The Nightmare War

Episode 6
Wherein the Party Catches Up with Vaslo and His Companions

Our heroes are only a few days travel from the Dream Spire, and only about a day behind Vaslo and companions, when Zylah and Muroni have a dream showing them the way to the Dream Spire, and feel a compulsion to follow it – to the Southwest. The next morning, they tell the group about their dream. Shemhazai believes it is a false dream, perhaps sent by Vaslo's Companion, to lead them off track. Deegan points out that the tracks they are following lead to the Southeast, and the Dream Spire is also in that direction, confirming that the direction of the Southwest is incorrect. But questions still linger, as to why the dream was sent, and why the only slightly different direction? Ultimately, it is decided to dismiss the dream currently, and continue on the path already chosen.

Over the next few days, several more individuals of the group have the dream – it is always the same, leading the dreamer through the jungles to the Southwest, and showing the Dream Spire, with the setting sun in glory behind it. The heroes reach Titan's Teeth, and proceed to climb up the mountain. Darkness falls after making progress of two-thirds of the way to the top; fortunately, there is a ledge that makes a perfect camping spot handy.

In the middle of the night, those on watch hear sounds of battle from above, which awakens some few of the other party members. Drakeus sends Blackwing to investigate; he reports seeing large forms before the dromite sees Blackwing. The raven flees back down the mountain. After some small discussion, it is decided to head the rest of the way up the mountain, in hopes of catching Vaslo's group before the reach the Dream Spire, and while they are still (hopefully) weakened from the other battle.

Shemhazai makes several trips to dimension door the group up the mountain. After the last trip, several hear the sounds of whistling coming closer. Our heroes hold, taking cover, as the whistler passes – and makes toward the location of the battle. A cry of horror soon follows in a giantish voice. Zylah steps forward to engage the giant in conversation, to discuss what had passed, as there had been no other signs of Vaslo's group.

Apparently, a small tribe of stone giants lived atop the mountain, here to guard the valley of the Dream Spire – the cursed valley, as they refer to it. It is forbidden to enter, so they simply lived outside. This particular giant was a scout, who had returned to a slaughter – and indeed, it looks as if Vaslo's group had decimated the giant's tribe. Zylah convinces him to help our heroes, to lead them to the valley and take revenge on the murderers.

Our heroes travel throughout the rest of the night, pushing themselves to reach Vaslo and his group before they have a chance to rest – and more importantly, before they have a chance to enter the Spire. As the sun rises over the mountains, our heroes reach the valley of the Spire. The Spire is a huge, well over 100 ft tall, spiral tower. At the foot stands a huge half-giant – the one described as accompanying Vaslo and his companion back in Sharn, but much, much larger. Also in the valley is the Riedran male that was described; the dromite is nowhere to be seen. At the top of the Spire, frantically working at the door, is Vaslo – and his companion, whom Muroni and Proust recognize as their former friend, Val'vakri.

This turn of events stuns the party momentarily, but only momentarily, and the battle is joined.

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Episode 5
Wherein the Party Receives News of Vaslo's Location and Sets Out

The morning after the auguries, our heroes awaken to much noise and activity from the village. The party exits their hut to find a drow collapsed at the edge of the village. It was a hunter from the group that was to return today – the only survivor from that group. He describes an attack a day ago that wiped out the hunting party – an attack by several individuals that sound familiar to our heroes.

The party confers, and decide to set out immediately in hopes of catching up with Vaslo and his companions. The group takes their leave of Mother Scorpion and the drow village; Proust gives an inspiring speech about kicking their asses (and gaining revenge for the village).

Deegan leads, tracking the drow hunter back to the site of the attack, then tracking Vaslo's group away from the scene. After a few days travel, our heroes reach the town of Last Chance. There, they rest for the night, having a nice dinner in the inn run jointly by House Jorasco and House Ghallanda. Discuss the upcoming travels, and hear warnings about the dangers in the region – most notably, a two-headed T-Rex, and the Sulatar drow, also know as the Firebringers. Proust (with help from Drakeus) recalls a prophecy he heard from a Sulatar… but he doesn't see fit to share this information with the rest of the group. Shemhazai retires shortly thereafter.

Deegan estimates being about a day to a day and a half behind Vaslo and his group. Zylah asks around and confirms Deegan's estimate. She also learns that the group was rather unfriendly, with the exception of Vaslo himself, who was a bit more friendly. Deegan discusses his augury, and how it had – rightly enough – disturbed him. Deegan requested that his body, if recoverable, be returned to Stormreach, to Alhaura d'Jorasco, who owes him.

Our heroes set out early that next morning. After uneventful travel for roughly three days (thanks to Deegan's skill) the group is attacked by a ssvaklor. After its defeat, and the subsequent looting of its lair, our group moves on. A few days later, the group has its first – and hopefully only – encounter with the Sulatar drow as they are ambushed by a raiding group. It is a close battle, but our heroes are ultimately victorious.

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Episode 4
Wherein the Party Travels Cross-Country, and Receives Auguries

To be completed at a later time.

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Episode 3
Wherein the Party Reaches Xen'drik, Meets a New Friend, and Locates a Guide

To be completed at a later time.

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Episode 2
Wherein the Party Sets Out for Xen'drik, and Encounters Sahuagin

To be completed at a later time.

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Episode 1
Wherein the Party Meets, and Discovers the Destination of Vaslo and His Companion

Proust receives a message from his patron, the dragon Keilahsarthis, requesting that he meet with her in Trolansport in Zilargo. She meets him in the guise of a gnome, and informs him of an interesting piece of the Draconic Prophecy that she had recently uncovered. It is said to begin in the "City of Azure Sky and Flying Towers", for there the Prophecy of "Maker, Shadow, Mind, and the Fate of Dreams" begins. She wishes him to travel there to observe the Prophecy in motion and to report events back to her. He must also look out for, and protect, the one known as "The Whisperer", for she believes that it is the actions of this being that will allow this portion of the Prophecy to come to fruition. Proust realizes that the "City of Azure Sky and Flying Towers" refers to Sharn, and decides to head there.

Shemhazai receives a message from one of her contacts in the Kalashtar Resistance against Inspired to meet him in their usual place. She meets with her kalashtar contact, and learns that the Dreaming Dark have stepped up their involvement with Dragonmarked Houses of Khorvaire. Worst of all, it looks like they might be targeting House Cannith first. House Cannith was the major arms supplier in the Last War. If House Cannith were to be subverted to the cause of the Dreaming Dark, Adar and other places of refuge might not last long against Cannith's renewed magical might combined with the Dreaming Dark's subversiveness. He knew that someone in particular in House Cannith was being targeted, but unfortunately they couldn't decipher any other details on the agent to be sent or the target, other than someone fairly high-ranking in House Cannith. Shemhazai attempted to gather more information within Sharn on the possible target and/or the agent, but hadn't gotten very far before receiving a telepathic message from the Enlightened Havakhad to meet with him in Overlook.

Zylah receives a new assignment from House Thuranni. She will be working with House Cannith on an investigation. Secretly, she is also to gather as much information on House Cannith as possible. It appears a high-ranking member of House Cannith has gone missing, and they need House Thuranni's assistance to locate him. She is to report to Merrix d'Cannith in Sharn.

Drakeus is working in the House Cannith forges in the bowels of Sharn when his foreman informs him that Merrix, the leader of Cannith South, has summoned Drakeus to his office in the Dragon Towers in upper Sharn. Surprised, as he has never been summoned before by Merrix, but showing little emotion at this turn of events, Drakeus leaves immediately to clean up and adjourned to the Dragon Towers. There, Merrix informed him of Vaslo d'Cannith's disappearance, and introduced him to Zylah d'Thuranni. Merrix informed them both that he suspected foul play in Vaslo's disappearance. Apparently, shortly before Vaslo disappeared, he was seen in the company of a young woman. Merrix suspects the woman may have been trying to wheedle House secrets out of Vaslo. Merrix informs them that Vaslo "left behind a number of half-finished projects and befuddled apprenti, which is unlike Vaslo, despite being a doddering old fool… senile as he is".

Proust arrives in Sharn and immediately sets about finding as much information as possible on the leads he was given. He believes that "Maker" could refer to a member of House Cannith, or Onatar, the God of Making, or someone associated with Onatar (such as clergy). "Shadow" could refer to one of the Houses of Shadow (Thuranni or Phiarlan), it could refer to The Shadow or one of his clergy, or it could even refer to a particular person's shadow. "Mind" could refer to a psionic being such as a kalashtar or Inspired, it could refer to a particular person's mind (likely a powerful one), or even a group of minds. The "Fate of Dreams" likely refers to Dal Quor, as that is the Realm of Dreams; however, Proust is not sure what the "Fate" might be. What is most important to him, however, is that he seek out the one known as "The Whisperer". The only thing he can think of that this might refer to is an ancient Sarlonian text that he once saw, referring to something called an "Elan". He seems to recall the text referring to an Elan as a being with a demon trapped in its mind, that continually whispers evil thoughts to its living prison. However, he is unsure as to how to recognize one if he saw it, or even if this information is accurate, let alone how to tell if one is in Sharn. His information gathering leads him to the small kalashtar community of Overlook.

Once in Overlook, Proust's inquiries lead him to a particular kalashtar who may have more information, and whom seems to bear a grudge of some sort against another member of the community. "Purple hair? Pretty distinctive markings? Are you talking about Shemhazai? What has that Elan done this time? I swear, by il-Yannah, I do not know what the Enlightened Havakhad sees in that one! It is by his wishes alone that she remains here unharmed. Perhaps if she has committed a most grievous crime against the City, he will come to his senses and realize her for the monster she truly is!" Before the speaker can continue, a monk in austere robes interrupts his rant. "My apologies for the interruption. I have been sent by the Enlightened Havakhad. If it pleases you, he would speak with you concerning your search." At this, the previous speaker looks abashed, and refuses to say any more. Proust accepts the monk's offer, and follows him toward the Enlightened Havakhad's dwelling.

(To Be Continued….)

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