Recap January 8, 2021

After finishing up they went to get a meal and then they came back to the library and did more research to try to find more info. Pipyap came to them and said that it was time for them to get some rest in order to be up early for the Conclave. He escorted them to the main of the tower. There was a monk courier waiting for them. Pipyap said he would see them in the morning and he would also prepare breakfast. She would take them to The House of Rest. They were abl to get a room together and each had their own bunk and their own desk.

Calmers worked on two things, his invention and a letter to Lanton once again asking for his schematics of his own design. He had asked before but had always been turned down. He had to keep asking.

Tharja studied her spellbooks while Jazulon and Jockrates worked on their fighting techniques. They all debated whether to set up a watch for the night. They did not trust anyone but the ones that were in the room right now. Tharja could tell that there were spell defenses on the building as well as sound proofed walls in their room. Knowing this that felt a little better but Calmers and Tharja still thought it was best to do the watch. Calmers did the first 6 hours then woke up Tharja for the last two.

They were all awakened by Pipyap who had brought breakfast. It was a solid breakfast that Pipyap said over and over that he had made all by himself. After breakfast he took everyone back to Sylvira’s tower. He leads them into a larger room than her library and office. He grumbles as he sets up a number of chairs in a circle. In the center of the circle was a wooden table with the puzzle box as well as an azure crystal in an iron tripod. A large and sturdy chest sat nearby.

Sylvira walked in and asked Calmers to place the Shield of the Hidden Lord on the wooden table an invited each one of them to stand by a seat. She asks them to remain standing until the First Reader comes and takes his seat.

A few minutes later the members of the Crisis Conclave began to arrive. There is a blur and whoosh as each member teleported into the room and stand by their seats. Sylvira announced them each by name and title. All remained standing until the First Reader arrived and took his seat.

Milbi, Great Reader of Divination – an elderly female dwarf dressed in a red cassock. Serasriel, Gatewarden of Candlekeep – female elf dressed in a purple cowl. Explodemius, Weaponsmith of Candlekeep – male gnome artificer dressed in a red cassock Traxigorican, Great Reader of Evocation – an otter dressed in a tiny red cassock Jingfei, Great Reader of Necromancy – fierce looking young female. He may be 19 years old. Rafiq, Keeper of the Emerald Door – an aged white-haired male human in an emerald cowl Melanthious, First Reader of Candlekeep – cool-headed male human in a white cassock.

When everyone was seated Sylvira said that everyone had read the report she had given the night before. Elturel is in Avernus. Someone must act and save the city and its citizens from being damned to eternal suffering as newly recruited souls in the Blood War.

She then said that the Conclave could ask any questions of the group. These adventurers who had risked their lives to uncover what was going on.

The Conclave asked many questions and the group answered as best as they could. ( I do not remember specifics of the conversation)

After the Conclave finished questioning, the room went silent for a few moments. Then everyone began to speak at once.

Quiet! Said the First Reader as he stood up. His face is ashen, his voice was steady. Elturel has fallen. Zariel has claimed it, along with all of its people. The city is no more – it has gone to Avernus. Sylvira, you are the expert. What can be done?

Sylvira stood up and said Someone needs to travel Avernus and nullify the pact Thavius Kreeg made with Zariel long ago. The Companion above Elturel is the fulfillment of this pact. Therefore, if it is destroyed, Elturel is freed from damnation in Avernus. This is the most hazardous journey imaginable, said the First Reader. Who would dare undertake it?

As if the prophet himself willed it the Endless Chant of Alaundo began to reverberate throughout the room. At first a whisper , it grew into a symphony of chanting,

“The bearers of the Hidden Lord will descend into Hell and free the chained city from the grasp of the Lady of Broken Light!”

When the chanting subsided the First Reader walked towards the group and said “Alaundo has spoken. It seems that fate and the gods have placed this great undertaking in your hands. I believe in my heart that you are more likely to succeed than anyone else, the prophet has foreseen it. But we will not send you off without help.

The Conclave members immediately directed their attention on the group. When they asked how can we do this? Sylvira said that powerful magic, perhaps in Avernus itself, can destroy it. Another possibility is to convince Zariel to nullify the pact herself or to confront her and force her to end the pact.

Explodemius walks over and flips open the large chest. It is full of magic equipment. In addition to several silver weapons (they can each get their main weapon silvered) the chest contained one each of:

Bag of Beans Dimensional Shackles Folding Boat Necklace of Adaption Amulet of the Drunkard Sentinel Shield Rod of Flame Extinguishing – 6 potions of healing 6 potions of greater healing

(Descriptions of these are found in a handout in roll20 under the Journal)

This all very well but how will they get to Avernus? And how will they find Elturel once they get there? Avernus is enormous. The entire room turns and looks at Milbi. She says “A certain localized sympathetic convergence operates in these cases. Therefore, the best way to enter Avernus is via the original gate the Hellriders used over 100 years ago. It is most likely to bring them out into the city.”

I thought the gate was destroyed.

Not so, said Milbi. The Grand Conjurer of Elturel was unable to close it so he disguised it.

And do you know where the gate is?

I do not. But there is someone in Candlekeep who does know.

Who?

Miirym!

There is silence and the next moment everyone is making excuses to not go and speak to Miirym who ever that is.

Look at the puzzle box cried Traxigorican

The puzzle box begins shaking and rises in the air as smoke pours from the mouth that has now formed. A dark twisted horn begins emerging, and a moment later the box has disgorged ten enormous horned devils.

Chaos follows as the Conclave scatters and then the air is full of fire and spells. Several devils smash through a widow and head to other towers even as more are expelled from the box. A low throbbing horn began blowing elsewhere in Candlekeep.

Sylvira turned to the group and said “Go to my library! Find Elminster’s Candlekeep Companion and open it to chapter 2. Do it now. Pipyap go with them.

Pipyap flies ahead and the group follows. They run down the stairs and into the room they had researched the nine hells the day before.

Just as they entered the room and started to look Sylvira says to the telepathically “hurry, one of the fiends broke through and is on its way down. They can hear a horned devil bashing its way down the small hallway.

The search the shelves and found the book. They opened it to chapter 2 and they are instantly standing in a wide tunnel. Irregularly shaped stalactites hang from the ceilings and small crystaline mineral deposits line the walls.

There is a faint silvery light up ahead. They move forward and they heard a telepathic voice which is female, resonant and playful:

Ah, some visitors! It has been such a long time since I’ve had anyone to talk to . Such a very long time. Who were the last ones? The drow, of course. Was that months ago or years? I do lose track of time you see. And they were talkative. Drow tend not to be. It was all swords drawn, charge into battle with them. It made it terribly hard to carry on a conversation though I did try.

She asked them to introduce themselves to take their time. They had all the time in the world.

They introduced themselves. She asked a few questions and then told them her story.

She was Miirym, She was once a silver dragon that had a lair near Baldur’s Gate. A place called Ulgoth’s Beard. I used to hunt all up and down the Sword Coast from the Sea of Swords, and the High Moor traveling south as far as the Cloud Peaks north as far as Mount Helimbrar. I loved flying beneath the blue sky.

Hundreds of years ago I was hunting near Candekeep when I accidentally fried a group of traveling scholars and even worse I destroyed a collection of irreplaceble books. I thought they were a group of aurochs!

Torth who was the First Reader at the time punished me by sentencing me to spend 20 years in the caverns beneath Candlekeep. Don’t you agree that seems a bit harsh?

Torth died fifteen years later before he could free me. A bit of an oversight on his part. Torth’s magical binding was so poweful that no other mage could undo it. I must admit that fellow did know how to cast a spell.

After spending hundreds of years patrolling the caverns I died. But Torth’s magic reached even beyond the grave and I found myself resurrected in my current form. To say it was a rude shock in an understatement.

They asked her about the hellgate. She said I do know where it is located. A bearded devil who escaped from the battle with the Hellriders told me. He was one of my best friends I ever had. We spent years talking together. Actually I probably did most of the talking. Silly fellow impaled himself on a stalagmite.

The hellgate is disguised to look like a grove of trees. The illusion is maintained by a duskwood tree in the middle of the grove. To reveal the hellgate the tree must be destroyed. The Fields of the Dead.

Miirym would teleport them to the grove as soon as they were ready.

Just as they disappear they hear her say Oh, and I think there might be a guardian of some sort there.

The group was found themselves on the Fields of the Dead grassy land just north of the River Chionthar. They knew exactly where they were as they had done maneuvers out on the Fields many times. They had never seen anything odd in the area. They saw an expansive and picturesque grove of trees close by, but nothing else of interest.

They stepped in the grove and a voice speaks to them telepathically “Well met, strangers. All who enter this grove with benevolent intentions are most welcome. The fruit here is good for eating and the spring water is good for drinking. You may stay here and refresh yourselves for as long as you wish. There is but one law in this place. At the center of the grove is a sacred hickory tree. Please do not approach this tree as to do so is death.

Calmers tried to use Persuasion to get them access to the tree at the center of the grove. He did not get a response. They looked at each other and then entered the grove. They walked to the center of the grove and saw a stout hickory tree. A unicorn with creamy flanks and a lustrous tangerine mane steps in front of them. The telepathic voice says sternly

“Come no further. Strong magic compels me to attack anyone who threatens this hickory tree. Please leave now.”

Calmers said my programing prevents me from attacking a unicorn. The others were in agreement in a normal situation. But this was not a normal situation. Jockrates said if this unicorn needs to die so we can save hundreds of others, then I will kill the unicorn.

Calmers tried again but the unicorn did not move. The group moved forward and the unicorn went into a defensive position. Calmers cast Fireball hitting the tree. He then moved back to get out of the way as the unicorn charged him and attacked with her hooves and horn. Lightning sparked off both as she connected with her attacks. Jockrates and Jazulon rushed forward to attack while Tharja cast Ray of Frost. Calmers cast Wall of Fire around the tree. The tree was finally consumed by fire. The entire grove evaporated and revealed an immense bowl shaped crater nearby. There was a long jagged crack at the bottom of the crater, glowing silver. Sulfurous fumes rose from the crack. The unicorn sees the tree burnt to ash and she faints. Calmers and Jockrates cover her in a blanket. Her eyes open and she says I was summoned her over 100 years ago and a powerful wizard cast geas on me to guard this tree and the grove. Now that the is destroyed, the geas is gone and I am set free. Thank you. She stood up and touching each of the ones she damaged, she heals them from their wounds. She thanks them again and then teleports away.

They moved towards the crater but they spot a small golden shape flying towards them. As it gets closer, they see it is a 2-foot long elephant with golden fur and shiny white wings.

She greets them in a squeaky voice

Hello adventurers. I am Lulu and I know where you are about to go. You see I have been there before. They looked at her and then nodded for her to continue.

“I was a close companion with the angel Zariel when she assembled her army of Hellriders to attack Avernus. I was against this assault but Through the gate we went, tearing through devils like a song through air. Victory was within our grasp until some of the Hellriders betrayed us. They retreated th rough the gate and sealed it behind them.

“Before she was captured, Zariel told me to hide her sword so that it wouldn’t fall into evil hands. Someone helped me hide the sword, but I don’t remember who. We found a place to hide it, but I don’t remember where. I escaped Avernus, but I don’t remember how. Most of my memory is gone, and I don’t remember why.

You are now going to Avernus for this is the gate we entered all those years ago. I think Zariel’s sword will be beneficial to them whatever their quest is.

They told her about the fall of Elturel and than High Rider Thavius Kreeg was responsible and had made a pact with Zariel. Lulu then begged them to let her go with them. They did not hesitate and said she could go with them. Calmers and Tharja knew that Lulu was a hollyphant a lawful good celestial being from the Beastlands. She could prove very helpful even if she never regained her memories. Lulu was happy but she also seemed anxious about returning to Avernus.

They moved closer to the gate. Then they heard a voice above them to the west of the gate. It was the cambion they had fought on the road and he had found more fighters. He was barking order to them to kill the thieves and regain the Shield. He flew higher into the air and the fighters ran towards the group.