:: Dungeons & Dragons - The Threshold Party - Lana Travels to Glantri ::

Lana Travels to Glantri

Where in the world is Karnus Perdissium?

While Lana and Mizra were putting finishing touches to the flying carpet, Teldon flurried into the Wizards' Guild laboratory nearly disrupting the magical auras. The Guildmaster demanded to know Karnus' whereabouts as he and Lana were required for a mission on behalf of the Guild. Such was the importance of the mission that it had been sanctioned by Stefan Karameikos himself. Teldon listened in dismay as Lana explained how Karnus had enrolled at the Great School of Magic in Glantri, where he was attending classes with a view to graduating. Teldon insisted that Lana should journey to Glantri to procure her friend's return as a matter of urgency. Personal fixations, Teldon stated, should rank second to the Duke's requirements.

The following day Lana finished her carpet and departed in search of Karnus. Being only vaguely aware of the direction in which Glantri lay, she decided to commence her journey in Darokin City and from there follow the great Streel River north through the surrounding plains and into the mountains beyond. Bidding grateful farewell to the weaver Mizra, Lana teleported to the roof of the Merchants' Guild in Darokin City.

From her high vantage point Lana saw that the once-prosperous land had changed drastically. In the streets below women and children huddled in doorways while beggars milled among the crowds. The atmosphere was unmistakeably one of worry and desperation. Flying over the throngs on her carpet, the dread atmosphere had spread throughout the city. Atop the city walls were assembled militia forces comprising line after line of pike-bearing and plate-clad youths. Far beyond the walls at the base of the western hills, dark plumes of smoke could be seen rising into the sky. These were the forces of the Master of Desert Nomads, Lana realised with a sick feeling in her stomach. So the reports were true - Darokin City really had been besieged.

Approaching the battlements Lana conversed with one Captain Luceta of the Darokin guard, and volunteered to fly out over the enemy forces to ascertain the extent of the threat. After being granted invisibility by a magic-using militiaman, Lana flew the mile or so to the army camp where she counted hundreds of goblins, human mercenaries, bugbears, scores trolls and a handful of hill giants. As she reported her findings, Lana could only hope the Master did not have reinforcements on the way, as had been rumoured.

Following the Streel River northward, much of the Streel Plain was found to have been burned and pillaged. Every settlement the carpet passed appeared occupied by bugbear patrols and occasionally trolls. As twilight fell, the Staff of Lucinius blazed where it lay beside Lana on the carpet. Instinctively she crouched, realising an enemy magic-user was near. Sure enough, as she turned her gaze two figures rose out of a nearby copse - a red-and-black-robed figure astride a red-scaled mount. Realising these could only be the Master's minions Lana reigned the carpet to a halt, then summoned an Ice Storm which caught both rider and steed. The 'dragon', she realised, was in fact a wyvern; as it drew near its red scales gleamed in the sunset, its barbed tail raised menacingly. Clearly the rider was angered. Even at a distance his face could be seen to be covered in black and red tattoos and his long black beard was parted into braids. The wizard glared at Lana and raised one hand with a menacing cry. Moments later the clouds parted and a column of lightning descended to engulf Lana, forcing her to drop to her knees as her skin seared and cracked.

Barely still alive, Lana forced herself to stand and sent her own lightning at her assailants. The energy hit the wyvern squarely and it dropped from the sky, however the rider hurled himself from his saddle and evaded the worst of the blast. Moments later he drew forth a vial which he unstoppered, vanishing as he gulped its contents. Lana invoked Mirror Images and a Shield then drew close and waved her Wand of Enemy Detection, causing the wizard's outline to appear some twenty feet below her. Both wizards then cast idential enchantments, each summoning a trio of glowing missiles - Lana's warm amber while her foe's were darkness tinged with crimson. Both mages hurled their missiles, but both benefited from magical defences. Lana lost her phantasmal images but her Shield deflected the remaining bolt. The enemy wizard's Shield negated Lana's first two missiles but could not stop the third. As he stiffened in a death throe, his corpse began floating gently to the ground. The Staff of Lucinius eased now that the threat had passed. Lana manoeuvred her carpet to catch the corpse as it fell and took several items from the wizards body - including a pouch of dust, a potion, a wand and an eerie amulet in the image of a human skull, whose glowing red eyes dimmed as it was removed from its wearer's neck. Badly wounded, Lana lost no time making camp in the nearby forest. She drifted off to sleep hurting but glad to be alive, and secure in the knowledge her Glantrian Blanket of Defence would protect her while she rested.

Favaro and beyond

Waking the next morning Lana lost no time continuing north, her carpet reaching Favaro by late afternoon. She was pleased that the Master's incursion had not extended this far, and she urged the townsfolk to mount the best defences they could - the gnolls and trolls she had flown past would surely arrive soon. She received healing at a local shrine in return for a donation, but was told she would need to travel to the northern city of Corunglain to purchase healing potions. Corunglain was said to be right on the Glantrian border. Once within Glantri, she knew, clerical magic was outlawed on pain of death therefore healing would be in scarce supply.

She camped that night in another copse, waking unaware whether anything had sought to trouble her sleep (thanks to her enchanted blanket) and continued on without delay. Soon the Streel detached from the road; she decided to follow the latter which she presumed would lead to Corunglan. Thankfully it did, and she reached a large city surrounded by mighty stone walls. The defences looked capable of keeping even the Master's most aggressive minions at bay. After stating her identity at the city gates Lana was intrigued to learn that Vasily had passed this way several weeks before, but had been prevented by the winter weather from entering the mountains which led into Glantri. He had departed literally days ago, leading Lana to wonder whether she might meet him on the trail ahead. In any event, she located a temple and was able to purchase two healing potions, albeit at extortionate rates. While conversing with a young priest of the Church of Darokin she learmed of rumours circulating about a rogue anti-Glantrian movement but was not in a position to investigate.

Flying on Lana made her way into the mountains, following a rough trail which led up into unforgiving terrain. The trail was patchy and travel on foot would have been perilous as the path remained snowcovered for the most part. Lana found herself doubting whether this was truly the main route into Glantri, despite the folk of Corunglain having assured her that it was. Or, perhaps neither the Darokinians nor the Wizard Princes saw reason to improve passage between the two nations.

As the ground continued to rise the path narrowed further, making Lana appreciate how she was flying and not wading waist-deep through snow as she suspected Karnus might have done when he and Betula passed this way months earlier. Spying a band of ogres trekking through the snow a short way off Lana thought it best to leave them alone. She had no such say a few miles further on, when she came upon a trio of manticores feasting upon the bloody remains of travellers. Shuddering, she remembered the manticore her party had fought on the approach to the Valley of Hutaaka, she recalled the intelligence and sadistic nature of these creatures. They were a threat to travellers such as herself, therefore she would feel no guilt annihilating them. The hideous creatures had spotted her in any event and were rising into the air to attack. Remaining calm, Lana summoned mirror images though these disappeared as the manticores fired spike volleys from their tails through all the phantasms, leaving Lana exposed to follow-up attacks. Wasting no time she summoned an Ice Storm and managed to engulf all three creatures. The searing cold raged for several seconds, then cleared. To Lana's relieved delight all three monsters had frozen solid and plummeted to shatter on the rocky terrain below.

Glantri at last

She located the river which the folk of Corunglain had called the Vesubia. This wound upward through the mountains before levelling and leading toward a settlement. The village of Trintan, flanked by great iron gates which kept chunks of ice from floating downstream. Lana paused in Trintan's Bouncing Bugbear Inn to sample some Glantrian cuisine and exchange currency before taking to the skies and flying northward.

Following the river lest she should get lost in the unfamiliar landscape, the carpet reached a bridge where two groups of elves were on the verge of an altercation. One group of dark-haired, platemail-clad elves appeared to be accusing a band of trader elves, dressed in lighter forest-hued attire, of smuggling contraband goods in addition to being members of the E.L.F. (or 'Elven Liberation Front') which Lana assumed was a prescribed organisation. Noting that the leader of the former group, a podgy and moustachioed invidiual, was ready to draw his sword Lana interjected, setting down her carpet between the two groups in an attempt to dissuade them from harming one another. Lana proposed that she be allowed to act as an unbiased arbiter, so that she might determine whether the first group's allegations were true. Their leader introduced himself as Don Hippolyto de Belcadiz - brother of one of the Wizard-Princes, himself a local law enforcer and Castellan of a nearby Keep. He had chosen to prey upon the trade of the Erewan Clan whose home was in nearby Ellerovyn, but required them to pay a substantial toll to cross the Vesusbia each time they wished to trade in the Capital. Lana informed Don Hippolyto that her Wand of Enemy Detection would enable him to settle for once and for all whether the Erewan elves harboured malicious intent toward his clan; however, Lana absentmindedly presented the Don with the wrong wand (one of Trap Detection) meaning no visible effect was discerned when the wand was activated. Vexed but added to news of frost giants invading his Clan's territory the Don and his men were obliged to retreat. The Erewan elves appreciated Lana's efforts and rewarded her with a valuable tome of lore.

Lana pressed on and was pleased later that day when the towers of a city appeared on the horizon. What a city. She hovered in mid-air, her breath forming mist as she took in the incredible view. Never had she beheld anything so colourful or so splendid. The city's southernmost walls appeared composed of pure magic, multi-coloured, parts radiating rainbow lights, another section made of multi-facted crystal, another wreathed in purple flame. Lana gazed upon Glantri City in awe, knowing her search was almost at an end as surely she would find Karnus within those walls. Intrigued and astounded by the city with its walls and towers, frozen rivers and immobilised gondolas, she circled several times on her carpet to absorb as much of the vista as possible.

That was until a second carpet appeared alongside her own. Its passengers wore black garments marked with a distinctive, glaring red eye. One of the pair, a female, levelled a crossbow at Lana's chest. The other, a male, shook his head disapprovingly while gesturing that Lana should land, which she did. These were members of the local constabulary who led Lana to their guardhouse, interrogated her and detained her on account of piloting a magical device without the proper licence. In Glantri, Lana was told in no uncertain terms, licences were required before an individual could perform tasks including piloting a flying device in an urban area. Her carpet was impounded, which she hoped would be only a temporary loss. The guards appeared relatively sympathetic to her predicament as a newcomer to the City but left her in no doubt that a Court hearing was inevitable, and for that she would require the services of a magistrate. Only fate would tell what penalty might be imposed on her. In the meantime, Lana settled into her solitary cell and did what little she could to make herself comfortable. It was going to be a long night.

Read the next instalment - Time in Glantri City

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