Part of the story whilst the party was under Thunderspire:
Tira fingered the gold and diamond medallion that hung around her neck. The struggle to find her inheritance had been great, but now she could feel the tracking power that her father had left for her. Even after she and her Wizard companion Skamos had slain the curs that had been foolish enough to steal it, she was not sure it worked as her mother had told her. Indeed, it had not. Still, there were great teleportation powers in it, and she claimed it as her birthright. Perhaps there was yet another piece missing, something needed to fully activate the medallion.
With the medallion restored to Tira, Skamos Redmoon had bid her farewell. He longed for the quiet of towers and study. Tira longed for more adventure. She wondered how her other friends had faired. Now that she had the medallion, but had not unlocked its powers, she wondered whether the magician and healer Valthrun of Winterhaven might know how to make it function. He seemed to know many things with a power that he had not fully let on. And, her friends might have returned to Winterhaven if they had been successful rescuing the Harkenwoldians in the weeks that had passed.
Returning to Winterhaven, Valthrun was gladdened by the half-elf’s return. Though reluctant at first to reach out to the wizened magician, she longed to know just how much power did he have and from whence did it come? She plied him with drinks and charm, and he took her in. The old thief Eilian just winked at her as she and Valthrun spent more and more time together. After just a few days, it became clear that, although Valthrun did know a few rituals, his power came not from the study of magic, but from the wild release of magic contained within himself. Tira longed for such power, and a release from the power that she harnessed through pacts with other creatures.
As Valthrun tried to help her shake off her Warlock pact and draw out the power that she had come to believe must lie wild within her elvish blood, she threw her enchanted dagger in frustration. Before it could magically return, Valthrun somehow captured it from the air. “Yes,” he said, tucking the dagger into his belt, “you need a focus; something familiar but different. Begone from me now, and return tomorrow.” Tira, not one to take the apparent theft of a hard-earned enchanted dagger lightly, glared at the sorcerer. He simply glared back. His look would brook no rebuttal.
Returning at first light to his tower, Tira found Valthrun almost giddy, drunk with wild magic. “I wasn’t sure I could do it,” he smiled, “but you come up to the top of the top of the tower!” Taking a long staircase that seemed to rise upwards much more than the three stories that the tower claimed in the small town, Tira came to a small door. It appeared to be made of metals and gems of many colors – gold and silver, copper, diamonds, rubies, and amethysts. She grasped the golden handle and the door opened easily. In the center of a circular room was an unadorned table. On the table, lay her dagger, but not the dagger she had thrown. The handle was the same, but the magical blade was different. The blade was now white, like bone, or a tooth. Moving closer Tira saw that dagger was cut from a single dragon’s tooth. The dagger rippled with energy: raw, chaotic arcane power, with materials added to the hilt that looked like those in the door. She rushed to it and grasped the hilt. She focused on the dagger, an almost insane smile forming on her face. Then her eyes opened wide; two demons were approaching from the other side of the room! Valthrun cried out, “Grab the power, focus and throw it!” A magical chaotic bolt of swirling color exploded from her hand, propelled forward by the dagger, and hit one of the demons full in its chest. To Tira’s surprise, the bolt continued on, even as the demon fell, striking down the second demon just as quickly.
“Yes, now you have renounced your Pacts and taken up your true calling, harnessing the wildness that courses through you. You will learn much, and quickly.”
In the course of just a few days, Tira quickly becomes adept using this new energy that has always been inside of her.
Returning to the present
Tira strides into the room, her presence instantly filling the room. She gives Z’alden a big hug, laughs when Felsmon spins her around off the ground, and playfully tugs at Barrick’s beard. “My friends! So good to see you again, I had hoped as much when I returned to Winterhaven.”
Her eyes twinkle as she turns in place, “Notice anything different about me?” Seeing puzzled looks she pulls out her dagger, “No longer a wand. No longer a warlock. I am now a sorceress!” She spins the dagger on its tip on her index finger, then flips it up and grabs the hilt out of the air; or at least that is what she intends to do, Tira hits the hilt instead of grabbing it, sending the dagger flying into the center of the room where it sticks with a loud thud into the table. Everyone in the room jumps back 5 feet as the dagger flies toward the group. Tira grins in a manor that is both sheepish and confident, “Oops, as you can see I still have some to learn about the ways of sorcery and daggers, but I hope you will not be forced back from me like that too often.”
Looking at Erik and Rift, Tira asks, “And who are these fine folks? I hope to rejoin this party and have need to know my soon-to-be comrades.”
Erik steps forward, his eyes wanting to fixate on the charming beauty of Tira, but he doesn’t want to be rude, so the conflict results in awkwardness. “I’m Erik. Ranger. A bit of a traveler these past couple of years.” His mind is also on her trick with the dagger – yet another lure. “Think we met briefly before you left on your quest. I can tell you that Z’alden, Felsmon and Barrick have been the greatest of companions to me. I bring to this party the service of my bow and my two blades. We can practice with daggers, if you’d like.”
He doesn’t know what else to say or where to look, so his eyes drift to Rift. “Rift and I go back a fair little bit. Stormy, at first…”
Rift bows to Tira, but keeping her eyes on both the sorcerer and the dagger. A bit cross-eyed from looking at both, she grins, and sticks out her hand in friendship. “Greetings! I’m Rift. Watch out, I cause trouble, right Erik?” She winks at Erik.
“Wizard, sorcerer. Both elves, of a sort!” Here she smiles warmly at Tira. “Us girls will have to stick together.”
Late in the next day, two dragonborn warriors dressed in red and gold stride in Wrafton’s Inn. They approach Salvana, the Inn Keeper. A gold dragon on a crimson field is clearly visible on their tabards. Their manner is curt but polite, “Good Innkeeper, we are Verlon and Clidor of the Clan Kengi of the East. At the order of the Tarkhan and Tarkhaana of the Kengi, we seek Ilkahn Felsmon, a Paladin of Bahamu, and son of the Tarkhan and Tarkhaana. He is urgently needed by his clan.”
As they scan the room, they clearly see the party at a table in the corner. Striding over, the dragonborn warriors wait for Felsmon to stand up from his chair. When he does so, they pound their right fist into their chest and then extend out the arm, in some sort of salute. It is immediately clear that they are not hostile. Clidor, the more bronze-colored of the two, says, “Ilkhan Felsmon, we salute you. Your father Feldegar and mother Monara have sent us to find you and bring you back to Kengistan. Your power there is urgently needed.”
Felsmon returns the salute. He seems perturbed. “I am still on my quest. I should not be returning. What is so urgent? These are my friends, you may speak freely.”
Clidor, not expecting to have the Tarkhan’s orders questioned, is visibly shaken, “The Tarkhan said to find Ilkhan Felsmon and bring him to the Clan at once. He did not give a reason. He did not need to. He said go. We came. Now, you must go. Your friends may come, too.”
Z’alden stands up, “Felsmon, this appears to be of some urgency. Let us go to your homeland and see if we can be of help. It is surely more than chance that these Clan members have found you just as we have been reunited with Tira. Tira, everyone, let us all go and see what it is that causes Felsmon’s mother and father to summon him.”
OOC: What does the rest of the party do?
Tira shrugs, “I would have preferred an adventure against nasty creatures in which to test my new skills, but I must admit I am most curious to see a dragonborn clan, I have never seen more than a few together at any one time, let alone a village. If my friends are going, so am I!” Tira hits her fist on the table for emphasis. Laughing she adds, “Perchance we can take a perilous route to reach this homeland, some way along which kobolds might lie in wait.”
Erik flashes back to his childhood in a small mountain village. The young Erik was outside playing by a stream one day when he could feel the earth shudder to a rhythmic, thump, thump, thump. Crouched and hidden behind a rock he soon saw six dragonborn march past in lockstep precision. Their fearsome presence sent shivers of fear and excitement through his body. Giant swords as long as the boy himself. Gleaming armor on top already thick scales. The fearsome image left a lasting impression. As they passed, one dragonborn, clad in newly fashioned bright red and gold plate, turned his gaze to momentarily fix upon the boy, who thought he had perfectly concealed himself. Erik nearly dared to exchange eye contact, but the dragonborn return his focus forward. One could sense that they were on a mission of importance.
For the following days and nights Erik sneaked away from his chores and sneaked away to search for a clues of the six dragonborn’s whereabouts. Perhaps they had come for the lore of the dragon cave or the the rumored archmage of Mount Neverlast. Finally, three days later, the morning sky was a tumultuous, deep red. Even villagers who knew not of the dragonborn’s presence in the valley remarked at the portentous light. When the sky grew dark with night, Erik saw the dragonborn once again under a now star filled sky. Their steps were slow and heavy; not quite as well in sync as before. Five walked. One was carried high upon the shoulders of his comrades. His once shiny new red and and gold armor now broken and rusted thick with blood.
“I’m in!”, exclaims Erik.
Barrick stroked his beard. “I don’t know, don’t know. I have never seen Felsmon drink. Do Dragonborn even have ale? Makes all the difference, you see.”
Verlon, the slightly shorter and more ruddy colored of the two warriors steps over to Barrick incredulously, “Ale? Do Dragonborn have ale? In draconic, ale and water are nearly the same word! Felsmon is a Paladin, and they keep their own ways. In Feldegar’s hall, you shall decide whether Dwarven ale or Dragonborn ale deserves the term!” Verlon shouts, “Innkeeper, before we leave, let the Dwarf and all his companions have some of your ale, so that it may fresh be on their minds when they taste what Kengistan has to offer.”
Salvana, flustered, brings a round for everyone, which Verlon pays for, muttering, “Monara will see that my gold is covered.”
Verlon raises his tankard to Barrick,”Do Dragonborn even have ale? Do Dwarves have mountains? Let us see what you say in Kengistan.”
Tira slaps Barrick on the back, “My good friend, you never change! Your exploits are turning into the stuff of heroes. Do you not hear the townsfolk here whisper your name when you enter? Do you not see the children pretend to play Barrick the Mountain, the one that dealt the killing blow to Kalarel, saving this town and all who live here? You, and hopefully the rest of us, our deeds are becoming known, and yet I can still find you snoring under a pub table in the common room come dawn, clutching the last mug even as you slumber.” Tira laughs, “Before the children start playing Barrick the Drunken Disheveled Dwarf, let us be off on another adventure. Join us and I’ll buy the first 5 rounds at the next pub in which our names are sung.”
“Ah my good friend Barrick,” cajoles Erik, “no dwarf, certainly one of your, umm, stature, should be afraid to venture into a land of unknown ale. An adventure awaits – to fell many a mighty stein of our four-fingered friends. Join us in this adventure.” Erik winks at Tira and Rift, as Barrick seems to be only half-listening, more intent on Salvana’s preparation of the next round.
Barrick drains the better part of flagon he had been handed, looked at his friends while the foam trickles down his beard, and says, “Course I’m there, wouldn’t miss it.”
With the impending departure to Kengistan, home to the house of Clan Kengi, under the beneficial rule of Tarkhan and Tarkhaana, Erik grows more and more excited; and restless. The warm air of Wrafton’s Inn is a bit stifling so Erik leaves for a walk about town. He’s still thinking back to those tracks found when they left Thunderspire Mountain. Halfings perhaps.
[DM: Does Erik notice any suspicious halflings around, either within Wrafton’s or just outside?]
Felsmon says to the two dragonborn warriors, “My companions and I will come immediately.” He turns to the party and says,”Thank you for helping me answer this summons. I know not what it portends.”
After his little walk about town, Erik has returned to Wrafton’s. “Felsmon, please tell me what it was like growing up in the house of Clan Kengi. You have not spoken of it much.”, requests Erik.
Rift pipes up, “Also, what exactly are the Tarkhan and Tarkhaana? Felsmon, have you been holding out on us? You sound like you are an important person in your clan…”
Rift and all the others look expectantly at Felsmon.
Felsmon says “To answer your question Rift I guess you could say the Tarkhan is equal to a king and the Tarkhaana would be equal to queen, and I am their son or the Talahkan which would be equal to prince. But don’t get the idea that that means I am privliged to more safty than others, quite the oppisite in fact. The Talahkan must face more danger than any other dragonborn so as too prove he is worthy to eventually become a Tarkhan.”
“To answer your question would take a dozen years or more so I will give you a very brief part of my first 30 years of life. I was trianing with the greatest dragonborn master ever, one of the last of the living heroes of Arkosha. The day started at five with a fight against a cave bear. Then 2 hours of meditation. At the very seconed it was over I had to have my sword out too fight my master. Maybe that gives you some kind of idea Erik.
DM: No suspicious halflings or halflings of any kind does Erik see. If Erik asks around (streetwise), the stable boy recalls seeing at least 2 halflings arrive in town just before Erik and friends did but he hasn’t seen them since.
Erik nods, “Yes, your skill in combination with your training have made you strong. Be proud and confident that you have met the Tarkhan and Tarkhaana’s greatest expectations.” Now Erik cannot resist, for he has heard of the heros of Arkosha, “Felsmon, do you think it will be possible to have an audience with the master of Arkosha?” Erik knows that so much could be gained merely by being in the presence of such a great warrior. To observe the movement of his body and his eyes. To hear the simple and brilliant words from his tongue. To feel the presence and have insight into the thoughts.
This is what Erik imagines a meeting with a great warrior would be like, for he is self-taught, a boy from a gentle town of sheep and goat herders, farmers and woodsmen. Yet Erik also knows that his way is different than that of paladins, let alone the fearsome dragonborn. Quick movement. Stealth. Two blades and a bow. Cunning can be the thickest armor. The mind the sharpest weapon.
Felsmon says to Erik “It may be possible, but only for maybe a few minutes, if at all.”
“Felsmon,” replies Erik, “it would be an honor to merely watch a hero of Arkosha spar.”