ladriel's Reports

Session 1: The Gathering of the Party
Session 2: Siege on Skeletown
Session 3: Marching the Wrong Way
Session 4: Cashing in on Success
Session 5: Into the Cold Depths of Terror
Session 6: Once More into the Depths
Session 7: Here comes the Cavalry!
Session 8: The Mad Mage

Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the First Blade
12th of Midsummer, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope

ail Melinar, Son of Taelborne

I send you this news from the western front: it is well that our holy Order has again set forth to fight the ancient evil. The dead are stirring in the lands to the west, and I fear this must be connected to the Curse of the Final Battle.

As commanded, I have investigated the town of Marrowglen. I've heard tales of isolated dead rising in the surrounding country side, and have seen graves disturbed from below. But there is little more to find in this sleepy backwater.

Rumors of a dreadful undead siege on Talport has caused me to seek reinforcements and investigate. I've been fortunate to join forces with a few brave elves who also wish to rid this land of the undead evil. I am honored to march with Vlage, an elven druid of the forest, and Jilas, an elven ranger devoted to fighting the undead.

I have also had the excellent fortune to join forces with Argyle, a dwarven holy man sent from across the seas to aid our battle against the abominations. He has confided in me that a ship carrying many of his dwarven comrades is bound for Talport. This is glad tidings indeed, for it would appear that our dwarven allies from the Great War have finally ventured from their cavern safehavens, and are ready to stand with us again.

Corellon and Elohna have smiled upon my quest, for they have delivered to our group some worthy humans. Rommel is a strong and brave human warrior, though he is an infant by our years. Old or young, his heart is true and he is eager to fight against our enemies. An older human scholar named Yama has also joined us. His knowledge of the undead should serve us well. Finally, a well traveled merchant named Nikolaus has decided to follow us as well, though I am not sure what he seeks, since our path leads only to battle.

My companions and I set out to Talport, but were delayed by the undead usurpers of a toll tower. This was an ill omen indeed, for unlike the other undead who rise at night, these skeletons fought during the purifying light of day. Well armed and defended by sturdy walls, they were difficult foes. But the holy power of the Sunbrand gave us aid and their bones now lie at rest.

We have finished our march to Talport and found the town in ruins. At night, countless hordes of skeletons rise from the murky depths of the harbor to roam the streets and tear at the walls. Soon the town will be little more than rubble. The citadel fell to the last man, the walls breached by powerful forces. We have given the valiant defenders a fitting burial of fire - since they were humans, they were not followers of our divine masters, but I am sure Corellon and Elohna will welcome their brave souls into Sunhaven.

There are no signs of Argyle's companions. I fear they may have met a sad fate at sea, since the waters seem rife with the risen dead. By Corellon's blade Sahandrian I hope they have reached another port, for their aid would be a great boon against the gathering forces of darkness.

My companions and I now travel to the nearby village of Osskit to seek survivors from Talport. Perhaps they can help shed some light on what has happened, though in my bones I know this is the doing of our ancient enemy. I will send word once I arrive at Osskit.

May the flame burn bright on your blade,


Second Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Second Blade
22nd of Midsummer, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger

reetings Melinar, Son of Taelborne

We have fought the hordes of the enemy, and done great damage unto them, but the forces of evil are strong in these lands. My tale I hereby recount:

As I wrote to you last, my companions and I headed to Osskit to seek survivors from the siege of Talport. Many of these we have found, though none yield clues as to why the dead have risen against the once proud port city. Only one thing seems clear - the dead will not rest until the town lies in rubble.

The human Baron of these lands, Traftar, is raising an army to reclaim Talport and destroy the skeletal foe. Being a just and righteous cause, many of my compatriots and I have temporarily joined forces with the Baron's men to cleanse the port. Argyle, the most worthy dwarf I spoke of earlier, and I have taught the Baron's troops how to battle these foes, and we are calling upon our divine masters to bless water to protect the troops. We have also taken the Baron's commanders to Talport so that they may observe the foe and learn of the peril they face in their noble fight.

As we train the men, I fear that these humans are unready to battle such numerous and dangerous foes. Many of the troops are nothing more than fishermen or farmers, and few have any martial training. Perhaps since these humans live such short lives they care not if they die a little sooner, but I worry that our cause will not be furthered by so many of good spirit going to early graves. Seeking to prevent a senseless slaughter, my companions and I have devised a bold plan to weaken the skeletal hordes before the men of Osskit march upon Talport.

Rommel, the valiant warrior boy, has been granted command of fifty men of stout heart. With these men and much equipment, we have marched back to Talport to the safety of the lighthouse. There, Rommel's men have built a clever device meant to destroy the enemy as they attempt to climb into the tower. He calls it the "Devourer of Ants" a name which means nothing to me, yet it is a fearsome bane to our enemy. As the abominations marched upon us at night, the Devourer consumed a full twenty score of skeletal warriors before the enemy burst the tower door asunder. Attached are drawings of the Devourer for the benefit of the Sunbrand's fortifications.

Elohna and Corellon have graced me with their cleansing powers, for I destroyed over five score of our enemy before we were forced to retreat to higher levels. The day was saved when our divine masters channeled their righteous wrath through my unworthy body to wipe the stairs clean of the undead, allowing us to capture the skeleton's ram before they put it to our safehaven. As the sun rose, the enemy slunk back to their watery graves, leaving us victorious for the day.

Alas, the enemy seems to be without number, for despite the carnage of the night, their forces are unabated. My companions and I head back to Talport to report our glory and to try to keep the human army from marching prematurely to their doom. I will send more news as soon as I am able.

May Elohna's radiance always grace you,


Third Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Third Blade
22nd of Latesummer, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger

ail Melinar, Son of Taelborne

More news I bring you from the embattled western front. Evil lurks not only in the uneasy graves of the ancient dead, but also in the hearts of men. We have found a new foe and defeated his minions, though his sinister plot continues to unfold.

The army of Baron Traftar marched three days ago, under the guise of liberating Talport. However, Traftar's true aim was laid plain as he ordered his men towards the undefended lands of his elven allies. True to my oath, I sent warning to our elven brothers so that they might return to defend their land from this traitorous human.

As we camped at night, my companions and I were attacked by almost three score of skeletal warriors. Elohna and Corellon blessed me with the righteous power of the Sunbrand and thus empowered I faced the unholy foe. Alone I destroyed the entire host of abominations, and their dust shall never rise again.

By the light of morning, Traftar unveiled the source of his power when he used an ancient amulet to bend the souls of his own men to his evil plans. My faith being true, I was able to resist the artifact, though few of my human companions were so strong. I have included drawings of the amulet for your research - I can only guess at its origins, since the metalwork is unlike anything I've seen.

Being still of free will, I pretended to be under the amulet's influence so that I may continue with the human army and try to foil its evil plan. In this quest, our divine masters further graced my party with another brave member, this one a half-blooded magician by the name of Quinn. He is a strange fellow, and one who talks to his rare scarlet bird, but his desire to aid our cause seems true.

The root of the evil which has sullied the once noble human army appears to be a hooded dark commander and his gray cloaked guards. These men seem to have been secretly sent by King Belvader. I have used divine insight to determine that the man in black is powerfully evil and I believe he holds sway over Baron Traftar. With evidence uncovered last night, we fear that the dark commander was also behind the night's attack. Our best hope of turning Traftar's army away from its defenseless target lies now in defeating the man in black.

And this we have done, though the fight would have been lost if not for the power of Corellon and Elohna. The dark one showed himself as a necromancer when he drank his ally's life force then raised the body of a corpse to fight us. However, the Sunbrand banished his abomination before it could soil us with its unclean touch. After surviving more of his evil magics, I vanquished him with my blade. His guards were questioned, but they gave little information that is of value other than confirming they were sent by King Belvader.

My companions were able to disguise themselves as the necromancer and his guard to gain entry to Baron Traftar's wagon. There they subdued the Baron and removed the amulet. Alas I was not there to stop him, but Nikolaus put this unholy device around his neck so that he could command the army to turn back. A desperate deed that saved our brethren from human swords, but one that will have lasting consequences. I fear for Nikolaus' sanity and soul now that he wears the amulet, for the Baron was reduced to a babbling invalid as soon as the amulet left his touch.

I ride now to the elven army to tell them of the disaster so narrowly avoided and to deliver them the Baron who would kill their wives and children. Perhaps these elves can shed light upon the amulet and the strange plotting of the King. I will send news again after I have consulted with our brothers.

In the meantime, I humbly ask that you send members of the Order to Whitehall to gather intelligence on King Belvader and his evil plans. The Sunbrand has a new enemy in a King who would send necromancers to destroy defenseless elven villages.

May the divine light of the Sunbrand always guide you,


Fourth Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Third Blade
26th of Latesummer, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger

ail Melinar, Son of Taelborne

I send good tidings: We have found the elves and told them of their village's deliverance from the Baron's sword. They are immensely grateful and wish to aid us in our battle against evil. Our brothers have therefore granted us the boon of magic armor and weapons, and an honored position amongst them.

I must report that their leader carries a sword with a radiance I thought only possible for a true blade of the Sunbrand. I know not of any commander of our Order in the area, so I fear he may be an unchoosen sword bearer. His heart is good and his cause true, but I weep to think that a weapon of such power would fall into the hands of any outside the Order.

I share further good news that the most valiant Argyle has removed the amulet from Nikolaus without having to kill him first. Always a crafty dwarf, our friend used the power of mead to aid our cause. Alas, Nikolaus has suffered the same fate as the Baron as soon as the artifact was removed. We have brought him to the elven mages to the north for healing, but they are unable to break the curse of the amulet.

We head now to Whitehall to seek a cure for our fallen friend and to further unravel the King's evil plots. Please send word of my arrival to any of our Order in the area so that we may meet and discuss how to further our cause.

May the Crown of Glory one day rest upon your brow,


Fifth Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Fourth Blade
2nd of Fall, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger

ail Melinar, Son of Taelborne

I bear important news for the forces of the Sunbrand. We have discovered an ancient elven city in the depths of Lake Chilblain, and recovered pages that may help our scribes decipher the elder script. My tale I hereby recount:

My companions and I journeyed towards Whitehall to further unravel King Belvader's sinister plot. On route, we were ambushed by assassins looking for the cursed amulet. They badly wounded the invalid Nikolaus - were it not for our brave dwarven ally, I fear the bandits would have succeeded in their attempt on his life. We have captured one of these rouges and turned him over to the authorities after questioning him. The others lie where we cut them down, for filth deserves no proper burial. They were sent by Arnquist, a leader of thieves in Osskit. I must travel north now, but should my path ever bring me back to Osskit, I vow to bring justice upon the scoundrel Arnquist.

We have left our friend Nikolaus in the care of the elves of Glindrin. If any of the Order are near these elven lands, please have them look after our companion - it is by his sacrifice that the army of Osskit was turned away from our brethren. I hope that a cure for him lies in the north, which is where we travel now.

Our travels have taken us to Blaine, a small town that sits at the foot of icy Lake Chilblain. In this town we heard legend of an ancient elven city which lies below the cold waters. We rowed upon the great lake and found the tales to be true - the preserved ruins of our ancestors lie in Chilblain's cold embrace. In the icy depths also lie unimaginable abominations. Into this abyss of nightmares my companions and I descended, our bodies protected by magics and potions, but our souls without such defense. As the dark waters closed above my head, I prayed that I might see the break of day again.

On the lake bed stands grand towers of high elven build. How glorious were the cities of our ancient forefathers! A thousand years have gone by, yet many of these magnificent spires rise untarnished and proud. Many seem still protected by the magic of the ancients, though some have fallen into ruin. Into one such breached tower we made our way, to find a well warded store-room with many wondrous items. I was able to recover a few pages from an ancient tome, which I have carefully copied below so that the Order's scholars may attempt to decipher these elder runes.

Lest you think of sending more of our Order to explore these ruins, I must warn you that the ancient city is infested with unholy monsters and powerful magics. I am fortunate indeed to be writing you this report, for in the ruined tower we were set upon by a most horrid and powerful abomination. This undead terror knocked aside valiant Rommel in but a single blow, and then engulfed stalwart Argyle in its gaping maw. Alas, for poor Argyle was knocked to death's threshold by this terrible attack, and I fear he may never recover. Jilas put up a brave fight, but we were no match for a beast of such power.

I say to you that our divine masters watch over us daily, and take renewed interest in our cause, for they answered my prayer as I stood before the raging demon. Oh great Corellon and Elohna, blessed be thy hallowed names! As testament to the power of the Sunbrand, our gods did channel through me their righteous wrath and the terror was no match for such divine glory! Thus were we able to escape Chilblain's watery grave and return to the blessed light of the world above.

I have healed Argyles' wounds, but his soul is barren and I fear he will not rejoin us. I go now to pray for him.

May the Shield of Faith guard you in this life and the next,


Sixth Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Seventh Blade
23rd of Fall, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger (large owl)

reetings Melinar, Son of Taelborne

I bear great and wondrous news: We have located the lost city of Lantrindril, ancient center of high elven magical research, and found its legendary Enchantment Stores! With the weapons contained within, we could arm and outfit much of the Order for the coming war.

As I detailed in my last report, my companions and I have ventured to an ancient ruin hidden in the depths of Lake Chilblain. After this last expedition, the wizard Yama rejoined our forces, and related his research of late. He discovered that the lost city of Lantrindril was sunken during the Great War and that it holds the powerful components needed to cure Nikolaus of the amulet's bane. When we told him of our explorations, he confirmed the ruins to be the same high elven city which he seeks.

Armed with knowledge of the city layout, we descended again into the depths and discovered the ancient storehouse of enchantments perfectly preserved. Though we were unable to enter, we saw through the windows a vast store of magical weapons, armor and artifacts.

Entering this tower will not be easy, for the doors open only to one of pure high elven blood. If you know of any such brethren, we would do well to organize an expedition to reclaim the stores for the glory of the Sunbrand. But we must do so with great care, for the lake is fraught with peril from magic and monster alike. And if the Order is to seek the storehouse, we must do so with great stealth, for King Belvader is not far from Blaine and has a keen interest in the ancient magic dredged from the lake. If he were to pillage the storehouse and use the weapons for his evil purposes, it would be a great blight upon the land.

More glad news - with the components found in the ancient city, Yama has full restored valiant Nikolaus to health. The human that so bravely risked his soul to protect our brethren in Glindrin is hale and hearty again, and the same cure may be used on Baron Traftar so that we may learn more of Belvader's evil plotting.

But all I have to tell is not gladness and light. In our journeys, we were beset by four mighty abominations commanding a small army of zombies. By the grace of Corellon and Elohna we prevailed, but such a rising we have never seen. Faithful Jilas tracked the vile creatures back to their uneasy graves, and we discovered a sad fact. These beasts were once high elven warriors and the zombies their loyal elven troops. Alas, for until this dark day I falsely believed our undead enemies to be fallen Drow soldiers, but now I know we fight our own kin. Hell and damnation to the cursed darkspawn! Like our battles against the dark servants, we are again forced to fight those who were once our brothers.

I have drawn you a map of the grave sites, for it presents a puzzling pattern. If you or any other in the Great Council can ascertain the meaning of the graves, I humbly ask for such knowledge when I contact you next. In the graves, we also found the shields of the commanders, with devices foreign to me. Below is a drawing of the emblem for our scribes to research. I wonder now what great house went to their doom on that dreaded field, and if we know anything of their mighty last stand.

Finally, I have done hard service to honor the Sunbrand, and am now of the seventh rank. Given my new standing, our glorious masters have granted me the gift of sending. I shall contact you soon by this sacred means to learn of your orders and wisdom.

By the Order's great works, may the fallen soon rest easy,


Seventh Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Seventh Blade
2nd of Midfall, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger

ail Melinar, Son of Taelborne

Now that I have been graced by our masters with the ability to divinely send my words to you, these reports are of lesser importance. However, my brief sendings make it difficult to fully appraise you of my mission, so I shall continue to write.

As I reported last night, my companions and I were successful in destroying a vast orc breeding pit in the bowels of the mountains. The evil wizard Zyryn had been growing a small army of sub-elven beasts to unleash upon the surrounding countryside, though he will trouble the land no longer.

More importantly, we have rescued Argyle's dwarven brethren from their certain demise at Zyryn's hands. This is glad news indeed, for now I can attempt to forge an alliance between these noble warriors and our ancient Order. Even though the dwarves retreated after their losses in the penultimate battle, I believe that we may once again stand together as allies.

Alas, for my talks with the dwarves are delayed. Before we could confer after our victory over Zyryn, my companions and I were teleported away from the dwarves. We strangely found ourselves standing in the tower of Nymriell, confronted by many undead, which is the tale of my next report. So while I have been currently unable to get a pledge from our dwarven friends, I hope dearly to secure such word once we are reunited.

It is with guarded hope that I also relate to you my dealings with the wild elves of the area. We have met with them, and after a night of revelry, they gave us a key needed in our quest to free the dwarves. Oh what great allies they would be in our battle to banish the darkness from the land! Unlike our ancient forefathers whose powers were destroyed by our struggle, these elves never entered the fray and their undamaged might is immense.

Yet the wild elves seem unaware of their guilt or responsibilities. It quietly angers me that these elves do little to protect the lands in which they dwell, for they have allowed breeding pits to fester throughout the mountains and an evil mage to work his magic nearby. We would never tolerate such evil in our lands, even if it meant great sacrifices to defeat such foes. To make their inaction even worse, the wild elves possess magics the likes of which have not been seen since the Southern Ice fell beneath the waves... and still they do nothing!

But I will bite my tongue, for the light needs all the allies we can muster. And while they may not know it, the wild elves desperately need salvation. Brave wild elves such as our companion Jilas have atoned on the field of battle for his forefathers' guilt, but his brethren have yet to follow. By the grace of Corellon, may I help show them the light. After I have finished destroying the breeding pit into which we now descend, I shall meet with them to discuss securing their aide.

May the shadows of darkness be driven before our holy light,


Eighth Report from the Western Front
To Lieutenant Commander Melinar of the Western Sunbrand Forces
From Gladriel, Son of Valinor, Rank of the Seventh Blade
13th of Midfall, Year 1018 of the Age of Hope
Via Animal Messenger

reetings Melinar, Son of Taelborne

Since I have just spoken with you, it is clear that you know of my recent deeds. And our divine masters know as well, for they have shown me the glory and righteousness of the River of Fires' harsh cleansing. Here is my tale of the quest which led to this miraculous event.

My companions and I were snatched from Zyryn's dungeon, summoned by Yama to the keep of his master Nymriell. After dispatching several undead abominations which our friend had somehow inadvertently summoned, we went to meet the ancient arch mage. He needed some item from the depths below his tower, and was unwilling to retrieve it himself. In these same depths lurked more breeding pits, so I gladly agreed to go destroy them. To ensure that good would be served by this action, I communed with the gods of our Order. Thus they spoke: "In awesome power lies the roots of great good or terrible evil. Choose wisely". Ahead of me lay the potential to do great good, so into the pit we delved.

And what a vile pit it was! Infested with orcs, ogres and sub-elf giants, we fought hard and long to destroy its evil. At the bottom of this pit lay a great pool of lava. Beyond was the Portal of Fire, warded by ancient glyphs and warnings. After we secured the mineral that Nymriell desired, our escape was blocked by a huge lava guardian. We might not have defeated it were it not for the magics Nymriell provided us. As we departed the noxious pit, I conferred again with our gods. The portal seemed likely the power of which they spoke, and I now debated the best course of action. Given their advice, I called a servant of air and sent it to break the seal while we fled the impending destruction.

We exited the pit into Nymriell's dungeon and found the arch mage there. Sensing some potent evil masked from my divining magics, Jilas attacked the ancient necromancer with the very magic dice he had given us. The effects were profound, but Nymriell survived the assault and Rommel's attempt to grapple him. Cursing, the arch mage fled, as did we when the tower started to rock under the fury of the River of Fire.

We left the tower and calling upon divine power, I walked upon the air to safety while the mountains flowed with cleansing fire. Over thirty breeding pits were destroyed by the fire, and before my feet touched the ground, Corellon and Elohna had touched me with a vision of the healing this great wound would allow. The foul disease of evil had been burned from the land, and now it could become whole once again.

But Nymriell lives still, and we have called down the wrath of a dread foe. His magic is mightier than all of ours combined, and we stand little hope of survival unless we can find mighty allies. And it grieves me to say that our companion Yama has been corrupted by Nymriell's evil powers and now aids the necromancer. We journey towards Whitehall where I hope to meet you one week hence. I pray I will be alive to join you there.

Blessed be the fire which cleanses,


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