Requiem's Past

Session 1

In the Beginning

Another day, another grain caravan. Ladluck pays pretty well, but this is getting old—Eleazar, Teryx and Willian are thinking about moving on, too. Maybe we can find a lucrative place in the fleet heading to Aaridon…

Ladluck’s advice on fleet captains: Sorroway—tough but fair Lord Dresden—AVOID Xian’dros—magician Fredericks—old army guy Drevington—$$ North Dareth

Journey to Ridgewater: Arachnophiliphobia

Cutting cross-country, we camp near an abandoned farmhouse. We could just sleep in the field and move on, but of course Willian wants to investigate… Below the farmhouse, some suspicious tiles…corpses…and a magic Book. Then, spiders! Sometimes they kill us…sometimes they don’t. Upstairs Willian makes us stop killing them—he has this magic belt and is making strange spider noises himself, so we humor him and Eleazar heals the wounded ones. Mega-Spider tells us to take the book, plus a chest we’ll deliver to someone, “we’ll know when” She also warns us not to return to the farmhouse at night. Oh, and we had to rescue Teryx from a giant spider’s lair beneath the farmhouse… Some of the pages in the book are covered in writing in some other language; the rest are blank, until—as we watch—some writing appears!: Prophecy 1.

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Session 2

Welcome to Ridgewater: Children of the Coern

Leaving the Book with the priest at the Temple of Aveena for analysis, we get offers from the fleet captains (except North, who gets this strange idea that we are pirates?!); Dresden has bought out Lord Dareth and now controls three ships. Xian’dros is represented by two Drake Borne (blue). Sorroway is nowhere to be found and his harried first mate Jaren contracts us to investigate the sabotage/“haunting” of their ship. We spend the night on the ship, chasing our tails…that is, chasing strange lights, burst-open crates (who was inside?) and fresh clawmarks. Teryx proves a surprisingly adept swimmer, but other than that we don’t learn much.

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Session 3

R.I.Priest

In the morning we go to check on the priest’s progress and find the temple door locked. Suspicious, Willian and I break in through the roof—ugh!—the priest has been murdered & staked to the door. The Book is still there, though with many pages torn out; we grab it and narrowly avoid the guards coming in. Outside, Teryx and Eleazer see something slip into the neighboring Temple of Argandris, where the priest & guard were paralyzed as a tall blue figure disappeared into a mirror, leaving some sand on the floor. Teryx arouses the guards suspicions while trying to distract them; Eleazer merely turns into a wolf and charges into the murder scene, where the body has slid from the door to reveal the bloody message “HE LIED TO YOU.” (Party members currently wanted by the law = 2, and not me, HA!) Eleazer evades arrest, but his hapless dog is sent to the pound/held for questioning (you can never tell with druids), as is Teryx (well, not the pound part). Espionage ensues—I end up with Teryx (and several false beards) at the Broken Stag Inn, near the docks.

Shady Docks & Warehouses

That evening, we find ourselves loitering on Wharf 16, where we’ve heard the dark elves come ashore. (Where did we first learn about the dark elves’ presence? Sorroway’s mate Jaren, told you about another ship, the Elven ship) A “shadowy figure” (Krull) sells us information on Sorroway’s disappearance that leads us to a black warehouse on Pier 8 just in time to see a laden procession enter. We wait until they come out (sigh, sans loot), fight them and escape a fireball just in time. Our one prisoner speaks a strange language; via the belt, we get him to exchange a map to his boss’ ship for his freedom. The map leads to the dock between Drevington and North’s ships.

Way of Sorrow

Back in Sorroway’s office, Jaren admits Sorroway has been missing for two weeks. His ship will be sold to Dresden in two days unless he reappears. Sorroway was carrying items for the Church of Rapture—which, incidentally, are the stolen goods. Also, Sorroway was friendly with Captain North.

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Session 4

Spire-ing Out of Control

To Wharf 16, seeking more information: the two thieves guilds, the Order of Shadows and the Dark Web (Krull’s guild) are feuding over the “rights” to Aaridon. (Probably just their cause of the moment?) Krull wants a broken staff held in the Order of Shadow’s warehouse—advises we get magical reinforcement for the effort (no hard feelings, Teryx). Conveniently, we run into the Drake Borne, who return Eleazar’s dog and offer arcane help on out raid in exchange for getting to ask the Book how to reform the Spire of Aethys (the broken staff, something taken from their people (?)). On our own, we pose this question to the Book: Prophecy 2. The Book’s purple pages darken slightly.

At the Pier 8 Warehouse: much ado, then FIGHT. We give the Drake Borne the Book’s answer. They tell us that Aethys was the father of the Drake Borne; the Spire is an ancient key which opens a tower, but where, or whether on this continent or Aaridon, they don’t know. They were asked to retrieve it to keep it out of the wrong hands (?); they’ll pay us to reassemble the Spire.

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Session 5

Golden-Eye/Vision

That night, sheltering in the mage’s guild, Willian and I are on watch when I sense someone outside and want to go out—he objects and even tries to tackle me when I head for the door. He hits his head and passes out, but seems to think something else has happened and talks about a “gold flash.” My head won’t stop hurting and in the morning my eyes turn gold. A vision sweeps over me: Two dead guards lie on the floor, wearing black & red. The Drake Borne say “The captain will be pleased,” and watch Willian charge forward and hit an invisible wall. Nobody knows what to make of this.

Spire Reformed!/Golden Rune

After puzzling out the Book’s answer, we reassemble the Spire. We ask the Book if we should give the Spire to the Drake Borne, but it basically tells us the choice is ours (who could have guessed): Prophecy 3. Outside, we find a gold rune drawn on the rear wall of the mage’s guild; when Willian touches it, it glows but nothing happens. When I approach I hear whispers in a strange language—the belt doesn’t help me understand them, though we recognize the language as Draconic. The whispers grow louder, then stop as I touch the rune, which glows again. A metallic-colored Drake Borne with a blue cloak is watching us, but disappears before we can reach him.

Drevington, We Choose You (to go after)

On the fleet’s docks, we learn that Jaren was arrested…and oh, yeah, we’re all still wanted by the guards. (Drake Borne didn’t clear that up like they said they did!) We take refuge in the shady part of town; Krull introduces us to Jalnor Bladeshadow, a guard on Drevington’s ship. There’s a room no one is allowed to enter and, hah, their uniforms have just been changed to black & red today. Jalnor will help us sneak onto the ship at night. We show Krull the Spire—though he says it’s not like the picture (the picture? where?) we should give it to the Drake Borne and tell him it’s from him & the debt is cancelled. At Krull’s advice, I start taking valerian for my headaches.

Priests & Liars

At the Temple of Argandris, we find the priest recovering from an attack by a silver Drake Borne (who he says can’t be a real Drake Borne, they’re not that color) while waiting for our blue friends—his attacker called him a liar. He is able to reveal draconic runes on the Spire (“Argandrion—Brood of Argandris,” “Close, but not,” “Transformation”) but reports that it is dormant and must be awakened to have true power.

Drevington’s Ship

The time comes…we put on our false uniforms, manage to wrangle Eleazar’s dog into a crate, and bluff our way onto the ship with Jalnor’s help. The room we want is five levels down; we make it to level 4 and hear combat from below. We force the hatch, and discover Drevington and several troops of guards fighting the Drake Borne, who are using some kind of mirror effect. We prevail, almost killing Drevington, but at the last moment a lackey activates a red gem and he is teleported away. We search the deck—many doors—and Sorroway! He’s lying on the floor unconscious, with a badly broken leg. Willian goes in to get him, but can’t leave again…this seems so familiar… More guards are coming, and Drevington will return; the Drake Borne take one of us away (Eleazar) and disguise the door to help the rest of us hide. Drevington knows we are there but can’t find the door—he orders the hatches sealed. He says he can’t kill Sorroway because of “The Rules,” but will leave him there to die.

Mirror Maze (It’s a trap!)

We consider lighting a fire to escape (by burning the ship down with us in it) and all manner of gnomish constructions, but end up exploring the maze (interconnected chambers with one-way mirror passages and strange reflections). My head is hurting again, and my eyes are glowing gold, but I’m strangely not tired… In one mirror I see myself, but all gold and with claws—I ask her who she is, and she replies “I am not human and you are not drake.” Eventually we find the exit! And fight up to deck 4! Where we are trapped!

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Session 6

Escape from Deck 4, or Something

Exploring deck 4, we find well-stowed cargo and one room that is a complete MESS, filled with rubbish piled high. It’s dark & I light a sunrod, but it’s knocked from my hands by Something-fine, I’m able to see in the dark now anyway! The others will just have to deal. I find the strange creature in a tunnel leading into the rubbish and after much bargaining I (and Sorroway) convince him to lead us out, in exchange for one of several amber-colored rocks we found (somewhat like the red one Drevington used, but not active?). (P.S. Squirting Teryx with a waterskin is FTW.) Something takes us through a series of passages—going first, I overhear a conversation between Drevington and a dark elf (Alaire, as we now know him).

Drevington: “Agreed?”

Elf: “The Zenith will not be too pleased.”

Drevington: “Sounds like you do not have much of a choice. Why do you offer so much for the Keeper?”

Elf: “He’s important to us.”

“Lads, Take a Walk”

Eleazar hears us sneaking off, casts Waterbreathing from a wand the dark elves gave him; we walk along the bottom far, far away. Eleazar reveals that the dark elves don’t want Drevington to be turned in or Dresden won’t sail, and they want Dresden to go (mysteriously important). Sorroway explains that he serves Paragon—his father was a Keeper, supposedly an honor, but Sorroway didn’t believe until Paragon spoke to him directly and told him he needed to sell everything and buy a ship in the Aaridon fleet. Other Keepers instructed him to bring the Sword of Rapture and the Spire of Aethys.

Guards!

We convince Sorroway to keep Drevington’s name out of the story at the guard station (while clearing us, hooray!)…until Drevington appears and asks to be arrested! The dark elves appear with cobra-headed Slith guards. The dark elf we spoke to before reveals himself as Lord Prefect Tu’ath Denaan, Midnight of the Radial Council. The Midnight extends his diplomatic immunity to cover Drevington. The guard captain is WAY above his pay grade and leaves us to work it out—the dark elves also leave.

The Whole Story (Who Has It?)

Drevington tells us we don’t understand, he’s the GOOD guy (mmhmm): the Midnight doesn’t have the full prophecy. Drevington does, and if Sorroway goes to Aaridon all life on the new continent will be destroyed. He calls me Acaesia, which makes me feel…something…and says I’ve been recently motivated by prophecy (?). He tells us to speak with Jaren regarding missing pages of the book, to search his quarters. But where did the prophecy come from? He says that’s a good question.

Does Jaren Have It? (He Says No.)

Back at Sorroway’s ship & office, Jaren claims not to know anything about missing pages (after we bust him out of jail)—we’re welcome to search his quarters! When we get there, though, they’ve already been trashed, sometime during the past few hours. Sorroway accepts our help in a journey to investigate missing shipments from the north (supplies we need to sail).

Do The Dark Elves Have It? (They Think So)

The dark elves claim their prophecy is original & correct, given by “someone you should trust.” (Thanks.) They’re still concerned with Drevington & Dresden sailing. Have we heard of a Conduit of Fate? Why the prophecy is dangerous, at least when people know about it? They explain: a Conduit is a channel in which a choice or action is performed. When those involved learn of it, they are forced into action and reaction—if they don’t know, then it doesn’t necessarily come true. Most prophecies have only one conduit, but our Book is different, dangerous—it creates new conduits. Some questions’ answers are changed when the questions are asked, the Midnight says. The Shaddar-Kai (nice spiders) knew about this but didn’t tell us—why did they trust us with the Book? The two dark elves flanking the Midnight are increasingly furious at what he’s telling us—one of them starts to speak but is quashed by some threatening elvish from the Midnight and, in common, “We are all allies.” Midnight continues: there are other elves on Aaridon, in trouble. The Keepers are a form of priests, following Paragon; they are few and without sway, though he and the Radial Council recognize their wisdom. Paragon himself is the First Keeper, the Keeper of Balance—he does not seek worship as other gods do, but it is said that in ancient times Argandris gave Paragon the stewardship of this world, Nexus. Meanwhile, Dresden is a devout follower of Rapture.

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Session 7

Research Around Town

Notes from the Mage Guild library: “Acaesia” is draconic for lieutenant. Argandris, unlike the other gods, does not have an avatar.

We prepare to leave with Sorroway to find the missing caravans. Eleazar thinks Jaren’s acting strange, though none of the rest of us notice anything. Sorroway tells us that Dresden made his money over the past decade, taking large risks and suffering no setbacks. He also knows the Crown Prince well, through Stargrave.

Art Supplies

We get back to our room on the ship to discover that Something is our new roommate. That night, I can’t get to sleep. I get up, stare out the porthole and suddenly it seems to be morning—but our room is trashed, with charcoal drawings all over the walls. I’m holding the Book, but all the pages have been torn out except the last six and the pages we’ve written on. Written on one page in gold ink, almost etched into the page, in my hand writing is Prophecy 4. I try to clean up, and find a few scraps of the Book’s purple paper—they look like the edges of drawings. The others wake up and are so happy with me…especially since most of our money is gone and the letter of credit is suspiciously wrinkled. That ink really looks golden, huh?

About Argandris

At the Temple of Argandris, the priest tells us that when Argandris cast the Requiem, a great spell separating the planes, it reflected back upon himself. His color is blue, the color of magic (as we see it). None of the temples know anything about my goldenness; all the gods except Argandris (and the Chosen One & Green Man, who aren’t really into that) have lieutenants, which is another term for avatars. At Dresden’s, lots of posturing (Eleazer & Teryx) and not much progress.

We meet Sorroway and his guards, and set off north.

To Stargrave, or Beyond?

The first night on the road, Sorroway changes into a black & white cloak and heads off to a mysterious Keepers’ meeting (Skull & Bones?). At our camp, a stranger appears—there’s something about him, he looks too perfect, somehow—and tells us a story, reading from a purple book:

Four adventurers sought a way to change the world for the better. The weaves provided and the four grew together, forming a coalition called Vision, but the price asked was too great. Each tried to alter fate, to change the book; they failed.

The first father believed he was sent by Rapture, that his son would be a great priest—but his son forsook the church and went to the wilds to follow the Green Man.

The second father believed he was sent by Argandris, that his son would be a great wizard, but his son forsook his studies.

The third father, sickened by the violence he had seen, went to find peace in the countryside as a farmer so his son would not know warfare.

The fourth adventurer had no children, but his child was the key, Acaesia, abducted from Aaridon. After leaving the child with an acquaintance he was killed; his purpose was finished.

The book was stolen by a fifth man, who asked it the most important thing he needed to do—so he brought the book to the farmhouse.

There is a reason
— that Willian was born the day the ships left for Aaridon, and that the name of Underwood is so well-known
— that Teryx has a connection to Argandris
— that Eleazar’s father forsook his name
— that I was taken as a child; Hecate-Acaesia not human

The Weaver weaves the tapestry but the weave is not set; the Shaddar-Kai are to the Weaver as the Keepers are to Paragon.

As the stranger paused, a large, shimmering silver Drake Borne appeared on the path ahead. DB: You’re not wanted here
P: It’s not your decision where my place is.
DB: (spreads wings—wait, the other ones didn’t have wings!)
P: You have no sway here. Leave us. (DB leaves.) Our time here is out own, and no one else’s.
We turn at a noise as Sorroway returns, and the stranger (Paragon?) is gone. Sorroway tells us there’s a choice up ahead, “different than the others.”

Later that night Teryx hears something in the brush beside the path; investigating, he finds a note & pouch of gold. Under the pouch is a slightly glowing, translucent white chess knight. The note reads “He likes to play chess.”

Stargrave

…is a trading post town with a HIGH level of tension. Everyone’s especially wary of me—apparently concerned that I might be a member of The Phoenix (?)…invincible robbers…they’re everywhere!!! Hysteria aside, caravans that leave the town don’t return, and neither has anyone who’s tried to stamp out the bandits.

Directed to Yorel, the local druid/recluse with an acid-scarred face and no love for civilization, we learn that The Phoenix are few but strong, employing “despicable magics” and plundering to destroy & burn, not sell. Also, YOREL HAS BEEN TO AARIDON, where he got his scars in “a bad storm.” (Right.) He calls it a cursed place, where the touch of the Green is weak.

Sorcerer Boom

Meanwhile, the local thieves’ guild makes contact via an anonymous note slipped to Teryx; painful negotiation nets us a matching carved dreambox & wand from a dwarf with a web tattoo. While identifying the box Teryx encounters a TRAP—use magic device fail!—all kinds of bad. He’s comatose & getting worse, not to mention that clerical healing harms him now. The temple druid Loruen Nightwatch tells us Teryx might be saved by a potion made from magic mushrooms (sigh) found in a dangerous grove (SIGH) at the edge of the Wyldwood, a day’s travel away. This does not do wonders for our tight schedule (we need to be back at the fleet in a very few days). Nevertheless, we set off to retrieve 3 glowing brown mushrooms from the north of the grove. The “denizens” have reportedly been “dealt with”—something about Yorel’s crimes? Good thing people around here tell us the whole story! Yorel says something about the close connection between the Wyldwood & the Green Man, how it allows the wood’s plants to be changed by druids…sometimes “mistakes are made.” A cave in the grove is a nexus of power, with constantly changing contents; it’s powerful but difficult to use, as it was designed for a different purpose (?).

The Wolves of our Discontent

As we leave Yorel, Muffin is reluctant to follow. (via Eleazar:) He likes the forest! Yorel is “different” and warned him against the ocean.

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Session 8

Sorcerers on a Plane: the Teryx Experience

Keeping watch the night before we leave, Teryx sees an unnatural creature scuttling around the room—like a grey, horny-toad-like man, except the way it moves is just WRONG. Every few minutes it snickers & disappears. Nothing like that on my watch!

After the rest of us are gone, Teryx wakes up to find he’s not alone. In bed, that is. Instead, he’s staring right at a sparkly, elf-like creature with 8” long ears. Teryx, a dream come true? Maybe not—the fellow seems absolutely SHOCKED that Teryx can see him, and also a little drunk, hurling a wineglass at one of the spiny monsters (which dissipates) and yelling “stupid skraeling!” Getting over his shock somewhat, he introduces himself as Pel. Pel has been watching yoooooou…well, watching us all apparently. Pel is a changeling Fae, in the Court of Order in Avalon. He’s to help us, but there are rules…

Anyway, this situation is totally weird. Teryx shouldn’t be able to see him or the skraelings; he (Teryx) must not be on our normal plane. (I’M NOT ON YOUR PLANE interlude, extended version.) Also, Teryx seems to be full of spikes…there’s a skraeling inside him, Pel says. This is a problem. Skraelings live between planes (WAIT WHO IS ON THE PLANE). Teryx needs to stay focused (GET OFF MY PLANE) and ignore the skraelings (THEY’RE NOT ON YOUR PLANE) so Pel rifles through a stack of papers which seems to contain some of Paragon’s parchment and pages from our book, covered in gold writing, which he claims to have found in the road. He leaves Teryx with the silver & gold, draconic rune-covered book pages (my doing) to decode: Prophecy 4. Pel leaves, saying Teryx owes him.

I Hate Plants Forever

The rest of us travel through the forest until the trees suddenly stop and we enter Giant Mushroom Valley. In the middle of the path, three treants (Fae!) are waiting to give us a message: Lord Pelgram Silverleaf, Duke of the Five Kingdoms, wishes your assistance in Avalon. Hum? He wants passage into our realm, for which we need to regrow the circle in the Cave of Origins, which has been desecrated.

We continue into the mushroom forest. The fungi seem to react as we approach, and while Eleazar’s spell allows us to move through them, only about half of the undergrowth is parted—the rest are plant creatures and resist his magic. Following the winding path to the cave we come across several clearings filled with strange fungi; we fight some mushrooms (sometimes whether they are attacking us or not), I get partially consumed but escape, and we find three of the brown mushrooms we’re looking for. Fighting plants & fungi with a rapier is FTL. Oh, and we find the cave too.

Cave of Origins

Thousands of mushrooms cover the floor, walls and ceiling of the central chamber. Two large, swaying caps have birchbark scrolls resting on their tops: instructions & a spell for regrowing the circle. In an inner chamber, faint markings of a circle can be seen in the dust. MUSHROOM PUZZLE. After the circle is replanted a portal starts to form, but then tentacles erupt from the lake in the outer chamber! The water turns black & bubbles. (P.S. really don’t come to a forest without a slashing weapon.) Eleazar summons his typical menagerie, but they seem confused, unable to see what he wants them to attack! We eventually sever all the tentacles, but not before one steals my rapier (and, briefly, Muffin). Yet I seem to be able to slash it with my bare hand…?

The portal opens, showing a cave of worked stone on the other side. Two satyr guards and a red-cloaked figure step through—he stumbles and as we help him up his skin changes color from white to brown. What we learn from Pel (yes, it’s Pel):
—he’s a changeling, highly ranked in court
—watching us for his brother, Piphaneus Silverleaf, Duke of the Crystal Glade (because of our “importance to this realm”)
—easy to watch from Avalon, but can’t participate in events
—scarred druid closed the portal (but why?)

Heart Sick

Pel investigates the underwater source of the tentacles and tells us the creature is part of the Heart of the Wood, a huge tree rumored to be the center of the Wyldwood. The tentacles were some kind of infected root—like the rest of the tree, immune to divine magic (but arcane okay?) and woken by the portal energies. Also, this mushroom forest is new…

Despite our PRESSING TIME NEEDS we decide to dawdle and pick fights with more mushrooms. We find a boot, uncover a corpse (more dreamboxes), and spend a lovely interval wandering around a cave the skraelings lured us to (Eleazer/we can see them now), but at least we find another few mushrooms.

On the path back to Stargrave, Yorel accosts Pel, saying the roots are sick. Pel blames Yorel, saying that a demon the druid brought back with his plants from Aaridon escaped from where it had been held by the Court of Order. Yorel says the roots are affected by a growing darkness present for many years (i.e. not his fault); there’s a prophecy that the Reaver will come to stop it—druids and priests can’t see it. Yorel tried to create a boundary between the Wyldwood and the Empire, to protect the wood. Likewise, in Aaridon he apparently kept to the mandrake woods while the humans fought.

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Session 9

Out, Damn Skraeling

Back in town, we get Loruen to make the potion. There’s a new bartender at the inn—a seriously intimidating guy with oriental features & bright blue eyes. However, there’s a more dramatic change upstairs, where the door of our room is askew, bulging off its hinges; the room is trashed & clawed, with something that looks like Teryx huddled in the corner (diplomatically?). When I go to grab him, he gets cut… We force the potion down his throat, then watch as a skraeling crawls OUT of him. I slash it as it goes by. Teryx wakes slowly and seems like himself but sees everything in double; for example, in this other view I seem to have five giant claws, glowing eyes and dark gold hair (as opposed to my typical level of golden-ness, spread across my hands, face & eyes).

Pel sells some of the extra mushrooms for us and makes us a dreambox. We find a note slid under our belabored door: under a black seal, “We need to talk. –Aurella Shadowreaver.” She gives an address, where we’re to meet her at midnight.

Choose

We spend the rest of the evening shopping. The milliner seems to recognize me—something about complications with a custom order? I play along, though I don’t think he’s buying it. Surprise, surprise, it’s a choice! I can either accept a white circlet with a white stone, or a silver circlet with draconic wings. In Teryx’s new view, the white circlet has a white aura, while the silver one seems tingly & gold… I choose the silver; worn constantly, it will complete my transformation into an Aethyrion.

Murders

A quiet interval in the inn’s common room is interrupted by shouts that someone has been shot outside! We open the door to see two Slith pelting towards us—one is taken down by an arrow, and the other manages to gasp out “I bring word from Dre-” before he dies. (So many captains, such similar names…) During this fracas, we notice that the bartender seems unusually strong—he introduces himself as Toras Stargrave.

We find Pel, absolutely distraught. He’s a total mess—his brother has been killed (prematurely?). This goes beyond Pel’s personal loss: there are a limited number of changelings—for each birth, one parent must die—and his brother’s death permanently reduces their number. Ever since the Requiem, mortal man has advanced changeling extinction…

Aurella: Friend of Spiders, Murderer of Royal Bastards

Running late, we head for our meeting with Aurella. The address leads us to a two-story building with blacked-out windows; despite an overturned table and signs of battle on the first floor, we find her upstairs. She tells us she’s from Ridgewater, that a new order is coming—the two guilds are now one, and she & Krull lead. The Phoenix must be stopped (it’s bad for business), but its members won’t die. The thieves’ guild, or really her personally, can lure them out (thanks, it’s usually so hard to get bandits to attack a caravan). She—via a huge, red troll bodyguard—a pair of red manacles that will allow us to capture the Phoenix, containing the “hollow one,” the demon who is a puppet for…? They’re runic manacles, which are immune to fire & will prevent the one wearing them from shifting planes. In exchange for her help, we agree to do our best to get her to Aaridon, for her own personal reasons. Apparently she’d have trouble doing this otherwise, some little matter of her killing the crown prince’s brother—what? We’ve never heard of this brother! Apparently a bastard child no one talked about. Also, we’re to beware of the Kai-Shaddar (hmm, that sounds a lot like Shaddar-Kai)—we notice a spiderweb tattoo on her wrist.

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Session 10

Get Out of Dodge

During the night, Aurella appears at the inn with an urgent message: a “Zaetar,” an incredibly powerful demon assassin, is coming for Sorroway. It moves from host to host, possessing people. We decide we need to leave NOW—we were in a hurry anyway, due to the fleet’s timetable, but now we don’t want to waste an hour. We gather the guards and caravan; Toras will also join us, to look for his daughter who was abducted during the night.

Newsflash: Spiders Tell All (or Some)

Heading out of Stargrave we meet two spiders in the road, who tell us “our threads match.” The brood mother wants to speak with Sorroway—they have apparently traveled a long way to meet with “the sons of the fathers” (way to leave me out, spiders). Sorroway, Willian, Eleazar and Pel follow the spiders through the forest to a GIANT spider, black with a purple hourglass on her abdomen. She speaks to Sorroway alone, then Pel. The changeling seems calmer afterwards—says he knows what he has to do. Bill and Eleazar go next, and realize this is the same brood mother as in the farmhouse. She traveled here because the Unraveller is here, the strands are connected to form a nexus for our fight. We’re involved (surprise!), and she’ll answer our questions—the Weaver does not always work in straightforward ways).

So…

The Unraveller—coming to Aaridon. A chaos creature, it can’t take form in this plane yet but summoned the assassin. The Zaetar is able to change its fate; it cannot be killed, only delayed or tricked. It’s connected to the Phoenix & its minions—the true threat begins when all is won.

Yorel—is seeking the second chance he doesn’t have.

Aurella—the Reaver. She bounces between fates and does not/cannot follow one.

Shaddar-Kai/Kai-Shaddar—at night they reverse, the effect of Satya’s moon

Toras Sargrave—the Mender

Silver Drake Borne—not the Weaver’s purview to discuss the Seven, including Aethys. Dragons do not follow divine rules; they are unpredictable & dangerous.

Personal messages:
Willian—“You walk a narrow line; nobility & avarice are very close.”
Hex—“Do not fear death, it comes to us all.”
Teryx—“Do not let your inexperience blind you—it can also be a strength. Know when your cause is true.”
Eleazar—“Do not mourn his passing; it is for a purpose as well.”

When they leave the cave, Pel is gone, leaving a bag & note with well-wishes, saying he can’t come to Aaridon. In the bag is a gift for each of us, each detecting as Fae magic but without any specific properties we can determine—like reagents? For Teryx, there’s a necklace with a vial of blue sand; for Willian, a jeweled dragonfly brooch; for Eleazar, a speckled, carved stone egg; and for me, what looks like a playing card—the back has a web with eyes, and the front is painted with a horseman, at once the chess piece and the real figure.

Burning Man

Rejoining the caravan, our whole party continues along the road until a red-robed, masked figure appears in the middle of the path and threatens us with “worse than death.” Other figures appear alongside the path—they look like the lost townsfolk, except to Teryx, in whose overlaid view they look like…nothing. The Phoenix sprouts ten-foot tall flaming wings, several flaming birds fly in, and we fight. The townsfolk don’t stay down when they’re down, and there’s all kinds of fire—on the caravans, on Eleazar—but we manage to manacle the Phoenix (after he is wrangled by several hippogriffs) and keep most of the wagons from being destroyed (which is good, since that’s our food for the voyage to Aaridon).

Speed Demon

Then, skraelings begin to gather around the wagon (to Teryx’s eyes only? did they come from the townfolk). Aurella appears and cast slow spell after slow spell at the woods, where a tiny figure appears and (despite the spells) moves towards us incredibly fast. It’s Miho, Toras’ daughter—she’s been possessed by the Zaetar. Sorroway tries to run—he’s not even limping!—but she kills him instantly. The Zaetar wreaks more havoc until we get it slightly subdued, but Toras begs us not to kill it since it’s in his daughter’s body. In exchange for Miho’s freedom, Toras lets the demon possess him, and the Zaetar (in its new body) disappears back into the woods. Miho tells us her father was always secretive, that he is a dangerous tool for the demon…

But what about the Way of Choice? Has all been lost? Eleazar hears a muffled noise from under the seat of a wagon, and we find Sorroway, alive! Just bound & gagged. We realize that the decoy was Pel, sacrificing himself to trick the Zaetar—this seems to be the course the Shaddar-Kai suggested to him. Yorel (appearing from the forest) agrees to bring Pel back to his people.

Teryx’s new sight picks up several interesting things—the bound Phoenix has a REAL phoenix bound to him in another plane, in pain and seeming stapled to his body. Also, the sorcerer notices lines of light running through the land—ley lines! Six of them intersect at the campsite where we were visited by Paragon, an extremely rare confluence.

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