Cedarsmoke

Scrolls and Spiders

Their affairs settled, the heroes depart Riverthrough along the northern bank in the wee hours of the morning. When the sun rises, they are ready and make preparations to open the runed scroll case. There is no undead horde, no flash of lightning, and no questions answered; there are only more revealed.

If you have come by this and passed its seal, then I know you are not one of our dark foes. I dare not hope that you are the Prophet himself, fortunate though that such a wonder would be. I can but plead that whoever you are, you are not in service to the dark ones, and beg you, that if you are such cursed, to find the great will from what you now hold in your hands to cast off their chains and defy them this prize.

If by now I have your ear, I bet you to bend it farther still. I have a quest that carries reward enough to cause a djinni to blush, would that you complete it. Our lands have grown accursed since the vile witch Lysinda was vanquished from her towery throne. Steel nor blade would drive back her lingering legacy - and we have fallen deeper into her hell in our desperation to stave it off.

I know that there is but one, desperate spell as can free us from her magic. In Lysinda's reign, there was a Prophet who foretold a Doomspell and wove magic to counter it. She banished the Prophet from our realm when she could not wrest the magic from him with her spells and it is his magic we desperately need to save our realm.

Find this Prophet. Beg him to save us from Lysinda once more, and all the treasures of our kingdom will we lavish upon you for our rescue.


The words are written in low Supernal upon the scroll, and though the heroes cannot decipher the language itself, the words carry the magic of universal understanding. They are written on a scroll that unfolds to enormous size and is adorned with arcane equations written in dozens, perhaps hundreds, of different handwritings. To stare at the scroll too long and try to understand it invites madness.

Upon the back, several names are scrawled, two of them crossed out:

Sovellis
Orewealth Goldbeard
Vellraem Dugunarn-Kulum
Jonesmaster Oarbuckle
Balnakiir
Alumirridar Dawnmist
Lysinda ?


The party discusses what they know of the names on this list. Orewealth Goldbeard is fairly well-known as the dwarf-king of Tul Kulamad. He is a fair king and prosperous to his people, leading them to treasure after treasure under the mountains.

Only Adris knows of Vellraem Dugunarn-Kulum, literally ‘Great Red Dragon Above the Mountain’ in the dwarf tongue. He shares with the other heroes that she lairs above the dwarves of Tul Kulamad in an uneasy stalemate; she is uncertain if she can defeat an entire dwarf army and they dare not risk the casualties to slay her.

Alumirridar Dawnmist is known to Avaris by another name. He is the fearsome pirate Neverbeard, terror of the Null Sea. The shrewdest captain of the Malronsoar navy, he commands a vessel so swift it is rumored to be the only magic that exists in that spell-starved place.

Their discussion carries them all the way to the Nearwood and the small village of Bough’s Merry. Bough’s Merry is filled with Elven mirth upon the heroes’ return, and news of their heroics in Riverthrough precedes them. A small celebration lasts into the evening, where the party sits with Elder Autumnbough.

A dull sadness lurks somewhere invisibly beneath the mirth of the village, and it is clear that his daughter has not returned. Nor have the druids passed through, the elder remarks with a sigh. Before a somber mood has time to set in, the old elf smiles and tells the heroes that he has another plan.

To track down his daughter, he needs the heroes to venture on a dangerous quest to a nearby elven town and retrieve two items. Upon the silver river to the north, there is a magical path that appears only if one can spot it against the glare of the sun upon the water. It is harder still to reach, because one must sail into the glare among the twists and turns before the way is lost.

Along this magical fork in the river, the heroes will arrive at a town. Within the temple to Corellon upon its highest hill, he instructs them to find the silver bridle of Lillywyn, and within the moon maiden’s grove, a golden apple.

Most important of all, the elder stresses, the heroes must use the glare of the setting sun to illuminate the way back along the river, and they must not tarry! The Feywild is a dangerous place for mortal creatures after dark, even in the safety of an elf town.

He gives them a magical feather and tells them to place it in the river’s waters when they arrive at its shores. The elves lull the party to sleep with their harps and flutes, and they sleep more restfully than any bed, even in the lavish luxury of Carvyre Keep, can compare.

The heroes set out well before dawn, and by the time the sun rises over the river, they are gliding steadily downstream upon the elder’s magical feather-boat. With their keen eyes, Avaris and Adrie guide them into the magical fork in the river before the sun rises too high, and in the early hours of the morning they arrive upon gloomy elven shores within the hauntingly beautiful Feywild.

After the party disembarks onto the deserted elven docks, Adris lifts the boat gently out of the water and it transforms back into a feather. The heroes stalk cautiously into the town; Tanule takes the lead while Adris covers the rear. Excited by the prospect of looting, Avaris darts ahead, only to get himself caught in nigh-invisible spider webs.

Hearing the commotion, several spiders stalk out from hidden places. The party realizes that the gloom coating the town is not from some supernatural Feywild darkness, but from enormous layers of invisible webbing filtering the light. Empowered by Fey magics, the spiders phase in and out, flitting through the party with their charmed gift of teleportation.

Adris spears one down; it blinks away. Avaris charges one, but its ethereal repulsion teleports him somewhere else. Adrie runs for cover, only to be dragged closer by its entangling webs! Finally, Tanule becomes enraged with the tiny, spry creatures and flails his longspear wildly around him, skewering and stabbing anything that dares approach him! But the spiders learn to keep their distance, and focus on separating the rest of the party from each other.

Soon, they nearly make a meal of Sabellia, but Tanule charges in and cleaves two atop each other upon his spear. Avaris tumbles into a prime position, but suffers a grievous, poisonous bite. He lets a blinding barrage of shurikens fly into the shifty creatures, slaying two of them before the poison overtakes him and he grows numb and still where he stands.

After a long fight, the heroes dispatch the last of the spiders and discuss the merits of simply burning the town to the ground over a short rest. They decide its unlikely they’d be able to retrieve the bridle, much less the golden apples, if they do. Instead, they make their way to the temple of Corellon, avoiding as much webbing as they can along the way.

An enormous spider, larger than any they’ve encountered yet, stalks them as they travel, but it does not fight them. Nor do any of the other spiders, which seem afraid of encroaching on the large creature’s meal. When the heroes make their way into the temple, they find a massive nest of eggs, and on the far side of the makeshift lair, the silver bridle of Lillywyn upon the altar…

Comments

I can admit I feel a little more than intimidated. A room full of spiders and their young to get through and then we still have to make it through to the grove and find the apple. All this before sundown seems almost silly the pressure we like to place ourselves under. I’m thinking that sticking right next to my fighting force is the only way I’m making it out with these little tricky spiders.

Scrolls and Spiders
 

Spiders that can move without moving. I will admit I have seen things that have questioned my understanding of things. These spiders have twisted my world around in a way that I do not understand. My style of fighting makes it so my foes cannot move or do much of anything without paying the price, but these spiders make my style obsolete. I fear that I am becoming obsolete. I wish only that my companions do not feel the same.
I don’t like the fact that a creature that I am used to killing with my toe have become something that could do the same to me. I pride myself in being able to stand toe to toe to just about anything, but these spiders. I am confused….
Talon, where are you? I need your guidance.

Scrolls and Spiders
DracheM

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