Original Start Date: July 27, 2019
The game resumes in Silverymoon, where Fortune’s Irregulars has must foiled a Doppelganger plot to provoke a civil war among the Dwarf Kingdoms of the North. A peace conference is about to get underway.
The Peace Conference
Fortune’s Irregulars decides to intervene and request a chance to speak, which is granted after they petition Mediator Aurum.
At the meeting, Vorai makes the case to the dwarf Kings that they have been ill-used by the real enemy behind the doppelgangers – The Cult of the Dragon. Using illusion magic, Ander shows them the visage of Severin, the Red Wyrmspeaker. While a couple of the dwarfs at the meeting express some reservations about further entanglements as they pull back from the brink of civil war, all are eventually won over by the party’s persuasion.
In Memory of Roark Kincaid
A few days pass uneventfully, and then a celebration is held for the life of Roark Kincaid. Takes place in the High Ballroom of Herald’s Holdfast – a large banqueting hall with a domed ceiling comprised mainly of stained-glass windows depicting Oghma, Milil, Deneir and Corellon Latherian. A 7-piece ensemble plays high classical music that fills the room. There are about 50-60 attendees from the school, and about another 30 or so others. The arrival of Laeral Silverhand, accompanied by Mediator Aurum and Osman Moonfinger, kicks off the party. Other attendees of note:
Lorelio Harpell (human male), Amelia Terlanagon (female elf), and Belloch Skanrfark (Ol’ Snuffletooth; half-orc male), and other Masters at the school.
Gavin Silverlark, a twenty-year old human male student is sitting by the fountain chatting with a couple friends and playing jacks (Big Fred, a female dwarf named Mathilda, and a male half-elf named Claudius).
Vasko (a purple tiefling), a Harper Agent and his wife Ivory (an albino tiefling), who is an agent of the Zhentarim.
The elderly Tallisker the Younger, an artificer and gunsmith.
Xara Tantlor, owner of The Shining Scroll. Abbilonia Marthain (a large blond, buxom woman), owner of The Silver Shield.
Inspirator Savras a high priest of Oghma who will perform a brief memorial service.
Researchers already investigating Dragon Cult – a High Elf (Astrid), a fastidious Tabaxi (Perrin), and a halfling (Hubert) attend the banquet.
Belloch Skarnfark approaches Grellosh, suspicious, beligerent and angry, demanding to know who put him up to it, that he will not be mocked! This is because he recognizes the belt that Grellosh wears, though for the record, it should be missing one gemstone, not two!
It quickly becomes clear that Belloch may know something of the belts history, and after some convincing he accepts Grellosh‘s word that he’s not part of some joke being played on him. As the foremost expert on Orcish History and Civilization, he is not a professor much sought out by others. Belloch confirms the story of Wodugog that he’d heard from the storm giant ghost in The Tempest’s Eye.
Wodugog went on to found the first great empire of the orcs that covered the Silver Marches and much of the Sword Coast down to where Waterdeep now stands. But eventually he over-extended himself and was forced to come to an agreement with the giants, striking a deal with King Hekaton of the Storm Giants. As part of the deal he had to surrender one of the Heimskring Stones, which Hekaton had mounted as the pommel stone of his great sword.
Belloch, finding someone actually interested in his research, explains that he has much more he could tell him about the belt, and some important archaeological finds and invites Grellosh to come see him in his chambers some time soon.
Enter Maximillian de Rigueur
The attention of the room is drawn towards the door as Maximillian de Rigueur arrives, is attire is a bit travel warn but stylish, his hair swept back handsomely. He is accompanied by an elegant high elf cleric of Corellon Larethian (knowledge aspect) named Valorna Daesa, and he carries his pseudodragon, Zef. He professes his sadness at the news of Roark‘s passing, and shock at hearing of Vosz Draken’s actions in murdering Roark.
Valorna carries a tome with her, but Aesar is disappointed to discover it is not Corrin of Oghma’s book. Max looks at him knowningly with an amused expression. The book she carries is Lost Treasures of Ostoria.
While Max makes his scene, he also drops the lure that he has located the probable location of The Draakhorn, the legendary Dragon-summoning horn crafted in the dying days of the giant empire of Ostoria. It is a prize that the Cult is desperate to find, and one that the “side of good” must surely seize first. But not to worry, he and his compatriots are up to the task!
They are not shy about sharing information, and Valorna presents her ancient tome, which claims the Draakhorn was part of the horde captured by Thane Hylaea Orebones, a Stone Giant Queen, after she slew Cobaltfyre the ancient blue wyrm long ago. Hylaea is said to have used an area known as Deadstone Cleft as her seat of power, and it has long been suspected that it was somewhere in the Nether Mountains. The book they have discovered suggests that the village of Deadsnows derives its name from the cleft, which is located north of the village.
Max emphasizes that legend states that Hylaea became paranoid and corrupted by her wealth and struck a bargain with a dark god or devil to create the perfect tomb of horrors that none might dare to take her hoard. Aesar is certain that Max is slyly testing him to learn if he has discovered the Heart Room, and also certain that Max knows he knows.
Max says his team will soon be leaving on an expedition to retrieve the Draakhorn for the good of the realm. Aesar recognizes tha the giant carving depicted in the book contains the same cypher that Ander had discovered previously in a book. He memorizes the page in order to re-create it so that Ander might decode it.
Enter Zora Fel
The next significant arrival comes in the alluring figure of Zora Fel, tiefling songstress and Harper Agent. Her hair looks a little tussled and she is smoothing her dress like she’s just slipped into it, but quickly gets her game face on. She is surprised to find Max and Aesar in conversation. She is cool toward the former and warm to the latter.
Drawing Aesar aside, she shows him the contents of a satchel she is carrying – the Mask of the White Wyrmspeaker. She explains that she stole it from a disreputable dwarf named Varram the White; his cold clammy hands were awful but worth the prize. She intends to bring it to Laeral Silverhand and pass the responsibility to someone of much greater power than she.
Enter the Mystery Girl, Reality Breaks
Next to arrive is a diminutive dark-haired human female monk, clad in white robes with a soft pink flower pattern and carrying a staff on her back capped with a dark orb, who rushes up to Ander purposefully.
Ander. Your attention is pulled in a different direction, to a figure making its way through the crowd and marked by a dark stone atop a staff. Its as though time seems to slow, as figures beyond the figure seem to lose speed and then freeze in place. Emerging from beyond a group of scholars from the Holdfast, you see a petite and exotic woman with dark black hair cut short and emerald green eyes. You recognize her as a Mulan human from the far east. As she draws close, you see the periphery of the room flatten into two dimensions.
She walks right up to you and pulls your face close.
Listen to me now Ander Stoneraven for I have not much time.
As she says this, everything around you appears to snap frozen in time, only the two of you have some limited, slow motion. Glancing around, you see the entire periphery of the room begin to flatten.
The day will soon come when we meet for the first time, do not take my actions on that occasion to heart. You MUST make me see that we are NOT enemies. We wasted too much time fighting each other.
You notice more of the room collapse, the effect stretching towards you. There is something like a creaking noise. The woman looks around, appearing frantic.
Dammit. I thought I’d have more time. [She grabs his face more forcibly] Listen, and remember, by the goddess remember. The Star Chamber are not to be trusted, use them if you must, but never trust them. Remember, they are our true enemy.
Reality begins to ‘bend’ around you as the flattening effect reaches your vicinity. A loud ‘pop’ resounds through the silence and you feel a slight pull, looking over you see in one of the odd panes of reality around you, a small hole has appeared, and stretching out from it… cracks.
Paradox has caught up with me! Listen, the girl is everything, she is all that matters. Remember that if nothing else! There are two sides to every coin, you must make me see it sooner! She must be freed! You must remember!
She leans in and kisses you on the mouth, it is a desperate and passionate kiss. She pulls back slightly and glances around.
This was always one of your favourite stories to tell, my love, I wish I could witness it fully.
She kisses you again, pulls back –
Good luck with the dragons.
And then she too goes still. As you pull back you notice that she too has become frozen in time. You feel your own legs go rigid, immobile.
There is a large splintering crash, and whoosh, as reality breaks away like broken glass and a large brilliant white fissure appears, nearly blinding you. Only your eyes can now move.
You begin to see strange small figures emerge from the glowing tear in reality. They are bizarre creatures, in an array of geometric shapes with large eyes and spindly limbs. Regular three-dimensionality begins to be restored, though everything remains frozen in place. With a flash, the tear grows larger, several of the creatures burning up in its force.
You hear a sound to your left and glancing over you see a portal has appeared and a figure steps out of it. He appears a handsome male tiefling, with a trim dark beard, dressed in immaculate and rich robes of red and gold, a high collar framing his face. Tucked under one arm he carries a gold rod, capped by the largest ruby you have ever seen. He looks at the glowing and expanding tear with curiosity, and then after a moment looks over directly at you. You feel a push against your mind, but his attention is distracted as another portal appears and a large figure steps forth. Humanoid in shape, though with a teal blue smooth skin and bald head, he sports two large white feather wings. In his hand he carries a flaming sword.
The two begin to quarrel in a strange language you cannot comprehend, but break off at the appearance of a third figure who appears silhouetted in the fissure itself. Ander catches a glimpse of metal skin before the fissures glows blindingly brighter, and then with a blink – you are back in the banquet hall, listening to the music and general hum of the room.
That’s when the beautiful stained-glass windows overhead suddenly explode as several white dragons bearing Dragonwing cultists come sweeping in.
A Battle of Ice and Frost
The attack is led by Varram the Icemonger, and evil dwarf cleric and attuned owner of the White Wyrmspeaker mask. He sits atop the white dragon, Brymscythe, who bears the scars of her last encounter with Fortune’s Irregulars. They are accompanied by an adolescent white dragon, Sleite, and two wyrmlings. The smaller dragons carry large nets, with a host of Dragonwing cultists clinging to them until they drop down into the room. Varram knows the room is likely to have powerful casters, but he is desperate to retrieve the Dragon Mask and hopes for a snatch and grab and is prepared to sacrifice all his followers in the task.
However he is not alone in desiring the the mask – unknown to all, a half-elf senior cultist by the name of Talis the White has also come to the banquet and is keeping to the edges of the room. She has her own adult dragon, Direfrost, waiting nearby to evacuate her, and white dragonborn followers planning a surprise distraction attack. Her main ploy comes in the form of two Invisible Stalkers she has pressed into service to steal the mask and bring it to her. As the ceiling explodes, one of the two Invisible Stalkers has just accomplished the theft and is on its way over to her. She carries an Elemental Gem holding a powerful Ice Elemental that she uses as her first line of defense.
As the battle unfolds and the two rivals become aware of each other’s presence, they fight each other as much as the party and their allies, though the crossfire is deadly.
Grellosh successfully banishes Brymscythe for a key bit of the fight, though it brings much unwanted enemy attention as they try to end his concentration and/or life. Laeral Silverhand invokes her birthright as a Chosen of the goddess Mystra, and becomes wreated in spellfire. Mediator Aurum reveals his true nature – an adult gold dragon. Saul summons two Fire Elementals that engage with the Ice Elemental and pin down Talis the White. Strange temporary alliances form in the breach, with Aesar fighting alongside Maximillian de Rigueur and the clerics of Gruumsh and Corellon Larethian keeping each other alive. The temperature in the room plummets as the natural storm of the evening pours in as multiple breath attacks flash freeze the chamber. The teachers and students of the school rally, coming to the assistance of the party with protective magics and potions. Tallisker the Younger extracts a rifle from the maw of his canine mechanical servant and goes to town on the dragons, and much to his delight lands the killing shot on Brymscythe. In the final moments of the battle, Laeral Silverhand falls, though she is quickly seen to by Inquisitor Savras. The white dragon mask ends up in the posession of Aesar’s Onyx Dog, Oberon.