Following the Fumes II

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Scribe Notes: Session – Spring 811

GM: Craig Harper
Night: Thursday nights, at Craigs place.
Level: Medium/High.
Title: Following of Fumes II.

The Party
A few good Air Mages are needed to help the Sorceress in Silver again!

The Mission

Adjepbar Dust Devil

With the return of Spring, the Zephyrs, Sprites and Sand Imps who run for cover in the brilliant morning sun of the Blue sands of the cold morning Desert north of Adjepbar in the Five Sisters call out. Their cries can be heard on the wind by those who are the allies of Air, and those cries have turned to words for the Sorceress in Silver. Now it is up to us to act. There is no time to waste. We must make all haste and bring aid.

Scribe Notes

Elemental Escapades

Having failed to get on a mission at the last Guild meeting, a bunch of us i.e. Lath, Aryan, myself, and a new air mage called Violet, were in one of the common rooms commiserating on our situation when a wagon wheel, followed by the rest of the hay wagon, burst through the wall, accompanied by a gust of wind, and smacked Lath in the back of the head. Both Lath and Aryan dived on Violet to protect her, nearly squishing her in the process while I went under the nearest table, all the time contemplating the headline for the Seagate Times.

We were still picking ourselves up when a bunch of Guild Security burst into the room shouting “She did it”. Unfortunately they didn’t specify which she .. and promptly tried to subdue all of us. I decided not to resist whereas Lath and Aryan decided to, especially when we discovered that Guild Security wanted to know why Lath’s elemental, which was usually hanging around above the Guild, had decided to attack the main building. There were quite a few confused moments until it was determined that Lath’s elemental had thrown the haycart at Lath in order to get her attention. Of course I had to make the comment that this wasn’t really a ‘hay-zing’ for the new girl and that I’d better stop ‘wheeling them out’ before I got ‘carted away’.

Lath summoned another Air Elemental to explain itself. Wind of Reckoning explained, it was just seeking Lath's attention as she was ignoring its messages, so Lath allowed the air spirits to contact her. She was promptly assaulted by many air spirits bearing messages, also eliciting the line “Lath has Mail”. Several of the messages were repeats saying that a Storm on the Plane of Air wanted to talk to us, and the later the message, the more urgent it was. We asked WoR about the messages and it explained that The Storm wants Lath to help as there's trouble in the Plane of Air, some of the Great Winds are fouled, and all the creatures of Air sent to investigate have not returned. So some grounded folk are needed to go deal with it.

Learning to Fly

Aryan and Lath started working out how to get to the Plane of Air until they were reminded, by me, that we had a appointment with the Sorceress in Silver later on that afternoon. We then spent the intervening time teaching Violet to fly, namely by Aryan flying her up and dropping her. Fortunately it was my flying spell and feather fall she was using.

Finally, nearly an hour later, we reached the Sorceress’s tower in Seagate – and I was reminded why I dislike the windwalking spell. Lath had decided to use it on us all for rapid transport, too rapid in my opinion. Plus I was getting dizzy from going around and around the tower waiting for the spell to wear off.

The Sorceress Explains

After exchanging pleasantries, the Sorceress in Silver told us that the Storm was a powerful anticyclone. However, she also said there were problems on Adjepbar. Strange weather, and she had also lost contact with Benji the Blue, the local airmage there. The messages that she had got from Benji was that the weather was wrong and elementals that had been sent out to investigate what was going on hadn’t returned. Neither had any air sprites. So we were to go to Adjepbar and find out what was going on there while she attempted to find out why the Storm wanted us. I was wondering if the two events were connected.

A Party is Formed

We then formalised ourselves as a party and other members were to be sought. Lath appointed Aryan as party leader, military scientist and scribe but I decided to keep a journal, just in case. The additions to the normal contract were peoples preference for loot as follows:

  • Lath – Youth
  • Violet – Wants party members to share and help her learn air stuff
  • Aurora – Fae magics, especially the fae equivalent of Star Wings.
  Lath’s elemental – “How can I be Bob if I can’t float on water?”

We then headed back to the Guild to prepare. I went off to get a Greater. Meanwhile Violet had been intercepted by 'Vance - Lord of the Bats' and was being taught the basics of flight. When I finally caught up to her, she was practising while sporting large shadow-wings. So I tossed a feather fall on her and settled down to watch. Other party members were also obtained namely two beginning air mages: Volker and Vychan, as well as Vapour, looking heroic.

Off to Adjepbar

Once we were all ready, we set off in Aryan’s air skiff towards Adjepbar. It went very high, higher than my cloud and the view was really fascinating. It was night time by the time we landed, and some of us walked in towards town. For some reason, all the male 'V' party menbers had decided to have an in-flight drinking competition. As we walked, I was sure something didn’t feel right, so I had my longbow ready, even though I wasn’t sure what was wrong.

Once in town, we had to cross the hobbit area but soon arrived at the human area where we found an inn. One of the locals told us that the weather had been odd. It was not raining when it was supposed to be and ice was falling out of the sky that had destroyed the crops. There were also awful storms blowing out of the northeast and even white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. They had blamed the nasty evil air mages and had already ran one out of town.

During the night, it rained.

What's Up With the Weather?

W'ansday 2nd Thaw

Next morning, I purified then tried to commune with the air spirits. Unfortunately they weren’t talking. I got the distinct feeling that they were depressed. Outside, the sky was a sapphire blue, and it was obvious that it was Benji that had been run out of town. Aryan used a crystal ball to scry for Benji and got a vision of another town on the coast. So we booked the rooms for three days and paid in advance. Lath was asking about blue sands so the merchant she was talking to said he’d put the word out.

Just then it started hailing, with big ones. The storm didn’t last long so I went to pick up a hailstone. It looked normal, smelt normal, and even tasted normal. Couldn’t detect any magic on it either. Weird. Plus I was still getting that sense of unease.

So we walked off to Aryan’s skiff, intending to go find Benji. But we didn’t have to. Just before we took off, a man dressed in brown arrived and warned us about doing air magic in the area. It turned out to be Benji. Fortunately, the male 'V's had recovered by now.

Freefall Ambush

Benji told us that the fouled weather always came from the desert to the northeast, once he put it in words, we could feel the ill wind from the same direction so we buffed up and headed off in that direction over the desert. On the way we saw a camel line making its way towards an oasis … and an ambush waiting for them behind a dune.

So we decided to intervene. Aryan and Vapour bailed off the side of the skiff and freefell down, cutting in the feather fall at the last minute. I bailed out as well but put on the feather fall earlier so I could rain arrow fire on the ambushers from above. When the other two landed, Aryan fired lightning bolt and thunderclap simultaneously, in two different directions, from his swords, while Vapour charged in … and got smacked. However, he bravely stood there and took it. Meanwhile Volker had flown down and bravely attacked the leader Orc and was smacked by the Glaive. Violet had already disabled one attempt by the goblins to launch a glider, with arrow fire from the skiff, so they were frantically attempting to launch another one. Vychan had also flown down and was now thundering over the dune and head butting another Orc. Dunno what Lath was doing but despite Violet’s and my arrow assaults, the goblins managed to launch the other two ‘doom divers’, even though one of them had an arrow in the wing.

Aryan was glowing in the battle glory as he pressed on the attack. All eight of the Orcs charged towards Aryan, Vapour and Vychan, except the leader who was still exchanging blows with Volker. Vapour deftly dodged both attacks but Aryan was hit once. From where I was, still gently descending, I could see three on Aryan, three on Vapour, and two on Vychan as well as the leader on Volker. One of the goblin gliders went for the skiff and clipped Violet with a wing, while the other one we were shooting at was still going in a straight line. Maybe we had done more damage than we had thought.

Down in the skirmish, both Aryan and Vychan had knocked one down each while Lath finally made her move. I guess she must have been powering up all this time. She attempted to whirlwind vortex both gliders. One definitely disintegrated but the other one whirled away out of control. The rest of the goblins on the ground were scattering in all directions. By now, Vychan had dealt to both his opponents and was helping Vapour (insisting that he did not want help.) Lath then pushed Violet out of the skiff and bailed out herself. Aryan charged into close with the leader Orc, completely ignoring the fact that he was closing right up the Glaive. Volker also piled in to help. Vapour was multi-hexing his opponents and, out the corner of my eye, I saw the final glider crash into the desert.

  Aryan – Eviscerated by a Glaive – “It’s just a flesh wound – Vychan’s had worse”

By the time I had drifted down, it was all over. I retrieved all the arrows I could find then went to examine the first glider, which was near intact, as I was thinking of claiming it as loot.

What's Going On?

The merchants told us that many people had gone missing in the desert. Plus there were a lot or orcs roaming about. The orcs were from the northeast, the same direction that the strange air front was from, and their source was a mighty cavern with thousands of orcs in it.

As far as loot went, some of the coins that the orcs were carrying were from the baronies. There were also magical flasks of liquid which we were assuming were healing potions or orc booze, and pouches of blue sand which enhances magic. Even part of the gliders were magical, so I headed off to retrieve the relevant bits from the other two that had crashed.

So, back aboard the skiff, we headed northeast. As we progressed, the sky was getting darker and the air itself was getting less pleasant to breathe or even being in. But being Brave Guild Air Mages, we continued on. I was also detecting magic associated with some sort of sacrificial altar, presumably the source of this mess.

Dead Air

Desert earth palace.jpg

We finally reached the area and hid the skiff in a maze of canyons, leaving our prisoner to guard it.

Vapour's wind spirit refused to go any further and fled south-west as soon as it was allowed. Violet seemed to have an issue with the plan for a group of Air Mages to walk into a place that's really bad for air, but, apart from repeating the plan at escalating volume, couldn't identify any specific problems.

Aryan, Vychan, and Vapour flew out on Windwalk to scout ahead and returned late with barely functioning Flight.

They reported that the area isn't good for Air Magic and there's a cave that has some Orc guards although they appear to be slackers. The cave itself is carved into a cliff face and has rather ornate carvings around the entrance.

As we got closer, the air felt worse, icky and slimy, although Vychan didn’t seem to be so badly affected. In fact, for an air mage, he seemed to be positively enjoying it.

We decided we were going in. Because I didn’t think I was going to be casting anything any time soon, I decided to switch to my toughest armour, even though it made casting magic harder.

Unseen, we flew as far as the winds would take us then approached on foot.

We Assault the Guards

We were ready to descend into the crevasse where the cave entrance was. What we could see was a collection of orcs and goblins in front of the arch as well as a large pile of bones with a shield on top, rigged up as an alarm gong.

I put a Weapon of Ice on my longbow, before we split up into two teams. Aryan, Vapour, Vychan and Lath went first and of course, Aryan had to show off by jumping off the cliff and managing to glide to a grandiose landing. (Vapour: "I can do that, but I don't need to.") Of course, that attracted all the orcs and goblin’s attention to them, leaving Vulca, Violet, and myself to attempt to make a more discrete descent. There was a lookout on a rise watching the area but a well-aimed arrow from me put paid to him. Unfortunately my plan of a rapid absail descent down the rope to the bottom, backfired slightly leaving me hanging around upside down for a bit. I don’t really need to note the details in the notes though.

By the time I had untangled myself and got down, Vulkar and Violet were already down and starting to engage the enemy, Meanwhile Aryan had charged in with his two swords, Donner and Blitzen, on the advancing orcs. Vapour was by his side hewing a path while Vychan was head butting an opponent as nearly as big as he was.

I joined Violet in firing arrows while Vulkar and his dog went in to fight, armed with Vychan’s sword ‘Goblinbane’. One of the orcs at the back was a spell caster, an Earth mage obviously as a burst of DTJs flew out, one of which managed to break the support pole for the bone pile. That started wobbling and looking very unstable so Vychan grabbed the pile and let it down gently so the alarm wouldn’t go off. With all the noise that Aryan’s thunderclaps was doing I was wondering that the alarm had already been raised but maybe the forces inside were thinking that it was just odd weather.

Finally it was all over. One of the orcs made a break for the arch, presumably to raise the alarm but I was able to shoot him down before he made it. An orc had been left alive for questioning so, while the others questioned him, I looted the bodies. All I found of interest, apart from a few more coins from the Baronies, was more of that blue sand, some of which the mage orc had been snorting before the combat.

It Says What?

Lath had been trying to interpret the symbols around the arch and she said it read, “If pi r squared times the circumference of the sun equals the square root of the pyramids, how long does it take to dig through this mountain with a boiled carrot?” I copied down the symbols so I could get a second opinion.

Meanwhile the others had determined that the orc they were questioning worked for Gravel and Gravel was out getting dinner along with a bunch of other orcs and goblins. It was soon apparent that Gravel was the orc that was currently serving as the figurehead on Aryan’s skiff. Aryan wandered under the arch. I followed behind him with the bow ready in case something rushed out at him. The rest of the party soon caught up to us and we went down the tunnel, which definitely looked as if it was of dwarven manufacture.

Encountering the Defilers of Air

At the end of the corridor was a large chamber. Ornately carved pillars held the ceiling up and there was a big altar in an alcove at the back. On each corner, halfway up the wall were metal spheres with ladders leading up to them. Each sidewall had a corridor heading off. On the altar were three giants pounding away with hammers on some air vortex slamming it into the anvil. More orcs and goblins were between them and us. The air felt really bad and cloying, like the Guild cafeteria after a hobbit smoking session.

Vapour and Aryan charged at the altar. Meanwhile Violet tried to throw one of Aryan’s light pebbles and it fell short, blinding me momentarily – or as Lath put it “Violet was handling Aryan’s rocks and managed to make Aurora go blind.” Lath was trying to convince them to lay down their weapons if they wanted to live until a commanding voice rang out “Kill the Intruders”.

Aryan rushed up and tried to crack the altar, much to the protests of Vychan. I pot shotted a goblin, who was climbing up one of the ladders, causing it to promptly fall off it. I was aiming at another one when this huge giant hand erupted from the ground behind me and trapped me in it. Violet was also caught by a second hand, but she, unlike me, was still able to use her bow. I even couldn’t reach my Canith crystal cracker, which was loaded up with magical Canith crystal bolts. Meanwhile, three more goblins had raced up the ladders and into a sphere each while the fourth had grabbed the second light crystal that Violet had thrown that had failed to go off. Another horde of orcs was pouring out of the right hand sized corridor. It was not looking good for us.

Up at the altar, a 14 ft Aryan (he had used some sort of growth magic) was in the process of multi-hexing giants. One of the giants tried throwing his glaive at Aryan, rather ineffectively. Vychan was also multi-hexing and had hewed an orc down. Vapour was at his back, with his own opponents. This area was definitely a place of power for dust mages … a place of power for air mages as well … just in the wrong direction. We could see this when Vychan effortlessly put up a rather solid looking Wall of Dust, blocking the charging hordes coming.

It was about then, we found out what the 8ft diameter spheres were for. All but one of them – which still didn’t have a goblin in it – rolled down the ramps and onto the battlefield. Vychan bravely tried to block one but it still managed to roll over them.

The air suddenly got even more cloying and horrible, just as the air elemental erupted out of the ground. Aryan, leapt from the altar, flew through the air, slashed at the elemental on the way past – with a stroke that seemed to do absolutely nothing – before crashing to the ground in front of the hand I was still trying in vain to extricate myself from. The elemental then pummeled Vapour before turning to charge the giants on the altar, just as I finally managed to get my arms free.

  Lath – after finally getting a special technique to work – “Five years of training just to get a death buzz”

Vychan pulverised a giant. The spheres carried on, bounced off the opposite walls, and went for another pass. Aryan managed to avoid one, which smashed into the hand I was trapped in sending me nearly flying into another one. This was doubly unfortunate as I had been in the process of aiming at a goblin that was fiddling around with a giant cylinder. The cylinder rolled over next to Vapour and Lath before exploding. Definitely smelt nothing like the smell of a grenado in the morning.

That was when the earth mage giant screamed like a little girl and ran away as his earth elemental went after him. Maybe Aryan’s sword stoke had done something after all. Speaking of Aryan, Violet was unceremoniously dumped on from of his feet when her hand vanished. The ogres were being pummelled by the Earth elemental, while the spheres tried to squash Aryan between them so he grabbed Violet and leapt put of the way, still being 14ft tall. Violet was still wondering where the hand went.

For some odd reason, Vychan lightning bolted Lath. “That’s for the air elemental that smacked me over.” Lath was rather confused by that.

'Ello 'Ello 'Ello - What's Going On 'Ere Then?

Finally it was all over. The balls rolled to a stop and I jammed some rocks under them before shooting the rather dizzy goblins inside. Meanwhile Vychan was hugging the giant’s hammer as if it was a long lost cuddly toy. The anvil that it had been hitting was definitely made of cold iron and, for some reason Vychan didn’t want it destroyed. He seemed confused whether he was a dust mage, air mage, or earth mage.

Lath found a crate in the corner containing smaller crates containing small air vortexes, which were spinning clockwise, that were identical to the vortex we had seen being hammered into the anvil earlier.

Exploration of the complex revealed nothing else although a stack of empty barrels that were stacked neatly against one wall looked rather suspicious. We moved them and a locked door was revealed. Inside was a nice, neat, tidy room. I went searching and found a set of documents, which were diary entries. Meanwhile, Vychan had extracted a sack buried in the wall, which was full of grey powder.

Back in the altar room, Vychan had managed to befriend the earth elemental and had it pick up the altar. I took advantage of that to scribble down a copy of the runes on it. From what we could tell, it was designed to convert air elementals into earth elementals. Finally it was loaded aboard the skiff and we took off.

Can Someone Rid Me of this Turbulant Anvil?

With that thing aboard, the trip was not pleasant. The air was oppressive and the only way I could get comfortable was to get out of my armour, into the negligee, and try to sleep. Finally we landed in the Sea of Grass. Vychan was still arguing against dropping the thing in a volcano. While Lath flew off to fetch the Sorceress in Silver, Samuel, and a Guild Namer, I went for a walk away from the skiff, and that anvil until the air felt better.

According to the Namer, the anvil is a work in progress. It can be shaped specifically to trap air spirits which are transmuted into the anvil. The Hammer was made by an elemental earth power.

The Sorceress in Silver hadn’t been able to contact the Storm as yet. She was sure that this situation had to do with the eternal elemental war. An experiment was done to bury the anvil and once we did that, the air felt better. So we dropped it in Lake Brandon.

An Illuminating Lunch

3rd Thaw

It had been a tiring day so, once back at the Guild, we all crashed and weren’t up again til sometime mid morning. By the time I emerged, we had picked up another new air mage, a male human by the unusual name of Fluffi. He had a military background.

It was decided that we should have an open air lunch to decide what to do next. Good weather was arranged which resulted in the Guild complex being spotlighted by a sunbeam while the rest of Seagate, and probably all of the local area of Carzala was overed in dark, overcast clouds. Discussions were done on what we should do next. Originally the idea was to try and get to the Plane of Air to ascertain the situation. From what we could determine, and deduce, the anvil that had been introduced to the Plane of Air was the core of a growing sphere of Earth, that was converting the Air that it touched. Unfortunately we couldn’t figure out what we could do about it or even agree on how we were going to get there and back. Vychan then admitted to being a transferee adventurer, Tac probably. He also suggested that the second anvil be reversed engineered to run in reverse.

The rune mages told us that the runes on the arch was a bit of light hearted silliness, a dwarven architect with a sense of humour. Maybe it was dwarven humour as I couldn’t see the joke. Meanwhile the anvil we had retrieved was still generic but the runes make it specific. So there was a possibility that they could be rewritten. It was also surmised that this was an Anvil of Elemental Damnation, designed to destroy an element.

Finally it was decided to go to Drakenburg by Lath’s cloud. Before we left, I got Fluffi an Amulet of Luck.

Off to Drakenberg

6th Thaw

Three days later, we landed near the city of Drakenburg. Drakenburg is a large walled city with a palace in the middle. It was also overflowing it’s defensive wall but there was a large open area around it where several battles had been forced. We could also see main arterial roads, farmlands and manor houses below.

Once inside Drakenburg, Lath hired some street urchins as guides. We found out from them that DuQuesnie was a toff who lived in one of the outlying manor houses. The local lords where are into philosophical schools of magic.

We booked into a local inn and clothes, were ordered to be made for Violet and Fluffi, using Vychan’s everlasting bolt of silk. I planned to get some later. Boots were also on the shopping list. Meanwhile, one of the urchins, Thomas, told us that DuQuesnie had lands out to the west of the city.

We Meet The Philosophers

The rest of us went to find the building where the magical philosophers meet. It turned out to be a unmarked stone building. The person we spoke to explained that their aim was to break free of the restrictions of the Colleges and make magic useful to the masses. One of the things they had was a baby’s dummy that emitted sleep gas. Vapour obtained one. Meanwhile Vychan obtained the one that had been discarded in the bin because it hadn’t worked on Fluffi, mainly because of the Vapour Breathing he had on. We were then introduced to Alastair Moncrief, the creator of the air vortexes, who turned out to be a 50 to 60 odd year old man. He was envisioning that the air vortexes were used to help sail boats as the person who he was making them for, Mark DeQuesnie, owned a shipping line. Somehow I suspected he didn’t know what they were actually being used for. I also made a mental note to come back for more personal research. Maybe they might know something about fae magics I can use.

A Case of Tax Evasion

It was dinner time by the time we got back to the inn. For some reason Vychan wanted a plate sandwich. I was then contemplating an early night when the local sheriff, Sheriff Lobo, turned up. He wanted some adventurers to collect 20,000sp in back taxes from Baker Montilbre on Hobart Street and was paying 5000sp for the job. That was an awful lot of tax evasion and seemed rather simple so we agreed. I went to get the black, stealth armour.

So we headed out, found the address and Lath sleeping gassed the place. We then entered and searched the place. All we found was one occupant. We then found the backroom with a door that was magically trapped, warded or cursed. So Vapour opened the door .. and nothing happened. Probably a silent alarm.

Who Let The Dogs Out

Vapour then entered the room and promptly got stuck to the floor. Fortunately he had enough strength to get free. He then arranged for us to be able to walk on air and we were able to safely enter. The short corridor turned into a set of descending stairs which had another door at the bottom. Beyond that was a ‘U’ shaped room that was full of barrels and boxes. That was when we heard a growling sound and two large dogs rushed at us, one from each arm.

The dogs were actually cold iron golem dogs which made me glad I was at the back. One spat out oil causing Vychan to fall over while the other was hit by a bouncing lightning bolt from Lath – five times. Vapour than smacked that one taking it down. Vychan then went in close with the other dog in order to get out of the oil. I had finally managed to walk up the air enough to get a firing angle on that dog when it exploded.

  Vychan – “I hate binders”

Frozen Assets

Beyond one of the arms was another room so we gaseous formed in. A man inside saw us and stepped into the wall saying “It’s on the dog … just take it”. We then noticed a stone dog with stone saddlebags on a stone halter. This could get interesting.

The Tax Collected

It did. Vychan tunnelled out the wall and managed to grab a rather surprised Binder, whom we managed to convince to unpetrify the guard dog. While I charmed, and petted it, the others wrote out a receipt for the money before letting him go. We then collected the tax and headed off. Nothing else interesting was found, all the stuff in the storeroom was just generic trade goods.

So we headed off to the Sheriff's office where we handed over the tax and got the gold. We also discovered that DeQuesnie's manor house was ten miles to the east. Either that urchin was mistaken or he was lying.

Scouting Out the Manor

It was a dark an cloudy night (courtesy of Lath) as Vapour, Vychan, Lath and I headed out to the manor at roughly half nine. The idea was to sneakily fly out but, as we went over the wall, all of us, except Vapour, felt magic impact. Vychan determined it was tracking magic and, as it was undesirable to let the authorities know what we were up to, Vapour stayed in the clouds.

The rest of us found the manor, a sprawling single story building with other outbuildings as well. I was seeing uneven mana all over the place with peaks and troughs. Very odd. There were guards patrolling around the place but we successfully snuck in through the rather ornate gardens and under a lit window. Inside we could see a well-appointed study, containing a heavy set man, rather ornately dressed, writing away in a diary. His College of magic was earthish and we concluded that this had to be Duquesne. Knowing now that he was home, we snuck out and made our way back out, rejoining Vapour at the rendezvous point.

  Lath - “Do you guys want to attack the big bad guy now or in the morning?”
  Vapour - “I'm halfway through my exercises”.

Went back to town, much to the surprise of the gate guards, but didn't have much trouble getting back to our rooms by 11:30. However, I really have to work on my excuses, as I was sure some of them thought I was a Lady of the Night.

7th Thaw

Next morning it was raining really heavily … just as Lath had told the gate guard last night. I purified.

We Try Diplomacy

Later that morning, we headed up to the manor intending to make a social call on Duquesne, hoping that some applied diplomacy could ease the situation. As a consequence I was dressed in my noble outfit. This, in hindsight, may not have been such a good idea. I suspect that I am going to be richly deserving a nomination for Stupidest Adventurer.

Upon arrival, we were conducted to the front room by the butler and soon met up with DuQuesne. At first he was jovial but, once he had determined what our reason for meeting him was, it was sternly suggested that we leave.

So Much For Diplomacy

He made a retreat out the door, expecting us to depart out the front door, but the others weren’t having that. Vychan kicked down the door, which wasn’t locked, and we went after him.

As soon as we saw him he called out “Jamison”. Meanwhile I was really regretting my decision to leave my good armour and longbow in the carriage. As we went on the attack, Jamison, the butler, threw a drink tray at Vapour, scoring an impressive hit. We could also hear reinforcements running up so Lath tossed up a Whirlwind Vortex. This caused Duquesne to literally explode, however there was no death buzz for Lath. That was then something rather earthy, but didn’t look like any elemental I had ever seen, came out of the floor. This was looking rather nasty.

  “Never fear – Vapour’s here” – Vapour’s rallying cry.

Jamison threw a felt curtain over Vapour but Vapour ripped it off with style. For his reward, he was walloped with the curtain rail. Meanwhile Vychan was getting creamed by the earth creature, which we later discovered was a xorn. Lath did another Whirlwind Vortex and Jamison crashed to the floor. I was smacked rather badly by an Earth Hammer, which left me momentarily dizzy.

More troops were coming and the xorn said “Flee while you can”. I think Vychan’s reply was something on the order of “Up Your’s” but I wasn’t sure, as that was when the Wall of Diamonds appeared behind us, which suddenly exploded into a volley of diamond tipped javelins and I went crashing to the floor.

The others fought valiantly on, even after the incoming fireball fried all of them – including the xorn. Definitely there is no such thing as ‘friendly fire’.

  “They should run out of money sometime” – Vapour
  “Maybe sometime next week” – Vychan

The xorn tried to do an offensive withdrawal as Vychan and Vapour were hitting it. Lath then threw a windwalking at it and it exploded. Walls collapsed and rubble went everywhere. Thank you Vychan for protecting me.

Finally as the dust cleared, it was revealed that a third of the manor had been demolished. The rest of the staff looked on as Vychan rose from the rubble, proclaiming, “Leave now … and live”. That resulted in a mass exodus in the direction of ‘away’.

I was brought around and we assessed the situation.

The Aftermath of Battle

I was also told to note that Vychan actually broke a sweat on this adventure.

No one had died, surprisingly, except for the maid. Just then, Vychan detected a message going out using an earth mage equivalent of ‘Whispering Wind’. ‘Talking Tremour’ I called it. The message read “The manor has been attacked by air mages. We’re fleeing. Meet you at Highportal”. The epicentre wasn’t too far away.

Poor Communication Causes Confusion

Aryan (undisguised) flies in through the roof and is shot by Aurora (disguised). He lands and cuts down the stranger who shot him. Vychan (disguised) charges Aryan.
Lath(!?) is the voice of reason stopping the fight.

The other three arrived but, unfortunately there was some confusion and we thought they were enemy reinforcements. I was smacked by Aryan as they didn’t realise we were in disguises. As I lost consciousness … again … I could hear screaming from the other end of the manor. Probably the rest of the staff.

Gathering Much Needed Intelligence

Finally we sorted ourselves out. We headed for the study where I found and grabbed the rest of the journals. Meanwhile Vychan found another bag of stuff (gold and gems) while Aryan and Fluffi went after the two that had fled on shadowwings. Aryan caught up with his target and engaged in midair combat.

I busied myself going through all the journals and books looking for more clues. Vychan wanted to help but I suspected his idea of ‘inwardly digesting the knowledge within’ would be bad for the books.

Just then, Vapour noticed that DuQuesnie, despite being bound, had vanished. It turned out that he was sinking through the earth. Note – never leave captive earth mages in contact with the earth. Vychan went and got him. Meanwhile Aryan brought his target back while a message came in from Fluffi that the one he was following was heading for the city. So Lath took off to intercept. Meanwhile the prisoners were examined and all of them had a brooch with the symbol of a granite plume on it. The brooches were magical, containing quite a few protection magics including a month long trollskin. It was curious that the prisoners seemed to be in a permanent status of unconsciousness (0FT 0EN), but we suspected it was because of these brooches. So we grabbed quite a few of them.

The building that had the magical spike on it turned out to be full of magical experiments, most of which were not quite working. I was still searching through the journals looking for the location of Highportal as well as clues on how to switch the anvils off.

I discovered that Highportal was in the mountains behind Freetaun. DuQuesnie also had research assistants such as Crowley, Augustine, and Crofter.

  Aurora – “We huffed, and we puffed, and we blew their mansion down”

The rest of the party had brought all our stuff out of the inn so Lath summoned up a cloud and we flew back to Seagate, taking DuQuesnie and Jamison with us

Off to HighPortal

10th Thaw

Upon arrival at the Guild, we turned our prisoners over to the Air College then took Aryan’s ship to Freetaun. When we got there, the ship was stored in a warehouse then we headed north.

Did Someone Request Another Group of Mercenaries?

Finally we found them. There was an open area in front of a tunnel with guards milling around the front. We posed as DeQuesnie’s advance party with Aryan calling himself Captain Drak. A wind could be felt that was blowing out of the tunnel. I was able to determine that it came from the other side of the mountains, not the Elemental Plane of Air as I first thought.


The plan was to integrate ourselves with this lot but it was becoming evident that they were having none of that. As Aryan’s negotiations turned into a shouting match Lath then set off a Whirlwind Vortex which ripped into the guards taking out two of them. However, they didn’t die from it, thanks to those brooches. So we ran towards them, shouting things like “Watch out! The evil air mages are coming.” The fact that Lath’s air elemental was also advancing was supposed to lend weight to this deception but, again, they were having none of that so they raised weapons against us. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea for Vychan to be advancing backwards into the fray.

Hack, Slash, and Blast

We could see side tunnels coming off the main one as we advanced, Aryan in front, with Vapour close behind. More occupants were further up the tunnel with others coming out from the sides. This place felt like that is had been an Air Place of Power but was in the process of being converted to an Earth Place. Fortunately it wasn’t there yet.

Vapour was so eager to get in to battle that he attempted to pick up Aryan and move him bodily forward causing the comment from Lath “that Vapour tried to pick up Aryan during battle”. My own thought was that Vapour was trying to use Aryan as a rather large tower shield.

Aryan wasn’t the only one being pushed. Lath’s elemental was rather keen to get in there too, so keen that it actually tried to pummel Vychan out of the way. Either that or it was confused about what to attack. Lath modified her commands while preparing her spell.

Looking at the situation, I was quite sure that it was a bit crowded in there to go firing arrows in there. So I drew my claymore and prepared to charge in there after Aryan. However, I then had, what I thought, was a better idea and started removing amulets from the fallen. Violet joined in the game of ‘who can get the most amulets’.

Aryan and Vapour were forming our front fighting line and pushing their way in. Vychan and Fluffi were cleaning up what got past those two while Lath, Violet and I were providing supporting covering fire while Lath was blasting away with her whirlwind vortexes. Just then a massive gout of lava erupted from the ground right under the air elemental. It had to back off. At the same time, Hands of Diamonds erupted from the ground around us – and those diamonds looked sharp. Fortunately no one was caught, which was just as well. Mind you, I was wondering if Vychan would find those hands delicious.

A wooden totem pole had already erupted from the ground and soon, a second one joined it. We had no idea what these were for until one of them erupted with lightning bolts that targeted us individually. (OOC note: A Tesla coil totem). Lath’s next Whirlwind vortex blasted the rather dangerous looking grizzly bear at the back.

A bit later on, the battle was still raging on. One of the guys at the back threw a literal gold brick which exploded on the ground causing a golden shower that which fortunately didn’t score any direct hits but scorched us a bit. Aryan was getting rather annoyed that the opposition was wasting our loot.

  Violet – “Am I ... missing an eyebrow?”

It was about then we discovered that some of the ones we had taken down were getting up again, even though the amulets had been removed. Probably a latent effect. So we had to smack them down again. We were then instructed to drag the fallen bodies out and toss them to Lath’s elemental to keep them confined and away from the earth. Meanwhile Vychan was finding the tunnel roof a bit confining and decided to make his own tunnel in the roof so he could stretch out to his full height.

  Vychan (the Dust Mage) – “I don’t tunnel, I make air.”

Finally they were all down and the combat changed to a game of ‘whack-a-mole’ One of them was tossed into a Hand of Diamonds and we discovered that, unlike the standard versions which hold a victim firmly, these ones squeeze the victim into a pulp. Ewww, nasty. Vychan also destroyed the lightning generators.

All the amulets were retrieved and there was a magical hand and a half that was magically trapped, warded, or cursed. There was a battle of wills among some of the party about who was claiming it. I was more interested in searching this complex looking for research notes etc but I had to interrupt that to summon my air elemental as Lath’s one was getting full of captives. Once that was done I went to continue checking the library.

Halfway down the tunnel we discovered an archway, which was heavily covered in runes. It’s destination was the Plane of Air. Looks like we are going there after all, much to my delight. This led to some speculation about what is suitable apparel for the Plane of Air.

Securing the Portal

I found more journals to study while the others dealt with the prisoners. I also transferred control of my elemental to Lath so she could take the prisoners back with her. The rest of us followed in the skiff.

Back at the Guild, the Namers were really happy with the journals. One of the journals detailed the anvil, another specialised in the portal while a third was on the mithralite and what to do with it.

Into the Elemental Plane of Air

The Plan: Meet our employer (Storm), get employed before we solve the problem, find the anvil, deal with it if we can.
Backup plan: spend a week converting the other anvil, drag it through to Air to convert the earth back to air.

About an hour later, after a quick trip in the skiff, we were back up the mountain. As far as I understood the plan, we were going to have a look and see what the situation was while the Guild retrieved the second anvil and ‘reprogrammed’ it to counter the first one. So I was going in stealth mode.

The other problem we had was to get Lath’s elemental through as it couldn’t fit in the tunnel. Fortunately Aryan had this unusual ability to be able to breath in a lot of air so he sucked in the elemental, ran in, leaped through the portal and blew it out. The elemental can’t have liked being inside Aryan as it smacked him from inside a few times.

  Aryan – “I don’t blow, I only suck”

The rest of us went through the portal and came out in a vast expanse of blue sky. There was no sense of up or down and we floated in an unbroken sea of blue. It was a little unsettling on the stomach for a bit but once that settled down it was rather enjoyable. Lath's Elemental was able to tell us that the portal itself was located in the 16th layer of the 4th band, 45 degrees from the Storm. It could guide us to the storm.

As we flew on we noticed an object, about the size of a small keep, which we surmised was someone’s home. Djinn Manadof lived there we were told. I was getting thoughts about setting up a residence here myself.

We Meet Storm

Finally, up ahead, we saw a very large anticyclone. Somewhere inside the Storm we stopped, and a face appeared. The Storm thanked us for responding to his messages and told us that an interloper, similar to Vychan, was responsible for the current problems. Large quantities of dirt had been appearing. An air mage, by the name of Laurilus, had already gone to investigate but she had not returned.

Storm grants us permission to continue using the elemental as guide, provided we keep it at least one band away from the problem. We set off again, on the way we saw some rather large flying things which I wondered if they were able to be tamed and ridden.. We called them “air fleshies”.

We Are Go For Rendezvous With the Earth Sphere

It was actually a rather enjoyable trip through the Plane of Air with some playful arguments about who was upside down. Off in the distance we could see a smudge of grey in the blue which turned out to be a rather large sphere. We stopped for a look at it and my crystal ball revealed that the surface consisted of very soft sand consisting of whirls and eddies. As we watched, a lazy breeze drifted too close to the surface and was turned to stone. We could also see caves in the surface and caverns inside. As I scried further in, the material got denser and denser. No sign of the missing air mage or any of the air sprites.

While we were doing that a large humanoid, 10 to 12 ft tall arrived and said “This is my rock – I claim it”. He identified himself as Djinn Adamos. Personally I was wondering why a djinn would want a large clump of dirt but refrained from saying anything. He left soon after we gave assurances that we weren’t staking any claim ourselves.

Tranquillity Base Here - The Air Mages Have Landed

As I said, I thought we were going to have a look then return but the others decided to actually go for a landing and enter the sphere of earth through one of the caverns. I think they were intending to journey to the centre of the earth and take out the anvil. Plus, for some reason, Lath had been going on about either sacrificing me or leaving me here or something and I was starting to get annoyed.

  Aurora – “I’m putting my foot down”
  The rest of the party (in chorus) – “Where?”

After landing and having a look around we flew into the caves heading for the center. Curiously there seemed to be no gravity emanating from the sphere so, once we got inside, we had no idea which way was up so it got rather disorientating rather quickly, especially in the dark. Fortunately some of the party had lights.

That's One Small Step for an Air Mage. One Giant Fight with Gi-Ants

A little while later we heard skittering sounds. Ants I thought … and I turned out to be right. Three overgrown ants emerged into the cavern and turned to attack. Vychan, Aryan and Vapour went to face them. We could hear more of them coming from all directions as well. Soon we were fighting in all directions. Vychan could actually understand antspeak and discovered that they had been sent to kill us under orders from the Hive Leader. I was wondering how those ants got in here but suspected that they had been deliberately put here by the magic of the anvil. I was also listening out for slithering sounds, just in case there were giant earth-worms. Seemed appropriate somehow.

Anyway we were busy trying to smack them down and they were trying to bite us. Lath tried a Whirlwind Vortex but it snagged on the walls and started turning to earth. What she ended up with was a sandwind vortex.

  Aurora – “They’re getting ant-zy” 

Lath's Windwalk sent one flying too close to a wall where it turned to stone. Aryan’s lighting bolt managed to singe Violet’s other eyebrow as it took out her ant.

  Violet - “Am I ... missing my other eyebrow?”

Meanwhile, as it was too cramped to use my bow, I was using Kanuth crystals. One blast made my ant quiver and it’s eyes turned green.

  Aurora – “If it starts turning green and bulking up, I can conclude I just made it angry”
MilSci: Secure our flanks and rear, then carve our way to the middle. Kill the controlling Queen Ant if we find her, destroy the anvil if we find it.

I was smacked back rather badly by that ant. Meanwhile Aryan had another bounced lightning bolt that hit Lath. Lath absorbed it, marked it ‘Return to Sender’ and hit Aryan with it. However, it also took out the ant that bit me on the way.

More ants were coming and we started regrouping in an attempt to fight our way to the surface. Somehow I managed to hide behind Aryan in combat, which meant he took the hit I nearly got. Lath then did a Windstorm and the whole world started turning gelatinous. Fluffi then bravely cast a Calm spell in the middle to give us some breathing space.

The last couple of ants in with us were quickly slain.

Journey to the Center of the Sphere

The air surrounding us was full of gelatinous sand and it was getting thicker. So Vychan started hacking his way though and we started tunnelling further in. Finally we reached what seemed to be a mudstone layer and, from the sounds of skittering, it was looking like we had left the ants behind.

The earth was getting thicker and denser as we progressed and finally we were hitting into some rather hard rocks. I was using my mana sense talent to guide us. I was also expecting the anvil to be completely encased in some very dense rock but Aryan, who was in front, suddenly burst through the rock and into a large open cavern, the last thing that I was expecting.

The cavern was perfectly spherical with the anvil in the middle, connected to the surrounding rock by six tapering rock pillars, all ninety degrees apart and thinnest near the anvil. Three air elementals were here, the largest being the same size as Lath’s, as well as something that looked like an air elemental but looked even more impressive. Some sort of ice elemental we thought. Air sprites were flitting around the place and the whole scene seemed full of hostility. This really didn’t make sense. Why would creatures of air ally themselves with earth?

Air versus Air

We had to retreat back into the tunnel and seal it behind us as the air sprites threw air javelins at us. While we figured out what to do next, questing breezes were wafting in looking for us but we were shielded by Lath’s eddy spell.

The decision was finally made for Aryan to cause a diversion while the rest of us snuck down to the anvil and try to disable it. That was when something blasted down the wall so Aryan leapt out to attract their fire. The rest of us, protected by eddies and walking unseens drifted down towards the anvil but I noticed that one of the four air sprites had seen me so I drifted away from the others to draw it away, intending to make a break for the tunnel. This sprite was only three foot tall and definitely female and I was hoping she was more curious than hostile and able to be talked to. Maybe they were being coerced. However, when I got smacked by the whirling blade of air, that hope went right out the window – and it hit really hard. Vapour peeled off to help as it was rapidly obvious I was in serious trouble. Lath and the others had reached the anvil and, while Vychan was smacking away at the rock pillar, Lath pulled out a rope and started untangling it.

Vapour charged in, smacked the sprite and the air around it seemed to shatter. Some sort of air armour I suppose. His second shot actually injured the sprite but the air armour started reforming. If that’s a spell, I definitely want that in my repertoire.

Vychan actually really had a good idea. Maybe an air special counter might stop the armour from regenerating. So I sucked down on some healing potions to set up the spell, while Vapour kept hitting the sprite. Meanwhile Aryan was smacking into the other three sprites while the elementals closed in.

The ice elemental closed in on Aryan and Aryan became 90ft tall to take it on. The three sprites that had been engaging him were slung out and looking rather shredded. One of the other elementals advanced on us as I got the counterspell up. Vychan was still hammering at the rock while Lath was untangling the rope. As she did so, trapped air vortexes erupted from the anvil.

Vychan then turned and casted a spell that turned the advancing air elemental into dust.

  Lath – “Don’t do that again – and the next one is over there”

It was then noticed that one of the released air vortexes was pulsating, rather ominously. Meanwhile Aryan, while fighting the ice storm, was trying to determine why they were opposing us in the first place. He was told that they had been tasked to protect the anvil.

Vapour eviscerated the sprite and got smacked by the elemental. Violet pushed the pulsating vortex away and, as it sailed away, it exploded. Probably expanding back to normal air but it was clear we didn’t want them doing that nearby. More vortexes were popping out of the anvil as Lath sought to unravel her magical knot. Soon, nine of them were lurking about, much to Violet’s concern.

Vapour was still having trouble with that elemental so, after using my last ice weapon charge on my claymore, I struck at the elemental. To my surprise, it popped.

  Aurora – “It’s a hot air elemental balloon”

Fluffi flew into the rescue to help Violet get rid of the vortexes from the area before they exploded. Vychan smacked a sprite and sent it splattering into the inner surface of the earth sphere.

  Vapour to Aurora – “Get rid of the negligee”
  Aurora, currently clad in black stealth armour – “I’m not wearing it”
  The male members of the party – “WAYYYY HEYYYYY!!!!!”

Vapour and I continued smacking on the sprite we had while Vychan hammered a second sprite into the inner wall. For some reason, Violet started throwing vortexes at Fluffi and Fluffi missed the last one, which blew up near them and Lath.

  Violet – “I left one for you and you mucked it up”

I was smacked unconscious by the sprite leaving Vapour to deal with it on his own. For some reason my last conscious thought was “That sprite looks so cute.” Given that she was in transparent air armour and only wearing a shift, presumably made that statement understandable.

Aryan then hooked the ice storm with one of Lath’s hooks, causing it to come under his control and got it to restrain the air elemental. He then returned to his former stature and called for the surrender. The sprite was still hitting Vapour and moree vortexes were floating around the anvil. Both Fluffi and Violet were forced to retreat to tend to their wounds. This resulted in Lath being surrounded by explosions as they went off. Fortunately she wasn’t affected much apart from ringing in her ears.

Fluffi then may have earned the title of ‘Bravest Adventurer’ by charging two air elementals. Unfortunately he missed the sprite that Vychan was dealing with.

Air Beats Rock

With Aryan's help, Lath got the rope untangled and air vortexes exploded out of the anvil. The runes on it went out and everything went awfully quiet as the elementals and sprites broke off their attack. We watched them with bated breath.

Finally we got to talk to them. It transpired that they have been bewitched by the evil earth magic to protect the anvil and, with it shut down, were now free of it's baneful influence. They were actually Storm's agents, sent to investigate the initial incursion.

  Lath about Vapour - "He likes things hitting on him"

Once the anvil was removed from the concrete pillars, we proceeded to get it out of the, now inert, earth sphere, by the simple act of pushing on it. I had the idea of using a Mage Wind, blowing backwards, to provide a constant thrust to the anvil, which resulted in us blasting our way out of the surface of the Earth Sphere and into the clear air of the Elemental Plane. As we did so, the djinn who had earlier claimed the rock also wanted to claim the anvil making the offer to make us always smell sweet and nice - maybe to another djinn perhaps. We demurred.

On continuous thrust, we made our way in the direction of Storm. Finally a large voice said 'Stop Here' which we did. I guess even though it was inert, it was still an anathema to Air. So we did as we were told and approached Storm. He thanked us for our efforts and, after a bit of prodding, the subject of boons came up. Most of the others were interested in learning about the way the sprites could cause damaghe by slashing the air but I was more interested in the regenerating air armour .... at least I was until I mentioned I was looking for a better way of flying and Storm suggested Air Wings. That, I was definately going for, especially combined with fae glamours. The result of that was one very happy air mage.

Finally, after some training on the Elemental Plane of Air - and I'm still thinking of getting some sort of residence there - it was back to the Guild (and gravity), for obtaining treasure, training, and the like.

Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur Caster Aur Ary Lth Vap Vi Vlk Vyc
Armour of Earth (2) 20 +42 Def -1 Damage 10.5 hrs Vyc Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Strength of Stone (2) 20 +20 EN 21 hrs Vyc Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Fire Armour (2) 20 100 Ablative Mag. Fire 21 hrs Vyc Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Flight (2) 14 44 mph, D-4 Mins, D+2 pulses 7.5 hrs Aur Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Feather Fall (1) 7 4 hrs Aur Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Vapour Breathing (1) 15 8 hrs Lth Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cold Resistance (2) 16 Increases Gauge +5, -5 Heat/Cold Dam 17 hrs Lth Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Aryan Mil Sci
Melee Only: +10IV +10SC +10Def +1 Pass Action at End of Pulse
Raise Morale +5 WP

Mil Sci

Skirmish Formations Watches
Default

Vapour Aryan
Lath Vychan
Aurora Violet

Double File

Vapour Aryan
Lath Vychan
Aurora Violet

Single File

Aryan
Vapour
Lath
Vychan
Violet
Aurora

3-4 Hrs per Watch

Violet Aryan
Aurora Vychan
Lath Vapour

Treasure

The joy of adventuring with air heads mages!

From the Orc Raiders
  1. Blue Sands
  2. Magic Booze
  3. Struts and a mostly intact goblin death glider
  4. Invested Walk Unseen
  5. Invested ...
From the Defilers of Air
  1. An Earth Hammer - currently claimed by Vychan
  2. An Earth Anvil - Earth Place of Power
  3. A sack full of grey powder
  4. More Blue Sands
  5. Several small spinning air vortexes
Drakenburg philosophers
  1. 2 baby pacifiers
DuQuesnie Manor
  1. Several amulets
The Center of the Earth Sphere