Black Sun

Briar's Thorns

As midnight approached, the adventurers found themselves heading toward the Sanctuary of Shelyn in the North Point region of Korvosa, their only lead being the Moonlight Reverie. Upon arrival, they found the line into the small temple extending up and down various sideroads, nobles and commoners alike waiting for the event to begin. Archana and Narciso took to the shadows, searching for another way in. Leon began conversing with those in line and working his way up and learning what he could about the event.

As the clocks throughout Korvosa struck midnight, the single beam of moonlight ran through the temple from above and inside, a portal opened to another realm. The crowd quickly cleared as they entered the portal and the adventurers made it in as well. Once crossed over, the adventurers found themselves on a spiral staircase that descended into the heart of a thick forest. The sky overhead contained no stars and the trees and plants of the forest gave off a slight radiance that illuminated the ground and those walking upon it in a silvery glow. Concerned about where they were, they discussed their next move as they walked through the crowds of people.

Not knowing where to even begin, they began to just roam the forest for a chance at stumbling upon their next clue and as they searched, an explosion of some kind occurred back at the entrance into the realm. The forest around them crumbled into glowing dust and reshaped itself before their eyes into a hedge maze, cutting them off from the entrance and the Korvosans that had also come through the portal. Screams and more explosions could be heard as the trio made their way among the maze and they eventually ran into a woman being attacked by some sort of plant creature composed of vines and seemingly the maze itself. They save the woman and instead of thanking them she ran into the distance. Chasing after her, they came to find out that she was part of a plan to kidnap the ruler of this plane and that their plan had backfired, trapping all the mages here and sending monsters to track them by the use of the mage’s own magic. The woman continued to run, now harassing the adventurers until she eventually came to be surrounded by two shambling mounds and being hauled off into the maze and presumably killed.

Now knowing that magic drew the shambling mounds, the trio continued down the way, using markers to make sure they didn’t get turned around. They came across a young child soon enough, tiny plant people playing with her that Narciso identified as Leshys, nature spirits animating bodies specially grown to house them. The leshys grouped as the adventurers approached and surrounded the young girl, protecting her.

Taking a chance, Archana approached closer, speaking in Sylvan, the language of the First World, and telling the creatures that they intended no harm and were only looking for the ruler of this realm. The Leshy colossus that had formed around the girl made a few guttural noises and three shambling mounds appeared from the hedges soundlessly and stood, awaiting commands. The Leshys told Archana that the shambling mounds would take them where they needed to go and they just had to climb inside. Cautiously, the group entered into the shambling mounds and felt the animated vines of the creatures wrap around them, locking them in as the creatures took off back into the bushes. An explosion of magic caused the creatures to change their destination and the adventurers wound up watching a hostage scene occur as they were locked inside the creatures, which made short and bloody work of the mages before continuing to the heart of the maze. On arriving, the creatures quickly left the adventurers and disappeared back into the maze.

Finally getting to the heart of the forest, the group came upon a grizzly scene. Four mages were sprawled along the walls, thorned vines pinning them up. In the center of the room, a young woman stood, her eyes closed, but dark energies emanating from her and the vines pinning up the mages sprouting from the ground around her. Two huge wolf-like elementals, one dark as night, and the other formed from parts of the forest, sat on their hind legs to either side of her, calm but watching you as the woman in the center continues her grisly work. As the mages are slowly drained, physical manifestations of their essence passes through the parasitic vines as flashes of light. Dark runes on her golden skin glow briefly as she absorbs the energy of the mages. Behind her, a long, barbed tail rhythmically moves back and forth to a song only she can hear. Small horns just from her forehead and uphold the crown of thorns that adorns her head.

After a few minutes of the adventurers standing there, the woman opened her eyes and the vivid purple told you exactly who it was they were dealing with. Something shifted in her eyes as she gazed at the adventurers and as soon as she realized who her visitors were, she raced over to them and leapt at them, psychically pushing them together into a huge hug as she leapt. The mages being held up around the room dropped as soon as she began to run to you. After reminiscing with you and letting you know you’ve been gone for seven years, she told you a bit of what had happened to you and why you had been asleep for so long. She also told you that Jakalyn had taken the form of the Hellknight Commander to keep tabs on her and to keep her safe. The same Hellknight Commander that has been helping you survive over the past few days.

Without too much convincing, the adventurers convinced Briar Rose to leave the dream realm and to travel back to Korvosa with them, as she was somehow instrumental in defeating the Runelord of Lust, Sorshen, and finding the council members that had been disappearing over the last few months. Stepping out of the dream shard through the moonlight portal, the group then found themselves surrounded by all the mages that had been killed in the dream. The mages immediately began to chant, but dark streaks of lightning erupted from Briar Rose’s fingertips and connected to each mage, leaving a charred corpse.

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Bringing Light to the Shadows

Archana left the site of her successful assassination, walking right out the front door into the storm with a renewed sense of pride for herself and her abilities. The rain and winds were furious and lightning continually struck the taller buildings of the city, illuminating everything around them. After a minute along the road, she felt an ominous presence watching her and as she quickened her pace, something tried to grab at her ankle and trip her. She was able to dodge her captor, but knew that this was no mere feeling anymore. Archana looked around, but saw nothing. When lightning struck once again, she managed to catch the outline of some angelic being behind her and in the moments where the rain relented for a second, the sounds of someone bound and squirming farther back.

At the same time, Leon and Narciso found themselves in a very problematic situation. Their massive contribution caused the priestess to go out of her way to find the two refuge and where better to send the two than the castle itself. Priestess Lilly sent her message off and at 3am Lady Raven responded. Leon and Narciso awoke to the sound of the storm when the temple entrance opened. The priestess heard it as well and dashed from her bed to greet the newcomer and welcome them to the Temple of Sarenrae. Lady Raven responded and dread filled the minds of the adventurers as they figured out what had happened. Seems the best intentions bring about the greatest disaster. As Priestess Lilly turned her back to awake the adventurers, her body was heard hitting the stone of the temple floor. Raven summoned something from the shadows and then silence greeted the two until they both felt ghostly claws slice through their flesh, passing right through their armor. Narciso fell to the ground, his body becoming stiff as the paralysis from the ghoul’s touch took hold. Leon found himself the only one standing and surrounded by thirteen ghouls. Leon become a being a pure positive energy, a divine gift from his god, and stood over Narciso, the healing light keeping them both from death’s grasp. The shadowy ghouls continued to claw at the adventurers, but each time they did a bit of their essence destroyed itself in the holy light. Channeling the divine power of his god through the symbol on his shield, positive energy radiated from Leon and bathed the scene in its healing embrace. The touch of life vaporized the ghouls and nothing remained once it faded. In the doorway stood Raven, her face emotionless and her stance not so friendly.

Archana walked bristly int eh direction that she had seen the Temple of Asmodeus earlier that day, picking up her pace as the mysterious entity continued to close distance. The temple was hard to miss even in the pouring rain, its red marble a stark contrast to the gray stone of most of the city. As Archana approached the temple doors, the figure finally made itself known. From her studies of the devils of Hell, Archana knew the woman to be an erinyes. The fallen angel challenged Archana to a duel in Hell with the offer that if Archana was able to best her, she would gain the erinyes’ power. Archana eagerly accepted, wanting to test her new strengths and to garner even more power for herself. The duel was a close match, but in the end, Archana bested the devil. The two agreed to meet at an inn back in the city of Korvosa called the Frisky Unicorn. The devil said the name with a repulsion more for having to be around so many mortals again more so than the name of the inn. Archana took the portal the devil created and found herself back in front of the Temple of Asmodeus.

Raven approached Leon and Narciso slowly, her intentions being made clear. On her wrist, two charms disappeared from the elegant, script-laden, silver bracelet she wore. Simultaneously in her hands, a battle scythe appeared, the shaft carved from bones and the blade an unreflective black jet, almost appearing to ripple on occasion. Around her, dark mithril fullplate appeared, the armor etched with magical runes. Raven slammed the jagged point at the bottom of the scythe into Leon’s skull, but through the force of will, he managed to survive the blow. She allowed Leon to crawl away, his life force almost nonexistent and turned her attentions to Narciso, paralyzing his body with her touch. Narciso managed to snatch the strange silver bracelet before succumbing to the paralysis. She swung the blade of the scythe into his still form and the clink of the blade coming into contact with the stone under his body was evidence of his fate. Leon’s divine gifts had healed his wounds and he managed to drink one of his final potions of invisibility before making his way to Narciso’s corpse, trying everything he could to bring his friend back from the grave. Raven stared into him and softly asked, “Your blood calls to me Leon, why would you go through the trouble of hiding yourself from my vision?” She made her way over to him and placed her hand on his head. The world went black for Leon.

Her second visit to Hell had intrigued her curiosity and Archana ventured into the Temple of Asmodeus. Archana found herself drawn to worshiping the Lord of the Nine and his dogma appealed to her beliefs and her way of life. So she joined the church as an initiate. She met Archbishop Ornher Reebs. The head of this temple and learned even more about her new patron, making sure that her new duties to the Lord of the Nine did not conflict with those of Achaekek. She left the temple a worshiper of two divine beings now and a servant of all the gods. Where the gods willed, her blades went.

Archana’s next move was to find the Frisky Unicorn,a task that happened to be much simpler than she thought it would. She entered the inn and found the innkeeper asleep. She paid for room 6 and then made her way to room 9, where she had agreed to meet the Erinyes. Inside, the erinyes stood, her wounds from the fight earlier healed and her clothing replaced. On the bed to the right lay an infernal contract. The Erinyes explained the circumstances that had brought her to this point and such an imbalanced contract, bringing up a person of the void yet again. Archana noted that this figure had come up several times before responding to the question of signing the contract. She signed in blood and as the final drop spelled out her name, the signature burst into flames and consumed the contract, spiraling around Archana as well. The unholy power of the erinyes flowed into Archana, burning into her soul and enhancing her form: increasing her strength, agility and endurance. When the flames subsided, seven erinyes stood in the cramped room. The one that had offered the contract moved forward and smiled a devilish grin, “I look forward to hunting your soul in Hell, mortal.” A gate to Hell formed and the erinyes each flew through, sounds of rejoice coming though as they embraced each other on the other side, each freed from the torments they had endured. Archana found a copy of the contact in her hands and the room now silent. With the night storm still raging she figured the best plan would be to get a good night’s rest before anything else.

Leon awoke, his hands pinned above his head by Raven, whose fangs were currently buried in his neck. She no longer wore the fullplate and was once again robed in only the slimmest of black silk. He looked up to see his helm on the ground next to him, Raven must of ripped it off as she performed her foul act. Leon tried to break her pin, but she held his arms tight and his legs were pinned under hers. He looked to see Narciso a few feet away, a pool of blood forming around him. He felt a bit of his life drain away through her fangs, each pulse sending a bit more into her. She lifted her head and wiped a trickle of his blood from her lips. “A bit more angel blood in you this time around Leon. Seems you’re always one to please. I’m sorry for having to kill you, but orders are orders.” Raven moved off Leon slowly and after standing without taking her eyes off of him, she made her way to Narciso and placed her hand on his chest. After a few minutes the shadow monk awoke, choking, but alive. “It was the only way to keep you both among the living.”

Raven went on to explain that the adventurers had been gone for about seven years during the Spellplague of Riddleport epidemic. Leon and Narciso were shocked at this, thinking they had only been gone a month if that. The group went on, the adventurers learning a bit more of what had gone on during their time away before Raven had to leave at her master’s beckoning.

The sun rose shortly after Raven departed and the two left the scene of their deaths as quickly as they could. The priestess stopped them on their way out, using magic to ease their fatigue, oblivious to what had transpired. The two barely stepped out the door before noticing their faces plastered on posters all over the city. Quickly dodging out of the way before the guards took notice, the two made a plan to rush to the clothing shop and make themselves a disguise. Neither having a clue how to disguise themselves, they rushed to the clothing shop unsure of the next step. Narciso was spotted, but shadow-jumped into the alleyway and vanished from sight, trailing Leon until he could find a way to disguise himself. Leon somehow made it into the shop and managed to throw together a ragtag outfit, enlisting a beggar on the streets to dress him, paying him two gold to do so. The ecstatic beggar gave him the shirt off his back and found himself decent clothes and went off to start himself a new life. Narciso smeared some dirt on his face and put on a wig and called it good. Somehow, this worked for the two of them and they passed through the crowd and through the guards throughout the city, no one noticing the poorly disguised duo. The two learned of the execution to take place at noon and of a strange event called the Moonlight Reverie taking place in the Moonlight Gardens tonight at midnight. After a series of questions, they found that the Moonlight Gardens were taken care of by the Sanctuary of Shelyn and were only open to the public once a year, tonight being that night. They took a carriage to the sanctuary in the upper part of the city to hide themselves from the eyes of the guards, saving time and a chance of identification on their way tot he sanctuary. When the two arrived, it was too late to return to the castle in time for the execution. They went into the sanctuary to scout it out and relax, their deaths leaving them rather shaken. The two sat and listened to the music of the clergy of Shelyn, the goddess of love and creativity.

It was around this time, about 11am that Archana awoke from her long night of rest, ready to take on the next day in the city that continued to come up with new surprises. As soon as she stepped outside, she noticed the posters as her allies had and quickly threw on a masterful disguise to move around the city freely. Her first goal was to complete the assassination contract by giving Lord Carson’s signet ring to his mother. She knocked on the front door of the estate and was greeted by an older gentleman that asked her name. Archana replied with “Jakalyn Carson.” Confused, the butler bid her to wait a moment and alerted Lady and Lord Carson of her presence. The butler returned, confused, but following the orders of the lady of the house and showed Archana to the study upstairs. Archana entered the study still disguised as the elderly woman she had used to get around town. Lady Carson asked her husband to leave and when he did so, ordered Archana to drop her disguise. Archana obliged, revealing who she was and handed over the signet ring. Lady Carson stepped outside and ordered the butler to retrieve the payment agreed to from the vaults. He quickly returned with sack of platinum coins. As Archana placed her reward into her handy haversack, Lady Carson mentioned that the Sable Company Marines that had allowed her and her allies into the city were being blamed for their accused part in the death of Magistrate Carson. Archana felt partly responsible at this and quickly made her way to the castle grounds, running through multiple ideas to free them from this unjust execution about to happen.

Archana quickly arrived in the castle courtyard and went ethereal to enter the castle, hoping to find the marines before they were brought outside. She donned the disguise of a squire once inside and found a suit of armor to don. She quickly searched the first and second floor, but found no trace of the marines. As she turned to leave the second floor and proceed to the dungeons, another guard stopped her and asked what she happened to be doing. Archana evaded the question and asked what had happened to the prisoners. The guard answered that they had been taken from the dungeons tot he courtyard about ten minutes ago, confused at the question, but unwilling to risk getting himself into trouble. Archana and the guard made their way outside and joined the still growing crowd in the courtyard, the marines bound at the hands and feet in the center of the crowd. Also moving among the crowd are the hellknights that Archana had seen last night in the Temple of Asmodeus. With the new vision granted through her erinyes-bound powers, Archana saw the Hellknight Signifier for how he truly looked. Huge black wings folded behind his form and in place of the armor of his brethren, only darkness resided, shrouding his form completely. The shrouded figure seemed to sense Archana staring at him and slowly made his way over to her, calling her by name once he was close enough. He seemed to read her thoughts and told her that he was interested to see how her plan would go off. At the same time, Runelord Sorshen began to make her descent f=down the stairs of the castle entrance. Before anything else could go wrong, Archana put her plan into action and approached the prisoners, climbing onto the wooden platform they were on and pricking each with the tip of her sleep venom-coated dagger, knocking five of the seven out. To the last remaining of Rothchild’s men, she forced a potion of invisibility down his throat. To Rothchild himself, she threw a necklace of adaptation around him and tossed him into her handy haversack.

Leon and Narciso decided that they had had enough of the strange saxophone player in front of them, his oscillating hip movements a little too much for the two of them to stand for long. They left the sanctuary and ran into a mage about to dimension door, tired of looking for a carriage. They overheard that he was headed to the execution and convinced him to take them along. The two arrived at the castle courtyard as the guards realized that the guard on the wooden stage was stuffing one of the prisoners into his magical bag and began to take action, the imposter guard vanishing from sight as they turned towards him.

Before anyone else could take action, Runelord Sorshen calmly stepped off the last of the stone steps leading up to the castle and yelled, “Enough!” The heroes felt strong compulsion magic come over them and their bodies moved to stand in the crowd, immobilized by the runelord’s magic. Another wave of compulsion came over the crowd, but the heroes managed to shake this spell off. The rest of the crowd was not as lucky and they now regarded the Runelord as their lord and savior. Behind her knell Raven, a noose around her neck and the other end in the hands of the runelord, who slowly began to float in the air as she began her speech declaring Raven as the head of the group responsible for the murder of Lord Carson and the other council members. The enthralled crowd stood and watched as Raven lifted into the air. Two creatures flashed into view on either side of the Runelord, their bodies appearing strangely humanoid with clawed hands. Bursts of light continuously pored from their eyes and moths, burning those they fell upon. The emaciated creatures focused the burning light bursting from them upon Raven and she burst to flames, her body turning to ash as it hung from the silken rope. As her final dying screams faded, the world stopped and the three heroes found themselves able to move again. Standing a bit from the crowd was the hellknight inquisitor, his cloak the only thing other than the heroes moving. The heroes questioned the figure and he responded by telling them that he had given the heroes one minute to escape, the brutality of the execution of the fool girl too much for him to do nothing about. He told heroes that he had given them one minute to plan their escape from the runelord. The heroes quickly set in motion a series of spells and ways to get the prisoners away before time caught back up to them. They managed to blind the runelord and momentarily stun her. They quickly sped off towards the Temple of Asmodeus, Archana strangely leading the vigilantes to freedom.
One of the strange creatures that had executed Raven caught up to the group and Archana sent her mantis minions ahead with the escaped prisoners. The party turned to face the creature and were bathed in intense light, blinding Archana. Leon quickly healed her blindness and the party took down the creature, it’s fiery touch and corrupted light ineffective against Leon and Archana. Narciso felt the wrath of the creature though and its touch corrupted the positive energy of his life force and he began to burn from the inside. The creature fell and the heroes found that only darkness could extinguish the corrupted light burning through Narciso. With the creature sent back to its own plane, the party continued to the temple and found that the marines had made it safely. Archana sought refuge for the marines in the temple and after a debate with Archbishop Orner Reebs, they were taken in by the temple. The party decided that their next course of action would be to attend the Moonlight Reverie tonight and await what would happen next.

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Runelord Sorshen

The adventurers climbed on top of the massive crystal gargoyles, Leon choosing to fly himself. Each took to the sky and were quickly on their way; the mists concealing the city dissipating with their departure, exposing it to the outside world. The trip took about three days in the air, Leon resting multiple times on the back of a gargoyle when his strength failed him during the flight. As they approached the city of Korvosa, a contingent of griffon riders approached them, commanding them to ground. The heroes complied and touched down about a mile from the gates of the city, the gargoyles descending much faster than they should of in annoyance at being forced from landing upon the huge tower in the city.

The leader of the griffon riders introduced himself as Captain Rothchild and questioned the party about their purpose for visiting the city and the strange beasts they rode upon. The gargoyles, already annoyed, were greatly offended at being called “beasts” and left, frightening the griffins before taking off into the northern sky. After learning that the adventurers returned from the pirate city of Riddleport, his entire demeanor changed and excitement leapt into his voice. He asked about an old friend that he used to know in the city and was saddened to hear that many had passed away, but kept up hope that his friend had survived despite what he learned. Then the captain’s eyes fell on Archana and whatever he had been thinking went up in a puff of smoke. He stumbled through the rest of his questioning, but came to senses when he realized that they needed to get them to the council as soon as possible to report the return of Riddleport and had the adventurers flown to the castle, offering his own griffon to Archana. When they arrived at the council, Captain Rothchild asked Archana if he could see her again and gave her where he could be found before they left. Greshnak felt his presence would be best suited not in the castle and found his way to the nearest bar, a good brawl sounding great after such a long time away.

Two guards stood at the entrance into Castle Korvosa, but let the adventurers pass inside without too many questions, two other guards accompanying them once inside. The party made their way to the council chambers to find two more men standing guard, these ones not as friendly. The group demanded entry into the council chambers, but the guards refused, even after being called on their bluff and the other guards joining the adventurers side. As the situation turned to violence and weapons were drawn, the chamber doors were thrown open and Lord Carson, the Magistrate of Tourism, invited the group in, excusing the behavior of the guards. They did not expect only two of the council to be present, but nonetheless Lord Carson invited them to sit and share the news of Riddleport. The group told their story, leaving a few parts out that would be best to not share, but got the feeling that the council member knew more than he was letting on. The trio of adventurers caught onto Raven’s silence and noticed the sparks of negative energy each time her fingers struck the table. Narciso also felt something watching the group from atop the Crimson Throne. Lord Carson sensed the uneasiness building in the room and tried his best to keep the group comfortable, but decided that it would be best to let them go to their rooms for the night and have time to collect their thoughts after the long trip.

Once shown the rooms they would be staying in for the night, the group came together to discuss what they each felt and saw in the throne room and came to the conclusion that something foul was happening. They readied themselves for bed and before too long, a lone figure slipped its way into each of their rooms. Leon had elected to stay up to ready a manual of the planes he had picked up a copy of and when the assassin entered his room, he looked up and his eyes flared with holy light, burning twin marks deep into the creature’s skin, marking it weak to the Leon’s divine power and as a vampire. Archana and Narciso has decided to rest while they waited, but were still prepared when attacked. Archana attempted to seduce the approaching assassin, posing herself and revealing just enough to get the man’s attention on something other than death. The man approached Archana, blades ready to stab and body ready to pounce, when Narciso’s foot came from the shadows to smash into his face, throwing him back against the wall. Narciso grabbed the man by the neck and snapped it only to find out that this was no ordinary man, his broken neck doing nothing to impede his movements. The vampire slammed his skull against Narciso to escape the grapple and Narciso felt his life force drain away, his grasp of the shadows fading. Archana lunged at the creature, tearing into him with her blades. The vampire that had gone to Narciso’s room finally showed, furious that he had been duped and as he came into the room, he locked gaze with Archana, who found her will to fight these creatures gone, replaced by a desire to help them kill her former allies. In Leon’s room, a beam of light erupted from Leon’s eyes again, the vampire turning to dust by his gaze. He quickly came to the aid of his allies, the undead menaces kind of his expertise in how to destroy. Calling upon his powers of the sun and divine light, he aided his allies. Archana broke her domination and was able to join back in against the final remaining vampire and they quickly ended it’s unnatural existence.

Guards came rushing shortly after the fighting ended and were quick to check for any other vampiric assassins and questioned the party about what happened. Learning that the vampires had snuck into the rooms, they quickly went to warn other guests of the castle of the attack. The adventurers dressed and equipped themselves and went to the throne room to warn whoever was there of what had happened. They surprised and were surprised by who was there; a tall woman with midnight black hair stood next to Raven, her words themselves insinuating themselves into your mind and seducing you to come closer. Her eyes cast a blue glow and dozens of ioun stones were grafted into the skin on her shoulders. The woman identified herself as Runelord Sorshen and the entire party felt a wave of compulsion fall over them, but each managed to shake the compulsion and begin to back away. Leon activated the noqual cube of force to protect the party from magic and they began to back their way out of the castle. Sorshen cast a few spells at the party, but the spells fizzled at the barrier of the cube and she stopped, commanding Raven and Lord Carson to chase after the party instead. Lord Carson was the first to reach the party and easily crossed the barrier to attempt to slam into Narciso. As he attempted to attack however, Raven’s fist found its way against his skull and the two crashed into the left wall of the hallway, destroying the wall and knocking Lord Carson out. Narciso grabbed Raven and began to run, but Runelord Sorshen yelled for Raven to return and Raven began to struggle against Narciso’s grip until she was finally released and ran back to the Runelord’s side. Lord Carson limped back as well, wounded by being bashed through a wall. Guards could be heard coming from all sides and the party quickly made their escape, deactivating the cube of force as soon as they were out of sight and vanishing into the night. Leon soared into the air, but was soon grounded by the intense storm outside where he was reunited with Narciso who had been following his shadow on the ground. The two were passed by a group of Hellknights, one of which wore a strange sightless mask. The sightless hellknight stopped at Leon and Narciso and questioned their reason for being out at such a late hour, but deemed their answers truthful and stopped harassing them to continue to Castle Korvosa to get shelter for the night from the storm. Narciso and Leon made their way to the Temple of Sarenrae, figuring they would be safe there. They were greeted by a priestess and donated 100g each before asking for shelter. Such an offering greatly impressed the priestess and she offered to personally send out a call for shelter for the night and even gave blankets and cleared a room in the back for them to stay warm in until someone came for them. The next few hours passed by slowly, but the two began to finally drift to sleep.

While Leon and Narciso found their way to the temple, Archana set her plan into action to finally fulfill her contract. Seeing that Lord Carson had been augmented during the party’s escape from Castle Korvosa, she knew that she had to be careful in her proceedings. She stealthed her way to his manor, stuffing a would-be mugger into her bag of holding as she made it through the streets. She snuck into the Lord’s manor once she found it and found Lord Carson already home and upstairs with a woman that must have been his wife. Archana took a breath and then used her cloak to become ethereal. She soundlessly slipped through the walls and watched a fight break out between Lord Carson and his wife, the wife losing and choked to unconsciousness. Archana then caused a ruckus downstairs to cause Lord Carson to head down to check it out. While he was downstairs, Archana slipped a necklace of adaptation around Lady Carson and threw her into her handy haversack to get her out of the way. She then took on her appearance and put on her clothing to await Lord Carson in bed. She seduced the lord once he returned and as he thrust his way into her, the poison she had coated herself with took affect, draining his stamina and causing his heart to slow. He paused for a minute as he felt himself grow weaker and weaker, but Archana’s honeyed words filled his mind and he forced himself to continue until finally the poison overwhelmed him and his heart gave in to death. Pushing the corpse off of her, Archana rose in triumph at the pleasurable assassination and positioned his body on the bed. She laid out various pieces of evidence to incriminate him and then laid out Lady Carson next to him, alive. She then left a magical glove with an interesting command that could be activated by saying “husband” or “pontificate” and then jumped out the window of the manor into the storm.

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Ending the Nightmare of the Living Flesh

Narciso landed gracefully on the ground, his years of mental and physical focus allowing him to descend from nearly any height easily and he proceeded to help his friends from the bag of holding. Leon had been wounded by a weapon in the extra-dimensional space, but his faith allowed his wounds to divinely and immediately heal.

Behind them, the tower came to life to respond to their escape, rivulets of dead flesh streaming from the windows, doors, and cracks in pursuit of the group. The adventurers ran for their lives, the flood of molten flesh relentless in its pursuit. Finally, as the group approached the Resistance Headquarters, the putrid growth behind them could go no further and it tore at the air before coming to an unsettling stop at the edge of the headquarters.

The Resistance had been through a battle itself, the battle coming to an end as the adventurers approached. Greshnak appeared to have made a full recovery, the alien growth upon his weapon gone and strange squealing noises coming from his gullet. Of Anlu, there was still no sign and the worst was feared by the defenders that had seen him leave. Briar Rose had even aided the defenders, and her exhaustion was still evident, but she recovered quickly by draining the fallen of magic and whatever remained of their lives.

Jared called the group over and had them explain what happened in the tower and his dismay was more than evident. After learning what had occurred, their meeting was interrupted by reports of beholder-like creatures growing from the wretched land itself and approaching the keep by the hundreds. In the distance frolicked a noqual goblin and a strange crystalline companion, tossing the beholders around like toys and gathering something from them as they did. The duo rushed to the keep as they saw the defenders loose their first volley at the approaching creatures and introduced themselves.

The goblin turned out to be Flicka and his calm insanity among such a desolate landscape brought a bit of life back into the defenders. His companion was a gargoyle that had taken on the properties and coloration of noqual after such a long exposure. The gargoyle introduced himself as Obirith and was strangely friendly for a gargoyle. Jared broke from the group and spoke alone with the massive creature, striking some sort of deal after seeing how the gargoyle was able to turn the corpse ground into crystal as it tread across it. Obirith quickly set himself to the task and lifted off. Jared ordered his men and the adventurers to take this time to rest and prepare for the battle ahead.

The adventurers are allowed to rest for only two hours before they are woken up by Jared, his voice in a panic. He recounted the situation and told the adventurers the time to strike the prophet was now or all would be lost. The forces arrayed against the keep continue to come, spawning from the dead themselves into just new and even more abominable forms. The Uga Tribe had sent assistance and were slowly clearing the growth with flamethrowers, but time was running out and the defenders were beyond exhausted. A crystalline path stretched through the nightmarish landscape and it was this path that the heroes were sent on. As the twisted through the inhospitable landscape, more of the noqual gargoyles could be seen clawing paths along the ground, forming a network of the crystal within the dead city. Along the edges of the hero’s path, eyes formed to watch along the ground, silently taking note of everything. When the adventurers finally reach the tower again, everything has changed. The tower has come to life and a massive eyes stares down at the group hundreds of feet in the air. Ropey tendrils flail from all levels of the tower and snatch the dead along with anything else that moves and tosses into the confines of what used to be the towers entrance. Taking a step forward, the tower immediately responds, shooting a web of sorts of pulling Leon forward into the towers domain. A massive tendril spikes into Leon’s side, piercing through his armor and the left side of his body before flinging him into the tower. The mouth of the beast opened and Leon crashed through the needle-like stone projections on his flight into the tower’s interior. The rest of the group raced to the tower, avoiding the fate that had befallen Leon and making their way to him before anything else could.

Leon was found unconscious and bleeding on the ground, the tower beginning to reach for him, but the rest of the group made it to him before the tower subsumed him completely, waking him and allowing him to call upon the divine power of Lathander to heal his wounds. The inside of the tower is a hellish sight and gore lines everything. Bodies are impaled all along the walls, slowly being drained of their fluids and added to the growing beast. A central pillar runs in the center of the tower and extends all the way to the top, tendrils sprouting from it to defend it against any that would attempt to climb it. A central strand of flesh only a foot thick winds itself around the pillar, providing something to stand upon for anyone attempting to climb against the odds. As the party approached the tower, something struck the tower from outside and it began to topple over, its support ripped from the ground around it. As the tower fell, the heroes reached for anything that could support them and braced themselves for the drop ahead. With the tower now on its side and quakes running through it from whatever creature was assaulting it from outside. The streams of gore along the walls now rained down upon the heroes, coating them in red.

Out of the basement came forth a huge gibbering mouther, its meal down below interrupted by the tower’s fall. The adventurers downed the beast as quickly as possible, but still sustained a few injuries. Leon did what he could to heal the damage. Then the real test began and the group began to ascend the walls of the tower to reach the next level. They reached the central pillar and made their way into the next layer. The strange gibbering obelisks that the group had faced last time they had been here had become something else, hatching into huge insectoid woman, her lower half the bloated white segments of a maggot while her top half a horrific mix of bug and insectoid features. Three inch nails dripped a deadly black venom and the creatures moved to assault the party. With time being of the essence, the group decided to run instead of fight and Leon cast a spell to blind the beasts as the party made their way, hoping his heavy armor would protect him from their attacks as he attempted to escape as well. The group managed to make it to the other side and the tower shook again as the battle outside raged. The tendrils of the central tower began to frantically squirm and the central pillar became increasingly difficult to cross. A mass of webbing blocked the entrance into the next room, but Archana easily cut through it with her flaming sawtooth saber and the group proceeded into the next room.

The burning webbing caught the attention of the hundreds of denizens of the next chamber and three of the largest began to approach the flames. The corpse of the Ravener lay at the bottom of the room, only its chitin plating still intact and now being used as a shelter by the smaller members of this rooms new denizens. The creatures were spider-like monstrosities born from the Ravener, but still too young to develop into what it was or acquire its mental capabilities. The group tried to avoid this fight as well, but without much success as the entrance into the next room was nowhere to be found. The creatures were defeated, but at a heavy cost as their venom coursed through the bodies of the heroes, draining their strength away. Leon again called upon his divine spells to restore the strength of his allies, while Archana and Greshnak worked to cut open an entrance into the top chamber to finally reach the prophet.

So eager to reach the end, they rushed into the final chamber, ready to take the Prophet down. They found him, suspended above a massive portal to the Far Realm, the corpse of his false god pulled partially through. Corpses of cypher mages surrounded the portal, shaped into the needed runes to form the magical gateway. The Prophet was expecting them and spoke to them, taunting them, and foretelling of their defeat at his hands and how they will become the greatest of his minions. A huge creature outside crawls atop the massive oculus, blocking out the light and causing a massive quake to spread through the tower as it moves along it. The Prophet was momentarily distracted and the heroes took this momentary surprise to rush their attack on the Prophet. The momentary advantage was quickly ripped away and the Prophet returned the attack with spells and strikes. Eruptions of black tentacles kept Greshnak and Leon distracted and at bay, while webs, grease spells, and blinding glitterdust worked to protect him from Archana and Narciso. Archana, annoyed at the Prophet’s ability to float away from her blades and noting that his attachments to his dead god kept him in the center of the where the massive creature’s eye had been, had the brilliant idea to use a potion she had the goblins craft for her that created a temporary extra-dimensional pit and threw it on the ground, the tendril nearest to her dropping ten feet and pulling the Prophet towards her. With a wicked smile, she sliced into him, cutting deep wounds. The Prophet, unwilling to give up the power his attachment to his false god gave him refused to move away and stayed where he was, drawing the final reserves of strength from the dead entity. Greshnak was finally able to make his way tot he Prophet and his massive axe ached for the Prophet’s blood. It drank deeply of what it found within the enemy. The Prophet knew he had to move and cast dimension door to teleport to the edge of the room. With his spells unable to destroy the heroes, he knew his defeat was near and went down fighting, knowing he would be reborn; for they had yet to learn his little secret and they could never win. He went down laughing maniacally and his body began to bloat and merge together, his face and hideous laughter the last to join the grotesque mass. Four massive tentacles sprouted from the mass and began to assault the party. This form was quickly taken down and many of its blows failed to harm the adventurers, Narciso’s shadow draining the beast’s strength and slowing its movements as the beast became less and less able to move. The party made short and gory work of the mass and it eventually ceased to move. From it sprang an eerie green light and the mass rose into the air, pieces of it falling away to reveal the body of the Prophet, his wounds healed and a sardonic smile on his face.

With another taunt of his status as a god, he teleported himself to the center of the room again and asked if the party had had enough and were willing to submit. Then the gravity of the room shifted and the party found themselves standing around the oculus. Confused, but thinking it a trick of the party, the Prophet activated a cube of force and began casting a devastating spell, floating ever higher as the spell formed. Knowing his victory was at hand, he summoned ten of his fell creations to surround the party. As he did this, the oculus, frozen solid, began to crack. As the creatures approached and the prophet’s laughing intensified, his insanity showing through more than ever, his creations each burst into black flames and burnt away. The cube of force he was protected by let out a resounding crack and trapped in it along with the prophet was summoned a magma ooze, burning away everything but the prophet’s bones. The cube of force splintered and Prophet and ooze both plummeted into the cavity of the false god’s eye socket.

The massive creature above the oculus finally proved to be too much and the oculus fractured, its pieces falling into the same pit as the prophet, their chill putting an end to the magma ooze and whatever life still remained within the Prophet. An immense centipede covered with plates of dead-black, chitinous armor burst into the tower through the massive hole that had formed, easily filling the twenty foot gap of flesh and stone. The creature coiled around the portal, devouring the bodies of the fallen mages acting as the runes and closing the portal. Upon its brow rested Jakalyn, who vanished into the creature before reappearing behind Narciso, whispering in his mind to stay still. Narciso complied and felt the hand of death inside and the pull of the object she was removing. A black gem was removed from inside of Narciso and as the Prophet rose, Jakalyn crushed the gem, allowing the dust of what used to be the Prophet’s phylactery settle over him. The air around the prophet became distorted and heated, wisps of black flame appearing in the air around him. The adventurers felt their bodies lift and no longer under the influence of gravity. “You destroyed one of my favorite cities, but then I learn you killed my daughter. For that, not even Pharasma will be able to judge you. Only oblivion awaits you.” With that, the signal was clear that it was time to end the prophet and the heroes finally destroyed him for good, his form collapsing to dust and the remnants of his soul ripped out of the air by Jakalyn.

As you touched the ground, a bright light filled the air and a portal opened and an older lady of the nobility stepped out, her hair touched with gray but well kept, and her iron-gray eyes missing nothing. Her clothing showed the jeweled purple of the true nobility, with a silver chalice and adamantine scepter in her hands, and a tiara carved from a single diamond on her brow. She identified herself as the Siamorphe and told Leon that the upper realms had taken notice of him and his presence was requested. As the woman took a step out of the portal, Jakalyn threatened her life, consumed with unprovoked rage at the woman. Archana stepped in to defend the woman and Jakalyn lowered her blades. The Siamorphe motioned for Leon to follow and he did, reappearing on the Eternal Sun, another plane in the multiverse. He was taken to the throne room, where he expected to meet the archon he had promised to aid when called upon or maybe even Lathander. What he learned however, was that his god was no more, the morninglord had awakened to become Amanuator, and the greater deity was the one to summon Leon, bestowing upon him the powers of a sunmaster and the knowledge of his god’s transformation. Leon took on a transformation himself, his skin gaining a silvery sheen and metallic wings sprouting from his back. He returned to the tower after this revelation, his thoughts trying to collect themselves and sensed his allies had gone through changes themselves.

As Leon stepped through the portal, his guide, the woman known only as the Siamorphe followed behind him, and turned to Jakalyn, “maybe next time, demon,” before following through after him. With the closing of the portal, Jakalyn opened her own, the smell of brimstone appearing with it. With a nod to the colossal black-plated centipede, she turned to Archana, “time to meet He Who Walks in Blood. Come with me, I’ll be your guide to in the Infernal Realm.” Archana stepped through the portal quickly, her excitement growing at meeting her deity. The portal opened upon the Realm of Avernus, the first layer of Hell. Following closely behind Jakalyn, the duo quickly made their way through the barren layer, passing by wandering souls, lakes of hellfire, and the armored bodies of countless fallen invaders. Eventually, they came upon the shore of Achaekek’s domain; a lake of blood surrounding Achaekek’s hunting grounds. The two found themselves able to walk across the lake, a sign of the demi-god’s approval. In the center of the island, Archana found her god in meditation, silence all that greeted her. Following Jakalyn’s lead, Archana began to meditate and her mind was filled with her god’s wisdom. A greater proficiency with her blades was instilled into her mind. When she opened her eyes, she found herself alone in the hunting grounds; a portal back to the tower in front of her. Her body ached as she rose and thousands of razor-sharp cuts adorned her body; seems while her mind learned the forms, her body perfected them at the guidance of another. She returned to her companions, her mind racing and found them changed as well.

As Greshnak and Narciso watched both Leon and Archana leave, they found themselves alone with the giant bloated corpse of the Far Realm entity and the monstrous centipede-like creature coiled around them. As Jakalyn closed the portal behind herself and Archana, the creature she had ridden in the tower began to stir once more. Its massive body raising itself high above the two, several unblinking red orbs among the shadows of its body staring down on you. In Narciso’s mind, a dark voice whispered, “The heart of shadows embraces few, pray that it does not consume you and he felt himself being pulled by several shadows into the darkness, the void entering him even as he fell into it. He found himself weightless and surrounded by nothing, but thousands of whispers filling his thoughts. It was impossible to make out anything specific, the voices mingling together with so many and it felt like an eternity, his mind nearly crumbling into oblivion. He managed to turn his thoughts inward before insanity overtook him and only the most ancient of whatever dark entities surrounded him were able to overcome his defenses, filling his mind with secrets of the shadow realm known to them. The essence of the realm itself fused with his soul, instilling him with even greater powers of shadow. Out of the darkness he felt himself pulled and when he opened his eyes, it was himself pulling his shadow from the void, his eyes now filled with dark motes of shadow. He regarded his companions and found them changed as well.

Greshnak was the only one left standing as each of his companions had been taken away or pulled into other realms. The colossal black centipede-like creature towered over him and stared down at him with great interest, but spoke in a manner Greshnak did not expect from such a creature. The creature’s voice intruded into his thoughts, “The last of the heroes of this wretched city, and the only one that I wasn’t given orders to not harm. I see the taint of Hell within you, fleshling. I know the secret you hide under the skin. I think it’s time for that secret to show on the outside.” A gate appeared behind Greshnak, opening onto the same plane that Archana had been taken too, and the massive creature began to charge Greshnak; rushing him through the portal and into a great lake of hellfire. The hellfire engulfed his body, the vileness of the flames reaching into his soul. The wretched flames burnt infernal runes into his flesh and he emerged charred and in agony. The colossal nightcrawler waited at the edge of the lake and a portal formed for Greshnak to pass through when he could finally overcome the agony wracking his body. A low rumble came from the beast, something that could be akin of laughter before burrowing its way through the soil of Hell. When the searing pain finally faded to a tolerable level, Greshnak forced himself to stand and walked through the portal. The people he had met after his ship crashed had returned as well, each one changed somehow and appearing stronger than before.
The heroes each noted how the others had changed with their otherworldly departures and then noticed that almost no time had passed in this world, the corpse of the false god still fresh. As they took in their old surroundings, unfamiliar to them after where they had been for what felt like at least a day or two, bits and pieces of flesh began to tear themselves from the false god and form green clouds as they joined together. A slight hum filled the air as hundreds of the clouds formed, the body of the false god disappearing before your eyes as those that were trapped within reclaimed their freedom. The swarms of flesh identified themselves as the Silthilar, an ancient race of fey creatures that had found themselves bound to this Far Realm entity as their ancient spell tore the plague from their bodies even as it tore their bodies to pieces. The entity had waited for this moment and claimed the newly created Silthilar as prisoners for thousands of centuries. For releasing them from their eternal torment, the Silthilar granted each adventurer a graft to enhance their physical forms. As the heroes embraced the swarms, their vision faded and they blacked out. When they came to, they found themselves encased in crystal, Silthilar swarms guarding over them. The crystal cells opened at a touch and they stood, slowly as their bodies reawakened. Each could feel the changes in their bodies and the vitality bestowed upon them by the ancient fey. After thanking the creatures, the group left the tower, now a crystal spire, and ventured outside.

The city of Riddleport was no more and a city with buildings of green crystal and paths of the same crystal crisscrossing the city. An electrical buzz filled the air and constructs, noqual goblins, and swarms of Silthilar filled the streets. Shocked at what had become of the city, the party decided to try and find Jared and the refugees. They found the complex that had housed the resistance empty; the site appearing abandoned. Confused, but ready to return to Korvosa for their reward, the group traveled to the Uga’s central core where the tribe greeted them as heroes and offered them the chance to ride upon the back of the noqual gargoyles. The party accepted, eager to finally be on their way back to civilization.

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Assault on the Prophet's Domain

The time for the final fight to end the Prophet’s madness had come. The party gathered themselves only to realize that two of their number had gone missing. Greshnak was found in his room, unconscious, and with some sort of mental battle happening between him and the otherworldly mass growing on his weapon clenched to his chest. The party turned to leon to see if anything could be down, but he had no idea. They set out to find Jared and Jared knew little of what to do either. A collection of clerics among the refugees were gathered and were set to the task of helping or curing Greshnak of whatever was affecting him. Throughout this time, Anlu was nowhere to be seen. Jared informed the party that he had been seen dragging his sister into the ruins of the city before vanishing and had yet to return. Still determined to take down the Prophet the party moved on, gathering what they could from the people around them and saying their final goodbyes. Briar Rose informed them that the strange crystalline goblins had asked to see them to discuss things. The party received the Dawn Breaker from Amros, the Captain of the Guard.

The party made their way to Overlord’s Island to meet with the Uga and determine how to raise the city after the Prophet was dealt with. There they learned of a strange substance called black blood and how the Uga were planning to use it as an energy source and after crystallizing it’s dormant form, as the support for holding the city in it’s position on the surface. They were also made aware of the Uga’s plans for ridding the presence of the spell plague before returning the city to the surface. Archana informed the Uga of the Vine Wraith living below the city and made plans for allowing the survival while avoiding the anger of such a powerful creature. After negotiations were set up, the Uga presented the party with one of their most useful creations, a cube able to create a field of force to protect the party from attack, be it magical or physical, or to shield them from environmental factors.

With preparations complete, the party collected the men promised to them by Jared and made their way to the Prophet’s domain, destroying any Flensed along the way. The exterior of the compound showed no activity and the party, along with their men, stopped about 200ft away from it to plan their method of attack. Archana and Narciso planned to stealth into the building undetected while Leon led a charge to distract whoever was inside. What happened was a bit different. Archana and Narciso drank their potions of greater invisibility and advanced onto the citadel while Leon and the soldiers stayed back, awaiting the signal to charge. Archana and Narciso then proceeded to open the front door of the citadel, and five rays of putrid green energy raced out at them. Quickly shitting the door, the two felt the rays impact the door and orders being issued from within along with magical incantations. The two tried again to open the door, this time wedging a non-magical rapier into the gap to hold the door open. As they did this, four mages appeared behind them, the dimension rifts created via dimension door closing behind them. The mages brought with them husks and ordered the husks to rush Archana and Narciso. Leon and his men saw this and they began charging to save those in trouble.

The husks continued to assault Archana and Narciso, but swung blindly, unable to see through the magical invisibility on the two and only knowing the locations of the two due to the mage’s orders. The mages were able to see the two and hammered them with the strange sickly green rays over and over again. The rays caused the body of Archana to become slightly amorphous and her strikes became weaker as her body become less and less solid. As Leon arrived, Narciso was overcome by the enemy forces and fell to the assault. Leon quickly healed him and set his men to attack and distract the mages. With Leon’s help, the mages were quickly outnumbered with few lasting casualties. Archana’s form returned to normal after a few minutes while they re-evaluated their plan of attack. Before anything else could occur, Leon consecrated the complex, silencing all evil within and marking the place as a site of good.

Coming up with a brilliant plan to use passwall on the backside of the stronghold and surprise the mage that they learned was waiting there (by using Narciso’s shadow to scout), the party set about making the plan go as smoothly as possible. Leon prayed to his god to send him a creature that would help them and after making a bargain to offer the creature assistance in the future, a hound archon joined their party. The Hound Archon was told to walk in and as soon as the adventurers came through the wall on the other side, teleport to the mage and finish him off before anyone knew what was happening. This plan worked flawlessly and the mage was dropped before he even knew what hit him, unable to even warn his allies due to his evil nature. The large husk by his side barely had time to react either and the monster was brought down before it could do much damage. The rest of the husks were quickly and efficiently disposed of as the party made their way back to the entrance. As the players made their way through the horde of husks, they noticed that there was something growing on the ceiling and fleshy tentacles were coming a few feet out of the ceiling as whatever was growing continued to do so.

With more important things to worry about, the party made their way downstairs to be sure nothing would attack them from below as they made their way up. The basement was rather silent and Narciso sent his shadow off to inspect for anyone before the party moved forward. It found nothing living and the party proceeded to investigate the rooms. The burnt door from Narciso’s time here had yet to be replaced and was the first thing noticed as they made their way to the hallway. Where Narciso’s possessions had been, a hole had been blown in the wall and at the end of the path a mass of broken bodies was plastered against the wall. Someone was not happy that Narciso had escaped. In the central room, piles of the dead were found and, along the walls of the interior room, the strange fleshy growth on the ceiling upstairs was found again. The party quickly shut the door and left the bodies alone. On the other side of the basement, the party came upon the laboratory and strange vials containing small pieces of flesh constantly shifting and changing before their eyes. Archana was quick to take one. The party also came upon a research journal of sorts describing a man’s descent into insanity and the atrocities he created through flesh-warping along the way. The notes also spoke of a strange corruption in s gate ritual that caused the skin to burn like fire and passed through magic. It caused a distinct blue flame to show during spellcasting and allowed an infected individual much greater prowess at spellcasting. In the individual’s case, he became a master of warping flesh and twisting minds, a trait he used to rise in power quickly and efficiently, turning his enemies into loyal monstrosities. The journal also spoke of strange crystalline goblins that interrupted his ritual to reach the Far Realm and just as quickly vanished. As the notes continue, the creation of the “Ravener” is detailed and the creature is sketched out, but the party was unable to decipher the mad ramblings that detailed the crazed rituals to create the creature or its anatomy. The final entry into the research journal told of the madman’s plan to sacrifice the demon spawn of the “Void Child” to appease his Far Realm god.

After making sure the basement was clear, the adventurers and their soldiers moved onto the second floor. Before them, almost as soon as they left the staircase, a patch of black tentacles sprang forth from a rune on the floor and tried to grapple with the party. The party managed to escape the grasp of the tentacles and moved past them into the wider part of the hallway. The ground and walls of this level were covered in the fleshy growth and it was sentient. Razor sharp strands of flesh stabbed out of the walls at the party and the ground attempted to grow around their feet, holding them in place. All the while thousands of eyes upon the wall stared and scrutinized every action of the party. The party made their way around the corner only to have another rune right in front of them. Archana tossed a shuriken at the rune to activate it and the black tentacles sprang forth, the party safely out of range. Leon knowing that standing in place was a deadly choice cast a spell and holy fire formed around him as he waded into the black tentacles. Knowing little about the arcane, Leon expected the tentacles to burn and wither, but being made of magical force they ignored the flames and grappled with Leon, attempting to crush him. Archana attempted to free Leon, but became trapped as well. Swinging at the tentacles with her weapons, she missed with her noqual blade, but her other blade sliced cleanly through, not affecting the tentacle at all. Narciso punched the tentacles with his noqual knuckles and the spell energy was absorbed into the noqual, causing the tentacles to vanish. Inside the room stood four pillars, mass conglomerations of flesh, eyes, and mouths. The pillars emitted a constant babbling that invaded the party’s mind. The adventurers were able to resist the effects, but the soldiers began babbling themselves and lost control of their mind, randomly moving about and unaware of their actions. Thankfully, in a moment of lucidity, the party was able to send them onward, away from the insanity-causing babbling of the pillars. The guards ran up the stairs while the adventurers set themselves to silencing the pillars. After about 30 seconds, the adventurers deemed the pillars to be too much, having been battered on all sides by fleshy tentacles forming around them and stabbing, slashing, and beating them to death and being unable to do anything about it. They ran up the stairs to rejoin their men only to be witness to another horror.

After rounding the corner of the staircase, the party came upon a large receiving chamber. Their men lay sprawled about, many ripped in half if not into more pieces. Others clawing at themselves and taking off their armor to stab themselves, screaming about the creatures under their skin, mad from what they thought they felt. At the other side of the room was a horrible creature, the body of one of their men disappearing into its horrid, vertically-aligned mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. The creature appeared to be crafted from a scorpion, but where its head should be were three massive tails tipped with huge stingers dripping black venom and were its tail should be, the head rested with it’s horrid mouth and three pairs of leering red eyes that looked terrifyingly human. Upon looking at creature, each adventurer felt as if thousands of insects crawled under their skin. With a strong force of will, the thought went away, but the hound archon that agreed to aid the party was not as lucky and began clawing at itself, trying to remove what crawled under it’s skin. Leon remembered the Cube of Force the Uga had given to him and activated it, specifying that chitin was unable to pass through the barrier. The adventurers hid behind the magic of the cube as they decided on how to fight the beast. The beast attempted to strike at the party, but upon finding out it was unable to pass through the barrier gave up and flew to the ceiling, losing strength as Narciso’s shadow sapped its vitality. Upon finally reaching the ceiling, the creature struck back at Narciso’s shadow, the magic that fueled its creation, causing its attacks to be magical and hitting the shadow as if it was a physical being. Narciso ordered his shadow to return, not willing to martyr it for nothing. The great beast began breaking apart the ceiling and dropping it upon the party, but doing little damage. Tiring of this, it flew to the wall to await the party to engage or waste their energy maintaining whatever prevented it from attacking them. Leon summoned a brelani to assist them, but it did little to aid against the creature.

The party, watching the creature flee, decided to attempt escape to the floor above, shattering the ceiling where the creature had been smashing to bring it down and tossing a fireball bead through the hole. As they set a plan to jump through the whole, the Prophet looked down upon them in amusement and welcomed them to his domain. He seemed happy to see them and even attempted to engage them in conversation. Noticing the summoned outsiders, the prophet told the party that they shouldn’t bring strangers and banished the celestial beings back to their home planes. Seeing that the party was still occupied he said farewell and left, the hole in the ceiling becoming overgrown with the growth spread throughout the room.

The party, left to contend with the creature without the assistance of the hound archon or brelani moved to attack, rushing the creature and attempting to avoid its attacks. The creatures stingers struck home multiple times, causing the minds of the party to become sluggish with each injection of its foul venom. The adventurers did not let up their assault however and the creature’s chitinous exoskeleton began to fragment and crack, dark blood seeping from its wounds. Out of the creature’s wounds crawled hundreds of demonic wasps that began to swarm the adventurers, the deadly venom causing the hero’s joints to stiffen and their control over their limbs to weaken.

With a final strike from Archana’s blade, the beast let out its final fetid breath and crumpled to the ground, its strength already barely enough to keep up its massive frame. A final swarm of wasps crawled out of the creature and joined in the swarm of the party before Leon burnt them all to a crisp with a beam in concentrated holy energy from his shield. Exhausted, the party finally allowed themselves a moment of respite as they decided what their next step would be. Weakened and barely able to keep themselves up due to the poisons coursing through their veins and the multiple cuts, stabbings, and beatings they had endured over the last hour, they decided to go up against the Prophet would be suicide in their current state. Searching through Narciso’s bag of holding, Narciso pulled out the hammer with the power to smash anything and handed the powerful tool to Leon. Leon smashed a hole in the wall and then Archana and Leon set aside their thoughts of how bad this could turn out and hopped into the bag of holding. Narciso grabbed his bag and ran out the hole in the wall, bracing himself along the wall during his fall back to the ground.
Landing with relative ease, Narciso opened the bag and helped his friends out. Archana had fared much better than Leon during the trip who had accidentally landed on a weapon oozing acid that burnt through his clothing and burnt his flesh, causing multiple wounds. He quickly cast a quick prayer to stop the bleeding and repair the damage. Taking a long breath, the party began their walk back to the resistance headquarters, unaware of what the consequences of being unable to end the Prophet’s madness would be.

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The Spellplague Prophet

The Resistance finally gained a foothold in the city with the clearing of the Prison and a knowledge that the adventurers were formidable fighters. Jared immediately began making plans with the group on moving to take even more. With so many areas up for grabs, time was the only concern. Another figure in the room was Ziphras, a small wiry man with buggy eyes that continually peered around the room. Jared was highly suspicious of him, but the man seemed to have brought valuable information and was given a small bit of trust that he was on the resistance side. The party learned what they could from him before making the decision of where to strike next.

A counterattack was already seen forming on the far shore, too far for anything to interrupt it, or so it was thought. The adventurers first instinct was to tackle that gathering and it’s access to the resistance side of the city. The adventurers talked with Jared about their plans, then learned from Jakalyn that she was actually far away and the body in front of them was just a clone. She was however, gathering forces and soon to be on her way. She tasked the adventurers with defending Briar Rose while she was away because she was having terrible omens about the future and soon, the magic animating this clone would fade.

As the adventurers were about to head out, a group of guards dragged in a strangely dressed mage that showed heavy signs of infection. The party learned that the mage was found surrounded by the charred corpses of several cypher mages. Jared ordered the mage to be executed, but Leon moved to save the life of the mage until more could be found out about who he was. Leon gathered a pail of cold water and awoke the mage. The mage, after being rudely awoken, managed to save his life. Leon and Narciso caught the mage in a few of his lies, but were able to get the majority of the truth out of the mage and convince Leon that he could be given a chance. This was proven to be a very good choice for the adventurers in the upcoming battle.

When the party arrived at the River Runner, they came upon a new creation of husks by the cypher mages; huge masses of flesh shaped in riding turtles with large psuedopods to travel across the river quickly and silently. Three of these creatures had been created, the last of the three being unfinished. Anlu showed his usefulness by quickly wiping out the remaining husks being used to finish the last abomination. With party then fought the two cypher mages creating the creatures along with the creatures themselves. The battle lasted a about ten minutes before the final turtle abomination was dealt with. Looking across the river, the party found themselves looking at a force about ten times the size of what they just dealt with. Looking for a way across the river, Narciso found a trap door near the back of the River Runner. Following the tunnel, the group found themselves traveling underground under the river to the other side. At a trap door on the other side, Leon attempted to open the trap door only to find that a creature was standing on it. Luckily, the creature was a mindless husk and failed to give away their presence. Taking a peek at what was around them, the group decided to clean house. Leon, praying to Lathander, decided to toss up the largest pearl on his Necklace of Fireballs, the ensuing explosion trapping all of the mages and most of the abominations being crafted in the burning wreckage. This victory caused great cheering among the adventurers and they returned to the headquarters to report.

They found the headquarters split to those celebrating the huge victory and those frantically looking for the treacherous rat, Ziphras, and the missing Briar Rose. The party immediately went in search of Jared and found him leading a search party around the third floor, searching for any possible signs that would convince him that the kidnapping had not happened. Finding two guards dead in a room on the second floor along with a window smashed open ended the search and the adventurers were sent to the Rotgut District to find Ziphras and bring him back dead or alive along with finding Briar Rose. The adventurers immediately headed out to search for the girl.

The Rotgut District was reached quickly as many of the husks had already been dealt with in the explosion that took out the gathering enemy forces, their army still burning on the horizon. Upon reaching the Rotgut District however,t eh party learned that this would not remain so for long. Looking down once they found themselves within the noble part of the Rotgut District, the party saw numerous oozes shifting through corpses and animating more husks from those dead and even husks already defeated by the party. Coming upon an estate among the winding bridges of the Rotgut District, the party heard the muffled sounds of people coming from inside. Cautiously entering, the party came upon a dozen nobles bound and gagged sitting around a dinner table. The sound of pots, pans, and clamoring coming from what must have been the kitchen the main focus of the hostages. A strange whistling alerted the party that they had been followed and also alerted whatever was in the kitchen of their presence. Three were-rats attacked simultaneously, two from outside and one from the kitchen. The were-rats were huge monstrosities, at least double the size and gruesome appearance of the were-rats the party were accustomed to. Greshnak, almost by just reflex, eviscerated the first wererat, slashing the creature into pieces with three quick swings, entrails and gore flying with each slice. The other two lasted only slightly longer. Despite their size and appearance, the trio of were-rats were nothing the adventurers couldn’t handle. Archana searched the bodies of the fallen were-rats and came upon a note from Ziphras saying that he was meeting with the Prophet in the coliseum and delivering the girl to receive the Prophet’s blessing. The group rushed away, untying the nobles and telling them where to find safety.

The arena was not what the adventurers expected when they arrived. They immediately spotted Ziphras, his reward for service being sacrificed and his body sculpted into an alter to rest the body of Briar Rose on. A mass of cypher mages stood between the party and the prophet, along with a huge, unmoving abomination composed of at least one hundred corpses towering over the congregation of mages. The Prophet welcomed the party to their doom and began to cut out Briar Rose’s heart. The adventurers fought through the mass of chanting mages, their minds locked zealously on the ritual instead of their own survival, with relative ease. It was not however fast enough, the Prophet ripping out Briar Rose’s heart as Leon reached the alter. The Prophet finished his incantation and a massive beam of dark energy sprang from his hand, incinerating the heart and bringing to life the gargantuan creature standing behind them. Briar Rose’s death screams filled the air as a portal opened on the creature’s chest and hundreds of tentacles began crossing over from the far realm, a massive eye peering out from the other side. The Prophet quickly made his escape through a dimension door to leave the party to their gruesome deaths. Narciso was not about to let the evil being get away however and hopped through the portal before it closed, finding himself alone with the Prophet. This proved to be a very large mistake as Narciso was slammed into the wall and blacked out as a knife was taken to his chest, carving something into his skin…

The remaining party stood in shock for a minute as the monstrosity towered over them and began to attack. The heroes fought valiantly, slashing flesh off with each strike, but to seemingly no avail. Even Greshnak’s mighty swings barely dented the behemoth. Despair starting to grip the hearts of the party, Archana came up with a bold idea. The sacrifice of Briar Rose fresh in her mind, Archana decided to sacrifice the blood of her ally, Anlu, and herself to her god. Achaekek answered in a bloody apotheosis of Archana’s form. Archana become a death mantis and came into direct communion with Achaekek’s will. In the transformation, Archana gained secret knowledge as well as targets from the god himself.

Archana sliced into the creature, her new form draining the twisted and mangled souls of the monster. The creature, too weak from Archana’s assault to do anything, collapsed to the ground, unable to even stand. Archana sliced the rune of blood into the creatures chest and a portal opened above the creature, spilling the blood of all of the gods’ enemies around the creature as a huge, scythe-like claw extended through the portal into the eye of whatever monstrous aberration existed on the other side of the portal. Screams of pain erupted from the portal as the god’s arm retracted and the portal closed. The death of the creature brought a sigh of relief collectively though the heroes. During Archana’s communion with her god, she was told that she had the ability to revive Briar Rose and immediately upon returning to her normal form, she set upon doing this, thinking what she could possibly do in order to revive the little girl. After a bit of thought, Archana remembered the seed she had been given and the promise she had made to the Vine Wraith about planting it where it could grow and thrive. Using Leon’s help to channel Lathander’s healing light and Anlu’s surge of magic to awaken the seed, Archana placed the seed into the empty cavity of Briar Rose’s chest as the wound closed and healed.

Sacrificing such a potent tool to save the life of Briar Rose netted Archana an increase of her Charisma score by 2 points or a bonus feat.

Leon carried the body of Briar Rose with him as they left the site of the coliseum and the fallen monstrosity and made their way back to the resistance headquarters.

Narciso awoke being dragged down a hallway by two mages, talking to each other and unaware that he had awakened. Narciso found that one of his hands was now missing and was barely able to remain conscious. Through a sheer force of will, Narciso managed to free himself from his captors and knock them out at the same time. He found himself bleeding to death and after focusing his Ki, was able to focus his resolve and strengthen his body, stopping the bleeding. After recovering a bit and scouting, he found himself underground. All he remembered from before was being caught by the Prophet after the portal closed and failing to hide. After sneaking around a bit, Narciso found a room with another set of guards and a chest containing his equipment. After a few minutes of planning, he decided to set the door to one of the closed rooms on fire. The door quickly caught and the resulting fire drew the attention of everyone in the basement. Grabbing his equipment during the confusion along with a few thousand gold, Narciso started looking for an exit. He quickly learned that the door he had set on fire was the exit. After waiting about fifteen minutes and finding a tortured guardsmen to help him escape, Narciso set another fire to draw attention and then ran to the exit. It was almost a successful getaway, but a Cypher Mage stopped the guardsmen at the entrance to the apartments and asked who the guard was. Narciso tried to whisper an answer beside the guard since he was invisible at the time, but the mage overheard and immediately loosed a scorching ray into the chest of the guard, causing a gaping wound and the man to clutch his chest as he died. Narciso bolted as fast as he could, narrowly avoiding the subsequent scorching rays behind him.

The adventurers reunited near the headquarters and Anlu immediately noticed the explosive rune carved into Narciso’s chest as he approached and backed away, informing everyone of what it was. Narciso was stunned and immediately asked what could be done. Anlu analyzed the rune and found that if it was touched by magic, it would cause Narciso to explode. Jared decided otherwise and asked Leon and Narciso to accompany him about 50 ft away. Once away from the HQ, Jared told Leon to get ready, pulled out his pistol, and shot Narciso point-blank in the chest with a bullet imbued with Mage’s Disjunction. Leon, shocked and completely unprepared for what just happened, poured as much healing into the wound as he could, barely able to save Narciso. Nobody spoke of what happened when they went around the corner, grateful and shocked at the same time at what just happened.

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The Plagued City

As the party took in the surroundings of the ruined city, they found themselves trying to remember what it used to be like, to almost no avail. The destruction of the city was near absolute, monstrosities now roaming the streets were children used to play and shady backdoor deals took place. Most of the buildings stood as only rubble and the mangled bodies of those fortunate enough to have died before becoming monstrosities. Feeling that something was missing, the adventurers came to find that the Cyphergate was no longer standing. As they took in their surroundings, a giant ship pierced the fog cover and made a crash course from the surface to the docks.

The ship crashed into the docks and the echo reverberated throughout the city, alerting everything in the city of your presence. As the alarm sounded through the city through moans and groans of the husks, a juggernaut of flesh and metal crashed through the remains of the ship. Dark brown eyes glared at you as the figure determined where it was, a massive axe dripping blood hung at his waist. The adventurers squared off with the figure and tensions mounted as Leon questioned the lone survivor of the crash, noting the broken shackles around the figures arms and feet. Before any bloodshed could of broken out, Leon dropped his questioning, but his suspicions remained very apparent as a small army of husks began gathering at the docks, surrounding the adventurers. The husks were very quickly taken out, but then a new type of enemy appeared.

A strange mass that was able to reanimate the husks made it’s way to the docks. Despite how hard the adventurers cut into it, the creature would not fall. Using noqual weapons appeared to weaken it though and as the adventurers hacked it with their crystalline weapons, the tendrils of the creature animating the corpses withered and died. When all of the tendrils had been destroyed, the ooze creature began to roil and then collapsed into the shape of a man, the elven cypher mage that had ran from you over a year ago when you first entered Riddleport. The man spoke of a Prophet that had caused this calamity and that was planning to cleanse all in a similar fashion. He would not tell you the name of the prophet, but he did tell you the prophet’s plan and his part in it. The man’s mass “cleansing” caused Archana to want him dead and she did just that, slashing the throat of the bastard as he stood there.

After talking amongst themselves for a bit, the party decided the best place to start would be where they last saw Briar Rose and Jakalyn living. The blue runes on Briar Rose were eerily similar to the magical disease ravaging the city. The ravaged city itself posed a problem as the adventurers tried recalling exactly where the Silken Veil was. Leon had the idea to summon a lantern archon and have it scout out the path. As soon as the archon reached the height of its ascent however, something or someone shot it down from the higehst tower of the city. With the help of Grashnak, the party was able to place where they needed to go. Along the way, the party saw something occurring at the arena. Narciso decided to climb the coliseum wall and scout out what was happening without being seen. Over the wall, Narciso saw at least a dozen of the strange ooze creatures in the stands, drained Flensed around them, still as the grave. In the center of the arena were two abominations fighting each other, flesh and gore flying everywhere as the two clashed. Clegg Zincher, or whatever he was now, stood on the sidelines and seemed to be controlling the two. Narciso decided to head back down to avoid detection. After deciding to avoid the unnecessary conflict, the party continued on to the Silken Veil.

The Silken Veil stood empty and motionless, the smell of perfume still drifting out from within. The party slowly crept towards it, watching for any movement as they did. Only silence greeted them as they made their way in. Once inside, a strange sight greeted them as vines covered the walls and the ground, swarming over the multitude of corpses. A strange mist filled the air and caused Archana to begin hallucinating, seeing the place as it used to be, courtesans beckoning her to some of the small rooms. The rest of the party were able to keep their heads clear as they made their way through the overgrowth. As the group made their way to the basement, the vines began sprouting deadly thorns, and wrapping themselves around the adventurers. A powerful sleep venom was delivered to Archana and Leon, but Narciso was somehow able to awaken them by touching his noqual kamas to them. Archana activated her mask to become invisible and make her way to the basement. Downstairs, the overgrowth became even worse, vines covering every inch. Archana was able to use the bodies of the dead as stepping stones to avoid alerting the vines. She made her way to a small closet and took a breather inside. She also was delighted to find supplies she could of only hoped for. It seems this place was much more than just a place to have a good time. She gathered what she needed; poisons, drugs, and alcohol, and made her way back up to the party. Once up,s he told the group that there was a door leading to what be the source of all of this. The party made their way downstairs, Grishnak catching himself on the undergrowth and falling most of the way down the stairs. Whatever was in the next room was now expecting them.

The group decided on just smashing into the room, Greshnak kicking the door in and causing it to fly against the wall, knocking away the dark-skinned tiefling woman standing on the other side and causing a vase with a single blue fire to fall. The party braced itself, remembering the last time they ran into a lone woman. As the woman approached, Archana lunged, and the woman burst into a mass of gore and vines that Archana easily dodged. Archana then went for the vase and as she did, a huge creature burst from the ground, screeching in Sylvan as it did. The creature was a mass of vines and raw magic, a creature seemingly formed from the raw magic present in the city. It’s anger was extraordinary, but somehow Archana was able to calm the creature and began conversing with it. The rest of the party stood almost dumbfounded, as Archana found herself able to communicate with the creature. Archana was able to pardon the transgressions of the party and made a deal with the creature to take one of its offspring away from this place and allow it to grow. Archana took the seed and then the party took care of a few Flensed that had entered the area. After taking out a few of the huge ones, a spell-scarred blue dragon poked it’s nose into the building and let loose a cone of electric blue flames onto the party. The vines hit grew at an alarming rate and found their way tot eh dragon, entangling it and ripping down the wall as they pulled the great beast towards the gaping maw of the creature in the basement. The party killed the dragon on it’s way down to it’s final resting place.

After resting for a bit in the protection of the plant creature, the party set off, Archana promising to fulfill her promise and find a new home for the seedling. The party decided it was time to make it’s way to the complex where the shot that had taken down the archon had come from. Along the way, the party found themselves jumping over the Cyphergate buried in the ground as they ran from their pursuers, intense magic radiating off of it in waves. Unable to head back and examine it at the present time, the party continued onto the complex. Upon reaching it, two live guards stopped them. Excited and taken aback a bit, Leon tried introducing himself and somehow made a fool of himself in the process. As the guards take hold of their laughter, one went off to fetch Jared. A few minutes later, a tall, masculine elf appeared, glowing orange runes much like the ones on Briar inscribed all over his body. Some type of device was slung across his back, runic symbols along it as well. His eyes burned with the same glow as the runes across his body. He approached you, apprehensive with each step and seemingly looking into you. After a brief stare-down as he looked you over, he introduced himself and motioned for you to follow, the massive gate closing behind you as you walked in.

Jared led you quickly through the compound, giving you almost no time to take in your surroundings. He then stepped through a black portal and motioned for you to follow, his voice commanding your attention. You emerged from the portal at the top of the tower you were just in, and at the top was Briar Rose, looking through a scope at the surrounding area. As soon as she saw you, she rushed over and gave a huge hug to each of you. She even gave a huge hug to Greshnak, who was a little taken aback at the notion. Jared then laid out what was happening in the city for you. Most of the city was lost to the spell plague and it he tells you that it was a massive undertaking led by Elias Tammerhawk. Seems he found his faithful from within the cyphermages, many falling victim to his twisted dream. Jared had no idea where he could be now, letting you know that he only recently awoken from a 3,000 year stasis to all of this chaos. Seems the raw magic destroyed the glyphs maintaining his stasis and infected him as well. Since then, he has reunited with Briar Rose and Jakalyn and slowly gathered survivors before they could be converted to more Flensed.

Jared seemed to have many questions to ask of you as he went on, but he held his tongue and continued on about the defenses of this stronghold. He informed you that Jakalyn is also here as well as the Captain of the guard. The captain of the guard had a few ideas to start taking back the city, first of which would be to clear the prison. The adventurers agreed that this was a sound move and after meeting with General Anton, struck out for the prison. This turned out to be a much better idea than the party had thought it would be. The group got to work as soon as they passed the fence into the prison yard, dispatching the husks with ease. They made a bit too much noise though and whoever was in command began sending out abominations formed from the prisoners and guards, huge monstrosities with more body parts than needed for anything. The masses of flesh should have been a challenge, but Narciso had an idea. Climbing to the top of one of the guard towers, Narciso jumped as high as he could, over 120 feet including the height of the tower and came back down with his fists blazing. The tremendous force of his punch caused one abomination to collapse in on itself while the one next to it was slammed into the side of the prison by the force of the impact. The entire prison complex started to collapse, killing all inside and collapsing the majority of the tunnels underneath. After dealing with the final abomination, the party entered into the guard barracks and met with the remaining creators of the abominations, two insane cypher mages wielding the blue flames of the spell plague like a shaping tool, carving and melting flesh together. The party dispatched the two quickly, Leon using his shield to reflect the beam at one point and protecting the party from its mutating affects. When the first cypher mage fell, the other tried to take off, mutating his own body to grow a pair of wings. The growth was too slow however and Narciso jumped into the air and came crashing back down with the mage in a grapple.

With the prison clear of most the infected, the group decided to look around a bit. The first building they checked was locked, a problem quickly taken care of with the wand of shatter Leon still had. Inside they found the armory, but not much of use. The other building left standing was a bit smaller than the others, but offered much more to the adventurers. Shattering the door, the party entered into what appeared to be the captain’s quarters. While searching the place, they came upon a storeroom containing a vast amount of stored food that the party could take to the refugees. That’s not what had them excited though, for at the back of the storeroom was a secret passage. Going through the trapdoor and following the secret passage for a bit, the adventurers came upon the captain’s armory. Inside they found a suit of runed mithril plate mail that Leon took quite an interest in. Hanging along the walls hung a jewel-encrusted dagger and a normal-looking sledgehammer. A quick casting of detect magic told the group that the armor was magical and to their surprise, so was the hammer. Narciso stashed it all in his bag of holding and the group decided to move on before examining their loot. Catching sight of a switch before leaving, the group pulled it and a door in the stonework slid open. This chamber caught Archana off-guard for hanging on the wall was an ancient sawtooth saber and on the other wall, an old red mantis suit, hundreds of tiny cuts in one of the arms denoting completed contracts. The leather was too ancient to wear, but the implications of it the secret tunnels of the general gave the party some serious thought. After almost getting themselves killed through curiosity, the party returned to the resistance headquarters to speak with Jared about their success.

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The Council of Korvosa and the Journey back to the City of Thieves

The adventurers had been apart for a year after Christian leapt through the portal to return to Faerun and save the plane from destruction. The energy pulse was felt throughout the room and then everything went quiet. The three decided to prepare themselves for what was to come while Archana was going through her training as a Red Mantis Assassin.
Leon spent his time traveling around Varisia and studying the higher planes where the beings of good made their homes. Among the traveling Varisian caravans, he became known as the “Golden Wanderer.” As he traveled to libraries and churches all over the area and learned more about his ancestry, his connection to the upper planes grew.
Narciso spent his time by traveling back to Darkmoon Vale, a strange feeling in his mind that he needed to be there. During his year among the forests of the vale, he fought against countless werewolves and helped others survive against the hate of others. One day, he was traveling with a group of dwarves and at night, the group was ambushed. This is when things became real and no longer monotony. The leader of the pack of evil lycanthropes was his own father, an archdruid back from Faerun, now corrupted and evil. His father made a gesture and two dire wolves leapt from the bushes and pinned Narciso to the ground. His father disposed of the last dwarf and then said hello to his son with a wicked smile before departing. Narciso struggled with the dire wolves all night before they finally lay dead and his exhaustion got the better of him. He passed out and woke up in a cell. Until the next full moon, he was locked up just in case he was infected. After being released, he made his way back to Riddleport.
Archana was taken by ship to the Isle of Mediogalti to begin her training with the Red Mantis Assassins. And that is as much as she is willing to share of her training.
As each member made their way back to Riddleport, they received an invitation from the Royal Council of Korvosa to come to Korvosa and discuss the tragedy of Riddleport. The message seemed urgent and they made their way to Korvosa first.
Leon was the first to arrive, and was presented with lodgings in the castle for his time in the city. He continued his research each day and learned a bit about the recent battles that took place within the city while he waited. narciso arrived three days later and found his way to Leon. Allowing himself to enjoy the finer side of life for a bit, the two spent their nights drinking wine and dining on fine cheeses as they discussed rumors of Riddleport and fell asleep each night listening to a rhythmic chant that lasted through the night. Archana arrived the night before the meeting by ship directly from the island. With an assassin’s grace, she slipped into the shadows and made her way to the palace, following side conversations from the cities populace to place where Leon and Narciso could be. She easily bypassed the guards and made her way into the castle and reached the room where Narciso and Leon were discussing the chanting that went on each night and theorizing what it could be. At the mention of chanting, Archana strained herself to hear it and sure enough, she could just make it out. As she focused on trying to understand what was being said, Leon walked out of the room and caught Archana in a bit of a shock for both of them. After the initial awkwardness ran it’s course, Leon invited Archana into the room to continue the discussion. After hellos were exchanged, the group decided to find the source of the chanting. Leon asked a guard the way to the catacombs. He was given directions and also learned that a recent surge of undead had risen so they had been sealed up after the initial chamber.
The party ventured down to the catacombs and opened the large iron doors to the lower levels. As they went through, they easily cleared away the undead prowling around, almost too easily they commented. After a few rooms, they came a room of broken corpses and blood encrusted statues. As Narciso navigated towards the statues, spectral clubs appeared and bashed him over the head, knocking him out. Archana went invisible and tested a theory of why the undead had been attacked. She tossed a body at one of the statues and both responded, smashing each other a bit. After deciding that there was no reason to risk their lives against the strange statues, the party moved on. They soon came to a circular room containing a massive pillar in the middle. A whole had been cut into the pillar and beyond, a spiral staircase led down. The chanting was coming from below. The party descended down the staircase for at least ten minutes before finally reaching the end. As their foot touched down into the next room, two skeletal iron dragons formed from bone piles in front of the next corridor. As soon as the party began moving towards them, they retreat to either side of the entryway and stood motionless, inviting the players into the next area. The long hallway was a straight passage that went for at least 100ft. The room after was huge. The ceiling of the chamber was covered by mosaics (mose-ee-acks) depicting a huge constellation of seven-pointed stars. In the middle of the room, a large, crystalline basin rested, filled with some red concoction. A figure stood in front of the basin chanting the cryptic ritual words over and over again. Her back to you, she stood completely naked, swaying back and forth as she completed the appropriate gestures for the ritual. “Blood is power. blood is life. Feed our queen. make her rise. Once it flowed through her veins. Let it do so again.” The substance in the basin roils and mimics her movements in liquid form as the ritual progresses.
Finishing the latest repeat of the incantation, she stills as does the liquid in the basin. “It’s nice to see some new faces down here finally. It gets so lonely. Hakak told me you had arrived in the city finally. Seems you are just as nosy as I had hoped you would be. This is good. I have need of you.”
She then turned toward you and began walking slowly, seductively towards Leon with the sweetest smile on her face. “I do have one tiny favor to ask before we get to business.” With those words, Leon and Archana became dominated by the figure, unable to stop looking into her golden eyes and wanting to do nothing else. Narciso felt the wave of compulsion as well, but was able to overcome the domination and keep his free will. As the alluring raven-haired woman approached, Narciso threw a firecracker to try and break her concentration. No one reacted to it and Narciso began coming up with some sort of plan to save his companions from whatever this creature was. As the woman went towards Leon, Archana’s want of this woman intensified due to being dominated and she walked towards her and placed her hand in-between the woman’s legs. The woman had a moment of hesitation on her face as Archana got in the way of her intended target, but then embraced Archana and sank her fangs deep into her neck, draining her of blood as Archana continued her sensual assault. Before Archana passed out, the woman stopped and used magic to stop the flowing blood and collect what remained of it into the basin, a smug smile on her face as a few thoughts went through her head. Archana felt faint and sat down as the woman moved away and towards Leon. As she approached Leon, Narciso did the same with his fist aimed at her. She dodged his fist and then grabbed him by the throat, lifting him into the air. With a look of annoyance, Narciso felt his body go numb and the inability to move. She then laid him on the ground slowly and moved onto Leon. Leon, still in his trance, did nothing but watch his comrades fall and wait for her to approach. When she was near enough, he embraced her and she did the same, her head resting on his shoulder momentarily and then her fangs deep in his neck the next. She moaned in pain as the angelic blood touched her lips, the divine energy of it interacting with the negative energy suffusing her, but continued draining Leon, almost unable to stop herself as the blood continued to flow. Narciso laid on the ground helpless, able to see what was happening, but unable to do anything about it. As Leon paled and almost lost consciousness, she finally stopped and performed the same spell to close the wound and then transport the excess blood to the crystal basin. Sated, she released Archana and Leon from the domination as she walked back to the basin to rest against it.
As soon as Leon regained his free will, he turned hostile and demanded to know what she had just done. The sound of metal on metal could be heard from down the hall as his temper rose. Letting go of her support, she stood and answered your question, showing no hostility toward you at all, but distracted all the same, almost dismissive even. She told you of how Korvosa was built upon the tomb of the Runelord of Lust, Soren. Runelord Soren was an elder vampire and had put herself into stasis in order to survive the impact that wiped out her civilization. This was her tomb and it was a huge, complex machine meant to bring her out of stasis when the time was right. The time was nearly right and she meant to have the runelord destroyed before she could fully awaken and regain her kingdom. She also wanted to be free of the runelord’s influence and the only way to do so was to have Runelord Soren destroyed. The party asked multiple questions about the ritual and why it needed to happen. This slightly frustrated her, but she answered the questions to the best of her ability, never actually having been in the tomb before it was sealed. All she had was blood memories of it’s construction. The party never asked how the woman had managed to become infected by a vampire that had been a few miles underground in stasis for the last thousand years, but they did learn that this woman, Raven, was part of the council that had summoned them. Seems that some of the council had ulterior motives in summoning the three. The three awkwardly said goodbye, unsure of how to proceed, and began to leave. Raven told them goodnight and went to the side of the room to collect her belongings to leave as well.
The next morning, the party awoke early and prepared for the meeting. The meeting went by rather quickly, each member introducing themselves in turn and then jumping right into business.

Garrick Tann: Magistrate of Commerce
Syl Gar: Magistrate of Expenditures
Lolia Perenne: Magistrate of Regulation
Lord Carson: Magistrate of Tourism
Zenobia Zenderholm: Magistrate of Justice
Content Not Found: hakak: Honorary member of Sable Company and Captain of the Guard
Raven: Raven did not give a title, bus she wore a strange crown made of bone that gave off a very evil aura. For some reason, Leon did not pay attention to this during the meeting and made no move to find out what it was.

The council informed the party of what sources say occurred in Riddleport. Apparently, several earthquakes shook the city and surrounding area and then a massive storm formed raining down blue fireballs and massive lightning strikes upon the town. Soon after the storm began, a fog rose from the ground and enveloped the city. As soon as the fog formed, all of the screams and sounds of the city went silent. Since then, no contact has been made with the city and officials are worried that some dark calamity has befallen it, killing millions. As the champions of Riddleport, the council tasked the party with uncovering what had happened and to save as many lives as possible if not the city itself. The council has offered 10,000g to each of you for ending the calamity and bringing the city back out of whatever disaster has befallen it.
The party then made their way to what used to be Riddleport, now only a blanket of fog. There they met Content Not Found: Caudus, one of the few cyphermages to not be in the city when events transpired. The party then came up with a plan to enter the city as safely as possible. Learning of mining passages for carbauxine under the city, the party chose this route. They found a passage close by and followed the mining tracts until they came to a collapsed part of the mine. They asked Caudus to clear the rubble and through the use of a few spells, he cleared it for them. The party then used a rope to keep in contact with each other, wished Caudus goodbye after asking for a water breathing spell, and then proceeded into the fog. After a few steps and being soaked in water at the edge of the fog, the water over top vanished and Narciso and Archana felt themselves being pulled by the rope. They each kept hold and the party found themselves to all be falling. The drop continued for a few minutes and then they plummeted into a deep body of water. As they started swimming back to the surface, a huge black shark with glowing blue veins appeared and attacked. The party tore the shark to pieces, hampering it’s movement severely as they fought and defeated it. It was not without a cost though, for the blue glow throughout the shark’s body was a potent disease that infected Leon and Archana with a glowing blue flame that spread through their blood slowly, killing them from the inside. Narciso was immune to the strange disease. After reaching the coast and finding the broken docks of the fallen city, Leon tried to identify what had infected him and Archana. It was determined that it was raw mana manifesting itself through their blood. They then were introduced to what happens to those who fall to the raw mana as about twenty Flensed had surrounded them, drawn by their life force. The party defeated the husks after a long battle and through the use of this newfound raw mana. During the battle, a woman with glowing blue runes ran by the battle, being chased by more of the Flensed, and burst into flames, rising as one of them before shambling over to join in the assault on the party. Finally getting a chance to sit, they set up camp and surveyed what had become of Riddleport.

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Return of the Uga

Past the noqual gate was a tunnel that led deeper into the unknown. A torch lit the way for Narciso and gave color vision back to the rest of the party before they proceeded any deeper, as no light entered with them through the gate. The tunnel walls were lined with what appeared to be noqual veins and electrical discharges could be seen flowing through them in a slowly increasing pulse. The pulse seemed to quicken with each step the party took, ushering them forward. As the tunnel went on, niches in the wall began appearing about every 100ft on either side of the wall. Inside the niches were golems crafted completely from noqual crystal. The inactive golems seemed to be collecting the electrical pulses within their forms, but did not stir when the party came closer to examine them. Moving along, the party felt that they were familiar with this place and had seen it somewhere before. When they came to a fork in the road, they took the top path and moved forward. The tunnel widened and on either side of the path, two strange, mechanical devices activated upon the party approaching. Christian DeHavik stepped forward and the devices seemed to recognize him and deactivated. Emboldened that they knew where they now were, they continued onward. Exactly where they expected, another trap sprang. This time a light grid appeared in front of them. The air around the beams shimmered and shifted as if super-heated. The group puzzled over how to get past the obstacle, but then Leon held up his shield and correctly guessed that he could reflect the light. He reflected the beams onto a mirror on the far wall and after the beam bounced around the cave system, the grid disappeared. The pulse traveling along the walls and ground doubled in speed, like a massive creature coming back to life. Stepping forward into past the trap, the party entered the large cavern that took up the majority of the cave. Despite the noqual veins traveling along the rocky interior, the cavern appeared rather unchanged. The only difference was a massive crystalline structure in the center of the cavern. The structure consisted of multiple noqual spikes from the floor and ceiling holding up an orb of blackest night. Immediately identifying the Sphere of Annihilation, the entire party took a quick step back. The noqual crystal appeared to be able to contain the artifact as it floated mere millimeters between the crystal spikes. Then the players noticed strange crystalline cocoon-like pods along the walls that momentarily distracted their attention. After examining everything, the party decided to check out what became of their old throne room. After pushing open the massively ornate door, the group found the room to be radically different that last time they had been here. What was once a shabby stone throne, there were now four crystal thrones, each with a symbol engraved marking who the throne belonged to. Along the wall of the room, another light grid blazed, this time appearing to much less dangerous. The blue light beams shifted in a pattern. Narciso found himself able to distinguish goblin script from old tomes he once read within the slowly shifting light beams. “Touch to begin” was repeated time and time again. He reached out and the beams focused on him before changing. The beams changed instantly and welcomed Narciso home. He quickly got the hang of the device and began communicating with the strange intelligence behind the beams via gestures and symbols drawn with the beams. He learned that the goblins had found a way to escape the destruction of Faerun and even save it in the process. Narciso learned that as they went to face Argul Cess the entire are had been struck by a massive meteor shower of noqual and the storm was centered on the goblin caves. The noqual seemed to be sentient and struck everything, burrowing into rock and flesh alike. The noqual quickly integrated itself into the cavern and the goblins found themselves with a new sense of power and intelligence beyond the already substantial gain they had from the work of Gizz Finkle. With a new understanding, they quickly began using their new powers to prepare for the oncoming apocalypse. When the party called on the goblins to assist in defeating the dark army, the goblins saw their chance. They sent a team of crystal adepts to the aid of the party’s army. The cover of darkness protected the new appearance of the goblins as they joined the battle against the cultists. When the party entered the tent where all the screams were coming from, the goblin party knew it was too late to stop the adventurers from being destroyed. Determined though, they rushed to the tent as it collapsed in on itself, disappearing into the absolute nothing of the orb. Knowing what they needed to do, they jumped through the portal into the positive energy plane and sacrificed themselves right before the heart of creation was sucked into the void, ending everything. Their sacrifice caused time to stop as creation itself worked to fix what was lost. Time was reversed and the Sphere of Annihilation was taken by the only beings outside of the natural order of existence, the now crystalline Uga Tribe. With their removal from time itself, the tribe spent millenia searching existence for any trace of their chiefs. They found themselves on a whole new plane of existence when they finally found a trace and learned that it would be thousands of years before they would be able to reconnect with their chiefs and went about building a portal back home before succumbing to the ennui of time once again.

As the party went through the history of what had happened, they found themselves growing a bit overwhelmed at everything. Their plane had not been destroyed and it was their own tribe that had saved it. Continuing through the archives of the strange intelligence, the adventurers found a way to return to their own plane, but also that only one of them would be able to return. They uncovered that the Cyphergate back in Riddleport was actually built by the Uga Tribe soon after they first arrived on this plane. With this knowledge and their new found fame around Riddleport, they were able to safely activate the portal within the week without much damage to the city. With the Cyphergate’s activation, the Sphere of Annihilation vanished and reappeared at the center of the Cyphergate, the noqual shards connecting seamlessly with the gate, suspending the deadly artifact. As the gate continued to turn, reality tore within, revealing the empty space between realms.

During the week, the party hotly contested who would be going back to Faerun. In the end, it was decided that Christian DeHavik would head back home to avenge the murder of his master and to right his name. Knowing that he would only have one chance to prevent the collapse of Faerun once he jumped to the second before the Sphere of Annihilation entered the positive energy plane, he readied himself and jumped through, saying goodbye to no one as the grim determination of what he must do took hold.

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The Shattering

As the adventurers left the tournament grounds, everything seemed to suddenly stop. Sitting atop a black wolf was the small child they had just slain. Briar Rose sat there waiting, giving them a smile that only a child could when they finally came into view. She quickly jumped off and ran over to the party, her eyes wide with excitement. “That was so much fun! Mother said you would put up a fight, but wow! We should do that again soon. I’ll have some more tricks next time.” Without any hint of a lack of innocence, the child went into depth describing various parts of the battle, every detail present. To her, it seemed like just fun and games, death meaning little. As she talked, she led you through the streets back to the House of Silken Veils. Outside the temple stood Jakalyn, her form exquisite against the dying light of the evening sun. She appeared to be talking details with several rough-looking men and after a few minutes, the men dispersed and she made her way to you, her hips swaying with every step and her eyes watching every movement. She seemed to have regained her memory and her deadly confidence once again, betraying none of her own thoughts as she watched you.

“Hello, I hear the match went well. I did not completely expect to see any of you again. However, you have proven even stronger than I at first thought and I now remember everything about why I asked you to come here. The stone door that no one can remember is not supposed to be where it is. It is an abnormality in our realm and nothing of this world can seem to break through it. I tried every possibility I could think of, but none made any progress. I believe you however, may hold the only key. Magic permeates the island, it’s weaves unfamiliar to any I have seen before I met you all. I have gotten a ship for us to travel to the island immediately and finally unlock whatever secrets it holds.”

The ship was relatively large for such a short trip and the crossing took less than a day. When the adventurers fist step foot onto the island, a slight hum began in the air. As the group moved closer and closer to the gate, the noqual in their possession began to emanate the same hum. As they gotten even closer, it began to shake rather intensely and minute cracks began forming in the crystal equipment. When the player’s finally reached the gate, their equipment was sending painful vibrations throughout their entire bodies. One more step toward the gate and a huge crack appeared, quickly multiplying into millions of cracks. The gate and the noqual equipment both fragmented into millions of crystal shards, lodging themselves into the ground and everything else in the area. The group was somehow not torn to shreds from the resulting explosion. As soon as the gate was shattered, air began rushing into the cavity, almost taking the party with it. The rushing air did bring with it the fragments of noqual however, rearranging them into a force-sustained latticework that recreated the gate. Waves of energy pulsed through the gate at regular intervals and the noqual equipment of the group reformed as well. Tendrils of force interwove throughout the shards seemingly directed by a will of it’s own based loosely on the consciousness of who the item belonged too. Each weapon came out deadlier and able to splinter on impact, returning to it’s original form with just a thought. The attuned noqual seemed to call to the gate and openings in the latticework appeared, allowing the party access into the unknown.

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