The Mark of Prophecy

Entry 25

Excerpts from the Memoirs of Balothron Shieldbrow

(detailing the events of 24-25 Olarune 999 YK)

Dreadhold! The very name strikes fear, terror, and awe into the hearts of criminals and
dissidents alike. Only a few days after we first met, my then-new comrades-in-arms
announced that they planned to break someone out! That was when I knew that Darin’s
stories of their prowess were true – only the greatest of warriors could accomplish such an
unheard-of feat. Once we arrived near the island, we left in the skiff with Meriele to scout
around. We had no trouble seeing the main entrance from afar, but we concluded that
it would be far too well-guarded for us to break in that way, so we decided to bet on the
existence of a second entrance for supplies.

Upon arriving in Dreadhold, it appears that we were separated, with my companions taken
to various storage rooms while my barrel of monkeys fish was left in the dock. A quick survey of the area revealed far too many guards for me to overpower on my own, so I waited quietly in my
barrel for the right moment to sneak away.

Such a moment never came.

When this hit me, I surveyed the area from my barrel and saw a ballista nearby. Tossing
away my barrel, I ran to the ballista and ordered everyone in the dock to the floor. They
all dropped obediently, but out of nowhere came a huge troll – one the likes of which I had
never seen before. And he looked pissed. I fired the ballista and hit him square between
the eyes, but that did not even faze him in the slightest, so great was this foe. As he rushed
towards me, I saw that I had no recourse but to wrestle him into the water. After proving
my superior strength, I ran to the dock’s only ladder and destroyed it to ensure that he
would not trouble me again. The guards at the dock saw which way the wind blew and
jumped into the water in terror to get away from me.

Shortly after leaving the dock, I came across Adrik and Melchizedek, who had apparently
come across a few guards and disposed of them. Adrik had the foresight to take the armor
from one of their bodies as well. The reunion, however, was less joyous than it could have
been, as we were beset by another troll, even more furious and massive than the last. After
a hard battle (aided by Bree’s timely arrival and intervention) we finally subdued this
mighty foe, forcing him to give ground all the way back to the docks, where he joined his
kin in the sea.

It was at about this time that we found Tethys and Dolph. Much to our dismay, though,
they were in the water with the trolls! A trap had sent them to a watery doom they had
barely escaped, only to find themselves in the face of a far more violent death. Bree and I
took the ballistae and cowed the trolls into submission as Adrik pulled our companions out
of the water.

We then went to the prison entrance to find the location of the changeling we had been
sent to rescue, scaring the hell out of a poor scribe to find that Ret was being held in block
A. We made our way there posing as prisoners being escorted by a disguised Adrik, where
we could then ambush the guards as they prepared to take us to our cells. I led the ambush,
striking a guard with my fist and quickly grabbing my glaive from Adrik. Melchizedek was
close behind, tossing spells left and right. Eventually, we overpowered them all and made
our way to Ret’s cell.

The changeling had apparently kept his identity secret well, as he was still being held with
the humans. Rather than feeling compelled to escape immediately, however, he decided
that our time would be better spent finding something out for him – what lay in a more
heavily guarded and secret wing of the prison. We agreed to do so.

Following his directions, we came to a huge door with a stone-faced Warforged guard on
either side. After defeating them, we entered and found, to our surprise, a withered youth
claiming to be King Kaius III of Karnath! Melchizedek believed him immediately, though
the rest of us had our doubts, believing him to be a poor soul who had simply snapped after
decades in captivity.

We could not leave him there, though, so we broke him out and took him with us. After
making our way through the cave system beneath Dreadhold, we finally found a stairway
to the surface, where we called to our ship. Doing so, however, alerted the guards to our
location, so a veritable army, led by the trolls we had left in the dock, poured to the prison’s
roof. We held our own, though, slaying one of the trolls and countless guards, until our ship
arrived and threw down ropes for us to escape on.

We took the withered prisoner to Leonid so he could see to his well-being, and I do not
remember much after that – I was exhausted, and probably went straight to my bunk after
sharing a pint or two with Darin about what happened.

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Entry 24

As recorded by Bree

25 Olarune 999 YK

We got back to the Ship. Dolph telled us more aboot the Weerd Vizons from when he got Burned. But He hit his Head Reely Hard becuz he thinked the Less Stupid Elf was Aliiv. But he saw Clawfoots and Halflings Burning. I saw That in Frostfell.

The Rockshosa fownd Us with the Dragun Shard on Tethys’z Sword. So We took It away.

We made up attacking Dred Hold. We only saw 2 Caves. So We will all go in Together. Dolph will chrip on Some Thing or Tethys will fire Some Body or Adric will attack a Rock and then We will have to fight Evrybody.

We saw a Ship. It was Broken. But then We got attacked by a Crackin and he throo Me at Kubla and Kubla at Me and Kubla at Dolph. Then Tethys almost drownded but she killed the Crackin and then Dolph almost drownded.

The Ship had lots of Gold!

We fownd the Town and Dolph made our Stuff Even Bedder. He helps Sum Times. But then We had to find the Supplie Ship. Muriel took Kubla with Her back to the Airship to wait for Us. Evrybody wanted to sneek in Baruls. I am Best at Sneeking. So I got Drunk becuz I am Not Good at Acting and then I got their Atenshon and Evrybody got in Baruls. But then I was Still Drunk so I was not Best at Sneeking so I waited and cliemed on the Ship and got Less Drunk.

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Entry 23

From the account of Dolph ir’Aeolus…

21 Olarune 999 YK

Tethys’ mother was murdered by demonic Gnolls this past day. We fought them and an Earthquake Dragon off, only to find her body afterward. I feel so, so sorry for her…it hurts to see her in pain. If only she’d talk to us, instead of bottling it up…she seemed to be in pain after we left Starilaskur, too. I hope nothing else has happened to her family…or mine, for that matter.

We managed to rescue her brother from a demon ritual, at least. Demonic Gnolls are a bit unsettling to fight, but we needed to save the people there. We also discovered that Prince Kel had taken over the guard of the city. We were able to let him know that we’d been in touch with the group he pointed us toward, and also managed to drop our own group’s name: The Heirs of the Dragon Between. The rest of the group seems to be annoyed at me for bringing it up, but if we’re to be the force in Khorvaire that we intend to be, we need the people to know who we are. Getting our name out is sure to bring us more harm, but harm seems to have a way of finding us regardless, and at the very least we can hopefully have some positive impact based on name alone. Theatricality and mystery can’t hurt in our mission, anyway.

20 Olarune 999 YK

The new arm is working decently at this point. Manten was a great help in building it, and Bree was surprisingly useful in the final assembly. It still needs some work, but for the most part, it’s useful. The ability to shoot flames scares me a bit…it’s useful, but one tends to be a bit scared of fire after having their entire body burned by an unbound fire elemental.

17 Olarune 999 YK

I need to tell the group about the visions that I saw while unconscious. I don’t know why I held them back as I did…perhaps because I fear what I saw in them, deeply. So that should make for some delightful dinner conversation.

The group seems to be rather irritated with what I divulged to Xanthis. I understand their perspective, but I feel they fail to understand the angle I observed. Xanthis appeared to know nothing about us beyond that we encountered his chamber, meaning that he wasn’t involved in the prophecy. While he did attempt to murder me, I believe that it had a specific purpose; namely, warning my comrades that a demon was aboard. And if he was in some way fighting the demon (damaging him enough that my comrades could at least push him out of the ship)…I wouldn’t list him as an ally long-term, but he might provide some aid to us in the long run.

He did provoke some introspection from me, though…he asked me what I want in life. I told him what I desired in the past: to continue my research and raise a family. In further conversation, I resolved that my motives at this point have changed. I have a bigger part in this world than I ever wanted to, and that has its own responsibilities. So I told him that I want to save the world. That’s a wonderfully generic goal, isn’t it?

So what do I truly want in life? To be honest, I don’t know. And that lack of certainty scares me more than fire does. It’s a question worth pondering in the future.

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Entry 22

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

16 Olarune 999 YK

Once again, our ignorance has cost us. Last night, while I slept, I (and I assume the others) had another dream:

I was back in the chamber, same as the night Varis died. The cloaked figure raised his hand and said, “The Second is broken. The Watch is failed.”

With what Dolph was told in his vision, it seems that our deaths are preferred, but not required in whatever foul ritual is being performed.

We are headed to Dreadhold. Perhaps the Changeling we are to free can sed some light on this matter, or at least point us in the right direction.

15 Olarune 999 YK

The new additions seem promising. Of particualr note is the charismatic Dragonborn: Balothron Shieldbrow. He will be a valuable asset to our team. We also have a trained artificer, Manten Dramgrin, to repair the damage done last week, and a healer, Leonid Comik, whos aid as already proved invaluable; Dolph is awake again. And he has troubling news.

He claims to have seen a vision of Khorvaire burning while he was unconcious, and that he spoke to someone claiming to be “the key,” the person attempting to kill us. According to Dolph, the “key” told him that we had accomplished little of importance last night, that he would be back for us. If Dolph’s description is accurate, we are being hunted by a Rakshasa, one of a race of ancient fiends who, upon their deaths, promptly reincarnate. But, still, by saving Adrik, we at least foiled his plot to “open the locks.”

Didn’t we?

14 Olarune 999 YK

Adrik lives! Thank the Host; I do not known what I would have done had we lost another comrade, particularly so soon after the loss of the Orb and Dolph’s accident in the Elemental Chamber. We managed to knock the assassin (a shapechanger of some sort; he tried to masquerade as me, of all people) out a hole in the side of the vessel. Whatever he may have been, nothing could have survived that fall. For the first time in what feels like ages, we have secured a victory. Tomorrow we rendezvous with Darin’s friends; hopefully then we can help Dolph.

10 Olarune 999 YK

Dolph is still unconscious, though it seems he will live. His injuries are severe, however; he has burns over large portions of his body, and his left arm has been severed entirely. Darin claims there is a trained healer waiting us in Breland, so we are headed to the rendezvous with his contact with all possible haste.

Unfortunately, the airship suffered major damage when the Fire Elemental broke free. With Dolph unconcious and no trace of the warlock Xanthis after the explosion, there is no one to fully repair the damage. As a result, our speed has been greatly reduced.

On top of that, it is possible that there is, or was, a demon aboard the ship, if the analysis of the ooze we encountered on Deck 2 is correct. With the full moon drawing near, I fear the worst.

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Entry 21

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

9 Olarune 999 YK

We’ve been fools! Played like a harp this entire time! The Order of the Emerald Claw serves the Blood of Vol; they always have! Garrow must have begun laughing the moment Tethys and Kenharathad were out of earshot. Blood of Vol undead boarded our train- they must have been tracking us from the moment we left Flamekeep, sent word ahead when they knew we were using the Lightning Rail. And now they have the Artifact!

We played right into their hands, and it cost hundreds of lives. I’ll never be rid of it: the sight of the train plummeting off the bridge, the sound of the screaming. Tethys grabbed a child; why didn’t I think to do that?! I was so concerned with saving myself, and now so many are dead…If Darin and Karmuk hadn’t arrived in that airship when they did…

I feel sick. Ashamed. Dolph’s gone down to help in the Elemental Chammber, Tethys is helping fly the ship, and I’m cowering in a cabin.

We failed…

6 Olarune 999 YK

We’ve reached Thaliost. Security is still tight in the city, but tomorrow we can take the ferry to Rekkenmark. We should be in Krona Peak well before the assassin comes for Adrik.

1 Olarune 999 YK

We have the artifact. It was costly; most of Kenharathad’s men were killed, along with a number of paladins, but we have it. We also captured Vulgrim, who was one of the paladins guarding the complex. We’ve interrogated him, but he either doesn’t know anything, or he’s a terrific actor. Either way, we’re taking him with us when we leave tomorrow; we can’t leave him here, he would undermine our cover story. On that note, Tethys and Kenharathad returned from their meeting with Garrow about an hour ago. It seems he bought our Blood of Vol ruse, so we’ll be home free when he goes after them.

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Entry 20

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

28 Zarantyr 999 YK

Our plan is taking shape. We have led the Emerald Claw to believe that we won’t make our move for a few more days. Tomorrow, however, with the help of a Kalashtar named Kinharathad and his anti-Silver Flame insurgents, we’ll storm the Cathedral, masquerading as Blood of Vol fanatics. According to Kinharathad, protecting the Keeper, the Cardinals, and the Flame itself will be the knights’ priority, giving us a narrow window to get into the vaults while the guards’ attention is focused elsewhere. We’ll use hostages and false demands to stall for time and keep the guards away while we locate and recover the Artifact, before using Rogan’s Blastpatch to fake our deaths and cover our escape.

With luck, the entire city, the Emerald Claw included, will believe the attack to be the work of the Blood of Vol, allowing us to slip out quietly.

27 Zarantyr 999 YK

The Emerald Claw is in the city and aware of our presence. We were brought to a safehouse of theirs, where we met our old acquaintance, Captain Garrow. He explained to us that there were a number of groups in the city interested in what Krozen is studying beneath the Cathedral, and that it would be difficult to get the Artifact out of the city without attracting the attention of all of them.

This has given us an idea; if we can convince the Emerald Claw that the Blood of Vol has retrieved the Artifact, those two should be too easy fighting each other to notice us sneaking out of the city. Our plan is to head north to Daskaran and take the lightning rail east to Krona Peak, where we’ll make our way over the mountains to Dreadhold.

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Entry 19

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

26 Zarantyr 999 YK

Of course. The vague whispers of a magical rock weren’t enough to save Varis, why should they be enough to actually help us. The “Nation of No Borders” refers to the Chamber. The Cabinet of Faces simply uses the phrase to mislead anyone skilled enough to stumble onto one of their schemes. Except us. Apparently, we are of enough interest to them that we were finally able to meet with their leaders, an apparently rare enough occurrence that I am suspicious.

They seemed helpful enough, pointing us towards an agent of theirs who can help us with the Chamber. Of course, we have to get him out of Dreadhold first. Supposedly, executing this jailbreak is supposed to ensure our silence, though as the Cabinet has already intimated that they know who killed King Vadallia, I am not sure why further blackmail material is required. They were also generous enough to teleport us to Thrane, free of charge. Even so, I do not whooly trust them. Rogan believes that their interest in the orgins of the Mourning is more than simple curiosity, and in the end, they did not seem to interested in the information we had to offer.

But I digress. We have other things to worry about, now, such as stealing a powerful Artifact out from under the nose of the Church of the Silver Flame.

23 Zarantyr 999 YK

Graywall is a much more…civilized place than I would have expected, though the mind flayer mayor’s rather sever punishments for disrupting the peace are clearly responsible. Even so, the city is dangerous, and I am glad we left as soon as we did. Even in the short time we were there, Tethys and Bree managed to run afoul of the locals, though the rest of us were able to secure the services of a guide, who assures us he can get us to the Great Crag without crossing paths with any of the warlords patrolling the region.

We also picked up a book, apparently sent by Torra. According to her, it may have information relating to Melchizedek’s inquiries into the Blood of Vol and the Mark of Death. Though it is written in Draconic, I have no interest whatsoever in its contents. I have already spent months translating one ancient tome, and all I have to show for my efforts is a dead friend. LEt the others read it, if they must; I want no part in it.

18 Zarantyr 999 YK

We arrived at Castle Arakain this morning. Aparrently, the castle is the country estate of the royalk family, but Lord ir’Clarn’s son captured it with the help of mercenaries from Droaam. If he is to be believed, he took the castle the same day we met with the king, before any news of the arrests could have reached him; clearly, Lord ir’Clarn had been planning this for some time, and King Borthas’ claims of his ties to Daask were not wholly unwarranted. Word of our “quest” to retrieve a weapon from Droaam has preceded us, and Lord ir’Clarn’s son has offered us our pick from the castle’s stables, as well as enough residuum for Dolph to improve some of our equipment. Tomorrow, we set out for Graywall

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Entry 18

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

15 Zarantyr 999 YK

Varis is dead. We found his body last night during a powerful storm, and when we tried to move him, his body turned to ash. The others say that he was apparently burned from the inside out, though they cannot say whether that was what killed him, or if he was already dead from the stab wound in his side. Does it matter? He is dead, and we could do nothing to save him. Adrik was on wathc, and he swears he saw no one but Varis before something knocked him out.

Now, we have nothing to go on but a dark figure in our dreams and the words “The storm is unleashed. The first is broken.” Adrik believes that this is what the prophecy in the Frostfell was referring to: our deaths, one by one. Zarantyr is asociated with the MArk of Storm, Varis’ mark, and next month’s moon, Olarune, is associated with the Mark of Sentinel, Adrik’s mark. We fear he may be next, but waht do we do? The Abyssal journal has also gone missing, so I cannot search for more clues. I feel we are stumbling in the dark.

Tethys believes the figure in our dreams is the same on she saw searching for someone, presumably her, in the Mournland, and Dolph is convinced it is the same man he saw ostensibly claiming credit for the Mourning. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. Varis is dead.

13 Zarantyr 999 YK

Our resuce was more or less successful. Our initial plan failed, but Varis, that crazy fool, was able to steal on of the elemental landcarts being uses in the transport and draw off most of the guards. We were able to deal with those who were left and break out the prisoners by the time he returned. Having apparently not gotten enough reckless insanity for one night, he, with the aid of both his and Melchizedek’s Dragonmarks, jumped one of the bridges and crashed us thorugh the southern gate. I’m still shaking, but I can’t deny his strategy’s effectiveness; it got us out of Wroat and put a fair bit of distance between us and any pursuers. We’re on foot now, but we should be able to find new transportation to Ardev without too much trouble.

12 Zarantyr 999 YK

Last nights events were only the start. Today, word spread that King Borthas, ostensibly in an attempt to free its people form the tyranny of a corrupt theocracy, as declared war on Thrane. He has also issued a proclamation that those who oppose the King during this state of war are guilty of treason and sedition, and will be punished as such. While we wish to leave the city and head fro Droaam as soon as possible, we have been convinced to give some aid to the fledgling rebellion against Borthas; we will attempt to free those who were arrested last night before they can be sent to Dreadhold. However, our aid is not entirely altruistic; the nobles we rescue may be able to help us escape the city.

We infiltrated the King’s Citadel tonight to gather intelligence on the transport of the prisoners, and though we got what we were looking for, it was not without cost. Dolph and Tethys were badly injured for a time we thought they might be dead, but a cleric sympathetic to the rebel’s cause promises us he should have them back on their feet by tomorrow afternoon.

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Entry 17

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

11 Zarantyr 999 YK

Why is it that wherever we go, conflict and discord seem to follow? In light of King Borthas’ recent, secretive trips to Thrane, the Parliament, lead by a Ruken ir’Clarn 9who supposedly has ties to the Aurum) demanded that he step down and hand control of the government completely over to them, claiming he could not be trusted with the rule of Brland. The king responded by ordering the arrest of those present who opposed him. We managed to escape with Dolph’s father and sister, but many others were not so lucky. With House Aeolus a declared enemy of the state, their home was no longer safe. Wynne took us to meet some friends of hers who apparently been preparing for this for some time. From here, we can figure out our next move.

I have become convinced that “Sir Vulgrim” betrayed us, and given that the Artifact was last seen in his possession, coupled with the rumors coming from Thrane, I am very worried, indeed. We must decide whether or not to continue with our plan to meet with the Cabinet of Faces, or to detour to Thrane.

10 Zarantyr 999 YK

We arrived in Wroat tonight. Dolph’s family has graciously offered their home to us, though they seem a little unsettled by all of us. Not that I blame them; we are a rather strange group, and some of us take a little getting used to. Tethys and Melchizedek have become fast friends with Dolph’s sister, Wynne, though I suspect at least part of that is to annoy Dolph, yet another part of their culture I fear I will never understand. Dolph’s fater, Lord Trent, has asked us to accompany us to an audience with the new king tomorrow. He seems to expect trouble and believes a group with our experiences may come in handy.

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Entry 16

From the Journal of Arjhan Da’Seka Flamebrow…

4 Zarantyr 999 YK

We spent the day gathering supplies (horses, rations) for our journey. A hobgoblin named Brakkar with ties to the criminal organization Daask told us to go to the town of Graywall to secure safe passage through Droaam, where Lost is allegedly located, so that’s where we’re headed, though Dolpoh has asked that we make a quick detour to Wroat to see his family. I believe he is worried about them in light of the rumors surrounding King Boranel’s death, namely that either his son, the new king, or ambitious nobles may have been behind his death. It also seems that Paldrith has stepped down as captain of his airship. The official reason is for “health” issues, but I believe it has to do with the role he played in our release.

Karmuk and Torra will stay behind to clear up any loose ends in Sharn; the rest of us will leave tomorrow.

3 Zarantyr 999 YK

Our activites at Ambrose’s warehouse did not go unnoticed, it seems. The Sharn City Watch showed up at the Delphinus to arrest us for the theft of his goods. Fortunately, Paldrith was willing and able to secure an advocate for us, though I doubt he meant to hire an agent of the Cabinet of Faces for the job. Paldrith is likely unaware of “Gavin Sol’s” true nature. In any event, “Sol” was able to secure our release, though not before obliquely telling us to go to Lost, a supposedly hidden Changeling city, and look for something he called “the Gift”. He told us to remember that we were invited.

When we returned to the ship, I discovered that the journal, and my translations, had been stolen while we were gone. However, the others managed to retrieve it from a group we saw fleeing our ship. Said group appeared to be looking for Dolph, though we found no indication as to why or who they were working for. It seems prudent for us to leave Sharn as soon as possible.

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