a captive too injured to move by his own power, carrying him to safety on his back.

The party returned to Vaelyngroth, Calundor was pleased and permitted the party access to the magic divining pool. Within the mystic waters the party scried Saazixthumei using a set of three scales recovered during their battle at the Four Winds tavern. Beholding the divination they saw before them a dark hill in the wood inhabited by hundreds of poisonous spiders of monstrous size. Under the dark boughs of the trees was the entrance to a rock tunnnel occupied by dozens of savage orcs. Deeper in still the party saw a bio-luminescent grove of tree-sized mushrooms and carpet-like fungus. Finally beyond this they saw a grand hall, perhaps of dwarf-make, filled with mountains of treasure and atop the highest pile of coin rest a great green dragon…

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