Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons
The Fian of the White Dragon
The Fian of the White Dragon
In Myth Drannor, the First Shadow War illustrated the need to better patrol the kingdom’s borders and address the ancient powers still lingering within it. Coronal Ilsevele Miritar came to the conclusion that she needed an army of adventurers, and put out a call. Adventurers were organized into fianna, small groups that would spend the year freely wandering the land fighting any would-be invaders and delving into ancient, forgotten tombs and ruins. In return, they would be welcomed to Myth Drannor in the winter to stay as royal guests.
Erevan was a cleric of Hanali Celanil, the fey aspect of the goddess Sune, serving as the deity of romantic love and beauty within the Seldarine. He bore a spellscar that marred his physical beauty, making him a sometimes dour cleric of love and beauty who tended to focus more on inner beauty as a result. He came to Myth Drannor following the First Shadow War because he felt that so much loss and pain called out for someone to bring love and beauty.
One of the ancient houses of Myth Drannor, House Starym, had fallen into disgrace because of their connections to the Eldreth Veluuthra, an elven supremacist group that despised humans. Many years before, an elf named Gemina had adventured with two children of House Starym, Valarae and Haladar, and a human wizard named Jhessail. Gemina was one of the People of the Autumn, wild elves descended from the eladrin of Mithrendain, the Autumn City in the Feywild. She ventured away from her people’s home in search of adventure. Jhessail and Haladar eventually fell in love, married, settled down, and had a child, named Varis. When other members of House Starym learned of this, they sent assassins to kill them for mixing elven and human blood. Gemina had returned home to find her people wiped out by a terrible blizzard. She carried a terrible guilt with her, feeling she had abandoned them to their fate. She eventually settled alone in the forest. Fearing for their own lives and the life of their son, Haladar and Jhessail sent the baby Varis to her for protection. The assassins killed Haladar and Jhessail, but their son lived on in Gemina’s care. She taught him to stay away from others to protect him, but that only made him want to see the world more. When he heard about the summons, he ran away from home to go to Myth Drannor and join a fian.
Amadea was an armathor, one of the great swordmages of Myth Drannor, eager to join a fian to prove her skill. Korannon, a half-giant, appeared at the city gates, where he met a very philosophical minotaur named Terios. Korannon knew that he had existed for a very long time, and that he had been much more powerful in the past, but his memories faded along with his strength in an ebb and flow. He was at the nadir of this cycle now, and so thought that it would be a good idea to join a fian to put his power to good use as it was soon to rise once again.
These would-be adventurers met during the Greengrass festival in Myth Drannor, and realized their common calling to form a fian. After helping some young star-crossed lovers find each other, they learned about the monster infestation in the old Starym Manor. They found the lower levels claimed by a goblin wizard that had gained control over a young white dragon. They descended into the manor and defeated both, taking the dragon’s head as a trophy. They also discovered the lost Starym moonblade, an important artifact of House Starym but cursed by its fall into disgrace. It revealed Varis as the heir of House Starym.
Gemina caught up with her run-away son. Seeing that he had already discovered the truth about his past, she realized that she could not hide him away any longer. Instead, she joined them so that at least she could be there to try to protect him.
A grateful Lady Valanae introduced them to the great legend Fflar Starbrow Melruth. They passed the trials and received a charter for their fian, which they dubbed the Fian of the White Dragon, in commemoration of their first adventure together. As they would need to leave the city soon, they presented the unwieldy dragon’s head to the tavern where they had met, fixing it as a keg tap. It seemed to chill drinks as they were poured. The tavern’s owner renamed it the White Dragon Inn for this. After the fian departed, the inn became quite popular, as this fashion of drinking beer cold swept through Myth Drannor.
Heroic Tier: The Glorious Summer
In the summer of the Year of the Fifth Circle (444 NR, 1476 DR), the Fian of the White Dragon patrolled the forest of Cormanthor. They had many adventures, like their journey into the Citadel of Fungi and the Vale of Lost Voices. Varis and Amadea fell in love.
In one of their early adventures, they came across human refugees on the edge of the forest, fleeing some terrible plague. It caused a slow, painful death, as it slowly drew the warmth from their bodies. They had learned enough to know that the plague seemed magical in nature, and they seemed to have no way of stopping it. Amadea recognized this plague’s similarities to the Wailing Death, a plague that afflicted the city of Neverwinter before the Spellplague, spread by an evil cult.
The fian met some seemingly well-meaning elves who wanted to help. They told stories about an ancient druid named Lossarwyn, a famous healer of centuries past. They said that the druid lay frozen in a glacier, high in the Nether Mountains. They asked the fian to help them free the old healer, to see if he could stop this plague. As it turned out, the elves belonged to the Eldreth Veluuthra. Lossarwyn had traveled to many places afflicted by sickness and had cured many people, but only because he wanted to concoct a magical plague virulent enough to wipe out humanity. Trapped within the glacier, Lossarwyn turned to a fey lord called the Prince of Frost to save him. With the Prince’s power to aid him, Lossarwyn had created the Wailing Death. The Eldreth Veluuthra needed the Starym moonblade to release the druid, and manipulated the fian to do so.
With Lossarwyn now free, the fian helped assemble the same cure that Khelben Blackstaff Arunsun concocted a century ago, requiring the brain of an intellect devourer, the heart of a yuan-ti pureblood, a cockatrice feather, and a lock of dryad’s hair. The cure seemed to work, ending the plague’s terrible destruction.
In another adventure, the fian magically entered the Starym moonblade, where they could deal with its shattered sense of purpose and help restore it, ending its curse and helping restore House Starym.
Along the way, the heroes sometimes stumbled upon the remains of their fellow fianna and signs of their violent end. As they saw more and more of their fellow fianna slaughtered, they noticed that they did not merely meet their end in the line of duty. On the contrary, something hunted them down. They eventually recognized that a pack of gnolls, wielding some kind of ice magic, had come down into the forest to hunt the fianna. Turning the tables on their hunters, the Fian of the White Dragon confronted the gnolls, led by the witch Azara Iceborn, an unsuspected fellow survivor from the People of the Autumn.
Paragon Tier: The Fading Fall
Soon after their victory over Azara, the heroes learned that the Wailing Death had begun to spread again — and worse, whereas before the plague limited itself to humans, this new outbreak killed indiscriminately, and the old cure seemed to no longer work. The fian tracked down Lossarwyn to put an end to his schemes, only to find that the druid had lost control of his creation.
The Prince of Frost appeared to them then, begging their forgiveness. He apologized for his warlock, Azara, who went mad with her grief; and he apologized for failing to recognize Lossarwyn’s plans earlier. The druid made a pact with him long ago, and asked for that magic as a boon. The Prince said that the druid had tricked him, just as he tricked the fian into releasing him. He had trusted Lossarwyn’s reputation as a great healer, and thought no more of it. Now, Lossarwyn had perfected that magic into an unstoppable plague. The Prince of Frost told them that only an artifact in the Feywild called the Cauldron of Life could stop the plague now. An archfey called the Fisher King kept the Cauldron in his demense, the Autumn City, called Mithrendain. He granted them boons and gifts including a magical chess set called the Immortal Game, and sent them into the Feywild.
They found the city of Mithrendain under siege by a tribe of frost giants. The Fisher King lay mortally wounded, but he could not die because he had drunk from the Cauldron of Life. The Cauldron could heal him, but when the assassin wounded him, the Cauldron disappeared. The fian can find the Cauldron rather easily, as a ghostly procession marches through the city every night with it, but they cannot retrieve it without the Three Questions. So, they embarked on a series of quests throughout the Feywild to learn them.
Along the way, Varis and Amadea discovered that they played a part in an ancient tragedy. Long ago, a powerful fey lord called the Sun Prince was betrothed to an eladrin princess named Sharaea. Sharaea grew bored with the endless revels of the Court of Stars, and traveled to Faerûn, where she met a mortal named Hayne Kasar and fell in love with him. The Sun Prince’s broken heart drove him to ever greater cruelty and coldness. He hunted Sharaea and Hayne, who turned to Hanali Celanil for protection. She cast them forward in time to be reborn many ages hence, in the hopes that the passage of time would soothe the Prince’s jealous heart. Instead, it turned him into the Prince of Frost. Throughout their adventures, Varis and Amadea came to realize that they were Hayne and Sharaea, cast forward to this time. Korannon had traveled with them in those ancient days, in a different time in his long life, and Hanali Celanil had sent her priest, Erevan, to aid them. Gemina was the last of the People of the Autumn, the Prince of Frost’s ancient enemies, sent to protect them as well.
Oran, the Green Lord, possessed the first question, “Who are you?” He taught it only to those who would match him in the Beheading Game.
The Firbolg possessed the second question, “What do you want?” They taught it only to those who would join them in the Wild Hunt.
The third question, “Where are you going?” belonged to the Immortal Game, but it would only teach it to one who could finish the game.
With the Three Questions, the fian returned to Mithrendain to gain the Cauldron of Life. That act alone healed the Wailing Death in Faerûn. They brought it to the Fisher King, expecting it to heal him. Instead, it released him, allowing him to die. As the Fisher King’s power faded, the frost giants besieging the city broke its defenses. The fian fought to hold back the frost giants long enough for the eladrin to escape. In the midst of the battle, the Prince of Frost appeared before them once again, and revealed his treachery. The Fisher King checked his expansion from time immemorial, just as the People of the Autumn fed the primal spirits that thwarted his ambitions in Faerûn. With both now removed, nothing stood in his way. The Winter Court would conquer the Feywild, while the Long Winter would settle upon the mortal world. The Prince of Frost made his move now to finally force Sharaea to come back to him.
Epic Tier: The Long Winter
Oran intervened at the last moment to whisk the fian to safety. He had watched them since they matched him in the Beheading Game, and now took a keen interest in what had happened. He told them what he knew about the Prince of Frost, but admitted that he did not have the information they needed most. Only Baba Yaga had that knowledge.
The fian returned briefly to Toril to seek out the old homeland of the People of the Autumn. They led the refugees from Mithrendain there and revived the primal spirits that had for so long opposed the Prince of Frost. The eladrin kin of the People of the Autumn now lived in their old homeland. Gemina taught them the traditions of her people so that they could become the new People of the Autumn.
Korannon discovered the truth about himself: that he had once been a powerful balor who threatened to destroy the whole world. The fey had bound him with powerful magic to stop him, so that he would wax and wane in power over time, forgetting his past with each turn of the cycle. Korannon finally broke that enchantment, becoming a lord of the Abyss, but using that power to first destroy the Prince of Frost.
Reaching Baba Yaga posed a great challenge. Convincing her to help them and not destroy them posed an even greater one. She sent the fian out on a series of quests to gather the weapons they would need to face the Prince: Sharaea’s locket, Sharaea’s song, and the Prince’s true name.
Finally prepared, they began their journey into the now-expanding Vale of the Long Night. The way became ever more difficult as it went on. They faced Tymoblizzarex, the ancient white dragon who had slaughtered the People of the Autumn, and the Sisters of Lament, Sharaea’s lost sisters twisted by the Prince of Frost into his exarchs.
At last, they came to the Fortress of Frozen Tears, where they confronted the Prince. Erevan felt committed to redeeming the Prince rather than defeating him. As they ascended the tower, one by one, he convinced his companions to follow his plan. They defeated him in battle and then managed to reach his frozen heart.
Varis Starym became the new Prince of Frost, not a brutal fey lord of cruelty and darkness as his predecessor had been. Varis’s winter was a blanket upon the land, a time to rest and reflect, a time for the seeds of life to wait in the quiet dark for the time to be reborn. Amadea became the Lady of Spring, the key linking her love, Varis, and the summer she was born to, the fulfillment of all Varis’s promises that life would begin again.
Korannon descended into the Abyss. The ascent of Asmodeus to godhood had ended the Blood War with the victory of devils over demons. Korannon could not abide this. He returned to the Abyss as the mightiest living balor, a power even Asmodeus would need to contend with. With his return, Korannon promised to start the Blood War anew.
Gemina returned to the new People of the Autumn to help them become native to Faerûn and teach them the ways of her people, so that they might never be forgotten.
Erevan was recognized by Sune for his service, and elevated to become her exarch, holding the portfolio of unrequited love and hidden beauty.
In Faerûn, the Fian of the White Dragon left its mark in subtle ways. Stories of their adventures in the summer of the Year of the Fifth Circle (444 NR, 1476 DR) circulated. The Wailing Death that appeared in Cormanthor and then suddenly abated alarmed many, but as it disappeared it became little more than a historical footnote. The bitter winter that followed seemed far more intense than usual, as if driven by some fateful malevolence. It was long and dark, but spring came, as it always does.