Feeling they have earned some semblance of control over the frigid and haunted elven tower with their blood and valor, the explorers retreat to the second floor to rest and recover in the confines of the library. Having seen the Mythal active in the throne room, Ardemis renews his studies of the ancient lore while Søngberg prepares for the consecration of more holy water, a necessity for ridding the throne room of its final ‘flameskull’. Eira, Nevena, and Dheirgryn bandage their wounds and try to stay warm.
With bandages set, the wizard finishes his research into the Mythal and its secrets. As a group, they all head up the stairs once again, this time beyond the Temple of Solonor and into the tower’s fourth and final floor. Encountering an antechamber ajoined with several long corridors, they ignore those and instead head straight away to a pair of flanking doors leading into the ‘fingers’ of the so-called ‘Severed Hand’ tower. Equipped with a warding amulet left behind by the Throne Banshee, Nevena is able to bypass warding runes inscribed on these doors by the ancient elves. They explore two of these turret-structures; one once played host to sorcerers and the other to Seldarine priests. They sift through piles of old vestments, ruined iconography, disheveled maps and broken astrolabes. Among the maps, Nevena hopes to eventually compare the star charts and ley lines uncovered in the kobold caves with what is here. Eira finds literature on dryads that interests her and pieces enough for a working spyglass, assuming a skilled artisan can be found to rework them.
More importantly, they also discover precious silver and diamond dust, rare inks and special parchments, bits of meteorite, and the magic elven candles—the latter of which Nevena impulsively tosses out a window at first sight. Nevena separates from the group, heading out of the tower to fetch the candles; once those are returned everything that is needed is on hand. Ardemis can craft his spell and Søngberg his holy water.
With the holy water consecrated, the throne room is again approached, this time with caution and resolve in equal measure. The wily, disembodied abomination has rekindled as expected and once more flys out of reach, tasking Nevena and her arrows with dispatching it. She succeeds, but not before sustaining burns from its fiery eyes. As Søngberg swoops in, exercising the skull for good with his divine draft, an apparition appears attended by the sudden, livid, and azure illumination of Nevena’s Candle of Auril.
The baelnorn Relserevayne (rel-SAIR-uh-vain) has been disturbed by this trespass; he takes the form of a phantom and has the look of a majestic elven lord in full regalia. Identifying Nevena as the only elf present, he speaks with her in their vaunted tongue. Nevena asserts they mean no harm, having come only to deal with the evil sword that plagues them. Relserevayne has only warnings for them: that a corrupted elf hunts them to this tower, that this room is a place of great power—and his are not the only eyes that watch it for disturbance—and that should they fail in their enterprise with the sword, he will repay them all for their transgressions here in the Seldarine Tower, where only the dead belong. The elven ghost fades from view, leaving the party alone once more in the throne room.
With the Mythal secured, the group sets about their task. Ardemis is left alone in the throne room with Malefic while Eira and Dheirgryn keep watch from the entrance. Nevena and Songberg take up lookout positions on the floor below, their eyes peeled for signs of the ‘corrupted stalker’ they were warned about. Ardemis will need hours of uninterupted work. During this time, his familiar, the long-hidden Argent appears to fetch for her master, the scrivener’s tools Shannon of Ten Towns provided to Søngberg.
Hours pass, how many it is hard to say as the time-telling sun has been lost to winter’s darkness. Nevena’s keen ears are the first to notice a voice calling out. A ragged figure, attended by a large white wolf approaches the tower. It is the forlorn wreckage of Brandish’s fallen body. The wolf with him is not Bishop, but instead some dire creature of Icewind Dale. Brandish holds his shortsword, wet blood—balefully unfrozen—mars the blade. It drips in a long dotted line, drawing his path down the mountain behind him. After a brief, unsettling parley with—at least the ruined form of their old companion—Nevena and Søngberg and Dheirgryn head to the lowest level of the tower to intercept him.
Seeing him up close, their worst fears are confirmed. The revenant spirit of Istryn Ashbinder has returned, puppeting their dead friend before them. His venegeful glare is so malicious, it paralyzes the stout dwarven paladin with immense fear. Sensing wavering prey, the wolf attacks with a blistering frost that spills out of its mouth and onto all three of them. Their only hope is again with the elven magic and so Nevena traps Brandish within a mystic prison just as they had with the Throne Banshee. Together, the three of them cut down the wolf, leaving Istryn-Brandish behind to bellow his insults and threats. Having had enough of his words, Nevena attempts to slay him with arrows, but gives up after firing enough to fell a dozen men or more. The undead Brandish simply pulls the many arrows from his body, snapping the hafts spitefully as he goes.
They need the might of Tyr, as it was Søngberg who smote Istryn in their first melee. Their foe is not bested, but he is trapped, and so they pause to consider their options with Eira. They agree to surround and overpower Brandish in hand-to-hand combat with Søngberg employing his sacred weapon to finish the deed. As he is unafraid of arrows or even Eira’s hammer, Istryn-Brandish makes a single-minded effort to murder his sworn enemy, the dwarf Søngberg Mountainsun.
Brandish’s body is shot by more arrows, his unholy will is strong enough even to resist the gorgon bow’s petrifying power. Eira shatters the bones inside his body. And though Søngberg indeed burns this menace with his holy hammer, it is he that falls first in battle. Dheirgryn is quick to pull the dwarf away from the pernicious bite of Brandish’s ever-bleeding sword just a heartbeat before it can finish him. Her foe distracted while he exults over the fallen paladin, Eira quickly topples him as Argent appears bravely from the ether wielding a lit candle. She plunges it into the undead elf and though her efforts are in vain, they serve as a reminder that fire can cleanse undeath—permanently.
Overcome by grief and rage, and with no better plan, Eira stands over the twice-dead Brandish as her weapon makes a sorrowful mess of her former ally, preventing his regeneration in the short term. This frenzy buys enough time for a hasty bier of kindling and oil to be assembled. The bier is lit, leaving only a smoking and blackened crater of agony behind.
The hours remaining before Ardemis finishes his work leave space for the adventurers to collect their thoughts before, at last, the wizard emerges. Ardemis explains that for his efforts, combined here with the energy of the Elven Mythal, he has crafted a mystic scroll capable of a power to alter even the work of the gods above; Ardemis has made a Wish scroll. This could be used to undo the curse upon Rynvah, to expel the vengeful Istryn, to banish Malefic’s evil presence, or any other wonder that could be imagined. If they use it now, they must think carefully on how best to employ it. The wizard recommends a vote.
- Søngberg’s mind is made up, the evil sword must be dealt with—any other use of the scroll would be selfish in his eyes.
- Eira thinks the revenant Istryn ought to be banished for good.
- Dheirgryn agrees with Eira, Istryn represents a clear danger that nearly killed them.
- Nevena, having handled the sword and been seduced by it, sides with the dwarf.
- Ardemis, who best understands the scroll’s potential, is reluctant to agree dealing with the sword is a wise choice. He trusts the paladin’s council.
And so, scroll in hand, the wizard from Calimport, friend of Hrothgar, Ardemis Antreri prepares to cast his mighty spell. At the last moment, he hands it over to the dwarven paladin, rueful that the sword has tempted him as well. Ever mistrustful of magic, but certain of his task, the dwarven voice of Søngberg Mountainsun, Hand Of Tyr, Slayer of Grendel resounds from within the Seldarine Tower; the gods listen in at the ‘wisdom’ this mere mortal has to work upon their Creation.
“I wish to remove the power from the entity behind the evil of this sword and all intent thereof. May it never return to harm this world or any other.”
In an epic vortex of eldritch power, the demon Malefic is expunged from the sword and Faerûn entire. The imp Rodney, freed of his bondage, dances in the air triumphantly and out of sight. The sword, exercised of its enchantment, is gifted to Dheirgryn.
Eira +1 for roleplay
Nevena +1 for leyline/star chart/map connection
Songberg +1 for roleplay