Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 18th of Patchwall, 600 C.Y.
Baht-Ole Vannarson, NPC Cleric of Boccob
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Vivisectionist Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.
and introducing Adira Orr, Natural Weretiger Monk
After a short bit of discussion, the group elected to take Keldeacon‘s corpse to the Temple of Boccob, knowing nothing of his beliefs or the practices of his people. The priests there attempted to raise him, but quickly discovered that his soul was bound somewhere in the Abyss, and unrecoverable. After indicating that they intended to bury the body, one of Keldeacon’s items, his legendary psychoactive skin, took off, having no desire to be entombed beneath the soil. Afterwards they sought an inn for a brief rest.
As dawn approached, they group (sans Meroln, who left to seek out Jenny) went to the space that Wilfred had rented from the Grey College for the Society of Gnomergan (the organization he’d recently founded to assist himself and the group). Uncertain of the Esoterica’s abilities, they first hedged it in with an inward-facing Circle of Protection from Evil (with a Dimensional Anchor for good measure), but when Baht-Ole tried to Consecrate the area, the tome went berserk, flailing it’s chain around the inside of the Circle, and grabbing Baht-Ole by the neck and physically hurling him across the room.
Elerra decided to enter the Circle (TWO ENTER, ONLY ONE MAY LEAVE! – sorry) and failed a Will save vs. the tome’s telepathic contact. “it burns” the Esoterica complained, “make it stop, daughter of Luzcidor…” Not having any clue what “Luzcidor” was supposed to mean, Squizzles chimed in that it was the name of the drow’s surface kingdom in the days before they were driven from the surface world. Once Elerra had used a Dispel Magic on the Consecrate, the Esoterica “introduced” itself as Sia Draja, Warden of the Book.
Wilfred, feeling that this was slightly out of their league, excused himself and used a Sending to contact Tenser for whatever help he might be able to lend. After several minutes, the Archmage arrived, with an athletically-built woman of Suel descent in tow, that he introduced as Adira. After being brought up to speed on the nature of the Esoterica and how they’d come into it’s possession, he walked the perimeter of the Circle for several minutes, casting the occasional spell at the tome. Eventually he stated that it was time everyone could see what they were dealing with, and after a brief incantation, the Esoterica sprang open and filled the area described by the Circle with black smoke that soon coalesced into the form of a young (8-10 years old) Suloise girl wearing a pretty red dress (though not one particularly appropriate to a girl of her age). Only Elerra and Squizzles caught that for just a moment, her childlike head and platinum-blonde locks were replaced by the black, flaming skull of a suel-lich.
Now that she was visible to everyone, she acknowledged each in her own way. Adira she referenced as “noble sister”, Wilfred was “child of the Astral”, Squizzles was merely “slave”, and Sam she called “bredthrall” (an ancient term delineating a life-form that had been created for a specific purpose). Tenser she acknowledged as “brother in the Arts, not so mortal as ye strive to appear”. After introductions, she once more gave her name as Sia Draja, Warden of the Book, and offered to assist the group with whatever their pleasure was.
While the group pauses to consider this offer, Tenser introduced Adira to the group, hinting that she may be of some use to them. As it turns out, she has some knowledge of Losien, who had been a member of her previous adventuring party (albeit he had left prior to her joining them). This results in a sharing of the names from the list they’d found at the site of the ritual they’d spoiled a few weeks past, from which Tenser further recognized Esmeralda as an arcanist known to have visited the city several times over the past two years, sometimes frequenting the Green Dragon Inn.
Sensing another link in the chain, Wilfred casts a Sending to recall Meroln from his tryst, only to send him off again to see if jenny remembers this Esmeralda character; she does, and identifies her as having been a friend of Grot’s, having met with him on several occasions to exchange information and occasionally small packages. based on her description, Sam realizes that she is likely the woman he attempted to tail from the bar back on the 25th of Goodmonth the previous year. Tenser eventually suggests that while all references to the titan behind the Wane may have successfully edited himself out of all the texts available here on Liga, a fresh source of very ancient records recently manifested itself in the skies above only a few days ago; maybe the group should investigate?
When asked about the next Mark, Sia is only too happy to spend the next several hours spewing arcanobabble that even Tenser has minor difficulty following, outlining the types of sites necessary, the “flavor” of the ley lines that must converge there, and detailing the astrological convergences that are necessary…. convergences that will come about in just over two months time. She further adds that with the failure of the Second Mark to achieve full power, the rituals for the third and final Mark will take longer, and must be completed over three days time, rather than merely one night (specifically, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the coming Needfest).
When asked about the symbols Elerra had copied from the Arcanoth’s throne chamber, Sia recognizes only the symbol worn by the cloud giants she’d been serving previously, Clan Skath. Glancing over them, Tenser says that ships emblazoned with the eight pointed star of Chaos have been sighted plundering towns along the eastern coasts of the Great Kingdom, traced back to a new island that the inhabitants refer to as Pan Tang. Furthermore, he says that several new islands have appeared all over the world, one off the far western shore of the Solnor Ocean (which he identifies as Granbretan, the source of the Union Jack of Londra). In all, four new islands off the coasts of Oerik, and an additional four off the coasts of Kanos. He further adds that the Fairwind Isle, part of the Occupied Lands of the Sea Princes, was stripped of all it’s prior structures, populace, and vegetation, and replaced wholesale with new towns, strange people, and even stranger, semi-mobile red foliage. The odd creatures there claim to serve a being they call the Jack of Tears, the leader of the Carnival of Shadows.
Returning to their discussion about journeying to Celene, Tenser informs them that the site known to Adira’s former companions as ‘the Celestial Arch’ is no longer under the control of the Clergy of Celestian. Several days past, the metal doors that were bowed inwards by the assault of the Mabelrodians sprang open, and the giants on the far side of the portal pushed Progilius’ Egg back to Liga’s side of the portal. The giants then proceeded to chase off the clerics and set up a fair sized tent city with the obvious intent of re-opening trade with Liga. he provided Wilfred with enough information for him to Teleport the group there, which he proceeded to do after setting his people to tracking down the ley lines that would identify the sites where the Third Mark rituals would have to be performed.
Arriving the following morning, they caught their first sight of the giants, who called themselves Huchard and a glimpse of their capital city of Sharu’mosna through the 60’ stone arch that stood open at the center of the valley. Overhead, an unusual flying ship floated perhaps 150’ overhead.
Passing through the gate, the party found that Sharu’mosna took a little getting used to. The air, while rich with strange scents, lacked much of the “stink” most cities held. While most giants were 7’-9’ in height, some were much taller, reaching as much as 14’ in height, and generally seemed more experienced and/or skilled. They also took note of the sibbecai, a race of humanoids with the heads of greyhounds or perhaps weimaraners, who shared the city with the giants and were deferential to them.
Soon after they paused on a street corner to get their bearings, a young giant (5’ or so) named Timor came up to them and offered to be their guide. He found them an inn where they dropped off their belongings, and when asked where their histories were kept, he led them to the Imperial University. He then asked them when they wished him to return, and made arrangements to meet them then.
Once inside the University, they were led by one of the students there to the libraries, where it took several hours to locate what they felt was the name they sought: Dhaeros, known as the Arcanoth. Said to have been crafted by Boccob himself, he refused to take sides in the War of the Host, and was cursed to be one of the Forgotten when the war ended.
The following day the group returned to the University to do some research on the spell-weavers, whom the giants knew as the jenoine. Not much information was available, though the mural in the room where the records were kept was of some interest. It depicted the signing of a treaty between the giants and the dragons in ages past, and served to illustrate the races that dwelt upon the surface of Celene. The giants and the dragons had their representatives of course, as did the humans, faen (a halfling-like folk), verrik (very human, but with skin the color of red wine), harrids (vulture-like humanoids), sibbecai, litorans (a variety of catfolk), graf (elf-like, but with four arms) and a lone jenoine, standing apart from all the others. When the student who was helping them overheard that they had visited the spell-weaver node when the moon was in it’s “dead phase”, he summoned the Archivist, Saldean.
Saldean had many questions about the moon before it’s arrival in the “present”, as well as their exploration of the node. His attention was eventually diverted by Squizzles, when he asked where his “master” was, and launched into a discussion about the origin (from his POV) of kobolds, and the nature of the mojh and the dracha, two races that the dragons made from humans. The mojh tended to be the scholarly, arcane casters, whereas the dracha were winged and often took roles as warriors. It was in the midst of these discussions that we broke for the evening…
It is the 21st of Patchwall, 600 CY