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  #1  
Unread 14th of January, 2008, 17:04
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Chapter Two

Firstday, Thirdweek Kythorn, DR 1377, Year of the Haunting. [1377/06/21]

Faerun has been relatively quiet for the past couple of months.

The craze and turnmoil since the month of Alturiak has more or less settled down. The individuals, save very few, and the lesser powers have realized that their pursuit of the ancient relics are futile as they have no means to compete with other powerful organizations of Faerun. At the same time, the greater powers of Faerun have all suffered terrible casualities in the wars of attrition, and require time to lick their wounds.

The topics of interest remains: the scroll of Karsus' Avatar, and the Mythals. The scroll was originally believed to be safe in the hands of the church of Lady Magic after much tribulations, however, eventually the words of its ill-fate were leaked out: after finally securing the scroll, the Celestial Lashiman was charged with the task to deliver it to Silverymoon via Shadowdale through teleportation, but he never arrived. Astral traces reveal that the travel encountered a rift of dimensions between the Astral and Shadow Plane, which many believe to have been caused artificially, and neither the Celestial nor the spell are found. To this date, no news about them are available.

Regarding Mythals, rumors on their whereabouts are many, with some even describes in detail on their appearances; however, none are ever confirmed. The obvious reason would be a confirmed location would cease to be a confirmed location soon, as the Mythals, if mobile, will most likely not remain in the same places if discovered. It is just as likely that none has been discovered so far, however, since the use of any one of them would certainly cause detectable patterns in the Weave.

The quietness is likely the calm before another storm, as the Year of the Haunting continues.


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Sitting in comfortable chairs within a fairly large conference room, each of you contemplating your own thoughts.

"I suppose we have done all we can... thank you all for coming today." The Witch Queen sighs in frustration. "We either find them before the others do, or we make sure others cannot find them as well. Alright, boys and girls, class dismissed. My Wizards will be happy to escort you to wherever you want to go."

You look at each other as the Witch Queen disappears behind a door in a foul mood. Previously, whatever your motive and ultimate goal, you have heed the call from Cazio, high priest of Mystra, to gather in Aglarond in the hope of locating Lashiman and Karsus' Avatar. For some of you, it's due to your engagements in the past events or reputations; and for the others, as the last known individuals who last saw Lashiman or his foretress. The discussion has proved to be fruitless.
  #2  
Unread 14th of January, 2008, 17:31
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Eliane leans back in her chair and smiles at the assembled party. "Well, this should certainly be more interesting than travelling around alone and getting killed by random mythal guardians after evil gods trick you into breaching the fortifications of a still-defended mythal and then having to rely on the kindness of random psionic mercenaries for a revival."

The thief grins as she grabs an apple off the table and takes a bite. "So, any ideas on where to look for this Lashiman character? Other than hearing about him once or twice, I know nothing."
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Unread 15th of January, 2008, 08:19
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A rather large blond in full plate with a red cloak indicating him as part of the Company of the Bloody Rose, a rather large and power mercenary company based in Halruaa, says, "We should be able to narrow things down to the area where those reported disturbances took place. I have not done a lot of planes hopping, but I have done some. Anybody know anything about or been to the plane of shadows?"
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Unread 15th of January, 2008, 08:52
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The young human eats the rest of the apple and nods. "On occasion. It's not a particularly nice place, so I don't like to go there much. I do know there's a pretty well established Shade enclave on that plane."

Eliane toys with her choker necklace as she takes on a more ponderous look. "Assuming he did end up on the Plane of Shadows, finding him will be difficult, since there aren't exactly any landmarks. Of course, we could always just assume that the Shades intercepted him and go directly to their enclave to get some answers. I do believe there is a portal that ends fairly close to their base."

She leans back in her chair and grins. "It is also entirely likely that they took him somewhere else already, if they were indeed the ones to intercept Lashiman. It would definitely help if we had someone who knows him or someone to help us narrow down the possible locations. Walking into the Shade enclave and just asking them is certainly one option, but not one I'm too fond of, as they do tend to have very impressive defenses and the recent completion of such a task would more than likely make them much more careful and paranoid than they already are."

Eliane shrugs. "Anyway, that's what I can come up with off the top of my head. What do you think?"
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Unread 15th of January, 2008, 12:25
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"One way or another caution is warranted" Melfice says as he absently scratches Rontou behind the ears, "such creatures are never very pleasant to deal with. Still it seems to be the best lead at the moment".

Glancing over at the rather sickly looking elf sitting near him Melfice speaks again. "What do you think Arel? You do know a fair bit about the planes if memory serves"
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  #6  
Unread 19th of January, 2008, 07:31
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Arel, dresssed thickly in seal pelts from Icewind Dale despite the heat of Aglarond, rocks back in her chair as she considers the question.

"I've never been there, but I know enough to say that it would be impossible to explore, certainly. Any auras or tracks that may have been previously present will be gone now. Only the knowledge of the inhabitants is going to last."

She hesitates. "The shades are magically powerful and likely would notice any incursion into their realm. Impressive defenses or no, it's imperative that we get into the enclave and find out what they know... I do expect that they know something. My best thought would be to layer one or two people in disguise--mundane disguise, since the shades would see through anything else in the event that they're actually worth talking to anyways--and then find out what we need. Others would stand by for extraction... or distraction, as the case may be... in case the shades get suspicious."

"I don't care for the plan, but then, I'm just a representative. I don't know anything you haven't told me."
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Unread 19th of January, 2008, 14:06
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Eliane nods. "Mundane disguises are indeed the way to go with the shades. Of course, it's also possible that this whole plane of shadow angle is a set-up. The shades could probably be expected to be a bit more subtle than that. Maybe someone else took Lashiman and they wanted it to look like the shades did it. The Zhents or the Red Wizards are possibilities...although the use of magic involved in Lashiman's abduction would suggest that the Red Wizards are the more likely of those two."

The thief looks around the room at the others present. "I heard rumors that Lashiman was involved in the capture of one of the Zulkirs of Thay during the recent battles. The queen of Aglarond made them pay dearly to get him returned. It is entirely possible that the Red Wizards captured Lashiman as payback. With access to a diviner, it might be possible to figure out who took the guy...but then, if it were that easy, the queen would have probably told us, so that we wouldn't have to chase around randomly."
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Unread 19th of January, 2008, 15:38
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Cazio shakes his head grimly. "Unfortunately, all Divination attempts were unsuccessful. They were not blocked nor negated, but simply failed to function. It is likely that my friend has either perished or lost in some unknown realms beyond our reach... unless, of course, he had been in disguise since the very beginning and thus the identity "Lashiman" is an empty target to begin with. However I would consider that extremely unlikely."

"You bring up an interesting point, Ms. Eliane. I, too, agree that the Shades are not to blame at all for this disappearance - for them are probably among everyone the ones most capable of making use of Karsus' Avatar. Not only do they possess an operating Mythal within their city, they are most knowledgable on the subject of ancient spellcasting. They have the means and the wills to make use of the spell right away, if they do possess it, yet we have sensed no movements on the Weave. While most of them are Shadow Weave users, the ancient Mythal and Karsus' Avatar still operates on the Weave, and cannot go undetected once employed."
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Last edited by Darken; 19th of January, 2008 at 15:43.
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Unread 19th of January, 2008, 15:52
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Eliane smiles encouragingly at the cleric. "Don't worry too much. Whoever took him went to great lengths to do so. They would probably consider him too valuable to kill outright. For all we know, they simply put him someplace shielded from divinations or cast a Mind Blank or similar spell on him."

She frowns and crosses her arms over her chest. "That does mean it will not be easy to find him, however. So, our potential starting points are an enclave of shades on the Plane of Shadow, or the location of the dimensional rift between the Plane of Shadow and the Astral Plane. I suppose if we're feeling suicidal, we can always attack the shade city directly. We could also inquire with some of the seedier groups, like the Zhentarim, if they know anything. Of course, both the shades and the Red Wizards are rather secretive, but there's always a chance someone overheard something."

Grinning sheepishly, she offers "I do have some...contacts within the Zhentarim. I could check out what their information network knows about Lashiman."
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Unread 19th of January, 2008, 16:40
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"That seems more prudent then charging headlong into the planes" Melfice says, "The red Wizards might know something though dealing with them often proves fruitless. However from what I've heard of them The Zhentarim are scum, but they do have a vast network spreading all across the realms. If there is any information to be had they are one of the more likely sources. And at least with them more will be mortal beings. Much easier to 'deal with' in many cases".
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Unread 20th of January, 2008, 17:46
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Eliane nods. "Indeed, my new friend. Much easier. Well, it is agreed, then. I'll go see what the Zhents know. I should be back in an hour or two. You never know exactly how long it takes to get useful information out of them. In the meantime, you guys can make plans for either the red wizards or the shades, especially in case no new information about Lashiman is available on the Zhent network."

The human stands up. "Or is there anything else we need to talk about before I leave?"
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 06:53
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"I think not." Arel also stands, turning her attention upon the exit. "Certainly, I would much prefer to deal with the Red Wizards than the Shades, if only because they're terrestrial. Hopefully we can stave off violence until we have a clearer understanding of our goal."
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 06:55
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"I have no further comments to add." Cazio says in a weak voice. "Should you require more information, I will still be residing in the city temporarily... on a more permanent basis as the Thayans are endangering my fellowship in my hometown. In any event, I can assist you with your Divine magic needs as long as our goals are one and the same. May the Lady of Mysterious guide your way."

With that, Cazio nods to you and leaves via the same door the Queen used.
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  #14  
Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 07:30
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Eliane waves in the general direction of the door. "We'll be seeing you, Cazio."

The slender human then stands up and stretches. "Well, I'll be back here in an hour. Or outside. I'm not actually sure if this place is teleport proof. Oh well, I'll find you guys. Don't break anything while I'm gone. Think about what our other plans could be in case the Zhents know nothing, which is entirely likely."

Eliane heads out the door, mutters some arcane gibberish, and vanishes.

She reappears at Zhentil Keep, home of the ever cheerful Zhentarim. Knowing that she is a wearing a disguise many senior Zhents are familiar with, she doesn't bother announcing herself and heads straight away to the hidden meeting places where information travels faster than it should be logically possible. She attempts to learn what, if anything, the Black Network knows about Lashiman and his disappearance.

[Use Bluff +42 and Spellcraft +16 to simulate a casting of Teleport.]

Last edited by Crazy Eben; 22nd of January, 2008 at 08:20. Reason: Tried and failed to add rolls
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 08:17
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(Party)

You see Eliane leave and some of you with a keen year hear some kind of incantation, but you are unable to ascertain what kind of spell is being invoked. In the room, only the three of you remain as the guards have also left during the previous conversation.

===

(Kiara)

You arrive in Zhentil Keep in a non-descriptive alley, and descends into one of the locations known to house members of the Black Network. A couple of them look up and nod at you, but most of them ignore you as usual.

"Eventually we'll be needing some favors from you, young lady." A voice behind you comments. You turn around and see an unfamiliar face, but it is likely that no appearances or names in this place are consistent in the first place. "Unless you are here to provide us with some interesting news today, hmm?"
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 08:28
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Eliane smiles broadly as she slowly sashays towards the newbie. "And here I thought my mere presence was favor enough. Very well, let's see...you want some news...Elminster likes to dance and lives in a windmill. Hmm...no? The Blackstaff is grouchy and surly, but has an inexplicably hot wife."

Seeing the unamused face, the thief giggles. "Okay, okay. Let's see...news that I know... Two very intelligent orcs called Ungor and Jewas are travelling the realms under direction of their oracle on the search for mythals to bring their warchief. The Witch Queen of Aglarond captured a Zulkier of Thay and agreed to release him on the condition that the Red Wizards abandon slavery in Thaymont. The Red Wizards acceded to this demand. The City of Shade is surrounded by a barrier that prevents physical, astral, and ethereal entry. Also, it magically marks intruders and flying constructs are dispatched after them. Oh, and did you hear that the Witch Queen is not really a witch, but a sorceress?"

Eliane raises an eyebrow. "I did mention that Elminster likes to dance, didn't I?"
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 08:47
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(Kiara)

The man still does not seem amused. "While these... information may be considered interesting by some, they are certainly not news to us... save the issue regarding the Orcs. However, while that is news to us, I doubt many would be interested in them... well, it is not my place to judge whether or not a certain piece of information is of use to others, so I shall include that in the Archive and thank you for your contribution. How can we help you today then?"
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 08:56
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The demon in human guise grins. "Excellent! Oh, there was one other thing. The human guide known as Straq is useful for finding people in Sigil. Not sure if that's in the archive already."

She scratches her ear absent-mindedly. "My reason for coming here...hmm...I think I forgot. No, wait! I was supposed to get some information on that mortal who apparently took one of the mythals. Lassoman or something. I think he's the Witch Queen's new boy toy or something. You know, I probably should start listening better when demons tell me to do stuff. Oh well, I'll just tell them I listened. It works out the same. Does the Black Network know anything about that human? He was a human, I think. Or a half-elf? Nah, most likely human. Silly race, spreading like rabbits. No offense in case you're human, sir. Ma'am? Sorry, I can't tell with that hood and all."

Eliane smiles cutely at the conclusion of her babble.
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 09:15
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(Kiara)

The man searches through the system of magical writings in the centre of the room for a few minutes before returning to you.

"We have nothing concerning to what you are inquiring about, however chances are you have confused some facts here. There is a Celestial named Lashiman who was last saw in Shadowdale who many believe are connected to the ancient Netherese spell, Karsus' Avatar. The last known record is that he was lost in the Astral Plane due to a sudden planar rift from the Plane of Shadows. There are some scholars thinking it's a natural occurance, in which case his whereabouts are unknown to even the Gods... as planar rifts are extremely random in the multiverse, with no known laws governing their mechanics. Some believe to be some outside entities interested in his possession and thus took him captive; in this case his whereabouts will be equally inaccessible. The Church of Mystra had been looking for him for the past couple of months, but no news from them as of now. Most of Faerun believes the Shades are behind it in the hope to reclaim what they think is rightfully theirs. Other than that, there are several other nonsensical theories about creatures from Far Realms about snatched him, or he has stolen the spell and off to try to ascend, and so on.
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 09:21
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Eliane frowns. "Lashiman? Yeah, that sounds about right. He's a celestial? Yuck, no one told me that. How disgusting."

She shudders visibly and crosses her arms over her chest as though it were suddenly cold. "Oh well, may as well be thorough. So, the theories are that either the Shades took him, his disappearance was a random accident, that creatures from the Far Realms grabbed him because that's the sort of thing they do, or that he took off by himself to become a god. Is that all? I would think there'd also be some rumors about the Red Wizards being involved. After all, it would make sense. The Simbul kidnaps one of theirs, they kidnap one of her allies as payback. Besides, I never trust those wizards when they aren't being talked about. Who knows what they might get up to underneath those atrocious robes?"
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 14:05
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(Kiara)

The man shakes his heads and squints his eyes. "No, we do not have anything on the Thayan's involvements. They were never interested in the spell in the first place; they only wanted to get, and stop others from getting, Mythals so that they can be the only one producing powerful artifacts and magic items."
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Unread 22nd of January, 2008, 16:19
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Eliane nods sagely. "That's fascinating, I'm sure. Well, thank you for your time. I'm sure it was worthwhile due to reasons that will come to me eventually. I've got to go now. You know how it is. Places to be, people to eat. Goodbye, sir archivist, ma'am."

Waving, the thief disappears from Zhentil Keep and shows up a few miles above Waterdeep. She sighs. I really have to remember when I don't have wings. Just to learn a bit more about her new ally-type people, she activates her unholy power of holiness detection, before trying to teleport back outside the meeting room. Eliane is mildly surprised to actually find herself outside the room and enters.

The human looks around and finds everyone in much the same position as before. "Oh, come on! Don't tell me you spent the entire time I was gone like that. By the way, you'd think that the queen of Aglarond could afford better defenses for her palace. Anyone could just walk in. But that's beside the point. The Zhentarim could offer a few theories about Lashiman's disappearance. Despite how obvious it is, they do consider the Shades taking him most likely. Other more or less popular theories include a random planar accident, the abduction to the Far Realms for reasons unknown, and that Lashiman just wandered off by himself to try and ascend to godhood."

Sitting back down in her previous chair, she shrugs. "They think the Red Wizards wouldn't be interested in him since he didn't take control of a mythal, but only of the Karsus' Avatar spell and the Reds only care about mythals so they can make even more cheap magic items and flood the market. The Zhents didn't give much credence to my theory that the Thayans took Lashiman as retribution for the witch queen capturing one of their Zulkirs and trading it back to them in exchange for their abandoning slavery on Thaymount."

The young human pouts. "I liked that theory. Anyway, that's what I found out. What ideas have you got?"
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Unread 23rd of January, 2008, 05:06
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"Well" says Melfice, "I suppose the new plan is the old plan then. We need to find a way to speak with the shades. If it's a random accident or something involving the far realms...well i don't want to think about the implications of trying to find Lashiman if either were the case".
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Unread 23rd of January, 2008, 18:08
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Eliane nods. "The shades are quite difficult to contact and infiltrate, though. Plus, they are not likely to tell outsiders about such things. Maybe we should see about going to the location of the rift and see if we can find out anything there."

She hesitates for a moment. "I'm not sure if anyone here is capable of picking up trails across planar boundaries, but I do know someone who can. He has proven himself to be rather reliable. He's a mercenary, though, so I can't say for sure that he would be available right now."
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Unread 24th of January, 2008, 05:14
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I can fix that...

Arel smiles softly. "If he's a mercenary, it should be a simple matter of making a better offer than whatever he currently works for. Who did you have in mind?"
 

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