The party leaves the Shadowthaig with Terra Firerock and the staff Drathgara. However not far back on their return journey to the Dwarven kingdom, the earth itself shifts in a way that splits the party in two and cuts off their route. With Terras help with one party, and CCs tracking and Banes stonecrafting on the other, both find a new route that leads them straight to the dwarven outpost Underthunder. Home of Banes birth.
Thought destroyed, the dwarven stronghold was in fact almost untouched by the demise of the Great Fall. Banes party with Damian and CC got their first and started exploring. Bane lead them to Hammerstriker hall where CC promptly fell down unmoving in the middle of the floor. Bane went looking for hidden enemies while Damian stood guard over the unconscious ranger. It didnt take long before he saw the other half of the Four Winds approaching. The party stepped through to help CC and dissappeared, as if through a portal, 1 by 1. Determined to stay together, the entire party stepped through.
What happened next is difficult to say. I will not speak of it here for the sanctity of the mind is not one I choose to reveal. Perhaps one of the Four Winds will put it in their own words …………. Or leave it to their leader Polk. In the end the party defeated the illithid lich Alhoon that held CC captive, with alot of help from Woody surprisingly. Although that may be more because Damian was also in danger. The Four Winds recovered except for CC, who had taken the worst of the psionic assault. Essodren carried the ranger back to Thunderholme.
Once in Thunderholme four important details happened. 1: CC became the second member of the Four Winds to require the dwarves of Thunderholmes aid in dealing with a coma, following in Zenas footsteps. 2: Belin Firerock accused Bane of treason and was exiled forever from the Thunderholme kingdom, shaven of beard and cast to the skykingdom. 3: Bane Hammerstriker was officially promoted to Earl of Underthunder, leader of the dwarven outpost when it is time to rebuild it. 4: The giant sapphire discovered last year was finished and unveiled for the first time, a new landmark for Thunderholme that will represent dwarven determination, wealth, and power.
The Four Winds left CC in King Eberts care and with Damians teleporting helping, traveled to the Vast Swamp. Where Bane Hammerstriker handed over Drathgara to the elemental prince Graphite. The earth prince granted Bane a pair of boots as a reward and left this plane of existence, vowing to keep the dangerous staff away for all eternity. Bane is sure to have angered the Umberlee clergy with this move. And may cost them if they ally with Dread Pirate Caspian. Still he remains firm that his choice was the right one.
The party returned to Suzail and split up. Bane went drinking at the Iron Pot, a special bar specifically with the short folk of dwarves in mind (though the occasional gnome or halfling who can see in the dark wanders in). It seems the dwarven earl met up with Eltibald Lastlight and after a deal went bad issued a message to be sent to Thunderholme and then consoled himself in the bar. While its well known that Eltibald is a shrewed conman, it is also well known that Eltibald and the Four Winds are the best of friends……
Arylin Starflower is seeing to the reconstruction of the Whispering Wind, as well as the normal crew of Gren Razorclaw, Epecet Whirleywhistle, Oswald Fiddlebender, Mendryl Brandyfire, and ……… Lewie….. Two new additions are the halfling merchant from Westgate, Old Pete. And a door knocker by the name of Doorface. Those who havent meet Doorface yet wont soon forget him, though they might wish they could. Progress of the Whispering Wind is progressing at a rapid pace. The framework is done and now they are adding the hamsterwheel power sources and the piping. Arylin is lucky to have two such skilled gnome tinkerers working on the ship, her biggest challenge is keeping them focused.
Damian disappeared almost as soon as bringing the group to Suzail. Though it seems the play is about to open and he is spending most of his time on that. He did mention to Bane that he might be able to sway the Umberlee priestesses to stay out of the conflict. Woody, as usual, goes with him.
Essodren and Sunny spent their time together trying to repair Brightsplinter, a minor relic Sunny accidental destroyed in the Shadowthaig. It seemed to involve the Lanthander temple House of the Morning, and little joy rode in the Flitter. When they came back the next day the dagger seemed as good as new. Maybe better. Sunny also was heard to make a mention to Gren of “A source of advice I trust from a person I thought gone.” Essodren probably knows what he means but seems more grouchy then normal about restoring the dagger. Not sure what they did but both of them went immediately to sleep upon returning.
The group rejoins that evening for the grand opening of Suck This! The play of Coryrian adventurers against the horrid vampires. This idea to replace Twighlit that came out last year by Peven Mayers. The play was a grand hit. “Glory to Cormyr!” became a catchphrase almost overnight. Damian was seen to be at his most generous. The play went off without a hitch, almost unheard of on opening night. All the big players were in attendance of the play, including the Golden Gauntlets, Storm Silverhand, Lord Mournsoul, Lady Myrmeen Leah of Arabel, Dawnmaster Foxva, and of course King Azoun IV and Queen Filfierel.
While only Damian Mordiki was seen at the play, most of the Four Winds made it to the afterparty. CC was understandably absent though it is less known why Bane was seen complaining at the Iron Pot that night. Something about the way dwarves were portrayed. Considering that the rumor was he himself was offered the role of Enab the dwarf. He has only himself to blame.
The next morning Sunny and Arylin ran into Eltibald Lastlight (also missing from the play and the afterparty) who had a deep conversation with them. What all was said is unknown but one fact that came up was that there was a group of elven wizards in the Kingswood apparently looking for Arylin Starflower. The group gathered together but was unable to locate Bane. Realizing that this may be their only chance to catch the wizards unaware, they continued without him. By the luck of the gods, Polk decided to go find the dwarf and pull him out of his funk. The rest of the Four Winds left before the teamster could return.Upon arriving in the Kingswood they used Essodrens magic and Damians surprisingly good sense of tracking to home in on the elves. It is unknown how Damian became a good tracker all of a sudden, maybe he just payed more attention to how CC did it then the others. As it was he was the first to notice a strange froglike creature that turned out to be nonother then Screech, the shapeshifting druid who had helped mentor Zendros into becoming Talon. He had no problems with the elven wizards but owed the Four Winds for favors of the past, not the least of which was helping Talon fulfil his destiny. He helped track the group right to the elves. It was a good thing regardless because without it, the elven mages would have ambushed them.
What followed next was a magical onslaught that might have been heard all the way in Zhentil Keep. The elves had not one but SIX powerful wizards as well as a elite Bladesinger and six apprentices. All well versed in the arcane and formed of a plan to take down this exact group. They got a little more then they bargained for however. A master conjurer squared off against Screech in a battle that took both combatants far from the others. Whatever creature the conjurer summoned, Screech knew everything about and could morph into something that could exploit almost any weakness. It was just a matter of what ran out first, Screeches shapeshifting endurance or the conjurers spells.
A archmage of Transmutation cast a spell that made him vanish…. only to reappear a second later as a broken wrecked corpse that looked like it had gone four rounds boxing a rabid storm giant. And according to Essodren later, had his soul ripped out…….
A master diviner could shift the fates but came up short against the luck of the halflings as Sunny Underhill made quick work of the older elf. Her contingency spell took her away before she would perish but she never returned to the battle. A Expert enchanter cast a spell of High Magic at them that is hard to describe. Damian seemed most put off by it and made him his main target for the first part of the battle, not letting up until he was defeated.
The bladesinger rushed Damian but Arylin drew her blade and met her face to face. It turns out that a spellstealing GSA is a good balance against the might and magic of a trained bladesinger. Their duel lasted the longest (other then Screech and the Conjurer). They both had a dozen tricks to outdo the other, but in the end Arylin had a dozen and one for which the bladesinger had no answer to the last.
That left Essodren to deal with the illusionist and Cloudcaster himself. As well as half the apprentices. The battles were fierce and the shaman might have met his end there if not for the others constanty demanding the others attention. Still he held his own and met spell with spell, long into the afternoon.
In the end it was actually Talindra that turned the tide of battle. Sunny had ordered a special batch of potions a year back and used one now to find the real Buserickim Cloudcaster. (Ok so there is no chance Sunny would trust something this important to Talindras potions. Its the thought that counts.) Sunny knew that they were fighting a clone, something Arylin dubbed a “Simulcrum”, and used a simple potion of Locate Object to find where the real Cloudcaster would be. Since the elven mages had been depending on the diviner to protect them from all scrying, Cloudcaster had nothing to stop Sunny from finding him. Sunny crept off the battle to where Cloudcaster sat protected in a arcane circle. Sunny winced in frustration and tried frantically to think of a way to get to the ex abmassador.
He got his chance a few seconds later. Damian brought down a Cania Ice Storm on the clone that smashed the body of arcance clay to the ground. Normally damage to the clone doesnt affect the true caster. But the River Styx is nothing normal. The memory draining power of the mythic river psychically shocked the real Cloudcaster into falling backwards. Sunny lept on Cloudcasters hand that had fallen out of the protective circle and dragged the mage out to fight in a rather bizarre wrestling match.
It would not have worked, for Cloudcaster had a spell that allowed him to break a grapple whenever he wished. But Essodren had followed the halfling and started to dispel Cloudcaster for all he was worth. While halfling and lizardman bombarded the archmage magically and physically, Damian and Arylin worked together to finish the illusionist then rush to their partys aid.
The battle ended up going skyward, with all combatants airborne. Either by flying, teleporting, levitating, or hitching rides on giant bears of ectoplasm. Sunny manage to trick Cloudcaster by teleporting at the last moment and backstabbing him. Damian discovered that he was flying by means of an item, not a spell, and targeted specifically his means of flight. Cloudcaster fell like a stone over 80 feet. Due to Damian he couldnt fly and due to Sunny he couldnt concentrate enough to try to cast a spell anyway.
In the end it was the ground itself and the simple indisputable law of gravity that delivered the final blow. He croaked out words to Arylin, some kind of question. But died without ever hearing her response. It should be noted that despite all he had done, Arylin Starflower still buried him in the traditional elven way with elven words of parting.