Realm of Toril

Felladar's Vision

As Felladar boarded the ship to The Sword Coast, he could feel a strange numbness seeping across his mind. Barely able to think straight, he stumbles aboard, when suddenly a bright light blinds him. When his vision returns, he is in a different place. It looks like a tent, made up to look like a war room with maps and battle plans all over the various tables inside. An old man in full battle plate stands behind one of the desks, his eyes on Felladar.
Realizing just who this was, Felladar collapsed to his knees, kneeling before his god.
“My lord Heironeous, you grace me with your presence.”
The battle-hardened old man looks down at Felladar.
“On your feet soldier. You have done well.”
As Felladar gets to his feet, the god continues to talk.
“By destroying Ilyana and her forces, you have destroyed the threat that would have wiped out the island of Keen, and eventually a good portion of Chult too, plunging that land into chaos and darkness. You and your band of friends have averted this fate, and you have earned my favour. I know what you have been seeking Felladar, what all paladins initially seek. And you shall have it. For you, Felladar Brightblade, have served me well!”
Felladar’s eyes widen and he lets out a gasp in shock. As Heironeous gives him his name, a longsword slides out of the ground in front of the paladin, rising into the air point toward the ground and beginning to glow.

“Take this sword, Brightblade, and carry it with honour. I can only hope that this blade keeps you on the right path, with what lies ahead for you…”
Felladar reverently takes hold of the sword. It fits well in his hand and is perfectly balanced, as if it were hand crafted for him.
“This is not all I give you, young knight. I have one further gift. I know you question my ways in your heart, do you not? Come now, don’t be shy, you have nothing to fear from me.”
Felladar slowly nods his head, replying, “yes my lord.. I have lived my whole life seeking out your will and following the path of righteousness, doing that which is good and lawful. But recently, my comrades have shown me other ways of thinking… The assassin for example, who doesn’t follow the rules in any way at all yet still manages to do good. I am curious about the other paths of life.”
Heironeous nods.
“That you are, young warrior. And that is why I give you this gift. I release you from my service.”

Felladar stares in complete shock, feeling the holy power that flowed through him previously leaving his body. Heironeous holds up a hand.
“Fear not. As I said, you shall have no harm from me. You averted a war that the side of law and order would undoubtedly have lost, and therefore, this one time I am willing to make an exception. You will suffer none of the ill effects the fall from paladinhood can bring. However this does not come without its price. I offer you the gift of being able to see all as it truly is, to see the very balance of the world as I do. Your questions about other walks of life shall be answered, and you shall find your own place in the very centre of it all. But this is no simple gift. Nay, it is a double edged sword, for such a powerful gift comes with a price to be sure. Alas, my time here grows short. Even as I appear unto you, another god, one of evil and chaos, is permitted counsel with one of his warriors, thus we must be brief. Will you accept this gift, this curse, that I offer Felladar Brightblade? It is what you seek, though not what you wish it to be.”
After thinking it over for a moment, Felladar slowly nods.
“I will accept your gift my lord. I shall seek my own path, and on my honour, I swear I shall find it.”

Heironeous steps forth, and reaches out a hand to place upon Felladar’s head.
“Go forth, you who were formally my warrior, and find the path you seek. Find the balance that your heart desires. I leave you now, though power of your own shall take the place of the power I gave to you.”
As Felladar listens, his vision flickers back and forth between seeing the battle-tent, and seeing a fight going on with bandits by the looks of things. He draws his sword in the real world and attempts to aid his comrades even as his mind is pulled back to Heironeous once more.
“I offer you one last piece of advice, Brightblade. Seek out Ixil, he will require your aid though he will not admit it. Aid him, but do not trust him for he is not as he appears. This is my final gift to you Felladar. We shall not likely meet again.”

With that, Felladar snaps back to the real world with a gasp, sitting straight up in his bed, in a strange place. It looks to be an inn, but Felladar has no memory of how he got there. The sword given to him by Heironeous sits at the end of his bed with his other weapons and equipment. The sleeping forms of his comrades lie in beds around the room, and Felladar ponders what was said to him. A strange feeling comes over him as he looks at his comrades. He can feel each one’s presence as he looks at them, but not just their presence. The air in the room seems affected by them, and by himself to a lesser degree. Energies in the air pull in four directions, north south east and west. Or perhaps more correctly, toward good and evil, and toward order and chaos. There is balance for now, but Felladar shudders at the thought of what it may feel like if that balance were shifted…
As he ponders what all this could mean, his friends begin to stir.

Chapter One
Quests? Everybody loves quests.

Chapter One

Our story begins in the small town of Stallenford, where trouble has begun to stir. A panicked looking fellow approaches yelling at the top of his lungs, “Father Aralic has been kidnapped! Father Aralic is in danger! Somebody please help!”
A small group of would be adventurers gather around him, and one at the front dressed in a suit of chain mail and grasping a shining long sword and says to the panicking man “Calm yourself friend, we are here to help if you are in need of assistance. I am Felladar, Holy Paladin of the great god Heironeous. These are my frien-”
A large, armour clad figure jumps forward cutting off Felladar, extending his arm for a hearty handshake.
“Hi! I’m Fighter!”
The red robed mage steps forward as well, rolling his eyes at Fighter’s enthusiasm.
“And I am Vokun. The quiet one back there with the pointy ears is Slemming, our resident monk.”
“Vegan monk,” the wood elf corrects him.
“Right… And the one with the bow is Martin, an excellent ranger. Or so he says.”
Martin flashes him a dirty look and makes a vaguely offensive gesture in Vokun’s direction.
“And the one back in the shadows over there is Drago. An ex assassin.”

The man looks between the group of them wide-eyed. “Y-You guys can help? Oh thank the gods, the Festival of Kings cannot go on without Father Aralic! I saw a band of orcs dragging him off out of town earlier, moving off toward the hills, please will you save him?!”
Fighter is already grinning ear to ear. “This sounds like a quest! I love quests! We will save…” He turns to Vokun, “name..?
“Father Aralic.”
YES! We will save Father Aralic from this orcish peril! Onward my band of friends! TO THE QUEST!”

The Battle

A short journey out into the hills later, Martin points toward a small cave opening against the face of a cliff.
“There,” says Martin. “The trail leads in here.”
He pokes his head into the cave, and quickly jumps back, drawing his bow and running back behind the rest of the party.
“We have company!”
The group draws their weapons and take up a position, Fighter and Felladar in the front with blades at the ready. Fighter grasps his two handed sword tightly, saying to Felladar as three orcs burst out of the cave entrance.
“I love this part!” He takes off running towards the orcs at full tilt screaming, “My sword shall taste battle!”
Offering up a prayer to Heironeous, Felladar joins his comrade in battle. Vokun begins weaving magical energy to form a spell while Martin draws back an arrow, and Drago slips off unnoticed. Slemming meanwhile, taking a much more laid back approach, sizes up the orcs, knocks back another handful of trail mix, and then breaks into a sprint, closing the distance. As blade meets blade, Fighter and Felladar lock into combat with two of the orcs while the third circles around, going for Felladar’s blind spot. Drago fires an arrow from the trees at the orc lunging toward Felladar but his arrow flies high, carried off by the wind. As Fighter, with a surprising amount of grace for a warrior of his size and strength, slices and dices the orc in front of him he calls to Felladar, “Friend! Behind you!”

Felladar turns in time to see Slemming leap through the air, his foot connecting with the side of the orc’s head in a skillful flying sidekick, sending the orc hurtling across the ground, it’s neck bent at an unnatural angle. Turning back to face his foe, Felladar tactfully beats the orc back, one sword strike at a time, until the orc’s back is against the cliff face. With no other options, the orc raises it’s blade to strike, only to be run through by Felladar’s blade as he spots the opening he was waiting for. Vokun’s magic fades away, unneeded this time, and Martin lowers his bow.
As the party gathers the loot off of the bodies, a measly amount of silver coins, one more orc comes through the doorway, and Martin is the first to spot it, rapidly bringing his bow back up and letting loose an arrow. The arrow, perhaps by it’s senders wish or perhaps by ill-fated accident, flies directly into Vokun’s back. As the red robed spellcaster collapses Felladar is already rushing over to kneel beside him, casting his arms skyward and offering up a prayer to his god.
“Heironeous! We ask thee to spare our comrade, who hast fallen in glorious and honourable battle! Let this not be his time to depart, and heal him that his fight may continue!”

Holy light shines about Felladar, and he lays his hands on Vokun as he removes the arrow. The wound closes behind the arrow as it tears out, and Vokun coughs, opening his eyes again. Meanwhile, the light coming off of Felladar has reflected off of Fighter’s sword, and his eye’s widen.
“Heironeous has lit my sword on fire! I SHALL SLAY YOU, ORC!”
He charges forth, catching the orc by surprise, rightly so too as not many rush a full grown orc while fanatically swinging a broadsword about. Fighter cuts down the orc with ease, and thrusts his sword skyward, the sun catching the blade and appearing to shine as if with flames within the blade. Fighter gasps in awe.
“My sword is on fire! It must have been magic! I have a magic sword!!”

The party gathers themselves to the mouth of the cave, the first of their many battles drawn to a close. Martin seemed to have disappeared, likely fearing the wrath of Vokun would come down on him as retribution for his ‘misplaced’ arrow, however the others were all uninjured and ready to go. One by one, they entered the cave.

The Cave

As the party enters the cave, following it’s twisting path down into the ground, a proper room opens up before them. Somebody has hollowed out a room underground, and there are two doors before them. Felladar shudders slightly, as the feeling of evil is overwhelming in this place. Behind one of the doors a crash sounds, and without a moment of consideration Fighter leaps forward and smashes the door down, swinging his sword about threateningly. The room however is empty, with the exception of a couple barrels in one corner, one of which has tipped over, likely causing the crashing sound. Fighter inches closer when suddenly a small dog-like being leaps out, chattering wildly in a rough, jagged language and holding it’s hand up in surrender. Fighter eyes it cautiously, as the others come into the room. Vokun looks it up and down as the others gather around it.
“It’s a kobold,” he says, “and it seems it wishes to surrender.”

Felladar glares at it, and draws his sword while stating, “It is a creature of evil and must be destroyed.”
Fighter turns to face Felladar, sword drawn still.
“We cannot just kill it! He surrendered! Besides, he’s cute.”
The kobold, as if sensing Fighter being friendly, runs up and hugs his leg, still chattering away in his own language. Vokun nods, as if in understanding of it.
“He says the orcs beat him for fun, if we are going to take them out then he wants to help us. He can lead us to where they are.”
Turning to Felladar, Vokun says, “Why not allow this creature a chance to redeem himself, and help our cause?”
Felladar doesn’t look happy with the situation but nods slowly.
“If it steps out of line even once, I’m taking it’s head off.”
The kobold jumps up onto Fighter’s back and Fighter grins, “A new friend! I shall call you… Snuffles!”
The kobold yips in approval and the group continues back the way they came and through the opposing door.

The path leads through many a twisting hall, and various rooms are on either side. The party checks each one, finding some to be empty and some to be filled with various monsters and orcs, none of which proved any great difficulty to dispatch. When they eventually reach a door with a large symbol written on it in red, Snuffles yips fearfully, and Vokun nods in agreement.
“He says this is it. We should ready ourselves.”
The group takes a moment to ready themselves and then bursts through the door, weapons drawn and ready for anything.

The large room is dominated by a heavy wooden throne, upon which sits a large orc. He leaps up as soon as the adventurers enter the room and bellows something in orcish. From doors on either side of the room, several other orcs rush in, one of which begins casting a spell, mystic energy crackling between his gnarled fingers. The other two orcs, along with the one who sat upon the throne, all rush towards the party, axes held at the ready. Felladar and Fighter rush in side by side again, with Slemming close behind, while Drago and Vokun stay back to provide missile support with sling and bow. Upon seeing the orc casting his spell however, Vokun drops his sling and begins weaving magic of his own, sending a dart of red energy shooting from his fingers to strike unerringly at the orc mage, blasting him and making him stumble backwards. The orc yells in frustration as his spell is ruined from the break in his concentration, while the fight breaks out between the warriors. Fighter and an orc meet in combat, but only momentarily as Fighter runs him through with a cry of “For Snuffles!”

The orc in engaging Felladar desperately struggles to fight off the paladin, but just as he manages to force him back a step an arrow from Drago’s bow takes the orc in the chest. Slemming himself is completely ignoring the orc leader’s attempts to hit him, each attack simply being dodged with ease while the large orc gets more and more frustrated. Finally the opening presents itself and Slemming lunges forward, punching him in the throat. While the orc gags, another arrow from Drago hits him in the stomach at the same time as Slemming spins around, his foot rising into the air mid spin and catching the orc in the side of the head. With a bone crunching crack, the big orc leader collapses to the floor no longer moving. Felladar and Fighter had run forward during all this, and as the others finish up with the orc leader they’re just in time to watch as Felladar puts his blade through the orc mage while Fighter takes off the creature’s head.

The group cheers as victory is achieved, and from a barred off cell in the back of the room a voice cries out, “Marvelous! Now, if you would be so kind as to get me out of here? I dislike tight spaces…”
The party turns to see Father Aralic in the small cell, and Felladar quickly frees him.
“My thanks, these orcs were trying to force me to heal their wounded so that they could raid my hometown! When I refused, they thought beating me would change my mind. I do now wish to dwell on what could have happened if you hadn’t arrived when you did.”
“It was no trouble,” says Felladar, “We were simply doing what was right.”
Drago rolls his eyes and mutters under his breath, “…and because I want some form of payment…”

Aralic looks around the room then presses one of the jutting out pieces of stone on the wall, and the wall behind the makeshift throne slides inward. Fighter gapes at the wall in surprise.
“A secret door?!”
Aralic nods. " The orcs get their orders from down that corridor. I do not wish to impose upon you, but I would greatly appreciate it if you could put an end to this once and for all."
He looks at Felladar. “I’m sure you can sense it too, the evil in this place?” As Felladar nods in agreement Aralic continues to speak.
“I believe these orcs get their orders from some servant of evil, a dark cleric. If you could vanquish him, my village could be freed from this threat for good.”
Felladar visibly tenses at the words ‘dark cleric’ and grasps his sword tighter.
“This evil cannot be allowed to continue. Father, we shall gladly rid the world of such foulness. You may return to the town knowing it is in good hands.”

Aralic leaves after wishing the group good luck, and telling them to seek him out once the deed was done, and the party then enters through the secret door, descending deeper still into the caves.


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