Eberron Nights

Sewer rats

Moving down the strata of neighborhoods in Sharn was easy. There were many patrols up above, and gate guards at each neighborhood. Lower and lower, there were less patrols, until the slums had only a barracks and some guards at the way down to the cogs. The party was warned that down there, there were no more patrols or guards, and that they were basically on their own.

Passing through Khyber’s Gate, the party finds the largest tavern of the area: Shamukaar. A combination slaughterhouse, butcher, restaurant, and tavern, the place is teeming with “monsters.” Ogres, gnolls, harpies, minotaurs, all are served a variety of questionable dishes by the goblin cooks. The smell and distinct taste in the air is sickening, but it is the best place to find information down here. They eventually are led to a cloaked figure in a corner booth, their hood up to cover their features.

“Yesss, the killerss of thosse humanss and elvesss, I know of them. You are looking for thosse of the aberrant mark, thosse that were almosst desstroyed. ‘Housse’ Tarkanan gathered the aberrant and mixed markss fifteen hundred yearss ago, in thiss very ccity. They were bessieged, and in their dessperation, Tarkanan and the Lady of Plague desstroyed the ccity and themsselves. But the aberrant markss ssurvive, and grow, down in the ssewerss…” The figure pauses as a goblin brings a plate out, some sizzling steak of something, which the informant begins slicing into small parts. Many snakes start poking out of the hood and swallowing chunks of meat.

Finding their way to a sewer entrance, the party begins their search for the aberrant killers. There are many groups and individuals desperate enough to make the sewers their home, but they are in obvious, well-traveled areas. Going down more disused, out-of-the-way tunnels, the party comes to a large cellpool intersection. Picking their way through, a giant mound of filth begins to shift, then slide as a large, tentacled mass emerges. An otyugh whips its spiny tentacles at the party, taking bites with its huge, filthy, diseased maw. They are able to defeat it, and move on to tunnels with no other access.

Spying ahead, the lizardman and Varele discover a small group of squat, malformed people. It was unclear whether they were human, orc, dwarf, or any other common race. But it was clear they had aberrant marks upon them. The mongrelfolk were at their relative ease, cooking, working, and were caught completely by surprise when the vampire and lizardfolk began their ambush. The rest of the party charged in to help clean up, taking one man alive for questioning. He revealed quite a bit.

The mongrelfolk, as they were called, were shunned by all, even the other sewer-dwellers, so they lived back here, with their otyugh between them and the rest of the world. They did have aberrant marks, a twisted curse of their mixed heritage, but they kept to themselves. The man did know what the party may be looking for, however. There were strangers here in the sewers, those that did not reside here, but shady figures that made their lair. He led them out to a particular branch in the maze of tunnels, saying that he saw them enter and leave from here, but never ventured any closer before.

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Piracy and Murder

Over a week later, the party is approaching Sharn again. Only now, another airship quickly moves on an interception course! Pirates swing over to board, while their ballista fires on the ship, attempting to cripple them. It takes the party’s teamwork to keep the ship together, on course, and to defend themselves from being overrun. Defeating the sky pirates, Walter’s ship limps to a dock. They are told the pirates have been a reoccurring nuisance to the city, and they are entitled to a reward for their defeat and capture. Unfortunately, their own airship was damaged in the battle, and they require high-end materials to repair it.

Fortunately, the party has a contact within House Cannith, the Lady Elaydren, their patron for jobs in the past, including recovering a schema from the Emerald Claw in the giant’s ruins of Xen’drik. Coming to her tower, the party petitions her for soarwood to repair their ship. “I remember your help with many quests of my house. Soarwood is guarded very jealously by the Aerenal, and they do not part with it easily. I can get what you need, if you can help us with a little problem…”

She goes on to explain there have been a series of murders in the city. While murders in such a large crowded metropolis are unfortunately not unheard of, this appears to be a connected series. They came to greater attention when members of the merchant houses started being targeted, with low-ranking family members disappearing. Then bodies started being discovered, grisly, and placed specifically for public discovery, each more creative than the last: knifing, poison, garrote, fire, acid, and one somehow plummeted to his death, despite the many magical safeguards against such a fate in Sharn. They were often mutilated, with their ears cut off and eyes removed. There were a few connections: first, all the victims were human or elf. While the most prominent were of dragonmarked houses and families, there seemed to be no distinguishing between them: Tharask, Vadalis, Cannith, Orien, Deneith, Phiarlan, or Thuranni. The other common factor, the bodies were all scarred with the same twisted symbol. Earlier bodies just had it carved somewhere, like an afterthought, but later, it became large and prominent, across the bare chest, back, or face.

“What we know is that these ritual killing started lower in the city, in the slums and cogs. They moved up to the merchant and noble neighborhoods later. There must be a group behind this, there have been too many killings, to organized for a lone murderer. And they’re close-knit. We suspect they’re hiding out in the sewers. I would suggest you go down to the cogs and ask around. I would like you all, outsiders, specifically for this, because we can’t risk our own people being seen, or targeted, for that matter.

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Conflict and Betrayal

Walter has found the party at the tower and pulls up to a balcony for all to board. When all are together and ready to leave, there is some discussion of what they have just learned, and what the next step is. Obviously, many powerful factions have designs on Kaya, even fighting over her. Vuulaytherus alone seems to have no interest in taking over her fate.

Delivering the elf to the Ice Queen does not seem to be the default plan any more, but would they give her over to any group? Garrett and Varra seemed to think that, as a revival of the mark and house of Death, Kaya was too dangerous to live. Wasting no time about it, the half-orc picks up the girl, much to everyone’s surprise, and carries her bodily to the rail. Kaya attempts to defend herself, her dragonmark sputtering in vain as she is tossed over to plummet to the ground. Immediately, Rin leaps down and grabs her. Varele transforms into a great bat to join them, carrying them back up to the ship. Garrett and Varra defend their actions, repeating their determination to see Kaya and the House of Vol dead. Unable to be persuaded, the party is forced to leave them behind with Vuulaytherus and Muroni on Argonnessen as they begin their return journey to Khorvaire.

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An Old Friend

With the previous tunnel collapsed behind them, and no other apparent way out, the party flew up the volcano’s aperture. While speaking with Kaya and discussing their next steps, some spy an armored figure slowly trudging up the volcano-mountain, directly towards the party. It did not make any attempt to remain hidden, and as the figure drew nearer, some could recognize Muroni, the elven oracle that joined and observed the party’s quest to recover the warforged creation pattern from the Order of the Emerald Claw. After greeting Zrill and Varele, Muroni explained that her master had detected their presence on Argonessen, and that a meeting might be to everyone’s mutual benefit and enlightenment. Her master’s tower lair was deep in the mountain range, however, and not traversable by foot.

Employing Varele’s experience with dinosaurs, the party managed to wrangle some glidewings to ride to the lonesome tower. They could see large steel balls orbiting the structure, apparently held aloft by the cackling rings of energy surrounding each of them. Landing on a gigantic outer balcony, the party dismounted and entered. Muroni explained that she hadn’t been to see her master for a decade, so she didn’t know what state the tower would be in. Coming into a rather bare stone chamber with only a large aperture int the ceiling, the party nearly walked into a giant gelatinous cube. They tore it to pieces to avoid being digested themselves, then flew or climbed up through the ceiling. Coming out of the small chamber they found themselves in, they came to a relaxing fountain area with several large dragon statues decorating the area. They all appeared to depict not only a silver dragon, but the same particular model, most likely the resident. As they approached, however, the fountain erupted as a huge elemental burst up, sucking a few into its vortex. Simultaneously, the statues shook themselves free of their bases and charged the party as well, biting and clawing to defend the tower. The party defeated them as well, allowing them to continue up the tower. Expecting more obstacles, the party was greeted by a chilly air, finding the next level covered in frost, with several ice statues standing at the ready. Predictably, they too stood in the party’s way, even as the area was frozen with arctic blasts.

The party finally overcame the tower’s defenses to come to the dragon’s orrery. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in carved notes, seemingly scratched in draconic shorthand by the massive silver dragon pondering the hovering spheres. One might discern that the orrery inside matched the spheres that orbited the tower outside, and could further guess that the large levers and machinations might be linked to controlling the models.

Only after Muroni loudly and repeatedly introduced their presence that the dragon managed to rouse himself from his reverie. “Oh, Muroni, back already? That was quick.” “It’s been ten years, master.” “Hmm, yes……”

After some more introduction, the dragon is finally able to explain the connection between his studies of the draconic prophesy, his orrery, and the party’s mission to recover Kaya for the Ice Queen. The orbiting spheres represented the thirteen moons (one historical and now missing), the thirteen planes (one, Dal’Quor, now permanently remote from Eberron), and the thirteen dragonmarks. This last revelation was the most surprising of all, as most people knew of only the twelve dragonmarks. The silver dragon asked/commanded Kaya to reveal what she had been concealing, and she reluctantly sloughed off the shoulder of her dress to reveal a blue-green dragonmark on her collarbone. It was none that anyone could recognize, and one would assume it to be some sort of aberrant mark, but the dragon murmured in recognition: “The mark of Death has resurfaced…”

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A Golden Guardian

In the volcanic lair, the party heard a voice questioning their intrusion and slaughtering of the owner’s followers. (“We-love-you-master!”) Rin creates a dark bridge to the pitted spire in the center, only to be greeted by a giant gold dragon swooping in and landing to perch before him. He saps the party’s strength with his gaseous breath, but through teamwork, acrobatics, and a bit of falling into lava between moving islands, the master of the mountain is defeated.

The party finds a balcony deeper in the cave, with deep gouges from the dragon’s claws, evidence he often flew to and from this point. They only find a humble bed of copper there, but buried inside was an anxious elven girl. Her hand glowed with an ominous blue-green haze as if to defend herself, but she relaxes when she sees humanoids instead of kobolds or her dragon warden. She introduces herself as Kaya, and the party realizes they have found their quarry.

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The Dragon's Mountain

Entering an open cave on the peaked mountain, the party ventures deeper. The natural caverns twist and branch, until they come to a short, small set of excavated tunnelways: obviously the handiwork of humanoids. Judging from the size, however, they were not very large. Some of the party had to stoop to avoid hitting their heads. As they made their way forward, it quickly split into several tunnels, wich in turn branced off. Selecting one, they found it twisted, turned, split, and looped around, until they became completely turned around.

Zrill stopped the party. “Hold on, this is just a maze. I’ll find the way through…” Seeming to concentrate, some patches of shadow coalesced around, seeming to form many tiny floating eyes, which then split up and flew down the tunnelways. After a half hour, a fraction returned to the elf, who seemed to commune with them. “They’re showing me what they found. I assume the others were destroyed somehow, so we don’t even want to follow their paths. Got it.” The wizard led the way, turning this way and that, having seen the way forward now, until some branches collected to a main tunnel.

As some moved on ahead, they spied a small creature at the end of the hall. Like a dog standing upright, but with sharp, scaly protusions, and holding a little spear: a kobold. It seemed to notice them too, barking something in surprise, and running around the corner. The party ran for it, when a momentary “click” was heard before a gout of flames shot out from the wall, followed by another tell-tale catch. “More traps. I have another spell to find them…” Zrill announced, waving his hands and mumbling in various arcane incantations. He stepped forward, hands lightly probing the wall near the flame jet, until he seemed to find a crack in the wall. Pulling a probe from his sleeve, he poked around until something seemed to catch. “It’s deactivate now. But there’s surely more…”

Turning the corner, the kobold was seen running down another hallway, seemingly without harm. The party followed, but large scythes swept out, ready to take off the heads of those much taller than the kobold. Zrill busied himself deactivating it while others continued their chase. The kobold had a good lead now, and was turning another corner as they just entered the hall. Varele ran forward, but suddenly dropped out of sight down a pit. The others found her ten feet down, her armor ripped a bit from the many spikes protruding from the walls, but otherwise unharmed. Sighing, she morphed into a bat to fly out, and the party took their turns leaping over the trap.

The final turn came to what appeared to be a barracks, or living quarters for the kobolds, if one could consider it habitable. Small alcoves with dirty piles of grasses, furs, and soiled patches of fabric lined the wider hall of the communal living area. The passageway continued down the left, with a large room on the right. Zeffernious looked inside, which had some chests and armor racks, as well as coins, mostly copper, covering the floor. Moving in to investigate, the floor suddenly crackled, the smell of ozone filling the air, as the copper conducted the flowing current to Zeffernious. He was shocked for several moments before he managed to pull himself away, his feet singed. Abandoning the “treasure” room, the party took the passage, hoping to catch their quarry to question it, or at least prevent it from summoning more creatures. Rounding the long bend of a tunnel, however, they came across an unusual sight.

The tunnel suddenly gaped open into a huge chamber. Even with their torches, the party could barely see the outer walls, and nothing of the ceiling. What they couldn’t see, however, they could definitely hear: dozens, if not a hundred tinny voices, screaming, calling, or more commonly, chanting in Draconic. Those who understoon heard “Strong-tooth! Strong-tooth! Strong-tooth!” apparently a name or title of some sort. It probably referred to the lone kobold standing at the far end of the chamber-arena. Obviously not the kobold they were chasing, this one, while still dwarfishly short, was strongly built, to an odd degree, wearing a breastplate covered in blue scales, and carrying a black-scaled shield and a wicked-looking spear, made of metal, instead of the usual sharpened wood stake, or bone or stone-tipped pole. He stamped his spearbutt with the chants, the bones, claws, and teeth tied to the spearhead clattering. A small golden circlet rested on his head, and a fine cloak rested on his back, obvious symbols of his exalted status in the kobold community. While kobolds are cowardly creatures, even en masse, this burly little warrior screamed an obvious challege against the party, to the delight of the unseen crowds above.

Noticing a placard at their entrance, the cleric Rin examined it more closely to find an explanation. All he read however was a crude insult to his mother, as the sign exploded in his face, nearly catching those around him. The kobolds all cackled madly at this “first strike” against the foreign aggressors, and “Strong-tooth” accepted the adulation. Varele could take no more, and with a snarl, rushed forward to crush the little lizard in one blow. Halfway across the room, however, she became entangled in some sort of snare just as a gas exploded all around her. There came another roar from the crowd, even though the gas had no effect on her undead physiology. The other party members came more carefully around the room, wary of more traps that seemed to fill this entire mountain, even in the middle of the kobold theater. As Zrill hugged the wall, a flashbang erupted, sending him reeling back. Though Strong-tooth alone challenged the party, the audience felt the desire to participate as well, with flasks of fire and acid raining down around the party’s heads.

Strong-tooth and the party exchanged thrusts and blows, which was all the more impressive from their lone, diminutive opponent. Rin, however, summoned a shadow to attack him more obliquely. With the undead spirit sapping his strength, Strong-tooth retreated through a small hole in the arena perimeter, the shadow chasing behind. After a moment, the kobold reappeared from another hole, launching a fireball at the party before himself unfurling tiny wings and flying up! With the shadow greatly depleating his unnatural strength, the kobold was soon brought down, however, to the chagrin of the howling audience. Not finished yet, the party summoned their own servants, and wolves appeared on the balconies to run down and dispatch the suddenly fleeing crowds. Party members alternatively flew and climbed up, the only other exit being the tunnel they came through.

In the higher balconies, the party found more tunnels leading into the mountain. Questioning a random kobold, it jabbered that they could find “the master” further down the tunnelways. Nearly reaching their goal, the party ran forward. Unfortunately, the kobolds were not finished with their traps. After tripping some sort of hidden trigger, the party first felt, then heard a distand rumbling. After a moment, it seemed to grow in volume from behind: the tunnel was collapsing. Sprinting forward, the party avoided being crushed and trapped, but the way back was cut off. Forward however, was a bright red glow, the end of whatever tunnel they were in. Varele was the first to the end, but before she could come to grips with what was before her, she first found the tripwire under her feet. This flipped her forward and down into the source of the light: a massive lake of lava. Engulfed in the burning liquid rock, the vampire’s skin sizzled and lit, still flaming and dripping as she hauled herself from the lake. Other members of the party narrowly avoided a similar fate as they took in the sight.

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Flying to Argonnessen

In Sharn, the party goes to the house of Finding to hire guides for the wilderness, and perhaps someone to track down their specific quarry. After negotiating with the personnel manager, they are connected wiht a small group of mercenaries: a half-orc heir and finder, her halfling “brother,” an elven troubleshooter, and even a kobold sorcerer, with the blood of mighty dragons coursing through his veins he no doubt barked at anyone nearby.

With preparations made, they made the week-long journey east across the sea to the continent of Argonnessen. Approaching the northwest coast, they came to the only well-known feature of the island, Totem Beach. There, giant stone dragon heads looked out to sea, seemingly too massive and intricate for the native humans to have made, but probably not the work of dragon labor either. The party lowered a longboat and made their way quietly to shore, on the lookout for the dragon-totem barbarian tribes that protected the coasts and repeled any and all outlanders.

Sneaking up the beach, a group of human barbarians was seen gathred together. The party quietly flanked them, suddenly rushing to break their ranks. The natives howled in anger, raising large weapons made from castaway dragon bones and teeth, their chief filling their minds with bloodlust. A shaman joined, blasting at the interlopers with crackling bolts of electricity. When the party quickly dispatched the warriors, he called some sort of dragon-horse steed and attempted to flee, but was brought down by the party’s magic.

Interrogating the survivors, the party learns the nearby mountain has seen a flurry of new activity in the past week, the inhabitants of it particularly busy and agitated. Taking this as a sign of the right track, the party moves on to investigate.

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First Audience with the Ice Queen
Meeting the Lady of Frostfell

Entering the blue ice walls, there was a small keep in the center of the frozen castle. Inside, however, the main thoroughfare seemed to be heading down under the ground. It was lit with eerie green continual flames, giving a ghoulish cast to everything. The misted vampire was nowhere to be seen, but the lights led the way. Continuing down a corridor, a particular columned hallway suddenly lit up.

“So, we meet again, adventurers…” a dry voice rasped, as specters drew out of the columns. They appeared normal enough, men and women dressed in warm furs, most with the look of adventurers and explorers, but their legs were lost to mist, and they floated smoothly to attack the party. Deep down the hall, a mummy could be seen. A few recognized him to be Arkaban, the sorcerer-mummy originally working with the Emerald Claw in the giant’s temple in Xen’drik. “Marcus may have let you past, but you will die here!”

The specters were slippery, sliding around incorporeally, but the party fought through, cornering the mummy. At that moment, large double doors flew open, seemingly giving way to the female voice crying “Arkaban! Enough!” He groaned in frustration, and began to fly away. Varele, however, took the trusty boomerang given by her family, and smote the sorcerer right in the spine, cracking him in two, and leaving his body to unravel as his spirit flew to its final rest.

Now curious to see this mistress of the castle, and see how she reacted to the dispatching of her servants, the party entered the chamber. Seated inside was a elven woman on a throne. The room was as warm and comfortable as it could be in an underground ice castle: lots of rugs and furs, thick tapestries on walls, though there were archaic touches, and the throne was still mounted by an obsidian skull that stared out. The woman introduced herself as Lady Sindera, the mistress of the castle. She explained she lived here for the privacy it offered, and inquired about the party’s business. They explained they were looking into the changes of the planes, and that an oracle had led them here. She mused on that information, agreeing that she may know some of the problems occurring, but that she needed something first. In trade, she desired an errand: a long-lost and estranged relative of hers was recently heard to be on the continent of Argonnessen. She desired that we would travel there, find her, and return her; the fact that we survived the journey through Frostfell and her servants meant we should have no trouble navigating the continent of dragons.

She offered lodgings for the night, and requested Rin perform some necromantic services since her mummy was recently destroyed. In return, she allowed him to study her vast collection of necromantic magic and rituals, opening up a whole new path to his faith. Varele, on the other hand, caught up with Marcus. They spent some days together, and when the party made their leave, Varele was quite a bit more pale than before, carrying a small keg of blood as a gift.

Before heading straight for Argonnessen, the party decided to make a stop at Sharn and perhaps find a guide from House Tharashk who could help them both navigate the wilds and track down the elf relative, by skill or magic.

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Taerlyn's Beginning

I needed out of the city. The hit had caused too much of a stir, despite the sanctioning of the assassination by my House. The target was hot, and even after all the trouble I had gone through to make it look natural the paranoia of the family was such that they were looking for an assassin; any assassin. Already the body count was growing and I’d lost a “brother”. It was time to get out of town. I had other tasks to see to.

I was in a tavern getting information and planning my exodus when the task fell right into my lap. There are no coincidences. Adventurers, a task, an airship. I was no longer an assassin, but an adventurer. Perhaps I’d even make some side coin.

Letter 1

_Uncle,

It is likely these letters will all reach you in a large grouping. Task alpha has been completed. I have included descriptions and names of all members in this outfit for any future eventualities, especially if something ill were to befall me. The honor of our House must be protected, after all. It is an eclectic group and it may be difficult to garner any trust with any of them, not that I’d trust anyone. We landed on a strange secluded island, the one you mentioned. We slaughtered a group of barbarians and it was then that I saw to your second task.

Task beta is completed.

Yours in service,
Taerlyn_

Letter 2

_Uncle,

Upon my return to the group they had somehow managed to slay a dragon. Interesting. Perhaps they are not the feckless lot I’d initially thought. Time will tell. I am unsure what exactly it is they have been up too. We investigated the cave of the dragon they killed. It was there that we found the elf girl. She doesn’t seem much. Not bad to look at though no true beauty. Somehow this girl garners the attention of powerful forces. It is as you suspected. I will maintain watch. We are on our way to see some silver dragon after luring in some strange lizard-like birds. I will write again when I know more.

Yours in service,
Taerlyn_

Letter 3

_Uncle,

Task delta is complete. I have returned to the group again, after they spoke with the silver dragon. I initially attempted to gather what information I could about the conversation without drawing too much concern but it seems that that precaution was without warrant. This girl is, what I believe, to be a precursor for momentous events. She holds a thirteenth dragon mark. An archaic and long though extinct dragonmark of death. Some in the group believed that it might be causing the plane of dreams to encroach upon our world, but I believe it to be an effect. Then again my knowledge of the planes is limited.

The half orc woman attempted to toss the elf woman overboard. Such a potential waste was averted by some of the more exotic members of our party as previously described in my initial letter. The power of flight can be useful. I shall have to watch my back among these beings. They are rather abrupt.

I recommended we find a neutral party, a sage. Some scoffed at the idea and were only amenable until they believed the idea to seek out other help was their own in some fashion. Typical. It matters not, however as we are at least taking a sensible of approach of gathering more information upon events to come so we can make an educated decision upon our course of action.

Political entities may approach you seeking to assassinate the elf woman. I highly recommend you hold them at bay at least until I can discover more. I highly doubt she knows much about her mark or what effects if any it may bring about. I think it is a symptom rather than an illness. The symptom may give us clues to the plague that may befall this world, however. I will follow whatever orders you send, but please allow me some reign in this instance. I shall not fail you.

Yours in service,
Taerlyn _

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You say Potato I say Wyverns!

Our part in the legend has only begun, but what to do with this elven woman whose marked for death and whats her part in it all. She finds herself now trapped on s ship not sure what even the crew will do with her though the fears from within the wall of the Enterprise B are nothing compared with the threats from outside, assasins, dragons, and a mysterious lady in the nothern snow. They all want her and we got her, there are rough seas ahead though a few of us have already gone over board for this girl and it may not be the last time.. If one thing we can take from our talks its this watch what you say for someone might botch an intelagence roll and think its an order and try to kill someone.. Also dont park in dragon infested skys without paying the meter its murder over sharps rocks and thats worse than being between a rock and a hard place. But we all pulled through and we’re off to find out more about what the mark of death could mean. Is the elf a savoir to be protected or the key master to the next armagedon? well tomorrows another day.

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