The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 19, Blaze of Glory

Day 210) 6 Nightal, 1490 DR

We left Halani at home learning all the spells in various books and scroll we had found on our adventures, and we went to the house of the Roaringhorns to ask about the fate of Sirac Cimber. When we got there, a party was in full swing. Zelraun Roaringhorn was in a rather elaborate satyr costume, but as soon as I mentioned the son of Artus Cimber, he became serious. He told us that Sirac was all right, that Artus and the ring of winter were nowhere to be found, and he gave us some healing potions, animal friendship potions, and choking and sneezing dust to aid us on our journey. Back at home now, Halani is still swotting! I contacted Harriana to see if she wanted to join us and she said she’ll be in Mirabar tomorrow.

Day 211) 7 Nightal, 1490 DR

I’m still fuming, so let’s see if writing helps me figure out how I’m feeling. We teleported to Mirabar today and met up with Harriana. Over dinner we discussed what we should do next. I offered up chasing down a local criminal we had heard of, or questioning Khaspere Drylund, or going straight to Sansuri’s castle above the Evermoors. People mostly agreed we should teleport to Yartar, interrogate Khaspere to see if he had anything to do with the death of my mother, and then from there go into the Evermoors. But Umbero started arguing with me and saying I was trying to avoid things. I don’t know what his problem is! I’m still angry at him…

Day 212) 8 Nightal, 1490 DR

We got into Yartar today, all set up for the interrogation with stored thought detection spells. I still can’t quite believe what happened. As soon as we got into Khaspere’s office, I asked him if he had gotten his pet octopus from the Whalebones islands. He said no, but I could feel a faint panic in his mind. So I went on the full attack and when he asked if I was here representing House Amcathra, I said I was representing the Storm King. He panicked and as I probed his mind, I felt repelled by another presence. He managed to spill out to us that he hadn’t meant to do it, and that my father the Storm King is on a ship called the Morkoth somewhere on the Trackless Sea.

As soon as he told us this, he died. I could feel it happening to him: the dark presence in his mind corrupted him from within. We started shrieking and pretending we were just innocent socialites who had witnessed a non-magical stroke. One of his bodyguards interrogated us, but my protection against thought detection saved me from giving the game away.

Tomorrow we set out for the Evermoors still, because we need to get one of the giant conches and take that to my father once we make it to him.

Day 222) 18 Nightal, 1490 DR

I’m numb. I don’t know if I can carry on, but I’ll try.

We walked into Calling Horns six days ago and Tamalyn was happy to host us again. She said the troll activity had died down somewhat. Three days after that, we ran into a small army of them deep in the Evermoors, but we were able to buy our lives.

Not so yesterday. We had been walking towards the distant spectre of Sansuri’s castle, watching the massing storm clouds and sometimes losing view of the castle and where we knew it to be. As we reached the point where we decided to fly up, suddenly the clouds broke open to reveal a gigantic blue dragon. Iymrith. She swooped down and attacked. It was… more than we could handle. I shudder to think that we have to take her down at some point. How? How can we even manage? Especially now that… I dread to write it. It will be true if I write it, truer than I currently think it to be. Harshnag stood his ground and made us run. Aukanthi and Umbero dragged me away. Harshnag wrestled the dragon. We lost sight of him. I don’t even know… but he must be gone.

blue-dragon

After a sleepless night, the clouds have passed. We can see Sansuri’s castle above and no blue dragon in sight. We have to carry on. I don’t know how I can without Harshnag.

The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 18, Tazen bites the dust

Day 198) 25 Uktar, 1490 DR, continued

We have decided not to take the airship, and the offer from this dangerous Klauth figure. Instead, we have teleported our way around. We popped into Neverwinter to visit Sir Lanaver and let him know that Sir Baric is up in Bryn Shander. He told us the gossip in Neverwinter, that there was a knight called Danica Zarn who has joined a dangerous order of knights called the Gilded Eye. They are going around persecuting people they believe are worshipping devils, with very little in the way of evidence. We told him we would look into it.

Popping back to Waterdeep, we visited the tavern recommended to us by Duvessa of Bryn Shander, and asked about the ship, the Dancing Wave. It turns out the ship hasn’t returned from its last voyage. I will investigate if we go up the coast again – which I’m sure we will.

Lots of shopping, meanwhile, since we’re in Waterdeep. With our new treasure hoard we were able to update our armours, get a couple of pre-loaded wands of lightning bolts and fireballs, and most importantly, a small metal cube which is an instant fortress! We shall live in style on the road from now on!

We set out again tomorrow. We have gotten the hint we need from Zira, and we know the location of Tazen’s fortress. Lafarus ‘escaped’ from Laeral’s custody and has led us right to it. It is on the edge of the desert Anauroch. He’s going down!

Day 208) 4 Nightal, 1490 DR

We’ve travelled ten days from Everlund. In that time we only ran into a small band of bandits, who ran away when they realised who we were. During this time we also celebrated the Feast of the Moon. The others tried to get me to talk about my past life as a giant princess. I couldn’t bring myself too. I’m too confused still.

I’m starting to remember Hecaton, my giant father. He was distant, and quick to anger. He didn’t really favour either me or my sisters. It was Mother who favoured me. I can’t remember much more than that.

We’ve finally reached the fortress today. Its fallen doors were guarded by some black pudding, which we defeated. We also met tanarukks in the courtyard, and when we went inside without Harshnag, we met wyverns, helmed horrors, and animated clothing in the first level. We also ran into traps, like illusory voices, a poisoned box, a bed with a long-term sleeping enchantment on it, a second bed with yellow dust that we kicked up, a log hanging over a chest (we used Halani’s unseen servant to empty the chest of money in case we set off the trap), and a room full of rats (but we had a bag of dried peas from another room, so we gave them that and left).

We went down the stairs and saw a statue of a wizard called Gygar, that looked as if it was missing some orb or other from its hands. We ran into a snake den and more tanarukks, and then decided to call it a night.

Day 209) 5 Nightal, 1490 DR

Going further in the second lower level today we saw first an elven skeleton with a magical longsword and a spellbook. Halani took both of these. Exploring the level further we found the throne room of the chieftain of the tanarruks, who we defeated, bodaks eating an orc corpse, which we defeated, and a singing silver urn, singing an elven song, which we took… and then put in Halani’s ethereal chest because it wouldn’t stop singing. We took on orogs in their stinking living quarters, and Aukanthi fell in a pit trap with a skeleton in it, which had a magical shield which Umbero took.

We found the way down to the bottom floor, and Umbero snuck down with an invisibility spell. He saw Zhentarrim guards so we attacked quickly and kept them quiet, because we realised we were on the right path now. Going further on this floor we met with chain devils, and a black altar to Asmodeus, with a book of devil worship on it (we have confiscated it for further study) and the heartless corpse of Lafarus, poor shmuck.

We had several magical traps to avoid on this floor. We narrowly avoided touching a magical tapestry that would have alerted Tazen. Ninya zoomed through a corridor of statues and Halani quickfired a Counterspell at the magic in the room, completely switching off the spell in the very moment it was invoked. We found ourselves in the inner sanctum, where every door was hidden and would not open from this side. So I drank a potion of gaseous form and when under the door, only to find myself face to face with Tazen!

Only joking. It was an incubus disguised as him, which we found out once I’d let the others through and we’d defeated him. Going through another fake door, we found two incubi pretending to be him, and then a fake bedroom. We almost gave up, until Ninya pointed out that our eyes were being fooled, but she – and our magical lion statuettes – use their noses to perceive the world. So we summoned them and because of their efforts, we were able to find the real secret pathway to Tazen’s real inner sanctum. He summoned a horned devil and while we fought it, he flew away down a hidden corridor.

Once we defeated the devil, we chased after Tazen, but I slowed everyone down and we just listened. Tazen was talking to something massive. I popped the edge of my mirror around the corner and we saw… a red dragon. This dragon lost its patience with the whining Tazen, and burned him to a crisp. We left, deciding it would be far wiser to let this dragon leave with the treasure hoard Tazen had assembled for it.

Image result for red dragon treasure hoard

In Tazen’s real bedroom meanwhile we found a chest with guantlets of ogre power (which Halani has taken), a wand of paralysis, a rope of climbing, and two healing potions. We covered the rest of the areas of the fortress that we hadn’t seen, scaring off the remaining guards by telling them Tazen was dead. We also ran into a room full of beautifully shiny shelled flail snails. A quick message to Twyla later, and we teleported them to Laeral’s garden for her enjoyment.

In one room we saw another statue of Gygar, and the wall had musical notation on it. As I began to sing, knowing how to sing from sightreading, I realised I had done the right thing, as the statue had been clicking into gear to start shooting out fireballs. We recognised the tune as I sung it, and Halani took out the singing urn. The statue appeased, we took the money in the room and left. Halani still has the urn now in her ethereal chest.

We knew we had one last thing to do in here, which was to find the thing that belonged in the hands of the original Gygar statue. We found this after a long and brutal fight deep in the dungeon against some Umber Hulks, these awful bug-like things. But this was well rewarded by an ancient longsword with powerful magic, hidden under the Gygar statue, once we placed the correct orb in his hands.

And now we’re back in Waterdeep getting a well-earned rest!

The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 17, The Eye of the All Father

Day 197) 24 Uktar, 1490 DR, Continued

We went deeper into the Eye of the All Father, following the eight sets of human footprints. Umbero invisibly snuck up and came back to tell us it was a band of Uthgardt barbarians with a captive white baby dragon. We snuck up onto a level behind them while they chipped away at a frozen door. Exploring, we found a lever that Harshnag pulled. It closed the outer gate, freaking out the barbarians. We opened it again and kept sneaking around.

We could find no other way into the central chamber except some portcullises which were too heavy, so I spoke to the barbarians and tried to convince them to let us help. They were searching for their friend Noori. I said we’d help, but when we brought Harshnag down to try and open the door, they panicked and fought us. The baby dragon, seeing its opportunity, helped us. We freed the white dragon and pushed the barbarians up the long corridor towards the gate and left them outside of it, using the lever to lock them out.

We finally got into the central room once Harshnag punched through the icy door. We found ourselves ina  large central room with six giant statues, representing each race of giants, surrounding a large central giant figure. Harshnag told me that is Annam, the All Father. We could see that the other six statues had room for weapons in their hands, and five out of the six had their weapons in hand. The frost giant was missing his. We also saw a gateway with six runes carved into them. As I read them out, Harshnag was amazed. They are runes, he says, and I should not be able to read them. It should be impossible.

We explored the room and Halani and I cast some magic on the runes. Unfortunately that set off some traps, so we are all resting early today because we got badly hurt. Harshnag laughed at me for being able to read runes but stupid enough to set them off.

Day 198) 25 Uktar, 1490 DR

We opened the door in the southern wall and found ourselves in a feast hall, fighting a remorhaz. After we killed it, we found the frost giant statue’s axe, and a dead giant with a fine breastplate it had been using as a bowl or scoop or something, which we gave to Umbero. We also found a beautiful opal that had the rune of fire on it. We believe we can use it to cast powerful magic, so I am holding on to it. Going further into the temple, through the north door and up the stairs, we found a shard of never-melting ice with the ice rune on it. Halani is holding on to that too and experimenting with its power.

Going deeper in up the north side of the temple we found a series of tunnels that Harshnag could not enter. We went in and fought disgusting amounts of ice spiders at their nest. We found a couple of things for our efforts: a potion of climbing, and Noori! She was wrapped in spider silk and near death, so we healed her and took her back to the temple entrance. Her compatriots were gone so we sent a sending spell to the shaman who had been with the warband to let her know Noori was outside and safe. We went back in to the north side and set off a trap! A boulder came rolling towards us, so we had to cast a flying spell on everyone to dodge it, and Harshnag had to drink the potion of diminution we had to slip past the boulder.

Having found no lever or key to the magical gateway, we decide to experiment more with the dangerous runes. Harshnag tried touching the statues’ weapons to the runes and lo and behold, when he touched the frost weapon to the frost rune, the magical gateway opened. We entered…

There were further statues in this hexagonal room and a shining ghost of a female storm giant. She looked so familiar.

‘My daughter, I am so proud of you and how far you have come.’

Let me set it all down with just the facts, as my head is still spinning even now. She was Queen Neri, the Storm Queen, and I am her daughter, Serissa, heir to the Storm Throne. We were slain on the Whalebones Islands and since she was a powerful cleric, she was able to beg Annam to grant me my life back when she found herself before his throne. He reincarnated me as a human girl. The Zhentarrim agents who killed us had been hired by my sisters Merin and Nim, who in turn had been spurred on to kill us by a blue dragon called Iymrith, disguised as a storm giant, who has usurped my father the Storm King. My giant father is imprisoned, where, my mother does not know.

Annam has broken the Ordning to spur his complacent children into action. My mother cannot say exactly how to fix the Ordning, only that I must rescue my father, root out the evil that corrupts the Storm Throne and restore it. Once I have done all this, Annam will call on me to pass judgement on the Ordning… whatever that means. In order to get to the Storm Throne I must find one of the magical conch shells that belong to the leader of each giant race. I guess I have lost two chances at Gruud Haug and Ironslag, so three more exist. These have the power to transport me to Maelstrom, the underwater city of my people.

That was all my mother could tell me. We said our goodbyes and she vanished.

Blindly, I stumbled my way out of the temple to get some fresh air. I found outside the gate an amulet. It was a gift from Noori’s tribe, and it protects against detection and location spells. As I tried to take in all that I had just learnt another astounding thing happened: a giant airship with a red baloon arrived and rolled down its ladder for us. The crew all wear black masks, and are the servants of Klauth, the ancient red dragon who owns (?!?!) this continent. He has bidden them to do our will until we fix the situation with the giants.

… um, why?!

The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 16, Climb Every Mountain

Day 161) 18 Marpenoth, 1490 DR, Continued

After talking to Umbero some more I learned it was more than just the Seven Snakes out there on what he supposes must have been one of the Whalebone Islands. Also he remembed their orders were to kill the giantess while dressed in Waterdhavian clothing. We suddenly grew worried that there may be a storm giant attack on Waterdeep long in the planning… but we had issues to sort out up in the north before heading back.

Day 164) 21 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

Reached Hundelstone without any issues. There we met Thwip Ironbottom, Beldara’s contact, who gave us a clockwork dog for paying a visit. It’s very cute!

Day 167) 24 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

On the way to Ironmaster, we met a band of the White Tiger clan, who fought us until Halani used magic to understand their language, and generously gave them 42 shares of rations (enough that we can make it to Ironmaster before restocking). They were astounded, and went away grateful. They told us that the frost giants are raiding from the Sea of Moving Ice. Something to bear in mind for later. Also on the way we fought two yetis in a cave, and found their stash of money and a magical lantern. It contains elemental fire, and seems to be an old dwarven delving lantern that has magic to improve one’s dungeon sense and it also reveals invisible things.

When we finally arrived at Ironmaster today we did as Augrek had told us and waited by a menhir, as only dwarves are allowed in. As we waited we saw reindeer running by. Halani spoke to them magically and they told her that they were being hunted by front giants to the north. We did not see them in our time there though. Soon Gwert Brighthelm, a dwarf, came out. He listened as we told him of Augrek’s request for more reinforcements, and we begged him to let us buy food from Ironmaster. Thankfully he agreed! I didn’t think the hospitality of dwarves was so bad! But on a positive note he gave us each a dwarven gem and told us to take them to Fireshear, to Dashara Keldabar who RAISES GRIFFONS!!! So naturally that’s where we are headed next.

Day 170) 27 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

Well. That went well. Dashara did not want to see us. She is fed up with Waterdeep for kicking her and her griffons out in the first place (DECADES before I was born, might I add!!). She told us she will only hear us out after we have done something to prove we love griffons for the sake of griffons, and not just to use them. Well. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, seeing as we have literally travelled the whole region and only seen them today for the first time. Anyway, we left a donation of 2000 gold before we left.

Day 175) 2 Uktar, 1490 DR

It has taken us five days to get back to Bryn Shander. In those days we have witnessed a frost giant start an avalanche (flying spells, you are the best!), and fought an abominible yeti but did not find its cave. We also fought a remorhaz with treasure stuck in its carapace: money, a potion of diminution, and a wonderful find: two sending stones! They are most unusual, and have a message recorded on one. It was a terrible feeling when Halani decoded the message and figured out what it was: Dethen, a guy who tried to turn himself into a lich, leaving a message to someone called Arveia Turace saying he will find her once his transformation is complete… So now we know why Ice Claws has a dead guy riding on her back. Dare we ever tell her the truth?

Also on the road I started having terrible dreams of a great storm. As such we have sent one of the sending stones back to Waterdeep, where it has ended up in the hands of Twyla, an apprentice of Laeral. She says Laeral is at a meeting of the Lord’s Alliance outside of Waterdeep (and the topic is the Zhentarrim problem!) and that she will keep us updated on the situation in Waterdeep.

We let Markham know of our sightings and received reports about frost giants, and he was pleased. We’ll sleep here tonight before we set off onto the glacier tomorrow, to get to the Eye of the All Father finally! Harshnag is most pleased that we’re finally getting around to it.

Day 179) 6 Uktar, 1490 DR

I write to you tonight from the safety of a warm cave with a hot spring. On the first day out we narrowly avoided a fight with three frost giants. On the second day we fought four yetis but got a little off track because of that. Yesterday we climbed or flew up the Reghed Glacier. Today we found a plume of smoke, and moving towards it we found Evermelt.

It is a large cave with the ancient bones of a long dead white dragon, and a hot springs… and also, we were amazed to find, a forge and the trappings of what looks like a fire giant’s living space. It turns out we were right in that guess, because as we were bathing in the hot spring, Ragmar, the hermit fire giant, came in. He was a little put out to find us there and annoyed by my questions, but he fed us and we got to know his story. Fed up by the other fire giants (he was NOT impressed when we told him about the Vonendod) he came up here to purify himself as one would purify a blade. Once he is ready he will forge something out of this perfect specimen of meteoric iron which he showed us. He doesn’t know what it will be yet. We told him where we are going, and he seemed a little wistful. We wished each other luck.

Day 197) 24 Uktar, 1490 DR

Not much happened since Evermelt. Every day blurs into the next. At one point we sighted Ice Claw, and she dropped the skeletal hand of Dethen. We picked it up, just in case we can use it later to help her. This whole time my dreams got worse, and I saw an underwater city being destroyed by a storm. At one point we were forced to fight three frost giants, but any others we ran into we avoided. We also avoided, by mutual agreement, babarians of Bear tribe one day, and of the Elk tribe the next. We also saw reindeer, and naturally fought a couple of yeti on the way up.

But now we are finally here. The Eye of the All Father is an ancient temple, massive beyond comprehension, with giant statues all around. We’re taking a break undercover before heading in. We’re almost ready. One concerning note however: why are there human footprints here?

The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 15, Truth in Dreams

Day 118) 6 Eleint, 1490 DR

Six days ago we left Citadel Felbarr, after instructing the dwarven architects to build our tower north of Silverymoon. Yesterday, after four days walking on a peaceful road, we found ourselves at Hawk’s Nest, a fortress of the Order of the Gauntlet. They ride hippogriffs there! We were greeted warmly and to top it all off, they flew us into Silverymoon this morning!

The only reason we stopped on here was because we wanted to sound out House Margasta, which Othovir in Triboar claimed to belong to. We had a cold reception from the lady of the house, and the long and short of it is that Othovir is a black sheep of the family. We decided against taking the stash he told us about, and I don’t expect to see the Margastas or their demon guards again.

Day 120) 8 Eleint, 1490 DR

On the suggestion of Urgala in Triboar we stopped at Zymorven Hall to meet Harthos Zymorven and ask to borrow his giant slaying sword. His hall is impressive, and there is only him and his staff in the whole place… but Halani pointed out to me that there are many magical suits of armour and swords on the walls, so he should be fine. Sadly, after hearing our story and our plea, he told us that his son had run away with the sword and a female theif years ago to Yartar. We let him know we would try and track him down.

By the way, last night I had a dream. I was sitting by the side of someone who I can only assume was the Storm King. Was I in the place of the Queen? He was very angry, and yelling at three other storm giants. Were they our children? It was all very hazy.

Day 126) 14 Eleint, 1490 DR

We went five days ago into the Moonwood, and we eventually stopped by Halani and told to wait. Unfortunately for us, we were not allowed in Halani’s village, but at least she came back to us after a day of celebration, and with new supplies for the road.

On the way back to Silverymoon, we were attacked by bandits and we found unexpected riches once we had defeated them! There were Gauntlets of Ogre Power, made long ago by Uthgart barbarians, that give the wearer a blissful sense. I have those on now, and they have improved my swordplay greatly. Also from the ancient barbarians was a Pearl of Power, which Halani wears (though it has made her occassionally let out a wicked snigger). Ninya is very happy to be the new owner of a gnome-made Ring of Waterwalking. We also found an extremely tough hat of diguise that makes the wearer feel covetous. Umbero wears that for now.

I write this in our room in Silverymoon, feeling very happy after doing some shopping. We all have magical weapons now, and Aukanthi and I have magical shields. We all feel very well protected and competent now.

Day 128) 16 Eleint, 1490 DR

This morning we reached Everlund and from there teleported to Waterdeep, only to find upon arriving at home that Daddy had been kidnapped by the Zhentarrim!

But it was not as dire as we thought. I ran first to Laeral, who naturally assured me that she got to him first and had whisked him away to one of her safe houses on the other side of the continent. She even let me visit him myself. We truly were very far away, and yes, Daddy is safe.

Laeral has asked me to consider whether to call the Zhentarrim’s bluff and go chasing them down in the meeting place where they say they will return ‘Daddy’ to me, far out east in the ruins of Llorkh. It is something to think about, as they are also blackmailing Umbero, who, when I went to Laeral, went to speak with his contacts and received their ultimatum. I’ve told him he doesn’t have to tell me if he doesn’t want to, because he has earned my trust. But if he wants us to do something about stopping the blackmail, we will.

Tonight we will rest and think about our course of action.

Day 129) 17 Eleint, 1490 DR

I dreamt last night again, this time of being the storm queen (or who I think might be the storm queen) and brushing my daughter’s hair. It rose in great flowing waves – we were underwater.

I was woken to hear a message that would decide our course. Zira, a member of the Zhentarrim, wanted to meet us in Daggerford, to discuss a coup. We couldn’t resist the idea of striking back at the Zhentarrim when they thought they had the upper hand. We told Laeral where we were going, and she gave us a parting gift. She took the hat of disguise and magically enhanced it so that now Harshnag can wear it and it makes him appear like a very large human. This is the best gift we could ever ask for.

Now we are on the road. It’s pleasant to be in my local haunts again.

Day 130) 18 Eleint, 1490 DR

I’m writing from the Nightstone inn tonight. We reached here in the evening, after running into an old friend of mine on the road. Harriana Hawkwinter is a knight now, and she had with her a squire, Adellit, and a bunch of children from out east. She said she had rescued them from stone giants and was going to go back, if we would take the children to safety for her. We assented, though we asked if she wouldn’t come with us instead, as eventually we would be heading out to see what we could do about the stone giants and the tales we had heard of them tearing settlements stone from stone. Ultimately we can to the compromise that if we can find her after dealing with the Zhentarrim, she will join us. I noticed Halani and Harriana were paying a lot of attention to each other, and as Harriana turned to leave, Halani gave her a token to wear. We took the children to Nightstone, finally recovered Umbero’s horse Night Wind, and are having a rest indoors for the night.

Day 134) 22 Eleint, 1490 DR

I write this in a brief break we are having on the road. A day out of Daggerford we were attacked by bandits. The poor fools never saw Harshnag coming. From their stash we recovered some magical glasses of minute-seeing and light. They look as if they belong to an ancient order of lawful mages. Yesterday we got into Daggerford and went straight to the Happy Cow. There we met Lily Hardcheese, the sister of Oren. We told her he was with Yarglithimax, and she wasn’t very surprised. She also asked if we could be hired to go and scare off Nelkin the Snail, a local Zhentarrim loan shark. We told her we would be very happy to do so. We didn’t add ‘for free’, but the intention was there.

Also in the Happy Cow, there waited our contact Zira. She had a plan for us to stage a coup so that she could emerge on top and lead the Zhentarrim in a moral way, rather than the evil road she saw them going down. To be honest, I was about to turn her down, when she could sense that and she then offered to hand all the information over that Laeral would need to take down the evil side of the organisation. With a quick consultation with my party, I assented to the plan. The first stage would be threefold: kidnap and bring to Laeral these three people: Nelkin the Snail here in Daggerford, Nalaskur the Bat in the Bargewright Inn, and Lafarus the Shadowcat, who was the man holding ‘my father’ in Llorkh. Two birds with one stone in the first and the last cases, and for the second it would be sweet to get revenge on the backers of the original Womford Bat. The point of this first stage was to draw out Tazen, the real leader, who had a hidden fortress somewhere unknown. We agreed and that evening set out to start the first part of the plan.

We found the Snail with only one bodyguard. I say we, but it was Ninya, Umbero and Halani, being the sneakiest of our team. They managed to take them out, though not before they could cry out. Halani polymorphed the Snail into a snail and took him away, and they all managed to return to us before the other agents could catch them.

That was last night. We have four more days ride to Waterdeep. Nelkin is talking tough, though he has gone silent for a bit now, so hopefully he gets the idea that we just don’t care. We’re just the couriers.

Day 143) Highharvesttide, 1490 DR

Immediately after dropping the Snail off with Laeral, we teleported into Loudwater, the closest we could get to Llorkh. It was going to be a tight one, but it looked as if we would make Llorkh by the meeting day. The teleportation circle was inside the Singing Satyr inn, and the wizard who should have been manning it was out whoring. Loudwater is one of the few places out east that is still standing. It is filled with refugees from surrounding towns. As we crossed the bridge to leave town, a trout jumped up and slapped Ninya in the face. Luckily the locals threw it back in the water before she could eat it. Apparently this is a common side effect of the magic shielding on the bridge.

A day out of Loudwater we met some refugees escaping stone giants. A couple of days later we met those same stone giants ripping some ruined buildings apart. I asked as many questions as I could of them before they got angry and attacked me until I left. I found out that their leader is called Thane Kayalithica and they want to take off all the stones misplaced on Mother Earth and place them back where they belong. They seem spiritual and not all that much threatening, unless annoyed. I wonder how we can come to a peaceful settlement with them?

Tonight to celebrate the Highharvesttide we said some prayers to Chauntea and all felt a little sad that we weren’t in town… the feasts would have been good… Oh well. Next year let’s aim to be at Goldenfields!

Day 144) 1 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

It’s hard to believe this, but I write to you again, the very next day, back safe in Waterdeep. Let me start from the beginning.

We reached the ruins of Llorkh. No sign of Zira, so we supposed we may have been sold out or she just didn’t make it in time. We walked in and almost couldn’t believe how few men Lafarus had brought with him. Something was disguised in the shape of my father – turns out it was a bearded demon. They dropped the ambush immediately, but we were ready. You should have seen the looks on their faces when Harshnag took his hat off.

The fight was going fine, but then it swung our way even further when Zira showed up in her true form – that of a bronze dragon. Halani managed to polymorph Lafarus into a kitten, but then she got hit and the spell failed. No matter, because Zira clawed at him and Halani was able to turn him again into a kitten and scoop him up. It was looking very good for us, when suddenly out of nowhere stone giants turned up and, seeing a dragon, started indscriminately attacking. They downed Zira so I ran to her aid. While the others took out the remaining agents, Harshnag covered our retreat, and we all made it out alive.

We camped and nursed our wounds. Having a quick drink and a chat, Halani and I realised we had both come to new realisations about the teleportation circles. She discussed the magical priniciples behind it, and we thought, why not? We both gave it a go, and guess what? Here we all are safe in Waterdeep again, and from now on we can teleport back to any existing teleportation circles we know of. Laeral has the Shadowcat now. One more to go.

Day 149) 6 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

What an eventful day! We teleported back into Waterdeep just after midnight, with Nalaskur the Bat in our custody. It had been a pretty uneventful four days journey up to the Bargewright Inn, and we heard from a boat on the river that there has been a mighty bellowing heard up on the Evermoors. What’s happening in Sansuri’s cloud castle up there?

All it took was Halani and Umbero to sneak into the Bat’s office, Umbero to kosh the guy, and Halani to polymorph the guy and teleport out. Once we got the word the mission was successful, we teleported out too.

After a long sleep we teleported to Yartar next. We bribed our contact in the Hand to tell us where Harthal Zymorven was. For this service, we gave her the love potion we had but didn’t want to use. Perhaps I should feel bad for giving such a weapon to female thieves… but anyway, she came back with the news that he was long dead, hanged for murder, and that the sword was in the possession of the corrupt guard captain. Rather than speak directly to him, we are seeking audience with the mayor instead. But she is very paranoid about a potential coup and has refused to see us.

Day 150) 7 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

This morning managed to speak to the mayor by letting her know that I had been asked by Khaspere Drylund, the man with the pet octopus, to back his coup when I was in his Golden Goose casino. She granted me audience and as a reward for the information gave us the giant slaying sword of Harthos Zymorven. Aukanthi has wrapped it carefully and will only bring it out when needed.

Note to self: octopus = tentacles, and golden goose. I dreamed about these things. Is Khaspere Drylund significant to me, or my dreams?

After that we teleported to Neverwinter, and now we are on a ship. It’s two days to Luskan, where we will disembark and start the long journey to the Eye of the All Father.

Day 157) 14 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

We reached Luskan five days ago and saw that the harbour had been recently attacked by frost giants. We booked a place on a free caravan up to Bryn Shander. Today we are in Hundelstone. Only siginificant encounter was an ancient white dragon with a humanoid skeleton on her back. I cast a spell of comprehending languages so I could understand that all she wanted was for us to cower and show deference. So I had all the caravan do this, and she was pleased and flew off. I hear they called her old Ice Claws. I’ll try and tell others so in the future she is less of a hazard.

Day 160) 17 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

Finally reached Bryn Shander earlier today. What a day! The journey itself had two more events since Hundelstone: we spotted old Ice Claws again, and we were attacked by a remorhaz, and we found a huge stash of money from all of the people it has killed over the years.

Coming into Bryn Shander we were greeted by Augrek, a sweet female dwarf guard. When we asked her about Markham, the man we needed to see, she said he was the sheriff and she blushed when she spoke of him. In town we noticed a temple and some rather sad shops. We met someone we thought was a homeless person at the time, Beldara, who offered to maintain our camp fire. We meanwhile stocked up, found four mountain ponies for our joruney to the Eye, and drank some local brew. We found Markham Southwell and told him the bad news: his sister Semele was dead in the attack on Nightstone. He thanked us for bringing the news such a long way.

As the evening started to set in, suddenly we heard frost giants coming towards the town! They yelled out that they wanted Artus Cimber, and Markham and the mayor, Duvessa, came out and said they didn’t know who that was. The front giants attacked, we rushed to stop them. We took down their wolves quickly, and then the three giants attacking the front gate. Once we got the leader down, the others fled.

In the confusion, one person had hidden with Halani, and we met him now. His name was Sirac and he confessed that his father was Artus Cimber, known as the Immortal Harper. It was said Artus was in possession of the Ring of Winter, an item the frost giants would surely use to plunge the world into an everlasting winter. Sirac said he didn’t know his father, but that the Roaringhorns in Waterdeep might know more. That should be good – they owe me one for saving Tylander Roaringhorn in Amphail. Sirac begged us to escort him to Luskan so he could get on a ship and get far away from the frost giants. We did him one better, and teleported him straight to Waterdeep.

There was good will for us in the town, and we were asked a lot of favours. Augrek asked us to go down the road to Ironmaster to her people and ask for reinforcements. Duvessa gave a us a letter to her aunt which would grant us free passage on her ship the Dancing Wave, in Waterdeep. Markham said he would give us free food and board if we would patrol the area for frost giants. Beldara it turns out was a Harper, and suggested we visit Thwip Ironbottom, a Harper in Hundelstone. We also spoke to a paladin, Sir Baric, who asked us to let his superior, Sir Lanaver Strail, know where he was if we were ever in Neverwinter.

Time for a well earned sleep!

Day 161) 18 Marpenoth, 1490 DR

It finally makes sense. Last night my dream was clearer than ever and I saw the truth. I was the storm queen again… and I was attacked by humans. Seven of them. They killed me. The Seven Snakes.

Umbero went as pale as his dark skin could go when I told him I knew. He said he had put the pieces together recently after I told him about one of my dreams, and that he was too scared to admit that he may well have been part of the fall of the Ordning. It was a long time ago he said, and he was young and didn’t understand that it would have such long-reaching consequences. He offered to leave, but I said no. He’s coming with us and he’s going to set things right. Somehow, we’ll fix this.

The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 14, The Heart of the Vonendod

Day 106) 24 Elesias, 1490 DR Continued

This morning after gathering our things together we went over to the clifftop entrance to Ironslag. Aukanthi opened the portcullis, holding it open with his body as we all skipped past. Umbero kissed him as he went by, but Aukanthi tried to call his bluff. It was all very funny, considering the tension we all felt at entering enemy territory.

We found ourselves in a large room with a waterwheel working steadily away, regulating a large elevator down into the mines. We timed it, and got on.

After a long ride down it took us to a level of gantries above the central hall of Ironslag where we found all three of the targets we most wanted: Duke Zelto playing with his hell hounds, the adamantium forge we wanted to explode, and the scaffolded Vonendod in the centre. As the Duke was there we bunkered down and made our plans while we waited for him to leave. Umbero, flying invisibly, went inside the Vonendod and reported back to us that we could do one or two things: steal the giant ruby eye and take it back to Citadel Felbarr as proof, and/or destroy the giant heart of the Vonendod and make it permanently irreparable.

Our plans were as such, given our resources. We planned to destroy the heart using Halani’s spell of Leomund’s Secret Chest (note to self: can sorcerors learn this too? Room for extra pretty dresses on the road!)). In order to do this, we would have to smash the smaller replica chest, thus obliterating the bigger chest on the Ethereal Plane and making the heart so many pieces of irretrievable shrapnel. Then, using Tenser’s Floating Disc (another spell of Halani’s… should I be perhaps studying magic rather than relying on instinct?) we would knock out the one eye and float it along with us as we escaped. Then we would board the lift again and once we were all safe, Ninya could fly down, throw the explosives in the forge, and fly back up to us faster than any of us would be able to manage otherwise. We waited for Duke Zelto to leave.

Once he did, the plan of course did not go exactly to plan. We managed to get Aukanthi Umbero in the Vonendod, and Halani positioned her magical chest just beneath (she had used an Unseen Servant to rescue as many dresses as she could… again, should I be investing in a spell book?). Halani flew under her own power, Umbero under my spell, and Aukanthi from a spell scroll we luckily had in our possession! Also useful was the potion of stone giant strength we found yesterday, which Umbero took. Then, ruining both our crowbars and their melee weapons, the two in the Vonendod pried the heart out and let it drop. Halani, and to a lesser extent me, ready with my Mage Hand spell to nudge the falling heart, managed to get the heart to fall in, the chest to close, and then just in time, as space began to warp, she destroyed the miniature of the chest, exploding it into oblivion on the Ethereal Plane.

At that point everyone flew back up to the gantry to lie low and see if we had gotten away with it (Umbero told me later that he also placed a note in place of the heart saying we did it!). Unfortunately, this was the point where a giant poked his head out of a nearby archway and saw us. We started racing to achieve the rest of our goals. Ninya checked the progress of the lift and ordered us around. Aukanthi and Umbero leveraged the giant ruby eye from its socket and managed to get it to the gantry before it fell, and then rolled it towards the lift. I aided Halani with protective magics as she flew at the giant and polymorphed it into a tiny bug which then fell between the cracks in the gantry and presumably died. We ran back to the lift but not before another giant saw us.

We waited for the lift to reach the very bottom and return, hoping we had gotten away with it, but alas, when the lift reached the floor below us the giant and five ogres stepped on. We let rip with all the firepower we had, including the two golden lion statuettes. We were able to kill all the ogres before the lift was even level with us (not simply ranged attacks though, for Ninya, Aukanthi using my rapier, and the lions jumped down when the lift was halfway to us) and though the fight was very, very tough, and Aukanthi nearly died, we managed to fell the fire giant.

We all lay exhausted on the platform as it rose to the clifftop, but our troubles were not over. Suddenly the lift stalled and we looked down. Duke Zelto was trying to pull us back down! Halani and Aukanthi, still with the flying spell laid on them, flew the remaining distance up. I cast the flying spell on Umbero again, and he and Aukanthi lifted the giant ruby between them. Meanwhile Ninya, her eyes able to see purchase her claws could make where we would find none, began climbing the shaft faster than any spider. As I waited for Umbero to reach the top, the lift platform suddenly wobbled and toppled. I was falling, but as soon as I saw Umbero reach the lip of the shaft, I cast the spell on myself and shot back up, timing it to miss the falling platform.

We were all safe, but the plan was not complete. Halani cast her last flying spell on Ninya, who took the explosives and flew down. Narrowly dodging the chain of the lift which Duke Zelto kept whipping up at her, she flew down into the main hall, dropped the explosives and alchemical ice in the forge, and zipped back up to us. It hadn’t worked. It had broken the forge, but not blown up the whole place.

Disppointed, but in possession of not only the ruby but the knowledge that the Vonendod would never ever work without the heart, we had Aukanthi, greatly wounded, and Halani, concentrating on a spell to help us escape, rest for an hour. The other three of us stood by the elevator shaft and other vantage points, watching out for signs of pursuit. The giants did start amassing, below the cliff. We were worried, but Halani had not been meditating for nothing!

She had gathered up enough magical power to transform herself into a giant bird-like lizard thing (later she told me it’s called a quetzalcoatlus) and she flew us over the giants to Harshnag and the escaped slaves. We all fled back to Citadel Felbarr. We were still, for be honest, fairly disppointed despite our two successes, as not only had we not caved in the forge, but we hadn’t been able to rescue the remaining slaves in Ironslag either.

 

Day 112) 30 Elesias, 1490 DR

We arrived in Citadel Felbarr two days ago. The dwarves were well pleased with us, though we still smarted from not achieving all our goals. Still, on reflection, I am just happy we made it out alive.

Speaking of which, the King of Citadel Adbar is also alive. The giant owl we sent managed to make it in time. So at least we succeeded there.

The last two days we spent nursing our wounds, planning our shopping when we get back to Waterdeep (not just magical items, but all the pretty dresses and weapons we sacrificed for the cause!), and wondering where we would put our dwarven fortress on the map (by the way, we’re going to house the ruby eye on top of our tower!).

 

It was while we convalesced that the strangest, most wonderful news came to us. So many threads of stories came together in one day. Today, a bunch of escaped slaves arrived from Ironslag. It has, after all, been ruined! How did this wondrous thing come to pass? Well, we were able to extrapolate the story from putting together what we knew with what the ex-slaves know.

Remember how in Nesme, we learned that the dark elf contacts of the Zhentarrim were fetching something for the fire giants? Turns out, it was a fire primordial from a volcano. Why, why, why would they do something so crazy? Because it turns out, the forge was not hot enough to reactivate the heart of the Vonendod, the heart we had destroyed.

So the dark elves bring the fire primordial in, and their transaction done, they leave. Turns out though, the fire giants have not prepared adequate magics to keep the primordial down. So as it starts to go beserk, the fire giants panic and try to activate the Vonendod. Why isn’t it working?

Oh yeah. We destroyed the heart.

So Ironslag and Duke Zelto are gone.

That’s another giant leader felled by their own arrogance and greed. Could it be possible that I can bring peace to the world by bringing them all to such poetic justice?

The Diary of Genora Amcathra: Storm King’s Thunder Part 13, Wrong Castle, but here’s a princess anyway!

Day 105) 23 Elesias, 1490 DR, Continued

We started out trying to climb the steep stairs beside the shut gates into Ironslag. Harshnag of course stayed behind. After a few exhausting minutes we decided stuff this, and I cast a flying spell on Ninya. But this only caused a chimera to burst from a cave in the cliff and chase after her. She drew it to us and we soon had it down. In its cave, once we got there, we found its treasure trove, including a philter of Love, a scroll of counterspell, an electrum music box, an obsidian dagger, and a golden jeweled helm.

We got to the top of the cliff we found to our dismay two shut gates and a village of yakfolk. The King and Queen of Citadel Felbarr had warned us about these yakfolk. They told us that they had the ability to wear the skins of those they killed and impersonate them. To our horror, one spotted us and began running to the central hut of the village. We raced in to stop him, Aukanthi stopping to free four halfling slaves the yakman had been guarding. That particular yakman was downed, but another heard him and warned the central tent.

We got in there just as one of the priestesses within started to bang the warning gong. The chief and the other priestess moved to slaughter three enslaved moon elves within the tent, but we intercepted. It was a tough battle. One priestess managed to summon an earth elemental, and reinforcements kept turning up, but we managed to secure the central hut and the seven captives within.

Speaking to the people we’d rescued, one of the moon elves was named Halani Meliamne, and she is a princess of the Moonwood. She and the others warned us of the remaining numbers in the village, so we prepared to assault the remaining huts and rescue the slaves still alive (unfortunately we had already lost three dwarves, five humans and one half-orc).

Taking on the last four yakfolk in the village, we were able to also save three more moon elves, two humans and two rock gnomes. We also found a yakfolk child. The moon elves have decided they will take this child to their home and try to raise it to be good, unlike its parents. I will be most interested to see if that works out. In the loot of the village, we managed to recover clothes and weapons for all the freed people, as well as a potion of healing, a scroll of sending, a two-handed sword far too large for any of us, a pair of dwarven electrum bracers which Aukanthi immediately claimed, a potion of stone giant strength, a scroll of flaming sphere, and over 4300 gold. We shared 1400 out amongst those we rescued, 100 each, except for Halani, who has decided to come with us and free the slaves within Ironslag.

To that end we used the sending scroll and another we had earlier. Halani sent to her people in the Moonwood, telling them she was safe and to send a giant owl with her spellbook to the cliff above Ironslag. I meanwhile, has a warning to send. The freed captives mentioned that a bunch of yakfolk disguised in dwarf skins were heading off to kill the King of Citadel Adbar. So I sent this message to Felbarr, since I don’t know anyone in Adbar: “Yakfolk assassins wearing drawk scout skins on route to kill King of Adbar stop Please warn stop Plan goes well stop Love Laughing Company stop”. I hope it reaches them in time…

Now it’s time for a well-earned rest for us! Sent Rillix with a note to Harshnag letting him know we are okay. I hope he’s okay below the cliff…

Day 106) 24 Elesias, 1490 DR

The giant owl has arrived with the spell book for Halani, and she has graciously sent it on with a message of warning to Citadel Adbar just in case the dwarves of Citadel Felbarr cannot warn them in time. Meanwhile, we are ready to enter the gates of Ironslag, so we have sent the rest of the captives down the cliff path to meet Harshnag.