The Rime of Infinite Winter: Session 16 — Daranthain

SESSION SIXTEEN
DARANTHAIN

Elrian and Nod were busy while their compatriots took care of business at the Coster. Poring over Baranthan’s inventory and trying to piece together the mystery, especially before leaving town, was weighing on them. Satisfied, they returned to the Coster with a plan.

The party enlisted Nilsa Mimmosa and Linene Graywind to see that Dillon Barthan’s adult children would be informed of their father’s demise before the authorities —namely the Zhentarim-aligned Miners’ Exchange — were called in. They also wanted to leave town beforehand to avoid any legal entanglements. They had not one, nor two, but three missions, after all. First, they had cargo and a caravan to deliver to Rimegarde, as per their contract with Lionshield Coster. Secondly, after liberating from Barthan’s all of the consignment goods of one Amal Al-Zareef, they intended to return these predominately elven artifacts to their rightful owner, also located in Rimegarde. Lastly, but most importantly, the Ring of Summer Flame, in the hands of Dirk Flisten, was on its way to Cold Harbor, with Drucilla Herron and her party, including a white dragon, in hot pursuit.

The road from Phandalin to Cold Harbor led through the Fanghorn Mountains and into the Kettlebree Republic and thus through Peron’s homeland. This was why Peron had signed up with Lionshield to begin with. His family, the Dalanthans, had been the rulers of the elven settlement there, until three months earlier when his father, Palant Dalanthan was grievously injured whilst battling an ogre. His arm was bitten off, and along with it, the magical ring, that was not only a sign of rulership but also responsible for holding the Infinite Winter at bay (at least in their village), was lost. resulting in a coup by the Daranthains, a rival house who also possessed magic to hold back winter’s sting.

Arriving through perilous blizzard, the party was greeted by Peron’s oldest friend, Anylth Githonyel, who led them to an audience with Peron’s father, where his older brother, Peyton (along with his betrothed, Gisele Alduin), and his beloved sister Prisha were in attendance. They learned much of recent events, of how half-elves had been enslaved under Daranthain rule, and of the mysterious deaths and disappearances of elves for the past six months. Palant told them of the Ring of Dalanthan, crafted by a Thulasian wizard named Thulsa Arryn, and how a companion ring had been gifted to the Daranthains as well.

The party agreed to hunt the ogre, retrieve the Ring of Dalanthan, and restore Peron’s House to the Hall of the High Lord. As they departed, Nammosi took Kari aside and suggested that his Ring of Regeneration might serve Lord Palant better while they were gone. Kari agreed and and granted it to the Lord until his return, in hopes it would restore the Dalanthan patriarch’s missing limb.

Before leaving, Peron asked his brother about the elven bow he had retrieved from Barthans. Taken aback, Peyton proclaimed it the Sacred Hart of Alduin, that Houses most treasured relic. He explained how it was used as a Rite of Passage for Alduins coming of age. They would hunt a great stag with the bow, bringing the kill back for a feast marking their transition from child to adult.

The bow had come missing when Gisele’s brother, Galynthal, did not return from his hunt. He was found dead, consumed by horrific flame, in the deep forest. The bow gone. Peyton explained that this was a common occurrence these past months and that the elves, children of the forest, were becoming afraid to entire the deep woods alone, or even in pairs.

“Hold onto it for now, brother. Mayhap we shall uncover the truth behind this mystery at last.”

With heavy thoughts as to the portents of these revelations, the party joined Peyton, who led them into Hoarpass Gulch on the path to the Abyssal Caves of the Underdark. Detecting signs of owlbears, they proceeded with caution, only to come upon a male and two females. The beasts were quick to attack, but the Lionshield companions had become seasoned combatants in their short time together. Working in concert, they made short work of the ferocious beasts. But in the aftermath, something darker still lay before them —

Opposite an icy moat was a megalithic structure spewing purple flames into the darkening sky. There, a circle of foul cultists chanted in low, throaty resonance, calling upon untold gods of forgotten power. In the center, a red robed wizard wielded a hammer, striking down rhythmically upon a blank anvil, as his acolytes howled in ecstatic triumph.

“They are but ghosts,” a voice called out. Two half-elves, dressed as forest rangers, stepped over a collapse in the path ahead. “Or so we believe.” They continued, “This apparition appeared six months ago, taking shape from dusk till midnight each night since. We have come to watch over it. There is only the slightest change, as the purple flames grow higher into the sky as each night passes.”

Telling the half-elves of their mission, to hunt the Ogre of the Underdark, the pair begged to join in the expedition, to which the party readily agreed. As they moved forward toward the Abyssal Cave, dark thoughts came over them…

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