.:| Quote |:.
"Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences."
-- Kierath Ranamor
.:| Vornae Proverbs |:.
"I no naka no kawazu taikai o shirazu."
A frog in a well does not know the great sea.
"Ame futte chi katamaru"
After the rain, earth hardens
.:| Libraries |:.
February 16, 607 ER Gather - Eladhir's Haven, Greyhelm
I arrived early in Eladhir's Haven and secured a cabin for the arrival of Travador and Sinai. Their caravan was delayed slightly, but both arrived before the hour grew too late. As we settled into our lodging arrangements, the three of us had the opportunity to speak on a number of matters. While we were speaking, Travador accepted me as an honorary Dancer and elevated me to Lord Minister of Information and Ambassador for the Barony of Bloodthorn. I was honored to accept the position, and hope that I can live up to the expectations both he and Lady Sinai have for me as such.
As the three of us walked with Katarina to secure her cabin, I noticed a figure that looked very much like Loris near the tavern. Upon confirming that it was indeed him, we all made our way quickly to speak with him. Travador introduced himself and began negotiating, albeit clumsily, while Sinai and I flanked him a few feet to either side. During the negotiations, Travador revealed he had made several fake copies of the dragon turtle and had thought of giving one of them to Loris. In the end, however, Travador did the right thing and relinquished the dragon turtle after attempting to negotiate for a boon. In return, Loris has agreed to not return to Greyhelm for a time with any malicious intent, unless he is provoked, and agreed to remove the fey curses from the trial. He did, however, state that should Cotton return to Greyhelm, he would return with malicious intentions for the rabbit to settle that matter.
Upon entering the tavern, it became apparent that many of the usual adventurers had not made the trek for this gather. The lack of assistance in defending the outpost was somewhat unsettling, and I began making contingency plans to evacuate via various routes should such measures be called for.
Noting that Guildmaster Dominic had also arrived, I took the opportunity to sit down and speak with him about the guilds. Sereg had apparently neglected to inform Dominic of my contributions, and admitted he had yet to even go through them. Dominic then informed me that his intent is to only allow formal casters to join the guild. I was quite disappointed to hear this, as the guilds in most other lands I travel to will accept members much more freely, but as the Guildmaster it is his perogative to restrict membership as he sees fit. He did, however, offer his casting services without charge for me in the matter I had inquired about, as appreciation for my contributions. We then discussed the scroll rental fees and other mundane details, with the conversation shifting more to Sinai and Sereg than myself. I excused myself shortly thereafter to mill around and catch up with some of the others in town.
Dominic called Lady Sinai and myself over shortly thereafter so that we could craft Sasori Soshaku for me. Even though I was not required to assist in the casting, Dominic wished for me to be in the circle holding the object in case something went awry with the magics. Thankfully nothing did, and the castings were completed over a half hour later.
Following the casting, Lady Sinai and I wished to return to the cabin to secure a number of belongings. Gathering Travador we set out, but before we could make much progress we were attacked by a number of powerful darkness beasts. Soon these beasts were joined by Kauffe, who was searching for something& At first we thought it was merely the dragon turtle box, but after Travador gave him one of the fakes it became clear he was also seeking his daughter, Crazy Eye Sam, whom he soon located seeking refuge in the earth circle.. During the fighting we managed to learn several things that confirmed Kauffe's nature, as he was harmed by both light and life spells while healed by death spells. This indicates to me that he is still tied at least in part to Darkness, and is not yet a true Chaos Lord. It would also explain his continued mastery over beings and elementals made up of darkness, and made me again glad I had wisely chosen to have my own ties severed last year. After he tormented Crazy Eye Sam with words for a time, we eventually managed to imprison Kauffe. She spoke to him at length, telling him in essence that she wants nothing to do with him. Dame Miranda struck the killing blow upon him and his body immediately dissipated. This seems quite clearly indicative that we will need to seek him out within his own dominion in order to truly be rid of him.
Following this, I finally had the opportunity to be introduced to Count Errant Kelovar Wyndham, and learned that he was sent to replace Dame Miranda who was being recalled to Evendarr City. I have high hopes for Count Kelovar, as he is not only a skilled healer but also carried himself and spoke with the air of a skilled and trained diplomat.
Our discussions were soon interrupted, however, by dark shadows moving outside. Upon investigation, we found pantherghasts had again been summoned to attack surface elves. I eagerly set upon the nearest one, and together with Count Kelovar quickly cut it down. We repeated this with two others, while the pair of young elven sisters defeated a fourth with Douglas'aid in healing. The interesting thing I noted about these pantherghasts was that they were far weaker than the ones summoned in the past.
Following the fighting, Douglas came and spoke to me of possible connections between Greyhelm and what happened in Lorinorea. After speaking with Douglas I retired to the cabin with Sinai and Travador to discuss what had transpired. At Sinai's request, I aided her in teaching a much-needed lesson by means of tough love. Having been taught many such lessons by Beryl during my apprenticeship, I saw this as the most effective way to get across the point that up until now mere words had seemed to fail to properly convey.
I slept in this morning, after the events of the prior night, choosing not to get up until almost the noon hour. Sinai and I spent some time preparing the cabin for the tea service she had planned to host with my assistance. While she finished preparations, I decided to walk to the tavern to see what the mood of everyone was after the events the previous evening. What I found, however, was a group of goblins attacking the tavern and those who were up being pressed hard by them. I quickly joined the fight and dealt with a number of the goblins using gasses, but was bested by one utilizing instant death gasses. One of these days I hope that I can devote the time and effort to developing similar substances that can survive the rigors of travel, but for now I am content to use the alchemical tools that are at my disposal. After being lifed, I managed to chase the gas-throwing goblin down and dispatch him with spells, while the others finished mopping up the remaining goblins.
In speaking with people afterwards, the newest Goblin King had come looking for something, and a fight broke out. Not really surprising. I was also informed that Count Kelovar wished to speak with Sinai, Travador, and myself. The Count himself arrived moments later, so I returned to the cabin to inform them.
The three of us returned to the tavern and spoke at length with the Count, which was merely the start of an afternoon of discussions on differences in customs and practices amongst different cultures and areas of the Kingdom. The tea service was canceled, as those we had invited were given the impression that invitation to a dark elven tea is a death sentence, so Sinai, Travador and I availed ourselves to some of the delicious foods while we considered the Count's words. Sinai and I also spoke at length with most of the individuals involved, and worked for the better part of the afternoon to reach an amicable resolution for everyone.
Late in the afternoon, as the mystical hour approached, Travador and I noticed an odd figure moving amongst the buildings in the town. Moving to investigate, we discovered that the individual was Bargle in his untransformed state. He had come to try and enlist our aid in freeing him from his servitude to Malyon, and told us of a cave nearby in which at least some of Malyon's remaining spirit bottles were held. After sharing this information and a map to lead us to it, Count Kelovar declared that his punishment for crimes would be reduced, though would still include an obliteration, and preparations were made to immediately assault the cave before the sun set.
The map proved to be most useful, as we found the cave indicated on it easily despite its hidden location behind a waterfall. Steeling ourselves for the possible battle ahead, we entered the cave and I swiftly moved to take up the lead enough ahead of the others to locate any traps that might have been set as defenses. We found no traps, but were soon met by small groups of undead guards that were dispatched relatively handily. The entire time, we all began to notice a slowly growing glow coming from Douglas'crystal pendant.
Reaching the back of the first long cavern passageway, we found a small opening leading to another smaller cavern room. Entering it, we saw several undead as well as the Lich Malyon and Mandrake. Malyon was standing beside a circle of power which looked to contain a number of spirit bottles. Along the walls were sticky green webs similar to what we encountered in Malshaar's cave last year, which I cannot help but wonder the source of. The situation quickly became chaotic as we engaged Mandrake and Malyon. Douglas moved to investigate and deal with the circles while I helped focus on Mandrake. I heard Malyon say something about us being too late and then saw him rift out leaving Mandrake behind.
Eventually Sinai managed to imprison Mandrake, and we began investigating the cave. Carak called me over to investigate a box that was located. While I was doing this, a brilliant light filled the cavern, blinding me for several seconds. I was told that Douglas had somehow entered the circle, which had earlier filled with light emanating from his crystal pendant, and essentially summoned the light of the Daystar into the circle which nullified the magics of the spirit bottles there and destroyed Mandrake through the imprison.
Following this, everyone returned to the tavern in town to celebrate our apparent victory and distribute the spoils of the battle. Amongst the things we found were a set of knitted tea cozys that most people considered to be out of place. Sinai and I ended up with two of the four. Unfortunatly, conversation then turned back to the looming legal issue, until finally Count Kelovar decided upon a sentence that he felt was appropriate. We were given a month's time to pay the fine levied, but I did not intend to wait that long.
During the discussions, a loud explosion from the tavern interrupted and startled us all. Bianca was quite upset, as her entire feast had been rendered inedible. Luckily for us, Ambassador Ralair and Falshaar arrived a few moments later. We were invited to a feast in Dremora that evening, which resulted in much nervousness from most, much to the amusement of Sinai and myself. I looked forward to the opportunity to finally see Dremora firsthand, as well as to partake of some more fine Dark Elven delicacies.
The Ambassador and Falshaar eventually led us all a short distance out of town to where a gate was waiting to transport us to Dremora. We arrived within a walled section of the city that had little foot traffic, and were then led up to the top of a large tower carved out of an immense stalagmite. The city was built very traditionally, with the Dremorans taking advantage of the natural cavern features in their architecture. I was also able to confirm the interpretations and translations of the map we had of the city, as well. Draconic and other typical Dark Elven imagery was everywhere, and there was a total absence of any spider or webbing imagery. I also found myself in awe of their magical academy which was built around the skeletal remains of the drake Traegor.
Eventually we were led back down from the tower and into a huge feast hall that was lit in a pleasantly subdued manner by a fair number of candles. Arrayed across three sets of tables was a wide variety of foods that were a mix of surface fare and traditional Dark Elven dishes. As I helped myself to a plate and took a seat on the floor to the side of Lady Sinai's chair, I found myself thinking fondly of some of the similar meals I had enjoyed with Michiko in Kirishai. I was amused by the reactions of some of the others in this setting, but thinking back to the awe I felt on my first visit to Kirishai I could at least understand how overwhelming this feast might have seemed.
Lady Sinai took her leave to mingle amongst the Dremorans, and I left her to her discussions with several of the other females while I simply observed. Soon, she and Lady Nashai walked over with Count Kelovar, joining Count Idrahil and Lady Akoya to speak of the treaty. I took up a position behind Lady Sinai to observe as they spoke of requests and demands that were still in need of resolving.
The discussions were interrupted however by the sound of alarms. Falshaar rushed into the hall with word that somehow Malyon had entered the Magical Academy. Looking out across the city to the Academy, I saw a familiar green glow and what looked like a figure seated in a circle of power at the entrance. Immediately a sense of fear and dread washed over many of us, and everyone quickly grabbed their weapons and made our way towards the scene.
As we arrived at the Academy, Malyon was cackling as he chanted and flung burning pieces of spent components to the side, calling for Traegor to awaken. Looking past him, however, I noticed a skeletal figure with a draconic head standing between the doors of the Academy, eyes glowing red, staring down at Malyon. Malyon's mother, Marisol, pleaded with him to stop, but to no avail. As the green mist flowed around him, Traegor took a step forward and glared out towards us. Malyon attempted to order Traerog to slay us and the females of Dremora who had oppressed him, but with a laugh Traegor simply ordered him to do it himself. Emotionlessly, Malyon attempted to do so, and was quickly cut down as Falshaar swiftly led Marisol and her daughter to safety.
What happened next was one of the most chilling things I have witnessed in my life. Traegor's voice echoed loudly across the city, commanding them to rise up and throw off their chains of oppression. As he did so, Dremora descended into utter chaos with many of the males taking up arms against male and female alike. Ambassador Ralair was among them, incapacitating Lady Nashai and then casting a circle of power around them both as he killed her. I watched as Ralair gleefully caused her to dissipate before he spirit-walked out of his circle to safety, but not before he and I had words...
As Traegor walked forward to face us, many of the Dark Elven males in the city rushed to join him in attacking us. A number of them tried to target Lady Sinai until she made quick work of them with her battle magics. I took the opportunity to quickly circle through the darkness and come up behind Traegor, striking him with two blows that would have felled many a normal creature; Traegor, however, simply shrugged them off and then turned angrily towards me. As I attempted to circle back to the safety of our lines, Traegor pointed a claw at me and I heard his booming voice call out "I call upon the power of the void to tear this spirit asunder!". Powerful arcane magics lept from his claw towards me, intent upon obliterating me, but I managed to dodge aside at the last moment. He then launched a series of various binding and eldritch spells at me which I either danced to avoid or relied upon my own magics to defend me from. Just as I reached the rest of my comrades, however, he struck me with a third obliteration that I was unable to avoid, and I felt my spirit being rend asunder as my vision turned to black.
I'm not certain how much time passed, but I came to with Sandrine standing over me. Getting to my feet, I saw Falshaar attempting to engage the rebelling Dark Elves. It seemed that none wished to face him, however, and he was verbally berating them for their cowardice. I began to focus my efforts on the Dark Elves, rather than Traegor, and together with Falshaar saw many of them to their deaths for their actions. The battle with Traegor continued to rage for quite a time, until finally he apparently grew tired of the game and rifted out.
Following the departure of Traegor, Falshaar quickly escorted us all back to the magical gate to get us back safely to the surface. We could see that the entire city had broken out into fighting; Dremora was decending, at least temporarily, into a state of revolt and civil war. We made it back to the gate safely, though Falshaar stayed behind to aid the Council and gather those who remained loyal to it. He and I exchanged a few words of mutual respect before Carak and I finally stepped through the gate and it closed behind us.
Upon returning to the tavern, the mood was mixed as people discussed the battle and the possibilities that lay ahead. I also spoke with the Count and presented him with the fines for both myself and Sinai, such that our sentences were complete and the matter considered closed. This was all interrupted by Sereg's announcement that there was a spirit in the Earth Circle...Malyon's. Like many, I was shocked and confused as to why he would choose to resurrect at our circle, but as Lady Akoya performed the resurrection the rest of us prepared for the worst.
At the end of the resurrection, Malyon regained consciousness and was clearly in pain. He was quickly confined, and Count Kelovar began questioning him about his choice to resurrect here and his intentions. Malyon stated he had nowhere to go, and offered us much information in exchange for his freedom rather than face justice for his actions back in Dremora. After much deliberation, Count Kelovar declared that he would suffer a single death and be banished from the lands upon pain of obliteration if he provided us with useful information about Traegor, Dremora, and our other enemies. I left it to Lady Sinai and the other nobles to question him and glean what they could from his tales, as my mind and heart were elsewhere.