Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Dire Call of Cedarspoke

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith
NPCs: Julbin Cometstrike, Guild of the Naturalists, Council of the Divine, the Divine Hammer
Synopsis: Serving as an emissary from the Council of the Divine of Cedarspoke, Dusk Revin arrives in Threshold seeking out those that rescued his soul from Skarwall Keep. The half-drow seeks the Defenders to help protect the natural city from frost giant raiders, who have been testing city defenses ever since the departure of the Army of Nature’s Wrath. Dusk meets the group for the first time, and is surprised by their acceptance of his race. Trizoon’s embrace is quickly followed by introductions to the Defenders of the Dragon Coast, especially Lazbin WitchHunter, the human blood mage that secured Dusk’s soul from a hag’s jar in the evil keep of the undead.

Dusk quietly informs the adventurers of the most recent developments. The Army of Nature’s Wrath has left the city to wage war upon evil fey in the plane of the House of Nature. A cataclysmic collision has somehow resulted in the planes of the House of Nature violently merged with Fury’s Heart and Arvandor. The resulting Feywild has left the homes of the gods in chaotic array, and the Army of Nature’s Wrath was summoned to help bring order.

The vacancy of the city’s protectors left Cedarspoke almost defenseless. Hedging their bets, the council relied too heavily upon the most crippling winter on record as adequate defense to halt any assaults upon the city. Almost as if summoned the perimeter was tested by frost giant raiders. The surviving members of the Divine Hammer fended off the marauders, but fears amassed that the giants would return, and in greater numbers. Dusk brings a summons to the Defenders; Cedarspoke needs their help in the worst ways.

Desiring necessary supplies before the trek, the group heads to Julbin Cometstrike’s hut. Lazbin, Rathgillian, and Gallipolas immediately detect the presence of a mighty white dragon, the same one they faced outside of the Roadside Coaching Inn after the battle with the Wizards of Tendale. But the dragon is dramatically altered in a completely unnatural way; its eyes glowing fiercely red specifically target the group. The magical creature no longer projects majesty, only fear and hatred towards those that destroyed it. Its iron plating is still damaged and massive sections of scales are absent, revealing the rotting flesh beneath. It has been conjured from the dead.

The battle is fierce but quick. And the results are much as they were when the dragon attacked them originally. The massive husk of the abomination falls to the ground after the killing blow leaving the Defenders with too many questions. Both Lazbin and Dusk inspect the dragon and find that certain markings on its head indicate a religious ceremony was used to raise it in the form of a revenant, a form of undead that seeks vengeance upon those that killed it. The ritual identifications are obvious to Dusk; an evil cleric of Kiaransalee, the drow goddess of both vengeance and the undead. Only one wielding the Claw of the Revenancer could create and control it.

Julbin supplies the group with numerous magical amenities, but fears the worst with the news Dusk brings. He summons the members of the newly restored Guild of the Naturalists to the guild hall to bring everyone to up to date. The idea that the three planes collapsed upon each other distressed Mintassan the Planeswalker to no ends. Dusk also portrays Cedarspoke in the direst of consequences. All resources have been redirected to life saving measures to keep the citizens warm and fed. Trade has been put on ice because of the winter storms. The half-drow reminds them of the pressing need to return to Cedarspoke, and the group moves through the mirror portal to their destination, leaving the distraught Beast Tamers with only terrible thoughts of what is happening.

Emerging outside of the once glorious Cedarspoke, the group witnesses the beating the city has taken under the harsh weather. The battery of winter has left the city withered, emaciated. The saturation of snow and ice has reduced the ivy walls to brown vines left to strangle each other in a failed attempt at life. The trees of the forest lie barren, stripped of their might. Branches are moored to the snowy ground, weighed down by anchoring ice columns. Even Gallipolas is caught off guard. But the harsh realization of a dying city is shunted aside; even from this distance the group can see they are minutes too late. Frost giants loom over the city already having breeched its walls. Trees and structures are being leveled as booming laughter echoes across the snowy vale. Then true horror presents itself. Lifeless bodies of Cedarspoke residents are being thrown outside the city walls.

The first body is followed quickly by two more. The race to the city is painstakingly slow. Particularly Dusk is horrified at the disrespect for the dead. His deity Kelemvor would be most upset. Then one of the bodies flails through the sky, this one still alive. Moving swiftly to action the Defenders quaff potions of flight and speed towards the raiders. Their presence is immediately detected by several other frost giants outside of the city. Massive boulders are hurled at them from hidden niches. Gallipolas and Fig break off their approach to deal with the exterior giants.

On the inside of Cedarspoke, other warriors join the fray just as the Defenders engage the frost giants. Dusk greets his sometimes companions, immediately recognizing his fellow members of the Divine Hammer. The frost giants stop their attack to deal with the weak humanoids, but not before the sound of a horn blast echoes through the air. Outside Gallipolas has targeted the frost giant leader, a shaman sprinting from the city’s gate to the ice covered forest.

Their methods are brutal but very effective as the Divine Hammer divides the three giants on the interior of the city and begin to decimate the intruders. Matching the vigor of their counterparts, the Defenders batter their targets with an eye to Gallipolas still outside the city. Once free and clear as the last of the giants falls they move to the exterior of the city to aid the druid. As Lazbin moves to join the battle he does not spy the bodies of the dead citizens that the giants had hurled to their deaths. Tracks lead to the frozen surface of the Cedar River. The mage moves to a better vantage point and detects the reason for the missing bodies. Under the guise of invisibility magic a cluster of humanoids shifts position onto the river’s ice. Without hesitation the blood mage looses an attack upon the group but cannot engage the thieves.

Dusk also detects the disturbance and sends a summoned elemental to lay waste to any desecrators. But the immediate need is with the remaining giants. Gallipolas and Fig are more than relieved to receive assistance, as the leader has escaped into the frozen forest. With only two remaining the hammer drops on one giant, ending his torment. The remaining frost giant is captured after being rendered blind.

On the edge of the Cedar River, the huge fire element tracks the assailants only to be checked by a creature formed of only ice. Standing motionless the construct awaits the inevitable battle. Blows are exchanged as vast amounts of steam pour into the icy air. In this battle size matters and the ice guardian is destroyed.

Encounters: revenant frost-forged white dragon Salricasa, three frost giant maulers, frost giant spirit seeker, and two frost giant tundra scouts, ice golem.
Achievements: learned of the revenant ritual performed by followers of Kiaransalee, reported the events of the Feywild to the Guild of Naturalists, traveled to Cedarspoke and defeated the frost giant raiding party, and discovered the theft of dead bodies from the assault.

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