Tyranny of Dragons

The Beardless Dwarf, The Council and The Green Dragon

The group continues through the caverns beneath Diderius’ Tomb, entering into a large room lit by green flames. They could see yuan-ti in the shadows behind the flames. At the far end of the cavernous room is a large altar and statue of a cobra with its mouth open. At the foot of the altar is a dwarf in purple, unconscious and bound.

As the air elemental form of Herongull enters the room, a yuan-ti priestess slithers out of the shadows and places a knife to the dwarf’s throat.

“SSSStep any closer and I will kill the dwarf.”
“Ok,” shrugged the formless vortex that was Herongull the Elementalist.

The remainder of the party enters the room, watching carefully. The threat means nothing to them as the dwarf has done so much damage already that his life is worth nearly nothing. The yuan-ti is taken aback and reframes her threat. The party says that Varram is good to them dead or alive, it doesn’t matter, they are after the mask.
Seeing that the threat of killing the dwarf is not going to sway the party, the priestess offers riches, which also doesn’t sway the party (except maybe Nic). The priestess also attempts to use her suggest magic to convince them that the threat is real and they should take it. It doesn’t work, and the party then makes their own threat, give them the dwarf of they will kill all the yuan-ti. They point out that their young were not killed, but could have easily been killed.

After some slithering whispers, the trade is agreed, and Varram is given to the party on condition that no additional yuan-ti are harmed.

Nif is not pleased with this, moving up to the priestess and asking: “Mar-in? Mar-in?” The yuan-ti is confused, asking the others what the meaning of this is. It is eventually revealed that she is asking about her master, Martin Thundershot who was captured in the previous foray into this dungeon.

The party then makes an additional demand for the human. An yuan-ti escorts the party to a jail, and unlocks the door for Martin, who is then released and reunited with Nif. He thanks the party and introduces himself.

The last hurdle to cross are the bearded devils sitting in the dining room. They are concerned as these devils are working for Varram that if he is seen being carried out the the dungeon by the party they will attack. So, Nic devises a plan to disguise the dwarf. They shave his beard (!) and dress him up (or down?) and make him look a touch more gnomish, then walk through the dining room. The story: they rescued Nif’s friend and grandfather.

It worked like a charm.

Outside the caves and tomb, Varram explains that he lost the mask and used the scrying pool to find the mask and located it in the possession of Severin in the Well of Dragons.

Back at Waterdeep the Second Council begins. As there were a lot of new faces, the entire council reintroduces themselves. The faces are all the same, but Lady Laeral Silverhand is now the leader of the Council and the Open Lord of Waterdeep. There is a new face, Elia, seated next to the previous Open Lord: Dagult Neverember.

When Elia spoke she only spoke her name and little else.

The party reported on what they did to the council, and the council also reported to itself what the previous group did. They all reported on their feelings and impressions about the events and outcomes.

Major mentions:

Connerad was not pleased that Varram the dwarf had his bears shaven. It is far too humiliating a deed to have been placed on a dwarf, even one who has worked against the council and damaged and ended so many lives. But, he was brought back alive and will face dwarves justice, which is the important thing.
Everyone was pleased to hear that Aravathor was defeated in the iceberg to the north. Especially Connerad, who expressed his surprise that Gristle survived the fight with the dragon, but did not survive the tomb. He also expressed his pleasure in Gristle meeting his end.
Ontharr Frume was not happy about the Arcane Brotherhood joining. He knows that the Arcane Brotherhood does not place restrictions on the knowledge the mages of their order can follow down, and as such, he will not work with any member of the Arcane Brotherhood that is evil. Ontharr was much more pleasant about the passing of Gristle, believing him eccentric, but loyal and effective, having known him from the beginning. He also expressed great sadness at the loss of one of his own, Donaar.

The Council then moved onto to more pressing matters – While Nif played with a toy wagon, and eventually played a wooden flute on the floor.

Both King Melandrach and Delaan report that a green dragon, and possibly a rider of the dragon, have been harassing many of the elvish territories on the Misty Forest. The King maintains that his soldiers have moved in and their presence has put an end to the attacks. Delaan says that the Emerald Enclave does not believe the attacks have ended and that they will continue until the dragon is killed. As much as the King attempts to dismiss the claim that the dragon continues to rampage through the Misty Forest, Delaan (and Herongull) believe the draconic threat is real.

Dagult Neverember now speaks saying that the metallic dragons, worried since the sounding of the draakhorn about a month ago. They have sent Elia as a delegate to the Council to invite the characters to the Nether Mountains to speak with the metallic dragons in a draconic council. Elia says that the dragons are wanting to learn more about those working against the dragons and what they are willing to risk in order to fight.

Herongull was more concerned with the green dragon threatening and damaging Misty Forest, so all attention went to Delaan. He spoke of a village of Altand which was recently destroyed by a green dragon. As the most recent, it is there that the most information could be gleaned.

The party traveled a fe days south east to Altand within the aptly named Misty Forest. The elvish settlement was severely destroyed, but not as badly as some of the other villages have been reported. Altand, for one has survivors. About two hundred.

Speaking to the village folk the party finds out that the dragon swooped down, attacked the village, started eating people whole, spraying poisonous fumes around, and cultists marching into the carnage and sweeping away as much treasure as they could; suddenly, the dragon leapt off and flew away, the cultists disappearing into the mists. All reports of this dragon have previously said that the villages it attacks are completely destroyed: no survivors and all the treasure taken.

The priest leader of the village was one of the first elves to be eaten whole by the dragon as he began to lead an attack on the dragon. The Warden of the village, who is now the highest surviving member member of the village and leader, speaks, sheepishly of the attack. It becomes very clear to both Nic and Herongull that the Warden is hiding something. When pressed he speaks of his wife having been killed by the dragon and not wanting to speak about it. Although this is perceived to be true, he seems to be still hiding something. Herongull does not trust the elf, so he flys up to the second level of the village (the treetop part) and talks with animals, specifically a nightingale. It is through this bird that Herongull learns of the attack, which is in line with the elves description. But, the nightingale speaks of the Warden leaving the village regularly. Curious the bird follows and notices the warden talking to the green dragon and rider, a dark skinned elf. With that evidence that the warden betrayed the village Herongull dive-bombs and confronts the Warden.

The Warden attempts to paint the outsiders as cultists sowing dissent among the elves, but it does explain the sudden end to the attack. After intimidating and confronting the warden, he reveals that he does meet with the dragon and rider. After seeing his wife die he begged the rider not to kill him and the village. In exchange for letting everyone survive the rider demanded that the warden give information about other elvish settlements in the Misty Forest and the warden agreed. So the dragon and it’s rider left, and returned here regularly to gather information. The Warden explains that he has seen the dragon fly off southeast from their meeting place, and the adventurers resolve to head in that direction to find the dragon.

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The Yuan-ti

The group is in the throne antechamber, just after defeating four mummies that have broken through the walls when the northern door opened.

The party decided to head into the eastern room, first by allowing granddad Herongull to ‘phumph’ through the door in his air elemental form. He discovered the library, mostly bare of books and it’s guardian, the ghost Ilda who jealously guards the books.

She seemed to think she was still alive, part of the library and guarding the books that have since been stole or rotted away. There was a short conversation with her where she revealed that she had not seen or met anyone else, and that Diderius was a great and powerful wizard that was adept at divination, using a magical pool to divine a great many things.

They next went into the Throne Room, and gazed upon the massive statue that was meant to represent Diderius. It asked for tribute, and each character, with the exception of Herongull left something in the pile. Nothing happened, and the party moved on.

The next room, as they knew, is the dining room. Seated at the tables were five bearded devils. They first laughed at Herongull who claimed to be travelling with people, but when he returned through with the rest of the party they acknowledged him. They spoke of being told to remain here by their boss, but also mentioned another boss, the Archduchess of Avernus, Zariel. They said that Zariel’s wishes somehow mingle with those of the cults, and as such they have been asked to follow Varlam.

After a quick game of cards, in which Nic Hanza won, they opened up a bit more, saying that Varram was their boss, and they worked for him under the orders of Zariel. Varram told the five devils to stay here and he continued onwards deeper into the tomb. They also mention that Varram has lost the dragon mask and is here trying to look for it.

The group went further on, finding a room with a spherical indent and a sluice running down to it. There was also signs of blood, arrows and a dead cultist within the room. The cultist was hit with an arrow, but was not killed by it. In fact he was stabbed in the back by a knife.
Using his skills, Cheep was able to determine that there was some combat here, but it wasn’t the combat that killed the cultist. Whatever happened in this room lead out to the northern door. Nic listened at the door and there was only silence.

The northern room was well lit by braziers, the walls etched with beautiful frescoes of forgotten gods, and in the centre was a great sarcophagus. As the group walked in they noticed a ruined skull that seemed to have been made up of a number of skulls. There was a white scale of a dragonborn jammed into one of the crevices on the skull. There was also a longsword (I think it is a +1 longsword, but Mike will have to verify). Nic recognized the skull as the skull of the previous Avatar of Raqvor, held by the current avatar of Raqvor.

Then Nic held aloft the skull and said, “Alas, poor Gristle! I knew him, Cheep, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.” [Sorry… had to]

The sarcophagus began speaking to the group, saying that it knew what they wished. It spoke of Varram being taken by yuan-ti and that Diderius could open the door for them. As it spoke, Nif climbed upon the sarcophagus and pretended to sleep. Diderius spoke: “Leave me to rest or face your doom.” Nic lifted Nif off the sarcophagus and the northern secret door opened, revealing a wet, dark cave.

They entered, its Cheep and Heerok discussing who should take and use the longsword they found – probably belonging to Gristle. As the walked into the wet cave there were some chirps and the sound of wood clanking and arrows being placed in bows, they were spotted! Down a flight of stairs a moss covered stone bridge spanned a dark chasm and on the far side, six lizardmen stood wielding weapons.

Nic was first and attacked the lizardmen. Combat ensued, Herongull throwing half the lizard men off the bridge to their deaths. A yuan-ti malison attempted to charm Heerok, but his divine power overcame and spell and he shrugged it off. Within a few more seconds, the combat was done and they continued down the corridor.

Herongull, still in his elemental form explored the caves, noticing many doors and passages. Down one he found a lowered cavern, crawling with snakes with a pile of dead lizardfolk. There were a few yuan-ti in the pit, three strangely human yuan-ti and the third a large, armed humanoid-snake. He returned back to the party. The party decided to leave the room as it was the hatchery of the yuan-ti. Herongull said that he believed that every entity has the choice for good and evil, and as the young have not made that choice, they should be left.

The entered a large oddly shaped room that kept statues and shrines. Then they stumbled unto the quarters of the yuan-ti. There were three lizard folk and a very human looking yuan-ti there and the fight was quick. Using the corridor for cover the group completely destroyed the lizard folk and yuan-ti in the room. They looked around, seeing that there were holes within the floor that were sleeping chambers for the yuan-ti.

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The Tomb of Diderius Revisited

After the devastating events of the previous session, things did not look positive for the Council of Waterdeep and its agents in the field. Little did they know the expedition they sent to Boareskyr Bridge had failed. Gristle was turned to dust, Martin Thundershot was captured or killed and Nic Hanza has not been heard from.

A day after the trio left Waterdeep another trio entered, three bird folk from far from the east to lend their talons to the cause. They have experiences, first hand the devastation that awaits the world in their own tribe and wish to stop it from continuing.

Herongull the grandfather of two other bird folk is a druid of the land. A wise and ancient bird who has lived longer than any aarakocra in recent memory. With him is Heerok, a paladin guided by his ancestors, and his younger brother Cheep, an archer ranger.

The council gives them their blessing, especially the representative from the Emerald Enclave and King Melandrach. Connerald suggests they help Gristle and Martin as he feels they would need the assistance of more grounded individuals.

They follow the road to the Manticore’s Tale, an inn that has seen more than it’s share of excitement for a lifetime in the past few days. They see the frozen statue of Donaar set outside and wander in looking for a place to roost and information on their quarry. There, they meet Nic Hanza, who knows Gristle and Martin and was traveling with them but was separated when he tried to track down the assassins who fled after killing Donaar.

From there they made it to Bolo’s Tentside Inn in Boareskyr Bridge, learning of the dwarf who saved the settlement from a snake-man spy and the other dwarf who was looking to thank him. They also spoke of a man wielding strange tubed weapons and directed them the Serpent Hills.

The group went through the hills, still following the tracks of the entourage of dragon cultists led by Varlam – whose tracks they were on.

They reach the tomb of Diderius, where so much before had gone wrong. They notice a wandering gnome babbling and walking around. There is the same recent sign of a struggle, and the tombs, and the statues asking for respect and if those entering the tomb are looking for knowledge or wisdom. Most responded, some did not. Heerok did not respond, allowing the others to respond with Wisdom (Herongull, and Nic) and knowledge (Cheep and Nic). Nifilinin babbled.

Nic assessed the statues, trying to place their clothing and their intention. But he could do neither, other than assume that they had been programmed this way to ask what those who dared entered speak.

They moved to enter the tomb, gazing on the mysterious landscape etched into the entry way. Herongull described the image as things that could not exist to his grandchildren, fantasy dreamed up by someone who might not be right in the head.

As for Nifilinin, she motioned to the doors, marching soldier-like. She seemed harmless, dressed in oversized scale mail. There was talk of a page of Martin Thundershot that accompanied him, a strange gnome child who didn’t speak. This was clearly her, but would she be an ally, or liability?

Entering the tomb, the group is faced with an illusion of grandure. The tombs lining the walls have been looted long ago. Yet, as bare and ancient as the walls were, they looked gilded and recently tended.

The next room, containing a mosaic of a night wielding a shining sword fighting a chimera under a bright sun allowed the group to spread out. The door to the west spoke has SAFE written on it, while the northern door was bulging under the weight of something hating it, or pressing on it. Herongull investigated it, believing it to be a slow push of something behind it over time. As he did so, the mosaic chimera, as it did for Gristle and Martin, awoke and attacked, flying up to the ledge above.

The group was ready and aware, seeing it move ever so slightly. It was attacked a few times by Cheep and others before it breathed fire on Heerok and Nic (who was able to judge the distance and effect of the breath weapon and step out of harms way – he has seen such things before in his travels). Nif ran in and hugged Heerok, curing him of some of the burns brought on by the dragon fire. Before the chimera could get another attack off it was quickly brought down by the group, shooting it and charging at it, and with Herron charging at it through flight.

Looking at the room marked safe and the bulging door the group decides to go down the east passage which slopes downwards. Herongull notices a ‘land trap’, half-jumping and half-flying over it, warning the remainder of the group to avoid the trap, while Nic, using his dungeoneering experience, notices a sliding panel in the southern wall. The group looks at the panel, and carefully slide it open. Afraid of traps, the group moves away, Herongull entering the room at the bottom, a incense scented room filled with tapestries and double doors to the north and a single door to the east.

The attention, however, lies with the uncovered shaft that leads down to what seems to be a staircase. Using rope, they lower Cheep, the smallest of them that was able to communicate in Common and not with ‘blppts’ and ‘btttfts.’

The staircase rose to the north. The remains of an ancient dumbwaiter lie on the floor here next to a door with DANGER written on it and with spikes hammered into it keeping it closed. Cheep stealthily climbs the stairs to see a dining room with four or more creatures sitting around a stone table. The creatures were spiky, reddish and unpleasant. They spoke an uncomfortable and grating language, but did it calmly, seemingly relaxing and at ease. Spikes covered their bodies – so much so that their beards seemed to be a great number of spikes protruding from their faces.

The group all then entered the stairwell and looked at the door marked DANGER. They wanted to see what the spiked creatures were afraid of, so they set to open the door and see within. They did so, quietly, and Nic Hanza – whose curiosity knows no bounds – opened the door. Within was a large room, an opulent bed, bookshelves, a table with a ewer and goblets… and dead bodies of dragon cultists and spectral undead. Three were of snake men as described by Bolo in Boareskyr and three of dragon cultists. Whatever happened here caused the souls of these killed to remain.

Nic closed the door and felt the air around him cool but nothing else seemed to happen.

They all returned to the corridor and they concocted a plan.

A rope was attached to the DANGER door and held by those in the corridor above the dumbwaiter shaft.

Herongull, a master of elements, used his divine power to turn into an air elemental. He went down the shaft and entered the room of the spiked creatures, gaining their attention. Meanwhile, the top would be pulled, opening the door with the spectral undead. Hopefully the two groups would meet and wipe each other out. Meanwhile Heerok would use his ancestors power to ward the shaft from any survivors from climbing out.

All went according to plan – sort of. Heerok, wishing the safety of all those around him ensured that nothing he could ward would be allowed to exit the shaft, including undead, devils, demons and elementals.

The spiked creatures were hesitant to descent the staircase and remained in the dining room. The spectral undead also did not leave the room they were found in. Seeing this, Herongull ascended the shaft, only to be stopped by his grandson’s ward.

Swearing at this, Herongull returned down the shaft and entered the spiked creatures room. Watching in air elemental form, he saw the creatures stare at him, speaking their awful language to each other as they watched it. They made no move against it, so Herongull went through the door to the east, entering into an old throne room. There was a twelve-foot tall statue sitting on a massive throne. As he moved towards the throne and statue, it spoke, asking for tribute, or for the one standing before it to leave.. At the statues feet was treasure, both rich and poor. Glass bottles with potions, hundreds of gold and silver coins, jewelry both stunning and mundane, copper pieces and even old, worthless pottery.

Without options, Herongull left, leaving through a crack in the door to the south, returning to the incense and tapestried room. He reunited with the group and his grandson, who he berated for being so close-minded and naïve.

Unsatisfied that their plan didn’t work, and curious as to what the spiked creatures were, the party continued, heading into the large tapestried room.

There, a whisper entered the minds of Herongull, Nic and Cheep, saying that if they wished to go further they must proffer humility and respect in the way of Mystra. Both Herongull and Nic both recognize Mystra as a fallen god, lost to history during the Time of Troubles.

Heerok, not hearing the whispered warning, opened the door leading to the throne room, causing there to be an explosion of sound as six sarcophagi shattered and six mummies stopped through the tapestries and attacked the party.

In his air elemental form, Herongull was easily able to destroy one mummy by engulfing it in his windy form, pummelling him with the debris from its own sarcophagus, then throwing it out of the room. Frightened, Nifilinin mutters and ballet, polymorphing another mummy into a butterfly. Nic and Heerok both attack their mummies, but their mundane attacks do not seem to do much damage.

Nic is soon frightened by the eerie glare of one of the mummies, then Heerok swoops in, using his paladin aura to remove the fright from Nic while eating the butterfly.

Herongull takes a beating from the mummies, absorbing most of the hits and contracting mummy rot in the process, while he engulfs them, throwing debris and tearing their limbs apart with his strong winds. He tosses a few, and those who survive are shot to destruction by Nic or sliced by Heerok.

Nif, babbling away, summons a moonbeam that burns the mummies, weakening them for her allies. Herongull, being a large swirling mass of air ends up taking some damage from the scorching moonbeam, but continues to damage the mummies.

Eventually, they are downed and the group stands amid stone debris and mummy parts.

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The Tomb of Diderius

We begin at the Manticore’s Tale, the place of Donaar’s demise at the hands of the Cult of the Dragon assassins.

The next morning, Gristle pays 1 platinum to a hardy looking patron to go to Waterdeep and tell Connerad Brawnanvil that Donaar, the paladin of Raqvor, fist of Raqvor, and defender of Raqvor has perished. He also added that the friendly and true Connerad would pay this adventurer an additional 10 platinum to receive this news. He then headed off to Boareskyr Bridge to find the footsteps of Varram the White.

In the light of the news of the death of Donaar, Martin Thundershot and his gnome page receive orders from Sir Isteval to head to Boareskyr Bridge and meet Gristle to assist him. He has been briefed in the danger of the cult and their actions.

Boareskyr Bridge is an ancient granite bridge where a tent city has sprung up, providing rest and place to spend coin to anyone who happens to travel here. Bolo, an enterprising halfling, has set up a large pavilion and made an Inn out of it, Bolo’s Tentside Inn. Both individuals, Gristle and Martin enter the pavilion. Gristle, aware that he is being tracked by the Cult, magically alters himself into a small halfling woman to avoid being recognized. Martin, who was given Gristle’s description, looks around the tent city for him.

In his travels he hears of a hero of sorts, a dwarf travelling with a dozen or so hooded figured. The dwarf was dressed in purple robes and dragon insignia, was asking for a guide into the Serpent Hills. Someone who came forward to speak to him was also hooded, and after starring into the eyes of this hooded person, the dwarf killed him, stabbing him in the face. The stabbed figure turned out to be a snake-man spy from the serpent hills.

Martin continued to look around for Gristle, but it wasn’t until the following day when Gristle grew bored and returned to his original form. Martin was able to recognize Gristle, the one-eye dwarf and introduced himself as a mercenary sent to assist him by the word of Sir Isteval. After being introduced to Raqvor and a variety of additional oddities that define Gristle, the pair ask further questions about the purple robed dwarf, learning that he is, with near certainty, Varram.

Gristle then made certain that every member of Bolo’s Tentside Inn became aware that their hero, who killed a snake-man spy had lost a mask and is here looking for it. If word could be spread, that would help their hero as he needs that mask back. With that, the pair (and the gnome page of Martin) head off into the Serpent Hills, following the dozen or so tracks left by Varram’s party.

The arrive at a ruined settlement made up of a pair of broken towers and a few odd buildings, a well, two statues and a massive fresco atop an entrance. There was evidence of a party coming here, as there was a fire slowly burning down and a trio of sleeping bags around it.

As Gristle and Martin explored, they found seven shallow graves (one containing a dragon cultist – Gristle assumed the others did too) and evidence of a recent fight. They explored some more, but as they drew near the statues they stopped as the statues awoke and spoke to them, asking if they wished intelligence of wisdom. They both responded one, and the statues reminded them to be respectful and returned to their silent guard.

They walked up a narrow stair to the mouth of the opening and entered.

The frist room they found was magically altered to look as if it was an opulently decorated tomb. The pair saw gilded etchings and silver braziers, but they were not real, covering looted treasure and empty tombs. Gristle already doesn’t trust this. He made himself and Martin invisible.

The next room had six hooded statues lining the walls. As the pair walked, the statues moved to fix their hooded gaze at the pair. There was a voice that spoke to them, warning them not to look into the eyes of the hooded statues, as they knew secrets that were far too dangerous for mortals to know. Gristle used Raqvor’s skull to look into the statues and did so himself. Revealed to him was a truth that everything was connected, even facets of a one true entity, that the very world is exactly how he believed it was. It drove him insane (which isn’t that long of a drive, truthfully), but gave him insight. Martin did not look and heeded the warning.

The next room had a beautiful mosaic on the floor, a knight wielding a glowing sword fighting a chimera. The pair inspected the mosaic and found that the chimera was moving. It suddenly leaped off the floor and flew up onto a ledge, then attacked the pair. Gristle, wishing to know where Martin was, ended his invisibility and moved for cover. Martin, feeling the brunt of a dragon breath attack, shot at the animated mosaic. Gristle fired magical fire at it, and eventually, after being shot by Martin’s blundersuss and Gristle’s magic, it shattered and fell to the ground. Gristle then devoured the soul of the animated object.

The room had two doors, one double set of doors of bulging, corroded copper, and other single door that hat SAFE written in chalk. The other exit was a hallway headed down. Gristle used clairvoyance to see beyond the copper doors, only to find his minds’ eye surrounded by rock. They went into the door marked safe and stumbled upon a trio of trolls. Gristle immediately fireballed them, and then engaged them in hand to hand combat after Martin asked if fleeing was how he fought (as he found cover versus the chimera). The fight lasted for quite a while, as the trolls repeatedly regenerated the majority of the wounds given to them. They viciously attacked both Martin and Gristle, nearly killing them. Gristle then polymorphed into a giant form of himself and threw two of the trolls down the well in the room, allowing Martin to toss the third in afterwards. Now safe, they inspected the room.

The well seemed to be used to fill a basin that, when a lever was pulled would drain somewhere. Wishing to see where, Gristle polymorphed into a spider and investigated, following the drain into a room with a small pool and three exits. The first exit he attempted to explore, still as a spider was a corridor. The second, lead into a room with a sarcophagus. As Gristle grew near to it, a vice spoke, saying: “I know what you are searching for. The one named Varram was taken by the yuan-ti onto the caves beyond. I can open the door for you to face your peril.”

Gristle ended his polymorph and clairvoyanced his sight into the sarcophagus, where he saw a mummy. Gristle asked for some time, then dimension doored himself to Martin, grabbed him back through the door into the tomb. A chime sounded and a secret door opened and out came six lizardfolk.

Gristle ended the fight in seconds by sending a cone of cold at them, freezing five and sending the sixth one fleeing deeper into the cavern. Gristle then spoke to the tomb, calling it Raqvor. He knocked on it and stomped on it. It gave a warning to to open or disturb the tomb of Diderius. Gristle asked to know why as he already saw what was in the sarcophagus. Diderius replied that he did not wish his eternal resting place disturbed.

Martin and Gristle entered the secret door and the cave, only to see a stone bridge over a dark chasm, with six additional lizardfolk standing guard. Combat broke out with arrows flying out of the darkness at the pair. Martin fired his strange, loud, weapons while Gristle fire bolted the lizardfolk. As combat went on, Martin and Gristle fell back into the Tomb. Soon, it was just a pair of yuan-ti warriors who shot at them, attempting to use magic suggestions to turn them against each other.

Martin had been shot and downed, Gristle was near death. He backed into the tomb and hip checked the sarcophagus yelling “Help me Raqvor!” Diderius rose from the now opened tomb and attacked Gristle. The frescoes around the room shattered and four additional mummies entered the room and swarmed to Gristle. The yuan-ti watched on from their cave as the mummies slowly moved to surround Gristle who was pleading for help when they swung at him. finally, Diderius himself connected with a swing and Gristle turned to dust, cursed by the mummy lord. The runed skull of Raqvor fell to the ground and rolled a few feet before stopping among the dead and undead.

What happened to Martin is unknown. As he was knocked unconscious he does not know what befell Gristle. The yuan-ti are known to take prisoners, as Bolo explained that she believed the snake-people kidnapped babies and turned them into snake people.
The Council is still looking for those who can support Gristle, Gnoblin, Martin and Nic Hanza on their quest to stop the return of Tiamat. Now with two additional members perishing, the quest to find additional support is even more urgent than they know.

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Inn Ambush

The council room was quiet when Gristle and Donaar brought in the head of Arauthator, placing it onto the table with tremendous bravado. After the initial ruckus died down, the council was very pleased with the outcome of the actions of the party.

Connerad Brawnanvil, the most outspoken against the characters, especially Gristle, admitted he was pleased with the outcome, but said nothing else during the council. In fact the entire council was pleased with the death of Arauthator and the pledge of assistance from the Arcane Brotherhood. Ontharr Frume was the only one who said he didn’t really see the benefit of a bunch of book-reading mages when a battle was looming, but he was more than pleased the characters did what they did.

The council then turned to the future, and Varram the White. Varram is a wyrmspeaker, and holder of the White Dragon Mask, but he has had the mask stolen from him by, what Remalia Raventree believes is a Zhentarim agent. Unable to find the mask through normal scrying means, Varram as searching for a more powerful magic to locate the mask before Severin, the leader of the Cult of the Dragon finds out and punishes him, or, the Mask falls into the hands of those working actively against the Cult.

The group is to head to Boareskyr Bridge near the Serpent Hills, where Varram was last heard from.

The group leaves with Nic Hanza, who has returned. He was vouched for by the council to be an ally but didn’t go into where he was since he was last seen.

After a few days of travel, the trio (Nic, Gristle and Donaar) arrive at the Manticore’s Tale, the first inn since they left Waterdeep. They enter the small two-storey inn and make small talk with the barkeep and his daughter, eat some good food and go to bed for the night.

At about 3 in the morning, their windows break and cult members, in full regalia leap in, attacking the sleeping adventurers. Each one unarmoured and underprepared, they scramble to attack, and easily vanquish their foes. Gristle uses animate objects to make ten tiny objects fly around and throw his cult member out of the window, killing him. Donaar deftly uses his halberd to cut through the mask of his assailant, slicing his head in two. Before their foes could fall, a blue half-dragon breaks through Donaar’s door, and charges the paladin of Bahamut who kneels in his bed. Gristle turns as he hears someone try to break down his door, but fails. So he decides to blast it with a fire bolt, destroying the door.

Gristle uses his magic to wound his foe, but after he is shocked by an orb of dragon breath, he turns invisible, sending his foe into Donaar’s room looking for prey. Donaar is busy fighting his strong foe, deftly attacking the unarmoured Donaar with a spear and shield like a gladiator in an arena.

Gristle then follows his assailant to Donaar’s room where he uses catapult to launch furniture at the foes. Donaar’s half-dragon opponent is not looking all to well, nor is Donaar, blue and white dragon blood soaking the bed and surrounding floor. Sensing that Donaar is near death, Gristle polymorphs himself into a giant-ape sized Gristle (nude, of course) who punches his assailant into the commode while Donaar is stabbed to death by the gladiator half-dragon. Gristle quickly defeats the remaining cult member and sees that his ally in many philosophical debates on Raqvor has perished. Sadly, the runed skull of the previous avatar of Raqvor "om, om, om’s” Donaar, sending him to the One True God’s domain. He peels some dragon scales off his ally and shoves them into the skull, representing the fusion. He brings the lifeless body of the paladin outside then freezes it in a cone of cold, as a true believer in Bahamut/Raqvor would want. Gristle returns to normal size, demands no one touch the frozen body of his ally, then returns to sleep the remainder of the night away.

Upon going upstairs, he sees the dead body of a third assailant in Nic Hanza’s room, but no Nic Hanza.

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Oyaviggaton

The players sailed on the frostskimmr, a low longship that took them into the cold north. They sailed and rowed into the Sea, past the Spine of the World into the lands of the Ice Hunters.

Their destination was an iceberg called Oyaviggaton, which was the last place Maccath described before she stopped sending messaged to the Arcane Brotherhood.

They moved between giant ice floes for days, occasionally stumbling upon Ice Hunters who ignored them and fled from their presence. This continued for a few days before they decided to follow them at a respectable distance. They found the Ice Hunters leading them towards a massive iceberg, that matched the description of Oyaviggaton.

The iceberg is massive, but had a ‘port’ of sorts that the Ice Hunters used to beach their canoe-like boats (called oumyeks). The frostskimmr got close and ‘docked’ allowing Gristle and Gnoblin and a sailor who could translate the Ice Hunters language, to disembark and make their way up the ice mountain.

They found the plateau that Maccath spoke of and entered an icy hallway with bodies of three southerners, a dwarf and six Ice Hunters frozen within crystal clear ice. Beyond that was the village.

Nearly 20 yurts stood on the generally level piece of ice. There were about 70 people living here, men, women and children.

As the two adventurers and their translator entered the town they were met by a group of villagers, two of which were introduced: Barking Seal the chieftain and Bonecarver the shaman.

The demanded to know why there were visitors and asked them to leave. Nervously, weapons (bone spears) were drawn and shown to the newcomers. The translator expressed his concern over this, noting that the Ice Hunters were never this threatening and violent. Yes they were shy, but never violent.

Gristle explains himself, that they are looking for a tiefling named Maccath but the tribes folk claim not to know and say the trio should leave.

When Gristle says they are not leaving until they get answers the chieftain suggests a challenge: their warrior against the village’s warrior, Orcaheart, a rather large and muscled human.

If the newcomers win, they will be welcomed in to the village. If they lose, they will surrender their metal weapons to the tribe and leave the iceberg never to return.

They agree, and Gnoblin is chosen. The rules are simple: to the death or whoever surrenders. No magic.

The shaman sings a song and does a dance to ‘bless’ the arena – a snowy area near the entrance. There is no magic being cast, Gristle sees that, but he questions if the Ice Hunters know that. It seems that is is already unfair.

Surreptitiously, Gristle casts haste on Gnoblin and enters the ‘arena.’ Gnoblin, being naturally quick and hastened, strikes first with his dagger, striking the large human with crushing blows. He moves around Orcaheart in circles, using speed to his advantage. But Orcaheart has strength and is trained well with his weapon. He is able to eventually get a few hits on Gnoblin. After a few rounds, Orcaheart uses his hardened leather shield to bash Gnoblin to the ground, then pierces him with his spear. The attack is devastating, nearly killing Gnoblin. As he is near death, Gnoblin uses his speed to stay away from the tribesman and climbs up a nearby yurt, hiding on the room. Orcaheart is furious and attacks the yurt, meaning to bring it down. Using his skill as a hunter, Gnoblin fires arrows at Orcaheart, striking him in the neck. within a few rounds, the yurt is near collapsed, but Gnoblin continues to fire, climbing onto the ground to finish Orcaheart off.

With Orcaheart near death, Bonecarver mends the champion. Barking Seal declares Gnoblin the victor and offers the hospitality of the Ice Hunters to the trio. They are given an undamaged yurt to sleep in for the night.

Near dinner time, Bonecarver brings them nearly rotten fish to eat. The food is a delicacy of the Ice Hunters, who enjoy the tangy flavour. This is verified as normal practice by the translator. They rest and decide to eat.

The fish was poisoned, however, bringing both Gnoblin and the translator to near death. Seeing this, but making certain that the pair only played with death and did not actually die, Gristle storms into the chieftain’s yurt and demands to know what is going on.

The chieftain is appalled and insulted thinking such a thing happened. He demands to know what has happened and beings Gristle to the shaman’s hut to learn the truth.

There, Gristle threatens to give the poisoned fish to Orcaheart, who is in the tent recovering from his wounded throat. Bonecarver then reveals that she did poison the outsiders, to protect the village.

it is revealed that the village is under the control of a dragon, Arauthator, the Great White Death. If the villagers leave, or accept help they can all be wiped out. Bonecarver has prayed to the various spirits they worship to send a saviour.

Gristle, hopping on this opportunity, revealed himself as their saviour. In the same way he reveals their many spirits they worship to be the many faces of Raqvor. He was spared of the poison by the will of Raqvor and as such, proof that he is the saviour.

Bonecarver begs for forgiveness and offers to tell Gristle everything. Gristle suggests morning for the big reveal.

With Gnoblin recovered from the combat with Orcaheart and the poison, the two meet in the central hut and hear the story of the Ice Hunters.

They are being kept here on the iceberg against their will. They are allowed to hunt as long as they give some of their provisions to the dragon as payment. it is to hide and protect the dragon that they stay. Any who leave or try to leave without permission of the dragon are killed. The entire village is threatened by the dragon.

They do know Maccath, she is working for the dragon, who lives deep within the iceberg. They don’t know what she is doing there, but they do know that she is writing and reading a lot. There are giant ice toads, ice trolls and kobolds in the caves below. They show two entrances, one in the chieftain’s hut, the other in the shaman’s hut. The chieftains entrance is used to deliver goods to the dragon’s servants.

As the Shaman’s hut’s entrance is less used, they decide to use that to enter the caverns.

The caves are made of solid ice which as been polished and carves with draconic writing and imagery. The group begin exploring, realizing that the cave system is generally a circle with caverns going off around the outside, and some on the inside. Gristle uses magic to alter himself to be like a kobold, while Gnoblin simply hides.

They see a room of dead, frozen giants being polished and cared for by a group of kobolds. it is explored, containing nothing more than dead and posed, frozen giants. The kobolds polish and otherwise care for the giants, not noticing or caring about Gristle.

On their counter-clockwise romp around the circular tunnel, they stop off at a room with a dozen giant ice toads writing, scribing and etching strange words onto/into parchment, ice and stone tablets, then organizing them in a series of cubby holes. Gristle, still a kobold walks in and asks to know what is going on, but the ice toads ignore him and say that it is none of his business. A leader ice toad comes forward and demands to know why a kobold is here asking what is going on.
Gristle explains that he was been sent to take over, and the ice toad is shocked and does not believe, saying that she always follows the direct commands of the dragon and this will not stand. Gristle shifts his magic to look like a white half-dragon and declares this a test. The ice toads stop what they are doing and huddle around their leader.

Gristle takes some of the parchments from their cubbies and demands that they work faster, then leaves.

The next room is foggy and cold, and the trio skip it.

The next room is large and empty, so they skip that one too.

In the centre of the ring they are traversing they find a small room with a hole within it. There is cold air that blows out of the hole. The pair look at it and believe that this is the way to the dragon.
The hole had a hook above it, but nothing else. Gnoblin used his magic to spider climb down the hole into the dark cavern below. It was a massive cavern having ice pillars that came up out of the ground. Gnoblin stuck around for a few moments then returned to the upper floor.

Upon returning to the surface they hear claws walking along the ice. They see an ice troll and hide, nearly causing Gristle to fall into the hole. After the ice troll passed, a trio of kobolds also walked down the corridor. But they hide from them as well.

Gristle decides to head back towards the foggy room and to look in there, making the connection between the fog in this cave and the fog in the castle in the swamp that had a magic teleport to Parnast.

They head down the corridor, and before them, walking with her head in a book, is Maccath.

Gristle, still in the form of a white half-dragon stops Maccath and asks to speak with her. For some reason, Maccath is utterly unconcerned and agrees, leading them into the caves and towards a tent she says is hers. She seems non-pulsed by the half-dragon, and leads him to the tent. Gnoblin, still hiding, follows.

Maccath agrees to have the conversation and tell Gristle everything.

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The First Council of Waterdeep

As the players secured Skyreach Castle and honoured the stone giants with helping them be rid of the Cult of the Dragon, they were in a good place. They were heading north to the Spine of the World, where they would meet with the giant armies. However, they were contacted by Leosin of the Harpers to go to Waterdeep and attend a council that had been organized. They agreed, taking with them a communication stone they can use to contact the giants of they ever needed to.

At the council, they were told that all the Lords of the Sword Coast and representatives of the Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet and the Emerald Enclave are meeting to discuss what to do next in the face of the cults actions.

The members of the council are as follows:
Ontharr Frume – Representative of the Order of the Gauntlet
Sir Isteval – Purple Dragon Knight of Cormyr and representative of Daggerford
Lord Dagult Neverember – Lord of Neverwinter
Remallia Haventree – Leading delegate for the Harpers
Delaan Winterhound – Representative of the Emerald Enclave
Ulder Ravengard – Leader of the Flaming Fist (Military of Baldur’s Gate)
King Melandrach – King of Misty Forest and representative of High Forest
Taeran Hornblade – Leader of the wizards of Silverymoon
Lady Laeral Silverhand – Open Lord of Waterdeep
Connerad Brawnanvil – Former King of Mithril Hall, delegate for the Dwarves of the North, including Citadel Adbar and Citadel Felbarr

The council sat for hours listening to information about the actions of the cult and the actions of the brave adventurers who worked against the cult. Some took issue with the actions of the players, most notably Connerald Brawnanvil the dwarf who was most upset about leaving Castle Skyreach in the hands of the giants and not destroying the dragon hatchery. As he voiced his opinion on the importance of killing baby dragons and claiming control of the castle, Gristle was offended (as he and his companions) are the ones who are doing these things and risked their lives, demanded more respect by the dwarf. The exchange continued and became quite heated, causing the dwarf to leave the council chambers.

Many of the council did not seem too concerned by this, though some took the interaction as a slight, including Lady Laeral Silverhand.

The council gave the following information:
Each delegate offered their support to the war if they felt it to be in the best interest of their people, and, in some cases, they would not take the brunt of the losses. The council wishes to work together, but some fear they will be pushed in front and their organization or people could suffer unfairly compared to others.
They also spoke of the organization of the Cult, being divided into three sections, the WyrmSpeakers who each are a different colour. Then the Wearer’s of Purple who are leaders of smaller sections, then the rest of the cult.
Rezmir is a Wyrmspeaker, the Black dragon.
Frulam Mondath and Talis the White were/are Wearers of Purple.

The identity of the five Wyrmspeakers are also given:
Severin the Red (human male)
Rezmir the Black (half-black-dragon female)
Galvan the Blue (human male)
Neronvain the Green (moon elf male)
Varram the White (dwarf male)

These Wyrmspeakers each have a dragon mask that allows them to communicate with dragons, each to their own colour. It gives them power and a small modicum of control over dragons.

The Cult is working with the Red Wizards of Thay, although it is believed that there is a division with the Red Wizards where some of them do not wish to support the Cult.
Also, it is believed that the leader, Severin, has changed the overall structure of the Cult of the Dragon. Originally it was concerned with raising dead dragons into dracoliches, but now wishes to bring about the return of Tiamat, something some members of the Cult, like the vampire in Skyreach Castle did not fully agree with.

During the council, there is a deep nearly unheard rumbling. It is revealed that this rumbling is in fact the sounding of the draakhorn a device that is used to alert all dragon kind to great events that are unfolding. More information was available to the characters if they agreed to meet with the secretive source of Lady Silverhand. The council did not like this and wished to have more information, but all agreed that the draakhorn be found.

In addition, there has been word that Varram the White has lost the White Dragon Mask and is looking for it. Currently, Varram is the only Wyrmspeaker whose location is currently known. The council urges the players to find Varram and recover the dragon mask.

They decide to look for the draakhorn first, meeting with Lady Silverhand’s source, a woman who by some magic is hiding her true face. She describes the draakhorn as a magic item that can summon and communicate with all dragons across Faerûn. In the hands of the Cult it is a powerful weapon, but if we could take it, we could use it to assist the rousing of the metallic dragons to our cause.
She explains that the last known location of the draakhorn was in the Sea of Moving Ice, which is far to the north. A tiefling named Maccath the Crimson and member of the Arcane Brotherhood went looking for the draakhorn years ago, but has not been heard from since..

Gristle did not like the subterfuge this source was playing, so used his own magic to cancel the magic she was using to hide herself. With her true form (a human female noble) clear, she is outraged and flees the room.

Lady Laeral Silverhand, the Open Lord of Waterdeep is equally outraged and threatens to revoke the power given to the players to investigate demanding that the show respect to nobility, and those who feel they are risking their lives by sharing knowledge to those they have not met.
Feeling slighted that they are not trusted after all they have done, an argument continues that results in the players being removed from the council. This does not last long as other members of the council, namely Lord Neverember and Sir Isteval both strongly support the party and their actions, including how they treated the source and Connerald Brawnandvil.

With their investigative powers still in place the party decide it best to retrieve the draakhorn and prove to the entire council their ability and their willingness to go to great lengths to achieve their goals. They hope to gain the respect of the entire council.

They are outfitted for their journey north to the Sea of Moving Ice to investigate the disappearance of Maccath and the whereabouts of the draakhorn.

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The Giants of the Castle

We begin where we left off: Gnoblin and Gristle, under the control of the vampire stand before Remir the Black.

Gristle: “Oh! I was supposed to say Tiamat, our Lord and Savior!"

Donaar, who made it into the castle just before Team Sneaky Neutral. They are all caught, all brought to Rezmir.

Rezmir asks why these people are on her castle and why they would say such a thing. Gristle continues to explain why he was there, which is exactly the reason why they were there. He explains that Tiamat is but a mask of Raqvor, and he doesn’t stop. He does try to slink away, but the vampire places her hand on his shoulder, causing him to realize he should do what she says. They are friends after all. Gristle also mentions Talis as one who is willing to rebel against the cause of the Cult.

Rezmir gets upset and says that they will die, and Gristle will stay alive to witness the rise of Tiamat himself where his idiotic ramblings will be proven false, then devoured by Tiamat herself. Rezmir is going to kill the other two. The vampire steps forward and offers to deal with the three of them. She takes them out of the room and into a ruined room. There, she asked Gristle to explain more about this one god and seemed to pay attention. There was a time, where Donaar entered in vigorous debate, that the vampire exerted her emotional control and silenced the dragonborn to allow Gristle to continue.

When enough was said to the vampire she explained that she was a student of Sammaster many, many, many years ago (she claims to be older than the Cult of the Dragon itself). She joined the Cult and believes that the Cult has changed too much. She is willing to give the three prisoners before her reprieve if they bring down the castle and stop this foolish plan to bring back Tiamat. She believes that Tiamat should remain in Hell serving Asmodeus.

The trio agree and ask how they can help. The vampire directs them to the central tower where the Giants are. She said that is where the castle is controlled by the giants (they are the only ones who can control the castle) and where they can bring down the castle. She lets them go (keeping Gnoblin as compensation), but reminds them to stay away from Rezmir. As long as they don’t harm her vampire spawn, they are free to leave do as they wish.

Donaar covers himself in soot, making him seem like a black dragonborn and Gristle casts alter self to make him a male moon elf. They head towards the central tower.

On their way there, next to Rezmir’s room they find a larger room inhabited by two stone giants. One is standing in a corner, the other is standing over a cauldron. Gristle recognizes a spell being cast, but is not entirely sure what the spell is – the language and mannerisms are all odd. He does know that the spell is not offensive or really defensive in nature, it is just a spell being cast to learn something.

The pair decide not to disturb the giants and head towards the stairs up to the giant’s tower.

The find a pair of ogres standing watch. They deny the pair entrance, but Gristle is able to persuade his way into the tower. Inside they are greeted with a beautifully crafted, tower made for giants. It is nicely decorated and well furnished, but made in giant size. The pair debate where to go, up the stairs, or down towards a glowing crystalline form they assume to be an engine. They go upstairs.

There they enter the throne room of the great Cloud Giant Blagothkus and his royal guard of helmeted ogres. Still in their disguises, they attempt to persuade the giant into changing course, or at least stopping the castle and turn away from the volcano that is the castles destination. Blagothkus is very suspicious of the pair before him, but Donaar removes his soot and it becomes clear that they are agents working against the Cult. Gristle speaks of how the Giants can gain power working against the cult, and that hit a nerve.

The pair learn that Blagothkus wants the giants to become a strong proud people again. He feels that they have been growing soft and a massive influx of dragons to fight would be the best way to rekindle the warlike and powerful giants. Gristle suggests that a war is coming regardless of if the castle reaches the volcano or not. Gristle offers the giants a war without having to help the cult, in fact the war can start now if the Giants rise and take back their castle.

Blagothkus wishes to think on this, and lets the pair stay in a room. The room is smaller than a giants room, but clearly build for creatures larger than the average human.

The next morning Blagothkus calls the pair together and they speak. There are two more giants, stone giants in attendance. They are introduced as Wilguf and Hulda.

Blagothkus divulges that a series of augeries cast by Wilguf suggest that helping the cult will not come out in the giants favour in the long run, and helping the ‘small folk’ will in fact bring great success and prosperity to the giants. So they agree.

Instead of crashing the castle, which is the home of Blagothkus, the plan is to take out the cult, wipe it off the face of the castle itself. The giants on the castle can do a lot of the work, but they are too small a force to effectively take down the entire cult, because there is a dragon on the island as well. The dragon lives in the caves beneath the castle and guards the gathered treasure. The giants can either attack the dragon and the players (with Wilguf and Hulda) take out Rezmir and the cult, or they take out the dragon while the giants take out Rezmir and the Cult.

Gristle and Donaar agree to kill the dragon. They head down the tunnels under the castle to the central cave, where, hanging from massive icicles is Glazhael, an adult white dragon. They are accompanied by the two stone giants.

As they are seen by the keen eyes of the dragon, they are asked why they are here. Without hesitation, Gristle lets blast twinned fireballs that strike the dragon. He stays on the ceiling and the two stone giants attack the walls, creating large ice chunks they can throw at the enemy. As the group moves in, Glazhael drops, blasting everyone (except Gristle who is hiding in the tunnels) with his cold breath. It does some serious damage to the stone giants, but Donaar, being of silver dragon kin, shrugs off most of the damage. Glazhael attacks as best he can, swatting, clawing and biting at the giants and those around him, while Donaar calls upon the power of his god to smite the evil white dragon.

More fireballs and a few rounds later, the only one out of the five in the cavern dies – the dragon, Glazhael the Cloudchaser. The stone giants are hurt, one badly so, but Donaar was only scratched and Gristle, learning from Gnoblin, was unscathed.

With the dragon dead, the treasure reclaimed, they return to the surface of the flying castle to see many dead cultists and celebrating giants. Blagothkus relates to them their victory, though Rezmir the vampire and two Red Wizards escaped, Skyreach castle is now Cultist free.

Gnoblin is found, well and alone. He is (seemingly) unharmed from his time with the vampire.

They search the castle, especially in the rooms of the wizards and learn a great deal.

There are letters that are left behind written by Severin directed to Rath Modar. Severin seems to be the leader of the Cult of the Dragon, or at least very high up, and the letters show a deep connection between the cult and the Red Wizards of Thay. There are, however some other letters that come from Thay that seem to be showing that not all Red Wizards are in alliance with the Cult.

The castle is now heading towards the Spine of the World.

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Parnast and the Floating Castle

Gristle waited outside the Hunting Lodge for Gnoblin and/or Donaar to return. Gnoblin was the first. Gristle, using kobold ashes, scribed a note on the front door of the lodge for Donaar: “Donaar, Gone to Parnast. RAQVOR” (Or something to that effect, I can’t remember verbatim).

The pair arrive in Parnast, a sleepy village that seemed to have a strange ice castle on its south edge. The castle is massive, clearly made for, and by, giants. Trying not to look too out of place, the pair walk into the town and explore.

The town is small, quiet, housing a boarded up stable (which was odd, and made them think they were in a deserted town), a few shops, workspaces and a tavern. They went to the tavern, a building that looked open.

The Golden Tankard was scarcely populated b a few labourers and is run by a large, mutton chopped human. Gnoblin and Gristle asked for a room, but were reminded that this was a tavern and not an inn, and there was no room in the entire town. But, drinks were offered and drank. Some of the people in the tavern ask the pair for tales of their adventurers. Gnoblin tells a tale of killing a goat – very anti-climactic. The tavern asks for more, nevertheless. Within a few moments, the pair are out of tales, but the tavern asks for more.

Between the long silences and awkward questions, a single patron leaves, trying to make eyes with Gristle and Gnoblin. Before the pair decide to leave, the owner offered up his own room as a place to stay. Realizing what is going on, Gristle looks out the window to see the ice castle gone. They leave the tavern and realize that they have been stalled by the townsfolk while the castle disappeared, or moved away. He polymorphs into an owl and tries to catch up, but the castle had a decent head start. Moments later Gnoblin is cornered by town guards who demand his surrender. The pair eventually escape and reunite, then try to figure out what to do next.

They wait in the fields outside the town of Parnast, watching the guards patrol the city – likely looking for them. They notice the one tavern patron who left the tavern and eventually meet with him. He says that the stable, closed and boarded up, contains wyverns that can, and have been flown from Parnast to the Castle. So, the party, turning invisible (right in front of the informant, without warning) head to the stable, find the wyverns, and help themselves to a harness and take off from the town. Gristle did chop up one of the harnesses in case anyone tried to follow.

In the sky, they find the tower and land under the cover of fog and darkness. They land on a dilapidated tower to the south east of the main tower and descend.

The tower is mostly empty, being what seemed like a storage tower. They look through three floors, then the basement. It is in the basement, that they find something frightening: three coffins in a room with a brazier burning. One coffin is open, and within there is nothing.

Gristle has heard tales of vampires who sleep in coffins and are quite powerful. The pair place heavy objects on the coffins, move the brazier and place wooden objects on it. A fire starts out, and begins to slowly spread and they leave the tower.

They head outside in the courtyard. The pair move sneakily, but Gristle notices that there is a fog that seems to follow and move around. As they head towards the main central tower, the fog disappears, replaced with the form of a slender white-skinned woman who asks them to identify themselves.

Gristle does so, while Gnoblin hides. The woman asks; “are you sure you wish to identify yourself as that.” then asks again. Not hearing what she wants, she asks a third time, then says that she has to attack, and dos so.

She is a powerful woman for her form, and hard to hit for someone not wearing armour. She doesn’t seem to wound easily, either. It becomes clear quickly when she grapples Gristle and bites his neck that she is a fabled vampire. The combat goes on for nearly a minute with the vampire healing herself naturally. Enraged gristle polymorphs into a giant ape (or a giant Gristle, really) and attacks the vampire, smashing it with all his might, but even that doesn’t seem to phase her.

Eventually the vampire changes tactics and uses her charm to stop the combat. When she charms both combatants she makes them follow her.

They now find themselves in a room that holds none other than Rezmir the Black.

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Through the Portal

In the bedroom of Rezmir the Black, the party continues onwards, heading towards the basement, where rumour of a portal brings them.

Gnoblin decides to remain back and rest as he has taken some serious damage from the acid trap Rezmir had in her wardrobe.

Gristle and Donaar head down the quiet castle, and head towards the north west tower, where they find the stairs leading to the basement. Once there, they begin discussing the important distinction between Raqvor and Bahamut. And every other deity. That there is no difference: Raqvor is all.

During this conversation, they wade through some water, find a pile of gems, scoop the them and Gristle blasts a grey ooze with an empowered magic missile. The conversation doesn’t stop. They continue exploring the caves, where they find a crane that the pair believe bring the crates of treasure down a 15 foot cliff. They climb down the cliff and continue. Gristle explains that Raqvor is both good and evil, Bahamut and Tiamat, life and death.

They find the portal and activate it. Curious, Gristle ties rope around himself and goes through. The portal closes, severing the rope. Gristle is at the edge of a forest with two standing stones beside him, in front of a stone and wooden lodge in the mountains. He speaks the command word again and returns.

Instead of going through the portal, which is obviously where they treasure is going, the pair decide to explore the caves. They soon find the leader of the bullywugs, Pharblex Spattergoo. The religious conversation pertaining to Raqvor does not stop, even when the bullywugs demand to know what is going on.

Donair attempts to show that as a dragon born he is a type of kin with Rezmir and a member of the Cult of the Dragon. The bullywugs do not buy it, saying that the cult has left and this castle is now bullywug.

The combat that ensues is quick and brutal, lasting less than a minute. With Donaar hasted, the bullywugs are destroyed very quickly. Gristle faces off with Pharblex, but is able to defend all attacks from the large bullywug. Donair quickly disposes of the bullywugs, and the combat is over.

Believing that the castle is now empty, save for a few stragglers, the pair enter the portal.

They are in fresh mountain air, surrounded by pines and in front of a hunting lodge. They move towards the door and poke in, finding the lodge rather empty. They explore the lodge, remaining fairly quiet, but taking no effort in being too quiet. They find a room with a suit of plate mail and a shimmering tapestry. As Donaar attempts to wear the armour it comes alive and Gristle blasts it with some magic to destroy it.

The pair turn to the tapestry, learning that it is a portal that seemingly brings the one who uses it to a forested location with game nearby. When Donaar pokes his head through, Gristle kicks him through.

Donaar is now in a forest with a mountain goat running away. He uses his skills to learn that he is less than five miles away from the lodge and could return within the hour.

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