Heroes of the Dark

Emanations

Phlan had its revival of the previous century under the watchful eye of Juchin and his band of extraplanar adventurers.  A tiefling, a kender, and a centaur from Krynn may not seem like able or fast companions, but they were effective in taking control of a series of checkpoints in the city while searching for the fabled Baneblades of Demron.

Actually managing to recover two of them, they had separated to cross the Realms and find the remaining blades.  One of them vanished.  One of them was entrapped in stone by curse magic by dwarves guarding the tomb where the blade was kept.  One of them was consumed by his quest for power, and ended up destroying his own city.  The last reached out to the only help she knew.

Dyanette Sel'rue received a plea for aid from the centaur Acacia, and convinced his sisters to render aid after telling them of the fabled blades.  That was when things took an unfortunate turn.  Aun'rae received a vision from Lolth, and the two sisters recovered a whet stone they believed could turn the blades from the elves and secure them for Her purposes.

All they had to do was recover the kender from her stone tomb, where she continued to retain the secrets and locations of the remaining three blades.

That was when Juchin arrived in the city, disguised as a pit fighter.  Killing the Sel'rue arena champion, he demanded a meeting to be named the Sel'rue champion.  That was when he revealed himself, and identified that he was the reason the city of Phlan had fallen.  He was also searching for the kender because she had stolen the baneblades.

Juchin became aware later… the whet stone was working.

The tangled web led the party to the Western Realms, where they recovered the next blade and the kender, through a series of traps and orcish bandits also trying to steal from the dwarven tomb.

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Machinations

Matron Sim'ryyvin spoke heresy while Lolth was watching.

It will be the last time she will ever speak.  Lolth appeared through an avatar and identified the book Ryyv was using as a heretical text written by a drunk woman and destroyed it before her eyes.

Killing her, she determined, would be too good for her.

Meanwhile, the forces of Sel'rue uncovered a plot from the Cult of Ghaunadar to re-enter the city, and used knowledge of the plot to implicate Sos'umptu and send her scurrying to Baenre for protection.  She now resides in their chapel, and Arach Tinilith has accepted a new whipmaster.

Sorcere has also moved forward through urging by Baenre to accept Elginn as an instructor for the mage academy, a position of great power, and Melee-Magthere accepted Valen'rae as an instructor, making use of her training in unarmed combat.

All was not success and glory, however, as House Vandree charged Sel'rue with heresy, having learned of their machinations in Ched Nasad, and attacked during a Peace of Lolth, setting the entire city against them.  Their destruction was inevitable, but not before the Vandree did a lot of damage, targeting the rothe and mushrooms with poison and curses, which continue to threaten the whole of the city.

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The Spark

Sel'rue confronts House Baenre with news of the attack of Kiaransalee and the penance fields, and is granted a meeting with House Symryvvin.  They speak openly about the creation of the Zin Carla at their mother's hands, her death, or their subsequent rise to power in their house.

Symryvvin agreed that this should be concealed when they revealed that Di'ann Sel'rue had been reincarnated as lizard folk.  Previous apocrypha suggested that priestesses could not be raised, because they ascended to the hand of Lolth.  That realization would weaken the power structure centered on the priesthood.


 

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The Penance Fields

The coterie of Sel’rue was subjected to a vision of dark times, and the fall of their people many thousands of years ago, and learned that someone, close to them, may be worshipping the demigod Kiaransalee.



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The Dearth

It was a time of poor plenty and anger. 

Houses squabbled over shortages and children did not grace the altars of the great temples.  There were collapses in a series of caverns used for major traverse and guards disappeared by the score in the deep tracking new routes for the traders.

"Frank" and Tomen Sorr had provided the people of Menzoberranzan with trade goods from the surface for several seasons now, but his time below had cost his livelihood on the surface, and now he needed a place to hide.  But he planned to find one last means of securing his worth, planning assaults on a series of Purple Dragon spies attempting to find their way to the City of Spiders.

Sel'rue found its way into the good graces of Arach Tinilith, and Melee Magthere, while Sorcere took advantage of all Elghinn's knowledge for a further two years as an instructor.  Granting each of them the protection of Baenre, the House enjoyed a series of windfalls, attempting to manipulate the market successfully for many months until they drew the ire of a neighboring House.

They would rise and fall quickly.


 

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Madness in the Hive

Goblins are prone to moments of impropriety, and Muck was happy to encourage their initiative.  The loss of his Matron, and the subsequent loss of Du'rran, the lizardfolk reincarnation of the Matron Diann Sel'rue, left him on the run.

Muck had fortified a position among a few score of goblins and other escaped slaves a few miles outside Menzoberranzan, but he had a feeling it wouldn't be far enough.  One of the escaped slave taskmasters had taken to advising on the closeness of the City of Spiders, enough that one of the orcs had threatened to pin his ears to his tongue if he spoke again.

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It was when Frank showed up that the guards started screaming.

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The Villian is the Hero of their Story
Q'Xorlarrin

Zeerith Xorlarrin had a bold plan, to retake the dwarven forge of Gauntlgrym.

The duergar and denizens of the Underdark commanded the land below, but it was Xorlarrin who commanded hundreds of goblin slaves and drider. 

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Eventually the holds of Gauntlgrym would begin to fall, and pushing inward one day after nightless next, the denizens of the Underdark fought for control over the Pit that lay at the heart of the dwarven home.

 

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Whispers in the Dark

The Xorlarrin are a warlike band of mystics.  Their psionic talents have made them powerful, exacting, and greedy—far greedier than perhaps Baenre or Barrison.  But something happened there, in the dark, when they suddenly struck out on their own and became a city-state unto themselves.

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The Fracture happened slowly.  In fact, it had taken a thousand years.  One of the most venerable houses, with a single matron since Menzoberranzan's founding, had lost their matron.  Not all at once… and not instantly, to be sure.

X.

It was the first of their name, not because they were mysterious, but because they had become a mystery.  The name of their forebears from the time of the Sundering was completely forgotten.  In this case, the "X" represented a name lost to time, which was unusual because the matron was so old she no longer remembered the time of her birth—the time before her skin was black.

The fact that she had died?  Had she?  was very troubling to her people.  Yet there she was, in the hive that had become their minds.

Combining faces and thoughts and names and intentions, until no lie, no opposition, no argument could survive.  Only the cold and pure fact of an eternity gone wrong.  She wandered between their minds, occasionally sifting the rarified fact or hidden knowledge that she desired, and she would take without asking.

She was the center of their world, their Link.  She was everything.  And now that the Link was complete, after a thousand years, it was time to ascend to godhood.  She would become Xorlarrin, the god of the mind.  A few voices failed to instantly agree, and were silenced.  A few more questioned, and were subsumed.  Now all was Xorlarrin, and her mind was cleared of any doubt.

Who were these people to enter her realm?  They were not of the Link.  They were… .Outsiders.  She would expel this cancer of question like a wound heals, until the withered scab fell away to be forgotten.

What was it they said?  "Start by talking about your intentions to attack us after we had done your bidding?"  …was that what I had done?  Very well.  No matter.

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Phlan Burning

The drow party makes its way into a Phlan under fire, recovering two swords but interrupting a war between orcs and fire giants.  Following into the catacombs they discovered an ancient tomb that the previous adventurers missed, and an ancient curse too powerful to ignore.

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Valhingen Unhinged
The Unrested Dead

Dead silence replaced by dead marching, and the coterie of the Underdark found themselves quickly surrounded by zombies led by a mummy.  Fortunately the powers of the clerics did not fail, and the undead were quickly turned away.

Not having a need for them, the party chose to destroy them and continue to the surface, where they found a city on fire as an orcish horde led by a human with siege equipment drove out the last vestiges of a civilized society.

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Finding the human leader bought them nothing, however, as the captured human parlayed for his release and promised to betray his ilk, but used the confusion of their next miscast volley from the catapults to quaff a potion of invisibility and beat a hasty retreat under cover of darkness.

They had a feeling they would see him again.

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