Scions of House Tarkanan

Secrets of the Amber Temple

So we decide to rest for the evening in the library of the Amber Temple. Everyone is woken up in the middle of the night by a loud noise from below, where the evil entities are imprisoned. At that point it becomes apparent that Lilin and the dusk elf Casomir are missing. The only issue being that Lilin's Tiny Hut has winked out of existence. I wake long enough to create my own hut and go back to sleep.

In the morning, Lilin says that she has made a better pact. Exploring below, one of the sarcophagi has been shattered and the entity within released. I spend much of the next day perusing the library. The tomes are both magically preserved and magically protected, but the magic is dispelled on leaving this room. Lilin dispelled the illusion magic in the library, allowing us to read the tomes which appeared blank while the illusionary aura was active. Taking a relatively unimportant tome, I found that it turned to dust once beyond the doors, another trap of sorts. To study the knowledge here requires someone to stay here. I find a list of entities, while Lilin is more interested in one particular entity called Z'dum the Corpse Star. I can assume that this is the entity she freed from its imprisonment.

While Lilin and I spend time in the library, Nex goes off to the lich's lair to treasure hunt with his shield guardian and Dusty (Lord Sabre) while Ana and the apprentice move to the main hall to continue exploring the Temple. Eventually everyone returns. Nex describes having his guardain destroy the lich's phylactery, while Ana and her new boy found some one-eyed creatures in another wing of the temple.

We pull ourselves away from the library to combat the one-eyed creatures. Once I use a minor illusion to pull them out of one of the sarcophagus rooms, the creatures are dispatched with minimal efforts. This wing houses two open sarcophagus rooms and Nex foolishly begins making pacts with all of the entities. His grotesqueness increases with each deal. 

That's when we hear him, taunting use from the main hall, it must be Strahd himself, so pleased that he has found us finally and can begin his hunt. Though we don't see him from our current location, very quickly two of his undead magi begin the battle, opening up with Fireballs.

The Source

Finally reaching the area that Lord Sabre had seen/heard as he followed Lilin, we came into an expansive library. A large circular stairway led down to an unknown location. After we entered the room and destroyed the lich that Sabre had seen speaking with Lilin, several vampires ascended the staircase and attacked.

One, a spellcaster of no small ability summoned a foul fiend (a death slaad) who came to do battle with us from the main temple. Was it summoned, bargained with, or had it already existed within this "Amber Temple"? Once my companions had defeated the vampires and death slaad we found Lilin at the bottom of the staircase. Beneath the library rested three sarcophagi, supposedly containing hunger, knowledge and moon (death). Vampire, Lich, and (well, that's the question). Lilin had contacted the power within the death sarcophagus and looks like death herself now, with skin stretched tight over her bones.

Exploring the area, I found two rings and a mantle in the dust of the destroyed vampires. Lilin started the ritual to create a tiny hut and we definitely need to rest. I am still extremely worried about this apprentice who is bound to the quasit and Casomir, the dusk elf wizard. We do not know the motives of either and both could betray us for power at a moments notice. As I fall into a troubled sleep, I also wonder what lore exists in the tomes surrounding us? What will I be able to preserve? And what lore will I need to destroy to keep it from reaching the evil that is pervasive in this realm?


The Jackal Defeated - we hope

So I blasted the innocent-looking apprentice, but Ana stabilized him and my companions actually used our limited resources to get him up, turns out his "Master" Vilneus had a quasit familiar that has now adopted the apprentice – nothing wrong with that picture. The flameskulls started flying up and down the well, damn things cast fireballs at us twice in a matter of seconds, and I ate dirt both times, thankfully my companions hadn't wasted all of our resources on the "innocent" apprentice with the quasit. Then the jackal-creature attacked again while we were busy with the flameskulls. Lilin found the room under the well on the lower level and helped us from below. Nex was running around the lower level, very likely looting while we fought the battle for our very lives. The jackal-creature eventually fell, along with the flameskulls, but it was a tough battle. I am nearly bereft of spells, we can't go on like this much longer.

Once we looted the jackal creature, we returned to the false dining room and tried to figure out how to get by the cursed idol. I had thought that since I resisted it once, I could go through, but I was enraptured by the idol and my companions had to pull me out of there. That's when Nex shows up with a shield guardian, and foolishly makes it walk out on the crumbing balcony, we both fell to the lower-level below – does the tielfing even have a brain. Treacherous balcony, lets move the extremely heavy golem out.

As we began to think of how to cross the room, Lilin cast dimension door to move beyond the room. Dusty (Lord Sabre) established contact with clairvoyance/clairaudience as we finally wrapped the idol up and threw it to the lower level for the golem to beat into dust.


Exploring the Amber Temple

Once the first wave of foes were defeated, we explored the balcony-level rooms of the temple after taking a short rest. Off of the barbarian's room it looked like someone dug a passage leading out to a small ledge looking down over the entrance. Also off the barbarians room was a secret chamber with scroll nooks carved into the walls, a hidden panel revealed a small batch of inks and writing supplies suitable for scribing scrolls and spellbooks. Nex had found a magical staff on a corpse in the flameskull gallery. I need to ask him if he found anything else – but that almost goes without saying at this point. Further in, we found a potion-making room, though there was nothing left to scavenge from there. We alos found a room with a model castle, could this be the Castle of this Strahd we keep hearing about. In that room was a chest with a false bottom. In that false bottom was an exquisitely bound tome. Further down the hall was a dining room complete with a prepared magical feast. While it shouldn't be necessary, I warned my companions not to eat anything.

Off of the dining room was a crumbing balcony that led to a chamber with an idol. Two skeletons lay next to the idol which emanated a magical effect, an effect I resisted this time. As the rest of my companions and I determined which way to proceed, we were again attacked from rooms and gallery across the great hall. The jackal-headed creature began casting spells while magic missiles streaked out from the arrow slits in the gallery. Creating an illusory curtain to shield my allies from sight, we engaged this new wave of creatures. Ana chose to make her way through the rooms yet unopened and triggered an amber golem as she found her way around.

The jackal-headed creature stayed in the main hall, engaging us in a magical volley, once it was severely hurt, a well-placed fireball from yours truly finished the job. At that point it dissolved in the same manner as summoned creatures do. We were still engaged with a human figure and the flameskulls. The flameskulls fled down a well, firing magic missiles whenever we attempted to look down the well while the human disappeared, but was last seen in the gallery.

One of the doors in the gallery was barred from inside, once my companions got it opened we entered a room looking like a lecture hall. Behind the podium was a young man. Being well-versed in this type of deception, I blasted him.


And All Khyber Let Loose

As soon as we entered this "Amber Temple" and started exploring, Anastasia heard heavy breathing and commotion behind the door to the left. Opening the door, we found a room full of rank barbarians huddled around a fire pit.  Since they liked fire so much, I decided to treat them to a fireball, something they liked significantly less. Although, the spears that they immediately grabbed once the door was opened really did negate the chance of a neutral encounter.

That's when it all blew up, as we began to face the barbarians, a chain lightning spell burst from the statue's head covered in darkness (yours truly was the target of this and many other attacks during this protracted fight, guess they knew who the real threat would be).

Lord Sabre, taking the form of a dusk elf, dimension doored into the statues head, his warlock's sight allowed him to see the hand sticking out of the statue's face when the spell went off. He fought the spellcaster in the statue as my other companions fought the barbarians. Of course, that's when we were subject to a barrage of magic missiles from what proved to be arrow slits in the side galleries of the main temple. If that weren't enough a trio of hag-like creatures climbed the stairs towards us casting spells.

Lord Melbourne, Lord Sabre, "Dusky" or whatever battled a thing he described as a jackal-headed humanoid spellcaster in the statue's head. One of the hags tried to permanently kill the illusion I had left where I dropped. On opening the gallery doors, we came upon three flameskulls. And just as it seemed that the battle was either lost or would never end, we found oursleves among the corpses of our foes.


The Dusk Elf's Quest

Meeting the dusk elf wizard Casomir and his archer companion Savid, they took us up into the mountains surrounding this accursed land. Following an ancient path we traveled up Mount Ghakis on a narrow path along the side of the mountain. From this high vantage point we could see a large lake and forest beneath us.

Eventually we came to a giant stone bridge and battlements, our guides called it the Sirlanka Pass if I heard correctly. Large demonic (vrocks, I believe) gargoyles sat atop the guard post on either side of the gatehouse and a large tower adorned with more gargoyles lay just beyond the portculli. 

Of course, the two vrocks leapt to life as soon as we attempted to pass through the gates, and the gargoyles on the far tower proved to be ghouls encased in a thin coating of stone (perhaps magically preserved). The demons and undead were challenging, but we were victorious over the unholy combination. We searched the towers before deciding to camp the night.

The morning saw another four hour climb to this "Amber Temple", fifty-foot-tall statues flanked the entrance and the trackers among us noted fresh footprints into the temple, with a slender footprint standing out from the others which just appeared and led into the temple.

Casomir then let us know that this was a temple to the Morninglord, their version of Dol Arrah. It was created by an order of heroes to house the evil they either fought or defeated.

Entering the main passage, we came into a large central chamber. Across from us was a large statue of a spellcaster of some sort. A globe of magical darkness enveloped his head. Lilin, who sees through magical darkness, said that the hidden face was blank.

Under the Murder House

Having put the "children" to rest, we found several tomes of this house. The Travels of Odo by Morrowind of Candlekeep seems like a morality play, but contains the actual notes for all spells of the first order, each written as part of a story. We also find the private notes and journals of Guston Durst, obviously a formidable spellcaster based on his spellbook which contains spells from the schools of conjuration and necromancy up to the fourth order.

Finding the secret staircase to the basement, we begin to hear chanting in various languages including Galifaran. They all chant to Logoth the Decayer. The stairwell down collapses, trapping us below. Everything down here is undead, and while Nex again looks for loot, the rest of us have the task of confronting these restless undead, seeming led by a naga of some sort. The main chamber is a large chamber mostly underwater. As soon as we disturb the water, what can only be Logoth appears, a huge (possibly undead) plant-like creature.

After we defeat Logoth, the home begins to break apart and burn, we find a passage up to the main floor, we find the main floor burning and the house itself resisting our efforts to escape. Trying to kill us as it destroys itself. However, my companions have tricks all their own, and we are soon able to escape the haunted, dying house.


The Murder House

The next morning, after taking in a full view of the land, we finally made it to that small town we had seen in the distance.  Approaching the village, we encountered a pair of young waifs in the abandoned outreaches of the settlement.

They entice us into their "home" before we realized that they were spirits of murdered children, likely from the same home. The house itself was haunted in a way that I had never seen, the spirits that turned this house into a bloodbath had no comparable lore in Khorvaire. This place turned out to be another location of the Durst family, of which I had their signet ring from the ghoul warren. While we battled undead, haunts and inexplicable phenomena, the tiefling Nex chose to "case" the place and look for loot. I will not soon forget that.


Brave New World

Eternity Passes before we all burst up from our shallow graves. Clawing our way out of the earth, we find ourselves in a small cemetery, surrounded by pine woods. We have no possessions, though I do still remember the spells I had prepared beforehand, in Khorvaire. I must keep that memory alive, it seems to slip from me by the moment. I am not of this new world.

The dwarven druid, Thrugel or some such thing, took the form of a wolf and left our group.  Poor thing, he may not even remember that he's sentient.

Setting out in no direction in particular, we come upon an abandoned manor house. The winged tielfings begin reconnaissance from the air. No, Lilin and Nex begin reconnaissance from the air. They report that the second floor had collapsed. Closing on the possible refuge, we discover an opening to the underground, cellar chambers. Proceeding to scout the area, the tunneling turns into a fairly extensive ghoul warren, complete with the loathsome creatures.

Battle ensued, Nex was less than helpful, staying in the air the entire time. That triggers a memory. After destroying the undead that haunt these ruins, we find a signet ring and many coins minted in electrum, a metal alloy not used in Khorvaire. The electrum pieces have a unique stamp, possibly the lord of this land. Also found was the signet ring of a noble or wealthy house.

Margin Note: I have determined that this signet ring is the house of Durst.

Once the undead were destroyed, we chose to use the manor as a safehouse for the night. The next morning, we continued on the road (to the manor house from somewhere).  We encountered a man hung by manacles from a tree branch. Freeing him, we gained some knowledge of this land, though much of it did not make sense at the time.

He spoke of the "bosses daughter, Aragul" and the Lord's right hand man Lugash. Although it seems that Lugash leads the primi. Piecing together the rants, Arugal may be Lugash's right hand man. I don't have enough information at this point.

We find a side road to a large vale, the vista shows us a large clearing with a river flowing south through the forest, The road leads through fields to a village, I estimate maybe a thousand people, maybe more. But now is the time to rest. We determine watches and shifts, I will pay attention to those who don't do their part.

Called by House Tarkanen

I remember most of what happened in our homeland, though after the transition, many of my companions have lost all or most memory of our homeworld.  I shall try to relate what I remember below as I start this journal of our plight.


There we were, scions of House Tarkanen, called together by the leaders of our house for a very important mission. With me was Lord Selik Melborn, a somewhat flamboyant swahsbuckler type, Lilin de'Takranen, a winged tielfling warlock who looks as if she has some succubus blood in her, Inonvex, a silver dragonborn, obviously a warrior, Nex Darkblade, another winged tiefling, roguish Thrugal, a dwarf with an obvious allergy to bathing and Anatalia an attractive and very poised human female.

We had been called together by the leaders of House Tarkanen because one of their own, Mother Mercy, had gone missing.  Mother Mercy was the house leader who had found me after I had escaped Flamekeep and helped set me on the path that I now follow.

Mother had been searching for a powerful artifact in the Eldeen Reaches, a region of untouched wilderness in Khorvaire. She had been attacked by the Skyreaver, commanded by a Captain someone who's name was made hunting down members of House Tarkanen and skinning them alive to steal their Dragonmarks. Somehow the leaders knew her airship had gone down, something about a veil of hot, misty springs. Actually, her ship may have been the Skyreaver, this is all fuzzy.

We were to travel to a town named Xandrar which was the closest community to where Mother Mercy had been last located. From Xandrar, we had to make our way to Sylbaran on Silver Lake posing as traders or just sellswords I believe. I think there was a large battle against some bandits.

I remember being in the battle, and creating a defensible position in the middle where my magic could do the most good. Then I remember the other party members fleeing the battle, leaving the dragonborn Inonvex and myself, with Lilin raining down destruction on the wing. Inonvex was brought to unconsciousness pretty quickly, that's what happens when your left alone in the fight. I had to make my way to him invisibly to dimension door us out of from the middle of the enemy in order to save him. On a ship later, the rest of the party found their way back – I hope I thanked Lilin.

We traveled from Sylbaran north, following the Byeshk Mountains then made our way north to something called the Fangmists. There were more attacks. Finally we found the Skyreaver – so it was Mercy's ship – totally stripped. More days of travel found us at the Mistfangs, two mountains shaped like orc tusks perfectly framing the only entrance to a large valley. Past the entrance we spied the fortress of our enemy. Two flags were being flown, one made of the flayed flesh displaying the Dragonmark of a member of House Tarkanen.

And then the world exploded.


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