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Faerin's Twentieth letter

To the Warden of the Fey Realm and his companion Uhr,

I hope your search for Titania goes well and that we will be reunited soon once more!

I write to update you of our progress, though I know not when this letter may reach you. We have recently returned to the Fey Realm and I thought it best to inform you of what has been transpiring in your absence.

Firstly, a brief summary of our quest thus far. We found Wodin, but were too late to save him. But he has passed his mantle unto his successor, our own Miri. While we were excited by this at first, we are worried that the mantle may have had negative effects on our friend. We have found some aspects of the Morrigan but they are being guarded by the son of Dianecht. We are currently investigating the reasons why Dianecht or another god may be involved, but have no solid answers to this questions so far.

Our journey did take us to Math Sadon, a large city on Orborros, and one that houses one of the largest magical libraries on our plane. However it is there that we discovered a horrible truth about the past of one of our party members. Nissa was abandoned in Woodsong as a child and was thought to be an orphan. However her family is still alive! At least her mother and Deadoro and Oseris, her brother and sister. However they have been captured by an evil demi-lich who has taken over one of the wizards in Matt Sadom.

We are unsure of the exact relationship between the wizard and the demi-lich. The wizard is named Amelut Nebarum and he seems well respected here. We have asked around and discovered that Amelut has a known interest in ritual magic, in particular in old magic and possibly the lost city of Arcarost. Whether it is the demi-lich that is driving these desires or Amelut, or both, we do not know.

As we were looking for information about Amelut, Miri, the new warden, had a strange encounter. Someone approached her who was looking for a lost dog, Miri said he was very adamant. A while later Miri found a small figurine of a dog in an alley, inscribed with magic runes. When she spoke the name, Koda, a large guard dog appeared. This dog is a magical artefact and/or being created by a wizard. It seemed to have no interest in returning to its creator, and so Miri kept it.

We hoped to deal with the demi-lich head-on, and traveled through the Ethereal plane into the Amelut’s room. Apparently even in the Ethereal plane, the great tower of Matt Sadom has its guardians in the form of ghosts. But Nissa showed her visitor’s pass and we were allowed to continue. We journeyed through the tower to where we knew that Amelut resided. When we entered, we saw the skull of the demi-lich resting upon the table in the center of the room. We made ready to strike and transported back to Ourborros. But we must have triggered a trap as magic scorched us and deposited us back outside the tower.

While we failed in our assault, we did force the demi-lich to take us seriously. And thus we received an invitation from Amelut soon thereafter to negotiate. We agreed and went up to talk to the vile demi-lich, hoping to learn his evil plans. The demi-lich is looking for a way to ascend to divinity, and he believes that a book called the Ethereal Solvanum is the key. It should be a book regarding the pact that you protect and may hold answers regarding the magic that upholds it. The demi-lich has captured Jane and her family to help him read Fey magic. He is willing to return Nissa’s family to us if we retrieve the Ethereal Solvanum for him. However to secure that we do not act against him, he has consumed the souls of the family and holds them within his form. If we kill him, we also kill Nissa’s family. He gave us time to think about his offer and expected us to only return once we had secured the book.

We had no idea if we could take on a demi-lich or if we could so without making Nissa an orphan once more. We needed allies, so we reached out to the only entity we could think of, the Bringer Mocta. We had encounter the Bringers several times before and they have been of great aid to us in the past. They are angelic creatures claiming to work for the interest of the Gods on Ourborros. We summoned Mocta in the hidden Temple to Lugh in Matt Sadom. However the Bringer was visibly at ill ease. At first we thought it was because of the rejection of all gods but Matt Sadom in Math Sadom, but Varris pointed out that Mocta was avoiding the emblems of Lugh. Before we could even ask about the demi-lich, Mocta revealed to us that they had been lying to us all long. They were not serving the Gods, but were acting as agents against them. They claim to be working with the best interests of the people of Ourborros and that it is the Gods who have betrayed us. Mocta said that the Gods have been using us only for our worship, which fuels their power. Mocta claimed that they did not care for us or our suffering. While the Bringers have done nothing but help to us, I cannot justify their reasons for turning against the Gods. Though we may not always see the whole plan that the Gods have planned for us, we can know that it is good for us and for our world.

In any case, Lugh intervened. I felt a divine presence encompass my being. I no longer had any control over my actions but felt a warmth in my heart. I heard words coming from my mouth not in my voice. But then Fierna laid her hand upon me and a bright light overtook me. I appeared on the Celestial plane along with an angelic being. He told me to stay true to the path and to Lugh. He explained that the Bringers may promise a lot but it is still the Gods that guide us.

In another flash, I was back in the Temple to Lugh in Matt Sadom. Mocta had gone. After all that had been revealed, we hadn’t had the time to ask for aid in vanquishing the demi-lich. So we searched for anywhere else that may contain information about these vile creatures.

Thorin and Miri set out to search for a servant of a God who opposes the undead. They eventually found a smithy whose sign held a hidden symbol of Belenus. After some convincing, the smith introduced them to Fomar, a priest of Belenus. Thorin described the priest as a being engulfed in flames but otherwise nice. He told them that demi-liches are powerful and should not be underestimated. They are immune to the divine power that Thorin can use to hold back the undead. They can only be harmed by magical weapons and are immune to the damaging energy from necrotic, physic or poison sources. They have a particular strong will too and will resist most spells.

Nissa and myself went back to the main Tower in Matt Sadom, but used a different entrance than we had done before. We pretended to be part of a mercenary guild that was inquiring about how to defeat a distant undead foe. The scribe at the entrance hall referred us to one of the necromancy experts. We journeyed through halls and corridors that we had never seen before, which were as spectacular as anything we had see so far. We were then told to wait our turn in a small hall. We waited for a while. Eventually we were called in to the office of Ereba the necromancer. We explained our plight that we were up against a demi-lich that had imprisoned the souls of those we are tasked to save. Alas we learned that any being strong enough to become a demi-lich also has the power to consume at will those souls that reside inside of it. The only way to prevent this is to place the demi-lich in an anti-magic field, but they are almost indestructible in that case. If we do defeat the demi-lich, we must crush the gems in its eyes to free those souls it has captured. The last piece of advice we received was that we shouldn’t fight the being in its lair as it is at its most powerful there.

With all the information we had gathered about demi-liches, we saw that our cause to defeat Amelut would be impossible as long as it holds the souls of Nissa’s family. We saw no other alternative than to provide the demi-lich with that what he desired, the Ethereal Solvanum. Once Nissa’s family is freed, we hope to get another chance to take him down for all that he has done. So we travelled to the Fey Realm to retrieve the tome.

We used a magical artefact in Nissa’s possession to plane shift from Math Sadon directly into the Fey Realm. We were deposited into ancient ruins of a deserted city. We travelled towards the location of Solvelis but were soon hindered by a vast ocean. Apparently this part of the Fey Realm has an island surrounded by water. Nissa conjured a set of giant owls and we started flying across the water. As we swept over the water, we saw a boat in the distance. The boat was in trouble as it was being assaulted on all sides by giant sharks. We landed our owls and drove back the giant sharks. We were thanked by the boat’s occupants, two elves called Eferil and Malkis. Unfortunately we were too late to save their brother who was lost during the assault. Eferil told us of an ancient curse that surrounds the island we had just left. The residents of the island had refused the join the Cult of the Old Ways and the Elder Fey Dullahan all those years ago. In response the Cult had eradicated their great city and made sure that no Fey born on the island could ever leave alive. Eferil and Malkis had come from the cursed island and were risking their lives to travel across the water. Hearing their sorrowful tale, we decided to help them cross.

We set out watch at night as the boat travelled along. The sea itself seemed against us as we saw sandbanks appear out of nowhere. A patch of warm water surrounded us and out came a threat larger than we had ever faced. A giant dragon turtle attacked the boat and spewed boiling water upon us. But quick action by Fierna banished the dragon turtle from where it had once come. The sea returned to calm once more.

We journeyed onwards until we were forced to standstill by a patch of rocks that appeared without warning. Out climbed merfolk with bows and arrows. They were many but they had just seen us defeat the dragon turtle and so were hesitant to engage us. We exchanged words and discovered that the merfolk had been tasked by Dullahan with keeping any travelers from the island away from the shore. They feared Dullahan and the Cult of the Old Ways, but we convinced them that we were opponents of Dullahan and that they should let us pass. They agreed to relent and we could continue on our journey.

Eferil and Malkis got off the boat once we reached the shore to seek out a new life among the forest of the Fey Realm. We continued on to Solvelis to our goal and hopefully to a copy of the Ethereal Solvanum. When we arrived in Solvelis our boat was immediately stopped. We were boarded by the forces of Dullahan who demanded to know what our business was in Solvelis. The team was commanded by Nix, a servant of Dullahan we had faced before. But for some reason Nix did not seem to recognize us. We told them a variant of the truth, that we had come to Solvelis seeking magical advice. Varis chimed in that he had composed a song for the dragon Feyras. But Nix responded that Feyras had abandoned the city and was now bound to a hunting ground to the north-east. After a careful inspection of the boat, they let us pass but warned us that any Fey would have to submit to the Cult of the Old Ways or face punishment.

We docked our boat at a quay outside of the city. We travelled through the army of Dullahan, noting the many dwarfs and giants who seemed to carry exotic weapons. Long metallic tubes that smelled of Sulphur and charcoal. As before, the army seemed to be waiting near the city but ready to strike out at Aurion at a moment’s notice.

We entered the city and were confronted by a check of all Fey if they were sworn to Dullahan. Nissa changed into a creature to pass the inspection and Varis bluffed his way through, claiming to have lost the tattoo in an incident. Once inside Solvelis, we split up to gather information. My brother and I journeyed to the Sated Satyr. Varis and Fierna travelled among the many bookshops in the city. We learned from these excursions that many of the residents of Solvelis had more or less reluctantly submitted to Dullahan and the Cult of the Old Ways. The Regent had taken over the city as the prince was ill once more. The army outside was indeed planning an assault on Aurion but they are scared of a secret weapon that the mages possess. They believe that they have the means to teleport an entire army behind enemy lines and are therefore reluctant to abandon the defense of their own city.

Meanwhile Nissa travelled to the mountain where we knew Feyras used to reside. There she saw gaurds packing the hoard of the dragon into crates. After we learned this, Thorin sent a magical message to Feyras. Feyras replied that he had been chased out of the city and that if we could get rid of the avatar of Dullahan, he would be able to return.

We set out to do what we could to help Feyras as he was clearly opposed to Dullahan. We started by liberating his hoard. We snuck in to his old compound and Varis used magic on the workers there to convince them to leave. We then used several bags of holding to pack up as much of the treasure as we could. When we heard the guards approach, we jumped unto the carts that the workers had prepared and left through a gate back to Ourborros. Just as we entered the portal, I commanded the plants to grow and cover what remained of the hoard.

A large part of the hoard secured, we summoned Feyras to our location. In retrospect this was extremely careless of us to bring a powerful fey creature elsewhere, but the pact seems to have survived. We will be more careful using our summoning magic in the future. We gave Feyras part of his hoard back and he asked what he could do for us in return. We asked about the Ethereal Solvanum. Feyras replied that he did have a copy but it was still with the remainder of his hoard in Solvelis. Thus we asked him to attack the army to was besieging Aurion, to at least give the defenders a chance to retaliate. This was far more successful than we could have ever imagined. We rode on the dragon’s back across the city and Feyras decimated the army with his breath. He clawed his way through several skyships, dropping them from the sky. It couldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes before the entire siege had been broken and the army was in a rout. We thanked Feyras and sent him back with a banishment with his hoard in a bag of vines.

We quickly spoke to General Coldfire, the general who was leading the defense of Aurion, to warn her that the war was not over yet. And that another army was waiting in the Fey Realm. We then took a deserved rest and shifted back to Solvelis the next day.

We resolved to scout the palace at Solvelis and attempt to see if we could do something about the avatar of Dullahan that was stationed there. Nissa scouted the palace transmuted into a bird and found it heavily guarded by the Cult of the Old Ways. As we lay in wait, we noticed Erevan hauling a prisoner in chains. They were both cloaked so it was hard to make out. However Varis recognized the prisoner as Ombras, one of Dullahan’s allies in Aurion. He knew that we could not let Ombras report back to Dullahan as he had knowledge that could worsen the war. Thus Varis grabbed Ombras and vanished into thin air. Erevan was displeased but we told him truthfully that we had no knowledge of Varis’ plans. Erevan left to recover his prisoner once more.

In the meantime Varis and Nissa had returned. We decided to disguise ourselves and sneak into the palace. Varis would change into Ombras and we would deliver him into the prison. The plan worked for the most part as we managed to enter the palace without incident. We ran into guard captain Letia when we were delivering the fake Ombras. She immediately suspected something as she knew myself and my brother from our last visit to Solvelis. She was also wary of Varis’ disguise and used a wand to scan for magic. This way she found Nissa and Fierna who had accompanied us in a magical cloak of invisibility. Nissa dropped the spell and we confessed our intentions to Letia. Luckily she was no friend of Dullahan’s and agreed to help us in our quest. She supplied us with guard uniforms so that we could traverse the palace freely.

Letia then brought us to the room of the ailing prince of the city, Ridero Halima, in the hopes that we could help there. Whatever foul magic that Dullahan or the regent had used to fake the illness of the priest was no match for the divine light of Thorin as the prince was quickly restored, though still weakened. The prince aided, we decided to take on the avatar of Dullahan and free the city. We told Letia to bring reinforcements, people she trusted to aid in the fight against Dullahan.

Then we set out to find Dullahan’s fiendish bodyguard. We found him in his room, counting his gold among three hellhounds. We attacked him before he even had a chance to react. The three hellhounds melted under acid and Miri’s blades, before disappearing in a pile of dust. The bodyguard was banished by Fierna back to the infernal realm from whence he came.

Then Varis took the form of the bodyguard and we waited for the avatar to return. It took about an hour before the avatar entered the room along with the regent and two guards. Varis called the avatar closer and stabbed him in the gut. Miri and Nissa conjured a maze of thorns and spikes to trap the guards and the regent. Nissa then turned into a giant scorpion and attacked the avatar. However the avatar remained focused and attacked our bard, Varis and our cleric, Thorin. The avatar used some kind of magic to teleport around the room, making it hard for my blade to find purchase. Before long the regent dispelled the wall of thorns that Nissa had erected. The regent tried to come closer and attack us with her magic, but Fierna laid in wait and countered any spell she dared to cast. Varis cursed the regent to dance and Nissa picked her up in her claws, where the regent eventually succumbed to her wounds. All that remained was the avatar as the guards had fled in fear. With a final barrage of magic missiles, Varis dealt the final blow to the avatar.

The avatar of Dullahan had been taken out, but we were still in the middle of palace surrounded by enemies. Not wanting to cause further casualties, Varis disguised himself as the avatar and Fierna changed into the likeness of the Regent. The rest of us pretended to have been a defeated party, including Nissa still in her scorpion form. The fake Avatar and fake Regent greeted the new set of guards that arrived. They said that the bodies could simply be thrown out of the palace and that the scorpion had to be preserved as a a memory of their victory. The guards took us away and called a taxidermist for the scorpion.

Meanwhile, Feyras had sensed the defeat of the Avatar and started his assault to retake Solvelis. In addition, Letia had returned with a force loyal to the prince and the palace was quickly thrown into disarray. The last bastion of the Old Ways within the palace approached the Avatar (actually Varis in disguise) and beseeched him to defeat the dragon. Seeing no other way than to keep the ruse alive, the fake Avatar agreed to at least parlay with Feyras. In the meantime, Varis had told Thorin to send a message to Feyras and explain the situation to the dragon. Alas, Thorin’s ability to cast messages at long distance is limited. And when Feyras saw the avatar of Dullahan appear, he did not hesitate to release his full might upon his foe.

And thus Varis’ greatest performance led to his very untimely death at the hand of an ally. As an artist himself, I am sure that Varis understands the great irony and tragedy of the situation. We did manage to recover an arm that we hoped had belonged to Varis. Nissa used this as an anchor to bring Varis back to us, though his new body seems to be human. Nissa explained that she had no control over this aspect as her nature magic can be volatile. Varis was also as naked as the day he was reborn, but Feyras provided him some old clothes.

As this was going on, Miri searched the palace. She discovered within the Regent’s chambers many documents detailing the other armies of Dullahan stationed throughout the Fey Realm. She also found the battle plans on how they intended to take the city of Aurion. This included many missives and letters to Lady Inaste, Varis’ mother, who had taken charge of the city of Raven on Ourborros.

With Feyras in the fight and the avatar of Dullahan visibly obliterated, the army quickly fell apart. Before long, the city was once more in the hands of prince Ridero. When calm was restored, we were summoned into the throne room. Our party was then gifted a set of elven chain, cloak and boots for our contribution to the saving of Solvelis.

We stayed one more night in Solvelis and then resolved to head back to Ourborros. As we were about to leave, the strangest coincidences started happening to us. The item we use to travel between planes was mysteriously fully charged, we found a weapon that could take down the very foe we hoped to defeat seemingly at random and Miri found another scroll that would allow her to travel between the planes.

All of us managed to shift back to our world, but Miri was left behind. So she went to Feyras to ask if he knew what was happening. It was Feyras who managed to deduce that a lesser Elder Fey called Picaro was trying to use us to travel to Ourborros. He was a trickster fey and had spread his essence across several of our weapons. Luckily he was stopped in time and we were able to preserve the pact this time.

And thus concluded our most recent venture into the Fey Realm. I hope you can find some comfort in the knowledge that Dullahan’s initial invasion plans have at least temporarily been waylaid. I do get the feeling that Dullahan will not relent after only a single setback. Thus your quest remains of the at most importance.

Yours sincerely,

Faerin Khan

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