Dammasae's Journey

The Forest's Ruin Part 4
Before the Reaver knows you're dead...

Players Present:

Ron
Shandall
Colton
Mike
Donnie
Pat

Party engaged 3 reavers, their wizard handler, and a red dragon.

When we left off, the wizard was gone, but the reavers and red dragon were still there.

Marmaduke and Ztegk are imprisoned.

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The Forest's Ruin Part 2
Don't Fear the Reaver...

The night started with the party retreating back to their stronghold, having just defeated one of the three reavers they engaged at the edge of the forest.

They brought two druids that had been killed by the reavers bodies with them, in order to resurrect them. Upon returning to the stronghold, they were greeted by Davram in his humanoid form.

Davram informed the party that they had a trio of visitors who had arrived in their absence.

The first of these visitors is an old friend he encountered while fighting the mindless thrulls that the workmen found when they accidentally opened up a cavern to the underdark.

To Lily’s extreme delight, this old friend turned out to be Gorchuk the Physician and Apothecary

The other two visitors Davram was not familiar with, outside of meeting them briefly just before the party arrived.

The first was Zafire, a woman of dragon descent, who was very interested in everything dragon related, who had heard about the Order of the Gem Dragons, and wished to offer her services to their cause.

She seemed to have a great interest in Davram for his obvious dragon descent, and those in the party that were inclined to do so discovered that not only did her intentions appear to be pure, but that she seemed to be a good-aligned person.

For this reason, they chose to allow her to stick around for the time being and learn more about their cause.

The second was Marmaduke, a man of apparent giant descent, who also possessed the head of a dog. He explained that he is a seeker of artifacts, and had come to the keep following rumors that there was a warrior in this area that was possibly wielding a legendary bastard sword forged by a master dwarven smith in the Lost Forge of Thunder Peak

Norendithas recognizing that he was the warrior that Marmaduke was speaking of, and that Dal-Agrul was the legendary sword he was seeking, confronted him about his intentions. Marmaduke explained that whenever he found artifacts, that he destroyed evil artifacts outright and removed artifacts from the possession of evil creatures, but that if the artifact was not evil, and the wielder was worthy and unwilling to part with it, that he simply learned what he could about the artifact, and then went on his way.

This seemed to satisfy Norendithas, and so he melded Dal-Agrul with the stronghold, so that Marmaduke could talk directly to it at his leisure.

Marmaduke now knowing more about the party and what their intentions were regarding the red wizards, entreated the party to allow him to offer his assistance to their cause also, in exchange for a fair share of the spoils, and a chance to study any artifacts they discovered. He also made it clear that he would like first dibs on buying any artifacts that party members wished to part with.

After a tear-filled reunion with the party members who had met him before, and a very uncomfortable introduction to all of the awe-struck people who had not, Gorchuk revealed to them how he had come to be in the underdark beneath their stronghold.

Gorchuk had grown restless since the party had left Oblivion, there not being much to do now that the town was not under siege by the juggernaut. The leaders of the town sensed this, and having seen what the party was up to in their divinations, they encouraged Gorchuk to go and offer his services to them.

Gorchuk then pitched his idea to start a teaching hospital at the stronghold, one that he could serve as provost of, and train willing recruits in both magical and alchemical healing.

After conferring with Gorchuk, Brolin Stoutarm and Scruffy, the startup costs were determined to be the following:

Base Structure – 1 basement level, 3 above ground levels, (additional magic shielding baked into the stone of the top level) – 500,000 GP
Outside Greenhouse and Creature Enclosures – 100,000 GP
Initial Inventory – Bandages, vials, other misc supplies – 20,000 GP

The ongoing costs were estimated to be the following:

Peacetime – 2,000 GP/month + wages
Wartime – 20,000 GP/month + hazard wages

With all of these items in place, Gorchuk estimated that they could reduce the casualties in combat by as much as 30%

The party voted to proceed with this plan, and ordered Brolin and Scruffy to add the hospital to their schematics.

Having been injured with persistent wounds by the reavers, both Gerishel and Norendithas chose to sit out the next foray against the reavers. They were expertly attended to by Gorchuk, in order to increase the natural healing of their serious wounds.

Gerishel then decided to accompany the newly resurrected druids back to their leader, in order to help them devise better strategies against the reavers, while Norendithas chose to take Davram’s place defending the stronghold from the mindless thrulls trying to come up from the underdark still.

The remaining party members, with the two new arrivals tagging along, then proceeded back to the edge of the forest, and engaged the two reavers they had left alive the first time.

The battle was long and hard fought, but they eventually defeated these two remaining reavers. Unfortunately, Marmaduke was killed during the battle, and had to have revivify cast on him to bring him back.

The party then returned to the stronghold, and had Gorchuk tend to Marmaduke’s persistent wounds also.

The night ended with most of the party members having teleported to Waterdeep to shop for items.

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The Forest's Ruin
Enter the Reavers

The night started out with the party in the dungeons of Lallara Mediocros – Zulkir of Abjuration. , trying to rescue Davram from his torture. The party found out he was there when they attempted to resurrect him, only to be told that he was already alive. A very powerful scry showed them the image of him being tortured by red wizards.

The party was stuck in an epic battle with a very powerful red wizard, which they struggled to defeat. Eventually, they brought him near enough to death that his contingency went off, and he was teleported away.

The party was able to locate Davram in one of the cells, and spirited him away to their stronghold (after many paranoid plane shifts by Zindalo). Shortly after arriving, Norendithas returned from whereabouts unknown, accompanied by a female air genasi. He informed the party that this was his sister, who had also been experimented on, and trained by Aznar.

Gerishel also returned, filling the party in on the details of the attack on the eastern edge of the forest, which the druids had come seeking their aid for previously. He described to them the terrible creatures he had encountered and battled against, which Anciano surmised sounded like soul reavers.

To add to the troubles, Scruffy came and informed the party that they had discovered a great chasm during their excavations out of which poured many mindless thrulls who attacked the workers.

Scruffy was able to dispatch them, and then melded into the stone to investigate. Below he found a whole complex filled with mindless thrulls, hustling and bustling about. He informed the party that he had sealed up the hole, but it would need to be dealt with soon.

The party chose to deal with the forest first, preparing themselves with a plethora of buffs, before tree-traveling to the edge of the forest. They arrived just in time to see a druid in eagle form dive-bombing something at the edge of the trees, which appeared suddenly behind it, forcing them both to the ground.

The party teleported to the area of destroyed forest past where they had just seen the two creatures disappear, and proceeded to focus fire one of the three soul reavers. It withstood a great deal of damage, but Norendithas eventually landed a critical hit on it and decapitated it.

When we left off, the party was trying to decide whether to try and tackle another one, or to retreat.

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Quick Recap
Because I couldn't remember...

This is just a quick recap for you guys to remind you of what was going on the last time we played.

When last we played, the party was still overseeing construction of their stronghold, and reaching out to their various networks of contacts to raise support for their cause. An agreement was made with Cairon and his order within the Elan community, for them to place their own tower within the stronghold, in exchange for them providing an elite squad of elan psionics to defend the stronghold.

The party had also reached out to other groups in the area, and had met with varying levels of success. This included the dwarves who lived on the other side of the mountain range to the north, who were rude, and not interested in the party’s offer.

A couple of weeks after this encounter however, a runner arrived from the dwarf fortress. He informed the party that his people were under attack by an army of red wizards and their minions, and although powerful, ancient magics protected their home, they could not hold out forever.

They informed the party that they had discovered that the red wizards were seeking whoever had been involved with the incident in their lands, and had come to the dwarf fortress as a result of tales of a warrior wielding a dwarven sword, that was specifically designed to kill mages. The dwarves continued that because they knew the party possessed such a weapon, that they must be responsible for what happened in Thay, and that they therefore should come assist the innocent dwarves.

The party agreed to come to the dwarves aid, save for Gerishel, who was away meeting with the druids. Using a secret back entrance, the party gained access to the dwarf fortress. Once there, they found dwarven and red wizard bodies everywhere, and could easily surmise that the fortress had already been infiltrated by the red wizards, and that they would have to fight their way through them.

They soon came upon a battle raging between an unknown warrior, two thayan zealots, and a powerful red wizard. The unknown warrior called out for the party’s aid as he dispatched one of the zealots and disappeared from sight. The party chose to aid the unknown warrior, and were able to dispatch the red wizard with his aid.

The unknown warrior identified himself as Dorhar’luthnezdous, a devoted (some might say fanatical) servant of Eilistraee. He revealed to the party that he seeks a powerful artifact of Eilistraee, which he believes to be in the possession of one of the red wizard zulkirs. This act of thievery alone marked the Red Wizards of Thay as enemies of Eilistraee in Dorhar’luthnezdous’ eyes, and he in turn has sworn an oath to destroy them whenever he encounters them.

This was enough info for the party to decide to allow Dorhar’luthnezdous to fight by their side as they cleared the rest of the fortress of invaders. Once this had been accomplished, the remaining dwarves in the fortress stayed behind to guard the flank, while the party rushed to push the red wizard forces back out of the main entrance of the fortress.

To the party’s surprise, they heard Gerishel over the mind link informing them that he was about to clear the entrance. A huge emerald dragon dropped from the sky and landed with explosive force in front of the entrance, crushing many of the red wizard forces. He drew in a mighty breath, and unleashed super sonic winds at the red wizard forces that were already within the entrance to the fortress. The enemies were thrown about like ragdolls, slamming into unyielding dwarven architecture.

The party took this opportunity to rush out of the entrance, and join Gerishel in the battle royale that was waging outside. As they fought fiercely with the red wizard frontline forces, the red wizards themselves hurled death their way from the back of the enemy lines. Thankfully, some of the ancient wards were still holding, and thus the party was spared from the majority of the onslaught.

Seeing how deftly the party was dispatching their minions, the red wizards instead entered into a chant together, combining their considerable arcane might into a powerful spell. Upon it’s completion (the party was somewhat occupied, and didn’t interrupt it) a powerful dracolich was summoned to their aid. The red wizards then used this as a distraction while they beat a hasty retreat.

The party then faced off against the dracolich in a fierce battle, eventually managing to dispatch it, and the remaining red wizard forces.

Upon neutralizing the threat to the dwarf fortress, the party then met with the dwarven leaders, and agreed to supply the dwarves with a garrison of their forces, to bolster their now heavily depleted forces, and as an act of good faith for unintentionally bringing the red wizards to their doorstep. The party agreed to this arrangement readily, because it also would serve as a forward lookout for red wizard encroachments from the north.

The party has now traveled back to their stronghold, and is again assisting with it’s construction, while also working on gathering more allies.

And that’s where we left it. Look forward to seeing you all tomorrow!

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The Realm of Shadow

What Shadow Realm?

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An Old Friend Cometh

The following information is player knowledge, not character knowledge. Character experiences will follow below

As the world came to a halt around him, Elminster took a moment to take in the scene before him. Creatures and constructs of all shapes and sizes were locked in combat all around him. Some of them he recognized, most he did not. He took the ornate obsidian rod he had just used to augment his spell, and he put it carefully away. It had happened now more times than he could remember that he would be minding his own business, perhaps explaining to some incredulous young mage the importance of clean undergarments to the proper administration of a “disguise self” spell, when he would be yanked away without warning to some dangerous, far-away place. All in order to carry out Mystra’s wishes. So he did what he normally did in these situations, brought things down to a more manageable speed, and asked his goddess for direction. As he bowed his head, he reached down within himself for the warmth of that familiar silver fire, that connection to the goddess that all chosen share. As he did so, he felt it’s warmth rise up within him, and with it came an understanding of why he was there, and what he needed to do. He had of course been keeping tabs on the lass, doing what he could to throw the many factions seeking her off the trail, but he’d be damned if she had made it very easy to do so. Many nights while she and her comrades had been sleeping soundly, he had been layering wards on their resting place and criss-crossing the realms trying to throw others off her tracks. It was good to see her again then, especially alive and well. “Well” being a relative term in this case he supposed, judging by the battle that had been raging only a moment ago. He smirked to himself a little on this last thought, he was glad the lass was causing trouble for someone else for a change. Elminster gave a ring on his right hand a little twist and then drew out an exquisite ruby rod and muttered something under his breath. There was a soft flash of blue magic from the end of the rod and nothing more. He set the ruby rod in the air in front of him where it floated lazily as he set to work casting a spell. The weaving of his fingers was as effortless to him as breathing as he made the intricate patterns necessary to cast his spell. When he finished, the rod in front of him came to light with a blue glow all the way up and down it’s shaft. He took it into his hand and pointed it at two areas on the ground in front of him. It flared brightly for a moment each time he pointed it, and then ceased to glow. With the rod still aimed at the last spot, he reached his other hand and touched the necklace on his neck, whispering a word of command. Again there was a soft flash of blue light from the ruby rod. He placed it back in the air in front of him. He then drew the obsidian rod once more, and set it in the air in front of him to float also. Again his fingers danced their dance and the obsidian rod lit up with a blue glow. As before he pointed to two spots on the ground, and the rod flashed brightly at each before the blue glow faded away. He put the obsidian rod away and grabbed the ruby rod from the air, pointing it at a different point on the ground, he again grabbed his necklace with the other hand and whispered the command word, causing the rod to emit a soft flash of blue light once more. He then put the ruby rod away also, and set to work casting yet another spell. Black energies swirled and coalesced all around the ground in front of him, forming themselves into horrid black tentacles that thrashed about, seeking any prey they could grab a hold of. He knew the duration of his spell would be coming to an end soon, so before it did he reached up and grabbed a dangling earring. He looked into the vast white distance beyond and smiled broadly before giving a little wink and disappearing.
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MetaConcert Interrupted
Part 3

As the night started the party was still locked in combat with some of the psions from Lustra’s metaconcert. Xindi Shrest (ran by Sara) and Bahram Val (ran by akaWolf72) had already been dispatched, and were sucked into the vortex. The traitor Fidux had also been defeated, and he too was sucked into the vortex. It was also assumed that Shiri had dispatched Vicoyss Baenrret (ran by blargrg) although for some reason his invisible construct was still wreaking havoc. Kau’ra Goosh (ran by EthanJackson) was assumed to be the only psion left standing who was opposed to the party. Only is probably not the best descriptor in this situation though as Vicoyss was still alive, just hiding, and Kau’ra had used the Egoist power Fission to create an identical replica of herself (and both Kau’ras subsequently used Breath of the Black Dragon on Cara and Norendithas, killing Cara outright, and bringing Norendithas right to the brink of death). As the battle raged, the party and their psion allies were able to destroy one of the Kau’ra Goosh copies, but it was quickly replaced by a flying monstrosity that appeared to have risen out of the vortex to join the fray (in fact this was a ploy by Vicoyss to continue to bring Astral Constructs into the battle, without revealing that he was still a part of it). This prompted Scruffy to encase the vortex in a box of molded stone while Davram (in dragon form) and Tsubasa made attacks against the new foe. After molding stone around the vortex, Scruffy was very surprised to be attacked by the invisible construct and it’s vicious blades. The construct buried it’s blades in scruffy’s body, but before it could perform it’s rend and kill him, scruffy called out to his gnomish god for aid. He being a favored soul of his diety requesting aid, his diety deemed he should receive it, and so scruffy turned to stone and melded into the floor without taking further damage, while a great column of stone sprung up from beneath the construct, smashing it against the ceiling and destroying it. Soon after this, Vicoyss was spotted hiding behind a statue, and had to make a hasty command to his flying construct to come scoop him up and save him from Onickar Dwarther (played by snoellh), Gerishel, Cairon, and others who were closing in on his hiding place. Unfortunately for Vicoyss Baenrret, his expeditious flight brought him into the path of the party’s favorite cookie giving warlock, Lily, who unleashed a massive (confirmed critical) blast of hellfire at Vicoyss that caused him to be sucked into the vortex, and his construct to disappear. This left only Kau’ra Goosh still fighting against the party. Davram swooped down and did an overrun on her, knocking her prone. Kau’ra tried one last desperate manifestation to escape, but the party members who were standing around quickly silenced her before she could finish. As the final blow was struck, Kau’ra Goosh too was sucked into the vortex.

The immediate threat seemingly taken care of, a great rumbling issued forth from the box covered vortex. The box itself didn’t give way, but Vedis Perchnosius (normally played by Chris, but this night played by OffKilter) warned everyone that he could sense the vortex trying to close and that he could only hold it open for a short time. If they wanted to go through it and give chase to Lustra’s minions, (and hopefully Lustra herself, although Vedis could neither confirm or deny her presence there), he informed them that they had better do it now. When asked where the portal led, Vedis could only answer that it was a minor plane of some type which was unfamiliar to him. Davram informed everyone that he would proceed through the portal, since through the portal lay the best odds of rescuing the girl (Dammassae). There was a consensus among the party and the psions to proceed through the portal (although the psions knew nothing of this “girl” of whom the half-dragon spoke, and only sought the defeat of Lustra).

Upon arriving on this new minor plane, the party and their psion allies found themselves alone on a vast expanse of white. There were no discernible features as far as the eye could see, and even the horizon was difficult to pinpoint, since the sky was white also. Everyone took ready positions, expecting an attack to come immediately upon them…but no such attack came. Sharest Gunfort (played by MichaelNeeley) warned everyone to be on their guard, since this plane was likely Lustra’s own. She explained that it was likely created through the powerful Shaper power Genesis and that Lustra very likely knew of their arrival. Vedis added that since it was unknown how time worked on this plane, it was possible that their foes may have had time to prepare for their arrival. Yet for all of this, no attack ever came. Davram took to the air to scout the area around them, but found all he could see was more whiteness stretching off in every direction. Not knowing how or where to proceed, Esmeralda Dwarther (played by Colton) began using a very powerful Seer power called Metafaculty to pinpoint the location of one of Lustra’s minions, while she also used Anchored Navigation to provide an error free beacon for Vedis to teleport back to while he teleported around scouting. It took Esmeralda 12 hours, but she finally found a pattern in the false signals she kept receiving, and was fairly certain which direction they needed to proceed. The party being healed, rested, and refreshed, they set off in the direction Esmeralda indicated. A few brave souls climbed on the backs of the dragons, while the rest held hands and traveled with Vedis via Dimension Door along the vast, white plane.

Almost a full day of travelling later, Davram’s keen eyes spotted a speck of green on the horizon, the first sign of anything besides white nothingness they had come across. He offloaded his passengers with Cairon (who can also use Dimension Door just not as effectively as Vedis) and he went ahead to scout the area. What he discovered was a vast expanse of green rolling hills, criss-crossed by earthen roads and bright blue streams. This new landscape continued off as far as he could see, disappearing over the horizon. He communicated this back to everyone via the telepathic link. He started to investigate the area from above, trying to spot any sign of movement, while everyone else moved forward to the edge of this green expanse.

The night ended with most of the party standing at the edge of this vast green carpet, ready to take their first steps into the unknown…

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An Unlikely Pairing
Exodus

The campaign starts in the year 1370 by Dale Reckoning, with the PCs converging on the Archmage Elminster Aumar’s tower in Shadowdale. Each having been guided there by Elminster through various different means. Upon entering his tower, the PCs are met by Lhaeo, Elminster’s Scribe. Present were Lily, an Aasimar Warlock; Davram Al’thor, a half-celestial, half-dragon Paladin of Xamor; Gerishel of Cormanthor, an Elven Vampire Ninja; and Grixl, a Deep Gnome Wearrat who, by a strange twist of fate, was riding in Gerishel’s pocket. Before long, Elminster appeared and addressed the party.

“Know, hardy adventurers, that I am he called Elminster, though I am often called far less polite things, and I lie to thee far less often than most of ye think. That’s not to say I speak half as many truths as most of ye’d prefer me to. Tragic, that. ’Tis my customary way to keep silent about all the matters I juggle and the decisions I make. ’Twould not do for all Faerûn to know how ruthless I must often be, and, even worse, how merciful and overly kind I customarily am.

Yet candor cleanses the soul and is so foreign to those of us who weave spells (and often delight in wearing cloaks of mystery) that I like to indulge myself, betimes, in Telling All.

And if I’m to reveal so much, why not have it be about something that matters to all of ye in the Realms and not just to those who delight in knowing the petty secrets of other folk?

Ye may, of course, choose to walk away now and veil thine ears to remain blissfully ignorant. Few of ye have such inhuman strength, for ’tis the nature of people to want to Know All. ’Tis bred into us, our road — that and our swift, bountiful breeding — to dominance in this often harsh, competitive world.

So hearken, and learn of spellfire and the lass who most recently bears it. Learn not as we of the Chosen command it, which is as something bound up in Mystra’s silver fire and feared even by us for its potential for undoing and going wild and wreaking havoc, but as wild and willful as anything a proud youngling can hurl at the world to make that world take notice and grant respect.

A destructive force spellfire is, far different than what ye are used to dealing with. The raw magic of the weave it is, wild and unkempt. Those who wield it take in the magic around them and hold it writhing within them, only to expel it later in a most fearsome display.

‘Tis the blessing and doom of most people that they forget what is past, remembering only what they choose to, and when the weight of years grows heavy, not even so much. I’ve no immunity to this doom, but the first Mystra I served was mindful of it, and the second actively fears it, and both gave me certain guards against ‘the forgetting.’ So ’tis that I can, when needful, recall my thoughts and what I saw and heard precisely.

Return with me, then, to my thoughts upon first gazing on Dammasae Tamaraith as a woman of her own will (and not a wide-eyed slip of a child peeping wonderstruck at guests over a rail in my tower) . . . .

So Shandril’s daughter bred true. ’Tis a pity for her, and for all the rest of us if I handle this awry. The first pity is that her life bids fair to never be carefree again and brutally cut short to boot. The second is that she may endanger all Faerûn and do much damage ere she dies. She may bring ruin to folk and towers and enchantments, leave realms wrecked and the orcs and goblins hunting the lands unchecked by all but the most fearsome beasts, and plunge most lands into a darkness from which not even their dimly remembered names may emerge.

So how seems this world-wrecker, then?

Hmmm. Not hard on the eyes, but an outward seeming is more often a deception than aught else.

Well, now . . . a spirited lass, all tongue and flounce and boldness, but — thank Mystra — with brains and backbone, it seems, to back them up. The latter allows me to refrain from slaying her out of hand so as to protect Shadowdale and all Faerûn against the magic-shattering monster she may well become. Yet that slaying may become necessary — perhaps very soon, and We must be ready.

My fellow Chosen must be warned, as well as All Who Harp and certain others, for if one thing in Faerûn can be depended upon as surely as the sun rising some time after each moonfall, ’tis that those who snatch and seize magic for their own fell and cruel purposes will learn of this Dammasae and attempt to seize her . . . if they know not of her already. Manshoon and his lot, the Cult of the Dragon, those of Luskan who style themselves “the Arcane,” those who take childish delight in calling themselves the Twisted Rune, and the entire realm of Thay — to say nothing of diverse beholders and Phaerimm, dragons, and scores of independent archmages, both mighty and those who merely consider themselves puissant — will stretch out swords or spells or talons to pluck this spellfire for their own. Failing that, they will slay its source so as to deny it to their rivals.

Were I the sort of cold-hearted beast that calls itself Manshoon, or even Khelben, I might set a trap with this Dammasae as the lure and sacrifice her mind or life to bring some of these dark workers of Art into my grasp for slaying or ravaging. Yet Mystra forbids such reckless harvesting of those who weave magic, and she even stands against attempts to harm those who follow Shar’s darker path. As the sword and the fang give way to ever wider use of magic, Mystra grows ever in might, and her desire is more and more greatly fulfilled: that magic — even magic worked by those who follow Shar or Bane or other gods — become more prevalent and widespread, thus making Our Lady ever the greater.

What we Chosen are commanded to strike out against are those who seek to forbid magic to others, use it for tyranny that prevents others daring to work magic, or destroy spell-weavers out of hand. Most evil mages are the first sort of foe, Manshoon is often the second, and this Dammasae Tamaraith is all too apt to become the third. So whether my heart warms toward this lass or not — and I confess that, thus far, it doth, for she reminds me of mine own self of many centuries ago — I may well be called upon to strike her down.

She has the potential and even the tendency to shatter and slay and pillage, for spellfire is all too often a thing that begins as the servant and ends up the master. Yet she also hath a chance to become an instrumental force for good and order and justice (three very different things, I must remember) in the Realms — the more so because she walks her own road and cleaves not to privilege and noble station and orders given by those who desire to give them.

So I must not stand in her way — yet. We must test her, to learn all we can of the extent and power of her spellfire (and her mastery of it) thus far, and more than that: in so doing, We must learn far more of her character and the handles by which I or anyone can move her.

How gullible is she, and how suspicious? How ignorant of the true ways of Faerûn, and how close-minded? Doth she trust on the basis of race or age or gender, or in what wise?

I confess my heart leaps with admiration for this one, with her hunger for adventure and fierce desire to walk her own way and see justice done, while still giving thought to the needs of others. Faerûn could use a dozen kings who think as she doth.

I hope and I believe we can suffer her to live.

I must confess I’ve a hunger to see Manshoon and all the rest reach for her — and have their fingers soundly scorched. Perhaps, just perhaps, she can teach them some of the lessons about magic and the rightful use of power she’ll be learning in the days to come.

I’m looking forward to watching Faerûn discover the true measure of Dammasae Tamaraith. The fire of her glory is apt to be doused soon, but let it burn bright while it lasts!

‘Tis one fire I’ll be proud to tend.

Elminster turns to stare into the distance for a time, his mind obviously in a time and place far away before he returns to the present.

“Tend her well on the Journey to Velprintalar, My old friend the Simbul will be expecting thee within two weeks time. Lhaero will provide thee some basic food to eat on ye way and see ye through my portal to Aglarond. I must be off from this place, as I intend to sow some mischief for these Zhentarim who have been troubling us as of late.”

With this, Lhaeo re-entered, followed by a young girl with flaming red hair. She didn’t appear to be any older than 13, yet she was dressed in the robes of a mage, adorned with various trinkets. She gave the party a scornful look with her emerald eyes before they were all ushered into a large stone portal, and disappeared…

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