Return to the Fastness- Part 2

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Return to the Fastness - Part 2 of the adventure Part 1
Winter 805 GM Jono Bean

See Erzsabet's Report written some time later.

Dramatis personae

  • Clementine: A chaos warrior and shapechanger who will tear your arms off. Scribe & Leader.
  • Boulder: A giant of perverse habits and an inspired tactician.
  • Erzsabet: A fearsome Namer shadowed by a vengeful spirit.
  • Ben: A warrior with heavy weapons and odd demeanor. Cat Boy
  • Ithilmor: A rather nice elf with the habit of dancing naked.
  • Billy Rubin: A dwarf.
  • Bart: A mighty and mighty ugly wizard.
  • Sormina: Bart’s heavy orc.

Clementine's Scribe Notes

These notes are written up some time after the events. So I’m not sure what all of it means. We have spent some time training in Courtier, Weapons and Language in Kinlu. Some people got their heads lopped off for obscure reasons, but that seems to be the way of things there.

Day 1

I wake up on a ship off Sanctuary having missed the first session. Why are we here? How come I'm the scribe?

We head for town.

On the way Ithilmore's appearance almost causes a riot. So we hire 12 bully boys to keep back the crowds.

We go to a brothel (Lily Garden) why? Erzsabet and I see a Naga stripping so we make an appointment to see her, to check if everything is OK. A strange time is had by all. I see a side of Erzsabet I never wanted to, and can no longer look her in the eye. The naga has retired there now that her guarding job is finished, and is quite fine. Erzsabet now regenerates 3/pulse temporarily.

Gerbil invites us to dinner. We ignore it. Gerbil is self proclaimed "Lord of the Underworld" We go upstairs to the seamstresses workshop to buy concealing clothes for Ithilmore. She want Ithilmore to escort her to see a client tomorrow night. Quarg. The clothing gives -11PB.

Arman Leint of the Hellhounds wants us to tone down Ithilmore. Erzsabet hides from Hellhounds as she has done something bad here in the past. A guard is sent to follow us till we are staying somewhere. The merchant guild invites us to dinner tonight at 7 o'clock at the guildhall. Someone recommends the Thumb and Thistle so we head there.

We get a 9 o'clock appointment with Gerbil.

Catboy gets a 10 o'clock appointment with Kitty and Purr, two working girls. He doesn't look like he knows what to do with them.

We get to Thumb and Thistle about 6. 22s per night. We book for three nights. It is very "quality".

Our urchin guide tells us there is going to be a big rumble tonight. Someone wants to steal our “princess”, take her to the “Temple of Dark Thoughts” and shrive off her skin.

We meet the merchants for dinner: Mizereth, E&E, human; Mythis, no college, human; Richard, earth, human, healing; Malethot, no college human, merchant, scribe; another, no college, rock orbiting his head: detection of scrying; Kurd, no college, human, (from upstairs in brothel). The merchants want to hire us but we decline. Kurd offers us coffins. Smiling face stew (I don’t know what this means).

Back to Thumb and Thistle. There is a tall elf. Ithilmore’s brother’s friend Cime. Offer to make wine. A human in a purple robe comes up and offer to buy a drink. Cimron, water; Cime, black (wicca) They have a problem. Their apprentice Siss, is missing abducted last night from “Rock & Crow”. Has illusion on him so can’t be located. They think vampires want him to make water into blood. Abductors turned to mist.

Gerbil’s hobbit messenger turns up with ½ ogre bully boy. We send a note to our ship to say where we’re staying. We go with the hobbit to the Avenue of Temples, to a small pasta shop. There is healing garlic wine. They extend the olive branch, by telling us that SAG (the other one) is after us. There is a contract on us. This lot want to sell us info. We spend (with 30% discount) 1500s. They tell us:

  • where Yerken Chodak’s strongbox is. (aha, that’s why we’re here – to put something back into a box 3 up and four across for YC’s).
  • Moonshae and Rathe have taken up the contract. Gerbil has put out the contract. I think this guy has no real reason to assassinate us, so he must just want to talk to us. Moonshae and Rathe are due back in five days on Black Wind, a carack, not a merchant vessel.
  • The lockbox is no 7 at Cordileone, a gambling establishment.
  • Cat burglars, connected to “incredibly magical place down south” might attack us if we disturb them stealing our stuff, or it could be a brag.
  • We can go to the Vulgar Unicorn to get into a game if we want to.

We talk to Gerbil till 9.30 then go to Ben’s appointment with Kitty and Purr at the Lily Garden. On th way I spot a tail, young hoods with gang stuff. At bazaar exit there are juggling hobbit kids. We see a group of elderly guys wearing red robes with green stripes (Shrivers) at gate in front pointing to us.

We worry! We put up a force wall, a couple of them hit it, they do knockout gas spell and retreat.

We hurry on to the Lily Garden. Erzsabet, Ithilmore and I (I can't help it, and now I've seen more thing's I don't want to) visit the Naga again, she gives us present boxes. Bart gets a room and services for 45s. The naga, who's name is Suzanne, says that Ithilmore has an odd aura. She wants to meet us for lunch tomorrow. She will be the woman with red hair at the Vulgar unicorn tomorrow.

Ben’s girl’s die ¾ way through. We decide to leave. Boulder wears gargoyle wings and takes the bodies to the ship. Naga says we should see the Shrivers with Billy (who is blind from a backfire). (btw Shriver can make people virgins again).

Outside we run into our urchin, who tells us that the shrivers are looking for us, as they need our help.

He stabbed someone who was mugging him, then took him to the shrivers and asked for a healer, so that’s why he was talking to them. So the story is, that they put the price on our heads, so that we would raise our guard against the ones who are really after us!!!

So we go to the shrivers with the urchin. They remove Billy’s blindness (which he now has in a bottle). The shrivers have Shriven the information from themselves so they can’t be mind read, so one of the shrivers drinks it:

  • Someone’ noticed Ithilmores arrival, this person wants ‘great beauty; they have abducted the shrivers apprentice, to steal Ithilmore’s skin and swap with the baddy. It seems that if you’re missing a part, then it will replace the natural one.
  • They are Darks Ones, maybe ghouls. (Probably the same one’s who took the prentice water mage.)
  • There is a herbalist with restore life outside of town.

The shrivers give us a potion of casting windwalking or gaseous form to get away from the temple unseen.

We go back to the inn to get our stuff, including Sigusmunds sceptre, since we have decided our stuff is not safe there.

Things happen. We walk into ‘a trap of our own devising.’ There are phase spiders, hobbit rogues, inn guard and ourselves in a four way battle. Erzsabet dies. Ben is stolen. We recover our stuff, assisted by a rogue hobbit.

We leave the inn, and are soon attacked by a pack of orcs and ogres with archers. This is getting to be a long day. Where are our bully boys? We escape thanks to thief find escape route skill.

We get back to the ship, then fly to the shrivers with the bodies. They resurrect Erzsabet (they have a healer but it’s a secret) for 4 EN. They resurrect the cat girls.

  • Kitty and Purr died because they had to be killed by a catperson, and it was the only way to get out of their contract. They were dealing with people with dirt(?) from Aquila. They were cursed by a revenant to work in the brothel.
  • The catgirls know where the spiders are, in the sewers, near the maze. They know who the dark light guy with them was (we killed him IIRC). He has three testicles, odd tastes, drinks mercury which makes him go ghostly, he ‘knows things’.
  • In the ruins are
  1. A man with a club foot who likes to watch. Can be entanced by flashing a breast.
  2. A man with odd teeth with stuff in. He stops magic. He is from Alidar.
  3. An ugly man who wants to be a beautiful woman. He is resistant to pain, doesn’t bleed, can’t orgasm. (We figure he’s dead). He is Mr Tuesday at the brothel. At the time we think that means he comes on Tuesdays, but it turns out that the Elven brothers use nicknames like that for themselves.

A quick check of previous scribe notes, mentions that the three elven necromancer brothers from the Fastness of Girwyllan have phase spiders. The guys at the ruins have mind speech. They’re all pretty angry. Who is after us? (Astrology reading?) Creature of the night, can turn into mist, abducted a water mage, 6 minions, comes out at night, mind mage thus vampire.

Day 2

Sleep till 2pm. Go to visit the Naga. Kitty & Purr come with us to the Vulgar Unicorn. “All things are possible if you are prepared to pay enough.” I drink the locate potion from the shrivers and am now able to cast shadow wings rk 8-9(?). “The angry one who does not sleep comes into town during the day, instead of guarding his master.”

In the tavern, Boulder is attacked by bounty hunters. Billy is also struck down. Boulder flings himself out the window and fly into the sky. The rest of us sneak out. Boulder’s assassin renders him unconscious, and he falls from the sky, killing himself and his hobbit opponent. Ithilmore causes a distraction by rising up and giving off a flash of moonlight. Unfortunately. Kitty and Purr turn into tigers, Billy turns into a swan, and I briefly become a bear. I have the presence of mind to shout out “Come to the circus etc.” I ride off on the tigers, Ithilmore and Erzsabet fly off. The naga helps Boulder out, making him ‘undead’, and he fly back to near the temple district. Billy gives some of his “will to live” to help resurrect Boulder.

Now back to the original task: Erzsabet, Ithilmore and Billy go to the ‘bank’ to deposit ‘a potion’ and the ‘key’, actually a reconnoitre mission. The boxes have dwarvish runes, Erzsbet chooses number 9, and they DA stuff.

Ward on floor vs theft. Ward on ceiling vs blue star and red wand ie guard.

We go back and put the ‘key’ in. Done!

We wait for night. We ambush the vampire and cronies on their way into town. They are ash in the first pulse. It was three vampires. “Many nobles from Alidar are invisible to magic” We travel to the ruins. It is the ruin of an inn. There is light coming from inside. We back off and power up. Combat ensues. I get a death curse from a green toothed guy “no shadows will fall upon you until you pass the two rivers that flow the wrong way.” Death curse on Boulder: “the next death of your friends will make you all suffer greatly”. The opponent were: shapechanging spider/giants, some kind of mind elemental, spiders, little demons, sentient horses.

Loot: wand – cursed of whirlwind vortex, 2 imps, 3 apprentices, Ben’s body.

We pick up the loot and corpses and fly off before reinforcements can arrive, back to shrivers. They make two resurrection potions with tine nuts, three kinds of milk (we get human, hobbit and camel), 64sp and burnt vampire. The also shrive of the curses.

Unfortunately, although we've killed the Elven Brothers, they can cheat death once a month so are likely to be a problem.

And so back to Seagate…(oh the ship was attacked while we were gone).

Next mission

Steal a stone from the harpies at Buzzard Rock or otherwise free the shaper.

The rock is a piece of the eyes, larger and more formed. The stone cannot be flown, it is green with a red flash.

The ereheleine give us a two-dwarf-usable anti-elemental stone device. It is about the size of a washing machine, so we hire a dwarf to come with us.

I get a message that the Herald of the Western King wants to see me. I hide as I don’t want to be grabbed by the Usurper.

Duke Leto wants to see me, so off I go. They try to arrest me. He wants to know where my Kinlu army is. I tell them to ask the captain of Erzsabet’s Kinlu guard. Erzsabet is called for. (The guild council and healers also want to see her about Bedivere as mongoose).

Harpies capture Boulder, Erzsabet and Ben on the road outside the guild, leaving a note: they want to speak to us regarding surrender and trading our captive heroes for theirs. We should signal our intent to talk by lighting a fire west of Seagate.

We also find a peasant child. According to him, in his house are four harpies, two gargoyles, two gargoyle creatures tied up, a giant, Erzsabet, Ben , and his mum and dad. There is a giant outside and lots of gargoyles in the barn. The house is on the guild side of the river, half an hour from the guild.

Bedivere the Mongoose was there when they were captured, this is his info: not battle, was Angela, Melissa, Katherine, Arial, Bridget, Louise, Sal. Angela is a dark mage, Melissa, black mage, Sal air mage; these three are with the captives. Storm giant with magic gathered around him. Gargoyles. Missing Fiona, Bridget 3. Bridget 2 is held at the guild. Lots of mind magic. Quickened but didn’t look it, defence spells, invisibility, shadow form and darkness.

Broken Heart: Michaelines in Amba with broken hearts, Clementine is supposed to cure.

We go to the clock tower to get the Kinlu guard. We get a message on the way: Phaetons house invites Liessa to lunch. We pick up the fourteen guards. We have the dwarf machine against flying creatures and air elementals. It later turns out that this item was a trap from an Erehleine, maybe the guard captain, to destroy me. He gets to be dead. The machine is 4’ tall and 3’ wide so it is not much use to us, but we cart it to a treed hill, west of the guild, where we light a fire and wait for the harpies.

Clementine the nixie takes a drop of my blood “for hers” to cure the Michaeline of a broken heart.

Twenty minutes later a creature lands nearby and walks over. It’s a magical construct made of fantastical creatures. It stops 30 feet away. Then two harpies show up, clouds change shape to create a square hole, ¼ of a mile across, and runes appear – “Harpies rule”. The harpies, Arial and Bridget, have on Shadow form and Lightning Strike. Three of our guards talk to the harpies and die, supposedly a show of strength.

Ithilmore says “Give us back our people.”

They say :

  • They want their comrade Bridget 2, who is held stone at the guild.
  • We have a foe in common – Rashak.
  • They don’t trust us because Kilroy killed one of them.
  • They want the necromancers gone.
  • They had pact with big party.
  • They can let us fly.
  • Big party killed one group of necros, and shaper to return.
  • They don’t want the shaper to return, because Faldo and Gross will die. They will remember a contract with a necro who is dead in the fastness, and slay him, then commit suicide due to broken hearts.

I ask them why they keep picking on me? They say that in 9 years and four days they will tell me secretly on this hill.

Eventually in the following conversation, it becomes clear that all creatures of air in the Fastness have to obey me. This includes airmages in the party. Strangely, even though we are not in the fastness now, it still seems to be working. And they cannot prophecy me.

Bedivere who can see the truth, says that the Harpies are Nagas.

Arial tells us she has prophesied that she will be alive till a Michaeline with a broken heart comes to Amba. At our sudden indrawn breaths (we met a Michaeline with a broken heart in Amba just the other day) she looks worried.

Braegon or Kilroy destroyed control over water creature and created an imbalance and sought out herself and found us.(?) When Clementine changes from water to air, then I will control all air in the fastness.

They want us to help them against Rashak. We trade captives and will meet at standing stones.

So: Faldo and Gros came to the Fastness to kill the shaper because he stole the items to make themini-Plane-of –the-Dead, so he could kill his family and stay with them. Faldo and Gros killed him and were cursed with love for him (or something like that) and lost their memories. They then darded their mission (geas) was to free the shaper. If they do so, they will get their memories back and wish to kill him again. The harpies worship the shaper and don’t want this to happen.

Our plan is to get Clementine’s (the nixie) memories back, as she knows where Faldo and Gros’s memories are. Then we can get Faldo and Gros’s memories back before they rescue the shaper, and hopefully they will either leave immediately or they at least won’t want to kill the shaper once they rescue him as they will remember having already done it.

“If beauty is true in her form, the cat people will be freed when the necromancers are destroyed.”

Harpeis should tell us about Katherine and tell us about Orson Wells at the standing stone.

Arial ‘owes us one’ for going to the standing stones now, before she dies. Otherwise we will be distracted eg by the spectre of a King.

We fly to the fastness and about 60 creatures with us, to our south.

Katherine is the shaper’s sister. Good terms. She doesn’t know this as Clem took her memories to protect her.

Orson Wells knows how to find Clem’s memories: It was on the body of a red-haired necro which is stored at the guild. Travel to cat people crystal, use nine cat’s tails.

The necros are after me. The shaper has three children, all vampires. Katherine made them vampires because they were far too wicked. “Ask about polka dot leeches.”

Angela turns up. She has brought presents. “Three brother’s twice seen will attack next. One of us will be slain.”

I sneak into the guild. The potion is in box 22733 in the vaults according to the namers. It is in a large trunk next to a cage with a troll in it. The oak box, not the redwood, according to security.

I rifle Braegon’s room for anti-necro wreaths and map of the necro complex. I find one wreath with six charges.

The herald who was looking for me comes in dead. I rifle his stuff and find a sealed pouch. I wait for him to be alive. He is from Sigismund, he gives me a pouch, which I am to open on 9th Heat 809.

We leave, taking Kitty and Purr, who have been making trouble and running up bills on Ben’s tab. Flying over the hills we can see runes of luck. We land outside the swamp.

I put my head in the swamp to talk to Clem, but I turn into a puddle and vanish.

A badger approaches the party saying that he has lost his pipe and wants to hire some adventurers to find it.

Katherine lends us a ring that will help cast magic and give us three more necro wreaths.

She tells us that a werewolf was looking for Ithilmore.

Meanwhile, Clem has summoned me because she has become trapped in a cave when the water dried up. Near cave of running metal, funny colour, reddish, burns, it’s mercury, I take damage. Dried up river about 60 feet away. We’re at corrosive mine, where myrrh comes from. Careful of goblins (blue) seem friendly.

Erzsabet summons out Clem. Watch out for myrrh monsters – they give bad luck. I suppose she must have summoned me out too.

Katherine gives us three bottles of great luck. The spotted leech is vs insanity. Katherine says I can’t have one. She gives me a passel of leeches. She gives us insoles.

Clem surfs us to Amba. The knight is gone. We will meet Clem at her river later.

So we go to the cat people. Under the crystal we can change into anything, especially me. Bedivere the mongoose changes back to a dog.

I get the potion beaten into me, and remember things.

  • The harpies were once nagas.
  • One in the hill got away.
  • Corruption happens because the shaper has been away.
  • In the top of a tree near the owls are Faldo and Gros’s memories.
  • The owl is the son of the shaper.
  • The beavers are the real water elementals.
  • I can cast all water magic

My previous memory: mine?

I try changing into a bear with 1000 en, and it works, but when I try to leave, I have a heart attack.

We go to the tree to get the potions.

We go and find Clem. Faldo and Gros are with the greenwater goblins making bottles. Their goblin King can cast evil eye. He looks humanish. They are selling potions for 10s that restore all lost endurance so Ithilmore buys all 19.

We take Faldo and Gros to the standing stones.

We get crystals to get past air elementals into the plain of death. We forget to take one for Bedivere so Erzsabet dies. She turns up and carries herself. Faldo and Gros can tattoo corpses so that charms don’t come off when you die. The shaper can do permanent enchantments.

We go to the shapers palace. Go down stairs, walking on the green tiles. There is a spinning stone with a stationary throne. There are gold discs to walk up there. The shaper sits on the throne, casts a ritual, then comes back. Leads out to new doors. Room with coffins. Opens one. Liessa takes a great luck potion and gives her the fix undead potion. She sits up, all seems fine.

He gives us an item which will slay Rashak.

The storm giant gives everyone but me a drink and toasts them ‘to a life well lived, enter then into a brotherhood”

The shapers wife is going to open the gates. The shaper has fixed his children.

He gives a letter for Kinlu, to get any sword the emperor can command for Boulder.

The shaper says I can’t leave the fastness because I am part of it.

Swithen should be able to remove my responsibilities. He does, along with the water magics.

I let them kill me to get the resist death tattoo on my corpse. We get permanent greaters from the shaper.

  • Stones under tongue
  • Turnips
  • Potion of fixing undead
  • Hero sandwiches.

Some Notes from Bart

The Party goes to Sanctuary to replace a misplaced item. Yurken Chodak is a merchant prince. Durbo the smith is a friend of the captain of the ship we sailed there on. Jerbil is an oversized thug who fancies himself as lord of the underworld. There is a group of cat burglars rumoured to exist with some magical land way down south. We stayed at the Thumb & Thistle for 3 nights. Sanctuary is not a place I recommend including in any tour package. During said 3 nights the party visited various disreputable establishments, hung out with shady characters of no good intent, and chased old gentlemen about the markets. I went home.

Other Notes?