Following is a battle report which will, with Your Glorious Mercy, restore my clan’s honor and spare me execution for failure.
The Netherese of Faerun proved overconfident. They paid too little for the challenge offered by their chosen targets. We tracked the targets to Mithrendain in the Feywild. They were initially incapable of portal magic, instead using unreliable plane-falls, led by eladrin guides.
Mithrendain was undergoing internal political turmoil and we were initially unable to strike. Instead we watched, scrying from a distance. The eladrin were facing attack from a disparate group of cyclops, quicklings and other evil fey, led by an eladrin noble and a lamia who planned to take control of the city. The lamia, Jelvistra, was in league with a dwarven warlock of unknown origin. We did catch a name: Draigdurroch.
The mortals, known as the Sacred Blades, proceeded to cut a bloody swath through the insurgent forces. The warlock portaled to Sigil as his allies were cut down around him and his plot defeated. The eladrin rewarded the Blades with a king’s ransom by Prime standards, as well as pledges of magical support for some war. No concern of ours.
When next the Blades rested we sprung our trap. One of their members bore the artifact the Netherese warned about. A paladin and dragonborn, he was the highest-priority target. We invaded his mind, sending a nightmare to test his resolve.
In the nightmare world his allies turned to enemies, stealing his artifact and planning evil deeds in the war they fought. The paladin proved to be far from a good man, going along with many of the evil plans and suggesting some of his own. Fears of betrayal are strong in this one. In the end his home village was overwhelmed by undead forces led by a lich he called Operious. Who this Operious is, I cant say, but he evoked a strong sense of loyalty in the paladin. As death came for him, the paladin forsook everything he believed, throwing away the artifact and offering his eternal service to the lich.
The paladin would have died in the nightmare had the eladrin mages not intervened. They blocked us and sent the other Blades into the dream. They rescued their ally, fighting the nightmare phantoms and saving him. Yet the damage was already done; the paladin knows the extent of his failure. As does his artifact.
The Blades left the Feywild next, traveling to the Prime. We prepared an ambush at Sildren’s Rock in the Endless Sea. When next their bard cast a portal spell, it was intercepted and the Blades arrived at our trap. We brought many warriors. Not enough.
I was removed from the battle early on and did not witness the slaughter. I was imprisoned by their bard, sent to a pocket plane. Oddly it took the shape of the interior of a giant burlap sack. Inside was only a halfling, who wasted no time robbing me blind. I had never encountered such magic and it took me quite some time to dispel.
By the time I returned to Sildren’s Rock my allies had been slain in an impressive manner. Only Tzlarack remained alive, tied up as a prisoner. He forced my surrender and he revealed much of the Netherese plans to the Blades. For his treachery the Blades slew him, tossing him into the Sea. They rewarded my prowess by allowing me to live, even suggesting we work together in the future. Clearly the Blades are honorable opponents and possible allies.
Your Humble Servant,
Star Knives Clan
Excerpts from the journal of Captain Harrowleaf, Loudwater Militia
Since the death of Lady Moonfire, I have accepted the task of administering Loudwater. The town I have lived in for a century has become an armed camp, profiting from the soldiers and the fears of war. Food prices have risen, room and board are hard to come by and a steady stream of refugees float downriver towards Daggerford and Waterdeep. Some come from Llorkh, some from here, but most from isolated villages and farms in the land between.
In her desire to keep Loudwater safe I fear Moonfire neglected the greater Grey Vale region. Her non-aggression with the Zhents and Netherese only meant that Loudwater remained safe while Zelbross was burned to the ground, Secomber taken by evil and Llorkh occupied. Now we cannot rely on Secomber for aid. Llorkh was still recovering from their own occupation and now they face renewed attack. This could all have been averted if Moonfire had a greater vision for the region. Something I will attempt to fix.
Things have moved quickly in the last few weeks. The Blades have recovered an artifact of Selune and gained the support of the eladrin of Mithrendain. Their battle mages arrived yesterday, a magnificent sight. It gives me hope that Netheril can actually be overcome. The Lords’ Alliance army has high spirits now, feeling invincible with the elven mages and heroes at their side.
Scouts report that Netheril is encamped three day’s march outside Llorkh, in the Dawn Pass. Eight thousand conventional troops. That alone could be overcome by our two thousand Lords’ Alliance militia supported by elven magic, gods willing. And looking at the Blade, I think they do.
Netheril has secured the support of two dragons who fly with the army. There’s no telling what offer was made to the beasts. A weapon of terror, they will frighten most men before a battle even begins. Llorkh might surrender outright unless reinforced. We will need some counter to the beasts.
My kin in the High Forest report Netherese scouts combing the woodlands. What they search for is unknown.
Today’s planning session went well. The Sacred Blades clearly feel this will be winnable, though I have my doubts. The greatest concern was winning too decisively, blasting the Netherese army with our battlemages and drawing the eye of the Netherese archmages in turn. Should the war escalate to wizard duels and flying fortresses, we will be woefully outmatched.
A most unusual occurrence today. The Blades planned to teleport to Llorkh to aid in its defense. Instead their portal was intercepted by powerful magic. They said they battled a githyanki ambush on a floating island in the Astral Sea. Unimaginable.
The gith turned out to be exotic Netherese assassins. Mercenaries, hired by the mages to eliminate the Blades. Luckily for us they were unsuccessful, and the Blades managed to turn the tables and defeat their ambushers. I noticed their bard, Rolen, paging through a tome in a strange language. Undoubtedly full of planar rituals, spoils of victory.
The Blades announced a change of plans after some dire news they learned in the Astral. The gith revealed that Netheril intended to raise more floating citadels as they were able to in ages past. Something about the laws of magic being changed since the Spellplague and death of the goddess of magic, Mystra.
Darkhold was the preferred target of the Netherese. It would have made a perfect fortress, but it was destroyed in a scorched-earth tactic by the Zhents. Now they plan instead to raise the ruins of Karse, the location where their godling fell and caused the end of Netheril. If the magic that allowed a man to become a god is again available, what could they be planning? Doubtless Shar has some hand in it too. This could threaten good folk everywhere.
The Blades now head to Waterdeep to seek aid. I hope Llorkh can hold out in the meantime.