Scenes from around Siliceous:
Van de Vries montage – A series of guards telling stories of problems – a baby with tentacles, a creature bursting out of a person, etc. Guards asking Van de Vries to set up an investigative group. Van de Vries asks King Goodwell. Goodwell says no. Instead he tells Van de Vries to set out a quarantine area in Lambasa. Cut to a scene at the gate with a caravan of people entering. Van de Vries is there, escorting a companion who is struggling, a woman. He listens to her. Much of what she says is incomprehensible, but he is able to discern her talk of rips in the world, creatures stepping in and out of them. She says she saw one companion dragged into the forest, only to be back the next day. Then she saw a creature burst out of another companion, but he was fine later. Her stories got crazier and crazier. She became a joke to her companions who all thought she was out of her mind. She was sent here. Van de Vries relates the story to Goodwell. He dismisses it. As the camera pans away it goes back to Goodwell, alone on the throne. A black cloud goes over Goodwell’s eyes suggesting he is affected…
Quartz Tower of Wizardry – Jalen, current head of the wizard order, a center of research and very busy in this time of confusion. Jalen had heard of a long past head of the tower named Mortain. Jalen felt compelled to go to the top of the tower. It was there where he say the long dead wizard Mortain, who Jalen had once served as an apprentice long ago. Mortain used to wear silver robes, but now, in death, was dressed in black robes that sucked light into it. Mortain said “you have a new role to play and death is of little importance” as the life was taken from Jalen. “Now summon your apprentice and we can change him too…”
Sigil – Craynor stands at the edge of Reality with Derezim’s dog. Over time, portal entrants had come from various places. Some from Athas, some from the Underdark, etc. This time, a hoard of tentacles with 7 eyes, a vicious beast emerged and destroyed the dog first. Craynor fought heroically, even epically, but in the end was enveloped and consumed by this fell beast, too.
A rural farming area – Parents in denial of the stories of aberrant beasts and alien forces in the world. The kids were excited about the stories, but the parents said it was nothing. The woods nearby had started to go bad. Some local dogs returned from the woods deformed and mutated. Parents said it was nothing, but don’t leave the house anymore. A group of 12-14 year olds got together and bravely entered the woods. The found soul creatures and the kids were doing alright, becoming a young group of adventurers and helping in their area…
We return to Rhendlich, where it is now sometime on the day of April 30, 994. PR III departs from Zigana’s hut. Zigana asks Bui if she should do a group reading or do individual readings for each in the room? Bui answers individual readings. Zigana draws out some cards and begins to splay them out for Tyzzer, Rowena, Kissandi, and Bui. Tyzzer, Kissandi, and Bui see something in the cards drawn and their pattern. Tyzzer saw something about fiends taking over the world and it will be the ordinary people who rise up to take on this challenge. Rowena believes it is hocus pocus and does not help in the way true studies will.
After the readings, the characters have communication with their gods.
Fharlaghn shows up. A vision that all share. Bui asks should I lead others to safety or to the battle? Fharlaghn says that at some point all must fight. Bui asks what are the gods doing? Fharlaghn says that some are more involved than others and that he is trying to keep the peace. It seems that Bui must follow this same path. Fharlaghn says that chaos could lead to the world begin torn apart if the gods continue fighting. The birds that fly near Fharlagn transform into small versions of the gods (Orcus, Vecna, Corellon, etc.) and accentuate the story.
Rowena envisions herself in Corellon’s library, a regular vision when Rowena meditates. Sometimes Corellon is there, other times he is not. She studies in this way in her nightly trance. Corellon is there this time. Rowena is told that her time is almost done in this form. If Rowena can accomplish preventing the end of this world, she will continue on. There is very, very little chance of that if she fails. Then Corellon sprouted black tentacles and mutated aborantly.
Tyzzer has a vision of a spring night with the world, Siliceous, talking to him. People taken. The world is ripped. Possession. Devouring. People need a hero to rally around. Lead by example. Let your presence provide hope. If you ever despair, the world is lost. This weighs heavily on Tyzzer’s mind. Tyzzer sees those he knew before changing into aberrant creatures as the world came apart.
Kissandi hallucinated after eating tainted clams. She sees the Raven Queen, but this time in her most clear vision of her god. The Raven Queen tells Kissandi that Kissandi needs to take over. As Kissandi stops listening, the Raven Queen says there is more… I will be back, you are but a caretaker until I return. You will know who you can trust. I will send a raven. (It may not be an actual raven, but a symbol that Kissandi will see when in a time of great need that she can trust this helper). Then the Raven Queens face was covered in blackness, a tentacle sprouted where her head used to be. Her legs fell off. 6 arms emerged where her legs had formerly been. This abomination began to move. The inky blackness covered its tentacle face again and for a moment Kissandi saw the face of Ja’Elle replace the tentacle, then her own, before the blackness dissipated and the tentacle reemerged. Her head throbbed.
Near the end of the Kissandi’s vision, after long clutching her gut in pain and lying on floor in the fetal position, Kissandi writhed in pain and clutched her head. Bui, Tyzzer, and Zigana all tried their healing on Kissandi, but Kissandi blacked out for a time.
When she came to, Kissandi cracked open the sack she had carried for some time. It grew warm quickly and smoke billowed out of it filling the room. Choking. She closed the bag, remembering she was supposed to convert Rowena and give it to her. Rowena was not ready to convert. Kissandi opened the bag and took out a blackened, burnt skull. Although it was warm to the touch, Kissandi felt as though it made her warm up and she quickly noticed the warmth less. She also felt a kinship with it, as it spoke telepathically with her about spreading the worship of the Raven Queen, sending the living to their just reward: death, and mercilessly stamping out those who meddle in the affairs of death and are not affiliated with the Raven Queen, especially those pledged to the demon prince Orcus. The skull acts as an orb and bestows other powers to Kissandi.
After discussing their visions with one another and after PR III returned, the group decided it would be better to visit Shacrois Nuadil without PR III. Kissandi was going to be a new face to Shacrois. Bringing someone that they did not fully trust along may be a risk. PR III gave Zigana something, likely pay, and then told Tyzzer and the other that he looked forward to learning more about how he could help save the world with them after their visit with the dragons.
The heroes spent nearly two days with Zigana in total.
Zigana and Rowena helped the group teleport into the Feywild to the location of the dragons.
The group was in the tunnels and chambers within the volcano. The smell of sulfur filled the air. The dragons and their servants welcomed the group and they reacquainted. Shacrois did not appear surprised to see the group, in fact he asked the group to help them before the group could tell him that they needed his help. Shacrois said he was aware of an increasing entry of Outsiders. He wanted to close a teleportation circle that existed on the Isle of Dread near a lot of the recent aberrant activity on the Isle. The circle connects to another within the volcano mountain. Tyzzer and the others wanted to go further to close a gate to the Far Realm, but that hadn’t been found yet. The group agreed to help with the mission. But, first the group was introduced to a prisoner of the dragons, Sarax.
Held on a small raised shelf surrounded by magma, Sarax was imprisoned. The sivak draconians helped the heroes fly over to talk with him. Tyzzer wanted to see why Sarax came to the dragons. Sarax appeared to understand that Terkent needed saving, many including him had screwed up, and wanted to be part of the solution to help save Terkent from Goodwell and other problems. Sarax said various gods had told him how to act. He thought he could enlist all the powers he got to help, but in the end it appeared to tear apart his mind. Bui suggested foliowing Fharlaghn to lead him to a better mind and better future. Sarax seemed to listen, but was hesitant to commit to yet another god.
The group then met with an old friend, one Bui immediately recognized as the being they call Friend. Friend had brought Laeralin with him to the dragons. They shared bread and water with the heroes. Friend relayed that the gods are failing us. In their efforts to rule and do war upon one another they have left us open to destruction. Vecna will win. The outsiders will destroy us. The heroes questioned, why Vecna? It seems that Vecna’s desire to gain information has led him to fool others into allowing this new, aberrant life to enter the world. Perhaps Vecna believes this will destroy much of his competition, or that he will survive and be able to learn more secrets. Friend did not seem to know why, but believed that Vecna was helping lead the gods into this heightened battle with one another.
Friend said that Laeralin was no longer accepted in society because his reputation had been damned by the others in the WJN, but one day when his rep was repaired, he could help lead those who will do right again. For now, he believes you have two options. Option 1 – try to save the world, perhaps by stopping war and hate between individuals and groups here or by forming unlikely alliances between believers in different and followers of opposing gods. Option 2 was to forge a new world. You have paths to some of the other planes. Gather materials/components that you can use to create a new world.
Tyzzer believed option 2 was not an option, that this would be giving up. For now, the path would be to try to stop the war of the gods and to work to end this threat from the Far Realm on our world.
The group spent several days with the dragons and meeting the others.
The group then went with the 3 dragons through the portal. Whilst the dragons fought outside to close the gate, the 4 heroes entered an area that had become a kobold controlled site. Upon entering noises could be heard both nearby and a bit further away. As Tyzzer led the group around the first corner, several serpents appeared and then disappeared. Soon the serpents surrounded three in the group and attacked. The serpents snaked into the heroes minds, weakening their spirits. It was difficult to hit them, but once the heroes broke through, they dispatched the serpents. During the battle, the group noticed nearly surgically opened kobold craniums with no brain left inside.
After opening the next gate, many more serpents appeared and then disappeared. A brain collect or Neh-Thalggu, was currently devouring the brain of another kobold. Only one living kobold remained in the room. Unfortunately that kobold was later destroyed by one of the serpents. It took resources and time, but the heroes battled through the serpents, with area attacks by Rowena and Bui dispatching many. Tyzzer directed the hand of Kissandi to dispatch more, and then led the charge against the Neh-Thalggu. For short times, the brain collector dominated a party member, but with help from Bui and Tyzzer, this was quickly reversed. Not too long later, the heroes were victorious and had taken out the last of these aberrations.
The battle just ended. No short rest has yet been taken.
The story continues next time.
It is currently evening on May 7, 994.