Gift of Eomar

Drunk in Steingaart

After their victory, the companions spent some small time with their friends and colleagues at the Alabaster Citadel. There they bid farewell to those whose path would take them away from the companions.

The Hand and Sayer shared some time to bond together, during which time Sayer revealed a certain fear he has experienced, hidden beneath layers of bravado and grandiosity. He also in some ways entertains the idea that he is part of a force that seems capable of great things.

Akasha Delithrang and Nazeer performed a ritual to stabilize the young elf’s forray into the peculiar dream that she had been experiencing. There a peculiar hooded figure made mention of a sleeping entity within the lake, that they were keepers of the being until such a time as he is needed again. The figure also explains that the gifts that Akasha has been experiencing seems part of a greater purpose; that Akasha was integral for some reason. The figure than read Akasha’s mind, gained insight on a particular phrasing that was prominent in her mind, took the form of her friendly badger and propelled her from the Grove.

On’ogg turned in his homework, ‘mostly’ complete. He than made arrangements to continue his study while abroad, using whatever forms of communication that should present itself. Eventually he is summoned with his friends to the vestry, where he is officially sworn into the service of the Order of the Alabaster Aegis. In light of the recent events First Paladin Dhalamus Cayne suspends On’ogg’s formal training, sending him instead to investigate the threat to the World Chains of Agartha in the name of the Aegis.

At the behest of Sir Huron Amberhardt the companions then travel with Captain Castien aboard the Callehad to the city of Steingaart. Their hope is to parley with Sir Huron’s brother to gain useful information of a stronghold of some sort that they may operate from.

~

A short voyage later they arrive at the gates of the city. Disembarking for the purpose of resupplying, Nazeer mentions to the companions that they may gain the help of the Legion of Aelosus within the southern isles. The relationship of the companions and the Legion has become strong enough that the elf sees their undertaking one in the same. He mentions that though Castien agrees with the sentiment, the captain fears that personal favor for certain party members may be clouding this judgement; thus leading to inaction.

Considering this new information, the companions continue into the city proper. There a few things come to pass…

  • A disorderly drunk is thrown from a tavern.
  • Elbanor has his hammer appraised, where it is revealed to be one of a set of weapons with a great deal of mythos.
  • The Hand, taking the face of a young Madrygos buys several exotic fruits.
  • On’ogg makes an appointment with Garvin Amberhardt.
    Sayer, Akasha, Elbanor and Ogg visit the Watering Hole, where they win a large cask of dwarven ale from a boisterous tavern owner.
  • The companions are seen to Garvin Amberhardt, who reveals that the son of an old acquaintance has unofficial become his charge. The companions lease Mohr Dhoma to Garvin, which will be used for trade purposes by the Amberhardt Mercantile Company. In exchange Garvin explains that young DARIUS VAYNE has lost his father’s holdings to a band of cutthroats. He releases care of Lord Vayne to the companions.
  • The companions then cause a great scene to draw out the drunken Lord, who they’ve come to know is enamored to some great beauty of a woman named Magdella. Through use the commotion that Elbenor’s hammer had created they dredge Darius from his stupor, absconding with him back to the Callehad.
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The Mind's Eye

The companions gathered their allies and ventured north, finally to confront the Exile at the fabled site of Exeter. Though what happened there is known only to those present, it is whispered that someone …or something… scratched quill across papyrus, taking note of everything that had transpired …missing nothing with an insightful eye.

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The Old Rookery Part III

Though beleaguered by the presence of what seems to be a royal dwarf spirit within their friend Sayer, the companions press on deeper. They confront SIR FERRIC deep within the horrid Black Cells.

He had been grossly malformed, carrying plague and death as a weapon against the companions. Entombed in this place in his armor of old, he wore it still; though any adornment or trappings of the Aegis had long been scorched and blackened almost completely beyond recognition.

He claimed to be blessed by some other being and indeed transformed into a powerful creature of darkness late into the encounter. A fetid aura of pestilence hung about him; he invoked powers of plague and disease. Though he nearly brought the group low with his considerable powers of darkness, our heroes were able to vanquish the disgraced knight for good.

As the ascended the dungeons, they came across the wall fresco depicting Dyadorism. With the key they formed in the dungeons below, they found a cache of hidden treasures. They then made the night trek back to the Alabaster Citadel.

Arriving late in the evening, they sent word that The Circle should form first thing in the morning, for they brought news of consequence. Akasha Delithrang investigates some of the mysterious codex, the ‘Castrum Severaturm’. In this codex, she began learning some small introductory information on the Veridian Wardens.

When the elves formed The Conglomerate, there were some who stood apart. They, with the guidance of some benevolent entity, formed the Veridian Wardens, those who rely on the natural world that the Qual’denas, or ‘Those That Came Before’ (as it’s translated from elvish,) have set for the world of man.

On’ogg takes an opportunity to meditate on that which he had encountered below the Old Rookery Station, finding himself on the Citadel crenelations to enjoy the pre-dawn. He watched on the sun rose in between a pair of the Nobles, washing over him with light and warmth.

Soon after dawn the companions traveled to the auditorium, where The Circle had convened. Elbenor recounts their experience, explaining the pestilent state of Sir Ferric the Disgraced. He cautions that the Aegis not forget the depths of the Black Cells, for “a putrid eye had doth turned it’s evil eye upon the black heart of it’s depths”.

The Circle takes heed and Svala proclaimed her justice fulfilled. She takes leave of the counsel, obtaining the storm cleric for a private discussion as she steps away.

As the counsel makes to retire, Sayer steps forward, full of a haughty indigence at having to announce himself. He does so, calling on those of the Alabaster Aegis, an Order that his Lord Father, Thane Olaf Magnus of the Baelstraz held in such high esteem. Sayer’s voice bellows out in uncanny fashion, a glimmer in his eye as he invokes his divine mission to meet with his father’s mortal remains in the Forge of Souls, this strange place that the humans now refer to as Exeter.

Those of the counsel stare on in shock, all but one. SIR HURON recognizes these proclamations, realizing that the young adventurer has within him the soul of the Ulfar Magnus, Lost Prince of the Baelstraz Mountains. Sir Huron calls forth his brothers and sisters, announcing the royal prince as such, taking knee and offering his aid in such a worthy cause.

Any foolish enough not to follow suit finds themselves rebuked with a fervor rivaling the intensity of the sun above. Within moments the whole congregation bends the knee to the Lost Prince.

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The Old Rookery Part II

The companions continue to investigate the Old Rookery, finding themselves in the subterranean levels, among the dusty tomes and old paintings of the study. They find some small signs of struggle and a disruption in the flow of carpeting. They also noticed a malignant growth protruding from the air duct lining the bottom of the wall.

They continued down, finding a small sitting area with a large basin of cool, refreshing water. On’ogg, realizing it to have been blessed, took his fill of the holy water. They also found a intricate wall fresco, depicting the eternal conflict of Dyadorism.

The companions continued on, finding a small chantry, beyond which they witnessed the setting sun through a small passageway outside. There was a mighty clash coming from outside, the sound of heavy forged metal hitting stone. The companions rushed forward, engaging in several more abhorrent knights. They are successful in halting the knight’s attacks on a large stone seal of some sort. During the combat, The Hand passively dragged their hand across the wall as they delved.

Reckoning it to be some containment against evil, Akasha and On’ogg combine their powers to mend the stone. Tendrals of vines sprout from Akasha’s magic, filling in the damaged areas while Ogg radiates small waves of light, which harden the vines into stone.

The companions watch the sunset and use the opportunity for a short rest. They soon continue forward, sliding the heavy stone aside to reveal an old passageway, cut from the rough hewn stone of the mountain itself. They continue down.

Intrigued by the hard edges of the wall, the Hand drags their own hand across the surface passively. Continuing down some ways the companions are halted when the Hand accidentally pulls a lever, opening a hidden panel branching off of the main passageway. Climbing up a narrow flight of steps, they find a perfectly square room with a vaulted ceiling and nothing but a large mirror on a stand centered in the middle of the floor.

They spend some time dabbling with the strange ways in which the mirror reflects magical light. They find some discerning colors associated with each plain wall. They also notice that both the walls and the mirror have a deeply embedded magic about them, though inverted.

After quite a bit of experimenting, Sayer snaps his fingers with a thought and places the mirror against one of the walls, easily stepping through to a room beyond that he had found with his Gem of Truesight.

The companions venture into what they find to be four hidden rooms, one for each wall of the mirror room. With a combined effort they find a Chain from a chamber containing a scale, a Haft from the chamber containing a suit of ancient armor, a Crest from the room containing a paining of a woodland scene and a Bit from the room containing a Chalice.

Combining their pieces they gain a heavy key, with an aura of magic about it. Ogg realizes that it seems to have a similar design to that fresco they came across in the chambers above. He notes this for later investigation.

The companions delve deeper into the Black Cells. They pass through some unadorned cells before finding a peculiar, gleaming plate helm with a ruby the size of a fist centered on the front. There is a bit of discussion as to what to do with such a relic before Sayer relieves the Hand of the artifact and places it upon his noggin.

He is wracked by convulsions for a brief moment before seeming to come to. He stares at his friends without obvious recognition, eventually speaking in a voice not his own. The companions find they are now speaking to a dwarf by the name of Prince Ulfgar Magnus, son of Thane Ragno Magnus.

It seems the Prince is driven beyond the normal parameters of mortality to fulfill some ancestral duty. He seems driven by this calling, and through some small feats of trust-binding decides that the companions could help with this task.

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The Old Rookery Part I

The companions regroup in the morning, break their fast with simple fare. Sir Alfred Leomynd calls on them early, delivering a missive from the First Paladin himself, meant for the sergeant of the watch post. The instruction give the companions access to the long since sealed dungeons below the Old Rookery Station.

They set off soon after. A few hours hike finds them in the upper clefts of one of the Nobles surrounding the citadel, on the far end of the valley. A switchback trail leads up to the Old Rookery, the breeze whistling through a door standing slightly ajar. Nobody welcomes them as they press into the foyer; the watch station seems strangely unmanned.

They come across a statue of a vaguely angelic figure wielding a golden blade, the placard naming it ‘Glorenfauzt’. They take note and soon move along. They find an door that blocked from the other side, then an office with scattered papers and upturned furniture, an ominous smear of blood dragged across a chamber wall.

They find a small observation platform. They also determine that there are no reports dated past two days prior to the current day. They continue on, up a small circular stairway to the Rookery itself.

scene_-_abhorrent_knight.jpg Here they come across a pair of aberrations, grossly malformed by some horrific evil, interrupting the vile creature as it feasted upon the carcass of a bloated crow. Extraneous appendages sprout from their dead bodies, which they use to brutally attack the heroes. There is a aura of undeath about them.

The companions are up to the task and soon dispatch the creatures. They notice that they bare the trappings of Aegis knights, confirming a grim fate on at least two of the knights stationed here.

Backtracking to the level below, they use a crowbar with renewed vigor and break open the blocked door to the billets. Within they find the corpse of what must have been a survivor, determining his death to likely caused by wounds suffered by the abhorrent knights. The Hand weaves a spell around the corpse, animating the poor soul to find clues through conversation.

The man claims to have been caught unawares while he and his colleagues delivered goods to the outpost. In the chaos, he suffered a mortal wound and blockaded himself in the sleeping quarters, where he would eventually succumb to his injuries.

The companions press on into the depths of the outpost. Spiraling down deep into the mountainside, the stairwell leads them into an unlit passageway. They come across a small room with a heavy tome, names listed with some irregularity. Continuing on they find several alcoves; each with several brass urns. Countless mementos clutter the area, including several sealed notes and missives, each with a coin sunk into it’s waxen seal.

The decided it best to not interfere with the shrines and continue forth, to a split in the passage. To one path lies a long hall with a small flight of steps leading into the darkness beyond. The other path opens into a comfortable receiving room, with many substantial paintings and a few shelves with old literature lining the walls.

The companions investigate the study, finding one painting in particular quite intriguing. Upon further inspection, they notice it not a painting at all but a peculiar snapshot of the scene it depicts, like a window to the scene, with just the shades of black and grey detailing the image.

heroes_of_exeter.jpg

It was labeled the ‘Heroes of Exeter’ and depicts Ahrumaz and her band of companions in the harsh tundras of the far north. It listed there names. Among the names listed they are surprised to find Marobar Sul . Sure enough they recognize his likeness, though a much, much younger man, standing among the heroic friends of Ahrumaz, fabled hero of the Giant Gate Wars and legendary leader of the Alabaster Aegis.

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Calling on the Aegis
1179

The companions regroup before their final trek to the Alabaster Citadel. Sayer the Swashbuckler calls upon Captain Castien, who is happy to report that the state of the Callehad is far less dire than at first was expected. The companions efforts to outfit the ship with reinforced skystone plates have payed off serious dividends in their effort.

Akasha Delithrang calls upon Nazeer for guidance in regard to the inquiries she had made on the ‘Veridian Wardens’. He mentions that he remembers having a conversation with one of the acolytes of the Scribes that hinted at said knowledge. He directs her to find a place where old tomes and scrolls be kept, then call upon him through means of the arcane to receive further instructions.

Elbanor Thaspeclepior, On’ogg and The Hand fall into the company of Noble Squad and as a whole they set out into the Gates of Benediction, delving at a downward grade down into the northern cliffs of the valley. The tunnel they found themselves in was as well kept as it was long. They continued for some time with only sconces of burning brazers to mark their progress. After about ten minutes they saw a gleam of light at the far end, signifying the exit.

Once through, they found the valley much more hospitable than the region would suggest. They had dropped some elevation in the trek through the Gates and the ground was still marked by snow patches escaping the sun’s rays under at the edge of the treeline.

They continue to the Citadel, are escorted by Judith ‘the Noose’ to the Scribe’s Archives, by way of the dining facilities. Ogg inquires about some required reading and is assigned some book-work by Alfred Leomynd, the First Scribe of the Aegis. The Hand offers their assistance, but Ogg decides that perhaps Elbanor is the better companion suited to wax philosophical virtues.

Akasha inquires with First Scribe on the certain subject of the Veridian Wardens. He seems genuinely stumped, so she offers the scroll which she received in the dreaming as a clue. He finds it most interesting and gains permission by the young elf to transcribe to contents, a task which he sets his acolytes to immediately. He is unable to produce meaningful text on the Wardens besides.

Sayer peels away from the group to find more suitable accommodations. He is seen to their lodgings. The Aegis had set them in the formal guest quarters; though lacking any obvious manner of refinement, it was certainly comfortable and well appointed.

He then made his way to conquer the task of growing thirst. Running into the familiar face of supply sergeant McGee, he accepts the invitation to the officer’s lounge for refreshments. While enjoying said company, Sayer listened with some intent on the buzz around the lounge, namely that the Circle had been called for emergency deliberations, that such hasty arrangements were a peculiarity.

The Hand makes attempt to poke around the First Scribe’s office after he departs to his meeting with the Circle, but is quickly set upon by a passing acolyte. Feigning a head injury, the Hand is successful in convincing the young man into believing their trauma. Much to the Hand’s dismay, though, the acolyte now seemed duty-bound to transport them to a medical professional.

Once delivered, a doctor of sorts informs The Hand of the nature of traumatic experiences and their potential to disrupt the natural recall of memories, creating a void of mental capacity. He also warned that though it may be difficult, that delving into said trauma may be to only way to unpack and assuage what he called this ‘dark baggage’. Somewhat shaken by this apparent revelation, the Hand takes their leave after requesting a shiny bauble from his cabinet of medicinal curios.

Some time later Elbanor is called on by a runner from The Circle. His presence seems requested by Svala, a summons he takes immediately. The attendant sees him out of the Citadel and up a forest path to the outdoor auditorium, where The Circle had convened.

Svala calls Elbanor to act in her name as an agent in her stead. His charge would be to confirm the proof of punishment for a Knight that she knows to be integral in her capture by the giants deep within the mountains. He is told that Sir Ferric had been interred some three decades prior in the ‘Black Cells’, the dungeons below what is now an active guard outpost name the ‘Old Rookery’. The man under question had refused any nourishment and has been presumed dead since shortly after his internment began. The ‘Black Cells’ have long since been discontinued and nearly forgotten.

Meanwhile Ogg takes the opportunity to wander about the Citadel for a time. He finds himself on one of the outer crenelations and runs into a young paladin who says that her friends call her ‘Mouse’. Indeed the young lady seems just barely scraping into an age of growth, a so called ‘late bloomer’ as it goes. She mentions having a keen appreciation for a certain star in the sky, a cosmic brightness that sheds some reminder that the divine are shining down on the realm of mortals. A little perplexed, Ogg notices that Mouse has a strength of divine power among her and attempts to continue the conversation, but the young lady soon vanishes around a corner.

He eventually calls upon Knight Marcus Dunham, the head smithy of the Aegis. On’Ogg gives a small practical demonstration of the peculiar sword, a presentation that results in the complete destruction of a dummy target. Knight Dunham, an expert in his own right in the ways of weapons and steel, turns his trained eye in the aura of red energy around the violence. He seems to recognize the curse gripping the orc and brings him to his great forge.

Thereupon Knight Dunham commands Ogg to submerge the blade into a basin of holy water. Ogg complies, and with some peculiar reluctance plunges the sword into the water. A blast of dark energy erupts from the basin, cracking the polished stonework in the process. A shadowy malevolence washes over the room briefly before slamming several acolytes onto the ground and flitting down towards the training grounds.

Ogg and the Knights rush out into the yard with several torches only to catch a tail end of darkness taken form. They look on to watch as it flits into the treeline some distance away.

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Blessed of Ak'leksion

The recently freed jotunbrud proclaimed herself to be Akir’thanalan, blessed of the Storm Father … but demanded that the small-folk on board the Callehad call her Svala. The giant took the time to appraise her diminutive liberators and judged Elbanor to indeed carry some blessing of Ak’leksion.

Their dialogue was cut short by Svala, who sensed of those she mention to have been ‘once her kinsman’ but that they had ‘steered themselves down a different path long ago’. The companions disembark the rattled Callehad and investigate, finding several demons emerge from the misty crevices of the mountain. Svala begins channeling a prayer.

Several of the assailants are dispatched by the companions before Svala finishes her age-old invocation to Ak’leksion. Suddenly her massive palm slams down and shatters the remaining demons in a chain of lightning. Making short work of those she proclaims to be agents of the mountain giants, Svala finds the companions worthy. She lifts the Callehad over a giant shoulder and begins carrying them to a place she calls Exeter…

They attempt to reason with Svala who is waylaying their progress… but they find her resolve unflinching until they mention their hope to visit the Alabaster Citadel. This seems to spark some deep thought and Svala agrees to make way for the ancient holdings of the Aegis.

~

The mighty Svala had cut a path deep through the vast peaks of the Khalkist Mountains, winding her way through places of sheer rock cliffs and wide, misty gorges. She came upon a long basin known to her as the Vale of Huron; the ancestral home of the Alabaster Aegis …surely named so after some former Gallant of the knights. A mere breathe on the winds of time, she thought as she recalled the ancient rites to this place… A’guur Romagaath.

From the vantage of those on board the deck of the Callehad, the great Lady of the storms seemed as if to wade through tall grass, so did the pines and poplars crowd in about her waist. Though the valley had been many leagues in length, the span side to side would have hardly been more than a day’s hike across. With a slight incline marked by hillocks and braes, the blessed of Ak’lecsion carried on… past heavy stone cairns marking the path for the much smaller denizens of the mountains.

Aboard the Callehad the passengers find little warmth from the daylight. Indeed, though the sun shined brightly over the western horizon, it gave naught to lessen the brisk chill that cut through cloak and spirit alike. The Captain had coordinated the restoration of the dirigible and shoring of the hull, the aligning of steerage and the shoring up of line-works. Once the assignments had been arranged, the Captain retired to his cabin.

Still Svala continued on. Now you find yourself in the terminus of this valley, ensconced to the south by the misty peaks of the Khalkist mountains and the Nobles looming over you to the north, with the sculpted smooth stone of the Gates of Benediction nestled among their craggy cliffs. Recently deposited near the road leading up to the Gates, the Callehad almost seems forgotten among the tension between Svala and the Knights.

Suddenly Knight Renault Mallory separates himself from the crowd of foot soldiers and appeals for prudence through armistice in a voice for all to hear. His voice rings soundly through the crisp, mountain air and seems to dissolve the hostility … for now.

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The Storm Peaks

The companions take their place among the crew of the Callehad in it’s voyage to the Alabaster Citadel to rendezvous with the Order of the Alabaster Aegis.

The Hand learns the value of a hard day’s work through hull-painting and mineral crushing. In the process, the young warlock also gains valuable insight on the mannerisms of the elves of the Legion.

While lingering on deck observing the scene, Sayer notices adverse weather in their distant path. Knowing the need, he volunteers himself and his colleagues to assist as necessary. Later that evening an advisory is disseminated throughout the crew, confining the crew outside direct duties to the decks below as a safety precaution.

Early the next morning his squad is called upon and set to a series of tasks which Sayer delegates with some demeanor of polished professionalism. Though his friends at first have a slow start, they soon gain some footing at the tasks after a on-the-fly adjustment on his part.

First Mate Nazeer runs the duties through short-shifts, considering the harsh weather. The companions eventually finish their work and are soon rotated out. Returning to down time activities, Sayer becomes aware of a growing concern among the elven crew. There seems to be an ominous voice on the wind. He joins his elven compatriots in investigating and indeed hears a strange, ominous sound between the whistling gale of the weather.

He alerts his friends and they discuss the implications. On’ogg remembers that the ‘Forge of Souls’ had a close tie to the giants of this region and their history with the Alabaster Aegis. Elbanor remembers that the giants are often greatly blessed by the Lords of the Elemental Planes. Feeling a calling by his own Lord Ak’Lexzion he rushes to the main deck to observe this anomaly for himself.

Some ways distant he takes notice of a silent crashing thunder, deep within the roiling blizzards roiling around the summits of the Khalkist mountain range. The Khalkist acts as a natural barrier within the Ironback mountains in the great north, beyond which the vast tundras lay sprawling as far as the eye can see.

Believing this a sign, he calls forth a mastery of the elements around him, summoning his own booming lightning around the area of the ship. Those on deck take cover amidst the violent display of charged elemental might. As they recover, several of the crew, Nazeer among them move to apprehend the cleric.

Entranced by the spell, Elbanor finds himself equal to the task of staving off his assailants. Indeed, rapt in the splendor of the lightning around him, the young man doesn’t notice as the ship is torn from it’s trajectory, caught in a slipstream that bends it’s course towards the heart of this fierce blizzard.

Moments into this cutting weather Captain Castien calls for all hands on deck, to “..Save the ship!”. With his heart pounding in his chest, Elbanor takes a position on the nose of the forecastle, dodging crates as they become detached from their moorings. The rest of the companions aid in the efforts of recovery, securing the lines as the cutting winds threaten to tear the ship from it’s dirigible (the balloon).

Combining their efforts, the companions are successful in securing the rigging, only to hear Elbanor call out that they are almost through. Suddenly they burst through the swirling mass of the blizzard, barreling into the relatively calm of the eye.

With their speed, they find themselves hurtling towards the tallest peak among the Khalkist. Atop what must be an ancient platform carved into the throat of said peak they see a colossal crystal formation, an encasement of roughly hewn ice. They are startled to see a a figure of colossal size, humanoid in features but larger than anything they had ever seen. A giant, to be sure, encased in the ice.

Noticing the frame, they see the giant to be female. The only signs of life to be seen are the soft hum of cold blue light radiating through the ice around the giant’s eyes, catching on minute cracks within the crystalline formation.

With the last of their efforts, the crew attempt to slow their speed with emergency rigging, but find only one able to be deployed, the others caught in the mess of the lines. With the intact sail dropped, the Callehad careens forward on it’s side. Castien calls out for all hands to “…brace for impact!”, before the ship slams it’s starboard side into the sheer edge of the ice.

The deep cracking of ice can be heard beneath the the Callehad’s ancient ironwood hull splintering, long persisting as the airship rebounds off it’s impact. The hull itself begins a wide arc, seeming to tie up it’s line as the dirigible itself bounces off the impact. The crater of shattered ice reverberates through the massive formation and those still standing look on bewilderingly as a massive crack breaks free an arm of the giant.

The giant uses her freed arm to blast the rest of the formation into glacier size chunks, the pieces falling all around the ship, creating blasts of avalanches below. Still careening aside, those upon the Callehad watch helplessly as the giant stands to her feet, bringing up a massive arm to intercept the ship.

Bracing for another impact, those upon the ship are thrown about as the giant hand closes around the hull of the airship. Large plates of metal cover her arms as a scaled armor, shining with resplendent energy. The armor climbs higher and higher on the figure, capping on a similarly fashioned helm around a feminine face marked by eyes the color of lightning and brimstone. Not unkindly, the giant holds it steady and leans down; eyes the size of wagon wheels leveling with those on deck.

She calls out, her voice booming with a energy in itself, “Hear me …… those .. who have called … the storm ……….. for .. you .. have FOUND HER~!!!!”.

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New Day Dawning Part II

The elves of the Callehad make a point to leave at sunset on the following day, so the companions continue to sew up the loose ends while still in Khalsbrad.

the First Paladin, Sir Dhalamus Cayne invites On’ogg to join him while he breaks his fast, where they wax philosophical on the nature of the Light. Sensing the radiant Gift with Ogg, he calls the orc to the Alabaster Citadel to continue his training with a more structured curriculum. Ogg decides to deny the appeal, at least for now, until he’s dealt with the pressing issue of Sytheria. Upset by the necessity of putting off this formal invitation, Ogg agrees to call upon the Aegis before they set out farther north.

Elbanor keeps his appointment with Nozzalthorp Frayfeather within the Tower of Solastarum, where the gnomish tinkerer begins grafting a gauntlet device in lieu of the cleric’s missing hand.

Akasha, Sayer the Swashbuckler and The Hand join Baatu and his friend Marobar Sul within the depleting company among the Black Star Tavern, where they trade stories for a time.

They then drop in to see Lord Boswell, who seems to have dropped into a governing position within the city. Though he chafes at the responsibility, he doesn’t appear to deny the position (temporary as he assumes it surely must be). They then make way to the apartments of Sir Zeliek, formally of the Minutemen militia of Khalsbrad. They find the building sealed off, under order of Commander Jules Maynard himself.

Within the meager chambers they find signs of what must have been a prolonged internment of a small person on a child sized bed. Nearby, they find pieces of what must have been a porcelain object. Within the room alongside, they find a larger bed next to an equipment rack bereft of any armor. There is the remains of a large rune beneath the child’s bed, burnt into the wood of the floor. It appears to be of the conjuring energy type. Within the room itself is the palpable feeling of dread, made thick by a faint miasma that is reminiscent of the magical hues of Khalsbrad during the Night of Lights. They destroy any remnants of the conjuration runes and depart.

The group convene within the Tower to find Elbanor, who is still undergoing his procedure. They find the scribes of the Aegis noticeably tense as they go about their charting. The calculations don’t seem entirely possible and the bring a sense of doom. The group meet with Frayfeather just as Wilhelm von Keurig is confronting the architect about what his own findings seem to forewarn. Apparently the fluctuation of the ley lines are destabilizing the very space that the Tower is founded upon, tearing at the normalized laws of physical normalcy.

Frayfeather seems unresponsive to such calculations from so obviously inept a source, but concedes that there are certain peculiarities gripping the area. The debate swiftly devolves into a half-sized brawl, complete with an array of flying projectiles. Tools, sprockets, small curiosities; anything not already bolted down was quickly taking flight between the gnomes.

Finding the Tower to be less safe a conference area by the moment, the companions secure a mid-procedural Elbanor from the worktable, as well as the two gnomes and make their way back out to the grounds around the Tower. On the way a series of lights and a tinny alarm begins sounding, they are pleased to see all within the Tower making as hasty an exit as they can.

With mere minutes to apparent meltdown, the Hand separates themself and makes a break for the private study of Master Madrygos. The Hand finds the librarian and warns the construct of the imminent arcane anomaly. The librarian attempts to relieve the Hand of their concern, explaining that it’s tethering to the study is not held in contempt, indeed it’s task gives the construct purpose. The Hand seems saddened, but concedes to Sora’s intention to stay with the Tower. The Hand quickly departs.

Within minutes, the Tower of Solastarum is consumed by arcane energy and folds in on itself, leaving a crater hewn into the ground itself, sporadically marked the offshoots of subterranean passageways. The crater is quickly filled water spilling in from Lake Edelweiss, flowing like a crashing torrent to consume the void area.

All those able watch in shock to see the spectacle; the whispers of small pockets of people made audible by the stark silence of the lost Tower.

The group fall back to the Callehad to again plan their course of action.

~

The next morning the companions set out to their own tasks. The Hand climbs to the top of the blimp and spends much of the morning and then afternoon contemplating all that they had learned. They notice much from the height, not least of which the bands of Knights of the Alabaster Aegis departing to the northwest. They also take notice of the blank canvas of the balloon with piqued interest.

Ogg calls upon Sir Osterrick within the counsel offices of the Khalsbrad Municipal chambers. He finds the Prefect going about the business of managing the city. Ogg communicates that the gravity of the death of Knight Raleigh is not lost on him, as Sir Osterrick suggests that the orc remember what happened when moving forward, to use it as a reminder of what brought him to this point and a catalyst to make the best of such an opportunity.

Sayer finds himself in a state of restlessness. Without the threat of imminent danger, his thoughts tend to settle back into disagreeable subjects. He seeks out some of his elvish friends aboard the Callehad and they depart to do some light sparring outside the city. Noticing his agitated state, they bring him on an afternoon hunt to slay a wild beast that is hounding travelers on the Fairfield road. They track the great beast into the craggy foothills of the Khalkist mountains and eventually slay the beast, bringing back a massive trophy to the crew.

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Elbanor continues his procedure aboard the Callehad, well below deck.

Akasha approaches Nazeer about some personal dreams she had been experiencing, dating back a long time. They seemed all the more relevant now that she had gained the peculiar ability to change her shape into animals almost completely at will. Connecting the portents, the experienced magus demands her to delve it’s secrets. He brings her to his small chambers and begins the preparations to induce such exploration. She falls asleep and begins experiencing the dream again, though with much more lucidity than ever before.

In the dream she walks through the foreign yet familiar landscape of a dense forest, following a shallow creek that meanders into a deep pond. She hears faint rhythms of music, almost too soft to hear. She follows the edge of the water and is surprised to find herself among several figures, standing still as statues. She attempts to question the nearest, speaking in a language she knows but doesn’t recognize. The figure responds only by unfolding their hands from the depths of heavy robes, producing a sealed scroll and handing it to the bewildered young elf.

As she accepts, she finds herself consumed by an radiant energy, suffering somewhat from it’s white hot intensity. She falls, kicking and screaming. The pain wracks her body a moment before she finds herself being roused by Nazeer, back in his small cabin. The pain subsides, leaving no mark but it’s brief memory and even that seems less distressing as she remembers. Indeed, the events would likely be soon forgotten had she not held in her hand the scroll from the mysterious figure.

She reads the script as lines of a strange poem, knowing not what it means. She conveys it to Nazeer, who is also at a loss as to it’s meaning, though it signed as ‘Veridian Warden’ strikes him as noteworthy. He confesses himself unable to glean much, but suspects that he heard that moniker some time before. He dismisses the young elf, conveying a need to study his tomes and scrolls for more information.

Ogg and the Hand experiment with dunking their head in a deep barrel of rainwater. Sayer returns with the elvish hunters, prize in tow. There’s a peculiar scent of burning pipestuffs, but Sayer isn’t quite able to place it’s origin. Akasha visits Captain Castien Vauldra, who is in his cabin consulting charts and maps, plotting his course. Happy for her company, he continues his work as she plays him light music. Intrigued by the scroll, which she realized is as much musical notes and verse as it is the cryptic poem, plays the song as written.

All who hear, including those on the deck of the Callehad experience an intense lethargy, then fall into a deep slumber. Akasha herself is beset by the enchantment. Some time later, the knights of Noble Squad awaken the bewildered crew of the Callehad.

They had been delivering Aegis crates aboard the ship and found the strange scene at a time just before dusk. Ogg inquires of their status, as they seem to have insignificant tasks delegated to them on the regular. They appraise him of the merit system, which he finds interesting. He mentions that perhaps they could assist with the companion’s soon to be foray to the north.

Captain Castien, perturbed by the stoppage of work, took pains to reacquaint the crew to their tasks. The Callehad jostles a bit due to the tasks. From below deck, Wihelm von Keurig repremands those within earshot to steady the area, as exacting work was being performed on the cleric well below deck. None of the companions seen this as an oddity.

Within the hour they had taken flight, setting course for the Alabaster Citadel.

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New Day Dawning Part I

The companions awaken to find the Black Star a convergence point for Minutemen forces working in shifts to retake the city of Khalsbrad.

The Hand is confronted by On’ogg about the strange crimson stone that was taken from Hush upon the necromancer’s demise. Hand claims to have it stowed away and promises to bring it to the Tower of Solastarum, where they will convene some time later.

Though somewhat distraught, Ogg concedes and makes his way with Akasha Delithrang and Sayer to the grounds. As they depart they convene briefly with Thranka Suun accompanied by an unknown scoundrel of a mage.

Thranka welcomes Sayer to join her; to return to the sea. With an sense of responsibility still quite new to him, Sayer decides to continue their course to see this adventure through. There’s a heartfelt goodbye, and Thranka departs, presumably through the arcane portal that Darrek and his colleagues are conjuring.

The Hand breaks away and explores the landscape just beyond the walls of Khalsbrad. They find a bit of privacy and attempt to commune with an unknown greater power. There is a response, beckoning them to bring the Scepter before it. There seems to be a way to travel through the extra planar space to the entity, though it require at least one sentient anchor as a component to the sorcery.

Elbanor avoids the general drama of his companions by making an appointment with Nozzalthorp Frayfeather, requesting the gnomish tinkerer’s aid in grafting a salvaged mechanical arm onto his missing limb. He then calls on the elves of the Callehad finding Captain Castien in recovery, but hopeful.

Meanwhile Ogg, Akasha and Sayer continue to the grounds around the Tower where the Alabaster Aegis has taken position. A supply officer shows them around before escorting them to the command tent.

There they find SIR OSTERRICK; Ogg presents the old knight with the mortal remains of one of their Order, from the Errant Expeditionary. Sir Osterrick seems greatly troubled, inquires as to what the circumstances are that Ogg came into possession of such a thing. He then places Ogg and his friends under arrest for crimes for suspicious of murder of one Catherine Raleigh, his own daughter.

~

Ogg, Akasha and Sayer find themselves tied to a post in a small tent some not far from the command area. After about an hour, Sir Osterrick dismisses the guards, who he finds eager to be rid of Sayer’s muffled insults. The old Knight is fuming and begins interrogating Ogg, who divulges all information regarding Karth Drachum killing Knight Raleigh in the jungles of southern Collabria.

Sir Osterrick makes smack of Ogg’s face then notices the young orc gather his emotions and control his rage, which subdues the old man’s own zeal. He then listens to the rest of the orc’s story and decides it to be truth. He releases the companions and informs them that they should await the pleasure of the First Paladin for further guidance.

The companions make their way to the mess tent, taking in a meal. The tent is empty besides a small group of Knights seeming to stretch their ale ration. The companions take seat, but soon they are displaced from the larger table as dozens of young Knights return from field work.

In the commotion the small group of Knights who had been seating on the far corner raises draws attention by raising a mug ‘to the heroes who saved Khalsbrad’. There is a raucous cheer before he continues, more specifically distinguishing the companions for their achievements in the critical role of dropping the otherworldy shield around the city. The cheers around the tent turn quickly to jeers.

After the turbulence fades, the companions make way to make the acquaintance of this eccentric gentleman and his colleagues. He introduces his friends as those of Noble, a squad of misfits and ragabouts. The companions stay a while, enjoying the company of Noble before being called fetched for the First Paladin himself.

Meanwhile, the Hand has meandered back towards Solastarum. Some ways from the encampment they are set upon by by a Knight of a different sort. Baron Samael approaches and suggests a small stroll by the lake. The Hand attempts to regain their own will, feeling the briefest whisper of doubt in their actions. They find resistance to be fruitless.

Samael takes possession of the scarlet crystal that was gained after defeating the dread necromancer Hush. Then citing the Hand’s benefactor as a power not to be crossed lightly, allows a favor to be called upon when the young warlock is in need.

The Hand soon rejoins their other companions at the command tent, where Sir Dhalamus Cayne is receiving Ogg, Akasha and Sayer. They soon sort out the drama of Knight Raleigh’s death to a favorable end for all. Sir Dhalamus also thanks the companions for their part in toppling the evils within Khalsbrad.

By this point both Elbanor and the Hand have rejoined the group, the cleric coming in tow with Nazeer, Castien’s second in command. The elves of the Legion want to continue their coordinated efforts with the Aegis and formally give their thanks to the companions in their efforts within Solastarum, not least of which the recovery of their Captain.

Honoring the companions with ceremony, he gifts them several powerful items recovered from the Tower. Impressed, Dhalamus also invites Ogg to join the Aegis at the Alabaster Citadel to formally begin his paladin training in the ways of the Order.

Deeply moved, the companions fall back to the Callehad to mull over the day’s events.

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