Four Fables

Chapter 17: Trek Across the Desert
10-18-10 session

Timespan: Entropy 1:1208 to Entropy 8:1208

Delad catches up with the group at the tent congregation along the edge of the Amber Sea. For the past few days he had to get rid of the mercenaries that were tracking the decoy group. He led them out to sea and set Braivemor Anima’s ship on fire to make it look like they died on board while Delad swam back to shore and traveled the mountains of Lykovia.

The reunion was a happy one but the group knew it was time to see what Edom had in store for them. They traveled with a few hundred other people across the desert for the next week. During that time they were attacked by small purple worms and some of the innocent wagoners died in the process. But, luckily the group got their in one piece.

They started to explore the underground city of Edom taking it all in. They came across the store, Vaan’s Magic Item Emporium (who has a striking resemblance to another Lykovian they came across in Haran). Gaining valuable all-time-low prices on magic items was great for the party to find (heck, how could anyone pass up a coupon for a free live bat on your next purchase?) and they were able to figure out that the magic item Balasar had come across was cursed and was hurting Leo and Shintaro. After a proper ritual with a Bahamut priest and Leo lending his holy sword to Balasar, the last scion was able to destroy the cursed sword even though it promised the dragonborn great power (even becoming a +5 weapon right before his eyes). The sword cursed Balasar in anger as being a the weakest of the last scions.

When questioning people of finding artifacts of the Tabula Rasa one shifty eyed man in an alley told the group of a secret organization called the The Keepers of the Ancient Ones. This group was known to be connected with the artifacts of the Tabula Rasa; a group that locates them and are located within Edom. The belly dancer from the “Dry Oasis,” Senna, is referred to the group as someone who might know something about the organization.

Leo goes to the inn to find them all rooms and the group eventually finds themselves talking to this woman (as she dances for them) at the restaurant, the “Dry Oasis.” Upon mention of the artifacts, the woman becomes very worried and runs out the back door. The group chases her into one of the warehouse caves for the water basins that are found everywhere in Edom. In a dark part of the cave with much clutter, the group is attacked by a group of eladrin, humans, and dwarves who seem to be with Senna. In the midst of the fight, all seems lost as Thorin and Shintaro fall into the water pipes and are swept into the water basin and Delad hits the ground, about to die in front of Senna who seems to be wielding a poisoned short sword.

Chapter 16: The Secret of Bochim
9-27-10 session

Timespan: 3rd Rest 21:1208 to Entropy 1:1208

Shintaro and Leonus finally woke up after their sickness had worn off in the bed of the small inn at Bochim. The rest of the party had left to find the Ettin and they began to find out what happened to their friends. They walk about the town discussing their rightful heirs to their respective kingdoms. They come across the town hall and find it locked with the windows boarded up. While discussing about going in or not they notice they had become ill with their vision getting blurry. They find out they have a sickness in them and faint in the snow.

The other characters make their way back through the woods with Lisa and the new serpent staff and find their way back to the town late at night. No one is seen in the town and most likely some are asleep. They return to Lisa’s home and the inn but find no one there. Lisa tells them the rest of the town might be at the town hall.

The door there is open but they find no one inside the large room. But they do find a secret door with the same markings they found in the cave in the wilderness, it is art depicting snakes, yuan-ti, and the evil god Zehir. The door was trapped and Balasar was hurt for opening it.

The group travels down and finds a secret temple to Zehir underneath the town. A majority of the town is in here performing a ritual with Shintaro and Leo standing there, helping them. It seems they are possessed and dominated by the cultists. Most of the cultists, Leo, and Shintaro have totally green eyes that glaze over their whole eyeballs.

Two large Yuan-Ti, who seem to be in charge tell the human cultists to attack the party and keep Balasar alive. The group, unfortunately had to slaughter all of the dominated humans but luckily (even though they seemed to be cursed somehow with penalties to their saving throws), Leo and Shintaro are able to snap out of their domination but still are diseased.

Lisa turns into a Yuan Ti and tackles Thorin for the remainder of the fight.

The party is able to kill all of the enemies in the temple but in the process a ritual circle lights up on the ground as Balasar enters the middle of the room. The staff begins to glow and escapes Thorin’s bag, floats over to the Yuan Ti leader and Balasar and begins to hurt Balasar. The Yuan Ti cult leader exclaims, “Yes! The ritual is complete, Balasar, you are one of the Last 4 Scions of Midian! Now go, and find the Last Scions, destroy them!” As this happens, Balasar’s back is ripped open and wings sprout from his back. He comes to and he and the party vanquish the Yuan Ti.

The party regroups in the temple and they find some magic items. One of them is an ancient artifact from the Tabula Rasa that Shintaro claims. There is supernal writing all over it.

Also the staff is still with the group. Both Thorin and Leo burn their hands upon touching it but not the others. When in the hands of Balasar it morphs into a full blade. Upon further inspection he finds it to be a +4 Fullblade of Zehir (artifact). It’s powers still are unknown to the characters. Balasar decides to keep it.

The group discusses what to do next. They find out that the Scions of Midia (same as the paragon path Scions of Arkhosia) are considered to be better than normal dragonborn. They gain wings that is uncommon to other dragonborn. Every couple of centuries a new one rises from Midia and is infamous or famous for their power.

The group finally decides to sneak through the night and leave Bochim. They escape into the night and sleep in the woods.

After that they travel through the rest of the mountains of Lykovia for the next few days and see the Amber Sea. At the bottom of the mountains they look back to see what appears to be a monsoon storm going through the Lykovia mountains. They also find Delad waiting for them at a congregation of tents on the edge of the desert. It appears they have found a large group of people about to caravan through the desert.

Chapter 15: Rescue Attempt
9-3-10 session

Timespan: 3rd Rest 19:1208 to 3rd Rest 21:1208

After the long night in the blistering cold, Leo and Shintaro catch pneumonia. They needed bed rest quickly and they all went down into the valley towards the small village of Bochim.

It was early morning and some of the party noticed unusually large footprints going into the village that were coming from the woods. This was weird because the town is known to be an all human village.

Leo and Shintaro go and find the inn while the rest of the group goes to investigate the footprints. The party hears cries for help and hurry towards the noises. They find a villager’s hut had been broken into by an owlbear and ettin. The group finds one of the villager’s killed by the owlbear and the group disposes of it. But in the midst of combat they hear more cries for help coming from upstairs. They find a woman and her daughter, Lisa, who are about to be killed by the ettin. The party fights off the ettin but the giant grabs Lisa and threatens to kill her unless he can escape. He takes her and flees the village.

The woman, finding her dead husband downstairs and crying because her daughter had been kidnapped, begs the heroes to save Lisa. The party agrees and gets help from the rest of the villagers on information where the ettin went. They all agree that the ettin had taken her into the Serpent Woods. Some of the other villagers tell of how their village has always lived in this valley and won’t move even though they are not skilled enough to fight off the local monsters.

But they do tell of a traveling elf who is staying in the inn who might help. The group finds the inn and are told that Leo and Shintaro will be taken care of since they helped them in their time of need. They also came across Silvary. This elf agreed to help the group in exchange for 40 percent of the treasures and help to get across the Amber Sea. After agreeing he told the group they had the next few hours to stay there as the ettin had already eaten (he noticed this ettin before in his travels to Bochim) and won’t eat the little girl today.

The party rested and left with Silvary into the woods. They found the cave the ettin was staying at and ambushed him and his other owlbear he had. The group searched but couldn’t find the girl after killing the monsters. They found a bronze door with etchings on it along with cave paintings representing snake-like people and a depiction of the god Zehir.

They opened the door and traveled further into the cave. They found some snake monsters and a large construct Eidolon that was stationed to protect that cave. After vanquishing the guardians of the cave, the party found in a dark corner of the room the girl sleeping next to a glowing serpent-like staff. They awoke her and she said that she was protected by the staff and that “it was warm to sleep here. The monsters didn’t attack me!” The party knew that the staff was devoted to Zehir and took it so they could figure out what to do with it back in the village. The girl said she didn’t think that they should move it but went along with them anyway. At one point she even claimed that Zehir protected her but quickly shut her mouth to that, denying what she said.

The party exited the cave and began their journey back to the village. Silvary wanted the staff or the other magical item the group found if they wish to have his help any further. They did not agree and so he left them there in the woods as he traveled to the Amber Sea.

Chapter 14: The Escape from Kinsmet
8-13-10 session

Timespan: 3rd Rest 15:1208 to 3rd Rest 19:1208

The group reaches the shores and leaves their boat not far from the town of Padan. They enter the town and hear from the local town herald that Kinsmet’s war is finally over but a majority of the warforged there (and even stories coming from across Erryes) have exploded decimating all of Rydelle City. The known perpetrators are believed to be an elf, a half elf, 2 humans (one of them being Leonus Anima), a shifter, and a dragonborn.

The group also learns from a traveling halfling group that came from the Amber Sea that purple worms are making it hard to travel through the Amber Sea. If one wants to go through the desert, they must join with a caravan as it is the safest way to travel. There are no known ports on the Amber Sea making it impossible to go by boat.

After buying new equipment and gaining some valuable information, the group sets back to their boat but are halted by a dragonborn. Rinzel, as the group finds out his name later, asks the group if they are staying for the fair that is happening tomorrow but they say no and begin to walk away. Finally, Rinzel tells them, “I wouldn’t leave too quickly ‘cus you see, I have arrows trained on you in these trees. I don’t care about you all, all I want is Balasar Zavari. I was sent to arrest him for betraying the Midian-Urartu nation.”

Balasar says, “I will come home and atone for myself when I feel the time is right. You have my word.”

Rinzel smiles and exclaims, "That’s not good enough. You are under arrest. If you resist I will have my men take you down by force. If your friends get involved they will be charged along with you and be arrested as I’ve been given full authority to kill or arrest who I please in order to get you back to the Midian-Urartu Capital.

Delad slinks away into the forest as does Shintaro (who morphs into a striped mouse) and scampers into the snowy forest. The party begins to fight Rinzel and they are all ambushed by what appears to be a Githyanki mercenary group that is helping the Midian-Urartu troops.

Delad begins to dispatch the archers in the woods and the githyanki and dragonborn are eventually killed. All except Rinzel and one Githyanki woman named Meg. The party interrogates Meg and find out that there are more dragonborn after Balasar. The group forms a plan to escape Padan and make their way to the Amber Sea. Delad finds scrolls in his cloak for Jayden to use. He doesn’t know where they came from but it’s enough to create clones of themselves so the dragonborn follow them. Delad agrees to lead the dragonborn on a wild goose chase while the rest of the group escapes to the west.

After leading the dragonborn through the streets of Padan that night, the group splits with Delad taking the clones from the ritual and leading the dragonborn out of the city. The rest of the group travels west along the main road in hopes to meet up with Delad in one of the next small villages.

The party travels through the night, through a horrible blizzard storm and come upon a stretch of mountains that separates the desert from Lykovia. They see a sign that points down into the valley where Bochim lies.

Chapter 13: The End of the War
7-23-10 session

Timespan: 2nd Rest 15:1208 to 3rd Rest 15:1208

The fight continues and the party slowly takes control of the fight with the possessed Emperor Rallis. In the midst of the battle, Rallis confronts Jayden and says, “It is time you remember who you are Jayden.” With the uttering of a few incantations, Jayden’s runes on his skin begin to swirl together and form a hole in his chest. Rallis begins to reach into Jayden’s body through the hole and pull out what appears to be a broken-bladed, jade-colored sword the size of a dagger. Jayden recognizes this same dagger to be his brother Crynaden’s old sword, the same one Jayden killed Thorin’s father and Stondylus with. Rallis places the weapon in Jayden’s hands and says, ‘It is time to repeat history, remember what Crynaden died for! You owe him everything!’ He points to Thorin and Jayden begins to remember much of his past. He remembers his brother and how he grew up with him in the orphanage called “Mama Foxx’s House of the Gifted” somewhere in the state of Frosthaven. This orphanage was full of only half elf boys and girls, all of them withering away for some reason.

But Jayden’s headache comes back at full force and this time he is not responsible for his actions as he begins to attack Thorin with Crynaden’s broken sword in his hand!

Within a few seconds, Jayden is able to regain his composure, drops the dagger, and stops attacking Thorin. Jayden and Rallis enter a grapple as magic gathers around them. No one is able to get close to them as they feed each other their raw arcane energy in order to kill each other.

Once “Muffy” enters the room to fight, it’s rampage knocks Braivemore’s sword, the Sword of Anima, onto the ground as it was on his mantle above the fireplace. Leo notices the glowing light of the sword which he has never seen it done before for his father. Leo hears a familiar voice in his head as the sword seems to speak to him saying, “Leonus, raise your father’s sword.” Leo raises the sword and light pours from his eyes. Time seems to stop as he experiences a vision of a white clad knight appearing before Leo and no one else. The knight bows and says, “Hail friend, it seems the sacred treasure of the Anima family has chosen you. You are the bearer of the Holy Sunblade. A sword said to be forged by Pelor himself. Rejoice for the Morning Lord has chosen you!”

Leo, in disbelief replies, “Why me? What have I done for Pelor?”

The knight replies, “Pelor has called each of us of the Anima family to rid the world of evil. That sword until now has been plain steel. It wasn’t until your touch that it awoke after many years. That means, everything that has happened in your life, matters now as Pelor has called for the right time for you to vanquish this new evil in the world. It is time to take your place as a Paladin of Pelor. Welcome him into your heart for he has been with you always.”

The knight turns to walk away and Leo calls out to him asking, “But who are you?”

The knight looks over his shoulder and says, “I was the last one to bear that sword and have it be awoken for me. The war I fought almost took my life and my country’s livelihood. It was the Sunblade that led me to find the scrolls from the Tabula Rasa. It was those scrolls that helped me create the warforged. It was almost my finest invention. But…” and he takes off his helmet, “You, Leonus, were my greatest creation.” Braivemor smiles at his son, and begins to fade away. “Go, now my son.”

Leo comes out of his trance with a new look on his face as if he had an epiphany. He then takes the sword out of it’s sheath and the light seems to sear into the flesh golem (“Muffy”) and Rallis as well. The fight begins to tilt in the party’s favor as Leo and Thorin drive “Muffy” onto the balcony and with a good shove from Thorin, he falls off the edge and lands not far from Shintaro.

Rallis and Jayden continue their duel and Rallis grits his teeth and says to Jayden, “My son, why do you attack me? I only wish for the same knowledge as you, we are both in search of our past!” Jayden is then able to seep more arcane energy into him and Rallis begins to feel the pain getting to him. “I guess you put up quite a fight for my servants in the Grift Mountains earlier! Oh well, it seems I must get rid of you myself!” Rallis exclaims.

Even though Ophel and Mearah died in battle, it doesn’t seem that things are going well for Shintaro, especially now that “Muffy” has entered the fight with him. But a mysterious figure falls from the roof of the building and lands next to a zombie. With shadow magic being used, most of the zombies are dispatched and it is revealed that Delad is the mysterious ally. With his help, he and Shintaro take care of the zombies as best they can. But once “Muffy” enters the scene they begin to fail and Shintaro’s legs are slowly eaten away by the zombies once he falls unconscious. Delad falls to the zombies as well but the group up top has finally taken care of all the enemies. Rallis is knocked unconscious by Jayden’s magic and in a final attempt, the ghost of Stondylus tries to take over Jayden’s mind but is unsuccessful and floats away.

The group looks inside Rallis’ pocket and finds a holy symbol to Pelor made of clay. They realize they need to put this into the statue of Malakiy down in the courtyard where the zombies are. The group, feeling confused as to what to do, they all look to Jayden and he summons Ralph and gives the symbol to the bird. The bird (with magical help from Jayden) swoops down like a bolt of lightning and puts the symbol just in time so that the zombies are all disenchanted and fall down dead. But Delad and Shintaro are bleeding to death and the group knows they don’t have much time.

Rallis begins to realize what he has done this past year as he was possessed the whole time, and regrets everything. “I’ve done so much harm, the least I could do is help you and your friends.” With the last bit of arcane energy, Rallis creates a portal that leads the group to the courtyard where they are able to cure their friends in time.

The group then tries to figure out what to do with the Warforged as Stondylus said they have less than a minute before they explode all over Rydelle City. The group is unable to find the “off” switch to the warforged and Olaf pleads with them to escape Rydelle City and Kinsmet all together. He explains that “when the rest of the war council finds that Emperor Rallis and I are killed and the fact that all of those warforged will kill so many people throughout the whole city, they will believe that this was caused by you since they already didn’t trust you all from the beginning of the war. They’ll think you killed Rallis without giving him a fair trial in hopes that you might take his place, Leo.” Olaf, with an oily tear in his eye says, “I’m sorry for what I did to your father, it was me who killed him. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to attest for you, Master Leonus.” He opens a secret door in Braivemor’s study and says, “Go now, before it’s too-” And with those last words, he blows up in front of the group. They hear in the distance the whole city being destroyed by the warforged death switch.

As they look to the secret stairwell a shadowy figure drops from the sealing holding one of the Tabula Rasa artifacts that Stondylus had found (the spherical one that Shintaro translated). The woman, who was obviously dressed in desert garb from the Amber Sea, jumped out the balcony and disappeared before the party could catch her.

The group, not knowing what to do, descends down the stairs into the secret tunnel. They find Braivemor’s escape ship that connected on to the Aenon Sea. The group, realizing they need to hide from the soldiers who might be looking for them, travel the southern coast of Kinsmet and reaches the cold lands of the country of Lykovia after 1 month.

During that time on board the ship, Shintaro seems to be skittish after his recent brush with death. He practices his primal powers to become a small critter and also is deeply reading the scrolls of the creation of Warforged.

Delad, who has been quiet ever since he got back with the group says he doesn’t recollect what happened these past 5 months that he’s been gone. He awoke in the same place he was last at in Kinsmet with all new weapons and gear on. His new powers of shadow magic seem to interweave with his psionic monk powers, and his new skills come out of habit without him realizing it which is very disturbing to him and the rest of the group.

Leo, with his father’s sword, finds that the Sunblade remembers it’s previous owner and projects an image of the last owner to help the new owner learn how to use the sword properly. He leaves his spear behind and takes up the sword and shield like he used before he left his country.

Chapter 12: The Emperor Reveals Himself
6-14-10 session

Timespan: 2nd Rest 15:1208

The group investigated the last spot Delad was taken to at the D’Lrowrednu Tree in Kinsmet. They found his shirt by an entrance to the Underdark and with the help of rituals, they were able to determine that during the fight between the revolutionaries and the warforged, a new group entered which appeared to be Hobgoblin’s of Bane coming from the Underdark entrance. It appears that Delad was almost killed by them and was possibly taken prisoner.

The group, unable to do anything in the midst of the war, took their anger and frustration out in Rydelle City as the final confrontation with Emperor Rallis was at hand. After five months of war, the group mounts their last attack and gets inside of the gates of the large city. They find in the hospital of the church of Saint Malakiy that the elderly were “cured” of their sickness due to the fact that they were becoming undead in the process. Aleska Anima, Leo’s sister, finds the group and shows that her cancer that she had been battling against for years had been cured by the Emperor. But, unfortunately, she became an undead skeleton who had two extra heads on her shoulders in the process, claiming them to be the corpses of her and Leo’s parents. It seems that the Emperor had corrupted her and the group had to dispatch her.

The group also finds out that the warforged have a death switch on them. Their torsos are beginning to blink and Olaf (including his own torso that’s blinking) states that all of the warforged will explode upon Emperor Rallis’ command. The group must find him, and stop him.

When searching the church, Leo remembers that he spent most of his childhood here in this church as it was the one his father maintained. Leo also remembers how his father had found in the catacombs underneath the city some ancient scrolls from the time of the Tabula Rasa. No one could read the Supernal language on the scrolls except for a mysterious and very old sounding shifter (even though the shifter was, in fact, very young), by the name of Lin Yao who did so for the Duke of Rydelle.

Upon finishing off Aleska, the group finds that the city is now being overrun with zombies that Emperor Rallis had unleashed. Many of them coming from the various elderly homes and hospitals throughout the city. Since they care not of warforged since they have no flesh, they prey upon their enemies, even the women and children of Rydelle City. Emperor Rallis had gone too far.

The group finds a secret entrance to where they think Rallis would be, in Braivemor’s secret lab. They travel through the catacombs that link to various tombs of the Rydelle lineage and become lost. Suddenly, Jayden begins to remember these tunnel walls, as if he had been here before. He leads the group through the tunnels as a headache begins to creep upon him.

They end up at a door to a building built into the cavern that goes up very high, going out of the tunnels and end where the mountain tops alongside of the ocean and Rydelle City meet.

They enter what appears to be an indoor courtyard where various underground plants grow. In the center is a statue of St. Malakiy making two fists and outstretching his arms.

Olaf finds that the zombies had followed them in the tunnels and says that someone must stay to fend them off while the others go and stop the emperor. Kaori Shintaro offers to stay and fend off the pesky undead while the others go and face Rallis.

The group traverses up the building, higher and higher, floor after floor as Jayden leads them and his headache becoming increasingly painful. The group enters the last room in a hurry to find the Emperor that they fall directly into his trap. A dark aura envelops the party and they cannot move.

Rallis, sitting in a chair with a glass of wine in his hand, stands up and mocks the party with a usual bad-guy monologue. He says he has found all he needed from this city as it had many artifacts from the Tabula Rasa period. He also claims his newest theory (“curing” the sick) has come to fruition as the undead now roam the city and, eventually, will roam the whole nation of Kinsmet!

It turns out that Mearah had been planted as a sympathizer for the revolutionaries and it’s also revealed that Ophel did not really die in the cell. In fact, the ritual was just to slow down his heart and let the group bury him in a shallow grave. Once the group was gone, Mearah was able to get him out and report back to the emperor. Now, they both stand before the party.

During his laughter he begins to cough up blood and whispers something to Ophel and immediately the party begins to try and break free and Jayden and Leo begin to talk to the emperor. Amongst the struggling, the emperor reveals to Leo that it was Olaf who killed his father as he was under the emperor’s control. As the emperor mocks Olaf, Leo breaks free of the trap and begins to fight with the Shadar-Kai and Rallis. They continue to try and convince Mearah that what he is doing is wrong and against the nature of the Raven Queen (his god). But during the fight, they find a large, flesh golem by the name of “Muffy” comes barging from the balcony to aid Rallis. Even Olaf doesn’t seem to be moving under his own command as Rallis takes control of him and has him fight the rest of the party.

The fight down below is also well underway as Shintaro fights off the wave of zombies that are coming through the courtyard, but a larger one has made himself known and now it looks like the fight is just going to get harder.

Chapter 11: The Anima Revolution

Timespan: 3rd Work 23:1208 to 2nd Rest 15:1208

The medusa told the party of how her family has been suffering as of late. A lamia and her henchmen from the desert of the south (Bakka) had moved in to the Medusa’s hunting grounds. The Medusa agreed to leave the party alone and leave their supply line alone if they were to get rid of the lamia. The party agreed and, in order, to make sure they upheld their bargain, they were injected with a strange poison from the silver snakes that she had. They were told they only had a few hours before the poison would kill them and they would get the antidote upon completing their task.

The party trudged through the mountains and came upon a deserted, ancient dwarven city that was occupied by the lamia. They entered her building forcefully and fought her. Upon her death the medusa gave the party the antidote and even received magical help through the snake bites (everyone received a “tattoo of shared vengeance”). The medusa, however, did not help the party after that in anyway.

With the supply line cleared, the war could truly begin, especially with new allies joining their forces. Each of the characters became generals of the army and they led a five month campaign across all of Kinsmet, tactically taking over each state. In the process the people who were petrified in the mountains by the supply line were saved and cured by using the blood of the medusa they fought earlier (as she didn’t like the new troops in her hunting grounds).

The war was tough on many of them. Delad, who found that the poison that they suffered while in the mountains had made his scar on his back bigger than before, had made him more quiet up until the war started. What was truly disturbing was the fact that after the first week of the war, Delad went MIA during one of the battles in the State of Dordare. His body has never shown up and he is still considered missing 5 months later.

The control of all of Kinsmet has been going well and now leads the group to their final battle in the state of Rydelle.

Chapter 10: War Council and the Angel's Message
4-26-10 session

Timespan: 3rd Work 13:1208 to 3rd Work 23:1208

The group, now covered in blood and rain, look at each other in case another fight might break out with Leo and his men. The question was asked: Will the group aid Leo and go back to his encampment or will they continue to follow Rallis’ men?

Balasar Zavari gives his opinion by saying he is noble so he doesn’t like the idea of lying to the king by disguising Leo, however he understands the situation calls for a good strategy and that just may be it. Balasar has decided that he will side with Leo over the king and will protect/fight for Leo should it come to that. He feels that if there is even the slightest chance that Emperor Rallis could be Stondylus then he should not be trusted, at least not completely. Lately he is also struggling with trusting authority because of his past experience with his own men and country turning against him. He is starting to believe that if things do not change and the emperor keeps making suspicious treaties a rebellion just might be what is needed. And who better to lead that rebellion than Leo. However, this is getting ahead. At the immediate moment he wants to head back to Leo’s hide out to form and plan and possibly dry off.

Jayden is not shy and does not mind bluntly stating his opinions. He does not like being tricked or led into a trap, and although he is okay with Leo now, he is still angry at being led into an ambush. At this point he would really like to find out what is going on with the Emperor. It appeared that the Emperor was telling them the truth (or at least he himself thought he was). So if there is any chance at all that Stondylus is possessing the Emperor he would want to find that out as soon as possible. Whatever path leads to finding this out – Jayden would support. Jayden (like Thorin, he believes) is also getting worried about the final confrontation with Stondylus. As to how the group may be able to either destroy him finally or contain his spirit. Jayden is trying to discover a ritual for this… but if Leo’s people have some technology to help with this (for example trapping Stondylus in a Warforged shell, etc.) he would be up for investigating that as well. With all that being said, Jayden still has sworn a life-debt to Thorin, so will ultimately follow Thorin’s lead wherever that may be.

Kaori Shintaro is aware that Leo is a student of history, and is in a position of power at least similar to that of the Emperor. He has no great love for Rallis, again resenting the test of his language skills and all that, and the hiding of his own ability to speak Supernal, and feels much more inclined to work with Leo given his openness and seemingly good intentions. However, he is pragmatic, and wants to be sure that he’s aligning himself with someone capable of furthering his own personal interests, especially given the size of the enemy he’d potentially be making in the meantime.

“I will help you in your bid to thwart this Emperor Rallis, and will do what I can to prevent him from gaining whatever it is that he seeks, but I require your aid as well. First, I want access to your knowledge of history and your aid in researching whatever I may need. Second, I want your support, both physically and materially, in traveling to find and in obtaining a specific group of artifacts, once we manage to track them down. My only interest in the Emperor’s offer was the chance of doing just that under his patronage, and I hope that you can offer me the same to deny him the service. I’m sure you can understand the value of our working together on this… whether or not he realizes it, this Rallis may be on to something greater than us all, and I assure you that I don’t want him harnessing that power any more than you do. So do we have an agreement?”

Leo looks at Shintaro’s question and says, “If I am to aid this quest, I must be convinced of its just ends. For what purpose do you seek these artifacts? We’ve learned first-hand what mischief results from keeping secrets. Let this brotherhood forge a bond of honesty and trust that may save the world!"

The monk, Delad, having been meditating in a corner this entire time, speaks up without opening his eyes. There is no malice in his voice, only mild skepticism. “Honesty and trust, you say? This from the one whose secrets caused the mischief in question. One might suggest that such honesty would have served us all better before the attempted assassination of a world leader threw all of us into danger…ah well. Nothing can be done about the past, I suppose. Nonetheless, regardless of the origins of our Rallis predicament, a predicament we have. Although there is certainly more pressing business to attend to, I do not foresee Rallis as the type to forgive and forget; I’d rather deal with him now than have him pop up at some inopportune time and interfere with…future pursuits. An acorn is more easily dealt with than an oak, as Master Ryosuke was fond of saying.”

Though his eyes remain closed, his brow furrows slightly. “Another thing my master liked to say was that trust is broken quickly as an egg cracks, but built as slowly as it hatches. I have no concern for Shintaro’s secrets as far as they do not pertain to our quest; Nor, Leo, do I have concern for your misgivings about him. I advise we eliminate Rallis as a potential future obstacle, and we do it with either, both, or neither of these two outsiders. If they wish to gain our trust, they may come along and assist. If they would rather bicker and barter, they are a delay not worth enduring.”

One eye opens beneath an arched eyebrow. “All that aside, I don’t enjoy bleeding for longer than I have to, So I’ll follow wherever our dear Cleric decides to lead. The choice is yours, Thorin.”

Lightning-blue eyes flash angrily at the serenely seated elf from Leo, “I’d think your trust would have hatched when I saved your hide from the Underdark, or over the months that I’ve been risking my life to help you all on your quest!”

His bluster passes like a storm, his visage of strength falls away, revealing a man worn down by grief, responsibility and exhaustion. Sighing, he looks pleadingly to his comrades, “I do not blame you for your suspicion, as my actions of late appear that of an outsider. I did not involve you in my ‘predicament’ precisely to keep you out of this present danger. I did not expect to leave Geshur alive, and hold little hope of defeating Rallis’ army now. I see now, that I should have allowed my friends to choose for themselves.”

Slumping on a tree stump with his head in his hands, the companions notice how young he really is (18 now), a scared boy with the weight of many on his shoulders, “My father, Braivemor Anima and I parted with harsh words, and when I heard he was killed, I was overcome with guilt, but it has fallen to me to carry on in the defense of our people now that the Duke is gone.”

Leo conveniently draws his sight to an acorn next to him on the ground. He picks it up and, remembering himself, he stands; the air of royalty again gracing his chiseled jaw line, “An acorn before an oak, you say. If Rallis is really Stondylus, as I believe, then he may be at the very core of your quest. Neither do I doubt that our meeting Shintaro is coincidental. He is one of a handful of people on the planet who understands Supernal, and is searching for the very same artifacts as Stondylus.” Turning to Shintaro, he offers a hand to shake (even though he’s in tiger form), ‘I will aid you in your quest, trusting that you will reveal any information you deem relevant in your own timing, and I pledge the friendship of Rydelle until such a time as I am convinced your quest does evil to my people, my companions or to the world.’ With a slight smile, he adds, “At least let us outsiders stand together.”

Shintaro pauses, considering the warlord’s outstretched hand. He shifts into his shifter form, and for a moment almost seems like he is about to launch into some sort of tirade, but manages to check himself, and slowly extends his hand to shake with Leo. As they shake hands, for a brief moment he appears slightly less wild and defensive then the group has seen him before, and as he speaks he almost matches Leo’s nobility, “If that is indeed what Rallis is searching for. We shall see. But our meeting was not by chance, I agree. So I accept your offer, and the friendship of Rydelle, and in return I offer my own assistance and the friendship of Lau Jahnan.” As he releases Leo’s hand, the air of nobility is gone, and once more in character, he sneers “Until such a time when we are convinced that we do evil to one another.”

Shifting back into his tiger form he paces for a moment before settling down on his haunches and says, “With that out of the way, we still must decide what we plan to do next, and time runs short, the Emperor will be expecting us. Do we carry out his charade and attempt to learn what we can, or flee into the countryside to fight a war that we surely cannot win?”

Almost as an afterthought, he adds. “Oh yes… and who is this Stondylus you all keep carrying on about?”

After cleaning themselves up, Leo looks at Thorin out of desperation and asks, “My family has been faithful servants of Pelor for a hundred generations, many of them clerics and paladins. My father cared more about Pelor than with his children. How could Pelor allow the horrible things that have come to our family? My mother was taken by a horrible disease when we were still young. Our good king was replaced by this possessed monster and my father died by dragon bile (the most painful poison imaginable). Is that the reward Pelor gives to his followers, or is he just too weak to protect them? Why doesn’t he step in and help this world in peril?

Thorin, as if a million miles away, shakes his head and brings his attention back to Leo and says, “Leo, I understand that you are hurt and angry but don’t let the faith and service of your parents die with them. That would be a crushing blow to all that they lived for and devoted themselves to. You knew to remember that Pelor is good and he will do right by his servants. He is also the god of time. Everything needs to happen in its time. Just as the sun marks times as it journeys its designated path across the sky. So we all, including your parents, journey our designated paths. Just like when you grow crops—some produces a harvest and some wither too soon. Our lives end in tragedy or in joy but there is always the harvest of the greater good being produced. Remember, Pelor is good. He is the god of the summer. It might seem like winter to you right now but summer is coming. You need to give Pelor time. I believe, I must believe, that he will bring your family justice. We may be chosen to be those agents of justice. Please, grant Pelor and us the faith and the time to see that justice.”

Thorin shifts gears fluently from caring priest to decisive leader as he address the rest of the group, “I would like to confront Emperor Rallis as soon as possible but I do not think we should rush in like fools. If there is any chance Stondylus is involved, we need to be as prepared as possible. I do not wish to see him escape justice again to corrupt other kingdoms and destroy other lives. I believe we should go with Leo to assess the situation and our strengths. We need to be magically prepared if possible. Yes, we need to confront Rallis very soon but I think we should try to strategize as quickly as possible. We run the risk of being declared enemies of the kingdom if found with Leo but they have not proven to be our strongest friends.”

Looking to Thorin’s guidance, the party decides to side with Leo and follow him back to his headquarters, in Dunerth. They take their two captives, Mearah and Ophel, and throw them in the jail.

Leo is greeted by his generals and is told that there is a General’s meeting happening that he needs to attend to. Thorin and Shintaro go with him and attend.

Olaf is a general there, so is Abana, Chezib, and Magnus (all who the characters have just met).

They find out a couple things: Rothia, who went with Leo to Kinsmet is protecting their headquarters from many warforged scouts that have been trying to see what is happening in their village. Also, they tell them their supply line for food and equipment from their accomplices from the south has been cut off recently. And if nothing is done about it immediately, they will have to disband the whole army.

The group also finds that Magnus and his scouting troop came across the Animus’ estate before leaving Rydelle as it was being severely searched for the revolutionary army. Many of the eladrin’s men and women who were with him died getting the magic items from the tombs of Animus. One of them is marked with ancient script and Shintaro claims it is of The Kingdom of Lau Jahnan and asks to have it. Leo agrees and gives the rest of the magic items each to one of the party members.

Leo and Thorin decide that the next morning they should travel down and find out what’s causing the problems for the supply line.

During the meeting, Jayden, Balasar, and Delad begin to interrogate the twin brothers, Mearah and Ophel. Mearah is compliant with their demands but Ophel, upon seeing his predicament, decides to kill himself by blowing himself up with what the party guesses is a pre-made ritual. His body lays in ruins as his brother watches in horror and begins to cry. Jayden insists he tells them everything and he agrees as long as he can bury his brother properly. The party agrees and Mearah tells them everything he knew. Nothing in particular is said other than the fact that Emperor Rallis was going to reward them like he promised for completing their job. Mearah says the reason they attacked the party was because it was the orders of the emperor to take care of the party if they don’t comply with their orders as the emperor didn’t want to take any chances with the party since he knew they were old friends of Leo. Rallis said to the party before that he was willing to let them talk to Leo but only when Leo was captured and taken into custody so that he goes through the proper trials.

Afterward, the group helps Mearah with the burial of his brother right outside the gates of Dunerth. To everyone’s surprise, Leo asks for forgiveness from Mearah and proceeds to let him go and let’s him do whatever he wants (within reason) in their village HQ. Mearah and the rest of the group are quite astonished and Mearah is left in silence. That night he stays at his brother’s grave and is then seen the next morning in town just as a neutral visitor.

The party then travels south to the Aglecairn Mountains to find out what stopped their supply line. They enter the tunnel that connects parts of the Underdark and what gets through to the desert to the south. Along the tunnel there are various ways to go to get to different dwarf, gnome, and halfling villages. The party comes across a deserted halfling village. The only info. they can get is that they gathered their things in time (not in a hurry) and left in almost a uniformed fashion (single file). Thorin suggested it might have been the warforged who gathered and captured them.

In the deserted town the group came across a trashed temple of Pelor. Graffiti made by the warforged was written all over it with tipped over furniture and broken glass everywhere. Thorin says he can’t go any further until he fixes this temple up. So a majority of the party helps while the others explore the rest of the town and keep watch (as the major road passes through the center of town).

Upon finishing the clean up, an angel appears before the whole group in front of the temple gates and gives them a message:

The Proclamation of Malakiy

The group, bewildered, talks of their recent accusations. No one is able to clearly say who is of what color so they continue past the town further south to ponder over these ominous words.

A few miles further they come across stone statues of people along with abandoned carts. They are then attacked by snake men and a medusa. The group is able to defeat almost all of the enemies, and when things seem to be going their way, Balasar is turned to stone by the medusa along with Leo.

The medusa then says, “Sheathe your blades. If you wish to save your friends, you must complete a task for me. I am desperate.”

Chapter 9: The Island of Rhodantus

Timespan: 2nd Work 21:1208 to 3rd Work 13:1208

After the ship sank and the party rescued Emperor Rallis’ personal chest, the party swam to the shores of the new island. They figured out that it was the small, shifter-populated Island of Rhodantus.

They explored the jungle and found a speaking tiger, by the name of Kaori Shintaro. He was able to help the group find the port of Mirovan to get the emperor and his men back to Kinsmet. They also learned that their new “friend” was a shifter druid who seemed to have two personalities depending on when he was in his tiger form or his humanoid form. One great aspect of the tiger form was that he is one of only a few dozen people in the world that can speak Supernal, the language of the gods.

With this said talent, the emperor was able to strike a deal with Shintaro and asked him to translate an artifact from his personal chest. This orb is an artifact from the time of the Tabula Rasa. Other than many numbers written on it, the only real phrase worth translating was, “Sehanine has power over all the portals on Erryes.”

Shintaro tells the group that he is a bit of an outcast from his tribe of shifters on the island. The island itself is quite old in history (refer to The Kingdom of Lau Jahnan).

After revealing the fact that the Emperor also speaks supernal (he learned from Master Janum he said), he convinces Shintaro to join him in his council in order to translate more artifacts that he has found from the times of the Tabula Rasa. Shintaro agrees (his payment was to be made on a later date he asked) and ventures with the group to the main land via ship from the port of Mirovan.

The group reaches Shimron and the emperor and his men join with other soldiers of his. After rewarding the party, he tells them he will give them an emperor impostor who they will “protect” as there has been talk of revolution in his country and many people don’t like him. He takes one road leading southeast while the party goes southwest through the mountains of Corgin’s Bane. They are told to meet with his council in Brielle in a few days.

They travel through the mountains and come across a violent storm in the night. While traveling, the impostor king is killed by a dark-clad knight who summons a few human mages and some orcs to help fight the group. Mearah and Ophel, who were with the group, try to rescue the impostor king but cannot. The party fights the mysterious outlaw assassin and in the midst of battle, the dark knight’s helmet falls off and when Delad attacks him to knock him out, he sees through the flash of the lightning storm that the knight is actually their old friend, Leo.

The shadar-kai tell the group to kill him but they refuse. Then the shadar-kai attempt to kill the group but are subdued by the party. Leonus gets up after being healed by his orc and human friends and begins to explain his situation: His father, Braivemor Anima, was killed by the Emperor and the emperor has named himself emperor over all of Kinsmet when no other country asked him to. He says that some kind of demon is possessing him to hinder his judgment (as he was a kind ruler before) and with the help of his father’s goggles that let him see when one is possessed, he found that the emperor was possessed and attempted to kill him in Geshur after finding out the horrible news of his father’s murder.

Chapter 8: New Bodyguards
2-22-10 session

Timespan: 1st Work 27:1208 to 2nd Work 21:1208

Balasar and Jayden were in quite the pickle: Their friend that they thought they could trust just attempted to kill the emperor of a nation. They did notice a couple things though: the name Braivemor Anima was mentioned by Leo who is a political leader of Kinsmet. They recognized a warforged was with Leo, which are a rare sight to see on the west side of the continent. But one was seen a few weeks ago, asking about a man named Leonus Anima. No one had ever heard the name, but someone told him to try the city of Lystra. Leo was also wearing a strange set of magical goggles on his head as they noticed him fleeing the scene. Balasar and Jayden left the scene as quickly as possible so they could inform the rest of their group.

During that time, Master Ryosuke came out of his coma and was able to talk to his student. He was glad to see at least one of his students survived. He wanted to see how Delad was doing, hence why he sent those psionically-linked messages to him. Ryosuke discovered that the prophecy translation he had was wrong. It wasn’t, “The one with the mark will show the way to the gods,” but it was actually “The one with the mark will show the way for the gods.” (hence the dream with the numbers 2 and 4 in it).

Master Ryosuke said, “This means that we won’t be able to contact the gods but they will affect us on the Material Planes.” When Thorin mentions that Stondylus’ “Great Theory” seems to be coming true, Ryosuke recognizes the name as being a great theorist of Erryes who has published numerous books, including his theory of Entropy.

Master Ryosoke then asks Delad if he remembers when he was last infected with a disease. Delad recollects his time back in the first few chapters where the Burning Plague almost claimed his life. He remembers that Master Ryosuke had contacted him and told him of what Stondylus had been doing lately in that area and that he should stop him in case he does something horrible again. During that time, it turns out that Delad’s mark on his back had gotten larger. When he left the monastery a couple years ago it was the size of a thimble but once he was infected, it grew to the size of a fist. Ryosuke says that if he were to get sick again it will grow even larger. Delad didn’t think this was such a problem until Ryosuke explained that his mark is like a gateway for the gods. This “gateway” (wherever it might be) opens depending on how large Delad’s mark gets. If it’s big enough, a god can come through the gate into the Material Plane and start changing the world to their liking. “Once a god gets through, it will stay for as long as it wants and the only way to get rid of the god is by getting the god to go back into the same gate,” Master Ryosuke further explains.

Delad doesn’t see the harm in bringing in gods into the Material Plane because maybe they could help the world out but Ryosuke smacks him over the head and explains, “That’s heresy because there was a reason why the gods left us originally so we must respect their actions to do so and not change that fact.”

The group then explains their run in with someone who might be a god, Sehanine. Rothia was affected by her and changed him into a dragon upon his request. Master Ryosuke thinks that Delad and his group have a job to do: they must figure out where this gate is and (maybe, if they decide this) close it for good. Delad then ponders if this would be a sufficient action. “Maybe if we let the gods come through, they’ll be able to walk with us again in perfect harmony.”

After their conversation with Master Ryosuke, the group reunites with Balasar and Jayden and they explain that they saw Leo attempting to kill Emperor Rallis. He ran away out of town with a warforged while being pursued by the emperor’s bodyguards. They make plans to leave town immediately but find that the temple of Pelor that they are in has been occupied by the wounded emperor and his bodyguards.

They decide to try to leave casually and it seems it works as Thorin and Delad exit the main door that’s being guarded by the emperor’s bodyguards but as soon as Delad and Balasar step out the door, they are stopped by Ophel, captain of Emperor Rallis’ guards. He realizes that Jayden and Balasar were there at the parade and followed Leo as he made his escape. Upon further questions that left the two with their mouths hanging open, Delad attempts to argue the authority the bodyguards have here in Geshur and as it gets worse, Emperor Rallis comes from his room, still wounded, but recovering. He calms Ophel down and explains to the party that he wishes to hear what they know about Leo, giving them free reign to leave if they wish to. The nurses and priest doctors are quite amazed to see that his wound has healed so well (after being infected with the very deadly “Dragonbile” poison from Leo’s axe) as the group later finds out that Emperor Rallis’ personal doctor came with him on this trip (Kinsmet is known for it’s wide variety of herbs/healing methods, etc., and their life expectancy is higher than any other country).

The group tells all they know of Leo and find out from the emperor that he is Leonus Anima, sole heir to the throne of Rydelle. They are also told that his father, Braivemor Anima, was murdered by one of his own warforged creations (as Braivemor is the creator of these constructs) with the investigation still being looked into.

The emperor doesn’t know why Leonus would try and kill him, he figures that Leonus thinks the emperor killed Braivemore Anima.

The group tells Rallis they are very surprised by his actions and wish to talk to him first before the emperor arrests him for his attempted murder. Emperor Rallis agrees.

During their discussion, the emperor remembers hearing of the party’s exploits in Cush and he asks Thorin if he is related to Thorin Lotus I. Upon hearing that he is the son of Thorin, the emperor is surprised and is happy to tell them that he knew his father. Thorin’s father was a paladin soldier for Rallis’ army back in 1170. He was one of the only friends the emperor had that was lower than noble status. When the emperor hears that his father is dead, he is sorry to hear that and commends his actions.

After talking to the group about their past exploits and about Stondylus, he offers the party a job. After the incident with Leonus, his bodyguards have gone down in numbers and he is in need of more as they make their way home in two days. The party agrees and they are treated well in the noble house that the emperor is staying in for the next two days.

During that time Jayden accompanies the emperor to political business with Lord Abaddon and King Eglon III. Emperor Rallis offers a peace treaty with the new nation of Midia-Urartu and they humbly accept it. Delad spends his day and a half with Master Ryosuke working on a new meditation technique that will eventually allow him to communicate with others telepathically.

After the two days, the group boards “His Majesty’s Thwin-wep,” the emperor’s personal ship. 20 days go by as they sail around the Great Sea towards the country of Kinsmet, meeting in Shimron. During that time Thorin gets to know the kind-hearted Emperor Rallis a bit more, telling him of his father’s adventures and how eventually he left the Rydelle army to go to Rullmenn (now Remains of Rullmenn) for some reason. And at that time, he had not met Thorin’s mother, Yuma Lotus.

Before they arrived in Shimron, the group is attacked in the middle of the night by a clan of Sahuagin who somehow break the bottom of the boat. It begins to sink and the party vanquishes the sea monsters and one is able to run away. Emperor Rallis is fine along with Ophel and his twin brother, Mearah, another guard.

The group, now finding themselves in the middle of the Great Sea, to the north of the Yalin Mountains, they see a small island in the distance to the north.


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