Forgotten Realms: Birthright

When Darkness Calls: Part 1

Relics and Revelations

Following their return to civilization, our heroes try to take stock of all they have discovered during their time in Holborn, Ard’Marie, and Gromgar.
With the aid of the College of War Wizards, the clearly dangerous Nar idol is contained in as safe a barrier as they can devise. In addition to this, they submerge it in a vat of holy water, donated from the church of Torm, and inform them of their new acquisition. Together they begin trying to find a way to neutralize, if not destroy, it.

Three months of downtime pass – The PC’s each embark on their own personal journeys:

In a meeting held at the College soon after their return, with Baskor Tranth, Theldryn Wyvernspur, Lurrena Ashwood, and our heroes, the immediate problems surrounding the idol are discussed. Baskor explains what they have been able to uncover.
As soon as the idol was contained within the barriers and holy water, it activated in some manner, awakening some form of sentience within. This sentience is actively countering any attempts to teleport it. All such magics have failed. The holy water in which it is submerged is slowly boiling away, and a constant supply is needed to top it up. Exposing any part of it to the air would expose the college to dangerous evil forces. The corrupting influence of the idol is currently contained, but time is a factor.
Furthermore, all magics that have thus far been aimed at the idol to destroy it, have failed. Even a disintegrate spell has had no effect. Baskor fears Wish magic may be required, but no one at the college is powerful enough to wield such magics.
The consensus is that all who know of the idol will do everything within their power to find out all they can on the subject. In the hope of neutralizing the threat.

Valeria, Frak and Rhiannon travel together to Elventree in the Moonsea Region using the teleportation amulets of the War Wizards, to seek out the priests of Corellon Larethian. They are greeted by a junior priest – a Feywarden by the name of Feldaryl. He listens to Rhiannon’s tale, and arranges a meeting with High Feywarden Anthalar Veranar – the high priest. She returns their holy mace to him, much to his surprise and gratitude. He vows to offer whatever aid he can to Rhiannon for her gesture.

They spend some time reflecting on their journey, and Rhiannon shows her friends some of her favourite locations in the town. By a waterfall, they share a personal moment.

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Valeria is rocked by a sudden vision of a spectral maiden that reaches out to her, pleading for help. She stands in darkness, on what appears to be a polished wooden floor. At the edge of the darkness, Valeria can just make out the walls of a ballroom. Clearly shaken by her experience, they decide to investigate further when the proper resources are available.

Leaving Rhiannon to meet with her church elders in Elventree, Valeria and Frak continue their journey to the lands outside of Baldur’s Gate. There, they find the cathedral of the Red Knight, the seat of her church on Faerun: Citadel of Strategic Militancy.
Frak accompanies Valeria inside, but when the conversation turns to religious matters, he excuses himself to visit Baldur’s Gate itself.

Valeria is granted an audience with High Lady Kaitlin Tindall Bloodhawk, the highest emissary of the Red Knight on Toril. It is said she personally became the vessel for her deity’s avatar during the Time of Troubles. Valeria does her best to keep her composure as she addresses her superior.

They discuss issues surrounding the Nar idols, and the disappearance of Nexus.

Lady Bloodhawk informs Valeria that she sent an emissary to the church of Tempus and is awaiting a reply concerning the questions she had about her father.
She suggests focusing on the weaknesses the search for Nexus has thus far not explored. Perhaps a way can be found to locate them. After all, the Gods may not see where they are, but that does not mean all are blind.
She recalls the tales told of them traveling via the Infinite Staircase, an inter-planar realm that grounds anywhere creativity can be found. Creativity can take many forms. It is said to be guarded by the Minions of the Goddess Selune. Perhaps her church would be a good place to start the search.

She also tells Valeria, that her communion with the Red Knight has revealed one of the idols the PC’s seek – The Nar artifact known as the Idol of War has been discovered in Damara. It is spreading its corruption. It is believed that the idol is fueled by fallen souls dying in a war that has plagued that region. A war she believes it caused by its very presence.
The Red Knight revealed that the souls of her believers are not returning to her fold. She urges Valeria to hurry in her efforts, as she believes they are late in discovering the truth of this scheme. The pieces on the board have been moving for a longer time than she has anticipated. It remains to be seen what the endgame is. They must focus their efforts on discovering the state of the other idols, where they are, and whether they are already on the board. Lady Bloodhawk explains that she too, will be focusing her efforts in this matter.

While at the Citadel, Valeria is haunted by the spectral figure several more times. Each visit is the same. She pleads for Valeria’s help. Valeria manages to discern other figures in the shadows around her, but cannot see them in enough detail to deduce who they are. The experience leaves her shaken.

Meanwhile, Frak arrives in Baldur’s Gate, and immediately takes steps to make contact with the right people in the wrong part of town to commission a special weapon. He meets a disreputable dwarf in a tavern called the “Blushing Mermaid” by the name of “Larry-One-Ear” who puts him contact with a young and extremely talented weapon smith called Hartman. Hartman agrees to make Frak his masterwork collapsible blowgun for a hefty sum, and Larry receives his finder’s commission. Hartman tells Frak it will take him two months to complete the project.

Upon returning to Cormyr, Frak also visits an old acquaintance in the Duchy of Aris. From him he learns some interesting rumours concerning the Duke’s fate and whereabouts. It appears he was spotted in Selgaunt in the company of a baleful looking priest. All of the Duke’s holdings were seized by the crown, and his men arrested. He was forced to flee in a hurry.
Once back in Suzail, Frak extends his investigation to find out what he can from more illicit sources. He learns that the priest accompanying the Duke has been spotted in Selgaunt. He is also able to uncover his name: Strifeleader Caladin – a priest of the Cyric. They apparently carry precious cargo with them which they are guarding with extreme caution. They are accompanied by an entourage of men. Rumour has it they are seeking passage upon a ship sailing under a Damaran flag called the “Deathless”, leaving Selgaunt in a few days. It is apparently bound for the port of Ilmwatch in Impiltur.
He also investigates the fate of Prince Foril Obarskyr, who was poisoned in his cell. He learns some interesting details surrounding his death.

Kyuubi spends her time following different pursuits. She spends her time doing spell research at the College of War Wizards, and at Nexus House with her sister. Following the trail of specific spells, she returns home to Wa, using the teleportation amulet. During her visit, her mother brings up rumours she has been hearing from traders traveling from Wa to the Sea of Fallen Stars by way of Thesk on the Golden Way. It is an ancient trade route, and a common source of news from the West. The tale she heard was of dark forces brewing around the Great Dale. Specifically from the Fortress of Val-Murthag. It used to be the center of the demonic cult that ruled the dark Empire of Narfell in it’s final days. The fortress is nothing but a ruin now, or so she thought. If these rumours are true, they could point to something related to an idol.

She follows that up with a visit to Selgaunt in Sembia. There she tracks down more spells, and gains some insights into Sembian culture.
During her time there, however, she cannot shake the feeling she is being watched. On her last night in Selgaunt, she is ambushed by a group of six assailants dressed in black. They bear no identifying markings, but use magic against her. It is clear they are trying to subdue her, not kill her. It was only through her considerable abilities that she managed to evade their pursuit. Her few injuries were easily healed. She teleports out of there, but not before hearing a few choice bits of information. She hears them speaking to each other in infernal, and refer to her as “Their spy whore”. They remark “How did she find us, how could she know?”. She also catches the phrase “Caladin wants her alive” Before she gets out.

Rhiannon spends her time in the College of War Wizards after her return to Cormyr. In return for religious services for the wizards there, she is granted unprecedented access to their library of spells, and ancient historical tomes. She is able to learn new magics, and uncover a great deal of knowledge on The Kor’Nar Relics, the Demon Lord Eltab, and the ancient Empire of Narfell. She shares this information with the party when they meet again.

14th of Tarsakh 1399 DR

Spring has arrived.

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The PCs have regrouped back in Suzail. After three months apart, they have a lot of information to share. In the “Laughing Lass”, their favourite hangout, they share a few drinks and all the details of their findings.
They debate at length about the merits of pursuing the idols, and their concerns about this being above their heads. For now, it is decided instead to focus on the more straightforward task of finding the Duke of Aris. Both Frak and Kyuubi have heard rumours that point to the Duke being in Selgaunt.

They discuss the option of intercepting the Duke’s group in Selgaunt itself, but Frak raises objections. He suggests instead to wait until the Deathless is underway and to either intercept the group in the Port of Ilmwatch, or to ambush them at sea.

After more debate, the PCs agree to this plan, and present it the College of War Wizards. Baskor Tranth agrees it might be possible if they get help from the Cormyrian Royal Navy.
They conclude that to catch up to the Deathless, it would be easier to teleport the PCs to a ship that is already in the vicinity. Using magic, the wizards divine the location of several navy vessels. They conclude that the “Azure Crown” is closest to their quarry. They contact the ship’s captain, a tall man named Captain Tarath and explain the plan to him. He agrees to divert his ship to apprehend the traitor to the crown and his allies.

The PCs prepare themselves for the assault. Rhiannon is unable to join them due to church matters, but Lurenna offers to join them in her place, having fought along side them before.

Baskor and Theldryn activate a teleportation device on the floor of the College library, and the PCs are transported in an instant to the Azure Crown.
Captain Tarath greets them heartily, and shows them below decks, as the spring winds buffet the deck. Valeria chooses to remain top side. Captain Tarath explains it will take about 12 hours to catch up to the Deathless, which at that point is not even visible on the horizon.
The PCs busy themselves with preparations, and steel themselves for the eventual naval battle. Captain Tarath shows off the ship’s armaments and complement of marines. The Azure Crown is truly a majestic vessel.

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Soon the Deathless’ sails are spotted on the horizon. The captain barks orders to the crew and the ‘Crown picks up speed, catching favourable winds. The order is given to attack. Loosing giant bolts from the ballista on the prow of the ship, the assault begins in earnest. The Deathless returns the favour with it’s own calapults, but its attacks land short. The Azure Crown’s range advantage helps to boost crew morale, as they ‘soften’ the Deathless before boarding.

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The ships trade heavy siege engine attacks, both suffering damage and casualties as they draw closer and closer. Once within missile fire range, the sky between the ships is filled with arrows, bolts and grenades.
Kyuubi scales the main mast to get a good vantage point in one of the crow’s nests. Casting protective spells on herself, and taking out snipers on the enemy ship. Valeria joins in with her bow as well. Frak sneaks along the shadows of the sides to the stern of the ship, and readies himself to leap across to the other vessel.
Lurenna unleashes her spells at the enemy.

Soon, a trio of figures can be seen standing on the aftcastle of the Deathless. Duke Aris, Caladin and an unknown cowled figure in wizardly robes. The wizard fires an Acid Arrow at Captain Tarath, injuring him.
The moment the two ships are running parallel, the boarding hooks are loosed, and the crews of the two vessels are locked in a tight and claustrophobic melee. The marines scream a war cry and board the Deathless, swinging across, running along gang planks and some just leaping.

Valeria joins them at the bow of the ship, hacking her way into the enemy’s flank. Kyuubi takes out more snipers.
Frak leaps across trying to gain the advantage of surprise on Caladin. Now partially trapped, he is vulnerable, Frak casts a Sand Slumber on him, and renders Caladin unconscious!
The Duke lunges towards Frak like a dervish, brandishing his rapier. He runs him through, almost killing him. It’s all Frak can do to maintain his footing.
Lurenna casts a web on the aftcastle deck, trapping the three men in its sticky strands. The Duke is only partially trapped, the others are not so fortunate.

Valeria fights her way through the masses, carving a way towards Frak, in an attempt to save her friend. Lurenna blasts the Duke with a lighting bolt, making him stagger back.
Kyuubi hits the duke with more arrows, weakening him further, but the man keeps on his feet. Meanwhile, Frak downs a healing potion, saving himself from a grim fate.
Valeria notices that the enemy captain has been slain in the melee, keeps charging forward, and finally arrives at the aftcasle. Lurenna hits the Duke with a second Lightning Bolt.
Valeria attacks Caladin. Her attack deals him some damage, but not as much as she had hoped. Frak attempts to finish off Caladin with a stab to the throat, but his strike is foiled by Caladin’s own skin. He appears to have some form of demonic hide. Kyuubi kills the wizard with well aimed arrows, all the while enduring withering return fire from the enemy. Her spells keep her out of harm’s way, however.

Caladin wakes after the attack ends the slumber spell. He rolls onto his feet, quickly surveys the scene before him, seems to make a decision, and casts a rapid spell from behind his shield. A smoking black portal opens up behind him, and he throws himself backwards through it, and vanishes from sight.
Finally, Lurenna’s last Magic Missile spell ends the Duke’s life. He coughs up a gout of blood, and expires on the aftcastle deck.

Taking stock of the battle, it becomes clear that the Cormyrian naval forces are in control. The battle is won.
The PCs meet with Captain Tarath, who is busy coordinating the surrender of the enemy forces, and the confiscation of their vessel and its contents. He shows them to the hold where several precious items are stowed, and to the private chambers of the Duke, Caladin and the wizard, where several personal items are added to the haul. The ship itself and its contents are confiscated by the Royal Navy.
The precious cargo, Lurenna and the PCs teleport back to the College of War Wizards, and take a moment to recover.

The PCs gather with Baskor Tranth, Theldryn and Lurenna to open the precious items recovered from the Deathless. The wards are carefully removed by the wizards, and carefully checked to ensure they pose no danger.
The first chest they open is covered in demonic script, glyphs and charms. Within they find the Idol of Dominance, the one recovered from the shrine of Mystra in Suzail.
The second they open causes those gathered to gasp in shock. Within they find the mummified and desiccated remains of Princess Filfaeril Obarskyr. Although her features are withered, her clothes, and other telltale markers are unmistakable. It dawns on them that she must have been dead for several years to be mummified to this extent. All this time, the Princess has been alive and well, attending royal functions, having close access to the royal family, the court, and Cormyr’s most senior officials.
Valeria realizes with a start that she is the maiden from her visions. She is the one who pleaded for her aid.
A sudden chill fills the room……

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