Table of Contents
26th of Mirtul of the year 1492
The afternoon started off nicely. After a little sacrifice on the altar of Dwarven gods, and now this. A cranky old dead Dwarf wielding dual axes seems to be angry at the party and he is competent for a dead guy, seems to be yelling curses, assuming you understood teeth chatter Dwarvish, and can move around tactically like there was a brain left in the skull pan, and the worst part was that he seemed to be immune to all piercing attacks.
The combat lasted longer than anyone wanted and made a mess of most of the characters involved in it, but everyone survived and were mostly wounded, but no one died, and until they found a small onyx mirror everything seemed normal. Looking into it showed a death that had been avoided sometime in the past. No one really looked more deeply into the mirror for any additional clues since what they did see was horrifying to each one.
Vladimir: You see yourself dead in the mirror – at the sight of the ambush – your body chopped by Iceshield orcs, your head next to Benny’s.
Fwoosh: It is very fascinating – You see yourself in the mirror, but you are dead – it looks like you are at the collector’s house and have been captured and tortured.
ISAC: You see yourself disassembled, a pile of parts on a table, everything is covered in dust and abandoned
ISAC, not afraid, looked into the mirror a second time to see if he would get something new. Instead, it seemed to start sucking his soul out as the party just watched him freeze in place. Eventually managing to get the mirror away from him and smashing it on the ground seemed to have been sufficient to free ISAC from whatever had kept him captivated.
ISAC: In your mind you are swirling in the void no body, but something is pulling you into the distance – you seem to be moving faster and faster.
Moving back to the safe shrine room, the party took a short rest. While resting, Vladimir shared the Dwarvish book he had bought from Endrith at the Sundries store with Angelica. The books were beautifully illuminated manuscripts written in Dwarvish. They contained a genealogical history of the Dwarf clans of Mirabar. ISAC and Vladimir also discussed death and life in general. And the fact that Vladimir was concerned about turning into a creepy skeleton dude after he dies.
At the end of that rest Fogo went back to the Blackbutter Inn so that he could complete another cooking lesson with the chef there. The rest kept looking around and keeping to themselves, however, it seemed that ISAC’s and Vladimir’s cat killing curiosity needed to be scratched and off they headed back to the room of sarcophaguses to inspect, open, and loot as many as they could get to.
It did not take long for the rest of the party to realize that they had left, and probably where they had gone. Joining the two wayward looters, the whole party got into the game of checking for traps and opening the sarcophaguses. With everyone ready, they started moving on to the rest. One in a corner released a spore cloud of yellow mold almost poisoning ISAC and Vladimir. That only seemed to give them strength to start moving faster. In another one they found it filled with nothing but skulls, all from orcs and Drow. It did not warrant a second look, and off they went again. They were surprised when the second to last one had nothing but a huge mirror in it that did not seem to cast a reflection when someone investigated it. Unwilling to remove it after the last experience they continued their exploration.
In one of the sarcophaguses, they did find a note written in Dwarvish.
Note Found in the Tombs
When translated by Angelica, it stated:
“gods forgive us — we could not stop th”
The party finally got to the last one. If it was by luck or just random chance, this one was trapped and activated all the carved reliefs of Dwarves and creatures along the walls and ceilings to open their mouths and to spew out poison gas. It was slow enough to allow everyone to escape with only a few being affected by the poison. It was at this point they decided that their looting, or as they called it retrieval exploration, had come to an end, and off to the Blackbutter Inn they went.
Angelica and Avery had headed to the Inn a bit before the rest and managed to get themselves hammered and started singing nonsensical songs made of mismatched tunes and syllables that sounded like words but was not. While in the kitchen getting yelled at in Goblin, Fogo did notice that several times during the different meal preparations, occasionally Xaasz seemed to be working on something that was not meal related.
To be prepared for the next morning, Vladimir went ahead and bought two Dhelosk’s special Hair of the Dog drinks so they would be ready in the morning for the two that were still attempting to sing with their foreheads pressed against the table. Fwoosh inquired about the clock on the mantel and Gwendolyn Venelli told him that it had been a gift to Dhelosk from a Gnome Workshop, and that there were several Gnomish workshops in Waterdeep.
Being that it was late, the group bought food and drink to fill their pie holes with something that was not rations and stale water. The discussion eventually came around about what Fogo was doing in the kitchen. Dancer who had witnessed the glorious chaos of the Blackbutter Inn kitchen explained about how the whole kitchen was being run by Goblins and that all the counters were about a foot and a half high, therefore explaining why Fogo needed knee pads to work within there. Some things suddenly made a lot more sense the group. Although when Dancer described that the Goblins used all their limbs, including their very nimble toes to cook, Vladimir’s stomach seemed to have some difficulty.
When Vladimir asked Gwendolyn about the Goblins, he was informed that they all had been working for Dhelosk for over 40 years, and probably longer based off the stories she had heard from Xaasz. When thinking about it, Vladimir realized that something was not quite right, since Goblins tend to only live 30 years at best, maybe 35 in captivity. That was when Gwendolyn also revealed that Dhelosk himself is almost 300 years old.
She continued to talk about the Goblins and explained that they were almost like small green Gnomes, but instead of tinkering, they much preferred playing with chemicals, usually poison. At some point, Angelica started burping something fierce and let loose an explosion of thunder and lightning as her Dragon’s Breath was belched out point blank into the table destroying it completely. ISAC was quick to pay for the damage and everyone decided it would be best to head to their rooms and rest for the evening.
27th of Mirtul of the year 1492
In the morning, Angelica and Avery felt like there were 50 little Dwarves hammering inside their heads and a pair of Elves with lances poking the back of their eyes. Heading down, they were quick to quaff their Hair of the Dog. Fogo was surprised to see their normal table missing and a small burn mark on the floor in its place, but they all settled down for some breakfast and conversation. Before much time went by, Fwoosh went over to Dhelosk and gave him the book that contained a copy of all the runes that were on the floating stone in the shrine room from the tombs. He seemed surprised and happily took it promising to investigate it and get back to Fwoosh in a week or so. Dhelosk did mention that some of the runes looked like they had come from the fifth and seventh century.
When Fwoosh brought up the Golden Statue, he mentioned that the statue seemed to be absorbing some sort of elemental energy from specific types of creatures. The group had mostly decided to show him the current state of the statue, but ISAC seemed very reluctant in letting Dhelosk examine it. When the conversation had a lull, Dancer ran off for more Bear claws, and so Fwoosh filled the gaps asking Dhelosk about the clock. He told Fwoosh to go and look at the back of the clock, he would be able to see the maker’s mark on it, and that there were many Gnomish workshops in Waterdeep. Once Dancer was back, the conversation once again came back around to the statue.
“So, the statue, you said that it has changed. I did say before that it seemed to be awakening in some way, has it awakened?”
“It seemed to have awakened at least a little bit. Now it can produce fire.”
“Can I see the statue?”
“ISAC has it.”
Fwoosh went over to ISAC and tried to convince him to allow Dhelosk to examiner it, but ISAC just was not willing to let it go, even at a distance. Fwoosh ran over to Vladimir with a concerned and questioning look.
“He won’t come, something is not right with him.”
The group began trying to figure out why ISAC was not willing to show Dhelosk the statue. No matter the argument, ISAC was not willing to take it out. The more they argued, the more stubborn he become became. Trying a new direction, they asked Dhelosk on where they might find more information on their own. Being told that they would have to go to the Wizard Academy in Waterdeep or go to one of the Drow kingdoms in the Underdark. Neither location was easily accessible, and the Underdark a place of great danger.
“The Underdark is not a place for the weak of heart, it is dangerous, even me going there was a perilous situation. I would not advise attempting it anytime soon. When you are powerful enough to go, you will figure out how to get there, if you do not know how to get there, then you are probably not powerful enough to do it.”
“But you might even find an entrance in the valley somewhere. There are Drow ruins under the Sumber Hills, so there used to be entrances, or should have been entrances to the Underdark. Although the old Dwarven ruins are sitting on top of them. If you follow the ruins deep enough, you will probably eventually find an entrance.”
“Is it normal for Dwarven ruins to be on top of Drow ruins?”
“No, there is at least a thousand years between the two. The Drow were here, and then went away for some reason, and then the Dwarves came afterwards.”
“And the Dwarves went away for some reason?”
“The Dwarves did not last more than two or three hundred years. It was not one of the troll wars, but trolls and orcs invaded and destroyed the Dwarven areas.”
A few other questions came forth from Fogo, and he continued to apologize to Dhelosk about them keeping it back at this time.
“I have already handled it once, but now you seem reluctant to allow me to examine it again. Is it awakening more?”
“Yes, that is what we understand.”
“When artifacts awaken, they can sometimes influence your thoughts. Just be aware as it awakens, if it is an artifact, who knows what it really is, it could be further influencing what you think and do.”
“How will we know when it is fully awakened?”
“Well, it will probably talk to you. If I can examine it, I might be able to tell what kind of awakening it is. Sometimes artifacts get more powerful and sometimes smarter.”
“Is there anything we should look out for in an awakening artifact?”
“As long as your directions align, there should not be any problems.”
“How do we know if they align?”
“It will probably tell you or attempt to influence you in a direction it wants you to go. It could be anything. It could just be gathering power. It could be broken and gathering power to fix itself. Without examining it, I cannot tell you which direction it is going. There are a hundred possibilities.”
“Do you think it might be influencing me right now.”
“Hard to say.”
“If it has moved from one of you to another, it has potentially identified you as a group. So, it got whatever it needed from the first, and now it is getting something from the second. This is not to say it is a bad thing, there are more good things than bad things out there when it comes to these things. You did say it has a multitude of functions that are beneficial to you.”
With those heavy thoughts weighing them down, they then brought up the effects of the onyx mirror they had found. Dhelosk did not know much about, nor was able to help them much, but did let them know that many times that magic items that showed you the possibilities of alternate realities was something that each person was only allowed to investigate it once, but a second look, it might try to consume that person. They also brought up the second mirror and Dhelosk expressed interest in that one as well.
Bringing Fogo up to speed since he missed the last part of the exploration, and described all the things they had found, as well as a lot of coin. One point of interest was the staff they had found which and they had Avery Identify it in the public room of the Inn. With an audience of everyone there as well as the party, he was able to determine that staff was in fact magic, but only contained some residual magic and no longer had any functions.
The conversation finally got around to the party collecting their wagon and horses from Ilmeth Waelvur. They found the constable yelling at Albaeri Mellikho who was still hiding in her home and refusing to come out. Harburk Tuthmarillar was not having much success with her, and was happy to be moving on somewhere else, although confronting Ilmeth was not going to go well.
Collecting his deputies, the constable and the party all went to the Wheelworks. When approaching, Ilmeth started yelling at them to go away and to stop bothering him. The party wanted their wagon and horses, and he refused to allow access. It went back and forth with Dancer pushing the hardest on Harburk to act. The constable was not looking for a violent confrontation and knew that Ilmeth would calm down eventually, but Dancer just kept pushing and pushing. Finally, the constable had enough of it all, and told Dancer to back off, and then instructed his deputies to kick in the door to Ilmeth’s place.
Ilmeth was waiting for them inside with a short sword and as the deputies tried to secure him Ilmeth cut at them and wounded several of them. Harburk was trying to help but due a quick movement by Ilmeth catching Harburk by surprise, the constable inadvertently stabbed Ilmeth in the heart killing him. The owner and proprietor of Ilmeth’s Wheelworks was now dead.
Ordered to head around to the side by Harburk, the party were able to get into the back area and find their wagon and horses. The horses were in poor condition, clearly not haven eaten in several days nor had much to drink. Their wagon on the other hand had no wheels. A quick search only exposed broken wheels and broken wagons around the yard. Heading over to Thelorn’s Safe Journeys, they were able to convince Thorsk to get their wagon with his large flatbed wagon and bring it back, replace the wheels, repair any damages, and add in windows on to their wagon.
Now that the wagon was settled, they needed a safe place to store the horses. Avery negotiated with the Farrowvale family, the parents of the two girls Isabella and Sophia that had been rescued from Lance Rock, to store the horses at their farm. The family agreed and eventually the whole group joined them out at the farm dropping off the horses. The girls were happy to see Dancer, somewhat horrified with the naked riding cat of Avery’s, but happy to see the party. After dropping off the horses, the group had dinner with the family and afterwards they headed back into town since it was getting late, and it had been a long day already.
And this is where the session ended.
Once again this is David Bourgh-Ettin bringing you history from around Faerûn. Again, we will be continuing form last week covering more of the history of the Savage Frontier.
History is not just about a place and time, but many times it is about the people, or in today’s case a creature. A creature that has lived for several millennia. The great ancient green dragon named Claugiyliamatar. It is unknown how old she might truly be at this time, since anyone attempting that inquiry only ends up as a pile of melted goo.
Some ballads call Claugiyliamatar “Old Gnawbone” for her habit of carrying a corpse dangling from her jaws to munch on absently from time to time, just as some humans suck on unlit pipes or chew cigars. She is cunning, paranoid, and possessed of a cruel sense of humor: trapped victims have been known to escape her because she played with them to watch their pain and suffering instead of slaughtering them outright.
Claugiyliamatar lives alone, driving away male green dragons who come courting, but she has always been rumored to employ several dozen loyal human and halfling agents to work behind the scenes for her in the less savory side of business in Neverwinter and Waterdeep. These agents make profits on goods made scarce by the dragon’s attacks. Old Gnawbone seems to enjoy manipulating affairs in the cities for the sake of wielding secret power, not for the wealth it brings her.
Claugiyliamatar is fascinated by human and elven women who wield power, and she spends hours watching them from her lair through her array of crystal balls. This collection of scrying spheres marks the second thing that fascinates Claugiyliamatar: magic, especially items that allow her to take human form and participate in the things humans do (knifings in alleyways, for example, and passionate courting, and, well, drinking). Her personal spells are too weak to enable her to take human shape, so she watches the nobles of Waterdeep and the sorceresses of Neverwinter for hours at a time, learning who has magic and where it is hidden, before sending her agents forth to steal it. Woe betides an agent who tries to cheat Old Gnawbone out of even the tiniest scrap of magic: he will find himself nailed to a tree deep in the forest, drenched with blood, and left for the wolves (or other hungry forest denizens).
Having her own way is everything to Claugiyliamatar. Among other dragons, her reputation for trickery makes her best avoided. Balagos, for instance, considers her a twisted, crabbed thing given to petty silliness and, as such, beneath his notice.
She is a tireless foe who goes to ridiculous lengths to cause even small harm to someone she regards as an enemy, and this “worry-all-the-bones” trait has made most other dragons leave her alone. This is just fine with Old Gnawbone, as it leaves her free to pursue her schemes wrapped in the presumption of her own supremacy over other dragons. It also leaves her great Waterdeep as part of her territory. That there are more than a dozen steel dragons and were-dragons’ dwell in the city under her very nose, and generally regard her activities with amusement, is something she serenely ignores, even when one of her agents is imprudent enough to point it out to her.
Old Gnawbone lairs in a cavern in Kryptgarden Forest, at the end of a deep ravine that runs from the base of one of the mountains that bounds the old, thickly grown woods on the north. Several tombs and abandoned dwarfholds pierce the mountain walls nearby, including the infamous monster-haunted complex known as Southkrypt. Claugiyliamatar employs both human agents and woodland creatures as guards around her lair, to lead intruders astray (sometimes with the aid of audible glamers and other spells she casts herself) into waiting traps or into one of the waiting perils of another cave.
The green dragon doesn’t seem to have a name for her abode, but to humans it’s the Deeping Cave, a name of forgotten origin that it possessed long before Claugiyliamatar arrived the early 14th century.
The cave gapes at the end of a gloomy, vine-crossed gully overhung by gigantic old oaks and duskwoods. Within, Old Gnawbone’s lair is a weird place of creeping phosphorescent lichens, giant toadstools, and hanging mosses draped over statues of imperious human women (warriors, mostly) looted from a dozen tombs.
At the back of the cave, Claugiyliamatar slithers about in the gloom from her bed of coins to the alcove where her crystal balls glow and flicker. She often spends hours sprawled before them, watching what befalls far away, while a servant (always a man clads only in manacles and chains, though these are a decorative costume he can remove whenever desired) oils her soft scales with tree-sap and ointments made to the dragon’s own formulae from crushed and boiled forest leaves, fungi, and roots.
Claugiyliamatar is vain and believes she will stay youthful and supple if her scales are tended daily, polished with these healthy substances to a deep, almost blue, emerald hue. Those who anoint her are allowed to scoop up as many coins they can grasp in one hand (only!) from her hoard-bed as payment when they leave. Thus, attending the dragon is a popular duty among her servants — though one must be careful to do nothing to make Old Gnawbone suspect treachery; she’s been known to roll over with sudden, deliberate speed and crush a servant beneath her bulk.
From Deeping Cave, Claugiyliamatar holds sway over a dominion that stretches from the southern bank of the River Mirar down the Sword Coast to the north bank of the Dessarin, and along the western fringes of the High Forest to about Dead Horse Ford, where it swings north and west in a wide arc over the Evermoors to take in Nesmé, Longsaddle, and Grunwald, to reach the Mirar south of Mirabar. If all the borders of her territory are disputed by other dragons (particularly northern Neverwinter Wood and the land between the Dessarin and the High Forest) and her ability to waltz into Waterdeep is more fantasy than something she dares do, Claugiyliamatar cares not. She rarely flies anywhere east of the Long Road and seldom leaves her lair in any case, preferring to watch through her scrying-crystals and have agents work for her.
Lance Rock, a landmark west of the Long Road south of Red Larch, looks as if a gigantic boulder were hurled down from the sky to strike deep into the ground — and that’s just what happened. A brash young adult red dragon, Smergadas, liked the look of the lands around the Dessarin. After flying about unchallenged for most of a day, he filled his belly with roaming deer and curled up for a nap — whereupon Old Gnaw- bone, who’d been watching him through one of her crystals, emerged from her lair, plucked a loose boulder almost as large as herself from atop the mountains, and flew over to drop it on him. Then she landed to fill her own belly with foolish red dragon.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this ancient green dragon has been kicking around for a long time, hates being interrupted, and fundamentally is a vain, ill-tempered, vindictive creature that claims dominion over a large area of land including the Dessarin Valley, and not many dragons are willing to contest her in her claims. Wander not the northern areas of the Kryptgarden Forest lest you incur her wrath, one that she will happily fester on for decades.
The Tomb of Moving Stones has been completed. Waking up the cranky dead Dwarf and the not so quick killing of him did not really reveal anything new. One more of the Believers dies, this time in a fit of fury. What will happen with all those businesses that now have no owners? When will those Dwarves arrive? They party seemed to have been in a hurry to loot because of the worry that the Dwarves would arrive and take it all before them.