Corellday, Septantus 21, 1017 A.G. – evening at Hammerfast
As I stated in my last post, Kuiperia is clearly determined to have the first word and is ascending the podium to speak, without first requesting permission.
Meanwhile, back in The Keep at Gardmore Abbey, Morthwyl and Groa are still grappling with their Orc situation who believe Morthwyl to be the reincarnation of the famous Orc Chieftain, Grok Warhammer, killed in battle ages ago. Ywik is helping to reinforce those beliefs and also helping Groa and Morthwyl relate to the Orc contingency. However, Groa is not fond of her believing, her to be a power-hungry, self-centered and demeaning to Groa whenever she can. Through Ywik though, they learned that these Orcs came from Stonemarch when they revolted against Bakrosh who had allied himself with the Starspawn. They feel like outcasts, they could be tortured or executed if they return. Groa, having prayed to Melora, thinks there actually could be a connection between Morthwyl and the dead Orc Chieftain.
Just as Groa finishes her prayer and is discussing her visions with Morthwyl, a spectral figure of a noble Knight appears before them. He bows and greets Groa and then Morthwyl, addressing him as “Lord Saltheart”. He introduces himself as Commander Brigandine and says he is one of three Knight Commanders of the Phantom Brigade. The Phantom Brigade are all those slain over 150 years ago, not only at Gardmore Abbey but all over Nerath. This faction has been waiting in the Nentir Vale for their leader to be reborn once Moonbane has been restored to its rightful heir. He says “It is good to see you Lord Saltheart, although you look a little different in your present form.” Morthwyl says he is sorry, but does not remember him, so the Commander tells Morthwyl of how they met. The Commander says “your name is Grok Warhammer but I knew you as Lord Saltheart.” Morthwyl asks him if they are bound to Gardmore Abbey, whereupon he says no, but they have made the Abbey their temporary headquarters until the rightful heir of Moonbane arrives. He agrees to aid Morthwyl as allies but not subjects. Fair enough. An Orc named Stormrage betrayed Grok and so they are bitter enemies. A lot of discussion occurred between Morthwyl and the Commander about the Phantom Brigade coming to Hammerfast. Morthwyl knows that Hammerfast has a history of letting Orcs and Phantoms and others use the Temple of Gruumsh in Hammerfast for worship. A treaty was signed and they have free rein of the town as long as they behave. Groa asks if there is anything she and Morthwyl can do to help and the answer is a mystical – “The sword will take care of itself.” And something about finding its lost leader.
Commander Brigandine requests a private audience with Morthwyl and Groa but Ywik wants to listen in. The Commander says no, he wants to talk to just the two of them. She’s really pissed about that. The Commander wants Morthwyl to relocate the Orcs to Stonefang Pass and make them vow not to interfere in the upcoming war. Morthwyl feels he could control the Orcs and use them as allies in the coming war but he tells the Commander that he and Groa need to talk and pray and will get back to him in an hour. So Groa prays for guidance and Melora shows her a vision of an albatross which speaks about “a massive storm comes behind me. The Orcs must be taken to a safe haven swiftly, either at Hammerfast or Stonefang Pass.” In the meantime, the Commander has persuaded his fellow commanders to inform the Orcs that they may be given a free pass to Hammerfast but they will quickly be dispensed with if they provoke any trouble. Morthwyl thinks they could stay in the Temple at Hammerfast but he wants to let the Orcs decide where they would like to go. When he asks them, they say they will leave the decision up to him. So he finally decides to take them to Hammerfast. When he and Groa report back to the Commander, he says that he and his fellow commanders can take them to Hammerfast by “shadow walking”. Shadow walking is the method our old elephant friend Tantrum used under Dame Mari Roemer’s direction, whereby they go thru the Shadow Fell to move anywhere about 5 times normal speed. So he says it will only take them less than a day to get to Hammerfast. The plan is for everyone to stop just outside of town and either Morthwyl or Groa will go into town alone and give advance notice of what is coming. So the plan decided on, Morthwyl, Groa, the Orc contingent and the Phantom Brigade all step into the Shadow Fell and begin their shadow walk to Hammerfast.
When I left off my story of the rest of us, we had entered the Council chambers at The Black Cat. Kuiperia, entering the room and without so much as a “by your leave”, strode right up to the podium to speak first. Ungus, standing next to me, whispers something about he is afraid of what they will say. I frown at him. Just then we hear a gasp. As we look back at the podium we see Kuiperia slump to the floor unconscious! Ungus and Itzehl rush to her side as I quickly scan the room, looking for any attackers. Ungus performs a stabilizing heal spell on her as the Council members stand around pronouncing that the thing in her system still is wreaking havoc with her. The Council members want to draw a sample of her blood for study. Initially Ungus says no to that but then has second thoughts. I speak up and say if it is not a life-threatening urgency, they should wait until she wakes up and get her permission. So we decide to defer the meeting until the 28th. When Ungus questions why they would schedule it a whole week ahead and not tomorrow, they tell us it is well known that the Blue Scarabs and friends jump ahead in time one week each time they sleep. So Ungus and the Council discuss that situation with Ungus asking them if they have any more idea on what is causing our time jumps. They do not. But after requesting blood from us since they can’t get Kuiperia’s, Ungus lets them have some of his. I politely decline. As they are doing that, I decide to play a mind-game with Ungus. I whisper into his ear, “That Peli, he was a pushover!” Startled, he accosts me, saying he will keep an eye on me. I tell him I will keep “all three of my eyes on him!” He does a quick introspection and feels I am playing with him but is not quite 100% sure of that. When they are done with him, he leaves and goes up to the bar for a brew. All this was done in front of the Council who tell us it is obvious we all need our rest and dismiss us. When Ungus is done with his drinking, we take Kuiperia and head back to The Blue Grotto where we put Kuiperia to bed. Ungus says he has done all he can for her at the moment and that we just have to let it run its course. Since The Sending can’t be cast for another 24 hours, Ungus says he is going to brew some magic food to help heal the Unicorn at Pomora Wood. So he asks Itzehl what the Unicorn eats beside barley and asks her to assist him. But once again they get into an argument about when we should go there. Itzehl and I both tell Ungus that we need to rest and in the morning the Council will have something to say about that. Ungus grumbles something unintelligible.
Late that night, Groa arrives and we greet her warmly. With a big hug to her, I tell her that Itzehl and I are so glad to have a fellow Fey creature back with us and now all three of us can go to Pomora Wood! She says hold on a moment, we have a couple dozen Orcs and others outside town, needing safe passage to the Temple. She says Morthwyl and the Phantom Brigade are waiting down the road. So Ungus and she discuss how they got here and then we all head over to the Temple where we find that Morthwyl and the Orc contingent, being uneasy out in the open, are already there, having taken another shadow step right into the Temple! The High Priest there is willing to shelter them but warns Morthwyl to keep them in line, if not they will be dealt with. (I think he has been hearing that a lot lately.) The High Priest thinks they should pretend to be pilgrims, try to blend in with others coming and going and hide the fact they are living there. So Morthwyl and Ungus decide to go talk some more over a stout. Meanwhile Groa, Itzehl and I talk about Pomora Wood and the Fey Wild and then Itzehl feels she needs to go to her room and meditate. Then I tell Groa more about what is going on in Pomora Wood and what happened to my fellow Eladrins, Berrian and Analstra Velfarren, and the Unicorn. Then I also head to my room to meditate while Groa goes outside and “plants” herself while she prays. She asks Melora what is more urgent and again the albatross appears to her, saying Ungus’ visions are to be honored but must be tempered with the clarity that the Council of Sages will provide.
Back to Morthwyl and Ungus. It has become clear to Morthwyl that Ungus needs to sleep but he is afraid and refuses to do so, saying he will make coffee and just stay awake. Morthwyl is convinced Ungus will hurt himself if he does not rest. So of course the two stubborn Dwarfs argue until Morthwyl figures out how to fool Ungus. He challenges him to a drinking contest. Morthwyl wins each round of drinks and shortly Ungus passes out! So Morthwyl puts Ungus to bed and then goes to bed himself. With all of us either sleeping or meditating, the “night” passes uneventfully.
The next “morning” Etupio anxiously greets us telling us we have been away yet another week and it is now:
Moraday, Septantus 28, 1017 A.G.
Ungus asks Etupio what’s been happening to which Etupio tells us something is going on down at one of the town gates. Seems like a score of Dragonborn from Dythan’s Legion are approaching and are preparing to speak to the townsfolk. Morthwyl asks what has been going on at the Temple. Etupio says last he heard they were panicking, so Morthwyl says he will stop there first and join us at the gate to see what is going on. Really concerned about this time jumping thing, I meditate a moment on how long this will continue and I feel, to my great dismay, that it will continue every time we sleep until we have caught up with the alternate timeline we saw before – in other words for about 25 or 26 more weeks until we timejump to Aprantus 11, 1018 A.G. Itzehl checks in with Kuiperia who is no better but no worse and still in bed, unconscious.
At the Temple of Gruumsh, Morthwyl meets with the High Priest who said the Orcs had become too agitated and unruly without his presence and the Phantom Brigade took them to Stonefang Pass. So Morthwyl then waddles down to the gate where Ungus, Groa and I are mixing in with the townsfolk, making our way to the front. We stop on the bridge, seeing the Dragonborn leader of Dythan’s Legion speaking to the town leaders and the greater population in general. He is accompanied by 6 Archers and 13 Warriors scattered around. He is standing on top of a makeshift podium and delivers a demanding, insulting, arrogant but eloquent speech. (See separate post.)
When he finishes speaking, amidst the townsfolk grumbling and yelling back, he has his people deliver a wagonload of food and exotic spices as a bribe for the townsfolk. Then he starts to leave, but Morthwyl yells back at him, delivering his own brilliant speech. “You filthy lizard! You dare come to the seat of Dwarven power, and presume that the people of Hammerfest will surrender to your so-called Lord? Take a message to your Emperor – Hammerfast shall never be his! So says I, Lord Morthwyl, also known as Grok Warhammer, and a member of the party that slayed the Dragon Mekkalath. I suggest you take your leave now, and never return!” Ungus also feels compelled to yell.
The whole time this Dragonborn puke had been speaking, it was all I could do to hold back, biding my time. I’m fingering my bow and I look over to Groa who nods to me, indicating we can take them and she has my back. So when Ungus finishes his babble, I step to the side, gaining a clear sight to the leader and fire one of my potent arrows into him calling upon one of my new powers as I do so. I yell out “Namaarie!” evoking a primal magic which wraps around us giving us advantage in the combat.
A lengthy and costly battle begins but we all work well together as always. I concentrate on the leader with Ungus and Groa casting awesome spells, slowing and/or immobilizing most of the enemies. While Morthwyl is methodically killing the Archers, he shouts “RUN!” to them a few times, trying to intimidate them. After I bloody the leader, Groa finishes him off and then kills most of the warriors and psychically damages an Archer. With five cowardly Archers escaping, the battle ends and we take some time to catch our breath.