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!