Some time passes in the kingdom of Valdrik. Dox, Alanea, Boudreaux, and Lucius decide to travel to Stormreach while they had some downtime between running their kingdom. Boudreaux and Alanea teamed up to hit the books at the various (albeit somewhat small) libraries around Stormreach – hoping to learn more about this “Big Bad Wolf” before deciding upon any kind of permanent solution.
While the libraries of Stormreach contained a horrible mishmash of various collected texts from across the world that were either donated or requested to be added over the years which made concentrated research rather difficult. There were a few things that the two were able to narrow down at least. There are mentions of a ‘Wolf’ character in the stories of many ancient cultures – so if this is all pointing to the same creature then it is some kind of Unique Fae that has existed possibly as long as civilizations have.
There were also slight notable characteristics that differentiated whatever this thing created as opposed to regular lycanthropy…standard werewolves in this case, only gain their supernatural toughness (Damage Reduction in this case) when in either their animal or hybrid forms. “Big Bad Wolves” however have this toughness all the time. (This linking to a flashback where Lucius, in his attempt to intimidate their captive ‘Wolf’ smacked him in the face with a saw but did not hurt him at all)
The native plane of existence for the Big Bad Wolf is most likely Thelanis – otherwise known as The First World, and realm of the Fae and primal forces of nature. This clue also pointed out another connection. ‘Wolf’ didn’t look over a man in his early 30s, and yet claimed to have come from a place in Aundair that was destroyed over 50 years ago. If ‘Wolf’ had crossed over to Thelanis at some point, the time difference made sense. For every day you spend on Thelanis, a week passes on Eberron, and depending on where you enter and exit between the two planes of existence could also explain how he managed to travel across the ocean from Khorvaire to Xen’drik.
Due to the unique nature of this creature it was most likely to ‘big’ in a spiritual sense to actually cross over between Thelanis and Eberron in any normal means, and even if it could it was unlikely to be anything permanent. While there was no known way to kill this creature (not with the resources on hand anyway) it did seem like it would be possible to banish this creature if it ever crossed over, or to perform some kind of ritual to keep it from crossing over much in a similar means of ritually summoning a ghost or powerful outsider and ‘exorcising’ it to prevent it from coming back to Eberron.
Lucius d’Vadalis wanted to check in with the House Vadalis enclave in Stormreach. Popular belief was that there was no Vadalis enclave in Stormreach, and that’s the way the House wants it. While technically outside the city limits of Stormreach, Vadalis in truth most likely had the largest enclave in Xen’drik. The enclave is a sprawling ranch known as Blackbriar after the black colored vines that formed the outside walls of the area. Created by a Vadalis druid sometime during the Last War the unique vines that surround the ranch are rumored to be able to grow and shrink based on the whims of the enclave headmaster and didn’t take kindly to uninvited guests.
Tyris d’Vadalis is the current leader of the ranch and met with Lucius after finishing some of his chores around the enclave. A sharp looking man in his late 20s, Tyris had unfortunately not heard about this “Big Bad Wolf” before but was definitely interested in anything that created something resembling lycanthropy. And you say you have someone that has been ‘cured’ of this disease in your kingdom? House Vadalis would definitely be interested in studying this phenomenon. Could you get us a sample of its blood at least? Lucius nodded, yeah that was probably doable.
Speaking of working for the House, were there any unique animals of Xen’drik that they were looking for? Lucius was in a rather advantageous position to keep an eye out for some. Tyris seemed more than willing to provide a list of some rather elusive creatures the House had a definite interest in. While they preferred them alive, dead would also be acceptable in the capture of these animals. Descriptions and sketches on the level of a National Geographic were given to Lucius to bring back to Valdrik with him.
1. Old Silverclaws is a 20 foot tall gorilla with an extra set of arms. His fur is a shining silver which accents his black face and enormous hands. The beast’s otherwise impressive coat is marred with thousands of scars, a legacy of countless battles. Rumor has it he lost an arm about five years ago to a fire giant’s axe before tearing it limb from limb.
2. Lurking Two-Maws A hulking thunderlizard (T-Rex) whose most terrifying attribute is the yawning circle of bristling fangs at the center of her chest, which is surrounded by a morass of grasping tentacles. Survivors of her attacks testify that she can scoop up a dozen men at a time, stuffing one after the other into her razored chest-maw.
3. Glimmerdoom a creature with no physical picture to go by, Glimmerdoom appears to be a large scaly creature that somehow reflects not only magic but light itself.
4. Dream Serpent a coiled up snake that bears a strange pattern of glistening silver scales down the length of its back and easily as big as a horse. It supposedly has a hallucinogenic poison and is capable of forcing its victims to sleep with its gaze.
5. Tentacle Spider a spider-thing the size of a man with fang-filled jaws and four tentacles surrounding its head. The only pictures they’ve managed to recover of these things have been mid-feeding on some poor corpse.
6. Til’xin Bird a red-feathered hummingbird that moves supernaturally fast. They’ve only managed to get pictures of these birds from having mages concentratin slow spells in bird feeding areas.
7. Fernian Firepeppers Rare plants that typically grow only on the burning plains tied to Fernia, but gourmands across Khorvaire covet them for their exquisite flavor and strength.
8. Gurk’ash A thick-skinned beast that resembles a bison with the hide of a rhinoceros. Traveling in herds, this creature appears to have been warped by the lingering magic of Xen’drik causing its milk and meat to decompose supernaturally slow.
With list in tow Lucius spent the next few days exploring Xen’drik and catching some tawdry Burlesque shows with Dox before the group headed back to Valdrik.
Dox wanted to hit the theater scene. It had been a while since she had gotten back to Stormreach since accepting her new position in Valdrik. Sure she was the official Councilor and had increased her fame from creating new contacts for the kingdom as well as promoting the country but there was something about the nightlife of Stormreach that just can’t be found anywhere else.
Dox found her mentor, Karklos ir’Ilsir the playwright that had taken her in and taught her to act, sing, and dance her way to fame and fortune (and a few other things along the path of her adventuring career). A fairly (in)famous playwright that became an overnight sensation after the production of his play Throne of Angels opened to rave reviews in Breland. The fame and fortune made Karklos more bold – pressing the issues of the times and creating political undertones in his future works. Who Mourns? Caused his exile from Breland. His next play after finding a new home in Aundair, Wine, Magic, and Moonlight opened with descriptions of the debauchery of “Queen Arielana’s” exiled son “Jurianos”…which promptly got him exiled. And so on and so forth until he wound up on the shores of Xen’drik.
Still a beloved actor and playwright Karklos has become known for randomly participating in his own productions on occasion – regardless of the gender of the role.
Dox arranged for free tickets to both a burlesque show and a classy
show to get the entire Stormreach Theater experience.
Dox pulled a few strings for Lucius and Eleanor – going so far as getting a private booth for the two of them complete with binoculars and guides to the plays. This of course, led to the scene of Lucius and Eleanor viewing the play through tiny binoculars and periodically discussing the events on stage via Lucius’ use of speak with animals from his dragonmark.
Eleanor: “I do not quite understand. The female and the male should solidify their relationship by killing and consuming the beta male. Why do they not quickly go for the throat and celebrate?”
Lucius: “Relathionships are…complicated.”
After everyone concluded their business they traveled back to Valdrik. A month later it was finally time to gather up the original members of the expedition to meet up with Chief Sootscale to celebrate their birthing ceremony and discuss diplomatic solutions regarding their two lands.
Alanea, Tarvis, Korin, Valerie and Sidney traveled to the Sootscale caverns and were met positively by the guards. They were quickly shown inside, taking the time to disarm all the local traps before being greeted by Chief Sootscale himself.
Sootscale: “I’m glad you could make it. We’re looking forward to seeing the birth of the next generation of Sootscales, and to see just what path our clan will travel towards the future.”
And with that Sootscale took a seat on his throne, and for the first time our heroes became aware of the other group in the room. The larger group in the room. A group of trolls in fact. The leader, or at least the one in front carried himself a little straighter than the others and wore a rather fashionable bow tie. Other notable trolls include one covered entirely by rock, and a two headed giant.
Sootscale: “I have been approached by another group who have a similar proposal. In this manner I can provide both of you a chance to talk about your desires for an alliance.”
The leader of the trolls stepped forward, as did Alanea.
“I am known as Alanea of Valdrik.” She introduced herself.
“And I am known as Hargulka.” Replied the troll leader in a very gentlemanly and elegant fashion not typically associated with trolls. After a pause he continued “I do not have a last name in my culture.”
Alanea shook her head. “In this regard, I am Alanea of Valdrik because Valdrik is the country that I come from. It is the land I represent.” She gestured again towards Hargulka for him to respond.
“Ah, then in this instance you may refer to me as Hargulka of Xen’drik.” Laying his claim for the entire continent. “For you see, as the true inheritor of the giant civilization the right to rule this land is mine by blood.”
And with that the fate of the Sootscale clan began! A battle of Diplomacy as Hargulka and Alanea (assisted by Valerie) debated over whether or not the Sootscales would have a better life staying as they are or integrating themselves into the society of Valdrik.
Hargulka’s arguments emphasized the nobility of the Kobold race, how they may be the littlest dragons but their culture would be tainted or even lost – tantamount to cultural genocide if they were to integrate with these ‘scaleless ones’ in the kingdom of Valdrik. Introducing technological or sociological ideas that the kobolds are not culturally prepared to understand and accept would irrevocably change who they are – and would ultimately damage their progress as a species. Even the so called technology of Valdrik, nay of all humanoid races is merely based off the leftovers – the merest hints of power and technology gleamed from the picked over ruins of the giant civilization.
Alanea countered on each point that all races are welcomed equally and will be treated fairly in the kingdom of Valdrik. The Sootscale Kobolds have already had their culture changed from what ‘it should be’ since they have already made contact with other species and occasionally even trade goods and services. And no one would be forcing any other culture or religion upon any other citizen of Valdrik so long as they obey the rules of the country.
The debate went on for a good half hour before Chief Sootscale raised his hand and declared that the representatives of Valdrik have made their point and made it well. The path of the Sootscale kobolds would walk the path of the scale-less ones rather than ally themselves with Hargulka and his followers. While Hargulka was not pleased with this result he still bowed graciously, thanking Sootscale for the opportunity to debate his points and left with his retinue in tow – but not before leaving a warning.
“We may have met peacefully here, but I cannot promise the same should we meet again in the open. Your kind are not welcome here. Leave Xen’drik to its rightful inheritors – or be prepared for the consequences.”
XP Gained – 550xp Each