After the death of Lady Moonfire, Captain Harrowleaf reluctantly took temporary control of Loudwater. He also spoke with the Blades in private, telling them of Moonfire’s slide towards evil:
“We have tracked Lady Moonfire for some time. She spent days in the burned-out tower that you cleared. She met with Netherese agents outside of town after you slew the Pilgrims. I fear she may have been positioning herself for life after Netheril’s invasion.
“I cannot stand Netheril myself. 60 years ago I took part in a battle against their forces in the Karse ruins, in the High Forest to the north. Adventurers much like yourself sought to drive them from our lands. To battle Netheril the adventurers discovered a powerful artifact of Selune, the good Goddess of the moon and eternal enemy of Shar.
“It was just a cup of silver, it seemed so simple. It cut off the Netherese from Shar’s power. The Shades could be defeated with ease.
“Yet the adventurers did not slay them. Instead, they negotiated. They wanted to guarantee against further invasion. I dont know what deals were made, but Selune herself was angered. The artifact erupted in blinding light and its wielder was slain. Chaos erupted! The Netherese tried to pick up the artifact but were burned at the touch. Eventually they were driven off.
“It fell to me to return the Cup. I took it to a place high in the Star Mounts, to an ancient temple maintained by the faithful. As I placed it on the altar and walked away, the doors slammed shut behind and sealed with powerful magic. There it has remained, waiting for Netheril to again go to war.”
The Blades had heard rumors of this artifact and now it was within their grasp. They rode out in the morning to seek the aid of Selune.
Temple of Selune
The journey to the Star Mounts was uneventful. During the travel, Kriv repeatedly had dreams of an angelic figure leading him into battle against evil hordes. He took that as a good sign from his god. The temple was tucked away on a remote trail up the Star Mounts. They may never have found it without Harrowleaf’s directions. It consisted of a sturdy stone building surrounded by an extensive garden. Ten-foot high hedges fenced in the grounds. Moon and star motifs marked the building unmistakably as a temple of Selune.
As they approached the temple compound they saw numerous stone statues in random poses. Ogres, dragonborn, humans and other races, all in a variety of equipment, frozen solid. The Blades instantly grew wary. Few creatures could petrify and they had not prepared for that possibility. The majority of the statues were missing limbs, or had huge bite marks around the legs. Even if they were to be returned to flesh, they would certainly die of their wounds. The leg bites indicated basilisks, reptiles that petrified then ate the stony remains of their victims.
At the foot of one intact statue was a decaying leather bag full of pieces of shattered glass. Fibbit carefully lifted it away and found the remains of a dozen potions inside. Three intact bottles remained: Stone-To-Flesh oil. It seemed some of these petrified adventurers had come prepared, though had not been able to use the potions in time. There was no telling who these people were, or why they had come to Selune’s temple expecting petrification, unless they were questioned.
The dragonborn statue’s hands were tied in preparation, then the oil was applied. In moments his flesh returned and he looked around in confusion. His name was Akirma, a sorcerer, and he had come to retrieve the artifact of Selune for use against Netheril. To his horror he quickly realized he had been petrified for over twenty years. He identified two of his petrified comrades. They were freed as well, though they looked deathly pale. One carried a symbol of Kelemvor, god of the dead.
Before introductions could be completed, Fibbit noticed several basilisks moving closer to the temple doors. The Blades and their new companions scrambled to battle the lizards while avoiding their gaze. Hungry lizards were not the worst problem though, and from out of hiding a medusa attacked, turning her stony gaze on the group. Luck and quick action saved them from a stony fate. The lizards and their master were soon dead, and the temple waited before them.
The entry room was dimly lit only by a magically glowing and sealed door leading further into the temple. Beyond the outer door a pit had opened in the floor, easily covering half the room. A torch revealed snakes covering the entire room. Large, small and in between – the place was a deathtrap. From out of the darkness a voice spoke: “Finally, mortals come as the Shades said they would. This temple is sealed, fools.”
A naga guardian slithered forth, launching a bolt of thunder. The Blades retreated and the guardian did not follow. Instead, the Blades searched the building exterior for another way in. They soon found a wall weakened over the centuries. With Kriv leading the way, the wall was bashed in and a surprise side attack mounted on the naga. Within moments the guardian and its snake swarms were destroyed.
Servants of the Goddess
The sealed door beyond glowed with a faint blue light. Fibbit moved up to test for traps, and simply by touching the door an electrical jolt went through his body. Kriv strode forward and said a prayer, and opened the door without incident. The chamber beyond consisted of four sarcophagi and a central altar. On each of the sarcophagi a fully-equipped corpse lay in state.
On the altar was a silver chalice, the artifact they had come for.
As Kriv approached to take the cup, it faded away and five glowing silver angels appeared around the Blades. The group had a sense of the gods themselves looking down, judging them. The lead angel spoke in a beautiful voice: “Mortals, you desire to wield the power of Selune yet you know not what that means. You are not Her followers. Nor are you of like soul. Yet we sense great enemies of Shar and so have allowed you entry. We shall test your resolve. Defend yourselves.” They drew blades of flaming power and attacked.
During a fierce battle, Fibbit could not resist the urge to pocket some of the items on the various sarcophagi. Might as well, he figured. They could be worth a fortune. As he pocketed the last item, the others Blades had finished off all but the lead angel. Suddenly it spoke while focusing it’s gaze on the thief:
“Very well, you have some ability. However, Selune does not consider simple tomb robbers worthy of wielding her power. Prepare to die for your insult to the Goddess and her mortal servants.”
The angel then paused a brief moment, as if listening to something faint. It resumed speaking:
“Another has interceded on your behalf. The God of War requests a greater challenge to prove you are worthy of the coming conflict. Endure this and you will wield Selune’s power in war against the Netherese threat. Falter, and Selune will wait for a true champion.”
The angel then enlarged in size, wings of silver light becoming silver hide. Enlarging still more, it shattered the roof easily and the ground shook. Bricks of the temple fell all about the Blades, who were protected underneath the enlarges wingspan of the angelic servant. Soon the open sky revealed what the angel had become: an adult silver dragon. It roared in defiance and wasted no time attacking.
After several desperate minutes the determined Blades and their new companions slew this angel-dragon challenge of the gods. As it fell it coalesced into silver mist.
A booming voice spoke out, saying “You shall wield the power of Selune against the might of Netheril for as long as the Goddess sees fit. Yet a cup shall not do for such as you; a form more befitting the Blades has been chosen. Use the Goddesses power wisely or it will surely destroy you.”
On the altar, the silver mist formed into a huge silver fullblade engraved with images of the moon.
Kriv walked forward and reverently grasped the artifact. He heard a faint voice in his mind:
“I ask only three things of you, Wielder. Defeat the plans and allies of Shar. Grant eternal peace to undead and lycanthropes. Make the night safe for goodly folk. Do these things and you will find favor among all followers of the Goddess.”
“Do otherwise, and I shall destroy you myself.”
Blade in hand, the band of heroes returned to Loudwater days ahead of the coming army.