The Masks of Vyn Morrad

The Forge Father

Speaking with Gods

After two difficult battles in a short time, the party decides that an extended rest would be in their best interest before they travel further into the tunnel. Setting up camp near the cave entrance, they choose watch duty and settle in to rest. Halfway through the night, Aelar hears approaching footsteps coming from the direction of the unexplored corridor. He prepares his blades and wakes the other members of the party just as two cyclops step into the firelight. They do not appear hostile however, and one of the towering creatures speaks in the language of giants and beckons the party to follow. Not comprehending the language, Krisnar uses the butt of his maul to draw the symbol of Argas into the dirt, a downward swinging hammer. The cyclops nods and again beckons them to follow, and then makes his way down the corridor.

Trusting that the cyclops means no harm after all, they decide to follow. The corridor walls go through an impressive montage of craftsmanship, starting with very roughly hewn rock and slowly turning into more and more intricately crafted masonry. The final stretch of the hallway is masterful with thousands of tiny tiles creating a mosaic depicting the Forge Father creating the powerful Masks of the gods.

The corridor ends suddenly, opening into a massive vaulted chamber focused around a carved stone throne 50 feet above the main level. Stone steps lead up to the throne, flanked on both sides by deep pools of magma. On both sides of the chamber’s main floor there are two crafting stations that are currently in use. On one, four cyclops work the forge and bellows to hone the steal of a massive great sword. On the other, a powerfully built dwarf works the forge alone, but easily matches the cyclops stroke for stroke.

View
The Volcano

To Erghos


As the airship approaches the looming volcanic island in the southern seas, the last light of the sun passes over the party. Farlister lowers the ship toward a beach near the rocky base of the volcano, and as darkness covers the island they begin their trek upwards. Aelar’s keen eyes spot a perch midway up the volcano where the lava flows seem to avoid, and they make it their goal.

A few bruises and singes later, the party reaches a massive carved archway leading into the heart of the volcano, like a giant maw waiting to swallow them up. The entrance is bereft of any guards, although one massive warhammer with a handle as tall as Halyn rests propped against the cave as if in warning. Through the darkness they twist and turn down wide corridors until at last they see the flickering of firelight ahead. As they enter a broad chamber, their light spills over several massive cyclopean guards, flanked by man-sized fire elementals, all of whom leap to attack the party.

Eager to flex their new found powers, the party makes short work of even the nastiest cyclops, and within moments all is still. That stillness is suddenly broken by the deep growl of something dwelling deeper in the chamber, a sound felt as much as heard. With the noise comes a burst of light from down a nearby corridor, followed by a wave of heat. Cautiously approaching with weapons ready, they turn the corner to find the lair of a volcanic dragon tucked in a chamber half filled with pits of magma. They party attempts to parlay with the dragon, but this breed is more beastly than intelligent, and it has no desire to trade words with anyone. A fight erupts, and with the dragon’s powerful vents of poisonous gas and flames come two additional foes from within the magma pits. Hulking beasts made of rocks and flowing lava pound the heroes from both sides while Halyn tries to stave off the worst of the dragon’s might.

The fight rages for what seems like hours, with the party taking massive wounds from the onslaught of the fiery beasts. Finally, utilizing clever positioning of Aelar’s root gates, they are able to out-flank the dragon and magma beasts and deliver the killing blows to end the fight. The dragon leaves behind a considerable stash of coins, art items, and other various treasures including 3 powerful magic rings.

View
Decisions

Karavakos No More

The ceiling of the ritual chamber in the Pyramid of Shadows shimmers and fades away, bright afternoon sun streaming in on the party for the first time in what feels like weeks. They shield their eyes from the glare, relieved to be finally free of the prison; free of Karavakos. With the tiefling’s horns in hand, they watch as the sunlight turns the warlock’s body to ash. The remains of the many fallen adventurers perish similarly, their remains blowing away with the breeze.

“Where is my Lady Vyrelis?” Asks a concerned Telthoris. The party searches around the top of the pyramid, but find no trace. As they search, the Satyr Andaran woops and slides down the side of the pyramid, laughing and frolicking joyfully into the woods. He skips past a kneeling figure bowing over a handful of fresh earth, dressed in flowing silks. The party slides down the pyramid and approach, and they see it is an eladrin woman. Telthoris gives her time to finish whatever ritual or prayer she might be speaking, and at last she stands to face the party. They see Vyrelis, alive and well, dressed as she must have been the day she was trapped in the pyramid. Her beauty knows no match.

“Telthoris, brave companions, I cannot thank you enough for the service you have done to me. Who can know how long I would have remained trapped in that prison had you not saved me? My gratitude is eternal.” She bows to Telthoris and company, who bows back. The lady Vyrelis holds out a slim ivory rod and a bulging satchel to the party, “these items I had in my possession just before I was pulled into the pyramid, and I offer them to you now as thanks. The rod was one of Karavakos’s, powerful indeed. The pouch contains enough residuum to perform a mighty ritual, though it was never carried out. They are yours to do as you wish, and though they are but trinkets they are all I have to offer.” She hesitates. “Well, not all… ask me any question, and if I know the answer, I will answer it truly.”

The party recalls the cryptic message from Karavakos before he died, and show her the tiefling’s horns. “So, he wishes you to take his essence to Argas, does he. Interesting indeed… Argas is the Forge Father, so he must mean that the horns need to be crafted into something that will aid in your fight against the Blanks. You will find the God of the Forge on the southern island of Erghos, deep within the volcano. But one does not simply visit the Forge Father without great need, nor without great gift. You must find a mighty offering for Argas, one that suits his craft. If it is worthy, you shall fare well.”

She steps back and asks Telthoris to thrust his sword into the patch of soil she was kneeling over. As he does, she incants an unfamiliar elvish ritual and suddenly a white well appears. “I also have ties to the White Lady, dear Telthoris. I thank you again for your services, and for sending me home. If you are ever in the Fey, seek me out and I will repay you further…” She gives Telthoris a lusty kiss and disappears into the depths of the well, which then vanishes.

The party notices that the sun is in similar position as when they left, and as Gumbo climbs back to the flat top of the pyramid he sees the airship flying away from the drop sight, as if they were just deposited. He sends up a show of sparks to grab Farlister’s attention, and they soon see the ship turning back around to pick them up. The gnome is surprised and annoyed to see them. “I just dropped you off, was nobody home?”

“Nobody home is right” quips Gumbo, “and sorry to deprive you of your alone time with my wife but we need to move this ship post haste!” Farlister grumbles as he prepares the ship for another voyage, asking where he should face their heading.

The party discusses the many options that lie before them. While questioning what gift to offer Argas, the Godhammer is proposed but they are unsure whether it is rightfully theirs to give, or if Argas would accept a tool of his own crafting as tribute. Gumbo recalls that he has a Consult Mystic Sages ritual, and so they perform it to gain further insight. The Mystic Sage confirms that the tool of his own crafting would be a fine tribute, and so they commit to the Godhammer. Rather than showing up to Kaellen Deep unannounced they decide to make for Veren Mir, home of the elves and domain of Aelar’s father Lolindir, the elven king. There they can use the sending stone to alert King Braghor Undermountain of their task, as well as resupply in the elven city.

Their trip takes a few short days with no interruptions, and soon they are touching down in an ancient cobbled courtyard in front of Lolindir’s meeting chambers. A dozen elven guards quickly cover the ground beneath where they hover, curved bows pointing deadly arrows at whomever might reveal themselves. Aelar smartly decides to call down first and, in daring swachbuckler style, dashes over the balcony on a strand of rope to clap down upon the cobblestones with seemingly little effort. The elven guards are shocked, and then recognize their favorite Prince of Veren Mir; a cheer rises from their lips as they joyfully welcome him back home.

Hours later they are at a banquet feast in Lolindir’s hall, this time with no trace of the undead… Lolindir proposes a toast to the heroes and wishes them well on their quest, and any mundane supplies he might be able to offer to help them on their way. Early in the speach, Farlister ducks out of the hall to make sure the airship is being looked after. Lolindir gift his son Aelar with the suit of hide armer that he wore during the War of Thunder, and they all enjoy a joyful night of frivolity. Celenwyn is not far from Aelar’s side, grateful to once again be with her brother.

In the morning the party rises late and makes their way to Lolindir’s personal chambers to activate the Sending Stone. Lolinder had warned not to call on a dwarven king before he’s had his morning beer or there’d be a harder bargain to be made…

King Braeghor’s voice is soon heard through the stone sphere, and at first he seems his normal self. Aelar and Gumbo notice the king seems to be short of breath and muffling coughs during their conversation. “Are you not well your grace?” Asks Kamesh, to which he is answered by silence. They hear the voice of another dwarf, though they can’t make out the words. “Chancellor Kiergar, is that you?” Asks Kamesh again, and after a deep sigh they hear the gruff chancellor acknowledge the party, giving them the traditional dwarven greeting.

“Aye,” says Kiergar, “I’m afraid King Braeghor is not quite himself lads, since you left a sickness has fallen over him.” The party cann hear Braeghor arguing with Kiergar, but the feisty chancellor gets his way and continues on. “His grace decided to have his engineers reassemble the broken anvil, cracked though it might be, and his grace has been using it to craft weapons day and night. We fear the strain has take a toll, as well as something… else. It loathes me to say that his veins have blackened from his hands up to his elbows, and his grace is often sicking up a foul blackness. I have found no cure that seems to stave off this illness so we have sent for a healer from Port Klaenth, though I fear it will be over a week before they arrive, if we are lucky. Might you be making your way back north?”

The heroes explain their plight, and their idea of gifting the Godhammer to Argas in exchange for revealing the power of the tiefling horns. Braeghor seems hesitant at first, but decides that since the Godhammer was gifted to the dwarves ages ago, it will likely make its way back to their halls. The king invites them to visit with all urgency, and wishes them safe travels. The party agrees, and decide to gather whatever medicine they can from Lolindir’s healers. They gather up 4 vials of powdered Pegasus feathers, as well as 3 whole feathers to be offered to the dwarven king.

As they gather their things to leave Lolindir’s chambers, the gnome Farlister bursts through the doors and skids to a halt. He looks terrible; shirt untucked, hair wild, bags under his eyes, but there is a grin on his face and he shouts “You must see what they’ve done!” The heroes follow the gnome as he rushes back outdoors, and when they exit into the courtyard they stare in amazement at the transformation that their ship has undergone.

Raised scaffolding has been erected, and a dozen elven carpenters and engineers work to put the finishing touches on upgrades to the airship. The hull is now encased in a silver metallic armor, durable yet light, while in the aft of the ship stabilizer wings have been crafted from smooth oaken beams to help her fly more smoothly. “Isn’t it beautiful!?” asks Farlister, now hand i hand with his halfling wife. “And best of all, Lolinder’s best sages began questioning my ideas for the engine and we’ve worked out a way to add thrust from the Floater! She hasn’t been tested, but Merrin’s eye she’ll fly twice as swiftly as before! When do we leave, eh?”

Although at first eager to fly, they decide that if the ship has really doubled in speed, they are already ahead of the schedule they thought they had. They instead decide to rest for one more day, restock their supplies, and have the engineers install two ballistas at the front of the ship, offering them some aerial firepower. With the rising of the sun on the next day, they are bid farewell by a gathering of elves wishing to see the airship in flight. Farlister lifts the hull up above the spires and trees of the elven city, and opens her up. “Hang on to your arses, lads!” They thrust forward, northbound to meet with the King of Dwarves.

The trip takes half the time originally thought, a mere five days to travel most of the length of the western continent. They soon are setting the airship (still without a name) down at the main entrance of Kaellen Deep, and the heroes each drop down to the waiting escort below. The dwarven guards bring the party into the dwarven halls, but instead of taking them to the king’s audience chamber they are brought to the main forge room. The chamber is immediately familiar, as it is where the assault from the duergar and driders took place. Thelkion shudders as he looks over the ledge to the lava below that nearly claimed his life.

They find the king down in the anvil room, resting in a wooden chair with the Godhammer slung over his chest. Kiergar soon meets them at the door and says “he doesn’t often leave this chamber, as you can see, and he tends to daydream these days. He is not eager to let the Godhammer out of his sight since the attack. Your Grace?” At Kiergar’s call, King Braeghor snaps out of his daydream and finally notices the party. A half-grin appears on his face and he welcomes them to Kaellen Deep. The party notices the broken anvil propped up so that the broken halves seem whole again. It takes some convincing, but the king finally agrees to move to a more suitable chamber to discuss matters at hand and they make their way to the cozy chamber behind his audience hall where they first met Aelar.

As they make themselves comfortable, the party notices Braeghor seems to be clutching the hammer tightly, and uses is as a walking stick. They present the Pegasus feathers to Kiergar, and he immediately prepares a bandage and poultice to apply to the king’s arms. Within minutes Braeghor seems to be returning to his former, jovial self, and he greets them again in a more hearty manner. The party explains the plight of the Blanks, Karavakos, and their task to meet Argas. Before they can even ask, Braeghor agrees that the Godhammer is the correct offering. Anything short might insult the God, who is known among dwarves to have a fiery temper (the better to heat his forges!). He hesitates for only a moment and then thrusts the Hammer to Kamesh, who is knocked to the ground and nearly crushed under the weight and power of it. “Falmon’s Boots I forgot, lad!” He slips off the Ring of True Giant Strength and gives it to Kamesh to be able to wield the Godhammer. The Paladin twirls the hammer in his hands, basking in it’s might before setting it back down.

“We must not linger long, good King” says Gumbo, and after exchanging a few short pleasantries they are seen to the exit by Braeghor himself. He gives a hearty laugh at the sight of the airship. “Haw! Now that might have been a worthy gift to Argas!” The day is still young as the heroes push full speed out of their airship, southbound to the awaiting island of Erghos.

View
Into the Shadow

Trapped

The party suddenly finds themselves in a completely different place, and by the smell of things not a pleasant one. They are in a square pit, ten feet deep and ten feet on a side, and below them are countless corpses of fallen warriors. The faint flickering torchlight from the chamber above them shows that these dead men, elves and dwarves wear clothing and armor unfamiliar to anyone. They quickly decide they need to climb out of this pit and figure out where they are, when suddenly something starts moving beneath them and Gumbo is grabbed by a large green tentacle. As he cries out in alarm, they hear a grunt from the chamber above and the slapping of heavy feet on the stones rushing their way. Kamesh and Thelkion are attempting to scale the wall as a large shadow spills over them, and the two heads of an ettin grin down hungrily with two sets of crooked teeth.

A battle quickly erupts, two carrion crawlers attacking from below while the ettin hews hungrily with his ax from above, all the while gleefully describing how he is going to add to his collection of heads. Gumbo, deciding that being pulled into a pit of corpses and devoured by a large tentacled maggot is not really the way he’d like to check out, erupts from the pit with a blast of thunderous arcane power, knocking the crawlers away and leaping safely to the main floor of this chamber. He provides covering blasts of chaos bolts allowing the warriors still in the pit to climb out without getting dismembered by the head-hungry ettin. Meanwhile Telthoris was quick to simply teleport out of the pit and begin blasting his eldritch energy into the fray. After a brutal clash, the heroes were able to finish off one of the crawlers and the ettin (denying him of any heads), while the other carrion crawler burrowed away deeper into the pit.

Once rested and healed of their wounds, the party were able to search around their new surroundings to see where they had been teleported. Four corridors lead away from the main chamber, each fading into darkness, while one small alcove just outside the main chamber held a few surprises. There they found six hooks, each holding a dismembered head. One of the hooks, however, held a cloth sack and within was a dark orb roughly the size of a human head. Telthoris was examining the sphere when suddenly a female eladrin’s head appeared from within. “Who are you?” the stern voice demanded, surprising Telthoris and nearly causing him to drop the bauble.

View
Into the Palace

New Friends


The party gathers before the sun has risen, in a respectable inn and tavern called the Silver Cartwheel. All are present as they have decided that this will be the day they finally enter the palace to get some answers to the many questions that have arisen these past weeks in Port Klaenth. With the robes given to them by Dalson and the ruse of entering the palace on the pretense of receiving prayers and tribute from Dengar Alvuus after the massacre at the temple, they feel this is the perfect opportunity to act.

Their old friend Mace is present at this meeting, concealed in a flowing cloak to hide his identity. The party was surprised that he would risk such a meeting, but the ever-daring Mace is unconcerned with such dangers. “I am a cat, my friends, and I have many lives yet to live!” He sips a frothy beer, despite the hour, and chats amiably with the party before they get down to serious discussion.

Mace explains that the Brotherhood has taken over the old hideout of the The Shadowed Hand north of Port Klaenth and have been rebuilding their numbers. Mace is still fuming over the betrayal by his former brothers

View
To Save a Halfling

Poison Most Vile


The party checked the warehouse for any final clues of where the cultists had come from and what their motivation may have been, but they come up empty handed. Gumbo begins looking more and more worse for the wear, and under Kamesh’s urging they quickly head back to the temple of Teven to seek healing. Indeed Kamesh’s initial attempts to stabilize the wound were met with complete failure, and the pious warrior knew they would need a master to deal with this.

Gumbo begins to act slightly delusional, and the idea of just cutting off his arm is tossed around. “By Merrin’s taint I swear it’d hurt less!” Toshi chuckles and makes note of the creative curse for later use. Gumbo asks why they don’t go see the priests of den Morrad, and Kamesh explains that Teven’s healer’s are far more skilled (no offense meant to den Morrad of course).

They make it to the temple in the main plaza of the city, still disguised in their priestly robes, and by this point they are drawing attention to themselves from the moans coming from poor Gumbo. Kamesh rushes into the main chapel and shouts for the high priest, who under the tutelage of Teven is always the most skilled healer. A stooped, white-haired man rushes to the party and immediately sets to delving into Gumbo. “High Priest Jarad is the finest healer in the city, fear not. He can surely aid you Gumbo.”

At those words Jarad shoots Kamesh a worried glance. In a kindly voice he explains that he’s afraid this won’t be as simple. “Arthur, fetch kit!” He calls to a nearby priest. “You know which one…” The priest Arthur looks grim for a moment and then rushes off, shortly returning with a leather satchel filled with various knives, saws, and other devices suitable for relieving a patient of a limb.

“This is just a precaution, in case we can’t move quickly enough.” The kindly man explains. “I’m afraid you are beset with a most fearsome venom, know to many as ’Thrall’s Kiss’. If not treated within the day, you will surely lose your arm if not your life. The real evil of this poison is that it was designed knowing that most healers would not be keeping the antidote on hand. I certainly do not, nor have I ever had the heart to retrieve any…”

Kamesh and Toshi share a concerned look, and then ask Jarad what the antidote is. “I’m afraid the wicked minds that created this poison used the blood of a Pegasus to brew it, thus the blood of a Pegasus is the only thing that can cure it, short of divine intervention.”

“Then we kill a goblin sucking Pegasus!” cries out Gumbo in his feverish state. Kamesh reminds Gumbo that a Pegasus is a divine creature, believed to be the ascended soul of someone that is of such purity and love that they are blessed with flight and immortality. Indeed, to kill a Pegasus is to remove that soul from existence, never to live again. A Pegasus may voluntarily usher its soul back to the realms of the living to be reborn as a new being, but this is rarely a gift given up.

Toshi steps back, looks at his friend Gumbo suffering, and asks Jarad where he can find a Pegasus.

Within the hour, the party is heading along the coast north of Port Klaenth. They had heard rumor of a nesting ground that is sometimes used by a small flock of Pegasus. Indeed as they travel on, they soon see traces of Pegasus feathers on the rocky shore. They track the trail to a covered outcropping near the sea, and as they approach they hear the hideous laughter of what could only be orcs. Drawing steel they rush to seek out the source, and are horrified to see a bloodied Pegasus standing on the edge of a rock slab, back against the sea. Her wing is badly broken, and cuts cover her once beautiful hide.

The heroes rush to attack the orcs and do anything they can to draw them away from the wounded creature. The orcs prove to be little challenge, however as they drop the last foe they quickly see that the Pegasus is beyond the point of repair. They comfort the creature as best they can, and suddenly hear its voice in their mind. “I know what you seek, and I thank you for trying to save me. My time in the world in this form is at an end, but do not fear for me. Had those creatures slain me outright, my soul would vanish from the world forever, but you’ve given me the chance to choose to be reborn, and for that my soul is eternally grateful. Take now what you have come for, and take it without guilt. Quickly, now.”

The creature shudders as Toshi gathers the blood dripping from its once-brilliant coat, and as the last light of the sun sets they see a flash of white light from the Pegasus as it leaves this world. The party lingers for a moment in respect, but realizing Gumbo’s plight they leave the poor creature and head swiftly back to the city.

At the temple of Teven, Jarad has a poultice ready within the hour and has applied it to Gumbo’s arm. Gumbo at this point had fallen unconscious, but soon is visibly better and the purple color slowly leaves his arm. The rest of the party, exhausted from the urgency of this mission, retire to their chambers at the temple of den Morrad and are soon asleep, despite the celebrations continuing on the streets of the city.

View
Thrall's Kiss

Kiss Goodbye


The party thanks Dalson for his kindness and wishes them strength and peace in the rebuilding after these terrible events. Kamesh swears to avenge Alyss, or bring her back alive if she still lives.

The acolyte robes prove to be a good way for the party to get around the city while the Watch is still searching for them. Before leaving, Dalson had offered up the last known direction of the cultists that had fled the temple after the fight with the Blank. A mix of city watchmen and Storm Priests had chased a handful of them south out of Temple Square and lost them in the alleyways between the multitude of warehouses and foundries of the Craft District.

With a few successful streetwise checks by Gumbo and some expert tracking by Toshi and Thelkion, they find signs of the cultists holding up in an abandoned warehouse. Sneaking in as quietly as they are able, the party enters the warehouse. Unfortunately for them, the cultists were waiting and pounced with a brutal opening assault. The cultists fight viciously, but soon all fall; the last slit his own throat so as not to be captured for questioning.

View
A Meeting

A New Ally

With the Mask safely sealed away and the threat of the Blank gone for the time being, the heroes make their way back to the temple, fearing for what they might find. The site is grim indeed, as they climb back into the temple hall and find that only a dozen or so Stormpriests still live, along with twice as many acolytes. The death toll is nearly 30 priests dead, with Alyss nowhere to be found. Only her delicate-looking mace was left, and no witnesses saw her or the Blank leave after their clash. Although still wanted men, the survivors seem to not pay the party any heed as they go about healing the wounded and blessing the dead. Priests of Teven have joined the temple to aid with the healing, and Kamesh offers his services as well.

After a few moments, a Stormpriest makes his way to the party to greet them. He introduces himself as Dalson Windreaver, the highest ranking survivor in the temple and therefore the new leader. He is a tall, sturdy man, balding with fiery red tufts of hair and a long red beard braided and hanging over his robust belly. He seems a gentle soul, and his bespectacled face, normally free with a smile, now wears the worry, strain, and sadness of the days events. He leans wearily on the blue haft of his greataxe, ‘Orc Rend’.

View
Into the Depths

Chased

The lid slides shut on the trap door above, leaving the party in darkness. Torches are lit and magic lights are summoned as they begin the race towards the temple below. They begin making their way through the familiar tunnels of the lower temple, and soon hear the crash from behind them as the trap door is smashed to pieces. The rattling thuds of several skeletons hitting the stone tunnel floor means the chase is on.

Winding deeper into the depths of the tunnel, they easily outpace the skeletons to the point where they had last descended and retrieved the false Mask. A trapped and locked door delays them, and the first wave of skeletons rush to meet them. They are dealt with swiftly as Toshi cajoles the lock into agreement, and they continue onward. The new halls are strange and unfamiliar, revealing more of the ancient sub-temple below den Morrad’s house of worship. Aqua-blue stones and triangular doorways give an almost alien feel to the place.

View
Revealed

Run!

With the chaos over, the heroes begin discussing their theories with Alyssas to who might be behind the attempts on the Mask. Telthoris brings up their questions about Dengar, however at the very mention of the Governing Chair Alyss is visibly shocked, and can scarcely believe the accusation. “I have personally met with Alvus on many occasions, and he has always been a kind and compassionate soul. The citizens of Klaenth adore him! How else could he have gained their love? How could he change the very structure of our government if he were not so loved?”

As the players begin to share their story, a thin voice like crumbling parchment pierces through the temple chamber.

“All good theories, my friends.”

Standing silhouetted against the light of the doorway stands a tall, thin figure in gray robes hemmed with black runes. His arms, hands, and fingers seem almost too long, and he moves with the fluid grace of a snake. He casually tosses onto the marble floor two heads, faces frozen in a rictus of pain and surprise; the two stormpriests who left only moments before to guard the door.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.