Adventures in Times Forgotten

In A White Lighthouse by the Sea
The Beacon of Knowledge

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Alera sat on the white crenelation of a tower the sea crashing below her as the sun sank below the horizon. She leaned back and inhaled from her long pipe and sighed out a long stream of blue smoke. It rose up across her eyes closed in concentration, up between her antlers, and up to mingle with the clouds above her.

She drew the bleached pipe from between her lips and tapped it a few times upon the edge of the wall and dump the remaining ashes into the crashing waves far below her. She stood up her bones creaking beneath her long black linen robes. She’d spent to much time up here already and she lowered herself off the waist high wall and back onto the roof of the tower. She walked around the large pile of wood neatly stacked and splashed with oil sliding the pipe into her sky blue sash at her waist. She began descending the ladder that led into the interior and brought the trap door towards her as she descended.

She spoke a single word under her breath, “Yellyth” and a spark appeared between her lips and drunkenly swayed out of the small crack in the trapdoor and landed upon the bonfire. The oil roared to life with fire as Alera closed the trapdoor and finished her way down the ladder.

She smoothed her robes and raised herself to her full, not inconsiderable, height and walked down the hall her hooves clicking on the white stone floor. She found a young man holding a few books outside the door of her room. She’d told him not to wait for her here at this time of day. “Yes, John what is it?” she said a bit terse. The young man lost in his book looked up as she approached.

“Tennik still has not returned.” He said closing his book and and bringing them all to his chest as if to protect them.

Alera shook her head and her matronly face grew a bit sharper. She had sent Tennik off on a fact finding mission weeks ago. He has never been this late before. “Well there is definately something going on in those woods. Has Master Phenebus been able to find him?”

“Not as of yet ma’am,” John replied, “but he doesn’t hold out much hope. At that distance his eye can’t do a systematic search.”

“Send a man to Wrethe and post an ad in the usual place and then you’ll be speaking to any of the people looking to access the Restricted texts.”

“Shouldn’t we send one of our own after him?”

“We’ve already lost one. I see no reason to lose another and we aren’t numerous enough to send a squad.” She holds her chin a moment looking at the ground, “No, outsiders will have to do. See to it John.”

“Yes my lady,” John said bowing slightly, his arms still clutching his books, and leaving at a quick pace.

Alera unlocked the door to her room and entered closing it slowly behind her. It then opened again as she closed the distance to the ladder at a quicker pace lighting her pipe up again.

“What did you find out there Tennik?”

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And so they joined forces.
In the Beacon of Knowledge and the City of Wrethe

And so it was that Esme, Clara, Nikola, and Verun came together in a common goal: find Tennik the missing mage from the Beacon of Knowledge.

First they spoke to Heinrich ‘Rich’ Phenebus the Beacons’ diviner about Tennik’s research.

“I’ve been talking about methods of divination with him. He’s always trying to tie his magic to the ley lines for extra oomph but with divining it might help you get extra range but you could only look at specific places. Couldn’t find anybody with it and it’d be useless in cities. He’s also been doin some work for a patron for a bit. He’s been really hush-hush about it.”

In Tennik’s room they found maps that detailed the changing nature of the ley lines in and around Wrethe. They were related to his overall work: trying to find out how and why ley lines changed, how they impacted the physical world, and vice versa. They also found a book on the Migrations of Korosani Fowl that led them to believe that there had been a very premature migration south of the birds that live in the Wrethe River valley. On Tennik’s desk they found a couple of powerful spells that would allow one to wrestle with the power of a ley line and bend it to one’s wishes and one that would let one see far away as long as they didn’t veer far from a junction or well know line of power. In his trunk they found a ledger of names and places where those people could be found. Latchead in the Blue Fox, and Pafara in the Silver Moon, both in Wrethe.

They also didn’t steal anything save copies of spells and a map that may help them find Tennik or whatever he was looking into North of Wrethe.

They met with Latchead, the bartender at the Blue Fox Inn, and learned that Tennik, while not a regular, comes there frequently and often meets with a mysterious dark skinned man.

Apparently, not too long ago, those two had had a heated discussion that Janice, the serving girl heard parts of. The man whose name may have been Peter or Ponda or something that started with P had lost someone recently and seemed to blame Tennik.

They headed to the docks to look for Verun’s friend Rasad who worked there, but instead found a ship with a black sail with a silver crescent in the center…. the Silver Moon.

We last left our party as they walked towards it as the sea broke against the docks and the spray wet the pier beneath them.

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In Pursuit of Knowledge and Wealth
Wrethe and the Wrethe River Valley

The Silver Moon it turns out was the site of a death. Within the keelboat’s wooden hull lay the remains of a young man, Hermund, who had, while participating in the casting of a powerful spell to tap into ley lines, been torn asunder and spread around the hold. His master Pafara had commissioned the spell from Tennik, and he was cross about its defective nature. They had tried it once before and there had been no problems, but when Hermund took center stage it had destroyed him. Pafara indicated that Tennik had gone north to investigate what had gone wrong.

While still in the city the investigators talked to Rasad, Verun’s tracking partner, and learned that he had not been idle in the last 4 days. He had learned some of their potential quarry, Rahala, the bandit that had been robbing from the city for months. He had been seen fleeing the city with his crew, Rahala’s Reavers about a week before the new Pride from T’kell Ra came to Wrethe. They had been aboard a merchant vessel heading up the Wrethe River but Rasad also found that another ship had been lost since. He suspected the Reaver’s involvement.

So they travelled north on borrowed horses until they were waylaid by these very Reavers. “Hello and good evening.” Said Rahala as he stepped onto the path infront of them “I’m sad to say this is a toll road.” Esme answered him with conjured flame.

(((They fought and captured Rahala)))

Rahala traded his hidden gold for the release of his remaining men. They kept him the tow as the headed to where the ritual had been performed. Along the way Verune’s bird ((())) wanted to go further north but Verune kept her in check. The river where the spell was cast was pushing towards the south against its bank and climbing up the wall… somehow a ley line can crossed the river here even though there was none here on the map. They also found tracks, lioneye tracks, that lead north into the woods. But they couldn’t take their captive with them. So they returned to town, collected their bounty, payed Rasad his finders fee, and returned to the tracks.

They followed them as they wound north and as he changed into a deer and ran south, then turned back to where he lost them and continued. Later he turned into a wolf and ran, full tilt, to the north…. and as the tracks changed back Verun knelt and said,

“I think we’re being followed.”

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In the Grasp of the Grove
within the forest north of Wrethe

They were being followed by a number of hounds with golden coats and speed beyond that of a normal wolf. They let themselves be corralled into the heart of a forest. The darkness the canopy until then had offered lessened as a gold light rose from a single emmense tree. It did not so much glow as it refused the oppressing atmosphere to lay about it.

At its foot was a woman with long pointed ears petting the mane of Tennik, the mage the party had been sent after.

With Clara painting to appease the anger of the woodland woman and distract her from her disire to end the lives of those who have found her little lovenest the rest of the party explored the grove.

A ritual had been performed here. A deadly and costly one at that, no less than 7 men had been bleed dry and just so many fish, drakes, moles, and birds had met a similar end. Tennik freed from the Lady’s oppressive magic told the story she told him.

A man, adorned in purple robes, had told the Lady of the freedom he could offer her. Of the power she would have if only their two worlds were bridged. And with sweet words he beguiled her into aiding him build a leyline that would pass through her tree in the world of the Fey, and into an identical tree in the world of the humans.

With Clara’s painting nearing completion and their ability to stall coming to its end they told Tennik to run and the party tried to steal the powerful artifact that allows her control of the woodland beasts that play about her grove. Alas Verune’s hands were not as fast as the eyes of the maiden and he was ensnared by her magics much as Tennik had been.

He ran at Nikola with swords in hand and buried one in the Necromancer’s belly. With several attacks of magic upon the maiden as she dissappeared from tree to tree they were able to fell her in the branches and she fell. Upon the ground she lay for a moment before she turned to nothing but a pile of fallen leaves.

The party took the mantle of the wild hunt, for that was what it was, and set out to the Beacon, with Tennik in tow.

But as they passed through the city of Wrethe they found that Rahala the man they had put behind bars had been rescued by the Legion of Men.

But they did not stray from their course and headed to the Beacon of Knowledge to gain that which they had been promised.

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Over Mountain, Through Port, and Into Darkness
The Beacon of Knowledge, The City of Elfarus, and the Crag of Eternal Slumber

The party spoke with Alera about their deed for her: returning Tennik. She was pleased to have the man back under the roof of knowledge but sent him out again, with proper tools, an aide, and a few books on the matter, to investigate the Ley line in more detail.

To the party she granted their boon, whether it be access to the restricted section of the library or a purse of coin. But as she was low on librarians, as they always are at the Beacon it seems, she asked the party to investigate the Crag of Eternal Slumber, where this Ley line supposedly led. They agreed to head out after a week of research.

And so they studied the new found books of the restricted sections and lost themselves in their research, for a time at least. But the week ended and the Crag beckoned.

Nikola’s sore spot for Verune (a little below the ribs and right through the liver to be precise) had numbed some in the week. And they traveled together without much incident.

The party of researchers and their Waster guide marched through the mountains and headed south. The souther T’kellian plains welcomed them with rolling hills and grain swaying in the wind.

There were two destinations on their horizons: the Crag of Eternal slumber, dark and ominous, and the city of Elfarus much more inviting. So they headed to Elfarus known for their green crab and prolifiic study of woodwind instruments.

Elfarus is not a quite city. From street merchants, to ameteur floutists, to dock workers, to loud gossips the city teems with life and noise. Not Esme’s faveorite by a country league.

But they dug around independently looking for information on the Crag.

There was little that agreed. It is haunted by ghosts says one legend. Another says that a dragon beast with great lungs causes the winds with his snoring and too wake him is to meet your doom. Another says that its just windy and a dangerous climb.

But they all agree that its very dangerous and has a high death toll.

Unfazed by the warnings the adventurers resupplied and headed out with the morning sun.

They came to the Crag in the late afternoon and walked the edge. The Ley line did flow here and there were two avenues down: one safe and one well used by someone trying to hide their passage.

They opted for the safer of the two. And so they descended.

Verune, Nikola, Saqqaf, Esme, and Clara. They descended into the crag and then into the darkness lighting a small lantern on Verun’s belt as the wind whipped at them and bellowed in their ears.

As they continued down the wind grew louder and louder and Verun caught a shape moving out of the corner of his eye and then the words echoed between the cliff walls and buffetted the heroes with such force that they gripped for dear life. Saqqaf was pulled from the wall as the meaning of the words reached the researchers.

WHY HAVE YOU COME?”

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Only More Questions
in the Crag of Eternal Slumber

The voice asked again “Why have you come?” and through a few illuminating questions and a well placed lie from Clara the crew met the being’s parameters and were allowed to descend.

They were allowed three questions. With Nikola making the wording just right they asked.

“Why are you here and what is this place’s purpose?” The being was an air elemental whose purpose is to serve. He was sent here, by his master, to kill all things that dare enter the crag: every person, every bird, every insect. This was done with the end goal of making this place have a lack of spirit and thus would be the endpoint of a ley line should a presence ever be created.

“What can you tell us of Jojenal?” Jojenal is the name given to a race of beings by the elves. In the Sylvan tongue it means the Darkness, the Oppressor, or The Enemy.

After Sarkan the elemental bid fairwell to the ‘beings who have met the parameters’ he disappeared and Rune found the route that another who had visited this place had followed. It led to a small room carved out of the wall deep in the darkness of the earth. In it were the amenities of a small bedroom and many tomes and papers that spoke of ley lines, other worlds, and the Inheritance.

Rune again proving observant when his comrades are lost in tome and thought found a secret passage that led into black rock illuminated with blue torches.

The passage led to a room with in it a creature resembling the fabled minotaurs of Loswetch (though no such beings exist according to Clara.) He asked them but one question. “What is your motivation?”

“Unity and understanding.” said Clara.

“Protection of the unborn and those that die of childbirth.” said Esme.

“Improvement of lives and the human condition.” said Nikola.

“Liberty for myself but more so for others.” said Verun.

He found their motivations worthy and let them pass.

In the next room they found three figures bound to stone chairs with stone bindings. At their approach they began yelling and struggling against their bonds. A man wearing the garb of a guard though with no markings of his city. An old man wearing the robes of an accomplished mage, and a young girl of the street bearing nothing but rough cloth and a hysteric expression.

The guard knowing he had people to protect begged for his life so that he might do his duty. Also the way ahead would be harder if he were put to death. The mage knew of his use to society and said he had work left to do. He also knew solutions to problems ahead and would be willing to help if they spared him. The girl had nothing to offer but she pleaded to be spared.

The guard Esme and Clara plied with words. And though he did not through himself to death he would harbor no ill will should they choose to end his life to spare another. Then Esme leaned in, embracing the man and slid a dagger between his ribs.

The mage indignant to the last spat curses at the party and insulted them and the little girl. He was of use, he could still contribute, what had the girl? Nothing but a little warmth in your heart. But his protest fell on deaf ears. Verun with dagger in hand stood behind the mage and with indication from the others buried the knife to the hilt in the man’s neck spraying blood across Verun’s face.

A single small ‘thank you’ escaped the girls mouth before she too fell limp in the chair and the door beyond opened.

A new room lay ahead for the party.

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Riddles, Keys, and Elementals
In the Crag of Eternal Slumber

In the next room were four pillars taller than a man, arranged in a circle. In the center was a shorter one with a diamond placed into the face of the thigh high pillar. From the central pillar two arms stretched out and reached the outward pillars. These two arms could be moved to about and be made to point at any of the two pillars. Each pillar was adorned with symbols from many peoples, faiths, or schools of magic that represented one of the elements of form: water, wind, earth, and fire.

The door to the next room remained locked but within it’s face were four keyholes and before it upon the ground was a glittering silver key inscribed with a riddle.

The party worked their way through this riddle and placed the arms in the answer and thus summoned a group of elementals made of mud, and another key.

They fought and defeated the beasts and repeated the process til all holes in the door had a key.

Then they rested, recuperating after the series of combats, and made themselves ready for the next trial.

Verun pulled the door up and a staircase greeted their eyes leading to a tome, bound in black, upon a dias.

and a man in purple robes sitting in a throne of black stone between them and the tome.

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Trial by Combat: Duel with Joachim
In the Crag of Eternal Slumber

“Greetings.” Said the man as he pulled himself from his throne and interposed himself between the party and the tome that begged for hands upon it’s pages and eyes upon it’s secrets.

He revealed himself to be Joachim, the man who had built this place to keep the book from the unworthy. He would be their final test before they would be allowed to read the tome.

The best way of gageing a persons magic is with a duel, and after giving them a choice between a duel to the first blow against him and a cooperative combat to his yield they chose to fight together.

The rules were explained, a minute given to prepare.

Nikola and Clara wreathed themselves in magical light that hardened like armor against potential blows.

Rune with his magic of shadow marked Joachim as prey.

And Joachim finished his spell to conjure forth beings of lava and those of ice to guard him against his foes.

Thus the fight began.

Nikola opened with a spell of silence that would prevent many spells that relied on the speaking of the caster to direct the magic. But instead Joachim countered the potent spell with his prepared magic which allowed him to cast his own spells but left his magical defenses down for Nikola’s allies to take advantage.

And so they did with Clara cloaking the mephits in a blanket of sleep that but two pulled from themselves. Those two were descended upon by Esme releasing her inner fire with a flurry of clicks that brought about the still waking elemental’s demise.

This left room for Rune to rush in, on the heal of the flames, and bury his sword into Joachim’s arm and the dark magic reached out to the wound and tore it deeper turning the clean cut ragged.

His faithful bird Ataka followed and brought it’s talons and beak against the remaining mephit of ice. The two duelled in air and Ataca lead the beast in merry chase.

Joachim bleeding and angered unleashed a torrent of magical beams into Rune’s flesh tearing holes through him that sprayed blood, the light to fast to be dodged and to strong to be stopped by armor.

Esme rushed across the field and poured powerful positive energy into Verun to staunch the bleeding and then backed off from the front line.

At Clara’s call to leave Rune brought his swords across his face in defense and dove away.

Nikola reached out with his Master’s Hex and brought it down upon Joachim’s mind; slowing it, ruining his concentration, and weakening his magical defense, just enough that Clara could bring down her spell of pure destruction.

Her spell of chaos and sound, started as a point in her hands but as it moved forward grew to shake the room and exploded with light and sound; rending Joachim’s flesh and shattering bone.

He fell to the ground with a gasped “I yield.” He drug himself to the black throne and performed healing magic upon himself though it was negatively aligned. Such a spell would have killed those in the party were they in his state.

And so he let them pass impressed with their magics and their taste for combat. He lay back as they walked to the book and began to read.

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