A song is heard drifting from the Stonelands. Accompanied by the playing of a violin and seemingly magically amplified....
Wizards from an ancient age cast spells of immense power But the strings that make them dance lead up to a stormcrowned tower There sits the new Baron in solitude, far from the public eye No one ever sees him smile and nothing makes him cry
Welcome to Cloudstone, the land of bought and sold A Barony of real-life fantasy where truths are seldom told Try hard to remember all that glitters is not gold You can pay the bard, but you cannot buy his soul
It's just a game, you're in it all the way It's just a game, don't let yourself slip away It's such a shame, I heard somebody say It's just a game, and all I can do...is play
Who you do choose, now, what do you believe, now, Who are you gonna trust? All their dreams and fancy schemes, Just crumble into dust Calm and cool and intellectualized they calculate and deflect While we wait and watch and wonder, just which puppet they'll select
Like the moth, too near the flame, Who learned his truth too late We're all too deep into the game, that is the master of our fate The Hornbows, and Silverthorns have got their motives, and the Stormcrowns have got their's, no doubt And so the game continues, that's what it's all about...
It's just a game, you're in it all the way It's just a game, don't let yourself slip away It's such a shame, I heard somebody say It's just a game, and all I can do...is play
Sat in his magical and physical disguise upon the log, Cooper turned the rune in his palm. Where better than in Mystras presence could he figure out the rune he had found in the valley?
From what Hallie had said she was going to try and seek an audience with a high mage, though Cooper still did not see why. The War Wizards involved in Cloudstone were he thought corrupt on some level, he just couldn't figure it out yet, like something always one step ahead of him. His meeting with Orina had only solidified that theory. the others saying to "test Vaskander with silver" gave him pause too. if the barony worked together rather than bickering, perhaps this would have been discovered earlier?
For now he turned the rune over and over. Tthough he found it hard to focus for more than a few moments, some curse befallen him he wanted removed, it seemed to drain him somehow. Uldor... Cathryn ? Some connection he thought. The floating palace made him think of the books he had read on the Netherese though he had no way of knowing without getting there. He wondered if his flags to Mystra still remained around the palace or perhaps Uldor had had them removed?
Finally unable to focus on the rune any longer, he put it back into the warded bag and fell asleep, the fire burning and the Flag standing proud above him in his retreat.
Hey Cooper, I found an an extra evil(more than usual) Pixie inside the Colossal Earth Elemental while trying to mine out it's heart. As it was near death and no one was looking I Healed it and dropped it into a bottle. I even poked a couple holes in the stopper. Is it true that pixies eat teeth?
Or do they only strip the flesh off the bones of fallen adventurers in the wilds? The evil one what tried to slander and extort me asked for sugary treats...
Also can ye put them on a leash? Was thinking of a mithril thread.
Last Edit: Aug 10, 2021 12:29:34 GMT -5 by styxxbone1
Post by styxxbone1 on Aug 10, 2021 21:41:42 GMT -5
The effort to mine the Ancient Colossal Elemental has born strange fruit. Some black silver ore from the elementals heart. I'll need you to examine it Cooper. Perhaps it can be forged into a mighty weapon?
More troubling and confusing news of Cloudstone spreads throughout the realm. It is said that the chanting voice in the clouds over the Stonelands may have belonged to High Mage Cathryn Stormcrown, but that she may have died during a ritual to activate Cloudstone's magical defences, the so called Stormward. Some say that Cathryn's ancestor, the lich and last Stormcrown king of Esparin, Uldor Stormcrown, may have killed her and taken the throne. Some even say that Uldor may now be possessing Cathryn's body. It's unclear if Cathryn knew what she was doing, if she was working with Uldor, or if she just was Uldor all along, pretending to be Cathryn. Some say she may have been an unwitting pawn sacrificed by Uldor. What most agree on though, is that when the ritual for the Stormward was completed, green lightning struck down Lord Edmond and many of the defenders in Dead Man's Pass. The palace and surrounding valley then took to the skies, and Uldor Stormcrown now rules Cloudstone. It is rumoured his, or Cathryn's face, appeared in a cloud and demanded that Cormyr surrender the stolen Esparin lands, just like the liches of the Esparin Mage Guard had done a few years ago. If Cormyr does not give up the Esparin lands, then the "reign of the dead" shall continue until they do, or the dead shall rule all of Cormyr.
A thunderstorm now surrounds the palace in the sky, and it appears to be slowly spreading over the northern Storm Horns. Icy rain pours down, and there are frequent, sometimes very intense, lightning strikes. Just a few days ago, the storm turned especially violent northwest of Eveningstar, so powerful that it even created a catastrophic avalanche that completely destroyed the entrance to the Silverthorn silver mine. Fortunately, all the miners had evacuated, but some retainers and adventurers are said to have been in the area. More concerning, the silver mine was known to have a portal to Cloudstone, but that portal is now unreachable.
Purple Dragon scouts also report that undead now wander the northern Storm Horns, along with air, earth and lightning elementals under the control of Uldor. Rumours tell that either the rain or the lightning animates the dead. Furthermore, the War Wizards warns that certain spells may not function properly in the rain, most notably teleport, scrying, sending, and resurrection spells.
Many survivors from Cloudstone have taken refuge in Eveningstar or at the Triadic Keep. Some people who have managed to escape from Cloudstone report that there may still be people left behind, among them Lord Wallace Hornbow, Lady Celine Silverthorn, the innkeeper Procks, and Court Priestess Kimbera Dawnlight. Lord Raymond Silverthorn and Cloudstone Court Physician Siphanien are now organizing a meeting in the Triadic Keep to discuss a plan to enter Cloudstone and rescue those who are trapped. Lord Raymond welcomes anyone who wish to help. Defenders of Cloudstone or those who marched for the Crown are both welcome, as long as they wish to help save lives, and Gods willing, perhaps even slay Uldor Stormcrown.
Royal Magician Caladnei has also announced that the Cloudstone insurrectionists shall be pardoned, as long as they lend their aid in the rescue attempt, and allows the War Wizards to take over Cloudstone as planned, be it in the sky or on the ground. However, for the masterminds behind Fergus Hornbow's murder, Hadriane Foya and Kassdan Morthir, they shall have their punishment reduced if they lend their aid in this most dangerous task.
The meeting to discuss this endeavour shall be held in Chronomancer's Keep, home of the Triadic Order of the Divine Resurrection, a place rarely seen by outsiders. Triadic members will of course remain as vigilant as ever.
// The meeting is scheduled for Saturday the 14th of August, at 8 PM London time.
Furin showed Cooper the Ore and pixie in a bottle. Examining it as best he could, the ore seemed to be some kind of silver, one that could most likely be fashioned into a workable weapon as Furin seemed intent on. A heavy mace perhaps?
The "evil pixie" as Furin described it was more of a mystery, perhaps it could be cleansed of whatever affected it, or perhaps it was simply from the Feydark and inherently evil? Cooper suggested to Furin that they get Julia, Coopers own pixie, to talk with the pixie or at least figure out what it was doing inside an earth colossus.
Either way Cooper did not like the idea of the pixie being trapped if it could be cured and he was sure Julia would not like the pixie should it be from the Feydark. With that in mind Furin and Cooper trudged off to examine the items in closer detail.
Post by ShadowCatJen on Aug 13, 2021 15:09:07 GMT -5
Meanwhile in Marsember, a tired looking half-elven woman sits in Alizarin Academy, pouring over tome after tome. Occasionally she's seen heading upward, guided by Shoeman, to the more restricted parts of the library.
Letters are also sent out. Messages to Suzail and back to Valkur's Roar.
On occasion she's seen stepping away from the pile of tomes and parchments for a bite to eat and another cup of kaeth. Aside from that, it seems she's intent on finding the knowledge she's searching for.
Post by demolicious on Aug 15, 2021 3:49:20 GMT -5
Somewhere in Blessed Fields of Elysium, an old, fat man with unkept mess of grey beard and hair, is happily leaning against flank of an elysian dragon. A Cloudstone Mage Guard ring glints on his finger. Full tankard on both and several empty kegs littering the area tell a tale of what has recently transpired, as the old wizard focuses on scrying window.
"It certainly looks like they've gone and gotten themselves in bit of a mess. Why, back in my days we wouldn't have wasted time yammering and bickering like that! None of this democratic stalling, just make a decision and go with it. Young'uns these days with their fancy solutions and multiple options. All we had was a big rock to throw at them, it worked and we liked it!"
He takes a long draw from the tankard, wiping foam from his beard and belching out a satisfied burb. Then the old wizard cranes his neck back to look at the dragon.
"Bet two kegs one of them is going to screw it up somehow?"
//In memory of Gustand 'Old Gus' Wilkinsson, who only existed for couple weeks and perished valiantly fighting the earth colossus he'd helped summon... by being accidentally stepped on by it.
As the rain poured down over Eveningstar, many retainers, adventurers, and members of various guilds and factions, gathered in the halls of the Triadic Keep. They had come to discuss the Cloudstone situation and the lich Uldor Stormcrown who now threatened Cormyr with a magical storm.
Lord Raymond Silverthorn invited Mynian Copperhand to begin the meeting with a summary of Cloudstone’s history. She said that Cloudstone may not have been built by Artair Hornbow with a magical song in three days as commonly believed, but may have been been part of an ancient kingdom in the sky known as Avaeraether, that was home to many races, including dragons, giants and avariel. Mynian also spoke of how Uldor Stormcrown may have been possessed, influenced, or somehow connected to Sazkra of the Black Bones, an ancient necromancer from the Netheril survivor state of Anauria. It was believed that Uldor, or this Sazkra, or rather the “Skulking Cyst” that were the remains of his body, may have manipulated events in Cloudstone. Furthermore, Mynian read a prophetic letter written by Miayra Aldrain, grandmother of the elven adventurer Alamor Aldrain, who had worked as Royal Scribe in Esparin during the days of Uldor Stormcrown. Miayra had written that she had seen the end of Esparin, and that a great evil would come to Cloudstone. This evil, this abomination, or deceiving skinchanger, was Uldor ‘the Old’ Stormcrown hidden within Cathryn Stormcrown. The abomination would be the death of many in the noble houses of Esparin, and only silver could stop it.
The conversation shifted toward what should be done to rescue the captives in Cloudstone. The plan was to go through the portal to Cloudstone in the Stormgate Crypt, northeast of Skull Crag. Lionar Marcus Reinhard had some bad news to share; the portal in the crypt had been destroyed. With both this portal and the portal in the Silverthorn silver mine destroyed, there was no way into Cloudstone.
Morven the Healer then rose from her seat and walked into the center of hall. Morven has long been known to be a mute Ilmatari healer who has worked at the House of Healing in Cloudstone. Less known, is that she is also Duncan Hornbow’s sister. To the surprise of many, she spoke, presenting herself as a Hornbow and that she had taken a vow of silence. She said that she had known Gerald Rothvar, author of books on Esparin and Cloudstone, and that Gerald had told her about another portal into Cloudstone. This was the Dark Portal, and it is located in a drow fortress in the Underdark. This drow fortress is now said to be controlled by Mister Y, the successor of Mister X who hosted Dark Auctions there for this Ecks Emporium a couple of years ago.
It was decided that the rescue party should go through this Dark Portal within the next tenday. There was however one more important matter to speak of. How to slay Uldor. If he is a lich, then where was his phylactery? Morven said that Gerald had told her that Uldor had done some unspeakable ritual and created a “blood phylactery”, similar to the ones used by the liches of the Esparin Mage Guard, but different since it used living blood. She explained that Uldor’s phylactery was his entire bloodline. Not just the blood of the Stormcrowns, but that all the noble families of Esparin shared the same bloodline. Silverthorn, Hornbow, Stormcrown, Melmane, Darlreth, Barrowfog, and perhaps others, were all one and the same family. When Uldor dies, his soul would jump to his phylactery… to another body sharing his blood. To kill Uldor Stormcrown, all Esparin nobles must die.
For a moment the great hall fell silent, and then there were gasps, and murmurs, swearing and shouts. This was unfair. This was pure evil. Some attendants rose from their chairs and rushed out in despair. Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, Morven spoke again. She knew someone who might know of an alternative, for as the prophetic letter had stated, the death of all family members were indeed too grim to contemplate. This alternative was known as the Silver Solution, something that had also been mentioned in the legends of the Silver Hunters, the fabled monster hunters of House Silverthorn. Morven had brought with her a box, which she now opened, and from the box she removed a skull, still with some wispy white hair attached to its scalp. She gently put down the skull on the floor. This was the skull of Miayra Aldrain, High Diviner, and Royal Scribe of Esparin. The seer and author of the prophetic letter.
Morven said that Miayra had used to speak, but had now gone silent and would not speak again until the sky turned green and she met her grandchild. Alamor Aldrain then approached the skull, and soon, the skull did indeed speak for the sky was green with Uldor’s lightning. After noting Alamor’s “silly accent” and his lack of “robes and hat”, she answered the question everyone was waiting for. What was the Silver Solution?
To slay Uldor without killing everyone with Esparin noble blood, a Silver Hunter made for the purpose of slaying Uldor could be sacrificed instead. To become a Silver Hunter a ritual is done, which involves the consumption of Silverthorn silver and blood of a monster that the Hunter-to-be wishes to fight against. In this case, the blood component must be blood from an Esparin noble. Miayra said that when Uldor is killed, his soul will then go into the nearest blood relative - the Silver Hunter - and the silver will bind his soul to the body of the Hunter. When the Silver Hunter is then killed, both Hunter and Uldor will stay dead forever. Currently, Fero Fenden of House Silverthorn is the only Silver Hunter. Some pointed out that more Silver Hunters must be made, so that if one falls, another can be sacrificed. Already there has been volunteers willing to perform the ritual with Esparin noble blood, among them Kassdan Morthir and Karsk the Slayer of Many.
As grim as it seems, the sacrifice of one Silver Hunter is far better than the alternative of killing everyone with noble blood. There were some discussion of trapping Uldor in a weapon instead, but nothing was decided with certainty, and the sacrifice of a Silver Hunter remains the best option to kill Uldor Stormcrown. Volunteers who are willing to risk their life are now requested to contact Raymond Silverthorn, and the rituals shall be done in the coming days. Even if they survive this ordeal, they shall be forever marked with their silvery hair.
As the topic of Esparin noble heirs came up, the question was raised of how many heirs there may be, and who might be related to the nobles of Esparin. In case the mission failed, Lionar Reinhard wanted to know of as many of the potential hosts for Uldor’s soul as possible, even if there were bastards and distant relatives they can't know about. Morven admitted she knew of one. Many years ago, her sister Finola Hornbow had a child with Tristan Silverthorn, older brother of Edmond Silverthorn. Morven’s father and Edmond’s father, Logan Hornbow and Fernand Silverthorn, had both rejected the child Fionla had given birth to. It was a misshapen and sickly little boy, and Morven had been tasked to send the boy away on a ship in Marsember. She couldn’t do it, and instead she had left the boy with an orphanage. The boy, Artair Silverthorn, had then grown up to become Procks the hunchback merchant and innkeeper. As far as Morven knows, Procks is unaware of his noble heritage.
Raymond Silverthorn also had a confession to make. A couple of years ago, before he was engaged to Isolda, he had a child with a woman in Suzail. This woman was Arianna, a working girl at the Prancin’ Bull who has been staying in Cloudstone. The child, a boy named Mathias, had ended up at a Dark Auction in the Underdark, but had been rescued by adventurers. Mathias has since been cared for at the House of Healing in Suzail. War Wizard Berock Vaskander then also pointed out that Arianna too was of Esparin noble blood. Her last name was Worgheim, a name the noble Melmane family had taken after they left Esparin. Just like Procks, Arianna seems unaware of this.
Many retainers and adventurers are now preparing to march into the Underdark, to seek the Dark Portal, to rescue the people in Cloudstone, and slay Uldor Stormcrown. Those who do not become Silver Hunters, will still be vital to this mission, as they must keep the potential martyrs alive until one of them can be possessed by Uldor and sacrificed. Regardless if they are Silver Hunters or not, the mission will be extremely dangerous, since the curse of Cloudstone will prevent resurrection magic and teleportation. The rescue party now plans to meet up at the Unfortunate Orc Inn in the Underdark. From there they shall take a boat to Ecks Emporium, where the Dark Portal awaits.
Meanwhile in Espar and Eveningstar, the Purple Dragons and War Wizards are reinforcing and evacuating the towns. It is said there is a one-way portal in Cloudstone that lead from Cloudstone to the shrine of Chauntea in Espar. If Uldor plans an attack, it is suspected it will be at Eveningstar or through the portal in Espar.
// The next event, the assault on Cloudstone, is scheduled for Saturday the 21st of August at about 7 PM London time. To keep things a bit more balanced, the level cap for the rescue party is 30. Higher level characters are welcome to attend, as long as they don’t go through the Dark Portal.
// To save us some time, the event will begin at the Unfortunate Orc in the Underdark. You may go there on Saturday before the event starts, or earlier in the week, and notify me that you have arrived at the Orc and are waiting for the rest of the party. If you’re unable to go there early, I can jump you there at the time of the event, but it will instead cost you some random supplies to simulate the journey.
// If you want to volunteer and do the Silver Solution to become a Silver Hunter and be a potential sacrifice, let me know as soon as possible so we can schedule a session during the week. I can usually be available between 6 PM to midnight London time, but possibly earlier in the day. I would prefer to do these rituals before Saturday, but it may still be possible to do it right before the event.
// Warning! The Silver Solution means you risk permanent death if you are possessed by Uldor Stormcrown and then slain by your fellow companions. Doing the ritual itself is not an instant death sentence. Still, only do the Silver Solution if you are comfortable with the risk that your character may be permanently retired. Also, your hair will turn white. However, there could actually be other ways to permanently die besides being possessed by Uldor Stormcrown. These other ways can be avoided.
// I realize that some characters may want to do the ritual, while their players may not. I also understand not every character is played with perma-death, for a variety of reasons. This is perfectly fine. There is a limited amount of Silverthorn silver required for the rituals after all… just enough for the characters who want to do it.
// This is a dangerous mission, and should be RPed as such in-game. If you’re looking for an ending to your character’s story, this may be your chance. Even if you don’t do the Silver Solution ritual, you could die and stay dead if you so choose. However, if you don’t want to play with perma death, but you still die and end up in a situation where your corpse can’t easily be raised for whatever reason, you may respawn as normal (you get lucky and saved somehow as per a normal dungeon crawl, or we’ll figure something out). No one is forced to permanently retire their character, but I’m giving that opportunity for those who look for closure or want an ‘epic death’. If you are considering perma death even though you’re not doing the Silver Solution, or are on the fence about it, let me know and I’ll keep that in mind.
// We’re almost at the end of this story, and I hope the grand finale will be suitably epic! Have fun!
Last Edit: Aug 16, 2021 15:27:02 GMT -5 by Plotter
The storm surrounding Cloudstone expands, and the rain now pours down over Dhedluk, Waymoot and Espar. Undead animals have been sighted in the forest. Scouts report that they saw them struck dead by lightning, only to rise up again. In Espar, the War Wizards have begun to cast protective wards around Stormhaven House, and perform weather rituals, intended to push back the storm. So far the rituals have only managed to create a hole in the clouds above Stormhaven House, but they are optimistic that they will be able to cover the entire town within a few days.
Meanwhile in Immersea, hippogriff riders from Skull Crag, Espar and Halfhap are now mustering. Together with pegasi riders from Highcastle in the Thunder Peaks, these airborne Purple Dragons and War Wizards patrol the skies just outside the edge of the storm.
News spread in Eveningstar that the first Silver Hunters have completed their rituals. It is also said that several veteran Purple Dragons have volunteered to undergo the ritual to become reserve Silver Hunters in case the party going through the Underdark fails in their task. Lionar Markus Reinhard was first among them to become a Silver Hunter.
Several orc families from Urbucheck's barony have wandered south to seek shelter from the storm. The people and defenders of Eveningstar have shown mixed reactions, some telling them to go back to their caves. Most orcs do stay in the Stonelands, where they barricade their caves against roaming undead and elementals.
The evacuation of Eveningstar continues, with many citizens leaving through the Blueleaf Gate to Suzail.
// Saturday at 7 PM London time. Unfortunate Orc in the Underdark.
After discussing the Cloudstone situation with other Guardians, Kali decides that her place is in Espar, guarding the Grove of Chauntea. She starts packing the supplies she will need and heads north to make camp in the Grove to await her fate. Although some of her brothers and sisters will be heading to Cloudstone, she feels it is her place to defend the nature Grove, even if she does it alone.
Kali Jarnna - Tree hugging human Dina Hyanda - Sneaky Chaotic Manus Thunderrock - That's thunder ROCK....
Post by bellamercy on Aug 19, 2021 10:31:43 GMT -5
*under the cover of sanctuary magic Bella travels the underdark only followed by a woman guard in dark brown robes carrying a flaming sword, she arrives at the Unfortunate Orc where her guard vanish in to the vast underdark, leaving Bella to find herself a room to stay in, drained from trip she stays in bed the following day not to be responding if any knock at her room door*
(Bella has arrived. and I will be there for Saturday, as I am very close to level 30 I wont ruin the fun for people at lower levels but she will help them on the way and provide blessings and wards. see you all Saturday)
Last Edit: Aug 19, 2021 10:32:53 GMT -5 by bellamercy
Alamor can be found teleporting between locations, sending out various magical creatures, or small floating puddy like constructs with scrolls, letters, or simply to deliver messages orally to varius members seeking to be involved in the Cloudstone assault, and attempting to arrange transport for those needing it to the orc. His signs to recruit and offer pay to those looking to join into into the matter still hang about the various towns and locations.
// Alamor is attempting to set together groups for those needing aid to the orc, first group is suppose to leave at 3 PM // There is note saying people that need to leave later, there will be other caravan, and to send back reply of -when- would be good for them.
Rumours spread throughout the realm that Eveningstar was attacked by a horde of undead giants and elementals. There is even talk of one or several great undead abominations, giant corpses fused together into a 'Corpse Colossus'. The town has now been completely evacuated, with civilians going to Suzail. The Purple Dragons, War Wizards, and volunteers are now defending the hill where the Blueleaf Gate stands. Their orders are to protect the portal to Suzail at all costs.
Meanwhile, the storm expands further, now having reached Skull Crag...
Morven 'the Healer' Hornbow has now invited Raymond Silverthorn and his wife Isolda to stay at the Hornbow manor in Suzail. Though, he also spends a lot of time at the War Wizard's tower.
Last Edit: Aug 19, 2021 18:48:08 GMT -5 by Plotter
Another list of small devices animated with magic, as simply constructs can be found zipping around to various people seeking information of the matter explaining the next group to leave for the Underdark the next day should meet in the Skull Crag inn.
// Time is 3 PM US central, may be a bit later depending on people needing extra time, please send PM if so
News spread throughout the realm, that the defence of the Blue Leaf Gate in Eveningstar has failed. After a long battle, the defenders were forced to retreat through the portal to Suzail. Some however, were stuck in Eveningstar as the portal was disabled by War Wizards. The defenders remaining in Eveningstar fought their way southward through the town, and escaped into the King's Forest and to Dhedluk.
In Dhedluk they heard even more disturbing news. Immersea was under attack by undead that had risen from the graveyards surrounding the town. Some of the survivors from Eveningstar patched themselves up, and hurried eastward toward Immersea. When they arrived the undead were already within the walls. A desperate struggle began, but it was too late. The undead were too numerous, and like in Eveningstar, they kept rising again where they fell. Immersea and Eveningstar are now both evacuated, and occupied by Uldor Stormcrown's undead and elementals.
// Warning! Immersea and Eveningstar are currently both overrun by undead. Assume caravans don't go there, and that you can't teleport there. The Blue Leaf Gate in Suzail should be considered disabled.
// Also, note that the ongoing storm in northern Cormyr still prevents raise dead/resurrection and teleportation (both in and out of the storm). You'll have to travel on foot in the rain, and bring corpses out of the rain to raise them. If you really don't want to be part of this story, then you may ignore this (as long as you're not with other players RPing this). I do want to thank everyone who has been a good sport about it so far!
Alamor himself would arrived for the final time, having snuck down long after his final group had been left in the inn and started settling down his own supplies before sneaking off to a room alone and a tiny voice could be heard humming inside.