Beware the darkness of dragons, Beware the stalker of dreams, Beware the talons of power and fire, Beware one who is not what she seems.
- Tui T. Sutherland, Darkness of Dragons
The sun was setting on the Huntmaster on his trek through Feywood, just a pink glimmer over barren canopies. The valley was in darkness, but he could have walked the way blindfold. He knew every rut in the mossy track, every trunk on the abutting trees massed along the bluffs. Heavy-looking, ponderous clouds drifted overhead, some hanging so low that they had swallowed half the forest in a dull-grey mist. The growing roar of the wind echoed throughout the valley, somehow reminiscent of a band of wraiths as it shrieked and rustled the branches, billowing at the mist until the mist took the shape of dancing phantoms. It was a portentous night, a night full of omens and signs, some whispered by the wind, others gleaned from patterns in the sky. But the Huntmaster, however much he strained his hearing or narrowed his eyes, found no answers for the dark questions plaguing his thoughts, haunting him like the wind haunted the trees. He had called for an Elfmeet, one that would bring the peoples of Greenvale and Feywood together, but just when he thought the Elves of Thain were finally about to embark on those final steps toward unification, Fate had conspired against them. Or the Darkfey had. The Master had breached into Elisara's Tower, and although he had been felled, his parting gift to the Queen of the South had been a fell stroke of ironic tragedy. Yu'syu had become the very thing she despised the most: a dragon. Chromatic.
The Huntmaster paused his stride. In the distance, he saw the glittering leaves of the Elder Oak, and he knew his kinsmen were preparing the midwinter feast there, and that the Elder Council would be attending. What would he tell them? That Yu'syu had changed into a beast, but that she was still the same benevolent soul under the scales, and that they could trust his saying so? It sounded ridiculous even to his ears. It had taken hundreds of years of convincing for the Elves of Feywood to venture outside their forest and meddle in the affairs of the outside world. They had done it during the Kinswar and the Great War, and the price had been high. They had done it to defend the South from the Darkfey, but again, at what cost, or, rather, to what outcome? To put a dragon on a throne? The Huntmaster exhaled a slow and quiet sigh, then turned around and stalked out the way he'd come.
If any bridge was to be built between Greenvale and Feywood, it had to occur without a dragon on Elisara's Throne. What that boded for Yu'syu, the Huntmaster dreaded to contemplate. He prayed to the Seldarine a cure could be found, even if that cure had to be dredged up from the depths of the Feywild. Because if a cure was not found, and found soon, it would be delivered at the tip of Jestin or Deidra's lance.
The Master is Dead, Long Live the Duke and Duchess
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An elf knowledgeable in the ways of the forest learns as their first lesson that to get to the root of a problem, one must attend to it with uncompromising diligence and determination. One must also be ruthless. That is to say, if one suspects disease among animals or a blight among flora, attempting to isolate the diseased or blighted component will not suffice, for, indeed, it is an impossible endeavour. Thus one must act with an extensive remedy in mind, culling whole flocks of animals at a time, or purging whole forests.
On Thain, there is one such widespread disease, an epidemic blight. It has touched many things, elf as well as beast, tree as well as sky. Its chief architect, the Master, was felled in City of Elisara, but a disease is not quelled simply because you have identified the original host. To quell this fell sickness, to release its hold on Greenvale, on Feywood, on the Woods Beyond, and on Queen Yu'syu, one must travel to their realm, and one must purge all that is the Darkfey.
We shall begin by finding the Duke and the Duchess, the Master's heirs apparent.
The Duke and the Duchess are elusive foes, their whereabouts unknown to even some of their own disciples. But one Darkfey may know about them. The mysterious Warden. The Warden is said to run a secret Darkfey prison, sending hunters to capture fey that are subsequently forced into slavery. Elith's own fey familiar has been abducted, and so has Torthoril's. The Warden and his prison must be found, for the sake of the captured fey, and for the sake of finding the Duke and the Duchess, the inheritors of the Master's power.
Objective: Join Renneleth, Elith and Torthoril on an epic journey, part one of two, to locate the secret Darkfey prison. Will the group of bold heroes and disguised villains find the captured fey, and will they set them free? And what of the Warden? Will he face due justice, or will there be fell pacts and dark negotiation? Date: Tentative date for the first event is Saturday, February 15, 9 PM GMT+1. Who Can Attend? Anyone who has a stake in the Darkfey plot. This is an invitation to both pro- and anti-Darkfey characters. Poisonwood agents are encouraged to attend, but shall have to be initially disguised.
The Master is Dead, Long Live the Duke and Duchess
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We found the Darkfey Prison. We found the Warden. The horrors we saw nearly surpassed the nightmare of Nayritha's experiments under Fort Crater. An irrepressible propensity toward cruelty has ever been the defining hallmark of Man, but to witness it among fey - one fey condoning if not actively perpetrating torture on fellow fey - was truly unsettling. The Darkfey, then, harbour no sense of kinship. The Warden said as much. They do not care about constraints of any kind, and morals and conscience, it seems, are just as much a constraint to the Darkfey as is a chain around the ankle. The Warden had wanted to negotiate. Tothoril obliged by decapitating the Warden's head with a spectral sword. Good riddance!
The Warden himself was not forthcoming with knowledge about the Duke and the Duchess, but we found answers in a hidden compartment of a chest in the Warden's personal chamber. We now have a map that will show us the way to the Duke's Palace. To get there, we must traverse across the White Beyond. May the Seldarine watch over us. No-one else will.
Objective: A group of unlikely heroes have found a map to a hidden Darkfey palace in the White Beyond. If any Darkfey would anything about the curse the Master bestowed on Queen Yu'syu, it would be the Duke and the Duchess, the Master's heirs apparent, both of whom are believed to dwell in the palace. Join Renneleth, Elith, Tothoril and others as they brave the White Beyond to find a means to save the Queen of the South. Date: Tentative date for this second event is Saturday, February 29, immediately after the Thain Townhall Meeting. Type of Event: Unlike part I, part II will not be player-DMed. Honourable Cuchuwyn will assume the reins of narration. Who Can Attend? Anyone who has a stake in the Darkfey plot. This is an invitation to both pro- and anti-Darkfey characters. If you are uncertain about anything, I would encourage you to poke [DM]Cuchuwyn.
[OOC: Part II has been rescheduled to take place tonight, March 20, 9PM GMT +1. I feel it is necessary to point out a few things following recent roleplay. Although this event pits the Elves of the South against the Darkfey, it is also very much about the ongoing strife between Greenvale and Poisonwood. Because the event is spearheaded by Renneleth (and also Elith), anyone Renneleth deems to be friendly with/tolerant of Poisonwood elves (you probably know who you are), those characters should not expect to partake tonight even if they were involved in the first event.]
...and then the Duke lunged at the Huntmaster, his footwork a blur, or a blur of a blur, his prowess unmatched by anything in Renneleth's hundreds of years of memory. Some minuscule, detached part of Renneleth's mind registered his own inadequacy as he desperately flailed parry after parry, chasing phantom jabs with his eyes and hands even while the Duke's steel was eating through cloth and flesh, but mostly flesh. For a few desperate heartbeats, the two men - or, to be precise, one Elf and one Darkfey - were fully engaged. Their blades wove silver ghosts in the air - crossing and uncrossing, scraping and unscraping, feint and false feint, pirouette and lunge, thrust and parry. Renneleth remained just out of reach of the Duke's longer, more muscular cuts while the Duke caught and turned the Huntmaster's every lunge with what appeared as easy precision. At last they flew apart and stood panting, staring at one another with the fuming, implacable hatred of fighting wolves.
Then Elhan and Sydney loosed arrows, and Jiztroyir, Tauredhiel and Elith loosed spells. The Duke fell, a look of surprise etched on his blood-smeared, perlaceous face. And then he melted!
We have beaten the Duke, but I do not know if we have killed him. I doubt that we have. I know that although we have felled hundreds of Darkfey, thousands remain. They are well-armed, courtesy of Poisonwood, and they are nowhere near broken.
Still, discouraged though we are by the insurmountable numbers of Darkfey, we have found a means to cure our Queen. Or, at least, we think we have. We know her curse is parasitic in nature; that the Master inserted a parasite into the Queen's body, just above the left shoulder blade. As long as this leech feeds on the Queen, she will be in the throes of draconic metamorphosis. We know we must remove it, cut it out somehow, but I leave that to more capable hands than mine. Elith, Tauredhiel and the feren healer, Brooklyn Ja'Quoi, our Queen's fate now rests in their hands."
Jungle Law Enforcerer Registered Member #1180
Joined: 7:46:29 am GMT 10/05/07
At long last, it was possible to proceed with the cure of Queen Yu'syu: the last curse of the Master was finally about to be lifted.
Finally, Greenvale would have been free from the Darkfey shadow; many joined in the effort, celestials and friends of the elves alike.
The plan was to weaken the curse with Chaska's celestial power and Elith's arcane magic, confining the curse's energy back in the first scale that appeared on the Queen's neck, then the Healers, Brooklyn and Dele would have to surgically remove the physical aspect of the curse: the first scale.
Meanwhile, Kellendill of House Fehrien, Renneleth the Huntmaster, Ryleena the Wanderer, Styvn of Feywood and Cirdan the Monk were ready to intervene should have the curse manifested itself in something more physical when its host would have been freed from it.
In truth, the curse had begun to temper also with the Queen judgement but, thanks to the joined effort of all the gathered, it was possible to overcome her suspicion and begin with the ritual.
Then, it happenned, the betrayal.
As Chaska approached the Queen and touched the Queen's neck scale, powerful rift energies were realised from her hand whle diabolical words were spoken in a language that should not be put in writing.
The burst of negative energy joined with the curse power stroke a terribly the Queen, who enraged and crazied by the sudden energies, leaped on Chaska, consuming her with ravenous and acidic bites, it was a matter of less than seconds and the Celestial lied limp on the ground, barely breathing, her body consumed and disfigured by the acid and the teeth of the Dragon Queen.
Yu'syu rage was uncontainable, after Chaska, she leaped out from the Balcony, sending green Acid flames over the warriors fighting in the street of the City, Arben and Estel alike.
In a matter of moments, she flew over the high wall of Greenvale, bringing her rage deep in Poisonwood.
In the Throne room, the adventurers were flabbergasted, the emotions ranged between rage, fear, and utter astonishment. A Celestial dabbling in trickery and rift energies, it seemed impossible.
The gathered had to split, the warriors went after the Queen, worrying that by the end of her rage she might fall under the blades of the Arben in enemy territory, Elith, Ryleena, Dele and Brookly remained: freeing the Celestial from whatever influenced was consuming her.
((Here ends the recount of a "Cure for Dragons" from me, those who followed the Queen and want to compile the next part please do! As I was not there! ))