First Forays

The Fortress of Frozen Tears

The party left the glade and marched until we came to a tangle of brush and thorns, and with a pair of will o wisps hovering near a bound dragonborn. The pixie, familiar with will o wisps, knew to look for other threats, and quickly spotted the redcap spriggans lurking in the brush. The illusion of faerie gold drew them into the open, and the party quickly finished them off. Mina took a pair of iron boots to replace the ones she’d lost in the river. The dragonborn, Donaar by name, was a paladin of Tempus, who had visited the the temple of Corellon and then found himself alone and bound in the woods. He offered to join us. The eladrin Immeral also rejoined us; he didn’t provide much explanation of where he had been since Cendriane, but had probably waited outside Astrazalion and followed us from there.
Having defeated the will o wisps, we followed the priest’s directions and “turned to face the wind”, which meant we headed north. After most of a day, we came to an escarpment, with one gap guarded by eladrin in the livery of the Winter Court. The pixie implied that Faeneth had told us to come; between his claims and Immeral’s glower, the guards let us pass. And so we walked into the realm of Winter. As we camped that night. Donaar spotted a drommond ship in the air, passing overhead. The pixie claimed it was carrying oranges, and wanted to cast the Pyrotechinics ritual to attract the ship, but Audrie woke up and vetoed the idea. She recognized it as a ship built to sail the Astral Sea.
In the morning, we made our way to the Fortress of Frozen Tears, where the guards admitted us. The pixie Faeneth met with us and said that the only way the Prince would release the spring flood would be if we could convince him that the Vale of Long Night would be safe from the Ever Burning Fire. At this point the dragonborn spoke up, and suggested taking the planar drommond to the Plane of Elemental Water, and finding means to quench the flame. The Winter representative seemed taken with the idea, and Audrie’s poetic persuasion convinced him to take the proposal to the Prince of Frost.

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The Direct Approach

After Aginor and Audrie told Mina and Aedhan about the Court, the pixie talked about some of the laws and customs of the Feywild. Most notably, the spoken word has power. For instance, the pixie’s consistently calling Audrie “Princess Pomegranate”, and Audrie not gainsaying it, means that Audrie has become a princess, even if “princess of what” is a little unclear. And the pixie is pledged to Audrie as he would be to an archfey, which means they both have rights and responsiblities to each other, in accordance with the customs of the Fey Folk. Head awhirl with the new information, Audrie had a troubled night’s sleep.
She did not wake when, in the deep of the night, the pixie scribed a ritual circle and send a spirit to trouble the eladrin Erepeiros, with the demand “Resist Lolth and tell the truth.”
The next morning, the innkeep gave them a message, directing them to see the priest of Corellon. The priest told them that Corellon had answered the priest’s prayers, and that the adventurers were to follow the river north to the glade, then left to the will o wisps. The priest gave no sign that he wasn’t telling the truth, and none of the party asked why, if Corellon had finally broken his four year silence, there were no celebrations in the streets. Audrie bought better armor, and at noon the party went through the Bridge Gate and north along the river.
In the third watch, Aginor heard rustling in the trees. The pixie cast Light, revealing a war party of lizardmen. Aginor led the attack, and the party quickly defeated the attackers, with only one of the lizardmen escaping. The next morning, a short march brought the party to the glade the priest had spoken of, now occupied by the huts of the lizardman tribe. The pixie concentrated for a few seconds, and a booming voice cried “Avoid us, and we will go around your village and not burn it!” The lizardmen panicked and fled.
The party crossed the river, each by their own means. Audrie soared in a cloud of pixie dust; the pixie flitted across; Aginor shot a line to the far bank and slid down it; and Mina leapt and teleported, which got her mostly, but not entirely, across. As she fell into the water, the others expected her to vanish into the depths, but Avandra’s blessing was with the dwarf and she landed on a mud flat, barely two feet deep. She slogged out without needing aid, losing her boots to the mud but otherwise unharmed. The party prepared for the march to the will o wisps.

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Outlaws and Politics

In the night, the eladrin who’d called himself Immeral disappeared. He had said he had an unfortunate reputation in the cities; did he get cold feet? Did he decide to go back to Cendriane and renew his hunt for vampires? Was he eaten by a grue? We don’t know.

In the morning we continued our travels and came to a river, where the water level was much lower than normal. The pixie spoke with the river spirit; the spirit told him that Astrazalian was upstream, and asked us to release the waters, to which the pixie agreed. As we headed upstream, Aginor spotted a Wanted poster which offered a bounty of 200,000gp—two tons of gold—for a certain pixie named Aedhan Firelord, on a charge of starting the Ever-Burning Fire. Fortunately the portrait on the Wanted poster wasn’t very good. We decided to investigate this.
The water level was also low at Astrazalian Lake, and Astrazalian was present instead of in the mortal realm as it normally would be during the summer. The fomorian besiegers were struggling to get their siege engines across the exposed mud. We avoided them and went into the city by the eladrin bridge, drawing attention because of our mortals rather than for the notorious pixie. Audrie asked for directions to the temple of Corellon, but the pixie gave directions for the temple of Whiskey, otherwise known as a tavern. It turns out that eladrin drink whiskey by the shot, but pixies drink it by the goblet. Aginor spent a while buying goblet after goblet, trying to get the impulsive pyromancer outlaw drunk, but the pixie pointed out, “I am not getting drunk. The whiskey is getting drunk. I am drinking it.” The bartender said the inn had been on the other side of the city, but a pixie had persuaded the inn’s tree to walk to its current site; Aedhan wanted to try this but was Audrie dissuaded him. Eventually Audrie found out where the temple of Corellon was, and herded us there.
In the temple we met a priest, and Audrey showed him the Book of the Silverfane which she had got in the ruined library of Cendriane. He took us into his study and told us that prayers were not being answered; Corellon had not been heard from in four years and no one knew why. It was known that Corellon had a way of meeting Lolth, in her human form, for a limited time; we speculated that he had somehow become trapped while meeting her, but no one knew the specifics of where or how. The priest asked our story, and the pixie immediately announced “That’s the mighty and glorious Princess Pomegranate, and I’m Aedhan the Firelord like in all the wanted posters, and that’s Aginor the Mad, and that’s Chiamina Sevenstone and she’s a dwarf but we try not to mention that, and there’s a great big stone man with a hollow head and his name is Stoney, oh, and there were some great big spiders and a drider and soldiers and some drow except not as many now because I set them on fire, and that was fun, and there was a dragon too, and a big hammer of Moradin, then we went through this portal, and then there was another portal but I could open it, and then we were in Cendriane, and we came here, and there was whiskey!” Audrie gave a more coherent narrative of the cleansing of the temples and the restoration of Pelor’s light, and the priest took notes.
After much discussion, we concluded there were several paths available: we could try to persuade the Prince of Winter to release the waters for the spring flood; we could go upriver and try to release the waters ourselves; we could investigate the Everburning Fire and see if we could divert or extinguish it; we could try to persuade Lady Shandria of Astrazalion to allow her city to shift to the mortal realm, so we could look for the shrine that was supposed to be present at the site of the city; or we could try to figure out some way to break Corellon’s silence. We decided to meet some of the political players first, then try going upriver. The priest promised to provide an invitation to the Court.
We took rooms at the White Poplar, the only inn which catered to mortals, and Mina enjoyed the bar, while the pixie read his ritual book in Audrey’s room. Audrey and Aginor spent 10,000gp on court dress, and went to mingle with the Court of Stars. The houses represented were Jordarai, Shandria, Trinrian, Quoster, Zenzion, Krudartis, Horykos, Zenjorin, Paeykos, and Walkris—listed in order from strongly pro-mortal Jordarai to hostile Walkris, with Zenzion being neutral. The pixie Faeneth represented the Prince of Frost; the hamadryad Alrastae stood for Spring; an eladrin named Erepeiros spoke for the Summer Queen Tiandra, who is also the mother of Galindann and the aunt of Shandria of Astrazalion; and the satyr Hamil was the ambassador for the Court of Autumn. The debate covered whether Winter would release the waters; whether Shandria would allow the city to go to the mortal plane; and Erepeiros’ claim that Aedhan had used Unseelie magic to cause the Everburning Fire and that Erepeiros had proof. Eventually the meeting broke into widespread arguing; one of Jordarai’s people, who had taken Audrie under her wing, said that was typical. Nothing was decided, and Audrie and Aginor went back to the inn to discuss the next move.

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Into the Feywild

The portal took us to the top of the central tower of Cendriane, an eladrin city; once we stepped through, there was no portal behind us. The city had been ruined by sorcerous war, with rubble and debris scattered across the ground and suspended in midair, unchanging; the outer districts had suffered less from spellplague but were being reclaimed by the forest. It was rumored that all manner of creature may be found there—giant spiders, vampires, fomorians, eladrin patrols, mortal raiders seeking to recover eladrin lore and artifacts—but we saw none in the heart of the city. It was only as we made our way down an avenue that we had our first encounter, being attacked by a pair of displacer beasts and joined by a grim eladrin ranger who aided us. The eladrin, who took the name Immeral, said that he had been hunting for vampires but not found their lair; he offered to go with us toward the city of Astrazalion, where our bard thought we might find guidance on how to rekindle the Feylight.
The pixie knew of the city and guided us through the trackless wild; aside from an attack from a pack of fey panthers, the trip was as uneventful as one could expect a passage through a fey forest to be.

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In which a vision is debated, a guiding light is followed, and the heroes must part ways
an excerpt from "Namina's Travels," the traveler's journal of Chianamina Sevenstone

We have traveled long to reach this point. In the city of Iridia, we reclaimed the Sunstone from the humans there. It seems they had allied with the drow — I gave them every chance, but they would not rejoin the Light. I regret I was forced to slay many of them. In the process, they overcame me once and, while unconscious, I had a vision of Lady Avandra and the Sun God as they both saved my life. What the Lady of Fortune said to me then has puzzled me ever since.

“You will with certainty reach your destiny.” I asked then, why do we fight if the victory is certain? And the Lady spoke to me, “That is what each of you must decide for herself.”

Avandra’’s priesthood teaches that the future is not fixed, that nothing is certain, yet fortune can be granted or claimed by those who earn the Lady’s favor. “Fate” is taught to be a mistake, a crutch for those who must believe in a fixed future. And yet the Lady herself spoke to me of Destiny. It must mean something vital.

If the future is fixed, we still choose howw to journey through it. The journey before the destination — is that not one of the Lady’s tenets? It is not where one goes that matters more, but rather ones life along the path. And yet the thought of a future that is fixed in stone still fills me with foreboding. If what is meant is that the future is open to change, but Destiny will not change… then perhaps that fits well enough with the teachings. The Destiny would then be something fundamental too ones soul or ones journey?

But back to my tale… We defeated the military of Iridia and their drow advisers. What will happen to that city, I cannot say. Their former lord, who it seems had been a monk of Pelor, joined us to return to Pelor’s temple. The monks of Pelor had believed that their timeless lives would finally end in fulfillment after the stone was returned, but so far this has not occurred. However, with the rising of the sun, a bright beam of light streamed to the northwest. This, the monks had told us, was the light that would re-seal the prison of the Spider Queen, the drow goddess behind the surface peoples’ latest woes, and we must follow it to the Temple of Moradin and of Corellon. The god of my people was next on our journey.

After a long travel over snowy mountains, we found the Temple of Moradin, apparently a maze of teleportation where the rooms were not connected. This is different from any temple of my people that I had ever seen before, but I persevered, doing my best to guide the others and identify the strange devices we found on the way. The temple, we discovered, had been claimed as a lair by Bitterstrike, a fell white dragon. It was a difficult fight, and yet we prevailed and vanquished the dragon. Though a strange tree-creature had warned us of a curse on the dragon’s treasure, all of my companions chose to take their fill. To tell the truth, I did look around the hoard for relics of Avandra or other priceless items, but there was nothing I could conclude the world would be that much richer for the salvage. Certainly, there were enchanted things that might have served well in battle, but the stronger the enchantment, the stronger the curse, at least in my thinking.

With the dragon’s defeat, a huge hammer, the symbol of Moradin, had emerged from the ground to touch the beam of light, perhaps tempering it, or straightening it to send it onward to its next destination. That, we were told, would be the Temple of Corellon. We descended from the mountains into thick fog, after which we encountered a strange solitary musician, who told us that kindness to strangers would serve us well on our quest. We soon after emerged from the fog to find a village under siege by drow and spiders.

My first concern in our battle was protecting the villagers. Though we saved the lives of three, and many more had hidden before we arrived, one of the wounded, the village chief, was under a curse. The chief’’s daughter, a brave young girl, guided us to Corellon’s temple,. Sami, the spirit with whom I had made a contract, seemed to feel a connection with this village, and I hoped she would be able to find fulfillment with a new tribe.

Just as we reached the temple, a drow raiding party emerged, led by a drider. This was the most difficult fight yet. I was wounded by poison and a great curse of spiderwebs. Luckily, Audrie saved my life, and in the process I saved the life of Stonebreaker, the metal warrior. I must gain greater fortitude if I am to withstand such terrors.

After the battle, Stonebreaker swore loyalty to me, as it was his clan’s custom to do so for a life-debt. I gladly accepted his honorable act, but we were to part soon after. The Temple of Corellon seems to be an otherworldly place, suspended above the Elemental Chaos and looking up at the Astral Sea, and from which one may step into the Feywild or even the Shadowfell, the brighter and darker mirrors of the world’s existence.

My time is short, so I will not yet write of the runes we found at the temple, but only of our decision. We concluded that half of us must go to the Shadowfell and defeat the drow raiders, while half enter the Feywild to restore the missing piece to Lolth’s prison. Though I hoped he would follow us, Stonebreaker chose to go to the Shadowfell, as his calling is to fight, not to quest or repair. Avandra teaches that all must freely follow their heartfelt paths, so I gave him the lucky charm I had brought from home, along with my blessing. I hope that this and the favor of the Lady of Luck will be enough to protect my vassal as he ventures into the dark world.

Now we go into the Feywild, as the others enter the dark. I pray the Lady’’s favor for us all.

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The Shadowfell
The Plain of Sighing Stones

As the party divides, some are emotional, some are eager. Perhaps one or so are quite happy. They were never quite comfortable with large groups.

As Stonebreaker, Arradon, Hunger, and Pine step through the portal, they find themselves in a bleak gray desert. The air saps energy from you and depression sits down in the back of your mind as if to stay awhile. Stoney and Arradon notice Pine and Hunger are stunned and almost insubstantial. Able to follow simple instruction, but nothing more. Stoney suggests it must be the power of the Shadow coursing through them has made them dizzy with power!

As they scan the horizon, Stoney notices a structure a good distance away, blending in with the horizon. The party heads for the only thing in sight. As they draw closer, they realize the building is some sort of old outpost, currently inhabited by drow. The two cognizant ones sneak behind the only two guards outside and land killing blows in one hit. Realizing they had not been seen, Stonebreaker bangs on the door…nothing. He bangs again…nothing. This time, he opens it.

A bolt flies past Stoney’s face as Arradon wings one of his own wildly into the door. Stoney hears another bolt hit the door and rushes in to the closest target, a drow warrior. Arradon uses the opening to fire at the warrior in the back who trades shots while ducking for cover behind a table. Stoney, enraged, hits the first drow, knocking him into the other where they both lie behind a table. Arradon rushes in, draws his sword, and begins to duel on top of the table. As Stoney closes the distance, the drow stand. Stoney hits one while Arradon leaps over both of them to finish off the bloodied drow. The remaining drow prepares to die fighting as a mind-flyer enters the room behind Stoney and fazes his mind. Arradon begins to finish off the drow while Stoney engages the flayer. The flayer eventually uses his tentacles to mortally wound Stonebreaker. But, before the flayer could eat Stoney’s brain, Arradon puts a bolt between his eyes, saving his friend—again.

Realizing that this building, though occupied, is fairly still and unguarded, they take a short rest while Stoney recovers. Then, they head upstairs.

As they top the stairs, they see a drow blade spinner practicing and another flayer minding himself between a table and some shelves. Arradon fires a bolt at the flayer that lodges in the wall near his head, just before an axe from Stoney does the same. With that, Arradon fires a shot that lands, hitting the flayer in the arm. The flayer runs forward and dazes Arradon while missing Stoney. The bladespinner shifts to the other side of the room and surrounds himself in a black cloud to hide while preparing his attack. Stoney charges the flayer, sending blood across the room as he hits with his axe. Arradon attacks the flayer, but struggles to regain his wits. As the flayer reaches to grab Stoney, the bladespinner charges and strikes Stoney with both swords in tandem. Arradon lands a blow to the tentacle holding Stoney, cutting it free and impaling it to the wall, next to the axe and bolt. This brings Arradon out of his stupor in time to see the flayer attack Stoney again, then fade back. The bladespinner becomes the barrier between them as he shifts and attacks both Stoney and Arradon. Having both of their attention, The blade spinner keeps them occupied while the flayer prepares his next attack. As Arradon and Stoney show themselves up to the task of the bladespinner, the flayer uses this opportunity to grab some items from the table and run through a door in the back of the room.

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Parting Gifts

The party gathers one last time, checking weapons, settling armor, getting ready to step through the portals to different realms. Stoney, Arradon, Hunger and Pine look to the Shadow; Audrie, Aginor, Chinamina and the flameling prepare for the Feywild. It is tense, as another band of drow could come through the Shadow portal or be lurking just outside, but it is also a solemn time as friends say farewell for what may be the last time.

The pixie reaches into the bag at his hip and pulls out a snippet of paper. He speaks a word, and the paper expands to become a vellum scroll and a tiny pouch woven of cardinal feathers, tied to the scroll with a black ribbon. "Hunger, who released me from my prison, I have a gift for you which may free you in turn. Here is an incantation of passage to—or from—the Shadowfell. The pouch holds half an ounce of residuum, sufficient for the rite. Stand at a shadow crossing at any time, and trace the residuum dust across these sigils, and the virtue of the scroll is such that nine folk may journey across the passage.
“Arradon, who released me from my prison, I have no material gift, but a favor, granted in accordance with the customs of the Summer Court.
“Pine who was once a pixie, whatever you seek, may you rejoice at the finding of it.
“Stonebreaker…I still think your head is hollow.
The pixie lets out a histrionic sniffle, and then says “Brightly go, and merry be!”

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Gnomeo and Juliet

The BlazeCraze Players
in association with the Sunguard Theater
are pleased to present
The Romantick Tragedie of
GNOMEO AND JULIET
by Bordvin Wildfang

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Parting Ways

As Arradon, Hunger and Stoney disposed of the drow bodies, Mina led the others in speaking with the villager chieftain and his daughter. The daughter admitted that she had been to see the portal, even though it was on blighted ground and taboo; she also said that the portal was only manifested when the Pelor light shone down from Moradin’s moutaintop. The party decided to go to the site straightaway, so as to be ready when the light revealed the portal.
The blighted ground was guarded by spiders and drow under command of a drifer, perhaps the same one that had harried Stoney and Arradon from the beginning. The party quickly attacked, led by Hunger and Stonebreaker. The servants of Lolth countered by spraying and area with deadly webbing. Stoney fell; when Mina moved in and healed him, she also succumbed; and Audrie, hit by poisoned drow arrows revived the dwarf and then fell unconscious herself. But Arradon, Pine and Hunger pressed the attack. Four of the drow archers fled, one still blazing with the pixie’s arcane flame; the rest of the enemy were destroyed. [1000xp puts us at level 8]
At dawn, with the sacred light shining on it, the portal appeared as a swirling mix of green and black: green for the Feywild, black for the Shadowfell. The party entered and found themselves in an unroofed stone passage,suspended in the Astral Sea. The corridor branched left and right, leading respectively to portals to the Shadowfell and Feywild. Above was a big ball of arcano-divine, wibbly wobbly.,…stuff. A beam of white light went up to it from the portal behind us; another beam of dark purple light led to it from the Shadowfell portal; nothing came from the Feywild portal, which was sealed. The pictoglyphs on the walls told the tale of Corellon and Araushnee, her betrayal of him, and her defeat and exile. To halt the flow of Lolth’s minions through the portals, the party decided that some must go into the Shadowfell and block the dark light, while others seek out the light of the Feywild and rekindle it.

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Into the Fog

We camped under Moradon’s Hammer; the next morning, first light of dawn sent a ray through the Hammer and down the mountainside, into the clouds. With the light to guide us, we trooped down the slope. As the clouds below us became the fog around us, we heard music, and found and elf playing pipes. We asked him how to find the temple of Corellon; he said that we should help those in need, and dispelled the fog to reveal a barbarian village under attack. We moved in and found drow and their mezzodemon servants killing the villagers, who were fighting back bravely but hopelessly. We charged into the fray, and after a difficult fight, managed to rescue some of the villagers and kill all the raiders except one mezzodemon which fled.
Loot: 1500gp, two Spider Rods, drow weapons and armor
XP: 915

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