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Nov 09 2012

Chronicles of Netheril, November 3rd, 2012

Urmlaspyr – Preparations

Back in Urmlaspyr Ashurta explained her plan for the strike against Shade Enclave.

Yder Tanthul, one of the princes of Netheril, is the Chief Templar of the Dome of the Night, Shar’s main temple in Shade Enclave. Killing him would be a powerful blow against Netheril. Not only would it prove that the Princes are not all powerful as they pretend to be; it would also prove that even Shar’s influence is not all powerful.

Fortunately for us, Bedine agents have reported that Yder is currently in the middle of some very sensitive and important research. For the time being, he has taken up full-time residence in his private laboratory; a location that is fairly isolated from the rest of his estate. It is therefore the best time to assassinate him, as he will be too distracted to notice us coming.

Ashurta gives us a linked portal ritual that will allow us to return to Urmlaspyr from Shade Enclave. When we make our escape, we will have to use it from the Merchant District because the rest of Shade Enclave is warded against the creation of portals.

With all our preparations done, she opens a portal to Shade Enclave’s Merchant District using the ritual that Muriel performed in Ordulin.

The Strike on Shade Enclave

Upon crossing through the portal, we found ourselves in a small room with a single door flanked by two guards in Netherese uniforms. The guards were not alarmed by our presence, because Shade Enclave has a multitude of safeguards against unwanted intrusion. Plus, they weren’t the sharpest swords in the armoury, so it was fairly easy to convince them that we were here to open trade negotiations on behalf of a large caravan.

In the Merchant District itself, we chatted up various residents until we learned that the princes’ estates were located in the High District. We were also able to obtain a description of Yder’s coat of arms.

The High District was a walled-off and gated area of Shade Enclave; and access was very restricted. Only the princes and their personal guards, servants and retainers were allowed inside.

While Voulge used his cloaking device to become invisible, Eramus and Dirty Pig used their hats of disguise to take on the appearance of Netherese soldiers. We then placed Ash in manacles purchased in the Merchant District; and by pretending that he was an important prisoner being taken to Yder because of the critical information that he possessed, we were granted access.

Although we had gained entrance into the High District, we did not know the location of Yder’s estate. Voulge decided to keep his cloaking device active, and once he spotted someone wearing Yder’s coat of arms, followed him to the prince’s estate. He then returned to where the rest of us were waiting for him and led us back to our destination.

Once at the main gate to the estate, getting in was quite easy; there were no guards to be found. We headed towards the estate’s main building, but we were stopped at the courtyard by Yder’s personal guards.

To our great surprise, the guard captain was Naramus; the main Dirty Pig had thrown into a well back in Stormkeep as we were escaping from Lamorak Tanthul. He had obviously survived. But in the end that had only been putting off the inevitable. We had no difficulty killing him and the rest of the guards.

Inside, the Mansion was nearly empty save for a few servants who ran off to hide the moment they saw us. After a thorough search of the house, we found a trap door hidden beneath a carpet in storeroom. The tunnel beyond led to a pair of large stone doors with Yder’s coat of arms upon them. We had found the lab.

Inside the lab, Yder was in the middle of performing a complex ritual. He was defended by a small group of shadow creatures; some of which were also undead. Shadowbane and Soulsword were quite adamant that Ash should destroy these creatures.

But before we could start our attack in earnest, Yder addressed us directly. It was our second big surprise of the day because rather than the usual villainous boasts that we were expecting, he actually wanted to talk and make a deal with us.

He said that the purpose of the ritual was to prevent the Ordulin Maelstrom from expanding any further. Without his intervention it could eventually engulf all of Sembia, and the resulting death toll would be catastrophic.

He offered us a deal. In exchange for NOT killing him, in addition to finishing the ritual he would pay us whatever it was the Bedine had offered and would sweeten the pot by also giving us one of his ritual books and a few of his magical items.

He reminded us that while the Bedine might view the Netherese princes as evil, they themselves were far from being innocent. The Bedine were known to attack and kill anyone who traded with either Sembian farmers or Netherese merchants. Many of their victims were innocents simply trying to make a living and provide for their families.

We had heard a similar story while with the Netherese caravan. One of its members had been part of another caravan when it had been attacked. His entire family had been slaughtered.

We decided to accept his offer because in this situation, Netheril’s goals actually served the greater good. That was our third surprise of the day.

Needless to say, Shadowbane was quite angry at not being able to kill such a powerful shadow creature as Yder. Soulsword was also displeased that we let undead roam free, but it wasn’t as angered as Shadowbane. Ash had already used it to kill many undead that were more dangerous than the few that were here. The sentient sword also understood that more lives could be saved by letting these three undead “live” than by destroying them. {Soulsword’s concordance drops by 2 points, and Shadowbane’s drops to 0.}

After the ritual was finished and we had received our buy off, we had to make our way back to the Merchant District in order to escape Shade Enclave. Along the way were attacked by a group of Netherese officials, but we dealt with them easily (threw them off a bridge) and were able to reach the Merchant District where we used our portal scroll.

Going Home

Back in Urmlaspyr we avoid the Sand Kings, went directly to our ship, and immediately departed for Loudwater. Upon our arrival a messenger came to inform us that Curuvar was looking for us.

When we tracked him down, he told us that he had discovered the general location of the key of darkness mentioned in Lady Saharel’s prophecy given to the Harpers.

Heyana (Harpers): What grand plot is currently being concocted by the Netherese?

Saharel: The dark ones in ruins. Employed by one of the twelve with delusions of divinity. A backwards portal nearby keyed to light and dark. A dark key from the past – the undying survivor of the fall remains hidden from the shadows where tunnels don’t end. A light key from the present – held by a golden flame – tender of the woods that are home to the swine – near a great tree of valour.

Through extensive research he was able to decipher the relevant passage as follows:

From the DM’s notes:

“A dark key from the past”: key is of netherese origin, likely made by necromancers
“the undying survivor of the fall”: one of the last survivors of the fall of Netheril was Aumvar the Undying
“remains hidden from the shadows”: the Shades of Netheril are unaware of his existence
“where tunnels don’t end”: his lair is within the endless caverns

From looking at our map of the Endless Caverns Curuvar suspects that Aumvar would hold sway over the Northwest quadrant of the caverns, including a portion that cuts through an “arm” (so to speak) of Araumycos; the largest living entity in the realms, home to countless Myconids and other shrooms, which we have already visited once before.

Epilogue

{Note: The following text is for the benefit of the players; to help set up upcoming events. The characters are not aware of any of what follows.

The text comes from page 53 of the adventure module NETH3-3.}

As night falls on Shade Enclave, one “person” (if indeed he can still be called that after everything he had done and everything he has become) is not at ease.

High Prince Telemont Tanthul carefully reflects upon everything that has happened during the last few weeks. First, another defeat for his patrols at the hands of adventurers. Then, a shadow caravan managed to discover its own route to Shade Enclave. Finally, a group of outsiders managed to defeat his son’s elite guards in an apparent attempt on his life, using a portal — from Ordulin, of all places! — to reach the floating city. Certainly, some of the guards and mages share in the blame, and they will be punished appropriately, but this entire chain of events has entailed too many coincidences. Coincidences that cannot be allowed to pass unremarked.

The High Prince activates a sending stone specially created by his son Rivalen to obscure the stone’s spoken replies to all but its owner.

“Hadrhune, report. How fares Yder?”

A pause, then: “And his notes?” Pause.

“The Asterwun’kaseel?” Pause.

“I see. We must make preparations to strike back.” Pause

“No you fool, not against the Sand Kings. They are mere puppets. Gather our agents in Cormyr, Luruar, and the Dales. It is time to finish the dance we started with the puppet masters.”

His orders given, the High Prince places the stone back on its shelf. He sinks into a silent reverie, his musings accompanied only by Shar’s blessed darkness. Mulling what he has learned, a secret to be kept until a future date, the High Prince smiles. Now, he is at ease.