Swords for Adventure

Rescue from Cragmaw

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Feanar returned from the section of Phandalin had chosen to search. The group had returned from Wyvern Tor with prisoners only to find Phandalin once again raided, and this time with a level of certainty. The town remains were still smoldering and there were bodies littering the streets and in some buildings, the battle had been joined and vicious. The new town Marshall, Sildar, lie dead in the square with a number of dead orc and iron ring slavers around him. They had found none alive. There were tracks leading from the town to the north and the direction of Cragmaw Keep. The others had explained to Feanar, this was the location they believed their original benefactor, Gundren Rockseeker, had been taken when he and Sildar were captured last month. Feanar walked to the remains of the inn where they had agreed to meet.

The town was not large and it did not take Feanar more then a few minutes to make the journey. The sky was gray, the air was close, and a light but steady rain continued to fall, as it had since they left the Wyvern Tor. When Feanar entered the inn he could hear a conversation between Orsik and Harndur.
“but it’s not right ah tell ya, we canna leave tha dead lyin aboot with nae honors or decency” Orsik said pointing to Harndur. Harndur was standing with his arms folded and left hand on his chin. “Orsik, I feel and agree with your regard for the town folk but the dead ultimately bury themselves, there is more at stake here and time is not our ally.”

Orsik looked to Feanar “Yer kin wants tah be on our way an nae honor tha dead.” Feanar looked to both and spoke “I would agree Orsik we should pay respects to those that lie dead here in Phandalin but perhaps Harndur’s council is the best way to accomplish this, freeing their kin and neighbors that still live from the Iron Ring is likely the greatest honor we can pay the honored dead. I also agree with Harndur, time is not a friend to us.” Orsik shook his head “Aye, yer both right”

“Have we found any supplies?” Feanar asked of those assembled. Algares had been seated on a barrel listening to the exchange but finally spoke “The slavers and orcs were quite thorough, but I managed to find a few hidey holes and nooks and gather a bit of food, some trail supplies, a couple flasks worth of oil.” Erza spoke as well “I went through the orchard and farm, found some apples lying about and managed to dog up a sack worth of vegetables as well”. Feanar looked at the table, they had some rations in the form of fruit, vegetables, 3 wheels of hard cheese and some trail biscuits, along with some tools, spare cloaks and other sundries.

“What aboot tha Ranger?” Orsik asked about Varis. Harndur replied “I’ll leave Varis a sign of our destination. From the battle and tracks he will be able to discern the rest. If he returns within the day he’ll likely beat us to Cragmaw with his skills.”

“I’d say we are all in agreement then. We should set out within the hour while we still have some light.” Feanar said, he looked around quizzically “Where is Buh?” he added. As if on command their half orc companion walked into the inn. He had a thoroughly dour look on his face, not Buh-like at all. Orsik looked at him and spoke first “Ye alright lad?” Buh looked at his dwarf friend and replied “uh-huh” Harndur spoke “We’ve all been talking and feel setting out after the attackers to try and free any townsfolk now is the best course, what say you Buh?” “We hunt slavers now?” Buh asked. “Yes, now” Harndur replied. “Good” Buh answered.

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The Rescue at Cragmaw Castle (Session 7 Recap)
The Destruction of the Cragmaw Tribe
4th Marpenoth (Leaffall) , The Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

The group makes its way towards the Cragmaw Keep. Enroute it encounters a caravan of a couple dozen Iron Ring Slavers who must have just made a sale to the Cragmaw goblins. A hasty ambush is set and nearly the entire retinue save one is killed. The group then decides to lay low for a night assault on the keep.

Under cover of darkness the team makes a stealthy approach to the Cragmaw Keep and enters through a door which Algares unlocks. They proceed inside and locate a kitchen with a dozen plus goblin workers and head cook. The battle begins for the entire team except Orsik, who guards their rear echelon from attack.

During the course of battle the cooks are joined by 4 goblin archers and 4 hobgoblin soldiers. Orsik in the hall is confronted by a pair of archers and a pair of hobgoblins. Buh’s wild magic triggers twice inflicting numerous casualties, on both sides, but the team is easily able to compensate and move on.

The team next encounters a chapel with 3 goblin priests that they quickly dispatch. They are also attacked by a pair of Gricks, which eventually are defeated as well. Further exploration leads them to a store room on one of the crumbling towers where they intend to attempt a short rest to no avail, and they are attacked.

The goblin attackers attempt to light the room on fire but the team exits. There is a brief fight with some hobgoblins and goblins in the room outside the store room. The room is on fire but the team suffers only minor injuries before pressing on.

They continue their exploration of the keep and discover a locked door off of one tower. Upon entry they discover an Owl Bear is being kept within and it attacks. There is a brief fight and the monster is beaten.

Finally the team moves on and discovers the final room in the keep. Once inside they are engaged by King Groll, a number of hobgoblins, a hobgoblin captain, a pair of dire wolves, and a Drow. The fight is intense with magic, arrow, axe and sword crashing together. A cowardly blow by the drow nearly kills Algares but he is healed by Feanar. Ultimately the group is able to vanquish the enemy forces

with the Drow being the lone exception who abandons the goblins and runs like the coward he surely is.

Taking stock and searching the keep locates approximately two dozen survivors of Phandalin in cells, all women and small children. The team releases them and treats their injuries and malnourishment. Its decided to use the wagons and horses liberated from the Iron Slavers fight and transport the survivors to the secret HQ of the Order of the Secret Flame to which Feanar belongs. It will provide safe haven and opportunities for the survivors to mend their lives, as well as, a place of strength for the team to gather themselves and take rest.

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Out of the ashes
A new purpose

The smell of burnt cedar wafted through the autumn air as Buh stood within the ruins of Phandalin. He was in the court yard, on the cobble steps just outside what had previously been the inn. The sun was nearing the horizon as Buh stood looking upon a child’s mangled body. The fight for Phandalin had been vicious yet also one sided from the state of things. He shook his head as he knelt down to cradle the slain child. She was beautiful in her stillness, like nothing he had ever been privy to in his life. As he brushed some stray hairs out of her face he noticed she was smiling serenely. He seared the memory of her guise into his mind, paying attention to how the setting sun sent flickers through her auburn hair. How he wished he could have known her, all the life and untapped potential would not be known in this world now.

And for what? So slavers could pack more coin into their purses? The greed of man was rivaled only by the need of the orc to murder and pillage. He sat next to the girl almost in trance thinking back to his teacher as a youngling. “There are men in this world we are not meant to understand. They kill without question; some the spirit, some the body. Those who cut mortal tethers, while abhorrent, are the lesser of these two evils. Always beware they who murder the souls of others.”

As a child this lesson fell on deaf ears, but seeing this child’s face now it was clear. At least she was sent away from this world in a fleeting moment of terror to never again feel that same anguish, fear, or pain. To the orcs, slavery was common place if not completely acknowledged. The smaller were forced by the larger, a natural cascade of power by which order of any form could be kept. Buh had never agreed with this philosophy. He had hoped that by escaping life with the orcs he could fight this injustice with likeminded individuals. He felt that maybe it was Grummush, the one eyed orc god, that made this so. Yet here he found that men suffer from the same inequities to some extent, and the face of it was a terrible atrocity.

In part Buh could not escape the feeling that he was personally responsible for what had happened here. Just a few days ago the slavers had been going by Phandalin with empty cages. When questioned of their destination the answer was Neverwinter. Cursing his own stupidity, Buh realized that slavers would never go to a capital city to capture slaves. Also, had he been sharper, he would have noticed the lack of provisions for such a long journey. He swore in orc, berating himself for the slowness of his mind. How valuable the orcboon trinket was he never fully appreciated.

He stood to his full height with the small child in his arms and took her towards a large manor house just east of town. His absence would go unnoticed; he had given up trying to convince the rest of the party that he was no ordinary dullard. To the south east, in sight of the manor, there was a large field with poplar flowers and daisies drinking up the last of the September sun’s rays. He found a place near a cedar tree and buried his burden. In the trunk he carved some words, and swore an oath in blood that he would attempt to right this injustice. With a wave of his hand and a verbalization, an illumination sprang from his palm with the girl’s likeness. She will never be forgotten.

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Assault on the Wyvern Tor (Session 6 Recap)
A blow dealt to The Iron Ring
25th Eleint , The Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

-Group travels to Wyvern Tor and makes a recce of the base of the fortress’ hill.

-An Iron slave wagon is detected approaching and is ambushed by the group. Two slavers are killed and a number of slaves freed. One of the slavers is able to draw a horn and sound an alert. A slaver patrol surveils the group and withdraws back to the hilltop.

-The team chooses and night time and attack and approaches the fortress from it’s side opposite the main gate. An attempt is made to surreptitiously enter but the effort fails and the battle commences.

-Harndur in spider form, Erza, and Algares, scale the fortress wall and engage the enemy. Feanar, Buh, and Orsik remain on the ground outside the wall at the start of the fight.

-Algares and Erza battle a number of slaver combatants on the wall, Harndur proceeds into a tower on the wall and confronts some Acolyte of Lloth and a slaver ring leader. Feanar casts Shatter into the tower with Harndur and his slaver opponents, all, including Harndur, are injured in the blast and Harndur is forced from spider form.

-Several attackers round the exterior of the fortress and engage Feanar, Buh, and Orsik. Algares and Erza continue to battle and dispatch slavers on the wall. Harndur’s opponents attack and incapacitate him.

-Buh, Feanar and Orsik defeat their opponents on the ground. Harndur’s opponents attempt to heal their injuries. Feanar and Orsik scale the wall. Erza drives off or kills his opponents. Algares is thrown from the wall but continues to fight.

-Erza forces his way into the tower, Feanar assists Orsik in scaling the tower, and Algares dispatches or drives off the last of his opponents. Buh dispatches the last slaver on the ground outside the fort.

-Erza attacks the slaver ring leader and injures him severely. The Acolyte tries twice to cast spells on Erza which he shrugs off. Feanar enters the tower and blasts a pair of guards inside with a Thunderwave, injuring them.

-Erza strikes the ringleader again and he takes a gaseous form potion allowing him to escape. Orsik enters the tower room and kills the Acolyte with a hammer blow to the head. The two remaining guards surrender.

-The group conducts a search of the fort recovering a number of potions, items, papers and coin. They decide to return to Phandalin with the guards as prisoners. Upon arrival they find Phandalin has been razzed and Sildar is dead. A large number of town folk have obviously perished but likely an even larger number have been seized as slaves.

-The group releases the prisoners, gathers what supplies they can and decides to set off for Cragmaw Castle, the direction the tracks lead from Phandalin.

-Enroute to Cragmaw the team is attacked by a swarm of Stirges, however a timely triggering of Buh’s wild magic affliction causes a fireball, eliminating the threat nearly wholesale.

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Harndur's return

Feanar leaned over Erza securing the dressing on his face. “Stop scratching!” Feanar snapped at the gnome. “But it itches!” Erza complained. “You were bit in the face by a fel undead creature, the magics I used will heal it within the hour, however, that is dependent on you leaving it be.” “It itches.” Erza repeated. Feanar sighed, “Very well, gently if you must, and for the god’s sake would you please wash your hands first.” He breathed out at Erza. Erza stood and walked towards the fire, plopping himself down with a thoroughly despondent look and trying to slyly scratch his facial wound.

The group had been attacked by undead monstrosities in the night. They had struck on Feanar and Algares’ watch. The two of them were barely able to alert the team at the last moment. The engagement had been brief and violent, but they were triumphant only having suffered a few minor wounds amongst them, with Erza’s facial injury the worst of the lot. Varis was disappeared into the shadowy perimeter of their camp on patrol alone, allowing Erza time for Feanar’s magics to heal him. Algares was seated on a large rock just at the edge of the firelight, he was rubbing his neck, no injury, just a bit of soreness. He looked at Feanar and said “Thanks”, “Not at all my friend” Feanar replied as he strode by, Feanar went and sat across the fire from Orsik, he had weathered the battle essentially unscathed.

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Feanar looked to the edge of the camp, Buh had renewed his attack on the firefly population and was chasing and grasping at them along the camp’s edge. Feanar looked at him and smiled. Orsik noticed his gaze and looked towards Buh before speaking, “He’s relentless if nothing else.” Feanar chuckled “Oh I don’t know, it’s actually a bit refreshing. He faces dire odds with a vicious battle and when over, it’s over, he’s back to enjoying his life. Probably not a bad way to live really.” Feanar observed. Orsik nodded as he lit his pipe.

“We should reach the Wayvern Tor by tomorrow or the next day at the latest, as long as nothing else tries to eat us.” Orsik remarked. “Indeed” Feanar replied “Do you think Harndur will return by then?” Feanar asked. He had no more than posed the question and a large owl dropped from the night sky and landed in the light of the campfire circle, it quickly transformed into Harndur before their eyes. Feanar admitted to himself he was a bit startled by it, Orsik spit out his pipe while leaping up and yelling “Gods, you pointed ear, goat changing, tree worshiper, you frightened a century from me!”

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Harndur smiled and then stumbled a bit. “I don’t actually quite have the hang of this flying thing, crashed twice actually, a bit dizzy now. Think I’ll wait a bit before I give that one a go again.” He said seating himself by the fire next to Erza. He clapped the gnome on the back and asked “Did I miss anything?” he inquired smiling. Erza looked up at him “I got bit in the face. It itches.” He replied sullenly while scratching. “I can see that, you shouldn’t scratch.” Harndur replied. Erza sulked and replied “That’s what the other elf said too” Harndur chuckled “He’s right.”

Harndur grabbed a water skin and drained it, pausing to catch his breath, “Not easy to drink as an owl that doesn’t even know how to fly. Tell me you’ve got something to eat aside from salted venison and trail biscuits.” He inquired. They gave him some of the tubers left from the previous evening’s meal, as well as, hard cheese and dried fruit. He chewed dutifully and asked “So what did I miss since Thundertree?”

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Heavy laden anxiety
More of Buh's brain doing what it doesn't do best

Buh sat, exhausted from the massive expenditure of magical energies. Eerily he felt better though, somehow more unencumbered by the magical releases the day had required. His eyes whisked from person to person assembled in the party. He wondered how many of them truly understood his mind. Or further, if he had managed any of their trust though it is no small task to ask of anyone. Not even Orsik could comprehend the sort of misery that was Buh’s daily existence. Buh had hoped that by looking out for Orsik, Orsik would look out for him. But Orsik did not save him from the mushroom. Oh…that mushroom! That was the worst thing he had ever done, the colors and talking buildings…if his brain did not work correctly pre-mushroom it definitely lost some of its edge post-mushroom and ever after would this be so. But he ate it since he was never good at making friends, even before that blasted rock had cracked his skull.

They spoke of a cave filled with treasures. To be certain, there would be no orc boon trinkets in this place. Yet there is hopeful speculation as to the potential for other items to promote their individual powers. He decided it was no time to self-promote his ideals. He would need allies eventually, powerful enough to help him in his quest. For now, he would give all his powers and efforts towards the group’s cause. That cause seemed to be protecting Phandalin. A better second home than none, thought Buh.

Especially with the ghoul attack, the day sat uneasily around the campfire. He had tried to lure the orc band out with one of the drum beats of the Many Arrows tribe during the pursuit earlier that afternoon. It did not work, which was disconcerting. There was something unnatural about the whole situation in this country side. Orcs rarely run from a drum beat of the tribe, they converge. The sooner the orcs were dealt with the better. Buh sat and listened to everyone, trying to ignore the fire’s encouragement to play. It seemed that the orcs were to be dealt with at Wyvern Tor, then on to Cragmaw castle to help a previous employer.

There was mention that the ruler of this place, Cragmaw, called himself the spider. Buh tried to conceal his shock, but could not. Fury welled within his breast and when he tried to manifest his thoughts all he could manage were pink bubbles. Orsik came to his side and spoke of the orc raiders that had stolen his trinket. Perhaps it is in the castle, or at least one could hope thought Buh.

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A Quiet Muse
Origins of the Wave Echo Cave

Orsik jolted from his slumber, feeling as he had just lain is head. Struggling to catch his breath, he pondered his latest dream. He sat staring blankly at the smoldering embers of the fire pit.

As a we lad Orsik and his Father would wander the caverns of the Runsmitten mines. His father would share tales of the past, when dwarves ventured further south to mine gold and quarry stone. But something rang familiar with him yet he could not recall.

Just then Feaner approached from his patrol.

“What is troubling you, Orsik?” he gestured as he approached.

“Something ‘bout that cave the other traveler mention back in Thundertree. The name although familiar to me, I’m not sure why” Orsik grumbled still staring off into the pit.

He stood up and walked up to the fire grabbing a small log on his way. Orsik tossed the log in the fire; flames quickly leap onto the log. The flames danced as if tiny sprites bickered across the log.

Orsik’s eyes widen and he quickly pivoted towards Feanar. “My father told me of this cave, this Wave Echo Cave, as a we lad.” he said as memories rushed back to him.

“He told me of the battle with the orcs during the age of my grandfather. That powerful magical item had been crafted within the caverns of the cave.” Orsik began to pace around the fire trying to dig deep into his memories.

“My father also mentioned that while the caverns were lost so too were a number of finished magical items.” Orsik Stammered

Just then Algares strolled out of the shadows. “Magical items you say?” Algares said with a sharp smirk across his face.

“Were you there the whole time, Algares!?” Feanar scolded.

Orsik continued. “Yet, I cannot recall if he knew how many there were. Should the orcs have come in to possession of them it could be a bad sign for Gundren or any others who may seek out the cave.”

“Well, we shall think of that should the time come. First we must find and smite these orcs to ensure the safety of Phandalen. Get some rest Orsik dawn will break soon enough.” Feanar says as we tugs on Algares’ sleeve to do another round.

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Character Fiction - Feanar
Campfire and Conversation

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They had all settled down for the evening about two hours prior. None had yet chosen to go to sleep and were simply content around their fire. They had eaten a meal of traveler’s bread, hazel and walnuts, some dried fruit and hard cheese. Only two days from Phandalin they had been able to indulge in some more palatable trail food as opposed to rations at the moment. Varis had managed to find some wild tubers which they had buried and baked in the fire. Bottles of mead or wine on the trail were a bit too indulgent as they were on foot and moving at speed, so they drank water.

Feanar gazed around the group. No one was talking, although they had all chosen to work with one another, some had only known one another but two weeks. While there was perhaps still a lack of jovial familiarity, they had stared down some Iron Ring Slavers and battle orc and an ogre in Phandalin. None doubted the stoutness of anyone’s heart, nor the lethality of their steel or magic.

Varis and Erza were rolling some gambling dice with one another. Buh was jumping and amusing himself at the fire’s edge trying to catch fireflies and generally having the sort of fun you had when young and camping. Algares was sharpening a dagger and experimenting with its edge. Orsik had his back against a stump. He was smoking his pipe and gazing into the fire intensely, his mind clearly in another place and likely another time. Feanar spoke to him.

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“Are you winning my friend?” Feanar asked of Orsik with a slight smile. Orsik shook his head took his pipe from his mouth, he chuckled and replied “I always win when I’m imagining it.”

“I didn’t mean to interrupt the battle, if you must return” Feanar added. Orsik spoke “No, it will keep. I am mostly doing math you see, not so much fighting in my mind.” “Arithmetic you say?” Feanar asked with a puzzled tone.

“Indeed, you see a Dwarf always repays his debts, whatever they may be, in kind. It might be a debt of coin in exchange for goods or services. It could be a debt a favor, say a kindly elven cleric waves his deft hand and heals a cut on your head”. Orsik explained motioning to Feanar with his pipe in hand, to which Feanar gestured back thanking. “In some cases, it’s a debt of blood, such as with the orc. They have a large balance in blood I intend to see paid.”

Feanar raised his eyebrows and replied smiling “I shall endeavor to only incur debts of favor my friend”. Orsik replied smiling with a wink “Keep up with my head gashes and I might even slip a percentage of my coin your way elf, a small one of course. What of you? These orcs are nothing to you and your quest to seek out the dragon cult?” Orsik asked.

“No, we have no information at this point to show us this, but my father was a ranger before becoming a disciple of Correlon Larethian, so he was learned in the ways of war and evil. He always told me ‘evil and it’s minions are like water, pour them into a single area from multiple sources and they will seek the path of least resistance, as well as, eventually all end up in the same place.’ I find partnering with you all to be wise and can’t help but feel this shadow growing in the sword coast will eventually call all the evil to its banner at some point. I believe our common path will lead to my goal” Feanar explained.

Orsik nodded smoking his pipe before replying. “Very wise your father.” He looked at Algares and asked sarcastically “What about you sticky fingers? You planning to vanquish evil. Or just rob it?” Orsik asked before laughing.

Algares paused his sharpening, “I see no profit in allowing crazed evil cults to run about killing and destroying wantonly, it’s bad for business” He answered before returning attention to his dagger. Orsik nodded. “Not a bad answer, well, I think Buh and I are technically on watch, he seems to have the fireflies well in hand, so I think I’ll take a wee stroll about the perimeter and see what might be skulking about. You all should get some rest” Orsik said standing a hefting his warhammer and walking into the shadows of their campfire perimeter.

Feanar lie down and folded his hands across his chest. He stared at the stars in the night sky and began a meditative ritual to clear his mind and take rest. He could hear the others settling in as well before his vision clouded. He heard Ezra mention finding a good bush to sleep under as he was always safer under bushes, and Varis suggesting one down wind. He heard Orsik chiding Buh and telling him to walk a bit and look for trouble, assuring him the fireflies had asked for terms for their surrender to him. Feanar drifted off into a restful trance, it seemed like it would be a quiet evening.

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Buh - Character Fiction
Buh's Reminiscing
19th Eleint , The Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

Following the elegant meal enjoyed by his new compatriots, Buh settled in the den in front of the fire. He felt almost at home sitting on the large bear skin splayed out on the floor. He allowed his fingers to pass through the hairs of the beast and smiled to himself as the fire quietly popped and groaned. Life with the orcs was not all he had ever known, but was what he knew best and that lifestyle had instilled in him an appreciation for the small joys life can bear.

Simultaneously, the gritty life that orcs lead at the behest of Grummush had always piqued his curiosity. He pitied their savage nature and lack of want to be educated. For them it was better to be strong then intellectual. The boss had always said brains don’t wield the axes, I guess to an orc that is all well and good. But such a hardy race, if it could be voided of their internal rage, could prove more industrious than any other race thanks to their single tracked train of thought. He hated those times.

He thought about his parents. His mother was a human, nary a soul could say beautiful. But she was robust and strong. His father was a half breed who showed his orc heritage more in the sloping of his forehead than the tint of his skin. Their hut was between a band of tribal humans and the Skullsplitter orcs. Neither side really wanted to take them in, but neither side wanted to cast them out. It was a marriage born to seal an alliance that was never to take root.

Their homestead was the site of many conflicts between the two tribes. His father refused at all costs to endorse one over the other. The love between Buh’s mother and father had truly blossomed. He would routinely have the heads of each tribe over following a clash to attempt talks of peace. He even hired a teacher of philosophy to help him in his efforts, putting a great financial strain on the small family.

Buh picked up much from this teacher. The man taught Buh to temper his violent nature and how to manage empathy without becoming weak. Buh was indeed a bright child, quick to learn and showing a higher degree of natural intelligence than anyone he had met. As his philosophical ideas evolved and his speech lost some of its harsh guttural nature both tribes became covetous.

Buh could admit to himself that his intellect was nothing special when compared to the world at large. Some of the things his teacher spoke of, like the knowledge held in grand wizard towers in a multitude of old tomes, seemed staggering. But when the collective local wisdom produces thoughts like the sky is blue because it’s full of water…it doesn’t take much to scare people. Both tribes felt that if they could harness Buh for their cause, they could greatly advance their own society.

Then came the great clash. Buh’s home, parents, and the human tribe were destroyed in an orgy of destruction and he was forced into the Skullsplitter camp to survive. He was more of a slave at first, having to prove himself through strength of arms as is the orc way. He was given to ample time studying with the shamans as well, learning of orc society and theology and teaching them of his philosophies. His ideas were not popular; in fact they were in stark contrast to Grummush’s teachings. Yet the tribe demanded he remain for his inventiveness. He gave the orcs lessons on water power from mills to help with construction, farming to reduce strain on the scavenging parties, and useful ways to improve efficiency with raids to reduce risk and improve probability of success.

But he cursed himself now. He had been too weak to leave before. His whole life, he knew from a young age, would be predicated on prejudice. It was this knowledge that caused him to stay with the orcs. While it was a harsh and rugged existence, he had nothing to prove. Now he knew that was not the case. For all he knew, he may have been on raids against the people he would meet on his travels.

Likewise his intellectual gifts were unusable without orcboon. This would make it difficult to garner support for his cause. To make amends for his life to this point he must recover this trinket. Then he would find a way to stand between Grummush and the orcs, to bring them into the fold of civilization. In time he may prove that orcs without Grummush can be just as righteous and good as any other race. Perhaps by severing their connection, that balefire of simple minded rage could be expunged. For no good ever came of wanton destruction.

With this revelation surrounded by people he hoped would become friends but at the least were allies, he managed the best sleep he had in years.

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Character Fiction - Feanar
Stars and Herbology
18th Eleint , The Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

The moon was rising as Feanar made his way up to the entry to Reidoth’s home. He had returned from a quick herbalist errand for the druid. The rest of the party was likely asleep now, save perhaps Harndur. Feanar had meditated earlier in the evening for enough rest when Reidoth asked him of his knowledge of plant life. Satisfied with the answers Feanar gave, he had sent Feanar off to gather a few more common items for some reason. Having found all the ingredients Reidoth asked for, Feanar approached the exterior of the home and softly spoke the command words Reidoth had taught them all. The Briar-thorn thicket covering large portions of the exterior of the home parted on command. Reidoth_s_house.jpg

Reidoth had quite cleverly concealed his home beneath a layer of enchanted plants and illusionary facades to give it the appearance of being far more ruinous and ramshackle than it in fact was. In addition the exterior gave the appearance of being home to a large number of beehives that also had the look of being quite natural and random, when in fact it was a sophisticated apiary Reidoth had set up. He was able to collect large amounts of honey and comb as both food and for use as wax. Feanar moved quickly and quietly up the path to the entryway, the thicket parting and closing behind him as he passed. He reached what gave the impression of a collapsed wall and doorway, once again speaking the command phrase the rubble silently wavered and disappeared to display a heavy bound oaken door.
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Feanar operated a number of combination latches in the sequence Reidoth had instructed and then inserted the key he had been given. The locks released and he was able to swing the heavy oaken door inward. Lantern and candlelight illuminated the entry as Feanar walked in closing the door behind him. The magic mechanical locks re-secured themselves of their own accord. Feanar took off his deep green sylvan woolen cloak and hung it in the coat room before entering the keeping room from the entryway. The room was empty and the whole house quiet. He walked through the keeping into a parlor that in turn led to a drawing room with bookcases that stretched to the high ceilings. The room was long and had extensive woodwork throughout. It was well appointed with a number of plush fine pieces of furniture. At the far end was a large walk in fireplace with a solid fire burning. The night outside was clear and very crisp as fall began to march towards winter in the ruins of Thundertree.
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Feanar quietly picked his way through the library/parlor as his new allies were all quite asleep in it. Harndur the Sylvan elf was in here as well in a deep meditative trance seated in a plush chair in a far corner opposite the fire place. Erza the wildling gnome was curled up on a large round ottoman in front of the chair Harndur was in. Across the room Varis the human ranger was lying on his back on a couch. Buh, the half orc was sprawled on his back on a bear skin rug in front of the fire, and although breathing deeply he slept surprisingly quietly. His companion Orsik was another matter and he snored in such a way that Feanar was always surprised the dwarf was able to speak at all in the morning. Orsik was asleep on his back on another couch “calling to his gods” as Varis put it. Finally beside one of the couches, and underneath an end table with his back against the wall lie their cut-purse urchin from Waterdeep, Algares, his position meant to guard his own back was the only way he could comfortably sleep. Feanar thought it a bit sad while simultaneously quite practical. All were illuminated by the light cast by the popping fire. Feanar gently placed another good sized piece of wood into the fire and then moved to the exit on the opposite side to the stairwell.

Reidoth told him prior to leaving to take the stairs up to his occulatory where he would be working. It was located at the top of a round tower like portion of the home within a dome. Feanar ascended about three floors to the hatch-like door into the occulatory. It opened into a large airy round room. In the center was a raised round dais with a circular set of stairs leading up to it. In the center of the dais was an elaborate seat that had all manner of gears, dials, and various mechanisms associated with it. On an arm extending from the seat was a sort of mobile that had a number of large crystal lenses hanging from them. Around the perimeter walls of the room was a raised catwalk that rounded the entire structure, it had a number of rolling ladders that led up to it. On the catwalk was a series of grips that to Feanar’s astonishment allowed a single person with little effort to pivot the entire top half of the domed structure. occulatory.jpg

Below the catwalk were a number of workbenches piled with a variety of tomes, tools, and alchemical apparatus. Feanar saw Reidoth seated across from the entry at a desk he used. There were a number of lanterns hanging throughout, however the room was not brightly lit. It was also somewhat exposed because of it’s function and while there were no elements to penetrate into it, the air was quite cold. When Feanar reached Reidoth he took out the sack was given by the druid and set it on his desk before seating himself in a chair next to the desk. Reidoth spoke without looking up from a text

“You found everything? Even the Canis Root?” He asked Feanar. “Indeed, even the Canis Root, although it did prove to be as challenging as you said it might. I must be honest my herbology is probably not what should be expected of a druid’s apprentice.” Feanar dryly joked.
Reidoth looked over his book and across the top of his glasses, “Well, no one is perfect, and Harndur needed rest.” Feanar smiled and sadly agreed. His kin Harndur had been busy consoling comrades and burying their dead, to say nothing of nursing wounds from their battle with Venomfang, the emerald dragon that also resided in the ruins of Thundertree.

“I am curious why you needed these herbs and items this evening Reidoth?” Feanar asked.

“You and your companions have chosen to leave a few days hence and I thought I might prepare a few poultices and elixirs to aid you in your quest. Your plan to assault Cragmaw is nearly as suicidal as attacking a dragon in its lair.” Reidoth answered. Reidoth paused and looked up towards the roof and then back to Feanar, “Care to see my occulatory in use?” he asked smiling a bright smile.

Feanar looked up, “Indeed, I’ve puzzled over it since I first saw it” He replied.

“It’s a quite an ingenious device really, not my own invention I must admit, but a close copy of a design likely originally made by the your kin the High Elves many ages ago.” Reidoth explained while walking up the circular stairs of the dais. When they reached the top he grasped a heavy looking double latch lever and threw it. The roof above them parted by about a third revealing a starry sky with no moon.

“I’m thrilled to have such a clear night getting this late in the year. Viewing can become all too infrequent when the fall weather turns foul.” He continued, explaining to Feanar as he seated himself in the elaborate mechanical chair in the dais’ center. Reidoth began to manipulate a number of the wheels and dials on the chair, he peered through what looked somewhat like a sextant aiming lens and also pulled a lever or two connected to the chair and apparatus as well. There was a mechanical noise and Feanar looked up to see a pair of circular rings that traversed interior surface of the upper part of the dome structure he hadn’t noticed before. They were turning opposite one another but stopped shortly. Set within the rings were a evenly spaced set of round mirrors. A number of the lenses pivoted and twisted about in front of Reidoth’s seat and they soon obviously began to arrange themselves in a kind or order.
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Suddenly the light of the stars above began to be focused, and a beam of pure starlight was formed by the lenses on the apparatus. The beam was in turn bounced off the mirrored rings in the ceiling until suddenly before Reidoth and Feanar a lighted map of the sky itself was illuminated in the very air around them. Feanar hadn’t noticed, but all the lanterns had been extinguished, and there was no other light in the room save that cast by the star field floating around him in the dome. Feanar was stunned by both the beauty and the ingenuity of simply aiming the proper types of crystals, at the proper time and angle. The academics of it all was truly impressive. Reidoth spoke and drew his attention, “Wonderful device isn’t it?” he queried Feanar. Feanar was still marveling “Indeed it is, of course I have to ask other that being able to, and the obvious academics involved, as well as the beauty, what is the practical use of it?” He asked of Reidoth.

“An excellent question friend Feanar, my answer would be to walk with me.” Reidoth led him a few steps from the chair console “Here we stand and view the stars as they appear from roughly where we are now, in our world, on this half of Toril this is what we see, on the lower half of our sphere there would be different stars to view, now, follow me.” Reidoth then led them down the stairs and up one of the ladders to the catwalk, across, and somewhat behind where they stood on the dais. “Now, where do you suppose the stars appear as this?” He asked Feanar. Feanar paused before answering and then was forced to admit “I’m not certain” he replied. Reidoth smiled “That is one of the uses of the device, to discern our sky and what it means not only from our perspective but from other realms and realities in the ether. To more precisely answer though it is likely this is what the stars appear to be from Moradin, High Father of all Dwarf kind and his realm”.

Feanar pondered the answer before speaking “Then it can serve as a kind of guide or map for the navigation of the realms of the gods?” He asked. “Yes, and a the lower planes as well, and all the myriad of paths and realities that both fiend and angel tread. It also shows the grand movement of the multiverse. In these times we now live in we are also shown there is a convergence that happens but once every few millenia nearly upon us, when the distances and barriers between realms are shortest.” Reidoth answered. Feanar examined the stars and then asked “Clearly something these followers of Tiamat must be keenly interested in” Feanar observed. “Yes, oh yes indeed, it is no coincidence they have chosen this time to asset themselves and take the actions they have.” Reidoth answered. Feanar again paused and then asked “Is there anyway to capture this information and carry it, or relay it?” Reidoth smiled “Yes, yes there is Feanar, there is indeed”…

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