Blades of Light

Tal's Journal, Entry 35
An All Around Shitty Day

We tethered the horses and found our way into the sewers-leading-to-catacombs. It was just as unpleasant as the last time. We’d walked for some time when we came across some barred doors in the passage. For once we’d elected to use caution. Miaako went first, since he was the best qualified to do so.

Turned out that was for the best since he almost got clawed by something unpleasant. A wight, I think. He flailed backwards in a way that tried to be graceful, but at least he managed to avoid getting clawed. Then another barred door opened and another wight showed up.

Great.

Another squawk and flail indicated a new player, a wraith this time.

This just keeps getting better and better.

Another wight. Don’t know why I’m surprised. This will end badly. I think we walked into a nest of the damn things…

Miaako was freaking out, there is no other term for it, but he was at least accomplishing things. Ceor managed to finish off two of the wights, though we still had a lot more. The wraith that tried to hit Miaako came through the wall and tried to hit Ceor, failing fortunately. Another wraith showed up in the chamber next to myself, Keshemet, and Reeshka. Fortunately, undead do not like fire, though I wasn’t quite able to put it down.

I do think Keshemet was taking a bit too much joy in making Miaako uncomfortable, even if it did help. Reeshka did quite a bit more; undead really don’t like positive energy.

Miaako got slashed by one of the wights, though it looked like he’d just taken the wound, not any of the nastier things wights can do.

One of them was throwing rusty metal at us to no effect. I don’t even.

Miaako actually nearly got one wight to hit another, but it lead to ineffectual flailing. That was the point when one of the wraiths hit me. It was seriously one of the most awful experiences of my life. Cold and nasty and hungry. And not just a little painful.

I promptly set it on fire again. That took care of it. Then I decided to lean on the wall and catch my breath.

At least the others were doing somewhat better. Reeshka found a novel use for one of her cure moderate wounds wands.

It is rather entertaining to see Miaako dodging in such a way that they end up hitting each other more than him. And it is rather nice when they drop down to managable numbers. The remaining few didn’t last much longer, once Miaako and Ceor started seriously stabbing things.

I hate the undead.

They didn’t have much worth taking, though closer inspection showed the rusty chunks of metal used to be knives. Didn’t do them much good.

We proceeded on, eventually coming across another light. Reeshka said the surrounding stonework was imported limestone, if that made a difference. Miaako could hear something else moving around up ahead, and no one was really surprised when we came across four or five skeletal figures dripping green slime. Fortunately, they seemed to be trapped behind barred gates they couldn’t move. We started through, and started running as soon as we heard metal shrieking. The skeletons were trying to force their way through and we decided we wanted no part of that.

We ran for a good ways, before we came to a more cylindrical structure… with a large air elemental hanging about in it. It was staring at us, though fortunately more curious than hostile. After a quick tongues spell courtesy of Keshemet, I decided to address it. The short of it was that someone, probably the designers of the city, bound it down here. At a guess, to keep the possible explosive gases from building up in the sewers.

I decided it couldn’t hurt to let it out. It could only help us if Friula has problems with explosive sewers, and it might be able to help us in our quest to assassinate a member of the Bibliotory. Win win, either way. I dispelled the barrier, and let the elemental out. We’d get to the surface eventually, and that’s what I told him.

About an hour later, we came upon a larger room, that seemed to be a statue surrounded by columns. The air was noticeably cooler; I think it was another part of the ventilation system. Miaako got close enough to poke it, and realized that the eyes of the statue were diamonds.

It was interesting to see how conflicted he was. He started prying the diamonds out, which I’m sure will have some sort of side effect. He wrenched one out, and cracked the statue in the process. If it seemed like a planar effect, I’d stop him, but I think it’s just an arcane effect. Naturally, as soon as he did, he got hit with a painfully cold blast of air. Then we decided to leave. As we did, we could hear the sound of ice forming… I think Miaako removed important regulating components of it. This should be good.

It took us three more hours to get up to the actual sewers, about the place where we thought the manor would be, if our maps were accurate. We could see two places where light was filtering through, one bigger than the other. Miaako climbed up to the bigger one to see if he could tell where we were. He heard a guard, and came back down. We elected to try the other.

It ended up in a privy, of course.

We managed to get up before the air elemental did the same… spraying unpleasantness EVERYWHERE.

I’m going to have to burn these clothes later.

Of course, we couldn’t do this quietly, and we attracted the attention of the guards. Then things just got ridiculous. It really did.

Mind you, we had just erupted from a privy, and were standing there, covered in shit, and about to go on a rampage.

This isn’t even weird anymore.

Miaako and I ran up the stairs, on the assumption that the others would be right behind us.

This was not the case. So I came back down to find that more guards had emerged and decided to do something about it.

This didn’t really make things any less ridiculous. Keshmet’s learned Hideous Laughter, apparently. We dealt with them, and then got up the stairs… to find more guards. Naturally. Quite a few of them, actually. We’d tried to not kill the ones on the floor below, I guess because I felt like indulging Ceor, but I think our patience has run out at this point.

There is a term called ‘curb stomping’ that seems appropriate.

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Tal's Journal, Entry 34
We don't plan so much as have collective psychotic episodes.

We ended up with a nice little pile of loot. Enough Amulets of Natural Armor for everyone, and more than enough of Rings of Protection. Assorted weapons and armor, of course, and not a few artifact level items. Enough wands to keep Reeshka and myself occupied for a while, and enough potions to bury Miaako.

We’d just gotten done sorting through the spoils when the light started dimming. Miaako seemed to think the statue was drawing the light into itself; I got the distinct impression that the barrier between worlds was weakening, either because the statue was weakening it, or because it simply happened to be at the center of it.

Either way, it seemed to be unhealthy to stay near it.

I suddenly understood things about it; this was something between a waypoint and a plug, between Midgard and the Underworld. Normally, there would be a rift here, but the statue was occupying the space. I’m not sure if the barrier weakened, or if it reinforced it. Seemed like leaving would be a good plan.

As we got to the door, darkness filled the entire area.

Leaving is a VERY good idea.

The zone of darkness ended about the edge of the catacombs. Comforting.

The trip through the green slime was less painful than the first trip, and the ranks upon ranks of the skeletons were still standing there, motionless. We elected to pass them by. The underdwellers had gone, either moved on or moved out. The trip out was long, but largely uneventful.

When we got to the top, the building had been burned and gutted. Some attempt had been made to save the building; Miaako and I were able to determine it was deliberate arson, that started near where the volatile chemicals had been stored. There’s no way of telling if that attempt at putting it out was an attempt to save the building or to save the surrounding buildings. The remaining structure was entirely unstable.

As we were preparing to get out, Miaako spotted a silver medallion in the corner, and managed to get it without dropping the building on our heads. It had Bloodstone’s crest on it. Isn’t that wonderful.

Of course, this now means that we have to get out of here without dying. Ceor and I went first, with Reeshka under our feet. Ceor had to break the door down; it had been blocked from the outside, and of course the whole thing came crashing down. Somehow, we all managed to get out, largely unscathed. Once we had a moment to catch our breath, we realized the door had been blocked because it had been barred shut. If the wood hadn’t been burned, even Ceor would have had a problem.

I think a return to Feymott is in order. Now.

We returned to the hotel, collected our shit, and promptly left. As we were heading out one way, a group of guards was coming the other way. I think we were just in time. Fortunately, word hadn’t made it as far as the city gates.

We didn’t even stop to sleep. It had been evening when we went down, early morning when we came back up, and we just kept going. It was about noon when I looked back to see flashing metal. Looked like a squad or two of the city guards. Since they shouldn’t even be outside of the city, it seemed like a good time to get off the road. We even managed to do it without leaving a huge trampled path. There was a stream nearby that we were able to get the horses to and lead them along, and a half-cleared area on the other side, choked with underbrush. Seemed like as good a place as any to hunker down. Reeshka was positively gleeful for the chance to make traps.

She is rather good at it, I must say. Miaako had trouble finding it… though he’d never admit it, of course. We stayed there the night, and fortunately, they didn’t catch up with us. When we left in the morning, we saw them five or ten miles back, sweeping both sides of the road. Fortunately, we were moving fast enough and they were moving slow enough that we outstripped them easily.

Once we reached Feymott, we decided to save all of the unremarkable gear we’d picked up as equipment for the city guard, though there was talk about domesticating a rust monster. It’s an idea, at any rate. Rust monsters are more or less harmless, as long as you take care to keep metal away from them. And, of course, there were things to do involved in the running of the city. Though I was personally more interested in helping my sister catalog and store all of the books and alchemy ingredients we brought back. There were five pounds of mandrake root that will be going in my personal alchemy supplies.

The next step was to figure out where we want to go next. While I suspect Bloodstone and his allies are the larger threat, the Order of the Pure will be the easier of the two to find, I think. After some more studies, it seems that the Order’s headquarters are simply housings for portals to the Far Beyond. Apparently, their true headquarters, the Crystal Citadel, is located so far out into the planar landscape that even godly power would be weakened. I’m not sure if it’s a demiplane or merely a fortress, but I’m sure we’ll be visiting.

I also did some more research on that potion that involves planar ingredients. It looks like two of the ingredients, the chaos and order, came from strong sources of chaos and order that were induced into physical form. I’ve heard there’s a plane where the forces of order and chaos come together, variously known as the Gambler’s Paradise, the Plane of Probability, or the Casino. Another ingredient was a pearl-like substance that radiate a tremendous amount of planar energy. I’ve never seen it before, it looks almost like I’m looking at fragments of an extinct plane. I also isolated trace amounts of some sort of bizarre greenish goo, which seems to be linked to transitive planar magic. This will be fun.

After discussion, Miaako mentioned that the manhunt in Friula had been ordered by the mysterious, newest member of the city council. Which implies that he was the other mysterious partner who owned the books coming into the city, since he only became a member of the city council because he was supplying some ultra rare books. The others decided that they liked the idea of taking this gentleman aside and educating him.

With assorted lethal objects, of course.

There is a decent chance that the council member is Bloodstone, which means that we could manage two birds with one stone.

So we’re going right back to Friula, which can only end well. There were more patrols than normal, but they only briefly stopped us and questioned us, asking if we’d seen the horrible terrorists. The descriptions could be identified as us, but you’d have to really use your imagination.

Finding the councilor’s house was the easiest. It was the one with the gaudiest shit all over it. It used to belong to one of the other Bibliotoria members, before the old man died. He seems to have made some changes.

All of the mansions are connected to the sewers and the catacombs, so Miaako went to see what he could find about the other entrances to the catacombs. Fortunately, we had an address for the mercenaries who’d been smuggling books in. He got the information we needed, and I was able to secure a map of the catacombs without too much trouble. How accurate it is remains to be seen.

I suppose we’ve done stupider, but not by much.

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Loot List for Entry 33

Amulet of Natural Armor +1 x6 (one for everyone plus Anusk)
Ring of Protection +1 x6 (Keshemet, Rupert, and Ceor, three left over)
Wand of Lightning Bolt (5 charges) x3 (Tal)
Wand of Lightning Bolt (4 charges) x2 (Tal)
Wand of Lightning Bolt (3 charges) (Tal)
+1 Spear, small x7 (Sell)
+1 chainmail, small, x7 (Sell)
Wand of CMW (2 charges) x7 (Reeshka)
+1 Gladius x8 (Sell)
+1 chain shirt x8 (Sell)
Potion of CSW x18 (5 each for Reeshka and Ceor, 4 each for Tal and Miaako)
+1 greatsword x9 (Sell)
+1 chainmail x9 (Sell)
+1 keen greataxe (Sell)
+2 adamantine full plate (Sell)
Belt of Giant Strength +4 (Ceor)
Boots of Striding and Springing (Ceor)
Cloak of Resistance +1 (Keshemet)
Blacksmith Artisan Tools (Sell)
+1 Jurist Merciful Rapier
+1 Mithral light steel shield
+2 Adamantine chainmail (Sell)
Boots of the Cat
Lesser Extend Metamagic Rod (Tal)
Eyes of the Eagle (Miaako)
Headband of Vast Intelligence +2 (Appraise) (Miaako)
Wand of Cure Serious Wounds (7 charges) (Reeshka)
Wand of Inflict Serious Wounds (17 charges) (Reeshka)

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Tal's Journal, Entry 33
Let the Motherfucker Burn.

The catacombs were really very dark and damp and generally awful. The way our footsteps echoed was… unsettling. We’d barely gone twenty feet when we saw that the first cross passage was choked with spider webs. Lovely.

Reeshka set them on fire.

I assume this means we’re not trying this the subtle way.

Not really surprised.

We got the spiders’ attention, but we were going to do that anyway and this way they have to go through fire to get to us. One spider showed up, bit Reeshka, and I promptly set it on fire. One came from the other direction, and was introduced to Ceor’s sword. Then Keshemet got into it, which… wasn’t entirely unwelcome, though irritating.

Reeshka then decided that she didn’t want to be next to a monstrous spider and hid behind me. Ceor put one of the spiders down, and got between me and the other one just in time to get stuck to the floor. There was more fire to be had, and we managed to clear the hallway. The spiders did not last long and smelled awful. There were some charred bones of large vermin and a few humanoids, but nothing else of interest.

We continued on, and heard something large breathing up ahead, and the sound of metal. Turned out to be a minotaur chained to the wall, with all sorts of glowing runic patterns carved into it, that seemed to be designed to store power. The chains were adamantite, and he could just reach the edge of the cubby hole. I’m really not sure what to think about that. I think this is one of those things locked up and sealed beneath the city; some of the earliest minotaurs were locked away because they were afraid of the power the minotaurs had.

Then it noticed us. Fortunately, it seemed to be inclined to talk rather than try to murder us, so that’s something. It said it had been chained down here by the ‘first born among mortals’, which I imagine to be the elves. It was easily twice the size of any minotaur we’d ever seen.

Reeshka decided it was a good idea to try to convince it to work for us. This can only end badly.

Fortunately, the minotaur seemed to be inclined to pacifism and was only amused by her attempts. It was a foregone conclusion that we’d let him go; Ceor was with us. And as long as he doesn’t seem inclined to kill us or fuck with our stuff, I’m not entirely sure I even care.

We had to fetch Miaako, because he’d had a nervous breakdown and was in a wibbly ball of fear. But he steeled himself enough to unlock the manacles. The minotaur thanked us and left. Ceor then invited him to Feymott and Miaako started hyperventilating

Well, that was surreal.

On the other side of the passage was an ancient shrine. As soon as Ceor approached, a faintly luminous symbol of a portcullis appeared. I have no idea what’s going on, but when Ceor touched it, the shrine self-repaired. It appears to be devoted to an entirely obscure god of gateways and portals. He was worshipped a long time ago, but fell out of favor and memory. The shrine was glowing, and Ceor’s armor seemed to be a little shinier.

Ceor lit a candle for the altar and we were on our way. We went a little distance further, to find a light in one of the passages. There were people living down here. I’ve heard of them, they’re the ones who never found a place to live in the city above and formed a tribal subculture in the catacombs. They’re largely harmless, if you leave them alone. They’re afraid of all strangers. One of them was willing to speak to us, and said that they avoid all of the strangers who come from the surface, and hunting the rats and bats to survive.

That’s no kind of life.

And I know what it’s like to live in a place that doesn’t want you. I invited them to come to Feymott. I couldn’t not do it. And maybe it’s not for the best, and maybe they’ll be an underclass of Feymott… but it’s got to be better than this.

We kept going, and came to a corridor lined with doors. They all had metal barred doors… and the one I could see was full of skeletons. They didn’t seem to be doing anything, but still. There was quite a lot of dust build up on them, so they’ve been here for a long, long time, and haven’t been moving. The doors looked like wrought iron, but there was no rust or corrosion. And they weren’t detecting as magical, either.

Creepy shit, really. I voted for just quietly passing them by because there’s no telling what trigger they have. My personal thought is that they were someone’s private army.

We kept going.

We came to a large chamber, that was one of the many pits where the sewage system empties into what amounts to a vat of green slime. Supposedly, there are enchanted rings with a continuous heat enchantment. The green slime eats the sewage but the rings keep it in check. However, here, the slime appeared to have splattered out around the edge and onto the ceiling. And as we entered, a large glob of the shit fell down in front of us.

Lovely.

We had to cross the room, of course. We had to be very, very careful to not jar any of the slime that was clinging to the ceiling. Miaako jarred some loose, but I was able to burn it off before too much damage was done, and without hurting Miaako. There were a few close calls, and we were almost across when a hell of a blob of it fell on me. Fortunately, Miaako had picked up one of my tricks, and I’d rather take a burn than that. And he got rid of the blob that had fallen, so that was good.

It still hurt like hell, of course, and made me feel exceptionally sick. But we got it across, more or less intact.

Tensest twenty minutes of my life.

And we finally came to a part where the wall had clearly been smashed through, and we found a more worked area of the catacombs. We could hear some murmured conversation on all sides. We quietly made our way in… then Ceor tripped on a rock.

This is about par for the course, really.

Miaako jammed Reeshka’s hat of disguise on me so that I looked like a human, and we had a batch of those medallions we’d taken off the Order of the Pure.

I hate this plan. It makes my skin crawl.

Let’s see if Miaako and Reeshka can talk us out of this. Or at least talk us into getting close to people to fry. He led us to what looked like the central shrine, which had some sort of effect that made me tingle. Some sort of regeneration effect that seemed to be coming from a dragon statue in the center.

I’m not sure what the plan was. I don’t care what the plan was. I set a fireball off as soon as we got there. And not just any fireball.

Ceor spitted our guide, and then all hell broke loose. The leader or inquisitor or whatever he was tapped Ceor with a wand, with what looked like some pretty horrifying effects. Miaako shanked him but didn’t drop him. A warlock shot a lightning ray at Miaako, Reeshka, and Keshemet. Missed the bird, but took Reeshka by surprise. I dropped another major fireball, and managed to kill three of them. Miaako was in range, but managed to avoid it. I don’t know how, but I think I’m glad.

More blows were exchanged, and we managed to kill all of the ones who’d been in here originally… but of course, more showed up. That’s when things got dicey. Reeshka spewed acid all over some warlocks and I fireballed more… but we were getting surrounded. It seemed a better plan to try to make a break for it.

Try, of course, being the operative word.

I didn’t hold out much hope of getting through it. That’s about the time that Reeshka said that it seemed like the statue had been pulling at her blood when she stood near it, nearly dead.

Well, we’re certainly covered with enough of it, and there’s power there.

What the fuck. Why not.

I ran up to it to smear some blood on it, with interesting effects. The dying immediately disintegrated, and we healed. I don’t know what this means. It started glowing a firey red… and instead of a regeneration effect, seemed to be inflicting damage to those who had already taken some, and it seemed to be humming.

It tasted familiar. I’ve felt this before.

I can’t explain why, but my next actions seemed right. I slammed my hands into it, feeding power into the statue. All of the remaining attackers in the room dropped dead as power surged into the room. It rebounded back on us, and it hurt, but at the same time, it was… empowering.

The statue flashed with an intensely bright light, and went dormant. Then it got quiet. We explored a little, and every single person besides us, all of the guards, had died.

I can live with that.

The stone was extra planar, and had some sort of association with death.

Interesting.

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Tal's Journal, Entry 32
Coins and Contraband

We decided to head to Friula. I want to destroy Savoyne, but I only want to conquer Friula. The trip was largely uneventful. Reeshka suggested trying to set Savoyne and Friula against each other, but it won’t really work, since they won’t go to war when its not the campaign season. And they wouldn’t care during the campaign season because they’ll try to kill each other anyway.

The city smelled just as awful as I remember.

I did some poking around, and apparently some of the city leadership has changed around since we’ve been here. No one’s sure if it’s for better or worse yet. They’ve added a thirteenth member, who is only seen in public in a hooded cloak, and he was appointed only by the barest margin, and only on the strength of some incredibly ancient and rare knowledge he brought with him. Sounded like things that might’ve come from the mage kingdoms.

Ceor found a tavern, one that he actually wasn’t familiar with. I heard some persistent rumors about the city rulers will pay a book’s weight in platinum for any tomes they’re not familiar with… but anyone who tries to cheat will adorn the Great Way as a new statue. And of course there were the same old rumors of forbidden lore and abominations sealed away in the basement of the Grand Library.

Since we’re here, I might as well look into that set of property documents I recovered from Cindersong’s hideout in Feymott. Miaako also had a claim check for a bank here, and cashed it in, perhaps surprisingly carrying it off. In addition to a staggering amount of platinum, he also found an iron lockbox and a ring. There was no key for the box, but the ring was silver, set with a ruby. It radiated universal magic, but I couldn’t tell quite what it was. Something that superficially resembled a ring of wishes, but I don’t think that’s quite what it was.

We found the warehouse, in a shabbier part of town. Miaako said it was in use. I’m not really surprised. We decided to take a look before announcing ourselves. After some time, we saw some dwarves enter, and they stayed in there for hours. We sent Miaako in to check it out. Miaako then decided to pose as a city guard. So did Reeshka.

This will end well.

They sufficiently confused the guards that when I showed up to claim the premises, they were willing to hear me out. Turned out to be a smuggler’s hold for contraband, such as rare alchemy ingredients, rare books of lore, and things of that nature. They’d been smuggling in through the catacombs, and it sounds like a cell of the Order of the Pure has set up shop down there. An infestation someone needs to burn out. We managed to send them away without incident, and on good terms.

I’m shocked.

We waited for another shipment, made some small talk with the second crew of haulers, and they indicated that the catacombs had green slime coating parts of the roof.

There was a second crate of books, that included a book radiating a strong evocation effect. I’ve heard of these, it’s either a tome or a manual. They’re designed to increase certain attributes. I’m not sure which this is, it’ll take an identify spell to figure out. Miaako found a Bag of Holding. As Keshemet had another, we packed one full of all of the books, and the other full of the rarest (and most volatile) alchemical ingredients. We might see if we can’t hire the smugglers to haul the rest to Feymott.

But we’re exploring the catacombs, and we might want to make a quick exit…

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GM's Synopsis
The Wizard Didn't Do It, He Wasn't There

Reeshka’s coronation ceremony was fancy and impressive, with the kobold being escorted to the throne by Ceor in polished armor as Tal ignited braziers full of alchemical powder that flared with green and gold flames. Her crown was presented, with Miaako attempting to wear it in a scene reminiscent of the coronation of Eric in the Amber Chronicles.
Then Reeshka saw her worst fear manifest in the form of a very urbane-looking dwarf standing at the back of the room, flanked by half a dozen fully armored guards. They exchanged smiles – the dwarf’s grimly malign, Reeshka’s hostile with an edge of fear. Miaako was dispatched to shadow the dwarf, along with a potion of Aboleth’s Lung to try to slip into his drink.
Miaako discovered the presence of fully a dozen guards on the upper floor of the Diamond Glove Inn, an upscale inn located in the wealthiest part of Feymott, and promptly retreated to enlighten the others of the dangerous situation. Reeshka took the time to inform those not already privy to the situation of her history as an ex-slave and the instigator of a revolt that brought Winterheim into a state of anarchy for weeks.
Tal was stationed outside, ready to ignite the building if need be, with Rupert in a nearby spruce as he awaited Miaako’s return. Ceor and two guard captains waited inside, drinking on city funds, while Reeshka and Miaako drank invisibility potions and slipped up the stairs, intending to sneak through the side entrance and slip past the now-confirmed-to-be-undead guards, after Miaako and Ceor soothed Reeshka’s intense paranoia about where Bloodstone might be lurking.
Alas, their route was stymied by a closed door, forcing them to waste precious time going down the stairs and back up the main entryway, stealthing past the guards with the aid of the cloak of elenkind liberated from the abode of Luis the spy and the mysterious ring of stealth Ceor has carried for some time. The discovery that Stefanos Bloodstone had stationed guards outside each closed door on the floor, making it almost impossible to try to get in unnoticed.
Plan B, it turned out, was Reeshka channeling positive energy into a mass of the guards and throwing herself off the balcony after chugging a featherfall potion, shouting for Ceor (and the guards) to come to Miaako’s aid. Ceor promptly obliged as the still-invisible Miaako flailed around to keep out of the way of the guards storming past, barging up to the side entrance as the guards rallied the troops stationed outside and made for the main stairs.
Ceor made his entrance by nearly cleaving one of the suits of armor apart, revealing that the undead had passed notice due to a spicy mix of herbs covering the scent of rot and decay. The horde of undead quickly changed course, surging toward Ceor, while five of the living dead began to flail about at Miaako, none quite able to land a blow as the invisible bird ducked and weaved with mythic agility, guiding their blows into one another. One of the guards stiffened for a moment before chanting in a guttural voice and trying to strike the bird with a handful of malign energy, followed by the door being thrown open and Miaako realizing that his lungs were no long autonomously working, requiring thought to keep breathing.
Miaako began to frantically dodge around, guiding the strikes of his foes into each other still, resulting in Bloodstone taking several blows from his own guards as the huginn danced around him in a deadly display. Finally, as the last of the other guards were dispatched, permitting Reeshka and Ceor to surge into the fray, the dwarf retreated to the window, drinking a potion that began to dissolve hm into mist.
Reeshka wailed in despair and rage, even as Miaako lunged forward, spitting the dwarf through the heart and knocking him out as his now-gaseous body blew through the gaps in the window and caught the wind. Searching the room produce a clear sindle-shaped stone that Tal later identified as a clear spindle ioun stone, an arcane signet ring with Bloodstone’s personal seal on it, and a journal in Whisperium. This last foiled Reeshka’s plan to use Bloodstone’s place in Winterheim society to free her people by revealing that he had been stripped of his position of Captain of the Guard and exiled for his failure to quell the kobold uprising.
Now the group must decide what to do with their new kingdom and the threat of Stefanos Bloodstone and his allies – the dhampir Allain Whitehall, the oracle Sionna Whitehall, and the now-apparently-returned gnome diabolist Cindersong.

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Tal's Journal, Entry 32 - guest entry
THAT FART IN THE WIND

Yay!

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Tal's Journal, Entry 31
Spies, Dreams, and Foreboding Artifacts

Miaako’s been poking around in his new role as Spymaster. Apparently his retinue of kobolds have found themselves employment… giving him the nucleus of his own spy network. It seems there are a few people in town with more wealth than their visible economic circumstances would warrant. It bears looking into.

Miaako did some snooping, and found a supposed cartographer staying in the slum section who had far too much money and far too many magical artifacts to be that. Miaako and I decided to pay a call while Ceor kept him busy at the bar. The door had a lock so bad that I think Ceor could have picked it with an overly heavy step on the porch. We rummaged around a bit, finding a drawer with a false bottom and some sort of glass vial trap. It was filled with more coins and a scroll. We pocketed everything. The vial seemed to be a combination of acid and poison gas. Not something you put to protect the good silverware.

We found a book of maps that looked authentic enough, but there was a contract slipped in promising the payment of 100 gold for any documents secured from the city council of Feymott and delivered to Jandos of Friula, promising the same monthly, if the relevant parties met at the “agreed upon location”. We might need to get that location out of our cartographer friend.

There was more money that Miaako found and was gleeful. We went to go check out things upstairs.

He has a pet attack spider.

Two of them, actually.

Because of course he does.

Things involving giant arthropods tend to get messy very quickly. Miaako got bitten, just a little. Then I got bitten. It was unpleasant. For once, Miaako was entirely impressive, and skewered it rather effectively.

That didn’t change the fact that I’d been poisoned. With incredibly awful weakening poison.

I hate spiders.

That taken care of, we found a Cloak of Elven Kind hanging on a coat rack, and a book containing this month’s purloined documents. Including a report about us. I think we should ask him about this.

We also found a book so heavy it would probably take the two of us to carry it. It appeared to be written in Mharoti, but Miaako said it was written in Huginn. This will require further study. There was another room that we investigated, which proved to have a few more trinkets, a vial of clear liquid and a silver ring with some sort of necromantic aura.

We removed the cloak, the ring, the scroll, the book of reports, the enormous book on the planes, the vial of poison gas, and the clear vial, as well as all of the cash on premises. Then I went to find Reeshka to fix that goddamned poison while Miaako went to drop everything off and arrest the asshole.

I gather he was drunk enough it wasn’t very difficult. At least, when I caught up with them, Ceor was practically carrying him in a bucket. We took him to the city council hall. The intention being locking him up and waiting for him to sober up enough to have nice, long conversation.

Involving whatever encouragement necessary.

Miaako came and saw me first thing in the morning. He hadn’t slept well, and the ruby pendant we took off Cindersong had come to him in the night. And it took barely a glance to see that it had bound itself to him, in a way that seemed reflective. It made him harder to affect him with magic. It looks like even Reeshka’s healing spells will bounce off. There were threads of abjuration and evocation weaving itself around him, and if he can figure out how, he can create some sort of evocation effect. The damage has already been done, so there’s no harm in putting it on. He said he felt cooler once he had. Some examination indicated some sort of fire resistance effect, and he should be able to cast Burning Hands once per day. And there’s still a lot of power locked up in it.

It’s a minor artifact, at the least.

Ceor had a dream similar to mine, in that he seemed to confront a version of himself that he didn’t particularly like. Being Ceor, he engaged it… with perhaps predictably gory results. He destroyed his doppelganger, even though the man was the size of an ogre and the horse was more like a feral mountain horse. Somehow, I’m not sure it bodes well.

Ceor received a letter from That Bitch, complaining about how hard it was to get That Bastard back after Reeshka drowned him. It was nice to dream, anyway. And went on to say she didn’t approve of the company he was keeping. Which I take as a compliment. Unfortunately, it ended with the declaration that she’d have to “teach him a lesson.”

This will end badly. For someone.

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Tal's Journal, Entry 30
Study

I finally got around to identifying the remains of that potion we found so long ago. It certainly wasn’t made by anyone normal, and Anusk is still benefiting from it somehow. Even the tiny amount left can boost a living creature to new heights of power. I suspect the original full dose could have boosted the drinker to the level of a demi-god… or even a full god, if used correctly. I might be able to recreate it, with enough study.

All of the ingredients I can identify seem to be extra-planar; even the base liquid seems to be a blend of the waters of the River Styx and the River Oceanus. That would be the rivers that wind through the Eleven Hells and Seven Heavens, respectively. Someone’s been BUSY.

I’ve found some trace mentions in some of my oldest history books, connecting this potion or one like it with the champions of the gods. There’s no clear connection, it’s more like the historians noticed a correlation and didn’t know what to do with it.

I also did some research on the Mage-Kingdom of Taltreni, as well, and their attempts to eliminate their fiendish blood. They were trying to breed it out… and trying to counter balance it with celestial bloodlines. One name in particular that popped out was Eliannas the Silver Light, which is either an outsider or someone only a generation removed.

Some purely magical study suggested that there was some blood of an actual god involved. Not only is the potion way too powerful to be a potion craftable by anyone, it’s too powerful to be any SPELL at all. It can’t have been crafted on Midgard, it has to be crafted somewhere on the Planes. Also, somehow, it seems to somehow reject fate. A priest of Rava would either call it blasphemy and try to destroy it or die of apoplexy.

It seems to have some connection to an obscure demi-plane known as the Fulcrum of Fate, said to be the place where Rava, or the one who ordained Rava, set in motion the events that created fate itself.

Basically everything about this potion is impossible.

Random things keep showing up at my bedside. I’m pretty sure Ceor is not to blame.

My house has been expanded to accomodate both apprentices and my sister. It ended up taking over my and Ceor’s section of the courtyard.

I dreamed again. I seemed to be on a disc of granite, half obscured by some sort of tattered veil or mist. I could sense the others nearby, even Anusk, but I wasn’t on Midgard. I was certain there was something on the other side of the platform. I had my staff, and both ends were practically glowing, so I decided to investigate.

I got about ten paces before wind blew the mist away. There were two people there, who looked rather like me, though one had very exaggerated fiendish features and the other had just as exaggerated celestial features. The fiendish one was carrying a staff that appeared to be made of molten rock, and the other was carrying a staff carved of pure ice. There was a distinct sense that they were possible futures of myself, or what I might have been. One path who embraced the inherent darkness, and one who did everything possible to reject that darkness.

It felt as though everything was hanging on a thread.

I’m not the nicest person around, but fuck my demonic heritage.

I blasted the demonic one, casting a Scorching Ray brighter and hotter than anything I’ve cast before, so hot it cracked the granite beneath our feet. I had a moment to see that the entire platform seemed to be hanging by a thread, before that thread ignited and burned away.

I jolted awake then.

The timing was such that I woke up just as both apprentices were trying to sneak into my room with big bunches of flowers.

That’s one mystery solved.

Though I’m baffled and a little unsettled. I sent them away and made them take the flowers away with them. They seemed rather disappointed. I locked my door and went back to bed.

In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure that wasn’t a particularly fucked up dream too.

I dreamed again. I was back in the orphanage, the day Ceor gave up being friends with That Bastard and That Bitch as a fool’s dream. I had been bitten by That Fucking Thing, though it hadn’t happened in the dream yet. It was smaller, but unmistakable. Not so big, not so strong, not so horrific. It would be one day. I was small, I always had been. A weak child. But things were different. This time, I could fight back.

That’s the funny thing about being a wizard. It’s all in the mind.

In real life, this was the point that Ceor came running to my rescue, but in the dream, I didn’t need rescuing. I slammed so much fire into That Fucking Thing that it shattered. It slammed That Asshole into the wall. I wanted to kill him, I wanted to burn him away just like his fucking hound. But I didn’t. I did tell him that if I ever saw him again, I would kill him, but I let him crawl away.

I suspect I’ve been hanging around Ceor too long.

I looked around for some more spell books in the morning, but all I came up with was a dingy Fly scroll. I’ll take it.

In the meantime, my sister is settling in nicely as Marshal, and Balkuun, the tavernkeeper from Brimstone seems to be adjusting well to Warden, and our merchant friend might have been born to be a treasurer.

Most of the books I was reading were in Enochian, which I’ve picked up, but one was written in the Northern. I don’t know that, but Reeshka does. It was one of the Taltreni records, about the trouble they’d had stabilizing their leyline crystal; they simply couldn’t get it right, like there was a part missing. A note at the end suggested that the missing element was some sort of divine addition. There was another book, that purported to detail all of the leylines that crossed this part of the continent.

There was once a confluence of leylines not far from Feymott.

They’ve had a lot of trouble in the past year, and most of it wasn’t from the campaign season. Leylines do shift over time…

Reeshka and I went through all of the books that were brought from Brimstone, as we incorporated them into Feymott’s library. I’m rather surprised at how efficient Reeshka is at taking notes. Between the two of us, we were able to figure out a way to chart the movement of the leylines. The local confluence of leylines had migrated to just under the center of Feymott… centered in about the same place in the sewers we drove Cindersong out of. Reeshka told me that in addition to large amounts of arcane power flowing through here, there was also a large amount of divine power as well, coming from no god in particular.

I told Reeshka what I had discovered about that potion, to see if she could shed any additional light on it. She was able to confirm that there was nothing natural in it, or at least native to the material plane… and a few ingredients that shouldn’t even exist.

I suppose we know for a fact that the starting place is the waters of the two rivers, but I don’t particularly want to go to either place right now.

Known Ingredients:
The blood of a god, at least a drop
Water from the River Styx
Water from the River Oceanus
A stupid amount of raw magical power
Crystalized Order
Crystalized Chaos
Three more unknown ingredients
Dissolved gold, too pure to be from the material plane
A trace of earth from the Underworld
Liquid shadow
Disgusting red dust from Evermaw, one of the more awful corners of hell

This should prove interesting. And probably unpleasant.

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Tal's Journal, Entry 29
And now we have a kingdom.

The first thing that we did once we got back was to sell all of our acquired loot. Worked out to a total of 4100 gold apiece. I swear that that Reeshka might be having her basement dug out to accumulate a pool of coins big enough to swim in. Gods know what Miaako is doing with it. And there was time enough to make some potions and a wand of magic missiles.

One night while we were out at the tavern, a kobold bard introduced himself to Reeshka, buttering her up with a lot of grandiose language and managed to talk his way into joining us.

Miaako started drinking heavily.

Ceor ended up making a donation to some traveling priests of the temple of Mavros because of course he did. Somehow, flowers kept appearing by my bedside even if I had been watching him all day. God knows where they’re coming from. Reeshka has apparently also acquired a housekeeper.

In our wanderings about town, we heard that both Savoyne and Friula were making noises about annexing Feymott. This will not do.

The first step is to talk to the city council. Only two were in, the tiefling and the dwarf. Turns out that they’d already received official communications from both cities. Friula’s message was essentially that they would be annexing Feymott for their own good. Savoyne was much more to the point; they pointed out they had the greatest army and temples of Mavros and that they could crack Feymott open like an eggshell.

We need to put a stop to this.

The council has been thinking about becoming the Eighth City, and frankly, I approve. The city council wouldn’t really be suited for running things on a national level, and want to install new people as the leaders of the new city.

Us, namely.

Which, to be frank, is pretty much the direction our own thought processes were heading. Ceor was extremely reluctant, but I think we talked him around.

I suppose the only thing to do now is formalize it.

Reeshka is the most logical choice to be the technical ruler; she’s the most charismatic of all of us, and the image of the kobold who led her people to freedom is a powerful one. Even if she technically ranks us, it’s not likely that she could function without us. Ceor can be the General. I chose to be the Grand Diplomat for my own reasons, despite some protests from the others. Miaako volunteered to be the Treasurer, but he’d be a better fit as the Spymaster, I think.

And I may not trust him with the economy.

I think I’d like to bring my sister here; she’d probably have a better life here, and it would be safer. After some consideration, we offered our merchant friend the role of Treasurer, which sort of blew his mind. We appointed the dwarf, who was the leader of the city council, as our Chief Councilor, and the tiefling as the Magister. For lack of a better idea, we appointed the local priest of Mavros as our High Priest.

This should prove interesting.

I’m not sure how this happened, but I’m not complaining.

I was aiming to take a city of my own anyway.

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