The Mourning Prophecy

Episode V: The Burgling
Am I hot? Okay then.

Olarune 21, 998 YK

The heroes spent their first night of protective custody out on the bridges and byways of Sharn, getting a head start on their investigations. They headed down to Lower Menthis to join up with Agent at the location where Aric Blacktree‘s body disappeared, but before they could arrive they came across a strange scene – a Shifter with the features of some kind of deer ran out into their path, followed by a mob of bloodthirsty, fanatical humans wearing amulets which bore the symbol of the Silver Flame. They dispatched the humans and Elias used the opportunity to loot two nearby shops, acquiring two potions and a wand, all unidentified, in the process. It was only when the dust settled that their Watch escort, a portly older sergeant, finally caught up to them, and demanded that they also bring the young Shifter in for questioning — a task made more difficult as he was still in a panic and now careening madly away from the obviously dangerous newcomers. Quercia’s cat caught up to him and managed to pin him without hurting him though, and he reluctantly fell in with the group.

They reached the very bottom of Lower Menthis and found Agent standing perfectly still in the middle of five bodies, all with their skulls split open and their brains removed. Agent invited them to contribute their own efforts to his earlier, cursory investigations, and they quickly came across a blood trail a few yards out from the scene — apparently outside Agent’s normal investigation range protocols — and, after communing with some of the local birds, learned that Aric’s body had been taken away by what the avian minds could only describe as a “wrong thing”. They followed the trail to the nearest shaft down into the Cogs, in Lower Dura, but the entrance was completely blocked off by a crowd of Warforged foundry workers in the middle of a protest for fairer wages. The heroes did some checking around, and three things became apparent:

1. The Warforged were being organized by a mysterious half-construct, half-human creature resembling the presumed-dead Moira d’Cannith.

2. Moira d’Cannith, or whoever was under all that armor and Warforged plating, is actually a sort of ambassador for the being known as the Lord of Blades, whom the workers apparently hold in high regard.

3. The management being recalcitrant, and the Warforged protesters having no need for rest or food, meant that there was no sign of the way into the shaft being cleared any time soon. This thread would need to be picked up later.

The heroes finally retired to their apartments in the watch garrison in Middle Menthis, but not before Elias drank one of his two stolen potions. Its effect was immediate, transforming his physical form into that of a female elf. He took the transformation in stride.

The next day they trekked to Upper Menthis, where everyone but Bird visited the second crime scene: Bren ir’Gadden’s apartment. They found it every bit as bloody and ransacked as they had been told. Skull invited them to search the premises, which her investigators had not been able to do in anything but a superficial capacity thus far. Quercia found a hidden cache which contained gold, fungible gems, a pair of Goblin Stompers, and a journal whose last six months of entries were in a similar script to the papers found in Aric Blacktree’s town house. Skull informed them that it looked like an old Brelish military cypher, and that the only people who could crack it were House Sivis. As they left Bren’s apartment they encountered Luca Syara, an Eladrin playwright who apparently knew Bren for some time and needed his help getting her out of debt. She told the heroes that she could be found in Lower Menthis and left, looking troubled. They traveled to the nearest Sivis enclave and dropped the documents off to be deciphered.

Meanwhile, Bird had traveled to Morgrave University to pay a visit to the strange prodigy who was rumored to know more about Xen’Drik than most of her professors. He made his way to an old academic hybrid commune/dormitory and introduced himself to the girl, who turned out to be named Dala Arand. She expressed friendly curiosity as she invited Bird in and invited him to tea, but after only a few moments she revealed that she knew of Doctor Dad and that she had some kind of close ties to The Ornithologist. Bird tried to press her for more information, but she left for class, leaving no opportunity for Bird to follow.

The decoded documents were as follows:

Aric’s Documents: A correspondence from someone named Chyrassk to Aric, commanding him to continue earning the trust of House Tarkannan.

Bren’s Diary: The coded entries grew more and more troubled and confused, rambling about a watcher in the darkness, the “serpents of the Chamber,” and it ended with, “I think it will make its move soon. Perhaps they can help me. By the Host, let them be able to help me.”

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Episode IV: You Guys Want Some Drinks?
Oh no I forgot my dramatically appropriate bon mot!

Olarune 20, 998 YK, Midwinter

The drakes might have made quick work of Bird, if not for the quick reflexes and keen ears of Quercia, as well as the sudden interference of an unknown spellcaster nhiding in one of the town house’s closets. As the battle wore on, two new enemies joined the fray: Pavel, an incorrigible Half-Orc archer, and Diego, an irascible Shifter beast trainer who was seemingly in control of the guard drakes. Apparently both mercenaries possessed more sense than loyalty, because when Bird offered them an opportunity to surrender peacefully they did so, but only after telling them everything they knew about their employer and the machine upstairs – very little, in either case.

The woman in the closet turned out to be an Eladrin wizard named Freya. As far as she was able to tell, her captor had been using her inherent connection to the Feywild as a kind of power source for whatever device was held upstairs. Quercia checked both of the bedrooms on the first floor, finding in the process 2 Healing Potions, a Syberis Shard of the Mage, and a sheaf of papers, one of which was in some kind of indecipherable script but featured the symbol of House Tarkannan at the top, one of which was a list of relatively innocuous household wares, and the last of which was empty.

Elias, fearing that the thrumming from the machine upstairs was nearing a climax, decided to climb up the townhouse’s chimney and perform some reconnaissance. He made his way to a second story window, risking the hundreds-foot fall down to the bottom of Sharn’s towers, and overheard a Dolgaunt threatening an unenthusiastic servant and, immediately after, attacking. Elias swung through the window and did his best to save the Changeling in the grips of the monster. His companions immediately ran upstairs to assist him, quickly disabling the monster and making fast work of the Khyber Generator that had almost entered an unstoppable cascade. Something about disabling the machine undermined the town house’s moorings to the tower, however, but as it began ominously rumbling a finely appointed sky carriage piloted by Bren ir’Gadden. The heroes leaped through the window to the safety of his ship, and with its last breath the Dolgaunt howled, “THE EYE HAS OPENED!”

The fight wasn’t over though. As they rose up from the lower levels of the Menthis Plateau, the side of the ship was bombarded by magic. Aric Blacktree, bearing a body-wide (and toxic looking) Aberrant Dragonmark careened toward them on a Soarsled, howling that they had interfered with his ascension twice and that he would ensure it would never happen again. Quercia cut him short and gave the lie to his boasts when she jumped onto his soarsled and pushed him off, sending him falling nearly a mile down into the depts of the Dura district.

Bren dropped the heroes off at a skydock in Upper Menthis and quickly disappeared in the ensuing bru ha ha as the waiting Sharn City Watchmen enveloped them. A few of the heroes were dubious at first, having been on various less satisfying sides of the law, but a Watch sergeant ensured them that they were heroes, that their work was appreciated, and that if they would accompany him to the garrison in Middle Menthis they would be debriefed and rewarded. The heroes did so, and ended up waiting in a spartan room for nearly two hours, after which they were visited by not the sergeant from before but a Warforged calling himself Agent and a Half-Orc named Skull, both claiming to be members of the King’s Citadel, an elite investigative organization with jurisdiction over the whole city. The heroes were told that their work was appreciated, but that recent events required that they be taken into custody – mostly protective, but it was suggested that they had not been ruled out as suspects. The events in question were as follows:

1: Bren ir’Gadden’s apartments had been broken into and a bloody struggle had ensued between 2 and 3 hours before. No body had been found. The heroes last saw Bren in perfect health less than 2 hours before.

2: Aric Blacktree’s body had disappeared from the spot where it landed, and the bodies of five city guards had been found in the vicinity – all with their skulls broken open and their brains missing.

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Episode III: Puppy Fund
Karen! Noooooooooooo!!

Olarune 20, 998YK, Late Winter

The party engaged in a furious melee with the Mourning Haunt on the balconies of Sharn. They were soon joined by Bird, an avian humanoid hired by Bren to guard his event who seemed to be able to control shadows. Elias, thinking quickly, grabbed Bren ir’Gadden and dragged him away from the fight before he could be harmed. Meanwhile, Leighloo rallied the various veterans and refugees who had been attending Bren’s event and commanded them to attack the demon instead of running away. Many died.

The party looted the bodies of the fallen veterans and refugees after the fight, but all they found were the Puppy Fund Pouch, the Sentimental Amulet, and the Sobriety Anonymous Card, all of which were claimed by Bird, whose job performance did not particularly impress Bren.

Bren, distraught by the death surrounding him after he thought he had put such things behind him, hired the party to find out where the Mourning Haunt had come from and, if it had been sent on purpose, to bring whoever was responsible to justice. The party began an investigation along the streets of Sharn, at one point almost being drawn into a fight with a pack of ruffians in a back alley. Eventually, after some private inquiries on the part of Bird on the status of someone he called only The Ornithologist, they arrived at a modestly sized town-house in a rough neighborhood dozens and dozens of levels below the towers of Morgrave University.

A strange thrumming sound could be heard from the town-home’s second story. The Professor recognized it, mentioning that it was probably connected to something called a Khyber Resonator, but he couldn’t recall anything else. Bird attempted to sneak in through the front door, but an ill-timed cough drew the attention of four guard drakes.

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Episode II: Competitors
Roll a d20 to see if you think this is pretty much the grossest thing ever.

Olarune 20, 994YK, Late Winter

Negotiations proceeded with Mallora over the fate of Bren ir’Gadden, although a stalemate seemed imminent. Ailbe had mysteriously disappeared with the help of her innate Eladrin ability to teleport short distances – to what purpose, and whether she would return, were both a mystery. Little did either the party in the Tower of Scars or the Emerald Claw necromancer know, however, that not only were Leighloo and Rath approaching from the South, but that an Elven mercenary named Elias had been detached from the battle on the Saerun Road to the East to investigate a unit of undead headed toward the tower for possible Karrnathi activity.

Quercia headed for the west entrance to the tower, only to find it guarded by Mallora’s undead servants. Meanwhile Elias had approached and hidden behind a tree. The noble elf, though he was unsure who the other end of the debate was, knew that the Emerald Claw couldn’t possible be up to anything good, and so he decided to try and give their mystery victims a chance to escape. He threw a stone across the field with the intention of drawing the Claw agents’ attention, but they saw through the ruse immediately. Mallora ordered one of her sergeants to kill the intruder, Bren charged out the main entrance, Rath and Leighloo entered the fray from the South, and all hell broke loose…

…in more ways than one. As the battle was entered, a strange conflagration of mist, fire and crackling energy rolled westward from the horizon.

Mallora fell early in the battle. Her servants, both undead and living, attempted to grab her remains and carry them away for reanimation, but Elias decapitated her corpse, Rath and The Professor slaughtered anyone who tried to carry her, and Quercia’s faithful companion Haynt finished the job when he devoured what was left of the woman. Elias searched what was left of the bodies once the fighting wore down, finding a Onyx Dog figurine on one of the sergeants and a Shroud of Protection on Mallora. The Professor went back into the tower to check on their captive, only to realize that the poor insane Halfling had suffocated inside the bag.

In the meantime the strange mist had fully encompassed what parts of Cyre the party could see from their position at the top of the hill. The battle could no longer be heard. Bren stood in stunned silence. Quercia ordered Haynt down to scout what had happened inside the mist, but the cat stopped at the edge of the sickly white veil and refused to go any further. The magical dog summoned by Elias’s figurine was not so reticent, however – it entered the mist and, before it was out of sight, was practically dissolved into a mist of blood, strands of muscle and bone splinters. Before the elf mercenary could mourn his new pet’s passing however, the figurine reappeared in his hand. Finally, the Professor sent his mechanical servant down to the road. It returned a few minutes later with the head of a Brelish soldier in its claws – but, horrifically, the head was mummified and the armor brittle, as though it had been lying in a desert for millenia.

This was enough for Bren, who threw down his insignia of rank, took his aid Aric Blacktree by the elbow, and declared that he no longer had the taste for war. The party had their own ideas, but there was no convincing Bren that what he had just seen was anything other than a cataclysmic weapon employed in another escalation in the Last War. He thanked them for their help, promised Rath and Leighloo that he would report their success to their employers, and swore that, if they all survived the next few years – if there was even a WORLD left – he would call on each of his rescuers and do his best to reward them in a more appropriate fashion.

After this, the party went their separate ways. Quercia returned to the Eldeen Reaches, where she stood vigil at the border of the Mournland (the name given to the country that had once been Cyre) and investigated the strands of the Draconic Prophecy, eventually stumbling across rumors of a Daelkyr sealed in Khyber deep beneath the Mournland referred to as the Lord of Eyes. Could this be the “lidless eye” referred to in the prophecy in the tower?

Rath was freed from servitude to House Cannith by the Treaty of Thronehold which, on top of ending the Last War two years after The Mourning, recognized the status of Warforged as living beings with a right to self-determination. He spent the last two years after that wandering Khorvaire in search of warforged to consume in his quest for self-perfection. Rumors have reached him that there are two factions of warforged currently thriving in the Mournland. The first are the Godforged: beings after his own heart who believe that the warforged are transcendent beings by default, and that only through constant modification and magnification in size and power can apotheosis be achieved. The second are the followers of the Lord of Blades, an enigmatic firebrand who supposedly seeks the destruction of all the organic races (and perhaps all organic life) so that Khorvaire can be transformed into a paradise for constructs.

(This is where Leighloo’s and the Professor’s activities will go once I remember what they were. Sorry Leighloo and the Prof! :( )

Elias retired to Valenar with the rest of his people and enjoyed what is, in the long lifespan of an elf, a short vacation from the tribulations of war.

At the end of four years each of the heroes received a House Sivis-sealed communication from Bren ir’Gadden requesting their presence at a Mourning remembrance ceremony he was holding in Sharn. Though some were more reticent than others to venture into the largest city on the continent, if not the planet, each of them made their way to the gigantic metropolis. Bren, now a peace activist and patron of the arts in what he assured the heroes they would come to realize was the brightest, most promising city on Eberron, led them from his sumptuous apartments in Ivy Towers district of the Upper Menthis Plateau to a balcony set aside off of Thovanic Hall further down in the middle section of the towers. He introduced the heroes to his guests, a few of which were rather down on their luck looking Cyran Refugees, but most of whom were obviously veterans who had seen better days. Bren began a long-winded speech on the monstrosity of war, the virtue of peace, the brevity and preciousness of life, and so on, but before he was even halfway through there was a sound of shrieking and snapping wood from further down in the tower. A few seconds later the door to the balcony burst open and a cloud of sick-white mist lit from within by swirling fire, concealing the shadow of a nearly eight foot tall humanoid burst out. The Professor and Rath identified the creature as a Mourning Haunt, but what had it come to do, and what could its presence outside of the Mournland possibly mean?

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Episode I: The Horrors in the Tower
"I don't like robots."

Olarune 20, 994YK, Late Winter

The Changeling inquisitive Leighloo, the experimental Warforged Rath and the eccentric deva wanderer known only as The Professor, navigated the clashing armies of Cyre, Breland and Karrnath on the way to the Tower of Scars to rescue Bren ir’Gadden. The three approached the Tower from the West, only to be attacked by Kruthik Hatchlings lying in wait in the tower.

Meanwhile, in the first of many strange coincidences, the Wilden Quercia and the Eladrin Ailbe, both rangers but from vastly different backgrounds, arrived from the Northeast. Quercia’s mission: gather information from the Prophecy Mark inside the Tower for the Great Druid Oalian. Ailbe’s mission: gather intelligence on the state of affairs outside Shaelas Tiraleth to discover the nature of the cataclysm the feyspire‘s seers have warned is imminent. Quercia circled around to the Southern entrance, where she engaged the Kruthiks as well as Rath and The Professor’s mechanical servant in combat just in time to witness three Dolgrims enter the fray. Meanwhile, Ailbe teleported into the Eastern chamber of the tower, where she discovered Lord Major Bren ir’Gadden and Aric Blacktree and began working to free them.

While this was happening, Crazedrool the Hellbound appeared from the South, where she immediately began blasting errant Kruthiks.

Rath and Leighloo disappeared suddenly as the fight wore on, heading to the Southwest to investigate some approaching figures they thought they saw in the distance. One of the Dolgrim escaped, but other than that all of the monsters were put to the sword. The heroes warily introduced themselves to one another and to Lord Bren, who met all of them with open arms. He explained that none of the armies of the Five Nations had captured him – that it had, in fact, been creatures like the Dolgrim, and that they had seemed more interested in the effect of the prophecy mark on his aid Aric’s skin than on any intelligence he might have had.

Just then Crazedrool revealed her true intentions, making an attempt on Aric’s life. The rest of the characters, with the assistance of Bren, cornered her and, after some intense scrapping and even tenser negotiations, captured her and tied her up in a bag. Quercia took the momentary break in hostility to investigate the Prophecy Mark with the attuned Dragonshard Oalian had given her. It recorded the following snippet of the Draconic Prophecy:

The children of the tower stand as one against the lidless eye and the regal blade.

The session ended with the appearance of a green-and-black robed necromancer calling herself Mallora, accompanied by two Emerald Claw Sergeants and a pack of undead minions. Mallora seems intent on capturing Bren for herself.

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