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Nov 2, 2018

Heroes of Silvermoon, Chapter 8: Captured

Contents:
  1. The Cultist
  2. Arena Games
  3. Phoenix Sorcery
  4. The Half-Moon Crucible
  5. Castle Mistamere
  6. Bringing Back the Dead
  7. The Curse of House Lightwalker
  8. Captured
  9. Far from Home
  10. Through the Underdark
  11. A New Port of Kings

The Tale of the Heroes of Silvermoon

Chapter 8: Captured

The heroes were given a great honor by the royalty of Silvermoon to be formally awarded for saving the city (and most of the elven race) from the dracolich. Each was given the honorary title of "Hero of Silvermoon" at the ceremony, which everyone in the city celebrated. However, the moment the ceremony was over, Ari disappeared in a flash of smoke, and her magical silver raven came flying from outside the city and delivered a note. The note seemed to transcend time, as it related Ari's despair in being kidnapped for several weeks, despite her being gone only moments. In the note, Ari beseeched the heroes for help, explaining that she was kidnapped by a warlock who had taken control of the orcish clan she was raised by into the Hinterlands to the east.

The Heroes of Silvermoon recruited a wandering old monk named Olwyn to their cause, who knew of the directions to the Hinterlands, and they set off the next day. The journey was uneventful except for an encounter with a mutated owlbear, which the group killed. Eventually, the group approached the town that Ari had led them to. In view of the town, the heroes camped for the night. Gorthuk received a vision in which he was given several magic items, and in the morning, the items were in a bag in their camp.

The heroes approached the town and investigated. They discovered that it was taken over by orcish warriors, led by a chieftain known only as "The General." The human occupants of the city, once its citizens, were now slaves afraid to do anything against the General's will. The heroes also discovered a young blue dragon who was guarding the courtyard that led to the city's immense castle.

Through using the silver raven as a means of communication, the group sent messages hoping to find Ari or at least information about the warlock, but the raven only returned with angry and threatening notes from the General.

The heroes stayed in the town and formulated a plan. They purchased some meat from the butcher in the town, then laced it with some Midnight Tears poison they had found in the bag after Gorthuk's vision. Once consumed, it would severely damage its imbiber at the stroke of midnight. Xilmar gave the meat to the dragon when disguised as his orcish caretaker, and a half hour before midnight, they hid in the shadows around the dragon's tower. While Cristoff stalled and gained the dragon's trust, the rest of the group were poised to strike as soon as the poison took effect.

During Cristoff's conversation with the dragon, however, the dragon warmed up to him. It had never been treated like an equal before—only as a slave. It sympathized with Cristoff's cause and offered to help him. At midnight, the poison took effect, greatly weakening the dragon, but Cristoff held off on signaling the group to attack. Instead, he rode the dragon across the courtyard to the castle.

The rest of the group ran across the courtyard, and came upon a dark figure guarding the entrance to the castle. The figure turned out to be a death knight who attacked the party with great violence. Luckily, Cristoff managed to climb down from the castle and help them in time to destroy the death knight.

Wounded but alive, the heroes went to the castle and used a bag of magic beans to cause, among other things, a great beanstalk to grow up the side of it. This they climbed (while Xilmar flew) to the roof and entered through a door at the top. Inside they found a prison cell. They knocked out the orcish guard, then freed the prisoners and told them to get back to town by climbing down the beanstalk. Among the prisoners was Ari, who wanted to get revenge on the warlock before they left. Gorthuk noticed something odd about Ari, but he played along.

The heroes carefully made their way through the castle, using trickery and tactics to defeat each orcish guard they came across. There were also many secret book cases they used to sneak around between rooms. Ari expressly forbade them to use one of the bookshelves, which Gorthuk thought was suspicious, but the rest of the group complied and continued.

Finally, the group entered an empty, cobweb-strewn ballroom. Ari suddenly transformed, showing her true form as the warlock! The group fought against his magic powers, with Olwyn revealing that he had a true form he had been hiding as well—he was a unicorn in disguise. At last, the warlock was defeated, and the General came back to his senses. Some members of the clan joined Gorthuk's clan, and the others promised to leave the town and return to their own territories. The townsfolk rejoiced, promising to spread the name of the Heroes of Silvermoon.

Nov 1, 2018

Phone Phast complete!

I thought I'd check in now that another project month is over. I feel like I choose to do project months at the most inopportune times... This month I started my internship for my coding certification and had a lot of different activities come up as my wife went on a trip and stuff. So it was definitely hard and I wasn't perfect, but I did learn quite a bit and had some experiences I'd like to relate.

Every time I go to the bathroom (not just #2, but at the urinal as well), I used to pull out my phone to read a D&D PDF on iBooks, or check Facebook, or answer Quora questions or whatever. I think (knock on wood) I managed to break this habit. I realized that it's embarrassing and pointless to stand there at a urinal for like 5 minutes. If I want to take a break, I'll take it officially, not just when I pee.

One day, I went home while my car was in the shop, so I didn't have my house key, and my wife had locked the door. My landlady wasn't home, and since I hadn't brought a book to read or my laptop, I decided to just lay out my jacket on the grass and watch the clouds. I had a great experience! The clouds were beautiful, the blue sky was stark against the gorgeous autumn colors (my favorite season), and I had a very relaxing time just listening to distant cars, birds, and wind blowing. I think I need more moments like this—I wonder if I should start doing that once a month or something.

I felt sort of like I cheated when I would watch Netflix on my computer rather than on my smartphone or tablet, but it did teach me how often I depend on these stupid devices. And it was kind of fun to have to look up recipes and stuff on my laptop instead of just pulling out my Google app on my phone. I'm definitely going to move my Google Chrome app to a side view on my phone instead of the toolbar at the bottom, so I can take life a bit slower and waste less time.

I did cheat outright when I listened to Critical Role in the car, and I regret it. I should have just listened to the radio more just for the month's duration, but honestly, I had some hard days this month, and since my entire D&D group's been gone for a long time, I needed my roleplaying fix. I also didn't watch any DVDs except for most of Over the Garden Wall and... oh, you know what? I did have a good experience with a DVD. One night I felt like exercising, so I put on my capoeira pants and just sort of swung imaginary swords around while watching Look Around You. It was really fun! I could've spent that evening playing computer, but I had a fun time watching a good old fashioned television set and DVD player. That I want to do more often as well.

Overall, I definitely approve of this project. I think I'll try it again in the future when I don't have essentially two jobs that I'm working. This entire year has been so, so hard, and I cheated a few times just because I thought I was going to snap. But it broke a few bad habits and did what my yearly project month should do: it opened my eyes.

Happy Day of the Dead!