The Tearing of the Weave

Brooch Diaries33-123

Day 33-47
These days were spent in research and conversation, as Ayamalia was within the confines of Myth Drannor she made her reports in person rather than via her brooch, so we have no transcript of her activities. All we know is that she was struggling to solve the riddle of this song:

Tall grew the trees in the hidden glade, Below the tower that was not a tower. Kept safe for eons from spell and blade, By guardians who wielded Mystra’s power. The words that sighed through their golden leaves Had been heard in part but never whole, But the tall trees fell to the hands of thieves And Magic’s death is now their goal. A precious circle of wizard’s skill Is the key to their sundered ground. Their home lies silent now and still ‘Til the door in Nature’s hall is found. The living must find that which is lost Before the world is riven, Or mortals and gods will pay the cost And lose forever the blessings given.

Day 48
We followed up on a hunch and attempted to gain access to Windsong Tower through a portal in the basement of the naturalist’s guild. We were successful and encountered the first of the tower’s guardians, a being that called itself “The Adroit”

Day 49
Today we found a beautiful temple to Corellan Lotharian and a defaced one to Mystra. It is sad to see that our enemies have been here already and destroyed so much of what was once beautiful. We met the second guardian today, “The Warrior”.

Day 50
We found the Master of Windsong Tower. Darkason is a diviner and the creator of the three guardians; the adroit and the warrior whom we faced and the monkish one we did not. It was he who sent the vision that crafted the song which led us here and he who has explained the terrible events that led him to call for aid. In a special room, accessible only through strict protocols rested a treasure of our people, the Quess Ar Teranthuar. These have been stolen by Shades, and we must stop the dark ritual that our enemies plan or all the weave itself may be destroyed. To find them we will attempt to track the footsteps of Sharr, a translator of the leaves of one night to the Tomb of Auguthra the mad.

Day 51
Today was a day full of reading and research, there is not much to report.

Day 52
Sharr, who helped write the “leaves of one night” left from here for the tomb of Auguthra the mad, so there must be some information buried in the library about where it lies, and how to get there.

Day 53
Searching the library for information is informative, if not in the way I had hoped. Did you know that there are beings called Sharns that are an amalgam of three other creatures and that they created the Sharn wall that blocks our scrying to keep the Phaerim within Anauroch?

Day 54
It is a shame that we cannot simply scry our destination and teleport there.

Day 55
Damn the Sharn wall anyway.

Day 56
We have learned as much as we can from libraries and books. Tomorrow we depart for the stone lands and hopefully the tomb of Auguthra the mad.

Day 57
These barren stony lands are harsh and unpleasant to search. It would help if we had a better idea of what it was we were looking for, but all of the books were frustratingly vague.

Day 58
In our random wanderings we came upon a pair of gynosphynxes. We bargained with them rather than fought and now have a very good map of the region thanks to Thavelin’s drawing skills. There are some interesting looking ruins about a week away that could be our destination.

Day 59
(What follows is likely not an actual transcription of Ayamalia’s report. It seems likely that a bored scribe penned this rather than continuously recording “we walked towards the ruins, nothing much happened.”)

All the red giants before the tomb
They try to stop us don’t you know
But we move so quick (oh whey oh)
They’re falling down like a domino

Day 60
All the beholders in the tunnels
They got the antimagic rays
Gelatinous cubes (oh whey oh)
They wait at the bottom of pit traps

Day 61
Spynxy types with the hookah pipes say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walkin’ to the ruins

Day 62
Blond sun elves cast their rays
Prismatic eyes cross the floor
Duelists have the moves (oh whey oh)
He drops his foes then they bring him more

Day 63
All the barbarians, so sick of books
They like to punk their enemies
When the buzzer rings (oh whey oh)
They’re walkin’ to the Ruins

Day 64
All the elves in the marketplace say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walkin’ to the Ruins

Day 65
Pick your feet up and put them down
Lift your arm then bring it down
Life is hard you know (oh whey oh)
So strike a pose with an elven sword

Day 66
If you want to find all the explosions
They’re hanging out by the warmage
Followers of Shar or Bane (oh whey oh)
Dodge Torm’s blade or you won’t age

Day 67
All the Sunites for which men yearn
The party boys call for her turn
And the Archers know (oh whey oh)
They’re walkin’ to the Ruins

Day 68
All the rocks in the treasure stock say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walkin’ to the Ruins
Walkin’ to the Ruins

Day 69
We battled giants with red leathery skin and beholders to gain entrance to the ruins. Thavelin and I took the earth blooded humans they were using as mining slaves back to Kormyr.

Day 70
What we thought would be the Tomb of Auguthra the mad seems to be the upended remains of the Synod…though I am certain that I once read the fate of that city to be a watery death in the sea of fallen stars.

Day 71
It is strange to fight giants and beholders on what was once the ceiling of a room, but that is what we are doing as we travel “down” into the bowels of this ruin we are traversing paths that once lead to its highest towers. Synod flipped as it fell and landed on its head. Today we encountered a new horror in this warren of ancient hallways and freshly hewn tunnels. Apparently Phaerim breed by planting eggs in still living victims. The young then devour their agonized hosts from the inside out, eventually becoming strong enough to burst forth from their victim’s chest finally granting that poor soul relief from pain through the reward of death. We saved as many of the victims as we could, but many were beyond salvation. One of our rescuees, a Mystic Fire Knight of Halrua named Deltreth Mendry, joined our fellowship. The others Thavelin will return to their homes.

Day 72
We have finally cleared the fallen city of enemies. In the process we found Sharr and Auguthra the mad, not dead but combined into a single Sharn with a Phaerim. They are caged within a damaged Mythal which seethes with magic both dark and light. We are calling it the Shadow Engine.
We found the Book of the Black though we cannot read it,but Auguthra has granted us a vision of our quarry. Now we must find the place within the vision and reclaim the Quess Ar Teranthuar from those who stole it.

Day 73
Those we rescued are home and the Shadow Engine is safe. Sharr wishes to be freed from her captivity, and we promised to help her if we could. Once we made that promise Auguthra granted us a final vision: A chalice bearing the symbol of Aumanator that we found within Synod must pour golden liquid upon the Quess Ar Teranthuar or the weave is doomed.

Day 74
Darkason has identified the place in Auguthra’s visions. The Quess Ar Teranthuar are on the shoe of the sea of shade within the shadow of the floating city. He knows little of the Terraserr Auguthra advised us to seek, however. It seems that we must spend more time in research, and that Windsong Tower’s library will not aid us this time.

Day 75
We are searching for clues at Candlekeep. We traded them Auguthra’s notes for the privilege. Thavelin copied them first though, so we will have a version for Windsong Tower’s Library.

Day 76
We can now find Spellguard, I found a book on its construction that listed its true name, with that its location was not so hard to discover. A strange voice advised Thavelin to repair the keep. We believe it may have been the spirit of the silver dragon.

Day 77
We have a map of Anauraoch as it is, but not as it was. We still do not know how to find Oreme, though we have found mention of its full moon tower and haunted streets. We will try the library in Halrua before we attempt Spellguard.

Aster my friend, your aid may be need in our quest once more. Your lyre of building and beautiful music may do what we never could to convince Ishma Saharel to aid us.

Day 78
We spent a day in Halrua learning nothing new, but were attacked by members of a cult who want the secrets of ancient Netheril to stay secrets.

Day 79
Once Aster repaired Spellguard Ishma Saharel’ ghost was more than willing to help us find Oreme. It lies deep in the zone of Anauroch within which the weave has been destroyed.

Day 80
We spent this day preparing for the ordeal that lies ahead.

Day 81
Today we enter the area where Mystra’s gift has been destroyed. If I survive I will report again when I can.

Day 101
We have reached Oreme and discovered functional magic in a room far beneath the city. Many heinous monsters tried to stop us, but we persevered and have freed haunted Oreme from the Yuan-ti which were controlling it.

The Terraseer is an ancient Lich of a lizard-like folk who looked nothing like anything which lives today. He will aid us in exchange for the Shadow Engine and the Book of the Black. Deltreth managed to read the thing some time ago, but the ravings it contains were useless to us. Now we know why so much time and effort went into the creation of the Leaves of One Night. The Book itself is nothing but gibberish.

Conversation with the Terraseer has made many things clearer. There is no way to end this threat to all of magic and leave the Quess Ar Teranthuar in their current form. We must make our way through the desert once again and pour liquid sunlight from Aumanator’s chalice upon it. This will break the Quess Ar Teranthuar into many smaller pieces, each useful for researching magic, but none powerful enough to destroy it.

Day 102
With the Terraseer’s help we invaded the stronghold of the Tombtappers and reclaimed the chalice of Aumanator.

Day 103
We return to the desert today to attempt to complete our task hopefully Tyvullus Aluviirsan can hold the Quess Ar Teranthuar until we reach him. Perhaps one of you patient listeners could ask Darkason to watch for the shards of the Quess Ar Teranthuar as they scatter across Toril? I will report in again when I can, if I survive.

Day 123
We have succeeded in our quest, but only just. We forced our way through the desert past monsters and Shadow-var patrols. We have gotten sadly good at killing purple worms, and I have discovered that they think I look tasty. Monster’s in this desert always try to eat me first.. perhaps copper elves smell delicious? I certainly smell quite strongly now… two weeks in the sun with only the water one is carrying leaves an elf quite fragrant.

We passed through the warped forest of the miasma and fought serpents at the shore of the shadow sea. After that we travelled through a Shadow-var orchard and killed the guards posted within it. There we found a small circle of true magic surrounding the Quess Ar Teranthuar, Tyvullus Aluviirsan’s gift to us.

Phaerim appeared to stop us as soon as we breached the magical divide, though I know not why they would be working with the Shadow-var when they are ancient enemies. I carried Thavelin and Temudgin past them to the edge of the roots of our battered golden tree. Thavelin protected the three of us with his wardings while the rest of the party struggled to hold off three wizards mounted on shadow dragons, two Phaerim and a golem. I prepared and poured the liquid sunlight, starting the process of the Quess Ar Teranthuar’s demise. That demise was a slow thing, however, and the Shadow-var wanted nothing more than to stop it.

Thavelin managed to hold his wardings around it ‘til the very end, preventing any of the shades or their spells from interfering until he died shredded by the claws and teeth of a Shadow Dragon while surrounded by a storm of lightning and meteor fire. As he breathed his last the Quess Ar Teranthuar exploded in a blast that ripped through the shadow beasts like holy fire through an undead thing. I fell in the Final surge of magic, almost dead. I would not have made it out had not Alejandro carried me.

Temudgin’s fire finished off Lord Hardroun, the instigator of this horror, but the dragon’s still lived and we were in no condition to oppose them. We fled through a gate and ended up in Dweomerheart, Mystra’s own realm. It is amazing how easily a camel will pass through a gate when chased by dragons. Those dragons were foolish enough to follow and Mystra herself annihilated them before restoring Thavelin to us.

Sadly Tyvulus Aluviirsan died and the fellowship has decided to fracture. Thavelin and I should be home by the morrow, Hopefully you have not killed all of the invaders by now and there are still some Zhentillar forces for us to slaughter.

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Die of the Beholder

We have entered what appears to be the remnants of a Netherese sky city, that long ago was illegally, vertically, and violently parked in the desert sands. Someone really does not want to be disturbed here; there were giants, a sewn-together dragon golem, and a beholder watching the excavation entrance. I checked carefully, and there was no beauty in that beholder’s eye. There was, however, a heavy crossbow bolt. Thanks, Temudjin. Lemac killed the dragon construct. As for the giants, you can call me Jack. Not the samurai, the beanstalk guy. Ask a bard.

The interior of this buried wreck of a city is fascinating, especially if you don’t have vertigo or care about concepts like “up.” The archaeological value alone is immense; I am hoping to find some of it, in portable and precious metal form. There’s a water source down here; who knows where it’s coming from, but it’s turned a tower into a well shaft. Temudjin and I explored it, and ran into beholder number two, now with undead flesh. We took a plunge when it disabled our flying carpet; at least we hit water and not stone, and I am a good swimmer. Unfortunately for the death tyrant, our friends were still at the top of the shaft, and rained down destruction on it. Turns out, beholder corpses can be used as a flotation device. Thanks, Kosh.

We’re still exploring this area. I expect to find more giants, beholders, and shades. Maybe someday I’ll find the one who tried to capture my thoughts, and we can resolve our differences in a diplomatic and honorable, reasonable fashion. By which I mean, crossed swords in a dramatic setting.

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Stop the Weave, Please, I'd Like to Get Off

I apologize for being remiss in adding to my journal, but I have been slightly busy, and by busy, I mean “trying not to be murdered by ancient Netherese sand-bastards.)

We located the entrance to Windsong Tower, or whatever is technically left of it, inside the naturalist’s guild in Myth Drannor. Whilst there, I met a traveler from the Shou Empire, one of the Shou Expatriates after the Tuigan invasion in the far east. His name is Matsumoto, and he seems to be a monk and practitioner of martial arts, although he seems incapable of providing straight answers to questions, and may be slightly… touched. However, he was not hesitant to assist us when we questioned him, and we have allowed him to follow our expedition, as he offered his assistance.

We also met Malia’s apparent boyfriend, Thavelin, an elven wizard. I am grateful to have the assistance of a utilitarian student of the Weave, although I admit surprise; I was fairly certain Malia was falling for Aster.

The tower itself is extradimensional, and inhabited by creatures with far too much time and arcane energy on their hands. One of the ‘greeters’ nearly massacred us with a few choice spells, and we almost resorted to physically destroying the entire chamber just to force him into the open. He appeared again later, this time in the guise of a warrior, and challenged us a second time; at least in this incarnation, he was visible and not inside the masonry and pillars of the hall. Did I mention the ghosts who fly out of the walls, strike, and then disappear again, and their infernal demon overseer that pulses blasphemy?

We also found a forge, guarded by several powerful golems and a battle horror. I am again pleased I purchased an anti-construct weapon, as my investment has paid handsome dividends, including allowing me to be the first member of the fellowship to construct a rare ‘gravel golem.’ I found an elvish rapier on a weapon rack here, apparently forgotten and left behind when the tower was evacuated. It is of significant power, and ensorcelled with fire magic. Obviously, I have purloined and kept it!

Eventually, we did find friends in Windsong; some elvish archmage of years past has fortified himself here, turning himself into a pseudo-construct and guarding a significant investment of magical resources. The library alone is filled with a thousand spells. Most importantly though, he was keeping something of incalculable power: perhaps the last still-unaccounted-for sample of the Nether Scrolls. I’m no wizard, and even I know of these: Netherese artifacts that are potentially the most powerful and destructive artifacts known on Toril, and supposedly made by Mystra herself. Any one of these scrolls pulses with infinite knowledge of magical and mundane power, which never exhausts itself; seemingly infinite. Windsong Tower was indeed a magical college of high standing, I would have been proud to flunk out of it.

Unfortunately, the Sharrans have been here. They stole the Nether Scroll; from what I have learned, the chief Sharran resorted to using the Wish spell itself in order to gain access to it. I suspect that he may have even been the same person who possessed Mourngrym, and attempted to do the same to me. I searched for clues and asked questions of the mage here, and we have a few leads. He has asked us to retrieve the Scroll, and we agreed, for if the Sharrans retain it, they will eventually decipher it, and figure out a way to apply its power in a Shadow Weave manner. Doing so could have damning effects, the planet, not just the Weave, could be literally damaged, or even rent asunder. I am beginning to wish I had retired after the Cormyrian incident!

The Windsong guardians have kindly given us some substantial resources to assist us in our task, their generosity in gold, platinum, and magic is much appreciated by those of us lucky enough to receive it. Our path appears to lead to the northern edge of the Stonelands, technically within northern Cormyr, but said area has, I know, long been overrun with orcs and goblins. There is a crypt somewhere in that area, of one Auguthra the Mad, which may contain the answers we need. Long ago, the agents of Windsong Tower attempted to explore it, but they did not return.

I imagine the Fellowship may soon have cause to visit this area. I will need to speak to Temudjin about this, obviously, as he has experience warring against the humanoids of this area, and has significant influence with our Cormyrian friends. I am sure that Lemac, also, will enjoy hearing the news; we have heard a great deal of pontification on his orc-slaying abilities, and some demonstration of such would be most refreshing.

I must admit, however, that we are now dealing with something of horrifying power. I hope we are not too late.

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The brooch diaries 28-32

Day 28

Today I officiated at my first funeral and attended a resurrection. It was not long after I bid our fallen comrades a good journey to the summerlands that I discovered Lemac the Barbarian’s desire to return so as to continue battlingg his foes. The rest of the fellowship was busy so the wizard Thavelin and I carried his dragon mauled corpse to Suzail where the Priestess of Tymora knew Lemac well.

Day 29

Alejandro went to Sembia today to bargain for the goods Shadowdale will need if it is to recover. He also purchased a gift for the Corinall. I know this because I accompanied him… he seemed nervous about seeing his family members again. I am not sure why; they seemed to get along well enough. His deeds are certainly things that any parent should be proud of.

I am glad that I accompanied him. The city was not beautiful in any way that I can comprehend… It was crowded with buildings, bodies and stench. The vastness of the ocean was beautiful though, and I admired the vast differences between that place and any I had ever encountered before. Instead of the outside places I am so familiar with humans seem to crave inside spaces, pressing their buildings close together and filling them with chains of open rooms.

Day 30

Today was another day filled with travel and newness. This time we visted Waterdeep and Blackstaff tower. Laril told me how to use the Windsong Kin ring I reclaimed from Eregul and took Darkhope’s sword from us to insure that it would never again fall into Zhentarim hands.

After that we visited a shop Alejandro seems to frequent. He gave me a large amount of money, which I used to improve the spells upon my armor and cloak. A soldier can never be too protected.

Day 31

We finally settles down to the business of rebuilding Shadowdale. I was glad to be still temporarily, as there are many things here that concern me. I feel it important that Shadowdale be left strong and under good leadership so that our enemies can not make of it a stronghold. Mourngrym’s abdication stirs the pot somewhat as far as leadership goes, but Aster speaks of staying with his people and I believe that Shadowdale will fare well under his command. Ivek communed with Torm who seemed to agree.

That commune gave us some disturbing news as well. It seems that something is amiss in Windsong Tower. I may have retrieved this ring too late to do any good with it.

Day 32

I finally returned home today, though not for good yet. Much remains to be done in Shadowdale, but it was nice to find shelter within my home tree again. I returned to find many gifts awaiting me… my new staircase was both a surprise and a delight

Equally disturbing, but not as delightful, is the song Kelloren Bluestar crafted from his dream. It was both beautiful and deeply disturbing to me and I feel driven to avert the catastrophe it promises… but I will have to consult with those more knowledgeable than I in magic and dreams before I understand how this can be accomplished. While I know that the dream of the blond man with the half mask who grieves for his lost trees is important, I cannot quite make sense of it… nor can I pull complete meaning from the riddle of the song.

Tall grew the trees in the hidden glade, Below the tower that was not a tower. Kept safe for eons from spell and blade, By guardians who wielded Mystra’s power. The words that sighed through their golden leaves Had been heard in part but never whole, But the tall trees fell to the hands of thieves And Magic’s death is now their goal. A precious circle of wizard’s skill Is the key to their sundered ground. Their home lies silent now and still ‘Til the door in Nature’s hall is found. The living must find that which is lost Before the world is riven, Or mortals and gods will pay the cost And lose forever the blessings given.

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Ambush at Myth Drannor

I’ve been very active recently, with business in Shadowdale, Sembia, Cormyr, Waterdeep, and now Myth Drannor. Spring is arriving, and with it, new challenges for the Fellowship.

We have become somewhat famous; I find it flattering and enjoyable, but also filled with responsibility. Even the Elves of Cormanthor seem to accept my word; I hope that relations between our countries can improve, through me.

The Coronal (Queen) of the Elves has been most gracious, and is permitting us to explore our leads on Windsong Tower. A talking raven invited us to visit a hunting lodge near the tent city of Myth Drannor, apparently the pet or familiar of a wizardess popular in these parts, who may have information for us. Even Aster knew of her. In hindsight, I should have been more suspicious that the raven wanted us to visit at midnight…

The lodge was somewhat broken down, with a damaged roof and walls, but a woman’s voice welcomed us inside when we opened the doors. Ivak cast a spell to check for magical effects, and the moment he did so, we were assaulted with poisonous spell energy. Lemac rushed through the cloud of gas and into the chamber where the voice emanated from, only to be ambushed and horribly injured by an entire group of werewolves. An ebony skinned woman (but not a drow) flickering with magical energy also assaulted us, and we were hard pressed by poison, lightning bolts, magical knife-bolts, and strangling tentacles. Once I reached them, I slew most of the werewolves, none of them very willing to face my blade. Ivak countered many of the offensive spells, and crushed the remaining lycanthrope, as well as most of the furniture.

Arianna was nearly killed by the strangling tentacles magic, but Ivak and I were able to free her just in time, and she escaped. I burst through the roof of the lodge and into the chamber with the wizardess, and we turned our attentions to her, despite the fact that she was able to step into the shadows on the walls, and reappear anywhere else similar. Arianna came back into the lodge, blowing the doors open, and smote the wizardess with Sunite magical anger, causing her to be instantly eradicated. We managed to escape with our lives, but do not know much about our attacker, other than that she was a Shade.

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A Song of Loss
What is it with half-elven bards?

Above the hum of activity on the streets of Myth Drannor below, a lone voice rises, singing a melody so achingly sad that those who can hear it stop momentarily, brush tears from their eyes or shake their heads, then move on.

Tall grew the trees in the hidden glade,
Below the tower that was not a tower.
Kept safe for eons from spell and blade,
By guardians who wielded Mystra’s power.
The words that sighed through their golden leaves
Had been heard in part but never whole,
But the tall trees fell to the hands of thieves
And Magic’s death is now their goal.
A precious circle of wizard’s skill
Is the key to their sundered ground.
Their home lies silent now and still
‘Til the door in Nature’s hall is found.
The living must find that which is lost
Before the world is riven,
Or mortals and gods will pay the cost
And lose forever the blessings given.
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The War of the Weave

The Zhentarim army is defeated. My battle plan has been successful; Dalesfolk, Cormyrians, Sembians, Elves, Wolves, and Fey have driven the aggressor from the field. Those captured Zhentilar who accepted my offer of mercenary wages have upheld their bargain and fought, as has Iyri, the great black Wyrm, whom I know despises me, but has taken advantage of the opportunity to no longer owe me any favor by shattering our enemy’s lines with her fearsome might. I know that many did not like my dealings with Zhentilar turncoats and a great, evil, and powerful chromatic dragon, but they have held to their word, and fewer of our lives have been lost as the consequence.

I and my companions waited for the onslaught, directly within its path, and I sat atop Nightfeather, raising my sword to the advancing lines of the enemy, so that they could have no doubt as to whom they were facing. We fought the commanding vanguard of the Black Network; Eregul, Scyulla, and their closest minions. I have long wished to directly test myself against the leader of Zhentil Keep’s army, and Darkhope did not disappoint me. I offered her a last chance to amend her ways, as the paladin she once was, but she refused, and we crossed blades.

The others began to slay Darkhope’s vanguard of demons, and challenged Eregul the Freestave, now astride a full-blood black dragon. Lemac wounded the drake badly before it mauled and slew him, and I finished the beast with a shadowstrike thrust below the jaw, when Darkhope momentarily disappeared. Eregul and Malia had their second confrontation, and she again proved a resilient knight of the Elven Throne, wielding the Warblade itself, the likes of which I have never before seen. Even when seemingly struck down, she still rose to continue the fight. She must be touched by Tymora.

When Scyulla gave me an opening, I struck her twice, each time piercing her armor and magical protections and dealing grievous injury, and with the third blow, knocked her entirely from her nightmare mount, leaving her dead upon the field of battle. Fzoul’s fist of Bane lay dead by my hand. Eregul still remained, but Arianna channeled a frightening level of Sune’s divine power, and literally snuffed his existence. Malia caught his treasured Windsong ring as it fell.

I called for Nightfeather and rode the length of the battle, holding a flag of victory aloft, and our foes broke, their morale destroyed along with Scyulla and Eregul. We routed our enemy from the field of battle. I am now helping to tend to our wounded, and carrying out my relief plan, were we to be victorious. I will write more soon.

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The Brooch Diaries: Episodes 1 through 27 (Malia)

Day 1: Well, this seems awkward to me. I cannot remember speaking to a person every day for any decently long period, much less a brooch. You, whoever it is who is stuck listening to this nightly report of mine, will simply have to bear with me as I meander. I left Myth Drannor today… but you probably already knew that.

Day 2: It has been too long since I walked amidst the trees like this. I can tell because I enjoyed my traveling today rather than just trudging along because I had to. It was a gorgeous day for walking. Golden sunlight filtered down through frost dusted branches and painted stark shadow patterns on the snowy forest floor.

Day 3: Today was one of those days which reminds me of the endless drudgery of military campaigning. It rained. Marching in armor in the rain is never a joyous occasion. My current armor doesn’t chafe as badly as some I’ve worn, however. I can still remember my first armored march in the rain. I must have been 50 or so, and my parents had me gear up for patrol with them just for the occasion. They said that the experience would toughen me. I suppose they were right. The blisters healed eventually and calluses formed in their place. Besides, with the season being what it is, I should be glad that it wasn’t hail.

Day 4: I saw a shambling hulk today. It reminded me of some of the pranks we pulled when I was a youth. There was a shallow cavern along one of the patrol routes near our camp one year… I was probably 70 or so then. It was a muddy marshy thing full of mossy hillocks that collapsed beneath the slightest weight, fallen branches like giant pillars and the occasional solid rocky outcropping. A shambling hulk got itself trapped in there somehow. I don’t remember who came up with the idea first, but it wasn’t long before we had a dozen or so shocker lizards down there as well. Then, one moonless night when our elders were warning of “near certain” Drow raids we all went out dancing. We laughed and sang and played as loudly as we could… and the Drow came as if we had cast some sort of summoning spell. We had lookouts posted; we knew they were there. As soon as we thought we had them hooked we ran like spooked hares. They followed us like hounds on a scent, and they were fast. We weren’t faster… but we knew where those rocky outcroppings were. A few of our best archers were waiting above the cavern with bows, but they weren’t necessary. Not a single Drow made it out of our trap. Ah, what good times we children had.

Day 5: I am well outside Myth Drannor’s sphere of influence now… this Cormanthor is the war torn battleground I grew up in. I found a pile of Drow corpses today, peppered with Wild elf arrows. I was happy to see the Drow defeated, but sad as well. This band of Wild elves is small but…they did not come to serve the queen. The only way we will save this forest from darkness is through unity. That is why I abandoned my parents’ dreams of restoring Eanlann in favor of the queen’s far more reachable goal of restoring Myth Drannor.

Day 6: Traveling like this is quite lonely. I find my mind drifting as I remember the cheerful banter that marked the campsites of my younger days. Fireside tales of derring do competed with the steady “twop” of arrow fire. Marail and Karvanth never tired of trying to one up one another, while Tambral practiced his archery constantly, determined to become the greatest sniper the deep woods have ever known. All three are gone now. Karvanth fell in a spell battle with a Cleric of Lloth. Marail was taken somewhere by a giant spider that could walk through walls and Tambral fell in the battle for Myth Drannor, cloven neatly in two. The only familiar voice I hear now is Gwaew’Kiir’s and the only thing I have to talk to is this brooch.

Day 7: I was 100 years old to the day when I met Gwaew’Kiir, I had just chosen the name that would be mine throughout my adulthood and allowed into the armory to choose my first magical item. It was our tradition for the clan to give a new adult one single thing… the only free thing we would get from life. Everything else was to be earned. Some parents gave their children extra gifts before sending them off on their first solo mission, but I knew mine would do no such thing. They would stand aside and watch me succeed or fail based on the merits of my own skills and choices. I did not plan on failing, so I wanted a sword. I was well aware of the fact that things existed which could not be harmed by the simple steel sword that I had earned hauling rocks for a neighbor’s building project. I sorted through every pile and bag, dusted off and opened every chest, determined to examine each of my options before choosing. I had my hand in a chest that looked like it should not be quite so shallow when something bit me. I jerked my hand free in surprise while her voice echoed in my mind. “You’ll do. Now get me out of this box.” What I’d thought was a false bottom was actually a shield wedged in tight. A sentient shield that bore the same name as my clan. So it was that I left the armory without a sword… but I passed the trial anyway. Gwaew’Kiir proved to be plenty of help.

Day 8: I paused at a village I passed near today to restock my supplies. While I bargained a group of children ran laughing through the streets. I watched them wistfully for a short time before continuing on my way. I was rarely allowed such freedom as a child. My parents were determined that I would master both sword and spell before my name day. I suppose that I should be grateful that my parents were so strict. It is likely the reason that I have survived so many of my age mates…still…the simple joy of childish games was something I always envied.

Day 9: I suppose my parents valued toughness over tenderness. I can’t really blame them. They watched their friends and neighbors lose children to Drow raiding parties and random monstrosities all of the time. I never doubted that they loved me… or that they worried constantly about my safety… It’s been decades since I spoke to them last. I suppose they’re dead by now. The entire village has probably been destroyed by something or another.

Day 10: This is a dark and crowded section of woods. The forest giants are sparse now; smaller trees and underbrush are abundant. I found the armor I’m wearing now in a section of woods much like this one. It was one of those days when luck was on my side. The very young green dragon that attempted to ambush me tried to lunge from a branch not quite strong enough to support its weight. It didn’t have much treasure to speak of… Mostly weapons and armor from adventurers not quite lucky enough to avoid its trap.

Day 11: I left Cormanthor today. For the first time in my life, the sky is not occluded by branches. I find it oddly disconcerting.

Day 12: I stopped by a farmstead today to trade for supplies, but there was nothing alive there… not even flies feasting on the carcasses.

Day 13: The snow lies thick on the ground here in Shadowdale. I was grateful for my sandals when I snuck around a Zhent patrol. Normally I would have fought them… Zhents and Drow are my least favorite things to see around Cormanthor. The mission must come first though. (Sigh.)

Day 14: I should arrive at the Falconhand farmstead tomorrow if I read my landmarks correctly. Hopefully I will have real news to report to you, oh patient listener.

Day 15: Glorious News! The Warblade has been found, and recovered from the Drow stronghold in which it was held captive. It is not here at the temporary base the Fellowship of the Weave has made of the Falconhand farmstead, however. It is at their more permanent base in the now rebuilt and renamed Castle Havenloft. I shall travel with Ivak to there with the next band of Shadowdalian refugees he escorts and do what seems necessary to protect it and return it home.

Day 16: I traveled today with the majority of the persons that I was sent to find. Only the half-moon elf girl and the black-eyed human were not amongst my companions. I watched the Lord Merchant annoy a druid and thought about intervening. It was a happy chance that I did not, since amidst his attempts to impress the druid, the Lord Merchant showed that he had the pendant of Ashaba and that it had been taken from a Drow priestess. I fear this bodes ill for Scothgar’s parents, though I have supposed the news I would bring him grim since the moment he asked for it. The Lord Bard glossed over the anger that resulted from the Lord Merchant’s posturing and we continued to Havenloft. I do not blame the Druid for his discontent though. Were I a Dalesfolk I would not welcome a Sembian Lord, no matter how heroic he had proven himself… As a Cormanthorian I disapprove of a Sembian lord of Shadowdale even more. Sembia is more than close enough already. They do not need to share a border with us.

Day 17: Today I met some pegasi, killed some Zhentarim and freed some Dalesfolk. I found Ivak a pleasure to fight beside, and Kinokee a steady battle companion. The Lord Merchant however, took many seemingly needless risks. At several junctures I thought that I would need to waste a spell on regrouping our party, but he always managed to skate his way back to Ivak before he was too badly injured. I had hoped the Skymages, most particularly their leader would be here. I have heard some disturbing news from the Fellowship. Apparently this Skymage, Eregul the Freestave, has come into possession of a ring rumored to have very dangerous powers. It is possible that he will soon be able to transport himself and his companions directly into Windsong Tower, bypassing all the guards and wards in Cormanthor. Be wary.

Day 18: Once again the Fellowship has split its forces. I stayed at Havenloft to watch over the Warblade. I found myself working closely with the Lord Bard and the Lady Heartwarder trying to turn their ragtag group of refugees into a force capable of defending Havenloft against an attack. It is slow going.

Day 19: I spent much of today with Cormyr’s warmage, discussing tactics for a magical assault. I find myself torn between working on Havenloft’s defenses, organizing and training its troops, and keeping an eye on Kosh. I know that the Fellowship trusts him, but my experience with half-drow is that even the ones who talk a good game will stab an ally in the back at the first opportunity.

Day 20: I pray to Angharradh tonight in the Lord Bard’s temple to many Gods. The army is here. Their assault on Havenloft should begin tomorrow. Temudgin is gone, teleported to Cormyr again. Hopefully his relief troops will arrive in time.

Day 21: Aster and Arianna stood atop the tallest tower, pegasi at their sides in case they should come under fire. He sang and played, driving our troops to feats of greatness they could never have otherwise attained. She directed our defense, following the plan I laid out for her. We made a good team… My knowledge of warfare and her ability to capture the minds and hearts of troops. The Cormyrians arrived just in time, as did the rest of the Fellowship. None of the Skymages attacking us were Eregul. I will find him however, and pry that ring from his cold, dead hand. Lady Shaeryl was among the rescued captives the fellowship brought back from the Twisted Tower. She is in good health, but knows nothing about her husband’s status. I promised Scothgar that I would let him know about his parents. I am hoping that you will tell him that his mother is alive.

Day 22: We traveled today to help a band of Aster’s men take a Zhentarim caravan filled with badly needed supplies. Eregul was there. I fear I must confess that he escaped me with the ring. I chased him when he retreated on his foul draconic mount, and cut the thing out from under him, but he had more than one means of escape at hand, and I could not follow when he teleported away.

Day 23: Most of the Fellowship has gone to take the Twisted Tower. A group of Silver Ravens from Sembia have arrived, and appear to be following the Lord Merchant’s commands. I remained behind to direct the restoration of Havenloft’s defenses. Most of the population of Shadowdale is here now; hopefully the supplies from the caravan will last until we retake the town.

Day 24: The last of the injured are now healed or dead. I cleaned the bandages and supplies from the temple to many Gods and remembered my times in the temple of Angharradh during my youth. I spent a great deal of time there, sometimes as a page, occupying a bed at others. It was there that I learned to prioritize my goals. The elven people must be protected if they are to accomplish anything.

Day 25: The Fellowship returned today with news of great evil born from Mourngrym’s hand. That evil’s true source proved to be a dark spirit that had possessed Scothgar’s father. We learned this when Mourngrym fell in battle and the thing chose the Lord Merchant as its new host. It attempted to work great evil against Cormanthor but was prevented by the vigilance of Lemac the Northern Barbarian and banished by Ivak and the power of Torm. Mourngrym was resurrected by Ivak and the grace of Torm, and both Mourngrym and Alejandro have been returned to their previous states. Please let Scothgar know that both of his parents are alive and as safe as any here.

Day 26: Today we prepare for War. Scyulla Darkhope marches her army against us. Wolf scouts have run to bring us word of their exact number and direction, but I have no doubt that we are massively outnumbered. We plan to make our stand in Shadowdale proper. The Lord Bard is currently constructing whatever fortifications can be put into place before then with his Lyre. Whichever path to the city our enemies choose, they will march between forests filled with casters and snipers before facing the Dalesfolk militia, our small group of mercenaries and an even smaller band of Silver Ravens. When the fortifications are overrun, we will skirmish in the streets of Shadowdale, beside wolves and other forest creatures attempting to do as much damage to the Zhentarim as possible. I say we because I do not intend to return home. While my mission was to retrieve the Warblade and return to Cormanthor, I cannot in good conscience leave. Every possible sword and bow is desperately needed here. If Shadowdale falls before her, Blackguard Darkhope will surely march on Cormanthor in the spring. We cannot afford to face the Black Network on two fronts… not and have any hope of handling the Drow. If the Queen can send archers, we would be deeply grateful. If she cannot she should consider sending whomever she intends to have draw the Warblade and claim it. I will guard both it and Cormanthor with my life, but one soldier’s life is a cheap thing on the field of battle.

Please wait a moment.

What?! Umm… sure.

Ayamalia Gwaew’kiir, are you still there?

Yes.

This is General Aravilar Aramil. Please describe your troop layouts and numbers for me.

(Does so.)

I see. Please wait a moment.

Yes sir.

Ayamalia, do you know who this is?

Yes, my queen.

Despite the interference from enemy wizards, we have scryed the forces approaching your location. They seem to outnumber your forces by about three to one.

...That is about what I expected, my queen.

I have some questions for you.

Of course, my queen.

Do you love my people and my country more than your own life?

Yes.

Would you give anything, give anything to protect Cormanthor and the elven people?

Yes.

Draw the Warblade.

...Yes, my queen. (long pause)

Ayamalia, are you there?

...Yes.

I am glad to hear that you are still with us.

I am glad to be with you as well.

Cormanthor remains under siege, but I shall send Aravilar and what few forces I can spare. Contact Azalar Falconhand and ask him if the fey will transport our troops by means of the crossroads. The will not arrive in time otherwise. I wish you to know that I had full intention of presenting the Warblade to you in all proper ceremony when you returned to Myth Drannor, and still hope to do so. Wield Ary’velahr’kerym well, Ayamalia. I expect to hear from you again.

This is General Aravilar Aramil. I will await your response. I also wish you to know that I am both pleased for and jealous of your recent accomplishment.

Thank you.

I have contacted Azalar. The fey should be there shortly to aid your travels.

Day 27: We battled for Shadowdale today. It was a long and horrid battle, filled with the deaths of far too many allies, but we have emerged victorious. The Zhentarim push into Shadowdale has been broken, and the remainder of the army has fled. While the Zhentarim ground forces hit our ramparts like a tidal wave, the Fellowship took to the air to face their leaders. Scyulla flew on her white nightmare Targaraene, accompanied by six Erinyes, a mounted skymage and Eregul riding a black dragon. I could not reach Eregul at first, so I focused on the erinyes with Ivak. Lemac was the first to close with the wizard, and he died, mangled by the dragon’s claws seconds before the Lord Merchant scored the final blow against the black beast. Scyulla was in one of her temporary ethereal retreats at the time, and Eregul darted away. Fearing a repeat of our last encounter, I gave chase, but his magic was more than enough to keep me from landing a blow on him. It was not Eregul who laid me low, but Scyulla reappearing from elsewhere, unholy sword raised to smite me. I do not know how I survived that blow. I do not even remember striking the ground. I opened my eyes to see Aster and Arianna standing over me, neither any more certain than I how it was I needed healing magic and not a resurrection. That was the moment when the black tentacles exploded from the ground to ensnare us. I managed to avoid capture long enough to dimension door the three of us back up to the combat. We faced Eregul while Ivak, Alejandro and Kinokee targeted Scyulla, but with much less effect. I began to fear that nothing we did would penetrate Eregul’s magic defenses, but seconds after Alejandro landed the killing blow against Scyulla Darkhope with enough force to drive her corpse from the back of her nightmare mount, Arianna managed to destroy him with the power of Sune. I snatched the ring from the air as it fell, the nightmare vanished and the Zhent leadership was eliminated. That was not the end of the battle of course. Ivak, Aster and Arianna went to assist with the wounded. Alejandro displayed Scyulla’s head to the Zhentarim, and I know not what Kinokee did. I used the power of the blade to shore up our defenses and eliminate the worst of our foes. The dragon Alejandro spoke of did appear, an ancient black whom I feared would turn on our forces. She confined herself to the Zhent rearguard, however, breaking the last of their will. Shadowdale is safe, a solid defense for Cormanthor’s flank once more.

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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.

Shit.

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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.

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