Campaign Journal – Nuwmont 24 1007AC
Soaring far above the high mountains that separated Rovaeren from a vast wilderness, the Raven’s Companions were thankful for the thick furs the reawakened elves of that land had gifted them. Aloft the vast wilderness dividing that sylvan realm and the Known World, the party could now rightly count themselves heroes of four realms – Blackmoor, Darokin, Rovaeren and Alfheim.
Thus, it was fitting their long trip home astride the backs of massive Rocs was as epic as the party’s arrival in Rovaeren by way of an enchanted rainbow – a bridge to those who mastered its secrets and a trap to others. A misunderstanding of the rainbow’s prism led the party to a dangerous encounter with a red dragon in a red land. Fortunately, they escape the dragon's fiery breath and managed to unlock the rainbow’s chromatic mysteries.
Rovaeren itself was only a shade removed from the Feywild and home to various guardians of its secrets – some whimsical and some deadly. In their search for the twelve keys to open Rovaeren’s ruined vault, the party reunited the Narwhal and the Nymph, wrestled with a tiny, but fearsome, fairy, toppled a living iron statue, weighed coins, deceived a clutch of manticores, and, of course, befriended the Roc.
Holding to their Star Map tightly, the party was not deterred by Shadow Elves, otherworldly wails and howls, lonely oaks that had their hearts gouged out, nor an ambush of Unseelie Fey and their terrifying hound. It was only the original Tree of Life’s undead guardians – the Banshee of its former Treekeeper and ghastly elven warriors – that nearly kept them from their task.
Reviving those Companions felled by the Banshee’s mournful cry, the party was able to decipher and perform a millennia old elven ritual that woke the ancient tribe sequestered within the trees of the forest. Suspicious and disoriented at first, the elves soon understood the party had saved them from the Shadow Elves who had been using Radiance-impregnated “soul crystals” to warp the Tree of Life hidden under Rovaeren’s ruins.
The Tree, carrier of the essence of Ilsundal and mother to the Trees of Life of Alfheim, could now be nursed to health by its ancient caretakers, consequently restoring the daughter Trees of Alfheim. In gratitude, the Tree healed Arwan and Caelnach and the Rovaerish elves presented the party with gems, enough food to get home, and a diplomatic missive to their descendants in the Canolbarth. They also presented the party with a vial of oil of sunlight – a relic of ancient elven air magic – with hope that the art of building legendary flying “lightships” might be restored in cooperation with Alfheim.
Perhaps it was the bitter cold, the memory of the Banshee’s mournful cry, or the story of the destruction of Blackmoor, but some of the Companions could not avoid a melancholic introspection of the cost of their victories. As relayed by the Rovaerish elder, it appeared the antics of the “Far Travelers” both inspired Blackmoor to greatness and led to its destruction in the terror of the Great Rain of Fire. The Great Rain also indirectly led to Rovaeren’s original destruction and the flight of the Feadiel clan when corrupted survivors of Blackmoor sought to conquer the sylvan realm. The party’s victory over The Master led to untold loss of life when a meteor was hurled by an angry nemesis into Glantri and Darokin. Possibly the vengeful hand of Rad and the Fellowship of the Star had a role in the events that took Sylvana’s life after the party's thwarting of their plans. Would it be that the saving of Alfheim, presumably a boon to the Ring of Fire, could lead to other unintended consequences?
Not even the unusual places and peoples overflown on their return to the Known World could distract the thoughts of some of the party. Enormous coniferous forests, an empty cold desert, nomadic tribes of humans and humanoids, a temple on a remote peak circled by shining Gold Dragons, and what appeared to be a moving, floating city peeking out from behind pillowy clouds were just some of the spectacular sites.
Mayhap such worries were wiped away when the Companions landed to fanfare in Alfheim Town. They were greeted enthusiastically by affable King Doriath, “By Ilsundal’s grace we are so glad for your return! When the Trees of Life started to revive, we took it as a sign of your success, though we had no news of you. After interrogating the Shadow Elf you captured, it was clear they meant to replace us on the surface world. A portal of sorts was found in the “Dark Watcher’s” cave that led into a vast warren of tunnels and caverns. Many brave warriors fell to traps, twisted creatures, wild magic and the swords and arrows of the Shadow Elves. Still…we blunted their invasion.”
Looking uncharacteristically grave, the fair-haired King continued “It appears their underground realm is vast. It might stretch as far as Glantri and The Broken Lands. A captured shaman told how the Shadow Elves once lived on the surface and were pursued from Rovaeren relentlessly across the wilderness by corrupted men – along with the Feadiels. In a desperate attempt to save themselves they exploded some terrible weapon of a lost empire. It drove them underground for some 2000 years and created The Broken Lands we think. Their 'City of the Stars' apparently rests under The Broken Lands. They believe their god Rafiel … a keeper of ancient wisdom and strange relics … wants them to find some ‘Nucleus of the Spheres.’ It powers their ‘Soul Crystals,’ which powers their magic in turn. It seems the richest reserves of these stones may be somewhere under Glantri. A cruel race, they leave deformed babies in empty caverns to die from exposure or beasts. No matter…you saved us from their hands!”
Leading the Companions to his private quarters in the Clan Palace he admitted it was uncomfortable to reside in a building, but he suffers it for foreign guests. “Now, my favorite part! Arwan, clan Feadiel has seen fit to grant you membership in their tribe. Eaeros, you have my invitation to attend and perform for me at any time, for which you will be well compensated of course. Niko, Clan Mealidil will allow you access to their venerable Library Tree – an honor not bestowed upon a human in 200 years. Caelnach…I daresay, I do not know what would make your wanderer’s heart happy, but you are granted the freedom of our woods. And, as final reward to all of you, please accept this example of our craftsmanship – a Cloak of Elvenkind.”
“So, where will you all next? Ach…I miss my days adventuring. King is nice, but it feels a bit like prison. Please don’t spare me any tales! While you were gone, the conflict between the Ethengars and Heldanners has certainly heated up. Some say driven by hunger caused by the ash cloud and some say driven by the Heldanner’s cruel raids, the Ethengar took to their horses and have besieged Freiburg and Vanya’s temple fortress. I hear there are thousands of horse warriors at their walls. Some of them have even raided into Soderfjord and Vestland. I’m sure this news of this war in their backyard makes the Thyatian Empire nervous. The Thyatians have enough to worry about with the Isle of Dawn slipping into Alphatian hands and I’m certain they would prefer the Heldanners free to protect their backsides. I wish I could make more sense of this?”
42th, 43rd and 44th sessions – XP 12,120 (total all sessions: 105,000)