Siliceous

The Wizard in the White Tower
The Wizard in the White Tower

Kal Kathier, Shivon, and Xabier entered the White Tower’s 7th story balcony and encountered the White Wizard, now a lich. The lich intimidated Shivon. Parlaying, Shivon seemed to think the lich held a staff somehow connected to the Raven Queen. For sure the White Wizard was interested in meeting Kissandi, after told about her.

Meanwhile at the residence of the Witch on Downing Street, the witch continued to uncover the story for Kissandi and Scathe, as Scathe’s hand continued to decompose, now just a few tendons and ligaments short of skeletal (yet fully functional). Another appointment, a dwarf (Bayla Grimtor) riding a bear (Anuk), came to meet with the witch. After meeting the witch, the dwarf told Kissandi and Scathe that she was able to come and go from this domain of dread, not stuck here like everyone else.

The rest of the group returned and in a split decision, Kissandi convinced the others that meeting Ivania could wait, but the lich must be dealt with.

Rest was interrupted by the Black Carnival, an event when everyone wears a mask, the doors and windows of all homes are thrown open and light shines throughout the city as the dead return and party with the living.

Rest was better the next morning, enough to help a little. Midafternoon the heroes made another difficult trip up the cliffs and the White Tower to see the lich.

After a short discussion, the White Wizard disappeared. Kissandi believes she scared the lich away.

The group went down to the 6th floor of the tower, a library with rows of bookshelves and fought a large bone golem and a man who said he was a friend of the White Wizard. The main used psychic powers to get the heroes to fight amongst themselves and put up a good fight before he and the golem were destroyed. Much of the heroes energies were spent. They unsuccessfully tried to catch a short rest as something else approached…

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Uncovering the Meaning of Sunder...heart
Uncovering the Meaning of Sunder...heart

Night ended more than morning broke. Very dim light entered as the heroes struggled to withstand the effects of this Domain of Dread. The despair took Xabier Bloodcaster to a knee. New life entered him when he downed a vial of condensed blood.

The townsfolk nearby were gathering up the scattered and torn remains of the boy who had died the past night in the streets. Shivon interrupted to interrogate the people about the best way into the castle.

When information was not forthcoming, Kissandi threw one of the citizens into the wall, knocking him out.

After throwing the boat’s young owner overboard, the party took a barge to row under the castle into Tomb City, to go to the Broken Library, along the edge of the Bleak Abyss.

After rowing under the castle, the group was rowing past a hasty burial and makeshift ceremony for Timmy.

After a short interaction with those burying the boy, an old lady pointed at the heroes, blaming them for fighting their undead relatives in the street and blaming them for the death of Timmy. Xabier brought his axe down through the old woman’s forearm, severing it. Before Scathe could save her, she bled out. Quickly considering their options, the other citizens began digging a second plot.

The heroes rowed up to the Broken Library, that literally leaned over the Bleak Abyss, parts of the library clearly had already be sucked away into the abyss.

Upon entry, the group encountered Nephigor, who they would later uncover was possibly a ghost of a devil. Nephigor made a deal with Xabier – Xabier’s soul for the return of his brother.

Lightning cracked, a ceiling board split above the group, and the dying body of what appeared to be Xabier’s brother fell down into the room. Xabier killed him to death.

Nephigor gave information and gave the party an option of how to get out of Sunderheart – to get the Wizard of the Tower to confront Ivania and while they fought, the heroes could escape by sailing over Grimriver Falls, that would take them into the River Styx.

The group gathered scrolls and books and took them to the Witch on Downing Street.

The Witch read and put some details together, but said she would need more information. The group agreed not to fight the undead on this night – the Witch suggested that many more would come, since they would have communicated somehow about the battle put on between the undead and the heroes the night before.

After a restless night, filled with horrors for some, the group rose and went back to get the boat. The boat’s owner jumped into the river and swam away before Kissandi could throw him back in the water. The group rowed back to Tomb City.

Kissandi and Scathe returned to the Bleak Abyss, used Scathe’s bag of holding and took everything they could find back to the Witch on Downing Street.

Meanwhile, Kal-Kathier, Shivon, and Xabier climbed the steep cliff, using their abilities to fey step, good teamwork, and sheer athleticism. Next, they cleverly used a raven, a rope, and ingenuity to climb the White Tower to the 6th/7th floor where a terrace and the only notable entrance could be seen.

Atop the tower they felt a sudden cold – and each took 10 necrotic damage. They went to enter the tower…

Meanwhile the Witch was uncovering much history of Ivania and Vorno, of the wizard who now was a lich and of a few possible ways to get out of Sunderheart and possibly save it…

Stories that the Witch on Downing Street said she uncovered in reading the many tomes, books, and scrolls from the Broken Library books brought by Kissandi and Scathe:

“When the devil-bound empire of Bael Turath was enthroned as ruler over half the world, Harrack Unarth glittered as the brightest jewel in its crown. Set within the granite cliffs of the massive Grimstone Mountain, Harrack Unarth was fed by the emerald vale nestled close to its gates and slaked by the sapphire waters of three rivers that cascaded spectacularly down the rock behind the city.

Wealth flowed into Harrack Unarth as steadily as the Grimriver flowed from it. Bumping boats and jostling caravans brought goods from far-off lands. Wealthy nobles from across Bael Turath built bright villas on the shores of the city’s pristine lake. It was known far and wide as a city of spice, pleasure, play, and love. And no love was more famed than that of the Harrack Unarth’s rulers, Ivania Dreygu and Vorno Kahnebor.

The story of their romance was legend. Sole heirs to two feuding noble houses, Ivania and Vorno prevailed despite violent efforts by both feuding families to stop their love. When the last envenomed dagger had fallen from a death-weakened hand, Ivania and Vorno unified their holdings and took control of Harrack Unarth, the city where they first met. Together they ushered in a festive age. Harrack Unarth became known as the City of Carousal.

Yet like most legends, hidden truths lurk behind the bards’ honeyed words. The Dreygu and Kahnebor houses spared no love for one another, but they were unified in their desire to separate the young lovers. The Dreygu family, often thought depraved by those who glimpsed its inner life, saw Ivania as a “troubled” girl. And House Kahnebor had long struggled to cover up the results of Vorno’s dark appetites. A rare tete-a-tete between Lord Dreygu and Lady Kahnebor led to a resolution to separate them before their infatuation had its inevitable destructive result.

Yet love, true love, grows stronger in adversity, and so it was with Ivania and Vorno. Once forcibly separated, Vorno cut a bloody escape from his own family. A nighttime raid into the Dreygu estate and another murderous flight set them on the path to a pauper’s life together. Yet their outraged families could not leave well enough alone. After two years of cat-and-mouse exchanges, ambushes, and assassinations, Ivania and Vorno reclaimed their birthrights.

The two left behind the cities of their births and brokered with the emperor for control of Harrack Unarth, the throne of which was recently made vacant by the drowning of the lord mayor. They held a lavish festival for their arrival, and the celebration never truly ended. Behind closed doors and high garden walls, Ivania and Vorno introduced many of their new friends to increasingly obscure intoxicants, decadent delicacies, and bizarre entertainments. Meanwhile Ivania and Vorno continued to pursue the twisted pastimes for which House Kahnebor had paid to silence. Those they brought into their deadly games rarely remained players for long.

The expense of the nobles’ parties fueled trade to the city, making it a hub of strange goods from around the world. The wealth and rarities flowing to the city drew the eye of the emperor, and Ivania and Vorno became frequent guests at his court. It’s said that they returned the favor by setting up secret debaucheries from which only the hosts and their Imperial guest returned.

When the emperor sought infernal ties to secure his rule, he knew to whom he should turn. Ivania and Vorno readily agreed to shelter the first tests of the devils’ bargain, but their delight at this prospect had more to do with the opportunity it presented than loyalty to their lord. With the devils close at hand, they could cut their own bargains.

Their accomplice in the secret pact was Nephigor, a devil assigned to oversee the first rites. What Ivania and Vorno sought was nothing less than unending youth. They wished to continue their lives together forever, and for this they would give up their souls. The years would not touch them. Contagion would pass them by. Only by accident or intent could their lives be taken, and when this happened, as Nephigor must have know it inevitably would, their souls would pay the price for the joys they shared in life.

When the nobility of all Bael Turath found their way into the devils’ bargain, Ivania and Vorno were already enjoying the benefits of their promise. Youthful vigor flooded through them and drove them to greater heights of frivolity and darker depths of depravity. While the rest of the empire reacted with horror and fear at the work that was being wrought, even while the city’s lakeside villas were emptied of aristocrats, the people of Harrack Unarth danced in streets strewn with their noble’s gold.

Yet time did take its toll. As the years collected into decades, Vorno, always fitful and prone to bouts of depression, drew deeper within himself and grew increasingly paranoid. He knew his habits had made him many enemies, and now any danger threatened not only his life but his should. A simple fall could set his spirit on fire for eternity.

Ivania, on the other hand, took vicious joy from living. She tried many times to draw the man she loved from the shadow that skulked through their palace on the river. At times she could evoke his old spirit, cajoling Vorno’s cruel streak out for deviant play, but these times came less and less often. The two lovers, once inseparable partners, became estranged.

At length, Ivania grew tired of Vorno, tired of his petty jealousies and his simpering attempts at affection, tired of his watchful shadow lurking on the edge of her vision, tired of his unwashed stink and his suspicious eyes. She resolved to tempt him out of his shell one last time.

Securing the most beautiful girl in the city, Ivania plied the coy young woman with jewels, silks, and exotic spices. Together they drank, ate, danced, and played, all under the hidden gaze of Vorno. With the blush of innocences still upon her cheeks, the girl fell into a narcotic stupor. Ivania left her then, knowing what Vorno would do.

The fiend could not resist. He took her, and when at last the predilections born of his youth overcame him, he devoured her flesh. Ivania had planned for this. She had hidden her toxins beneath the stupefacient spices and liquors. The girl had boiled with poison but blissfully felt nothing. The same could not be said for dread Vorno. He died as terribly as he had lived. Ivania Dreygu watched him die. In Vorno’s final moments, he saw in her eyes that not only had she willfully killed him and consigned his soul to the Hells, but that she had also murdered their love. Thus, a dark lord was born.

Harrack Unarth, City of Carousal, took little joy during the funeral celebrations. Many noted the lack of prominent faces among the crowd. As time elapsed the city fell into Shadow and curses were left on all that touched this place."

The Witch says there are three options…
1) Kill Ivania and the Ghoul (Vorno) attached to her back – this will only destroy them for a day, but during this time those involved in their deaths could leave through the Mists, escaping the Shadowfell. Unfortunately the undead residents of Tomb City will swarm over Sunderheart after a day, slaying with abandon.

2) Kill the hellbound that are within the wall and convince the Wizard of the White Tower to leave his home and confront Ivania and the Ghoul. While the loch and the dark lord battle, escape is possible by riding a boat over Grimriver Falls to splash down into the River Styx, and then find a way to escape the Noine Hells.

3) Permanently destroy Ivania and the Ghoul in one of the two ways:

a) by having Ivania say Vorno’s name and be remorseful for her betrayal, whereupon both of their souls will be transported to the Nine Hells to fulfill their bargain with Nephigor.

OR

b) by engaging the Ghoul without fighting back or awakening Ivania’s will. Then lure the Ghoul on a chase though the River Palace to the room where Vorno was murdered and where Ivania first confronted the horror of her new existence. This dark complex lies deep in the least used area of the River Palace. There they must be slain."

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Entry into Sunderheart, Domain of Dread
Entry into Sunderheart, Domain of Dread

Nexes: “I will accept your final payment and then take you to the shore.” Kal Kathier gave him more food.

Upon final payment, Nexes says, “I see it is getting harder for you. You may need these…” (and shows vials of thick red liquid) Nexes will say it will reinvigorate you, but don’t use it too much (It is condensed blood). Kissandi rejects it. Xabier drinks one and buys several more for himself and Scathe.

Nexes says “Get rid of any illumination”

As Nexes and Xabier rowed the raft towards the first wall of Sunderheart, one of the dredgers called out for the group to go away. The dredgers seemed surprised to see a raft full of people approaching the city. Many dead, bloated corpses and lots of flotsam and jetsam floated in the water. The dredger ran away to summon the guard.

After sailing under the entry gate, the party was greeted by fast approaching town guard.

Nexes left the party and rowed away.

The group grew weary of the “greeting” they received. Kissandi stated her desire to meet the person in charge. The guards didn’t cooperate.

The city was a series of islands, divided by a main river flowing through the center and lots of canals that served as roads between. Some bridges connected some islands. Barges and punts sailed regularly for transportation. During the day the city was bustling with regular activity. The irregularity was that everyone seemed to have some sort of birth defect. On one person, it was a third leg. Another had extra fingers. Another had one color hair on one side and another on the other side of her head. Xabier found a woman with three breasts.

Scathe noticed the skin on her hands flaking off.

In a market, a little boy suggested the group meet the Witch on Downing Street. The group followed the boys advice and went to this location where they met an old, blind woman, her eyes sewn shut, who had a viable eye in the palm of her hand that she used to look around. She offered advice and knowledge and said she would give more if the group could go to the Broken Library, leaning over the edge of the Bleak Abyss and uncover the knowledge that she believes will help uncover the way out of Sunderheart.

The first night came and as foretold, dead arrived on barges. Kissandi, Kal-Kathier, Xabier, and Shivon’s falcon did battle on the island where the Witch on Downing Street lived. Kal-Kathier twirled his blades, cutting enemy after enemy down. Kissandi used a glowstone from Shivon to radiantly melt several undead as they approached the light. Xabier drooled as he waded through an undead enemy at a time in search of his brother Bael. They were victorious, but presumably only did battle with a small fraction of all those who entered from Tomb City.

The next day, the group agreed to be arrested by the sheriff, sleep for the night in the jail, and allow the sheriff to kill 3 others who were in the jail at the time, possibly criminals, supposedly so they didn’t tell of what happened. The sheriff did not want word to spread that he acted against Lady Ivania Dreygu or said anything about The Ghoul that was stitched to her back.

Kissandi and the others were planning to kill Lady Ivania, with the thought of using the river to enter under the palace, fight the monsters, the hellhound, and anything else that was there to gain entry into the palace first.

Evidence gathered by the heroes to kill Lady Ivania comes from the sheriff, who wants his opinion kept secret, the general feeling that this placed is cursed and the curse needs lifting, and a spiritual feeling by Kissandi to seek out the leader of the town.

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A Well Executed Thievery
A Well Executed Thievery

April 16, 994?

Here’s the plan: Alphariel is going to fly/phase up the shaft, grab the hourglass, then feather fall back down into the waiting teleportation circle created by Rowena.

Stone Arm talks to us. He’s worried about the Mad Architect who’s coming down here. He made a deal with Balarus the Efreet and now owes Balarus the Hourglass. He is only interested in gaining power.

Rowena creates a portal to the thundercloud tower.

Alph grabs the Hourglass and runs to the shaft. Featherfall down. The gleaner and nightwalker jump down after him.

Bui recalls Alph to the circle. We all dive through the circle.

Something happens to keep Craynor and Bui from going through the circle.

They apparently are in the first room of the ziggurat.

There is a color mist there that seems pretty badass.

Bui is doing his best to figure out what’s going on and how to get out.

Craynor is being insane, but eventually starts climbing the walls.

After many starts and stops, they get out.

As the Thundercloud Tower made its way away, the heroes saw the ziggurat phase out as several meteorite hit the ground nearby, leaving steaming craters.

Alphariel is able to put the Hourglass down.

We cast 3 × 360 gp rituals (1080 gp)

Mummy rot cured by Bui – Xabier nearly dies (full hp loss). Bui – half hp loss, Craynor extended rest stays the same, then cured at half hp loss by Bui.

As we are flying over the land where we saw a big battle on the way to the ziggurat, we see that there is now a huge crater and a lot of nasty alien things. Craynor talks to one of the fallen and gains that it was a battle between towns, started by youth of the other town who attacked their elves. The commoner blames inaction and lack of protection on King Goodwell II.

Samaa and Emerth find us.

We head up to the earth mote place.

Guess what. We fight the earthquake dragon. Who could have seen that coming?

The dragon tries to fly away, but Rowena calls on the powers of the elements and crushes the dragon.

It seems we lost a week in the Ziggurat – it should have been less than a day…hmmmm

Stonearm Scourge and Balarus the Efreet are likely dead – trapped in the ziggurat with the alien force inside, too. The ziggurat is now gone.

April 23, 994.

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The Deluvian Hourglass in Sight, Escaping the Ziggurat Not So Much
The Deluvian Hourglass in Sight, Escaping the Ziggurat Not So Much

April 16 (?), 994 continued continued continued

We make our way into the cavern. The drop from the opening of the shaft to the floor is 20 ft. There is luminous water. It lights the whole cavern. Three islands. One with twisted vine like masses. Another has monkeys and bugs. The third has treant. The second has monkey swarm. Xabier drops in and swims back up. The water is only about 10 ft deep. Tyzzer drops in.

Xabier finds a sack full of goodies near the alter and takes it.

We kill of the bad guys and then more bad guys – demons- show up to replace them. Jeff’s house blows up.

Xabier turns into a devil. This is distracting to the nalfeshnee demons, and to the others in the party.

We kill all of the demons after Xabier tries to intimidate the demon – unsuccessfully. There is a large red creature up in the shaft.

Vani flies up der and sees a red guy – Santa? Efreet more likely. There is a also a medium creature above – the Stonearm Scourge, and a little construct.

The Stonearm Scourge tells us to give up or give up the monk. He also wants the Deluvian Hourglass.

Vani flies up the other shaft and sees the hourglass guarded by bad guys. There is a mosaic of the fat lady with skinny lady. There is a sebastian gleaner and 3 crystal constructions, one with sebacean apes stacked atop one another, and the other two with large evil looking creatures.

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Deeper into the Ancient Ziggurat
Deeper into the Ancient Ziggurat

April 16, 994 continued continued

We enter the room. The gases begin to ooze out of the pods.

A bug man is in the corner. Larva mage.

An Astral stalker from Dart Mouth College appears. (ⓒSteve L)

Astral Stalker x2

“Let there Bui light!” (ⓒSteve L)

We kill everything

Craynor finds a sack of 1000 gp

Tyzzer finds 4 jewel-encrusted statuettes from an ancient civilization – Tyzzer feels a connection to them,
1 dragonborn
1 human crocodile

2 ft tall obelisk with ever changing runes

Notes from the larva mage: in common the larva mage was doing arcane research on the pods in the room. Tyzzer feels the pods were alien to this world. Maybe aberrant. Maybe they were going to hatch. Maybe not. Many hypothesis (plural).

The journals go in the spider. It is loaded. Like a diaper. Loaded Diaper.

Rowena checks out the fat statue. So does Craynor, but in a different way.

Historical statue from an ancient civilization

We exit to the West. It goes along ways. At least ¼ mile. Short rest. Path continues. Path breaks left right or straight or stairs down.

Go down the stairs.

Then we go left. We could have gone right. But we didn’t. ⅛ of a mile later. The pathway is blocked with rocks. The cave-in seems old. It seems old and thick.

We go back and then we go right. We run into left, right, or straight. We go left. A long pathway later is a crypt. We loudly walk into it.

There is a tapestry with a black-skinned man with a two-headed tiger and mountains. The mountains look like pyramids – some of them do. Our light source does not penetrate the darkness as normal. Bui feels a connection to the Shadowfell. Maybe a rift. Craynor sees a shadowy movement. He charges it.

It is a ghost. It possesses Alphariel. Fighting ensues.

Craynor finds 2 potions

We leave after freeing ghost and after three contract mummy rot.

We go back and go the original straight.

We go to a waterfall room. The builder’s didn’t plan for this. We see the broken remnants of crypts. Lots of bad guys and some floating gibbering talking creatures. We leave.

We go to the path less traveled. Back to intersection. Everything is all MC Escher.

We go back to the shaft. Craynor climbs down.

Everyone else stops wussing out and climbs or flies down too. There are islands in water. Altar. Treant.

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The Release of Rukaleth, the Bound Guardian
The Release of Rukaleth, the Bound Guardian

April 16, 994

We venture down into the lair of the Dracolich. There is a pyramid. Bones cover the slopes. Clusters of eggs cover the back of the room. Basins with dripping goo green are on the northern wall. The room is illuminated by the phosphorescent light from the green basins. Bones all around the pyramid.

Ceilings are 40 ft high.

The dragon makes us all afraid. And then he breathes necrosis on us. We fight.

The dragon refers to himself as Rukaleth, the Bound Guardian. He says, “Bound here as I am, I take no joy in your inevitable destruction, mortals…”

We kill it. It thanks us for granting him the final release that it has craved for centuries. It was the first real dragon that Tyzzer killed.

Xabier and Alphariel are afraid of water and weiner wizards.

Mummified dragon eggs. Craynor cracks open an egg it is full of dead stuff.

The green water area – the water is magical

We also find treasure by the dragon eggs:
Alphariel finds 700 pp and fist size star sapphire (5000 gp) in a small sack
Craynor finds a ring and gives it to Tyzzer (Luminary Ring LVL 22)
Vani drinks the magical water – she feels like she couldn’t be stunned

The dungeon is weird – elevations are all screwy, possibly even interplanar. It seems we are on the trail to the ancient artifact.

We leave from a stairway that we didn’t enter from after vani flies down a shaft. She finds nothing after flying down 200 ft with darkvision.

And then we go up the stairs entering into a room that has a tornado creature (earthwind ravager) and four crystalline obelisks shooting lightning with four sebascean’s. There are 4 exits out of the room.

We kill the aberrants and the earthwind ravager. Xabier goes back to get magic water. We all do. We all have the water in our water skins. We don’t notice anything…

We go down a ziggurat \ and it opens up into another room. It has four wispy pods with swirling green liquid. We came in from the north. Red marble statue on far end of room – fat human woman. Alcove to the east. Path to the west.

That’s where we left off. Craynor is not stunned.

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Heading Towards Despair, the Cliffs of Despair
Heading Towards Despair, the Cliffs of Despair

At dawn amidst the Mists, Kissandi used telepathy to try to convince the aboleths to let them pass. Aboleth skum and servitors emerged and attacked all those on the raft. The aboleth lasher moved in and did battle with Xabier. The aboleth overseer stayed back, dominating Shivon, and using her powers to injure Kissandi and use Kissandi to injure Scathe.

Kal-Kathier cut down several skum and servitors. Xabier took a lashing, but he was able to destroy the lasher. Shivon, after she finally broke free of the domination, protected the party with a beam of fey energy. Scathe continued to heal her allies, before being momentarily knocked unconscious. Kissandi took a stance that destroyed enemies that started next to her. Aboleth hatchlings emerged and were quickly destroyed.

After all but the overseer were destroyed, Shivon and Kissandi leapt onto the overseer. The overseer submerged itself with both Shivon and Kissandi holding on. Shivon was knocked off. Kissandi and the overseer descended to 50’ below see level and the battle continued. Shivon was pulled up by Scathe. Shivon guided Scathe to heal Kissandi. Shivon rejoined the underwater battle.

Two large death drinker skeletons swam towards the fight. The overseer escaped. Shivon helped Kissandi swim up. As the two made it to the surface, the skeletons reached out to grab them, one succeeding and grabbed Shivon. Shivon was able to burst one of her necklace beads to help her escape and damage the now-insubstantial skeleton.

Kal-Kathier, Xabier, and Scathe joined the battle. Kissandi relished destroying these abominations of life.

After defeating this enemy, both Kissandi and Shivon were able to shake off the effects of the dark water they had entered, but Scathe realized that the areas of her armor and of her arms and hands that she used to pull Shivon out were affected and aging. Her armor rusted and aged. The skin on her hands loosened remarkably and she felt her hands and forearms turning into whatever Nexes was, a skeletal looking human. Scathe fell to her knees and retched. Shivon tried to help. Kissandi asked the Raven Queen if it was Scathe’s time? Kissandi felt guidance from the Raven Queen that Scathe was not undead, just affected substantially.

The group continued rowing between the Mists. As they continued a few of them noticed two farmers on a raft a ways off, one grabbed by the Mists and pulled off the raft and right into Mists. The other farmer rowed as fast as he could in the other direction.

Trumpeted and screeching animal sounds along with human screams could be heard from a forested island that was partially covered by Mists. The trees on the island were white wood. The group decided to ignore it and continue on.

Nexes told the group head north through the islands to reach the center of the bay and Sunderheart, go slightly northwest and reach Glimmerhope Crag, or go slightly northeast and reach the Cliffs of Despair. Kissandi said to go northeast and for the Cliffs of Despair.

On the way there, weaving between the small islands, the heroes noticed muddy farm islands where they could hear common being spoken in the distance. The plants appeared unhealthy, the black-leafed trees with thousands of bulbous, bone-colored apples. A sore covered sow was giving birth to several limping piglets, one with only three legs, another with two legs and two half-legs.

The group kept on rowing and approached a mountain spur, surely the one known as the Cliffs of Despair. The cliff overlooks the Black Bay. Though the haze, two humanoids holding hands could be seen atop the cliff. Moments later, the two stepped off the cliff and without a sound fell to their deaths.

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Working with a Former Nemesis to Save the World
Working with a Former Nemesis to Save the World

April 9th, 994

  • Wow. That fight was Epic (level)!
  • We head back to Castle Locatha and the storm has stopped completely
  • We encounter the Stone Arm Scourge and one of his little golem guys.
    - He tells us to meet PR III again. He has info.
    - We go back through the same portal, and PR is there.
    - The Deluvian Hourglass has moved and is nearby.
    > Associate Zarenthal (the Imix Cult leader from Lambasa) can transport us to the ziggurat.
    >The Hourglass was to be used by the Primordials in the Dawn War to take back the world from the gods.
    -PR III wants Stonearm to come with us to the Hourglass. After much conversation, we decide that’s not gonna happen.
    -We don’t really want to take Zarenthal back to the castle, but we do because he’s the only one who knows where to go. Craynor beats him up periodically.
  • We fly the castle for several days south along the King’s Mountains under Zarenthal’s direction.
  • We spot a figure (Emerth) flying on a silver sphinx (Samaa) appears with a message from Krombaalt the storm giant. In order to prove himself, he tells us that the king’s daughter is a bitch.
    - Emerth says he needs our assistance.
    - He wants to perform an arcane ritual with our castle as a focus. This will be a gift for Krombaalt.
    - We’re down with this until he tells us that it will take many days.
    - He did mention an ancient earthquake dragon named Kul-Gira who has not been heard from in many years and must be dead.
    > We agree to meet him again in a week to help him with the ritual. He’ll find us.
  • As we fly overland, we see battles are occurring in SW Terkent, and we don’t know why.

April 16th, 994

  • We get to our destination and Arcane powers are diminished right now. Also, we smell sulfur.
  • More and more flames.
  • We get to a burning building. Clearly this is a place controlled by Imix.
  • Zarenthal says we need to enter a ring of fire in order to be teleported to the ziggurat.
    - “Look for the silver lake. Look for the ziggurat.”
    - We see a ziggurat in the distance and head toward the clearing.
    - Vani, Craynor, and Alphariel swim in the lake to see if they can find another way in. No luck.
    - We go up the stairs and into the ziggurat. It’s about 400 feet tall.
    - Vani flies down a pit in the entryway and sees a bone dragon about 60 feet down. We don’t go that way.
    - Instead, we go into the main room that has a dome.
    - ATTACKED BY MUTATED APES! AND GLIDERS! AND GUARDIANS!
    > They die
    > Rowena discovers that some of the aliens’ bodies adapt and develop a resistance to the first type of damage that hits them – seems very useful for them.
    - The dome is cracked, and we could break it, but we don’t, then we do
    - We follow one of the hallways for about ¼ mile, descending ~ 1000 feet to a room with more aberrant shit including a couple of gorgers, a gleaner, and more mutant apes with lots of extra body parts and slimey stuff. Blood fills channels, but it’s not that big a deal.
    - Before he died, the gleaner spoke both in deep speech and common, telling us:
    > “Turn back before the sublime potency of the sebaceous!”
    > “You cannot hope to defeat all of us!”
    > “When one sebacean falls, the Mad Architects send two more to take its place!”
    > “Fools! You’ll be entombed here and forgotten forever!” and
    > “You cannot postpone…the inevitable…”
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Nexes and the Black Sea
Nexes and the Black Sea

Kissandi whistled to get the attention of the hooded figure slowly paddling the raft 50’ off the shore.

The creature appeared to be skeletal. Kissandi readied an attack before Scathe’s told her that Melora assured her that this creature was not undead.

The creature paddled the boat over, whispering “What do you have to offer for safe passage?” Eventually Kal-Kathier offered some Athasian meat and Xabier gave Nexes 1,000 gp for passage to Sunderheart.

Nexes asked “why would you want to go to Sunderheart?”

When Kissandi caught a glance at the shrouded face of Nexes it appeared to be a skeletal reflection of Kissandi’s face.

Nexes cautioned the heroes not to enter the water and assured them they would need to fight. He said that difficulties they passed would be much easier than ones they were to avoid. He said, “my raft, my rules!”

Nexes requested Xabier’s great axe. Reluctantly, Xabier gave it to Nexes. Nexes turned it into an oar, but said Xabier would be able to return it to its true form as needed. Nexes staff also changed to an oar.

When Xabier saw Nexes face, it appeared a skeletal reflection of Xabier’s face.

Night was falling. The water was inky black and the night was darkening, too. A dim light emanated from Shivon’s necklace, barely illuminating the area surrounding the raft as Xabier and Nexes slowly and quietly paddled them further in a direction that seemed to run parallel to the where the coast extended.

Xabier’s spirit sank. The water beckoned him in. He felt his resistance weakening.

After a couple hours of rowing, two sharks and a sea cat attacked the party. Nexes said, “This means we are in safe waters.” The sea cat got a couple of bites on Kissandi and the sharks bit a couple of others, but the party repelled them well with Kal-Kathier striking multiple sharks at a time, Shivon psychically repelling the sea cat from dragging Kissandi into the water and Kissandi flinging the sea cat back on her own once. Scathe weakened and forced the sharks to retreat. Xabier sliced into the sharks with his great axe. Soon the sharks were killed, one kept for its meat. The sea cat stopped the attack and fled the scene.

About 2-4 hours of paddling later, muffled screams could be heard. Soon, appearing under the clouds crackling with lightning was a ship being torn apart by a shadow kraken.

With hard paddling by Kal-Kathier and Xabier, The Raven Queen’s divine guidance directed through Kissandi, Shivon’s arcanaically acrobatic stunts to save the raft from drifting wreckage and calling upon Melora’s power to direct the storm to center the Kraken’s energies on destroying the larger ship and ignoring the raft, and Scathe’s efforts to walk on the water while pushing the raft forward, the small raft made a narrow escape from the reach and attention of the Kraken.

A couple hours later as dawn began to appear, the light was broken up by several large areas of mist. The mists seemed otherworldly and many screams and loud, strange sounds emanated from them. Nexes said none return who enter the mists. As Nexes guided the raft to avoid the mists, two aboliths emerged, eyes fixed on the heroes.

Next time, aboliths in the mist!

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