Up the Tower

The group returned to Ancamir, and then headed off to Amanpoor, in the Forgotten Empire. The Lady Korai definitely wanted to see the strange teleportation circle at the “top” of the tower, and Varigate also wanted to do some scavenging while they were near the Elemental Planes. It turned out that Feldon and Lady Korai could not see the secret switches that opened up each floor of the tower, nor could they see the extra symbol present in the teleportation circle. In fact, the Lady Korai couldn’t even see that it was a valid teleportation circle. To her it looked broken, though to the rest of the group, it looked whole. She stayed for some time there studying what she could, and concluded that outside this section of the tower was the Astral Plane, and perhaps it looks broken due to the events during the time of the worlds creation. Korrang, having spent his time meditating with the help of his Truename, agreed, but also discovered that he believes the tower was not always in this form, and perhaps may have been many paths and doorways that were stitched together and reformed, not that long ago. He also believed that the extra symbol in the teleportation circle had a specific tie to an entity, and seemed to be some sort of permissive element, from which he concluded that perhaps they were able to see/use it and, in fact, use the tower at all because of Delores’ permission, or shall we say the last remaining Lord of Balance’s permission…? While in the tower, Korrang continued to focus on the paths aspect of the floors, and discovered that he received mental images or impressions of various objects as he passed through the tower, almost as if these items are or were keys to them. With this idea of an object having “keyness” he discovered that 3 of the objects in the party’s possession were also keys, though to what he was unsure and would look into.

Varigate found that most of the areas in front of the portals to the various elemental planes were picked clean, but with Barchan’s help he was able to glean a few more materials. He also spent some time in the Plane of Radiance, trying to commune with nature. While the spell worked, if not as well as he’d hoped, he mostly discovered that he was in a large sphere of nothing solid, with nothing living and no structures nearby.

After returning to Amanpoor proper, they met with Echo’s family so that Rykin could pick up a couple of the Tomes of Correspondence that Echo created, and so that Korrang could work out a deal so that his order could receive a dozen of the tomes, with deliveries as the house could create them. Afterwards, Varigate wanted to visit the Shadowfell for a short time, to see the place and also perhaps to visit a site there described to him by the Hag Athema. Upon exiting the shattered bottom portion of the tower, they found themselves in a withered and dry landscape of grass and crumbling stones, with an overcast sky and heavy clouds. Korrang was able to sense paths all around as he did in the Feywild…But where the Feywild paths promised safety, the Shadowfell paths promised peril. However, they would still speed that party on their journey, so after much deliberation, they decided to take the paths and the danger be damned!

We're Attending a Ball

We start off with Findorus and his sister returning from performing a service to Jalaana, a dress-maker in Astrazalia:

The Tale of Jalaana and the Hag

With Drusilla taken care of, she, in turn, was helping Varigate’s “sister” Slider modify one of Echo’s dresses so that she could wear it to a ball. Glasya and Feldon, for their part, were questioning Drusilla and others, trying to figure out what they should wear. Glasya could create whatever dress she wanted to wear, whereas Feldon, thanks to Findorus’ gift of magical clothing, could cause his to become whatever he needed them to be.

With dresses created for all, everyone attended the Ball at the Palace. Korrang went with the Lady Uldyardih, and Echo ended up going with the Lady Fillincel. The Ball was all abustle with political maneuverings, and vying for attention or information.

For his part, Echo was content to be shown around and introduced as the new Lord in town by Lady Fillincel. Rykin gained a bit of a reputation as a person who is close to the new Fey Lords and Knights, and seems like he might be amenable to sharing secrets (without actually being), so he ended up being fairly popular with the middling and lesser lords. People seemed very concerned at the arrival of a second Lord of the Court of Coral, and were digging to try and find out why Korrang was in town.

Right before people were supposed to move to the Ballroom, a new arrival was announced to a suddenly quiet room. A gorgeous woman in a black lace dress came into the room and was announced as “The Hag Athema, Witch of the Crypt Woods, Satyrbane, The Black Bridge.” She glided into the room and the gathered lords and ladies resumed quiet conversation, mostly about this new arrival. The Hag made her way towards Findorus, and whispered her thanks for his recent actions in his ear, thanking him for freeing the major portion of her power from being consumed by that ill-cast curse. Findorus started trying to convince her that she had a new life of freedom ahead of her, though she wasn’t so sure that others would be able to see her in a new light. At about this time, Varigate began…probing her using his truename, trying to blur the lines between who she was and who she could be. In his search, he found that she had a thick shell around her heart. He pushed with his Truename, and with as subtle an exertion as he could without alerting the rest of the room, he caused a crack to appear in that shell, allowing a peek of her heart, opening her to new possibilities for love and connection.

Moving into the ball, Korrang, Findorus and Varigate ended up dancing with The Hag, and a couple of other lords also followed suit. At one point, The Lady Fillincel and Echo came out to perform a number he created specifically for the two of them. This number was so moving and filled with such emotion, that the entire room was struck dumb. Many of the lords and ladies were seen with tears of joy running down their cheeks. After they were done, the hall was filled with silence, and then resounded in applause. The rest of the musical acts that were scheduled that evening declined to follow such a performance, worrying that they would sully the memory of such beauty. Many of the lords and ladies even decided that they needed to retire to think about the evening’s activities. At this point the Ball ended organically, with everyone breaking up in small groups to return home.

A few days later, Korrang left to visit the Court of Coral, whereas the rest of the group returned to the real world and were going to meet up with Korrang in the Forgotten Empire.

What's in a Name?

Upon arriving back in Ancamir, Findorus spent time catching up with his family, and deciding with them what they want to do going forward. Tentatively they came to the decision that they’re going to work for House Himoya, build a home here in Ancamir, and very likely join the House at some point in the future once they have a handle on their lives.

Meanwhile, Echo, Glasya, Rykin and Korrang were spending time with Feldon, trying to figure out what was wrong with him, why he hadn’t woken up yet. When looked at through the Far Realm Stone that Rykin was holding, they saw that Feldon was soaked in Far Realm Energy, and that while it was slowly evaporating and leaving him, it was still very much thickly about him. Echo was spending his time singing and talking to Feldon, trying to give him the courage and strength to recover (along with some help from his music and magic). Korrang discovered that playing his Star over Feldon was making the energy leave him faster while Rykin was keeping an eye on it with the Stone. After about a day, Feldon recovered in a burst of awareness, and immediately asked what was going on, why he was in a new form and what had happened. He said he remembers being tortured quite badly, and that they put fate eaters on him, but then he blacked out (he doesn’t think they did anything specific to make him black out). Back and forth in discussions, the current reigning theory is that Feldon was in a period of flux with his personality, mostly from his interactions with the group and his time spent on this plane, and being suffused with all the Far Realm energy that was being collected in the city, sort of kickstarted some change in him towards the self he was wanting to become, allowing him to break out of the stagnation of his truename. They discovered that he no longer had the ability to become invisible, and that the fate eaters blocked his ability to shapechange. Rykin was able to determine that the effect would become permanent if they didn’t do something about it.

The group decided they would try and bolster his spirit with magic, and then use their truenames to try and free him from the effect. Varigate weaked the barriers that kept the spell focused on Feldon, Echo tried to restore Feldon’s story to it’s true path (and everyone knows Hero’s don’t get sick for long), Rykin denied the spell’s existence and Findorus pushed to free Feldon from the chains of this spell, and return his true destiny to him. After much effort and pain, Feldon finally was able to break out of the spell, and could shapechange once more!

After everyone was recovered somewhat from their ordeals, Varigate asked to speak to them all in the non-detection room of his Estates. He told them he thought his ability to Teleport was tied to the fact that he had a truename, not HIS truename specifically. Therefore, he thought the rest of them should be able to do it as well with practice or need, perhaps with different limitations based on their names. Glasya and Feldon also chimed in that those with truenames had a “tie” to the place(s) they considered home and could always return there. They surmised that this ability, on a plane with lots of interesting places so close together, this might allow them to travel more easily about.

After much trials and testing, they all found that if they exerted their will and exhausted themselves a bit, they could all teleport to a small number of locations that they felt particularly close to, although most could only bring themselves, and they could only teleport to permanent teleportation circles. However, Korrang felt that he could also being others along on the trip, or enable others to do the same if they worked in concert, and, additionally, he found that with a great effort, he could teleport to locations without teleportation circles, but it took a great deal of effort to do so. Also, They figured that these restrictions might be less or more depending on the circumstances at the time (For example, Echo surmised that he might not be able to teleport if he was destined to have something major happen to him when travelling using more traditional means, as in a story where the boring parts are jumped over, but not the drama).

After things were a bit more settled down, Varigate had said that he wanted to take a “shopping” trip to the Feywild, specifically Astrazalian (What Could Possibly Go Wrong™), and Findorus had promised a visit to his sister, so the group decided to all tag along on the journey. Not to mention that Echo also wanted to see his Estate there, as he’d yet to visit upon receiving his title.

In the Heart of Madness
It's good to have friends

After exiting the tunnels, everyone was overcome for a moment by the level of oppression and paranoia they felt. It was as if there was someone watching them constantly (which was in some cases at least literally true). With a minimum of acting, they were able to blend into the crowd and make their way to the Moonshadow’s hovel. Findorus’ father was barely able to contain his surprise and usher them all in the house quickly and quietly. After assuring them there was no immediate danger (at least not, like, this second), Findorus sat down and began to tell them about how he learned that he was of the royal line that once ruled in the now Zaruk. His father showed no surprise at this, but his sisters and mother definitely were a little shocked to hear this, and to basically hear it confirmed by his father. He’d known as his grandfather was alive at the time, but was only barely in the line of succession at the time (though at this point, Findorus’ father should technically be considered a king-in-exile as there’s no other family members left). He’d planned to tell Findorus one day when he became a man, but with the elvish view on things, it just hadn’t been rushed and Findorus left before being told. Throughout all this, his younger sister was delighted by the fact that she was now “a princess!”

It was decided after much quiet back and forth(with everyone offering the help of their families) that the best place for Findorus’ family to go where they could be setup with with help and someone people to look out for them and to get them back on their feet job-wise was Ancamir, with help from Varigate’s wives and House Himoya. Quietly in the middle of the night, the family gathered their few possessions and a piece of furniture or two and loaded it into the party’s portable hole (much to Drusila’s delight again). However, disaster, of a sort struck when they reached the Rendezvous point and Feldon was nowhere to be…er..seen, or heard. Echo cast a sending immediately to try and coordinate with him, and he responded, anguished “Leave without me…I’ll never tell them anything…Save ”/characters/findorus" class=“wiki-content-link”>Findorus’ family!“. Well…of course that was not on anyone’s mind at this point, and they went into the tunnels so they could get far enough away to send Findorus’ family on ahead to meet up with ”/characters/varigate" class=“wiki-content-link”>Varigate’s wives. Then they sat down to make a plan to break him out of the castle.

Glasya though she would be able to detect him if you were reasonable close, but she thought Varigate might have better luck if the tunnels could get them a bit out of the city center and he try and cast commune with nature to determine his current wherabouts. Findorus was able to lead them to a field just outside the city where Varigate began the communing process. While he was doing that Rykin felt the far realm stone in his pocket become very warm (as this was the first time he was actually IN Zaruk). Upon taking it out and looking through it, he saw streams of far realm energy far and wide streaming into the castle, towards it’s apex. Whereupon there sat a draconic shape made of night sky which seemed to either be absorbing or guiding the far realm energies. Even the blue whisps that came off of Echo were being pulled into the flow, as much as they tried to resist.

At about this moment, Varigate was somewhat successful in his communing. Because this place was not fully natural, he was finding it hard to get many details, but focusing on Feldon, he was able to determine his exact location…although the flame of his life seemed to…flicker in a strange way, different than when Varigate had sensed him in the past, almost as is the flame was trying to change colors, or flickering between colors. While in his trance Varigate tried to GRAB onto the location and using his true name, his understanding of boundaries that separate, he spent much of his life and ripped the veil asunder, dragging the group along with him through the hole and coming back into reality where Feldon was being kept as the hole closed up behind them. And them promptly tipped over completely exhausted.

The room had a beholder and thing made of tentacles and bug jaws and malevolent eyes they called a Star Spawn. In addition, over to the other side, there was a Nothic watching a small cage that contained a large ethereal-looking fate eater currently coiled around and feeding off of what…looked sort of like Feldon, if he was a tiny human with short horns, pink skin and bat wings. Korrang showed off his increased understanding of water by summoning a snow-storm in the middle of the room, battering the beholder, though the Star Spawn seemed immune to his efforts. Rykin tried the opposite tactic and filled that side of the room with raging fire, again to the beholder’s lament, and the star spawn completely oblivious. Echo paralyzed the beholder as it was turning around to have it’s gaze fall upon them, causing it fall still and become almost completely defenseless for a few moments, moments that Findorus was not going to let go to waste… Findorus was filled with destiny…or rage, it’s hard to tell sometimes, as he lept at the Beholder, and in a quick series of moves, pardon the pun, faster than the eye, he de-oculated the beholder and saw it’s sack of a body sink lifelessly to the floor. Varigate meanwhile was able to quaff one of their few precious potions of vitality, feeling the exhaustion slough off of him as he was filled with renewed vigor.

The star spawn, seeing some annoying creatures decided that something must be done with these vermin, and decided he didn’t like the Khirad stench of Echo. He twisted space and time so that he appeared next to him, slamming all of his tentacles into him and snapping at him with grasping claws. However, he felt that there should be some reward for killing his previous master, so he laid his disintegrating gaze upon Findorus, who was wracked with pain and felt all the particles of his body try to explode away from his as he burst into a cloudy gaseous form; the bits of himself still trying to pull away as he did everything in his will to retain his identity. The fate eater for his part lept straight for Varigate’s chest trying to dig his claws into his very soul, but finding little purchase there. Korrang set his sights on the Star Spawn, determined to show him the real power of the stars, burning into him with radiant starlight with every punch and kick, dissolving and bruising him more than anything so far had effected it. Rykin now tried to slow all the enemies in the room, managing to slow the nothic only. For it’s part, it ran over to the Fate eater to try and carry it out of the room with it’s prize, but with it being slowed, he was prevented from more than moving himself into danger. The Star Spawn moved next over to Varigate, ripping time and space and slamming Varigate into the rent this formed, pushing him all the way across the room, but not through the intervening space. Korrang let into the Star Spawn again with radiant punches staggering and bloodying him, while Rykin peppered him with magic missiles. Varigate ran back over to cut through the Nothic, as Findorus finally managed to drag himself back together, gasping in relief as he felt his body again. The Star Spawn, seeing his decided he would now try and remove the other thorn in his side, and turned his dread gaze upon Korrang. Korrang had been so focused on his target that he was looking directly into those dread eyes and took a critical dose of his disintegrating gaze, feeling his body and soul rent from within. With the last of his will and training he managed to calm the turmoil in his soul, and retained hold on his body, though his body was currently failing him with the amount of damage it had sustained in those short moments. Korai ran over immediately to render some aid with a potion while Echo also send out waves of healing energy to the whole group as he blasted the Spawn with the light of Khirad. When Rykin was properly reminded that he had the power of Bahamut on his side, the Star Spawn’s time was numbered. Rykin dramatically whipped aside his cloak revealing gleaming white platinum knives, which all flew into the air and began to glow with Bahamut’s radiance as they streaked towards their target cutting through and into him as it screamed, died, and faded away from reality, leaving nothing behind to show the madness of it’s passing. The Fate Eater was not going down without a fight…and it just smelled a very good source of Destiny in the room, and launched his jaws after it. His mouth ripped into Findorus, who was saved due to the healing energies Echo just cast over him, while its ethereal teeth tried to reach at his soul, but Findorus, having almost lost his body, had a very secure hold on himself and repelled the invading appendages, as Vargiate chopped the creature clean in half, ending its life.

With the room quiet for a few moments, Varigate realized they needed a very quick way out of here that couldn’t be traced, so he sat on the ground again and thought of home…a home that he built up from nothing, that was as much him as it was of another place. Rykin went over and grabbed the limp and oh so light body of Feldon, cradling him as Echo tried to at least give him some quick healing in the hopes that it would help whatever was wrong with him. Realizing they were in a rush, Varigate steeled himself and pushed with all of what made him him and flung everyone through another veil, landing in Ancamir’s teleportation circle, the thinnest place nearby he could use as an anchor….and this time he merely staggered but was able to, barely, stand on his own two feet.

Zholand, City of Downtime, Pt 3

After getting back to Zholand, they went about getting ready for Feldon to do his thing, infiltrate, and copy the book detailing the golem’s construction. While he was out casing the joint, they decided to make a social call upon the frost elf Robert, to ask some questions and let him know about how things turned out. For his part, he was very happy at the positive outcome, and was pleased to know he could call upon the group if he learned anything else without having to look bad with his government. In addition, he let them know that one of the reasons he originally contacted them, aside from hearing about there deeds here, was that inquiries had been made from back home, and he was curious to see what was up. He also revealved that he’s not really much of a diplomat (though not in so many words), and that his assignment here is partially punishment, and partially to help his people since it’s not a job anyone wants.

Feldon returned early the next morning with a tiny copy of the Golem tome (which Echo then transferred into the Book of Infinite Pages), and was congratulated on a job well done. They decided to leave shortly thereafter to avoid any…complications or discoveries, but wanted to track down a coin from Aladris while they were here. It turns out it was in the hands of a collector of antiquities, a large portion of which were coins. He was originally only interested in trade, but with some persuading by Echo, he agreed to trade some of the art objects they recovered from the Formians for the coin. After that they were off to Scarhyrst, home to the enemies of Zaruktharbh. Echo spent some short time in the city while they were getting provisioned for the overland trek to Zaruk by getting his name known in the city and performing. While doing so, he actually heard one of his own, earlier, tales being told, and thereby got introduced around to the local bards. Many of them saw him as a bit of a celebrity and showed him a great time while in the city. Around this time, Findorus, with some inspiration from Echo, was finally able to open the glass puzzle box and free the moonstone pearl! He found that there was a light faintly glowing from within as it was held in the moonlight, and that light increased as the moon waxed.

A couple of weeks after leaving Scarhyrst, on the night of the full moon, Findorus took out the moonstone pearl and found that it’s light was maximally bright. After some study by Echo, Findorus attempted to take the moonlight from the pearl into himself. He felt the moonlight flow into his blood, suffusing him with grace and celerity. For the time being, at least, it seemed that Findorus has had his dexterity increase, but as the moonstone pearl has started filling again, he’s unsure if it’s temporary or permanent… He also spent the night of the full moon talking to The Lady of the White Well. They conversed about various topics, and the topic of the Frost Prince came up, and she…seemingly innocently, suggested that he ask Echo to look into it, since he’s so good with stories… Echo began studying the stories and trying to find other reference material about the Frost Prince and his paramour, with some help from the Dragon Aleraxerondoal. Something nagged at his mind…that he’d…felt a resonance with this story somewhere, and with someone he’d personally met. The group discussed it a bit, and when Korrang and Varigate mentioned Shakaylin, things began to fall into place in his mind. Echo was sure she was connected in some way, and with the way her life story mirrored the Frost Prince’s paramour’s story, they felt that she has to be her, reborn. Findorus was overjoyed that they’d made some tangible inroads into one of his “destinies.”

When they arrived in the vacinity of Zaruk, they began looking to the Big Oak Tree that was supposed to be unlockable with Findorus’ blood and then get them inside Zaruk proper so he could see his family, and assess how things were going. When they got there, Varigate communed with Nature and discovered the Oak was NW of them (and that Fey bloodhounds, bred from Winter Wolves were staying a few miles away from them, to the NE), but Findorus’ Compass of Destiny was pointing to the NE. However, they decided to follow Varigate to the tree whereupon Findorus finds his house sigil in the creases of the tree’s bark on the NE side of the tree. Once his blood is placed on it, a space opens up in the roots leading down into a root-filled dirt passageway under the tree, smelling like fresh earth and suffused with a soft green glow of light without a source. They followed the tunnels for a time, seeing that rooms where there for them, with provisions if they needed them, but the group passed them by as Findorus unerringly led them to an exit near where he wanted to be inside of Zaruk. Before they left, they decided that Rykin and Korai would stay behind, Feldon would go invisible, and the rest of the group would wear filthy peasant disguises created by Rykin and Korai earlier. So everyone except for Rykin and Korai headed upwards and out into the city of Zaruk.

Zholand, City of Downtime, Pt 2
Wherein Luck Saves the Day and Tentacled Horrors fail Dramatically

The party spent most of the rest of their downtime on various personal matters. Korrang was still researching things from his monestary, Varigate and Rykin made a side trip to Bastin to get another teleportation circle address and take care of some business, Echo was creating magic items and retuning his strings, while Findorus decided to wander the streets, hoping to pay his luck forward.

While Varigate was in Bastin with Shakalyn (who decided to come along as well), he decided to see if he could get something for Rykin. Having discovered that there was a reasonably sized church of Bahamut in Bastin, and that the Priest there was a former blacksmith, he proceeded to tell him about Rykin, and his need for some objects to animate while casting his Bahamut’s Wrath spell. The Priest was moved, and after some prayer and forging, made a set of small platinum knives for Rykin to use that could do radiant damage if he so wished instead of their normal damage, and would return to him when he called.

Findorus, while wandering randomly, managed to walk into a bar near the docks, and proceeded to try and regale them with some of his tales and fill their bellies with wine, food, and luck. They were having none of it. The whole inn stared at him the entire time as if he had 9 heads. After coming back and trying his hand at a few other inns, just to make sure it wasn’t him, he sent Feldon to see what he could see. With his new Wand of Secrets, and some invisibly spying, Feldon uncovered that there was an aboleth in the basement. It seems the inn-keeper was trying to expand his cellar, and broke into a cavern that hid an underground lake with an adolescent aboleth stuck in it. The aboleth proceeded to enslave many of the people around, and was beginning to expand his circle of domination. The group decided that they must end this menace post-haste, and went that very evening to take care of the threat. Apparently having been trapped in a small underground lake for much of it’s life, without input from other aboleths or experience dominating anything other than a few chuuls it was able to have with it, it ended up being much less of a threat than imagined. It continually exposed the party to visions of tentacled horrors that…while they guessed they were supposed to be scary, were just so unbelievable as to lack any reality or depth to them, making them ineffectual at best, if not slightly humorous. It was well into the battle before the creature was able to bring it’s own bulk to bear on the combat, but being so confined for so long apparently also left it uncoordinated and palsied. Without much further ado the party put the poor thing to rest so it would stop embarrassing itself, an act sure to get them thanks from any aboleths they meet in the future.

Meanwhile, Feldon had finally found where they were keeping the book, after much careful spying. He saw the title, but unfortunately this particular volume was not in the Book of Infinite Pages. However, the group hatched another plan. Feldon felt that he could probably get in to see the book and then get out again, as long as he was careful about it. There didn’t seem to be much demonic protections on the book or it’s room. Working together, the group devised a schema to craft a magic item for Feldon to use, the Quill of Scribing. With this, he could set it to copy the contents of the manual into a smaller book he would carry in with him. In addition, Echo would cast dimension door onto Rykin’s wand, so that he could Dimension door out of the room if things became difficult, from where he could then turn invisible and, it was hoped, elude capture. As soon as Korrang was back from the monestary, they would craft the Quill and hopefully have a copy of the book they need to bring back to the Anstruth Vault.

Zholand, City of Downtime!
Wherein another of Rykin's NPCs is Tortured

After arriving in Zholand, the party made sure that Davdri made it back home safe and sound, and then decided they should go shake down Erryn, the gnome Golem researcher at the college, for the books he stole from the Vault at Anstruth. Erryn did not seem most pleased to see them after hearing the reasons, but at least agreed that some of the less important books would be made available to the group to bring copies back to the Vault. He was adamant on the fact that the most important book, which detailed the creation of a Colossal WMD-style golem, could not fall into anyone else’s hands. Echo decided to try another tactic, and had Feldon go see if he could spy the title of the book so they could ascertain whether or not it is in the Book of Infinite Pages already. If that doesn’t work he figures they could call on the ruling Council and call upon their self-interest to return a copy of the book but be granted access to the whole of the Vault.

Meanwhile Findorus went about using his Bag of Holding and Giving, feeding the poor and hungry of the populate by supplementing the soup kitchens, while Feldon searched around and managed to find where the book was, which was also where the Colossal golem was being crafted outside of town in a nearby valley. In addition, they found out that the Hedgemony apparently has been a little more aggressive lately, making the Gnomes of Zholand nervous, and possibly leading to them building the Titan. In addition, the city streets had more Golems as well, though of the Origami kind, the new cheaper style of golem Erryn created/found.

While Echo was re-tuning the string on his Instrument, Korrang wanted to go home to try and uncover more about the truth of his alleged Royalty, and Rykin, Findorus and Varigate went to Valdiholm. Findorus picked up his brand new Displacer Cloak, and Varigate his new sending stones and Wand of Secrets he had made for Feldon. Rykin, on the other hand, decided to go torture his old teacher with more information she couldn’t possibly guess, that he couldn’t possibly tell her, and that was so interesting as to likely keep her up at nights until the day she died. After much Seinfeldian back and forth, and she broke out some hard liquor, she managed to get Rykin to promise that he would ask the group if she could travel with them, even if she had to swear on the Rod of Binding to do so.

Korrang, meanwhile, was investigating his family’s history. He found that his father also had Royal Blood, while his mother did not. He checked in with his great-grandfather, who had been working on the family’s history for many years. After testing the rest of his ancestors that are still alive and ruling out family members who’s history was well known, they came down to one person, Korrang’s great-great-great-great-grandfather, a wood elf named Arlanthir. He seemed to appear near the lake town of Ilvelon, and fell in love with Korrang’s great-great-great-great-grandmother (elves suck, we’re just going to call him and her his 5-father and 5-mother from now on). While looking through his family’s estate in Ilvelon, he found a picture of his 5-father wearing a particular necklace, and then was able to find that necklace in the attic. The shell was iridescent and affixed to a string, that seemed to be made more from braided hair than fiber. All of the materials would last long underwater, and Korrang felt that the materials had a strong pull to water, and that they likely were from the Elemental Plane of Water. However, his 5-mother died before Korrang was born, and his 5-father died shortly thereafter in a freak storm, drowning in the Calenloch when his boat was overturned.

Rykin, for his part, did petition the group for Korai, and they agreed to speak with her. After some back and forth, most due to the sensitivity of the things they’ve learned, they decided that they would bring Korai into their confidences and allow her to travel with them. She went with EchoRykin into the basement of the college and geased herself to not betray the group’s confidences, particularly the information of shadowbinding. With that done, they agreed to meet up in one month in Zholand to depart together.

Down with the Queen!

The part prepared as best they could to go into the belly of the beast, into a chamber clearly designed for defense of the Formian queen. The queen was situated at one end of a cone-shaped chamber, with 3 Myrmarchs and 3 Taskmaster. However, they were clearly very prepared for the Tasmasters. Rykin slowed one of them, and Korrang ran up the walls and took out one with a mightly light-infused kick to the face. Varigate charged and lopped the head off of the second, and Korrang zoomed around the room to take out the third before they were able to Dominate anyone in the group. Meanwhile the queen kept barraging the group with quickened Magic Missiles, cones of cold and Psionic Barrages. She tried for nearly the whole battle to take out Korrang, but was completely unsuccessful as he just shrugged off the effects each time.

As soon as the slow stopped affecting anyone, Rykin then for the first time cast his Vengeance of Bahamut, casting platinum coins into the air to fly straight at the Formian Queen and attack her from all sides. She roared in frustration at all these minuscule missiles kept zipping around her. At the same time, Echo kept frustrating her attempts to harm the party with her magic as his Bless kept saving them, and enabling them to hit when they’d otherwise miss. She kept up a steady stream of Magic Missiles, but he kept his concentration throughout the entire barrage. Once the Myrmarchs were taken out by Findorus and Varigate, they turned on the the queen as a whole group and she went down under the combined weight of their aggression.

After taking a breath and taking stock, they decided to go back to the treasure room to grab everything:

34,000gp in coins and art objects (Mostly Art Objects and Statuettes)

Potion of Vitality
Potion of Supreme Healing
A brass oil lamp engraved with a map of the City of Brass
A prism of amethyst crystal through which you see a twisted and aberrant echo of the world around you
A key carved from the black bone of a displacer beast
A puzzle box crafted in glass, which contains a moonstone marble
A white rose petal entombed in quartz

As they were playing around with some of the trinkets, they found that the prism of amethyst, revealed some very interesting things. Whisper looked like a thing out of nightmares (perhaps unchanged from his actual appearance were he visible), Feldon and Glasya looked exactly the same, whereas the rest of the group looked twisted and abberant, aside from Echo who glowed with blue-white light-smoke. Varigate also realized that this was not Amethyst at all, and when asked, Barchan said “It is not of Earth, It is not crystal.” Korrang suggested it was actually a piece of Far Realm. Findorus thought it was clearly destiny that they found the puzzle box with the moonstone marble, and began immediately to try and open it.

Davdri was perhaps the happiest of all, with his salvation assured. He revealed that he was their captive for about 10 years (thankfully only 10 years…). He was a worker, junior engineer hired by Erryn to salvage things from the Vault when he was captured by the Formians. Rykin generously agreed to teleport him to Zholand, though after they travelled to one of Korrang’s nearby monasteries to set up things for the Vault.

The travel to the monastery took about a week, when they came in sight of a fairly idyllic little island, with just a few large buildings on it. The Monks greeted Korrang and those he brought with him, letting them know they could freely move about the island except for any locked doors. Feldon was REALLY unhappy about not being able to go into the locked rooms, and spent the entire time they were there floating in front of the doors, fully visible all the while. He tried one last time before they left to convince Korrang to let him go into them, stating that he felt they were CALLING to him, but Korrang unfortunately didn’t relent, so he stayed locked out. When they left, they brought a couple of the monks back to the Vault, and then from there teleported back to Zholand, to return Davdri, and perhaps convince Erryn to return the books he stole from the Vault.

Back to Reality
Into the Nest!

The Lady of the White Well greeted them graciously, telling them they had all performed a unique and great service for Love, and in a sense for her specifically. She thanked Findorus especially, and bade him meditate during the full moon with his Moonblades from now on. Varigate tried to ask her if Findorus would be able to communicate with her from afar, but only received a wink and a secret smile in return as she disappeared back into the depths of her well.

At this point, Varigate was feeling that the Story™ was over, so began the process of trying to bridge the gap back to reality. Echo exerted his will to keep their story together, Findorus freed them from the constraints keeping them to the here and now, while Korrang drove their destination and Rykin Conscientiously Objected™ to the Feywild in general, rejecting their place in it. They arrived back in the Vault, exhausted but together and unwounded. Varigate immediately wanted to leave so they could clear out the Formians nearby (for treasure and for the Vault’s safety), but relented to allow everyone to sleep and recover from their arduous journey.

The first day they went in search of the nest, Varigate smelled the formians, tracking them back to one of the exits from their tunnels. Echo cast an arcane eye inside to search, mapping with Korrang much of the tunnel complex and identifying both the rooms that held treasure (which was relatively near the surface), and the nests where larvae were kept. That first day they did not find the Queen’s chambers however, so they decided to come back the next day so they could explore more. They uncovered the rest of the locations, and also the location of the slave pens for the dinosaurs the formians kept dominated. In addition, they found a gnome who was captured by the formians (presumably from the same group that came here to loot the Vault about a decade past). As the formians had the advantage in terms of communication, they hatched a chaotic plan designed to increase confusion. Felden would go and release some of the dinosaurs, and stir chaos there, keeping the Taskmasters occupied, Glasya would spread fire and chaos from the first entrance they found while Korrang burrowed into the treasure room, and then collapsing it’s entrance so the formians could not leave with anything there in a timely fashion. Then, Whisper would wait for a short time at the first nursery, and the group would head towards the second, so that they could both strike at the same time, killing the larvae and then Whisper could escape, as he was very uncomfortable being underground and trapped. The group would then continue downwards to the final nursery, and onto the Queen’s chamber.

At first the plan seemed to be going very well. They met some resistance from the Myrmach’s, but nothing they couldn’t handle while they destroyed the first nursery. They picked up the gnome, literally, as they went past the farming chamber he was in, explaining the story to him as they went deeper into the tunnels…trying to assure him that they would make it out alive, and learning that his name was Davdri. At the last nursery, they met more resistance, and when they reached the room, discovered that a small number of larvae seemed to have been removed, less than 6 or so. Rykin again fireballed the room, leaving it in a smoking ruin, and then they left to go to the final showdown in the Queen’s chambers.

In Defense of Love
The Dark Fabulist's Downfall, pt 1

While the party was homing in on the cave where the Dark Fabulist was holed up, when the party began being attacked by redcaps. Their sling stones were endangering the Eagles who had gladly agreed to carry them, and Varigate leaped into action, falling out of the sky and slamming his axe into one of the redcaps as he struck the ground, absorbing the impact. Korrang, not to be outdone, strode gracefully off the eagle, gliding through the air and alighting to the ground to engage the enemy, while Findorus followed, perhaps not as gracefully, but with much more style and panache. The Eagles dropped off the rest of the party before flying away. The redcaps were dispatched readily, and left behind a single tooth each time one was dispatched. Echo let the group know about stories he heard stating that one who wears a redcap’s tooth is seen as more menacing to the members of the Feywild.

Before going into the cave system, Echo cast an arcane eye into the darkness, to scout out the paths before them. Taking this path, the group entered a large cavern the group found was right before an area the arcane eye couldn’t penetrate. Varigate yelled at the Redcaps that he was glad he would be getting more teeth soon. At this sight, the redcaps fled the field of view, while Grimm’s began dragging themselves out of the oily birthing pools nearby. As the group was battling them, the Dark Fabulist strode into the field, carrying a large black scythe.

Findorus took it upon himself to try and sway the opinion of the Dark Fabulist, and get him to relent before they had to attack him. He actually made a fair amount of headway, however the Dark Fabulist said that he unfortunately had already made promises to Archfey, do if they wished to remove him from this story, they were going to have to take him down. The Dark Fabulist tried to Bane Korrang, but with a mighty “My fate is my own!”, he shrugged off its effects. The battle waged back and forth, and in the middle of the battle, the original redcaps came back with reinforcements! Glasya went off to try and stall them while the group finished off the Dark Fabulist. After much effort, the Grimm’s were taken out and then the Dark Fabulist was finally taken down.

Afterwards they gained access to his ritual chamber, where they found a great deal of magical components, along with The Prince of Frosts frozen tears, and a heart-shaped mass of rose thorns which pierced their hands, no matter how gently it was grabbed. Findorus even tried grabbing it with his mage hand, but felt the pricking of his palm, even though he was not touching it.

Afterwards, Varigate suggested that they head back to the Lady’s well to tell her how things turned out. Echo realized that it was not very easy to start the Star Path during the daylight, so they rested while they waited for night. At nighttime, Echo started up the path, when Varigate had a realization that his truename might enable him to weaken the barrier to starting the Star Path, and enable Echo to create one during the daytime. While on the Star Path, the also found that it had a color much like the moonlight, and Echo believed that it was being affected/guided by some outside force, very likely the Lady herself.


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