Category:The Demon Queen of Castle Anwyn

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The The Demon Queen of Castle Anwyn storyline took place in 1998.

Terate and The Vvrael

Synopsis

Castle Anwyn, a dark keep lying deep in the Lysierian Hills, was re-discovered just 8 months ago, after lying dormant for millennia and being populated only by the undead. The path leading to this ancient abode was shown to us by none other than Terate himself, during one of his desperate searches for the Stones of Virtue. As it happened, one of the Stones was found in the castle later that eve, in the deepest part of the dungeon, inside a massive chest with equally massive traps and locks.

After the Stone was removed from the premises, Anwyn fell again into obscurity, though now populated by daring adventurers seeking to release the undead from their torment, and perhaps earn a bit of cash doing so. It wasn't until almost half a year had passed that the castle again received attention.

Terate had just died, and in doing so sealed the Veil shut, locking the Vvrael from our world. As he lay dying, he gave his sword to his beloved, Rayyne Gold. It was a powerful sword, and in it lay the tale of Terate's past, which it revealed to us when sung to by Krackenstar.

The tale it told was of an ancient castle and the royal family that dwelt therein. For years the family ruled over the surrounding lands with a just hand, until one day a stranger arrived at their door, weak from travel and asking to spend the night. He was admitted, and given a room in the guest quarters of the castle. However, during that night the stranger died in his sleep, leaving the family with a confusing set of belongings, including a satchel full of scrolls, some recently penned, along with others obviously far more ancient in nature. The Prince, knowing more about the mystical arts than the rest of his family, set to deciphering the scrolls. Most were of mundane use, containing cantrips already known to the young man. One, however, was different. Unlike the others, it seemed almost alive; the words changing each time he read them. It held far more than a single spell, it held mysteries that he desired to unlock, one after another, until the last of the scroll's secrets lay open to him. But the scroll was not satisfied with being discovered and understood, it wanted more. It wanted to be used; it wanted the fell power that had created it to again be unleashed upon the world. And thus was Terate, the young prince, drawn into using the scroll to breach the Veil, and unleash the Vvrael on the world.

An uneventful month passed as the lands recovered from the onslaught of the Vvrael. Occasionally people would tour the ancient castle, wondering what secrets it still held. It was on one of these tours that Anwyn again became a point of interest to the lands.

A small group of sightseers-Neq, Icefox, Shalli, and Norandar-were wandering through the ruins, and eventually came to the room deep beneath the castle where the first Stone of Virtue had been found, locked in its massive chest. Also in this room-more of a niche-was a large mirror, framed with wood carved in the image of writhing serpents. The mirror was more than it seemed; when looked into, it showed not one's own reflection, but rather the image of a cruel yet beautiful woman, laughing out at you.

The group of questers stood in front of the mirror for a time, conversing with each other over its secrets, and occasionally prodding it with their weapons in hope of eliciting a response. They received none from the mirror, but their reverie was broken when their newest member, Norandar, opened the previously locked chest, pulled out an ancient scroll, and disappeared with it. The remaining three were, of course, confused by this, and elected to return to town for the night, rather than risk further oddities in the castle.

The next eve the author of this text happened to encounter Norandar outside of Hearthstone, and believing him to be a fellow researcher, asked him about the castle, and the scroll he had found. Norandar appeared nervous, and led us to a secluded section of the Manor, where he pulled the scroll out of his cloak and offered it to me for inspection.

It was obviously much more than a simple rune; the entire paper was covered with an ancient elven script that writhed and danced across the paper, confounding my attempts to read them. Seeing that I was unable to invoke the scroll, I handed it back to Norandar, who explained that he was able to understand only snippets of it. Noting that he was a bard, we (several people had congregated by this point) asked him to sing to it, hoping that we might learn more that way.

Norandar agreed, and attempted to sing to it. But rather than learn of the scroll, he was struck down by an unseen force, and lay stunned at our feet. When he recovered, he explained that the scroll was to powerful to be learned of through song. We were at a loss for what to do when someone suggested that an elderly wizard attempt to use the scroll. As Dartaghan happened to be in the Manor with us, he took the scroll and attempted to read it. Rather than invoke, as it should have, dark tendrils of anti-mana snaked their way out of the scroll and along Dartaghan's arms, stunning him. When he recovered he attempted to detect the scroll. However, as with singing, the scroll proved too powerful, and Dartaghan dropped dead at our feet.

When Dartaghan was once again on his feet, he handed the scroll back to Norandar, professing that it was beyond his ability to read. Norandar then, against our wishes, attempted to sing to the scroll again. As before, it resisted his efforts, this time striking him dead. As we stood arguing over what had happened, a fog appeared in the room, concealing Norandar's body from us. A few minutes later, when the fog cleared, Norandar was gone.

The next day, I again encountered Norandar outside of Hearthstone. Concerned for his health and safety, I took us to a table in my House, and we spoke for a bit about what happened the previous eve.

He claimed to be unable to remember what had happened, and that he had woken up in the forest that morning, the scroll in his hand. I related to him what had happened, and our conversation turned to more inconsequential things. It turned out that he was quite smitten by the lady Rayyne, whom he had met just once before. As I was a friend of Rayyne's, I promised him that I would introduce them, when next I had the chance.

As it happened, that chance was to happen soon. Norandar and I ran into Rayyne not an hour later, as well as Neq and Icefox. Everyone was concerned about the scroll and its connection to Anwyn, so we headed out to the Castle for an evening of stories, serenading, and drinking. However, as the evening was winding down, talk again returned to the scroll, which Norandar produced. Against our warnings, Norandar again sang to the scroll, and again died. We were discussing the best way to return him to the living when, with no warning or sign of arrival, an Ahrani Witch attacked Icefox. Fortunately, the witch was weak, and quickly dispatched. However, it was only the first of dozens of creatures to gate into the cellar with us. Unable to leave Norandar's body to them, we fought off waves after wave of undead, until at last a Vvrael Witch gated in.

The creatures we had fought up to that point were relatively small and presented little challenge. The Witch, however, was far beyond our ability to destroy, and slew Rayyne almost instantly. Having managed to hide from the Witch, I decided that it would be best to leave Norandar's body for the moment, and fog the rest of us out of there. When I had returned a few minutes later, Norandar was still dead, and several Vvrael witches were rampaging throughout the castle. Norandar was dragged to a safer part of the castle, where we raised him, hoping that he could shed some light upon what had happened. However, something had changed in him while he lay dead. The lure of power from the scroll had proved too powerful, and like Terate before he was consumed with the need to unlock and understand it. His last words of the night were to me, swearing that he would unlock the secrets of the scroll and lay them at Rayyne's feet.

The next evening found Norandar again with us, but much more subdued. Claiming to have lost the scroll, he had decided to embark on a journey to his homeland, for a period of rest and seclusion, where he could be sure no one else would be harmed by his studies of the scroll (despite having claimed to have lost it).

Days passed, and things seemed to have returned to normal (such as it is). However, the peacefulness was broken at Anwyn later that week when a series of small invasions occurred, consisting of Ghosts and Sorcerous Acolytes. These creatures proved to be extremely powerful and resistant to nearly all magical attacks directed against them. It was only through the determined application of a blade and the use of Voln's symbols that these creatures were finally released.

For almost a month these invasions occurred with increasing regularity, sometimes lasting hours before the last of the hiding creatures was rooted out and released. Throughout this time, Norandar would occasionally return to us, and one night spoke a bit of the history of Anwyn. His tale was sparse, but he related to us a story of the Castle, and the Queen that lived therein. A powerful sorcerer, she went insane after her son, Terate, was consumed by the Vvrael and turned to their uses. For years she ruled tyrannically over an ever shrinking populous, until finally the kingdom itself collapsed and the castle became an abode of the undead, with the spirit of the Queen trapped inside.

Approximately two weeks after the invasions began at Anwyn, the Queen began to make her presence known, by stealing the Lady Rayyne from us. Much like Norandar had vanished from us before, odd mists congealed around Rayyne, and when they lifted, she was gone. At that point our business in Anwyn ceased its exploratory nature, and took on a desperate tone as we repeatedly scoured the castle for any hint of Rayyne. Following kidnapping, the invasions continued almost daily. However, occasionally not all of the spirits would attempt to destroy us; a few seemed interested in speaking to the living once more. From these creatures we learned more of the castle's history, of how the Queen once ate her cook after deciding his food wasn't good enough, and the mass executions that took place in the village during Anwyn's final days. One ghostly bard by the name of Keat told us a sad story of his love, who had been slaughtered in the village thousands of years before, and now lay in a mass grave south of the town. From Keat we learned that most of the castle and surrounding village had worshiped Onar, who the Queen spurned in her final days of mortality. A shrine to Onar supposedly still existed somewhere beneath the castle, buried by the Queen in one of her fits of madness.

Most interesting, though, was a scruffy female halfling that appeared to us after a particularly vicious invasion. She seemed to exist halfway between the world of the living and the dead, the result of a spell cast upon her by the Queen. Most of us who'd experienced the final days of the Vvrael saga in Pinefar recognized the halfling as Belle, the former proprietor of the Pinefar Trading Post, who had been missing for months and was believed dead. The halfling acted as a go-between for us and Rayyne, who she was somehow able to reach without the Queen's knowledge. Over the next few days the halfling would reassure us that Rayyne was still alive, but needing our help.

Over a month passed in this chaotic fashion, with nightly forays to the Castle in an attempt to find Rayyne, with no success. The invasions became fiercer and fiercer, until it came to pass that only the eldest of the Landing's citizens could enter the castle with even a hope of surviving.

It was in that dark hour, when many had begun to despair of ever seeing the Lady Rayyne again, that Norandar appeared to us with the news that he had learned all he needed from the scroll, and felt able to breech the defenses the Queen had erected around the castle, allowing us access to Rayyne. His words fell upon our weary and deaf ears, but we decided to trust the bard one final time, if only for Rayyne's sake. The Queen was especially active that eve, occasionally snatching members of our party away from us and dragging them through the stone walls of the castle, where she tormented them with pointless riddles before releasing them back to us.

Realizing that by breaching the Queen's magical barriers, we would be unleashing her might upon the world, many of us decided to bring in a contingent of the local militia, to help combat the inevitable swarm of horrifying demons that would pour forth from the castle to feed upon the world. Although most of the militia was slaughtered instantly, they proved to be invaluable in distracting the queen from the main thrust of the night's mission; getting Norandar to the mystical pentagram room located deep beneath the castle, where he could work the scroll's magic.

Deep beneath the castle, things were much quieter. Norandar had just begun the incantation that would open the way to Rayyne and the Queen, and those of us with him had taken to praying to our various Gods for aid and mercy. Norandar's ceremony consisted of a quiet magical phrase spoken at each of the pentagram's five points. As he completed the first two points, all assembled could feel the air begin to charge with power, as if great beings were watching and anticipating. However, on the third point, Norandar began to falter, and had to hastily fortify his magic to prevent it from collapsing. When he reached the fourth point of the pentagram, something went catastrophically wrong, and his magicks collapsed entirely, the runes upon the scroll and pentagram falling suddenly dead. A look of horror appeared on Norandar's face as he realized how truly powerful the Queen was, and we heard her laughing contemptuously at us from beyond the stone walls of the castle.

Several things happened simultaneously at that point. The first that we noticed was a sudden inundation of the pentagram room by various creatures representing all levels of the demonic, which began cutting into the crowd with ease. The second thing we experienced-as we were scrambling to our feet and grabbing weapons-was a searing, horrible pain on the back of our necks, as if we were all being branded by an unseen force. This shocked us all for a moment, and we didn't realize for a few seconds that the Lady Rayyne had appeared in the room with us, seemingly as confused by her situation as we were. With Rayyne appeared the scruffy little halfling we had encountered earlier, now apparently free of her bonds. Finally, as we were collecting our wits and trying to hold of the undead which had arrived in the room, the castle itself began to weaken and fade from existence, as if it no longer had the power to manifest itself any longer. Realizing that being stuck in a disappearing castle with a swarm of demonic was a poor idea, we gathered ourselves into a group and returned to town, with the Lady Rayyne and the halfling in tow.

Later that eve, with a relieved Norandar, we attempted to piece together what had occurred in those final minutes. The branding sensation we had all felt turned out to be exactly that; on the back of the neck of everyone who had been in the castle at the time was branded a tattoo of a white skull on a field of black, the symbol of Onar. Without being told anything by the deities, we could only assume that as Norandar's spell began to fail, Onar himself intervened and released Rayyne, perhaps because the Queen had killed many of his faithful millennia ago. However, Onar apparently wished us to all know that we owed him our lives, so he set upon us his mark, the tattoo on our necks.

It was an odd way to end events at Anwyn, but since the Queen's power was broken and Rayyne returned to us, none of us were inclined to disparage it. Onar's mark still rests upon our necks, signifying our debt to him, and waiting for the day that he calls us to pay it. Castle Anwyn is a mere shell now, inhabited only by minor undead, with no hint of the Queen's power. And up in Pinefar, a scruffy little halfling returned home.

-Mnar Akurion
House Phoenix Research Department

Prologue

Category: GemStoneIII Quests, Sagas & Events
Topic: Castle Anwyn
Message #: 655
Author: Rayyne (AMBER)
Date: Jun 27, 1998 15:57
Subject: (Unknown)

During the Vvrael quest, we were introduced to a pure elven sorcerer who called himself Terate. As a young man, Terate had found scrolls which linked him to a world beyond ours - and which bestowed him with great powers. Terate, the Chosen, and The Rift are all part of a quest that took many, many months to complete.

Terate was apparently born centuries ago, and his story weaves its way through times unknown to us. He didn't sit down and tell his tale from beginning to end, but divulged a little here, a little there. He claimed Anwyn as his home and spoke with an uncharacteristic tenderness about his mother, a bardess sorceress.

Anwyn was discovered during the Vvrael quest. There is a chest and a mirror in the pentagram room. One of the stones of virtue was found in that locked chest by Lord Challen.

And that is where this quest picks up...

Somewhere in time, ghost and acolytes and ahrani witches began showing up in the Castle. One evening, when there were several large parties hunting in the area, ghosts began talking to the hunters. They revealed that all the undead had once been followers of Onar. They were all tremendously afraid of the Queen - many of the ghosts who talked were obliterated. From them, the adventurers learned that the Castle is the Queen, a creation that exists in the minds, an illusion created by that most powerful sorceress.

One of those out exploring the Castle was a Sylvan bard named Norandar. One evening, Norandar found an odd scroll in the chest in the Pentagram room. The scroll writhed and resisted all efforts to be studied. Norandar, Dartaghan, Neq, and others were killed trying to understand it. Norandar, fearing for the safety of his friends, left Wehnimer's to seek out the Library of the Ancients to study the scroll.

It was at this time that the Queen made her presence known. Rayyne had been exploring the Castle since the death of Terate, hoping to find out as much as she could about him. Was the young body on the slab Terate's? Where did the door to the shadows lead? Was the Queen/Demoness in the mirror Terate's mother?

One evening, a strange mist enveloped Rayyne, and she disappeared from her hunting group. The Queen pulled Rayyne into a darkness and spoke with her, explaining how she was Anywn - the walls, the floors, the waters out in the lake. She also asked about Terate. Then, she killed Rayyne and released her from the darkness.

The next evening, Rayyne was at the Castle once more with friends, and once again, a strange mist enveloped her. That was about a month ago.

In the last week or so, Norandar has returned. Sometimes he cannot remember anything of what has happened. It has been hinted that the scroll he carries may be the way to free Rayyne, and perhaps the undead followers of Onar inhabiting the Castle.

A scruffy looking Halfling has also been seen scurrying about. There is reason to believe the lass is Belle, the young halfling that Terate hid during the Vvrael quest. She is held in the Castle by the Queen's magic. Perhaps Norandar's scroll will free the lass, too.


So much for a brief summary....I hope this answers some of your questions.

The Queen

Jun 27, 1998
Norandar says, "It was the home of the Queen, the Knight who was her husband.. and their son." 

Norandar says, "It's purpose was simply a home."

Norandar says, "Now.. it is the entity herself." 

Norandar sighs.

Kerschwitz says, "Tis another curse of the undead.."

Norandar says, "Not undead perse..."

Norandar says, "It goes further than that.."

Norandar laughs cynically.

Norandar says, "Good luck fighting it.."

Norandar says, "It hails back to an elemental power much more powerful than the undead.."

Norandar says, "Hark to the Ur-Daemon.."

Discovery

June 11, '98

Elanthian Weekly, Volume 1 reports

Anwyn Castle--full of cloud-casting undead.

Demon Queen Flourish

July 16, '98

Elanthian Weekly, Volume 6 Anwyn Castle, and the rescue of Lady Rayyne.

Letter From the Editor--Keeping a Journal

Something happened recently that made me think, once again, about the value of keeping a journal, a transcript of what happens in your adventures. Now, there are two good reasons to do this. If something fascinating happens, you'll have a record of it to send to me.

More seriously, if something bad happens, you'll have a chance to go back and see what, or who, killed you, or what happened to your weapon or shield.

Here's what happened: At Anwyn Castle, a couple of days ago, very interesting things occurred. I tell about it in Invasions, below. But, during the invasion, someone had a curse cast on him, and dropped his valuable shield, at North Gate. He was dead, soon after. I had been dead, all along. Now, in the noise and confusion, I think he was not even sure whether it had been lost on the battlefield, or in town. I know, I had not seen a thing, and I had been there, all along. Luckily, the person who picked it up intended to return it, when the owner could be found, and shield and owner were reunited soon. But, in the mean time, I was able to prowl back through the notes I had taken, and see exactly what had happened to it, which might have been extremely useful information, had someone else picked it up, intending to keep it. The noise was such, at North Gate, that almost anything might have happened, observed by no one.

So, I think that a journal can be a useful tool, and would recommend it to anyone, certainly, if you think that "interesting times" are coming. For 999 times out of a thousand, you will never need to look at it, simply throw it away, every day or so, depending on the amount of storage space you have.

I gave some of the background to this story, last week. I participated in this section of the story, if only as an observer and encumbrance, and have a transcript of what I saw. I edited it ruthlessly, I assure you, leaving only arbitrarily chosen samples of what happened. On the evening of July 14, the militia was called in, on what they warned, might well be a suicide mission. Lord Norander was going to try to rescue Lady Rayyne from the Queen of Anwyn Castle, who had kidnapped her. Our part in it, was to go up to the Castle, and make such a commotion that we would distract the Queen, so that he could complete the rescue.

The commotion we made had to be heard, to be believed. I feel sorry for the innocent hunters in the area, when a crowd of screaming maniacs descended on them. But, we drew the Queen's attention. Tremors shook the castle. She spoke to us, taunted us, then started sending swarms of her undead servants.

As I lay dead at North Gate, (hmmm....I wonder how that could have happened?) I looked up, and saw Lord Norander, Lady Rayyne, and the little halfling lass, Belle, who had been kidnapped also. A huge crowd gathered around them, to congratulate them, and eventually, they all went off to a quiet place, to talk things over. I would have liked to have tried to join the group, in the hope they would not notice me....two things held me back:

I felt too shy.

I was still rather dead.

So, I do not know much of the ending to the story. I imagine that people who were more in the center of the action will make their story available, and when I find that, I will copy it, or link to it.

I heard that a fissure opened up in the Pentagram Chamber, at Anwyn, when Rayyne was rescued. I imagine that it might lead to the lairs of the Queen's more dangerous servants, when someone can ever find a way to climb down it.

I did not realize till the next day, that all who had been at the Castle at the time of Lady Rayyne's rescue, were branded with the mark of Onar, the assassin god, with whom the Queen is connected. Some removed their tattoos in horror, some kept them as a souvenir. But, when you see people with a tattoo on the back of their neck, a white skull on a black background, they were probably there. Can anyone tell me why an aventail does not hide it?

Castle alive

June 18, '98

Elanthian Weekly, Volume 2 Trouble at Anwyn Castle.

Invasions

I have heard stories that Anwyn Castle has been greatly troubled by invasions of powerful undead. Tormented souls, and ghosts with a casting strength of 500.

July 1st '98
You hear the faint thoughts of Hadiar echo in your mind:
"Horrors, ghosts, and hornets are invading Anwyn."

You hear the faint thoughts of Sephirosu echo in your mind:
"horror and dark shadow and haunt are invading creatures."

The Symbol of Thought begins to burn in your mind and you hear Trizo
thinking, "all that stuff has god-like power, dont go unless you feel
like losing some of Lorminstra's favor"

The Symbol of Need begins to burn in your mind and an image appears
before you of Kerl...

[Cavern Niche]
Once past the perimeter of the pentagram, the room narrows into a
curved niche. Mounted on the stone of the back wall is a large mirror,
its frame thickly carved with serpentine figures that writhe and curl
around each other. The mirror seems strangely compelling. You also see
a horror, a horror, a horror that appears stunned, a horror that
appears stunned, some cuirbouilli leather, a horror which appears
dead, an enruned thanot box, a horror, a horror, a horror and an
ancient carved chest.
Also in the room: the body of Lord Kerl who is lying down
Obvious exits: north, northeast, northwest.

You hear the faint thoughts of Gialynn echo in your mind:
"ya can't fog to him...the horrors hid his dead body"

The Symbol of Need begins to burn in your mind and an image appears
before you of Vlarr...

[Pentagram East]
On this side of the macabre design, the cavern walls become extremely
uneven, with deep pockets and niches that aren't visible from further
away. In one particular cranny, a small skeleton shelters, still
curled in its death repose. Behind another outcrop, a dark recess can
be seen, looking as though it might yield passage into the stone wall.
You also see a brown frog and a horror who is lying down.
Also in the room: the body of Lord Zentix who is lying down, the body
of Lord Jorex who is lying down, the body of Lord Vlarr who is lying
down, the body of Lord Lackenberge who is lying down, the body of Lord
Swiftpaws who is lying down, the body of Lord Fentres who is lying
down
Obvious exits: west, southwest.

Castle Distraction and the Rescue of Rayyne

So, on July 14th, our mission was to distract the Queen of Anwyn Castle away from Lord Norander's attempt to rescue Lady Rayyne.

[Anwyn Castle Yard]
Wisps of cold fog drift across the yard in an eerie dance. A sparse,
wiry turf braves the frigid climes, covering the expansive area
between the outer curtain wall and the castle itself. Near the wall,
stones lie jumbled on the ground, dislodged from the battlements above
by time, wind and weather. You also see an old stable to the south,
half-fallen into ruin.
Obvious paths: east, west, northeast, southeast.

Vickylynn shrieks!

Shirkon throws his head back and howls!

Pyrno shrieks!

Vickylynn screams!

Tolwynn screams!

Dragnought yells, "ARHANI IS UGLIER THEN ARACHNE!"

Shirkon looks about and lets loose an echoing shout!
Shirkon's shout encourages your fighting spirit!

You shriek!

You belt out, "For the honor of the North!"

Sprea cackles!

Tolwynn throws his head back and howls!

You belt out, "Ghosts, go to the Coastal Cliffs"

Rykel jumps up and down screaming like a madman!

Vickylynn yells, "You ugly witch show yourself"

Murgin looks about and lets loose an echoing shout!

Murgin's shout encourages your fighting spirit!

Titaniia yells, "We doan fear you! "

Tordane yells, "Comeone ye weak ghosts"

Tolwynn yells, "We face ya here an now!"

Dragnought yells, "COME ON YOU COWARD! AFRAID OF US?"

Titaniia yells, "We're here to TAKE this castle from you! "

Gowain says, " i heard her whailin in frustration in the tower"

Vickylynn yells, "We going to take ye down a peg"

Tordane yells, "I can kick yer butts with my hands behind my back"

Shirkon yells, "Where is that so called Witch, Lemme see her!"

Gowain says, "An angry female snarl bounces from the walls, obviously
greatly upset at something."

You belt out, "You Queen of nothingness, where are you?"

Murgin yells, "Bring it on, ya sorry excuse for a mind!"

Draegar exclaims, "Bah, a good touch a lovin from me blade will do ye
a world a good ye wench!"

Pyrno yells, "Show yourself you Ugly Witch! Yeh Freakin cowards come
at us! is this all you got!"

Tolwynn yells, "We level ya where ya stand, Witch!"

Tordane yells, "Sho yer face so I can slap you you Ur-daemon"

Titaniia yells, "Ahrani! We're in your castle!"

Dragnought yells, "I HEAR EVEN THE TROLLS STAY AWAY FRM ARHANI!"

Murgin yells, "Gads, I hear yas have to stay in yer castle for fear
someone'll notice yer not aging so well"

Dragnought yells, "I THNK SHE MUST BE AFRAID!"

Rykel yells, "Ya bring on your little ghosts! huh? Is that the best you can do?"

[And, a whole lot more yelling. Our voices were getting very tired, by
the time something happened....]

The ground beneath you violently shakes and rumbles causing you to fall down!

[(Along with 25 other people.) So, we all stood up, and started
yelling again. It was the first sign that the Queen had noticed us.]

[Wine Cellar]
The dark, cavernous cellar is filled with shelves holding dust-covered
bottles of wine. Lining one of the walls are huge barrels, taller than
a giantman, with massive spigots tapping the front of each one. A
glance at one of the bottles reveals a date of such antiquity, it
would render the contents either exquisite or pure vinegar. Whichever
is the case, there is an abundance of it, for the shelves, with their
bottles, stand rank after rank in this cavernous cellar.

Titaniia yells, "You think that's gonna drive us out!?"

Dragnought yells, "SHOW YOURSELF OR GIVE US YOUR PRISONER! OR SHOW YOURSELF! "

Sprea yells, "Try that agin!"

You hear Nenwavriana yell, "c'mon out..whut are ya an overgrown warfie??"

Murgin yells, "OOHHH shiver me timbers, she's got the shakes!"

Riscobin yells, "What a weak attack."

Dragnought yells, "I HAVE GOTTEN WORSE THEN THAT FROM A KROLVIN! COME ON!"

You jump and scream like a madwoman and altogether feel rather silly.

Rykel yells, "What was that quake? Did the queen eat some beans?"

Titaniia yells, "You think we're scared of a hag with a temper!?"

You belt out, "Any eleventh training sorcerer could have done as well as that!"

Murgin yells, "There's nothing so pitiful as one who hides in her own
lair when folks make a pleasant social visit, eh?"

Titaniia yells, "Tis no wonder your son turned away from you!"

[And, a whole lot more yelling....]

The ground beneath you violently shakes and rumbles causing you to fall down!

[And 16 other people hit the ground, and take a while to get up.]

Titaniia yells, "You think a little tremor is gonna scare us off?"

You belt out, "'nother quake? That your best spell?"

Dragnought yells, "COME ON WITCH!"

The Symbol of Need begins to burn in your mind and an image appears
before you of Grobinal...

[Anwyn Castle Yard]
The expanse of the yard is so quiet, it's unsettling. In the southwest
corner, the grass is thin, a result of the almost constant shadow cast
by the curtain wall and its western tower. The fog is thicker here,
shrouding the view of the castle in a shifting veil of mist. You also
see a nightmarish hell hound, a nightmarish hell hound, a shrieking
wind wraith, a fiery devil dog who appears rather calm, some
cuirbouilli leather, a war hammer, a plain modwir strongbox, an old
building along the castle's western wall and the stables.
Also here: Lord Brakian who is lying down, Lord Jadaard, Lady Jandria
who is lying down, Lord Selfane, Lady Grobinal
Obvious paths: north, east.

The Symbol of Need begins to burn in your mind and an image appears
before you of Grobinal...

[Anwyn Castle Yard]
Wisps of cold fog drift across the yard in an eerie dance. A sparse,
wiry turf braves the frigid climes, covering the expansive area
between the outer curtain wall and the castle itself. Near the wall,
stones lie jumbled on the ground, dislodged from the battlements above
by time, wind and weather. You also see a shrieking wind wraith,
wailing banshee, a fiery devil dog, a decaying lich, a giant skeletal
knight, an angry rotting zombie, a giant skeletal knight and an old
stable to the south, half-fallen into ruin.
Obvious paths: east, west, northeast, southeast.

Arwen gestures at an angry rotting zombie.
Arwen hurls a stream of fire at an angry rotting zombie!
AS: +372 vs DS: +105 with AvD: +51 + d100 roll: +87 = +405
... and hits for 273 points of damage!
Fire completely surrounds an angry rotting zombie.
Blood boils and heart stops.
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the rotting zombie's body as it rises, disappearing into the
heavens.
The rotting zombie falls to the ground a lifeless lump of flesh.

Blades yells, "Hey Queen, why don't you fight for yourself instead of
your pets? Or is it ya chicken?"

Rykel yells, "Ha! those dogs are a joke!"

Pyrno yells, "COME ON YEH WITCH THAT ALL YOU GOT!"

[Anwyn Castle Yard]
The castle yard comes to a stop before a tall, stone wall inset with a
highly carved doorcase. An old iron gate hangs in it, rusty and
weathered over the countless years. One side of the gate stands
resolutely closed, but its mate swings in the wind, shrieking like a
tortured soul. The dark entrance to a building crouches in the shadow
of the curtain wall to the west. You also see, a fiery devil dog that
appears stunned, wailing banshee and wailing banshee.
Obvious paths: south, west.

Nephrenia gestures at wailing banshee.
CS: +360 - TD: +179 + CvA: +25 + d100: +72 == +278
Warding failed!
Wailing banshee is suddenly engulfed in flames of pure essence!
... and hits for 99 concussion points of damage!
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the banshee's body as it rises, disappearing into the heavens.
The banshee slumps to the ground, exhales a sigh of relief, and decays away.

A fiery devil dog tries to bite Titaniia!
AS: +203 vs DS: +584 with AvD: +7 + d100 roll: +19 = -355
A clean miss.

Ohr draws an intricately glowing pattern in the air before him.
CS: +371 - TD: +149 + CvA: +15 + d100: +7 == +244
Warding failed!
A fiery devil dog lets out a blood curdling scream.
A fiery devil dog drops a glistening sea-blue buckler.
A fiery devil dog turns into a pile of dust on the ground that quickly
blows away.
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the devil dog's body as it rises, disappearing into the heavens.

A ghost just arrived!

Earedsil swings a bright silvery vultite falchion at a ghost!
AS: +456 vs DS: +275 with AvD: +35 + d100 roll: +35 = +251
... and hits for 118 points of damage!

A ghost claws at Kerl!
AS: +431 vs DS: +282 with AvD: +7 + d100 roll: +52 = +208
... and hits for 4 points of damage!

Rykel gestures at a ghost.
CS: +175 - TD: +625 + CvA: +25 + d100: +22 == -403
Warded off!

A wave of power flows out of Stormyrain and toward a ghost.
Suddenly the ghost bursts into flames and falls to the ground!
The ghost rolls around desperately trying to extinguish the flames.
... 15 points of damage!

Earedsil starts to ambush the ghost, but stops short with a funny look
on his face.

Draegar swings a veniom-hafted silvery rolaren waraxe at a ghost!
AS: +415 vs DS: +225 with AvD: +30 + d100 roll: +77 = +297
... and hits for 123 points of damage!
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the ghost's body as it rises, disappearing into the heavens.
The ghost cries out in agony one last time and is released.

Tordane yells, "Comeone witch!"

You belt out, "Clean out your kennels!"

Blades yells, "aww come on ya chicken Queen, afraid to show yourself?
I won't laugh at ya"

Murgin yells, "Make me snicker, hear me? Smallest warrior in the lands
finds ya LAUGHABLE!"

Titaniia yells, "Your time here is through, witch!"

Seckirotad yells, "Come on witch let Rayyne go NOW!"

[And, as usual, a lot more yelling...]

Siveron waves the crystal wand at a shrieking wind wraith.
Siveron hurls a hissing stream of acid at a shrieking wind wraith!
AS: +199 vs DS: +220 with AvD: +35 + d100 roll: +51 = +65
A clean miss.

A shrieking wind wraith claws at Blades!
AS: +275 vs DS: +1074 with AvD: +27 + d100 roll: +71 = -701
A clean miss.

Berr swings a monstrous grey krodera greatsword at a shrieking wind wraith!
AS: +451 vs DS: +220 with AvD: +42 + d100 roll: +68 = +341
... and hits for 164 points of damage!
Gruesome, slashing blow to the side of the wind wraith's head!
Skull split open! Brain (and life) vanishes in a fine mist.
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the wind wraith's body as it rises, disappearing into the
heavens.
The wraith releases a groan of mingled ecstasy and relief as it fades away.

[And, more quakes, yelling, monsters, and general confusion, and then we heard]

"You are all obsessed...not healthy, not healthy, I cannot let her go
to people who want to hurt her...."

[More yelling, comments, monsters, and general confusion]

"Rayyne, Rayyne, stay today, leave again no other day...." A
high-pitched giggle echoes about you.

[And, the monsters start looking more dangerous.]

A ghastly ghoul claws at Vickylynn!
AS: +431 vs DS: +330 with AvD: +37 + d100 roll: +3 = +141
... and hits for 21 points of damage!
Well aimed shot, punctures calf!
She is stunned!
CS: +625 - TD: +275 + CvA: +14 + d100: +28 - -5 == +397
Warding failed!
Vickylynn suddenly looks drained!

You swing a grey vultite axe at a ghastly ghoul!
AS: +248 vs DS: +370 with AvD: +30 + d100 roll: +93 = +1
A clean miss.

[What a pointless thing for me to do! Luckily, there were old ones around.]

[So, it took about a dozen hits from the old ones]

Arwen gestures at a ghastly ghoul.
Arwen hurls a powerful lightning bolt at a ghastly ghoul!
AS: +422 vs DS: +320 with AvD: +51 + d100 roll: +77 = +230
... and hits for 175 points of damage!
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the ghoul's body as it rises, disappearing into the heavens.
The ghoul cries out in agony one last time and is released.
The tingling sensation and sense of security leaves a ghastly ghoul.
The brilliant luminescence fades from around a ghastly ghoul.

A hideously horned hellion floats in!

[And, after a number of attacks, successful, and unsuccessful...]

Kerl swings a veniom-hafted bearded alloy waraxe at a hideously horned hellion!
AS: +504 vs DS: +350 with AvD: +30 + d100 roll: +45 = +229
... and hits for 124 points of damage!
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the horned hellion's body as it rises, disappearing into the
heavens.
The horned hellion collapses to the ground motionless.
The tingling sensation and sense of security leaves a hideously horned hellion.
The brilliant luminescence fades from around a hideously horned hellion.
A hideously horned hellion no longer seems distracted.

Blades gestures at a moaning spirit.
CS: +441 - TD: +104 + CvA: +25 + d100: +60 == +422
Warding failed!
Blades blasts a moaning spirit for 1299 points of damage.
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the moaning spirit's body as it rises, disappearing into the
heavens.
The moaning spirit falls to the ground motionless.

[Now, that's an inspiring moment, for a magic-using rogue. Of course,
at his age, no difference between a moaning spirit, and a rolton.
Well, it was a slow moment, in the fight.]

"She loves me...she loves me not...." Stones shaped like flower petals
fall down from the walls, clattering on the ground. "She had best love
me...or she will love no one else...."

Elfstan yells, "What do ye know o' love?"

Morgaine says, "Your majesty, you seem to have pefected the quake, as
did your son...how about letting us have a visit with Rayyne"

Draegar says, "I'll love you witch.....love ye to death"

Rtune says, "me will takes rayynes place tight now mad qween"

Seckirotad exclaims, "She could never love someone who would imprision
her in a void!"

Titaniia whispers to the group, "We gotta keep her occupied so
Norandar can free Rayyne..keep her talking."

Vickylynn yells, "you are not loved by no one"

Murgin yells, "Do I hear INSECURITY? Did yer parents not pay enough
attention to ya? Poor, poor, lonely old lady"

Morgaine says, "Im not sure that insults work"

You belt out, "Tear all the walls of your castle, for flower petals,
It'll still be, "We love you not"

Titaniia yells, "You doan hafta hold someone captive who loves you!"

Kerl says, "Terate was her one true love"

Titaniia says, "I'm runnin outta insults."

[More yelling, confusion, monsters. Ghastly ghouls, Anwyn-style
ghosts, and hideously horned hellions seeming to be the worst of
them.]

Myste gestures at wailing banshee.
The banshee eyes grow wide as she watches Myste's gestures! Suddenly
she makes hurried movements as she recognizes she is about to be
attacked by magic!

The banshee raises her hand to protect herself and a bright glow surrounds her!
CS: +437 - TD: +278 + CvA: +25 + d100: +100 == +284
Warding failed!
You hear a sound like a weeping child as a white glow separates itself
from the banshee's body as it rises, disappearing into the heavens.
Wailing banshee freezes suddenly and begins to shake uncontrollably!
The banshee sighs contently and dissolves away.

A dreadful corpse draws an ancient sigil in the air.

A ghastly ghoul points both spectral hands at Vickylynn!
You notice a gas cloud begin to form above you.

Blades starts to attack the hellion, but stops short with a funny look
on his face.

Earedsil starts to ambush the ghoul, but stops short with a funny look
on his face.

A hideously horned hellion points both spectral hands at Mnar!
CS: +625 - TD: +335 + CvA: +12 + d100: +27 - -5 == +334
Warding failed!
Mnar suddenly looks terrified!
Mnar turns and runs screaming into the distance . . . you don't hear
him stop for quite some time.

To your utter amazement, Rykel's mouth opens and a terrible scream of
rage comes out along with a wall of force that ripples out from
Rykel's pale body

An angry rotting zombie is caught by the force!
... 35 points of damage!
Horrid jolt of electricity shatters ribs in a sickening flash of light!
... 20 points of damage!
It is knocked to the ground!

Virilneus says, "Fash'lo'nae, eldest of the gods, I humbly summon your
great power"

[And many more critters, and a few quakes later]

"Fighting like good little soldiers...how dedicated you must be...all
fall down, one by one...."

A shrieking wind wraith just arrived.

Wailing banshee just arrived.

A giant skeletal knight glides in, chanting loudly!

A fiery devil dog comes galloping in!

An angry rotting zombie just arrived.

A hideously horned hellion floats in!

A hideously horned hellion gestures at Tordane.
A hideously horned hellion looks directly into Tordane's eyes.
CS: +625 - TD: +166 + CvA: +12 + d100: +16 - +20 == +467
Warding failed!
Tordane turns pale then falls limp to the ground, killed by some
inconceivable fear!

* Tordane drops dead at your feet!

Titaniia whispers to the group, "We're supposed to turn her attention
away from th' Pentagram."

The wraith searches around and finds Elfstan who was hiding!
A shrieking wind wraith claws at Elfstan!
AS: +315 vs DS: +154 with AvD: +19 + d100 roll: +57 = +237
... and hits for 27 points of damage!
Beautiful head shot! That ear will be missed!
He is stunned!
CS: +300 - TD: +176 + CvA: -9 + d100: +20 == +135
Warding failed!
Elfstan appears pale and drained!
The wraith swells with power as it consumes some of Elfstan's soul!

Insane giggling fills the air. "Dead and gone, died, all died. Spill
your blood on my bones."

[And many more monsters later...]

Jabbu asks, "where berr go?"

You ask, "Berr?"

Gowain says, "who leads now"

Ohr asks, "where Berr go?"

Gowain asks, "she snatch him?"

[Earlier, the Queen had taken Lord Blades, and dropped him in another
part of the castle.]

The chilling clamor of frenzied laughter floats through, muffled and
indistinct. It seems to be coming from some distance away, but gives
the impression that it orginates from within the castle walls.

[And, many more monsters]

Titaniia says, "Please..lets not say his (Norander's) name aloud."

Titaniia whispers to the group, "We're keeping her AWAY from
him...lets do our part."

[And, many more monsters....]

"Run away, run away, never find Rayyne, not today!" Laughter rings out
through the yard.

Wailing banshee screams loudly, its shrill cry expanding outward with
waves of magic!
The banshee vs. Peche.
CS: +250 - TD: +231 + CvA: -9 + d100: +60 - -5 == +75
Warded off!
The banshee vs. Ruriko.
CS: +250 - TD: +406 + CvA: +14 + d100: +87 - -5 == -50
Warded off!
The banshee vs. Dragnought.
CS: +250 - TD: +126 + CvA: +2 + d100: +75 - +5 == +196
Warding failed!
Dragnought screams in agony and falls to the ground, grasping his head
with his hands!
The banshee stops screaming to attack Dragnought!
Wailing banshee claws at Dragnought!
AS: +235 vs DS: +10 with AvD: +23 + d100 roll: +26 = +274
... and hits for 40 points of damage!
Right elbow smashed into a thousand pieces.

[And many more monsters...]

An unearthly moaning begins to echo all around you, dispelling any
sense of peace and security from the area.

A ghastly ghoul points both spectral hands at Kerl!
You notice a gas cloud begin to form above you.

A dreadful corpse claws at Priscius!
AS: +549 vs DS: +347 with AvD: +35 + d100 roll: +66 = +303
... and hits for 76 points of damage!
Spectacular slash! Priscius's left arm is neatly amputated!
He is stunned!

A ghost emits a low, unearthly moaning that dispels any sense of peace
and security from the area.

An unearthly moaning begins to echo all around you, dispelling any
sense of peace and security from the area.

A ghost claws at Hiddon!
AS: +431 vs DS: +196 with AvD: +35 + d100 roll: +59 = +329
... and hits for 71 points of damage!
Strike to left arm shatters elbow and severs forearm!
He is stunned!

A fiery devil dog mumbles an arcane invocation.

Hiddon stares at the rotting zombie until it seems to bows its head in
submission

[And, many more monsters later...]

"They died too, you see...looking for the crying clouds...."

Icefox yells, "What do you mean by Crying Clouds??"

The walls and floor buckle and heave. The sound of cracking stone and
creaking wood fills the air, mingling with maniacal laughter.

[And many more monsters later...]

* Brynnah just bit the dust!
A hideously horned hellion claws at you!
AS: +421 vs DS: +186 with AvD: +36 + d100 roll: +76 = +347
... and hits for 99 points of damage!
Perfect strike to abdomen.
You scream in anguish and drop quite dead!
You come back into focus.
You suddenly feel less protected.
You return to normal color.
You feel the inner strength leave you.
The silvery luminescence fades from around you.
The light blue glow leaves you.
The bright luminescence fades from around you.

The horned hellion moans with evil delight!

Titaniia swings a rune-etched rolaren warblade at a hideously horned hellion!
AS: +381 vs DS: +275 with AvD: +35 + d100 roll: +84 = +225
... and hits for 131 points of damage!
The horned hellion cries out in agony one last time and is released.
The tingling sensation and sense of security leaves a hideously horned hellion.

"You give nothing to me, no love only tears, and so I give you the
worst of your fears...."

Morgaine reaches down and tenderly cradles your lifeless hand in hers.

Morgaine gestures.
Your surroundings blur for a moment . . .

[So, I was raised, and headed back up there with all mass spells, my
own spells, and all cleric and spirit defense that Lady Zusanne could
give me, bless her kind spirit. I thought that, if I just could join
the main group, I'd be relatively safe, and have a chance to see how
it all ended. As soon as I got there....]

[Anwyn Castle Yard]
A gateway leading into the castle proper is close at hand, to the
northwest. From this vantage point, the castle's mighty towers and
battlements seem impregnable. The structure's beautiful ornamentation
is evident here, from the richly carved arches with their scrollwork
and fanciful friezes, to the hulking gargoyles perched on the ramparts
of the flanking towers. You also see a black void, a dreadful corpse
that appears stunned and a door leading into a ramshackle old storage
shed.
Also here: a stunned Lord Germinal who is lying down, a stunned Lord
Buerrto who is lying down, Lord Attoll who is lying down
Obvious paths: east, west, northwest, southwest.

A dreadful corpse draws an ancient sigil in the air.

As soon as the void sucks all the air up around it, it explodes with
great fury! Air is pushed out with tremendous force!

You pull Attoll to his feet.

A dreadful corpse slowly rises to her feet.

You swing a grey vultite axe at a dreadful corpse!
AS: +238 vs DS: +529 with AvD: +30 + d100 roll: +88 = -173
A clean miss.
Round time: 5 sec.

[Another bout of insanity, you see, but, I had not quite realized how
old they were.]

* Germinal just bit the dust!
A dreadful corpse swings a rusty goblinsticker at Germinal!
AS: +619 vs DS: +141 with AvD: +24 + d100 roll: +99 = +601
... and hits for 150 points of damage!
Perfect strike to abdomen.
Germinal howls in pain and drops quite dead!

* Germinal drops dead at your feet!

The dreadful corpse howls with vicious delight!

Attoll tried to hold your hand but your group status is closed, type
"GROUP OPEN" to let him hold your hand.

[Another serious mistake of mine--in a dangerous situation, you should
always have your hands free--one moment can make the difference
between life and death.]

You are now in a defensive stance.

A dreadful corpse waves a skeletal hand!
A brilliant luminescence surrounds the dreadful corpse.

A dreadful corpse swings a rusty goblinsticker at you!
AS: +544 vs DS: +507 with AvD: +34 + d100 roll: +5 = +76
A clean miss.

You join Attoll.

Your group status is now open.

Attoll reaches down and tenderly cradles Germinal's lifeless hand in his.

A dreadful corpse points a skeletal finger at you!
CS: +665 - TD: +260 + CvA: +13 + d100: +24 == +442
Warding failed!
You scream in agony as your right hand explodes in a shower of flesh,
blood, and bone!

A dreadful corpse draws an ancient sigil in the air.

* Blades just bit the dust!

[A lot of people dying, all along. I just left this in, to show that
the oldsters were dying from something, too.]

* Brynnah just bit the dust!

A dreadful corpse points a skeletal finger at you!
CS: +665 - TD: +206 + CvA: +13 + d100: +59 == +531
Warding failed!
You feel the magic within you suddenly tear violently at your body!
You feel drained!
... and hits for 46 concussion points of damage!
... 35 points of damage!
Brrrrr! That was a cold blow to the chest!
You are stunned for 7 rounds!
... 25 points of damage!
Nasty shock to right arm stiffens joints. Nice and painful.
... 35 points of damage!
An icy slash across the lower back slices deep into your muscle!
... 30 points of damage!
Stunning arc of electricity fuses right arm at elbow.
... 45 points of damage!
Left arm incinerated. Unfortunate.
The layer of protection fades away.
You return to normal color.
The bright luminescence fades from around you.
The brilliant luminescence fades from around you.
The very powerful look leaves you.
The white light leaves you.
The opalescent aura fades from around you.
You become solid again.
The deep blue glow leaves you.
The light blue glow leaves you.

Attoll says, "Foggin"

A dreadful corpse mangles your helpless corpse!

Attoll reaches down and grabs a hold of your lifeless body.

* Yzan has been vaporized!

* Yzan just bit the dust!

A dreadful corpse points a skeletal finger at Yzan!
A dreadful corpse casts into the air above its head and a rip appears
in the sky!
The fissure begins to feed on the air around you!
Yzan is knocked over by the wind!
Yzan is sucked into the void!
Rather abrupt decompression causes Yzan to explode!
Billions and billions of tiny bits of flesh shower everything. Quite
severely dead.

* Yzan drops dead at your feet!

Attoll is knocked over by the wind!
Attoll scrambles to avoid being sucked into the void!

The dreadful corpse howls with vicious delight!

You close your eyes, lift your face and hands to the sky and from deep
within you a rage burns upward and out your lips in a terrible scream
of rage. As the symbol takes shape in your mind, you feel a force
project outward, unfocused like a wall in all directions.

A dreadful corpse is caught by the force!
The corpse is unharmed.

[Now, that was annoying]

Attoll says, "Grr"

Your surroundings blur for a moment . . .

[Wehnimer's, Land's End Rd.]
You are scrutinized by vigilant soldiers as you arrive at the wide
gateway guarding the land route to Wehnimer's Landing. The frenetic
pace of the city to the south is a far cry from the deceptive calm of
the wilds of Elanith outside. Two daunting towers survey the
countryside and protect the town, flanking the road to the east and
west. You also see [an amazing amount of people]

A scruffy halfling just arrived.

Elixx exclaims, "Belle!"

Augus taps a tattoo of a white skull on a field of black.

[All who were up there, were marked, this way--though I did not notice
mine, till the next day. Well, the back of the neck is a difficult
place to see....]

You see Lord Norandar Fe'Leinar the Sylvankind Bard.
He appears to be in his 50's, has shoulder length, wavy light brown
hair, green eyes, and fair skin.
He is in good shape.
He is wearing a black onyx wolf charm, a tiny black glaes spider, a
crystal amulet, a pair of silver-threaded boots, a gold ring, a sylvan
weapons harness, some soft brown leather hunts, some vaalin-rimmed
spectacles, an incised tower shield, a sylvan traveling cloak, a soft
tan fringed belt, and a green spidersilk backpack.

A scruffy halfling gives a tremulous smile.

Myste says, "the lil hobbit is safe"

It is your typical scruffy halfling.
It is in good shape.
It has nothing at this time.

You see Lady Rayyne Gold the Elf Sorcerer.
She appears to be in her 100's, has very long golden blond hair, green
eyes, and tanned skin.
She has a tattoo of a white skull on a field of black on her neck.
She is in good shape.
She is holding a blackened long-bladed khopesh in her right hand and a
jet black vultite shield in her left hand.
She is wearing a gold-threaded white silk bag, a long skirt of black
doe-skin slit up the side and edged in sparkling emerald studs, a
black diamond-studded shield, a gold trimmed black satin belt, a
velvet-soft black thigh sheath worked with silvery spidersilk
stitching and edged with vaalin studs, a golden pendant in the form of
an eagle's claw, some supple black hunting leathers, a slim copper
ring, a shadowy cloak of Illistim, a deep black silky bodice, a sleek
scaled black satchel, and a gold ring.

[So, then it was clear that Norander had rescued Rayyne.]

Norandar says, "The.. scroll... it exploded."

Norandar says, "Take us out.. quickly. Before she returns."

Arwen says, "I can't help thinking there is unfinished business in the castle."

Icefox recites:

"Norandar asked to be moved to somewhere else folks"

[So, they all joined Lord Berr, and went elsewhere.

Rescue of Rayyne re-told

As told by Neq 8/18/2001
Tarkisis recites:
 "Welcome all to the latest edition of Elanthian Chronicles as
sponsored by The Beacon Hall Archive."

Tarkisis taps the tip of her twisted maoral staff on the ground.

Tarkisis recites:
 "Tonight we shall learn about Anwyn Castle, and hear about the rescue
of Lady Rayyne."

Tarkisis nods.

Tarkisis surveys the area.

Neq leans on his staff.

Tarkisis recites:
 "Neq Valslayer, a witness and participant has been kind enough to
share with us his experiences."

Neq slowly paces to his left, moving in a circle around Tarkisis.

[Wehnimer's Museum, Grand Foyer] You are in the grand entry hall of
the Wehnimer's Museum. This building houses much ancient and
historical lore, artifacts and antiquities. The museum complex
consists of galleries bedecked in fine works of art, wings devoted to
historical artifacts, a library of rare manuscripts, a wing devoted to
the natural history of Elanthia, and a Hall of Magic and Technology.
You also see the Juliane disk, a burnished gold plaque, a large
mithril plaque, a carved modwir pedestal and a striking marble trophy.
Also in the room: Nofret, Tarkisis, Sarvia who is seated, Natasia who
is seated, Neq, Hanashyo who is seated, Lady Juliane who is seated,
Vistie who is seated, Goldstr who is seated, Lady Rilven who is
seated, Swetelove who is seated, Rhupert who is seated, Retek who is
seated, Lord Frijthof who is seated, Lady Witcheaven, Thuunk who is
seated, Cido who is seated Obvious exits: north, south, east, west,
out.

Neq stretches.

Tarkisis recites:
 "Please refrain from distractions and commentary. Questions can be
asked at the end."

Tarkisis grins.

Neq winks at you.

Tarkisis says, "Now, let us begin at the beginning..."

Neq nods.

Neq says, "I'd like to start this out by saying I'm not a storyteller
like alot of my peers."

Neq blushes a glowing shade of red.

Neq says, "So, just bear with me."

Neq says, "This story begins simply, a small group of friends sitting
on the Hearthstone Porch, chatting, and enjoying ourselves. Lord
Elfstan, Lady Icefox, Lady Grobinal, and myself."

Neq leans on his staff.

Neq says, "As we sat talking, watching the people pass us to enter the
Manor, we noticed a young bard of obvious noble birth standing on the
top step, watching us. Smiling at each of us, he named himself as Lord
Norandar."

Neq chuckles.

Neq says, "As we introduced ouselves to him, he bowed deeply to each
of us, kissing the hands of Lady Icefox, my wife at the time, and Lady
Grobinal. He chatted idly, avoiding questions of his past, but
regaling us with tales of history and legend."

Neq stretches.

Neq says, "Lord Norandar was a true bard, his stories caught our
attention, and we listened raptly for hours without even realizing the
passage of time. Soon it was growing quite late, and even though we
begged for another story, Lord Norandar politely took his leave and
promised to return the following day."

Neq smiles.

Neq says, "After he left, the rest of our little group discussed what
we could do the next evening to repay Lord Norandar for his masterful
stories. As we talked, Lord Elfstan mentioned that perhaps we could
give him a tour of a recently re-discovered castle in the wilds, the
Anwyn Castle."

Neq shivers.

Neq says, "Anwyn Castle had been revealed to us just weeks earlier by
Lord Terate, as his childhood home. It had housed one of the famed
Stones of Virtue that helped the Chosen beat back the forces of the
Vvrael and eventually save our lands from their vile forces."

Neq leans on his staff.

Neq smiles at Frijthof.

Neq says, "The following evening, upon his return, we presented the
idea of touring Anwyn Castle to the Lord Norandar. He was intrigued,
and agreed to accompany us, and hear our versions of the Vvrael War."

Neq says, "He asked many questions, seeming quite interested in the
tales we unfolded while wandering through the Crypt, and across the
outer lawn of Anwyn Castle, pointing out items of interest to him as
we passed. Our tales continued as we ventured deeper into the castle,
pointing out the throne carved of bone, and the heads mounted on pikes
in the throne room."

Neq mumbles something that you don't quite catch.

Neq shifts his weight.

Neq says, "We paused briefly to examine the mirror on the upper
floors, trying to find an explaination for him as to why none of us
had ever been able to see a reflection in it, or who the face of the
woman was who sometimes appeared on it's surface, cackling madly."

Neq furrows his brow.

Neq says, "None of us had the answers, so we moved on, pausing in the
cellar to sample the castle's wines and have a bit of merriment. We
then began the walk down into the deep basement, where a second
mirror, much like the one upstairs, was located, and the chest that
contained the Stone of Virtue."

Neq hums distractedly to himself.

Neq says, "We moved slowly through the lower floor, east past the
pentagram chamber, to show Lord Norandar the torture chamber, which
disgusted a few of our group, and then proceeded south, to the mirror
and chest. "

Neq says, "We all examined the mirror, and warned Norandar severely
that the chest could only be disarmed by the most skilled of
locksmiths, and that any tampering with it would result in his
incineration by the traps placed upon it."

Neq says, "Yet still he reached out and ran his hand down across the
carved container, tracing the delicate lines etched in the ancient
wood. As he pulled his hand away the chest suddenly opened of it's own
accord, revealing a scroll of ancient parchment inside, covered in
strange spidery script."

Neq shudders.

Neq leans on his staff.

Neq says, "Norandar pulled out the scroll and stared intently at it,
then allowed the rest of us to examine it while he held it. The script
on the scroll was completely undecipherable, it even seemed to writhe
if you stared at it long enough...a most disturbing thing to witness."

Neq says, "Shoving the scroll into his cloak, Norandar told us that he
simply must take it back to his room and begin studying it
immediately. Taking his leave, Norandar nearly flew from the castle
back to his inn. The rest of us stopped off in the Wine Cellar for
another drink before heading home."

Neq ducks his head.

Neq says, "They have very good wine there."

Neq coughs.

Neq winks.

Neq says, "Norandar stayed locked in his room for near a week studying
that scroll before he finally came back to visit us again. The scroll
clamped tightly in his fist. He told us that he had begun to catch the
general grasp of the script on the scroll, but needed us to accompany
him back to the castle to explore the chest he found the scroll in
further."

Neq sighs.

Neq says, "The next morning, we gathered up our original group, with
one addition who had been standing next to us when Norandar returned,
the Lady Rayyne. Beloved of Lord Terate, she still mourned his death,
and we were wary to leave her alone with her grief, so we asked her to
accompany us on an expedition back to the Castle."

Neq says, "Our group formed quickly, and cast a few spells on
ourselves as defense against the castle residents. Upon arrival, we
immediately went to the basement to further examine the chest Norandar
had discovered the scroll in. As we stood there, peering at the chest
from all angles, the mirror suddenly changed, the maniacal face of a
woman appearing in it's depths, then dissapeared as suddenly as it had
come, leaving us all staring in wonder."

Neq narrows his eyes.

Neq says, "Our examination shifted from the chest to the mirror, at
Norandar's urgings, and each of us did our best to try and figure out
exactly what had happened. We all touched the glass to see if perhaps
it were a portal of some sort, but found nothing but coldness against
our hands. That is, until Rayyne touched the mirror..."

Neq's entire body tenses as he tightens his grip on his ironwood staff.

Neq says, "As soon as Rayyne's fingertips touched the smooth glass, a
hand darted out from inside, and seized her roughly by the arm,
pulling her through. We all leapt to try and catch her, but it just
happened too quickly for any of us to react. She was gone before we
could so much as blink."

Neq says, "We bashed, cast at, cursed, kicked, and otherwise
manhandled the mirror in a vain attempt to get whatever had taken her
to return our friend to us. But it was all to no avail. The only
response we got was a single stolen weapon. It was sucked into the
mirror as I tried bashing my way through."

Neq sighs.

Neq hangs his head.

Neq says, "Norandar was oddly quiet throughout this entire event, not
at all like the kind and outgoing bard we had met, but in the heat of
the moment, none of us truely noticed. We may not have observed it
then, but the changes would become much more obvious as time passed."

Neq says, "We hurried back to town after using every tool at our
disposal in attempts to free Rayyne, and quickly summoned every elder
and able bodied person we could find to try and discover a way to free
Lady Rayyne from her imprisonment. Lord Thalior, Lord Berr, Lord
Metaboculous, Lord Ohr, Lady Arwen, Lord Kerl, Lady Daelynn.. just a
few of the great people who gave their aid in our attempts."

Neq says, "We all wracked our brains and bodies in various attempts to
break through the mirror and reclaim our friend, but all proved
futile. Halfway through the attempts, the blackness that had
previously covered the surface of the mirror parted, and the image
that replaced it was horrifying. The image of our friend Lady
Rayyne... screaming in agony."

Neq scowls.

Neq says, "Instead of fading away like the maniacal face that usually
crosses the surface of the mirror, her face remained, frozen in agony
as if to torment us for not being able to free her. Lord Norandar left
suddenly, telling us perhaps if he could go to his room, he might be
able to decipher enough from his scroll to tell us what happened."

Neq paces back and forth.

Neq mutters under his breath.

Neq says, "Soon after Norandar's departure, a single ghost floated in,
informing us that he had been the former cook of this castle, before
it had fallen. He told us of how it had once been quiet place, ruled
by a Queen who was both soft spoken, and gentle to her subjects."

Neq says, "Until the day she had discovered a scroll, a scroll she was
told could help her harness great powers and add them to her own,
allowing her to become the most powerful women who had ever lived. Her
greed for this power grew every day, as did her temper, and her rage.
Her subjects, who had once loved and revered her, grew to fear her,
even hate her."

Neq shudders.

Neq says, "Not content with just using the scroll to increase her own
personal ability, she uncovered ways to use it to drain from others,
to draw on their pain, their fear, and harness that as her power. She
began to butcher and torment her subjects, inflicting upon them things
even I would cringe to speak of."

Neq says, "And I have a fairly strong stomach."

Neq mumbles something that you don't quite catch.

Neq leans on his staff.

Neq says, "Her powers grew, but as she did, her humanity decreased.
She became less the beautiful woman she had once been, and slowly
transformed into a demonic being, one of striking, yet terrifying
beauty. Each day her terrible strength grew, drawing upon the fears
and pains she caused upon her own people."

Neq shifts his weight.

Neq says, "As her powers became greater then that any mortal could
posses, the Arkati the local priests worshipped, namely Lord Onar,
began to take notice of what happened. He began to watch the mindless
brutality this woman inflicted upon her people, and the pleasure and
gain which she drew from these acts of destruction."

Neq paces back and forth.

Neq says, "Lord Onar held a great interest in this particular area,
for it is rumored that beneath the ground in the areas surrounding
Anwyn Castle lies his lair, housing the living stones that he draws
strength from. As the sway of the Demon Queen expanded, so did Lord
Onar's apprehension at allowing her and her abilities to grow further,
to eventually become a possible threat to his lair, and the source of
his power."

Neq softly kisses his Onar symbol, murmuring to himself.

Neq says, "Finally, Lord Onar reached the decision that he could no
longer watch this woman grow as strong as she wished, and directly
involved himself. Though little is known of exactly what happened
between them, it was said that Lord Onar trapped the Queen beneath a
barrier in the veil. Holding her away from this realm, and in the
realm of demons."

Neq shifts his weight.

Neq says, "We all contemplated what we were told, and of how we could
apply this knowledge to help free our friend the Lady Rayyne. We
agreed to leave the castle and our fruitless attempts, with only a few
people watching the mirror in case Lady Rayyne managed to free
herself. The rest of us returned to town, to rest, and think."

Neq says, "The following day, we began to hear rumors of large ghosts
floating throughout the castle, strong enough to slay even the eldest
of adventurers. We formed a group, and discovered these rumors true.
These ghosts were some of the most powerful creatures we had ever
encountered, slaying many of us as we fought to free their souls.
Finally we came out victorious, but it was a small victory, for after
that first ghost more came into the castle at various times,
butchering any who were there until the elders could rush to destroy
him."

Neq mutters ghosts.

Neq leans on his staff.

Neq says, "Lord Norandar wandered up to the porch a few nights later,
so pale and thin that we almost did not recognize him. His eyes had
changed, turning from their natural brown, into a deep, black. He told
us his studies of the scroll were coming along splendedly, and that he
could gain much power from this scroll. When we asked him if he had
discovered anything to aid us in freeing Rayyne, he merely scowled and
told us he had not."

Neq frowns.

Neq says, "Many of us who had known him prior to him finding the
scroll began to worry, for much like Lord Terate was taken by the
Vrrael, it was obvious that someone, or something was slowly taking
over more of Lord Norandar. His actions as he wandered around became
irratic and violent. His temper vicious, and his actions cold
blooded."

Neq leans to his left slightly.

Neq sighs.

Neq says, "But still he continued to study the scroll, we had no
choice but to allow him to continue, for without the scroll, we could
find no hope in freeing Rayyne. Battles continued to flare up at the
Castle, but for the most part, our concerns lay in uncovering what we
could of the scroll Norandar had in his possession."

Neq says, "Several of us appealed to the part of Norandar we knew had
to still be there, trying to calm him when he became enraged, and
sooth him when he lashed out with the powers he had discovered in the
scroll, attempting to minimize the damage he would do until we could
uncover a way to rescue Rayyne."

Neq grunts. How charming.

Neq leans on his staff.

Neq says, "Months passed as Norandar studied the scroll, each passing
day he became less and less the man we knew. His features altered, his
eyes bulged, his face pinched, his entire body seemed to grow more
frail. But the weaker he appeared, the stronger the powers he would
unleash when angered became. He even managed to hurl a large bolt of
some rainbow colored energy that completely incinerated some poor lad
who touched him."

Neq shudders.

Neq says, "I even once saw him wield a bolt of anti-mana."

Neq mutters under his breath.

Frijthof stares at Neq.

Frijthof asks, "Anti-mana?"

Frijthof shudders.

Neq nods to Frijthof.

Frijthof says, "That, I had not heard."

Neq says, "It only happened once."

Neq says, "Finally, Norandar came to us, informing us he had found a
possible way to free Lady Rayyne. It involved a detailed incantation,
and rituals that only he would be powerful enough to perform, but he
swore to us that he would aid us in this. He gave us one night to
prepare ourselves for the next day, and warned us that this ceremony
would be opening the barrior between the planes, and might unleash
foes of great strength upon us as he worked to free Lady Rayyne."

Neq glances at a kelyn-shod ironwood fighting staff.

Neq says, "The following day, a large group of us formed, including
the halfling Belle from Pinefar, and prepared ourselves for battle,
casting spells, drinking potions, rubbing amulets and pins, and
marched into Anwyn Castle to reclaim our friend. Norandar met us at
the Castle Gates, scroll in hand, and we all journeyed into the
basement, at which point the young halfling lass managed to dissapear
without any of us noticing."

Neq furrows his brow.

Neq scratches his head.

Neq says, "Norandar walked around the chamber, drawing a pentagram
that encompassed the entire room, and placing a lighted candlebra at
each point. He then stood at the northern most point, and began his
incantations. Almost immediately, the beasts began pouring in upon us;
Bainsindhe's, Hell Hounds, beasts that I can't even begin to describe
began thrashing their way through our ranks as we stood to protect
Lord Norandar from them, so that he might continue his incantation."

Neq says, "Many died in that first rush."

Neq sighs.

Neq says, "I was told Lord Norandar walked through each point of the
pentagram, reciting his incantations as he went, a great rumbling
sound coming from beneath him, increasing with each step. I was not
present for this part of the ceremony as I had been needed in the
upper reaches of the castle, to help fight off a large swarm of hell
hounds that were racing to join their ilk in the cellar."

Neq shifts his weight.

Neq says, "Half-way through the recitations on the pentagram, a large
crack began appearing on the far wall, a loud clawing sound enamating
from it, as if a beast of unimaginable size were trying to break it's
way through. Several of the candlebra's fell when this happened, and
another crack appeared on the floor as Lord Norandar continued,
shattering the spell he had been weaving."

Neq mumbles something that you don't quite catch.

Neq says, "The loud grinding noise grew, now resonating through the
floor and the walls as the hoards of beasts continued surging through
and attempting to slaughter us. We had little hope now of breaking
Rayyne out, but we formed ranks in one single group in the cellar,
attempting to at least beat back the beasts we had unleashed so that
they would not wander and destroy others."

Neq says, "We closed in on them, and pushed them all back against the
western most wall, which now bore a large crack across it's entire
length. As we fought, many of us began doubting our chances of
surviving this encounter, we all knew the instant whatever was behind
that wall broke through, We were all dead."

Neq shivers.

Neq says, "As we slew the last bainsindhe, a darkness suddenly
overcame us all, shadowing the entire cellar. A sharp searing pain
struck at the throats of all of us gathered, and when the smoke
cleared, we all bore the marks you see on me now, the brand of my
Lord."

Neq grins coldly, his eyes reflecting no emotion.

Neq traces the lines of his skull tattoo.

Neq says, "In front of the mirror stood that young halfling lass who
had accompanied us that morning, and beside her, a shaken, but alive
Lady Rayyne. It seems that Lord Onar had spoken to this lass, knowing
that Norandar lacked the strength to properly deal with this matter.
He told her to sneak into the mirror during the battles, and attempt
to retake Lady Rayyne by stealth. And at the last moment, when the
foul beast behind the wall nearly came through, Lord Onar threw his
might against it, destroying it, and sealing the rift we had attempted
to open."

Neq shifts his weight.

Frijthof smiles.

Neq says, "We took Lady Rayyne back to town, and Norandar slowly
dissapeared into the background, we hardly noticed him leave in the
joyous celebrations erupting when we informed everyone that Lady
Rayyne free. We don't know exactly what happened to the Demon Queen,
but her face no longer appears in all in the mirrors of Anwyn Castle.
We can only pray she is dead, or trapped forever behind the barrier
Lord Onar erected."

Neq says, "Recently, I saw Lord Norandar again, he claimed to no
longer be in possession of the scroll, but would give us no hints as
to it's wherabouts, and claimed to have little or no rememberance of
any of the events that transpired at Anwyn Castle. We can only hope he
was telling the truth."

Neq furrows his brow.

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