The Dead of Winter - Chronicle Part 9

Midwinter City, September 1043TA - Preparing for War.

Upon reaching the city the party head off to the Cathedral of Orloth to get an update from the Heirarch. They learn that the government has sent emissaries to the Quarthen city of Dar'Saul and to an orc warlord the the northern Barrens to broker an alliance against Vettori. Of the remaining Seven, Vettori's wherabouts are unknown. Murak Half-Hand has taken the border keep Fossdaen, recently liberated by the party, and is harrying the fort along the Iron Hills. Haggad Fleetfoot has been burning and pillaging his way west into the Quarthen territories. Goffon Draskor, the Hobgoblin general, has sacked several towns in the Athas Valley and currently besieges Rossfield and Highpine. Ranan visits the Academical Society for help, but finds that the majority of mages have been seconded to the military and are unavailable.

With no help from the City, the party decide to return to Brightstone. They sell of the gems and items recovered in their recent travels and equip themselves with better items and equipment. Ready for battle, they Wind Walk to Brightstone Keep.

Gethen Barrens, September 1043TA - Taking the Battle to Vettori.

At Brightstone, they find a besiegeing force of several hundred zombies. After a briefing with the Phaedran Clerics and the mercenary Captain in charge, the Party plan an all-out assault against the zombies. With Ranan using his fireballs to wipe out large numbers, the clerics are able to leave the keep and begin to destroy the attacking undead, clearing a space for Wyvern, Neraty, Boris and Callan to attack the zombie leaders. After several hours of battle, the plane before Brightstone is littered with the bodies of the zombies.

The next day Wyvern, Neraty, Boris and Callan Wind Walk to Fossdaen Keep to spy on Murak's forces. They find well over a thousand zombies with more trickling in from the Barrens all the time. They see no sign of Murak and assume he is inside the tower. They Wind Walk across to the top and as they are preparing to enter they overhear a conversation between Murak and Galvorn. Murak requests more zombies to replace those killed by the newly returned party. The four charge down into the tower but Galvorn has Teleported away. They are met by the raging Murak Half-Hand. After a fierce battle they bring him down. After ransacking his body they burn it.

They decide to back-track the incoming zombies to find out where they are coming from. Using Wind Walk they head off into the Barrens and follow the trail north to a ruined city where a fierce battle rages between orcs and zombies. As they fly closer, they see a bloom of greenish mist in one part of the city. They head off to investigate and see Vettori using the Frostfell Orb to create new zombies. They decide to stage a surprise attack and head down. Attacking from all sides they quickly surround the Lich, limiting his spells and attacks. Boris siezes the initiative and uses his sword to flick the orb out of Vettori's hands.

Surrounded by the heroes the Lich is no match for them and dispite being able to cast a few spells he is quickly taken down. Knowing full well that the Lich will begin to regenerate at his phylactery, they grab the orb and Neraty casts a Word of Recall to get them all back to Brightstone.

Gethen Barrens, September 1043TA - Destroying the Orb and Hunting Vettori.

After their return they discuss what to do with the Frostfell Orb. Wyvern decides to take the direct approach and takes it to the keep's forge and proceeds to hammer it to pieces with a maul - and gets a facefull of crystal shards when it explodes in his face. After Neraty patches him up they plan what to do next.

The following day Neraty communes with his god and divines the location of Vettori. Borin, Wyvern, Neraty and Callan head off the next day to find and finally defeat the Lich. The trail leads them across the Barrens to some wooded hill in Bryddin Forest. They find an ice encrusted tunnel leading into the side of one of the hills. They follow the tunnel and come across a large cavern and as they enter they are attack by a huge white dragon. The party takes a battering but they prove to be more than a match for the wyrm and they swiftly bring it down.

Following another tunnel leading from cavern they come across the dragon's larder and from there a smaller tunnel leading down into the hill. They continue through the natural caverns until they find a tunnel of cut and dressed stone leading to a doorway. They burst through the door into what turns out to be Vettori's inner sanctum. A battle ensues between the party, a partially reformed Vettori and the mage Galvorn. Galvorn hits first, weakening the party but Boris catches him with a Psionic Disintegrate and annihalates him. This leaves Wyvern, Callan and Neraty to fight the defeat Vettori.

After defeating the baddies, they see a strange tin box sitting on an altar at the end of the room. Unfortunately they are unable to get to it because of an invisible forcefield. Callan Dimension Slides through the wall and picks up the box, unfortunately getting hit full on by the Ice Storm trap guarding. A badly wounded Callan Dimension Slides back through the forcefield with the box. Neraty heals Callan and Wyvern opens the tin, Vettori's phylactery, destroys the contents and permanently destroys Vettori. They search the area for any gear that shows up as magic and also find a saddle that fits the dragon. Wyvern wonders if this dragon is the one they have seen being ridden by the killer of Selbyn Blademoon. Neraty uses a Word of Recall to get them back to Brightstone.

Athas Valley, September 1043TA - Dealing With the Last of the Seven.

The party decide to take out the penultimate member of the seven who is with the army besieging Highpine. They Wind Walk to the town and find a huge army of zombies battering at the walls. In the centre of the army they spy Goffon Draskor, the hobgoblin war-leader. They Wind Walk over the army and while Wyvern and Callan materialise, Neraty holds the undead at bay with a repulsion spell and Borin blasts them with cones of fire. Callan and Wyvern drop to the floor and enter the commander's tent. Trapping him in the corner they begin to batter him, but he puts up a fierce resistance and forces Callan to withdraw, close to death. While Wyvern and Goffon swap blows, Neraty enters the tent and Heals Callan. Callan enters the fray again, cutting Goffon down. The party finish of the few remaining undead and Word of Recall their way back to Brightstone and prepare to find the last of the Seven, Haggad Fleet-Foot at Dar'Saul.

After a nights rest they Wind Walk off to the south-west. As they near Dar'Saul they spy Haggad's forces mustering around a ruined town. Using Neraty's 'Hide From Undead' prayer they recce the town and discover that Haggad is in a ruined building in the centre of town. Wyvern climbs to the ruined top floor of the ruin and drops through a trap-door while Callan Dimension-Slides into the building. Inside they find Haggad and his leutenants. Outside Borin blasts the zombies with cones of flame, burning them to cinders allowing Neraty to run in and support the two fighters. The battle is long and hard, with Haggad taking a lot of damage and dealing a lot. They finally bring him down and finish of his leutenants while Borin burns more zokmbies to ash. As usual they loot the bodies and Word of Recall back to Brightstone.

Gethen Barrens, September 1043TA - To Midwinter's Aid.

They decide to travel to Midwinter to inform the authorities that they have dealt with the Seven. Upon arrival they discover that all of the higher ranked mages, priests and soldiers have left the city. After stocking up on a few items they leave the city and return to Brightstone. Neraty uses his abilities to find the location of his superiors and the location of the saddle owner. Both spells locate them to the northern Gethen Barrens, with the dragon-rider being located in the 'Fane of Shadows'.

Neraty uses a Sending to contact his superior. He tells him to head north and prepare for battle which they promptyly do. They use the Wind Walk again to quickly travel over the barrens. After travelling over six hours they see a smudge of smoke on the horizon and as they move closer they see humanoids and dragons fighting in the air. As they get ever nearer they come across a wide swathe of destruction coming from the south-east. Something very big has plowed a twenty metre wide channel thorugh the barrens.

They continue northwards and find that the their path converges with the churned up channel. They eventually come together at a shallow valley. Within the valley there is a titanic battle in progress. Humanoid fighters, wizards and clerics and battling other humanoids and a large number of dragons. Also, at the centre of the valley is a huge iron sphere - the object that caused the destruction across the barrens.

They seek out Neraty's superior who is overseeing a field hospital. He tells them that the iron sphere is called the 'Fane of Shadows' an ancient artifact crafted several millennia ago. It was cast into space by Annan mages but after circling Gwelith for generations it has finally fallen to earth. He tells them that there is a half-dragon named Sammalion inside the sphere aiding the dragons. He asks the party to infiltrate the sphere and kill anyone inside while Midwinter's forces hold the dragons at bay.

Gethen Barrens, September 1043TA - The Fane of Shadows.

They agree and head off across the battle field. Using Wind Walk they mimic the smoke that drifts about the battlefield and make their way to the sphere. After defeating the guards outside they rush in and confront Sammalion. Sammalion is a half human, half red dragon, massivly built carrying a huge greatsword. He stands before an altar, upon which is a large egg made from a dark, red, crystalline material. Callan and Wyvern pile into combat, hacking at his magically enhanced body, Borin targets the strange egg, trying to disintegrate it and Neraty backs up the fighters. The fight proves to be hard, Sammalion shrugs of most of their attacks and seems impervious to spells. Callan and Wyvern take a battering but Neraty is able to keep them healthy.

Finally, Borin destroys the egg but it explodes, sending out razer-sharp shards of crystal and injuring good and bad alike. Sammalion shrugs off the damage and breathes a cloud of toxic gas at Neraty and Borin. Wyvern and Callan are less fortunate and take more damage. Fortunately, Sammalion's poisonous breath does not kill them and Neraty is able to heal all of the party. Wyvern and Callan continue to assault the half-dragon, now aided by Borin's powers.

Under the combined attacks of Callan, Wyvern and Borin, Sammalion soon begins to weaken. As his defensive spells expire he is unable to withstand their attacks and soon falls. With the evil mastermind defeated they head outside to deal with the remaining draconic forces.

The End.

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