Tyranny of Dragons

Reunions

Season 3, Session 7

30th day of Nightal 1489 DR the Year of the Warrior Princess

1. War Room
Within the grey stone walls of Castle Waterdeep the party continues their planning in their war room.

“My boat used to belong to a dragon hunter,” says Osrik, “And there was a map inside. I don’t know if it was his base or a target. He marked it for something, it is most likely helpful.”

Jean Luc asks, “Did you get that boat from Jokel?”

“I did,” Osrik confirms.

“I think that’s something to consider,” Jean Luc slowly says. “I have a vague feeling that salesman was sent to us by…”
Khendrig,” Gamora interrupts.

“Bahamat,” Jean Luc finishes.

“Bahamat?” Gamora asks.

“Yes. I think Bahamat is in our corner and I think there’s a chance he sent that salesman to us,” says Jean Luc.

“So we handle the succubus, then the map,” says Osrik.

“There are other things we need to do first,” Cora says to Jean Luc, “I think we need to talk to your wife.”

“I guess we could,” he stumbles. “I don’t see why that’s pressing.”

“She is the only one who has been to the Well of Dragons and survived,” says Cora. “I think we should find out what she saw there. Ultimately, we need to know as much as we can before we make a move.”

“She might be able to verify what Sneaky McGee in the dungeon told us,” Gamora says. She turns to Cora, “What you experienced back in the Serpent Hills was that of value to us?”

“I think Khendrig needed me to have this item,” she says looking at the ring on her finger. “I don’t know if it’s prudent for us all to go back again. ‘The cost of failure is death’,” she repeats.

“However, it did work to our advantage, and I got something out of it, too,” says Reven as he makes the black metal long sword appear in his hand.

“Part of me is curious, but there are more pressing matters than possibly dying before we finish anything,” Gamora says. “Not exactly looking to die not in a blaze of glory. I don’t really want to die, let’s be fair. But if I’m going to go down, I’m going to go down with some Dragon Cultists. “

Reven says, “I’ll be back soon, it shouldn’t take too long.”

“Where are you going?” Gamora asks.

“Seven Swords,” says Reven. “Well, I’m going to the bar that will take me to Seven Swords. There’s a portal in a closet – it’s confusing. Just trust me.”

“Sounds really fucking weird,” chuckles Gamora.

“It’s… yeah.”

“We just arrived in the basement,” Jean Luc points out.

“Yeah, and we looked fucking weird,” Gamora says. “Why do they put these things in such weird little places?”

“You aren’t going without me,” says Xenara. “There is something I seek at Seven Swords as well.”

“How long will you be gone?” Cora asks Reven.

“Hopefully not long at all a day two at the most. There are more portals like the one in the bar, they lead to different places. Maybe there’s a way to get connect with Aeron. I also need to talk to Kalu about my visions, if it is possible to control them better.”

“Sounds like a lot to do,” says Vera. “You think you can get all that done in a day or two?

“I’m a fast learner,” says Reven.

“If you are going to find Aeron should I give you my gold and my shield trade to him?” asks Osrik.

“Wow. You’re going to give him your gold?” Mags says with a chuckle.

“He got his stolen last time,” Vera whispers to Osrik.

“Does Seven Swords have a lot of portals?” Gamora asks.

“I believe they do,” says Reven. “They have a portal device, just need to get permission to use it for the group, and see if there are any portals close to Aeron.”

“It would make traveling for us a lot easier,” says Gamora.

“It would,” says Reven.

“Will they allow us to use their portals? Just because the portals exist doesn’t mean we can use them,” Cora asks.

“Being a secret monastery I think they’re kind of secretive,” says Osrik.

“Well I think you know the head guy there, so you tell me,” says Reven.

“What?” says Gamora. “I’ve never been there in my life. What guy?”

“Your daddy?” says Reven.

Gamora bristles. “My dad is off wandering around. Which is why I need to speak to Leosin.”

“I meant your real dad,” says Reven.

“My biological father is not my dad,” says Gamora, “I’ve never met that person in my life.”

“Well he can be rough,” says Reven.

“Maybe you should,” Jean Luc says to Gamora. “But I mean, that’s just one man’s opinion.”

“Coming from a man who is religiously avoiding his wife?” snaps Gamora.

Jean Luc grumbles and takes a long sip his drink.

“Well,” says Reven, “just think about how stubborn you are.”

“What value is there in going to Seven Swords, other than possibly getting access to some quick travel?” asks Gamora. “I don’t know what he can help me with.”

“You don’t think there’s anything he can grant you?” asks Cora. “Give you answers?”

“Not unless his answers also include where to find my dad,” says Gamora.

“He may know,” says Reven.

“I never heard anything back from that letter I sent up with you last time. I want to talk to Leosin to see if he can give me some answers. If not then maybe I’ll come with you if your willing to wait for me,” says Gamara.

“I can do that,” says Reven. “Xenara, would you be okay with that?”

She nods, “That’s fine.”

“Thanks,” says Gamora.

“Do I give you my shield and gold?” Osrik asks Revan.

Reven glances over to Mags making sure she isn’t paying attention. He mumbles, “I would hold off on that.”

Mags turns to the group, “Hey, I still have this thing and it’s taking up all this space in here.”

“Oh yeah,” laughs Gamora, “A giant freaking–“

“The elemental engine,” Osrik interrupts.

“Aeron would probably be interested in that,” Cora points out.

“It’s taking up space in my hole,” Mags says.

“Well maybe there’s a room in the castle where you can store it,” Vera suggests.

“We can ask when we talk to Leosin,” Jean Luc says.

Gamora and Jean Luc go leave the war room in search of Leosin while Osrik and Vera go off to find any leads on locating the succubus.

2. Cora and Mags
“Mags, got a second?” Cora approaches the young girl as the others are leaving.

“Not for you,” says Mags without looking in her direction. She stands up and makes her way out of the war room.

“What did you mean before about Dru? Do you know where she is?”

“No.”

“Do you know what happened to her?”

“No.”

Cora says as she steps in front of Mags and places a hand on her shoulder. “Listen,” Cora begins, but Mags gives her a dark glance and Cora feels a wave of fear engulf her, Cora remembers in that moment how dangerous Mags can truly be.

“Are we done here?” Mags asks.

“I want to help her,” says Cora. “Where is she? And what happened to her?”

“Fuck off,” says Mags pushing past Cora.

“We’re supposed to be on the same team,” says Cora. “Dru was one of us. If something happened to her and we are able to help her tell us. It seems you’re the one stopping it now.”

“So, okay, little miss princess,” says Mags with a sigh, “How’d you manage when that army of Drow knocked you and your little boyfriend on your ass?”

“I believe you were one of the people who got knocked out,” Cora says.

“No,” says Mags, “I wasn’t there.”

“Where were you?”

“I was home. I was with Dru. You couldn’t handle what was coming then, and because of that she had to do something drastic to save the rest of you. So she’s not the one that needs help – you are. And when you get your shit together, maybe then she won’t have to do things on her own to protect you and this sorry bunch so that we can deal with the Cult of the Dragon.”

“Listen, this sorry bunch has been traveling with you and protecting your ass,” says Cora.

“No one’s been protecting me,” says Mags. “If I’m not mistaken, in a swamp not too long ago, all you fuckers would have died without me. So step off your high horse, Cora. I don’t owe you shit.”

“You have been on your high horse since… I don’t know where this attitude started. But it’s really uncalled for,” says Cora.

“Excellent! So leave. Go on your own.”

“I’m not leaving,” says Cora. “I am exactly where I need to be…” Mags turns the corner out of Cora’s sight. Cora curses Mags under her breath.

Frustrated Cora heads off to train trying to push the encounter from her mind. Afterwards she takes a moment to examine the dragon head charm on her sword and it’s twin left by her cousin. She meditates on her path and where she is going next.

3. Jean Luc, Gamora, and Leosin
Jean Luc and Gamora knock on Leosin’s door, but there is no answer. Gamora knocking a bit harder knocks it off its hinges. She puts the door back up and bends the hinges into place. The door hangs awkwardly and the locking mechanism is damaged.

“I fixed it! Who needs Rusty to mend things?” Gamora exclaims nervously.

They notice Leosin is not present. His room and desk and things seem to be organized and in perfect order they walk out and turn to one of the guards.

“Hey, you there! You seen Leosin around?” says Gamora.

“Yeah,” says the guard.

“You want to point us in the right direction?”

“Ma’am, I didn’t ask. He just left,” says the guard, but he points toward the training grounds and tells Gamora, “but he went that way.”

“Thanks.” Gamora and Jean Luc go in the direction. Gamora says to Jean Luc, “So, a wife, huh?”

“Yes, ah. Haven’t seen her for a long time but she’s, ah, she’s a wonderful person,” says Jean Luc.

“But you hate her,” says Gamora.

“No, no, I just hate the type of person I am when we spend a lot of time together. But no, she’s the best. I mean, she’s also the worst. Just the worst. But she’s the best, the best,” says Jean Luc.

“She must be pretty strong to get out of what she got out of alive,” Gamora suggests. “You think she’s helpful to us?”

“She’s the most capable person you could imagine,” says Jean Luc.

“Well, she might be on our list of people to chat to…”

Jean Luc and Gamora make their way to the training ground and find Leosin shirtless hitting a training dummy with blinding fast strikes that hit with power. The sounds of his blows create a rhythmic cadence that echos throughout the training grounds.

“I’m glad he’s on our side,” says Gamora. “I hope.”

“He is on our side,” says Jean Luc.

Gamora whistles catching Leosin’s attention. With a final blow the hay and wood of the training dummy bursts leaving it in ruin. He turns his attention to the two of them, “So, any new information?” He picks up a towel and walks over to them.

“Do you recall the name of that fellow who went with us down into those ruins all those years ago?” asks Jean Luc.

“Rufus?” Leosin says curious where this is leading.

Jean Luc nods, satisfied that he is dealing with Leosin and not a Succubus. “I just wanted to make sure you are you,” explains Jean Luc before he continues, “Our friend in the dungeon gave us a few interesting pieces of information. Is King Melandrach still on site?”

“I believe he is still here,” says Leosin.

“Our prisoner gave us the impression the Green Wyrmspeaker is running around the Misty Forest. We were considering going out there and seeing if we could make another installment in our chromatic plan.”

“The Misty Forest is a rather large,” says Leosin. “Have you narrowed down the location?”

“I don’t recall… no, not presently. That’s why I thought it might be a good idea to speak to his highness,” says Jean Luc. “However, before – well, you asked, so that’s how it’s going. I wanted to apologize for asking you to leave this morning. I understand you have to report everything to the Council, and even though we’re on board, we’re all just mortals, we have our secrets. And so I tried to spare you the drama of spilling our family secrets in an official capacity. So if you were insulted by that, I apologize. That’s why I did that.”

Leosin says, “I understand, but understand I don’t report to the Council. I report to Remalia. My role as handler is to get you what you need and pass on information from the Council or information you report to them.”

“Well, that’s good to know. I owe the Harpers an apology.”

“No, you don’t.”

“We lost those beautiful horses that were shared with us.”

“Frume’s horses? I don’t think the Order of the Gauntlet will mind much. We do what we need to do. Just like if you don’t want to share that there’s any dangerous magical artifacts in your possession, well that’s at your own discretion.”

“Thank you. You’re a good friend,” says Jean Luc, “Even in these trying times.”

“I broke your door – I’m sorry,” blurts Gamora.

‘She did,” says Jean Luc.

“My door? Why?” asks Leosin.

“We went looking for you and she knocked a little too vigorously,” explains Jean Luc.

“Ah…,” says Leosin. Gamora apologizes again.

“We’ll send up our cleric. He’s handy with those things,” offers Jean Luc.

“I mean, I kinda fixed it,” says Gamora.

“I think my zealous friend has a few questions for you, but before I go,” says Jean Luc, “Were you able to secure Vilia a spot here?”

“Not really. She’s not… the joining type,” Leosin tells him.

“Hmm. Do you know where she went?” asks Jean Luc.

“She’s here still recovering. I’m trying to keep her close with some work but she’s determined to strike back against the Cult of the Dragon. So, I’m trying to find something for her, but stalling won’t work for long.”

“Thank you. Do you know where exactly she is?” asks Jean Luc. “I was considering looking her up before we have to leave again.”

Leosin gives him directions on where she can be found.

“Thank you. Our short friend in the dungeon is concerned for his own safety and,” Jean Luc starts.

“He squeals like a pig as long as you promise to keep him alive,” Gamora interrupts.

Jean Luc asks, “Are you aware of any possible leaks this rather large ship we’re in might have?”

“You lost me at metaphor,” says Leosin.

Jean Luc tries again. “Anybody whose office is known to not run a tight ship? Let things slide when they shouldn’t?”

After thinking a moment, Leosin says, “Nobody really has the… there hasn’t been a security breach, if that’s what you’re talking about. Everybody is doing their best to keep things quiet and in check. But if you’re talking about if you’re trying to infiltrate some people, that wouldn’t be highly recommended.”

“No,” says Jean Luc. “I’m just looking to ferret out possible risks. If you think of anybody we should be concerned about…”

“I’ll keep an eye open,” says Leosin.

“Also, just a thought,” says Jean Luc, “We have a fantastic device we’d like to tinker with, perhaps a machine shop, or old forge you think we could set up shop in?” Leosin note that there is a smith by the stables but it will not likely serve his needs. Jean Luc agrees and asks if he can store the device in the Waterdeep Dungeons. Leosin says it can be arranged.

Leosin asks, “What is your next move?”

“We need to decide if we’re going to leave for the Misty Forest. Do you know where his grace is?” asks Jean Luc.

“The Misty Forrest elves have their own wing of the castle. They are on the highest level of the castle. Opposite of the Dwarfs, mind you… because, well… obvious reasons. I am also working on those teleportation scrolls. Hope to have them soon.” says Leosin.

“Thank you,” says Gamora.

“That’s very helpful thank you,” says Jean Luc. “That’s all I wanted to know. If you hear anything, let me know.” Jean Luc places a hand on Gamora’s shoulder as he leaves the training ground giving her privacy with Leosin.

Gamora turns to the half-elf, “On a personal note, I had asked you at a not-opportune moment if you had heard anything about my father. Have you heard anything about my father?

“No, I have not heard anything new about Draken,” says Leosin. “Here’s what I do know, and I fear to tell you this as it may take you off course, but – when your mother died, it pained him. His main concern was to take care of you, but he always wanted to find out what happened to her.”

“I thought he did,” says Gamora.

“Who the murderer was? No,” says Leosin. “So he is probably trying to close that chapter in his life.”

“Not for nothing, but that seems like a fool’s errand.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, your father is a bit of a romantic fool,” says Leosin.

“Yeah, he is,” Gamora agrees. “Is there no way to find out where he’s gone? Hasn’t he been in contact with anybody?”

“I suspect where he would have gone to be where your tribe was last,” Leosin says.

“My memory of that time is super hazy. I don’t know if I could even find it,” Gamora laments. “All right, you know the deal. If you hear anything… thanks.”

“One second,” Leosin says. Tossing his towel aside, then takes a fighting stance. As his hands raise fierceness manifests in his eyes and Gamora feels the air around her grow thick, “Now, show me what you’ve got.”

4. Osrik and Vera
Elsewhere, Osrik and Vera wander the castle looking for a steward or aide that seems familiar. Vera also keeps an eye out for the striking human woman the saw during the council meeting. They both suspect the succubus may chose such a form if they were to spy on individuals.

Vera’s excerience with civilization being rather limited doesn’t really know what to look for within the walls of a center of government like Castle Waterdeep, but she keeps an eye out for anything strange.

Osrik explains, “We’re just looking for a messenger who works for somebody in the castle.” They spend their time talking with several staff and gather some information learning where the council members and respective faction representatives are staying in the castle.

Osrik decides to go visit the dwarves of Mithral Hall who work for Brawnanvil. Vera warns, “You can’t tell them anything about the Wyrmspeaker, that we have him or anything.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t plan on it,” says Osrik.

“Brawnanvil might know already,” says Vera. “We’re not trying to talk to him, though?”

“No,” says Osrik, “We’re just trying to talk to a steward.”

They enter the wing devoted to the dwarves of Mithral Hall who look busy for the most part. Osrik and Vera see the dwarves are hurrying between rooms it’s hard to tell if this is a commotion or dwarves at work. Osrik steps forward and asks to speak to Brawnanvil’s steward.

“Who wants to know?” asks one of the Dwarfs.

“My name is Osrik Ironborn. I’m actually looking for the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. And I thought I saw her around one of Brawnanvil’s stewards. So I was trying to see if anybody could introduce me.”

The Dwarf looks at Osrik and says, “The most beautiful woman in the world?”

“Yeah,” says Osrik, “White hair, hazel eyes…”

“Sounds revolting,” says the Dwarf. “Did she have a beard?”

“Just, if you happen to see her…” Osrik says.

“Do you have official business with Mithril Hall?” asks the dwarf.

“Well… no not…”

“Then scram,” demands the dwarf. They make their way back down the hall out of sight of the dwarves.

Vera asks Osrik, “Dwarfs women have beards?”

“Yeah, Dwarf women have beards. They look so much like men that it’s a common misconception that there are no Dwarf women. I can assure you this is not the case.”

“So, maybe if she is a human…” Vera thinks aloud, “Maybe we should find a human person to be attracted to them, who works for a human? Terran Hornblade maybe? Lord Neverember?”

“I think maybe we should talk to Neverember’s people,” Osrik agrees. “You want to take the lead on this one?”

“If we go talk to Neverember’s people, we might run into Iarno, which could be interesting,” Vera notes.

“We’ll see what happens,” says Osrik.

Vera and Osrik go in search of Lord Neverember and to their surprise they discover a lot of commotion in this area of the castle. People are packing and bustling about. Osrik asks the nearest person who seems to be able to multi-task what is going on.

“Oh, most of us are sacked, that’s what,” says an older human gentleman in his late forties. He is wearing scholarly robes and is carrying some boxes from one of the offices.

“Why?” asks Vera.

“You didn’t hear?” the man says. “Lord Neverember’s not the open lord of Waterdeep anymore.”

“Since when?” asks Vera.

“Since, oh, four days ago when the Masked Lords voted him out,” he says.

Osrik asks, “Who is the new open lord?”

“Lady Laeral Silverhand,” the man answers. “I guess there was some meat to the rumor of a Masked Lord being assassinated. The Lords may have lost confidence in Lord Neverember.”

“Sorry about your luck, mate,” says Osrik. The man slumps and sighs at these words.

Vera asks, “So you’re going back to Neverwinter?”

“When this business with the council is over yes, maybe, I don’t know,” he says. His face troubled. “Representatives of Neverwinter including the Lord Protector are being provided lodgings as guests…I’ve worked here for nearly five years and now I’m a guest.”

“So Neverember would still be present in the council?” asks Vera.

“Oh, yes,” he says. The man sighs, “I enjoyed my job, but I suspect there will be no need for me in Neverwinter.”

Osrik says slyly, “I might be able to help that out a little bit if you’re able to help us out a little bit.”

“I’m listening,” says the man.

“We’re looking for this woman,” he gestures towards Vera, “My friend here fell absolutely head over heels in love with her,” Osrik says.

“Uh… yeah, totally,” Vera says. She makes a bouquet of flowers and clasps it to her chest showing a dramatic display of unbridled affection.

“Oh, really,” the man says curious.

“Yes, she has white hair and hazel eyes,” Osrik says making a dramatic hand gesture, “Beautiful…”

“Oh Yes,” agrees Vera. Looking up in the distance continuing with her dramatization,
“We… I must find her. Please help us out!”

“Um do you mean her?” the man points behind them.

Surprised the both of them turn to see the woman not ten feet behind them in the offices. She seems to be looking at the group of them. Vera pulls in close to Osrik, “What do we do now?”

“Good afternoon,” says the mysterious woman, closing the distance. The two of them are caught off guard by her appearance. Realizing this could be the succubus Osrik tries to seduce her.

“Hello,” says Osrik softly.

“Um, hi,” says Vera shoving the bouquet of flowers to the woman.

“Oh my, thank you,” says the woman with a smile. Her polished demeanor accepts the gift with warm gratitude. She hands them behind her as if giving them to an invisible servant.

“My friend here,” Osrik stumbles, “Um…we’ve been discussing you quite a bit since we saw you the other day…”

“Master Osrik,” says the woman with a smile, “I don’t think that is necessarily the best way to begin our profession working relationship.”

Vera turns to Osrik and whispers in front of the woman, “She knows your name!”

“Well as you know my name,” says Osrik, “I would love to know yours.”

With a dignified smile she says, “I am Lady Lariel Silverhand, Open Lord of Waterdeep.” The dwarf’s mouth drops and he blushes. Vera covers her mouth as she laughs. “How may I be of assistance to both you and Mistress Vera?” asks Lady Silverhand.

Osrik tries to speak but it is incoherent ititally. Vera jumps in and says very nervously says, “It’s so nice to meet you.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” says Lady Silverhand.

“Not knowing your…um standing,” explains Osrik, “We were both struck by your beauty from afar. We thought you were someone on a level we could…”

“I’m flattered, but really,” she says. “How goes the investigation?”

Osrik thankful of the change of subject clears his throat, “Umm, still ongoing. We’ve got some leads and we’re tracking them down.”

“Well, please feel free to come and keep me updates any time. You may find one more friend in Waterdeep since the last Council.”

“I greatly appreciate that,” says Osrik.

“Thank you,” says Vera.

Lady Silverhand dismisses them. Osrik gives a half-curtsy, half-bow as he departs. Vera unsure of traditions imitates Osrik and they both leave. Osrik nervously muttering curses under his breath over and over again.

“So, back to the war room?” Vera asks.

“Yes, back to the war room to sulk and drink,” Osrik says.

5. Gamora vs Leosin
Leosin busts into motion towards Gamora. He covers the space between them before she realizes what is happening. His fists move incredibly fast striking Gamora with incredible speed and force doubling her over.

“What the hell, dude! It was just a door!” Gamora shouts. She moves to strike him but he is out of her reach before she can react. She bursts into a rage and chases after him her first blow sloppy her second connects with his jaw.

“Hmm,” Leosin says. “That’s it?”

“What do you mean, ‘that’s it?’” asks Gamora. “You’re hitting me for no reason! It’s just a door! I’ll fix it!”

Leosin explodes into motion, but Gamora has her guard up and she blocks his strikes throwing her arms up, but Leosin is quick and sweaps her legs out taking her root and knocking her flat on her back.

Gamora snatches a stone from the ground and throws it at Leosin as she gets up. The half-elf easily catches the rock and throws it right back at her. It shatters on her shoulder and she curses. She charges after him but as she raises her fist to hit him, but he moves so fast she doesn’t notice he is right behind her until she feels a buildup of heat. She steps out of the way as a bolt of energy streams past her.

Having enough Gamora draws her greatsword. Leosin smiles and waves her on. Gamora roars, “What the fuck, dude, it’s just a door!” She swings her greatsword cutting him across his chest. She follows through with a second blow but Leosin blocks the blade with his forearm.

He throws punches and kicks at her, but Gamora is taking the fight seriously and in her rage Leosin isn’t able to faze her. Gamora strikes the blade across the ground and throws dirt into Leosin’s eyes.

Leosin takes a step back, putting up his guard up while trying to blink out the dirt. Gamora slashes at the monk with her sword again across his shoulder.

Leosin strikes her with his fingertips, on landing in her neck and the other in her armpit. A surge of pain shocks her body like a bolt of lightning forcing her muscles to seize up, but she resists the effect through her rage.

“I don’t even know why we’re fighting,” Gamora says coming out of her rage.

“I’m done if you are,” Leosin says.

“Yeah, I’m just so confused,” says Gamora. She sees he’s bleeding from her sword strikes. “Shit, dude, I cut you!”

Leosin closes his eyes and takes a deep breath and she watches his emit smoke and close and become fully healed. She watches him closes his eyes and take a deep breath, as he exhales the wounds emit smoke and close.

Gamora’s mouth is agape at the sight, “I mean, why?” she says as she puts her sword away. Leosin puts a hand on her shoulder and nods. “I’m all for exercise but damn, dude. Fuck that hurt. I have a bruise on my neck! You punched me in the armpit!”

“Fighting like your life is on the line is the only way to push your limits. The only way to reach new heights with your skills is to push them in different ways. You’ve got potential,” says Leosin as he turns to pick up his shirt. “Back to my desk job.”

“What was the point of that?”

“I wanted to see what you’ve got. I wanted to know who you are.”

“I’m good at punching shit. Well, maybe not punching. Pretty good with a sword, though,” Gamora rambles, “Don’t exactly go down easy, if that counts for anything.”

“I trained with your mother you know,” Leosin says.

“My dad never talked about it much, but yeah.”

“There was only one person who ever bested her in combat,” Leosin continues.

“You?”

Leosin laughs, “No way. I wasn’t that good.”

“You seemed pretty good.”

“I can hold my own. A little out of practice,” Leosin pauses. “You killed her.”

“Killed her?” Gamora asks confused.

“Rezmir,” says Leosin.

“Rezmir?” Gamora curses, “WAIT! Hold it! How did my mother knew Rezmir?”

“She trained with us,” Leosin tells Gamora.

“Rezmir did? Then how did she end up with the Cult?”

Leosin’s face grows saddened. “Rezmir was found by our master when she was very young.”

“Master?” asks Gamora, “Is that who I think it is?”

“Yes,” Leosin says, “He found her alone on the streets struggling to survive. It wasn’t apparent that she had dragon-blood. She had a lot of promise and we became friends. When she reached sixteen years old, her dragon-blood awoke. Her body was… changed showing her black dragon heritage, and she… changed. She became more fierce, almost a mad. She would tell me she had dreams her mother called to her.”

“Tiamat?” Gamora asks.

“She said that she hears her in her dreams,” said Leosin.

“Heard,” Gamora corrects him proud of herself. When she notices his sorrowful expression, she apologizes for her apparent glee.

“One day, during training she killed her training partner brutally and without remorse,” says Leosin.

“My mother?” ask Gamora.

“No, no, no. This was a brother name Khumak, he was a good friend. When he fell your mother challenged Rezmir to put her in her place and hopefully right her madness. Rezmir almost killed her,” says Leosin. “If the master didn’t step in Greykiaya would have died. The master excommunicated Rezmir from Seven Swords at that moment which is punishable by death. But Rezmir escaped. She threw herself off the side of the temple and never returned. It would be years later that I heard she had joined the Cult of the Dragon. I have been pursuing the Cult ever since, learning about their plans and tracking Rezmir. It’s the thing that led me to this war. It’s was probably for the best that you put her out of her misery.”

“I don’t regret it,” Gamora tells the monk.

“That wasn’t the point in my story,” says Leosin.

“Sorry,”Gamora says, “I guess, that you lost a friend.”

“I lost my friend a long time ago,” says Leosin. “You were very fortunate.”

“That I lived? Well, I wasn’t alone.”

“Like I said, you were very fortunate,” Leosin says. “And with the skill you just showed me, extremely lucky.”

Gamora laughs, “Are you saying I suck?”

“There always room for improvement,” says Leosin.

There is a pause, “My dad was part of Seven Swords, too?”

“We trained there together, yes.”

“He doesn’t talk a lot about it,” says Gamora.

“When does Draken ever really talk,” says Leosin with a grin.

“Well this is true,” says Gamora.

“No one ever talks or brags about Seven Swords. It is usually the easiest way to spot an imposter,” Leosin tells Gamora, “You should go one day.”

“I’m looking for my dad because he was the only person who made any effort to teach me what little knowledge he had of the path my mother took,” Gamora says.

“Even more of a reason. I know you don’t want to meet the master, but he’s called the master for several different reasons. He is one of the most skilled warrior in the world, but the helped bring the Ondanti from another world to this one.”

“I guess what I don’t understand,” says Gamora, “if he’s so powerful, why is he staying in a temple doing nothing?”

“Who says he’s doing nothing?,” says Leosin. “Is it best to be the one fighting against the evil in the world, or teaching others how to fight so they can protect their world?”

“I guess that makes sense,” says Gamora.

“Sometimes you’ve got to give back to change the world,” says Leosin. He turns and tells the half-orc, “Well, I’m going to go eat brunch. Good talk.”

“Yeah, nice talk,” Gamora says as she wipes blood off the side of her mouth. She makes her way back to the war room.

6. Tower of Luck
The Tower of Luck in the Sea Ward is the main temple to Tymora in Waterdeep. Inside the walls the tower is alive with the sound of lively children at play. Dru has returned to the Tower after checking with the contractors she had hired to make repairs to the orphanage. She is rather frustrated that there hasn’t been much progress in the last three days.
She notices Noreen talking with a human with a leather coat, and adventurer from the looks of him. The figure looks familiar to her and as she approaches she notices that it is Harlin.

“What are you doing here?” Dru asks.

He looks at her and smiles, “I could ask you the same.”

“These are my children,” Dru explains, “We are taking refuge here.”

“Oh,” says Harlin, “Well, I was told to pick up a package here.”

“Oh yes,” says Noreen, “One moment sir.”

Harlin stands awkwardly for a moment, then says, “So… how’s it going? How’s things?”

“Been interesting,” says Dru. “Have you seen the group?”

“No. Just got in a couple hours ago. It’s been a rough week,” Harlin says.

“Please, go on,” says Dru. “Tell me about your rough week.”

“That’s alright. So, tell me about you. Refuges?”

“My orphanage burnt down.”

“Oh that’s a bummer.”

“Yes, but it was taken care of,” Dru says.

“Glad it worked out in the end.”

Noreen walks back into the room and hands Harlin a wooden box with what appears to be a purple colored stone and a letter.

“That’s odd that they’d give you a rock,” Dru comments.

“You know, one should never judge the inherent value of things just on their looks.”

“I take it the rock is important to you?”

“It is the foundation of all we walk on, or something like that, I read it in a book somewhere,” says Harlin.

“How did you know you had a package here?”

“Your mage friend, he likes to talk in my head at inconvenient times…,” Harlin says with a small laugh.

“I see,” says Dru. “You know, I met a friend of yours…”

“Oh, really?”

“Vera…? She’s looking for you,” says Dru.

“Do you know where she is?”

“The last I heard they were going to the war council meeting. Then I kind of lost track of everyone.”

“That’s a shame. You should find your way back, they might need you or not.”

“I would if I knew where they were,” Dru says.

“Ah well if you want to find them,” says Harlin holding out the purple stone, “Just call to them.”

“You want me to talk to your rock?” asks Dru. She takes the rock and says, “Hello?”

After a pause Vera’s voice comes through the stone, “Dru? Are you in the church?”

Harlin and Dru look at each other confused. After a moment Harlin asks, “Why would she ask a question if she knows they can only be used once per day?”

“I don’t know,” says Dru. “I don’t know her that well. Is she normally like that?”

Harlin smiles warmly and puts the stone away, “Well good luck finding your friends.”

“Thanks. Where are you headed?”

“Home, for now. Got a few things to do. Take care, Dru.”

“You too,” says Dru.

“Good luck,” says Harlin making a holy hand gesture of Tymora.

Dru smirks at him as he leaves.

After settling in Dru picks up a broom and starts sweeping the main hall. She knows bringing the children have been a large disruption and is doing her part to earn their keep. Mags enters the temple and rushes over to her. Dru drops the broom and hugs her.

“Hey,” Mags says. “What happened? The orphanage was on fire? Where is everyone?”

“Everyone’s fine. Everyone made it out,” Dru says.

“What are you doing here?” asks Mags.

“Naureen let us stay here until the orphanage is repaired,” says Dru. “I got out of my situation and didn’t know where everyone was. So I figured I’d stay here and help with the kids.”

“You should have let us know it was only gonna be a week,” says Mags.

“I didn’t know how long it was going to be,” says Dru.

“I gave Cora a lot of shit for it,” says Mags

“That’s fine. She probably deserved it somewhere along the way," says Dru.

“I totally agree,” Mags stops and sniffs the air, "Beef stew?”

“Rianann is in the kitchen,” says Dru.

Mags laughs and runs off to the kitchen followed by Dru. The young girl wraps her arms around the bronze scaled dragonborn. Riannann looks down and hugs the golden haired girl. “You two will be the death of me yet,” she scolds them both. “Now out, I’m tryin’ to finish dinner for the entire tower and twenty-eight youngins and I don’t need any distractions!”

In the war room, Vera hears and recognizes Dru’s voice saying “hello” through the sending stone. She responds, “Dru? Are you in the church?”

Osrik, hearing this tells Vera he’s going to the temple and Vera follows. They run into Jean Luc on the way who quickly joins them and the three set off for the Tower of Luck.

After her training Cora made her way to one of the overlook towers to meditate. She takes time to examine the dragon head charm on her sword and it’s twin left by her cousin. She meditates on her path and where they are going next. From her vantage she notices Osrik, Vera, and Jean Luc quickly walking down Castle Waterdeep. She suspects there is some urgency in their movement.

Cora makes her way to the stable and uses her Gray Hands badge to take a horse and spurs it to catch up to the group and asks them where they are heading.

“Temple!” says Osrik.

Vera elaborates, “Tower of Luck. Someone’s got my sending stone. I think it is Dru.”

“Dru?” ask Cora and Jean Luc in unison.

“Yeah,” says Osrik, “Didn’t I mention that?”

“No,” says Jean Luc, “You did not!” He had been busy discussing with Vera if she could create flowers they found on the Serpent Hills that he hadn’t bothered asking where they were going.

Cora reaches a hand down to Osrik and pulls him up onto her horse. Osrik wraps his arms around her back, a little too high, which Cora annoying guides down to an appropriate position and make their way to the Tower of Luck.

It’s about an hour before they arrive and enter the Tower of Luck. Jean Luc is reluctant and decides to wait outside on the steps. Upon entering the Tower, Osrik kisses a coin a tosses it in a donations box.

The three of them encounter a small raven haired girl playing with a few other children. As Cora makes her way to the back room the raven haired girl calls her out, telling them they aren’t allowed back there. After getting both Cora and Rusty’s names she goes in the back to get a grown up. The elven priestess Nauereen soon joins them and greets the party.

“We’re looking for Dru,” Cora says.

“No!” interrupts Vera, “Well, yes… Did you deliver my package?”

Nauereen looks at Vera and nods, “Yes, a man came in to pick it up.”

“Is he here?” Vera asks.

“No, he left some time ago,” Nauereen says.

Vera growls her dissatisfaction to herself.

The Cora and Osrik spot Dru sitting at a table with Mags each with a bowl of stew. The others rush over to them.

“Are you alright?” Cora asks Dru.

“I’m okay,” Dru says. “I just had to deal with some things.”

“Is everything taken care of?” Cora asks.

“It’s taken care of. The orphanage was burned down, but everything is settled now,” Dru says.

“Will you be joining us again?” Cora asks.

“I believe so," says Dru.

As Mags and Osrik discuss beef stew and Vera speaks with Nauereen to find out more about Harlin.

Cora asks, “So, what orphanage?”

“My orphanage. I sponsor and a caretaker of all these children who you see, or don’t see, running about,” Dru explains. “That’s where Mags and I used to live."

“What happened? Why did it burn down?” Cora asks.

“Well long story short, my brother Prax told me I needed to take over the Black Trident. I learned all the ins and outs, but learned that there were a few drow including by brother who didn’t love the system they were in and wanted out. Killed a few people here and there and then I learned Jean Luc told everyone I had the Black Dragon mask. Then Bog Luck shows up and makes me an offer for the Black Mask on behalf of the Cult of the Dragon.”

“What was his offer?” Cora asks.

“Anything I wanted,” says Dru. "I told him no. Then the orphanage burned down. I assumed it was Bog Luck. I was mad, I went the the Roadhouse and almost died, but killed a bunch of people, but and Bog Luck is no more.”

“You went to the Roadhouse and killed Bog Luck?" asks Cora

“One of the drow who wanted freedom was a wizard and he flew us there. Nine hours of straight flying. Anyway after that me and the drow that helped me got released and it turns out that my brother actually was the one who burned down the orphanage.

“Why would he do that?” asks Cora.

“Well, I’m under the impression my brother was trying to use the Cult to try to start a turf war with the Black Trident. Did not work so well, the Black Trident’s actual leaders didn’t like it.”

“So your brother is dead?” asks Cora.

“He’s… he’s not a problem,” says Dru.

“What happened to him?” asks Cora.

“He’s a statue.”

“Oh. Should I ask?”

“I don’t… I couldn’t even explain.”

“Okay. So you have no further obligations to do whatever you stepped up to do?”

“No,” says Dru, “But I also cannot interfere with anything related to The Xananthar or the Black Trident. I basically have to stay out of their way.”

“Are they involved in the Cult of the Dragon?”

“Didn’t seem to be," says Dru.

“Okay. Glad you’re safe and back here,” Cora says.

“What about you?” Dru asks. “Anything new with you guys?”

“I’ll fill you in on the way back to Waterdeep Castle,” Cora says.

After gathering her things Dru meets up with the others and is about to set off. Nauereen walks up to Dru and wishes her a safe journey. Before they depart she places a blessing on Dru saying, “Dru chase your goals, remember the Lady aids the chase. Without direction or goals, you soon know the embrace of Beshaba, for those on no set course are at the mercy of misfortune, which has no mercy at all. May fortune find you and your friends.”

Dru feels a warmth come over her and she notices the holy symbol on her crossbow begins to faintly glow. She thanks Nauereen and they leave the tower.

Jean Luc stands nervously and greats Dru as she exits the church. He apologizes for having said the council that she had stolen the Black Dragon Mask and explains that it was a tactical decision.

Dru attempts to hit Jean Luc for all the trouble he caused her, but fumbles her footing and ends up punching his arm. Jean Luc thinks it a playful punch and is grateful she accepts his apology.

On the way back to Castle Waterdeep Jean Luc turns to Vera, Cora, and Dru and asks them what was the nicest thing anyone has send to them.

Dru says, “Oh, look you killed all those people.”

“Oh,” says Jean Luc. “Not really what I was looking for.”

Vera turns to Jean Luc and whispers something privately.

Jean Luc nods, “My that is very lovely.”

Cora shrugs, “Nothing I can recall.”

“Seriously,” he looks at Cora shocked. “Surely Reven must have…”

“I mean,” says Cora with a shrug. “There wasn’t actually much talking.”

Jean Luc shakes his head and asks them to wait a moment as he stops in a wine shop. After a few moments they make their way back to the castle.

7. Seven Swords Mountain
Gamora returns from her talk with Leosin to the War Room to find Reven and Xenara waiting. They comment on her bruises and she gives credit to Leosin’s skill. They soon gather their things and make their way down the path to the Flagon Dragon.

Arriving at the Flagon Dragon Reven pays for a few rounds of drinks and comments how the bartender is likely not even aware there is a portal. The bartender overhearing him notes that he indeed knows about the portal and expects them to pay to use it. Reven drops a few gold and makes his way the closet. He turns the brass ornament on the closet door that resembles a mountain and a sword. He adjusts it and says the words, “Greatness is earned. Effort and understanding is my key and currency.”

A burst of magical light emerges around the door frame and Reven says, “Hope you aren’t afraid of heights."

“Let’s just get this over with,” Gamora says. Nervously clutching her bishop chess piece in her hand as Reven opens the door. Xenara steps through and soon Gamora follows. In a flash, the world around her shifts and an icy cold blast of air nearly freezes her to her bones. Gamora looks and sees a narrow path leading to a massive mountain. Looking down she notices the mountain is floating so high she can’t see the ground.

Behind her Garmora watches as Reven step through the portal’s glowing brass archway. It energy glows brightly and it abruptly closes once he steps through. The sound of the wind seems to grow louder once it does.

Reven leads the way towards the mountain with Xenara and Gamora following. The narrow ledge eventually leads to a massive set of stairs which ascend into the mountain. They begin walking, Xenara notes that there are 969 steps which is an odd number. When they make it to the top an armored warrior is waiting for them.

The solitary figure clad in brilliant polished plate armor stands poised watching their approach. As they approach Gamora notices her red pupils seem so gaze into their hearts and beyond. The guardian’s pale skin is white as snow and in its right hand holds a large red pillow cradling a massive single edged curved greatsword.

“We shouldn’t be here,” says Gamora tightly gripping her chess piece.

“Don’t worry about it,” says Reven. “Seven swords is all about respect, just be respectful and everything will be fine.”

As they reach the top of the stairs the knight is just as imposing standing taller than all of them, “Reven, welcome back.”

“Uh, hi Pillows. Still carrying that thing huh?”

“I told you to stop referring to me with that name,” the guardian says with a snarl.

“We came to see Master Vayer,” says Reven.

“You know the way,” says the armored guardian. Glacing at Gamora it asks, “Who is your friend? Introduce me.”

“Um,” says Reven. “Well this is Gamora…. Gamora this is Lady Pillows…”

With a scowl she steps forward and releases the pillow which floats besides the armored warrior. She reaches out her hand to Gamora, “I am Master Avamir Brightpillar, right hand and sword bearer of the mountain, head instructor of the chamber of Light and Earth.”

Gamora shakes her hand, “Gamora. I rage and break stuff.” Gamora notices a dance of light from the blade. Something inside it seems to swirl and dance, this movement is familiar and soothing.

Reven shakes his head, “I was totally going to do that, you just had to wait a minute.”
Avamir looks at Gamora for a moment an says, “The Master is in his chambers.” She turns her gaze to Reven. “I expect the next time we meet you will shed that childish name.”

“Of course, Lady… Master Avamir,” says Reven with a bow.

Xenara says, “Thank you for letting us pass.”

Avarmir nods, as they walk past looking outwards beyond the mountain.

Gamora watches as the path thins considerably allowing only enough room for one person to pass through at a time. The path goes on for some time but the walls are covered in extensive art. She notices a thin trace of light dancing within the art this light seems to follow them. After some distance they walk pass a grand archway leading into a massive hall. The hall has six different paths with their own grand archways made of different materials. Reven walks straight ahead to a flight of stairs and begins climbing upwards. Gamora looks up to see dozens of overhead balconies. She realizes that they are inside of a building within the mountain, or the mountain is a building.

After several more flights of stairs Reven leads them down a path with more artwork. Several carvings in the wall show warriors in various battles, one shows them fighting around a tree, another fighting a black dragon, one shows a world on fire, another shows a great battle orcs against orcs, a dragon with a demon at its heart drinking from a well.

They stop before a massive pair of iron doors with the design of a single sword shaped into the door. Reven pushes one of the doors open and it swings open with a loud grinding noise.

Before them is a long hall with a red carpet leading to a massive iron throne. Behind it is a glass portal which seems to look out to the sky below. Reven enters and shouts out, “Hello? Anyone here?”

“We should leave,” mumbles Gamora as she nervously enters the room. Inside she notices massive pillars that line the hall, one is a polished black with a white marble beside it, one is a cloudy blue and white gemstone with a solid thick granite beside it, another is a green colored coral with a red and black stone beside it.

Reven jumps up and sits in the metal chair, “Guess no one is home. We can wait.”

“Should you be doing that,” asks Xenara.

“No… no he really shouldn’t.” says a gravelly voice from behind Reven.

“Oh hey,” says Reven. “Didn’t see you there…”

A hand grabs Reven and tosses him out of the seat. The half elf stumbles as he lands but is otherwise fine.

“Of course not, you need to be more aware of your surroundings, always been your problem,” says the voice stepping out of the shadows. Before them stands an aged half-orc, with gray skin is dotted with dark red spots, the hair that remains is gray with strands of black. He wears a dirty and stained robe with a massive necklace of wooden prayer beads. The robes are oversized and make him seem small within them, but his frame is massive compared to the trio.

“Hello Master Vayer,” says Reven lower his head in respect.

“What do you want?”

“I’m looking for Kalu,” asks Reven. “I need her help with my visions…”

“She left,” says Master Vayer.

“Left? Left where?”

“Home.”

“Home? Where’s home?”

“Not here, not your business.”

“Um… How about Mistress Abigale?”

“She’s gone too, when home with her mother.”

“I need to find them," says Reven

“What you need is patience," say Master Vayer.

“Patience,” says Reven stepping close to the old half-orc, “Like when you smashed half the mountain in a rage.”

Vayer snarls his teeth and a flash of anger flickers in his eyes. The old master flicks his finger on Reven’s breast plate denting the breastplate and collapsing the metal onto Reven’s lung restricting his breathing. The half-elf falls over from the blow and struggles to breathe, “Watch yourself fruit fly.”

“Forgive my brother,” says Xenara helping him up.

“Brother? Ash kept that one quiet,” says Vayer.

“Its…. its a new development…” wheezes Reven.

He looks at Gamora and smirks, “Are you new? Looking to test yourself against an old man?”

“My name is Dreadmore,” says Gamora.

“Dreadmore?” The old half-orc chuckles, “Draken did always like the Orcs. Never knew he had a kid.”

“My Dad raised me,” she says her body clenched. “But he is not my father.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” grumbles the old half-orc. He looks blankly at Gamora who stares at him with eyes blazing with anger. He rage seems to spark recognition in half-orc and his eyes go wide and his mouth goes slack, “Oh…oh shit…”

Xenara realizing what is going one helps Reven out of the room to give Gamora some privacy. Once they are gone Gamora turns her attention to Vayer.

“Did you even care about her at all?” she shouts

“Of course I did,” Vayer shouts back.

“Then why did you leave us alone?” asks Gamora.

“I didn’t know! We weren’t together, it was this one time before she left,” Vayer shakes his head. He marches over to the iron chair and lifts it up and pulls a bottle from a compartment underneath. He pulls the cork, “I haven’t drank in almost 90 years.” He takes a long drink and throws the bottle to Gamora who catches it and takes a gulp herself. “So do want a… hug or something,” Vayer asks.

Gamora throws the bottle back at Vayer, “There is nothing that I want from you.”

“Great, so why are you bothering me?” says the old half-orc as he catches the bottle and puts the cork back on it.

“I need answers,” says Gamora. “I have a spirit that told me to seek you out.”

“You’ve been to the Spiritwilds?” asks Vayer.

“Yes,” she says. “A spirit named Wind told me to seek you out. Told me you would have answers.”

“Wind?” Vayer laughs. “Still cryptic as ever?”

“Yes,” says Gamora.

“Wind was my master and showed me into the Spiritwilds and taught me how to calm the red dragon blood in myself and learn to focus myself. It was because of him I learned about the true Ondonti and brought them and their culture to Faerun. When Wind was killed I took his teachings and passed it on the best way i could. Greykaiya was his grandaughter, and she was a powerful leader, strong warrior, and a good friend and student. She left to lead her tribe and find her place in the world. What else do you want to know?”

“How can you do it? she says. “Hide your way from the rest of the world when there are real problems going on. The world is in danger, it needs your help.”

“The world is always in danger,” says Vayer. “Do you want me to go and just save everything? There are things going on right now all over the world, even in other worlds you have no clue about. Are you going to stop them too? I can’t be everywhere, so instead I teach others so they can be everywhere else. Does that make sense to you?”

“I…I guess so.” Gamora admits.

“So what else do you need?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” she says. “We are trying to stop a cult from raising Tiamat. Reven says you have portals we can use to get around.”

“Fine,” he says. “Just don’t abuse them and it’s not a problem. If you want training too I can arrange that.”

“We don’t have time for that,” says Gamora.

Vayer shrugs, “Suit yourself.” Gamora turns and begins to walk out. “You know I was found by a human potion maker, a healer. He saved me from slavery as a child. He loved me and raised me like a son. This man was my father, his name was Graver. Do you understand me? My name is Vayer Graverson. This is what mattered do you understand?”

Gamora nods and walks out of the room. Outside the large double doors she walks pass Xenara and Reven. She opens her hand to see her chess piece is nothing but dust. She walks down the steps.

When Xenara fixes the dented piece of the breastplate using mending Reven gasps for breath. He thanks his sister and sticks his head between the double doors, “Oh by the way we need to use the portals to save the world.”

“Dammit,” shouts Vayer lifting up his massive iron chair with one hand. “I already said you can use the fucking gates. Now get out!” Master Vayer hurls the iron chair with incredible force. It sails across the room with terrifying speed. Reven dives out of the way just in time and there is a deafening impact that slams the iron door shut.

“I think you need to take some of your own advice,” says Xenara.

“Huh, what do you mean?” asks Reven.

“Respect,” Xenara reminds him.

“Oh, this? This is just a thing we do. He loves me. Don’t worry about it.” says Reven. “Though seriously we should leave before he changes his mind.”

“I wanted to check out the library before we leave,” says Xanara. “I need to find something.”
Reven nods, “Let’s meet up in about an hour in the main hall.”

Xenara asks Reven, “are you going to be alright if I leave you alone?”

“It’s me," says Reven. “Of course I’m going to be fine.” Xenara shakes her head at her brother and continues down the stairs heading to the library.

After descending to the lower levels the library is rather empty. Looking around discovers a curly red haired halfling woman in an office way in the back. Her curly hair is lifted in a bun and held by a writing device and she is wearing corrective lenses over her eyes. The halfing has her bare feet up reading a book that is floating in front of her, but what interests Xenara the most is that she is wearing ear covers made of some sort of metal. Xenara catches her attention and she removes the headgear, “Need something?,” asks the halfling. Xenara swears she hears music from the headgear.

“Yes,’ says Xenara. “I’m hoping you can help me with something.”

“Yeah? What?” The halfling woman appeared youthful and innocent, but Xenara realizes there is a maturity and confidence to this halfling woman.

“Um,” starts Xenara, “I am looking for – I don’t quite know exactly. I’m looking for more of an application of magic instead of the theory, instead of the abstract. I’m looking for a way to apply some of the knowledge that I have about spells and how I can use them to certain ends. I’m wondering if there’s a way I can do that –”

“Are you asking for a spellbook?” asks the Halfling.

“I don’t know,” says Xenara, “and that’s why I need help. I need a way to learn not just how to cast spells, but when I’m against an opponent who is not a spellcaster, and they’re just using straight force, a way that I won’t be so subject, so weak.”

“Sounds like you’re having an existential crisis. I’m the librarian not a theraphist," says the Halfling.“I’m Karina Twilight.” She raises her hand.

“I’m Xenara,” and she extends her hand. The halfling intending to clasp her arm like a warrior finds an awkward handshake. “Your not with Seven Swords are you?”

“My brother is with Seven Swords,” she says. “Would you still be able to help me?”

“Yep,” she says. “No rules against sharing knowledge.”

“Can you direct me to a book?” asks Xenara.

“There’s a lot of them over there,” the librarian tells her.

“A specific book?” Xenara clarifies.

“If you’re looking for magic stuff you can find it over here," Karina escorts Xenara towards the back where there are some tomes and many old scrolls. "Most are spellbooks of enemies that Seven Sword put down. The librarians tend to just make sure they aren’t cursed or corrupted before shelving them. Most are pretty basic, some have some nasty stuff in there. Some scrolls have principles and combat techniques, I really don’t know what you want but have at it. Just don’t take anything, copies only.”

“Has there been no other spellcaster who has been frustrated with being so fragile?” Xenara asks.

“Of course,” says Karina.

“What do they do? What can I do?”

“Get over it,” she shrugs. “Ever try push-ups?”

“No,” says Xenara. “There must be a way to use what I understand… it just makes so much sense to me, the way that magic works. There must be a ways to use that to accomplish what I want to do.”

“Maybe. But it seems like you’re going to the wrong school.”

“Where would be the right school?”

The librarian shrugs. “Wherever there’s mages. Wizards study magic all their lives and they don’t ever know how to throw a good fireball. Some people have no talent for it. You wanna’ be stronger? Be a better caster or pick up a sword or swing an axe.”

“I don’t think I would be very good at that.”

“Then don’t worry about it. You don’t want to get hit? Stay the fuck out of the way. It’s one of the basic principles of seven swords for mages, fortify, endure, evade, and situational awareness, or more commonly referred to as ’why the fuck are you standing there?"

“Hmm. Thank you,” Xenara says.

“Sure thing, "Karina says with a shrug. “Is that all you needed?” Xenara nods contemplating the conversation. “Let me know if you need something else,” Karina says as she heads back to the office.

Xenara begins looking through the spellbooks. She notices some to have blood stains on the cover and on some pages with some nefarious rituals. She finds a few defensive spells and begins scribing them into her book.

Gamora wanders the main hall and makes her way into a hall that has designs of skies and with what appears to be lines of wind with some leaf patters.

She notices that there are a few different group of students drilling with different instructors. She watches them and she notices they are fast, bursting into action from relaxed positions. Their movements seem to flow and string together striking multiple targets. They usually practice one against a group. Gamora realizes this isn’t anything at all like how she fights and realizes it’s not about weapon but movement.

As she watches a voice says, “Hi.”

She turns to see behind her a towering darkskinned human. His massive frame seems to cast a shadow over Gamora. He is well dressed in fine noble clothes that perfectly tailored to his frame.

“Hey,” says Gamora.

“Like what you see?” says the man.

“Just curious,” says Gamora.

“New trainee?” he asks.

“Probably not, but maybe. What is this fighting style?”

He points to one group, “Tempest dance, it’s a moving blade technique,” he points to another group. “That’s whirlwind strike and that is stepping drills. Not really my cup of tea.”

“Oh? Are you not you not part of this school?” asks Gamora.

He laughs a bellowing laugh, “I am. Wind style doesn’t really suit me.”

“Who was the original teacher here, for this class?”

The man puts his hand to his chin, “I don’t know. The academy has been around for about a century. I’m not that old.”

“My name is Gamora. What’s yours?”

“Garrak.”

“So what brought you here?” asks Gamora.

“Family.”

“Is it worth it?”

“Yeah I like to thinks so,” says Garrak.

“Everything looks so fancy.”

“Is that necessarily a bad thing?” Garrak asks with a bright smile.

“I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s for me,” says Gamora. “A buddy of mine brought me here, well I don’t know if I should call him my buddy. Everyone here seems to hate him.”

“Who’s your buddy?”

“Reven,” says Gamora.

“Oh yeah. He’s all right,” says Garrak with a smile.

“Oh! You don’t hate him! You’re like the one person I’ve met so far that’s interacted with him that wasn’t like ‘get the fuck out.’”

“He’s all right. I mean, kinda goofy sometimes,” says Garrak. Gamora laughs at this. “He’s a good guy and has done some good work. Maybe it’s a front or something. A layered thing or something.”

“Well, we’re all a little bit oniony,” Gamora says.

“As long as you don’t smell like onions,” says Garrak. “And the smell never gets off your fingers.”

Gamora asks, “So do any of these schools here teach you about spiritual stuff?”

“Well, they all do.”

“I mean, like how to see them and things.”

“Oh, shit,” says Garrak. “You’re talking about the super weird stuff. Yeah, sure.”

“Which one?”

“Well, light deals a lot with magic of all types especially divine magic…”

“I don’t do that shit. That’s dumb and for other people. That’s a lot of investment in somebody I’ve never met before,” says Gamora.

“That’s fair, but not all divine magic is about gods. Nature is infused with divinity and your soul is believed to be the purest divine magic,” says Garrak.

“I just, I don’t know. It’s very confusing. Do you have a brochure?”

“You know what?” he says with a smirk, “Next chance I get, I’ll put one together.”

“I guess I just want to make sure I know how to harness my angry parts?” says Gamora.

“Oh! Fire style!” says Garrak his eyes lighting up. “Oh yeah!”

“Maybe?”

“I teach that!” Garrak says with a big smile across his face.

“Oh! So you are an instructor,” says Gamora. “You didn’t mention that.”

“Sorry, I was more focused on answering your questions,” says Garrak.

“I wouldn’t have guessed since you said you weren’t a fan of this,” says Gamora.

“Oh no,” says Garrak. “We teach six different fighting philosophies here each named after an element. Fire style is across the hall. I’ve taken some classes in Wind but meh.”

“So what brings you here?” she asks.

“Oh there’s a girl I see sometimes,” says Garrak. “I mean, it’s not serious, but…”

“Apparently the teachers here have a thing for their students,” Gamora mutters.

“I mean, we’re all adults,” says Garrak. “It’s not a school for kids. Fights get heated, adrenaline…”

“Never had the problem,” Gamora says. “Um…”

“It’s a solitary fighting acadamy. What else are you going to do?” says Garrak with a shrug.

“I guess I was just curious about Wind because I know a spirit named Wind,” says Gamora.

“Groovy,” says Garrak. “I teach Fire style.”

“So you’re of no help to me,” says Gamora, “But I thank you for what you told me.”

“Sure,” says Garrak. “You want to spar or something.”

“Sure. If I ever decide I need to spar I’ll come by the Fire class,” Gamora says and turns and leaves. She walks down the hall and tries not to think about her encounter with her birth father. And tries to make sense of the division of the school, but after awhile just sighs, “This place is the worst. Why the hell did I come here?”

Reven spends some time talking with some of the masters who he trained with during his time in Seven Swords. He confirms that Abigail and Kalu had left some time ago, but there is no word on where they could be. He finds Xenara in the library writing in her spellbook.

“Yes?” Xenara asks.

“Sorry,” Reven says, “I was just wandering around here. Did you find what you need?”

“Yeah,” she says. “But I’ll need about fifteen minutes to finish this spell.”

“Okay, we’ll also need to get some more information on the portals. I only know a few of them…wait, did you say fifteen minutes?”

Xenara nods.

“Okay… it took me nearly an entire day to write Jump.” Xenara stares at him blankly. Reven sighs, “I’m gonna go.”

Reven leaves the library and heads back towardsthe main hall and asks around for Gamora. He eventually finds her sitting in a dark corner in the Hall of Shadow.

“Gamora, are you okay?” Reven asks.

“This place is such a waste of timeeee,” Gamora says, holding the last syllable. She swears she saw something move just out of sight, but as she turns it’s gone.

“I see you’re alone,” Reven says with a grin, “I wouldn’t know what that’s like. I was surrounded by a lot of people when I was here.”

“I swear I heard something,” Gamora twitches. “So the people you were looking for aren’t here? I’m getting nothing out of this little adventure. Where’s your sister?”

“She’s in the library, finishing up some spells,” he says. “She should be ready to go soon.”

“Well at least we got use of the portals,” says Gamora with strained excitement.

“That’s right,” says Reven. “That was all you.”

“That was all me. High five!” Gamora gives Reven a high five which makes a loud clap. The force makes him wince and he realizes that she may have inherited her father’s strength.

A kobold with dark skin and a mustache appears from out of the shadows right in front of them, “Shhhh! This is stealth training, not high five class!”

Gamora nearly jumps out of her skin. She curses. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

“Observers should be respectful and quiet when watching class,” says the angry little kobold.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know there was anyone in the room,” says Gamora and backs out.

“Reven,” says the kobold staring at him intently.

“Yeah, you…. remember me…um,” says Reven.

“You forgot my name didn’t you…” says the kobold.

Reven takes a step and tries to disappear into the shadows.

“I still see you!”

“I never took your class!” Reven protests.

“Yes…you…did!” insists the kobold instructor as Reven departs the Hall of Shadows.

Xenara finishes copying the Misty Step spell and places the book back on the shelf. She notices a scroll and pulls it from the shelf. It isn’t a spell scroll, but a scroll on Cormyrian War Magic techniques. It’s rather complicated but shows other ways of weaving magic for battle. The information is rather extensive and complex…

“Are you about done?” says Karina.

Xenara turns around surprised by the Halfling, “Um, yes, what is this?"

“Oh that,” says Karina. “That is a scroll of Cormyrian War Wizard principles and techniques. It was donated to the library before my time.”

“I don’t think I could copy this in five minutes, would I. Could I borrow it?” ask Xenara.

“We aren’t supposed to loan out spellbooks, all these texts are not to leave the mountain,” says Karina with a strict face. “But… there are a lot of scrolls and texts. How can anyone keep track of them all…”

“So does that mean…” ask Xenara.

“Someone mentioned portals earlier?,” Karina cuts her off.

“Um…yes, my brother was asking,” Xenara says. “We need to use the portals on our quest.”

“Yeah, Reven. I know Reven,” says Karina with a smirk. “Do you know how to use the portals?” asks the librarian.

“In theory, yes. Is there some kind of manual or list of what each symbol corresponds to?”

“Yes, come along,” says Karina. She walks away and Xenara rolls up the scroll and puts it in her bag. She isn’t one to steal, but it seems to her Karina said it was okay. She follows beind her and finds a table hidden behind a few bookshelves. It is covered with a glass top that protects a map of Torrel underneath. Many locations are marked with arcane runes.

“Ah! That’s helpful,” Xenara says.

“Yeah. It’s probably the thing most folks come to look at the most,” says Karina.

Xenara observes there are 27 locations on the map and draws each rune and writes the name of the corresponding city. She notes that Silverymoon, Waterdeep, Daggerford, Baldur’s Gate, Loudwater, and Khundrukar are the ones found in the Sword Coast.

“It is pretty amazing,” says Xenara. “Being connected with the rest of the world, while being entirely separated.”

“The portal hub has been instrumental for the Seven Sword’s ability to bring aid when needed,” says Karina. “It was commissioned by Ash Nightbreeze when he founded Seven Swords Mountain.”

“What?” asks Xenara.

“You didn’t know?” says Karina. “Not many do.”

Xenara looks at the map an continues to scribe the symbols. She notices that in the heart of Cormyrthar Forest there is no rune but a red X marked on it.

“Why is this one marked off, what is this one?” asks Xenara.

“Oh, we don’t do that one anymore,” says Karina with a somber tone.

“Why not?”

“That was Myth Drannor.”

Xenara nods, “Thank you, Karina. For all your help.”

Karina nods and heads back to her office and puts on her headset.

She finds Reven and Xenara tells him that she’s found the Rune map for the Portals. Elated the three of them head back towards the gate.

“Let’s get out of here,” says Gamora. “We got a succubus to fucking kill.”

As they walk out, Avamir turns to them and nods her head. She asks, “Did you find what you seek?”

“Yes,” says Xenara. “I did.”

“Excellent,” says Avamir looking at Xenara. She begins to flush as she suspects that Avamir can see that she had done something wrong. Xenara feels very guilty about what she has done and opens her mouth to explain, but Reven talks before she has a chance.

“The master told me to take a seat,” says Reven.

“Are you okay?” asks Avamir. Seeming aware of what happened.

“Well, Xenara here is pretty good at fixing things. But, just my pride was wounded a little.”

“No internal bleeding,” says Avamir as more a statement than a question.

“I’m not exactly at 100% but I’m…”

Avamir touches Reven’s shoulder and he feels a warm wave of energy move through him. He feels better.

“Thank you,” Reven says. After a pause, he says, “Avamir.”

She nods her head. “Be safe.”

“Thank you,” says Reven.

Gamora says, “Master Avamir, I just wanted to thank you for allowing us to pass and maybe give you a heads up that a few of us might be returning. Master Vayer gave us permission to use your portals for our mission.”

Avamir points. “The gate is down there and the academy is not open to everyone. If you were given access to the gate system that is fine. But do not abuse the portals, or there will be dire consequences.”

“Fair enough,” says Gamora. “You’re not the only person trying to kill us anyway.”

“No. We won’t try,” says Avamir.

“Okay,” says Gamora.

Reven asks, “Are you sure you don’t know where Kalu is? Just thought I’d ask again. Where Kalu lives?”

“Allow me to frame this in a way I believe you can understand. If Master Vayer spent the last hundred years guarding Kalu’s body while she was imprisoned, do you think he would less protective of her while she is awake? The Master will not divulge this information.” Avamir says.

“Well,” Reven says, “I might counter that with – would she actually be going back home? If it was a secret where she was?”

“That is a good question to ask yourself,” says Avamir.

Reven thinks, “Do you perhaps know where my father is? Have you seen him recently?”

“Your father? The last time I saw your father was when Master Vayer almost choked him to within an inch of his life, about some many odd years ago, right before you left.”

“Yeah, I could see why he wouldn’t want to come back,” says Reven. “Thank you.”

The group descends the stairs of Seven Swords and heads toward the teleportation gate. Gamora starts smacking the panel trying to make it activate, “Take me back to the closet. I want to get back out!

“If you break this gate I will be so mad at you,” snaps Xenara. She looks at the console and checks to make sure it’s intact.

“That thing can take a beating,” says Reven. He steps up the console and begins shifting the runes on the panel.

“I noticed that there was a portal to Myth Drannor,” says Xenara. “The librarian, Karina, she said ‘we don’t go there.’ Isn’t that where we were born? Why wouldn’t they be allowed to go there?”

“From what Dad told me, the place was in ruins,” says Reven. “But still, someday it might be interesting to check and see.”

“I don’t know why they would shut the portal though if it’s just in ruins,” says Xenara. “It’s almost as if it seemed…dangerous.”

“Can you just open the damn door, Reven?” Gamora snaps. “I want to go back to the dumbass closet so we can go back to the dumbass castle so we can kill the dumbass succubus,” Gamora says.

“Waterdeep, got it,” Reven says and he activates the portal, “Ladies first.”

8. Jean Luc and Villia

The party returns with Dru and she sets up her quarters in Mag’s room. Cora, Dru, Osrik, Jean Luc, and Vera meet in the war room to discuss their next move.

Jean Luc states, “Until we know more about where in the Misty Forest we can find the Green Wyrmspeaker we may need to move that down the list of priorities. Rusty’s map might be interesting.”

“First, we need to talk to your wife before we go anywhere,” Cora says.

Jean Luc turns to Vera, “About that orange dahlia – do you think you can – remember in the Serpent Hills? They were beautiful. Do you think you could make me a few of those?”

“Yeah,” says Vera. “Now?”

“Yes, now," says Jean Luc

“How many? Like a bouquet?”

“Three or four,” Jean Luc says.

Vera manifests the flowers and gives them to Jean Luc.

Cora takes note of the number and says, “Five. Flowers should always be given in odd numbers or lucky dozens.”

“That’s a good point,” Jean Luc says. He plucks one of the flowers from the bunch and hands it back to Vera. The druid smiles and tucks it into her hair.

“Are you going to bring her here?” Cora asks.

“She’s still recovering for her injuries,” says Jean Luc. “I was going to go to her room.”

Cora and Jean Luc make their way towards Vilia’s room. As they are about to round the corner Jean Luc turns to Cora, “Can you… just give me a few minutes. To say hello first?”

“Sure,” says Cora.

Jean Luc heads to the door and knocks and waits a few minutes. He knocks again and checks the door. It’s locked. He walks back to Cora who had already made her way towards him.

“She not in? What now?” says Cora.

Jean Luc fidgets, “You have to understand this is something I would like to do politely, with some delicacy. So I’m going to write her a letter and leave it under her door and give it maybe some measure of time. If that doesn’t get a response, I’m going to use Sending. If your interrogation can wait, that’s what I would like to do.”

Cora notices a familiar moon elf woman walking behind Jean Luc as he is talking. Her footsteps are very light and silent. She is impressed by her skill.

Jean Luc continues, “You need to understand, she’s a very, you know… type of person… It will take a delicate touch… She’s standing right behind me, isn’t she?”

Cora gives a nod.

He turns around and sees the tall moon elf with her arm in a sling. She is wearing a loose dress that seems to accent her form and her silver white hair seems to float on air currents. Jean Luc’s heart seems to skip a beat. He takes a few steps toward her and says, “Vilia.”

“Kalyondu,” Vilia greets him.

“Do you have some time? May we speak?”

“I have a few moments,” Vilia allows.

“Should we go somewhere and talk, or…?” Jean Luc trails off. They begin walking toward Vilia’s room.

“Is that Arbor Gold?” Vilia asks, indicating the bottle of wine Jean Luc is holding.

“It is indeed.”

“I thought they only made it in Mist.”

He laughs. “No, no, I think you’ll remember at that party that Bellathor threw?”

“I remember that party extremely well. And it was Arbor Mist.”

“Well my recollection fails me,” Jean Luc says.

“As usual,” she says.

“However, regardless of its quality, it is for you.”

“Thank you,” says Vilia. She takes it with her good hand. When they arrive at her door, she asks, “Will you please hold this?” Jean Luc obliges. She waves her hand and the door unlocks and they enter.

“I have wanted to come and talk to you,” Jean Luc says. “I wrote two or three letters that I threw away. And I’ll be honest, the thing I wanted to say most is when you told the story about yourself and what happened to your companions, I’m very sorry and I can’t imagine what it was like. I’m very sorry for the loss of your friends.”

“Thank you,” she says. The pain of the loss seems to still wear heavy on her he notices.

“My friends and I just spent a week rustling about the Serpent Hills, and we saw these,” Jean Luc indicates the flowers.

“And, why was I not invited?” Vilia asks.

“How were you feeling?” Jean Luc asks, handing her the flowers.

“How am I feeling?” she corrects.

“Yes.”

She smells them and waves a hand. They go into a vase somewhere and she directs a stream of water into it.

“Well, you know how I’m left-handed, so I should be fine.”

“One of the things that I came to say is,” Jean Luc swallows hard, “I wanted to ask you if you would refrain from going back to that awful spot without us. I’d like to go with you, and I have lots of friends who –”

“Why would I throw my life away going to that place alone? When I can back to bring an army.”

“That’s very good to hear,” says Jean Luc.

“But,” Vilia says, coming seductively close. Her voice a soft and sultry. “You wouldn’t have… you wouldn’t try to keep me safe, would you? You’ve always been warm and sentimental, right?”

“I remember an oath to that…” Jean Luc says.

Vilia’s tone becomes suddenly harsh and agressive, “You wouldn’t have told Leosin to bench me, would you? I mean you wouldn’t have actually done something like that, would you?”

“Heavens, no!” Jean Luc protests, backing up toward the window. “I understand that you can’t be caged! If there’s one thing I know about you, it’s that you must roam free. Certainly I understand.”

“Really?” Vilia’s tone darkens.

“I see they left you a beautiful library.”

“Don’t change the subject. It’s obvious I have a good library.”

“I have a friend who would like to come in here and ask you about tactical questions.”

“You’re ducking my question,” Vilia says.

“It was me. Please! Is there anyone else who takes pleasure in irritating you? No! I’m the king!”

Vilia smiles and with a wave of her hand casts Thunderwave. With an explosive bang Jean Luc is ejected out of the window and plummets towards the ground.

Vilia calmly opens the door and calls out into the hallway, “Hello? Jean Luc’s friend? Where are you?”

“Everything alright there?” Cora responds, having heard the explosion of the spell. She enters the room with her hand on her sword.”

“Everything’s fine, darling,” Vilia says. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“It’s Cora.”

“That’s right. Please come in,” she says warmly.

Cora glances at the broken window and a moment later Jean Luc appears in a flash of arcane light. He dusts himself off and Vilia gives him a dirty look.

“Had your chance to say ‘hello’?” Cora asks them.

Vilia sits in the only seat and says, “My loving, respectful husband told me that you had questions for me.”

“Vilia, Cora. Cora, Vilia,” says Jean Luc.

“Oh yes,” says Vilia, “She introduced herself.”

“Yes. Don’t stand by the window,” Jean Luc tells Cora. Vilia waves her hand and the window begins to repair itself. “Don’t show off, dear. It’s unbecoming.” He begins inspecting her library.

“Must you do that?” Vilia asks. “Really? In front of company? You’re going to catalog my library?” Cora becomes visibly uncomfortable. Vilia opens the bottle of wine, offers Cora a glass, who accepts, and pours a glass for herself. She places the bottle on the table.

“Vilia, thank you for taking the time to talk to us,” Cora says and takes a sip of the wine. “So, we have heard at the council your story about the Well of Dragons. I was hoping you would be able to give us more details.”

“I gave a full account of my situation,” says Vilia.

“How did you guys get in?”

Vilia’s voice drops. “We tried… We tried stealth first, but were spotted. We didn’t make it inside.”

“What did you see? Who were you spotted by?”

“Their sentinels. Demons, dragons, Cult members, mercenaries.”

“So not very good stealthing then, you’d say?” Jean Luc interjects.

“No dear. Obviously not very good stealthing,” says Vilia.” Our lack of good stealthing cost the lives of all of my friends. Hopefully with enough force we should be able to break our way through.”

“How strong would you estimate their force is to be, based on what you’ve seen?” asks Cora.

“Seeing as there were several dragons that attacked our position, and not just the tiny little baby ones… it doesn’t look good. And considering that the council can barely get along and decide what to have for lunch, who knows, realistically. I can probably get us in another way, but –”

“Would you think of going back?”

“Of course,” says Vilia, “but I need to find the right tools and it cost the lives of my friends. And I’m not going to let their lives be lost in vain. So, I will find a way.”

“How?”

“If I knew for sure what to do next, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Jean Luc scoffs at the name on one of the books in Vilia’s library. They argue about the author’s credentials and writing style. Cora clears her throat reminding them that she is in the room with them.

“Any other questions I can help with?” asks Vilia.

“I would be curious as to how you think you can find a new way in, and perhaps if we can help you.”

“You’re offering your services? I’m sure, very soon, I’ll find something we can do.”
“I’ll leave you to it,” Cora says. “Thank you for the wine and thanks for taking the time to speak with us.”

“Always willing to give time to a fan,” Vilia says. “Close the door behind you, darling.” Cora leaves. Vilia smiles and turns to Jean Luc, “I’m quite surprised, I half expected her strangle me based on her reputation, but she barely reacted?”

“Have you not met people in your travels who –” Jean Luc says.

“Have a sense of humor? I’m not that famous. And she doesn’t look like one who reads a lot.” Vilia pours a glass of wine and hands it to Jean Luc.

“No, that’s been my burden for these many months,” he takes a drink and sighs. “Is there anything I can do for you, anything that you need?”

“You can tell Leosin to let me do whatever the fuck I want to do. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be crass.”

Jean Luc’s tone becomes firmer, “What do you want to do?”

“Whatever it is I want to fucking do. I don’t mean to… oh I was crass again. It must be the wine.”

“I will,” says Jean Luc. “Just humor me. What do you want to do?”

Vilia answers slowly, “I need to do some research, kill a couple goblins or something. I don’t know, I need to vent. I need to find out how to solve this. I can’t do it cooped up in this old, dirty, smelly castle.”

“I thought you loved old, dirty, smelly things,” says Jean Luc. “Ruins…”

“Well, the good kind, but this is Waterdeep, it’s so typical. Silverymoon it is not.”

Jean Luc laughs. “You’re so right about that. All right. Yes, I’ll certainly rescind my order to my boss. You said to her just now that if you had the information that you needed, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. That’s all I came to ask, is that we do have that conversation. This could be the end. I just would like to be around.”

“Is that why you brought me flowers? To have a conversation with me before I go kill myself?”

“If you need anything besides room to fly, let me know. I hope I see you again shortly.”

“We’re in the same castle,” Vilia points out.

“It’s been too long. Good day, madam.”

“Good day, sir,” says Vilia.

Jean Luc leaves the room. To himself he says, “God damn fucking sexy bitch. God damn.” He casts Sending to Bellathor, and asks, “Do you remember that party in ’67 when you had that excellent cask? Was that Arbor Gold or Arbor Mist? It’s Jean Luc, by the way. Hope you’ve had a great 22 years.”

The response comes, “Oh fuck, Jean Luc! How are ya’ mate. Yah, it was Arbor Springs!”

Jean Luc says to himself, “Oh, you’re so right! Oh well, another time.”

Meanwhile Osrik spends the time repairing Leosin’s door and later cast divination. He ends the ritual asking, “Where he might find the succubus.” He sees a vision of the moon set, the sun rise, the sun turns blood red, and blood spills from the sun dripping on a stone floor.

Osrik realizes the floor’s patterns are similar to ones he has seen in Castle Waterdeep earlier that day. He needs to tell the others, but he tries reading his religious text as he waits.

9. Harlin’s House.

In the war room Vera and Dru sit waiting for everyone else to return. Vera casts divination while she waits and asks, "Where might we find the Green Dragon in the Misty Forest?” Her vision starts to fade away and she hears animals, as though she is in the forest. It suddenly stops and becomes eerily silent. She sees a waterfall appear before her.

Once the vision passes she turns to Dru, “Do you have any experience with divination, or omens?” Vera asks.

“No,” says Dru. Vera describes what she saw in her vision. Dru asks, “Did it seem familiar?”

“No. I’ve never been there,” Vera says.

Cora returns to the war room after her visit with Vilia. Vera turns to her, “Cora, can we go now?”

Cora takes a breath and nods, “Sure."

“You finished your thing?”

“Yes. You know he might not be there still," Cora says.

“Yes, but if he said he was going home…”

The two of them borrow some horses and ride to Harlin’s house and arrive twenty minutes later. The house is the same, and Vera notes the outline of the second door Osrik had constructed and hid. Vera and Cora walk up to the main door and knock. The dog barks in the back of the house and Cora looks at the street cautiously.

Vera calls out, “Harlin?” and knocks a second time.

After a pause, Riane says, “_You have to stop with this obsession with this man._”

“Isn’t there something in there that I’m supposed to get?” asks Vera.

“_How am I supposed to know_?”

“You told me that.”

“_No, I said that there’s something interesting in there_.”

“Same thing," snaps Vera.

“_So you intend to use him to get what you need inside?_" asks Riane.

“Of course not. But I have multiple reasons for being here.”

Cora senses something amiss and the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, after a couple minutes, she tells Vera, “I don’t think he’s here.”

The door opens with a creak. They see a small, ten-year-old boy open the door.

“Hi,” says Vera. “Is Harlin here?” She notices the boy has greenish markings like a tattoo around his neck and arms that seem incredibly familiar to her.

“Hello,” says the boy.

“Tengri?” Vera asks tentatively.

“Hello. How are you, child?” says the young boy.

“I’m okay. What are you doing here? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” says Tengri. “Come inside.”

“Oh, this is Cora,” Vera says, indicating her friend.

“I’ve heard of Cora,” says Tengri.

“Cora, this is Tengri, my… master?” Vera says.

“I’ve heard of you too, I just expected you to…” Cora trails off.

“Be a direwolf?” asks Vera. “Yeah.”

“Vera and Cora enter the home and Tengri closes the door behind them. The two of them notice there is no physical lock, just runes that create locks all around and seal the door.

“I’ve been wondering how to find you, or if you were even alive.”

Tengri says, “Yes, I’m alive.”

“How?”

“Reincarnation. It’s complicated. It makes you come back to life as a different body. Although it seems to work differently for me. Because I was Awakened, I guess the spell didn’t know what kind of consciousness to… I don’t know. But here I am. Ten years late.”

“Ten years late?”

“It should have just given me a new form, but I don’t know why it did it this way.”

“You weren’t just reincarnated?”

“No, I was physically reborn in this body as an infant,” Tengri tells the half-elf. “Very traumatic.”

“Did your consciousness not come until later?” Vera asks.

“No, my consciousness was fully developed.”

“Then why do you say ten years late?”

“Because it took me ten years to get here.”

“To get here, to Waterdeep.”

“To grow to this. An infant does not have the strength to walk. I waited until I was strong enough to run, and then I ran. Here.”

“Why here?” asks Cora. At the same time, Vera asks, “why did you come here?”

Tengri answers, “I saw it.”

“Of course,” Vera says.

Cora begins walking around the house.

“I would not do that, young lady,” Tengri says to Cora. “This house has very, very many traps.”

“It used to be her aunt’s home," says Vera.

“I fully understand that and I know this used to be her aunt’s home,” Tengri says. “It’s one of the reasons it was chosen as a safe house.”

Cora asks, “Why was it chosen?”

“We are being very cautious and we figured this was a place that most overlook, and in a lot of ways, it was done for your benefit,” Tengri says.

“My benefit?” Cora asks.

“Well, you wouldn’t want anyone else buying this place, renovating it and turning it into a shop or anything. At least this place is familiar to you, or at least that’s the story I was told.”

“Who decided this?” asks Cora.

“Yes, who’s we?’” asks Vera.

They see Harlin come in from the next room, wearing no armor, just shorts and a loose shirt. He walks in a weird awkward circle. He says, “Tengri, seriously I’m tired of cleaning up after you…” and looks at the women.

“H-hi ladies. This is awkward. Um, hmm. Didn’t tell me… why didn’t you wake me up?”

“I just thought this would be be amusing, that’s all,” says Tengri.

“Hello, Harlin,” says Cora with a laugh.

He stammers. “Hi.”

“Hi!” says Vera.

“Hi,” says Harlin. “Let me put some pants on.” He walks out and comes right back, now wearing pants.

“I’ll give you two a moment,” Cora says, and walks off to look around the house.

“Harlin, I have a lot to tell you,” Vera says. “But I have one very important question for you first. Do you have my dagger?”

“This?” He pulls it out of a sheath and hands it to her.

“Thank you. Why did you keep this?” Vera asks.

“It was important,” Harlin says. “And I didn’t want to leave it lying around in some old Dwarven cave.”

“What have you been up to?”

“Oh, this and that.”

“Two days. It was supposed to be two days.”

“We got into some trouble.”

“What were you up to?” Vera asks again.

“I was helping out an old friend with a thing. Tengri kinda helped.”

“How did you connect with Tengri? How did this happen?”

“About a year ago,” Harlin says, “I met him in a village and he told me that he knew you.”

“I’ve spent basically the last eight years looking for both of you, do you realize that?”

“Here we are,” Harlin says. “I wish I had better… furniture?” Vera notices there’s not really anywhere to sit. “I mean, this is really meant to strategically… lock people in and it’s a kill zone, really, if we ever get attacked. This place is really not very comforting.”

“So, do you actually live here then?”

“I mean, I sleep here sometimes. Just kind of always moving, doing stuff, trying to keep busy.”

Vera asks, “Are you going to join us, with what we’re up to now? If you know about it?”

“I know what you guys do. Um, kind of got this other thing going on.”

“Want to tell me about it?”

“Maybe later. Don’t want to distract you guys from what you’re doing. I mean the whole Cult of the Dragon thing, Tiamat, fire, kinda hell-on-earth kind of thing. That’s kind of important. Don’t want to distract you guys right now.”

“I made a commitment to helping out with that,” Vera says.

“I kind of did the same,” Harlin tells her.

“Something different?”

“Yeah. I mean, I went to help Reven out because he needed the help. So how have you been?”

“It’s been an interesting eight years," says Vera.

“We should talk about it. I bet you have a lot of stories. Maybe I can tell you some of mine," says Harlin.

“I’m sure I owe you a drink or something," says Vera with a smile.

Harlin laughs, “Oh, a few I’m sure.”

“Okay, well, are you going to be around?”

“Probably not," says Harlin.

“No?”

“Well, we have Sending Stones. That was a good idea,” Harlin says.

“Didn’t really help much when Dru was the first person I hear.”

“Yeah, I didn’t really know how to open that one. So… yeah.”

“Why this place?” Cora asks Tengri. “Who decided?”

Tengri shrugs, “Why is any place a place at all?”

“Be real,” Cora says.

“I am real,” Tengri insists. He calls out to the other room, “Hey, Harlin. Cora’s asking questions.”

Vera looks at Harlin. “We can come back to this later.”

“I’m sorry, I did not mean to interrupt,” Cora says.

“That’s okay,” says Vera.

“I thought Tengri would have the answers,” Cora says.

Tengri shrugs. “I’m human. I learned to lie.” He walks away.

“So, I just had a question of why this place,” Cora says again. “And who chose it?”

“I’ll tell you,” Harlin says, “ if Selvriane waits outside.”

“Really?” asks Vera.

“I mean, I’d rather you don’t… find out,” Harlin says.

Vera thinks. “Fine,” she agrees and walks outside.

Harlin turns to Cora. “Okay, you want to know?” He knocks on the floor and the floor disappears, revealing stairs going down. Cora looks at Harlin and cautiously descends the stairs. There is a bright flash of light.

About twenty minutes later Cora exits the building with Harlin close behind her. Cora seems confused.

“Are you okay?” Vera asks.

“Yeah, I’m okay," says Cora as she mounts her horse. "I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” she says to Vera. She nods to the two of them and rides off.

“Are you staying?” Harlin asks Vera.

“Let’s go get a drink,” Vera says.

“Yeah, okay," says Harlin. The two walk off arm not say anything and just walk silently enjoying each other’s company. They enter a local pub and take a seat and orders some drinks.

“Why was that so awkward?” Vera.

“I don’t know,” Harlin laughs. “It really shouldn’t have been.”

“I guess it’s been eight years,” Vera says.

“Ten,” says Harlin.

“Oh, yeah. Well, it’s a different amount of time for each of us,” Vera says. "How did you find Tengri?”

“We just crossed paths," Harlin shrugs.

“It’s very strange,” Vera reaches out her hand to Harlin and makes a show of her ring. He smiles warmly and takes her hand. "So that riddle that Jean Luc asked about?”

“Oh yeah,” Harlin says. “It was a trap and basically the room was flooding and I had to figure out how to open the door. There was this weird riddle and basically there was this deck of cards and I had to find the right one and use it as the key. It was really intricate. A pain in the ass since a wet card gets floppy and makes a bad key, but I managed."

“Yeah, you’re alive and that’s great,” says Vera.

“Well the key made the entire floor cave in. Threw my back out, but I’m okay," Harlin laughs, “I’m here.”’

“Yeah, well, you’re a little older,” says Vera, “But you’re still pretty handsome.”

“Oh, thanks,” says Harlin. “Well, it wasn’t all completely for nothing. I have something for you.”

“What?” asks Vera. Harlin pulls out a fist sized opal shaped into a lotus flower. “Whaa…What is this?”

“I think you know what that is,” Harlin says. “It was really hard to get. Whoever hid it didn’t want it to be found.”

“How did you know about this?” Vera asks.

“There’s things that I learned over the last twelve years. Tengri helped me find it. And you need all four pieces to put it back together.”

“So you had two, and I had two, and now I have…” says Vera.

Idiot! What are you doing, snaps Rianne.

“Oh. Hmm," Vera blushes.

Harlin laughs. “You’re really not good at keeping secrets.”

“No,” says Vera. “But I shouldn’t have to keep any from you.”

“That’s fair,” says Harlin.

“So this is for me. I may have this?”

“Of course. Unless you’d rather not have it," says Harlin.

“No, I think I should," says Vera.

“I think so, too,” says Harlin.

“Thank you, but why… you understand what this is?” asks Vera. “I guess you must think very highly of me.”

“No,” says Harlin. “I mean, yes. It just that you’re supposed to have them. At least that’s what I’m told.”

“Tengri told you this?”

“Yeah,” says Harlin.

“Well, I certainly trust him. Although, it’s weird to see him as a ten-year-old boy now.”

“You should see him when he gets mad.”

“Does he throw tantrums?”

“Something like that," says Harlin.

“You gonna tell me about the thing you showed Cora?” asks Vera. “I don’t understand why I’m being kept out of the loop on this.”

“You probably don’t want to know,” says Harlin.

“But why… you think I just can’t keep a secret…”

“Well, I think you’ve already proved that point to me," laughs Harlin.

“Or it’s just too dangerous…”

Harlin puts his squeezes Vera’s warmly and says, “It’s fine.”

“Alright, so any other adventures you’d like to tell me about, or anything specific?” Vera asks.

“Well, I can tell you about what I found in the Undermountain,” he laughs while he orders more drinks. They talk for what seems like hours and later in the evening they go back to Harlin’s house for the night.

10. Evening at Castle Waterdeep

Osrik frustrated with his studies on Dwarven religion heads out on horseback to the Plinth, the Interdenominational Temple found in the Trades Ward. He finds a dwarven priest of Moradin, “I’m just looking for guidance, help."

“What do you want to know?” asks the dwarf.

“I’m just trying to understand this," he holds out the holy text. "And I’m not getting it. I need help,” Osrik says. “I thought I could do this by myself, but…“

“Well, son,” says the priest. “You’re holding the book upside down." Osrik looks down at the book shocked, and the priest laughs a boisterous laugh, "I’m just kidding.”

“I’ve tried almost everything,” says Osrik. “You know, my path to the Wanderer hasn’t been a straight one.”

“But, it’s the Wanderer. It’s not supposed to be straight," says the priest. "It’s not about the results, no. It’s about the journey. ”

“Thank you for your time," says Osrik. “I’ll have to meditate on that.”

The priest grabs Osrik’s shoulder and asks, “want some ale for the road?”

Osrik accepts and the priest pours a generous mug full for Osrik and himself. The priest toasts, “Morndinsamman!”

Osrik repeats, “Morndinsamman!” and drinks.

He leaves the temple and donates some gold and walks back to the castle leading the horse contemplating what he has learned. After a few mintues he sees a red fiery streak in the air heading towards the castle. This looks like Mag’s flight spell. Osrik mounts his horse and picks up the pace back to the Castle.

After departing from Harlin’s house Cora makes her way back to Castle Waterdeep. Reven, Jean Luc, Gamora, Dru, and Xenara reunite and discuss the discoveries of the day.

Jean Luc after acquiring some pineapple from Herald summons Bruce so he can enjoy. Mags rejoins them, soon followed by Cora, and not long after Rusty. They have dinner and Leosin joins them, they discuss their strategy about hunting the Succubus.

While they all agree that the Misty Forest is a priority they don’t have any information and feel that traveling to Loudwater and checking the map may be more of a leap of faith that they hope will pay off. The party is divided about either course of action but eventually agree to move forward after handling the Succubus.

Osrik discusses his vision and he interprets it to mean that the Succubus will be within the wing of the castle close to the Open Lord’s office, based on the patters of the floor in his vision, and it will be a few hours before sunrise based on the setting of the moon and rising of the sun.

They agree to rally before morning to search for the Succubus.

Gamora stands up and turns to Osrik, “Oh! Yeah! Also need a new black bishop. When you can."

Osrik takes the shaping hammer and strikes the wall which shapes a small piece of it into a dark stone bishop and he tosses it to her.

Gamora catches it and smiles, “Thanks, bye.”

Jean Luc walks up to Cora is standing by Reven, and takes her hands and says, “Vilia, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known and you fill my heart with something more than joy. Have a good night.”

He looks right at Reven with a serious glare and walks away.

Reven looks confused and turns to Cora.

Cora simply smiles and shrugs.

11. The Seductive Fiend
1st day of Hammar 1490 DR the Year of the Star Walker’s Return

It is in the early hours of the morning that the party wakes and searches the halls of Castle Waterdeep. Osrik finds the familiar floor pattern Using his divination magic he casts Locate Creature and sense a fiendish presence down the hall where the Neverwinter delegation is housed.

Osrik identifies the door where he senses the fiendish aura. Jean Luc positions himself by an outer window facing the rear window of the room, in case the succubus tries to escape.

Cora listens by the door and hears something rhythmic can’t figure out what it is. Osrik indicates that the succubus is still in the room. Cora looks through the keyhole and sees a pool of blood. She hears gasping and decides not to wait any longer. She slams her shoulder into the door and Gamora reacts with her and the two knock the door off it’s hinges.

Before them lies a Dwarf dead in his own pool of blood, and hanging by a noose from the rafters is an aged man in robes. Cora and some of the others recognize this as Iarno. The old mage is trashing about gasping breathlessly for air.

Between them is a beautiful fiendish woman with a long tail and long batlike wings. She filches at the party’s entrance. Cora attacks the succubus with her bow leaving grievous wounds.

Gamora leaps and cuts the rope that is hanging Iarno and he falls in a heap on the ground. She then closes the gap and strikes the succubus but she evades the blow.

Osrik lifts his hand and releases a bolt of brilliant light that strikes the Succubus. Her body is wrapped in divine light and Dru slides in with Hummingbird drawn, the blade singing its death song as she drives the blade deep into the succubus heart. The creature shreeks and bursts into dust.

Jean Luc enters the room in a flash of arcane light and are soon joined by Xenara and Reven.

Osrik checks on the Dwarf, who appears to be a delegate from Mithral Hall. The Dwarf has been dead too long for Osrik to revive with revivify. ,

Gamora takes the rope off Iarno, who is gasping and retching. “Are you alright?” she asks.

“Thank you, yes,” says Iarno between gasps of breath.

“What happened here?” Cora asks.

“Oh, hello,” says Iarno. “That thing got in my mind.” Osrik casts Cure Wounds on Iarno. “Thank you,” says Iarno.

“Did she do this to him, or did you?” asks Gamora.

Iarno sighs and looks at them all. He says, “I am embarrassed to say this was me. Maybe it was better if I ended up dead.”

“I mean, did she make you kill him?” Gamora asks.

“She made me do things I should not have been doing,” says Iarno.

“Like what?” asks Gamora.

“This seems to be happening a lot to you,” says Cora.

“Well, I do have a weakness for the ladies. The creature did something to my mind, and I don’t understand how, but she compelled me to do things I normally would not have done,” Iarno says.

“Such as?” Osrik asks.

“Relinquish information,” says Iarno.

“What kind of information?” asks Gamora.

“Council notes,” says Iarno.

“If we know specifically what she was after, we might be able to find out who she was working for and who she was giving this information to,” says Osrik.

“Anything, everything. She wanted me to give everything. She wanted me to tell her information,” says Iarno. “I met her at some brothel.”

“What did she look like?” asks Osrik.

“Not very inspiring,” says Iarno. “Blondish hair, brown eyes, a little bit of meat in the right places. Pretty enough to catch my interest but probably wouldn’t catch too many people’s eye. This poor soul, this Dwarf here, he seemed to know what was happening and confronted me. And I… was compelled to killed him.”

“How did you end up on the rope?” Cora asks.

“She told me to kill myself,” Iarno says.

“How do we know you were under her sway? You do realize you’re going to have to try to prove any sort of innocence, right?” asks Gamora.

Iarno sighs. “I am well aware of that. This is not going to go well for Lord Neverember. He already has enough shame on his house right now. Damn it, there goes my career. Well, I guess retirement is inevitable for everyone.”

“Do you know who she was giving this information to?” asks Cora.

“No idea,” says Iarno. “Likely our enemies.”

“Do you know if anybody else was under her control like you?” asks Cora.

“Allow me one bit of snarkiness, Madam Cora,” says Iarno, “If you were a master infiltrator or spy of any sort, would you tell your targets anything?”

“Perhaps if she was as confident in herself as you are,” Cora says.

“That’s a fair statement," he concedes. "No, she was not as confident or as foolish as I am,” says Iarno.

“What did our deceased friend say to you?” asks Osrik.

“It’s hard to remember. I don’t know the exact words but I think he was threatening to expose me,” says Iarno.

“How did he find out?” asks Cora.

“I think he stumbled upon my meeting and followed me,” says Iarno. “Thought I was being suspicious, I don’t know. Ah, hello gentlemen.” Some guards enter the room.

“We seem to have found a leak,” says Gamora. “And a murderer.”

“Alleged murderer,” corrects Iarno, “I was compelled. But, yes.” He unties his belt and throws it on the ground. “I am going to submit until this is all clarified.”

“That is for the best,” says Osrik.

Iarno allows himself to have his hands tied and follows the guards begin to escort him out of the room. “Thank you again, Madam Cora, for saving my life,” says Iarno.

“I’m the one who cut you down!” protests Gamora.

“I remember well, Madam Gamora. This is going to be a terribly bad day,” says Iarno on his way out.

The group looks around. There is just a pile of dust. Reven collects some. Out the window, the sun appears to be beginning to rise. They discuss whether or not Osrik’s vision has come to pass.

“You used to be able to do that thing where you could talk with the dead,” says Gamora. She asks. “Are you able to do that today?”

“I cannot. I did not pray for that spell this morning,” Osrik tells her.

“Ugh. This is going to cause a war inside this building,” Gamora says.

Osrik leaves the room to get someone from Mithril Hall. He tries to explain the situation with the succubus but as expected this causes a mix of outrage and fury among the dwarves. “This man was compelled by a fiend, which was saw. It turned to dust. The man seemed genuinely remorseful," Osrik tries to explain but it seems to have little sway with them.

“I need to see that shit with my own eyes,” says Brawnanvil as he pushes past to see what has happened.

As the attention begins to mount Dru sneaks away unnoticed. Others eventually make their way back to their quarters while Osrik makes a full detailed non-partial report and signs. None of the other party members seem interested to sign it. interested.

Jean Luc after the encounter leaves and dashes to Vilia’s room, he arrives out of breath and knocks on the door. “Vilia, if you’re in there, please open the door.”

A moment later and door opens, the lovely moon elf stands barely clothed in a nightshirt her hair windswept as always.

Out of breath, he continues, “I just… we had been concerned that there was an infiltrator…. I was worried about you… and I just wanted to make sure you were okay… but you’re fine, so I’ll leave you alone…I just wanted to make sure you were okay… is that what you wear to bed now? When did you start wearing nightgowns? That’s…“

Vilia grabs Jean Luc by the front of his robe and pulls him inside the room and the door slams shut.

Back in the war room Gamora enters saying, "The wormy little shit was right. He gets to live for another day. He said one of the Thayans might have summoned her, he doesn’t seem to like them much.”

“Who told you that?” asks Cora.

“Eh, I went down there,” Gamora says. “I kinda went down there to gloat a little bit. ‘Cause we killed that thing.”

“Do you think that was smart?” asks Cora.

“Probably not,” says Gamora. “But I don’t really care anymore. I’m sick of this building! It does make me a little nervous that fighting her wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. But we’re also going to get some information out of it.”

“I’m still not convinced that Varram is being completely honest with us, “ says Cora.

“Neither am I,” says Gamora.

“He’s still working for the Cult of the Dragon," says Cora.

“We’re going to leave him in that cell to rot forever. It doesn’t matter," says Gamora.

“He could still be communicating with them. This could be just a ploy,” says Cora.

“How?”

“Sending?”

“Isn’t he wearing shackles that prevent him from doing magic?” asks Gamora.

“I don’t trust it,” says Cora.

“I mean, neither do I,” says Gamora.

“Perhaps I’m just being paranoid,” says Cora.

“No,” says Gamora. “He’s a shitty little shit.”

“Certainly, to be alive this long,” says Cora.

“I don’t care if we kill him right now, or we put him in a prison cell,” says Gamora. “So now we have to play by the rules. I mean, what else are we going to do with him now?”

“Keep him there,” says Cora. “Alright, so, have we decided where we are going next?”

“I don’t know. Anywhere but here,” says Gamora.

“Tiamat’s still gathering her army while we’re sitting here,” Cora says.

“The lords here need to gather their armies, too,” says Gamora. “But all they can do is fight with each other. They’re pretty much useless. We don’t exactly have many points to go on, except going to the Well of Dragons and Misty Forest and going after that girl who disappeared three years ago. Short of chasing down Talis, and running her through, which seems as bad an idea as going to the Well of Dragons, I don’t have any ideas.”

“What’s the deal with the map?” Dru asks.

“We don’t know what was on it,” says Cora. “Perhaps there is something important there as it was sold to us by Jokel.”

“If it gets me out of this castle, lead the way,” says Gamora. “I’m down for treasure hunting.”

“But we don’t know how this will help us against Tiamat?" says Xenara. "I’m just concerned if this goes into the category of allowable for the Seven Swords Portals.”

“It should be fine,” says Reven. “Abuse means running from the law or things like that.”

“Yes," says Leosin. "Generally, you use it for bad things, that abusing.” says Leosin.

“Thanks for clarifying,” says Xenara.

“Also,” says Leosin, “you might want to make sure that not too many people know how to use them.” He looks at Reven. “You may want to make sure that none of them know how to activate them. Also good job with the Succubus. Good night."

“Do you know how to activate them?” asks Xenara.

“Of course, I’ve used them a few times already," says Reven.

might be talking about the closet,” Gamora says.

“We need Rusty and Vera and then we can head out,” says Cora.

“Where is Vera, anyway?” asks Gamora. “She disappeared like forever ago.”

“Harlin’s,” says Cora.

“Where’s Jean Luc for that matter?” asks Mags. “Look, it’s still rather early. Lets get a bit more rest before we head out and give everyone a chance to get their stuff sorted.”

As some depart Mags pulls Dru aside, “I forgot to mention since I haven’t seen you in forever, but one of the jobs these guys gave us was to go find someone you know.”

“Okay?” says Dru.

“Maccath,” says Mags.

“Are we going there now? Is that what this is?” asks Dru.

“She’s some sort of expert on dragon lore and ruins and a member of the Arcane Brotherhood,” says Mags.

“Ruins is probably correct,” says Dru.

“Well, she went somewhere up north in the Sea of Moving Ice and they never found her again,” says Mags. “I’m not sure if you knew about Maccath.”

“No, I didn’t," says Dru. "I don’t know what will happen if our paths cross again. I can’t necessarily keep the promise that I made you. I said if I ever see her again… but who knows. Circumstances may have changed.”

“Yeah,” says Mags. “Probably for the best. People change.”

“I understand, but sometimes they don’t,” says Dru.

“And then you kill them," sighs Mags sarcastically. "I’m sure you’ll dot the right thing, regardless. Just wanted you to know,” says Mags.

“Thank you. I appreciate the forewarning,” says Dru.

“But it doesn’t seem like anyone is interested in going there anyway…” says Mags. “I guess you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“That could be good,” says Dru.

Xenara retreats to her room and washes the Gauntlets of Ogre Strength and dons them. After an hour her body swells with physical strength and muscles strengthen and swell and she feels stronger than ever.

12. Epilogue

Selvriane’s eyes snap open and her green eyes turn to see Harlin asleep. She squints her eyes menacingly and opens her hand a white burnning blade forms in her hand humming in and out of synch with the world around her. She thrusts her arm to drive it in his chest, but her body freezes in place.

Harlin’s eyes snap open, “Riane, why do you have to do that?”

Vera blinks her eyes and is awake, “What a strange dream.” She mumbles. As Harlin enters the room with breakfast. “Morning love, some food before you go off and save the world.”

Next: Season 3. Episode 8 – Below the High Moor

Previous: Season 3. Side Story – Heart of the Black Trident

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