The events of the past day may be related or may be coincidental, however I will tell them as they happened so that those who study these matters have an accurate picture to work from. Others have more information about some of these topics and encounters than I do, and I look forward to reading their missives and learning more.
Part 1: Disturbing Portents
The first Bone Lord appeared in the evening of Day 49 of the Bleeding Moon at the Cemetery of Andris. He was placidly casting black magic spells and ignoring the humans present until Clementiyn arrived and began to question him. He informed us that he and other Bone Lords had been sent out around Oberin to monitor residual magic and watch for signs of unusual magical activity. With the Bleeding Moon waxing, Marthonis is uneasy and anticipating possible activity from the Blood Cult and possibly the Rift, as they are apparently linked in some way. The Bone Lord told us that these patrols, for lack of a better term, are of no threat to human kind since our kinds do not have any conflicting opinions regarding the Blood Cult and the Rift. He asked us to spread the word among our people that the Bone Lords would be presenting an increased watch throughout the cycle of the Bleeding Moon. If anyone discovers activity with the Rift or the Blood Cult, Marthonis wishes one of his minions to be informed immediately.
On the morning of Day 50 of the Bleeding Moon, word reached Mirith of a Void Watcher in the vicinity. Just Southeast of town, Flingee, Achmed, Adam had encountered a creature that looked like a gaper. It was a creature called a Void Watcher, and from what they told those of us that went to assist, it summoned Rust Beasts to its aid and cast fireballs at anyone that attacked it. When I arrived with some friends to assist, the Watcher was no longer to be found, however there was another Bone Lord who appeared, as if out of nowhere. It told us that Void Watchers do not attack unless engaged by an attacker, and are used as scouts. He was able to tell us that this one had headed North from our position towards Gohoran, and from previous studies, he predicted it would follow a path back to the Rift. This Bone Lord also confirmed the concerns previously mentioned regarding the Blood Cult and Rift activity.
As we attempted cautiously to find out more about the Void and who might have sent this Watcher to snoop around, the Bone Lord sensed unusual magical activity in Duldrus. He told us this was not the same nature of magic as used by the Void Creatures or the Blood Cult, but was Draconian in nature. After a moment he informed us that the dragon mage, whoever he was, also had a Lich there to aid him. After some discussion, the Bone Lord said he had business with the Void Watcher and left us, presumably to take care of Duldrus as we would. The warriors present all returned to Mirith to prepare for battle. When we were ready, we used the magic portal and met Siegal who was waiting to show us the scene that awaited us.
Part 2: The Ice War Continues
Reaching the town of Duldrus we discovered the south part of town was overflowing with Frost Giants. After taking care of a dozen or so, we found the Lich that had been mentioned by the Bone Lord. Taking it out of town to deal with it most effectively, we soon discovered that it was indeed linked somehow with Vandrovic. This Lich would summon skeletons, but it could also summon Ice Golems to fight for it!! This was a large surprise to all of us, but our force was strong and the Lich was soon overcome, along with all it's summoned helpers.
Heading back into Duldrus, we soon found out that it was not only full of Frost Giants, it also contained a good number of Ice Golems. As we fought the hordes of Giants and the multitude of golems, we heard the dragon, Vandrovic, circling overhead snarling. The battle continued for many hours, however we suffered far fewer deaths than I would have expected for facing such a large army with only a dozen people, and special thanks must go to the clerics present for keeping everyone on their feet. Iceane, Tyler and the young Achmed did a stellar job. Afa, Mustafaa, Flingee, Clementiyn, Siegal, Sophina, Lenne, and Laricen were the rest of the adventurers who came to aid Duldrus in it's time of need. On behalf of the Cavalier Knights who are pledged to the Mining Town, I thank everyone involved for their aid.
At the end of the battle a courier arrived for me from Mirith, where Mackenna had discovered a dragon loitering at the bank. He asked her permission to laugh, and when granted he bellowed a great draconian laugh. He requested that she tell those at the battle that Vandrovic had been to our home while we fought for Duldrus.
A Cavalier Knight
"Oh goody, Adventurers!!!"
These are words we never would have expected to hear from Ralston the Special Items Buyer. Also called the Cannibal by some, this phrase could have meant he was looking for a meal or else he had an adventure for us. Thankfully it was the latter of the two options.
It was the 62nd day of the Growing Moon, in the year 434 when Aerowyn proposed a trip to the Cannibal to trade in some sacks of spice. I had recently acquired some spice myself so decided to join the wizard for the journey. Kyr Glanaugh, Jedd and Varto decided to come along as well, and we had a pleasant walk to the Wall of Trees. Ralston greeted us much more enthusiastically than usual, and asked if we would be willing to undertake a task for him.
"There is something I need, an item." said Ralston. "It's a Jeweled Ring."
When we enquired about where this item might be found, the Cannibal continued, "That is the problem. There is a Lich guarding it, and it is on the third level down in the Aborek dungeon. If you get the ring bring it here, any other treasure is yours to keep."
There was never any question on whether we would accept the task, so immediately everyone started thinking up how to manage this feat. Kyr suggested having a chat with the Lich and explaining how we needed the ring, and Aerowyn suggested offering Varto in trade. Ralston's response to these ideas showed that he had met a Lich or two in his time. He said, "If that works, be my guest. My guess is he starts laughing and setting you on fire."
Agreeing that trading Varto was probably not the best of plans, we set off for Marali to dispatch messengers through the portal to bring reinforcements. It was now night time, and there were not many adventurers to be found, most being in their beds, but Breigje Balloc, Dino, Alexia, and Yahyad soon arrived at Marali and equipped themselves to join the quest. The nine of us then departed for Aborek.
On arrival in the building housing the dungeon ladder, we were met by a great wall of elemental forces of all kinds, and soon found ourselves surrounded and mostly babbling. Several of our party fell under this onslaught, but I managed to lead some of the creatures away, and those of us who remained standing eventually managed to subdue the multitude of whirling dervishes. Once everyone was back on their feet, we continued down into the dungeon.
We reached the third floor without difficulty and only some minor delays for strategic discussions and final preparations. Once we got there, we needed to spend quite some time clearing out the spiders, blink hounds, and other creatures so we could even find the Lich. However, we didn't question that it was there, as we could all feel it's powerful magic in the air. After some time Yahyad went and got the attention of the powerful creature, and brought it into the room holding the ladder we had just descended. There was some question about how this would work, as the ensuing battle would then take place on two levels of the dungeon. Thankfully Dino was right and it did work out. With the might of so many powerful clerics, the rangers, fighter and I had little to fear as we took our weapons to the foul undead being.
Up and down the ladder we went with the Lich, and it soon discovered that summoning it's skeleton minions was of no use, as they were Turned back to death as soon as they appeared. With our clerics making cunning use of Reflect Magic spells, the Lich's own fireballs were turned back to damage it instead of us, even as it found it's magical abilities being continuously drained by Aerowyn's spells. Even with all this, the battle took quite some time, as the creature's healing abilities were very strong, and we struggled to damage it faster than it could regenerate it's health. We were too many and too strong for the one being to stand against forever though, and the Lich fell to the ground, the undead now the dead once again.
The Lich's posessions were protected by a very complex lock, which with all my skill I could not open at first. Deciding to rest my fingers for the moment I went with Yahyad into the room where we had found the Lich, and we saw there was a Magic Rune on the floor beside a fire. This Rune was the same as we had seen before when encountering uprisings of undead in cemeteries around Oberin. There was nothing else strange, so we returned to the others, and I once again attempted the lock and finally managed to open it. Inside the small treasure chest was the Jeweled Ring, a Lesser Mana Ring, a Pure Crystal Ring and a ring of Brute Strength. Gathering these up along with the Shattered Crystal Skull of the Lich, we returned to the Marali Portal to split the treasures.
Crisian met us on our return to the portal with a lion who had apparently added some essence of power to his kibble. With many rawrs and a lot of rowdy behavior, the big cat led the party back down to Ralston's hut. Here we returned the Jeweled ring to Ralston and told him of our adventure. We asked what he planned to do with such a valuable ring, and he said he planned to give it to his Mother. We all agreed that this was a wonderful gift for a son to give, and congratulated Ralston on his fine taste. At this time Ralston made an announcement that stunned every one of us. "As a reward, I will give you each one magic weapon of choice." he stated. "Get in line!"
Somewhat stunned and rather dazed from the whole night's adventure, we each told him what we would like as a weapon. It seemed a lot like a dream when he went into his storage room and reappeared to hand us each exactly what we had wished for. So many valuable items to just give away. Granted it had been a difficult task, but we would have been happy to do it without payment. Such generosity he showed to hand us these wonderful treasures. It made me wonder just how valuable that jeweled ring really was. Or maybe it just showed how much Ralston loved his mother. In any case we thanked him very much and set out for home. Kyr Glanaugh begged a spot on Ralston's floor for the night with a promise that he didn't snore, and we left him there hoping he would be seen again one day.
A Cavalier Knight
Day 165 of the Waking Moon, Year 434
Deep in the North-East sector of the Ice Dungeon, the word of alarm spread through our party. "Dragon!!!" Cris called from the back of the group. Soon Tyler joined the chorus..."Dragon!!!" They had indeed spotted a dragon, and it was following our party!
We quickly gathered everyone close and made for the exit of the maze. Exiting into the draco nursery, we were battling our way out when the dragon came up behind us. We greeted it cordially and got a snarl in return. Tyler attempted to make conversation, but this beast was having none of it. Son of the Ancient Ice Dragon that was slayed last moon, he had both her temper and her sense of diplomacy....bite first, ask later. Far larger than any Ice Dragon I had met before, he ate the dear cleric, and had me for dessert. Turning his attention on Kookai, he charged at unbelievable speed. However, our Kookai is no ordinary warrior, and he led that dragon on a merry chase. Down the halls of the Ice Dungeon they raced, and Kookai managed to stay just far enough ahead to live, although he required several healing spells later to remove the punctures from his backside. His brave actions allowed Cris the time to bring Tyler and I back to life, while Avynar and Jali guarded our freshly resurrected souls.
Making our way out, we found the dragon at the ladder waiting for us, as he had apparently finished his business outside. From what I understand, this consisted spewing dragonish curses at Kookai, probably in frustration at not catching so tasty a meal. Tyler tried again to make conversation, the brave soul that he is, and was rewarded by another fierce bite that made him say oooOOOoooOOOooo. The rest of the party jumped up the ladder and made it to the water with the beast biting at our ankles. Here another conversation of sorts took place, however the only new information we managed to glean was that this was Vandrovic, and he was as irrational and lacking in manners as any beast I have ever met. He made various threats about enacting vengeance on our kind, and told us he had studied humans and had learned some of our magic. This he displayed by poisoning the party multiple times and then finishing off by paralyzing us all at once.
At this point he went back inside and spoke to the Ghost of Tyler who said something about seeing that dragons are slowly becoming a threat to mankind. The dragon took offense to this, as he did to everything else, and snarled, "We will have to speed things up then!" He leaped up the ladder and took off with a great whoosh of wings. A bit shaken, yet also disgusted at having had to listen to such a vile tempered beast, we decided it was time to get home. Once everyone was alive and back on their feet, the party returned to Mirith to report this encounter.
A Cavalier Knight
It was the end of the Full Sleeping Moon when the drums of war were sounded at the city of Mirith once again, summoning all the great warriors of the land to their call.
After several days of discussions about strategy with Mackenna, Novius, and a few others, Kitiana and Shayde had agreed on a plan. They had been going to wait, but the opportunity presented itself, and the plan was put into motion. Kitiana was in full Battle Maid form, strutting up and down the bank badgering and bullying the sleepy warriors into taking action. Shayde got together her messengers from their sleep at the inn and dispatched them in all directions to summon forth an army. Once Cassandra got on the bandwagon, things progressed in a big rush, as the wizard is well known for not accepting "no" as an answer, despite her claims of shyness. Informing all her friends and acquaintances that they were going to come on this mad adventure, Cassandra accepted no declines, and between the three ladies, they shortly had together one of the strongest armies ever seen in Oberin.
With Hayate's arrival at Mirith, the army cheered and moved out. They gathered on the island of the Ice Dungeon, and Antoninus gathered the clerics to assign their tasks, while Legsalot and Shayde pulled the fragile ladder out for repairs and reinforcing. With the ladder fixed, strengthened, and lowered into place, the army descended into the depths. The Ancient was not in the room adjoining the South hall as it had been last time a party had spotted it, so the army of twenty marched through to the dragon hunting platform. Once they were all in position, Hayate and Cadwallader lured the Level 30 Ancient from the lair.
This battle went much differently than the last time a group had faced this beast. With all the might of Oberin present, the dragon was outnumbered and out powered. Using the strategy agreed on, only Hayate San actually laid steel on the beast. The other warriors stood guard and were prepared to deal with any surprises or herds of dracos that the Ancient would summon. With five clerics focused on the great warrior, he remained as strong as ever, despite each dragon bite reducing him to one-quarter of his normal health. This dragon was indeed a monster!! Casting it's ice fields, the dragon managed to fell a few of our warriors, but thanks to the strategy of the army, it mostly remained focused on Hayate. With it's vision turning to red as death approached, the Ancient blew a mighty breath of frost and managed to fell our greatest warrior. Thankfully it used it's last strength on that blow and even as Antoninus screamed "KILLLLL", the remaining fighters and rogues moved in and ended the life of this deadliest of beasts.
After this, the army decided to collect a few precious scales. After killing two or three Ice Dragons, Kitiana went to lure another, and came running back to the group announcing the arrival of yet another Ancient!!! Thankfully Hayate was still present, signing autographs and receiving his many congratulations, so he agreed to take on this Ancient as well. It was but a baby compared to the beast he had already slayed, and soon it had unwittingly contributed its teeth and scales to the party. After this the large group departed the Ice Dungeon. Shayde took on the task of splitting the loot among the 20 people present, and some time later the army went home victorious.
A few days later Laricen sent a report to Mirith. The Frost Giants had filled up the Dungeon once more. The battle had been won but the war was far from over.
Best regards and thanks to all for your brave efforts.
A Cavalier Knight
Day 206 of the Fighting Moon, Year 433
The sun was high in the sky as I woke up in Mirith. Walking to the bank, feeling sleepy, I heard rumors being whispered that perked me up.
"Lizards at the Andris bridge!"
I quickly bashed my armor into shape, grabbed a red pure crystal, and ran off to the portal. I darted quickly down the road, not stopping to deal with the Harpies and Ants that approached me. Upon reaching the bridge, everything seemed normal at first, but I crossed with caution. All of a sudden an Ice Dragon was running for me, followed with a posse of summoned Air Elementals! I made it to the water without noticing the crowd of Sea Serpents glaring menacingly at me. I am still amazed how I survived, but I landed on the other side of the water safe and sound, with a few Serpent bites.
I might not have made it, had I not found Sino, Dino, Shayde, Nasrith, and Cassandra just making their way to the bridge from the other side. After a small bit of planning, it was decided that the Dragon be lured to us, where we would take it down. Things were going smoothly at first, but it wasn't to my surprise that he summoned more Air Elementals to his aid. We had to break group and run, because as soon as the Elementals came everything turned to chaos.
Breigje Balloc, Shadran Mathas, Legsalot, Memna, Mliza, and Abe joined the ranks as the fight raged on. Soon we were able to bring the Elementals under control and regrouped, dealing out protection rings and weapons to those in need. Unfortunately, I soon found out another Ice Dragon had joined the fray. Shayde was luring one around to buy us some time to wait for more people to arrive, and the following conversation ensued between her and the dragon.
"The portal shall bring our armies to the front." The Ice Dragon menaced.
"Tell me about the portals." Shayde responded.
"You wish to know?"
"Just one aspect of our victory."
"That is all?"
"You did not think you could win? Our forces go where we will them."
With that Shayde lost the dragon, unable to find out how they had learned about the portals, and many Frost Giants suddenly started charging towards us. We were slowly overcoming them as many others arrived on the scene, such as Skeuer, Crom, Angelica, Simon, Alexia, Esten, Blerr, Fuoco, Garfunkel, Bellgand, Neblin, Fang, Karashi, Kookai, and Laricen. The battle raged on, seemingly a Frost Giant arriving to replace each one that fell. We were all split apart by Elementals and the remaining Dragon, as the other one seemed to have disappeared. Many fell to the Giants, myself included. But with all the amazing clerics we had on our side it was no problem at all. Sometime during the fight, I heard cheers of victory and quickly looked over my shoulder just in time to see the Ice Dragon fall. Things were looking good, with both Dragons apparently gone.
The Giants were no match to our victorious group and we soon demolished the rest of them. We spread out, hopefully to see if we could find the other dragon, when I remembered an odd occurance I had seen at the guard house. Peeping through the windows of the house we noticed it was packed with Lizards! The door was jammed shut with what appeared to be the arm of the poor guard that must have been inside. We pushed and kicked and the door still would not budge. After some time we decided it was hopeless and left to the bridge where everyone was heading to.
At the bridge we proceeded to take care of the Serpents, and they fell with ease. What loot that was collected was split, and the people gradually returned to their homes. There were questions of the predicament of the Lizard Men inside the guardhouse. Were they there to guard something? A couple of chests were spotted inside as well. Maybe they were friends of Hayate and were locked up by the Dragons? Or maybe they were being punished for herding the black dracos. There was no way to know for sure, so I left to Mirith.
Be warned, people of Oberin! The dragon army now has the use of purified crystals to transport their army. Maybe they will surprise us and attack somewhere else than Mirith. Keep your eyes and ears keen, and always be careful.