We had some sporadic gaming due to scheduling issues and people scheduling vacations on MY game time! So the next few episodes don’t actually break where the sessions did and a few things are out of game order but are being explained this way for purposes of clarity.
When last we left our heroes, Bob’s relationship with the Dragonborn had been accidentally revealed in a conversation with the Greybeards. This leads to an at times heated discussion between various members of the party as to who-knows-what. Meridin admits to knowing the Dragonborn as well, and tells the party that she was actually his mentor who put him on the druidic path. Sampson then says that he had also previously met the Dragonborn while hunting vampires, and that when he met her she was actually traveling in the company of a vampire named Serana (though doesn’t go into too many details about the encounter). Celeste then says she too met the Dragonborn while she was traveling with the vampire. Alicia also reveals she had met the Dragonborn once as well.
Grog, annoyed by all of this talk about the Dragonborn, wanders off to find the brewery and drinks while the rest of the party continues to compare notes. Realizing that they all have a connection to the Dragonborn, they decide Arvanell has some serious explaining to do as this can’t be a coincidence.
They return to Arvanell and confront him. At which point he finally pulls back his cowl and reveals himself to be a snow elf. He apologizes for any deception, but it was necessary to protect his identity. He is actually Knight-Paladin Gelebor, and he believes himself to be the last of his kind. He met the White Witch while she was searching for Ariel’s Bow. They became friends. Before leaving for Soltheim, the White Witch paid a final visit to Gelebor to encourage him to reclaim his legacy. To die alone at the chantry would mean the true death of his people. To truly keep his oath, he needed to try to find a means of curing the Falmer of the affliction the Dwemer put them under. Seeing the wisdom in the White Witch’s words, Gelebor ventured to the surface using a list of trustworthy contacts given to him by the White Witch. He has kept his appearance hidden after being attacked by Stormcloaks who accused him of being an Altmer spy.
Arvanell is looking for any information that can help him understand what actually happened to the Falmer and eventually reverse their affliction. This is why he needs the heroes to serve as his eyes and ears in Skyrim; tracking down relics, books, and forgotten lore that might hold some glimmer of hope for his fallen people. His goal is to one day free the Falmer of their curse.
The party comes to the conclusion that, considering what either the Stormcloaks, Imperials, or even the Altmeri Dominion would do if they got their hands on an actual Snow Elf, it is best to keep Gelebor’s presence quiet. They also agree that curing the Falmer is an honorable goal and will continue to help him. Pleased that they have faith in him, and that he can now speak freely, he takes the rubbings from them and tells them they are at their leisure for now. Once his research bears fruit, he will let them know their next assignment.
They decide it may be a good idea to see if they can find some work. The Companions have a rescue mission. A Khajiit caravan was attacked by bandits near Redoran’s Retreat and hostages taken. The bandits have placed a demand to the caravan leader to supply them with skooma in exchange for the hostages, but the caravan doesn’t deal in skooma. The Whiterun guards are slow to help Khajiit, so the leader is turning to the Companions for help. They also pick up a bounty mission from the Jarl for trolls that have taken up residence in the region.
They track down where the bandits are keeping the Khajiit hostages. They originally try to negotiate with the bandits, however when Sampson’s negotiation tactic is “I’ll give you one chance to surrender…
The combat is problematic due to the number of bandits and the confined nature of the abandoned mining cave they are in. Bob decides to use his Shout to knock back some of the bandits. Channeling Gary Gygax, I ask him “Are you sure you want to do that?” He confirms his action. I sigh.
Because the abandoned mine is very close to where they originally killed the wyrmling. And there is still an irate mating pair of adult brown dragons who are now actively looking for a certain Dragonborn. I make my check to see if they hear him shout, and then my check to see how long until they arrive on the scene.
Some of the bandits surrender after their leader is killed. The Khajiit are freed and all is well…until an angry brown dragon roars outside the cave, daring them to come out. They attempt to flank the dragon by having half the party, including Bob, use a secret passage to sneak out the back and onto a ridge just above the cave. The plan doesn’t quite work. Bob makes his Reflex save to avoid the breath weapon, but in the process the bandit behind him (one of the bandits that surrendered and had agreed to help…under duress) failed his save and gets melted by acid.
And as they hear the sound of the second dragon quickly approaching, everyone rushes back into the cave.
As it becomes apparent that these two dragons intend to bury them all alive inside the cave. Meridin makes a survival check and realizes they are near the river. Maybe there is an underwater passage they can escape through! Sure enough, he finds it, and the party braves the underwater passage that dumps them over a waterfall and into the river!
But the dragons are not so easily fooled and give chase. Realizing they want Bob, Bob tells the party to split up. The dragons will follow him. Sampson is hardly prepared to allow such a sacrifice, and Grog says he goes where Bob goes. But fortunately for the party, there is someone else looking for Bob, and they arrive just in the nick of time (Because I asked Sampson to roll percentile for the chance that Delphine would show up, since I knew she was in the area. And Sampson rolled a 100.).
Yes, the Blades have been looking for Bob, and Delphine and another recruit, armed with Bane: dragon weapons, join the fray. Now bolstered with serious firepower, the party turns and fights. And thanks to a combination of lucky rolls and epic healing from Alicia, they manage to survive the encounter.
Delphine checks on Bob and Grog first, and then asks where the White Witch is. Bob says he hasn’t seen her. Delphine says to meet her at the inn so they can talk. When they all meet up at the inn, Delphine starts talking to Grog as if she knows him, and Bob has to pull her aside for a private conversation.
Spoiler! My Players Should Not Read!
It seems Delphine knows Grog because he and the White Witch spend time at Sky Reach Temple during the preparations for the final battle with Alduin. As Grog isn’t Bob’s brother, but rather Bob’s brother-in-law. Grog took to drinking after the White Witch didn’t return from the battle with Alduin, and drunk himself into amnesia. Grog has no memory of being married to the White Witch and stays perpetually drunk to dull his mind. When the White Witch had temporarily returned, she didn’t reveal herself to her husband because she knew her work wasn’t done and she didn’t want him following after her. So Bob has been watching out for him until she finally returns. Hopefully at that point, she’ll be able to heal his mind.
The reason why Delphine and the Blades are looking for the White Witch is that they need her skill and political clout if their research is correct. The Blades have come across some old scrolls in Sky Reach Temple that indicate that, contrary to history, there may still be a Septim alive! The Septim line was known for a lot of things, but staying faithful to their wives wasn’t one of them (Martin, the supposed last of the Septims, was a bastard after all). The Blades believe there may be a Septim alive and, if they can find him, he would be the true heir to the Empire.
Obviously, such a revelation would cause all sorts of chaos. So the Blades need to build a strong base of support while looking for the heir if they intend to put a Septim back on the throne.
This gets the party to thinking that Sky Reach Temple probably has all sorts of ancient books from the First Era. It also gets them to thinking that it might be wise to get their allies all on the same page. But first things, first. Bob wants to know where Delphine stands on the Greybeards. She expresses annoyance with them and asks if he has been in contact with the monks. After some brief arguing, she says that, in light of recent events, she’s willing to work with the Greybeards, and even Parthanax, if it will help them put a Septim back on the throne. And the backing of the Greybeards would be a big deal among the Nords.
The party asks Delphine if she will be staying in the area, as they have someone they want her to talk to but they need to talk to him first. She agrees, albeit expressing a bit of suspicion, and says to just send a messenger to the inn. In the meantime, she’s going to send Amber, the recruit, back to Sky Reach to get the Blades to start commissioning Dragonbane weapons for the party.