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The Tower of Celatus Part I

Page history last edited by Kirk 4 years, 8 months ago Saved with comment

back to the Index, or to Chapter 24:  Return Again To The Temple of Mythal

 

Chapter 25

The Tower of Celatus Part I

 

 

9:30 Dragon, 17th Day of Wintermarch

 

     In the evening, we rested in the Laidir camp at the base of the Moon Peak. As we slept, Bran dragged the four of us with "dream stones" under the Scream Catcher, so that we could share a common dream within the Fade. Eornan awoke when moved (of course), but he and Bran were soon asleep after they borrowed the mages' drugged pillows. There we were welcomed by the spirit or ghost associated with the Scream Catcher, Dmitrev, who took the form of a grizzled older man with salt-and-pepper hair. Bran took the form of Carney, an Emerald Knight.

 

 

     Dmitrev led us across the dry, brown rocky land to a sort of waterfall, with a whirlpool at its base. He asked for our dream stones, and showed us how wisps of dream material were drawn to the stones -- different for each of us. We each tried to interpret the dreams and their apparent movements towards, around, or away from our stones.

 

  • Landon:   a swirling fog, with faint voices; the fog coalesces into a mirror shaped like the one in the Temple of Mythal, and a voice says clearly, "Come to the Eluvian, you are close."

  • Landon:  a beautiful indoor greenhouse, located within a castle high in snowy mountains -- very high, the daytime sky is a dark blue

  • Dimitrev to Landon: "Someone is watching you, but I've told you that already. I have blocked a few things that she allowed me to. Warden dreams are awful and redundant."  He points at the pale grey dream lines. "Can't see those. It is not letting me as if they were not there." Shrug.

  • Dimitrev to Eornan: "The purplish ones ... " he nods and looks up at Eornan from under his heavy brow.  "Yeah." He looks to be sure Eornan knows that he means, but clearly Dimitriev does not want to name it. 

  • Dimitrev to Bran: "You! That was a great dream! With the sock! I miss your dreams." He looks a tad sheepishly in Landon's direction. "No offense, just classrooms ... ugff" he shakes his head.

  • Dimitrev to Alistair: "You are new." He holds out his hand. "Your stone?"  Alistair looks uneasy and refuses. Dimitrev shrugs, "Suit yourself."

  • Dimitrev to Alpheus: "What is this?" he points at the swirls very close to the rock itself, that are almost smothering it. They are weird, not like any of the others - they are grainy and when he touches them a little they dissipate as if falling to ash. Weirder still, Dimitrev comes back with a little bit of dark brown goo on his hand.  

 

     After a bit, Dmitrev took us further into the rugged hills; we were shown a strange tower and arches, the home or prison of a major power within the Fade.

     Strange tower in the Fade.

 

     This tower is related to the "real" tower of Celatus.  Dmitrev warned us against sleeping anywhere near (let alone inside of) the tower; his protection would be meaningless against the Fade creature residing there.  When asked, Dmitrev allowed as how the witch who gave us our stones (he avoided using her name) could possibly protect us from the power in the tower.

 

9:30 Dragon, 18th Day of Wintermarch

 

     After we awoke, Bran gave the Scream Catcher to Landon. We loaded up with supplies for a three-day trip, and set out, led by Eornan. Tienan, Fi, and Sobrata remained with the laidir, to watch our wagon. There wasn't much snow on the ground. Our rough marching order:

 

  • Eornan

  • Bran

  • Landon

  • Mythrellen

  • Alpheus

  • Alistair

  • Laney

 

     A couple of hours of hiking led us to a river which flowed between the two mountains (the Moon Peak and the one with the tower at the top); we turned to follow the traces of an ancient road along the river. The road had originally crossed the river several times in the narrow valley; all of the bridges were destroyed long ago.

     In this valley, we were ambushed by a party of Dalish elves -- the Cran Onair, or "Lone Tree" tribe. They demanded that the shem release the elves in our group; some quick explanations were in order!

     Once the elves were placated by Eornan, we had a short chat with their hahren, Aisley. His tribe had been attacked on 16 Wintermarch by werewolves, and several elves had been killed. Our strong suspicion is that this was the work of the Forsaken, a group of two score werewolves with a strong hatred of elves. We recommended that Aisley lead his tribe to the base of Moon Peak, where they could find safety with the elves there (we didn't mention the werewolves). Eornan wrote a short note to Keira, explaining the circumstances.

     Eornan mentioned to us privately that he had dreamt about this group of elves before ...

     Aisley told us that further upstream conditions were very strange -- no animals, not even bugs. We parted on fairly good terms, or at least unperforated.

     Following the river up into the gorge, the foliage grew think and rank, covered with vines and moss. The air was warmer, but somewhat foul with a faint stench.

 

The trees are ... bad!

 

     The trees bore many leaves, even those which should have been bare in Wintermarch; the sky was mostly hidden by the branches of trees and the high sides of the valley.

 

The road to Celatus.notice Bran standing on a root

 

     As we climbed, we heard strange creaks and moans -- perhaps the wind -- and some of the trees had cracks filled with odd, glowing sap. Eornan described some of his dreams, in which he had seen this area in this state.

 

Just before the Sylvans attacked!   

     Some heavy thudding sounds, possibly thunder, were heard, and the disturbing moans and creaks increased. Suddenly, four sylvans attacked!

 

 One of the sylvans was carrying a primitive spear/axe, with the head made from a 5' long, 40 pound chunk of broken ... glass? Flint? Rainbow obsidian? The head was decorated with a colorful swirls and markings.

 

    Despite their size and strength, the weapons and magics of our party were able to destroy the sylvans. Afterwards, we had lunch ... our appetite was slightly diminished by the fetid aroma, which seemed to be mostly coming from the brown, nasty river. 

A really big spear!  

     As we ascended even further along the remains of the road, the heavy aura of gloom and decay increased. Small vapors or wisps of fog began to stream past us. We came to a slight clearing, near the foot of a reeking waterfall; the broken remains of a stone bridge stood on either side of the river. After a bit of discussion, Bran removed his clothes and waded across the river, carrying some twine attached to a rope. As Bran reached the far side and came ashore, three fanged skeletons, with the rusted arms and armor of templars, rushed up to attack him! At the same time, on the other side of the river, two arcane horrors arose from the ground to assault the rest of our party!

     The arcane horrors were particularly dangerous, using magics to protect themselves. Fortunately, Alpheus was able to dispel their protections, and after a protracted battle, they were slain. Given the amount of mana we had used (and a particularly nasty leg wound Bran had taken) we decided to return to the Laidir camp and try again the next day. We stashed the strange warding fragment in a hollow tree near Moon Peak.

     By nightfall, we were back at the camp near Moon Peak. Keira was able to heal Bran's injury. A possible form of the "whole" ward which the fragment came from:

 

The ward glyph from Celatus.

the sylvan's weapon was made from a fragment of this, we think

 

9:30 Dragon, 19th Day of Wintermarch

 

     Another dawn; we packed extra food and water (nobody wanted to even consider drinking from the contaminated river). With more familiarity, we were able to quickly (in less than four hours) return to the site of our battle with the arcane horrors. There, we found a small pouch with a silverite coin, marked with sign of the Chantry. The coin has a magical aura, as if it was charged with blood magic. Those of us with experience in the Circle Towers were able to identify this item as a sort of magical key used by the Templars. It's probably a one-shot item, until recharged in the correct manner.

     By dint of wading (Bran and Eornan) and a rope bridge (the rest of us) we crossed the river and continued our ascent. The road led us to massive ruins, from which a stinking brown sludge oozed to contaminate the river. The ruins were originally built in the Tevinterite style, but were now covered in moss and trees.

 

 

     The original entrance gate was across a stupendous bridge (such as at Ostagar) -- but the bridge was broken long ago. More ominously, at least three female dragons were swooping or perching on the bridge ruins or near the main gate; even one dragon would have discouraged us, but three? The only other visible entrance was a small wooden door in a recess -- the stinking brown sludge which contaminated the river was oozing from under and around this door. 

     The small door would not open when pushed; a small round depression in its surface seemed to match the size of the strange Templar "key coin" we'd found earlier that day. Alistair was able to use the coin to "unlock" the door, which began to glow blue. The group wisely chose to assault the door from afar rather than push on it personally.  Alpheus attacked it with a Stonefist spell, and Bran bashed it with his axe … it swung reluctantly open, releasing a pungent brown mass of decaying cess. 

     We waited a few seconds to allow the worst of the vile glop to slide away, and stepped cautiously into the door. A flight of stone steps led up past an enormous metal grate; the grate was mostly blocked by masses of … partly-digested meat?  Perhaps one of the dragons is bulemic.  Another door, with an ordinary lock, stood at the top of the stairs; while Laney picked the lock, the door we'd entered through swung itself shut and locked! There was no apparent way to open it from the inside.

     Once Laney got the door at the top of the stairs open, we quickly left the stinking stairwell into a stone passage, with several doorways along its sides. The passage was of "human" style -- not dwarven nor darkspawn -- with a ceiling 8' above the floor. Behind most of the doors were ancient store rooms, with the decayed remains of barrels, sacks and crates. Faint echoes of distant voices were heard from time to time.

     At the end of the passage was the obvious "exit", and a side door with a barred window. We entered the side passage and found jail cells, mostly empty -- except for some bones. One cell held the ghost of a Circle mage; she had been left behind apparently. The ghost moaned for food and water.  Alistair dispatched the ghost ... 

 

onward to The Tower of Celatus Part II

 


 

What We Know About Celatus

     The tower of Celatus ("secret" in the ancient Tevinter language) was erected in the hills within the northern Brecilian Forest, not far from modern South Reach, by the Tevinter Imperium. At some point -- probably late in the Divine Age -- it became a Circle Tower, home to mages under the control and supervision of the Chantry and Templars.

     The Rite of Annulment was declared against the tower about 5:75 Exalted (about 360 years ago), and presumably all the inhabitants were slain. Certainly, its very existence, and the reason for the Annulment, is unknown to almost everyone in Ferelden, including most Templars, mages, and Wardens.

     Possibly connected:  early in the Black Age, Ferelden fought a great war against the werewolves, driving them (nearly) to extinction.

     A couple of scholars learned of the tower, and of something within it known as the Tearful Eye, at some point during the Storm Age (more than 150 years ago). One of them, Brother Renneth, petitioned Revered Mother Ida of Saint Justine's chantry, in Denerim, for an escort of Templars, but was refused -- it's not known if Brother Renneth ever attempted to visit Celatus.

     The correspondence between Ida and Renneth might have remained, secret and unknown to anyone, for decades in the desk within Saint Justine's undercroft.

     While in the Fade, Our Heroes saw a tower on another nearby mountain, visible from the Moon Peak; it was also visible -- though hard to see -- from atop the Moon Peak while awake.

     Duncan implied there was some connection between Celatus and the disappearance of King Maric five years ago.

 

700 experience points

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