The Cold Peak
Get Ready To Rumble!

Remaining on Prophet’s Peak overnight to guard the nest of The White Prophet were Alfred Sweetvine, Allyson Sweetvine, Aprilane, Max, Gnf, and Ugrun.

While on guard, they took note of a red dragon approaching. “What are you doing here?” was it’s challenge. Despite its attempts to appear threatening, Alfred couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t all that big of a dragon, smaller than the The White Prophet herself. And did its voice seem to crack just a bit. However, Alfred replied with a very pretty speech, “We guard the nest of the White Prophet at her behest, as she is engaged in a prophetic trance, as you can see on the nearby peak.”

Red Teen seemed taken aback, but spoiling for a fight. “Well, you do not seem worthy to guard her nest. I shall test you.” And with that, the rumble was on. Red Teen got in a few good breaths, but the party seemed to be getting the upper hand when he landed by the campfire as to warm himself, nodded, and said, “Hey, you guys are pretty good after all! I guess you can stay.” The best estimate of the party is that he had taken a beating, but wished to preserve his pride.

After a bit more discussion, a distant bellow was heard calling his name. “Ok, nice meeting you all, I got to run.”

Later, deep in the night, there was a final attack. This was carried out by goblins, commanded by a dark elf. They attempted an ambush, but were foiled by a trap that Aprilane had laid at the place where the path entered the cleared area in the mountaintop.

With the dawn, the White Prophet returned, uttering the Prophecy of the Wanderer. These words are so memorable that those who heard them have no trouble recalling them verbatim. She also bestowed upon them the Token of White Dragonkind in her possession, a cloak. It develops that the cloak that K’Lenth had given them was another such token.

Returning to K’Lenth’s keep, they discussed the prophecy with K’Lenth and Eldreth Deepwater. Eldreth said that he thought he would be able to gather tokens from the metallic dragons, but he might not be well received by some of the chromatics. K’Lenth nodded at this and opined that given the prophecy, it seemed as though the group was likely to cross paths with other chromatics.

With that, the party set off for Silverymoon to follow up on the invitation of Tulvin Narnari. Once out of K’Lenth’s keep, and it’s extensive wards against scrying and mental influence, they received a sending from Tulvin: Large army bearing symbol of red fist has plundered Sundahar. Now marching on Silverymoon. Approach with care. Sighted orcs, gnolls, ogres and others. Make haste.

Gnf replied to this: Mesage received. We’re on our way. We appreciate the warning, estimate arrival time 4 days.

In addition, sendings were made to Ugrun’s aide Glurk now in Helensville: Received Reports large orc gnoll ogre army plundered sundabar, marching Silverymoon bearing red fist symbol query info political situation.

Glurk’s reply was: red fist symbol associated with splinter religious faction, originally orcs, but expanding. Nomadic in nature, not thought threatening prior. Silverymoon needs Many Arrows, won’t accept?

Ugrun nodded at this and told the party that he would soon be leaving them, to go to Many Arrows and prepare, both to look to their defenses and to prepare to aid Silverymoon. But he would remain with the group until they approached Silverymoon.

Meeting the White Prophet
Who's that girl?

Upon escorting the caravan of refugees from Waterdeep out of the city, the caravan headed out to Helensville, where a refugee camp was now being organized by Celine, who was now effectively both the Mayor of that town and the Guard Captain, since both were slain by the recent incursions of the Queen of the Beasts and her strange spellplague.

As the group headed away from Waterdeep, a very fancy coach, accompanied by armed soldiers on foot and horse approached Waterdeep. The only markings were a stylized letter “X” on shields, livery and the coach itself. There were curtains on the coach, but they drew aside and the face of a human woman peered out.

Max was in the vanguard of the caravan, as was usual. As the caravan approached he turned away, looking down at the ground at the side of the road. To a discerning eye, he seemed to be struggling to keep control of some unknown feelings. An astute observer might have noted that the eyes from the coach watched Max unguardedly for a moment, then flicked away when a harsher voice came from inside the coach, `What is it, Alia ? ’

The sparkling brown eyes resumed their guardedness and a woman’s voice replied, “Oh, just some craftsmen, nothing of note.” And a green-skinned hand with strangely thin fingers reached out and pulled the curtain shut. But to some of those watching the ring upon the first finger of that hand left an indelible impression. It was a gold ring, in the shape of a dragon, and it seemed as if it were something they had always known, and thought about constantly. Which was strange, since others of the caravan had not noticed the ring at all, and did not even remember discussing it when questioned later.

Once there, the group of mercenaries from Turlough’s Steel, our heroes, proceeded to deliver both Melia to Eldreth Deepwater and the custom-made dragon-sized spectacles to K’lenth, since Eldreth had sent word to them that he was staying at K’lenth’s keep near Dragonwatch. Ugrun resolved to go with them, since there were also rumors of difficult doings in Silverymoon he wished to investigate.

The journey went without incident, and soon they were in the courtyard of K’lenth’s castle, in the presence of a giant blue dragon – K’Lenth – and another, only slightly smaller, silver dragon – Eldreth Deepwater.

K’lenth found his new spectacles to be most satisfactory, and Eldreth’s embrace of his daughter was warm on both counts. During the dinner festivities, there was discussion of Chaundakil, whom K’lenth remembered. “Yes, a delightful man, I dined with him on occasion. Full of interesting tales. Was always travelling up and down my road. I wonder what became of him?”

This of course surprised Gnf and Alfred greatly, since any previous attempt to discuss Chaundakil with anyone other than those who had visited Chaundakil’s Anchor had been utterly futile, since some powerful magic seemed to make others forget that they had ever heard of the name or any mention of him. It appears that the wards of K’lenth’s keep (which prevent scrying or sending of any kind), built by the gnome arcanist and architect, Fenster Wockle, must have prevented K’lenth from being affected by these powerful magics. K’lenth replied to questions saying that the suggestion of the keep and the idea for its wards was given to him as a prophecy by a dragon known only as The White Prophet. A female white, she lives high in the nearby mountains.

But K’lenth and Eldreth have other concerns – the children of dragons seem to be having difficulties. Not kidnappings such Melia’s, but failure to thrive. Eggs do not hatch, young do not grow, or they are listless and melancholy. The problem is not great yet, but it is growing. They feel it is necessary to consult the White Prophet on this matter. However, there is a young red dragon about who seems inclined to poach on K’lenth’s territory, and Eldreth would prefer to remain in the castle, protecting his daughter as well.

So the party, Gnf, Max, Alfred, Ugrun, Aprilane, and Allyson Sweetvine, agreed to go to consult the White Prophet. And thus they journeyed deeper into the mountains.

As they approached the summit of Prophet’s Peak, the band of supplicants was attacked by a group of Rage Drakes. Apparently the drakes were aggressively defending their nests, since a clutch or two of eggs were found after the battle.

When they found the small caldera a large white dragon greeted them with names that seemed riddles or contraditions, as she called them forth one at a time. Alfred stepped forth first to tell her that the group sought her wisdom. She asked, “where is your sister?” When Allyson stepped to Alfred’s side, she called them “the brave and the beautiful”, nodding to Alfred and then Allyson. Gnf was called forth as “the great spirit”, Max “the lover”, Aprilane “a fine lady” and Ugrun “a noble soul”.

She said that she would go to her place of ritual and seek wisdom on the questions which the group was marked with, but they must keep vigil, watching over her eggs for the next 24 hour period. The party agreed and The White Prophet flew to a nearby peak and began incantations. Soon entering a trance, it was clear that she would be unreachable and unavailable to help with any defense.

Meanwhile the group set about securing the clutch of eggs. They were covered over with snow (which they were already nestling in) and the illusion of another nest created nearby. This proved handy when a band of harpies came by thinking to steal the eggs and feast on them. The song of these harpies gave those nearby a painful burning sensation, which in the end melted most of the snow laid about the eggs. But the decoy nest served its purpose, and the harpies repelled without damage to them.

Escaping Waterdeep With Orc in Tow
Are there any archers on the rooftops?

Having rescued Melia, the intrepid group of mercenaries from Turlough’s Steel turned their attention to getting Ugrun out of the house used by him as the embassy to Waterdeep from the Kingdom of Many Arrows. The house was surrounded by a mob of angry humans, who blamed orcs for the death of the Speaker of the Waterdeep Council.

A rescue attempt was coordinated when Gnf contacted Ugrun with a sending, receiving a return with a time and place: the back alley behind the house, and soon.

When the group arrived, Ugrun was accompanied by Glurk, who was carrying a lockbox or chest of some sort that seemed quite heavy.

The alley was not completely unguarded, but the party fought through successfully. One highlight was when Gnf closed off a narrow area between buildings with a web, considerably slowing the mobs approach.

With that accomplished, the group went to the Temple of Sune, where many refugees had been gathering. The party agreed to escort four wagons full of refugees (along with Glurk and the chest.)

As expected, more of the mob attacked the wagons on their way out the East Gate. Though perhaps mob was not the best word for it, since it seemed somewhat more organized than that. Max was the advance guard, and smoked out a few ambushers. But when he came to a “T” intersection where the caravan was to turn right, he found a largish organized force to the left and called for backup. Meanwhile, Aprilane finally spotted the archers on the rooftop that she had spent the entire day looking for. The wagons took some fire, but at last the gates were cleared and the danger past.

At this point Shifty took her leave. At least, Shifty was a her when she said goodbye to Alfred. She will remain in Waterdeep as Eldreth Deepwater’s agent and spy.

Rescuing Melia

Upon returning to Waterdeep, Allyson Sweetvine, Alfred Sweetvine, Gnf, Max and Aprilane found it to be in a very somber mood.

Very quickly, they learned that the Speaker of the Waterdeep Council was dead, and believed, at least by some, to be murdered. There were rumors that the Speaker was close to concluding a trade arrangement with the Kingdom of Many Arrows, and some, including Oleg Frunk, believed that to be true. There was also word and signs that a Citizen’s Militia was patrolling the streets.

Alfred visited the Temple of Sune, where he offered a donation and then spoke to the ranking priestess, a halfling named Rosalie. Alfred noted a large number of refugees in the Temple’s compound, many of mixed races, evidently fearing reprisals. Alfred reported the situation in Helensville. Rosalie replied that it would turn out to be very handy that Celine remained there, since there might soon be a need for a place for all the refugees.

Aprilane visited Krendel and bought some more arrows and caught up on the gossip about the Speaker. Krendel was unhappy with the new Citizen’s Militia and the implication that the guard wasn’t up to the job of keeping Waterdeep safe.

Aprilane then went to the Many Arrows embassy house, hoping to look in on Ugrun. But it seems there was a mob gathered outside of it, and it was boarded up tight. There were chants of “No more orcs” and accusations that orcs had killed the Speaker running through the crowd. It looked too ugly for Aprilane to chance, and she decided to report back to the rest of the party to get help for Ugrun.

Gnf visited Calfalas, finding him deeply enmeshed in translating the tome Chaundakil’s Journal, which he has taken to calling Chandakil’s Chronicle. From what he can tell, there is some spell blocking his progress, as it seems to affect his ability to remember things, so he is using a painstaking process that involves much indexing of words, and use of indirect associations. Calfalas was so deeply involved with his work, he had not yet heard of the death of the Speaker, but when he did, he asked the young clerk William to shutter the doors, so he could continue his work.

While there, Gnf received a sending from Tulvin Narnari, which said,

Elves of Abeir corroborate your story. Have discovered much about planar rift, interplanar matrix and confluence of such. Eager to discuss findings with you soonest.

Gnf replied,

Thank you. Will travel soonest to consult. Minimum week. Interesting developments re spellfire. Drow and Lolth involved. Will shared what we know when arrive.

Max wandered the streets for a bit, thinking he saw a glimpse of a gray-haired man. He then went by the bakery shop of Oleg Frunk, where he listened to Oleg’s fears of racial reprisals along with Alfred, while munching one of Oleg’s excellent krullers.

Gathering back at their favorite Inn, Alfred flirted with the serving wench as usual. Her response was to whisper in his ear, “I have a message for you.” Well, it wasn’t long before Alfred found himself with her in a lonely corner, and was in her embrace. However, events went off their usual course when the barmaid said, “I think you prefer girls, don’t you? I could be a boy if that’s what you really liked.” and while under Alfreds arms, her shape flowed and shifted into that of a handsome, male youth.

Naturally, Alfred was somewhat taken aback at this, but instantly recognized Shifty. Shifty explained that she-he (we’ll use she for now) works for Eldreth Deepwater now, and Deepwater wants to talk to Alfred and their group in private. This message was delivered by Shifty using Eldreth’s face and voice.

Once the group was reunited in the inn, they were brought to a private room in the inn, where Eldreth explained to them that the Speaker, as far as he was concerned, had indeed been murdered, and that he would be doing more about it, except that his daughter, Melia had been kidnapped and was being held as a hostage. Unable to act overtly to rescue her, could the party undertake this?

Of course the answer was yes. They set to work quickly. Alfred went to visit Harry Diggs of the Plumbers and Cellarers, and got a lot of information about which buildings have basements and access to the sewers. Then, with Shifty, he did some infiltration of the Citizen’s militia, further narrowing things down.

Aprilane and Gnf looked for clues first at Eldreth’s house, where the kidnapping had taken place. Aprilane found some signs of forcible kidnapping, and some mud that she thought might be a clue. Gnf found a few signs of arcane activity, such a silence ritual, and other signs of many subtle wards and spells about Eldreth’s residence. Since she was so strongly associated with Ugrun, Shifty used her disguise kit to alter Aprilane’s appearance significantly while she was on the streets.

Allyson was able to waylay a member of the Citizens Militia and scare some information out of him as to where the headquarters were. Max wandered the streets, shadowing some of the Militia members.

In the warehouse district, Aprilane was able to narrow in on some particular buildings by looking at the differences between mud, and Gnf noticed some form of summoning magic coming from the building in question. Alfred bluffed his way into the building, pretending to be interested in joining up, and scouted the area.

Once the building that Melia was being held in was determined, the party attacked. There was a tough fight on the main floor of the warehouse; several crossbowman were stationed on a catwalk above the warehouse floor. Leading the melee force was a Murderer who hit hard and was very tough to bring down. Eventually, though the party prevailed, dodging in and out behind crates to avoid the archer fire. Aprilane was repeatedly dazed by the powerful bolts of the crossbowmen, but Gnf turned the tables on them, using his newly aquired orb to transfer the dazed state from Aprilane to a crossbowman himself. Shifty also contributed strongly to the fight, with several sneak attacks. Eventually, the party prevailed.

In the back corner was a shaft with a ladder, leading down to a lower basement. Climbing down, the party found Melia in a cage, guarded by a pair of (human) hexers who had evidently summoned two Earth Elementals. This fight went better, with the first elemental dropping before it really had much of a chance to swing. Since it had been ordered not to attack anyone who stayed by the ladder down, the party managed to get into the cellar and launch their attack in a coordinated fashion.

In order to confirm that the girl in the cage was, in fact, Melia, Alfred asked her what the price of a song was, to which she replied, “I certainly hope I don’t have to kiss you in order to be rescued!”

And so the party retired to it’s headquarters, determined to both come to the aid of Ugrun and get Melia out of Waterdeep and to K’Lenth, as her father requested.

Pulling the Strands

After resting for the night in Helensville, the group from Turlough’s Steel woke to find the fairgrounds under assault from some Beastcallers and flocks of murderous, spellplagued ravens.

These were fought off by Allyson and Alfred Sweetvine, Gnf, Max, and Aprilane. Celine and Lyra helped the Helensville guard fend off another attack at the south of the camp. In the aftermath it was discovered that the mayor of Helensville was dead, apparently crushed by some large serpent. Also, the crone Zalma and her assistant had gone missing.

The group decided to track the assault backwards, leaving Celine and Lyra to help with the guard, in case of further assaults.

Following the tracks, they fought spellplagued beetles in the tall grass. Next a great mass of spellplagued serpents, led by a were-serpent, blocked a stream that the tracks led across. Finally, they confronted Zalma in a fairly dense copse, where she was surrounded by spiders, who were not spellplagued. Upon her defeat, they discovered that she was a drow, and a priestess of Lolth.

Zalma had apparently been brewing a concoction that infected creatures with spellplague. Samples and equipment were found and turned over to Cristobal, who promised to study them and let the group know what he found.

And so the heroes headed back to Waterdeep, full of anticipation. Celine declined to come with them, saying that with the death of the mayor, Helensville needed her help with the guard.

The Thundering Herd
Win the little lady a kewpie doll!

Upon arriving at Helensville, the intrepid adventurers from Turlough’s Steel camped for the night at the Helensville Fairgrounds. The next day began with the adventurers exploring the Festival of Sune fair. Gnf visited the various tents and stalls, looking for anyone of a magical, arcane persuasion. He found one tent, run by a woman named Zelma. Zelma’s stall was full of items woven out of hemp and rope, macrame type items, decorative ropes and nets. What Gnf noticed is that she offered charms against the blue fire spellplague. When Gnf asked her about the spellplague and where it was worst, she indicated that it was worst to the south, but was no more specific than that.

Alfred Sweetvine spent the morning meeting all the pretty girls at the fair, and playing beanbag toss games trying to win prizes for them. However, he was able to glean some chatter from some of the girls about sightings of the blue fire to the north of the fairgrounds.

His sister Allyson spent the morning in Sune’s Garden part of the shrine to Sune that the fairgrounds adjoins. Celine spent her morning similarly at the shrine.

Max assessed the peddlers at the fair in a way that only the son of a travelling merchant could, and one tent stood out to him as unusual. Approaching the tent, he found some very standard fare for sale, but some unusual people running the stand. Or rather, some normal people with an unusual interest in blue fire spellplague. Consulting briefly with other party members, Max decided to tell them of the party’s previous encounters with spellplague and The Queen of Beasts. The person in charge of the tent was named Cristobal and in return described himself as belonging to a group known as The Order of the Blue Flame, a group that dedicates itself to combating spell plague.

Cristobal was quite surprised to hear the evidence, presented by Lyra and Aprilane, that the Queen had mastered some ritual or potion to infect creatures with spellplague. Cristobal, and the Order, had thought till now that spellplague was a completely chaotic force, which could not be controlled.

Since the party had seen some signs that the Queen was involved here as well, Cristobal asked them to gather some creatures that had been infected, and possibly try to learn more about where the spellplague was concentrated and how it was spreading.

Gnf studied the arcane traces of spellplague as best he could, venturing first to the south, as indicated by Zelma. However, the traces there grew ever fainter, and he eventually shifted to the north, managing to find traces that seemed to lead to an area with tall grass and a few scattered hills.

Alfred and Allyson tried to trap some spellplagued rats in the trash heap of the fairgrounds but met with little success. Aprilane went abroad further and was able to trap several creatures, including some live birds, which were spellplagued. Meanwhile Lyra studied the ecology and eventually reached the conclusion that the spellplague was affecting insects, and that this would result in a massive contamination of the ecosystem. Max scouted further afield, finding and following a herd of wild horses. While remaining hidden and watching, he discovered that a portion of the herd had become infected with the spellplague. While heading back to the fairgrounds, he observed that, along with the thunderstorm moving in, the spellplagued wild horses were also attacking.

While the normal guard worked on evacuating the fairgrounds, the party stood as its last line of defense. The managed to defeat the spellplague-crazed horses handily, despite being knocked to the ground more than a few times. As the battle ended, a flash of lighting silhouetted the figure of the Queen of the Beasts, astride a mount, at some distance off, shaking a raised spear in defiance.

Blue Fire in Helensville

On returning to Waterdeep the intrepid members of Turlough’s Steel did a little catching up with things. It seems that about two weeks had passed since they entered the Waterdeep Sewers.

Gnf assisted Calfalas in trying to decipher what seemed to be Chaundakil’s Journal, a recording of the comings and goings of an itinerant wanderer. But there are mentions of structures that he raised to assist his and other’s wanderings. These structures range from simple stone mileposts to something called The Anchor, which seems to correspond to the structure the party had just visited, and indeed where they met Chaundakil himself, freed one of the bonds on him, and came into posession of the journal.

Gnf’s and Calfalas’ attempts to find out more about Chaundakil’s Anchor and related sites met with little success. Gnf’s assidious efforts at making notations and notes to keep track of the offhand references proved afterward to read back to Gnf as merely fevered meanderings, making little sense. Calfalas said that he feared that there were strange magics at work, and that he was determined to foil any plot that kept one of the Gods from taking his proper place in the order of things. Calfalas will first attempt to index every word in the journal, just by count, and see if any patterns emerge. This will take a while, to be sure, but more direct methods seem to be thwarted.

Aprilane first went and purchased more magic arrows, and at the shop, she met and conversed with Krendel, owner of the shop, and maker of the magic arrows. Krendel, it seems is a former member of the Waterdeep Guard, until he lost the lower part of his leg, that is. At that point, he told Aprilane, he learned how to first cast rituals, and then learned the ritual for making magic items, and has stuck with making magical arrows.

Aprilane, armed with a bundle of many arrows, then made her way to the Embassy of Many Arrows, near the Waterdeep Tower in a rather posh neighborhood. Minding the front desk was an orc dressed rather fancily in lace and frills with a pair of Ben Franklin spectacles. His name was Glurk and he made haste to bid Aprilane welcome and seated her in a private reception room, where she was served tea and cucumber sandwiches. Eventually, Ugrun arrived and greeted Aprilane with a hearty forearm smash, and spiked her tea with a little bit of fine gnomish brandy. There was some discussion of trade negotiations, and particular difficulties with the textile trade. Aprilane told him of the party’s recent adventures, but no mention of Chaundakil seemed to stick with him. It was decided that Ugrun would hold a dinner and reception for his friends that evening.

Meanwhile, Max wandered the city a bit, ending up at Eldreth Deepwater’s shop, but Eldreth wasn’t there. The clerk in charge was taken aback when Max asked to do some goldsmithing, asking to see Max’s guild papers. Only the arrival of Eldreth’s daughter Melia, who identified Max as one of those who brought the gold caravan from Silverymoon, broke the stalemate.

Max spent the next several hours fashioning a gold ring, into which he set one of the gems he had obtained from recent adventures. He was quite impressed with the fine equipment the shop had, and with the meticulous care with which the raw gold was measured and logged. The final effort was quite pleasing, and he turned it over to the shopkeeper and went on his way.

Meanwhile, Lyra went to a small dingy tavern known as The Cave which was known to feature tribal-style dancing, and was a favorite among the gnolls, orcs, shifters and a few elfs of Waterdeep. The dancing impressed Lyra as being both familiar to her, but developed in a way she had never seen. It was dance not to bless the crops, ward of the spirits, or mourn the dead, but dance merely for the sake of dance, embracing all those elements and going beyond them. Lyra performed a very creditable dance for Chaundakil, which was well received, but any reference to the God was passed over as if it had not been mentioned.

Allyson Sweetvine, stayed at the inn, soaked in the bath, and got a massage to ease her tired muscles and wash away the scent of the sewers.

Alfred, meanwhile, went first to the temple of Mielikki, making offering and devotion, and thence to the temple of Sune, where he made a most generous offering and explained that the stone of Sune he had received there had guided him in a moment of need. This was well-received at the temple, as was Alfred’s generous donation.

Celine found Alfred there and told him that if he and his friends were willing, she might have need of them soon. Alfred arranged for an afternoon meeting in the taproom. At this meeting she told them of Helensville, a village a few days to the east of Waterdeep out on the fertile plain. Helensville was founded, at least in legend, by a devotee of Sune named Helen, who grew flowers there that were the most lush and full, and with the most extraordinary color. As the story goes, lovers found that a present of Helen’s flowers seemed always to be extra well received, and thus Helen, and by extension, Helensville, grew in reputation. Helen is long since passed on, but what purports to be her gardens still remain, and Helensville holds a festival of Sune every year in commemoration.

Celine is in the habit of attending this festival in an official capacity, and tends the flowers. A few days ago though, she received word from the mayor that the animals in the area had been acting oddly, and that there had been reports of a strange blue flame about some of them. The party immediately thought of spellplague, and assured Celine that they would go to Helensville with her.

But first they had dinner with Ugrun at the Many Arrows embassy. It was a night of lightheartedness. Aprilane and Alfred contrived to set up Allyson with one of the guards, a tall, burly orc named Thog. However, it did not go too smoothly, as Allyson became suspicious, and was somewhat unimpressed with Thog, despite the fact that he was taller than she, which is something Alfred knew her to find highly desirable. Furthermore, it seemed that Glurk was working against them, to purposes of his own. In fact, Glurk seemed to get the better of Alfred later in the evening, somehow contriving incessant interruptions and disturbances which would derail Alfred’s flirtations and maneuvers.

The next day, the party set out for Helensville. Along the way, they spotted many birds and animals, including a herd of wild horses raising a column in the distance. Shortly thereafter, some flocks of songbirds were seen to be behaving strangely. At first it looked as though they were chased by eagles, but then the blue flames on both the songbirds and the eagles were noticed, and the birds attacked. They were dealt with eventually, but they gave off a blue flame that sometimes scorched the adventurers, or perhaps it only touched their minds, it was hard to say. Max’s fire resistance meant little, though.

Afterward the party continued on, making it to the Helensville fairgrounds for a good nights rest.

Breaking the Bond
At least its better than "It's a Small World"

Traveling through the Waterdeep sewers, the band of adventurers from [[Turlough’s Steel | Turlough’s Steel] found an extra-dimensional space with a circle of standing stone markers, a hearth in the middle with stew in a pot, benches around it, a table with some water and bread, and a God – Chaundakil – sitting on one of the benches, mute but smiling at them.

There were five bonds on Chaundakil, one of plain rope, another of a fiery aspect, one of a sparkly, cloudlike aspect. A fourth was earthy, almost of stone, but with a shadowed aspect, and a fifth at once watery and insubstantial.

There was scarcely any time to take this in, as a group of demons apparated with soft “pops”, and battle commenced. There were three waves in all. The third wave took the appearance not of demons but of Shadar-Kai, but when they were downed, they did not leave corporeal bodies.

As each wave was defeated, the rope bonds on Chaundakil appeared to weaken. After each wave, the defenders refreshed themselves by partaking or water, bread, or stew, or perhaps just resting on the comfortable benches, gaining some benefit that would normally require a longer rest.

One of the most memorable moments of the fight was when Max ghosted through the line of enemy Shadar-Kai warriors and downed their witch-commander in a single round.

As the final wave was defeated, the ropes dropped free of Chaundakil, and he faded from view, leaving a largish tome in his place. The gray of the area cleared, and blue sky was seen overhead. It looked as though they were on the top of a rise and could see for miles. Or perhaps tens or hundreds of miles. In fact, most of the places they looked for, they could see, by concentrating.

Aprilane attempted to orient herself according to compass directions, but found this impossible to do. Several party members looked at places such as Waterdeep and Silverymoon or even the Glimmerwood. However, no one was able to view the castle of K’lenth, although they could see Dragonwatch just fine. Content Not Found: 43679 and Alfred studied this phenomena for a bit, and concluded that it was something more than simple anti-scrying, since they likely would have been able to see a blur in place of the castle. That might be present, but there is also some form of mental influence that simply makes one ignore the castle entirely.

At this, Max decided to set off for Waterdeep, with Allyson following close behind. Gnf and Calfalas hurriedly finished their discussions and followed behind. As the travellers stepped out, it was impossible for them to determine how long the journey back to Waterdeep took. It might have been a moment, or an eternity, but the now familiar walking tune echoed in their heads, perhaps because it was simply one of those songs that is hard to stop thinking about. At some point, Alfred had the thought that “if time doesn’t have any meaning, that must mean I’m already there”, they arrived at the gates of Waterdeep.

Did You Hear Something?
I thought I heard someone whistling

After their bruising fight with some Black Hoods, our band of mercenaries from Turlough’s Steel, deep within the Waterdeep Sewers decided to find a place to rest and recharge for the night. Gnf found a secluded alcove that was easy to defend, and the others settled down to set up camp, and stand their watches.

Max decided to scout the area using caution and stealth. He observed another group of Black Hoods, evidently searching for the group, but making little progress. The night was otherwise uneventful.

The next morning, the group continued to follow the arcane trail that Calfalas pointed out to them, with Gnf’s assistance. Calfalas had a metallic bowl of some sort with an enchanted needle floating on a watery substance, which pointed in the direction of something Calfalas called a “interplanar gradient”. Gnf attempted to assist by using another bit of arcane apparatus, a sort of pendulum, but couldn’t seem to get the hang of operating it. Max again scouted ahead, while Allyson and Aprilane stood guard.

Despite having a very difficult time being distracted and having their minds wander, they reached a T-junction in the sewer, and a distinct sewage smell, usually absent in the Waterdeep Sewers, was perceptible, and noticed a slight variation in the wall opposite the catwalk that seemed to be a secret door of some sort.

It was just then that they were attacked by a band of cultists to Cyric and Demogorgon. The fight seemed well in hand when a few of the cultists jumped into the drain trench and waded forward, using their fearsome screams to hit the non-melee members of the group. Fortunately, Lyra was able to heal Gnf when he fell, and Max appeared out of nowhere, slaying cultists from behind, so the party prevailed.

But their resources were fairly spent, so they decided to call it a day. Again they made camp. Somehow, though, their minds were playing tricks on them. Aprilane sought out good ambush points from which to stand guard; the first place she found seemed fine until she noticed that one side was completely exposed and open! Gnf set up his Chime of Awakening, which Allyson took advantage of while keeping watch in the sleeping area. Lyra communed with the spirits, as usual, while Max scouted. While out scouting, Max heard some footsteps marching along. Following them, he saw ahead a male figure with wild gray hair, whistling a tune. The figure turned and beckoned to Max and went around a corner. Following, Max rounded the corner to see nothing of the figure, but realized he was at the place where they had found the secret door the day before.

Meanwhile, Alfred had heard snatches of the whistling and had tried to follow it. When it stopped Alfred too found himself at the secret door. Going back to the camp, he tried to recreate the tune, but found it didn’t stick in his mind.

So the next day, the party went through the secret door. Pushing on the stones rolled them back, and a wade through foot-deep water brought them into another network of sewers. However, the fish that keep the Waterdeep Sewers clean did not seem to live here, however, these sewers also seemed to not have a lot of new effluent and the smell was musty and rank, the water was waist deep, and there were few catwalks.

Gnf rode on Allyson’s shoulders and the party pressed on, relying more and more on Calfalas’ and Gnf’s arcane guidance. Some sort of enchantment seemed to be affecting them, and would turn them around or disorient them at the slightest lapse in concentration. So they formed themselves into groups and watched each other closely while trying to progress through the sewers. As they traveled, the quality of light seemed to get greyer and greyer, and the very walls seemed to fade away. However, the sheer effort of concentration required to stay on course meant that this was little noted.

Eventually, they found themselves in what they decided was an interplanar space, similar to the one they had been in quite briefly when returning from Abeir. And like that time before, they were attacked by Chaos Shards. Unlike the last time, the shards were right among them, and gave them another tough fight. The most troublesome part of the fight was when the Storm Shards would drop a ball of lighting on someone which would require them to run away from it quickly or get caught in an explosion, while the Death Shards would inflict the same person with slowness. Eventually, Gnf managed to slow down the Storm Shards (which exploded doing further damage when they died) with his Web and Thunder Wave, Allyson and Max meleed the Death Shards, Alfred and Lyra healed the group, and Aprilane dealt damage wherever it was needed. There was a tense moment when Max went down with a thunderball on top of him, but Lyra both healed Max and cast an enchantment that enabled Max to slide away from the thunderball while still prone.

Looking around, the party realized that it could see nothing but grayish white. While they felt something solid beneath their feet, they could see nothing there, but mostly avoided looking. The arcane compass still was working, so they continued.

It is difficult to say how long this part of the journey lasted. It might have been hours, it might have been days. Continuing in the direction of travel required a supreme effort of will, and concentration at every step.

Eventually they saw some sort of obelisks or monuments ahead. There were six of them arranged in a circle or hexagon, about 100 yards across. There appeared to be some design on the inside faces of them. At a glance the stones seemed to be made of the same stuff as everything else in this place, grayish material almost indistinguishable. However, as one looked at the stone, the bas-relief carvings on the inside seemed to gain more and more detail. Only then to look like plain, gray stone bas-relief at the next moment.

There were six different figures on each of the pillars: A dragon with bones, looking bored; An orc with some hides/furs and a long stick or staff; An Eladrin with an easel, paintbrushes, and bound, blank books; a Lizardman with a collection of herbs and (how could something gray appear brightly colored?) brightly-colored flowers; A Gnome with a worktable on which there was an assortment of unfinished tools of some sort; and a Dwarf in an outdoor, snow-laden scene, with several bars of metal at his feet.

The party decided that this place had something to do with trade and travel, and it was the place that their arcane calculations had meant to bring them too, some sort of locus for an interplanar matrix. Lyra communed with the spirits of the place and found there to be but one spirit here, and it was muted and somehow odd.

All the scenes had the quality that concentrating on them made them seem more real. Looking at the Dwarf, the iron bars seemed so real that Gnf reached out for them and found that he had iron bars in his hand. Thinking quickly, he decided to take them to the Gnome, whose picture now showed some completed tools on his workbench. In turn, Lyra took the bones from the Dragon to the Orc, who made spear tips and jewelry from them; Aprilane took the furs from the Orc to the Dwarf, Alfred took the dyes from the Lizardman to the Eladrin, and Max took the works of art created from them by the Eladrin to the Dragon. Allyson completed the journeys by taking the tools from the Gnome’s worktable to the Lizardman, where they were used to cultivate and harvest the plants.

Each person saw the journey of 100 or so yards as an arduous undertaking, requiring hours (or was it days). Gnf had to sit down and rest several times (or was it once?). To the others watching it was a simple walk, though one that seemed to weigh heavily on the bearer.

As each journey completed and the picture changed, music was heard, or perhaps only felt. The sound of fluting and pipes from the Gnome was joined by Orcish drumming, a beautiful countermelody by some stringed instrument came from the Eladrin, chanting/singing from the Dwarf, a deep chuckling winded sound like a digeridoo from the Lizardmen, and the sound of trumpets from the Dragon each added to the song, which Alfred recognized from an earlier whistled tune.

As the last journey was completed, the knowledge that this was Chaundakil’s tune came upon them, or was it remembered? In the center of the circle appeared a hearth, a table with food, and a cistern with clear water, along with some cozy chairs. Seven chairs there were and a pair of boots before each, Boots of Chaundakil. Lyra let forth some oath or exclamation (it’s always difficult to tell the difference with Lyra) at the thought that the spirit with which she had been communing was that of a god, for God Chaundakil is indeed.

Before them appeared a man, Chaundakil, not completely dissimilar from what Max had seen, but with neatly trimmed gray hair and a welcoming smile, bidding them to sit down, even as the sky above them showed blue with a few clouds. But just as they relaxed into the chairs and felt deeply refreshed, demonic hands seemed to grab him, bind him in chains and pull him away, even as other demons appeared and attacked

[To Be Continued Next Adventure]

Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter...
...but get your feet in.

After a considerable shopping spree, Calfalas gathered the group of Turlough’s Steel mercenaries together and briefed them on a job he’d like them to do.

Calfalas is a member of the Order of Olde Magicks, a group mainly sponsored by adherents of Oghma, but allowing membership from other faiths as well. Their mission is to discover and preserve magical and arcane knowledge. Some of their members are former followers of Mystra, for example.

In any case, Calfalas’ studies have turned up something interesting. Teleportation, such as the teleportals between Silverymoon and Waterdeep has been having issues. The portal was arranged so as to have a target slab that those using the teleportal would land on. But the targeting has appeared to be drifting. At first, people (and cargo) might land just a bit off center, or perhaps a few inches above the platform. Or an inch below the surface level, which created real problems. Some tried to avoid having their feet crushed by sitting on wagons or stilts, but they still had problems with the explosions that happened when two objects tried to occupy the same space at the same time.

Calfalas said that all such magics were made with the assumption that there was some interdimensional, or perhaps interplanar correspondence or matrix, that reliably correlated distances and directions in one dimension with the other. But that seems to have broken down. As best as he can tell the breakdown dates to The Cataclysm.

There was a side discussion of the murder of Mystra by The Mad God, who wasn’t mad until then. To Calfalas, while some of the gods and their followers might be opposed to one’s own aims, the gods as a whole formed a system, and each had a part to play in the operation of the universe. Allyson perked up at this and noted that Calfalas must be an Invoker, since she remembered her mother speaking of this philosophy. Her brother Alfred seemed a bit put out that she had caught this bit of knowledge where he hadn’t, as he thinks of himself as the “smart one”.

In any case, Calfalas reported he has found reference to an ancient site that seems to have some connection to these matters nearby. It’s odd though, he said, almost as though someone had edited the texts. He would find a list of sites, with names and exact locations, only one of them would omit both, but just have some oblique mention. Though there is no sign of editing in the manuscripts themselves, e.g., nothing crossed out or added.

However, Calfalas has devised a method of measuring the drift between dimensions. He proposes to proceed by correlating arcane measurements with mundane ones in an arcane ritual. The Order of Olde Magicks has agreed to fund him in an attempt to locate the site. He anticipates that he will need arcane assistance, as well as protection for a journey that will lead him to goodness knows where, will the group help him.

The group, consisting of Allyson, Alfred, Gnf, Max, Aprilane, and Lyra, quickly agreed. At first they thought to use the fairgrounds just outside of Waterdeep for the first reading. However, it turned out that a tournament in honor of the arrival of Prince Ugrun was due to start, and the grounds would be occupied.

At last the party settled on taking a reading in a posh district of town during an execution taking place in the morning. The reading went off fairly well, though Aprilane was less than convincing when she attempted to act as though on official business with her, “Nothing to see here, move along”. However, she did note that there were those watching the group from behind curtained windows or from around corners. Some even were wearing black with hoods. The bad news was that the reading unmistakably pointed down. They would need to enter the sewers and storm drains of Waterdeep.

While the party gathered supplies, Alfred went to see Harry Diggs of the Plumbers and Cellarers, whom Alfred had met at the party for Ugrun. Diggs told them a good place to enter the sewer complex, though he noted that nobody, not even he, knew of everything in the depths of the sewers and below.

Once within the sewers, progress was good until when, coming around a corner, they were accosted by four hobbits and two humans bent on larceny and likely murder. The halflings were perched in high side passages with poisoned hand crossbows, while the humans attacked berserkly. Or they would have, but something in Max’s stare and flaming red hair gave them pause. Alfred pulled one of the hobbits out of his perch with little more than a smirk and a sneering comment. Gnf jumped onto Max’s shoulders and fired a spell at another. And so they were defeated. It appears that they were members of a dockside gang of some sort, maybe thinking they could find easy pickings in the sewer.

A suitable site, a crossroads in the drain tunnels was found and Calfalas, Gnf and Lyra set up shop. Calfalas did the primary ritual, while Lyra used a measuring chain to do the mundane measurement. Gnf assisted with the ritual, but Alfred, who had assisted with the previous one, decided to stand watch. This proved prudent, as the party was attacked by a group of the now-familiar Black Hoods.

This time they came in a column with spellcasters in the rear. Max and Allyson charged the heavy fighters at the front, with Alfred and Aprilane backing them up. The Black Hoods concentrated on Allyson, who took serious damage, but steadied when she assumed her regenerating stance, and they slowly cut through the enemy.

Meanwhile Gnf, having seen the ritual before and familiar with its principles of operation, realized that he could cut short his own part and join in the battle. He left his Mage Hand in his spot holding the silvered rod for Calfalas to finish his arcane measurements. Gnf then unleashed his first-ever Fireball on the group of miscreants, wiping out most of the lackeys that were tasked with protecting the mages. Meanwhile Aprilane and Alfred finished off the mages, and Allyson and Max cut down the last of the heavy fighters. So, one lackey, seeing the new situation, ran for his life, and was successful.


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