Echoes in Eternity

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Scribe Notes

William Dymock-Johnson
Session: Spring 810WK
Night: Tuesday night (but not set in stone)
Level: High


This adventure is available for players to sign up. Please add your name below and character below.

  1. Kit A Gabrielite Inquisitor A contented soul in conflicts - party leader, forced into spiritual retreat
  2. Boulder A giant and dancer - - Military Scientist
  3. Erzsabet A namer and caller
  4. Dean Rowan Velcanthus, S.C. A reader and priest - Scribe
  5. Keshah A runeblade wielder and oathkeeper
  6. Arwen A druidess and lifetaker
  7. Princess Isil Eth A princess and spiritual embodiment

Brother-Captain An Empty Mind Breeds Heresy and The Witchsniffer Pursuivant of the United Western Church
The statue of the Archangel Raphael in the Cathedral in Seagate is bleeding. Find out why and how and /or if it should be stopped.
Surely all true sons and daughters of the church will undertake a mission of such import with all due charity. However the Church also realises that some monies will be required as 'expenses' and have set aside 90,000 sp for such.

Scribe Notes

We Investigate

2nd Thaw

It seemed obvious to all of us that we did not yet know who should be the leader of this enterprise, since the threat seemed to strike directly against the Western Church so we raised Kit's name. Erszabet seemed the obvious choice for Military Scientist. Thus it is that I find myself the recorder of these events.

Captain-Brother An Empty Mind Breeds Heresy (to be called Captain Heresy hereafter) took all of us but Boulder to the Cathedral of the Western Church, because the giant was called away for a time to move a large rock from one place to another. On entering the edifice, we noticed that they had not indulged in the recent faddish interest in a fifth archangel. However, the other archangels stood in marbled splendour, and, indeed, the statue of Raphael bled silver ichor decorously but regularly, at a rate of about six cups per hour.

Upon performing Alchemical analyses and divinations upon the blood, we revealed that if taken or applied to a wound, it would perform some curing function, but only for those who were unpacted or pacted to the Church. For those people pacted it caused an unsightly rash. To those pacted to the powers of darkness, then we theorise that it would inflict great harm. Rune mages found it had similar properties to dragon's blood, except that it was silver in colour.

We conferred amongst ourselves, whereupon Kit stroked his chin, Erszabet looked at the ground and Keshah examined his nails. The rest of us agreed with them and collected more of this loot evidence.

Its aura was revealed to have come from an entity on the order of an avatar, and it seemed likely in the face of this, that it was the blood of an angel or something near to it. We checked the statues for souls and spirits, even hunting around outside the cathedral, only to find that the gargoyles and grimacing faces that adorned the building were possessed by spirits.

According to the Church Knights we spoke with, this was part of the defense system of the cathedral. Arwen and I were apalled but Kit simply nodded. We investigated the statue at length and Arwen shifted the statue away from its niche by Binding the stone beneath it. The displaced statue revealed the presence of a spectral weapon of some kind, the statue itself concealing the weapon's presence. It seems the name of this weapon is 'The Slayer of Gods'. It looked in some respects like a halberd, but mostly not. It was the kind of weapon that was best wielded by someone with four arms, one of which wasn't there. It had many twisting tines that wound along eye-bending curves, some fading into and then out of other dimensions.

It seems it had been crafted to deliver a mortal blow to any immortal. Not only that, but that it seems to shrive or drain some of the victim's power. It was our immediate speculation that this was a weapon of the Calimari, but the plane of origin seemed to be Alusia, which was not what we were expecting.

Kit stroked his chin, Erszabet looked at the ground and Keshah examined his nails. Arwen and I agreed with our colleagues, but then Boulder arrived having transported the rock safely. He looked at the spectral weapon, and told us he had seen the real thing before, and that it was in Guild Vault in the sure hands of Guild Security.

Kit gazed pointedly at the Guild, and we all hurried off there. We spoke to a shadowy figure who seemed less directly pernicious to human life than the others, and asked him if he knew anything about this Slayer of Gods weapon. He summoned a minor flunky of some kind, directed him to check on 'the item in 84A'. While we waited, Kit stroked his chin, Erszabet looked at the ground and Keshah examined his nails.

Keshah's nails were beging to take on a nacreous shine when the flunky returned. He informed the shadowy figure that was the representative of Guild Security that they had run a complete count of all of the items in 84A three times and on each occasion they had returned a value of 'none'.

Since it is obvious that nothing can be removed from the Guild Vault without the permission of Guild Security, then it followed that the weapon must perforce still be inside. Therefore, on eliminating all other possibilities, we conclude that the Slayer of Gods was the victim of a cataloguing error.

Again, the flunky was despatched back to the Guild Vaults to find the table entry that would reveal the weapon's improper location. Time passed and we engaged the Guild Security man in conversation, whereupon he discussed the merits and pitfalls of using neuro-convulsants over haemmhoragic poisons on debriefing sessions, which we found arresting.

Upon the flunky's return, he told us that one of the ledgers of the catalogue had gone missing. Kit drew an inward breath. Boulder recollected that there had been a Guild Accountant who had been bent to the will of Rashak, and he had upon her orders, suborned several members of Guild Security. He raised the point, saying that it indicated that the inviolate nature of our Security people had been known to have faltered, and that we could not count on it having resisted corruption on this occasion.

Given pause by these events, we arranged to meet with Kali the Nameless, but she was somewhat engaged for a time and would meet with us the following day. Arwen spoke with some Philosophers, and asked who might be interested in weakening the Western Church and Raphael in particular, but it seems there is not enough ink in the world.

We asked them what might be someone's motive, then, in attacking Raphael in this way. Their response was that someone wished to gain his power, which seemed obvious, but they seemed not to know why he was being attacked as opposed to Michael or Gabriel or one of the others.

In the morning, we returned to the Philosophers, who told us that the best place to attack a power with the weapon was at the place that they first ascended, which in the case of Raphael was somewhere in Alfheim. One of the Philosopher's showed Boulder where this was supposed to be on a map. Kit stroked his chin, Erszabet looked at the ground and Keshah examined his nails. It seemed that this was as good a place as any to continue our investigations.

On speaking with Kali, she told us that events in the recent past had weakened the normal force of cause and effect so that there might be a disjunct between the two, and Kit looked concentratedly into the middle distance. We must have talked about this for some time and it must have been fascinating, but I seem to have nodded off during the telling of it.

In any case, Kali agreed that heading to Alfheim was the next sensible step.
4th Thaw
We gathered supplies and flew north to a wood in Alfheim that Kit knew of, and this took us most of the day. We arrived in late afternoon and exited his ship in various ways but none so curious as Kit's, which was to plummet with a complete lack of mortal concern. He emerged somewhat dizzy but otherwise unhurt from the depression in the earth his sudden arrival created, having missed the leafy bed Arwen created for him.

The forest seemed to consist largely of beech and oak trees, light, airy and the pale green of early spring. On examining our surroundings, we discovered a several days old elven corpse. Rigor had set in but was not as profound as it ought to be, and seemed to be lasting longer than normal. Oddly, the elf's flesh suffered no corruption and it was clear to us that his was caused by violent wounds, probably from a sword.

Keshah cast ESP over a huge area and it revealed to him three non-sentient minds, which given the time of year and the kind of place we were in was eerily odd. Casting about the area, we found other elven bodies, and it appeared that the journey of the soul upon death of at least one of these poor wretches was into the weapon that slew him.

Kit noticed a hunting dog of his acquaintance behind the trunk of a tree, and drew him out for the rest of us to see. After introductions were made, Kit instructed the hound to course after those who had slain the elves, and it did. We followed in the air, the canopy being high enough that we had plenty of room to manoeuvre. Thus it was that we came upon a shrine, desolate in its desecration. This shrine marked the original point of Ascension of Raphael.

Kit re-consecrated the shrine to Raphael, and we discovered that the relic of the shrine had been taken. We had no idea what that might mean although Divination revealed that Conjurations of Necromantic Magic had been worked here. Shortly thereafter, Erzsabet cast Necro counterspells upon us all.

Once the shrine had been re-consecrated, a Seraph appeared to guard the shrine. He recognised me and we asked him what had passed. It told us that the marauders had broken into the shrine and taken the relic, it being a harp string that represented one of the notes of Rafael's chord.

It turns out that there are three of these strings, one in Raphael's possession and the other in the Cathedral at Mordeaux. Keshah and I raised termini for our Portals, and transported the party to Elfenberg, upon which Arwen passed Kit and I instantly to a place on the outskirts of Mordeaux. Decamping to the countryside, more portals were raised, and the rest were drawn through. We quickly restored ourselves, and entered the city in some pomp and finery. I was not attired as I usually am.

When escorted by a phalanx of worried guards, we can sweep through a town quite quickly and it was not long before we were knocking at the doors of the cathedral. When the attendant answered, he introduced himself as a bishop of Seagate and soon we were inside. He asked for access to the reliquary, and on being asked why, he replied that he wanted to check on the security of the note of Rafael's chord.

The attendant became worried and fled to find someone more senior. When he returned, he was leading a small delegation of clergy. Kit explained that, for the execution of his churchly office, he needed to examine the relic for the defence of the Western Church. For this purpose, he explained, he had gathered a team who were above reproach, even the precocious and blasphemous cat.

The priests, on the strength of Kit's prestige and rank, led us down some stairs, past the final resting place of those important to the church, to the reliquary itself where we began our crypt scene investigations.

It quickly became evident that the string was a fake. The Generic True Name was revealed to be human, not elven, and according to Kit it sounded somewhat off the note. The diocesan clergy became concerned at this, and flung themselves to the stones in a frenzy of prayer. It seems that prayer is the sum total of their repertoire of effectiveness. To be fair, they also send for researchers to peruse dusty tomes, which may provide some enlightenment at a later date. We left, and portalled to the coast.

At dusk, Arwen sailed her mysterious ship out to sea, in the direction of the note of Raphael's chord.

5th Thaw By applying arcane Navigator magics to these data, we determined that an item matching the description of the harp string was available for 'resale' in Sanctuary, (about fifty miles down the coast!). We took some time on Arwen's boat to divine our future if we spoke with either the Shrivers or the Necromancers of Sanctuary, and on either occasion, the vision ended in pain, death, terror and blood. We eschewed further visions for the nonce.

Once in Sanctuary, we approached first Justicar Rashan of Uriel, and then with his blessing, Molin Torchholder, the most dangerous priest in Sanctuary. He is pacted on the one hand to Michael and on the other to the Savage Duke, which no one enquires too closely into. His service to these Powers is to act as an intermediary so that they may make embassage the one with the other. His continued existence is dependant on maintaining the status quo.

In any case, he knew of who we were and of our coming. He gave us all titles to indicate our roles in what was to come.

Kit the Nightbringer
Boulder the Dancer
Erzsabet the Seer
Keshah the Pathfinder
Arwen the Lady
Rowan the Betrayer

It seems that Nightfall is upon us, an end-of-the-world event where the sun is covered in sackcloth, the seas turn to blood and almost everyone dies. Kit has some associations with it, viewing it as an end devoutly to be wished, but must consult his diary for a convenient starting time.

In any case, Molin informs us that we can find out more about objects of creative provenance by speaking with Lenny the Squid. He gave us the address, which it turns out is in the sewer. Where else? Seeing no need to stand upon the social niceties, we at once made off, being led there by a servant. Shortly afterward we found ourselves in the presence of the dealer. It turns out that his nickname arises from the bonelessness of his fingers, not from being Calamar. We checked his aura.

The Squid knew of the item in question and, he said, we could have it for either half a talent of gold or transport to a less doom-laden plane. Or, he would sell us information on its location for a twentieth of a talent. As we were calculating the conversions, Boulder proffered an item that would transport the user to the Fae Realms. The Squid found the trade agreeable and sent some hench-entities to collect the note.

Upon their return, they told him that something was in the sewers, and one of my spirit allies told me that iron golems would be upon us shortly.

A few moments later

Soon, we found ourselves assailed by five iron golems. Boulder engaged the first one, with Kit taking the second, while Keshah and Arwen set upon the one at the back. When he moved to engage, Kit became pinned between one of the massive constructs and the wall, and could make no impression upon his assigned target. Instead, he could only threaten the third golem, the other having moved beyond his reach. Unimpeded, the second golem moved into Lenny's place of business, skirting the area where Boulder and his golem were fighting.

Arwen teleported behind the last golem, and was instantly grabbed and dragged into its steely embrace. The construct struck her twice, which was our first indication that they were Quickened. Although not badly hurt by the exchange, she believed that she would not long stand up to this relentless assault and established some distance from it. Keshah arrived a moment later and together they were able to reposition themselves to better advantage.

The second golem strode menacingly up and fell upon me. Boulder backed off from his opponent and flung himself acrobatically between me and my attacker, sparing me its violent attentions. Nevertheless, I found the back of my head squeezed into the corner of the room. It was but the work of a moment to scurry out of the way and activate some of my defensive magic. At that moment, the room and in fact the entire corridor shook, bursting open a door at the other end of the chamber. The shaking threatened to knock us off our feet, forcing us some six metres in the direction of the splintered remains in the doorway.

Kit, fighting with the third golem, was brushed past by the fourth. It struck at him in passing, but did not seem any more interested in him than that. Indeed, it moved further into Lenny's office but was hindered by the battle therein. Kit assailed both his opponents, but could not establish himself as a credible threat to any except the third. His labours seemed to give it pause, but being without internal organs or normal points of vulnerability, it but gradually weakened. On the other hand, when it came time to return the favour, it seemed to inflict deadly wounds. I saw upon an occasion that the golem struck Kit a sickening blow upon his crown, the force so great that his head was battered from side to side, like unto those bladders on a stick with which players and mummers are wont to entertain children or the weak of mind. And yet, he did shake off this fell blow and after a few moments seemed not even giddy. Perhaps the contents of the head are not a vital organ for knights of the Western Church.

Boulder, in the meantime, was beset, having taken blows from two golems and not being in an ideal position to avoid more. He fell and would likely have taken a mortal wound had not Erzsabet and I channeled healing magics to him. And, lo he sprung to his feet to chase after the first golem, for it had been drawn past the other door of Lenny's office, the while he delivered mighty blows upon the second.

In the other corridor, at the back, Arwen had avoided serious harm, but yet was heavily bruised. She had teleported to a safe point, the where she might partake of such elixirs and draughts as would recover her strength. Keshah had become the attention of all of the constructs unwelcome attention, and it turned upon him. The golem struck the elf a telling blow. He groaned and was forced to one knee. Yea, but that Erzsabet levied a gladsome tax upon us all and, with that revenue, deferred Keshah's debt to Nature for a time. And he rose up,

I pulled out one of an oil can that Axis had given unto me, in which he had stored such magic that slows the passage of time. Erzsabet, at a glance, saw that the golems came from the Heavens or Heaven, and that they were associated with the Celestial Bureaucracy. It occurred to us that we might not be the target of their interest, but rather that we stood between them and their ultimate destination. Whereupon we noticed a yellowish mist issuing from further down the corridor, the direction that the second golem, and now Boulder, had gone.

Only Kit and I could see through this foul and pestilent congregation of vapours, and I but poorly. I could not see Boulder to include him in Axis' magic, for he had passed beyond the line of my sight. Nevertheless, I managed to catch everyone else in its net, and soon we were moving much faster. Kit laid about his golem, and inflicted sufficient harm to it that it was rendered inoperable. He pursued the fourth golem, engaging it a few steps into the higher-ceilinged corridor. Erzsabet and I raced after Boulder, and upon arriving saw that the first golem had been plunged into a bubbling vat of greenish corruption, whereupon it had begun to dissolve. On the other side of the vat, three necromancers stood. Lenny the Squid lay on the floor, quite dead, his flesh a twisted mass of suppuration.

Boulder had already assaulted one of them and felled the wretch in a single blow. It turns out that the necromancer was skilled in Greater Curse, and laid upon the giant such a Death Curse that all his recent wounds would open at once, laying him low.

Kit attacked a second necromancer, quickly slaying the recreant, and he received Death Curse that all of his recent wounds would bleed, he having some eight wounds. He transformed into a mist, for the while that he had no solid form, he did not bleed and so could escape the consequences of this dire exsanguination. We focused our healing on Boulder, and then when he was recovering, Kit turned back and we staunched his wounds.

We controlled the last necromancer and forced him to accept a Rune of Truth, the better to question him.It seemed that the Necromancer's Guild saw this as a way to achieve power. It seems that Raphael's Chord would provide excellent purchase for anyone wanting to control the angel, and that this attack was an opportunistic one. It had not seemed terribly well-planned. The iron golems were some kind of sentinel with an agenda against these necromancers, and possibly the Necromancers Guild of Sanctuary.

Our musings were interrupted by a cacophony even further inside the complex, and so we looked. Some thirty imps tumbled toward us in their loathesome, graceless vaulting. Boulder, Arwen and Kit attacked them, while I Turned them. When hurt to the point where they were forced back to their plane of origin, they burst inflicting enough fire damage to kill a grown man outright. But, our front line did not seem fazed by the burning, and the tide of that battle was well and truly with us. We retreated in good order so Keshah could raise a Rune Wall.

Before he could complete it, however, a pair of devils cast Dragonflames, and although it did serious harm to those closest to it, it did not even look like killing them, for all that it was an unusually well cast spell. The rest of us were too far back to be inside the area of effect of the spell. Boulder charged across to engage one, and Arwen teleported behind one, but it whirled to face her.

And, then the avatar of the Willing Prince appeared. He seized Boulder's arm and attempted to wrench it off at the shoulder by moving in that ineffable way that he has to stand behind me. Boulder's will was too great, however, and he shrugged off the attack. Having arrived without the giant's arm, the avatar kicked at me, delivering a grievous blow but Chantris was with me and I stood unharmed. Kit and Boulder fell upon him with such ferocity that the 'Prince' was forced to relinquish his hold on this plane, and he fled.

After the Prince

After we drove off the Prince, we gathered as much loot evidence as we could and, at Kit's direction, we headed to the Urielite church of Sanctuary. At once, Kit spoke very fast to the gathered clergy and soon we were all cramped together in the broom closet that the church administrator worked from. Most places are small when you travel with Boulder. The spaces don't start out that way, but it seems giants have a special magic to consume the space around them.

After Kit brow beat the poor fellow into increased diligence in their efforts to gather intelligence, we took our leave. As Keshah prepared a Rune Portal, Erzabet and I examined the bag. Although it revealed to her that it is made from a Damned Soul, I could not see anything of it. However, when we conclude our first Divinations, it is clear that it is, indeed, one of those consigned to the flames below, presumably to serve the Willing Prince. That service being as a purse, one whose contents cannot be detected. We conversed with the spirit, and asked him if he would serve us, and faced with the prospect of a return to Hell, he readily agreed

But, then it seemed that Boulder, who has about his person such herbs the which he may dress his organ of generation for that he might fornicate and yet avoid the natural consequence. Indeed, it came about that mention was made that the purse might serve as a device, slathered with these herbs, which would spite his giantish virility. And, as the meaning of this conversation unfolded, the mouth of the purse opened and a low moan issued forth, wailing that he found himself in Hell yet again.

By that time, however, Keshah had finished his ritual and we travelled to Mordeaux, wherein Kit exhorted more of his brethren to greater effort via sundry direct threats. Returning to our dark runic portal, we found that a book had been left in its centre, and it seems that this was a sacred book of those who follow the One Horned God. It was slender volume of perhaps twenty pages, but nevertheless on the inner cover of the back there was a message written requesting a meeting in Seagate at the temple. Which we found interesting and kind of creepy. Given this new omen, we travelled immediately to Elfenberg, then Alfheim. Kit searched for his boat, which was in the same spot that he left it, except that the rope was moored now to a tree rather than the rock we recalled. As we examined the surrounding area, waves of innocence rolled off the boat.

We made haste to the elven university, where we might consult the Library of All Knowledge. Sadly, the library was of little use, telling us little that we did not know already. I consulted with Chantris in a quiet grove, and She opined that, should Nightfall occur at this time, then the Five Archangels would be at a grave disadvantage for Raphael is He who wards Them from harm. She observed that whatever the conclusion of such a conflict, then the victor would be much reduced, and would be more amenable to persuasion.

She told us that the Celestial Bureaucracy were not a threat to us or our mission, but they were unlikely to be useful. Thus, we were to avoid attacking them except for our own protection, and this seemed sensible.

We discovered that Eris had made the acquaintance of Engalton the Despoiler, indeed She had kissed him on an occasion according to Boulder. This seemed interesting but it was hard to know how to proceed with it. In any case, we discovered that an artefact known as the Anvil of Despair lay in the Southern Lands, near a place called Rokar. At the same time, we discovered that another artefact, the Ring of Unification was implicated, although not directly in these matters. It seems that Princess Isil Eth is destined to wear it.

When Kit rolled out his map, Boulder poked a hole in it where it should be. Seemed far away.

As we travelled back to Seagate, we Divined the contents of the purse. There were five gems, a ruby, an emerald, a blue sapphire, a diamond of violet hue and a garnet. These Angel Eyes correspond to the Colours and Spheres of the five Archangels (I was more than a little slow to realise this - Kit). If worn in an obvious place, the gems have the following properties:

Eyes of the Archangels
Gem Carried by Property
Sapphire (Gabriel) Erzsabet +10 Cast Chance, +10 FT
Ruby (Michael) Kit +1 Weapon Rank,+10 SC
Diamond (Uriel) Rowan +1 TMR, cast Charm Spell Rk 10
Garnet (Sammael) Boulder +10 PC, Rk 10 Enhanced Vision
Emerald (Raphael) Keshah +1 Weapon Rank, +10 Def

On arrival at Seagate, Boulder declined to disembark, instead preferring to stay on board where he kept company with the crew, some of whom were actually there, but sadly none could be said to bear more than a passing similarity to humanity.

Erzsabet had a meeting with Kali, and we shared our information with her. The evidence suggested that the Despoiler was at work on some plan to acquire enormous power which would then precipitate Nightfall. And this accorded with our experience of the man. We asked, and, should it be shown that he is about to trigger an apocalypse, we were given sanction to use force majeure to preserve the world. Or at least the local bit that we were occupying at the time.

Taking our leave, we headed to the temple of the One Horned God, but on the way we called into the new Church of Liessa, where we met with the Re-formed Sisters of Dissonance. Their doctrine was exactly the same as the Sisters of Dissonance, but that some of them had moved here from their original home, a convent for the teaching of young girls, and thus re-formed themselves on arrival.

We spoke to them about Liessa and also asked if they had spoken with the Despoiler. They told us that he had spent some time with them, asking them about dissonance and how it might be used to un-work an harmonious combination of notes. And, this seemed vexatious to us because Raphael, they say, is a combined being, made up of many souls. They became one as the expression of a time, a place and a motivation becoming congruent across many people of singular, focused intent expressed through music.

The sisters that we spoke to described the process as a crutch because such an ascension might be broken in just the way we saw unfolding before us. Indeed, they averred that the questions that Engalton had been asking of them dealt with things of that nature.

As we conversed, it became clear that the Despoiler could observe Erzsabet and Boulder from some paintings he had of them. It also appears that he had made many notes of his studies, and that these were at his home.

We thanked the sisters for their help and then left to make our appointment at the temple of the One Horned God. We met with Jeremy, whose purpose in asking to speak with us was to ask where we stood on the matter of Nightfall, and we gave him to understand that we were against it but that we might be reasoned toward a more final conclusion. Instead, he offered the observation that there were many worshippers of the Willing Prince in the Southern Lands.

It seemed that we would be heading south after a brief detour to Newhaven.

It was the work of the rest of the morning to get to the Spoiled Lands . We spoke with his seneschal, and Erzsabet examined his researches, finding a book called 'An History of the Western Reaches'. It seems that this is an history of an alternative past and the future that arose from it. We opine that it must detail the events of a fork in time caused by threads being looped out or new threads being woven into the temporal tapestry.

Boulder and Erzsabet take the opportunity to borrow their portraits, in part to avoid being spied upon and also because it might be of use to us. In addition, Erzsabet decided to commandeer the book as well, hoping to determine the Despoiler's thinking by examining those pages most dog-eared. And so we once more boarded Kit's boat and this time sailed south in a series of genteel corkscrews.

About three days later we arrived at Rokar, and it seemed on first encounter to be a rank cesspool of human sweat and filth. The place sweltered, and vermin swarmed about us. Yet, we entered, paying three silver for the privilege of moving through air so humid it was almost soupy.

Boulder accosted a man who crossed our path, and for a princely sum he hired him to show us about the town. This fellow, on finding out what we were doing in Rokar, exclaimed that we were relic hunters and that we should arrange to sign up with the Explorers' Guild. Which we did, the nonce we knew. The fellow led us there, but I noticed that we were being followed, and it seemed to me that, on the occasion of their death, the Willing Prince would claim them.

At the guild, we heard some talk of the Lost City of Y, crawling with undead and other vermin, apparently, and that seemed as a good a place as any to begin carpet bombing with Hellfire.

At the Lost City of Y

We rose up in Kit's ship and sailed for an hour towards the lost city, and resolve to set down in a clearing, which appear unusually regular. We arrived about midday. Mana is high in the area, and upon scanning the place, auras no stronger than those of the undead were revealed to our gazes. It turned out that the dead trees were, in fact, undead trees called 'hivers'. Boulder delivered a mighty kick to one of them, inflicting upon it a blow of giantish might, but it did not seem too worried by this. But, then, trees don't worry as a general rule, and we opined that undead trees have even less to worry about.

The trees have enormous powers of will, well beyond human. Higher, even, that some from the Seventh Plane or dragonkind. And, this concerned us. We resolved not to get too near these things when Boulder noticed a bite on his ankle. On examination, a small hole was found , and by those arts of Healing known to Erzsabet and myself, we determined that the limb was infested with heartworms. Kit operated immediately and excised the infestation with a flaming sword. This also excised the foot, which I Hellfired. An unpleasant writhing thing emerged from the wound, but the fires prevailed.

We did not know what else they might be so we dusted off and razed the place from on high.

We examined the crater for remains, but they appear to have learnt their lesson, having given up on their grim mockery of life. We secured the ship and made our way to the city, where we could see a towering ziggurat. As we approached, we found that several of us had been, if not here, then somewhere very close in the past. It was, according to Kit and Keshah, the style of building that drow favoured. Inscriptions and bas-relief carvings deetailed the degenerate practices of the inhabitants, their unslaked thirst for power and the evil in which they steeped themselves for their perverse ambitions. And, we resolved to keep a closer eye upon Keshah and Arwen.

We made our way through the deserted city to the ziggurat, but we did not touch the ground. We drifted up some stairs until we arrived at the top where we found a statue whose eyes had at one time provided a setting for gems. Some small distance away from the statue, a large stone door about eight feet by some ten feet high presented an obstacle to our progress. This appeared to be a door of some kind and it was faced with a carving of the Dragon Duke. We determine that the door is magical, and in some way stores a spell of Animating Magic, likely aimed at the eyeless statue beside it.

Erzsabet quickly disarmed the ward, and we progressed in. Another door of stone arrested our progress, and on examination it appeared that it has been sealed, thus to prevent the passage of air in and out of the door. We examined the floor, thinking to warp the frame so that we could open a small, controllable hole in the door, thus to let whatever foul and pestilent congregation of vapours dissipate harmlessly. However, the entire building is made of blocks of bound stone. Every single skerrick of it.

We did not know what else might be therein, so we dusted off and razed it from on high.

Keshah sent the sprite of the air he had bound, and had it sweep any foulness from the area, and we went back in. Whereupon a small hobbit-sized mummy accosted us. I immediately drew mana that I might Hellfire the foul mockery of life but it appeared this was a helpful undead mockery of life and I shouldn't Hellfire it until we have had a little talk with it. Perhaps we should also have offered it a cup of tea and a sticky bun while we compare notes on our varying states of existence. I reluctantly agreed not to surrender it to the flames, but I did bitterly resent it for it was festooned in such a multitude of bandages, much of its vital fluids having drained away that, had I been allowed to cast my spell, the thing would have gone up like a candle in a furnace.

The mummy led us to a place sacred to these recreant worshippers of the Dragon Duke. It had been methodically looted and the mummy made some mention of others that it had led down here before us. We looked about to find some way to desecrate this place of horror, but the aura of the place was rank with iniquity such that we could not tell if an act of swingeing disrespect might empower the place or reduce it. In the end, we gave up and simply opened the door on the other side.

Inside the room stood the Anvil of Despair, surrounded by strange variants of the tools of the smithy. Opposite us, another set of doors stood locked. Boulder and Kit entered the room and they did pick it up and leave the room, the while I cast such magic as would lock the door behind us. Then we left, but where it not for the strengthening magics of Arwen, we would have been laid low by a curiously draining effect. Boulder was unaffected, being resistant to magic of this nature. It's hard to know if Kit took damage or just pretended not to care. I certainly took enough damage as would fell a strong man. But I bore up.

Kit did not let us tarry, we ascended the inside of the ziggurat as quickly as possible. Soon we were outside and since we did not know what else might be therein, we dusted off and razed it from on high.

We made our way back to the ship and quickly set our course northwards. Presently, we discovered that we had all been afflicted and under the eye of the devourer. The magic was so great that it was beyond the power of the human understanding of magery. Although Kit averred that he might succeed in Removing it.

We sailed for five days, and I made use of the time to prepare potions that shroud the soul. Keshah had directed us on to the Library of All Knowledge in the Elven University. When we arrived, Erzsabet did spend a princely sum on a bottle of wine, and upon opening it with a certain intent in mind, one of the mighty, Matt Tumbledown by name, appeared. He is a titan, but yet not one of those who are the sons and daughters of Chaos. Instead it seems he is Erzsabet's true friend, and known to everyone else but me. And yet he did not tent peg Keshah, which set me to wondering.

Erzsabet and the titan conferred over wine, and he advised us that if we wanted eye lashes with which to avoid the unwelcome attentions of the Willing Prince, we would need to ply Brunhilde, another titan, I wean, of the gentler sex. But, we did not seem to know any wise in which she might similarly be called to our fraternity, so we abandoned it for the nonce.

Matt advised us that we might remove the curse by having a devourer who was benign to us set their eye upon us. It seems that Liessa is such a devourer, and should we petition her in her temple, she may in some wise remove or temper the curse. This seemed a reasonable plan but we decided to go to the Libary of All Knowledge in any case. Keshah, however, had lost all reason for searching it but Arwen did take some time to study therein and find knowledge on a spell of Diamond Javelins. It was in my mind to commune with Chantris, but I found myself distracted by the titan and it did slip my mind.

In similar wise, but from a different source, an Inquisitor of the Lunar Empire arrived to share his thoughts. And, he saith unto us that we shouldst first have thought what working the Ugly Earl might be about, for that he is a powerful seer, and much filled with all that is hateful of mortals. And, we saith unto the Inquisitor 'Huh?', whereupon he muttereth unto himself and 'though my grasp of the tongue of the Lunar people be yet poorly formed, it seemed to me that the word for moron didst bear much repetition.

And he saith, surely you knowest the works of Count Redwood? And, we replied that he was a grey wizard, and honourable, though not a pious man. Surely, saith the Inquisitor, you know that he is about his works in many places at once. To which we reply, yea for so great is his wizardry that he may bilocate, and we didst think that he could do this twice, thus creating four counts.

Whereupon the Inquisitor asketh us in tones of false sweetness 'Knowest ye where be these counts?'

Yea, and there was much scratching of the head amongst the party, for but we didst know of only one Engalton who wast at the labours set him by the Lunar Emperor.

And, the Inquisitor didst ask us 'What, pray, would happen shouldst one Engalton fall to the suasion of evil, and stray from the path of honour?'

Erzsabet then revealed unto us some part of what happened that didn't by some people who weren't there, but were, over the death or Rashak who may not have died, and which ended her reign. And, that an Engalton, divided and therefore reduced in strength may have succumbed to evil blandishment. While an upright Engalton laboured in the Lunar Empire, a corrupted one lurked elsewhere, having researched a book of prophecy wherein other futures unfold than we perceive.

At this point, I lost track of the discussion and, fearing that it might all be a mental attack, I did cast such magic as fortifies the will. Indeed, I did take tea and had a lie down, for that my head had begun to ache.

The Inquisitor took his leave, and I felt peace burgeon in the place where he wasn't.

We thanked Matt for his help and advice, and we traveled back to Seagate. We called upon those Sisters of Dissonance who had reformed here in Seagate, and we didst ask leave to meditate upon the greatness that is Liessa, particularly as this might refer to her appetite. I did attempt to match the gaze of the eye of the devourer that we perforce were beneath, but I was dissuaded by Keshah who wondered out loud how they might get me back if I was swallowed whole by this accursed eye. It seemed to me that there might be much truth in Keshah's musing. And, lo, the while I considered this, Liessa did appear, slipping a gentle tentacle unto the breast of Erzsabet. And I had no doubt that Liessa could outcreep the God of One Horn after that.

Nevertheless, Liessa seemed an hospitable host and she did commune with us the one with the other, and she told us that the Lion Duke was a likely candidate for those who might work with the Ugly Earl. She suggested other things, but the reference was too faint, and although the others of my colleagues nodded sagely, it went so far over my head I didn't even hear the wings flap.

In any case, she gave into my care a potion that would allow the strong in faith to draw forth corruption of the soul and end it's vile dominion. Or, at least, so we think it does. I resolved to Divine it the moment I had some time.

It seemed our next step was too look for evidence of Engalton's passing, which should not be difficult, for he is renowned wherever he goes. And, we resolved to speak with Death to make sure that Rashak was dead.

We Take Counsel with His Grace

After we had taken lunch, we presented ourselves to the Duke's court with Erzsabet in the lead. She is his sworn vassal and much endowed with courtly graces the which to ease our path through labyrinthine paths of intrigue and protocol. She approached a court official, the chamberlain, perhaps, and prevailed upon him in such gracious wise that we found ourselves soon in conference with His Grace.

He revealed to us that Engalton was working at some task for the Lunar Empire, and it arose in our conversations that there be only two of him, not four. However, he knew not where the other Engalton was, although he provided us a ducal writ, to which he affixed his seal, that he present himself to the Duke at his soonest convenience. We thanked His Grace, and took our leave.

We rested for the remains of the day, and on the morrow traveled to Tycho City by means of a portal near Seagate. It was but the work of a day or so to fly southwest of there to a swamp that Erzsabet knew. It was at this place that the cowled figure known as Death dwelt. And, it was a noisome place filled with the usual vermin. For every filthy, hopping thing that ate them, there were a twisting myriad of biting insects that made feast of our flesh and raised fevered welts even through our apparel. The air was fouled with the stench of rotting things. And, it came about that Erzsabet and Boulder were immune from this dire effect, but that to take counsel with Death, we must take up a toad and place it within our mouths lest we die.

While it was yet alive therein, we, ourselves, would not fall beneath His baleful pall. So, the rest of us took up this loathesome task, and ventured into His place. I was much concerned that we would not in any way be able to make our case clear, but it turns out that He is much versed in listening to the speech of those with a toad in their mouths, and even though we could barely manage more than a choked gargle, yet He did seem to gauge our meaning direct.

He told us that Engalton was distraught, and we took him to mean that the uncorrupted Engalton did suffer at the works of the corrupt one. And it suggested unto us that both may have some knowledge of each other. While the yet uncorrupt Engalton was in the Lunar Empire, the other was above the El Umbra, the submarine base of Rashak in Confederation Bay. We were concerned that if either Engalton should die, the spirit would travel to the other one, and that the corrupt one would infect the other. So, we asked of Death that, should either Engalton fall, he would keep him safe in his realm for a time, and He agreed.

He also showed to us a path through His lands that would take us to Confederation Bay in a day. We thanked Him and went on to the place of His Sisters, the Moïrae, for it seems that Erzsabet has some acquaintance with Them, too. And, we spake with Them, the one after the other, and they did tell us that Nightfall, if it should spring from the will of the Seventh Plane, was a work of deep untidiness, and that They had strong feelings about letting dust settle upon Creation. Such was Their disfavour of this that They gave into my keeping a Rod of Agonies. And, I did hold it with much care for that I didst deeply desire of it not to go off.

And, also, the lady Clotho didst take up Her spindle, and walk away from us for a time. The lady Lachesis returned, bringing to us a web of filaments, and She saith that this web would strengthen Raphael against the fell might of the Godslayer Weapon. And, also that we should seek to aid Raphael before we sought out the corrupt Engalton. And, this seemed a good plan.

She gave unto us the location of huge termites, yea they were the size of a man's thumb. For it seems that the Yellow Emperor has a yen for these squirming things. So, we did assail the place that they dwell. Well, actually it was Boulder that assailed them, for it did seem the sort of task that one skilled in moving heavy rocks from one place to another might be best suited for.

Now, it seems that Boulder has a furred pouch that he wears in that place best suited for the warming of his organs of giantish virility. We did come to believe that the unnatural unguents the which he swathes them may constrict of those blood-carrying vessels and make them unusually prone to the catching of a chill. Thus, did Boulder reach into the rocky keep of the termites and place them into the yawning maw of his pouch. For it seems that it not only provides great Resistance to Cold to those parts most likely to shrink in gelid inclemency, but that it allows him to bear a great load. And, more, that even though it hold a burdensome load, yea, it is not heavy and it swings not back and forth to vex his gianthood. And he filled his furred pouch of sweet-tasting vermin.

We set off to find the Emperor in Yellow, following the instructions of the Moïrae. And, we came to a clearing where a dais or altar stood, above it what could only be a swirling portal of demon summoning, the which we could tell for that there were present six denizens of the blackest pits of Tartarus. Three were their faces, so that they faced out in all directions, and they were six-armed bearing many man-rending weapons. They were but man-sized although it seemed to me that one of their number was about eight feet tall.

Boldly striding forth, Boulder engaged with the closest one, while I prepared Hellfire, and the others took up positions of greater tactical advantage. Two mighty strikes from the giant, however, failed to slay the devil outright and it did lay about Boulder with each arm. And he fell not even though he was much assailed.

Keshah used such arts as he owns to appear behind Boulder in his footsteps, and he held his weapons at the ready for to smite the hellspawn. Erzsabet, in the meantime, had looked into the darksome aura of one of the creatures, and by her vocation, she determined they were some kind of diabolical Marauder. Her understanding of magic was so expert that she easily determined that the swirling above the altar was a spell of Summoning, and from these intelligences, she divined the means by which they might be forcibly ejected from this plane. Thus, did she call upon the power of Names and surround herself in empowering enchantment. Arwen took some powder and did thrust it up her nose, thus to slow the passage of time.

Boulder, being closer to the Marauder, now laid about with his weapons, and lo, it fell and surrendered its claim on our mortal realm. Hellfire wrapped the remaining five in such fires that wrack the spirit, but it slew not any of them. It seemed to Erzsabet that four Marauders were preparing spells, and she had narrowed, on the evidence of their yammering, to either the arts of Fire or Air, and by the way that they did not burn, she did lay such counterspells beneath them that impeded the casting of Air Magic. I drew forth the brass oil can given unto me by Axis, and releasing its magic, the passage of time was slowed for all of us. As I released Axis' spell, Arwen released a spell of Hellfire, and again they were wracked.

Then, a new devil, one coloured in flames emerged from the portal. And, it seemed to us that, unless the portal should be closed, we would be fighting endless waves of diabolical entities, each with a burning desire to prey upon the innocent. Erzsabet resolved to empower her spells in yet another way, whilst I prepared Hellfire once more. A Marauder ran up to Boulder but the giant's prowess was the greater, and he smote it mightily with both his curving blades. But it did not fall.

Keshah kept position to support Boulder, while Arwen teleported up to the flaming Marauder. Her will was so great that she forced aside the immolating flames and was not harmed thereby. And, Arwen laid about the demon with a will. But it did not fall.

Erzsabet, perforce, looked into the aura of the summoning portal, searching for the Names that would unbind it, and in this she succeeded. I had changed the nature of Hellfire so that it fell about the hellspawn as lightning upon a steeple, and Boulder's opponent fell. All but the demon in front of Arwen lost much of their vital essence, and they did appear exhausted or demoralised. But, that one did lay viciously about Arwen, dealing such appalling harm that her mortal form was taken away from her and in her place rose a Child of the Earth and Stone. And, Arwen did teleport away that she might drink of a healing draught, the better to return to the fray.

Boulder moved up on another Marauder, while Erzsabet assaulted the portal with countering magic. Yet, it endured. I read out a Word from my book, thus to bring succour to the ailing. Keshah moved to engage a demon, and, it having been much assailed by fire and lightning, struck it a blow to its rank and unwholesome meat. It fell back to Hell, there to writhe in torment against the day of its final destruction.

Boulder strode giantfully up to the flaming Marauder, and by the power of his mighty blades, he did bring it to such a pass that it fled our mortal realm. Erzsabet again cast countering magic at the summoning portal, and I, upon my battle throne, did move forward that I might engage it with such magic of my book that banishes. For but this is a spell that my tome is strong in and has much knowledge therein, but it didst fail, a chance that passeth but one time in a hundred. And, then a mighty hand reached forth from beyond the gate, and it did take me up, intending to drag me downwards into the pit of despair.

But, I did squirm as only a priest in the palm of a Count of Hell can squirm, writhing this way, and then the other. Such was my urgency that I kept my grip upon this mortal realm. Boulder did spring upon my captured form, that he might grasp my legs and, by his giantish weight, deny the grasping hand. In my durance vile, I tried to dash a phial of Holy Water upon the hand, but mine is a clumsiness of heroic nature, and I did little to deter my fate. Boulder redoubled his efforts to reclaim me and it seemed that I would be dragged beyond the reach of my comrades. But, Erzsabet's countering magic finally took hold upon the summoning portal and it did collapse, severing the forearm and hand of the Ugly Earl.

I sprang up from his taloned hand, and set about measuring it for a possible adornment to my battle throne, but much as I tried, and I measured along many axes, the limb was not seemly for a priest of Chantris to own. However, we did note the presence of a finger ring about a foot accross, and a bracelet about five feet across. The magic of the bracelet was divined as being a Circle of Protection but we know not yet in what wise it is protective.

The ring, however, bore a Name of great evil and darkness. And, it was the seal ring of the Ugly Earl, and by it's authority, he did give command to his minions, he could pronounce geasa but that by its use the wearer would eventually fall to diabolical suasion. And, it seemed to us that, at some point, we must take this vile thing to the fires in which it was forged, there to unmake it, forever weakening who it is Named for.

Yet, at this time we had enough to be going on with, so we did take it up, giving it unto the care of Boulder, who did not have room in his furred pouch, so that he must use his back pack. And, this was done.

As we re-equipped our gear, we opined that there must be a summoner close at hand, perforce the number of the Marauders would be great had it been cast even more than a few minutes ago. So, we cast about and I did summon a totem creature to scout around for us. Boulder found what we took to be a fox hole, but upon reaching in he did suddenly flash very cold. But, his will was strong and, being giantish, he did shed the Frozen Doom without any concern. Reaching further in, he did draw out the least impressive Greater Summoner that I have ever encountered. He was small, wearing a dark robe, which he soiled upon becoming acquainted with our number. Erzsabet placed him under her Compulsion, and she did command him to give aid to any of us who asked it of him, and much though he railed against her magic, he reluctantly told us that he was a minion of the Ugly Earl.

And, it seemed to us that he was very young, spotty and might not be completely sane. So, I did force him to take a potion I carry that restores sanity. And, he saith unto us that he repented of his evil ways and would come to know Chantris in closer wise, that he might be redeemed of his evil past. And, I did happily bring into the fold thereof, forasmuch as that Erzsabet would have preferred to lay upon him such a geas as would ensure his change of heart.

But, in the end, she did not take this path, and so we journeyed to the Emperor in Yellow.

Upon first acquaintance, the Emperor appeared as a pile of detritus until we did notice that it was moving. And, it appears that he is a mass of crawling insects, who, as is unusual in crawling insects, speaks as a man speaks. He did rise up as a cowled robe dressed upon emptiness, and given the proceedings of the day, the notion that a group of insects might have an opinion was entirely to be expected.

Thus did Boulder reach into his furred pouch of protection versus cold, and he did bring out a juicy termite or two for the Emperor to appreciate, and it seemed that he was a great connoisseur thereof, and much taken with this cate. We settled, at once, he for the termites, and we for the way to Raphael's plane, and so was our compact formed. As we traveled, I asked him if he knew of any bees that I might take as a familiar, forasmuch as I would like one for each season. And he saith unto me that he could give unto me a Word that they would know me if we met them. And, it came to my mind that he be a rather jolly fellow for a heap of crawling things, yea, and that once you got to know him, he seemeth all right.

Thus did he lead us haply to a gate, and on taking our leave from him, we found ourselves in a plane called Heaven. Angelic creatures joined us, and asked for our reason for being here. And, Erzsabet told one of them that we didst come upon the request of the Moïrae, and that we didst not like to put them to unseemly haste, but that we had, upon the conclusion of our interview, counsels to take with Death and did not like to inconvenience him with tardiness. And, the Malakim did mantle his wings.

Soon, we found ourselves in discussion with Raphael, and he didst appear sorely beset. I consulted my tome but could find no entry that dealt with the Healing of angels, and so we pressed the web of filaments given to us by Lachesis to his breast. And, his mien allowed that we had brought some ease to his suffering.

Gathering his strength somewhat, Raphael revealed unto us that Engalton had approached one of his minions, asking that the passage of time be turned from its natural path at a moment some three years in the past. This moment was shared by the destruction of Rashak, and the rise of Liessa Varden as the Devourer. But, the minion of Raphael declined the request, saying unto Engalton that for time to breach its natural banks, confusion and discord would follow. Eris and others of that ilk would batten on the Chaos and Disorder that ensued.

We reasoned that we would return once more to Death, there to travel back to Confederation Bay that we might bring to bay the corrupt Engalton and cleanse him of the stain of evil suasion. And, for this did Raphael give unto us a pair of ewers, the contents of which to bathe him once captured.

We asked of Raphael that he look upon the Damned Soul who was now a purse. And he said unto us that he cleansing the soul would render it devoid of form, that it would have an opportunity for repentance, but not in this life. We spake with the purse, and he did accept this gift of Raphael's, fading away into sunlight.

We Travel & Talk at Length

We made ready to take our leave of Heaven, and we asked of Raphael if He had any means by which we might search for His other cords. And, He averred that we shouldst take with us three interlocking wheels the size of a table candle. And, it came to me that this one was of the order of Thrones, but as yet not fully-formed. It was a Wheel-Within-a-Wheel.

So it was that we went to Tycho City once again, there to travel to Logan's palace to call upon Engalton. Kit was called home on urgent business, and he prevailed upon Princess Isil Eth. She deigned to give us aid. Thus, our number was restored.

Upon hearing that Engalton was not with Logan, we traveled to the palace of the Lunar Empire. There, we spoke with Engalton and he was much battered after discussions with Lord Tog, who speaks with his fists. We laid hands upon him but other than being somewhat bruised, he seemed in fine fettle.

We could not talk freely with him, but must speak in circles, thus to confound the enemy. We asked him what resources remained deployed at Newhaven, and what he held on his person. It transpired that he carried almost all of his itemry, having left his allies at home. Erzsabet asked him what thing she should say that would encourage him to come to her if she sent him a message. And, he told her.

We dined, and there was much discussion, for it seemed that the Calamar were engaged in diplomatic talks with the Empire, where any normal people would have burnt them to the stinking slime that they were made from.

Then, and I know not the reason for this, we went to speak with Boulder's people in Kinlu. So, we spent a day journeying there. And, on our arrival, we were greeted with many Erelheine warriors, caparisoned for war. And, they did greet Boulder warmly, and he them.

Lady Isil Eth gave unto one of them a fragment of ancient pottery and this one, apparently of importance, being of hard-faced mien, did not crack even a smile. I didst wean that much of courtly art passed between them. Apparently, there was talk of great moment, but I had forgotten to cast my Resistance to Boredom spell and I nodded off. While I was thus engaged in priestly meditations, they gave unto us a weed that gives those who eat of it the ability to breathe water, the which we were most grateful. And, we spent a day there.

On the morrow, we discovered that the Erelheine who had assembled for Boulder had traveled to the Clocktower in Seagate. And, there number was but three. Yea, but they had an entourage of 4,997 heavily armed retainers and servants who had reason to holiday on the other side of the world. And, it came to us that perhaps his grace might not be his usual smiling self if he came to find out about the sudden increase in the population of his capital city. Especially since they be foreign, speaking a tongue unknown to most of the inhabitants, and armed for Nightfall.

Thus it was that we repaired on the dawn to Seagate. Erzsabet arranged for an interview with the Duke, and we apprised him that the huge legion of foreign-speaking warriors were, in fact, here in support of Seagate, Carzala and the known world.

And, he looked at us, saying thus 'You're basically saying that this sudden invasion force in my capital city is not your fault?'.

And we replied 'Yea' in one voice, whereupon he didst sigh heavily. And, in our discourse he told us that Engalton who was not in the Lunar Empire had come to Seagate and taken a warship of experimental design, which we took to mean that it was cursed, and taken it out to Confederation Bay. And, his grace had such intelligences that told him that Count Azzur of Calder had sailed with his fleet, also into Confederation Bay.

Now, it appears that the Ugly Earl has the power to reconcile all but the bitterest enemies, and Engalton cannot be considered the bitterest enemy of Count Azzur because they had, on at least one occasion, agreed to work together for the aim of defeating Rashak. Nevertheless, it is no news that their aims are at odds and would normally be considered enemies. Thus, we reasoned, that Engalton in Confederation Bay did conspire to summon up the Ugly Earl when Azzur was close, thus to reconcile with him and win his support.

Thus, Erzsabet took morning tea with Kali, who gave her a box and such permissions as are required for the summoning of the Ugly Earl. Which was of great interest, and I did record this fact in my book. Then we left, that we might travel yet again to Kinlu, taking another two days from my life, there to summon the demon. For we reasoned that if we summoned his avatar and destroyed him, he would be banned from our mortal realm for the passing of 30 days, and therefore would be unavailable to support the Engalton in Confederation Bay.

Thus, we summoned him up as we stood inside the pentagram, which Erzsabet assured us was a Namer pentagram and had nothing to do with such pentagrams as Greater Summoners are wont to cast. Yea, and it looked bloody near identical to me, but I argued not. Nevertheless, I made a note of it in my book.

The rituals were long and involved, but it seemed that Erzsabet had a shield of bronze, which, again, she pronounced a Namer shield of bronze, for but had she not received the shield from Kali? To which we were forced to agree, but I did write this in my book, as well. Eventually, the demonic Earl was summoned and bound. There was much frantic checking of his aura to make certain that he was under the influence of the binding ritual, but Boulder impetuously leaped forth with his curved swords and hewed at the misty, insubstantial form, and dealt it a dreadful blow.

Princess Isil Eth's aura, it seems is deadly to denizens of the Seventh Plane, and she had to leave, so she did teleport to a distant place the which she was familiar. And, we conversed with the demon, Erzsabet having bound it to be truthful.

And, he told us that Count Azzur was an ally of the Engalton in Confederation Bay and but came to provide support. He told us that this Engalton had two enormous sixty foot long sahuagin henchcreatures. Also, four devils and in some way unknown to us, he had taken control of 2,000 merfolk. It seems that the large sahuagin have the strength of dragons.

Reasoning that we had no further use for the demon, Boulder attempted to destroy it with his weapons, but it seems that it was still on the Seventh Plane and would not be forced to send its avatar on the grounds that Boulder was going to try and slay it, and Princess Isil Eth afflicted it with demonslaying light. So it declined and then left.

And, so, after the summoning was complete, we returned to Seagate whereupon I released the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel to find the nearest cord of Raphael. We planned our assault and gathered such stored magics as we thought we might need. But, aside from a few Water and Earth College magics, there was little more that we needed to do. We did check the effectiveness of our abilities underwater, and they seemed to work as expected.

I was practicing undersea flight on my battle throne, when the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel came to me in the sea, saying that it had found a cord. And, it traveled back to Seagate by means of twelve twisting measures. I did open all my eyes and attempt to follow it. Yea, and many wonders and visions befell me. Such was their beauty and virtue that I was, for a time, unable to speak with reason, but I did appear in Castle Chilton in a torrent of seawater. Yea, but I was not wet for that I had bound it not to beset me. But, it did wet all around me grievously.

When my senses returned, I did explain of the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel's discovery, and so we hastily prepared our magics against the assault. And, Keshah opened a portal to the old Elven way into Alhambra, for that he, being an elf much taken of studying dark things, had special knowledge of these lost ways. And, thus we journeyed forth to Alhambra, cursed never to know the light of day.

We Sally Forth

Thus girded for battle, we found ourselves confronted by eight fish-headed lurkers below the waves, a-swimming unto us. Boulder counter-charged, stopping them in their tracks, and he did lay into them so forcefully that one was soundly staggered by his blow and the other was not feeling too happy, either. Another made to run past him, but his reflexes were like unto lightning and his blade did lash, and blood blossomed in the water around him.

Princess Isil Eth had cast an enchantment on the weapons of the doughty. Keshah moved up to one, his blade hewing such a blow as rendered another sahuagin, and thus we smote the ungodly, laying many of them low with spell and blade, but unless they were too weakened, they fled. And it came to us that they fled not us, but a foe they feared more than us.

And, indeed, Boulder did spy a folding form of darkness that drifted towards us, and from which the sahuagin fled. Erzsabet did show such instruments of authority that entitle her to investigate deeply of the creature, and she found it to have an aura so weak that it seemed only as strong as an enchantment. The creature had a Generic True Name, and it was an Echo, and it practiced magic of the College of Discord. From the grain of this lore, she winnowed that its weakness was Order, and it seemed that Hellfire did not count as an attack of Order.

Even though we belaboured it, yet did it not fall, and shrugged off all that we plied it with. Fearing that no blow could fell the substanceless thing, Arwen did release magic of random nature, at first ruining its luck, and then surrounding it with a shell of iron-hard bone.

So, I did cast Sacrifice and upon my throne, I travelled to the shell. From above, I could see into the shell and saw that the thing had calved, another shadowy wight standing next to it. Thus did I reach out my hand to the nearest one. By the grace of Chantris and the power of Her psalms, I did bring unto it such of Her mercy that I might resurrect it. Yea, and they both fled.

So, we followed them, and even as we did it came to me to use the archangel's eye thus to Charm it to our service. Thus did one return to us, and it did seek to enjoy my human warmth, but I did ask of Keshah for the words the drow use that mean 'Keep back.' And it did, but ever did it seek to come close to me. We followed the other Echo and it led us to an undersea sinkhole. Before it could disappear over the ridge, Erzsabet didst lay upon it a compulsion to obey her, and it did. Below in the hole, we saw a structure unbroken by time and the weight of the waves. Around it stood two and a half score more Echoes.

And we did take a step back.

We did decide to draw back a distance and consider our options. The while we didst bicker amongst ourselves of the best way forward, Boulder performed a rite to find Engalton, and he told us he was less than ten miles distant from us. Thus did he lead us across the undersea city, the charmed Echo following behind us.

And, we came upon a place where we saw a figure upon a lighted dais, and before him stood century upon century of sahuagin. And, they didst march backwards and forward, their arms thrust straight out as they passed him. Yea, and they didst appear to have no knees as they strode about in warlike gait.

And, the figure spake unto the sahuagin as if he were at a rally, exhorting them and driving his clenchèd fist against a lectern. Yea, and we did aver that this could only be Engalton.

We conferred among ourselves, and we resolved that I would render myself unseen that I might make my way slowly and circumspectly around the sahuagin, for but the Echo was not deceived by this magic. Then, when all was in readiness, I would lead it into their midst, thus to divert attention from our real intent. For, the while they were dealing with the Echo, then would we all close upon Engalton, Princess Isil Eth would carry some of us into the Astral. And, so it happened that Engalton, Erzsabet and I were transported there. Having checked upon our safety, Isil Eth journeyed back to the mortal realm, there to collect Arwen, Keshah and Boulder.

Erzsabet doused Engalton in the oil of cleansing, and I drank of the Liessate Potion of Excorcistic Rite, plunging the divine proboscis into his soul. And, I did draw of the corruption of Engalton deep into my soul to the point where I felt my resolve against the denizens of the Seventh Plane weakening. So I drank of the Potion of Restorative Reason and felt the blandishment fall away.

Moments later, the others appeared in the Astral, and Engalton did seem to recover his senses in large part, but that he seemed not to realise what day it was. Thus, did we repair to Castle Chilton thus to let Duke Leto recount the tale of his recent doings. But, Engalton did seem unconvinced, so we travelled to Newhaven that he might interrogate those in his employ. And, he found much evidence that something had happened that he wot not of.

Finally, we took him to the Lunar Empire, and reunited him with the Engalton that laboured there. And, although he knew now that much had happened, still could he not say what had passed in that time where he was lost to the forces of darkness.

And, about that time, we realised that we had forgotten to collect the second cord of Raphael. And, Boulder did remark that he would wager much, including that he would dance naked before us all and cover his giantish flesh in nothing but oil. And, we took counsel with each other about the plucking out of our eyes. Yea, but we cast such magic as recalled us to Newhaven, that Keshah could take us thus back to the Alhambra.

And, when we appeared therein, no sahuagin assailed us, so we travelled directly to the sinkhole that we knew of. And, Erzsabet did opine that, if we sung the song Raphael had given unto us, this would drive off the Echoes. And, it did.

We descended to the unbroken structure, and on our way inside, we noticed that, although the walls remained, the doors had all been removed. Which we found odd. We passed within, there to find upon a stone the cord of Raphael, and Boulder did take it up. Thus, with the cord secured, I did take out the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel and sent it forth again to find the last cord.

And, it turned out that the stone upon which it rested was magical, for but that it was the Kingstone, and this place was the fateful destination of Rashak on the occasion of her sudden and violent death. For, by means of a special rite, it seems that the person so annointed would become the Ruler of the Western Kingdoms and gifted of the Land Sense. And, this sense would have given unto Rashak much power, for she could raise and commune with undead across the extent of the kingdom, thus to work her evil.

And, so did Keshah resolve to enact the rite, thus raising Isil Eth in this wise. And so it came to pass.

Then did the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel returned, proclaiming the good news. For, it had found the last cord, it saith. And, we saith unto it, good news indeed, but where be it. Why, saith the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel, it lies in Hell and we should go there directly. We were no longer sure that this species of news was of the kind we normally called 'good'. But, the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel saith that we should go directly for there were but a few devils on the way. But we began to wonder what number a few might mean for an angel, given how close they be to infinity. And, it seemed that the number might be as many as five thousand or five, but definitely more than one. And, we were beginning to feel that this news was of the kind more commonly called 'unfortunate'.

And, then Boulder, being as he is more literal than most, did ask of the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel if the phrase 'on the way' were replaced with 'residing at the place where I found Raphael's last cord', would its statement still be true. And, the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel replied nay. And Boulder did ask of it if it be true if the phrase replaced were 'beating a path to us at this very moment with all of Hell behind'. And, the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel replied aye.

So, did we declaim unto the angel that, in fact, this is the news most often called a bloody catastrophe. And it resolved to record this for the future if there was one.

The Horde of Hell Arrives

And, indeed, a horde arrived, but they not for some time, and we cast a Rune Ward and such of Princess Isil Eth's magic that repelled the denizens of the Seventh Plane. When they did finally appear, there were a dozen, or more likely thirteen. All but two of them were diabolical, these others being a four-headed hydra and a manticore, and they were held back by chains of silver by a large fiend of Hell.

Boulder sped forward thus to bring his curving blades to bear on their unclean flesh, while Keshah, perhaps having sympathy with them, stayed back, reluctantly moving forward to engage them. The while he was creeping forward, Arwen released magical chaos, and by her arts did assail many of them with Hellfire, so that most of the imps fell. But, they did not go back to the black pit from whence they had emerged. Erzsabet, guessing at the fiend's sorcerous nature, denied it access to that magic that afflicts the mind while Princess Isil Eth approached the border of her ward and belaboured one of the devils such that their will was greatly weakened.

Boulder's blade flashed and he attacked all of the creatures in front of him, and two of the imps were likewise sent back to their plane of origin. But, then the rearmost fiend released his beasts, and they fell upon the giant. In the flash of an eye, Boulder took three great wounds, and was laid low, both his arms and chest broken. But, did Isil Eth give him succour while Erzsabet took up of her itemry. The giant's wounds sloughed off of his form, gathering in violet orbs that streamed toward her, and she embraced the wounds. One of the orbs brushed Keshah, but his Rune Shield dissipated it, preserving him from. Boulder rose up but Erzsabet fell. At the same time, Arwen's casting did bring writhing stands of silk to entangle, but snared those in front of her and could not dismiss it for a time.

I wracked the spirit of the fiend, giving him pause and slowing the frenzy of his attack, while one of the devils spat Hellfire back at us. But, our wills were great and the flames were much diminished. By command of the elements, I sent water to assail the hydra, for that it had four biting heads, the which to attack Boulder, but the strength of the beast was too great. Arwen reached for the great sword that Erzsabet, Woundhealer, and plunged it into the Namer's breast, curing the most severe wound. And, she rose up.

And, as I moved to close with Isil Eth, she did begin to cast that spell which flings everything hither and yon. But, Boulder and Keshah slew the beasts. The fiend, seeing his allies dead about him, fled before we could slay him. And, thus did we prevail, not as we hoped but cheered that none had died.

And, at that time, water pressed against us, as of a large body swimming above us, and we withdrew into the elven way, there to travel back to Seagate. And, we did travel therein, but there was a disturbance beneath the waves and I was knocked off the narrow path of safety. When it seemed that I would but travel forever into an empty void, Boulder reached out his arm and collected me by that part of my neck that supports my robe, and I was succoured.

Soon, we arrived back at Seagate, and there we rested a while, that Boulder might recover his appearance, having grown great in ugliness. And, with the passing of a week, he was much improved and we Divined that bounty we had collected off of those we had slain. And, we found the silver chains to be of great virtue and of the bodies of the imps and devils that we had saved, great evil therein was revealed unto us. So did we bottle it, thus to prevent its spread.

The while we undertook these operations, we considered of our choices. To that end, Erzsabet took counsel with the Philosophers of the Guild, and they told us that. It seems that, according to these sages, that cabal of the Willing Prince, the Ugly Earl and the Beautiful Earl was opposed by the Warrior Duke, the Terrible Duke and the Equine Marquis. And it came to us that we might form a compact with one or more of these, that they may be inveigled to cause mischief for the Ugly Earl that might draw attention away from us that we might hope to recover the last cord of Raphael.

But, then we considered that we might talk directly with the Ugly Earl, and by means of threats and bribes, induce him to give unto us the cord in exchange for his ring. For, it appears that some part of his very nature had been invested in it, and should it be destroyed, he would be weakened forever.

So did Keshah consult the stars that he might find the best way forward, and he returned unto us saying that guile and cunning were the past to a resolution that called not Nightfall any earlier. So did Princess Isil Eth take wine with Erzsabet, and did Matt Tumbledown appear upon the opening of the bottle. And, we asked him if he knew of any aid he might offer in our endeavours, and he saith that he, being twenty cubits high, he had never much bothered with guile and cunning, but had trusted unto the might of his good right arm. And, we nodded therewith.

And, we spoke with the Inquisition of the Lunar Empire, but though they had great experience in excorcising and banishing diabolical entities, they had but little knowledge of the geography therein, although they did offer a travel advisory against travel there.

And, we spoke with an Elven god named Nuckavalee, who had taken nakedness one step further than even the most libertine elf, for that his skin had been entirely flayed off and that he wore no raiment against the weather or the gaze of mortals. Yea, and I thought unto myself 'What a freakshow'.

And, although the conversation with this god was long and involved, I did understand but little of it, and I gave thought to lying down and having a bit of a kip. But, soon, he was gone, and I did call upon the wisdom of Chantris. And, of the evil we had found in the fallen denizens, she did make for us a cloak that the glory of Princess Isil Eth be concealed, for that she is beloved of Kemantári, Manwë and Elbereth and sheds an aura inimcal to those that dwell where we purposed to go. And, unto me she gave a seed, that we might escape the clutch of Hell.

And, in time, the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel returned to us, and told us that the cord be found at the Cathedral of Faces in the Ugly Earl's lands, and that it could lead us unto this place.

Then did Princess Isil Eth consult with those of her Beltan Elves which comprise the Wild Hunt, and it seems that they travel into the lands of Hell as a country squire rides to hounds. And, when Erzsabet asked 'What of those who fall?', Isil Eth opined that they took this as the bite that gave savour unto their existence. So, it appears that normality is something with which they have but passing acquaintance.

And, it came to us that, our condition was more than usually fraught, for on the one hand, if Raphael's cord was not recovered unto him, then would the Seventh Plane ride to war, for the Western Church would be greatly weakened thereof. And, 'though we held the seal ring of the Ugly Earl, yet if we traded this to one of his enemies, then might he, and all of Hell, be weakened thereby. Thus, might Heaven ride to war to exploit the weakness of Hell.

So, it became clear to us that our task was now not only to recover the cord, but we must also ensure that the Ugly Earl also recovers his ring. For only in this manner may we seek to conserve the status quo.

Into Hell

So do we prepare such conceits, magic and arms to protect us from the wiles of the Seventh Plane.

And, Boulder took it upon himself to shed his raiment, yea, even his furred pouch, and covered his nakedness only with scented oils and unguents, there to gyre and lewdly sway with Isil Eth. And it seems that, given the greatness of Boulder's frame, was the angular momentum of every swinging giantish thing he possessed powerfully amplified. And, we knew not where to look.

So it was that to spare the tenderness of our sensibilities, Arwen and I fled on another errand. Thus it was that we spoke with Jeremy of the One Horned God, and fortune favoured us, for that when he spoke with us, he found a Cloak of Crossing Hell's Border. And, Arwen and I traded a seemly service to the Horned One for the loan of the cloak, and so it was done. And, passing across the road unto the Temple of the Re-formed Sisters of Dissonance, we did take counsel with them, that we might acquire Liessate Potion of Excorcistic Rite. And, they gave such a thing unto us one that didst empower a mortal kiss with the confluence of holy passion. And, on consideration that the other one caused a great proboscis to form, thus to stab into the soul of the afflicted, this was one hell of a lot better.

And, Kit gave unto us such apparel that disguised us as various denizens of the Seventh Plane. Yet it seemed to us that there was but little need for Keshah to dress up, his acquaintance with the inhabitants probably giving him many useful contacts there. Also gathered we of divers honey combs from my hives in the Gunlion Hills, the which to pay the Emperor in Yellow to bear us into Hell. And, my hives were sorely depleted.

And, Isil Eth spoke with her elven vassals and did arrange for them to Ride to Hunt in Hell on the sixth hour after our departure. And, thus did we pass into the Seventh Plane an hour or so north of the Cathedral of Faces in the Realm of the Ugly Earl.

And, we found ourselves in a high place overlooking a vast plane as great as an undiscovered southern continent. On the plane, close to the foot of the mountains we found ourselves upon was a ranging storm. Keshah and I did bind air as is our wont but in this place every material thing is made from damned souls. Thus it was that the air we bound spake unto us and calling unto us to release them. But we hardened our hearts and released them not that we might pass as wights of surpassing evil.

We descended to the plane, questioning the bound air and though they wondered that we knew so little of this place, nevertheless were they compelled to answer us. And, they told us that the storm surrounded the Cathedral of Faces, and that we must pass through it to find entrance therein. So, we stepped into the storm, directing the bound air to spare us as much of the storm as it could. But, for all that the storm raged about us, yet were we not blown about or blinded by sand. Instead, it seemed that we traveled for an hour without having got anywhere useful.

And, so did Princess Isil Eth, whose will is indomitable, bent reality to her whim, lifting confusion from us that we might see a shambling, rambling horde of diablerie waiting at an entrance outside a gateway in a wall as great as might guard any cathedral city. And, it seemed unto us that the attending demons were formed up in a queue, hoping to gain entrance to the cathedral. So did we make our way to the queue, thrusting aside any smaller and weaker than ourselves.

Until we came into the presence of a devil some ten cubits high, for that he did reach out with one hand and smite me a blow as would fell a mortal man. And, then, after I stood stunned by his might, he smote me again. And, I spake unto him that having thought upon the matter somewhat, he might have the stronger case, and that I would let him off just this once.

So did we stand about an hour or so in this diabolical queue. Somewhat ahead of us stood a fell wight of enormous size. Yea, its girts at the base was as wide as the road while it was as tall as the palace of the Lunar Empire. And, we decided that we would not push past this wight but wait our turn. The bound air knew its name, calling it Gutturax, a devil with a corrosive touch so powerful that in time it could destroy anything. Which gave us pause.

Then, Erzsabet, recalling that the Wheel-Within-a-Wheel had made mention of a way inside the Cathedral, opined that we should take ourselves off the road somewhat, and argue and harangue each other while those of us who are stealthy by nature might look for this passage. And, so it was that we came to a breach in the wall some five feet across. And, we passed this intelligence to our comrades by the art of Isil Eth. And, she came unto me and tied about my throat a slender rope of the sinews of bears.

And, I leapt through the breach, and found myself in a small room wherein stood an afrighted dwarf. But the Generic True Name of the dwarf was also a Damned Soul and he backed away from me. Across from me was an open doorway, but I looked no further for that I saw the slender rope of the sinew of bears had been neatly cut but a few inches from my throat, and I found I shared not the communion of my companions. Thus, did I travel back to them.

Whereupon, I found myself in their thoughts once more. And, we all purposed to travel back into the cell. When we all arrived, the Damned Soul dwarf made as if to escape, but there was nowhere to go but the door, and he went not there. So, while Keshah quickly raised a Rune Portal, Boulder cast a rite he knows which locates a soul he knows and I cast a Light Rune on the wall that we might mark its presence should we resolve to return.

And, did I prepare the disc of Orthostopheles, folding it out so that we might all stand upon it, for the open doorway led only to a precipitous drop to the floor many cubits below. Each cell was like unto a brick in a wall of desolation and misery and the doorway led to nothing more than the last flight of the desperate. And, so we traveled in the direction of Boulder's pointing, which led to the beginning of a maze. And, as we did land, the wall itself seem full of small holes. Yea, and but one of these small holes did brightly blaze, light issuing forth against the darkness. We surmised that we had somehow been folded into a congruent but expanded realm as we passed into the maze.

So, it passed that Boulder led us through the maze, until we found a man who, it seems, is a hero from another realm. And, we spake unto him and he seemed a doughty fellow, although lost. And, we invited him to attend us for that we aimed to leave this unwholesome. And, he agreed. Upon several more turns of the corridors, we entered a large open chamber, from which other corridors spread like the arms of some loathsome boneless swimming thing. Two devils, one as large as ten cubits or so who had the appearance of a frost giant, the other but the size of a mortal man stood before us. And, we contrived an argument between the hero from foreign climes and Boulder. The while that we practiced this artifice, Arwen slipped over to the place Boulder directed her to by Isil Eth's soaring intellect.

The while the druidess practiced her skills in trapmastery, both devils took themselves to another room and spake the one with the other. And, Arwen did remove three, but there was a fourth, more deviously placed than the rest. The pedestal upon which the cord rested exploded into brittle, biting shards and thus were we revealed.

The man-sized devil returned first, and Boulder flung himself at it, his prowess so great that, had it not been a creature of the vilest mana, it would have fallen to two gaping wounds. Yet, did its flesh close up unnaturally fast. Isil Eth thrust her slender blade gracefully into the creature's inhuman matter, and it fell not. And, then the frost giant devil appeared at the door, and strode to Boulder that he might assail him mightily. Yea, and I did rain upon that devil Torment. And, it was caught in reminiscence of its wickedness, and did naught else.

In the meantime, Keshah had teleported behind the man-sized devil, in the hopes of inflicting great wounds from the rear. Yet, did the place where the devil stood writhe and shift in unholy wise, and in a trice it was behind Keshah for the self-same reason. And, the rest of us opined that these two had much in common. And, I wrote that in my book. But, withal, though he was dealt a brace of mighty blows, Keshah was briefly staggered and he did recover his senses.

Erzsabet released Hellfire from one of Boulder's manastones assailing both devils, but they fell not. Arwen returned to the rest of us, bringing with her the true Cord of Raphael. And the sower of lies that was the man-sized devil oped his mouth and using its vile blandishments sought to turn us from our purpose and to serve him forever in Hell. And, though we were all unswayed, yet were the wills of those who serve not a greater power weakened. And, we resolved that this man-sized devil had no business being alive, so we assailed it more. But, it fell not.

Then were we beset by magic, the which I had not experienced before. Although our will was too great to be affected, yet was the unnamed hero, and he fell. So, Erzsabet cast of her art that compels obedience from any entity, and though the man-sized devil did not fall beneath her righteous power, the frost giant devil did succumb, although much taken with its own Torment. In short order, however, it was obeying her. And, as we were about to set the large devil upon the smaller, did the smaller one cry out 'Truce'. And, we did listen. And, he saith unto us that his name be Simon. Which probably be a lie, for it is a well-known fact that devils cannot even fall straight down.

But, in any case, we let him depart, and we spoke with the frost giant devil, and Erzsabet reasoned with it saying that it stood in a precarious place, for that it had failed its charge, now that we had the cord. And, the devil agreed. And, she saith unto it that when the theft was discovered, then might even greater Torment fall upon it that it might be caught in even greater reminiscence of its wickedness. And, the devil agreed. And, she saith unto it that should it be asked, it might mention that although an attempt had been made to steal the cord, yet had it been sufficiently alert to thwart the attempt. And, that in this case, if the devil were believed, might it escape any censure. And, the devil agreed. Moreover, saith Erzsabet, it might mention that the name of the thief be the devil known as Simon. And, the devil agreed.

We left that place, gathering up the remains of the unnamed hero, making our way outside the walls of the city. There did I take out the seed given unto me by Chantris. And, it did bud. Within a few moments it grew greatly, into a mighty spreading larch, the which we climbed. As we climbed, it seems that Isil Eth became taken with plans to conquer Hell and introduce it to legions of elven interior decorators. And, we were not sure if this would not be a just punishment, so we hesitated somewhat. But, was more and more effort demanded of us to convince Isil Eth to defer her plans of planar domination the nonce, but it was not until swung his open hand against her cheek in a form of giantish persuasion we had not expected. And she climbed yet awhile.

I collected a cutting of the tree as we climbed, but so great was Isil Eth's growing dissociation with reality that she didst create fruit upon a tree with its roots in Hell. And, we realised that she might have fallen beneath the sway of the cloak of evil. So did we encourage her to remove it and wear more benign apparel. Finally, she did but not before she sought to tempt me with wares of seeming good. But, soon we were on top of the tree in Alusia.

Erzsabet ressurrected the hero, and found out from whence he came, thus returning him. Yea, and we did repair to Seagate, thus to commune with Raphael that we might return to him his cord. And we did, and so it was.


Speak to Western Church at Cathedral, investigate anomaly, check contents of the Guild Vault, spoke to Kali. Traveled to Alfheim and investigate a shrine of Raphael, traveled to Elfenberg, and from there to Mordeaux. Investigated a cord of Raphael at the cathedral there. Traveled to Sanctuary, spoke to Justicar Rashan, then Molin Torchholder who directed us to Lenny the Squid, a fence. On meeting with him, we encounter 4 Celestial Iron Golems, three Sanctuary necromancers and the minions of Seir. Went back to Mordeaux where we found a sacred book of the Church of the One Horned God. Traveled back to Elfenburg then Alfheim and visited the elven university. Spoke to Chantris. Found leads that suggested we travel to Rokar. Returned to Seagate. Spoke to Jeremy at the temple of the One Horned God, then the sisters at the Church of Liessa and we learned that we stood on the edge of Nightfall. Traveled to Newhaven and spoke with various servants of Engalton. Found a book 'An History of the Western Reaches' which contains records of an alternative history. Sailed to Rokar, encountered many people involved with Seir. Traveled to the Lost City of Y, encountered hiver, entered city, encountered mummy, kicked the door in and made off with Anvil of Despair. Received curse of the Devourer. Traveled back to the elven university. Spoke to Matt Tumbledown. Spoke to an Inquisitor from the Lunar Empire who told us that Botis was behind the plot. Went back to Seagate and spoke to Sisters at the Church of Liessa and had curses removed. They gave us a potion that let the drinker remove corruption from a target. Spoke to the Duke who gave us a sealed writ demanding Engalton present himself at Castle Chilton. Portaled to Tycho City then traveled to a swamp where we spoke with Death then with the Fates. Made our way to to the Emperor in Yellow but encountered some devils and a summoner. We prevailed and collected a ring, a bracelet and the summoner. The emperor sent us to Heaven. Spoke with Raphael who gave us an unguent of spiritual cleansing and a small angel attuned to His cords. Traveled to Logan's palace in Tycho City, and then on to the palace of the Lunar Empire. Spoke to Engalton A. Went to Kinlu for the day. Returned to Seagate, spoke to the Duke, who told us that Engalton B was doing something in Confederation Bay, possibly with Count Azzur. Spoke with Kali, summoned Botis and interrogated him. Sent the angel to find the nearest cord of Raphael, which returned and led us to the Alhambra. Fight many sahuagin, grab Engalton B, cleanse him, returned to Seagate with him but forget to collect the cord. Travel back to find it, recover it and crown Isil Eth the Queen of the Western Kingdom. The angel returns informing us of the location of the last cord, which was in Hell. We take a week to prepare ourselves, then head into Hell where we recover the last cord and return safely.

Nominations & SGT Snippets

What's Hot What's Not
Being considered attractive Being considered tasty
Dark Spheres Dark Spheres with opposable thumbs
Dancing girls Boulder, naked, oiled and dancing



Magic Rk Effects Dur Boulder Erzsabet Rowan Keshah Arwen Isil Eth
Strength of Stone 16 +16 PS or +16 EN 17 hrs EN EN EN EN EN EN
Armour of Earth 12 +26 Def, -1DP 6.5 hrs Green-tick.gif Red x.png
Rune Shield 20 +25 Def, +5 Prot 21 hrs Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Blessing Spell 10 +10 SC, +10 vs Fear 55 min Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Greater Heart Rune 15 Heals 10 EN when EN dam taken 16 days Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Willow Healing 15 Heals 3 EN per Pulse for 17 Pulses 30 hrs Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Rune of Truth 15 PC * 2 + 30 to notice deceptions 160 mins Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Command - +8 defence +8 IV (from item) always Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Special Counter Spell 1 - stackable counters 9 hrs Green-tick.gif Green-tick.gif
Special Counter Spell 2 - stackable counters 9 hrs Green-tick.gif
Hair Braiding - special - 200 sp per use till dawn


Magic Rk Effects
Warding with Runes 15 Requires MR check to cross at -30, extra-planars -45, 60% chance to dissipate spells
Sleeping Recovery ? Less sleep, more FT
generic Warding 4 various effects, including buffs

Weird Stuff

Arwen can do a ritual so that everyone recovers fatigue more quickly while sleeping and reduces the requirement for sleep.

Boulder does not have many party buffs, however I have a wand that can cure SG's with a range of touch with 12 charges in it. 3 stones that can store spells to be cast later once per day. A troupe of elephants we can ride and a massive mining golem also 3 chokers that will allow people to have 2 sets of counterspells on. I can see spirits of the dead and recognise places of death and I am a Rank 10 Cook.

Fr. Rowan has Rank 16 Witchsight (non-castable), can see the stars in their traces, through Rank 20 Light, souls and spirits and sometimes converse with them. He cannot be detected as Pacted by those that can tell such things. Nor can he be detected, recorded or predicted by denizens of the Seventh Plane, Fae or Husks. Neither is he a legal target of their non-college magic. At the moment, he can resurrect, heal any Spec.Griev. injury, make Potions, Poisons and Antidotes, and can build almost anything so long as he has the raw materials. Creating Restorative is Rank 7 (-9EN, +18FT)

Fr. Kit can converse with spirits that have been unjustly treated. He can provide standard transport (flying ships, imaginary mounts, ethereal travel, and shape-shift for swimming). He can't be predicted by astrology, located, DAed, etc. He can hide the entire party from the Gods (including Gabriel and Chantres) when on board ship. Effective Virtues: Faith, Wrath, Zealotry, Vanity, Stoicism, Enlightenment, Self-Righteousness, Truth, Justice (in decreasing order of usefulness). Competent Skills - juggling, politics, sailing, occidental & oriental swordsmanship, meditation, masonry. He cannot tell a direct lie, or the simple truth. He can Mass Charm thousands of people by truthful oratory.

Erzsabet can stack 2 sets of Counter Spells on any target and has a hair braiding ritual which does one of 5 things. Add 50% resistance to Demonic Charm or magic spells charm or Bardic Voice Charm. 25% damage reduction to mellee blows from behind. Competent Skills - politics and healing.

Time Management

The party returns to the Guild on 17th of Seedtime and have 10 days of training time on adventure. There are 50 training days before the Summer 811 Guild Meeting.
These Adventuring Skills may be advanced 1 Rank without spending any time:

Adventurer Adventuring Skills

Talents may be advanced 4 Ranks.
Adventurers were immersed in these languages:

Language Days of Immersion

Distribution of Treasure


Raphael's Boon

A Diamond Javelin that serves as a focus for the Diamond Javelin spell as described below.

Raphael's Shield

As a result of her labours on Raphael's behalf, Arwen has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until she actively opposes his designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Eye of Gabriel

This large Sapphire, if worn openly, provides an extra 10 to Cast Chance and 10 FT. It is a tiny piece of the named Power and will be treated as such by those who can tell such things and/or care.
Value: 25,000sp

Diamond Javelin

This javelin is a focus for the Diamond Javelins spell. The Rank of the spell is increased by 5 when held, and Diamond Javelins may be heldfor 5 Pulses before releasing them to devastating effect.
Value: 5,000sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Silver Chain of Beast Command

This is a very fine silver chain of indeterminate length. If looped and placed about the neck of a non-sentient beast, they will be controlled and have access to the owner's MR and WP for resistance purposes. The chain allows the owner to be up to 30 ft away and does not tangle or trip. Should the chain be dropped, the beast continues with its current last order.
Value: 15,000sp

Share in Silver

49,020sp after Guild Tax


Raphael's Boon

A penitent soul who takes some of Boulder's damage from time to time to repent of their sin.

Raphael's Shield

As a result of his labours on Raphael's behalf, Boulder has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until he actively opposes the archangel's designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Eye of Uriel

This large Diamond, if worn openly, provides an extra point of TMR and allows striking targets an extra hex away. It is a tiny piece of the named Power and will be treated as such by those who can tell such things and/or care.
Value: 20,000sp

Share in Silver

76,020sp after Guild Tax


Raphael's Boon

Raphael's Shield

As a result of her labours on Raphael's behalf, Erzsabet has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until she actively opposes the archangel's designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Eye of Sammael

This large Diamond, if worn openly, provides an extra 10 points of PC and grants Enhanced Vision at Rank 10 as the Illusionist Talent of the same name. It is a tiny piece of the named Power and will be treated as such by those who can tell such things and/or care. Value: 20,000sp

Silver Chain of Beast Command

This is a very fine silver chain of indeterminate length. If looped and placed about the neck of a non-sentient beast, they will be controlled and have access to the owner's MR and WP for resistance purposes. The chain allows the owner to be up to 30 ft away and does not tangle or trip. Should the chain be dropped, the beast continues with its current last order.
Value: 15,000sp

Wand of Lightning Bolt

Rank 12 Lightning Bolt
BC: 80%
Charges: 3
Value: 2,700sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Share in Silver

56,320sp after Guild Tax

Isil Eth

Raphael's Boon

Raphael's Shield

As a result of her labours on Raphael's behalf, Isil Eth has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until she actively opposes the archangel's designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Larch Branch

A 12 inch long branch from a magical larch. Very suitable for making a magical item. If used to make an invested, it will raise the Ritual Base Chance by 10 and the Rank of the spells invested by 3.
Weight: 2 lbs
Value: 30,000sp

Oil of Cleansing

This oil, when used to bathe an entity, will remove any evil influence, corruption, maladies, madness, disease, infections and the like. Weight: 6 lbs
Value: 3,000sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.

Value: 1,000sp===Angelic Blood=== A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Share in Silver

61,020sp after Guild Tax


Raphael's Boon

To Rank the Rune College Ritual of Healing as if it were a spell.

Raphael's Shield

As a result of his labours on Raphael's behalf, Keshah has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until he actively opposes the archangel's designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Eye of Raphael

This large Emerald, if worn openly, provides an extra Rank in any weapon wielded in the main hand and 10 extra DEF. It is a tiny piece of the named Power and will be treated as such by those who can tell such things and/or care.
Value: 7,500sp

Potion of Devouring

This potion, when ddrunk, alters the imbiber to a fearsome aspect (PB 1). They gain a large distended mouth and jaw which can be used to engulf the head of any one entity and then remove any influence, corruption, maladies, disease, infections and the like. Considered less gross than a proboscis. More may be available from the Reformed Spiteful Sisters of the Perpetual Dissonance. If no attempt is made to use the potion's effects within an hour, then the magic will fade.
Weight: 1 lb
Value: 3,000sp

Share in Silver

85,520sp after Guild Tax


Raphael's Boon

Raphael's Shield

As a result of his labours on Raphael's behalf, Kit has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until he actively opposes the archangel's designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Eye of Michael

This large Ruby, if worn openly, provides an extra Rank in any weapon wielded in the main and and +10 to Strike Chance. It is a tiny piece of the named Power and will be treated as such by those who can tell such things and/or care.
Value: 7,500sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Angelic Blood

A potion of angelic blood that will act as Greek Fire on the unholy (undead, demons, Keshah etc). If applied to a neutral entity it will cure 2D10 damage, 4D10 if they believe in one of the 5 Archangels.
Value: 1,000sp

Share in Silver

86,250sp after Guild Tax


Raphael's Boon

Preparing a Spell no longer requires an Action, but cannot be combined with a Cast Action.
The services of the little throne.

Raphael's Shield

As a result of his labours on Raphael's behalf, Boulder has been granted 1 point of Damage Reduction until he actively opposes the archangel's designs (not necessarily those of the Western Church and their other worshipees).

Arrangement with the Ugly Earl

In return for the ring of his Seal, the Ugly Earl has agreed not to cause harm or conspire to cause harm to Rowan and his family. The Earl will alert Rowan if he becomes apprised of such a threat.


Healer Rank 8 - Attempting to ressurrect one of the Echoes in Confederation Bay.

Cloak of Dissembling

This cloak carries a permanent Blending effect, which is always 1 Rank higher than any Witchsight, Enhanced Vision or similar magic that might be used to reveal the wearer. In addition, it adds 20 to the wearer's Stealth.
Weight: 3 lbs
Value: 12,000sp

Rod of Agony

This is a light club, the Base Chance being 75% and the Damage Modifier being +4. Every time an opponent is struck by this weapon they add 1 to their die rolls. This effects lasts for a minute or so after combat. Weight: 2 lbs
Value: 9,000sp

Mattock of Crushing

This mattock does double damage if it is wielded by a large creature (size 9 or higher). Base Strike Chance is 65% and the damage is D+8 (2D10 + 16 for large creatures).
Weight: 9 lbs
Value: 10,000sp

Wand of Lightning Bolt

Rank 12 Lightning Bolt
BC: 80%
Charges: 5
Value: 4,500sp

Bracelet of Celestial Healing

Rank 15 Celestial Healing
BC: 87%
Charges: 4
Value: 3,750sp

Bracelet of Celestial Healing

Rank 15 Celestial Healing
BC: 87%
Charges: 2
Value: 1,875sp

Scarab of Knockout Gas

Rank 16 Knockout Gas
BC: 70%
Charges: 4
Value: 4,000sp

Share in Silver

50,895sp after Guild Tax


Value of Treasure 
Church Expenses 
Monetary Salvage 
Share per Adventurer 
106,689sp, 96,020sp after Guild Tax


  • The first shrine to Raphael in Alfheim
  • Mordeaux and the Great Cathedral
  • Sanctuary and its sewers
  • Rokar and a nearby lost city
  • Newhaven
  • The Palace of the Lunar Emperor
  • Logan's Palace at Tycho City
  • The swamp of Death
  • The cave of the Moïrae
  • The burrow of the Emperor in Yellow
  • Heaven
  • The Alhambra, Confederation Bay
  • Hell

People and Creatures

A seraph
Molin Torcholder
Lenny the Squid
Celestial Iron Golems
The Willing Prince
Jack the watchman
The Explorer's Guild of Rokar
A hiver - undead tree, or dead tree containing an undead thing
Matt Tumbledown - a titan, but not a son of chaos
An Inquisitor - an impertinent tormentor from an intolerant faith
Liessa - a devourer
The summoner - a spotty teenage boy who should spend more time in the open air, and less time with his head in books where the letters move about of their own accord
Duke Leto - a ruler and friend of Erzsabet
Death - well...Death. A friend of Erzsabet
The Moïrae...She who spins, she who weaves and she who cuts the measure. Friends of Erzsabet
The Emperor in Yellow - a colony and friend of Erzsabet
Raphael - an archangel lacking the social connections of Erzsabet.
Wheel-Within-a-Wheel - a Troni
Engalton - a diplomat
Lunar Empire dignitaries by the boat load
Erelheine dignitaries by the boat load
The Ugly Earl
Echoes of Rashak - the remains of the eponymous Rashak, who manifest as a drow-shaped Dark Sphere. Their TMR is 5, Magic Resistance and Defence is trivial but they could care less. Fled when an attempt was made to Resurrect and did not seem to enjoy receiving on the order of 60 points of Empathic Healing.


Spring: Thaw (10)
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon3.jpg Candlemansa 1 Guild Meeting 2 Investigate statue & Guild Vault 3 Confer with Philosophers & Kali 4 Travel to Alfheim & Mordeaux 5 Sail for Note coordinate 1 6 Sail for Note coordinate 2
Moon0.jpg 7 Observe the Spring ritual, travel to Sanctuary, Runewands recharged. Travel to Alfheim Library. 8 Research. Sail back to Seagate overnight. 9 Back to Seagate before noon. Various meetings in Seagate and Newhaven 10 Sail to Rokar 11 12 13
Moon1.jpg 14 15 16 Arrive in Rokar, observed by minions of Seir, plunder ziggurat in Lost City 17 Sail to the elven university 18 19 20
Moon2.jpg 21 Arrive at Alfheim, take tea with Matt Tumbledown and Inquisitor. Consult library 22 Travel to Seagate 23 Consult Liessa and arrange to meet with Duke Leto 24 We travel to Tycho City, then to Death 25 We arrive at the House of Death, meet the Moïrae, defeat Marauder devils, meet the Emperor in Yellow and Raphael 26 We return to Tycho City, then travel to Logan's palace 27 We travel to the palace of the Lunar Empire and speak with Engalton A
Spring: Seedtime (11)
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon3.jpg 28 We travel to Kinlu 29 We give broken crockery to the Erelheine and talk a lot 30 We travel back to Seagate and talk a lot to the Duke 1 We talk a lot to Kali, and then travel back to Kinlu 2 We summon the Ugly Earl and talk a lot to him, but do not kill him 3 We travel back to Seagate... 4 and talk a lot to various people about buffs. We release the little Troni
Moon0.jpg 5 We either talk a lot or check our equipment. The little Troni returns. All runewand FT restored 6 Keshah sets up a portal to the Elven Way to Alhambra. Encounter sahuagin, Echoes, rescue Engalton, return to Newhaven 7 Portal to Lunar Empire to reunite Engaltons. Return to Newhaven, portal to Alhambra. Isil Eth raised to Queen of the Western Kingdom, reversed denizens of Hell, returned to Seagate 8 Rites of Thunor 9 10 11
Moon1.jpg 12 13 14 15 Equinox. Traveled to Lunar Empire, consulted with Matt Tumbledown, Nuckavalee, Chantris, the Wild Hunt 16 Went to Hell, took names, kicked butt, came home. 17 Eostre 18 The Seagate Spring Ball
Moon2.jpg 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Moon3.jpg 26 27 28 29 30 1 2
Spring: Blossom (12)
Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Moon1.jpg 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Moon2.jpg 17 18 19 20 21 Floralia 22 23
Moon3.jpg 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Walpurgisnacht