Shadowed Realms

Episode Twenty Four: Ships In The Night
"Who is left to care what we have to say?"

The Red River adventurers travel to the Pirate Isle to gain the navigational information that will lead them to the Abolethic Sovreignty’s floating isle of Xiphu. They arive during a time of great political tension on the Pirate Isle, as the impending naval war between the Sharan nations and the Allied Kingdoms has lead to furious attempts to recruit privateers from amongst the brigands of the Pirate Isle. Horiam and Codrus seek to take advantage of the pirate’s fears by recruiting crew and buying ships to expand Codrus’ fleet. They also seek to locate the Silverstar Hunter Tempest, whom the Red River Adventurers hope will aid them in navigating the City of Torment.

The Red River adventurers utilize the contacts of their prisoner Cassi to discover a Sharan plot to assassinate a Blue Dragon Naval admiral; one that the Ghosts of Evantide were ordered by the Purple Lady not to interfere with. Cassi. newly disillusioned by the actions of Fenrikka, assists the Red River adventurers in subverting the local Ghost of Evantide cell and using their information to thwart the Admiral’s assassination.

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Episode Twenty Three: How Far Have You Strayed?
"Which is exactly what you would say if you had read the book!"

It is a time of revelations as the Red River Adventurers reach out to their guardian angel Dusk, who gives them new insight on the goals of their enemies; Lord Allacian and King Foril’s dream of a Sembia under the Purple Dragon while Cardinal Montcrief seems intent on the mass abduction of Corymr’s people into the Shadowfell.
The Companions also learn of the Shade Threndrin, the Netherese Assassin that killed Kelt. After some debate on the justice of it, the companions agree to capture Threndrin and trade him to Dark Prince Ovid to assure that they will be able to obtain the cure for Ghia’s mother.
The meeting with Dark Prince Ovid is almost derailed by the presence of the Ghost of Evantide Cassi, whom the Companions capture.
Dark Prince Ovid agrees to the bargain and reveals three means of curing one who has been affected by the madness of the Cyrishad.
Thia speaks to the Prophet of the Blue Flame, who reveals to her that she is destined to be a Godslayer even while the spellplague ravages her body.
The Companions gather on the Wicked Fang and together they all decide to travel to the Pirate Isle to gain intelligence on Xiphu, the Floating City where Anna is now imprisoned.

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Episode Twenty Two: Showdown at Vesperin
"Where in the World is Horiam?"

The Red River Adventurers sail to Tanthas in Vesperin, Intent on traveling
overland to the city of Raven’s Bluff. It is in Raven’s Bluff that Horiam the Talespinner and his partner in flight Trer’t’cuur were forced to go to ground to try and keep the Cyrishad, the Book of Lies, out of the hands of all comers. 
The Red River Adventurers pose as watersellers and travel to Raven’s Bluff, and meet with the Order of the Blue Flame, who are treating the victims of a spellplague wrought natural disaster. Raven’s Bluff’s natural waterways have been infested by the spellplague, turning the population against the victims who are scarred by the exposure. 
The Companions go to the Bank of the Five Virtues to sell their wares and inadvertently are thrown into the middle of a pitch battle with Thayan terrorists.  The Companions find themselves fighting alongside the Ghosts of Evantide and Cassi the Seeker, Horiam and Trer’s most selfless and dogged pursuers. 
The Companions then located Horiam and Trer, aiding them in hiding while they race to arrange a meeting between the companions and Dark Prince Ovid of Netheril and Horiam. It is their hope that Ovid can sell them the means of curing Thia’s mother of the Cyrishad’s influence. 
The Companions dodge Tiamat worshipers, gangs, brute squads and eventually encounter the mysterious figure known only as The Eminence, who claims to have been sent by the Angel Dusk, and who reveals to the companions their role in a divine plan to subjugate all of Faerun. 
Raven’s Bluff erupts into chaos around The Red River Adventurers who witness In passing a final showdown between the Ghosts of Evantide and the local Agents of Netheril. The Companions rescue Hestia Pyren and prevent the Adamantine Dragon Yilfir from tearing down the city in an attempt to protect Hestia from a gang of thugs.

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Episode Twenty One: Castle Perilous: The Closed Circle
The Orb of Dragonkind. At what cost?

With the rest of her team occupied by the Navigator’s Portal, Thia manages to pull off two desperate bluffs. The first to dissuade the genocidal Duregar intent on butchering the captive Delldwarves, and the second to mollify the impatient Dragon Gowxorel, who seemed intent on moving in to sieze Sulfindarkel’s territory. She manages to delay them long enough for the companions to return.
The companions convince their associate Immilzae to remain behind to rescue the Dellldwarves, while they travel with Gowxorel through the Navigator’s Portal. The Portal leads to the Navigator’s hidden library, when evidently much of Netheril’s ancient secrets were lost to the Shadow Kingdom.
The companions manage to lose their dragon to his own concerns and follow signs of recent occupation to the body of Kalarel, the Sharan Cultist that they thought had been claimed by Shadraxil almost a year ago. He had been tortured for information.
The Red River Adventurers discover one of Tiamat’s great temples beneath Castle Perilous and before they know it are face to face with Frazlofra the Grim, the Dracolich former mate of Shadraxil, now armed with Kalarel’s knowledge of the location of his mate! A brutal battle commences culminating in Redgar smiting Frazlofra with the Black Orb of Dragonkind, but at a terrible cost. The Temple’s defences take the life of Zayne in a devastating elemental convergence.
Zayne’s spirit is stopped from passing on by the angelic reaper Dusk, who tells Zayne that to prevent him from his soul from falling into the hands of Tiamat, Zayne must embrace the curse that binds his grandfather and rise as a vampire until he retrieves the book of Cyric and ends his grandfather’s curse.
Gowxorel flees and the companions meet up with Drakuur, who tells them that they cannot venture into Castle Perilous because he fears the true Witch King Zenghyi is awakening within it. He escorts the companions back to the portal and agrees to allow them access to the Navigator’s library in future.
The companions return to the Dellhalls and ambush Goodman Tultin, whom they interrogate regarding his past. Tultin pleads innocence regarding the selling of his children’s souls, insisting that the blame lay on his wife, who sought to use her children to buy immortality. The companions barter with the Dalelander, but he manages to escape at great cost, leaving the companions to travel on to Vesperin where they intend to barter with the Dark Princes of Shade for the cure to the Cyrishad’s madness.

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Episode Twenty: Holocaust of Doing Business
Is it better to know, even if you can't stop it?

The Red River adventurers deliberate in the Telos’ Gaze inn and reveal some of their deeply held secrets, but their confessions are interrupted by Executor Kurgal of the Ironfell Council who raids the Inn to capture the family of Dwarven slaves the innkeepers were smuggling into Damara. Rather than hand over the slaves, the Companions slay many soldiers and earn the enmity of the Warlock Knights, forcing them to flee by road. Jonn suspects that the facilitator of the slave exchange is none other than “Dalelander” Goodman Tultin; Jonn’s estranged father, who may once again be profiteering off of the burgeoning Vaasan civil war.

The companions discover upon the road to Telos City a gathering of buried corpses, and they begin to suspect that Thay is once more seeding Western Territories with sleeper harvests of animate corpses, preparing for some future Endgame.

When they arrive at The Dellhalls mine, the adventurers discover that it has become a work camp and death camp for the displaced indigenous Dwarf population under the supervision of Lord Knight Vidicator Mansoon, the self proclaimed Witch King of Vaasa, and heir to the Archlich Zenghi. Through guile and deception, Zanne earns the Witch King’s confidence and the companions set out to rendezvous with the Dragon Gowxorel.

Gowxorel expresses his displeasure that his path is blocked and he demands that the Companions slay Sulfindarkel the Objector, an Earthquake Dragon that evidently has claimed the Dellhalls as his lair. The companions reveal Gowxorel’s intentions to the Witch King, provoking Mansard into ordering an all out attack on Sulfindarkel, who evidently stands in the way of his access to an Ancient Netherese portal buried under the mountain.

The Red River Adventurers battle Sulfindarkel and the Witch King is consumed by the vengeful dragon before ultimately falling before the companions blades.

The death of the dragon permits access to the Netherese Portal which the companions discover is familiar to them. It is identical to the portal that exists beneath Shadowfell Keep, the one that currently holds the Demi-Dragon Shadraxil imprisoned in the Shadowfell.

Curious as to the nature of the portal, Zanne, Isaac and Jonn test it and find themselves transported back to Shadowfell Keep, but in an insubstantial and invisible state, unable to interact with the Purple Dragons and War Wizards that they find occupying the site. Only Lady Fenrikka seems to possess the ability to communicate and sense their presence due to her necrotic power, and Isaac uses that awareness to attempt to negotiate with the Purple Lady.

But even in this state there is the warning of danger, related by the Vigilant and Restless Sir Keegan, who reveals the truth of where the Trio have found themselves. The blocking of the Shadowfell Gate has brought them into Shadraxil’s prison, and that it is from here that Shadraxil preys on the minds of those who inhabit Shadowfell Keep. To Isaac’s great dismay it is revealed that Shadraxil has declared the imprisoned Tria Pacen as her consort and is attempting to drive her mad with paranoid whispers just as she once drove Sir Keegan to murder his family and command a century before. Isaac may have secured Tria’s release by cutting a dangerous deal with Lady Fenrikka, but how much damage has already been done to the virtuous young Exemplars mind?

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Episode Nineteen: Eyes in Team
Where do our loyalties lie?

Isaac Zarathustra joins his companions at the Monastery of the Yellow Rose. While Redgar is being briefed on the nature of the elemental chaos, Thia and Jonn fill Isaac in on recent events, but the subject of the Red River Charter is a source of contention between them, and Isaac wishes to consider his role before signing, given his ultimate loyalty to Coramyr. Redgar informs the others of the pleas of the Githzerai: If the Companions cannot reconnect the Yellow Rose portal with their sister monastery Sanzerthad deep within the Elemental Chaos, then their families and friends will die of starvation; even if they are not destroyed by the besieging forces of the Abyss.

The Red River adventurers gather at the Yellow Rose portal and it is discovered that Thia has received a spellscar. The Order of Blue Flame infected her with some form of susceptibility, and the eventual results of her infection is not yet known.

The companions travel to Sanzerthad and repair the portal, but are needed to assist in the defence of Sanzerthad. The forces of the Demon Prince Yeenoghu, sensing Sanzerthad’s weakness, were gathering for a siege of the Monastery to attempt to destabilize it before it can be returned to the Yellow Rose Portal.

While Thia receives training in the power of the Ghost Blades by Tucon of the Yellow Rose, Isaac is approached by Arijaal, the image of an agent of the Iron General Bane. The Iron General seems willing to provide Isaac assistance in advancing his own personal ambitions and hopes that Isaac will see fit to ask their assistance.

The Red River adventurers succeed in assisting in the defence of Sanzerthad, and accompanied by Gesendra of the Yellow Rose, they set out toward Vaasa, choosing to cross the Galenea mountains rather than attempt to secret themselves through Bloodstone Pass.

The companions arrive in Darmshall where they discover that there is a conflict brewing in Vaasa that involves the displacement of the indigenous Dwarven slave clans. The companions are approached by Sindri of Waterdeep. Sindri reveals to Redgar the fate of his father and brother, and passes on to the companions several gifts and the blessing of the Heart of the Sun adventuring party, inviting The Red River Adventurers to visit him in Waterdeep when they can.

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Episode Eighteen: False Flags Part III- Sloth
The Deck of Many Things is pleased.

The Red River Adventurers head for the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, but pause to communicate at a distance with their friends at Shadowfell Keep only to discover that the political situation in the Allied Kingdoms are turning against their allies. Their former allies in jail or on the run, the companions direct those still free to carry the Cyirashad, Cyric’s book of lies, to the trade city of Vesperin, where they hope to barter with a Dark Prince of Shade for the cure to the book’s madness.

The Red River Adventurers sneak past some scattered Githzerai and find Gowxorel has taken over the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, and that he has evidently looted it and scattered the Gith monks within. The companions negotiate with the Dragon, who evidently wishes them to kill one of his personal enemies, whom Thia suspects is the Cobalt Dragon Drakuur, the last of the six wyrmlings that killed Frazlofra the Grim.

Once Gowxorel departs, the companions are ambushed by a powerful Rakashaa noble and his devil minions, and the Rakashaa reveals within Redgar the spark of Angelic power that lay dormant within.

The Red River Adventurers are approached by Odae, the Githzerai Monk that is in command of the Monastery of the Yellow Rose. Odae tells the companions that the Rakashaa doomed their people by destabilizing their portal to the elemental chaos, and in return for the companions help is saving their sister Monastery in the Elemental Chaos, Odae can teach Redgar of his heritage, and show him the path of the Arcane Wayfarer.

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Episode Seventeen: False Flags Part II- Gluttony
Guys I have something I need to tell you...

Jonn, Thia and Zanne gather and discuss their concerns regarding the Zhantarim activity in the allied Kingdoms and the pieces of the Zhentarim plan start to fit together. They devise a plan to disable the Asmodean cultists that guard Commander Dabemorn’s resting place. Zanne is outed as a Ghost of Evantide by Agath the crimelord while trying to buy sleep poisons, and in so doing is forced to take credit for the murder of the Old Man in order to explain his amulet. Jonn, Zanne, Thia and Keldon infiltrate an Asmodean orgy, and drug the participants in order to sneak past then and enter the tomb of Commander Dabemorn. Commander Dabemorn and his vampire spawn put up a fight but are ultimately brought down by the Red River Adventurers. Dabemorn is not slain permanently, however. Evidently his existence is protected, and he will return some day no doubt interested in vengeance. And beneath the vampire’s crypt is discovered the supposed resting place of Zarah’cyur, who the Red River Adventurers suspect may be the progenitor of the vampiric curse which Zanne carries in his blood.

The Red River Adventurers seek out Deacon Commander Doleson, who accepts proof of Dabemorn’s death and tells the companions of his secret strategy: Doleson has made contact with one of the Dragons that used to be a lieutenant for the Vaasan Witch King Zengyhi, a White Dragon named Gowxorel. Doleson wishes to curry the dragon’s favour in return for Gowxorel revealing the means of entering Castle Perilous- The Witch Kings former citadel. By using Gowxorel’s knowledge, Doleson hopes that the Zentarim can steal the Black Orb of Dragonkind out from under the noses of the Vaasan Warlock Knights, who also seek entry into Castle Perilous.

Deacon Commander Doleson’s promises of reward are short lived, as he is raided by Zhentarim Black Cloak enforcers who have orders for Doleson’s arrest. Doleson attempts to commit suicide rather than face capture but his plummet from the Banite Tower is prevented by Yilfir, the Adamantine Dragon in service to Mulmaster. Zanne is forced to talk the Red River out of being implicated in Doleson’s treachery.

Seeking the information necessary to find Gowxorel without Doleson, the companions break into Doleson’s office. There they discover information showing that the Zhentarim are infighting and that Doleson is a catspaw for the High Strifelord of the Church of Bane.

After securing Gowxorel’s location, Thia visits Yilfir in the Mulmaster Aviary and deliver’s Ovavia’s message. Yilfir proceeds to burn her bridges and destroy much of Mulmaster’s defences and collapsing the Banite Tower while the Red River Adventurers flee into the Galetea Mountains.

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Side Trek: Here There Be Dragons
What is happening under the surface?

Trer’t’cuur and Tria followed the drow traitor to an Azer camp under the Dalelands and discovered them being brutally oppressed by a fire giant who had been informed of the Azer presence by Trer’t’cuur’s former friend. Together the party liberated the camp and rescued a drow woman who revealed to Horiam the source of her lover’s erratic behaviour.

The Cyirishad—the book of madness said to drive its readers to acts of terrible and mindless evil, was being carried into the heart of Drow civilization, and the party choose to brave the Underdark Highways to try and overtake the book before it can spread its madness.

The party tracked the book to a ziggurat under the control of Tuhu’d S’Delvat drow anarchists, a place where the drow are said to commune with one of the movement’s secret commanders. Trer’t’cuur visited bloody vengeance on his kinsmen for the slaying of his friend and the party recovered both his friend’s body and the Cyrishad. They discovered a disturbing fact—the state of the corpse suggested that a Mind Flayer had consumed the madness that was contained in the traitor’s mind, possibly leaving a spark of Cyric’s madness on the loose.

Tria and the party surfaced and travelled to Winterhaven to rest and recover in the Red River company’s store, but their rest was short lived. Purple Dragon Knights appeared at the door with orders from King Foril to arrest Tria Pacen for treason against the crown of Coramyr. This crisis triggered a falling out between the remaining companions who fought to see who would retain possession of the Cyrishad. Eventually Horiam and Trer’t’cuur escaped with the book, but Agent Cassi does not give up the chase easily.

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Side Trek Four: Do Not Go Gentle
Once A Hero...

The Heart of the Sun were in their day one of the greatest adventuring companies in the allied kingdoms; in the words of Elminster they were one of the small bands upon which the fate of the world always seemed to rest. But their travels ended more than twenty years ago, and each of the Heart in their own way went on to great power and fame.

But end of the Heart of the Sun’s story was not to finish in glorious obscurity.

When Eneas Tellvard is delivered a warning by a mysterious angel named Dusk, his suspcions are confirmed: his son Kelt’s destiny was interfered with. Unknown dark forces within the higher planes intercepted Kelt’s soul and prevented not only his resurrection, but also his passing into the afterlife he had earned.

Traveling to Waterdeep with Dusk, the Servant of the Raven Queen whose task it was to see Kelt to his proper reward, Eneas appraoches his old companion Sindri the Gnome Engineer. Sindri in turn calls in Shael, a powerful wizard who unbeknownst to Tellvard had in the intervening years become a powerful Archlich. Together they agree to travel to the Astral Plane to rescue Kelt’s soul from Wrec’iq’veh, the Sorrowsworn Death Lord that murdered the Great Elminster himself at the behest of the Dark Princes of Shade in Netheril.

The Heart of the Sun fight their way through the fabled Undermountain, to a ruined temple that held a powerful nexus from a bygone age known only as the Dawnscar. The Dawnscar was said to be the weapon blow of a great Primordial that drove a hole into the world; a hole that leads to the realm of Amaunator the Sun God. The path is blocked by a powerful Beholder Tyrant and his undead minions, but even the Beholder’s savage might cannot stand against the Heart of the Sun.

Once in the Astral Realm at the fabled Twilight Wall, Eneas is approached by an Astral Frigate bearing an Exarch of Amaunator. The Exarch Kinsiet passes to Eneas the dangerous truth that the High Priest of Amaunator Tetrarch Montcrief in Coramyr, the one responsible for Eneas’ supposed excommunication, is himself no longer a servant of the Sun God, having now sent his prayers to some other patron. Kinsiet informs Tellvard of the likely path of his son’s abductor. Apparently the most likely place for Wrec’iq’veh to contact whomever his celestial patron might be is upon the corpse of Bre’gur, whom Amaunator slew during the Dawn War and whose corpse now lies in darkness at the border of the Sun King’s realm.

The Heart of the Sun travel to Bre’gur’s corspe avoiding a trap set for them by one of Tiamat’s Angels of Vengence and Shys’syal’fissbur, the former tyrant of Nagaraja the H|eart of the Sun dethroned twenty years ago.

The Heart of the Sun arrives at Bre’gur’s corpse, and there they confront Wrec’iq’veh, who seems intent of tearing divine essence from Kelt’s soul to provide to his mysterious patron. A great battle ensues upon the torso of the dead Primordial that leads to Tellvard running Wrec’iq’veh through with his greatspear and scattering Elminster’s killer into the Astral void.

With Kelt having been rescued, The Heart of the Sun must deal with another bitter reality. Kelt’s abduction branded him an outsider by the laws of the Astral. Kelt’s soul can no longer find eternal rest at the base of Amaunator’s throne. Eneas travels to the realmv of the Raven Queen, Kelemvor’s Lady of Transitions and judge of the afterlife. There revelations are made and he is informed of the means by which his son’s soul can be provided for and his immortality restored, but only if a price is paid.

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