Platinum Empire

The Eve of the Election

Ava and her team returned after their Dwarven adventure to a tower filled with nervous energy. Valas Hune, Sub-Archon for the Pacification of the North, had mounted a daring and wildly successful raid on a Niridan outpost, conveniently increasing the influence of the Talon just before the election to name a new Archon of the Eye.

Ava decided to explore the tower, and ran into a group of three friendly Eye agents chatting in the hallway: Vita Broen and Mihai Milya of the Eleventh Eye, along with Aias Gilsatra of the Third. Aias implied that the High Archon tends to vote with whoever has the most cache at any given time, which might be Archon Argith at the moment due to the success of the raid. They also discussed their theories on the assassination of Archon Fassit, and their opinions of the characters of Anabran Cane and Mairin Néill, seemingly the two main candidates for the election.

Proceeding up the tower, Ava paused outside the door of Anabran’s office, where she heard voices. Taking up a “guard position” close to the door, Ava was fortuitously able to overhear some of the conversation, which involved Cane discussing with one of his senior officers an intelligence leak by an Eye agent, or someone posing as one, directly to Hune (bypassing both him and Archon Argith) that resulted in the raid. There was a brief discussion of the election, with Cane stating that Archon Prinn will certainly vote against him, but that he was unsure of the others. Dismissing the Major to deliver a message, the door opened, and Ava sprung out, under the pretext of ensuring that Cane was all right.

As it turned out, Ava’s presence had been detected, and allowed, by Cane, and the two had a frank discussion about Fassit’s assassination, the contours and extent of the conspiracy, and the motivation of the intelligence leak. Cane expressed his belief that the leak didn’t fit in with the conspiracy as he sees it, and may have actually circuitously helped his chances at the election.

Ava expressed her belief that the whole scheme may involve an attempt to frame Cane for Fassit’s murder, and outlined the case against him. Cane acknowledged the concern, but disclosed the additional information that Fassit had started to catch on to the cult’s activities; he believes that the Cult has not yet become so widespread or influential that it is manipulating affairs to this degree, but is still reacting to events to protect themselves while they buy time to accomplish their goal. He did, however, express concern that he was mistaken (and that there is little he’ll be able to accomplish if he is). He accepted Ava’s offer to guard him on the day of the election, and provided her with a special flute imbued with a sending spell to contact him.

The Theft of the Throne

In the wake of the Archon’s assassination, Ava and her team were placed on a brief furlough following their success at Aecris. Aron suggested that they head to the ancestral grounds of the Thaneholt Clan, in the Karhold mountain range.

Aron, as 24th in line for the the throne of the clan, has some pull, as does the legacy of her former master, Doundair. Aron was able to arrange for Ava to take a look at the dwarves’ most sacred object, Moradin’s Throne, and the attached Iron Jewel. The site had recently been reconsecrated, and under normal circumstances would have remained undisturbed for a week of cleansing. With Ava’s visit, however, the cleansing was delayed by a day, and Ava walked into a throne room with a gaping hole in the back wall and a conspicuously empty dais where the Throne used to be.

Pursuing the fleeing Cairnhewer clan, Ava guided the team through the tunnels beneath the Karholds, adroitly avoiding dead ends and red herrings. Unable to shake the pursuit, the Cairnhewers pried the Iron Jewel from the Throne and left it behind with most of their team to fight a rear guard action while the others escaped with the Jewel.

Vanquishing the rear guard, Ava recovered the Throne – and some filings of the Iron Jewel remaining in the socket. Despite their continuing pursuit, the Jewel remained too far ahead, and eventually traces of the rival clan seemed to disappear.

The Seventh returned the Throne and filings to the grateful Thaneholts, who allowed Ava to keep a small portion of the filings – forged into the war pick, Scintilla. The clan elders and religious leaders decided to attempt to keep the theft of the Iron Jewel a secret, fearing the instability that would result, and started work on a replica to fill the Throne’s socket with.

The Archon's Assassination

Archon of the Eye, Therin Fassit, has been assassinated. He was discovered in his room, slain neatly with no signs of a struggle. His mundane defenses were all in place, with doors and windows locked from the inside and alarm spells still active.

There had been a contentious Council meeting prior a few days prior to his death; the topic of the conflict has been kept confidential.

The final appointment in Fassit’s appointment book had been with a “B.F.” – it is unclear whether or not the appointment was kept.

The Eye is investigating the death; theories include planar incursions, internal power struggles, and enemy action, but if the investigators have any solid leads, they’re keeping them under wraps for now.

The Final Descent
In which Kalarel is slain, and the desecration is cleansed

Ava Stone and her compatriots, after regaining their composure following the fall of the Warchief, proceeded onwards to a guard room populated with numerous statues. Thanks to Ava’s keen senses, the party quickly deduced that the statues were traps; although originally dedicated to Bahamut, and set to attack evil interlopers, the blessings had been corrupted with the addition of the holy symbols of one of the Scions of Tiamat, Malystryx, reinforced by the desecration of the temple below. The party, using sound strategy, quickly nullified the threat with barely a scratch, and, after taking rubbings of the symbols, proceeded onwards to the outer temple, defended by an underpriest and some cultists of Tiamat, as well as some Spawn of Kalarel and a creature of pure shadow from the Shadowfell. Blood ran around the room into a central pit, into which dangled several heavy chains.

Quickly dominating the last line of defense, the squad descended into a nightmare, with blood pouring from the open ceiling, and a room dominated by a gargantuan statue of Tiamat, a few undead defenders, including a wight, and Kalarel, nearing the end of his ritual. Perhaps most importantly, on the northern wall of the sanctum pulsed the Rift, with low noises emanating from it, and seeking tendrils emerging from the inky blackness within. In a pitched battle, the statues of Bahamut were offered to the temple to remove the desecration, shattering both Kalarel’s defenses and the giant statue, and destabilizing the rift. With the loss of the desecration, the weakened Kalarel fell, cursing his failure, and the power within the portal snatched him away to an unknown fate. Some weaponry and coinage was recovered, but most importantly was a journal with Kalarel’s account of his dark doings.

Down Into the Depths
Wherein Kalarel's inner sanctum is breached, and the Warchief falls

After taking a well-deserved rest in the hidden room on the first level of the dungeon, Ava Stone and her compatriots descended the staircase to the second level. As they approached the door, a voice on the other side belted out the phrase “Shadow seeks shadow!” Faced with a choice of two possible passwords, the party chose to use the password found on the body of Kalarel’s lieutenant, who fell in the Winterhaven graveyard. Unfortunately, this passcode was a ruse – Kalarel had given Ninaran the missive with an incorrect password in case Ninaran was slain, and the hobgoblins in the room were forewarned. They allowed our heroes entry in an attempt to ambush them, but were quickly defeated before they could sound an alarm, or release the giant spider kept in a cage nearby.

Proceeding through the level with stealth and poise, the group was challenged at every turn by ever-swelling masses of hobgoblins. After one such fight, they took a captive, Krusk, a (relatively) well-spoken hobgoblin warrior who gave some useful information about the Warchief’s abilities and the terrain of the rest of the compound. At his request, Krusk was knocked unconscious and placed in the spider cage, after receiving assurances that the party would release him on their way back if successful.

Forewarned, Ava, Soren, and Aron proceeded to the Warchief’s council chamber, where they snuck into the small room where he was berating his minions. With his support quickly dispatched, the Warchief, whose abilities on his own were not particularly devastating, the Warchief fell quickly, allowing the party to turn their attention to the hobgoblin soldiers approaching from the other side. Some ran, intimidated by the fall of the Warchief; those that stayed were slain to a man. Occupying the Warchief’s room as a defensible position, the party rested from their recent battles as they prepared to make their run against Kalarel’s dark rituals below.

The Second Foray
Squad 7 uncovers the real story behind the Keep, and makes ready to descend toward the rift

Squad 7, having recovered from their first expedition into Shadowfell Keep, set out to push farther into the ruins to put an end to Kalarel’s plans and investigate the Rift.

The group passed through gloomy corridors filled with undead and magical trap-glyphs; they found a small safe-room (after the zombies within were cleared out, anyway) behind an illusory wall concealing a small armory. They passed a gauntlet of sarcophagi spewing forth decrepit skeletons, finding a shrine to Bahamut suffused with a pearly ethereal light on the other end; when Soren prayed at the shrine, a bolt of light passed through the corridor, sealing the sarcophagi and incinerating the remaining skeletons in divine fire. They discovered three stylized statues of Bahamut under the shrine; holding them seems to keep the chill and corrupt feeling of the air at bay.

Proceeding onwards, they reached a dead end; a room beyond the shrine, with a single sarcophagus on a raised bier. When they approached, the ghost of Sir Keegan emerged, and asked Squad 7 a battery of questions to ascertain their motives and loyalties. Upon satisfying himself of their honor, he told them the true story of the Fall and entrusted them with Aecris, his magical longsword.

We leave our brave heroes as they prepare to venture down the staircase to the second level of the ruins…

The First Foray
Squad 7 descends into Shadowfell Keep, not for the last time

After depositing Captain Eddard Douvren at the local barracks to recover and sending a report to the Imperial listening station, Douvren promised to back up Squad 7 if the resistance they encountered was too heavy. Ava decided to begin by asking the inhabitants of Winterhaven about Shadowfell Keep. The most coherent explanation of events came from a local old-timer, Elian the Old, who was around at the time of the Fall. The most disturbing part of his tale was his talk of a rift beneath the keep, with corrupting powers over the mind.

Squad 7 voyaged to the Keep, where they descended inside the shell of the building, which appeared to Ava’s expert eye to be ancient beyond its years. Contending with the guards inside – and discovering an excavation within, digging southward, towards the site of the Dragon Excavation – they also freed a goblin prisoner, Splug, who they released after he told them about a secret entrance into the hobgoblin chief’s quarters. The group eventually managed to capture the hobgoblin leader of the first level – Balgron the Fat – who under duress told Ava that the proper password to enter the second level is, “and life fails in the dark.” The party returned with him to Winterhaven, where they deposited him in the jail.

However, all was not right in Winterhaven; there had been several disappearances during the night the PCs had been gone, and strange chanting coming from the graveyard. Fearing the worst, Squad 7 went to the graveyard, where Ava did some scouting and discovered disturbed coffins in a crypt. They cautiously entered, and were closing in on the source of the chant when the dead crawled forth from the ground to attack. The group dispatched the undead, though unfortunately a stray shot slew Ninaran, Kalarel’s spy in Winterhaven. The group deactivated the mystical glyph responsible for the necromantic magicks, and found a missive from Kalarel on Ninaran’s body, in elegant Common:

Ninaran, It appears you underestimated the interlopers you spoke of; Irontooth’s clan seems to be dead or scattered, and your reports that they were poking around for information about our headquarters are disturbing. Initiate the backup plan; I was hoping that Winterhaven could serve as food for the Dragonqueen when she emerges from the rift, but due to your… misappraisal of the situation, we must act fast to distract the mindless Imperials. Remember, your death is nothing compared to the furtherance of our goals – if your death manages to stop the meddlers, rest assured that Tiamat will reward you in the next world. If you must report back to me, do not forget that the password to the second level is “From the ground, some magic was found.”

For the resurgence of the Dark Mother. Kalarel

Squad 7 returned to town and recuperated to get ready for another foray into the Keep.

Winterhaven's Mysteries
Squad 7 is tested, and a small mountain town is the center of odd happenings...

The adventure began with Ava and the rest of Squad 7 receiving a message from Hand Anabran Cane. The orders: to voyage to Winterhaven, to the east and north of the Dragonspire, and investigate the reports of increased kobold activity. While normally such a task would fall to a squadron of the Scale, in light of the events at Kayarn, Cane felt that an investigative presence might be called for. Squad 7’s orders were to canvass the area, then eventually meet up with Squad 4 to combine findings.

Squad 7 made their way to town easily enough, though they did have to contend with an ambush consisting of a black-tinged kobold wyrmpriest and several untinged kobold skirmishers. After poking around in Winterhaven, they got leads from a peculiar elf, Ninaran, and the local priestess of Avandra, Sister Linora, sending them to a waterfall from which the kobold raids seemed to be coming. Tracking them down, Squad 7 eradicated the variously-tinged kobolds, led by another wyrmpriest and a large goblin named Irontooth. Upon killing him, he was heard to cry, “”/wikis/kalarel" class=“wiki-page-link”>Kalarel… Tiamat… prepare my way!" A message found on him revealed that the apparent leader of the cult, Kalarel, has a spy in Winterhaven, and mentions that the opening of the rift under Shadowfell Keep will be complete in a matter of a week or so. The party returned to Winterhaven by way of the Dragon Excavation, where they found a gnome and several shady-looking humans at work.

After taking an interest in the operations at the site, the gnome attempted to lure them down into the dig, and launched an ambush. After defeating the attackers, Squad 7 investigated and found the corpses of Squad 4, as well as the very much alive leader, Captain Eddard Douvren, stuffed into sacks scattered around the site. Poking around, the group noticed that, while the bones were fairly clearly draconic in nature, there did not appear to be any dragon skulls remaining at the site. Among the excavated goods, they found a small mirror with odd engravings on the back; Ava, instantly curious, took it back to Winterhaven with her, where Sister Linora told her that it was probably an artifact of Bael Turath. The squad made inquiries about the Keep and prepared to set forth.

Ava and the White Dragon
The journey begins, and an ancient evil begins to stir

Ava‘s first voyage under the auspices of the Dragon’s Eye.

It all began with a dispatch notice from Anabran Cane, the Hand of the Eye’s Archon:

Dispatch Notice

Private First Class Ava Stone

Dragon’s Eye Special Task Forces, 7th Squad

7th Squad has been assigned to travel east, to the Karhold mountain range, and meet with the dwarven elder, Krint, in the village of Kayarn. There appears to be some problem with a group of kobolds taking up residence in some ruins out there – their leader apparently has some strange powers that we don’t often see in kobolds. If the source of the powers is an item, retrieve it. Talk to Krint for more information – your squad leader has also been supplied with additional details. Best of luck, and may the glory of the Platinum Father see you through safely.

In the name of Archon Therin Fassit of the Dragon’s Eye, it is so ordered.

Anabran Cane

Having shortened the trip east through use of the Imperially-maintained teleporters, Ava and Soren made their way to Kayarn, where they joined with Aron Thaneholt, a representative of the Thaneholt Clan. The elder, Krint, filled the group in on the details of the disturbance; namely, increased kobold activity in the area, disrupting the dwarven ore mining operations. Squad 7 tracked the oddly white-tinged kobolds to their lair, where they contended with all manner of traps and kobold hordes.

Ava, from her long experience with delves, noticed that the cave complex was significantly colder than she would expect for a cave of its latitude and depth, and the chill increased rapidly as the party progressed, resulting in a showdown with a kobold wyrmpriest with peculiar powers over ice. A thorough search resulted in the discovery of a secret passage, on the other side of which they found a frozen lake – and a hatchling white dragon intent on devouring them. After dispatching the unhealthy-looking beast, Ava noticed that the tunnel through which they had entered was significantly smaller than the dragon itself, and surmised that the kobolds had hatched the dragon in the chamber and had been taking care of it.

The party returned to the Dragonspire with the dragon’s head as evidence, and Anabran Cane, after expressing concern as to the public panic that might result from a long-thought extinct servant of the Empire’s most ancestral foe, Tiamat having emerged, decided to issue an evacuation order to Kayarn until the incident could be more fully investigated.


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