The Rock IV

On our own again
Deja-Vu?

Early the next morning, Shanalern contacted the group to tell them that he had deciphered the text and that it was actually instructions to activate that master teleporter. He was very excited and wanted to make plans to meet.

After some discussion with Shanalern the group decided to risk reneging on the deal with Maximillian Talmek in order to find this master teleporter and hopefully return to where they belonged. There were a few issues however.

The first was that there was some major disturbance in the Undercity and the Palace had shut down all travel between the levels until further notice. They had also issued a call for adventurers represented by a major house to deal with the problem down below. Details were sketchy, but rumors suggested that there was some sort of riot; possibly of undead that was quickly spreading through the depths of the Rock.

Shanalern believed that he could back the group as adventurerers, as he was not sure what steps the Palace had taken to prevent magical travel between the levels, only that it was likely that there was some sort of step taken. The group decided to risk using magic to reach the Breach in the barrier they used in the past, rather than trying to travel by more mundane means and be seen openly forsaking House Talmek for house Shanalern.

The second was to locate the Master teleporter and find a way to get there, which Shanalern believed that he could do. Volaar had an even better solution. Several days ago, he had a long discussion with Else about the Gods and the nature of divinity and had discovered through that process that he had past lives and he could remember them clearly. He was reluctant to share many details, but he assured them that he knew precisely where this teleporter was, after Shanalern’s description, and was confident that he knew where this “Master Teleporter” was located, and could get the group there.

Decided, Shanalern left to prepare, telling them to meet him at the elven beacon he showed them in the Undercity the next day at Sundown. He suggested they lay low at Vonkar’s until then and not be seen walking the streets if possible. They agreed and left for the old dwarf’s temple to wait out the night.

In the morning, as they made ready to prepare, Otto decided to scout out the entrance to make sure the way was clear before the group left en-masse into the city. He noticed several men laying in wait near the main entrance; upon closer inspection he noticed they wore the colors of house Qantuk and hurried back in to warn the others.

Vonkar asked them to not bring their troubles into his place, and told them of a rarely used side entrance from the building that they could use to leave. They quickly gathered their things and left, planning to gather and teleport to the beacon at the first sign of trouble.
That trouble was not in coming, as the ambush set for them was larger than Otto had been able to see. Phaedra ranged ahead of the group to scout out a crossroads and was spotted and ambushed by a psion of House Qantuk who quickly teleportrd next to her and dealt her a grievous blow using the same techniques that Volaar had recently learned with the help of Else. Volaar charged him, eager to challenge a practitioner of the Sublime way, and caved in the side of his head with his hammer killing him instantly. The streets immediately cleared in response to the sudden violence, leaving about twelve members of house Qantuk to engage the party. As Vollaar called the others to him so the could make their escape a cone of Ice and frigid air descended upon him, else and Ungar as an Ogre-mage appeared in the air above them, girded for battle.

The group amassed and teleported down to the Beacon only two find Shanalern surrounded by Drow and their minions and bleeding from many wounds. The others joined in the battle, trying to save Shanalern from overwhelming odds when the Ogre-mage surprisingly appeared to join the fray. After a pitched battle in which Else was nearly killed but was saved by Phaedra’s magic and Volaar managed to incapacitate the Ogre-mage with his magic, but he somehow escaped anyway, the group headed out once again into the Abyss-infected under-city outside of the bubble to find the library and rest up before heading out into Parasabda to try and find this Master Teleporter.

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The lighter side of Dark

Before reaching House Nodeliphur, they group was once again ambushed, this time by more agents of House Quantuk, although whether it was for retaliation for the groups past encounter with them or because Cassandra Talmek was deep in their territory it was never known. A pitched battle ensued in whuch Cassandra and Kaui were separated from the others, taking refuge in a busy warehouse. Kai went to try and commandeer a wagon to make his escape to safety with their charge, while the others fought off a contingent in the streets. Unbeknownst to the two inside, however, the leader teleported inside and cornered Cassandra while Kai was occupied with the wagon.
Hearing her cry, he charged toward the interloper and with one fell swoop of his psychic blade, clove him in twain, further cementing Cassandra’s infatuation with the mysterious Kai. The others outside quickly dealt with the remaining attackers and they regrouped, and managed to make it to House Nodeliphur without further incident.
Upon arrival, a servant told them that Bingolshan was delayed and they would have to wait at least 4 or 5 hours to meet with him. The servant invited them into the main tower of the Nodeliphur grounds to wait, but when Kai crossed the threshold of that place, he suddenly felt alone for the first time in his memory. He immediately freaked out, Kai-style, and the party asked to wait somewhere else. The servant showed them to a row of cottages where they were invited to wait.
Cassandra kept trying to spend time close to Kai, who was having none of it, so the party managed to separate from her long enough for Kai and else to trade faces which mollified her and the group rested for a while to await Bingolshan’s return.
Kai refused to enter into the tower again, so the remainder of the party, including Otto disguised as Kai went up to meet Bingolshan when the time came.
Cassandra’s father had sent her there to negotiate a deal for her and her escorts to visit an ancient elven library, presumably the same one that the group had already been to. An arrangement was made for Cassandra to meet up with some Drow in the lower city, who would escort them into the Tainted ruins beneath the city to access the library. Escorting them out of the tower, Kai met up with them at the base, and he recognized the head of house Nodeliphur as the Albino elf who had not only accosted him in Karillia, but also showed himself to him in a dream (or memory) as one of the ones who had DID THIS to him.
He was too shocked to react and Cassandra was acting restless, so the party left to find a room and rest up for real.
Upon finding an inn Cassandra grew bored and relentlessly tried to get Otto (disguised as Kai) to go and enjoy some of the nightlife in a seedier part of the Rock. He did taking her on a rip roaring tour, making sure she would be horribly hung-over the next morning, giving them all time to prepare for trip down to the lower city.

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Hello Seductress
(She really is a slut)

Everyone was fixed up, and got ready to go meet with Maximillian. It was agreed that Otto would do the talking, but he decided to go in another persona, an old lady who he briefly shifted into during their fight in the street with the men who followed them immediately after their arrival.

Entering the Talmek’s lush estate on the slopes of one of the mountains that formed the borders of the city, they were ushered into a room to wait. Most availed themselves of the veritable feast left on a table until Maximillian arrived.

He was impeccably dressed and guarded his words with supreme skill, causing Otto and him to enter into what could only be described as a verbal duel. They fenced for the better part of an hour and it was surmised that Maximillian wanted to hire them as unaffiliated but official escorts for his daughter Cassandra to negotiate a deal with the head of an elven house, Bingolshan Nodeliphur. The details were hammered out and written down, with witnesses, and the party took a lesser payment of 6,000 gp/wk each in lieu of having the powerful Psion reach into their minds to assess their abilities to arrange a more accurate fee.

That being done, they accepted their payment, agreeing to meet the daughter in the morning and left before Otto collapsed from the strain of negotiating a deal with such a cunning adversary.

There was much debate that night as to what to do, it seemed that here before them was a chance to get their hands on one of the three while she was still a mortal, and Kai, and Volaar saw this as an opportunity not to be missed. After much discussion it was decided to stick with the plan and deal made with Max, after someone noted that according to history, both Alestair and Cassandra were killed, supposedly by their father, many months before the Three ascended to God-Hood.

After checking in with Shanalern who warned them of the consequences of either betraying house Talmek, or appearing to be allied with two opposing houses, they went to sleep to prepare for their meeting with Cassandra.

She was a beautiful human woman who virtually oozed sexuality, flanked on one side by a Goliath warrior and the other by a comely human female. Upon the groups entrance she whispered to the girl at her side that she would have sex with Volaar by the end of the day, and seemed to immediately be drawn to Kai, who rebuked her at first. This seemed only to encourage her, and she redoubled her efforts to engage him in any sort of act that she could.

In an alley of a main street Kai finally gave in, more from frustration from anything else, and when he was done, tried to humiliate her but the Goliath, introduced only as “Meat-Stick” interposed himself and took the humiliations meant for her without flinching.

Continuing on through territory in city belonging to a house opposed to Talmek, Cassandra led them through more alleys where they were ambushed by an Ice Devil, a group of bearded devils and some Legion Devils. In the ensuing battle, Cassandra’s female thrall was killed, and some of the companions came close themselves before narrowly defeating the Devils. Cassandra was visibly shaken, and seemed to be even more attracted to Kai after he showed her his fighting prowess. During the battle Phaedra was forced to reveal her divine powers to Cassandra as well who was possibly impressed by that as well.

She ordered Meat stick to bring the body of the girl to the Reapers, as Otto and Volaar tried to hurry them along to their appointed destination. Cassandra at this point was practically glued to Kai’s side as the hurriedly made their way through the city streets.

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The Three Aren't Gods yet?
Get 'Em!!!

Volaar’s crew was unsuccessful, and Otto’s crew met with some more success. They met with the Dwarf who agreed to help after Phaedra provided some “divine inspiration”. He connected them with an ally of his, who turned out to be a youthful Shanalern, who needed escorts into the undercity to retrieve a certain text from an ancient elven library.

Shanalern teleported them down to the lowest reached of the “bubble “ that surrounded the city, using a beacon apparently left by the elves.

A Drow party, which they quickly dispatched, ambushed them then they ventured out into the swirling abyss and were then ambushed by a group of Demons. After an intense battle, they killed the lesser monkey-like demons, identified as Bar-lgura, as well as the larger Dog-like demon.

Shanalern quickly led them to the library, spoke a password, and then led them into the library, where they had a few hours to search for things that interested them. Otto found a book about Gods and Phaedra found an interesting book, but Kora was unsuccessful in his search for answers.

They returned to the main city and met up with Volaar and the others, who had unsuccessfully tried teleporting to the place in this time where the elven teleporter was located. Volaar reported a distinct feeling of being shunted or blocked from his destination and appeared in a deserted ruin of a city just on the inside of the bubble. This confirmed what Shanlern had told them about how the bubble blocked all kinds of transportative magic.

As they discussed what to do next, there was a knock on the door of their room and they received an invitation to meet with non other than Maximillian Talmek from a man wearing the colors of House Talmek. Otto tired to follow him after he left, but couldn’t follow the messenger back into the Talmek grounds so returned to the party to decide what to do.
After sharing about the library, the Party decided to return to there en masse, and were once again ambushed by demons. These however were horrific monstrosities that permanently infected both Otto and Ungar with the feeling of being covered with crawling bugs. Once at the library, Phaedra spoke the password that Shanalern used earlier that day, and they entered back into the library. Once again, everyone save Kora found something of interest, but Kora did find a reference system that suggested that some of what he was looking for was held in the one place within the library that was magically sealed against their entrance.

They met up with Shanalern again and Otto showed him some ancient drawings that he had found that seemed to illustrate the device that had brought them back through time. Shanalern seemed extremely excited about these as well, although he couldn’t decipher the writing on it any more than the others could. He did recognize it as writing in the language of magic and seemed sure that he could find some one to translate the text.

The group was loath to part with it however, and Shanalern suggested they copy it using a simple cantrip, and they agreed once it was determined the spell would only copy the text and not the illustrations. Taking the copies and one of a pair of the groups sending stones, he departed promising to contact them as soon as he had any information.

The next day found them searching for a cure to Ungar and Otto’s ailment and there was general shopping before the planned meeting with Maximillian.

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Time Travel?!?
Where's Scott Bakula when you need him?

They found themselves in a city set between four Mountains, but it smelled badly of unwashed sweat and stale air. Looking up, they saw that the night sky was blocked by some sort of domed barrier that held dire looking clouds of roiling Hellfire and Ash at bay. Horrified they realized they seemed to be in Bral, hundreds of years before most of them were even born. Ungar took this opportunity to divulge to the group that he was actually hundreds of years old, which given the circumstances, was too much for Otto handle as he laughed in his face at the absurdity of the statement and timing.
Noticing that they collectively were drawing attention in what appeared to be a dangerous part of town, Otto began trying to herd them off the streets and away from prying eyes while they tried to figure out what was happening, instead of arguing about time travel in the middle of the street with a fresh corpse. As reasonable as this seemed, it was a short while before he was able to convince the others of the sense in his suggestion, and by the time they were moving, several of the group noticed that they were being surreptitiously followed by a rotating group of at least 6 men.
Continuing through the streets as fast as they could manage they were eventually confronted by their pursuers as the few bystanders in the streets quickly made themselves scarce. Using a mix of trickery and brute force they made quick work of the would-be attackers, managing to chase off their leader and capture one for questioning. Unfortunately, the haste required in their flight dictated that they leave the body of Vonard in an alley after removing any valuables.
After finding a relatively safe place to hide out, Otto made his way into the inner portion of the city where he found a better place to stay, as well as some of the basic rules of the city, such as the general intolerance of non-demi-humans in the upper levels of the city.
Using even more magic, and now completely exhausted the party settled into their room to question their prisoner. They found out the general “street rules” and that they were in fact in the “past”, and that in less than an hour they had somehow made enemies of one of the Houses of the city that enforced general rule on the street. Finding no more useful info from this man, he was quickly dispatched and disposed of by Volaar, as they group argued into the night about the next course of action to take.
Ungar suggested that they contact someone that he knew from his “youth” for he was a noble and kind person who, if they could gain his trust, would not betray them. Not really having any other options, the group decided to split up after a nights rest to explore what most of them considered their two best options.
Ungar, Volaar and Dag would travel to the lower city to try and find a way down into the “Undercity “ and maybe find the device that brought them here in it’s present state.
Otto, Kora and Phaedra would seek out Ungar’s dwarven friend and try to convince him that they were trustworthy and possibly help them navigate the city without disturbing too much of the past, or even worse get killed, before they were able to find their way home.

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Darknesss
what did you say about my couch?

The Group met up with Vonard, a warden and obvious solider, who introduced them to his friend and partner Ungar who he declared would be accompanying them. Although gruff, he seemed trustworthy, and after discussion it was decided that they would take the extremely dangerous underground route into Talbral, as they were all wanted and most likely would be stopped at the city gates.
Most of the group was unable to see in the utter darkness beneath the ground, and as Vonard declared that carrying a light source was equivalent to shouting “Hey here we are, come kill us” they walked in single file led by a length a rope with Vonard at the lead and Volaar at the rear.
As far as they could tell, for several days (?) they traveled through the darkness without incident. Sometime on the third or fourth day, the group ran into an ambush and fought off a group of Fire giants from the Chasm of ash. One of them, the leader, was a ninja and kept turning invisible.
The fight was close and Vonard was nearly killed, Kora (The Crazy formerly known as Kai) pulled a Dag and ran away in the middle of the battle, and the MVP’s were definitely Volaar and Ungar.
Upon inspection, these giants appeared to be spliced with demonic skin, and were a patchwork of raw flesh although there weren’t any apparent stitch marks, these grafts were magical. Kora sat down in middle of the carnage and began to meditate, causing Vonard to ask what in the nine hells was wrong with him, and after a discussion they all cleaned up the battle site as best as they could, stripped and disposed of the bodies, and then Volaar used his magic to create a secure hiding spot so the group could rest.
8 hours later, the Group emerged from Volaar’s hiding spot and began the journey into darkness once again. Within the hour, Vonard had come to the place he had been looking for, a wide well used cavern with an obvious upward slope. He told them this passage led to the highest level of the Underdark, where they would find another passage to the ruins of one of the original cities that was built thousands of years ago.
The passage proved to be an arduous uphill climb, at times reaching an angle of more than 45 degrees, but they finally emerged into a relatively level cavern, where Vonard guessed there was about 8 – 10 miles of open cavern before reaching a set of ancient stairs that led into the lowest undercity ruins. He suggested skirting the edge of this large cavern, as there was a large underground lake near its center, and that if there were Underdark denizens present, they would most likely be near the lake.
They made it to the old stairs without incident and began yet another climb, this one less arduous but still difficult as the stairs were well worn with age and use.
Once up in the ruins, Vonard said they should able to use a light a source, as many of the ancient streets still existed so the light wouldn’t be seen at more than 100’ and as far back as he could remember they were always deserted. Just in case, he would range ahead at about 100’ to make sure that they were safe to use the light, and leave an easy trail for Ungar to follow.
Phedra provided a spell to illuminate the dark and the going was much faster now that they could see, and weren’t tethered to each other. After nearly a week of no light, the spell seemed extremely bright and everyone was grateful for the scenery, as old and decrepit as it was.
Mostly they passed large piles of rubble and boulders from cave-ins, but also they could see the foundations and sometimes even the standing skeletons of buildings not used for over 5,000 years. Everything was covered in a layer of dust, but what structures they did find were remarkably well preserved due to the stable temperatures and humidity of the caverns.
After about an hour, the structures changed somewhat, and they could recognize streets and the occasional intact building, although the majority was covered by cave-ins. This made the going somewhat slower as the combination of actual streets coupled with the blockages of rubble made for a virtual maze.
Vonard returned to the circle of light cast by Phaedra’s spell and told them that things had shifted somewhat in the 25 years since he had been here and that he was going to have to find and alternative route to the stairs he knew of that would bring them up into the actual city of Talbral, though there were undoubtedly other ways up that he did not know of if they could find them.
It didn’t take long for the dwarf to get his bearing though, as he led the group over piles of rubble and stone sometimes as high as 400’ he found a section he recognized.
He told them this was known as the “Plague Pit”, and that according to legend, there was some sort of large battle centered on this 100’ wide pit. The bones of what appeared to be hundreds of men lay scattered on the ground as a testament to this legend, most showing obvious signs of meeting a violent end through some sort of head trauma.
Once they made their way out of the pit, Vonard once again moved ahead and gave a general direction to the others, telling them to head diagonally across the grid work of partial streets away from the pit.
Five minutes into this leg of the journey, however, he returned frantically gesturing for Phaedra to extinguish the light then quietly moving them back into a mostly intact building.
“Something is wrong.” Vonard whispered to the group as they huddled around him. “There has been a lot of activity down here, and recently if I know anything. Also I saw some kind of newly built structure covering the passage that leads to the stairs I was headed for. It seemed to be a fortified building, made to keep anyone coming from our direction out.” He stopped for a moment, “To make matters worse, I sensed a Jar-Durinard (Dwarven for Mind Flayer for those of you never exposed to Bavar) behind the walls. The path I meant to take is definitely being guarded.”
After much deliberation and a judicious use of Teleportation magic, the group skirted the makeshift fort and continued on through a passage that ended in the ruins of an ancient temple to St. Cuthbert, one of the Old Gods, and then eventually to a decrepit but recently repaired stone bride spanning a deep chasm.
Vonard and Phaedra magicked across the bridge to investigate what seemed like a natural ambush point and were detected by watchers of some sort. A long, drawn-out battle ensued that moved from the bridge into a larger connected chamber seemingly filled with enemies of all sorts, including a group of priests who summoned psychic constructs. One of the enemies, an archer who struck somehow from the shadows managed to survive the slaughter and fled, presumably to the large stairs at the far end of the chamber where the sound of many regimented boots marching together could be heard.
Desperate to escape with most of the party wounded, and their guide Vonard felled by an arrow, the party fled down the only other exit from the chamber and found themselves engulfed in magical darkness.
Phaedra’s keen senses allowed her to navigate through the darkness enough to find that there was no other exit, they were trapped, but the room itself wasn’t empty. There was some sort of strange walled structure that was covered in runes with a slightly concave platform at its center.
Quickly trying to discern the purpose and workings of this strange building before the seemingly large group arrived from the stairs, the group discovered that the runes were the alphabet, and they would glow when Phaedra touched them. Gathering on the platform, they hastily tried to spell out several destinations with no effect, until they spelled out Talbral and were engulfed in a bright light.

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Goodbye, Elyl

With that, the group said “Later Dwarves, good luck!” and teleported to Bloodwatch, where Pheadra in particular was horrified and surprised to find that there were fire giants freely wandering around the fort. Pheadra sought out her father, the commader of the garrison and they filled him in with what happened since he last saw her many months ago, and were informed that after generations of warfare, the giants were sending ambassadors to begin negotiations to stop the warfare.
Their main ambassador, a fire giant Priestess of the Reaper named Helthra Morlydd, was the daughter of the Fire giant leader who had recently united the formerly fragment tribes. This leader, Valbryn Morlyyd, is reportedly a powerful wizard, which like a cleric were not typical careers for their race.
There was (too?) much debate about how involved to get in this new development, before it was finally decided to let the garrison deal with their own problems and move on as quickly as they could to find Cornelius.
Elyl disappeared soon after they arrived, and Volaar, tiring of the debate sought out some the giants to get their perspective. They seemed surprised to one of his race in the city and offered him a place in their home when the humans betrayed him, as they seemed sure that they would. Volaar’s perspective on this situation differed from the others, due to his background, but he could not persuade Phaedra or the others that his points were valid, which seemed to frustrate him, as did most things that did not involve slaying priests.
As the group prepared to leave, they had trouble finding Elyl and when they did, were shocked and dismayed to learn that he was staying at Bloodwatch. He explained that he was needed and still being enlisted in the Militia, his duty lay here. Also on a personal note, he received word that his mother’s brother, an elven ranger, had disappeared about four months before on a routine foray into the Fire Giant lands and for reasons he could not explain he needed to find him on the advice of a private conversation he had with Shanalern while they were in Gerllun.
He recommended to the group that they take a close friend of his with them. His name is Vonard Dwobin, a Dwarf who he had campaigned with in his youth. He was an experienced woodsman, Spelunker and had visited Talbral many times in the past.

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A new leg of the Journey
Later, Dwarves!

Devastated, the party met with King Daregrim, who successfully killed the Vampire general, Defraim. His daughter Gloribryn, Nurdin the druid and Garkas the Priest never returned from attacking Harga, and are presumed captured or dead.
Somehow the party was talked into/agreed to try and rescue any survivors, but were told by Shanalern that he would only bring them to the check point, not pick them up, now that it seems he can be traced or followed when teleporting he assumes his checkpoints are compromised.
He was right, as soon as they arrived at the checkpoint, there were Reaper soldiers waiting in ambush. Shanalern immediately left, and the group defeated the ambushers quickly.
They headed to the last known spot of the invading army camp, and came up with some sort of plan that involved Phaedra and Elyl flying in invisible and then teleporting out with the survivors (if any).
That plan went somewhat awry as Phaedra ad-libbed, and discovered a trap was set up to catch them, as a platoon of archers were revealed by the priest and attacked Phaedra.
Elyl flew away still invisible trusting Phaedra to stick to the plan, which she eventually did able to bring only two survivors, the priest and the Druid.
She was followed by the Priestess Harga, and two minions a dwarf priest and an elf Wizard, presumably through the use of Psionics.
There was a brief battle in which several Fireballs and Flame-Strikes were brought down upon the group and nearly killed Phaedra and finished off the survivors of the strike force. The group however emerged triumphant and managed to kill the remaining leader before returning to the city with the bodies of the dwarves.
Exhausted and spent, Phaedra immediately went to sleep after reporting to Daregrim, while the others took stock of the situation and realized that they needed to try and rescue Cornelius, and move on from Gerllun, now that they were no longer working for the Passerini’s and had for the most part no ties remaining here.
Else revealed that in about a month, the city of Talbral would e in the grips of a celebration known as the Day of Temptation, when all of the city was given over to Chaos and revelry to mark the beginning of the four month period where leadership is given over to the Church of the Temptress. They decided to make their way to Talbral by teleporting with Pheadra to Bloodwatch and hoofing it the rest of the way from there.
That left only the matter of who go with them, and the group persuaded Dag to stop be so secretive and share his story so that they could decide if he were trustworthy, which he eventually did with some unwelcome assistance from Else.
The next morning, Daregrim presented the group with gifts and asked them to stay and help, but they declined the offer and took the gifts. Volaar took one last chance to try and find his people in the south of Gerllun, but found only reaper armies where the alliance of Dwarves and Hobgoblins once were. He saw a strange creature that seemed to be a leader of some sort that was identified as a Beholder when he reported back to the group.

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Excerpts from the Journal of Elyl

They have nominated me to lead. I hope it is not to be astray for already my heart gives misgivings as I wonder weather I shouldn’t travel home to warn them of the impending danger.

Upon awakening after a trying negotiation and discussion, the group was told by a Muul servant of Hezzick that they were to be escorted to the City to meet with King Daregrim Gerllun’s war council to discuss strategy. This servant introduced himself as Nurdin Thurlond and that he was going to accompany them to the city to offer his services as well, on behalf of the church, along with about 15 acolytes and four of the fire bearded dogs. The druid who first led them down to the corridor where Volaar smashed the artifact was to bring them safely through Bulhelfik, the grove where they were currently located, to the southern gate of the city.
Before leaving, both Hezzick and Zerick met with them to give their farewells and present the gifts and supplies needed. In addition to the requests made by the group and arranged by Gabriel as payment for their efforts, Hezzick presented each of the group with gifts of his own. He also told him that head of Greffen Stalt was resistant to his magic, and gave him little information that they didn’t already have. The head had told him that both the remaining generals Harga and Vera were not only powerful clerics, but also accomplished Psions, and that the Vampire Defrain was a powerful Warrior, Arcane and Divine caster.
Zerick was as cryptic as usual, but did thank each of them for their help in reaching Hezzick. He told them that of all the remaining companions, Diamajia and Jarre spent the most time with Sebastian before his ascension. He wished them all farewell and told them that he was leaving this part of the world and may not be returning, but not to worry even if they chose not to help or failed in some way, he was awakening others to the problems that faced the world.
To Pheadra and Cornelius he also confided a secret. They could awaken the divine in others, as he had in them, by focusing their Divine power through a spell called Atonement, and suggested that they do so whenever possible.
Nurdin, the acolytes and the group met up with the druid, who was more talkative than the last time they had met, and named himself Garkas. They exited into the grove in the pre-dawn hours of the 2nd day of the 6th month, a wet and rainy morning. As they traveled through the lush grove, other druids and their various animal companions gradually accompanied them, and by the time they reached the border of Bulhelfik, there were an additional 12 Druids that were offering to help defend the city.
They reached the walls of the city a few hours past nightfall, wet, tired and eager for dry clothes and hot food. After moving quickly through the lower portion of the city, typically reserved for non-dwarves and visitors, the large party was admitted through the Azvir, or Stone Gate, that leads to the inner city set both on and within the mountains that form the western border of Gerllun.
The party was shown to lodgings and gratefully ate and rested before their meeting with the King’s daughter, Gloribryn Gerllun, in the morning. (I am sure that someone did something before the meeting at 9 am on the 3rd day of the 6th month, but that can be discussed later.)
The party spent the first day retelling their journey from the outpost of Kas-Farak in minute detail before not only Gloribryn, Nurdin, and Garkas, but also Shanalern, the elf wizard, and the King himself, Daregrim. The Acolytes each took detailed notes of everyone’s account, and the council lasted till past Midnight, at which point Elyl was finally able to offer their services to the King.
On the 4th day of the 6th month Shanalern brought 5 groups of scouts to various points of the wilds to gather current info before the kings plan was put into action. His plan of action, after reviewing all the party told him, was to simultaneously strike the leaders of each army in one week. Groups of diplomats had left for Karillia to ask for help from the other city-states, and to also try and find out which, if any of the city-states are aligning themselves with the Church.
Daregrim plans on leading the assault on Defraim himself, leaving the other generals, Vera and Harga to be dealt with by the party, Gloribryn, Nurdin, and Garkas. All there is to do is wait for the scouts to return in 7 days.
The scouts never returned, so the plan was enacted a week later and was mostly successful.
The companions assaulted Vera Kulmin, the illlithid priestess, defeated her and then met up with Shanalern to be returned to the city and regroup.
Unbeknownst to them, they were trailed by a medusa psion and her three Weretiger minions who traced Shanalern’s magic and surprised the group as soon as they arrived back in the Dwarven city. They teleported in, invisible, and surprised the group. After a short battle, Cornelius was felled and grabbed by the lone surviving Weretiger and the medusa teleported herself, the Weretiger and Cornelius to parts unknown.

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and more F'ing questions

Hezzick explained that the weird material is called mithrite and is connected with one of the old gods, Gond – god of the dwarves – who it seems is somehow related to Cornelius’ deity Ptah. It is also being manufactured exclusively by the dwarves in an effort to prove to the masses the existence of other deities than the Three because it is not of this world. It is instead a foreign alloy of sorts that combines the best properties of adamantite and mithril.

We then exchanged words of the armies amassing outside Gerluun. The city is preparing for siege,but does not seem hopeful given the odds. A few have taken inspiration from our recent deeds though and intend to continue in similarly attacking the encampments’ generals – or the encampments in general, we will need to speak with them for further details.

Zerick has somehow been transferred to the body of a construct. His mother was supposedly with Sebastian when he ascended to godhood – it would seem he was mortal 300 years ago but managed to wrest enough power to overcome the world’s original pantheon. Zerick’s mother received some sort of demi-deity status in the process but removed herself at some point from this plane after raising Zerick. He said his mother would tell stories of the Old Days and that there are others who might still be alive who could tell us about the Three as they lived.

But perhaps the most disconcerting thing discussed was how the Church managed to sneak 10,000 troops over so vast a distance (in seemingly so little time). The only plausible routes would be a long voyage over sea or to take them through Loxosphil, but that many troops would surely have drawn our attention. Teleportation wouldn’t be practical with that number and there are no known tunnels underground. So some other sort of magic seems to be in play…

After our meeting with Hezzick and Zerick we debated a good while about which path we would take next, eventually talking ourselves in circles as we seem wont to do.

Everyone seems to have their own agenda and about the only thing we all were able to agree upon was that we need more information. Most wish to thwart the Church however we can, but for the exception of Else who admitted to having worked for the Temptress for some time; something that makes perfect sense now in retrospect given his skill set.

Finally, it was decided that we needed a leader we would all be willing to follow. Though the majority seemed to favor Cornelius he abstained saying he would follow us but had no wish to lead. After much debate concerning the nomination of Else and then questioning whether his current mental faculties were up to such a task it fell to me.

Thus, we shall reconvene our meeting with Hezzick and Zerrick on the morning and then speak with the dwarven resistance head to determine whether we shall aid them in their quest. After that we will check on the state of Herllin on our way to Al Quaz in search for the two constructs, Jan and Simon, who knew the Three when they walked this plane.

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