Chapter 2 - The Plans of the Wizards (1359DR, 2nd - 6th Uktar)
View Faergils Notes
I got into a conversation with the now dwindling number of patrons in
The Wavecrest Inn, from them I was able to learn the origin of Delthuntle’s
love of dolphins. The port had risen to prosperity thanks to the success
of a pirate called “The Dolphin Prince”; a name derived from
his flagship “The Dolphin”. Since that time its citizens have
see the many dolphins that lived in Delthuntle’s waters as the city’s
protectors, particularly against The Sea-Devils who occasionally raided
on moonless nights.
Soon it was time for me to follow my companion’s example and head
for my room. As I headed for bed Bazil intercepted me with a favour to
ask. The stranger wanted Bazil to retrieve his stolen dagger from “Ramelzhar
the Coincounter”. Ramelzhar was in the employee of, and in fact
lived in the same palace as, Delthuntle’s ruler Tyrnyl Maskhlann.
More worryingly Ramelzhar was the leader of “The Three-fingered
Ring”, the city’s thieves guild. Bazil had been initially
reluctant to help but had then come to suspect that there was more to
his would-be patron then met the eye and agreed to have a go. Bazil had
learnt that Ramelzhar was guarded by his pet tiger and wanted to know
if I could help. Invoking the power of Silvanus I placed a miracle upon
Bazil that would temporarily make him unperceivable to animals but warned
him that it would only last some twenty minutes, probably not long enough.
I was awoken several hours later by Bazil knocking at my door. The hobbit
had a rather odd injury to his face, as if the veins under his skin had
burst, but generally looked please with himself. He had successfully retrieved
the dagger for the man who had turned out, to neither Bazil’s surprise
nor mine, to be Brandobaris, Halfling God of Thieves and Trickery. The
facial injury had been caused by poison though Bazil was pretty sure that
his superior halfling constitution had saved him from the worst. To be
on the safe side I called upon Silvanus’s divine favour to expel
any poison that did remain in Bazil’s system and then heal the injury
itself. As well as his injuries Bazil had another reason for coming to
see me. While in the palace he had overheard a conversation relevant to
our quest and wanted to know what “Tsornyl” was. I gave Bazil
the brief answer, that it was effectively the resting place of The Legacy
of Shrinshee, and with some trepidation asked that in what context it
had been used. To my dismay Bazil told me that he had heard what he believed
to be a drow voice commenting that they had found Tsornyl. She had gone
on to say that “The Eight” (the phrase used in the intercepted
drow communiqué that had sent us on this quest to begin with) were
preparing for “The Unfolding”. Bazil said there was more but
he would wait for morning to tell us all. While in the palace Bazil had
encountered the clock trap that he had dreamt about in The Vale of Lost
Voices and overcome it. Brandobaris had also confirmed what we all feared
but couldn’t bring ourselves to admit; that Primrose had lost her
unborn child. As he left Bazil grumbled that Brandobaris hadn’t
returned his magical ring of invisibility but had promised to do so soon.
How right he was!
After a poor nights sleep (thanks to Bazil’s news) I met up with
Baldric, Baynar, Rubyn, and Colatto for breakfast. Rubyn told us that
the journey to Velprintalar, the capital of Aglarond would take some six
days, about half of which would be spent in the Sylvan forest of Yuirwood.
After Bazil’s nocturnal visit I was eager to get under way but before
breakfast was over Primrose came running in with a look of barely concealed
panic on her face and told me that Bazil had asked to see me. Grabbing
some food for the perpetually hungry halfling I headed to Bazil and Primrose’s
room. On they way I asked Primrose what the matter was to which she replied
that Bazil had “vanished”. This I found a little confusing;
if Bazil had gone how could he want to see me? Upon arriving in the hobbits’
room the answer became apparent, or rather didn’t. Bazil was invisible!
Brandobaris had returned Bazil’s ring of invisibility during the
night but now he could neither remove it or deactivate its power. A quick
glance through my magic lens showed that Bazil was otherwise intact. As
I did so I notice the ring of feather-fall on Bazil’s other hand
and an idea occurred to me. Wearing two magic rings on one hand negated
the powers of both, if Bazil put his ring of feather-fall onto the same
hand as the ring of invisibility would he reappear? Unfortunately the
answer appeared to be no and, short of cutting off Bazil’s finger,
there seemed little we could do to make him reappear. Sufficient to say
that Primrose was not happy with Bazil’s new state and held him
When Primrose, Bazil and myself rejoined the other for breakfast and
the rest of The Company learnt of Bazil’s problem they were all
full of ideas to make him visible (or at least let us know where he was).
Some more helpful the others but none worked.
A little later then intended we headed back to The Towers of Mystery
to collect Faergil. The citys streets were already busy and only became
more so with each passing moment. For his own safety Bazil rode on one
of the horses rather then risk being trampled under foot. The others stayed
outside the Towers with the horses while I went in to collect Faergil.
As I entered the building I noticed something that had eluded us the previous
day, as soon as you stepped across the threshold the sounds of the outside
world became drastically muted. Faergil was still engrossed in his note
taking and would have probably spent much longer there if we had let him.
Now all back together we left the City of Dolphins by the north gate
but we didn’t leave for Aglarond at once as both Faergil and Bazil
had stories to tell.
Faergil had learnt quite a lot about the Shrinshee, much of it new. Only
a little of it seemed pertinent to our current enterprise. The Legacy
was mentioned but no one seemed to know what it was, only that Shrinshee
herself seemed to regret having created it. Particularly as it was to
seize The Legacy that Moander, god of rot and decay, had invaded Tsornyl
and in doing so created The Darkwatch. Most of Faergil’s information
concerned her last appearance in this world. Too long a tale to go into
here in detail sufficient to say it was a story of how the ancient wisdom
of the elves turned to arrogance and folly and, in doing so, planted the
seeds that led to the fall of Myth Drannor.
Bazil told us how, while searching the palace, he had overheard a conversation.
It was between three people who he believed to be Ramelzhar, a drow and
a “honey voiced” young man who was probably a Red Wizard.
Bazil reiterated the news I had heard the night before and revealed more.
“Honey voice” had commented that they would soon be able to
rise the Demon Lord Eltab in Eltabbar, the capital of Thay, then everything
that “Tam” had wrought would be brought crashing down and
“Lauzoril” and Eltab (“and Lolth” the drow reminded
him) would be supreme. Tam and Lauzoril, Rubyn explained, were prominent
Zulkirs and rival Red Wizards. The magic of Shrinshee seemed to be vital
to this plan but whether it was needed to summon Eltab or just keep him
in line was unclear to me. The Red Wizards were also planning to open
another portal to the lower planes and summon more Tanar’ri. This
new portal would be located in “The Sunglade”, though the
Red Wizards were concerned that The Simbul not find out. As both a ranger
and half-elf Rubyn was appalled by this news. The Sunglade was a sacred
place to the Green Elves who had one lived in Yuirwood. Now we were faced
with a choice, would we head several days out of our way and try to stop
the opening of the gate ourselves or rush the news to The Simbul and let
her do it. We decided on a compromise, Rubyn would head for Velprintalar
and the rest of us to The Sunglade. Baldric used the miracle ‘Easy
March’ on all our horses and we set off with full speed.
Riding our horses hard we flew down the track that left the north gate.
A patchwork of fields being prepared for winter blurred past, as did the
out-lying homesteads and farms and way stations for the local army known,
oddly enough, as “The Hobgoblins”. We passed other travellers
both heading to and from Delthuntle. The first chills of winter were in
the air and a heatless sun hung above us in a pale blue sky, a far cry
from the stifling humidity of The Reach. I could smell rain upon the air.
At noon we stopped for a quick lunch. It was here that we parted company
with Rubyn as she galloped onwards.
By evening we had reached a ridge or shelf that cut across the landscape
from east to west. Riding to the top we could see the eaves of Yuirwood
about a mile away. Here we made our camp. It was a little exposed but,
as Baldric pointed out, we would get a lot wetter at the base of the shelf
if it rained then at the top.
The rain in fact held off till the next morning but when it did appear
it arrived in force, preceded by peels of thunder and lightning. Prayer
and the relearning of spells delayed our departure. When we finally broke
camp the torrential rain of the early morning was replaced with persistent
drizzle. Faergil had learnt a spell to remove curses and tried it on Bazil’s
ring but to no effect.
Riding to within half a mile of the trees we turned the horses to the
right and began to ride eastwards. For two days we kept our course. The
rain was intermittent. On the second day we began to see signs, on the
low lands to our right, of the damage wrought by the Red Wizards and their
rifts to the Elemental Plane of Fire. There were vast patches of blackened
and charred earth, barren of any plant life, which seemed to spread out
across the landscape like a disease. Not all the fires were out. In the
forest we could see pillars of smoke rising above the canopy. As I rode
I was torn; the gifts of Silvanus could put out many (but by no means
all) of the fires but could I afford the time when more Tanar’ri
were soon to be summoned to this plane? My reason told me that I had to
keep going but my soul found it a bitter potion to swallow.
Almost before we knew it we rode into a thick wall of smoke that stretched
from the edge of the shelf to the forest, blocking our path. Within seconds
the smoke was stinging our eyes and making it difficult to breathe, Bazil,
Colatto, Primrose and Faergil were particularly badly effected though
the rest of us endured. At Baldric’s urging were forced the reluctant
horses onwards, preying that the wall of smoke wasn’t too thick.
As we plunged almost blindly onwards we could hear the crackle and see
the glow of fire in the trees to our left. None too soon we burst out
of the far side. As we stopped to regain our breath and wash soot from
our faces we became aware of movement in the trees, figures (large ones
if we could see them from half a mile) weaving through the forest and
where they went flames sprang up. This was the last straw. Telling the
others to wait for me I invoked Silvanus to shield me from flame and took
the shape of a falcon (in my natural form I’m immune to flame but
wearing the shape of an animal I have no such protection) and flew off
Despite the erratic thermals caused by the fires I quickly closed on
the forest. The beings in the forest had elements of both serpent and
human though they were neither Naga’s nor Yaun’ti. From the
waist down they had the bodies of serpents; from the waste up they were
humanoid. They were some ten feet in length, their heads and torsos were
a coppery-red colour and their tails a dull red. Their hair (and beards
and moustaches in the case of the males) were made of flame and all along
their bodies were wispy tendrils that ended in puffs of fire. There were
about ten of them, all armed with large spears. It was clear that not
only were they spreading the flames but also they were enjoying it. Quickly
I returned to my companions and, returning to my true form, explained
what I had seen and my intention, in Silvanus’s name, to stop them.
The Company agreed. The beings, we figured, had come through the Rifts
before The Simbul had sealed them (later we would learn that they were
“Salamanders” and were indeed native to the Plane of Fire).
Like many extra-planar beings we suspected that they would be impervious
to non-enchanted weapons but we were well provided for in that regard.
To further increase our chances Baldric and I invoked our respective deities
to ward all of us from flame but in doing so we used much of our Divine
Favour (and my dwindling supply of mistletoe) for that day. Perhaps at
this point I should explain that this miracle works differently if the
priest protects himself then if he protects someone else. In both cases
the recipient is protected from all but the most intense, non-magical
flame. The priest is also immune to magical flame but a massive enough
attack (or a multitude of smaller ones) will end the miracle. Another
person protected by the miracle, however, is hurt by magical flame but
the harm is greatly reduced.
Thus armed we left our horses a safe distance away and advanced towards
the forest, stopping about fifty yards from the trees. The salamanders
were clearly visible going about their destructive business. Deciding
I needed more protection I called upon the power of Silvanus and he transformed
my skin to tough but flexible bark. Baldric began to prey to Tymora to
give us her blessing in the fight but before he could even get halfway
through the incantation Baynar was charging into the fray!
In seconds he had closed the distance to the nearest one and struck at
it twice with his sword, the salamander cried out in pain from the wound
but didn’t go down. A second later Faergil had his wand out and
used one of it’s newly discovered powers; three of the salamanders
were suddenly deluged in a highly localised, and brief, storm of the largest
hail I had ever seen. The salamanders reeled from the onslaught but didn’t
die. Bazil, Colatto and Primrose, weapons draw, waited for Baldric to
finish the bless, knowing that to attack before it was completed would
exclude them from it’s benefits.
The salamanders now began to react to our presence. The one that Baynar
was battling struck at the knight with its spear only to have it turned
aside by cunning use of his shield. A second later the salamander managed
to snare Baynar’s legs in its coils. Two moved in to join the melee
scoring hits with their spears. The salamanders and their weapons were
red hot but that had little effect on Baynar thanks to our preparation.
More spear thrusts were turned aside by Baynar’s armour but the
first salamander was now starting to constrict with a crushing pressure
on his legs.
The other seven were quickly moving towards our position. I decided that
muscle was what would be needed in this fight and began change shape again,
this time taking the form of a gorilla. Faergil unleashed a volley of
magical darts at the salamander wrapped around Baynar but still it lived.
Desperately Baldric tried to finish his blessing before they reached us
but he was just out of time. Using the same tactic that their fellow had
employed on Baynar the salamanders attacked with spears and then looped
themselves about us. Baldric, Faergil Colatto, Primrose and myself were
caught. While our legs were now immobilised our arms were free and we
could fight on. Baldric swung at one with Twin-Death, one head glanced
harmlessly off but the other struck home. Colatto and Primrose were both
unable to break through their opponent’s defences. The two other
salamanders, sensing the danger of Faergil’s Art attacked him with
their spears, each one drawing blood. Only the invisible Bazil had avoided
being hurt. Unseen by the salamanders he moved up behind the one attacking
Primrose and made a double thrust with his two short swords. Kithril defected
off the salamander’s hide but The Scout’s Blade struck home.
The second he made the attacks Bazil reappeared, a heroic figure with
the blazing green sword embedded in the Salamander. His reappearance however
was only short-lived as a few moments later he disappeared again.
Fifty yards away Baynar claimed the first kill as he finished off his
initial foe and then stuck at one of the other two on him, injuring it.
Faergil blasted one of the three attacking him with a ray of frost. It
screamed horribly but, much to the elf’s disappointment didn’t
die. Once again Captain Stringfellow briefly reappeared as he slashed
Primrose’s foe with both his blades. By now I had finished my transformation.
With a mighty swing I brought my staff crashing down on the coils about
my waist but the wound inflicted was insufficient to get the salamander
to let go. Just in case we were wrong about needing enchanted weapons
to hurt them I also bite the salamander (a foolish thing to do if it wasn’t
for the miracle of protection from flame) but to no avail.
Throughout the salamanders kept up the pressure, constricting with their
tails and stabbing with their spears. Faergil’s magical bracers
kept away most of the spear thrusts aimed at him but he was clearly in
trouble. Baynar’s skilled swordsmanship had finished off a second
salamander, weaken as it was by the Ice Storm, and he pressed the attack
on a third, wounding it. Colatto also managed to strike home with The
Mage’s Blade but Baldric wasn’t as lucky with Twin Death.
Primrose’s salamander thrust with its spear at where Bazil had
been moments before and, more by luck then skill, struck home. In retaliation
Primrose struck a pair of deep, cleaving blows with The Tears of Tymora
finishing off the salamander. Free of its coils she dashed over to one
of the three attacking Faergil. The Tears of Tymora and another volley
of magical darts from the elf struck home a split second apart and another
salamander was despatched. Bazil moved up to support me and the pair of
us stabbed and bashed my opponent. It tried to impale me again on its
spear but this time the thrust was turned aside by my wooden skin. At
about the same time a spear thrust against Baldric bounced harmlessly
off of his elven plate-mail and the battling priest struck back with a
solid, double blow from Twin-Death. Just as Baynar dispatched a third
salamander another arrived at the fight. He turned aside its spear with
his shield but couldn’t avoid the tail.
Despite the assistance of Primrose Faergil was starting to weaken under
the relentless attack of the salamanders. Between the pair of us Bazil
and myself were able to finish off the one attacking me and the halfling
dashed across the melee to attack one of the salamanders worrying Faergil.
Primrose swung at the other but missed. Rapidly failing from his injuries
Faergil cast a Polymorph spell and, taking the form of a wren flew from
the battle while his opponents were distracted by the halflings. Enraged
the salamanders turned on their small attackers. Bazil was nimble enough
to get out of the way but a vicious thrust sent Primrose reeling.
Both Baldric and Baynar managed to finish off their opponents. Colatto
and his salamander had reached a stalemate with neither able to score
a telling blow on the other. I moved in to support Colatto, striking the
salamander in the flank. It didn’t die but I did get its attention
long enough for Colatto to find an opening and run The Mage‘s Blade
through the salamander’s body. A moment later the Salamander that
had been attacking first Faergil and the Bazil, who was now invisible
again, launched an unexpected attack on me. As it’s tail coiled
around me I felt my strength begin to ebb. I doubt I would have been able
to beat the salamander alone but first Bazil and then Baldric came to
my aid finishing it off.
Faergil, who had alighted a safe distance away had by now returned to
his normal form and had the satisfaction of finishing of the last salamander,
the one battling Primrose, with yet another volley of magical darts.
The battle was over but none of us had escaped unscathed. All of us had
both stab wounds from the salamander’s spears and large, purple-black
bruises from their tails. Everyone except Baldric and myself also had
burns from contact with the salamanders and their weapons.
Baldric and I began to channel the power of Tymora and Silvanus to soothe
The Company’s injuries, though it left me drained. Primrose asked
Bazil how he was. When she got no response we started to get worried,
he had seemed okay the last time we had “seen” him but what
if Bazil had subsequently fallen victim to his wounds and collapsed?!
Bringing out the lens again I surveyed the battlefield but found no sign
of Bazil. Looking further afield I was relived and pleased to spot Bazil
using Flame-Bane to extinguish nearby fires.
Faergil busied himself collecting bits of dead salamander (whose flesh
was now rapidly cooling and changing from shades of red to a dull black)
to use in the creation of magical items at a later time, though he had
to borrow Bazil’s magical dagger to do so. Inspired by the sight
Faergil at work Bazil experimented with the salamanders’ spears,
which were also cooling down, and discovered that they would pierce salamander
flesh. We stowed the spears in Faergil’s portable hole for future
Wearily we headed back to our horses. I complimented Baynar at his fighting
prowess and his sword. The sword, he said, was “Lictor of Arren
Truesilver” and had special potency against creatures of chaos.
We rode on through the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, the
eaves of Yuirwood always at our left. That evening Faergil decided to
try out the spell he had gained from The Towers of Mystery, ‘Leomund’s
Secure Shelter’. After a lengthy ritual a rather pleasant looking
cottage constructed of wood appeared. Inside we found it to be spacious,
clean, and warm and, rather surprisingly, furnished with tables, chairs
and beds. Faergil further extolled the virtues of the shelter, it’s
doors were magically locked and alarmed, the chimney (yes, it had one
of those too) protected by an iron grate and the walls though they might
have looked like wood were as hard as stone. Finally there was a magical
force that would perform simple tasks at Faergil’s command. The
only downside seemed to be that the horses would have to stay outside.
While we kept watches that night I’m sure most of us felt secure
within the magical cottage. I awoke well before dawn and began a long
regime of prayers and devotion to The Oak Father. Baldric and Faergil
also spent time in prayer and studying spells respectively. Faergil was
eager, following the failure of his curse-removing spell a few days earlier,
to try another spell to separate Bazil from the ring. This one was a spell
that dispelled magic (we had to remind him not to use it in the magical
shelter) but Bazil turned him down saying that he would ask The Simbul
for help in a few days.
Leaving the cottage behind, which Faergil told us it would disappear
in a few more hours, we carried on. By noon we had reached a stretch of
the forest that extended southwards. This was our signal to enter the
forest. We would have to head north-east for, we believed, a few days
to reach the Sunglade. While our progress slowed immensely once we had
entered Yuirwood, the horses could go no more then walking pace, I for
one was glad to be once more surrounded by the wonders of Silvanus. The
varieties of trees were very similar to those I had grown up among back
in Cormyr, oaks, ashes and the like. The trees were thick enough to give
us intermittent protection from the rain but not thick enough to unduly
annoy my companions. As the day wore on, however, the trees grew more
densely packed and we led our horses as often as we rode them.
Night in the forest was dark, with moon and stars hidden by both tree
and cloud cover. As we sat about our small campfire some of my companions
mentioned seeing a tiny woman with the legs of a cricket and gossamer
wings watching us from the branch of a tree. I was disappointed to not
to have seen her as she sounded like some type of Sprite. I considered
going to look for her until I remembered Rubyn’s warning to us that
the Fey of Yuirwood were darker then those we may have encounter else
where. At this point Baynar, perhaps a little belatedly, told us that
when he and Rubyn had travelled south through the forest a few days ago
they had had a run in with trolls. After this my companions were certainly
more alert when we camped down for the night. Faergil suggested a spell
that summoned a magical watchdog who would bark if any creature larger
then a cat came near but Bazil pointed out that it would probably be barking
all night at foxes, wild pigs, badgers and the like. Perhaps I should
have been more alert too but, as I have said before, it would be a sorry
day indeed when I felt unsafe within the dominion of The Oak Father.
Baynar had the first watch. He hadn’t been watching too long before
he heard a light, mischievous laughter form beyond the light of the campfire.
Before he could react there were a pair of flashes of purple light and
first three hulking ogres and then two wicked looking creatures of stone
with wings and claws appeared right in the middle of the campsite and
it’s sleeping occupants.
I used the following references:
Spellbound - Information on the Red Wizards, Thay and Aglarond. Rubyn,
Szass Tam, Lauzoril and Eltab are all mentioned within.
Dreams of the Red Wizards - More information on Thay and Aglarond
The Fall of Myth Drannor - The Baneblades of Demron, The Srinshee
Cormanthyr - The Srinshee, Tsornyl
Things went a little better than last weeks, though still not quite
right for me.
The Ring of Invisibility. Brandobaris 'stole' this from Bazil way
back in Book 2, Chapter 4
and Bazil has complained about it for some time. I ran Bazils mission
to retrieve the dagger separately from everyone else (it took a couple
of hours) - hence no write-up. I'll try to get Edd to put finger to keyboard
(wish me luck!).
Of course, the real reason that Brandobaris sent him on this mission was
so that he could overhear the conversation. The god of trickery just can't
help getting involved!
Of course, Bazil got his ring back - but things are never so simple :-)
Most of the notes that Faergil collected were copied from Cormanthyr
and The Fall of Myth Drannor sourcebooks.
The information on Eltab and the Red Wizards is official (as it were)
and of considerable note. Refer to the Spellbound sourcebook for more
The salamander encounter proved quite a tough one especially for
Faergil (down to 8hp!)
Leomands Secure Shelter is one spell that Faergil has been after
for some time. No more camping in the rain for the company!
Return to Journey...