MNC - Monday Night Club (or Thursdays apparently)

House Hunting: Part Four

Sometimes, adventurers like us need reminding of our place. We live a strange life, intense danger for untold riches. We live on the edge, often over the edge. When I see an orc, I see a target, an opportunity for murder and glory. When the common man sees a rampaging green beast, he sees death, fear and if he is very lucky he sees that quickly enough to draw his sword and fight for his home.

Days like today bring us back down to earth. I sit now safely by the fireside, licking my wounds and counting myself fortunate to be alive. The same will not be said of those in the keep we failed to defend or of those on the walls who died this night in it’s defence. I’d like to say that I don’t care, that I’m happy that I killed some orcs and that we’re on to our next adventure but that isn’t the whole story.

I would be dead now had fate not smiled upon us in the strangest way possible, a gnome inventor who by virtue of some machine, was able to help us escape.

The castle is now overrun, it’s inhabitants probably slain.

More worrying perhaps is how organised the orcs were. In any case, it was a fruitless trip, our keep was a local joke and now there is another ruin in the hills East of Neverwinter.

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House Hunting: Part Three

We journeyed north through the rocky foothills. Some of us, myself, the human and the minotaur, went to investigate a cave system. What we found inside was disturbing. The miners had turned into crazed cannibals and we were forced to put them down.

The cave entrance collapsed while we were inside, trapping us. Fortunately our scoundrel friend found a hidden trapdoor beneath an altar though we needed the help of an archaeologist who had been imprisoned. He led us to a book that held the necessary instructions for how to open it, good thing he was there as none of the rest of us knew the language in which it was written.

The door led us to some catacombs, perhaps an old underground temple or maze wherein there was an unnatural darkness that clung to us, our torches and sunrods were of limited use. The undead and spiders roamed these halls, we could almost always hear them but could only see them when we had practically walked into them.

We had to carry the malnourished archaeologist whose state of mind was getting more fragile by the minute, he began babbling innanely or so we thought at first however amongst the garbled words there was still a sane mind fighting and he led us to a crystal at the heart of the catacombs. The crystal shot bolts of lightning at us, I was quick enough to dodge, the minotaur seemed to take the hit without effect but the archaeologist was not so lucky and what little sanity remained appeared to have gone.

Sensing further danger I leapt in to remove the crystal from it’s pedestal. It instantly shattered leaving me holding a strange metal shard. A key!

The key allowed us through a wall into a store room, seemingly frequently used. The wall reformed behind us, you’d never even know it was anything other than a wall. The kitchen staff of the castle were somewhat surprised to see us.

Our rather eventful day ended with us bartering for our freedom with the lord of the keep we had just inadvertently invaded. The trade was our help in defending his keep against an imminent orc attack.

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House Hunting: Part Two

It turns out that the inn wasn’t as abandoned as we first thought; Upstairs another group was sleeping and awoke in time to help us fend off a horde of Orcs. The inn was burned to the ground but the orcs were slaughtered.

These strangers are a strange bunch, I’m not sure if I completely trust them. I don’t doubt their abilities though having seen them fight.

The warlock was brash & brazen, seeming to revel in the chaos and madness of the fight. I think I was as scared of him as I was of the Orcs.

The other two seemed more calculating and precise, flitting in & out of the shadows & striking with ferocity and serenity in equal measure. I’ll be keeping an arrow to hand until I know more about these folks…

With the inn burned to the ground and nowhere to rest nearby we were forced to flee, the sound of many more Orcs headed our way.

Gods it feels good to be killing Orcs again!

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House hunting: Part One

Neverwinter quietened down after the events of last week. We were an item of interest for a few days though and found it hard to get away from the accusations and incessant questions. We found ourselves in a backwater inn drinking their backwash & water ale, throwing dice with a shady old guy. He claimed to be a big landholder to the east.

After several rounds I was doing rather well & decided to get a round in at the bar. Tuk, our unlikely Paladin companion, came with me and asked the gnome behind the bar about him. He didn’t have a groat to his name.

He did, under intense questioning and a cold steel arrowhead at the back of his skull, reveal that he had the title deeds to his holdfast. We took this in payment and set off the next day to inspect our winnings.

All was not well to the East though, we were waylaid on the road by bandits and have now decided to spend the night in an abandoned inn. I am currently on watch, the night is passing slowly, we boarded up the door where we…

A Goblin just ran past up the road, going the same way we are, I suspect the rest of this night might be slightly more interesting.

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Ley of Ages: Epilogue
Day Sixteen: Return to Neverwinter

The journey back was slow going, the horses bolted in the snowstorm and we had the prisoner too. We entered the palace amidst all the preparations for the Queen’s birthday celebrations. The bard was there to greet us eagerly in the royal court. We were paid our fee and the prisoner taken from us and thrown in the dungeons.

Alas, despite our efforts we did not merit an invitation. We stood close by though, straining our ears to hear the song. A thousand people filled the palace courtyard and before the music played you could have heard a mouse fart.

The music that played was not the song that we delivered, it was a cacophony, painful to the ears as were the screams that followed. The smell of sulphur filled the air as an old tall man in a red cloak pushed through the crowd and removed the massive doors from their hinges with a flick of his staff. “Stay this madness!” He bellowed and then proceeded to wreak havoc himself but very soon everything died down and he left without a further word.

What, then, happened to our song? Who was the man in red? What of the bard?

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Ley of Ages: Part Four
Day Eight: Hedging bets, songwriting, riddles & close encounters of the treacherous kind.

We awoke the next morning to find a thick covering of snow around the temple. The half-elf found (fell into) a secret chamber in the temple but nothing really came of it. We managed to negate the thicket wall by breaking one of the stone arches that bridged it to create a stone platform over it.

Before us was the citadel. From behind the thicket it was hard to gain perspective but once over, it was overwhelming. Never have I seen such a large or such a magnificent structure. The dome was easily a mile across, held aloft from the ground by hundreds of white stone pillars, each depicting two winged Elves, back to back, arms up holding the roof aloft. Once inside the dome closed on us, the pillars receding into the ground, encasing us in the most beautiful tomb. The darkness was momentary before the ceiling lit up as if it was the night sky. Elven writings lined the walls around the full circumference of the dome, the words to the song. The most beautiful poetry. The music was harder to identify until one among our number realised that the stars on the vaulted ceiling weren’t stars but notes, musical notes.

Yesterday’s foe, the elemental dragon, had been using this place for his lair and was clearly attempting to mimic dragonkin in every way, it had stashed an impressive hoard to which we helped ourselves, most helpfully finding a sypglass that seems to be able to capture images and store them for later recall. We used it to capture all the music after writing down the words to this song.

Our exit from the closed dome was somewhat more troublesome, how to get out? Would this be our tomb?

Several hours passed before we saw it, the writing on the wall was changing between the words to the song and something else, a riddle!
Four men sat down to play
And played all night ’til break of day
They played for cash and not for fun
A separate score for everyone

When it came time to settle accounts
They all had made quite fair amounts
None had lost and all had gained
Pray tell, how can this be explained?

Several more hours passed, all of us trying to think up how this could be true. The half-elf and the razorclaw got it eventually, they weren’t playing a game, they were playing music, troubadours being paid for their musicianship! The ground shook and the statues rose again.

As daylight flooded in and our eyes adjusted, we were set upon by another group set out from Neverwinter. Perhaps they got here after us, more likely they couldn’t figure out the song and decided to see if we could.

The battle was bloody and we barely made it out with our lives, they didn’t make it out with theirs bar one whom we took captive.

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Ley of Ages: Part Three
Day Seven – uphill struggle

Today was walking, a lot of walking. We’ve made camp just inside the treeline, below us is a vast forest and the marshland below that. Above us is snow and rock… too tired to write more right now & I’ve got first watch.

Day Eight – Are we there yet-i?

We set off again, this time before dawn. After several hours of marching we were set upon by two Yetis. One made the most painful screeching sound I’ve ever heard, I’m surprised it didn’t bring half the mountain down on us. We dispatched them quickly and the razorclaw made several cloaks of their pelts. I imagine they will be useful in this environment for warmth and camouflage.

Snow began to fall and the wind picked up, it wasn’t long before we I couldn’t see the Minotaur at the front when I was a the back of our little column.

We found shelter in the many arrows pass and eventually saw a far-off glimpse of the silver city.

Day eight – Later that day; Elves at the gates

When we approached the gates we were confronted by ghostly watchmen, the lingering spirits of the Avariel who died defending their city six hundred years ago. They allowed us to pass.

Inside we took refuge from the wind & snow in the temple of Sune for a moment before heading into the citadel, the most likely place, we thought, to find out prize. A magical thicket barred our way and turned out to be a trap, we were set upon by skeletons and a mighty blizzard dragon. The fight was fierce but we prevailed, now we must find a way to pass this thicket to gain entrance to the keep.—

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Ley of Ages: Part Two
Day six: The swamp

We tracked through the mists at first light. It was tough going through thick mud. After a few hours we came across a seemingly abandoned camp. I then spotted the Minotaur hiding, not too subtly, in the bullrushes ahead. Before I was able to call out he had grabbed the half-elf by the throat then something happened I didn’t expect… he spoke. Not in a voice you’d expect if Minotaurs spoke but eloquently, like one of highborn nobility.

As it turns out he is a Paladin of Bahamut and raised in the temple. Now he is a mighty warrior who, upon hearing of the goodness the Ley of Ages might bring to our blighted land, has lent his sword to bring it to the court of Neverwinter.

He also had a companion, a human girl. At first I thought her a squire or perhaps a peasant who had tagged along with him. She carried no weapons and wore no armour. Imagine my surprise when we were set upon by Hobgoblins and she began to fling them around like ragdolls. Another Psion? Perhaps I’m just being paranoid but to meet two in a lifetime would be considered unusual for most. This one does not fight like the other who I’m still not certain about if he is or isn’t. I’m also not certain this girl is human, her eyes are yellow and her skin has a bronzed quality. I’m yet to see a bead of sweat on her and she sometimes talks as someone older than she looks, much older.

The hobgoblins were fierce and knew the terrain better than we, I even thought we had lost the razorclaw at one point as he fell unconscious into the mire but our new ally, the Paladin has a good heart and healed Eltharian who leapt up out of the mud as a swift feral beast.

The Hobgoblin Shaman had been carrying a crude map with what looked like a patrol route. We surmised that the Goblin tribes were moving down to the lowlands and scouting out new territory. The map was drawn on the bark of an Everwhite, a tree that grows above the green treelines on mountainsedes to the North. The paladin of all people seemed to know the specific genus of tree as belonging to the Many Arrows Pass, about 2 days travel to the North East. We rested up and set off again at first light, this time as a five.

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Ley of Ages: Part One

Day one: The Bard
I have decided to keep a diary of our adventures. Maybe someone someday will find it interesting. Maybe one of our strange group will become someone of legend or perhaps we will witness something great or terrible in our travels that scholars will learn from or bards will sing of.
Our company is small this time out, just three of us. There is myself, my name is Fingolfin, I am a Wood Elf of Suldanesselar, a Ranger. Also among our number today was a razorclaw and a half-elf. The razorclaw I thought just another fool with a sword at first but he surprised me with both his wit and his peculiar abilities, deadly and subtle. The half-elf is a strange-looking one, he fights with axe and shield but with a focus and intensity I’ve never seen in a front-line combatant, I think he might be a psion, not too many of them around these days, not openly at least.
Our long stay in Neverwinter is finally at its end. We were summoned to the royal court, an audience with the queen we were told. As it was, things were not quite so glamorous. We were receives and sent on our way by the queen’s favorite bard, a Tiefling by the name of Charistophelem. He had a chilling a presence though I could not pinpoint the source of my discomfit with him, such is the problem when dealing with the progeny of hellspawn.
It would seem that the ley of ages, a legendary song with powerful magic has been located. It lies in the deserted city of Celeb Rathan, the silver city. Once the jewel of the Avariel, now a haunted mausoleum. The city is nestled in amongst the mountain peaks far to the North.
The song, it is said, will bring prosperity to the land for a thousand years if sung. We are to return with it in no more than one month to claim our prize. The Queen’s birthday is our deadline and the song will be sung by her favourite bard, I anticipate that he will wish to have some time to learn the song ahead of the celebrations so perhaps we have less time than we thought.
It is a tenday trek to Celeb Rathan and winters are colder still that far North. It will be no easy journey, the winter has been harsh and long, unnaturally so. We have heard tell of increasing goblin raids from goblin tribes that have been forced from their mountain homes into the lowlands.

Day two: Horsing around
We set off the next day at first light, my companions acquired some fine horses, I did not ask where from. We made haste up the northern road toward Port Llast. From there our road will head inland. The thought occurred to me, too late as it so often does, that we didn’t ask many questions and that we’re not sure what we’re looking for. Perhaps we assumed, hopefully correctly, that it will be obvious, that an artifact of such legend will be obvious to the naked eye. Maybe our furry arcane friend will know how to identify it…

Day four: Merchants and Mercy
After three days on the road without another soul in sight we met a Calimshite merchant on the road just south of Port Llast. He was waiting for a group such as ours to assist his passage through the canyon road ahead, prime ambush territory. We agreed to help escort him for a small fee. Sure enough we encountered a group of bandits led by a mage. We made short work of the bandits and the mage yielded to us but, at the merchant’s behest, one of the caravan guards ran him through without a second thought.
After the canyon we shared a meal with the merchant and bid him farewell, leaving the road behind to set out cross-country toward the northern marches and the foothills of the Spine of the World mountains.

Day five: Bogs and Goblins
We spent most of today trudging through knee-deep mud, and avoiding a Goblin raiding party, tiring work. Shortly after midday the thick fog that hung over the marshlands lifted briefly. Ahead we saw another group of travelers heading in the same direction as us. Perhaps they are one of the other groups the Bard spoke of. They were too far ahead to catch up on. We have settled down for the night in a giant rib cage. The half-elf says they are dragon bones, probably a black dragon as they favour marshlands and swamps. We are most definitely in dragon country now though, the Spine is famous for it, we will need to be wary, I don’t think we are ready to face a dragon yet.

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