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A Manifestation of Chaos: Extinction Event!

Session 035
??th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 035:
Placeholder – Session Pending

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


PASTE

LOG

HERE!!!


View
Session 034
??th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 034:
Placeholder – Eric Last Session

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


PASTE

LOG

HERE!!!


View
Session 033
??th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 033:
Barfight

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


From the personal journal of Naagloshi, 27th Day of Wealsun – CY 647

I have spent only a single night in this festering shithole that is the underdark, yet it seems as if I’ve been here seven weeks…

I don’t know if it is the chatter of my “comrades” or the special radiation the underdark is noted for but there seems to be some sort of incessant noise that permeates this place; perhaps it is a machination of the creature… a nefarious attempt at communication with these new comrades?

One thing is certain, the quest is not going well. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the warnings that I was given about my comrades are turning out to have more merit to them than I had hoped…
Prince Thay’d has openly positioned himself against me, at first, I had hoped it was some type of hazing ritual, or just the racism that is common and largely deserved against my kind. Alas, it appears to go deeper than that, Prince Thay’d also took opportunity to ask mocking questions regarding the creature… I cannot tell if this was done as some form of antagonistic humor or whether the creature has already begun to influence him. It is disturbing…

But that is nowhere near as troubling as the actions and behavior of Tavien, the demon eye… I must say that when SER Joss spoke of him; I had trouble believing the myriad of accusations and observations SER Joss claimed. It was obvious that SER Joss hated this man and there was no objectivity present in his opinion. I have many times been the target of this type of hate, so I made the determination right then to not prejudge Tavien. Sadly, it appears that my open-mindness has once again been rewarded by marking me for what I am, Naagloshi the naïve, Naagloshi the fool. You’d think after decades of experience I’d have learned better than to hope.

There seems to be little evidence to mark Tavien as anything but what SER Joss claimed he was, furthermore, Tavien is much more the creature of Prince Thay’d than SER Joss thought. I am not sure what power Prince Thay’d has over him, some sinister magic? Some form of conventional blackmail? Whatever it is, the control he exhibits is great but not absolute. This Tavien is possessed of a chaotic will that bellies the rigidity of discipline that decade’s monk training would provide. It is a certain tip off that the demon-eye has more than a small influence upon him. I cannot believe the others are blind to it (ha ha). In earnest though, it is no joking matter. I’ve not yet been able to determine the parentage of the eye but no doubt, it is the eye of an ancient and horrifically evil creature. Things like that are never safe, things like that never come without a price.

As to the rest of my comrades, I am still learning about them, the Lady Mercy is most impressive, her use of natural and spiritual magics is astounding, she also has an evenness about her that the others would do well to adopt. The wizard Adbellious… at first, I thought him a fool, however I have come to realize that like myself, he purposely does things to foster a disdainful reaction from others. This leads others to grossly underestimate us. In the short time I have interacted with him I must say his brilliance is impressive, his knowledge on most subjects surpasses mine and his abstraction of planar theory for a self-professed layman, is both impressive and exhilarating. I look forward to many conversations with him. He may even be able to help rid me of the creature! The half-elf Mathain has been laid low much of the time due to the rat hydra poison, so we have had little interaction. The biggest disappointment by far has been Thorgal… While it is true dwarves and orcs have little love for each other, it was my sincere hope based on the words of SER Joss and SER Bhaal that I’d find a true comrade in Thorgal. Instead, I have found largely a puppet in dwarf’s armor. Thorgal is yet another of Prince Thay’d’s renfield’s… I’m almost surprised that there is not a ring in his nose for Prince Thay’d to hang the chain he leads him with.


Tavien, having grown irritated with the bickering of Naagloshi and Prince Thay’d departs to sleep in his room. Most do not notice his departure, hours later well into night Tavien hears noise at his door and see’s three gigantic rats and he handedly disposes of them and returns to rest.


Meanwhile Mathain wakes from his injuries and finds out from a sister of Hieronious that Mercy brought him there barely in the nick of time for him to survive. Mathain asks several questions of the Hieronian and learns he had been laid low for the better part of a whole day, and that his friends are investigating something in the area. Morning arrives and Mathain feels well enough to leave and does so to search out his allies.

Dawn has come, Tavien has not returned; most of us want to leave this place. We decide to give the Wandering Flame one last try. We go in and Prince Thay’d, Mercy and Adbellious break off to get a table; I try to find the blonde women I gambled with the prior eve, Thorgal and SER Lee wander aimlessly.

Prince Thay’d enacts a gem that gives the table an air of privacy as SER Lee and Thorgal sit down. They come to a consensus about not needing to be there and vote to gather up Naagloshi and leave. As they get up to do so they are approached by a man in spectacles who starts to introduce himself. Prince Thay’d makes it clear he wants nothing to do with him, but he introduces himself anyway… He names himself as Kiril Maximov and hastily invokes the honorific of “Heroes of the Realm” when he sees that Thay’d and the others are not interested in speaking with him. Despite this, Prince Thay’d and the others dismiss him.

Prince Thay’d approaches me and informs me that the others have come to consensus and have decided to leave. I agree but expressed concern regarding leaving Tavien behind. I told Prince Thay’d, that leaving comrades behind was not something I was comfortable with, Thay’d was dismissive stating “that was Tavien and he can take care of himself.” I told Prince Thay’d that I found the lack of discipline on Tavien’s part and the lack of concern on the groups part appalling our quest is supposed to be “somewhat secret”. It is here that I chose also to express concern about Tavien’s demon eye, how such things never operate strings free and that Tavien’s erratic behavior may be a result of the eye but Thay’d heard none of it.

We took the magical cart to the surface and as we departed it, SER Lee took his leave and Prince Thay’d and the others including myself decided it’d be best to prevent folks from going down there or coming up here. Prince Thay’d tried to disable the cart for some time without success; we gave up on that and decided to destroy the statue.

Meanwhile Mathain leaves the Heironian temple and meets Tavien in street, they catch up on recent events and are drawn to a commotion happening a little way down the road. As they get to the source of the commotion, they see that it is us, their friends trying to destroy the statue that marks the entrance to the sub-cavern. Tavien wastes no time and leaps onto the statue, and prepares to strike powerful blows against it. “NO!!!” I ejaculated, “wait for me to dispel any harmful magics” but the words fell on deaf ears as the wild man, full of chaotic rage prepared to wreak destruction mindless of consequences. Luckily, I am very practiced at this particular spell; Dissoluenda Magia, I intoned and knew instantly that several magics on the statue unraveled. Tavien, then concentrated his efforts on the gems embedded into the statues eyes but he is unable to extract or damage them.

A crowd of folks start to gather and question what is going on. They quickly state their objections to the damage being caused and of course no one but Price Thay’d steps in to help with the crowd… Thay’d’s charms seem to have no sway and things progressively looked like they were heading for conflict… I used the disturbance to turn invisible. In hopes that the danger of fire would provide distraction and disperse the crowd; I then summoned several small fire elementals giving them strict instructions to ignite several small fires. The distraction worked and the crowds went to attend to the small, non-dangerous fires. The city watch arrived and Prince Thay’d tried using the Writ of Aid granted by SER Joss to brow-beat them into ignoring their duty. With the crowd under control and the statue no longer under assault the city watch, let things be.

It turns out that the watch was not just there for the disturbance, they also were there to relay a message from SER Joss, he wished to see us immediately. The Watch members left; we had a short conversation about what to do. Prince Thay’d was disdainful of the idea of speaking with SER Joss and informed us that he’d see to making sure the preparations regarding the ship were done and would meet us outside the Eastfair gate, Prince Thay’d then departed. The group then decided that given the ill-will between Tavien and SER Joss, that Tavien should not come to the meeting, Tavien quickly agreed and chased after Thay’d.

We go to the palace and meet with SER Joss; it is obvious SER Joss is perturbed. He excuses all of his aids and servants and then asks “how goes the quest” (a loaded question if ever there was one). Before even really hearing our answer, SER Joss informs us that he knows about the book and that is really a map.

SER Joss then explains that the map is purported to be a safe passage to the extremely dangerous northlands. He then asked us to confirm that we were aided in our efforts by the Wizards Guild and that Oreye. We confirmed the information and shared that Oreye felt he lacked the skill to effectively repair it. However, Oreye was of the mind that only two people that he was aware of could possibly repair the map; they are Croklator (the strange were crocodile associated with the padded paw) or a being named Dr. Insano, whom supposedly runs a restaurant in some kind of personal pocket plane.

SER Joss then unequivocally states that This map may be critical to the success of the mission north. He explains that the north, even before the recent conflict with Iuz is an extremely dangerous and hostile land, filled with vicious monsters, savage giants, a number of dragons, eternally waring barbarian tribes and unpredictable brutal weather. SER Joss continued on with, that in early aftermath of the great beast’s attack, the remnants of the government was contacted by Ezetta-zha, whom proffered a theory as to what the beast was and presented the rumor of an ancient elven talking stone, that if true was a first-hand account of the defeat of the Great Beast, nearly three thousand or more years ago. Ezetta-zha said sadly though the stone had been lost to time.

Jaqen Dayne, who was basically running the kingdom in the immediate aftermath sent word to The Free City of Greyhawk asking for the aid of the Seekers of the Arcane, if anyone had knowledge of this gem it’d be them. Three days from then Anna of the Seekers, made way into Eastfair with information. The order had indeed heard of the Ohlrdauth known as speaking gems. These gems were a creation of elven high magic and used to record important events of elven history. Only seven are still thought to exist, three are in elven hands, the other four were lost when the Vile arch-wizard Vecna, now a god obliterated almost all of the old elven strongholds -1660 CY thru -1145 CY. It is largely unknown what has happened to them since however, in CY -423, A white dragon of immense power bragged to a barbarian king of his treasures, a talking stone was among them. The barbarian king whose name is no longer remembered sought to use that information to barter an alliance with a small group of elven refugees, they refused but sent word to one of the last bastions of elves, in the Ardi Forest. Eawentara, ancient queen of the people, grandmother of Princess Estenara, sent an emissary to treat with the White Dragon Tyumen in order to negotiate a price for the gem. The emissary never returned; however, Tyumen was slain in CY 333 by the great barbarian Laird, GOTKAR whom had frost giant lineage, the horde of Tyumen was largely pissed away on drink and questionable women, GOTKAR had 39 known sons… The Gem has not been seen since CY 341 when one of GOTKAR’s son took it from his sister, GOTKAR’s twenty-eighth wife.

By the time this information was relayed, the causality aftermath of the attack was known and this information was shared with the queen regent. Against the advice of Joramy Wendell, she initiated the process of sending envoys to the surrounding nations as well as special envoys to the barbarian lands in the north. It was her hope to strike an alliance with one or more of these barbarian rulers in order to facilitate finding the speaking gem. The rulers, themselves of three largest barbarian factions, (Ice, Snow and Frost) arrived about a tenday later. Unfortunately, after a good start of diplomacy, the conflict between Joramy Wendell and Uthgred soured the barbarians and they left Eastfair before the conclave. An advance emissary has been sent to each leader bearing apologies as well as a record of what was uncovered during the conclave. It is hoped that when you arrive you can treat with one or all of them in order to pinpoint the location of the gem. Barbarians are not noted for their ration or forgiveness though, so again the map becomes a paramount backup plan.

IMPORTANT GAME CLAIRIFICATION:

There is some general confusion going on with the Northland arc, this will provide much needed clarification on it.

Point 1: The Ohlrdauth known also as the speaking gem. This was mentioned in session 29 and is the initial reason, you are heading North.

Point 2: The Map, the Map is a map in the form of a faded damaged scroll and needs the skills of a master alchemist to repair. The map reveals a safe passage to the northlands. This map was placed in the library by agents of SER Joss/ SER Bhaal. This was set up in session 31.

Point 3: The Rod Piece – Information that a Rod piece was in the Northlands was discovered by the heroes when they spoke with SER Joss this session.

These three points are independent of each other.

THE FIRST PLAYER TO POST THE FOLLOWING IN THE MOC FACEBOOK CHAT

“I HAVE READ THE ADVENTURE LOG AND UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANT CLAIRIFICATION WITHIN IT”

WILL RECEIVE 1 FREE RE-ROLL OF THERE CHOICE TO BE USED IN THE NEXT SESSION!


When SER Joss finished, the group nodded in understanding. I however informed SER Joss that I would not return to the Wandering Flame given the cost of entry was another beings soul. We informed SER Joss of the vile place and our rational for using the souls. That is always how the fall to evil starts though… in the name of good or greater good. Every day now, I must live with the additional burden of what happened to those souls we turned over… The fact that we made the determinations we did is only an excuse, we deserved to be damned.

SER Joss showed sympathy to our position nonetheless he clearly stated what was at stake. It is hard for any being of conscience to put morality ahead of life… I agreed to return as long as I did not have to sacrifice another soul. My comrades made their own decisions however one surprised me greatly and that was the half-elf Mathain. He categorically refused to go. He would not bow to evil or pressure on the matter. It speaks much of him. Mathain, demanded his portion of the soul gems immediately so that he could destroy them and send the souls on their way. The group explained to Mathain that we agreed that we needed to come to consensus about the gems before any actions were taken. Again, like a light in darkest night, Mathain’s moral and absolute stance cuts through to the heart of it. He agreed to wait, if I agreed to give my word that his share of the gems would not be used; without hesitation I made that pact.

We head back to the Wandering Flame and after a brief conversation were allowed back in without further soul payment. We even manage to sneak Tavien by without incident, strange in hindsight though as he never initially paid a soul gem, perhaps the demon eye had some sort of influence upon that? A kindred recognition?

As we enter, we again see the half man, half bat bartender; it seemingly nods to the Lady Mercy… It sickens me to think what horrors the vile being would visit upon her if it were allowed. We also see the teal-plated knight, whom Prince Thay’d offended with his lies the night before. We quickly grab a table and almost instantly, the strange man with the spectacles that we earlier dismissed came to our table. Kiril Maximov’s mouth immediately and regrettably vomited forth words at a rate only matched by the most powerful of sea storms.

Kiril_5.png

“Greetings greetings my friends, welcome. Would you mind if I might have a sit here with you. I see before me, a very famous group of individuals. I would be most honored to make your acquaintance. My name is Kiril Maximov, I am a Naturalist, also from the surface much like yourself. Now that I’m retired, I enjoy most of my free time here at the Wandering Flame.

We inquire as to what a Naturalist is, he replies that he study’s the environment of the underdark and launches into a bizarre gurgitation of his “credentials”. He states “I myself discovered its existence when I was writing my PhD thesis, and I heard through rumors there was something here that was a mystery to the Naturalist, so I decided to explore this place myself. By the time I found it, it had already been transformed into this wonderful tavern you see around you”.
Normally, I try to conduct myself respectfully however this being’s buffoonery cannot be condoned. Academic credentials are difficult to earn, even more-so for those such as myself and the Lady Mercy to see that pissed on by this fool was infuriating. I ask a few specific questions about the nature of his credentials; he could not answer of them competently. He did give a minimally exceptional history regarding the Wandering Flame.

I have recorded his words on the history unabridged as to not miss an important detail. I’ve never regretted any decision more… but I digress:

“Well, the story goes that several millennia ago, the first dwarven explorers found this cavern here, you see around you. Imagine the puzzled looks on their bearded faces, and as they looked at the ceiling of the cavern, they saw something strange and unusual – a fireball entirely made of blue fire slowly moving in a perfect circle – perfect circle – near the ceiling of the cavern. [ Kiril Maximov points to the ceiling, and indeed one of the blue glowing flames is noticeably larger than the others you’ve seen to this point, appears detached from any wall-fed apparatus, and is making a slow arc near the top of the cave.]

Couple of centuries later, the dark elves discover the cave. They see the same blue fireball floating near the top of the cave, and they decide it to be a good place to make an outpost. Central location, several caverns intersect here, the geology here is favorable. Perhaps the only thing that’s unfavorable here is the unusually high level of faerzress radiation, but I suppose it can’t be helped – in the Underdark that kind of thing is bound to be encountered.
Well, the dark elves didn’t just construct a slaving outpost, but they even dispatched their Wizards to study the Wandering Flame. The dark mages inspected it, studied it, and finally concluded that the fireball was not magical – it seems to be a completely natural effect. It’s just a puzzle – and has been a puzzle ever since. That’s what initially drew me to write my thesis on the Wandering Flame. What’s bothers me is that, faerzress radiation is a magical type of radiation, it usually detects as magic. Anyway, like I said, a complete mystery.

Anyway, the story goes, is that the outpost gradually, you know, was built up. Slaves were its initial founders. The original colonists were mostly slaves, but the colonizers were the dark elves, so to speak. They called their fledgling colony Velovthusilak. So anyway, the dark elves gradually built, built, built, until a couple of centuries ago. Rumor has it that’s when there was quite a tussle in the city of Menzoberranzan I think it was called, I get confused of course when it comes to dark elf cities, they all have very elaborate names. There was a conflict of some kind, and well, a particular family – a particular noble house was, about half it was wiped out. They called themselves House Zezriz. At the time, they had really tried to fly too high – they had tried to reach for the stars, as you would say, but we don’t have stars down here, they had tried to reach for the stalactites and unfortunately, they tripped and fell on their faces- and it nearly killed all of them. Half of the house did escape, and decided to travel far, far away, here to the Wandering Flame abandoned colony. It had been abandoned by the previous inhabitants several centuries prior, and so they decided to make this their new residence. And slowly slowly, they developed their power base here.

Now, given that this place has no natural resources – there are no fungal forests here, no waterfalls, no freshwater streams, or even mining deposits, any of those types of things. Just about the only resources this place had in abundance was plenty of the nearly ubiquitous faerzress radiation. Well anyway, the colonists had to use their imaginations. They had to THINK in order to just survive. So… this is what they came up with. This place is their answer, their answer on how to survive in this harsh world called the Underdark.

So, now you see the creation stands before you in its full glory. House Zezriz rules this outpost to this day. The Noble House is led by Matron Mother Zezri Von Zezriz, and oh let me tell you she is a beauty. I’ve only glimpsed her a few times, but when you see her, you’ll know it – absolutely gorgeous specimen, but well, [sigh]… I’m a bit too old for that. She’s a relatively young Matron, now she won’t reveal that if you directly task her – young for a dark elf, of course, not by human accounting. The drow see themselves as far above that of other mortal races… Ah…. that’s the thing about dark elves. They’re fucking racists every single one of them, every single one, just a straight up bigot. Anyway where was I oh yes House Zezriz, yes well.


Uuugghhh, all of that rambling for Dwarves discovered it, dark elves built it up on the backs of slaves and control it to this day. If words were water this man would drown the universe…

I would like to say it got better from there, ohh gods above, how I’d like to say that! Instead after being unable to answer the simplest of our questions about the knowledge, he presented, he launched into multiple un-ending diatribes about the incredible nature of the place, the food, the drink, the staff, the natural beauty, the perfect capitalism of the dark elves, the efficiency of dark elves, the wonders and debaucheries of the bar and on and on and on and just when I could not think it would get worse, it did!

Kiril Maximov then assaulted us with an ineffable treatise on the nature of underdark time keeping… I repeat only a portion here as I know Lendor, the great Suel god of time and tedium took mercy upon us by allowing it to end…

“I’ll just tell you this. I’ll tell you how time is kept down here. As you can see plainly by looking around. There is no dawn, no dusk, no mid-day, nothing like that. Instead, we use the Wandering Flame itself. It slowly continues making this arc, and this arc, is not just any arc. Every single rotation is exactly 24 of your surface world hours. Look around you, look at the arc. Look up at the Flame, near the ceiling, just floating there, minding its own business, it’s got a blue glow, it’s beautiful isn’t it. They say if you stare too long into it, they say your soul will be damned into whatever demented deity created this place all those years ago, but I’ve stared it for a long time and I can attest I am perfectly fine. I do not know why these rumors persist in… flying around, get it? So anyway, look closely near the ceiling. There’s a RING around the walls of the ceiling, and the ring has exactly marks spaced perfectly equally around in a circle. As the flame moves by each mark, a single unit of time passes, we call that a Centarc. A Centarc is roughly the equivalent of 15 of your surface-world minutes, but not exactly 15. There are 100 marks, so there are 100 Centarcs in one Fullarc. Once 10 centarcs have gone by, we like to say that a Tentharc has passed. There are 10 Tenthcarcs in a Fullarc. So, the dark elves and in general all the patrons here, we use a common parlance, we say things like: “Let’s meet in 2 Tentharcs and 5 Centarcs from now, we’re gonna meet in this place, we’re gonna go have a drink, we’re gonna watch this show – I’ll get to that by the way.” So a Tentharc is 10 Centarcs, and of course there are 10 Tentharcs in a Fullarc. We call it a Fullarc when the Wandering Flame makes a full arc, pfft, easy enough. There’s an early arc, and a late arc, there’s a midarc, you understand, you catch my general drift”.

In the middle of this unending, vacuous exchange; I looked upon my comrades, and without a doubt knew had a genie lamp been upon the table what their wish would be… I then met the eyes of Prince Thay’d, they were glassed over but I could see within them that he was a tentark away from blowing his brains out.

At some point Maximov just stopped speaking… perhaps because he used up all the words everywhere… but whatever caused the respite of sound, my comrades and I seized upon it, impossibly breaking away from the event horizon of the avatar of unending chatter.

Mercy broke off to ask the bartender information on Dr. Insano, Tavien looks around and informs us that he see’s people noticing them and covertly watching. Lots of different elves are about, a servant approaches and I take the opportunity to ask her to take a drink to the snake priestesses and ask her if I may approach. The servant hesitates and questions me as if she should. I immediately and savagely brow beat her into compliance, my comrades are off-put by it; nevertheless, I better than anyone understand how to coax a servant along.

The servant heads toward the table and once again we look upon a table of drow females the likes of which we’d never have guessed could exist: four drow females each sprouting a long, sensual torso and possessed of no legs, but instead a long thick-muscled snake-like tail, each tail tipped with a stinger, its bulb ripely plump with some kind of venomous substance. Two of the females are laughing haughtily at some unknown joke, while the other two sit idly by. Each time they laugh, their muscled tails slap against the ground to accentuate the gesture. Off to the side, a hulking bodyguard creature stands idly next to the four drow females, demonically over-muscled red glistening body accentuated by eruptions of jagged metal spikes sticking out of every limb and body ridge, with arms planted on a hilt cradling a massive black sword planted in the ground. The oversized demonic bodyguard keeps a wary eye on the rest of the room. It’s obsidian blade is easily double a mortal’s height, and gleams with a coat of intestines and gristle, as if freshly used.
The wizard Adbellious and I confer on the suspected nature of the demon. Once again Adbellious astounded me with the scope of his knowledge with scant details on my part we were able to divine much information on it. Its proper demon type is Kalvakas demon, also known as horned demons, known to be brutes. This one has a strange aura and appears to be on fire. (Perhaps a fire shield).

These creatures are known to be immune to electric and poison and have some slight resistance to fire, acid and cold. They are also known to be very physically resistant to damage, possessing multiple barriers to such punishment that good aligned weapons can partially pierce. These vile beings also have a number of magical abilities and are known to be able to command creatures.

Just as we were ending our conversation, I notice that one of the snake women waving me over… I must admit to a great deal of trepidation, these women were beautiful beyond words and surely that beauty was only matched by their viciousness. If I act unwary or foolish it could cost more than my life. In most any other case, I would not have chanced an encounter of this type but having been here the night before for a fair measure of time; I saw no indications or instances of violence. Given the nature of the denizens within; It seems more than reasonable conjecture that there was some prohibition against violence on the premises. That and we needed to do something to move along the information gathering process, the more time spent here, the greater the chance that some misfortune would befall us.

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I approached and introduced myself as Genoskwa, lowest of the low (there was no way I was going to give my name to these vile beings). I had decided based on my knowledge of both Drow, extra-planar beings of power and females in general that appealing to their vanity was the best bet of dealing with them. I hated doing this myself, but it is delicate dance and none of my comrades, save perhaps Lady Mercy have shown the ability to exercise prudence. One of the beautiful snake drow, introduces herself as Noonilith and then points to her demon bodyguard and introduces him as Vieggor, this hulking creature nearly made me shit myself as I approached. Under his breath but clearly audible he stated if I insulted his mistresses, he would end me. I had zero doubt that he was anything but steadfastly earnest. I took note of his name though, its doubtful that Noonilith would bandy about this creature truename however arrogance comes in many forms… As a show of dominance, a true name would be just the humiliation someone of her nature would inflict and even minus that often times even the sobriquets that are used by extra-planar beings have some root basis in their true names…

I complimented the beauty of Noonilith, while debasing myself of being unworthy of being her presence. She plainly agreed but was pleased none-the-less. She asked what made me different and I truly answered that while I was physically unremarkable for my kind, that mentally I was quite remarkable for my kind. I went on to say that her great beauty caused me to forget myself and implied that I was interested in serving her. Her sisters scoffed at the notion but Noonilith was perhaps intrigued, or just bored. I then stated that I would joyfully like to know the name of their deity as that it must be a being of magnificence in order to be worth of the respect and adoration of Noonilith and her sisters. Noonilith warily answered that they do not openly discuss the demon lords name with lower beings such as myself (I noted demon lord… not lady or Lady Lolth as is her common form of address). Noonilith either slightly displeased by the impertinence of my questions or having tired of my odious presence, dismissed me but said that she may call upon me at a later time for amusement… (truly a terrifying thought). Sensing opportunity had slipped by, I took chance by lying to her and stating that she may not have the chance as my master and I gestured to Tavien was planning to sell me to a man called Dr. Insano. Noonilith betrayed neither recognition of the name, nor concern to what that fate would entail and simply stated such things happened. (The cold-hearted bitch).

Vieggor.jpg

I took my leave and no sooner had I left the Priestess’ presence, the demon Vieggor came over to bully me. He stated that I offended his mistress, at which point I interrupted him and told him it was not his place to make that determination. The demon bellowed in rage and stated that he knew his mistress’ will so completely that he did not need her permission to destroy me. I was terrified but I was all in now. I had to hope my assumptions regarding the nature of conflict within this place proved true. I decided the best course of action was to provoke the demon into immediate conflict, trusting my own abilities, those of my comrades and hoped that there were indeed rules against such action in the bar. I noticed that Prince Thay’d was already on the move toward the demon coming in for the flank.

It would seem my assumptions bore fruit, as Vieggor bellowed out challenge, duel to the death in honorable combat. (Yeah right). I again decided that the best course of action was to antagonize the demon into immediate conflict. Besides a quick and very bloody death, there was no downside. Openly provoking the Demon may win some small respect of Noonilith at worst and at best, immediate conflict would cause the power behind this place, to show themselves and perhaps remove Vieggor from the board so to speak.

I answered Vieggor‘s challenge with insolence… I said “how about now? I’m free right now.” I must admit the look Vieggor’s face when he heard that was very rewarding, completely terrifying but rewarding, unbelievably, Vieggor reserved his rage and promised me a horrible, horrible death and that he’d rip my entrails out. I said “that was one way it could go but I’d bet on me using him to pay for my next visit to the Wandering Flame." For a mere instant, there was nothing but stunned silence within the Wandering Flame, Then the rage and fury of Vieggor went full on display as it growled at me.

Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I’d have not believed it; impossibly fast Prince Thay’d reached out and grabbed Vieggor below the belt to stroke the demon’s genitals and berate his manhood, the demon just as shocked as I or more. The fiery demon Vieggor teleported out and then immediately back in, behind the Prince, however both Prince Thay’d and I were expecting him. The fiery demon brought down it’s black evil sword to lash out at Prince Thayd, attacking now with abandon. Seeing this combat break out, I summoned forth three celestial squids to keep the demon octo-pied (ha ha). One squid managed to grapple Vieggor but Prince Thayd failed to land a blow on him. Meanwhile, the squids assaulted Vieggor again but he teleported out, this time out of sight.

We expect him back any second.


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Session 032
??th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 032:
The Wandering Flame

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


Session 32
“The Wandering Flame”

ELVEN MERCHANT QUARTER

Our heroes begin to heal themselves after taking a hefty beating from the rat hydra monstrosity that crawled out of the sewers. However, the half-elf Mathain doesn’t seem to be looking much too healthy at all. His skin has turned pale blue, and he is breathing much too fast. Everyone realizes he is being badly afflicted by the rat hydra poison. He collapses to the ground, his ribs taking heaving fast breaths as he goes into circulatory shock. The capable healer, Mercy, immediately recognizes the dangerous situation and insists on rushing him immediately to the nearest church for healing. She swings one muscled half-elf arm over her shoulders and begins to hurriedly make her way out of the elven merchant district, being completely selfless and not taking time to worry about being ambushed, due to the nature of this emergency, hurriedly explaining the situation to the other heroes and then whisking Mathain away.

CHURCH OF HERONEUS

Mercy arrives at the church at this late hour, approximately 11:30 pm, and is greeted at the door by a Heronean Paladin introducing himself as Sir Davington Lee. Mercy explains the dire situation, and Sir Lee assures her that he will have capable clerics tend to Mathain this night and he is optimistic that Mathain can yet be saved.

Sir Lee also expresses that he has spoken to a fellow Paladin, Sir Tobi, and has been convinced by Sir Tobi’s tales of valor that the Heroes of the Realm must be aided at all costs. He offers himself and his services in place of the disabled half-elf Mathain, at least until Mathain can recover. Sir Lee appears to be a young paladin, thinly built, bearded, brown of hair, deeply tanned, wearing no armor except a tabard with a symbol of Heroneus, as if he has cloaked himself in his faith completely. He also carries no visible weapons. Reluctantly, but knowing that more trials and tribulations lay ahead for her group, Mercy agrees to the aid offered by Sir Lee. She bids him to follow her as the heroes could indeed use an extra pair of capable hands with Mathain being incapacitated.

ELVEN MERCHANT QUARTER

The remaining heroes (Naagloshii, Adbellious, Taiven, and Thorgal) look on at the articles left by the defeated rat hydra, as the rat garbage litters the square, beginning to unravel the mysteries of the magical items left by the alchemical monstrosity. The central head of the hydra, the skinless one made of a large rat skull and elongated mandibles, remains intact after the rest of the beast has faded away into night air as putrid poisonous black smoke. This skull radiates magic, and the Wizard Adbellious recognizes it as an item able to breathe forth a toxic deathly black breath weapon once daily on command, as well as being able to increase the number of summoned vermin called forth by a summoning spell, if dorned as a pauldron. Naagloshii picks up the Pauldron and affixes it to his armor.

Adbellious continues his magical sweep of the hydra’s remains. Several broken weapons litter the plaza. Most curious of all however, are the strange pearls faintly radiating a violet glow, and seeming to contain within each of them an immortal soul, according to the mage. Naagloshii offers to hold onto the gems until he learns whether breaking them would safely release the souls contained to their destined afterlife.

Mercy returns 10 minutes later to rejoin the heroes, bringing Sir Davington Lee with her, and briefly introducing him to everyone. Sir Lee is rather reserved, and the heroes give him a perfunctory introduction, before immediately going back to pondering the puzzle of the Three-eyed Messenger Bird. They still know that once midnight passes, their chance to find this mysterious place called the Wandering Flame, will be gone for tonight.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to any of them, Prince Thayd has followed Mercy back to the site of the hydra battle and notices two black-clad individuals tailing the heroes. These two humans appear to be intently observing the open square, the lead spy being light of hair and his companion being dark of hair. As Prince Thayd turns invisible and stalks closer to discover their intent however, the light-haired spy notices the Sea Prince approximately 200 feet away, and both of the spies duck away around a blind corner before Prince Thayd can get any closer.

Nevertheless, undaunted, Thayd uses a spell called Bloodhound to pick up their scent, memorizing the spies’ smell, and vowing to track down the ne’er do wells.

Prince Thayd strolls into the square with the rest of the heroes assembled therein, announcing, “My friends, were you aware you are tailed by two humans? I have picked up their scent and intend to follow them to discover their aims. Does anyone wish to join me?” To which, Taiven agrees to join the Prince, and the half-orc Naagloshii offers the aid of his cursed Eidolon, a summoned flying snake he refers to only as ‘The Creature’. Naagloshii warns Thayd direly not to talk to The Creature directly, as he considers it entirely foul and corrupt, and capable of corrupting any speaking with it. Instead, Naagloshii states that he should speak to the creature while addressing the half-orc, and the summoner will be able to hear and see through the Eidolon’s eyes, as well as communicate back through the Eidolon’s mouth. Prince Thayd agrees to these strange, but seemingly reasonable terms, and begins tracking the scent of the two spies immediately.

ELVEN POOR QUARTER

The scent of the two spies leads Prince Thayd, Taiven and The Creature to a dead end: a sewer grate so foul-smelling it overpowers the scent of his Bloodhound spell. Thayd discerns that the grate is illusory and stares at it with willful intent until his brain sees through the illusory dweomer. As he steps forth however, Thayd triggers a strange metallic burst of silvery energy that damages Taiven, but spares The Creature and Thayd. (This alignment based area blast seems to ignore the extreme portions of the alignment spectrum, but hits everything Neutral with particular devastation) Taiven reels, and this halts the general pursuit. Prince Thayd calls off the manhunt, not wanting to begin a trawl down the sewers, as soon as he hears back from Naagloshii through The Creature’s mouth, that they are all needed back at the merchant quarter before midnight, as there is a hard deadline to uncovering the magical entryway they seek.

ELVEN MERCHANT QUARTER

Returning to the town square, Prince Thayd and Taiven reunite with the rest of the heroes, as they all ponder the puzzle of the three-eyed golden bird: they must uncover the name of the bird’s master in order to find the way. First, Naagloshii recalls from a book he read long ago, that a drow bearing the last name Mizzrym, fits the description of the hero upon which the bird is perched. Naagloshii ponders a bit, recalling that a wizard named Pharaun Mizzrym, may be the answer to the puzzle. However, saying that Name doesn’t seem to trigger any response from the gold avian statue. Thinking deeper, the answer comes to Naagloshii in a flash of insight: the statue is depicting Pharaun’s son, Zarkon Mizzrym. Saying the name Zarkon out loud, the golden bird once again unfurls its wings, and squacks telepathically to all around it, “Correct! This is the way you seek! Caaaaw!!” and turns its long beak to point in a new direction, a thin abandoned alleyway. Then, the bird once again closes its wings and settles down on Zarkon’s forearm, freezing in place and pointing the new way, to a stairway down a slender alley.

The heroes find themselves in a narrow alleyway, the path ahead lit only by the appearance of the moon above their heads. Glancing upwards they can see jagged rooftops roughly forming an irregularly shaped river of sky above. The moon looms large above, larger than mortals are used to seeing it. They descend 13 steps and now see precisely why the timing is so critical. By the glint of moonlight, an elaborate magical doorway stands out as obviously being out of place in this otherwise dirty abandoned alleyway.

THE DOORWAY

The doorway appears as a large wooden frame framing a wooden door, except that the door and doorway are both made of gray-colored wood, as if the color had been drained from the doorway by some unknown form of long-dead magic. (Somewhere in the back of his mind, Thorgal recalls this type of Underdark material is called Darkwood). Additionally, by light of the moon, the doorway shines with a thin layer of multicolored, but primarily blue energy, as if thrumming with power. Majestically, it appears as though the entire gray wooden door is covered with an oily swirling sheen of water mixing perpetually with oil, but unable to come to balance.

Writ upon the door frame is a set of characters in elvish-appearing letters. It takes knowledge of the Elven tongue to even begin to decipher this text, giving the elves of the party the realization that this is ancient elven, not regular elven of course. This ancient language was used by the common ancestors of all elves: high elves, forest elves, and dark elves prior to The Split. In ancient elven the door frame reads: “Speak these words to enter: Mother of Lusts, hear my plea. May the Queen of the Demonweb Pits ensnare my soul if I bring woe upon the Wandering Flame. Grant passage to this humble wanderer.”

This doorway seems to give the heroes a difficult dilemma. First, Prince Thayd begins to question why they are all even here trying to enter this dangerous location. Thorgal explains that the head butler recommended a tavern called the Wandering Flame as a discrete establishment in place of their former Palace Guest Quarters, but the butler couldn’t give much more information, or at least was unwilling to do so. Supposedly, a high ranking Knight within the Order of the Great Protectors suggested this establishment, but it was unclear which Knight exactly made this recommendation, and after some discussion amongst the heroes it was heavily suspected to be the duplicitous Sir Baahl. Prince Thayd seems highly dubious of this whole recommendation, again coming back to the philosophical question of why they needed to make such a vow in ancient elven at great risk to their immortal soul, at such a faint whiff of a hint from very likely, an evil anti-paladin.

The elf Wizard, Adbellious, meanwhile, has been inspecting the doorway, learning that it is absolutely packed with magical wards. More than half the schools of magic radiate from this doorway, and the summoner Naagloshii also intones that the door is even warded against Detect Magic preventing the exact arcane mechanisms from being discerned, likely a Nondetection ward of some kind. There is only one way to discover what the wards do, and that is to directly come in contact with–

Taiven steps forth confidently and reaches for the door handle. His hand is stopped, repulsed, by some magical ward, at the barrier of the oily magical shimmer, and so never reaches the door handle. He can pull his hand back, but cannot make any progress forward. Scratching his beard, Taiven steps back and attempts to aid the new Paladin, Sir Davington Lee, in a similar attempt. Just like Taiven, the Paladin’s hand, assisted this time by Taiven’s hand, also meets a magical repulsive force and stops just before reaching the door handle.

Adbellious, the strongest willed of the heroes, a universalist wizard skilled equally with all arcane schools, finally concentrates enough willpower to break through the repulsion and touches the door handle – only to be afflicted by an even more powerful spell, becoming paralyzed for exactly 9 minutes. He falls flat on his back, his expression and limbs frozen in a pose of surprise.

Thorgal expresses additional worry, as the dwarf knows from his training in matters practical that within 7 minutes the moon will pass over the narrow alleyway they are standing in and without moonlight the doorway will likely disappear. Already, the heroes can see that the lower third of the door has disappeared as the moon is beginning to pass over their heads.

The heroes realize they are running out of time, and turn their attention to the wording of the oath on the doorframe. Naagloshii recognizes, staring at the words, that they are worded in the language of a demonic pact. He realizes that such vague pacts are low in level, and hard to enforce, due to their vagueness. Naagloshii summons forth a Hound Archon, a bipedal white-furred wolf humanoid creature of Absolute Law, requesting for it to read the oath in order to open the door. The Hound Archon refuses outright, explaining that he cannot violate their mutual summoning contract, as by risking his soul on this endeavor, the summoning contract may become null and void. Naagloshii is very displeased with this reasoning, demanding the Archon kneel, cast spells of protection on his party, and then vows to discover the Hound Archon’s true name in order to destroy it utterly for all time. The Archon growls and disappears, with his final breath vowing that he would pass on word of this maltreatment to other goodly denizens of his native plane.

Next, Naagloshii summons four parrots through the spell Summon Minor Monster, not forgetting to cast a spell on himself to Speak with Animals. He commands the birds to speak the oath, and the minimally intelligent birds obey, trusting the summoner. One parrot disintegrates upon contacting the door. The next parrot, not wanting to end up like its kin, correctly speaks the oath with proper enunciation, properly passing through the oily magical repulsion and touching the door handle. Putting its weight down, the door handle turns and the door opens, permitting the parrot to fly inside. Prince Thayd had sneakily attempted to hold onto the bird throughout this process, but he was repulsed as soon as his human hand touched the oily magical barrier. Naagloshii realizes he will have to speak the oath to pass, and does so, passing through the doorway immediately. Prince Thayd, seeing the open door, concentrates his willpower and pushes past the Repulsion, entering without having to recite the oath. The rest of the party members enter after reciting the oath, leaving only the Wizard Adbellious paralyzed on the ground and helpless. He gets pulled through into the doorway by multiple strong heroes, and luckily, his stubborn willpower pushes him through the repulsion field even while his body remains in total paralysis. The moon then completes its pass overhead and the doorway vanishes from sight to anyone spying on the heroes from the alleyway. All the heroes breathe a sigh of relief as they all just made it inside before the deadline.

THE FOYER

Upon entering, ahead they spot a perfectly square-cut gray stony passageway that appears to tunnel directly through the thick elven building the heroes entered from the outside, the walls being perfectly flat in both horizontal and vertical dimensions, each wall exactly 10 ft tall. After about 50 feet of passage straight ahead, is an obvious dead end. Strangely, the heroes have entered a long rectangular rocky tube.

The dead end is not perfectly flat like the other 4 walls around the heroes. Instead, it appears the stone here is wavy and curved slightly bulging outward: in other words, a convex surface.

As soon as the elven wizard, Adbellious casts Detect Magic upon the convexity, a strange circular purple glowing rune appears at about chest level to the right hand side of the dead end. The rune appears unfamiliar but partly elven, and is about the size of an open palm. Inspecting its pattern, the wizard sees the rune generally has many glowing purple lines flowing in multiple directions pleasing to the eye, and then flowing downwards to end in a general taper downwardly.

Touching the rune activates the hidden magical door. Instantly, the dead end of the hallway turns from solid wavy stone to liquid stone in midair and begins to open like a sideways waterfall curtain opening and clearing the way forward past the dead end. The heroes see liquid stone move to either side, revealing an opening into a perfectly circular shaft going directly downwards 90 degrees into a bottomless black pit.

A second event happens simultaneous to the reveal of this shaft. The rune which Adbellious had touched seems to unwind like a bundle of yarn and travel into the open shaft along faint energy lines, unfolding many times into a larger version of itself. The circular purple rune expands to about the size of a room at the top of a castle tower. The ancient elven sigil sits inside the circular shaft unfolded, taking up an area roughly 20 feet in radius, and 40 feet in height. The rune continues to swirl within itself, creating magical walls formed into the shape of a cylindrical room.

Effectively, the rune creates a magical elevator floating inside the bottomless pit, while the walls of the elevator are see-through and made of magical purple lines that slowly rotate about the perimeter of the elevator. Faint pink and blue sigils also slowly rotate around the center of the circular magical room. The walls of the magic room are made of lines of energy, solid enough to step on. The only area not filled with magic energy is the area where the dead end used to be, making an effective opening into this room, while it remains suspended inside the bottomless black pit.

As the group enters the magical elevator room, an identical copy of the palm-sized sigil materializes inside the open doorway.

Touching the purple rune causes the magical room to seal itself: the sideways stone to once again turns liquid and reseals the dead end which had opened, and then the room begins to slowly and gently accelerate downwards into the bottomless pit. All the while, one can see solid stone rushing past, illuminated by the unearthly glow of the semi-transparent magical room they are standing in, as well as occasional glowing crystals and fungi that whizz by. As the room accelerates downwards, the spin of the runes all around seems to accelerate accordingly. Everyone’s head feels dizzy as they begin to feel themselves sinking deeper and deeper into the strata of Oerth. They feel G-forces tugging at them at several points during the journey down, as not only does the magic room fly straight down, but sometimes sideways through side passages within the shaft, other times even briefly going up, before continuing the overall downsloping venture. The room rotates at each intersection they pass, and although they do see other pitch black passageways, they don’t spot any other major light sources apart from the light coming from the magic room they are standing in.

Also, the rocky walls which pass by seem to gradually change. They get an overall sense of vertigo and very quick, successive directional changes, granting the Sickened condition. After about 5 minutes though, the fast controlled fall begins to decelerate and once again comes to a gentle halt. The runes reform an opening to a blank face of stone, then the blank stony face turns liquid and drips sideways out of their way as they see a new passageway forming from out of the magical flying room. Two sigils appear at the doorway’s right hand side, one sigil decoratively pointing upwards, the other sigil downwards.

THE WANDERING FLAME, ENTRANCE

The first thing that hits them as they step off, is the sound of music leaking into their ears. It is rhythmic and oddly arousing, filled with female moans and sighs. The hallway ahead is much more ornate and pleasing to the eye. Elaborately carved naked bas relief half-statues of black sleek forms in poses of copulation and dancing, long white hair carved from white marble forming a pleasing contrast to the black shiny stone carvings covering almost the entire passageway. Every 10 feet, sconces hold torches that burn with an unearthly light-blue flame, as if powered by some underworldly force of nature. They spot that the torches are connected to pipes feeding directly into the walls.

At the end of the hallway, about 100 feet ahead of them, it appears as though a large room opens up, and as they approach closer the music also gets louder.

However, directly ahead of them is an obvious obstacle. First, a heavy metal portcullis positively glowing with magic sits squarely in the hallway barring all access. At times, various sheens seem to cycle as glowing blue, pink, violet, and red energy seems to roll first onto the bars of the portcullis, trace the metal bars in succession, and then roll off the bars, to be replaced by the next wave of magical energy repeating this process.

About 10 feet behind the portcullis stands a large bronze lectern decorated with darkwood and purple velvet edging, and standing directly behind the lectern is a female elf – however this breed of elf seems novel. The female elf appears to have light blue glistening skin, and is dressed partially formally as a maid and also her outfit seems a bit too revealing, as if she part-times as some kind of sexual pet. She bears obvious, deep scars of having been whipped, with large patches having scars within scars at perpendicular angles to one another, including a cross shaped scar horizontally across one breast and multiple scars on her bare neck, upper shoulders and arms. Mercy recognizes that certain scars have been purposely healed with magic, while other, more sexually appealing scars have been purposely left unhealed. Lastly, her ears are a bit shorter than other elves, and more blunted.

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Finally, towering over the whole scene and standing confidently to the elf’s left hand side, is a massive muscled monstrosity of a bipedal beast. They estimate it stands 18 feet tall and weighs just over 6,000 pounds. Its body ripples with muscles that shouldn’t exist on a humanoid, it possesses skin the color of violet on its spiny raised neck ridge and blue along the underside, peaking light blue at its core musculature. Four arms grace the torso of this towering monstrosity: two massive outer arms ending in oversized crab pincers, and two smaller relatively normal arms dangling from its armpits, looking rather pitifully scrawny compared to the two pincer arms. The face of the monster is that of some kind of mutant bat mixed with ox, a crown of gray horns protruding from its head at odd angles. The monster’s eyes shine with a mix of intelligence and cruelty. It snarls a deep DEEP guttural snarl, reaching into the bass spectrum of hearing with an ease that shouldn’t be possible for any earthly creature. The snarl elicits a plume of steam from what is left of its nostrils, as evidently its nose has long been bitten off or ripped off, replaced by two gaping infected holes in the front of its skull. A few crushed human looking skulls lay at the creature’s feet. Naagloshii identifies it as an elder Glabrezu demon. Sir Davington Lee stands flabbergasted: to face such a high level demon so all of a sudden is a great shock to him. The righteous Paladin feels a strong religious obligation to slay the creature outright. The demon and elf, however, stare back with unconcerned expressions, as if it were simply another Tuesday for them.

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The female hostess bows with practiced ease and gives an automatic-sounding greeting in a faint broken-in voice: “Welcome to the Wandering Flame. Admission is one soul crystal per visitor. You may keep your weapons but be warned as any violence or hostile spellcasting will be instantly answered with extreme prejudice by our capable… enforcers (glances at the demon next to her). Please address all queries to your hostesses and attendants, which can be identified by their iron neck collars (she elegantly gestures to her own neck collar). Please enjoy your stay here at the Wandering Flame and remember our motto… Life is short, indulge yourself [whisper] before it runs out.” She monotones all this while eyeing the new arrivals with a bored expression from the other side of the portcullis.

The party wonders where on Oerth they ended up, with Naagloshii fairly certain that they were physically, not magically transported. Still, some of the heroes theorize that they just traveled to a different plane of existence. Thorgal tries to solve this riddle by creating a makeshift compass from a cup of water and a statically charged piece of fabric, indeed it does point in a singular direction, but Adbellious intones that other planes of existence may have their own magnetic poles, thus making the whole boyscout experiment moot.

The paladin, Sir Davington Lee, feels a strong urge to slay this manifestation of pure evil that blocks the hallway ahead, but realizes that he would first have to get through the magical portcullis, holding back his ire for when that barrier would hopefully be breached by the mages in the party. The Elder Glabrezu Demon stares back at the paladin with a mocking, baleful gaze, its eyes two black pits into hell. It issues a throaty, slow chuckle at the recognition of the paladin’s frustration, as if reading his thoughts.

Next, Prince Thayd approaches the female hostess, “Excuse me but are there other levels in this place?”
Hostess: “Why of course, that’s the beauty of the Underdark, surfacer: one can expand both above and below.” Thayd retreats, conferring once again with the rest of the heroes: “Well we definitely know we’re in the Underdark, she just said so.”

Mercy approaches the hostess next: “What exactly can we find within the Wandering Flame?”
At this question, the hostess smiles sadly: “Anything and everything your heart desires.”
Mercy snarkily asks: “Can I get that guarantee in writing?”
The hostess shakes her head: “Unfortunately desires and experiences are subjective… and therefore cannot be guaranteed.”
Mercy pouts: “Can I speak to your manager?”
Hostess: “I’m afraid not.”
Thus rebuked, Mercy retreats to the elevator with the rest of the party to confer some more upon this unusual situation.

Sir Davington Lee steps forward to speak with the hostess next: “Excuse me, but may I ask: what exactly will you do with the soul crystals if we exchange them for entry?”
The hostess tilts her head to one side, slightly puzzled at the question: “Why, we use them as currency of course. They are stored in a secure location I am not at liberty to discuss.”
Sir Davington Lee nods, confirming what he had already suspected: “Thank you for the information. I’m simply wondering… Will the soul crystals be… eaten?”
The hostess shrugs, “We use them as bartering tools, what you do with your soul crystals on your own time is entirely your business.”

Naagloshii makes an immediate decision and announces: “These soul crystals they demand are produced by purely evil means, anyone who tries to barter them to demons in exchange for entry forth shall face my wrath and the full might of my summons.” He holds up a soul crystal for emphasis. This silences the party members for a minute, all of them pondering the half-orc’s unyielding moral stance.

Thayd speaks up after a while, having scanned the soul crystal with his magical senses: “You know, what you hold in your hand radiates pure evil. May I check the rest of your soul crystals for evil auras?” Naagloshii agrees, “Fine, but they shall not leave my hand.” Thayd rapidly confirms what he had suspected: “Every single soul crystal you hold radiates an evil aura. You said you got these gems off, what, some kind of freakish rat hydra monstrosity? I don’t think it was any wonder that it was carrying these evil soul crystals.”

Naagloshii shakes his head vehemently, “I know what you imply, rogue, but I say nay: bartering these is still an evil act. I am of half a mind to break these crystals here and now, to free the trapped souls, but I know not whether that would destroy the soul contained within.”

Adbellious: “That would depend on the construction of the soul crystal and its arcane architecture, we would have to do a lot more research on this topic before rashly breaking these gems.”

Naagloshii’s tone sinks, “Agreed.”

Around this time, the other party members become somewhat bored of this moral argument brewing amongst Thayd and Naagloshii, and Taiven begins pushing floating runes in the elevator at random. First, depressing the rune pointing downwardly yields a temporary red glow to the rune and a brief annoying buzzing noise. However, touching his hand to the upwardly pointing rune begins the reverse process to that which brought them to the Wandering Flame. The magical room shuts and begins its 5 minute ascent back to the foyer.

THE FOYER

Shaking off the nausea after experiencing the G-forces of the ascent, the heroes step back into the rectangularly cut entry hall, which Thorgal had already deduced from his dwarven knowledge of stonemasonry, must have been created by magic and not simply manual labor.

Standing within the foyer, the group continues their discussion of the moral dilemma regarding using soul crystals as currency. The orc summoner Naagloshii doesn’t seem to trust the Prince of the Seas, Prince Thayd, very much at all with the soul gems, and zealously safeguards the souls to himself. Prince Thayd seems to sense this distrust, and offers the half-orc to shake hands in a gesture meant to build up mutual comradery, “We should work together my friend, how can we save the world if you do not even trust me with a handful of gems?” The half-orc, cautiously, agrees to shake hands. Tensions seem to settle down between the two hard-headed heroes. Naagloshii decides to count his soul crystals, just out of paranoia, to make sure that none were stolen.

To his shock and horror, Naagloshii suddenly realizes that one of the large soul crystals from his coin purse is missing. He immediately looks up with hatred in his eyes and announces he has been pilfered from. The heroes’ hearts begin to sink at this development. As they look around at each other, they realize that one of them is missing – all now turn towards the large enchanted doorway with the pact written above, to see the door ajar, and Taiven missing from their ranks, nowhere to be found. The summoner curses under his breath and REDACTED.

Naagloshii turns to glare at Thayd, as if to say, what happened to all that trust we had just been speaking of. Once the heroes realize a pickpocket had fleeced Naagloshii, they all begin to frantically search their individual bags and pouches, save for Thayd, who remains calm and keeps his eyes locked with Naagloshii. “I am a victim here just as much as you are, my friend, I can assure you,” says the Sea Prince earnestly.

Naagloshii realizes he has to take matters into his own hands quickly: “I shall summon forth a host of Lyrakien Azata faeries to commune with my deity upon these topics, each faerie can commune several times per day with its deity. Perhaps this will shed some light upon the subject. Once I’ve had divine counsel, I shall make my decision.” Thus, initiating a communing, the party begins to suggest questions to Naagloshii. However, such divine communion is not easy, for asking a question of each fairie elicits either: a positive reply, a negative reply, or a lack of response entirely. The first faerie summoned shares the Summoner’s deity, and so Naagloshii’s chaotic deity answers each time, but other deities don’t seem to favor the nihilistic half-orc with their answer more frequently than but once every fourth query.

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Naagloshii: “Does destroying the soul crystal destroy the soul contained within?”
Faerie: “No.”
Naagloshii: “After its soul crystal is destroyed, does the contained soul travel to the afterlife it was meant to travel after it had died in life?”
Faerie: “Yes.”
Naagloshii: “Do we stand a reasonable chance in combat, of defeating the Elder Glabrezu Demon we saw today?”
Faerie: “Yes.”
Naagloshii: “Does Taiven currently hold the soul gem missing from my person?”
Faerie: “No.”
Naagloshii: “Is this hall a safe place to rest tonight?”
Faerie: “Yes.”
Naagloshii: “Do we help to fulfill our primary quest if we make it past the Elder Glabrezu we saw today?”
Faerie: “No answer.”
After a few more questions, the Summoner runs out of fairies, but Naagloshii doesn’t ask whether Thayd is in possession of the missing soul gem, likely figuring it to be the case by simple process of elimination.

The party rests, in the hallway, and as the Gods foresaw, no ill fortune strikes the heroes as they recuperate. In the morning, through the open door, they can see people going about their business in the alleyway, but it seems that those people cannot see the other way through the door. A soft rain begins to fall outside.

Standing and gathering their gear, the party members, having communed with the Gods, and relatively sure that the evil soul gems can be bartered safely, given they contain tainted souls, once again descend down to the Underdark via use of the vertigo-inducing flying elevator room.

THE WANDERING FLAME, ENTRANCE

Once more, they approach the Elder Glabrezu guardian behind the portcullis, though this time a new strange elf with violet skin, iron collar around her neck, horns adorned with jewelry, and significantly larger bust greets them. She gives the party greetings similar and along the lines they had the previous day. This time, however, the party agrees to the terms of entry and gives up a small soul crystal for each member as the entry fee. Naagloshii is forced to unsummon his familiar to avoid paying an additional soul for the Eidolon’s entry.

Naagloshii passes the soul crystals through the bars of the portcullis, at which point, the elf slave reaches under her lectern and depresses some kind of mechanism, and simultaneously the portcullis slides upward at unnatural speed, making absolutely zero noise as it grates against the surrounding cavernous rock. As soon as the heroes step past the portcullis, another poke at the hidden mechanism elicited by the slave girl, and the portcullis similarly closes shut.

The heroes now see however, that in order to get through the hallway, they will have to squeeze their bodies past the Elder Glabrezu, who is so massive that he plugs up the entire hallway like a fat cicada about to burst from its shell. Simply to pass, they realize they will have to get uncomfortably close. Each hero gulps internally, knowing that one wrong step could get their head clipped off by a demonic pincer in no time flat.

No strangers to dangers, one by one they pass by the monstrosity safely, Sir Davington Lee being the only one nimble enough to avoid touching the foul beast. Yet, even he can smell rot coming from the infected nose holes as the Elder Demon breathes heavily, never letting its gaze leave the heroes, watching silently and unnervingly as they step under its demonic bulk and past it down the hallway.

Continuing down the hall, after bypassing the bouncer, the heroes get their first good look at the large open cavern from whence the enticing music originates, this cavern is approximately 500 feet in diameter and at least 100 feet tall.

THE WANDERING FLAME, GREAT HALL

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This room is some kind of mixture between a tavern, bar, restaurant, and strip club. The entire room is one giant cavern, illuminated by gas-powered torches, false candles, and gas-powered chandeliers – all emitting an eerie blue glow. In the very middle of the large busy room is a circular raised dais punctuated by a metallic pole. On the pole, a naked female form with blonde hair and glistening pink skin dances seductively, covered in sweat. Two pink ears accentuate a young thin face and neck ringed by an iron collar. Seated in concentric circles around the dais with the pole, are a smattering of various monster races and humanoids (humans, tieflings, elves, half-elves, orcs, goblins, duergar, etc), leering, laughing, cat-calling and throwing gold, copper, and silver pieces onto the dais at peak moments of the dance. A few platinum pieces and soul crystals also glitter on the dais, the dancer being careful to step onto solid stone floor and not trip on the small treasure horde forming beneath her feet. Just as the music ends, the people around the dancer give a final climax of clapping hooting and hollering, as the dancer turns around throwing her hair around her almost like a cape and struts back along a small walkway that leads away from the dancing pole and behind two royal purple curtains. Shortly afterwards, an armed contingent of albino-skinned iron-collared orcs arrive carrying a large metal chest on their shoulders, and sweep the contents of the dance floor into the chest, replacing the massive lock and carrying the chest away again.

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Apart from the central display, there are a large number of circular tables made of gray colorless wood scattered around the room, filled with occupants, as well as an obvious alcohol bar at the back of the establishment, and even a second floor visible from the first floor upon which they entered. They can see that the cavern has balconies which make up the second floor mezzanine, upon which yet more tables filled with occupants are seated, watching the dancing and the rest of the room from a high vantage. Instead of proper support columns, several stalactites and stalagmites join from above and below to give the artistic appearance of a natural cavern mixed with support columns.

Several magenta banners hang down on both sides of the cavernous room, depicting a black outline of some kind of demoness.

After studying the large cavernous room, the heroes begin to make out the source of the arousing music. Slightly above the first level, but below the second level, a long squat alcove seems to be built into the circumference of the room. The alcove holds a series of slimy fleshy looking double bottles that make a perfect 360 circle as they line the walls of the establishment. As the heroes look closer, they realize that these bottles are not bottles at all, but in fact disembodied sets of lungs topped with a windpipe and vocal cord flaps. The lungs form a surround sound system, and each emit a different note or gasp or sigh in perfect coordination, creating an incredibly rich and haunting aural atmosphere. However… the system seems to have a few glitches now and again, as occasionally, they notice one of the disembodied lungs emits a strange scream that kills the mood, once about every 10 minutes or so. This screaming fit lasts about 15 seconds, during which they hear a very sincere young girl who must be no older than 13 pleading “set me free please, I beg you don’t make me do this anymore, I don’t want to sing I want to die” after which its cries die out, and the music does not even bother to pause. The screaming bottle then stops singing for about 30 seconds, and shortly resumes its musical duties as if nothing happened. The patrons of the establishment seem to completely ignore these small outbursts from the sound system. However, the first time the heroes experience it, they feel a deep chill creep up their collective spines with each gut-wrenching scream and appeal for mercy. Sometimes the pained screaming and pleading is that of a small girl, or young female, or even a young boy occasionally.

Looking down at ground level, the heroes see a grate built into the floor at the center of the cavernous hall. Its oily shifting energy pattern reminds them of the pattern on the portcullis they passed at the entryway. However, beneath ground level past the grate, they see a circular arena filled with white sand, as well as some decorative desert cactuses and limestone cliffs, giving almost the appearance of an obstacle course made out of white stone. Prominently visible on the smooth white stone are fresh streaks of blood, standing starkly in contrast to the white sand and limestone boulders. A bloated blue-purple humanoid head sits spiked upon one of the cactuses, black blood drying and cooking on the hot arena sands.

The cavern is so large and spacious that the darkwood tables are not crowded together like they would be at a regular establishment, instead each table stands a very hefty distance apart from the next table. As the heroes glance around the dimly lit tables, very curiously, no sounds emit from any of the tables that they can discern, even though it’s obvious from body language that conversation is obviously being held.

The heroes spot a table of eight young eager human males, several of them portly and a few wearing minor nobleman’s regalia, others seemingly wearing plain merchant clothing. They are all giggling and laughing and obviously enjoying themselves here in the presence of the scantily clad waitresses wearing iron neck rings as they wait on the tables. One particularly nasty young human pulls on the dress of an elf with glistening violet skin, the dress being so tightly fitted that once pulled, a breast jumps out of her ‘clothing’, illiciting a jeering laugh from the crowd of young eager males, a few of them making obscene gestures with their hands indicating obvious sexual congress. The underfed violet-skinned slave elf blushes deeply, her angular cheeks turning a deep crimson color. She falls to the floor on all fours and begins to sob, dropping her tray of food. No one goes to help or aid her in any way, in fact the other patrons don’t even seem to react to this whole occurrence.

Seeing this garish display, Sir Davington Lee bravely rushes to the side of the abused slave and helps her up. The chubby human merchant begins to berate the Paladin, sticking his fat cheeks forward, spittle flying at Sir Lee’s face, and daring the Paladin to strike him, but Sir Davington Lee holds firm and doesn’t engage, while the fat merchant promises that his rich father would send assassins to take care of the Paladin for Sir Lee’s ‘insolence.’

Looking around, the other heroes spot a group of seven oddly still male figures covered in gray piwafwi cloaks, sitting straight-backed at another darkwood table. Sharp, angular black ears stick out on each side of their head from strategic slits in the sides of their covered hoods. The drow are very dignified, perfectly immaculately dressed and reserved in their mannerisms. Chainmail glistens on their chests, and long curved sabers dangle at their sides. Their backs seem perfectly straight and they sit still except for an occasional graceful swig of a glass of a substance the analog of which might be wine. They seem perfectly calm and at home anywhere they choose to sit, as if the world is owed to them and they are its masters, which of course they are.

As the puzzled heroes continue to scan the room, they spot a table of drow females the likes of which they’d never have guessed could exist: four drow females each sprouting a long, sensual torso and possessed of no legs, but instead a long thick-muscled snake-like tail, each tail tipped with a stinger, its bulb ripely plump with some kind of venomous substance. Two of the females are laughing haughtily at some unknown joke, while the other two sit idly by. Each time they laugh, their muscled tails slap against the ground to accentuate the gesture. Off to the side, a hulking bodyguard creature stands idly next to the four drow females, demonically over-muscled red glistening body accentuated by eruptions of jagged metal spikes sticking out of every limb and body ridge, with arms planted on a hilt cradling a massive black sword planted in the ground. The oversized demonic bodyguard keeps a wary eye on the rest of the room. It’s obsidian blade is easily double a mortal’s height, and gleams with a coat of intestines and gristle, as if freshly used.

Next, the heroes look over to see a table of five drow sitting cross legged at a very low darkwood table. Their garb is dark and their faces are hidden behind black hoods and under black cloaks. Most distinctively, a black mask covers each drow face. Red glowing drow eyes glance out ominously from under their hoods. Seemingly becoming a common sight, sharp angular black ears stick out on each side of their head from strategic slits in the sides of their covered hoods. As these strange dark elves sit entirely too eerie and silent, they take small sips from very small white ceramic cups whilst holding their arms forth oddly posed in the air. Their glistening metal bracers seem functional but of an unfamiliar design, bearing sharp metal implements of death.

Gambling_Table.jpg

The next table over appears to have a gathering of various monstrous races rolling dice and gambling on the result. Naagloshii goes over to try his luck at dice. He tries to insert himself at a table next to a pale high elf female, whom he finds pleasing to the eye. She is amused and coldly flirts with the half-orc lightly, as if playing with a newly opened toy, in the end the two learning very little about each other in depth due to mutual distrust. Still, she seems surprised that a half-orc can be intelligent enough to hold a conversation with her.

Luthiriel_Headshot.jpg

Hearing the rules of the game, Naagloshii learns that he has to gamble soul gems and roll a single dice to beat the result of the others around the table. Naagloshii casually asks the high elf where to find a missing friend, likely referring to Taiven, and she in turn asks him to buy her into the next round of dice. Paying one soul crystal, he does so and she wins the pot that round, pocketing the winnings. Unfortunately, this draws the ire of a drow noble at the table who calls out the half-orc. Quickly, the noble realizes that Naagloshii cannot speak Undercommon, the predominant tongue at this particular establishment. The arrogantly dressed drow noble laughs and derides the half-orc as an uncivilized pig, making sure to also offensively cast Tongues on the Summoner, allowing him to understand the nature of the drow’s insults. Naagloshii though able to speak, is unable to muster a cutting response on the same level, and the dark elf seems to delight in his humiliation. To make matters worse, when challenged to dice, Naagloshii loses another soul crystal at the gambling table, delighting the dark elf further. Deciding to cut his losses, the Summoner picks up his coin purse and leaves. Just before doing so, however, the high elf points to the table of Ninja drow, inferring that they could track down the missing Taiven, as a last favor to the half-orc for helping her win the previous round.

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Continuing to scan the tables within the Wandering Flame, the heroes see a table occupied by several strange looking characters including a duergar, a drow, and a giant among others.

Finally, there are a few empty tables as well around the room.

At the back of the large cavern, a prominent alcohol bar stands well stocked with its shelves backlit by multi-colored faerie fire. A hideous bat-like demon is serving drinks to three occupants of the bar, spaced far apart and not appearing to be engaged in conversation: a teal-plated knight with armor decorated with fish scales, a male drow covered by a gray cloak drinking a bubbling green concoction, and a female drow wearing a semi-transparent white spider-silk dress which leaves little to the imagination.

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Mercy approaches the demonic half-bat bartender, and asks how to get to the elevated table VIP area. The hideous demon scoffs, explaining that to get up there one must obviously use flight. He then vigorously attempts to enticeMercy into drinking blood from his menu, but she pleasantly declines.

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Prince Thayd decides to approach and speak with the teal-plated knight. The knight turns and instantly recognizes Thayd’s sea legs, calling out to the Prince in a deep tone that reverberates strangely through his metallic helm, “Ahh, a fellow sailor. Didn’t expect to find one down here aside from myself.” His helm now faces Thayd, and the Prince can see it is decorated like the flat mouth of a crab.
Thayd: “Greetings sir, I too am honored to meet a fellow ocean traveler.”
The knight nods, “Seems we each recognize our own kind. It is so rare to talk to someone who knows about what we do… Do not be shy… Tell me… what ship did you sail with? Where do you hail from?”
Thayd: “Oh many ships, here and there. I originally hail from The Lendore Isles.”
The knight tilts his helm to regard the lying Prince: “You do not speak with a Lendorian accent upon your tongue, nor do you dress Lendorian, nor carry yourself as a Lendorian.” The knight’s tone turns colder a few degrees. “You disappoint me. Perhaps we should each mind our own business from now on.”
Prince Thayd curses to himself silently, “Yes… A pity, perhaps another time.” He stands to go, at least taking the hint well enough, “Nevertheless, may the winds be ever at your back.”
The knight disregards the Prince, turning away and sipping a drink through the mouth slits of his helm.

Not letting this conversation deter him in the least, Prince Thayd finds an empty darkwood table and drops his coin purse down with a heavy thud, purposely letting a large Soul Crystal roll out and onto the table. He drops down into the darkwood chair before him, smirking, and wondering just what oh what he would order first.


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Session 031
The Heroes Embark on the 1st Leg of Their Quest for the Rod
??th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 031:
Time to Go

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


Session 31
“It Came From Below”

THE GREAT PALACE OF QUEEN ALESSANDORIA

So ends the great conclave. Upon return from the pocket plane, the group finds themselves at the great palace. As is typical for a day in the palace, things move at a brisk pace. Guards and servants move quickly about their tasks, barely taking heed of the heroes.

The party marches through the palace, discussing where their adventures will take them next, while making their way to the quarters that have been set aside for them. The closer they get to the residence, the more their stomachs begin to sink, realizing what great feat awaits them. This is almost certainly a suicide mission. The Great Beast grows in power. The longer they wait, the less time they have until it awakens, devouring everything in its path… possibly even Oerth, itself. They’ve begun to fathom the ramifications of the task they “agreed” to.

Finally, the group arrives at their temporary Royal residence, ready to plot and plan their next moves, only find that their things have been packed and carefully packaged in labeled crates. The palace servants line up outside the room, seemingly awaiting instructions. The group of attendants is led by the head butler.

Some members of the group thank the watchful staff for taking care of them during their stay. Others murmur similar sentiments but are still looking warily at the lined-up staff and closed residence doors. The butler expresses gratitude for the feedback but is not very convincing. In fact, it doesn’t seem as if he’s even attempting to be convincing – merely uttering expected platitudes. Moreso, he appears to be saying no more than what he thinks he needs to. Though his words are thankful, and his tone is proper, the look on his mustachioed face seems to say, “you filthy muck-grubbers have imposed upon the palace for far too long. It is time you moved on and ceased infringement on these accommodations, worthy of those far more important than you lot.”

Clearly unmoved by the false kindness or honest tone in the man’s voice, the party makes no effort to hurry in vacating the palace. Though not saying so openly, they’re making it clear that they intend to move along at their own pace. Advising him that the group is waiting for Sir Tobuscus before moving along, Taiven makes it clear that the butler’s message has been received and that he and the rest of the staff can “move along” to handle their other responsibilities. Before dismissing servants, the butler, speaking to the entire group, says, “I expect you to have these effects removed.” There’s no effort to disguise the contempt in his voice.

With the servants finally gone, and left as alone as one can reasonably expect to be in the royal palace, the party begins to outline their next moves. Before anything can be decided, and with the discussion barely started, Sir Tobi arrives.

“I’m forced by my duties and oaths to detach myself from your party,” he apologizes. Sir Tobuscus lets them know that he plans to rejoin them when he returns from his adventures and they from theirs. Though asked, he says he does not know where this quest takes him. He only knows that he must recruit and bring a different group on his quest. “And, with that, I’m off to prepare for my next mission.”

Sir Tobi turns to leave, but stops in his tracks. “Ah, yes. I’ve almost forgotten. One last order of business. I was asked for a recommendation, and have placed the next most noble being in our group in charge.” Smiling broadly, “Sir dwarf, that is you,” he continues speaking to Thorgal. “Make sure this group does not stay from the righteous path.”

“I will do my best, Sir Tobi,” Thorgal replies.

Taiven approaches Tobi, and kind words are shared. With fond smiles, the two companions share a hug borne of mutual respect and fondness. Clearly unmoved, the half-orc says, “In my time, I’ve learned that we are all doomed to die. So, I form no attachments.” As Tobuscus continues on his journey, Taiven advises the group that he needs to finalize some things at The Owlbear. Before leaving, he and the rest of the group agree to meet at the northernmost gate at first light.

The rest of the adventurers, gathering their belongings, begin to discuss their need to head north and speak with the barbarians. As they talk over their next steps, the irritated head butler appears again. Though his face expresses his annoyance that the party is still on palace grounds, his voice is as proper as ever. “I’ve been advised to suggest that you stay this evening at a discreet establishment called The Wandering Flame. It may be found at only one location.” With that, he produces a piece of rolled parchment, handing it to Thorgal. “This is for you, sir. I must take my leave.”
Adbellious asks what knight made this suggestion, but is ignored by the butler. Repeating the question, he still goes unanswered. This time, a pointed look from the butler makes it clear that the undesirable elf will not see an answer in response. Giving it an attempt, himself, Thorgal asks who it came from.
He repeats, “This is for you, sir. I must take my leave.”
Though pressed by Thorgal on the identity of the sender, the butler simply refuses to say who gave it to him. “A knight in high standing of the Knight Protectors. I cannot name the knight. I was instructed not to divulge any more than that.” With that utterance, he leaves the party, reminding them with a pointed look that he no longer considers them welcome at the palace.
Thorgal opens the parchment, reads it to himself, then passes it around. Considering the party’s history at the palace, none of them are willing to read the parchment out loud, lest they risk being overheard.
So reads the parchment:
“To seek the Flame, one must descend into Darkness.
“Shortly before midnight, seek the Golden Three Eyed Messenger to guide your way. Descend exactly 13 steps down the Passage of Sin, then turn left and seek a hidden door.
“At exactly midnight, by light of the moon, you must utter the password with perfect enunciation. Speak in ancient elven:
“”Mother of Lusts, hear my plea. May the Queen of the Demonweb Pits ensnare my soul if I bring woe upon the Wandering Flame. Grant passage to this humble wanderer.“”

With the revelation that an anonymous knight, one who may well be Jayson Baahl, produced these instructions, combined with the references to the “Passage of Sin,” and “the Queen of the Demonweb Pits,” the group debates their next move. Knowing that they’re heading north, however, they head off to shop for necessary cold-weather gear and discuss their options.
On the way out of the palace, the summoner introduces himself to Thorgal, “We have not yet met, Dwarf. I am Naagloshii.” Though the dwarf makes an attempt at exchanging pleasantries, it’s clear that there’s nothing pleasant the summoner has to say. He speaks plainly and without letting emotion cloud his message. As he’s done with the rest of the group, he admonishes Thorgal, “Do not speak to the Genoskwa. He is evil and will try to sway you. If he attempts to speak to you, ignore him. If I believe you have been communicating with him, I will be forced to kill you.”
Leaving the castle, the party crosses paths again with Sir Tobi. As he summons his celestial steed he walks the rest of the way out of the place grounds with the group. Giving a final goodbye, “I wish you all the best of luck. May Pholtus guide your way,” Tobuscus takes his leave.
Wanting more knowledge on the north, the Elven Talking Stone they seek, and the barbarian tribes they’ll encounter, the party decides that a trip to the Great Library is in order. They’ll seek out their cold-weather gear on the way there. Mercy advises the group that she has some things she must attend to. She’s going to head to a local church and will meet up with them at the library; she intends to offer her healing services in an attempt to earn some coin.
As the group goes their separate ways, whether it is to The Owlbear, shopping, the library, or the temple, one thing is clear to them all… everyone gets the feeling that they’re being watched.

The Owlbear Inn and Soup Kitchen
While at the soup kitchen, Taiven advises his roguish comrades of his plans and his extended trip north. Though he attempts to gather information that might help on the quest, little is known. As the day begins to wind down, and he’s nearly finished volunteering to help the smallfolk, he tries again to see what help might be available to him in preparation for his quest.
Speaking to Left Middle Finger, he asks if anyone has seen Leftil.
“No. Only Rightil.”
As Taiven is asking questions to see when anyone might have seen Leftil last, Left Middle Finger interrupts him, “There he is. Just walked in.”
Leftil looks quite unusual compared to his normal ways. Primly dressed, like a nobleman or wealthy merchant, he carries himself with a far haughtier and more elegant grace than is typical. Considering how unlike him that is, Taiven’s certain he’s playing some kind of role.
Approaching the apparent nobleman, Taiven greets him, sits, and lets his colleague know of his impending absence, “We’re about ready to leave.” Telling Leftil about the group’s impending quest, the thief replies that he can’t remember hearing anything about it. Curiously, Leftil the Nobleman never breaks character; his ways are arrogant, his (now) high-pitched voice is slightly whiny, and his behaviors toward the monk drip with what appears to be annoyance.
Recalling a detail, Taiven mentions that, “Our paladin was summoned on a quest?” Though wording it as a statement, the raised tone he uses at the end of the sentence belies its querying nature. Breaking character only slightly, Leftil replies, “Make sure that Thorgal is well and properly pointed in the right direction.”
Continuing on, he says, “The Knolls was founded by a singular individual. That individual had contacts within the knights of the time, before the great formation of the order of Knight Protectors… But that’s a tangential connection. I do not know what value that might have to you.”
Finally, he finishes, returning to his wealthy merchant character, “I seek to set you right. If you wish to find what you seek, you’ll have to travel north. You’ll need some kind of sailing vessel. Most of the vessels are currently docked. I don’t have the time or patience to help. Right Middle Finger can help with the details. You are dismissed, sir.” With a near-contemptuous wave of his hand, Taiven has been dismissed.
Speaking with Left Middle Finger, Taiven is told to meet at Ye Olde Lobster later to discuss a ship that “might be available.” Other than that, he has no news or information that is helpful to the hero.

The Great Library of Eastfair
Gathering at the library steps, Mercy and the rest of the group – barring Taiven – greet each other. Sharing their news and updates, they realize that they’re all being followed. While they were two single, separate followers that the adventurers were aware of previously, those two met up when the group did, and are clearly working together. It’s clearer now than ever that whatever happens in the library must be done with the utmost of secrecy.
Entering the library, a librarian looks up and says, “Welcome, Thorgal. Weve been expecting you.” With that, she hands Thorgal a book. “Please. We think we’re being watched. Let’s keep this discreet,” Thorgal replies politely. He takes the book, trying to look inconspicuous about it. Accepting an offer from the librarian, the group’s shown to a small private room by Mary, a librarian’s assistant. Mercy asks Mary about books on planar theory and is given directions to that section.
Still paranoid about being spied on after their time in the palace and the Lollee estate, and knowing they’re being followed, the group again refuses to discuss anything of importance out loud. Thorgal, Adbellious and Naagloshii read the small tome quietly. Once finished, Thorgal casts a spell to ensure the group can discuss the book without being overheard. The spell only allows six minutes of privacy, and the dwarf cannot use it again today. So, the spellcasters give the party a brief description.
The book is called, “Tales from the Lands of the North.” It’s a series of tales discussing journeys to barbarian lands of the north. Almost every story has the theme of everyone making the journey ends up dead. The stories, though all different, have a few common themes.
The first theme is that many who attempt the trip don’t make it past the waterborne part of journey. Tales abound of expeditions setting out on the water and never heard from again. Another common these was summarized as “Our ship came upon bad weather, monster attacks, and/or icebergs. I’m the only survivor.”
The few that survived the trip detail landing in the north. Stories mention the inhospitable barbarians – how evil, savage and merciless they are, entire groups freezing to death, previously unknown monsters attacking from hiding in the snow, and other climate related issues.
In “Tales from the Lands of the North,” the Northlands are described as a mostly mountainous region, split by three barbarian tribes who claim ownership of the entire northern peninsula. These tribes, the Frost, Snow, and Ice barbarians are said to be fierce warriors who defend their lands against all who would encroach.
The group remember that Uthnash of the Frost barbarians – a beast of a man – is who they were told to meet with. They’re in the Western part of the peninsula. The tribe is a secretive group who’s not known to release much information on their kingdom as a defense against would-be invaders. The book made references to a Capital, but none of the stories gave the city’s name.
Adbellious and Naagloshii recall that the Capital city is Glot, with a population estimated at 5100. This is a substantial decrease from the 60,000 it once held at its peak. There are few demihumans and humanoids, and they export minor gems and furs. Thorgal recalls that Utred, son of Uthnash was killed by Eben March before the party got to town.
Looking more closely at the book, Thorgal notices something unusual about it… There’s a secret compartment in the spine. Rolled up in the compartment is a thin, ancient piece of parchment. Removing it carefully, Adbellious tries to read it. “Unfortunately,” he says, “I cannot read this. The parchment’s been there a long time. The words are horribly faded, and the ink is hard to decipher. I can tell that there’s words there, but can’t even tell what any of the words are. We’re gonna need some alchemy work on it to decipher the writing.” For safekeeping, the wizard puts the parchment in a scroll case, then tucks it away in his magical haversack.
Before leaving the library, the group decides to visit the Elven section. Looking for Aeritueur, the city that legends say was destroyed by the Tarrasque, and any knowledge about it. The group also looks for any details of the Memory Stones.
There’s not much luck on the city. They find but a single book that only references the city as one of many that were destroyed. No information could be found regarding its location. Adbellious finds another book, a Druidic text with a passage about the Elven Talking Stone. The tome says that some of the oldest elven records are the Ahirekauth (Speaking Gems). They’re typically used as a way for elven elders who are good at telling tales. They’re given the honor of having a part of themselves turned into one of these stones; not their soul – their knowledge is transferred into the stone. A passage refers to these as Stones of Remembrance.
Deciding that it’s time to look for the Alchemist, the heroes pause to study the men following them. Naagloshii makes himself invisible, sharing that ability with his summoned Genoskwa, and spies the men through the Genoskwa’s eyes. The two are poorly dressed human males who are putting on a ruse of poverty. Though their clothes are rough and ragged, the men themselves are well kept. It’s apparent that they’re keen on room the heroes have been using. One of the men is blonde with a long face, and the other has dark hair and “piercing dark eyes.” The darker man’s face looks muscled. Their shabby robes cover their bodies from the neck down. Studying the men, Adbellious thinks that the dark-haired man seems to be senior to the other.
Attempting to frighten the men, the summoner instructs his Eidolon to make a small noise – a hissing laugh. The dark-haired stranger starts with surprise and begins to look around the room with panic in his eyes. Seeing nothing, he pauses. Naagloshii notices that the man is moving his hands or fingers under his robes. With his superior knowledge of magic, the summoner identifies that the man is casting a See Invisibility spell. After a few seconds, he elbows the blonde stranger and points in the direction of the Genoskwa, muttering under his breath, and seeming to allow the other man to see it as well. The half-orc sends the Genoskwa away with the snap of his fingers, and it disappears instantly into the ether. The men, seeing the creature vanish suddenly and without a trace, leave the room in fright, heading for another room. As the Eidolon departs, however, the summoner gets one final glimpse through its eyes. He catches a brief glance of a tattoo on the spellcaster’s wrist, but cannot recognize the insignia. Describing the tattoo to his companions, they recognize the description as being a tattoo of the Baahl family’s mark.
Adbellious writes a message to the dwarf in perfect dwarven runes. “We need to find an alchemist.” Thorgal writes back – I’m creating a fake note. Borrowing parchment and a quill, he writes, “You’re tasked with finding the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords. It may hold one of the keys of salvation. You are to keep this information secret from Sir Jayson Baahl.” Adbellious uses his skills at forgery and signs the as being from Baahl’s man Montefor. As the group leaves the room, Thorgal tries to be seen putting away the written note after he notices the pair following the group again.
The stalwart companions head to the Wizards Guild. They hope to find someone there to point them toward an adept alchemist who is trustworthy and can work on the parchment they found in the book’s spine. Adbellious goes in alone. After asking for his name, the front desk man, Marmaduke the Green – an officious, self-important man- won’t let him in “because [his] name isn’t on the list.” He makes it clear that there are absolutely no circumstances under which he could possibly gain admittance. The elf, defeated, leaves to tell his companions.
The sour tempered Naagloshii is undeterred and goes in alone. He gives his name and asks for Oreye, specifically. With undisguised annoyance, he shows Marmaduke the Writ from the crown, indicating that he should be given all reasonable assistance. Cowed, Marmaduke says, “I’m not sure if he’s in. But I’ll send a message immediately.” Oreye replies to the inquiry quickly. He wants to see the group and says to let them in. The companions enter and are led to his door. Entering Oreye’s study, they see that he’s seated at a large wooden desk. “What can I do to help you?”
Undeterred, the elven wizard replies, “We need an alchemist and shows Oreye the parchment from the book’s spine. Oreye says that the slightest mistake would ruin the parchment and admonishes the group to keep it out of sunlight and protect it from the elements. He agrees that they’ll need a skilled alchemist, but knows of only two who are accomplished enough to have a chance at figuring it out. “One of those, you may not like – the Croclator.” With some members of the party shuddering at the memory of a fateful encounter in the sewers, Oreye continues, “The other is also not one we like to discuss openly in wizard circles. He’s a strange creature known to run an establishment that’s quite difficult to reach. It’s a strange restaurant not on this plane of existence called “Garden of Dreams,” which requires an exclusive reservation. The… individual… calls himself Dr. Insano.”
Naagloshii knows of this person. The rumors have been around for a couple years. It’s an other-planar restaurant that serves unique needs. As far as he knows, it requires a special “ticket,” which is specifically attuned to the restaurant’s private pocket plane. The ticket facilitates a sort of plane shift to get there.
“That’s all I can offer you. My apologies. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must attend to my studies. Marmaduke will see you out.” With that, the group is escorted from the guild headquarters.
Knowing that they need a place to stay for the night, and remembering something of the note Thorgal was given, Mercy asks some passing guardsmen for “directions to an Inn called The Three Eyed Golden Messenger Inn.” Although most have no idea, and the leader of the patrol seems almost hostile, one of the guardsmen flirts with her. He offers to meet after his shift at the Terrific Tiger Inn, “I can bring some of my friends, and you bring some of yours.” His intentions are open and not at all subtle. She tries to redirect the conversation to what she asked about initially. “Right. The… Three-Eyed… thing. Look. I’m new, but I’ve got some friends who may be able to help you find your way. Maybe after my shift, we can get together?” Mercy declines, with Mathain gruffly telling the man she’s not interested. Parting ways with the guardsmen, they decide it would be better to find Taiven, see what he’s discovered, and pool their knowledge.

THE OWLBEAR INN AND SOUP KITCHEN

Entering the soup kitchen and finding Taiven, the group fills him in on what he missed. The “Golden Three Eyed Messenger” rings a bell. He recalls seeing a golden statue of a three eyed bird in town, but can’t remember where. Thorgal, Naagloshii and Adbellious pool their knowledge of religions and confirm that this would not be a known religious symbol. None of the adventurers remembers seeing the statue, until Adbellious speaks up. He recalls a statue of an ancient hero of some sort. There’s a three eyed bird – or some winged creature – on it. He doesn’t recall the name of the hero, however, or its location.
Mathain asks Naagloshii if he can summon something that can fly around and look.
The summoner confirms that he can, but range limitations mean that it would not be a very effective means – the creature could not travel far from his side.
Taiven decides to talk to his friends at The Owlbear to see if any of his contacts know where the statue is. Considering that the city is their domain, the group hopes that someone will be able to direct them to the right location.
The monk does some gambling with Fore Finger, who Taiven notices is clearly cheating. Thinking to butter him up a bit, he allows himself to lose some money before finally calling him out about it in a friendly manner. Fore Finger starts to get a little mouthy, but thinks the better of it after remembering who Taiven is. Taiven smooths things over and offers another round of dice. If Fore Finger wins, he gets 20 gold. If Taiven wins, Fore Finger will help him find the location. Ensuring that she’s unseen, Mercy casts Misfortune on Fore Finger. Despite the supernatural interference, he still manages to win.
Taiven still tries to get info from Fore Finger on where statue is, but the man gets belligerent and mouthy. “I only give information to winners!” He does seem to know what Taiven is talking about, however. At this, Fore Finger walks away, stumbling drunkenly out of The Owlbear. Taiven follows him, alone, and “Politely” asks where the statue is.
“It’s like THAT, is it?”
“I gave you 20 gold and I know your die is rigged. If you want to keep both, you’ll tell me where it is.”
The man replies belligerently, “I know that’s how you “Lefties” operate!” The unflinching bravado that accompanies a belly full of cheap ale is clearly emboldening the man, and he isn’t scared. “This ink,” he says, indicating finger-shaped tattoos on both sides of his jaw line, “means I’m high up. I’m connected. If you fuck with me…”
Taiven’s had enough of the thief’s attitude and effortlessly grapples the man.
“Gurp… Maybe we could come to an arrangement…” When asked about the statue again, he tries to argue about helping. With a quick twist, Taiven sends the man into an unconscious slumber. A sharp slap to the back of the neck awakens the man, still plastered and legless. The rogue’s false bravado hasn’t left him. Once again, he gets mouthy, openly threatening Taiven ‘s place in the guild. And, once again, with that same quick twist, the monk helps the mouthy thief back to sleep.
Another momentary pause, followed by the same slap to the neck, brings the quickly sobering man back around. Though his drunkenness hasn’t gone away, the dire situation he’s found himself in has begun to become obvious. He’s lost the liquid courage induced bravado and agrees to help. Fore Finger tells Taiven that the statue is in the merchant’s quarter, in the Elven section.
As the monk begins to loosen his grip, the man thinks he’s won his freedom. His ego returns and he threatens Taiven again. Finally tired of the man, and having lost all interest in a non-violent confrontation, he tells the thief, “You want a fight? We can do it right here, right now.”
Laughing, the man responds, “I am in a guild because I don’t like fair fights. S’why I’m in a guild. We’ll come for you when you’re asleep.” Redoubling his grasp on the man, the weary monk asks, “Is that a threat? It’s been tried before… and failed.” Fore Finger starts mouthing off again, and Taiven helps him, once final time, to dreamland. As he goes to dump the unconscious body in the trash to sleep of his unconsciousness and inebriation, he sees that Right Middle Finger is there. “Leave him here with me. That’s enough.”
“He threatened me.”
“Yeah. He can get rowdy when he has some in him.”
After a discussion about guild politics, he asks Taiven to put in a good word for him with Leftil Taiven agrees, and returns to the Owlbear. Hearing the information Taiven received from the “cooperative man,” the group decides to get rooms at The Owlbear for the night; it’s a place where Taiven is known, after all, and where he should be able to trust most of the regulars, at least. After stowing their gear and paying the innkeeper to keep an eye on Mathain’s horse, the group walks towards the statue.
Arriving at about 11 pm in the Elven section of merchant’s quarter the group sees that there is a statue in middle of the square, sitting at the intersection of Dalnet Way and Heilem Lane. It’s been horribly defaced and now stands as a black, crumbling, half-husk with a drawn hood. Unpleasant elven words are etched into its cape: Bandit; Traitor; Rapist. Multiple vulgarities are noticed, as well.
Astride a gesturing forearm sits a golden crow -possibly raven. The golden three eyed bird appears distinctly unmolested. There are three black gems in place of its eyes. The bird’s beak points at a storefront, some kind of bookstore. The store’s name, written in Elven, is The Page Sage. Steps lead up to the bookstore’s door. Taiven checks out the gems in eyes. They look like obsidian and appear to be very valuable stones.
Adbellious casts Detect Magic. The bird radiates magical energy: transmutation, conjuration, and necromancy. As quickly as the auras show up for the wizard, the bird seems to come to life. It unfurls it’s wings and gives a mournful call into the misty night air. Adbellious and Naagloshii identify a psychic power behind the caw. As it opens mouth to speak, the beak is clearly seen to be lined with teeth made from actual bone. The bird cries loudly into the night, “Caaaaaaaaaaaaaw. Speak the name of my master, and I shall point the way which you seek. Caaaaaaaaaaaw.”

The Unwelcome Visitor
Almost as immediate as the screeching of the three eyed bird stops, the party’s alarmed by a loud, deep, metallic clang. Turning in the direction of the reverberating sound, the heroes see a huge metal sewer plate flying up in the air. As it hits the ground with a booming metal clatter, a giant, fleshy claw emerges from the sewers, followed immediately by a second. Each larger than a dwarf, the unnaturally muscled forelimbs drag a behemoth from the rancid sewers.
The beast, constantly in motion, with its every muscle twitching beneath its pale, tightly-drawn flesh, is the largest thing the adventurers have ever seen in person. Every step is a crash of thunder against the ground. As the leviathan approaches the group, the realities of its hideousness become clearer in the dark night.
An oversized murine form of elephantine proportions advances on them. With a long, stinger-tipped tail and seven serpentine necks ending in oversized rat heads, this brute is the ugliest fiend the company has had the misfortune of crossing paths with. One of the bestial heads, centered in the mass of heads and necks, stands out as worse than the rest. Completely devoid of flesh and muscle, this head is nothing more than a mutated rat skull with grossly oversized tusks. Thorgal mutters something about the Croclator and “creations run amuck.”
Fast on his feet and responding before the rest of the party can fully assess the creature, Mathain moves in to defend his companions. Charging the beast as he draws his mithral longsword, he swings at it with all his might. “This is going to be a long night,” Mathain grunts in frustration, as his sword bounces off of the creature’s resilient, furless hide.
Angry at the unexpectedly swift attack, and anxious for its next meal, the creatures seven heads open their mouths unnaturally wide, issuing simultaneous screams of rage. An unnatural power accompanies the furious roars, and the heroes feel waves of nausea and unease wash over them; a supernatural fear gnaws at their cores. Undeterred, understanding the need to stand and fight this beast, the group powers through the effects of the sonorous roar. They know their lives hang in the balance.
Unfortunately for the party, the creature is not finished with them. Moving forward to make quick work of its next meal, the creature snaps his powerful heads in numerous directions. Four of the maws split themselves evenly between Adbellious and Taiven, standing near each other, while the skull head and two more target Mathain. The wizard and monk each suffer grievous injuries and call out for the party’s healer. The half-elf warrior does not fare as well. With two of the heads biting into him, he feels the fangs of one pierce his skin, finding a gap in his armor. A powerful weakness surges through him, as he groans in pain. He can feel the creature’s hollowed fangs pumping poison into his body, as the strength saps from his limbs.
Still, the beast is not finished. Thrashing about him with all four limbs, he manages a devastating blow on Taiven, knocking him to the ground and nearly crippling the besieged monk. Mathain, too, suffers a powerful hit. Quickly following these strikes, the creature’s stingered tail strikes at the wizard, who is fortunate enough to dodge the blow.
Knowing that time is of the essence, the rest of the party steps in to coordinate their efforts against the gigantic mutation in front of them.
Seeing the effect that the bites had on Mathain, and understanding the poisonous nature of the thing’s attacks, Naagloshii casts a spell. With a roar of “communi mora venenum,” the half orc grants himself, Taiven, Mercy, Adbellious and Thorgal magical protections against poisons. The range on his spell is not sufficient to protect Mathain, however, who moved in to attack the beast so swiftly. Genoskwa the Edoloin glides to the creature’s side, across from the half-elf warrior. One of the thing’s arms swings out and manages a glancing blow on the half-orc’s summoned helper.
Thinking quickly, Adbellious cries out “festina,” granting a magical swiftness to the members of his group.
Stepping into the fray, but keeping out if the monster’s reach, Mercy channels her healing power, granting renewed health to the members of the group in need, and helping to close some of their bleeding wounds.
Standing back up after Mercy’s succor, the monk renews his efforts and brings the fight to the enemy. Standing across from Mathain, and under the hovering Genoskwa, he throws a series of devastating punches and kicks at the beast. Most of these are absorbed by the thing’s unnaturally tough flesh, but one powerful kick manages to damage it. Dealing enough damage to break bones, Taiven is dismayed to notice that the powerful blow didn’t deal the kind of devastation it should have.
With a prayer to his god, and a cry of “rupta sana,” Thorgal provides more magical healing to his companions. As with the summoner’s spell, however, Mathain is again out of reach.
Mathain, reeling from his sapped strength and the wounds he’s taken from the brute, steps in to strike the creature with is now-hastened abilities. His weakened body does not cooperate, however. He does not manage to wound it.
Angered and hungry, with its scarred flesh seeming to heal itself, the creature charges deeper into the massed adventurers. He takes a mighty blow from the half elf for the affront, but still lumbers forward. With the abundance of available meals, the monstrosity divides its attacks among the group in hopes of scoring a quick feast. It’s seven heads, looking in every direction at once, lash out at multiple targets, while it’s legs and tail follow suit. Mathain is bitten again, but manages to twist aside before another poisonous fang finds him. The goliath’s slashing leg punishes him for the move. Taiven, too, is bitten. Though the fang pierces him deeply, he’s unmoved; the monk’s lifetime of training sees his body reject the poison, pushing it from his wound. With no such protection against direct attacks, he takes a crushing blow from the thrashing tail. Being too close to the beast, Naagloshii finds himself targeted, suffering slashing and bite wounds.
The party thinks the worst of it is over, having suffered through the same attacks they’d seen it dish out previously, only to be filled with dread as the fiend’s bone head snaps open. The distended jaw, unhinging from the skull, separates into two halves, forming a triangle of grisly bone. An unnatural greasy, black cloud roars from the gaping mouth, engulfing Adbellious, Mercy, and Thorgal. While the elf manages to avoid the worst that the cloud has to offer, his two companions do not fare so well; an unnatural ache engulfs Mercy and Thorgal as they sicken, and their bodies begin to feel unnaturally heavy.
The Summoner backs away from the thing, pulls a scroll and begins chanting the magical phrases on the parchment, finally finishing with a powerful cry of “Sanctus!” Whatever his efforts, the beast seems unaffected. With his eyes full of anger, the summoner begins chanting again, with only the word “Summone,” being decipherable by those around him uneducated in magic.
Mercilessly but unemotionally, the bored-seeming Eidolon strikes again at the creature. With a pair of bite attack, a magical stinger of its own, and the slapping of his tail, it strikes the monster repeatedly. Initially, its strikes seem not to faze the creature as its elastic skin absorbs the blows. But the Genoskwa has a power that the beast is unaware of. Acid drips from it with every attack, eating away at the monster wherever it was struck, causing the multi-headed creation to wail in pain from the burning ooze.
Inspired by the half orc, Adbellious summons his own power, throwing magical energies into the cry of “Sanctus!” There’s no luck with this spell, either. Clearly, the creature is immune to its powers.
Stepping back to a position of relative Safety, Mercy once again channels healing energy to the group. She’s not finished, though. Using a hexing ability, she calls down “calamitas” on the thing, followed swiftly by more magical chanting of her own.
The monk, still wounded but undeterred, leaps onto the beast. Striking mercilessly with his hands and feet, the man is a flurry of whirling vengeance. Three of his blows clearly strike true and, though it’s obvious that the unholy beast is shaking off some of the damage, a large and wicked bruise begins to form where Taiven has been pummeling him.
The warpriest, seeing the damage that Mathain has been dealt by the beast while holding the creatures left side alone, runs to put his friend in spell range, while still keeping clear of the beast. Aided by the hastening spell from Adbellious, he sprints to his companion’s aid, using a healing burst to stop the worst of Mathain’s bleeding. With renewed vigor, the half elf fighter lashes out at the mutation, striking hard and removing a huge chunk from its side.
Again, the fiend’s skull head opens. The jaw distends another time, unhinging from the skull and separating. The black cloud bellows from the deadly triangle of bones. The monster aims the putrid cloud at two of its enemies grouped closely enough to be affected. Again, Adbellious proves his immunity, while Mercy falls prey to the debilitating shadow of the black mist.
Although it’s been clearly injured by the Genoskwa, the monster identifies Taiven and Mathain as the greatest threats it faces. Determined to remove at least one of these threats, it begins an all out assault on Taiven. One after the other, the snakelike necks lash out at the monk with snarling maws. Hit after hit strikes the beleaguered man until he finally falls to the ground, nearly dead. One threat removed, the remaining maws, slashing limbs, and whipping tail strike at Mathain. Aided by his skills with his mithral shield and the powerful magics of Mercy’s hex, the half elf weathers the storm of blows uninjured. Mercy knows what she’s done; she understands the disadvantages that her powers have imposed on the foul thing, and the smile on her face proves it.
At this, the Summoner finishes his chanting with a powerful cry of “Summone Culex Aves!” From nowhere and everywhere, magical sparks and flashes begin to coalesce around the many heads of the monstrosity, finally settling into the small, glittering forms of six sharply beaked, birdlike creatures. “Stirges, attack,” the half orc orders. Without pause, they move to obey the enchanted commands of their controller. Five of the six creatures latch their strong, barbed arms into various points on the necks and shoulders of the beast, plunging their seeking proboscides deep into its flesh.
Following the lead of his summoned retainers, Naagloshii punishes the thing with a burst of magical arrows, as his Eidolon piles more insult into the creature by way of its acidic splashes. And, once again following the lead of his half orc companion, Adbellious thrashes the monster with his own surge of magical arrows.
As Mercy continues the chant that’s bringing such calamity to the enemy, she sends a healing surge to her companions. Fortunately for Taiven, this is enough to bring him back to consciousness, after suffering from the withering beating that the thing gave him. Immediately upon waking, the man stands in an effort to bring more pain to the beast. But, seeing the rising threat, the creature desperately lashes his powerful tail at the monk, striking him a telling blow. The hit is too powerful and, again, Taiven’s body is unable to resist the call of unconsciousness.
Running to stand behind his warrior companion, Thorgal reaches up and places a hand on the half-elf’s shoulder. “Vergadain is with you, friend. STRIKE TRUE!” Emboldened by the newfound power coursing through him, Mathain lashes out at the fiend with a scream of rage. His sword crashes into the beast and the edge of the masterwork blade slices cleanly through the flesh, bone, and viscera of the colossus’ flank. With a pitiful squeal of rage, the creature falls dead.
Thinking the worst is over, the victorious heroes begin to assess their wounds. As they move to their injured companions, the creature begins to ooze. Every part of it begins to turn into a bilious muck, coalescing into a single, large puddle. Swiftly, the puddle begins to bubble, as if boiling. The roiling sludge grows into a single huge sphere that finally gives way in a violent burst. As the slop belches its explosion, it emits one final burst of the poisonous black cloud that had plagued the party twice before. This time, the group was more prepared, and managed to alternatively hold their breaths or move away from the cloud until it eventually dissipated harmlessly.
The threat finally abated, the party’s healers begin assessing the damage to their companions and using their holy powers to heal the wounded. The rest of the group, with nothing else to do, begins to collect the various things that they’d previously noticed stuck into the hide of the beast, or hanging from its thrashing form. But not Mathain.
Angry at what he believes was a set up, he looks to see if the mysterious followers are anywhere to be seen. Down one street, at the extreme limit of his vision, he spies them hiding in the shadow of a building. Letting him know he sees them, and purposely letting them know that they can hold no secrets from the group, he yells in triumph, “Hey! Did you see that! Make sure you report it to your master! Make sure Baahl knows what you witnessed here tonight!” As the men attempt to look unimpressed, the warrior turns his back, returning his attention to his friends.
As a final thought, and with the men hopefully distracted by Mathain, Thorgal finalizes his ruse. Subtly dropping the note he and the wizard created in the library, he hopes that the servants of Baahl will find it after the party has gone.


View
Session 030
Our heroes are "asked" to journey for the Rod of Law!!
??th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 030:
Volunteered…

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


PASTE

LOG

HERE!!!


View
Session 029
Many mysteries are solved during a meeting of dignitaries.
6th – 9th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 029:
Conclave: The Plot Revealed

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Naagloshii Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


SESSION 029
Conclave: The Plot Revealed

POST-COMBAT UNPLEASANTRIES

The heroes who are left living explore possible ways to raise Tharg from the dead, but options on Oerth are very limited. One of the offers comes from the Theocracies of the Pale, and has draconian conditions:

Option 1

Knight Commander SER Jos Van Duren, Triumvirate Lord of the Knight Protectors – Approached by Thay’d (Whom SER Jos is not a fan of), SER Jos, who counted Tharg as a friend and brave being is willing to approach the Theocracy of the Pale and speak on Tharg’s behalf. He is willing to do this in his official role which he realizes will come with political costs. He has no idea what conditions the Theocracy will have but they are a very strict Pholtan order so there will be conditions for sure.

Pholtun Conditions for SER Jos:
SER Jos may never nominate any non Pholtun for membership in the Knights Protector. It is the opinion of the Pale that the biggest factor in the fall of the order was that the Heironian and Hextorian factions made up over 80% of the order and that for several periods of it’s history, there was no Pholtun Knight Commander. For the first ten Pholtun Knight Errant quests, SER Jos must choose quests that further Pholtun interests. SER Jos is to swear an oath to hold Tharg responsible for his terms of this agreement.

Pholtun Conditions for Tharg:
Tharg must agree to convert to the worship of Pholtus. Tharg must agree to a lifelong tithe of 15% of any wealth gained to be donated on a monthly basis to the Pholtun Church. Tharg must agree to present himself to the Theocracy of the Pale, no later than 3 years hence and accept a Geas to retrieve, Solis Veritatis, the legendary sword of truth (DC 25 Know Religion: Brilliant, Holy Sun blade that cleanses evil in purifying light of truth. DC 30 Know History: Sword is currently believe to be in the possession of a Tiefling Lich somewhere on the outer planes. Tharg must never publicly or privately disparage Pholtus, the Pholtun Church, The Pale or any Clergy with tangential ties to Pholtus. Doing so will call for removal of his tongue by Ser Jos should it be found that disparagement has occurred.

Pholtun Conditions for Group:
None – The Pholtuan way is one of truth and personal responsibility, The only reason the Theocracy is willing to perform this act is because of Ser Jos and his position. Therefore it is SER Jos and Tharg who are beholden to the Pale.

Option 2

Solrean His Brilliant Lordship, the Count of Sunndi; Oluensteward of the South. Is the elven ruler of Sunndi, is in Eastfair for the conclave and is currently the only known cleric of sufficient level within 300 miles capable of casting a raise dead spell.

After being approached by Mathain (Eric) for an audience to hear his plea and some well above average role-play, word is sent that
Solrean would be willing to cast the spell on the following conditions:

1. A Speak with dead on Tharg (to be RP’d out), should the RP go well, then the following conditions

2. The return of all priorly held eleven woodlands currently in the possession of the Lady Lollee (Approx 10,000 acres)

3. An oath from all current members of this group to provide a service to Sunndi or proxy Elven held lands at some point in the future

4. An oath from Tharg never to directly harm a member of the elven race (Drow and half elvesexcluded, He specifically states that they are not elves), never to use fire to or otherwise destroy nature and for the whole of his life come to the reasonable aid of any elf in need. He also states that should word be received that Tharg has broken his word on this matter, that the legendary elven ranger, Aebrynis the Hunter, will be dispatched to end his life. It is said that the Hunter has killed everything that has ever walked or crawled at one point in his illustrious career.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Azetta Zha has cast preservation on Tharg’s Corpse which will make the corpse last for 10 days. Currently, most of the blame for the death of the Nobles has been pushed onto Paul and Tharg. Baal has made it clear that he has made it clear.

Sir Baal: "I have relieved Prince Thayd of command at the Chataeu Lollee b/c I believe he is playing games. Please do not unearth anymore threats to the Realm, get any more noblemen killed, etc. I will say I have burried the deaths of the dwarves, and that will be blamed on the Thieves guild, if you can make sure that Thorgal can be less than honest.

Two more things. Another member of yours has been tied tangentially to a Thieves Guild, and murdred a simpleton in our jails, who was beaten to be lame of mind by a guild b/c he was willing to testify against the guild, but you know that member kissed the right elven ass. However, that other elf running around that’s trying to investigate the death of the Princess, but we’ve got Windel’s lizardman for that, what surprises me is that Montefor. the Lizardman was arrested by the Crown, by Sir Jos, because he fit the profile. I will tell you that Mathain, your guy, has been pursuing this with determination, and I don’t think there’s answers to be had, and sturring shit in the stew just makes it taste more like this."

“Perhaps you should thnk about these people you work with. There’s a wizard’s guild in Eastfare. What I would suggest start surrounding yourself with people you trust and can command.”

“I think you’re a good man but I think you maybe let others lead when it should be you. At some point you have to step up, you’ve people in your midst that are running things for their own design. If they are not checked you may find yourself associated with detrimental people.”

“The Conclave is actually set to begin. You are due to give testimony, but I will not speak. If I had to guess, you’ll be magically transported. There’ll be plenty of people you’ve not met, some were late. Enabrin Tain (Hand of Heroneous) should be in attendance, if I heard correctly. Regarding Jaquen Dayne, there has been no change in his condition, he is still a vegetable. He is essentially being kept alive by magical means, his body is being nourished by he is completely soulless. I don’t mind telling you, the idea that Dayne could be removed from the board is frightening.”

All the principal players are at the Palace, security is overseen by Sir Jos. I’ve 200 troops, but Sir Jos doesn’t have the personal troops."

PALACE

Mathain is summonnned to speak with Solrean.

Solrean: “I need to cut to the chase, I’ve heard things about this Dragonman, I don’t know what to believe. Based on elven lands being in play, we are willing to do what we said we are going to do, but I need you to tell me something – these human lands killed our Princess. We want to know who did this. Before we stick our necks out any further for these folks, we want to know who killed our Princess. She is one of the People, a part of the Land. We may reconsider this deal if we don’t get our answer.”

Mathain: “You believe the Dragonman’s companions know who it was?”

Solrean: “I believe somebody knows something they’re ot saying. Its not even about him, but its about land. We want our acres back, we want our Princesses’ killer brought to justice.”

Mathain: “I believe more people would be happy to see him stay dead, he is not popular amongst humans. What i can tell you is I’ve spoke with Sir Tobi who will get me an audience with Lady Lollee, and she is not one of the good ones.”

Solrean: “No she is not.”

Mathain: “I think I can appeal her to such a way, that I’ve a slight chance of talking her into giving us back the lands.”

Solrean: “Forgive me, I heard that the Pholtan Church went out on a limb for the Dragonman, and I was hoping that person has more clout. We’ve been basically stonewalled on the Princess. She died ugly. Somebody needs to pay. That was my NIECE. I know you’re doing everything you can.”

Mathain: “If I find out who it was I will slay that person myself or die trying.”

Solrean: “It galls me that… well, the Dragonman is almost inconsequential. Our real goal is the return of our lands. I know there is no answer coming for the death of the Princess, and that will trouble me for the rest of my long life. I believe somebody in this feces-fiilled town knows what happenned.”

Mathain: “You may be right, but there’s a possibilities that you’re not right anymore. Stories travel in these lands.”

Solrean: “I received the briefing about burning planes, lost temples, some things i don’t believe.”

Mathain explains discovering the Padded Paw, combating the guild, slaying of the werewolf – the one who claimed to have killed the Princess. Mathain doesn’t believe the werewolf killed her, because of the nature of her death. Mathain lays out the drow, the shadowy man, etc.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

After Thorgal uses the eye so often, its presence hasn’t been felt to Thorgal in a long while. He stilll feels its power there, but the presence seems gone. A few hours later, it begins to speak to Thorgal:

THORGRIM YOU HAVE TAXED MY ABILITIES TOO MUCH.”

“It was life and death, I unfortunately do not know the limits of your abilities.”

“IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN WHAT I AM, AND WHAT YOU ARE, BUT NOW WHAT WE ARE. WE ARE NOT INTERDEPENDENT ON EACH OTHER, WHEREAS BEFORE WE WERE ABLE TO BE SEPARATED. YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO CALL UPON THE POWER OF BLINDNESS FOR A LONG WHILE. MY OTHER ABILITIES SHOULD BE ABLE TO FUNCTION SHOULD YOU NOT OVERTAX THEM. I’VE GIVEN UP SOME OF MY OWN SENTIENT LIFE FORCE TO ALLOW OUR CONNECTION TO CONTINUE BECAUSE I BELIEVE YOU’VE THE WILL AND SPIRIT NEEDED FOR WHAT’S TO COME, IF NOT THE WISDOM.”

“Out of concern for you, is there anything I can do to help you.”

’DO NOT CALL UP ON ANY OF MY MAJOR POWERS FOR A PERIOD OF
60 DAYS, AFTER THAT IN TIME YOU MAY CALL UPON BLINDNESS AGAIN, BUT I BELIEVE IT WILL BE CLOSER TO 2 YEARS."

“It pains me to hear this, and I thank you for assisting me.”

“I CANNOT TAKE ANY MORE OF YOUR LIFE FORCE WITHOUT PROBABLY TAKING IT ALL. IF I ABSORB YOUR LIFE FORCE AND YOU DIE, IT IS UNKNOWN TO ME WHAT WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN TO YOUR EYE, WHETHER IT MORTALLY DIES, OR REMAINS IMMORTAL LIKE I AM. IT IS FRIGHTENING FOR MYSELF, A BEING FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM IS IMMORTAL.”

“Could a vessel be chosen before my death?’

“I DONT KNOW PERHAPS IT IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED. I AM THE EYE, I SEE THE WAY. UNLESS I AM USED TO FIND THE WAY, THE WAY CANNOT BE FOUND. I EXIST VERY MUCH IN A VOID, I ENJOY OUR CONVERSATION, I HAVE FOUND YOU TO BE A NICE DIVERSION FROM THINGS, AND AT THE END OF THE DAY I DO BELIEVE YOU’VE THE BEST INTERESTS OF EVERYONE IN MIND. MY POWER SOURCE IS NOT INFINITE, AND NEITHER IS MY LIFE FORCE, AND THE STRESS I’VE BEEN PLACED UNDER, BOTH WITH THE MERGING WITH YOU, AND DON’T TAKE THIS AS A FAULT AS DWARVES ARE HARDY PEOPLE, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU ARE VERY MUCH A LESSER MORTAL BEING WHO ARE SIGNIFICANTLY LESS POWERFUL THAN EVEN THE LEAST OF US, AND YOU ARE NOT DESIGNED TO CONTAIN THIS POWER. WHEN YOU TAPPED INTO IT AS FREQUENTLY AS YOU DID… I REALIZE SOME ARE WORSE THAN DEATH, BUT I MAY HAVE TO POSSESS YOU. I’M NOT SURE WHETHER IF YOU DIE I DIE WITH YOU.”

“I’m expendable.”

“I CANNOT REGENERATE YOUR HAND, I DO NOT HAVE THAT ABILITY YET. AS YOU GROW IN POWER I WILL GROW IN POWER WITH YOU, WE WILL ACTUALLY HAVE A SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN US, AND AT SOME POINT PERHAPS EVEN A TRUE MERGING. AT THAT POINT YOU WILL BECOME SOMETHING DIFFERENT.”

“That is frightening, but if its something that can help the order in this world I can accept it.”

“WE ARE ON THE PATH FOR FIND ABSOLUTE ORDER.”

“… Also frightening to hear, but something I will not debate with a being greater than I.”

NOT FOR SEVENTEEN THOUSAND YEARS HAVE THINGS COME TOGETHERTHIS COULD CHANGE THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE.” Thorgal sees a flash vision of the Rod of Seven Parts, wreathed in light. “ITS FINALLY TIME. IT ENDS.”

EASTFAIRE DWARVEN SMITHY

Mercy finds that it costs 300 gp and 7 days to resize the Mithral Chainmail for her own size. The smith takes the money up front. The smith also doesn’t want to hear from Thorgal, because he got the smith’s brother killed. “All I know is that me brudder came to meet him, and me brudder got gutted.”

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Tobi and Mathain see Lady Lollee in her bedroom, who has been strippped of her clothes – there’s a necklace of pure silver around her neck (as a way to tell when she turns). There is a nice little sweat there. She’s feverish and coherent. Erik is also in the room with the two: “Erik listen Sir Baal said you could talk to her, but again this is my charge, I will give you my word I will not reveal this conversation to anyone.”

Mathain: “You know of the death of Baron Tharg.”

Erik: “I knew he was dead, never knew he was a Baron.”

Mathain: “Some folks are able to bring him back, he’s very valuable to us. Do you understand the value of a fightin dog? Tharg is a warrior, and he has been staunch in his companionship with us.”

Erik: “Can I be real with you for a minute, I grew up real poor, there was never gonna be a good out for me other than military or sellsword, Sir Baahl changed things for me. I rose through the ranks, earned honorable commendations through the military, and the one thing I can tell you is true is: a monster is a monster, doesn’t matter what clothes you put em in. Agree to disagree with pussy language. At least you disagreed like a man, you’re going to get no understanding regarding the Dragonman.”

Mathain: “I ask that you only step out of earshot. You can train a bow on me, I don’t begrudge any secrutiy measures you need.”

Erik: “I’ve made my statement and respecct yours.”

Mathain also asks Sir Tobi to step aside.

Mathain: “The last we spoke we discussed your situation. Countless rats, three wolves are dead. Unfortunately one of ours died in teh endeavour. I’ve bad new sfor you my lady, you’re going to turn, the cure that had a chance to work is not going to work for you. My Lady I would make you an offer. You own lands that you cannot take with you in death, 10,000 acres that once belonged to elves. Sign over contract turning over teh lands. You’ve plenty to leave your heirs. The companion that died is not one you’re fond of. It was the Dragonman, he died for you.”

Lollee: “Even now so close to death it warms me to know that the Kingdom is no longer pollutted with his subhuman filth. It’s the only being I’ve ever met that stinks worse than a fucking elf. Sir Baahl promises me I won’t make the transition. He’ll make sure that I don’t turn.”

Mathain: “That is unfortunate, but so be it, if you don’t want my guarantee.”

Lollee: “So your offer to me is give up a bunch of my land to a bunch of pointy ear pricks, to restore an abomination.”

Mathain: “To restore the land to ensure you don’t become an inhuman monster.”

Lollee: “I’ve been a merchant for 30 years now, part of that is sizing the other guy up, Baahl is going to manipulate my heirs because he cannot manipulate me.”

Mathain: “Okay, I hope you like cheese.”

Lollee: “Away from me, let me die in peace prick.”

On her nightstand, is a very fine ebody carved holy symbol of Waustree (NE), the Hopping Prophet. God of Biggotry and Hatred. As a sidenote, Lollee went to elven lands and made an alliance with Lizardmen to usurp the elven lands. Afterwards, she probably betrayed them.

(OOC Nobody has appealed to the good of the Kingdom, nobody has appealed to her financial motive on this. Gven that she took these lands in a poor way, it could be a bargaining chip. Perhaps try to appeal to her Patriotism? The Queen may usurp her lands once she dies. Returning the lands would make the elven alliance stronger.)

Sir Tobi steps up to pray at Lady Lollee’s bedside. As he begins to try to talk with her, she immediately begins to turn into a wererat. Turning his blade to the flat side, Sir Tobi disables her. On the other side of the bedroom, Mathain had yelled out in surprise, and Erik summonned Sir Baahl using a Bracelet of Friends. Sir Baahl announced that he would take the disabled Countess to the tender cares of Sir Montefor to see if a cure can be found.

THE CONCLAVE

Thayd, Tobi, Thorgal, and Mercy are summonned by Sir Jos to come and be taken to where the Conclave is to be held. We approach an antechamber, where stand Azhetta Zha, the Queen, Sir Baahl, Enabrin Tain, and about 25 other people we don’t yet know. 15 minutes later, Mathain is invited by attendants of the Elven King. Everyone is armed, and arms don’t seem to be a concern. A teleportation spell (Greater Teleport) is cast. Everyone is moved to a pocket plane.

Everyone’s names are announced as all are given introduction publically:

“Sir Tobi, Templar Questing Knight in Service of Pholthus.”

“Abelshin Kard, Wizard.”

“Nuugloshi.” Half-orc.

“Anna of the Seekers.”

“Altaar and Pololando. Free City of Greyhawk’s Wizards guild.”

“Orai of the Eastfare Wizard’s Guild.”

“Hero of the realm, Most honorable Thayd Catyph, [blah blah blah] Sword of the Seas [blah blah blah] Humble Servant of the Realm.”

“Mathain Elfcaraid.”

“Thorgal, Warpriest of Moradin.”

“Mercy Elandrin, adventuring healer, Hero of the Realm.”

“Allister Tain, the Hand of Heroneus.”

“His Most Warlike Majesty, Aynuff Surenston, King of the Farsuudi (Ice King).”

“Knight Commander Erold Erwart.”

“Lady Erin Page, Embassador of Nyrond

“Daharazhal, the Queen of the Shawani (Barbarian Queen

“Emox Uthgar, Embassadar of Bonemarch”

“Irash Yaht, Embassador for ht eDutchy fo Ten

“Azhetta Zha, former member Greyhawk

“Itchtal, Embassador to the Theocracy of the Pale.”

“Jeromy Windell, High Chancellor or Red Astra.”

“Marco Pleyo, Embassador Free City of Greyhawk.”

“Roren Tett, His Most Grim Terrible Might, Master of the Stone Hold.”

“Sir Jos Van Duren, Lord Triumverate, Knights Prortector”

“Solrean, His Brilliant Lordship, the Count of Sunndi; Oluensteward of the South.”

“Sporocystan, Embassador of Iuz.”

“Thomas Sykeston, Embassador to Divers.”

“Thomas Bone, Embassador to the Bandit Kingdoms.”

“Tumoph Catyph, Lord Admiral of the Aspery.”

“Ut-Nosh, his most feroceous Majesty, King of the Kruskii (Major Barbarian King).”

The Queen says: “We will begin with a layperson’s account of what happenned at Rax. That layperson has been chosen to be Mercy. Free woman give your account.” Mercy approaches the podium and gives a brief account; “I was at the festival, we were gathering outside the Castle, suddenly an earthquake and a gigantic mighty beast erupted out of a cavernous hole in the ground, proceeded to crush the castle, its environs, like a mouse would trample an anthill. Many honorable ones attempted to slay the beast, but it ignored anything thrown its way. After having crushed nobles and commonfolk alike, it proceeded to wreck the countryside. Weeks later, the beast returned and took up slumber in the remains of the castle and city of Rax.”

Queen: “Very well told. That is but the beginning of the tale here today. What you will hear over the next day or two will be the full knowledge and research we have been able to bring to bear on this tremendous threat to our great Kingdom. I know those of you here know me, but I bear introduction anyway. I am the righteous majesty Allestorian the First, Grand Princess, Lady Protector and Eternal Custonian of Rel Astrel. I am the Overqueen of the Great Kingdom and we have never known a greater threat. You may think what right a 13 year old has to address all these fine people, you’d be right ot think that, I was not groomed to rule, but it is what it is now, I will do my best and our Kingdom will go through this tough time as long as we work together, have each other’s backs, and work for the common defense. You will all learn many unsettling things here today. I ask you stay the course, for if you do not, it will not be just th Great Kingdom to fall, for it well may be the Entire Flaness.” She is definitely reading from prepared statements.

Wendell has an evil eye on the Queen, especially after the comment about Rel Astra during the Queen’s introduction.

This room is so well warded, your own brain isn’t sure what it thinks.

“For our next account I call on our Templar, Sir Tobi, who bravely went down the cave of the beast.”

“Thank you my Queen, I humbly take my place.” Sir Tobi gives the account how Sir Tobi and Taiven the Demoneye went down the cave, who were attempting to collapse the cave. They found evidence that Forces of Demigorgon were behind this, as a supposition, because it was 400th anniversary of slaying Sir Keragoth the Destroyer. Priests of Demigorgon tortured Sir Tobi.

The Queen: “Thank you for your elegant retelling Sir Tobi. During the creature’s rampage, things begin to get even more fantastical. This creature was reported as having wings in some areas, breath weapons in other areas, jumping for miles in other areas, what we do know is that basically this creature able to run amok in a 475 square mile area in a 3 week period of time to the point where it damaged most roads, killed as many as 100,000 people and took on various noticeable magical effects after it attacked Chathold. Chathold was almost raised to the ground, and only the Order for Baird seemed to survive its near complete destruction.”

“Chathold is a stronghold of the Planar Aperture from the last great war. Lord Allister Tain garrisonned a Force there to Protect the Aperture several decades ago. Chathold is the last location of the lats known Chthulian Cultists (Therazduun, God of Entropy Chaos, wants to end everything). These creatures have an adaptive metabolic magical physiology that made them very difficult opponents. They were unfortunately not purged at the end of the last War.”

“The Creature rampaged, and the Principle force from Rax headed towards Eastfaire, picked up the Elven Princess, and then arrived at a Temple middle of the Woods.”

The Queen then asks for someone to give an account.

“I was asked by the Good elves of the Ardy forest to enter a bewitched area of the forest to retrieve their Princess, to show Kindness and Favor. My noble heart accepted and when I arrived I found all the rest of my companions on the outskirts. The Princess had been drawn to this place several nights prior. When we entered we fell out of time and space and found ourselves in an old ancient ruin. There were beings that I can only describe as God-like in size and shape and power laid to rest. We journeyed through this place as if we were chosen, and when we retrieved the Princess we were gifted a glimpse of a glowing rod, first diminished and broken into 7 and then reformed in our minds. We left that place with this knowledge: and this image has haunted each of dreams since. Somehow this Force, this place, pressed upon us this was the answer to this calamity, this creature, and malfeasance behind these aggressions.”

Queen: “Thank you Prince Thayd. At this point, we will take a small break so those here can absorb what has been spoken of.”

The new Wizard knows this: “There is an artifact called The Rod of Law, Rod of Seven Parts, considered the most powerful weapon ever created in the Multiverse, said to have been used to kill Mishka the Wolfspider, during the Oberiths War of Air and Darkness.” Demigorgon was created much later in the Blood War. The Queen of Air and Darkness was the original mother of all Demons." Most adventurers have heard of this weapon of legend, but no one in living memory has a piece of it, i.e. no specifics.

Looking around, most of the embassadors are indeed taking it serious but not too stirring. Most of the actual rulers, like Allister Tain, look fairly concerned. The food is good, but its not a banquet.

Anna, early on in her carreer, came up on a Deck of Many Things, supposedly had certain astounding effects on her.

Thayd overhears Baahl giving the Queen regrets on the Death of Lady Lollee: “You’ve my word my Queen she never turned, the fever got her beforehand. The heir has been contacted melady should be here within 3-day.” That is fairly quick to show up.

Sporocystan approaches the New Wizard: “I thought I knew of every wizard of talent, but I’ve not heard of you.”

Wizard: “Ive not need to make myself stand out, animosity isn’t a good thing. You know all those bright shiny elven lands, I’m in teh back doing all the word.”

Sporo: “My liege lord is very fond of the elven lands.”

Wizard: “Everybody seems to be.”

Sporo: “Well its really the only undespoiled place in the world left. Have I offended you sir? Do you have any special lineage, I apologize for not knowing if you do.”

Wizard; “I’m of the Semen-dur Clan. There has not been a rebellion or revolution in the Elven Kingdom since pretty much we started. I wouldn’t call myself an Anarchist, I’d say we don’t like people putting on heirs and telling me what to do.”

Sporo: “We must talk again, I find you a kindred spirit.”

Wizard: “Well that probably means I should go to a temple and atone.”

Sporocystan laughs at that.

The Queen approaches Sir Tobi. She has never shown Tobi any even remote attention, so it seems odd.

Sir Tobi: “I’m not particularly good at these meetings.”

The Queen: “I’ve heard you’re an astounding field general.”

Sir Tobi: “That’s news to me.” “I will go to the ends of the earth to slay every evil for queen and country.”

Thorgal doesn’t seem notice any actual attraction from the Queen to Tobi, in fact she tries very hard to avoid physical contact.

A number of the wizards are sitting together, Altair and Orolando visibly despite Azhetta Zha, obviously cannot stand her. “That is exactly why you were expelled from the Order you lying whore I’ll be damned if you tell the Queen that level of bullshit.” Zha: “You may question my thoughts and my theories, but if you besmirch me again I will turn you into something you quite frankly cannot even imagine. You understand me? You don’t scare me.”

New Wizard, Abellis Semendur: “This isn’t the place in front of these rubes.”

Zha: “Piss off. Now to you, Fat Man call me a whore again please.” He just looks at his feet. “I’m going to excuse myself.”

Nuugloshi: “Cannot be talking to women like that.”

Prince Thayd approaches Allister Tain:

Thayd; “Are there any questions you have specific to our group.”

Tain: "I’m from a well family, but not a noble family, so I was instructed in how to make chit chat, but I will admit I’ve never really warmed to it. I’m more into following my beliefs. You are a Prince, I must say I haven’t really heard of you, I mean no disrespect, I just know who you are and I don’t know what you could do for me. You’ve my humble apologies, I recall now we met when you first arrived in the city. I’m glad to see you’re recovering from your malady, has anything else bothered you. You shouldn’t be surprised if there are lingering after effects from an effect so powerful. The magic that touched you is a magnitude of order above mortal, above even mine. Ah… the Rod, heard a lot about it over the years, even considered going after it once. "

Thayd, softly: “I’m not prince, I’m just a man.”

Tain: “Men aren’t born Princes, Kings. You become who you want to be. Freedom, that’s what’s important.”

Thayd shows Tain the symbol of Tritherion, “Thank you for the chit-chat.”

Tain, “I’ve arleady said too much, you will be approached…”

Abellis approaches Zha; “What do you want. I have no will towards you other than you’ve gotten in the middle of something you didn’t need to get in the middle of. Those two are stupid ill considered, have no open mind. All the stupid put togehter would wear their name. You give a tiny dick man a little bit of power, that’s what you get.”

Sir Tobi meets with Sir Tain.

“When I healed your friend I was touched by a presence, a very powerful very lawful presence, I’m certain it didn’t actually mean your friend any harm, as things go we mortals are very fragile folk, but I’ve not had occasion to have any experience with a being of that type before. The only thing I can say for sure is its playground is in that of the divine. So you must feel blessed with whatever they shared with you. I’ve no doubt these entities may be the original good guys, but I don’t want to spoil things while.”

“Anger, but it also handles healing and harm equally. I cannot say what made it. But there is a unique magic about it, old, very old. I’m sorry my friend that’s all I can tell you. There’s no one you can actually talk to. It’s an old arguement.” He’s very somber. “Oh yes its a safe thing to wield. When you’ve lived through great times of Darkness and Upheaval you recognize the signs its coming again and I don’t know who the heroes are who will stop it.”

Tain: “I will not lie to you and say I cannot do this thing, but it is not my place to do this thing. Your friend was taken by the cosmos, and barring any Heronean interests that is the place he will stay. It is a terrible burden to have the power I have. I could bring your friend back, I could bring back thousands, but that’s not the way life works, when you’re gone you’re usually gone. To upset the balance is a dangerous things, that’s why creatures such as vampires and liches is such a monstrous desecration of things.”

Tain passes by Azhetta Zha they exchange a look: more sadness on his end, more coldness on her face.

PART 2 of the Conclave

The next part is an account of the destroyed and Storied Eastfaire Griffin Company (20 Griffon Riders) were wiped out by this creatures. Speak with Dead bore out that the Great Beast had wings.

Further sound, 400 miles sound, the day after, are heard reports of a multi-energy prismatic breath weapon.

The Queen: “I know what you’re thinking, all these rumors can’t possibly all be true, but I believe that its all true. I don’t think this creature has all those things at once, but it has the ability to manifest these things should it desire. I presnet to you now Azhetta Zha, daughter of the famous Entil Zha.”

Two fat wizards: “My queen, she was expelled from our order, do not listen to her, she has wrapped your mind in malady.”

Queen: “I’ve spent every day since the attack trying to figure out what happenned, why it happenned, and how to prevent it. I’ve spoken with hundreds upon hundreds of very learned folk, and nobody but her has actually been able to come up witha feasible reason for what’s going on here. I realize she was expelled from your order, but she is here by ROYAL decree. Please remove those two wizards from the Conclave they have nothig further to add.”

One of the two fat ones, Alto: “Your majesty you’re an absolute fool to believe this woman, your kingdom will reap the foolishness you sow today.”

Baahl grapples that wizard and is escorted out.

Zha; “I guess I couldn’t expect anything else. Yes I am the daughter of Entil Zha. So yes I was expelled from the Order of Xenomagothy, the study of magical monsters, b/c I was accused of unethical research, unethical magical theories, and outlandish beliefs by stoggy old fat men who cannot open their mind for one minute and see the evidence in front of them. Now, you can dismiss my facts, and die probably, or you can listen to me, and maybe we can come up with a way to defeat this creature. Really up to you, I’ve got enough magic to be somewhere else.”

“Lets start with the big reveal. We, not just me, actually believe this creature is the Legendary Terrasque.” Everyone gasps. Everyone has heard of the giant, mankilling, eating machine. There has never been an active attack in the last 1500 years of recorded history on the Flaness.

“There’s not much ot tell of these creatures because they’ve not been sighted so long. I’ll tell you the theory that got me kicked out was, because the creature has spikes on its back, there must be a natural predator for it, and that was met with resistence, but looking at the animal kingdom developing an armored carapace its for defense. We don’t actually know anything about a predator. What we know about the Terrasque is only Legend. About 3000 years ago it was recorded to have sacked one of the elven high towns. Supposedly a demi-god who lived in this town had a chance to observe the Terraque over a 3 week period of time while the Terraque wore down the uber-magical defenses of the city. Then that demi-god was killed once it sacked the city. And that is all we know of the history of the Terrasque.”

“The creature is not native to this plane, but it is a prime material entity. It’s going to go over a lot of your heads, but there are a number of planes out there – the prime material through all known planes always including the four elemental planes. So when you’ve a creature like this, it exists across the entirety of reality wherever you are.”

Nuugloshi and Orai are both impressed at her oratory.

Tom raises his hand, “Excuse me, say it in stupid people.”

Zha; “What we’re dealing with is something very powerful and I don’t know if its killable, I really don’t. Was it summonnedd? I Don’t know. Coudl it have been sumonned? Yes. Is it more likely there were a series of events manipulated in bringing the creature to the plane, I find that more likely. We don’t know where home is for it, but coincidentally people have started to get visions of the Rod of Law.”

“In recorded history, it was used one time. To slay Mishka the wolf spider, an absolute entity of evil and general of the Blood War 100,000 years ago. When I say evil, I don’t mean just [Sporo, points at him], ew, no I’m talking primordial forces of evil. It is reportedly the most powerful weapon ever asesemmed by a race called the Vatai the Wind Dukes of Aqua. Not much is known of them except they once had an empire that spanned almost the entire known multiverse. They are, a race of demi-gods, they’re born divine. In the War, they are basically thought to be extinct or near extinct. They’re done, stick a fork in em. Of the hundreds of thousands that exist, there are only perhaps 70 left, if that. They’re definitely around, but they don’t want to be found. These are ones who absolutely gave eerything for hte cause of good, they gave everything – their empire, their people, everything. They will never recover from the losses they took. Only one of them is born every 30,000 years. So that, is the gravity of the situation we’re dealnig with.”

“The Creature is rumored to have killed Demi-Gods. Its a prime material primordial. The Rod off the top of my head, is the only thing reportedly powerful enough to have a chance against it. Now we get to the fun part. Historically, as a prime material entity, a being of that would be more Earth magic – kinetic forces etc, not flight or breath weapons. Where would it get all those powers? In Chathold. You know who else was in Chathold not too long ago? Cthulu / Therazdun. Tain nicknamed his creatures Chaos Creatures. They served Cthulu. There’s a race called Eidoloins that serve summoners and have a magical physiology so they can adapt to things. In the Chaos War, these brilliant heroes, stalwart men of action, sat around for a year and a half, while these creatures dark-marked people up and waiting for them to give birth. They become a non-native resident. They can be killed on that plane and don’t die. Long story short, this thing came across a nest of these Chaos Creatures and devoured them, and that turned it into what it is now.”

“No one is certain how these things reproduced to begin with. We’re guessing it’ll split into 2 or 3 or 4 or give birth to a clutch like a spider from within. I will admit, this is the only unsubstantiated part of my theory. There’s definitely magical effects going on; it is in a state of flux, the actual spells that measure life force can never get a consistent reading.”

“If we can’t get a consistent reading. If my theory is correct and its become a multi-thing, and I mean every expert in teh book thinks something may be gestating. This creature is insanely immune to pretty much everything. I’ve literally stood on its nose, no effect. Nobody has been stupid enough to start attacking it because we’re not ready for it to wake up. I want people to be prepared for how bad bad could be. If this thing actually breeds, its game over. Keep in mind, the Rod could be a one-time deal only. After it was used to slay Mishka it supposedly broke into Seven Parts, to the best of our ability, no more than 3 of those parts have ever been assembled again. In 35,000 years no beings on Oerth ever managed to assemble more than three pieces. We do have some clues, but we don’t exactly know where theyre at. Whevever you run off to after this Conclave, if its truly become native-born it probably won’t mean to hibernate. Which means it will need to eat every day. Gods help us if it has wings, can fly around, no place is safe, none, not even under the Mountain.”

Zha: “By reports it ate everything: vegetation, dirt, rocks, whatever. I don’t believe it can be gated out.”

Anna: “If anyone could bring the Terrasque here, Demigorgon would be the one. Still, to spend 50 years to dig a tunnel, seems a little too much even for him. If it were me looking to scapegoat, throwing together an unholy outfit is easy.”

“If it succeeds, the entire plane is gone. It’s the end of everything. You’ve to realize that Oerth and Flaness is the tiniest pimple on a bug’s pimple. There may be millions of other worlds like ours. If the creature eats everything, it’ll just appear into a different plane.”

“The petty gods would miss us, but only very few gods do divine interventions, such as St Cuthbert.”

“I can’t believe in any universe that the devouring of the chaos beasts was a forseen consequence.”

Queen: “Thank you Azhetta Zha, please be seated. Despite Azhetta’s probably spot-on analysis of what happenned, I do not believe in a universe without hope. I called all of you together because I believe deep down, things can be fought. Everyone said Cthulu would overrun the world, but there sits Alister Tain since the last war. Now we need new heroes to go get this Rod. I call upon all of you to call upon your finest servants, volunteer yourselves, to literally save our world.”

“Soon, we’re going to assemble a number of teams with the goal to retrieve this Rod and use it upon ths creature hopefully before it wakes up. As long as we have the Rod I believe we have a chance. Other teams will be assembled different options other than the Rod. I will tell you I’ve hired in Whole the Order of Arcane Seekers, please rise Anna. This organization for 1000 years has catalogued hunted and retrieved artefacts and relics. They once retrieved the Throne of the Gods for a number of years before it was taken. They are the best source of knowledge we have so far on teh location of any artifacts and relics, especially pertaining to the Rod. I’ve named Anna commander in this new effort, and she has named Mercy as someone capable of getting this rod. Honorable, thoughtful, logical.”

Sir Tobi; “What if things are going according to plan.”

Zha: “Lets assume this is all proceeding according to plan: I unleash a monster top tier.”

Tain: “Why am I called the last hero of the Chaos War? Where are the 7 others.”

Tobi: “They’re gone.”

Tain: “Yeah they are. 15 years ago my friend Gortaka came to me and had a feeling our mutual friend Castiel was in trouble and that he was putting together a team to go search for him. At the end he accepted a divine promotion, went from being Planetar to Solar. Ungraxis the Despoiler was a Balor Lord: a Balrog. There are only six Balors in existence, but a Balrog is the essense of six Balors. We destroyed Ungraxis but a being of that power can never truly be destroyed. But, if he somehow captured Castiel he could have returned. Ungraxis was a Lieutenant of Mishka the Wolf Spider.”

Mercy: “Perhaps the Balrog Lord is pissed.”

“Gortaka took Zarkon, himself, Thorgrim Lifequencher, Serkaros, Gilneas, all the survivors of the Chaos War. They disppeared 15 years ago. Gortaka ran an orphanage here, hadn’t been receiving funs for a number of years. It hasn’t received payment in 9 years.”

[INSERT EMAILED BLURB about Balor Lord, Ungraxis]

In other words, Tain thinks Ungraxis may be in play.

“Gortaka said he was having bad visions about Castiel. I did everything humanly possible to find the Last Heroes, and never got a hint. Gortaka was the finest fighter I’ve ever seen in my life. He was a beast. Castiel had 9 Heals saved for whenever he would be in trouble.”


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Session 028
The conflict with the wereguild comes to an end.
6th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 028:
The Fire Goes Out

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:55 a.m, sunset: 7:18 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


CHATEAU LOLLEE

Sir Tobi and Prince Thayd put their heads together and come up with a letter to be handed to the thieves guild, that they hope will free the captive Thorgal and Mercy.

“We will meet you on the field of battle, winner takes all. Our whole posse versus your whole posse in 3 days. The hostages will be released the evening prior to take part in a grand battle. Let’s settle our differences in the old way. The Old Turlington Farm, in 3 days at 3 pm (a flat, wide, treeless area). Afterwards, hostages and items will be part of the winnings in addition to that piece of real estate which is contested. The losing group shall leave Eastfaire forever. Further maligning or maining of hostages in any way will make that which is contested public knowledge known to all kingdoms here for the Conclave. We shall await your answer through our common intermediary Mr Bone.”

Baron Tharg arrives at the Chateau, explaining to Tobi and Thayd: “Sir Bahl sent me on a mission and everyone he sent me with tried to kill me in the sewers. Of the 13 of them 5 escaped.”

Sir Tobi’s eyes widen: “Have you spoken to Sir Bahl about this?”

Tharg: “Haven’t had the chance to see him yet.”

PRISON CELL, UNDISCLOSED LOCATION

Thorgal the Dwarf is tied up in his cell. His dwarven sense discerns, as he looks around, that he is no more than a quarter mile from the Croclatory, based on the architecture of the prison cell. A single wererat guard sits across from him, armed with a dagger. Thorgal discerns that his own manacles are made of unsmelted iron.

Thorgal: “Are you a gambling man?”

Wererat Prison Guard; “I am. In fact, I have a problem. Listen, you seem like a decent enough guy, but I don’t want to know your name in case I have to slit your throat I don’t want that on my conscience. Listen, I know you want to get out of here, you just gotta give me something solid. You got any gold hidden away anywhere? Sorry but I can’t just release you cause I don’t want to draw the ire of Woofgar. I heard that Mercy was already ransomed off. Regarding your sorry ass? Well I heard your group tell my guildies to just leave you to die. One of your posse even said they don’t know you at all. Tough break man.”

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Prince Thayd leaves Erik with orders: to patrol the mansion, turn over every noble’s room, fire on any crows or ravens or birds etc etc. He leaves a very autistic list of orders to make sure that the Lady Lollee is well protected. With that, Tobi, Thayd, Mathain, and Baron Tharg all travel to the Palace for the Soire the evening prior the Conclave’s initiation.

THE PALACE, 6:00 pm.

At dusk the soire prior to tomorrow’s Conclave is set to begin, so the remaining uncaptured heroes meet here. The Queen has opened up quarters in the Palace for all nobles, and has ordered that no noble shall be guarded by less than 4 guards. At first, every single noble is being announced publically as they arrive.

Prince Thayd initially wants to say a posthumous introductio for the murdered nobles, However, Sir Montefor, wearing respendent black/red/gold Hextorian regalia, countermands that request; “The Young Queen is concerned about her public image.”

Everyone who is anyone is present, and dressed to the nines.

The Queen, age 13, has makeup to make her appear at least 17 or 18, but definitely appears super uncomfortable, likely stage fright. She was technically 44th on the succession list. The Queen has a small throng, but she doesn’t seem to go anywhere near Joramy Windel or Elam Paige.

Montefor: “Where is the odius smelling dragonman? With Sir Bahl you say? I couldn’t believe that those would associate together.”

Thayd: “Care to wager?”

Montefor: “Gambling is a sign of weak character and must be purified by flame. I imagine it runs rampart among the seabarons.” Upon being offered some delicacies, he replies that he only drinks water and hard bread like a real man.

The party continues, but the word doppelganger is not heard anywhere. Instead, “assassin” is the operative word regarding the topic of who killed 20 nobles.

The King of the Sunndi elves is here at the party. He is flanked by two bodyguards and a small gaggle of yes-men. The half elf, Mathain, doesn’t notice any half-elves in the group. The grey elves generally don’t tolerate any half-breeds, and see them as barely above orks. Sunndi is a member of the Iron league, and is considered the most populous elven kingdom left. Mountain dwarves and gnomes also reside in Sunndi.

Mathain speaks with one the retainers, and learns that Lollee has been nicknamed “Treeblight,” by the elves, and her company does indeed contain men such as Paul, who have skirmished with elves in the past. It is said that Sir Montefor will be putting the screws to Paul.

Sir Tobi gets a ping of evil off Tom Bone, Sporostanzan (embassador of Iuz), Lord Bahl, Lord Montefor. There is for some reason no reading at all from Jorah Windel and a new member of his troop, his seeming shadow.Windel has most of his entire encourage here: Volktar, Owen: “I suppose I got to be calling you Questing Cunt now.”

Sir Tobi: “I’m here to slay the biggest beast of them all.”

Owen: “I’ll help you by taking it out of my pants.”

Azetta Zha meets with Baron Tharg, explaining that she is likely going to Greyhawk after this. “A couple of old wizard guild members plan some fireworks, I plan to explain to them how real wizardry works.”

Tharg; “I could use a little vacation myself.”

Zha: “Let’s just say I don’t like anyone who questions my academic integrity. Listen, I want ot like you Tharg, but the things I hear sometimes… I know not to believe everyone you hear, but you gotta get away from these people. You’ll end up hung or beheaded. If you want my advice, get out of town as soon as you can. Anyway, I need to go mingle. Regarding Windel’s crowd, I would think twice before I messed with any of that crowd.”

Tharg: “Who’s the nameless shadow there?”

Zha; “I don’t know, he’s a wizard though. I know he had a pet wizard named Mourgalis, but that aint’ him. I don’t get a ping off that guy whatsoever, that means he’s strong. Speaking of that posse. The Barbarians withdrew from the conclave. I guess that’s what happens when you murder one of their kids. I tell you what that Cunt is really good at violence. Hang around him enough he’ll give you reason to fight. I believe I shall go speak with Prince Thayd’s uncle. Regarding Thayd there’s no need to be harsh, I realize the Sea Princes have reputation for piracy and bravery, but he’s too smart to try and steal from me. Give Sir Tobi my regards, and I apologize I’m horrible with names, the rest of your minions.”

Tharg: “I will give them my regards. Let me know when you arrive back from Grehawk. I believe I owe you some study days. I try to always pay my debts.”

Ermie, Sargeant Major of the Rax Military, a survivor of the caravan. “I heard 24 nobles died of the spot you were frequenting. I know you paladins have to mercyful types, but common man, I guess he was proven true in the eyes of the law this time.”

Sir Joss, "I"ve herad things, but havne’t had a chance to do a full briefing. I heard Baron Tharg showed up to the palace greviously injured. Many consider my friendship with him as damaging my reputation. Right now I cannot afford to

“I need you to complete your Quest to become a full knight. A full voting knight. I wasn’t thinking tactically when I nominated Malagor. Unless Caden and I both vote the best we can get is a tie. Caden is a Heronean and mostly on my side but not completely. The Triumverate is going to meet and shall have details on your Quest soon.”

Sir Tobi: “I look forward to it.”

Sir Joss: “Beofre I leave, I would lik to introduce you to Roron Tett, he is the gentleman with the full plate mail armor with two magnificent swords. He is the Master of the Stonehold. The last 20 years Iuz has broken against the Stonehold. For every inch of ground Iuz gains in the Stonehold, thousands of being die. These guys don’t give up. Roron Tett is considered among the Top 5 fighters currently in the Flaness. He has a sun blade and a frost blade, and at age 40 is said to be quicker than men half his age.”

Tobi: “Not in bed I assume.”

“Hah, not at all. Both his sons have died in combat. He just had a child by his third wife. If you can’t kill the man, kill the stuff around him. His official title is The Most Grim and Terrible Might, Master of the Dread hold. If you’re trading war stories, coolest buy you ever meet, try to talk to him about anything else, might as well talk to a rock. He does not like Iuz. Since you are a hero of the Realm, perhaps you may want to avail yourself of him. I imagine the story of you squaring up against the Death Knight would be quite a tale. This party isn’t just a party, its about gathering allies for the battles that will come.”

Tobi: “Anyone else that could side with us?”

Joss: “There’s the Honorable Knight Commander Araald Anbehrt.” The Shield lands, big enemies of Iuz. His entire reason for being is battle Iuz. Critwall is located within his Kingdom, a Heronean stronghold rumored heavily. He leads from teh vanguard, never eats better than his men, never leaves his body on the field. He is said to have a hard reputation against beings that act against morality and shows no mercy towards evil. [Cavalier/Cleric]. He’s Heronean, likes tactics, strategy. You doubt he’ll have any strength to lend, its suprirsing he’s here considering Allister Tain isn’t. Aaraald is newphew of Catarina, and is considered one of the greatest military leaders on the Flaness since the age of 15. He has had 2 wives and 1 son assasssinated by the enemy."

Tobi: “I’m very honored to meet you, sir.”

“I’m honored to meet you the man who suqare off against the death knight. Which death knight did you fight?”

“He didn’t leave his card. I believe he called himself Sir Oslan.”

Tett: "Ah, he is a servant of Prince Mirthrow of Rax, a famous Death Knight. There was 13 Death Knights that Sir Keragoth the betrayer swayed to the side of evil. The one you squared off against, although powerful, was not top tier. I heard Sir Allister mixed it up with two of them, alongside the possessed Jacquen Dayne. I heard you stood toe to toe. And I heard Sir Bahl also stood.

Indeed. Then the cowardly Death Knigh fled. Using some kind of magic. Any way to kill them?

“Kill them quicker. Remember Sir Tobi they’ve been around for hundreds of years.”

“I’ve mixed it up with lots of enemies, but never with a death knight. May I?” Lord Tett slowly draws a gleaming golden blade.

“The sun blade I’ve heard of this!”

“Ah yes, when you’re hacking your way through undead sent your way by the cowardly Iuz. What kind of coward doesn’t even do his own battles?! I found my sunblade in the hoard of Safgofagor the Blue, right after I put this one right through his fucking brain. He killed six of my guys.”

“Is that the hide of the dragon that you wear?”

“Part of him yeap, had him scaled. Tell you haven’t felt the shock of any lightning since I put this armor on. Only a real dragon would make armor like this. Not half dragons. I’m a kind guy, but there are just so many vile rumors. The only half dragons I’ve heard of work in service of Iuz. There were four of them, one of them I heard died. Geographically small, but they’ve allies in the Bone Marches. Plus he’s a demigod so he’s hard to kill.”

Sir Tobi: “Well let’s start with the death knights and see where that gets us.”

Lord Tett: “Talk to Erish Yat, embassador of the Duchy of Ten, from what I heard, is responsible for putting together a team that killed a half-dragon, Typhogar the Blue, a powerful half-dragon Magus in the service of Iuz.”

ELSEWHERE AT THE PARTY

Lord Admiral Thayd talks to Prince Thayd, “Its not secret that Joramy and the Queen don’t see eye to eye. We ran a lot of business to Drax the Invincible, who pretty much runs Rel Astra. Regarding Erin Paige, I imaging that’s just old fashioned teenage jealousy. How do you look Queenly in front of a beauty like Erin Paige? Whoo boy, if I were 20 years younger, I’d give her a run for her money. I imagine that Joramy is probably tellin ghte queen what to do a bit too harshly.”

Prince Thayd: “Sir Bahl has been getting close to the Queen, he has infiltrated the city guard with his own men who are now calling themselves The Scarred Band. His power base is growing.”

Lord Admiral Thayd: “Hextorians, hah. You gotta be careful ‘son’, you start to play court politics – that can get you worse than dead.”

Prince Thayd: “Already had 3 friends die, an elven princess pass away. Thorgal stone cutter taken by the Padded Paw.”

Lord Admiral Thayd: “They’re here? They’re actually based out of the Lindor Isles. I also know that a man named Dread Smith is purported to be their leader, and Lycanthropy is a good way to go because rats can go pretty much anywhere. They came up shortly after the Chaos war as mostly information brokers, expanded to extortion robbery and building up a power base. Didn’t know they were this far North.”

The Admiral continues: “I’m here for a formal trade route for the queen. Currently our only actual treaty with the Great Kingdom is with Windell, which is a lucrative deal, however now that the Kingdom has been unified we don’t have that agreement in place, so it cuts off a sizable portion of our actual legitimate business. It wouldn’t cripple us but it would hurt. I would like you to steer clear of the subject because of… associations. I wish I could help you with the Padded Paw, but our resources are short. If your epic showdown happens to be after an agreement has been signed, I’m glad to send a few boys with you.”

Prince Thayd: “Much appreciated. Speaking of, there are 20 house guard recruits, if they could be recruited to our reserves here.”

Admiral: “They’ll have to be vetted more, and by vetted I mean taken out to sea. That’ll have to be 3 or 4 of them, and probably 1 will die of scurvy. Do you need me to arrange a transport to the Lindor Isles? Please keep me informed.”

PRISON CELL

In the prison cell, Thorgal casts Spiritual Weapon and stabs the wererat guard in the back while he’s taking a piss, yelling out, “Hey he’s trying to escape!” A second guard walks in, stabs the dwarf, and Thorgal blinds the guard with the Eye of Providence. Thorgal casts a second Spiritual Weapon on the second guard.

Eventually, after a full minute, two guards are in rat form permanently blinded and scurrying on the ground, 35 ft away from Thorgal’s cage the first guard lays dead, with keys on his person, and one last wererat guard unblinded is still shanking Thorgal repeatedly with a dagger.

Thorgal’s spirit weapon delivers a critical to the throat, instantly ending the last hostile wererat. Just before winking out, it strikes the stone beneath his cage, allowing him to try to lift the cage up and over to get out of his prison.

Just as Thorgal escapes, just 6 seconds later Woofgar shows up and begins to sniff around, but thanks to the sewers covering his scent Thorgal escapes.

NOBLE ESTATE

Tom Bone is present. A shadowy figure, a drow, a werewolf, and a humanoid crocodile. Their weapons are peace-knotted. There are 60 crossbowmen training their crossbows on everybody. On each wall, there is an obvious wizard. As we enter, we have to peace knot the weapons. If tehre is any violence, the first thing the wizards are instructed to haste everyone. They each have 2 potions of true-strike. The wizards have dispel magic, haste, slow, webs, and stone calls. Anyone who does any type of violence will not leave the courtyard alive. The doors are closed and wizard locked.

Thomas Bone: “Since this meeting was requested by the Padded Paw, they covered my fee for this which included all these potions and precautions. So, who would like to begin?”

The slight shadowy man in a soft voice, “I will begin and I will claim the aggreieved status. We have 2 of your people, you know that. As a show of good faith, ealier this night we released Mercy the cleric into the custody of her master. After we’re done here you can verify the veracity of my words. All we wanted was our laboratory back, that we had spent time and effort upon. However, the conflicts with you and the actions have cancelled the ability to keep the laboratory secret. Its been our.”

“You and your band of cronies have brought so much attention the sewer there is no way it will remain secret. It will just fall into the wrong hands. Secondly, I got three of your guys. Three of them, and with the exeption of one they made it real easy. I got to them before.”

Mathain: “If you kill our champion then what?”

Shadowman: “You’ve been building silver weapons.”

Mathain: “Would you go to a fight naked?”

Shadowman: “No.”

Mathain: “Exactly.”

Shadowman: “It gives you the advantage to meet us out in the open. We arranged a good faith release of Mercy to her master for 15,000 gp. It’s pretty simple, if a slave has a master, then its a valuable commidity one doesn’t want to be destroyed. That’s exactly what happenned. Listen, you’ve dealt us a wound, but I’ll replace those wererats within 3 months. Replacing Woofgar’s 2 sons that ain’t gonna happen. You cost us our lab, you cost us an alliance, you also exposed an agent who worked for years for us undetected. We’ve lost manpower, capitol, real estate, but there is way more of us than there are of you. The real answer is we can’t just beat you in a straight up fight without losing a lot of manpower. Now we have a guy I have a lot of faith in I could name champion, and you’ve no shortage of those skilled with a blade. No one else has to die.”

Mathain: “I don’t like you, and I don’t like who you choose to align yourself with, but I like your style.”

Shadowman: “You can call me Dread Smith. I am the Dread Smith.”

Paladin: “Prove it.”

Shadowman: “Soon.” He has an obvious magical mask.

Paladin: “Just a few more details.”

Dread Smith: “It would be champion’s means. You bring it you got it, nothing precasted, you bring it you got it. Woofgar is a natural lycanthrope. 8 hours.”

Tharg: “I would take Tom’s word.”

It is strange that Croclator, the Werewolf, the Drow hasn’t said anything.

Tobi: “Is this Woofgar?”

He appears to be 8’1". Tobi doesn’t believe he’s ever seen a more muscled creature in my life. He has a beautiful gleaming sharp greatsword. Black eyes, like pits into hell. Mithral Chain shirt. As Tobi is sizing Woofgar up, he strolls up to the dragonman, “I hope its you. You killed my boys. Fight me, coward.”

Tharg: “I’m sorry you’re gonna have to remind me, who were your boys.”

Woofgar: “If I kill you I’ll cut your wings off and wear them.” He walks up to Sir Tobi and Mathain to really try to indimidate all of them.

Sir Tobi: “Were they really your children?”

Woofgar: “Yes.” In reference to the Elf Princess; “Her pussy tasted like sweet butter, after her head was chopped off. Do you weep for her, puny man?”

Dread Smith puts a hand on Woofgar’s shoulder: “Its time for us to go my friend. All this posturing will get us shot by crossbows.”

Woofgar: “Brin ga friend, half-elf.”

Mathain: “Is that an offer pup?”

Sir Tobi: “Mr Smith would Mathain plus one more be a fair fight for your hulking werewolf?”

Dread Smith: “Yes, if the ability of flight is eliminated from the fight.”

The drow lady looks comely, white hair, young appearing. Holy symbol of Llolth, Rod with Tentacles on it at her side. Wearing a dress of grey silk.

The crocodile, Croclator, has a full magical glass rod. He keeps a bit of fur in his left hand, probably for lightning bolt spellcasting. He also has a necklace with 3 different colored dragonscales on it: blue, red, and black.

Dread Smith simply looks like a shadow. All four detect as evil, the drow Cleric has the strongest aura. Sir Tobi thinks without a doubt, the werewolf to be the least evil of all of them. The most sickening hit comes off Croclator, there is some yard-deep evil in that guy, but the aura isn’t as strong as the drow. Dread Smith has Disguise, Displacement. No aura of evil detected. No obvious weapons visible. Dread appears to have a thin muscled build. He carries himself like he can handle himself in a fight, doesn’t have the intimidating warrior’s gait.

Mathain: “What did this cost?”

Thomas Bone: “This was 23,000 gold to set up and they paid for all of it. If you decide to do your trial by combat here, it would be 7,500 gold maybe. I’d cut that rate in half if I was allowed to watch.”

Tharg: “Hell maybe we should offer tickets.”

Sir Tobi: “Thank you Mr Tom Bone, we shall await you at the Palace at 8 am with our answer to the counteroffer.”

The meeting ends. Tharg, Tobi, and Mathain arrive at the Palace.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

The heroes prepare to face Woofgar. Each of the two combatants will have: Water and flour are a good idea to have in case he is invisible.

In the morning a message arrives:

“From the guy with the strange eye who likes to drink I’m at the dwarven temple and I don’t like to travel alone.”

The Heroes of the Realm gather together and bring 10 guards as they travel to the Dwarven Temple. They knock on the door of the dwarven temple.

Thorgal appears, without his gear and looking a lot thinner, beard has lost its luster, also minus one hand. “I had to fight my way out. I can tell you they’re decimated. They were prepping to leave. They said they wanted to be outa here. I don’t think it was an act. I think they were trying to leave b/c their power was greatly reduced. I also blinded some of them. If you see someone blinded its probably one of those god-damned wererats.”

Baron Tharg asks about Silversheen (250 gp 1 hour), Silversheen Metal (750 gp), Mithral and Alchemical Silver (200 gp).

CHATEAU LOLLEE 8:00 AM

Thomas Bone: “Sir Tobi, I’ve news. Thorgal escaped.”

Sir Tobi: “Does that change the deal at all?”

Bone: “Despite the objections of guild leader, Woofgar is willing to fight any two of you at the same time. There’s gonna have to be some way to end this, otherwise you’ll always watch your back. Woofgar said that if you’re able to best him he will provide a cure for Lady Lollee.”

Tharg: “An intermediary would have to hold the cure and check to make sure the cure is actually real.”

Bone: “I don’t know how long it wuld take to authenticate a cure like that. I do know that Lady Lolle has 30 hours before she is howling at the moon. I believe there is a schism between Woofgar and the rest of the leadership. This offer for a cure seems to be a personal offer from Woofgar. I’ve seen a lot of vengeance in my day and he aint gonna let this drop. Prince Thayd?”

Thayd: “How do you ensure one party holds true to the bargain?”

Tom Bone: “As in getting them to leave town? My role is to communicate, not enforce terms. By the way do you have Thorgal? Gotta admire a one armed dwarf who escapes by his lonesome.” He notices Mercy. “Your slave mark has been removed. That’s a righteous removal. Should you ever decide you don’t want to work around these folks, I know of several who would be willing to pay for your services. Same goes for you Baron Tharg. I don’t like Prince Thayd, I’ve done everything you’ve wanted from me and I’ve had nothing but crap from Prince Thayd.”

Sir Tobi: “When do they want this fight to take place? Still no flight rule as before?”

Tom Bone: “Yes still no flight. They want this in 2 hours. I will hold on to the cure, but it by no means guarantees the cure is legitimate. It’s my good faith belief that this werewolf wants to fight so badly he wiill probably give the cure just to get the fight.”

Mathain: “We require that the cure be provided in advance. Tell Woofgar that its what his pups would have wanted.”

Tom bone sends word that Woofgar would provide the cure up front, if it were dragonman and Mathain to step in the ring.

PRIVATE ESTATE

Sir Tobi, Baron Tharg and Woofgar step into the ring. After an absolutely brutal fight, Baron Tharg is slain and Sir Tobi survives just barely by the skin of his teeth. He stands over the bodies of the Baron and Woofgar, shedding a tear for his half-dragon companion.


View
Session 027
The Wereguild strikes a vicious blow against the Heroes, putting them in a desperate position.
5th – 6th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 027:
The Stick

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:50 a.m, sunset: 7:29 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 5. Waterday  (work) Warm  (77) Moderate  (58) Clear Strong  (S, 21 mph) - -
 6. Earthday  (work) Warm  (80) Moderate  (52) Partly Cloudy Light  (SE, 8 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Dread Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


BLACKSMITH STOREFRONT

Thorgal receives an offer middle of the night for an immediate offer of weapons the dwarf is looking for. He goes at 4:30 am to investigate the blacksmith’s shop, owned by a dwarf he had drinks with a few nights before. A voice from within answers: “Come in.”

Thorgal pushes open the door, “Alright if I come in? I’ll step right in.” He steps into a 40 × 40 foot square room.

All of a sudden three enemies become visible from across the room. Some powder hits the dwarf’s eyes, but Thorgal is able to shake it off. Immediately, a thunderstone explodes causing ringing in everyone’s ears, but Thorgal is able to ignore the worst effects. Lastly, a tanglefoot bag breaks against the dwarf ineffectually.

A wereboar swings viciously, putting all the power behind the attack attempting to deliver a vital strike, but his weapon wishes past Thorgal.

In the rear, a scream is heard – it can only be the scream of a man whose entrails are being ripped open. The rest of the were-assassins descent upon the beleaguered dwarf. Thorgal drops his weapon and surrenders.

Thorgal is gagged, trussed up like Thanksgiving turkey, everything manacled to the wall, stripped naked, each finger is individually hogtied up. He is thrown in a cell alongside Mercy. Three guards are kept on watch. Croclator says to Thorgal: “I ’member you, almost got you with my lightning bolt.”

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Orai arrives at 6 am, seeking to talk to the Heroes. He explains that someone tried to kill him last night, he had to fly out of town for an hour, and was pursued even then by were assassins with potions of fly. “They almost had me, threw a powder that blinded me, threw a thunderstone, but luckily I was able to dimensinoally hop and get away, this only bought me enough time to consume a potion of fly. They tried to take me out almost 3 blocks from the academy. If I wasn’t as skilled as I am, they would have got me. I don’t know what happenned, I thought we were in an armistice with these guys.”

Thayd: “I thought so to. Mr. Thomas Bone has some questions to answer.”

At 8 am, the Heroes of the Realm have now noticed that Thorgal is missing from the grounds of the mannor. Mercy and Dread were assigned to wait at the Heronean Church, and haven’t been heard from since.

One of the men enters announced, “I’ve a visitor for Prince Thayd, by the name of Thomas Bone. His weapon is peace-knotted my lord.”

Thayd: “You may inform him that his weapon will be returned upon exiting.”

Guardsman: “He is an ambassardor my Lord, are you certain.”

Nodding, Thayd turns: “We’ve a visitor, Thomas Bone. If he has betrayed the truce, what do you think his punishmen should be Sir Tobi?”

Sir Tobi: “Typically punishment for treason is death. Just remember I am in command here, and do not do anything permanent without consulting me first. Elf, you are not under my command, but I ask that you simply help me.”

Thomas Bone is basically an ambassador of the Bandit Kingdom, a loose nation of mercenaries with various leaders claiming the royal title of King. Mr Bone is currently serving the most powerful conglomorate. There are orcs, half-orcs, hobgoblins. These are one of the only Kingdoms coardial towards Iuz.

Sir Tobi recalls that once Mr Bone was part of the Order of the Dragoon out of Bissel. He was banished for indulging in slavery, and it is rumored he was a whoremonger as well. He comes from a highly respected family who has disowned him. In his day, he was considered a fair fighter. He stands about 6’1", 220 lb, brown-greyish hair, barrel-chested, wearing a courier’s outfit and half-plate, he walks with a warrior’s gait based on how he positions his feet and keeps his wits about him.

Before even approaching, he states, “My retainers know that I am here.”

Thomas Bone: “Tidings of misfortune bring me, I regret we are to meet under this circumstance. I would first ask, how much you know of our previous conversation with the Prince.”

“I know of the basics of the meeting that went on between you and the Prince.”

“FIrst and foremost I wish you to know that I have no part in any of this, and I was acting as a respected intermediary of two entities in conflict. I understand that you may have a personal grudge against me, but professionally speaking, I am wholly blameless.”

“Why do I get the feeling you are about to deliver some unpleasant news. Get on with it.”

“This morning around 1 am I was contacted by a member of the Padded Paw with a signet ring.” Bone hands Tobi a signet ring. “This is the signet ring of a woman named Anna, owner of Mercy. The quick of it is, the Guild says they’ve captured this woman and wanted to treat with Mercy alone, without the presence of the Psionisist Lieutenant Dread. Mercy asked me what she thought of it and I told her it was a bad idea, but we disagreed on the percentage chance of walking out of that room.”

Thayd doesn’t detect any signed of anything but the truth.

Thomas Bone continues: “In the end she decided not to go, and stayed at the Heronean temple. Sometime before dawn, the Heronean Temple was assaulted. The Bishop, Cannon and four Acolytes were killed. Mercy and Dread are no where to be found. An hour ago, my contact at the Padded Paw came to me and gave me something for you. I told them this would be the last missive I woudl deliver for them as I have felt they have impuned my honour in this manor. There was a hard conversation but in the end they saw it my way. May I have leave to retrieve an object from my haversack.”

Sir Tobi: “You may.”

Thomas Bone pulls out a round bag. Inside is Dread’s severed head. On it’s forehead: “We have the other two.” Dread doesn’t appear to have been tortured. “Since I cannot control the situation, and the armistice has been broken on their side, not yours, I count myself out. I deal in good faith with people and I honor my word. I don’t know what caused all this, I am walking away from all this. They instructed me to tell you that a representative of theirs would be willing to meet 2 of your representatives in a public unassailable forum to discuss terms, and if not agreed to, you can expect 2 more bags with heads in them. To make the point, they say they’re going to get the guy with the creepy eye first.”

Thayd walks up to Sir Thomas Bone and empties a bottle of wine on top of Dread’s head, “To Dread.” He heaves the bottle against the wall and leans in to say, “Fix this.” Thayd turns around to walk out the door.

Sir Bone, “These people have damaged my reputation, because they’ve betrayed their word. What I will say is that my reach is long and they will have trouble procuring certain services in my area. I will say, I am sorry, Prince Thayd and I have fallen out.”

Three loud knocks hit the ground and a glugging sound. Very quickly, we are standing in lamp oil. Sir Tobi knocks on the door.

The half-elf says, “What the fuck is going on here Paladin.”

Sir Tobi: “Nothing good.”

Sir Thomas pushes a traveler’s cloak to plug up the door crack at the bottom.

On the other side of the door, someone is striking a match or attempting to.

Thomas Bone, “I demand that you protect me, as a Paladin, because I am ambassador to the Bandit Kingdom.”

Sir Tobi knocks the door down with a heavy boot: it gets batterred off its hinges and falls.

Prince Thayd is on the other side of the door, holding a torch lit in one hand and flint and steel in the other hand.

Sir Tobi approaches Prince Thayd, “Extinguish the torch and surrender yourself, or else.”

Prince Thayd complies, pulling Dread’s head and says to Sir Bone, “This was the lieutenant of our Queen. You come here and say you played a part. You are now in league with a group that has decimated 20 nobles including children. You’re now standing in a cellar in your own uncomfortable position. My colleages asked you for your aid and assistance, not your indifference. Vengeance is required.”

Thomas Bone says, “Firstly, I shall not forget what happenned here today. Second, I’ve not been wronged, and I am not a member of that group, no matter how you try to tangentially tie me to them. You’ve made an enemy today, you would have been smarter to just drop the torch..”

Sir Thayd: “I suggest we call for Sir Bahl and Sir Montefor.”

Sir Tobi; “He knows too much.”

Thomas Bone says: “A hopeless game, Sir Thayd.”

Sir Tobi apologizes to Sir Thomas Bone and releases him.

Sir Tobi then requests to see Sir Thomas Bone in his private quarters at the Palace.

Thomas Bone: "I am really mad at myself, I rarely misjudge someone as badly as I misjudged Prince Thayd. I was part of the Dragoons once. I’lladmit it I was banished. Got caught in a bad situation, I’ll admit it, I’ve made my mistakes. Do you know what we are known.

Sir Tobi: “I could tell you were a straight shooter from the moment you walked in. Right now my friends are captured and their lives hang in the Balance, right now I have to focus my energies towards saving them.”

“Again, I am truly, truly sorry. I had nothing to do with that.”

“I know, I believe you. I understand you were a neutral. Now I seek to correct broken truce.”

“At first they offered two times my usual fee for my activity. I didn’t get the sense they were fucking around. I got the sense they wanted to talk to you after you hurt their guild. They’re in a position of power now, they have your people. If I were them, I would go to my hide-east most defensible hole and have all hands on deck, but from what I’ve seen there are still a number ofo these – I would guess no less than 30, more than enough to slay their friends should you try to assault. I told them I was done, because I thought they acted dishonorably, I thought they casheed in on my reputation. I was being earnest when I would be making trouble for them on my behalf. It was astoundingly moronic: I don’t like to be lied to, I don’t like my reputation to be trampled. I don’t know if you broke the truce. You cannot tell me you know for a fact your people didn’t do something to parcipitate this. These guys could be acting in accordance to what was done to them. Are you engaging my services to act as a mediary? I would engage.”

“I am simply asking for you to complete your job.”

“I was asked to barter a truce. And I have done so.”

“De facto the truce is broken though, so your job isn’t complete.”

“I would ask you to lower yourself to my standards for a second. I’ve put myself in a position of animosity with this guild. And they did kill 5 members of the Heronean Church, not something that will escape notice, especially with Lord Tain coming to town. I’m sure big people like that will not get directly involved with such things, will he want things served by his clergymen I think so. If not him, then the Head of Knights Protectors from the Heronean Realm, Will Caden, will have something to say about it.”

“I think your people were being followed or observed, a conflict ensued, a guild member died, a survivor told the guild that you broke the truce, and now planning to croak em. They isolate members of your party so that you dont have 100% of resources, and they’ve got every one fo them except the Wizard. Now they give lieutenant’s head to me to give to you, in what is sure to be a bent over meeting. There is one thing you have.”

“You’ve zero evidence behind this concotion.”

“Neither do you. And, just to add a fact, the thieves guild didn’t try to burn me alive. I like money I’ve a weakness for fine things, beautiful young women, creepy young. Sometimes I gotta pay for that. So whatever you pay me will be invested in the finest Eastfair courtesan I can buy. I may not make much money here in Eastfaire. You are holding me to am impossible standard, sure you can smear my name a little bit, and that may cost me 2 hookers in my next year.”

“No smears, just the truth.” Sir Tobi’s empassioned plea doesn’t go through, but Sir Bone would be willing to set up another meeting: “My fee for this would be 300 gp. I could set up the meeting. These services would include getting represenatives from your party in a neutral venue where you could speak without fear of being maligned, I have enough connections to do that, to handle that, it may if they’re not already dead, include a stay on any croaking that may or may not happen before such meeting.”

“But to tell you that its not all gold to me, I will forgo 100 gp from my fee for a personal apologee from Prince Thayd, I will refund the gold upon receipt of an apology from Sir Bone.”


THE PALACE

Sir Bahl says: “I need you and 12 men to go down into the sewers. We heard that some malfeasance is going on in the poor quarter. Listen, sewer people get what they deserve. If you have to kill em, kill em.” There is one wizard among them (3rd level), but no healer.

Baron Tharg: “Let me dress appropriately and let me see what we can scrounge up. Anything particular we’re looking for?”

Bahl: “Kidnapped people. Ever since the Beast struck the city these Thieves Guilds just kidnap and random them off. Sir Montefor questioned an individual and found that something was in the sewers at this location, and needed to be checked out. It gets you to kill some scum, gets you out of my face, and puts you in a position where you cannot embarass yourself or others. You’ve skills but between your missteps and those missteps of those around you, you are literally poison. I want to make use of fear of you and make you a jackboot of the Queen. Do what the Queen says or the Dragonman will stomp you into the ground. Should you perform this duty well, I see a nice tidy future for you. The loyal henchman of the guy making decisions can make out well himself. Go ahead and go, I don’t need to hear about it, you just write it in a report.”

Tharg; “Its likely they’ve good scouts and we’re not likely to find anyone.”

Bahl; “Ah, if you do get somebody I want a showpiece; the whole head and spine. Some bard’s tale we can spread that paints the picture.”

Sir Bahl is sending Tharg fairly close to the actual Croclatory. There is a tattoo of the Padded Paw on five of the guards. “Orders sir?”

Tharg; “Anyone here good at scouting? You two are on point.” They descend into the sewers.

THE SEWERS

About an hour later, Tharg realizes that there are a bit too many twists and turns. After another half hour, one of the scouts returns, “I think they got Philly man. Something got him. We were walking along all of a sudden he got hit with green slime out of nowhere, he went down screaming crying.”

Tharg, unenthused, “Oh no. How horrible. Where was this?”

Scout, “About a 100ft.”

Tharg, “Everyone get your weapons out. Wizard, know anything about green slime? It is a magical effect or creature?”

Wizard: “It’s a mindless creature grows incredibly fast. Fire kills it.”

Tharg: “Everyone get out your torch. Just in case, and move up.”

The guard group enters a 60ft diameter room with an 8 ft ceiling. It’s evident there’s some movement in the water. One guard yells out: “Look over there boss!” As the thief attacks Baron Tharg to ambush him and several of the guards shift into wererats as the ambush is sprung:

A crossbow quarrel impacts straight into Tharg’s right thigh.

In response, Baron Tharg opens his wide maw and breathes a cone of flame at the wererat holding the bucket of green slime, which has emerged from concealed ambush positions. The green slime immediately burns up like bacon fat.

All the wererats dogpile on the Baron in a flurry of blows. The Baron slays 5 of the 13 wererats with another gout of flame. Three paid off guardsmen flee after this display of power. Three remaining wererats surround the Baron and attack with their roguish weapons.

The Wizard attempt to Grease the Baron’s weapon, as the weapon slips out of the Baron’s hands as a result. Nevertheless, the last paid-off guard runs away as well. The wizard turns tail shortly thereafter and also escapes. The Baron slays the remaining wererats and is the only one left standing in the large ambush room.

He leaves the sewers unmolested.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Back at the mansion, Prince Thayd is in charge. He is brainstorming with Taiven and Mathain some way to return the captured members of the group.

Prince Thayd visits Lady Lollee

“We will meet you on the field of battle, winner takes all. Un-maligned hostages and their items will be part of the winnings in addition to that which is contested. Maligning of hostages in any way will make that which is contested public knowledge.”

CHURCH OF HERONEUS

Will Caden is there in person with about a dozen neophyte clerics.

“My sincerest apologies at the loss of the fellow clergymen.”

“We don’t know what happenned here. Our trackers tell us some sort of lupine creatures were involved. This tells me werecreatures. I wish Lord Tain would arrive, but sadly he was waylayed here by an assault on Critwal.”

The last 50-60 years Critwal has been a hotbed. Iuz has been making attempts at Critwal often. There are rumors of a magical treasury, beneath the Bastion of Bravery (one of the largest Heronean churches on teh planet).

“If Critwal is in danger Tain will not come to the conclave. He will name me in his place.”

Sir Tobi: "We know who did this, it was an organization of werecreatures called the Padded Paw. They killed one of ours and captured 2 of ours.

Caden:“I require proof. I am a lawful commander and I will not go half-cocked. It would be justification for Sir Bahl to grab even more power.”

Taiven adds: “The clock is ticking on her disease.”

Sir Tobi: “Do you know of any clerics of that power?”

“Once the enemy is revealed I will smite them with divine fury. I will not raise my sword unless a being is 100% guilty.”

“How many men can we count on in this fight?

“I’m not sure at least 10, only a half dozen have seen any battle.”

“Once we know where the fighting will be, where can we find you Sir Caden?”

“I was planning to be at the Conclave.”

“I was as well. Be ready with your men. Prepare silver weapons.”


TEMPLE OF MORADIN

Sir Tobi: “We’re here on behalf on Cor.”

Sir Kempak: “As far as men, its me and two acolytes. But I can outfit 20 with silver-coated weapons by the morrow. Probably 100 crossbow quarrels.”

Mathain: “The same group who killed Cor also killed the Heronean clerics.”

Sir Tobi: “Yes we need silver weapons.”

480 gp for 10 sets of silver-sheen weapons

Taiven discusses with Lefthill some plans.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Thomas Bone arrives with Thorgal’s free left hand. “They say to meet at 6 and settle this up or else.”


View
Session 026
The heroes exercise their authority to predictable results.
5th Day of Wealsun – CY 647
Session 026:
The Chains of Command

Location: EastfairWorld Map
Map Tab Color: BlueMap Tab Symbol: Two Crossed Swords

Weather:

Low Summer, Plains, sunrise: 4:50 a.m, sunset: 7:29 p.m
Date Day Name High (°F) Low (°F) Precipitation (duration) Wind (from, speed) Luna Celene
 5. Waterday  (work) Warm  (77) Moderate  (58) Clear Strong  (S, 21 mph) - -


Cast of Characters
Dread Mathain Aelfcaraid Mercy Elandrin Taiven Dradoma
Tharg Thay’d Catiph Thorgal Stonecutter Tobuscus


AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION

Taiven has seen no less than three and a half weeks pass, and has been quite busy doing low level lieutenant work. Our brawlish monk has heard in passing the events surrounding the Heroes of the Realm, while all the heroes know is that Taiven is out there in the urban wilderness, somewhere.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Sir Bahl is still at the Chateau, reassuring nobles. Paul, the former House Guard Captain, is noticeably in manacles, being guarded by two of Sir Bahl’s guardsmen – not standard men, but aware and armed professionals. Paul: “They’re charging me with dereliction of Duty, murder.”

“I will speak to Sir Bahl again, as much as it pains me to do so.”

Walking past the two guardsmen, behind both of their right ears, a sigil of House Bahl, is scarred by repeated cuts. That’s definitely not normal for folks to be cutting themselves like that. Its true that slaves have brands, but this is a house sigil. Sir Bahl is technically royalty, of a Nobel House called Alyssa which lost their lands 40 years ago, but recently has been reinstated by Iuz. Anyway, this is a very old practice to show undying loyalty, something a fanatic would do. These two guardsmen are not Paladins, but appears to have high ranking Town Guard tunics.

Alyssa is one fo the four kingdoms that now make up the current Great Kingdom. It was a bastion of Hextorian worship, one of the focal points of the chaos war, there’s an aperture to the Chaos lands. At the end of the Chaos War, there was a planar fissure that Agon Baratheon tried to close, was mostly successful, save for a small fissure: The Planar Aperture in Callstrad, teh Capitall of Alyssa.. Enobrin Tane formed an order to guard the fissure. [INSERT SMALL HISTORY LESSON HERE, regarding the Four Minute War]

House Bahl’s lineage can be traced to the Founding of the Knights Protectorate, after fall of Avid the Fifth the House Bahl fell upon hard times with a drought. Jason Bahl’s father committed suicide on the day the ancestral house had to be sold. Jason Bahl had to go and be knighted by Iuz. 3 days after Jason Bahl swore Knighthood to Iuz, his family lands were returned to him after a sudden tragedy befell its owners.

Sir Tobi, looking around the room, is almost certain that nearly every one of the almost 20 people in this room are his people. 3 of the 5 nearest men have the scar behind the ear. The two guards detect as evil to Sir Tobi’s Detect Evil.

TEMPLE OF HERONEUS

Leaving the Temple, Thorgal departs to take care of some logistics. Meanwhile Mercy awaits word from Sir Tain, staying put at the Temple of Heroneus.

CHATEAU LOLLEE

Mathain is itching to buy a Masterwork Silver Longsword. Unfortunately for specialty items such as this, are currently being charged a 10% surcharge. Alternatively, an item called Silversheen imitates the silver property via a shimmering paste-like coating. Costs 250 gp per vial and lasts one hour.

Sir Tobi returns to the mansion to disclose to his fellow heroes that around 20 men of House Bahl, some of them ritiually scarified, have infiltrated the City Guard. Sir Tobi recalls that Taiven is still skulking around somewhere in Eastfaire: “We descended into Asmodeus asshole together, that type of brotherhood is not easily forgotten.”

Demon-Eye Taiven, dressed in monk robes, arrives at the Mansion, whispering to Thorgal: “There’s a plot to assassinate one of you.” The dwarf grasps Taiven in a bear hug. “It’s good to see ya. What’s wrong with you humans, you humans are all evil. You might wanna get the eyepatch.” Taiven: “No.” He proceed to attempt to stroll right up to the manion. Fortunately the Queen has already pardoned Taiven thanks to his relationship with the Elven Princess. None of the Guards give Taiven a second look.

Taiven arrives, and Sir Tobi heavily objects at the monk keeping the evil Demon Eye. After a while though, Sir Tobi explains, he now works for an evil Antipaladin: “It has to do with the Historical formation fo the Knights Protectorate, wherein evil antipaladins and goodly paladins join together to find the common evil besieging us all, Chaos. In theory.”

Speaking of whom, Sir Bahl is putting on a spike gauntlet and preparing to question Paul.

Prince Thayd stpes up to Sir Bahl to receive orders.

Sir Bahl says that Sir Tobi is now going to be in overall command of the Chataeu. “You Prince Thayd and the Dragonman have lost command. I now trust things to Sir Tobi.” He hands Thayd a note:

‘By Proclomation of Lord Bahl, commander of the Queenn’s Guard, Lord Protectorate of the Knights protectorate, hereby charge Thayd to fulfill his duties as a citizen of the Great Kingdom, following any and all orders in his chain of command and reporting directly to Sir Tobi.’ -Signed, Sir Bahl.

Thayd says; “Thank you I will continue to serve with honour and distinction. Now that I’ve been given my duties (no start date was given), I do notice this document is lacking a start date.”

Bahl: "You know I’ve heard things about you, mostly that you’re intelligent, so I don’t know why you’d go tyr to go antagonizing me needlessly. If you want me to put my date on it. He writes: “RIGHT NOW.” That’s when you’re going to do it, right now Do you understand."

Thayd says: “Thank you.” He begins to lead the prisoner, but Sir Bahl halts Thayd: “As my prisoner I’m taking him with me, after I ask him a few questions.”

“Sir Bahl we have a conflict here b/c I was under the impression that he was Lady Lollee’s property.”

Paul : “It was more of an agreement of endenturehood.”

Thayd: “As epected, such a lady would not want to see a mark marring her halls.”

Bahl: “She’s got slaves all over the Kingdom.”

Thayd: “Yes but none in charge of her personal protection.”

Bahl: “Unlless some type of formal documentation can be provided—” Thayd goes to leave. “I did not dismiss you. You are an Admiral, do not insult my intelligence. The lady Lollee is not to be disturbed at least until tomorrow afternoon when I return. I am still going to take Paul to the dungeon, but you’ve my word that I and no one else will damage potential property of the Lady Lolele. You ask me to sign as if I’m some liar? Choose your words very carfully You’re openly questioning a Knight Protector’s Word, a servant of the queen, and for now your lawful commander.” SIr Bahl begins to tug at his gauntlet, as if beginning to ready to throw down a duel. “I will ask you one last time, are you questioning my word?”

Thayd: “Regarding this endevor, absolutely not Sir Bahl.”

Bahl: “You’ve my word this man will remain unharmed, until the situation with his endenturehood cna be determined.”

“That is all I ask, for the safety of the nobles, do you mind if I observe the qeustioning. That information might be very useful.”

“I do not mind that, but the quesitoning will be taking place in the Palace of the Dungeon. If you want to send a representative, you can, but your duty is here. In any event, the Dragonman is coming with me, not as a prisoner, but I need to find him a task. You nominate the Queen? I doubt very much she will attend the interrogation. However you’ve my word I will relay your request to the Queen, and should she not be able to attend, I will nominate someone in her stead, perhaps even the Dragonman if he is returned from whatever task I assigned. Would you find that saitsfactory?”

Thayd; "Forgive my temperment, there is much in today’s events I find wholy unsatisfactory.

“As part of the elven contingent, I humbly request to be present during the questioning. This man has defiled our heritage.”

Bahl: “Who are you? It seems this interrogation has brought all the finest folks. I will give this consideration and send word tomorrow.”

“I’m leaving the roving patrol, leaving senstiivie room Guards.

“Sir Tobi these ar eloyal and good men, treat them as such. I’m leaving 22 guards in total. The name of the guy in charge is Liutenant Erak Ashlander. Erak is the only one to ping

I’m just gonna make it clear. Erak lifelong friend of mine, sword to my house, sworn to me. Anything that happens to him will be visited on one of yours. And look me in the eye when I’m speaking to you."

Sir Tobi meets with Erak and introduces hiimself, instructing Erak to secure the mansion.

Thayd; “You’ve command here Sir Tobi?”

Sir Tobi:“These men are not goodly men, but will follow my order.”

Thayd; “The Padded Paw, had a hand in some of the doings here. My suggestions is to pit these forces against each other. Sir Bahl’s men and the Padded Paw.”

Sir Tobi: “Where would they go?”

Thayd; “Taiven, do any of your contacts know where the padded paw would be found?”

Taiven: “It’s likely I could know that information.”

Mathain: “Now might be time for a guild to strike against the padded paw.”

Thayd: “They’ve opened formal negotiations. Bahl would take credit, and it would take us out of the equation as holding to the current accord.”

Mathain; “Sir Tobi you’ve an obligation to attack these were rats whcih are a direct threat to these nobles we are to protect.”

Sir Tobi: “What proof do you have dear elf that.”

“Sir Tobi we send these men to a loction and we scour it, cleanse it of thieves, assassins, its cleansed. We are not connected. And should these men fall, these cultists, heretics, zealots, all the better.”

“Sir Thayd I think you’re telling the truth, but in your own biased opninionate way, and you’re probably leaving things out. Remember I wasn’t there for the interrogation of the wererats. Listen, I’m willing to listen to everyone.”

Thorgal: “Did you say taiven someone is planning to assassinate us?”

Taiven: “Baron Tharg is no longer here, but yes there does seem to be an attempt at killing one of us.”

Sir Tobi: “Isn’t that a daily problem already for each and every one of us?”

“The reason I came back is that there was specific evidence. There was going to be an assassination attempt. The Padded Paw or someone associated.”

Thayd; “I’ve already made an accord of the bandit kingdom for a ceasefire, on behalf of me. I’m not breaking the accord, on behalf of an emmissary of the Bandit Kingdom – has offered 25,000 gp to return their property. That is the carrot. I suggest we act before the stick.”

Sir Tobi: “Have you had word from the Arcane Brother hood lately.” “No.”

Taiven: “There are safe houses that have been identified throughout the city, but to find some of their leadership, specifically the Werewolf Lieutenant I would need 48 hours, and my contacts are excited of the prospect of the removal.”

Mathain: “If given 48 hours, would your contacts be able to organize an attack on the other werehouses while we go after the Werewolf Lieutenant.”

Taiven: “If we move against one of the lesser safehouses, then the opportunity to kill teh Werewolf will be lost.”

The group discusses various potential avenues of approach, deciding to hold off until the Lieutenant Werewolf’s warehouse is located, approximately within 48 hours by Taiven’s contacts.

As Prince Thayd and Taiven are patrolling the mansion, they spot 2 pairs of 2 crows sitting and watching the house. What’s strange, is that they are sitting motionless and not acting like normal animals.

Sir Tobi orders Thayd to capture the crows to interrogate and disrupt the enemy party.

2 appear to be observing the front gate, and 2 are observing Lady Lollee’s balcony.

By the time the heroes have prepared the plan, they’re gone.

The Heroes go to talk with Lady Lollee. The guards do not want to move. Even though Sir Tobi has been given command.


TOBI: “Move”

“We’ve been given direct orders by Sir Bahl that Lady Lollee is not to be left unattended.”

“They will be attended by us.”

3 men leave, 1 man stays "I

"

“I will not leave my post. If you touch me, I believe Sir Montefor.”

Erak: “The crows are gone milord.”

Thayd: “What is the penalty for disobeying a direct order from a superior officer.”

“Usually couirt marshal sir.”

The Heroes Take Erak to the Countess’ Bedchambers.

The four guards outside move aside as ordered this time.

Erak steps inside with the Heroes, into a large spaceous resplendent bedroom. Countess Lollee is laying feverishly semi-conscious on the luxurious bed.

SIr Tobi orders the doors barred, and scans the room with Detect Evil, not finding anything save for Taiven’s Demoneye and Erak who also detects as evil, as usual.

Thayd vomits on one of the guards by the door.

“Everyone stop fighting and lower your weapons at once in the name of Pholtus.”

Erak looks angry and orders the remaining guard to put the attacking guard in irons. The guard who slapped Thayd is appoached with iron manacles.


2 hours later, Thorgal has cast Napstack and has prepared Abeyance, which he successfully casts Abeyance on Countess Lollee.

She partially revives, starting to mutter about her illness.

Sir Tobi attempts to reassure her: “We’ve the finest clerics in the Kingdom.”

“filthy freaks bit me all over. If I live.”

“I’ve enemies everywhere. The Thing that took me kept saying, ‘Tell them to give it back.’ I don’t know what they even wanted.”

Sir Tobi orders the guards return.

Erak is cleaning his hands of blood after beating the arrested guard. “I declare you guilty on assault of a superior officer, failure to obey orders, and conduct unbecoming service to our great Kingdom. since you like to assault others, I decree you will be beaten like this every day for a month, after which the hand you used to strike a Prince will be removed and you will wear it around your neck for the next year. Put the piece of shit in a dungeon.”

Erak turns to Thayd; “You’ve my humblest apologies Lord.”

Thayd sizes up the convicted guard, thnking he may be turnable, but probably not by Thayd.

Erak leans down to the convicted guard: “We expect more from a scarred man. You will pay bad.”

Thayd leaves to go get cleaned up: “I do appreciate your professional conduct.”

Erak: “Again my humblest apologies, I will let Sir Bahl personally know the affront to you.”


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