As those seated around the large table were for the moment quiet as if to catch a breath it was once again Lothor who restarted the conversation.
"The forge is in the dwarven kingdom? The danger is what might attack us on our way there? So, we can either travel into the heart of enemy territory while the Shadow King undoubtedly hunts us. Or we can travel towards a friendly kingdom while the Shadow King hunts us. In either case we will be hunted. But one location seems gravely dangerous compared to the other. What am I missing? Will he expect us to head towards Erebor? Why? It seems until just recently everyone assumed the sword could only be destroyed in Cirath Ungol. It feels like I am missing something here."
The large fighter’s answer once more came from the Arch-Mage Allanan.........
“Me, you, the past, this new future, what your missing perhaps Lothor is the fact, I am here in a time I should not be. Your missing the fact that things that were changed in the past, have effected this future. The past the future you left and we returned to is no more.” A pause “As to the rest, will going to Erebor be less dangerous then Cirath Ungol? I do not know. The auguries have all said all most the same level of danger lurks on both paths. Will you be hunted if you go to Erebor, I do not know. If not for you bringing me and my knowledge to the future their would be no way to destroy it at Kazad-Dum so the Shadow King may not realize it yet. At this time he still thinks the only place to destroy it is at his forge, but he has too many spies everywhere for that to last forever.”
Lothor again... "Excuse me archmage. I can't help but wonder about those scrolls. You have traveled through time to deal with this sword. You have given much to the battle against this weapon. And yet now you would hand off three scrolls and go another way. Why?"
“If I go with you to Cirath Ungol all secrecy and stealth will be gone. I am Valar, he is Valar, he will sense me coming. For the moment I am hidden from him in this fortress, behind its magical walls, but again that secret will only last so long. The best help I can give is to strengthen the defenses here for his army's return. Even now they are rebuild upon the ashes of Atarinn."
As Allanan stopped a new voice was heard as Ulthok began to ask questions.
“My lords, we are given two options but we have little information on the journey to the origin forge. To head south and the cross the waters are there maps and guide information of what we could expect to encounter. Is there information on the evil lands? Are there secret approaches your spies have used that would aid us in that choice? Are there known dangers to avoid? Are there any magical or mighty items we could have to aid in our defense and journey?
For a few moments the Kings spoke quietly among themselves then turned back to the party.
“All we know is this...The Northern coast of Cirath Ungol is impassable due to the Shadow Kings five forts of dread linking the Mountains of Desolation with the Mountains of Damnation with a huge wall of stone and magic. How you would get to Mount Doom we do not know nor could we give you any help other then maybe a few magical items or a spells. You could travel to the Southwest of the island by boat upon the Angrenost Sea pass through the Isles of the the Big Brother and Gryphon Island past the The Mountains of Desolation and find a way to reach the island’s southern shore. However you could also travel to the Southeast upon the Crispian Sea avoiding any mass of land, the nearest being Arcane Island. Once past The Mountains Of Damnation you could again seek a place to land upon the island. No one has journeyed close to the coasts of that island in hundreds of years and shipping that passes through the Strait of Aladron stay as close to the shores of Annoria and Paletine as possible”
Ulthok felt his thoughts needed conveyed to the party so that their questions to the Kings would bear fruit for travels to the core of the enemy.
“My lords, if you will allow me a moment with my friends. “
The Halfling gathered the party around him and in whispered tones explained his thoughts and concerns. When they had done he said to them,
“My vote would be to continue as we had begun, go to when the sword made.”
Cor looked at the party around him, his thoughts easily spoken
“This choice is too important ta make on the spur of the moment. Perhaps we should all take the night to think and pray on the choice and meet tomorrow as a party to determine our course and then return here to present it."
Next to speak within and to the group was the newest of the two elves, Arandur.
“If I may address the group, I do agree with Master Cor. The time for planning and strategising are needed before we come to a conclusion. However, I will say this I opt we take the safer route for this quest will be fraught with enough dangers and unpleasant surprises as it is. I would rather us take the longer but safer road than rush recklessly into the midst of our foes in an attempt to end this quest sooner. But I will leave the decision up to you.'
The party huddled in a tight group, under the eye of Allanan and the remaining kings, continued to talk……….
(DM OOC: Ok new post up I hope I answered all questions to everyone's satisfaction. If not feel free to ask me in the Q/A. Ok I’m going to go to a two week posting schedule so next post will be Sunday the 18th unless everyone posts before then. Ok post away ….)
After a few moments with the group locked in conversation, Cor called for a halt in their discussion. He turned to the gathered Kings and spoke "Tis a right head scrathcher ye set before us. Shall we continue into the teeth of the enemy ta reach the one place we know fer sure will melt the sword or turn to a possibly safer destination that has a risk of failing ta melt the sword. I dunna ken which is right yet and there seems ta be a bit of disagreement amoung our own selves. If ye dunna mind we ahall tak eour leave for the night and speak on this and then on the morrow return and give our choice."
OOC: If everyone would make a post stating their preference in character we can then tally the votes and come to a decision.
As the group retired from the hall of kings, Siréne felt herself plagued by doubt. They were left with two impossible choices, and the fate of the world might rest on their decision. This was not a time to wander blindly and guess, they needed to know with an assurity that only divinity could offer.
Stealing away to her chambers, the witch began to prepare for a mighty rite. In the nocturnal silence she opened her mind, letting the knowledge of the pathways to the Goddess seep in. Hours passed as her plea began to form language. Need became form.
Standing as night became dawn, Siréne raised her hands above her head and called out to the Great Goddess, to She who was all Gods and not a God at all. To the Mother and the Destroyer. Siréne called out with body and voice, and the divine void washed over her. Soon she would know.
((OOC: Prepares and casts Commune - she is seeking to know which path the party should take - this might be a good option for all our priests to do...))
Rayden saw her brother turn to her then simply asked a question. She listened to the rest of the party speak with the others gathered then it was time to vote, she hadn't any idea of where to go.. barely paying attention seemed to have been a poor judgement on her part.
"I care not where we go, just that the task gets done. Where you all go, Brutus and I will follow." Was all the elven woman had to offer before returning to her inner turmoil.
It seemed the party was unsure that one choice was better than another. So, the next morning Cor returned to the hall and made the choice. "We travel to the dwarven forge. May Odin watch over is all and some the fires so we may destroy the sword one and forever".
With the destination chosen, the next question was how to travel. The options were many and each had its own merits and perils. With the help of the dwarven guide the entore party could mass teleport directly to the forge but that could very well send a signal into the ether that would draw the attention of others who would be best kept in the dark. Overland travel would serve to keep movement secret but would take time and how much time the party had before evil forces gained the upper hand was not known. By combining both options the trip could be made in a manner would see the party teleport over 2-3 days to a location roughy halfway to the dwarven city and allow them to travel overland to maintain a modicum of secrecy. Cor explained the optiosn and one more called for a vote. "The journey we undertake is nay a safe one and I am loath ta make the choice of method alone though I will if required. If ye each would take a scrap of paper and write yer choice on it and then place it the bowl I will then count them and the one with the most votes will be our path. Yer choices be 'mass teleport' , 'overland' or 'split'."
Cor took his scrap and wrote upon it the word SPLIT and placed it in the bowl.
Arandur listened intently to what his companions and the kings had to say.
Whichever way is both the safest and the swiftest I propose, the elf Ranger thought. He narrowed his slanted, cat-like emerald green eyes as he focussed upon the square of torn parchment he had been given by the dwarf Cor, the raven's feather quill grasped in his right hand, ink soaked point hovering over the parchment as he pondered the choice most carefully.
How should they traverse to the dwarven forge? Going all the way on foot would be the safest way, Arandur knew. They could use clothes and magic to disguise themselves in order to remain incognito to their enemies. However, the forces of darkness, the dreaded army of the Shadow King, were swiftly gathering and forming ranks and time, the elf was aware, was of the utmost essence. The Iron Maiden must be destroyed before the Shadow King's forces succeed in fully assembling and sweep across the realm like a dark plague, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake. No. This must not be allowed to come to pass. What, then, would be a method of travel both swift and relatively safe? He thought on the question for a while before finally putting the tip of the quill to the bumpy surface of the parchment and scaratched the world SPLIT upon the yellowing paper.
Telaporting all the way there would be sure to alert our foes that something is amiss, Arandur reasoned. And by combining both telaporting and travelling on foot, we will both minimise the discovery of teleporting and travel the rest of the way in the safest manner possible: on foot.
Lothor listened as Cor announced the plan to go to Erebor. He understood the risks of both options as well as was possible he thought. Which bacially meant that they didn't know the risks of either. But this was the choice that made the most sense to him. The best option.
And now they were presented with another option. Teleport, overland or split? A tought choice, but . . . he had more questions. Unfortunately it wouldn't surprise him if again the answer was unknown. But certainly Allanon and the others must have a guess.
"Cor. Before I vote, a question. How long does Allanon think it will take to destroy the sword once we arrive? Will we go directly to the forge? Will the spells take a long time to cast? It isn't as if we can teleport in, run to the forge and cast the sword into the flames and be done with it. But if the fear of the teleport spell is that it will alert the enemy and they will be able to attack us the question of time is important. How long will they have to find us before the deed is done? How long will we have to be able to hold them off? I know you, or anyone, likely doesn't have a perfect answer, but surely those spellcasters intending to do the deed know more than I. If a teleport spell will alert the enemy, I assume the spells needed to destroy the thing will do so as well. So they will what we are doing and where. How much time before discovery do we gain by going overland in all or part?"
The warrior was frustrated. He didn't know how likely discovery was or how quickly an attack would come. Yet, without at least an idea of such how could he make a choice? He glanced down at the paper in his hand as he waited for some sort of response. If he no further information he would write "split" on his sheet. He suspected he preferred the teleport option, but with no more information he thought avoiding an immediate attack when they arrived was likely best. And that meant the middle route. He just couldn't accept the delays that would come with a completely overland route.
Cor collected the strips of paper and read each. "It seemes the option ta split our travel has gathered the majority of votes and shall be our course. I shall meet with our guide and pick an approriate location for our teleport. With luck we can fins a place that will not raise suspicion. "
Cor looked at the party around him, each strip of paper in his hands, his thoughts easily spoken, his idea for a shorter jump then straight into the heart of Kazad-Dum, gaining the more votes. Returning to the Kings Cor spoke of the party’s choice.
"It seems the option ta split our travel has gathered the majority of votes and shall be our course. I shall meet with our guide and pick an appropriate location for our teleport. With luck we can fins a place that will not raise suspicion. "
Joining the Dwarf Ironclaw at the large world map a few minutes of discussion and a teleport location was reached. The party with the help of Allanan and guided by the Dwarf Alfginnar would teleport to the outskirts of the city of Solarmina. Still within the borders of Callahorn yet hopefully still far enough away from the forges to not draw the attention of the Dark King or one of his wraiths.
Returning to the rest of the party Cor told them of the Dwarf and his choice and all was there next to do was relearn or memorize spells, gather gear and food, and meet in the fortresses court yard in 3 hours time…..
With the clock ticking down all were present and ready.
“I wish that I could go with you my friends, but my presence with you now would be more dangerous then beneficial. I hope the Dwarvin forges will be the answer to destroying the sword. Good luck and may the gods be with you.” Allanan smiled a smile of longing and started the spell.
Within a few moments time, a murmuring of words, a wave of goodbye from Althena, the party for a few seconds were encased in white then they were once again visible to all before them the city of Solarmina.
(DM OOC: Ok any memorized spell changes, equipment changes, etc.. let me know. Hopefully next post Sunday September 15th.)
Posted on 2019-09-01 at 22:15:10.
Edited on 2019-09-01 at 22:15:38 by TannTalas
Although he would rather have the party take the sword forge where it was make the decision had been made, they go to the Dwarven forge. Now they had to decide the method of travel. The mage could only sigh. Then their mighty continued his flood of questions.
"Great googly moogly Lother..you've been with us long enough to know that things always change and usually not for our good. So let's suck it up and do the best we can. We have your back and you've had ours. Let's just go destroy the sword." Ulthok gave him one of his famous cherub smiles. "So Choose a path and let's get a wiggle on." He handed the fight a piece of paper, "Pick your poison."
Grabbing a paper he wrote SPLIT but before he could drop it in the Valene snatched from and wrote SPLIT below his. As she went to drop it Peri fluttered up, "Make that three," she purred and Valene held the paper as the fay creature dipped a claw in the ink and wrote SPLIT.
Lothor looked at the halfling mage and shook his head. This was one of the magical ones that was supposed to be a leader. 'Suck it up?' Of course things changed, but that didn't mean you didn't try to get the best information possible. Every general knew that. He thought a mage would as well, especially with the fate of the world on the line. But no, they were to jump without really knowing what those in the know expected.
Could their teleport spell be tracked? How accurately? Would the enemy know they were in Solamina? Would he know exactly which of them were there? Would he know about the sword? How quickly could he figure out the spell? Did it take some form of tracking? How quickly could they expect pursuit? What information was there about any enemy action near the city? He didn't expect perfect answers, but he was pretty sure someone had some good guesses. If they knew the spell could be tracked, then they must have some idea how the process worked. He didn't know it, but someone did. If they were so sure they would be followed, they had to have an idea of how.
Lothor just shook his head as he went to prepare. Yes, he was worried and, yes, he knew the anwers would be less than perfect. Far less, probably. But fore-warned was fore-armed as the old saying went. But it seemed there was nothing to be done about it, even with the fate of the world at stake. As he reached his rooms to prepare he simply decided to ignore it and push onward. He had his sword and a few other special treats. He'd do everything in his power to get that sword where it needed to go. Into oblivion.
And so with firm resolve he watched as the mist cleared and the party emerged in front of the city of Solamina. 'The show must go on,' he thought as he looked around. He waited for Cor and the others to direct their path.
Rayden stuck closer to brutus more then she normally would, but she had no idea what was going to happen and with things rocky at best with her brother the bear was a constant comfort. Listening to the others, she placed a hand on the bears head and waited. When the votes were cast she urged the bear to retreat wth her for a moment before she simply sat and closed her eyes until they were ready to leave.
Brutus looked at his elf and huffed, he really wished that he could go to her brother and lead him to them so that the male elf could fix his elven friend.
3 hours later found both elf and bear with the others about to be portaled to their new location.
Arandur stood and awaited the mage that would teleport them closer to their destination of Kazad-Dum, Talon his faithful falcon perched on his shoulder. His companions were gathered close around him and the elf couldn't help but wonder if they were feeling as apprehensive as he about the forthcoming trip by magic. Indeed, the elf possessed the power of the arcane arts himself, but never had he traversed by such means. But as nervous as he was, he still opted to vote for this method of transport for it seemed to him the most logical solution to swiftly arrive at their destination. He stood even closer to Rayden and firmly but gently grasped his sister's dainty hand, following up with what he hoped was a comforting and reassuring smile but his thin lips felt tout and he was afraid that the smile would involuntarily turn into a grimace. He sighed and tried to calm his racing heart and muddled thoughts, wishing that this part of their journey was over already so he could travel the way he was comfortable with-on foot, walking on safe, firm, steady earth instead of travelling through a seemingly endless void which he imagined teleporting to be like (even though he had thankfully never experienced it).