Category Archives: The Bell Tower of Vhalen

The Case of the Lost Lute

The Case of the Ayonic Lute
I have begun to develop a fascination with a magical lute called the Ayonic Lute. While passing through the Thundering Steppes I happened upon a curious bard by the name of Maestra Orlita. She was a ruling member of a miniscule quintet of bards that call themselves the Chaos Orchestra. Having piqued my interest in eccentric quintets, I decided to seek out the four remaining bards of this orchestra. What I found were two lyricists in Qeynos Harbor and two within East Freeport. Offering little save ancient songs, the lyricists went on to ignore me and force their out of tune melody upon the citizens of the great empires of man. If I were to find out anything more about the Chaos Orchestra, it would be in city records.

These words have yet to reveal themselves to you.

These words have yet to reveal themselves to you.

These words have yet to reveal themselves to you.

I found the “belly of a giggling fish.” To be more precise, I found the theater of the Laughing Trout, a tavern in Rivervale. I found a peculiar xylophone made from bones, the hagralaphone. This curious musical device emanated with arcane power. I discovered that the hagralaphone was made by woodworkers from Bogbottom Mills. Tracking down the halfling shop was an easy enough task, but it was overrun with goblins. I did find the descendant and current owner of Bogbottom Mills, Camfred. He told me that his ancestors created the hagralaphone out of the bones of an evil troll witch named Hagralazoo. They did this by order of the legendary bard, Vhalen.

I journeyed to Antonica to find the Bell Tower of Vhalen. It is there that Vhalen fell to a great horde of undead. It is in the ancient tower that I spoke to the vision of Vhalen, a projection of the bard that now is bound to Ethernere. He said that Hagralazoo, the troll witch and arch nemesis of Rivervale, had taken the cursed Ayonic Axe from the Chaos Orchestra as they fled Katta Grove. She tricked them into destroying themselves in a final concert. She then used the axe and its bardic powers to begin a series of secret concerts in which she would collect the valuables from the deceased audience and the unwitting bard whom she tricked into wielding the melodic axe.

The vision of Vhalen said, Hagralazoo lost the axe to an unwitting accomplice, Kelkarn. She had hoped the bard could assist her in completing an arcane composition that she had stolen from the mysterious sage, the Drafling. The composition could remove the curse from the axe, allowing the witch to use it. However, the composition was incomplete. Kelkarn was a well known bard and the troll witch came to him on a misty road during his many travels. In the guise of an old crone, Hagralazoo persuaded the bard to display his talents. She then gave him the Drafling composition and asked him to complete it. If he did, the Ayonic Axe could be his- a lie!

These words have yet to reveal themselves to you.

Hagralazoo never made it back in time to recover the Ayonic Axe thanks to the Drafling. When she did, she found the axe was removed. It vanished via the black market auctions of Freeport. Vhalen was able to find the Ayonic Axe and hide it. As luck would have it, the Drafling was an asssociate of his! Vhalen requested the remains of Hagralazoo be used to create the Hagralaphone. The unique xylophone could summon the troll witch back so that she could reveal the composition that Kelkarn completed. Many years living in the land between life and death may persuade the troll witch to reveal the location to Vhalen or another bard such as myself.

Vhalen Nostrolo

‘Listen up kids and pass me a smore:

I appreciate the interest in my background. I can’t reveal all the bits and pieces, but here is something to go on.

In the Age of Turmoil, Vhalen was a prestigious member of the League of Antonican Bards. Although never truly having a home, Vhalen frequented stages of Qeynos quite often. It was there in Qeynos that he met the woman of his dreams, the woman that would complete the sonnet of his soul. Now, I would love to tell you the tale of this romance, but we would be here all day. I would love to tell you the woman’s name, but that would be revealing too much too early. What I can say is that the sonnet of love ended in tragedy. Vhalen and his love would grow farther and farther apart until one day… she vanished. Vhalen grew distraught and almost went mad. He broke ties with the League of Antonican Bards and stormed into the Plains of Karana, (no pun intended), where his insanity grew and his actions became violent and malicious. He lost all control. But he would not remain in this state of madness. The records of his temporary madness were only destroyed after he dragged his tortured soul from the pit of despair and performed many good deeds for the residents of the Plains of Karana. His selfless actions more than made up for the crimes of his madness. It was said that the harmony of the thunder storms of the plains sang to his soul. This beautiful melody of Karana cleansed his soul and madness was no more. That is why Vhalen soon made residence within the Plains of Karana. It was the place that saved him from a pit of madness. He often sat beside the well, the well where he first met his lost love. There at the well he could now safely compose poweful songs of love and soon some of the greatest of arcane sonnets, the likes of which has never been seen before. Some of his more powerful arcane melodies required the use of enormous intruments such as organs the size of temple halls and harps that rose like sails on a ship. By far his greatest spells required the bells within his bell tower, The Bell Tower of Vhalen. It was in this Bell Tower of Vhalen that Vhalen played some of the greatest arcane compositions for the defense of Qeynos during the War of Plagues. When all seemed lost and Qeynos was soon to fall, Vhalen stood alone in his Bell Tower, ringing aloud the sound of benevolence and the powerful melody of valor. He stood alone, in a tower surrounded by a sea of undead, ringing the bells that would smite the forces of the Bloodsabers and their allies. Even as the forces of evil break down his door and stabbed as his soul, he still rang the bells. Without his efforts in the War of Plagues, all would be lost and Qeynos would be no more.

Oh… one more thing. About that woman he loved. At some point he learned that his temporary madness was not the result of a broken heart, but a soul driven mad by the compositions that his love often studied. It seems as though his love acquired some ancient songbooks and even an instrument once belonging to a legendary bard named Kelkarn. Odd, just like his love, Kelkarn just vanished one day. Where he went and why he went was never discovered.

That’s all. Does that help a bit?

Tony “Sir Lucan” Garcia
EQII Game Designer