Sand Storm

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Scribe Notes


GM: User:Bernard
Season: Winter 810
Night: Monday
Location: Jacqui's at Mangere
Level: Medium-High - Some endurance away from towns recommended.

Expressions of interest are welcome, priority will go to sign ups at the guild meeting & people I haven't GM'ed.
  • WordSmith Short Dwarf, Namer, General, party healer – has a crystalline weasel, and a floating chest = Mil Sci
  • Grizelda Hill Giant Wiccan, Master Chef and heavy hitter = Scribe
  • Arwen Valenta Human Earth Mage druidess with fancy clothes and armour = Party Leader
  • Menolly Elven Earth Mage menagerist - healer and collector of pets (the dogs will be left behind) = Scribe
  • Sau Rus Human Necromancer
The Guild is being hired to go out to the continents NW desert (plane of Farwey), look at what is going on, and beat the other groups to anything of interest. The other groups involved are the Empire officially, the Princes investigative party (which seems to also involve the mercenaries from outside the Empire who have previously been encountered in guild business), as well as an Undead party being sighted travelling in that direction.
While no-one is positive, the Duke's information suggests there are powerful relics relevant to the ongoing power struggle over this region lost in the desert somewhere. Relevant Scribe Notes for this information. Given the other groups moving in that direction this probability is being taken a lot more seriously now.
The Duke's main interest is that neither the Prince nor the Undead lay their hands on any relics if possible, destruction of the relics is preferred to this. He would appreciate relics returned to him, but that's a bonus, not the primary aim.
It is recommended that social butterflies and pacifists should probably not apply, expectations being of bloodshed & lack of courts, however the Duke trusts guild members to exercise their best judgement on these matters & choose accordingly if they apply.
Pay (Each)
  • Potions/Invested (Specific) 15,000sp value
  • Cash 15,000sp.
  • A reward if relics are recovered. A guessed value of 10k sp each if the relics are as powerful as the information suggests.

Scribe Notes

Session One

1st Frost - Guild Meeting

Menolly speaks:
And so it begins again. A group of the guild gathered in one of the guild meeting rooms and meet up with our new employer's representative Marvin. Such a huge change from when he was roaming the swamps. It seems the last Guild group to visit Farway discovered some rumors that there is a lost city up to the North and it contains some pretty hoopy artifacts. But their are some others who also know this information and now the race begins of locating the site. Also seeing if the rumors are true and finding artifacts.

It seems there are 3 other factions all keen on the goodies, apart from our employer. Factions that swing along the light and dark perspective, so the race could have some rather large ups and downs to it.

We got to talk to a couple of the previous Guild team members, and hunt out sources of information, as well as what the Guild prepared for us. We planned to do some prep work tomorrow and travel the day afterwards. The Farwey portal is a bit of a drain on the energy so timing is essential.

We got presented with the potions that are part of our payment, in case we want to use them on our travels.

Grizelda speaks:
We met in one of the Guild meeting rooms – there were refreshments laid out and our employer waiting. He left us to talk for a few minutes and fill out contracts.

We were going to the Duchy of Petrinko – and thence to what is believed to be a sandy desert to the north north-west to hunt for lost artefacts. However, we need to first learn more about the whereabouts of these artefacts.

We spoke to members of the previous party – Darien and Pierre. They told us that there were told there was an entire army of undead where we were going. And some of them walked in the daylight. There were Blight – which are intelligent undead, who wander around in swarms – the smaller the swarm the more powerful. Darien and Pierre have been there recently. Pierre said there was a cave full of artefacts, which the Willing Prince showed them. There were books that they dried out. They did deals with the Willing Prince, the Fire Duke, and Sammael. There are other artefacts we would be looking for – of which those were lesser copies. There are also fossegrim – monsters in the sea. Pierre said we should say hello to his dog – it sounded like a hellhound, and liked to eat undead.

They showed in someone called Marvin – who was looking rather harried. The portal would be lengthy, tiring and in the Sweetwater. His people have learned of the existence of these artefacts. They'd like Murmur not to get his hands on them, and they'd like them for themselves. They recommend not trying any long-term precognition. Apparently the Prince is also putting together a party. The political situation sounds messy. The eastern Duchy Obedorf has been invaded by undead, and is staying out of the civil war, and helping Petrinko. We should try making contact with the elves, because they might know something. The orcs might know, because they were allied with the elves long ago. Possibly the griffins might know – we should not fly through their territory, and take them gifts – they like horses.

Marvin gave us part of our reward:
2 x resist pain rank 20 each (20 hrs) each.
3 x Awareness rank 20 = 35 defense + 1/rank sense danger + initiative +10 (3 ½ hrs) each.
15000 silver lodged with the Guild.

2nd Frost - Shopping, and spell preparations

Menolly speaks:
Wordsmith needed to research some names that might be useful on the trip, some greaters were needed and I popped into Slippery Rock to get some skin changes. I'm not taking the dogs this time, I've arranged for them to do some more glorified training at huge amounts of money for very little obvious skills. I didn't think the dogs were that silly, maybe with Borage there the other two might learn something. After much shopping and packing we are ready.

Grizelda speaks:
This day we spent organising some modified armour to work with Sau Rus' pigeon wings, while Wordsmith learned the GTN for the Blight. Marvin also provided a map, and copies of previous scribe notes. We bought enchantments, restoratives, potions and the like. Menolly wanted skin changes. I went asking around for a water-producing item we could borrow. Menolly and Arwen went to Slippery Rock so Menolly could get some skin changes.

3rd Frost - Through the portal

Menolly speaks:
We left around midday and headed to the portal spot. Some sailing, some swimming and what seemed like a 10 minute stroll and we arrived in Farwey... but a day later and totally exhausted. We were led to a barracks sleeping building where we mostly crashed for some time.

Grizelda speaks:
That morning, we got waterproofed, went on the ferry, into the river, and through the portal.... It seemed a long way, hours and hours of walking across plains and hills and swamps... We emerged into a long hall, completely exhausted. We saw fortifications and wards in the hall, designed to kill unwelcome intruders. We were challenged, then welcomed and offered bedrooms, which we gratefully accepted.

4th Frost - Waking, dinner and Jim the Page

Menolly speaks:
Woken by a young chap who lead us through to the dining hall, we ate a healthy broth and began planning how we were going to do this mission. The young chap informed us he was our Page and if we needed anything we should ask. So we did, and got some information, and an audience with the head astrologer.

It seems with so many groups all trying to get to the "ruins" before anyone else that everyone is using precognition or astrology or reading the runes to try and predict the future. However since several people are doing it at the same time concerning the same thing, the prophecies are smacking into each other making them hard to perform, and hard to concentrate on. So he advised against trying to predict future outcomes as it keeps ending badly.

He did, however, tell us about the last time he was successful in casting one. He got 12 lines of cryptic information before almost losing himself in the telling.

Chaos and Darkness.
Spears have been shaken.
Shields have been splintered.
Ruin and the worlds ending.
The sun rises.
Trinity comes.
A sword day comes.
A red day, a blood day.
Where did it start?

He was completely wiped out, looked like he could sleep a week. He said he wasn't even sure if these cryptic lines were in the right order of how they might come about..

We did get offered the purchase of some small crystal balls. Only reach 95 miles, and are a perfectly clear 2 inches sphere. Griselda and Wordsmith took them up on the offer, they were 5000sp each. Might make searching for the location, and the other groups to avoid them.

We came up with some plans. Basically we need to find out more information. From our interviews we learnt that there was also some other race possibly involved. And old orcoelven race, when elves and orcs worked together. So maybe the dwarfs might know something since they have been around for a long time.

And if we can find the elves they know something. It's also possible that the Griffins in the mountains might know something but no-one knows where they are located apart from to the west.

Sau Rus spent some time sticking wings on us, and we slept the night.

Grizelda speaks:
At evening they woke us for dinner and served us a nourishing broth. It was quiet – most everyone was at the front. Most of the people here were elementalists or namers, with an emphasis on travel and long duration boost magic. We had a page assigned to us, named Jim. Marvin was occupied. In order to find out more about the artefacts we needed to go see the dwarves – who were busy fighting the undead to the east. And the elves that nobody seems to know where are. When I asked, they said they could sell us crystals of vision (rank 6 – 95 miles, 2 inches across perfectly clear sphere 5000sp each). Wordsmith and I bought one each.

As we discussed talking to the elves, Arwen pestered the elf, Menolly, about her skill in elven, showing off her greater rank in the language. Grizelda offered Arwen the use of the horn that resounds for eleven miles, seeing as she was so fond of blowing her own trumpet.

We obtained a writ that would allow us to obtain passage through their territory and the land of Obedorf. As for the dwarves, we should identify ourselves as a Guild Party, because apparently they like Guild parties. We talked to one of their military personnel – apparently their sanctioned assassins are staying out of the Civil War – although unsanctioned assassins are active (for now, until the assassins' guild gets around to killing them). We have to thread the needle southward between the Civil War to the west, and the Undead incursion to the east – we were advised flying low and fast would be best. We would err towards the battling undead and dwarves... at least we could tell who was who on that side. The Northern Fort still stood – and was mostly under control, but its shaped wards had been breached, and it was sometimes occupied. The Southern Fort was not yet under siege. We decided to head for the Southern Fort, and thence to the Low Pass.

Bad things have been happening to astrologers, and anyone who attempted to divine the future – apparently there were too many on both sides, and it was causing great confusion. We needed to talk to the Chief Astrologer, who had actually succeeded in making a long-term prophecy for the seasons ahead, and we made an appointment to see him sometime late that night. He was looking pale and wan. He explained it was chaotic out there, and he had almost lost himself. This was what his assistant had recorded:

Chaos and darkness
Spears have been shaken
Shields have been splintered
Ruin and the world's ending
The sun rises
Trinity comes
A sword day comes
A red day, a blood day
Where did it start?

The war against the undead looked very bad, and they would need to win it within a couple of years. The enemy had all colleges – include primordial colleges like Magma mages (countered by Earth) and Storm mages (countered by Air). Behind the undead army was the Necromancer daemon Murmur - Duke of Thrones, with number of other daemons backing him. On the side of the humans were Sammael - the Angel in Darkness, Aim - the Fire Duke, and some other daemons supporting them.

5th of Frost - flying, undead scouts and the mountains

Menolly speaks:
Early next morning we had the local mages cast celestial wings on us and we flew off in the direction to travel through the human civil war on one side, and a big horde of undead on the other mountain. We got to the North outpost, got our celestial wings recharged and we flew south. We got spotted by a bunch of skeletons which tried to attack our people. But we flew away and entered the eastern passage that travels through the mountain.

Ahead we saw a castle of sorts with 3 layers of battlements and a range of field fortifications. We landed on the flat area a wee way from these and settled down to wait to see if the dwarves would send out a greetings party. They did and we introduced ourselves as Guild members working. They were willing to chat to us, and when our questions got a bit more specific, especially when we mentioned about looking for lost relics, they thought one of the Lore Keepers might be able to answer our questions better so they sent off a runner to see if one was available. They will try and get one to visit us tomorrow. I think they were most interested in the fact there are a bunch of groups going after the relics, I think they want in on the action.

The general stuff the head security dwarf (a captain I think) was able to answer was about Elves. We asked if they knew anything about these elusive folks here on this plane. He knew that so far in his lifetime there have been a couple of visits of elves. They usually turn up singularly looking for metals for either weapons or armor. Usually only enough to make 1 or 2 items. Usually they are after the high end stuff like silver, true silver or mitheral. And they haven't visited for quite some time. And trade was mentioned and the use of gems and underground trees as tradeable items. Sounds pretty cool.

We talk about general things, and we ask if we can camp out here in the open bit while we wait for the Lore Keeper to turn up. They give us permission and we talk about camping skills. They mention it gets cold out here, and they often use the technique of digging a hole, making campment in the hole and cover up with a tarp so they can't be seen. Pretty nifty technique, might have to try that some time.

Grizelda speaks:
In the morning we had breakfast and prepared. Sauros had put pigeon wings on us, and they cast star-wings over the top, because it would be less fatiguing. Then we flew south, looking for the dwarves. We did encounter a patrol of undead, that tried to drop meteors on us, but we evaded them, and flew on. That got us to Southern Fort by noon, where they renewed our star-wings, and then on to the Low Pass by sunset. We landed in the obvious landing ground, sited in front of the dwarven fortress.

There was a short valley perhaps two miles long heading up into the mountains. It was very solidly fortified. We were approached by a group of dwarves in plate armour. Eric did the talking, explaining we were from off-plane, and here to deal with the Undead. That got the response, "Ah, those off-planers." They asked what we needed, and we replied that we mostly needed Information.

They occasionally got an Elven smith coming here to buy metals – silver, truesilver and mithril. They only know that the Elves are out in the woods to the east, to the south of most of the undead. It is unlikely that any single undead would cause us trouble, except the semi-skeletal ones. If we should see a semi-skeletal one casting, then we should run away – these are known as Liches, and are very dangerous. Sauros asked if they can be bound – and he was told that it depended on how many underlings they had. Eric asked about accommodation for the night – but apparently the Dwarven caves are warded against any not dwarves. We could camp here – pitching tents... which should be mostly underground.

When I mentioned the reason we wanted to find the elves, regarding the lost artefacts in the desert, he said he would send word to the Lore-keepers. One might be found by the morning. We camped the night, without digging holes. It was frosty...

6th of Frost

Menolly speaks:
Yup, I was right about them waiting in on the action. In the morning just as we were having breakfast a group of dwarves with one of their Lore Keepers turned up at our wee campsite. We explain how we are here searching for a ruins which was housing some zooped up relics. He tells us the items are actually artifacts, personifications of the plains themselves. Pretty powerful items which were created from the heart of the plain. They are great weapons designed to enhance the user. And that they are connected to the plains and provide the plains with some protections. The actual artifacts are thought to be myths but there are lesser copies of them, and the dwarves even have one of these lesser items.

He also tells us of the elves, how they are to the east, somewhere in the forest that way. They don't know specifics as they don't go to the elves, the elves come to them.

And there was more about how in times gone by there was a great empire of the elves and orcs, a large empire to the north west area. There was an alliance of light verses dark with the orc-elvish empire on the side of light. And a great war which resulted in the desert (it wasnt there beforehand) and during or after the war there was an exodus from that land to elsewhere. The dwarves only know this as rumors and stories as when the war broke out they sealed the mountains to wait it out.

We mentioned that one of the previous Guild groups found some items a stone lance, true silver sword , golden silver banner and a golden flask in one of the ruins, which seemed powerful but not as the super items have been described, maybe lesser copies. The Lore Keeper did confirm tales of the lance, sword and banner. He didn't know anything about the flask. The sword sounded like the lesser copy they have.

We swap stores and bid our farewells. I wonder if we will encounter a dwarven party looking for the ruins.

We broke camp and headed back the way we came, so we can head towards where the elves are supposed to be. We head north, find an outpost melted and abandoned. We fly through the lowland pass until lunchtime when we land and have some lunch. Greselda rolls the runestones while we have a break but her reading is messed up and makes no sense. We take off again and continue east, cross another major river and see a large forested area not far from this final river. We decide to make camp between river and forest, hoping the forest holds elves and they will notice us and come visit. There is some attempts at fishing, seems there are none in this river and there is some discussion on the merits of fish and their prices.

We make camp, rabbits are obtained for the meat-eaters and we settled into the night.

Grizelda speaks:
About half an hour after dawn, three dwarves approached. Two of them identified themselves as lore-masters. When we told them we were looking for the lost artefacts in the northern desert they told use we were looking for the Personifications of the Plane. They were said to take the form of weapons that enhance the user. They may not be able to leave the Plane. There are few of them, not many. Many copies were made, but these were not as powerful. The Dwarven High Guard in the Capital had some of these copies. However, they believe the Personifications of the Plane must be myth, because they would surely be noticed through their impact on the earth. They were wielded at the end of the Last Age – there were battles that changed the geography – the desert to the north probably resulted from that time. The Elven-Orcish Empire was one of the more powerful at the time, and was to the north west, but it is unknown if that is the desert. The Elves and Orcs were, according to legend, an alliance of light against the darkness.

They enquired about the artefact copies found by the previous party. Menolly remembered from the scribe notes that there was a stone lance, a true-silver sword, a gold and silver banner and a golden flask – which apparently had leadership magics on them. They noted this. The sword matched the description of the High Guard Captain's sword. They did not remember any stories about the flask – which may mean either that it is unimportant, or extremely powerful.

They explained that the elven forest was some 250 miles away, taking the lowland route, and the 200 miles across the mountains. We decided to take the lowland route, it being less strenuous.

After breakfast we set forth, heading east, using our pigeon wings. We crossed a major river, half a mile wide, after about an hour and a half. The terrain was rolling with stretches of forest. At lunchtime we landed in a scrubby area, gathered wood and made a fire to get warm. I spent half an hour attempting to read the stones, but they made no sense. We flew on for several more hours and crossed another river. Ahead we saw a dense deciduous forest stretching as far as the eye could see. We landed on the river shore, at mid-afternoon. Sauros tried to detect undead, but there were none out there. The rest of us foraged, and gathered wood for a fire. Eric did some forbiddings to attempt to force fish into our nets... but we caught nothing. Menolly made a smoky fire, in the hope of attracting elves. Arwen summoned rabbits for dinner, which made a fine stew. As we settled down to sleep and watch, we heard wolves in the distance. Arwen did this ritual that meant that we had only to sleep four hours – which meant that we could have two on watch, and a third doing rituals and such, and the remaining two getting some sleep.

7th of Frost

Menolly speaks:
Morning and nothing had happened over the night. No elves popping up to make our aquaintances. So Griselda mentions she has this horn that she could blow. Some sort of magical one. Arwyn offers to blow it instead since she has musical training. So she plays a fae/elvishy tune on it. and we settle in to see if we get a response. A couple of hours later an elf walks out of the water. He's in brightly glittery clothes, very pretty and chats to us. Arwyn DA's him (highest talent - invisibility - long lived sentient, and we settle in to chat to him. However before long some of his comments make us a little uneasy. He's very obtuse and not very forthcoming with information. He tells us the elves are scattered, living as individuals and small families all over the place, and that they are not really wanting to take part in the world. That they meet in gatherings in openings in the forest, on magic days. There used to be a large elven meeting area in the mountains but he's not sure if it's still used by others.

When the alarm bells ring in some of his sentences Eric DA's him as well and gets high watery fae royalty, not even elf... unseelie of a sorts. DOh! We carefully farewell him and take off and fly over the woods looking for clearings. When we find one, Arwyn lands to check out it's aura to make sure we are in the right place. Landing inside the forest is a real pain... and just as complicated to take off. Yes there was a magical aura so we land to check out the place.

Through DA's and divinating we can work out the area was used recently, a week or so ago, for some sort of magical event. There are remanents of runes of warding, a magical conflux of some sort. There is a ward around the area, and the mana zone inside is high.

Arwyn blows the horn again, and a few seconds later an elf pops out of the woods. We double check he is actually an elf this time, yes confirmed. We explain what we are there for, he mentions his dad is a loremaker and he casts a spell to chat to his dad. Seems his dad is on the way so we make small talk about elf assassins and how they cause issues with the locals.

Dad eventually turns up and we settle in for a long chat about stuff. He used to be a part of the orc-elvish empire, and fought using the lance while riding a high griffin (wow, a big powerful dude). We share our tale so far, about the finding of the lesser copies and how there are several groups now after the items. He tells us more of the tale that the Dwarves told us.

Yes the land turned to dust during the war. The dust is now dangerous and deadly. It is death to breath for too long, which is why the elves and orcs left. They scattered in the face of the danger, and the two just didn't end up in the same places.

There are 3 items only, he thinks the golden flask might be a powerful trap of some sort. Maybe something like a trapped effreet that would kill once it was let out. So lance, sword and banner are the three items.

To use the weapons to their full potential you need knowledge of the weapon and the plane itself. So we can't use it to it's fullest, neither can demons. But their followers can, which is why there is a made rush for them. The weapons can't be destroyed without destroying the plains that it is connected with and everything around and in it. Big bad...

When the war happened the weapons were hidden, 3 weapons, each in their own separate temple. Each was warded and filled with guardians, and knowledge of the locations was split up so not everyone knew everything to keep their locations hidden.

The war was caused by two powers (Asmodius? and Alakeys?) and their armies fighting it out for control and power over the plain. And whoever gets the artificats will again be in control and set how life is. The dust was caused by the rituals used to help protect their location and rituals cast in the battles from what I can gather.

So this is a bigger task. If we find these artifacts we really need to work out who gets them to make the power balance in the area fine for the Dukes people and lands, which is what we have been tasked with. He tells us we can come back to the forest with any artifacts we get to help summon greater powers in a safe place to work this out. He even offers the elves to take the items as he has wielded the lance before. Someone will get the items eventually, if we get them and the plains are still intact then who gets them will be important. He says his name is Guardian against the Lich Dragon... something they were defending against when he last took up the lance. If we can get any of the items he has people who can wield them. And if we get to the Duchy a message can be passed on and he can come to us there.

So we discuss our options and feel we need to go back to talk to the Duke of Petrenco about this information, and about the orcs since he was our contact last time. Maybe if we can find some of these long lived orcs from the alliance with the elves, they might have some further information about actual locations. We fly back.

Grizelda speaks:
We woke before dawn, and made our morning preparations. I took out my horn to blow, as a means of attracting elves – but naturally Arwen was much better at playing it than I was, so she did it.

A couple of hours later an elf walked out of the river. He asked if we'd heard someone playing a horn and wondered if we knew whom it was. He asked what we wanted, and I explained that we sought wisdom, and would like to meet with their keepers of wisdom. Arwen tested his aura, and he had a talent of invisibility. That was a new one... he must be part fae, I thought. He was not very helpful. He does not wish to take sides, between humans and undead. The elves here were individualists, scattered hunters and gatherers. They used to have a central place, more up in the mountains, but not now. If we sought to talk to elves, we should look for clearings on magic days. There were stodgy old ones who keep the old knowledge. Eric read his aura, as Water Fae Royalty... and Unseelie at that – his appearance as an elf was all illusion. We stated we would take our leave, and he wished us a good hunt.

So, we flew over the forest, and easily found a large clearing. Arwen landed nearby as we circled above. The clearing had a magical aura, but was not trapped, warded or cursed. We decided not to land there. We landed nearby, although Eric and I did not land so well, and hurt ourselves. Fortunately the earth mages had made trollskins on us. Eric divinated the circle. It had a modified runes of warding on it – that did not effect fae or spell-casters. It was a magical conflux, and also a high mana zone. There was a lot of fae, bardic and illusion magic cast here, about a week ago.

I gave Arwen the horn for her to blow, and we began to set up a camp. However, we had barely begun when an elf in mottled clothing stepped out from behind a tree. His aura was tested, and he really was an elf. He asked who we were, and why we had called for a gathering. We explained that we sought the wisdom of the elves, and were in the employ of the humans, who were trying to prevent the wrong people from recovering certain things that should be left sleeping. He said he would get his father, and stepped behind a tree to cast a spell. Apparently they had an occasional issue with people hunting elves – but they don't know who was sending the assassins (who are themselves elves - and this has been happening since the dawn of the age).

An hour later a wind blew in, and a much older-looking elf arrived. We explained what we knew. When we described the copies the other party had found, he said that the golden flask was not a copy of one of the artefacts, but a container for an extra-planar entity, such as a djinn. He added that the artefacts would not stay buried. If the demons were looking for the artefacts, then they must be convinced that they can win this conflict. All we could do is to decide who gets the items. If we want to help the humans we should then ensure that the Duke of Thrones does not get them. They cannot be destroyed, because their destruction would likely destroy the Plane. Neither can they be taken off plane.

He told us that he had once wielded the Lance in the Battle of the Crystal Skies, engaging one of the great lich-dragons, and forcing it underground. His steed, a great griffin, was slain, and so he passed it on. They fought against the forces of Asmodeus and Alloces. They were triumphant, but failed to save their lands, which turned to dust. They lost track of the orcs in the Great Exodus. The items were stored in the high temples, but the lands have changed. The more the wielder understands the item and the greater their connection to this plane, the greater the effect. Thus the demons must use their worshippers to wield them.

The dust was dangerous, and bad to breathe – we would need breathing magic, which we did not have. It drained vitality – so that a healthy elf would drop dead within two days. That said, we ought to be able to survive by using healing spells and by using restoratives. Flying will not get us above it, but it can be difficult. The dust can stay in the air for months after a storm. We could appeal to the Willing Prince for aid in that area, he added. Once we located the temples (there is one artefact in each) they would be in a strongroom near the middle. There are no Temple Guardians left in these woods... but the orcs may know something, about the wards and guards. The Temple of the Lance was a great ziggurat with landing platforms on the corners – and the chamber where the Lance was stored was deep underground. Some of the orcs were blessed with long life, and might yet be alive. If we did wish to consult with powers, we should return here. He could call them, and this was a good place to do it, because of the protections built into the circle. He would also be willing to purchase the artefacts – and with his friends he would be able to wield them in such a way as to protect the elves, humans and dwarves. We could send him a message from the Duchy, and he could meet us there. His title translated to "Guardian against the Lich-Dragon".

8-9th of Frost

The orcs were, according to Menolly and Eric, found to the North of the Duchy. We headed back the way we had come. When we met up with the Dwarves, they told us they had found out that there were actually three artefacts, and we confirmed this. We encountered another undead patrol that lobbed stuff at us... and we flapped very fast for an hour or so. We arrived back at the Duchy on the evening of the 9th.

We reported in, although Marvin wasn't available, so we prepared a written account for him with the things we felt best kept secret. We learned the following:

  • The griffins were to be found in and around the black obsidian tower 150km to the northwest.
  • The orcs were about 150 miles north in a mountainous mound surrounded by six somewhat less mountainous mounds in a hexagonal pattern. They lived in the southernmost mound. There were things in the depths of a shadowy nature they were waging war against.
  • The Duchy had air-mages - somewhat closer to the front. However, they might not be able help with invested items, on account of being busy, and they had little shaping here.

We therefore decided to consult with the Duchy's sages to see if there was anything in their libraries that meant help.

10th of Frost

Sauros spent the day in the library. They concluded that vapour-breathing would help protect against the dust, or perhaps something in one of the primordial elemental colleges. We needed to find an air-mage who wasn't too busy or approach one of the elemental demon temples and request a boon.

  Sauros: So, does anyone have the merchant sub-skill demon boon?

We planned to go talk to the griffons and find out what they wanted in return for their help – and what help they could give us. We learned that there were swarms of undead blocking the direct route between us and them, (mostly lesser undead and blight). We would need to take a long way round to avoid them via Horwell. So, after dinner we set forth for Horwell. We landed. A burning figure walked out of the middle fire - plainly a guard. Wordsmith showed him our credentials and asked for a place to sleep. He asked if we wanted a room or a fire, and we asked for a house. There were bonfires where there should be buildings – which seemed strange until one realised these people were devotees of the Fire Duke. We settled down to sleep. There were whispers in our dreams.

11th of Frost

In the morning, after breakfast, Wordsmith asked for someone in authority – and they said to talk to the Guardian – who would be in the big fire in the centre of the courtyard in the centre of town. So that's were we went. Wordsmith asked for an update on the military situation. There were no undead closer than the swamp. The undead were trying to invade, but the Guardian was confident they could keep them out. He asked why we were heading north... we explained we were going to see the griffins. He asked if we were air-mages. They slept in the fires because it was comfortable, and the undead couldn't get at you in there. The Guardian had no generic true name, because he was one of a kind. He said it was customary to make an offering – so I gave the fire some of my honey, and Wordsmith gave some whiskey.

We flew on, avoiding the swamp. There was evidence of damage to the countryside, the result of hurricanes. We found a borderland keep, and landed some distance away on their landing field. We were challenged and sent up the hierarchy. We would need to land fifty miles short of the mountain. The griffons are maintaining a border, including anything within sight of the mountain. With the offerings we had brought (a couple of skin-changed horses) we could probably get a bit closer. Wordsmith arranged for a diversion to make our passage easier – elementals and summonables to the west. They were keen on dropping salamanders.

They launched their raid, and we launched our flight. There were skeletons down there with bows. We had to climb a bit. There were wandering zombies also, but these seemed less organised. After a while we could see the top of a spire rising above the landscape, and we decided to head down, and land. Wordsmith countered the skin-changes on the horses.

And then we walked. For about two hours... and then, about lunchtime we saw three spots in the sky. They dropped rocks – but we did not act like prey. Of course, the horses bolted, and were pounced upon and eaten. The griffons landed. They thanked us for lunch, and said they were stirring up the dust, making sand storms – to keep the humans out. They asked if we were heroes... if so the dust would not be a problem. It is meant that heroes go out and find things. The artefacts were in the sand storms. We realised that they were being deliberately difficult to follow. Air mages had magic to battle the dust, and so do dust mages. An earth mage could become a dust mage – a combination of air and earth. They knew of a dust mage – one who comes by at times with griffins – called himself the Prince of Adventurers (we guessed this was Seir). The matriarchs might have some invested breathing items. Apparently Wordsmith smelt of gold. It became evident that griffons liked gold just as much as dwarves. The griffon offered half a day's vapour-breathing in return for the generic true name of gold. We could fly this close, but no closer, when we return. His name was something like "gold-lover".

We had a hot lunch before leaving the griffon zone, and flew on, reaching the mounds by dusk. There was no obvious landing zone. Twenty miles out, we were starting to see undead in small groups of mounted skeletons – looking like organised out-riders, a rear-guard of some larger force. The main body of this force was probably laying siege to the southern mound. We backed off five miles or so, landed and pulled out the crystal balls to have a look. An overview showed that the mountain itself was scry-shielded. Some areas in the undead encampment were also scry-shielded. This appeared to be more of an encirclement rather than an actual siege – there were no siege weapons in evidence. Looked like they were trying to keep the orcs in, more than anything else. We considered ways to get through – flying the gauntlet looked most likely to succeed.

So we readied ourselves, taking some combat drugs Arwen had, and flew for it. We got shot at, and took some arrows... and flew in through a definitely shaped stone entrance, and landed in a wide cavern. Wordsmith had taken the worst of it, having a couple of arrows lodged in him, and needed a trollskin. They greeted us, and ushered us in, through the second line of defence. There was more of the shaped stone we had seen with the dwarves, and then we found ourselves in a city. We explained that we had come to talk to them. There are wards that block out-going communications - which was why they had not been talking. They do not have their lorekeeper any more. He had been on the eighth level below, and the shadow creatures now control the seventh and eighth levels. The orcs have the down to the fourth, and the fifth and sixth are in contention. The lorekeeper may have survived because he had been in the Chambers of the Undying with his assistants and may have been able to seal them. The chambers were heavily warded, but physical entry would be possible if we managed not to get infected by the shadow creatures. The shadow-creatures were undead – most simply beasts like trained wild animals. There was a big something on the twentieth level that has awoken, but cannot get up through the tunnels. Fortunately they cannot run through the walls. Their mages are mainly dark celestials (with some light celestials) – and they can steal life essence. If you took severe enough wounds from them, and succumbed, you'd become one of them. If you survived, you would become tainted – which meant you'd be somewhat more resistant to the shadows, but vulnerable to the call of their dark master.

We learned that the orcs weren't entirely happy with our Guild – apparently a previous party broke some things. Finally we got healed up and had some dinner. An orc in true-silver chain turned up – and explained that the shadow mages were mostly nightgaunts (who were mostly formerly orcish and fallen comrades – we should feel free to put them to rest) wights and the occasional spectre (who were formerly human). The wolves, wargs and bears were tainted so they were spectral undead while retaining their creature types. I had my suspicions about the true nature of their dark master – after all, that elf told us that the lich-dragon he fought fled underground. It might be very same beastie – it might not, but something left over from that old war was lurking down there, this witch was willing to bet.

The orcs led us to a nice comfortable bunkroom, and left us to plan. It soon became evident that I should use my goblin duelling daggers, which could take the spectral weapon spell that would not work on my maul, and would also quicken us. We realised that what they called wargs were what we called dire wolves.

12th of Frost

We woke early, and an orcish page by our door went to get the leader. He asked what we needed – he would send rune mages with us to get us back, and loaned us a pair of air-mages specialised in thunderclap, seeing as we had no blast mages. So we got ready. They gave us potions that would take the edge off the draining (2 points less). A much larger force would be going after one of the spectres, as we struck out for the lorekeeper.

We headed down into the depths. There were wide high halls... the first group we encountered were a group of about thirty shadow beasts. They were successfully occupied when Sauros cast a control undead on some of them, and made them fight the others. Next we came to a wall of fire before some big doors (which led to the Chambers) – in front of which we saw another bunch of shadow beasts (bears, wolves and some kind of goat critter). Among them was a humanoid in silvery plate – which appeared to be some sort of greater undead, and a caster, because it was apparently trying to get the wall of fire down. Sauros tried to control the undead, but something stronger already had control of them. We charged forward, actively resisting, and he casts something thaumaturgic on us. Drat it, we had been expecting Celestial! Turned out it was Namer magic. They tried to flank, going for the mages. I scored the first hit on a wolf... and learned that when you hit these things they hit you back, draining your fatigue. Wordsmith's weasel started a proper spitting fight with another wolf. Two more wolves went for Saurus, knocking him down. But then the tide turned – Arwen started cutting a swathe through them, and they disengaged, starting to run away. Only a few of their wolves were down... there were scattered fragments of rotten corpses on the floor... but we let them withdraw.

We healed up and then Wordsmith and the orc namers cast fire counters on all of us. Beyond the wall of fire was a translucent wall – which proved to a specially constructed forbiddance against undead in general. Beyond that was a corridor.... There was a ward of fireball in there with a verbal command trigger, and then a door. One of the orcs knocked on the door. Inside was a library with large tomb-niches. There were orcs inside, doing clerical stuff. He warned us not to sit in that chair – it would burn one out with knowledge. The rune mages started etching a portal.

We began to explain what we were doing. The orc asked what side we were on, and offered considerable gold (like 50,000 sp each for the artefacts). I asked what side he was on, and he said "the side of quests, of glory and daring". There was a little white cat under his chair. There were none left living of the orcs who fought in the last war – their remains were here, and may be consulted. The cat wanted to be petted, and climbed up me... so I stroked it. The conversation went on – turned out that he'd pay us to take the items to the elf that entitled himself "Guardian against the Lich-Dragon". Eventually, the orc offered to Sauros to trade the ability to cast vapour breathing for his noxious vapours spell until he left the plane, as a reward for leading the other orcs to this place... Then, Arwen told me that the cute kitty was in fact a major agent of the Willing Prince.... So I put it down, rather quickly. Evidently this orc was working for Seir. The orcs had lost contact with the elves – mainly because they had been fighting the shadows here for long ages. The Loremaster admitted they had knowledge of the location of one artefact, and the last protections on another. They would give this (and the 50000sp) if we agreed to take the artefacts to the elves.

They sent us through the rune portal back up top for lunch. We then had a long discussion. Concerning artefacts and their whereabouts, who might know where to find them – and who should get them.

  Grizelda: Let us not count our artefacts before we have acquired them...
  Arwen: There is no such thing as a good dragon!
  Arwen: For some reason I cannot go down to the local flea market and buy a new soul.

The Loremaster did not know anyone specific to talk to in order to gain more information – other than the demons that probably know more, but would have their price – which might be unacceptable to us. He added that there was a whole research section back there in the caves, and the information was probably there somewhere, but it would take a very long time to find it. He added that the Tombs of the Undying are the tombs of the orcs who died by violence and founded this place. Wordsmith removed Sauros' deafness curse. Meanwhile, I tried asking the stones which books to look in to find the information, but all I got was a headache. Then Sauros summoned a "friendly spirit" to ask it questions. It arrived and stomped around him – but it was diffuse... very odd.
Where is the banner? Silence
Where is the sword? Moan like a whistle, perhaps wind
Where is the lance? Rumbling like thunder that ebbs and flows
What protects the lance? Crackling sound
What protects the banner? Deathly silence
After that, and more or less exhausting the alternatives, we decided that we would take the orcish Loremaster's deal – hoping for more money from him – and maybe other stuff from the elf. Arwen negotiated, asking for 250000sp in total – but when he explained that he was offering that 50000sp as essentially a down payment for the attempt, we went along with that. He told us that there was a place north east of the desert, at the tip of a triangular mountain chain, on a bluff on the coast to the north of the ruined city, where there was a ziggurat where an artefact was hidden. He added that a guardian set over one of the others contained an ancient phrase – an answer without a question – perhaps a pass code. He taught us this phrase. It was a mixture of Eldarin, Draconic and High Orcish. We checked our map, and we had a fairly good idea where we should go. There was even a convenient river. It was getting late, and when we talked to the orcish leaders, we learned that the best time to leave would be in forty-eight hours when the hunters were coming back via rune portal. Which made plenty of time for Sauros to put the wings back on us. So, Arwen tried to use her magic pen to write down the password – but it would not stay written down. Then Wordsmith tried to divinate it – but the ritual backfired and the paper caught fire.

14th Frost – 15th Frost

It was dusk when the hunters brought back many dead and itemised large animals. They told us that the destination rune-sticks were in a marsh. So we got feet wet, and then we flew north until we reached the sea some time before dawn. Arwen opened her magic boat, and we got on board and rested as the boat took us northwards in the general direction of our destination, while remaining well away from the coast. The luggage got towed... floating in the air.

15th Frost

By dawn we were roughly due west of where we wanted to go. Sau Rus cast vapour-breathing on us all. Arwen turned the boat west. It wasn't apparently that keen on this idea, there being danger in that direction, but Arwen was able to insist. Aboat two hours later, twenty-five hours off the coast, we entered the dust. There was something of an offshore wind that might explain why it was this far out. The dust seemed to be an unnaturally fine particulate. As we approached the coast it became denser, and there were larger particles in it. The wind got stronger and visibility dropped to around a hundred feet. We were in a sand storm. It was rather noisy, and quite unpleasant until we fashioned veils. I used a spare tea towel.

The boat grounded on a small rocky beach, and we stepped out onto rough gravel. A steep path like a goat trail led up a cliff. After the inevitable debate we climbed up. At the top of the cliff, WordSmith spotted a ward of whitefire – of maximum rank, which could be suppressed by a Celestial special counter-spell. It extended as far as we could see along the edge of the cliff. WordSmith cast the counterspell, and we carried on over the top. The air became burning with a stench of sulphur. There was no sign of a ziggurat, so we headed right, along the cliff edge. After about fifteen minutes I stopped. There was something odd about the dust ahead. Menolly stuck her staff in it... And it fizzed. It was acid... Nasty stuff, it seemed about to ignite. Arwen fixed the staff with some fancy spell of hers. After scouting around we found that it was a pool about thirty feet across, some fifty feet from the edge of the cliff.

After half an hour or so, the pools became more frequent, forcing us away from the cliff edge. It occurred to me that an earth elemental might be of assistance. Arwen summoned one. It seemed dry and brittle. She asked it to help find the way... but it said there was too much water and fire here... that it was not true earth. There was much taint in the earth – the air ate at it. The acid was both water and fire, it seemed. We got out a crystal of vision and had a look down from above the dust. Which helped us figure out where on the map we were – around the top of the peninsula... After a while the cliff changed from northeast to northwest, and shortly after that the elemental stopped saying that there was a structure ahead, perhaps four hundred feet away. I tried summoning a wind to clear the ground so WordSmith could see the ground to look for wards. It did not work. So I cast the counterspell. The air was downright nasty, searing the skin, and blackening anything silvered...

Another three hundred feet and the elemental stopped, saying the ziggurat should now be visible. We could a large shape looming out of the dust. The elemental led us to the stairway heading up. The remains of a path led south. The ziggurat had become pitted and scored over the long ages in the dust. Its great marble blocks were almost twice my height. But there were human sized steps, though they were a bit crumbly. We sent the elemental ahead, and carefully followed up the steps, detecting auras to check for wards. As we neared the top we saw four winged humanoid figures swoop down, and knock the elemental off the ziggurat. We dropped and hurriedly began casting walls. One of them took a swipe at WordSmith and he said it was a gargoyle. This fended them off... and we got to the top. There was a circular hole in the top of the ziggurat. And another ward with a celestial special spell again. WordSmith suppressed this one too.

We entered and stood on top of the ziggurat inside the ziggurat. There was dust, eddying as if there were wings beating somewhere down there. It was dark, and bringing out a torch did not help. As I set foot on the steps there was a draconic roar that echoed strangely in the gap between the ziggurat above and the ziggurat below. There were shards of bone and ichor on the steps... the remains of necromancy, cast only a day ago. So, somebody got here first. And yesterday was the dark of the moon.

We carried on down the stairs that were some twenty feet wide... something was flapping out in the darkness. Menolly called out... "Hello!" And a dark flappy thing hung in the air to the west. We stopped and I actively resisted... we ducked.... And another one came in... from the other direction. It was a wyvern of sorts (it was bigger and had a rather unusual tail attack) and it struck at Arwen... She sent a volley of diamond tipped javelins into the other one. Some of which hit hard... it screamed in pain and flapped off, trailing ichor. We closed up our formation and continued on down. They circled, but did not attack again.

We got to the base of the stairs, where an archway led inside this ziggurat... blocked by another ward, which Wordsmith suppressed, and there was another ziggurat inside. On top of this, Arwen could make out another creature. As we advanced up the stairs, little statues by the stairs spoke, saying: "Send forth your challenger!" in many languages. Arwen nominated herself as challenger (and let's face it, she was much tougher than the rest of us, and can teleport herself around). As Arwen got closer she saw it was a draconic figure with yellowish scales... She tried teleporting onto its back.... But that didn't entirely help, because it could still get at her with its wings and tail. After a bit of this, she started actually doing damage to it... Then it performed an impressive manoeuvre, twisting in midair, attempting to trap her with its wings and breathing on her. Arwen teleported away, down to the bottom of the stairs and took a potion. The dragon touched a stone and a globe of light appeared around the top of the stairs – the aura of which read as "suppression". Arwen bravely marched up the stairs, and learned that the suppression negated all magics on her, shaped or otherwise. The dragon ripped her apart – she turned into an earth elemental, and it started to rip her apart, and then it paused. Arwen the elemental slid into the earth, and emerged back with us. The dragon went back to the top of the stairs, hit another stone, and the glow intensified. The aura of the glow now read damage (as well as suppression)... Then she told us that she had seen the lance. The dragon was in fact guarding it.

We decided to have a look around and see if there was any clue as to what must be done. There were hieroglyphics on the outside walls around the base of this ziggurat. Sau Rus figured out bits of it. Part of it related to a map, and he could make out a ravine running east... and after a few more symbols there was the symbol of a sword. Which indicated where the sword might be. In the middle of the text, Wordsmith saw some kind of references and clues to the phrase we memorised. Sau Rus and Wordsmith went looking elsewhere, and found a wall depicting the story of the lance. There were elves and orcs, temples and ziggurats. On the third wall, there were carvings relating to the banner. Sau Rus found a reference to a great domed temple in a city, but no clue as to where it might be. After an hour of this, Menolly started screaming about a monster coming down out of the light... and it was a phantasm. WordSmith made it go away. It happened again, and we decided we'd better leave. So we did. As we exited the wards, they sprang up again behind us. We returned to the beach safely, opened the boat, and got on board. The boat took us out of the dust, around the coast, to where the ravine came to the sea. It was now a couple of hours after dusk.

16th Frost

As dawn broke, the boat turned in towards the shore, warning Arwen of danger, and so Sau Rus cast the vapour breathings. We sailed into the dust. Visibility dropped, but we could still see that we were approaching a broad sandy beach. Sau rus cast detect undead, and told us there were some lesser undead up among the dunes.

  Grizelda: We don't actually have a swatting-things-at-range-when-you-can't-properly-see-them-mage...

We thought to approach, on the basis that we needed to learn more – and that we might be best to destroy them, because leaving bad things behind us would be a bad plan. Sau rus reasoned they might be blight – which may hang around for years. However, they proved to be skeletons. And they were busy digging with shovels... Arwen teleported into their midst, and the skeletons were soon a scattered pile of bones.

  Sau rus: I must say they have remarkably industrious skeletons on this plane.

They had been busy uncovering some stonework. It was easy enough to see that this structure had been a wharf. It was fairly close to the sea – there probably had been a wooden structure extending from this. We decided to head inland from the wharf. There were signs of a road, and of the recently uncovered foundations of large structures. After a mile or so we came upon a larger work party of forty-odd skeletons unburying the foundations of a large building. Apparently they had been animated just two days ago through a "ritual of animating skeletons" of high rank – a ritual commonly used by undead necromancers to create servants according to Sau rus. We left them to it, and carried on, around to the north. We saw another party digging a statue out of the sand, and carried on following what we could see of the road.

Arwen summoned an elemental. It stomped around a bit, and then announced that there was good earth here. It sensed many creatures light-footed for their size. They congregated around the remains of structures to the east and south. The ruins went deep into the heart of the earth – where there are earth spirits. When asked about the ravine, it said there was a great gash in the earth to the east and south.

When we began asking about the artefacts, it told us that there was one right here in this ruin, moving somewhat, and sending tremors through the earth. The elemental though it was likely that some entity was carrying it.

  Arwen: Deathly silence? Greater undead bards!

We asked the elemental to lead us to the artefact. Soon, we found ourselves wandering around big groups of skeletons – hundreds of them. Some of them were armed patrols. This was starting to get annoying. The only option appeared to be to go underground. And that wouldn't stop spectres. The artefact was a few miles away, in the direction of the ruins. After another one of those lengthy discussions, we concluded that this one was too hard, and so we went for the ravine... after about five miles, we came to a place where visibility increasing markedly, doubling the distance we could see. And there was rock beneath our feet, blasted by sand over the years, and we were no longer wading through sand. The elemental said that we had entered the gash. By now we were tired... so it seemed like a good idea to rest, though it was only midday, and we'd come only ten miles, with another ninety miles to go. The elemental led us to a "crack in the wall" which was a valley about a hundred feet long. Menolly did this ritual that made us a little garden... and the sand storm went away. That was so much better. One had not realised the places that sand could get into.

After eight hours passed uneventfully, we prepared to carry on. Arwen called up another elemental. Sau rus cast detect undead – and there were none within eight hundred feet – which could only be said to be a good thing. We pressed on, pushing it somewhat because we were determined to get there ahead of the opposition this time.

Four days passed in rather miserable conditions. Wordsmith's chest, looking a bit the worse for wear, disappeared on the third day.

20th Frost

It was evening when we rounded a corner and saw before us a chasm. Down there was no storm... and we saw a structure set into a cliff face. We retreated into the storm and into a valley the elemental found for us, made a garden and there we camped for eight hours.

  Wordsmith: It's so much better knowing the end is near.

21st Frost

We readied ourselves, and set out. As we advanced down into the ravine, a path appeared, which shortly became a road, which became paved. There were weathered statues of humanoid figures wielding weapons. We reached the structure. A statue stood in the middle of the road in front of the entrance. It was humanoid... in full armour, but carried no obvious weapons. It was, not surprisingly, magical... with no generic true name. Its purpose was "challenge". There was writing on its base. Wordsmith cast counterspells... of various types. At fifty feet away, the statue moved, and peered at us. It spoke... in archaic dwarvish. It said, "speak your purpose". Wordsmith replied.... And then five pedestals appeared around it – reaching two-thirds of the height of its one. It said, "Come join me". Wordsmith replied.... And then it stopped, and the pedestals sank down. We backed off, and let Arwen speak the phrase.... But nothing happened.

The entrance was not warded. There was a hallway in classical human style... a dust dervish formed in front of us. It said, "You have failed the test of courage, turn back or meet your fate." As we approached the far end of the hall, part of the floor fell away revealing a thirty-foot wide chasm from which emanated a dull red glow. It was deep.... And there was lava at the bottom. It was hot... really hot. Arwen gave me this crystal globe that made me weightless, and Wordsmith started to fly me across. But when we reached the edge, there was a sudden hot updraft that blew us back. We interrogated the earth elemental, but it said it was not allowed to help us.

After much discussion we came up with an alternative method to get across, involving six walls of stone so as to bridge the gap, and a couple of tunnels to climb through. We clambered across, and I made a restorative for Arwen.

There were ornately carved wooden doors ahead of us – carved with runic writings as opposed to hieroglyphs. These doors had handles, and were not apparently warded or trapped. I was elected as opener of door, since I have the greatest endurance. Wordsmith cast counter air special on me, and I reached out and pulled on one handle. Both the doors swung open – beyond was a great hall, filled with swirling mists. A dervish appeared "You have failed the test of belief, turn back or your corpses will be devoured..." and then dissipated. Sau Rus cast detect undead, and announced that there was indeed a greater undead, perhaps 400ft behind us. As we advanced, the mists closed around us. Suddenly looming in front of us was a great lion-like figure. It said something... Arwen spoke the phrase, and it poofed. Next, there were more great wooden doors, again covered with writing. Again they opened when I pulled on one handle. In front of us there was a lovely nave. There were three alcoves containing misty armoured warrior figures, one on each side. In front of us in the centre was a stone with a weapon rack and a sword on it. A small dervish formed, "You have passed the test of knowledge" it said. The figures were not undead, but they were magical, the nature of which was "potential" with no trigger and no inherent purposes. Behind each figure were hieroglyphs. So, we approached. There was an aura on the stone and the stand. There was a magical aura, which appeared to be related to consecration. The sword was also magical, with an avatar-strength aura, generic true name Farwey.

First we tried using a spectral hand to pick it up, but that didn't work. The hand went right through – so did mine and Arwen's. Sau rus put on a set of black gloves, and picked it up with ease. Then two of the figures solidified, and attacked, doing a swirling attack, which hit everyone. We fled. They struck again...

We ran back through the doors... we held the doors, as Arwen tried to cast her tunneling. Some things crashed against the doors... hard and repeatedly. After a while axes started coming through.... Sau rus cast a wall.... As we tried to back off.... We fled again through the tunnel, and I started rapidly casting walls of thorns behind us, to block the way.

There were the steps leading down, and the statue, beyond which were four lions prowling with a goblin bending down looking at something... probably our tracks. We started to cast walls behind us... and then the blackfire came out of the storm. Fortunately, we resisted... then vials of stuff came our way... Then Sau Rus got a wall of bones up behind us. We charged down the steps. I cast speak with animals, and called out to the lions, "Please help us". They responded, "We'll help you!" An ominous voice called out... "Surrender and we will negotiate." The gas from the vials exploded in a fireball. Methane grenades. We charged the ambush. The lions fell in beside me as I ran. The goblins took off in a random direction. Ahead I could see goblin crossbowmen behind spikes... goblin swordsmen with them. Behind them was a spectral figure. Two crossbow bolts got me... I dropped a Wall of Thorns in front of the goblins on the left... and the spectral figure dropped a Wall of Darkness on the other side.

It wanted to talk – so we let it. It was pacted to Murmur. Sau Rus seemed quite keen on trading the sword for stuff. He agreed to give us some time to talk – and talk we did. The lions were sentient.... Perhaps they were Agents of Seir, like the cat. But they'd like us to give the sword to Murmur.

The clouds opened... a lightning bolt hit me. A golden haired man came in a chariot. It was Seir... the lions weren't his. They were Murmur's. I started to ask if Seir could take us away, offering the Sword to him – but he shrugged. He could not take it, and was unable to help us. Then an armoured figure in another chariot swooped down.... This was Murmur. Menolly offered to make tea... and made a fire to make tea for Murmur and Seir. She apparently hoped to attract the attraction of the Fire Duke – or at least provide a place for it to manifest.

The spectre poked its head through the wall of thorns... and paled.

  Sau Rus: You don't see that often... a pale spectre.

Wordsmith succeeded in invoking Aim – and an agent of Aim appeared. Apparently the Fire Duke didn't want to come, so he sent his Agent. After considerable negotiation, we decided to give the sword to the Agent of the Fire Duke. It took the sword.... And grew and grew into a Balrog... and it went off with Murmur, saying as it left that we would get our reward in the town of Hoarwell. I am not sure that we would have given it to the fire, if we had thought it likely that Aim would make a deal with Murmur.

26st Frost

The fires still burned, but they were a dusty red. A spectre walked out of the fire, and offered us our reward from Aim. There were people here – who seemed surprisingly happy with the situation. The spectre gave us our reward – fire college magic we could learn and rank. We flew to the Temple of the Lance, but the Temple was empty.

We were met by Seir as we approached the portal. He said that we were naughty. We should have returned the silver. So he cursed us all with a nasty case of back luck. I am starting to really dislike these demons, and wish to have nothing more to do with them ever again. We, in resignation, went home. It was not pleasant getting out of the river. Then, the Guild could not lift our curse. To our somewhat surprise, we found our employer here at the Guild – he had escaped the destruction. He didn't really seem bitter, or to blame us. But I must confess – it was a disaster, and I cannot see how we could have done otherwise than we did, and still survived. A more powerful party might have been able to change the fate of Farwey, but we were simply caught up in events beyond our power to alter. Such, I suppose, is the nature of things.

Reference Information

Previous Scribe Notes

Other Notes

It is known that a Sentient bonfire acting as an Agent of Aim has offered rewards relating to the Relics. No details. ((See Ghost Town)).



Standard Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur Arwen Sau Rus Grizelda Menolly Wordsmith
Strength of Stone (Menolly) 10 + 10 ST 11 hrs
Strength of Stone (Arwen) + EN hrs



Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Winter: Frost (7)
Samhain 1 Guild Meeting 2   3   4   5   6  
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30
Winter: Snow (8)
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 Solstice 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Yuletide
19 Days of Chaos 20 2nd DoC 21 3rd DoC 22 4th DoC 23 5th DoC 24 6th DoC 25 7th DoC
26 8th DoC 27 9th DoC 28 10th DoC 29 11th DoC 30 Twelfth Night
Winter: Ice (9)
1 2
3 4 5 6 First Plough 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30