Scars of the Past

An unexpected Reunion

After some experimentation with the statue, you discover that it functions differently under moonlight, allowing you to ask it questions and receive answers that pertain to the Giants that constructed it. It seems to be mostly of Historical value, but this seems to be the intended target of Riven’s (The Deathless Eladrin) quest. Methalis is able to create a portal, teleporting both Riven and the statue back to Stormreach. The party decides to remain in the jungle, and continue searching for the Green Dragon’s lair.

Using the information retrieved from the Dragon’s corpse, you are finally able to locate a waterfall that matches the description that the Dragon had given you. Once you make your way into the cavern behind the waterfall, you are ambushed by a group of strange looking Lizardfolk. They are larger, and much more scaly than normal Lizardfolk, and they breath poisonous gas, unlike any other Lizardfolk you have seen before.

After dispatching the Lizardfolk, you discover a side passage that leads you to several normal looking female Lizardfolk, as well as several young Lizardfolk who also appear altered. You allow them to live, but destroy the remaining unhatched eggs. Methalis surmises that the Dragon may have been somehow cross-breeding Lizardfolk with Dragonborn, or perhaps even fertilizing the Lizardfolk eggs himself so as to create a new race. Either way, you are unsure of what purpose he had in creating these creatures.

Within another part of the cavern, you at last come upon the Dragon’s hoard, which is well stocked with both gold, magic items, and historical artifacts collected from around Xen’Drik. As you are going through the hoard and cataloging which items are worth taking and which not, you hear a man’s voice behind you…

“Well, this is certainly not what I had expected to find….”

Standing in the middle of the tunnel is a tall human. He is fair of skin and dressed strangely, in a style that is unfamiliar to you. He wears a long robe that appears to be wrapped in golden weavings, and his lightly colored hair almost sparkles in the dim lighting. He has no weapons that you can see, but his robes could be hiding them well.

Kasim immediately recognizes him. The last he saw him was in the desert of his homeland when he saved Kasim’s life…The name he gave Kasim at the time was Arek Mahmuud.

Arek is curious about your presence here, and what has become of the Dragon that once inhabited the cave. You inform him that the Dragon is dead.

So, Szarrathax finally met a meal he couldn’t stomach…I must say that I only mourn his loss because of my loyalty to the Chamber. It seems he had some fascination with Dragonborn, and he was cross-breeding them with the native Lizardfolk. To what end, we may never know. He also had other experiments with Dragonborn. He believed that Dragonborn could be manipulated to bear Dragonmarks. I’d heard rumor that he’d succeeded, but have not yet seen the evidence…Odd.

Looking towards Kriv, he asks:

You, Dragonborn, what is your name? ... And how many winters have you seen? ... You do not look like any DB I have ever seen. It would be ironic indeed if one of Szarrathax’s own creations were the implement of his destruction…

Kriv explains his unique background. Arek is intrigued by this, but does not press the issue any farther. Instead, he explains why he is in Xen’Drik:

Szarrathax was supposed to be seeking an artifact that was lost here before the fall of the Giants. An ancient artifact that was given to the Giants as a gift from my ancestors. It’s simplest function was a receptacle for memories. Any memory could be stored within and retrieved later. It was used to catalog important events, to be seen by others through the eyes of those who experienced them. It was lost eons ago when the Giant empire fell to the invasion from Dal Quor. It was believed that the Sphere was lost for all time, but recently there have been whispers amongst my people that the Sphere has resurfaced, and that it contains some secret that the Giants discovered that is somehow important to the Prophecy.

When asked about the Prophecy, Arek seems evasive, but finally relents and gives up some information:

I must abide the ancient rules, even in this place where it is unlikely that the Chamber would have eyes, but in my homeland, my brethren and I study history and the lesser races, looking for clues and signs that the prophecy is being fulfilled. What the prophecy actually is, is another matter entirely. Some say that it is the end of this world, some say a return to the Glory of Siberys. I have no theories either way. I simply find the patterns interesting to observe and record.

Arek inquires if any of you bear a Dragonmark. When you all reply that you do not, but that you do have a connection to this artifact that he seeks, or one very much like it, he says:

Hmm interesting…the Prophecy seems to swirl around you. I was not aware that it could steal memories against someone’s will. Normally a Ritual is performed and the memories are freely given and shared. Perhaps someone devised a way to trap the Sphere in such a way to facilitate this…In any case, where is it now?

You inform him that you gave it to a Diva in Stormreach, who was also seeking it.

That is unfortunate. I suppose the search continues then. Perhaps I will have more luck finding this Diva. At least we now know that the Sphere is still active and was not destroyed by the Quori invasion. I may come to you again. My instincts were correct when I met Kasim. You and your friends are somehow bound to the Prophecy. That makes you important, but it also makes you a target. There are those who seek to subvert the Prophecy to their own ends, and will seek to destroy anything that might stand in their way. Beware of others like me…

When asked how you will know who they are, he says:

That I cannot tell you, except that they will be interested in any Dragonmarks you possess, or any important deeds you have accomplished that have had an affect on the world.

Finally, you ask Arek what he is…

Arek smiles, revealing sharp, pointed teeth that seem to grow longer when he smiles. Then, you realize that it isn’t your imagination. His teeth grow disproportionately to his body, and suddenly his arms and legs grow bright and scaly. His face expands into a long snout, and giant wings sprout from his back. When the transformation is complete, his form barely fits into the cavern. Crouched before you is a very large, very ancient Gold Dragon.

His voice booms throughout the chamber:

We will meet again, adventurers, but for now I must leave. If you find the sphere, guard it well. I fear its secrets are being sought by powers beyond even my own…

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The sleeping giant

After returning to Eberron, you found your horses and Wyvern right where you left them in the jungle clearing. Determined to continue on to find the Dragon’s lair, you set out once again eastwards through the jungle. Lydan took to the air above the jungle canopy to scout ahead and help you follow the terrain, occasionally coming back down to ground level to alert you to hazards and paths that you should follow. A few hours go by, when Lydan spots something happening in the jungle below. A group of Eladrin were being ambushed by a large group of Yuan-ti natives.

Lydan swoops down and joins the fray, and commands the Wyvern to cry out to alert the party that something is going on. The party rushes in to join him, and you are able to defeat the Yuan-ti, but not before 3 of the 4 Eladrin are slain, including Chyn, one of the Deathless Soldiers of the Aerenal Eladrin.

The remaining survivor, a female Deathless soldier named Riven, explains to you that she was on a mission from the Undying Court to uncover an ancient artifact in the wilds of Xen’drik that is somehow important to the Eladrin people. She only has a cryptic message to guide her, but from that message, she has derived that the artifact rests beneath the statue of one of the ancient Giant civilization that once ruled the continent of Xen’drik. Lydan recalls having seen a large statue to the northeast as he was flying about, and the party agrees in aiding Riven in finding and retrieving the artifact.

You are able to find the statue, though all that remains is the lower section of the giant’s body. The rest has crumbled over time. Both Lydan and Methalis sense that there is some remnant of divination and transmutation magic, both in the statue and in the pool outside the ruins that is fed by an underground spring, but the purpose of the enchantments seem to have been lost in time.

Inside the ruins, you discover that the monument’s interior seems to have been taken over by 3 Drow Driders, who are alerted to your presence when Kriv and Riven inadvertently disturb the webbing that was preventing two statues from crumbling and crashing to the floor.

Once you defeat the driders, Riven you explore the rest of the ruins to find a large chair that looks to be sized for giant-kind, and Riven sits in the chair. When she sits in the chair, she is able to view images that look familiar, as if she is looking at the outside of the ruins. Upon investigation, you deduce that the the chair allows the user to see through the eyes of the statue. Since the statue’s head now lies toppled on the ground beneath its remains, this functionality no longer seems useful. By deciphering the cryptic message given to Riven by the Undying Councilor, you decide to wait until nightfall to observe the statue’s head. Sure enough, when night falls, the head of the statue glows, but beyond that, it seemingly does nothing else…

The Undying Councilor’s message was:

Sit upon the dais beneath the towering captor so that you may see what must be seen. When the moon shines, your question will be answered. Send the answer to us, and supplant the one who falls.

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King of the Fey

A long time ago, in a Fairy Court far far away…

The Pixies led you through the winding, ever-changing paths of Thelanis, pausing only to allow a couple Feymire Crocodiles and a Feygrove Choker vine to have some sport with you. After you’d defeated them, the pixies led you further into the forest, and eventually to the Court of Ellida, the Fairy Queen. You are welcome to the Court with music and dancing, as well as a large feast. The Queen is surprised that Kasim does not remember their previous encounter when he was in the Feywild, but seems satisfied when you explain about the Sphere of Remembrance. She tells you how she came to be in Eberron, and explains why she cannot leave…

When last we met, and you told me of this world, I was very curious. Some time ago, the stars aligned in such a way that made travel between this world and the Fey not only possible, but very easy. I decided to take advantage of this, and came to visit your world. I dreamed that I would meet you again, and this seemed like a perfectly good way to bring the dream to life.

I have enjoyed my time in this world, but I fear that I have stayed too long, and must be returning to the Fey. But it seems that there is some sort of magical energy here that is preventing us from fully entering Thelanis again. We have been wandering this continent from border to border, but I have failed time and again. This region of the jungle is the closest I have come. As you can see, I was able to summon forth a part of the Fey and bring it across the veil between your plane and ours, but I cannot make myself cross over. At first, I thought that it was the alignments of the moons, or I needed some ritual, but when my pixies told me that they had found the half-breed I had met in Thelanis, I realized why I could not leave. My dream had not yet been fulfilled. Now that you are here, the dream can be finally be fulfilled.

She explains that if Kasim will submit himself to a Ritual, he will become her King, and may return with her to the Feywild to rule by her side, or return to Eberron to be summoned to Thelanis at a later date. Kasim mulls over his decision, and asks that he be given time to decide. The Queen agrees, but asks that he accompany her so that she may show him something.

After the meal, the party is taken to their sleeping area, while Kasim accompanies the Queen. The Queen shows Kasim all the wonders and beauty of Thelanis, and explains how all of it can be his, as well as eternal life. Eventually, Kasim succumbs to her charms and agrees to allow herto perform the Ritual, so long as he will be allowed to leave with his friends afterwards…

“Excellent”, Ellida says. Suddenly, a group of flowers emerges from the ground, growing into the shape of a large bed. “There is a ritual that must be performed in order to begin the consummation. At the completion of the Ritual, you will be my King, and I your devoted Fairy Queen…Take off your clothes.” As you remove your clothes, you hear thunder overhead, and the Queen begins chanting in a booming voice. She reaches out to you and touches your cheek as the wind begins to howl and rustle the branches of the trees. Dark clouds gather overhead, and you feel a sense of awe and peace come over you. The queen continues to chant…

Meanwhile, the party is led to their sleeping area by the Queen’s guards and a dark looking Satyr named Tioboid.

Tioboid leads you all through the wooded paths towards a clearing where you find four beds made of roots and leaves. In a small nook is a steaming pool that looks big enough for all of you to wade into.

Tioboid stands off to the side as you enter the clearing. He dismisses the other Satyrs and addresses you. “Your friend is in great danger. If he does not go with the Queen, you all may be in danger. She is not used to not getting her way, and if she cannot get what she wants, she may take it by force. Even if he does go with her, he will not survive long in the Feywild as her lover. She believes that his half-fey nature will somehow protect him from her…hunger…but eventually she will consume his soul. Only a true Fey can be with her for very long, but she has set her sights upon him, and so he is in danger from her.”

“I believe there is only one way to convince her that he is not destined to be her king. He must die. If he is killed during the consummation ritual, she will have to choose another to replace him, or she will die with him….”

Tioboid confirms the party’s suspicions that he would be the one to replace Kasim in the Ritual, but they decide that the ends justify the means and that they will kill Kasim.

Immediately, the group hears the sound of Thunder in the distance, and Tioboid tells them that they have no time to waste…The Ritual has begun!

The party arrives in the Queen’s chamber to find a naked Kasim standing before Ellida while she casts the Ritual. Immediately the Satyrs and Pixies loyal to the Queen move to stop the party from interfering. Kasim does not know why his friends are trying to kill him, and he fights back as best he can.

Kasim tries to escape the chaotic scene, but finds himself growing weaker the farther he gets from the Queen. Only then does he realize that his fate is now tied to hers, and that her promises of freedom may have been lies all along. He succumbs to his wounds inflicted by his friends and dies.

The connection between the Queen and Kasim seems to snap and she recoils in pain and drops to the ground. Tioboid steps towards her and shouts, “Ellida, you must finish the Ritual! Do it!”

Ellida begins sobbing. “This was your plan all along wasn’t it Tioboid! You’ve always been a jealous fool! You couldn’t stand to see me happy!”

“No, my Queen, I couldn’t stand to see you flit from one conquest to the next while our Kindgom fell into ruin. Now cease your whining. You are a Queen of Thelanis, and it is time you acted as such!”

Ellida wipes her tears away and stares at Tioboid, still angry, but slowly realizing that her fate is sealed, she begins the ritual again. After 10 minutes, the thunderclouds cease, and Ellida collapses to the ground. Tioboid picks her up and approaches you.

“Thank you for your help. There is one last step to complete the Ritual, and we will be joined as King and Queen. I’m afraid for this part, you will all want to leave.

Prialis will give you your Ritual, and you may stay here and recooperate if you wish. Once the Ritual is complete though, we will be returning to Thelanis. We have been gone for too long, and we must begin to repair the damage that has been done.

I thank you again for your aid. Within my quarters, you will find a chest. You may take anything from it that you wish. I have collected some interesting items over the years, and I’m sure they can be replaced.”

The party spends some time resting, and Methalis resurrects Kasim. The next day, the party gathers once more in the Fairy Court, now ruled by a King Tioboid and Queen Ellida. The Court and all of its retainers bid you all fairwell. The Queen asks for a moment alone with Kasim…

“I am sorry for what you had to endure at my expense. You gave your life for me, but I only have this to give in return…” She hands you a small ring, that, when activated, produces the images of Thelanis that the Queen showed you before, as well as additional benefits (See Ring of Calling – Adventurer’s Vault).

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Summoned by the Queen

You decided to get out of town for a while, worried that you may have attracted the attention of the Blood of Vol. You went to the Wayfinder’s Guild and inquired about one of the postings in the Expeditions office concerning a tower in the center of a mist shrouded lake. The Gnome Expedition handler was happy to provide you with a map, as well as transportation in the form of magebred horses. Lydan also retrieved his Wyvern from the House Vadalis stable and was informed by the stable master that the Wyvern was indeed well trained and one of the swiftest mounts he had ever ridden, suggesting that he would perform well in the Race of the Eight Winds in Eberron.

You left the city, heading back into the wilds of Xen’drik. Not long into your travels, you had your first unexpected encounter.

Towards the middle of the day, just as the sun passes its zenith, you see a shadow pass above you. When you look up, you see only clouds, leading you to believe that it was just an illusion, but then suddenly a dark shape bursts from one of the cloud forms, descending rapidly towards you. There is no mistaking the leathery, folded wings or the lashing tail attached to a scaly, lizard-like form. A Dragon has found you.

Despite what you knew about Eberron’s many Dragons, this one did not seem interested in discussing the Draconic Prophecies. He immediately attacked you. Using your resources well, you were able to defeat him, but afterwards it occurred to you that you had missed an opportunity to let him escape and follow him back to his horde. Fortunately, Methalis was able to cast a Ritual of “Speak With Dead” and question the Dragon about his horde, which his corpse told you was behind a waterfall to the east. You decided to go there first and see what treasures you might find.

On the way to the river, you decided to take an extended rest. A few hours into your rest, however, you were awoken by several pixies, who recognized and seemed very interested in Kasim.

There he is! The one who stole the Queen’s heart!

He’s so ugly! Why does she want him?

I don’t know, but we should tell her that he’s here. She’s sure to reward us well.

Yes, perhaps she’ll even give me a kiss!

She sooner kiss a dolgaunt than kiss you!

What’s a dolgaunt?

I don’t know. Something I heard once, but they are definitely supposed to be very ugly hahahaha.

You take that back or I’ll poke you with my foot…

You tried to ignore them, but they were very insistent, somehow causing the jungle itself began to invade the magical structure where you were resting. Once it became clear that the Pixies were not going to leave you alone, you decided that the only course of action was to follow them.

Once in the jungle, you realized that the trees and vines were somehow different. The jungle was much denser and red and white mushrooms sprouted from the trees. Methalis could feel that something was definitely different, similar in a way to the region you encountered back in the giant city, as if the veil between Eberron and the Feywild was somehow thinner here, making travel between planes much easier. Lydan recognized it as Thelanis, the region of the Feywild where Pixies and Nymphs held sway. Neither Methalis or Lydan could be sure, but it didn’t seem to them that you had crossed over, but more that a small part of Thelanis had actually come to inhabit this region of Eberron, and you were trapped within.

You continued to follow the pixies through the wilds of Thelanis, wondering who this Queen was, and what she wanted with your friend Kasim…

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Defeating Ereg

You step through the portal, and there is a blinding flash of light and a mild sickening sensation of being ripped apart and put back together again, as you disappear from one place and reappear somewhere else.

When you appeared from the portal, magical chains burst from the ground, restraining the entire party. You found yourselves face to face with your friend Ereg, who had clearly set a trap and had been waiting for you to spring it…

Welcome back my friends! I see you were successful in killing the beast. That’s good. It will truly make a fine addition to my collection. However, as you’ve probably noticed, I do have one little extra surprise for you. It was everything I could do not to giggle when you suggested the linked portal back here. I thought for sure I was going to have to hunt you myself. But why risk the Traveler’s Curse in Xen’drik, when i could set a trap for you right here? And now I have my trophy, and I have all of you for the ritual I’ve been working on. Pity none of you are Dragonmarked though. I’ll still have to work on that part, but your Fey friend here will certainly be a fine sacrifice…

Methalis identified the chains as part of a Tenser’s Binding Ritual. Despite being restrained by the Tenser’s Binding within a zone of Necrotic energy, you managed to defeat Ereg and his summoned Undead jungle cats.

From there, you decided to go back to Ereg’s house in Respite and search for a means to free your Giant friend from the Red Ring. At Ereg’s home, you discovered that he did indeed have a Ritual that allowed him to sacrifice a Humanoid in order to gain it’s Racial Power as a Daily Power, as well as another Ritual Book with a plethora of Rituals, as well as a deed to the “Blood Eaters”, a stable of Gladiators within the Red Ring, which included your Giant friend, Trogan.

You went to the Red Ring and submitted the deed in order to free the slaves in Ereg’s stable. You parted ways with Kolos, who offered his services should you need him again, and you escorted Trogan back to the Tents of Rusheme, where Gaulronak, the Tribe’s leader, thanked you profusely, and offered the services of any of the Guardians of Rusheme should you need their assistance in the future.

As for Ereg, you decided not to plunder his house, fearing reprisal from his associates in the Blood of Vol. Instead, you went back to the Inn for a well needed rest, with intentions of going to the Wayfinders and signing up for an excursion into the wilds of Xen’Drik once again, this time to a Tower in the middle of a Lake that is shrouded in mist, where strange dreams haunt all those who venture nearby…

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Hunting the Two Maw

This session, your hunt for the Lurking Two-Maw took you through the jungles of Xen’Drik, where you were ambushed by an Ambush Vine and a couple of Owlbears, who had set up their hunting grounds here presumably because the Ambush Vine was adept at delaying and immobilizing its prey. You were able to dispatch the beasts and the plant, and continued on.

During your journey, you could feel the magical eddies of Xen’drik, commonly referred to as the “Traveler’s Curse”, pulling against you, but thanks to Lydan’s and Methalis’ penchant for the arcane, you overcame the Curse and made your way through the jungle with ease. You also were able to get over the gaping chasm by swinging across the vines, save for Kriv, who fell into the river and nearly drowned.

Once past the obstacles the jungle presented, you found your way to the hunting grounds of the Two-Maw, where you came upon one of these specimens having just gorged himself on a tasty herd of elk, allowing you to surprise him, put him to sleep, and bloody him in one single round. The rest of the fight went quickly, and the Two-maw went down way faster than the DM anticipated. Methalis cast his teleportation Ritual to return you to the meeting place.

Meanwhile, back in Stormreach, Kasim had bid you all farewell while you went hunting the Two-Maw, proclaiming that he had no desire to kill a beast of nature. As you left, he noticed an individual watching your party from across the street who followed you as you left. Kasim decided to follow this man as he shadowed the group and was successful in doing so until you all disappeared into the jungle. The man met up with Ereg D’Avalis, your patron, as he returned from showing you where you would teleport upon completion of your assignment. Kasim watched the two of them and followed them back into the city. It appeared as though the man was reporting something to Ereg, but Kasim was not able to overhear their conversation.

Ereg and the stranger parted ways, and Kasim decided to follow the stranger, which led him back to the district of the city that you first entered when you arrived where most of the inhabitants seemed to hail from Kaarnathi. The man entered one of the temples to the Blood of Vol, and did not emerge again.

Kasim decided to go to Ereg’s house and watch it for a while. Later that evening, Ereg emerged with a bundle of gear and wearing armor. Kasim followed him back to the Portal area and observed him summoning some sort of undead cat creatures, as well as performing some kind of Ritual in the portal area that seemed to affect the original teleportation circle that Methalis had created. Kasim was not sure what Ereg was doing, but knew that there was little he could do but wait and hope that he could somehow foil what appeared to be some sort of trap set for his friends…

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Bloodbound blues

You finished watching the grueling death match in the Red Ring, and decided to probe the locals about how you could become owners of a stable of Gladiators. The two officials you spoke to, namely the head servant of the upper level of the Red Ring, and the random gate agent, really weren’t very forthcoming on the matter. You were, however, able to procure an expensive bottle of wine and the same box seats for the next three matches. The gate agent was also able to point you in the direction of the Black Wrack, the largest and busiest tavern in Stormreach, where spectators can hob nob with gladiators and stable owners alike and enjoy a fine mug of ale while they’re at it.

At the Black Wrack, you met one stable owner, one of the Bloodbound in fact, a minotaur named Kolos of the Ivory Horn. Lydan spoke with Kolos, and learned that he fought his way out of slavery and now owns his own stable named the Ivory Horn. You learned that Kolos was different than other gladiators in that he stayed in the Red Ring after earning his freedom, and now only fights to help other slaves escape the brutal lifestyle of an enslaved gladiator. When he learns of your quest to free Trogan from the Ring, he promises to aid you however he can, and vows to learn which stable Trogan is in and get you an audience with his owner.

However, after you part ways, you remember that you actually already know who Trogan’s owner is, a man named Ereg D’Avalis, and that Kasim has a letter inviting you to dine with him at your leisure. You decide to wait until the next day to do so, and head back to the Marketplace to find an inn. You settle on the Chapterhouse, the local House Ghallanda establishment, and have a restful evening in some of the finest rooms available to Stormreach visitors.

The next day, you spend the day going to “The Nest”, the local Wayfinder’s Foundation chapter operating facility, which is a converted ruins on the outskirts of the city. There you are able to procure some good quality maps, you learn about several available excursions that the Foundation is sponsoring, and you meet with Kharva Crack-tusk, head of the local Wayfinder chapter.

Kharva actually recognizes you, and inquires about the success of your most recent excursion, which she apparently personally handled. She claims not to know much about your Deva patron, Omara, but tells you that she has been desperately seeking this “Sphere of Remembrance” for some time, claiming that it had some historical significance to Devas. While she is not able to shed much light on your recent history in Stormreach, she does have a proposal for you…

I do have one assignment that might interest you. Lord Boroman is sending a team of adventurers into Xen’drik once again seeking a cure for the wasting illness that ails him. I’ve sent numerous expeditions back to the temple myself, attempting to find some further clue as to how he contracted the illness and whether the temple hid some clue as to a cure, but every time we’ve been woefully unsuccessful. I still consider it one of my greatest failures…Now he’s sending a team of his own without so much as contacting me. Were it not for a friend of mine back in Khorvaire, I would never have known about it. So, it seems that he is either growing desperate to find a cure, or he has some new information. I wish him the best, but…if this new expedition succeeds where I have failed, it will only serve to undermine my position here. I merely wish to make sure that Lord Boroman knows that I have done everything in my power to find the cure. I want to send someone along to shadow thes new expedition and make sure that they succeed. With your other recent successes, I thought your team would be the perfect choice.

You decline Kharva’s offer for the time being, but she tells you that she doesn’t have anyone else in mind, so if you change your mind, to let her know immediately. As you leave, Kharva delivers a message to Lydan. It seems that an Eladrin femal ecame around The Nest looking for him, desperate to speak to him.

You spend the rest of the day wandering the city and getting your bearings, trying to see if anything jogs any of your missing memories, with little success. That evening, you go to visit with Ereg D’Avalis, who welcomes you into his home, which is adorned with the heads of several strange and exotic creatures mounted on the walls, indicating his love of hunting. He brings you wine and bids you to relax while he tells you why he invited you…

As you can see, I have one of the most varied and eclectic collections of rare beasts, all hunted and killed by yours truly, stuffed and mounted or otherwise displayed in my home. But there is one creature native to Xen’drik that eluded me; a fearsome lizard known as the lurking Two-maw. He is a ferocious hunter, and he is one of the most feared creatures on this island. Now, I fear I am too seasoned to make another attempt to capture one. I was hoping to hire some young, upstart adventurers to do the job for me, but no one suitable to the task has presented themselves. Until now that is…

Before you can discuss payment, you tell him of the Giant in his stable that you are interested in. He seems reluctant to part with him, but finally he relents and agrees to a trade: the Giant for an intact specimen of a Lurking Two-maw.

You go back to the Black Wrack to meet with Kolos, whereupon you inform him of your deal with Ereg. Kolos offers his services to come along and help take down this mighty beast if it will help free the giant. You gladly welcome him into the party, given that Kasim tells you in no uncertain terms that he will not be a party to hunting an animal for sport, or even to aid the Giant.

So, you set off the next day back into the jungle towards the area where Ereg told you that the Lurking Two-Maw would be. While you were swathing a way through a dense part of the jungle, you were ambushed by some sort of living vine and a large Owlbear.

To be continued…

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The return of Belwar!

While you were browsing the Bazaar, Stormreach’s main marketplace, you came across a rather strange Tapestry shoppe. Within, you noticed that there were several tapestries depicting some familiar faces, namely yourselves…

Several tapestries are on display, and within several of them, you strangely enough, see images of yourself. In one tapestry, Methalis walks alone in a dark crypt filled with sarcophagi, a floating ball of light emanating from his staff. The sarcophagi are all closed and sealed with the bodies of well dressed Dwarves who all scream in terror and push on the lids of their sarcophagus, trying to get out. Below the scene, the head of some osrt of half-man / half-cat creature smiles at Methalis as if welcoming him home.

Another tapestry depicts a giant two-headed lizard with the jaws of both heads clamping down on someone that remarkably resembles your friend Kasim, who struggles in vein to keep the maws from crushing him.

Yet another scene depicted is that of your frient Lydan, naked in the arms of a beautiful woman whose face is hidden in shadow. She holds a curved dagger above him, ready to strike.

Another tapestry shows a shelf lined with various weapons of battle, and amidst them, the head of Flint sits prominently displayed.

Another scene shows a dark tower on a cliff by the sea, with the body of Kriv impaled on a wrought iron fence below the tower.

Finally, you notice yet another tapestry that shows a massive hill giant juggling several objects, one of them being your friend Belwar’s head.

You speak with the owner, an elderly female gnome, who tells you that she dreams strange scenes and uses them as inspiration for her art. She doesn’t recall ever meeting any of the people in her dreams or her tapestries before, and she seems just as surprised as you to come face-to-face with her art made flesh. She offers you a deal on the tapestries, and asks that you return and tell her the tale if you are able to unravel any of the mysteries behind them.

As soon as you leave the Gnome’s shoppe, you hear loud noises and crashes coming from the other side of the Bazaar. Suddenly, a part of the tent is ripped away, momentarily blinding you. When your vision returns, a familiar face suddenly emerges from beneath a large cart, just before the cart tumbles end over end across the bazaar, revealing a massive angry Hill Giant. The familiar face is none other than your friend Belwar, who you left the onerous task of following and spying on the Deva, Omara Terisla. It seems Belwar got distracted from his agenda yet again, as the giant roars about a halfling stealing his purse.

You battle the giant in the middle of the bazaar, with people running for their lives and hiding as best they can. The giant is no match for you though, and just before you are about to subdue him, some of his friends arrive and put an end to the fight.

During the discussion with the City Guard and the giants, Kasim, Belwar, and Lydan, all escape, leaving Methalis, Flint, and Kriv with 4 giants and the City Guard. The leader of the Giants, Gaulronak, takes charge of them and brings them back to the Tents of Rusheme, the Giants’ home just outside the city walls. Kriv decides to hand your Drow prisoner over to the City Guard, who clearly don’t care or want him. The Guard lets him go, and he takes off through the city. Kasim, Belwar and Lydan all pursue and eventually kill him just outside the city gates.

Once in the Tents of Rusheme, Gaulronak tells you that the Giant that Belwar stole from, Tragar, has been on edge far more than usual lately. His younger brother, Trogan, was sold into slavery due to his gambling debt, and is now owned by a man named Ereg D’Avalis. Gaulronak asks you to aid him by speaking with Ereg, who now uses the Giant as a fighter in the Red Ring, Stormreach’s bloody gladiator tournament, and try to convince him to release Trogan. Gaulronak tells you that he has already offered Ereg gold in exchange for Trogan’s life, but Ereg did not seem interested. Gaulronak’s hope is that you will be able to find out if there is something else that will motivate Ereg to give over the Giant…

Methalis agrees to aid Gaulronak, and he promises to pay you 2,000 gold if successful. Gaulronak releases the party on their own recognizance. After a brief discussion around whether you really want to aid the Giants or not, you all decide to go through with it and not make enemies of the Giants.

You decide to investigate the Red Ring, which is in the Locksmith district of Silverwall. There seems to be a strong Dwarf presence there, possibly due to its proximity to Coasthold, the district where House Kundarak has made its home.

Once inside the Ring, you all settle in to watch a bloody and glorious fight between three oddly paired teams of two: A Warforged and a Drow vs. a Cyclops and a Hobgoblin vs. a Shifter and a Dragonborn. Some of you wager on the fight, but only Lydan wins any money when he places his bet on the Cyclops / Hobgoblin team. Throughout the fight, you find yourselves strangely attached to some of the fighters, as if you could predict their every attack…

Meanwhile, Belwar decides to investigate the inner workings of the Ring, and finds it both heavily fortified and heavily guarded by the Dwarves. As the grueling death match ends, you look around to realize that Belwar has once again disappeared…

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To Stormreach
Is it Wi-vern or why-vern?

Aboard the Airship, you questioned Omara for more information on the Drow, but it’s soon clear that she spends far more time with her head in a book than she does in the actual wilds of Xen’drik. You settled in below deck on the ship for the remainder of the journey to Stormreach.

Sometime in the middle of the night, the ship is assaulted by several Drow, who seemed to have tracked and followed you on Wyvern-back. The battle raged both above and below deck, as well as in the air. The Drow seemed to be trying to find the sphere, a suspicion you confirmed when you capture and question one of them later. With the help of the crew of the airship, in particular the First mate, Storm, you defeated most of the Sulatar Drow and drive the others away. You also managed to wrestle one of the wyverns to the deck of the airship and tie it down. The Drow prisoner provided you with some of the Elven commands, and Lydan decided to take the wyvern into his care to attempt to use it as his own mount.

Once in Stormreach, you bid farewell to Omara, but arranged to meet with her at a later date at the Nest, the Wayfinder’s local establishment just outside Stormreach. Methalis doesn’t completely trust Omara, so you decided to have Belwar shadow her and see what he can find out.

Captain Denalis was only too happy to see your backs. Although he wasn’t pleased with the additional hassle your group caused him, and the death of one of his crew, he did seem somewhat amenable once you paid him an extra sapphire for his trouble. You got the feeling that as long as you could afford it, you could probably use his services again.

In Stormreach, you passed through the Grindstone district of Southwatch, which seemed to be the area where many Karrnathi natives had settled upon arrival here. Unlike other cities though, the Blood of Vol was openly practiced in Grindstone, and its members walked the streets safely under the watchful eye of Karrnathi guards.

You decided to keep your Drow prisoner with you for the time being, too fearful to let him go back to his people, and unwilling to kill him outright. You contemplated possibly selling him into slavery as a compromise between the two options. You asked around for someone to guide you to the Wayfinder’s enclave, but decided to spend some time in the city’s Marketplace district first.

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Week 2 - Following the Dragonshard

After taking a short rest inside the temple, you look around and realize that your friend Belwar is missing. After making sure that he’s not inside the temple, you head outside to look for him. Outside, you find yourself in the dark streets of what appears to be the ruins of an ancient Giant city, lit only by moonlight. Your knowledge of history tells you that there was an ancient civilization of giants that once lived on the continent of Xen’drik, but they disappeared several millennia ago.

As soon as you step outside the temple, a Drow female approaches you and tells you that she has captured Belwar. She will only return him if you give her the sphere that you found inside the temple. She identifies herself as part of the Sulatar Clan. You try to negotiate with her, but you quickly find that she and her friends aren’t interested in negotiating. Two Drow come out of hiding to attack you. The Drow fight using a powerful poison on their blades which knocks some of you unconscious, but with the help of Belwar, who has managed to escape his bonds, you are able to dispatch them. Just as the fight ends, Belwar collapses, succumbing to a poison that the Drow have given him.

Belwar continues to suffer from the poison’s effects, and you realize that if you don’t act, he could die. Searching the Drow, you find that they have the antidote to the poison, but it isn’t complete. You use your knowledge of nature and healing to find the missing reagents and complete the antidote. Once given to Belwar, he slowly recovers and you set out again.

The ruins seem abandoned, so you set off south. After traveling for a few hours, you realize that the Dragonshard that Methalis is carrying has started pulsing more slowly than before. You turn around and head back towards the ruins, the rate of the pulsing increases back to what it was before. You cross the ruins again and this time head north. The dragonshard begins to pulse faster the farther north you go. You reach the edge of the jungle and step into a rocky clearing, where you are ambushed by a huge Earth Titan. The Earth Titan proves a formidable opponent. Just as you feel the battle winding down, however, you hear the desperate cries of another titan. The second titan attacks, trying to reach her mate, but is blocked by a wall of fire erected by Methalis. At almost the same time, a shadow appears above you, cast by what appears to be a flying ship wreathed in a magical blue circle of energy. You recognize it as a House Lyrander Airship, although the half-elf crew does not appear to wear the colors of House Lyrander.

With the help of the half-elves, you take down the second Earth Titan and board the airship, hoping that their arrival and the sudden increase of the Dragonshard’s pulse rate are somehow related in a good way.

Aboard the airship, the crew mostly ignores you, but one individual does approach you. A tall, purple skinned female Deva approaches you, carrying what appears to be the other half of the dragonshard that led you here. It pulses in time with the dragonshard you carry until she connects the two and they both go silent. She inquires about the sphere, and you present it to her. She is shocked to learn that you inadvertantly activated the sphere, but she seems hopeful that she might be able to recover your memories after studying the sphere. Once she realizes that you don’t remember meeting her, she introduces herself as Omara Terisla, a historian who works for the Wayfinder Foundation out of Sharn. She says she came to Xen’drik specifically seeking the sphere, and that other expeditions have tried and failed to retrieve it. She thanks you for succeeding in your mission, and pays you the agreed upon gold for finding the sphere.

Omara suggests that you return to Stormreach and see what you can learn about what you’ve been doing on Xen’drik and why you are here. She retreats below deck, taking the sphere with her.

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