From the journal of Quinn…
With the Dragonarmy forces getting closer we use the remaining time we have as best we can with the dwarves help.
• Build a defensible wall across the entrance, with wood and stone. Amazing work by them!
• The ‘book of the grandmasters’ is hidden in the underground system and while doing this this, the dwarves with Alexi say there are probably secret passages going leading from it. Alexi asks are there any here and one of the dwarf’s points and says right there! It also leads up!!
• Caleb is lying in the temple while this is going on, shocked and confused; or meditating, hard to tell the difference at the moment!
• The rest of the monastery is checked and all bodies removed and there is no sign of the missing Grand Master.
• The dwarves bring up some barrels of oil so that we can throw them down on to the attackers at the narrowest point to maximise our chance of leaving un-noticed when the time comes.
• Alexi identifies the Horn – it is a Horn of Summons and lets my allies know when I need their help and will even wake them if asleep.
I observe the approaching force some more and we can see that they are moving forward carefully and with a line of skirmishers in front to spot any traps or the chance of an ambush. The leader is a human dressed in black leather armour and he has a person using flag signals back down the mountain to the force below. There are three ogre’s with the force and they are collecting boulders for throwing along the way.
At this point I blow the horn and soon Alexi, Caleb, the Dwarven Captain and myself, plus all the other dwarves are at the main gate. Alexi says he has had a chance to have a quick study of the relic staff. He says it seems extreamly powerful, but seems to have two conflicting powers destructive and serene, which is in the form of an elemental force that is constantly in flux. Alexi advises that it will require many, many hours of study to even undertand a 10th of this power. He grabs my arm and looks directly into my eyes as serious as I have ever seen him as he said “This staff can never fall into the hands of the dragonarmy”
We each relay information on what we have found as we watch the force slowly make it way forward. It is at this point the secret passage is mentioned and Caleb says ‘Oh yes, that leads to the Summit of the Gods’. Alexi and myself have heart failure and Caleb also says he had forgotten to mention it. It is decided that we will use the oil attack to cover our tracks and do the following:-
• The dwarves will head home and speak with their Thane and try to get their people moving towards war and helping against the Dragon Army threat – it will take then some time though, but we are welcome to go to their home.
• Alexi, Caleb, two dwarves and myself will travel via the underground passage to the Summit of the Gods, while a third will wait for us at the bottom of the mountain where the escape tunnel comes out. We will then go to the meeting with the Twilight Raiders and pass on all our information and then return to the horses and head back to Whumpus while the dwarf’s then head home.
All goes to plan and we find out that the human leader of the skirmish force is Captain Karnak, of the Queen’s Imperial Force (Black Dragon Army) (GM: you realise this small army is a “special forces” type group) and demands our surrender and we also see a small goblin like creature with a rod with a skull on it whispering and pointing to us. Evil indeed. At this point they attack, we light and throw the oil and make good our escape. Could this goblin like creature be connected to the evil barbarians we saw in the sewers of Hargoth.
The climb up the passage is a long one, but the slope is gradual and we climb it easily. The most amazing thing Alexi forgot to mention what that the passage has MITHRAL veins running through it. Alexi even managed to get one of the dwarves to cut him off a chunk. This find leads to talk of the prophecy and the silver arm that will help forge a new dragonlance. Have not seen any silver arm in our travels. (GM: Is Quinn serious here?) We are about 15 mins from the exit as the dwarves say they will need to knock their way out and want to be able to reseal the tunnel once they are done. We decide that we will approach the next morning so that we are all well rested.
It is during the night that the dwarves mention Caleb is not ‘coping well’ and I go back to see him as he us meditating in peace. I talk to him and say that the guilt of living that he has is only natural and that he will find the strength and FAITH within himself to move on so that he cannot let the lives of all the friends he has lost be for naught. Paladine and Mishakal are with us and tomorrow we will change the world (or something along those lines!).
The next morning we enter out on to the Summit of the Gods – it is a plateau area carved into the mountain itself, all covered in white from the snow. We move and explore and see a painted rock wall. I see Paladine; Alexi – Solanari; The dwarves Reorx and Caleb – a faceless shape… he needs to find his faith! We also see a set of stairs leading into a cave entrance.
It is at this point I feel, rather than see first, the presence of a Dragon. We all look around and can see in the distance a large shape approaching. We decide to make for the cave instead of leaving back the way we came. As soon as we enter we feel the warmth of the passage and can see that it leads to a cavern a bit further in. Inside is a room divided into three – black, white and red, with a walkway around the outside. At the centre where the three meet is a stone pedestal with a round hole, about the size of a staff, in it.
Once safely inside we see a huge Black Dragon land with an armoured figure on its back. The figure, dressed in black armour dismounts and sticks his sword point first into the snow and slowly walks towards the passage entrance. The dwarves are keen to attack but I tell them honour demands parley and we really need the information. The black armoured human introduces himself as General Chang, he looked a human about 40 years old, and demands we surrender the staff for the good of all Krynn, and in exchange he will spare the lives of the monks they have taken captive. Not going to happen of course but he steps back outside and waits to give us time to discuss his offer.
Caleb wants to save his fellow monks, but Alexi and I speak to him, explaining the staff is too powerful to be given over. Again Alexi confronts Caleb “What is it that is so important about this place and this staff” as my brother puts the staff back into Caleb’s hands. Caleb stares around the room and lastly concentrates on the staff in his hands. Alexi asks the question again for a third time and finally Caleb replies softly “I never believed this place existed, there is something here I just can’t remember’. At that point the young monk eyes widen, it looks to me that he has remembered something. Caleb then stated with purpose “I know what must be done” and walked to the middle of the room and plunged the staff in the hole. This creates a blue portal and he steps towards it.
Outside, General Chang screams in anger, grabs his sword and charges forward to attack. The two dwarves battle him at the cavern entrance as we wait for Caleb to finally enter the portal. Chang is forced back by the combined might of the dwarves and Alexi’s magic, but as the dwarves start to press forward I order them not to leave the tunnel for they will be in range of the Dragon. Luckily they heed my warning and do not leave the tunnel for the Dragon was poised to strike. In the fight with the dwarves Chang loses his longsword and dagger and retreats away on his Dragon. Alexi shouts out to the retreating Chang, “Stay away or you will end up like Udoorin, and Lord Arakas will not be pleased” I’m fairly certain by the sharp turn of his head the general heard the taunt. (GM: Oh he heard it alright!!)
We turn back to the cavern and there is Caleb, kneeling on the ground with the portal gone. He turns to us and says that he is at peace and has gazed upon the face of his God! He proves all by healing the dwarves of their wounds from the fight with the general, and they are amazed by what they have seen! We talk about how to get back down and Caleb says he can use the staff and teleport us to the ground! And he does. Caleb certainly seems more serene than before. It is like much of the doubt he had about himself has been answered. I think he has finally found his faith. In a surprising move I watch Caleb hand the staff back to Alexi “It is now your task to protect this staff and learn from it. You are right, it must never ever fall into the hands of the Dark Queen or her minions”. Caleb explains he must go out into the world and show that the good gods have returned to fight the Dark Queen.
At the campsite on the ground, the dwarf waiting for us is surprised by our sudden appearance but all is soon told and the dwarves that came with us back up the story. We speak together and use the griffins to transport us to the meeting with the Twilight Raiders but arrive early. We rest and the next day I walk in the meeting and between Alexi and myself we get the pass phrase right. Two rangers appear and information is passed on; we tell them all about what has happened and that they must get to the city and warn the Spy Master! They tell me that knights council about Goldenscale happened behind closed doors at Vingarrd Keep and a sword with black roses was placed on an altar. Not sure if it was about me or not but the intelligence gathering of the Twilight Raiders is impressive if it is true. We leave and get dropped off at the horses and ride like the wind (GM: bullseye!!) towards Whumpus’s tower. The remaining dwarf flies back to their stronghold, armed with the eye witness account of Caleb’s benediction, and the healing miracles he has performed. It is good knowledge of the old gods is growing.
We are almost there when we come across four dead Black Dragon army soldiers; I quickly determine that they died from arrows and blows made none other than by Lon; and like a shadow Lon materialises out of the trees and we fills us in on what has been happening. Caleb heals Lon – FULLY – shoulder is perfect and any cuts he had from dealing with these four are all gone. He is amazed as well. We arrive back at the tower and after some fast talking from Alexi gets us inside. We eat drink and rest while we await the arrival of Whupus who is currently in council with the Mages! The gold dragon seems to be feeding well, and is growing at a fast rate of knots, it is now approximately the size of a large dog.
During this time Alexi waits at the tower and studies the items \ books etc we have found over the past few weeks. When Whupus appears he seems less than pleased. Alexi told me later that after trading quips with the master mage he learns that part of the discussion at the mages council was about him! Also Whupus made a request that Alexi give him the staff. In the end Alexi thinks it is some type of test, but he does not really want the staff but to know what my reaction would be. My brother told me he never offered it to Whupus which seemed to be the correct answer as far as the master mage was concerned.
While Alexi takes council with Whupus, I travel out with Lon and Caleb and view the Dragon Army – it is preparing to attack the city but by now the Twilight Raiders should have gotten through (hopefully). Back at the tower we discuss our next moves as Whupus returns – talk of the staff and taking it \ not taking it and where to go next. I fear Alexi is in for a surprise when he eventually meets the mages of the High Tower of Sorcery. There appears to be infighting amongst them just as there are with the Knights of Solamnia. These are dark times indeed. Travelling the world has certainly opened my eyes to what is truly going on.
Eventually we decide to go to the Summit of the Gods as Whumpus can teleport us there; we can raise the White Robe Timothy as Caleb says he can do it there with the staff and in that cavern. Whumpus can also then get us back to his tower. I feel that after this we must go to Hargoth as there are too many un-answered questions there and I will have to defend my families honour. Alexi has been making noises of wanting to speak with the mages, but that would mean we would have to go separate ways. I’m not sure if that is best….