z_The Zenith

Journeys of March Conclusion

March 26th 4:36

Morel speaks to last remaining orc in Orc
The orc says he was drafted
– Dragon was recently wounded in a fight with humans with powerful swords
Morel tells orc to run while he can keep prevent the elves from murdering him

Balthier turns invisible and climbs up to the ceiling to scout
– Finds passage to left with goblins whispering in the dark
– passage to the right has been collapsed for a long time
– passage straight ahead is the dragon’s treasure trove
(dragon notices Balthier’s light)

Morel goes to passage to the left, sees goblins and calls for Red
Red talks to goblins in Goblin, “Are you guards or food?”
– goblins tell us that dragon, Pyraxix, has blocked entrance himself

Red drinks last fire resist potion and advances towards Pyraxix with Morel and still invisible Balthier.

Pyraxix is a 20’ tall dragon with a 30’ wing span.

Morel announces in Draconic, “I am Morel Glanent of the clan Glanent!”
“We have come for Ungarato. Surrender the blade or suffer the consequences.”

Surprisingly, Pyraxix doesn’t attack.
To Morel “Is that all you came for?”
Yes
To Red in Common “Is that all you want?”
Yes
To the invisible Balthier in an advanced position on the ceiling “Is that all YOU want?”
Yes

The party eventually negotiates with Pyraxix to give him the pile of coins they recovered from the pirates keep.

60,000 coins
There were only 120,000 coins in Pyraxix treasure horde initially
Gemma takes possession of Ungarato

March 26th at 6:00 Everyone teleports back to base instead of Big Dwarf

Magic Items recovered and identified (over the next couple days by Kyra)
Ring of Water Walking and Water Breathing (Morel)
Spell Stones (Red carries)
– 3 Remove Curse
– 1 Instant Neutralize Poison
– 1 Instant Generation
(Snowflake made of silver on a simple chain) (Kyra)
– Immunity to cold
– Concentrating can lower temperature
– Frost Bit spell (Skill of 25) (No energy discounts)
Small Statue of Wes Jas (Gemma’s deity)
– 100 point power stone
– It weighs 400 pounds

Currently Unclaimed Magic Items
Ring of Absorption
– If you resist a spell, gain half the energy cost it took to cast it
Amulet of Shaping (Rainbow of gems in a circle)
All spells with skill of 20
– Shape Air
– Shape Darkness
– Shape Earth
– Shape Fire
– Shape Light
– Shape Metal
– Shape Plant
– Shape Water

15 vials of unidentified liquid

Also have 25 bars of gray metal
Balthier uses contact to identify it as Etherium metal
– (Ethereal is the best metal for enchantments)
– Each bar is worth $8000
– Fence agrees to move metal giving $5000 in proceeds per bar

March 28th
Tiranna binds Ungarato Gemma
Tiranna binds Garvok to Morel
Tells them they need dragon blood to bind any more swords

March 29th
Fence pays Balthier
Balthier gives $31,715 per character plus an extra $6,000 for himself

Tegas shopping for Gemma, Red, Morel
Red and Morel buy potions of Fire Resist for $1,500
Red and Morel tithe to Temple of Kord in Tegas
Red and Morel buy books on Two-Handed sword

March 30th
Gemma, Red and Morel travel to the Deathlands to experiment with their swords.

Balthier, Kyra and Tathel go to Miresus via druid trees to pick up armor.
Red and Morel both have Dwarven +3 Heavy Steel Corslets ready
Tathel has his +3 Elven Chain Hauberk ready

Balthier goes invisible and walks over the wall.
Balthier visits brothel and gets a disguise.
He buys a horse to carry the armor and then easily passes security out of the Miresus.

It is the night of March 30th when everyone rejoins and has their new armor.

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Journeys Of March

March 6 th

Decision made to look for sword in Rynak
Druid tree to Rynak then walks
Didn’t Big Dwarf for fear of collapsing ruins
Balthier intuition to lead to the closest settlement going south
Tathel teaches Red Elven for 68 hours

March 15 th

Mid-day party arrives at a settlement of 30 people
All people have been slaughtered
Red-haired twins attack the group

  • Demonstrate new fighting abilities
  • shock wave area effect that ignores armor and weaken it
  • martial arts skill to catch axes and weaken them
  • Warn group that shin-tar sword will be theirs
  • Fly away when Kyra unsuccessfully tries to neutralize their psionics
    looted settlement
  • 33 sp 387 cp (Balthier’s possession?)
    Balthier intuition to find base of flying ship

March 22 nd

Tathel seeker/trace on one of the twins

  • somewhere north of Tegas flying towards mainland
  • hiking was too slow to get to ship first

Balthier intuition to 3 houses as possible pirate bases
Morel/Tathel meet dwarven female at one

  • Morel unsuccessful at attracting her
    Red/Balthier meet burly human that tells them about flying ship
  • plan to meet at Sleeping Wench later
    Kyra/Gemma find locked house

2×2 section of floor under bed is an illusion hiding a hole
pirate house loot

  • sacks of coins
  • 13 landscape paintings
  • giant 3×6 mirror w/ gold frame (magical)
  • misc stuff; swords, armor, etc.
  • small chest (made lid invisible and saw felt lining) 15 alchemical vials
  • large chest made lid invisible and saw gray metal bars
  • large chest made eternally locked by a critical failure of lock master
  • full winter gear (leather) magical ensemble
  • fingerless gloves (6 spells each with a skill of 15)
  • rive
  • ruin
  • weaken
  • shatter
  • explode
  • disintegrate
  • boots 2 active spells
  • spider climb
  • water walking
  • vest +1 armor
  • Geas coin for the honoring of wagers – made non-magical trying to learn its nature (critical failure)

Gemma uses Rapid Journey to take everything from keep to secret base

Sleeping Wench Tavern

Pirate from earlier

  • someone matching Mizar’s description asked questions about ruins
  • Mizar came up from South, which is odd because any other port city is closer

Laughing Phoenix Tavern

Tiranna reveals herself
Offers a deal to bind any swords found in exchange for protection
Party accepts deal
Gemma takes her to Isad as a hiding place

Balthier tells Gemma that Tiranna was involved with the assassination of the queen
Tiranna traded Asheia sword to Lady K to have the queen killed
Tiranna summoned the bound sword back to herself and is now on the run from Lady K

Party teleports back to secret base

Mirror discovered to be gateway to an identical mirror in another place
An unknown password opens the mirror
It is almost certainly guaranteed that there is more treasure on the other side

Rather than investigate the mirror password, the party opts to go to search for Ungarato
To protect against other side of the mirror
earth elemental at base hid it in deep in the ground

March 26 th

Teleport to Tyrenova
Teleport to shore of Deathlands
Big dwarf until Balthier tells him Ungarato is behind them rather than in front
Hike back until a large cave entrance is found

Balthier takes lead approaches basin and danger sense
Throws glove into the center
It falls through the illusionary floor and disappears

Balthier spider crawls below floor illusion
Sees bodies of a few less fortunate and 3 entrances
30’x20’ Entrance at the bottom is huge and intentionally filled with dirt
There is a passage directly across from the illusionary floor

Party opts to go to that entrance
Morel given Hawk flight to carry Red and Kyra
Tathel teleports across, Gemma levitates, Balthier spider walks

Morel makes too much noise coming across
attracts attention of red scaly orc with claw and underdeveloped wings

Battle Act 1

orc breathes fire
Balthier dives past orc to avoid blast
Tathel blinks to opposite hallway
Kyra doesn’t have anywhere safe to blink and takes fire damage
Morel and Red take full brunt of fire
Gemma levitates too slow and isn’t there for fire

Morel chops off leg
Red hits the head
Orc goes unconscious
Morel hits head again
Balthier power blow for the kill

Battle Act 2

Red scaly minotaur roars coming up hallway
Morel uses hawk flight to close distance, so breathe weapon only affects him and Red
Morel drops ax
Kyra shoots minotaur in head, it falls prone
Morel explodes its head with a pair of ax strikes
No loot found

Red gives Weapon of Kord to Morel, who uses it to turn corpses to ash
Red has expended all his fatigue and rests in a small cave wreaking of orc
Healings all around/Morel sharpens all blades

Balthier recovers equipment and finds 12 sp 30 cp, short sword

Morel takes Fire Resist Potion
Red cast Hawk Flight on Morel
Morel takes lead exploring a series of tunnels
Minotaur den
Corpses with sprung traps
Long winding tunnel with a door at the end

Party decides on door finds pool with melt water coming down in a waterfall
Lizard woman standing on water
Lizard woman calls party infidels
Morel announces their intentions and issues warning to not stand in their way

Battle

Morel flies to oppose side of woman
Lizard woman drops sword into water
2 nd lizard woman sticks head out from the water
Surprise acid spitting attack on Morel
It destroys a big portion of Morel’s armor
Morel successfully strikes at 2 nd lizard head
She casts a fog over the whole room and disappears under the water

Tathel blindly sends an explosive lightning into the fog dealing slight damage to all
1 st lizard lady attacks Red, who is standing at the edge of the pool
Red breaks his ax hitting himself in the left leg for 6 HP
Gemma levitates close for the assist, but misses

Morel dives under the icy water using Hawk Flight to navigate the water
Feels strong undertow
Sees 10’ hole in bottom acting as a drain
Sees 2 nd lizard woman about to ambush Gemma

Morel attacks 2 nd lizard woman
Gets hit with another blast of acid
Front of armor almost completely destroyed

1 st lizard woman breathes fire
Red dodges left away from Gemma
He takes full damage, but Gemma is spared
Fire burns away fog allowing Tathel to see targets again

Morel chops off arm of 2 nd lizard
Her arm goes down drain and she follows after it
Red succumbs to his wounds and passes out

Morel removes the leg of 1 st lizard woman
She falls close to the water, but not in water
Gemma finishes her with a blow to the head

Loot:

Magic ring from 1 st lizard woman

Morel completely chilled and suffers from hypothermia
Can’t warm up because of Fire Resist potion
Uses 2 spell stones of Dispel Magic to gain ability to warm up… and not die
Red uses 5 potions to get positive before Tathel helps with healing

Morel and Balthier go back to sprung traps hallway
collect burnable materials
collect metal so Red can repair Morel’s

Balthier finds active pressure plate
Morel throws a couple dead bodies on it
It opens to reveal a secret passage way

A couple hours down time healing, recovering energy and repairing armor

Balthier scouts secret passageway
Finds vigilant dragonkin in full plate

Much debate about tactics
Decide to ambush with missile spells/ arrows
Kyra – Icy Missiles
Gemma – Lightning
Tathel – Explosive Lightning
Balthier clings to ceiling
Dwarfs wait at entrance for sounds of battle
Morel has uses 2 nd fire resist potion

Battle

Kyra casts light at junction to attract full plate guy

Surprise Round

Kyra crits to an eye – rolls full damage
Full plate drops greatsword
Gemma and Tathel hit
Full plate is still standing

There is no place to Blink when he breathes fire
Kyra stands her ground and crits to the other eye
Full plate goes unconscious
Coup de gras

Loot

Full plate armor
Great sword
All loot left on body to be retrieved while exiting dungeon

Explores hallway not guarded by full plate
Rust monsters
Trapped hallways
Explores guarded hallway
Finds mess hall with at least a dozen place settings and food

Continuing down

Balthier, Morel, Red,
4:30 entering large natural chamber hearing flapping wings

Battle

Patchwork draconic humanoid (sickly) drops down blocking tunnel exit
Coughs fire down hallway
Balthier dives forward
Morel dodges in front of his brother
Red dodges behind brother to take half of the fire damage
All others blink away

Morel charges forward and chops off its left arm
It falls unconscious

Room is filled with at least 10 orcs 1 of which is reptilian
Gemma concussion on incoming orcs
Armor soaks up damage for dwarfs
Balthier takes 1 DAM

Balthier sees reptilian orc closing in to breath fire on group
Crosses enemy lines to get behind it
Instantaneous Power Blow
Critical Strike
4d+2+1
Main Enemy goes down instantly

When all but 1 enemy remains, it drops its weapon and surrenders

Loot

Magic ring on patchwork dragon

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Eleniel's Birthday

The party was panicking. They were trapped within a heavily guarded castle that prevented escape via teleport. The alarm had been sounded unexpectedly and 3 guards had rushed Morel with more on the way. Morel’s armor was crimson from multiple hits he had taken to the groin.

Tathel and Red were desperately trying to revive the queen of Elm’ril. None of the mages were ready for a fight and Balthier was talking about surrendering.

The one glimmer of hope was the force dome Kyra had created to plug the only way in or out of the room. It bought the party precious seconds while magic users were summoned. As more and more soldiers appeared behind the shimmering field, it made it clear how precious that time was.

24 hours earlier

The party had been spending the winter training. It had been uneventful until Kyra was contacted by Jeska. The blue haired psion warned an assassination was being planned against a high ranking government official in Elm’ril. It would be unique and happen by unusual means.

Kyra used her most powerful research tool, the orb of questions, and discovered the details. It would be an attempt on the queen’s life on Eleniel’s birthday. No other useful information came until the morning of Eleniel’s birthday.

Is Eleniel behind or involved in the assassination attempt Jeska warned about?

Yes.

Eleniel was planning to honor the party by giving it badges. Could this be part of the plot? Kyra, Gemma and Tathel worked out a plan where the badges could be replaced with an illusion and then safely teleported away for storage.

Balthier suggested the badges be stolen and turn up missing. The plan had merit, but would be difficult to put into place now that the day had started and the badges were to be given out in short order.

In the end, it was Queen Ramina who calmed fears. She claimed that the badges were her idea. They were of a new designed and crafted not long ago. Eleniel only took possession of them just a week ago. It would be difficult to replace them with counterfeits and there wasn’t time for a nefarious enchantment to be cast on them.

With no indication of how the assassin would strike, Ramina asked Kyra’s party to act as bodyguards during Eleniel’s birthday celebration. Lacking a clear plan, the party agreed.

A guard carrying a box came up to the Kyra and the others. Without preamble, he handed out the ceremonial badges. They were gold with a ruby in the center. Kyra and the other mages noticed that they were enchanted.

Were they supposed to be enchanted? Did the queen say they were enchanted? Too late to ask the queen now without making a scene, everyone guessed. Better to keep the secret that the party knew Eleniel was part of the assassination than error on the side of safety.

The queen’s elite bodyguards were introduced to the court wearing their new badges. Then everyone deployed to their respective positions. Balthier stayed close to the queen. Gemma stayed close to Eleniel. The dwarfs stood back away from the crowd. Tathel and Kyra mingled among the crowd, but never far from the queen.

Things went well for a while. Then Gemma noticed that Gemma had no shadow. She discretely made her way over to Kyra and told her about it. While the pair was wondering what that shadow could be doing, Tathel brought their attention to Queen Ramina’s shadow.

If you watched closely, the queen had 2 shadows. The 2nd shadow was doing well in hiding itself, but sometimes the queen would move in an unexpected way it was revealed.

When Tathel informed the queen of the situation, she seemed a little startled and asked Tathel to bring the party to a private room where the matter could be discussed openly. Everyone in the party was subtle… except the dwarfs. They clanged and stomped directly through the middle of the room making no pretense at hiding their readiness for action.

A couple of the queen’s elite guards also came along, but were instructed to wait outside. This made Balthier nervous, so he asked the captain of the guards to come in to act as witness. Morel tried stepping on the 2nd shadow, but it had not effect.

People were just starting to discuss course of action to handle the 2nd shadow when Eleniel walked in. She seemed a little angry and asked, “what’s going on here?” As if on cue, light shot out from Ramina into each of the 6 ruby badges.

As the queen gave out a blood curdling scream, Morel instantly ripped off his badge and drove an axe handle down as if to shatter the ruby. His physical efforts had not effect because the light was still directed at the dwarf despite a ruined badge.

When the light faded, Ramina collapsed in a heap on the floor. Gemma ran to her quickly and took her pulse. “She’s dead!” Tathel tried to restore her energy and Red her health. Neither spell took effect.

Balthier pointed to Eleniel and said, “somebody grab her.” Morel was inclined to agree, but the captain of the guard stepped between him and his new queen. His hand was on his sword almost challenging the dwarf to try something.

Morel was unhappy at the situation he found himself. To get to Ramina’s assassin, he needed to get past the guard. To get past the guard meant attacking a representative of Elm’ril. Kyra probably cared more about the people of the land more than anyone else in her party. Even if he won the fight, he’d risk alienating Kyra.

Eleniel made his life more difficult. “Arrest these people!”

At first, Morel tried destroying the man’s sword. This elf was very skilled and it was difficult to land a solid enough blow to snap the sword.

Morel had to change tactics when 2 more elite guards piled into the room. No one else in the room seemed to be hostile, so they helped the captain of the guard with the angry dwarf. Now, instead of trying to break a sword, he was swinging low trying to cripple legs. This also proved problematic as the skilled swordsmen were able to parry everything he could throw at them.

It was a good thing that Morel was light on his feet because these guys kept him dancing. Even with his stout armor and great defense skills, he was getting hit lots in his weakest armored area. How he wished it was the end of the month when he would have his stronger armor to minimize his hurt.

Then one of the elite guards got in what he thought was a lucky strike on his groin. It dug deep ripping open his armor and drawing a steady stream of blood. Within a couple seconds, Morel was struck again in the groin this time the cut went deeper.

The mighty dwarf started to swoon, but shook it off. His vision clouded with a red mist and his heart beat loudly in his ears. These guys were really getting to him. Where was his brother? He needed an advantage or he would soon be losing more than his ability to procreate.

The party was panicking. They were trapped within a heavily guarded castle that prevented escape via teleport. The alarm had been sounded unexpectedly and 3 guards had rushed Morel with more on the way. Morel’s armor was crimson from multiple hits he had taken to the groin.

Tathel and Red were desperately trying to revive the queen of Elm’ril. None of the mages were ready for a fight and Balthier was talking about surrendering.

The one glimmer of hope was the force dome Kyra had created to plug the only way in or out of the room. It bought the party precious seconds while magic users were summoned. As more and more soldiers appeared behind the shimmering field, it made it clear how precious that time was.

Gemma released a Great Haste she had earlier prepared on herself and then on Red. Balthier gave up on the idea of surrender and instead went invisible. Tathel decided to let Morel hold off the guards while he prepared Great Haste on himself. Kyra clung desperately to Ramina’s body trying to figure out a way to get her to safety.

Thanks to Gemma, Red was able to Earth to Air an escape by the time any other spell caster had any of their magic ready. Gemma ran along with Red as he advanced towards the outer wall of the castle staying close to provide support in case he ran into resistance.

As soon as the way was open, the Tathel, Balthier and Kyra made for the exit. Morel was left alone to fight the 3 elite guards that he had yet to injure. He was unsure if this was a vote of confidence or simple abandonment.

Red only needed to cut through the 1 room to reach the outer wall. When he punched through, he saw a court yard filled with people and more than a few guards. It didn’t concern him. The party could get outside and everyone else could then teleport away. He cast Hawk Flight to go back for his brother as quickly as possible.

Morel was taking lots of hits. He was slowing down and finally gave up on simply disabling his enemies. He was going for the throat… literally. The captain of the guard might be the only witness to their innocence, but what good was that if he was dead?

Taking careful aim, the dwarf swung both axes at the captain of the guard. His head lopped off. Then Red was there taking pressure off his left. Gemma also hit that elite guard in the arm weakening him.

Then the tide of battle turned. Red and Gemma manage to double team the guard closest to them. He falls, but continues swinging for Morel’s groin. In the next second, Morel lopped off the head of the elite guard on his right. Red sees that the guard that went down fighting has passed out, but decides to coup de gra him as a matter of principle. What kind of tactics was Queen Ramina teaching these soldiers, anyway?

In the meantime, Tathel made it to the breach, which drew the attention of most of the guards. In response, he created a powerful explosive fireball. Only half the party had assembled, so he threw the fireball more to keep them at bay than injury anyone.

When Gemma went through the wall, an invisible Balthier grabbed her arm and whispered in her ear, “take me with you.”

The fireball didn’t scare the guards for long. They charged as soon as they saw Tathel didn’t have another fireball ready. As the dwarfs were flying out the wall, they heard “druid’s woods” than saw Tathel and Gemma disappear. Kyra was still carrying the Queen Ramina’s body attempting to teleport away.

The guards would be on her in a second, so Morel grabbed both Kyra and the queen even as Red continued to hold him and fly higher and higher. Then Kyra was gone.

Over the next couple of hours, the dwarfs made their way to the druid tree that would take then to Chrysavet’s woods near Gotham. When they got there, they learned that Gemma and Balthier had visited Isad and talked to Silus. He said they had parts of the queen’s shredded soul attached to them.

Kyra asked her druid aunt to preserve the queen’s body until a way was discovered to restore her. With Ramina’s soul shredded, that would be a difficult task. Tathel, Kyra and Gemma kept their badges and gave them to Chrysavet for safe keeping in case they were needed to restore the queen’s soul.

Lacking any clear direction in aiding the queen, the party decided that the best strategy would be to continue collecting the 7 swords. The party knew that one was on Rynak and another in the Deathlands. Flipping a coin, they decided on Rynak. It was far away from civilization and protected their allies in case Eleniel’s agents came looking for revenge. Best of all, Chrysavet had a transportation tree there.

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Vampire Threat

Morel and Red hit the bars to reward themselves for not dying. No one would else seemed to be overly excited about the party’s success at the necromancer’s tower. From the rumors they were hearing, people thought they were some sort of assassin’s guild trying to wrench power away from Zovano and the council even before they were established. No matter, they were planning to take some time off to train soon and would be able to get away from the politics of things.

Balthier and Gemma had departed for Miresus each for their own goals. Gemma wanted to learn more about the little dead girl that followed her and Silas, the disembodied voice that Isad. She had asked Tathel to give her Vigil magic to allow her to work all night. Balthier just wanted to check in with his contacts and get caught up on rumors.

Everyone was back in Gotham for breakfast… Gemma arrived later than Balthier. Her teleport predictably failed and took her to Isad, but Balthier successfully arrived in Gotham. Poor Gemma was still crippled and needed Levitation to get around. The party was planning to spend some time training to give her fully mobility, but somehow Balthier convinced the group that it was more important to investigate rumors of a vampire loose in his home town of Azure Ridge.

The party rode Big Dwarf to Azure Ridge. It was evening by this time, so they stopped at the Rude Dragon Inn for dinner and information. This was a popular place and 75% of the dark corners were occupied. An ugly barkeep was very warm in greeting the party despite the fact they were strangers. Everyone ordered drinks and Kyra treated.

As the barkeep walked away, Tathel saw him palm a bag of coins from a patron who had foolishly left it out on the table next to him. If anyone else noticed the theft, they were quiet about it. Tathel made a note to be watchful here.

The Rude Dragon was brimming with rumors and soon the right one was discussed. Something was sweeping away villagers. When the bodies were found, they were completely pale and seemed to have been drained of blood. The victims seemed to disappear from all over the city, but the preferred targets were always women. Most of the them were strangers and out too late after dark.

Thus, a plan was hatched to set a trap. Several blocks away from where the party had made themselves conspicuous by asking about vampires, Gemma and Kyra would act as bait. If the block were represented by a square, Gemma and Kyra were on opposite corners of the square. The geography was such that Gemma was at the corner of a city block to watch 2 of the 4 streets it touched. Kyra was on the opposite corner watching the other 2 streets.

Balthier and Tathel positioned themselves on roof tops to act as spies while the girls simply waited on benches. Gemma planned to spend the time studying. She must have had complete confidence in her friends to let her guard down. Perhaps, she thought the best time for learning is when you’re expecting to be mugged at any moment.

Splitting the block down the middle was an ally where Morel and Red waited. Morel was exceptionally quick on his feet and would be able to close the distance on any foe before harm could happen to Gemma. As added precaution, Tathel had Traces on both Kyra and Gemma in addition to other battle spells like Haste that he could maintain indefinitely.

It is a good thing the party was cautious because Balthier reported that Gemma had simply vanished from her bench. The Trace took the party 8 blocks away to an ordinary looking house. Morel got a running start and threw his whole 400+ lbs against the wooden door causing it to disintegrate into splinters.

Inside, an unconscious Gemma was laying in a circle of candles. Surrounding her were robed figures chanting. They were evidently performing some sort of ritual magic on her.

Tathel and Kyra teleported into the room from a different direction. Kyra immediately shoots an arrow into the eye of a cultist across from her. He fell over dead. Red began casting Weapon of Kord on Balthier’s dagger.

“Blackout!”

Balthier cast Flash adding more difficulty to the cultist if they were to respond to the sudden aggression against them. Morel was uncertain how long the ceremony to drain Gemma of her life force had been going on or how much longer she could hold out. The one thing he did know was that he wasn’t going to allow them to chant one second more. He stepped between 2 cultists and drove axes into both of them. The crumpled and chanted no more.

Finally, Red was done enhancing Balthier’s blade. It smelled like ozone and lit up with crackling electricity. Balthier stepped in and landed a blow on the nearest cultist. He seemed to transform into dust starting from where the blade hit. Hopefully, he didn’t have anything valuable. All that was left of him was ash.

Before the last cultist standing could be dispatched, he surrendered. Tathel took the lead in questioning the man who was obviously in league with a demon to gain magical power.

“Were you the people responsible for the vampire?”

“Yes”

“What were you doing to our friend?”

“Bargaining her soul.”

“Why women?”

“It was what it wanted.”

Red gave energy to Gemma and she regained consciousness. She was informed of the situation and given the decision about what to do with the last cultist alive. (Kyra and Balthier had slit the throats of all the injured and unconscious ones.) She decided to turn him in to the authorities rather than allow vigilante justice.

After that, the party continued on to Miresus for training, but not before Morel stopped by Tegas to get his beard magically restored. Eleniel’s birthday celebration would fall towards the end of training with the Queen’s speech marking the end of training.

Gemma and Kyra studied magic. Tathel and Red prayed for spells, but also learned mundane skills, too. Tathel improved his swordsmanship and ability to recover after a teleport. Red improved his Diplomacy and learned Teaching.

Morel studied written languages. In particular, Draconic and discovered the books recovered from the necromancer’s tower were, surprise, about necromancy. There was also a book about dragon anatomy, which Morel found useful. Its lessons might prove useful the next time he came across a dragon. Balthier used the money Gemma gave him to hire trainers and tutors. Exactly what he studied isn’t known. He is an illusive personality, after all.

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Necromancer's Tower

The flaxon haired elf was rocked forward… then back. His head was down and his posture prostrate in attempt to pray. The rocking continued and Tathel continued to pray. Anyone else being held in the pocket of an 80 foot tall giant dwarf might be praying for help, but he was asking his god Corellon for new magical knowledge.

Over time, Tathel and his party had grown accustomed to the motion and smell associated with being carried by the giant form of their friend, Morel. The nausea and paranoia was almost gone. Some of the party actually began to enjoy this means of conveyance because it allowed time to study and pray.

Gemma had done quite well in decorating the pocket the party rode in. It was actually quite well adorned and offered lots of comforts including places to sit and sleep. There were clear jewels sewn into the pocket, which served nicely as view ports when expanded to giant proportions.

The rhythmic motion changed a little as Morel lengthened his stride to cross a wide river. He tried to avoid altering the terrain too much and didn’t want to add another deep spot in the water. The change caused Tathel to shift away focus from the divine to the physical world.

An object ahead drew his attention. A great pillar stretched into the clouds. It was easily 4 times as high as he was. This must be the home of the mighty beast that had bested Zovano’s men. The leader of the new counsel in Gotham was so impressed with Tathel and his companions that he asked them investigate for him.

Maybe, impressed wasn’t the right word. The 80 foot Morel served as a nice background for the incorporeal head of Tathel for first contact with the would be ruler of Gotham. Zovano was not so valiant as to risk his army fighting the party and instead formed a loose alliance. This quest represented the first test of that alliance.

The giant dwarf stopped announcing that to travel any further would risk destabilizing the tower. As the party members disembarked, Red prepared to release the magic that allowed Morel to maintain his size. Morel took his armor out of his pocket. Morel’s size greatly amplified his strength, so he was careful not to crush the study metal.

Red released the Enlarge Other spell and Morel shrank back to his normal size. After donning his armor, the party started the short walk to the tower.

As they drew closer, the detail of the tower became more clear. It was far from the perfectly smooth marble that was expected. Bone white, it resembled jagged rows of teeth stacked, row upon row. A smaller version might make a great tool for boring holes. Black moss hung down at places giving the appearance of decay and rot. In tower form it looked like an insolent abomination out of place in both land and sky.

Tathel circled the tower and found no opening except a small shack on the far side. The faint hint of music was coming from the opening where the door had rotted off. Tathel looked into the dimmly lit room and saw bodies in various states of decay. Some of the bones were covered with ivy and from the looks of it all the bodies would be covered soon enough.

Something about the room gave him pause and he backed away giving deference to the scout Balthier. It looked like his danger sense might be active, but he continued in stealthily searching for the source of the music. It looked like he started to shake something off, but then he was OK. Tathel was hopeful there would be a way into the tower, but Balthier only found 4 walls.

Barring anything else to do, Balthier began searching the bodies and scouring the floor for loot. Balthier shouted back that he had found what appeared to be a magic cloak. Kyra wasn’t content to let Balthier be the only person getting new gear and decided to also enter the room. She paused and appeared to be fighting an impulse of some kind then simply fell over.

Balthier dragged Kyra out of the shack… after finishing looting the remainder of the bodies. It was a few minutes before she regained consciousness.

With no way in, Tathel was weighing options for ways to explore the top for other entrances. It would take a considerable time and magic to allow all party members to ascend the 300+ feet to the top. There was also the potential of how the first party member would deal with danger if the rest of the team were on the ground.

As the cleric was musing, Red cast a spell that put a big door sided hole in the side of the tower. Tathel looked in and saw the way was still blocked by strong metal bars. Red then said he could handle it, but needed to rest first. True to his word, Red caused the bars to disappear after rest and a little energy from Gemma.

Entering the tower, Morel and Red lead the way. Tathel hung back after fortifying Kyra with some of his magic. He preferred to assess the battlefield from the rear where he had more options. Everyone was on full readiness, but it was all for nothing. The only thing in this room were urns with unduly deep dust covering the floor. The dust was so thick that anything dropped would be difficult to find.

On the far side of the room were stairs going up. Eager to find something to fight, Morel charged toward the stairs. Opening the door at the top of the stairs, he found 2 zombies with brooms sweeping up ash and dumping it into urns. Not content to wait for introductions, the heavily armored dwarf swung both axes at once causing both animated dead to fall into the ash and lay still.

As the party filed into the room, a door swung open. Apparently, someone was coming to check on the progress of the janitors. Morel prepared to meet the supervisor and was surprised what looked like part of a gorilla with blue and white fur. Morel kept looking up and up for the head. First he a pair of arms with sharps claws. That seemed formidable enough. At the 7’ level were a bulging arms holding oaks that would undoubtedly break a parrying ax. At least his fanged maw was up at 8’ and too far away to try to bite him.

Snap. Snap. Thud. Thud. Parry. Parry. Dodge. Dodge. The blue/white girallon and Morel danced their deadly dance. The beast was so tall that Morel was eye level with male gorilla genitalia. Oddly the sturdy dwarf found himself more concerned about being struck by parts that dangled more than a club.

Finally recovered from his initial repulsion, Morel decided to cut his dancing partner down to his level and used 2 axes to remove a leg. Extra arms immediately thrust down and struggled to keep the girallon upright. This left an opening for Morel to finish the much more manageable creature.

Feeling confident, Morel stepped into the next room only to find himself face to face with 2 more blue/white girallons. Stepping in the center between them was a skeleton that still had innards writhing about. Upon closer inspection, the Morg’s insides looked like harvested organs. The red and bloody mess was held together by snakes of various sizes moving across one another and around masses of tissue.

Morel now had 3 dancing partners, 2 of which had clubs and claws. This time, the whole party decided to add spice to the performance. Kyra rolled into the room and started aiming for girallon eyes. Gemma drilled Sunbolts through furry hide and Tathel threw an Explosive Fireball behind the enemy not overly concerned that some of the fire wash rolled over Morel.

Red stepped beside his brother and Morel was very happy to not have to avoid so many attacks. He almost completely ignored what he thought was a weak skeleton until it opened its mouth and spit out a long snake instead of a tongue. It was coming straight for his eyes with huge fangs dripping venom. Fortunately, the viper missed and retreated back into the skeleton’s mouth. That would be the last time Morel would be caught off guard by a Morg’s tongue.

The enemies were no match for the party and soon the party was free to look around. On a table is what looks like a patchwork made of flesh. Parts were sewn together in a vaguely dragon-like form waiting for a 2nd wing. There were other odd body parts laying about here and there about the room. Someone had an odd hobby.

Deciding that the greatest treasures would be deepest in the dungeon, the party found a stair case going down. The scout, Balthier, was taking point giving directions. They finally came to a set of double doors. Opening both doors, the party found a bowl shaped room 100 feet across. The floor was deeper in the center than the sides and the room itself was round. The ash here was more than a couple feet deep. The ceiling rose at least 300 feet in the air. Directly across from the room was another set of double doors.

This seemed an obvious place for a trap. Balthier started to go straight across the room, but then thought better of it and angled closer to the sides. He told his partners that there was something wrong with the center of the room. To go any further was inviting disaster.

Morel only cared that they wanted to cross the room. If he was the one who had to trigger the trap, then so be it. Before anyone could offer to teleport a scout to the other side, Morel darted across the room. If he would have known what he was getting himself into, he would have waited for magical help.

As Morel neared the middle, suddenly a pillar of fire appeared stretching fully 20 foot across and reaching the ceiling. The heat from the flame was enough to cause Morel to immediately perspire. Worse, the pillar cut off Balthier from the rest of the party. Morel was prepared for anything, but was still surprised by the size of his opponent.

Morel successfully jumped out of the way of the advancing pillar. When an arm of fire shot out, he forgot how lucky he was and dropped both axes and fell prone trying to parry. The pillar advanced and covered Morel. The sturdy dwarf instantly burst into flame. His delver’s webbing melted and his axes fell into the ash. As he got to his knees, his armor started to heat up and glow red. His beard simply melted away.

Tathel acted quickly using huge amount of energy and high skill to teleport the dwarf back into the hallway where the remainder of the party waited. When Morel arrived in the hallway, he was still glowing and smelled like he was roasting in his own oils. In other words, not pleasant. He looked even worse with his beardless face burned and blistered. Kyra created water to help cool the super heated metal… and help kill the smell.

Balthier had troubles of his own. With his immediate target disappeared, he turned his attention towards the rogue. Balthier tried to escape attention by becoming Invisibile, but he couldn’t cast fast enough and would soon be barbecued. That’s when Gemma cast a spell to control flame. She engaged in a battle of Wills against the creature. She was successful in getting the creature to back away long enough for Balthier to finish his casting.

Unfortunately, he failed horribly to go invisibile and instead found himself in a black and white world. Fortunately, for him this world was not affected by heat. He was easily able to walk across the room and return to the safety of the hallway being held by his companions. By this time, Tathel had used magic to recover Morel’s prized axes, Death Song and Loyal Protector. The party closed the door and bought themselves time to patch themselves up.

It was fortunate that Tathel and Red were clerics after the encounter with the fire elemental. Morel was near death although Balthier was much healthier. Red took the time to use magic to repair Morel’s equipment. He wasn’t able to do it with the delver’s webbing or his lost dwarven throwing axes, but that was a small price to pay for something that could have easily taken his life.

Once everyone was battle ready again, the double doors were opened again. The fire elemental would never fit into the hallway and the plan was to snipe at it in the limited area until it was destroyed. It wasn’t clear that there was anything in the party’s arsenal that could hurt the creature, but they were willing to try. Worst case scenario would be for everyone to teleport to the far room, which is really what should have been the plan in the first place.

Sadly, no amount of coaxing could get the elemental to come out. It was either gone or too tired from the previous encounter to fight again. Moving to the far room, the only thing found was a big hole in the floor with rungs going down. It seemed to go very deep and it was intimidating. Every indication was that the lord of the tower was eagerly waiting at the bottom to consume them.

Having just failed against the fire elemental and not knowing what sort of enemy was being faced, the party decided to explore the upper parts of the tower in search of information. Moving up to an unexplored floor, the halls were surprisingly clear. In one room they found a dragon statue that looked like an altar.

A distressed voice from the distance cried out in an unknown language, then in common. “Help.”

Further exploration showed the voice was coming from a locked cell. Gemma declared her intentions that whoever it was must be freed, but Red and Morel were first to get to the door. It was booby trapped with a strong lightning enchantment, which triggered as soon as Morel tried the handle. The lightning shot down the hall. Gemma blinked out of the way, but Morel took the full brunt of the damage. Red nearly fell unconscious from his cumulative injuries.

It was only after that did Kyra cast detect magic to see if the trap was deactivated. It was. Gemma was gleeful to open the door only to find a pale white vulture-like creature inside a casting circle. Morel just grunted displeasure and followed Balthier as he continued to scout the level. Gemma was undeterred by the gruesome appearance of the beast and felt compelled to help it. Without preamble, she simply broke the circle failing to ask anything of the demon before freeing it.

Balthier came to a stop at the end of the hall. It would be a T if the doors on either side were opened. He started for one, but then changed his mind and went for the other. Balthier was usually good about choosing, but it was hard to imagine this was the the better option. As soon as he opened the door, he found himself facing a wight that immediately struck him. Morel stepped in front of the scout and drove axes through the creature. It crumpled to the ground, but 5 others hissed and turned their attention towards the dwarf. The one in the back looked to be special.

Feeling empowered, Tathel made his way to the front of the pack brandishing his holy symbol of Corellon. These foul creatures needed to be driven back to the abyss. Red also dove in eager for a fight. Balthier retreated towards the rear where he met Gemma as she was just rejoining the group. Kyra fired precise shots into the eyes of wights.

All the commotions in the other room must have disturbed the neighbors because a door swung open behind Gemma. Blue and white fur knelt under a door frame and started swinging. Gemma was immediately hit in the leg with a claw dropping her to the ground. A huge club shadowed over her and came crashing down. Gemma hurriedly tried to Blink away, but started screaming when she realized she completely failed. A huge oak cracked the floor, but Gemma was gone… from the tower and even the country.

A club came down for Kyra, but she Blinked away into the room with wights. Still angry, the blue/white girallon started to swing a claw at Balthier, but Morel was close enough to parry and threaten the giant beast. There were a couple more girallons in the room, but Morel was joined by Red. The pair quickly reduced that number to zero. Even Balthier got in a good hit before the end.

Tathel and Kyra were able to kill the wights. Balthier was concerned for Gemma and started looking for her. When she wasn’t found, the only thing the party could do was magically heal their wounds and wait for her to return. She was once again lost to Isad her home away from home… this time with a crippled leg.

The party decided to wait back in the dragon altar room. Red felt it was too stuffy, so he created a big hole in the side of the tower to get a little air. It was also a convenient way for the party to take out any near-by loot.

Before Gemma returned, the party had time to assess their current state of health. They realized they were risking death to get into another altercation. Morel was feeling self conscious about being beardless and claimed it made him less intimidating in battle. When the sorceress finally did return, they asked her to make a supply run back in Miresus. Each dwarf requested 10 healing potions and Morel wanted new delver’s webbing and a potion to restore his beard. This was a substantial fortune, but the extra weight was no so much that it prevented Gemma from making the trip.

Gemma found everything she needed, but a potion to grow beards was outside the money she had on hand. She was, however, able to find a fake beard that somewhat resembled the one Morel had. At the shop, she decided to try it on. Morel was always claiming she’d be more beautiful with a beard, but she didn’t see it. The shop owner wasn’t impressed, either. At least, that was something else she could cross off her list of things to try.

After chugging most of his healing potions, Morel was happy to proceed upward and continue clearing the tower. This time, Morel was the scout. Not a good plan. Moving upward, Morel opened the next door of consequence, stepped in and found himself face to face with 4 girallons wearing black collars.

Overconfident, Morel had advanced into the room to allow his team members better access to the room. This was before he realized he was outnumbered 4 to 1 and all 4 girallons could attack him at once. That was 16 attacks he needed to defend against every second. It would be at least 2 seconds before Red could come help him. What was worse, there were another 3 or 4 more wearing black collars just waiting to step in should one of their allies fall.

“Black out!”

Balthier cast a flash to degrade the capability of the enemy. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to keep most of the attacks from being true. Morel danced around clubs and claws only occasionally getting hit. Fortunately, his stout armor soaked up most of the damage except when a club landed. It hit Morel’s right arm in just the right way that it became paralyzed.

Morel dropped Deathsong. He was starting to take more hits. There were several times he fought the urge against unconsciousness, but held on knowing that his friends would suffer if he didn’t.

Kyra plugged arrows into the eyes of a girallon in the back of the room. The beast fell over and didn’t move for a moment. It didn’t help Morel, but it did diminish the enemy. Gemma loosed a huge fireball that exploded in the midst of the enemies weakening them. Some of the fire spilled over onto Morel and Red who had joined his brother, but armor soaked it up. Gemma was also caught in the blast radius and was injured more than either dwarf even though she was further away from the equicenter.

Finally, Red was able to kill one of the creatures. It fell then a puff of black smoke came from the black necklace and the girallon started to rise to its feet again. Necromancy was at work here. These were undead creatures that couldn’t be killed.

Tathel lent aid in the form of Tangle Foot magic that distracted a girallon for a second. The whole battle, Balthier had been stalking one of the enemies. He carefully choose his strike and crippled a leg, which caused the beast to fall prone and loose consciousness for a moment. Taking the initiative, he first cut the black collar and then the girallon’s throat. The collar dissolved and the creature stayed prone. He snuck back to the still unconscious girallon with 2 arrows in its eyes to repeat the procedure.

The battle was starting to turn around, but not quick enough for Red. He landed a good blow and then took a hit with a giant oak club. He fell to the ground and lay very still.

Morel had taken an army’s worth of damage. He wasn’t as light on his feet as he was and was taking more hits. Instead of trading blows, he started amputating legs to make the fight go quicker. He wasn’t killing the creatures after Balthier warned him of their resurrection abilities. Most of the girallons were going unconscious, which allowed Balthier and Kyra to finish them off.

As the pack cleared, a Morg could be seen in the rear of the room. The skeleton with snakes holding its guts together didn’t seem to like its chances and darted down a hallway. Balthier and Gemma chased after it. Morel finished his work. His arm was feeling better, so he grabbed Deathsong and also gave chase.

The Morg launched attacks at Balthier as it backed away. Balthier went blurry trying to keep from getting hit, which only made Gemma a more attractive target. She tried to Blink out of the way of the claw attack, but failed. Instead, she took both a hit from the claw and the snake tongue. Gemma found herself fighting a woozie feeling. Her head started to swim, but she shook it off and started casting Sunbolt.

Morel and Tathel closed the distance and slowed down the Morg. Tathel tripped it with magic and Morel started delimbing the creature. Balthier got in a powerful blow that not only killed the Morg, but caused it to fly into pieces and scatter across the room.

After all this, the only party member unscathed was Tathel. Everyone else had varying degrees of injury. Magic to heal Morel was completely exhausted for the day. Magic to heal Red was also severely diminished. There was serious conversation about leaving until magic was renewed the next day. In the end, the healing potions that Gemma procured was sufficient to keep the party alive moving forward.

A clear direction wasn’t obvious, the Balthier somehow knew that the natural way out of the tower was to continue climbing up. This seemed unlikely to the rest of the party, so Gemma cast Ethereal Body on him and sent him to scout out the upper floors. Nasty undead including wights, a mummy and a vampire waited for them above, so the party decided to explore downwards.

Moving back downstairs past the room with the fire elemental and into the room with the deep black pit, the party pondered what laid beneath. Gemma facilitated Balthier’s Ethereal journey downward. He found a deep cave structure. It’s good that Morel didn’t walk too close to the tower in giant form or the ground would have collapsed crushing everything down here.

Seconds ticked away as Balthier crossed a huge cavern filled a floor that seemed to move. Drawing closer, he could see it was completely filled with animated dead. There was a natural plateau in the center of the cavern, which would offer safety to whoever could climb up. Sadly, this was the only way in or out of the greater cavern complex. Balthier was hopeful he didn’t loose his Ethereal state before getting back to his friends.

His time was drawing short, so he simply made a quick pass through every room he could. There were girallons, wights, more animated dead than could be counted and even a golem. Then he found himself knocked back almost as if he had walked into closed door. There was a circular room that simply prevented him from entering. He tried to go under then over it and discovered more protection.

Time was up. Balthier hurried back to the surface and his friends. To wait any further meant facing the perils of the dungeon alone.

When Balthier rejoined his friends, he drew a rough map in the ashen dirt and started telling about the challenges each room offered. Morel thought it odd that he didn’t find any rooms worth pursing simply for the promise of treasure, but he was sure there would be compensation once they achieved their goal of ending the threat to Khatovar. Gemma was ecstatic at the possibility of setting up camp on top of the mesa in the sea of zombies. She and Kyra could take shots at leisure, slowly clearing the creatures.

Tathel was more pragmatic and wondered what the point of killing everything when neutralizing the leader was the main goal. At one point, he even mentioned just going home and letting Zovano’s men mop up whatever was left here. Red thought this was very out of character for someone who had worshiped Corellon. Didn’t their sense of duty include something like any abominations against life or nature (namely: undead, but other things can fit this category) must be exterminated? You wouldn’t find Red betraying his faith like that.

No matter. Red found the idea of facing a challenging opponent appealing, so he volunteered the idea that the party could reach the circular room that vexed Balthier by tunneling from the room where the ladder stopped. It would be a simple matter of using Earth To Air and a tunnel would appear. The upset Morel a little since he wouldn’t have the opportunity to use his ax as much, but maybe, they could kill the remaining creatures here after dealing with the dungeon boss.

Gemma still had a crippled leg. With Tathel’s restoration, it was scheduled to be useable in a month. The clerics would need to learn better spells to speed up the healing process for next time. She could levitate herself along, which kept her ready for battle.

After Red formed the tunnel to the place Balthier had indicated, the party was very careful to be as quiet as possible. There were a set of double doors behind the circular room, which almost guaranteed an attack from behind if things got too noisy. It looked like there was a keyhole on one side of the circular room. Kyra cast Lockmaster to open it and then the wall started shifting opening up a door. There was another door directly opposite that must have opened at the same time. Between the 2 openings were 3 vampires.

Morel was quick to close the distance and make a target of himself. Red felt a tug on his will urging him to attack the party, but he shook it off. Tathel let loose an explosive fireball, which caused one of the vampires to turn into a mist that started to move across the floor towards the group. Gemma let loose a Sunbolt, which was dodged. Morel finally had a chance to put axes into one, which made it turn to mist, too. Gemma cast Sunlight on the final vampire and it turned to dust.

Now that all the excitement was over, the party had a chance to see that this room looked to be the bottom of a sphere. The ceiling plane intersected the sphere maybe 50 feet up. In the center of the ceiling was a hatch. There was no obvious way to reach the hatch.

After much debate about the best way to go up, it was decided that Gemma would do a quick scout and then Bink down through the floor at the first sign of trouble. Balthier was not far behind because Tathel levitated him to the hatch. When Red saw Balthier open the hatch, he cast Hawk Flight on Morel and had him carry him up with him. Tathel and Kyra levitated up shortly after.

The room up top was more sphere. High above was a balcony that looked like it contained book shelves, couches, and other amenities. Someone must live here. In the center of the sphere was a giant heart bathed in dark glowing energy.

Gemma was dealing with her own issues. On the wall appeared writing that looked to be smears of blood.

What are your intentions?

Gemma answers, “peace.”

Balthier saw the writing and thinks “help organize the world”, but says “stay alive. To find out why are people were attacked and neutralize threats to those we protect.”

Gemma speaks to the wall, “what are your intentions?”

The writing on the wall disappears and new writing appears.

To bring back my master….

“Who’s your master?”

…but for now I serve another and have been instructed not to harm you.

“Are you the heart?”

….

“Does your current master have a reason for keeping us alive?”

Revenge

“Revenge on who?”

The elves.

“The elves are pretty much all dead.”

Apparently, not the right ones.

“Why?”

I serve only out of necessity. I care nothing for their goals or methods.

“Who is your original master?”

The owner of the heart you see above you. If you leave this place, I will only bother those that visit.

Red interjected himself into Gemma’s conversation with the wall.

“We can help you be freed from your current master if you tell us where he is.”

“Why do you want us to leave?”, Balthier asked.

So I can be rid of other’s triffles.

Balthier throws a rock up at the heart. It comes back down covered in black goo and hissing as if from acid. Morel had flown over to the heart and was examining the energy aura gauging whether he could sink an ax into the heart without touching the aura with his fist. The hissing rock dissuaded him from risking his only remaining axes.

Lacking any enemies or anything else to do, Morel started loading up books from the library. They were too bulky to get very many, but Kyra and Tathel grabbed some, too. No one recognized the language, but they grabbed the books for curiosity sake.

Gemma wasn’t quite done trying to help the mysterious author of the blood smear writing.

“Is there anything we can do to bring your previous master back?”

You are unworthy of helping with anything.

Red was concerned that the party was about to leave empty handed having neither killed everything in the tower nor succeeding in removing the leader. He determined to gather as much as he could to prove success.

“We need a trophy to prove this tower will no longer be a threat to the kingdom.”

One awaits you on the roof.

With that answer, everyone including Tathel seemed to be satisfied that nothing further could be done here. On their way out, they grabbed the dragon statue, a couple girallon bodies, black collars and of course, the pilfered books from the boss’s chambers.

Balthier buzzed the top of the tower invisible using Red’s Hawk Flight. On the roof was the skeleton of a dragon. He risked getting closer. It looked like the beast was animated at one point, but was now completely lifeless. Balthier pulled hard and off popped the skull. Mission accomplished. Now, Zovano had undeniable proof that the party had been to the tower and been victorious.

Sadly enough, all the proof in the world made no difference to their pay. Zovano accepted the fact that the tower had been neutralized, but could give them exactly nothing. No loot was found in the tower and it seemed like Gemma had been crippled and Morel and Red nearly died for nothing.

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Rebuilding of Gotham

November 28, 951 to December 28, 951

Red had to admire Lord Zovano. He left his army of 500 behind to meet alone with Priest Armando Tindall, himself and Balthier. Priest Tindall brought a body guard, but Lord Zael Zovano came alone. He only partially believed that he was afraid of an 80 foot tall Morel even though he cited this as the reason he didn’t bother with back up.

Silently, Red wondered why Balthier was doing so much talking. Self appointed leader of the rabble who were too poor to flee Gotham. By the time he showed up, everything that could have been destroyed or plundered was. His plea for order was hollow since he didn’t offer any sort of commitment to the city beyond being a spokesman to the rulers.

The druid Chrysavet was the one responsible for providing food to the city for the last month. Balthier asked, but otherwise played no role except informing the peasants where to go to get food. Red saw the blank looks on faces as Balthier made appeals for them to band together to start producing goods for trade to support themselves. There were no merchants or traders left.

Lord Zovano was none too happy that Balthier was advocating a partnership in governing Gotham and ultimately Khatovar. Priest Tindall also wanted to lead, but his resolve would have eventually melted against Zovano even before his army arrived. What was odd is that Balthier’s self proclaimed role as representative of the people was never questioned by either leader. It probably had something to do with his affiliation with the Glanents.

A month ago, Tathel and Red had made contact with Zovano and Tindall via a communication spell. The 3rd leader contending for Gotham, Lord Bavanlo Kandalath, couldn’t be found even after visiting his home town of Kyril. Red remembered Kyra being very disrespectful to Priest Tindall despite him entertaining a communication from strangers questing his ability to lead. The party had taken a more successful approach with Zovano and had a giant Morel stand on the horizon while making contact with communication. At least, Zovano understood why it was important to be cordial with the party.

The original intent of making contact was to choose the new leader and prevent further conflict in the capital. Kyra was concerned that the new leader would be unfriendly to Elm’ril. Red and Morel were more interested in getting to be known by the new leadership in hopes of being assigned tasks worthy of adventurers. The party was on good terms with queen of Elm’ril, but her kingdom was orderly and under control.

Indecisiveness ruined that plan. Instead of quickly eliminating the competing interests to promote the next leader, everyone had got caught in Gotham helping in the rebuilding efforts. Almost everyone helped with rebuilding. Red and Morel had devoted the last 3 weeks to hauling 30 foot boulders from the mountains. These monstrous rocks would be very effective at destroying incoming enemy forces.

In the end, the problem was solved by reclassifying the incoming forces as friendly much to the disappointment of Morel. If only someone had made a decision…. It was no wonder that his party hadn’t been on a real quest for months and months. He sulked from the battlements as opposed to joining the delegation meeting with Zovano. He suspected the party would wait at least another week in Gotham while Balthier helped finalize a government.

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Gemma and Balthier

November 26, 951 to November 28, 951

Thick smoke rose from the city. Fire was widespread, but there was enough stone used in most of the construction to prevent everything from burning to the ground. The rumors passed along from Chrysavet were that the Triad, Gotham’s ruling body, had all died suddenly after a visit from an Elm’ril delegation and the power vacuum wasn’t being handled well.

With no one in charge, most of the guards simply abandoned their posts leaving the city to destroy itself. Most of the reputable people had already left Gotham, but Morel and Kyra had skilled artisans crafting items for them. Morel was looking for a dwarven smith and Kyra was looking for a boyer.

The main gate swung as the wind blew. No one was there to monitor who entered. Not eager to be delayed, Red and Morel drew axes and charged through the gate with Kyra to shoot in a center position. It was like the skittering away of cockroaches as light enters a room. The walls had eyes, but no one dared challenge the party.

The lack of resistance was a disappointment to Morel who was looking forward to riots and crowds of hostiles. Still hopeful, the dwarfs took up position at either end of what surely looked like a security detail for Balthier. He was protected from harm on all 4 sides by party members. Precautions seemed unnecessary because no one bothered the party on their way to the dwarven smith.

Morel was pleased to learn that the craftsman he had hired was doing well. He had fought off looters, but that was no challenge for the hearty dwarf. Of course, his neighbors didn’t fair as well and got burned out. He mentioned that he wanted to relocate to Elm’ril to re-establish his business.

Morel had paid this dwarf around $10,000 to make the strongest dwarven heavy steel corselet and it wouldn’t do to have that work interrupted. The dwarven smith accepted when Morel offered to help move him and all his equipment. Finding a new building would be inconvenient, so Morel thought it might be appropriate to simply move the whole shop and told his friend to start securing things for the journey.

While the dwarven smith prepared to move, Kyra led the way to the boyer she had hired to make an elven bow for a stronger than average person. Unfortunately, that whole block had been burned to an empty hull. The boyer shop was empty except charred remains. It had been picked clean. There was no note on the wall or other indication of what happened to the owner.

Returning to the smith’s shop, Red and Morel began to discuss the best ways to assure the structural integrity of the building during transport. There was talk of enlarging a metal plate that could be used to dig underneath and reinforce the stone foundation. The debate was whether the relative size would be enough to protect within his hands, but Balthier interjected himself into the conversation before that could be determined.

“Are you guys, crazy? You can’t possibly move this building.”

“I’m sure I’m strong enough.”

“The building isn’t. The walls would crumble in your offish hands before you even got a mile. How fast do you go?”

“Fast. Probably 150 mph.”

“At that speed, you’d create such a pressure differential that the roof would blow off and the building would implode. All the pretty bits would be spread across lots of acres and destroyed along with everything inside.”

“You know what? I’m too intelligent for this conversation. You dwarfs do what you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

The dwarfs listened to Balthier’s warning, but didn’t appreciate being called stupid. Balthier didn’t know it, but he earned the ire of Morel. With such an abrasive personality, he wouldn’t be getting any help on the battlefield.

The next day, Red and Morel hauled the smith’s stuff to the out skirts of town before Morel grew to giant size. It’s just as well the blacksmith shop stayed put. The original plan would have left more than a few pot holes in the streets of Gotham.

It was a couple hours before dark when the party got close enough to Miresus for the dwarven smith to find a wagon for his equipment and finished goods. Confident he was well protected, the party dispersed for the evening. The dwarfs brawled. Kyra studied languages. Gemma studied magic. Balthier found the nearest whore house and sampled the wares. He spent lots of time pumping the women… sometimes for information.

The next morning, Red visited the dwarven smith relocated from Gotham and commissioned the strongest of dwarven heavy plate arms and legs. To speed things along, he also visited the other dwarven smith in town and commissioned the strongest heavy steel corselet. Morel took note that it would only be around 10 days before his heavy cloak of deflection would be ready. He was pleased that the mage plague didn’t afflict his enchanter.

At noon, the whole party including Tathel met for lunch at the Merry Jester tavern. Tathel was concerned about the events happening in Gotham. Kyra volunteered to report in to the queen and learn what she could. The dwarfs were more interested in learning about what work there might be available. Tathel needed to devote time to prayer. That left Gemma and Balthier as the odd ones out. Gemma might have talked to the queen except for Balthier and instead opted to return to Garvok’s hiding place.

Talking to the queen, Kyra learned that the mage plague had been carried to Gotham in a 100 point powerstone commissioned by the queen’s niece, Eleniel. It was intended to be gift of peace and instead it was responsible for destroying the Khatovar government. Eleniel was taking it very hard and wasn’t speaking to anyone since the incident. Obviously, this was secret information because it cast Elm’ril in a bad light.

The problem was that there were 3 armies marking on Gotham looking to seize power. Whoever gained control there would likely discover what could be mistaken as treachery and assume the Elm’ril was openly hostile to them, too. Queen Ramina seemed indifferent about who came into power, but was concerned that they would prove themselves to be enemies.

Gotham’s fall couldn’t have come at a worse time. The permanent gates linking the capitals of major countries were scheduled to be done shortly into the new year, but Gotham was dropped from the list after the enchanters were slain in the civil unrest. Now, there would only be permanent gates between
Mireus, Elm’ril; Ugini, Pelevion and Tegas, Veros.

In other news, Kyra’s aunt and uncle’s funeral was scheduled for Monday, 12-01-951. Kyra definitely wanted to be there for that. Ramina also asked her to attend the important events in March. Eleniel’s birthday on the 6th, the queen’s speech on the 21st and Dominator Liberation Day on the 31st.

Kyra update the queen on the new psionic enemies, the murder of a council of 7 member and the recovery and tracking of the 7 swords. Afterward, she asked about the weapons master for the dwarfs. Ramina said the word was still being sent out across Tocora. When she knew more, she’d share it.

Finally, Kyra inquired about kingdom needs. Specifically, if there was any adventurer work to be done locally. The only lead available was that Rose Marsh had been unusually quiet for days. Someone needed to go investigate the disruption in traffic leaving the city.

Red and Morel talked to guards and read the job board and learned that the lack of traffic from Rose Marsh was the only concern of the kingdom available for adventurers like the party.

Gemma and Balthier didn’t do anything as dull as talk to diplomats or city guards. Instead, their conversations were with the elementals guarding Garvok. Gemma was very interested in making the place more homey. She used magic to set certain mood lighting and convinced earth elemental Graxil and rock monster Thouck to help move dirt around to resemble couches, tables and other furniture.

For sleeping quarters, the consensus was that hammocks would be the best option. They would go on a supply run later, but first Balthier insisted the entryway be modified to look like a shrine for Garvok. If anyone made it past the water elemental, they would see an empty shrine and assume someone had already claimed the sword.

Gemma and Balthier were flush with cash after the dwarfs had sold Chellan to Lady K. Gemma didn’t want to put it in the bank because the 1% surcharge and left it with Graxil to guard. Having more money than either dreamed possible wasn’t enough to make this highly intelligent people do the easy thing of visiting Tegas to buy professionally crafted hammocks. The plan was to visit Gotham and look rope and canvas.

What long distance teleport is complete without a visit to Isad, the island of chaotic magic. This was the first time Gemma had brought a visitor and that visitor had his Danger Sense tingling. Curious about what chaotic magic was like, Balthier picked up a stick and cast continual light on it. The stick got hot. When Balthier dropped it, it became a stick shaped puddle and then solidified.

“You brought a friend this time”, the voice of the island greeted.

Gemma and Balthier asked several questions trying to learn more about the self proclaimed owner of the island. The voice did tell them that there was an accident that created the chaotic magic, but wouldn’t give them any details about what kind of creature he was. Gemma was ready to teleport away when the island voice asked a question.

“Can you help me?”

That’s when Balthier’s Danger Sense really kicked in.

“We need to go, now!”

Gemma and Balthier backed away from the jungle and into the salt desert before attempting to teleport away. Instead of going anywhere, the world started to get wavy and then all color drained. That was when 3 cat men appeared out of the edge of the jungle.

The cat men wore leather armor and wielded 2 swords each. They seemed to be looking at the spot where Gemma and Balthier were only moments before, but hesitated like they were unsure. It was almost like they couldn’t see them.

Balthier isn’t taking any chances and decides to make a run for it, but there is a little girl blocking his path. She looks to be about 8 years old and is dressed in a long night shirt typically worn by middle to upper class people. Gemma also sees the little girl, picks her up and runs. It’s now that Balthier notices there is no more salt smell in the air. On a positive note, his Danger Sense is less now, too.

“Who are you?” Gemma asked.

The girl didn’t respond.

“Do you speak?”

The girl’s expression seemed to say, “do something, I’m bored.”

After various attempts to entertain the girl, Balthier finally decides to throw his melted glowing stick at one of the cat men. It goes through him causing no damage. It didn’t impress the girl, but all 3 of the cat men run away afterward.

With seemingly no other props, Balthier gives the melted glowing stick to the girl. She takes it and the stick disappears. Balthier notices that his energy used to cast the spell has returned.

Gemma and Balthier give up trying to talk to the girl and decide to try to go to Gotham again. Waving good-bye to the little girl, Gemma casts teleport. She swears that she made a mistake in the ritual, but finds herself in a black and white version of the blacksmith’s shop they visited the day before. Looking around, the girl is with them still despite being left behind in the teleport. Then the world begins to shimmer again and become wavy. Color begins to come back. When focus is restored, the girl is gone.

Gemma and Balthier rest up and then begin exploring the city. Both have a high intelligence and invisibility, but chose to walk down the middle of the street in plain sight not concealing their presence at all. Apparently, both had forgotten the eyes lurking from the day before.

Before the pair had only made it a few blocks before it became obvious they were being shadowed. Then Balthier’s Danger Sense started becoming strong. After signaling to Gemma, he begins casting Invisibility. Gemma follows his example and also goes invisible.

A group of 6 converge in the street. Their armor has been poorly repaired. One man had a huge ax, but everyone else had daggers. One thing that was obvious is that these people are poorly equipped and hungry for whatever scraps they can get.

“Where did they go?”

“I don’t know, but those are the same people here yesterday were here with those dwarfs.”

“They wouldn’t have come back unless there’s something of value. Without their escort, they’ll be easy pickings for us.”

Despite being completely safe, Balthier was insulted that his hidden powers weren’t more respected by these street thugs. Never mind the fact that the dwarfs were champions in a gladiator style games here. He’d teach these roughians a thing or 2.

“Blackout!”

Balthier’s signal did 2 things. It game Gemma advanced warning to close her eyes and it also caused all 6 enemies to turn in his direction. Balthier was still invisible, but his Flash spell wasn’t. 3 of the thugs were blinded immediately and started backing away. The other 3 keep moving towards the odd light, which is exactly what Balthier wanted. He started focusing preparing to release his chi in a power attack.

Then Gemma prepared a powerful, quick Sunbolt. She took aim at the nearest enemy, which just happened to be blind. A bright bolt of sunlight burned through the man’s armor and chest and killed him instantly. The noise of the death was enough to cause the 3 thugs who could still see to turn towards the now visible Gemma.

This caused problems for Balthier, who wasn’t quite ready to deliver his attack. The enemies were turning away from him and quickly moving out of range. Not willing to risk loosing his chance, he rushes and fails to generate any extra power. In fact, the attack was so weak it didn’t penetrate the weak armor. It was still enough to cause the guy to turn his attention towards Balthier.

The leader rushes Gemma and misses, then she burns a hole in his chest causing him to fall prone and drop his ax. Now, all the people can see. One of the once blind guys runs for his life, but the other charges Gemma and fails to hit her. She doesn’t have any trouble hitting with a Sunbolt. The thug falls down, but recovers.

Balthier isn’t doing as well. The dual dagger wielding thug he attacked hits him twice dealing minor damage. Fortunately, the Flash prevents further success. Balthier swings his large knife wildly dealing little damage until he manages to land a solid blow. The thug goes prone, but Balthier is unrelenting and even takes the time to coup de gra the man once he finally goes unconscious.

By now, the leader had managed to get up and grab his ax. He presses Gemma’s position. All the other enemies are wounded and dying. Balthier takes the time to coup do gra fallen foes despite Gemma needing assistance. Finally, Gemma gets a solid hit with a Sunbolt in the vitals, but it doesn’t seem to phase the leader. He responds by driving an ax into her torso, if not for Blink Gemma would have been hurt.

The leader might be the last man standing, but he just isn’t going down. The ax looks like it will land solidly again, but Gemma is determined this time she won’t loose her Sunbolt. Dealing major damage to him is the only way he’ll go down. After taking the hit, Gemma begins to wonder if that was a good idea. Her wrath was terrible and any of the lesser thugs would have been instantly killed.

While the leader was teetering on his feet, Balthier comes in and lands a solid blow. It was enough to finish the job. The unconscious leader was soon killed by an opportunistic Balthier.

The plunder from the fight was 2 short swords, 2 daggers a generic ax and 12 silver that Balthier palms to keep for himself. The pair managed to limp back to the blacksmith shop, so Gemma could rest up. They needed to get to Miresus and Tathel for healing soon, but Balthier insisted on getting the hammock supplies before teleporting away. At the end of the day, everyone was patched up and everyone was safe again in Miresus.

View
Artifact Sword Palooza

Gemma looked out across the vast salt desert of Isad. Behind her a lush jungle filled with the eyes of many bird that were black in color. This was the 2nd time today. The 1st time was from a failed Teleport, but she had learned from her mistake and used Rapid Journey to make the trip. This way, she’d be able to get back to her friends after a minute instead of blowing up trees or doing something else random due to the wild magic of the island.

“Are you going to blow up any more trees?” a male voice called from seemingly nowhere.

Gemma was startled, but kept her head. This was definitely a strange place.

“Did you know there’s a little girl following you?”

With that taunt, Gemma ended her Rapid Journey and returned to the party.

Red restored energy to Gemma, so she could try to go to Veros right away. She hoped to set a beacon at the last point Tathel had used to try to do Seeker for Garvok. Red had convinced her and the elves that they needed to visit Lady K alone to ask her about Corellon’s Radiance being on her list. He needed to take back Orchid Malevolence for the journey, but would otherwise be able to rejoin them in 3 or 4 days.

Tathel was concerned that the dwarfs would be captured or killed and the group would not know what happened to them. Red convinced him to cast Trace on a piece of string so he could keep track of his location. It could also be used in case he went to a unique location that he would like to return to, but couldn’t otherwise accomplish.

Gemma was successful in teleporting to Veros… sort of. It really hurt and made her wonder if she was bleeding anywhere. At the very least, she’d need the aid of a cleric when she returned to her friends in a minute. It wasn’t any wonder to her that everyone preferred to travel by giant dwarf or druid tree for the most part.

As Gemma began casting Beacon, a figure shrank back into the shadows of a near-by rock formation. Curious eyes closely watched the young woman gyrate and chant to summon the magic. Just as the figure began to lurk close to her position, she disappeared.

Red healed Gemma’s wounds and then restored her mana. Kyra asked that Red loan Gemma one of his 10 point powerstones, but he refused. If Kyra was so concerned, she had a 20 point one she could give her. Red then boosted Gemma’s strength and then she grabbed Kyra and teleported to Veros. Tathel was there shortly afterward.

By now the beacon had become compromised by a not so well concealed pair of eyes. Gemma almost immediately spotted the head among the boulders that flanked her position. Tathel noticed it a moment later once he had recovered from Teleport vertigo.

“Do you see that?”, Gemma whispered.

Tathel looked at her in a way that told her that he did. Kyra quickly caught on once Gemma pointed with her eyes, while keeping her head in a natural pose.

“A mysterious voice told me we are being followed,” Gemma shared with her friends. “I think I’ll go meet the little girl.”

Then she did a Rapid Journey behind the rock pile where a not so well hidden Balthier spied on Kyra and Tathel.
Balthier heard Gemma as she turned to face him, but didn’t move.

“Hi, I’m Gemma!”

Balthier was still cautious despite the cheerful tone in Gemma’s voice. He turned slowly in a posture that seemed to indicate surrender.

“What are you doing out here? We’re looking for a special sword.”

“A sword you say….”

“Yes, a great sword called Garvok. It’s very powerful.” With that, Gemma disappeared.

Balthier’s back was to Tathel and Kyra. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to him that he nearly ran into Tathel as he emerged from his hiding place.

“The woman said you were looking for Girvuk.”

“Garvok.”

“That’s what I’m here investigating, too.”

Tathel remained unimpressed, but took solace in the fact Kyra had closed to be within 3 yards of the stranger without being noticed.
Balthier tried to play it cool even though it was obvious he didn’t detect her. Without turning his head, he said, “I assume your archer is behind me.”

As Gemma once again joined the group, Balthier told a story of red-haired twins who assaulted a government official. They ripped the location of a special sword from his mind after a series of severe injuries failed to loosen his tongue. The sword would be found in a special body of water, so he thought he’d just wander around looking for it. He had a special knack of making things work for him.

Everyone agreed to travel together for a while since they all shared the same goal. It wasn’t too long before Balthier’s intuition took them to an oddly symmetrical body of water. It was the purest blue color that gradually transitioned into black towards the middle indicating that it was most likely very deep.

The party seemed mesmerized with the water and just waited for a long time. Finally, Balthier threw a rock into the middle and it quickly faded into the blackness. Then he decided to collect another rock and make it glow as bright as daylight. He repeated the procedure. The rock faded and faded than disappeared completely before anyone would have thought it should. No light from the glowing rock reached the surface.

Kyra thought it would be worthwhile for someone to swim down to try to find the rock. She volunteered to use her Breathe Water spell to help anyone who wanted to try, but that was the extent of her offer. No one in the group knew how to swim, so that offer floundered for a while. Finally, Gemma said she’d give it a try despite never being in any water deeper than a bath tub.

Gemma was a surprisingly good swimmer for having no experience. She had left her armor and gear on the bank, but carried with her the Blink Dagger and a rock made to glow like a torch. Swimming down, down, she entered an inky black which her light couldn’t penetrate. It seemed like a watery wall. As she reached forward to touch the blackness, her hand went through to something that felt airy and warm.

Gemma had to fight a water current to stay in place, but decided to swim into the bottom of the lake. Suddenly, she found herself falling face forward towards what looked to be a solid floor 30 feet below. The Blink Dagger saved her the inconvenience of a fall and a broken neck.

She found herself in a circular room with finely worked granite. There was a huge passageway on one side, but it was blocked by a huge door made of a different kind of rock. Gemma just looked around wondering what kind of place she found herself in. It felt like only a moment, but must have been longer before she started moving towards the start of a passageway.

A huge face formed in the doorway dwarfing Gemma. She thought to herself that she would fit inside the mouth standing up and hoped the face wasn’t hungry.

“State your purpose.”

“We seek Garvok.”

“Why?”

“For Lady K.”

“I don’t know this Lady K.”

“Who are you?”

“Graxil.”

“Hi, I’m Gemma! Do you live here all alone?”

“No, we guard this cave.”

“Are you the other side of the coin? Are you guarding Garvok?”

“Yes.”

“Are there guardians for the other swords?”

“I know not of the other swords.”

“One of the other swords fell into evil hands. Lady K is gathering them up now for evil intent.”

“And you need Garvok to stop her?”

“Yes.”

“You need to stop her.”

Gemma’s conversation must have been taking too long because Tathel cast Seeker to find out what she was up to. He saw her standing in front of a door with a face. He told Kyra that she didn’t need to maintain Breathe Water because Gemma was in a room with air just below the water. The pair was growing impatient after waiting almost a minute and decided to Teleport down to help Gemma.

No one bothered to offer to bring Balthier along. He grabbed Gemma’s things and then took a tremendous leap into the air and dove deep into the lake.

Graxil began to reshape himself from a door to a man leaving the passageway open. Gemma moved forward and found herself facing a 60 foot rock monster. She might have been afraid if she hadn’t developed the habit of riding in an 80 foot tall dwarf’s pocket. The earth shook as he moved towards her.

“Krrrkkk gawwwwk,” challenged the moving mountain.

“Don’t mind, Thouck,” the 10 foot earth elemental Graxil comforted. “He’s really quite cuddly.”

“Can you show me where the sword is?”

Thouck stepped to the side to reveal the hilt of a great sword closely matching Garvok’ s description.

Just as Gemma steps towards the sword, her party starts arriving. Kyra and Tathel’s position are given away by a loud thud as Balthier smacks against the stone floor. Every looks as Gemma reaches for the sword and is flanked by towering piles of moving earth. No one draws weapons, preps spells or even shouts warnings. It’s as if everyone somehow knew everything would be alright even as the giants turned to look at the new arrivals.

Gemma was unable to draw Garvok from its earth sheath.

“Graxil, could you help me?”

The earth elemental grabs the sword and hands it to Gemma.

The guardians of the cave were oddly uninterested in Kyra, Tathel or Balthier and also ignored them. It was like they had completely forgotten their duty to guard… or maybe they didn’t consider them to be a threat. If Gemma noticed the arrival of her friends, she ignored them. Instead of making introductions or reporting her discovery, she only wanted to keep her rock friends.

“What will you do now that you don’t need to guard the sword?”

“Thouck and I are bound to this place by Mondur and will guard it forever.”

“You can never leave?”

“I can travel through rock, but Thouck has a harder time.”

“What happens when you leave?”

“I feel the need to come back.”

“If I can find a way, I’ll unbind you from this cave.”

Finally, Gemma seemed to notice her party and made introductions.

Balthier tells the story of the 2 red-headed twins searching for Garvok. Everyone agrees that these women are evil and the sword should be kept out of their hands at all costs. At first, the party thinks it would be best to take the sword with them, but then decides it is safest inside the cave with the dirt men.

Balthier suggests Graxil lie about the location of the sword if the red-haired twins show up, but this seems like a plan certain to fail. Graxil reassures them that Garvok’s cavern is enchanted with an anti-teleport that sends people other places if they try to enter. He can also bury Garvok deep and fill all the space with earth as protection.

Satisfied that Garvok is secure, the party decides they need to leave. Graxil forms an elevator and takes the 4 party members up to the surface. He assures them that he is watching over the outside of the lake and knows when people are near. Also, the lake is really a huge water elemental named Ssylsenens who also stood watch. Between the 2 of them, they would know if and when the party returned.

Before leaving, Gemma steals a moment with Graxil.

“Be careful not to give the blade to anyone except in my party… and even then don’t give it to Balthier. I only trust the elves.”

Their search done, the party decides to go to the Azure Ridge rendezvous. Once again, it fell to Gemma to be the vanguard and set a beacon. It was over 100 miles and there was no surprise when she didn’t make it to her intended location.

“Welcome back.”

“Who are you?”

“This is my island.”

“Are you pulling me here?”

“No, but you certainly seem to come here often.”

“Can you tell me anything about the little girl?”

“I think she’s dead.”

“How can you tell?”

“She’s not breathing.”

“What is she doing?”

“Just standing around looking bored. The little girl appears when you do and is fuzzy around the edges. She just follows you around.”

Gemma had enough talk with the voice of Isad and prematurely ended her Rapid Journey.

Her 2nd attempt ended her back on Isad.

“Why do the birds keep staring at me?”

“You’re something new.”

Then Gemma ended her Rapid Journey.

Her 3rd attempt to go to Azure Ridge landed her in Isad for the 5th time that day. Finally, Gemma arrived in a city she hoped was Azure Ridge on the 4th try. After casting a Beacon, she returned to her friends.

Gemma needed to place another Beacon at Garvok Lake because she was appointed the carrier of people. Tathel boosted her strength and sent her to Azure Ridge with Kyra first. Kyra restored her mana and then Gemma was able to return for Balthier before Might ran out. Balthier lent energy and then 3 of the 4 party members were in Azure Ridge. Tathel was soon to follow.

Azure Ridge is Balthier’s home town and he took his new crew to the finest establishment he could afford, The Vulgar Wench. It had dirt floors with straw to help keep the spilled filth from the excrement buckets manageable. One risked bed bugs and fleas by sleeping here, but it was only a copper a night and Tathel decided to treat.

Somehow, Tathel found this a conducive place to pray while Gemma studied magic books and Kyra studied written languages. Balthier decided it would be more interesting to investigate the specific details about what happened with the red haired twins. Returning to the scene of the crime he learned a few details that had previously eluded him.

One of the cooks saw a shadow man that caused him pass out. The wizard was actually a member of the council of 7 who was looking for Garvok. He rarely left his room, but was detected by the twins, anyway. They assumed he already had the sword, but were mistaken.

During the course of the night, he runs into one of his contacts and finds work shadowing a particular mark. He successfully completes his mission and collects $25 the next day from his contact at noon.

Morel and Red had busied themselves the rest of the day collecting picks and rope for their heist. The plan was to create a hole in the roof over Magistrate Ebanul’s room and drop a rope. Morel would also use a pick on a large rock he found as a distraction. It was necessary to keep the timing close to make it seem like the noise on the roof was an echo of what was happening in the street. The dwarfs practiced keeping time to one of their favorite dwarven war marches all afternoon and retired around 8 to be fresh for their evening of mischief.

November 24th, 951

At 4 a.m. Red cast Hawk Flight and went up to the roof of the capital building. He was planning to lay in wait until around 9 when the magistrate would be out of his room, but there would be too many people watching at that time of day. Morel watched from the inn alert for signs of trouble. He didn’t want to miss out on any fighting.

When Red got to the roof, he saw that someone had already made a hole in the roof. The edges were smooth as if cut with magic and not a pick. From his angle, Red saw the door to the Magistrate’s room was ajar. He signaled to Morel to come in a hurry and then moved to the center of the roof to cast Teleport Shield. Red made it strong, so it was virtually guaranteed that no one would escape an ax strike with a Blink or anything else.

Morel was waiting at the edge of the building after the 10 seconds it took him to cast his magic, so he grabbed him and took him up to the roof with him. As the pair descended into the hole, Red’s Hawk Flight failed unexpectedly. The pair clanged noisily to the ground most certainly alerting whoever was about.

Wasting no time, Morel opened the door with axes drawn. He saw 2 red haired women that looked remarkably alike. The one furthest from him shouted, “I found it.” A few yards away from her, was the mangled body of the Magistrate. Morel rushed in making an all-out-attack on the closest sister. Deathsong’s bite would have been furious if she hadn’t turned into red mist. His other ax passed twice through the mist before she re-appeared seeming no worse for her experience.

“We have what we need, let’s go,” said the woman who had just been mist a moment ago. The way she said it was a little too calm as if the appearance of the dwarfs wasn’t even an inconvenience.

In less than a second, both of the women had disappeared leaving Red sorely disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to take action against the women. There was no way they should have been able to do magic that quickly. He should have at least had the opportunity to attempt an attack before they disappeared. How did they Teleport away? Wasn’t there a Teleport Shield over the whole building?

The sound of groaning brought Red out of his revelry. He hurried to where Magistrate Ebanul lay with arms twisted at odd angles. One of his legs also looked mangled. His pallor was pale like he almost dead. Red attempted to cast Major Healing on him, but failed.

“Where can I take you to get healed?”

“It’s too late for me.”

“Who were those women and what did they want?”

“They were here looking for the sword you wanted. Don’t worry, they got the fake I was going to give you if you continued to press me. Tell me now, why do you want Chellan.”

“There is a collector who is claiming lots of artifacts including holy ones for some unknown evil purpose. I want to use Chellan to find her vault and return all the artifacts to their rightful owners.”

“Can you promise me that you will get Chellan back from her once you’ve found the vault?”

“Yes, that’s the intention.”

“Go to the library. Chellan is in the statue of Vectna.”

With those last words, Magistrate Ebanul expired.

Red and Morel easily found the statue and Morel put it in his backpack. Returning to the hole, Morel gave his brother a boost to the roof. Red then dropped down the rope and pulled his brother up. They would have simply used Hawk Flight except magic was still not working on the 3rd floor.

Once on the roof, Red cast Hawk Flight successfully and carried his brother down to the road. They returned to the inn for the remainder of the night and set out as soon as the shops started to open. The brothers bought food for the road and sold back all their gear from the previous night. Red bought some glue as they were doing business.

Outside of town where Morel was preparing to be transformed into an 80 foot giant, Red took Orchid Malevolence to the statue of Vectna. It broke open to reveal a sparkling blade with blue veins with the tooth of a white dragon as a hilt. A dragon’s head was part of the carvings and Red discovered it nicely concealed the tiny bit of string Tathel had cast Trace on. Using a little glue, he secured the string in place.

While traveling to Lady K’s, Red prayed for Earth To Air. He wondered if Kord had magic to help him with the red haired twins, but decided to stick with things he knew were favored by his deity. By 4:00, the dwarfs were in Ugini.

“We need to see Lady Ky’istara as soon as possible. We have an artifact she’ll want.”

The receptionist calmly got up to check on the availability of her master.

“She’ll see you immediately.”

“What do you have for me?”

“Chellan,” Red told her as he removed the scimitar from his pack and handed it to her.

“This is quite the prize. May I ask where you got it?”

“Magistrate Ebanul from Mallowhall. Unfortunately, he did not survive. Red haired twins mortally wounded him shortly before we arrived to claim the sword. We didn’t kill him.”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” Lady K replied flatly with a glimmer of amusement in her eye. She wouldn’t ask questions even if they did.

“We would have brought our elven companions, but they had concerns about the fact Corellon’s Radiance is on the list of artifacts.”

“As you know, I’m collecting these artifacts for safe keeping. If you feel that these artifacts are safe where they are, that satisfies me. After all, you are some of the most deadly warriors in all the world.”

“Thank you. I’m sure I can make them understand, now.”

“About your reward… what would you like?”

“With the elves absent, I think it simplest to ask for the money. Five separate bags would be appreciated. Also, could you recommend a safe place to stay the night? It would be a shame to lose our new wealth to rogues.”

“It would be my honor to have you stay in one of our guest rooms tonight. After all, you have done me a favor.”

November 25th, 951

The next morning, the dwarfs left Ugini and headed for Azure Ridge. It was a short walk for an 80 foot Morel going 150 mph. It was 2:00 when the pair arrived in town. Gemma had spent the morning visiting Graxil and Thouck, but had returned in time to greet the dwarfs. After finding Garvok, everyone had simply been spending their time in academic pursuits.

“Greetings, Kyra, Tathel, Gemma. I have some great news. Do we have somewhere private we can talk?”

As Tathel lead the way, Balthier came walking along with the party. Morel stepped in front of Balthier blocking his path.

“My brother said, ‘we have something to discuss in private’.”

“O no, it’s OK. He’s our friend,” Gemma hurriedly interjected.

“Gemma! Are you picking up strays?”

“Did you notice that we’re here a day or 2 early? It’s because this gentleman helped us find what we came here to find.”

“You found it?!”

“Let’s go talk in private.”

After recounting some of the broadest details about finding Garvok, it was the dwarfs turn to tell their news. Morel handed a 20 pound bag containing $100,000 worth of platinum to Kyra, Gemma and Tathel.

“Courtesy of Lady K in appreciation for work well done.”

“Does this mean… ?”

“Yes, we recovered Chellan. Time to go to work Tathel.”

Tathel had lost contact with the string about 9:00 the night before, but was able to do a Seeker to find it again. He did a Trace and knew it was in Ugini somewhere close to Lady K’s base. That’s as much as he could learn without getting closer.

Before the plan could be acted upon, the party wanted to lighten their purses. Gemma paid $2,000 to Tathel returning a hefty 100% interest for the dress purchased. To Red, she gave $10,000 for the $8,750 owed. The paltry 14% interest was still appreciated. She even gave $10,000 to Balthier because she didn’t want him left out. That was more money than the rogue had laid hands on.

The party made it to Tegas by dinner time to do some shopping. Balthier bought a ruby necklace powerstone holding 15 mana. Gemma bought a diamond bracelet powerstone with 15 mana. Using teleport, Tathel left for Miresus to commission a +3 DR enchanted Elven Chain Hauberk. The dwarfs commissioned some items, but also bought Rings of Haste +1.

The plan is to leave for Miresus through Gotham the next day. Kyra has heard of the unrest in Gotham and wants to check on the status of the bow she commissioned and Morel wants to check in with the dwarven smith working on his Dwarven +3 Heavy Steel Corselet. There is a druid tree not far from Tegas, so the trip to Gotham will be short.

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Search For Chellan

August 31st, 951 to November 23rd, 951

75 days was the amount of time the party agreed to give Kyra to solidify leads for artifacts on Lady K’s list. Each party member decided to spend the time improve their respective abilities. Morel opted for training in Brawling, Thrown Weapon (Ax/Mace) and Fast Draw (Ax/Mace). Red spent his time praying for Great Haste and Teleport Shield when he wasn’t studying Diplomacy. Tathel prayed for several spells and learned languages. Kyra studied Teaching and languages.

Gemma had a grand total of $15 silver and wouldn’t have been able afford to train except that Red sponsored her for $8750. It was all the money he had plus $309 he borrowed from Morel, but he felt it was worth investing in this promising new party member. With her time, Gemma expanded her skills in magic. Most notable were the additions of Lightning, Concussion and Ethereal Body.

Morel commissioned an enchantment on a heavy cloak embroidered with the symbol of Kord, a fist holding a lightning bolt. The deflecting enchantment takes 100 days, so he put down 20% with the idea he’d make the extra $8000 sometime in the next 25 days after training. Maybe, he was being too optimistic. Red wanted to do the same thing, but couldn’t afford to.

After 75 days, Kyra informs the party that the hottest lead is Chellan, which is in Mallowhall. She has also got hot leads on the Armlet of Satos, Tempest and Garvok. The plan moving forward would be to employ Tathel’s Seeker to locate the artifacts and Trace to go directly to them.
Traveling by giant dwarf to Mallowhall, the party was eager to locate Chellan. Tathel cast Seeker, but nothing. Mallowhall was not a big place. Based upon Kyra’s divinations, they were no further than 5 miles from Chellan. A failed Seeker at this range did not bode well for the party.

This did not discourage the party from deciding to travel to the border of Pelevion and Therryn the next day to try the same tactic to look for the Armlet and then onward to Belfield to look for Tempest. 2 days later, the party arrived back in Mallowhall in time for dinner. Kyra divined that Chellan had recently been in the capital building.

Morel decided to investigate the local fighter’s guild and learned that the reigning champion wielded a rapier. There were no distinguished fighters that used a scimitar let alone a distinctive blade like Chellan. He thought he might pass the time waiting for Kyra to work by participating in a few competitions or tournaments, but all of these were booked for months. Just to join the guild was $600 a year that must be paid in advance.

The next day, the party left for Tegas around Azure Ridge to try doing Seeker on Garvok. Travel took the full day and Seeker was unsuccessful . It was then that the party decided to spend a few days in Tegas doing research on the 7 swords.

Each party member did their own thing. Gemma did in depth research on the swords. Red did more research on Magistrate Ebannul who was the most likely person to have the sword and the Mallowhall capital building, the most likely place most likely to find it. Morel went to the job board and found things to keep his interest while the more academic people hung out in the library.

Once the party reformed, Red announced that he needed to make an appointment with Magistrate Ebannul because he believes he is uniquely positioned to help find Chellan. He would be honor bond to do it because it rightfully belonged to the Glanent clan.

According to Red’s history, Dirzaste Torar (Dream Slaver of the Mistresses of Poison) launched a campaign to steal away the wealthy mines controlled by the Delhig clan (Steel Garrison). After a series of raids, Dirzaste Torar and her minions managed to land near fatal blow to their leader, Vongrim (Of the Tunnel Everlasting). The clan was thrown into chaos.

Great, great grandpa Hardin Glanent (Stalwart Blacksmith of the Forgotten Mountain) was serving in Vongrim’s armory at the time. He organized a group to hunt down Dirzaste Torar and her army in retaliation. Hardin killed Dirzaste Torar and claimed her distinctive scimitar as proof of his victory.

The clan was so impressed by his leadership and valor that they made him clan chief despite the fact Vongrim survived his injuries. The scimitar with a dragon tooth hilt and a blade marbled sapphire represents the Glanents claim on the tribe. It’s a family heirloom. It could rally dwarfs to the Glanents and help Red re-establish the clan.

Gemma wondered what happened to Chellan since it was obviously not in the Glanent treasury. Red didn’t have an answer other than no one knows.

Kyra and Tathel didn’t believe Red, but Gemma seemed to be very supportive of his story. None the less, the party agreed to come along with Red as he returned to Mallowhall to present his case to the magistrate.

On the way, a giant Morel nearly splatted a sparrow as he leisurely walked along at 136 MPH. What was odd is that the sparrow made a big loop and was making a great effort towards keeping up with the 80 foot dwarf. Curious, he stopped and the sparrow quickly made its way into the passenger pocket of his shirt and landed on Kyra’s waiting finger. There was a note attached to its leg.

“My aunt and uncle are dead. The mage plague has struck again in Elm’ril and Khatovar. Only 200 are dead, but we should avoid those areas for a few days.”

Magistrate couldn’t be seen until the next day. At the appointed time, Red, Tathel and Gemma went in for the meeting while Kyra waited outside. Morel was entertaining himself by sizing up the guards and taking note of troop deployments and quickest paths out of the city.

Red made his case, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. Magistrate Ebannul claimed to have no knowledge of his sword and was ready to dismiss the party when Red point blank told the man that one of his party had divined that he had the sword. Ebannul continued to claim ignorance, but promised to look through his treasury and report back to them.

The follow up appointment was in 2 days. To pass the time, the party traveled west looking for the Armlet again. If not for the need to be back in time to talk to Ebannul, an attempt would have been made to look for Tempest as well.

That night, Kyra had a secret vision not shared with the group. She did communicate that there might be someone else behind Lady K who was controlling her. This received a less than enthusiastic response from the dwarfs because it changed nothing for them. Gemma and Tathel also paid little attention.

Once back in Mallowhall, Tathel was prepared for the 2nd meeting with Ebannul. It was the night before and he tracked all his movement right up until the meeting. Red and Gemma were the only ones who actually went in to talk to Ebannul.

He was once again unhelpful and it was all Red could do to keep himself cordial. Red thought about beating the information out of him, but changed his mind. Ebannul was next in line to become a member of the Council of 7 which governs Veros. Undoubtedly, he would have spells to Blink or Teleport himself if attacked. Brute force alone would not be a solution here.

On the way out, Red pulled Gemma into an unused conference hall. He told her how important it was to his clan that the sword be recovered and that he just knew all Ebannul needed was an extra set of eyes to look for the sword. He spun a story about how the guards wouldn’t let Ebannul do everything he would like, but an invisible person could easily help out the Magistrate.

It was simply too implausible for Gemma who decided it might not be the Honest thing to do. Red did convince her to try Teleporting to Kyra to let her know the news that Ebannul couldn’t find the sword. She was successful.

Seeming to come up dry everywhere, the party decided to send Tathel and Gemma to look for Tempest using Seeker. To save time, they would teleport directly there and back. Gemma didn’t remember where to Teleport, so Red boosted Tathel’s strength slightly to bring her along.

The trip there was very successful. After an unsuccessful Seeker, the 2 decided to Teleport back individually. Both end up in very odd locations. Tathel found himself on an island made of black glass and Gemma found herself in a jungle filled with hungry looking black birds. Tathel was able to rest and try again to go back to Mallowhall. Gemma was not.

Gemma tried casting a Teleport, but instead caused a tree to explode sending splinters flying. Some of the splinters hurt her, but not seriously. She tries Rapid Journey only to see the trees greatly increase in size. Identifying the trees as the source of her problem, Gemma walks towards the smell of salt expecting to see an ocean.

After a long walk, she finds the edge of the jungle and a great salt desert. She rests there and then tries another Teleport only to find herself along the same path she had just walked to get out of the jungle. Gemma follows the path to the edge of the jungle again and sees a person resting where she had just been a few minutes ago. As she gets closer, she notices the person is a woman who is dressed very similarly to her. Then the woman disappears.

More resting and finally, Gemma gets Lucky with a Teleport and is able to join the others once again.

Teleporting there and back should have been a quick task, but Morel, Red and Kyra decided to play 3 Dragon Anti as the minutes dragged on. After hours, Gemma is still not back and Morel has lost every hand. His temper is short when Gemma finally returns, but he buys her a beer while Red heals her injury from the exploding tree.

The conversation turns to what else can be done to find Chellan. Red is sure that the Magistrate knows more than he is telling. He just wants more actionable intelligence before he confronts him directly. No one else has any idea of what else to try to learn Chellan’s location except wait for Kyra to divine something new.

“Wait for Kyra!? That’s our whole plan!?” Morel complained angrily. “We know someone who can give us information now and I intend to force him to give it to us!”

With that, Morel stormed off in the direction of the Mallowhall capital building. Red pursued him immediately, but his brother was too fast for him to catch.

“He’s a mage, Morel! He’ll simply Blink or Teleport away. Let me do some magical preparation before you go in.”

Morel ignored Red’s cries, so Red began casting Hawk Flight to make up for the difference in ground covered.

For several long seconds, Tathel, Kyra and Gemma seemed content to let Morel wreak whatever havoc he may. Perhaps, it was shock that kept them at the bar dumbfounded. Finally, realization of what was about to happen dawned on them. Morel was about to take on the 20+ guards at the capital building and probably all the other ones in a mile radius as well.

Gemma was the first to act and she teleported directly in front of Morel.

“Morel, stop! You’ll be outnumbered a dozen to 1.”

“Then tell them to get a few more guards to make it a fair fight,” grumbled Morel as he simply walked around her.

Kyra was next to act, she teleported directly to the doorway of the capital building… and fell prone. When she got up, she began casting a spell, but met no resistance from the guards who were a few feet away from her just inside the door.

Tathel decided to come along to see what would happen, but didn’t take any action against Morel or otherwise.

Gemma stayed close to Morel and attempted to stop him using a Levitation spell. Unfortunately for her, Morel’s immense strength combined with magic resistance made her efforts futile.

Then Kyra’s spell took effect, an opaque Force Dome corked the one entrance to the building.
Morel didn’t know what it was, but he was sure that he could punch through the wall next to it if he just had the right tool.

“I need Orchid Malevolence!” Morel called to Gemma who suddenly realized she should start running instead of chasing.

He grabbed and missed then would have had it except Gemma teleported behind him. Morel covered more distance each second than Gemma could, so she supplemented with Blink for an extra 3 yards. Morel knew that magic is slow and that she would be unable to do another Blink before he could throw an ax. If it weren’t for the fact she was a party member, he would have taken off a leg to slow her down.

His unwillingness to injure a party member meant that continued to lose ground and eventually Gemma had the space and time needed to Teleport away.

Boosted by Might, Red flew up to Morel to engage him. Morel had an ax out and easily parried Red’s attempt at grapples. It was a standoff the Morel would eventually lose and he found himself pulled into the air, but unwilling to hurt his brother.

Kyra might have been saving everyone in the capital, but she was not warmly received. The guards demanded her weapons, but eventually let her simply put them on the ground as a sign of being non-hostile. She was sufficiently vague in describing the threat as being “dwarfs”, but that seemed to satisfy the people inside.

Eventually, Morel gave up his intentions to single-handed assault the capital building and the party went back to the inn to discuss strategy.

Morel: “You all must be crazy! It’s obvious Magistrate Ebannul knows where our sword is. Why didn’t you let me get that information?”

Red: “It’s not that simple. The Magistrate is next in line for the Counsel of 7 in Veros. He’s obviously a powerful mage and would simply teleport away as soon as you scared him.”

Morel: “I’d make sure he never got the chance.”

Red: “Somehow I doubt that. If we knew for sure he had it, I’d use magic to stop all Teleporting from that building and we’d both have a talk with him.”

“In all likelihood, he does have the sword. The fact he’s practically in the Counsel of 7 leads me to believe he wants to keep the sword and appoint a champion after he’s officially joined the counsel.”

“In that scenario, he’s unwilling to negotiate with us for the sword and there’s nothing we can do about it without creating powerful enemies.”

Morel: “We’re just going to give up!? Why did we even bother in the first place?”

Red: “Maybe, I’m wrong. Maybe, someone else has Chellan. Kyra, how long will it take you to figure out exactly who we need to negotiate with? I need to spend all my immediate future dedicated to prayer in preparation.”

Morel: “Bah! More waiting! Doesn’t anyone have a real solution to our problem? I think it would be easiest to just beat the information out of the Magistrate.”

Red: “We really can’t do anything else until we know more about where the sword is.”

“What was our other hottest lead? Garvok? Maybe, we should spend some time exploring that area in hopes of learning something.”

“I’d like to visit Lady K. Mallowhall isn’t a very big place. She may be willing to pay simply for that much information.”

“I’m also interested in confronting her about the attack against Corellon’s Radiance. I’m not sure it’s a good idea for Kyra and Tathel to come. Lady K probably knows about your affiliation with Corellon and may not be honest with us if you’re there.”

“Actually, I’m a little concerned for my and Morel’s safety. Tathel, if we get a piece of cloth, string or other easily concealable item, would you be willing to put a Trace on it? If we don’t come back, you’ll at least have an idea of where to look.”

“I’d say cast it on some of our gear except I’d like to have the option to stash it just in case we are taken to a secret area we might want to return to. It would be unfortunate to leave behind valuable equipment if we are either allowed to leave or escape.”

“We can rendezvous in Azure Ridge at 3 or 4 days or so depending upon when we get our appointment and meet by the main gate at dinner time.”

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Vaevictus Asmadi

August 26th, 951 to August 30st, 951

The morning of August 26th, a messenger from Burha came to Kyra. A request was made for Kyra’s party to appear before the noble woman to receive their reward. In the afternoon, Kyra had arranged an appointment for the party to visit the queen, so she told the messenger the party would come by later that morning.

At Burha’s meeting, she explained that her daughter, Thania’s, captivity had come about after she chose to put on a cursed ring. It was the same cursed ring the party found in the room of the necromancer holding her captive. The enchantment caused people to pursue their greatest dream to the exclusion of everything else. It took an unprepared Thania to Pelevion and contributed to her capture.

For the party’s help in her safe return, Burha offered a Wand of Magic Immunity. With a single touch, it allows a user to give 10 to 15 seconds relief from all effects of magic. Should any of the party ever fall victim to a cursed ring like the one that afflicted Thania, the party would be able to remove it. Unfortunately, the specifics of the spell including the name were lost to time and it cannot be recharged. There are 38 charges left. After thanks were expressed, Tathel took possession of the wand.

Queen Ramina was similarly generous in her rewards for the safe return of princess Eleniel and her tutor, Alador. Each person was asked specifically what they would like. The dwarfs asked for help with their problem of finding an ax weapons master to train them. Their problem was further complicated by the need to finish training quickly to continue aiding the queen’s servant, Kyra, in her adventures. The queen pledged to send a message to their allies in Tocora to inquire about a weapons master. Gemma didn’t want compensation, but asked that the queen take her reward and use it to ease the suffering of the poor. Kyra and Tathel refused to let the queen honor them.

It was still early afternoon and the party wanted to start their trip to deliver a message to Vaevictus Asmadi. Before leaving, Morel sold the 10 Leathers and 10 Katanas recovered from the Eleniel visit. Each party member earned $750 from the transaction.

While conducting commerce, Morel went to the jeweler to have a sapphire necklace appraised. It was worth about $6,000. He asked Tathel if he could find the owner of the necklace. In the resulting vision, Tathel saw a rotting body in the cave that the werewolves had laid a trap for them. Morel finally felt he could do something other than hold onto the necklace.

Gemma had recently spent $2000 on an elegant, yellow gown. Morel knew this and decided the sapphire necklace would be put to best use if she would wear it.

“You need a beard and you’re too tall, but this necklace will look good on you. It complements the color of your eyes.”

Kyra informed the party that Vaevictus Asmadi was in Grishings. The party took a druid tree to Veros and then rode the giant version of Morel to Grishings. It was nightfall, so the party found lodging at the Golden Maive. Kyra treated Tathel and Gemma for the night. “Red” and Morel decided to stop by the temple of Kord to do a little brawling and just decided to stay the night.

In the morning, Tathel finds Vaevictus Asmadi using Seeker and Trace. He leads the party a short distance down the road to the home of a wealthy noble’s house. A servant appears when he rings the bell at the gate.

“Who lives here?”

“Lord Kaeto.”

“We would like to see him.”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No.”

“What are your names?”

The group went around introducing themselves.

“What is the nature of your business?”

“We have a message for him from someone who lives South of Gotham.”

“I’ll inquire as to the master’s availability.”

A short while later, the servant returned.

“The master has agreed to see one of you.”

After a brief discussion, it was agreed that Tathel would be best suited to deliver the message because of the Trace he was maintaining on Vaevictus Asmadi.

Inside Lord Kaeto’s office, Tathel was asked to deliver his message.

“My message isn’t for you it’s for the one who’s 40 feet in that direction one floor below us.”

“Why did you ask to see me then?”

“Are you his relative?”

“No.”

“I didn’t want to ask for him by name because his family is very protective. We weren’t sure if you were him and going by a different name. He can change his appearance and it’s hard to be sure. We believe he currently looks like a human.”

“That individual is not currently receiving visitors. I’d be happy to pass along your message.”

“I need to know for sure he gets the message.”

“You can trust me.”

“It’s very important I talk to him directly. The message is from an old friend who lives South of Gotham. They’ve known each other more than 50 years.”

“My guest is under my protection and no one sees him.”

Tathel was seriously contemplating teleporting the short distance to Vaevictus Asmadi, but then thought better of surprising a dragon. After an uncomfortable silence, Lord Kaeto spoke.

“Where are you staying?”

“The Golden Maive.”

“Wait there a day or so. I’ll talk to my guest and let him know you’re there.”

With that, Tathel was escorted off the premises.

A nervous Tathel directed the party back to the Inn. He even requested the dwarfs stay with the rest of the party rather than sleep at the temple of Kord that night. To pass the time, the party started up a game of 3 dragon anti. Gemma always seemed to win, but it didn’t matter because no money was on the table.

Within the 3 hours, a well-dressed gentleman came into the Golden Maive and made his way over to the party’s table. Morel dealt him and the man started talking to Tathel.

“My master has agreed to see you.”

“The best way to avoid attention is if I teleport to him directly.”

“Do you know where to go?”

“Yes.”

“He’s expecting you.”

With that, Tathel excused himself from the table and made his way to the hotel room. Once there, he teleported to the dragon Vaevictus Asmadi.

“Chrysavet sent me to remind you of a debt.”

“My courier will come to you tomorrow at noon with a package for Chrysavet.”

With that the meeting was over and Tathel returned to the Inn.

The next day, the messenger from the day before arrived carrying a satchel. He handed it to Tathel and immediately Tathel teleported to Chrysavet’s woods. When Chrysavet took the satchel, he opened it and took out a vial of dark fluid. Then he replaced it and closed the satchel.

“Is the debt paid?”

“Yes.”

The rest of the party took a little longer to make to the journey. After finishing lunch and losing to Gemma in 3 dragon anti, “Red” cast Enlarge Other on Morel. The party took roughly an hour to make it to the druid tree in Veros. From there it was only a short time before they rejoined Tathel.

Morel was disappointed that the quest was over and he didn’t get to fight a dragon. He asked Chrysavet if he could wrestle a bear, but was denied his request.

Their quest done, the party finally decided to go visit Lady Ky’istara. It was early afternoon when they went back to the druid tree in Veros. It was 4:00 when the giant Morel ended the trek to Ugini. There was just enough time to set up an appointment with Lady K for noon the next day.

At their meeting, Lady Ky’istara was very congenial. By her side was her right hand man, Mizar. She was eager to address any concerns the party might have.

“Tell me again why you want all these artifacts?”

“As I mentioned at the tournament awards ceremony, the mission is to remove dangerous items from circulation. There are many people out there who would use an artifact to hurt others. I want to stop that from happening.

All the artifacts will get stored in my vault safe from the hands of evil men. Of course, some of the artifacts have helpful qualities that would be put to use to the benefit of all."

That was enough convincing for the dwarfs. Each was very happy and eager to sign up after that. Kyra, Tathel and Gemma were very quiet.

“Does anyone else have any concerns?”

After a long pause, Kyra, Tathel and Gemma agreed to work for Lady K.

“I am collecting any kind of artifact, but there are some that are higher priority than others. I’ll give you a list before you leave.

Also, you’ll want to carry these badges when you quest for artifacts. It identifies you as being part of my organization should you ever run across another one of my agents."

After a cordial salutations, the party left Lady K’s manor. When the party was in a secure location, “Red” looked over the list of artifacts.

“Red” to all:
“Have you looked closely at the list of desired artifacts Lady K gave us? (Corellon) Radiance is a top priority! The temple of Corellon was attacked in Estershore back in May!”

Morel:
“It seems Lady K will gather power even if it means hurting good people. I won’t be party to lawless ruffians who prey on anyone too weak to resist!”

“Red”:
“We have solid evidence that Kyra’s suspicions were correct. Lady K is probably the highest authority in Pelevion. Corellon’s influence is weak in that country as well. No wonder she’s so willing to give us this list!”

Morel:
“How angry are you Tathel? I’d be in favor of going back to Ugini and wiping out the whole crew. I’m always in the mood for a fight.”

“Red”:
“What about the Merak? We still don’t have a way to neutralize him….”

“Maybe, there’s a way to strike against her without storming the gates. Didn’t Lady K tell us she stored all the artifacts in a vault? Someone clever enough to find it might be able to liberate her of those artifacts without directly fighting Merak.”

“If we sold her an artifact, Tathel could put a Trace on it. He could lead us right to it.”
“A quick skirmish to get in, we grab the goods and go. We’d need to give it several months to throw suspicion off us and we can continue to get paid the whole time.”

“It might be worthwhile to figure out who has been wronged by Lady K and find out if there are people who would be willing to pay for the artifacts we recover, but don’t want.”

Morel:
“I’m in favor of cherry picking some artifacts for ourselves. The Dragon Stars may prove to be interesting. Any kind of magical mace could prove good for dwarfs.”

“Red”:
“I’m more interested in the Orb of Answers. Imagine the kinds of information we could learn about Lady K and her vault. It could mean the difference between life and death.”

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