Dawn Of The Storm

In Which Raltar Puts His Foot Down
5 May, 2016

When we last left the party…

Nicholas, Raltar, and Hawthuum had been teleported across the sea by Kobe, the magical bird, where they met another group of adventurers. In that group they encountered their first dragon born and learned that his name was Kavar. After learning all they could from Kavar about dragon born and helping the others destroy a strange, demonic bone creature, they used the teleportation circle in DeMor’s Magicks to return to Meclor and from there returned to Edron.

Once back in Edron Raltar tracked down Headmistress Anya and attempted to convince her to let him join the Wizard College. She rebutted that Raltar had already declined his acceptance once into the school and they wouldn’t do him any special favors by sending him to the top of the list. Determined, Raltar pressed her for anything she could do and she finally agreed to reenact an old school tradition: a potentially lethal entrance exam. Thanking her, Raltar went to find Nicholas and together they go into the library in search of any information on this exam. There, they meet an invisible cat and dig out yet another prophecy, this one in Deep Speech, that they can’t decipher. Admitting defeat they return to the others.

Raltar finds Vallenese and Hawthuum and Lillian and they all go out to a party while Nicholas heads into his room to meditate and try to see if the eldritch horror in his head knows anything about Deep Speech. After creating a visitation center and having a thoroughly unhelpful conversation the half-orc heads to the Wizard College to chat with Grattus, his advisor, about how he might be able to deal with what the source of his power wants. Grattus suggests that Nicholas could potentially break the pact, sealing himself off from arcane study, give in to the pact, or try to come to peace with it and create a symbiotic relationship with the pact.

Needing more time to figure it out, Nicholas thanks Grattus for his help and heads back to find the others. Lillian and Raltar are carrying a completely plastered Hawthuum back to his bedroom, Vallenese in tow. After getting the dwarf into bed Lillian says her goodbyes and Vallenese heads upstairs to go to sleep. Nicholas and Raltar have a brief chat about magic and Raltar lets Nicholas know that he doesn’t want to get into the Wizard College anymore, and the two of them head to bed.

The next morning dawns but unfortunately for Hawthuum, he can’t see it. Upon coming to wake the dwarf, Ratlar sees that his eyes match Nicholas’ magical aura and runs for the half-orc. Nicholas takes Vallenese and together the three of them try to figure out what’s going on in Hawthuum’s mind. Raltar, feeling left out, heads upstairs to floor 88 and vents to Lillian about how his friends are always abandoning him. After finishing up with Hawthuum, Vallenese and Nicholas head upstairs and hear the tail end of the conversation. The group manages to clear the air, though some tensions are still a bit high.

Not wanting to get involved in that, Hawthuum goes to find some other clerics and asks them about how they connect with their gods so that he can better understand how to connect with Njord. After getting some advice he leaves only to find Vallenese, who’s on her way to buy a puppy. While they’re gone Nicholas and Raltar head into Nicholas’ mind to see if Raltar can get any more information out of the eldritch horror than Nicholas could, and unfortunately it’s just as unhelpful as the first time.

Once Raltar realizes the horror is trying to bargain with him he warns Nicholas, who drags him out and stays to meditate for a bit longer. Raltar meets up with Vallenese and Hawthuum, and is discouraged to learn that they bought a puppy that he feels he’ll have to train. Over the next few days he helps Vallenese train her new dog Jax while at the same time trying to help Hawthuum train Scooter. They manage to make a harness for the pseudodragon, but he’s definitely not happy about it, and even Lillian pitches in to try and get Scooter to a more agreeable place.

Having been working on and off with his father the past few days, Raltar starts telling him about Lillian and how they’re sort of dating? His father, in no uncertain terms, tells Raltar that he can’t marry Lillian since he’s already engaged as part of a marriage that Raltar’s parents set up when Raltar was very young. Furious, Raltar leaves and gathers Vallenese, Hawthuum, and Lillian, and together they confront his father. An intense argument follows, one that shakes the very walls of both the building and Raltar’s already fragile relationship with his father.

Finally, Raltar’s father decides enough is enough and leaves. Raltar, pumped full of adrenaline and still feeling brave, kisses Lillian, then quickly takes a step back and apologizes when he realizes what he’s done. She kisses him again, and Raltar proposes to her. Upon accepting, Lillian agrees that they should probably wait until Raltar is done saving the world and encourages the group to leave that night before Raltar’s father can really do anything about it.

Will Raltar be able to leave the city? Can Nicholas create a symbiotic relationship with the eldritch horror in his mind? Is Scooter even trainable? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which There's A Crossover
30 April, 2016

When we last left the party…

The group had spoken with Raltar’s mother and decided to head to where their elven friend grew up. Once there they meet Rathal, Raltar’s father, who informs Raltar that he can’t leave without putting the forest and all the elves in it in peril. Nicholas and Vallenese managed to get Raltar set up on a surprise date with his childhood friend Lillian during their stay in the elven capital. Nicholas then went to his meeting with the headmistress of the Wizard College, only to be informed that they’re starting a scholarship in his name and he’ll be the first recipient of the full-ride deal. On his way back to the others to tell them of the good news, Nicholas becomes aware of a very faint music floating through his mind.

The same song is heard by Raltar and Hawthuum, and without warning the world around them starts to shift and fade. Suddenly the three of them are in a dark room with three occupied beds. In one of the beds lies a scaled, black, walking dragon. Before they can really decide what to do one of the forms in the bed starts to move and a human monk sits up. He manages to talk to the newcomers and introduces himself as Aren. Moving quickly, Aren manages to wake and introduce Draz, but not Kavar. Through an intense conversation they learn that the rest of the other party consists of Kavar, the dragonborn paladin, Sellion, the elven rogue, Floss, the elven ranger, and Silky Johnson, an elven bard. They also soothe Nicholas’ curiosity about the teleportation, revealing that Kobe has managed to teleport the our heroes to this strange group of other adventurers and they manage to get a ‘talking bottle’ going so that they can sort out the conversation. Aren manages to wake Kavar and they retrieve Floss for the conversation.

After a reading of the prophecies to get everyone on the same page and a realization that the image on Kavar’s map is the same as the one stamped in the bottom of Nicholas’ prophecies, the large group try to figure out how to get Nicholas, Raltar, and Hawthuum back to where they belong. Raltar attempts to speak with Kobe, who reveals that he teleported the group due to a connection one of them had with Kavar, but Kobe doesn’t know which of the three of them it was. During this time Scooter reveals himself and Kavar becomes rather enraptured with the tiny pseudodragon.

Trying to figure out which of them holds the connection, Raltar sends himself and Nicholas outside to see if Kobe could teleport them back inside, only for the two of them to be attacked. A large, white, gaunt creature with a stinger and flanked by two smaller creatures about Scooter’s size. The rest of both parties arrive and together they take down their attackers. Aren and Scooter both nearly die, but thankfully having two clerics around helps to mitigate the damage. With he sun starting to rise, Nicholas, Raltar, and Hawthuum say their goodbyes and Scooter is torn between staying with one of his kind or going with his friends. In the end he stays with Nicholas and the others, and they head to the Citin branch of DeMor’s to use the teleportation circle there to reach Meclor, and from there Edron.

How will this nighttime adventure affect our adventurers? Will the groups ever meet again? Do their goals converge on the same place? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Nicholas' Dreams Come True
28 April, 2016

When we last left the party…

Nicholas had gone through the teleportation circle in DeMor’s Magicks to Ecrin for some shopping while Hawthuum and Raltar head back to the forest to find Raltar’s mom. Not able to locate her, they leave a message and return to the inn where they meet up with Nicholas, who’s found a Prophecies Tome. Before they can discuss anything, however, Raltar’s mother sneaks in through the window.

Announcing her presence to the group, Raltar’s mother explains that she’s here to bring her son home, revealing to him that his father is in ill health and they need him to return to the forest. Reluctantly, Raltar manages to convince her that his current mission is more important and she gives him a three month window to complete his task and return home before she leaves. With her gone and Vallenese rejoining the group they can finally take a look at the Prophecies Tome that Nicholas found.

Believing the prophecies deciphered, Raltar pushes the group to go to the elven city now instead of later so that they can get that over with. Then they’ll continue their quest. Not long after they enter the forest they’re surrounded by elves, though thankfully Raltar takes charge and instead of attacking potential intruders the elves take them to Edron and to Raltar’s father Rathal. A gnome named Barry greets them in the main lobby and leads them upstairs to where Raltar’s father is in a meeting. He dismisses everyone except Nicholas, who is disguised as an elf, and Raltar.

For the next few hours Raltar and Nicholas are stuck in political debates during which Raltar’s journal is taken and magically memorized and copied. Meanwhile Hawthuum and Vallenese look around the capital building. Hawthuum finds floor 88, the recreation floor, and spends the next few hours there. At the end of the meeting, Raltar’s father dispels Nicholas’ illusion and bares the half-orc’s true nature for all to see. Surprisingly, he tells Raltar that he could learn from studying Nicholas’ magic, and once it’s only the three of them in the room they start to discuss all that Raltar has been through.

The moment Azoth’s name is mentioned, Rathal leads the way quickly to a magical work space and puts Raltar in some sort of contraption that forces upon him a vision of a skeletal Azoth who warns him heavily to not trust dragons. Emerging from the vision, Raltar tries to convince Nicholas that Scooter is evil. Nicholas doesn’t put much faith into the thought and dismisses it, and the two turn their attention back to Rathal’s insistence that Raltar must stay. Rathal takes Raltar aside so that only he can hear and informs him that the power that runs through their bloodline fuels the protection of the forest. If Raltar isn’t there to inherit the power when Rathal dies then the forest will die too.

Raltar almost immediately informs the party of this, but not before insisting that Scooter be put elsewhere. Nicholas hands him off to Barry and the gnome leaves to take care of him. Rathal gives Raltar some space to think and the party takes roughly a week to recuperate and figure out what their next move needs to be. Hawthuum and Vallenese learn how to use the vine system to rappel down from the tree canopies from Raltar and it’s learned that Nicholas is afraid of heights. Raltar actually takes the time to learn magical applications from his father, specifically how to enchant his bow. Hawthuum prays daily to Njord for a sign of his new god. Vallenese trains and tries to get dirt on Raltar from the elf’s childhood friend and crush Lillian. Last but not least, Nicholas spends his week training until he receives a letter from the Wizarding College saying that he’s got a private lunch with the Headmistress when they arrive on Wednesday.

In order to deal with his nervous energy, Nicholas helps Vallenese orchestrate a set up with Lillian and Raltar. They manage to get the pair on a bridge that was a scene from their childhood, and were it not for Lillian making the first move and kissing Raltar, the male elf might have never picked up on the situation. After that, Raltar reveals his own secret, which contains a set of new robes for Nicholas that match the half-orc’s magical aura.

The next day dawns with the arrival of the Wizarding College in a cleared space in the center of the city. Nicholas wakes early and heard over, only to find Barry who’s dug out his old work robes from when he used to be secretary at the Wizarding College. Barry leads him on a tour and brings him to the library, where Nicholas meets the blind tiefling Halrog. After spending some time chatting with Halrog, the half-orc is escorted to Headmistress Anya’s office where an orcish dish is waiting for them. She reveals to him that not only does she have an offer of a full ride to her school, but she plans to start a scholarship in his name specifically for monstrous races interested in magic. During their conversation, Nicholas brings up Scooter to ask her for advice, and when she asks to see him Nicholas’ attempts at finding the pseudo-dragon return with pained noises.

A scramble ensues where Nicholas, Barry, and Anya use their combined telepathic might to locate Scooter, who got buried alive when the Wizarding College teleported on top of him. Anya brings both of them to Grattus’ office. The wilden warlock stands to greet his newest advisee, and they get Nicholas settled on a couple of classes for him to take while he adventures. That done, the half-orc leaves, satisfied with an amazing day.

How much of his day will Nicholas share with the others? Is Scooter evil? And what is that slight musical tone in the air? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Scooter Breathes Fire
21 April, 2016

When we last left the party…

Nicholas had spent most of the day studying the DeMor Magicks teleportation circle and the party had slain a band of what appeared to be cultists. Meanwhile Raltar had shaken off his hangover and joined back up with the rest of the group after the battle and Nicholas and Hawthuum recounted the events of the previous day to him, after which everyone headed to bed.

In the middle of the night Raltar is awoken by the sounds of scratching, and he looks into the hallway to see Fiiggle scratching at the walls of the Inn. Panicked, Raltar awakens Nicholas and Hawthuum, the latter of which begins to champion putting Fiiggle out of his misery. Fortunately for the kenku, Nicholas and Raltar outvote him and Hawthuum is dragged along as the other two encourage Fiiggle to lead him to wherever it is he needs to go. Fiiggle leads the three of them into an alleyway inside town and only stops when faced with a solid brick wall.

After a bit of poking around by the group, they discover a loose brick concealing a hidden hole in the brickwork. Inside lies a leather pouch, and upon opening it they discover four scales. The popular theory is that they’re dragon scales, despite none of the part having seen dragon scales before. They continue to follow Fiiggle, now in a new direction, until it becomes clear that Fiiggle truly has no idea where he’s going.

Out of ideas and tired from being woken up in the middle of the night, the three of them make the decision to have Nicholas invade Fiiggle’s mind once more. The kenku writhes in pain as the half-orc explores the deepest parts of his brain, accompanied by Scooter. There, they return to the ominous mountain and Nicholas sends Scooter into the lava pouring out of the entrance so that they can get eyes inside. While there, Scooter discovers some old bones and a mosaic made from the same icy blue scales that the party found earlier etched into the roof in an abstract pattern.

Upon touching the scales, they start to fall from the roof, leaving a shape not unlike Scooter’s own except larger and without wings. Using the pseudo-dragon as a proxy, Nicholas discovers that parts of the cave are flammable and has the tiny dragon scoop up some lava in his mouth so that he can try and ignite it. A massive burst of flame comes from the tiny reptile, and writing along the sides of the cavern light up, along with flaming wings atop what can only be a dragon mosaic.

Meanwhile, Hawthuum and Raltar get into yet another argument, and words turn to blows as the elf and dwarf ready their weapons. Raltar, with his superior range, emerges victorious and when Nicholas returns from exploring Fiiggle’s mind he’s met with the sight of Raltar holding a heavily damaged Hawthuum in his arms. Understandably, Nicholas isn’t pleased and once he gets Hawthuum conscious he and Raltar engage in combat. Hawthuum, not wanting Raltar to win again, heals Nicholas part way through the battle and the whole thing is called off because of the dwarf’s interference.

Tired, the three of them head back to the inn and return to sleep, letting Fiiggle go where he may. The next dawn sees Hawthuum and Nicholas outside preparing for a duel, which ends in a draw when one of Nicholas’ illusions causes Hawthuum to believe that his friend is in dire peril. During the subsequent breakfast Nicholas remembers to tell Raltar about the elf that they met in the forest and shares with him the mental snapshots from that encounter. Raltar, recognizing the elven woman as his mother, freaks out.

Knowing that his mother is nearby and probably knows about him, Raltar waits until Nicholas leaves for his errands in Ecrin before grabbing Hawthuum and taking the dwarf with him to his home forest. There, they encounter a male elf scout, who informs them that there’s a bounty on Raltar’s head and that his father and old military unit have started doing some questionable things in the forest. Leaving a message that hopefully only his mother could understand, Raltar and Hawthuum return to the inn.

Nicholas, having gone to DeMor’s Magicks again to use their teleportation circle, spends his day in Ecrin doing some shopping. He makes a quick donation to the temple of Njord both on both his and Hawthuum’s behalf, then checks the Glyndark Mansion to see it well and truly destroyed from the fire that Raltar and Vallenese left. Without Firren Glyndark, reconstruction hasn’t even begun on the mansion. The half-orc then travels to Tabia’s home and leaves a message with Vallin informing Tabia of what’s been happening, along with a message for Tazmera to thank her for Raltar’s new quiver.

All that done, he heads to the largest center of knowledge he can find and discovers a small tome of prophecies that seem to be related and, more worryingly, seem to pertain to the party. Thankfully he meets no trouble returning to Meclor and Nicholas quickly fills in the other three about the prophecies. Before they can really take a look at them though, Raltar notices the slightest of sounds and turns to see his mother gracefully entering through the window.

What will Raltar’s mother do now that she’s found her son? Are the prophecies that Nicholas found really about the four party members? Could there be a living dragon out there communicating with Fiiggle? Things are only getting more interesting on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Hawthuum Meets A Drow
14 April, 2016

When we last left the party…

Raltar had just been cleansed of the Glyndark magic and Nicholas had discovered what he believes to be is proof that dragons aren’t actually extinct in the form of Fiiggle, a kenku with a confused mind. While Vallenese and Raltar partied to celebrate, Nicholas and Scooter left to find another inn and Hawthuum stayed upstairs with Fiiggle for the night.

The morning sun saw Nicholas returning to the inn with the others, joining Hawthuum for breakfast as they discussed plans for the day. Raltar and Vallenese, unsurprisingly, are still upstairs with wicked hangovers and likely won’t be coming down any time soon. Since they can’t really leave Meclor without the other half of their party, Nicholas and Hawthuum take the opportunity to look around and shop a bit.

As they’re wandering through the market they meet a drow named Rickter. Hawthuum, ever the observant one, shows just how little he knows about elves and Nicholas does his best to mitigate the situation while still in the company of the racist dwarf. In the commotion Scooter slips out of his bag and flies over to Rickter, terrifying the drow. Once they get the spirited pseudodragon under control Nicholas sends Scooter looking for a magic shop and they use his directions to reach a modest store run by what looks like a boy barely out of his apprenticeship.

As nervous as the boy is, he accidentally lets slip that they have a teleportation circle in the back, and Nicholas practically terrifies Braden in his excitement to see it. Braden manages to make him wait until the boy can contact another employee at another branch of the shop. After sending off the message Braden goes over to help Hawthuum pick out some new clothes, and by the time they’re done an elven woman named Correen has emerged from the back room.

Under her watchful eye Nicholas is permitted to study the teleportation circle in the back of the store, and the group leaves shortly after with their purchases. Rickter asks the half-orc and the dwarf for assistance in getting his stuff back from where he was robbed the night before, and a short ride about an hour out of town reveals his destroyed campsite. The three of them follow the trail to the north, where they enter some woods. Upon entering they’re immediately ambushed by humans wearing dark red robes.

Throughout the battle, a few of the robed men keep pointing at Hawthuum and shouting for them to “slay the prophet”. The party quickly dispatches with the band, not bothering to leave survivors. Rickter’s stuff is here, though as they turn to leave they come face to face with an elven woman holding a bow aimed right at Nicholas. She questions them why they’re in the forest.

Thankfully Nicholas manages to talk them out of it, but before they can leave she questions the half-orc where he learned how to ride horses. Quickly answering yes and leaving before she can say anything else, the party rides back to town almost full gallop. Upon returning they discover that Fiiggle has once again found his way to them, and while they try to pass him off to Rickter, the kenku trails after Nicholas and Hawthuum as they head upstairs as the drow goes his own way.

Will Raltar and Vallenese ever get rid of their hangovers? Who were the mysterious men in the woods? Why did the elven woman ask about Nicholas’ horseback riding? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Raltar is Cleansed
7 April, 2016

When we last left the party…

The four of them had just reached Meclor and found Ansraith, the elven mage they were seeking who could help Raltar finally rid himself of Glyndark influence. The older elf sent them to gather the materials while he prepared the spell itself, and the next day saw a flurry of activity as the party brought everything together.

Before going through with the cleanse, however, Raltar decides to go have a chat with the Azoth Glyndark entity he discovered in his mind. The archer warns Azoth that they’re planning to kill him, but the Glyndark seems unfazed by the idea. When he finally emerges, Raltar has a quick talk with Hawthuum before they go their separate ways. Hawthuum, upset by his and Raltar’s less than cordial conversation, heads off to look for rings. Vallenese goes with him, and together they manage to convince the smithy who’s selling rings to them that they’re a newly married couple.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Raltar help Ansraith get the cleanse ready and start the process. Hawthuum and Vallenese arrive a bit later and have a brief chat with Nicholas before Ansraith calls the three of them inside where they see Raltar sitting in the center of a magical circle, surrounded by white light. Ansraith encourages them that the cleanse is going well, but of course it’s just at that moment that the light breaks and a flaming skull emerges from Raltar’s mouth. Our heroes spring into action, defeating the skull but not before it can summon four shadowy creatures to aid it.

The struggle destroys the circle, but at the end of it the party stands victorious. The skull manages to rasp out a strange-sounding verse with its final breath before crumbling to dust:

Ancient tales,
Dragons fled,
Take caution or end up dead.

A defender falls,
Its task unfilled,
Left to those less skilled.

A band of four,
In pairs of two,
Must meet the past that rises anew.

The world holds legends,
Some that should not be.
Can the demon save us?
We will have to see.

As everyone makes sure they still have all their limbs attached, Ansraith inspects Raltar and announces him free of the Glyndark magic. Nicholas’ own check confirms this, and the party breathes a sigh of relief and thank Ansraith for his help. Now that they’ve solved that issue, Hawthuum pressures Ansraith about his sword, and Ansraith reveals that the sword is cursed, but without spending more time examining it cannot give the dwarf any farther details.

Instead they head back to their lodgings. Along the way they spy a familiar face, and stop Fiiggle so that he can admit to following them. Fiiggle denies it and simply says he must search, though he doesn’t know for what. Confused, the group takes him upstairs and try to get more answers out of the kenku, only to be walled at every opportunity. Frustrated, Nicholas instead just goes into Fiiggle’s mind. The sudden interruption causes the kenku to screech in pain, and some careful digging later Nicholas discovers what appears to be a mountain and the whispered words “find me” echoing through the poor creature’s mind. Letting Fiiggle rest, Nicholas explains his findings to the rest of the party with much excitement, and ends his tale with the idea that Fiiggle might be in contact with an actual dragon.

The others, however, aren’t nearly as excited as the half-orc and the pseudodragon. Raltar and Vallenese head downstairs to celebrate Raltar’s new freedom the only way they know how: by throwing a giant party in the bar. Nicholas, tired of their shenanigans, goes to another inn elsewhere with Scooter, leaving Hawthuum and Fiiggle alone.

How does Fiiggle keep popping up for our adventurers? Is Raltar truly free of the Glyndark influence? Could there still possibly be dragons in existence? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which Ansraith Knew They Were Coming
31 March, 2016

When we last left the party…

They’d just reached Ostror after traveling from Ecrin along the river. Upon arriving in Ostror they learned that Ansraith had already been and gone, yet when they tried to leave they discovered that they were now stranded in Ostror until first light since the inn and most of the town magically locked at sundown.

The rising of the sun brought with it a party ready to get going. After a quick check of their supplies and a rushed breakfast the four adventurers set out on their way once more. Still staying along the river, they keep a brisk pace on their way to Meclor. A day or so into the trip they break for camp at the edge of the river where Hawthuum, Raltar, and Vallenese get a brilliant idea for the bag of holding.

They manage to talk a reluctant Nicholas into giving them the bag of holding and start filling it with water from the river. Upon releasing the water, they discover that it provides significant propulsion, and the three of them become more and more elaborate in their experiments with the bag and the river. Nicholas, meanwhile, rolls over and goes to bed, tired of their shenanigans.

While up in the air after pointing the bag straight down, Raltar notices figures moving towards their camp from some nearby trees. He shouts a warning to Nicholas, but until they land there’s not much the rest of the party can do to help their half-orc friend. Thankfully Nicholas is rather savvy when it comes to a fight, and once the others return to the ground the group has little trouble dispatching the last of the gnolls and hyenas. As they’re cleaning up the campsite from the battle Raltar points out that apparently everyone else can change their eye color and he can’t, and he comes fixated on that.

Later, when the others are sleeping, Raltar goes into his mind and searches for some way to change his eye color. He creates a squirrel army responsible for figuring these things out and names their commander Jim. As he’s searching through his mind he finds an underground tunnel that leads to the ruined remains of his childhood home, and inside there’s a green glowing orb. Jim tries to get the orb, but it disappears when he touches it. A little more exploring reveals an unexpected and unwelcome face: Azoth Glyndark stands before Raltar in his own mind.

Understandably suspicious, Raltar tries to figure out what the Glyndark wants. But when Azoth reveals that he can give Raltar the ability to change his eye color the ranger caves and agrees to another pact with him. He’s excited to tell Nicholas the next morning, and the half-orc is appropriately suspicious and concerned. He keeps a close eye on Raltar throughout the rest of the trip, and when they finally reach Meclor he immediately puts his efforts into finding Ansraith.

As luck would have it, the powerful mage and elf Ansraith hasn’t yet left Meclor. He assures the party that he knew they were coming and gives Raltar a magical check up before revealing that he needs a cleanse. Nicholas, having gone through a cleanse before, lets Raltar know just how painful they can be. Ansraith sends the party off to gather supplies while he readies himself to perform the cleanse.

Will a cleanse truly solve Raltar’s Glyndark problems? Can Ansraith be trusted? And what was that green orb in Raltar’s mind? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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In Which The Party Takes A 3-Day Tour
24 March, 2016

When we last left the party…

Raltar and Vallenese had caught up with Hawthuum and convinced him they weren’t mad about him ratting them out to the city guard. During this chase Hawthuum and Raltar separately realize the true nature of the god that’s been trying to reach out to the dwarf, and Raltar takes Hawthuum to a new temple to cleanse him of the evil Talos. With his faith placed in the much less evil Njord, Hawthuum feels ready to face the world with his clerical might. Raltar is just glad his buddy isn’t in the sway of an evil deity anymore.

The two return to Vallenese, and shortly after Hawthuum goes to collect his hammer from the blacksmith. The trio then returns to the Inn, where Raltar spends some time with the horses before heading upstairs to discover that Nicholas has recovered thanks to his day of minor strenuous activity. The half-orc doesn’t look half bad in the new robes he’s bought either, and presses the group for information about what happened while he was taking a day off.

Upon hearing of their tales, Nicholas takes Raltar aside and warns him of the dangers of showing off his bow skills to a large crowd of talkative people when the elves are undoubtedly searching for him by his bowskill. That done, the group make sure they have everything they’re going to need before heading out towards Ostror, the next town on their way to Adra.

The group follows the river, thankfully not encountering any ruffians on the way. During the three day travel Hawthuum spends each morning trying to get in touch with his new god through prayer and tossing money in the river. Vallenese tries to improve her ability to lie by lying to trees. Nicholas and Raltar chat and spend some time in one another’s minds. Part way through the journey, Raltar even teaches Hawthuum the very basics of archery, and the two even engage in a few musical numbers together while on horseback.

About to enter Ostror, Nicholas poses the question to the party about whether or not he and Vallenese should go in disguised or not so that they don’t attract attention as monstrous races. The party quickly assures him that it’ll be fine and he should keep his magic just to be safe before entering the town. Vallenese and Raltar go searching for Ansraith immediately, while Nicholas and Hawthuum do some bonding in Hawthuum’s mindscape.

Unfortunately, it seems that Ansraith has already passed through and gone on to the next town. As the group attempt to leave, they’re stopped by the employee of the inn on duty, who informs them that the inn and indeed most of the town’s buildings are magically locked at sunset and anyone not inside by that time goes missing. Frustrated, the group trudges reluctantly back upstairs to their bedrooms and turns in for the night, resolving to set off at first light.

What’s the mysterious force keeping the residents of Ostror from roaming the streets at night? Will our party ever manage to catch up to Ansraith? Is Hawthuum’s new god better or worse than the old one? Find out next time on Dawn of the Storm!

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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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