Players Present: David, Scott, Morgan, Johnna, Paul, Tod
Summary is on in 24 Role Play Thread
Phaedra examines Treblin’s body and discovers that the being laying before her is not really her uncle Treblin. The body is one of a full elf, not a half-elf like Treblin. Also, the body has no dragonmark. This is a possible sign of an incursion into yet another House.
In the underground cove, we are surrounded by dead bodies and treasure. We distribute the treasure among ourselves. Phaedra then leads the way up a grand stairwell. We see lots of people on guard – their weapons drawn and looking outside. Phaedra is unsure on how to proceed, but we encourage her to take control of the House.
Phaedra introduces herself by both her names, also proclaiming her lineage and rights to the House. Runty announces himself as the power behind the throne – but gets some chuckles in return. Phaedra’s proclamation is not believed. Ashinn sneaks into the shadows. Ugarth tries to intimidate the guards into believing Phaedra’s story, but his statement is met with derision. Phaedra remembers a room nearby where she spent time when she was very young. She describes the room in great detail, along with connected memories. She is very convincing. Ashinn sneaks up behind the guards’ leader and helps Phaedra convince them to surrender.
“Very well,” says the guard in charge. “We recognize you and welcome you back to your House. We do not know who the imposter was.”
Phaedra orders House business be resumed, and petitions to have Gnotch reinstated. We help. Gnotch is elected by council to be head of House. Gnotch and Phaedra met in emotional reunion. Gnotch is her godfather. After acquiring some money, Gnotch sets off in search of better clothes.
We are alone and directionless in Wroat. We cross the river to the affluent part of the city and look for a nice inn to discuss our plans for the future. Ashinn hears a commotion from the street. A Brother of the Silver Flame is yelling for the Stoneforge and Arolan, as well as other members of Project Mayhem. Phaedra runs out to meet him. Her appearance throws him off since the last time he saw her she was a tiefling. It is Brother Plavius, who we’ve had dealings with before. We follow him to the Temple of the Silver Flame.
Though Brother Plavius is young, his hair matches the silver-gray of the robes he wears. “Thank you for coming,” he says. “I’ll answer all your questions, but first, there’s something
you should see.”
The priest leads us down a set of stairs into the temple’s basement, where he uses three different keys to unlock a heavy door. “This is, or was, our reliquary,” Brother Plavius says. “The storehouse of our most sacred treasures.” With a grimace, he gestures for us to look inside.
The stone walls of this room were once lined with polished oaken shelves and cabinets. However, these fittings have been savaged, the items held there now stolen or shattered and strewn across the floor. Amid the destruction lies the crumpled form of a human female in plate armor. Long raven hair spills from beneath a decorated helm. A dazed expression shows on her pallid face, but her open eyes are devoid of life.
The body is that of Lady Glorianna Pike. She is a paladin of the Silver Flame and the personal investigator of the high priest of the Silver Flame, Cardinal Krozen. The high priest lives at the Flamekeep in Thrane. Lady Glorianna was helping to investigate the suspicious deaths of twenty devout followers of the Silver Flame in the last two months. She arrived yesterday and was preparing to begin her work. The first few deaths seemed coincidental, since the original victims were elderly or in poor health. However, recent deaths have been more suspicious in nature. As with Lady Glorianna, no evidence has been left behind to hint at what caused the deaths.
Most of the items in the room were minor pieces, including trinkets and small charms belonging to some of the Silver Flame’s most faithful servants. A few items stored here were magical—relics said to have been held or touched by the Silver Flame. Brother Plavius is certain that all those items are gone.
After arriving, Lady Glorianna asked to spend time in the reliquary, so Brother Plavius escorted her there and watched her lock herself in. People worshiping and working late at the temple heard the attack. When Brother Plavius arrived to investigate, the sounds of battle had ended but the door was still locked. Whatever had killed Lady Glorianna apparently vanished into thin air.
Brother Plavius attempted to perform a ritual to speak with the departed soul of Lady Glorianna, but the ritual failed utterly. To him, it felt as though her spirit had been terribly and utterly eradicated.
When we examine the reliquary and Lady Glorianna’s body, we learn the following:
– Lady Glorianna’s death is not from any natural causes or known trauma. Her body shows no evidence of any physical harm.
– Residual necromantic magic lingers in the body. Faint traces of teleportation magic remain in the room.
– Lady Glorianna still wears her armor, shield, and empty scabbard. There is no sign of her sword.
– Ashinn recalls tales of Lady Glorianna’s exploits, and that her sword is called Justice’s Edge. The blade is one of The Silver Flame’s most holy and powerful artifacts.
Brother Plavius asks us to travel to the Flamekeep in the larger city to report the murder and check in with Cardinal Krozen. He reveals that when he tried to perform a ritual to contact
Cardinal Krozen regarding Lady Glorianna’s death, he received no response. Brother Plavius provides the coordinates and the authority to use that temple’s teleportation circle, which is what we agree to do – right after we purchase some items. Runty buys Sending Stones.
We arrive at Flamekeep. The room we find ourselves in is massive, able to hold thousands of people, constructed with black marble that has silver filigree – a testament to the Flame’s wealth and power. Silver Flame paladins and crusaders charge at us. Runty holds up the token given to us by Brother Plavius. Ugarth shows the writ. They stop their charge. It turns out the paladins are protecting the religious leader of their nation, Jaela – an 11 year old human girl. Runty perceives that this is truly Jaela, from the purity she radiates.
We tell her of the recent deaths, especially of Lady Glorianna. She tells us that Cardinal Krozen also perished last night, in a manner and at a time similar to Lady Glorianna’s. In fact, followers throughout the land are being killed and relics stolen or destroyed.
Jaela takes us to meet a witness to the attack on Cardinal Krozen – a chambermaid named Syrriline. The maid is resting in a small meeting room, watched over by one of Jaela’s aides.
Syrriline appears grim and shaken. She tells us what she saw:
“I opened the door to the Krozen’s chamber, bringing him his drink, and there hanging in the air was a skull the size of a horse’s, except with glowing horns and shiny teeth as bright as diamonds. Bright lights burst out of the skull’s eye sockets, striking Krozen. He stood for a moment as if he couldn’t breathe. Then he collapsed.
“A few soldiers were with the skull, too, so I closed the door and ran to fetch the guards. When we got back, all was silent. The Cardinal was dead.”
Leaving Syrriline to recover, we investigate Cardinal Krozen’s living and work chambers. Krozen was fanatically obsessed with finding the cause of the Mourning. He was methodical and motivated, and possibly a little mad. Now we see him lying dead on the floor. He looks exactly the same in death as Lady Glorianna did. His face tells of fate worse than death.
There is so much in this room that our eyes have difficulty sorting out the visual information and clutter. Searching his room, we find one piece of paper that says ‘Beware Breland’ that seems to have been recently written. The note could relate to his investigation into the Mourning.
Jaela summons us. She says, “Attempts to contact The Silver Flame and its divine servants have failed. Something worse than a battle against The Silver Flame’s worldly holdings is in the offing. Some force meddles with the Silver Flame’s power across the planes.”
The she asks her assistant to bring in Captain Horatio Sincaid. “Captain Horatio was once a sailor who traveled the wide seas. As a young man, he was caught up in a planar rift and dragged to the Astral Sea. As he drifted there, helpless and afraid, he claims to have gazed on the Flame. Since that time, Horatio has been touched with the power to move back and forth between the world and the Astral Sea, and he undertakes missions for us there. He will take you to the Astral Sea, working with the members of Project Mayhem, and find answers for us.”
Captain Horatio is an elderly human male with a bald head, a long beard, and a stooped gait. His eyes shine with a platinum light as he tells us his story. “Last night I was making the voyage along the golden strand betwixt the Land of the Dead, Dolurrh, and the realm of Celestia, the place where souls go to join with the Silver Flame. Then I noticed that a number of souls, unusual to see, were sailing the strand. Curiosity overcame my sense, so I followed. Not long after I started down the strand, I saw it was entwined with a mote of dark blue crystal. I turned sail and fled, because a more unnatural sight I never saw. But them souls aren’t reaching the master. That I know.”
Ashinn asks Horatio what it was about the blue crystal that distressed him so much.
“I don’t know,” he responds. “Something about the color…it’s a color usually associated with Tiamat, a great five-headed dragon. It’s not a color I’ve ever seen in the Astral Sea before. As soon as you are ready, I will take you to the Golden Strand, the Dragon Above.”
Phaedra says, “Crusher, perhaps we will see Charak.”
There’s a knock at the temple’s door. The doors open and a young kobold enters. Phaedra yells, “Charak!” Then she runs over and gloms onto the startled kobold. Almost immediately, Phaedra realizes this is a female kobold and not Charak.
“No, I am not Charak,” says the kobold. “my name is Iantli and I have an important message for you. My uncle Charak tasked me to deliver an important message to you at this exact time and place.” She hands over an ivory scroll case. Inside is a rolled-up piece of parchment. “I give this to you now,” she continues, “and admit that this is the most puzzling thing I’ve ever received. The parchment is devoid of writing.”
It sounds as though we are destined to meet Charak again; perhaps in the Temple of Bahamut.
Horatio asks if we are ready to depart. We accept passage on the Rusty Bucket, his Astral Sea skiff, with Captain Horatio. He uses his innate magic to transport us, raising his hands as if beckoning to the sky and we suddenly find ourselves in a silvery-goldish miasma. We are high above the planet in the Dragon Above, the Astral Sea. The miasma is all around us, surrounds us. There are brightly colored lines cutting through the sea. We also see beings and ships, mostly following the strands. We are on Horatio’s skiff. He soon identifies the golden strand leading toward Celestia and sets sail to follow it.
The golden strand continues into the distance, and we see a glint of light where it touches an indigo-colored mote of crystal floating in the Astral Sea. The golden strand runs directly into the crystal and continues out the other side. A third strand, the same indigo color as the crystal island, breaks off in a different direction. Inside this indigo strand, a golden light shines weakly. The indigo hue is typical of astral strands that lead to Tytherion, the astral dominion of Tiamat and Zehir. We notice that, near the indigo-colored mote of crystal, some of the mists of the Astral Sea seem to be displaced.
We close in on the indigo crystal. Out of the mist, we see an Elder Blue Dragon and two Angels of Vengeance bearing down on us.
The story continues in 24 Role Play Thread
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