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Chapter 7: "Ruins of Ascore"

June 7 , 2003
Pasadena, San Juan
Mon Macutay, DM

Dramatis Personae

Amenrath Sethnakhtehamen, Jackalwere Psychic Warrior, CG © by Myk Roman
Quinntalis "DeadBane" Galendale, Elven Curst, Ranger, CG © by Jet
Malcolm Silverbrow, Irda Paladin of Bahamut, LG © by Chris Cruz
Xion Puremind, Human Psion, CG © by Oliver Valencia
Alliana, Gold Elf Wizard, NG © by Prixie Tan

*Also Starring (as NPCs)

Tarion Gourn, Aasimar Fighter, CG © by Dindo Moreno
Jakob Firehand, Human Monk-Wizard, LN © BY Tony Cruz

Co-Starring:

Dereth Springsong
Emma Moonblade
Alavi'Yar - aide of the High Lady
High Lady Alustriel of Silverymoon
Darvin Nightcloak, Azuthian First Enchanter of Jalanthar

Back in Silverymoon

17th of Tarsakh of the Storms, 1371DR (The Year of the Unstrung Harp)

The High Lady of Silverymoon

Returning to the safety of the "Gem of the North", Silverymoon, the Company prepare for their next course of action. They busy themselves purchasing magical items and equipment needed for the investigative adventure to the ruins of Ascore.

At the palace of the High Lady, the Company plot their journey. Malcolm initiates a detailed discussion/investigation of their adversaries and discovers that, indeed, everything finally makes sense. The factions of the Legion of Chimera, the Thayan Red Wizards, the orcs from the Spine of the World and finally, the Shade; are working together or, at the very least, plotting something, which is related to the abduction of Jakob and Dereth and the foiled orc attack on Targos at Icewind Dale (not to mention the Netherese scroll and minor treasures they unearthed).

But why are they working together? What are their goals?

Amenrath suggests that the ruins of Ascore may hold the answers to the mystery before them. Jakob excuses himself and sought the permission of Alivi'yar to "Gate" the Company to Ascore. The High Wizard agrees.

Alas, Jakob informs them that he is leaving and cannot accompany the group on this adventure since his "master has summoned him on a matter of urgency".
Meanwhile, Malcolm also excuses himself.

Finding solace and serenity in the royal garden, he prays for guidance and blessing from Paladine.

Paladine shows him a sign that a great "darkness" shall descend on Icewind Dale.

By coincidence, the paladin catches a glimpse of the High Lady tending to her flowers and orchids. Malcolm takes the time to confide in Alustriel and seeks wisdom. Alustriel tells him "there is a great disturbance in Icewind Dale. Your god is counting on your strength and courage to right this wrong…"

"Your other friends will be faced with similar paths. They will take these 'roads' and journey to discover answers to personal questions… some more urgent than the others. But, make no mistake, your Company will be whole again…"

Malcolm thanks the High Lady and returns to the banquet hall.

The others are making final preparations as Alivi'yar initiates the casting of the Gate.

Ascore

The Shade... guardians at Ascore

The once mighty gateway to the great dwarven halls of Delzoun, Ascore is now a mere shadow of its epic past. The dwarven citadel lies crumbling and now in ruins. But the great granite statue of Moradin and Silverbeard still stand proud and are mute witnesses to the Company as they step out from the magical Gate spell.

The rangers, Emma and Dereth, conclude that a recent shipment of supplies (via wagons and horsecart) have been conducted in the area.

They also quickly locate a secret door leading to the dwarven underground chambers.

Deep in the bowels of Ascore, they encounter the Shade, the fallen Netherese who have sold their souls to Shaar, goddess of shadow and twin sister to Selune. Once, a proud and cunning people, they are now fueled by the very essence of Shaar and the plane of shadow.

Dispatching the Shade after a furious battle, the characters discover 5 weird pyramids superimposed on a magical holographic map of Faerun. The five points correspond roughly to the following sites:

· The High Forest
· The Dales
· Westwood (near Waterdeep)
· Icewind Dale
· Moonwood (Silverymoon)

Enter, Darvin Nightcloak.

Darvin Nightcloak (an Azuthian First Enchanter from Jalanthar) confesses that he was abducted by the Shade to conduct experiments and variations into Portal creation magic. These portals would then be used the various evil factions to mount an organized attack or invasion into strategic points in Faerun.

Additionally, his experiments included sacrificing individuals who were born and raised in the distinctive areas so that he can "tune" the portals precisely.

Dereth suggests that this may explain why the Red Wizards are about to deliver him to Ascore.

Nightcloak also admits to having regular deliveries of weapons, armor and supplies. It seems that the Shade and their allies are gearing up for war.

Before the others can question the Azuthian wizard, the ground trembles violently.

The Company, together with the rescued wizard, made haste towards the exit. They manage to make it just in time before the ruins of Ascore are finally destroyed by a resounding, magical explosion.

Gating back to Silverymoon, they quickly inform Alustriel about the results of their investigations. The High Lady promises to convene the Lord's Alliance immediately. She also feels that the party's work is done. They are welcome to stay in Silverymoon and join the Lord's Alliance as agents or may freely do whatever they wish.

Finally, the Company decides that it is now time to part ways. Emma Moonblade gets a piece of parchment and asks each member to tear a piece. She promises that the paper will be whole again in exactly a year from now in Silverymoon.

Epilogue

Malcolm, Alliana, Dereth and Emma head back to Icewind Dale. Dereth and Emma will continue their investigations into the Legion of Chimera while Malcolm and Alliana try to resolve Paladine's vision.

Amenrath will travel east back to Anuaroch. There, he will report back to Achmed and the Bedine. He will also try his best to unravel the mystery of the Prophecies as foretold by the Netherese Scroll.

Quintallis, the "Deadbane" vows to journey back to the Standing Stones to give Rhistel a proper burial and pay his final respects to a fallen comrade. From there, he stands committed to discovering more of his past (and maybe kill scores of Myrkul worshippers while he's at it).

Xian Puremind is considering staying in Silverymoon for the meantime. Maybe try his luck at "games of chance" and ultimately discover his "inner self" to release more of his latent psionic talents.

Jakob Firehand is summoned by his legendary master, Nataz. Perhaps to go on some planar-spanning errands? Only he and his crazy master know…

Tarion Gourn admits that his prayers to Torm now fall on deaf ears. He has made up his mind and will consider training under the great treant, Turlang as a ranger.

And so ends Book I of Winter's Twilight. In the second book of the trilogy we hope to unravel more of the mystery of the "Unholy Alliance". What their schemes are and how they intend to accomplish it. We may also see the 'Signs' of the Prophecies which centers on Amenrath and The Company of Targos. Finally, we find out more on what the other protagonists did and how it affected their moral and philosophical views and how it will affect the campaign as a whole..

Quel Mart. Tenna' ento lye omenta, (Good Luck. Until next we meet,)


A Word from the Dungeon Master:

My Dear Players,

As Book I of Winter's Twilight comes to an end, I will forego the "Quotable Quotes" section and instead take this opportunity to personally thank all of you for a wonderful campaign.

It is with mixed emotions that I write this. You can safely say that I am happy, tired, sad and grateful that we close the first book of Winter's Twilight. Happy because of all the joy and fun that we had… tired, due to all the sleepless nights spent doing the background materials, writing plots, running the game, updating and maintaining the WT website and all the zillion things a DM does. (But ALL was worth it! … honestly) Sad, due in part that the story will take a short hiatus and finally, grateful to ALL my players who, without EACH AND EVERYONE, this project wouldn't be as successful as it is.

To Chris, thanks for your moral (and technical) support. For being a super-host at Ramagi and also for helping me with story suggestions and other great gaming ideas (too many to mention). For continuing to believe in me and convincing me to finally break my self-imposed exile from gaming and run another campaign…

To Prixie - for being the "heart" of the Fellowship and for her patience with "rowdy boys getting all excited by rolling dice". For also trying her best not to fall asleep and finish most games, for surprising me with her "wild ideas" and solving most of the puzzles (you are indeed a "Seasoned Gamer" now… you go, girl!)

To Dindo - for heeding my challenge to play another race and class. Also, thanks for researching and procuring the digital gaming library which the Fellowship is so, very proud of! Most of the ideas and details for WT were due largely to your contributions, dude!

To Myk - for also believing in me and pleading me to DM again. I thank you for being yourself and sticking to the story (even if it means some sacrifices on your part). For being a true "role-player" and a true friend.

To Jet - my apologies for that incident. We DMs are human, too. Anyway, past is past and I hope that our friendship won't take the stake for it. Remember, it's also fun for a character to get hurt and "bleed" from time to time… (imagine Rocky without the bruises?)

To Oliver - many thanks for putting a smile on my face when stress gets the better of me. For always surprising me with your out-of-this-world characters and ideas…

To Erwin - with his great wisdom, logic and common sense; the man I often turn to when I need to make a "reality check". Thanks for seeing the campaign from 'outside the box' and helping me flesh out details of the Forgotten Realms (whom you and I both love as a Campaign Setting).

To Aris - for taking time out from your hectic schedule and playing for 1 chapter. Your insights and contributions to gaming will never be forgotten.

To Tony - for living up to the standards of being a "best friend". A man I can count on all occasions. For coming up with the 'Nataz-insipired-background for Jakob Firehand' (and for also boring me to death with Jakob's 2-hour C.S.I. investigation into the murders of Ulbrec and Emma!)

To the other Fellowship members not part of the campaign, I also thank you for your contributions. Glenn for his cameo roles, Benjie, who I always turn to to get a "second-opinion" and who I can always count on to see matters as a fellow DM. Roderick, for his inspirational ideas and artwork. Mike Rodil (who, by the way, is one of the people I designed the campaign for but never got to play), thanks for at least "intending" to play.

Gaming and Winter's Twilight in particular, has revived my blood. It is almost impossible to stay away from it. But most importantly, it has brought back OLD FRIENDS. Friends who have broadened my horizons, inspired me, believed in me and spent time with me (and had a blast) in a hobby that we all love.

Until Book II.

Elen sila lumenn omentilmo (A Star shall shine on the hour of our next meeting),

 


 


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