By Jared Rascher
Tarsakh 19th - 29th 1373DR
Tarsakh 19th, 1373 DR
Upon arriving in town, after sundown, Emen convinces Mourn that it would be rude to barge in on Meriden at his house, and convinces him to go with her to the White Hart Inn to stay for the evening.
When the two arrive, the common room is deserted, and upon looking behind the bar, they find that Holfast's trap door leading down to the cellars is open. Emen squeezes down the trap door, followed by Mourn, and they find two barmaids, seemingly dead.
Mourn notices dark, cold, hand shaped marks on the barmaids, and Emen notices that they are still alive. They carefully drag the waitresses bodies upstairs into the common room, and Mourn lets his hawk familiar poke around the cellars to find anything useful.
The hawk describes to Mourn that there appears to be an open vault further into the cellar, and Mourn and Emen remember that Meriden had told them that Holfast had secret chambers and vaults for hiding various things in the cellars. The two carefully make their way to the vault, and find Holfast, dragging him to safety.
Before they can get fully out of the vault, they see a skeletal figure inside, carrying the mace that the party brought back from Anauroch with them when they defeated the lich. The creature looks at them and speaks, telling them that they will pay for causing such damage to his home, and for robbing him of his speech before he could even warn them away from his temple.
The lich grabs Emen, chilling her to the bone, but not managing to paralyze the powerful half-ogre. Focusing her spiritual energy, she manages to actually damage the lich with her massive fists. Morn fires several spells at the lich, burning it with rays of intense heat.
The lich retreats and casts a spell the repulses the living, while the creature casts various spells to repair its damaged undead body, fixes the scorches and cracks in its bones. While it does this, Emen throws every cask she can find at the lich, trying to harm it from a distance.
The lich hurls a few more spells at the pair, including a spell that brings down a column of flame. Emen dodges easily out of the way, but Morn is hurt badly by this spell. The lich casts another spell to cloak itself in darkness and darting shadows, then charges Emen.
Emen has a harder time hitting the lich with the distracting shadows darting around it, but she does manage to strike it again, and resists its cold touch once more. After Emen strikes the lich and shatters many of its bones, Mourn manages to fire another spell striking the creature with magical darts of force and shattering its body. Emen carefully picks up the mace and stores it in her pack, and Emen and Mourn travel to the Temple of Tyr to explain what happened to Holfast and his waitresses, and the clerics gladly cast the proper curative spells to release them from their paralysis and heal their wounds.
Holfast gratefully gives them room and board and his eternal thanks for the rescue, and asks them to find somewhere else to dispose of the mace.
Tarsakh 20th, 1373 DR
Emen and Mourn travel to Meriden house on the outskirts of Ashabenford, and they tell him what happened the night before. Meriden discerns that the unholy mace must be the phylactery for the lich, and destroys the unholy object.
Chorn arrives in Ashabenford, and Meriden tells everyone that Heresk and his family, as well as Neylessa and several of the Mistledale Lancers and Militia, have already headed out to Pelden's Helm. Chorn decides that the best course of actions for today would be to take Meriden, Mourn, Stilgar, and Grim to the Velvet Veil for a rousing send off, while Emen quietly meditates at Meriden's home. Meriden is on his best behavior, and his catfolk friend is not in attendance this day.
After dragging Grim away from his female centaur friend at the Velvet Veil, the group repairs to Meriden's home and plans their trip to Pelden's Helm.
Tarsakh 21st-24th, 1373 DR
Meriden, Stilgar, Morn, Grim, Emen, and Chorn all set out for Pelden's Helm. While the first day of travel is uneventful, the second day, the group sees a griffon bearing a rider being chased by a green dragon and several wyverns.
Following where the griffon rider apparently went down, the adventurers are set upon by a the wyverns. The party tears into the draconic creatures, but Mourn, Emen, and Stilgar are all badly injured by the poisonous stingers of the creatures.
Despite being badly hurt Stilgar pushes on in battle, but Mourn falls back due to the poison in his veins, and Emen succumbs to the poison, and collapses, appearing to be dead.
Meriden quickly unfurls a scroll and uses its stored power to infuse Emen with the power of Helm, jolting her back to life even as she nearly separates her soul from her body.
Stilgar, Grim (practicing his ability to absorb his weapons into his claws as a bear), and Chorn manage to dispatch the rest of the wyverns, and Meriden casts a spell that fortifies Mourn against the poison in his veins. He purges Stilgar's poison, and purifies Emen as she begins to move again, and finally cleanses Mourn as well.
After healing the group of the wounds the wyverns dealt them, the adventurers continue to track the griffon and the dragon that followed it. They find a small cave, overgrown with newly formed plants, and a frothing, raging green dragon.
Meriden cast more of his divine spells to enhance the adventurers, and Mourn fires spells at the creature from a distance, and Stilgar, Chorn, Grim, and Emen manage to kill the young, but vicious, dragon, before it can do much damage. They walk past the corpse of the griffon to the cave, and within the cave they find Lhoeriath and her son. She cast a divination to find Stilgar, and came to see him, but was set upon by the enraged dragons.
The entire group rests, heals, and heads on toward Pelden's Helm.
Tarsakh 25th, 1373 DR
Meriden is surprised when he finds that not only has Sir Evast and his family come from Cormyr, but Myrmeen Lhal herself, as well as a patrol of purple dragon knights, and several War Wizards have come to Pelden's Helm. She explains that while Meriden is a fine son of Cormyr, she actually came because Mistledale helped Arabel during the poor growing season last year.
Myrmeen takes Meriden aside and tells him that she has heard of his interest in starting a branch of the church of Helm that is more interested in intelligence gathering, and she also tells him that she has contacts with the Moonstars, an organization headed by Khelben Arunsun, the Blackstaff of Waterdeep. She says that in exchange for sharing information, Khelben may aid his temple with some extra funds and contacts.
She also tells Meriden that the Harpers have used his band of adventurers as a distraction over something that happened last year. The Harpers refused to deal with Semmemon in regards to freeing his effects from Darkhold, but they did send several undercover agents into Darkhold themselves to retrieve them without Semmemon's help. They are planing on secretly using the information they found to purge the child with Xvim's essence of its dark influence, all the while allowing any in the Zhentarim to follow a trail leading to Meriden's friends.
She also tells him that Semmemon had already given this information to Khelben, and the whole thing was essentially a ruse to allow Khelben to send Semmemon elsewhere, while still making sure the Harpers got the information he wanted them to have. She then asks if Meriden wants to take Khelben up on his offer, and Meriden agrees.
At about the same time, the tressym that was Taldon Forestward arrives in Pelden's Helm, looking for Grim. His own Harper contacts have let him know that the clerics of Deneir in Silverymoon made a copy of Grim's book, and passed it onto the Harpers, and that the Harpers have secured the “heart” from Chult already and put it in a safe place. Grim is furious.
A mysterious moon elf female arrives in Pelden's Helm, and asks to speak with Meriden. The woman is Kaeldarra, the moon elf chronomancer that once sent Meriden and Wulgar into the past. She apologizes for manipulating Meriden and Wulgar, and tells him that she has had a vision from Labelas Enoreth that has made her abandon her quest to change the past, as she has seen Myth Drannor reborn. She also tells Meriden that she say into an alternate future where he was alone, unaging, unemotional, an eternal guardian tinged with sadness and resolve in the depths of his temple.
That evening, Meriden has a dream, where he sees the justicator that has appeared to him before. The justicator tells him that the greatest trials of his life are about to begin, and to be warned and vigilant.
Tarsakh 26th, 1373 DR
Meriden finds Myrmeen and tells her something bad will happen, but he doesn't know what, but to be prepared. He find Haresk and tells him the same. Soon after, dark storm clouds roll in and blot out the son, and while the sun is obscured and there is lightning, there is no rain.
Saerlith, the catfolk scout with the Militia, says that a small force of grey skinned humanoids is marching on Pelden's Helm from the east. Before they can react, several huge blue dragons fly over Pelden's Helm, as well as the strange insect-worm creatures known as veserabs.
In addition to the flyers and the marching troops, a figure in black robes on a demonic horse rides toward the group, along with the Herald of Arabel, flying a flag of truce. The rider on the nightmare proclaims that he is a duly appointed representative of the city of Shade, and that he has recruited the Herald of Arabel in order to show a proper flag of truce.
He tells Haresk and Myrmeen that he brings gifts from the city of Shade, and has the chests brought forth brimming with gold and magic. He then says that as a show of good will and in an effort to repair the damage between Shade and Cormyr, he offers these gifts, but asks a favor in return.
The Shadovar want Grim Greycastle for the murder of their diplomat, Lord Borsaelis. They also want the elven chronomancer Kaeldarra and all of her magical effects turned over to them, because all of her effects are “stolen” artifacts of ancient Netheril, and thus belong to the Shade.
Myrmeen says that she will not turn over a son of Cormyr to the likes of the Shadovar, and Haresk says that no adherent to the Dalelands Pact would turn over a Tel'Quessir to the Shadovar either. The shadovar retreats, but as he gets back to his line of troops, he kills the Herald of Arabel in a fit of rage.
Grim, in the form of a hawk, dives at the shadovar general, but strikes a magical field that repulses him. While the negotiations were going on, Mourn points out that he has noticed that something is not right about the dragons, that they somehow don't seem “authentic” to his sense.
As the shadovar troops move toward Pelden's Helm, Chorn, Stilgar, and Mourn notice shadows rising up in the ranks of the Mistledale Lancers and the Purple Dragon Knights, taking the form of Shadow Elementals.
Meriden warns the knights and the riders about the shadow elementals, and warns the War Wizards about the blue dragons. He and his friends then make sure that Haresk and his family are safe in the pavilion, and Haresk gets out the Rod of Peldan to defend his family.
Myrmeen and one of her War Wizards rides out to fight the shadovar general on the nightmare, and the War Wizards and Kaeldarra engage the shadovar wizards on the veserabs. The knights and lancers are split between the shadow elementals and the krinth troops of the shadovar, and Neylessa rallies the paladins among the lancers to take on the shadow elementals.
Before Meriden and his friends can throw in with any of the combatants, they are charged by a force that has slipped in between the other combatants. A force of werebadgers led by a werewolf in hybrid form charges the group. The werewolf demands the book from Grim, and the adventurers charge to attack the lycanthropes.
The adventurers are set upon hard by the werebadgers, and the werewolf druid calls down a pillar of flame on Grim, wounding him badly. Emen, Chorn, and Stilgar wade through the werebaders, and Meriden charges the werewolf, but is badly savaged by several of the werebadgers, their lycanthropic teeth even tearing through his armor.
The werewolf druid calls down several more columns of flame, reveling in the destruction that Malar grants him, and casts spells to bolster the stamina of allied werebadgers. After tearing through a few more of the werebadgers, when everyone is near the werewolf druid, Mourn continues to throw magic darts of force at the remaining werebadgers, and when everyone is in reach, Grim casts a spell that grants the swift strike of the serpent to all of his allies at once, and in a burst of inhuman speed, all those around the werewolf druid manage to strike him at once, negating any chance he has to defend himself.
Meriden has only a few moments to heal his allies when a dozen of the krinth shock troops charge them. Mourn falls back and rains fireballs from his wand at them as they charge the adventurers, weakening and scattering them as they get nearer. Meriden, Emen, Stilgar, and Grim take on the front ranks of the krinth, while Chorn finishes off the last of the werebadgers, and Mourn picks off some of the krinth warriors with more spells.
Before all of the krinth are dispatched, however, the largest of all of the shadow elementals appears, towering over the party. Emen and Grim are badly hurt by the chilling touch of the shadow elemental, and Stilgar has a hard time sinking his axe into the creature's supernatural form.
The krinth are routed, but the Shadow Elemental still looms, but Meriden quickly heals Emen and Grim tends to himself. Chorn's elementally enhanced weapons bite into the creature and pulse magical fire into it, and Stilgar's electrically enhanced axe bites into the creature as well finally. Meriden casts some spells to bring Helm's blessings to the group and to increase their competency, and Morn, Grim, and Meriden cast spells to damage the creature. Eventually its shadows dwindle to nothingness.
The adventurers hear a cry for help, and while Meriden heals the party members, Chorn and Stilgar charge down the ridge to respond. Varim, the Sunite paladin, and his companions are under assault from a shadow elemental, and his friend, the half-elf sorceress, seems to have fallen to the creature, and his other allies are in bad shape. Stilgar and Chorn make short work of the next elemental, already wounded by Varim's smiting ability, and they stabilize the halfling and the cleric, but the half-elf sorceress is beyond help.
After the battle, the adventurers find out that nearly all of the War Wizards have fallen, Kaeldarra is badly wounded, and many of the Riders and Knights have fallen as well, though Sir Evast and Orlass are fine, as is Meriden's famiy. Searlith has died in the fight, however.
During the battle, a shadow elemental separated Haresk and his daughters, and after he blasted it with the Rod of Peldan, they found Naurvintha, but not Raina. Mourn tracks Raina in his wolf form, and finds a note telling the adventurers to bring “the child” through the gate after dawn the next day, through the portal that is near where the not was found.
When Stilgar checks on Lhoeriath and his son in the tent, he finds that the half-elf druid has staked a female drow vampire through the heart in the defense of herself and the child. She raises an eyebrow and says to Stilgar, “she asked specifically for you . . . what kind of women have you been consorting with in my absence?”
Grim and Chorn notice a strange glint in Naurvintha's eyes, a glint of gold. They tell Meriden of this, and they realize that Naurvintha has been replaced by a Malaugrym. They attack the creature, hoping to capture it and find out what has happened to Naurvintha, and while the creature puts up a good fight and manages to spellshift away from the grasp of the half-ogre monk, they eventually batter it senseless and demand to know what is going on.
The Malaugrym says that Naurvintha is being taken as breeding stock back to the Plane of Shadows, and that the Malaugrym was to subvert Mistledale and the temple with its new identity. Before they can question it further, it manages to spellshift away again.
Meriden divines Naurvintha's location through Helm's power, and sees her being flown north toward a portal to the Plane of Shadows. While he wants to go after her, and starts making plans to that effect, he and the other adventurers decide that they must rescue Raina first, and Varim, the surviving members of his band, and several of the Lancers volunteer to ride north to try and catch the Malaugrym and Naurvintha.
When Meriden sleeps for he night, he dreams of being marked by Helm, and when he awakens, his forehead is branded with the vigilant gauntlet of Helm.
Tarsakh 27th, 1373 DR
As Kaeldarra lay dying, she gathers Meriden and the adventurers to her, telling them she will soon pass on to Arvandor. She tells Meriden that he is at the most crucial point in his life, and a great determining event will happen today. She tells Emen that she will have many students that do her much honor. She tells Mourn that he will unleash a great evil, but will learn what it is to be a hero. She tells Grim that he will be the bane of the unseelie, and she tells Chorn he will die richer than his employer. She tells Stilgar that he will defend his people from shadow, but only after they have suffered by them. Then she fade away into Arvandor, hearing the call of Labelas Enoreth to come home.
The adventurers examine the gate with one of the surviving War Wizards, and determine that it leads to an area outside of Westgate. They touch the glyph and activate the portal, and they step through in a carefully planned pattern.
There are four short, two tiered stone pillars in this area. They are near the water, and Westgate is able to be seen in the distance. Mourn sends his hawk to view the area, and it lands next to one of the carved, winged statues on top of the short pillars.
A hooded figure arrives, covered from head to toe, holding Raina's hand, and wants to know where her granddaughter is. Meriden asks who she is, and she begins to recount her origin and why the girl is special to her.
She tells Meriden that when she was younger, many centuries ago, she was a paladin that opposed a human tyrant named Bane. That tyrant tricked her into using an artifact that cursed her and cut her off from her paladin abilities, and gave her unnatural long life. She eventually tried to seduce Bane to get close to him and kill him, but instead she became pregnant with his son, Iyachtu Xvim. She hoped to raise him to be a valiant paladin, but instead, he had his father's taint, as was raised to demigod status, ruling Westgate as a king when his father became a god.
She says that she can no longer say her own name, and that she wants he granddaughter so that she can study Xvim's power in her and perhaps use it to free herself from her curse. Meriden knows from his religious history lessons that Xvim's mother has been rumored to be either a paladin or a demon, and he senses that some of what she said was true, but there were a few lies and many unspoken parts to her story. He asks to make sure Raina is alright.
She allows Meriden to examine the girl, but then asks where her granddaughter is. Meriden says that they will have to go get her, and Xvim's Mother demands to have Raina back until they come back with her granddaughter. Grim slowly places Raina on Chorn's pony and tells her to get ready to ride to the far side of the beach when he tells her to do so.
The statues on the pillars come to life as gargoyles, and one tears Mourn's hawk nearly apart, though it still lives. Stilgar and Chorn leap up the pedestals to the gargoyles, and Xvim's Mother turns invisible. Grim sends Raina away on the pony, and dives at Xvim's Mother. Meriden casts a spell that, by Helm's ever vigilant eye, purges all invisibility from the area.
The rest of the adventurers attack the gargoyles, and Xvim's Mother strikes Grim with her unholy scimitar, and further enhances the weapon with her unholy essence, nearly killing the druid-ranger. She then tries to turn invisible again, but Meriden's field is still in effect.
The gargoyles are dispatched by the other adventurers, and they close in on Xvim's Mother, slashing and battering her. She flies off and heals herself, then dives back into battle, taking several wounds again after returning to the fray.
Grim heals himself, but Xvim's Mother pronounces a horrid phrase that weakens and stuns everyone around her, but Mourn is still far enough away to keep raining burning rays of heat at her. She heals herself while the adventurers are stunned, and then casts another spell, a vicious spell that drains the fluids out of the bodies of those around her, and Grim falls.
Meriden rapidly heals Grim, and then casts a spell on himself to make himself infused with Helm's righteous fury, and heads toward the pillar that Xvim's Mother has flown off toward. Stilgar, Emen, and Chorn scale the tower to reach her, and Grim again uses the spell he used the day before to infuse his allies with the speed of the serpent, causing them all to strike Xvim's Mother before she could counter any of their attacks, and she falls.
Since the portal will not function again until the next day after sunrise, the adventurers gather Raina to them and set up camp for the evening.
Tarsakh 28th, 1373 DR
When the group returns through the portal, Neylessa and Haresk are waiting for them. Haresk seems very dejected, but hugs Raina as she comes through. Neylessa tells Meriden that when Varim's Band caught up with the Malaugrym, a flight of raging dragons showed up, and the creatures devoured all of them, adventurers, malaugrym, and Naurvintha included.
Meriden is devastated, and wanders lost the rest of the day. The cleric from Tsurlagol performs any rite for the dead that may be needed, and bodies are arranged in a caravan if they are to be buried, interred, or to have service provided elsewhere. The Cormyreans leave, and the Lancers turn away the contingents of guests from Shadowdale and Battledale that have arrived this day.
Meriden sees the vision that Kaeldarra spoke to him about, the vision of himself as an eternal guardian of his temple, an arch lich, and sees now that this may be the only destiny for him, and unfeeling guardian forever doing the will of Helm, without fear of a broken heart.
Stilgar and Lhoeriath find that they may have enough in common that they may stay together. Lhoeriath had never known her father, and was distant from most men she knew, but she has grown interested in spending time getting to know Stilgar, and perhaps even having more children with him.
Tarsakh 29th, 1373 DR
After clearing the battle scene, and helping with the dead, and making sure that the temple site is alright, the adventurers prepare to leave, although Meriden believes that he may indeed stay where he is at. The temple is all that matters now.
A strange object appears in the sky, something that looks like a giant sea shell fused with a ship, and it descends on the parade grounds outside of the temple site. Within it are Swanart and Killidaegra, the gnomish siblings. They tell the band that they have just found this part of their uncle's lost adventuring treasures, a ship that can sail the stars. But they need a crew to help them. They promise they will only be gone a little while, since they just want to see what the ship can do.Meriden smiles grimly at them, and nods for them to go, as he walks back toward the temple. The ship lifts high into the sky, heading for the Tears of Selune.
The content of the Mistledale Camapign is the property and copyright of Jared Rascher, and is not to be published or redistributed without permission.
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