When we last left off, good readers, we were fleeing the city of Zirnakaynin at our fastest pace. First Daughter Alicavniss had promised to give us a head start, but it appeared that she may not have been completely forthright with us. Although we made it safely out of the city, and her map proved to be accurate, when we finally arrived at the aiudara (elfgate) we find Second Son Tiryin and his band of nasties waiting for us. Using my favorite tactics of stealth and invisibility, along with a fair helping of fireballs and blinding lights from our resident caster, we were able to subdue the enemy forces with minimal danger to ourselves.
One drow had managed to survive our assault. After questioning the lone survivor, we found that it was fairly obvious that Alicavniss had sent her brother to his death. Ah, the joy of drow politics. (Internal note – I find myself being very impressed with the First Daughter. She has an incredibly devious mind, and it doesn’t hurt that she is ridiculously attractive. I may have to try and spend some more time down here in the Darklands. Once we have finished saving the world, of course.)
We stepped into the aiudara, which was kind enough to activate at our approach, and were quickly greeted by an elven war party. Led by Lord Vilastir of Siavenenian, we were questioned as to our business before they agreed to escort us to Iadara, the capital of Kyonin and our fortunately our destination. He appeared interested in our tale, but we decided to withhold any details until we had spoken with the Queen.
Vilastir was kind enough to take us to guest accommodations to allow us to clean up before meeting with Her Majesty. I was glad that I cleaned up first, for upon retiring to my chambers for meditation, I glanced up to find that Her Royal Highness, the Court Wizard, and a few guards and appeared in my room! Having wished to speak with us in private, before we were brought before her in court, her wizard had brought her to my chambers. As beautiful as the tales had said, I admit that I was not my most eloquent at first, but soon my manners had returned, and I fetched my companions to speak with Queen Telandia.
The reason for her visit was that Her Majesty does not trust various members of her court, including Vilastir, whom she believes reports to the Winter Council – a group of nobles who believe in more traditional elven values, and desire to keep the other races out of Kyonin. She believes that this group may be complicit in the plans to create a Second Darkness being pursued by the drow House Azrinae. It turned out that the Council is currently reeling a bit, as one of their number, a General Allevrah, had killed the leader of the Council, and then fled into the Darklands. The new leader of House Azrinae is also named Allevrah, and she appears to have a great deal of knowledge of the surface world. This seemed like quite the coincidence, and we planned to investigate this further at a later date.
Queen Telandia is still concerned with this Council, as they hold great sway in the court. She wishes to pretend that she has no interest in our findings, and so she asked us to accept her apologies ahead of time, for she planned to ignore and belittle our findings in front of her royal court, while working in the background to help us continue our mission. She asked us to infiltrate the Winter Council’s secret fortress, hidden somewhere in the demon-infested Tanglebriar, as they have recently gone silent. The exact location was not known, but the elves had captured a succubus agent of the demons, and they had placed her in a Paradise Chamber – a prison of mental manipulation and illusions – to hold her until she could be properly questioned. She should be able to guide us to Thorn’s End, and we agreed with Her Majesty’s plan.
To follow through with Queen Telandia’s plan, we went to court with Vilastir the next day. I presented our case, the truth coated with dramatic flair, having a bit of fun with it, and Vilastir went out of his way to poke holes in our story, revealing his obvious bias. The Queen followed through with her pre-planned response, and laughed us off and dismissed our findings. We went back to our lodgings to await her command.
We spent a few days in the city, visiting the various vendors to resupply and prepare for the next part of our mission. Although it was mostly uneventful, one night we did wake to the sounds of a stealthy infiltration to the building. We discovered a group of elven hunters had entered the main chamber, in what appeared to be an assassination attempt. Using Zee’s power to influence the darkness, and our ability to see though even the deepest of shadows, we had the elves at our mercy, and the hunters soon became the prey.
Zee used her powerful magicks to allow us to question one of the corpses, and we found out that they were sent by Kolvar, a member of the Winter Council. He was hiding somewhere in the Noble’s district of the city, but we had no time to investigate, as the Queen chose that moment to set us on the path to Thorn’s End. Her guards moved us into the palace, using the attack as an excuse to change our accommodations, but instead of being brought to new quarters, we were brought to the Paradise Chamber and left to our own devices.
Entering the Chamber, we found the succubus Quilindra quickly, but she had little interest in our presence. Instead of confronting her, we examined our prison, which seemed pretty pleasant as such things general went. However, we quickly discovered that we could not find an exit, and that magic was going to be necessary to assist in our escape. Planning to rest a bit and talk to Quilindra later, we settled down for a nap and to figure out our next move.
Next time, my friends, I will share our encounter with Quilindra and our escape from the Paradise Chamber!