Return to Kanlaoise

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Scribe Notes

Summary

Adventure: Return to Kanlaoise
GM: Ross Alexander
Level: Brave and bold

Party
Employer
Wu Fang


Scribe notes Summary

The Lord of Blood was imprisoned in a pocket plane some years ago, he escaped and was killed but the corrupt prison was still connected to the world. A number of the planes most powerful entities (Orthostopheles, Baccarat, Delerium, Varenthia Simbelyn and Kosiva Zaorich ) tried to disconnect the prison from their world, it failed spectacularly. The entities disappeared, the plane was cut off from all other worlds and all births stopped.

A decade passed.

The short lived races are nearing extinction, the medium lives races are aged. The tree network has failed and little movement occurs.

Wu Fang managed to establish a connection with Alusia and hires Villa and Sabastian to investigate. They reestablish the tree network (the elves were looking at the problem and would have gotten around to it eventually). The discover a new pocket plane and rescue three of the missing entities, including the Empress.

Scribe Notes Full

Wet Noodles

Having received a bowl of wet noodles the Guild gate guards are about to enjoy a late lunch when the noodles begin moving, forming words. The inscrutable noodle mage Wu-Fang, is requesting Sabastian to assist with some problems on Kanlaoise. The disappointed guards deliver the noodles to Security and a message is soon dispatched to Tobintown. Sabastian arrives a few days later with Villa.

Later that day the pair spend a few hours following noodle shapes formed in the bowl and are lead to a wavering magical wall in the middle of a field. Passing through they appear on lush green fields (the plane “Monastery of Ying-Tang”), the only structure being a building in the distance. Walking about a quarter of a mile they come upon a beautifully constructed noodle themed monastery, many people, wearing simple robes, are working on immaculately cared for gardens. We are expected and are led to the third floor of the monastery by a young, bald monk. Through the rooms windows we see dusk over a mountain range, they are powerfully enchanted portals. Wu-Fang interrupts out investigation of the windows with bowls of warm noodles, and we eat as he explains the connection from Kanlaoise to Alusia has been broken for almost a decade, but the monastery has been able to for a connection to both planes. However, Wu-Fang must stay in the monastery to maintain the connection.

Wu-Fang explains Kanlaoise has declined over the last decade. The elven tree portal network that allows instantaneous travel around the plane has broken down and he would like us to talk to the wood elves and re-establish it. The population of the world would use these to travel vast distances, after ten years very little travel occurs, communities are cut off and very little news travel. If we find Valerie Longmeadow we should ask her for potions to assist, but the first place we should visit is Highvale and talk Crimson Rose, the leader of an adventuring group. Rose took charge of the group two years ago following the death of her father.

Return to Kanlaoise

Having finished a fourth bowl of noodles we rest our full bellies in the monastery until the view through the windows shows noon. Having borrowed heavy coats, we pass through the windows to a bitterly cold environment. Casting wings, and following Wu Fangs directions, we begin our flight to Highvale, some 30 miles away. While flying we notice a large creature flying many miles north of us, large enough to possibly be a dragon! Over time the creature gets closer I think it might be an ice drake, a creature of the ice queen. During the flight we are also briefly followed by crows.

As we leave the mountains behind us the terrain changes to verdant fields, there are significant less crops that Sabastian remember. Both being poor rangers we follow a paved road winds through the valley and leads to Highvale. Landing a distance from the main gates we walk into the town, past the aging orcs manning the gates. A large crow sits on the gate watching us with its beady eyes – we suspect it to be a familiar. Its late afternoon and there are unusually few people about town, ten years ago the town had a large orc population, but now seems to be inhabited by mainly humans.

The atmosphere of town appears very subdued there is no fighting or raucous noise that we would expect to find. We head into the Flayed Goblin pub and ask about Crimson, they are well known and we are directed to their house in the east of the city near the walls. A short walk later we find a well-kept house with sign hanging over the door advertising the Crimson adventuring group. We are known and introduce ourselves, and we are lead in to meet Rose Crimson, a strong and assured woman. She explains she knows Wu-Fang and invites us to relax in the lounge and have tea. The tree network stopped working 15 years ago and everyone is interested in getting this working again. She can ensure we are paid some money if we are successful, around 7000 silver pennies. The wood elves have the power to re-establish tree network, but their work at elven speed and everyone else cannot wait decades for them to complete the work. There are four locations to re-establish the forests;
• Highvale - here
• Blackstone – dwarves city
• Longmeadow – hobbits village
• Saesora – city of the dead
Rose explains the world has a problem that is far more of a concern, no one has been born for 20 years - there are no souls available for birth. The short lived races, like goblins, are in very low numbers. The human population has been effected the population is aging, and it has become an financial problem. For years people have worked on the problem but nothing seems to work, not even virility potions. People are becoming very averse to risk as the dead cannot be replaced and the majority of people now avoid travel. Three pots of tea have been drunk while we talk, mainly by Sabastian. Rose offer us small magical devises that contain magical charges of ‘whispers’, these can be used to send her messages.

Much flying

Leaving Highvale and flying out of the city, we follow the directions Rose provided and follow the switchbacks down the mountain. Villa notices we seem to be followed by an ice drake and extremely large crow. The temperature is far warmer at the lower altitude, its considerably humid and the air smells of jungle. After some time we land at the Iron Fist Inn, made up of a dozen well maintained small buildings. A number of merchant caravans appear to be stabled here. The crow lands at the Inn with us and invites us to visit his tower, some 300 miles away, as his boss “Eyebite” would like to talk to us. We make vague commitments and race inside. Hiring a room for a month we retire to make plans, both of us are city folk and have little experience with maps, so we talk for some time before agreeing upon a route – is will be about 1,200 miles to the wood elves.

Sleep in until late morning and have a long breakfast, Sabastian eats four, before departing on wings – in the wrong direction. We fly for a few hours to mislead the ice drake, and anyone else, trailing us. Landing we hide under trees we rune portal back to our room at the Iron Fist Inn, hoping to confuse anyone following us. We arrive late in the evening, as the rune portal proved difficult to create, and have a late dinner (three for Sabastian). We head out again when it is dark to further confuse followers, unfortunately a storm blows in and we get lost for many hours. When the storm exhausts itself and we spot some town lights to navigate by.

Not so sunny Elves

A morning light breaks and we find ourselves over a river valley, two rivers intersect and run beside a large road, what we following to a city. We land, cold and exhausted, and Villa bruises himself. The gates of the city are guarded by Sun elves and there are as arrogant as Sabastian remembers. We have found Sernoyia, our destination, and are warned we must register by noon. We find a nice looking Inn near a surprisingly quite street market, we are so exhausted we don’t argue the extra charge for hobbits.

Awaking at noon we enjoy a lunch of bread, cheese and tropical fruit before heading into the city to register. Sernoyia is bisected by the river and there appears to has been significant high quality construction over the last few decades, with tunnels built under the river. The population appears to be predominantly humans but is run by Sun Elves, which make up about ¼ of the population. With passage booked on a boat to Er’ab the remainder of the day passes quietly.

The evening we take dinner at a fancy establishment, but our meal is interrupted as a group of sun elves turn up for dinner, the four men in white plate and two immaculate dresses women. The entire restaurant quietens and there appears to be a palpable tension in the room. Not wanting trouble we slip away and return to our inn. Feeling paranoid we slip out our rooms window, three stories up and sneak to the docks and spend the remainder of the night hiding there.

Travelling again

The next morning we are the first passengers to board the boat early and we wait nervously for departure. Sabastian’s still manages to eat five breakfasts. A beautiful but stern looking sun elf, dresses in black silks, boards the boat just prior from departure. She has no military escort, which is unusual. We hide behind some barrels on deck, hoping to be unseen. The boat departs mid morning and we settle back as the 300 miles journey will take some days. The journey should be uneventful as the river passes through mostly cultivated lands.

Around lunch time the expected confrontation occurs, the Sun elf accosts us and demands to know when we are doing in their lands. Other passengers quickly more away. She explains it has been almost 20 years since Alusians visited this world, just before all planar travel was cut off, and the ‘trouble’ started. Explaining we are here to re-establish the forest network she becomes surprisingly friendly and shares much;
• The souls of the world are not being recycled, they are not reaching their goddess to be reborn.
• A number of the most powerful people in the world are missing, including the Empress and Metastopheles. They were all collaborating on a secret project.
• Access to other planes was cut off. The only accessible place is a pocket “plane” called Cormelle, which this is an astral artefact. It can be accessed via the garden in Mazerathin. The Sun elves don’t visit there are its outside their influence.
This all happened about a year after the Lord of Blood was banished from the world. They desperately need to know why this has happened, and often significant sums of money if we can provide any information. She explains the Church of Shahdad won’t give direct assistance but will ensure we are not interfered with by their agents. We are left surprise and puzzled, she spoke with significant authorise and must be high ranking in the Sun Elven hierarchy. We never did learn her name.

Er’ab Ahoy

Four days later we arrive in Er’ab, it’s a large town, but not particulate active, many of the buildings require minor repairs. Food in the town is plentiful and we enjoy the new menu. Sabastian eats heartily, the larder is restocked before we departing on wings. Not being natural rangers we follow the river and head west for a number of days before turning south fly over an ancient forest. We land at a small glade, near where the river has become a waterfall. An elderly wood elf relaxing on the soft moss on the riverbank, lazily fishing. We think he has let us seem him, he is a master of hiding. We approach him and sit on the rock, enjoying the forest tranquillity, and quietly introduce ourselves. He explains word of our arrival reached the wood elves and he is waiting here for us, ready to assist.

We take of our shoes and packs, sit back and talk. We hear the same story - no tree network, no more births and an isolation world due to peoples preservation instinct. The Elves believe things will break down quickly once humans and orcs die off. None of the elder races have faces any losses, but the short lived races, like the goblins, are almost gone. The wood elves have created seeding forests and would like us to take them throughout the world to regrow the network, as our lives are fleeting and we will act quicker than them. We eventually fall asleep in the sun, only to be awoken when the Elf has finished fishing, he leads us through the forest for a short time and we find ourselves magically transported to and arrive outside Mazerathin. The big city Mazarathin is a large and congested city, the bulk of the city is one a central island, connected to smaller islands by bridges. A canal runs around the edge of the island and a number of smaller islands, which are all connected by bridges. The central island is mostly a large hill where the Temple of Light and Imperial Palace reside at its crown. Wandering through the city the people all seem to be old humans with elderly orc servants, the city lacks the hard edge it used to have.

We wander the city, wandering for a few hours as Sabastian tries to remember where Orthostopheles lives. The houses gardens are immaculate, as always, and the house well maintained. The elderly butler that opens the door remembers Sabastian, and invites us in for tea. He sits with us and explains Orthostopheles went missing more than ten years ago, he and the cook have spent the last decade maintaining the house awaiting his return and they are pleased to have some friendly visitors. He suggests we search the study, our trained eyes may see something. We turn up some notes that were hidden, these make no sense to us and the butler offers to visit the library to some research and see if he can discern their meaning.

The following morning we eat a wonderful breakfast. Cook is elderly and very skilled. She is pleased to have guests and happily cooks Sabastian multiple breakfasts. Following Butler’s advice we head to the dwarven enclave later that that morning, it’s a hot morning and we walk across a few bridges and pass stalls run by a multitude of races. We are slipped a note on our morning walk, the wood elves have the forests ready for us. Arriving at the enclave we sit in the food hall and talk to various folk, we learn many things;
• A 20ft tall goblin is in mountains giving people grief. People want it gone but no one brave enough to deal with it, avoid the area. It is around Goblin Town.
• Even the ogres are polite these days. No young ogres to take their place.
• Nomads in the sands have completely closed off contact, no one heard from them for a while.
• None sure about what has happened. Maybe Longmeadow (hobbit) or Iron Grimmer (Dwarf) [dead for thousands of years – talk to him memories via his throne. Throne by old ruins. N of Highvale, by the big mountains.] could help.
• There is little raiding from the mountain, most bandits gone straight
• Stonewrights are living at the southern end of the mountains, near to Highvale. It is rumoured there are a dozen clans living there now.

Imperial visit

Following a long lunch we head to the lakeshore and visit the Star Elven garden. A Star elven guard pass us word that the regent, Karasova Lethlil is looking for us. Sabastian snacks on a wheel of cheese as we head up to the palace. You don’t keep Karasova waiting.

It’s a steep walk up the hill to the palace and we arrive a little exhausted, but we are rewarded by a magnificent view of the lake. The palace guards are waiting for us and lead us through a maze of corridors to a chamber, and we are greeted by a cold stare. Karasova is seated at a desk enjoying some delicate pastries. There are no niceties and between bites she explains the Coronation, almost 20 years ago, was followed by a time of peace. The empress, Kosiva Zaorich, used that time to investigate what she had inherited, and amongst the artefacts in the bowels of the palace one that allows people to ascend to true immortality and become a member of the higher realm. The artefact was linked to the Lord of Blood’s prison, and many of the powerful member of the plane investigated, then disappeared. Soon after all the problems occurred.

Karasova runs the government, without ruling it, and if everything was going smoothly no one would object. Things are not going smoothly. The Church of Shahdad want someone to ascend to replace their missing goddess, they will recreate (rather than recover) Shahdad. They hope this will returns the cycle of birth and death. To achieve this they need various artefacts, most of which they don’t yet have.

It is believed by many the Gate in the garden is a key to all the missing individuals, as it connects to Cormelle and that in turn connects to the Blood Lord’s prison. Karasova will soon be departing the capital to deal with political issues, but if we need to contact her leave a note with Orthostopheles’ butler. We are ordered to investigate and resolve the issues.

Star Gates

We quickly leave the palace and head down to the Star Elven garden to view the Gate. The gates are made up of a web of filaments, woven around gems. There are tiny patches of colours in the gate (red, blue and white) which appear to by tiny, incredibly detailed structures. It is masterpiece and clearly very magical.

We divine the gates and its revealed they represent the Night’s Sky, and can be used to travel to the Astral – but this feature is not working. On a hunch, Sabastian reads the nights skies on the gems in the gate, they tell us “Many lives await return beyond these gates.". On this success we make astrology readings via the Gate.
Q: Where is Orthostopheles? A: Parky knows best.
Q: Where is Parky? A: Parky is currently not available.

We are confused by the answers, and we head back to Orthostopheles’ house for an early dinner and consider our next steps. Butler has not returned, but Cook has biscuits and tea, which are amazing as always. About an hour later Butler returns and explains Orthostopheles’ notes lead to books about the interaction between the celestial and elemental planes – particularly the plane of cold. More information, but we aren’t sure what to make of it. That night Villa uses a dream amulet to visit the gate - it glows white and he passes through briefly passing through he sees a bridge that leads to an icy, lifeless realm.

Adventure with friends

The next morning, following another large breakfast of eggs and ham, we head down to the forest to take delivery of the forest seeds. An enigmatic wood elf is waiting for us with four circular planter boxes, each is about a foot deep and a few feet wide. They appear to contain miniature forests. Being too large to carry, and too magical to move with magic, we head back to the dwarven enclave and put out word we are looking for assistance on a great adventure, finding a number recruits. Two older dwarves chaperon a large mix of young hobbits and dwarves who are looking to get out of the boring city.

A few hours later, following what seem overly complicated uses of carts, we find ourselves on a boat headed to Saesora with our newly found allies, and a number of stern looking priestesses. Following a few relaxing days of fishing and sharing stories of adventures with the young dwarves, we dock at Saesora in the morning, it’s a large town, built a very long time on a hill in an ancient elven style.

A very old Sun Elves are awaiting us, their hair bleached white, who appears to be a local priest. We explain we have a new forest, the priest seems unsurprised and leads us to glade, a walled area about ¼ the size of the town, which is full of dead trees – all black and withered. We plant the glade and, not knowing what will happen, flee as we get a feeling anyone staying in the glade too long won’t leave.

The boat won’t depart until the evening so we spend the day being given a (boring) tour of the town by the priests. The young folk are amazed by it all. We ask the priests about the missing souls and they believe souls of the departed pass through the gate to the ice realm. They think Parky is a human word, but doesn’t know who or what it represents. Following a short dinner (not enough food) we board the ship and depart. Three days back to Mazarathin and fortuitously find a boat that will depart for K’Resh the next morning.

Staying overnight at Orthostopheles , Butler lets us know there are now a great deal of Church priests visiting the library. He has asked around and the rumour is all the planar gates shut down at the same time, which is about the time everyone disappeared. Two immortals, Delirium and Baccarat, went missing at the same time. Dwarven Friends

The next morning we depart, with our dwarven and hobbit friends, on a large sailing ship. We travel the coast rapidly covering 1000 miles in three days, passing Meloran (known for its high-end crafting, metal working and agriculture) we dock on the south coast of Kresh. It is a rundown town containing mostly orcs and humans. We talk to some local dwarven merchants whom direct us to their elders in the mountains.

The following day Sebastian creates a rune portal near the docks and then he and Villa fly to Blackstone Peak, a dwarven city located in the mountaintop. After a few wrong directions we land on a mountain road and walk to the city. The city is efficient constructed but appears to have been built in a rush, it lacks the beauty normally seen in dwarven construction. Introducing ourselves and are eventually taken to Daren Longbeard Shortbeard (there was accident) who leads us to the ancient dwarves that rules the city. Sabastian happily discusses stone, machinery and smithing for a few hours (Villa falls asleep) and we learn the markets have changed considerably over the last ten years as the demand from the goblins and orcs has disappeared. Discussion eventually moves to the forest and the elders are please about developments, the Dwarven Council will need to meet to decide where to place the forest – this will require some consideration and will take some months. We agree to move the miniature forest to the Blackstone and leave it in their hands, this will take almost a week as it cannot be transported with magic. We learn the Ice elves have not been seen for 10 years, maybe their queen is also missing?

Almost a week later we are boarding at boat to Highvale. A few of the young hobbits take a liking to Blackstone and have decide to stay and become gardeners there.

Highvale High jinks

Departing K’Resh we spend an uneventful and relaxing 10 days sailing to Nafa. Sabastian get bored and whittles figurines for almost everyone on the boat.

Arriving in Nafa the group are lucky enough to join a merchant train heading to Highvale. It’s a slow but uneventful climb high into the mountain, the temperature drops as we approach HIghvale. its . The group arrive andsettle into an inn we meet a contingent of imperial rangers, the young hobbit and dwarves spend the evening exploring the taverns of the city.

The next day the majority of the group spend nursing hangovers. In the afternoon am orc guard turns up to escort Sabastian and Villa to meeting the boss, Sechan Silverhands. He heartily greats the two and, over drinks, explains the city is no longer the chaotic hard bitten place that it was. With no new births the inhabitants have become more cautious and the inability to travel far has forced people to settle down. He directs us to the Crimson hobbit, a mercenary group, who will escort us into the forest tomorrow. We decide to head to see them that evening, with the young hobbits, and another evening of revelries takes place.

The next morning Rose Crimson, leader of the mercenary band, leads us into the woodlands, a few miles from the city. The trees in the forest are struggling to grow and the air has a slight hit of decay. The forest seedling is planted and, watching from afar, we see it grow to a full forest within an hour. The entire area appears transformed, the air is fresh and the atmosphere of the entire area changes – there is a feeling of growth and health pervading the area.

While waiting we notice a large raven watching us. Eyebite is, or was, the familiar of Morgan the Gray. While mocking us he explains Morgan has been gone (but nor dead) for some time and he has turned the tower turned into a rookie. The Ice Queen disappeared about the same time as everyone else. A horrible goblin monster, one of Bloods’ old creatures, is marching around the remains of the old Orge Town. The crows at Longmeadow can direct us there. We also learn some gossip about the Church, concerning if it is true. Returning to town we have a very raucous dinner to celebrate the new forest, much food is eaten and tales are told.

Interlude

The following morning the group bid Rose and her band goodbye. Blossom (the hobbit housekeeper) escorts a very delicate rabble on their journey back to the ship. While walking an ice drake menacingly flying toward the group, its flight is suddenly disrupted as a silver shimmer rockets past the drake toward the group. The shimmer lands and turns into a giggling teenage girl, Parastopheles - the passage of time has aged her little. She, as always, seems very distracted, but seems to have business with Rose. After a short conversation Parastopheles changes to her silver dragon form and flies off with Blossom on her back.

The ice drake angrily circles us until Parastopheles departs, and lands, blocking out path. An obnoxious ice elf dismounts, glaring at us. News of our presence on the plane has spread. She explains Varenthia, the Ice queen is missing. She was not part of the Empress plans to ascend, the other powerful people present were just interested in the higher plane. The group discovered there still a connection to the Lord of Blood’s prison. During the ritual something happened that disconnected this plane from the Astral, Varenthia interceded to tie this connection to somewhere, she disappeared.

We are given a frozen ice spider and commanded to use it send a message if we uncover any news of their queen. She knows we may need to travel high into the mountains or through the gate and offers to make us protective armour in exchange for shoes and dresses from the Sweptsands people.

The group heads back to Highvale to plot their next move, and find Parastopheles and Blossom eating scones. Parastopheles offers to fly us to the desert the next day, so we spend the remainder of the day relaxing. Our evening is interrupted when an eagle landing on our table, depositing a scroll. The scroll explains the Sweptsands “Prophet” is aware of our imminent arrival and there are some time she would like us to bring to the desert. A busy night of shopping ensues, with us overpaying for items given the short notice.

The next morning Parastopheles flys us at exilerating high speed to the Sweptsands - forests, streams and valleys blurring past. In a few hours we find ourselves hundreds of miles away, eventually arriving at the desert and land at an oasis. There are a great number of tents erected there, populated by a few hundred people – the largest population of nomads than any of us have ever seen. A large fire pit is located at the centre of the tents, surrounded by old wooden benches.

A small number of tribespeople are awaiting us, we were expected, and they lead us through the maze of tents and we sit at a small fire. We are introduced to the Crone, an elderly lady with weathered tan skin dressed in a simple robe. She greets us with a smile and tells us the cards suggest we would soon visit. She explains she is not the leader, but senior member of the group, she stays out of silly politics that take place, the bigger picture is more important.

The Crone explains there are things she cannot tell us at the moment about the issue with the souls, she must travel and consult (with who?) and this will take a while. When people die the souls should be collected by the god, Shahdad, cleansed and returned to the world in a birth - instead they are leaving this plane. The Church has the ability to hold souls and potentially rebirth them, but it is not an easy task (they must be present at death, must have phylactery to hold the soul and will need to be judged). Souls will hold to their memories but come back weaker, if this happens often they potential suffer from memories of past lives. Its likely they will store the souls of important people, rather than rebirth them. Keeping souls is necromancy and runs counter to the churches own teaching. If they do it, it will be very limited.

There is an wiccan way to rebirth soul with all its memories. Is a hazardous process as the vessel will simply die of shock if not prepared correctly and the soul is lost. This is not done without extreme justification. All her readings say these dire events on the plane are to do with the stars. She has watched the spirits depart and they always fly west. Their people rarely travel out of the desert, normally using the nomads as the intermediaries.

The nomads would like a forest here, and we agree to make a request to the Wood elves on their behalf. It would be easier to convince the nomads to help us resolve the problems of the plane if we were seen to be offering this tree network, an offer would flatter the egos of the isolationists. On a lighter note, we change the conversation to the desert spider silk and the Crone quickly agreed to a trade with the goods we brought, the ones the Crone ordered.

The next day we return to Highvale and Sabastian borrows equipment to made dresses and shoes. The silk is breath taking, exceptionally light and coloured with iridescent shades. A few days later an orc guard turns up at the door with white bags, a delivery from us from the white one (Ice Elf). Sabastian examines the armour – it is made by an experienced hand. What is interesting is the material - white, hard ice crystal. The Plate armour that is chill to touch and slightly heavier than normal plate.

Longmeadow

Next day we give their goodbyes and depart for Longmeadow. The day of flying passes without incident, the temperature is very cold as we cross the mountains peak around midnight but the ice armour keeps them warm. As the light breaks the two complete their descent into the valley and land, the sun has yet to complete rising and the twinkle of town lights can be seen in the fog.

Longmeadow is built in an orderly hobbit fashion in the side of a foothill. Quaint gardens and winding roads cover the area. We walk into the village and encounter some sleep guards, who wake up long enough to provide us space in the front room of a guard house to sleep.

We awake in the afternoon to the noise of much activity, a featival has been organised to celebrate our arrival. Pavilions have been erected by the lake and a few hundred hobbits are relaxing and eating, it appears that the entire village has used this as excuse for a day off. We join the fun and spend the afternoon eating and telling tales of our exploits. Sabastian impresses the inhabitants with his ability – and that’s a feat with hobbits. That evening we use our magics for to entertain the crowds.

That evening we finally catches up with Valerie, the town leader, and eat a bit more as we exchange tales of the last decade. The old grove is very sick, and the towns herbalists are unable to heal it. The good news is some adventurers and the elves have got rid of the nasty goblins. Unfortunately Ogre Town, and its miles of mines, is all icky and nasty - all corrupted and full of putrid mushrooms and giant maggots. As travel will soon be possible she will spread the word and look for adventurers. Morgan the Grey has been missing for years, he tried a reincarnation with his master and it went wrong – Eyebite has become very powerful and is an avatar of some sort in his absence. They have tried for years to resolve the birth problem with powerful herbalist and wiccan potions, however they have found no solutions. Valerie explains the festival will lasts for a few days, there have been few visitors to the valley for a decade and all the town inhabitants are very excited. . She will take us to the old grove tomorrow, about 10 miles down the valley. She has used her dust and potions of blessings to keep the forest going. After a long day of carousing we sleep in an unused inn, it has been opened for our crew and been given an emergency clean.

The next morning awoken with breakfast and eat heartily before meeting Valerie and heading into forest. She the goblins broke into one of the Lord of Blood’s abandoned laboratories and drank potions which made one of them very large. Much chaos followed and it was eventually killed by the elves and an adventuring party. No-one goes to Ogre Town now as its too dangerous.

We walk into the countryside carrying the forest planter, passing lush fields and large livestock (all clearly blessed), we are lead to the centre of a tired and lifeless forest. We unpack and plant the forest and watch the forest transform, its quickly becomes lush and full of life. The air seems clearer and animals seem to be moving around the forest. Valerie is delighted with the result and sit down to read her cards.

Arriving back at Longmeadow we head to Valeries house for lunch, she has the largest herb garden we have ever seen, and Sabastian appetite is finally sated. Valerie provide herbs, Sabastians will make him full and Villas will make wine taste nice.

After lunch, and a short nap, the group ride Valerie carpet to the goblin cave. The trees in the area are sickly and the air reeking of rotting vegetation. The rough cave entrance is surrounds by white bio luminance. Sending a wizard eye down the cave all we see is sickly and rotten vegetation. We purge the area with meteorite shower and walls of light but decide against going into the cave.

Over dinner the Dwarves announce they have made a decision, they are excited to be in the countryside and want to settle in. They have already talked to the hobbits about building a tavern and forge. There is much eating and drinking to celebrate!

In late evening magical investigating takes place; Valerie performs a card reading that evening, Sabastian reads Night’ Sky, and Villa reads his dreams. We learn “where the skies are void is where we need to be”, feel drawing of coldness of the void - Essence of Dark Celestial.

Over a bottle of port politics are discussed - Valerie explains she has met the Ice Queen. She was happy to stay out of politics, she was technically the queen of all elves from millennia ago – before her big sleep, but not fully recognised. Given the disaster she chose to act, but given the ice elves don’t play well with other they have not made much headway into solving what has happened, and don’t have any allies helping them. Valerie gives us a set of cards that we can use to divine things.

Back to the start

A day later Sabastian and Vila wave goodbye to Longmeadow travel to Mazarathin through the newly established Forest network. We head to Orthostopheles house to catch up with all the local news and eat heartily. Our arrival on the plane and activities has caused some friction between powers. Those that should be doing things more productive are staying out of town or running around smoothing feathers. Once things settle back down the Butler may be able to find out more.

The Butler agrees to let Sabastian and Villa search Orthostopheles study. The study is a small room but bursting at the seams, its fully with books, scrolls and various nick-nacks. After some very methodical searching they discover a finely crafted tobacco box, which Sabastian made for Orthostopheles over a decade ago, and discovered a playing card is stuffed into the box and stopping the lid from closing. Examining the card is appears to be a Joker, with an aura of animation. It gives a smile and wink they flips out of Sabastians hands, flipping to the wall and slides down. Examining the wall we find a long, thin portal. Picking up the Joker we turn sideways, and are ‘flattened’ as we slip through the gateway in the wall.

Finding ourselves in a familiar looking maze (Deliriums making?) we walk for some time and find ourselves in a huge columned room with vaulted ceilings. Light globes hanging off the ceiling and soft diffused light radiates through the room. The room is full of items that we cant make out as they are slightly out of phase with us, the Joker leads us to a prominent True Silver pentagram in the middle of the room. The pentagram is some sort of circle of protection, upon entering it we both feel as if we are under and enormously powerful purification and, to our surprise, and a two dimensional Joker steps out of the card. The Joker is a friendly fellow and dressed in a chequered costume , he explains Baccarat made several Jokers (always worth having a joker up your sleeve) and the fact that were talking to him shows something has gone wrong. He has been in storage and doesn’t know whats happened to Orthostopheles, but had been briefed on history - he knew the Lord of Blood’s prison was connected to the Tower Forever in Cormelle and when it was banished it was assumed the prison was banished into the far void, but it turns out it wasn’t detached so they were attempting to either (1) detach the prison from Cormelle or (2) detach Cormelle from Kanlaiose.

There is another Joker out there (they come in pairs) which we will need to find as he will soon be played out and disappear. The Joker wants us to help his master and will accompany us until he disappears. There is nothing else in the room we can interact with, apparently only the Empress can get stuff from this room. We purify, it will last for a month with double ranks. We leave the hidden room and the butler explains we were in the room for 6 hours. Villa casts locate on the other Joker, while we await lunch, and gets a response, very tenuous.

Jokers wild

The next morning, following a hearty breakfast, we following Villas locate. The Joker card is within about ½ mile and appears to be through the celestial gates. Heading back to don our ice armour we return and head through into the unknown. Pushing the gates and walking through we find ourselves in an ornate rock garden that radiates the feeling of life. Small ponds in the gardens radiate starlight. A bridge leads away from the garden into mist, we follow the location spell over the bridge. And it leads to a wooden pier that is 300 ft from a beach. The sun has risen high in the sky and its almost midday and I find it incredibly difficulties in drawing celestial magic.

Walking down the pier to the beach we find it very busy with a strange collection of people. Most of them are human, but it also contains an occasional odd race (goblins etc), they are all dressed in an antiquated style of beachwear. Most of the peoples auras are “living”, but is an unusual way - we suspect these are the souls that cannot return. An elder lady walking the beach is selling tea and scones, which we readily eat.

The locate leads us through a gate on the edge of the beach, passing through we find ourselves in a garden, the noon sun has disappeared and it appears to be early morning. We spend some time wandering through what appears to an enormous gardens (10-15 miles around), the grounds are beautiful and appear to be cultivated to look wild. Large rabbits (hobbit sized) wearing well-tailored clothes are wandering throughout the gardens. We some of them recall seeing the missing people but it has been some time since they saw them.

We spend hours walking through the gardens through its winding paths and toward evening make it to a town that is surrounded by a brick wall with a set of open heavy iron gate. The bustling streets of the town are well-lit by braziers and the buildings up four stories tall in places. A ubiquitous smell of coal smoke fills the air. We spend hours exploring the town, and eventually find ourselves in an unnaturally large piazza, about a miles across. At the centre is a tower, which is unnaturally tall and its sides disappear into the clouds. Long stairs (40ft long) descent from the tower to the piazza. The entire area is pitch black, only illuminated by lights at the base of the tower. The temperature in the area is brutally cold, but the ice armour is protecting us.

Moving closer to the tower we see hundreds of shadowy figures near the base, we examine a few auras from a distance and they appear to be greater undead from the Elemental Plane of Ice. A set of large doors are at the base of the tower and, after some discussion Villa, sneaks through the crowd and as Im not a good sneak, fly in. I land by the doors and scuttles through (taking a few draining blows), the foyer of the tower smells of rot and decay, ruins papers and broken furniture are scattered around the area. A wave of fey magic whips up bags and debris and start blowing me around. Fortunately the greater undead will not enter the tower, so a few cases of meteorite showers and clears the area for Villa’s sneaking.

Tower Madness

There are three exits from the foyer, two are locked and the third is an elevator. Unlocking the first we find a stairwell leading down, but its filled unpassable as its blocked with rubbish. The other locked door leads to a well-used stair well and we head up. The stairwell is cold, the air smells nasty and nasty feeling permeates the area. We only manage to climb three floors before we are stopped by another blockage. A wizard eye doesn’t penetrate the walls.

Exiting the star well to the third floor we are drawn to the sound of loud bearing music and find a bar that is filled with people, smoking and music. Pushing our way into the room we have to shout to hear each other over the music, the room reeks of stale smoke and beer. Making a circuit of the bar we find no one can understand us. The Joker, nestled in my pocket, pull him toward a table of old ladies playing cards. We try to make some conversation (we don’t have to shout for some reason) but they’re rude and grumpy, so we buy them some sherry to get them onside. We notice a card slipping around the deck of card (perhaps another Joker?) they are playing with, we offer to buy the cards from the ladies but they can’t agree and start arguing. While they are distracted we manage to steal a number of ‘active’ cards in the deck (6), they seem to almost leap into our hands. We try to depart but find the crowd seems to be blocking us, we cant get out of the corner table we are in regardless of what reasonable actions we try.

Our patient is running low so Villa makes us invisible and Sabastian lobs a lightning bolt traps into the crowd, which quickly trigger. Bolts bounces off the roof and hits the many inhabitants and the bottles behind the bar, causing the spirits to start burning. Chaos ensues and the crowd stampede out of the room. The remaining cards of the deck are ‘recovered’ before we escape.

The cards are wriggle around and seem to want to leave tower, so we sneak past the undead and head back towards into the town. It seems like five hours since we entered to tower, it is now well after midnight. We pull out the Joker and he excitedly explains he has spoken to the other cards and there are five ‘alive’ cards that match the missing people that are trapped in this world. This world has been extended and they are trapped in these extensions. Trumps are not smart, unlike the Jokers.
• Harlequin – Delirium - can get from this town
• Drake – Orthostopheles - can get from this town
• Ruler – Kosiva
• Queen – Ice queen
• Gamer – fates? Looks like a knave. (Jack of spades). Extension not in this area.


Taking the Harlequin and Drake Card, we examine them closely we – the images don’t move but we feel a pull from them. Following the cards we find ourselves at a large gatehouse, there are six guards, in heavily armour guarding a large iron gate. There are small field weapons pointing at the gate(?). The guards are bored and pleased to have someone to talk with. The guards explain there is trouble in ‘the’ kingdom (through the gate?), there was a palace coup some time ago and there has been a civil war going on for some time. Rumours are rife that are dragons are involved, and knights occasionally come through the gate on a recruiting drive.


The gates closed at night to stop the undead coming though. We rest by the gate house, exchanging tales and playing card with the guards, and await sunrise. We guards open the gates and happily let us through but remind the rules are firm about letting us back in – only during the day.


Brave new world

The tug of the cards are pull us to the Star gates and we convince the guards to allow us to pass. Moving through we feel a magical transitioning and find ourselves on a wide open field that has a road running beside it. It’s close to midnight and overcast but not particularly cold, however we have a feeling of desolation and abandonment. Through the breaks in the clouds we don’t recognise any of the stars.


After following the road for about a quarter of a mile we sight some dim lights on a rise, the Card tug us in that direction so we follow. The rise is a small hill covered in battlements, the air holds the slight smell of old ash and the walls are sooty and scarred with the gates heavily battered. A burnt-out town sits on a road beside the hill, it appears a serious fire has ripped through the town and only ten households still standing. Nothing appears to be growing here, the town reeks of death.


The road works its way around base of the hill to the battlements. Climbing the hill and sneaking past the battlements (not difficult when we are invisible) we find a fortified and what looks to be permanent encampment has been built. Torches surrounding the camps and we can see two knights in full armour on guard. Maybe 50-70 horses are tied in the centre of the camp. The Heraldry on many of the buildings is a Crown above Dove holding Sword.


Deciding not to tempt fate we sneak out of the campsite and, after making some distance we take to the air and spend many hours flying the card. The barren fields and abandoned farmland eventually turn into cultivated lands, the ground around the river valleys are misty and the forests appear well grown. As dawn approaches the ground changes to tended, ordered fields. A keep appears in the distance through the mist so we decided to land near a road and walk in. Having flown all night we are exhausted and after a short walk manage to obtain a ride on a cart driven by old man , we share the ride with sacks of charcoal and a sleeping child.


The Keep

The keep is surrounded by a town, the building are well made and encircled by a low wooden wall. We arrive just after dawn and the guards allow the cart to pass through, a few people are up and setting up stalls in a town square.


Feeling hungry we thank the old man and flip him a silver, then eagerly buy freshly baked bread and a soft cheese. Sabastian eats him body weight in food we talk to the stall owners, they lament the war that has dragged on for years and appears to have ground to a stalemate. The ruler is incapacitated, and no one has seen or heard from the queen for many year, they are far from the capital and the queen hasn’t ventured this distance for a decade. The knights are still fighting hard, but the toll on the land has been hard – the lands have been destroyed by the ravaging of the drakes. Although a good summer is expected the horses are in short supply as the knights taken them all.


We resting in the morning sun to digesting our breakfast and watch the market activities. In the late morning some knights lead a wagon train from the keep. The wagons hold young people wearing monk’s habits. After the people make offerings to the monks the wagons return to the keep, and we discreetly make ourselves invisible follow them in. The keep is large and with exceptionally well made granite walls – we suspect magic is involved. Following the card, we sneak through the keep and are lead to the basement – where we find a snoozing dragon – Orthostopheles.


Old Friends

Sabastian excitedly runs to Orthostopheles, yelling at him until he awakes. Orthostopheles is surprised, and very pleased to see us. He explains he and the other powerful entities had identified the Blood’s prison was connected to the pocket plan (Cormelle) and was corrupting it. They tried to remove the connection, and corruption, but things went disastrously wrong – each of them had escape methods ready, but they did not work as expected. He and Delirium used her magical maze to escape – they were ripped apart, he hasn’t seen her since.

The Salamnic Knights found him in the basement 10 years ago, and recognised him as a powerful ally. He has shared his wisdom with the Knights and aided them fighting against a necromancer, we have arrived at an opportune time, as there is a major offensive is due soon. He believes he is trapped on this world until the corruption poisoning this world can be removed, but he thinks he was sent to the Keep for a reason - however as there is little magic in this world there is little for him to work with. The good news is, after a decade of pondering the accident, he knows what went wrong and has a plan to remove the corruption from Cormelle and free its connection from the Lord of Blood’s prison.

As we are among friends we reveal ourselves to the guards, who quickly call the commanders;

  • Lord Horowitz, Knight Salamnic; War against evil red drakes has laid waste over the last decade (when Orthostopheles appeared). They are known racial enemy of gold and silver dragons.
  • Elven lady – Lady Katarey. Few elves exist in the world, they know of the town we came from and it is another plane – the gate to the town has always existed. The Elves cannot get through.


We discuss plans to release Orthostopheles, and settle on using Rune portals. They commanders know powerful people can created gates, but they have not heard of rune portals, but will provide what assistance they can.


Lord Horowitz is a man of focus and leaves us to get on with things. Once departed Lady Katarey explains Horowitz is a focused and drive man, he can appear difficult but has the survival of the kingdom on his shoulders. He feels the ultimate threat is from within, the court and nobility are bickering and fighting for personal power and failed both the Knights and the people. The Knights may be required to cleanse the state of corruption and take the reins of leadership. We must be careful or we will be swept up in his plans. Lady Katarey and her kindred are working quietly behind the scenes and may be able to offer assistance.

Release

Left to his own devises, Sabastian examines the stone work of the castle and concludes the stone isn’t magical, but exceptionally well made. It would be very difficult to pull apart we decide to try Rune Portals. It is exceptionally difficult to cast in the basement (-50%) and it takes many hours of frustration the runes are created. After a long meal we head into the countryside , following a number of experiments we learn it becomes easier to cast as we move away from the population; hard in the town, easier on the road and only in the wilderness do we suffer no difficulties.

Finding a quiet dell and we create the second part of the portal, which takes some time. Returning to the basement, Sabastian spends many hours trying and eventually portals out. Free for the first time in 10 years, Orthostopheles stretches his wings and breaths deep of the fresh forest air, he draws mana and lets out a satisfied sigh. We show Orthostopheles the cards and he can detect a small tug from the Harlequin card and a fainter one from the Ruler. He seems to be resisting his own magic and can’t change to human form.

Lunch and learning

While Orthostopheles stretches his wing while we look around the countryside. A range of low mountains lies to the east, about 5 miles away, and through a spy glasses we see some shapes. Using a crystal we make out ring of stones. Orthostopheles offers us a lift and we head over get a closer look – it’s a rough flight as Orthostopheles hasn’t flown for some time, but were aren’t going to criticise a dragon.

The countryside that passes beneath us appears very ordered, there are hills to the south and mountains to the east slowly rise to a great height. Landing on a shelf on the mountain we discover standing stones that, following some examination, are very magical. Casting within the standing stones magic is incredibly easy (+100%) but it is impossible to resist magic (-100%). Orthostopheles , to is delight, is able to use his magic to transform to a human. We take the opportunity to cast all our beneficial spells, then fly back to the keep for a well-deserved lunch. Orthostopheles is looking forward to eating while in human form again!

As we finish lunch a tall elf wearing exceptionally well-crafted armour introduced himself as Sir Garrack, he explains they have made room in the priests’ quarters for us. Leading us there is explains the history of the conflict; they have been fighting the drakes all his life, the dragons and their kin occasionally raid by mostly keep to their mountain caves. A necromancer appeared in the forest a decade ago and has grown in power since then, and is now a significant threat. Given the recent escalation, more forces have been committed to the forbidden forest to hold back the enemy. Lord Horowitz doesn’t like magic or mechanical devices but does allow items to be brought from the “village” (our town on the other side of the gate) to use against the drakes. The civil unrest is only fueling the problems, the internal fighting creates power for the necromancer, he feeds of it, and it is believed it has extended his reach into the cities. He is working from within their kingdom to cause issues – the elves, once great allies, are no longer trusted by the populous.

We inquire about the standing stones and Sir Garrick explains it is a fairy ring. There are connections from this world to the fairies, which is where all magic comes from. The Castle was originally built to watch over the fairy ring. However no fey have been seen in decades, it is through the fey see little here for them anymore. However the locals still make the fey offerings on High days and some believe this still keeps the stones active. The Fey are difficult to deal with due to their chaotic nature but if the connection to the fey is completely lost the lands would lose their health. Other races are rumored to be living in the far reaches of the mountains (orcs etc), but not in these lands. After many hours of talking Garrick offers some parting advice – we should not be seen to be talking too much to him or Katarey or suspicious will fall on us.

Eating (So hungry)

The Keeps dining hall is enormous, it is located in what previously was the monastic refectory. Many are surprised by the enormous appetite of the strange child (Sabastian). The hall is filled with people from all positions within the castle, there is no hierarchy here. We make conversation Knights that seat themselves are our table and they explain their order is tasked with keeping people free from the external threats. The necromancer is in his dark keep in the forest, rumoured he can move to places of death – it its said he could have got into the castle when the king died 10 years ago (when the accident happened – related??). Its though he can travel in spirit to battlefields and places of murder, or to unfortunate and unpleasant death.

The Knights foreswearing not be involved in the internal politics. Young and ambitious individuals are often given to the Order with a tithe, removes them from the field of inheritance. The Nobles are currently withholding support for the knights to pour cash into their own plans. Delicate balance to keep the knights funded and functional, but to prevent any perceived interference from the knights.

The Order are trying to build steam bolt throwers and steam airships, but magic is scarce, and they require something reliable. The knights on the hill – was a battle there around the time of the fall of the king. It is a place of ill omen.

History lesson

We decide to do for broke and head over sit with the Commander, he explains Orthostopheles is a trusted ally and has spoken for us, so the Knights consider us allies. He explains ten years ago (coincidence??) the crown was struck down - King was assassinated by a corrupting poison, the prince was struck down lies in a coma and the Queen lost her mind. The only survivor, the princess, is now approaching age to inherit the kingdom and the Regent is believed to be plotting against her. As the prince is still alive and technically should take power, a political battle taking place and a schism in the Kingdom threatens.

The Knights have been accumulated items and favours to be used to defend the kingdom from all threats, both internal and external and it may soon be time to use them. Their knights forces are widely spread, but given the political turmoil they must soon be forced to act. Plotters are ready to undermine the Knights for their own power, which will ultimately cause the kingdom to collapse.

The Commander fears that the dragons may have changes form and infiltrated the nobility. He is heading to the Capital, a place that disheartens him, and try to restore some order – which will be difficult given the suspicion and distrust. People at the capital will be suspicious of us given out association with the Knights , but we may be able to assist him and we are asked to accompany him when he departs tomorrow.

Much of the evening has passed, and we head off to sleep – we are surprisingly tired. Taking a quick trip to the roof for an astrology reading we ask how to escape from this world, the stars tell Sabastian “Find source of corruption and restore balance.”

Ahoy

Awaking the next morning before dawn, Sabastian get joins the early shift for breakfast and performs a quick reading of the stars from the roof – “Find and release what truly does not belong here”.

Meeting Lord Horowitz and Lady Katerey at the docks, and their personal guard, we board a large single sloop. The commanders take small state rooms and everyone else grabs a hammock or place on the deck. One the first day we pass rough forest which turns into towns and farming on the next few days. This appears to be the farming heartland of the county, we pass many barges stuffed with food. Talk centers around the capital and people within, we learn;

  • the Prince is not dead, but also said not alive. He is kept under lock and key and very few have access to him. He has not been seen in public for many years. The Princess will soon be old enough to rule, but it is not clear if she will be sharp enough to do so. As her older brother is alive, her coming to age causing a political crisis, with the Regent is pushing for her to become the ruler.
  • The city did once have some magic and the court has an enchanter, but they are now gone. He went missing soon after the assassination. The Court was known to buy magical components form the fey. Alchemy and smiths can often take raw magical material and put it in items, but it is extremely limited there days. The elves are distrusted as they are different, there is so much paranoia, they will distrust Sabastian (as a hobbit) and Villa (as he is not local).


Approach the town we are impressed by enormous and beautiful tower, some 500ft tall, which appear to have gardens at the top. More extraordinary are the airships docket to the tower. Horowitz explains the Capital can maintain the Airships but have lost the ability to make them – the secret of lift wood has been lost. The wood required magical preparation, they do not have access to the magical ingredients or the witches that cast the magic, as most witches now near the edge of nowhere.

The river surrounding city, and the island bounded by bridges. We sail under enormous arch and dock in the city port. The Knights have a compound (fortress) that would withstand some assault, and is located on a defensible place on the western quarter. The Knights did have a compound on the main island, but they were forced out some time ago as a result of politics. However they still maintain a private room at court.

Horowitz explains at the time of the King’s death, there was trouble on the frontier and many rumours swirling around court. The King was assassinated, his death seen as a dark necromantic act, for his killer not captured. Following his death there was an outbreak of undead and the factional fighting commenced, many people went missing. There is still lots of bad blood from that period.

We are advised that we should talk to the Order’s ambassador at court, he has been there a long time and is a person of age and patience. Horowitz laments that the Knights do not have the skills for the politics of the courts, they are direct, and have few spies.

Wearing the provided acolyte’s robes, we board a skiff an hour after sundown and take this to the main island. Sabastian discovers it very challenging to cast. The city is well lit with some sort of magical effect, there are glowing balls of light though out the city. As we dock we see mounted and armoured knights, carrying the royal standard, heading toward us. They push people out of the way and their wide group blocks the local guards. Following a ten minute pointless standoff the royal guard break into double file and march past, lots of hostile looks.

Making our way thought the streets we pass into the Knights compound through a side gate and we are greeted by a young man with a broad smile who is dressed in flamboyant silks, he bows deeply and introduces himself as Sir Richaux. He explains he has recently returned from the forests to report, and upon hearing of our arrival through he would greet us. He explains there is a minor gather tomorrow, a garden party, as a political event it which will be a dangerously exciting event. He has his tailor preparing him an outfit and can recommend us to him as we don’t have any court attire.

As he leads up to our rooms he explains he does not believe there is any point in expanding the kingdoms borders, the frontier is filled with orcs, bugbears and their supporters, and it is slowly retracting. He is intrigued by us, heroes are of the previous age and very rare these days.

The building appears well fortified and rooms are nicely appointed. A glow from Sabastian’s pocket get his attention, the Ruler Card is glowing with a clear bright sunlight. Examining the card we can make out a stylised humanoid. We pull out the Joker and, although he cannot talk to the card he can tell the effect is elemental. Slowing rotating the card we notice if the card is upward more light comes out. We climb out onto the roof to see if we can work out what the card is point at, we stare at the stars for a while and are confused. Looking around from our vantage point we notice the tip of the island seems to be its unnaturally dark.

Returning to our rooms we examine the other cards. The Drake card contains an image of an old man looking into a crystal ball, the Harlequin card seems to be moving very slightly. Feeling confused, and tired, we head off to sleep.

Spectre

Rising before dawn we head to the river, experimenting with casting along the way. It seems it is difficult to cast in the Capital, this is going to life much harder for us.

  • -80 in city
  • -50 at water’s edge
  • -0 at water’s edge on sun set/rise

Villa tries to locate Delirium, and the arrow points to the card. Following some magical examination we discover the card is a portal to a maze. Villa casts a Wizard eye and to great surprise it enters the card. Villa finds his eye in what appears to be a bone maze, the ground is barren ground – grizzly skulls are in the walls and floor. The card becomes a window into the maze and we call out for Delirium, only for a Spectre appears from one of the walls. Following a strange exchange of spells through the tiny card window, the Spectre flees into the bones walls.

Garden Party combat

We head to the morning markets and greedily eat a large selection of foods. The locals commend on how greedy Villas child is. We encounter Sir Richaux and continue breakfast while discussing the garden party, we both need outfits we come up with a cunning plan to borrow a suit of his and magically copy it. Conversation moves to the attendees, the new Royal astrologer is a bit rubbish even though he has been in the role for ten years. His predecessor, Sir Malius, was difficult to get on with and mysteriously disappeared, with his assistant replacing him.

That afternoon, following some magic to make attire, we depart for on a fancy wagon, accompanied by Lord Harawitz, Lady Kateray and Sir Richaux. This is a combat mission into hostile territory. As we ride into the castle through the gateway tunnel that is illuminated by crystals, that are True Lights (vary rare), apparently nothing can hide in the presence of True Light. On a hunch Sabastian pulls out the Harlequin card (Delirium’s) and its now pitch black, however his Witchsight shows a view from the ceiling of what appears to be a dungeon. He can see Delirium about 40ft away who is unmoving on the black pitted floor with bone nails through her hands and feet. The room is filled with skeletons. Sabastian manages to stifle his surprise and slides the card back into his pocket.

Arriving at the garden party our group readies for social combat. Sabastian and Villa head to the fringes and leave the others to make the frontal assault. Asking about asking about astrology, we are pointed to a young man on the fringe of the party. We make our introduction and begin talking to Elyis and his wife. Elyis explains Malius was careful not to train anyone to a level that could replace him, and after he disappeared and most of his apprentices quickly departed. Malius mistrusted his apprentices, and thinks he was promoted because of a letter by Malius.

The Sovereign Star disappeared from the sky the very night the king was killed. It sat right above the tower, if it fell it would have fallen right above the tower. We ask if he can find out more, but he is very hesitant, digging into the history of the start would not be taken well - it would remind people of their failure. Elyis did try to locate his master, but Malius’ skills are great and used his ability to evade detection. He is a wanted man as many blame him for not seeing the events (scapegoat?). Strangely all the portraits of Malius are missing. Sab draws a picture of Malius with the help of Elyis.

New friends and new knowledge

We mingle with other guests and see frail old man in dress armour sitting in prominent chair. He introduces himself as the Knights Ambassador, Jerome. He is aware of our arrival and where we came from. He explains that Elyis is not the man for the job, he lacks application. Malius made it his life’s work to bring misery to people. Elyis shares much with us

  • Magic is tied to the wilderness, buildings are an anathema to magic the absence of wilderness is causing the difficulty with magic (we’ve notice this when casting). Unfortunately, not it is not a subject that is well studied.
  • The fey like the easy life and enjoy the exchange of magical trinkets for goods. It is difficult as they are not to be trusted. However due to the deeply suspicious little trade is occurring.
  • There are few races that have mastered magic, the Elves are one of the few. The true masters are almost impossible to reach. The Great Druid (is he still alive?) built this Castle, the great tower still belongs to the elves. Strangely the few elves that are in the capital still do not go close to the tower. It seems sealed, in his youth he searched for and entrance but never found one. Apparently, the top is guarded by air spirits, and the bottom is near the falls.
  • No one visits the knights old habitat. The regent forced them out, as it could have become a rallying point, but he did not have the power to give the property to anyone else. Its rumoured to be haunted.
  • Its rumoured the princess will marry before she is made queen, and if enough of the Counts root for the husband to take power he will become King and take power. It is a topic of great interest, the Order has not taken a stand. He expects all will want a child produced quickly and given a chance to heal the political issues.
  • The Knights are scattered over the kingdom and it is difficult to bring them together to act. The greatest foes are in the forests, a vicious orcish invasion. The dragons are probably behind this, always seeking destruction.
  • As magic has become harder in this world the dragons power has weakened, it would be hard for them to strike the main city without breaking the order of the city.

Retreat

The garden party winds down after a few hours and we depart. Debriefing back at the Orders’ Residence we discuss the garden engagement, our team has escape without taking too many blows. The princess was notable by her absence – no reason was given. Her 16th birthday is in a month and she must be present for the grand event. We ask if we can get hold of a True Light, apparently the knights have some in the basement, somewhere, a quartermaster will be sent to find them. Asking about tactical matters we are told we must talk to Lady Seffan, she is the battle commander and can apprise us of the knights ongoing battles.

Following an afternoon of relaxing Lady Seffan arrives, she armour that has been seasoned in battle. She has heard of us and quizzes us about our magical abilities, and we discuss how they can be used in battle. As the sun descends, the packing begins as we discover the party are leaving for the castle tonight. At a formal dinner on the boat we are asked to set up a portal network centred on a farm holding 10 miles east of the town to the front lines. There are enough old keeps on the way to use as way points. They send out a call for their champions that can join us on the front line (apparently were fighting!), it will take around 10 days to have everyone available. In mean while they will hunt for the True Light.

Late in the evening we depart the boat and set out on foot, walk cross country in the rain for an hour to reach the farm. Seffan travels effortlessly. The sprawling farmstead is made of many buildings, the most prominent is a two-storied hayloft that appears to be heavily fortified. In deeps shadows we spot many lurking guards. We are lead through a well concealed door into a large basement under the hayloft and settle into down for sleep.

Flying visits

We are woken early with breakfast, the people her are hardened military folk. We fly out soon after dawn, accompanied by Eric (the strong) and Seffan. We fly about 100 miles in a fairly east-ish direction over planes and rolling hills, the land is well cultivated. Eventually we arrive at a mire (10 miles across – roughly circular), the area is covered in a thick fog and the light looks unnatural.

We land in the the swamp, near the keep, with a few injuries. Eric loses some of the food! We repair and heal up. It is very easy to cast magic here, but the mist in the swamp swirls whenever we do so. We enter the keep, the entire area seems damp and reeks of the mire. The tower is the only standing structure, the rest of the keep is crumbling. We create a portal, with some difficulty.

Sabastian has a meal (or two) and the recasts wings, the group continue their journey and covers about 220 miles, flying over large forests and mostly following a windy road. Near the end of the flight a primordial forest appears on the horizon.

As the sun sets we land in a field near a large encampment and guards escort us through the grasslands to a wooden palisade, a large military camp flying the Order’s pennants. Seffan explains this is the command encampment of the front lines and the best place for a portal. The encampment moves every few years to stay close to the trouble. We are about 20 miles from the rough edge of the forest and another 30 from the front line in the forest. They have simple alchemical healing, so our presence is very welcome.

We stop for dinner while Seffan receives an update from the leadership. It is decided we should set up the portal in a tent, immediately, so we don’t have time for dessert. Once the portal established we stop off at the forge and infirmary to repair both armour and people, before we settle in for sleep.

Battle testing

Seffan has us woken before dawn, we’ll be flying out to the forward camp this morning. Casting our full complement of magics, and having a large breakfast (well, Sabastian does), we depart on wings, flying low over the treetops. About an hour later we arrive make some pinpoint landings on a small platform in the trees. We levitate Seffan to avoid her having to land with wings.

We are in a hideout in the treetops, rope bridges connecting the platforms in the trees, that conceal them from the orcs and goblins. We descend to the group, power up the troops, and begin hunting. Seffan explains this is a test of the magics in combat. Encountering a small orc encampment the troops sneak in and devastate the camp, quickly wiping out all its occupants.

Returning back to treetops we heal up wounded troops and rest overnight. We are awoken early and fly back to the command encampment. . Seffan talks to her commanders and plots how to use the magic, having now seen it in combat. Following lunch we portal back to the farm and head to the Capital, it will take a few days to assemble the required troops so we have time a rest up – which is fortuitous as the Knights have located a True Light, it is cracked but should still have a few uses.

Undead madness

That afternoon we head out from the farm, accompanied by Richaux in tow, to see if we can free Delirium. Once we are some distance from the city his man sets up a tent (so none can see what we are doing) with blackout curtains. Knowing this could get rather dangerous, we cover ourselves in magic and drop a ward against undead.

We shine the True Light onto Deliriums card and we see the same scene – Delirium pinned to the ground surrounded by hordes of skeletons. Villa attempts to Delirium with ventriloquism, with no response. Sabastian uses a magical item to pull out the spikes from a distance, even through he resists each time he is horribly drained. Villa changes Delirium to a mouse and uses telekinesis to life her toward the window, as she gets close we examine her aura we detect she is under a maximum ranked Petit Mort. We pull the mouse through the window just as a wall of bones appears over the space. Villa has an eye in the room and can see the *all* the skeletons preparing magic. A Spectre erupts through the window and the party’s bladders quiver, but the warded Whitefire destroys it. We pull away the True Light to reinstate the maze and drop a necromantic counterspell. We put the face to face with the Sun card and wait. Nothing else appears to come through so we pack up and head back with our mouse.

Having made it back to farm by lunch, we return Delirium’s form, change her out of her smelly clothes and put her to bed. We have no way to remove the Petit Mort so we leave her to heal. We have a long lunch and rest the remainder of the day.

Night attack

We are abruptly awoken at about 3am by a knight. The watch keeper has asked for assistance, some guards patrolling around the perimeter of the island have been attached and we need to get there to aid them before the royal guard turn up – their “help” may be terminal. Quickly dressing we rush into the cold along the south eastern bridge and are taken to the Night Captain – he is long in years and wide in stomach. He explains a single survivor of the guard escaped to raise the alarm, the remainder of the watch are missing. He wants to solve the problem before the morning as the crown will use this to further remove their power. We talk to Reddick, the survivor and he explains that the watch were six in number and on foot. They were patrolling the riverside and observed a bright light on the south tip of the island a desolate area. They went to investigate a light at the top of a small mound of broken stone, as they got close a dark wave washed over them and he fled in panic.

We head to the river and painfully cast spells before heading to the tip of the island. The wall at the tip of the island is pushed out, broken, and a light is emitting from the rubble. Using a detect undead we locate a wight, 4-5 nightgaunts and one lich. They appear to be in an area of deep darkness (R20 darkness) waiting to ambush us. Not been fighters we back away and Sabastian casts multiple meteorite showers, all timed to appear at once. We cast a R20 light as they meteorites slam down on the wall, revealing the undead. Alarm bells are ringing, due to the meteorites, and the undead spread out and head towards the party but most of them are struck down as by magic before they reach us. Before we can celebrate too much we are struck by Agony and we are forced to crawl out of the range as the few remaining undead charge toward us. We escape the agony before they reach us and we down hem with magic.

The Royal guard have arrived, we can see them on the well lit bridge. The rough ground and a darkness (where did that come from?) keep the guard at bay while we fight the lich. After a volley of spells (including a R20 Necrosis) the lich is slain. Searching the battlefield, we find the bodies of the guards, it appears they were converted to the night guants but have reverted in death. There are some buildings here, they are twisted and in danger of collapse. The area is corrupted, but it is easier to cast here. In the distance we hear a booming noise, people trying to force through a different gate in the wall that is rarely used and now warped. Our search ends quickly when as we hear the gate break and mounted troops ride though holding True Lights lamps. We were able to examine the wight – its was a desiccated corpse, about ten years old wearing exquisite armour and clothing with the royal insignia.

We make our way back to Watch Captain Ferris without encountering the Royal guard and break him the bad news – he is visibly shaken, losing five guard at once is an enormous loss. He will let his superiors know, and not mention us. A wake is to be held at the Orange Parrot tomorrow night and we are invited to pay our respects. He will pass us work if he hears anything more of the attack.

Sudden Departure

Sneak back to the Order’s townhouse we check on Delirium (no change) before filling in a very awake Richaux. He explains the body sounds very similar to the King’s burial outfit, and he was buried with a number of guards that were slain with him. The implication that the King has been animated will rock the court, if it gets out, and the Regent they will take extreme steps to ensure the news does not travel. We are advised to leave the city at dawn, and he will send knights with us to fortify the Keep of the Last Stand.

The next morning it is obvious word of some sort has spread, there is lots activity at the port – many other people have decided to depart. Lord Horowitz has obvious prepared for this eventually as we have a skiff awaiting our arrival, Richaux and Lady Katarey are with us as well. The activity at the docks is tense, but we depart without any trouble occurring.

On the morning of the second day Delirium awaits, she is momentarily confused but quickly acclimates to her situation. She recognises Sabastian and the world she is in, and explains, while eating (it has been 10 years), what she remembers - the Empress was with them when the maze was dropped to escape, she may be trapped as well. Baccarat spent significant power in the Trumps as a backup plan so she expected at least some of them would escape. Delirium is weak and suffering from mortal hunger and we leave her to rest.

We arrive at The Last Stand just before dawn the following day, we are met at the docks Elven operational commander, he passes us a message from Sir Jerome which explains the royal crypt have been despoiled and the king/body guard may have been animated. The Nobles are frothing, the city is closed and the royal palace is under lockdown. He will send notes to the farm.

Heading into the keep we notice a change, the sun has barely risen but there are troops on the field training. We escort/carry Delirium to Orthostopheles’ room and they warmly greet each other. Fetching some tea and making ourselves comfortable he briefs us on his activities; the stone fairy circle has attracted a large number of gargoyles, so he is staying out of there. (Could be used as a portal, not sure where it would end up – travel ley lines). There have been battles further up river, wyverns are attacking, and it is feared the castle may soon be on the front lines. He has observed many refugees making their way to the Keep so has enchanted some of items with Contingencies for the coming battle.

Delirium explains she appeared in the Necromancers complex and was jumped by wraiths and various other undead. She could normally escape, but was significantly weakened by the initial escape, after a long fight the Necromancer engaged her and she was defeated, the last thing she remembers is having spikes driven through her limbs. She doesn’t think the Necromancer is a vampire, but he is very powerful. He is raising an orcish night gaunt army and has been training orcs. A large attack is coming, but she doesn’t know when. Her power has been stolen and being used by the Necromancer. She wont recover power until it is released from the magic it is powering.

Planning

Having sat with Commanders all morning while they finalise the battle plans we get a bit bored, but the work is finally completed and we depart for what will be our last nice lunch for a while. Over lunch Lord Elfwine, an elven commander, introduces Sir Henry and Lady Alys. They are both battle hardened knights who have recently arrived to the Keep and are looking forward to the new push.

The next 1 ½ days are spent ferrying troops, via the rune portal, to the front. Sabastian makes some minor armour repairs during the day. A cryptic note arrives from the Capital, “The orange parrot I reported missing has returned”, the town guard have news for us.

The following day is spent preparing for the attack and awaiting scouting reports, the attack will take place in the evening. An orcish stronghold, deep in enemy territory, will be targeted – a small team consisting of Seffan, Sabastian and Villa, will fly deep into the forest and take control of a small tower. The remaining troops will be brought in by portal, and then the underground hold will be attacked.

Interlude

With the day to wait, Sabastian and Villa head back to the Capital to find their “lost parrot” in the afternoon. The city is closed and under curfew, so we slip in invisible. We find out way to Captain Ferris, the watch captain, who explains our parrot is in storage. He has Reddick lead us on a long and convoluted route to a non-descript building in a warehouse block. Reddick explains he was told to send us to a room and wait outside. After poking around the junk filled room we find a secret door that reasonable well disguised.

Captain Ferris, the captain of the town guard greets us, he explains the majority of the guard have been stood down. Rumours are swirling that the King and his personal guard are missing from the crypt. The captain speaks in exhausted and careful chosen words, the guard will stand with the Knights to protect the Kingdom and passes us correspondence for the Knight’s Command. We slip our way out of the city and return to the front.

Attack

Returning back to the camp we prepare for the assault. We meet the champions, a small group of exceptionally experience warriors and cast a variety of magics on them, Orthostopheles enchants them. Seffan, Sabastian and Villa head out in the evening, flying for many hours, deep into enemy territory.

Still dark, the group land in a small clearing by a smallish pond. The rain is still coming down hard and the group are wet and slightly cold. Taking a few minutes to magically remove our exhaustion, we walk through brush for a small time before climbing a hill that has three towers on the top. Between our magic, and skill, and the weather, no one will detect our arrival.

Villa sleeps the orcish inhabitants of the largest tower and we slip in. The tower is disgusting, Orcs are filthy! Many hours later, following many failed attempts, Sabastian finally manages to create a rune portal and ferries in the troops - it has taken so long its almost light. The weather has improved slightly, and the rain is stopped, but it is still very windy.

Villa has run a wizard eye through the ground while waiting and identify a point close to the tower were the dark sphere will create our entrance. With the hole created the troops, who are well prepared, thrown down ropes and slide down into the natural cavern with ease. Followed by Villa and Sabastian, trailing a dark sphere behind him. The entrance wasn’t quite on target and the troops needs to wade in from the shallow lake, the battle begins.

There are only ten of us, yet our powerful magics are devastating. The orcs have almost no magic and we run through them with ease, Orcish screams echo throughout the cavers and they bodies litter the ground, the ground becomes damp with Orcish blood. A rune mage causes us some brief difficulty, he creates undead troops but they are dispatched quickly.

The Orcs finally break, and in flee in panic from out panic. A commander rallies them, and hundreds take positions behind barricades, situated hear the complex’s entrance. Seffan leads the wedge and they break through the barricades, the orcs howl in wonder and fear – no leader can rally them now and they flee toward the exit – the Champions are driven and cut down the all the fleeing orcs they can reach. Sabastian has time to cast multiple walls of light over the exit and the results are devastating – the orcs are massacred. The Knight pick through hundreds of bodies that are amassed around the exit, assuring no survivors.

he next few hours are spent searching the complex and picking it clean of anything useful. Sabastian itemise most of the metal amour, this can be melted down and reused. The complex cannot be collapsed, but many of the entrances can. We run the Dark Sphere through anything we don’t take, and the bodies to stop the necromancer using them. Some hours later we are celebrating at the command fortress, more damage has been done in a day than the last few years.

Martial law

Returning back to the farm we catch up with Delirium, she is still weak but feeling improved. There is a note for us from Lord Horowitz, “Expecting city curfew at dusk, come back immediately or sneak in. Expecting marshal law. “

We head back to the city, and the gates are heavily guarded. Royal troops wearing heavy armour are interrogating anyone that wants to enter or leave the Capital. Sneaking into the city we make our way to the Order’s townhouse and are quickly ushered in to see Horowitz. We didn’t think it possibly, but he is looking more serious than normal. He explains the front line has reached the Capital; there have been a spate of infiltrations into the Capital and individuals are been attacked in the open, undead have been seen in the countryside and drakes have been seen flying close to the capital. The Regent has declared martial law and taken direct control of the Royal Guard. Out actions against the orcs has interfering in the Regent’s machinations to take control and he must accelerate his plans. Horowitz is short of troops in the city and concerned if open war occurs they will lose. He needs us to help, but must not be seen in the open, we wait for his orders.

That night Sabastian tries to read the Night’s Sky, but it is unnaturally difficult and it fails. Returning to townhouse it is a hive of activity, Sir Richaux explains the Regent has ordered them confined so the townhouse will be evacuated at dawn.

We are woken before dawn to the sound of much activity. There is word of an incident at the Palace and the ambassador cannot leave, the Royal Guard have been tuned out. We pack quickly and depart for the docks, while fleeing we receive a note from a town guard and we make a quick diversion to the Orange Parrot. Reddick takes us to the upstairs bar where we meet the Captain, we exchange updates and learn that people are saying both the royal children have gone missing, probably not the Regent, as he already had control.

Tower Heist

Leaving the city and making our way to the farm, we passed troops building roadblocks. The City guard are technically under the rule of the Royal Guard and must obey their instructions, but perhaps not at the speed requested. The Farm is busy today, filled with troops people are preparing for a fight. Orthostopheles and Delirium are assisting with their various abilities – we cast what magics we can and return to the city that evening.

We make our way to the warehouse and find Reddick, and a woman in her 20s, awaiting us. He introduces Alicia, who was a maid in the tower. She can provide us a has a rough sketch of the court layout answers our questions. She hasn’t worked there for a few years and never went near the royal suites and cannot provide any information about them, and she won’t give us names of people as she doesn’t want to endanger them. With her assistance we are able to make a drawing of the Princess.

Returning back to the farm for a final briefing, Richaux provides us a delivery from Delirium – illusionary guard suits (that will only last 12 hours) and lenses that will let us see illusions and any of Delirium’s power/magic.

Our plan is to fly to the top of the tower, it’s a cloudless night with no moon so our approach will be almost impossible for them to detect. The Tower is built right on the edge of the escarpment, there are four bright lights at the top that provide light for the city.

A metal looking ring that surrounds the roof and is white hot from the lights. As we descent the wings begin disintegrating, Sabastian’s completely disappear and he luckily manages to grab onto Villa, they flutter to a hard landing. Villa resists sinking doom as he lands. The top of the tower is burning hot and we start burning. There is no way off the roof so we Windwalk to the airship docked below us.

Climbing down the lifting mechanism into the main tower we find the entire floor is what was once gardens, there is new construction here. There are four exits down, but we also spot concealed door on the north side. It is warded, and difficult to open, but no trouble for two master thieves.

The door leads to a room about 15ft in diameter, there are four distinct patterns on the floor which are revealed as portals. There is text written on the walls, and after some experimentation we identify command words for the portals which takes are to the following destinations;

  1. a large cavern.
  2. The top of the tower, and we start burning before quickly retuning to the portal room.
  3. Turn up in R20 light. Its unbearably hot here so we quickly retreat.
  4. doesn’t work.

The cavern contains a network of platforms and walkways, the walls are covered in beautifully carvings. There is a waterfall in the north corner and there appears to be a blockage as the first floor of the cavern is waterlogged. Everything seems damp, the stonework and walkways are not in the best condition. We spend time searching and find there is nothing is little of interest in the area, the only thing being a large warm square on the wall. The wall is part of a bound box, a wizard eye cannot penetrate it. Working on a hunch, Villa casts locate and Sabastian and returned to the main room and step through the 3rd portal. The location arrows points to the bound wall. Returning back, Villa and Sabastian plot for some time before putting on lenses and travelling through the portal.

The lenses allow us to see a bright colourful, humanoid figure that is enchanted with Delirium’s magic. Sabastian touches it and is almost killed. Its insubstantial and burning hot. It creates a sword of light and gestures at us, we are able to work out its Kosiva, the Empress, she is trapped in a celestial form. After some discussion and experimentation we find we cannot move her through the portal and close proximity to her will kill us. We finally work out we can store her in a crystal of vision, we are being burnt and teleport back to the central tower. Even through it was a short time the damage is enough to send Sabastian unconscious. Kosvia bursts out of the crystal and moves away.

Following some healing, we have a quick conversation with Kosiva. Her abrupt, dismissive personality has not been help by ten years of imprisonment – we learn she escaped with Delirium, and had significant amounts of celestial magic on herself. She was trapped on top of the tower and imprisoned in the cube, trapped is a bright celestial form. We fly from the tower and Kosiva’s glowing from can be seen from miles around. We talk to Delirium thought the trump and explain we are incoming with Kosiva, but learn that drakes have been spotted and are flying to the capital.

Enemy assault

We fly for some time away from the Capital in order to intercept the Drakes, fighting around the city will lead to many casualties. Korsiva is normally argumentative but quickly agrees to assist, she is out for some bloody revenge and needs an outlet for her anger. Almost an hour later we spot a squad of drakes about 10 miles away, they are flying low, about 1000ft and haven’t spotted us. They are 6 drakes, 20 ft long, and a large creature, about 40ft long (dragon?). There are troops on the creature but it is difficult to tell how many.

They are about an hour from the Capital, and too many for us to engage. As we are flying faster than them we return to the farm and alert them of the looming attack. Delirium is able to magically move people from the farm, via her maze and back to the city and assist with the defense.

Arriving at the city, with about five minutes before the drakes will arrive, we fly directly to the Order’s Townhouse. There are about 50 armored knights in the courtyard and teams are setting up arbalests. Sir Richaux is in charge of the soldiers and, following a quick conversation, we begin casting magics on the troops. Lord Horowitz has headed to the tower to convince the Royal Guard to enter the battle.

The drakes arrive at the city, flying low and slow across the rooftops. The dragon breathes long, intense gouts of fire, setting the city alight. Buildings quickly catch fire and the smoke quickly obscure the sky, it becomes difficult to see the drakes from the ground.

Pulling out Crystals of Vision we overlook the city and see some for drakes have landed near the palace, the troops they carried have engaged royal guard in near the main entrance. Two of the drakes are circling the city and fanning the flames with their wings. The dragon is hovering about the palace, it appears to be pulling the roof off.

The arbalests, on carts, and knights are ordered to the palace to support the Royal Guard. The unit is intercepted before we reach the palace, a drake lands on a cart and destroys and arbalest. Unfortunately for the drake its facing away from us, ripping up the cart, so we dispatch it quickly- it wasn’t expecting our powerful magics.

Looking through the crystal we see four drakes guarding the palace entrance, some of their enemy troops have entered the palace. Richaux leads the lancers to the palace and engages, a few minutes of running we reach the fight. The parade outside the palace is held be dragonkin (7 ft high humanoid creatures, wearing plate/scale and duel wielding glaives). Dragonkin are rounding up non-combatants and pushing them towards the royal guards to breaking their formation.

We join Richaux and his troops, they are setting up the arbalests. The bulk of the troops are fighting the dragonkin in the palace parade. Many of the True Lights have been deliberately smashed. The knights have a tough fight on their hands but many castings of quickness by Villa sways the flight. Sabastian engages in healing and Kosiva joins the fight and lays waste with her glowing blades.

Following some bloody fighting the Knights have the upper hand, with most of the dragonkin defeated. The drakes at the main gates will prove more difficult. After some quick discussions we have a plan – Sabastian drops meteorites on them, and Kosiva leads troops to engage them.

Delirium casts a maze to move Sabastian, Villa, and a handful of troops to move them past the drakes and into the palace. The maze never has precise results and Sabastian appears by himself in the palace halls, in front of a drake, and cry-flights for almost 20 seconds before the rest of the group appears. The single drake is defeated the group move deeper into the palace, following the screams.

We encounter another drake and group of dragonkin and engage a bloody battle. Sabastian’s dagger gets very angry with him following a poor blow and slices open his jugular, his life starts pour out the gaping wound. Following more fighting and much magic Sabastian doesn’t die and the dragonkin are beaten back. Leaving the troops to finish the Dragonkin Sabastian and Villa rush to the throne room.

Throne room chaos

There appears to be a standoff in the palace there are three groups facing off against each other.

  1. The Princess, who is flanked by 10 guards.
  2. The Prince, who is flanked by seven guards and has a bodyguard in plate armour.
  3. The Regent, who is flanked by a dozen guards.

There is much shouting taking place as no one seems to trust anyone else in the room. This gives Sabastian time to study those in the room through Delirium’s lenses.

  1. The Princess (E&E) is dragon under a shape change, she is a very martial looking man wearing black scale armour, four of her guard are dragonkin.
  2. The Prince (Necromancer) is a 7 ft tall gaunt person in bone armour, carrying bone scythe.
  3. The regent is just the regent, looking very scared.

The “Princess” and “Prince” cast. Everyone is hit by an agony, the Princes’ troops seem immune. None has hit anyone yet and Sabastian yells out the identities, this confuses the Regent and annoys the royalty. The “Royalties” order their troops to engage and start casting.

The room is hit by many magics over the next minute; R20 Necrosis, darkness, lights, streams of corruption, paralysis stares, slows and quickness’s. The troops are quickly whittled down, the Regent is petrified and hides behind Sabastian and Villa. With most of her troops dead the “Princess” flees. Fortunately, Villa manages to turn the “Prince” to a frog and pick him up with telekinesis. Sabastian drives a dagger through his body, sticking him to the wall and he changes back to the prince.

It takes some time, but order returns to the palace and the remaining dragonkin are slain. As the palace is searched the real Princess is found, bound and gagged, in the Regent’s room. The Commander of the Royal Guard question the Regent and quickly arrest him.

Victory

By the end of the day we have pieced together what has happened. The Dragon has transformed to the “Princess” and was looking to take control of the palace. The Prince was poisoned with necromantic magic that allows the Necromancer to control him at will. The Drakes and the Necromancer were loosely working together and both wanted to control the palace. Delirium has much of her power back as the necromantic illusions are gone. The real princess is given power by the Royal guard and the Prince buried (we decide not to resurrect him, otherwise the power problem would come back). With our allies freed and the problem solved we give our goodbyes before we get embroiled with more activates and we get stuck here.

We pass through the gates and return to Cormelle and back to Kanlaoise. We have been gone for some time. Delirium is able to tell that Baccarat is trapped in a world called Spring.

We ask around and find the following are still missing

  1. Baccarat
  2. Varenthia - Ice Queen
  3. Shahdad (was not with them when they did things)

Kosiva returns to the palace to take back control and we return to Orthostopheles’ house to have a well-earned tea. A few hours later there is a knock on the door and the butler brings us a note, there is a squad of guards outside to escort us home, apparently Kosiva wants to control the narrative and doesn’t want us talking and disagreeing with her explanation of her absence. We say goodbye to Orthostopheles and Delirium, and thank he butler and cook for their help. Flying back to Wu-fang’s monastery we return to Alusia.