Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Session #26: Epilog?

{What follows is a slightly embellished version of the actual game; or, how the dialog would have gone if I'd been better prepared.  Nothing has been altered enough to change the course of events set out by the players, but I have taken the opportunity to flesh out some of the dialogs and descriptions.  I showed up to the game prepared to run a nice dungeon crawl... I figured that since we have a brand new player who's never played table top RPG we should keep things as simple as we can.  She's playing a warrior, because the party needs one and it'll help her learn about the combat system.   ... But what do I know...  I'm just the storyteller... ;)  }

{Game clock resumes, but is rolled back to 3:00pm 04/14/3200}
The fighting at the entrance of the tomb of Arden Brightheart was intense; and was concluded as quickly as it had started.  After the initial frenzy and turmoil of getting up the hill and dealing with the orc patrol everything had been calm and peaceful for the couple of hours that they’d been holed up in here.  They’d followed Sir Dwight’s orders to secure the entrance by unloading all the equipment into the temple and pushing the button to make the kart fold down into a manageable crate that they also carried into the temple, but the regular wagons were too large to fit and still leave room for the troops to fight.  The wagons had been used to create a barrier 10ft in front of the temple entrance to prevent anything from charging up the road after them, but still left them enough room for the doors to be shut… unfortunately they opened outwards.  The temple had never been meant as a stronghold, the huge brass and wooden doors were decorative and meant to display the bas relief images of Arden and his band of heroes engaged in their final battle with the Dread Watcher: and these images weren’t doing anything to improve morale.

Everyone with any skill at a bow or cross bow had been set to guard the entrance along with Ethel one of the three clerics of Elyr that were part of the company and one of the wizardly Daryl brothers.  There were also two steam knights who were nearest to the front, each armed with a shoulder mounted, auto-loading pellet cannon.  The wizard and Ethel were also near the front, and that is what had caused their doom.  Wysera, one of the many refugees traveling from Silverton with Dwight and company, had chosen to sign on with this unit rather than get schlepped off to the front lines.  With a personality that could scare an ogre {personality score of 4} Wysera was at her customary station at the back of the crowd tending to the mules when the trolls had attacked.  Several of the trolls pounced upon the few warriors at the front as they dropped down from somewhere above the entrance.

Wysera had grabbed her bow and managed to avoid the stampeding mules; she even fired off several arrows along with everyone else; but to little avail.  The troll’s healed up nearly as fast as they were damaged.  Then there were fan-shaped jets of flame spraying from the hands of the wizard into the ranks of the trolls.  One troll caught fire and panicked… charging past the steam knights into the ranks of the warriors and flailing about in a blind frenzy of flames.  Ethel dashed forward to try and heal some of the horribly burned and maimed warriors at the front.  Unfortunately she was as known to be extremely clumsy. {Agility of 5} Ethel tripped and fell into the wizard as he was casting the flame spell again; causing him to fall and twist such that his spell caught one of the steam knights at close range.

The problem with steam gear is that it is extremely fragile in the face of magic.  The water in the tanks on the knight’s back flashed instantly into steam and over pressurized the system.  It detonated with sufficient force to cause the other steam knight to explode as well.  The combined energies of the blasts ripped through the wizard, Ethel, and most of the warriors and collapsed the tunnel under several tons of rock.

Wysera stumbled backwards away from the rubble and dead bodies and notices that there is dusty daylight shining through at the very top of the pile.  At least they weren’t totally sealed in, she ran back into the temple to look for her commander.  Passing the entrance to the grotto full of water she sees Bellina, her chicken which had become the company mascot, came trotting out to greet her.  Bellina had recently had a bath and was looking every bit the blue ribbon pullet.  Wysera; “At least you made it.”

She had found the hen half-starved and wandering about the town of Silverton when the refugees had been out scavenging for any remaining food.  Wysera had been a farmer for most of her life, and she knew prize winning poultry when she saw it, half-starved or not.  She’d managed to capture it and add it to the general stocks that they all had gathered for their trek eastward to Vaqueria.  Fortunately for Bellina, the Gods had been in a charitable mood, and their clerics had managed to supply enough food to the travelers with their magic bento box; so that it hadn’t been necessary to eat the hen.  Hearn even healed it in the hopes that she would supply the troop with eggs, but it hadn’t worked and when the magic box turned to ash half way to the city, Wysera had even considered serving Bellina to the party… after all, she’d grown to the size of a good sized turkey by then.

Fortunately the foragers and hunters had brought enough food to sustain them and the Gods began to answer the prayers of the clerics.  The food had been lack-luster but nutritious all the way to the army camp and both of them, beyond all odds, had ended up here.  Wysera had gone from farmer to fighter saving the world in three exceptionally terrifying months; a large portion of which had been spent in the form of a rat wandering a deserted city.  She followed the largest hallway as she scuttled along following the signs of the mule stampede and doing her best to avoid mule clods; there was light up ahead.  She rounded the corner to see a huge set of double doors that had been bashed open to reveal the grand mausoleum beyond the threshold.  Four of the mules had died as they’d crashed blindly into the door in the darkness and then been trampled by the rest of the herd.  Several of the survivors could be heard braying, their calls echoing though the gargantuan stone room, lending a surreal quality to the scene before her.

Her commander was now an alabaster statue locked in eternal victory over the Dread Watcher, the cleric of Ormazd that was her second in command was staggering and swaying with his face scrunched up in pain.  Hearn was taking a couple of steps towards the statues yelling to Thingerlun; “Is he dead?!” And then Hearne stumbles and falls into a coma; as does Nanda the junior cleric of Elyr the Healer.  Thingerlun hadn’t seen or heard any of this: he’d gone to the remains of the fallen ogre magi and then inexplicably turned into a knuckle dragging heavy browed Neanderthal, grunting and pounding upon his breast. 

Bob; “Oh great!  He’s gone and cast Cantrip again!”

Less than a minute later, Thingerlun reverts to his normal creepy self and tucks something into his backpack.  He continues on as if nothing had ever happened; “Well, if he’s alive then there is an easy way to find out.  He wanders over to the statue upon the dais and casts his ESP spell, closes his eyes and puts his hand upon the alabaster statue of Dwight.  Lex and Bob stare at the woman in bull hide armor dwarfed by the size of the door and half-panicked as she stood there with the Company’s chicken clucking and scratching near the remains of the mules.  The moment drags out for a few dozen heart beats and the newcomer, whom they vaguely recognized as one of the refugees from Silverton, says in a shrill voice that could cut glass; “We’re sealed in!  Mostly, anyway, and I thought you should know that everyone else is dead.”  More stunned silence and then she follows up with; “There were trolls.  When the wizard tried to burn’em he accidentally set of a huge explosion.”

Bob “WHAT!?”

Lex at the same time; “Start from the beginning.”  And after a few minutes of questioning her on the details they get a fairly accurate report of what had happened as they are trying to tend to Milo, Hearn, and Nanda.  Wysera concludes in an annoyed voice; “And will you look at what all of this has done to my boots!”  The gnome is making a valiant effort to gather up the mules, but they are nearly 20 times his size and this is rendering his efforts into a comedic performance of choreographed futility.  Bob helps with that while Lex pours some healing potion into Hearn’s mouth, but it has no effect.

Wysera; “Are there any other ways out of this place?”

Lex; “Don’t know, check the map… it’s around here somewhere.”

Wysera wanders around and alternately helps Bob, and searches until she spots it on the floor by the entrance to the Tomb of the Faithful.  It’s a bit charred on the edges and stained in places with substances best left to mystery.  “Got it.”  She calls out to no one in particular as she wanders back to the group examining the map.  “It doesn’t look like it… Damn we’re going to have to dig our way out.”

Lex; “Not necessarily, we found a secret passage that isn’t on the map.  There may be others.”
Wysera, cheering up a bit; “That sounds promising.  Maybe we should look around some more?”
Lex turns to Bob; “Can you keep an eye on things here while she and I go scout the rest of the tomb?”

Bob nods his head in the affirmative; and Wysera and Lex Anne set off through the Tomb of the Faithful and the secret tunnel back to the store room, giving each a thorough search along the way but finding nothing of interest.  They head back through the grotto and into the tomb of the cowardly cleric and give it a good search, there are still several volumes on the shelves that they haven’t looked through, but a brief review shows that they are mostly daily ledgers concerning the state of the temple’s finances and grain stores.  There are no secret doors in here either.  They leave and wander back to the entrance and Lex can see that there is indeed a small gap at the top of the rubble, but she refuses to get very close.  It is obvious that there will need to be some heavy labor to open up a passage wide enough even for people, let alone a bunch of terrified mules.

This was a bad situation indeed, but after they searched through the sacred shrine with the faux Dread Watcher again even Lex was starting to panic.  Other than Brightheart’s Tomb there was only one other room left to search, and if they found no secret doors there, then they would likely be here for a month or more excavating the main entrance.  The door for this last room was locked, but yielded to Lex Anne’s expert touch.  Opening the door revealed several things all at once: as the map had indicated, this was the chapel set aside for the common folk so that the rich and well to do wouldn’t have to suffer the stink of poverty.  It was a crudely cut chamber about 40ft across and a little wider that had 3 rows of uncomfortable looking wooden pews set up with a central aisle bisecting them and leading from the door to the sepulcher raised up upon a dais at the front of the room.  The room was lit in the same manner as the rest of the tomb, and had magical crystal sconces at intervals, but the light in this new chapel was muted and left Lex and Wysera feeling chilled.  That is when they saw a jet black shadow with glowing red eyes raising out of the coffin and flying towards them.  Lex slammed the door and they ran for it back to the Grand Hall to find that everyone except Hearn and Nanda had recovered.

{I had sent out emails to Thingerlun’s and Milo’s players with the following text for them to read so that I’d have some extra time to work with our new player and help her get up to speed on everything that was happening around her while they were reading them and deciding how their characters were going to respond.}

What Thingerlun actually tells everyone is; “Yah. He’s alive… after a fashion.  He’s on guard duty for the next 1000 years or so.”

{Milo’s Player finishes reading the email; “Did I kill my God?”

Storyteller; “No… just a flesh wound with consequences; Elyr is actively working to save his life.”

Player; “Glad I asked permission first…”

Storyteller; “He knew it was coming, he was the God of Prophesies and Scrying.”

Player; “Who am I supposed to save?”

Storyteller; “Shul is the Moon Goddess.  You also lose Milo’s aura of light, and the spell Second Sight no longer exists; neither do any other such spells or devices.  The Lord of Prophesy has lost his Sight.”}

Milo tells everyone; “Ormazd is gravely wounded and the Gods have rallied to his aid.  I think that’s why Hearn and Nanda are unconscious.  Elyr has drawn in all of her power to heal my Lord Ormazd.”  This is when everyone else notices that Milo’s aura of light is gone.

Bob has only been half listening to all of this and is lamenting the fact that there was little if any treasure to be had in this austere tomb when he notices something shiny.  He immediately slinks over to the sight where the ogre magi had been slain and sees that all that is left are the few tatters of robes that Tarkan had worn.  Mixed in with this are some magenta crystals that are visibly getting larger, as well as a scattering of maroon dust.  “Hey Lex!  You might want to see this.”

She wanders over and takes a good look, as does Thingerlun.  Between the knowledge she had gathered about her target, and Thingerlun’s arcane knowledge they determine that Tarkan Khurzog had called Krelvax the Weaver as his Patron.  Very little is known about this powerful demon banished into the fractured realms of the outer darkness; beyond even the lowest levels of the demonic realms of the Great Abyss.  It is theorized that when its disciples are defeated in battle they take on a new forms that can continue to serve the demon’s will.  Without thinking, planning, or permission Milo goes over to Hearn and rummages in her backpack.  Pulling out the wand she’d mentioned to him he determines that it will cast the Sanctify spell.  The spell is beyond his power, but he uses it anyway… targeting the growing crystals.  The room is filled with the crackle of barely controlled divine energy washing over them like storm driven ocean serf and they find themselves falling through the great purple void.  They realize it’s the space between spaces just as they slam roughly back into the real world.  They know that somehow they’ve been teleported again, but this time they hadn’t much say in the destination.


There is an odd odor in the air that no one but Lex Anne recognizes.  It was made up of rank mud, dry sand, and a metallic salty flair that invaded the nostrils like a barbarian horde.  The smell grabbed hold of their attention and dragged it kicking and screaming in a vaguely eastward direction.

Bob; “Ugh!! What is that stench?!”

Lex; “The Lirean Sea!  Welcome to the beach my friends.”

Wysera; “I don’t see any water…”

Thingerlun; “That’s because it is, was April and the tide is still on its way out.  Leaves behind a lot of mud and stagnant brine pools; but I’ve never been this close.”

Lex; “Yah, it’s the ocean alright, but the sun is nearly directly overhead and it’s a lot hotter.  I think we might be in the southern hemisphere…” which is followed by a chorus of groans from everyone else.  Lex keeps searching the grassy savannah around them in all the other directions.  There were no mountains on the horizons, but they might get lost in the heat haze.  Nothing but green grass and the occasional Acacia tree or stand of oaks as far as the eye could see to the north, west, and south.  Completely frustrated by the lack of landmarks she says to everyone; “You all go find us a place to camp, I’m going to scout around a bit and see if I can find out where we are.  I’ll catch up with you in a little while.”

Wysera is surprised to see Lex wink out of sight; “Where’d she go?!”

Bob; “Oh she does that now and then, but she’ll be back.”  And they all set out for the nearest copse 
of oaks because there was no point in searching for water at this time of the year most of the smaller rivers and streams had dried up or were naught but a muddy rill of filthy muck.  At this point one set of trees was as good as any of the others as long as it was large enough for everyone. Bob continues with; “Hey Milo, what day is it?  I’d have thought it was a bit closer to evening when we… traveled?”

Milo starts to say, but pauses and has to think really hard about this.  In the end he admits defeat, and the fact that he doesn’t know seems to unsettle everyone deeply; especially Milo.  Hearn is groggy but awake; “Where are we now?”  Everyone turns to her and helps her get to her feet; that’s when they notice that Nanda, the gnome, nor any of the mules had made the trip with them.  They were stuck with only what they have in their backpacks.  Wysera looks around and is reassured to see Bellina scratching happily and eating bugs and such. Sythrixis turns invisible and they hear and feel him take off, presumably to do the same thing as Lex.  Wysera looks up to the sky and sees that the Ring of Valdreth has grown only slightly, but she is fairly certain that at least a couple of days have passed.  She shivers because she knows that it was getting near to sunset when the trolls attacked and now it was high noon.

It was cool and the air was crisp at 2000ft, there were no clouds in the sky and Lex could see for miles in any direction.  There was nothing but the rustle of wind as it whipped at her veil and hat on its way passed.  She could clearly make out the Lirean Sea to the south east and heavy on the horizon to the north were the heavy black roils of smoke from several massive forest fires.  She vaguely recalled one of the officers lamenting into his ale about how the Farahn Forest had been set ablaze by the Scourge.  Lex still wasn’t so sure about where they are, but she was coming to realize that they might not be as far from the temple as she’d originally thought.  She spends some time reveling in the freedom to zoom about without all that oppressive rock and earth trapping her anymore and then dives back to the strand of oaks that everyone was heading towards.

Lex landed a few minutes before Sythrixis lands with a large snake that he has killed for his lunch.  Hearn casts Holy Sanctuary upon the clearing at the center of the trees and they all rest for the first time in what seems like days.  Lex borrows some parchment from Thingerlun and makes a cone out of it, then fills it with some of their precious water and watches as she lets it trickle out the bottom of the funnel.  The water starts to swirl and she declares; “OK!  I was wrong, we are still in the northern hemisphere and I suspect we are about 500 miles southeast of the Tomb of Arden Brightheart.”
Little did they realize that they were being watched…


The sun was setting on these wayward travelers and they were beginning to settle in for the night, Thingerlun had barely spoken to anyone, and had eaten his rations as fast as possible so that he could get back to studying the new spell book he’d acquired with such great care.  He’d managed to notice the fact that the spell book of Tarkan Khurzog was soaking wet, and most importantly that both the water-barer goblin and its master had died of poisoning in a puddle of foul smelling water.  These observations had saved his life… his only recourse had been to use his hated Cantrip spell to dry off the tome and lift it to the safety of his backpack.  It was fascinating reading and most informative upon a great many forbidden subjects.  While some of its spells had been lost to water damage, several powerful spells had survived and one of them is the Plane Walk spell.  Thingerlun devotes the next three days to trying to learn this spell.

The ogres that had been slowly creeping on their bellies through the tall grass finally got close enough to use their limited teleportation ability to surprise the party of strangers who had conveniently settled in the ogre’s territory.  The ogres had managed to coordinate their appearance so that the four of them were attacking from all sides of the campfire; unfortunately the ogres failed to realize that these were such powerful travelers.  The ogre’s clubs fail to even come close to their targets.  Sythrixis moves the 10ft necessary to line up his shot with a casual listlessness and then belches out a clotted spray of acid that instantly dissolves two of the ogres.  Wysera had her bow in hand because she’d drawn the first watch and fired off an arrow at another ogre.  The damage was insignificant and mostly just annoyed the ogre. 

Lex disappears as she launches into the air to get above the last ogre and announces her presence with an arrow; catching the ogre completely unaware.  {As a thief and assassin she knows how to maximize her damage by striking something critical.  Her racial heritage gives her access to ‘critical table F’ from Critters, Creatures, and Denizens…  The fey magic inherent in Lex Anne can be channeled through any weapon she wields.}  Her arrow strikes the target and the ogre is instantly teleported 100ft into the air and 30ft away from the place where it had been standing.  The fall is loud and messy because the ogre is too dumb and surprised to use his own ability to save him.  Hearn readies her healing kit and prepares to dive into action if she’s needed while Milo has to circumnavigate the campfire to get to the remaining ogre.  Bob throws his magic dagger but misses his target.

Sythrixis wanders over to the puddles of ogre and thinks to Thingerlun’s mind; Ah! A soup course!  How thoughtful! And he starts eating noisily.  The last ogre dies by Wysera’s mighty deed; for contrary to popular belief, an ogre is just as susceptible to death as any other living creature that has had a cloth yard arrow staple its ears together via its brain. {MDoA= “put an arrow in one ear and out the other” and rolled a 6 on her deed die} Sythrixis and the others drag the bodies off as far as they can and then clean up the camp ground.  As luck would have it, the rest of their time passes un-eventfully, and they take the time to heal and strategize.  At one point on day 2 Thingerlun says loudly and in an irritated voice; “What a BITCH!” but fails to answer anyone’s questions.

At noon on the third day, Thingerlun draws a 40ft circle and set out all of the proper runes and sigils in their places and then turns to everyone; “This may not work.” To the stunned looks and puzzles faces he continues; “I don’t know if I can summon the power to send all of us to our destination at the same time.  It is theoretically possible, but very difficult for one wizard to transport this many living creatures.  The real question is where to go, I was thinking about things: and I’m wondering if we shouldn’t head back to the Temple of Thormyr and do our best to secure the sight so no one can gain access to the Sword of Conviction or free the Dread Watcher and start this all over again.” 
Hearn; “That sounds like a good idea…”  She seems quite keen on getting back to the temple.
Lex; “Maybe, but wouldn’t it be better to head back to the main army camp where we started and get help?”

Everyone looks at her and Thingerlun says; “Of course!  What was I thinking… you’re right we should report back and get help at once!”  Thingerlun calls upon the power of his Patron Aristemis, not asking for anything in particular, but simply because the side effect of casting that spell allows Thingerlun a peculiar clarity of thought that boosts his casting ability significantly.  {He managed a 27} The spell is sufficient to take them where they want to go, but Thingerlun fails to remember that the army camp is warded and protected against such intrusions and he said he said ‘in the camp’ when naming the targeting coordinates for the spell.  Their rapid and rough trip through the purple space between spaces leaves them all feeling dizzy for a while. 

They slowly notice that they are not where they were supposed to be, but they weren’t where they started either.  They were nestled in a small rocky valley formed by tumbled rocks, dirt and stunted bushes.  There was an intricate doorway of massive proportions set into the southern wall of the little vale off to their right.  Lex Anne goes airborne again to try and figure out where they’ve gone off to this time.  Bob wanders over to the door while everyone else starts to pester Thingerlun about what went wrong.  Upon inspecting the doors he notes that they are about 10ft square, but the craftsman that made these doors hadn’t been content with bisecting the doors once from top to bottom at the midpoint, no.  The designer of this massive iron and steel portal had cut the doors on both diagonals to create four triangular doors.  This mad craftsman hadn’t even been content with strait cuts, no, this person had cut the doors to create interlocking ‘teeth-like’ edges to the doors that meshed up all snug and flush when it was closed up.

There were four door knobs, one for each door panel positioned at the point farthest from the hinges on each side of the door.  They were clustered in a loose diamond pattern at the center of the door.  They weren’t particularly difficult to reach, but they would be difficult to manipulate all at once.  “And that’s when something awful usually happens.”  Bob thinks about it for a moment, but then turns to walk away muttering something to himself about ‘strange’ doors lying around in foreboding and forgotten ditches… It was years of ditch digging instinct that saved him.  When your life is spent digging ditches there is a primal part of the brain that is always wary of a cave in… and Bob ad developed this paranoia into an art form by now. 

As Bob shifted his weight to walk away, the door did something quite uncharacteristic for a door.  It attacked him.  Specifically, the triangular, toothy doors of steel and iron opened of their own accord and tried to bite him: the mass of the doors creating a resounding and hollow cascade of sound as they closed upon nothing but air.  It was like the striking of a temple’s gong.  Bob instinctively dove for cover as far from the doors as possible and rolled to safety; landing near the party.
Hearn (exasperated); “Bob… Must we go through this?”

Bob; “But there is a huge treasure in there, I saw it while the doors were snarling at me!” Wysera and 

Milo grab him by the arms as he starts to walk back to the door digging for his tools.

Bob; “Hey!  B-but… TREASURE!!!”  And he has to be dragged off by the others as they climb out of the tiny valley at its shallower northern edge.  Lex is waiting for them and says; “I’m still not sure where we are, but that forest fire is further away and more to the west of where we were before Thingerlun bounced us here.  That hurt by the way… do we know how to correct for it the next time?”

Thingerlun shuffles his feet a bit and has the decency to blush; “Um… yah.  Sorry about that.  Won’t happen again… at least I think it won’t.  Next time I’ll set the target location for somewhere just outside the camp.  That should solve the problem.”

Milo to Thingerlun; “Do you need to rest before trying that again?  Should we find some place to camp?”

Bob (excitedly); “Yes.  We should camp here.  Definitely.”

Everyone looks to Thingerlun for his thoughts and he says; “No problem, we just need to find a flat space large enough to trace out the 40ft circle.  They drag Bob away from the mysterious valley under his strenuous protestations; “But I saw treasure in there!”  His complaints fell on deaf ears, because as scary as those doors are… no one is keen on meeting whoever… or whatever made them.  This time when Thingerlun announces that he is ready to cast; Milo and Hearn cast a blessing upon him in hopes that the Gods would deliver everyone safely to their destination.

Thingerlun; “All set? Everyone keep your arms, legs, and other appendages inside the circle at all times during transit… next stop 100 yards outside of the military camp, on the western side.” He cast the spell {28} and they arrive exactly where he had envisioned.  He turns to everyone else as he is pulling a roll of parchment out of his pocket; “I found this tucked away at the back of the ogre magi’s spell book.  It’s important that once we get in there we all stay together.  As best we can anyway.” He hands the letter to Bob who scans the broken seal and the contents and hands it off to Milo.  Everyone else sort of crowds around him and reads along over his shoulder.  A few moments later everyone is cursing and swearing in various colorful ways.  Thingerlun continues; “That’s what I thought when I read it… that there is proof that Lady Moritannia, the Imperial Regent, is supplying information on troop movements and strengths to the enemy!”

Lex; “Wonderful.  Who are we going to tell?  No one is going to take our word for it!”

Milo; “We go find a cleric of Justica and confess everything to her.  The Aura of Truth will prove our claim.”  Everyone agrees this is their best option and that sticking together is in fact a good idea.  Together they wander off towards the perimeter of the camp, knowing that they will be intercepted by the camp guards.  They are on the side of the camp where the road from Silverton enters the camp and have a good view of the train leaving for the front lines.  It has 7 crew cars full of troops and their equipment and it takes two engines pulling at the front to get it rolling.  As the party is being stopped by the guards, they hear the massive motors of the engines throttle up under the strain of trying to get the train moving, even with the assistance of the road itself it took the train several agonizing moments to creep forward a few feet.


Thingerlun and the rest step forward with their hands out palms up showing they have no weapons… and then Sythrixis lands next to Thingerlun and becomes visible again.  Thingerlun says; “We’re back and we need to deliver our reports.”

Guard, recognizing the dragon and who these folk must be says; “Oh.  It’s you guys… we figured you were dead.  So, yah… I ‘spect someone’ll want to be talking to you about what went wrong.”
Everyone seems concerned; that’s when they take another look around and realize that the camp is a scene of dreary and desperate people fighting off hopelessness.  Everywhere can be heard the screams of the dying and those who wished that they hadn’t survived.  Everywhere warriors huddled close about their fires and passed bottles around, but nowhere do the fires burn brightest than at the crematoria at the Temple of Soleth.  This is when Bob notices that the lead engine of the train is familiar; “Hey, that’s Archie!  We need to stop that train!”  And he starts to run after it, completely ignoring the guard; who starts yelling and running after Bob.

Thingerlun nods his head to Sythrixis, who turns invisible and can be heard to fly off.  A few moments later Bob disappears and the guard (and everyone else in the party) looks puzzled.  Thingerlun then whispers; “I asked the dragon to fly Bob over to the train.”

Wysera; “But why stop the train?”

Hearn, working things out; “That makes sense!  If the enemy already knows the schedule of the troop movements, then that train and any others will be rolling into ambushes.”
Thingerlun; “Yah, that’s kinda what I figured that’s why I send Syth over to help.  Bob’ll never run down that train on his own before someone catches him.”


Bob is momentarily panicked by the sensation of being lifted in to the air.  He looks up and can see Thingerlun’s purple pet, wings spread and flapping hard; this doesn’t reassure him as much as he thought it might.  Before Bob can reflect much upon any of this, he must tuck and roll through his landing as the dragon releases him just above the engineering deck of Archie’s engine.  This causes Bob to just suddenly appear standing up right next to Archie, who has all of his concentration devoted to watching pressure gauges, throwing levers, and spinning the dials on the panels in front of him.

Bob, with a big smile and having to yell to overcome the noise; “HEY Archie!  You need to stop the train!”

Archie panics and in his fright throws several levers at once and the train starts to veer wildly to their left.

Everyone in the party and the camp in general are surprised as the lead engine veers wildly to one side causing the next engine to dive in the opposite direction… the resulting collision totaled the second engine as the passenger cars collided with the now stationary locomotives; and then into each other.  It was like watching an accordion in slow motion as the animating magic from the roads continued to force the passenger cars together.  There are screams of pain and panic coming from within the wreckage as several gnomes rush forward and shatter the wheels of any carts that are still mobile to stop them from further crushing the passengers.


Bob, sheepishly; “Trying to stop you from going to the front…”

Archie; “By destroying the train and killing who knows how many people in the process?!”

Bob; “Well, no, not like that, but…”  

A Cleric of Thormyr had been first on the scene as had several guardsmen, and the cleric had climbed quickly to the engineer’s deck to find out what had happened.

Archie, panicking; “It was HIM!” Pointing at Bob, “He’s the one that just popped up there and startled me!  How would you react if someone you thought was dead just sprang out of thin air?!”   
But Bob had pulled a vanishing trick {Natural 20 plus thief bonuses…} and disappeared behind an open door panel to the interior of the engine.

The Cleric of Thormyr looks, sees, nothing and starts in on Archie again, threatening him with all manner of things as he is binding Archie’s hands to take him into custody.  Archie is pleading with the Cleric that it wasn’t his fault when Bob finally gives in to his conscience and re appears from hiding; “Let him go, he’s telling the truth.  It wasn’t his fault.  I’m the one that startled him and caused the accident.”

The cleric is surprised, but recovers quickly; “JUST WHO ARE YOU & WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!  You’ll be coming with me to answer a few questions!”

Bob whips around and stands on his tiptoes so that he is level with the clerics chin… “NO!  YOU’LL BE COMEING WITH ME SO THAT I CAN TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!” and proceeded to stare down the cleric; who eventually blinked first.  {5th level Thief intimidating a 4th level NPC cleric… priceless…}

Cleric; “Fine.  After you.”

Bob; “No, after you.  You need to run and fetch us some clerics of Justica and Gorhan and meet us back here as fast as you can.  Off with you!” 

The cleric climbed back down and shouted at the guards and sent them scurrying of on the necessary errands, but stayed close to watch as the rest of the party move to the train.  The clerics of several orders assisted servants and soldiers as they worked to extricate the trapped and the wounded.  Several gnomes run up to Archie and Bob screaming angrily; “What is the meaning of this, this is intolerable!  There are at least 27 seriously injured, and 9 confirmed dead Archibald Springbolt! There will be a tribunal and you’ll be demoted to Shepard for this debacle!”  

These gnomes, who are dressed in gold trimmed robes and seem to be important, turn to Bob; “AND WHO ARE YOU!  You think you can just pop around where ever you like! You’ll do time for this, 9 dead so far and we can’t even find out the damages to valuable Guild property!”

Bob; “The 9 dead are regrettable, but everyone else should be thankful.  I’ve just saved their lives and saved all of this valuable Guild property from behind lost behind enemy lines!”  He then fishes around in the pouch at his belt and tosses out a couple of walnut sized diamonds, “You can bill me for the rest; now shove off!”  Makes sweeping gestures with his hands, “Go on!”  And then he turns to start talking to a very bewildered Archie, filling him in on what was really going on.  The expressions on the gnomes faces are caught in conflicting bouts of rage as they can’t figure out which is more insulting, being treated as common servants to be bought off or being dismissed like beggars in the street.  They take the money and go, but they glare balefully at Bob as they go back to overseeing the rescue and recovery.

Within about 15 minutes the party was back together again and there were two clerics of Justica along with their husbands, which are clerics of Gorhan attending to the reports of the returning heroes.  The cleric of Thormyr that Bob had bullied was also in attendance hoping to be given word that these newcomers were to be incarcerated.  It was obvious from the looks he was giving them that he was also hoping the ‘heroes’ would resist being arrested.  Before Thingerlun or anyone could get started, the senior cleric of Justica, a woman with long grey hair and several frills and ruffles to her robes denoting some significant rank tells them the following as she sweeps her blind eyes across all of them:

“We know who you are and the mission upon which you embarked.  You should know that the mobile fortresses Gorhan’s Fury and The Sable Tower have both been lost to the enemy.  Both lost 3 days ago when their holy enchantments were interrupted and they were last reported to have crash landed.  The last reliable report from Arval city says that the orc horde has overrun the survivors of the demise of Gorhan’s Fury.  Less is known of the fate of The Sable Tower.  It went down somewhere east of Longdale and was last reported to be under heavy siege.  Both fronts are reporting heavy losses and the orcs seem to know our every move.  We had hoped that you’d simply failed and that the Dread Watcher was in the hands of our enemy; but your return forces us to ask the question: Have any of you betrayed the Empire to the enemy?!  Answer now only the truth and be saved.”  She then points to everyone in turn and the cleric seems both relieved and puzzled when everyone answers truthfully that they hadn’t been treacherous.

The junior cleric of Gorhan speaks into the growing silence; “Then you must have failed to destroy the Dread Watcher?”

Milo; “No!  We succeeded!  The Dread Watcher has been imprisoned once again.” 

Thingerlun then proceeds to tell them everything. 

{Storyteller; “Everything…”

Player; “Yes, the prophesies, the visions: all of it, but the abbreviated versions trying to keep things quick before any of the Lords or Nobility shows up.”}

Then Thingerlun hands over the letter; “It’s signed by her!  The seal was already broken when I found it.”

Lex had been taking advantage of everyone’s distraction to send out some ‘Thief’s Kant’ signals into the crowd.  She succeeds at setting up a meeting for later at the Bent Wand over in the wizard’s section of the camp.  While she is doing this she notices the entourage of lords heading towards them and Fades away into the shadows and turns invisible.  Lex gives Milo warning of this by whispering in his ear; “Times up, nobles approaching.”  She then drifts out and hovers over the crowd searching for anyone who might be spying on them.

The lead cleric of Justica says loudly; “Go and make yourselves presentable you will likely be questioned later.” Then more quietly, “You must leave this document with us… it would not be safe for any of you to be found with it.”

Thingerlun; “Can we trust that you aren’t mixed up in any of these plots?”

The clerics of Gorhan both bristle at this; they’d been looking like they were on the verge of going berserk ever since they read the letter to their ecclesiastic counterparts.  The elder cleric of Justica lifts her hand ever so slightly and the angry clerics immediately calm down.  She says quickly and quietly; “Be calmed Bertram, they have a right to ask and are wise to do so in the presence of Divine Truth.  Yes, we may all be trusted and none of us have plans to betray you: but one document, no matter how damning will not make this case.  You are dismissed for now, but must remain within the camp.  There will be further questions.”

They are walking away as the clerics of Justica, Gorhan, and Thormyr are turning to occupy the attention of the procession of lords.  Lex’s voice issues from above them somewhere; “We should head to the Bent Wand, I’m fairly certain that we won’t be bothered there… but we will have to drink with Wizards.”  And Grins as Thingerlun squawks with indignation until he figures out that she’s joking.  As they head out, Lex and Bob both take care to check and see if anyone is following them.  Lex spots a middle aged nobleman wandering through the crowds trying to follow them unobtrusively; it is obvious that even though he is skilled, the gentleman still isn’t very good at this.  She reaches into a pouch at her belt and retrieves her ‘special’ lip gloss and drifts down and kisses the nobleman ever so gently upon his lips.

Bob isn’t having any luck with his surveillance, but he does spot the nobleman who suddenly collapses into the suddenly visible and waiting arms of Lex Anne.  Who is saying in a loud and jovial voice; “What ho My Lord?  I thought you could handle your ale better than this goods Sir.” And she half carries, half drags the poor fellow along behind the rest of the adventurers as they make their way through the camp to the tent- tavern known as the Bent Wand.  15minutes later they are commandeering a table for all of them as Lex wanders over to a nondescript fellow sitting at the bar.
The Bent Wand was a brilliant idea put into practice by a wizardly couple known only as Theoffrey & Ceychelle.  It was a simple affair of 10ft poles holding aloft an intricately wrote tarpaulin made several bound layers of heavy ivory satin and muslin underneath a heavy patchwork leather ‘roof’ that covered a 50ft by 60ft area centered on a bar and grill of gnomish construction.  Furthermore someone had decided to embroider the satin with vibrant needlepoint that depicted young men and women engaged in various levels of debauchery.  The stroke of brilliance had been in the fact that the wizardly couple had realized that even wizards need a place where they can kick back and quaff a few ales in peace; so they had placed a powerful enchantment that nullified all magic within 10ft of the tavern upon the quilted tent cover. 

Bereft of the ability to warp reality around their index fingers, most wizards are revealed to be the 90 pound asthmatics and book worms that they truly are under all those robes and cloaks.  As a result, there’d never been anything more than a blistering verbal jibe sizzling through the air of the tent.  As it turned out, all of this made it an exceptionally good place for others to do business with wizards and others who didn’t want to be noticed.  It helped that the food and ale were superb.  Lex flagged the barman for a pint of house ale as she sat at the bar next to someone dressed as a pig herder; she casually tosses down a ruby laden medallion on a long, heavy gold chain in front of him saying; “I claim the bounty on Tarkan Khurzog.” 

The faintly odiferous fellow took a sip from his mug and tried to mater his irritation; “That isn’t all you proof is it?  If so; you’re wasting my time.”

Lex; “You were one of the few people close enough to hear the report we gave to the clerics, so you know the truth of it… and then there is this.” She briefly flashes the vial full of the crystalline remains of the ogre mage so that the pig herder can see it.  Lex puts her Imperial ID on the counter and slides it over to him; “You can put it on this account.”

He takes another sip of his drink and is trying very hard not to gnash his teeth; “Very well.”  The man then pulls out his own ID and briefly touches it to hers and then he grabs the medallion and starts to put it and his ID away in one casual movement.

Bob shouts from the other side of two muscle bound farm hands who’ve stood up to block his path towards Lex and her business associate; “Lex Anne… Can I see that medallion for a second?  I’ve got an idea.”

The man looks at Lex, who nods affirmative.  The two towering piles of muscle step back reluctantly and allow Bob to approach; “Barkeep!  Bring me a kettle of hot water a pound of bee’s wax, a dry towel and a couple of bowls you’ve no further use for.”  And he tosses a small diamond onto the counter.

No one says anything while they wait; the two large hooligans loom in the background flex their muscles and crack their knuckles loudly.  A grin spreads over Lex Anne’s face as she realizes what Bob is about to do.  The pig farmer orders another pint of ale.  The barmaid brings the equipment and in short order Bob has a rather well made wax mold of the medallion; not once does he try to hide what he is doing.  Bob finishes his ale while the wax cools.  Lex sips her own brew and says; “So.  What’s the plan?”

Bob grins; “I’m going to find some way to make a new one of these so that we can send someone in to impersonate Tarkan Khurzog and take over his army.”

The pig farmer splutters and sprays his mouthful of ale across the bar… there was even foam shooting out of his nose.

Lex casually sips her brew; “To what end?”

Bob; “Disperse his troops, muck up supply lines… get rich…” quaffs the rest of his ale and extricates the medallion from the mold and gives it back to the pig farmer.  The molds are then carefully wrapped in the towel and placed in his bag; “Barkeep!  A round of ale and dinner for me and my friends over at that table.”  And he wanders off to join the others.  {He got a total of 29 on his forgery roll}  Lex turns to the Barkeep has he is heading off; “I’m with them.” Finishing off her ale she follows Bob.  Over her shoulder she says to the pig farmer as she is walking away; “Pleasure doing business with you.”  {Lex won her bargaining roll; a Contested personality check, by rolling a 22 vs. NPC 17}

At the table, the party is sitting down to the first non-magical meal they’ve had in a long time.  Thingerlun is taking the opportunity to tell everyone about his conversation with Thormyr during his mind meld with Dwight’s statue.  Milo does the same with his visions; all of the original adventurers from Grenvec take the time to answer Lex’s and Wysera’s questions.  Gradually informing them of the full magnitude of the quest in which they’d become tangled.

***the following is re-printed from session #3 for the benefit of new players and readers and to refresh player memories.  It is part of the main archive over at Goodman Games where you can find the first 16 sessions of this story***  After a good meal and several pints Thingerlun delivers a fairly good rendition of the very first vision they received:}

“As the last of the ringing tones and the flash of light from the emerald throne fade, we open our eyes to see that we were floating higher than an Eagle can fly… and that we no longer seemed to possess a physical form.  Our awareness turns towards the lands below and the turquoise waters of the Lirean Sea sparkle & glint in the light of Ormazd.  The hills and valleys of the island below are thickly blanketed with trees, stretching everywhere save for the tallest peaks of mighty mountains and a small plain at the heart of the isle.  A vision of a peaceful, beautiful place; save for the fires & smoke slowly consuming the towering trees of the birthplace of the Elves…

Then we see the clashing forces of Elves & Dwarves defending the Isle from a massive horde of Giants.  Even as we watched, another horde of Giants arrived upon a strange conveyance that appears to be made entirely of storm clouds.  Lightning bolts from the “solid” storm cloud clearing a swath of defenders; allowing the Giants to disembark upon the northern shores of the isle.  All of this is seen in the passing of an eye-blink; for it seems to be that we were unseated in time as well as in body and the passing of several years are naught but the passing of a few heart beats. 

We can see plainly even though it is long since the sun has set, and by the waning Moon light, our special sight let us see the small cloud flitting through the skies less than a dozen yards from where we are watching and can clearly make out the female form of a Giantess with pale white skin glowing softly.  Her silver hair streaming behind, sparkling in the star light as she hauls the cloud-skiff hard over & accelerates into a vertical dive.  We were somehow caught up in her precipitous decent as she waives her arms and chants something in a harsh language; its meaning carried away by the howling wind.  Below us a thick swirling fog springs into place with the unnatural speed of a magic incantation, as the Giantess gains speed she begins to level out her decent, adroitly dodging the towering trees as if unconcerned of the danger.

Her course also carries us precariously close to the face of the mountain as she makes her way towards the heart of the island.  A clearing of colossal proportions suddenly opens up and is clear of fog, the massive adamantine doors of Amonzadd, the Dwarves first Holding.  The clearing was obviously a place of commerce, though it had been a long counting of years since it had seen such use.  Before us are Daenkelden Warriors standing clad in their finest armor and fiercest weapons as we rushed towards them.  They stand in thick ranks before the closed doors & behind them, a cadre of powerful Elven Wizards.  From somewhere above us we hear the sounds of hundreds of bows pulled to readiness; but the swiftness of the Giantess’ arrival brings her upon them all before they can act.

Leaping from her cloud-skiff so that she is falling in its wake, she screams again in that odd language and the skiff changes its shape to that of a complex rune.  We couldn’t understand the rune, for it is reversed to your vantage point; & for this we can be thankful.  Most of the defenders fall slack-jawed to the ground & hundreds of arrows fly off at odd angles as the wildly missed their mark.  The cloud-sigil decelerates rapidly and shatters as the giantess crashes through (slowing her decent to safe speeds) but the spell has already done its work.  She grabs hold of a shard of the cloud as she passes through, cradling it like a babe & speaking softly to it as she tucks & rolled through the landing.  As she stood, the wisp of cloud formed into a giant sized club made from wisps of cloud; it seems to be less substantial than a real club.  A jet of fire from one of the wizards injures her, but that is the extent of the defense… She quickly used her club to render the remaining defenders unconscious.  

She liberated the door key from the Master of the Gate & quietly let herself into the Daenkelder-hold.
We follow her progress as she moved unerringly to the heart of the Daenkelden stronghold & burst into the chambers of their war council.  “I am Jathra, leader of the Dawn Clouds!  I mean to harm no one…” she tossed a scroll out onto the large, polished marble table, “Behold!  The Pillars of Expulsion!”  The leaders of the Elves & Daenkelden are suspicious, but in the end, they are too desperate not to trust her.  They begin the massive work of building enough pillars to surround the vast camps of the Giant army back on the mainland.  The design is to compel the giants peacefully back to their homes… cooling their lust for violence and shattering the spells of binding that hold the army to the will of Aeshotal the Mighty.

We slipped forward in time again and many years had passed…

This time we were in the lab-workshop of a powerful Elven mage & at its center is a vast adamantine obelisk with craftsmen swarming over its surface.  They are carving & inlaying platinum runes and arcane sigils; moving in time with their complex, rhythmic chanting, they create a harmony of action that would make an ant envious.  When the work is complete they retired to appointed positions & continue the chanting.  Our attention is drawn this time to the vantage point of an Elven wizard who enters the room at the back of a long procession of Elven Wizards and Daenkelden Clerics.  As with all Elves, it is impossible to determine his age, but his placement within the procession told us he was likely to be the most junior member. 

The procession breaks up as they each move to their appointed places; the Elf we are shadowing is stationed by the door as Guardian of the Gate.  We stare in horror as the bound form of a stone giant is brought forth into the chamber & prepared for sacrifice.  We saw as the form of an otherworldly presence enters the heart of the diagrams on the floor around the obelisk, it is ancient and evil.  Everyone else addresses it as the Elf-Mother, but the young Elf Wizard saw “it” for the writhing mass of tentacles & putrescence that was its true form.  It begins to instruct the wizards in the necessary rituals; blessedly, we never had to hear or witness any more than that.  The Junior Wizard ran from the room long before the gruesome rite really got going.

He ran through stone halls until he got to a series of rooms that seem to be his private study, but after he begins to “pick” the locks with magic, we saw that the room is not his & he was looking for specific items.  As he finds them, he threw them into a sack that seemed entirely too small to hold such bulk.  The door to the study explodes inward as he was racing for the balcony overlooking a sheltered vale in the heart of the mountain city.  The young Elf leaps from the balcony as Elven & Daenkelden warriors rushed into the room.  He lands upon the back of a mighty eagle as it swoops into position below him and we fly away into the rising sun; hearing the tortured screams of the stone giant as the ritual began.

Many months pass swiftly as the young Elven Wizard sits and waits in the high mountain reaches of the southern Dragonspire Mountains; there is no need of his Wizard skills to scry on the events.  Beyond all hope or expectation, the Elves & Daenkelden succeed in activating the obelisks…  Raging elementals and floods of raw elemental energies consume the island as it slowly sinks into the sea; killing Elves, Daenkelder, and Giants without mercy.  The Elven Wizard flew away upon the back of his mighty eagle.  The journey was long, but he eventually circles down to a small hill that seemed familiar.  Circling the hill slowly, The Elf Wizard casts a mighty spell that calls forth the stones from the ground into the familiar shapes of the megaliths we entered in order to escape the flames (the original 0-leval gaggle that played ‘The Portal under the stars’) … so many thousands of years later.

*** But this time the vision doesn’t stop where Thingerlun remembers and it continues on***

I was standing at the base of the hill on the plateau where Grenvec will eventually be located.  At the top of the hill I saw the three standing stones that form the arched portal that leads to the extra-dimensional space where our new lives had started.  The plateau is verdant and full of meadow flowers, but there are no sounds of birds or insects.  No breeze stirs the grass and the sun hangs in the bright blue sky; but it sheds no warmth.  Looking back at the hill-top I saw the lone figure of the Elf that we’d seen build this place so long ago… in that first vision after he escaped the sinking of the Isle of Lirea.  This was the refugee forced to watch his home and all he loved was lost in an elemental maelstrom before sinking into the ocean.  He was walking slowly towards the edge of the cliff, not too far from where I was standing; the Elf is close enough that I could see the struggle for control upon his face.  The Elf turns to me and says; “It has me… but all is not lost.  In you and your companions do I place my salvation.”  The Elf’s muscles bunched and he tried to throw himself from the cliff; but other muscles not under his control prevented him from succeeding.  After a few seconds of flopping on the ground he died.

The scene blurred and he now finds himself upon a vast dark gray plane under a light gray sky.  The battle that was raging seems to have been fought and won to judge by the corpses strewn about.  All is quiet save for the sound of gentle weeping.  I follow it to the center of the battlefield and found and odd scene.  There is a glowing spherical cage of light that encompasses a man sized dark figure, both set upon a knee high pedestal.  Near them are a small crowd of figures, all of them are human and all but one of them are at least 12ft tall.  Taking a good look at them I saw Arisemis, Elyr, Gorhan, and Lady Justica with new born Ulesh suckling at her breast.  They ignore him and continue to gaze upon the center of the circle their figures make.

I look down and saw Shul, Goddess of the Moon weeping by the side of Ormazd.  His face is pale and drawn from some unknowable pain.  Ormazd is alive, but his breathing is shallow and Elyr has a hand placed upon his sweating brow and his chest; she seems lost in concentration.  The human sized figure spotted me and strides over to where I’m standing.  It is then that I realized the optical illusion of the plane… The figure walking up to me is Thormyr and once he is standing next to me, I had to look up into the eyes of the Deity of Watchmen and Guards who is now standing about 12ft tall.  We move away from the cluster of divine beings and move closer to the caged being. 

Thormyr, his voice softer than I expected; “You and your allies have helped us win a great battle this day.  Alas, no battle can be fought without casualties.” We were now standing at the cage of light. “Your companion has sacrificed greatly, yet his soul is still alive and remains strong.   He and the Sword will bind away the vile creature until the day of their last battle, that time when they shall finally slay the vile spirit.”

I walked slowly about the cage to the other side… that is when I saw the face of the Dread Watcher.  The creature was ancient, rotted away in places, but there is no mistake: I was looking into the face of the Elf from our first vision... the one who survived the fall of the Isle of Lirea and left all of this equipment for us so long ago.”

At least I think that’s how it went; Ffwylldyr would’ve done a better job.”  His voice was starting to slur a bit from the several pints it took him to get all the way through the story.

Milo tells everyone about his visions and relates the following; “My first vision is the one that drives our quest and went something like this…”

… The handsome, powerful figure of Ormazd is sitting radiant upon his ruby throne, his fiery hair blazing wildly around him as he smiles at me.  … Peaceful stillness fills your mind.  The Fire Lord raises his right arm and points to something over my left shoulder…

It makes me sad to take my gaze from the Fire Lord, but turning away from the frolicsome spirits and their fire music I see the world of Áereth as I’ve never imagined before.  The world spins majestically off in the distance beyond the inner ring of Valdreth; looking like an exquisite, grape-sized jewel basking in the warmth and love of the Lord Ormazd.  Beyond her are 3 other worlds, growing smaller in the distance, but all nearly lined up with each other and point towards the foul sucking darkness that eats all the light that it touches… the Star of the Black Sun.  As the planets move through two more orbits they perfect their alignment such that even the moons of each planet are in-line between the glory of the Fire Lord, and the vile hole in space. 

The vantage point changes and I was close to Áereth again and saw that she is mostly blue and laced with the white cotton of clouds drifting over the few continents and large islands.  I saw the landmasses in the Northern hemisphere as home, but it is the fierce heat of the Southern continent that drew my vision onward.  I flew over tall, sharp crags of a mountain range; there on top of a lonely tower a man in robes screams in ecstatic triumph as the machine in front of him fills up with power and then releases the energy into the heavens.

It is then that the sickly bolt of greenish-purple-black lightning arced from the surface of Áereth passing through each of the now perfectly aligned celestial bodies in turn and on to the now obscenely pulsing Anti-Sun at the edge of the solar system.  When the energy crashes into the Black Sun, the stars all around it start to undulate like an expanding ripple in a calm pond.  The ripple expands outward and towards you and then it is past and contracting, then rebounding against itself.  …Parts nearest to the Star of the Black Sun begin to crumble and shatter.  Opening into a realm of pure vile darkness from which strange and entirely evil creatures begin to pour out into the wild-space between the planets.

Thousands of multiple-jointed mouths, streaming putrid vapors and drooling from their unholy hunger screech as they advance with their chaotically howling visages on the shining jewel that is your home…

Milo; “The most recent vision was something like this:”

I too, was standing upon a vast dark gray plane under a light gray sky.  A battle seems to have been fought and won to judge by the corpses strewn about.  All is quiet save for the sound of gentle weeping.  I follow it to the center of the battlefield and finds and odd scene.  There is a glowing spherical cage of light that encompasses a man sized dark figure; both are set upon a knee high pedestal.  Near them are a small crowd of figures, all of them are human and all but one of them are at least 12ft tall.  I saw Aristemis, Elyr, Gorhan, and Lady Justica with new born Ulesh suckling at her breast.  They ignored me and continue to gaze upon the center of the circle their figures make.
I look down and see Shul, Goddess of the Moon weeping by the side of Ormazd.  His face is pale and drawn from some unknowable pain.  Ormazd is alive, but his breathing is shallow and Elyr has a hand placed upon his sweating brow and his chest; she seems lost in concentration.  Ormazd waved off Elyr for a moment, and Shul’s anger at the interruption causes her to momentarily assume her draconic form… silver fire flashes from her nostril’s; but Ormazd calmed her with a quiet word and then beckons me closer then touches my forehead.

I was placed high above the spinning globe of Áereth and my eye’s saw beyond the physical and into the realm of pure thought.  I perceived the world not as it is, but as a complex series of processes and cycles; a great machine all held balanced and kept in motion by the will of the Gods and the action of mortals.  Áereth shrinks away as I move to see the entire system of planets all spinning as part of the same system.  Then I saw that all of the planets and moons have come into alignment and the great machine has slowly wound to a stop.  I heard someone walking up behind me and turned to see Poderon, the God of gnomes and inventers as he passes by and then stops next to the defunct machine.  Each of the Gods arrive and gives to him an item and he slowly assembles them into a giant key that he fits into the clock-work of the solar system and starts to rewind the machine.  But it doesn’t work; the key is incomplete because the Eye of Night had been destroyed.
Ormazd let’s go of me and then collapses into a coma.  The pupils and irises of his eyes disappear followed by the rest of his eyes as they shrivel into smoke and drift away on an unfelt breeze.  The voice of the Deity lingers in my ears and heart; “Skullshank will still try to complete the ritual with a normal gem of brightness, you must save her…”  The last thing that I saw as my own vision fades into pale gray and vague shadows is Shul, the Moon Goddess weeping for her beloved.


Wysera; “So who is Shul?”

Milo; “She is the Law Giver, the Great Silver Moon Dragon, and consort to Ormazd the Phoenix Lord.  She is the Keeper of Records and the Great Teacher of Sages; she is the Mother of Gorhan the Valiant and his brother Delvyr the Explorer.  Her clergy used to be concerned with the education of the Imperial Citizenry, but for the last few hundred years or so Her temples have been largely abandoned to ruin.  The Empire has been more concerned with growing enough food to supply the troops fighting the Scourge; education has become a luxury for the rich and a waste of time for everyone but a select few.”

Lex; “How is Skullshank going to continue… you shattered the Eye of Night?”

Milo; “Not sure about the details, my Lord was weak, but I seem to recall that The Eye of Night was a simple Gem of Brightness that had become enhanced by the divine magic of Ormazd.”
Thingerlun; “Well I suppose he might try continuing the spell and substituting the Eye of Night for a standard Gem of Brightness… It wouldn’t be anywhere near as powerful, but it might still pose a threat to the moon, since she is closest.”

{Game clock suspended here with the party deep into their planning @ 10pm April 20, 3200}

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