Kingdom of Arboria, Year 6, Desnus 23rd
We found many things in Irovetti's palace prison: guards, dead guards, relics, smashed relics, some very interesting technical weaponry, prisoners… a live remorhaz. Gelros had to convince it we would take it home if it would stop eating people. Yeesh. What we found in the cave, however, is what mattered.
Beyond Irovetti's hideaway lay a deep, clear pool within the cavern. Through this pool, an underwater passageway led to a beautiful and gigantic natural geode, filled with crystals and columns. In the still pool at the chamber's center we found a sword, wrapped cleanly in a white cloth and, somehow, floating. Below it, we found a waterlogged leather parcel. The sword is deeply magical (more on that in a moment).
The leather parcel contained a mostly undamaged children's storybook: Zuddiger's Picnic. It claims to be true, and follows the story of a fellow who chases a crow who stole his spoon… ultimately he trades his sword to a beautiful woman to to get his spoon back. The scenery is fantastical and the story improbable, but still oddly compelling. Curiously, there is a stylized map in the back showing a whimsical land labeled "Thousandbreaths."
Kris had his people ask around about the book. Turns out the book has a creepy past: the author worked on it for years, then went insane after publishing it. He was caught re-staging the more brutal scenes from his book on hapless children, tried hastily, and executed. The book has, understandably, fallen out of favor, and copies are now harder to come by. (Apparently they've either been destroyed or few will admit to owning them.) But none of this answers the question: why is it here, with this relic of a sword?
For the sword is indeed a relic; Narzeth and Gelros recognized that instantly. Even my untrained eye can see that it has power on par with Ovinrbaane, that sword Shella has. After a brief speech to the populace of Pitax, and the imposition of martial law, Gelros brought us all back to Bandit's Rest to consult Avendra, the water spirit who we rescued from the winery. In exchange for information, Gelros returned her shawl… which was the cloth that had been wrapped around the sword. It was a good bargain. I'm going to butcher this story, but here goes:
The sword's name is Briar, and is extremely dangerous. (Editorial snark: dangerous? Never! Nothing we find is ever mind altering, kingdom dooming, world eating or anything like that.) Avendra is high fey, from the "First World", a primal realm ruled by so-called "First Lords" that predates and gave birth to our world, at least according to this story. Avendra's task in this reality was to guard Briar, which she did before getting trapped in a water clock.
Briar is, apparently, the love of the powerful nyad Narissa, distilled and forged into a sword. Wait, it get's weirder. Narissa was not a First Lord. She was, however, beautiful and knowledgeable, but also proud and foolish. She fell in love with a First Lord and aspired to acquire the power to become one herself. Details are a little murky here, but it sounds like the other First Lords weren't keen on having her usurp some of their authority, and, in effect, said "Piss off" by way of permanently stealing from Narissa her ability to love, forging it into a sword (Briar), and tossing Briar into our corner of the material plane to keep it away from Narissa. As a side effect of all this, they also imbued Narissa with much greater power than she had previously, making her almost on par with the First Lords themselves after all. Thanks guys.
Narissa has been biding her time and, devoid of the ability to love, building her power on greed and cunning. So now, Narissa is following a new strategy to get into the First Lords' good graces: present them with a gift. What gift? Only the landmass of the entire River Kingdoms, to be broken off from our plane of existence and sucked back into the First World. From Narissa's perspective, there's a small hitch: according to Avendra, there is a rumor, or perhaps a prophecy, that a band of adventurers will defeat her with her own sword, Briar. So naturally Narissa wants it back. She's going to come after it, directly or indirectly.
It would probably be wise to throw Briar in an ocean far from here, but there is the complication of Arboria being on the menu, as it were, for a cross-planar feast. So we're going to keep it and use it against her, in a bid to save the kingdom. Kris is now Briar's caretaker, and it seems to like him: it has changed to become an Aldori dueling sword of the sort Kris is so fond of. Avendra tells us that as we use Briar to fight creatures of the First World it will gain power. Ok, great, but now what?
Gelros is dedicating his time and a substantial portion of Candlekeep's research prowess to finding out everything that there is to know about high fey, the First World, travel to and from it, etc. So far, what's been written boils down to this:
- The First World exists behind, rather than within, reality. It is therefore extremely difficult to reach.
- Reality and the laws of physics there are mutable; they are often changed at the whims of the First Lords who rule the First World. In the First World, others with powerful wills or the possessors of relics can also bend nature itself to their whims.
- Very few forms of mortal magic that can get you there; the only reliable mortal means is Gate spell. An alternative is to find a natural rift. Such rifts are extremely rare, but are identifiable by the energy leaking in both directions.
Oh, someone is knocking rather hard and I hear urgent voices. I'll get back to this later.
- ?? from Pitax-related quests
- +5 moderate fortification mithral breastplate
- Amulet of natural armor +5
- Boots of speed
- Cloak of resistance +5
- Ring of protection +5
- Master key (unlocks all locks in the palace)
- Unique item: mindrender baton
- Unique weapon: rod of razors
- 14,750 GP from Irovetti's bedroom paraphernalia
- 24 bottles standard wine (150 GP ea.)
- 7 bottles of expensive White Rose Abbey wine (1,000 GP ea.)
- +4 studded leather
- Amulet of natural armor +2
- Ring of protection +1
- +5 moderate fort. hide armor
- +1 vicious greataxe
- Ring of protection +2