.:| 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 |:.
March 16, 607 ER Gather - Eladhir's Haven, Greyhelm
Lady Sinai and I arrived early and secured our usual lodging in Eladhir's Haven. We were soon joined by Du'Kratha, and the three of us made our preparations and caught up on the events of the past months. Our preparations were interrupted by a plant dripping with black ooze, that upon killing and slicing open we saw had devoured Sereg and Khorvai. We made our way out to help dispatch some of the plants that attacked some of the other cabins, but soon the attacks ended and Sinai and Du'Kratha resumed their preparations.
Rather than wait for them to finish, I made my way to the tavern to begin putting together what was going on. In doing so, I had the opportunity to speak with May and Woot Ringtail for a bit, amidst attacks by small groups of ooze tainted animals. It quickly became clear to me that we had chaos pools in the area, and I decided it best to return to the cabin and seek out Sinai and Du'Kratha while I picked up some additional supplies. When I arrived there, I saw that Althkaelis had arrived, and Kivuli would join us likely after we retired.
Finally the four of us made our way to the tavern. As we reached the tavern, a group of Juniper's plant and mushroom creatures approached. They were seeking Lucien, who was not present, and Khorvai attempted to speak with them. Needless to say, that did not go well and the situation quickly deteriorated into violence.
As the fighting shifted around, chaos pools began to bubble up from the ground, and were soon followed by a fount of chaos exploding from the center of the lake and covering the entire surface of it as well as some of the shoreline in a pool of chaos. From the center of the lake, a lone figure rose and walked across the surface of the pool to join the fray. It was the same beast we had seen late last year in that accursed forest, and from this appearance we began to suspect he was the being referred to as the Defiler.
As he joined the battle, matters quickly began to deteriorate. The fighting grew scattered, and people slowly began to fall and be dragged off to the nearby pools where they were dipped and transformed. We also found ourselves beset on multiple sides and in danger of being surrounded. Du'Kratha and I attempted to take him down several times, but unfortunately the beast was far quicker than one might expect and was able to elude us into the darkness.
Following one of my forays behind the lines of our enemies, I noted that many who had traveled to the gather had already fallen. I suggested to those nearby that we attempt to fall back to a more defensible position, but the enemy quickly made even that a difficult prospect. Patches and Katarina erected a circle of power as I climbed the stairs in time to see Douglas run into the tavern with an ooze tainted Sereg hot on his heels. Looking back towards the field, I saw enemy forces coming up the stairs towards me and quickly prepared a circle that I erected just in time to protect Sandrine and myself.
While standing in the circle and assessing the situation, which was growing quite grim, Katarina called to me to let me know that Sinai had fallen and was being dragged to one of the chaos pools. My instincts urged me to rush to her aid, but rational thought prevailed and I stayed with Sandrine for a time and waited for an opportunity to save Sinai without endangering others. That chances soon developed, and I was able to rush to revive the fallen Sinai as Du'Kratha made short work of the beast that was at her side.
Several of the Earth Formalists then began to work on the chaos pools and the taint spreading from the lake. One pool at a time, the chaos was driven from the land. The battle slowly turned from that point, and soon the Defiler was on the run again from roughly half a dozen individuals. A flurry of binding magics were launched, and one of them finally made it through his defenses and incapacitated him long enough for the killing blow to be struck.
Following the battle, everyone regrouped in the tavern while resurrections were performed. To my knowledge, six individuals fell during that battle, but all had spirits strong enough to survive the ordeal. Eranfel sat down with Sinai and myself and was eagerly absorbing all of the information we shared as we brought him up to date on what we knew of the Defiler and the other threats in the area. Eventually the conversation turned to lighter topics as most people filtered off to bed, but several of us stayed up until not long before dawn enjoying the conversations.
I awoke before the rest of the cabin and decided to stroll to the tavern for some food and to see what the noise I'd heard out towards the field earlier in the morning was. As I approached the tavern, I found Count Kelovar and Ishmael with a female goblin that had been subdued. Ishmael was asking the Count what he should do with the goblin and the Count suggested simply taking it off into the woods and letting it go. As he did so, the Count and I strolled about discussing the battle the night before, and then headed into the tavern to enjoy some eggs and waffles while the biscuits were being cooked.
Our enjoyment was short-lived, however, as a beetlar and several giant yellow jackets began buzzing about. The Count and I stepped out of the tavern to deal with them, but soon more made their way to the area and we found ourselves in a quickly deteriorating situation. Once we realized this, we made sure that Ishmael was with us and beat a retreat for the tavern in hopes that the doors would keep the insects at bay. Sadly, it did not, and we soon found ourselves being repeatedly beaten down until Patches and Woot joined us. Even then, the insects were a serious problem for quite a while longer, and kept me from enjoying my breakfast in a very timely fashion.
After finally enjoying a bit of breakfast, I returned to the cabin to check on Lady Sinai. Both she and Kivuli were finishing their morning preparations, and the three of us soon made the trip back to the tavern. Our timing was quite fortuitous, as we reached the tavern just as two barbarians escorting Mandrake in his untransformed state arrived.
Sinai and I joined Count Kelovar in speaking with them and learned that following our encounter with Mandrake and Malyon in the cave at the last gather, Mandrake had chosen to resurrect back at the barbarian village. When he did, he resurrected free of any transform on his spirit, and his sword appeared next to him but no longer spirit linked to him. We were told that Mandrake had been punished by the barbarians for his actions prior to his transformation, and that part of this punishment was a period of servitude to the tribe and therefore to us through them. I am not sure how I feel about this, to be honest, but time will tell if this is wise. The barbarians also spoke of a possible way to aid us in the fight against Traegor, and the shaman said he would be consulting with others and hopefully have some more solid answers for Count Kelovar on those plans soon.
Following the departure of the barbarians, Lady Sinai and Eranfel made preparations to perform a Delve History ritual on the sword to see if we might learn of how it would aid us. As preparations were made in case the ritual on such an artifact had unexpected consequences, I took up watch on the outside of the circle to ensure that there were no interruptions.
This was quite fortuitous, as before the ritual could begin a large group of female goblins entered the tavern. For the most part, I simply attempted to shoo the goblins away from the area of the circle, but this was only moderately effective. They seemed very determined to find husbands, and were generally accosting any males they could find, regardless of race. From what I learned later, they had used Dominate gasses and Love elixirs on at least one individual before being forcibly removed from town.
Once it finally began, the ritual was able to run its course successfully, showing Sinai and Eranfel quite a bit of detail about the sword and its past. The most interesting new facts to me were those concerning the construction of the sword (forged of cold iron, the sword surrounds one of Traegor's teeth that is buried inside it near the crossguard) and the knowledge that upon first activation it would spirit link itself to the wielder. Sinai and I then spent a period of time bringing Eranfel up to speed on what he had seen in the Delve History ritual, most of which coincided with things we were already aware of. I also provided Eranfel with a copy of the tale of Traegor as told by Master Minoell, so that he could refer back to it.
Following the discussions with Eranfel, I returned by my cabin to attend to some personal business, while Kivuli, Eranfel, Douglas, and others saw to the casting of a Dreamvision on the sword. From what I understand, each person saw a vision of a great battle against Traegor in which many of our current allies and some of our former enemies were lined up alongside us all in the fight against Traegor. Many seemed to take this vision literally, but Sinai and I tended to agree with Eranfel in a more symbolic interpretation.
Sometime after the Dreamvision, a rather large group of the Red Tigers came into town looking to start trouble. They did not seem to have taken kindly to the Count's execution of a number of them previously for the murder of the member of their rival gang. It did not take long for fighting to break out, and it quickly became a scramble as many of the Tigers employed gasses with great efficiency. At some point during the fighting and confusion, they were able to capture both Sandrine and Count Kelovar and placed them both in a circle across the bridge leading up the mountain. The narrow bridge, steep terrain, and thick vegetation made it so that we were forced to try to negotiate for their release. This seemed to be working, but eventually the negotiations broke down and the fighting resumed. In the end, both Sandrine and the Count were freed and the Tigers were all dispatched or driven off.
The next few hours until feast were rather uneventful. Kivuli, Sinai, and I investigated a merchant that had advertised in the paper. We found him a little ways outside of town with a cart full of trade goods but no horse to pull it. Sadly, he had nothing of real interest to us, so we wished him good luck and returned. Following that, a number of us investigated the reports of a farmer's daughter who had gone missing. It turns out, she had eloped with a local hunter and was living nearby with he and his friends. After speaking with them, we escorted the daughter back so that she could try to explain herself to her father. I can only hope that her words, as well as ours, will help in mending the rift that seemed to be developing between the two of them.
Feast was eventually served, and I joined Du'Kratha, Sinai, and Kivuli in the darker portion of the tavern to enjoy a peaceful meal. Unfortunately, any hopes of peace were shattered by the raucous tables of gypsies and their friends, which I believe was intentional due to Du'Kratha asking them to be quieter the night before when their noise was making serious discussion difficult.
Following the feast, the three of us stepped outside and were joined by Althkaelis for some more subdued conversation out of the heat of the tavern. One of the Saldone clan also came in during this time, and was both buying and selling a number of items. I traded her many of the spices and other assorted things I had accumulated throughout the gather, and used those to purchase some of the components she had for sale. I believe Katarina and others bought the magic items she had for sale.
The evening's quiet was soon shattered by a loud, groundshaking explosion from the direction of Eladhir's Crypt. At the same time, Douglas began to glow and take on a very different appearance. My thoughts immediately went to Eladhir, and as the town quickly gathered and began the trek towards the crypt I stopped to attempt to meditate and contact him. I made the connection almost immediately, but was shocked to find that Eladhir seemed to be inside of Douglas!!
When we reached the crypt, there was dust and rubble everywhere. Moving quickly past Eladhir's resting place, we began to encounter undead resistance. Soon we found the source of the rubble and the earlier explosion; someone had blasted their way through the rock to circumvent the circles of power that barred deeper passage into the caves. Pressing onward, we soon reached a much larger cavern where a number of more powerful undead attempted to bar our progress. These were fairly quickly defeated, and we continued onward until we reached a much larger cavern with a series of glowing pillars and beams over a large pit. In the bottom of the pit we were able to see a great beast of some sort roaming among the pillars, and across the pit I noticed the glow of what looked to be another of the mystical green orbs.
Attempting to navigate the pillars proved to be difficult. Every few moments, different sets of them would glow brighter and inflict an arcane effect upon anyone standing on them. Many people fell and were animated by the creature in the pit, but slowly a few began making their way to the other side where they encountered further resistance. Suddenly, I heard Eranfel's voice calling to me from the other side, asking what to do with the orb. Chaos broke out in his vicinity as I returned his call with an answer of "I don't know."
Eventually, everyone made it across the pillars and joined the raging battle. As I made my way to the front, I quickly saw that Ralair was present, and had apparently been turned into a Dragon Knight by Traegor. He was able to call upon the same powers as Traegor had to attempt to obliterate several people before he exited via the green mist. The battle quickly wound down as we dispatched his minions that were left behind, but unfortunately he had accomplished his goal...the retrieval of the green orb.
Somewhat disheartened by the escape of our enemy, we slowly retraced our steps back to Eladhir's Crypt. There we were greeted by the appearance of Eladhir himself, who addressed both Douglas and myself and thanked all of us for our brave fight that night. As he finished speaking, we all made our way out of the crypt and back down to the tavern, where a number of us gathered to discuss the battle and the new developments that had been revealed by our encounter with Ralair.
As the hour grew late, several pantherghasts made their way into the tavern to harass surface elves again. Althkaelis and I led the way in making swift work of the first groups that attacked, including one alpha, but we soon found ourselves sorely pressed by a much stronger pair of alphas that appeared a short time later. Interestingly, one of these two alphas had been summoned to hunt Dark Elves. Sinai and Du'Kratha fought a very long battle against that beast, as the members of House Talias had already retired for the night, while Althkaelis, Count Kelovar, and myself were greatly taxed by the one hunting surface elves.
Following this flurry of activity, people began filing off to their cabins to retire for some sleep. Eventually, Sinai, Du'Kratha, Kivuli, Althkaelis, and myself decided this was a wise decision and made our way back to our cabin to rest before heading back out onto the road the following day.