Nyssaria

Path to Suuvren; Adventure Five and Six
Path to Suuvren; Adventure Five

Path to Suuvren; Adventure Five

The adventurers are sent to a far off spire city of Suuvren – a trader city, among the league of Quooven. Like many of the other spire towns, this one has a high road, that crawls up the side. As they reach the top, the realize the town is much farther away from the edge as many other places they have been to – and another major difference, no standing army. Most towns have units of archers, horseman and spearmen or other specialists at the ready, but this one, there was at least no obvious groups of soldiers anywhere that they can see. Plenty of citizens, and a multitude of races, all scurrying about doing their business, none seemingly at least aware of the new group of traders coming into the city, and fewer caring in the slightest. Like a few other places in the spirelands, phaetox and minotaurs, have a significant number – but neither were likely to be rulers or sitting on the high counsel. Phaetox, like elves were usually archers; Minotaurs were soldiers, they liked to go on long, enduring hunts.

Just like every city, a few destinations helped defined the community – the Towers and obelisks. The Towers were places of learning and gathering – not just arcane spells, but music, and maps and other wondrous things that helped shape the cityscape. And obelisks – were the places of faith. A few were dedicated to a specific godly figure; like Japeth or Casna, some to an idea – like freedom of expression. Every obelisk was the meeting area for groups of followers, some came together on a daily or weekly basis to make their required sacrifices for heavenly approval. In larger cities, many obelisks were the center of official
churches, that had the control of the land around the obelisk – but in the spirelands and smaller towns, no group usually had domination for long.

The party had been sent to various places in the spirelands over the last two hundred days, making contacts and doing tasks, many of the activities much more dangerous than they had thought at the outset. This time, they had a contact, Allfray – Curate of the Lady, by the designation they assumed the follower was most likely a priest, and they were asked to meet him at the obelisk of Quanna. They separated from their regular travel colleagues and made their way towards the obelisk, at least none of the preachers on the side of the streets seemed to be their quest. They started to ask around, looking for their contact, and in a few minutes, they find a rather typical human, male, tunic, and a necklace with the bright symbol of his goddess, though not out in a prominent way.

Allfray looked unassuming, but ready for his task. He had heard their names called to him in his dreams in the last few nights, and he knew that he needed to find these drovers, these men who were dedicated to the road. Yet neither looked like a typical member of this group. The black skinned elf, didn’t seem typical of his kin, the studious dral, who were incredibly dedicated to studying songs and poems of the past. The dwarf wore non-typical and banged up armor, it didn’t seem suited to his people’s usually dour and hardy bearing. They all greeted each other – Bahlgrimm the a Dwarf warrior and Solauder, the Drow Sorcerer. None were sure what they are to do next, as if one of them was supposed to know the next steps.

Bahlgrim though is the first to notice a small purple owl that seems to be interested in the group and starts to frighten it away. The cleric, tries another approach – reaches out to the avian, and his presence puts it at ease, as the avian lands on his arm. (Some colours particularly show the influence of the heavens, just as Yellow is associated with Quanna, Purple is connected with Casna, the LN Lord of Order.) The cleric sees the owl carry a scroll case, opening it he sees two sheets of vellum, one is a symbol of the Lady of Light, but is energized with power. The second is a overview map of the city. Allfray sees some of the prominent locations in the map, but is there a trend, what does this map mean? Why were they given it?

Knowing they may need more time and discretion to determine the meaning of the map, the group decides to find a more quiet place, perhaps a room at one of the nearby taverns. Allfray reaches out to the owl figure, and it collapses becoming a tattoo on his fore-arm.

The head for the Furroud Bull, a local tavern. They grab a table upstairs and bring out the map once again, trying to determine its meaning. They are stumped, mostly because none of them are scholars of arcana…they hesitate whether they should reach out.

On the upper level of the tavern, they look for patterns in the map, and why it’s cribbed with the symbol of Quanna. The individuals look out, trying to find anything to help. Allfray sees someone at the far end of the bar area, a tall horned grey minotaur keenly watching them, the cleric slowly heads towards the observing minotaur but the horned one turns away, heading out the front door. Allfray wants to know who was paying so much attention to them, and follows the mysterious figure, first out the door and then down into a passageway. Having to keep up, Allfray uses his tricks to stay at the same pace as the other, watching him enter another building. He turns back and heads back to the others. He tells them he knows where the minotaur watcher went to – and they agree to
investigate.

The cleric goes back to his residence at the small monastery, heads into his unadorned room. He hesitates a moment opening his storage chest, where his heavy armor has been laying dormant. His gear, the items he had tried to promise himself he would try to avoid, left where he (almost) promised he would not touch them again . A voice, a familiar voice reminding him that this is not his work, not his duty. Knowing he could not win the debate, especially with himself, he said no words, said no familar promises, but donned his armor. He was doing what needed to be done, even if he had no words for it.

Allfray returns to the back-alley and to his allies, then to the back-lot building. They carefully review it, looking for an easy way in. This indiscriminate building, a warehouse did not advertise and one could pass it without being brought to attention. Yet, both the Drow and Cleric found traps, if they tried to go through either the windows or hop up to the second floor, there were too high a chance of setting off traps.

Instead the team approached directly, and knocks on the door, and a set of eyes appear at the slot but nothing else – they seem to be looking for a password as they ask no questions. The cleric again steps around the problem, casting command, action word – open. The watching eyes, opens the door and steps aside, as the guards come over, the female attendant steps aside and puts up her hands to shake the guards away…the team has earned her honour.

They find themselves in a very busy room, 40 or more people of all different races, all seemingly focused on consuming something. There are humans, grey elves,
dwarves, golden horned jahlen and even grey skinned minotaurs, many of them either consuming alcohol or other drinks, oblivious to everyone except those female green skinned, plant-like servers. Many of the men standing aside, eyes glazed in conversations with images of smoke or dream. Each of the party members, like the rest of the consumers, are drawn into their personal realms of dream, for a few minutes. No one, neither server or drinker pay them little attention; the party realizes there are shum dreams, and little of consequences…as they are lost to their own illusions and dreams. They gather their resolve and determine it’s best to move ahead.

They head up the long grand stairs and realize, at least right away, that few of the others at the base level are aware of them. Most are still in the dreaming haze. Is it the room they wonder, but then determine they had walked past a large fountain in the middle of the base room without any of them realizing it.

As they go up, the staircase separates, and they head towards the larger and more fanciful door heading at the western side. Even before they reach the top, they see three rat-humanoids running towards them with long bladed weapons out. The cleric wins initiative, slamming down with his hammer on one of the ratlings, at the same time, their spears came hurtling towards Allfray and Solauder, but only the cleric was nicked. The drow released a sleep effect, causing each of them to drop.

The fighter stops running, assessing their situation – in utter calm confidence. The cleric, looks towards the door, then towards his dral elf comrade, who is busy going through their pouches. Soulader pockets a few coin purses and a small highly decorated fob.

The group has little time to re-organize themselves, as they see the grey horned minotaur, who was first observing them, gathering a crowd, made up of dwarves, elves, humans and other minotaur-kin. They have just a few rounds before they are overwhelmed, as the group of the warriors call out to them, and are making
their way up the stairs in a careful manner.

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The party sees the oncoming group, and look around and are unsure of what to do next and perhaps even more important, where to go. The cleric hears a feminine whisper in his ears, “Get to a doorway. Quickly.” The party begins to increase their pace, Solauder, casts mirror image on himself for protection, as the cleric, wanting to increase the elves pace, picks him up to carry him along. The group reaches the first door they find, they realize there is a number of fairies among them.

Four small blue smurflings hanging on the dwarf, three smaller insect-legged grig on the elf, and a two-foot tall, green skinned winged fairy flying just off the cleric. Looking for assurance, Allfray tries to gauge the fae, and he gets no suspicion or worries, so he opens the door and they go through. The room is occupied with two lovers on the bed in midst action, one of the fae casts a spell which changes the doorway, they look out and see a different alleyway than the brothel they came from, all step through. Now they are in that alleyway, a few hundred feet from where they once were, and already the doorway changes back
into a door.

The fairy starts berating the group, explaining the urgency of their mission but Soulader turns it around and is showing considerable mistrust, he doesn’t understand the mission as they usually have a simple task to complete. The green fairy tells them that the faeries were the ones who had started “hiring” the group, they were the benefactors, because the group did missions for both reward and honour.

Allfray inquires how could they have known, and the fairy explains that it was on the city map provided to them, and they had the messenger deliver it to them and it was written in Dral. Soulauder explains that Dral is an above ground, good-aligned dark skinned fey of Nyssa, this world. He may appear as one, but he is actually from another world, as his people are the Drow, very distinct in personality and outlook, he does not know the language. The fairy now identified as Abyssinia is surprised and embarrassed, and agrees to help them interpret the city map. They take out the map, and places the papyrus holy symbol underneath, as the shows and incites fairy explains what must be touched and spoken to show the magic, as they follow the instructions, a different detail emerges. Allfray, a native of the city recognizes the spots identified, as he thinks about the areas, and touches the map, it changes, showing a more detailed view of each location. Their mission consists of fixing something from each of these four sites:

The Sky Bridge, a little used, and very well maintained bridge over a now non-existant river.
The Shallow Well, a near empty and shallow well. Once believed to be a fairy drop, where they could come into this world
The third location, Allfray is unsure of
Finally, an Aviary, created from an abandoned Seed Tower.

Since it is late, the group decides to take these missions up tomorrow morning. The Dwarf, has already started resting at a Tenderfoot pub with 17 smurflings as every time one of them laughs, another one seems to come around. The Drow heads back to the pub where their drover allies congregate, joining in their ale and conversation. Again the cleric goes back to his residence at the small monastery for vespers, but he notices a small crowd already there. He feels uncomfortable as many of the eyes glaring at him. While they are welcome, he believes he is being watched.

Tomorrow, the adventure continues at the four sites.

View
Pyramid Passageways PT C
Pyramid Passageways

The group continues going down the stairs, lanterns lighting up on the side, always 100 feet ahead of them and the same behind. Cautious they keep to their fine formation, they eventually are more than three thousand feet in to the tunnels, far farther then they were expecting to go, when they reach a dark point, nothing to be seen. They cautiously halt, unsure of their next steps. Maza uses her spells to see a cloak figure aiming a bow towards them hidden in the darkness. The group calls out to the stranger who replies in the jackalla tongue, warning them to stay away, this is not their bounty. Arlel knows jackalla, a lawful guardian race often dedicated to city crypts; she understands this is not their enemy, nor is this, their quest, she tells everyone they have gone the wrong way. Not wanting to face a lawful figure who should be an ally, they head back, and it takes them just a few moments to return to the stairs, realizing there was a magical binding in the tunnels.

As they emerge out of the stairwell, they focus on the the Evil Pyramid entrance, Hervandos is able to avoid the traps by remaining perfectly calm. He fails, utterly, in opening the locks, so the halfling rogue comes over. But she fails her saving throw on the poison, she vomits, turns green and falls down, convulsing in pain. She is in tremendous pain but so disoriented, she is unable to do much more than shiver. The ranger and psion drag her far enough away, as the ranger heals her Tenderfoot sister, giving her another chance and the rogue passes her check, and is given help from the ranger once again.

The entire group hesitates: the entryway of the good aligned pyramid causes other problems, and as much as they dislike having to face the poison, that seems like a lesser problem then the induced ecstacy and loss of complete control. They need to find a way around, to go deeper into the evil pyramid where they believe their sarcophagus should be.

The soldiers herald something coming through the doors, as they turn to face a dozen or more of sand mephits, small rocky creatures with multiple sharp fangs, claws and bony appendages. The paladin and cleric face them front face, as the psion attempts to put up an energy wall. The ranger and rogue squirm around looking for a spot to strike. The creatures surround the cleric, cutting and clawing her, but not doing serious damage, at least not yet. They see at least another eight approaching. Finally the psion launches the energy wall, creating the barrier they need for defense. The others knock down the only two still inside the wall. The psion closes the large front doors and the soldiers seal them up with spikes.

In catching their breath, the group is left with what to do once again.

One of the lesser soldiers, wonders how they got through other traps, which gets the group thinking about what they could be missing. The rogue suddenly realizes in their haste to explore the passageways SHE didn’t search around, and when she does she eventually finds a false panel…opens it up, containing two levers, pulling them closes the obvious traps on the two other entranceways, it leaves the Pyramid of Darkness open and a heavy metal gate blocking entry to the Pyramid of Light. Now they are refocused again.

Going down the stairs they head back into another passageway, this one is wider than the one far below, none of the walls are decorated, or having hieroglyphics as they would have expected in a place like this. The bard tells the group the place is perfectly acoustic, sounds travel, far better than one would expect. Again, just as before, the lanterns are synchronized, coming on one after the other. Soon they start to hear a painful moaning, that reveals an inhuman voice in incredible torment, they see a hole in the side of the wall.

Looking in, they see a sight none ever expected to see, a chained Efreet, in horrible physical shape; the paladin detects an other-world evil. Everyone is a bit in awe, these creatures of pure fire were thought not able to come to the prime world of nyssa. No begging or screaming..it speaks in its own tongue, asking to be freed, though only the Phaetox understands it, as Galdahad shares the language of flame with it. When its polite requests fails to convince them, it returns to its riotous cacophony, begging to be let out.

As they are about to walk off, when another being, covered in chains come out to tempt the paladin into battle. The bard tells the group this is an Kyton, an evil race not devils but similar. they often work for mortal creatures, torturing is often their primary task. It’s evil tempting words crush the paladin, promising an epic battle. But no, their focus is too strong, the paladin, who shows composure and decides it better to leave, leaving the jailer in his cell with the prisoner. As they continue down, the hole in the wall is gone or at least no longer visible.

They continue down, and see the crossway turns, one direction turns into a short passageway to the right, a heavily armoured Ox Demon guarding a very elaborate door. While horribly named, they have run into these paragons of lawful order, unwilling to deviate from orders, certainly not something they have an active dislike of. In the other, a set of stairs heading down on a sharp angle.

Having no other way, they head down the passageway, when they see a small red flash dart across the passageway; Arlel summons a celestial blast, scorching an unnatural red rat that had fled from them but was still seeking to watch. Moments later they hear from a bellowing from below the stones, something in anger and mourning loss. Galdahad calls out to comfort it, but the red liquid beast roars out even louder, they see a long red snake-like entity, hungry but fearful. Not something that would strike out with treachery but of hunger, it seethes with anger, but goes back into the stone.

They look at each other and once more head down the stairs…

View
Duo-Diyalla Pyramid Start
Into the Sands

The group waits a few more days for their compatriots, as they hope will find their way back to town. At the same they realize many other adventuring teams are coming back into the spire town; some large contingents, with powerful steeds or walking golem-horses. They all seem to find a home for a few days, some of the smallest in an alleyway, hotel or tavern. Large military units, many with hundreds of volunteers that spend most of their days on the back roads, set up camps just outside the town.

Each of the units seem to designate a few of their members to go to the Fountain, some to sing or make a silent prayer or just stand in honoring someone who once walked. These units, drop something, coins, alcohol or other momento to represent something to their units. If you were to watch here just that early morning, one would be tricked that the offerings would drown the water even if for a few seconds. The water subsides and as it does the piles of coins sink low, so too with the men, as they did what they must and moved on.

Most of the party watches the goings on. None realized the mass of travelers and professional warriors that would be here…the sleepy spire town wasn’t just alone here in the desert, though it felt like it earlier on in the week. Each party member did as they always did; the psionicist in meditation, the rogue skulking to watch over her party, the paladin with an eye on the fountain and speaking with youth, Galdahad in flight among her avian kin, Maza the Halfling ranger with a small group of city beasts and Arun, retreated to the Sphinx library, with another burning research subject in his mind.

Arlel with her small contingent made the first steps back in to town long before she had originally planned, hoping that her friends truly did make it here. The sight of the Phaetox flying high in the marketplace was a relief, she was always the first and easiest to spot. They connect, and bring together the rest of the team. Dassadar walks slowly over, making no attempt to hide his detect evil casting on Arlel and the rest of her group, and finding no hint of malice. The young cleric certainly recognizes his actions but says nothing, as a swarm of introductions to old and new comrades commence.

One of Arlel’s newest allies is the tall, high pitched voiced, incredibly well dressed figure with an effusively charismatic personality, carrying many musical instruments at his beck and even more surprisingly an actual halo on his shining round his angelic head. Zelos tells them they have much to discuss, not just in one mission but one of their colleagues, Arun who is cursed or quite possibly his primary bond is not what it seems to be.

They go straightaway to Arlel’s apartment to lay down the known details. They are all a little surprised, the rooms are clean, except for her two mirrors, completely splinterered. Unsure of what this means, they search the rooms and area before they continue sharing information.

Arlel elaborates on what she found not just in the library but in the streets and taverns, legends of powerful items hidden in the pyramids. The local tales speak in particular of an elaborate sarcopogus built for a Raja, able to rebuild & restore both people and objects, if they are adored. Her research shows its most likely resting spot, undisturbed because each team was unclear on its final location. She believes this group, is strong enough to return this artifact to civilization. The fountain portal will lead them there, but the gateway she opened will only last another six hours or they need to find another way back to the pyramid.

So too, Zelos bears legends, but not of an item lost in the sands, but of grief. A genie or otherworldly demon he believes was inadvertently summoned and leaving a wake of destruction. He explains that while Arun summons the memory of a warrior it is another being that is coming through, and he is not the only one who reaches into the midst. Others, far nefarious, are using Gorth for their own darker purposes, and theirs is a trail of blood, murder of heroes in their sleep or younglings in their home, he didn’t meet their kin, he didn’t need to. The story is the one that Zelos is determined to stop.

The group wonders if it is Gorth which was why their teleport did not enable them to go to the Duo-Diyalla Pyramid. Dassadar expresses some incredulity at Zelos’s story, but Zelos begins telling a story of his incredible exploits, the team loses the effort to argue with him. Convincing them but at the same time Zelos believes he best not try their patience or trust too often; Dassadar especially (DM’s hint: spells or other tricks on other party members work in moderation, at a certain point PCs will gain immunity.)

They concoct a loose plan of trying to get their friend to summon his servant though not capturing him in a way that could limit him until they determine how exactly they can fully deal with him. Wanting to meet Arun outside of town, they call him, but the scholars in the library reveal he is no longer around. The group does a search they find no sign, and nobody remember where he exactly went to. They find the old lore books he was studying, stories told of great past rogues and scoundrels who went on both desert and Sea of Stones quests. The last book he was reading, left open to the picture of “Raibasghi” a well known desert scoundrel long renowned for coming back from the desert wastes with treasure and magical trinkets; this was one of Arlel’s heroes she was delving into. The party wonders if Arun left to go hunting, or, if somehow Gorth was able to take control. They rush out out to look for their ally.

Using his mind-scanning, Hervandos is able to track down Arun, finding him in a tavern, surrounded by dangerous looking rogues. He decides not to reveal their preys location to his comrades as he doesn’t want them to be sidetracked as they came to the desert to complete the mission and prefers not to lose the quick way to the pyramids.

Realizing their wasted efforts, the heroes refocus on their original mission, scoping the dungeon & retrieving the sarcopogus. Zelos is torn though, committed to both completing this task and of stopping the killer Gorth, he wonders if he is doing the best thing.

At the fountain, Arlel speaks her command word and they step into the water, then through… into a huge stone room, high ceilings, and the first site of Arlel’s volunteers struggling to close an outside door where a huge sandstorm rages. Each steps out into this large rectory, the fountain they emerge from though grandiose in size is far from its peak, as it has seen deterioration and even worse, barely a trickle of water inside the grand central fountain.

As Fesselin the rogue and Maza the druid step past each is given a momentary flash, Fessy works up a defense, as she tries to concentrate in her home and many positive thoughts. Maza fails and is shocked by memories but not her own, of an eerily positive flashes of many people here in this building in another era. The haunting images cascade imaged laughing, playing in the midst of a bygone era when humans, dwarves, Tenders and even elves are in this same place, filled with water, pets,and plants. Lasting a few seconds, Maza regains control of herself…she shares with the rest of the party, unsure of what really happened. Arlel admits none of her soldiers experienced this previously but again this was two Tenderfeet, she wonders if this could be a specific trap.

The group sees the many small statues and frescoes littered in the upper sections of the room, mementos of religious and standard pilgrims. They could tell it was once an eight door church rectory, but now only the main twenty foot tall master-door was in use. A domed roof shows a wondrous scene of angels, devils and aqua dragons flying in a cloudy sky, other details less conspicuous are lost in the dust from far below on the vantage point on the ground.

A kilometer each way, two opposing pyramid complexes reign tall, one to the left the Pyramid of Darkness; Pyramid of Righteousness to the right, Arlel’s team discovered with the help of Zelos, three hidden passageways hidden under the sands. Two reach out in the direction of the Pyramids and the last one opposite the entrance doorway. Over the last five days they excavated, and found the entranceways riddled with writings that warn of unauthorized entry and curses for theft. The dark pyramid entrance brings shudders of cold, pain & misery; the one of righteousness brings happy near bucolic thoughts even to the point of mindless euphoria, both are avoided by the soldiers.

They light their torches, choose lots and enter the passageway tunnels…

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Desert Town PT B
Desert Town

The old black mystic smiled as he welcomed her into his hut preparing tea for both, this place felt even less spiritual inside than on the outside, yet she felt blessed for being asked inside. “You saw her?” Galdahad asked taking her first sip of the hot berry tea.

Varchan nodded, “She was here several times, in a manner very similar to yours. She wandered here, and whether she received respite or guidance she didn’t reveal, that’s not important.”

”Not important?" the Phaetox asks loudly then tries to deliberately lower her voice, this hut doesn’t seem to be a practical spot for loud discussion, nor Varchan someone deserving of it.

He shook his head and smiled, and somehow that was enough to cool her down. “Her coming here was her own, just as yours is. If she was comforted, she did not say, but that is the past, you are here now.”

“If you could share, it could help us find her it would be…incredibly helpful…”

Again he shakes his head, “That’s not how this works, I am a running stream, thoughts go through where I am, I may sip, but mine is not to imbibe. Tomorrow or next week I may not remember the textured details of this conversation, all that I will remember, is you.”

One of the images he used, remarkable for a Spire dweller, “Running stream?”

Varchan holds out his hand and waves it horizontally, then flowed it, to stop holding upright, “Young lady, all Phastian born, rear and die in the desert, it’s not my fate. This is my other life. I was not born to this. Priest, servant to the Holy Sand, with hundreds of soldiers and thousands of handmaidens…” Galdahad looks at him taking a deep drink, “This was my second death, and I needed a place to be, and this place needed, well, someone. We all dream here, I help to reveal the message…”

“We need for you to try to remember some details about Arlel…” (5 questions to pose to Varchan before the next game)

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On her second night in the small town, Fesselin quickly realizes she doesn’t like it here, it was a quaint little burg, but there was little for her to do. There were taverns, serving drinks but she was never comfortable around big folks, except for her own coterie. These folks as welcoming as they were, would always be big folk, strange ones at that. Most of these people are stuck with their heads in the spires, unconcerned about politics or neighbors, it may be safer but they were always inwardly concerned.

Making her way to the back alleyways, she took it all in, the wide open spaces, the buildings the animals…and suddenly she saw two of her kind, Tenderfeet approaching her. They looked at her and smiled, a hand out to greet her, “Trasolin” the older woman said, and pointing to a younger man in combat leathers, “Rasak.” Fessy introduced herself. “There are others?” Trasolin nods, “We keep ourselves hidden, until we can determine who the stranger in our midst is." She takes a swig from a jug, then hands it to Fesselin who does the same.

“We are tree-ing; care to bob along?” Unsure of what it means but happy to be among kin, she agrees. They come to a fairly large house and climb up, revealing a building whose lower floor is false, as the building covers a hole hundreds of feet deep, and a huge vine plant inside, being carefully pruned and picked by a small group of tenderfeet, plus small sized lizardith and similar sized humanoid frogs. Her newfound companions are waved in, Fessy notices her legs and arms are starting to grow slow and heavy. Almost sensing what Fesselin is about to say, Trasolin nods, “The poison will almost be in full effect.”

Fessy grabs her weapons, while the other two Tenderfeet take a step back. “Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you or steal your equipment…we need to find out about you and your friends, and we have no time for games.”

Despite her protests, they wait for the poison to take control of her, then sit her down in the Greenhouse. With spells, they ask her questions about her group, their intent and some of their history; their questions are careful not to reveal personal or tactical data, but certainly she reveals why they are in the town. In the space of twenty minutes, they are finished, then put a cloth over her head. She wakes up in a small pub, empty glasses around her smelling badly of ale. Her equipment and wealth still with her, plus a basket of exquisitely tasting blue and yellow fruit.

She heads back to the big house, and sure enough. a small group of workers still prune it, but her two comrades are nowhere to be seen.

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One of the few benefits of being imprisoned for over nine months was the insistence of quiet meditation. Most of the other prisoners took the time to cause any disturbance to force the guards to use noise or force to end the meditation exercises. As a Thellan, Hervandos had memories of many encouraged sessions, but this was different and quite powerful, as it to brought him back “home”, to refocus in his psionic gifts and foster their growth. It was ironic beyond belief that it were these near ignorant Wastelanders would be the one to help him with this.

Even since before his release, he made an effort to daily meditate on his focus. Normally coming to a new town would be difficult, but spread throughout the village were buffers, psionic tools to disperse hindrances. While not tremendously obvious, there were other psions here. Instead of a difficulty, it was almost a continious state, able to slip into focus at-will. On the third night there, he entered a full dream state, able to travel in purely mental form in a way similar to a physical body.

On the first night, he saw others like himself here. He slowly approached but as he does, a hound with tentacles unlike he’s ever seen notices him and started braying… frightened he removes himself, immediately coming out of his purely mental state, and finds himself back in his hotel room in a lotus concentration position.

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Arun on this night like all the others had spent much of the time in concentration; this town like many others was never his goal. His magic or his familiar allies had always been his prime concern, but now something was wrong with Gorth, his primary bond. It had been many years since he found the entity and he had come to rely on him, for his brute power force, in a fight, his was the muscle that he came back to…now there was something that felt wrong. Many previous times even when not calling for him into the midst, the between, his presence was noted, just waiting, eager to be released. But that eagerness was gone. He no longer lurked, never hungry. He came and served out of obedience but the Summoner wondered if this would always be the case. He heard of other familiar and summoned servants who refused to come or even worse, turned on their master. His bond had always been strong, that he never worried before, now was very different.

Slipping into his concentration, then into the chainless lair in the midst of his void, he remained perfectly calm, silent as memory. For the first time, in too many years, he didn’t come to bond, or seek out a new servant-ally, but to carefully watch his bonded ally. This time, he wanted to see if his ally would come to him. Just as he feared his bond, his ally was not here. He didn’t call out, not this time…this creature was still an ally, if he called and the creature didn’t come, then what. Could he put the bonded ally on the spot?

He exited the midst, and sat motionless for awhile, then left his room. He went well to a quiet alleyway and mulled over calling his companion…

  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    The trip to the Spire-Edge had shown him little, perhaps most of all other defined the space they were in and what was around them. The nearest pyramids were probably around 25 to 30 days, on foot if they were not intercepted or attacked by the Raja’s forces, especially the undead ones. If this was where Arlel was, he and his companions would go find her.

As he headed into town the sounds of two young boys struggling with a beast, verging off from one
of the the larger side streets. Dassadar headed in, as he saw two Phastian teenagers struggling to get a winged horse, into a stable. Without hesitation, he jumped the fence and held up his hand. Both the kids and Pegasi seemed surprised, as he calmly came towards them, he held out up a hand speaking. The Phastian tattoo was controlling the words coming out of his mouth, as he soothed the well groomed beast.

The side door flew open, as a middle aged Phastian Lady with two much younger children, younger than the lads working the winged steed. Their presence startled the steed, as it bucked, without thinking, Dassadar jumped on it and started giving it much harsher commands, the mother kept the two little girls away, as the two young teen boys tried to grabs the ropes. Their full teamwork was enough to allow Dassadar to capture the Pegasi, and hold him still enough for the creature to calm down.

The little girls had stopped screaming, and the boys puffed out their chests, as they lead the creature into the stable. The attractive woman whispered orders to the young girls, who slunk into the doorway. The lads came out to thank him, but he stood at attention, the same as he was taught when he was living in the North. It hit him that their customs were not the same, the boys came out and stood at attention with their hands crossed with their heads down.

“Thank you for helping with the steed.” She smiled with a controlled demurred look, “My boys needed to clean the stable…” She hesitated as her two young girls reappeared with a pitcher and glasses. “My girls would like to invite you in for a glass of water, as a way to thank you…” The kind mother smiled as her children were very excited to have him come inside.

“Doing a good deed is my reward.” He hesitates for a moment and reconsiders everything going on here. No ill intent, the children are happy to see a stranger, “Your husband is returning soon?”

“Two days, most likely, on Fountain Day.”

Dassadar looked at both the excited girls and the proud young boys, and couldn’t help but smiling to himself, “Happy to join you for water…”

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Deserted
Deserted

Plans secured for weeks, many of them with newly purchased items or enchanted ones, the group held itself tight. It had been too long since they worked together “in formation” as the paladin Dassadar referred to the group and somehow felt very comfortable. He had selected six volunteer journeyman soldiers carefully, knowing going into a new environment would present unique challenges for them. Yet none of them had connections so if they were lost in battle it would not cost him politically.

Galdahad flew down for the last time, it was always hard to say goodbye to people she knew here, both humanoid and avian alike, yet each time she traveled she learned more. She knew she wasn’t ready for her birthright challenge, thus she continued on, preparing for her destiny.

Arun had long since prepared, having a bit more experience in arid lands than the others, yet this was the legendary Phastian Desert, part of the original Empire that ruled the land, secrets to be discovered and potentially more evil to be vanquished. His colleague, his brother-in-arms, of sorts, waited to be summoned out, to do good works in service to his colleague and companion.

The Tenderfoot (Halfling) rogue, like Arun had prepared for coming here but by speaking to her contacts, learning about the pyramid traps and the denizens inside. She had long hoped to get a chance to explore the ruins and other locales as much as she wanted to see an old friend. She knew her own kind were there in smaller numbers, and she had heard terrible rumors of dark servitude to undead lords.

Lastly, the psion Hervandos sat in quiet meditation, sometimes he wondered why he even went on with this group, but knowing he had nowhere else to go and the group sometimes did provide entertainment was justification enough. Knowledge or enlightenment the aim when he was younger, now it just seemed to be finding contentment of any sort, even if ever so briefly.

They waited just a few minutes longer until the prearranged time, as they saw the effect, the obelisk starts to glow its mystical colours, then they stepped thru. As they come out they find themselves immediately wet, in a public fountain, and alone as their old comrade is nowhere to be seen. Arun uses simple magiks to dry themselves off, then they realize the predicament they are in, stranded in a town, without a guide nor any apparent caster able to help send them home.

They are not exactly alone, as their mini spectacle was enough to cause the local folk, Phastian humans, to stop and watch them for a moment or two. The groups beseech for help, but their words fail as they share no tongue. Using his spells, Arun quickly learns enough of their language to communicate. They have arrived in the town of Gortauncho, south offers the Sea of Stones in the Phastian Desert. This Fountain, is the local equivalent of an obelisk, the center of clerical magic. While not immediately familiar, some of the townsfolk recognize the description of the group’s wayward colleague, the cleric Arlel. Eventually they find a citizen who reveals where she stays. They hire a guide, and start to learn about the town.

Fesselin is propositioned by a well-dressed tenderfoot, but she turns him down. Hervandos is warned in mind-speak that they are here illegally but categorically confirms they have paid entry fees: he doesn’t know if his bluff works but the questioning ends. Galdahad speaks to several avian comrades, they tell her about the wind routes to the sea but know nothing about her land friend.

Proceeding to Arlels house, there is no response to their knocking, so the group heads to the law enforcement. Situated nearly out of town, going towards the largest stone object and building, as they approach they realize it is beneath a huge statue of a winged lion, a sphinx, more than 300 ft at the base with doors to underground caverns of some kind.

The local forces recognize Dassadar’s insignia, and show respect to the paladin and his colleagues. They wear badges of faith to a Goddess of Light, they swear by Zalia, that the group believes is the same as the goddess Quanna in the North. The soldiers reveal little more than what the team has already discerned, at least as it relates to their missing comrade…they knew the young woman by reputation only, she had few acquaintances, caused no trouble, no one for them to be concerned with. When discussing their next options, they decide their next step should be to examine her home, and the desert folk give them permission to enter her home but not to take anything.

As they speak with the authorities, Galdahad notices one of the men particularly enamored by her, she begins a conversation with him. A little embarrassed, he reveals a fascination, her skin colour is like nothing he had seen before. Even for the Sea folk to the North of them, her pale skin is so much whiter than any of her comrades, Galdahad admits she is not human but a Phaetox, then opens her flame wings. The soldiers of law, kneel in bewilderment…they had not known of her kind before. She is a little shocked, she thought everyone had heard of Phaetox, at least in the North they had.

Heading back to Arlel’s house, the halfling determines the lock, opens it and the door…right away three shades suddenly appear, the finder rolls back taking shelter behind the Phaetox, as Arun summons three celestial archons, heavenly balls of light to intercede. A quick battle forces the shades to retreat into the walls. Seconds later, Arun is hit by a powerful shock, immediately releasing his summoned servants…he realizes this small town has a formidable protection a ward of some sort around it, most likely the huge sphinx statue is the center. Perhaps Arlel’s decision to make a home here makes sense. He also wonders what would happen if he released his main ally, what could happen?

They enter and carefully investigate er residence, casting of detect magic reveals the feather stylus has a slight evocation. The papyrus has no markings. A small stylized stone obelisk carved with personalized engravings, the paladin wants to hold on to it, but the others remind him of their vow not to remove anything. Eventually the paladin submits, putting it back. Meanwhile the psionicist tells them he sensed a powerful evil presence for seconds, something far evil than he’s ever felt before, who was apparently watching everyone; nobody is quite sure what that means. They are unsure if they have gained any insight as to where their former companion might be.

Night seems to take the party quickly, and they retreat to the lodging and equipment acquired by the paladin’s soldiers, a small bevy of local cuisine and equipment as well as services of a tattooist, who can provide a Mark of Phastian Language Skills (OOG +5 to Phastian Language plus INT bonus +10 non-roll bonus for calm speaking scenarios.)

Arun wants to learn about the town’s fountain obelisk, and spends most of the night in a library within the sphinx. Galdahad spends much of the time drinking, sharing stories learning lore of the Sea, and of rumours of what is hidden beneath the pyramids. The halfling watches the room carefully, sipping her mull, and tries to gauge the people…they are being watched but only generally. Hervandos, returns to their room, slipping into quiet meditation. The paladin also goes back to the shared room, to spend some time with his soldiers, sharing an ale and ensuring their morale is high. Eventually they all slip out first some drinks and camaraderie.

The next day the Phaetox takes to the sky to look for any signs, and one interesting aspect is of a simple hut with some petitioners or students outside of it. Wanting to learn, she spends the day in contemplation. Arun, continues his intense study of the fountains and its connections to obelisks and the various local faiths. Fesselin takes a careful watching spot, hoping to see if their action last night raised some suspicions, enough so someone takes any action. Dassadar wanting to have a better understanding, starts to walk, south, and eventually finds the edge, they are on a spire, essentially a cliff island, perhaps a mile or more high. He sees far away many pyramids, as well as other spires. They could spend years looking for their former comrade, but she had promised them a great opportunity to vanquish evil.

At the end of the day, an old man comes out, and gives each of the petitioners the object, they are looking for, then finally looks at Galadahad and says, “You were looking for the cleric Arlel, then we we need to talk.”

Active Characters (GP = Game Points)
35 G.P Dassadar Aasimar / 8th level 
31 G.P. Fesselin Halfling Finder / 8th level 
28 G.P. Galdahad Phaetox / 7th level
28 G.P. Hervandos Psionic / 7th level
26 G.P. Cassie human sorceror / 7th level
23 G.P. Arun / Wizard / 7th level

Token Tally
Adrian 10 W, 3 B
Karen 22 W + 3 B
Serena 15 W, 2 B
Senthil 13 W, 2 B
Curnette 12W, 0 B
Rob 5 W, + 3 B

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Stub Start
Stub Start

Arms filled with scroll and map cases, Cassie precariously yet quickly makes her way to the agreed meeting place, a bar on the east-side of the Inner wall. She enters and darts for the back-room as per their standard technique. Galdahad, high in the sky, she had already well searched the place, making sure none of the winged familiars of would-be spies followed Cassie, the most known member of the group. Galdahad lands beside the tavern, covers herself with a cloak and heads in; though Phaetox are not illegal, she like the rest of the group would prefer to keep her presence quiet.

Arun, the most recent member to their collective is in the tavern, keeping an eye on the door to ensure no would be Eyes were there. His presence there was little acknowledged, better for him, in case he needed to make his calling. Without seeing anyone else of threat or notice, Fesselin the Halfling casually follows her would-be team-mates then closes the door.

“Everyone Here?” Cassie asks, spreading out maps on the lone shrun table, the bartenders already knew not to disturb them.

“The Paladin?” Cassie asks, but Galdahad shakes her head. They had sent several messages to him, but none were returned. He seemed to be happy Jotun hunting in the wastes, and ignored all attempts of the old group reforming.

“Decision time, do we get…” Arun grows quiet as the Tenderfoot puts a hand to her mouth to quieten him, then rushes for the door, opening it leaving their Aasimar paladin, surprised about to rap on the door.

His golden armor announces his position and faith, he smiles and puts out his arms out; no discretion this was not the groups intention in this part of town. They wave him in and then sit him down, overlooking the maps, but he doesn’t seem to notice.

“No huzzahs?” Dassadar asks as he goes for the mug of shine. “It’s been too long!”

“You don’t understand what is happening here,” Arun states, “We are trying to…”

“Do something very good.”Cassie adds, looking him in the face smiling.

“I’m in!” the paladin states looking at everyone in the face, as he allows Cassie’s infectious good nature smile to spreads to his own. They quickly get down to their challenge, planning their newest conquest.


Game Details: will send everyone their reknown points, this how we track level, reputation, etc.

Starting point is 7th level. So if you were to create a new character, that’s where you start. If with your new points you are higher, that’s where you begin.

Would like for everyone to have three ideas of what they can add to the in-game plot scenarios. Either a quest the party can go on, something the character did in the last three years, etc. You don’t have to announce them, but if you can submit them sometime in the next few weeks that would be great.

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Ch 24 - End
End

Obelisk of Dreams and Endings

The group of individuals agree to give up their weapons and climb aboard, as they start seeing scenes of the ship slowly going down. They feel weirdly compelled as they see themselves above while feeling intimately connected to everything below. Happiness and feelings of contemplation briefly overwhelm them, as the entrance way continues ever-upward. Reaching the lowest area, the crew (for lack of a better term) which began as elders are now youngsters, inviting everyone to free themselves but to remember the ship, is their home and base.

Almost instantly the group is amazed with the visions and visitations: wild animals and savage beasts, all somehow summoned to someone somehow to serve. Some of the visitors simply wait, others engage, others playfully interact, all intervening somehow in the interlude. The group of heroes is split into two, one actively passive interacting all of the sounds and sights, the other tasked to watch their young charges.

The group is carefully bound to their young lady, careless to all but her needs, even to her wants. She turns away from the boundless energy of the crew, of the others involved in the open instead she turns towards the quiet. They closely follow her, away from the centralised court, into a land more composed and if words are complete, towards a more complex land. They wonder if this would be where her internal desires world show forth. After awhile, everything seems to fall into place, as they each seem to carry their weapons as before.

Soon, they see a dread engineer approaches them and the group waits just a little while before it lashes out. As they approach, the creature calls out others as he picks up a great axe to blast towards them. Dassadar squashes him as Arun and Galdahad handles the other creatures being summoned. The leader escapes from the grip then begins to pound down on Dassadar. After a round of being ineffective, Arun summons a dark beast then goes into his deep rest mode. The battle goes on for quite awhile but our heroes don’t lose hope and defeat it. Their young hand-maiden watches it all slowly, deliberately but not doing anything to either help or hindered the groups efforts.

They continue going north, see a blue tar-cat, a mysterious being, but this quickly disseapears and is replaced by a uniquely positioned cat humanoid of another nature. Seeing this as the only thing nearing them, Dassadar tries to engage it, the first few sentences are harshly brutal but eventually get into a pattern so the two can communicate.

The Pet and the paladin introduce each other, then get a philosophical discussion on the nature of the enemy and what to do with her. He tells the paladin it is best to let her go, the path they are going is guarded but if that is the way she is going, let it happen. Dassadar expresses some shock then relents that it would be best if they simply let it happen. He thanks the Great Cat, then shares the info gained.

While they continue on, they listen to the Cat, and turn distracted and then their charge disseapears which angers them but they realize this is the pathway they must go. They continue on knowing or believing the path to be realizable on their own they continue onward, following the obvious tracks.

They soon see a huge castle, with nobody around it, guarding or even keeping track. They believe this is the way. When they enter the Castle they see two huge Cyclops start to track them, but they bring down the wrath and soon the images are no more. They continue on, and begins to slowly hear sounds which get louder, as they make their way into a fairy crowded bar.

Once in the door, the group sees the dozens perhaps a hundred others, all drinking all unaware of their mission. They then get lost, watching others, who are buying and selling, talking, drinking, listening to the wildness of the bar and the people within. They see where they must go, yet it’s strangely blocked, the doors open led nowhere. Frustrated until Arun opens up another door, taking the backway to their path, meeting up once again with their path.

Along the interior path they go, until along these heavily ordained but useless doors and they see a group of seven warriors, all heavily armed…in an arguing match with a young lady they recognize their charge. They get into a rough arguing match until finally the other group forces them to relent.

She says nothing, but hurries them along as if they are fully aware of the situation.They continue until they reach the lavatory. They go inside and see a young woman, poorly dressed and drawing upon the floor. Engaging her, they learn she is a seamstress and the two ladies embrace, no one says anything .

From somewhere they hear a sound, and see a large masked creature mumbling, the two ladies tell the others to be quiet, and eventually he passes, saying nothing more. The party asks and the young lady reveals this is Skrella, the Night Hag the creature that each is bound to. When asked about it they reveal that they see and hear many things in the night, but it is his purposeful charges that fill them with glee. They know it is dangerous to be so attracted to such a thing, but his voice when he sings it is heavenly they are obliged to continue. But they say it is only hear, in the other world that they hear his voice so clearly and thus compelled to return.

They wait just so few more minutes before the monster reappears..they each grab their stuff and dive forth, as some are frozen the others tear into him…until finally it moves no more. They see it all disappear as this is very different in some ways then what they face in the wake-lands, they grab some of the items from him, in hopes that it can be recoverable.

They take their charge back to the boat, and the with the ascension Dassadar faces a choice, he looks at Hervandos, knowing that this is the only time here his companion stands (well sleeps) beside him, able to take the specific choice. Arun says nothing, as Hervandos actions came long before his own. While Galdahad was here, she says nothing, unable or unwilling to commit. Coming down to choice, he makes it, and forcefully binds his teammate to the guzzle of the few awake on the barge.

EXIT

Once they come to the fore, the barge is surrounded by the normal security who pay Dassadar and his newfound prisoner little attention. The many ladies are in awe of both their experiences and Dassadar, who says nothing and quickly takes his prisoner away. Arun and Galdahad do the explaining to everyone, several times to many people, but enough to convince everyone what they are saying is true. Dassadar is actually not with them nor the Captain of the Guards a few days later, accepting the official letter and the many rewards given by the Company and the families for their efforts.

Over the next ten days, these heroes are given new orders, Vostann gives each of them separate but distinct postings.

Arun to the high city, to watch, learn and be humbled by other students and Masters of magic. Galdahad into the reaches, to study and fly by her own people; her new job is to guide outsiders in her own people’s lands. Fesselin is hired at first to be apart of a secret guard, but realises this is a ruse, and she is part of a fantastical guard hired to steal some of the most powerful artifacts in the land. Cassie is sought out, and is hired directly free of the post, free in the High City, not for anything but to seek out her own virtue, her own passion, and even more profound to find her own mother. Hervandos is arrested and chained for quite awhile and it seems to do him quite well, and when he is freed he has no job, no contacts but does have one challenge – defeating the paladin that got him sent in here. Dassadar after dropping Hervandos off is left with nothing, his friends, all reassigned to different duties is left temporarily with nothing, until he sees a flock of Griffiths, coming to offer him a job to patrol the high lands directly with his own kin.

All are settled at least for now, until an ill wind once more blows their souls together again.

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Ch 23 - Wandering the Temple
Ch 23

They go further into the Dream Temple, when they are stopped by the Ox guards, who do not want them to awaken any of the guests. The group of heroes threaten to cause a racket, and tell them of the danger, but the guards seem a little stunned, unsure of what to do about the groups belligerence. A red-skinned devil lady who is strictly formal (but who does not introduce herself), and tries to allay their fears. She is adamant that they (the temple) are not responsible and seems to divert anyone who tries to lay blame, she asks them to quietly leave before they cause any more of a problem. They threaten again to cause a ruckus, but she ever quietly tells them that they don’t want to do this.

The ranger and rogue decide to not even bother, and pay the amount to sleep in the temple, one of the temple acolytes tell them it is highly unusual, but they eventually relent. (BOTH ROLL NATURAL 20s) and they almost immediately settle into their sleep, dream-questing and find a castle, with a section that has a small prison, that has four ladies, two older, one middle aged and their charge – Lady Donnesha. She politely and so sweetly asks to be let out, but the two older ladies are screaming for it, their accents are unlike any Tsarin ones they have ever heard. The other younger lady speaks, but in a language none can understand. At the same time, they notice some guards returning, the ranger decides to go back to get the others while the rogue tries to open the locks. She fails and is caught by the guards. She is marked as a thief on her hands, and then released away from the castle…she is quite lost and unsure of herself. Again, she hears other things in the distance but she doesn’t fear them any longer.

Meanwhile the group decides to pay to get into the dreams, they do, but Maza is unable to find the same dream passage as before.

When they awaken, the young noble lady looks happy and refreshed as never before, as do the other ladies, and they pay no heed to their dead companion. When they are asked they are at a loss as to why they have no sympathy or understanding, none are also able to fully explain where they were in their dreams or what they saw. Just as strange, the marks of failure branded into her hands last night are gone from her skin.

During the day the heavenly angels are guarding, and they seem to be at a loss to explain any of the events. None of the guards, the good ones during the day or the other ones at night seem to fully explain what is going on. The paladin asks for private words with one of the lesser celestials who gains some insight into the events, he learns that they are loyal and keep the peace but not much more. He doesn’t feel they understand what is happening, nor do they seem to care. Most guests are happy and content, few problems ever happen, and their assignment here is show. Neither side truly understands what is going on, they do their task during their time, and they don’t interact with anyone else.

Arun is both frustrated and angered, he believes the guards are keeping things from the rest of the party, but is unsure whether it is deliberate or not. They wasted the chance to sleep last night, and they are chasing something that they are unsure of. This seems to be the only option, and the party says they will help cover his amount.

They await for the first part of the nightly ritual, the meal.

  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After a wonderful Satume (evening meal), the party and the others are asked to dress for slumber. When they are asked to take off their equipment, including their weapons, they hesitate with considerable trepidation, when told this is the only way: they refuse. An elderly human lady in a gorgeous purple gown, introduces herself as Kavasa, and she is one of the hosts. When they express that they would be at risk, this elderly woman says that the temple does not put anyone at risk, the guests do themselves, if they travel past the temple at night. Guests are warned…if they refuse to listen to the warning, what more can they do. When the group explains that they will need the weapons to deal with the threats such as the creature from last night, Kavasa tells them what they want in the dream world, they will have…but it is the boundary which is where the problems most often arise, and if you are a threat in the passageway, horrible creatures most likely will attack you, or anyone armed. Keep the tradition she asks, no physical weapon, unless you can disguise it.

The threat, she explains is not the temple nor the guardians; the temple resides within a dream-path, and those that are drawn can find any temptation they seek. If they stay in the temple, the ladies will potentially be stronger, happier, more wise, or even younger; but if they don’t, they can achieve knowledge or wealth or things far less desirable depending upon what they seek. And everything they see is somewhere in the void, so if they are tempted, there is nothing the temple can do to protect those willing to give in to the temptation. The danger she explains, lies within each of you, not the temple.

When asked why this is the first time they are being told any of these things, Kavasa smiles an old wise smile and says there is much bureaucracy, and while good intention helps to smoothe things, it can often get in the way. Most people, most guests merely need to be told to stay in the temple. When you rest, sup and listen to the preparations, you learn and then if needed ask questions which is enough for almost everyone. If its not, then most people will have another conversation, like this one. Now she asks for the weapons again… (decision to be given at the start of next game.)

To the group, if you have any questions for Kavasa, send them, either privately or in an email on FB. If I forgot to add any detail from my drunken stupor to this, please just remind me, but this should be what you need to complete the mission.

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Ch 22 - Dark Dreams
Ch 22

Hired to take a cursed young noble lady to an Obelisk of Dreams where she can be freed of her curses. They are provided a local guide, a Satyr named Eunustos. They dive into the trails, heading around Axxos into a wild shrun forest, mushroom trees averaging forty feet or more. All of the Tenderfeet and gnomes along the way greet Eunustos by name and he seemingly knows them as well.

As soon as they camp for the first evening their Minotaur guard mysteriously collapses, as the satyr’s fey friends emerge and the entire wagon partakes in some healthy but oh-so-naughty fun. Only the paladin and the Phaetox deny themselves as the new summoner ally Arun has to struggle with a presence inside him wanting to fully enjoy the physical pleasures. The next day goes even better, as none have hangovers or hindered by the previous nights pleasures.

The sun sets as they come into what one would have expected to find a small forest village, instead they see a huge temple complex with a rag-tag assortment of tents surrounding it, comprised of traders and pilgrims.

Knowing their time is limited they immediately head to the complex, where they pass by beautiful and ornate statues, green shrubs and smaller pools part of a larger glorious garden, they head up the stairs to the stone bridge and enormous Ox-Headed creatures stand guard, they hesitate but Arun convinces the guards to let them pass. They enter to see a huge arcane area complete, with dazzling lights and mystical devices, with a dozens of women sleeping on large pillows. They grab the attention of one of the acolytes as well as one of the few (awake)males in the building, an elaborately decorated humanoid with red eyes and radiating otherworldly evil. Dassadar recognises the vile thing as an Incubus, a demonic creature of temptation. This evil entity teases the team, and even goes so far to momentarily freeze Galdahad in ecstasy as he eventually slinks away. They make arrangements to have Donnesha and her hand-maidens stay, as the others rest in the tents outside.

As they are about to leave, Galdahad notices a fiery Avian flying above, and she is amazed that this appears as a mini-phoenix, but she has a fearful realization that this is in fact HER phoenix, apart of her own soul, no longer within her and feels empty. She asks Dassadar and he concurs, believing he has too has lost his connection to the divine. Galdahad feels weird, free from her divine contact, she can lie and be naughty, yet for the first time perhaps in her life she feels alone, disconnected from her divine patron. Desperation grips her, she runs outside and as she dies the spark likewise follows and as she escapes the temple she jumps and her spark does the same as she leaps, her entire body virtually explodes in flame, flying high as a splendour of phoenix, far stronger and brighter then ever before.

Arun wonders if this place is still within Nyssa or is part of an otherworld. He comes to assume while there are connections via the obelisk there is no proof they passed thru a portal yet but he certainly believes some are nearby. Arun keeps messenger spell active to keep an ear on the young noble as they depart.

Dassadar and Galdahad spend the day learning a little more about the obelisk of dreams as a community of this individual groups using the temple area and its connections to the dream-planes. There are few arcane experts outside the building, as it caters to mostly food or other traders for use in dream rituals and so they wait for Arun to awaken before going back.

While there are multiple obelisks of various neutral gods in this temple, there are perhaps surprisingly few “proper” religious groups in the Temple, mostly the Deva Day Guards or Ox-Demons at Night or the human cults, beings drawn to this place. None claim ownership as they work together to keep a reasonable peace, groups interacting but not fully allied.

They find a much wider group inside during the day including Acolytes and visitors from all over the planes. Their questions on the nature of the building lead to Saishanno, a winged elven lady with a snake torso. She explains this is a conjunction, a place of portals between worlds are readily available and many open for travel, this is why beings such as the Incubus or her will stay, others however are trapped unable to escape. The Temple isn’t a portal but any door inside or even near the Dream Temple might possibly be. The two strongest otherworldly connections right now are to Arvox a plane of dominance and punishment and Chavanos a place of weirdly interchangeable travel but that can change quickly.

When they return to their wagon for the end of the day, virtually all party members have left the wagon, to partake in the physical pleasures, even the Minotaur who has a small bevy of jahlen cows with him. The Satyr encourages them to relax, but is shaken when asked about the Complex and specifically the Incubus they found. He screams asking is it bound, they are unsure but believe it is, as it seems strongly connected to the plane; he slowly returns to his mellow calm, as the presence of such a creature can spell danger..an unbound one is free to act.

Arun again keeps the messager up once more as they head out. About halfway through the night, he loses his connection and the group heads inside, where they met a reluctant Ox-Headed guards who initially refuse to admit them. Thru cunning, they convince the guards to let them pass and come to their young charges. They meet another Acolyte and convince her of the immediate need to check on their charge, soon they see a grisly sight. One lady is a pile of bones and ash; their main charge is left as a skin carcass, no bone inside, the other two young women sleeping unknowing to the events around them.

As they look for clues, they see a gray humanoid covered in chains, “Let me finish!” They then quickly faced this otherworldly creature and its wickedly chain. Their blades tear into his flesh, and the blood boils as soon as it hits the ground. Its chains tear into their flesh, but not fast enough, as the creature drops but not hitting the floor, its entire body dissolved before it fully drops.

The Incubus and several of the acolytes had come out, and all stay on the circumference not actually approaching the party. Something is going on, and they wonder how they are going to explain the young lady to their matron. The beautiful snake lady reappears, and as she does the Incubus leaves, “she’s probably not dead…that looks like the work of a Night Hag,”

The groups questions her, and all she says is, “The young lady, or her soul or some part of it is probably still somewhere in the Dream Temple…If you find it, you can probably rescue her”

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Prologue - Obelisk of Nightmares
Obelisk of Nightmares

After finally getting their release papers from Ecalos the group begins their slow trip northward, along the High Reach Mountains, past the many small farming villages, up to the capital of Nor-Adall. Their quarter-master is there, getting a new group of soldiers once again. the party waits for their next mission almost two months, as they are assigned once again to Vostron. They head out to a high set of mountains peaks, none of your group is asked to travel out of the waggon. then to the Ogre chasm, where again, they are asked to stay with the waggon. After five missions, and not being asked to help they realize something is wrong.

Galdahad approaches Vostron, and he has the courtesy of being honest with her. He finds the group contemptible for their lack of ethics and control, going after Einnos was a high priority mission and he will not forgive them for their embarrassment. He has no intention of sending them out on any missions, nor will he release them from contract. They will stay for their full ten year contract, lifting boxes and going out on night patrols without any action or hope of reward to buy out their contract as is custom. They will die of obscurity, none of them having their legal marks and no option to make a living doing delving work legally.

Another month goes by, another three delves not being invited to participate. Their rescue comes from a message from an old friend, the Quannian priestess Rinna, who they met at the village mountain town of Seton-Muur. She officially requests the company visit her at the diKavanor estate just outside Axxanos; the noble seal ensures the company is bound to obey.

Once there they meet Lady diKavanor, who demands the paladin and cleric who helped her dear friend Rinna, take her daughter, Donnesha to the Obelisk of Dreams, to cure her of the nightmare plague. She is heartbroken to learn that Arlel is no longer with the group, but she charges Dassadar to protect her, and rid the demons from her daughter. Vostron tries to argue that this group is not the best to complete the mission, but the Noble lady refuses to listen, Rinna speaks highly of Dassadar and their previous leader, Castiell, price is not an issue for her daughter’s safety. Vostron demands an outrageous sum for the company’s help; the Lady agrees without hesitation.

Dassadar senses the two souls within the young lady, the one that emerges at night, is bound to the body, but is incredibly evil…this second soul is fighting to emerge from the physical prison that is Donnesha. The young noble lady is in tremendous pain, and is almost comatose during the day, a retinue of three ladies in waiting will help get her to the obelisk, to bathe her in the waters that will soothe if not rid the curses from her. But the obelisk is in the Horn Forest, the savage red unicorns hunt anything that approaches their territory.

They have ten days until Lord diKavanor returns, with Donnesha safely. The Lord is on expedition and does not take to her wife’s superstitions. But if his daughter can be freed, he would be greatly appreciative of their efforts.

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