.:| Quote |:.
"In darkness, no one sees you bleed or cry..."
-- 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 |:.
August 17, 607 ER Gather - Eladhir', Greyhelm
I arrived in Eladhir's Haven to find that Eranfel, Niomi, and Katarina had already settled into lodging and set out about the town. I took my time in settling in and then prepared the cabin's defenses before setting out to find everyone.
By the time I made my way to the tavern, it seemed a fair number of people had arrived, including Count Wyndham. I quickly spoke with the Count, and then gathered those who were staying with me and Sir Douglas so that we could cast a greater ward on our cabin. Our trip to the cabin was disrupted by some large spiders wandering into town, but they were dispatched relatively easily so that we could proceed on our way.
Once the formal was complete, we all returned to the tavern where I had the opportunity to speak at length with both Count Wyndham and with Sereg. Both conversations were enlightening and productive towards their respective ends.
As I was speaking with Sereg, Count Wyndham received word that Ralair was attacking a nearby villiage of the rat scavengers we had aided in June. He called for everyone to gather to move out immediately, but a number of people were left behind, Eranfel, Niomi, and Katarina among them as Katarina had just forged her spirit and not had the opportunity to study a spellbook. I was not happy with the haste that we left, but who was I to argue with the Count's commands? On the way to the villiage, the Count warned everyone that we did not have the forces to try to confront Ralair, and that this was to simply be a scouting mission in which we would render aid if we could. He also told everyone not to wait for a command to retreat to town, and to do so at any time if they felt that they were in danger.
When we reached the outskirts of the villiage, we could see a number of dark forms moving about and heard Ralair. The Count sent me ahead to try and scout, but I was followed by a Mystic named Cyrus and a gypsy by the name of Simon who volunteered themselves to help me without asking. This proved to be disasterous, as they attracted the attention of several of Ralair's minions and were soon spotted. They quickly reported our presence to Ralair, who then made his way over to us demanding that the Count hand over "that which was his". The Count professed to not know of what Ralair was referring to, but the situation deteriorated even more quickly when Khorvai and others began taunting and insulting Ralair. It was not long before Ralair ordered hit minions to attack, with him joining the fight shortly thereafter.
Ralair and his forces hit us hard and fast, easily overwhelming our small force. People began to fall as we fought a walking retreat back to town, and Ralair was taking every opportunity to raise any who fell and were not picked up before his line passed them as greater undead against us. Khorvai, Sandrine, and Squire Syna were among those who suffered this fate. As we were eventually pushed back to town and into the tavern, I took note of the one living member of Ralair's forces...a dark elf whom I had not seen before that was going out of his way to compliment Ralair on every action he took. Unlike the rest of Ralair's minions, he seemed to be at Ralair's side of his own free will...a fact that I noted with some significance.
Those of us still alive at this point quickly fell back into the tavern. Count Wyndham, Sir Douglas, and a number of others quickly took refuge in the Earth Circle by the door. Not wishing to be so crowded, Sereg and I had similar ideas and made our way quickly to the Celestial Circle in the back of the tavern. Moments later, Ralair and his forces made their entrance. There was much talk back and forth between Ralair and Count Wyndham while those who had fallen milled about. In the meantime, Ralair's dark elven associate took interest enough in me to make his way over to the celestial circle and engage me in conversation. Apparently Ralair became bored at the Count's refusal to give him the answers he sought, as he eventually visited Sereg and myself and mocked me for my attire and mannerisms.
It soon became clear that Ralair was tiring of the banter as he realized he was not going to receive the answers he was seeking. Finally, he summoned all of his minions to him, save those that he had created from the fallen of our ranks, and left. This still left us in dire straights, however, with the large number of our former camrades where waiting to kill us. Thankfully, Baron Wolf chose that moment to charge the tavern with those who had arrived in town late and those who had been left behind when we left. Together we quickly turned the tide and finished off Ralair's creations, allowing our friends to begin resurrecting.
In the time following this encounter with Ralair, Serig and I were speaking regarding what had happened and what could be done. Ralair's words had seemed very odd, but neither of us could place any significance to them. It was at this time that Count Wyndham suggested sending a Whispering Wind to Master Minoelle in Quentari to see if he might have any information to aid us. A short time after Lady Magus Tryst cast the ritual to contact him, Master Minoelle appeared in the tavern and shared with those present a pair of prophecies regarding Traegor, as well as a ritual that might be used to beseech the aid of the elemental planes. I spent most of the rest of the night copying these items before returning them to Master Minoelle.
I slept through the morning, having had a very exhausting night that had lasted until just before sunrise. Around noon, at the Count's request, Squire Verbal of Therendry began organizing people to perform the Beseechment Ritual. Having had the night to sleep on it, I found that I had a number of misgivings about the ritual, given how little we knew about it, and expressed my desire not to participate. Among my misgivings was the desire of people to have me beseeching the Plane of Darkness due to my former ties there, but I did not feel comfortable that they would react favorably to my role in that due to my tie being severed before its duration was complete.
The ritual was performed roughly an hour after noon, with the following individuals beseeching the elements listed:
- Chaos - Verbal
- Order - Kellian
- Water - Fenrir
- Fire - Tryst
- Air - Wolf
- Earth - Khorvai
- Light - Douglas
- Darkness - Xarik
- Reason - Eristhadt
- Dream - Sandrine
- Death - Eranfel
- Life - Cyrus
Douglas concluded the ritual with the prescribed summary of the problem at hand.
A short time later, four elemental icons appeared individually to answer the call: Dream, Reason, Order, and Chaos. They began speaking with the individuals who had beseeched them, and then came together to hear of the prophecies which led us to utilizing the ritual. Although Reason and Order seemed somewhat agitated by my paraphrased notes of the prophecies, in the end they agreed that they must act in order to preserve Tyrra, and thus their own planes. We were told that they could trap Traegor's spirit in a prison "between the planes", through the use of weapons of power which they were not permitted by treaty to take up themselves. They were willing to lead us to these weapons if we were able to pass the trials they set forth, and thus we were given a mere three minutes to divide into four groups to accompany each of the four Icons.
Sandrine, Dracos, Katarina, Eranfel, Niomi, and myself went to the Plane of Dream with Lucidity after a brief explaination of what we were to face. It was...difficult. Both together and alone, we faced some of our worst personal nightmares as well as some very difficult situations constructed from our own minds, but together we preservered and were successful in our task. Upon our return, I had the opportunity to speak with members of the other three groups. It seemed that all had been successful in their assigned tasks. At this point, Sandrine, Eranfel, Niomi, Katarina, and myself retired to Sandrine's cabin to further discuss what had transpired as well as what might lie ahead.
As people were making their way to the tavern, Niomi and I heard screams that sounded to be from Autumn. Investigating, we saw one of the Red Tigers looming over her fallen body, pouring something down her throat. We managed to chase him off, but not before he had finished what he was doing to Autumn. Upon healing her, it became quickly apparent that she was under the effects of Euphoria. We took her to Kellian, and were able to locate an antidote for her, but the Tiger managed to get away. He did not leave the area, though...
Niomi and I had reached the tavern and sat down with our food, when Douglas and Squire Syna entered acting quite strangely... The cry then went out that Squire Verbal and Guildmaster Dominic had been attacked by "a man in red". It seemed that our friend the Red Tiger had returned for more victims. The tavern quickly emptied and a chase ensued. After much effort, he was eventually cornered and apprehended. Upon bringing him back to the tavern, Count Wyndham quickly pronounced him guilty and carried out sentence upon him, allowing everyone to return to their meals. All who had been insideously fed a Euphoria were also given antidotes.
The time following feast was filled with much milling about and conversation by most, including myself. After speaking briefly with Sandrine and then Sir Douglas, I took the opportunity to jot down some notes regarding the events of the day. This was interrupted, however, as a rift opened across the field and chaos elementals began pouring out of it.
The majority of the town exited the tavern onto the porch and made their way down the stairs. Thinking back to the fey gateway that had appeared earlier in the year, I slipped off into the darkness, grabbing Eranfel as I went, intending to see if this one could be dispelled. As the town engaged the chaos elementals, we made our way through the shadows and eventually reached the portal. Siezing the opportunity, both of us cast a dispel magic into it; the portal shrank slightly, but then immediately resumed it's original size.
The battle was...well, chaotic. We managed to fairly easily push the elementals back to the portal, but it took some time for us to realize that a barrage of dispel magics was what was needed to close it. During this time, Sir Tevlos was at some point dropped and the weapon of Chaos was taken through the portal by one of the elementals. Eventually the portal was closed and the elementals dealt with, but as news spread of the loss of the weapon a palpable feeling of dread began to grow. People were milling about the tavern wondering what this might mean for us and our efforts when the Chaos Icon arrived, sensing the loss of the weapon. He said that he and the others of Chaos would be working to locate it from this rogue faction of the plane, but that it would ultimately be up to us to retrieve it. This seemed to give people some sense of hope, but the general mood of the tavern was still quite dampened.
I took this opportunity to slip away from the tavern, after telling Niomi what I intended to do. When I returned to the tavern, I found Katarina and others gathered around a table with one of the merchants of the Saldone' clan. They were drinking, talking, and having quite a good time as she sold her wares. I took the opportunity to make a few small purchases before excusing myself to contemplate Eladhir's words.
A short time later, there was a commotion in the tavern as someone noticed a group of glowing eyes making their way across the field towards the tavern. I moved with Baron Wolf and others to investigate as a group of half a dozen or so Evendarrian soldiers that had been transformed into undead by Malyon came seeking aid. Baron Wolf and I moved closer to speak with them, as they explained that with Malyon's departure they were left without any voice commands to follow. They asked us to help them, and Lady Tryst offered to help them to write letters to their families in case they did not survive.
As this was transpiring, Malshaar approached and voice controlled them to attack us. Baron Wolf and I made a hasty retreat up the steps as the undead pressed the attack and forced everyone into the tavern. The fighting was quite fierce for a time as people were caught unprepared and scattered rather than holding the tavern entrances. Eventually, though, a foothold was established and the undead were forced back out the doors and down off the porch. As this happened, I slipped out the other door of the tavern and took the opportunity to cut down one of the undead. That was when I saw Malshaar sneaking away into the darkness. Thinking back to what I had recently learned, I called out to him, trying to goad him into a direct confrontation. At first it seemed that I had failed, as he simply melted into the darkness after a few exchanges of banter, but as I was turning to return to the tavern I heard his voice again from the darkness. Looking back I saw him standing at the edge of view... He said that he accepted my challenge, but rather than fight one another in the open that it would be fought as "we" do, in the darkness and the shadows. He then turned and melted away into the darkness again...
As I returned to the tavern, I learned that in the confusion of the battle, Lady Tryst and Sir Tevlos were dropped and had transforms placed upon them; Lady Tryst resurrected as her spirit resisted, but Tevlos had to later have the one upon him removed via formal magic. While others were dealing with Lady Tryst and Sir Tevlos, I was able to have Niomi cast a delve history on the feather charm for me. She was successful, and told me of what she saw as we retired for the night.