The Journal of Micar’eyl Auvrymtor: Liberation Day
Going to have to rank this one at least an 8 on a 1 to 10 scale of “completely suicidal ventures.” Rank 10 will, of course, have to be awarded posthumously.
So I asked His Majesty King Rodrik (hah, just kidding, I’m going to keep calling him “Rodrik”) for an office I can use, and he gives me the mayor’s office. Now vacant, since apparently Rodrik took one look at Soman Galt and had him removed as mayor and packed off to Helm’s Hold for treatment. I wish I could say it was cushy, but Galt didn’t put a lot of effort into luxury-ing up the place. That’s not even mentioning all the crazy insane-o ramblings he’s got filling countless sheets of paper. Meh, it’s a desk and some writing utensils and a place to sort things out. Does this make me interim mayor?
Dinin comes in and tells me that there’s this half-orc paladin who wants to see me. I give him some shit about if he’s my butler now, and he razzes me right back. I really like that guy! Maybe I should invite him out when we’ve got some downtime.
Anyway, the half-orc is Kosef Targana, one of the paladins working beyond the Wall at the Redoubt of the Threefold God. He tells me that Valtha has turned up alive, and they’ve got her in a room there. I was more worried than I was letting on, so that’s great news. We take the Moongleam Tower over there, using it as an opportunity to ship in some supplies. Some harpies remind us it’s still a warzone, but archery support from the Shining Serpent Inn drives them off.
Drayton Ashensmith has Valtha laid up in a room where she’s been unconscious since being found. She was coughed up out of a pit of tarlike goo nearby, about to be eaten by monsters before the paladins rescued her. Seems like I got to the inn just in time (or maybe she was waiting on me) because Valtha wakes up just as I get there. When she opens her eyes, her left eye is completely black, which is freaky. Freakier still is her story.
Apparently she was rescued (or maybe kidnapped; I still say the transport to Faerie would have grabbed her if something hadn’t interfered) by the Sharn. Yes, the Sharn. Quick history lesson! Back during the Crown Wars there were two drow kingdoms, a bigger and a smaller one. The smaller one was wiped out near the end of the wars, but right before that several archmagi cast a spell that melded most of the population into one gestalt entity. I know that seems details-light, but we’re talking about a conflict that lasted 3,000 years and ended well over 10,000 years ago. I do know considerably more than most any human historian, but the motives of the proto-Sharn elude me.
Anyway, the Sharn have existed since then as this virtually immortal shapeshifting entity or entities (they sometimes seem able to act as multiple beings). Since then elves, dwarves, humans, and centaurs have joined the Sharn. They worship/serve “the Pentad,” an alliance of deities including elven, dwarven, and human deities specifically tied to magic and knowledge, like Mystra, Oghma, Corellon, and Dumathoin.
So what do the Sharn want? They want to be taken to the Source Stone. Upon hearing that I put a bedsheet over the head of Valtha and myself, since I figure every bit helps and I definitely do not want the aboleths to hear anything about this. Apparently they have also claimed, as extra motivation, that Valtha’s dead god is alive and hiding in the Spellplague. Huh. Well, we are going to the Source Stone anyway as per Klauth’s plan. We didn’t actually have a plan to destroy it, so this seems like a step forward.
Oh, and the Sharn are totally hiding in Valtha’s eye. That was obvious, right? I thought it was obvious.
Back at the Hall of Justice, Rodrik gets a visit from Sand, Branwen’s uncle and an elven wizard who has lived in Neverwinter for a few centuries, and apparently had some adventures in his younger days. I wasn’t there for the meeting, but here is the story I get later: Sand has a modification regarding our plan to have volunteers shoulder the aboleth mental assault when we enter the Chasm. He has created four new dreamthief dolls, each tied to 1,000 volunteers. Instead of putting the whole blow in one person, it is split 1,000 ways. We could have half the population with us going into the Chasm. He had to turn away volunteers. Rodrik is skeptical about extending the aboleth’s influence to so many people. He was not comfortable with the plan when he was talking about four volunteers, but he acknowledges that you don’t go to an expert to ignore his advice. He reluctantly consents.
The plan is the united forces of Neverwinter go over the Wall to provide a distraction while we go in. They are depending on us to win for them to survive. No pressure or anything.
I clean up before I go by taking care of business that Galt left half-done after his sudden dismissal, basically just stamping a lot of documents with the mayoral seal and signing them as mayor. Wielding unjustified authority soothes my troubled mind.
Speaking of unjustified authority, a little bird (by which I mean Dinin listening at a door) tells me that Rodrik asked Arlon to take over as interim mayor and doesn’t get the warmest reception. Apparently Arlon was not interested in accepting Rodrik’s authority to appoint him as mayor. Sorry, Rodrik — it was a good plan!
On the appointed day, everyone is lined up for battle on the Wall. There are banners of the new Kingdom of Neverwinter and the banners of the Brightwoods. Also the red banners of the Servants of Klauth. A few Bregan D’aerthe banners as well, though we aren’t much for banners. After some discussion, we decide not to take Cefrey with the Northern Five portion of the mission. The abolethic infection in her mind is too advanced for us to trust her down in the depths, especially as she has refused to use the dolls. It’ll just be me, Rodrik, Seipora, and Valtha.
We plunge into the conflict, fighting through two plaguechanged trolls, spending a lot of time defeating them. We see plaguechanged harpies and monsters with wings of blue flame. We reach the edge of the chasm where there are harpies flying all around and have another battle to prevent them from alerting guards further on in. Finally we make it to the edge of the Chasm proper.
We stand at the edge of the Chasm, a huge rift in the earth with earth motes everywhere. There are jets of azure flame shooting plaguechanged monsters up and seams opening with blue fire. It’ll get harder the closer we get.
After a very difficult journey we get to the false bottom of the Chasm. I know that’s ingoring a lot of stuff, but I’m not great at those kind of battle descriptions! I sneak, Rodrik leads, Seipora inspires, and Valtha gets us some help from the Sharn, okay?
We ignore the giant crystal pulsing with blue fire that is the obvious “source” of the Spellplague energy. Trap! We would have fallen into it if not for Klauth’s warnings. Valtha tries to find the tunnels leading further down, but I guess dwarves are just a little too near the surface, if you know what I mean. My tunnel instincts are able to find what we’re looking for. Yeah, I’m going to be giving Valtha the business about that every time we tell this story for decades to come.
We go through a warren of monster wombs below, then activate the monsters by having Valtha fry their psychic network. Then we find the path to the lake below. There are five aboleths swimming over the Source Stone and we realize we have no chance against them. Ooops! Well, this is the part of the plan that we didn’t really have a good answer for. All we could do was hope that they wouldn’t have five aboleths waiting, but they did. We would have been pretty screwed if not for the Sharn.
So we work together to fulfill the demands of the Sharn and get Valtha past the aboleths and down to the Source Stone. Valtha disappears and enters a plane of pure psychic energy. The Sharn take over the Source Stone and turn it black. It pulls the aboleths in, killing them in a very satisfying way.
Then the tentacles pull us all in with Valtha. Fortunately the Sharn appear to be in a good mood from their victory and not inclined to forcefully subsume us into their group mind. Instead they give us some valuable information. Apparently Dumathoin is in hiding and will not return until his faithful restore Gauntlgrym. Speaking of which, they give us directions how to travel to Gauntlgrym. How very accommodating of them. I assume they have something to gain from this.
Above the plaguechanged monsters lose the will to fight as the forces that drove them disappear. As the Neverwintan forces go through the cavern, they find a bubbling pit of tar with us four members of the Northern Five arranged around it and covered in black tar. We recover in the Hall of Justice.
Ghorn the Sly takes over from the orcs and they abandon the River District entirely. They head back to Many Arrows. The Netherese have been rooted out. The devils have been destroyed, though the cultists are still present in the city. The various menacing shadows hanging over Neverwinter appear less shadowy than they have in a long, long time.
Rodrik declares that today will be a day of celebration, known from this day forth as Liberation Day, to be celebrated every year. I’m reluctant, but the others push me and I finally give in and agree to hold our personal celebration at the Sunken Flagon. It’s … not as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe it helps that we’re coming back in victory, having saved the city like Branwen and Marcus always wanted. I mean, sure, it won’t stay saved. There are still a lot of dangers out there, still many menaces on the horizon. The aboleths and Netherese still plot, who knows what Klauth or the Sharn want, and there are so many other blastglobes sitting on slanted shelves, but for the moment, we can celebrate.
From wine truth, and we talk about what kind of king Rodrik wants to be. Seipora pushes for anarchy with Rodrik as a mere ceremonial king, but Rodrik thinks that someone has to be in charge I surprise myself and ask him for an appointment in his government. Not as mayor, but as something we eventually decide on calling “First Secretary.” Someone who can help manage things for him, write his letters, and be his spare brain. I take up the position on a whim, but I think I can do a decent job, and hey, it’s a great position for a spy! Ooops, I mean salesgirl. I mean — I’ll keep the Bregan D’aerthe apprised of things as necessary. It’ll be a fun hobby for a decade or two, I guess.
Valtha asks to be put in charge of cleaning up the graveyard. Seipora declines a government position, as you might expect, and we toast the night away until tomorrow comes.