Shades of Shadora

Meeting the Mawla
Watch that first step

After hours of travel Roku circled back to check the map with Prospero and Arghmon. It would do no good to be lost in the tunnels. As he located the Way Station on the map he looked about and jabbed it with his finger. This way he decided, he turned and took a step, suddenly the tunnel floor cracked like a thin sheet of ice and collapsed. The party fell into a black pit beneath their feet.
The party found themselves falling down twisting lava tubes. In moments they were plunged into darkness as they lost torches or concentration on light spells. The tubes seemed more like steep chutes or slides than a sheer drop. Small rocks and ledges were all along the chutes tearing away equipment and bruising the party members. Head impacts caused people to see stars, other times members blacked out only to awaken to the seemingly endless slide. Like drowning men or women tossed about in a raging stream without control they fell. Swords and staves and backpacks full of gear spill into the tunnels as straps break, grips weaken and hands grasp for purchase on the sharp surface of the terrible tube. You hear Tenk’s confused cry, “Rokuuuuuu!” fade into the distance as he falls down his own path. Even the shouts dim as the chutes diverge. And finally the members fall stops. Rocks and random gear fall about them in the dark. Some fair better than others but all are bruised and battered. Most lay in a heap where they landed slipping into the void of unconsciousness.
Lasheur awoke when the Mawla that were carrying him tossed him against a stone column. The Mawla Clan Chieftain sat upon a stone throne. So a spy of the blighter’s among us, and then his bow spoke. A hushed silence filled the room, the bow of Zephery our hated foe, leader of the blighter’s. Entomb this spy were he shall slowly rot and die for his evil. Before Lasheur could respond he was snatched away. He was bound with bands of stone and pushed into a small depression clay, mud, and stone filled in about him and in moments he was choking.
Simon, Prospero, and Trish, weaved in and out of consciousness. Trish as if in a dream heard a deep rumbling voice “Thralls, falling from the sky brothers! Seems as though their escape attempt has failed. Judging by their possessions they have slain their masters and stolen their heirlooms. They have way too much spirit to be useful in their current state. Separate them from their ancestors and enthrall them. Then they will take well to the whip and we will present them to the Clan Chief as gifts.” In time Trish and Prospero awoke to find themselves stripped in chains wearing slave collars. Simon was still in the throes of unconsciousness but a Mawla was painting runes on his face with a noxious paint. Trish struggled to her feet and demanded what the meaning of this, a Mawla summoned a zombie that come scuttling over to hold her. She spoke the words of Artol and consecrated the ground about them, the zombie was blasted back into a wall some yards distance. The Mawla were surprised and looked in wonder, “How do you posses the magic of Artol?” Trish replied I am the Gray Lady, Rune Lord of Artol free me at once. To Prospero’s surprise they complied, belatedly she ordered her companions freed as well. “Where are my cloths”, she shouted. A Mawla rushed out and returned with the clothing and gear that remained from the fall. Once freed of the chains and dressed Trish ordered the Mawla to take them to their chieftain.
Arghmon fell and ended up dangling from the a ledge a few feet off the ground. His fear of the dark and underground and gotten a firm grip on him. When Roku found him he was arguing with himself. Roku quickly got him down and moved him to a dead end tunnel with a torch and then explored further. A short distance away he ran across a pair of Mawla. They greeted him in a friendly manner and offered him some fresh meat. He queried what type? They replied Newtling, this one was stunned on the ground most drift in through the river. He had this cool spear. Roku recognised it as the Unstoppable spear that Tenk was carrying, “That’s mine he claimed, I lost it in the fall”. “Well that thieving Newtling must have stolen it, he’s paid” one chuckled as he threw aside a leg bone and handed Roku the spear. Roku held his composure and asked them to take him to their chief. As the headed down a nearby tunnel he flung the spear killing both. Wandering about he found the Throne room where Trish with Prospero and Simon were talking to the Chief.
The Mawla had been living in the tunnels since the Chaos war. They were fighting an endless war with the Blighter’s, a band of corrupted elves lead by Zephery. Trish explained the current war and after much discussion the Mawla chieftain agreed to support the party if they would end the threat of the Blighter’s. The party agreed and queried about Lasheur, when told his fate Prospero ordered them to take them to the cairn. At the spot Prospero reached into the fresh Earth and pulled Lasheur out breaking the bonds. With the party reunited a plan was devised to destroy the blighter’s.

Junction Of Five Rivers
Grimclaw Falls

The battle of the Five Rivers was unplanned and vicious. The Chaos Horror that
ruled the Trogs was a Giant Carp with four slithering tentacles. Being based in the
water shielded it from most attacks and allowed it to attack us at will. The central
chamber had four streams at our level and a fifth falling from above feeding a fast
swirling whirlpool. The party spotted a boat on the far shore but it was likely a
trap, using his ring of Flitter Simon crossed to the far side. Arghmon then created
a bridge to span the water, Trish sprinted across but as Roku was passing a section
of the bridge disappeared, unable to stop he slid into the water and the current
quickly dragged him into the whirlpool. Simon leaving Trish to guard the far shore
sprinted onto the bridge and with a great leap jumped to Roku, with the Ring of Storm
he teleported both of them to join Trish. Arghmon quickly repaired the bridge and
Prospero joined the others. There were nearly invisible Trogs waiting in the tunnels,
javelins fell into the party. Arghmon and Lasheur quickly crossed leaving Grimclaw
on the far side.
The Elder Horror attacked, tentacles flared out knocking Grimclaw from his feet
and sucking a bit of life from him. Prospero summoned Guardian’s to help find and
clear the Trogs, Trish ran forward and engaged the ones which could be seen. Roku
used his Orb to speed our actions. Simon crossed a small bridge and more Trogs
attacked him. Prospero followed casting spells, dropping huge stalagmites and
killing many. Tenk engaged with the spear, Grimclaw spotted the Horror lazily
swimming about the whirlpool, many in the party targeted him, but the water was
a natural armor and our attacks all fell short.
Like the army of Orc’s at the first Way Station here we found an army of
Trogs, with the Horror aiding them. From two different streams unending lines
of them marched towards us. Tenk went to the mouth of one and cast the spear,
unfortunately missing. Simon moved to block them from gaining the bridge. Prospero
drew kindred and battled a second stream joined by Trish while Roku, Lasheur and
Arghmon sought an escape from the rivers. Grimclaw sprinted across the bridge as
the two sentinels summoned by Prospero leapt into the water trying to drop on
the Horror. Both missed, the Horror retaliated by swiping at Grimclaw, the
panther was struck four times and killed. Pospero was shaken and wounded by the
loss, blood coming form his nose, eyes and ears. Grimclaw was last seen by Simon
and Tenk as the Horror’s tentacles dragged him into the water. Prospero staggered
back away from the fighting, screened by Trish. Simon cleared the bridge of Trogs
as Tenk loosed the Unstoppable Spear once more, a perfect shot, the spear flew up
the river for forty meters slaying everything in its path. Trish made a stand against
the second horde as Tenk and Simon moved to support Prospero.
As Prospero sheathed Kindred he spoke, and all the party noted how the crashing
rumble of the water were somehow overborne by his quite words. “If you want to live
move behind me”. Trish chuckled to herself until she glanced back and saw Prospero
draw a slim stone wand from an inner pocket. She quickly struck the nearest trogs
knocking them back and then sprinted past the Wizard, it was the one item Prospero
had ever declared to dangerous to use, the Earthquake wand. She grabbed Tenk
dragging him along as she past Prospero who was speaking tongue twisting syllables.
Simon stood behind him waiting for what ever might come. The conjuring stopped and
Prospero words once again drowned out the crashing water, “Horror of the centuries
you have lived many years but I tell you now this is your last day!.” To the surprise
of the party in their minds they could hear the Horror respond, “Puny wizard, I dine on
your familiar, I have lived beyond your ken and you have no spell or weapon that can
touch me…”. As the Horror spoke Prospero released his spell.
For a moment nothing seemed to happen, and then the stones seemed to come alive,
sentinels arose to support the cave near the party, earth elementals formed and rushed
towards the rivers and above the roar of the rivers and the gloating of the Horror came
a louder more ominous grinding, crunching, smashing. The earth itself moved in waves.
As the Horror felt the spell he shouted, “What have you done?!?!?? Foolish mortal know
that I will”, The Horror’s voice was silenced like a broken twig. Tons of stone, rock
and debris fell into the whirlpool and rivers. Trish watched as the stone wand shattered
and Prospero collapsed, Simon grabbed him, tossed him over his shoulder and sprinted to
join the others. The collapsing tunnel followed Simon, the party starting backing away
seeing their doom coming, but as Simon reached them the strength of the sentinels held
and the collapse ended. The roar continued for several minutes but that too diminished
and died away to total silence. A weak voice at Simons feet said “Its time to move on,
I’m done here”. Simon helped Prospero to his feet as he spoke again " You know Roku
we’re lucky the rock is saturated with water else we would have died from the dust.
It is little know that most mine collapse deaths are caused by …"
Trish dallied, as Propero’s lecture finished they heard her voice, “We consign the
soul of Grimclaw to the Halls of Silence and the keeping of Lord Artol. He was more than
a familiar, he was a friend. He willingly threw himself in harm’s way many times, saving
us all more times than we can count. The earth that killed his enemy is a fitting cairn
to our noble friend. Let us never forget his sacrifice”. The party moved slowly away but
Prospero continued to bleed. As the Prospero’s pace slowed Roku called a halt and the
parties wounds were treated, Simon healed Prospero’s wounds with a spell and after a
short break Simon started the party started forward once more.

The Second Way Station
Waystation of Graves

The journey across the river was comic, but fortunately the current was slow
and it lead to a easy landing. The figures guarding the wall turned out to be
First Era automatons. The automatons had the appearance of dwarven warriors all
were damaged and the walls they marched were rutted from their ages long vigil.
Whatever magic controlled them they were unable to leave their posts. When the
holding was entered a vast number of dwarven spirits rose seeking escape to the
halls of silence. One among them strode to the fore, the spirit of a stout dwarf
with superb armor, his body had been ravaged by disease. From the Overwatch
journals Simon asked “King Flint Grey Stone”, the spirit replied with a nod.
Scattered about the the dwarven cemetery were various books, ledgers, journals,
and scrolls. It appeared that all had been over written, torn, or burned. As
Trish began preparing Artol’s ritual to free the spirits the wizards began
piecing together the parchment fragments to tell what had happened. Tenk sent
to retrieve water for the ceremony called out. Near the river was a second
cemetery, this one with the bones of the human slaves of the elder races.
As the others worked Simon questioned King Grey Stone further. He asked
did any survive, the king nodded no, and of the Malwa, the King pointed in to
a room, within was a stair that lead into the darkness. The wizards deduced
from the writings that the Dwarves and Mawla were attacked by a Elves tainted
by chaos, wielding disease as a weapon. Lasheur confirmed this to the dismay
of his bow, a stain upon the Elves. Trish’s chant and ritual took hours,
a dwarf would step up and take the form they held in life and then make the
journey to the halls of silence. When Trish reached the King he pointed to a
second room, when investigated the team found that it held thousands of precious
stones. Uncharacteristically Trish demanded an immediate accounting, Simon
suggested that she complete her ritual for the Human spirits while the others
sorted the treasure. She would have none of it, ignoring the dead while the
treasure was split. When all was sorted into equal piles Simon allowed Trish
to choose her pile first, once secured she hurried to start her next ritual.
The treasure was to much for the party to carry so the remains were hidden
to be recovered later.
Once the human spirits were freed, the party rested allowing Trish to
recover her strength. Simon and Lasheur found the hidden map and explored
the stairway the king had indicated. As Trish rested the party discussed the
next steps, the Dwarven and Mawlan allies we sought had been slain generations
in the past, yet Elves might still reside in the Vail of Tears, if so perhaps
the Elves would seek redemption for the foul deeds of their tainted brethren.
When Trish rose from her rest the party departed for the Third Waystation, the
Vale of Tears was located at the fourth. For a great distance there was nothing
but the cutting lava flows and silence. Then Roku heard the flow of water and
smelled Trog’s ahead. The party moved forward and battle was joined. The
Trog’s blended into the rock and were difficult to see and kill. But soon
all the Trog’s that could be found had been slain. Some spell caster was
about, a deathless Elder, according to Arghmon. The Elder took over
Lasheur’s mind, causing him to loose an arrow at Prospero. Prospero shook
it off and Arghmon with Prospero’s help was able to free Lasheur from
his grip. Once free Lasheur moved forward and found the river, a giant
croctapuss attacked, Lasheur’s arrow grievously wounded it allowing
Prospero to finish him with a strike of Kindred. At the river the party
found a joining of five streams, this was not on the map, some change since
the tunnels had been discovered. Simon located a crossing point and on the
far side a boat. The Elder spellcaster was out there hidden in the darkness
with his allies.

The First Waystation

From concealment the party mulled possible courses of action. Finally
Simon using the Ring of Storm ported to the edge of his vision on the far
side of the bridge with Trish. The enemy was unaware of the incursion and
continued their vigil on the bridge. Before Simon was a Hobgoblin and
Kushna, beyond were several goblins and dogs. To core a goblin guarded a
gate, monstrous breathing could be heard from the darkness behind the
gate. Using hand signals Simon gave his planned targets and movement to
Trish. Simon, seeing the light from Wildfire as Arghmon moved into position,
leapt to the attack. The Kushna and Hobgoblin were down, Trish moved forward
and targeted the nearest goblins. One of the goblins gave a great shout and
attention was focused on Trish. The party seeing the light of Simon’s
weapons moved forward with their attacks. Simon watched as the Lasheur’s
arrows struck the goblin at the gate, with an effort he reached up and
flipped the latch as Tenk’s unstoppable spear finished him. Simon charged
forward, leaped the gate and engaged a giant bull like monster. The monster
breathed a cloud of noxious green fumes that Simon dodged, but his first attacks
struck hard bone doing no damage. Trish cut down charging goblins and dogs and
then moved forward to finish the closest enemies.
As the main party started moving towards the bridge terrible screams came
from the pen Simon had entered, two Chimera’s overflew Simon and ignored Trish,
screaming “The Crown is near the master shall have it”. The main party’s
movement became a search for cover. Prospero cast armor on Roku, and Roku cast
invisibility on himself, Lasheur and Tenk attacked the lead Chimera forcing it
to the ground but still it leaped forward calling for Roku and the crown.
Arghmon cleared the corner with Wildfire bringing light to the party.
The party focused on the first Chimera with arrow, spear, and spell killing
it. The second slammed onto the landing searching for Roku, a blast of flame
was short of the party. Simon killed the Bull with two mighty blows and moved
to support the party throwing his Shurken, wounding the Chimera. Trish continued
forward into the goblins and dogs. From rim came the sounds of many goblins and
dogs, likely an army. As the Chimera leapt forward to blast the party with its
flaming breath Roku broke from his concealment, sprinted forward and leaped high
into the air bringing his sword across the necks of the Chimera. A trickle of
flame petered as his sword wedged in the third neck. Simon quickly called “Roku
recover my Shurken” as he leapt to aid Trish. A Katana swing fell one, Laramar’s
thrown axe split the skull of a second. Retrieving the axe Simon called to Trish
“Help search for the Waystation map”, Trish replied “Sounds like so much book
learnun to me, my job is over here”. Trish quickly moved to a narrowing in the
rimward tunnel and started cutting down the advancing goblins and dogs.
As Trish held back the army in the narrow Lasheur lead the search for the
Waystation map with the rest of the team support. It was painstaking process with
with time dragging. Trish’s fight became a holding action, after the first wave
had been cut down the next had fallen back and were pelting her with arrows. She
continued taunting them, laughing at their impotent sting. Finally a panel was
discovered and with focused search a latch, with a pop it dropped open and Roku
with his paper and charcoal quickly made a rubbing. Closing the panel the party
started for the exit. As Trish retreated Prospero summoned gnomes to sweep the
ledge clear of goblins as they pursued her. As Trish cleared the choke point
Prospero cast a second spell collapsing the ceiling on the lead goblins and
blocking the passage until it could be cleared.
With the map in hand Roku lead the way, the path wove through boiling geysers.
Using his magic he created a wall of darkness to block the geysers from the party’s
path. The party moved quickly ending in a narrow tunnel brightly lit by Wildfire’s
flame. Roku moved forward as scout to a T-junction in the spun direction across a
lava creek was a Hobgoblin doing magic in the creek Roku saw a molten elemental
forming, he raced back to the party to report. Simon leapt forward and using the
Rune Magic of Laramar’s Axe blasted the molten creature with three bolts of
lighting, destroying it. With a quick jump across the lava creek he slashed the
Hobgoblin pushing him into the creek as he pulled an amulet from his hand. The
party was on the move again, Simon fatigued from the heat and lava was able to keep
With Roku in the lead as scout the party moved rapidly through the tunnels.
Arghmon as rear guard with Wildfire worked to hid any traces left by the party.
In time a large underground river was discovered from the etching the next
Waystation should be on the far side. Roku spoke of some type of monster in the
water but with the poor light it couldn’t be confirmed. Prospero spotted a nearby
structure, inside were the skeletons of humans and several stone canoes and
paddles, no doubt dwarven made. Others looking across to the Waystation could see
figures moving about, but who or what they were could not be determined. To ease
Simon’s fatigue a rest was called, a meal was made and the party prepared to cross
the stream.

Into the Caverns

After the success against the Glywn Aerie the party put together a victory dinner.
The Priests were able to supply a few vegetables and some wine was found. Arghmon
excused himself early, clearly his phobias were weighing on him and his nerves are
frayed. The prospect of a journey in close tunnels and darkness may be more than he
can take. Prospero suggested that he remain behind to protect the Overwatch until the
villagers from the base arrive but he refused. As discussion of Arghmon’s fitness
swirled about the table a ghost projection materialized, surprised the team leapt to
action fearing some trap had been sprung. As Prospero prepared a spell he called out
hold my friends it is a communication from Emancia. The voice of an Inquisitor
requested Prospero, who responed it was he. The Inquisitor announced that Arghmon had
killed his Master and was wanted for murder and chaos corruption. Prospero feigned
ignorance of Arghmon’s location. He questioned the Inquisitors proof who responded with
certainty of his guilt. Prospero asked if the murder charge for himself and his
apprentice had been resolved, the Inquisitor choked and called for an aide and after
a delay he replied that the charge had been dropped although no one had ever been
charged for the crime. In closing the Inquisitor reminded Prospero he was duty bound
to apprehend or kill Arghmon and turn him over to the nearest Inquisitors station.
While bidding the Inquesitor farewell Prospero muttered to himself “Am I ordered to
murder or turn over myself and my apprentice as well?”
If the conversation was warm before it quickly became heated. Prospero trusted the
Inquisition little more than he did the Lazuri. Roku sneered at the complexities and
inefficiencies of the Emancia bureaucracy. Prospero laughed, lucky for you they are
so confused, a Fel using sorcery and divine spells, I haven’t reviewed the laws of
late but you would likely be in line for a few years in rehab. The decision was made
that Arghmon was considered a companion and valuable asset, but the team would keep a
close eye on him. Trish seemed disturbed but kept her consul to herself.
With the sun rise Simon and the Priests did the singing of the Sun and the
associated dance. Roku with a grumble decided to rise early, from the previous day he
knew the racket wouldn’t stop in time for him to recover his dream. Realizing it would
be quieter, he climbed to the tower top and at a whim turned the far seer to the Fire
Temple. His breath quickened as he saw a huge Lazuri, Volmog no doubt, inspecting row
after row of troops. Surrounding the city were thousands of Lazuri troops, too the city
had been fortified with fighting positions for the Lazuri. He is very surprised to see
Prospero and Grimclaw walking with a seven foot tall man with college robes of an
unrecognisable Sorcery College. Running down the stairs he call to Simon and the others
and rushed to Prospero’s room where Prospero was preparing his gear. Quickly to the tower
top, with quick glances through the viewer the team glances and then quickly looks back
to Prospero. When Prospero’s turn arrived he gasps, Vargus the cursed malamorph. No doubt
responds Simon holding his compass pointing directly along the axis of the farseer.
Prospero looks again, by the Vaults’ of Eman, its a Journyman or some undead form of one,
the robe markings seem familiar. “The Iron Sarcophagus, it would hold him the symbols on
his robes match”. He didn’t know how he came to this conclusion but knew it to be true.
The ritual was to awaken him and somehow link him to the city. There was nothing that
could be done, attacking the army in place would be suicide. Somehow the Fire Temple must
be captured and then the enemy would need to attack us. The tunnels might hold the key.
Gear was gathered the priests gave the blessing of Bandar which even Trish appreciated
and the team descended into the darkness heading for the first Waystation. Arghmon walked
at the back of the party with his Salamander Wildfire out burning away the darkness. Roku
and Simon ranged ahead as scouts. The party was annoyed by an ongoing discussion between
Roku and Prospero. The two had packed a backpack full of books/scrolls – they keep reading
facts throughout the journey – driving every one nuts. Generally Prospero would make a
comment concerning the tunnels only to be countered by Roku when the party caught up to
his position. As an example Prospero said “Did you know… A cave (or cavern) is a
naturally occurring area or space under the surface of the Earth. Caves are often a
system of interconnected passageways created by the weathering of rock.” Roku responded
fifteen minutes later like they were in conversation “Did you know… The maximum depth a
cave system can reach underground before the pressure of overlying rocks becomes too
great is estimated to be about 3 marks.” To this Prospero would nod sagely or argue
about the correctness of Roku’s facts. Likewise Roku would attack or defend Prospero’s
position depending on the facts. Fortunately the party was saved by an encounter with
Goblins and their rodent dogs.
There were less than ten Goblins and even fewer Dogs but they were scattered about
and the tunnels were treacherous. The enemy knew the tunnels well and used the knowledge
to their advantage. Too giant spiders dropped from the ceiling, they were dispatched quickly,
disgusted Trish lit the webs on fire, a swarm of insects came flowing out and attacked
her. Prospero and Tenk fought an Elemental of Steam, both were scorched but survived with
nothing but small burns. The Goblins were hunted down and all were slain, luckily none
escaped to warn the occupants of the Waystation. As the party advanced the tunnel changed
and began to take on the look of worked stone. Ahead was a red glow and the rushing of water.
Roku spotted a Scorpionman and two giant scorpion’s breaking rock near a waterwheel. Prospero
cast an invisibility spell and the party moved into position and struck the enemies never
new what hit them. Propero and Roku investigated the waterwheel and discovered a glowing
stone that replenished their power, a First Age relic converting the water wheel motion in
to mana. Looking spinward the party could see a river of lava with a bridge. The far side
was guarded by Goblins. The invisibility trick would not work against them, but perhaps
something else would.

Securing the Overwatch
Persuading is Harder than Fighting

Searching the archives the Sorcerers (Prospero, Arghmon, and Roku)
discovered journals suggesting three groups of elders form the first
age were possibly still about. The Elves were possibly in the Vale of Tears,
the Trolls and Dwarves would be found in the tunnels if they still existed.
If the party could win them over to our cause it would give us new allies.
But the teams first job was to secure the Overwatch, and for that we needed
men. The Bandit village at the base was the nearest help. So it was decided
to ask them for an alliance, with the help of the Griffins this should
prove to be no problem. In the mean time dispatches were readied for Fort
Raven, the goal was to contact our allies and set them in motion. The Aha
and Elves would move to the Vale of Tears but were to remain undetected.
The Forces of Ard and Plains Centaurs were directed to the Spire, a threat
to Glywn. The Aqualins were asked to protect the area around Fort Raven. The
Dwarves were to proceed to the Overwatch with all haste and Rory’s Rangers
were to assemble secretly at the base of the Overwatch.
Simon didn’t reckon with the obstinacy of the Griffins. His request for
a meeting with Lord Griffin was denied, he was busy with other matters. As
for transport to the village or a mount for our messenger it was denied
until our horse flesh debt was paid. Haggling for transport for three
tripled our debt to three horses. Roku suggested that we bring trophies
of war along to impress the villagers, so the Dragons head was taken along
with a Griffin and examples of the weapons we had captured. Simon also
gathered a sack of gold to pay for the horses we needed. The Griffins
demanded a fourth horse but relented when Simon suggested they couldn’t
carry the weight. Trish, Roku, and Simon mounted with little more than
feathers to hold. The three griffins then grasped the huge dragon head
and Wyvern along with the sack of weapons and leaped off the cliff.
Screams filled the air as they fell like stones, pulling up at the last
instance into level flight above the rocks.
The first task was to locate Starn. The flight took minutes compared
to the hours of climbing, the Griffins landed and Starn’s horses went wild.
First was to pay the debt, Starn allowed three horses to be taken. The
Griffins seized them, leapt into the sky and returned them to the Aerie.
Simon told Starn to move down the trail as fast as he could and find shelter
because the Griffins would likely seek him out. Within an hour the Griffins
returned and the trip to the village resumed. In front of the cave dwelling
of the village the Griffins dropped the Dragon head and Wyvern. Simon
dismounted and floated down using the Cloak of Feathers and as Trish and
Roku landed behind him he announced “I Alexander First Dawn have raised my
banner, I am the Lion of the Dawn, I go to war and need your help.” There
was pandemonium in the village, but Carl and the elders were called and
Simon, Roku, and Trish parleyed with them.
Simon paid 90 gold for the horses and the villagers agreed to move to
Overwatch to guard it. They inspected the weapons and listened as Trish and
Roku spoke of the defensive advantages of the Overwatch and Alliance.
Simon told them they would need to reach their own alliance with the
Griffins, but having the only horses in the area would be a bargaining
advantage. The Griffins balked at taking the three back to the summit but
Carl interceded leading out two ponies, the Griffins were easily convinced
to carry the three and to leave the villagers unmolested in their migration.
Simon warned the villagers to beware of the Griffins on the journey even
with their promise. The speed of the journey amazed the trio, the trek that
had taken days was reduced to minutes.
Upon the return there was a great feast among the Griffins, pony being
a delicacy, when the Lord Griffin looked out of the aerie to see what the
commotion was about Simon called to him. Trish, Roku and Simon began
negotiations with the Lord Griffin. He felt secure in their ancient Aerie,
but didn’t know of the Wyvern Hatchery in the Glywn Sink Hole. The three
described the hundreds of Wyvern they had seen there and the dangers to
the Griffins and how alliance would help everyone. Finally the Lord
Griffin agreed to negotiate with the villagers and give them safe passage.
Also he would aid the party in the war with mounts for messengers and
reconnaissance. But his price was high, the Glywn Aerie had to be destroyed.
An immediate overland campaign was out of the question but Lord Griffin
suggested using the apparatus on the tower roof. Roku quickly assessed the
chance of success and deemed it good. If a critical section of the sink
hole wall were struck it could cause a catastrophic collapse and destroy
the majority of the Aerie and many Goblins as well. If this failed an
overland campaign would be needed. Simon agreed and the Lord Griffin
summoned a mount for our messenger Dane, and with a flap of wings and
a scream from Dane and our messages were on there way to Fort Raven.
While the Wizards, including Roku, researched what needed to be done
Simon conversed with the Bandar Priests. Trish, bored again went to the
Dragon head and hacked out the Pearl, it was the size of a large ball.
Trish prayed to Artol, should she attune the Dragon pearl. She heard a
reply “Only a fool would not take such a weapon”. With that she forced
her will upon it, the dragon’s spirit responded but she overcame it,
the pearl shrunk to the size of a gem leaped from her hand and embedded
itself into her forehead. Her head ached but she noticed her sight and
hearing and even the touch of her finger were much more sensitive. To
she recalled that Simon had never returned her gold after the
negotiations with the villagers. She got up tracked him down and
confronted him. Simon thinking nothing of it returned her portion.
At dusk the party retired, sleeping uneasily knowing clear weather
was needed for the device. The morning was a relief, Lazur’s chariot
began across the disk and all could see it would be a glorious day with
few clouds. The Wizards fussed and hemmed over the apparatus all day
until noon. Then Trish and Simon were directed to lift and hold the
lens, of course Trish claimed she had the heavy end. With Trish and
Simon sweating and swearing at the exertion, Lasheur in his leisurely
Elvin way lined up the apparatus, Trish cried it’s getting too hot, and
then a burst of light shot across the distance and even without the
far-seer a flash and cloud of dust could be seen in Glywn. The device
lowered everyone crowded around the far-seer. Looking Roku announced a hit,
a huge dust cloud had grown over the target and Roku announced dead
Wyverns and Goblins dropping from the cloud. Other wounded Wyverns could
be see crawling painfully about. Simon and Trish were looking at the
arrow like cloud that had developed between the Overwatch and Glywn.
An arrow to where the attack had originated. If our enemies didn’t already
know they soon would. The Lord Griffin immediately sent scouts to assess
the extent of the damage. The party retired to their camp to rest, the tunnels
would be entered tomorrow. We would need to return before any reaction
force from Glywn or the Fire Temple arrived. We could only hope that
Rory and the Dwarves would arrive before our enemies. On a positive note
now we did control the skies.

Seizing the Overwatch
Simon's Bad Day

With the party reunited the goal was to climb to the Overwatch
and destroy the Chaos forces there. The spiral stair was another
long climb. The stair ended in a building about 100 Meters below
the summit. The area was a ruin with ancient buildings in different
stages of decline. At the peak the team could see a walled tower with
a guarded gateway. The Dragon and Lazuri Runepriest were nowhere to
be seen but they would be near. Through the dusk Lasheur lead the
team through the ruins toward the gates. The wall and tower appeared
ancient but in good repair. With the team in position to watch the
gate Lasheur and Simon left to reconnoiter the walled keep. Luck was
not with Simon, forty meters from the party he barley grazed a
ruined wall while moving past. It collapsed with a great crashing
sound and cloud of dust. The air was filled with fire arrow to light
the area and a flight of Wyverns were overflying in seconds.
The party broke cover and the battle was on. Lasheur fired his
bow, Tenk used the unstoppable spear, Roku gazed into his crystal
sphere. The sorcerers moved into better positions and readied
their magic as Trish moved towards the gates. Simon’s luck held bad,
a portion of the wall had trapped his foot and although out of sight
he struggled to free himself. As he looked up and whispered a prayer
to Bander, he saw a flight of Griffin’s swoop in and attack the
Wyverns which greatly reduced their number. With a blast of fire the
Dragon with the Runepriest on his back dropped from the sky. The area
was well lighted by all the flames and burning debris. Trish was
quickly engaged with the Priest and Dragon. Arghmon used his chaos
wand and the sphere of ghosts appeared at the gateway surrounding a
squad of guards.
Lasheur fired against the stray Wyvern’s still attacking the party
Tenk used the spear to attack the guard force, in one cast he brought
down four. The wizards also worked on the fliers as Trish fought the
Priest and Roku moved to join join her. Arghmon’s wand exhibited a
new feature, weak willed creatures within the sphere of ghosts were
transformed into zombies. These strange allies attacked the Dragon
and guardsmen, when Trish sighted one she dropped her attack on
the Priest and immediately moved and cut it down. Seeing no more
nearby she resumed her fight with the Priest. Once the skys were
clear of foes Prospero moved forward and attacked the Dragon to
aid Trish, with a spell he summoned his Gnome allies to grab and
pummel the Priest. Simon eventually freed himself and moved to
attack the Lazuri at the gate, with his first swing Foe Flogger
entangled him taking him back out of the fight. As Trish killed
the priest the others combined to attack the Dragon. Roku and
Prospero both struck successfully and Trish finished the beast.
With their captains killed the remaining foes quickly fell before
their blades.
With the foes vanquished the party entered the walls. From
the sky the Lord Griffin dropped into the compound before Simon. He
spoke, “Are you the Raven rider who attacked my children”, Simon
replied, “We defended ourselves, why did your children attack us
when we should be allies against the invaders.” The Lord Griffin
answered, “The Raven’s are very tasty, and a delicacy. No harm was
intended but the sky’s of Shadora are dangerous. You have taken the
Overwatch, before the coming of the Lazuri the Overwatch Aerie was
our home, I would like it back.” Simon responded “You have aided up
in battle and allies we should be, the Aerie is yours although there
are likely favours I will need to ask of you and your kin.” And the
start of an alliance was made. With a great screech the Lord Griffin
took to the air and in moments hoards of his children swirled about
diving into the Core-ward Aerie. As the Griffins entered debris began
rain into the compound as the cleaned the Aerie of the Wyvens nests.
The search of the the compound was begun. Near the entrance to
the Tower was the statue of a dwarf. It had been desecrated by the
Lazuri but was to stout to be destroyed. The Bander Priests were
found chained in a pit. Both blinded, they at first believed our
rescue was nothing but a ruse by the Lazuri. Simon’s prayer to Bander
and Roku’s healing hands convinced them of the truth. The cultists
had left little behind. Several of the team climbed the tower and
found ancient artifacts. Giant spy glasses and other mechanics. Roku
quickly discovered several of their secrets. Sights could be brought
into view from across Broadshoulders. As a test the team viewed Fort
Raven, guards could be identified walking about, simply amazing.
The Bandar Priests somewhat recovered asked to speak to Simon.
In front of the tower the priests identified the statue of Laramar
Lightbinder an ancient hero of Bandar. They revealed that in
addition to the statue it was his tomb. With aid from others the
priests found and manipulated several parts of the statue, a
mechanism was activated. With a grinding sound the platform of the
statue transformed and in moments a stair appeared leading
downward. Following the steps down the party found the Archives
of Laramar. Within were books of first age lore, Maps identifying
secret dwarven tunnels below Broadshoulders and Laramar’s Axe and
Cloak of Feathers. Before Simon realized it the priests had the Axe
in his hand and the cape about his shoulders, “Bandar has spoken,
Simon you are the heir to the Lightbringer.” Simon who had only
given the priests the name Alexander responded with a hearty
cough from the dust raised.
Meanwhile Lasheur and Trish sat drinking some wine and watching
the debris rain down from the Aerie. Their attention was drawn to
a clanging sound. Searching the debris field while dodging the
falling bones and trash was nearly as bad as the battle but they
found a sword and a chainmail hauberk. Showing the finds to Arghmon
he identified the symbol on the hauberk to the Mageslayer, a near
mythical character who hunted and killed wizards in the early days
of Emancia. The runes on the sword identified it as the “Stormsword”,
his weapon. In addition to the armor and sword he recalled two
bracelets. Lasheur and Trish returned to the debris and the sun
was well up before they had located both. One was gold and diamond
the other was bronze the a hammer on it.

As the day passed Prospero, Arghmon, and Roku were drawn into
the Archive seeking information on the tower top artifacts. Simon
took the time to work with Telpurr to record the layout of the
Fire Temple. Trish quickly grew bored with the engineering talk of
the wizards and Simon talking to Telpurr. She found Lasheur and Tenk
also sitting idle. “I’m heading down to the Wyrm Temple. Chaos
still waits there and my swords grow restless.” Lasheur gave her a
look of “Trish, you scare me sometimes. You really, really scare
me.” Trish smiled in reply “So, does that mean ‘yes’ in elvish?”
Lasheur laughed, “Alright Trish, it will save me from another history
lesson with the bow.” Tenk hesitantly grabbed his spear and mumbled,
“I will never understand you no-tails. You are often brave and strong
but always confusing.”
A few hours later Simon was in the courtyard stretching after a
long session with Telpurr and saw Trish and company returning. Simon
called “Hey Trish, what have you been up to?" Trish responded "We
journeyed to the Wyrm temple, it needs a new name there are no
Wyrms left. They are also very short on cultists, Lazuri, and eggs
in case you are keeping score. That chaos will not trouble us further.
We threw all of them in the lava and sealed the doors. No one is getting
up that way without a battering ram. Simon smiled, “So we own the skies!”
“We do indeed.” Trish replied. Simon called down the griffins and promised
them tender horse flesh in the next week or so if they would fly down and
bring Dane and Grimclaw up the mountain. They didn’t like the fact that
he couldn’t pay up front, but the lure of horse flesh was too great to
resist. Soon, the full party was back together and it was time to
start planning again.

Breaking Free of the Temple of Wyverns

Trapped in the temple, the first concerns were to remain hidden.
Roku and Trish started moving the dead cultists up into the lava
tube. Prospero moved them along to the nest. As the second one
was moved to the nest the Wyvern near Trish took interest and
came up the passageway, Roku thinking quickly cast an invisibility
spell on Trish. Still something gave her away and it shouted out
an alarm that got the Cultists, Lazuri, and Wyvern’s moving in
our direction. Trish was quickly confronted by two cultists a
Lazuri and a the troublesome Wyvern. Trish slashed at the Wyvern
but it withstood her attack. Meanwhile Lasheur and Prospero tried
to time their entry into the battle to the most good. As cultists
started to move out of the barracks towards Trish they held their
Trish was soon in difficulty and Roku dropped down to assist
her. Lasheur opened fire and Prospero dropped into the barracks
and cast a spell and attacked a cultist. Lasheur fired some shots
at the cultists and then dropped into the barracks as well,
moving in a direction to aid Trish and Roku. Trish killed the
Wyvern and then concentrated on the very talented Lazuri,
with his massive shield and spells in place he was nearly impossible
to injure. The cultists pulled back and drew their bows and began
shooting at Trish. Meanwhile in the barracks the effort to reinforce
Trish and Roku became a pitched battle with two Wyverns and several
more cultists joining the fray. Lasheur broke free from an attacker
and was able to use his bow to good effect, Prospero continued his
melee with cultists but with his magic summoned four Earth Elements
who swept into the room like a wave smashing some foes and
immobilizing others. Trish summoned the power of her God and cast a
spell on her sword, with Roku’s aid they were able to overpower the
Luzuri and move to attack the archers. Prospero’s Gnomes where short
lived but having found a winning tactic he summoned more. Lasheur
made good use of his bow, Trish and Roku entered to help chase off
the remaining cultists.
Looking down a lava tube towards Rimward Prospero spied a Lava
lake with a dragon basking in it, atop the dragon was a Lazuri priest.
Once the barracks was clear the team started exchanging spells and
attacks, with no easy way to cross the lava a direct assault was
impossible. Finally the Lazuri Priest shouted out “Enough I will
finish you fools at the tower, you may control the temple but
without the summit it is for naught.” With that the Dragon reared
and with crashing and falling stone departed the temple area.
Roku with Trish began healing while Lashaur and Prospero began
searching the temple for an entrance. They found a spiral stair
leading upward for hundreds of steps, the pair could hear the
shuffling foot falls of retreating cultists. With a further search
they located what appeared to be an entrance but which was blocked
by the Lava lake. Rejoining the four went to the Lava lake and Roku
using his magical strength crated a bridge of shadow across the lava.
With tentative steps the party crossed into a once grand entryway,
now largely smashed by the passage of the dragon. Once clear of the
temple wardings Telpurr link with Simon was re-established and using
the Ring of Storms he arrived with Arghmon and Tenk. Using the
Journeyman staff Arghmon created a solid bridge across the Lava lake
and the team moved to the spiral stair that was now quite. They began
the long assent to the summit.

Climbing the Overwatch

The team started the Overwatch climb. Like the ten thousand
steps it was long and tiring. Lashaur lead the party by twenty
meters watching for enemies. For several hours there was no
movement and little change of scenery. Steady upward trudging
was the rule. As the party rounded a corner they were greeted
by a grim totem of two giant skulls held up by broken spears.
Ahead was Lashaur creeping forward to investigate a huge pile of
bones. To Lashaur’s left was a tunnel entrance, to the right
near the bone pile a circular pit three meters across. As
Lashaur entered the bone pile he bumped a long bone likely from
a horse, it fell causing a small avalanche of bones around him.
Movement from the wall above Lashaur drew everyone’s sight, a
green Wyvren was looking down on Lashaur from above. It raised
its head and let out a shriek.
Lashaur grabbed a handful of arrows and smashed a vial of
Dragon’s Bane over them. Simon rushed forward and threw his
spear doing a glancing blow off the Wyvern’s head. Prospero
prepared a bolt spell but something when wrong, blasted off the
ground he landed stunned in rough terrain four meters above the
party. Almost immediately he was confronted by a second Wyvren,
this one had a chain-mail clad rider sporting a flail. The
Wyvern above Lashaur let out a blast of flame that he deftly
dodged. Roku gazed into his Orb, Tenk moved, Dane fired a bolt
that skipped off tough Wyvern hide. Arghmon cast a blast of fire
on Prospero’s opponent but something went wrong, the blast
incinerated an unoccupied part of the mountain. Trish moved
forward to find an opponent.
Prospero quickly slashed his Wyvern opponent, to no effect.
Roku deftly climbed up engaging the Wyvern near Prospero, his
slash glanced off the beasts tail. The Wyvern snapped at Prospero
who countered wounding it. It’s tail swung at Roku but was
blocked, the rider looked at Prospero and opened his mouth
breathing fire which was deftly dodged. A fourth Wyvern emerged
from the cave engaging Simon and Trish, Simon launched his spear
at the one above Lashaur this time wounding it, Trish slashed. A
fifth Red Wyvern climbed from the pit to attack Lashaur on the
ground. Even as Wyvern reinforcements continue to arrive the
party gained the upper hand. The two Wyverns on the ledge were
felled, the grounded ones near Trish and Lashaur did not last
much longer. Dane and Lashaur held good positions, loosing venom
coated arrows into the Wyvern’s and cultists. Two more Red’s landed
carrying three cultists each but it was already to late for them.
Arghmon’s cursed wand summoned a swarm of ghosts that forced three
cultists to the edge, Prospero’s blast collapsed it from under them
sending them to their death. Simon disabled one of the cultists,
leaving a prisoner. In a last desperate bid the last cultist ran
and jumped from the cliff, sprouting wings and gliding away. The
Wizard’s, Dane, and Simon all fired at him but it was an arrow
from Lashaur’s bow that drove him into the ground.
The prisoner was tied and the battle ground policed, four
Wyvern nests were found each with three to six eggs. These were
smashed, Lashaur found an old chain-mail coat in the bone pile
and packed it away. Simon began questioning the prisoner. He was
cooperative and helpful. He described in detail how they had
taken the Overwatch, its communication and spying apparatus, and
how he had aided in the torture of the Bander Priests that had
tended the equipment. A few of the Bander Priests survived and
were imprisoned within the temple.The Nyan temple had been
replaced by a temple to Hyalorm the Queen of Wyrms. He told
of a force of dozens of Cultists and Wyverns. Ahead on the trail
there was a steep stair cut into the mountain that lead to the
summit and the temple. The stair was exposed and with the
mobility of the Wyverns anyone on it would be subject to attacks
from the air above below and the sides. The climb would take over
an hour and sounded like suicide. The psuedo-dragons and cultists
also had night vision so darkness would not cloak us. Once all
the questions had been answered Simon took to the pit lifted
him and tossed him into the wall. He fell the thirty meters
landing in the Wyven’s nest at the bottom.
After two further hours of hiking the party reached the stair.
The party agreed that climbing them would be suicide and so
discussed possible other options. Trish suggested that Prospero
tunnel to the top, Prospero could summon a gnome but it would take
weeks to tunnel to the top. Simon recalled a time when the party
had been pursued by Dwarves riding gnomes, and he had a bound
Gnome from the Earth Temple. A plan was devised, Simon would order
his Gnome to carry four of the team to the top. Trish, Prospero,
Lashaur, Roku, and Telpurr would be carried by the Gnome. Once they
had reached the temple Telpurr would signal Simon through their
linkage and Simon would teleport to his location with Arghmon and
Tenk. Grimclaw and Dane would remain at the base of the stairs and
wait for a signal from Prospero to start up. The party executed the
plan, Simon released the Gnome, and ordered it “Take these four
safely to the top of the stairs and the Temple beyond.” The Gnome
in a huff seized them up and disappeared into the Earth. Simon,
Arghmon, and Tenk started up the stairs to divert the attention of
the temple and its watchers.
When the four arrived the Gnome released them in a darkened
chamber, “Normally I would kill you for this insult but today I
release you and depart.” He quickly dissolved into the ground,
Prospero realized their error, and queried Lashaur, “Has your Rune
Link severed?”, “Yes” was his immediate reply. Within the temple
Telpur’s link to Simon would be blocked, there was no way to summon
them. The team heard voices and Roku quickly cast invisibility on
himself and investigated. A heavy voice, a Lazur voice was speaking
to two cultists about the incursion down the mountain. They were
overconfident saying none had returned and the problem was solved,
the Lazur demanded confirmation. Roku quickly returned and with a
whispered warning to the party, Prospero quickly cast invisibility
on Trish, Lashaur moved around the corner out of sight seeing light
in the other direction. The two came around the corner and spotted
Prospero who inquired after the nearest tavern, as the pair drew
their weapons Roku ran one through and Trish cut down the second.
Roku reported a Lazur and a Wyvern around the corner to rimnward.
Lashaur crept around a corner spinward and spotted a barracks area,
he reported ten cultists and two Lazur. With no idea of the
direction to the entrance the party was trapped. Lashaur spied a
small tunnel three meters above above party. With Roku’s help
Lashaur climbed to the crevice and crept along. Around a corner
was a Wyvern nest with a Green faced away from him. Roku and
Prospero joined him in the old lava tube. Lashaur sent two arrows
into the Wyvern killing it, with Roku’s silence spell on the first
arrow it died without a disturbance. The far side of the nest
looked down into the barracks Lashaur had spotted. A new plan was

Journey to the Overwatch
The party approached the ridge line as the mists started to form. Fear of the mists kept

everyone’s pace up. Twenty meters from the ridge dark shadows passed over head and with heavy
thuds three Chimaera’s landed before us. One spoke to Lashaur, then in the lead, “We know you
harbour the thief Roku, if he hands over the crown we will let you live, our master demands it.”
The party didn’t hesitate but leapt to battle, Simon grabbed Dane and teleported behind the
center Chimaera drawing his blades and wounding it. Prospero seized Tenk and burrowed behind a
second enemy drawing Kindred he wounded it as well. As the mists formed Chaotic Newts rose
from ravines and crevices surrounding the party, Grimclaw ran forward and crushed one with a
might pounce. Four for the Chaos hoard rushed Trish, for more surrounded Lasher, two attacked
Roku and two more attacked Arghmon. Those rushing Trish where slashed down as they arrived.
The Chimaera’s attacked Simon, Prospero, Tenk and Dane. Dane took a butt from a head and was
knocked back and down, luckily she was not wounded. Tenk was not as lucky and was wounded
and knocked down and back. The Chimaera on Prospero had a tail with three eyes, no doubt a
chaos taint, a wall of acid rose between the party and the ridge. Lashaur surrounded by the 4 Newts
teleported into the clear on the ridge and shot his bow wounding a Chimaera.
Simon killed his Chimaera foe and moved to aid Prospero as Tenk retreated out of reach. Dane
was confronted by a chaotic Newt while the third Chimaera flew forward to engage Roku. The others
began dealing death blows to the Newt’s that had surrounded them. Arghmon drew out the chaos
wand we had discovered, he aimed it at the Chimaera attacking Roku, out of the wand came many
shrieking spirits in a cloud, the Newt’s on Roku immediately fled, the Chimaera was surprised but
continued to fight. Simon slashed gravely wounding the Chimaera and cutting off his tail, Lashaur
fired and finished off the second Chimaera. Tenk threw his spear to help Dane but the Newt deftly
caught the spear and flipped it around.
The party had gained the upper hand, Roku and Lashaur finished the last of the Chimaera’s as
he threatened Roku. The other chaotic Newt’s were destroyed. Those still below the ridge ran
forward, all made it save Arghmon who tripped and fell engulfed by the mist. Roku quickly readied
his rope and grapple but Arghmon heaved himself to his feet and leaped to the ridge. When he
stood he was white, shaking and covered in sweat. No doubt the mist had affected him. As
Arghmon’s run from the mist was playing out Prospero and Arghmon scanned the battle field for
new foes, they saw some type of guardsman or soldier moving away from us into the hills.
Lashaur quickly picked up the man’s trail and the party followed him into a hidden valley were
they saw a series of cave dwellings. Lashaur and Simon scouted ahead and identified a sentry on
high ground, Simon teleported to his ledge and knocked him unconscious. From questioning the
team found that the villagers were survivors of Glynn. Simon requested that the guard lead us into
the village, he would only allow a single person without weapons, none in the party were ready to
accept this. As the negotiations struggled Trish stepped up and agreed to swear the guest oath. The
guard Starn, was very impressed with the Lady Trish and agreed. We proceeded to the village.
The village head man was Carl and he was adamantly opposed to aiding us in our quest. It soon
became an open debate with his advisers and Starn. The advisers agreed to aid us against Carl’s will,
after a bribe by Lashaur, Starn agreed to be our guide. He went to the village and returned with
horses for all, “We should get moving before Carl notices that we have borrowed his horses.”. With
Starn’s horses and guidance we made it to the base of the Overwatch in hours instead of days. The
party camped the night at the base of the Overwatch. Before the rising of the sun Starn set us on
our way. The way up was a steep winding trail with no cover and many stretches of difficult terrain
where falls would need to be guarded against. Starn agreed to wait 3 days under cover of the cave
he had found. The trudge up the mountain began, as the Sun arose Simon broke into dance at the
day and the rising of the sun. As he concluded he made a prayer to Bander, “May the Sun of Lazur
daze our foes while the shadows and illusions of Bander blind them to our presence.”


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