As the group returns to their house, the remains of the planned feast still on the tables, and plenty of food ale remaining to eat and drink, they all take a short rest and dine. It is obvious that Melborne is still very exhausted, and he is offered to stay in the basement, as he is completely unfamiliar with the features of a regular house.
Marek then knocks at the door a short time before nightfall. He is with the halfling commanders of the soldiery to provide an update, reporting in common.
“The soldiers have done bloc searches, and found two grells, and one ooze that had managed to escape outside of the walls. They have been destroyed, and with your help we have killed a total of 4 grells, two gibbering mouthers, four oozes and two nothic. We have lost 6 soldiers, 4 of which we were not able to recover the corpses of, among them Filibert, your sword master. It seems that the aberrations are unable to leave the abbey, but the soldiers could not get very far in the abbey without magic, as they have been assaulted with psychic screams from the entrance. We do not know how many more are infesting the walls. Reports indicates that there were no visitors at the abbey today, so we still do not know where this Melborne came from.
In the meantime, we have posted multiple guards on the walls looking in and have shot two more grells that seem to have found a way out from the tower access and were trying to float past the wall. The Abbey grounds have been closed to the public until this infestation is fully cleared out, and curfew has been enacted for the night.
In the abbey the soldiers have not been able to go far enough to recover the body of Felevel, and nearly lost another life in the attempt and had to retreat. The town needs you to investigate the abbey’s walls further and kill all the remaining monsters in it.
I have a few questions for you and this man.
Are there any other monsters outside we need to worry about?
This man said he closed a portal to the far realms. where is this portal and how was this portal opened in the first place?
I also observed that this man, Melborne, had obvious wounds from frostbite on top of multiple puncture wounds, probably made from some shards of glass or jagged broken rocs, on his body. I can’t believe that the recent cold snap we went through these past days and his frostbite wounds are coincidental. he has not eaten or drank for the past few days at least. But from the nature of his wounds, he should not have survived the cold damage he suffered or the loss of blood.
so my last question is where did he endure that damage and how did he survive it?"
“I don’t think we have any other monsters here, Marek. He speaks with Baelfyre, because his elvish is really poor. So better ask him. Also, I think we should let him rest and talk once again later about his adventures. Anyone else injured?”
Marek seats down, pour some ale in a glass, and sigh.
“We have taken care of the injured as best as we could. We are still making roll call to see that every family is accounted for.
I have a scroll of greater restoration I can spare, to help him recover from his exhaustion. I brought it with me. Is he worth it?”
“Depends on what you mean by “worth”. He didn’t do anything bad to us and didn’t try to attack. Help him, and I think maybe he will be more talkative when he will see that we are not enemies.."
“That is true.. he was in no shape to attack us, though. OK, I will cast it”
His magic relieves Melborne of some of his exhaustion, bringing a smile on Amitreene’s face.
Baelfyre starts talking with Melborne in Undercommon to try to get the information requested by Marek, while Marek helps himself on a delicious still lukewarm halfling cooked piece of lamb. Joren is placing an Alarm on the door of the barn where the horses are stabled, using the new magic he has copied on his ritual book. The spell is quickly triggered by a rat, and Joren adjust his magic again to avoid catching innocuous critters in its effect, learning as he goes.
After a few minutes of conversation between Baelfyre and Melborne in Undercommon, Baelfyre reports his story.
“Melborne’s memories are coming back now that he is regaining health and losing exhaustion. So.. He’s from the under underdark.. like the deep low places.. the LOWER dark.. which is why nothing up here seems to make sense to him. He was on a solo spirit quest for 100 years (After having killed his VERY Drow mother who was trying to kill him). He was crossing a subterranean sea on a home-made raft when it capsized and he drowned.. But he woke from the drowning trapped inside a pyramid shaped room.. He was inside of a ritual circle inside that room.. He had been knocked out for days… when he awoke in the room, he was in the bad shape you see. Each of the walls of the pyramid was a different pulsating color, ans if they were fighting for control.. The colors were purple, red, and silver, and there was an altar for each. the colors were for slime, blood, and ooze. there were statues of triangle headed serpent people… There was a portal on the purple wall..
He felt that his god brought him there to be judged initially… but.. now believes that his god wanted that portal closed… that it was opened from this side.. when he went through the portal.. He was in front of a giant statue of a dwarf, the slimes and aberrations were already on this side. After falling through the portal, he thinks it closed (we’ll have to go check), but he did notice that all the bad creatures were afraid of him (he thinks his amulet) and stayed like 10’ away.. but then a specter appeared, and he freaked out, ran, went through the door, and was blinded by the brightness of our day (‘cause he’s never seen the sun before)."
Baelfyre then pointedly asks Joren
“So Joren Binder , if you are from somewhere where you can worship Lolth, or any other deity.. and you choose another deity, do you want to be treated poorly for NOT choosing evil? ok.. so.. open your mind please.”
" oh, I get it what your trying to say. He is from a place so ignorant that good gods don’t even exist…. Yeah, I guess picking lesser of two evils is smart in that case."
Baelfyre then turns to Marek again
“Marek, does that answer your questions?
Marek has listened attentively and responds.
“You said he drowned? So he died? was he resurrected or raised from the dead? Did he see any priests? Chiwyll, can you make sure this man is not undead?”
Chiwyll casts a divine sense and responds he is neither fiend or undead.
Marek then pursues
“If he thought his god brought him to be judged… but then you say he went through a portal…
Baelfyre, his story makes no sense.. are you sure you speak Undercommon well enough to properly translate what he is saying?”
Baelfyre is piqued
“My undercommon is fine, thank you.
Do you claim to know the actions of the Gods, Marek?
Perhaps he didn’t die… perhaps he thought he was going to, but was saved as he blacked out. I’m just relaying the story as he told it. He thought he was drowning. He woke starving and exhausted in a pyramid shaped room, the only exit being a portal, and then he was here, and freaked out.
Melborne has been alone for 100 years.
A L O N E.
What is the longest you have been alone? He doesn’t have the formal education and training that you and Joren have. His descriptions of what he experienced are from his frame of reference. If something happens that he doesn’t understand, he’ll likely believe that it was his God’s work. Perhaps his amulet that keeps the oozes and aberrations away from him does/did more than just that. What if there is more power in it than that? I mean look at Joren… He was pretty much possessed by the spirit of Khelb.. Is that any more likely/unlikely than what Melborne has described."
Marek sighs, finishing a piece of hazelnut cake.
“Ok, this is what we are going to do
Chiwyll, please bring me the tongue scroll I gave you this morning. This will allow him to speak to all of us and for all of us to understand perfectly what he is saying.
I am also going to cast another Zone of Truth, and this time I will tell him that if he has nothing to hide, he must relinquish to its magic and not resist it. We need to find out if there are other like him, and we need to find out before tomorrow morning if we need to evacuate the town or not."
Marek than ask Chiwyll to let Melborne know he is going to cast a spell on him, and that will be a beneficial spell. Melborne nods to the request, and Marek cast his spell of Tongues, touching Melborne.
“Melborne.” Marek says “the abomination that followed you here have killed the chief of the town, and they many are still in the abbey. I need to ask you questions. I also need to be able to trust your answers, so I will use a power of my god that will compel you to speak the truth here. You will not be able to lie to us. I ask you that you accept this magic, and to not fight it, like you did this morning. Do you accept?”
Melborne is taken back, as he no longer hears random sounds coming from everyone’s mouth
Marek chimes in again, noting his surprise.
“Yes, we understand you are surprised by all this, but the gods have many powers through their conduit, and I am sure you are aware that their magic can be quite powerful.”
After a long pause, Melborne looks around the room and nod his head to Marek’s request.
Then Marek asks everyone to back up away from Melborne, and while Baelfyre sits down and lean back, and Joren summons Nevermore in the room, Marek casts the Zone of Truth on Melborne.
Marek has a sigh of relief. He turns to the group and says that Melborne has accepted the magic, and will be speaking truthfully.
Marek then start asking his questions
“Melborne, so you have lived in the Deep Underdark for many many years, then undertook a trip on a raft, and get drowned. Did you die?”
Melborne pauses for a moment
“My life flashed before my eyes, and then I was no longer drowning”
“Did anything happen in between?”
“Yes. I prayed to Ghaunadaur.”
“How long have you prayed to Ghaunadaur?”
“Like everyone else, since my first word, his name.”
“Melborne, when you were no longer drowning, where did you end up?”
“A dark triangular stone room of three walls, within a circle of stone on the ground filled with thousands of shards of sharp rocks cutting into me.”
“What did you see on those three walls?”
“Each wall had a symbol, colored silver, red and purple.”
“What were those symbols?”
“One was an ancient representation of the purple eye of Ghaunadaur, the other two I do not know. But the silver was made of intricate patterns of curved lines extending outward. The red was made up of very different patterns, mostly made of angled lines grouped inward.”
“So there was no open portal then?”
Joren suddenly steps in, a clear sparkle of interest showing in his eyes
“what do you know of these symbols? What to they mean or represent?”
Marek curtly retorts to Joren
“I am asking the questions here! when I am done, you will be free to ask.
Melborne, are you saying there was no portal then?”
“When did the portal appear?”
“As I stood up, watching the walls flashing colors, as if they were fighting. When I got to my feet, I saw into the Abyss beyond the Eye of Ghaunadaur.”
“You say the colors were fighting.. how were they fighting?”
“It was only flares of Silver, Red and Purple, flashing throughout the room. I do not know.”
Joren takes a step closer, eyes wide, listening even more closely
Marek keeps going
“hmm, when you say flaring, do you mean flaring like your orb is? pulsing?”
“So which color won the fight?”
Melborne looks down to his amulet, then to Marek then over to Joren
Then he asks a question straight to Joren, who have stepped closed to him
“Why do you believe I am a threat?”
Joren responds, surprised
“Melborne, you worship an God, that is or has been touched by the far realm. That place is alien even to most of the gods. He requires sacrifice of life to him. He is the God of oozes, slimes and outcasts which I am willing to believe is why you turned to him.”
“Joren, steps out of the Zone of truth, it can work both ways..”
Everyone then realizes that when Joren stepped closer he indeed stepped closer to Marek, entering the Zone of truth. Joren continues, compelled by the magic.
“I also worry about what you saw in the room with the lights and symbols. Your gods light purple, defeated two other lights/symbols that I have seen before but haven’t really mentioned to the others at this point…. "
He then steps back, out of the zone.
Melborne looks confused
“I worship the god, yes, like everyone. I give him life for my own. Those willing bring me praise, and the creatures I’ve slain. When I have nothing, I give him my food and water. If not even that, my own flesh.”
He holds out his hands.
“I am not the evil one here. Your hands don’t bear any marks but stains.”
Marek rises up, a bit impatiently.
“Melborne, we are asking the questions here. We are not the one who stepped on your territory, you stepped into ours, and we need answers”
Melborne calmy nods his head, turning his focus away from Joren
“You say purple, your god’s color, won the fight. Did you help purple win the fight?”
Melborne nods, while Joren presses his lips together firmly and awkwardly as he sit downs a table quietly.
“How did you help it?” Marek asks
Melborne pauses, nodding
“I believe I did. By returning the orb.”
“What do you mean, returning the orb? is this the orb you are carrying?”
“Each symbol suspended an amulet much like mine above an altar. Ghaunadaur did not have his, it was around my neck.”
Marek stays silent for a few seconds, absorbing the information Melborne just mentioned.
“And this is the orb that still is around your neck?”
“So what happened after purple color won the fight?”
“The wall with the eye disappeared. I looked into the abyss, something I cannot describe to you or anyone. A realm far beyond madness. And with my last ounce of strength, I leaped from the circle. It closed.”
“Was their blood on the circle?”
“How long did the portal remain open and were you conscious all the time?”
Melborne, attempting to remember, looks confused
“I do not know.”
“Did you yourself step through the portal at any time?”
Melborne shakes his head.
“Did you see creatures step through the portal?”
“How many did you see?”
“Many, I do not know how many exactly.”
“What were you doing as they were entering by the portal?”
“I was frozen, not by fear but by cold itself. With everything I had left, I leaped out of the circle. Then I lost notion of time, drifting off to sleep, and watched the portal close and the purple wall reappear.”
“Did the colors reappear after the portal closed? or the symbols?”
“I was unconscious. Upon waking up, the symbols were still there but no magical colors. I didn’t spend much time inspecting the area, I was more focused on leaving.”
“I believe I laid there a few days, recovering. Without food, or water, I had only a potion to refresh me.”
“So you are sure that the portal to the Far Realms had closed? you did not see it open again after that?”
Melborne shakes his head.
“No. It was not open again, when I awoke.”
“Thank you Melborne. This was the most important question I had, to know if the portal was still open or not. I do have a last question for today though. How did you get this orb at your neck?”
“I was sent into solitude for one hundred years to find something I did not know I was looking for. And then, over the last day I’ve been nearly killed three times, forced to be here, and blamed for things I do not believe I had done.”
“Hmm… I would not say we are blaming you. It seems from you told us that you triggered events you had little control over. But wouldn’t you say that your god sent you here? is he forcing you?”
Melborne shakes his head.
“No. He has spoken to me once, and that was to survive the underdark in solitude and wait. When the time came, I was to come to the surface world of my own accord. I, like everyone else, blindly follow the will of the god.”
“You do not have to be blind to follow your faith, Melborne. Follow it with your eyes open. Only the tyrannical gods demand blind obedience, many others appreciate your faith freely offered. Still, you have not answered my question. How did you find this orb?”
Melborne looks puzzled, pausing a moment, hardly believing Marek just spoke about multiple gods.
“What is it, Melborne?”
Melborne studders a few words
“I.. I found it laying next to bones of a humanoid creature.. Not.. Not like any drow, human or elf, but perhaps lizard. You mean, Ghaunadaur.. you don’t sacrifice to him?”
“We do not. For Lathander, my God, new beginings and renewal are what we offer and value, we pray the coming of the dawn every morning, and sometime Lathander graces us with a wonderful spectacle of the sun rising. Our friend Joren here, believes in the acquisition and proper recording of facts and events, to better our Knowledge, and there are many more gods that do not require blood sacrifice.”
Marek returns to the subject of the orb
“So you found this object laying near bones, was it a tomb?”
Melborne shakes his head, quickly answering
“No, a washed up body of bones, and equipment.”
His mind is clearly racing back to the notions Marek just mentioned to him
“Its light guided my eyes to it, and with it I healed my wounds from sacrificing my skin. A god brings a sun? What is a sun? Do they speak, their will give presence?”
Marek realizes that it is probably time to let the dark skinned man rest
“Thanks you for your willingness to answer us to clear out our worries.
I will have more questions for you tomorrow, and I am sure you will have too, and so many things to discover… I invite you to join us with Chiwyll tomorrow morning for you to see the sun rising before it hurts your eyes. It seems it will be your first dawn, and I would be proud to have you share this experience with us.”
Marek gets ready to leave
“Well, I let you all have your rest for the night, and we will talk again tomorrow. We need to learn more about this dwarven statue.”
He salutes everyone, and steps out, whispering a quick word at Amitreene’s ear before leaving the room. They then both leave the house together, while the halfling commander helps himself to some food and politely asks if he can send some soldiers to take away the left overs.. “the patrols will welcome some snacks tonight!”.
Melborne begins looking around the table
“At least one thing is edible” he says as he shoves his hand into the plate of mushrooms and stuffs his mouth, forgetting people can still understand him under the effect of the Tongue spell.
As everyone is splitting up for the night, Joren asks Melborne the permission to do a basic identification on his orb, to which Melborne acquiesces. Joren confirms that the magical item is not sentient, clearing his own worries that Melborne could be under such influence.
He then asks
“If you remember anything more about the symbols you saw with the red and silver light, please let me know, it is very important”
The next morning, Melborne keep recovers a bit more of his exhaustion, but still has two nights of rest to completely clear it off.
As everyone meet in the common room before breakfast, a theological discussion starts between Baelfyre and Joren, Baelfyre evoking the power of his Dark Maiden, and Joren enumerating all the gods that claim the sun as their own. Melborne chuckles at the thought of many gods fighting over a “sun” yet none of them strong enough to win.
He see’s a fireplace before leaving, walks over to it and closes his eyes. Reaching into a small pouch on his belt he pulls out a small, live, rat he caught in the basement, and begins talking but his lips seem to move although no words come out.
The breath of his voice moves the flame slowly, and as he continues the flame is pushed around faster and harder, as if he’s yelling into it. But no one hears a thing. He then leans into the rat as his necklace dangles down from his chest and below the creature. He reaches for his dagger holding the rat over the flame as it squirms and cries, revealing a small ornate looking dagger with no markings but minor scratches, pure black in color. he then proceeds to slit the throat of the rat, making its blood runs down into the flame, and some dripping on his amulet.
Melborne opens his eyes, putting the rat into his pocket again, and turns back to the party. In that moment his amulet glows a little brighter than it did the night before and the blood is missing from it, and he gives a sigh of relief.
Turning to Chiwyll, he asks
“To your sun, then?”
He goes with Chiwyll to the dawn prayers at the Towers, but can’t see the sun, are the cloud cover is low and light sleet is falling. Still he sees the light of the day replacing the darkness of the night, something that is entirely new to him.
After the morning prayers, a small group of halfling captains and the commander met the previous night gather in a council room at the bottom of the Towers. Chiwyll and Melborne are invited, as well as Amitreene.
The report of the night is somber.
The news of Felevel’s death has been kept from the general populace for the moment, albeit it is unlikely to remain a secret for very long, as each mobilized soldier is also a citizen with family.
Marek asks Chiwyll and Amitreene if there is any possibility that Felevel could still be alive in the Abbey, but both of them state what they saw, relating the grell ripping through Felevel’s guts and flesh before re-entering the abbey with a lifeless Felevel in its tentacles.
Patrols have been out in the neighborhoods all night, as well as, on the outer walls of the Abbey, four squads positioned on the walls with mounted ballistaes and light crossbows, pointed toward the abbey. A makeshift barricade has been set to replace the portcullis and close off the gardens from the town. The portcullis seems to have been melted by acid. A few more grells have attempted to fly out during the night, but they have been spotted and shot down. The reports from the sergeant is that these are creatures probably do not see beyond 60’ and are mostly lone hunter looking for preys, not coordinating their attacks, and thus have been easy to kill or send them retreating. The commander believe the Grells have some kind of intelligence, as they have responded to threats or taken steps to protect themselves whenever possible.
A roll call has been done during the night, and an entire family in the South West uphill neighborhood has not responded. Two soldiers have been sent to check on their home, in the early morning hours and have not returned either, and the command has decided to cordon off the cottage, and evacuate the neighboring cottages. A perimeter has been set, and the soldiers request the assistance of the Dragon Slayers to investigate the cottage further.
Marek turns to Chiwyll and Amitreene at the news.
“I thought you said none of them had escaped yesterday, after the soldiers killed the two grells… It does not seem to be the case, and we may have a few more death because of it.”
Once the briefing over, they all head back to the house, to regroup with Joren and Baelfyre.
There, Marek suggests in common to finish the questioning of Melborne. He seems a bit less guarded around him, after seeing him in the morning and having heard nothing bad about him after last night. He asks Amitreene if she can ask Melborne in elven the authorization to submit him to the same two spells as the evening before, tongues, then Zone of truth.
Amitreene agrees, and Melborne nods.
Marek cast a spell again, and touches Melborne, gifting him with the Tongues spell, where he can be understood by all, and understand everyone.
He then asks Melborne to sit at one end of the largest table, where he invite the rest of the group to seat at the other end, out of the area of effect, then casts Zone of Truth.
“Melborne, I am glad that you chose to share your first dawn with us. We did not see the sun today because of the clouds, but eventually the cloud cover will move on and you will see it yourself.”
Marek then stops in his track, looking surprised. He turns to the others, and says.
“He resisted the Zone of Truth effect, and did not accept its magic.”
Melborne nods, looking around the room
“I will answer your questions, but of my own free will. Ask as you may.”
“That happens Marek, you can’t force anyone”
but Marek steps up, visibly unhappy, shaking his head at Amitreene
“I can’t have any doubts for the questions I need to ask. Bring him to the Towers if you can convince him to speak to me under the Zone of Truth. I am heading to the cottage to assess the situation there, and I needed intel I can trust. I am not ready to trust him yet without the guidance of Lathander.”
Melborne calmy says
“You earn the trust you give, Marek. Yesterday I trusted you, and did everything asked of me. Now today, you trust me.”
Marek snaps back
“Unfortunately, I have the responsibility of the town on my shoulders, and you don’t.
For the sake of the souls there, I can’t trust you blindly, we lost 8 of them already, possibly 13. If you had nothing to hide, you’d have nothing to fear from the truth.
You will respond for any further death. "
Marek then walks out of the room.
Amitreene then pleads
“Melborne, accept it please one more time. People here are stressed about what is happening. We don’t mean to do anything bad for you.”
Melborne stands up, and exits the building behind Marek, quickly followed by Amitreene and Baelfyre. melborne catches up at the iron wrought gates of the house, in the street, where a squad of halfling soldiers are now stationed, Marek talking to their sergeant.
Melborne asks Marek
“Come, I’d like to show you something.”
Marek turns to Melborne
“Why didn’t you tell me you did not want the Zone of Truth?”
“I don’t need it. I’d like to show you something in the Abby. I think it may help.”
“The Abbey is closed off. We know there are many aberrations left in it. Is this a trick?”
“You people have done nothing but help me since I got here, and I would like to return the favor but of my own free will.”
“As I said, I can’t put the protection of the souls of this town on your word alone, without the guidance of Lathander. I’d be happy for you to help us, but I need to ask you more questions I know you won’t respond with a lie. Then you will get my trust.”
Amitreene then chimes in
“Marek, would you want to help if you will be under the spell all the time?.”
Marek does not flinch
“I am just asking for 10mn of questions. We still do not know for sure what happened between the time he woke up and he left the abbey, and I need to be sure.”
Melborne then suggests
“Maybe he knew you’d do this, and did not bring your sun because of it. You said he graces you with it, but today he has not. Perhaps it is not Lathander who is here to protect you today.”
Marek scoffs at Melborne’s remark.
“It certainly is not Ghaunadaur that protected the souls we lost so far.”
He turns to the sergeant.
“I need to check the cottage you cordoned. Tell two of your men to show me the way. You and the rest of your squad, stay here, and keep an eye on this man here if he decides to leave this house. "
before leaving Marek turns to Amitreene and Baelfyre
“Melborne is under your responsibility for now. I do need to check what is happening. The soldiers will stay here, call them if you need me, they will send one to get me.. I should be back in a few.”
As two soldiers start heading toward the cobblestone avenue, he follows them and walk away.
A few minutes later, as Amitreene and Melborne discuss something whispering, Baelfyre points out to Melborne
“They’re not going to let you near the abbey. If there is something there that you want to show us, you must explain it to Marek, so that he’ll allow us to enter.”
“I’ll await your truth spell then” he says , then returns in the house and sits at the far end of the long table.
Baelfyre sends one of the remaining halflings soldier to get Marek back here, letting him know that Melborne agreed to undergo the questioning under zone of truth.
20 mm later, Marek returns.
“Under the effect of a sanctuary, I used a detection spell near the cordoned off cottage and I have felt an aberration hiding in it. I am not sure what it is, as we could not see anything through the windows, but there is still no words of the family or the two soldiers that checked on them during the night.”
He then turns to Melborne.
“Are you ready to accept the magic of Lathander?”
“I am ready to answer your questions, yes, if you require magic then so be it.”
Marek casts the zone of truth again, at the end of the table as everyone else seat at the other end.
Marek then has a sigh of relief, and says "he accepted the magic "
“Thank you Melborne. Do you know what is the abomination that has escaped beyond the Abbey’s wall and is lurking in the cottage?”
“No” responds Melborne
“Are you in any way communicating with any of the abominations and aberrations threatening us?”
“No,” he says.
“Are you, to the best of your abilities, going to help us kill these creatures from the Far Realms, or send them back where they came from?”
“If I am not trusted, I cannot, no.”
Marek pauses for an instant, then say
“After these questions. If we all give you our trust, will you accept it?”
“Of course, I wish to aid you and this town, you all have done nothing but help. I am here for reasons I do not know and fear.. almost everything I am seeing but I trust this is normal.”
Marek acknowledges Melborne willingness to cooperate, then says
“I want to go back to this place where you woke up after falling unconscious out of the circle.”
“Do you believe you were sent by your God to die there, instead of drowning, or to be saved?”
“I believe I was to die that day, perhaps not by water but blood. Maybe.”
“So did you deny your god your own sacrifice if you were fated to die?”
Melborne hesitates a moment then say
“If he did place me there, then yes I did.”
“When you woke up after escaping the circle, where you alone in that pyramidal room?”
“What creatures were with you in that room?”
“Aberrant monstrosities, as you call them. Beings I’ve seen in my childhood, some I have not.”
“Was there any priest, living or undead, any humanoid other than you?”
Melborne shakes his head
“How did you leave that room?”
“Baelfyre mentioned you saw statues of reptilians creatures and you said you found the orb with the bones of a lizard man. Had you seen these creatures alive before?”
“Incorrect, I saw carvings of snake-like reptilian creatures, and the orb was found on a skeleton I had never seen but it reminded me much of a reptile.”
“Ah! Thanks for clarifying. Had you seen such bones or such creature depicted in the carvings before?”
“Again, I had never seen anything like it in person.”
“You never saw any yuan tis in the underdark?”
“I have, yes. Many times in my childhood.”
“But you are saying these carvings were not carvings representing yuan tis?”
Melborne nods his head
“Yes, these were not like the yuan tis I have seen.”
Marek pauses for a few seconds pensive, and look over the table at Joren. Joren is listening carefully to every detail.
“So you left that pyramid using the shaft. Where did you arrive?”
“I fell down a set of smooth, marble shafts, about a two hundred foot fall in total.”
“Where did the shaft lead?”
“I landed upon a giant, moving, statue of a dwarf. It was not a dwarf like I had seen in the Underdark, many features of it were different. The dwarf was moving around, trampling monstrosities that were trying to escape. The room was about a hundred feet in every direction.”
“A giant dwarf statue? how giant? how tall was it?”
“About fifty feet tall, if I had to guess. Its arms reached to the ceiling and the ground below its feet.”
“And when you say monstrosities, where those the creatures from the Far Realms? or were there others?”
“The same things I saw previously, yes.”
“What did you do, once in that room?”
“I evaded the stone giant, I realized there were three more. One was destroyed. And two stood still on a platform. I ran, seeing a smaller tunnel the giant couldn’t fit into.”
Marek keeps questioning
“You told Baelfyre you saw a specter after that, the one that sent you running frightened.. where was the specter?”
“In the same room with the Statue.”
“You said there were no other creatures than monstrosities in that room. How could the specter be there too?”
“It appeared after the giant stopped moving”
“Did the giant statue stopped moving because it was destroyed?”
“Upon reentering the natural cavern, I noticed the same giant standing on a third pedestal. It was not destroyed, no.”
“The natural cavern? you mean the room where the shaft ended?”
“Why did you re-enter it if you ran away in the smaller corridor and were safe from the giant statue?”
“I did not know what was behind the door at the end of the tunnel.”
“So what do you remember from after you got frightened by the specter?”
“I ran. I ran back through the tunnel, opening the door and being inside of the Abbey.”
“Do you remember what the specter looked like?”
Melborne coughs, “Much like the statue, only very small.”
Marek stands up suddenly, his face suddenly aghast, when you say that…
“This is it!
The Eidolon of the legends about Deadsnows!
A dwarven spectral guardian!…”
He looks at everyone, pensive again
“they knew it was there but never found it, and now we know where it is…”
He turns again toward Melborne with one more question…
“Did the statue kill all the aberrations you had seen?”
Melborne coughs, his voice hoarse
“N-not all of them.”
“So, once in the abbey, did you recover your mind, or where you still frightened when you ran out of the abbey and collapsed in the daylight?”
Melborne’s voice becomes quieter, as he loses it he mumbles
“My only thought was to flee, as far as I could, without stopping.”
Marek says gently, sitting back down..
“The divine fright power of an Eidolon would do that to any of us.”
He then cancel his zone of truth, and lean back on his chair.
" Melborne, thank you for your answers.
Your tale taught us much, and I do not believe you are responsible of the infestation. You have my trust."
He pauses a moment and say
“I need you to hear what I believe happened. You may not like it, but know that this is an hypothesis that I will need to confirm with more research”
“First, this place you have found, this pyramid, is, I believe a long forgotten relic of the First Age, an age where the reptilians Sarrukh were roaming the land. This was 30 thousands years ago, at least…
I believe the orb you found is also very ancient., primitive magic. I do not know what the two other symbols represent, but I know about Ghaunadaur and the willing sacrifice of blood it requires.
We will need to identify the property of your orb, but here is my theory: at the time, magic was not yet structured through the weave woven by Mystra the way it has been for the past thousand years, it was still raw, and unclaimed by any gods… It is known to scholars that blood magic was a powerful force at the time, and it seems that your orb may be drawing its power from this ancient force.”
Melborne coughs, mustering the strength to use all of his breath and with a weak voice he says
“Joren identified it.”
Marek is surprised
“He did? Joren, I am curious to learn what you have found..”
He then continues
“The blood of a powerful creature could be used as a sacrifice to open a portal, and the orb would simply the conduit bringing its dying wearer to a place where its blood would be useful. The circle you describe, with the shards, seems to have been made to bleed out the dying, and open the portal.
How you managed to not die in that circle, Melborne, is a mystery, and it gives credence to your vision. You may have brought to the Surface, to us, some insight into very ancient practices…"
Melborne nods, with a crackle in his voice he’s barely heard but manages to say
“I know what it does.”
“what does it do, Melborne?”
Melborne makes a drow sign instead of speaking, his left hand a ball and his right hand ontop. As his left opens the right is pushed upwards and expands to expose his palm face down.
Marek seems confused, and turns toward the groups..
“anyone know what he is saying?”
Baelfyre steps in
“Yeah.. he’s saying “life”. I guess the amulet is life.
You’ve worn the poor guy out Marek. He’s not used to talking at all. Maybe you should offer to heal his throat. He might appreciate the gesture.. and we’ll go take care of the aberration at the house. Then sort out the abbey for you.”
“It needed to be done. I have brought another scroll to help him recover his health. It should take care of the issue.”
He then cast Greater Restoration on Melborne from another scroll, removing another one of his Exhaustion level. Melborne coughs, nodding his head,
“I do not understand what your paper has done, but I thank you Marek.”
“Speaking of that… is there any chance that you guys have any special weapons in a cache somewhere? Like obsidian or glass weapons?”
“Did Felevel ever talked to you about the Brotherhood of the Moon?”
“Felevel was quiet about his Druid side. I don’t recall him saying anything.”
From your question, I thought Felevel had mentioned to you the tales about the hidden treasures of the Brotherhood of the Moon…"
“These are tales very popular among halflings children here, and from what I have heard, Felevel himself when he was still a kid, spent a lot of time looking for the their treasure. From what the Icespears told me, it may have been what developed his taste for solitude and the outdoors. Unlike his father, Felevel was not very involved with the community, albeit he did like his comfort, like any halfling does.
There was a company of adventurers, more than a century ago, that called Deadsnows their home. It was not Deadsnows as it is today, it was the old town, a few miles South West. They called themselves the Brotherhood of the Moon, and were close to the Icespear family. This was before the Spellplague. At the time, the abbey was standing here on this hill, a few miles away from the town, and dwarves clerics were still officiating at the Abbey, caravans using Deadsnows as a stop on the fork road, and dwarven travelers paying respect to their gods on their travels.
At the time too, the Icespears were humans, and had been ruling over Deadsnows for centuries, their forefathers having founded the place. The Brotherhood of the Moon were adventurers, a bit like yourself. Their name as a group remains, but I would not be able to say who they were. All my knowledge comes from talking to the older folks here, and reading the sparse journals of my predecessors at the Towers.
Then, around a century ago, the spellplague came upon them all, and it is said to have been particularly ravaging in this area. The whole town of Deadsnows was destroyed, and all its inhabitants killed, including the adventurers from the Brotherhood.
When the spellplague disappeared, it is a halfling named Devlon that took the Icespear name unchallenged, as the whole Icespear line had been wiped out, and this Devlon spearheaded the rebirth of Deadsnows. He was a rich halfling, and he built the new town on this hill here, around the Abbey instead of its previous ground. He even convinced the dwarves to rebuild the abbey, that had been partially destroyed. Before the spellplague, Deadsnows was more of a human town, with may be 1/3rd of its population being halflings. At its rebirth, the ratios were inverse, the halflings came in drove from Everlund and the surrounding areas to help rebuild under Devlon leadership. In the following years, most of the humans coming here were attracted by the various tales of the area, most of them by the memories of the gold rush that brought so many looking for fortune before the spellplague, others adventurers type looking for the fabled treasure of the Brotherhood of the Moon.
Among the tales of the Brotherhood of the Moon was one saying that their treasure was protected by an Eidolon. Our church has been present in Deadsnows for centuries, and like everyone else, the temple in the old town (what the halflings today calls the ruins) was destroyed, and no member of the clergy survived the spellplague, so all their journals and written reports were lost, unfortunately. But I have read that one of my predecessor, that held his office here 70 years ago, reported a dwarven legend, mentioning an Eidolon divine guardian.
This is why, Melborne, your testimony under truth was so important to try to piece together what happened. You may have helped us unlocked one of the longest mysteries of the area."
Melborne believes he understands, nodding his head
“I can show you the door.”
“We certainly want to see that. But the abbey must be cleared. We know more aberrations are lurking in there, and from your story, I believe they survived as you did by escaping in that tunnel. When you opened the door, you let them loose in the abbey, and then after that when you found the exit, some of them followed you outside, the one your friends here have fought.
My task today is to put glyphs at the portcullis barricade, and if I can at the abbey’s door to make sure none can sneak upon us without warning.
It seems like we killed all the grells, as there has been no reports in the last hours of any new grell sighting from the walls. It seems they are the only ones able to fly, and probably found their ways to the highest openings of the tower, and do not need any door to fly off. It may also be because it is daytime now.. we will see if more come out tonight.
They do not seem to like flying very very high, I suppose it is because they can’t see beyond 60’, so they stay around that height as an anchor…
so our soldiers have shot them down.
Today, we need to find out what is in this halfling cottage. There has been no signs of movement in hours now, but I can’t ask the soldiers to risk more lives, until we know what we are dealing with."
“I think we can help with these things… the cottage, the abbey, the mystery of the treasure….”
“Of course, I would welcome your help.
First though, I will go talk to the Icespear family to gave them the official word about Felevel’s passing, and ask them to agree to let you help us. The family feuds are going to resume, and these internal squabbles can be quite exhausting if not handled properly.
I will be back in a few”