Monday, September 03, 2007

Aurgloroasa: The Sibilant Shade

Session 137

Characters: Julian, Anthony, Randal, Tulgar, Cael, Grim, Balin

NPCs: Yimluth Elkmoon: The Elk Father (Druid of Silvanus), Lord Thond, Thomas Glenn: Royal Court Lawyer, 2 Celestial Leshay (Corellon Larethian), The Avatar of Corellon Larethian, Alusair Obarskyr: The Steel Regent of Cormyr, 6 Mature Adult Dracoliches, Aurgloroasa, the Sibilant Shade: Greater Wyrm Red Dracolich.

E 16 Mirtul 1374 - M 16 Mirtul 1374

12,250 XP

The party awoke in Lord Thond’s manor in the early afternoon to the sound of loud banging upon the mansions front door. On the other side was Court Lawyer Thomas Glenn looking rather flustered. He had just ran from the Royal Palace to alert the party that Lord Huntsilver (whom had been absent at the previous council session) had gone missing. Purple Dragons had searched his estate earlier in the day finding signs of a struggle; the entire manor had been rifled through in a near identical manner to Thiombur and Woodbrand’s estates when they had been abducted. As the party discussed whether or not Huntsilver could also be a Knight Draconis and if the Cult of the Dragon could also be involved in this as well, they were interrupted by a second messenger. A hawk swooped in from an open window, dropping a scroll case from its talons, inside were two scrolls sealed with Lord Illance’s signet ring.

The first was a polite letter thanking the party yet again for all that they had done for him late the previous night. The other scroll had a map of Cormyr with points drawn in where Dragoneye Dealing Coster trade wagons had been abducted recently. The activities seemed centered almost entirely around the Hullack Forest, a spot that Illance recommended they begin their search for the Cult of the Dragon cell whom had been assisting Lord Idool. The party sent a message to Yimluth Elkmoon asking him for assistance in tracking down dragon caves within the Hullack Forest. Meanwhile, they continued to discuss the information they had been gathering since coming to Cormyr. Anthony Manton gathered questions from the party that they could still not answer and then attempted to Commune with Tyr for guidance.

The party gathered around Anthony on dusty sofas and chairs as he kneeled in prayer. The Blade of Cosmas came forth from Anthony’s fist and filled the room with a warm light. Anthony focused his mind as he stated to Tyr their recent trials, then he began to ask the party’s questions. The Blade of Cosmas grew bright as it reaffirmed some of their suspicions. The room began to flicker with light. Hairs raised on the arms of all the party as they felt something was suddenly going wrong. Anthony concentrated harder to maintain his connection, but it was broken when the room flashed with white light and two celestial elves appeared before them. Each had ivory skin, silver hair, ornate chain mail, and brandished two massive swords in each hand whose blades seemed born of their essence. They spoke in harmony stating that Grim Greycastle and Julian Bailor had been charged for the crimes of opening a dangerous Gate into Arvandor, killing an Elder Tree, tainting the very ground which Corellon Larethian walked, and unleashing vile orcs directly into their most precious sanctuary. Grim hung his head at the accusations accepting his guilt and unknown future; however Julian faced the Leshay proclaiming his innocence and questioning their charges in the absence of his testimony.

The Leshay stated that they were to bring Grim and Julian back at once for their punishment (execution) which had also been decided by the powers of Corellon Larethian. Julian continued verbally resist the Leshay and eventually they agreed to allow the entire party to come with them back into Arvandor. The Leshay opened up another Gate of silvery light and they were now in the Lands of Corellon Larethian in Arvandor. The party was now standing in a palace whose magnitude was greater than any they had ever seen. They looked out over a huge balcony and saw a valley filled with massive white bark trees and pillars. All the party (including Julian and Grim) could not help but feel completely overwhelmed with peace and relaxation. Interestingly, as Grim was quick to point out, each member of the party appeared as if they had been an elf their entire lives (something Tulgar in particular found quite disturbing). An almost ethereal figure in shining elven plate mail approached the party, hovering in silence. There would be no need for introductions for the party knew just by sight that he was the keeper of this realm, an Avatar of Corellon Larethian.

The Avatar explained to Grim and Julian that just like their crimes, their guilt and sentencing were final. Grim accepted these words as law and was in a state of deep remorse for his guilt was clearly the greatest. Julian however, attempted to barter his fate with the Avatar but drew a gaze of anger from Him instead. Julian then realized the Elven Way of Good was built almost entirely on the intentions and true emotions of not only their actions, but the results of them as well. The Avatar drew the party across the Overlook and they saw out across the great expanse seeing true perfection except for one point, a great fallen tree resting dead upon collapsed pillars; the entire mess was still covered in the blood and gore of hundreds of dead orcs. The essence around the land was tainted forever, and worse the Avatar explained, the tree had been a father to an entire forest on Faerun. Balin looked upon the massive white tree and saw through its idealized form, he knew exactly which forest the Avatar spoke of.

Julian and Grim begged for forgiveness and also the Avatar change their punishment so that they could redeem their crimes against Arvandor instead. The Avatar stared deeply into their souls, seeing all the Julian and Grim had and would ever experience; their lives completely in his hands. The Avatar however, changed His mind upon seeing within the two that the party was still hunting the epic warriors or Gruumsh: Obold's Eye Rippers. Julian and Grim promised to destroy the 5 Eye Rippers as soon as they possibly could. Smiling upon their promise to kill the Eye Rippers or perish trying, the Avatar gave the party 5 black crystals with which to lock the Eye Ripper souls forever. Grim still noticed that the Avatar was far from satisfied asked if there was still more he could do to personally atone for his actions. The Avatar divined again into Grim's soul and answered grimly back; avenge the Twin Sisters of Cormanthor. The Avatar then turned to Julian and told him that the forest which sprung from the tree he had destroyed was in dire trouble. He would not only need to save the forest, but help expand it back to its former glory. Finally, he must bring back the seed of its greatest tree and return it to Arvandor so that its sapline would remain intact. After Grim and Julian had pledged their services to the Avatar they were allowed to return to the party. The Leshay Gated the party into Lord Thond's manor once again. It took more than a few minutes for the electric feeling of Arvandor to fade from their skin, but then the party re-gathered their composure deciding to visit Regent Alusair Obarskyr and speak to her about the recent events involving Illance, Idool, and the Cult of the Dragon.

In the Royal Palace the party was rushed into Alusair’s chambers as if they were late (despite the fact they were showing up unannounced). Alusair described to them the recent abduction of Huntsilver in the best details she had available to her; this news seemed to have nearly broken her. The party also told Alusair of the recent events concerning the wedding between Idool and Felicia Illance. Alusair more than entertained the possibility that the same Cult whom had been blackmailing Lord Illance could also be behind the abductions. Why the Cult of the Dragon was targeting Lords of Cormyr suddenly was not clear; even more confusing was how they seemed to know the identities of certain Knights Draconis. At the end of the meeting the party received a Sending from Yimluth stating that he was in the forests just east of Suzail and that he would gladly help in locating as many dragon caves as they wished.

The party found and met with Yimluth in the forest; when they told him that they were actually looking for a dracolich not a dragon Yimluth did not seem at all afraid. After the party had relayed the description of the red dracolich that Illance had seen as well as the map given to them by Illance Yimluth was certain he had met this dragon’s acquaintance long ago before it had become the undead monster it was now: Aurgloroasa. Even over five hundred years ago before Yimluth had become imprisoned Aurgloroasa was massive, gluttonous, and merciless. But now after his transformation into festering immortality, Yimluth could only imagine the king of power that Aurgloroasa wielded.

With some hesitation the party followed Yimluth through a series of Fey Crossroads across Cormyr whose structure was quite different than Yimluth remembered. Fortunately for both the old druid and the party, the roads remembered him. Once the party had reached the Hullack Forest safely, Yimluth took the crushed bone dust the party had collected from Illance’s bedroom chamber and threw it into a puddle. Staring deeply into it, the party and Yimluth saw the dust organize into smoky shapes, eventually forming a large cave mouth entrance. Yimluth recognized it at once as if it were an old friend and the party traveled with the ease of Windwalk to the very same cave entrance only minutes later.

Tulgar felt the power of Tempest rising within him as he stared at the entrance, knowing what kind of incredible battle would soon be upon them. Anthony and Randal prayed to the Triads for assistance. Grim and Cael quieted their minds, sensing the Weave around them. Balin and Yimluth listened to the sounds of a long silent forest, and looked upon the charred treetops around them. Julian hummed a strange song to himself as he rolled a coin between his fingers. The party stepped into the cave, their auras burning with magical power. The cave’s great entrance had originally been built by dwarves; it seemed to be an ancient mountainside fort that the dragon had ripped away from them many years ago. Balin noticed the same claw marks all around, scratching away the old dwarven runes. Surprisingly, mold was growing everywhere in patches, the stone floor led to a staircase which descended into a massive flooded great hall; large enough to house all the evil creatures they had ever faced simultaneously.

Swimming out from a corner at the stretches of their darkened vision was a small, dog-sized dracolich; it approached the party almost curiously. Randal waited at the back his fists clenched and as the small dracolich swam up to the party yelping he sprang forward and struck it with a burst. Julian cast a Disintegration upon it which nearly burst its bones apart. Then Tulgar leapt forward into the great hall as well, striking it with Gar. Even before the skeleton could shatter, magical energy exploded out of its essence nearly killing half the party that had leapt into the great hall to engage it. The boom echoed through every corner of the undermountain and the party heard the lurches and roars of terrible beasts from the darkness beyond the great hall.

The party regrouped within the hall near the cave’s entrance and waited in the ash-filled water. Moments later death screams nearly deafened the party as they were surrounded by 6 Huge Dracoliches. The most disturbing part was that 3 of them were metallic dragons of good, two copper and silver that the Cult had sacrificed in the name of the dark powers. The party was blasted by waves of acid, ice, fire, and lightning all at once but their magical defenses saved them from much of the attack. Then the party charged forward from their circle and engaged the dracoliches at the tunnel openings they had came from. Anthony, Cael, Tulgar, and Randal were each able to drop their chosen enemies with epic slashes from their weapons and fists. They had fought this fight before in the Storm Horn Mountains, and this time the terrifying gaze of the dracoliches would not stop them. The remaining dracoliches regenerated their breath weapons with surprising quickness and unleashed another torrent of elements upon the party. Electrismo, Cael's faithful Shocker Lizard familiar was killed in the blast leaving the Spellsword with an aching gash in his heart. The party battled bravely on and finally they would cut down the last of the dracoliches.

The draconic essences rose off the fallen skeletons of the dracoliches and flew down a chamber deep into the cave. Before the party could follow however, the room exploded once again as another dracolich filled nearly the entire room with its presence. Yimluth pulled himself from the floor and recognized it despite the rotting hide and skeletalized head; Aurgloroasa. The burning red orbs within its eye sockets gazed upon all those within the room those that stared back were petrified in complete terror. Its great wings stretched to every corner of the great hall as it drew in a massive lifeless breath. Grim remained fixed upon the eyes however, undaunted by the death within them, searching for any attempt to corrupt the Weave. Just before the dracolich bathed the room in a pale fire Grim sensed it also casting a powerful spell in a genius harmony. Grim and Julian were prepared and bent the flow of time itself with their magical effort, unraveling the dragon’s spell as it was cast. The next instance however, the dragon breathed outward and filled the room with an icy pale fire, shaping the fire to stretch into every part of the hall. It burned them even with their magical protection; flickers of blackness within the fire tainted their souls with its vile presence.

The party struggled to breathe as the cave quickly filled again with air from outside, Randal rushed to Yimluth’s aid as Anthony Healed the party. Cael however, was still standing in the same place he had been, completely surrounded by ice. He moved through the solid ice in his ancestral armor as if it were made of water and struck Aurgloroasa’s leg with Calinus Brumalis. Cael relaxed his grip and focused his mind as he channeled more of the Weave’s power through his blade than he had ever done. The blow left Aurgloroasa without a leg, sending massive bones into the water which turned into patches of ice wherever they struck. Anthony also charged forward, calling upon Tyr and First Paladin Cosmas for their might. His strikes penetrated through Aurgloroasa’s mighty bones charged the creature’s evil soul with bolts of positive energy. Aurgloroasa stood in an ecstasy of disbelief knowing that he may at last be destroyed by worthy warriors. For that second Yimluth saw in the dracolich’s eyes a glimpse of the old dragon within. Then the glowing red orbs returned and Aurgloroasa again invoked his mighty spell the Maw of Chaos, but Grim had held his eyes ever steady upon the burning orbs and once again unwound the spell before it could destroy the party. He ripped at the party, flinging them to all corners of the great hall, but Cael, and Anthony continued to charge forward through the waters filled with ice, ash, bones, and blood and land epic blows into the rotting draconic corpse. With a final battle cry Anthony Manton flashed the Blade of Cosmas through Aurgloroasa’s drooping head and extinguished the burning red orbs.

Seconds later as its bones had finally stopped falling and splashing into the shallow water all around the party realized that Aurgloroasa’s evil soul had collected and roared back through the darkened tunnels. If he had hoarded any more corpses deep within his lair they would soon be fighting him again; unless of course, they could find his phylactery in time. Just as the roar of Aurgloroasa’s evil soul disappeared from earshot it was replaced by the sounds of more boney corpses clattering through the tunnels and into the great hall. The dracoliches they had previously killed were back and in new bodies of dead dragons (some metallics were present here as well). Wounded and nearly outnumbered the party fought gravely onward hoping that the dracoliches would run out of bones before they ran out of blood. Cael, Randal, Tulgar, and Anthony held the front line while Yimluth healed them from behind. Balin, Julian, and Grim made their way into the darkened tunnels to chase after the fleeing souls of the recently killed dracoliches.

The three followed the screaming souls into an equally massive cavern; this one however was crudely carved by Aurgloroasa himself. The room was filled with a massive pile of bones which gathered and animated as the evil dragon’s souls poured back into the room. They hid within the shadows and could not find Aurgloroasa’s soul amongst them. Clearly he had a private collection of the largest bones of all. Meanwhile back in the great hall, Randal Cael, Tulgar, and Anthony had survived the initial backlash of dracoliches and each successive wave was getting easier to slay as the skeletons were getting smaller and smaller. They pushed forward and eventually stood at guard at the entrance to the massive bone pile fighting whatever attempted to escape.

Julian, Balin and Grim used their honed searching skills, arcane sight, and cavern knowledge to find a section of cave wall that seemed suspicious. Balin Melded his body with the stone and found that it was indeed merely a natural wall, behind it was a deep pool of water that extended for a great distance from what Balin could tell. He went back and told Julian, and then Melded through once again. The darkness of the water seemed to call his name, with the recent victory still rushing quickly in his heart Balin decided to descend deeper into the massive well. Julian used his Dwarven Horn of Calling to summon the ancient constructs of Gildabarr whom made short work of the stone wall creating an entrance for the rest of the party. But by the time they had finished Balin was nowhere to be found.