The Tearing of the Weave

Now With More Evil

We have gathered our forces to attack the Twisted Tower. Azalar will lead a group through the Shadowdark and attack from below, as we originally did, while Aster will lead a second group to attack the river-gate of the Tower on the surface. Tymora has smiled upon us, for I received the message I had been waiting for: my liege was dispatching a powerful force of Silver Ravens to provide Sembian assistance to the Fellowship. Fifty of them teleported into Castle Grimstead, each one a talented swashbuckler, wizard, ranger, or rogue of no small ability. I gave the order that they would join Aster’s attack, making it formidable indeed.

While Aster and Azalar led their forces forward, the Fellowship snuck through the frigid, cloudless night, crossing the River Ashaba via pegasus. We crept along the riverbank, closing in on the Twisted Tower, but ran into a pair of guardians placed to prevent us from entering via the outer secret door: terrible, bulbous monstrosities, riddled with tentacles and enveloped in hints of dark shadow, stalking us from above, in the trees. They grabbed Ivak and myself, and we found all of our magic was now useless: not a single item, weapon, or even spell; they then began to strangle us.

We would have been killed, but our friends saved us. Kosh riddled one of the beasts with lethally targeted arrows; I think its pancreas is still airborne and is possibly over Mistledale now. Lemac climbed into the tree containing the other beast, and hewed bloody rents into its flesh with his greataxe. Arianna kept us from being quickly strangled and torn to death. Finally, the beasts were killed. I have added them to the Fellowship’s list of hated foes, joining the ranks of khumats, beds, undead lizard men that throw pots full of poisonous vermin, and foes who cast magical darkness.

When we heard Aster’s army assault the Tower’s gate, we made our move, sneaking into the Tower’s secret outer entrance, and moving swiftly up the stairs to Mourngrym’s chambers. Along the way, we found and successfully entered the scrying room of the Skymages, despite several dangerous magical traps. I stole their books and journals, while Ivak captured their scrying crystal.

When we entered Mourngrym’s chamber, we found him readying for battle. I spoke to him, attempting to discern his intent (or what, perhaps, he was) but he would say nothing at all, remaining silent, and instead assaulted me with his sword, as well as summoning clouds of magical darkness. I punched him with the basket hilt of my sword, trying to subdue him, but he was unstoppable, and a brief but pitched battle scattered his bedroom about. Lemac gave me a vital opening, and I flipped over Amcathra, stabbing him through the back with my blade.

This diary is entirely too heroic and good-aligned. It nauseates me to read it, but I must do so, in order to portray this properly. However, I will attempt to improve on its wretched chronicling of this vomitous “Fellowship.”

Apparently, these fools have some sort of plan, which I of course have been privy to for some time. They wish to spoil the relations between the Zhentarim and House Jaelrae; such things are far below the scope of my dark power, and thus of little consequence, but I would prefer that this not happen. I have easily assured the overconfident half-drow and paladin to let me speak to Jezz the Lame without their presence being needed, but I cannot get the barbarian to go away. I have tried several manipulation techniques, but he is too stubborn; now I see why his kind cannot even write letters, as they lie with dogs, drinking in the reek. So, I will be forced to play along as my host would, as the barbarian is standing at the door, listening to my words and struggling to comprehend them with his ale-shrunken prune of a brain. I suppose that Cormanthorian excuse for a lumber yard will have to tolerate the prancing and singing of miserable fey and elves for a while longer. Jezz readily accepted my flawless presentation; at least I can convincingly impersonate a miserly, conniving Sembian. I have even allowed myself to drop several hints as to what is truly going on, but these Fellowship cretins remain oblivious.

The feeble Zhentarim have been cast out of the Tower now. This will change, but not complicate, my plans. Some of these writhing pustules of Prime Material slime are slightly confused and suspicious, but I am not concerned. So far, it has been a simple matter to suggest and convince them that the Tormite paladin has been corrupted and controlled by the same power that must have taken Mourngrym. The barbarian Lemac believes me, as does the excuse of a street musician, Aster, and the whore of Sune, Arianna. The archer Kosh seems indifferent, but he is already amoral enough that I already intend to target his shred of a psyche next, should the need arise, as he would be the most easily corrupted to evil. The sanctimonious bag of arrogance, Ivak, has already tried to cast one excuse for a spell on me and failed, and I will now use this to further convince the others that he is, in fact, now the vessel of their enemy. After all, what true villain can resist corrupting and destroying the pure and the holy?

I will return to you in a moment, wretched diary, and etch some more musings of unholy righteousness upon your screaming pages of damned flesh; but it seems my current host wishes to expel me, with some assistance from the sputtering fop of a paladin and the Weave-splattered prostitute of a heartwarder. One moment.


Flight of the Skymages

We brought the rescued prisoners through the Shadowdark to Castle Grimstead, but when we arrived, we found that the Zhentarim had attempted a frontal assault. I am very grateful we chose this location, as opposed to the druid grove, or Harper’s Hill, as I believe we might not have been able to defend against hundreds of foot soldiers at those sites. As it was, Arianna, Aster, and Malia were leading our followers in defense of the walls, while two skymages on foulwings soared overhead.

Kosh was unable to fire on the skymages, as they had protected themselves from missiles with spells, so he began to pick off the Zhentarim attempting to breach the gate and crest the walls with deadly precision. Malia and Ivak flew into the air on pegasi and began to attack the skymages, and I flew after them on my own. Temudjin appeared outside the walls of the castle, bringing with him a small military force of Cormyrian soldiers and war wizards, to our very great relief. Temudjin, Malia, Ivak and I slew one of the skymages and both of their foulwings, forcing the other skymage to teleport away. Robbed of their leaders and magical support, the Zhentarim were routed by the Cormyrians, as Temudjin annihilated their battering ram with blasting magic. Malia and I landed outside the walls and drove the stragglers away before they could have any opportunity to regroup.

In the aftermath, I tried to help and speak to as many of our citizen soldiers as I could, as we gathered ourselves after the victory and decided our next move. Shaeryl Amcathra disappeared, but reappeared later and informed us that she had slipped back into the Twisted Tower, learning of a drow representative lodging there from a rival house to Dhuurniv. We hope to use the documents in our possession to convince this drow that the Zhentarim are not acting in good faith to him.

Azalar has taken a group of our rangers and soldiers to ambush a Zhentarim resupply caravan, and we decided to catch up with him and provide assistance, in the hopes that the remaining skymages might be there. Our guess was accurate, as we found Eregul the Freestave and two of his skymages battering our forces from the air. We clashed immediately with them, and created a vicious maelstrom of sneak attacks, sword strikes, death spells, explosions, prismatic sprays, petrifications, clouds of acid and poison, arrows, and probably two or three other horrific things that I missed because I was busy trying to strangle Eregul.

The Freestave proved a vicious and resilient opponent, and fought the Fellowship to a standstill, although we managed to slay both of his skymage companions. Malia fought valiantly, slaying Eregul’s half-dragon mount from under him when the rest of the Fellowship was too battered to assist her, and then confronting him alone on the ground until he finally conceded the field and teleported away. I expect we will see him again. I’m very glad I gave Malia that spellblade as a “welcome” gift, she has proved her mettle to the Fellowship.

Lost and Found

We made our way into the lower reaches of the Twisted Tower today. The beholder was still down there, and this time, there was no fooling it. We had a brief and nasty battle, during which Kinokee and Kosh were slain by the creature’s eye rays. Ivak gave me an opening as he menaced the aberration’s flank, and I gave it a pair of mortally damaging blade thrusts, thanks to his assistance.

We retreated after our losses, traveling to Suzail and seeking assistance from the same temple of Tymora that aided us in the past. Fortunately, our Fellowship account fund was large enough to cover the losses, and the gods allowed the return of our friends.

Upon our return, we broke into the prisoner dungeons of the Tower. Here, we found the guardian, a terrible banalar, a mystic theurge of Bane, with its invisible stalker and undead thralls. We were caught in close quarters, which proved to be more detrimental to my companions than myself, but all stood their ground and fought. It was a painful struggle, but Ivak was able to destroy the undead with Torm’s might, while the rest of us held off and eventually killed the invisible stalkers, though not without much labor.

The banalar made a last stand to break us, and slew Lemac with words of dark divinity as he closed in on the beast. As it finished the spell, I took the opportunity to stab it in the throat, just below its tentacled maw, and it did not speak again.

We have collected many prisoners and information, including Lady Amcathra, as well as the body of our friend, and have found a way to return to Castle Havenloft through the Underdark…

Death Death and more Death
I'm back!

Well, Kinokee has died, proving invisibility is NOT bullet proof (or disentigrate proof any way). Thanks to some very accomodating group members, she was resurrected. I would like to extend my most sincere thanks to Ivak, Alejandro, and Lemac for making my resurrection possible!

Victory is Mine!

The Zhentilar captain of the Twisted Tower is dead by my hands. This Sembian always keeps his word.

Alpha Male

Well, today was unexpected. We were planning on returning to the Tower, but when we arose, we were greeted by a stream of refugees, and the news that the Zhentilar troops have begun destroying the outlying farms and homesteads, in a search for us. With them came a strange but intelligent creature, called a moon dog, who told us that he had lost leadership of the wolves of Shadowdale, after being challenged and defeated by a great winter wolf named Frostbite, a follower of the Black Sun.

He proposed that if one of us could challenge and defeat Frostbite in single combat, that person could then return the authority of the wolves to him, and they would then be willing to aid that person against those who would oppress the Dale. We could also attack Frostbite in force, but this would not regain the allegiance of the wolves.

I volunteered to challenge the beast alone. Lemac did so as well, and I note his courage here, in the case that I had not. We traveled into the forest, to a snow-covered glen shrouded in dark, bare trees. Here, we found ourselves surrounded by the wolves of the forest, howling and yelping, and met Frostbite, an immense, silver-furred creature with an unnatural, faint glow and piercing eyes, not to mention a mouthful of teeth as long as my hand.

I borrowed Arianna’s flame whip, as we knew winter wolves to be vulnerable to fire. It was quite fortunate that both she and I are trained in wielding Sune’s chosen weapon. I spoke to Frostbite, and offered it a chance for a peaceful resolution instead of a death duel, even though my companions made fun of me for it. It only growled in response, so I cracked the whip over my head and stepped forward.

The battle was vicious and bloody. I smote the creature with fiery lashes, and it in return bit me severely, several times tossing me through the air and onto the snow covered ground. I barely managed to stay on my feet at first, as the creature was huge and heavy and a close-in fighter, like all wolves. Eventually, it drove me to the ground again, and I crawled backwards, striking it repeatedly as it continued to maul me. As it reared for a killing blow, I lashed it in the throat, the fire magic contained within the whip exploding in a burst of flames that melted the snow at our feet. The great beast collapsed in a cloud of thin steam.

I borrowed Lemac’s axe, and hewed Frostbite’s head from its body, holding it aloft and naming the moon dog as my chosen leader of the wolves. The cacophony of howls rent the air, and I knew that I had earned the Fellowship some much needed friends.

A Bridge Too Far

We have discovered another Sharran artifact, this one a sort of circlet, imbued with a great deal of power. Temudgin injured his psyche when he attempted to don it, but he seems to be alright now. I imagine we will turn it over to the church of Selune, as we did with the Starry Gnosis.

There is also an aspect of the home plane of Lolth herself, the Demonweb Pits, down here. We found the last of the three Dhuurniv sisters basking in it, laying upon a literal fountain of spiders, gushing like water with no apparent end, guarded by a mummy and a set of demonic extraplanar creatures, the like of which I had not seen before. We had a terrible battle in this chamber, made worse by having to wade through masses of furious spiders. The party held off and destroyed the mummy and the fiends, led by Ivak. I was very grateful that I am able to fly, allowing me to rise above the mess and practice my rapier-dive upon the last Dhuurniv sister. Temudgin cast a spell that surrounded him in a ring of protective blades, and I doubt any corner of the Realms has seen such a display of arachno-viscera as occurred that day. He struck the killing blow with an orb of acid, and I was glad to see another facet of Alora’s Revenge fulfilled.

We later discovered the entrance to the lowest levels of the Twisted Tower, at last. However, a guardian waited for us: an eye tyrant. I’d never seen a beholder before, and I hope to make it a rare occurrence. Fortunately, I had used one of my rings to impersonate the Dhuurniv mystic theurge we had just defeated, and it did not immediately fire its eye-rays upon me. I’ve learned to be an excellent liar over my adventuring career, and it paid off today. I convinced the beholder that Kosh and I were real drow, escorting prisoners to the Twisted Tower; as I did so, I prayed vehemently that it would take the bait. It did, and it allowed us to pass, to my very great relief. I have no doubt that a battle with the creature would have been costly.

Now that we have penetrated the basement levels of the Tower, we will soon begin our assault in earnest.

The Blade That Was Lost

Alora was killed by a drow raiding party yesterday night. I plan to carry out her final wishes upon our return to the surface. I have taken her jeweled necklace, as it seemed to be an heirloom of her family, and if I cannot find an heir, I will keep it until such time as it can be part of a proper memorial. The people of this land owe her a great debt, for she gave everything of herself, in life and at death, to their aid. As for myself, I will have my revenge.

Ivak discovered an illusionary wall by sensing a powerful evil presence behind it, but was unable to immediately locate its source. He retrieved us, and we agreed to investigate the previously unknown passage.

It led to a large underground lake, fed by an icy stream of water. There were signs of boat use, but none for us to use. However, a quick application of magic allowed us to walk upon the water. Halfway across, I was reminded again of why I hate the Underdark, when immense spiders burst up from the lake and surrounded us. Kua-toa with mancatchers swam after them, while a team of drow appeared on the far shore and opened fire.

Kosh held his ground on our shoreline and began to accurately pick off targets with his bow. Ivak strengthed his holy stature and began to slash apart the giant ocean-spiders with the Tormblade. Arianna spoke Sunite words of power and commanded the foes circling us to flee, and they scattered in all directions. I took the opening to rush to Kosh’s position and draw Midnight’s Moon from his belt, and then charged the drow lines across the lake, striking several of them dead in rapid succession. With help from the others, we defeated the entire warband.

Exploration of the far side of the lake revealed a small series of chambers, occupied by the defeated defenders. We found a locked door which we unlocked with the key captured from Xullrae Dhuurniv. The other side was not what I expected: a small ledge, with a black and silver horn on a stand, and then an abrupt and harsh dropoff into a chasm, filled with glowing hot lava. Across the chasm, the wall of a fortress was hewn out of the stone itself, with a large, raised stone drawbridge and a pair of arrow slits.

We tried disguising ourselves as drow and blowing the horn, but received crossbow fire in response. We then flew across the chasm using my boots, and Ivak used a spell to shape a hole in the stone of the drawbridge, allowing us to enter. We found an ancient and elaborate temple to Lolth, the Spider Queen, dominated by an immense stone altar, capped by a huge stone spider with fist-sized gemstone eyes. Here, we met Aunrae Dhuurniv, and her raging quaggoth bodyguards. She assaulted us for breaching her temple, and the previous death of her sister. She cast a spell that transformed Kosh into a drider, and placed him under her control. He attempted to poison Arianna, but she was able to slip out of the way. Ivak nullified the spell, freeing Kosh, and then he and Arianna halted the advance of the quaggoths. I drank a potion of invisibility and advanced on Aunrae.

She dispelled the effect as I drew close, but I was able to reach her and cross weapons with her beneath the giant spider idol. I scored several grievous wounds on her, as did Kosh, but she proved resilient. She struck me twice with powerful harming magic, and twice attempted to kill me outright with unholy divine power, but my own mind and faith proved stronger. I had to portal away from her one time, after she had nearly destroyed me, but we then pressed the attack as a group. I was able to leap over her and rebound from the massive legs of the spider, and struck her a mortal blow. She became one piece of my revenge for Alora.

We searched the area, and found a passage leading to a sumptuously appointed chamber, occupied by people of the Dale above that had been taken to serve as slaves to the drow priestesses, as well as the tools and toys of their various perversions. I freed the slaves from their shackles, and Arianna calmed their fears. Ivak stayed here to ensure the safety of the captives. We also found a beautiful bathhouse room, the pools no doubt heated by a tap from the lava flow beneath.

Another doorway led to a dangerously narrow, stone bridge across the lava filled chasm, damp with moisture and leading to another unknown area. Kosh attempted to crawl across the bridge, drying the moisture as he went, but slipped and fell off. I was able to snag his arm with my bullwhip before he fell past my reach, and fortunately pull him up to safety. I then crossed the span myself, and used my immoveable rod and rope to toss a safety line back, and we all got to the other side.

We found a well appointed throne room, of sorts. Tables carved from solid onyx, and a black dias with a gem-studded throne. Papers covered the tables, and a small, crescent pendant hung above the throne. The papers contained elaborate maps of the Shadowdark, the areas beneath much of Shadowdale. We also found a series of letters, revealing upset feelings between the Duurnhiv drow and the Zhentarim, over rights to the Twisted Tower, possession of the Pendant of Ashaba, and other matters, including “Mourngrym and his shadow.” These documents are damning evidence against the activities of our foes. Our foes are not in perfect harmony, despite their deal to take Shadowdale for their own ends. Evil’s greatest enemy is other evil…

The pendant proved to be none other than the true Pendant of Ashaba itself, the token of the lands of Shadowdale. I took it from its display, and have kept it in my protection. The drow will not get their claws on it again.

We found a well hidden secret door, and after much experimentation, I was able to open it with a little unorthodox application of magical power, deceiving it into believing I was, in fact, a drow priestess. It sank into the floor, revealing a chamber filled with loose steel spikes, and a terrifying creature Kosh identified as a lodestone marauder, weighing more than a ton, covered in hardened metal skin and sharp spikes. It emanated a fearsome wave of magnetic energy, knocking all of us over except myself, as I wore no armor. It also pulled metal towards itself, then repelled it, firing the spikes in all directions. I defended myself, stabbing it with a knife, but it was quite powerful.

Arianna was, in a stroke of luck, able to magically charm the beast, soothing and stilling it before it could continue its rampage. She petted it, and fed it a handful of coins, while we watched, extremely wary, but she assured us there was no danger. I named the creature Maggie. I hope we can maintain control of it; Maggie would be an immense weapon against the Zhentarim’s armored soldiers.

The room contained three stone coffers; Kosh and I wrenched them open to reveal a stash of platinum pieces, and a magnificent sword, sheathed, wrapped in precious cloth. I drew it, and the workmanship was finer than any I have ever seen. The blade is of perfect, unmarred silver, and is bathed in blue and silver flames, rippling even onto my hand, without harm. It radiates amazing magical power. I could sense that I was not entirely attuned to its power, indeed, none of us were, but it could perceive us, and did not wish us immediate harm. It was Ary’Velahr’Kerym, the Warblade, artifact of the Elves of Cormanthor. I was proud to have grasped such a weapon.

I decided that we should take the rescued prisoners to safety, even though this means leaving the Underdark and having to return, and my companions agreed. We left the area, taking our precious discoveries with us, as well as Maggie, who proved an immense help, as she can climb and tunnel, even through stone. I lowered the drawbridge, and we made our escape to the surface, taking the prisoners to freedom and safety at Storm Silverhand’s farm.

The deep places of the world

We’re exploring the reaches of the Underdark, beneath Shadowdale. It’s cold and damp down here, and often as dark as blackest pitch, such that Kinokee can hide two feet away from us, behind a highly unlikely shrubbery, and we’d still never find her.

Met a huge shadow spider. I had a friend in wizard school that hated spiders. It’s a good thing she went into the sage business, because if she’d been here, she would have soiled her spellbook. Fortunately, Mr. Firesky snuffed the horrible thing with a phantasmal killer spell. Impressive.

Some of us have scouted ahead of the rest. Only now do I have the chance to update this entry. We found a vault of a cavern, round and wet and filled with a pool of dark, shadow-laced water in the center, with only a thin ledge all round. Couldn’t hardly see in there, it was filled with darkness not of this world, but of the Shadow realm. There was a watcher in the water, a great Fang Dragon, and a terrible battle. We almost lost Lemac the barbarian, and I flirted with Death again, for my part. We could not see to strike the thing unless we were so close as to be within its reach, and it kept to the water, fighting like a great crocodile.

Arianna tried many times to dispel the cloying darkness, but we could not pierce its power. Several of us, and I, struggled to land any blows on the beast, though we did injure it with divine fire. Eventually, our half-drow companion distracted it with a powerful bowshot, and I was able to take the opportunity to pierce its throat, as it lunged out of the blackness at me. It lays dead now, and I take my trophy from it.

I dove into the water and found a chest containing three beautiful blue sapphires, as big as bird’s eggs and flawless in form, as far as my monocle assessment can tell me. Aster says they are famous stones, and he hasn’t been wrong before.

Esvele Graycastle's Letter
Letter from Prince Yder Tanthul to Esvele Graycastle

Darkest Esvele,

I hope this letter finds you well and ready to make the sacrifices the Lady of Loss demands of us all.

Lord Shadow recognizes your abnegation in sending us the Book of the Black, knowing that copies of this volume are few and far between, although I wish you had forewarned us that a fragment was missing. As you indicated, there is much to ponder in the ravings of Augathra the Mad and what in the Black Chronology inspired the Dark Diviners to write the Leaves of One Night.

Your persipacity in recognizing the nature of the ring in Eregul’s possession is also commendable (as is your insight that he does not understand what he holds), but, at least for now, the value inherent in acquiring it does not warrant jeopardizing our alliance with the Black Network. We have our own means of reaching the echo of Windsong Tower and will explore the chambers of Raanaghaun and Shar Cormrael by our own methods when time permits.

Yours in Shadow, Prince Yder Tanthul of Thultanthar


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