6/8/11: Sam brought shadowfell-themed cupcakes! It was her birthday yesterday. My cupcake had a ghost on it~
Anyxia the DarkBringer - Shade Mage
Esprit'e - Eladrin Assassin
Klott - Dwarf Warpiest
Krefix - Krefix Dragonborn Slayer
Netochka Nezvanova - Elf Rogue
Waillin - Dragonborn Blackguard
The adventurers had checked out Evard's tomb, and found little other than n encoded journal belonging to Nathaire. As they returned to The Old Owl Inn, day broke and Duponde shifted from the Shadowfell back into the World of Nyrod.
The heroes rested and studied the journal. Anyxia had some trouble with the code. Klott took a look, and learned that Nathaire was a student of umbral (shadow) magi. E'Sprite took a stab at it and discerned from the writings that Nathaire was ambitious and impatient, and took shortcuts to attain true power. They showed Anyxia the patterns withing, and Anyxia de-coded some more. She gleaned that Nathaire had created a ritual to summon the soul of a dead spellcaster so that he could drain it of arcane energy and store it in an orb or vessel.
As they made serious headway into the book, a visitor came to the Old Owl. He was Valkan, a teenage boy who asked the heroes to come and speak with his grandmother, a vistani (gypsy).
E'Sprite told his friends, "The Vistani are excellent lovers."
Netochka said, "Sounds like a party. Let's go."
The heroes agreed go visit the vistani woman and climbed on to their elephants. "So much for sneaking up on anyone...", noted Klott.
They headed south and came upon a cottage where the grandmother, Grivelda, waited. She had the heroes sit down, and spread out her tarokka deck. She placed nine cards on the table and asked each of the heroes to turn over a card, so she could learn about them.
Before she began, Grivelda told the heroes a secret. Evard was not buried in Evard's tomb. Evard was not dead! He'd killed his enemy Vontarin, and placed Vontarin's corpse in Evard's Tomb. Evard liked the idea that the world would think he was dead...
When they heard Evard was still alive, Anyxia' undead "children" cheered and swung happily on the elephants' trunks outside.
It was time to draw the cards. E'Sprite said, "E'Sprite already knows his future, but go ahead! We will go on this exciting journey together..."
Waillin drew The Fiend. Grivelda warned that Waillin would be responsible for calamity and the deaths of many. "Sounds promising.." he muttered.
Anyxia drew The Empty throne, a card that describes the sense of loss. The card also advises that those who are gone will always be with us, like Anyxia's three 'children'.
Netochka drew The Crows, which represented the violent taking of that which is loved. Murder, theft and shocking behavior. "You are nimble and dextrous, but you are also selfish." E'Sprite could not help but become aroused. Netochka winked at the garrotte-toting lothario.
Klott drew The Mute Hag, which meant that Klott possessed unshakable loyalty and was a lucid speaker. Grivelda said, "You are most wise and not in the least selfish.."
E'Sprite drew The Demon's Lantern, which meant that he would guide the heroes to success and would arrive at the perfect moment to save the day. E'Sprite said, "It is what E'Sprite has always known."
"You are nimble. Very flexible..." said Grivelda.
E'Sprite murmured, "There's only one way to find out...".
"...and I believe, when it comes down to it, you oppose Chaotic Evil."
E'Sprite nodded. "It's stoopeed."
Kreffix drew The Marriage, a union of ideas that would bring forth new powers. Kreffix represented balance in the group. "You have more power in your speech than you know, and you believe in balance in all things..."
Klott grumbled, "This is all smoke and mirrors..".
Then Grivelda asked them to turn over the remaining cards one at a time.The first represented the past, the second was the present, and the third was the future.
Past: The Liar - Grivelda warned that there was a love most treacherous in their past. The marriage that the heroes were setting up was doomed due to deception. It would lead the man's obsession, and ultimately he would leap to his own death over heartbreak.
Present: The Tyrant - The villain behind the trouble in Duponde was a cruel ruler. He sought to do harm even to those under his sway.
Future: The Winged Serpent - Knowledge and Prudence were separate, but could be bridged by understanding. Once there was understanding, said Grivelda, was the time to strike. "Have good and Law in your hearts..."
"I have one of the two of those things, that ees fine", said E'Sprite.
Suddenly, a howl came from outside. A trio of wolves led by a werewolf in hybrid form closed in on the house!
Anyxia cast a spell through an open window. Kreffix jumped through the window and charged the creatures. He was swiftly knocked to the ground, surrounded and bloodied. Netochka made her way out the front door and engaged the lone wolf not near Kreffix. Waillin raced out after her and sliced into the wolf, bloodying it.
Mother Grivelda emerged from the house and cast a vistani curse upon the werewolf. Then she headed back inside and hid with Valkan (the curse removed the moon frenzy disease and the werewolf's regeneration power).
E'Sprite deftly skulked out and over to Kreffix, unseen. He pulled out his garrotte and began to strangle a wolf, causing blood to spew from its' mouth. Klott made his way to Kreffix and healed him with a spell. Then he struck the strangled wolf, almost killing it. Kreffix struggled to his feet and slashed the strangled wolf, killing it. The werewolf snarled and swiped Kreffix with its' claw. Anyxia created a twilight zone, causing one of the wolves to flee and head over to Waillin and Netochka.
Netochka slashed into the wolf they'd been battling and killed it. Then she nimbly sprung off of Waillin's shoulders, over the new wolf and landed opposite Waillin in a flanking position. Waillin sliced into the wolf. Klott ran over and held his symbol of the Raven Queen up and launched cold and necrotic energy at the wolf, killing it. E'Sprite became slightly aroused. Klott called out for the Raven Queen to accept the wolf's soul.
Only the lycanthrope remained. E'sprite stabbed the werewolf and knocked it to the ground. Kreffix slashed it while it was down, creating a bloody wound, and then breathed lightning on it. The werewolf lumbered to its' feet and cut into Kreffix's midsection. Blood poured from the wound, and Kreffix could barely stand (he had one hit point left!).
E'Sprite gyrated, grabbed his skull crotchpiece, and teleported behind the werewolf. He strangled it to death!
The heroes rested in the cottage for a few minutes. Grivelda thanked them, and told them more of what she'd gleaned from her mystic senses. She explained that by disturbing Evard's tomb, Nathaire had triggered Evard's curse. Duponde would shift into the Shadowfell each night, and eventually remain in the Shadowfell forever! In addition, Nathaire had become possessed by the spirit of Vontarin, Evard's evil foe!
Grivelda said that to save Duponde, they'd need to put Vontarin back to rest. She knew that Vontarin owned a manor in Duponde - perhaps the possessed Nathaire was lurking there....