Guardians of the Past

21st of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Freedom

The heroes leave Ruddick and Garvis at the caves and return to the fortress of the hill giants. Erith once again uses his scroll of portals to open a passage into the keep at the pantry. Ayremyr discovers that the giants have repaired the broken door that Corthen broke the other day gaining entry to the lower level.

The party returns to the dungeons. Rehs scouts ahead and discovers a smithy and a torture chamber both occupied by fire giants. He returns and shares his findings with the group. Corthen leads to band to the smithy. The heroes attack the two fire giants. They are aided by one of the dwarf slaves who grabs a nearby weapon and he helps defeat the evil giants.

Rehs, Corthen, and Ayremyr work on freeing the chained dwarven prisoners. Erith and Samira speak to them and learn their names and where they hail from. Leshar, Kodal, Garedren, Mordan, Horgan, and Thorgrim were captured outside of Gnarlhelm and held in captivity for two years. The other dwarf, Kiersan Goldbeard, is a mercenary warrior and has been imprisoned for the last ten months.

The party decides they will help the dwarves by sending them home using their magical mirror. Corthen asks Erith to teleport to Waterdeep and open a gate to the smithy. The bard complies; everyone steps through the gate back to the City of Splendors. Tellazar has Kodal visualize the dwarves home and the six smiths thank the group and step through to Gnarlhelm. Kiersan offers to help the party fight the giants. He asks for an equal share of the treasure and the party quickly agrees.

Corthen opens a portal to the cave and sends Garvis back to Caer Callidyr. The elf offers the engineer Ruddick employment in Waterdeep. The grateful man agrees to terms and promises to aid in the repairs needed to Erith’s damaged home in the Castle Ward to start with. Several members go to the Riven Shield. Delborrgan sells Tellazar a dagger and a shield that are enchanted. The group takes the time to buy armor and equipment for Kiersan and Rithal.

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20th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
In Search of the Staff

The party rested and ready to go, brings Rithal, the rescued elven warrior mage, with them to retrieve the staff of the druids. Approaching the hill giant fortress from the North, the party approaches the log walls. Erith uses his scroll of portals which opens a magical circle 10’ in diameter in the outer wall. The party quickly enter and discover that the room is occupied by giants.

One male hill giant and four unarmed female giantesses occupy the sleeping chamber. Corthen and Ayremyr swiftly move to engage the male giant. They make short work of the warrior. The females scream and move about the chamber in terror. Corthen directs the others to help him to dispatch the giantesses. Rehs, Tellazar, and Samira assist him. One female runs for a door left unguarded out into the worg courtyard and Ayremyr quickly slams the door shut to avoid an attack by the foul worgs. Soon a loud horn bellows from somewhere near the courtyard.

The heroes wait for a counter attack of giants but one does not come. Corthen decides that the party should push on, out another set of doors. He has Rehs scout the hallway beyond using his ring of invisibility. The hidden rogue stealthily checks out the area. He discovers a busy kitchen full of giantesses, ogres, and orc slaves being ordered around and he feels bad for them.

A closed door in the hall is locked and Rehs is unable to bypass the lock. There is another door that is unlocked but Rehs calls the others forward to help. Corthen opens the door and interrupts a game of knucklebones by a group of gambling ogres. The party charges the surprised ogres and makes short work of them. Corthen leads a search of the room for treasure and secret doors. Finding only some coins, the group leaves the room and crosses the hall to the locked door.

Corthen borrows Samira’s enchanted hammer which is designed to punch holes in doors and walls. The elven warrior breaches the bottom of the door and the others follow him inside. The room beyond appears to be a food storage pantry which the party gives a cursory examination before locating the descending stairs used the previous day while etheral.

Rehs checks several doors lining the chamber. At the south door the thief hears some muttered voices through the locked door. Working quietly, Rehs picks the lock; the Guardians of the Past open the door ready for combat. Inside the room are a dozen armed bugbears. The party rushes in and engage the enemy. Reinforcements arrive from another hallway and Ayremyr is seriously wounded and falls. Rithal acts quickly and drags the fallen elf through another door and shuts it while the remaining adventurers battle the remaining creatures.

After dispatching the bugbears Erith and Corthen make contact with Rithal and Samira tends to Ayremyr. Her prayers heal the the serious wound to his leg. Once the group is ready, Rehs scouts the hallway that the bugbears had come from. The rogue discovers that the remaining bugbears have fortified themselves in the end chamber with barricades of tables and other furniture.

Corthen parlays with the cornered bugbears. He asks them what their duties are for the giants. The leader informs the adventurers that they are paid to guard prisoners to attempt recapture of the escaped orc slaves that are in another part of the dungeon. Corthen asks about the giants, who their leader is how many soldiers does he have. The bugbear tells him that Chief Nosnra is the leader and that he has many warriors. Corthen offers to let the bugbears go with their treasury intact if they offer no resistance and if they turn over all their prisoners to him.

The bugbear, Gnarhk, agrees and sends a runner to his other troops to give word of the cease fire and to bring the remaining prisoners out. The party learns that the bugbears are of the Ulgdush or Glorious Pride in common tongue. The bugbears bring two men to Corthen and the others. Questioning the men Samira learns that one named Garvis has lost his mind and the other man, Ruddick Freeiron is an engineer.

Ruddick shares that the giants had him working with giants and orcs digging new chambers beneath the keep. Samira uses her powers and cures Garvis. Regaining his mind, they learn he is a merchant from Caer Callidyr. The party also learn from the Ulgdush bugbears that the giant known as the Keeper lairs in a chamber north of the prison cells and that he is rumored to have great treasure.

The party asks Rithal to guard the two freed prisoners while they engage the Keeper. Corthen and Ayremyr lead the others into the Keeper’s room. He is a hideous one-eyed hunchback hill giant. He and his two pet bears batter the invaders but they are no match for the martial skills of the attackers. The wounded heroes gather up his treasure hidden in the floor. They rejoin Rithal and the two men and retreat up the stairs. The bugbears join the party and flee out the opening Erith magically creates in the fortress wall. The Ulgdush run north towards the mountains while party makes their circuitous way back to the base camp in the cave. Corthen and Erith take turns playing the healing harp at the camp while Samira uses prayers to heal the most seriously wounded of the party.

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19th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
The Fortress

The heroes break camp come morning. They follow the tracks left by the giants who attacked the North Grove. Near Highsun the Guardians of the Past reach the foothills of the mountains to the North. The giants tracks connect to an established trail. Following it it several hours the group spies a structure on the horizon. Tellazar casts Fly upon Rehs and he flies upward to scout the nearby terrain.

While the rogue is airborne, Erith discovers a small cave entrance in the scrub growing upon the hillside. Rehs returns from his flying and reports that structure is one large building and is likely the home of the giants. The party decides that the cave should be investigated since it is so well hidden.

Rehs scouts forward, checking the cavern for hidden dangers and tripwires. The party explores the passages and checks several descending shafts that are not passable. A large chamber is discovered at the rear of the main passage. The party agrees that this cavern could be used as a base if needed while they reconnoiter the giant’s base.

Near twilight the party moves towards the giant camp. Clearly visible hundreds of yards away, the heroes see that the structure is a wooden fortress over two stories tall made of huge logs. A stockade connects two smaller structures to the main keep. A tower is evident on the other side, guarding the main entrance.

Ayremyr is loaned Reh’s ring. He turns invisible and spider climbs the stockade wall looking for an easier way into the keep. When he reaches the top of the palisade, the elf is spooked by the snarling of dozens of creatures! The courtyard is home to a pack of large worgs. Quickly retreating, Ayremyr returns to inform the group that the courtyard is not safe.

The party discusses several options, before settling on using Samira’s prayer to become etheral and walk through one side of the fortress. The group enters etherally. They see a sleeping area where two human women in rags lie on pallets. They next cross a kitchen area. The party discovers several hallways and a set of descending stairs before Samira’s spell expires. The party retreats to the hidden cave to use a Nap spell.

Revived and with spells replenished, the Guardians return to the lair of the giants. Becoming etheral once more, the group scouts the stairs leading below. They pass through stone walls and several chambers before discovering a prison cell holding a male elf. Ending the spell, the party surprises the dazed elf. Corthen promises him that they will return to rescue him. Several others are unwilling to leave the wounded elf to the mistreatment of the evil giants. It is decided that the party and the elf, Rithal Yaltharion, will use Samira’s etheral prayer to escape and that Erith will sneak out of the keep using his Invisibility spell.

The group follows their plan and return to the cave with Erith rejoining them shortly. At the caves, the party starts a fire and Samira tends to the wounded Rithal. Corthen questions the male elf on his captors and how he came to be there. The grateful elf shares his story. He tells the group that he hails from the elven home of Evermeet and that he is the only survivor of a shipwreck that was driven ashore in the Northern reaches of Alaron. Rithal says that he was soon captured by a band of hill giants and bugbears and has been imprisoned for nearly eight months. He thanks the party for his rescue. In return, he pledges to serve Corthen for one year since he owes him his life. Corthen tries to shrug off Rithal’s offer, but the elf refuses and demands that he accept his service. The party lends the elf armor and weapons before setting watches for the night and discussing plans to return to fight the hill giants.

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18th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff

The party has left the forest and the grasslands to the north. They have reached the foothills south of the Hardangheight Mountains. The trail left by the giants is easy to follow. They have not attempted to cover their tracks so the heroes have a easy go of it and make good time. At dusk, Erith and the others make camp. The night is uneventful and everyone rests when not on watch.

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16th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Druids

Between dawn and Highsun the Guardians of the Past arrive at the despoiled North Grove of Chauntea. The tainted moonwell is covered with a dark mist like the fallen Great Grove of Gwynneth. The decaying remains of the fallen guardians lie scattered about the torn earth untouched by scavengers.

Corthen locates the point of attack and a broken path to the north likely made by the attackers. Samira uses the Spear of Lochal to converse with the spirit of an elderly woman whose broken corpse lies among the dead. The Mystran priestess learns that the woman was the Grand Druidess of Chauntea.

Samira speaks to the others and everyone agrees that they should use their staff of resurrection to bring her back. Samira uses the staff bring the druids back to life. The druids thank the party and introduce themselves. The Grand Druidess is Elanna Greensap. The other druidess is Hergela Snaptooth, her husband a druid as well is named Savin Snaptooth. The other druid is Garderin Mistmoor.

The druids tell the heroes that they were overwhelmed by an army of giants and the Cyricists who led the assault. Corthen offers to help them guard the other groves in danger. Elanna asks the adventurers if they will attempt to recover the staff that she had carried. It is the holy Staff of Chauntea. It is described as a bark covered ash staff crowned with branches and leaves. It is living without being physically connected to the earth.

Elanna Greensap promises that should the party recover the holy staff that she will be able to repair the moonwell and that she will allow each hero to place an enchanted item into the waters of the moonwell which will increase the number of times the item may be used.

Garderin speaks up and informs the party that the giants were being directed by a dark llewyrr. The party knows now that the drow are aiding the Dark Druidess in her campaign against Chauntea and the High Queen. After assisting in the burial of the fallen Harpers, Elanna informs the party that she wishes to aid the other druids in the guardianship of the remaining groves. She informs Samira that should they win back the staff, they can contact the Chauntean priest Elden in Caer Callidyr. The druids shapechange into great hawks and fly off leaving the party to champion the fight against the evil unleashed on the land. Corthen leads the party north following the trail left by the giants.

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15th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Trek

Having marched all night, the party leaves the mountains after dawn. After a short rest, the adventuring party regains their feet. They consult their map. They see the forest to their north and grasslands to the west.

Samira and her companions march from the base of the mountains until they arrive at the woodland. Feeling at home, Corthen finds a suitable site and the party makes camp in the forest. The party rests for eight hours before breaking camp and moving northward for the North Grove. The elves guide the party during the night as they march in the forest for the fallen druid’s grove.

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14th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Northland

After a quiet night, the heroes wake and continue their journey. Near Highsun Corthen sees the faint wisps of smoke through the treetops below.

Rehs scouts the area below using his invisibility ring. He finds a small village where he sees children playing outside. He notices that the structures are built in a different style that that of the ffolk of the Moonshaes. He realizes that the village is that of the fierce Northlander culture of the islands. Rehs scouts further moving invisibly through the village.

Halfway through, the rogue is startled by several dogs that begin growling and barking. Six large men come out of the wooden homes and they are grabbing weapons and yelling in their native tongue while the terrified children flee for the safety of their homes. Rehs can see that the Northlanders are angry and confused and very cautious due to the dogs being triggered by the unseen thief fleeing their village.

Rehs runs back to the others and urges them to avoid the path into the village and suggests that everyone make haste into the forest with him. Hearing close pursuit the party is set upon by two dogs from the village. The heroes quickly paralyze the war dogs and continue their flight. A short time later the group hears a horn sound behind them and they continue to move as fast as they can from the Northlanders as they can the rest of the day and on through the night after they regain the path many miles away from the village.

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13th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Farheight Mountains

The party breaks camp in the morning. They climb during the day. They leave the tree line, ascending up a trail until they reach the highest ridge near evening. Ayremyr leads the group to an area of crevices and he locates an area surrounded on three sides by cliffs. It is here the party sets up camp for the night.

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12th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
White Rock

The heroes arrive at White Rock, a small village at the foothills of the Farheight Mountains. The walled village is not large. About three dozen buildings fill the interior of the walls. Erith locates the inn and the party enters the Whistling White Fish. Everyone takes a meal and a bath. Corthen advises the innkeeper, Varden, that the horses belong to the High Queen and that someone will retrieve them when they next come to the village.

The group departs White Rock on foot with about four hours of daylight left. The party marches up into the mountain range and makes camp before complete darkness falls. During the first watch, Samira notices movement in the evergreen trees and alerts Corthen before yelling to the others to wake. The camp is stormed by six ravenous trolls that attempt to kill the group. the battle ends and the trolls are defeated with Corthen using the flames of his sword to dispatch them to the afterlife.

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6th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Back Through the Looking Glass

The heroes return to the Moonshae Isles through the enchanted mirror. Their destination is outside Caer Callidyr. Once through the portal, Rehs and the others seek out the temple of Chauntea. There they learn from Lorn, a lesser priest, that the North Grove was reportedly attacked by evil forces and that the Grand Druidess is said to have fallen in the battle.

The priest tells the party that the remaining groves on Snowdown and Moray are under heavy guard and safe. The party asks how they can locate the North Grove and Lorn suggests that High Queen Alicia’s mapmakers should be able to help. Corthen leads the group to see the High Queen. She greets the heroes once again. Corthen offers the assistance of the Guardians of the Past. Alicia confers with the group in private chambers. She does admit that North Grove has fallen and that the Dark Druidess has reportedly killed the Grand Druidess and a number of Harpers at the grove.

Alicia states that without the aid of the Grand Druidess of Chauntea that they will likely be defeated. She explains that the staff she carried was their best chance of restoring the Moonwells of the isles. High Queen Alicia asks if the party would seek out the staff and return it to Caer Callidyr where it can be placed into the hands of the Chaunteans. The group confers and agrees to seek out the staff. Samira asks what the staff looks like. She is told that the ash staff is six feet long and that it is living with leaves crowning the top. The Queen provides a map to North Grove as well as provisions and horses to help with the journey. the group is told that the horses can get them to White Rock. Once there, the journey will be on foot.

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