Entering the Dead Harvest zone
The team leaves Brochts Silo and heads west on Harvest Road. Pleasant and calm weather hold out; Shirok continues to cradle and “coo” to his dragon egg. The egg makes more and more noise each day. The groups’ crystex tablets all go off all at once, shattering the serenity of the quiet road. This brings up the idea of getting a silent mode for their crystexes. Oyea sends the message “Diversion approved” and all of the crystex tablets shut off.
At this time, the Lady Forsythia Dahlia arrives with Luella a Winterkin Eladrin and they ask the group to join them at Spirekeep, as the Lord Lucien would like a word or two with them. They are assured that they will still reach their destination at the proper time. Guards exit the gate and gather up their mounts.
Upon arrival to Spirekeep, they are greeted by Arch-Mage, Lord Lucien of Spirekeep and to the sounds of alarm bells blaring across the city. Lucien informs them that they are currently dealing with 3 shadowfell incursions and if they are willing, he will send them out to one. The pixie-mage Vineleaf Sundapple takes the team to a farm where Spirekeeps’ forces have been severely taxed with its defense. Gating amidst a Burning barn, the team quickly join the ruckus and fight the undead. The farm is over- run by skeletal creatures, including two Minotaur skeletons. There are also swarms of shadow bats that sweep in and attack.
The team discovers that the skeletons keep arriving every time one of the villains touches a black rock by the farm house. Neera realizes that the Skeletal Minotaur’s ax has a similar stone attached to it and that it probably is the key to destroying the rock. However; because she is used to relying only on herself, Neera neglects to inform the team of her findings and is blocked from approaching the rock by the powers of Estaria and Moozg. In the meantime Mallory, Shirokon-Ti, Tiltus, and Immeral make quick work of the skeletons and bats at the farm. Neera is eventually able to approach the stone, cracks the ax against it and shatters it to dust.
Shirok telekinetically rescues the injured Spirekeep Tiefling from the barn after the battle is done. The team searches the area and confirms it’s cleansed of the shadowfell. Vineleaf returns to take them back to the keep.
Lucien engages the troupe by having one-on-one conferences with them. Moozg gets a surprise conversation. Estaria receives her legacy items left to her from Lerissa. Mallory receives confirmations of suspictions. Neera receives unwelcomed warnings. Shirok receives dissolution from his pirate holdings. Immeral hears disquieting rumors and questions Lucien in personal matters. Titus gains a prototype familiar in a Spitfire Dragonling named “Skorch.”
During all of these conferences, the team is entertained by the conversations with the Lady Lavinia, Grand Duchess of Terrylhaven. The waiting room is shocked when Lavinia slams her cane on the table and addresses a very shocked Von’Dahl. “Vondalia Dariah Basalina!! You know you are not allowed here without my grandson’s specific invitation!”
“How, how did you know my…”
“I didn’t, thank you for the confirmation. Now begone!”
Von’Dahl reluctantly leaves Estaria’s side and fades away. Lavinia then regales the group with a tale her grandmother had heard when SHE was a child.
“The powerful family of Basalina were known to be ruthless and cunning. They controlled trade and most of the political atmosphere in the ‘feywild’s Summer Court.’ Vondalia Dariah was the youngest daughter of the Familial Matriarch, Evichian Dahlariah; the only family member who was more despicable was Evichs’ twin brother Inokorus. It was rumored, very quietly, that the twins were secretly lovers. Vondalia had an extremely unBasalina-like demeanor. She was quiet, sweet, outgoing, and friendly. Vondalia loved children and became a favorite of the court when it came to watching the courtiers’ children.
Vondalia’s main goal in life was to have as many children as possible and give homes and a family to those who don’t. That was all disrupted when Vondalia broke her familys’ code of silence and informed the Summer Queen of Evichian and Inokorus’ designs in assassinating the Queen. Inokorus fled and was not seen from again. Evichian was executed by the royal guards. The rest of the family perished in a battle with the royal spell-slingers. The familial coffers and estates were seized by the crown and distributed among the loyal courtiers. Before Inokorus left, he and Evichian cursed Vondalia with eternal life, eternal youth (staying at the age of 8, unable to have children.) and a monstrous visage; thereby preventing those which she loved the most to endure her presence.
Vondalia disappeared and was not seen from again."
Sitara, whose head was manifested into the dining hall, listened and made notes to discuss with Lucien all that Lavinia had related. Then she noticed something in Shirokon-Ti’s lap that kept making noise. Sitara angrily advances on Shirok, demanding to know where he got the egg and why. A stuttering Shirok explains it was given to him by his father and it was found somewhere along the Broken shore of the peninsula. She huffs a blast of flame and smoke over the egg.
When the air clears the shell of the egg is no longer mud colored, but a beautiful crystal-like metalic red. Shirok holds the egg up and realizes he can see through it like ruby colored window. At this point the egg shakes and cracks. Sitara starts licking the top of the egg fervently. Eventually a tiny, very raw looking, dragon emerges. Sitara says he says that his name is Arivale. Shirok is extremely enamored with him.
Sitara pulls Shirok aside and informs him that the baby dragon needs to stay with him. Ari is under Sitara’s protection, so Shirok need not worry about leaving him during battle. Ari needs the team to learn to be a social creature and not a despotic loner as some dragons turn out to be.
The baby dragon, Ari, rambunctously engages in warfare with an orange and decimates a stand supporting an obviously valuable bowl holding crystaline pears as Neera softly plays her Zither.
Lucien offers the team the hospitality of staying at the keep overnight and gives them options to shop in Spirekeeps’ vast market. Lucien then insures that Estaria has a special coin on her person, which will allow for a gate to be opened to her by Lucien at any time. He sends the team off to where his guards have lead the riding lizards. They arrive where the team would have ended up without the diversion. As they exit the gate; Tiltus and Moozg are the first out.
The men at the stable doors mistake Tiltus for a “kobold King” and the village of Huskers Gate react in blind panic. It is finally determined after calming a young man that the village has a “disgusting Kobold” held prisoner and they have been wary of a counter attack. Their plans included executing the kobold in the morning. The team learns, after the kobold indicates that he too is a member of the brotherhood, that the kobolds’ name is Schkeeve. Scheeve is a monk/Psion who helped in Shiroks training.
Scheeves’ Sun Hawk mentor Kyarin is the missing Sun Hawk the Team was sent to find. After a brief and one sided debate with the villagers of Huskers Gate; the team commandeers Scheeve and have him lead them to where Kyarin had fallen in the avalanche. There they find a severely injured and weakened Sun Hawk. They have Ariana heal him as much as she can in the field. They transport Kyarin and Schkeeve back to Huskers Gate to investigate the state of panic the villagers are in.
It is determined that the panic set in after Harvest Keep barred the Huskers Gate from the keeps side. The team inquires, through the portcullis, why the gate is closed and barred to the villagers. The guard, a large human female informs them that the Chancellor Barak has sealed the town and Vitaen guardians are not allowed to enter. Mallory tries to escalate the issue to the guards superior. The guard leaves. After an hour or so, Mallory inquires a female Minotaur where had the previous guard gone. The Minotaur said “On break” and wants to know what Mal wants.
Again Mal goes through all the hoops to get someone in charge to answer her questions. The Minotaur leaves and a very, very elderly dragonborn female arrives. She gives a snarky answer to why the Vitaen brotherhood is outlawed by Chancellor Barak. As she turns to go, Tiltus picks up a rock and loads his sling, Mal cautions him to respect his elders. Tilt’s reply is “She won’t be one in a minute.” Mal instead pulls out Aramis’ portal gun and fires it at the gate. A receiving gate opens on the other side of the porticullis.
The team enters the portal and is scattered in another destination. It is determined by the date on the crystex that Mallory’s part of the team (including Tiltus and Moozg) was scattered a week in the past. Shirok and Estaria are on a mountain 2 days in the past. Neera lands in a forest in her present time. Mallory sends a message to the team telling them briefly of what happened and to tell her not to use the portal gun at Huskers Gate.
Because of the nature of time travel, everyone receives the cautionary notice before Mal pulls the trigger and therefore they do not enter the gate. Shirok starts looking around and notices drag marks coming from the wall of the town. He finds a smuggler entrance; goes through the wall and says “Hi” to the team from the other side. After telling Ari to remain with the mounts the team sneaks in to the city of Harvest Keep.
The team is met by a female Goliath and cautioned to get indoors because it is after curfew. The bluff their way past her and start their way up the concentric streets to the Chancellors Mansion. They are interrupted by a child in a cheese shop waving them inside. The child recognizes them as Vitaen Guardians even though they have stowed any symbolism of the brotherhood. She informs them of her desire to join up someday.
Moozg and Mallory ask questions about this new Chancellor Barak. The child tells of him instigating the curfew and that he is “poopy”. He is “poopy” colored the team soon learns with hair white as snow. Tiltus chimes in with a desire for a way up to the palace that takes them off of the streets. The child offers them access to the “tunnels.”
The tunnels it turns out is the sewer system. They enter an access tunnel and climb up thousands of feet. Mallory uses Aramis’ protein silk shooters to block up the tunnel behind them. The team hears voices behind them trying to get access to the tunnel. “Tell master there may be intruders.” Simultaneously, they hear pipes starting to moan and shake as an offshoot tunnel dumps sewage under them and down the tunnel. They hear their followers curse and they are deluged. Then they hear an altercation…. “Help me!!-Get it off of me”
The team hurries their way up the utility ladder even faster. They exit into a utility room and can hear chambermaids on the other side of a large Oak door……to be continued.