Dragon Shadow

New Blood & The Sarlydia Takes Flight

The party awoke early the next morning to the sound of commerce, “The Winking Skeever” being situated only a few blocks away from the central market. The calls of the merchants and farmers and craftsmen echoed through the streets and alleys created by the stone-walled buildings. They rose and made their way to the small dock run by the Lyrandars which supplied the floating towers of Arcanix. The trip lasted about an hour before the small airship made port.

The island was relatively small, and most of it was taken up by the massive single tower which dominated the view from the dock. Upon approaching the towers, two massive wooden doors suddenly began to open. This was quite fortunate, as they were so large that they probably could not be opened by anything other than magical means. The party stepped into the cavernous foyer filled with massive pillars stretching nearly out of sight to the arches which supported the ceiling as well as the entire tower above. The pillars were evenly spaced through the entire room with the exception of two wide walkways which intersected in the center of the room. The first walkway leading back to the main entrance which the party had just entered, and the second running perpendicular to it, crossing the room in the exact center leading into darkness. As they stepped forward, torches on the pillars instantly ignited in series, eventually illuminating the entire room. Once lit, the party began to hear noises coming from one of the stairwells. Just as the sounds became recognizable as armored footsteps and accompanying voices, they were pushed aside by the Lyrandars unloading the supplies from the airship. The looks of mild irritation were not subtle on the faces of these half-elves. Perhaps they had given assistance expecting some help in the unloading of the supplies in return—or perhaps they were just unhappy with the four blocking the way to their destination. Amidst the clamour, they did not hear a guard approach to address them. Apparently standing around in this situation was cause for investigation.

When the guard inquired about thier business, the party explained the circumstances, and after some “encouragement” they were taken to see Anithea. The guard led them to a door near the top of the tower before leaving them alone. A loud knock demonstrated that the door was not latched and it swung open slightly. With no answer, they gently stepped into the disoriently large room full of tables, bookshelves, cabinets, and a robed woman, clearly of distinction, bent over a small drawer looking intently for something. She did not seem to ackowledge the party’s presence and so Baeldan called out. Her head popped up, but her body remained fully engaged in it’s task.

“Who let you in here?” she demanded in a curiously masculine voice.

“Uh, your guards—we made a persuasive argument” Baeldan was quick to reply.

Oinid added, “I think it was Joe.”

Anithea stood up and walked towards the party leaving the drawer open as she stepped away. “I hate that Joe…” she said, shaking her head in quiet disdain.

Amalis nudged Baeldan and quietly reminded him about the scroll which was the entire reason for travelling to Arcanix to see Anithea in the first place. He took out the scroll and handed it to Anithea.

“What do you want me to do with this?” she said in response.

“We were told to give it to you. We thought you could help us decipher it.” Amalis said.

“What are you going to give me in return?” Anithea inquired with her still unsettlingly masculine timbre.

“A favor…?” Oinid speculated.

Baeldan, thinking this was a brilliant idea, seconded the motion, adding “We’ll owe you one…no, wait, we’ll owe you two.” A smile beamed across his face as he waited for her reply.

She stared intently at him for a long moment, him still smiling, before Oinid chimed in.

“What my friend here is trying to say is…” was all he got out before he began stammering like an idiot.

Anithea, not entirely sure what to make of the two, turned to Amalis and said “Give me the scroll…”

She opens the scroll, and reads for awhile before telling the group that she has read it, but does not believe the contents. She continues to explain that the scoll contains the locations of various heavily enchanted items, the likes of which do not exist anywhere in Khorvaire.

“These relics have been gone for far too long and if they do indeed still exist, they are most likely guarded by dark evils. Attempting to procure them would most certainly end in your death.”

She translates the scroll to another piece of paper and hands it to Amalis. She warns the group one last time before they take their leave. They make their way down the hall towards the staircase which would lead them back to the first floor, when they were stopped by a young woman meditating in their path.

“You know I am entitled to that scroll just as much as you are.” She said to the party as they tried to walk past her.

The party was stopped in their tracks.

“Who are you?” Amalis fired back.

“My name is Aliatra, and I am just like you. I know you and you should know me too.”

“But we don’t…” Amalis replied, still a bit stunned by this girl’s bluntness.

“So maybe you can help us with that?” Baeldan chimed in.

“I too was guided by the great and glorious Wehennan, he gifted me with a rune on my body and a quest in my soul. And a power to be strong when life is challenging. He showed me the way.”

“What did you say your name was again?” Oinid finally stammered out.

“Aliatra. Aliatra Shanti.” She replied candidly.

The party all spoke up at once asking to see her mark, and she unwrapped a cloth covering her hand and showed that she bore the mark of Quothian.

The party turned and stepped to the side while the spoke quietly to one another about the extent to which they should trust this seemingly very knowledgeable, and spunky young monk. They decided to bring her back to the Winking Skeever to sit her down and talk in private about their plans and to find out more about her.

When they had returned to the tavern and settled in their room, Aliatra began relaying the tale of how she had been the recipient of the Dragon Dreams for her entire life. It wasn’t until recently, though that Wehennan actually spoke to her and asked her to join the quest. She told the story of her dragonmark, which was identical to what the party had experienced. He then guided her to the tower in Arcanix and had her wait for the party’s arrival. Her story was well received and the party’s trust began to take root. During her tale, she mentioned her dedication to the goddess Dol Arrah, the goddess of honor and sacrifice.

“Speaking of sacrifice,” Amalis interjected, “what can you bring to the table?”

“Can I trust that you are all as committed to the dragon as I am?” Aliatra asked.

“Yeah, we are pretty invested at this point…” Oinid remarked, smartly.

“And can I ask that you will trust that I will join you in this effort?”

Amalis spoke out and replied that while was willing to trust Aliatra to an extent, she by no means had the same trust for her as she did for the other members of the party. Aliatra agreed and with that she showed her true form. The muscles in her face contorted, and her skin and hair began to shift and change color. The entire transformation took only a moment, but the result was drastic. Before them now stood a grey skinned, white haired young girl of the same stature and demeanor. Aliatra was a changeling. Oinid reeled and paced for a moment before running out the door, slamming it behind him. The others, being already stunned by Aliatra’s display, were now doubly confused by Oinid’s dramatic exit.

Baeldan and Etta remained in the room with Aliatra while Amalis followed after Oinid. She found him at the bar an empty pint glass sitting already sitting in front of him. She implored him to tell her what was going on, but his silence was immutable. She returned upstairs and explained the problem to the others before Baeldan proceeded down to talk to him. When Baeldan found Oinid at the bar, he had another 2 pints empty in front of him. After a bit of prying and another pint, Baeldan was able to get Oinid to talk. What he heard was Oinid’s story of betrayal by his family and eventually a changeling he knew as Alana before he discovered that she had been deceiving him for over a year.

With that, Baeldan returned upstairs to relay the information he had discovered. After some debate, and a few more pints, Amalis eventually convinced Oinid to return to the room, but only after they sent Aliatra away. They would meet her in the morning, and though Oinid’s distrust of her would continue, he vowed that he would not attack her provided he never had to witness her change form.

In the morning, the party met Banithor before heading into the forest where they met Aliatra on the way to the underground cave where the Sarlydia was being stored. Travel to the cave took the remainder of the day and they made camp a few miles where they had buried the chest for safe keeping.

When the awoke the next morning, the party made quick work of retracing their steps to find where they had buried the chest only to find an empty hole where it had been. Confused and distraught, they hurried into the cave to find the other chests and the secret door securely closed with no evidence of tampering. They returned to the location where the chest had been buried and scoured the area for clues as to who or what had taken the chest. Their eyes turned toward the dirt and trees and they slowly and wordlessly began fanning out looking for any trace left by the thief.

As they looked a disembodied voice called out to them mocking their tracking skills. Someone was there, and they were not revealing their presence. Baeldan eventually called out to the individual to show himself. At his request, a figure seemed to seperate from one of the trees several yards from the hole, his skin and clothing had been perfectly camoflouged with the bark of the tree. As the disguise faded, the group could see that the voice was coming from a young half-orc man. He openly mocked the technique used to hide the chest, and indicated that after he had removed it from its hidden location, he had visited the Sarlydia. He spoke of a vision he had in which a man in silver robes instructed him to this place. At that moment the half-orc collapsed and as began to move as if in a deep dream-like state. His eyes and fingers twitched, though the rest of his body remain still and calm. The others watched as, while sleeping, the mark of Quothian began seemed to grow out of his arm to take the shape similar to their own. He awoke suddenly after only a few minutes and immediately began recounting what had transpired in his dream.

It was clear that the time spent in the dream far exceeded the time the others spent watching. His story matched theirs—the pedestal, the figures and the silver dragon called Wehennan. Clearly there was a greater purpose taking shape before their eyes. He led the party to where he had hidden the chest; only a few dozen yards from it’s original location, but well hidden, and removed it. They proceeded to the underground cave and opened the secret door with the missing chest now in place. As the door opened, Banithor’s eyes opened wide – he had seen airships in his day, but nothing as beautiful as this. They boarded the ship and made their way to the central room where the dragonshards were held suspended in their chambers. They replaced the cracked shard of Eberron with the shard that Banithor had brought. Immediately the ship exploded with light. The wood creaked and moaned and through the noise, a voice began to speak.

It slowly dictated directions to a man named Tarvax who had been keeping the scroll of protection sealing the cave from intruders. After receiving careful directions, the party set out leaving Etta, Oinid and Banithor with the ship. Tarvax lived only about a days travel from the cave and the group made good time. They soon came upon a small hut made of wood and mud, with a straw thatched roof. The door knocker was a carved peice of oak in the shape of the mark of Lyrandar. Amalis knocked, and an old waifish half-elf cracked open the door and stuck his head out. The party relayed the information that they had been given by Cid and Tarvax’s eyes lit up. He drew a map to his storage cave only about an hours walk from the hut and then hurriedly closed the door. Left with only a hand drawn map and some loose instruction an arguement broke out between Amalis and Ruulik as to who should guide them to the cave. Amalis, having the map in hand went off in one direction and the party followed. After an hour, the realization came to everyone that they had been travelling in the wrong direction. Ruulik took the map and set off in a different direction. Eventually, they realized that they were no closer. Aliatra finally pointed out, as Ruulik and Amalis continued to bicker, that they had infact been circling the cave the entire time.

As they advance toward the entrance, however, they see that it is guarded by four bugbears. They quickly dispatched them. They rummaged through the miscellanea stored in the cave until they cound the scroll containing the spell to open the cavern. They hurried back to the cave and located the gold plate directly above the center of the massive cavern below. Baeldan read the scroll and invoked the spell. Suddenly lightning crackled above and began striking randomly in the area before finally striking the plate. The earth shook and began to crack open as large chunks of rock broke off from the forest floor and began hurling out in all directions nearly hitting the party members as the fled. As the magical maelstrom settles, the party approaches the gaping hole in the earth revealing the Sarlydia below. Seeing that the hole is clearly large enough for the ship to exit the cavern, everyone returns through the underground cave and boards the ship.

They party barely boards the ship before they hear the creaking, moaning voice of Cid say “Let us be off!”

Sarlydia shakes and rumbles as it loosens the grip of the mounts it has rested in for all those years. It begins to rise at a steadily increasing pace before it clears the entrance to the cavern, at which point everyone rushes to the deck to see the sun above. Cid asks to drop the sails, and when they have dropped, he fills them with wind. The Sarlydia has taken flight.

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pixelrebirth AndrewKlein

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