Dakkon

We gallop south on our horses (and donkey) and, in the distance, see the broken spires of the human city of Tas Tarsel. When we reach it, we see the abandoned city in ruins. These, unlike the ruins at (I can’t remember the name of the city), are not Arkhosian; Tas Tarsel was a human city and isn’t nearly as old. The city is, however, full of magic which Aideena is able to detect.

Jack spots some tracks which appear to be larger than an average human, but they’re not recent. Targoth is able to discern that the tracks are two weeks old and could possibly be troll or gnolls, perhaps a small family-sized group of them. There aren’t any juveniles, however, and the pattern suggests a regular patrol.

I am aware that the city is related to Tammarach Denadra, somehow, but I don’t really remember the particulars.

We decide to tie the horses to a tree and bed down outside of the city. Once everyone beds down and goes to sleep, we all have a shared dream. The dream is deeply disturbing because we all witness horrible events from each other’s pasts, before we see everyone we know and care about in a huge field bidding us a solemn and sad goodbye.

Upon waking up, though, we discover that Jack heard from the Raven Queen again, which put Eben in a foul mood that he had no desire to discuss with anyone. Jack tells the rest of us that the Raven Queen told him we need to find Onath. When Aideena asks why, Jack says that she told him, “We have to find the thing destroying him.” Targoth says what we’re all thinking, that she must be referring to the pearl that Onath still has.

We also discuss our shared dream, though Eben doesn’t want to talk about what he dreamed of. I’m not as affected by the glimpse of my past—which was a particularly memorable fight between my mother and I about my life choices—as the others are, and the end of the dream only galvanizes my resolve to continue forward on our mission to incite a few formorians to attack Easar as a diversion.

Jack, as a result of his dream, is convinced that we should go search for Onath, who’s far to our south. A huge discussion ensues, in which most of the party agrees with me, which is good because I would go it alone if I had to. After a lengthy discussion, we finally agree as a party to follow the original plan and begin to break down camp.

Once we have it all broken down and have retrieved our horses and donkey, we begin to walk through the destroyed city. There are lots of scorch marks and burned out buildings, along with piles of rubble and debris. I recall that Tammarach sacked the cities in the last days of the Long War because there were rumors that a great weapon capable of destroying the king.

As we walk through the city, a large house stands out. On the outer gate—which is still standing—there’s a crest of a moon waxing and waning. It’s immediately obvious what this is—the crest of the Moonghalls, my family, and I decide that I have to see inside.

We carefully tie the horses up not too far away but well clear of the house itself, which is only in slightly better shape than some of the other buildings. The front doors are half cracked and hanging open, and upon walking carefully inside, the first floor appears to be stable. The easily accessible parts of the house have clearly been ransacked, and there doesn’t appear to be any way to reach the second floor. Most of the right wing of the house has been destroyed, but there’s a dusty sitting room in the left wing still intact. There are statues of people, but there’s not a lot of detail to the faces.

Despite the second floor looking inaccessible, Aideena and Eben ponder a way up there. First, Aideena attempts to feystep to the second floor, but she lands on an unstable part of the floor and crashes back down to the first floor.

The noise is disconcerting, but we continue to look around at what’s been left behind. Jack and Eben attempt to pull some remaining sconces off the wall, and I move into the hall and ultimately to the furthest room from the front door.

The room clearly used to be a kitchen as it has a stove and a fireplace. In the fireplace, there’s a small box made of iron. I pull it free and inspect it. The box has been sealed, but only by mundane means, and, after a few false starts, I’m able to open the box.

Inside, there’s a book bound in a piece of fabric. I pull the fabric aside carefully and absentmindedly clutch it in my hand while my sole focus is on the book. I carefully open it, but it’s written in a language I don’t understand at all. The book is illustrated, though, and amongst the drawings is a face I recognize. The woman looks very similar to Viri.

I carry the book and the cloth into the other room to show the others and, together, we’re able to decipher a part of the book.

The pages we’re able to decode say:

Moonghall

Jump quickly! Five hexing wizard bolts!

Practice

The Moonghall Family.

House Moonghall.

Practice

Lady Vera Amyrillis.

Once the book has been partially decoded, I turn my attention to the cloth, which turns out to be a cloak with clasps.

Meanwhile, Eben and Targoth decide to see if they can boost Jack up to the second floor. They manage to get him up there, but when Jack touches the floor it collapses under him and he’s left hanging on a chain. From his vantage point, he’s not really able to see anything, so he decides to come back down.

We decide we’ve discovered as much as we can and decide to leave. A layer of light snow has fallen while we’ve been inside the house and, as we begin to make our way to our horses, we see a few shadowy creatures. We’re suddenly surprised by orcs and fight them.

Not long after the fight begins, some bugbears join the fray. One of them tells us that Nargash and his men are our enemies.” We decide not to only fight the orcs and form a temporary alliance with the bugbears.

During the battle, Eben divinely challenges one of the orcs and hears a low, female voice echo his words, which surprises him at first and then lifts his spirits.

After the orcs are defeated and killed, the bugbears allow us passage to where the worldfall is. When we finally get near it, we pass into the feywild. Once we do, there are five eladrin guards. They tell us to go back the way we came, that it’s not safe here. We try to explain that we want to go through, but they are resistant and want to talk to us in their tower.

Our group is escorted inside the tower and we discover that the eladrin will only speak to Aideena. We aren’t making much headway when Viri shows up. She tells them that she’s the Witch of Fates and proves it. They finally seem willing to listen and we explain that we’re in the feywild to draw a formorian or two into the prime plane to help with an attack on the king. Thanks mostly to Viri, they agree to allow us passage to do this.

Outside of the tower, we greet Viri. I confront her about her face in the book of my ancestors and she says that she was indeed Lady Vera Amyrillis and that she helped my family escape the destruction of Tas Tarsel. She is unwilling to answer any further questions and hurries us along on our mission. She warns us that the formorians have an evil eye that can curse us if we’re not careful, and that—once we’ve lured one or two through the worldfall, we should head for the sea.

She bids us to go and we do, traveling as quickly as we can to the entrance to the feydark.

We decide to leave our horses outside and try to tie them to trees, but we quickly discover that they are not trees, they’re sprigen. We manage to appease the sprigen with gifts and promises and they agree to allow us to leave our horses with tied to them.

Jack and Targoth stride into the cavern, with the rest of us following behind. We don’t encounter anything for some time, but soon we hear footsteps and see stalactites tremble.

Soon enough, a group of formorians show up. We take off as quickly as we can, under the mistaken impression that they’ll follow us. When that doesn’t happen, we stand near the cavern entrance and attempt to provoke the formorians into coming after us.

That doesn’t happen, either, and the sprigen laugh at our antics. We belatedly remember being told that formorians aren’t stupid, so we realize we’ll have to go back into the cavern and attempt to draw them out some other way.

Once we go back in, we’re attacked immediately by the formorians, who had simply waited for us to come back. This time, though, they follow us out of the cavern and we’re able to reach our horses and make a break for the worldfall.

When we reach the worldfall, we race between the turrets where the eladrin guards have erected a trap to trip the formorians. We get through and the trap is sprung and trips up the formorians, buying us a little bit of space.

We ride for six hours straight with the formorians hot on our tail. When the formorians spot the city, however, they break off from following us and make for Easar, just as we’d hoped they would. We, on the other hand, ride towards the sea as Viri instructed us.

Once we reach the shore, we’re not far from the secret entrance to the Thaumaturgy. There, on the beach, is Daren Windraker. He was directed to meet us here by the Witch of Fates, though she told him her name was Vastara. Off in the distance, we can see Halfling warships. He tell us that he’s here to take us to the bluffs and the secret entrance, which is two miles away and most easily accessible by sea.

We get onto his ship and he takes us to the secret entrance. He signals the other ship and tells us that it’s time—they’re going to begin barraging the city. Daren has to get back, but he and Jack still have time for an awkward moment that’s oddly sentimental as well.

Once he leaves, we make our way through the tunnels unimpeded. Once inside the Thaumaturgy, we head to Janus’s quarters. There we meet up with Jalmari and Solange. They are absolutely exhausted. Gavrash is here as well and he looks very worn, too.

They quickly fill us in on what’s happened: the guildhouse has been destroyed, as well as some of the noble houses—including Ortia and Allexi. Janus went to ground and then returned to the protection of the Thaumaturgy. The whereabouts of Lord Ortia and Lord and Lady Allexi are still unknown.

Solange, Jalmari, and Gavrash lead us out on the streets. It’s utter chaos; soldiers are barging into homes and turning out families, people are running from the barrage by the halflings and the attack by the formorians, and there are buildings on fire.

Solange tells us that she can buy us some time and so we follow Gavrash towards the cemetery. He raises them as a buffer, to lead the way to the city and allow us to make our way to the palace.

Once we make our way through the streets with the aid of the undead army, Jalmari and Solange lead us into a passageway which takes us underground. There, we split yet again; Solange and the guild are going to attempt a frontal assault and Jalmari is going to come with us to find the king.

We meet some King’s Guard in the passageway, but defeat them and keep going and into another corridor. Here, we find a necklace and a gem on some statues. We walk through a portal cautiously and hear hissing. The area is flooded with gas and we’re attacked by demons. We manage to get away and keep going, moving in the correct direction until we find a door. In the room beyond, we find treasure.

The demons, however, return. They’re slowing us down and are hitting us hard enough to be worrisome. Jalmari says he’ll hold them off. After saying this, he turns to me and tells me that he’s promoting me to Spymaster, the position he’s held as the Prince’s second in command and acknowledged head of Second Dawn.

I yell at him that he’s not staying here, but he tells me—and the rest of us—to go before turning away. I go with the rest of the party to the end of the passageway and the stone staircase that leads above ground and into the palace. We reach an empty room filled with dusty furniture. At this point, I know Jalmari is dead because I can no longer sense him through the ring.

We keep quiet in the room, since we hear a patrol on the other side of the door. The footsteps recede after a moment and, leaning against the door, we can hear that it’s quiet despite the pandemonium in the city. We can hear faint voices talking and so we crack the door quietly and look into the hall.

At one end is a massive set of double doors which appears to lead into the audience room, a place that we’d be very likely to find the king. To the other end, we see the patrol moving away from us. Quickly, we run towards the large doors, though we do so as quietly as we can.

Once through them, there’s a small antechamber. Inside, we can see some King’s Guard, Tavrix, some courtiers, and the king himself. The king is speaking and his voice is low and flat, condemning one group of his guard for allowing us to escape. Another group stands behind them and kills them as punishment.

Tavrix is the first to notice us.

Soon, we’re fighting the Guards and Tavrix and it’s not going as well as we would have liked when, suddenly, a girl of flame appears. She tells us quietly to be ready and then calls out her father, the king, telling him that he will do no more harm and accuses him of his crimes where all of his courtiers can hear. With her help, the fighting goes a bit better and soon we’re holding our ground. At this point, Targoth notices something fluttering in the audience room and takes a closer look. There are banners from conquered places hanging up and one of them is a golden banner which Targoth recognizes as the Unconquered Standard of Arkhosia, which doesn’t belong at all. Targoth reaches for the banner to pull it down and, as he touches it, everything changes, including us.

The king begs his master for assistance and he’s suddenly transformed into a horned, twisted version of himself. We’re transported into a horrible void with shards of the throne room separated by a terrifying blackness that seems to go on infinitely.

The evil king is rejuvenated and we fight him as hard as we can, but we’re without Fiamma’s help here. We start slowly making headway and I aim a killing blow at him, finally feeling that amazing feeling of realizing a lifelong goal. He, however, laughs at me and drains the energy from his servant, Tavrix, before disappearing. We’re transported back to the prime plane and the now mostly empty throne room.

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blackkatanas

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