Icewind Dale

Session 29
The Fool Curtain

The Trespassers are keen to leave Castle Elion with its devils and giants behind, following instead Anem’s enigmatic gestures indicating they go ‘south’.

Wish to avoid Dragon and Black Rowan.

Nevena plots a course that trends east, that avoids open terrain and any proximity to the Elf Eater corpse.

They encounter a slumbering Fomorian and leave it undisturbed.
They encounter an Obelisk like the one near the shore. It is better condition. Songberg’s Stonecunning tells of its extraplanar nature. Eira recognizes the sigils of the Elven houses from her books which Nevena translates.

Cold spring storm over night leaves Eira and Nevena become exhausted. Songberg’s stout dwarven constitution keeps him hale and hardy. They press on, though weary.

Sleep third night at the foot of ancient bell tower. Attacked while fording a stream next by Sahuagin raiders. Paladin keeps Anem safe before almost drowning. Nevena’s magic keeps them afloat. Eira smashes.

Return to the Grove. Nevena communes with Shy Silva who is now slumbering. Shy Silva says the sword belongs to the “Ruler of All Evermeet”. Songberg prays. They rest and recover from the weariness.

They head south yet again. Anem breaches the Fool Curtain. They see Drielle from afar. Rodney appears, makes a final appeal. Raindream swoops down.

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Sessions 27 & 28
Castle Elion

A terrible devil creature drops down from the ceiling of Elion’s great hall. It thrashes and stabs and rakes at the Trespassers, poisoning them with its tail stinger and dealing heinous wounds with its claws and sword. It would have made mockery of its foes but for the furious counter-assault put forth by Søngberg, Eira, and Nevena. The devil summons horrid, fleshy minions from out of the hells to defend it, but it acts too late. The Trespassers fell the creature and mop up its hellspawn. All that is left behind amid the bloodstains and smell of burnt, rotten eggs is a beautiful elven blade.

This mithral longsword is clearly very important—and missing some crucial insert that belongs in its cross-guard—but neither Nevena or Eira has any knowledge of it. Wielding the blade leaves a mortal to feel judged, and so Nevena stows it for safe keeping, relying instead on her silver shortsword. Not far from the devil, a massive (and broken) mirror gate labeled O U T E R H E A V E N in elven is found in the next chamber, the veritable heart of the castle. This room however is naught but a wreckage of broken glass and toppled statues of august elven ancestors.

The Trespassers move east through a series of themed rooms which they search cautiously, always keeping one eye to the ceiling. In the third room they move through, dedicated to the ‘World Tree’, Nevena uncovers some magic arrows in a hidden compartment. Beyond there is the Grand Gallery where they find a terrified, ethereal boy held inside a cage. Curious about this captive, Søngberg gets too near, springing a trap in which a pair of coiled chains animate into yet more devil creatures! The wickedly barbed chains rise up and form into large man-shapes, each bearing a face of ghastly grief. The devil shows the whimpering face of Skuli to Søngberg and the lifeless face of Brandish to Eira. Nevena’s gorgon bow rescues her companions from the terror brought on by these visages. One devil’s true face is revealed as the magic of the bow turns the creature to solid stone! With one chain devil dispatched, its twin is hammered down by Eira. The boy is rescued—but he cannot speak. He is frightened and wary.

He and Nevena communicate in elven, written crudely in the dust of the castle floor. He tells his name, Anem. His mother brought him here to seal the gate that the devils were using to gain entrance to this realm—and they captured him. Anem uses the mithral elven blade to point in the direction (south) that he wishes to go.

Soon after, the sounds of many footfalls stomping in military order can be heard from that same southern direction. Nevena overhears the infernal speech of more devils talking and giving orders. The Trespassers make a hasty and vain attempt to hide and end up caught in the flanking movement of the creatures. These devils appear to be shock troops; lightly armored but very physically tough—armed with a wicked spear and a sickly ‘beard’ of jellyfish-like stingers around their fanged mouths. There is more than half a dozen of them and they rush in to attack while their quarry is still trying to hide. They hurl insults and make demands for their captain, ‘Lervesom’, and for the sword.

During the fracas, the Trespassers boast they have lately killed their captain. But almost in the same breath, Nevena stumbles from the assault by the devils while Eira and Søngberg hold off the squad charging from the other direction. One devil leaps and snatches up Anem—making a hasty a escape. A tense battle ensues with a tug-of-war over the boy while Eira is surrounded and beaten (nearly) into submission. Eira’s desperate defense sees Myrnoch snagged by the hellish steel of a polearm which damages the legendary hammer in a shower of unholy sparks. Søngberg’s magic is all that holds Eira together, buying Nevena time enough to overcome her foe and save the boy.

Bloody, scared, and exhausted, the three heroes realize they cannot survive another onslaught and so they hole-up in a small chamber to wait out the passing of the night. Although there is a disturbance of another Fomorian giant trampling the courtyard some hours later, it never locates the small creatures nearby in the darkness. By morning time, the giant is gone, and the Trespassers move to escape the castle. At the gate, they learn of Anem’s magic: he uses the mithral blade to summon a mystic bridge out of the castle. What other secrets of Evermeet can Anem and this blade reveal?

Session 27 EXP
Eira 5000
Nevena 5000
Søngberg 5000

Session 28 EXP
Eira 2700
Nevena 2700
Søngberg 2700

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Session 26
The Moonglove Twig

The Trespassers make their escape from Black Rowan and the angry, marching trees awoken by its magic. Nevena’s sylvan magic, forming a deep mist of fog and dew behind them masks their withdrawal from the area. Safe from the evils of the wood, they retrace their steps, careful to give the Elf Eater corpse a wide berth as usual. While crossing the great plain, they spy a squadron of winged lions circling them like vultures.

These creatures are manticores, able to speak with their gruesome man-faces. Their leader lands ahead and awaits a parley. Rodney and Nevena, each with tongues adept at speaking with fell creatures approach. The manticores have come for the Moonglove Twig, but Nevena will not surrender it without first taking it to Shy Silva. Thus, the manticores attack, whipping brutal stilettos from their tails and raining terror from above. Eira does her best to shield Nevena while she returns fire with her bow. The onslaught is too much for them and Nevena is killed—but for the grace of Ilmater, giving her supernatural endurance in the face of evil hardships. Ilmater’s reprieve proves to be a rally for the Trespassers. They slay three of the beasts before the others flee into the clouds.

Limping wounded from their battle, Eira, Søngberg and Nevena arrive at Correllon’s grove with their prize—the Moonglove Twig. The magic staff awakens Shy Silva in a manner like that of Black Rowan, in that her branches incline towards a hand shape and she grasps it. A congress of animals is called around her and they provide news from all corners of the island (on this side of the Fool Curtain). Shy Silva tells Søngberg that the axe pried from Black Rowan’s bark belonged to Gwhelwen, an elf heroine that battled in the war against the frost giants. Salvation, Shy Silva announces, was last seen entering Castle Elion along the northern coast.

When they ask for more details about the angel, Shy Silva states that the fae will translate. Indeed, the sprites and nixies of Loona’s court appear, using their glamour to put on a play that suggests Salvation entered a mirror of fire within the castle. Stranger riddles hidden in the show depict a screaming infant and crawling vermin.

Nevena asks Shy Silva if her weather-worn and travel-ravaged clothes can be replaced. This is beyond Silva’s power, but the tree suggests she go to the crows deeper inside the grove and trade with them. In fact, each of the Trespassers attempts trades with the mysterious crows.

Nevena offers up her iron molar found in the kobold caves of Icewind Dale. This is the tooth of the gorgon that lent its horns for her bow. In turn the crows provide new regalia, befitting an elf of Evermeet; fine silks, kingly in fabrication yet reserved in their splendor. Søngberg, seeing that she lacks for a brooch is quick with handicraft as a dwarf, and he refashions the keepsake Uthgardt holy symbol that once belonged to Skuli into a pin.

Søngberg trades the sturdy morning-star he recovered from the battlefields of the frost giants. In turn they gift him saddlebags of fine elven leather-work.

Eira trades her old Seldarine coins, picked from the cold dark floors of the Tower of the Severed Hand. The crows, most pleased with this offering, grant her a pair of magic bracers made of mithril. (The crows reject the offer of an amethyst)

The Trespassers are eager to set out after Salvation but Shy Silva offers some final advice. Should their course prove wrong, they must find Eltargrim the magus—for he devised all the Elf-gates of Evermeet and is the master of them. She also warns them to be wary of Raindream, for her schemes are cunning and deadly.

Heading east first, they take a coastal road to Elion, passing the familiar shipwreck of the Coldhorn. Miles to north, they find a yet older shipwreck under the shallow, seaside waves. Curiously, they find corpses there with animal heads. These wretches were probably shambling undead before something only recently silenced them—by dashing their bodies against the rocks. Nevena uses her magic to commune with a slinky wolf. The wolf is sly, but keeps his head down, and therefore has little of the information she seeks. Brother wolf laments that food is scarce with the land so blighted.

They discover the bridge to Elion is out. The Trespassers face hard work leaping dangerous gaps over the high sea-cliffs, only to be confronted by a set of great doors sealed by magic. Eventually they discover that a pair towers hold the key to channeling the sunlight, that if shone in the right place, can unlock the doors. The doors are opened, and they enter the ancient castle. Rodney however abandons them at this point, having had enough of their unwillingness to make a deal with him.

The castle grounds are spacious and broad. To the west they discover a giant at work in a secluded courtyard, it is laboring at some project with a large pieces of timber. They cautiously decide to let the giant be and skulk away elsewhere. Stealing instead into the main castle, they slip through gloomy, half-lit corridors. Reaching the central hall, a horrid bone devil hiding like a bat on the ceiling leaps down to plunge its weapon into Eira’s chest!

EXP
Eira 3000
Nevena 3000
Søngberg 3000

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Session 25
Black Rowan

Nevena’s tracking leads the Trespassers of Evermeet deep into the island’s northern woods. She is following the increasing corruption that has taken root along the protracted tentacle of the ‘Elf Eater’. The forest thickens with moss-covered vines, dense fog, and crooked branches. Oily, black leaves hang above in the still, dead air. The blight of the land combined with the appearance of a dragon should have warned them that perhaps they have wandered onto its land. They do not consider this possibility and instead press on. The fog and forest canopy become thick enough to blot out the sun. Rubbery tentacles, knotted with small twigs reach out from the gloaming ahead. The Trespassers are yanked toward a corrupted tree that has grown a mouth; it harbors a nest of wooden daggers for teeth. A frenetic tug-o-war with the rubbery-branch-tentacles ensues as Eira, Søngberg, and Nevena are repeatedly ensnared and mangled by the abomination. The diseased thing is bashed into a limbless stump until it ceases to fester.

Here the Trespassers rest, exhausted and bitten horribly from their recent melee. They are unaware of how close they have come to Black Rowan itself as they bed down. Each of them is beset by terrible nightmares, scarcely able to sleep in the inky darkness of the silent wood. In the ‘morning’ they will learn ghosts cling to the soil nearby.

Black Rowan is only a few hundred paces from where they slept. The tree is a twisted abomination, tarnished with a sappy, lacquer-like slime, the smell of which is harsh, chemical, and unnatural. Formed into the roots and branches of the terrible plant are naked elves, their bodies elongated and united with the bark of the rowan. Faces of pure agony adorn the heads of the figures and they moan from time to time. Clutched in the ‘hands’ of the tree is a slender, knotted staff of wood topped with a brilliant rock crystal. Lodged into the trunk is a great axe. Generous amounts of the tree’s effluvia have oozed and hardened around the wound from this implement.

Nevena approaches and attempts to speak with the tree, as she had done with Shy Silva. This joins her mind, briefly, with the dark god Malar and his bestial depravities. She is nearly driven insane by this insight before her spell ceases. Søngberg and Eira bravely approach yet further to hack free the staff (which they guess is the Moonglove Twig). A spell leaps out of the staff’s crystal, animating a nearby sycamore; it lumbers forth in defense of the rowan. Elven ghosts, doomed to haunt the scene of their lost bodies, attempt to possess Nevena’s native elven flesh. They would use her to murder her friends—but Nevena’s resolve overmasters their advances twofold. Søngberg calls upon the aid of Tyr to banish the spell upon the sycamore. The uprooted creature is still once again before it can pound the dwarf into the soil. Struggling to extricate the staff from the tree’s grasp, the dwarf and the human change their tack. Søngberg wrests the axe from the wound in the trunk, he hacks at clutching arms while Eira pulls with all her might. Eira’s might is enough to take the staff, but another awakening spell is released before she commandeers it. A second animated tree is lumbering forth while the ghosts of the tree close in.

The Trespassers flee with their prize as a ghost moves in to choke Nevena before they can escape. The ghost is cut down by their magic weapons, allowing them to make their escape from the deadly trees.

EXP

Eira 5000
Nevena 5000
Søngberg 5000

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Session 24
Shy Silva

The Trespassers are running low on food. The fae of Queen Loona’s court offer to provide a grand send-off feast before their quest to see Shy Silva. Wary from tales they have heard of faerie food, having already been confused and charmed by their magic once, the three adventurers refuse the meal. Taking everyone by surprise and demonstrating his increase in holy favor, Søngberg summons a meal from a Tyrran miracle. The pixies are suitably unimpressed by the appearance of the food and water and they each disappear with a harrumphing upturned nose.

Soon after, the quest is undertaken. Brave Sir Purslane leads on, south, to Corellon’s Grove where Shy Silva awaits. Purslane, however, becomes bored and eventually rummages through Nevena’s things. The elf is carrying but little of late, and by far her most intriguing possession is the bottle marked “WHINE” with the smoke swirling within.

Purslane wastes no time in uncorking the bottle. There is a flash of light. An eruption of smoke attended by the smell of brimstone. The imp Rodney, previously trapped in the bottle, has returned—and is more than disappointed with the three faces he encounters. All the same, it becomes clear Rodney has no love of Salvation either; the imp swears vengeance upon the angel. He offers information in exchange for his own servitude, but the Trespassers are unwilling to make deals with Rodney.

The forest is still and quiet. Stags keep their distance, the foxes hide in their dens, and no strange terrors lurking in this lonesome corner of Evermeet are confronted. Purslane conducts his three charges to what his people call ‘the murmuring bosk’. The elves know it as The Great Grove of Corellon Larethian. This is where Shy Silva grows, lonely, from a dish-sized-patch of sunlight amidst the shade of the grove. The ancient oaks, yews, and elms of the grove all tower over Silva, over the Trespassers, and over statues of the Seldarine—their arbor-crafted branches forming a ribbed vault as one finds in a cathedral. Rodney refuses to enter the grove. Within, they find offerings (or gifts?) placed before statues of the Seldarine. Nevena takes Solonor Thelandira’s silver arrows and a silver blade of Tethrin Veraldé.

Nevena’s magic, gifted to her by none other than a dryad of the woods, can now allow her to commune with the plants and trees of the forest. To this end, she speaks with Shy Silva in the laborious tongue of treants. Shy Silva is an adolescent Ash, younger than Nevena herself, but her’s is the longest memory of this part of the island since the elves left. Silva says Nevena’s many questions cannot be answered without the Moonglove Twig which was lost to ‘Black Rowan’.

The Trespassers set out to the northwest, across the grasslands, drawing nearer to the polluted epicenter of the ‘Elf-Eater’ that despoils the land. On their way, they spy the dark, soaring shape of a dragon high among the clouds. The trio are wary of the massive Elf-Eater corpse and give it a wide berth, they follow its outstretched tentacles back into the woods—on the other side of the grassland—where the pixies claimed Black Rowan is to be found. The forest thickens and twists the further in they push. A fog clings to the soil, emerald moss carpets the trees and the rocks.

Brilliant, ophidian eyes like electric malachite peer at them through the trees. The dragon, announcing herself as Nymrinoss (‘Raindream’ in the elven) reveals herself. She compliments the Trespassers on their valor in slaying a great eagle. She dares them to slay the ‘two more that remain’, she wants the jesses and harnesses of the great beasts. Nevena’s feckless behavior with the creature nearly gets them all killed, but Raindream shows mercy when Eira and Søngberg quickly offer supine blandishments. Bored with their cowardice and indecision, the dragon takes to sky, snapping tree branches like mere match-sticks with her girth as she goes.

EXP
Eira 900
Nevena 900
Søngberg 900

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Session 23
Trespassers of Evermeet

Using the magic items left behind by the absent crew of the Coldhorn, Nevena realizes the ship can be safely moored in place, just off shore, by the Feathered Anchor Token they found. Unfortunately, the small launch boat lashed to the Coldhorn did not escape the Elven magic barrier and so they must swim for land. They learn the fish-scale cap worn by Nevena and the decorative coral-scale armor acquired by Eira allow for underwater breathing and superior swimming. Despite these boons, however, the three escaped prisoners of Salvation spend an exhausting number of hours swimming ashore and back to the ship, carefully carrying the equipment and items they can salvage with each trip.

As the sun is going down, the Trespassers of Evermeet come ashore and find a weathered stone obelisk on the rocky coast’s promontory within sight. The obelisk stands atop a broad plinth. On the plinth stands a forlorn, robed figure. Her back is turned away from them, she faces the sea. Removing her hood, the figure is seen to be a herald of the gods, again in the familiar form of Drielle. She is Myrkul’s emissary and the Trespassers speak with her. She asks why they have come and what they will do, now that they have. The Trespassers insist they are lost and never intended to arrive.

Drielle-the-Herald, seeming deaf to this grievance, restates her own questions, telling them that Salvation has defied the Gods. It seeks to escape their punishment and this realm. Its reckless, selfish actions threaten all of Toril.

Nevena, with knowledge of elven writing, examines an ancient map carved into the wind-scarred granite of the obelisk. She is able to make out the names of three places, two of which bear the names ‘ELION’ (to the northwest) and a place she can only understand to be ‘THE GROVE’ (due southwest). The third site, directly to south, cannot be recognized at all after so much time and wear from the storm-wracked seacoast. Drielle-the-Herald cannot leave the boundary of the plinth and is but an observer here and so the Trespassers head for Elion, as it appears closest according to the map.

Though Nevena is at home in a forest, perhaps never more so than the ancestral woodlands of her own people, the three explorers are running low on food and arrows. Søngberg has not even a weapon to defend himself. As Nevena hunts and forages for food, she encounters signs of corruption—blighted trees and creatures sporting odd tumors and rashes. This makes her think twice about eating from the forest.

Evermeet seems to bear evidence of a large and scattered war of giants against the now absent elves. In places, the very ground is littered with detritus half-buried like great round shields, broken blades, spear heads, or rusted helmets—some as large as a kitchen table. Søngberg, without a weapon, strikes it lucky while searching a field and finds a morningstar, that, thanks to fine elven craftsmanship has lasted the test of time. The item is wrought with caryatids of the elven gods that clutch daggers to form the devices spikes. As he examines his prize, a pair of hulking and demented giants, each horribly disfigured seize upon them. First Eira and then Nevena meet the accursed gaze of these creatures, being distorted and mutated by them. The Trespassers work together to fell one of the giants which is enough to drive away the other in fear.

Soon after the battle, a strange little sprite reveals himself. He is known as ‘Burclover’. He is impressed by the martial prowess and great heroism he has seen against the giant Fomorian invaders. His people are all that remains in the fight against them. He leads them away from Elion, south to show them the massive corpse of the ‘Elf Eater’ that has spread the corruption here. The sprawling pile of pollution with outstretched tentacles laying about the land like wild, miles-long pipes is titanic in size. Since it can be seen from miles off, upon viewing it, none of the three Trespassers desires to get any closer. So Burclover leads them to his Queen in the west.

At Loona’s court the fae are, at first blush, anxious of the three big intruders that arrive with Burclover. They dazzle and confuse Eira and Nevena with their wily magic. Peaceful protestations against this on the part of the Trespassers—in their moments of lucidity amidst the faerie glamour—is enough to call them off. Queen Loona demands heads or ears of slain Fomorians to prove they are serious in the war against the giants. The Trespassers want answers about Salvation and where they should go. Queen Loona claims they should seek Shy Silva who is very old and very wise. Sir Purslane, a sprite-knight of Loona’s court bravely volunteers to go questing with them.

EXP
Eira 6000
Nevena 6000
Søngberg 6000

(Note: Søngberg attunes to Amber Necklace)

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Session 22
The Trackless Sea

With the recalcitrant Nevena strapped to the bowsprit, Søngberg and Eira spend their time on the long ocean journey recuperating from the infirmity of their resurrection. They do not challenge Salvation or Jared’s command of the ship. Søngberg, having been long away from Temples and other clergy, engages the crew of the Coldhorn in religious discussions and prayers. Eira keeps a low profile and eavesdrops on the crew; both of them are interested in learning what the crew knows and more about why this voyage has been undertaken. They each in their own way learn that the pilgrims know only what Jared has told them—and that Jared’s loyalty to Salvation is unfailing.

Nevena, only slightly alive to begin with, suffers horribly in her state. She is given water but is otherwise left in the open air to experience rope-burns, ceaseless and mounting hunger, swollen eyes, delirium, and all the other torturous effects of her deprivation and exposure. The piteous condition of Nevena after two weeks of this ordeal impels Søngberg to convince Jared and the crew to cut her free and bring her below decks. Nevena is a threat to no one at this point, hanging on to her wretched life by a mere thread.

After more than three weeks at sea, a storm comes on, despite the epicenter of calm, mild weather that had always followed the ship across the sea. The crew trusts in Jared’s divine powers to command the weather and grows uneasy over the unexpected bad weather. To make matters more unnerving, a crowd gathers at the bow to examine a strange sight on the horizon. They spy a low, rippling aurora dancing atop the waves; caught in the storm, the ship is advancing fast toward this ribbon of lights. As the crew takes reactive measures against the wind and rain while bracing for the oncoming witchery ahead, Nevena, Eira, and Søngberg are each of them patronized by a deity of Toril. They are treated to visions in which they are alone but for the presence of a god.


Tyr reveals himself to Søngberg, granting him sight beyond sight. Possessed with this True Seeing, the dwarven paladin can never again be fooled by the Angel’s mortal guises. Tyr recedes and Søngberg can see the world as the gods themselves perceive it.

Tempus reveals himself to Eira. With the alacrity of the perfect warrior, he binds Eira in ropes that have fallen from the storm-wracked rigging. He grants her an unfettered gift so that never again can the Angel defeat her by carrying her aloft. Tempus recedes and Eira escapes her bonds unaided.

Finally, Ilmater, moved to great sympathy by the immense suffering of Nevena reveals himself to her. He takes away her pain and brings it upon himself; he suffers in her stead so that she can rest. Ilmater grants her a gift to help her endure the further hardships she must embrace before she again faces her enemy.

As the visions come to an end, Søngberg’s newfound sight reveals an image of Drielle that no other can see. Drielle conducts Søngberg and Eira below decks to be with Nevena. Nevena, so close to death, can also witness Drielle as she has been sent as an emissary of Myrkul. The four friends, united once again beyond all of their deaths, join hands as the ship passes through the aurora. This magic barrier, put in place by the reclusive elves to protect their homeland, has sent away everything save the angel Salvation, its enemies below decks, and the ship itself.


On the other side of the magic aurora, the weather is calm again. From the maindeck, Evermeet can be seen as a misty band on the horizon. Salvation forgoes its human aspect as Shannon and takes flight, heading straight for the island. Drielle issues a warning that once past the barrier, Evermeet’s defenses take the form of guardian beasts and one will be soon upon them. Suddenly Drielle is gone. The tattoo of a great eagle’s cry pierces the silence.

A ‘roc’, one of the magnificent and legendary beasts of Faerûn soars for the ship. Søngberg scrambles to find anything useful against this foe; he searches high and low. Eira and Nevena take up a position off the starboard bow, working together to fire one of the Coldhorn’s ballistae at the creature. They get two shots off before its great talons collide with the deck. Søngberg, for his part, manages to find his armor, Nevena’s bow, and the Hammer Myrnoch. Sundry other items of magic seem to have escaped the teleportation spell of the aurora, but the dwarf has no time to examine them.

Thanks to Søngberg, Myrnoch finds its way back into Eira’s hands and the Gorgon Bow into Nevena’s. These weapons and Søngberg’s miracles are turned against the massive eagle. The beast has a bronze plating formed over its beak, is somewhat heedless of attacks against it, and instead seems intent on shivering the vessel into splinters with its battering-ram face. The Gorgon Bow fails to petrify the creature. Nevena’s elven magic twice fails to ensnare it with a tangle of ropes and rigging. Eira is gathered up in its talons and hurled into the sea so quickly that even her gift from Tempus is not enough to save her. However, Eira thinks fast and drops the hammer rather than risk losing it forever to the sea. Søngberg rushes to snatch up the hammer and fells the creature with a mighty blow moments before the beast can sink the boat entirely. The Coldhorn is damaged but still seaworthy. The three companions gather their trophies and disembark for Evermeet.

EXP
Eira 8000
Nevena 8000
Søngberg 8000

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Session 21.5
Candlemas

The angel touches down amidst the bodies of Eira, Nevena, Ardemis, and Søngberg, resuming its guise as the magnificent beauty known as Shannon of Ten Towns. The blizzard it summoned forth will have masked this secret identity from any in Targos who were attempting to look on from behind the walls. Those who looked up, however, will have seen the angel in flight. They will add their tales to the many rumors already circulating in the area about the appearance of angels in the skies and how it foretells of Lathander’s return.

The Targos gate is opened for Shannon and within, she meets with Jared in a longhouse that is lined with furs and silks and glittering gold cups next to singed incense. She informs her dutiful prelate about the bodies outsides in the snow. She orders them brought in to be laid out before her. He sends his faithful pilgrims out at once, the sudden blizzard already fading away. Shannon explains to Jared that she now has “a more suitable elf” and that the “less savory alternative kept in reserve can be released”.

Thus, Marsible the dark elf is also called forth to Shannon—but only after the bodies of the slain heroes are loaded, along with many supplies, onto a ship. The ship, the Coldhorn, was wrought by men and dwarves, but follows an ancient elven plan uncovered from the Moonshae Isles. Shannon explains to Marsible that everything has unfolded “providentially”, and that with their bargain complete, she may go about her dark business in exultation of Shar in Bryn Shander.

After the orcs exact their steep toll in plunder and slaves upon the people of Ten Towns, they recede from whence they came. The chaotic vacuum the orcs leave in their wake provides Marsible all the leeway she needs to conduct her ritual, awakening old and dormant echoes of the Shadow Weave left behind by the Spellplague


Ineffably, Eira, Nevena, and Søngberg rise from their deaths. They find themselves on the angel Salvation’s vessel, the Coldhorn. It is crewed by its most loyal followers and captained by Jared Frosthonor. Salvation, though still in the guise of Shannon, reveals itself to its three captives and proffers their cooperation. It also reveals their course, they make way for Evermeet (pulled as a sled at present over the northern sea ice). Nevena, as rebellious in her second life as in the first, is having none of this plan. Still only barely alive, the three risen companions can put forth no resistance. Nevena is lashed to the bowsprit like a living elven figurehead. Søngberg prays, Eira schemes.

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Session 21
Salvation

Hearing the warning and alarm from Caer-Konig’s shieldmaid about the attack of the orcs, Søngberg advocates altering course in order to aid the people of Ten Towns. Eira and Nevena are unswayed and convince their dwarf companion to avoid this diversion. Ardemis too is more concerned with settling his own score in Targos than battling orcs. If it is only a raid, they will have wasted much time and effort for very little gain. If it is a larger scale attack, what truly can they offer to a desperate situation?

The people of Bryn Shander already know Eira, Nevena, and Søngberg to be mighty heroes who have slain a dread Ice Hag, buried the troll-father Grendel, and silenced the wailing banshees of the Seldarine Tower. They would surely seek all the help they can get against the orcs of the Great Glacier. Hoping to avoid this pressure, Nevena leads the group to the south around Bryn Shander entirely, stepping warily around human and orc scouts alike. Tracks in the snow reveal that both are out on the prowl.

The proximity of scouts means the drums of war cannot be far behind. They all agree to press on through the night without rest, leaving Bryn Shander in the darkness behind them. A few miles outside of Targos, the weather worsens. Nevena and Søngberg agree this change is supernatural. The wind picks up to a storm’s strength, the temperature falls, and an oncoming snow drives down. Though they reach Targos, the blizzard does not abate. Something at the gate is waiting for them, its mind joins with theirs and speaks into their heads with a voice that is calm, genderless, and eternal,

“Turn back. Leave this place.”

Søngberg and Nevena ask questions of the presence. Through the whipping snow in the torch-lit dimness, only a robed figure can be made out. Their questions are turned aside, again they are asked to leave.

“I’ve seen your kind before. Time and time again. Every fleeing man must be caught. Every secret must be unearthed. Such is the conceit of self-proclaimed seekers of truth. But in the end, you lack the stomach for the agony you’ll bring on yourself.”

Insistent, they beg admittance to Targos. Again. Leave. The robed figure reveals that it is armed with a large sword. Turn back. The obstinate Nevena draws the figure’s ire with her refusals; in reply it surrounds them all in a fearsome cage of light. The figure throws off its robe, revealing itself to be a glorious, celestial angel. Its wings are spattered in blood, it wears a shining mantle, terrific and splendid to behold. It is the Angel Salvation. Nevena wears a stray feather from this being in her very hair. It killed her father. This night, it will kill her as well. The angel’s wrath takes the form of holy fire that issues in a beam from its sword. It ensures them all that their …

“… heroism here will be no more than a chapter in a tale of submission”.

One by one, the angel cuts down Nevena and Søngberg. When Ardemis dares to raise his arcane hand against it, unleashing a bolt of lighting, the angel decrees,

“No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”

Eira makes a final stand against the divine foe, her warrior’s instincts made nearly peerless by the Hammer of Tempus in her hands. She and the angel trade blows as Eira’s life is spared several times over by the unassailable boon of the Battlelord. Frustrated and sensing the power of the hammer, Salvation seizes Eira and carries her aloft, high into the polar gyre of the blizzard. Eira crashes several more blows into the being before it yanks the hammer from her grasp, leaving the woman to plummet, defeated 200 feet down to the hard surface of Faerûn.

Eira Ironvale, wielder of Myrnoch, lies broken and lifeless in the snow.

Nevena, the green elf of the north, enemy of Salvation is dead and run through at Eira’s side.

Beside them both lies Songberg Mountainsun of the Mirabar Mountainsuns.
He too is slain by the sword of Salvation.

EXP
Eira 7500
Nevena 7500
Søngberg 7500


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Session 20
An Unsettling Dream

While recovering in fisherman Jhonen’s home from the harrowing journey back to Ten Towns, Søngberg has a particularly vivid and worrying dream. He is greeted with a vision of Eira succumbing to exposure. Navena is lost to a battle between zombie Reghedmen and Orcs warring over the human settlement while he and Eira’s body drift away, on the sea, under the stars, on a small iceberg. They are led on by an angelic figure shining bright in the sky. Søngberg feels Tyr grow nearer as he shepherds Eira’s frozen body into the unknowable horizon.

Søngberg rouses from his unsettling dream to sounds of Nevena and Jhonen talking of her heroic adventure in the eastern mountains against Grendel and the Seldarine Tower’s ghosts. The elf and the fisherman share his pipe, its smoke intermingling with that of his hearthflame’s. Søngberg prays. The humans Eira and Ardemis shudder in their sleep. The wizard’s pixie familiar Argent keeps her eyes trained on the door all night, knowing how uneasy Nevena is with Jared and the devotees of Lathander. Therefore, that night while everyone else sleeps, her back is turned to the presence that silently creeps in by way of the chimney …

The following day, Nevena goes to a watering hole to drink and gather gossip. She discovers that she, a troll-slayer and banisher of banshees is the only matter of gossip to discuss. Jared arrives to Jhonen’s with a posse of his acolytes and watchmen. He seeks the Malefic-sword and information (the map notes) from the Seldarine Tower; they seize the sword from Dheirgryn who is now retired from evil magic and dread monsters of the wild places. Jared then tracks down Nevena to interview her. At this time, Nevena discovers her notes from the map room have gone missing!


Not wishing to impose any further on generous Jhonen, the adventurers reluctantly agree to take up Jared on his arrangement for them to stay in Easthaven’s ‘House of Dignitaries’. The marvelous beauty Shannon visits them all there, hoping to collect her parchments and inks with the notes from the tower. During this meeting, Ardemis’ previous skepticism about Jared’s miscreant motivations recedes when he learns (from the use of his magic) that Shannon’s mind is entirely not human and unlike anything else he’s ever encountered. Shannon agrees to send over fresh, warm winter gear and other odds and ends before departing.

Nevena, Ardemis, Eira, and perhaps even Søngberg now are all highly suspicious of Jared Frosthonor and wish to know more about what is going on under his watch. Ardemis agrees to use his considerable spell power to learn what he can by spying and scrying. After a week in the warm house, now fully recovered from frostbite and exhaustion, Nevena seeks the Shar-witch Marsible Pinewhisk while Eira, Søngberg, and Ardemis return to Bryn Shander. Marsible is not at home, the locals tell of her “taking that child—and heading west. Looked to be going for some time.” Nevena lets herself in and squats in the drow’s home.


Meanwhile in Bryn Shander, most of the 1,000 Heads Trading Coster’s assets have been seized (including much of Eira and Søngberg’s pay). Ardemis continues his campaign of spell-spying in Bryn Shander. Local gossip indicates strange activity of late, people and wagonloads of stuff moving about back and forth to Targos—which is odd for this cold, dark time of year when the snows are at their deepest. Another week passes, bringing more bad news; the upcoming Candlemas festival has been all but cancelled. It will be overseen now by Sessel Morningmantle instead of Jared, with much of the allocated funding and other stores intended for it retracted.

In Bryn Shander, they decide this news is dire enough that they must rejoin with Nevena to discuss next steps. With possibly Marsible, Rynvah, nearly all their material wealth, and of course Jared all rumored to be in Targos, the group agrees they must head west, there to the shore of Maer Dualdon.

On their way, a shield-maid behind a team of sled-dogs from Caer-Konig races past them on her way to Bryn Shander. “Alarm! Alarm! Orcs attack from the north!” She cries before speeding away into the darkness ahead.

EXP
Eira 700
Nevena 700
Søngberg 700

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