TWISTED RUNE: SESSION 17

We have been playing D&D 5th edition on Discord using DnD Beyond since March during the Covid-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. This is our second campaign.

In the council hall of Silverymoon, Taern Hornblade and Methrammer Aerasume sat in brooding silence, pouring over reports sent from advisors, allies, and military agents. Both were weary but pushed themselves to continue toiling over their duties. The Marches were in peril and they needed to find a way to protect it. Pyrrhic victory for the Silver Marches over the Kingdom of Many-Arrows had left the region devastated and war-torn. Nesmé was destroyed by an Orc horde led by Tiago Baenre riding the white dragon Arauthator and Sundabar was conquered by an orc army commanded by the warlord Hartusk and renamed Hartusk Keep. All dwarfholds in the area—Citadel Adbar, Citadel Felbarr, and Mithril Hall—and later also Silverymoon was besieged. Also, many of the smaller towns and villages had been raided by the Orcs, Drow, and Giants fighting under the flag of Many-Arrows, leaving a majority of the citizens in dire need of help. Both men were ranking members of the Council that looked after the Silver Marches, but neither felt there was much hope for the future.

Alustriel Silverhand, High Lady of the Silver Marches, had gone to the Sword Coast with plans to visit Waterdeep and Neverwinter to seek additional aid. Lady Cattie-Brie, a leader among the Arcane Brotherhood, was leading a band of heroes against a lich named Ebonsoul thought to be aiding the forces of Kalman the Cruel. The Dwarven armies, under the leadership of Reginald Roundshield, were marching on the Orcs in the Spine of the World mountains to finish them off before they could regroup under Kalman’s leadership. Lord Warder Jorus Azuremantle had taken his Spellguard agents seeking out a Soulsnare scroll thought to be hidden somewhere in the frozen tundras of Icewind Dale. And a detachment of Harpers had been sent to Baldur’s Gate, seeking the assistance of The Council of Four. And although many of the Knights in Silver had given their lives defending the Silver Marches against Kalman’s companies of Hobgoblins, there was still the issue of the prisoners of war from their ranks being held by Kalman, including Aoifee Shadowbane and at least a handful of other faithful knights.

“What other forces do we still have in the field?” questioned Taern. He sighed and leaned back in his chair, leaving the assortment of reports on the table in front of him. He closed his eyes, centering himself again with the ebb and flow of the Weave of Magic around him.

Methrammer pushed aside a pile of scroll cases and shook his head. “Volunteers and adventuring parties,” said the Half-Elf in a low voice. “Six maybe seven. Haven’t heard much from the independents in the field. You know how that goes. But they are all on the trail of Kalman, I believe. They know that the fate of the Marches depends on them and it doesn’t hurt that we’re willing to provide good coin for bringing back the lich’s head.”

Another sigh escaped Taern’s lips. “Who are we talking about? The Companions of the Hall? Aquisitions Incorporated? The Moon Brotherhood?” He opened his eyes again, focusing on his nearby companion.

“Let’s see … yes, the Companions of the Hall are assisting Lady Cattie-Brie in hunting Ebonsoul. Acquisitions Incorporated are in Red Larch, the Company of the Yellow Banner are in the Ironhand Mine, the Order of the Jade Blade are in the Underdark at Mantol-Derith, the Masked Marauders were in the process of raiding the demilich’s lair near the Ironhand Mine, and the Neverwinter Nine were taking an alternate route into the Ironhand Mine, using the Dwarf tunnels to hunt Kalman. Oh, and that Ashier fellow from Neverwinter just departed to Deep Dark to seek out the adventuring party from the logging site, the Companions of Mooonwood. “

“Deep Dark,” questioned Taern. “What in Mystra’s name would they go to the City of the Mad Queen? Those Gnomes and Dwarves are more apt to murder them than to assist them.”

“We’re not sure,” admitted Methrammer. “They have been to Oyaviggaton, to Mantol-Derith, and then to the Tomb of the Warriors. Jorus and his men have been able to scry on most of the companies including the Moonwood Elves. There was some communication through Sending spells, but not much information was gained.”

Taern sat up, and smiled. “There might be some cleverness there,” he gasped. “The Tomb of the Warriors is an ancient catacomb that houses the thirty or so Duergar and Svirfneblin who fought against the Plaugewrought aftermath of the Spellplauge. Some say that their bodies are preserved there waiting to defend the Realm from another attack.” He chuckled hopefully. “They must be trying to muster a company of Eternal Warriors!”

Methrammer laughed. “Amazing.” He kicked his feet up on the table, crossing them for comfort. “Uncanny indeed.”

“May the gods guide them,” whispered Taern. “I remember the hardships of adventurers as it was not that long ago I was in the same boat.”

Methrammer sighed this time. “The gods. Damn fine help they have been.” He grunted with disdain. “Since the war, the priests whisper about how distant almost every god seemed to have suddenly become, and at least here in Silverymoon were all—every last faith—more cautious and less forceful in matters of local politics.”

“Politics,” spat Taern. “Is that what we’re calling all of this now?”

The Half-Elf shrugged at his wizard companion, saying nothing but instead looking up to gaze at the ceiling.

It has been about 6 days since Kalman’s attack on the logging camp, and the Companions of the Moonwood have been in the Underdark for a total of 4 days and 19 hours. They had been exploring a catacomb called “The Tomb of the Warriors” when they were attacked by a psionic creature called a phaerimm who had stumbled across them while pursuing a Squidling through a planar gate.

Phaerimm were native creatures in the Underdark but they traveled throughout the planes hunting spellcasters to consume their magic. They were malevolent and highly intelligent creatures, dating back to the Days of Thunder. They delighted in bringing pain to others and would gladly erase all other beings from existence, save for the fact that they would lack slaves to torture for sport if they did so. ANd now this one was focused on the Companions of Moonwood.

The phaerimm had used psionics, or “The Invisible Art,” to capture the Companions in a reality-bending mindscape. A living dream, the Companions had no idea what was really happening. The illusion was so strong that it connected seamlessly to reality. The monster had connected tendrils to the back of their necks, drawing forth the magic energy contained within their bodies, and maintaining the psionic connection between them.

Meanwhile, Ashier arrived below the mausoleum of the tomb along with his guide, Perkin. Perkin had been assigned by Deep Dark’s Queen, Carmen the Mad, to deliver the sorcerer to the Tomb of the Warriors. The two appeared with a WHOOSH! sound and a flash of light in the small room housing a permanent teleportation circle featuring a sigil of the sun within a polygon surrounded by a segmented circle. Perkin nodded to Ashier and started up the stone staircase that would lead them to a trap door on the floor of the mausoleum disguised as a stone slab grave. Perkin saw that Ashier was not following, but the Duergar only shrugged and said: “This is a small subbasement room under the tomb. The stairs will lead to the mausoleum.”

Teleportation Circle for the Tomb of the Warriors

Perkin nodded to Ashier and started moving up the stairs, pushing the door open and revealing a dark room. He climbed out, leaving Ashier at the foot of the steps for now. He stood with his two-handed warhammer ready, observing the phaerimm and the Companions.

Rain on the Night Wind and Eanrin were the first to break the monster’s hold on them. They felt sick and their head spun as they broke away from the mindscape and the psionic cage. They snapped out of the Reality Warp of the monster’s mind trick and return to reality. They both fell to the floor, breathing hard. They felt weak, but they were alive. And that was something. They both looked around, getting a grip on what was really happening. They saw their friends, and the monster looming before them.

” oh… ” commented Rain. “I guess that answered that question. I thought we might be trapped for eternity.”

Eanrin looked up, down on his hands and knees on the floor like Rain, to see the phaerimm hovering about 5 feet away. A tentacle ran from it to both Luna and Fradelis. The tentacle has something like a mouth on the end, attached to the backs of their heads. Come to think of it, Eanrin and Rain both have a slight throbbing pain on the back of their heads too…

L. Joubin. Public Domain.

Eanrin reached around to the back of his neck, pulling the cephalopod arm and its mouth-like sucker away from his neck. It was painful and drew blood. He looked at the thing in disgust, tossing it on the ground. He glanced over to see Rain removing the phaerimm’s sucker from his body as well. As he removed it, Earnin saw that the sucker dislodged with two thin needle-like prongs from the Ranger’s neck, like pulling out two dagger pencil-sized splinters. The Bard made a face, grunted, and steeled himself.

L. Joubin. Public Domain.

Eanrin rushed forward, drawing his rapier and slashing at the tentacles connected to Fradelis and Luna. His blade bit deep on both, one after the other, freeing his friends from the monster’s grip. The two fell to the floor, recovering, and pulling the horrific cephalopod sucker from their necks.

The Companions of the Moonwood fought bravely, and with some assistance from Ashier they defeated the malicious phaerimm. Afterwards, Ashier approached the group and explained that he was a Fire Gensai noble from Neverwinter sent by the Silverymoon Council to urge them to head to Deep Dark to escape the Underdark and continue their quest against Kalman the Cruel.

As they spoke, they all heard a WHOOSH! sound and saw a flash of light over by the large slab grave. They investigated and found that there was blood smeared near the grave, down the steps, and all over the teleportation circle. They surmised that Ashier’s escort, Perkin, must have been injured somehow during the battle with the phaerimm and retreated back through the circle to seek aid.

The Companions decided to take a rest for an hour to discuss what to do next. Ashier explained that he would study the teleportation circle to memorize its sigils for later use. They settled in again, trading ideas of what they should do next.

Saga of the Twisted Rune

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Brittany (Eanrin) says:

    So, I find it odd that the guy who talked to Eanrin told him to go to Deep Dark and the Tomb of the Warriors, and said he served Jorus, and we know that Jorus’s people wear contacting people through sending spells, but Methrammer and Taern said that it didn’t make sense. It might just be the warped reality making me feel suspicious, but… I feel suspicious. Maybe the Phaerimm’s altered reality isn’t as far off the mark as we’d like to hope.

    It’s also interesting to me that they said there is a group in Mentol Derith. I wonder if they are working undercover, since last we saw Mentol Derith was closed down… also, they’re pretty close to us if we could only reach them… oh well…

    Lastly… It would be awesome if we could wake up an eternal army to help us fight, but I kinda feel like the lack of brains might be a problem… still, if the possibility presented itself, it’s worth a try. Maybe the solution to that is around the throne or in the statue room. Maybe the restlessness of the spirits isn’t actually because their brains were eaten after all… maybe it’s because they are supposed to come back…

    Like

  2. Big Rich says:

    Jorus and his men often have differences of opinion with Taern. Not everyone on a council will see eye to eye. Besides the message referred to Deep Dark as an egress not a lovely place to visit. 😀

    Like

  3. Big Rich says:

    As far as Mantol Derith goes would it have to be open for adventurers to go there? 😎 And you have no idea where you are in the Underdark so you can’t be sure how close or far you are from the Outpost. 😀

    Like

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