Rise of the Runelords VA

From the Journal of Redgar Ironhand #25
Redgar Heads into the Runeforge

The next step has been taken. We have found the Runeforge, opened its gate, and stepped through to the other side. Before us is a mystery left untouched for countless generations. We persevere.

The journey here was not an easy one. On my advice, we sailed north from Magnimar, landing at Brinewall before moving inland. Aramil’s deciphering of the Scribbler’s rhyme led him to believe that the Runeforge’s gate would be located on the shores of Lake Stormunder at a place called Rimeskull. After some days on horseback, we found our way up into the mountains to a clearing with seven statues, each representing one of the seven runelords of old.

We were joined in this task by a fellow from far to the South, a man named Masud. Masud is Osiriani, and worships an insect god that I had no previous knowledge of. On our journey to Brineall, I got some time to speak and pray with him, and he seems a valorous sort. He follows us into combat simply because it is the right thing to do. I remember a time when it was so easy for me. I admire him for it.

Our party had just begun to decipher the riddle of the statues when we heard a titanic roar from the cliff face above. Swooping down on us was a great white beast—a dragon named Arkhryst the villagers had told us was long passed. He descended upon us in a cloud of biting arctic mist and immediately began battle. Our party was not prepared for his onslaught, nor for the aura of his evil presence. Like rats, we scattered before him in a desperate attempt to escape. Razan was trapped beneath the beast as she ran, and suffered grievous wounds as I rushed to save her. In the confusion, I was able to summon a winged servant of Torag to distract the dragon from its attacks. The angel’s brief struggle with the dragon occupied him for just long enough for us to escape.

We regathered that evening, feeling battered, but not yet defeated. Knowing what we did of dragons, we knew that if the battlefield were properly laid that we would have a chance. Aramil and Coram decided on a strategy to shield our spellcasters, while Razan and I focused on the tactics needed to weather the flurry of his attacks. The next day we returned to the circle of stones and summoned Arkhryst from his cave. He swept down on us, and the battle began.

I can not fully recount what came next—the field of battle was frantic and most confused. I called upon Torag’s power to shield our hearts from the beast’s aura, and summoned his power to heal my allies as they took punishment. While I did this, Razan, Coram, and Masud threw themselves into melee with the monster, and Aramil and Syphacia battered it with spells and keenly-aimed arrows. As the battle went on, Arkhryst realized that he was outmatched. In a final act of spite, he grabbed Masud in one claw and took again to the sky. As he rose hundreds of feet in the air, Syphacia loosed a final arrow to follow him. It caught the dragon beneath the jaw, killing him before he could escape.

The dragon fell in a thundering crash—Masud still in its grasp. I ran forward, hoping desperately that I could apply some healing to the boy before it was too late. Razan thought quickly, and pulled him from its grasp to me. I know his heart was stopped when I spoke Torag’s prayer to him. But even so injured, Masud was returned to us, and I was grateful.

With the dragon defeated, we spoke words of magic to the statues, and were granted seven keys to use in the runeforge’s gate. We then journeyed up the mountain, where we found combat with two enormous Earth Elementals. Through wit and skill, we were able to defeat the monsters. From there, we ventured into a cavern that descended deep into the mountain. The others were able to descend a hidden stair, but my clumsiness found another route down by way of a sharp, icy incline. I was barely able to save myself with an airwalk spell before I tumbled into unfathomable depths.

At the bottom of the ramp, we found an enormous room with seven pillars and the bulk of the dragon’s hoard. We took all we dare before turning the keys in seven keyholes discovered by Syphacia. On doing this, the mountain shook, and a shimmering portal appeared in the air. We stepped through into the entry hall of the runeforge, a plane separate and distinct from our universe. The portal closed behind us when we were through. What happens next will be ours alone to witness.

Honestly, I long for the challenges to come. This place is dangerous I am sure, but at least I know the right path here—the right way forward. Here, there are no cowardly hostage takers or armies of brainwashed minions to obstruct us. There are no politics, no craven opportunists, no confusion. There are no innocents that will suffer if we choose the wrong path or take too long. The burden is squarely where it belongs—on us. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so free.

I must go now, there is much more to do. I will write more later, if I have the chance.

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Chronicles of Coram #20

For once, I'm not writing my thoughts in a flury of ill-fortune.  Which probably means this will be the last time I write. I sometimes think our group does it's best in the most desperate of situations. Perhaps we get overconfident against some creatures.  You'd think we'd learn by now.  Or, at least, you'd think I would learn by now. But enough of that.

 

We travelled north to find the Runewell. We eventually found what had to be the proper location, including statues of the head of each Runelord.With some shockingly good teamwork, we figured out how to obtain the keys. However, each time we found a key, it made a sound which eventually brought an enormous white dragon to find us. When it initially arrived, we all ran screaming. We were finally able to regroup, camp, and try again.

 Redgar was able to protect us from the fear, and as a group, we began to fight the dragon, with Aramil and I hurling spells at it, while others battled it, and Redgar strove to keep us alive. It fell, almost taking our newest companion, a strange adventurer, with it.

Once we climbed the stairs to the entrance, we found ourselves fighting several earth elementals on stairs.  We were also able to defeat them and descend into the entrance of the Runewell, deep inside the mountain.  There were found not only columns for us to use to enter a portal, but a huge hoard of treasure from teh dragon.  So now we rest, and I am sure Aramil, Redgar, and I will attempt to identify some of these items.

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Aramil's reflections
Sandpoint, Runewell, Coram

Things have been very eventful since my last grim recollection. By the will of Torag, father has been raised from the dead and I even had time in Sandpoint to visit with him some. He is obviously troubled by the incidents but he was happy to see me and close neighbors dropped by to drop off flowers of small bags of wheat. I had seen my cousin Coram resurrected but it was not the same. There was less of the awe and wonder and more of a smug self-assurance. I swear by Callistria that there is a darkness in my kin. I hope it does not come out to haunt us when we are least expecting.

On more positive notes we sailed North to find the Runewell. After getting our asses handed to us by an old and powerful white dragon we retreated to recharge and retool our spells. Coram and I both had good ideas on the spell front that seriously weakened the creature. It went down, almost taking our new friend with it but apparently he has great resiliency. Makes sense for someone who worships that nasty little god.

The treasure and on to the inside of the runewell. Adventure awaits!

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Chronicles of Coram #19
Death Become Him

I think death follows me no matter where I go. Yes, I suppose that sentiment is maudlin, even for me. But it just seems so true. I'm tired of death all over the place, so much of it senseless.  It seems like the only way I can escape the pain these days is back in the bottom of a bottle.  But, I've come so far from the totally self-absorbed alcoholic I was to where I am now. It seems it would be an insult to those we've lost to go back to being that person again. It would just cheapen everything.

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Razan's Account, the Eleventh
Limping, but moving forward

I have lost one friend and reclaimed another. I am not sure how I feel today.

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Syphacia and Mallisun #12
Syphacia Returns Home

Alestra frowned at her daughter as she emerged from the back room of their cottage. She said dryly, “Syphacia dear, black is the color for a funeral.”

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From the Journal of Redgar Ironhand #24
Redgar Broods in Sandpoint

Another of us has fallen. Piotr is gone.

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Death
Aramil's troubled journal

I can’t believe it is possible to feel any worse than I do right now. First Jaben, then father, all in the same day! With Jaben there was nothing I could do to save him. He was already invisible which in almost all instances should have protected him. But that bastard giant stepped from behind a corner and vaporized my love with a disintigration ray. There is nothing that a cleric of Callistria with his limited power could have done to deflect such a ray from a mighty caster. He did not stand a chance.

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Requiat in Pace
Piotr returns to his roots

The moon lit up the cloud of dust on the Lost Coast Road, giving the small collection of horses an otherworldly air. A dozen riders galloped down the road to Sandpoint, six ahead and six behind an ornate ebon carriage. The torches at the north gate were guttering when they came through. When the carriage passed, they went out.

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Razan's Account, the Tenth
Of Cowards and Fools

The next room contained a golem and a cauldron, which sounds like the name of some tale of fancy from our childhood, doesn’t it? That and the monster of stone and flame in the wall would have made a fine story to keep wide-eyed would-be heroes awake in their beds at night. And – if I live long enough to marry – perhaps it may yet. Of course, such a tale will not likely end with my suggestion blinding Syphacia. I know little of arcane magic. It never even occurred to me that the cauldron could do such a thing, never mind that it would do so merely by looking into the acrid smoke. It was not the last time I sent her into danger that day. I would not feel so bad about it if I were her general. But, of course, we have no general. Foolishness. That lack will kill us yet.

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