And Darkness Fell Upon The Face Of Alusia
- 1 Party
- 2 Summary
- 3 Scribe Notes
- 4 Logistics
- 5 Loot
- 6 Reference
- 7 Potential Awards
- 8 Stuff for the Times
- Night: Tuesday
- GM: Julia
- Level: Med to Extreme
- Venue: Julia's
- Fabio the Italian - Alandis
- Stephen - Braegon
- Sean - Lady Cher
- Jacqui - Flamis
- Michael - Mungo
- Keith - Basalic
I had a feeling that something was up, especially when the sun didn't come up the morning before the Guild Meeting. Given that there had been a prophecy saying "The Darkness Is Coming" and that there was a War in Hell going on which nearly all the Fire Elementals were involved it, it seemed reasonable that the Guild would be mobilising as many adventurers as possible to go and do something about it. Plus Flamis complaining that Fire itself had been getting harder to manipulate recently had also peaked my suspicions. I mentioned this to Lady Thorn and she said "If they call ... go do something about it in my stead". I figured she'd have her hands full keeping the populace calm.
So, off to the Guild Meeting, went Flamis and myself. I decided to beat the rush and get a Greater off Lucius before the Guild Meeting figuring there'd be long queues afterwards - besides, if the word wasn't given, I may need one back in Bolton Bay. Who knows what manner of creatures would take advantage of eternal night to raise havoc.
At the Guild Meeting, while adventures for that season were being sorted out, Kali and Corel rushed in and called for volunteers to assemble in the courtyard in half an hour for buffing and immediate portal transport to Barretskyne. Thank Thor I had got my Greater first. So, Flamis and I assembled in the courtyard, assigned to the second group and buffed up before our portal was generated. With us were: Braegon (a fellow Earth Mage - and a good bloke), Cher (the lizard lady Binder), Mungo (a really keen warrior and devotee of Odin), and some elven bloke I hadn't met before. Flamis thought she had though.
Braegon was appointed our party leader while Flamis was appointed the Military Scientist. No Scribe was appointed, which was a bit of a break from protocol but I guess the Guild considered this to be a quick 'in-out' of a first task and we'd debrief afterwards before the next task. So, as leader, Braegon was first through the portal and I followed after, with my sword out, just in case there were nasties on the other side and the beachhead needed securing. All we knew was we had to hold our position until reinforcements arrived.
We arrived, one by one, in a dark room. No immediate threat but we could hear chanting somewhere. The only light source was a glow coming from the large door behind us - at least until Cher arrived - and some of those shadows looked a bit more solid. Other entrances were to either side and ahead. As the others popped in, I put up a Wall of Stone in front of the large entrance, presumably to this building's forecourt, then moved along the wall to secure a side entrance while Braegon put up some Lights.
While I was doing this, I felt a spell hit me ... and my Death Ward dropped off. Thanks Turf. Meanwhile a rather large creature turned up and Mungo went straight into the attack. Flamis was throwing dragonflames at something at the opposite corner, and something, presumably the source of the death magic was retreating into the shadows as Braegon dropped more light blocks.
I got to the door, quickly peeked through and got smacked by the creature that was there. It drained some of my will but I smacked it back again. Mungo had, by now, defeated the large creature (some sort of Death Knight] and came over to help. Together we managed to destroy one of them but I was knocked for six and drained again, plus being dazzled by the pyrotechnics that Flamis's blackbird familiar, Flash or 'Flashie', as I called him. It did however, cause our other opponent to back off.
That was then Braegon called a tactical retreat to the courtyard as it was evident there was a massive force of undead etc, including a vampire necromancer in this building. So, that's what we did.
Outside, we discovered a bunch of knights huddled under a tree, that was on fire. Rain was falling on the tree - and the tree only, and the tree, plus knights, were surrounded by a ring of standing stones. This was the source of the light we were seeing and it also appeared that there were resurrections in progress - the source of the 'life buzzes' we were getting since we were all currently Life-Aspected. As soon as Flamis saw the tree on fire, she immediately extinguished the tree before we could stop her - it was the light from the tree that was keeping the shadows - and undead - at bay. Definately a facepalm moment. As the knights started to panic, she realised her mistake and got Flashie to deposit some Bound Fire into the tree to re-ignite it. We later discovered that the rainfall was the enemy trying to use Control Weather to put the fire out.
The leader of the Knights introduced himself as Sir Barretskyne, presumably being a descendant of the town's founder. They had been waiting for reinforcements from the Guild and were happy that we had brought two fire mages - the other being Alandis. The building we had arrived in, was one of the forts that had been guarding Barretskyne, or guarding against the undead in Barretskyne. Now, it had been overrun by the undead, including a vampire.
It was about this time that another strange dark clad elf (Alandis being the first one) showed up with four dead bodies and asked Braegon to resurrect them. Braegon must have known who this person was as there was some discussion between the two before the elf left with his resurrected comrades. Hopefully they were undead killers because I was believing we could use all the help we could get.
Speaking of that, I was tempted to slap Mungo a few times as he was going on about the gods not caring and being abandoned. Yes, I could hear whispers of hopelessness and despair in my mind but I was determined to ignore them, especially since I had used a powerful item to restore my health and willpower. Besides, I had been 'forgotten' by the Gods before and it had taught me to stand on my own two feet and get the job done. While I was pointing this out to Mungo we noticed that there was a Bone Construction tunnel coming out of the fort. Flamis had started making a Permanent Bound Fire for the tree ... and the surrounding forest that Alandis was trying to burn and we figured the tunnel would get to us just before her ritual was finished. So we started slowing them down with Walls of Stone that they had to go over. I also set up my heavy crossbow to fire down the length of the tunnel and loaded a bolt with an explosive head on the end. I was then using the accompanying zombies as target practice with the 'light' crossbow.
We had brought Flamis enough time then we noticed a bone constructed trebuchet roll out of the tunnel - which was now shrouded in mist, as was the whole area, and fired black caltrops at us which also had willpower draining effects as I personally discovered. So I fired the explosive bolt back and caused enough damage to it to delay it's next shot for a bit. Cher then followed up with a Disintegration effect.
We then prepared to charge to take the fight to the enemy and retake the fort.
We charged in and stopped behind the wall I had previously put up. Cher, on one side, and myself on the other, extended the walls along the side walls to block off the doors that chanting were coming from. Meanwhile Flamis and Alandis were flooding the area with lights. Braegon and Mungo were keeping an eye on both of them. That was when a glaive came out of the wall and stabbed into Flamis. Mungo was unable to do anything about this, but the lights were keeping the attackers from getting any further. So all we had to do was to keep within the lights.
Our goal was to get to a door at the far end which would take us to the broken siege engines on the roof. Once at the door, we lit our way up the stairs blocking and securing all the doors on the way. Cher used one way transparency on them but all we could see was darkness within. Finally we burst out onto the roof.
Darkness had engulfed the roof area but lights put on arrow tips soon did something about that. What was left was a column of darkness that expanded like a mushroom about 10ft up, from which chanting could be heard. We were also being assaulted with death buzzes, including five at once which told us that the battle below wasn't going so well.
I wanted to throw up my pinch of sunlight into the darkness in case the chanters were vampires. We knew there were some about but hadn't found them yet. I was overruled by the military scientist and ended up watching over Cher while she got to work repairing the siege engines. It was rather frustrating that they were up there, we were down there, and our weapons couldn't reach them. So Flamis carefully targeted the top of the column of darkness and blasted it with dragonflames. The chanting stopped .... and so did the death buzzes.
Alandis then reported he saw three female entities carrying away bodies, which we quickly determined were vampires - and too far away from me to do anything about it. By the time we got back down they were gone - along with a few of the bodies. More lights were put up to keep the shadows away while Braegon got busy resurrecting.
That was when our relief arrived to hold the area. Our task had been to help hold this area until they arrived so we basically left them to it. Braegon started to transport us to the Guild but we must have gone a bit off course as we ended up in a really cold mountainous region. The whole area had a magic aura but there was no planar name. Most peculiar. That was when some sort of mist started poking at us and ended up rubbing against Flamis's throat.
We weren't sure whether this was an attack or not, but it soon retreated. A bit later some of the surrounding mist coalesced into a face. He told us his name was Erebus and his job was to keep Chaos of bay. His wife, Nyx, was missing and he wondered if Flamis was her.
From what I understood, she brought the Darkness to the realms but hadn't returned as expected. He believed Helios was responsible, who was also missing, and could be stuck somewhere in the Underworld. It was speculated that Nyx may also be there. To get to the Underworld, we had to talk to Death, and we had to do that with a toad in our mouth to prevent instant death. According to Cher, the toads could be found in the Lunar Empire. So, once we assured Erebus that we would do our best to return Nyx - especially since it may be relevant to what happened to the sun, we left and ended up back at the Guild.
Once there, we were debriefed, decursed, rebuffed up, introduced each other, and prepared to set off to the Lunar Empire. This was going to be interesting - and weird - besides, Mother had always said not to talk with our mouths full.
However, our planned departure was delayed as a message arrived for Braegon. An Erelheine wanted to see him, and us. So we went to the indicated address and took part in an Erelheine Tea Ceremony. We had previously been warned that Erelheines can be a bit 'touchy' and can easily be offended if something goes against their understanding of 'honour' and will do whatever is required to regain their honour including killing themselves. This particular individual had been geased not to do so.
This person was introduced as the Captain of the Guard for a powerful Erelheine Family, which Braegon had dealings with before. We did learn that we needed to be immune to Charms, especially Charming Songs. A powerful Greater Summoner in the Inner Sea has an item, maybe some sort of Shield that may do the job and the Family wanted him taken out but a direct approach would not be a good idea. A stealth approach might work but, even then, it would be very risky. Apparently we needed the protection because of the enchanting voice of the Immortal Marquis Another possibility was the earplugs that Loki had crafted for Michael.
Once we left his presence, we discussed other means of obtaining anti-charm abilities.
"I know a few barmaids that are immune to charm" - Mungo
Flamis went off to the Library to see if there were any alchemical means of doing the job. I also went to the Library to read up earlier scribe notes to see if I could understand the background to some of these events. As I later said to Braegon, I was coming to the conclusion that adventuring was getting more complicated than it had been in my more active days. Meanwhile the rest went shopping.
Half an hour later, we were all summoned back to the group and we set off to Slippery Rock to stock up on some Restoratives. Alandis confessed to an attempt to steal from the witches which led to him getting a good rollecking from Braegon. When we got there, we discovered that there was a huge demand for Restoratives but, we managed to get a tenpack of Rank 8s.
We then had to endure another seven hours of strenuous travel through ice and snow in order to get to our destination - and there was no getting around that according to Braegon. Must be part of the travel magic he was using. My suggestions of horses or sled dogs were shot down as not being able to work. Well, I guess what can't be cured, had to be endured, so we set off.
Our destination was a complete contrast, being hot and muggy. We had come out of Braegon's Middlemarch somewhere east of the Inland Sea, very close to the Lunar Empire, on the shores of a lake. Around the perimeter of the lake, everything was dead, but there was the sounds of toads croaking from the lake. We decided to rest and have a picnic and, out of idle curiosity I DAed the dead zone for cause of death. In hindsight I should have expected the answer I got which was DEATH!.
Braegon summoned some toads, spoke to them in order to obtain volunteers, and discovered that it was only five hours ago when an earlier party had been here and obtained some toads. So we inserted the toads, just as a boat arrived at the nearby jetty, got on board the boat and headed over to the island in the middle of the lake. Upon arrival, we were met by a man with a horse's head who told us that the Master was rather busy but when Braegon explained why we were here, took us to the building in the center of the island. There, we met Death, who to Mungo and myself, appeared as Hel.
Braegon explained the problem. Death told us that all the Sun related deities had died because the sun was eaten by the Dark Phoenix as well as the fire elementals neglecting their duties and letting it go out. S/he also told us that there was an 11th Oracle in the world who guarded two trees with golden boughs. Fate would know where that is. We would need a piece from that tree to descend into the Underworld where we would be allowed to take something of a dead hero that would help us for the next three months, that was stored in his mansion. The Flute of Euterpes was suggested. He would, however, take a dim view if Cerebus was harmed on our way down. We wouldn't need to fetch Helios back as relighting the Sun would result in those solar deities being resurrected.
Death also said he was rather annoyed at the Life Aspect Jape - as evident by the note in the last Seagate Times. Apparently a dwarven seer had convinced a junior Guild party that it was a good idea (cf Duskfalls Demise.
We had five rivers to cross to get to the Underworld: The Styx, The Acheron, Cocytus, Phelgethon and the Lethe. It was advised not to get wet from any of these rivers.
Once we took our leave of Death, we headed for the Temple of Fate. Light and Dark Titans were grouped around it but we were allowed to pass. Outside the Temple we then encountered an old woman who was cutting threads with a pair of golden scissors. She was complaining of sore hands from all these threads that needed cutting and complaining that this place must have gained a revolving door. Apparently, guilds from all over the Multiverse had been visiting Fate in order to sort out this problem. We were told that the Oracle was located at the Head of the Sweetwater River and also advised not to kill demons as we might get the wrong one and disrupt the Balance even worth than it is now. Getting the earplugs off Michael would also be a good idea.
Fate offered to show our Fates, but I decided not to. As I said, I prefer to be surprised in life. Mungo however, decided to have a look. From his reaction, I guess he didn't like what he saw.
Next stop was the Temple of War. Many of us, including myself, accepted the challenge of fighting a mirror image of ourselves in order to gain more skill in our preferred weapon (an extra rank which could go over maximum). Since I came out still left handed, I presume I won. Hopefully it might also make me a better warrior. I felt rather ill afterwards though thanks to the life aspect but at least it doesn't cut in when dealing with the undead or demons. Mungo was still complaining about it though as he wanted to have glory in the blood of his enemies lying at his feet. Me? I'd rather do that only if I had to, but do so with honour.
Another exhausting seven hour trek through the ice and snow brought us to the head of the Sweetwater. What we found was a large pond with two trees, an Oak and a Hickory, presumably the ones that the previous party had planted here. It was the Oak that had the Golden Boughs at the top. We also met the Guardian Naga. We didn't get her name but, presumably this was Nagari.
We were told that we had to get to the top of the tree and lop down a branch. There were six golden branches, one each. So Braegon started climbing. As he did, we noticed that he was shrinking. From his perspective, the tree was getting taller. Finally, Braegon was only an inch high but, even a determined inchworm can reach the top of a tree so that's what he did, and started attempting to cut down a bough that, to his perspective, was rather large.
The rest of us used various other means to get up there but we all experienced the shrinkage. Flamis and I used her teacup and I climbed on top of my bough and used my weedwacker axe to hack at the branch - which was surprisingly effective. As it began to fall, Flamis tried to slow it's descent with the cup by going underneath. All I could do was facepalm (again) as she was pushed downwards. Fortunately as she fell the bough started to shrink relative to her - or she was growing - so she was able to regain some control but it was still a crash landing. Well, I guess that is now her one so I cut down one for me then went to help anyone else who was still having problems.
Once down from the tree, I gave it some healing and thanked it formally. After all, I believe if you take something, you should give something back - like plant a seed for each tree cut down. I then pinned the bough right next to the mistletoe I usually wear.
Nagari also told us, that there was an Ice Shield in the Netherworld that could protect one from the fiery blast of the sun. Oh good. That would help with my idea of reigniting the sun with explosives - not that I had much of an idea on how I was going to do that yet.
Back to Death's Island. Just as a backup, some of us took toads - just in case. Once there, we went through a door into a misty realm. We then walked until we reached the bank of the River Styx. A hooded figure rowed a ferryboat towards us and we got on. He asked for payment. I said we had it but he would be paid when we reached the other side. He also complained of being tired and wanted one of us to take over for a bit. Fortunately all of us had been forewarned. My excuse was, if I did, we'd probably end up going in circles. Finally we reached the other side and I paid Charon in left over Lunar Empire coins from the Winter Games.
With Walking Unseens and Witchsights on, we trekked across the Plains of Death. A while later, we encountered an elm tree. Braegon started wandering towards it and Alandis soon followed. It soon became apparent that they were under some sort of magical effect. I sensed a magical field emanating from the tree which DAed as 'False Dreams', so we had to snap them out of the illusions that they were perceiving.
Once we had done that, we continued on, soon encountering a river of fire. Cher was able to use multiple castings of her Walls to get us across, although the fires had the tendency to burn off any special pacts or magical abilities we couldn't hold onto. Flamis was adament she didn't want to lose her status of Eternal Consort so we got her over in a Bubble of Force. As far as I was concerned, Cher should get the 'Good Keen Spellcasting Award" for showing Iron Will and Grit in order to succeed.
The next river was Acheron and there was Charon again, waiting for us. Fortunately it was a free ride.
On this side, the place felt more solid, rather than having the mistiness that the earlier bits had. We soon encountered the Leithe and paused while Flamis set up a ritual to zap us to the other side. While she was doing that. some centaurs turned up and we had a chat, including convincing them to keep their amorous thoughts off my wife. I gave them some homebrew cider and, once zapped to the other side, we collected some Waters of Forgetfulness.
The final river was the River of Woe (Cotherion) and it was shallow enough to wade across. But, in order to make the crossing, we had to actively encourage ourselves and keep our personal morale up otherwise we'd succumb to depression and end up back where we started.
"My actual memory is fading" - Cher "You drunk from that other river didn't you" - Braegon.
Once everyone had been encouraged to successfully cross, we wandered on a bit, went past Cerebus and into Death's Palace. There was a line of souls also heading in and they were going into the main hall and straight into the glowing doors at the other end. According to Cher that was a one way door, and it was beyond there where each soul was judged and sent to it's final destination. Not the way we wanted to go.
There were two doors off the hallway, one in each side wall so we went exploring. We managed to find Swarlin who Braegon convinced to let him borrow his shield. To do that, Braegon had to pass a test of skill. He bet Swarlin, that he(Swarlen) couldn't left him(Braegon) off the ground and Swarlin, being immensely large and strong accepted. Imagine his surprise when he discovered that Braegon's talent of staying on the ground surpassed Swarlin's strength. Braegon got the loan of the shield.
We then set off to acquire one item each for the rest of us to use. I settled for what I thought was the Sword of Sir Gawain, Galatine, which had a pseudo sun in it. That might be useful in reigniting the real one. Flamis figured the Seal of Solomon would be useful in imprisoning demons without harming them. Not sure what the others went for.
Once we had what we came for, we started making our way out. Cerebus hadn't even blinked when we came in but was determined not to let us go the other way - and since he was a sentient entity, none of my animal tricks were going to work which was basically a case of 'so much for those ideas'. We ended up going around him using another 'zap' type travel, to get past him before he could react.
Getting back over the river of Woe was also rather interesting and depressing. This time we had to concentrate on our misfortunes, in my case, being a beginning adventurer, trying to be heroic, keen, and doing a good job - and continually fluffing it up - my worst moments on the job. So I basically flew across the river.
Got back over the Leithe the same way we went across it the first time then met up with Charon at the Archon and convinced him to take us all the way round to the Styx, bypassing the rest of the way.
Finally arrived back at Death's Palace while having this nagging feeling that that there was something I needed to remember..... well ... the next thing I remembered was Braegon bending over me after performing a resurrection. Damn ... I had forgotten about the Death Effect and the toad that I had kept. I was sure I had the toad in my hand, I guess I hadn't popped it into my mouth fast enough. At least the Greater hadn't fallen off, as they usually do.
After disposing of the dead toad, we set off in search of the Muse of Music. Cher had picked up a lyre, presumably the one that Orpheus had and needed to know how to play it effectively. Braegon had found out she was with the Seventh Legion in the Sea of Grass. So, once everyone was sorted out, we flew off to find them, starting at the Lunar Empire's Great Wall to get directions from the guards there. I guess being a veteran of the Lunar Games does have it's perks.
An unholy glow could also be detected coming from the Inland Sea ... hmm ... I wonder what that Summoner is up to? Not our problem though - yet.
Finally found the Seventh Legion - and their camp followers, mostly by finding the trail of flattened grass they had left behind. Got conducted to the presence of General Septimus who told us that they were after a demon who was out to dim the Glow Lines and it was rumoured that the demon was out here. He didn't know if the Muse was here so we decided to check out the bards that had come along.
Sure enough, Braegon's DA identified the Muse then used his Earthworks to make a comfortable adobe for us to stay in. So I put a garden around it.
After our fruitful encounter with the Muse we head back to the Guild, as Flamis and Basalic will not be with us for our next excursion. Once back we quickly arrange and unload some of our equipment for a swifter journey. After crossing another portal we are quickly taken to Barretskyne.
The hoard of undead appears to have gone; Barretskyne fort appears to be under control of Humans and all the defence weapons appear to be in good working conditions. Braegon, suggests not to enter the keep, and summons his personal subterranean gallery, which will be able to transport us.
The Elemental mage quickly cast his scrying spell to search for any of the knights we met when defending the stronghold. He successfully pinpoint one a few miles away, so the moving tunnel brings us to our destination.
We approach the farm house where his spell indicates the presence of one knight. Sensing that something weird is happening around here, Braegon changes his into a creepy Vampire. As this happen the framers wife, who just stepped out of the front door, shrieks in utter panic and retreat inside the manor house.
We approach and start talking with the lady who after some convincing allows us inside. She is one of the Knight of Barretskyne keep and she is clearly not recognising us and appears to be enthralled with some magic. Lady Cher starts playing his newly learned instrument and after few minutes the enchantment disappear from her as well as the farmer and son. The three of them had never met before so we decide to assist them in their safe return to their homes. I scout the house for something useful and I discover a secret hideaway, which definitely suggest this manor is run by a Vampire and the three where part of the Vampire livestock.
We all return to Braegon Subway “Deep Street” and we follow the small tunnel stretching out from the secret passage. After some time Braegon senses something odd so we stop just to access a cave just beside us. The cave smell of flash, more precisely dead flesh. We proceed with spelunking this roughly excavated cave which has an entrance in the north and west to of it.
He head nor tang get to a junction, so we veer North West, where we get to a set of stairs. As we climb up we enter a cave; its floor is covered with of dust and ward trap is protecting the room with an animating of the death spell. The dust is made of bones. Braegon with his tunneling successfully removes most of the dust. We enter the room and trigger the ward so a set of dragon talon formed by the remaining dust attacks us. In no time we dispose of it and proceed into inspecting an alcove full of magical boxes.
After looting the place we move on and get to another warded room, and after Braegon performs his magic only a troll knee is standing in the room, which I proceed in elimination with my fire bolts.
We move forward into a new room and 30 skeleton try to approach us but they disappear in a newly excavated tunnel made by Braegon.
We open a door when 10 knight and 15 Dire Wolfs are standing on guards. Cher plays her tune and the enthralled Knights came to their senses and abandon their post as we attack the Wolfs. After an intense fight we overcome them, and enter the room ahead of us just in time to stop the transformation of Lord Barretskyne into a vampire.
Session 6 (combined)
Well, the reason we had missed the party's last mission was that Flamis and I had gone back to Bolton Bay to give Thorn an update and, while there, ended up helping her beat off a Reaping Angel which had turned up to harvest the souls of the local populace. By the time we got back, all the other active guild members had returned from their respective trips. After rebuffing up, we all assembled at the main Guild fields. Parked there were two Elven aether vessels and a small Calimar Void cruiser with the name "Booty" painted on both sides in large red letters. Be interesting to hear the story about how a Guild Party managed to liberate that. Anyway, as I understood the plan, we were to fly into the Void and check out the sun itself. To make matters more interesting, many of the stars were either missing or displaced. Bet that's driving the astrologers nuts - although I suspect that might be the least of their worries. I later discovered that those stars had become the Reaping Angels.
On the way out, I was admiring the view of Alusia below us as it receded in the distance when it was noticed that an enormous flying castle was heading towards us. First I thought it was one of those flying castles that a previous Guild party had been sent out to get until someone pointed out (over mind speech - we were all linked) that it was Cirya Naira which was usually in close orbit around the Sun. Why it was hurtling towards Alusia was unknown but we suspected it was rather bad.
Elven fliers are designed to dock with Cirya Naira but those on the Void Cruiser had to use their own means to cross the gap. Father Rowan (now Bishop) was able to fly some across on his battlethrone while the rest of us made do with what we had. To greet us were what appeared to be Engalton, Kree, Lysander, Lath, Motley and Blitzkrieg. However, many of us were suspicious of this and believed they may be false - which became obvious when they started breaking runesticks and my newly replaced Death Ward dropped off again. So we charged in to deal with these impostors.
Someone who shall remain nameless - "Caprice - Strumpet with Trumpet"
Sabrina cast something and we felt death buzzes. Braegon countered with a stored life buzz then, for some odd reason, Caprice admitted she had twenty corpses itemised in her pocket. That led Rowan to start enquiring about why she had those. While the arguing broke out, Turf charged 'Lath' and struck while I followed. Flamis let loose with a dragonflames that washed over 'Lath' as well as Turf and myself.
The battle was short although I noticed that a lot of Guild members were concentrating their fire on the fake Lath. Either they considered her the most dangerous or they were relishing the opportunity to beat Lath to a grey gooey mess. That was what her, and the rest of them, were turned into and that mess DAed as 'Formally Living - Doppelganger".
While I was looking for any unbroken rune sticks, or anything else useful, the others were dealing with the large metal door. Turf went into gaseous form and went through the tiny gaps while those that could, worked on the locks. It didn't take them long to do this and we discovered that there was a Wall of Sand, and Turf, waiting on the other side. The wall proved to be not much of an obstacle when Braegon bored a hole in it.
Beyond that was a sandstorm. Fortunately there was an area of calm air around the Bishop and some of us used that to move down the eighty foot wide and ten foot high corridor decorated in an ancient elven style. Sabrina knew her way around the place and took the lead after dispelling the magical air/illusion sandstorm.
At the end, round the corner, was a rather large room full with what can only be described as a really large mass of Vapours and Laths - at least that's what they looked like. They were actually a mixture of incubi and succubi. So we headed in to deal to them.
Basalic - "Sabrina. Please leave some for the rest of us."
I should explain at this time that part of the buffing was each one of us having nine companion images so that there was only a one in ten chance for us to be actually targetted. Also one of the potions Eric had provided was protections versus Light and Dark Spheres which was rather convenient as Captain Morgan had a tame Dark Sphere that he was using to suck up the opposition. Turf, Mungo and I charged into melee while Rowan sprayed them all with Hellfire. Quite a few dropped but twenty more turned up as reinforcements. At the same time, some camel headed demonic things with glowing red eyes rose up out of the floor and started flailing about. The other thing I should mention was, when they hit you, the tip of their weapons turned into these heart seeker worms (DAed as "Death Worms") which basically wriggled into the body and went for the heart. Some of us were already infected and the healers were kept busy getting them out before the situation turned lethal. Braegon was able to remove them without harm, but many of the other healers had to resort to 'meatball surgery' in order to dig them out. I noticed that Engalton was also running around trying to get them out as well, but Ithilmor soon realised that was a fake Engalton and it was quickly beheaded by a vengeful Turf.
Knockout Gas then filled the room but, fortunately our Vapour Breathing buffs were able to deal to that - unfortunately the Whirlwind Vortexes were rather damaging - again. The camel things emerged fully and they had riders, a mixture of more incubi and succubi which then attacked the nearest person. Grendel's TK Rage took out most of the opposition while I smacked at a camel, then managed to dodge the demon slime. Turf turned into a whirling mincer and soon heads and other body parts were sent flying. Morgan sucked up a camel with his tamed Dark Sphere then, as it rolled by Scab, he decided to touch it to see what would happen. There was a spark, and he ended up flat on his back. Some people started wondering what would have happened if he had attempted to taste the Dark Sphere.
Ithilmor - Turf! I got a wriggler. Turf - Oh ghods! Are you pregnant again?
Lightning balls came from the fake Laths but Eric proved his worth as a lightning conductor. Turf charged over to the one on Ithilmor and sent it's head flying across the room. Meanwhile Braegon was teleporting around the battlefield - at least that was what it looked like - as he removed death worms. Then Sabrina cast something, causing them to all flee in fear, including the one I was in the process of turning into some rather odd cuts of meat.
We followed them then went up the stairs and charged into the control room. Sitting in the center was six figures, all hooded and cowled in black, but were actually one figure. Also present with him was two dragon pets. The exchange between us went something like this.
Demonic entity - "Welcome. I offer you the chance to join the winning side" Basalic - "Depends what you define as the winning side mate." Demonic entity - "No matter. I am Uvall" Basalic - "Never heard of you" Demonic entity - "WHAT? You never heard of me? I am the Desert Prince. Demonic Duke of Sand and Wastes" Basalic - "Ah ... you're one of them" Rowan - "Don't mind him. He's an Earth mage".
Some more banter followed then Uvall cursed those who were making fun of his name. The only one affected was Mungo who was transformed into a camel. He then declared he could only be harmed by blunt weapons. Either I missed that part or I was hoping the flat of the Sword of Light I had acquired from Death's mansion, would do the trick as I was already charging to take Uvall down. Eric also fired a Sunlight bullet at him as both dragons breathed acid on us, causing damage to our armour and reducing its effectiveness. Sabrina went for one of the dragons while the other one charged at the mages behind us. Caprice set up her dragonslaying spear against the dragon which said dragon ran straight into, spraying her in the face with acid blood.
As I charged at Uvall, he cast something that was supposed to push us backwards. But thanks to my Talent of Affinity to the Land, I was immovable. Unfortunately both of the two scimitars he also threw at me hit, wounding me badly but I was staunch and kept going, slamming him in the side with the flat of the sword - which proved to be totally ineffectual much to my chagrin and led to a mind speech bollocking from Braegon. So I quickly swapped the Light Sword for my flaming quarterstaff from my tinderbox and hoped I'd get a chance to hit him with that before he took me out.
Session 7 (combined)
It was helpful that Viola had identified the real Uvall and also that he only hit me once. I let my Giant Ring of Protection take that blow, causing it to shatter, but it had done what the Namers said it would do, keep me unharmed.
While this was going on, Eltan and Engalton, the real Engalton this time, turned up to assist. Sabrina was still attacking the willpower of the second dragon which shook acid over everyone in it's vicinity as a wet dog would shake water. Meanwhile the one that was impaled on Caprice's spear started to disappear, retreating back to its realm of sand. Caprice was still holding on to the spear and started to go with it and she was forced to let go. I suspect, since the spear was so firmly lodged in the dragon, that possession by spec grev does count.
I managed to hit Uvall with the flaming quarterstaff as Eltan rushed up to join me
"Do you know who I am small thing?" - Uvall "Nope" - Eltan "ARRRRRGH!" - an obviously frustrated Uvall. I guess Eltan hadn't attended the Guild's "Know Your Demon" seminars either.
Just then I felt a rush of healing from Engalton. Bonza mate. I definitely owe you one. Caprice tried to drink dragon's blood and died but was resurrected shortly after. The remaining dragon then tried to bite Sabrina's head off but failed although quite a bit of damage was done to the brave Valkyre. Meanwhile Uvall threw a spinning scimitar that sliced through everyone in the room, real and illusions alike. I wonder if it hit his own dragon too. He then tried to Banish "that annoying thing of Good" (his words - not mine) then announced that he could only be hurt by piercing weapons. So I had to quickly switch weapons and smacked him with one of those.
Basalic - "Get off moi Plane" Uvall - "It's OUR Plane now"
The dragon attacked Kern while Uvall drained some lifeforce from us all to heal himself - so I hit him again. Kern smacked the dragon back by throwing weapons down it's throat - at least that's what it looked like. The dragons wing buffet blew all my companions away from Uvall but my Immovability meant I was now alone and Uvall's only nearby target. Ooops. Maybe I should have chosen not to resist. So I was smacked around by the demon but was healed back up by Bishop Rowan's healer minion. I hit him back as the others charged back in then, to our surprise and annoyance, he suddenly declared he had enough of this and he had better things to do before both he and the dragon disappeared. Happy about this we were not - at least I wasn't.
The elven crew were also on the bridge and they were returned to consciousness. With them and Braegon the castle was prevented from crashing into Alusia. I suspected it would have made a very big mess it it had. Two portals were also present here. One was half complete, but the other was a more permanent structure. Both Planes of Destination were Alusia. Bishop Rowan looked into the completed one and saw a black Plane containing dark titans, dark Phoenixes and dark prominences etc. I asked one of the crew where it went and he said it was used to explore and monitor the sun's surface.
What Rowan described was what seemed to be a tug of war between a Demon Phoenix and a Demon Crane. What was caught between them was another dark phoenix. Each side had minions which was helping the Demon in charge, such as Dark Titans, Storm Giants, Death Eaters, and other minor demons. At the moment, the trapped Phoenix was halfway in between and they seemed evenly matched. Presumably if either side won, they would then consume the Phoenix and gain it's power.
The plan seemed simple enough, disrupt the battle but without giving one side too much of an advantage. We were also warned not to come into contact with loose phoenix feathers as the phoenix, presumably the one in the middle, could heal damage by sucking life force out of anyone holding a feather.
We went through the portal and onto the surface of the sun, inside, what appeared to be a large room in the middle of a huge temple. Other half completed portals were scattered about, with the odd demon popping out of one and slipping behind the other team to cause some disruption. It was still rather hot but I took the opportunity to sneak a sample for my rock collection. All the demons etc were completely ignoring us as we came through one by one, at least until Flamis came through with the Seal of Solomon. The presence of that nearby definitely got their attention.
I have to admit, the whole thing looked rather daunting and I was having doubts about how effective I was going to be, especially in the presence of several well known and extremely powerful Guild adventurers, many of whom had been doing this sort of thing for well before I signed up.
Eltan started off by charging the giants on Team Crane. Some of the Dark Titans on Team Phoenix dropped their ropes and moved in to attack, going for Flamis in order to destroy the Seal. They smashed into her and I felt her die through my Life Linking ring. Then .. somehow .. she was back again but that didn't stop me shooting a crossbow bolt into one of the Titans while Morgan etc brought them down. Once I got over my rage, I decided that the best thing to do was to do whatever it was Braegon wanted me to do, since he was my Party Leader. So I started beating up giants.
Unfortunately .. all of this was causing Team Phoenix to pull the Dark Phoenix closer to that side so some Guild members went over there to try and slow them down. I could also sense Morgan trying to control Flamis in case she had somehow switched sides but I wasn't having any of that. One of the powers of the Sword of Light was to allow me to command Good people even if they were controlled so I retriggered that. Besides, I wanted the extra power in order to get these giants down as instructed.
I also DAed the rope, thinking I might be able to burn through it with the Crossbow of Light and equalise the tug of war that way. However, I discovered that the rope was made of souls so I suspected that wasn't going to work.
Team Phoenix was actually able to get the Dark Phoenix close enough in order to take a few bites out of it before it was pulled back a bit, mainly by Braegon going over there and using enhanced strength to pull then start anchoring the ropes. I had already got my giant down and was sitting on it to make sure it wasn't going to get up again before deciding that helping Braegon with the application of pitons and fence strainers to reel the ropes in might actually even things up a bit for Team Crane. Speaking of Team Crane, Viola had managed to Banish the Crane Demon but I started wondering which side she was on when she cast multiple images on the Phoenix Demon. Meanwhile Caprice had moved to attack the Phoenix Demon but, if it wasn't for brave Eltan, then she would have been eaten.
Flamis was setting up to Banish the Phoenix Demon when Sabrina enlarged herself to be the same size as it. "Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman" someone quipped. She then shot it in the eye. What happened next surprised everyone, especially Sabrina who started to wear a look of "Ooooops!"
I was helping Braegon secure ropes when there was this sudden explosion and everyone around the Phoenix Demon was instantly vapourised in a massive Solar Flare, which didn't quite reach us as we were shielded by the Shield of Svalinn:
hann stendr sólu fyrir,
skjöldr, skínanda goði;
björg ok brim,
ek veit, at brenna skulu,
ef hann fellr í frá.
For an instant I was sure Flamis had been vapourised .... or ... had I imagined her life force winking out through the ring, as the flare rolled over everyone around and they were all unharmed. Flamis later told me that her 'Avoid Fate' trump card had vanished at that time and so had a Trump card that Eric had. I could only conclude it was some timey-wimey weighty-fatey thing and resolved to have a stiff drink and forget it had ever happened.
With both demons gone, we had to figure a way of cleansing the corrupted Dark Phoenix into a standard Light Phoenix so it could restart the Sun. I handed over my Sunlight Powder to those performing the rather complicated ritual in the hope it would do some good then ... as something started to happen, hightailed it back through the portal before the whole thing went off. Hopefully that did the trick. I guess I'd better start organising that ceremonial bar-b-que for Team Seagate Guild when this is all over.
By the time we landed back on Alusia, the sun was burning weakly in the sky. Well, it was a start. As each of the teams went their separate ways, we caught up on what had been going on. The others had returned to Barretskye and rescued Lord Barretskye. During this, they had obtained the heart of a lich that needed to be destroyed. We also needed to talk to the Elemental Lord of Fire, in order to get some elementals to resume whatever it was they do to get the sun running at full power.
So, after buffing up for the Elemental Plane, Flamis used a Staff of Fire and a ritual to create a portal which gave us access. Led by a tiny elemental, we were conducted to what first appeared to be a red glowing hill. While we were here, I could feel no connection to Earth so DAing things was out of the question.
As we approached the 'hill' it raised a head. That was no hill, it was a giant red dragon who introduced himself as Zinlave. He was curious about us and wanted to know more. He told us that the Fire Duke had taken Prince Firesong, one of the Great Elementals, and had him captive on the Sun. At first, we thought that we were going to have to go back there to perform a rescue but, then we realised that we could try summoning him straight of Aim's clutches. To do that, we would need to have a heck of a lot of willpower to oppose the Fire Duke's own willpower in order to succeed so we would need every advantage we could get, including Firesong's Individual True Name and also maybe linking a circle of casters in order to use their combined willpower. He also mentioned that the Dragon Duke, who knew all Individual True Names, was loose on our physical plane. But do we really want to make a deal with one demon to defeat another? I don't think so.
Zinlave then destroyed the lich's heart with a bright blue flame, then recharged Flamis's staff before shrinking down to a nine foot tall lizard. The looks that he was giving Cher .... well ... I had a fair idea where that could go, but kept my thoughts to myself. Besides, Cher was looking a bit embarrassed.
A couple of hours walking through the Elemental Plane of Fire, with Zinlave showing the way, we reached the Inn Between Worlds where we stayed to sample their drinks. Mungo and I got into an argument about the nature of bravery with me claiming that bravery didn't just mean fighting but sometimes was just all about rolling up one's sleeves, stepping up, and getting the job done - no matter what hardships were in the way. We finally agreed to disagree.
After staying the night, we continued on, finally reaching the Elemental Plane of Earth. I expected the border between the two planes to be a vast expanse of magma and melted rock but it was actually rather abrupt - flame giving way to rock. A bit further on we encountered a pool of magma with a lizard looking earth elemental. Zinlave spoke to the elemental who extracted a piece of mithral and shaped it into a pair of goggles that would allow Braegon to detect the places where the Elemental Lords fell and where he could attempt to resurrect them. The current plan was to collect as many Elemental Lords as we could to form a summoning circle.
Next stop was a Citadel where a lot of elementals were busy making weapons and armour. Here, Zinlave arranged for us to obtain some 'Invisibility to Demon' potions from some Calimar there, so we could get around the Demonic Planes without attracting too much unwanted attention.
Finally we arrived at the Gates of Hell. The Gates had been rebuilt and put back in place but I was surprised to see a Calimar there sorting souls. The elementals with us could pass straight through the Gates as if they weren't there and, fortunately, so could we.
We headed down to where the fiery b'st'rd's realm was. We could see many demon minions checking the place over, as well as a goose flying about and a bright red snake. Most of the minions belonged to the Throne Duke except for the goose and the snake. The potions we had got, proved their worth, and we were able to move among them unmolested. Braegon found the spot and. after Flamis bound some fire, succeeded in bringing back the Fire Elemental Lord, Prince Backdraft.
Our next stop had us swimming in an underwater realm where one of the Water Princes fell. Here, we could see a great and terrible seasnake, which dwarfed the kraken next to it. The actual spot was a rocky uplift, marked with a red, bloody, scar. Three sharks circled the rock but we were able to sneak past them and reach the top of the rock where Braegon was able to raise the Elemental Prince.
Unfortunately Braegon's timing was a bit off, and the Elemental Prince was raised, right in the path of two of the demon sharks. So we had to beat them off, keep the Elemental Prince alive, and beat a hasty retreat, all while not attracting the attention of the kraken and his giant serpentine mate.
I was rather relieved when we exited the lake with everyone intact. Braegon saw a silver path which would lead us to the next one so we followed it. I was getting really irritated by the party bickering, especially between Mungo and Braegon and I was getting so close to turning around and busting Mungo's face in for disrespecting our party leader when we dropped down a rent in the ground to the next level, a great plane covered in cracks and ringed by a massive ring of mountains on which were perched several gryphons. Massive bolts of lighting was also striking the mountains. Name of owner - Seir. Oh great - the most subtle and manipulative demon I could think of - and one to be extremely wary of. I didn't trust demons, not at all, especially this one. Plus, I had already shot him once.
Just then, this rather handsome man, in really nice armour, and riding a rather cool looking black horse turned up. I had to admit, I was curious to find out who his armourer and tailor were and also wondering if he had any offspring from that horse I could purchase as breeding stock - which reminded me I still needed to contact Sabrina about offspring from Ajax. Pegasi are also really cool. Twenty percent cooler in fact.
Seir said he would help us with the Elemental Prince here if we answered three riddles. The first one was "A demon said to an adventurer. I will make a statement, if it is true, you will kill a Calimar, if it is false, you will not kill a Calimar. What statement can I make to ensure I get his soul." We pondered over that for a while and I was getting this horrible thought that Seir was stalling, in order for our invisibility potions to wear off. After some discussion, we figured out that the answer was "You will neither kill the Calimar nor Pact to me".
The next riddle involved the Seal of Seir with some numbers in circles inside it. Two of the circles were blank and we had to figure out what numbers were supposed to be in them. Flamis soon figured it out as it had to do with the number of lines connected to the circles.
The third was, how to measure out 4 litres of liquid when one only has a three litre and a five litre container. Alandis soon had the answer.
Anyway, we answered all three riddles correctly and ... guess what ... our invisibility to demon potions had run out. Seir then teleported us to the location of the death but, what we found wasn't a dead elemental but a very live roc. Seir then admitted he had already resurrected the Elemental Air Prince as the roc. *Sigh* Thank you Seir .... now we had to kill the roc. Bet you're finding this situation funny. I wasn't laughing, especially when we discovered that Seir had managed to steal the Seal of Solomon off Flamis *Double Sigh* As I always say "Never Trust A Demon".
So Braegon put Trollskins on us all and we prepared to do just that. The plan was for Braegon to summon the roc to him but, do it in such a way to jam the roc's head between two bone constructions then beat it senseless while it was trapped. Wellll .... it could have worked. Alandis and Mungo charged in to beat it up from the side while it was trying to peck on Braegon. Cher moved in to support Braegon while I was firing on it using my Crossbow of Light.
Cher used her forcecube to protect Braegon but then the bird tore free off the trap, grabbed the cube in one claw and took off with it. Cher managed to hang on to the cube while Mungo and Alandis climbed up on board the roc and continued hacking at it. Meanwhile Flamis prepared her flying cup for lift-off. The bird was still trying to peck at Braegon through the force cube and Cher had one side open so Braegon could strike back.
Now. I'm not sure how this happened but somehow, Cher and Braegon were in the cube, after the roc had dropped it in order to break it. It didn't break but the two of them were bounced around. The roc then dropped a load of guano which landed in the cube, so it looked like Cher and Braegon were in a cubic bubble of guano. Seir was holding his stomach while laughing but he was then rolling on the ground in hysterics when Mungo fell off the roc and Cher flew the cube up to scoop him up as the Featherfall we had on would have made him a sitting tidbit for the roc. The cube was still full of guano which resulted in Mungo splatting into it. Flamis and I were in the air by now and the roc turned on us, grabbed the cup and basically attempted to powerdive us into the ground. Flamis bailed out at a reasonably safe height but I left it to the last minute and rolled across the ground while the cup made a furrow into the ground. Fortunately it didn't break.
I was in the process of getting up again and charging when the roc finally expired by what the others were doing to it. It crashed into the ground and exploded in what looked like a lightning burst. I dived for the ground and hoped I was going to survive the shockwave that I knew was coming.
Evidently not, but according to Braegon, if it had only been a tad less powerful I would had as it was very very close. Flamis later said her ring was telling her my life force was wavering on the brink for quite a few seconds, as if it couldn't make up its mind which way it was going to go before finally dropping off. Oh well ... hopefully Seir was sufficiently entertained.
It was also discovered that I had violet eyes that Seir had gifted which also comes with a Bless Crops talent. I'm not in the habit of accepting gifts from demons but, I guess I'll take this one in the spirit it was given. Braegon had also sprouted a tail, courtesy of Seir. As for the Seal, it was discovered in Mungo's gear. Hopefully it got there during a mixup - although I have my suspicions that Seir planted it there. And I should attend the Guild's next demon seminar, as I had always thought Seir was an illusionist. He's actually an air mage.
Seir also told us that Morgan had stolen Prince Firestorm, presumably he meant the Morgan in one of the other Guild teams. So, with the heart of the roc, Seir escorted us to the edge of his realm and parted the lightning curtain. Braegon then resurrected the Prince of Air, Onslaught, from the heart and and we travelled to meet the other two where we had left them, guarding the rift we had fallen through.
Our next stop was the Gates to Hell but we discovered there that the elementals gathered there were stuck on the wrong side as someone had sealed the Gates to elementals. Was it one of the of the other Guild parties? And, if so, why? It just didn't seem to make sense. Between Flamis and Braegon we had the means to get the Fire and Earth ones out, but the only way we could figure out how to get the others out was to summon them out and, to specifically target them we would need their Names, information that the elementals were reluctant to reveal. We had to find another way.
There was also the Earth Prince to resurrect so we headed out to where he had fallen. What we discovered was a large crater but no remains. Braegon was able to detect a very faint trail leading out of the crater and through the Gates. It was as if someone had come in and carried the remains off. We were able to exit Hell through the Gates, and arrived back out of a cave, in a grassy plain somewhere in Alusia. We then followed the trail westwards, until we reached the gates of Sanctuary where the trail was lost. The sun was still weak but did appear brighter.
So, after itemising our weapons so we wouldn't fall afoul of the local authorities, we entered Sanctuary. Mungo was being rather generous with his coin but we did get an urchin guide and we were being relatively left alone by beggers and such so, presumably he knew what he was doing. We also discovered that we needed to talk to someone called Molin Torchholder, aka Molin the Red, who was pacted to all of the Gods, something I would have thought would be impossible and rather dangerous to attempt to boot.
We finally tracked down Molin, who was a rather large man with flaming red hair and an impressive looking two handed sword. Braegon gave him the coin that Seir had given us which had the face of the Savage Duke on it. He told us he would consult with the Wise One and would have answers for us in the morning. So we found an inn that doubled as a Temple to Odin, much to Mungo's delight and stayed there for the night.
Next morning, we joined Molin for breakfast and he told us that he also had to talk to Marax but he discovered that the Prince of Fools had taken the remains of the Elemental Earth Prince and had been turned them into something living and sent it here. That was all he could tell us so, we went to the Mages Guild to see if they had any clues.
Our objective was to find out what the elemental had been transformed into so those that had divination abilities, utilised the resources of the Mages Guild to do that. It would have looked really odd to an outsider as Braegon was talking to the walls and Flamis was talking to herself.
"Where will we find the Elemental Prince" - Visions of (a) an endless wall, (b) a Sanctuary street on which a sickly man falls to the ground (c) a gypsy woman in the bazaar.
"What is the name and title of the Elemental Prince who is missing in this city?" - No answer.
"Where will we find the Elemental Prince lost in the city" - No answer.
"What is the name of the Domani gypsy that Braegon saw in his vision?" - Neria.
"Who is the sick man that Braegon saw?" - Niko.
"What is the name of the Elemental Prince we are looking for?" - Granite.
"Where may we find the Elemental Prince, named Granite, at this time?" - No answer.
"What do the remains of the Elemental Prince, known as Granite, look like?" - Homunculus.
So we wandered off to the bazaar. On the way, Mungo fell down a hole into the sewer below. From what I could tell, the grate had been yanked open when he stepped on it. Braegon went down after him and discovered that Mungo had been pulled out by a man called Thomas onto a ledge and was being interrogated in a case of mistaken identity. There had been a Mungo, of great cunning, who had led a street gang and was kind to them. They tried to take out Jubal but had failed with all Mungo's followers being killed. Mungo ended up working for Jubal as a lieutenant.
They also learnt that an Earth Cult had risen in power over the last three years and, when the Reaping Angels had turned up, a magical shield dome had sprung up from the Maze and blocked their entry.
Our guide led us safely through the bazaar and we soon arrived at a tent located next to a fruit seller. We were told by the seller, a rather handsome lad, that we had to wait until the entry rope was down as Madame Neria already had a client and would we like to buy some oranges. We did while we waited. He had some Blood Oranges from Tuscany which I tried and started collecting the seeds as I was interested to see if I can grow them at Bolton Bay. I also bought some apples.
Once the rope was down, we piled into the tent. It was rather cramped in there so I stayed mostly outside in bodyguard mode .. besides the smell of sickly sweet incense was, rather overpowering, even with the Vapour Breathings.
She first did a Tarot Reading, drawing the Hanging Man(reversed), Lovers and lastly the Empress. She then had a vision of lovers parted, death following in the wake, and love making a fool of us all. Seems to be an orc involved, a really ugly elf, a beautiful woman, a guard an artist, and a woman of great power. There is also a mysterious elven woman with flaming red hair, a divinity of an earth god which had waned in power and a great archer.
She then told us a story concerning a prince called " Kitty Kat" who came to this town. He brought with him a proud priest, pacted to the " Angry Man" who wanted to build a great temple. He also wanted to sacrifice many virgins under the foundations in order to sanctify it. He came across the daughter of a blacksmith who was perfect so he kidnapped the daughter and kept her. The father refused the priests 'request' to marry the daughter because he believed the girl had been violated. He actually disowned her daughter who died of grief. The Gods recreated the girl as a homunculus which was then sacrificed under the temple. The temple became corrupted from within.
The Endless Wall seemed to indicate a maze so, to the Sanctuary Maze we went. We did obtain suitable disguises so we wouldn't stand out too much before entering. The place looked rather dilapidated and there was Earth Magic in the walls, probably Bound earth. Some of us, with magical visions, could see a magical wall overlaying the physical wall. An ornate building could be seen in the centre.
It was decided to get there by going over the roofs. Maybe it was safer than going across the ground and a more direct route but it also proved to be ... rather expensive as several inhabitants decided to charge a toll for us to use their roof. I was also rather concerned about the state of some of the tiling. I think we had spent a total of 42 silver pieces before we encountered a lady, named Sally, who claimed to 'be the best assassin in Sanctuary'. Braegon turned on the charm and convinced her to be our guide for the rest of the way. We encountered no additional tolls on our way to the Vulgar Unicorn located at the centre of the Maze.
Once there, we tried to keep a low profile and Sally offered to find the Archers - an earth cult. Looking around we could see hobbits, elves, orcs and humans. Some of them had invisible weapons, detectable with witchsights, including an invisible bow.
After leaving the bar with Sally, we noticed we were being followed by a couple of orcs. A dart was flung at Alandis and he attempted to avoid it. The dart, somehow, followed his movements, and impacted causing a grievous wound to the leg before slowly melting away. Targetting magic was detected on the dart.
No other attacks had occurred by the time we reached a building that had recently been repaired. It also appeared to be the source of the Earth magic that we had been detecting through the Maze. Braegon knocked on the door and, after speaking to what appeared to be an acolyte, we were let in and conducted to a waiting area. A short while later, a red haired woman accompanied by a man who had some familial resemblance to her came in. The last entity she had been pacted to gave me a 'no answer' but I did discover that the man was an Earth Mage. Presumably he was giving us the 'once over' as well. Both of them were carrying bows.
The red haired woman introduced herself as Rohanna and told us that they had 'lost' their patron but had been given a gift that they believed might be a sign that he was back. She also said her lover was currently in jail. He is 'Jacob the Great', a tightrope walker and acrobat, currently being held on suspicion of thievery.
Braegon managed to convince them that they were mistaken in that belief and explained what was happened, as well as offering to find them a new patron. (Athena? Odin? Hodur? Skadi?) We were taken down to the basement. Down there was an unadorned altar except for a a figure of an archer. Once the altar was moved, we could see what appeared to be a dead body with no face. Braegon could tell that it was only part of the remains but there was no trail to any of the other bits. Divinations told us that it was part of a Great Elemental Prince, that had been created by a Demon Lord. Also that the homunculus was a lover, of which there were others. Now we had to figure out how to find them.
On the way out of the Maze, we encountered a middle aged man and woman accompanied by some official. The official was looking for contraband. Apparently 'Sally' was known to be a dealer of contraband, known by the name 'Cuttlefish'. I think I managed to confuse him so completely that he ended up wandering off for a drink.
We figured the next thing we should do is to find this sickly man, which involved finding the spot in town that we saw in the vision. We found one possibility but that turned out to be a woman who had her throat cut. So Braegon resurrected her.
A bit later on, we found a figure slumped against the entrance to a butchery. He was dressed in foreign clothes that had seen better days and was ill, poisoned, and malnourished. Was he suffering from food poisoning? The area around this point looked like a really good match for what we saw in the vision. It also helped that he told us his name was Niko.
So we healed him up a bit then took him for a meal at a place called the 'Flirty Octopus'. He told us he was a fisherman and, during a pirate attack on his village, two years ago, his favorite wife, Artessa, was stolen and the other two killed. He followed the trail of the pirate ship, "The Red Rage" to Sanctuary where he was attempting to find out more without attracting too much attention to himself. The captain was a half orc and he observed that the ship never made landfall in Sanctuary Port but was seen around an island just off the coast.
So we went down to the docks to see what else we could discover. Alandis and Cher ended up talking to Orlando, the Boss of #5 wharf, and discovered that the captain is known as Abiko the Calm and he trades in contraband and slaves. He also has a contact in the Streets of the Red Lantern, close to the docks, and uses the nearby marshes as a landfall point.
Before returning to the inn for the night, we went to clean up at the public baths. I took the opportunity to lend Alandis my Ring of Lies as I suspected he may need it - and could probably use it more effectively than I could.
The following day (I must really find out what the date it now) we headed out to the barracks/jail to see what can be done about Jacob the Great. The place was surrounded by a wrought iron fence and stone walls. In addition there was a magical zone around the place that was turning off any active magics we had on. Fortunately they came back on when we stepped out again.
One of the guards told us that Jacob had made some rather powerful enemies. it seems that he had been 'interacting with' the lady of the house and also the kitchen maid. His sentence is to be taken to the Temple of Malphas to be used for their 'experimentation' and he's not allowed visitors. He is due to the transported to the Temple District at 7pm tonight - after curfew.
Off to the Temple District to have a look around. When we got there, we could feel the same boldness that we had felt before and it seemed to be coming from the Temple of Gusion the Wise. We were theorising that the temple was a front for an infiltrating Temple to Ipos underneath it that only the higherups knew about it and the boldness effect was nearly strong enough that a proposed plan to storm that temple to see if the theory was true was actually seriously considered for a while. There was an acolyte/priest outside that was pacted to Gusion and most people coming out were wearing a Blessing from Gusion.
We did notice however, that there was a big crater in the ground nearby so I went to ask a guard about it. Seems like two Fire Temples had a go at each other, being the Temples to Belial and Aim. Looking at the results, it looked like the result was a draw. Still, I heard that the fireworks at the time were .... rather spectacular.
Another temple drew our attention, the one to the Thrush President. It was a fire temple, but there was a stream running through the middle of it. There were even temples to the One Horned God and even a small one to Chantris.
We worked out a plan to get Jacob the Great but make it look like it was an assassination, by someone who was out for revenge. Alandis hired a gang to attack the guards to confuse them and kill the target - a simple get in and get out strike. No one else was killed and, during the confusion caused, Braegon was able to get in and steal Jacob's body which was later itemised and placed in a pocket before we headed down into the sewers on our way out to the swamps.
After a bit of wandering through the sever network. we came accross a padlocked grate blocking the way. Did'nt take too long to get past that but, instead of the coast we were expecting we came out onto a manucured lawn. That was when we realised that we had reached a manor house located just outside the city walls. So we beat a hasty retreat. and resealed the grate behind us. Hm .. Maybe we should have turned left at that first junction.
Our next attempt at exiting the sewers was more successful, although , on the way, we discovered the body of a dead merchant. So it was itemised and put in Braegon's pocket along with the itemised body of Jacob the Great. This time we exited at the harbour and had to swim around the point to the swamp. The smuggler's cove is on the other side.
Basalic on draining the swamp - "Maybe it's on their Round Tuit list" Alandis - "And as soon as they get the Round Tuit - they meet up with an ..... unfortunate accident"
Braegon then Tunnelled under the swamp, making a dry are, then introduced us to his 'pet tunnel' - DeepStreet, which has all the usual amenities inside and can move through the ground. Cool. Where can I get one? So we crossed the swamp and stopped on a lookout area over the cove.
That night, at about 3am, we saw a light flashing and a ship with no running lights glided into the bay. So we headed down by tunnel and emerged underwater, straight under the ship, then rushed up the boarding ropes to attack those on deck.
The battle was fast and furious - and basically went like this. "Smack Thump clang clang clang - shut up Ducky (my new name for Ipos the Temptor) - slice dice smack - ow - thanks Braegon - smack thud clang, bloody hell - who's shaking the deck? (Braegon's elemental), clang smack, ouch, that hurt - ting tang clang - bugger off Ducky - smack - woah - what a pong (someone's stinking cloud), smack stab, ow ow, where's that healing potion, biff, whallop, thump - oh bugger - ow - fall down - oh hi Death - have a beer"
Well, maybe the bit with Death could have been a hallucination, because the next thing I remember is leaping to my feet and laying into the one that was threatening Flamis. It was then I realised it was basically all over .. bar the looting. The ones downstairs were still trapped behind the Bone Construction and those on the deck had expired, or were about to. So I wandered over to attempt to convince the trapped ones to surrender while those that survived were stabilised and restrained. That was when someone called out that there was a boat approaching.
So we set up to repel boarders. A wave of dragonflames and arrow fire helped soften them up and it didn't take us long to dispose of them. No sign of the Captain though ... plus we were suspicious of the one that dived off the approaching boat and didn't surface - presumably the watermage. So Braegon went into the water after him.
Meanwhile the rest of us examined the black, obsidian, daggers that they had been using. They looked interesting but all of them had been contaminated by Ipos. Meanwhile Braegon discovered that the watermage was attempting to scuttle the ship and rescue the three remaining below but he was able to prevent that from happening and capture them. He then set off, with Alandis, to intercept the captain.
It didn't take long to ascertain this was indeed the "Red Rage" so I went looking for the Captain's logbook. Perusing that told us that is was painfully obvious (painfully because of the bad poetry) that the captain was hopelessly, head over heels, in love with Artessa. The daggers, Cher discovered, were not so contaminated after the dark gemstones embedded in the were removed. Each gem was shown to be a piece of another homunculus and there were supposed to by forty pieces in total. We only had thirty-eight. Presumably the Captain, and possibly Artessa, had the other two.
Alandis came to fetch us and we flew in. By the time we got there, Braegon had caught up with the Captain and obtained his surrender.
Flamis (describing Ipos) - "Duckfoot is Quackers"
The rest of the night was spend onboard ship where a plan was hatched to raid the Gusion temple the next day. The Captain had already told Braegon that Artessa was there.
The plan was to start a firefight between the temples of the Leopard Duke and the Thrush President in order to cause a distraction. So, those with fire spells were suitably dressed and disguised before starting an argument near the respective temples, while the rest of us lounged near the Gusion Temple. Flamis even threw down a thick pall of smoke in order to disguise who was firing at who or what. The firefight was at full swing by the time our instigators slipped away and joined us in the 'panic' rush for shelter as folk took refuge in other temples.
Once inside, Braegon was able to collar an acolyte and convinced him to take us to the High Priest to report the fight. He seemed only too happy to comply and soon we piled into the office of High Priest Hazarel. While Braegon explained what was going on outside, I DAed him for entity pacted to. The answer was still Guison.
Artessa was then asked about and the priest got a bit distracted as he explained she was here, as a cooking teacher. He seemed rather disbelieving of the theory we stated of her being an Ipos spy but decided to help up check it out. We headed to the cooking school where we discovered her preparing a sweet rhubarb pie, presumably the one that cooks prepare earlier for demonstrations. The recipe was already up on the chalkboard. I had not expected her to be an extremely attractive looking woman.
"Basalic! Avert your eyes!" - Flamis "How can I DA her if I do that?" - Basalic.
DAs gave us some rather odd answers. Long lived human and not pacted. It took some peeling away the layers of illusions but it turned out she was, or at least part of her was, a third homunculus.
ToDo: (from Braegon)
- Go to maze, trade Jacob for the Homunculus. Remind them that Jacob is now officially dead.
- Leave Sanctuary. Release our rescued sewer murder victim outside Sanctuary.
- Extract and purify the Elemental Earth, resurrect the Prince
- Allow the cleansed Atessa to choose her husband/future.
- Resurrect the crew of the Red Rage and offer them a second chance, to serve as crew under Captain Mungo on the honest merchant ship Urchin's Hope (formerly Red Rage). Otherwise they get handed to Sanctuary customs/guards.
- Find a way to get the other Elemental Princes (and ideally their armies) out of hell.
And my addition
- Organise the celebratory BBQ for Team Seagate now everything has settled down
|Strength of Stone (Ba)||20||+20 EN||21 hrs||Y||A||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Armour of Earth (Br)||21||+44 Def, 2 DR||12 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Fire Armour (Br)||20||100 Ablative Mag. Fire||21 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Heat Shield (Br)||9||40 Ablative Mag. Cold||10 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Fire Proofing (Br)||9||Prot. Normal Fire 4 less Dmg||10 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Cold Resistance - Water (Br)||11||Prot -22°C 3 Less Damage||12 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Water Proofing (Br)||7||Dry, protection from Rainstorm||24 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Water Breathing (Br)||6||Breathe and see in water||7 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Buoyancy (Br)||6||Up/down 17'/pulse, withstand pressure||3½ hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Feather Fall (Br)||6||Fall no more than 5'/pulse||3½ hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Vapour Breathing (Br)||6||3½ hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Witchsight (Br)||20||10½ hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Weapon of Flames (Fl)||15?||+16% +8 (or 16)||20 mins|
|Fall Banding (Br-Self)||6||Land on earth without damage||3½ hrs||Y|
|Elemental Transformation (Br-Self)||15||+3 DR +3 U.dmg -2 AG -2 MD -1 TMR Move through earth||8 hrs||Y|
|Tracking (Br-Self)||20||Tremor Sense 100'||21 Days||Y|
|Detect Traps & Snares (Br-Self)||10||+20% to detect Traps/Ambushes within 70' in Nat. Env.||11 hrs||Y|
- Hair Braiding (Rk 7 Skill)
- Sometimes (takes 30 mins per person per day): +50% resistance vs Charm (Demonic, Spells, Bardic Voice). -25% melee damage from attacks from behind. Enhance Duration of one 2+ hour spell until next dawn.
- Rarely (takes 1 hour per person per day) +3 AG (or +2 over racial max).
- Anti-scrying (Rk 21 Spell)
- Braegon + 3 hex radius while on the ground. Undetectable to scrying (including Wizards Eye); Blocks Rk 20 (or lower) Locate, Telepathy, ESP.
- Temple of War
- Alandis: Rapier
- Basalic: Broadsword
- Braegon: Mace
- Cher: Dagger
- Flamis: Net
- Mungo: spear
- Muse Euterpe
- Alandis - Song
- Basalic - Song
- Braegon - Song
- Cher - Lyre
- Flamis - Song
- Mungo - Horn
- Golden Boughs
- Water from the Head of the Sweetwater
- Water from the River Lethe (Forgetfulness/oblivion/concealment)
- Water from the River Phlegethon (Fire/release from mortal obligations)
- Magic Claymore
- Black Lotus Seeds - Prolong Life / Spirit Walking
- Potion - Life Drain
- Bag - Deep Pocket
- Key - Opening
- Vampire Cloak - Thrall animals, crave blood
- Statue - Alarm
- Liche Heart - to be used to destroy Liche (Protected by Celestial Death magic)
- 5 Red Stones - Immortality - Demonic link (Protected by Sinking Doom)
Chaos- Interred in stone beneath Baretskyne (Protected by Chaos)
- Gold Crown - Megalomania (Protected by Enfeeblement magic)
- Oak Seeds - Earth magic (Protected by Transformation magic)
- Zinlave (Dragon/Elementalist)
- Alandis: Ritual of Fire Stones (variant on Investment)?
- Cher: Instant Petrifaction?
- Mungo: Scales
- Seir's Realm Consequences
- Basalic: Violet Eyes
- Braegon: Fox Tail
- Basalic: Blood Orange Seeds
- Flamis: Book on Alchemy
- Pirate ship + cargo and crew
- Favours from resurrected Elemental Princes?
Knights defending the pass out of Baretskyne.
- Remy, Lord Baretskyne
- James - Trapper
- Rescued from Vampire Thrall
- ? - boy from near Baretskyne
- Rescued from Vampire Thrall
- Eltan: For leaping in and rescuing Caprice before she was eaten.
Stuff for the Times
What's Hot, What's Not
- The Shining Sun
- Friendly Fire Elementals
- A Dark Sun
- Overenthusiastic Reaper Angels
- Demons with a really warped, demonic, sense of humour (Yes I mean you, Seir)
- Demons that try to make idiots out of us (That's you, Ipos)
- Demons who cowardly leave the field of battle when they're losing (Uvall)