One Star, Two Princes, Three Dragons

The Beast from the Past

From the Mists, it Comes

Riven crouches by a nearby tree, practically disappearing in the shadows. As he does so, LODROS turns toward the creature in the mist, launching vicious darts at the beast. They strike, tearing at its flesh and slowly sapping life from the creature. Howling, the strange creature charges at Drack at full speed but misses, crashing to the ground.

Surrounded by the Drack draws his blade and invokes the blessings of the Silver Flame, enchanting the blade as it glides through the air towards its target. Yelling out a blessing of inspiration as he attacks, Drack strikes the strange monster, inflicting a heavy wound as the sword tears into it.

“Be careful! This is a Mourning Haunt! These creatures are composed of the same magics that destroyed Cyre!” He points his rod at the foul composition and dark wisps of magic swirl towards it, tearing at its mind. “I have twisted its mind with my magic! If you stay far enough away, it will not be able to see you!”

Riven slips through the shadows and appears behind the Mourning Haunt and lashes out with his blade. His blade connects with the beast, cutting through the mist; grayish blood sprays from the wound as Riven weaves a shadow shroud around the monster.

The Mourning Haunt howls again and lashes out, biting at LODROS, Riven, and Drack. Missing all three of them, the Mourning Haunt musters its strength and attacks them all again, striking them each with its bite.

LODROS, concerned with the attack, shouts: “Danger! Recommend withdrawing to safe distance!” It carefully evades the beast and opens the distance between them. Empowering its crossbow, LODROS shoots a charged bolt at the Mourning Haunt, causing it minor injury but charging it with static electricity. Attempting to take advantage of the situation, Drack swings his sword at the Mourning Haunt, tearing through it with his divine might.

“Really, Drack? Is that all you have?” Riven shifts through the shadows and again appears behind the Haunt, his blade buried within the side of its body. He siphons the power of his shadow shrouds into the blade, further wounding the Haunt’s body with the powers of shadow. “Was that really the best that you can do?”

Harlan lets out a chuckle. “So crude and unglamorous.” He points his rod at the Mourning Haunt and vicious claws of shadowy ice reach out for the Haunt. As they miss the Mourning Haunt, Riven lets out a laugh. “At least my blade is effective…!”

The Mourning Haunt, with enemies at every side, lets out a toxic cloud of mist and dust, trapping Riven and Drack in its magic. LODROS immediately responds by launching a bolt from its crossbow but misses.

“Face the Silver Flame, foul aberration!” Drack swings his sword again and seemingly connects again; just as his sword contacts the Mourning Haunts flesh, it disappears in a cloud of mist, leaving a vicious bite and appearing several feet away, behind Drack. Drack, surprised, shouts to the rest of the group: “Be careful! This monster can evade our assault!”

LODROS aims its crossbow and launches another statically charged bolt at the Mourning Haunt. As it misses, LODROS turns towards Drack. “Recommendation: strategic modification.”

In response, Harlan lashes out with black tendrils of shadow, striking the Mourning Haunt. It howls, grasping at its head in pain. Harlan looks over at LODROS. “I think I can handle it from here…” Before he can even finish his sentence, the Mourning Haunt charges across the battlefield, dodging attacks from both Riven and Drack, and closes in on Harlan. “Waaaait!”

The Haunt envelops Harlan and LODROS in a large cloud of mist, paralyzing them. As it closes in to tear away at Harlan, Drack runs over and thrusts his blade into the beast’s neck. “Never turn your back on a Knight of the Silver Flame, fool!” As it lets out its last howl, Drack quickly withdraws his blade and wipes the thick grey blood from it. The body quickly evaporates into dust on the wind.

Riven stumbles over, exhausted. “We have got to get moving.”

Drack nods in agreement as he takes a deep breath. “But where?”

Harlan steps forward. “Please. Come with me. You can stay at my cabin. It is not too far ahead. We can set out early next morning.” He points off into the forest, to the east. “Please follow,” He heads off into the forest.

Drack and Riven turn to each other and shrug. “I suppose it’s better than what we have going on right now. I say we go for it.”

Drack nods his head. “Agreed.” Drack gestures in that direction as he heads off into the forest behind Harlan.

The Cabin in the Forest

Harlan quickly leads them through the forest, saying nothing. Pushing through overgrowth and fallen branches, he moves as a man with a specific destination. The others follow behind.

Drack looks at Riven as they follow the crazed man. “At least he seems to know where he is going, which is much more than we can say for ourselves.” Riven shrugs in response.

A few moments later, the trees begin to clear. A short distance away, a small cabin sits on a knoll. Harlan walks towards it, motioning for the rest to follow. “Welcome to my… home away from home.”

Pulling Borik’s lifeless form, LODROS, Riven, and Drack head towards the small cabin as the sun slowly begins to dip below the horizon.

Harlan gets to the cabin door and slowly pushes it open. The smell of old paper, dust, and pipe smoke waft from inside. “I apologize for the clutter. I have been hard at work these past days and had not the chance to properly clean.”

Riven steps inside, carefully avoiding stacks of books and papers. “Right. It’ll do.”

Harlan points at a cot in the corner. “You can put the dwarf on the cot, there.” He opens a small chest in the corner, removing a large sack. From the sack he withdraws some dried foodstuffs, passing them around the room to the LODROS, Riven, and Drack. Reaching into the chest again, he hefts a large waterskin and a set of small tin cups. Filling each cup with water, he passes them to the others. “I apologize I do not have more glamorous accommodations. You will understand if I say that I had not expected visitors.”

Drack puts a piece of jerky into his mouth. “We appreciate your hospitality.” Uncertain why he was given food and water, LODROS begins administering it to Borik.

After a few moments, Harlan reaches into his pocket and pulls out a finely carved pipe and a small sack of smokeweed. Stuffing his pipe, he quickly lights it and begins to smoke. “Although I know your journey has been long and dangerous, I am unaware of the details. Please humor an eccentric old man and tell me your tale.”

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The Stars Align

Harlans cabin

Prologue

The befuddled man scratches his head. “Something doesn’t seem right.” He unrolls another scroll and stares at the diagrams closely. “The influence of Xoriat has grown.” He unrolls another scroll, full of astrological signs and symbols. “But how did I fail to notice this?”

The man stands up, quickly rushing to the other side of the small shack. Pulling open a drawer on the nightstand by his bed, he pulls out a strange scroll. Unrolling this scroll, he stares at an intricate diagram of the sky above Khorvaire. He looks at the symbols representing the stars above. “Xoriat has moved… again?” The enchanted symbols continue to glow in the dim light of the shack, moving slowly consistent with the stars above. “How could this have happened?”

The eccentric man continues to stare at his scroll. As he stares at the slow movement of Xeriot, strange symbols begin to appear. A tendril of energy appears from the astrological symbol representing the Silver Flame and strikes out towards a small vestige of the symbol representing dwarves. As he watches, a tendril from the Blood of Vol (Raven Queen) lashes out at the developing conflict. He stares at the strange event developing before him. “What is occurring?”

The man walks over to the door of the shack and opens it, staring out at the sky. As the sun hangs high over head, he contemplates what he has just deciphered from his notes.

“Something terrible is happening.”

So Falls a Hero

“Damn it! We must stop and rest!” Riven stares down at Borik. “I don’t care what you think, you ridiculous little man. Look at us!” Riven wraps a bandage around his cold arm. “We cannot go on!”

The dwarf pulls his axe up to his side. The signs of fatigue begin to break through the cracks of his facade. “No! We … must …” Borik staggers, leaning on his axe. “We … must … go …” The dwarf collapses.

Drack looks over. “Borik?” He rushes to the side of the fallen dwarf. “What has your fool self done this time?”

LODROS steps over. “Analysis: negative. Condition: uncertain. Recommendation: further analysis necessary.”

Riven looks up at the automaton, shaking his head. “Further analysis… The stupid dwarf clearly pushed himself beyond the limit.” The decrepit corpse shakes its head. “Honestly, it would serve the fool right if we left him here to die. Perhaps in death he would serve us better…”

Drack shakes his head as he kneels in prayer. Muttering a quiet blessing, he looks up towards LODROS and Riven. “I have prayed to the Silver Flame for aid, but we must take matters into our own hands. We must press on towards Sword Keep. Only there can we find the aid that we need.”

LODROS examines the shattered automata around it. Analyzing, it begins to pick up pieces from the wrecked harvester units. “Analysis: promising.” It begins collecting the pieces and assembling them. “Operation: construction.” As Drack and Riven watch, the mechanical man assembles a strange vehicle, a magic powered cart with enough room to support Borik’s lifeless frame. “Recommendation: proceed to safe harbor.”

Drack smiles at LODROS. He lets out a brief laugh before hefting Borik’s body onto the strange contraption. Riven, slow to act, joins Drack. “Fine. We’ll move the bastard dwarf to Sword Keep.” The revenant smiles. “I suppose this way, he owes me one.”

A Revelation of History

Looking about his shack, the crazed man begins frantically pulling books off of shelves. “I know I have seen this before. I have seen it before!” As he pulls volumes off of the shelves, he finds a dusty tome. He blows the layer of dust off of the book and checks the title: “The Mourning, a Recent History.” Opening the book, he sees the familiar marking of the library at Morgave University, a constant reminder of where most of the texts came from. Flipping a few pages in, he finds a recent commentary on the Mourning. “The Mourning… the Mourning.” He continues to flip through the pages until he finds a grisly illustrated page, filled with words and phrases of great import.

Shaking, he finds the terrifying passage he sought and reads it aloud: “Some astrological research suggest that the true cause of the Mourning relates to the efforts of fiendish creatures from beyond the planar barrier, reaching out from the Realm of Madness to sunder the world of man.” He surveys the rest of the page, quickly recognizing similar signs as to what occurred so long ago. “The Ancient Ones are moving…” He sets the book down on the table.

Looking at a local area map, he begins to determine where this new event is occurring. “It is obviously near here, but where?” Analyzing his mystical scroll, he begins to infer a possible location for the astrological occurrence. Looking at the map, he computes the nearby location. As he determines the location, he looks up. “Less than two miles from here…” He pauses and looks back at the dusty old history tome. Reading aloud, he shudders in horror: “Although the rumors have never been substantiated, some speak of horrible beasts composed of the mists of the Mourning, hunting down people for seemingly specific and incomprehensible purposes.”

Looking up from the dusty old tome, the man sighs heavily. “The time of darkness comes again. I must move.” He begins to collect his papers, stashing them into his pack. Gathering his things, he walks briskly out of his shack.

A Fated Meeting

As Drack, Riven, and LODROS move through the forest, LODROS looks about. “Analysis: local geographic determination. Result: optimal path determined. Recommendation: proceed with caution.” The automaton points further into the forest, in the direction of the Sword Keep.

Riven looks angrily at the Warforged. “Seriously? We’ve been wandering for at least an hour! Do you really know where we are going?” He looks over to the comatose dwarf resting on the strange cart-like contraption. “And we’re still dragging this fool around?”

Drack continues to pull the cart. “Silence! We will continue on! The Silver Flame demands it!”

A strange howling pierces the silence of the forest behind them. Riven looks back, puzzled. “Did you hear that?” LODROS turns back, staring into the trees. A cold wind blows past the adventurers.

Drack shakes his head. “I heard nothing out of the ordinary. This is a forest. There are many creatures that prowl the woods.”

As Riven turns towards Drack, loud footsteps come from the forest ahead. LODROS looks towards the footsteps. “Warning: adversaries approach!”

From the trees, a crazed man clad in heavy robes and leather armor appears, holding a short rod. He stares at them.

Riven stares at the strange fellow, reaching for his blade. “And… who are you?”

Drack draws his weapon, prepared for combat. “Identify yourself immediately or face the wrath of the Silver Flame!”

The strange man stares at both of them. “My name is Harlan Armitage. I…” As he speaks, a strange mist begins pouring from the trees, closing on the party. Looking off into the distance, the eccentric fellow quickly turns his head back towards them. “The Ancient Ones grow restless. Their time once again grows near.” Riven and Drack look at the Harlan, befuddled.

LODROS turns back towards the forest. “Warning: hostile forces approach immediately! Recommendation: prepare for battle!” As soon as it finishes uttering the words, a strange creature composed of dust and mist from out of the growing mists. It lets out a mournful howl as it advances upon them!

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Captured!
Riven is dead (or deader)

Dungeon
(Text from Riven Speaking with LODROS following the escape)
The last thing I remember was being double crossed by that lousy scoundrel Dimatsu Kir. He betrayed us. We were taken captive and the next thing I remember was waking up with the worst lump on my head. As my senses cleared, I realized that I had been striped of all weapons and armor and being held in some small jail. I stand up and look around and see that I am alone in the cell. Across the room were other small cells and by the looks of it, my other mates were locked up in there own cells. We all finally had come too and were trying to asses the situation when some guards entered the room. They came towards my cell and started to unlock it. This was my chance, as they opened the cell door I tried to make an escape, but to no avail. They were too quick, no sooner had I made it out of the cell door they grabbed me and hit me upside the head. I was out again. And that was the start of a very long nightmare.

Excruciating pain welling from my chest, I was screaming in pain and agony. I was being pulled deep into a abyss of complete darkness. Did I say the pain in my chest, i felt like it was going to explode. Then visions, or where they, the furniture was huge, and they room seemed all to familiar, I looked at my hands they were so tiny, then I heard a voice yelling, but it sounded so familiar. This huge man entered this small room that I was in, looking down at me he yelled, get off your lazy ass and do the work that I told you to do, I am not housing you for free. Earn your damn keep boy. This couldn’t be, it was the man who took me in off the street when I was a young boy, I hated him so much but it was better than living on the street and starving. He continued to yell at me, then he started to beat me, I ran out the door, all I could do was run, I could hear him chasing after me. Then I seemed to be time warped through other horrible moments in my life, and like I always did I ran. Then I was in the courtyard, about to be promoted to full fledged member of the Emerald Claw, but all I had to do was kill my best friend and then I would be in. I couldn’t do it. He was the only friend in this whole forsaken world that I had and they wanted me to kill him. Again I ran. Then the pain in my chest radiated through my entire body, what was happening to me. I went black yet again.

Then I was in a strange surreal place, things were distorted and before me was an avatar of my queen. The Raven herself, she was saying something to me, but I couldn’t quite make it out. She told me that she was in some kind of trouble and needed my help. She said that something or someone was trying to usurp her throne. She said she needed myself and friends to get to the bottom of this danger at once. As soon as she was done telling me her cryptic message, a band of wraith like creatures appeared and began attacking us. With the help of my queen we quickly dispatched the foul demons.

The world seemed to whirlpool around me and the pain in my chest once again shook my reality. There was a huge gaping hole in time and space before me and through it I could see my friends fighting for their life’s, but i was helpless. Then the rift seemed to envelope me and once again I was back with them. But now, I was laying on the ground with blood pouring out of my chest and Drack was standing over me with a huge sword in his hands. No sooner than that, the whole earth and the dungeon that we all were in started to shake all around us. The place was starting to come down around us, we had no time to waste, I was in no way fit to do anything but with the help of Drack and my friends we all made it out of the horrible place, as soon as we made it to fresh air the mouth of the dungeon collapsed behind us. That was a close call.

We set up camp just out of site of the mouth of the collapsed cave while I recovered from my wounds. I was filled in on what had happened while I was unconscious.

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The Sacking of Hatheril

Undead warrior fantasy 582357 800 600
As our intrepid heroes were returning back to Hatheril with Elroy Lipston & Bill the Pony, they came upon a Githyanki psion, named Datsaku Kir. As he seemed to be a decent fellow, they joined up and headed back. The psion had an excellent knowledge of the warforged, he activated the warforged companion’s voice module and identified him as Lodros.

Upon arriving in Hatheril, they explained to the captain of the guard that there was an organized goblin/undead army in the woods north of town. As evidence, Borik produced the head of the defeated giant zombie. The captain ran off to find Rusthammer, and the company continued on to Marked Exports & Imports. Upon seeing his son, Shandy Lipston was very happy and rewarded the group with gold & herbs. The company then headed to the police station.

Deputy Barney was excited to see the group. After quickly being told what was happening, he disappeared – much to the chagrin of the company. After waiting a while, Kir headed off to the Steel Songbird, Riven & Lodros headed toward the market, and Drack & Borik waited at the police station to debrief their commanding officer. Drack found some delicious cake of which he ate heartily, and Borik found out that the police force hadn’t learned any manners from their mothers. After waiting a while, they too left the police station. Kir got cleaned up at the Steel Songbird. Eventually, all five traveled to the market where they were waylaid by a band of town thugs. One minute later, the town thugs were all dead or detained and the group was a few hundred gold richer. The market was a great place to trade, and Drack got a very nice magical battle axe.

After shopping for a bit, the group headed to Drack’s meeting with Lord von Buren. The meeting was about trade with other towns. Unfortunately, as Drack was describing their attack in the woods, the meeting was broken in on by a horde of goblins & undead. Lord von Buren spirited the mayor away. Conrad Rusthammer bravely protected the group, but they had to fight their way out anyway. After slogging through undead & goblin Blackblades, they came upon a town overrun by goblins & undead. They were just about to plan their escape to a neighboring town to call for reinforcements when the psion raised them all up, laughed maniacally, and knocked them unconscious. To be continued…

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"Bill" and Giant Zombies in one wack.

Rhino

After having secured the finest of lodgings, compliments of Byrum CrescentHorn, at The Steel Song Bird. The group of intrepid adventures met with the towns dignified sheriff Conrad RustHammer and were so persuade to become deputies. It was either that or end up in the brink. The sheriff had just informed the newly deputized adventures that they had their first mission. They were to make there way to the Marked Imports and Exports Company and talk to the owner Shandy Lipston. Shandys son, Ellroy Lipston and “Bill” had gone missing and they were to get as much information from Shandy as they could and go find his son. That morning also happened to be Riven’s lucky day because before leaving the Steel Song Bird, Byrum’s butler bot gave Riven a fancy pair of boots, that just so happen to be boots of spider climbing. Something every sneaky type needs. They arrived at Marked Imports and Exports and extracted all the info they could from Shandy about his son and his son’s horse “Bill”. He told them that his son should of been back days ago from a delivery and that he was really worried.

The intrepid gang of adventures had been on the road for some time when they were not so surprisingly ambushed by a head throwing orc and his cohorts, which happen to be a couple of zombies and some type of necromancer. They had no sooner dispatched the fowl beasts when the biggest, ugliest, frost spuming zombie they had ever seen came crashing out of a nearby shed that was going to try to tear them to shreds but before any thing could happen, Borik Mroranon, and I mean all four ft two inches of him leaped up, in the most epic way a dwarf can, and with one blow decapitated the zombie. It was a spectacular site, anti-climatic but spectacular. The zombie was dead before he even knew what hit him.
In the broken down shed they found Shandy’s son, he was a bit worse for wear but none the less happy to see them. Ellroy told them that “Bill” could be found up ahead of them. They came around a clearing and standing in the middle of the road was this giant rusty sad looking mechanical rhinoceros. They were confused, there was no horse anywhere to be seen, just this decrepit monstrosity. Turns out this was “Bill” and they needed to try to coax him back to town. This would turn out to be a more difficult task than anticipated. Not only was “Bill” hard to make move they were attacked again be zombies and orcs. They finally killed all the orcs and got “Bill” and Shandy’s son most of the way back to town before stopping to camp for the night. Yeah.

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The Chase
Dirty Sewers, Dirty Prey

Were rat

While Lodros, Riven, and Borik Mroranon fight in Byrum CrescentHorn store room the story turns it’s eye to Drack an agent of the Silver Flame come to Hatheril. His mission is to secure the opening of the northernly trade rout with Thrane. The lone paladin meets with Conrad RustHammer who in turn dispatches Deputy barney to show him the way to Byrum CrescentHorn’s Inn, The Steel Song Bird. Apon arrivle the dputy adn the paladin hear sounds of battle coming from below the Inn and open the door to see an alarmed construct (Byrum’s Butler) motioning them to come in further. Drack Arrives jsut in time to see the dust settal from a pitched and fevered battle. The Deputy departs with Byrum CrescentHorn to fetch the Sherif and the four adventures (now under verbal contract with CrescentHorn) pursue the lycanthropic thief into the sewers.
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Subterranean Trouble Makers
The Adventure Beings

Work crew
Riven and Borik are pushed from the Lightning Rail by a mob of passengers. The VIllage of Hateril is alive with activity.

The pair meet while trying to find a place to stay for the night. After conversing with a trader in one of the over crowed Inns they are given directions to The Steel Song Bird, a high class luxury Inn on the other side of town.

In rout to the Steel Song Bird Riven and Borik encounter some ruffians in an alley way beating a small Warforged. After helping defeat the streeet thugs the Construct decides to accompany them to the Inn.

At the Steel Song Bird the three meet it’s owner Byrum CrescentHorn. The friendly Minotaur informes them that the reason his doors are closed is because his high security store room has been compromised and he can no longer cater to his usual clientele of high value item merchants.

The group then goes to the store room to investigate the theft…

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