The Nightmare Before the Dream

There is Much to Answer For - Part I

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“Do you recall what Beren said when he woke from his injuries? The conversation was quite interesting for those of us watching. I know of many others that found his blunt approach to be both surprising and satisfying, for elves love to mire themselves in mystery. I suppose the cat was out of the bag already though, hmm? There was probably no reason to keep secrets any longer. The fey city of Draelren had been breached and the race’s hideous beast had stirred once more.

North’s End wasn’t done with you yet though. Tlokt was returning to the city, and to say he was angry would have been a gross understatement."

Beren’s recovery was slow. Though Callum had tended to his physical wounds, the process of fey feeding seemed to have gouged at his very soul. After almost a week of intense care, Beren opened his eyes weakly.

‘Where?’ The elf coughed, blood staining a kerchief Callum brought to his lips. ‘Oh. You.’ Beren’s irises were paler than usual and veins crisscrossed the whites of his eyes as he brought them to bear upon Ryn. ‘I suppose you want some answers.’ His voice was strained.

‘Like you, Ryn, I’m a member of the Guard. Unlike you, I am more than five centuries old. Almost two hundred years ago I was placed here to guard the entrance to Draelren. Until very recently, I was quite successful, even having weathered the arrival of both the orcs and humans. You’ve probably deduced most of that yourself by now though.’ Beren lets out another blood-flecked cough and stirs uncomfortably in his bed. ‘What you’re probably wondering is what manner of beasts now call the ruined city home. Well, the pale humanoids are husks – the immortal remains of sourcerers drained of their emotions and powers by the fey. The husks we encountered during the wars, but the monsters of Draelren were different. After the fey fell, we elves investigated the city in force. Draelren was already ruined and crawling with husks that were abundant, vicious, and impossible to contain. The nefarious beast that lied at center of the city’s desolation was worse. Very little information could be gained from the destruction wrought by the Nightmare Eternal, as it came to be known. The thing seems to be made of the emotions, particularly the fears, of thousands of beings – fey, dwarves, orcs, humans and even roden. It is ever-living and impossible to destroy but exists only because of the Fugue Stone.’ Beren lies back for many seconds, his eyes closed and sweat beaded upon his brow.

‘The Fugue Stone is a creation of Lemenius El’Soriin. We know very little about it, but have guessed that it was the next step in his research surrounding fey feeding. El’Soriin must have lost control of whatever magics powered the Stone, creating or unleashing the Nightmare Eternal along with the husks. There was little the Guard could do but bury Draelren, the Stone and the Nightmare. Caladrel’s knowledge of the city is disturbing and dangerous. His possession of the Fugue Stone could prove cataclysmic.’ A deep, long sigh escapes Beren’s lips and he melts into his bed once again. ‘I need more rest. My connection to magic has been weakened. I can barely feel a power I’ve known for my entire life. Return to me when I am stronger.’

Beren’s eyes closed but as Callum crossed the threshold of the room, he grabbed Ryn’s arm with surprising speed and strength, preventing his fellow elf from leaving. Beren’s voice came across clear and full of urgency. ‘Caladrel knew you were here, Ryn. He sensed you, named you, and mumbled incessantly, but he also avoided you. Though he is clearly losing his wits, Caladrel knows something about you. If I didn’t know any better, I would say he fears you. One day soon you must reveal to me why.’ Beren’s grip loosens and his breath becomes those of an exhausted, sleeping elf.

The days following Beren’s speech prove to be relatively uneventful. Tlokt’s eminent arrival to North’s End seems to be the only topic the locals wish to discuss and Biguhn takes an active interest in the entire party’s whereabouts at all times. It’s eventually Biguhn himself that arrives at Callum’s home, looking serious and indeed, concerned. ’Tlokt’s banners have been seen on the horizon. He will be here shortly. Don’t make me do anything I’ll regret…’ Biguhn’s expectation of violence is obvious, as is his desire to avoid it.


Summary:

  • Met with Lord Tlokt negotiating an exploration of his mother’s (Evelyn Rass) personal estate/vault in North’s End
  • Recovered Molly, though her mental health was questionable at best
  • Entered the Rass estate’s first floor and battled traps, magical monsters, and other oddities
  • Discovered/Claimed Niboowin – the famed nodachi of Ahiga of the western human tribes
  • Discovered/Claimed a cache of alchemical artifacts belonging to a renowned roden alchemist

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