Lancefinder

Session Seventeen
Journeys by Sea, Meetings and Reunions

Inside the massive stone dragon of Foghaven Vale, Arthur hammered away, working day and night forging dragonlances. When fatigue threatened to overwhelm him, he resorted to divine restoratives to remove the exhaustion. After a couple days, Drake departed, saying only he was seeking vengeance having learned the identity of the Blue Dragon Highlord.

After a couple weeks, Elsebeth, Derek Crownguard, and Gauraux sailed west to Sancrist isle, home and birthplace of the knights. The voyage was rough, as their commandeered sea vessel was harried by sea life, including being battered by whales and sharks while avoided by any edible fish. Looking at the other vessels docked at Sancrist, this unusual event was not unique: every vessel showed signs of damage.

Arriving, they met with the knights in preparation for the Whitestone Council. Gunthar Uth Wistan, one of the knights vying for the position of Grand Master of the Solamnic knighthood, welcomed them into his home. They were offered warm beds and fresh food while they waited. Elsebeth, having brought the dragon orb and many of the new dragonlances, was tasked with taking a lance and the orb to the gnomes, so they could study them. She quickly rode north to Mount Nevermind, the hollowed volcano home of the gnomes. There she was re-introduced to the finest in gnomish engineering (and the gnomeflingers which had replaced inefficient “stairs”) as she toured the various gnomish guilds showing off the dragonlance and dragon orb.

Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice behind her. It was Tictok! He quickly told her of all the problems and horrors he had encountered after their separation and how happy he was to be home and how Wilder Spirit was now dead and how they had found a dragon orb as well, but it had been lost. The gnomes took a long look at the dragon orb Elsebeth had brought, and wondered why it just looked like a big glass ball. Else looked close and something did seem odd about the “orb”: there was no mist inside, no feeling of arcane power. She gave it a firm tap and the orb easily shattered. There was a “thud” as the gnome Gnosh (whose Life Quest was to study dragon orbs) fainted.

Elsebeth mused about how the orb could have vanished and Tictok interrogated Atlas, Elsebeth’s horse who had been guarding the orb. It had been a month or two since they had really looked at the orb after its recovery in Icewall, and many former companions could have had access: Gilthanas, Fizban, Drake, Silvara, D’Argent (the disguised silver dragon), and even current companions who might not be fully trusted, such as Carrion and Derek Crownguard. And there was always the possibility of an enemy trained as a ranger or druid…

Returning to Castle Uth Wistan with the bad news (and Tictok), Elsebeth was informed by Guaraux of the power struggle between Derek Crownguard and Gunthar Uth Wistan. Gauraux had offered his assistance to Gunthar, having travelled with Derek and doubting his honour. They scheduled a Trial on the Question of Honour for after the Whitestone Council.

Arthur and Carrion arrived atop undead dragons, armed with newly forged dragonlances. Arthur had managed to craft twenty of the lances over the month, and was ready to arm as many knights as possible. They arrived just in time for the Council as the elves in exile arrived from Southern Ergoth, as well as kender, gnomes, as well as a handful of dwarves who were able to break through the siege of Thorabardin. The meeting goes badly, as the attending forces are reluctant to work with each other and Arthur and Elsebeth are unable to forge them into an alliance. The Whitestone Council ends with no union.

Sadly, with the Council having failed, the Companions were left with no clear goal. They knew the free city of Palanthus was under threat from the dragonarmies, defended by only a single fortress blocking a mountain pass: the High Clerist’s Tower. A handful of knights hold the tower and Elsebeth had earlier offered her assistance.
Before they departed, the Question of Honour began for Derek Crownguard, with Arthur acting as a character witness against Derek while Elsebeth questioned his motives and honour. While the trial could not remove Derek’s knighthood, Gunthar sent him to the High Clerist’s Tower, to man the walls and not in a command position, and hopefully redeem himself with a demonstration of courage. Derek was furious, and shouted his way through the castle, swearing vengeance. After, then Gunthar requested Elsebeth and her companions to also head to the tower and do what they can to assist with the defence.

The heroes tarried for a week, repairing and reinforcing their requisitioned ship. Tictok and Gauruax armoured the hull and set-up harnesses for Carrion’s zombie dragons to help tow the boat and reduce the drag from the armouring. Through skilful seamanship, the Companions made good time on the ocean voyage, and arrived at Palanthus a day-and-a-half early. They spent their time warning the city of the impending invasion, which fell on the deaf ears of complacent and spoiled citizens. Elsebeth conferred with the ageless head of the Library, Astinus, who advised her that the tower of the High Clerist was “built oddly”. He promised to speak honestly with the senators of Palanthus, warning them of the attack. Meanwhile, the rest of the group decided a visual demonstration of the dragonarmies was due. They dressed Carrion in the dragonarmour of Verminaard, the dead Red Dragon Highlord, and used Tictok’s illusions to create the image of an entire flight of dragons. Carrion and her “wing” of dragons, buzzed the central town square as the black robed wizard used her magic to blast the ground with lightning. When the town guard began to rally, Carrion took to the air. While the display shocked the citizens, they only began to man the town wall and asked for extra volunteers for the city garrison. No extra troops were sent to the High Clerist’s Tower.

Feeling like they failed twice, the Companions rode to the High Clerist’s Tower, several days south of the city through the mountains. The tower itself rose high into the sky, rising over sixteen stories and almost a thousand feet into the air, a wonder of dwarven and human construction. But the oddness of its design is quickly apparent: the eight-sided wall has three gates to the south and the octagonal central tower has six large doors all leading to a central chamber.

The tower itself had been sealed since the Cataclysm, requiring a follower of the Gods to unlock its doors. Investigating, Arthur touched one of the gates and they Companions quickly realized it was unlocked. Despite the knights’ protests that the tower is a holy site (as they counter that are accompanied by the chosen prophet of the gods’ return) they group ventured inside. They found the central chamber, and at its heart a large dais topped by an empty fitting for a globe-shaped object. Looking above, they saw a long hollow shaft that led sixty feet into the tower and ended with a floating platform.

Curious, Tictok flew up the shaft and discovered (seemingly) that it was designed to look straight and got wider and larger. The platform was massive, on the same level on a huge cavernous floor with cyclopean archways. On the floating platform was a mountain of treasure, all curiously large, and dominated by a massive dragonorb! The rest of the group flew up, and as they ascended, Tictok realized they were actually shrinking. Doing some quick comparative math, the gnome realized he was approximately five inches tall!

Abandoning plans to roll the dragonorb off the floating platform, the group ventured upward, hoping to find the treasure elsewhere. The first floor they reached proved fruitless but the second revealed the familiar large chamber (now eight times smaller). They entered and quickly discover it was a maze without walls, teleporting them throughout the chamber. Tictok bypassed this challenge by teleporting directly to the doorway to the platform then grabbed the orb.

Now armed with an actual orb, the group readied for the battle. Their troops were spread out across the wall as the enemy army advanced. The knights were outnumbered three-to-one. Toctok prepared some additional fortifications as he and Arthur used spells from a distance, only to realize the enemy also had spellcasters who were readied to dispel enemy magic! The enemy advanced again, meeting walls of fire that block their passage and a hail of arrows. Undaunted, the blue dragonarmy charged!

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Session Sixteen
Blackmail and Diplomacy, Death on the High Sea

The Companions continued their journey to Flotsam, having left Kendermore behind. Almost at the city, the group moved through dense woodland along a game trail. Accustomed now to the various wanted posters offering rewards for elves, they strived to avoid the attention of the Dragonarmies, but up ahead they saw a Dragonarmy patrol manhandling a group of merchants, one of which was a Silvanesti elf.

The group swiftly moved to attack, positioning themselves to strike at the human officers. Tictok raised a wall of stone separating the Dragonarmy soldiers from the innocent travellers, so Deldred could summon down holy fire. Surprisingly, the soldiers surrendered. They then revealed themselves as members of Silver Fox’s resistance, posing as Dragonarmy officers. The freedom fighter himself revealed his presence and congratulated the heroes for passing their “test”. The Fox informed the group about the state of Flotsam, held by the Dragonarmes and controlled by one “Highmaster Toede”, (apparently promoted from Fewmaster in the past months). However, the Blue Dragon Highlord had been sighted in the town, looking for something or someone that would supposedly turn the tide of the war and ensure draconic victory.

The heroes decided to disguise themselves as merchants, and borrowed a cart and some clothing from the rebels, while Squee turned himself into a horse to aid the disguise. Reaching the city, they witnessed a meeting between an angry wingless draconian (identified as Gildentongue), whom Wilder Spirit and Tictoklington recognised from Tarsis. Toede was berated for some time and, in a climax of humiliation, fell off his amphi dragon into the mud. Squirming, the fat hobgoblin righted himself and returned to his saddle and rode into town. The Companions moved forward and Wisp’s keen eyes spotted something in the sludge where the goblin had fallen. Retrieving it, the item was revealed to be a scroll case containing military missives. They entered the town and went immediately to the inn recommended by the Silver Fox and examined the letters. One was a report on the war in the west, with references to an impending battle at a Tower as well as an impending meeting with the ogres to renegotiate the terms of the alliance. The other mentioned something about a “spring” and the Dragonarmies’ naval advantage.

The heroes decided to use the missives to blackmail Toede, drawing him out of his guarded manor into an ambush, finally enacting their revenge. Having five days until a reliable sea vessel arrives, they opt to wait until later in the week to deliver their ultimatum to Toede. Squee kills time by talking with the vermin of Flotsam, herding them into the Dragonarmy barracks and vessels. Tictok continues to work on a new device that will replicate the Contingency spell.

After a couple days the group notices a military procession as the Blue Dragon Highlord crosses town to meet with Toede. Squee is dispatched as a seagull to spy on the meeting, pausing only to poop on the Highlord. A small child laughs at the sight and, to Squee’s horror, the Highlord sends a couple of his guards to shatter the boy’s legs. After berating Toede for his incompetence and telling him not to fail at the negotiations, the Highlord flies away on his dragon, heading west to the Solamnic front. Thankfully for Squee’s conscience, Deldred is sent to do what she can to heal the injured child, bringing hope of the gods’ return to Flotsam.

The heroes decided that the ogre negotiation is something to look into, and speak with their Resistance contact: Erewam the Shaggy. Through him, they are asked by the resistance to break-up and ruin the negotiations. The resistance provides Tictok with magical aid to disguise himself as Toede to sabotage the meeting. They send Squee and Bupu to deliver a message to Toede, asking for a sack of food in exchange for “papers”, giving the impression of a pack of gully dwarf blackmailers. Toede agrees to the exchange in the bad part of town, arriving alone with a large sack. Of course, Toede is planning to betray his gully dwarf extorters, having his dragon-kin mount hidden and ready to ambush. Toede proved his treacherous cunning after he threw the sack at the “gully dwarves”, when the amphi dragon struck the bag, revealing it was filled with vials of alchemist fire. The fight was over quickly with the dragon slain and Toede knocked unconscious. Deldred and Wilder Spirit took the stunned Highmaster into a rough inn where they proceeded to drag information from him, the rough treatment bounced the fat goblinoid between consciousness and near death. Finally, he revealed the date and time of the meeting with ogres, the following morning but a day’s journey away!

The group immediately set out, using a feather token of Wisp’s to create a magical boat, greatly easing their travel to Ogreshield, a large ruin claimed by a large tribe of ogres. At the meeting, Tictok, magically altered to resemble Toede, arrives with his entourage of Deldred and a disguised Wisp , while Squee altered himself into a rat and hid in the rafters of the building. Tictok did his best to insult the ogres and sabotage the negotiation, while the main negotiator, the aurak draconian Gildentongue, fumed at his partner’s incompetence. The filthy gully dwarf Squee let his pot/helmet of endless dung drip on one of the ogre chielftan’s meals, which the unfortunate ogre failed to notice. One large bite revealed the contamination and “Toede” very poorly tried to blame the seeming poisoning on other ogre king from the rival tribe, badly botching his attempt at lying. Squee, from above, quickly cried “master, the assassination attempt has failed!” bringing the negotiation to a violent end, as the ogres suddenly believed the Dragonarmy was trying to kill them. Tictok cried out for Gildentongue to teleport them to safety, readying his magic to vanish away. The selfish draconian magically vanished through a dimensional door, as “Toede” disappeared, giving the impression the dragon-man had indeed spirited the Highmaster to safety. A fight ensued, with Deldren unfortunately facing off against two angry ogres and a blue dragon which suspected treachery. The heroes fled, being chased by ogres across the terrain all the way back to their boat.

Sailing away, the group encountered a ship heading to Flotsam: the Percheron. This was the ship the group had been told of by the Silver Fox. Coming aboard, they were greeted by the captain, Maquesta Kar-Thon. The able helmsmen, Berem, brought them easily into port. The Companions offered several magical items as payment for the trip north, encouraging the captain to leave immediately. With the wind blowing hard and favourably and birds in the air, the Percheron took to the sea. No sooner had they left when a half-dozen Dragonarmy vessels closed from the rear. The swift merchant vessel did its best to lose the ships in a fog bank as Deldred smote the perusing vessels with divine rage and fire.

Before they had travelled long, three shapes appeared on the horizon, easily catching-up to the ship. Dragons. Mounted on one of the dragons, a large blue, was an armoured figure: the Blue Dragon Highlord. The dragons drew closer, strafing the ship with acid and lightning, aiming their blasts at the rudder damaging the ship’s steering! The Blue Dragon Highlord called out to give him what he wanted, and if they surrendered his prize he would leave the ship alone.

Lying, the group say they had no idea what they were talking about, not mentioning the destroyed ships in Balifor or ruined negotiation. The Highlord called back that all he wanted “the Green Gemstone Man”. Surprised silence followed.

The Companions refused and the dragons continued their assault. Suddenly, the three wyrms pulled back as a dark shadow appeared under the boat. Something below watched as a storm raged above. Then the world tilted as the Percheron hit a strong current. The helmsmen, Berem, did his best to fight against the strong flow, but with the damaged rudder it proved impossible. The ship was heading straight for the Maelstrom, the great vortex in the center of the Blood Sea of Istar. Crimson water rushed over the deck as the boat trembled and shook. Waved washed Wilder Spirit off the deck and into the water along with sailors, who desperately clutched at riggings to keep afloat. Screaming faces sank beneath the red waves.

Tictok watched in fear and sorrow as the boat tipped over the edge, the void opening below. “Sorry,” he whispered before his contingency device activated, teleporting him to the farthest distance he could reach.

The boat toppled and sank. The helmsmen, Berem, floated down. His shirt torn open from the storm, and the fist-sized gem embedded in his chest brightly glowing green.

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Session Fifteen
Over the sea, into the woods, and through trouble

Almost two weeks passed after the Spring Companions freed the elven kingdom of Silvanesti from its magical nightmare. They spent the time securing the capital and looking for surviving elves. With almost fifty elven survivors found and rescued, Alhana believed she had enough forces to defend the city and move outward into the still horrific forest to look for more survivors. The heroes were no longer needed and would do more good elsewhere.

After some time talking, the group decided to head northwest, via the ports to the northeas where they might be able to charter a boat and sail along the coast, cutting weeks off their trip (if not months). Alhana loaned the party several griffons to speed their way, flying the two-day journey to the Balifor region. Halfway there the Companions encountered a group a shipwrecked kender and spent a day retrieving valuables. After crossing the Bay of Balifor, they saw yet another kender, this time one facing a large black dragon in battle overtop the body of a fallen elf maiden. The Companions leapt into action, quickly defeating the beast. After interrogating the two survivors, battered and almost killed, the Companions discovered they were part of… the Resistance. They were carrying vital information on troop strength and watch rotations northward.

The kender (Kronn) and the Silvanesti elf (Serinda) accompanied the heroes to the city Balifor, who paused in their journey only to dispatch a draconian patrol. The Heroes found Balifor to be a heavily occupied town, with Dragonarmy patrols on every street and a heavy guard at the gate. The Dragonarmies used Balifor as a naval port, easily controlling the seas and preventing any sailing vessel from escaping. Tictok and Squee decided to get creative (and destructive), and used several shrunken barrels of oil and alchemist fire (all from Tictok’s gnomish bag of item shrinking) to create explosive bombs attached to a dozen Dragonarmy ships. Setting a time deal on the explosives, the group hastily left town the next morning. As they departed, several explosions and screams were heard in the distance.

The journey north to Flotsam was slow and long over the barren hills, with the Companions stopping every so often as they passed a Dragonarmy patrol. Occasionally, they would see a dragon scouting overhead. As one dragon neared they dashed for the trees, barely escaping its sight. Vanishing into the brush they saw something dash between the trees, running away from them.

Pursuing, they saw a fallen child (or kender) covered in blood and moaning. Wilder Spirit moved to investigate and stumbled over a pit trap that the agile ranger easily avoided. More kender emerged from the bushes trying to attack the “Dragonarmy soldiers” as the bloody kender leapt to his feet having feigned injury. Two of the kender hurled magical iron balls that expanded into flailing and grabbing bands, which encircled Deldred and Tictok. With gleeful cries, the kenders shouted “to Kendermore!” and the trapped Companions vanished, teleported away! After explaining they were not members of the Dragonarmy, the Companions were invited to return with the kender to Kendermore, the kender capital.

Travelling the scenic route to Kendermore, the Companions were reunited with their friends and relieved of small valuables. Staying only for dinner, the group left for the following morning “the Ruins” , where the kender said they had found the binding iron bands. The trip to the Ruins was quick but proved uneventful, as little remained save a curious foundation and an ancient magical ward that confused the weak-willed, causing their innermost nature to surface: Arcus spent an hour devastating the countryside with lightning while Tictok laboriously calculated the height and weight and mass of the fallen tower that once stood at the heart of the Ruins. Departing, the group did find an odd set of magical armour, possibly centuries old buried and hidden under a large boulder, likely once inside the Ruins.

On their way to Flotsam, the Companions stopped at an Oracle, spoken of by the leader of the kender (Kronin, father of Kronn). The oracle spoke a toad who is second from command that has an encounter with earth; birds and air being a call to action that should not be ignored; and a child of the sea being key to events. From there, they followed the path the kender told them to stick to (thus avoiding the myriad kender traps) and reached the outskirts of Flotsam.

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Session 14
pixies, impostors, dogs, and dragons

Having defeated the shapeshifting sivaks, the Companions continued forward towards the mountains where they believed Foghaven Vale was located.
They passed through a small forest protected by fey guardians, including a pixie mounted atop a faerie dragon. Escorted through the woods, the heroes pressed on well into the night while trying to find shelter in the woods. Weary, the group found the camp of a group of mercenaries who were resting overnight. Approaching them warily, Arthur used magic to discern their alignment while Elsebeth stumbled over a pile of bodies that resembled their new campmates. It did not take long for Carrion to deduce most were likely Sivak imposters and the draconian were dispatched. The sole remaining survivor, was questioned then sent on his way: the Companions had no need of a treasure hunter and tomb robber.

Moving through the mountains the next day, the group encountered a number of ogres and their large beasts of burden, which were quickly dispatched. Beyond, they found the entrance to Foghaven Vale and a ruined keep. Across the foggy valley was a massive shape, barely visible in the whiteness: a stone dragon carved into the mountain and hundreds of feet high!

Gauraux explored the keep, discovering references to Huma and a group of bats that knocked him down a flight of stairs. Beneath the keep, Gauraux found a massive magically illuminated chamber that housed the lair of a dragon. The group was hesitant to steal from the unknown dragon, especially as it might be a good silver dragon. Carrion had no qualms about pocketing a number of gems that appeared to be magic. In the chamber, the group also discovered a pool of liquid dragonmetal, which had been befouled and corrupted by some dark ritual.

Moving through the warm and foggy valley, the Companions reached a long, sloping bridge that crossed the wide river. They moved carefully across, to avoid falling in the stream which bubbled, fresh from a geothermic hotspring. Carrion and Arthur flew across on her zombie dragon. Beyond the bridge they found what could only be the Tomb of Human, long-dead knight and champion of the people. Inside, they found his sword and shield but left them alone. They also found a curious empty well, which Carrion deduced was where the magical stones were used. Placing them along the rim, she was sucked by a vacuum of air, along a hollow tube, and into the stone dragon.

Investigating the stone dragon, the Companions worked their way up to its mouth, where there was an impressive mural, marred by the corpses of a dead wizard at its base. One of the corpses surprised the party my moving, revealing itself to be the befuddled wizard, Fizban the Fabulous, who was quite put out to learn he was dead. Unable to learn much from the crazy old spellcaster, the group moved up to the large chamber inside the dragon’s head, which was occupied by a couple sivaks and a bronze statue that proved quite deadly. The draconian, at the cost of a number of their friends, had learned how to avoid the attacks of the golem, which turned on the heroes. While the draconian swiftly fell, the heroes fled from the dangerous golem. Thankfully, Drake accidently muddled across the room without incurring the construct’s wrath, and the party followed his steps and was able to reach the long stairwell that descended deep to the chamber at the heart of the stone dragon.

Inside the “heart of the dragon” the Companions faces a basilisk and an officer in the dragonarmies. The officer had apparently been dispatched on his mission after Feal-Thas learned the location of Foghaven Vale, sent to corrupt the dragonmetal so no new dragonlances could be formed. He died quickly and the Companions searched the rest of the chamber, discovered an exit in the wall. This led outside, a cleft evidently broken open by time or the Cataclysm. In the distance, they could make out human lands.

Then, a dragon landed! The group rushed to attack the fearsome red beast, likely the mount of the fallen officer. Elsebeth charged on her horse towards the beast, skewering it deeply with a dragonlance! Gauraux charged on foot with deadly results, fatally stabbing the beast with the enchanted weapon. Secure in the stone dragon and with a month before the Whitestone Council, Arthur set to work crafting new lances. While he lacked the Hammer of Kharas and the ability to make true dragonlances, these lesser lances might still prove to be formidable weapons.

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Session 13
Boat battle, wilderness trek, and a fight against shapechangers

The shipped rocked as the Heroes sailed through Ice Mountain Bay. Gaurauxand Drakeargued over who was captain, taking turns at the helm to avoid the massive floating ice mountains that give the bay its name. Exhausted after weeks of walking and battles with a dragon and a highlord, the group finally rested. Unnoticed, the jewel around Arthur’s neck brightly glowed an enchanted glow.

Carrionfound herself in a blasted wilderness. Ash filled the air and the trees suffered. A young man and his sister hunted for food on a sad excuse for a game trail. They came across a damaged ruin with a glimmering gemmed pillar jutting from the ground like the bones of a slain giant. The young man attempted to pry out a large emerald as his sister protested, warning this site might be sacred to some god. Carrion watched helplessly, being only a ghostly witness, as the girl fell and struck a stone pillar. There was redness followed by a bright green light, revealing a large chamber filled with gargantuan green dragons. Carrion found herself fighting alongside a gnome, a wild elf, Elsebeth, and Gauraux.

Arthur dreamed he was wandering lost through an inn, moving through corridor after corridor until he stumbled across the common room. It was empty but still filled with bustling noise and laughter. There were only two people in the room, both seated at the far table: a drunken dwarf and a woman in a red dress. Approaching them, they turned and greeted Arthur, using his true name “Amadaeus”. The woman told him he was walking too far down the Path of Vengeance and that there must be a return to balance. The dwarf smiled mischievously, now seeming much more sober, and said it was time to return to the Path of the Blacksmith. They passed over a large cloth bundle. Inside with an arm made of brightly polished silver. Arthur picked-up the arm and exited the common room, finding himself in a large throne room filled with friends and dragons.

Drake had a dream that cannot be repeated here among mixed company.

Everyone awoke on the ship, feeling both rested and shaken from the vivid nightmare. Arthur was especially affected, discovering that the mysterious silver arm had followed him from his dream and was very real!

They continued sailing for the better part of a week before coasting between the island of Enstar and southern remains of Ergoth. That morning a storm followed closely at their heels, so they pushed their damaged ship harder and hard to keep ahead of the tempest. Then, when only a few hundred meters from shore, the Companions saw a dragon nearing! Drake attempted to sail as fast as he could but the dragon closed, blasting the hull with lightning. After the entire group pleaded with Gauraux to take the helm, the minotaur reluctantly began to steer (and declared himself captain despite Drake’s protests). Navigating between jagged spurs of rock, the ship narrowly avoided disaster. The dragon continued to strafe at the vessel until, seeing his opportunity, Gauraux aimed the ship at the flying dragon and brought it (and the crow’s nest) crashing to the ship. The injured dragon, now recognized as the Blue Dragon Highlord’s mount, grappled briefly with Drake as they fell to the deck, then retreated into the water.

Landing in a small inlet, the Companions moved ashore and ventured through the untamed wilds. The forest seemed ancient and untouched. Then, abruptly, they came across signs of recent logging and fresh paths. Following a trail, they encountered an elven hunting party, bows raised cautiously. The hunters were a group of Silvanetsi nobles accompanied by many Kagonesti that seemed to be little more than slaves. Reluctantly, the Companions agreed to accompany the elves back to their camp but refused to hand over their weaponry and instead consented to peace bind their swords. The elves kept a careful eye on the dark elf exile Carrion., but were swayed into calm by Elsebeth and Drake’s words. Gauraux kept himself hidden during negotiations, and followed from a discrete distance. Taken to the elven refugee camp of Silvamori, the Companions were led to the hall of the regent, where a noble ruled in the stead of both the Speaker of the Stars, and his absent daughter Alhana. The situation is tense as the Qualinesti elves landed across the river and tensions have flared between the two long separated groups of elves. Generations of bad blood proved difficult to forgive.

After tense negotiations, the regent of the starts decided to hold the company as his “guests” and instructed them to be taken to “guest quarters”. Meanwhile, Gauraux moved through the trees as silently as possible, pausing as he noticed he was being shadowed. Moving to a location where he could surprise his tail, the minotaur encountered a Kagonesti female, Silvara, who offered her help. Silvara offered to create a distraction, and ran off (with her dog / animal companion Dargo) and told other Kagonesti slaves to run into camp screaming of Qualinesti invaders. With their guards called away, the Companions fled from Silvamori into the wilds of Southern Ergoth. Silvara, a druid of some minor skill, agreed to act as guide for the heroes.

Considering their next move, Elsebeth remembered there was a Solamnic outpost reputed to be somewhere to the north. They decided that was preferable to swimming across the sea, meeting with other elves, or dealing with ogres. The group opted to head northward. Along the way, Arthur spoke with Silvara about the return of the gods, fanning the spark of druidic talents to a full flame. The whole journey, Derek Crownguard bitterly complained of being forced to flee from battle with the elves.

After some distance they encountered a group of wild elves who told them the Companions should turn back, that the northern pass through the mountains was held by the dragonarmy and ogres. After some discussion, doubts were raised when the “elves” could not speak elven. The Companions attacked. The elves revealed themselves to be shape-shifted draconians, a new type before unseen. These grey-scaled monsters were much larger, capable of flight, and when slain curiously mimicked the appearance of their killers.

Victorious, the Companions continued their journey as Silvara told a story, which she was reminded of by the shape changing draconian. Her story was of the knight Huma and the “lances of doom”, who fell in love with a dragon disguised as a human. Carrion noted a location in her story that sounded similar to the “Foghaven Vale” mentioned in notes salvaged from the white dragon highlord. The location was said to be “at the meeting place of three mountain ranges”, which seemed close to the pass they were journeying towards. As it was close, the group decided it was worth investigating…

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Session Twelve
The Nightmare continues, unbeatable opponents, green dragon onslaught

Leaving the refuge of the elven tower of Shalost, the Heroes continued their journey through the terrifying woods of the elven kingdom of Silvanesti. The one immaculate woods are deformed and twisted, the trees screaming and bleeding and the road winds and writhes like a living thing. The sky remained a grey-green haze when not completely covered by the dense canopy of black-green leaves.

Before long… or after a number of hours… the group emerged into a clearing filled with crude lean-tos, the remains of the elves who refused to leave. The clearing was slowly shrinking as the woods press inward. Both groups unable to help the other, the heroes continued onward. They came to the Thon-Thalas River suggesting they were finally nearing the city of Silvanost at the heart of the woods. Dancing on the dingy, befouled water are three spirits dancing on the water, ghosts of elves who died trying to flee the nightmare. Unable to assist, the group continued across the water, hoping that by ending the Nightmare they will release the spirits from their compulsion.

Before long, the Companions came to a straight patch of road and saw a group of draconians moving closer. Relishing a foe they could hit, the two groups swiftly attacked! Arcus unleashed a blast of lighting while Deldred conjured a pit. Wilder Spirit and her lion Fu rushed forward in a frenzy of claws. The draconians retaliated with flaming blasts, a hammer of crushing force, and a flurry of quick sword strikes. Squee became a massive rat while Tictok launched a box of mechanical monkeys only for the draconian to summon a swarm of distracting insects while one became a massive slavering spider-beast. Suddenly the truth became clear: the group was fighting themselves. With that clarity the draconians begin to waver as the heroes saw images of themselves layered overtop before the creatures vanished altogether.

Injured but determined, they forge forward. Just outside the gates of the city they discovered a group of children singing and dancing around a horrifying tree. They laughingly greeted the party as uncles, brothers, and mothers before skipping away over a field of poppies that had the faces of screaming elves. Entering Silvanost, the group meandered through twisting streets, the Tower of Stars always seemingly just a block away. Squee dashed ahead and the tower seems to pull back as he neared. The confused gully dwarf paused, as was passed by a troop of elven warriors carrying a fallen companion. Returning to the group with the elves, Squee discovered another Squee has already joined the Companions! Confused but undaunted, the group blindfolded Alhana and allowed her to lead the way to the tower based on memory.

Before long the group arrived at the tower, defeating the twin golems guarding its entrance: one by slowly hitting it into submission, the other by trapping it in an extra-dimensional pit then crushing it into powder via two magically generated walls of stone laid atop the pit. Entering the tower, the group wandered aimlessly through a maze of corridors and doorways. Arcus jokingly commented that the tower was bigger on the inside.

Through one door they found themselves in the courtyard of an entirely different tower while a war raged beyond the walls. Arrows rained overhead as the main gate was pounded by a battering ram. They saw Elsebeth fighting atop the wall while Gauraux helped secure the main gate. Suddenly, a huge blue dragon flew over the wall, mounted by the familiar form of the Blue Dragon Highlord, whom they had seen while fleeing Tarsis. He gestured menacingly at Elsebeth, and then someone stabbed her in the back! Else turned and half-recognized her assailant before falling from the wall. Crying her name, Tictok flew up and caught the falling knight causing both to crash into the ground. Elistan and Deldred rushed forward and administered healing. Elsebeth seemed dazed, with the last thing she remembered being sailing away from a glacier on a boat. Gathering everyone together they returned back through the unfamiliar tower and the entire group, including Gauraux and Elsebeth, found themselves back in the Tower of the Stars.

Through another door the group found themselves on a boat sailing on a crimson sea while a storm raged overhead. They suddenly became aware of the boat tipping sideways as it was pulled into the heart of a massive maelstrom. Frantically the group struggled at the doors of the cabin as the ship tipped over the edge vanishing into the whirlpool. Throwing the doors open the Companions found themselves tumbling back into the tower while the ship disintegrated behind them as sailor were washed away into the depths. Through the doorway they could just make out the sound of underwater screams and drowning sailors.

Finally, after hours, the group stumbled upon the throne room of the Speaker of the Stars. There they saw Lorcac, Speaker and lord of the Silvanesti elves. His hands rested on a glowing crystal sphere, while a green dragon whispered horrible words into his ear. This was the insidious dragon, Cyan Bloodbane, whose subtle whispers spread in the king’s sleeping mind like an infection and were given form by the dragon orb. The heroes moved forward and, as stepping into the dimly lit room, they became aware there were three other gargantuan green dragons! Then, even more surprisingly, doubles of themselves entered the room as well as a black-robed elf maiden, an elven warrior, and Arthur, who’s missing arm had been replaced by a glistening silver arm! The three groups of heroes all moved to strike!

The battle raged as the heroes focused their fire on one of the green dragons, guessing he was the true dragon, while the Tictoks grabbed Alhana and made her invisible. Balls of fire erupted, poisonous breath spewed, swords flashed, and claws rended. After several moments one of the dragons tried to flee before the black robed wizard, Carrion, shot it down. The dragon collapsed and the remaining three dragons shrank in size to little bigger than horses. Emboldened, the heroes redoubled their efforts and slew two of the remaining dragons while Toctok created an invisible field around Lorac. Several heroes gathered around the orb, planning their actions.

Suddenly, the fallen form of Cyan Bloodbane rose. The great dragon had been feigning death and, now knowing the orb and Lorac were protected, breathed a cone of gas over the clustered heroes. The remaining Companions quickly rallied, surrounding Cyan as Wilder Spirit convinced Alhana to strike at her father. Sobbing she stabbed him and the dream ended, popped like a bubble. Injured and defeated, Cyan barely managed to teleport away.

Victorious, the heroes were rewarded with a dragonlance and the dragon orb as the elves slowly began the long task of repairing their tortured land.

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Session Eleven
A highlord dies, a dragon falls, and the nightmare begins

Gauraux strikes!

Feal-Thas was happily burning paperwork. Then there was an axe in his back. And Guaraux struck again! The very badly injured elf frost mage teleported away, leaving his winter wolf pets to deal with the acursed party of adventurers. The group made short work of the wolves, but Drake was badly injured. Feal-thas, buffed by magic, returned and blasted the group again, almost killing Drake. Carrion quickly dispatched the wizard, causing him to suffocate, as Drake vengefully finished him off.

Chocking, as he died, the dark elf Feal-Thas glared at Drake, fighting to gasp some dying words.

The party searched the keep and discovered the remainds of notes in the fireplace, evidence Feal-Thas had been burning. One spoke of Foghaven Vale, a location of note Carrion barely recalled once being located on Ergoth before that nation was drowned by the Cataclysm. Continuing their search, the Companions discovered a subterranean lair carved out of the ice. They found a small nest filled with large white eggs and squacking dragon wyrmlings. As Gauraux explored he stumbled right into the lair of the white dragon, Sleet.

The dragon surged forward and tore at Gaurax. The group slowly stumbles across the icy floor to the dragon and Gaurax retreated to draw the dragon into an ambush. Arthur summoned a magma elemental and sent it after the dragon’s eggs, another distraction to draw the dragon out of its nest. After having lost an arm to one dragon, Arthur feels the urge for vengeance. Sleet surprised the group by burrowing through the ice and striking at the entire group with its frost breath. Then it withdrew as the group closed in. Drake moved forward into the tunnel the dragon created as it burrowed, only to realize he had fallen into a trap as sleet ice shaped a wall blocking off Drake from help and allowing the dragon to focus exclusively on maiming the elf with all its many attacks.

Then the elemental reached the eggs. Sleet tore through the caverns, being struck repeatedly by Drake and others as it heedlessly moved to defend its young. Blasted by Arthur’s fire and slashed by swords and finally sliced by Derek Crownguard, the white dragon died. The Companions claimed the Dragon Orb (and the two surviving wyrmlings) and set off for Drake’s ship. They decided that they would see if anything remained of Ergoth and Foghaven Vale.

Elsewhere…

Tictok and Wilder Spirit had been resting in the Red Dragon Inn, discussing the potential of helping Alhana Starbreeze. Then draconians attacked! They pushed the elven princess out the door and fought for their lives, only to have the roof collapse. Thankfully, as the second story fell onto the first, they fell into the cellar. There they waited until Alhana arrived with reinforcements: a half-dozen griffons and a mad gnome she had recruited earlier. The group flew off as Tictok mourned his friend as they watched Tarsis burn.

After a day of travel the group rested and discovered a stow-away. A feces covered rat hiding amount Toctok’s shrunken gear. The rat spoke and announced himself as “Squee”, a gully dwarf from Xak Tsaroth that had hidden on Tictok to escape the disaster. Not wanting to leave the pathetic creature behind, they let him tag along. Shortly after the group arrived in the ruins of Wallach, a city one holy to the god Zivilyn. There they encountered a dwarven priestess, who was on a pilgrimage after hearing the words of Arthur in Thorbardin. She agreed to accompany the group to Silvanesti.

Reaching the once beautiful woods of Silvanesti, the Companions discovered they were entering a nightmare. The trees bled and animals screamed and nothing was as it should be. On the road they met Verminaar, who claims to have survived and seen the error of his ways and now wishes to help, and they saw an elf covered in flamed but which turned out to be a dream illusion. Then the Companions literally met themselves, who claimed to be from a future where they failed and now await their death.

After some debate, the group decides to take their own advice and avoid the swamp and instead investigate “the tower”. Shalost, as the spire was known, was a resting place for a sleeping warrior. Slowly bypassing its defences, the Companions entered the structure and, for the first time in what felt like days, they rested peacefully.

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Session Ten
Battle for the barbarians, striking at Icewall Castle

After four days trapped by a blizzard, the Companions emerged to a bright, clear winter day. They were still on the barren icy wasteland that is Icewall Glacier. They had spent the last few days repairing their damaged boat, with their new wizard “friend”, Carrion, sending her undead minions to work on the exterior. After a short bit of repairs, under Gauraux’s naval instructions, the ice boat is soon up and skiing again.

After a few hours of sailing, another boat came alongside. Much larger, this boat was filled by armed and angry ice barbarians. Bracing for a fight an elf emerged on deck and was immediately recognized by Gauraux as his old sailing mate Drake, a Silvanesti expatriate. Drake hailed the ship and introduced the Companions to the chieftain of an Ice Barbarian tribe, Harald. Regaling the barbarians with the rescue of an ice bear and assault on minotaurs, the nomads welcome the Companions to visit their village. At the camp, they quickly relaxed and enjoyed the warmth of peat fires and cooked food. Arthur met an old wise man, the descendant of the old healers of the tribe. After some conversation and teachings, Arthur helped the old man regain his faith and restored the gods to Icewall.

All was well until scouts reported an army amassing several deals to the south. An attack force. Becalmed by poor winds the barbarians must fight and the Companions offered to help. They worked to fortify the camp as best they can. Then the forces arrived.

Arthur created several walls of fire to funnel the vast thanoi and minotaur forces into narrow spaces. Carrion unleashed horrible necrotic energies. Drake moved with supernatural swiftness while swirling his double-bladed weapon. The battle was long and fierce (especially after Drake saw Carrion’s massive undead troll for the first time and swiftly killed it). At one point, minotaur reinforcement moved to flank the camp on ice bears while the leader of the force, a minotaur warrior of remarkable presence, rallied the remaining troops. The battle went well but could not be won, the numbers were too great. As the winds finally picked-up the barbarians fled while the Companions held the line as long as possible (while Carrion has her undead drag away the corpse on an ice bear to use as a pack animal). The ice boats sailed away. The dragonarmies had won the day, but it was a pyrrhic victory.

Having reluctantly fled, the Companions headed south to Icewall Castle. There they hope to find the dragon highlord they briefly glimpsed at the end of the battle. Finding the keep atop a high tor of ice, the group slowly began the climb. There is a terrifying avalanche that almost kills several of the Companions but they barely clung to the wall. The ice slide revealed a hidden passage leading up into the castle. Partway up through the icy cavern, the group saw a brilliant gold dragon frozen in the ice, and mounted atop was a knight. They managed to free the lance the knight was holding and carried it with them as they emerged in the courtyard of Icewall Castle. Gauraux and Arthur (disguised as a minotaur) attracted the attention of the guards who were effortlessly dispatched. With the castle unaware it was breached, Gauraux locked all the doors then sabotaged the locks; there would be no reinforcements.

Finding the highlord’s chamber, the group moved to strike!

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Meanwhile 1
... back at Thorbardin

The dwarves are finally at peace. As the Hylar exchange prisoners with the Thiewar they make a strange discovery: a human locked in a cell. He has long hair and a long, dangling beard and finger nails that have not been cut in years. He looks up silently at the dwarves, unable to remember how to speak.

The Hylar don’t remember why he is there, and neither do the Thiewar.

Unwilling to hold him for any longer they release him out of Southgate (as the dragonarmies are currently besieging Northgate). The man spends some time with the human refugees making camp in the shadows of the mountains by Southgate. The other refugees think him strange. He is old, possibly middle-aged, but his eyes seem young and his hands are strong.

One day, the man just walks away.

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Session Eight
The temple tussle, an overland journey, disaster in the city

The heroes briefly rested and magically recovered from their dragon ordeal atop the floating tomb, before they were again joined by the dwarf, Arman Kharas,who spoke of one of their number – Eben -having been caught by the Thiewar as he entered Thorbardin. Arman warned that two exits from the Valley of Thanes had been sealed. Possibly to prevent assault from the dragonarmies.

The Companions exited via the third road leaving the Valley of Thanes, and reached the South Hall of Justice. There they were surrounded by Daegar, armed with crossbows. Redgar, the Thane of the Daegar, stepped forward and asked the group to come with them. Reluctantly, the heroes followed and were led to a great temple. There, Verminaard stepped into the room and demanded the hammer of Kharas! Eben grabbed it from Elsebeth, to take it to the better paying master. Arthur attacked immediately as he saw the highlord and chaos ensured.
Verminaard summoned a fireshadow, an undead beast from the Abyss. Dark Dwarves and draconians rushed into battle. Tictok sealed the fireshadow in a stone box, allowing Else and Gauraux time to dispatch several dwarves. Arthur had the spirits of several dwarves pound the dragon high lord and green-flaming beast. The fireshadow tore through the stone bubble and savaged Gauraux, as Elsebeth almost sundered the highlord’s weapon, then moved to assist in fighting the summoned monster. Wilder Spirit busied herself dispatching waved of dwarven soldiers. Gaurax was clawed as Elsebeth was lit ablaze by the fireshadow’s unnatural green flame, which threatened to burn away her existence. After a tense couple moments the fireshadow vanished: Elistan had won his battle of wills with Verminaard and the Dark Queen.

Returning to the Council of Thanes, the Companions debate who to give the hammer to, interviewing the Thanes until they settled on Hornfell. The newly crowned High King gratefully allowed the refugees into the mountain. When asked how he would aid the war, he mentioned that the dwarves had been called to the Whitestone Council, a meeting of the dwarves, elves, and human knights.
The Companions wondered where to go next, and Hornfell told them of Tarsis, a nearby port city that also had a sizeable library, which might also have information on dragon and fighting dragons. It was also the best port by which to reach the island of Sancrist, where the Whitestone Council would be held.

After a week’s rest, the Companions set off for these port of the Lordcity Tarsis, and are surprised when they discovered it was NOT by the sea: the Cataclysm had moved the water. The group entered, receiving unpleasant looks from the guards. After checking into the Red Dragon Inn, a crowd of people moved on the inn, angry at the presence of a knight of Solamnia. The heroes were taken before the Lord Governor, who asked why they were there and demanded to know how a knight was allowed into the city. When told of the war and asked if he knew of “dragon men” the Lord Governor gestured for his new adviser to step forward: a yellow hued draconian lacking wings. Arthur immediately attacked and the Governor and draconian fled. Guards surrounded the heroes and took them to jail, except Gauraux and Wilder Spirit who remained hidden. At the jail, the group met an elf maiden who identified herself as “Alhana”. She was sent to jail after refusing to leave town and trying to hire mercenaries.
Meanwhile, Gauraux broke into the Lord Governor’s office to talk with the governor, and discovered the dragonarmies were being “bribed” to leave Tarsis alone. Gauraux told the Governor this was a bad idea. The governor said little to disagree, but had little choice, but referred Gauraux to a scribe the city had on retainer who might be able to direct the Companions to the hidden and forgotten library.

Freed from the jail, the Companion met-up at the Inn and encountered a group of heavy armored individuals, who introduced themselves as Knights of Solamnia. They were sent to find ways of combating the dragons. Together, Arthur, Gauraux, Elsebeth and the knights ventured to the library while Tictok and Wilder Spirit waited to meet with Alhana.
At the library the group discovered the name of the second artifact needed to forge dragonlances: the silver arm of Ergoth. They also discovered records of items known as “dragon orbs” which had been used an earlier war to defeat the dragons. Records told of one being taken from the Tower of High Sorcery to Icewall Glacier to the south.
As the group wrote down their notes there was a rumbling: Tarsis was under attack! Red and blue dragons circled in the skies, striking down while draconians fell from dragon back, attacking the panicking citizens. The Companions raced back to the Red Dragon Inn to find their friends only to find it flattened, a crumpled heap little more than knee high.

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