Dahrylon

Revolution in Lyridock
Sanctum's Hope leaves the Mire

Descent into the Shrine

Sanctum’s Hope, having dispatched the dragon in its own lair, and defeated the ooze which had taken up residence in the forgotten shrine, finished exploring the darkened first level.

Past the dragon’s lair they discovered a series of deteriorated bed-chambers and a staircase to the level below. Frozen and Yara discovered a hidden cache of loot still intact in the bed-chambers before the party descended the stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs, the Lanternward around Belster’s neck lit up with a blinding white light. Across the vast, cavernous, swampy chamber, a multi-headed dragon idol matched the Lanternward’s radiance. In the now-illuminated gloom, a tribe of lizardfolk was exposed as living in the muck.

The party did battle with and eventually defeated the lizardfolk and their mystical leader.

As Belster approached the idol, lances of searing light shot forth from the Lanternward, annihilating the wooden statue and its many heads. In the afterimage of the light’s flaring out, the party could see and sense the loose strands of the tether being burned away and sealed.

Finally, the Lanternward’s light grew dim and went out, leaving the room in darkness except for a spidery blight-like scarring which shone through Belster’s armor from his chest. Behind the wooden idol a stone statue was now visible, blasted clean by the cleansing fire of the ward: a beautiful woman which Belster identified as depicting Avandra.

Their mission in the dank, flooded dungeon complete, they set off to meet with the Witch once more.

Last Journey to the Witch’s Hut

The party’s journey through the Mire was encouragingly uneventful, free of the demonic and necrotic influences which had plagued their previous journeys, until they reached the Witch’s home. There they were attacked by a bestial swamp beetle of enormous size and ferocity. Only through tremendous efforts did the party beat back and eventually defeat the gigantic beetle before it could run off with and devour Frozen.

The environs around the hut, and the interior of it, were overgrown, unkempt, and generally more verdant than their previous visits. Inside, the Witch was nowhere to be found, but a few pages of her journal related a prophecy of her death and somewhat cryptic instructions as to how they were to proceed.

The party recuperated from their battle with the beetle before proceeding according to the Witch’s instructions: they went back to Sanctum.

One last look around…

While Yara waited outside, the party visited with Lady Hammertone and Milgurn II at Castle Ardhome and showed them the journal the Witch had left them. Miura, in response, gave them the second Lanternward and advised them about their first stop outside the Mire: the city of Lyridock.

The party had deduced that Lyridock was their next likely destination because of a riddle in the journal about “The Lyre’s Dock,” but they were unprepared to step into a city on the brink of war.

Miura informed them that the most recent reports held that the city’s traditional ruling houses had been ousted by the mage’s guild and the city guard. Miura charged them with resolving the situation, because in the event that Sanctum’s caravans could return the city, the current sense of unease would not be beneficial to trade.

Rebellion

After arriving in a city under martial law, the party followed a tip to arrive at a Terebyth safehouse—the tavern and inn the Parrot’s Perch. The bartender helped obtain a map of the city for them.

Traveling to the closest house, House Fvalid, the party is challenged to a contest. Frozen acts as champion and failed the Test of Dogma against the House Elder. A short expedition to the Mayoral Estate revealed it was under siege.

The next day they returned to House Fvalid and Mirren acted as champion against the house champion and endured the Test of Endurance successfully. They informed the party that the Captain of the Guard is under the influence of a demoniac. If the influence is removed, the guards may back the houses (instead the mages). The former Terebyth mayor (it is revealed) is still at the Mayoral Estate where runic wards prevent an attack by the mages. If the mayor could be persuaded to help, the other houses will likely follow.

Brigands walked the streets and were dispatched by the party as they traveled to House Terebyth.

At House Terebyth Auriel outwitted the House Elder in the Test of Wits. Terebyths say that man7y of the scions of House Orilev are part of the mage guild. Some are demoniacs on the new Council of Lords. House Orilev is therefore unsure of where their members’ loyalties lie: with the house, or with the mages?

Terebyths offer to smuggle the party into the Mayoral Estate on 24 hours’ notice. This is arranged for two days hence.

On the third day, some guards are dispatched on the way to House Orilev. There Belster succeeds against the house champion in the Test of Speed. They tell the party that the mage tower houses demons. If released, they would wreak chaos and allow the Houses to reassert themselves. The presence of the demons divides House Orilev. Many of the city watch officers get their weapons from House Fvalid, making it easier to deal with the guards since the party already has support from Fvalid.

With that test completed, the party had the support of all three Houses. (City Watch, Sea Captains, and the Mayor remain.)

On the way to the Watch’s Keep, more thugs are dispatched. At the Watch’s Keep, suspicions are raised by a lieutenant that an amulet worn by the Captain may be influencing him. His route home is changed by her so that the party may intervene.

On day four the party went to the Wharf and issued a gathering decree to the captains; they will meet the party on the sixth day. Next, the Terebyths smuggle the party into the Mayoral Estate. The former mayor offers to repel the siege, attracting enough attention to allow the houses to take care of the demons in the mage tower. The evening of day six is set as the time of rebellion.

On day five, word is sent to all three houses. At night, the party ambushes the Captain of the Guard and Belster successfully talked Ekemon through the theft of the amulet.

On day six, the party reaches the Watch Keep and gives the amulet to the lieutenant who tears up the warrants and wanted posters but owes the party one favor. The favor the party asks is that when the call comes for troops at the Mayoral Estate she sends them instead to the South Wall. The party must swear (and does) that this will save her troops and the city.

The party goes to the Wharf and ask the captains for an escort, and for the mariners to reinforce the rebellion against the siegers at the Mayoral Estate. Back at the Perch, the plan is confirmed. The Mayor tells them to look out for Piravel at the mage tower that night; he only trusts the party to be strong enough to dispatch her.

The plan begins, and in the chaos the party assaults the mage tower and confronts Piravel. She is nearly finished drawing a gigantic pentagram in the center of the room. She scolds Ekemon – her son! – for not taking the power he was to be given, making her do all of this herself. The party fights and kills Piruvel, and the mages lose the battle for Lyridock.

House Orilev is dimished since some of its members were mages. The party is rewarded with a bounty of magic items from the thankful city.

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Auriel's Journal

Auriel’s Journal – Entry 1

Returning to Sanctum was…well…different. I find I’m suddenly getting along with, and enjoying the company of…these…beings. Perhaps I did contract the pox after all…
but I digress…
When we walked into town, the first thing I longed to do was to spend some quality time with my studies and away from the others (especially Mir… the fact that we came from the same womb is sometimes even incomprehensible to me…)
But, after visiting the witch’s hut on the way back from the obelisk, it was apparent that taking some time alone was not going to be possible.
While visiting the witch, she informed us that our hard work may still have been for naught. The place that is now a watery marsh was once a beautiful forest. In that forest, a “great evil” was imprisoned. 3 tethers, guarded as a joint effort between mages, clerics and druids, were created to keep this “great evil” at bay. This being? force? something? known as “great evil” is still imprisoned, but the tether the witch guards has deteriorated, and continues to deteriorate rapidly. She needs our help to keep the “great evil” from entering our world.
According to the witch, the last time the tethers weakened, portals to the Shadowfell and the Abyss opened to our world. After telling her of our encounter with the fire demon-esque being on our way to her hut, she is almost certain that the other tethers have deteriorated just as badly as the one she guards.
We asked what could be done about the tethers, and the witch did have an answer for us. She said that the tethers could be repaired, but that she did not possess the power to repair it herself. As the only remaining guard of this tether (and the only KNOWN guard of the tethers…the other two may have been abandoned many moons ago) , there is no one else around to help her to repair the tethers.
At this point, I wondered how in the world we would be able to help her, if she, being a powerful witch, couldn’t even do anything. I wondered why we were even there…but before I could say anything, the rest of the party had questioned if there was anyone anywhere who could help (which, according to Mir, was a good thing…he said that asking how we could help if she herself was inept would have been offensive, especially after the obelisk strained her considerably…quite frankly, I don’t understand how the truth could be offensive…but Mir says I’m, “not the diplomat for a reason.”) She informed us that an old pupil of hers, Meorran, had created lanternwards that could be used to repair the three tethers. There are 3 in existence, and as each lanternward is used, it is likely to be destroyed. The first lanternward ward is guarded by Lady Miura Hammertone. The second lanternward is usually guarded by the Mayor, but is guarded by the Stewardess, since the Mayor and the Lady Hammertone are currently one in the same. The third lanternward is in the possession of Meorran herself, so we must find her in order to complete our task.
Oh, I almost forgot! The locations of these tethers. The tether the witch guards is located to the South, below the Shrine of Avandra. Before the “change in landscape”, the other two were found in the Nth West and the Nth East – in the possession of the Mountain people and the Elves. Elves…who puts ELVES in charge of anything? No wonder the tethers are deteriorating…
At this point, however, we aren’t sure if the people who preside over the tethers have any clue that they are even there…
The imprisoned “great evil”‘s whereabouts is unknown, even to the Witch. She doesn’t even know what this “great evil” really is. It could be a demon, or just evil in its true, unaltered form. (META: Think – Buffy Season 7 – the First Evil) I just hope it isn’t a fluffy bunny…or something equally NOT as terrifying…
Our next step is to talk to the lords and ladies of Sanctum and inform them of the situation – both of the eradication of the pox, and the current predicament we find ourselves in….
~Aur

Auriel’s Journal – Entry 2

So before we go to talk to the lords and ladies of Sanctum, Crag has told us that we have a mission to complete at the Temple of Moradin. Begrudgingly, I follow…we’ll see where this leads us…

Auriel’s Journal – Entry 3

After walking into the Temple of Moradin, I was immediately struck by the beautiful architecture! The stone work is just gorgeous! Anyway, we arrived to find Frozen Frostbeard alive and standing before us. A pity that Crag could not come along too, but he said he had other matters pending that needed immediate attention…

Scribbles in the margin:

  • We talk Miura into giving us her lanternward, as long as we try to bring it back unharmed if possible.
  • We meet Yara outside the castle and she joins us. Auriel is (as always) suspicious of a shaman…she remains tolerant…but not exactly nice.
  • Belster uses the lanternward to track us to the Avandra shrine.
  • We kill 2 purple fey panthers and 1 runs away.
  • Belster freaks out because the statue of Avandra looks like the specter from his vision, and Yara feels empty because she can’t feel/hear the spirits here.
  • Inside the Shrine we kill 4 wraiths vulnerable to cold.
  • Mirren receives shining Bold Victory Chain Armor.
  • Enter a room with a statue of Avandra, domed ceiling with painted spoked wheel (the symbol of Fortune, an alias of Avandra).
  • Find a secret door, the passageway has a lot of branching.
  • We enter another room with water and fog, where we find pristine leather gloves, given to Yara.
  • Encountered and slayed mourning haunt, an elemental creature concealed by mist.
  • Exploring more of the passages, encountered a doom spore, which is innocuous if you’re healthy, and poisonous if you’re bloodied.
  • Another room that looks like an armory, encountered and slayed a specter (vulnerable to radiant damage), obtaining Helm of Opportunity, given to Belster.
  • In a large room, encountered the young black dragon that killed Frozen before in a pool of water, and slayed it.
  • Down a corridor hidden by rubble, found a room with statues of Avandra, and a pile of loot. However, the statues have nimbuses, so we chose not to go in yet.
  • We went back to the dragon room, and enter a room behind water logged doors. Encountered an ochre jelly, and killed it while singing.
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Into the Mire
The adventure begins...

The Quest

Miura Hammertone sent an official summons to five people living in Sanctum: Frozen Frostbeard, Mirren and Auriel No’Va, Ekemon, and Belster.

When they arrive, they see Miura (Lady Hammertone, Lady Mayor of Sanctum), and Milgurn II waiting for them in the audience chamber. The audience chamber is the throne room. Seated on the throne is Miura. By her left-hand side, standing, is Milgurn.

Miura introduces them to each other (she doesn’t know if anyone knows anyone else yet except for the twins) and tells them about their collective enterprise:

“I charge you with the task of saving this town from the horrible pox before it is too late. I know that each of you has performed tremendous service to this town over the years, and I call upon you now to go above and beyond the call of duty; I call on you to be heroes.

I cannot tell you how to save this town, only how to begin. Some of you may be familiar with the Witch of North Drekken: the old woman who has lived out on the Mire for as long as anyone can remember. Since my father founded this township, she has come once a year, every year. I know that the citizens believe her to be an old (if mystical) hermit who needs an occasional set of supplies she cannot make for herself, but I can assure you she is much more than that.

My father told me, before he passed on the sovereignty to me, something I have only told one other living soul, until this moment.” Miura takes a deep breath and looks to Milgurn, who returns the glance and nods. She continues, “What I am about to tell you underlies the very foundation of our society, and cannot be repeated to anyone save the Lord Mayor of Sanctum or the Clan-lord of the Ironroots. If you do not believe you are capable of keeping this secret, I ask that you leave now.”

Miura pauses for a moment, searching each face before her, before nodding and continuing: “No one knows exactly how my father banished the dragonkin from the South Drekken but him, but there was more to the story than my father’s single-handed influence.

My father made a deal with the Witch. In order to keep the peace, my father agreed to an exchange of gifts; in exchange for maintaining the peace, my father gave the Witch a gift every year, and she brought a gift to Castle Ardhome in return. When my father stepped down, this mantle of gift-giving passed to me. The expectation is that if the gifts should ever cease to be exchanged, something awful will befall Sanctum.”

She pauses, taking another deep breath.

“This year, the Witch has not appeared.”

“You can see what a predicament this leaves us in,” she goes on, “the law of my father stipulates that none should travel north of the Wall, but it seems that our gift exchange cannot take place if we do not go and find out why the Witch has not brought a gift this year. I must believe that this pox is a curse related to the Witch’s absence.

You must go into the Mire, through the Wall, and find the Witch’s hut. Discover what has befallen, and take her this gift from us.”

Miura holds out an iron amulet with a square pendant at the terminus, and waits for you to take it. [It is an Amulet of Resolution Neck 2 520 GP Adventurer’s Vault]

After Mirren takes it, she continues, “Find the Witch. Give her our gift. Offer her whatever she wants to lift this curse from our people. I dub you ‘Sanctum’s Hope,’ and I expect nothing less than success from you. Pelor’s light shine on you, and Kord’s great strength sustain you.”

As she finishes, Milgurn chimes in, “An’ Moradin’s hammer forge ye together.”

“Unless there are any questions,” Miura says, “you are dismissed.”

Minor Quest: Exchange the Gifts

Major Quest: Sanctum is not Safe

The Mire

While you bring a ranger with you (Belster), he gets you hopelessly lost and it takes you much longer than anticipated to navigate the marsh.

Along the way, you encounter (and dispatch) four zombies and four wisp wraiths (they look like points of black light, but are the warped malicious souls that used to inhabit the bodies that are now zombies). You also encounter (and dispatch) two groups of three grave drakes (undead dragons that are slightly more intelligent than regular undead).

Finally, after fighting long and hard to get through the foothills, you arrive at the Witch’s Hut.

At the hut you discover a young boy who, after scaring the daylights out of everyone by being too-real-to-not-be-what-he-appears but clearly-not-as-he-appears, transforms into the Witch of the North Drekken.

The Witch informs you that:

  • I am too weak to help you, just as I was too weak to come to Sanctum, but I can tell you how to lift the curse of the pox.
  • Long ago I made a deal with two young men of honor: a dragon named Periclus (PAIR-ih-cluss]] and a human named Belaus. I can no longer fulfill my duties to these men. Though I wish to continue in my duty, I am too frail.
  • You must fulfill my role to end the curse; the gifts are not for me but for the dragonkin to the north. Deliver the gift, bring their gift back to your lady, and return to me: we will need to end the curse permanently and I have work to do before then.
  • The dragonkin live in the city of Kalgorashand are led by the dragonborn, Halkithor the Bold. He is distrustful of humans, but they are much wiser than you, and I prepared them for the day that I may no longer come by giving them instructions which would allow you to safely approach their city, and I have prepared a ritual scroll which will allow you to speak to him when you arrive.
  • You will approach the city in single-file, with your hands on your heads. Whoever is going to cast the scroll and bear the gift must be at the head of the line. Do not speak until you are inside the gates of the city, and then only to whoever speaks to you.

Eventually, you bid the Witch adieu and set out to the north-west of the Mire where Kalgorash waits.

Kalgorash

It isn’t long before you encounter a black dragon wyrmling and its hunting pack of drakes. This bloodthirsty crew sets on you like a pack of raptors, separating and eventually maiming the party badly. In the end, Frozen Frostbeard lies dead from his heroic effort to keep the party safe from harm. The dragon wyrmling escaped.

You find Kalgorash and follow the instructions. Dragonborn surround you, and Halkithor speaks to you. It appears that he is preparing to attack Sanctum. You are successful in convincing him to exchange gifts and barely successful in convincing him to not attack Sanctum.

Sanctum

On the way home to Sanctum, you encounter four more guard drakes and dispatch them.

You report everything back to Milgurn Ironroot II. He wants you to go return to the Witch to end the curse forever.

To replenish the party’s strength, Crag the goliath is sent to escort the party. As a friend to the dwarves of Sanctum, he is a trustworthy ally to the party.

Minor quest “Exchange Gifts” completed.

Major quest “Sanctum is Not Safe” is ongoing.

The Curse

When you arrive at the Witch’s hut she has new information for you. She says:

  • The source of power for the curse is not me, alone. I utilized an ancient druidic artifact known as the Monolith of Dura. It still stands in the north-east of the Mire. (She tells you how to reach it)
  • The curse is unbreakable, but the power source for the curse is not. You must perform the ritual of balance on the obelisk; it is an ancient druidic ritual which will sap all of the magic from the artifact and render it inert, thereby breaking the curse.
  • (She teaches Ekemon the ritual) The tools and components are all here for you. Take them.
  • Expect resistance when you reach the Monolith. I was not the only one who could sense its power, and as my control wanes it will surely call to others.
  • Find the Monolith, perform the ritual, and return to me. !Raspy breath! With my power waning, something far worse than starvation or a dragon army may soon threaten your precious city. But for now…I must sleep.

Minor Quest: Destroy the Obelisk

The Obelisk

You attempt to follow the directions, but Belster is still an inconsistent tracker. What he does do is spot several groups of drakes and young dragons before they can ambush the party. After dispatching them, you arrive at the Obelisk.

Four dark wisps guard the ancient artifact. Only magic seems able to destroy them, but after a mighty sortie you gain the upper hand and claim the right to disenchant the stone tower. Ekemon performs the ritual and successful removes its magical power.

Upon close inspection of the stone-cold remains of the once-enchanted obelisk, the party locates a fine dusting of silvery powder. When you ever-so-carefully recover this powder and store it, it amounts to around 200gp worth of residuum!

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