A Sea of Troubles

Reunion

The party reunited in Phandalin after Ielenia sent a letter to Roberto Brightwater detailing the information she had received about Tsernoth and his plans.

After arriving in Waterdeep, they met again with Xi, who joined the group.

They await the arrival of High Councilor Trost and Duke Abdel into Waterdeep before they will board the Elfmaid bound for Ruathym. They will arrive in 2 tendays.

After Vellen, head of the Waterdeep segment of the Shadow Thieves, made contact, they heard the name Viekang again. A man seeming to be Tsernoth offered the guild a job to seek this Viekang person in exchange for power. Vellen intends to passively seek this person, as per the request of Faelyne.

Side-quest updates:

Blinded by the Might

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Into Undermountain

After deciding to change their plans and head to the Yawning Portal on advice from Vellen, the party entered Undermountain via the well in the inn.

Shortly after entering, they met a group of orcs. These orcs had been assaulted by a toad-like creature and were searching for their missing companions. The party joined them on the search.

The party successfully navigated a room full of traps to acquire an Infernal Whip, apparently named Wound. Its true nature is yet to be discovered.

Side-quest updates:

Blinded by the Might

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A Matter of Faith

The party defeated the “giant toad” in Undermountain, and were lead into the Storeroom where they found The Might of Tempus. After facing off against a horde of demons well beyond their pay-grade, with the assistance of a Planetar (an angelic warrior of Tempus), Roberto Brightwater pledged his faith.

They returned the mighty sword to the monastery in the city, and High Priest Ruben was glad, both for their quest and for Roberto’s new-found faith.

They were approached there by Cassandra Thann, matriarch of House Thann. She asked them to dinner at her mansion, promising to tell the party everything she knew about their quest. She knew of Roberto’s past, and so deemed to help him in his quest. Also at dinner was Zelphar Thann, Cassandra’s son.

After dinner Cassandra promised the guest house to them. During the night, Roberto awoke to find himself in a cage, along with his other companions, each in their own separate cage in a dark room.

Side-quest updates:

Blinded by the Might
Dinner at House Thann

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On Morality

The party woke up in cages after having been offered the guest house at Thann Manor. Following a trail of bloody foot-prints and fighting through a number of vampire spawn and their werewolf pets, the party made it upstairs to find Cassandra Thann in a kind of magical trance.

A book they found had bloody letters on it, signed by Tsernoth. They were forced to choose one life to take so that Cassandra could be spared. After much deliberation, Roberto Brightwater put his faith in his god Tempus, who chose fairly who should be the one to die. Immediately, Zelphar Thann fell to the ground, dead.

While Cassandra and her servant Zena wept in the wake of this terrible occurrence, the party strengthened their vow to hunt Tsernoth.

They have stated they will attend Zelphar’s funeral, if they are permitted.

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Last of Waterdeep

The party took their gold to market and stocked up on items.

Roberto Brightwater had his armor coated in adamantine, making him less vulnerable to his enemies.

Ielenia and Xi bought themselves each a Cloak of Protection, to improves their reaction times. Xi also bought some protective bracers that caught his attention, seeing as his fists are always in the heat of battle.

Faelyne bought for herself, and her party, a Folding Boat with potentially many uses.

Grocks bought himself bracers like Xi’s, as well as a few rings to protect him in combat and from dangerous falls.

After their day of shopping was over, they visited the library, where they met Cybille. She pointed them toward the history section, where they read about Bowgentle, the wizard whose spellbook Tsernoth is thought to be in possession of.

That night Faelyne took an oath to Silvanus during a night of woodland frolicking.

In the morning, the party were woken by the town guard. Ielanea had been arrested for assaulting town guards. Thovur Waterdeep spoke with Roberto about the incident, and said they feared she had been cursed with lycanthropy. A local magistrate Elric Thornwind offered his legal help for Ielanea’s impending trial, but the group chose to pay off Vellen instead, who made the problem disappear and promised them protection inside Waterdeep.

The next day the party attended the funeral of Zelphar Thann. His mother Cassandra spoke with Roberto, but was frustratingly unable to reveal any useful information about Tsernoth or his whereabouts. She did, however promise to speak well of the Brightwater name, gaining it renown. She also gave Roberto her late son’s Manual of Architecture, hoping it may come of use.

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Setting Sail

The party finally set sail aboard the Elfmaid bound for Ruathym. Hrolf was immensely happy to see them, and Ibn was his usual, stoic self.

Aboard, they met a handsome sea elf named Xzorsh who immediately had eyes for Ielenia.

Roberto Brightwater met with Duke Abdel and High Councilor Trost for the first time. Immediately he found Trost to be a pleasant, understanding man, and Abdel to be an abusive tyrant with a short temper. Finding this contrary to what he had expected, he called upon his divine strength to determine the nature of their hearts, and found Abdel to be glowing with light, and Trost strangely lacking it. Although not evil, Trost is clearly more likely to preserve his own life before others in the face of a genuine threat.

Upon deliberating his findings with the group, they have a split opinion of the two men, and are still wary of anything Tsernoth may have touched – fearing their minds might not be their own. After the sad death of Zelphar Thann, they are cautious of the evil mage’s deceptions.

The first night at sea brought battle, swift and fast. In high wind, and under cover of darkness, a pirate ship anchored itself to the starboard of the Elfmaid as it approached the Whalebones, determined to ram it into the rocks. Pirates clambered across the steel chains that had been buried into the hull with giant hooks launched from cannons. The party helped the crew fend off the pirates and break the enemy ship’s grip – the release of tension threw it off course, and it met the very fate it had intended for the Elfmaid and its crew, slamming into the rocks.

During the battle, Ielanea was knocked unconscious by Abdel when she tried to use fire magic.

The morning brought discussion. Hrolf was pleased to know everyone was ok, as was Trost, who apologised for his absence citing sea-sickness. As Grocks was complaining of the same ailment, Xi rummaged through his herbs and found some that, if chewed on, would settle the stomach and calm any dizziness.

Abdel called upon Roberto to speak alone about the battle, and while commending him for performing better than he had expected, still chastised him for not leading his party and co-ordinating them in battle. A suspicious Roberto formed a zone of truth around them, intending to resolve his conflicting views of the man, asking why Abdel did not trust him since Roberto trusted Abdel. Abdel responded by pointing out that the man who supposedly trusted him had just formed a zone of truth around him to see if he was lying, and so couldn’t possibly trust him (metagame: Abdel caught Roberto lying inside a zone of truth, itself a challenge of Abdel’s trustworthiness – this has very negatively affected his opinion of Roberto and, consequently, the party).

Xzorsh approached Ielanea and asked if he should take a look at the bruise on her face. Whilst Xzorsh gently applied various herbal pastes to her cheek to calm the swelling, they got to talking, and eventually came to the topic of books. Xzorsh admitted he could not read, so Ielanea began showing him some of her favourites. She noticed he was paying less attention to the words on the page and more to the words on her lips.

Grocks spoke with Ibn after the battle. They have formed somewhat of a bond, and Ibn felt bad that he had been rude to Grocks’ elven friends. He explained to Grocks the story of a journey they made to Ruathym ten years ago. On board at the time was Liriel, a beautiful drow mage, whom Ibn fell in love with. She did not requite his feelings, but instead took up with Xzorsh. When she had succeeded in her quest on Ruathym, they took her home to Waterdeep, but on the way the Elfmaid was attacked by a kraken. During the battle, Liriel held the weakened monster with her magic, and Xzorsh was to shoot it in its eye – but he missed that shot. Ibn feels that it would have been impossible to miss. A mix of jealousy and blame is what fuels his dislike of elvenkind, but he told Grocks he was genuinely sorry that he couldn’t be more friendly with the others.

The Elfmaid is making good time, and is currently being steered through the Whalebones by Grocks, under instruction from Hrolf.

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The Elfmaid

Hrolf told the party of the true story of Liriel and the Elfmaid – formerly the Swordrunner.

A young, bright drow mage Liriel set off on a quest for Ruathym with her friend and sword-mate Fjor. Liriel, under advice that the Swordrunner, captained by Hrolf the Unruly and his first-mate Ibn, was the best way to get there. She was told they had recently been captured, and were to be sold into slavery at the infamous Skullport.

Disguising her half-orc companion as a slave, they infiltrated the city, talking and intimidating their way through the various gangs that run the underground city. Eventually, she came upon Hrolf, taken by The Mandible. She managed to buy him, using magical illusions of bags of gold as payment, for which the greedy men eagerly fell.

After finding Ibn amongst The Lowfellows slave cages, she again summoned magical coins to buy him.

Unfortunately, her illusions did not last long enough to stop The Mandible from marching after her, soon followed by The Lowfellows. Amidst the chaos, The Riverborn saw their chance, and an all out battle erupted.

They fled for their lives, barging their way through kuo-toa and leaping and bounding over the docks. Liriel missed the jump aboard, but caught Hrolf’s hand right as she fell unconscious from an arrow in the back, tipped with yuan-ti venom.

As they escaped via the subterranean river, Liriel blasted the decrepit ceiling of the cavern, collapsing part of it and sinking one of the pursuing ships and blocking any others. They all made it out alive.

On their way to Ruathym, Hrolf told of a vicious battle with a sea witch and mer from whom they rescued Xzorsh, who turned out to be a vicious fighter and a handy seaman.

Skipping over the details of Liriel’s quest, either because he didn’t know or didn’t care to tell, Hrolf finally told of the battle with the kraken that finally took Liriel’s life. The foul beast, pummeled with cannon fire and missing a few tentacles, climbed aboard the ship. Xzorsh, untrue to his normal form, missed shooting the beast, but not of any desire to see Liriel suffer.

Unfortunately, the thing swallowed her whole, and she sank with its lifeless corpse to the crushing depths of oblivion. When they returned to Waterdeep, the ship’s name was changed in her honour, and the bust of the ship was carved in her likeness.

The party were understandably shocked, and took time to process the story while quietly sipping away at the harsh drinks that were available aboard the Elfmaid.

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Land Ho!

After surviving a large storm at sea, the party made it safely to Ruathym.

They immediately went to speak with Finn Stormfall about matters of diplomacy with High Councilor Trost. After falling short of convincing, Trost suggested they interview other members of the town while he spoke with Finn.

At the temple of Talos they met Ulfric Thundred, the priest there. He seemed to be very convinced that Finn Stormfall was chosen to lead. He also told them that Stormpeak was forbidden to be scaled under their beliefs, as it is said to be a sort of staircase to Talos’ realm. He also told them of Yggdrasil’s Child, and how it was protected and coveted by the peoples of Holgerstead, who were ideologically at odds with the others of Ruathym.

After heading briefly to market, the party returned to the Elfmaid to find Hrolf wailing in sorrow. Ibn quickly and somberly informed them that Xzorsh had been found dead. The body had been hidden amongst crates and barrels, and had been drained of blood and dead as long as three weeks. The party suspect the hand of Tsernoth.

Roberto Brightwater called upon his divine sense to see if the creature was nearby, and only got a faint sense of a fiend somewhere in his vicinity. He was quickly interrupted when undead assaulted the town. It was a small force, but one the town was not prepared for. Luckily, no one was killed and only minor injuries were sustained.

They spoke at length with Duke Abdel after the battle. He told them that he is suspicious of High Councilor Trost, since he was in favour of diplomacy over force, because Ruathym could easily have been defeated in a battle with the Waterdhavian navy.

He told the party that the true key to bring down Finn Stormfall was to understand what his people put their faith in, and where their loyalties lay – if they killed Finn immediately, he would simply become a martyr and give the people more reason to hate the mainland. Ielenia suggested they investigate his sudden and meteoric rise to power, which Abdel agreed would be the best place to start. He also suggested talking to the people and finding out more about how they felt.

The party resolved to speak more to the people of Ruathym Town before trekking to Holgerstead to investigate more of Finn Stormfall’s past.

Abdel is to stay close-by in Ruathym Town to keep an eye on Trost and the Elfmaid.

Xi decided to leave the party, for reasons unknown – he seemed upset and distracted. He told the party he knew where he was going and not to worry about him, and that their paths might cross once more.

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To Holgerstead

The party spoke with most of the folks in Ruathym Town. From this they learned that a lot of the respect for Finn Stormfall came via Ulfric Thundred, whom most believed to be truly good, albeit a little soft or annoying.

Faelyne helped Jurgenjan regrow his crops with druidic magic. In return he granted her Living Armor that was his grandmother’s – she was an adept hunter and tracker and apparently made it from the skin of a yeti (or so the story goes…)

The party discovered a strange piece of information from the local blacksmith, who said it was a strange coincidence that when Finn took power the sapphire supply from mines in the north seemed to dry up, while all other gems kept flowing. He never really thought too much about it, but the party seemed intrigued.

Freya, the local tanner, offered to help sneak them out of town. She said that Finn had patrols guarding the border of the forest, making sure his people didn’t wander too far. Apparently relations with Holgerstead weren’t great.

After two days on the road, they met the edge of the forest. As a band of troops rode in behind them, Freya took off to draw their attention and told the party to run.

A few hours into the forest, Grocks spotted a 7ft tall man apparently relieving himself against a tree. After a little caution, and a tense introduction, they met Mirana, Thomal and Alduin- all of Holgerstead.

They spoke with Mirana briefly about their quest so far. She informed them that Talos did not, as the people thought, live atop Stormpeak but it was, in fact, a blue dragon who covets sapphires. Sapphires that mysteriously went missing when Finn took to power… She believes the connection is not mysterious at all, and may have more to say on the matter.

Mirana became short and distrustful when Faelyne mentioned her haru, and his druidic abilities. The three from Holgerstead bid them farewell to continue on their quest. They had not gotten thirty meters before an enormous screech was heard from the skies, and a sea of deep blue washed over the canopy of the forest.

Roberto and Ielenia were struck low in the initial attack – a giant beam of lightning that carved a line through the canopy. Thomal scooped up Roberto and continued running, while Ielenia’s lycantrhopic curse set in, and the terrified werewolf tore off up the forest floor.

Mirana directed them to a pair of stone doors set in the hillside. She placed her circlet in the grooves of the door, and they slid open. Everyone dove inside just to miss another beam of lightning from the evil dragon.

Inside, they rested. And Faelyne and Mirana spoke more of their stories. It seemed they shared a lot in common. Mirana told everyone this was a mythal, an elven word meaning “protection” or “shield” that was generally used to denote a magical barrier of some kind to protect a place. She said this was the grove where Yggdrasil’s Child grew, and that her mother had constructed the mythal.

Inside, they were tested by the construction – a multidimensional maze that stretched their knowledge of the world and their physical abilities to their limits. Each room a reflection of one of the inner planes: positive, negative, order, chaos, fire, water, air and earth. After collecting a set of orbs that worked as keys, the party opened a final, new portal.

They have yet to see what is on the other side.

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Family Trees

The party stumbled through the portal to land at the top of an enormous waterfall that fed into a stream the lead to the largest tree any of them had ever seen – Yggdrasil’s Child. Its root system covered the floor of the large grove, and the whole place was full of life.

After making it to the tree, Mirana took samples of the waters that pooled in its roots for its healing purposes. She gave one vial to Faelyne, to use how she wished.

Once that was done, all carved their names in the tree, and suddenly were filled with renewed power and vigor. From there, Ielenia teleported them to the town of Holgerstead, using runes Mirana had received from her grand father.

Upon arriving, they were greeted promptly by Valerius, Mirana’s grand father, and leader of Holgerstead. He invited the party to explore the town, and come to feast later in the evening with them in the Longhouse.

There, in the Longhouse, they learnt much about who Valerius was, about Finn and the dragon, and strangely about Faelyne’s forgotten past. He revealed to Faelyne her entire family tree, upon learning that she was raised by Reidoth – Valerius’ twin brother. It turns out Faelyne (meaning “lucky one”) and Mirana (meaning “blue eyes”) are half-sisters, sharing their mother Mirima (meaning “hazel eyes”). She also learnt of her grand mother, Miralda (meaning “green eyes”), and how her and Valerius helped build Holgerstead. And finally, how she came into being – through dark necromancy, only finally undone by her Haru, Reidoth.

During the festivities, they came upon Xi, who offered to continue with them on the next part of their journey. He explained his absence by saying he was near certain that High Councilor Trost was the one who took his eyesight many years ago. Faelyne restored his eyesight with the waters of Yggdrasil’s Child, although he chose to remain blind-folded.

At this moment, Duke Abdel arrived, seemingly via a red, crystalline teleportation device that he held in his hand. He announced that orcish and barbarian ships had landed outside Whitefall, and that they should go at once to stop the horde’s invasion. He then promptly returned to Ruathym Town to keep watching Trost.

The next morning, the town was in mourning. After hearing the fate of his twin, Valerius finally became at peace and returned to the world. The entire town marched his body three days north to the End Sea, where they sent his body onto the water, as is custom. Mirana would now be the leader of Holgerstead. During the party, Faelyne saw a black bear in the foothills nearby, who looked back with a certain glint of intelligence. It then turned and disappeared into the wood.

The party then, with Xi, Mirana, Alduin and Thomal in tow, continued the march north toward Whitefall to take on the horde.

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