Stone Soules Sequel: Alegra's Company Saves the Roc
Theo, 8th level fighter, 74 hp, NPC
Rangorn, 6th level woodsman, 56 hp, played by Joel
Alegra, 9th level cleric, 40 hp, played by Kyle
Aria, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, henchman of Alegra, played by Alex
Sean, 3rd level ranger, 29 hp, henchman of Alegra (and Aria's husband),
played by Aaron
Han, 1st level woodsman, 11 hp, henchman of Rangorn, played by Katherine
Luke, 1st level woodsman/reincarnated eagle, 9 hp, henchman of Rangorn,
played by Joel
The advancement of Alegra continues!
The time: May 2187, just after the end of the Brothers' Quest with
Warwick having brought the evil cloud giants to justice, Alegra returns
home to Tan-El to deal with the rebuilding process. Things do not remain
peaceful for long
The great roc that lives in the area between Miles High, Sairt, Middle,
and Kelburn has always been a minor nuisance, not a threat to life and
limb, causing small damage and occasionally carrying off an ox or
something. Recently, however, the roc has attacked and completely
annihilated several caravans, leaving no bodies. A group of powerful
knights were sent from Kelburn to "deal with the problem" and didn't
return. As a first alternative to hiring the Daring Dozen to destroy the
roc, Alegra was contacted in the hopes of resolving the problems with the
great bird peacefully.
The druids theorized that roc had mated, or at least the pattern was
consistent with that of hatchlings. Still, no male roc had been in the
area for any length of time, and mated rocs tend to raise their young
together. The situation seemed suspicious. Was someone attempting to
frame the gigantic bird (the size of a 727)?
In order to tackle the problem, Alegra needed to determine if a fight
would be necessary. She rallied her henchmen followers and was joined by
Rangorn, fresh from the return of the Daring Dozen in the City of the
Gold. Theo stated that he would come if a fight was likely, but not
otherwise, as his duties at Tan-El keep him busy.
First, Rangorn's reincarnated henchman, Luke (Lumpur Kuala) was sent to
talk to the roc and get some answers. He was Imbued with Cure Light
Wounds and Speak with Animals.
Luke flew through the day up to the top of the high mountain where the
roc nested. On his approach Luke noted a large cave with some sort of
avian creatures in it. He continued and found the nest, and waited for
the roc arrive.
As night fell, the roc arrived and dropped food for its "babies." The
little creatures tore into the creature viciously. Ignoring this for the
moment, Luke cast his Speak with Animals and spoke to the roc. He could
get virtually no information before absolutely everything went completely
and hopelessly wrong for Luke. The roc seemed confused and stupid, and
Luke soon found out why.
The "babies" looked up and had humanoid faces twisted in hate. Luke
turned to fly away when a horrible song rang out and held him
enthralled. He watched as the harpies circled and attacked, injuring
Luke. Blowing two more chances to break the charm, Luke took damage and
was temporarily saved, and cast a Cure Light Wounds, reviving himself.
Alegra knew that Luke was in trouble from the spell, but she could do
nothing. Luke attempted to fly but was instantly enthralled again. He
was attacked, twice more, and spiraled out of the sky. He could have
landed smoothly, but failed to do so and nearly killed himself landing.
His final chance was to evade the harpies in the rocks, but he picked a
bad spot and they descended upon him.
Theo instantly knew of his death from the Locket of Life Detection. He
couldn't have been killed by the roc, as it was much too slow (several
minutes had passed). Something else was there. We realized that the
appropriate information could be gathered by having Dari (the druid of
Middle) scry on the area. So Guile (Alegra's hawk) dropped Dari's item
in the nest, and Dari discovered that there were at least seven harpies
This required a mountaineer, and fortunately, Alegra had two: Sean and
Aria. The plan was to climb the mountain in three days, hide from the
roc by virtue of Invisibility on the non-mountaineers, and attack the
harpies under cover of Silence spells and fog summoned by Alegra's
Weather Summoning spell. Our ears would initially be stuffed.
Well, the climbing was nearly fatal, as usual, for Rangorn. The first
day resulted in a close call, and on the second day Sean was attacked by
a snake that he fought off with Aria's help. On the third day we
discovered that Luke had in fact spotted a griffon nest containing at
least a dozen griffons, which we completely avoided without hesitation.
We camped in a cave four hundred feet under the nest of the roc. We
turned visible, and camped for the night. We used all of our 2nd level
spells to climb to the top under Silence. However, the danger was not
over as Rangorn was nearly plunged to his death by a mistake by Sean.
Still, we reached the top and managed to crest the ridge without shaking
the nest and waking up all the harpies. The four fighters (Theo,
Rangorn, Han, and Sean) snuck into position and began to silently kill
the harpies, which was awkward due to the nest.
The area was a complete mess with bits of carts and wagons and ships and
other materials strewn about and built into the walls of the nest.
Everything smelled extremely bad. There were a dozen sleeping harpies.
Initially things actually seemed to go well as everyone slew a harpy.
Then things got really bad again. Theo killed a second harpy, but
everyone else's harpies woke up!
Rangorn stabbed his twice and inflicted good damage and a wound. Sean
held his at bay, as did Han. Theo moved to help Sean, and Aria did not
notice what was happening due to the Silence. On his second swing, Han
missed and was attacked by the harpy, but was miraculously uninjured.
Then one of the other harpies began to stir.
Sean dropped his spear and moved to encompass that harpy in the Silence
spell (along with the remaining four). Rangorn fumbled and was struck
four times by the harpy he was fighting. Han's was defeated with help
Then Rangorn tried to kill Sean, stabbing him with his falchion
Gruntender. Fortunately, Rangorn's harpy was dropped moments later, and
whatever charm had taken over Rangorn disappeared after a moment.
The last four harpies were dispatched in the Silence, and the fight was over.
We searched the area for the body of Luke, but it was unrecognizable in
the general filth. We collected as much as appeared to be valuable. The
only incident of note happened in one of the ruined huts:
Sean picked up a glowing longsword. Suddenly, he unlooped his
Phaulkonian holy symbol, looked around, tossed it to Alegra, and said
something no one could understand in Cloud Giant. Alegra Commanded Sean,
who fell, and we moved the sword away from him.
The climb down was uneventful, and we returned triumphantly to Middle.
Salvage tax was paid. We collected three magic items, but all of them
are very cool:
-Medium Shield+2/+5 vs. missiles, and 20% Magic Missile absorption
-Ascension, +2 Korian longsword (fanatically LG), +3 vs. avians, can
detect elevators, stairs, etc.
Good stuff. We gave Faranyn the full plate+1, returned Ascension to
Kelburn in exchange for recognition of Tan-El (this has not occurred yet)
and kept the Medium Shield, which is at the moment on Alegra's Guard
A successful adventure. Rangorn will, of course, never live it down.
The results of the "Alegra Fest":
It appears that we have been successful. The Roc had to increase its predation to feed
the twelve harpies (its "babies") who shared its nest. It was completely unaware of their
cuckoo-like behavior. After the intrepid adventurers retreated from the Roc's nest in
great haste (to avoid the arrival of the Roc) and spent night in a sheltered cave, Alegra
consulted with Phaulkon. It was clear that the "Chaotic Evil abominations greatly
displeasing to Phaulkon" had been eliminated to his satisfaction. This would have allowed
the very reasonable predatory nature of the Roc to return to normal and achieve the
Alegra had thrown a couple of Divinations on the area prior to leaving to investigate it,
in which she had learned though the "holy animals of Phaulkon" were highly dominant,
that "chaotic evil abominations to Phaulkon which were greatly displeasing to Him" were
significant in the area. This allowed Alegra, in consultation with the bestiary to suspect
three main creatures: harpies, manticores, and perytons. We had suspected manticores
(that had coincidentally "framed" the Roc by increasing predation in the area). Though
many possibilities were suspected, the "cuckoo hypothesis" was novel to us until our loss
of Luke and our scrying on the site. Alegra had in her possession several trinkets which
had been previous "memorized" by Dari, back in Middle, for scrying purposes. Alegra
had Guile drop one into the Roc's nest, and Dari observed at least 7 harpies in her field
of vision. (Alegra and Dari communicated with birds and the Messenger spell.) And
Alegra was actually picking off rousing harpies when the fighters couldn't reach them fast
enough. She picked off the one which charmed Rangorn so that he could be useful
again. We managed to kill the harpies very quickly, considering. The search of the nest
had to be cursory, but it was overall reasonably successful.
Summary: The Fane of the Winds
~The Weather Front~
Rebar, 9th level Cloud Giant fighter, Talon of Phaulkon, 91 hp, played by Rachel Smith
Brenard, 6th level Cloud Giant fighter, Talon of Phaulkon, 78 hp, NPC
Warwick, 8th level Ranger, Talon of Phaulkon, 68 hp, played by Mark Wagoner
Rangorn, 6th level half-Elven woodsman, Warder of Phaulkon, 56 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 8th level half-Elven Phaulkonian cleric, 51 hp, played by Katherine Plante
Bogomel, 5th level fighter, henchman of Cassian, Warder of Phaulkon, 47 hp, played by
Buck, 5th level fighter, 44 hp, played by Mark Wagoner
Alegra, 9th level Phaulkonian cleric, 40 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Drew, 5th level Ranger, 40 hp, Warder of Phaulkon, played by Michael Chermside
Star, 6th level Phaulkonian cleric, 37 hp, played by Michael Chermside
Aria, 5th level Phaulkonian cleric, henchman of Alegra, 31 hp, played by Rachel Smith
Sean, 3rd level Ranger, henchman of Alegra, 29 hp, played by Kyle MacLea
Lanoi, 3rd level Phaulkonian cleric, henchman of Warwick, 19 hp, played by Mark
Gramaliustranstalus, bard, NPC, with input from David Chappell
~with assistance from~
Sir Konrad, 10th level paladin, 94 hp, NPC, with input from Rodger Henson
Sir Ceydric, 8th level cavalier, 65 hp, NPC, with input from Zack Hubert
Xavier, 8th level Auroran cleric, 45 hp, NPC, with input from Jack McKechnie
Eli, 9th level Elven mage, 39 hp, NPC, with input from Zack Hubert
Claude, 5th level Dwarven fighter, henchman of Eli, NPC
Snaggletooth, 6th? level Hobgoblin fighter, played by Michael Chermside
Leon, 2nd level ranger/ giant eagle, 28 hp, played by Mark Wagoner
The "wise old bird," giant owl, friend of Rebar, NPC
Tristan, 4th level druid, henchman of Warwick, played by Mark Wagoner
Binkley, cleric of Kor, NPC
Alegra's "Seasons," her 12 elite 1st-level guards, played by Kyle MacLea
Alegra's followers (staff for the Fane); Alegra's golden eagle, Guile; and Cassian's owl
[ Here is a summary of the Fane of the Winds adventure, written by Alegra Falconer,
from her perspective. If you're looking for the bardic historical document, you'll find it
elsewhere, written by Gramaliustranstalus. If you're looking for the most complete
presentation of the heart and mind of the primary Questers and the Phaulkonian Church,
you need look no further. This note is scribed on specially prepared parchment to
facilitate its preservation over time. -M ]
It didn't seem as important to me to get to the documentation of the Quest as some of the
other important restoration work, but I suppose Maevis is right in asking me to write this
history while the story is still very fresh in my mind. In that spirit, I will now set to paper
the very truest description of the Quest that it is within my power to present. Errors in the
telling are entirely the responsibility of this errant teller, and not to be taken as a slight
against the power and beauty of Phaulkon, nor of the noble and heroic servants of
Phaulkon who aided me in my holy endeavor. --Alegra
~~The Fane of the Winds~~
A little over 2200 years ago, around the end of the Dark Ages, the region of the Realm
which surrounds the Phaulkonian shrine known as the Fane of the Winds (located in
Shabrundian lands) was in the midst of a devastating drought. The area was largely
populated by Nevronian agricultural workers and a small contingent of Phaulkonians in
the wilderness. The Nevronian controlled lands were crushed by the drought into a state
of extreme famine. The Nevronian Church then used Weather Summoning to affect the
regional weather in a major way so as to avert disaster for the farmers. Because of their
interference in the whole area's weather patterns, the Phaulkonians in the charge of the
Fane were greatly concerned that their own followers (a much smaller number) would be
killed or affected adversely by the changing weather, and they were also concerned
about the affects of altering the weather system too greatly for too long of a time. They
used the Fane's awesome power to cancel ! the Nevronian magicks. As a result of the
cancellation, 2000 Nevronian farmers perished and another 7000 farmers' land was
ruined. In response, a Realmish military expedition was launched with the sanction of the
Nevronian Church to the Fane. The Nevronians were mostly concerned with feeding
their people, and regarded the Phaulkonians as intractable environmental extremists on
par with Druids.
The Fane of the Winds was never a huge sprawling complex or metropolis. Much like the
Shrine of Nevron it was a small and compact holy location. The Fane was a small
outpost which featured a cave-and-fortress complex at the top of the mountain and some
villages at its base. These villages' survival and economy were largely based on the
pilgrim traffic and trade with the region as a whole. The main pilgrim route to the top of
the mountain was a rough-hewn road on its side. Though a cave escape route may have
existed, its existence cannot be confirmed because it was likely intentionally kept secret.
When the Nevronians, including two shocktroopers, arrived at the Fane, they mounted
an assault on the defenses. Even at its height, the Fane was never designed to
accommodate more than 100 or so people at a time. The Realmish forces destroyed the
main pilgrim route up the mountain face. Then, they slew the giants and other guardians of
the shrine and a crusader named Syntethan used his mace to break the Great Altar of the
Fane. This Altar controlled the weather effects around the mountain and with its cracking
came the intense and extreme weather which has since marked its environment, a
constant and uncontrollable storm. It is only known that one Nevronian scholar of the
Order of the Silver Quill observed the attack and lived to tell of it, the rest of his
compatriots being killed in the sudden blizzard. It is unknown whether anyone of the
Phaulkonian side escaped from the Fane. The shrine was lost.
The villages around the base of the mountain, bereft of their main economic basis,
evaporated almost overnight. The old road which lead to the area was kept in disrepair
by intentional neglect on the part of the Realmish government and the monsters were not
cleared from the area.
Since my time as a young child in Teft, listening to the stories at the Phaulkonian Temple
while my mother sold vegetables, I heard about the sad fate of the Phaulkonian shrine,
sacked by Nevronian crusaders in the distant past. When my parents died and I found
my way to the Temple to begin training, the kindly priests there taught me even more
about the site and I resolved early in my clerical career to one day help in the restoration
of the Fane. In my first adventuring job, when I set out into inland Petethal with what
would become the Stone Soules adventuring party, I never suspected I would advance
far enough to actually be the high priestess in charge of the expedition, or even a major
player. The other cleric who finished training about the same time as me, Stan, often
spoke of how he would be there when the Fane was reopened, and how the sun would
shine and the wind would blow briskly on that day. Not long after that, Stan died
defending my friend (the Ranger) Dranigh (who also died shortly thereafter) and for quite
awhile, the dream slumbered.
But I could never quite repress the dream. Indeed, my first henchman Astronomicon
("Star") Phillips, had devoted a lot of his free time during training to learning about all
manner of artifacts and relics, with a focus on the Fane. And my second henchman Aria
had also trained for years to lend her skills to any mountain climbing venture. But I knew
why she had trained as such - because she also shared the same dream.
It was only later that the dream started to appear realistic. I knew that I needed to be of
the rank of high priestess to have the best chance of fixing whatever ailed the site, and
reactivating its power. For many years this did not appear possible. Though I gained
much experience as the primary cleric of the Stone Soules, and solved many long and
difficult problems that faced our party over the years, I didn't think I would ever advance
so far. But when the Soules marched back to Tan-El to begin the colonization effort that
had inspired us for years, I found my heart called away to its home in the shrine. When
the Sage Orimaxes helped us destroy the evil warrior-mage Zardos in his guise as Tellah,
the librarian of Tan-El, my experiences all came together and helped me learn a lot about
my place in Phaulkon's Plan. This and the process of colonizing Tan-El brought me
eventually to Mariah's door in Hochland, to be trained by the greatest human cleric of
Mariah was kind, considerate, and wise beyond my dreams. She showed me the
paradise which had become Hochland. Hochland was the jumping-off point for the
missionary activities of the great Phaulkonian evangelist Hoch and was filled with vibrant,
believing, and humble Phaulkonian worshippers. Their presence and the training I
received at Mariah's hands showed me that the time was right to accomplish tasks for
Phaulkon. After working with Phaulkonian heroes to eliminate the evil Cloud Giant
"Brothers" and save the Roc near Mileshigh from a pack of evil harpies, I decided, with
Phaulkon's aid, that the time was right for the Fane Quest to begin, and so I began to call
upon aid from allies all over the New World, and hatch plans for the coming years.
~Assembling the Questers~
In 2185, I had met with Cassian and a group from the Restinford Defenders in Hoch Och
and discussed the Fane of the Winds over the High Holy Days. At that time, though, a
definite time-frame was not possible to determine. By 2187, I began writing to friends
and allies about the Quest. Phaulkon had shown me in a vision that undertaking the quest
with all Phaulkonian members would be the most appropriate and holiest way. So, for the
main attack and restoration force, which I termed "The Weather Front," we would all be
loyal and devout Phaulkonians. However, the many other friends and allies who had
volunteered for service were important to my goals as well, both in negotiations with the
Realm, the giants, and the Dwarves, and also in keeping the non-combatants out of
harms way during the main quest. Their help would also be invaluable, and so several
non-Phaulkonian friends aided me in important but non-direct ways. The plan was to
gather in Teft on New Years' 2190, includ! ing the Day That Was Not. This was to be an
especially holy day for the Phaulkonians, since the Lanthalassa-té celebration would last
for an extra day.
These holy warriors were gathered: Rebar, Cloud Giant Talon; Brenard, Cloud Giant
Warder; Warwick, Human Warder; Rangorn; Bogomel; Buck; Drew; Sean
These devout clerics were gathered: Alegra, High Priestess; Cassian, Matriarch; Star;
Gramaliustranstalus (Gram) agreed to serve as Bardic representative.
These other friends and allies agreed to help in the support party or in negotiations: Sir
Konrad of Nevron; Sir Ceydric of Nevron; Xavier of Aurora; Eli, an Auroran; Claude,
his guard; Snaggletooth, Hobgoblin; Leon, giant eagle Ranger, of Phaulkon; The "wise
old bird," giant owl, friend of Rebar; Tristan, druid; Binkley of Kor; Alegra's "Seasons";
Alegra's followers (listed here); Alegra's golden eagle, Guile; and Cassian's owl.
I paid for a Divination spell to be cast on the area of the Fane of the Winds, a notoriously
difficult to scrye location. The magical augury was performed in Hoch Och by the High
Priest there, at the end of 2187, with the Lanthalassa-té celebration marking the
beginning of 2188. Their results, sent back to me, were:
=Divination= (from Hoch Och)
There is rich treasure in the area.
The chances of disturbing the forces of supernatural evil are low.
The chances of disturbing elemental forces are moderate to high.
During this time, an involved Astrology reading was taken over many months regarding
the Fane of the Winds quest. These were the results:
Unlucky number: 5
Unlucky color: yellow
Lucky day: Last day of March, 2190
"The sign of the nebula obscures the sign of the arch."
Sir Ceydric, Gram, and I, departed for Wunka in 2188 to begin negotiations with the war
council currently in charge of the Democratic Realm. Since it split from the larger Realm a
few years ago, there was some chance of actually getting some cooperation in setting up
pilgrim routes. But because the Fane itself was in Shabrund, I was not as concerned that
we would be prevented from making an attempt to clear the mountain. But as Sir Konrad
pointed out to me before the departure, it's never good to give shocktroopers advanced
notice of your location if you can help it. In this case, though, cooperation was felt to be
the best course of action, and in light of the course of events I am inclined to agree.
With me in my travels I carried letters of reference from the government of Hochland, Sir
Konrad and Sir Faranyn, representatives of Dunador, as well as King Ranore, the
Cromwellian representative, and The Council of Tan-El. Other important allies were also
called upon to help arrange a meeting with the heroes who helped form the Democratic
Realm's war council.
Upon arriving in Wunka, my old adventuring compatriot Xavier met me and helped me
get acquainted with the city and environs. Xavier had called some followers of his own in
order to propagate the Church of Aurora into the newly opening Realmish state. We
spoke at length about fostering religious freedom in the city and the country as a whole. I
was very pleasantly surprised by Xavier's progress and also his willingness to help the
Phaulkonians get a foothold in the city as well. I left my meetings with Xavier with a
renewed sense of hope in our prospects, and quickly sent a few messages to Grand High
Priestess Mariah and the High Priest of Teft regarding prospective missionary activities in
the area. But because this wasn't the focus of my trip, I didn't focus too much of my
energies upon this.
Meeting with the councilors and governmental officials was an ordeal. The attitude of the
politicos in the city varied from extreme friendliness and helpfulness to overt suspicion
and hostility. In particular, one councilor from the latter faction repeatedly questioned my
motives and intentions throughout the process. With Phaulkon's patience and the help of
my friend Sir Ceydric to open doors, I was able to come to an agreement with the
Realmish government. The details of those agreements are spelled out elsewhere (in gory
detail, believe me, the pages of inked parchment swimming before my eyes) but the gist
of them is this:
The shrine of the Fane of the Winds would be accessible to all pilgrims who wish to
travel there through the Realm. The site would be in the jurisdiction of Shabrund and
answerable to its laws. It would not be an independent state, nor would it at attempt to
build a church on every street corner between the Fane and Wunka. Other than the
shrine at the Fane, I was not to build churches, though agreements reached between
other Phaulkonian leaders and the government would allow churches to be built wherever
was agreed upon. Other than personal protective forces, no military forces were to be
allowed on Realmish soil. (A caveat to that: should we stir up monsters, we are
responsible for eliminating or controlling them, or notifying the Realmish government and
paying for damages.) We agreed that we would allow the Realmers to recover magical
items lost by the Nevronian Crusaders at the Fane, and we would have full right to our
own items, with Sir Konrad to be given the final decision as mediator. A mutually friendly
communication scheme was arrived at and our small company departed for home and
I passed through Teft on the way to my final trip to Tan-El. In Teft, I met my replacement
Councilor (another cleric of the church in Teft) and took the new Councilor to Tan-El to
assume my post. I also looked over the communications and sent out a few more letters,
letting the Questers know when we were, as a group, to meet in Teft for our final
I then traveled to Tan-El. At Tan-El I installed my replacement formally, and cleaned out
my apartments there. I bid farewell to my friends, particular Theo, Ludo, and Raven. On
my way past Middle-of-the-Road, I also said goodbye to Sir Faranyn and company,
Dari, Cassana, and my companion cleric Alexandros (of the Middle Church), as well as
to a representative of the General of End. Eli, Claude, my bowyer-fletcher henchman
Frank, and my other compatriots, Aria, Sean, and the Seasons, all joined me for the trip
back to Teft. In Teft, we joined the other Questers.
There were a few interesting tales from the past adventuring of some of the Questers.
Drew explained to me how he had come to be truly committed to the quest in the past
few years. Drew the Ranger had been a member of the Restinford Defenders out of
Lendore Isle. I have already mentioned the devout and resourceful cleric Cassian, who
was also a member of that group. In the time she spent with Drew, she opened his eyes
to the ways of Phaulkon, and shortly before his departure from the group, she performed
his Initiation into the faith. His faith at that time was true but largely untested. It would not
remain so for long, however.
Drew spent years working with the Rangers in Petethal after he departed the Defenders.
In his early years with the Rangers, he met a contingent of the vile evil Dwarves who
worship in that profane religion known as "The Dark." The Dark is known to be a sworn
enemy of Aurora, and the Rangers have no love of them either. When the patrol Drew
was leading was overwhelmed 4 to 1 in an ambush with these dwarves, he managed to
escape, but not before most of his patrol was cut down in vicious crossbow fire. Later,
he had several small chance encounters with the dwarves, all of which turned out much
better for him but were little of note. These encounters did not endear him to the
dwarves, though, and so they plotted their revenge. On another patrol he was leading, he
was again ambushed by dark dwarves, but this time, there was a critical difference.
Though mild crossbow fire did bring down a comrade, the two clerics of the Dark among
his opponents quickly showed themselves to be Drew's worst nightmare. After
successfully resisting an attempt to paralyze him and knock him out cold, he and a Ranger
comrade almost made it to the relative safety of the trees when he was again the target of
a spell. This time, there was no escape, and Drew was held fast along with his
companion. Knowing that his death was upon, Drew prayed fervently to his god, the
mighty Phaulkon, and he was heard in his distress. He didn't at first know what was
happening. He heard sounds of the dwarves killing an unconscious friend. And then, there
was sound of pleading and cajoling from the dwarves, attempting to bargain with an
unseen foe. Drew had been running away and so he couldn't see who his new-found
friend was. Soon enough, he discovered it, as the dwarves were killed one by one behind
him. After he was freed from his paralyzation, Drew turned and discovered his old friend
Keeftan, a name level Phaulkonian Ranger who served at the Druidic Village, attempting
to save a comrade of his. Drew was awestruck by the incident and never forgot. He
vowed to dedicate himself to Phaulkon so as to repay him for his glorious rescue. And
so, Drew signed on to the Fane Quest.
Like Drew, Rangorn went into the service of the Ranger Brotherhood for some time.
After aiding me in my Quest to save the Roc of Mileshigh from the harpies, and his short
stint with the Daring Dozen, Rangorn traveled to Petethal. Unlike Drew, however,
Rangorn's time in service was mostly boring, running very routine patrols and find very
little that his ogre-slaying sword Grunt-ender couldn't make simple work of. He made
some mention of a comfortable hammock, a nice shady spot, and a lot of lemonade, but
I'm not sure if he was just being modest. In the end, I believe he did relax and prepare his
mind and heart for the upcoming quest, still young in his faith, but curious if his trip to the
Fane of the Winds would solidify his feelings and draw him closer to Phaulkon.
Cassian and her henchman Bogomel left the Defenders in 2185. Her original intent had
been to work with Cloud Giants, but not having much experience at the time, she decided
to prepare herself for a Quest to the Fane of the Winds and spend some time doing some
minor adventuring in Petethal. She, Bogomel, and Cassian's friend Balinor hung around
the Church in Teft until an adventuring party (called the Wreckers) without a cleric
showed up to ask for her help. They agreed to pay a bounty to the church in return for
her services. Balinor decided to spend some of his cash and head out with Cassian even
though he wasn't hired for the job. Many of the party's adventures were small change
compared to the Defenders usual fare (a steady diet of undead, demons, and monsters
unseen outside of the Reserve). These aren't really worth noting, but the Wreckers soon
met their match in a search for a rogue Fire Giant in western Petethal. There had been
reports of this rogue Fire Giant for months when the Wreckers showed up to investigate.
Having spotted the Giant, and come up with a plan to ambush it, the Wreckers
approached. The party's initial approach failed, as the Giant abruptly disappeared in a
pixelating way that reminded Cassian of Chiaro's dropped illusions. Things looked
wrong, all of a sudden, but they got worse. It was then that the freezing cold blast hit the
party, dropping most of it, though the thief was still invisible from the ambush and his
status unknown, and Cassian, Bogomel, and Balinor were harmed but okay (Cassian and
Bogomel less due to their Rings of Warmth). Through a series of feints and tricky moves,
Balinor immediately suspected an ogre mage. He did some decent damage to it, and he
took some serious damage as well. He pumped his strength using one of his magical
hammers, and looked around for the ogre mage that had just disappeared. He was even
more ornery than usual. While Balinor was standing around looking menacing, he was
taken by surprise when a strange creature seemingly constructed from clay pots dropped
out of the sky above him, dropping him to the ground and pinning him. Balinor was
convinced that this creature was the ogre mage himself, and he appeared to be
It was then that Balinor did the seemingly impossible. Wielding both of his hammers and
his magically-enhanced strength to near-maximal effect, he smashed the creature from his
prone position. With a tremendous crash he destroyed the creature instantly, revealing the
unconscious ogre mage. At this point, Cassian, Mel and the invisible thief (who now
made himself known) proceeded to burn and pummel (courtesy the now-standing
Balinor) the regenerating ogre mage until it was dead. At this point, they hauled the
bodies of the Wreckers back to Teft where they were Raised from death. As a result, the
church ended up with a few minor magical items and Cassian and company gained some
experience fighting the forces of evil.
In the mean time, Star spent some time as a missionary among the bird-people, the
Aaracockra, in the mountains of Shabrund.
Another of the Questers, Warwick, Principal Ranger of Cromwell and Warder of
Phaulkon, had previously demonstrated his great devotion to Phaulkon in his fight to
recover the lost artifact known as the Windsocks. Warwick had also assisted Alegra in
her mission to kill the dastardly Cloud Giant "Brothers." After they parted ways,
Warwick took it upon himself to find a way to kill the Mountain Giant Grungar (the last of
the four local Mountain Giants, the other three of whom had all been killed by the Stone
Soules and the Knife). Though he was successful, the attempt left Warwick maimed
beyond recognition, greatly weakened, and completely deaf. As a result, he sought
Regeneration of his shattered form. Also, his friend Buck had been left without an arm
through his use of the Ring of Burbur. Though he didn't yet know it, Warwick had plans
for him to also be Regenerated, by trading away the Ring to the Korians...
Warwick did some more research on the Inviolate Realm of Horbani (which I have
detailed elsewhere, and is very secret information that I will only describe as the druids
did: "One of the many tiny safeguards against the return of the Kraken.") before departing
for Botsweil and the mother church of the Korians. Evard teleported Warwick to
Botsweil, and provided him with some advice on getting guards and a guide for the city.
Warwick did share with me a bit of what Evard had to say, and for sake of completeness
I will record it here.
Evard said, "Do you have any enemies in this town?" To which Warwick responded,
"Well... Skylltor Rhune almost certainly knows I'm here." A delicate pause. "You might
as well stick with the 3 gp a day guide. If Skylltor wants you dead, there are services that
will help you-they Resurrect on demand. Of course, they are very expensive. In the end,
the simple guide will most likely serve you best." Warwick hired the guide and when he
arrived at the Korian church in Botsweil, he struck a deal with the Korians to be
Regenerated in exchange for a good deal of cash, his continued battle against evil (and
twice yearly reports) and the information on Horbani (the research he had unearthed,
which, he claimed to me, had led him to "really, really" give up on ever clearing the Dim
Forest). Warwick's hearing was restored, his scars healed over completely to clean,
unblemished flesh and a youthful look was restored to his demeanor that friends hadn't
seen in years. In addition, much of his lost strength and flexibility returned, helping him to
better take damage in his fight against evil.
Warwick then arranged to have Buck separated from the Ring so that Buck could decide
whether he wanted to have himself Regenerated. This was accomplished in a humorous,
but rather authoritarian manner. Buck was shown into the "waiting room," which turned
out to be a de-magic zone that was necessary to remove the ring, and grabbed quickly
by three strong-armed goons, while the ring shrieked wildly. After that the Korians
offered a few years of counseling, but Warwick turned it down, opting instead for a few
days of counseling, and refusing to prevent Buck from engaging in alcohol or tobacco
use. In exchange for some gold, Buck did receive the counseling after being forcibly
stripped of the Ring, and ultimately Buck decided to give up the Ring and receive the
Regeneration. As with Warwick, the spell was successful, and Buck's arm regrew. After
a short rampage in the "tobacco capital of the world," Buck and Warwick headed home,
ready for the Fane of the Winds.
In the course of preparing and coordinating the many hundreds of people necessary to
make this endeavor work, I wrote letters to many of the churches seeking donations of
aid or monies to help defray costs. I had every notion that Phaulkon would provide for
the quest, and I was not disappointed. The secular government of Hochland donated a
fantastic holy works library to the Fane project, which was nicely complemented by the
gift of the Central Church of Hochland. The central church provided me with the
ever-competent Maevis. Maevis had trained for years in the Order of the Wind,
chronicling weather and other sky-related phenomena, cataloguing predictions,
divinations, and history. And Maevis had long suspected, in her wisdom, that the Fane
contained long-forgotten or lost works of Phaulkonian theology and history that could be
very important or interesting to unearth. Her presence in the support group would be
invaluable once the Fane was reopened and a chance to evaluate its contents undertaken.
In addition, the central church provided me with several magical items to serve the quest.
A good number of magical healing potions were provided, including a Heal potion and
Vitality potion, a Jawbone of the Ass, a Cloak of the Storm, and a couple of powerful
scrolls. The Jawbone and the two powerful potions were both to be used only on me, if
necessary. The Vitality potion was to be used no matter what, and the Heal potion only if
necessary. All were to be returned, as is right, should they not be used. There was a third
powerful potion as well, by its very nature unsanctionable, to be only used in dire
emergencies. The rules governing its use and return to the Central Church were also
detailed. In addition, four altitude-acclimation potions were provided, though they were
considered to be likely unnecessary due to the speed at which we would be climbing the
The central church of the Cloud Giants also provided me some very important gifts. The
first was a good quantity of money, which greatly helped me to offset the cost of
convening the group in Teft and later travel and spending. The second, and definitely the
more impressive of the two, was the gift of the Cloud Giants' greatest hero, the warrior
and Talon of Phaulkon known as Rebar. Rebar wore the Breastplate of Grien, the
Phaulkonian artifact which our greatest Prophet wore all those years ago. Rebar had
been sent to assist in the Quest, and also to recover another artifact which had been lost
at the Fane of the Winds during its fall. This lost artifact was known as the Arch of
Heaven, a giantish bow which in many ways resembles the magical Rainbow that
Phaulkon is able to grant me as I go into battle. The Arch is to be returned with Rebar to
the Cloud Giant Church, and will allow him to continue his battle for Phaulkon, against
evil, out in the greater world at large. Rebar also brought along his friend the giant owl,
whom he refers to as the "wise old bird." I really enjoyed the company of the owl and
Rebar, and their presence reminded me often of Phaulkon's warm smile upon our
I borrowed a number of items from Tan-El for the purpose of the quest: including a
Teleport Damper and Beacon, Protection from Devils scroll, a Bell of Abjuration, and
the Grounding Staff.
~~Assembling for the Quest~~
The Weather Front and associated support people gathered in Teft at the end of 2189.
Many of the warriors were inducted as Warders of Phaulkon, members of the Order of
Light. The clerics Cassian, Star, Aria, and I were initiated into the Order of the Moon,
the order of clerics dedicated to completing Holy Quests for Phaulkon. The ceremony
was both somber and celebratory. It was an awesome spectacle, one which I will
remember all my life. The happiness and hope I saw in the eyes of the worshippers in
Teft as we boarded Brenard's cloud castle to begin the trip was truly inspiring and
heart-warming. Before ascending to cloud, Star read to us a poem he had composed for
the occasion, which lightened our hearts ever more.
~A Voice in the Winds~ by Astronomicon "Star" Phillips
The very Winds call out:
"Turn and go, heal the scar.
Unfold your wings and head afar;
Put to rest these shades of doubt."
"Fear not, for blessed Phaulkon guides you,
Shapes the skies to hide from eyes of foes.
He speeds the shafts sent from holy bows.
Soon you'll rest in him as Quest is through."
"Take heart, through fears of rout,
For Phaulkon's hand will part the mist,
Lead our eyes and keep us warm." This,
The very Winds call out.
~~The Destination Is in Sight~~
The cloud traveled at a good pace to the Fane, with a fortuitous breeze behind it the
whole way. (Surely Phaulkon's hand guided us!) The day before the last day of March,
we arrived. There, within sight, lay a cloud-crowded mountain of enormous height. From
the cloud, I could see that others had gathered on the plateau at the midway point of the
mountain as well, a large group of protesters, maybe 800 of them. Before we set down, I
cast a Divination upon the Fane to detect how the situation might have changed. And boy
had the situation changed. I was surprised but I can't say that I didn't expect some
unexpected results. The Divination revealed the "usual suspects," a virtual rogues gallery
of my most dangerous former enemies.
=Divination= (at the base of the mountain)
There is rich treasure in the area.
The chances of disturbing elemental forces are moderate to high.
The chances of disturbing the forces of supernatural evil are inevitable.
The forces of the Hells are moderate in the area.
The forces of Tram are moderate in the area.
The forces of Anar are moderate and brooding in the area.
The forces of Nevron are strong in the area.
The forces of Kor are weak but influential in the area.
The forces of Phaulkon are strong in the area.
My friends the Stone Soules, others from the Church of Aurora, and I had vanquished a
trio of powerful Nabassu, or Deathstealers, in the Citadel of the Castle Bah Nareth in
Tan-El a few years ago. Two of these Nabassu, who served the Archdevil Dispater, had
been forcibly returned to the Hells by Phaulkon's and Aurora's power. The third, and
least fortunate of the three, was destroyed in an instant, largely through Raven's use of a
Quaal's Feather Token and Theo's use of Starchaser, the two-handed sword which
decimates outer planar creatures. Though he would re-form in the Hells, the temporary
cost to evil was significant. It was no great surprise to me that one of Dispater's minions
might again seek revenge upon me, though how and by whom he was summoned I did
not know. The diabolic presence did cause me some trepidation, but when I experienced
fear I reached for the holy crossbow I had constructed with Phaulkon's power,
Devilstriker, and I was comforted.
Also, my friends and I had not made ourselves well-liked by the servants of Tram, the
god of ignorance and darkness, the sworn enemy of Kor. Long ago, Tram had been
banished by the other gods because he hatched a plan to become the greatest of all the
gods and disrupt the balance. Tram is now in some far-off pocket dimension, stripped of
power, but unkillable. Though he is unable to extend power any longer to his followers,
some of his followers remained free when he was captured by the gods, including his
chief helper, an evil solar known as the Dark Servant Tharizdun. Tharizdun was
eventually captured (near the Inviolate Realm of Horbani, coincidentally) on Telvar and
imprisoned in an enclosure known as the Black Cyst. Eventually the scattered servants of
Tram assembled near to the Cyst and there built a dark temple. This temple harnessed
some of slumbering Tharizdun's power and allowed the cultists to worship Tram
indirectly. Eventually greed and division drove the evil ones apart, and the temple was left
largely without clergy. Ultimately Groorg the Cunning, the Mountain Giant, invaded and
set up his lair in Tharizdun's temple. Groorg was attacked and killed by the Stone Soules
and Warwick to retrieve the Great Mithril Key (for Tan-El) and the 333 valuable gems of
Tharizdun. In retrieving the gems from the Black Cyst, the Stone Soules locked the key
to the Cyst (known as the Wailer for Lost Tharizdun) inside the Cyst, sealing it forever.
Tram's power was also used by the evil Zardos (the addled form of the librarian Tellah in
Tan-El was all that was left of him) to gain many powers from different dark deities.
When Orimaxes worked with the Stone Soules to destroy Zardos, Tram's power was
stripped from him and his evil plans laid bare to all of the duped vile powers - resulting in
his utter and total annihilation. These two acts together, which I was heavily involved in,
must have done little to endear me to the forces of Tram. I had no fear, though, because
Phaulkon surely would allow the light into their decrepit dark hearts.
The last power of note was Anar, the god of the anarchists. I have often thought that they
have an unrighteous chaotic bent with too little concern for the greater good. As a result,
I have made my feelings known many times and in many ways to bring the annoyance,
but never the outright anger of the Anarchist cause. It surprised me a little that the
anarchists might actually seek my death, but anything which might bring a little more
chaos into the world would be right up their alley. In this way it is never surprising to find
their influence. I felt confident though that my friends and compatriots could more than
adequately deal with the threat from Anar.
The forces of Nevron did surprise me a little in their power, but the presence of Sir
Konrad, Sir Ceydric, and many armed dervishes among the protestors could easily buoy
up the apparent power of the forces. I sincerely hoped, though, that these forces would
not seek to oppose us. The representative of the church of Kor, Binkley, was probably
responsible for the power of Kor in the area, though I cannot say for sure that some
other supernatural Korian power was not at work to bring about the good. The Korians
have always treated us with respect and honor, a feeling which I find it hard to begrudge
them in return. They do much to advance the greater good.
After having finished this quick assessment of the forces, we set down from the cloud
castle amid the protestors and dervishes. The protestors carried signs saying such things
as "Cultists go home!" and "Don't enslave our children," (sloppily) written in Common
rather than Human. Notably, one of the particularly odious negotiators from my time in
Wunka (mentioned above as a definitive nuisance) was a leader among the protestors,
egging them on with chants and so on. Among the support group, Eli immediately set
himself up a Secure Shelter to make himself comfortable. Some of the dervishes, upon
seeing this, thought that I was trying to break the prohibition on building churches and
tried to arm themselves to deal with us. Sir Konrad, already on the verge of pulling his
hair out, set to work cooling tempers and smoothing egos. We set up camp for our
departure in the morning and said final prayers for a good journey.
In the morning when we awoke, several of the crowd of protestors had been poisoned or
diseased, the trademark of the anarchists. Though Aria and Cassian in particular wanted
to stick around and provide healing, Sir Konrad advised us that our healing would not be
trusted and he would "take care of it." Saddened by this beginning to out ascent, we
boarded Brenard's cloud castle for the travel to the starting point to climb.
~To Climb the Mountain~
The best place to start our climb from was in sight as we drifted upward aboard the
cloud. The wise old bird then arrived with news, undoubtedly a good portion of our
"lucky day," this, the last day of March. The wise old bird had noted 8 frost giants with
skis waiting along the path we would undoubtedly choose to ascend the mountain. We
decided to avoid this and pick the next best spot to climb from. Eventually this spot was
also discarded because there was no place for Brenard to anchor his cloud castle. Aria
helped me pick another spot which featured a difficult early climb but which would
eventually join up with the first route and prevent interference from the frost giants. Most
of the party donned their frostwolf coats, while Cassian, Mel, and I had our Rings of
Warmth, and the Cloud Giants and Warwick, resistance to natural cold.
The Weather Front spent the first day climbing sheer cliffs. Eventually, Aria picked us a
nice spot to camp, a reasonably secure ledge with a good view of the surroundings. She
and Sean set to organizing the camp while Cassian and I chatted about some interesting
folklore we had picked up in our travels. We prayed quietly in thanksgiving for
Phaulkon's aid in avoiding the Frost Giants and we went to sleep, careful guard shifts in
It was shortly before midnight on 31 March when the second aspect of our lucky day
became apparent. Warwick was on guard when a large winged shape flew into camp.
He was at first alarmed by this and awoke the camp, but it turned out to be good news.
The winged shape was another giant owl. The owl spoke of how he had been told by a
"foreign owl" (presumably the wise old bird) to warn him if he saw anything unusual. In
this case, because he couldn't reach the wise old bird first, he decided to come straight to
us. He had seen another shape begin climbing the cliff behind us, alone, after we had
ascended. It also appeared to be grey, wearing a frostwolf coat, and human-sized.
Though we had left a frostwolf coat in the camp for Eli in case we needed his help via
Teleport, we didn't expect anyone to be following us. The odds that this was a hostile
intruder, therefore, were quite high. We thanked the bird and he flew off. We couldn't
see anyone yet, so we went back to sleep.
At the end of Star's watch, he thought he had detected a creature at the edge of the cliff
face, but when he looked it turned out to be a rock. However, it soon became obvious
that the rock in fact WAS the creature. When Warwick attempted to shoot it, using the
Windsocks to get closer to it, it dropped off the cliff edge, turning into a stone
gargoyle-like creature. It wasn't capable of flying, but did a controlled dive into the snow
below, sending up a plume of snow and burying it effectively in the snow. Though
Warwick had a look, it was too dark and the creature impossible to find. When dawn
broke on 1 April, the party once again headed upward.
The next day featured some tough climbing, but no incidents and we our climb at 8,950
feet. At the end of the day, Star scanned the camp using a Detect Evil and spotted
something in the rocks. When Warwick and Rangorn got closer to investigate, it turned
out there was an ornery marmot in the rocks. Star was convinced that there had been
something there. In fact, when a minute or so later Warwick looked out over the cliff, a
crater in the snow was visible below us.
The 3rd of April was a turning point. Just when we were about through the toughest part
of the early climb, Sean's carabineer came loose and he plunged off the end of the rope.
Cassian unfolded her Cloak of Wings and flew down to use preservative magic to keep
him from dying after the fall. Once Sean was brought back up to the party by Cassian
and Warwick, his harness was resecured and he was healed. Upon closer examination,
Sean discovered that his harness had been sabotaged. Aria, at the head of the rope, was
alarmed that her husband was in harms way, and cast a Detect Evil. She discovered then
that her husband himself was evil. She relayed this to party moments before Sean's pack
fell off his shoulders back over the preceding cliff, and the evil lifted from Sean. Our more
mobile comrades sprung into action while the rest of us clung to the rope, for the mark of
our mysterious evil follower was apparent. The description that follows was provided by
those members who went below (subject to my memory):
Warwick turned and ran downward through the air. Cassian flew down as well, and Star
began to slowly lower himself by levitating. As Rebar jumped downward he grabbed
Star to speed his descent and the two fell together. Warwick fired at the creature as it
dropped in gargoyle form, but missed. When Cassian saw the crater, she lobbed a
fireball from the Belt of Fire Alteration into the hole. There was a blast and a shower of
water, and a blackened ogre shape was then running through the snow away from the
party. Warwick and Cassian pursued it, and Star and Rebar ran to catch up. Warwick
and Cassian were almost to the creature when it came to the next cliff face. As it
dropped off, Warwick dove over the side. Cassian flew out over the edge as Rebar
jumped after (and Star held his ground, being somewhat out of his league). Before
Warwick reached the crater, Cassian threw a very important spell to disrupt magical
energy, which had an immediate and devastating effect. There was a small explosion, and
standing in the crater was a weird elongated humanoid creature with mysterious yellow
eyes (read: our unlucky color). It began running through the snow, slowly, and Warwick
got off a couple of shots at it. Unfortunately, a minute later as the party chased it, it
regained its ability to change shape and it immediately chose a form capable of burrowing
into the snow. It was not in great shape, but it looked like it might escape. Cassian cast
an important Detect Evil spell, and she found it moving away slowly beneath the snow.
She pointed this out to Rebar, who drew the Sword of Discernment I had lent him, and
skillfully skewered the creature, killing it instantly. It took most of the rest of the day to
lower ourselves down and regroup (we lost most of our gains for the day - staying at
9,200 feet), and to spell shift in order to question the creature, which met the description
of a Doppelganger. Its neutral evil alignment had previously led us to believe it was a
creature of Tram.
~The Doppelgangers' Plan~
What we discovered of its mission was very interesting, but also highly disturbing. I made
an immediate vow to stop its dastardly plans from coming to fruition. Between Cassian,
Star, Aria, and I, we asked of the doppelganger a number of questions. We determined
that the creature had no desire to kill us, its plan being much more sinister. It wished to
seek revenge against the Phaulkonians. But why would it seek such revenge? Well, when
we made the creature provide more information it eventually relented that it wanted
revenge because "specifically Alegra, and to a lesser extent Warwick and Rangorn, are
responsible for allowing the Wailer to pass from this world." (My background information
above includes more on the Wailer for Lost Tharizdun.) Moreover, the doppelganger
wanted to gain access to the Fane's records by following us in and then destroying them.
This would "spread ignorance in the world, serving Tram, and wound the Phaulkonians
theologically." Furthermore, we determined that there were two more of the
doppelgangers on the mountain, including one which had last been in a cabin sitting on a
stool (this made us think of Eli's shelter back on the plateau). We were concerned that
the doppelgangers or their agents may be in the camp below and were considering means
of contacting the camp to warn them when Eli Contacted me.
~Back at the Camp~
It was great to be contacted by my good friend Eli and hear his voice in my mind once
again. Eli had some interesting tales to relate, and I shared with him the news of the
For the past couple of days, Sir Konrad and Sir Ceydric had been stalking around the
camp, using Sir Konrad's Detect Evil ability along with Sir Ceydric's magical sword
Scythe, which could detect thieves and assassins. The Knights had little trouble
unearthing three anarchist supporters, and evidence that an anarchist cleric had been
present. Until Eli began assisting, the information the three provided was sketchy. Eli
declined to tell me exactly what methods he used, but he assisted in the interrogation.
One of the three cackled loudly that he was certain we were already dead and doubled
over with furious laughter before being put in his place. Eventually Eli discovered that the
anarchists seemed to be responsible for the Frost Giant presence on the mountain (and
we all know that Frost Giants have no love of Warwick either). This is when he
Contacted me, because he was concerned for our safety. I took that opportunity to fill
him on what we knew of the Frost Giants and doppelgangers.
~The Climbing Continues~
Back on the mountain, a sharp watch was kept out for doppelgangers and all our gear
was checked at the end of the day by Aria herself. As we rose in elevation, so also did
my fears rise of the presence of devils near the Fane. I longed for them to attack us when
we had the ability to fight back, and not amid the swirling elemental storm above us, but I
also suspected that the attack would come at the worst possible moment. I was also
committed to not allowing the doppelgangers access to our most valuable records, as it
became more and more likely that the Fane's entrance was shrouded in a protective layer
of snow and ice. I put my fears aside and trusted in Phaulkon...
We made slow progress over the ice-covered track. Shortly before we reached 11,900
feet on the 9th of April, an ice fall and climbing misstep almost cost us Buck and those
below him on the line. As Buck was directly behind me as the fourth one in line, this
could have been nasty indeed. As it happened, Buck just managed to unclip himself from
the main line, and he managed to realize it before disaster struck. While he held onto the
ledge, I turned around and clipped him back in. The party continued onward without
further incident that day.
On 11 April, Eli Contacted me again and let me know that Sir Konrad hadn't wanted to
leave the camp undefended but couldn't abide the presence of the Frost Giants. Using his
Pegasus and a spell from Eli which protected him from the giants' bow-shots, he
successfully killed one giant himself and wounded another before they scattered. We
camped at 12,500 feet that evening.
13 April brought us into the maelstrom of permanent storm energy which surrounded the
summit, and to the astounding height of 13,800 feet. The 14th brought the Weather Front
a brief but sad encounter which temporarily stalled our journey. The Ranger Sean, my
henchman, who was bringing up the back of the rope, failed to notice a series of minor
mistakes which when taken together left him in serious trouble (since he was already at
the end of the/his rope, he had only one way to go). Without warning, he dropped off the
back of the rope, sliding down a rock-strewn icy track several hundred feet to land with
a dull thud. It was plainly apparent that he was dead, having hit just about every rock he
could have on the way down. Cassian and Warwick flew down and retrieved his body
while we immediately set up camp. I prayed for a spell to revive my dead comrade
through the afternoon and evening. Late evening I drew upon Phaulkon's power and he
sputtered, weak but alive on the cold mountainside. It immediately reminded me of the
last time I had had to bring him back from death, in the Southern Wilderness (when he
and I, Sir Ceydric and others perished battling the mottled worm of the Dark Dwarves).
My Death Servant then had brought me back to life so that I could revive the others. In
this moment then, within sight of the Fane, my eyes filled with tears in silent thanksgiving,
mirroring Sean's overjoyed wife Aria. I quieted Aria's self-blame for the accident and we
let Sean recover with sleep. In the morning, Sean was miraculously unaffected by his
gruesome death, sustaining no permanent injuries. He received congratulations from
Buck, Rebar, and the others, and the Front journeyed upward, reaching 14,300 on 16
In an amusing twist of fate, the 17th of April brought our next altercation on the mountain,
which chose Buck to be its target. In this case Buck, wearing the Cloak of the Storm and
carrying the Grounding Staff, was jumped by a fierce, howling, lightning elemental. The
elemental delivered a shocking blast to Buck, who completely resisted its effects thanks
to the protection of the Cloak. In return, Buck slashed it with the Staff, turning it
momentarily grey and removing some of the spark from its flash. The mindless elemental
tried once again to attack and wound Buck, but was again unable to penetrate its
defenses. But Buck was not so unfortunate, using the Staff to deliver a lethal blow. The
creature turned grey and slumped, until it exploded in a shower of dust. Uninjured, the
party turned and continued in its trek.
Later that day, Warwick was hurled around by a large, ornery air elemental with a sense
of humor. Warwick had previously determined that very weak air elementals could be
returned to the elemental plain of air by his use of the Windsocks. He was very interested
in trying to do the same with this airy creature, but the being seemed to largely ignore his
efforts, hurling him into the rocks and ice with great force. We kept moving after I shot it
once or twice to little effect with my Rainbow and it moved on.
Other than these incidents, Rangorn (just ahead of me on the rope) and Warwick
(scouting ahead of us) seemed to be very successful in leading us through the storm with
few elemental encounters. Rangorn also spotted a bit of the stone rail which marked the
old pilgrim route poking out of the snow on the 22nd, just before we camped at 16,500
feet. We contemplated following the rail up, but the journey had a long way to go without
winding around the mountain, and this would have only made the trip a lot slower. We
hoped that further pieces above would help lead us to the entrance.
Soon we reached the "false summit," at which point I could clearly see the top through
the clouds (Phaulkon had granted me the power to see through clouds and weather when
I was trained by Mariah in Hochland).
On the 26th, I judged (by consulting with Aria) that we were about 2 days from the
summit. At this point, to give the most options at any time of the day or night, I drank the
Vitality Potion, and felt an immediate rejuvenation. It felt extremely strange - I was aware
that I should be starting to feel tired or hungry, but the weird buoyant feeling of the potion
seemed to satisfy each desire in turn. It also heightened my sense of awareness and I felt
the protection to all manner of disturbances coursing through my veins like a warm
brandy in winter. It was truly a unique experience, but the stress of the time and the
nearness of our goal distracted me from truly appreciating it. At the end of the day on the
26th, we had reached 17,700 feet.
The next day another piece of the stone rail was visible, and we began circling the summit
looking for an indication of where the entrance to the Fane might be, beneath the snow.
We had reached a height of 17,800 feet and could clearly see the top.
~~The Final Opposition~~
On 28 April, the Weather Front was seeking any sign of one of the four entrances to the
Fane, which were large tunnels slightly below the summit of the mountain, one for each of
the cardinal directions. We had traveled for a couple of hours when Sean, at the end of
the rope, spotted something odd. Just slightly below him was an 18" hole in the snow,
leading directly inward for a number of feet to some empty space beyond. Rebar was
able to make out that the temperature was significantly warmer inside, which suggested to
myself and the others that we had found our entrance. But more disturbing - something,
probably the Doppelgangers, had found it before us! I began to sweat, thinking about the
valuable records of the Fane at risk...
In order to get inside the entrance ourselves, we needed to enlarge the hole so we could
all safely get inside. It seemed extremely likely that our final opposition would find us
here, and we had to make our last stand with all our eyes open and our weapons ready.
To accomplish this, Brenard, using his Sword of Sharpness, began to cut open an
entrance and first cut a ledge in the snow where the clerics could stand to cast
preparatory spells. Though Cassian opposed my decision, perhaps wisely, I greatly
wanted to attempt to implore a Deva to come to our aid. I just felt that to not use this
power at my disposal would be very unwise if our efforts failed as a result. In what I
hoped would be one of my last adventuring encounters, I sought to call upon all the
power at my disposal, and so it was agreed that the 5 clerics would stand together on
Brenard's snow ledge, combined in faith, and I would cast the Implore spell and hope.
Only a few could stand on the ledge at a time, but everyone prepared for the worst, with
many eyes trained outward, at the skies with their howling winds, and inward at the small
hole still remaining in the snow. As will become apparent from the course of the story, the
incidents were confusing and many of our heroes were occupied with many things during
the next few minutes. Though I intend to leave no one out, I'm sure that I will through my
own error. I am sure that Phaulkon forgives me, and I hope that my friends these heroes
of Phaulkon will also do so - and correct me to the best of their memory.
Cassian, Star, Aria, Lanoi, and I held our hands and prayed together on the snowy ledge.
I began the elaborate ritual to summon one of Phaulkon's servants and it was then that
Hell, in no uncertain terms, broke loose.
As I was praying, I felt a cold, cruel invisible hand reach out and tear the very soul from
inside my body, out. I collapsed in a heap on the ice, my body drained of life. By
necessity, the next few moments were relayed to me afterwards by the others. At the
same moment my soul was dragged from my body, my sister Cassian was struck by a
magical effect to bestow my death upon her... but she resisted it, thank Phaulkon, despite
damage to her body as a result. At this point my comrades sprang into action as they
watched in horror what was happening to me before them. My body began to sag and
turn grey, becoming more ghoul-like with each passing moment. Cassian quickly
ascertained a plan, and reached for a scroll from her handy haversack. While Cassian
readied her scroll, Star and Aria readied healing and healed Cassian. Lanoi picked up
Devilstriker from the ground near my body. Brenard began frantically hacking at the
snow to carve upon the final couple of feet to the Fane's entrance. As it dawned upon
everyone that a Deathstealer was surely near (indeed, through the hole in the snow),
Rebar and Warwick readied missile weapons, while Drew threw down the teleport
damper and Buck began reading the scroll of Protection from Devils.
When Brenard got further through the snow, he quickly determined that there were at
least four other creatures in the space beyond as well. Warwick threw a faerie fire
magical spell into the space and caught the unmistakable form of a Deathstealer, and
perhaps a couple of undead of some kind. Cassian had drawn the Remove Curse scroll
which I had penned just shortly before our Quest at her request, and began reading. Even
as she read it, the Deathstealer used his dastardly power once again to drain some life
force from Cassian, but this did not disrupt her spell. As soon as she finished reading, I
felt a wrenching feeling as my soul was snatched free of the evil devil's hands... But still I
was drifting, still deprived of life. Immediately the progression of my transformation was
halted, and to those observing around me, I looked "merely dead."
Also at this point, Buck completed his reading of the Protection Scroll, and a Hedge
which protected us from the Deathstealer sprang into place. Though it tried again to affect
us, it soon realized that its power had been effectively crushed, and it bellowed in rage.
Cassian was healed by Aria as Lanoi pegged the devil through the hole in the ice with
Devilstriker. Though I realize that the loathsome creature surely regenerated each speck
of damage as Lanoi dealt it out, it give me a sour sort of satisfaction to know that the
devil was being given slow pinpricks by the power of Phaulkon.
It was at this point also that the Jawbone, kept safely in my backpack, activated. I was
restored to life, sputtering but aware on the cold ice. Star and Aria helped restore me to
strength quickly, and I stood, eager to have my revenge. I said a quick word of thanks to
Cassian as I drew out a large diamond and began casting. Rangorn and Sean began to
help people onto the ledge as Brenard broke through the ice the last few inches. Cassian
turned the undead inside the entrance by drawing up Phaulkon's power even as Warwick
threw a Korian sunlight-gem into the opening, disrupting the undead even more as it
illuminated the interior. Rangorn and Mel drew their melee weapons and prepared to
advance as it became obvious that our only chance at success was a coordinated, single
segment moment of damage that might totally destroy the creature instantly. Drew held
the Bell of Abjuration carefully in case it became necessary. I finished casting my
Rainbow and handed it to Warwick, who smiled.
As Brenard pushed through a large section of ice so the party could advance as a whole,
it became obvious that the 4 undead creatures were completely disoriented in a way none
of us had seen before. It seems that the effect of having good artifacts all around, with
consecrated ground directly behind them (a corridor stretched away in the distance), as
well as the Korian light-gem, and the effect of Cassian's turning, made them completely
unable to react to anything. Only the Devil's constant effort to maintain control made them
even mill about. Rangorn and Buck and I advanced first into the room and we spent
some precious moments preparing every possible attack angle we could to do the most
damage in the least time. We knew that the Hedge would hold (at minimum) for only
another few moments, but we took some precious seconds to prepare. We sought to
destroy the evil who would usurp the honor and glory of the Fane with his foul presence.
At last everyone was arrayed about the Deathstealer, who was looking as disturbed as a
horribly blighted-looking hordeling can, who simply raised his arms and waited for the
Hedge to drop. But little did he realize all that we had intended for him...
I raised my hands and began a countdown to coordinate the attack, culminating with a
bright screaming bolt of electricity drawn from the power of my Earrings, which slashed
into the creature for good effect, for he was unable to resist it. At the same time:
Warwick shot the Rainbow.
Rebar and Brenard fired their large giantish bows.
Aria fired Devilstriker.
Cassian threw a Sling Bullet of Concussive Force.
Mel stabbed it with his spear.
Buck threw his magical handaxe.
Star fired a magical crossbow bolt.
Sean and I threw holy water.
Lanoi struck it with a spiritual hammer.
Drew slashed it with Rangorn's magical falchion.
Rangorn stuck it with an arrow from his bow.
Delivering so much damage in a single instant knocked it unconscious but its wounds
began to heal rapidly (while the undead around immediately fell to the ground). Everyone
drew their remaining holy water to finish the job, except Lanoi who picked up the Korian
light-gem and threw it upon the corpse. As the other questers were about to drop their
holy water on the devil, the Korian light-gem cracked, snuffing out its light, but the
Deathstealer turned instantly into ash and began to dissipate in the strong breeze from
It was a good day for success. These Phaulkonian heroes and I looked around. We
immediately noted a couple of things. Another doppelganger was clearly here on the
floor, dead. The undead were clearly animated Nevronian Crusaders. I could spy in the
distance the Great Altar of the Fane straight ahead, but passages to the left and right
loomed. Having an unaccounted for doppelganger at large, Cassian suggested we try the
side passages. This seemed like a smart idea, and Aria summoned her power to Detect
Evil for easy detection of our prey. Sure enough, not long afterwards the only evil we
detected appeared to pressed into a wall on the north side passage.
I turned to Cassian and nodded. Before the two of us began casting, I called out in a loud
voice, "No mercy for evil ones in the Shrine."
Cassian held her spell as I sent the power of Phaulkon forth, disrupting magical energies
with an almost visible shimmering in the air. And there, dripping from the wall where we
had suspected the doppelganger was hiding, was a rubbery, grey goo. As this occurred,
Aria detected that the evil vanished. And Cassian could find no trace of life, so we were
reassured. Drew even collected some of the doppelganger liquid for Eli's use.
And so, we turned and returned to the entrance, informing Warwick and the giants of the
situation. It appeared safe that, at the moment, the entrance to the lower levels where all
the records and living quarters had been, was sealed. And with only the center of the
shrine open before us, we advanced.
~The Fane of the Winds~
I drew my clerics to me, and the holy warriors who had ventured far with me, and we
traveled towards the altar. Around it, adventuring gear including weapons and armor
stood out, clearly indicating their magical nature, their occupants or owners long since
turned to dust. The Arch of Heaven with its iridescent shine was clearly visible. I strode
boldly over the Nevronian gear and carefully edged around the Phaulkonian, while Gram,
who had followed us in, made note of where everything had been found.
Finally the clerics and I advanced to the altar, and I examined it. The central dias
culminated in a huge stone block, carved of one piece of granite, with 12 rows of
elaborately carved religious stories. In the center of the Great Altar was a large crack,
and the block had leaned inward upon itself. Interestingly, there was no sign of any kind
of hammer, and indeed, no gear was found anywhere near the Altar, hinting at the fate of
the Crusader known as Syntethan.
Above the Altar, the roof of the Fane was completely composed of transparent quartz,
reaching all the way to the summit of the mountain. The quartz was capped in a large
layer of snow and ice else it would have been more eaily visible from below.
I began the ceremony to deconsecrate the Great Altar, and when it was finished tears ran
down my cheeks like a flood. Cassian, Star, and the others had all formed a circle
around me as I stood, and in awe we worshipped Phaulkon in his glory. Even as the
ceremony wound down, the clouds and wind began to scatter and reduce, clearing the
sky for the first time in centuries and allowing us a view of the stars that evening.
On the 29th of April, the next day, Brenard summoned his cloud and he traveled down to
the support group to retrieve the knew Altar block.
And on the 30th, the new Great Altar was replaced. Phaulkon shined upon the day.
To allow Warwick to enter into the Fane, I needed to melt the snow off its cap. Indeed,
to not be able to see the sky from within the Shrine had already distressed me enough,
and so I opened the clouds using the power of the Fane to shine the sun upon it. And
from down below, the protesters began to melt away as great avalanches of snow and
ice began to sheet from the mountain by the ton. In four days, the cap was clear and
Warwick joined us inside on 4 May.
For the next week, I held a prayer service which recreated the holy days of
Lanthalassa-té once again. And at its end, each of us was granted a boon by Phaulkon
for our service. Moreover, Warwick and Brenard, Warders of Phaulkon, were granted
all the power and responsibilities of being Talons of Phaulkon. Further, Rangorn and
Bogomel were each welcomed into the Order of Light as Warders of Phaulkon. Drew
felt called to guard the Fane. I understand that even the worldly Buck felt a tug upon his
heart, making his reasoning to follow Phaulkon seem all the more clear in his head after all
of these years.
The treasure was divided per the prior agreement. And though I retained a good number
of the magical items for use at the Fane, I also wanted a lot of them to go out with our
Phaulkonian heroes out into the world, where they might advance Phaulkon's causes at
large, and help where they are most needed. I will include a list of all of these items and
their placement in an addendum to be added later.
~A portion of my preaching, on reaching the Great Altar of the Fane~
Rejoice! We have become true.
In heeding the wending ways of wind,
Our hearts are blown free of dust and disuse.
In feeling the bite of the snow on our cheeks,
Our bones and spirit are fed from his hands.
In scaling the heights and traversing the chasms,
Our gaps are filled and our great souls enlarged.
Yea, in doing all that we have done,
we have been instruments of his power and majesty.
Praise him - Phaulkon - whose greatness imparts wonder and awe -
praise our great god of the skies!
Forever will his faithful ones remember this day -
In the space of one circling of the sun,
our lives are warmed from iciest winter to balmiest summer.
You heroes - you are blessed of the moon and stars,
made holy in blizzards and heatwaves, hailstorms and sundogs and rainbows.
You are the best of us - and your sacrifices are already written in the stars above us.
Praise Phaulkon! Through him, we have accomplished all!
We achieved success, in Phaulkon's name. And for that, I am greatly thankful. That is all.
I hope my days as Mistress of the Winds are rewarding and my service worthy. Aria,
Sean, Frank, Leon, Drew, Maevis, the Seasons, and the rest of my staff will be staying
permanently. The rest, undoubtedly some will remain for a time. I have some work to do
with Sir Konrad before he leaves, and Warwick and I may be crafting a magical item to
serve him in his future quests. I owe each of my comrades a special note of thanks - I
should share that with them before they depart as well, each in a special way for each
contributed greatly to the success - no one failed to contribute vastly.
I will add more notes to this as I remember details. But until then you find me,
In Phaulkon's Holy Name,
Mistress of the Fane
Summary: Some Aftermath of the Fane Quest
Rangorn, 6th level half-elf woodsman, played by Joel Green
Astronomicon "Star" Phillips, 6th level human cleric, played by Kyle MacLea
And a cast of thousands auditioning for various parts
In Rangorn updating:
Rangorn, following the conclusion of the Fane of the Winds holy quest, returned to Depwood to meditate and train, gaining 7th level (and 9 hp!). He considered a number of future adventuring possibilities, but remains open, and stands in 2190.
In Star news:
In the aftermath of the Fane of the Winds adventure, Star returned to the city of his birth, the spawling industrial complex known as Teft, the Jewel of Petethal. He had gained a little experience in his battle against evil and contemplated the harsh reality of adventuring when most of your friends from your early career are retired, moved on to other ventures, dead, or simply not interested in adventuring with you. But Star, being the optimistic type, saw many future opportunities to work with others, especially some Phaulkonian heroes like Rangorn, again in the future. Until then, however, he needed to support himself and gain more fame and magic items (as a former henchman of Alegra, he had gained few over the years but had been given a few minor items in the recent past).
When he arrived in Teft, he visited the Phaulkonian Temple where he learned the craft of the Faith in earnest. It was there that all of his friends and comrades of many years and many ceremonies led him to the idea of going to the Agency to acquire a couple of henchman for his wanderings. Because Star was a cleric who could not use simple melee weapons (only those that soared through the air were allowed by his code of beliefs), it seemed logical to seek out someone to be his guard and friend for the journeys ahead. And so, Star went to the Agency to seek a qualified and gifted individual, knowledgeable in the ways of melee weapons and defense.
Though the Agency advertised on his behalf that he sought a melee weapon capable guard, many responded who did not fit the description. However, since Star was not the exclusionary type, he decided (in a fit of whimsy, which is more or less his continual state of being) to interview all of the candidates. There were fourteen in total, including several warrior and spell casting classes. Some were of so little note as to have been nearly instantly forgotten, others were intriguing enough to warrant a second or third look. Still others smelled of enigma and curious happenstance. Included herein are a few highlights.
* One candidate, a female halfling warrior, could not abide Star looking her over as she entered the room, and became disgusted with answering questions. When Star became irritated at fending off her questions and refused to play along, she stormed out of the office and building and never looked back.
* A female druid sought to be Star's advisor and companion, helping to steer him in the direction of important and appropriate adventures. She was unbelievably gorgeous and personable, and seemed quite capable, but following the trend of a lot of these potential henchmen, seemed to want to make Star HER henchman...
* One young mage saw the potential advantages of an alliance that might gain him vast magical resources. He kept hinting at what connections to the Powerful and Wondrous Mage known as Eli might gain him, and by extention, Star, in adventuring possibilities.
* One candidate was a strong, tough-looking, handsome, and agile, druid from the local area. This druid had heard of Star's travels and adventures extensively and seemed quite experienced. He came with two important "features." The first was epilepsy or a similar condition that every few moments would remove him from reality, and cause his world to turn upside-down in a fit of confusion (the latter revealed by, ahem, magical scanning techniques, and yes, Star is aware of their completely illegal usage in this setting). The second feature was his Plan for World Dominion. This special discourse, developed over many years, was kept protected in a foil-lined bag, which he refused to reveal the contents of until Star had signed him on. When Star made some comments about He Who Would Prefer Not to Say, mostly in reference to how reticent he was about the plans, the druid became paranoid, crinkling the foil bag up tightly around the book, and stiffly requesting that Star refrain from any further magical scanning of his plans. Though Star had done nothing of the sort, he agreed to refrain in the future.
* A middle-aged female wizard turned out to actually be a warrior who gave up her former profession to study magic, in Latt. Though she was quite broke, and had gained no useful spells from her master, she stated (and the Agency verified) that she was the smartest person ever to walk through the door of the Agency. She was pathologically fair and even-minded, clearly set to gain greatness, seeking a sponsor, and again, like the others, more or less wanted Star as HER henchman. She had no desire to follow goals for advancing Good, just to gain glory.
* One warrior candidate was extremely circumspect in manner and never provided any information about himself. When questioned, it appeared he could fight with a whole manner of melee and missile weapons. Of course, he wasn't proficient in any of them.
* Two Rangers made the list. The first was extremely quiet but seemed capable, no outstanding features. The second was affable, fun to talk to, seemed quite taken with the opportunity to work with Star. However, he was not a melee weapon person. As he put it, "Long composite bow is my life." He further suggested that with the two of them together, they could just "kill it or zap it before it got close enough to matter [that we didn't have melee weapons.]" Furthermore, he knew he'd be competing with the other Ranger candidate, and pointed out that even though he wasn't a Phaulkonian, like the other Ranger, he respected Star's beliefs. At this, Star was first made aware that the other Ranger was a Phaulkonian, and decided to take another look at him...
* A Paladin of Kor made an unexpected and unconventional appearance on the candidate list. Clearly the Paladin, named Wingate, had wondrous physical abilities, but he also was a likeable fellow with (sigh of relief) clearly discernable attraction for quests on behalf of Good. Better still, the Korian appreciation for advancing all Good religions was refreshing, and relates very well to Star's understanding of Phaulkonian beliefs as well. Wingate has a couple of "features" himself. The first was his almost complete lack of equipment. He possessed a sword and his warhorse, and the patched up clothes on his back. As it happened, this was due to the second of his features, his history. Wingate had been a Paladin henchman or follower of a more powerful adventurer, who was a part of a SMART expedition (Society of Master Adventurers for the Recovery of Treasure, for those not in the loop). This particular SMART adventure traveled to an ancient crypt in the western Hadarna mountains (south of the Indicara, in the Greate Olde Woode). There, Wingate served as a backdoor guard while the the main group investigated the crypt. There, the entire expedition was destroyed battling an ancient evil. And our hapless friend Wingate got himself Cursed during the escape, when it became obvious that he could not affect the evil force. He made his way westward, away from the crypt, occasionally taking refuge at the homes of friends along the way. Every 30 days, a blackened and decrepit-looking winged beast would make an appearance and try to kill him. He had survived many attempts on his life, but had run out of friends willing to shield him. Additionally, Wingate had some horrible scars, most notably a fearsome-looking black splotch on the back of his head and neck. He had come to Star both because of his reputation as a Good adventurer and also because he thought Star might cure him of the Curse. Wingate had had a _Remove Curse_ cast on him to no effect, and had run out of options. But he didn't want Star's pity eith
take him as a henchman if he thought it the wisest and most prudent course; of course, even if not, he would appreciate the removal of the Curse.
* Another hapless but hopelessly fun character to enter the room was Zippo, a dwarven warrior. Zippo was quite good with his melee weapons, but was not known for either intelligence or wisdom. When questioned on other interests or skills, Star discovered that Zippo... raised ornamental birds and parrots! Though he didn't have any strong religious opinions himself, he thought that Star was likely as a Phaulkonian to love exotic birds as much as he did. Of course, Star enquired why he hadn't looked into becoming a Phaulkonian over his lifetime thus far. The dwarf thought that that sounded like a good idea, but conceded that he didn't have much knowledge in philosophy or religion. He thought that if he was Star's henchman, he would definitely become Phaulkonian, as long as Star could help him with complex theology and those 'deep thoughts.'
* After Star questioned the Phaulkonian Ranger again, it became clear that he was quite a superior henchman candidate. He didn't appear too noticeable at first glance, but he was once one of the strongest men in the Ranger Brotherhood. Though he was quiet, he had gained commendations from the Brotherhood for good service over 11 years and was quiet skilled melee wise. He had assumed that everyone who had applied for the position must be Phaulkonian, else he would have told Star about it. His skills were numerous and varied, and he had the ability to learn even more. And though he was quiet, he was likeable.
In the end, Star decided to take both Zippo and the Phaulkonian Ranger (whose name eludes me at the moment). He strongly considered the fighter-mage woman, the other mage, and the Paladin of Kor, but finally decided against the first two because they weren't Good, and the Paladin because he wouldn't enjoy sneaky adventuring methods (which are Star's stock-in-trade). However, he paid the new Sage in Teft to research Wingate's curse. He discovered that the Paladin had had a Curse in the form of the powerful spell which summons a "Darkenbeast." Though the Sage, in Star's opinion, seemed like a closed-mouth, unhelpful, dolt, he told Star that the spell affected local herd animals. Though Star suggested that the Paladin's warhorse might in fact be the recipient of the Curse, the Sage thought this unlikely. When the Sage could provide no better explanation, Star left, exasperated. He told his plan to Wingate, and the Paladin agreed.
Star _Removed Curse_ on Wingate's horse, and stood with him on the night of the 30th day, when the Darkenbeast would return if the removal had not been successful. When the night came and went, the Curse removed, Star bought Wingate some new arms and armor for his adventuring ahead, and told him that he might enjoy adventuring together in the future. Then, Star outfitted his own new henchman and planned his next step...