Elminster the Sage

The Company of the Silver Coin
Amber the Ranger
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Book 4
Chapter 3 - The Fey and the Witch (1359DR, 6th - 7thUktar)

Baynar had his weapons ready in moments and was just about to shout at us to awaken when our small campsite was suddenly deluged in flames. If the sudden heat hadn’t woken me up the panicked screams of my companions would have. Thus begun possibly the most confused, most viscous fight I had ever been in. My words alone cannot bring home the confusion of sound and motion that reined in that clearing for the next few minutes, the sudden flashing of spells, the darting movements, the desperate shouts as we tried to co-ordinate our actions, to cover each others backs. And through it all that high pitched laughter that dripped with pure, wanton malice.
I woke in a burning bedroll in a burning tent. Doubly protected as I was by the miracle I had invoked before fighting the salamanders and by my own half-dragon nature I still got out of there as soon as I could, pushing my stuff out ahead of me. The first thing I saw was Baynar charging towards the cluster of creatures that stood in the camp. One of the ogres was carrying a huge hammer consisting of half a tree trunk topped with a block of stone; this was the opponent Baynar selected. He charged up to it and opened a great wound in the ogre’s belly with his blade. The ogre swung at him in retaliation but missed, leaving it open for a second, fatal attack by the knight. Instead of spreading out amongst the other occupants of the campsite the two remaining ogres, one armed with a great, crudely fashioned club, and the two margoyles (stronger and, if possible, more mindlessly vicious then the more common gargoyle) all attacked Baynar. Cunning shield work and his armour saved the knight from harm. By now Baldric was on his feet and, swinging Twin-Death, ran up to an ogre with great gusto. His enthusiasm got the better of his skill and Baldric only made contact with one of the flail’s heads. I invoked a minor miracle of light, blinding the ogre that Baldric had attacked and in doing so illuminating the campsite further. For a second I could see darting figures exposed by the sudden light but they whipped back into the forest before I could get a proper look, leaving me with only an impression of grotesque, mal-shaped things. Incredibly all of the intruders except the ogre Baldric and I had attacked continued to rip into Baynar. His defences were beginning to slip as he weathered the attacks bloodied but defiant. As he struck back at one of the margoyles a pair of magical darts flew out of the forest injuring him further. Then something happened that momentarily stopped all of us in our tracks; to a chorus of triumphant laughter from the forest around us Baynar turned to immobile stone! The blinded ogre swung at Brother Baldric and, more by luck then any skill, made contact with its club. A split second later a bolt of lightning flew from amongst the branches hitting the priest as well. No sooner had the blue-white flash died then another, unseen opponent unleashed a blistering blast of arctic cold that engulfed Baldric, myself, the ogres and the margoyles. As I reeled back I was vaguely aware of Primrose charging at the third ogre, attacking with such force that despite the disparity in size she drove it back. Faergil hurled a fireball into the forest where he believed our attackers were. The detonation illuminated the night and filled it with shrill screams of pain and anger. Trees were instantly blackened and I had to bite down an oath at the elf; now we had to fight, I would lecture Faergil later, if we survived. Our unseen assailants’ retaliation was almost instant. Another lightning bolt and two magical darts flew towards him only to fizzle out before they reached the elf. Before joining the fight Faergil had taken a few seconds to surround himself in an invisible, magical globe that negated any lesser spells directed at him.

As soon as he had realised what was going on Bazil had slipped from the campsite into the forest with the intention of hunting down the creatures that plagued us. The fireball had gone off far to close to him for comfort but in its brief light he had got his first glimpse of our attackers. They ranged in height from about a foot down to only a couple of inches and were a hideous mix of miniature, fairy-like human and insects. The mere sight of them caused an instinctive need to put as much distance between these nightmares and him as possible. It was a sensation we would all feel but The Company were seasoned enough to keep this fear in check. What Bazil also saw was that our miniature attackers seemed to be naturally invisible, only appearing for a few seconds after they attacked or cast a spell. Stealthy he slipped up to behind one that had just cast a spell and attacked. The being was fast but not fast enough, The Scout’s-Blade struck home and cut it in two. His attack had also made him temporally visible and Bazil had to act quickly to avoid the worst of a lighting bolt unleashed by another of our enemies. Quickly Bazil slipped back into cover to begin his deadly game of cat-and-mouse anew.

Baldric and Primrose hacked and flailed at their ogres.
A pair of magical darts struck Primrose.
Multiple, illusionary images of Colatto appeared.
My Earth-maw tore one margoyle in half and badly injured the second.

Everywhere was noise and confusion. Casting my gaze around for where to help next I saw something flying out of the forest towards me on leathery wings. It was a stirge and on its back rode one of our hideous tormentors. Under one arm, like a miniature knight at a tournament, it carried a small lance. As it closed little knight fired a pair of magical darts at me, harmlessly thanks to my Harpers’ Pin. A second later the stirge flew passed my head and I felt a sting as the lance was thrust into my cheek. I was going to try to snatch my attacker from its mount but a wave of fatigue rolled over me. As I gathered my reserves to clear my head I realised that lance was poisoned or, more likely, enchanted like a Pixie’s arrows. No sooner had I thrown off the fatigue then the last margoyle attacked me, raking with its claws, butting with its horns and biting with its wicked teeth. Instinctively I spat a stream of flame at the margoyle; it twisted away avoiding the worst of the flame but in doing so giving me room to manoeuvre. These stone-like beings were immune to non-enchanted weapons; I had to reach my staff if I were to defend myself.

A ball of flames detonating around the many Colattos.
Primrose leaping away from a collapsing ogre to attack another.
Magical darts failing to hit Faergil.
Colatto striking the stirge, unseating it’s miniature rider.

Desperately I crawled towards my staff, lying a foot or so from the still burning remains of my tent. The margoyle was quicker and was on my back tearing away with tooth and claw before I could reach the staff. As my head at ground level I was dimly aware of seeing what looked like a piglet with a calf’s head dashing past. Before the margoyle could finish me off Primrose came to my rescue, chopping at it with The Tears of Tymora. It released me to turn its attention on Primrose, laying into her with attack after vicious attack. Free from danger for the moment I lunged for my staff.

Primrose, pale and blooded, decapitating the last margoyle.
Colatto dispatching the miniature knight.
Faergil slamming the end of his staff into the ground, unleashing a stunning shockwave into the forest.
A half pig, half cow running around.
The green glow of The Scouts’ Blade amongst the trees.

Faergil invoked The Art once again this time surrounding the campsite with a twenty-foot tall wall of flame in an attempt to keep our attackers at bay. There were more screams from the forest but on the whole possibly wasn’t the best move Faergil could have made. Bazil wasn’t as lucky as with the fireball and had to run deeper into the woods to escape the intense heat rolling off the wall. The trees didn’t have that luxury and within seconds those closest to the wall had burst into flames. Moments after the flames appeared huge lumps of searingly cold hail from above pelted us. We all reeled from the attack but Primrose, weakened by her injuries, collapsed. I headed over as quickly as I could and called upon the healing power of Silvanus; Primrose would live but she was out of the fight. A second later one of our enemies, presumably the one that had called down the Ice Storm fell out of the sky into the middle of the camp, two of Bazil’s crossbow bolts sticking out of it.
For a moment there was silence, apart from the snap and crackle of burning wood, then a silence flash of purple light and a vast, scaly bulk appeared within the confines of the camp. It was a hydra. It only had five heads but for a heart stopping second the dancing shadows and confusion made it seem to have eight or nine. The heads lashed out. One set of snapping jaws missed me. Colatto’s illusionary decoys saved him from harm but he lost two in the process. Faergil wasn’t so lucky and he received a painful bite to the leg. Instantly the mage was on the attack, roasting the offending head with a spray of flame from his fingers.
It was about then that I decided to take a leaf out of Bazil’s book; it was time to take the battle to our enemy. I turned from the hydra and dashed through the curtain of flame into the forest. The far side of the wall was an inferno of blazing wood and stinging smoke. With only a half formed plan I staggered towards a burning thorn bush. Our attackers seemed to have the advantage in numbers so I tried to even the odds. Usually I would have transformed fallen wood into serpents but since our enemies could fly that seemed to be a waist of time. Instead I preyed to The Oak Father to send all the owls within the area to our aid.
The enemy also had a change of tactics. A large group of them, a dozen at least appeared directly above the camp hoping that their fearsome appearance would drive my companions into a suicidal dash through the wall of flame. When The Company held it’s ground our diminutive enemy unleashed volley after volley of tiny arrows. Numerous illusionary Colattos popped like soap bubbles in the attack but the real one remained unharmed. Faergil was hit once. Like the lance that had hit me the arrows carried an enchantment of sleep but Faergil was able to resist it. From where I was the archers were clearly visible. For a moment I considered a miracle of flame but despite the damage done to the woodlands by our enemy (not to mention Faergil) I decided against it. Instead I used a miracle called Thorn Spray. The six wooden darts in my belt and the mere half-dozen thorns still on the thorn bush flew up into the air at my command, swifter and surer then any arrow. I hit eight of our enemy; the six struck by my drugged darts fell from the sky. As ever our malicious foe were quick to retaliate. I felt a tugging, twisting sensation starting in my chest and quickly spreading throughout my body. Invisible hands seemed to grip and, as if I was made of clay, they began to crush and remould me. I don’t really know what hybrid monstrosity they turned me into but no sooner had the painful transformation stop when I felt a more familiar, soothing sensation began as on reflex my shape-changing abilities activated and my body began to shift back into it’s natural shape. Perhaps enraged that I had escaped their curse one of our enemies unleashed a couple of magical darts at me. A futile gesture and it’s last, the spell revealed it’s location to Bazil and he killed it with two crossbow bolts. This attack, in turn, gave away Bazil’s location and he had to dodge back into hiding to avoid retaliation.
A blast of arctic cold racked the air above the campsite, tearing into more of our enemy.

Silence.
We waited for the miniature menaces to resume their attack. The wall of flame burnt itself out revealing to me Faergil, Colatto and the now dead hydra.
They didn’t attack.
Rather belatedly an owl tuned up.
They didn’t attack.
Bazil, invisible again, made his way over to me.
Still they didn’t attack.
It was over.

Bazil and myself, he using Evaelathi and I the remains of a blanket, spent the next few hours putting out the fires started by the fight. By the time we were finished a smoky haze hung over the devastated campsite. I think it goes without saying that the horses hadn’t made it through the fight.
As I trudged with heavy feet back to my gear to inspect the damage I realised that I was being followed. It was the pig-cow I had seen fleetingly before. I asked the others if they knew where it had come from; no one seemed to know though Colatto and Faergil had noticed it throwing itself against the hydra. The pig-cow started to act in a most peculiar way. It mooed at me, ran of a few feet and then turned and mooed a bit more. When I didn’t do whatever it was it wanted me to do it ran back up to me and repeated the process. It had to do this several times before my exhausted mind caught up; it wanted me to follow it. The pig-cow led me over to the ashes of Baldric’s tent and began to unearth the priest’s armour. Baldric, where was Brother Baldric? We looked around but there was no sign of him. Every time we called out our comrade’s name the pig-cow seemed to get very excited. There seemed to be one, inescapable conclusion. After some debate Faergil cast Dispel Magic on the pig-cow and, undergoing the most agonising looking contortions, it reverted back to Brother Baldric.
Brother Baldric may have been restored to us but there was still the problem of the statue that was Baynar Truesilver. Colatto and Faergil agreed that it would take something more potent then Dispel Magic to return the knight to flesh and blood. We couldn’t leave him where he was in case our attackers, or more of their kind, returned and “broke” him but at the same time he would be far, far too heavy for us to carry. It was then that someone mentioned Faergil’s Portable Hole. It seemed the perfect answer. After giving Faergil a few moments to rearrange the contents of the hole we carefully and gently began to manoeuvre the knight up to the edge. Faergil was able to get Baynar to the bottom of the hole through clever use of a Feather Fall spell. Considering that, unlike a real statue, Baynar didn’t have a plinth and was instead balanced on his two, stone feet it was a minor miracle that he hadn’t toppled over in the fight.
Once we had finished stowing away Baynar I did what I could for my own and my companion’s injuries. I rationed out the healing powers of Silvanus, as I couldn’t see there being time to renew my devotions and divine favour until we were out of the forest. Bazil asked if there was any more I could do for Primrose. Her injuries had been so drastic that, other then save her life there would be no more I could do for until she had a day’s rest. Baldric had other ideas. From his rather scorched pack he produced one of the scrolls he had been given back in Cormyr. On it was written the most powerful of healing miracles. Technically it was beyond Baldric’s ability to invoke but he was ready to give it a try if Primrose was willing. Primrose was prepared to put her life in Tymora’s hands and, warning the rest of us to keep back Baldric began to chant. The prayer was a long one but at the climax Primrose was suddenly infused with a soothing blue light and her injuries just faded away into nothingness.

This left the question of what we should do next. The attack had stretched our resources thin and we would be hard pressed to repel another. Should we press on now (it was a little after midnight) in an attempt to get through the forest as quickly as possible or wait till morning? Should we retreat the way we came or go forward? Should we forget about the Sun Glade or attempt to match our diminished strength against whatever we found there?
In my heart I wanted to push on for the Sun Glade despite the dangers but looking at my companions, tired and injured as they were, softened my resolve. It was Bazil who brought common sense and pragmatism to bare on the issue; the quickest way out of the forest was continue on the course we had set ourselves and since that would take us close to the Sun Glade we might as well assess the situation there. After all, he pointed out, whatever came out of the portal would no doubt only catch up with us at a later time so why not deal with it now?
Bazil made a lot of sense so we decided to get going as soon as was practical. Here a miracle of The Oak Father that allowed someone to experience in one hour of sleep a full night’s rest came to our aid. Within three hours we were all rested and Colatto, Baldric and Faergil even had a couple of hours to relearn spells and renew devotions. Baldric was also able to do more for our injuries.
We must of looked an odd sight as we made our way through the forest in the pre-dawn light, the only items of clothing we possessed that had escaped some degree of fire damage were our grey, elven-cloaks. Colatto had repacked his white cloak and swapped to the elven cloak he had been given when he was presented with Faervian. He and I took the led, the other trusting to our woodcraft and instincts to keep us going in the right direction. I had passed The Lovers’ Blade to Primrose in case we found Fiends waiting for us at The Sun Glade.
The first hour or so of our journey was through a grim and silent forest. The only animals we saw were the decaying remains of dead ones. Small, sharp blades had horribly mutilated the corpses. We were in little doubt that this was the handiwork of our night time assailants and their kin. None too soon we crested a ridge in the forest and instinctively we knew that we were out of the malicious little beings domain.
When the dawn broke it revealed a clear but cold day. We pressed on through the morning and into the afternoon, taking lunch on the march. We had to slow to Primrose’s pace but her pride meant she wouldn’t be carried. As I went I harvested a little mistletoe to replenish my dwindling stock, mistletoe cut other then on the night of the full moon was less potent but it was better then none at all.
It was a few hours beyond noon when a well-aimed arrow imbedded itself into the ground a few feet in front of me and a commanding voice rung out from the trees that we were surrounded. We had been in situations like this far too often to panic. Making no moves that could be misinterpreted we waited for the voice to speak again. He demanded that we identify ourselves and explain our purpose to which we did our best to convince the speaker that we meant no harm. After a few moments negotiation a figured, who had been hiding with such skill that I had overlooked him several times, leapt down from a branch. At first glance I took him for elven but as he came closer it became clear that he was a half-elf who strongly favoured his elven heritage. He was clad in hunters’ attire and was armed with bow and sword. Upon his brow was a wooden band carved into the shape of overlapping leaves. He identified himself as Trovar, chief ranger of The Simbul. When we described Ruybn to his satisfaction he seemed to trust us more. Any thoughts we may have entertained about The Simbul having sent him to find us after hearing from Ruybn were quickly dashed when he told us that he had been in Yuirwood for many Ten Days. This meant that he knew nothing of The Red Wizards’ plans for The Sun Glade and when we told him he was eager to led us there to stop them. He asked us about the lights he had seen in the forest the night before and when we explained that they were probably us he was able to give us a name for the being we had fought; Unseelie Fairies. He was impressed that we had been able to survive an attack by the Fairies without taking more casualties then we had. Throughout the meeting we had, by unspoken agreement, not mentioned Bazil; while my instincts told me to trust Trovar I was reassured that we had a trick up our collective sleeve.
As Trovar led us towards the Sun Glade I fell into conversation with him. The Unseelie Fairies were balanced by beings called, unsurprisingly, the Seelie Fairies who were as beautiful and benevolent as their counterparts were hideous and cruel. As he spoke of the forest and it’s ancient heritage I detected that Trovar favoured his elven half not only in appearance but also in attitudes, particularly in matters of elf and human. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Trovar knew the difference between an Initiate and a Druid. Like Ruybn, Trovar was unable to satisfy my curiosity about the difference between mages and witches though he suspected that the enigmatic sounding “Masked One” that lived in the capital could tell me. Somewhere along the way I finally occurred to me that Trovar had probably been lying about having us surrounded.
We pressed on into the night; eager to get our business at The Sun Glade finished before we slept again. When Trovar told us we were about half an hour from the glade I asked the group to wait for a few minutes while I prepared for the battle that we believed lay ahead. The clear night meant that the lengthy but potent ritual of lightning summoning was not an option so instead I called upon Silvanus to send his children to aid us. Unfortunately my prayers that night went unanswered. Trovar was quick to point out that the Yuirwood was still the dominion of more ancient, elven gods. I decided that it wasn’t the time for a theological debate. I wasn’t completely down heartened though; I had managed to keep back enough Divine Favour to call upon the Earth-Maw a number of times. Colatto used the opportunity to cast a spell upon himself to increase his strength.

The Sun Glade was just as Trovar had described; a circular clearing about fifty feet in diameter with a small hill at it’s centre. On top of the hill was a ring of ancient looking stones. The grass had a silvery tinge in the starlight. It looked calm and empty.
After a few rather unsubtle hints from Baldric, which I’m sure he didn’t need, Bazil slipped silently away to investigate. At the same time Baldric called, quietly, upon Tymora to aid him in the battle that we all expected would soon follow. Trovar was a little puzzled by our apparent lack of activity and we finally had to admit to the presence of an additional, invisible member of our band.
Within a few minutes Bazil had returned. After chastising us for making too much noise he told us what he had seen. As the hobbit had slowly crept up the hill he had felt a strange sensation of being watched and heard a chanting but couldn’t see its source. What he had seen, in the centre of the circle, was a tiny spot of red light that had been slowly growing as he watched it. No sooner had Bazil spoken these words then there was a flare of baleful red light upon the hill as his red spot suddenly expanded into a huge ring of flame. The ring was clearly a portal to somewhere else. Within its circumference was darkness deeper then the night sky, a darkness that was broken not by the glimmer of stars but by thousands of blazing eyes. Also visible upon the crown of the hill were four humans in dark robes. The sky began to churn as clouds rushed to fill the heavens. Suddenly the portal collapsed back into itself. With the barest of hesitation Baldric led the charge up the hill with Primrose and, I presume, the invisible Bazil close behind. Colatto and Faergil began to cast spells and I to call upon Silvanus. Before any of these could happen the situation changed drastically.
While I was to far away to see it clearly myself the others tell me that the jagged, swirling tattoos, the calling card of a Red Wizard, upon the bald head of one of the robed figures began to more. In a blink of an eye the tattoos leapt away from the doomed wizard’s brow (revealing a second, immobile set underneath), reared back like a snake about to strike and then plunged back towards his head. The tattoos pierced his head like a dozen daggers and then crushed his cranium like an eggshell. For a moment there was a stunned silence and then a bolt of lightning exploded out of what had once been the dead wizard’s head and struck his nearest comrade. As the second wizard convulsed in agony the bolt leapt to the third and then the fourth and then back to the second. It complete this circuit at least three times leaving behind four corpses, one headless and three blackened and smoking. Never one to be too careful Bazil still took the opportunity to run the dead wizards through.
There seemed only one likely explanation to the spectacular if vicious events we had just witnessed. I headed up the hill to join my companions. I reached then just in time to see the deadly tattoos rise up into the air above the circle. They collapsed into a ball of light that, after stretching itself out into a column returned to their true form, that of The Simbul.
Rather then queenly attire she was clad in ragged black robes that, like her long hair, were being whipped around in a maelstrom that none of the rest of us could feel. He eyes were blazing orbs of something that what part fire and part lightning. This same lightning blazed around her hands and she hurled it down into the circle, which we quickly and wisely vacated. Within seconds the Sun Glade was purged of any trace of the Red Wizards and The Simbul floated gentle down to land at it’s centre. The figure that stood before us was one of great beauty but it was a beauty that seemed to well up from within her and radiate out through her skin. It was a beauty that suggested great peace and serenity but this was in stunning contrast to her eyes. Her eyes had returned to those of human but they shone with an intensity that I had only previously seen in the gaze of a beserker, they could easily have been the eyes of a madwoman. What I will most remember about The Simbul was the vibration that filled the Sun Glade after her arrival, the same sense of potential power that you feel from a thunder storm a split second before it unleashed it’s lightning.
Captain Stringfellow was the first to break the silence as he re-introduced himself. For a split second she was startled then The Simbul, congratulating Bazil on his commission to The Purple Dragons, bent down and embraced him. While she had her arms around Bazil he was visible but as she released him the halfling faded from view once again.
It appeared that introductions for the rest of us were not required as our names and deeds had proceeded us to Aglarond. Apparently only minutes before Ruybn had informed her of The Red Wizard’s plans for The Sun Glade and she had come straight there to thwart them. She thanked us for dealing with the salamanders and for coming to deal with the portal. Before we got down to asking the dozens of questions we had for her I asked The Simbul (or rather just Simbul, as she told Baldric when he asked how we should address her) if she would help Baynar. She was rather amused to see the stone knight at the bottom of a Portable Hole but with a single touch was able to restore him to flesh and blood.
Bazil filled The Simbul in on all he had learnt in Delthuntle and she told us that she would deal with the plot to release Eltab. She was able to give us news about the drow, Azameer the Lost Marshall had returned from death and exile to recapture the Twisted Tower in Shadowdale. When we passed on Lady Shadowmoon’s belief that The Demon Queen of Spiders walked the Realms The Simbul was quick to contradict her, saying that she would know if that were the case. The “Eight” that we had heard mentioned once or twice were a group of drow arch-mages and an “Unfolding” was a term to describe opening a dimensional portal or rift. When I asked how long an Unfolding took she replied that there were so many variables it was impossible to tell. Though she was loath to admit it she didn’t know what The Legacy of Srinshee was. Bazil put forward the idea that it was Srinshee herself as Faergil’s research said that the elven magess had promised to return one day. To this The Simbul replied that there was an ancient order of elven mages who believed so strongly in Shrinshee’s return that they had stop idly during the fall of Myth Drannor expecting her to reappear and lead the elves to victory.
Now we came to crux of matters, how The Simbul could help us. We needed to get to back to the Dalelands before it was too late and she was ready to use her formidable Art to drastically shorten the journey. Most of the company wished to go to Cormyr while I argued for Tsornyl itself. The Simbul settled on the former, partly because she had never been to The Darkwatch but mostly because she believed we would be able to find allies to help us in the task that lay ahead. Guessing that we should soon be gone from The Wizards’ Reach I took the opportunity to ask The Simbul if she could tell me the difference between a wizard and a witch. Indeed she could; the term “witch” usually referred to a mage who specialised in communicating and making deals with beings from the Outer Planes. In this region however the phrase tended to be used about The Witches of Rashemen, a cabal of wizardess who had learned to strike bargains with powerful elemental spirits. Of course, The Simbul told me with a cruel smile; the only Witch that the Thavians had to worry about was herself.

Suddenly we were somewhere else. I didn’t even have time to say goodbye to Trovar.
It was still night but now we appeared to be in a room, a bedroom as it turned out. Rather unusually a nearby wall possessed a mouth that was in the process of calling out about intruders; us.
The wall’s shouting had awoken an elderly man from his sleep and as he looked around, trying to get his bearings we realised that it was Vangerdahast, The Simbul had transported us to the royal courts of King Azoun of Cormyr! It was perhaps lucky for us that the mage Vangerdahast didn’t have adventures’ talent for going from sleep to combat-ready in an instant. We were able to convince him that we weren’t a threat and after a few confused moments he recognised us. We retired to an antechamber to give the arch-mage time to get himself together.
As we waited Bazil commented that it was good to be home. It seemed a strange idea “home” after almost a year and a half of constant travel. The open road seemed my home now and I didn’t begrudge a second of the journey. And yet Cormyr had a good claim to be my home; I was born within its boarders and had lived the bulk of my life there. It was in Cormyr that I had undertaken the Rites of Initiation and Cormyr would be my responsibility if I survived The Trails to claim the title Druid.
The Trails; for close to two years it had been the star I navigated by. Endure The Trails. Become a Druid. Become closer to Silvanus. Ever since Nimpeth I had felt in my heart that I had reached an impasse, an impasse that could only be overcome by undertaking The Trails. And now I was back in Cormyr, was this the time?
A couple of minutes later Vangerdahast joined us and we quickly gave him a sketchy account of what had happened since we left on The Undying Gaze, particularly regarding the drow. Now he was awake the arch-mage was decisive. He asked Lionar Baynar to arrange us some rooms where we could rest and, more importantly, change while he organised an audience with the King.

Chapter 4

DM's Notes

I used the following references:
Spellbound - The Unseelie Fairies, Trovar, Eltab and the Red Wizards of Thay, and the Witches of Rashemen.
The Seven Sisters - info on The Simbul

The Fall of Myth Drannor - The Srinshee
Realms box set - info on Cormyr.

This was one chaotic fight! And a dangerous one at that. Unseelie Fairies (from the Spellbound box set) are only 1-1 HD monsters, BUT each of them knows one (usually destructive) spell of ANY level. The perfect scalable monster!

Baynar was of course subjected to a Flesh to Stone Spell, and Baldric suffered a Polymorph Other. That didn't stop him taking on the Hydra though!! He managed to do 1hp to the creature with his stumpy horns. Hurrah!

Faergil is a maniac, its official. As soon as Thorn's back was turned out came the Fireballs, Thunderstaffs and Wall of Fire! All in a forest. Great stuff.

Trovar is out of the Spellbound book, a 1/2 elf Ranger. Of course he was alone, but the "you're surrounded' tactic does work sometimes...

The Simbul. It took me a long time to decide how to handle the encounter at the Sunglade. Should it be a fight, should they miss it, etc. I decided on introducing The Simbul. I am always very wary of introducing high-level NPCs as its always easy to be arrogant with them, and players really hate that. The Witch Queen is unique in many ways, and hopefully the players weren't disappointed or annoyed by her presence.

They now know that the Eight - who have found Tsonyl (and the Legacy?) are Drow Arch-mages. Oooh what fun!

It seemed strangely appropriate that they should be teleported to Vangadahast's bed chamber. The Simbul likes her little joke now and again...

Finally Thorn now has enough XP for 12th level. He just needs to final a Druid ready to take him on...

Return to Journey...