Mind Over Matter

Epilogue 5

          The warmth of a bath and an actual bed is welcome, though sleep comes uneasily due to recent events. The morning comes, more quickly for those that delayed their rest in exchange for tankards of the dark ale. Your clothing is found laudered and folded neatly at your door along with a message that breakfast can be obtained in the kitchens. Nikita is awaiting you in the kitchens as you find your way there. The young Damaran greets each of you upon arrival and shows you into a small dining room where you can eat breakfast away from the attention of the estate staff.  A breakfast of fresh baked bread, honey butter, a large succulent ham, boiled eggs, spiced apples, stewed tomatoes, fried potatoes, and an assortment of berries and apples is available to accommodate your preferences.

            The conversation turns toward recently obtained items as Throg hands Myst the strange hat taken from the tentacled creature and the gauntlets to Egan, “I have no need of these.”     Myst takes the hat and places it on his head and grins goofily, “Seems to be a little big for me.”  The half-orc raises a brow and remains serious, “The hat allows you to disguise yourself, you must attune to it first and then it should take what form you choose. It is likely how the tentacled thing looked like a duergar at first.”

            The half-orc looks toward Egan, “The gauntlets make you as strong as an ogre, I am not sure of your current strength, but they may aid you.” Throg returns to his meal.

            Myst takes the hat in his hands, “I am sure I can find a use for this! I guess we should split the other stuff also, you never know when we may need some coin or gems.”

            A quick discussion reveals that the following magical items have been claimed thus far: the wand of web to Rune, the immoveable rod to Throg, the hat of disguise to Myst, and the gauntlets of ogre strength to Egan, the magical warhammer was given to the Duke by Sten, which leaves the dwarven plate worn by the Duergar leader.

            Further discussion of nonmagical loot obtained during the rescue reveals: Grigor’s golden signet ring with ruby (250gpv), 6 sapphires (200gpv each), 18 bloodstones (50gpv each),

three golden bracelets (50gpv each), a large gold-plated pewter stein with hunting scenes (150gpv), a silver choker with an anvil design (100gpv), 386sp, and 114gp. The group agrees that the signet ring be returned to the Duke at the noon meeting.

                        [use the forum to discuss the division of the above loot]

            Each of you go about your business the rest of the morn either wandering the estate or collecting your thoughts. Nikita relays that Commander Petrov requests all members of your group remain at the estate until the noon meeting which quickly approaches. After conducting your own business throughout the morning, you arrive at the meeting hall and await the duke’s arrival.

            Nikita, carrying a small wooden case with golden filigree, Commander Petrov and Duke Shemov enter. After the duke takes his seat, he addresses you, “It is good to see you refreshed and clean again. We have much to discuss, but first I would present you with tokens of appreciation from the people of Soravia and Damara.” Nikita opens the small case revealing a set of silver cloak clasps with the Soravian emblem of a white mountain adorning the center of the clasp. Each clasp is inlayed with tiny gemstones with differing hues. In addition, a small signet ring can be seen.

            The duke waves Nikita forward and speaks to each of you as Nikita approaches you at the table, “Each of these clasps harness a magical effect that can be called upon daily [no attunement required] with a command word that Nikita will share privately with you.”

            “Sir Sten, this gift will aid you with additional movement that is beneficial to one that remains heavily armored”. [Soravian Clasp®, bonus action to cast longstrider three times per day] Nikita hands a clasp to Sten and then bends forward and whispers the command word in Sten’s ear before moving onward.

            “Blade of Tempus Egan, this gift will allow you to discern those that remain magically hidden from your sight”. [Soravian Clasp®, bonus action to cast see invisibility 1/day] Nikita repeats his presentation and delivery of the command word.

            “Gavel the Axe, your gift will make you more difficult to strike”. [Soravian Clasp®, bonus action to cast blur once per day]

            “The renowned halfling Myst, your gift will allow you transport yourself in a wisp when needed”. [Soravian Clasp®, bonus action to cast misty step once per day]

            “Brother Griffon, your gift allows you to become unseen”. [Soravian clasp®, bonus action to cast invisibility once per day]

            “Master Throg, your gift will allow you to enhance an ability when needed most” [Soravian Clasp®, bonus action to cast enhance ability once per day]

            “Master Rune, your gift imparts illusory doubles to protect you from being targeted by your foes”. [Soravian Clasp® use bonus action to cast mirror image once per day]

            Nikita removes the ring from the box and closes it. The young Damaran hands the ring to Cerelea as the duke continues. “Alas Lady Cerelea, this signet ring acknowledges your title as the Emissary of Soravia for the Damaran Court and Foreign Affairs. I am certain we will have great need of you in the future and I would assign your first task this day. You will be charged with gathering intelligence on the responsible entity or entities to the dire event that Master Throg has brought to my attention. Once he provides you the information he has shared, you will keep me informed of those involved and the potential repercusions to Damara and Soravia.”    

            The duke nods to Nikita and the young man opens the entry door allowing a trio to enter before exiting and closing the doors again. The trio includes an old wrinkled woman in loose hides adorned with varies totems and mystical objects, the grand druid Falstrag and the barbarian Shoghar carrying a giant collar and corresponding smaller crown much like those you encountered at Skywatch. Shoghar remains near the door as the old woman and Falstrag make there way to the duke’s side before he continues, “My friend Falstrag, please inform these heroes of Ironmantle’s condition.”

            The druid leans heavily upon his staff, “I applaud your success at recovering Sir Grigor and the others. We were able to learn that Ironmantle still resists the duergar invasion to this point. We likewise encountered a few giants and now know that the collars and crowns are linked to allow certain duergar strong in psionics, basically a type of mind magic, to control the giants. We have offered Ironmantle direct assistance, but they refuse entry to Ironmantle due to the high probability of infiltration. They fear deceit and betrayal to much, likely a product of the fall of Skywatch. We hope to use Toogrod Silverhelm and the survivors of Skywatch as emissaries to earn their trust. Wynn and Halstur still watch at a distance and will relay any changes. Natarra will return on the morrow.  I believe Damara will need your skills if we are to save Ironmantle and prevent the duergar from securing a stronghold so close to Soravia.”

            The duke switches his gaze from Falstrag to the old woman, “I introduce Dasha Rani, my council in the mystical arts.” The old woman scratches her dry face and looks over each of you only grinning slightly when she rests her gaze on Rune. She licks her lips and moves her jaw as if warming it up before speaking inm a crackled voice, “I have discerned the name of the duergar leader you slew at Skywatch.  He was known as General Ivlok Shadowflame. As for the tentacle creature, it is a mindflayer also known as an ilithid. A recent volume circulating quickly in many cities from one Volothamp Geddarm describes these subterranean menaces. What is uncertain is whether it is acting alone or in concert with more of its kind as lore suggests the duergar were once slaves of the illithids and an alliance between the two is very unlikely.” She scratches again at her face and then her arm before continuing, “The illithids eat the brains of humanoids and can also see the memories of those the consume. Both of the Goldmantles had their brains digested.” She looks toward the duke as if she is done speaking.

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