The Howling of a Mighty Storm
The Lady's Chalice and the Secret of the Greendraught were in danger. The druids of the Circle of the Stag were vanishing one after another until only one remained. In desperation, she turned to the Order of the Jade Blade and begged them to help her keep the Forest Maiden's secrets from a unseen menace that threatened the tradition of the Green Regent.
Ah, you've returned. Good, I was hoping to continue my tale of the Order of the Jade Blade. Now where did I end last time? Oh, yes – the Jade Blade had just returned to Loudwater and were invited to dine with Ovendal Beutalenn’dal. The moon elf matriarch had a special request for the adventures and arrived at the Evening Star for dinner in the company of a druid of Mielikki.
Ovendal introduced the woman as Tereena, a druid of the Circle of the Stag. The Circle of the Stag is the group of druids responsible for the ritual that picks the Green Regent. They keep the Greendraught and the Lady’s Chalice, which are crucial in the selection of the Green Regent. Tereena told the Jade Blade that the members of the Circle were missing, disappearing without a trace in the High Forest. She was terrified that she was the only one left and that this was a malicious plot to gain control of the Chalice.
Tereena said that she had to move the Chalice in case one of her fellow druids revealed its location, but she was too afraid to do so herself. She begged our heroes to retrieve the chalice from its hiding place, and they agreed.
The next morning, our heroes traveled up the Delimbiyr River into the wilderness for three days. Following Tereena’s directions, they found a circle of nine standing stones deep at the center of a forested valley. Tereena had given them a few drops of her blood and instructions to pour the blood on the symbol of Mielikki on the altar stone at the center of the circle. When the Jade Blade did so, a fierce wind picked up and howled around them, and a pillar of light rocketed from the stone. When the brilliance cleared, a simple clay cup, painted with the images of stags prancing with unicorns, sat on the altar stone. They had found the Lady's Chalice.
Moments after the Jade Blade secured the chalice, a cleric of Talos, accompanied by a gnome sorceress and three armored reptilian humanoids, stepped into the ring of standing stones. The cleric, whose name I have learned was Nathalarius, demanded the Lady’s Chalice. Naturally, the Jade Blade refused to give it to him and drew their weapons when the Talosians became insistent. The fight that followed was short and decisive, and our heroes put an end to their threat.
Suspecting that the Talosians might be responsible for the abduction of the druids, the Jade Blade followed the tracks of the Talosians back to their lair. The path left the High Forest and climbed high into the Greypeaks to a mountain that I will call the Mountain of Storms because of what the Jade Blade found there.
Near the base of the mountain, our heroes found a cave mouth that was guarded by Talosian cultists and worgs. The Jade Blade defeated them but the guards managed to trigger an alarm which alerted the entire complex. With the element of surprise gone, the adventurers waded through the forces the clerics of Talos had assembled. Fanatical warriors in the service of the Lord of Storms fell before them until at last they faced a behir that had come to revere Talos and had adopted the ascetic ways of a monk. The battle against the behir was brutal as the creature was elusive and avoided many of their attacks. Eventually they triumphed over the beast and climbed higher through the inside of the mountain.
The winding tunnel ended at the Temple of the Destroyer which was infested by a hellwasp swarm that the Jade Blade dispersed. Beyond the temple, the Jade Blade burst into the prisons where the Talosians were holding the captured members of the Circle of the Stag. Twelve druids of the Circle of the Stag were all here and alive but none were in good health. The Talosians had been torturing them to get them to reveal the location of the Lady’s Chalice and the secret of the Greendraught. So far, the druids had resisted the interrogations, and they warned the Jade Blade that the Talosians were led by a powerful cleric named Bolthar who was somewhere in the Mountain of Storms
Our heroes climbed further up inside the mountain and found a room that was used by Nathalrius, where they discovered letters to and from Rendonil Beutaleen'dal – the elf who was responsible for several murders in my previous tale. The letters urged him to continue his “work” in Loudwater and even gave suggestions as how to accomplish his grisly tasks.
At the top of the mountain, the Jade Blade at last met Bolthar the Doombringer. Warned of their assault, the high priest of Talos had summoned four of the largest wyverns the adventurers had ever seen to defend him. He roared his challenge at our heroes and attacked them in the name of Talos. The wyverns swirled around the mountain peak, heedless of the blustering winds and the crackling lightning. The winds made arrow fire nearly impossible, so the Jade Blade was forced to engage him hand to hand. When it was obvious that he was overmatched, Bolthar attempted to mount one of the wyverns and flee, but a wash of magic explosions from the casters in the Jade Blade ended his escape, sending him and the wyvern tumbling down the mountainside, killing them both.
With Bolthar's death, the storm lessened. Having ended the Talosian threat, the Jade Blade returned to Loudwater, where they presented the Lady’s Chalice to Tereena. She was overjoyed at the recovery of the chalice and the rescue of her fellow circle members. She bestowed upon all of our heroes the Blessing of the Circle of the Stag.
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