Dawn Of The Storm

In Which Hawthuum Runs Away
17 March, 2016

When we last left the party…

They’d just defeated the alternate personality inside Raltar thanks in great help to Nicholas and Hawthuum. After the half-orc baited the Glyndark presence into his own mind, Raltar and Vallenese ran off to burn down Castle Glyndark in the hopes that it would stop the magic. That done, the two of them had returned to the Golden Bull Tavern and started a massive party while Hawthuum and Nicholas finished the fight. Nicholas, mentally exhausted, had proceeded to expel everything in his stomach and pass out.

The next morning saw Vallenese and Hawthuum wake up with pounding hangovers. Raltar, having been awake for a few hours already, had gotten past the worst of his. Nicholas had another brief sick episode before just passing out. The group let him sleep as they headed down to breakfast where Raltar and Vallenese confide in Hawthuum that they burnt down Castle Glyndark the night before.

Hawthuum nearly makes a scene and the two of them have to calm him down before anyone notices anything. That’s when they realize they haven’t seen Scooter all morning. Raltar mentally reigns in the pseudodragon, who returns swaying and bloated. The trip debate about the best person to train Scooter so that he stays out of trouble, and in the end responsibility lands on Hawthuum. For the moment though, they leave Scooter upstairs to sleep off his own hangover alongside Nicholas.

Breakfast over, Vallenese and Raltar head out to a park so that Raltar can show Vallenese a game he plays with his bow. Once they get there however, Raltar sees other groups picnicking and panics. Leaving Vallenese in the park, he rushes through the market and scrounges together enough to make a decent picnic for the two of them. After they eat Raltar begins showing Vallenese his game. It involves her throwing up tomatoes (or other produce) and him shooting them out of the air. Quickly a crowd gathers, and even some of the children start helping the tiefling to throw things for Raltar to shoot.

Meanwhile Hawthuum has set out on his own adventure and finds himself in a smithy run by a dwarf named Torbil. The two discuss upgrades that can be made to Hawthuum’s hammer and without much haggling the deal is done, though it will take at least a day or more to make the improvements. Leaving the smithy, Hawthuum spots the crowd that Raltar and Vallenese have managed to gather, despite their earlier discussion at breakfast that they should try to lay low for a few days. He heads over to start pushing to the front of the gathered patrons.

By now Raltar is starting to show signs of strain. Since he’s long run out of arrows, he has to constantly run around the park and retrieve ones he’s already used, all the while continuing to flip and roll and shoot the projectiles that Vallenese and the children are throwing for him. By the time Hawthuum gets to the front of the crowd the tiefling is starting to tell the kids to stop and the gathering begins to disperse after Raltar’s enthusiastic and skillful archery display.

Hawthuum grabs some of Raltar’s arrows on his way over to the exhausted elf and drops them nearby, letting the others know where he went. When Raltar asks if the smithy could upgrade his weapon, Hawthuum challenges that bows can’t get better because they’re just bows. Intent on showing Hawthuum just how wrong he is, Raltar leads the party back to the Golden Bull and they retrieve their horses, heading to the exit of the city so that Raltar can cut down a tree and show the dwarf about bows.

Unfortunately they never reach their destination because upon approaching the gate the trio is stopped by one of the Ecrin guard. Since the fire at Castle Glyndark, no one has been allowed to enter or exit the city. Unwittingly, the party reveals that they had knowledge of the event and didn’t report it, to which the guard escorts them in for questioning. Separated, the three are questioned by the captain of the guard.

Raltar and Vallenese manage to get away with half truths and clever wordplay, but Hawthuum breaks down under the half-elf’s direct questioning and turns in his friends. Released for his cooperation, Captain Graros corners Vallenese and Raltar with knowledge of their crime. In doing so Raltar turns over all his notes about the event and the journal that the party found in Castle Glyndark across from the room where they found Gixthur. Hearing that Azoth tasked Raltar with finding Firren Glyndark, Captain Graros offers him and Vallenese a deal: they can work for the Ecrin guard or the guard will turn them over to the council, who will likely execute them or worse.

Left with little choice, both the elf and the tiefling agree. Raltar is given a belt that contains a stone which will allow him to communicate with Captain Graros, along with altering the half-elven captain if Raltar removes the belt for an extended period of time. Once they sign both their confessions and their contracts, the pair is free to go. Only now do they realize that Hawthuum is nowhere to be see, and Captain Graros tells them that their dwarven friend was released for cooperating.

Hawthuum, assuming Raltar and Vallenese are going to be super mad at him for snitching on them, races back to the tavern and packs his bags. He grabs Scooter and starts to try and find a way out of the city when he remembers his hammer is still at the blacksmith. Doing his best to hide from his friends, the dwarf takes a room in another inn nearby the smithy and tries to lay low. Raltar and Vallenese, on the hunt for him, quickly find their way to the smithy where Jasmin, Torbil’s niece, greets them and lets them know that Hawthuum came through not long ago with his hammer.

Raltar stays with Torbil and works on making new arrows while Vallenese heads out to continue looking for Hawthuum. The dwarf, in a panic, starts running through the streets of Ecrin. Unfortunately for him, he’s nowhere near fast enough to escape the tiefling monk and she soon catches him. After talking him down, Vallenese agrees to let him come to Raltar in his own time and heads back to the smithy without him. Hawthuum, still unsure of himself, wanders until he finds a temple to a water-based deity. There, he learns the shocking truth about his god Talos: he is god of storms, but he is god of storms in the worst possible way, enjoying the destruction and oblivion the natural phenomena can cause. Shocked, Hawthuum prays for strength before returning to the smithy.

Vallenese returns to the blacksmith and lets Raltar know that she found Hawthuum and the dwarf will join them in his own time. Raltar, in turn, shows her his new arrows. Vallenese goes back to ask Torbil if she can help and Raltar asks Jasmine why she’s always got her head in a book. The young woman informs him that she plans to be a cleric, and he asks her about Talos. Through her study books, Raltar learns much the same thing that Hawthuum has and when the dwarf finally does arrive the two have a tense moment that is quickly broken when Raltar starts going on about the perfect balance in his new arrows.

The joy is short lived, however, as the two of them try to concoct a plan to get Hawthuum out of Talos’ sights. The dwarf and the tiefling head back to Hawthuum’s temporary room to gather his stuff and move it back to the Golden Bull, while Raltar finds the water temple Hawthuum did early and asks about changing deities. Discovering that it’s possible, he returns to the other two and together him and Hawthuum find a temple to Njord, where they speak to Brother Saggar about changing the source of the dwarf’s power.

Some intense questions and a near drowning later, Hawthuum emerges from the waters a new dwarf, with the mark of Talos literally burnt from his forehead by the holy water of Njord. Brother Saggar also informs Raltar that he should seek out a powerful wizard known as Ansraith who might be able to help him with that last spot of Glyndark magic on the back of his neck. Ansraith has apparently recently started a travel east, and if the party moves quickly enough they should be able to catch him.

Thanking Brother Saggar, Hawthuum and Raltar head back to the Tavern, the former literally dragging the latter since he’s so exhausted from the day’s developments. When they get there, they realize that Vallenese has started yet another party, but they quickly decline invitations in favor of changing out of their wet clothes and going straight to bed. Raltar collapses on top of Nicholas and alongside Scooter. Hawthuum joins the pile shortly after and with a few more hours of party under her belt Vallenese finishes up the cuddle pile on top of the half-orc.

Did Hawthuum successfully change his faith? Will Captain Graros keep his word and protect Vallenese and Raltar from the council? Can this mysterious wizard cure Raltar of his ailment? Find out next time on Dawn Of The Storm!

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In Which The Party Battles For Raltar's Mind
10 March, 2016

When we last left the party…

They’d met the tiefling Vallanese and made their way to the edge of the city, spending the night in an Inn. After drinking for a bit they had to chase Raltar down once the Glyndark inside him had gotten too strong and drag him back to the Inn for the night with Hawthuum nowhere to be found.

Nicholas goes in search of the missing dwarf and finds Hawthuum outside the Inn leaning on a railing. He and Nicholas have a long discussion about Hawthuum’s reaction to Vallanese and his lack of direction in life. After the dwarf’s existential crisis, the both of them head back into the Inn and to sleep.

Morning rolls around and Raltar is the first awake, heading downstairs. Soon after the others join him and they discuss what is to be done about the Glyndark growing inside their ranger. Seeing no other way around the inevitable confrontation, they go back upstairs and have Hawthuum and Vallanese stand guard while Nicholas and Raltar travel into Raltar’s mind to fight the Glyndark influence.

In searching for the Glyndark, Nicholas and Raltar’s mental constructs of Hawthuum and Vallanese are trapped on the other side of a doorway in his mind, while the Glyndark taunts Raltar on the other only to be interrupted by an uninvited and unexpected Scooter biting his ankles. Focusing his energies, Raltar empowers Scooter, making the tiny creature grow into a full fledged dragon, which he then proceeds to ride.

Meanwhile Nicholas sends another sliver of himself back through to Raltar’s mind and distracts the Glyndark long enough for Raltar to open the doorway and free both the half of Nicholas who was trapped and his mental constructs of the rest of the party. Seeing things not going his way the Glyndark attempts to banish Scooter and Nicholas, only succeeding with the former. What follows is a dangerous battle in which Nicholas is weakened to the point he has to temporarily retreat to his own mind and Raltar falls.

Gathering his strength Nicholas manages to return to Raltar’s mind before the Glyndark can fully take control and attempts to convince him to leave Raltar’s mind in favor of the eldritch horror living inside Nicholas’ own. Tempted by the offer, Glyndark doesn’t realize as Nicholas opens a portal from Raltar’s mind to his own and uses a spell to send the corruption into a dark corner of his half-orc mind, sparing Raltar any farther pain.

With the Glyndark essence in his own head, Nicholas briefly leaves his meditation to warn Vallanese and Hawthuum about what’s happened and grab Hawthuum for help in the upcoming battle before returning to his own mind and opening the door that will let both the Glyndark and the eldritch horror into the Nicholas part of his mindscape so that he can fight them. As he’s opening the door Hawthuum sends a prayer to Talos and is granted a vision in which he speaks with the god which really only takes a split second.

While the dwarf and the half-orc battle for Nicholas’ mind Raltar starts to come to in his own body once again. Seeing Vallanese and getting the short version of events from her, he decides enough is enough and with the monk in tow heads back to Castle Glyndark and begin to burn it down with the tiefling’s help. Unfortunately, as they try to leave they find the barrier that had previously blocked them from leaving had been activated once again and the two of them sprint through the castle in an attempt to find a way out. Reaching the room on the third floor with the mermaid in her water cube, Raltar lifts Vallanese outside and follows her, before shooting a rope arrow at the ground. The two of them zipline to safety using Raltar’s bow, though Raltar’s dismount is considerably less graceful considering Vallanese lands on top of him.

Back in Nicholas’ mind, he manages to barely survive another blast of magic from the now flying Glyndark as Hawthuum unleashes the full force of his god upon the corruption. The Glyndark combusts into golden flakes that dissipate, and Nicholas quickly ejects Hawthuum from his mind before turning to the eldritch horror, the source of his own corruption with a revelation: knowledge is not inherently evil, nor is it inherently good. It’s simply knowledge, and learning to understand it is the first step that Nicholas has to take. The horror drops a black orb at the half-orcs feet and returns to beyond the door from whence it came, which Nicholas quickly locks again. He stores the orb and discovers that a confused but happy as ever Scooter is in his mind now.

After shooing the pseudodragon out of his mind and back to his own body, Nicholas finally returns to the physical world to find that Vallanese and Raltar are nowhere to be found. Hawthuum reports that they’re downstairs having a party and Nicholas proceeds to be very, very sick from the mental strain of the battle he just went through. The dwarf leaves him to join the party, which has been started by a triumphant elf and tiefling after burning down Castle Glyndark.

Raltar eventually goes upstairs to check on Nicholas and the two discover that there’s still a speck of gold on the back of the nape of Raltar’s neck. The elf, frustrated, deconstructs his mindscape in an attempt to find the last source and when all he can see is the construct of his mother, shoots her before returning to Nicholas. The act seems to have had no effect, and an exhausted Nicholas follows Raltar into his mind one last time to figure out what’s going on. They discover that the part beyond the door that Raltar had trapped the Glyndark in originally is warped and a sickly yellow-green, likely the cause of the remaining gold in his aura. Too tired to deal with it right now, they leave it for later and Nicholas returns to being sick while Raltar heads back downstairs for the party.

Has Raltar managed to rid himself of Glyndark influence once and for all? Will Nicholas be able to recover after putting himself through such strain? How will the city react to seeing Castle Glyndark burned down? Find out next time on Dawn of The Storm!

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In Which Vallanese's Horse is Eaten By Rats
3 March, 2016

When we last left the party…

They’d escaped Castle Glyndark at the cost of Raltar accepting Azoth’s magic into himself. Making their way back through town to Tabia’s home, they had an eventful dinner in which Tabia confronted Raltar about his dishonesty. Bedding down for the night, Nicholas and Raltar clear the elf’s mind a bit before everyone heads to sleep.

Breakfast the next morning is a fairly standard affair. Unfortunately Scooter the psuedodragon has managed to run away from Hawthuum and found his way into Tabia’s lap. Their hostess isn’t exactly warm with them, but she shoos Scooter back to the group and leads them downstairs into what appears to be an interior enclosure. Inside is the griffin that the party tried and failed to kill in their first battle together, eating breakfast from a trainer’s hand and appearing docile. Tabia explains that she’s going to take good care of the creature and sends the party on their way towards some stables where she holds influence.

Reaching the stables, the group looks around at the horses offered to them. Nicholas comes across a female tiefling monk who introduces herself as Vallanese. As they chat Hawthuum and Raltar come around the corner and spot the tiefling. Having never seen someone like her before, Hawthuum immediately labels her demon and raises his hammer to smite her. Nicholas and Vallanese burst out in laughter as Raltar attempts to talk Hawthuum out of trying to kill the tiefling.

After diffusing the situation, though Hawthuum still doesn’t trust the purple creature, they choose horses and pay for the lot before starting to ride for the edge of town. Passing through an abandoned alleyway, the group finds themselves attacked by a pair of gargoyles and a giant swarm of rats fleeing from three shambling straw creatures. Barely escaping the fight alive, they rest on horseback before reaching the edge of the city.

With nightfall fast approaching, the group looks for somewhere to spend the night. Nicholas senses magic in the air and they follow it to an Inn run by a minotaur named Nuni that caters specifically to monstrous races. Nicholas and Vallanese go skipping into the establishment with Raltar and Hawthuum trailing along behind them, unused to being in the minority. The group quickly starts drinking and Raltar’s alter ego begins surfacing. The Glyndark personality rises and Raltar takes off running away from the Inn, only for the others to give chase. Nicholas finally catches up to him and convinces Raltar to return to the Inn. With the Glyndark half of him in check for now, they go to retire for the night only to realize that Hawthuum is nowhere to be found.

Where has Hawthuum gone? Will Raltar be able to keep his Glyndark personality in check? What will Vallanese bring to the table for the group? Find out next time on Dawn of The Storm!

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In Which Raltar Becomes A Glyndark
25 February, 2016

When we last left the party…

Raltar had enough of Azoth’s games and decided to give the portrait a piece of his mind, causing a magical aura to trap the party inside the castle, which Nicholas’ detect magic spell confirmed. Knowing that Azoth would only likely talk to him, Raltar headed back into the Great Hall and confronted the painting once more, only to have the entirety of the Glyndark line turn their gaze upon him.

Alone in the middle of the Great Hall, Raltar tries to get the attention of Azoth. When all the paintings eventually respond, he’s not quite sure which to address but tries to barter the party’s way out of the castle anyway. The twelve portraits engage him in a lively debate, claiming they need the elf mostly because he has free motion. They wish for him to be their eyes and ears in the world, and to find the current, and missing, head of the Glyndark family: Firren Glyndark.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Hathum race upstairs to try and find Gixthurr. Upon reaching where the elf previous was, they find no trace of him. The golden aura that Nicholas can sense through his detect magic continues into the upper floor of the house and continues to change the view from the window of Gixthurr’s room. After a quick search which proves unfruitful, the pair head back downstairs to the others.

Just as they reach the Great Hall however, Raltar concedes and accepts Azoth’s magic into himself. Nicholas is the only one who can truly witness the transfer of power, but even Hathum and Adrian can see a faint golden outline encasing Raltar for a moment. Nicholas watches in shock as Raltar’s newly discovered magical aura mixes with Azoth’s, becoming an intermingling of gold and green. Powerless to stop it, Nicholas explores the opposite way down the first floor corridor, finding a plain scrying table in what looks to be a magical work area.

Infused with Glyndark magic, Raltar emerges into the scrying room a little while later and begins trying to use it, with limited results. Nicholas steps in and helps, and together they manage to get the table working in search of Firren and Ilhane. Raltar holds the spell, discovering that not only the two nobles they’ve been tasked to find but a large portion of the annual Glyndark party have been turned to stone and transported to an unknown area surrounded by stone pillars. As Raltar watches the scry, a copper dragonborn emerges from around the statues clad in full armor and looks right at him. The spell abruptly cuts off.

After explaining the tableau to the others, Raltar again returns to the scrying table and attempts to peer in on his mother and father. His mother is out hunting, not unusual since she’s the one who taught him how to use a bow. His father, however, he is unable to see. Expressing his concerns to Nicholas, Raltar learns that people can resist being scryed upon. Armed with new information, they return to the Great Hall and incur some seething words from Azoth about how the dragonborn should in all rights be dead. They learn that likely their mission will take them southward, but where and how far they have no idea.

Without warning a creature falls from the chandelier above them. Raltar reacts first, loosing an arrow at the beast and catching it in a wing before it can really mitigate its fall. Crashing to the ground, the party gathers around the small lizard-like being. The portraits have again become inert, and the small pseudodragon whimpers pitifully, nearly dead from the combination of the arrow and the fall. Gathering him up, Hathum heals the creature and the party decides to keep him, naming him Scooter. Scooter leads them to a hidden room in the magical study, where they discover chest. Opening the chest causes a poisonous dart to shoot out, which nearly hits Hathum. Raltar snatches the dart out of the air, causing a breath of relief from the dwarf.

Inside the now de-armed chest lies a bag of holding and a small sack of coins equaling 100 gold pieces. Searching through the bag of holding, they try sending the sprite inside to see if anything more is in there. They pull him out just in time to stop him from asphyxiating because, as the party discovers, there is no air in a bag of holding. Their spoils in hand and a tenuous peace between them and the sprite, the party finally make their way out of Castle Glyndark and head back to Tabia’s home. They inform her about not being able to find Ilhane, and Raltar in particular spills the beans on perhaps more than he should. She sends the other party members away and has a few choice words with just Raltar.

Finally going back up to his and Nicholas’ room, Raltar turns to the half-orc for help. Nicholas invites him into his mind, showing Raltar how he separates himself from the darkness within. Taking that lesson to heart, Raltar spends some time soul-searching whilst sat in a tree and constructs his own mindscape, similarly trapping ‘Raltar Glyndark’ behind a natural door. This manages to strengthen his own natural aura and relegate Azoth’s influence to a smaller portion of himself, but doesn’t purge the Glyndark influence fully.

Meanwhile Hathum has decided to take care of Scooter and he deals with the small pseudodragon’s tiny bladder on his own little mini-adventure before heading to sleep. In the dark of the night, Raltar has a dream more akin to a vision, and speaks with Nicholas about it before the pair bed down.

How did the dragonborn survive extinction? Will Valen ever trust the party again? And why was there a pseudodragon in Castle Glyndark? Find answers to all this and more next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Nicholas Detects Magic
18 February, 2016

When we last left the party…

Raltar had just finished his discussion with the painted rendition of Azoth Glyndark and headed upstairs with Adrian in an attempt to find Hawthum and Nicholas, emerging on the second floor balcony overlooking the great hall. Meanwhile Nicholas and Hawthum had escaped being crushed by a wall and Nicholas changed into a new, black robe.

Deciding enough is enough, Nicholas brings out the small fey and questions it about what it knows about elves and the Glyndarks. A short and unhelpful conversation later, Nicholas returns the fey to his bag and he and Hawthum continue searching through the new hallway they find themselves in. Searching through the rooms they find a chamberpot and a bedroom, in which they discover a journal.

Nicholas, after activating his Detect Magic, realizes that the next door they’re about to go to has some sort of enchantment on it, warns Hawthum who then hits the door with his hammer. A spell arcs out from the door, rendering the dwarf charmed as a voice rings out from inside. A tall, well-dressed, brown-haired elven man emerges and introduces himself as Gixthur.

Gixthur recounts that he attended the party a few days ago and admits he can’t shed light on much that’s happened since. He saw some servants yesterday and his hosts the day after the party, but other than that it’s been quiet. Nicholas notices that the windows are enchanted, and when Gixthur dispels his own magic a golden aura is left behind. Unable to see the aura, Hawthum tells his new best friend about the journal they found. After reading out the last entry for them, Nicholas and Hawthum ask Gixthur to show them the staircase downwards and leave the elf to his reading.

Meanwhile Raltar and Adrian head right down the upstairs hallway. After discovering a very opulent bedroom with a golden bed frame and a pipe organ that begins to play itself, Adrian enters a perfectly circular room. His entry triggers a trap and the door slams shut behind him while the fireplace unleashes torrents of water into the room. An amphibious woman slips in with the water and attacks him while on the outside Raltar is frantically trying to figure out how to get the door open.

Hawthum and Nicholas hear Raltar’s calls for his party members and they rush to his aid. Together the three of them manage to beat down the reinforced door and release Adrian, the water, and the amphibious woman. Now that no one’s in immediate danger Nicholas notices that Raltar possesses a magical aura that wasn’t there last he saw the elf. Before they can deal with that however, the amphibious woman demands they deal with the fact that she’s been flushed from her home.

The party takes her upstairs to the third floor where they discover a glass cube that used to be filled with water. Apparently, she never knew the outside of this cube before now. They manage to refill the cube and return her to it, before promptly heading back downstairs to the linen closet so Adrian can get into some dry clothes.

As Adrian changes, Nicholas and Raltar have a discussion about Raltar’s new magical nature, and the elf understandably freaks out. Once Nicholas manages to calm him down they head back to the great hall and Raltar gets Azoth’s attention again. It takes them a moment to locate the fey, but they attempt to hand it over to Azoth for the spell. Before he can, Nicholas mentally warns him that Azoth had absorbed the spell that Raltar attempted to cast.

Fed up with Azoth’s attitude and absolutely done with the castle, Raltar tells Azoth off and releases the fey. As he does so, Nicholas’ detect magic spell reveals that a golden glow is beginning to cover the exterior exits to the castle. The barrier completes before they can escape and Raltar returns to try and get Azoth to let them go. Instead, another painting attracts his attention and he gazes upon Erla Glyndark’s portrait instead. Addressing the new portrait, Raltar brings the eyes of every Glyndark portrait down upon him.

What do the Glyndark’s really want with Raltar? How long will the castle be able to hold our adventurers? And where is that scratching noise coming from? Find out next time on Dawn Of The Storm!

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In Which Raltar Talks To A Painting
11 February, 2016

When we last left the party…

They stood outside the grounds of a darkened Castle Glyndark, facing off with a growling monstrosity and a tall, iron barred gate. Putting their heads together, they manage to distract the dog with an illusory sound so that he leaves the gate alone. Raltar then takes the bedroll from Nicholas and starts shimmying up and over the fence with the half-orc’s help.

It takes a moment, but the ranger finally gets over the fence. Unfortunately he doesn’t land stealthily, and as he starts towards the stone shed that the group spotted nearby the dog from earlier comes barreling around the corner. Nicholas casts his spell and sends the dog fleeing, but Raltar breaks open the shed only to discover a second dog. Its two heads proceed to nearly tear Raltar to pieces as the other members of the group frantically try to get over the gate to aid him, using Nicholas as a step stool.

Harthum manages to reach Raltar in time to bathe the elf in holy magic that saves his life. Meanwhile Nicholas manages to explode the first dog into gushy meat parts. Adrian manages to help the other two beat down the second dog in time for Raltar to strike the killing blow. Both dogs dead, Nicholas and Adrian manage to find a mechanism in the shed to open the gate and rush their friends to a nearby temple of Helm to heal them.

Realizing that he forgot the scraps of bedroll that could give them away, Nicholas runs back to the castle to try and clear signs of the struggle. Raltar quickly follows him, and soon all four of them are back just in time for the gate to start closing behind them. They travel to the front door and enter via breaking one of the windows. Striding into the great hall, Raltar’s gaze is drawn to the large portrait over the fireplace. The portrait, of Azoth Glyndark, first in the Glyndark line of power, fixates on Raltar and engages him in elven conversation.

However before speaking Azoth’s portrait demands that the other three leave the room. Adrian hangs out just out of sight in the hallway. Nicholas and Harthum head upstairs, wandering left down a hallway. As they pass through into the hallway proper they trigger a trap, and the walls begin to close in on them. It’s only through the sheer force of Nicholas’ magic and Harthum’s hammer that they manage to bust a door down and get out before being squished into pancakes.

Now in another hallway, they try a door and discover a linen closet. Nicholas heads inside, eager to change into a robe that isn’t damaged from battle, only to activate yet another trap and have a large, heavy rope net fall on top of him. Harthum manages to help him out of it and the half-orc chooses a new robe.

Meanwhile Raltar finishes up his discussion with Azoth. The painting offers power as ancient as the dragons and as strong as immortality in exchange for Raltar to give up his bow and embrace the arcane nature of his elven ancestry. Raltar barters him down to using a spell to try and find Ilhane, and Azoth relents. He directs that he’ll need something of hers, and that her name will suffice, and life essence to power the spell. Agreeing, Raltar meets up again with Adrian and they head upstairs to the second floor landing to try and find the rest of their party.

What sort of spells could Azoth be offering Raltar? Why does Castle Glyndark seem abandoned? For what reason is the castle so trap-ridden? Fine out next time on Dawn Of The Storm!

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The Story So Far...
4 February, 2016

In a clear area of Ecrin, a halfling calls together crowds of city folk to see the beasts he’s brought to show them. Among those in the crowd were Adrian, a half-elf of noble birth and a practitioner of sorcery; Raltar, an elven ranger fleeing from a crime he never committed among his people; Nicholas, a half-orc fleeing from a crime he did commit but that no one ever realized he caused; and Harthum, a dwarf bent on finding and exacting revenge on the pirate who enslaved him.

Once in the open square they realize that the halfling is showing off dangerous monsters, many of which are actively trying to escape. They attempt to disperse the crowd and then in confronting him about the creatures the halfling throws a cage with a small humanoid fey inside it at Nicholas and the halfling bolts just as the floating sword slices through the meager cage holding it in. Nicholas quickly fumbles the latch on the cage, and they fey is set free.

Springing into action, Raltar takes out one of the monsters still in its cage while Harthum manages to get the sword under control. The griffin breaks free and nearly slaughters Nicholas, who is saved by the very fey that he freed as it sends the griffin into a poisoned slumber with one shot from its tiny bow. Raltar takes off after the halfling and manages to catch up to him after a short chase.

Meanwhile the city guards finally arrive on the scene and finding no one but Nicholas, Harthum, and Adrian, they prepare to take the three in for questioning. Thankfully Raltar shows up with the halfling in tow, trussed up like a roast pig, and hands him over to the guards. Unfortunately that means Raltar’s rope is forfeit. Vallin, a gnome, approaches the group and offers to vouch for the party and Graros, the half-elf captain of the guard, agrees to let them go. He also agrees to try and get Raltar’s rope back if possible. Vallin insists that Nicholas brings the unconscious form of the griffin and the group heads off.

The party follows Vallin to the home of Tabia Whitcomb, a wealthy human with enough pull in the city to keep the group from going to jail. She also has a favor she’d like to ask of them. Her friend, Ilhane Dinith, has gone missing. Supposedly the drow had attended the annual Glyndark party, but no one has heard from her since. Reluctantly agreeing to help, the group takes the night to rest in Tabia’s home.

Before actually sleeping Raltar and Nicholas decide to sleep in the same room and they exchange tragic pasts. Then, during the night Nicholas has an uneasy dream, and in the morning it’s revealed to Raltar and the kitchen staff that he needs raw meat as a part of his diet. After breakfast they regroup and head out for Castle Glyndark, relying on Adrian’s knowledge of Ecrin to get there. Once they arrive, they realize there are no lights on in the castle and a vicious, growling dog-like beast is approaching them from the other side of the gate….

Will our brave heroes be able to enter the grounds of Castle Glyndark? Can they find the missing drow? Who is Tabia, and why does she have such an interest in Ilhane and the Glyndark’s? Only time will tell as we witness the Dawn Of The Storm!

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