Chapter 6: Knights Aurorae
Episode 2: Into the Woods: Ash, Ettins, Garillons, Unearthing a Dragon Scroll, Artexerxes, and a Cloak of Light
- Caeldryn, Hope, Sigea, Zanne, Mikal, Morgar, Ace, Aether, airship crew.
• The group flies to the Dark Forest where they find a huge burned area. They enter a temple, barely escaping the attack of some ghost minotaurs, in search for one of the scrolls they seek.
• Inside the temple, Caeldryn and Sigea talk to the ghosts of ancient druids and find the tomb of Yvanna…who looks strikingly similar to Zanne.
• The rest of the group find the scroll and a two headed Ettin guarding it calling himself Troy and Bull. They defeat the Ettin and take the scroll, learning that willfully given dragon blood is needed to reignite the weapons of light.
• Caeldryn tries putting her sun power into the cloak. However, doing so drains the fire from her blood, her hair and skin turns ashen white like the winter fey.
• Mikal then tries to convince the dragon in Zanne’s head to sacrifice itself for this noble cause. The dragon agrees, but only on his terms.
• Mikal gets sucked into the cloak by the dragon inside. The dragon refuses to return Mikal, and then Lugithillird shows up. He offers to return Mikal if Mikal will let him stay in the cloak. Mikal refuses, but Lugie forces him to obey, shooting madness through Mikal’s mind.
• Snakes start filling the temple so the group finds a secret exit. They come upon a large chamber with a huge serpent making portals. They have a battle and kill all of the snakes, including the serpent.
• Sigea, Zanne, and Caeldryn decide to seek out Magnolia so Caeldryn can attempt to enlist her help (and be put on trial for her crimes). Morgar, Mikal, and Hope decide to find a pathway to the sun.
The group flew their battered airship, the White Feather, over The Dark Forest. Eventually, the thick green of trees gave way to a large burned and blackened area that gaped like a wound amongst the rest of the forest. Sigea, Mikal, Morgar, Zanne, Hope, and Caeldryn left the ship and cautiously landed in the ash. Zanne attempted to grow new plants, but as soon as she walked away, they withered into mutated and decaying husks. Caeldryn stood in the midst of the destruction, pale faced and grim.
The group went to an old temple standing in the middle of the area. They explored around it until Morgar discovered a hidden door. He worked on the ancient dwarven engineering, attempting to unlock it, while the rest of the group surveyed the desolate area. Suddenly, arrows came whistling out of the woods, barely missing the party. The group readied for an attack while Morgar worked furiously away on the door. Eventually they could see that angry minotaur ghosts were flitting around the edge of the forest. Caeldryn attempted to speak to them without the rest of the group noticing. The ghosts knew her secret. She quietly pleaded with them, but they were too enraged to listen. More arrows came flying out of nowhere, aimed at her. One hit her in the shoulder, and another grazed her cheek. Alarmed, the rest of the group fought back, trying to protect their friend. Morgar got the door unlocked and the group hurried into the temple. Caeldryn paused in the doorway, however, and tried to speak to the minotaurs again. Brokenly she whispered to the angry ghosts, pleading their forgiveness. In answer, a huge spear came flying out of the woods, impaling her in the side. She stumbled and fell, but the strong arms of her friends caught her and dragged her into the temple, slamming the door behind them.
The inside of the temple looked like it has been abandoned for a long time. There was a large bowl in the middle of the room, but it was empty. Seeing Caeldryn’s intensive wounds, Morgar quickly filled the bowl with holy water and with the blessing of Moradin, purified the water and the bowl. It glowed with health again, and Morgar and Hope quickly went to work healing Caeldryn. After seeing that Caeldryn was going to be ok, Zanne quietly went off to explore on her own. She jumped up to the second floor through a gaping hole in the ceiling, and found herself in an ancient druid meeting room. It looked like it hasn’t been used in a very long time. As she looked around, she touched one of the pillars covered in vines. Instantly, the vines crumbled into hundreds of tiny black snakes. They swarmed up her legs, biting maliciously. Zanne managed to shake them off and blasted the others away, then quickly jumped back down to the main level again. The snakes didn’t follow her, and she warned her friends that the temple has been corrupted.
Meanwhile, Caeldryn had reluctantly informed her questioning friends, that she was indeed to blame for the massive destroyed area they were in. They were shocked, but in the light of the recent dock explosion, they knew all too well what had happened here.
Once Caeldryn was able to stand and move about again, the group decided to venture further down into the tunnels underneath the temple. They proceeded cautiously with Morgar checking for traps. Then they entered into a large room full of tombs. Caeldryn informed them that this was where all the ancient druids were laid to rest. She lingered behind while the rest of the group continued along. Sigea saw her hesitating and quietly remained behind with her. He watched as she quietly summoned the ghosts of several ancient druids. She told them what she’d done, and miserably asked for their advice. They told her nothing she didn’t already know. By druidic law, the only retribution for her crimes was death. They offered that they could see her remorse, but the law is the law. Caeldryn noticed Sigea watching in the shadows. To hide her sorrow, she quickly turned away and began examining the tombs. Suddenly, she called out to Sigea. He hurried over and they both stared shocked at a marble carving of a woman on one of the tombs. The woman was the exact duplicate of Zanne. Caeldryn asked the ghosts who the woman was, and they told her that it was Yvonna. Sigea asked them if there was a body in the tomb, to which they replied that there wasn’t. Caeldryn asked them if Yvonna was alive and if Zanne was in fact Yvonna, to which they cryptically responded that Yvonna’s spirit may in fact be living. Sigea and Caeldryn stared at each, shocked into silence. The sudden sounds of a battle jolted them back to reality, and they ran off towards the direction of the clamor.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group had encountered a two-headed Ettin who was guarding a scroll. Mikal and Zanne distracted it with riddles while Morgar slowly inched towards the scroll. He grabbed it at the same time as the Ettin lost patience. The vicious dumb head started to attack while the cunning intelligent head noticed the missing scroll. However, the group worked together cleverly and with the help of some hard hits from Zanne and Mikal, brought the Ettin down quickly before he could raise an alarm. Hope examined the dragon scroll eagerly. It was indeed one of the scrolls they were searching for. Hope read it and discovered that it gave instructions for how to heal the weapons of light. A dragon must give itself up to put it’s spirit into the weapon to reignite it. The group then remembered that Zanne had a dragon conveniently in her head.
Mikal telepathically went into Zanne’s head to confront the dragon and discovered not only a dragon, but a lich dragon. He talked to the dragon for a while, attempting to barter it into this noble sacrifice. The dragon, whose name is Artexerxes, finally agreed, but only on one condition. He would go into the cloak IF the group sought out his phylactery to give to him. Mikal agreed to the condition and broke the bonds that were holding the dragon. The dragon roared in jubilation at his freedom and left Zanne’s head, causing Zanne to collapse and have a seizure. The dragon flew around for a while and then reluctantly entered the cloak.
The cloak did not change. Hope guessed that the cloak needed some sun power to re-ignite it as well (information probably in another scroll). Caeldryn, eager to help and do something beneficial, immediately volunteered. She took the cloak in her hands and concentrated on transferring her sun powers into it. The cloak eagerly drank in her sun power. It started to drain on Caeldryn, but she gritted her teeth and continued, determined to fix the cloak. The cloaks started to glow, white light filling it, chasing away the darkness. It started to burn in Caeldryn’s hands, but she clung tightly to it. The burn escalated to white hot pain, and the group, with gasps of horror, snatched the cloak away from her and stared at her in horror. Her previously bright red hair had turned snow white. Caeldryn stared at her blistered hands and then tried to summon the sun into her hand. Instead, a freezing cold light appeared, hardening into ice crystals. She no longer had sun powers.
As the shocked group tried to figure out how to remedy this situation, Mikal wielded the now fixed cloak, sending bolts of sun around the room. Suddenly, the dragon inside the cloak snatched him away. The group turned just in time to see Mikal’s shards clatter to the ground in a heap.
Mikal found himself inside a bizarre mutated world. There were many Caeldryn look-a-likes in this place, but strange mutated versions of her. The lich dragon was there too. He tried to get Mikal to (do something), but Mikal refused. Mikal built himself a nice little farmhouse and made one of the Caeldryn look-a-likes his wife to show the dragon that he would stay forever if needed. He would not budge. The dragon was aggravated by his nonchalant attitude, but refused to let him go. Suddenly, another presence appeared in the cloak. Lugithillird appeared in Mikal’s mind and offerd to let Mikal out if he agreed to let him stay in the cloak. Mikal refused, but Lugithillirid laughed and simply forced Mikal to obey his will. Mad chaos flew through Mikal’s mind until he almost went mad, then suddenly he found himself laying alone on the floor in a dark tunnel where he had previously been with his friends.
The rest of the group, after Mikal vanished, had been startled by loud clattering coming from up above in the temple. They could hear hissing and the sound of several creatures coming down the tunnel. They quickly fled back to the room full of tombs, but their way out was blocked. Morgar, thinking quickly, informed the group that dwarves almost always build secret exits inside alcohol storage rooms. He quickly did a search of the room, and discovered a chamber filled with ancient brews. And indeed, there was a secret exit hidden behind some barrels. The group quickly filed into the narrow hallways and shuffled up the sloping passageway.
They quickly discovered that they were inside the walls of the temple. As they went along, they found a secret door into one of the main chambers. They peeked through to see an entire snake army. In the middle was a huge serpent, writhing around on the floor, it’s coils creating a portal from which more snakes were marching.
They managed to sneakily snatch a guard standing near the hidden door and dragged him inside. An argument ensued over whether or not to fight the snakes or simply try to escape. Finally, fed up with talking, (Morgar and Sigea?) charged out and started the fight. It was a fierce battle. The snakes were surprised as they were not expecting intruders, but the huge serpent proved to be a deadly foe. In the midst of the fight, Mikal came charging in, pissed that he was left behind, and ready to kill some snakes. The chaos had left him still slightly addled, and he blasted snakes with no restraint. Together, they finally managed to bring down the serpent, closing the portal.
After clearing out the snakes, they exited the temple at the top of the ziggurat. The minotaur ghosts seemed to have left, but Caeldryn informed her friends that she had to go and meet with someone, the druid who raised her and who ruled the forest. She did not tell them that this would most likely be her death. Sigea and Zanne agreed to go with her, but Morgar, Mikal, and Hope decided to follow another path, hoping to get to the sun.
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