Unfinished Wars

Epilogue
A Changed World

The Battle of Scion’s Sound and the simultaneous battles at Cragwar and the Silver Wood were the culmination of many conflicts, and some historians have argued that they should be considered the true end of the Last War. The Battle of Scion’s Sound occurred in two parts. On the Island of Thronehold, a battle took place between elements of the Emerald Claw and a disparate alliance of mercenary bands and a host from Thalanis along with nascent elements of the Citadel of Thronehold commanded by ex-Stormlord Jak Conroy. The presence of the Eladrin force was key to the success of the battle as it prevented the Emerald Claw from manning their ships and attacking the relatively lightly manned fleet in the air.

To the north in the Sound itself, a battle occurred around the ruins of the White Arch bridge between Karrnath and Thrane. There, an Emerald Claw dominated fleet out of the Lhazzar Principalities engaged the Karnathi navy, who had blocked the narrows to make up their lack of numbers. Despite being a naval engagement, it became a melee as the ships closed and most of the battle took place between boarding parties. It was at some point in this melee that the young pretender to the throne Kauis III was slain.

While the Karrnathi Navy held the White Arch Bridge, the Karrnathi army crossed the sound in force and intercepted an Aundairian army making its way toward Thaliost from the north, apparently in coordination with the Lhazzar fleet. Thranish boarder patrols joined the Karrnathi army in the battle, which was characterized by a return of traditional Karrn tactics rather than reliance on undead legions. However, Aundairian arcane artillery had come a long way and inflicted many casualties, including King Kaius, who was killed leading a cavalry charge that ultimately disabled the Aundairian siege staffs and turned the tide.

Finally, the Battle of Cragwar settled the conflict between Breland and Aundair as the 21-year-old Halix ir’Wynarn led his small but disciplined army in a surprise assault through the Black Caps and drove the Aundarian occupying forces back across the border.

The chaos in Thrane combined with the battles to wholly upset the political order of Khorvaire, and it was some weeks before a conference could be called. Despite the destruction, all parties agreed that Thronehold was the most appropriate location. A portion of the castle had been relatively untouched and was cleared and set up to host the rulers of all Five Nations as well as the surviving representatives to the Thronehold Tribunal.

This served not only as a peace conference, but as a trial. At the conference, Jak Conroy presented copious evidence of Aundair’s attempts to interfere in other nations and to foment rebellion in Thaliost and outright war in Breland. Alihanna served as a key witness, turning on her former employer apparently for no better reason than that misery loves company. Aundair was heavily sanctioned, though Haydith ir’Wynarn – the newly crowned Queen of Karrnath – urged caution as the people of Aundair were not responsible for Aurela’s crimes. Indeed, when the full weight of the judgment against her was made clear, Queen Aurela seemed to find the nobility inside of her at last and abdicated, insisting that her actions were hers alone. As such, sanctions were focused on the Aundairian Wynarns and all recompense was paid from the royal coffers. With the abdication, Aurela retired to a summer estate and her eldest son Daen ir’Wynarn took the throne.

With the trial over, the Second Thronehold Conference focused on making the peace. Borders were restored to their 996 locations and many of the same provisions from the First Treaty were maintained, including the ban on creation of Karrnathi undead. One major revision, however, was pushed by the representative of the Twelve and supported by Paulo Omaren of Stormreach and Jak Conroy. Research and creation related to the Warforged would no longer be prohibited, but the mass production and selling of warforged to military or paramilitary organizations remained banned. Some claim that Conroy had struck a deal with Merrix d’Cannith to support this in exchange for several arcane airships.

The other major outcome of the Conference was entirely Jak Conroy’s. In a long speech, he argued that the First Treaty of Thronehold had been toothless, and this lack of force had allowed all countries to skirt its prohibitions, and had allowed rogue organizations like the Emerald Claw to grow in power unchecked. All of this could have been prevented, he claimed, if an organization existed to enforce the treaty. Not a law-enforcement group like the Denneith Sentinel Marshals, but an organization sanctioned by Thronehold and empowered to track and if necessary arrest threats to the peace. Despite some hesitancy, the motion was eventually carried and the Citadel of Thronehold was founded with Jak Conroy appointed as its Commander.

Finally, while less earthshaking than some provisions, Droaam and the Skyfall Confederacy were officially recognized by the new treaty and invited to send representatives to the Tribunal, another arrow in the quiver of those wishing to call Second Thronehold the true end of the Last War.

Concluding a narrative of this scope seems impossible, and many volumes could be filled discussing individual aspects of its fallout. Nonetheless, the conflicts surrounding the Rise and Fall of Vol are not disparate, but deeply interconnected and deserve to be viewed as a large tapestry rather than a collection of events. It is also a narrative that speaks to the power of the individual rather than impersonal social and economic forces. The individuals of the Loaded Dice left an indelible mark on Eberron, and without their presence at many different points in the years from 998-1003, it is very likely that full scale war would have begun again, and of course the potential consequences of Erandis Vol’s success cannot be measured. It was personal choices, right or wrong, that created the Eberron of 1004. An orphaned tiefling chose to pick up a sword. A Brelish soldier chose to commit treason. A valenar warrior chose to stay on a bridge. A halfling bard chose to continue on when his own reason for travel had been achieved. An eladrin chose to risk life and limb for a plane not her own. A half-elf sailor chose to throw his reputation into the flames. An inscrutable deva chose a path that risked his very soul. An Aerani spy chose to refuse orders. A young halfling chose to push herself long beyond the point of endurance. All of them could have lived normal lives. All of them chose not to.

SONGSTEEL, P. R. (1087 YK)
Unfinished Wars, vol 4.
Ed. E. Lightbrew.

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The End
Battles with Archfey, Vampires, Rhakshasas and Liches

Eberron. 3-26 Vult, YK 1003.

Part 1

Divided once again, the Party traveled in two groups to Breland and Thalanis respectively. While Sayuri, Jak and Ameron shut down another weapon factory and rescued Ameron’s enslaved siblings, Annie, Alastair, Rauthur and Aurora tracked Alihanna to the Feywild. In the weapon factory, the team came face to face with Calderus, and in a shocking twist, convinced him that Erandis Vol was going to doom the world. Seeking peace after a long existence, Calderus renounced Vol’s service, turned over his sword, and departed. In Thalanis, things went less peacefully. The team discovered that Alihanna had seized the mantel of the Lady of Twilight, who had been killed in the Mourning and whose death prevented the Feyspires from returning to their home plane. Alihanna planned to use the power against her enemies.

Using mighty Fey beasts to assault her fortress, the team eventually came face to face with Alihanna and incapacitated her. There, Aurora bestowed a spellblight on Alihanna, robbing her of the ability to use magic. By defeating her, Alihanna earned the right to take up the mantel of Twilight and govern the transition between Thalanis and Eberron.

Part 2
Returning from Breland, Jak, Sayuri, and Ameron met Xara, Calderus’ daughter, who delivered a letter revealing the shocking fact that Nightbringer (Calderus’ sword) and Dawnbringer were the twined phylacteries of Erandis Vol, and that by sundering them at the right time and place, they could rob her of her undead powers. Quickly, they hurried North to meet the other half of the Loaded Dice while Jak traveled to Thronehold to bring charges against Aundair for breaking the Treaty of Thronehold. In Route, the party was intercepted by Aereni agents who demanded that Nightbringer be turned over. Unwilling to risk it, Sayuri and Ameron overcame and imprisoned the agents, effectively making Sayuri a rogue agent.

Those coming out of Thalanis found themselves in Karrnath and quickly boarded a ship to deliver Alihanna to Thrane. Unbeknownst to them, the ship had been seized by Rauthur’s evil counterpart, who had aligned himself with Vol in the hopes of stealing experiences from freshly dead souls. He had captured Haydith ir’Wynarn and threatened to kill her if Dawnbringer was not delivered to him. Knowing its importance, the group refused. Rauthur slashed Haydith’s throat and combat was joined. Annie managed to save Haydith and Rauthur captured his counterpart and allowed Aurora to behead him.

Part 3
Reuniting in Thrane, the Dice traveled to Silvercliff Castle, the home of Blood Regent Diani ir’Wynarn to deliver Alihanna for questioning. They also shared the news of the Bloodsail fleet making for Scion’s Sound. Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Gaston Mathysan and a troop of Knights, intending to arrest Diani. Unable to talked their way out of it, and unwilling to fight, Rauthur imprisoned the Knights in a Wall of Force and the party teleported back to the Golden Dragon. Fearing that Jaela might be in similar danger, they made for Flamekeep.

Arriving, the Dice found Flamekeep in chaos. Making for the Cathedral, the Dice descended invisibly on Phantom Steeds. In the Cathedral, they found that the cardinal had tried to take custody of Jaela and had made for the Flame Chamber beneath the city. Jaela and the party hurried to stop him.

They found the Cardinal with Melysse Miron – a former claimant to the Keepership who had been imprisoned in the Dreadhold after her rebellion failed. A strange ritual was in play and Jaela claimed that Melysse was summoning the Shadow in the Flame. Unwilling to let this happen, the Dice attacked. Aurora tried to stop Melysse, and the Cardinal caught her leg and cast harm, killing her instantly. Shocked and alarmed, the Dice redoubled their assault, and Ameron, anguished at the death of his companion, killed the Cardinal with a powerful spell. Meanwhile, Annie completed a ritual to block access to Outsiders in the chamber, effectively blocking off the Silver Flame, but also the Shadow Within. Her connection to the Shadow Broken, Melysse told the Dice that she didn’t remember anything since being imprisoned. The Dice concluded that she had been dominated and returned her and Jaela to the Cathedral, where Diani met them with her guardians. However, the Dice cannot stay to help with the riots, and Jak informs them that Erandis Vol is on Thronehold.

Part 4
Racing north through the night the Dice come to Thronehold in the morning on 26 Vult, which by the old Qabalrin Wheel calender would be 13 Crya – Revelations Day – the day on which Erandis Vol was made a Lich three thousand years ago.

Meanwhile Aurora awakens in her Feywild Castle and immediately Plane Shifts back to Eberron, making for Thronehold, not knowing it is occupied. She appears in a side street near the castle of Thronekeep and reports seeing Emerald Claw patrols setting up strange Eldritch Machines. The Dice, arriving with a fleet of airships, decided to bombard the city from the air and send Dythan’s Legion and the Swords of Karrn again the walls to create enough chaos for them to make for the castle. Wishing to help, Aurora summons a battalion of Ghaele Eladrin and sets them loose on the island.

Arriving at the castle, the Dice first overcome a strange necromantic warrior and his summoned Warsworn Abomination, only to discover that he is Akio, Sayuri’s superior officer, now revealed as the traitor in the Aereni government. With no time to dwell on this, the Dice shatter the swords and race to the top of the Keep, where they find a now mortal Erandis Vol attempting to complete a ritual. The battle is joined and Erandis is driven back. Finally, she lashes out against Alastair, casting Finger of Death against the killer of her Love. The spell kills him instantly and Erandis flees through a portal into her own demiplane after summoning the skeletal remains of her father, the green dragon Emerald Claw.

Annie manages to snatch Alastair back from the brink while Aurora and Sayuri assault the dragon with magical support from Rauthur’s Arcane Cannon. As Erandis’ portal starts to close, Rauthur creates an Arcane Gate to it and a revived Alastair and Sayuri leap through it, only to find themselves trapped by a Wall of Force while Erandis continues her ritual, using her revived Mark of Death to create a strange black jewel. Back in Eberron, a huge green dragon crashes through the ceiling and joins the attack on Emerald Claw. Annie casts heal, killing the dragon and then leaps through the portal along with Aurora and Falko. So it is only Rauthur and Ameron who witness the newly arrived dragon transform into his familiar human form – Viorr Maelak, before they too leap through the portal.

In the demi plane Annie manages to bring down Vol’s Wall of Force and battle for the jewel ensues, ending when Ameron uses telekinesis to knock it from her hand and Annie uses Holy Smite to finish off Erandis. With her death, the demiplane begins to collapse and the Dice flees back through the portal, Ameron grabbing the jewel on his way out.

In Eberron, they find Vyssilthar waiting for them, claiming the jewel as recompense for her advice and aid. Sayuri leaves, both to gather the remains of a traitor and to maintain deniability, and so does not witness the party allowing Vyssilthar to claim the jewel, an integral part of her plan to bring back the final Dragonmark.

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The Stuff of Nightmares
With Merrix d'Cannith, there are no small favors...

Three Barrel Cove, north of Stormreach. 19 Aryth, YK 1003.

With the death of Ky Shari and the arrival of the Aereni agent Sayuri, the lives of the Loaded Dice have been thrown into chaos over the past week, but some business must go on. Alastair is eager to recover his ship and Sayuri is eager to gain the trust of this group whose actions are so entwined with the murder she was sent to investigate. In an effort to demonstrate trustworthiness, Sayuri offers to go along with Alastair and Ameron to fulfill a favor owed to Merrix d’Cannith and regain possession of the Golden Dragon.

Borrowing a skiff from Merrix, the trio heads north toward the island of Three Barrel Cove to investigate a dig site with which Merrix has lost contact. Arriving, they find the camp empty and track the dig team north through the jungle to the foot of the volcano that forms the center of the island. Not wishing to risk a sheer climb, Ameron summons phatom steeds and the party fly up the cliff to a cave opening that the dig team seems to have made for.

Inside, the party find a cave totally devoid of light. As soon as they activate their light sources, they find themselves face to face with horrific web mummies, the unfortunate dig team. In the midst of this battle, in which slain mummies burst open to produce swarms of spider hatchlings, a huge spider descends on Ameron from the ceiling. Eventually, the mummies and their creator are destroyed, and the party begin continuing the dig team’s exploration.

A few passages are examined and abandoned before a chamber containing a large pillar is discovered. After examination, the party manage to activate the mechanism to lift the pillar and reveal the staircase down into the ancient complex. However, something also triggers a trap and the party must slip under the pillar and rush down the staircase to avoid the collapse of the ceiling, effectively trapping them in the complex.

With no way back, the adventurers press on. Sayuri proves invaluable in deactivating a series of traps in the first passage, but excess focus on the floor searching for pressure plates neglects the ceiling, which hides a magnetic panel. Within moments, the weapons of the entire party as well as their halfling bard are stuck on the ceiling, and it is at that moment that the iron defenders attack along with an arrow turret at the end of the hall. Abandoning her weapons, Sayuri rushes to the end of the hall to disarm the arrow trap while Ameron battles the iron defenders. Alastair manages to retrieve his sword and joins Ameron. Once the constructs are slain, the party drag the deactivated constructs over and send them flying up to the ceiling, destroying the magnet and sending their weapons raining down for easy retrieval. They press on.

In the next room, the team encounters a gigantic orb made of a dragonshard. Ameron is able to determine that it can activate some form of connection to the realm of Dal Quor. Though they don’t know the extent of their danger, the team wisely decides to move on. They work past a locked door into a huge chamber, apparently an ancient workshop. In the center is a giant dragonshard pillar standing in a pool of water. The team spread out to explore. Ameron discovers a basin of green liquid, and while staring in it, sees horrible visions of his family being tortured. Alastair examines a strange statue of a giant warrior, out of place in a complex obviously not of giant origin, though what its origin is they do not know. Sayuri finds the whole place unnerving and waits in the shadows, alert for danger.

Eventually, Alastair finds a set of tools that allow him to extract four silver cylinders from the central pillar. The objects match the description of the schema Merrix sent them for. At the same time, Ameron discovers that removing some of the green liquid from the basin causes the hand of the giant statue to open, revealing a strange, domed silver disc studded with dragonshards. After long consideration and discussion, Ameron grabs for the item. Immediately his mind is assaulted. He resists, and the force that attacked him manifests in nightmarish imagery distinct to each viewer. Sayuri and Ameron withstand the illusion, suddenly seeing the mass of tentacles and claws unlike anything they had known. Alastair, however, is trapped in his own nightmare, poisoned by the sting of the monster. In horror, Ameron manages to destroy the creature with sonic waves. Alastair eventually overcomes the poison with the aid of his comrades and cuts the head from the creature, hoping to identify it when they return.

Meanwhile, the strange metal disc is talking to Ameron, calling itself Docent Twelve, it offers to transport he and his companions away using the teleportation stone in the previous room. Despite reservations, the party sees no other way out, and agrees. To the surprise of all, the docent is true to its word and returns them to Merrix’s workshop. Merrix turns over the Dragon after inquiring that the complex is empty for certain. He identifies the monster as probably a Quori, a monster from the realm of dreams. Whatever his true thoughts, Merrix seems unconcerned.

The session ended with Merrix dropping the startling revelation that Natasha Chevkos, the tiefling brought to him only a few days ago, bears the same dragonmark as Ky Shari.

Reward: 5,137 XP

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Return to Stormreach
The Loaded Dice catch up on events in their old home, and a member is lost.

5 – 14 Aryth, YK 1003

Within days of the death of Rhesh Turakbar, the Loaded Dice were reunited and planned their next move. Stormreach was deemed the logical next stop. Ky wanted to research Erandis Vol’s phylactery, and there were practical concerns as well, the party’s main means of transportation and communication were both being held up by Merrix d’Cannith as collateral for a favor owed him by Alastair. So it was decided that the party would use Tranquility II to get back to their old stomping ground.

Just before setting out, an emissary came from the Daughters of Sora Kel to demand that Ky come and swear fealty at the Great Crag. Ky played for time, promising to come before the year was out.

Back in Stormreach, trouble was immediately evident. Alastair’s presence was viewed with suspicion due to recent quarrels with House Lyrandar related to House Cannith building non-elemental airships in Stormreach. Alastair, Rauthur, and Ameron went to see Merrix with the captive Natasha Chevkos in tow, while Annie and Ky went to see Lady Paolo Omaren, now sole ruler of Stormreach.

While meeting with Paolo, Annie and Ky discovered that Richand d’Jorasco, Annie’s estranged father, was now the head of the Jorasco enclave in Stormreach, and that Annie’s old hospital had been set fire to the previous night.

Merrix eventually agreed to turn over the Golden Dragon if Alastair would retrieve an item from an old dig site, schema necessary to complete the building of a Creation Forge. Negotiation for the reactivation of the party’s sending stone network was put off until later. After a stop at the Lormarch Palace to present themselves to Lady Omaren and gather the rest of the party. In the waiting room, they were reunited with Meepo, now the head of a clan of Kobolds and known as Meepo Dragonlord. Then the group retired to Rauthur’s shop to discuss in private.

The party agreed that the practical need of transport and communication had to be dealt with, and decided to run Merrix’s errands after a few of their own. Alastair went to the Sivis enclave to report back to Keeper Jaela about his mission in Thaliost, and received a response instead from the Blood Regent Diani ir’Wynarn. She advised him that the High Cardinal would use the report as an excuse for war, so he should instead capture Alihanna and bring her to the Blood Regent.

While Rauthur remained at his shop to prepare for the upcoming mission, Ameron went shopping, and managed to purchase the building previously used as the House Thuranni enclave, the House of Shadows. Using his Lyre of Building, he began renovating it to serve as a theater.

Meanwhile, Annie too Peyter Parker with her and went to investigate the fate of Olladra’s Grace. At the ruins, they spotted two figures apparently fighting. One was revealed to be Falko d’Denneith, Annie’s old bodyguard, who had been injured while helping peopled out of the fire, and then attacked by an assassin. The assassin fled once it was three against one. Among the ruins, Annie found a door propped up on which could be seen the word “Strahd” written in blood.

While the others handled their own errands, Ky went alone to Theryn’s Rest, the Aereni Consulate in Stormreach. After producing Dawnbringer, she was allowed in to discuss the fate of Artorius. Ky declared her intent to follow through on Artorius’ quest. To help her in this, the commander of the Deathguard, a member of the Undying Court, was teleported in from Aerenal. After hearing Ky’s story, he agreed to offer what help he could, and gave Ky a scroll that Artorius had believed held the key to defeating Vol. Armed with new information, Ky set out to find her friends. But once outside, she found the guards dead. Turning round, she found herself confronted by the White Raven and Risha Coaltongue. Risha rushed into the consulate to kill the Undying Courtier while Ky and the Raven dueled outside. Ky called for help, using her mark to amplify her voice so that the Dice could hear and began rushing toward her. They arrived just in time to see a grievously wounded White Raven deal a mortal blow to Ky. Rauthur froze the Raven and sent his familiar to give Ky a potion. Sadly, the mephit chose the wrong potion from Ky’s belt. However, the freezing of the Raven bought Ky just enough time to channel energy into him, Killing him, wounding Risha, and inadvertently destroying Rauthur’s mephit familiar.

Enraged by the killing of her master, Risha rushed at Rauthur and dealt him a nearly mortal blow, but as she raised her weapon to strike again, Annie rushed up behind in a rage and channeled energy through the assassin, killing her instantly and healing Rauthur.

The surviving members of the party found Ky’s body gone except for Dawnbringer and the scroll given by the Undying Courtier, who’s destroyed body was found in the Consulate by Alastair. Recovering faster than the others, Alastair and Ameron, searched the bodies and discovered that the White Raven was none other than the Storm Lord Dedrick Beynar. They then prudently notified the authorities and sent word to find Jak. With the day dying, the Loaded Dice return to the Lormarch Palace at Lady Omaren’s invitation to rest and eventually to determine their next move.

Rewards: 6,400 XP each

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Divide to Conquor
Two separeate cross-continent adventures end a half-day's ride from one another.

20 Sypheros – Aryth 2, YK 1003
In Flamekeep, the Loaded Dice debate their next move. Annie and Ky have been haunted by strange dreams. Ky in particular is troubled with visions of a far of island in the Lhazzar Principalities known as Farlnen. Word is brought by Alia that the Emerald Claw have been building up forces in the Principalities. The Dice decide to head east and find out what they can.

On their way, they stop in Thaliost as a favor to the Keeper to investigate the strange new weapons being used by the Aundairian resistance. Ameron is horrified to discover that Thaliost is a dry town by order of its puritanical ruling Cardinal. While no examples of the weapons are recovered, the Dice learn that they come through Fairhaven. Now a debate arises as to which task should take precedence. At an impasse, the Dice divide. Alastair, Aurora, and Ameron head West to Fairhaven, while Ky, Annie and Rauthur head east to Karrnath.

In Fairhaven, investigation by Alastair and company leads to the Changeling black-marketeer who provides the weapons to the resistance. While he refuses to name names, he agrees to shut off the flow of arms to Thaliost if Alastair will find him a new supplier and new markets. In addition, he gives the location and time of the next shipment, and the party is off to Windshire.

In Windshire, it all almost goes wrong. The smugglers are lead by a cyclops who nearly kills Alastair and Aurora before Ameron is able to subdue it in a mighty feat of daring-do. When the dust settles, the party finds a stash not only of weapons, but of a strange, yet unidentified red liquid. Ameron takes a healthy supply of both.

Alastair deciphers the ship’s log and they follow the river down across Lake Galifar and Silver Lake to the borderlands of Breland and Droaam. There on the shore they find the arms factory and its tiefling overseer, Natasha Chevkos. But as surprising as the discovery of Chevkos’ twin sister is, more startling still is the presence of Alihanna, Aurora’s long-time tormentor and nemesis. Yet, even with her foe in reach, Aurora thinks first of the mission and passes up the opportunity to attack. Once Alihanna and her guards depart for a meeting with the Daughters of Sora Kel and the Great Crag, the party leaps into action and assaults the compound. While Alastair and Aurora assault the front gate, Ameron encourages rebellion among the goblin and kobold workers, arming them with the weapons of their own design. When the battle is done, Alastair and Aurora interrogate Natasha and discover that she has been supplying the weapons at the behest of Queen Aurela of Aundair as well as the Daughters, confirming the rumors of an alliance. With Natasha in tow, the trio set off for Stormreach to meet with Merrix and finally retrieve the Golden Dragon. However, in route they hear of their companions’ exploits and detour to meet them.


Meanwhile, Ky, Annie, and Rauthur sail to Korth hoping to learn more about Farlnen, the Emerald Claw, and Vol from the library. Once in the library, though, they discover that Rauthur’s undead counterpart there has been overthrown and has bound himself in a book to survive. In turn, he has been replaced by the corrupted version of Rauthur created after his death years ago. The three retreat from the library to debate. Realizing a frontal confrontation would be foolish and having no way to draw him out, they settle on a bureaucratic sabotage. Rauthur lodges a formal complaint with the Royal Library’s administrator, accusing his evil counterpart of the heinous infraction of dog-earing pages. Confident that the rakshasa will be watched, they return to Captain Malinko and Alia’s ship and head north. On the journey, they consult the ancient, undead version of Rauthur and learn much about Vol, including that she is a lich. It is decided that a frontal assault is not the way to go, and that more information is needed. Unfortunately, the trio realize that they are not the best suited for intelligence gathering, so a stop at Stormhome charters them an airship to head for Droaam and Jak.

They find Jak in Prince Hailx’s siege camp around Turakbar’s Fist, the mountain fortress of Rhesh Turakbar, the demon-worshiping Minotaur responsible for many of the raids into Breland since the Last War. Jak personaly believes him to be responsible for his family’s death, so the siege has a personal side for him. In need of Jak’s services, and wanting to assist their friend in any case, the trio set about devising a death for Rhest Turakbar. Using Jak’s extensive (perhaps obsessive) knowledge of Turakbar, they determine to tempt him into a single-combat with Ky for leadership of his clan and for the honor of his god, Baphomet.

Rauthur arranges for appropriate omens to occur through summoning magic while Annie brews potions to help Ky in the fight and Jak sells the gambit to Prince Halix. When all is ready, Halix presents Ky with an heirloom dagger as a token of support. Without consulting the group, Jak sets not far from the sight of the duel with his crossbow to ensure that Turakbar dies regardless of the duel’s result.

After an appropriate exchange of pleasantries and threats, Ky and Turakbar begin the duel. Both trade mighty blows and heavy wounds are taken. Ky is driven to her knees almost and forced to use one of Annie’s potions. In the end, though, Ky prevails and finishes Turakbar off with Halix’s dagger. With their leader dead, most of Turakbar’s forces scatter, but six gnolls of the Znir Pact and four orcs remain and submit to Ky, who takes possession of Turakbar’s Fist. While Ky the others seek to cleanse the filth from the keep, Jak keeps silent vigil over the body of Turakbar. At last, when all is ready, Ky and Halix agree that the Fist is now Ky’s and confirm the assumed peace between them.

In the following days, Halix and the Brelish army prepare to depart for the North, where Aundair has crossed the border and seized portions of Breland. Ky seeks to organize her new stronghold. Alastair, Aurora, and Ameron arrive with their prisoner and news, and Jak withdraws to a small ranch some miles from the Fist to hear reports from his own agents and to consider what role he is to play going forward.

While much was accomplished, many questions remain..
- If Vol is a lich, where and what is her phylactery?
- What are the Emerald Claw planning in the Lhazzar Principalities?
- How can Rauthur settle accounts with his corrupted self?
- Are there too many Rauthurs at this point?
- What is Alihanna doing in Droaam?
- What does the alliance between Droaam and Aundair mean for Thrane and Breland?
- What will Merrix demand in return for the Golden Dragon and reactivating the party’s Sending Stones?
- How long can Parker and Annie remain in close proximity but not speak?
- What’s next for Jak?
- For the answers to (some of) these and other questions, tune in Easter Weekend!

XP Reward: 5,200 xp each. Level 13!

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The Fall of Strahd
"Throw out the eggs!"

6 Dravago, YK 1000 – 14 Rhaan, YK 1003

Anora and Rauthur eventually make it through the mists and to the town of Barovia, there to reunite with Alastair, Ameron, and Ky. An effusive Ismark, the local innkeeper, provides the group with room and board for the night. Unbeknownst to the party, Strahd has learned of the party’s arrival from his many spies and has decided to deal with the potential threat before they can cause him any trouble. In mist form, he slips into their rooms and successfully dominates Alastair, Namine, and Arkhos.

The next morning, the party travels to Brokenblade Castle, finding it open and apparently unguarded. Once inside, Alastair heads for a door through which the noise of a meal can be heard. There he finds Strahd at a table set for a feast. Strahd invites Alastair to join him, and to the surprise of the party, he accepts.

While most of the party exchange tense words with Strahd, Annie ventures down the passage toward a great set of double doors covered in raven iconography. Entering, she finds the last thing one would expect in a vampire’s lair, a chapel, though to what god, she cannot say. Kneeling to offer a prayer, Annie is startled to find herself confronted by a woman who appears apparently from nowhere. Inquiry reveals her to be the Raven Queen, a deity from another world who governs the passage from life into death. She asks Annie to ensure that no life lost in this place can be raised as an abomination. In exchange for this promise, Annie is rewarded with a Silver Raven Figurine of Wondrous Power.

Having learned all he can, Strahd excuses himself and the party goes to find Annie, only to discover that Namine has disappeared. To track her, Rauthur summons a wolf. To the surprise of all, Eredraug appears and immediately sets off in pursuit of Namine, leading the party upstairs. Before he vanishes, the wolf scrabbles at a door. Opening the door, the party are faced with the worst, Namine has been transformed into a Vampire Spawn. As the group pauses in horror, Namine lunges at them with a hiss. In reflex to seeing a friend in danger, Annie attempts to heal her friend, and is forced to watch in horror as the divine energies consume her friend, leaving only a pile of dust.

Rooted in horror, the party are interrupted by a shout from downstairs and realize that Alastair has gone missing. Rushing downstairs, Ky and Rauthur find a much weakened Alastair struggling with Strahd. Ky rushes into battle, only to be attacked from behind by a dominated Arkhos.

Meanwhile, Annie consecrates her friend’s remains, oblivious to all else. When she finally stands to leave, she finds Lucan Stellos, or at least a patched together humanoid form that looks much like him. Annie dazes him and rushes downstairs, shouting warnings. Rauthur immediately teleports back to the second floor and calls down fire and lightning to destroy the reconstructed vampire.

Downstairs, Strahd retreats from combat and leaves the party in peace for a time. Though Annie has scried out the location of Strahd’s crypt, they decide to first use the respite to find the Dayheart. Returning to the second floor, they slip past the electrified gate only to have Ky fall through a double pit trap, landing in the crypt. While Rauthur flies down to retrieve her, Alastair gets over curious and finds himself trapped in a living tapestry. Rauthur returns and frees him, and the party goes on, taking a teleportation glyph to the top of the Dayheart’s tower. There they are attacked by one of Strahd’s vampire minions, and then by Strahd himself. Not wishing to kill his old friend, Strahd dominates Rauthur and forces him to flee. Eventually, both vampires are driven off and the Dice advance into the crypt.

After obtaining information from a strange Necromancer, they open both Strahd’s crypt and that of his vampire minion Rafael. After staking Rafael, the Dice gather at Strahd’s tomb, only to find the translucent form of a elven woman, who answers to the name Erandis (yeah, as in Vol). The force field falls to the command word (‘Erandis’). Although Rauthur considers the pleas of Erandis to leave her love in peace, promising that he will never again leave Barovia. Alastair, unwilling to allow negotiations to go on, takes matters into his own hands and enters the crypt and stakes Strahd. Erandis’ cries of grief and rage echo through the chamber, and she promises to exact vengeance on everything and everyone the Dice care for. She urges them to hurry home, because she is coming…

With the death of Strahd, the mists of Barovia fall and the land is now open to Breland. Surprisingly, the party see a troop of Thranish knights riding toward them. The knights bring a message to Annie from Keeper Jaela, explaining among other things, that three years have passed since they entered the mists. Traveling with the knights, the Dice return to Thrane, where the Dayheart and the Dawn Shard are forged into a protective amulet that eradicates the vampirism in Kate so long as she wears it. In addition the party learns that Jak is in Droaam with the Brelish army and Halix ir’Wynarn. However, before setting out again, the party accept a time of rest in Thrane to let the horror, grief, and exhaustion of their encounter with Strahd pass. Alastair, however, returns to his training, intending to set out with Gaston soon to guard the borders of Barovia, lest any remaining evil in the place escape into Khorvair.

XP per Character – 21,000
Loot Rewards (most of this is on a piece of paper given to Eric)
- Pariapt of Wisdom +2
- Halberd of Ravens
- Raven Bracers
- Cloak of Ravens
- Amulet of Ravens

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Adventures in the Mists
The search for the Dayheart

5 Dravago, YK 1000

Having returned from Q’barra, most of the Loaded Dice settled back into their lives in Stormreach, while Alastair continued his training to join the Knights of the Silver Flame in Flamekeep. Ky scrounged Stormreach and every source of information she could find (i.e. Jak, Annie, and Rauthur) for information about the Dayheart, a legendary artifact supposedly capable of allowing a vampire to walk in the daylight with no ill effects. In legend, it is associated with the mythological vampire, Strahd ir’Zarovich.

Based on a variety of information, Ky decided to start in Wroat, where Viorr Maelak believes the Citadel is creating day-walking vampires. About the same time, Alastair was summoned to Wroat to assist Gaston Mathysan in an investigation. He was joined in his journey by Ameron, who had been hanging about the Stocky Vixen tavern in the suburbs of Flamekeep.

When the two parties arrived at Wroat, they found the city encircled by a strange wall of mist stretching miles into the air. After careful examination proved fruitless other than to determine that it was not the same as the mist of the Mournland, and that it had a strong planar signature, the adventurers entered the mists.

Alastair and Ameron found themselves lost in the woods and eventually made their way to the village of Barovia, where they encountered Gaston and were forced to flee a horde of Zombies.

Ky and Arkhos arrived near a road leading into the same village and fought their way through a smaller pack of undead before finding that they had no way of knowing where to go. Desperate, Ky resorts to prayer to clear her mind, and to her surprise (and the DM’s, with Gygax recommending a 10% chance of divine intervention) a fiery horseman appeared and guided her to the safety of a local inn where survivors had holed up.

Of Annie, Rauthur, or Namine, there has been no sign since entering the Mists.

With no clear way to find their companions, Ky, Arkhos, Alastair, and Ameron began to seek answers. The hints of the barkeep – Ismark – indicated that Barovia is a demiplane that travels from world to world at the command of the Master of the Castle. Brelish survivors said that the Mists poured out of Brokenblade Castle a day before the party’s arrival and then everything changed. When it did, some people were still there, and others were not. The party was given two leads, Father Danovich – the town’s priest is usually responsible for warding the town to keep the undead away and who can be found at the church – and Sir Bardas, an undead hunter who can be found at the crossroads. After discussion, a decision was reached to seek out Sir Bardas first.

After fighting of the wraiths who were attacking Bardas, Ky, Alastair and Ameron were able to get more questions answered. Bardas confirmed Ismark’s hints about the nature of Barovia, and also that the Dayheart is a creation of Strahd, who is the Master of the Castle and that the Dayheart can be found at the top of its highest tower. Armed with this information, they returned with Bardas to Barovia to plan their next move.

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Raiders of the Lost Shard
Into Darkest Q'barra

Eyre 3-5, YK 1000

The Loaded Dice arrived in Q’barra at the beginning of Eyre, hoping to find an artifact to aid in the ritual to restore true life to Kate Shari. Unfortunately, the Dawnshard they need has been stolen from Tira Miron’s vault. Following the cryptic hints of Annie’s scrying attempts, their journey leads them deep into the jungle in search of the ever-charismatic adventurer Halas Martain. In their journey, they find that Halas has been poking around sites sacred to the dragonborn of Q’barra and has run afoul of the Firmitas Praetorium, an alliance of dragonborn sworn to keep the evils lurking deep in Q’barra at bay. After careful negotiation, they are given permission to see Halas, but by then he has made good his escape.

After talking their way clear of the Praetorium and securing a way back to New Throne for their friend Haydith, the Dice set off on the trail of Halas Martain, who is thought to be making for the Tomb of the founder of the Firmitas Praetorium, a dragonborn combanion of Tira Miron, Rettania Dorlanus. They navigate the strange and challenging traps of Dorlanus’ toub and finally confront agents of the Emerald Claw deep in the crypt, where they discover that Halas has been in the employ of the Emerald Claw for years. Halas is slain and the Dawnshard activated with a few drops of Tira Miron’s blood, cotained in a vial around the neck of Dorlanus’ corpse. At Jak’s urging, they do not wait around for whatever disturbing the remains might unleash, and aided by Rauthur’s teleportation, return to the jungles and thence to New Throne, where they board the Obsidian Sky and head for Stormreach to plan their next move, obtaining a dayheart, an artifact associated with a much less savory figure from Eberronian legend, Strahd ir’Zarovich.

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Chaos Reigns at Tirasday Tournament
The Sharn Inquisitive's Take

Traelyn, Thrane, Therendor 28, YK 1000

This year’s tournament in honor of Tira Miron was marked by more than the usual chaos, surpassing even last year’s scandal involving an attempt to cheat near the end of the tournament. During the first night’s feast, an attempt was made to poison the competitors, though it was discovered by a cleric who happened to be present. This is mundane compared to what follows.

On the third day of the Tournament, the set for the arena fight was sabotaged to the degree that it collapsed, killing one competitor and injuring enough people that an entire team was knocked out of the tournament. Then, that night, a team sponsored by one of Stomreach’s infamous Storm Lords – the adventures known as the Loaded Dice – was attacked at their inn. While statement’s vary, the Inquisitive has determined that this was an attempt on the Storm Lord’s life, foiled by the fact that he was not present at the inn that night. The attackers were repulsed by his team, though a great deal of damage was done to the inn.

If one can believe it, at the very same moment, Huyanwo, the wild Brine Dragon that periodically troubles the Traelyn area, launched an attack at Traelyn’s waterfront. In a rare departure from the Tournament’s traditional format, Speaker Jaela Daran announced that the team who succeeded in ridding Traelyn of the menace of Huyanwo would be awarded the victory in the tournament. Taking the challenge, the Loaded Dice hunted down and defeated in the great dragon in a battle that lasted hours. Your humble reporter was able to witness the battle first hand at great personal danger. After a massive epic battle, the dragon was slain and his head returned to town.

This may not have been the traditional Tirasday Tournament, but we can have no doubt that this one will be discussed for years to come.


Huyanwo’s Cave has been sought by archaeologists for years now, ever since it was mentioned in one of Anora Stoutharts’s journals. However despite the reasonably detailed information given, its location somehow eludes historians to this day. However based on her account, we know that somewhere in the Thranish hills lies a cave containing a magical archive detailing the history of nearly every dragonmarked house created by a person with the benefit of thousands of years of observation. The reason for its elusiveness remains a mystery, much to the disappointment of historians.

- P.R. Songsteel

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Fallout
Things look different in the harsh light of day.

Olarune 20 – Therendor 24, YK 1000

Olarune 20 – 28

Back through the Portal and to the safety of Stormreach, the Loaded Dice are now forced to deal with the baggage with which they have returned. Until they think of a better idea, Rukin ir’Clarn is taken down to sublevels of the Tower of Kol Korran and locked in a cell with food and water, and there he remains. Three is sent off to Merrix, Alia is taken to rest, and Kate’s lifeless body is stored in the tower. This done, the Dice disperse to recover from a very hectic two days. Ky and Annie arrive in Jak’s office where Annie has hard words for the Storm Lord and Ky deals with the trauma of her sister’s condition. Jak is generally ill-equipped for the circumstance, but is ably to offer up a schematic designed by Vampire Rauthur of a warforged arm that would theoretically suppress the vampirism in Kate. He then flees the intensely emotional situation to deal with the still-dawning reality and alternating panic and vengeful glee at the fact that Rukin ir’Clarn is his prisoner.

On the 21st, the Dice reconvene in the Citadel of the Twelve to meet with Merrix, who informs rather too nonchalantly that Three is not a warforged at all, but Julian ir’Wynarn, the exiled Prince of Aundair and one of Rukin’s allies in Breland. The poor man has been stripped down to his organs and his organic body replaced with warforged parts in some kind of sick experiment. He also reports someone more happily that his study of Tranquility ’s arcane engines are yielding results and he believes he will be able to create the same effect with Alchemical components.

Before leaving, Alastair and Amaron finally agree to assassinate Mirren Lensherr in exchange for Merrix’s help retrieving the Golden Dragon and locating Amaron’s missing family. The next few days are spent learning what they can of the man’s patterns and then finally, executing their plan. Alastair procures a loan of Jak’s specialist crossbow and uses it to kill Mirren as he patrols his territory. They then escape into the streets.

Therendor 1 – 7

The beginning of Therendor sees Ky, Alastair and Amaron exploring the Throne Gate Ruins out in the jungles, mapping them at Jak’s request. Though they encounter a fire giant and his drow war party, Alastair is able to deal with the situation diplomatically and both groups go about their business successfully.

Therendor 7 – 24
Through local gossip, the Dice learn that the Knights of Thrane, a local militia, is planning to depart the city to attend a decennial tournament in Thrane in honor of Tirasday, the anniversary of Tira Miron’s sacrifice which bound her to the Silver Flame and bound Bel Shalor once again. The winning team gets to choose an item from Miron’s personal vault, as well as request a boon of the Silver Flame. Alastair and Amaron go for the excitement, while Ky goes in the hopes that victory will lead to a cure for Kate. Annie goes largely out of support for Ky, Rauthur out of curiosity, and Aurora has mixed motives of excitement and a chance to do some shopping in a city bigger than Stormreach. Jak goes as well, deciding it’s time to stick his head back above water and see what has come of their adventures in Sharn the previous month.

The journey is long but uneventful, with a chartered Lyrandar airship making the journey in record time do to excellent weather. As the Dice arrive on the 23rd, they are greeted by excited spectators, and have the opportunity to meet and converse with the previous champion, Gaston Mathysan. In addition, Annie spots Hallix ir’Wynarn, youngest son of Boranel and a ward of the Karrnathi Crown among the contestants, and among his retainers, Viorr Maelak. After an exchanged glance, Annie slips out for a private word with the old spymaster.

Therendor 24 begins the first day of the tournament, culminating on Tirasday, Therendor 28. In the first round, the Dice are pitted agains a group of martial artists from a local monastery. The dice win handily, killing two of the monks while suffering primarily only bruises. Though Aurora is briefly knocked unconscious, she suffers mostly a private embarrassment at being knocked down in the dirt in front of Gaston. For their victory, the party receive from the hand of Jaela Daran, Keeper of the Flame, the reward of a rock. But the day, let alone the Tournmanet, has just begun….

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