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==Notes from the Gathering in the Icewash Valley, Volta - 14 August, 610 ==
Notes Compiled by Lady Rillien Nol’Feredir
- Early in the day, a shrouded creature (name later discovered to be Alastair) attacked town with a number of bone golems. The shrouded individual threw many Vampire Charms. From what I witnessed, it was hurt by Awaken and Dispel and healed by Silence.
- Under the shroud on its face, the individual had a third eye. Cynnir could see the third eye through the shroud, and it was said that a few adventurers had encountered and apparently been Enslaved by this individual at a previous gathering.
Omi: Both Anyasha and Nightshine were enslaved to him.
Anyasha~In July of 609 this creature caught me alone in the main hall. After paralyzing me he pulled back the shroud over the third eye in his forehead and cursed me with a fey transformation. I was commanded to find and bring to him "any member of Zarkym". When I was caught and the magic dispelled I died from the removal of the curse. I have not yet learned why he was particularly interested in Zarkym.
Note - Find more information regarding the shrouded individual at the end of the notes on the visions.
- In town at the same time was Archmage Jeraxxon Denton, an Archmage of Lake Hollym. His Hollym title is the Archmage of Retribution and Revivification. His tower is nearby to where we were gathered, and he has many wards and protections cast upon the area. Lady Sorari had a detailed map of the area showing the Valley, Icemeet to the north, and the Archmage’s tower close by.
Omi: For months there have been undead attacks in the Valley, but they were mostly undirected. More recently they have become focused on Sorari and his towers.
- Archmage Denton came to town to place three blue nodes in response to the appearance of the shrouded individual. The Archmage said that the shrouded one’s arrival in town had created a hole in reality and that the presence of the nodes would keep the shrouded figure from being able to easily return.
Note - Several members of Winterborn spoke with the Archmage at more length, and are invited to add any additional information gained to these notes.
Telaris: I believe that he said that Archmage Denton was repairing the damage done or the holes opened by Alastair coming through, but that returning would be as easy, or as hard, as it was originally for him. In other words, the magic the Archwizard performed had no prophylactic effect.
Omi: The magic was supposed to keep his minions from being able to follow him through. Denton said that the one who tore the holes would still be able to travel through at will, though. The three nodes he put down were to shut down three holes in space that he could sense.
- The adventurers are invited to attend a fae party hosted by Countess Annaday Blissborne of the Summer Court. The adventurers are individually greeted and welcomed to the party by the Countess. From what I saw, Hospitality was extended in exchange for a pledge to defend the Countess if she was attacked in the pavilion where the party was held - though this might have been different depending on the person and if they came to a different arrangement with the Countess. Count Evercold of the Winter Court, Jack Frost, the Alder King, Jonathan Bonesprayer and several of his Redcap brothers, and Bowen of the Brotherhood of the Iron Circle were also in attendance.
- There is discussion of the 5 golden fae apples and their importance. The fae believe that when they have all 5 apples together, they can return to Caer Afaloc, their ancestral homeland on the Fae plane.
- During the party, we were told that in preparation for the winter that is coming, the fae will be having a Great Hunt later in the day - the Grey Hunter, a female wolf creature, was in charge of the Hunt. Boons were offered to adventurers who volunteered to take part in the hunt and be glamoured as one of the three prey in the Hunt - fox, stag and hare. Adventurers were also invited to take part in the Hunt as hunters, and the hunter who caught one of the prey would have their lands fortified.
- We were also told at the party that a large fae magic showcasing scenes from the past would take place. The magic, once invoked, would cause scenes to play out throughout the day, and the adventurers would be glamoured so that we could take part in the scenes and help them play out correctly. The fae hope the magic will give us hints of where the remaining apples are, and the state of Caer Afaloc. If the scenes are not played out correctly, it will cause disruptions and ripples in the magic and might cause the scenes to end prematurely, or worse.
The Magic Invoking the Visions of the Past:
- The Count tells us that in order for the magic for creating the scenes to be invoked, an inscription written in a lost language must be inscribed on the ground at the four corners of the pavilion. We are also told that this inscription must not be seen by the Alder King, so we have to stand in front of/over it once it’s written. Here is the inscription, with its translation into Common:
- The Count tells us that this magic to see into the past is from an older magic whose language is now lost.
- The Fae realm overlaps Tyrra. Over Volta, the corresponding land in Fairie is a frontier, where the keep of Caer Afaloc sits. The fae courts we’ve met wish to reclaim this part of their lands - they don’t know why they’re barred from traveling there.
- The Countess and Count walk among the inscriptions on the pavilion floor and recite the words. Jack Frost tagged along, but did not recite the words as far as I heard.
- All the adventurers wishing to take part held hands and were led in a line outside to the lightly wooded area next to the pavilion. With our hands still clasped, we were led by the Countess in a circular movement for some time, as the line of people crossed over and under each other and as we sometimes got our arms quite stretched out. Both Baron Trivanus and Archmage Drake had their masks on during this time.
- Once this was finished, we broke up and waited for the visions to begin.
The Visions, Part I:
- A man in white with a sword and shield and a silver coronet addresses us. He is High Lord Eversong, and he has been tasked by Oberon to come to these unclaimed lands and find the power source which has been detected at its center. The orders are to claim these lands for the Seelie Court and fight off the foes we encounter.
- There is a white circle of power behind him that is present throughout the day’s visions.
- Lord Eversong is here now before us [it appears he sees us as soldiers] to summon the four warbands to work together in this task. He calls forth the four captains of the warbands to give them their orders.
1) Warband led by Lieutenant Icedark (played in the vision by Trivanus). Lord Eversong promotes him to Captain of the Court of Winter and then instructed Captain Icedark to take his warband to the northern point and hold there against whatever foes are found. Lord Eversong also comments to Icedark, “Good luck finding your wife.” This is meant to reference Capt. Icedark finding a woman to marry, not recovering a wife who has been lost to him. Lord Eversong later suggests Lady Stark as a potential wife for Capt. Icedark.
2) Warband led by Captain Tybalt (Lord Eversong comments that this Captain is a Sarr, so Sorari plays this role). Lord Eversong instructs this warband, from the Court of the Wild to go to the southern point and hold there.
3) Warband led by Captain Lorrek (Eversong says this warband is less experienced, so Maverick steps in). Lord Eversong sends the Knight of Alders (who we know as the Alder King) to go with this young warband from the Summer Court and to hold the eastern point.
Swift: I spent an extended time speaking to the younger version of the Alder King (Alder = Birch, so King of the Birches, or King of the Forests). He was the first knight and most trusted advisor of Lord Eversong. As the “time” in the visions passed, the Alder King noticeably changed, being more and more tired from all the death and loss, until her was extremely jaded during the final battle of the night.
4) Warband led by Lady Stark (played by Anyasha). Eversong directs this warband from the Seelie Court to go to the western point, and told Lady Stark that she is needed because the fae intend to build a civilization here, and she is very cultured and will help with that. Stark, I’m told, is an old Voltan family name.
- The four bands go to their assigned points. While holding there, each group fought elemental creatures summoned by the Fomoire.
Note - There was some uncertainty throughout the day as to whether we fought or encountered Formoire. We did not fight them directly, only creature they sent to attack us.
Telaris: The Formoire/Formoir/Fomori are Fey themselves. However, the beings we fought were risen up from the earth against us by the Formoire.
Swift: The Alder King explained that the Formoire were "ugly giants with extremely powerful land bonds to the earth." At the end of the day, he said that none of us fought them directly. Most of what we fought were animated elementals that served them, controlled by the earth bonds. Some had the ability to absorb elemental attacks and then adapt to use the element in attack and shield form. When asked where the undead in the final vision were coming from, Alder King hypothesized that after the Formoire were "claimed" by their true named and killed, the reason they came back as undead is because of their land bonds to the earth, the earth itself was calling them back.
- After the four groups have successfully fought off the Fomoire’s creatures, Lord Eversong calls for two scouts from each warband. They are sent to the center of the lands to investigate and report back. The rest of the warbands are instructed to stay at their points and defend the area while watchtowers are constructed.
- A woman has been found in the center of the land. Lord Eversong says he plans to go himself to investigate, and he wants all his forces with him when he goes in case it’s a trap.
- The woman is Lady Mournwin, a spider sylph. She has white skin, black hair, and black webs on her face. We approach her and speak, and she seems fairly pleasant. She says that because we have not attacked her, she considers us her guests. She lives in an orchard, with spiders all around. She says that the Fomoire don’t trouble her orchard.
- Around this time, Lord Eversong announces that the watchtowers are complete. [It’s not precisely clear how much time has passed in the vision.]
- When Lord Eversong and Lady Mournwin meet, he seems a bit struck by her and asks her several times if they have met before. She says no. He tells her he was sent by the lord of the courts (Oberon) to create a foothold here.
- She invites him to stay. He says he plans to build a wall around the orchard, and a keep overlooking it, and that the keep will be called Caer Afaloc, for the apples in the orchard. Caer means “castle” and Afaloc means “apple” in the old language.
- Lady Mournwin says why she came here. “We [spider sylphs] don’t like to be with our own kind, and I didn’t wish to live at the courts, so I came here.” She says that though the Fomoire don’t bother her, the land around the orchard belongs to them.
- Lord Eversong asks us out of her hearing what we know of spider sylphs and when we says we don’t know much, he asks us to try and find out.
- Lord Eversong is cautioned by the adventurers that he should be wary of Lady Mournwin trying to charm or enthrall him, which might be why he thought he had met her before. He says it would take a very powerful glamour to work on him.
Telaris: When out of her earshot, Lord Eversong was Awakened and this caused a noticeable change in his mannerism towards her.
Omi: Lord Eversong also left instructions that we shouldn’t disturb the orchard or the web.
- The Lord sends the Knight of Alders back to Oberon to report our success in creating a foothold in this place and to obtain information regarding spider sylphs.
- The adventurers asked Lord Eversong if he knows a master craftsman in this place where we can go to get our broken gear and weapons fixed [trying to see if the Tinkerer exists and is known in this time/place]. Lord Eversong does not know of such a master craftsman, nor one who is good at tinkering with things.
Telaris: Lord Eversong agreed to give Shoshoto the name of the architect of Caer Afaloc and the Towers. Later, he gives this name as Alastair [see above and below].
- Fiddle then goes to ask Lord Eversong a question about undead, and it causes the Lord to kneel on the ground in pain and then he fades away. We assume this is because the question went against the vision and caused it to end abruptly.
The Brotherhood of the Iron Circle:
- Having spent time throughout the afternoon meeting with Bowen, a plan was construed for members of the Iron Circle to go with Bowen to find Jonathan Bonesprayer. Bowen would wound Jonathan, Joanathan’s father would sense his son being attacked, and would send Redcaps to defend him. The plan was that the Iron Circle would be there waiting to attack the Redcaps, catching them fairly off-guard and hopefully killing them and freeing Jonathan from the constant torment and injuries inflicted by his brothers.
- Members of the Iron Circle and a few others invited to journey with them traveled with Bowen, found Jonathan, and put the plan into action. In the end, one Redcap was killed, and another Redcap and Jonathan fled. Jonathan repeatedly ran himself through with a sword in order to heal his brothers while they were fought.
Dinnertime Meeting Regarding the Corrupted Barrier:
- Towards the end of dinnertime, Glavar of the Azure Flame was able to gather everyone required for a meeting to discuss the fate of the corrupted barrier over Volta. Included in the meeting were the adventuring Hollym Archmages, the Voltan Guild leaders, baronial court wizards, and select others.
- Glavar told us that at this time the assembled group should decide on a course of action to be pursued regarding the barrier. He gave us the three options that seemed like the best possibilities. He said that one course of action should be decided on so that the necessary research and preparation could be done by the Azure Flame before the adventurers gather in Volta again, so that when we do, we can get right to work implementing the plan:
Option 1 - Shut down the barrier, returning the energy creating the barrier to its source/foci, corruption and all. This would hopefully preserve the integrity of the barrier while it’s “off”, and we’d then try to find a way to cleanse it and possibly reactivate the barrier later. Downside is, we don’t know exactly where the barrier would retract to if depowered, and once retracted into one small place, the concentrated corruption might quickly damage that land/the people living nearby and would be a prime target for people looking to use the corruption energy, like possibly the Walkers of the Dark Path, Daniel Redpath, or the Horde. Also, no one is currently known to be aware of how to reactivate the barrier.
Option 2 - Attempt to destroy the barrier in its current state. This could be disastrous, as we don’t know what would happen to the corruption if we blew up the barrier while it still hangs over Volta. All the corruption might fall onto Volta and blight the land, and the corruption might also explode onto the planes, blighting the Elementals as well. This, however, is thought to be the quickest of the three options. Destroying the barrier while it is up is something several, if not all, of the Elemental planes are looking for ways to do as well. They do not want the corruption leaking onto their home planes. This would also potentially cause the barrier energies to rain upon Volta, regardless of their corruption, which could be very destructive.
Option 3 - Cut the corrupted parts out, so that the barrier would be weakened/incomplete but still somewhat useable as a defense against Elementals. The hope being that the Azure Flame could direct strength to certain parts of the barrier to its weak points if it is attacked in the future. Downside is that this option would likely take the longest, and could take a very long time. It’s also thought that once we cut portions of the barrier out, there is no means of replacing/restrengthening it, and it will then always be diminished. We also don’t yet know what we’ll do with the corrupted parts once they are remove from the barrier.
- As we discuss the possible options, Glavar reminds us that we must focus on one option and move forward with it. The Azure Flame will not have the resources for pursuing two possible plans, even if we wished to pursue one primary path with another as a back-up.
- After much discussion, it is decided by the majority that Option 3 is the one we want the Azure Flame to research for us. Drake, Cynnir, and Rillien state that their first choice would be Option 1, for the reasons that it keeps the barrier intact, and would likely be quicker. But for the sake of picking one and getting to work on it, the group chooses Option 3.
The Visions, Part II:
- We journey back into the vision and witness a creature with ratty black hair animating a castle to attack Lord Eversong’s warbands. To many of us, this creature looks very similar to the Tinkerer, but we have the strong impression that though they look similar, it is not him.
- Lord Eversong directs the four warbands return to the points they are guarding and prepare for the attack. Each is fought by an animated watch towers, and our warband (northern point) also fought an accompanying watery construct.
- We battled the watchtower and cut it down several times, but it continued regenerating and attacking us. The warbands are called to meet in the center area and regroup, possibly to retreat. Though it was discovered that the towers had writing on them, written in the same language as the inscription we used to invoke the magic of the visions.
- We learned that the inscriptions on the towers included the tower’s name, and to get it to stop attacking, we must cut the tower down and claim it. Lord Eversong orders us back to our points and we fight the towers again, in order to cut them down and claim them. This is done by the Captain of the warband calling out the tower’s name and claiming it for Caer Afaloc.
- This was accomplished and the watchtower constructs ceased their attacks.
Omi: I know the tower in the North was called ‘Winter’s Frozen Keep’. I know of someone else who has the other names written down, I’ll try to get them from her.
- There was discussion involving Lord Eversong of whether such a thing, claiming something through its name, could be used on other things as well, like living beings. Lord Eversong tested this by calling out to Rawrgentir (sp?) of the Fomoire [the one who animated the castle?] and claimed him as Lord Eversong’s enemy.
Telaris: For the sake of phonetics, Rawr-Genn-Tier is how I specifically heard it.
Omi: My notes say ‘Rargentir of the Femori’ for another attempt at spelling.
- We discovered that the Tinkerer is a Fomoire.
Telaris: I think this was from a previous discussion with the Tinkerer in Unity.
The Visions, Part III:
- We return into the vision and find that the area around Caer Afaloc is still being attacked. [It would appear that some time has passed.] Lord Eversong and Lady Mournwin are in the white circle of power, and the Lady is holding two swaddled infants in her arms. (The children were born during the preceding battle.) Lord Eversong’s forces, the adventurers, have withdrawn from the watchtower points and are gathered around the circle.
- Lord Eversong has three of the five golden apples on the ground at his feet, and is looking confused as to why the other two are missing. He speaks to Baroness Cynthia, seeing her glamoured as a close friend of Lady Mournwin’s named Lady Elestra. Lord Eversong senses that Cynthia is holding one of the apples and asks “Lady Elestra” for it. She gives it to him.
Omi: The spelling I have for that is Illustra, but I might be wrong on that. We (Lady Stark’s group) were given specific instructions to make sure she survived when we were fighting undead.
- One apple is still missing, and while the adventurers fight Fomoire with their backs to the circle, Baron Martimus recalls seeing an apple sitting alone in the woods earlier in the day and runs off alone in the dark to retrieve it. He comes back with it, and all five apples are together.
- Sensing that Caer Afaloc is lost and that we must either stay and die or flee, Lord Eversong bestows the five apples on individuals gathered around him.
1) The Lord gives an apple to the Knight of Alders and tells him to take it east to the Nimmandahn Wood (sp?). The Lord also instructs him to keep the people safe.
2) The Lord calls to Captain Tybalt (Sorari) and asks her to name someone to carry the second apple. She designates Q, and Q is tasked to take the Kath Palluge (sp?) [are these fae cats?] and travel to Loch Morian (sp?) to keep the apple safe there.
Omi: I spelled it Kath Palu, and these *are* the fae cats. I believe Anym has encountered them before.
3) Captain Icedark (Trivanus) is instructed to take the third apple north to the Njornfield Iceflow (sp?). The Njornfield Iceflow was described earlier in the day by Count Everdark as a place of forgetfulness.
4) The Lord tells Captain Lorrek (Maverick) “the man I spoke of, find him”. This man, I’m told by Swift, is named Allistair, and is apparently the shrouded man we fought in town that morning. Lorrek is told to give the apple to him and to tell him to cross Loch Morian and go beyond to keep it safe.
Swift: During the final battle, Capt. Lorrek (Maverick) was instructed to “find and guard the architect after the battle.” He was told the architect’s name was Alastair and he has three eyes. He builts the watchtowers and someone told me they thought he designed the castle also. Earlier, someone (does anyone remember who?) was told that the key to understanding who Three Eyes was would be found in understanding the forces he fought with, i.e. the bone golems. After the battle, Lord Eversong sent Capt. Lorrek to bring the apple to Alastair. Clearly as a skilled builder he only had bones left to work with…
Omi: It was Sorari who told us the key to understanding Alastair.
Note - Alastair seems to be angry about something, but we’re not sure exactly what. When spoken to in the morning when he attacked the town, he said, “I was not invited.” And we think that means not invited to the fae party which took place. When asked who he is angry at, he said, “It doesn’t matter, you’re all the same.”
5) Lady Stark (Anyasha) is given an apple and told to go west to keep it safe there in what is apparently a desert. Lord Eversong warns her that her fine clothes won’t fit in well in that land, so she’ll have to get some plainer clothes. He tells her to wait with the apple in the desert “until wise ones come to you”.
- Lady Mournwin then turns to Lady Elestra (Cynthia) and holds her twin infant sons across the circle of power and puts them in Lady Elestra’s arms. The twin boys are named Everlight and Evercold. Lady Mournwin, remaining inside the circle, tells her friend to keep her boys safe.
- Lord Eversong, from inside the circle, then addresses his assembled forces (the adventurers) and tells us we should escape this land, we should make it out and continue to live. However, Lady Mournwin cannot leave this place. The orchard is her home.
- Lord Eversong and Lady Mournwin have a touching moment where she tries to Charm him, and he chuckles and tells her that her powers hasn’t worked on him in quite some time. [I believe the implication being that he has stayed with her because he loves her, not because she has kept him Charmed.]
- Lord Eversong then casts an Arcane Divest on her while she is inside the circle, making it impossible for her to leave under her own power. He then steps out of the circle to face the Fomoire forces which are continuing to attack.
- From inside the circle, Lady Mournwin cries out to him to return, that he had promised to give her a daughter, who the Lady could teach to weave webs. Lord Eversong continues to fight, now seeing us as Fomoire as well. [I did not see, but assume Lord Eversong was eventually cut down and/or faded from the vision.]
Telaris: Lord Eversong was eventually engaged and defeated by various people.
- Drake and Shoshoto leave town for a time to assist Archmage Denton with some business.
Telaris: They left during the preceding events with the fey vision.
- When they return to town, Shoshoto spreads the word that they’ve learned that Lady Septimus and her Champion and two powerful members of the Walkers of the Dark Path are on their way to town, and that both pairs will likely be arriving within a quarter of an hour.
Telaris: I do not believe Captain Sterling is her Champion in a normal honorific sense, though I suppose he might be, but rather was acting as bodyguard/protector.
- It appears that both pairs are after something, likely the same thing, but it’s not clear to me precisely what.
- Lady Septimus and her bodyguard arrive in town and a small group of us go off to speak with her away from town. Her knight’s name is Captain Sterling, Stallari to Xakenna Gorm.
- Lady Septimus tells us that she has not given up on Daniel Redpath yet. Though she says she’ll be disappointed if this little wizardling (Archmage Denton) can get “X” thing off of Daniel.
Telaris: She talks about how she might be disappointed with Daniel because the Archwizard has already gotten the thing in question, which is, I *believe* some sort of a copy of a hordestone.
- Lady Septimus is clearly waiting for something - for someone to arrive, for something to happen. After some small talk, she announces that she is bored standing here in the dark, and suggests we should go back to town and see how “the annoying ones” are. I believe this is a reference to the pair of Walkers of the Dark Path who arrived in town as we were leaving to speak with her, and who were attacking the adventurers.
Telaris: She was waiting for the Dark Path members, expecting them to accost her as both groups were after the Archwizard Tower and various magical artifacts. She mentioned, at one point, being interested in two scrolls in the tower, but not their nature.
- Septimus says she is here to find new toys.
- Shoshoto makes a bit of small talk with Captain Sterling, asking what his Stallari duties for Gorm entail and if he’s fought against Voltan forces before. The Captain says he fought them once when Gorm took the field to test the Voltan forces (generations ago).
Telaris: I actually got the impression he was talking about an encounter with Gorm that happened within the last few years with adventurers from Volta, but I cannot be certain.
- Sterling says that since coming down from the north, he has mostly be held in reserve by Gorm, as well as being sent to do tasks he cannot speak of to us.
- We see a dark cloaked figure approach. It is one of the Walkers of the Dark Path. He is also here after a new toy as well. When we ask him what exactly he is after, he says there are several things.
- The Walker comments someone’s been experimenting and that the outcome would hurt Captain Sterling
Telaris: I believe this to be the glowing Ralsharr.
- There is a bit of tension as the Walker and Lady Septimus discuss attacking each other. The Walker says, “The question is, ‘How many spirits do I have right now?’” Which appears to be a reference to the times we’ve seen the Walkers of the Dark Path power their magic by killing people they have captured.
Swift: The Walker implied that the presence of the tower weakened Lady Septimus and shifted a potential fight between them in his favor. She mentioned being able to see his link to the three items, and that she normally would be able to follow the path back to them. He stated it would take her “longer than a minute” to do so, which was enough for him.
Telaris: We have learned that the Walkers of the Dark Path can bind themselves to items at a distance that allow them to gain power from them and/or use them as spirit bottles similar to the use of spirit cradles and bottles by some undead.
- As we stand and talk, we can see a glowing green light moving in the woods back towards town. This appears to interest Lady Septimus, and so we walk back towards town to see it. Not know precisely what it is, the creature appeared to me to be a ralasharr glowing with green light that could do very large attacks of healing with its claws and did great wounds to Captain Sterling when the two fought. The creature appeared to not only attack undead though, for it attacked several adventurers who got near it, even if they hadn’t draw their swords.
Telaris: I believe it was a Ralsharr who had wandered into a restricted area and been caught in an experimental Elemental Life strike.
Omi: One of the Walkers of the Dark Path (Remal Windwolf, I think it was) put himself in a golem at some point during the fight (or might have been in one the whole time). I was there when he was eventually cut down. The golem faded from him when he was cut down and left a lifeable body. We brought the body with us to make sure he dissipated, and he remained dead much longer than he should have been (I think roughly twice as long as it normally takes for a body to dissipate). We Identified him. He’s got one spirit (probably his) in part of his body, and many (I don’t remember how many) in the rest of it. He’s spirit-linked to three items outside his body, and had stored a cantrip tome and spell book inside his chest somehow. (The spell book had a couple of banes and some other effect I couldn’t identify in it.)
Omi: Also, at some point, Q asked me if I’d ever heard of someone named ‘Reynard/Reynald’. He said that he was a merchant from Niman, and was acting very sketchy (even by the standards of a merchant from Niman), and hiring a lot of the Voltan Free Companies, and he was trying to find out something about him. I didn’t think of it at the time, but later that night when we were fighting the Dark Path I remembered that one of them that we’d encountered before was named Remal. I told Q about that, and he thinks they’re one and the same. So the Dark Path has hired a bunch of Voltan Free Companies.