Monday, February 15, 2010

Seattle Campaign 1.3: The Valley of Thanuran


--the adventurers prepare for their trek into the Javelin Mountains, to seek out the strange, forgotten valley in an area of the mountains called Jeweltooth's Arm
--Arata, the newly raised wise one of the Morning Fire Fire darklings, prepares protections for the party in the form of "worry dolls"
--the darklings set up a "base camp" of about a dozen; the base camp is headed by an aristocratic darkling named Erbin; the remainder of the Morning Fire Fires leave to return to their home lands
--in the night, a small party of young darkling scouts defied Arata's orders and disappeared into the mountains, most likely to seek out the valley for themselves; Arata asks the party to send them home if they come across them
--the adventurers head into the mountains; on the first day, they stop at a small clearing surrounded by large boulders to have lunch; the party finds one of the stones oddly turned aside; Riseif discovers something has been left beneath the stone
--the party finds a simple scroll case; inside the case, they find another piece of blank parchment and a piece of amber, a failing sunstone
--using his own blood, Riseif reveals hidden writing (Burnbeard's writing), but the paper has been damaged and only fragments of the writing are legible:
{Below are hurried fragments in Burnbeard’s hand. It seems that haste and a failure in the magic protecting the pages have left a portion of the text readable.}

For myself and for my readers, I set these words to paper in desperation. I fear that the remembrances of just nigh hours past area already slipping, and try as I must, I cannot preserve them in my mind. I hope that the words here will make them indelible and my magics will keep them safe…

…the Valley is geised in some way, the magic is almost deafening…

…withering life and limb… already half our number have died it seems to old… Togro is weary and Obreth is frightened… our very presence seems an affront to the powers that hold the Valley safe, but I do not know whether it is magic to keep outsiders out or to keep some ancient thing in…

Something at the far end of the Valley, I would guess less than three or four kims away… there are channels that might once have been streams fed by melting snows from the mountain surround… signs of life… villages perhaps but they are not of darkling make…

…curiosity has only made matters worse…

Togro demands that we leave and forbid entrance into the Valley… I cannot remember… the bones of animals, humanoids, humans… I have protected us as best as we can through a combination of magics… I fear that only divine intervention can help…

I have pressed on as far as I can go before my party abandons me…

{The fragments grow more erratic and the writing is large and almost manically scratched into the paper.}

Obreth nearly fell… the blood is strange here… too many bones…

There is something dark in the cave…

I must set as much of this down as possible… the Valley takes more than just the breath but the very thoughts as they are born in the mind… this cannot be left to the institutions that be… something tells me that this must be handled with care and secrecy… perhaps it is the Valley… I do not know…

…not without… light… there is darkness that… must… pierces by the right hand…

…bring wood for fires…

Evil beyond imagining…

…too many bones… frightened the darklings… I must help them…

…undeath is different than undead…

I will make certain that this task is left only to…

…Time has…


--as the adventurers continue, Riseif (and eventually others) begin to hear a strange whisper from the stone; the stone itself seems to be "alive" though its magical light is fading; the whisper says "Use me" and "Call him"; saying Burnbeard's name while holding the stone seems to make it brighten for a moment
--the party speculates that the stone might be needed in the valley; Tirdim identifies the stone (with an extended ritual) and reveals that the stone holds some sort of power, power that can be released, but he does not know how to release it or what the power is for
--while trekking through the mountains, the party depends on their memories (gleaned from Obreth and Togro) to keep them on track; Lanthorn and Riseif's tracking abilities fail them and cause the party to be lost for a couple of hours
--the party makes camp before making it to the valley
--while camped, the party hears two darkling screams echo through the mountains; Riseif climbs a tree and sees something fly over the treetops in the distance behind them as well as the light of a small camp perhaps
--the party waits till morning to investigate; they backtrack to find the remains of a darkling camp, evidence of a struggle, and evidence of necromantic magic; no sign of the darklings remains
--the party sends word via magical message to Erbin at the base camp
--the party continues on and eventually finds the entrance to the valley; the valley is eerily quiet and devoid of life; it is long and sheltered on all sides by mountains; the party decides to wait till morning before entering
--while camped at night, the group discovers that the valley is completely different at night; the valley takes on a ghostly light, there is ghostly water that flows down the once dry streambeds to a large lake in the valley floor; there are ghostly villages populated by glowing humans in ancient, simple, peasant dress; at the far end of the valley, where a cave is, they see ghostly villagers seemingly on guard
--on the next day, the party enters the valley under the protection of the working sunstone
--they witness a bird fly into the valley and suddenly disintegrate into dust and bones; the valley is littered with bones of all different types
--they enter the first, nearest village; they discover the remains of a previous adventuring party it seems in one of the buildings; they find two badly tarnishing holy symbols (one to Senne and one to Turus); and they find a rod of milky crystal (dedicated to Rune, casts light)
--the continue through the valley; in the second village, they find a magical ring (Ring of Spoken Translation)
--eventually, they make their way to the cave
--inside, they find a pedestal of stone; atop the pedestal sits a sphere of black obsidian or glass (about two and a half hands in diameter); as they approach, they see some sort of black, wispy, wraith-like presence covering the sphere; using the light of the sunstone, they push the wraith off of the stone and it retreats into the shadows of the cave
--there is the sense that some great presence or power comes from the stone
--suddenly, the wraith invokes magics to animate the bones of the dead; a dozen skeletons are summoned at the mouth of the cave
--as if in response, a handful of skeletons are animated within the cave (it seems by the sphere itself) to do battle against the first group of undead
--the party prepares for a fight


--the party battles the wraith and the undead
--the wraith, named Ulashe, invokes necromatic magics against the party (ghostly hands that enervate and cause wounds) while skeletons also harry them
--the battle with the skeletons goes well; however the wraith proves to be difficult to pin down and very dangerous; Tirdim is enervated to the point of collapse
--Wren uses the fading sunstone, breaking it to release its power; she is suddenly filled with divine magnanimity and a rush of faith; she calls upon Rune to banish the undead and to set the Valley right again (Wren has a crises of faith afterward since she did not call Possos)
--Rune answers with a sunray that destroys the skeletons and reveals the wraith; the sunlight weakens the wraith; in its last moments, the wraith lashes out and nearly incapacitates the entire party
--the strange undeathly hold on the valley is broken and the party survives
--the stone sphere is identified: it holds a fragment of the God Anurl's power, power that might be used to imbue and ordain someone as the Visage of Anurl, named Thanuran
--the party rests in the light of the sunstone for the evening
--at night, the valley's ghostly denizens reappear and seem to take notice of the party
--using the Stone of Thanuran, they can communicate with the ghosts, which seem to be on a different plane of existence or are some sort of haunting; they say they are guardians of the stone; their existence is tied to the stone itself
--in the morning, the adventurers leave the valley; there is a sudden peal of thunder and release of power from the sphere; the boulders that flank the entrance of the valley collapse and seal the valley away; the area around the stone seems to wither and die; it is as if the stone were announcing its presence in the Realm, no longer protected or hidden by the Valley
--the party has some conversation about what to do with the sphere, whether to let the Temples know, whether to contact the Priest of Anurl in Gilal (that they befriended), whether or not the power of the sphere should be used
--Riseif half-jokingly says he would be willing to take on the power of Thanuran

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