I've finally returned, and there's much to do. Much evil in this world is trying to escape its bonds and so it must be stopped. But i'm getting ahead of myself. I suppose it would be best to start where the previous narrative left off.
Liada, Dukek, Kanar, Kangee, Rufo, Novarg and Sinedra had just made two narrow escapes, one from the forces of the Black Riders in the tunnels under Goats-Gate Pass, and another from Aslack Stoneworth of the Lion Clan. Cold, dressed in rags and near death they dragged themselves to the border of the Allanelle where they were met by a small group of elves. The fact that they were waiting for the group prompted a vicious outburst from Liada. The rest of the crew (ignoring Sinedra) simply seemed happy enough to be welcome somewhere, anywhere.
The party was led to Lothlor... er... Tamrithol-irl by Disen who explained a few of the basics of the political situation to them. He explained the current upheavel in leadership, Gorthamble's role as warleader, a few of the worries of the council and other such events. After arriving in the city the group was healed, clothed and debriefed while Sinedra was allowed to return to her home and wash up there. Kangee was taken away for extensive healing to replace his recently lost arm. Later that night Sinedra returned to lead her new friends to the Tree of Life and explain a few more things. Chiefly, she expanded upon the known threat of evil to include the slow death of the Tree of Life. This news struck most of the group as bad, but not as catastrophic as she was making it sound. Dukek was not seriously concerned, but rather slightly happy at the news. He brought tidings that one of the treasures held by Baltron was a living cutting from the Tree of Life, given in trust to the dwarves centuries ago. This news would be quite valuable in a few days when they were negotiating with the Council. The other major piece of information Sinedra offered the group was that a small sect of the Council seemed to be acting opposite the best interests of the Allanelle. Many of the younger members were advocating a 'wait and see' policy as it was clear to the rest of the world that the Grimorden were escaping.
The following morning the group set out with Disen, Sinedra, a new friend, and an escort of elven guardsmen. The new friend introduced himself as Barill Vishnor, a cleric of Pelor who had been granted a holy vision months prior to come to the Allanelle. The elves treated him with respect, and so the heroes followed suit and trusted him almost immediately.
The journey and arrival to the elven moot was uneventful, although Liada was getting constantly distracted. Being in the Allanelle seemed to unnerve her on an almost primal level. She, as usual, did not wish to show any weakness and so kept up a steady stream of verbal jibes and barbs, but was quite distracted and as such many details of the ensuing meeting are lost for the purposes of this record. The Council met with the group, heard their story, and expanded upon some information that had been hinted at before then. After a while a recess was called for the party to discuss among themselves the path set before them. During this break, Liada was taken away by a few of the guardsmen under the pretense of negotiations. She was feeling off-put and ornery and demanded Kanar's presence if any negotiations were to take place. The guards eventually agreed and led the two ladies away to a private chamber where Disan and Sinedra were waiting. As soon as the door was closed both were restrained and a potion was forced down Liada's throat, removing the false memories i had been operating under for the previous fourty some odd years. I soon awoke, but my mind was a jumble of memories, real, faked, and completely imagined. I recovered fairly quickly, but still went off to meditate on my own to compose myself before attempting to explain the ruse to the rest of Liada's friends.
The meditation helped me to appear more focused, a fact which no doubt was necessary in convincing Liada's friends that my change of heart and mind was neither malicious nor dangerous. I was still having a lot of trouble with my perceptions, however, and as such the rest of the meeting seems to have passed in a blur. I do remember that we were directed towards a sage by the name of Dimetrius in the swamp near Baltron's tower, that i was told to take possession of Esserial, and that Dukek bargained with the Council over the return of the sapling. My first solid memories only form later when we were all standing in the sage's cottage by the swamp.
Dimetrius welcomed us as a friend and pointed us in the right direction. He informed us that the younger Council members whom we'd been told to be suspicious of by Sinedra had recently attempted to wrest the location of Baltron's fortress from him. Dimetrius also told me of the method in which i could re-enchant a perfect ruby using the pouch of powder the council had given us, as well as some blackfire, a holy relic of the Cult of the Black Flame that had taken residence in Baltron's tower. Finally he provided us with skiffs and we bid him farewell.
Thanks to the sage's directions we were able to find the tower with little trouble. We camped in the swamp within sight of the tower as we made plans for our assault. It seemed to us that the inhabitants were mostly active during the day, so a pre-dawn assault would be the most beneficial. In addition, we found that while they kept a watch over the main gate, there were many holes in the surrounding walls that we could easily make our way through. We started out in the morning with our surprise assault ready and stealthily made our way into the tower.
The bottom floor of the tower was well protected against an assault... assuming the defenders knew of it. Arrow slits and murder holes abounded, as well as a very forboding porcullis, but no one was around to man them. We quickly and (mostly) silently dealt with the few threats we found on the ground floor, slightly surprised that the cult would allow violent and random creatures and parasites to occupy a section of the tower its members would have to travel through on a daily basis. Kanar in particular was unhappy with their housecleaning. We eventually came to a decision; Stairs leading further up the tower, or a trapdoor leading to a darkened cellar. Kanar decided to experiment by dropping some meat down the hole to see if there was anything dangerous waiting there. Her experiment proved successful as a great din was raised from some slavering beast or another scrambling up towards us at a frightening pace. Dukek, Novarg and i quickly moved to grab some nearby furniture and barricade the trap door with it. Eventually the noise subsided and it seemed the creature returned to whatever resting state it had been in before we'd disturbed it. This left us with a clear choice, Up The Stairs we went.