Aelenta Renvanith, Fox Knight of Autumn and Child of Renvanna

Member created stories, poems, & other creative work.
jmecha
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Personal Growth

Post by jmecha »

Paramour Ariella of Lady Goldheart smiled from the entrance of the Temple of Beauty, and Aelenta could not help but grin in return at the sight of her radiance and beauty. With his stomach a flutter, he gracefully bowed before announcing what an unexpected pleasure she was. Quickly he invited her up to his quarters above to share a drink and discuss the purpose of her visit. The kiss she granted him in response was encouragement enough that Aelenta had to make an effort not to ascend the stairs two at a time. After she went about removing her traveling hood and Aelenta poured them both a glass of Undercliff Meadry's finest, the pair exchanged a silent toast and got to the heart of the matter that brought her here to him.

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"I..I don't know if I am a good fit for our group anymore" she confessed.

Not certain where this concern of hers had been born, but having his suspicions, he simply tilted his head to the right and waited with visible interest and concern on his face.

"I can't seem to shake these feelings that I have about Magolir." she shared, to which he could not help but reflexively grin.

"After the way he spoke with me," her voice lowered to a whisper as she spoke through a grimace "I'm beginning to doubt his intelligence, and I'm beginning to think he is hard of hearing"

Taking a noticeably larger drink of mead seemed the approiate response to express his concern, and to give her whatever time she may need to finish sharing hers.

"I mean, how many times did you tell him Lelya wasn't there and he kept calling her name?!" She was no longer whispering as she spoke of Earlanni Rachiilstar by her pet name which meant beautiful, lovely, delicate, none of which were the first descriptors to come to Aelenta's mind when he thought of the, rustic, Druid from the High Forrest.

"Then the way he doddled over and got upset when I yelled his name." Once again her voice lowered to a whisper, as if this would make it more difficult for the one she accused of being deaf to over hear her concerns "That's how people who are losing their hearing act."

After savoring his most recent drink, he decided it was time to speak up, "I could not say...though in his defense, we were in a nightmare and he was likely, and understandably overwhelmed with intensity and chaos of battle."

"Still I think you told him at least five times."

"My particular voice maybe...an exceptionally difficult one for Magolir to hear?" the mischievous smile that followed saying the words out loud was unavoidable for him.

Taking a moment to look around before she spoke, as if reassuring herself they were alone and she was not being overheard. "The thing that bothers me most is that I feel like he put his pride above what we had to accomplish. I mean even after you explained to him the severity of the situation to bark at me like that." Her brows furrowed and her lips pursed in a visible display of displeasure at the memory, certainly it was not because of the state of disarray in which Aelenta kept his quarters.

"The pair of us...Magolir and I, we are rather...different in our opinions and approach in a great very many matters. I am sure you may have noticed, we tend to disagree quite often, even if not always openly."

"Lelya said she thinks it's because he's still grieving over the ones that passed that he would not be able to bear another one of us dying instead of him. I think it's his pride but I could be wrong." She said in reference to the fallen Manthor, before taking another small sip of her mead.

"There maybe some truth to the Druid's words, as well as your own opinion...not to be noncommittal and agree with you both, but it could be that neither of you are wrong. May I offer a humble suggestion?" He replied before taking a drink of his own.

"She thinks we have to show him why he is precious to us"

"Wait...what?" The confusion on his face was apparent as he tried not to choke on his most recent swallow.

"That we need him. That he needs to be protected" To which Aelenta could only raise a eye brow of suspicion.

"Not for the outcome of battle but because we care about him." She grimaced as she continued. "The problem is, I don't care about him right now."

Aelenta took a beat to finish his drink and slowly returned to the bar to refill his glass while he pondered over the Paramour of Lady Goldheart's words.

"That's why I'm not sure if I'm a good fit anymore."

"This...whole affair of us needing to make Magolir see how much we care about him, because he is precious to us.....well I can not claim that I understand any of that, though I am not a Druid and so perhaps that has something to do with my failure to understand." He was making an effort to be careful here, but could not help but shake his head and express how thoroughly unconvinced he was with a shrug.

"She said we need to show him love and kindness," she grimaced once more. "I felt like kicking him."

She had said it, as if it was a crime she had committed, and perhaps due to her place amongst the clergy it was, but open confession of wanting to give someone a swift kick only summoned from Aelenta another shrug of indifference.

"I am ready to hear your suggestion." She said while gently taking his free hand with her own, the feel of which inspired a smile upon his face that was far from indifferent.

"Fair warning Priestess...it may not be one you are happy to hear." He said while growing his smile a bit wider in an effort to be encouraging.

"It's fine Zalir if I did not want to hear it i would not have come here." She said softly while squeezing his hand gently.

"Regardless of your opinion of Magolir, or my own, or anyone else's opinion...it does appear Magolir was chosen by the Dream Needle, Moonblade of Sehanine Moonbow...and I have faith in the Seldarine, even if I do not have the wisdom to understand their choices."

"You know Eli loved him."

"I really do not know that...my time with her was very brief, though I trust your judgement in such matters."

She never expressed such to him or at maybe he didn't realize it I'm not sure. At any rate, I do understand that and that's why I was doing my best for us as a group but that he fails to understand something so basic makes me question his intelligence.

"What I can say is that...while to my own eyes...Magolir may not appear to be worthy of the Moon Blade...maybe...just maybe...and hear me out for I know this may seem a bit of a stretch..." the interest in her eyes sparkled and helped him find the words he was searching for. "Maybe Magolir was chosen because the way forward for our people, is to stop blaming everyone and everything else for our own failings, and to take responsibility for our mistakes, and just as importantly...prove ourselves humble enough to swallow our pride...and learn to correct those mistakes?"

"Oh Zalir, I hope you are right. You know he blames you for what happened to the others." She said in reference once more tot he fallen Manthor that Magolir once lead.

"What?" He asked with more disgust then surprise in his tone, before working to conceal his frown and displeasure behind another swallow from his glass.

"He said because you shot, that your ranger got surrounded by kobolds." It was enough to make him sigh between clenched teeth.

"I could see him blame everyone but himself if our mission fails too. Especially you or I."

"This is sort of an example of what I was trying to get at...What if Magolir was chosen because out of all of us...he is most inclined to put his personal pride above all else?"

"It is possible." She said while placing a hand over his heart. "Bless us Seldarine. We have a long and hard road ahead of us if that is the goal."

"What if Magolir being chosen to carry the Moon Blade, is how the Seldarine tests all of us? To see if the least likely amongst us is capable of changing for the better? If the one most entrenched in the ways that have proven disastrous...can learn to lead us to a better future?"

"I hope you are right Zalir."

"What if our part..." he gestures between the pair of them with his glass of mead. "What if our responsibility in this is to help Magolir...in time...and through the growing pains...become worthy? Now...ultimately it will come down to him, but would we not be horribly remiss if we did not make our truest effort to be there, to offer our support, as best we can along the way?

She once again placed a kiss upon him that filled him with more warmth then the mead ever could, before she spoke with a determination and steel in her voice.

"It is a long and hard road then, but one that I am willing to take if he doesn't kick me out for disagreeing with him. Thank you Zalir. I appreciate you. I wasn't sure if i should stay before but now i am convinced"

With his face flush from the most recent kiss and drinks, he spoke through a grin.

"I can not pretend to predict what may come next...what trials and tribulations we may all face, or even create for ourselves...So long as we put our faith in the Seldarine, and are doing our best to embody their lessons for us, and show each other the love they have shown us...we will have done our best."

"You are wise even though you are young." She said through the tears swelling in her eyes as she nodded.

"I have been blessed with the learning of one hard lesson after another, in rapid succession. Due to dubious life choices made one after another...not sure that qualifies me as wise." He said in an effort of deflection through another shrug n grin, punctuated with a drink.

Passing back her empty glass before she spoke with a smile on her lips. "Thank you again. The important thing is that you are learning and growing as an elf."

"You know...Speaking of personal growth..." He looked down between them, before raising his gaze with a smile while she giggled at his innuendo."You are welcome to stay...for a time?"

"Oh, Zalir that would be wonderful."

With a empty mead glass in each of his hands, he wrapped his arms tightly around her, and for a time none of their concerns were all that concerning.
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Research and Records

Post by jmecha »

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Research notes and records were scattered about the floor like autumn leaves, and Aelenta Renvanith surveyed them with a less then critical eye from where he lounged upon the luxurious sofa lounge. It was not a matter of him being unconcerned so much as it was that everything was so very concerning and exceptionally dire on either a personal level, regional scale or even potential cosmic threat that it became an exercise in absurdity to try and prioritize any of it.

Living in a city the size of Waterdeep, empathy and sympathy for the victims of violent crimes you did not witness directly, was often a difficult thing to muster. The reality that someone somewhere was getting gutted over a few coins or some prized piece of headware was just something you came to accept, and over time learned to live comfortably with. To give evey life lost in the City, their proper due would be the sort of overwhelming emotional and mental spiral downward that could end in nothing but a wreck of madness. It was really a matter of personal survival that anyone living here developed some measure of apathy for all the horrors they knew existed but were not actively involved in on a personal level. Every now and then though, there was something so horrific though that it demanded notice.The Rusalka blight upon the Deepwater Harbor communities of Tharqualnaar and T'Quession, was one such horror.

According to an excerpt written by the Weathermay-Foxgrove Twins detailing the Arak, from a particularly haunting tome titled Doctor Rudolph Van Richten's Guide to the Shadow Fey...

"Rusalkas are cruel and bitter Fey who inhabit waterways near humanoid settlements. Although rusalkas are often confused with undead, our evidence supports that these are in truth Fey, formed from the spirits of those who met a sinister end in the water. Often stories of maidens drowned in water by false lovers act as heralds to the arrival of Rusalkas. We propose that through the act of murderous betrayal of a false lover within water creates the emotional intensity and tragedy needed to allow a Rusalka to bridge the distance between the Fey Wild and the scene of the crime. Upon arrival the Rusalkas serve as an indiscriminate avenger and blight upon the body of water in which the grievous and murderous betrayal of the heart summoned them."

As unpleasant as the thought was of merfolk and sea elves being preyed upon by the likes of a Rusalka, knowing there was likely a member of their community responsible for it all filled Aelenta with disgust and contempt for the theoretically individual. What sort of vile monsterous person would lure a maiden out under false pretense to murder them? A vampire. The thought sort of just came to him and he quickly dismissed it,while admitting to himself that on some level he could understand a vampire preying upon a maiden or anyone else to slake thier undead thirst. It made sense to him that a supernatural undead predator had monstrous desires and would commit monstrous acts to fulfill those desires. The idea though of a member of a community such as those of the Merfolk or Sea Elves luring a maiden under false pretense to a violent and murderous end though seemed far worse to Aelenta's sensibilities.

While not normally one to overly concern himself with justice, he did want to find the monster hidden under the sea and expose them for what they are, and then mKe them pay for what they had done. It maybe best to leave such to Sir Illance though, on account Aelenta did not trust himself to not go a bit overboard should he find himself in a position to enact retribution upon the villian. All he needed to do was help sort out who the murder was, and let the rest work itself out.

Speaking of the rest, his eyes drifted towards Danilo's Complete History of the Elves, which laid open and face down upon the floor within arm's reach of his chamber pot. He would need to seriously increase the amount of salad or maybe cheese if he was ever going to make his way through that entire tome in a timely manner. As for Alasharious the Meek, he remained near completely ignorant and really ought to make some effort to correct that before they set sail, but tomorrow would be another day.
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Save the Humans

Post by jmecha »

Elegantly written Espruar script adorns the back of a flyer taken from the streets of Waterdeep, and is slipped under the door of Magolir's residence within Renvanna.

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Magolir of the Manthor,

I have written you this letter so you might be aware of Sir Declan's purpose and intent of seeking an audience with you. Sir Declan has requested a "Peaceful" audience with you, who he has described as a close companion of many shared battles. I have explained to Sir Declan that while this matter may very well be urgent to him, that you maybe slow to respond and it is important that he remember your concept of the passage of time very likely differs from his own.

High Priest Meleghost Starseer has directed Sir Declan Johanson to find the dangerous Moon Blade that is rumored to be in the possession of the Elves of the Westwood. Sir Declan Johanson's orders are to either collect the Moon Blade for the House of Wonder's vaults where it maybe safely stored away, or to destroy it so that it will not be misused and potentially bring about another sundering, damage the Weave, or kill thousands of people. High Priest Meleghost Starseer has warned Sir Delcan not to allow his mind to be poisoned with any Elven nonsense, and has informed Sir Declan that there very well maybe a promotion for him within the church hierarchy if he is to prove himself successful in this task. The Moon Blade as it was described to Sir Declan by High Priest Melegost is a long slender Blade with a sharp point and a stone set in the hilt, made from an Era predating Mystra's tightened restrictions upon magic and an extremely dangerous artifact.

This is only my conjecture, but I do suspect that Sir Declan does not fully understand the orders he has been given, and what it may mean to follow them. As his close companion, I do hope you may be able to enlighten him, so that moving forward Sir Declan might take the appropriate actions. It is my sincerest hope that you both have a joyous reunion, and that your exchange leaves you both the better.

Aelenta Renvanith
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Wanted or Not

Post by jmecha »

Elegantly written Espruar script once again adorns the back of a flyer taken from the streets of Waterdeep, and is slipped under the door of Magolir's residence within Renvanna.

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Magolir of the Manthor,

Sir Declan Johanson sought the council of High Knight of the Order of the Blue Moon, Sir Xale of the Starry Glen, and thought to invite me to the meeting. It was my initial hope that I might take the opportunity to educate these Knights in regards to the origins of Moon Blades and their being rather important cultural and divinely forged artifacts of the Seldarine, though it quickly became appearent that niether Knight was much interested in my opinion and so I invoked a rare and stoic discipline I had heard mentioned used by others, called "self restraint" and kept my mouth mostly shut.

For the most part, the conversation consisted of very little other then Sir Johanson informing Sir Xale that he would like to join the Order of the Blue Moon, and Sir Xale explaining to Sir Johanson that if he were to join the Order of the Blue Moon that he would first need to prove himself with a Quest worthy of the Order. It was then that Sir Xale offered to Sir Johanson the opportunity to dedicate himself to the protection of the Moon Blade, and the Elf who wields it. To this opportunity, Sir Johanson decided he needed time to contemplate. I informed him that I would inform you of the choices laid before him currently, and that I personally look forward to seeing which if either choice he eventually decides to make.

For the most part High Knight Xale of the Starry Glen struck me as a far more honorable being then High Necromancer Starseer, and while I personally found the idea of any order of Knights deciding a Moon Blade and the Elf who wields it need their protection, without first thinking to speak with said Elf or Elves seems rather condescending... although I think given the currently presented options, a potentially unwanted and condescending Knight sworn to defend the Moon Blade, seems a far better alternative then a condescending Knight sworn to either take the Moon Blade or destroy it.

There were several other Champions of the House of Wonders present, all of whom appeared willing to support whatever choice Sir Johanson decided to make, although many of them were concerned that their help maybe unwanted by the elves, or that their aiding the elves would rather anger High Necromancer Starseer and potentially see them evicted from the comforts of the Temple life they had grown accustomed to. One in particular, an elven sorceress dressed in goblin rags by the name of Luva Si'nede was exceptionally noticeably uncertain if aiding the elves in regards to the Moon Blade was worth the risk of High Necromancer Starseer's ire.

Aelenta Renvanith
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Ballad of the Biir-kerym

Post by jmecha »

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Ballad of the Biir-kerym

We are not knights in armors that gleam,
We are the rambling Biir-kerym,
Swords without Tradition
Schooled without Tuition
Footwork that makes the Transition,
No matter the battle's position!

When penetration is a must
Parry, pirouette, and thrust
In Biir-kerym you can trust!

Do not call upon a Knight who is stoic,
When you desire heat with your heroic,
Seek the swords of a Biir-kerym poet!

When penetration is a must
Parry, pirouette, and thrust
In Biir-kerym you can trust!

Seek not men of mail mounted on steeds,
But someone who can meet your needs,
Seek a sword of Biir-kerym to fulfill your dream

When penetration is a must
Parry, pirouette, and thrust
In Biir-kerym you can trust!

Not to disparaging the traditional hero,
But in the night our failure rate is zero,
Those who want cream of the crop,
Know that Biir-kerym will never stop.

When penetration is a must
Parry, pirouette, and thrust
In Biir-kerym you can trust!

No matter if fighting in the streets,
Or an engagement in the sheets,
If you want blood to steam
evening filled with screams,
You need only seek the Biir-kerym
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With a heart heavy with sorrow

Post by jmecha »

A pair of identical letters addressed to both Mystrel Anovallis Starmane and Sir Declan Johanson are delivered to the House of Wonder via courier. Each letter is written in elegant Thorass script and the regional language of Chondathan.

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With a heart heavy with sorrow, I write to inform you that Luva Si'nede has fallen in battle.

The warrior known as Sheshe has for sometime been actively hunting the Plague Rats of our City of Splendors and had recently discovered the location of one of their strong holds. Several of us agreed to aid Sheshe in her efforts to see this lair of vile filth cleansed by sword and spell. Luva Si'nede was one such volunteer to the cause, along side the likes of the Half-Orc Huntress Nyx, The former Paladin of Tempus who I only knew as Kyle, Parmour Ariella, The elven archers Heriphion Olyrnn, Castien Miracaryn, and myself.

We moved through the lair of the Plague Rats dispatching their numbers as we advanced, until we encountered a curious contraption that consisted of four levers, a chain controlled sewage spigot, and what appears to have been a magically enchanted gong that required those who rang it to be "Blessed." This series of puzzling levers gave us some pause, but in time we were able to overcome the contraption and gained access to what appeared to be a private chamber deep within the Plague Rat lair where the darkest arts were practiced and a pair of Excremental Demons had been summoned to defend the Plague Rats. It was here that the tide of battle turned swiftly against us and our numbers were sundered and our once capable band brought to ruins. I alone managed to survive, and only had the opportunity to recover the corpses of but a fraction of those who had fallen.

I am sorry that your companion and mine, Luva Si'nede was not amongst those I was able to remove from the battle field. If you decide to fight for those who have fallen, for those left behind, I will join you in such efforts, if you will have me. I can show you where these Plague Rats lair, and how to defeat their puzzling contraptions, in an effort to see Sheshe, Nyx, Kyle, and Luva Si'nede avenged, and perhaps their remains given a more respectful place to rest.

Aelenta Renvanith
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AVAST!

Post by jmecha »

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The weapons crews lit the pitch, and Aelenta Renvanith's eyes focused well upon the slaving vessel. A fiery orange glow against the night waters of the Sea of Swords, it shined like a ready and waiting ruby for the taking. As the catapults released Mephis raised his stave high above his head and rained arcane fires of his own down upon the slaving vessel in retaliation. The balls of flaming pitch arched up into the night sky delivering a violent impact and deadly flames across the portside of the Astral Ghost, while Mephis's own fires lanced down through the night like meteors leaving a trail of smoke and embers in their wake before striking with the unerring accuracy of the arcane.

Everyone had their part to play in this battle, and Aelenta was responsible for keeping the Astral Ghost from burning up like a tinder twig. Hurling the firebomb down upon the drow vessel, the young elf had only two regrets. The bomb may start a raging fire that could possibly injure or be the end of any slaves the drow had on board, and secondly he regretted that the enemy would not have the opportunity to admire the winged samara seeds he had painted on the glass bottle with the caption "Solicallor." Taking the time to admire the explosion he had added to cacophony of destruction, he quickly drew the Wand of Frost he had waiting in his belt like it was a rapier. With ever loud crash of fiery pitch impacting the deck of the Astral Ghost he orchestrated an accurate burst of frost as if conducting a symphony.

Sir Ambrose Illance stood brave and fearlessly against the constant incoming barrage of incoming explosions. His arms strong and sure, working his long bow with all the precision of a well practiced master of his craft. Every steady pull released a well aimed and accurate arrow bitting deep into the flesh of the enemies weapon crews. If the crew of the Astral Ghost were a symphony of destruction, Sir Ambrose Illance was the entirety of the strings and he stroked and thrummed them with beautiful ease and unshakable confidence.

Mephis was the brass section, and he kept the cool night air whistling and howling hot with streaks of arcane delight. With every wave of his stave, the heat of several slivers of streaking flame would sound true and clear into the ranks of the enemy below. It was deadly assault upon the senses of any audience it was directed towards.

Last and far from least, if the crew was an orchestra, Bodkin Sodoff remained ready and waiting with his trident in his meaty hands like a giant set of symbols eager for the inevitable collision that would mark the climactic end of the song. All he needed was for the Astral Ghost to get close enough to the drow vessel and he was ready to make the jump and lead the boarding party to glory.

The opportunity to leap to glory never came. As the last of the weapon crews fell to their wounds, the drow vessel sailed forward with a deck hauntingly void of any life. Aelenta's heart sank as he realized the drow had forsaken any further attempts at ranged exchanges. They now waited out of sight ready to swarm over anyone foolish enough to dare board their vessel. There were at least half a dozen doors and even more hatches that Aelenta's eyes could count, and he imagined the drow rising up and springing from all of them like striking serpents as soon as a foot landed upon their decks. It was then without warning a massive portal opened before the drow vessel, and the Astral Ghost banked hard to Port and begain to dive in pursuit. Everyone braced against the rails in response to the ship's sharp turn and drop in altitude, all except Bodkin who only gripped his trident tighter like a peasant eager to shovel hay in hell.

There was no real time to think as the Astral Ghost swooped down and aimed for the portal. Only time enough for Aelenta's mind to race with the question of where the drow maybe leading them. No sooner then the question was asked that the multicolored glowing hues of the portal washed over them, and the answer presented itself in the form of a treacherous subterranean river.

The Drow forsaking their deck left their helm unmanned, and their vessel had crashed hard against the jagged rocks of the river's left bank. Where as the Astral Ghost pulled alongside the smoother right bank before coming to a stop. Both crews leapt from their vessels to their respective shores and raced to the stone bridge ahead that spanned the width of the river. Whoever could take that bridge first would have a decisive advantage in the battle to come. Not even the drowns swiftest scouts could compete with long and sure strides of the two men of Cormyr as they charged forward leading the way!

Only the young elf Aelenta's foot falls hesitated a moment, for something on the distant shore had caught his eye. The drow were lighting candles.

"Bewarned! The Drow are creating a summoning circle!"

Running as swiftly as he could to close the distance between himself and his companions who had crossed the bridge into the supernatural spheres of darkness beyond, Aelenta was caught off guard by the drow who had been laying in wait to ambush his companions from behind. The serrated blade would have tore his neck meat from the bone if he had not managed to raise his left arm in time to allow his limb and Mephis's stone skin warding to absorb the blow. Reeling from the blade's bite and impact, Aelenta let his forward momentum and the sudden strike send him into a spin that placed him and the drow at a proper dualing distance.

He had fought drow before, but never one as capable as the one that leapt at him now. Whoever he was, he had honed his craft well, and new exactly where he wanted to plant his blade and all the moves he needed to make to get it there. Aelenta's only advantage was his mentor Sywyn having mercilessly trained him since a youth to wield two blades with prowess instead of one. The drow's ruthless and near reckless tempo was a pace of fighting that Aelenta needed to race to keep pace with. Once the riddle of the rhythm was made to rhyme, it was just a matter of time.

The horrific noises coming up from the spheres of darkness beyound the bridge became muted as Aelenta focus narrowed in on the clashing blades between him and the drow. He had spent his life living this song, and he could play it fast or slow. Each time the drow changed his approach, Aelenta would parry with his rapier or short, counter with retort. When the serrated sword of the drow went spinning up and out of his hands into a silent arc off the bridge to splash into the waters below. It was game set, and match. That and the unexpected fatal barrage of magic missiles from Mephis's extended fingers into the Drow put an exclamation point on the whole affair.

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Though the battle was far from over.....
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Dead men can tell tales.

Post by jmecha »

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Upon crossing the stone bridge, the scope of the battle below came into Aelenta's view. The previously consumed potion allowed his eyes to pierce the spheres of darkness and see the men of Cormyr battling a Dragon Turtle the Drow had summoned to their side, and more importantly the Balor of the Abyss that their summoning circle had brought to Toril. Neither men let their numerous injures slow their sword arm nor trident's thrust, and Aelenta descended in leaps and bounds in a race to aid his companions. Running between the crossbow bolts of the drow, the gigantic turtle, and the Balor to reach Sir Ambrose Illance and Bodkin Sodoff was a haphazard affair of throwing caution to the win and hoping his legs could keep him ever a step ahead of death that surrounded him on all sides. Narrowly escaping the impact of the barrel sized chunks of ice that Mephis had hurled upon the battle field, Aelenta drew a Wand charged with life saving energy and did his best to see the wounds of his companions sealed. The battle had shifted though and he was only able to reach Sir Ambrose, who despite his own sever injuries called for Bodkin to fall back from the fighting.

Releasing the wand's restorative energy upon Sir Ambrose was little more then throwing a cup of sweet water upon desert sands. The relentless drow continued to place deadly accurate crossbow bolts into both the men of Cormyr while they focused upon combating the Demon and the Dragon of the Sea. Taking a deep breath Aelenta filled his lungs ready to burst, before releasing with all his voice the ancient elven song of life. If the music could reach Bodkin across the battle lines, there was chance it could save his life.

Looking like a Werebeast of Porcupine origins, Bodkin Sodoff continued to fight despite the dozens of crippling Drow bolts protruding from his arms and back. It was impossible to believe the man of Cormyr's arms continued to thrust his trident into the enemy, as he kept fighting. Any other would have fallen to the sheer number of wounds long ago. The sheer weight of the bolts would have encumbered most men. Yet there Bodkin Sodoff stood with his feet planted firm upon the river shore, fighting with all his heart despite all his strength being sapped from him long ago. For all the pain upon display, the demonic horrors of the battlefield, this simple man's sheer determination to continue fighting was a testament to potential virtue of all of mankind.

The writing was on the cavern wall clear as glow fire fungus, fighting on the shore would be the death of them. The unrelenting crossbow bolts along with the Dragons maw, and the Balor were far to much. As deftly as they could the men of Cormyr changed the battlefield from the open shore back to the hand carved stone steps leading up to the bridge. There the pair made their stand against the remaining Drow and that which they had summoned.

Joining Mephis at the top of the stairs, Aelenta drew back his bow and selected a target below. His arrow shattered against the wardings of the Drow Priestess he had selected. Again he drew back his bow and shifted his aim to the exposed neck of the Dragon Turtle, it would only be a pin prick to the beast, bit at least he could pierce it's flesh. As the arrow found it's mark the great beast vanished back to it's home plane, not because of the pin prick, but simply because the magics that bound it to service had faded.

Deciding he could do more good healing his allies then hurting his enemies, Aelenta once more plunged ahead with the Wand of Healing in hand. It was a choice he had to commit to, because no sooner then he started charging the Balor barked in demonic fury and summoned a wall of fire that blocked off the top of the stairs. There would be no escape.

Focusing the Wand upon the Paladin of Sune as he stood against the fury of the Balor, felt like a feeble gesture of support. Aelenta had bought drinks for strangers with sad stories in taverns that felt more impactful then the energies released from the Wand. Lady Fire Hair's Champion though perhaps needed no support, beyond the strength his unshakable faith and devotion to the higher ideals of love and beauty gave him.

Standing tall upon the crooked steps of stone, Sir Ambrose Illance, son of Cormyr and Champion of Love and Beauty raised his sword in defiance against the vile evils the Balor embodied. With a commanding voice that men regardless of creed or country would be inspired to follow, the Paladin commanded the Demon back to the Abyss. With a smiting stroke the Balor was sent to that pit from which it had come.

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Seeing only the Drow Captain and Priestess remained fighting, Aelenta lowered the wand and once more breath deeply to charge his lung. Leaping down the last few steps the sounds of raging fire emitted from deep within him and released themselves as burning flames upon the flesh of his enemies. Breathing deep and shouting the song of flame louder and louder, the last of the drow withered and wilted beneath the heat of his flames.

The four companions bloodied and beaten looked to each other with wordless admiration and brotherhood, and each took solace in knowing they had all survived. Before congratulations could be shared or embraces exchanged, they needed to act. The battle had alerted Skull Port and ships had been sent up the Sargauth River to investigate. Working together the men of Cormyr lead the slaves from the wreckage of the drow vessel back to the safety and freedom that awaited them upon the Astral Ghost. Mephis quickly evaluated the location of the deceased Captain's quarters to seize the ship's logs and other articles of intelligence, while Aelenta under took the less then pleasurable work of shouldering the Captain's smoldering corpse for even dead men can tell tales.
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Sticky Situation

Post by jmecha »

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The paralysis set in suddenly and without warning, Aelenta's mind reeled with desire to escape. The potion of invisablity they poured over his head was not painful, but it was a surprise. The unexpected sensation of getting something poured over his head combined with his inability to even flinch in response was jarring conflict as his stationary body completely ignored his every instinct and desire to move. There was almost comfort to be found in the bag being put over his head and the sensation of his being hoisted onto the shoulder of strangers and carried off. Being kidnapped was not ideal, but it did give much needed context to his crippling paralysis. Stiff as a board and light as a feather, Aelenta imagined giving his friends and community a cheerful wave farewell as he was carried off to the south like some prized piece of plunder on the shoulders of dedicated looters.

It was difficult to know where he was being carried, but the light of day seeped through the bag obscuring his vision and so he knew they were still a top the walk ways of Renvanna. So long as they were somewhere above the trees, he trusted the elves to find him and hopefully put an end to this whole affair before anything irreversible took place.

The words of a Teleportation being invoked gave him a deep seeded feeling of despair. However the the cursing and sounds of battle that immediately followed was a clear and undeniable indication something had gone horribly wrong for his captors. Which for Aelenta, was a much needed morale boost during these otherwise wet and desperately paralytic times.

The blood curling screams of men being violently slain was less welcoming, as was the sensation of being hoisted into the air and held tight. Aelenta almost cheered, not that he could, when he heard one of his captures swear in common and succeed in properly speaking the words needed to invoke a spell of Teleportation. Though the emotional highs of that minor peak quickly lead to the depths of a valley of despair to follow.

Alone in the Darkness, Aelenta hung suspended in the air, somewhere far enough removed from the tree tops that he could no longer hear the birds in the sky or even the wind between the branches. In truth the only thing he could hear that dared to interrupt the deafening silence was a near unperceivable quiet chittering sound occasionally accented with a wet smacking sound, or was it more of a slurp? Regardless the air was stale, other then the wet metallic smell of blood.

There was no real thought, more so years of Renvanna Ranger training revealing that he was in a spider's lair. Since they took the effort to string him up, he had time. They would feast upon his previous captors, first. This was only because they were already dead, and their meat will not keep as well as a living victim. How much time he had before the Spiders decided to have their next meal was yet to be seen.

Telling himself that this was no time to panic, Aelenta tried to think clearly. He tried to piece together what he knew and explore what options he may have available. It was then that he decided it was important he not over play his hand, and do anything to motivate his new eight legged captors to speed things along.

First thing first, he decided to try and wiggle his fingers and found he was no longer paralyzed. Things were looking up, he thought with a smile. Next he tried to test the bounds around his wrist, for although spiders were quite literally built for this sort of thing, there was the possibility his outer garments might give him the mobility needed to move. Traditionally spiders prey upon animals and insects, adhering webs directly to their flesh or chitin. Unfortunately while he could move the slightly within his sleeves, the most he could manage was to get his bonds to flex a little, after which they immediately contracted to hold him even tighter.

The previous smile faded.

It was then Aelenta contemplated singing the song of fire, for it would surely burn his bonds, though the feeling of the bag still over his head gave him pause. Normally Aelenta wore a rather fashionable pair of boots well warded against flame, but he was so bound up he really did not know if he still had those boots on or not, and there was a very real possibility that if he sung the song of fire with a bg over his head that he might only make this bad situation even worse.

It could always, get worse.

Maybe the bag ought to be his next step, he told himself while having no ability to take a step. Deeply exhaling through his nose and then violently trying to suck air in through his open mouth, Aelenta tried to get the bag to move. Flicking his tongue out and biting at the bag he tried to just get a little piece of it. All he needed was a taste, just a nibble, and he could slowly work his way through it. It was not particularly flattering to try and chew one's head out of a bag, but he was willing to try. If he could maybe make a hole large enough to see out of, he might have a better idea of what options he had.

And so Aelenta Renvanith, face contorted, tongue lashing, and teeth biting, tried...and failed.

The bag was maybe silk? Whatever it was it was smooth and unwilling to cooperate with his plan of putting it in his mouth. It was time to consider alternatives, and magic seemed a reasonable option. Several of the spells Aelenta had committed to heart seemed potentially ideal, though each and everyone of them required free use of his hands. Something he was sorely without.

The power of prayer was seeming a rather legitimate life choice in the moment. Aelenta even started to form the words I his head before he silently shook his head. What little he could shake it. Asking the Jack of Seelie Court for help, was a clear sign you were unworthy of His favor. Aelenta's mistakes got him into this web, and so long as he had a chance of getting himself out of it, he would save his prayers for later giving thanks to the Jack. Aelenta was no Cleric, but he had always suspected the God's preferred a follower who used their prayers to give thanks, as opposed to only ever begging for help.

The Power of Prayer? Lighting himself on Fire? These were not great ideas Aelenta realized. He had been panicking and needed to calm down. He still had time, and surely the others were coming after him? If he needed more time because the Spiders decided it was time for seconds, he would try and lull them to slumber with the Elven Lullaby. There was no need to panic. He needed to keep calm and think this through.

That is when the chamber grew noticeably quite, or perhaps the feasting spiders were merely something he had become accustomed to? Before he could decide a voice spoke to him. Not some voice from beyond, more so someone or something was very near to him. They sounded male and their elven dialect was not one Aelenta had ever heard before.

"Fool. An idiot such as you doesn't deserve to wield such a power. It is only my vigilance that has saved you."

"You are lucky to be unbroken, vessel. This old Kingdom, a terrible thing awakens. I can smell it"


Whoever they were, they were certainly dark and serious. It almost reminded him of Sywyn.

Clearing his throat first, Aelenta replied in elven with a humble and earnest tone.

"I thank you for seeing me saved, and although I will not argue that I have been a fool....know that I am willing to listen well to your words and learn what I can from you.

Thee response was more or less the opposite of what Aelenta wanted in trying to open a dialog, absolute silence.

"I actually have a bottle of Elverquisst, of all things on me....and if given the oppertunity I would gladly share it with you....only these bonds and this bag seem to be hindering my graditude and hospitality."

Again he hear nothing.

Crestfallen, Aelenta waited and listened, and after a few moments of sustained quiet he dared to risk his hands again. Just maybe his stern and serious savior had cut the webs enough to give Aelenta a means of escape.

He had not.

Deciding to focus upon his toes, Aelenta wiggled them and explored what he could, findng that he may still have his boots on. Hoping that maybe he could sleep his feet free of of his boots he might gain some mobility, Aelenta tried left his legs. He managed about an inch, before the webs around his thighs and knees put an end to that plan.

The muffled sounds of battle could be heard, somewhere ahead of him. There was no good means to gage the distance between his silken hammock and the battle unfolding. So he waited and listened. He listened for the sound of hope, and for the chittering of his eight legged captors he suspected were still very nearby.

Eventually the sound of the other elves grew closer, but they remained muffled, and Aelenta could only make out echos of their conversations. They were nearby, but apparently in no real hurry to find him. Several times he heard them asking eachother for light, did none of them bring a light source? Was this place cloaked in supernatural darkness? He distinctly did hear claims of an accusation that someone was playing grab ass in the dark, and then later he heard them discussing a book they found at some length.

The temptation to start screaming for their help was rising, but it might also bring down the attention of the spiders. You did not need to be an expert in elven culture nor a student of spiders to know that if this turned into a very serious race for time, the Spiders were sure to beat the Elven earned tortoises across the finish line. So Aelenta decided to play dead and go limo, which required no effort. He could hear the party stacking outside the chamber he was in, and he could hear them being careful. They were ready for a fight, and there was no need to warn them there maybe one waiting.

They charged inside to find Aelenta suspenended from the ceiling and bound to the floor with webs. Limp and apparantly lifeless. The sight of it drove Parmour Arilla to call out his pet name.

"ZALIR! are you allright?"

There were some brief exchanges of doubt and condolences before the warrior Rothilion Bel'athadil took the time to cut Aelenta down. Rothilion was careful to support Aelenta, and not let him crash to the floor.

Before reaching to remove the bag, Aelenta offered a form of thanks to his saviors, although perhaps in a less then grateful manner.

"Thank you for cutting me down, though the lack of urgency was rather palpable."

It was then as Aelenta removed the bag that he realized he was in an ancient chamber dedicated to Loth, were he had been suspended above a very dark and apparantly bottomless maw. From the depths of which he heard a familer dark and serious voice.

"Go no further, fools of vessels. I've seen you creeping around, telling everyone what you carry..... prove that you deserve it. That you can hold it, unlike those dead before you that would try to steal it."

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Then the spiders dropped from the ceiling.
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All Aboard for Avernus

Post by jmecha »

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It was months ago when the idea of tracking Alasharious the Meek's research across the Planes was first introduced, and there was nothing to hold Aelenta back from agreeing to the proposition. This was long before anyone counted on Aelenta for anything other then his occasional skills as a scout to further their own agenda, long before the Dream Needle and the threat to the People had been presented to him. Unfettered and free, the prospect of slipping in and out of multiple planes of existence to track down clues and unravel a puzzle of cosmic proportions was motivation enough. So very much had changed in the months that passed between now and then. Fortunately it worked out that putting some distance between himself and his People might actually be what allows them to succeed.

Loading the Astral Ghost with the "Trade Goods" was repetitive labor, and Aelenta worked his muscles sore. It would be less then honest to say their plan was simple, but it roughly amounted to sailing to Avernus as multi-planar merchants. With devils being nefarious strict in regards to their rules and regulations, it was important they they not simply pretend to be Traders, but actually become Traders. The trip to Shadowdeep months ago set them on their way to eventually acquiring the required infernal documents to make their enterprise, legitimate. Paperwork alone though would not be enough and so came the need for the tinned eels and wine casks recovered from Kryptgarden, the massive chests of drugs recovered from Yuan-ti, and dozens of other manners of goods from Toril that might be seen as luxury or status items amongst the devils of Avernus.

Each trip up the gang plank with a sack of flour over his shoulder or a crate of rare wines in hand, was one step closer to out pacing the Skull Port Bounty Hunters. Others believed that luring the Bounty Hunters into a trap was the winning ticket, Aelenta though rather go to hell then be someone else's bait. This trip was a grand opportunity to buy some time, and distance himself from his ten thousand gold coin price tag. All the while giving Parmour Ariella and the others the time they may need to fully charge the Moon Blade. Vaguely he remembered the turn of phrase that the road to hell was paved with good intentions, and he grinned wide and grunted as he struggled to drag a heavy crate of dangerous recreational drugs labeled "Trade Goods - Medicinal" up onto the deck of the Astral Ghost.

Out pacing Bounty Hunters, and buying his Cousins time were not his only motivations. The whole subject of Alasharious the Meeks research being some sort of Arcane break through that would allow those who possessed it to unlock the power of the divine, seemed suspect. Aelenta was not at all certain what exactly could be done with these secrets, nor what exactly Mephis had planned for their use. Which in truth, was as much or more motivation to agree, then simply the desire to see places he had never imagined possible.

Mephis, was not someone Aelenta could easily read, and often Aelenta simply agreed with what the Wizard's declared intentions, in an effort to see where it may lead. Best Aelenta could figure, Mephis's only real tell was his inclination to look upwards towards the sky, tree branches, or even the rafters, whenever he was confronted with the emotional displays of others that he rather not be forced to witness. He was obviously extremely intelligent and disciplined in his studies, and his actions time and time again proved him a loyal companion. Though Aelenta could not help but wonder if that loyalty was born from love and respect, brotherhood, or if it was all more transactional. Was the wizard's dedication a matter of a self interest to see his companions survive to serve their purpose across the multi-planar Lance Board on which Mephis was playing?

Having recently learned that Mephis had been privately dealing with infernals to learn more about Alasharious the Meek, and to better prepare for their trip to Avernus, did not exactly inspire overwhelming trust and confidence in wizard's machinations.

All the same, Alasharious was once a guest of the Temple of Beauty and believed to either have been a devout member of Sune's Church, or at least a valued ally, and so Sir Ambrose Illance was determined to go see what if anything could be done to free this man. Which meant that Bodkin Sodoff was going to Hell as well, regardless if he understood the particulars of the situation or not. The man was as loyal to Ambrose, as Ambrose was to Sune, and Aelenta was not sure if he had ever before seen such loyalty so well tested or proven true as he had with what existed between these two. It was inspirational, and Aelenta Renvanith was not going to be the one to abandon his closest companions when they may need him the most... and so he rolled his shoulders and made another trip up and down the gang plank to the Astral Ghost to see her properly packed and loaded with the cargo they needed.
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Spidery Slavers

Post by jmecha »

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Days turned into Rides, and Aelenta was not much bothering to keep count. He was never one for numbers, and focused more on making the most of each day instead of tracking their passing. If he ever returned to Waterdeep, he could check the Daily Trumpet for the current date and year for all he cared. Until then, the passage of time was the last of his concerns, at least for so long as he was hurtling through space on a used spell jammer aimed towards Avernus.

Having never before sailed amongst the stars, nor having ever really sailed any where further then the distance of Deepwater Harbor, there was a period of adjustment. There was no stepping out to find a meal, or visiting the Tavern. There was only the ship, it's crew, and what they had packed for the voyage. Thankfully there was an excess of wines, and Alasharious the Meek, the Astral Ghost's previous owner left behind a well stocked library filled with fantastically tomes detailing different crystal spheres and the world's within them. It took time but eventually a bit of a routine was settled into that helped pass the time. There were hours of sword play, followed by a meal, then some lute picking and harp playing, followed by a bottle of wine and a traveler's guide from the ship's library. All days were every day, until they were not.

It was Sir Ambrose Illance who first noticed the danger. It was little more then a hint of movement that his eyes detected in the vastness of space. He raised his right arm and pointed towards it, as he spoke.

"Off the starboard bow, I see something incoming."

Thankfully he pointed, because truth be told, Aelenta Renvanith was still a little fuzzy on which side of the ship was Starboard or Port. The news alone though was enough to fill Mephis with concern, for his eyes grew wide as he asked.

"What?"

"Bounty Hunters?" Aelenta asked, only partially jesting, for there was a part of him that was concerned the Moon Blade was valuable enough certain parties might literally chase him to Hell and back to claim it.

"Neogi or Mind Flayers are more the concern." Mephis stated in a rather clinical manner that offered no rebuke. Unfortunately Aeleneta did not know what a Neogi is, although hearing them spoken of as an interchangable bad beside the likes of Mind Flayers was more then enough to give him context. This could be very bad.

Whatever it was, it was clearly on an intercept course with the Astral Ghost and Sir Ambrose Illance began to don his gleaming helmet in a manner that displayed without a word his resolve to fight, and defend no matter the threat. It was so moving that even Bodkin Sodoff realized we were now preparing for battle.

As the unknown vessel got closer and details could be made out, Aelenta knew in his heart of hearts the massive Spider shaped ship was Drow. Mephis's words immediately confirmed what Aelenta saw, and informed him that he was very wrong. It was rather jarring.

"It is a Deathspider, and it is the Neogi."

It was then that the incoming Deathspider swiftly and effortlessly spun on it's central axis and came at us upside down. With deadly grace it's spider legs extended out to embrace the Astral Ghost from beneath and latch it's self onto the underside of the vessel. It's long legs locked on to our hull as it's abdomen pressed against our ship's lower entrance. From where we stood on deck, we could hear a chaotic riot erupt from below. Whatever these Neogi were, there were many of them and their language was some otherworldly cross breed between the chittering of giant spiders, and shrieking eels with a lisp. Below deck the cacophony of shouted sibilants and the sound of so many feet was less then inviting. Just as Mephis was offering a warning to be wary of the Neogi's Umberhulk Slaves, Bodkin Sodofff lead the charge below deck.

"LEAVE OUR BACK DOOR ALONE! BOOOODKINNNN!"

Moving through the terrain of their own ship to repel invaders was both familiar and alien, the sight of two sizable Umber Hulks charging through our sleeping quarters was most disturbing. Hammocks swung wildly side to side as chitin covered limbs flailed and the men of Cormyr charged with their steel drawn and determination in their hearts. Well placed sword strokes and devastating Scythe swings found their way through the chitinous exoskeltons of the Umber Hulks and laid them low with eruptions of aberrant bodily fluids. Just as quickly as the formidable duo had faced the menacing Umber Hulks, they descended the next flight of stairs to continue the press against those that dared to board the Astral Ghost. Unfortunately their swiftness of steel and stride, left Mephis and Aelenta alone to deal with the Neogi who had been laying in wait to see how their slaves faired in battle.

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They were eight-legged creatures, with reflective eyes on their reptilian heads that sat upon a long eel-like neck. With their hairy flattened abdomen, they could be described as akin to a cross between a wolf spider and an eel. Aelenta knew two things at first sight. First off these things almost certainty had some sort of poisonous bite, how could they not? Just look at these horrors. Secondly, where ever they had come from, it was very likely their culture was not one that hung mirrors in their homes. These things were hideously grotesque.

Three Neogi moving swiftly across the crew's sleeping quarters came at Mephis and Aelenta with their legs all tip tapping rapidly across the wooden floor boards like a piano player's fingers flying across keys of ebony and ivory. All the while their long eel like necks whipped, whirled, and coiled back to strike from unexpected angles. With his steel drawn Aelenta moved to intercept the Neogi, gracefully stepping to put him and his swords between these monsters and Mephis. It was not the first time the pair of them had been left to rely solely upon each other due to the zeal of the men of Cormyr's unbreakable charge carrying them further and faster then Aelenta and Mephis could keep pace. So long as Aelenta could slow these horrors down long enough for Mephis to unleash his Arcana, they would survive this.

The first of the three Neogi was hurtling head on towards Aelenta, before it quickly altered direction and slipped pass the elf to go after the wizard behind him. As it veered suddenly off course, it ran up and along the wall to get to Mephis. Aelenta's blades struck out to briefly bury themselves in the thick matted fur of the beast's abdomen delivering wounds that cut deep enough that the Neogi shrieked out in ear splitting pain as it continued it's charge. The words arcane that Mephis spoke with well measured cadence and clinical precision left his mouth with no sense of emotion as the wizard raised the index finger of his right hand and calmly aimed it at the bleeding mess of legs and eel that charged him with an open maw of razor teeth. As the incantation came to a close, a thin ray of negative energy reached from the Wizard's extended finger to the Negoi. Without further fanfare or excitement it dropped dead to the deck, a silent, motionless, corpse. The remaining pair of Negoi fell almost as quickly to elven steel and deadly evocations applied with unforgiving precision.

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Hurrying below to catch up with the men of Cormyr, Aelenta and Mephis could hear the sounds of battle. As they descended the stairs and rounded the corner the sight of two slain Umberhulks greeted them as well as the fury of Sir Ambrose Illance and Bodkin Sodoff fiercely fighting a third. Mephis and Aelenta offered a brief volley of unerring arcane blasts and elven arrows to the fray, but they were little more then garnish to the banquet of death Bodkin scythe and Ambrose's sword had already harvested.

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The lowest level was where the Negoi had made their entrance, which made the fighting the fiercest. It was also the chamber of the Spell Jamming Helm that both powered the Astral Ghost, as well as made navigation possible. Everyone knew it was critical to fight them back before anything was done to sabotage the Astral Ghost, including the invaders. The Neogi placed several of their largest Umber Hulks at the entrance to the Helm Command Center and fought fiercely to keep the crew of the Astral Ghost from regaining control. There was no stopping them though, between Mephis's magical might and the men of Cormyr, the crew of the Astral Ghost reclaimed the Helm and the Neogi Deathspider detached to flee in an act of self preservation.

Aelenta's heart sank as he look at the carnage of eight legged corpses and collapsed Umber Hulks. There would be no easy way to navigate all these cadavers through the ships narrow passages and up flights of stairs to see them jettisoned into the Sea of Stars. Thankfully, this was obviously Bodkin work.
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Good Intentions

Post by jmecha »

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Approaching Avernus exposed an endless fiery wasteland of broken bodies and blood, the smell for burning carrion and clotting sanguine fluids was sickening as it filled Aelenta's nostrils. There was no sun nor moon, only the endless artillery of the Blood War streaking infernal flames across the sky to give brief flashes of fire light to the jagged landscape of blasted obsidian and quartz below. Slowly and methodically the Astral Ghost drifted down and into a bustling port where beings from across the uncounted Planes had come to barter and trade with the Infernal entities of Baator. There Goblin Slaves worked to unload cargo in an effort to avoid the lash or worst. Rakshasas Traders and other oddities beyond Aelenta's recognition over watched the transport of their trade goods as they were carried to market. It was an overwhelming display of depravity and greed.

Most noticeable of all was the massive Abishai of Red, who stood waiting at the end of the pier, ready to inspect the the crew of the Astral Ghost as well as their entry papers. The Abishai was no less then near ten foot tall and reeked of vinegar as it's prehensile tail whipped about it's frame like a sentient whip eager to find it's self someone or something to lash out at. It is suspected Abishai were either once Tiamat's servants in Avernus, or Her Jailors, either way the hulking Draconic Devils were the worst blend of every insidious trait and feature of both Chromatic Dragons and Devils. Of all the variations that could exist, it was often widely accepted that Red Abishai, were the most dangerous of all. Smoke hissed forth from it's maw of cruel teeth and it's breath reeked of brimstone as it spoke in a raspy voice that reverberated with the sounds of uncounted centuries of misery and cruelty.

"No farther fleshlings! You reek of goodness....well some of you do. You better have a story that passes or I'll impound your ship and sell your souls to the highest bidder!"

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Without a word, Mephis presented the contract for which he had signed many moons ago in preparation for this moment. It was a collection of cryptically worded phrases and pages, intentionally drafted to be easily misinterpreted. It all added up to Mephis Yuvaraj, being solely responsible for both himself and his crew strictly following the labyrinth of laws Avernus while they were there as Traders, or for his very Soul to be made forfeit do to his inability to maintain his contractual obligations as signed upon the bottom line. There was nothing about the arrangement that Aelenta was comfortable with.

"Traders, they have permission to be here. Guide them to the markets."

The Hamatula Devil's shifting eyes gleamed in the fire light of the artillery streaking overhead and gave the seven foot tall collection of barbs and spikes, a suspicious look of anxiety about him as he replied with a hiss.

"Ohh... my pleasure.

Without a further word, their new guide lead them from the port in which they had landed, to the road they were to follow.

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The road was one of twists and turns, and aptly known as the "Road of Good Intentions." The irony was not lost upon Aelenta. Passing through what could only be described as an eternal battle field of endless death and suffering. The very ground was made of sharp dagger like debris jutting up from blasted stones, and everything was coated in the sickly wet gleam of blood and lit by the flickering glow of slow burning corpses. The constant explosions of artillery overhead served as exclamations of illuminations to show the unwelcoming sights of Avernus extended outwards in all directions without end. Each somber step carried the companions and crew of the Astral Ghost, further along their Road of Good Intentions, and deeper into Hell.
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Rambling Ravel

Post by jmecha »

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There was nothing seductive about the Erinyes dancers painfully prostrating themselves in the market place, and the sickening knot growing in Aelenta's stomach tightened. Their performance, if it could be called such was one of self deprecation beyond any depravity the young elf had ever seen before. A painful and pitiful display made to make them look the ready victim for abuse. An open advertisement for anyone interested in cruelly inflicting pain upon another. They pulsated and howled like wounded animals as they danced bare foot upon jagged stones, dropping full force upon their knees and hands over and over in their madding gyrations. Fresh and bloody wounds being torn into their bare flesh as they moved, their eyes taunting and asking for more, and inviting anyone with the inclination to do their worst, to take their turn. The market of Avernus was where you could find anything and everything you never wanted.

The overwhelming sights and sounds were disorientating, but in time the crew of the Astral Ghost came to learn there was a local Witch who would be interested in the "Herbs" they had to trade. Taking the stairs two at a time up to the Witch's elevated abode which rested high upon rickety looking stilts, Aelenta could not escape the horrors of the Avernus Market fast enough. Little did he know that he was only fleeing one horror for another. Few and far between are those who meet the Witch Ravel Puzzlewell, that do so prepared for her presence.



"Hail! Mephis, transitioner of Planes and chains.
Hail Aelenta! Wielder of Nightmares, and Notes.
Hail, Sir Ambrose! A smell so sweet it could be none but he.
And Hail Bodkin, lesser than Sir Ambrose, but Greater as well.
Hail! Hail!
I have known you would come."


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Standing tall and gangly before them with deep blue flesh heinously deformed with bruises, warts, blisters, boils, and open sores that leaked fluids that smelled of rot. Ravel's voice reverberated as if it was being summoned from across multiple planes and times to be projected at them. Each slow contortion of her jaw, and flip flop of her tongue that emulated the death throws of a fish dying upon a rancid shore, pronounced declarations of a being who knew what should not be known. It was Mephis Yuvaraj who first found his voice in her presence while others did their best to offer silent and polite acknowledgements to she who stood before them.

"You must know the reason we are here then as well?"

"It is not the Knowing... it is the telling, my fleshlings.
You have come so far.... So FAR!
Would you not speak to poor Ravel of your desires?"


"We seek one who is caught, known as Alasharious."

"Ah... caught.... captured?
To set free.... flee?"


"Caught, captured and condemned as I understand."

Raising a crooked finger and hooked claw she pointed directly at Mephis Yuvaraj.

"Your soul too, trapped inside such flesh....It too can be released."

"I am using it currently, but thank you."

"Oh, such pity... piety? So many have no use for their souls. Such as poor Bodkin..."

The mention of his name drew Bodkin Sodoff's attention from the collection of prize winning chicken feet and exotic animal skulls hanging from the ceiling of the dark and dank den of witchcraft in which they stood. Turning his gaze slowly and surely upon the Witch, Bodkin Sodoff gave her the undeniable and non-negotiable look, of the village idiot.

"Such gifts, but such waste. The soul years to be free... flee? Cages break, broken?"

The sour expression of depression that had become Bodkin's mantle since his exile from Cormyr, did not rebuke her offer.

"That is Ravel, break chains.... pains?"

"Alashorious.... freed, but trapped.... chains of strength. Difficult cage to find....bind?
Ravel Can. All chains can be broke, but with right tools..."


"For tools... fools? we need are near, but far.
To find, you must bring Ravel the tool.... fool? Yes!
Golden, strings of angel's hair upon it....
Played by one infernal, undeserving..... serving?
Plays as if notes in order... not free... flee?
Mhick, he has the tool.. .instrument..... we need.
You must fetch it for poor Ravel.
Everything else you have brought already... .steady?"


Aelenta could feel the gaze of his companions fall upon him, the weight of their hopes and fears upon his elven shoulders. Earlier in their march to the market, where the Road of Good Intentions, crossed with another, they had seen an infernal instrumentalist playing a fiddle of gold for a crowd of lost souls. Everyone in the dimly lit room knew it would be the responsibility of the Renvannian to play the fool, and claim the needed tool.
Current Characters: Aelenta Renvanith
jmecha
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Crossroads

Post by jmecha »

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Retracing their steps had given Aelenta unwanted time to reflect upon the challenge ahead, and it made his mouth run dry and his throat grow tight. He knew what wager the Devil would want made for the Fiddle of Gold with Angel Hair Strings. Though Aelenta had faced and cheated death a dozen times or more, the threat of being forever denied a place in Arvandor was something that filled him with dread and despair. Thankfully upon returning to the Crossroads, the companions found them abandoned. There was no crowd gathered, there was no one there at all, and Aelenta breathed deeply for the first time since setting out for Fiddle of Gold. Like all pleasant sensations in Baator, his relief was fleeting.

From an unexpected plume of black smoke, the Infernal Instrumentalist appeared with his forked tongued smile and the confidence of uncounted claimed souls twinkling in his eyes. Lightning arcs sparked off the fiddle strings as his drew his fiery bow across them in a painfully provocative manner. The music he made was only the smallest tempest, played in such a manner to hint at the crescendo of destruction it could become. Then without warning the bow was withdrawn from the angel hair strings and with an alarming smile the Infernal Instrumentalist turned to address those who had gathered at the Crossroads.

"Fans or critics?"

With a smile and a bow, the Revanna Ranger introduced himself with what grace under pressure he could acquit himself with.
"My name is Aelenta Renvanith, and I have come for your Fiddle. Are you open to negotiations?"

Through a smirk as charming as a serpent's smile the fiend replied with visible good humor.
"My golden fiddle you say?"

"Yes, specfically that one there with the Angel Hair Strings."

It was then that the Infernal took the time to take the measure of Aelenta Renvanith, carefully running his dark eyes across the elf's poise and grace, carefully taking note of what instruments he carried, and how confidently he carried them. Eager to see this through before he lost his last nerve and panic overcame him, Aelenta moved to make the offer he suspected needed to be made.

"I am a bit of a performer myself. Perhaps we may hold a contest of sorts?"

Pity is not sentiment Aelenta often encountered in the eyes of those who looked upon him, and never before in Avernus, but he recognized a hint of it in the Devil's eyes as he spoke.

"Contest you say?"

"Should I out perform you...I leave with the Fiddle, and should you win...well what would you like?"

"I agree, but if you lose I get your soul troubadour?"

"I find your lack of originality inspiring, and I agree."

"We do it on my home turf. That is my condition."

"Where...is your Home Turf?"

"You will see."

With a wink of his eye and a strong snap of red taloned fingers, the reality of Avernus shifted out of focus for a moment. Aelenta and his Companions found themselves upon dunes of blasted sand seasoned with gleaming shards of black glass. In the distance roared an infernal crowd gathered about a fortress of stone bathed in magical lights that shifted their colors and changed their hue in time with the faint sound of music emanating from within. With each struggling stride through the shifting sands and shards, the music grew clearer and Aelenta Renvanith slowly found his resolve.

Then without warning, the familer if patronizing voice of Priestess Starmane of the House of Wonders spoke to his mind from across the vastness of the Planes.
“Defeated a Gruumsh war party after the Moonblade in Westwood Pass. We warned Ravenna. Are you and the Moonblade safe?”

The sending caught Aelenta completely off guard, but it was comforting to hear a voice from home. His mind raced to compose an appropriate response to maintain the lie that he did in fact have the Moonblade with him. He would only have twenty-five words to work with, and he wanted to leave her wanting more.

"The Moonblade and I are safe, I await only your word that you have dealt with the Skull Port Threat. Please beware of the...."

Pleased with his reply, Aelenta adjusted his cloak collar with a winning grin. Having provided the people back home a little needless nonsense and misdirection had lifted his spirits. As the companions crested the last dune of sand and shards to reach the fortress of stone and shifting lights, they found themselves weightless as leaves on the wind. They floated in an effortlessly manner up and over the imposing walls of stone, to land with differing degrees of grace upon a flat top roof.

This was the Devil's Dance Floor.

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Current Characters: Aelenta Renvanith
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