Feery's Leap

Session 80
Tomb and beyond
Gloryday, the 20th of Drowning 5060

The party explored the left and right wings of the tomb, and found a summoning circle and an empty bowl, respectively. During their investigation, the party noticed that the space was somehow warped in such a way that changed the way that magic functioned. Sender noticed that his divination spell did not expire when expected. Clearly, the architects of the tomb had some tricks up their sleeves.

Edane accidentally triggered a trap in the main hallway, which triggered the summoning circle. Luckily, Oervind and Gux were able to counterspell it, giving Valess a chance to disarm. Then Manudhar arrived to inspect the corpse and ask it probing questions.

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Session 79
Tomb Raiding
Forebodingday, the 7th of Drowning, 5060

The party reviewed the haul from the baron’s keep, and Valess and her friends went to meet with the dwarves for the reward, taking the dwarven goods and the flask found in the treasure trove. They came back with enough dwarven gold for each person to receive a 300gp share.

The dwarves said that the flask was the personal drinking flask from a member of a good family in a major mountain citadel. His family would be contacted, and a reward will be forthcoming.

Meeting Garrick Corm

Oervind got a lesser sending from Symon Jullet, magister MacArcher’s assistant. Symon reported that an “agent” had come to him with an object and information for trade, which may interest the party. They took the bait, and went to MacArcher’s tower to meet with the agent.

The agent, a roguish Tarshakan called Garrick Frazer Corm, claimed that he was acting on behalf of some friends of his, an adventuring company that had found a burial site that presented perils a bit beyond their skills. The party managed to get into the tomb, collect some samples, and bid a hasty retreat. They are recuperating in town.

Mr. Corm presented a tattered burial shroud, apparently a few hundred years old, long ago stamped with patterns that looked like they had come from an engraved tablet. Several party members could make out short passages of text, which led them to believe the imprint was from one of the stelae they have been collecting.

The shroud is a “proxy,” a temporary replica made via the spell Mephaniel’s proxy. The spell was developed in Greeling College in Orgolash, and is for sale.

Mr. Corm offered the proxy for sale to study (it will disappear after a week or so), and also indicated that his associates may also be willing to sell a captured image of the interior of the tomb, and the tomb’s location.

The party went for his deal, and further spent time impressing upon Corm that his associates stepped into something that is much, much over their head. They paid his price of 6,000 gp (in objets d’art and baronial florins) for the proxy shroud, the captured image of the tomb, and details of its whereabouts. They thanked magister Jullet, spent about an hour studying the proxy, notified their office and Sefu back in the Keep, then headed out into the hinterlands of Tarsh to find the tomb.

Reaching and Breaching the Tomb

Oervind sped ahead on a phantom steed while the party took the quickest overland route toward Wyrmwatch, the closest settlement to the tomb’s purported location. When Oervind reached Wyrmwatch on the 18th, he persuaded the wizards to let him leave an arcane mark with them, to teleport his party. Then he scried his sigil in Edane’s spellbook, and teleported to the party to collect them. Upon their arrival in Wyrmwatch, the wizards burned the sigil and sent them on their way.

It took two more days for the party to find the standing stones that marked the entrance to the barrow. A partial circle of worn megaliths, approximately ten feet high, edged up against the hill to enclose a 35’ lawn with a waist-high slab in the middle. The central “table” slab was stained with fresh blood, as if some hunter had recently used it as a convenient place to dress a recent catch. Where the lawn met the hillock, there was an irregular stone escarpment, extensively weathered.

Valess found a concealed mechanism as expected, and the party was able to pry open the door. The inside of the doors was engraved in an unfamiliar text (crude, but suggestive of a Draconic influence). Duly warned, the party let Valess lead, helping her search for traps. Momentarily ignoring the side passages, the party retraced the previous party’s steps, disarming the various magical and mechanical traps as they went.

Finally emerging from the hall to the central chamber, the party found a round domed chamber with many burial niches branching off, interspersed with engraved panels. In the center of the room, a sarcophagus was pried open, revealing a body wrapped in decayed cloth matching the proxy they had studied. Inside the sarcophagus was an inbuilt stone chest, which was open and empty. According to the report, the box was empty when the previous company reached the chamber.

Valess found traps on two of the inscriptions, which seemed specifically set to catch spellcasters trying to translate/ decipher the text. Circumventing those traps, Oervind and Sender read text that spoke of the glory of the “eternals,” incorruptible exemplars that inspire the most noble to rarefy their spirits and thus become similarly ageless and eternally vital. The expository nature of the inscriptions suggests that the chamber may have had a ritual training or initiatory purpose, since it was obviously meant to be kept secret, and those who already knew the secrets would have little need for such literature.

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Session 78
Robbing the baron
Forebodingday, the 7th of Drowning, 5060

After Valess returned from her exploration, the trio decided to improve their disguise (even with the slight risk of magical detection). Valess changed shape to mimic the guard they’d knocked off the wall. Edane swapped outfits with the guard, and Oervind just used a disguise self spell. As soon as they’d finished their disguise, Valess noticed a strange flux of energy, and the group heard a muffled whinny-like sound coming from the building below. Oervind thought that the horse noise sounded “too complex, like the bark of a blink dog.” They decided to flip the invisible rope to the interior side of the wall, and scramble down to investigate.

Meanwhile on the steppes, Shegger-Gork and Sender were interrupted in the middle of the night by a sudden burst of wind and the arrival of a sylph-like outsider. It said, “You are favored of my lord of freedom. I offer you a chance to aid your allies and further my lord’s cause. Your colleagues have need of your skills, and I can take you to them. Do you assent?”

The duo agreed to the sylphoid’s offer, and it started a whirlwind around them to teleport. As it began casting, it urged them to prepare themselves with any useful enchantments. They each cast a few spells, mounted up, and braced for transit.

The wind picked up around Edane’s party, and suddenly Shegger-Gork appeared before them. Edane explained the situation (and in the process discovered that an invisible Sender was also with him), and they went to investigate the source of the sound.

The horse-like noise turned out to be a pegasus stallion bound with a magic bridle, held in the stables. Valess undid the bridle, Shegger spoke with the pegasus, and then they decided to polymorph the pegasus into an owl to facilitate his escape. He gave them one of the feathers from his mane, and promised to meet them again soon. Then he accepted Oervind’s polymorph, and took wing.

Shegger talked to one of the horses to persuade it to participate in the next leg of their stable plan. They put the pegasus saddle on the horse, and loosely attached the bridle, then polymorphed it into the pegasus’ form. The horse, on cue, bolted out of the stables and took to the air. Mass chaos ensued throughout the keep. This provided the party ample cover to scramble back up the wall, run across the roof of the stables, and enter the main keep via an adjoining tower.

In the entry of the keep Valess (still disguised as the guard they’d dispatched) crossed paths with a servant of the keep. “Hurry!” s/he cried, “I’m coming to grab magic weapons. Which room?” The servant waved in toward the keep, “North end, center door.” Then the servant rushed out of the keep into the thronging chaos. At one point, Sender observed blink dogs that a few guards had, apparently blinking into the air to try to catch the pegasus.

The party headed north deeper into the keep, then found stairs down, into a short hallway where every door was locked. Sender cast knock to open one door, where he found wine, documents (including a few scrolls), and cheese.

While Sender was looting, Valess picked the locks on all the remaining doors. The party found the contraband, gathered what additional loot they could, had Oervind cast shrink item as many times as he dared, and then fled once the commotion seemed to be waning.

Edane and Oervind teleported back to the shop, while Sender used dimension door to take the others out of the keep. They stopped to retrieve Edane’s clothes and meet up with Valess’ friend waiting outside, then they fled into the night.

The group gathered back at the shop, and reviewed their haul.

  • stolen crates (gears, metal and ceramic plates, springs, bars… reminiscent of some strains of Tulani golemcraft) – these crates are marked with dwarven brands
  • Assorted potions
  • wands
    • sleep (CL 3, 28 charges)
    • web (CL 1, 6 charges)
  • 12 sleep arrows
  • 6 arrows of slaying (humanoids, human)
  • 3 arrows of slaying (monstrous humanoids)
  • money chest (3,000 Tarsh florins (TF): local baronial currency worth 3000gp in Tarsh, 1000gp elsewhere)
  • items from the baron’s ceremonial closet: coat of arms, badge and sash of office, ermine-lined stole, short cloak with coat of arms, fancy booties
  • 3 chests of objets d’art
    • ear cuffs, silver with gem flecks
    • ear piercings, large, gold
    • painting, portrait, elderly human nobleman
    • painting, landscape, castle
    • painting, landscape, pastoral
    • tapestry, battle of Whyte’s Peak
    • tapestry, elven pattern
    • tapestry, family portrait
    • bust, nobleman
    • brocaded cloak, full-length, brown and gold with blue accents
    • ring, silver with blue stones
    • ring, onyx with carved pattern
    • ring, silver with black stones
    • ring, silver and gold braid
    • ring, gold, plain
    • torc, hammered gold
    • torc, hammered gold and copper
    • torc, unknown silver metal
    • candelabra, gold and silver, ornate
    • box, small, fine wood marquetry
    • box, small silver filigree
    • box, small silver filigree with inscription (Tarshakan, “for my sweet”)
    • tin, unknown metal, full of (non-magical) unguent
    • tin, brass, full of (non-magical) unguent
    • tin, brass, full of bitter white powder
    • glass philtre, scented oil, reddish
    • glass philtre, scented oil, brown
    • glass philtre, scented oil, milky green
    • glass philtre, scented alcohol, clear
    • glass ampoule, oil (unknown)
    • glass bottle, sealed, label illegible
    • glass bottle, sealed, with label (Hobbit, “Seaton Valley Estates, Spring #32”)
    • glass bottle, sealed, with label (Hobbit, “Seaton Valley Estates, Fall #30”)
    • glass bottle, sealed, with label (Tarshakan, “from Eolmagandr’s horde”)
    • druidically-crafted wooden bottle, sealed, with label (Elven, “tears of Ioun’s passion”)
    • flask, bronze, with inscription (Dwarven, “Jukki F. Druggrsgalgr, Lt. Sergeant, Cidin Kazar”)
    • box, fine wood, full of white pastilles
    • box, common wood, full of dried herbs
    • box, fine wood, full of incense resin granules
    • cutlery, engraved, alchemical silver with ivory handles (16 knives, 15 spoons)
    • charger, 36", hammered brass with gold inlay
    • bowls, carved stone (3)
    • bowl, ceramic, white with painted patterns
    • bowl, ceramic, white with gold and blue patterns
  • 1 chest of assorted masterwork arms and armor (est. market value 2000gp)
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Session 77
Hijinx in Orgolash
Forebodingday, the 7th of Drowning, 5060

Dropping in

Edane, Oervind, and Valess teleported into the company’s tailor shop in Orgolash. After surprising their employees goofing off. After having words with them, the party members went to the Spanking Sovreign to inquire about the whereabouts of Valess’ friends. The friends had gone to a nearby theater to watch a play.

Sneaking in

Valess’ friends were there, watching a dramatization of a scene from the history of Wyrmwatch. The friends were Sammary Brentman, a stoic leather-clad half-elf; Etheldar Sterling, a human jack-of-all-trades; and Merendiel “Star-Eyes” Greyne, a half-elf priestess of the Poetess.

Sammary told the party about an incident they’d been looking into: a shipment of supplies for a dwarven bridge project went missing, and they believe they traced it to an unscrupulous baron. If the baron has the goods, it’s a secret, and he wouldn’t be able to act against anyone who managed to claim the goods. The dwarves will pay handsomely for the reclaimed goods.

Unfortunately, their skills weren’t up to the task, and they only got so far as to case the baron’s keep. They discovered that the baron’s keep has about two dozen guards, a few dogs, and at least one device for detecting magic at a distance. They identified major features of the keep, and the most likely place(s) the baron might keep such goods.

Edane offered to lead a few of the group into the keep to attempt retrieval. The fewer people the better, so they allowed Etheldar and Merendiel to stay behind. Sammary joined the party to shadow them and lend assistance if they ran into difficulties. The four of them bought fancy (non-magical) camouflage capes for the approach to the keep, and snuck up under cover of darkness after the moons had set. After some dicey moments, they reached the keep wall. Valess scaled the wall and dropped a rope for Oervind and Edane to climb up.

Once on the wall, they could see a few of the guards walking the grounds and the walls, going from tower to tower. They also saw the main building of the keep rising nearby, but struggled to decide on a way forward. Valess shrunk herself to squeeze through an arrow slit to do some further investigation. Meanwhile, Edane and Oervind heard a guard coming, used some dust of disappearance to turn invisible, surprised the guard, disabled him, and tossed him from the wall. Then Valess returned, also invisible, and used a message power to contact them.

Reunited and at risk of discovery, the party wondered still: how to proceed?

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Session 76
To Orgolash via Tula

Sea Rune

When Oervind prepared to take the group home from Sea Rune, he quickly discovered that something was woefully amiss with his attempts to cast teleport. The casting seemed much more difficult, and threatened to produce a large amount of drag, as if he were discharging huge amounts of energy. Through several attempts, they determined that he could reduce the drag by casting very slowly, but any attempts to reach a location not marked with an arcane mark would be likely to trigger spellfire on either the departure or arrival end. They did not determine whether this would happen while Oervind was present to feel the blast.

This prompted the party to divert to Tula in hopes of learning more, and possibly purchasing a device to ease the difficulties.

Arriving in Tula found the Rainbow City in a tumult. Some magic items were failing, and several conjuration spells (like teleport) had triggered messy accidents. The college regents had instituted a ban on teleportation and transportation magic in the city, though they had few means of enforcement. While Valess took the entrance exam for Tula, Oervind fished for gossip among his college peers, and Edane went to find her mother and tell her what they’d learned about her father.

Edane’s mother gave her a jewel of grounding, a gift now that she’s become a serious spellcaster. She was comforted to hear that Afvaldr did not die in battle, but sad that the trail went cold in Sea Rune.

Oervind returned from visits with colleagues, with news about the Silver Serpent and his mysterious but well-connected patron. The patron has several operatives that rummage the ruins and markets of the Wilderlands (and beyond), and seems to be a powerful immortal with an obsession with the history of the Dragon Lords of Oricha. Its operatives include another common Orichalan vampire scholar (the Chime of the Eleventh Hour), a gith warlock called the Bloodless Blade, and a Viridian witch named Eidolouna. The patron is presumed to be a common Orichalan wizard of great power, possibly a vampire, operating in some remote redoubt.

Oervind had also heard about the Bloodless Blade sniffing around for some Orichalan stone tablet that had surfaced in Vertigo. Rumor has it that it was almost indestructible, and had been used as a sacrificial altar to Apep the Ceaseless Devourer. Only one chunk is believed to have survived, and drifter merchants are looking for potential buyers.

Edane passed a note to Sefu that they were being held up in Tula, and then hunkered down for a few days to let news trickle in, see if they could be any help, and figure out the best way to leave town. At this point, Valess showed the group an item that she was carrying, a key element in her yet-to-be-elaborated personal pilgrimage. Wrapped in magic-dampening and scry-proof chamois, she had the top half of a stela, part of the set inscribed by Anroulis Shining-Echo.

Gâshek left to return to his master’s service in Vertigo, and when Edane was confident that her mother was in no immediate danger and there was nothing more worth discovering in Tula at the moment, they left port via the Eyetalon, and teleported once they were well clear of the city. There were no incidents in their teleport jumps to Sea Rune, then Sitoon, and finally Orgolash, where they decided to give Valess a few days to contact friends before traveling with the party for a while.

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Happy New Year - Arcane Event
Mysterious event disrupts transit effects, some magic items

Early in the day on the first day of the Takvim calendar, there was a strange energy lurch, felt by powerful sensitives across the Wilderlands. Many wizards and clerics reported sudden and inexplicable bouts of vertigo, nausea, dread and disorientation that passed very quickly. Though symptoms like this are known to occur when triggering a spell sink or mana drought, this appears to have happened simultaneously across vast areas.

After this event, diverse sources reported unusual failure of magic items, and difficulties casting transportation magic. Teleport and plane shift, in particular, have become difficult to operate, taking longer to successfully cast and presenting a sudden penchant for producing bursts of spellfire. Traveling to locations marked with an arcane mark seems to produce much less of a disturbance, reducing the risk of an outburst.

More information about this event will come to light as adventurers and scholars have time to experiment and study the problem.

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Session 75: Sea Rune

Edane, Oervind, and Gâshek took the Eyetalon in search of her father’s story, and learned that the ship on which he served, the Skraemir, sailed south from Pokrantil to engage in the reconquest of Sea Rune twenty years ago. The Eyetalon sailed south, and stopped at a mist-shrouded island where elven druids and Skandik women sworn to Iðunn, goddess of immortality. They confirmed that the Skraemir, under captain Gaerlingdagr the Woodwose, stopped on their isle for blessings before sailing on Sea Rune.

The Eyetalon approached Sea Rune from the north, and made landfall a half dozen miles north, to cover the rest of the way by foot. Along the way, they found an elven pilgrim (Valess) who appeared to have dropped in from the plane of Entropy. They invited her to accompany them on their journey.

Sea Rune turned out to be a rough place, and wary of strangers. Edane’s natural charm, knowledge of the language, and ability to drop the right names assuaged their suspicions, and the local “greeters” escorted the party to the pub where a toothless old human (Þórbrandr) recounted memories of his time serving under Gaerlingdagr and Afvaldr the skald. The last time he had seen Afvaldr was a few years after taking the town, at a celebration in Bragi’s temple.

A trip to Bragi’s temple brought the party more of the story:

The ship and her officers survived the battle, and Gaerlingdagr received a section of the town as her trophy. Afvaldr apparently retired to the newly-erected temple of Bragi, Iðunn’s husband. He and Gaerlingdagr both disappeared from public view within a few years of the conquest of Sea Rune. The temple has a small shrine to Afvaldr, where a few offerings have been left over the years.

The company lodged overnight in the temple, giving Edane time to embroider a little memento to leave at her father’s shrine.

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Session 74: The handoff

The party showed up right on time, and the Silver Serpent of the Ivory Tower welcomed them (and gave them a tour). He announced the function of each room, and presented to them the vampire (6) and mortal (3) survivors. Sender invited the surviving halfling minion to stay on with them in the keep. As for the two hobgoblins, he marked them with his arcane mark, told them that he’d be watching them, and sent them to Seth-Durrash in Feery’s Leap for training and reeducation.

When the tour was completed, the Silver Serpent led the party back into the foyer. He snapped his fingers to dismiss the sunshade in the courtyard (frying the vampires there). Then he called out in Draconic to Orovoël, guardian of the bridge to the Ivory Tower. A celestial (angel?) appeared in the teleport circle, saying, “As I am called, so I appear.” They clasped hands with the passive-faced celestial, and with a shimmer they disappeared.

Going through the keep afterward, the party found sunproof cloaks, masterwork shortbows, arrows (several poisons, acid), masterwork leather armor, bedding for 4 halflings and 6 goblinoids, summoned food, alchemical seasonings, several casks of sun-proof varnish, a wand of acid arrow with a hunter-seeker arcane embellishment, a drawer with some exceptional alchemical components, and the Silver Serpent’s notes.

The Silver Serpent’s personal notes take some time to decipher, but they talk about some ancient heretics who fled their rightful place in the Chain of Being (?) to fraternize with lesser races in the hinterlands. When their heresy was revealed, they went to war with the Empire, and were eventually defeated. This seems to have transpired shortly before the Empire’s precipitous decline. What is the link? Who were the heretics? What actually happened? This appears to have been his major line of research.

[The notes provide a +2 research bonus to Knowledge (history, ancient) on the subject of Oricha and the empire of the Dragon Kings. They may also give the characters a bonus to skill checks to figure out other puzzles yet to be discovered.]

In addition to the Oricha notes that were part of the agreement, there are some scrolls that bear transcriptions of Classic Orichalan texts, with several attached scrolls of commentary. The source documents are incredibly difficult to understand, and the commentaries speak at length about the possible or likely meanings of various passages. One of the pages appears to be nothing but numbers and abbreviations linked by strange symbols.

The alchemy lab had a short stack of extra-large sheets of parchment (2′×3′). Several sheets buried in the stack were full of extensive research notes for solutions that could (possibly) pinch space, smoke out teleport points, and induce powerful hallucinations of the ancient past.

Edane figured that some of these items may have been unintentionally left behind, and asked if either Aranethon or Gux would cast a sending to the Silver Serpent to let him know that they had these items.

The party then agreed to spend the winter tending to their respective affairs. Gux and Feordin traveled back to Feordin’s home town to bring lively stories, and stop briefly in Valon to make an appearance before Gux’s family. At both locations, Gux left an arcane mark to allow for easier return. Sefu led the conversion efforts at the keep, and oversaw construction of outbuildings and a well. Edane and Gâshek sailed around the Winedark Sea looking for settlement recruits and clues about her father, and Oervind joined them after some time laboring to enhance the keep/ settlement. Sender and Shegger Gork spent two months scouting the steppes, looking for places of interest near their new home. Aranethon spent the winter alternating between the Charm Tree and the keep, meditating on his past and recent discoveries. Seth-Durash whipped the hobgoblins into shape. After an unpleasant altercation, Seth-Durash, his child, and the hobgoblins relocated to the keep.

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Session 73: Raising the roof

The party threw open the door, and faced a mixed group of halflings, hobgoblins, and lavender-skinned humans. Most of these, it turned out, were vampires. Creative combat skills made short work of most of the combatants, until the halfling in charge (and his beautiful bauble of elemental power) retreated into the next room and a wall of force sealed him away from harm.

The wall of force was courtesy of another lavender human, a scholar whose paraphernalia suggested an alchemical bent. He addressed the party in Elven, asking to parley. Edane and Feordin took the bait.

The man identified himself as the Silver Serpent of the Ivory Tower. He and his colleague the Jade Raven (the spelly-rogue halfling) had traveled to the steppes at the request of their unspecified patron, a powerful figure who consorts with liches, dragons, and elemental princes. Their patron had a rubbing from an ancient Orichalan stela, and consulting with the Grand Vizier of Orgolash led him to search the Steppes for clues to the rest of the stelae.

The Silver Serpent showed them (from behind the wall) a rubbing from the stela, which Edane read aloud to the party. Her ability to read the stela impressed him, and eased the parley considerably.

The Silver Serpent agreed that he and the Jade Raven would leave the keep to the party, making the hand-off in 48 hours. They would hand over their servants (vampires and mortals) for the party to address as they see fit. They would also leave their servants’ goods, their rubbing of the stela, and some scrolls on Orichalan history. They would not return or interfere for three hundred years – if they sought to return for some reason, they would contact Edane, Feordin, or the current inhabitants to obtain prior consent.

In exchange for this, they received Edane’s transcript of the party’s stela and the freedom to leave with their lives and personal effects.

Both parties swore an oath of non-retribution: neither to attack the other party nor to bring the other party indirect harm through action or inaction. They agreed to meet again in 48 hours (just before noon) to enact the hand-off.

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Session 72: House Hunters, Steppes Edition!

After a two week hiatus, most of the party gathered in Orgolash, and teleported back to the Feery’s Leap access point. Their friends in Feery’s Leap gave them a list of potential sites, and they set off to pick up Aranethon and go on a tour of the sites.

  1. Norikhan is a now-abandoned nomadic settlement on a fork of the Dustwash River. The water is good for rafting and small boats, but too shallow for the Eyetalon. While it is 60 miles from the nearest teleport access point, it’s the nearest option to Feery’s Leap. It is good for habitation, but not their ideal choice.
  2. Sihan’s Fall is a shrine a bit downriver from Norikhan. About a dozen faithful are left to maintain the site, which features a crumbling wizard’s tower and sparse but active defenses. They have regular contact with Feery’s Leap, and have a partial teleport access point (requiring a caster level check). It is three miles from the river.
  3. “Leaping Fish” is a site on the Glinting River (tributary to the Dustwash). It is on navigable water, and features a good building site with teleport access. Its nearest neighbor is Sihan’s Fall.
  4. “Lakeside” is a host of potential sites on the Lake of Tears, where the Dustwash river goes to die. The lake is a little marshy, but not as salty as the sea. There isn’t much fishing at any point on the lake, but there are some game in the area, and some serviceable building sites with navigable water. The Lake of Tears has not been adequately explored; there may be teleport access, or other points of interest.
  5. A mysterious stone keep sprang up in less than a month on a riverside hill just downstream from Sihan’s Fall. A matching bridge was built to span the river. The residents warn and shoot all passers-by. They even shoot birds.

The last option caught the party’s attention the most. Considering how recent events have effectively depopulated the Steppes, it’s reasonable to be suspicious of any unannounced arrivals who can apparently whip a stone fortress out of thin air.

After napping with Aranethon under the Charm Tree (always a restful sleep, and a source of interesting dreams), the party followed the river to Norikhan, then continued riding until the river was deep enough to take the Eyetalon. They overnighted with the kind folks at Sihan’s Fall, where Edane plied them for information about the new keep. They underscored what little had already been gathered: two months ago there was nothing there, one month ago there was a paranoid keep.

The party set sail for the keep in the morning. As they spotted it on the horizon, they loaded Feordin up with protection and invisibility. He assumed crow form, and flew to check out the keep. It was of unfamiliar construction, but apparently local materials. It was octagonal, with octagonal towers on each corner. It had a central (octagonal) courtyard, and was lined with glass windows and arrow slits.

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After Feordin had flown by a few towers, an arrow shot out past him. Someone inside could detect invisibility – and apparently invisible visitors were even less welcome than visible ones.

The arrow shot, warning shot or not, sparked the party to launch a full-scale invasion. The defenders put up a sunshade over the entire building, and Feordin saw perhaps a dozen occupants gearing up before they drew a curtain over his window. The party started casting fly and other useful spells, and Edane took the boat closer (through arrow fire) until they were close enough for Aranethon to put up a wind wall beside the keep. That allowed them to get closer, as one by one they flew off the ship. When everyone else was off, Edane threw the ship in her pocket and flew to join her friends.

As he flew toward the keep, Aranethon found a good sight line for casting blistering radiance in the keep’s courtyard. The inner walls somewhat contained the dazzling blast, but Feordin and the rapidly-approaching Sender could clearly hear the shouts of alarm that ensued.

Sender did some scrying on his approach, to determine a viable dimension door location under one of the tower doors that Feordin had spotted. Once he’d done a little analysis, Sender popped into the tower stairwell, to surprise the halfling archer there. Gâshek followed to provide support, and to open the door while Sender took care of the archer. Within moments, the party was on top of the tower or in the stairwell, with the archer disabled by fits of magical laughter. Gâshek held the door as other guards gathered beyond, and the party readied to throw open the door and engage their “hosts…”

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