Darastrix Dask

Journal #3 of Sylvanavlys Astrazalian, Initiate of the Order of the White Lotus
Time-bubbles and new allies on the road to Edar

We procured a map of the world to plot our journey. It appeared that we could carve nearly a straight path across the land to the coast, then find a way across to Edar. Appearances of ancient maps and their lack of accuracy is legendary in and of itself.

Several days in, and I cannot be certain how many or how far we traveled, we encountered a phenomenon that I would learn is called a “time-bubble” which had us trapped for a time. We began to notice that the largely nondescript terrain was starting to look familiar. Betulah and I even noticed a shimmering moving through the air nearby. At first, we thought it to be an invisible creature, or perhaps a scrying sensor. We tried addressing it; first with words, then with hurled spell, neither of which proved fruitful. As it turns out, the ripple was the visual evidence of the trap we’d fallen in.

While we rested, I stayed on the ground as a reference, and Betulah took to the sky on her horse, and used her spirit-companion to test the boundary of this new mystery. After much experimentation, she determined the rough dimensions of this anomaly, and we were able to somehow step outside it and resume our trip once more. We skirted the edge of it to the north, and came up on the glacier.

We discovered there the town of Halestria, and after a brief trip to the market so Dale could purchase warm gear, we met with Her. After I explained our situation, she found it refreshing that the old tales were not forgotten. Obviously unwilling to bow to Sithriel, she offered to help us on our way and take us to Edar. Casting suspicion aside, I agreed on our behalf, and agreed to meet her the following day.

She made good on her promise, though not in the way that I expected. She took us to her lair and made a linked portal to Edar, informing us that our goal lay to the northeast of the portal’s terminus. She intrigued me. I would have to make a point to return and speak with her further.

Edar turned out to be a very warm volcanic isle of sand and sun. Just outside the portal, we discovered a great wall with a doorway, and the crumbled remains of a statue of some sort. We tried to pass through the door, but it slammed in our faces and the statue’s hand and head animated to attack us. After a brief skirmish in which MethGr, and our gem-ally Kallie (a halfling hexblade), proved their mettle (again, in MethGr’s case), the statue crumbled to dust revealing seven plain golden rings. I recalled some lore now about the history of the Guardians in that these rings would be necessary to commanding it, and that they would be battle-won from guardians of their own.

Weary from the road and from the fight, we decided to rest in the lee of the statues former pedestal. MethGr was very nearly crushed by the statue’s head rolling over him, and my nose was still full with the bouquet of ozone and my own lightning-scorched flesh.

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Journal #2 of Sylvanavlys Astrazalian, Initiate of the Order of the White Lotus
A search for answers inevitably reveals more questions

Our journey toward the centre of the continent would prove a perplexing one, and only serve to pose more questions.

A week or so into our journey, we encountered a small village that had no draconic overlord, benevolent or otherwise. We decided to rest here at the inn, as the lure of an actual bed and warm meals was too strong to deny. We would not be so lucky, however, as part way through our stay, an alarm was raised by a village scout of a flight of dragons headed in this direction. With images of the destruction in Elathria still somewhat fresh in our minds, we gladly accepted their offer of shelter in a sub-basement bunker, deep under the town. We waited here for several hours, though it felt much longer than this.

When the all-clear was given, I expected to find the town completely leveled and in ruin, but it was fortunately unscathed. Thankful for this bit of good fortune, we thanked the villagers for their hospitality, such as it was, and pressed on.

Later that same day, we encountered some disturbingly large draconic footprints crossing our path; the destruction in the wake of the dragon was evident, as trees were splintered like toothpicks where it walked. We, wisely or not, followed them as far as we could. Over time the prints shrank and eventually all trace of them was lost, but not before we spotted the walls of a great city dead ahead.

This was a place we would not soon forget. Called Northal by its denizens, the city was surrounded by a great wall of spires, and inhabited by perhaps the most beautiful, generous, and wonderfully friendly folk I have ever encountered. Suspiciously so, in fact. They offered us complimentary room and board in a fantastically well-appointed manse in the heart of the city. We accepted, not daring to openly question their generosity for risk of insulting them.

Some later pointed questions aimed at a typically friendly and open lady working the counter at this establishment (if one could call it that), revealed some suspicious answers. I began to suspect that the people living here were all kindly dragons in polymorphed form. This was a feat that, up until then, I was only sure that Lor’s daughter was capable of.

We were later informed while retired to our (opulent and well-appointed) rooms that a great storm was approaching, and that we should stay inside where we would be safe. After this, we all gathered together. The storm was indeed powerful. It rent the sky with lightning and the air cascaded with peals of thunder. It sent MethGr into a panic. Betulah, seemed unperturbed. Dale spent all his time sleeping, completely unbothered by the commotion. I wasn’t sure whether to think him a fool or compliment him for his resilience and cool head under pressure.

Our other companion, the one sent forth by Lor’s gem (did I not mention this previously?), was completely catatonic, having witnessed in a flash of lightning, a great eye watching us through our window. Neither Betulah, nor myself could see it at first, though eventually we did. Still, we could not find it when looking. It was suspicious and unnerving to say the least.

Eventually, the storm came to a blinding and deafening crescendo, and up from the pillars a dome of pure lightning formed, through which the image of a great dragon head descended. Calling himself Sithriel, he called upon all the agents of other dragons to deliver an ulitmatum to their masters; submit to his rule, or be destroyed in what would surely promise to be the greatest calamity this world has seen.

When it was all over, we emerged the next day to discover that all the kind dragonfolk that put us up here were gone without a trace. I was unable to determine if they’d been banished, imprisoned, or murdered. All that remained were the guests of the city. Regardless, we did as Sithriel bade, and set forth for Sathros to deliver the ultimatum to Lor. He did us one better and met us on the road. As it turns out, he can perceive the events that unfold in the vicinity of his gem and its animate.

We were whisked home to Sathros where it was resoundingly decided that, no, our benefactors would not submit to Sithriel. We would find a way to fight it.

The name Sithriel was familiar to me; I dimly recalled from some dusty tome I’d once read, that this threat reared its head before, in an apocalyptic event of similarly world-shaking proportions. I also dimly recalled that it was defeated with the aid of some mythical guardian, the details of which I could either not recall, or were not recorded. Lorkathine recalled that it was called a Guardian Goliath and that legends put its location on the island of Edar.

We had a new focus to our quest…

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Journal of Sylvanavlys Astrazalian, Initiate of the Order of the White Lotus

Today marks the first time since leaving my ancestral homeland of Astrazalian in the Feywild that I found myself in fear of my life, which serves to underscore for me that there might be a purpose in writing these journals, in that someone may find them and use them to help complete the task that we started.

It also marks the first time since being elevated to an initiate in the Order of the White Lotus that I have felt my abilities put to the test. After leaving my home, I settled in Lorkathine; a city built around a dragon’s den, like most places here. The eponymous dragon is the city’s protector, and in exchange for tribute, remains our benefactor. He prefers gold as tribute, and rules his denizens fairly, certainly far more than most, which by itself is a good enough reason to be here. He is largely content to leave his daughter in charge while he slumbers on his mounds of gold, and things have been peaceful, until now.

Recently Elathria (an aggressive and isolationist dragon) and some other small white dragon attacked Lorkathine along with a host of kobold slaves. Lor and his daughter killed Elathria and we slew the other one. Lor, now obviously awake, then tasked us personally to go to Elathria’s city to find out why he attacked.

But I get ahead of myself. Elathria is the next closest dragoncity to us, and lies roughly 12 days’ journey to the southwest of Lorkathine. The “we” I refer to is a chance meeting of souls during a retreat to the spire at the time of the attack. I joined forces with MethGr, a larcenous but apparently well-meaning bugbear from the tribe that lives southeast of town, Betulah, a wise and intelligent spirit-calling hamadryad from the nearby woods, and Dale, a human of suspect moral character working for the town’s militia.

The journey there was largely uneventful. We encountered some kobolds in the night, frightened and pathetic. We took them in, questioned them, and sent them on to Lorkathine to tell Lor of what they knew, and to seek refuge.

Nearer to Elathria, we encountered a flight of 14.7 dragons, which fortunately passed us by while we sheltered in the woods. A great black wyrm (larger than either Lor or Elathria) was leading the pack.

When we arrived at Elathria, it was a complete ruin, with magical fires still burning. The townsfolk were clueless. We raided Elathria’s horde and made for home.

After reporting to Lor, he bequeathed to us a glowing orange gem and a hint that we might want to head to the dragoncity of Sathros (roughly three weeks’ journey northwest of here) to warn them of the rampaging dragons, investigate if they’ve already been attacked, or help them fight it off, if we are not too late.

Before leaving, we visited the market to prepare. I used some of the spoils of Elathria to purchase a basket of eternally refilling rations, and a magical cloak to ward off fell magic. Further, we equipped our steeds with enchantments to make travel easier I also tried to purchase an enchanted blade to add to my combat regalia. Rather than pay for it, I received a box to deliver to Sathros’ city in exchange for the sword. I was so completely blindsided by the offer, I forgot to ask where I was supposed to deliver it to. This would later prove inconsequential.

Several days out from Sathros we encountered a guard of sort on the road. We were discovered attempting to sneak around them and were forced to engage them. They turned out to be dragons. We killed them and did our best to make it look like a dragon attack, but in a most vexing turn of events, the next day the bodies were gone and the scene “cleaned”. We continued on.

The city itself was unscathed, and is apparently well-protected by magical wards (the like of which I would like to study later, should I find the time). We met with Sathros; he is quite large – even moreso than Lor, whom I thought at one time to be impossibly immense. He generously entered into a defence pact with Lor, taking almost all the citizens into his protection. I suspect that there is some history unspoken between these two. We were given an apartment and some powerful enchants for our horses to enable them to fly over difficult ground.

We have a new directive to find out why the dragons are going berserk, and are heading toward the centre of the continent in search of answers.

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