Chornalth Adventures - Liga

Arc 2, Session 27, the Stone Archway
An evening with an "old friend"...

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 12th of Sunsebb, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Akono, human gamba fighter,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Emerald, human fighter,
Firax1s, fraal psion,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Omi, human druid,
Tahiri, human jedi and, introducing
Taz, human fighter and his dwarven manservant, Lassiter.

The group spent the next week in Dantredun, while Alexander studied the arts of the wild in his quest to become a ranger. Emerald, after making her report, found herself at loose ends and decided to join the group officially, and was filled in on the greater motivations of the group.

On the day of Alex’s return from the wilderness, after he’d been ejected from the inn and sent to a nearby bathhouse, a tall stranger entered the establishment, preceded by a wary-eyed dwarf. Emerald sent him a drink from one end of the bar, just as Kitiana, acting on Alianna’s behalf, did the same. Within minutes, nearly all the women in the party were gathered at his table, ignoring the dwarf, except for Tahiri, who slunk off to the bathhouse to find Alex and stir up a little mischief.

After Tahiri returned, but before Alex did, another stranger strode into the inn; garbed head to toe in ornate black plate armor trimmed in gold, he ordered an ale, which he proceeded to drink through a straw, without removing his helm. Sensing his interest in her companions, Tahiri questioned him, learning that his name was Galen, and that he had come to deliver a warning, but that he would only do so once the entire group was assembled.

Later that evening, when everyone was present, Galen introduced himself to them at large, and delivered his warning: his companions, whom the group knew as the Cult of Mabelrode, had recently come into possession of a document that they felt indicated that the group would be coming into conflict with them over some plan they were setting into action, and that while their past encounters with the cult had been random, now the Cult was seriously interested in them.

By way of explanation, he gave them a document that interested the party a great deal; a longer and more extensive version of the prophesy they’d received from the hill giant matron Yorglok. It read as follows:

“In ages lost, once all were one
our kingdom strongest beneath the sun
then men rose up with war machines
to make our lifeblood run in streams.

Strangers came bearing silver flame,
from the future’s past, before magic’s wane.

Arrows eight with hidden faces
broke our gate to other places.
Where once the lines were clearly drawn
now disorder ruled the dawn.

Dragon, man, and giants sundered
in darkness, sealed? So it is wondered.
We feel the loss of half our souls,
turn for turn beneath the poles.

Left to huddle deep in caves,
our spirits tainted in bygone age.
Bound in ash, and stone, and gold,
our ancient Scepter, stolen, sold.

Cast by men into Creation’s Maw,
A lowly demon turned it to his need,
becoming master, Lord, then Prince.
Smiled, he did, and twisted it,
and we in turn were further split.

But what he wrought he could not hold,
not for power, not for gold. The witch
of ages caged him, true, and cast his bauble
all askew.

What giants wrought, men then held,
and with it’s might an empire weld;
but what once was lost was lost anew,
and now a serpent holds it, spelled.

Twice came the Prince to Liga’s soil,
bound to Service, bound to Toil. First
the witch and then the prankster,
woe to them that serve their master!

This serpent knows not what it holds,
except for power over souls. Abomination,
you might call it, in far off temples,
olves exalt it.

The serpent who controls the staff
considers lesser beings chaff. And in his step to
ascendant status, accepts the loss of magic, status.

Twin thrones, both built of skulls,
one of children, the other, culls.
He’ll shatter both, for Powers sake,
if must, the very world he’ll break.

Dragon-bone and ancient magic,
could stand atwixt a future tragic.
Magic’s wane upon us soon, hastened
by the Wane of Moon. Steal the scepter,
rod, or wand; break the staff lest Chaos bloom.

Child of Dragons, Child of Man,
Daughter Fey and Daughter Graf, can
you break the Binding Staff?"

Having delivered his message, he made his farewells, though it quickly became clear to everyone that he and Kitiana had some kind of history. Galen would only say that for Kitiana, this was their first meeting; for himself, it might be one of their last. The dates of his birth and his death were both known to him, and it had been decreed that he might not die before his time.

When pressed, he admitted that his association with Kitiana had been in what might be called the ancient past; he himself was swept unbidden by the winds of time to this era or that, and while he remembered Kitiana (and remembered her fondly), not much else of that era was still clear enough in his mind for him to give them any good accounting of it.

Having duly mystified everyone present, he said his farewells.

Seeking inspiration, Kitiana retired to her room, likewise Tahiri to her own. Kitiana’s prayers to Mystra for guidance went unanswered, but her plea to her departed mother bore fruit; she received a vision of herself and some companions on a hillside, with Galen mounted upon a clockwork steed upon the road. He told her that his companions had entered the city of Hartridge, and were in the process of building a supply of weapons with which to arm the populace. If they succeeded, he claimed, the war would only become that much harder to win.

Tahiri sought answers in the Force, and having asked different questions from Kitiana, received different answers. She saw a land of men ruled by dragons, who, when the dragons had departed, was conquered by a race of dragon-kin who brought terror and suffering where the dragons had brought peace and prosperity. In a distant land, a race of noble giants learned of the human’s plight, and sent a vast fleet to aid them, and when they had driven away the dragon-kin, stayed to rule over the men.

But all the men were not happy under the giant’s rule, even though they were fair and just. Some of them rose up against the giants, just as it seemed that the dragons of old had returned to their lands. A great war erupted, in which the men, aided by strange machines, seemed to be winning. Amidst all this, somewhere in the north, a vast magical device built by an unknown race malfunctioned, bringing about the doom of their world.

Returning to Greyhawk, the group paid off Alex’s falsely premised debt to Venne the loan shark to get him off their back, and returned the items they’d gotten from Progilius to the Temple of Boccob. Kitiana received her training as a Chaneller, and various sages offered their interpretations of the prophesy the party laid before them.

While some of the passages meant nothing to anyone, others made a kind of sense. “Arrows eight with hidden faces” was clearly the followers of Mabelrode, and “Creation’s Maw” was an often used mythological name for the Abyss. The “witch of ages” might well be Iggwilv, and “the prankster” might well be Zagyg Yagrene, former mayor of Greyhawk and now a demigod in service to Boccob. This narrowed the likely demons down to one known as Fraz-Urb’luu, known to be missing a staff and to have been bound by both Iggwilv and Zagyg.

The ‘Twin thrones, both built of skulls, one of children, the other, culls" might refer to one of the known rituals for creating yuan-ti, though what use the second throne would serve none seemed to know. The one passage that caused the greatest stir among the sages was the one that went "Magic’s wane upon us soon, hastened by the Wane of Moon"; Boccob’s faithful were always vigilant about forestalling the prophesied Wane of Magic, and wondered what the cycles of the moons might have to do with it.

As we broke for the evening, the party was digesting the largess of information they had received, and formulating their plans for the future…

It is now the 13th of Readying, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Session 26, the Stone Archway
Nuke the site from orbit, you say?

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 12th of Sunsebb, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Adira, weretiger monk,
Akono, human gamba fighter,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Emerald, human fighter,
Firax1s, fraal psion,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Omi, human druid, and
Tahiri, human jedi.

Discovering that magic was unlikely to turn the tide against the Ioun Beholder they faced, Tahiri returned downstairs and was first to enter the fray. Though she was struck by several of the creatures eye rays and weakened, she persevered and with a little aid was able to smash the construct. Firax1s gratefully gathered up the dead ioun stones for his own use.

A more careful search of the crates upstairs revealed that they contained all manner of bizarre items, some of which Firax1s identified as ‘chaositech’, an ancient and obscure branch of technology that his people had vowed to eradicate. He contacted his kin, and was given an hour to clear his companions from the tower, as it would take that long for them to arrange for it’s absolute destruction.

A further search of the upper cogs of the fortress located more ’tech, a lab, a surgical suite, and an abandoned barracks compound, from which the hobgoblins their quarry had been allied with obviously departed in great haste.

Eventually venturing downstairs, they found the cellar dominated by a large pool of water, through which only a distorted image could be perceived. As they watched, a large bubble rose from the surface of the water, rose about a foot above the surface, and then popped, sending out a visual flash of distortion that momentarily shorted out Tahiri’s lightsaber.

The first of the three doors revealed a chamber containing only the moldering bodies of three hobgoblins. The next door was kicked open just as Elzedar finished unlocking it, sending him sprawling. Soon afterwards, the door closest to where the healers and magical support was clustered opened as well, and from each of these rooms came more of the disguised Caberen, and a variety of other constructs, and finally, Progilius himself.

Low on almost everything but wands, the party still managed to smash it’s way through their opposition, eventually defeating Progilius himself, though this required Kitiana to expend her entire store of spellfire, knocking herself unconscious in the process. A quick search with various Detect spells got them out of the fortress with about 40 minutes to spare, and, as advertised, what looked like a meteor smashed the fortress flat right on time.

The group then returned to Dantredun, losing Adira along the way, the night before her lycanthropy would have again driven her to madness.

It is the 20th of Sunsebb, 599 CY.
XP: 8000

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Arc 2, Session 24/25, the Stone Archway
Not known for their hospitality, that's for sure!

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 12th of Sunsebb, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Adira, weretiger monk,
Akono, human gamba fighter,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Emerald, human fighter,
Firax1s, fraal psion,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Omi, human druid, and
Tahiri, human jedi.

We left the party separated by some distance, inside and outside the Clockwork Fortress. While Tahiri cut through the portcullis, Adira and Akono faced off against the rogue shield guardians separately, Adira taking two while Akono battled one.

On the roof above the courtyard, a brass colored construct ripped one of the ballistas free of it’s mountings, the better to fire down into the courtyard at Akono. As the rest of the group reached the drawbridge and began flooding into the courtyard to join the fray, Akono finally relented in his assault against the locked door to seek healing (as he was mortally wounded by this point and really had no other options).

Adira finished off her two opponents, but then turned and further diminished the healing the two clerics could offer as she too was near death. As the group took stock of the courtyard (and dodged the occasional ballista bolt from above), a huge stone dire tiger leapt from the roof to further drain away the group’s spells, if only cures and salves. As they finally unlocked the door leading into the keep itself, the brass golem that had been harrying them with bolts finally dropped to the ground himself, draining even more magic from the party before being squashed.

Once inside the keep itself, the group played with the revolving cog entryway, Elzedar nearly got himself killed by spears-from-above while trying to pick another locked door open, but finally the group made their way into the inner keep.

A brief search located a room with two frightened peasants and a spiral staircase leading upwards. When Sense Motive revealed that the peasants were lying, Dispel Magic revealed them to be disguised constructs, who briefly entertained the group before being annihilated.

The spiral stair, on the other hand, was another matter. Akono raced up the stairs, got perforated by the six constructs waiting there, and rolled back down calling for a medic. While the party debated on what to do, the upstairs group rolled a cask down the stairs, which burst releasing a poisonous gas, which again only briefly annoyed the party.

Realizing that she was too large in her hybrid form to traverse the narrow spiral staircase, Adira transformed into human form, and, naked and unarmed (well, she is a monk…) set out to clear some room at the top of the stairs. The constructs, as a group, removed strange looking weapons from a barrels nearby and proceeded to almost kill her. The weapons, which the party dubbed ‘ribbon guns’, fired a single long ribbon of an unknown material that would pierce the body in three places, and still remain hanging in loops outside the body; the weapons even sounded like badly maintained sewing machines when fired…

When the be-ribboned and bleeding Adira fell back, Tahiri and Alianna moved forward, Tahiri acting as a human shield so that her companion could Fireball the assembly upstairs. Firax1s soon joined in the artillery barrage, as nobody else seemed overly inclined to face the weapons being used upstairs…

While all of this was going on, Akono elected to see what was behind some of the other doors on the lower level, and quickly found a strange construct that resembled nothing so much as a crystal ball with several ioun stones circling it. it unleashed a withering barrage of attacks that left Akono lacking Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma, and sent him screaming up the stairs, warning everyone in alternating common and his native tongue that “big shiny coming! everybody hide!”

Fortunately the battle on the stairs was nearly over, though Tahiri’s own ioun stone was acting strangely (well, if you consider it moving on it’s own and attacking her with Color Sprays to be unusual, anyway). Once upstairs, he joined in a general search party of the other room there, and he and Elzedar both located devices stored in crates that were familiar but frankly disturbing…

Downstairs, Kitiana discovered that removing the ribbons should come before healing, as they were difficult to remove in fresh wounds, and even more so when the flesh had been healed around them. The door behind the party was closed against the ‘big shiny’, and after several rounds of waiting, Tahiri burned a peephole in the door to see what was up.

The Ioun Beholder on the far side failed to charm Tahiri, so when Emerald lifted Firax1s up so he could direct his psionics, it sucked his power into itself and fired back…

It is still the 12th of Sunsebb, 599 CY (and at this rate, will still be for weeks….)

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Arc 2, Session 23, the Stone Archway
Dude! That was --so-- not the plan!!!

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was still the 27th of Ready’reat, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Adira, weretiger monk,
Akono, human gamba fighter,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Firax1s, fraal psion,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Omi, human druid,
Tahiri, human jedi and introducing,
Emerald, human fighter.

After spending the better part of a week in town identifying and selling their take, the party remembered what had brought them to the frozen north in the first place; their pursuit of Progilius. Soon after buyers had been found and taxes had been paid, they set out towards the glacier (again).

Along the road that the locals had indicated the constructs had taken in weeks past, the group traveled for a week, sighting their first construct after only 4 days. The construct in question, a stone golem, lay to the side of the road, it’s joints enlarged and distended, with a variety of what could only be termed growths mottling it’s surface. As the days passed, more disfigured constructs were passed, some with limbs dissolved away, others with too many limbs to continue functioning.

Finally the party arrived at the site of the fortress they’d been told about, that seemed to have melted it’s way out of the glacier about the same time as the Exodus of the Constructs. A wide circle had been cleared around it, but near a small stand of trees they encountered Emerald, who had been hired by the local Mage’s Guild to ascertain where and why the constructs had come here. The party offered to assist her in fact finding, and then made plans to determine if the patrols around the fortress were as hostile to humans as Emerald claimed they’d been to the local wildlife.

As the next patrol rounded the exterior of the fortress, the group set out on foot to meet it. As the two groups came close, Akono suddenly made a break for the drawbridge of the fortress, and, reaching the bridge under fire from ballistas mounted inside the walls, began hacking at the chain with his new dual-sword. The rest of the group, seeing that Akono was being attacked, attacked the patrol, and made short work of the automata they faced.

The bulk of the party, being nowhere near as fleet of foot as their ally, began the long slow run to the walls. Firax1s used Dimension Door to allow himself, Adira and Tahiri onto the bridge next to Akono, and as Tahiri used her lightsaber against the chains, Akono sought out the door to the guardhouse where the chains were being raised.

Adira, meanwhile, moved to intercept the next level of defense the fortress provided, a trio of shield guardians, one of which began pummeling Akono as he threw himself against the locked door to the guard tower.

As we broke for the evening, Akono and Adira were both sorely wounded, Tahiri was trapped on the wrong side of the heavy iron portcullis that had fallen into place, and the rest of the group was still a hundred or more feet away…

It is now the 12th of Sunsebb, 599 CY.

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Arc 2, Session 22, the Stone Archway
Okay, who brought a cart?

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was still the 14th of Ready’reat, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Adira, weretiger monk,
Akono, human gamba fighter,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Firax1s, fraal psion,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Omi, human druid, and
Tahiri, human jedi.

We left our merry band cooling their heels inside a glacier in the Land of Black ice, deciding if they really wanted to tackle the dragon they knew was waiting for them. In the end, greed won out, and they elected to go for it.

Though it was a close call for some members of the party, and some spent most of the battle trying to simply reach the foe, in the end a series of critical hits spelled the end of the dragon.

After the fight, but before the evening dissolved into arguing over treasure, Elzedar and most of the rest of the party set out to investigate a strange ice formation that he had witnessed the dragon addressing before the group launched it’s deadly assault. Frozen inside this block was what appeared to be a green-skinned humanoid figure dressed entirely in furs, holding out a carved wooden box in what appeared to be an offering gesture. After determining that the figure inside the ice was dead, Tahiri cut the box (and the creature’s hands) out of the ice so that the group could inspect the box more closely.

When opened, the box contained a large diamond… and a magic mouth. The words it spoke in draconic are these: “My servant Aximanin brings this gift before you so that you, Illinax, will know that I am as gracious to my friends as I am cruel to mine enemies. I seek your support; aid me in my goal and I swear: not only can I start you upon the Path; but even greater material wealth shall be yours. Fail me, and there is no hole deep enough to hide you from my wrath…”

While several members of the party recognized the words, the race of the bearer was in some doubt; his hands were lightly scaled though he could have easily passed for human…

Shelving the puzzle of the frozen gift bearer, the party returned to Dantredun to identify the items they’d claimed from the hoard…

It is now the 27th of Ready’reat, 599 CY.

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Arc 2, Session 21, the Stone Archway
The Replacement Killers

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 14th of Ready’reat, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Adira, weretiger monk,
Akono, human gamba fighter,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Tahiri, human jedi, and reintroducing
Omi, human druid, and finally, introducing
Firax1s, fraal psion.

We left our merry band in mid battle last week, facing two members of the foreign Cult of the Dragon and their assorted followers. Unbeknownst to the party, reinforcements were on the way, in the form of Firax1s, assigned to continue Tal4en’s work with them, and Omi, who, after the destruction of her druid circle, had been searching for the parties responsible and had tracked them as far as Dantredun (much the same way the rest of the group had arrived). Firax1s had met Omi in town, and both agreed to journey together to meet up with the group on the ice.

As Adira finished off the second ambush drake, Alianna poured a potion into Kitiana, reviving her. The barbarians began hacking away at Tahiri’s golden lions, trying to open space for a rush at the core of the group, but the narrow corridors were working against them now that the drakes were out of the picture in the center. The two cultists fell in rapid succession soon after, causing some of the barbarians to attempt to flee, only to plow into Omi and Firax1s as they ran up to join the fight.

The balance tilted until at long last the party held the field, with one barbarian as their captive. When interrogated, he claimed that he and his kinsmen had seen no dragons, but then neither had they been given leave to explore beyond the cultist’s base camp further into the glacier.

Exploring beyond the ambush site soon brought the party into a deep gallery in the ice, with a sheer 30’ climb up to a larger cavern located above them. Elzedar scouted the area but saw nothing, but when Tahiri followed him into the gallery, she was struck by a hurled boulder from an unseen assailant above the lip, As the party flowed into the depression, they soon spotted the frost giant behind his mound of boulders. Tahiri flew into his face, and nearly dies under the punishing blade of the ax he quickly swept up to meet her charge with.

Though most of the party spent most of the battle trying to ascend ropes to get into melee range with the giant, Alianna, Omi, and Firax1s’s spells/powers soon brought him low. A cursory exploration of the upper region allowed them to glimpse what they thought was surely the dragon and his horde, currently sealed behind a wall of ice.

A hurried conclave and unbridled greed soon found the group in agreement; having come this far, they would strike next at the dragon itself, for if they took time to recover the dragon would surely not sit idle. Though low on offensive magics, Kitiana’s spellfire was as yet untapped, and the group’s melee power was unabated (though Kitiana’s wand of cure light wounds was beginning to run dry…)

It is still the 14th of Ready’reat, 599 CY.
XP: still forthcoming.

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Arc 2, Session 20, the Stone Archway
New Friends & Old

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 24th of Patchwall, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Alianna, olven wizard,
Akono, human gamba fighter, and, introducing:
Tahiri, human jedi, and
Adira, weretiger monk.

On their slow trek back to town after last week’s midnight revel, most of the party met two travelers on the road, and after some talk, brought them back to their inn to discuss a more permanent alliance.

Tahiri of Athenia, a newly minted knight of her order, was on the trail of a mysterious figure who had slain her master, and who had escaped the scene in some sort of flying vessel. Rumors and intuition had led her here to the Land of Black Ice in search of retribution.

Adira, daughter of Andrella and Lance, formerly of the Spindrift Isles, was following her own instincts in an effort to lift the curse of lycanthropy that had plagued the females of her family for centuries, as well as to hopefully find a way to force the olves to allow her people to return to their homes.

After a night’s discussion, it was agreed that the two groups would join forces for a time. The next morning the group awakened to the sound of bells, and quickly saw that two large caravans were pulling into town, and that the city was rapidly turning into something of a carnival. Everyone was quick to notice that the local population of half-orcs and other humanoids had also increased significantly.

After a day’s worth of shopping, the group returned to their inn that night only to be quickly dragged away by Alexander, who had caught wind that one of the Tandover clan was in town. A quick search of the nearby whorehouses soon turned him out, but to Alex’s surprise it wasn’t Janus but his younger brother Kaleth. Akono, whose grasp of the situation was somewhat shaky, nearly escalated it into wholesale bloodshed when he attacked Kaleth in his perceived ‘sneaking up on’ his friend.

Once everything was sorted out, Kaleth revealed that he had neither seen nor heard from his brother in several years, and that since war was usually bad for his business, he could see no future in looking him up. On noticing that Kitiana was a foreigner, he mentioned another group of foreigners he’d encountered two weeks past in Blackmoor Town, twins named Deth and Lordik, a pair of certifiable nuts who thought that in the future, dead dragons would come to rule the world…

Kitiana recognized the names of the Gulgathor twins, a mage and priest who were known members of of the Cult of the Dragon in her homeland. While she did not know them directly, her past dealings with the cult had all been decidedly negative, and she quickly convinced the group that they needed to be stopped before they enacted whatever plan they were setting in motion.

Locals who were willing to answer questions told of an old white dragon named Illinax who had been known to lair up on the glacier somewhere in years past, but who had not bothered anyone in nearly four decades. Tahiri retired to her room upstairs to meditate, and was rewarded with a vision of the twins and their retinue of guides and associates descending into a deep crevasse in the ice to a floor that was littered with bones. Clearly there was no time to be lost!

Two weeks later they were making their own descent into that same crack in the ice, already having lived through one night of Adira hunting elk rather than two legged prey. Wanting to finish things before the moon rose again, they made excellent time getting to the bottom and into the vast cave that they found there.

Soon after Elzedar went in to scout he returned, reporting that the barbarians were laying a trap for them. Heedless of that threat, the group pressed on, and what should have been a simple reverse ambush reversed itself again when the barbarian guides were transposed with a pair of ambush drakes…

As we broke for the evening, the main barbarian force was just reaching the cul-de-sac in which the battle was being fought; one drake was down, as was Kitiana, who had been felled from behind by the spells of the mage and the cleric as they sprung their ambush exactly as they had planned…

It is now the 14th of Ready’reat, 599 CY.
XP: forthcoming

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Arc 2, Session 19, the Stone Archway
For the Fallen

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 17th of Patchwall, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Losien, elf rogue/wizard,
Tal4en, fraal psion,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Alianna, olven wizard, and
Akono, human gamba fighter.

The group took advantage of Nikolai’s offer of hospitality for the night, and set out the next morning for Blackmoor. Nikolai gifted Alexander with a small trinket that he promised would give them safe passage through most of the lands of the Wegweir, or Wolf Nomads. True to his word, on the second day the party encountered a large hunting party led by Hothor, son of Dracon, one of Nikolai’s old associates.

Hothor advised the party to avoid both forest and swamp, and to drive their mounts straight through the Neck to Dantredun. He also told them of the Egg of Coot, a mysterious figure that plagued the lands of the north, sowing discord wherever he went. He also told tales of the so-called City of the Gods, an ancient ruin located near the coast, which caught Tal4en’s attention.

Another four days of hard riding brought the party to Dantredun and the Inn of the Laughing Eggplant, where the party ensconced themselves to rest. Working the common room for information revealed that several weeks previous, all of the arcane golems in the city had simply stopped working for a day, then ran off to a strange, long abandoned fortress to the northeast, that looked much like a set of giant gears stacked one atop the other.

Retiring for the evening, Alex and Kitiana were preparing for sleep when they realized that the last cup of wine they’d shared downstairs had been drugged. As Alex sat on the edge of the bed, he fell into a void where the mattress should have been, landing in a cave beneath. As Kitiana screamed to rouse the others, a winged, vaguely demonic figure climbed out of the hole Alex had plummeted into, and attacked.

As the rest of the party joined the fray, Alex suffered several subduing blows from the bugbear guards he met at the bottom of the cave he’d fallen into. Also present were a dire ape and a wizard, whose attention was focused mainly on maintaining the portal that led to his room at the inn. A quick wave of the mage’s distracted hand brought blissful slumber to the swashbuckler, taking him out of the equation for a little while.

A second demon joined the first in the room, and both fought to either subdue, grapple, or bull rush Kitiana into the portal, but were killed before they could do so. Tal4en, Akono, Elzedar and Kitiana jumped into the portal before it closed, trapping Losien and Alianna on the far side. Losien attempted to locate the group with a scroll, but when that failed he simply kissed Alianna, performed a quick sweep of his belongings, and jumped out the window and into the night.

Meanwhile in the cave, Tal4en quickly earned the status of target #1 through liberal use of his psionics to decimate the forced there. In the end, this proved to be a flawed strategy, for the mage slew him while the fighters were busy with the bugbears and the ape.

Finishing off the rest of their opponents, the party trekked several miles back to town, with more questions than answers (as usual)…

It is now the 24th of Patchwall, 599 CY.
XP: 1550

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Arc 2, Session 18, the Stone Archway
These Guys Again?

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 8th of Patchwall, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Losien, elf rouge/wizard,
Tal4en, fraal psion,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Alianna, olven wizard, and
Akono, human gamba fighter.

We left our intrepid band resting up at the Albino Minotaur, planning a trip north to visit Kaverknoll, to interview Lord Nikolai about his knowledge of the Celestial Arch, based on the sketchy deduction that he knew of other gates in the area, having been present when the one between the old palace and Iggwilv’s hidden sanctuary was opened (and sealed) 20+ years in the past.

After nearly a week of travel through the picturesque hills of northern Perrenland, the party reached Kaverknoll, and were quickly intercepted by a pair of horsemen wearing Lord Nikolai’s livery. Upon learning of their business, the horsemen guided the party to Kaverknoll Keep, where Lord Nikolai, Lady Dianetta, and their innumerable children lived.

Though technically a retired priest, Nikolai would have done well in politics, as he talked the night away, retelling the glory days of his youth as an adventurer. He asked questions, too, though the party had never heard nor seen any sign of a huge host of black centaurs. Mabelrode’s dominion over the Bandit Kingdoms they knew off (ancient history to some of the younger members) and they’d had some dealings with the Black Rooks of Tandover.

As the evening wound down, a servant urgently sought Nikolai’s ear as a disturbance rang out in the road approaching the keep. A force of horsemen bearing the Black Rook device soon swept into the courtyard and began massacring Nikolai’s guardsmen. Nikolai asked for the party’s aid as he rushed off to gather his family into the basements beneath the keep, and from their vantage on the second floor they soon managed by use of spells, items, and psi to blast away the horseman’s arcane and divine (Mabbies, again) support. The bulk of the horsemen, however, proved to be locally recruited Wolf Nomads, who proved to be made of tougher material than the clerics and warmages in their group.

While two of the barbarians held the party’s fighters pinned at the main entrance, the leader, a marshal, and the bulk of the barbarians rode around the side of the keep, getting them out from under the party’s barrage of spells and allowing them to enter from the sides, lighting fires as they went. Losien tumbled out into the courtyard, seeking targets for his spells, and was found by the marshal, whose magebane sword nearly crippled him before Losien could kill him with a lightning bolt.

As the party finally felled the barbarians at the door, two more burst in from behind, though they too were much more quickly dispatched. As the battle wound down, the group divided their attentions between fire fighting and locating the source of a child’s crying somewhere in the house. After a few moments, Elzedar located young Gianne and freed her from the arrow that had penetrated the chair she was trying to hide behind, her shoulder, and the wall behind her.

Finally regaining some composure, Nikolai emerged from the cellars and thanked the group profusely, extending his hospitality to them for so long as they might wish, and gifting them with a copy of his journal from his adventuring days…

It is now the 17th of Patchwall, 599 CY.
XP: 3000

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Arc 2, Session 17, the Stone Archway
I wasn't aware I had that sort of competition....

Our Journey began the 11th of Coldeven, 599 CY.
Last session it was the 6th of Brewfest, 599 CY.

Our Merry band consists of the following:

Elzedar, mongrelman rogue
Losien, elf rouge/wizard,
Tal4en, fraal psion,
Alexander, human swashbuckler,
Kitiana, human cleric of Mystra,
Alianna, olven wizard, and
Akono, human gamba fighter.

When we ended last week, the party was fending off a large force of hobgoblins, and as the fight resumed, the hobgoblin’s leader, who had remained by the side of the road, broke cover and made a dash directly towards Losien, who had maneuvered himself to the far edges of the battle. The leader, a hill giant, brushed past the core of the fight in his rush to reach Losien, only to be halted in his charge by the advent of a bronze dragon, who chose that moment to do a flying charge/breath attack on the giant.

The dragon’s fear aura scattered most of the rest of the remaining hobgoblins and caravanserai (as well as most of the party), and the dragon’s mere presence scattered the hobgoblins who remained. While picking up the pieces of the battle, Alianna engaged the dragon in conversation, learning nothing much except that the hobgoblins were in league with the so-called Temple of Wounds. While the dragon, whose name was given as Hruuda, had heard of the Celestial Arch, he did not have any useful information concerning it at that time.

Arriving in Schwartzenbruin, they took shelter at the Albino Minotaur Inn, and took stock of their funds. While most of the men in the party went out on various errands, Kitiana and Alianna were approached in the inn by a young uberdritte of the Auszug, or elite militia, of Perrenland, named Hugo. Over a bottle of wine (which he drank most of, as the ladies were merely entertaining his advances), he waxed poetic on the vagaries of life in uniform, the fabled adventuring life, and, on hearing their tale of their passage through the Clatspurs, touched on a bit of history; Iggwilv, Drelzna, and the reactivation and subsequent sealing of a gate from Iggwilv’s mountain fortress into the Voorman’s palace nearly 22 years ago.

Though his tale was clearly anecdotal and fraught with exaggerations, he did mention that one of the adventurers in question, Nikolai, had married a local noblewoman and settled in Kaverknoll, to the north. The ladies thanked Hugo for his stories, lied about their plans for staying in town, and went upstairs to discuss the information gained without interruption.

A few minutes later, Alexander came bursting into their room, furious at what he thought was Kitiana’s infidelity (having been sought out by Akono, who had told him of Hugo’s obvious intentions, and then been told by the innkeeper that Kitiana and ‘a friend’ had repaired upstairs…).

It is now the 8th of Patchwall, 599 CY.

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