Bear Claws

63. Follow Me
This way to Bahamut...

Characters: James, Roland, Xaladin, Alton, Jak, Izera, Althaea, Jalissa, Glamor, Kira
Level: 19
Location: Tu’narath, The Fortress of Three Sorrows
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Esuriit, Mary, Gharvag, Rhapsody

Xaladin, Izera, Jalissa, Kira and Jak take a portal to Tu’narath and meet up with a githyanki who is working with the separatists. He leads them to bar run by a tiefling woman named Rhapsody. She explains that the Emperor has figured out what they are doing and is executing anybody even remotely associated with the rebels.

When she discovers that they have friends coming by ship her and Gharvag have an idea that is a last desperate attempt to seize back their empire. Vlaakith CLVIII has been captured and is being held in The Fortress of Three Sorrows, a floating fortress about a mile off of the city proper. If the other group can bring their ship close enough and make a raid on the Fortress to free her at the same time as this group attacks Zetch’r’r then they have one final chance to free their people. The separatists are going to activate all their cells around the city at that moment as well so that the city will be distracted.

The Scepter of Ephelomon is the symbol of the pact that githyanki have made with the dragons of Tiamat. If the scepter is taken from Zetch’r’r then the dragons will no longer fight for him.

Xaladin sends a sending to Alton and tries to tell him the plan. He is able to get enough across that Alton knows they should attack the Fortress and not to kill Vlaakith.

Althaea questions the githyanki prisoner in the hold and he tells her that the Fortress of Three Sorrows is one of the defensive cordon around the githyanki capital city. He helps point it out and helps them avoid the blockade around the city, which seems to be on high alert.

Alton, James, Roland, Glamor, and Althaea pilot close to the Fortress of Three Sorrows and attack. The githyanki fight back brutally, firing ballistae at them. Things are pretty tense when Althaea and then James are knocked unconscious from their wounds but they manage to clear the surface of the Fortress by fleeing back to their ship and using the spell turrets to pick off the remaining enemies.

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Fortress of Three Sorrows Map
Tu’narath

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62. Don't feed the dragon...
...he bites Minotaurs.

Characters: James, Roland, Xaladin, Thornside, Alton, Jak
Level: 18/19
Location: The Astral Sea, The Citadel Mercane
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Esuriit

Jak catches up with the Bear Claws while killing two of the Pact Dragons. He lands on Xaladin and James, knocking James unconscious after being newly revived. He gives James a healing potion and James begins applying his healing magics.

The ship they are on, the Cev’ren, is drifting into the portal to the Astral Sea, it’s helm is locked. James tries to steer a different direction but can’t figure out the unfamiliar helm. They bring Roland and Kada’ne over to the Cev’ren and cut their disabled ship loose.

Emil and Pattie, riding on the back of Fariex shout for them to throw the key to them before they pass into the portal. Thornside tries to anchor their ship to the copper dragon but his arrow bounces off Fariex’s scales and the Cev’ren passes through the portal to the other side.

There are more than three dozen githyanki war ships surrounding the portal. One of them sounds a horn blast and comes about, moving toward them. Kada’ne wakes up and tells them they are going to die. He will give them a life boat and let them live if they will surrender.

They refuse and he instructs them to wave a white flag in response to one of the other ships messages. Thornside, thinking Kada’ne is trying to trick them, waves a blue flag. The githyanki immediately start sounding horns, alerting all the other ships and the begin to close in on the Cev’ren in a loose sphere. The Bear Claws jump into action and ram the closest ship, shearing off it’s masts then turn and flee, dodging between attacking githyanki ships.

They manage to steer the ship through the foray, only taking minor damage to the ship from the fire and lightning attacks of the other ships before they break away and flee into a cloud of night.

In the cloud they hear and then see an Astral Dreadnought swimming past through the astral sea, it’s mouth large enough to swallow their entire ship. They move along through night for a few days, repairing the damage and exploring the ship.

On the third day they meet an Aaracokra fisherman who is casting nets to find Astral Trout — which he claims taste like ‘your god has welcomed you home, when they’re fresh.’

He realized they do not know how to navigate and gives them a crash course on the six directions in the Astral Sea (North, South, East, West, Zith and Terth). He also tells them that they might find a portal home in the Citadel Mercane which is inside the Blood Mountain about a day and half North by Zithwest.

The Bear Claws arrive at the Citadel and dock their ship inside the huge cavern that holds the Citadel Mercane. One of the local sailors tells them to stay at the Dreaming Spire because anywhere else is too dangerous.

Prices here are exorbitant.

The Bear Claws fly across to the Citadel and go inside where they find a giant Bazaar of randomly floating earthmotes that are covered with booths and stalls and even a few permanent buildings.

The Bazaar, because of it’s random nature, has a constructs that act as guides to show people how to find what they need. Roland, James and Xaladin schedule a portal to the Material Plane for the next day at a ridiculous high rate before heading to the Dreaming Spire where they find people expecting them, asking if they are there for Rel’thrik.

When Roland says yes they give him a box that opens when he places his thumb on the indentation on the bottom. An image of a githyanki appears and says that the Dark Lady’s spies are everywhere and he has failed in his mission. “If you still want an alliance go to Tu’narath, we will find you.”

As Roland is leaving he hears some shouting and sees Emil standing on a table hopping up and down and gulping from a mug as he waves his hand at his mouth. Sitting near him is Pattie and Mary.

The Bear Claws approach, confused at how they got there. James, has gone to get a massage and Thornside is busy loading up all the prank paraphernalia he can carry.

Emil explains that the githyanki separatists approached the Coalition about an alliance and asked to meet their representative, Rel’thrik, here. Emil is the representative, Mary and the Daughters of IO are his protection. With the Bear Claws gone the Coalition doesn’t have their go-to heroes and they Amyria is struggling to keep things together after the coup that she helped them stage to thwart Quelenna and the other Coalition members.

After the Bear Claws tell them about the message and that they learned earlier that Rel’thrik was murdered by a trio of dark angels they suggest going to Tu’narath to meet up with the the separatists.

Pattie points out the the Bear Claws are pretty noticeable as a group and suggests that they split up, half of the Daughters of IO with half of the Bear Claws could take a portal that Izera will be able to open for them. The other half of each group will take the Cev’ren.

With that plan in mind they give Kada’ne’s key to Brin to take back to Amyria.

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61. Roll the Dice...
...who do you want to be today.

Characters: James, Roland, Xaladin, Thornside, Alton
Level: 18
Location: The Well of Worlds, Garaitha’s Anvil
NPCs: Amyria, Bejam, Emil, Pattie, Haryssus, Mary, Althaea, Izera, Thera, Jalissa, Glamor, Kira, Quelenna, Caliandra, Eoffram Troyas, Fariex the Scalehammer, Brik, Del, Galadorn, Lorne, McCross, Thoran, Megan Swiftblade, Sylen Leafrunner, Ragnum Dourstone, Ghenna Tenson, Madrick, Bede, Buttercup, Loovat, Misty, Brak, Blightfang, Nathyra, Conrad the Black, Rufus Cromley, Brin, Reniss, Tokk’it, Falrinth

The Bear Claws learn more about the Well of Worlds. It appears to be a True Portal and a scrying focus at the same time. When they return to the portal chamber they find the pool of healing water has turned into a substance that looks like a rich dark wine. Roland tastes it and his skin turns blue and his hair turns into a wave of water. He suddenly finds he can sense the liquid in the pool and that he might be able to manipulate it. He becomes a Water Genasi.

Thornside see this and takes a taste as well. He instantly gets ten years younger, resembling a 9 year old boy. Alton refuses to drink it but studies it and realizes that the chaos added to the pool has made its effects random.

Thornside takes another drink and gets lucky enough that he returns to his original age.

Xaladin is tempted but he doesn’t drink from the pool. Thornside and Roland bottle up some of it for later use.

Amyria and Bejam come through the portal with the Coalition leaders. Quelenna, Troyas and Caliandra are upset that Amyria is using Coalition resources to attack the githyanki. They think that those resources would be better used to bolster defenses of Coalition lands. James punches her in the face. Roland calls him off and gives her a healing potion which Thornside adds a drop from the pool to. Quelenna drinks the potion and turns into a githyanki. Everyone is shocked and Roland tells them that the chaos of the area has messed with the healing potion and it will go away in a few days.

Quelenna believes and Amyria puts her off by asking to speak in private with the Bear Claws. She tells them that nothing will get done if the Coalition has a say. She wants the Bear Claws to rally everyone together to go fight the githyanki.

The Bear Claws use the Well of Worlds to scry on Quick — who is being reprimanded along with Pug. They also look for a key to the Well of Worlds. They find one on Admiral Kada’ne, a githyanki leader who appears to be inside of a giant shipyards that is built on the inside of a sphere.

Bejam tells them that with Haryssus’ help and a couple days study he can give them one use of the Well of Worlds to go anywhere they want. Amyria wants to send the 100 heroes that are there, into the shipyards as a distraction while the Bear Claws get the key then return to one of the dozens of linked portals in the shipyard.

The Bear Claws rally the troops to the disgust of Quelenna. Fariex the Scalehammer joins them and reveals himself to be a copper dragon and says he will join the battle.

The Bear Claws step through the portal to see Kada’ne’s ship lifting away from the docks and fleeing toward the astral portal high above. All about the shipyard chaos reins. Fariex swoops about, spitting acid at nearly finished ships while Emil and Pattie cling to his back sniping at githyanki as he flies past. Other heroes can be seen fighting in different places all about the shipyard.

The Bear Claws board a smaller, faster ship and take off after Kada’ne. They catch him just as their ship is disabled by the blasts of lightning coming from Kada’ne’s ship and the attacking dragon knights.

The gityhanki cast out boarding lines and lash the two ships together as they drift ever nearer to the astral portal. The ghityanki attack and the Bear Claws respond in kind nearly wiping out the githyanki. Kada’ne, getting frustrated that his crew was being wiped out before his eyes moved in for the attack. James met him head on and Kada’ne sliced him up and left him unconscious on the decks of the Cev’ren. He leaped over to the Bear Claws ship and did the same to Xaladin.

Roland and Thornside backed away shooting at him and he went down with an arrow through the leg, pinning to him to the deck of the ship.

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60. Roger, Roger...
What's our Vector, Victor

Characters: James, Roland, Jak, Xaladin, Thornside, Althaea
Level: 17
Location: The Fane of Chanhiir, The Well of Worlds
NPCs: Talanee, Amyria, Bejam, Emil, Pattie

Talanee and her githyanki tidy up the place by gathering all the bodies into a single room. Then they remove the force field protecting the portal at the center of the building. Talanee explains that this is a portal that allows people to move between planes at will and is linked to an ancient, extra-planar place called the Well of Worlds.

Her and her people go through the portal but the Bear Claws can’t tell where they went. They send a sending to Amyria to tell her what they found and she asks for the portal sigils. After James sends them to her she comes through the portal followed by Bejam, Althaea and Emil and Pattie.

Bejam and Althaea set to understanding the portal right away, arguing about the theory and the magic involved. While they work the portal is kept active the Coalition leaders come through as well as a steady flow of adventurers and people that the Bear Claws have known — all gathered by Amyria to push back against the githyanki.

She asks the Bear Claws to organize the defense and guard posts for the fortress they are in, expecting the githyanki to try again to seize the World Gate — as the portal is called.

Althaea and Bejam take nearly three days to study the World Gate. In that time Thornside and Emil join up with Pattie to switch the clothing of the various adventurers.

One night Thornside has a dream about a wizard fleeing from a demon. The demon catches him and, even as he is torn apart he casts a spell that sucks the demon into his armor. Thornside wakes up to find his armor has swelled up to form a shadowy demon around him and it is speaking. The demon says he is getting stronger and will kill them all when he gets free. Then he insists that he will get free.

The voice is loud enough to wake his friends up and they discuss various way to remove his armor including killing him and raising him afterward. He refuses the last offer when they tell him he will have to pay for his own raise dead ritual.

Amyria comes and tells them that Althaea and Bejam want to talk to them. She leads them to a library, this one with dozens of intact books. Althaea and Bejam have set up a study and want to explain what they have learned.

Through the technical talk and babble they reveal that the World Gate is linked to another place, the Well of Worlds which can be used to move about the planes or anywhere in the world. They also reveal that the only way to use it is to be a githyanki… or to have a special tattoo.

They want to know if the Bear Claws are willing to go the Well of Worlds to clear it out and make sure it’s safe so that they can move on the githyanki.

The Bear Claws get their new tattoos and move through the portal where they find a group of githyanki drinking water from a pool. They look as if they’ve just come from a battle. Roland tries to talk to them but they quickly recognize that he should not be there and attack. Jak spends most of the battle unconscious. But the Bear Claws succeed in killing the githyanki.

They quickly learn that the Well of Worlds is a dimensionally confusing place, doors in opposite ends of a room both lead to the same room and rooms seems to be occupying the same space as each other.

In the third room they encounter some guardian beasts that nearly kill Thornside by jumping out of the mirrors and transporting him to another dimension.

Xaladin is able to communicate with him and explain that killing the beast is the only way to get back to the rest of the Bear Claws.

Beneath the grated floor of that room they descend down a spiral stair to a room with a study. An eldritch giant sits, chained to the table, working on books and scrolls. She introduces herself as Haryssus and has been chained for three hundred years. She maintains the Well of Worlds and tells them that they need a key to operate it and the keys are all held by the leaders of the githyanki.

James sends a message to Amyria telling her that the Well of Worlds is clear.

Her response: “We’re on our way.”

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Well of Worlds Map

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59. It looks like a cute little bunny...
...but tastes like githyanki.

Characters: James, Roland, Jak, Xaladin
Level: 17
Location: Sayre
NPCs: Birkeni, Talanee, Megan Swiftblade, Sylen Leafrunner, Ragnum Doustone, Ghena Tenson, Madrick

Roland discovers information about the Reigar who claim that they have mastered the Elemental Chaos and can create beauty and shape reality with it.

The Bear Claws travel to Corwyn, the northernmost city in the Coalition lands. Corwyn is a mining town that is known for their opals. From there the watchtower of Thiradith is a three day hike into the mountains. The Bear Claws set out and James has never been happier, seeming to love the barren, rocky highlands.

As they approach the watchtower of Thiradith they see a loan half-elf watching them approach. He greets them as the watch commander and invites them in to share a meal with the soldiers there. Megan Swiftblade sees them and taunts them mildly before acknowledging that the Bear Claws did save her life once.

Jak stops to change into his new fancy duds before going in to the soldiers mess where they are served a hearty dinner of hard tack and salted pork. Jak sits down right next Sylen Leafrunner who is talking trash about the Bear Claws. He then daintily cuts and eats his food with his fork and knife.

The Bear Claws and the Freeriders agree to investigate the site where the githyanki were spotted. They agree to work together on the investigation and James asks Megan to decide when they will leave and where they will go.

One of the soldiers tells them that his patrol found three dead githyanki on the trail about a week ago and tells them where to find the trail.

They leave the next morning at dawn and quickly find the spot where the githyanki were killed. Blood still stains the rocks but the bodies are gone. Xaladin sniffs around and finds that, not only were the bodies carried away — which is unusual for githyanki — there is evidence that they caused a rockslide in their haste to get away from something. The rockslide hides a narrow trail that branches up into the mountains.

They decide to follow this new trail and soon come to a man-made building that is disguised to look like a natural bluff form a distance. Scouting around the building they discover there are two entrances with githyanki stationed at each entrance. The githyanki don’t seem to be concerned with anybody approaching their building as they are pretty casual and don’t have any patrols.

Megan proposes a friendly wager. She offers a bag of magical stones if the Bear Claws can get to the center of the building first. They offer her a translation gem as their end of the wager.

The Bear Claws attack the githyanki stationed at the entrance they chose and wipe them out almost before they can even react. Roland teleported them off a cliff and Jak scattered them like the charging bull he is. The last githyanki taunted Xaladin by calling him a dog and asking him to fetch a rabbit. Xaladin turned him into a rabbit and then ate him.

Inside the Bear Claws found a hallway with stairs. At the top of the stairs they found a room that was once a library but all the books in the room had been piled into the center and then burned, they were nothing now but a pile of ash.

In another room they found many statues of githyanki warriors that had been pulled down and broken in pieces. There were three dead githyanki in the room, clothed in robes and slain by blades.

Xaladin and Roland both felt like they were being watched.

A balustrade guared the edge of the room from a larger room twenty feet below that filled with many bedrolls and a couple of campfires. Around the farthest campfire sat six githyanki laughing and talking with each other.

Jak and James snuck down the stairs and charged the githyanki. They were caught by surprise but quickly recovered stabbing at Jak with their swords. Three githyanki specters rose up behind Roland and Xaladin. “Why do you desecrate our sanctuary,” and they struck at the two surprised Bear Claws. Both of them teleported away and the specters follows Roland who convinced them that the real desecrators were the other githyanki.

Once the githyanki were all dead the spirits returned to their statues to guard the room from further intruders. The Bear Claws opened a door to find nearly 30 githyanki in monks robes chained together in a dark room.

Their leader called himself Talanee and he said that followers of Zetch’r’r were here to “seize the Fane because we have denied him its use.” Talanee said that not all githyanki supported the false Emperor. He also said that the Bear Claws were great friends of the Empire because of the great good they had done this day in setting them free.

Talanee said that he and his people are the Chanhiiri, monks who guard this building and the secrets that it keeps. He tells them also that Zetch’r’r’s soldiers were in the center of the Fane, trying to remove the wards that were put in place there.

Talanee and his monks refuse to be left behind and come with the Bear Claws as they charge through the doors into the center of the building. In the room is a large force sphere, opaque with glowing light. Many githyanki are gathered around the sphere muttering rituals and incantations to try and break it. Across the room the doors burst open and Megan and Freeriders, bloodied but alive, stumble through. Megan sees the room full of githyanki then the Bear Claws on the other side and lets out a battle cry and charges forward with her sword raised.

Jak also rushes in and is immediately surrounded by githyanki, slashing at him with their swords. James lights them all on fire and Xaladin blows them away in the wind. Jak goes down before the githyanki are all dead. The Chanhiiri charge into the room and rush toward the Freeriders to help them with the githyanki that are setting about them. The room is chaos and githyanki fight each other and the Bear Claws and Freeriders finish off the enemies.

Sylen Leafrunner plants an arrow through the eye of the last githyanki and says, “I’m always cleaning up after your mess.”

Exhausted and covered in wounds Megan acknowledges the Bear Claws beat them to the center and gives them her bag of magical stones. They are a set of elemental stones. James sets about healing those wounded.

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Adventure Supplement 3: Journal of Hautamaryat Firebreath

Characters: Mary

I finally met my mother.

She is… different than I had supposed but now that I say that I find that the truth is that I had not supposed anything. My imagination, all my thoughts, have a void in the place where a mother should be.

I have had many parents in my life and none of them were real and all of them betrayed me, one way or another. Nathyra Bloodbane. She gave me away. Now she is here and I find that all I want is to be gone again.

Our lives are so different. Mine has been one of misplaced anger and constant betrayals. Hers has been one of seeking and never finding.

In my mind I pictured this. Finding her, happy and healthy in her home and asking her why, why did she leave me among Eladrin to be abused and banished and lost. Why did she give me away. I yelled and railed and spoke plainly in my righteous wrath.

I also saw her holding me with tears in her eyes as she welcomed me home, joyful to see me at last.

The truth is so much worse than the imagination and far more raw. Nathyra has spent far longer removed from me than I have from her. She is seasoned and old and not the type to tearfully welcome anybody and I find I have not the heart, nor the anger, to pile up on her my years of frustration and betrayal.

She is my mother but I am not her daughter. I am, somehow, something else.

I wish that I had somebody I could talk to.

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58. Rufus and the Secret Chord...
... by Rob Zombie

Characters: Thornside, James, Alton, Roland, Jak, Xaladin
Level: 17
Location: Sayre
NPCs: Mary, Amyria, Emil, Pattie, Telicanthus, Jeff

Cachlain pulls Xaladin down from the rafters and introduces him to Inzira, Daughter of the Frostwhite Forest. She holds up an icy white acorn on a platinum chain and thanks him for returning the Seed of Winter to her. She then shows him a mirror and when she lowers it they are in an icy white forest where she tells Xaladin to take Nathyra back to the Material Plane with him, Nathyra has made a deal with Inzira in order to be allowed to leave to look for Mary.

Back in Sayre Amyria comes to check on the Bear Claws and tells them that the githyanki have been strangely silent inside the Coalition lands. Outside of it the attacks continue and Amyria has messengers offering aid to any that will accept it but the offers travel slower than the news of the destruction.

Alton asks James to make him a magical item that will make him more awesome as a Hellbringer of Avandra. James says he will do some research on that.

Roland makes a trip to the library and talks with a dwarf about the Incanabulum Primeval. The dwarf doesn’t want to talk but eventually does. On the way back Roland sees Mary approaching the mansion and stops to talk with her before going inside.

When she comes in Jak goes to find Nathyra who has taken up wood carving at the prompting of Alton. Jak has her close her eyes and takes her out to meet Mary. Nathyr and Mary do not know each other at all but when they are told who the other is there is shock and awkwardness — neither of them knows how to react.

Thornside invites them to come back later for a feast. Emil and Pattie come to visit as well and Emil has been helping Amyria run the Coalition. He mentions that each of the members has their own agenda that gets in the way of things running smoothly. He tells them that Pattie is expecting… her family to come visit. Thornside and Xaladin think he is saying expecting a child which embarrasses Emil.

Pattie responds that she can’t have children because she might eat them.

Emil asks to speak to Alton in private and asks him what Malthazard asked of him in exchange for his power. Alton reluctantly explains that he destroyed his entire village in order to get the power that he wanted. Emil is shocked and admits that he made the deal expecting Malthazard to play fair and he is now scared about what may be required.

He leaves feeling troubled.

Rufus Cromwell sends a message by way of his zombie butler, Jeff. The message says that Lady Torrence has been to visit Telicanthus in prison and he claims that he has information for the Bear Claws.

They make a trip to the dank prison under the dam at the top of the city where Telicanthus has a well-appointed cell with plush carpet and comfortable chairs. He claims that there are no hard feelings between them and he can find a rebel githyanki faction if they will take him to the city of Tu’narath and set him free. They do not believe him but James escalates the discussion by tossing a large bag of excrement into the cell. Telicanthus immediately starts to gag and wretch and Roland summons a thunder storm that teleports the entire contents of the cell on top of James. Jak grabs Telicanthus and they have the guard show them to an interrogation room while James cleans up his mess.

They question Telicanthus some more but find that his information is of little use and that he is simply making a desperate try for freedom.

They return to the mansion and have an awkward dinner with Nathyra and Mary while the two of them struggle to find things to talk about. Nathyra is quiet and timid after decades of serving the Winter Queen first as a soldier and then as a house slave. Mary is open, intimidating and outspoken and they both come from very different worlds.

At the end of the dinner Amyria returns frustrated that the Coalition is so hard to deal with. She has heard reports of githyanki moving about on a mountain pass north of the outpost of Thiradith — the northernmost outpost of the Coalition. She asks the Bear Claws to go check it out because it coincided with the location of a githyanki camp that Cachlain told the Bear Claws about.

She gives them two scrolls of sending and the portal sigils for Corwyn — a city three days to the south of Thiradith.

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57. At the Village Inn
Known for their pies.

Characters: Mary, Jalissa, Althaea, Thera, Izera, Kira, Glamor
Level: 17
Location: Village
NPCs: Quick/Qeelak, Kava, Bardan

Mary and her friends struggle through the still frozen mountain pass to reach the village where her parents lived. As they approach through the thick, black forest a dark green, very large dragonborn steps from behind a tree and enquires after their intentions. Behind him is an older female in roves.

The older one, Kira, recognizes Glamor as the last descendent of the rulers of Tu’narath, whom she has sworn to destroy. She is immediately antagonistic toward the group because of Jalissa’s prattle about Bahamut and the tiefling who does nothing but egg her on.

The large dragonborn, Bardan, offers to take them to the new leader of the Village, Qeelak. Kira does not approve but follows along, keeping her eye on Glamor along the way. They pass by Kava’s house — the leader of the Village. She speaks to them briefly and tells Bardan to take them to Qeelak. Kava is the official leader due to being the oldest living person in town.

In the town square Qeelak is leading a group of the local dragonborn in practicing sword forms. He is a stocky and short dragonborn dressed like a paladin of Bahamut. When Bardan interrupts Qeelak wants to know what they are doing there. He is especially welcoming to Glamor until they start asking questions back. He accuses them of being spies and tells Bardan and Kira to take them to Kava’s house until he can finish what he is doing.

At Kava’s house they learn that Qeelak showed up about a month before and told them he had a mission from Bahamut to train them to ambush a party of evil adventurers. They also learn that Nathyra, Mary’s mother, is no there. She has been gone looking for Mary since shortly after Mary’s egg was taken away.

They also learn that Kira and Mary are cousins. Kira still doesn’t believe them. She thinks they are here under some pretense.

The young dragonborn knocks on the door and says that Qeelak is ready for them. As they approach the town square he is rehearsing the descriptions of the members of the party that the dragonborn are being trained to fight with. It is pretty clear that these descriptions are of the Bear Claws.

Qeelak wants to test the Daughters of IO against those he has trained. Mary asks Kira to join in the fight. She agrees but on the other side. The dragonborn square off across form the Daughters of IO and the fight begins. Izera runs into the middle and Kira immediately tries to focus her attacks on Glamor. Althaea summons monsters from the Elemental Chaos and Jalissa shines the light of Bahamut on her friends to keep them alive. Thera and Mary take turns hitting the dragonborn.

The battle only lasts a few seconds. When it is over Mary and Jalissa set about healing those who were injured, on either side.

She asks Qeelak to join and he refuses, claiming he has taken a vow to never be touched. Jalissa knows that there is no such vow among followers of Bahamut and it becomes clear why he has taken the vow a few minutes later when Kava comes up behind him and puts her hand on his shoulder. His image shimmers briefly and he turns on her, angry.

Kira notices the shimmer and realizes that Qeelak has been playing some kind of game on them all along. She attacks him and he realizes the game is up. He pulls the helmet off his head and throws it to the ground, changing into a tiefling (Quick — James’s nemesis), carrying daggers at his waist. He grabs Kava and takes her hostage while he pulls a scroll from his pouch.

As he shakes it out demons crawl out of the ground and climb about the Village, setting the thatched houses aflame as others tear about the square, tossing dragonborn around.

Althaea grabs Quick in an icy arcane hand and Thera, after throwing Glamor at him leaps across the square and throws him down with a thigh lock around his head. Kira races over and grinds his face into the mud while he struggles to pull another scroll from his pouch. Jalissa and Mary move about helping the villagers to fend off the demons. Izera helps keep some of the villagers alive using her quick blades and her divine power.

Quick finally gets his scroll out and he disappears but leaves behind a village full of angry villagers that are ready to rebuild as well as do something more active in the world. Thera suggests they start a fighting school and teach themselves to fight.

Bardan likes the suggestion and sounds as if he is thinking about it when they leave.

Mary is upset that she didn’t find her mother but is also, maybe a little relieved. She now knows that her mother didn’t just abandon her, something happened to her — which may or may not be good news.

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56. Virizan -- Nationwide Coverage
Even in the feydark.

Characters: Thornside, James, Alton, Roland, Jak
Level: 16
Location: Cachlain’s Court
NPCs: Cachlain, Sovocles

In Cachlain’s throne room Roland scares Sovocles into backing away. Jak comes in and does the same which prompts Sovocles to order Cachlain to attack the Bear Claws.

Thornside sneaks into the doorway to help with the fight and the Bear Claws quickly knock Sovocles back and into the fireplace where they continue to pummel him.

Cachlain, wakened from the stupor that has been put upon him, throws Sovocles into the center of the floor and blinks his large evil eye. The glass floor disappears and those who are standing on it fall into the arena below.

Cachlain shouts at them to fight and kill Sovocles for his betrayal in allying with the Sangwyr against him.

Sovocles body breaks when it hits the crystal floor but rises up in the form of a naga — a giant snake with a human face. He hisses at them. “You have broken my human form but now you will deal with who I really am, Virizan, the Green Exarch of Tiamat.”

Thornside tries to pull Alton to safety while Jak and James deal with the exarch. A group of Eladrin are busy with a captured treant that is chained in place nearby. Alton frees the treant, which by breaking its chains. Roland casts a spell that switches Alton with Cachlain. Thornside, now holding a rope with a twenty-four foot giant on the other end if pulled down into the arena.

Cachlain exchanges some blows with the treant before he teleports back to his throne, knocking Alton back down into the arena.

Meanwhile Virizan has gained control of Jak and forced him to attack James while the treant grabs at nearby creatures with grasping roots and pummels them with his wooden fists.

Virizan has many forms that he shifts into as he moves about the battlefield. A naga form that can strike at a distance with thunder spells, a swarm of snakes that crawl across creatures and bite them with their tiny fangs, a venomous mist that can fly quickly about the battlefield poisoning all it touches and a humanoid form that can move people around with spectral snake coils.

As the Bear Claws fight he shifts between the forms depending on which is more useful. Finally Jak kills the treant, having spent most of the battle either tied down by its roots or mentally dominated. Thornside makes a leap into the pit that surrounds the arena and runs along the wall of the pit to rise up behind Virizan. His shot kills the exarch’s snake swarm form and another shot kills his naga form.

Gravely wounded he threatens the Bear Claws. “I am not the most powerful of my lady’s exarchs. Even if you kill me you can’t kill all of us.”

Roland ends his life once and for all, melting him into a puddle of acid-melted flesh.

After the battle Cachlain takes them all back up to his throne room while the crowd goes wild. The characters succeed in brokering an agreement with Inzira. Cachlain will accept her help with the upstarts Sangwyr and she may use the Seed of Winter until then. Also, in exchange for freeing him of Sovocles/Virizan, Cachlain agrees to stop allowing the githyanki to travel through his portals. He also gives them a map that he found on the body of one of Bram’s guards. The map shows the location of a hidden githyanki outpost in the mountains north of the Elsir Vale.

The Bear Claws return to the natural world and back to Sayre to report to Amyria.

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55. A Bullette in Your Bram Pan
Squish

Characters: Thornside, James, Alton, Roland, Xaladin, Jak
Level: 15/16
Location: Cachlain’s Court
NPCs: Cachlain, Sovocles, Bram Ironfell

The Bear Claws look at their cramped quarters and Alton settles down on a bed to eat some snacks and ask Roland about why he uses Wild Magic instead of something more stable. Roland thinks the instability is what makes it so powerful.

Jak heads out into the hallway to practice with his ugrosh while Thornside breaks into the room next door, Xaladin goes to check out the banquet hall and James goes in search of a restroom.

James finds directions to a restroom but sees an envoy going in to Cachlain’s throne room and follows them in. The envoy is there to talk to Cachlain about shared slaving resources and James quickly grows disinterested as Sovocles haggles with them.

Thornside finds a locked chest in the neighboring room with a Ironfell pendant and some fancy clothing inside. Thornside takes the clothing and pendant and locks the chest behind him.

As he comes back in the hallway James and Xaladin are just returning from their excursions and ground starts to quake and tremor. James identifies the sound and quaking as coming from something tunneling through the rock and crystal.

Jak takes a fighting stance and gets ready to fight whatever is coming when a bullette smashes through the wall into the entryway followed by a drider and several drow shouting out Sangwyr’s name.

The drider takes to the ceiling and the drow rush into the room behind her. Thornside runs away screaming about being attacked only to come face first with two purple nightmare creatures and a githyanki. The githyanki attacks Thornside and his screams turn to cries for help.

Roland unleashes his Wild Magic and only hits Alton. The drider, once dead rises up from the floor and begins attacking once more. The drow go down quickly but are followed by fiery bats that swoop about and light the Bear Claws on fire.

Thornside flees from the githyanki and his companions but one of them changes shape so that he looks exactly like Thornside.

Roland teleports Thornside so that he switches places with the drider which makes her angry enough that she attacks Roland. He stabbs the Thornside look-alike in the eye with a dagger full of lightning. Thornside and Jak rush in finishing off the drider, the purple monsters and the githyanki but not before the githyanki cut down Roland and nearly killed him.

While the Bear Claws rest and try to recover from their encounter Cachlain’s slaves come into the banquet hall bearing trays of food. They stop and stare shocked at the carnage.

Behind them, talking softly is a dwarf with two githyanki bodyguards. The dwarf looks up and sees the Bear Claws, turns pale and tries to flee. The Bear Claws recognize Bram Ironfell and Jak makes a grab for him. Thornside shoots him with an arrow and draws another one.

At that moment Cachlain, lumbers up the stairs behind Bram, while the githyanki body guards pull together to keep James from getting to him. Cachlain tells Bram to tell the Bear Claws the truth about Thornside’s parents.

Bram haltingly tells them that he didn’t kill the Autumnfalls. Xaladar — Xaladin’s twin brother — did. Bram claims Xaladar was instructed to scare them, not to kill them. Cachlain seems very lucid and angry that the githyanki have betrayed him to Sangwyr, not like he was the last time the Bear Claws spoke with him.

He picks up the two githyanki body guards and enters the room, leaving Bram unprotected. Thornside shoots him again but is inadvertently blocked by some of the stone armor on Cachlain’s skin as the giant steps over the dwarf. Sovocles appears on the steps and Cachlain suddenly becomes less lucid. Sovocles calls him back to the throne room and he turns solemnly and leaves, still dragging the githyanki bodyguards behind him.

James grabs Bram and asks him how he is still alive. He admits that he paid a body double and that is who the Bear Claws killed previously. He went into the Astral Sea where he made his way to the githyanki city of Tu’narath and got hired to be their ambassador to Cachlain.

Xaladin polymorphs him into a rat and Thornside cuts off his tail before Xaladin turns him back. He comes back screaming and two of his fingers lie on the floor. Thornside stabs his arm with a letter opener and they get him to talk.

He offers money if they won’t kill him but they just take his money anyway. He offers more if they let him go and they find where he’s hidden it and take that as well. Bram, desperate and in pain spills all everything he knows about the githyanki.

He tells them that recently the lich queen Vlaakith XXVII was assassinated and Zetch’r’r took over as Emperor of the githyanki. He made a deal with Tiamat and they have pursued her agenda of conquering the material plane instead of their usual pursuit of war with the mindflayers. The githyanki believe that each incarnation of Vlaakith is the reborn soul of the ancient warrior queen Gith. They hired Bram to negotiate with Cachlain for use of his portal network so that they could start their invasion before their own plans to build a portal network were complete.

James asks Bram what he is keeping in the chest in his room. Bram tells them it is clothes and Thornside tells him if he is telling the truth they will let him go. When Jak smashes the chest open it is empty and the Bear Claws conclude they cannot trust Bram and they knock him unconscious and take him with them back to the banquet hall.

They come up with a plan to get Sovocles away from the king by having Roland go talk to him while the rest of them lay in wait to knock him out. When Roland enters the throne room the doors slam shut and Sovocles immediately accuses him of orchestrating the attack to kill the king. He accuses the Bear Claws of lying and tells Roland if they submit to being imprisoned their lives will be spared. Roland gets angry and scary and Sovocles stumbles back, almost revealing something about himself as he tries to regain control.

Sovocles sends the guards to bring the rest of the Bear Claws to the throne room.

Meanwhile Alton has been eating the food the servants brought and promptly falls asleep, the food obviously drugged. When the guards appear Jak picks up Alton in one arm, Bram in the other and follows them. Thornside and James are left in the banquet hall wondering what to do and Xaladin has hidden unnoticed in the rafters as a small flying animal.

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