The Price of Peace

Session XIV
Baby Leviathan Steaks
5/27/429, Wednesday

The party leaves the Shrine, and they are congratulated by the Elder, who invites them to a feast in their honor. They agree. Along the way, they visit an armorsmith, who enchants all of their armor up to +2.

At the feast, Dorien casts tongues and sings to them in Aquan. The aquatic elves take notes, adding the song to their legends. An elf hunter introduces himself as Kevros and talks to them about the Deludes, an Aquan term for the Leviathans.

Some time into the meal, an alarm is raised as sahuagins attack! The party goes to assist. Horace makes way to the Turquoise December, upset at the name. The elves and party fight the sahuagins, and Horace has Galenka maneuver the ship closer to provide support with the new turret of chain missile. Zion shuts down the sahuagin cleric with dispel magic counterspells. Things go from bad to worse as they see a small Leviathan approach. It promptly eats the remaining sahuagin, and two of the elves appear dominated and attack the ship. Kevros resists the effect and attacks the Leviathan and is eaten next for his troubles. The party, now all aboard the ship, have Galenka ascend as quickly as they can. Dorien breaks the enchantment on the dominated elf with the Silver Star. The Leviathan pursues and wraps itself around the ship. They pound the beast with swords and sorcery, and it soon dies.

They return to the elves to finish eating. The elves begin to harvest the Leviathan for meat, and the party convinces the elves to share. They load 2 tons of Leviathan meat onto the ship, and the elder presents them with a chest of pearls, which Zion appraises at around 7000 gp.

They return to the Sanctuary to return the masks ans show off the Silver Star. They depart and return to Alexia.

6/1/429, Friday

The party lands in Alexia.

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Session XIII
Act II
5/25/429, Monday

Safe at home back in Alexia, the party recovers. Queen Amélie II gives a speech to address rumors that Ligot had declared war. They solve a puzzle given to them by Prof. Zalomon, revealing the location of the Silver Star: at the bottom of the ocean near the Goddesses’ Sanctuary. Zionysus Zindigger also reviews his research and believes the Imperial Medallion to have been created by an old civilization whose capital was near today’s Senvois. Later, Horace and Zion go to market to sell off some loot.

It is decided that their first objective will be to obtain the Silver Star. They find captain Galenka and hire him and his airship semi-permanently. Before they depart, Dorien Arsisen, Willow, and Sir Frederik Kuhlricht visit Selenia in the Brass Dragon Tavern. She apologizes for involving them and is visibly angry at allowing them and herself to be used by Kendall Oakes. Dorien asks if she has any information regarding the Golden Star. She replies that if she knew where it was, she’d have it by now, but she conjectures that it might be somewhere the old Tellix would think would be safe. She then tells them that she plans on laying low and leaving Alexia for a while. The party leaves and begins their voyage to Sanctuary.

5/26/429, Tuesday

The trip is long and mostly uneventful, and they are attacked by a pair of wyverns. They successfully defend the ship and continue on their way.

5/27/429, Wednesday

The ship approaches a prismatic cloud, which Galenka says is the gateway to the Sanctuary. They pass through the cloud and see a flying tower with two floating platforms encircling it, each manned by a Guardian. They land on the tower and an angel escorts them to the Goddesses’ lounge, where a Guardian is singing to Sola, Luna, and Alyna. Luna asks Dorien to sing for them and he is happy to oblige. The party asks about the Silver Star, and Sola confirms its location, mentioning that she has a bond with both Star swords, having forged them herself.

Sola takes them to the Vault, which houses hundreds of magical items, and in the center of the room, a large, glowing crystal sphere. Sola finds some masks of water breathing and distributes them to the party, asking them to return them when they’re finished. She also reveals that a crew of angels are working on the airship to make it a convertible submersible. Frederik christens the ship the G.S.S. Turquoise December.

They dive and find the sunken island. They are greeted by some aquatic elf scouts, who believe these topsiders to be here for the Sword of Virtues. They guide them to the Shrine of Virtues and their Elder, who is convinced that the party are The Chosen Ones mentioned in their legend and grants them access to the Shrine, where they must pass the Five Trials of Virtue.

The Shrine has a bubble of air, allowing them to breathe normally. The first room has stone walls decorated with tattered tapestries, a stone pedestal, and a wall of fire opposite them. There is a scroll on the pedestal that reads: “The first virtue is courage, in refusing to bow to fear and enduring hardship for the sake of the quest.” Frederik charges through the fire, and Dorien sings his Dragonsong to assist the others.

The second room has a dais in the center with a sleeping gynosphinx and a pedestal near the entrance. The scroll on the pedestal reads: “The second virtue is strength, be it physical or mental, muscle or mind.” There is a pile of bones in each of the far corners. As the party steps forward, the sphinx wakes up, ordering the party to halt. She asks a single question: “Why should I spare your lives?” Frederik convinces her that his quest is righteous and he is strong enough to succeed and should be entrusted with the Silver Star. She allows them to pass.

The third room has dull black walls, covered in white writing, and the scroll on the pedestal in the center of the room reads: “The third virtue Is philomathy, a love for learning that yearns to be shared.” Next to the scroll is a white piece of chalk. The writing on the walls is a collection of criticisms of forgotten literary works, philosophical treatises, mathematical proofs, and magical runes. There are a few blank patches on the walls. Zion takes note of the spells, which he identifies as indsight, Solipsism, Wall of Dispel Magic, and Body of the Sun). Frederik writes an old prayer to Bahamut that his father taught him on the wall, and the door opens.

The door opens into a small chamber with a a scroll on a pedestal and curtain concealing the rest of the room. The scroll reads: “The fourth virtue is piety, when the gods above are trusted but aloof; loved from afar.” Pulling back the curtain reveals a hall with a crimson carpet that illustrates a line of monks, heads bowed and hands clasped. Four statues of men look upwards irreverently. They party bows their heads and passes easily.

The next room is adorned with tapestries depicting fallen heroes and martyrs. A stone door on the opposite wall is shut, and a scroll sits on a pedestal near the door, in front of a shallow circular indentation in the floor. The scroll reads: “The fifth and final virtue is self-sacrifice, when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.” They try dropping blood in the circle and giving gold, but nothing happens. Willow identifies it as a simple mechanical pit trap, set to trigger given enough weight. Zion shatters the pedestal and they place the rubble on the circle. With some clicking, the floor opens and the rocks fall, triggering a mechanism to open the door and splashing into water 60 feet down.

They proceed to the final chamber, lit by silver dancing lights. On an altar is a beautifully crafted rapier with a silver engraved basket hilt and diamonds adorning the pommel, its blade glowing a soft silver light and humming very slightly. They claim the Silver Star.

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Session XII
Intermission
5/21/429, Thursday

The party sails off into the night sky. A pair of Hoppers take off to pursue, but Galenka is unconcerned; they are currently in the fastest ship in the country. Queen Amélie paces the deck, concerned about the day’s happenings. Frederik, Dorien, Willow, and Zion open the chest they took from the garrison, finding their equipment and a few other goodies: a Cloak of Resistance +2, a Headband of Intellect +2, Gloves of Dexterity +2, and a Crystal of Lesser Fire Protection. They then decide to sleep on the rest of the ride home, though Frederik decides to patrol the deck.

Late that night, Frederik finds the pilot asleep at the wheel. He wakes him up, and the pilot discovers to their horror that they are headed straight into a storm. A bolt of lightning shatters the mast and the ship plummets out of the sky. Galenka rushes to the deck, slaps his crewman, and tries to regain control. Soon, the emergency fail-safe system kicks in, slowing the descent of the vessel with a feather fall spell. They see an island below, so Galenka guides the ship to a soft landing.

Galenka tells them that they will need supplies to repair the ship. They decide to explore in the morning, taking refuge in the ship for the night.

Sir Frederik takes watch that night, and has a hunch that the cave he saw on the descent holds the key, both to Galenka’s supplies and Frederik’s own search for answers to the mystery of the dragons.

5/22/429, Friday

The party, along with Captain Kega, Amélie, Guardian Weiss, and Annabelle, depart to procure the resources they need, taking Frederik’s suggestion to seek out the cave. Along the way, they see shadows in some trees, and Willow sees a reptilian tail. Frederik demands that they show themselves, and the reply comes in Draconic, telling them to leave their island at once. The party responds that they cannot leave until they find supplies, so the voice tells them that they shall die then. Four lizardfolk with bat wings and two devils descend from the trees and a fight ensues.

Emerging victorious, the party gathers up the loot: four +1 short spears and a bag of holding type II containing 750 gp. They continue onward toward the cave.

In the cave, they see a variety of devils and lizardfolk. In the center are two large beings, one an evil devil, the other a draconic beast with silver scales but devilish features who did not detect as evil. The latter sees the party approaching and calls to them in Draconic. He identifies himself as Kotharorn, the ruler of the island [played by Malcolm]. The party tell him that they are in need of metal material to fix their ship so they can leave. Kotharorn asks what they can give in return, so Frederik offers a handful of gems. The other large devil tells Kotharorn to kill them, their ancestral enemies, else appear weak to his subjects. Kotharorn ignores him and accepts the deal.

Kotharorn leads the party down some tunnels, telling them a bit of the history of the island. He says that he is descended from a silver dragon, who once ruled this land. Frederik stops, surprised. He had thought the resemblance may have just been a trick of the light. Kotharorn assures him that his draconic heritage is true, though he is also the spawn of a devil. Over four hundred years ago, a group of devils appeared on the island and killed the dragon. The devils were abandoned there by their commanders, so they settled in and took over the island. He takes them to his personal chambers, where his ancestor once dwelled.

They see a large circle of stones on the floor with magical inscriptions. However, the circle itself seemed to be without magic. Frederik thinks the runes describe the circle as one of teleportation. Zion looks closer and believes it to be a portal to another plane, or it would be had it been finished. Zion feels an overwhelming feeling of hate emanating from the stones toward the devils. He is stunned by the aura, but soon finds that he can feel that hate in himself, a tingling in his fingers. His spells become especially effective against devils. Willow also feels this aura and captures the draconic hate of the devils, gaining the ability to sense the presence of devils.

They continue on their way deeper into the cave, into a cavern where mine carts were filled with metal. Kotharorn tells them to take as much as they need. Soon, Willow feels some devils approaching. Kotharorn’s advisor, Septimus, enters with two henchmen, declaring Kotharorn to be too weak to lead. They fight.

Sir Frederik feels the hate of the dragons well up within him, and as he attacks a spined devil, his falchion deals a tremendous amount of damage, including a channeling of a silver dragon’s cold breath. The devil dies instantly.

Dorien hears a faint melody and feels a power in it. He tries to sing it, and the dragonsong gives him and his allies resistance to the devils’ energy attacks. Together with Kotharorn, the party defeats Septimus. Amélie tells Kotharorn that they are again facing a war with the devils, and he could prove to be a powerful ally. He says he will consider an alliance in the future. They depart.

Galenka makes the repairs to the airship, and they set sail again toward Alexia, relieved to be heading home.

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Session XI
Act I Curtain
5/20/429, Wednesday

Frederik Kuhlricht, Willow, and Zionysus Zindigger find themselves an hour later in jail cells in the Colonial Irregulars’ Garrison in Ligot. Dorien Arsisen sprints to the airship, where a small group of soldiers is demanding the surrender of Horace, who is too busy shooting seagulls to pay attention. Captain Galenka forbids the soldiers below from boarding his ship. Dorien makes his way up the rope ladder and convinces Galenka and Horace that they need to return to Alexia to gather a rescue party.

Eventually, the prisoners are visited by Administrator Gulkon and another man: Kendall Oakes, the visiting governor of Tellixia. Gulkon informs them that their trial will begin the next morning. The case will be decided by a panel of five judges, including Gulkon. Frederik demands to be released, but Gulkon ignores him.

5/21/429, Thursday

Dorien and Horace visit Queen Amélie II and the Guardian of Peace Weiss in private chambers. They convince them to assist in negotiating the release of their comrades, with sufficient force should the need arise. The Guardian entourage is decided to consist of Weiss, Leah, and Amélie herself, under the guess of Melissa. They then visit Captain Kega, who happily agrees to join them. Horace also locates Annabelle, who likewise agrees to help save Zion.

They all meet at the airship tower, where the fastest ship available has been prepared. Galenka makes a gift of a wand of scorching ray to Horace.

Meanwhile, at their trial, Frederik and Zion skillfully counter the prosecution’s points and decimate their circumstantial case against them. There is a fourth defendant, Hilbert Wheatflee, who is also charged with Lannan’s murder.

Kendall Oakes is called upon, with the body of Lannan, to cast speak with dead. The defendants ask him to also cast zone of truth, and he does. Lannan’s body tells the court that he had been threatened by the party the day before, as well as that his murderer was seated at the defense table. The party immediately looks at Hilbert, and Frederik drags him into the zone of truth and asks him if he committed the murder. Hilbert tries to evade the question, but Frederik can be quite convincing. He also admits that he had no association with the party.

In the end, the party is acquitted of the murder and espionage charges, but found guilty of resisting arrest and slaying a town guard. They adjourn for sentencing the next day, while Hilbert is scheduled to be executed that night.

The rescue entourage arrives near sundown. Guards are waiting for them, who try to raise an alarm, expecting them to be rescue commandos. Horace convinces them that they are simply there for peaceful diplomacy, and they are escorted to Administrator Gulkon. Kendall is also present. Horace apparently convinces them that he is seeking extradition of the prisoners to answer for crimes in Alexia. Weiss and Dorien stay quiet, hoping his gambit works. Kendall and some soldiers escort them to the garrison while Dorien returns to the airship. Along the way, he asks Weiss if he is a Guardian, who is in plain clothes. Weiss dodges the question.

At the cell block, Kendall tells them to wait there while he talks to the guard. They see the guard unlock the doors, then return to his desk. The party greets their comrades, and Kendall disappears. Frederik resists, believing that he was tried fairly and would face whatever sentence the law proscribed. Weiss tries to talk him out of it, but is forced to teleport him to the airship. When Frederik appears next to Dorien, Galenka sails the ship toward the garrison.

They ask the guard for their equipment, but the guard does not recognize them and is convinced that he received no orders for their release. He reaches for an alarm bell, but Horace’s lightning reflexes reach for his wand faster, felling the guard with a single shot.

They quickly find the equipment room, where they see a locked chest. They cannot open it, but they surmise that their gear is inside. Horace convinces the receptionist that he is transferring the prisoners and receives the key to the chest. They leave out the front door.

A ring of Irregulars is waiting for them, headed by Kendall, who yells, “Jailbreak!” Galenka arrives and throws the ladder down. They scramble up the ladder while the ship takes fire from crossbows, which do little damage. Kendall watches calmly as the ship flies away from the colony at top speed.

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Session X
Into the Mines
5/19/429, Tuesday

The party sets out to gather information before delving into the mine. Frederik learns a bit about the background of Ligot: the citizens in general are disenchanted with the Goddesses, who they feel do not watch over the colonies; colonial exports are not given a fair price, resulting in an economy where the colonies are poor and the mainland lives in comfort; and as a result of this, the colonies cannot afford the magical tools the mainland mines use. He learns that the people in black armor are the “Colonial Irregulars,” a militia of mercenaries and draftees that serve as a police force and protection against invading goblins, orcs, and lizardfolk.

Meanwhile, Dorien sees an old church of the Goddesses in the center of town that has fallen into disuse and disrepair, likely built back when the colony was first founded. He hears a man talk about sending a shipment to Louis Candeux in Tellixia. He discovers that the foreman of the mine is a dwarf named Alexandr Stonefire.

They turn in for the night.

5/20/429, Wednesday

They head to the mine, while Horace stays on the airship to play with the scorching ray turret. The party finds Stonefire in the supply cavern near the entrance. He does not seem to know anything about ignomium, but he says that very few miners go deep into shaft E; monsters have made conditions rather unsafe. He tells them to head down shaft C and follow the tracks to reach E.

Down shaft C, a handful of miners run toward them in a panic as two large and one huge monstrous spiders chase them. Frederik gets entangled by one of their webs and Dorien lights one on fire with oil and a torch. Willow stays at a distance and shoots her bow at them. Zion takes one out and hurts another with a lightning bolt, and later tries to charge one to finish it off, getting a bite and strength damage from its poison for his efforts. They finish the spiders and Frederik treats Zion’s poison before the secondary damage has a chance to potentially kill him.

They continue to follow the tracks and get to another supply room. They hear miners working nearby and see a winch operated lift labeled “E.” They descend and continue to follow the cart rail tracks into a tunnel. It passes over a crevice, the tracks acting as a bridge. Below they can see spiders and other monsters. They continue and get to another crevice. Below they see a ladder that had been knocked over, but no monsters. They decide to continue onward and reach yet another crevice, though the tracks are broken and are impassable.

They return to the previous drop, and Frederik ties a rope to a crowbar, hooks the ladder, and hauls it up. They use the ladder to descend and continue down the tunnel. It opens into a larger cavern, where a grey-ish ooze is apparently hugging the wall. Frederik’s detect evil sees the walls glow; this creature is apparently corrupting the mithral into ignomium! The party attacks.

Frederik and Willow attack in melee, and the ooze responds by moving on top of them. They both forfeit a chance to dodge to attack the ooze, and they are engulfed. Frederik resists the mindrot’s touch, but Willow takes damage to intelligence and wisdom. Frederik manages to free himself from ooze, but Willow cannot. Soon, a pair of carrion crawlers climb down the walls. They finish the ooze off, then attack the crawlers. Dorien and Willow become paralyzed by its tentacles, but Zion distracts it before it can eat either of them. Zion and Frederik finish the crawlers and the paralyzed teammates soon recover.

Zion casts dispel magic on the walls of the cavern, but just fails to dispel the ignomium. Across the cavern they see the track bridge leading into another cavern. They also spot some treasure among some skeletons: 100 platinum pieces, a small green emerald, and a least fiendslayer weapon crystal. They bring the ladder over and climb up.

The walls are almost exclusively ignomium here. They see three mine carts; one is filled with ignomium and the other two seem to be filled with alchemist’s fire and explosives! Dorien mage hand’s a flask out of a cart and tries to set the cart of ignomium on fire. However, the mineral fails to burn. Deciding to destroy the ignomium here, Frederik uses mage hand to trigger the mechanisms in the cart. The resulting blast triggers a cave-in, and the party withdraw as the ceiling crumbles. Zion is hit in the head with a rock, but no one is buried or seriously harmed by the falling rubble.

They ascend to the top level, where miners wonder what happened below. Frederik informs them that their ignomium problem has been solved. Stonefire gives them a stern look, but says nothing. As they leave, they are confronted by seven Irregulars.

The leader declares that they are under arrest for actions against the colony, such as destroying the lower mine shaft and murdering Marcelius Lannan! The party deny the charges and Frederik launches into a diatribe, stating that they were not responsible for his death and they did the colony a favor in the mines. Dorien tries to convince the captain that they are innocent, and the captain tells them that the court will decide that. He motions for his men to encircle the party and apprehend them. The party decides not to go peacefully, and they draw swords. Zion immediately casts shatter on one of their longswords, which falls apart in his hands.

Zion also dispels the magic armor and weapon used by the captain and subsequently shatters his sword as well. The soldier missing a sword tries to grapple Zion, but the gnome evades capture. They fight, and one soldier is killed by Frederik. Willow dual-wields her rapier and short sword and stab them repeatedly, but she is the first to fall. Zion becomes invisible and shoots the captain with his crossbow, almost dropping him. The captain returns fire, but misses. The soldier missing a sword sees the gnome become visible and charges him; he grapples Zion and begins choking him. Frederik is flanked and eventually falls. Dorien withdraws and drinks a potion of invisibility. The captain orders his men to stabilize Willow and Frederik and begin to carry them away. Zion falls unconscious and is also dragged away. Dorien casts cure light wounds to heal and awaken Frederik and Willow. Frederik frightens his carrier into dropping him, and he picks up his falchion, sheaths it, and surrenders. Willow likewise surrenders. The captain orders the two free soldiers to find the invisible one and hauls Willow, Frederik, and Zion to jail. Dorien books it back toward the airship.

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Session IX
A Trip to the Colony Ligot
5/16/429, Saturday

The party relaxes in their new home. Frederik patrols the neighborhood while Horace cooks bacon and the rest sleep in. The elf Guardian Leah knocks at their door, declining an offer of bacon.

Leah reminds Horace that the royal parade is this afternoon, and the City Watch is a little short-handed. She entreats the party assist in parade security, acting as scouts for any trouble. She offers to pay them 250 gp each and Horace agrees. Once everyone is awake, he tells them of their latest job.

In preparation, they purchase a few potions of jump and feather fall, since they planned on watching from the rooftops. They then proceed to the Royal Palace, where the marching band is tuning up.

They set out to walk a few minutes ahead of the parade, Horace and Frederik on the rooftops while Dorien, Zion, and Willow follow on the ground. Soon, they spot a lone dark cloud in the sky, only a few hundred feet high. They look closer and see that it seems to be following a flying man. They soon hear the roar of thunder and see a line of lightning shoot out of the cloud, and the flying man tumbles toward the ground. Frederik downs a potion of feather fall and runs to catch him, successfully easing the man’s fall. He quickly recognizes the man as Wind, one of the metallic brothers.

The cloud descends to finish the fight. They recognize it as a storm elemental and Zion attempts to cast dispel magic on it, to no avail. The party asks Wind what he did to anger it, and he insists that he did nothing, he was merely flying for the sake of flying. He apparently tried talking to it in Auran with no success.

Sir Frederik attempts to emote that Wind is under their protection and it should leave them alone, but the elemental ignores him. Not long into the combat, Dorien casts tongues and asks in Auran why it was mad at Wind. The elemental replies in a low rumble, “Because he was in my sky!” Dorien promises that it won’t see Wind in the sky again, and the elemental seems to buy it. It leaves without another word. Meanwhile, Dorien remembers the words of the dying imp, suddenly comprehending: “You will all bow to the will of mighty Taqualik!”

Wind heals himself and thanks the party for rescuing him. He goes on to thank Frederik in particular for helping convince his brother Flash to allow him to stay in Alexia. They then part ways and continue their job, though the rest of the route was uneventful. They return to Leah and she delivers the promised payment. They drink the rest of the night away in the Blind Flame and then return home.

5/17/429, Sunday

Horace again makes bacon, and again there is a knock at the door. This time, Selenia enters, accepting a bacon sandwich. She reminds them that they are to leave for Ligot the next day and gives them more details: if they still seek the source of ignomium, they should look in the mine, and she suspects her lieutenant Marcelius Lannan to be responsible for ordering the spread of the rock in Alexia. She tells them to deal with him as they please, though they should be careful; he is the owner of the only tavern in the colony, and thus their major social release valve. She gives the docking platform location for their airship, piloted by a Captain Galenka. The ship leaves at noon, and the ride is 18 hours long (over 1000 miles). Finally, she tells them that if they ever find any of the legendary items the Queen asked for, they should consider giving them to her instead.

They pass the day preparing and relaxing.

5/18/429, Monday

They arrive at the airship tower and make their way to Captain Galenka’s vessel, a Hopper. They voyage is nice: a lovely view of the countryside until around sunset when they crossed the shoreline and got their first look at the ocean. That night, a trio of arrowhawks attack the ship with their electric rays and the party go to the deck to assist in the defense. Horace operated a turret of scorching ray and incinerated one of them while the others fought with bows and when necessary blades. Successful, they return to bed.

5/19/429, Tuesday

The party lands in Ligot just after sunrise. Galenka informs them that the ship is at their disposal and will wait for them until they are ready to return to Alexia. They are greeted by customs agents, who inform the party of any items that are not allowed in their colony, such as alcohol. Horace gets a receipt for his jug of wine and they enter the town after passing a group of people in black leather armor and white shoulder pauldrons adorned with an “I” performing drills and combat exercises.

The town is quiet; nearly everyone is working. They find their way to the tavern, called the Golden Opportunity, which is closed until nightfall. They ask around and find that Marcelius operates a fruit cart during the day, so they go to the market and find him. Horace convinces him that he’s a revolutionary agent, and they agree to meet at his tavern in half an hour.

At the tavern, Marcelius expresses his disdain for the mainlanders and reveals that he indeed ordered the ignomium shipments with the aim of spreading chaos in Alexia to weaken them. The party convinces him to cease the shipments and give diplomacy and peace a chance. Satisfied, they find an inn and discuss what to do next. They decide that they should venture into the mine and take care of the source of ignomium and spend the rest of the day gathering information.

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Session VIII
Gargoyles and the Dancing Lights Ball
5/15/429, Friday

After destroying the gargoyles in the street, they return to the tavern. Soon, an elf woman with a Guardian’s tabard enters and approaches Wandalynn to ask her a question. She replies by pointing toward the party’s usual table. The Guardian introduces herself as Leah and states that she had been investigating a gargoyle infestation and learned of their recent encounter. She believes their nest to be an abandoned house. She explains that she has obligations at the palace for the Ball, but would like to see the place cleared out before the parade tomorrow. Horace inquires about payment, and Leah says that the house was occupied by an adventurer and the party would be welcome to any items they find. They accept.

The party first goes shopping briefly, trading gems for enchanted weapons. Once they finish, they proceed to the house. The place is a mess: torn up furniture, toppled cabinets, the stench of gargoyles and vermin. They sneak up on a gargoyle and some spiders in the kitchen and take them down with ease. In the pantry, they find a door to the cellar, where they find barrels of ale and a wand of cure light wounds.

They creep up the stairs and find a trio of gargoyles playing with the punching bags the adventurer had set up in a training room. The party take down two of them and the third dives out the window and flies toward the roof. Horace quaffs an invisibility potion and pursues out the window. He spots another gargoyle on the roof, this one wearing a shiny necklace. They hear him approach and fly around the house, searching for him. They give up after a minute and enter the house, crashing through the balcony window into the bedroom. The rest of the party hears and Sir Frederik kicks the door down. This triggers the tripwire trap and a large axe swings down inside the room harmlessly. The party slaughter the two gargoyles and take the necklace, which turns out to be a Periapt of Wisdom +2. Searching the room, they find the adventurer’s journal. It chronicles his many adventures, detailing the treasure he’d found and where. The last page says that after hearing Wandalynn’s tragic tale, he went to search the dragon ruins himself to claim the treasure. This was dated over a year ago.

Approaching the last room, Horace fails to notice the trap and is poisoned by a needle when he reaches for the handle. Frederik breaks the door down and they find an equipment closet. Amongst the daggers and short swords, they find a magical +1 dagger and an Artificer’s Monocle, which Zion happily snatches up and uses to identify his unidentified items.

Having cleared the house of monsters, Frederik declares that the house is being repossessed by the City Watch and they open a barrel of ale. They fetch Dorien from the Blind Flame and celebrate.

Dorien and Horace go clothes shopping for the ball while Zion, Horace, and Willow clean up the house.

They eventually head to the royal palace to attend the Dancing Lights Ball. As guests arrive, Leah finds the party and thanks them. They mingle and socialize until a bell rings to announce the beginning the banquet. Once the guests are seated, a Guardian in pristine white robes enters, followed by Queen Amélie II in a ball gown. She offers a toast to Alexia, the Goddesses, and eternal peace, and a bountiful feast begins.

After the banquet, everyone moves back to the ballroom, where Horace and his friends in the Thieves’ Guild impress the entire party with an impressive dance routine. A halfling admirer named Annabelle approaches Zion; she’s impressed with his dart skills and other tavern exploits and asks him to dance. Dorien and Frederik spot the Queen and Leah sitting at a table chatting. They start to head in their direction, but a tap-dancing Horace beats them to the Queen and impresses her with his charm into dancing with him. Frederik asks Leah to dance and she accepts. Meanwhile, the leader of the Guardians introduces himself as Weiss to Willow and asks her to dance.

Amélie invites Frederik and the party to an informal dessert after the dance. She also reveals to Dorien that she was, in fact, the Melissa they met on their way to Alexia from Senvois.

At the dessert, the Queen gives a speech about current events and legends, such as how Minister Anderson was controlled by a devil, which she believes portends the return of the ancient evil that her ancestor Sheridyn defeated over 400 years ago. She is also concerned about the rumors of a revolution. The invitees to the dessert are all adventurers, tavern owners, and the like; she asks them to consider hunting for the legendary items:

  • The Golden Star, the sword that Sheridyn used to vanquish the evil, was taken as a prize by the Tellixians when Sheridyn fell in battle during the Last War.
  • The Silver Star, sister sword of the Golden Star, once broke the curse of a devil a raised a sunken island to the sky, is now itself lost to the depths of the ocean.
  • The Imperial Medallion, a pendant whose whereabouts are unknown, is said to greatly enhance the magical abilities of the user while weakening the magic of his opponents.

Horace is quick to assure the Queen that they will recover these artifacts for Paixia. She thanks them all and retires for the night, and the guests soon leave as well. The party returns home and turn in for the night.

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Session VII
The Missing Brother
5/14/429, Thursday

The party decides to begin their search for Flash’s brother by investigating the village of Jonzi. They book a flight on a “Hopper,” a small airship suited for transporting small groups short distances. An uneventful three hours later, the vessel is moored at Jonzi and the party disembarks.

They find the mayor, Brian LaFayette, in his office at the town hall. When asked about Wind, LaFayette says that he had been staying in the mayor’s home since three months ago, mostly kept to himself, but the day after his five year old daughter Charlone left for Alexia with her uncle, Wind stole a music jewelry box. When confronted, Wind flew straight up and left. Horace asked if Wind had ever associated with Charlone. LaFayette replies that he wouldn’t know and they should ask his wife. He asks Horace and Sir Frederik Kuhlricht to find Wind and look out for his daughter.

Meanwhile, Willow [played by Matt] sought out any Hunters’ Guild contacts and found a local man whom the mayor had approached to find Wind, which was odd, because he had told the others that he hadn’t talked to anyone.

At the mayor’s home, Elizabeth LaFayette offers Horace, Frederik, and Zion coffee and cookies. They discover that Wind had arrived in a crate from Brian’s friend, Dr. Otikul Steelhand. He stayed in their basement awhile until one night she found him with Charlone, playing with toys and dolls. She was concerned, but he seemed harmless enough. After that, he would venture outside occasionally. Things seemed fine until the fiasco, though Wind was always distant.

They check his crate and find a secret compartment with a letter for LaFayette from Steelhand. They return to the mayor, believing that he was concealing information. He tells them that he was in fact aware of Wind’s arrival; he and Steelhand were old friends, and Steelhand had asked him to give Wind a home. Wind was a faulty prototype and was sent to Jonzi as retirement. They get the uncle’s address in Alexia and return home.

Sir Frederik puts out a notice at the garrison to look out for a “metal man.” They head toward the uncle’s home. He tells them that Charlone is still in school and gives them directions. They head to her school: the Alexian Academy of Fine Arts. In the heart of the theatre district, it is no surprise that across the street is an auditorium. This one, however, is noticeably tall with a pair of stone statues on the roof. They surmise that this would be a easy place for Wind to watch the school, so Horace and Willow head to the roof of the Stonebeard Auditorium Theatre while Frederik and Zion look for Charlone.

Frederik and Zion find her in a classroom and have a short interview. They learn that she thinks fondly of Wind and would like to see him again. She thinks of the music box as hers, since her mother rarely plays with it anymore.

On the roof, Horace spots Wind near the edge. He also hears the sound the music box as he silently sneaks up to Wind. He tosses a tanglefoot bag, gluing Wind to the roof. Furious, Wind’s gem eyes glow red as he looks at Horace. Horace manages to calm him down and asks Wind about the jewels in the box. Wind seems confused, so Horace asks to see the box, promising to return it. Wind relinquishes the box, and Horace unscrews the base to reveal a space filled with glittering diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and the like. He removes the jewels and returns the box. He then convinces Wind to come with him to at least talk to Flash. Wind seems adamant that he doesn’t want to return home, but he agrees to meet his brother.

The party returns to the tavern where Flash was waiting. He pays Horace the remainder of the reward, and as Horace leaves, Wind sits and they begin chatting. Sir Frederik interrupts a short time later to tell Flash to keep in mind that Charlone would also like to see Wind. The mechanical siblings sit in silence, thinking, as Frederik leaves.

Horace and Sir Frederik make another air trip to Jonzi to return the gems. The mayor appreciates the peaceful resolution and gives Horace a sparkling diamond as a reward. The wife seems saddened to lose her music box, but her husband assures her that it is replaceable. The two return to Alexia, arriving late at night, so they soon head to bed. Meanwhile, Zion falls asleep in the Brass Dragon one and a half mugs into the Valignale Challenge.

5/15/429, Friday

In the morning, Zion appraises the diamond to be worth about 2000 gp. Willow shows off the gown she procured for this evening’s Dancing Lights Ball. They chat until they hear a scream from outside! They rush to the rescue and find a pair of gargoyles diving toward a woman. The party dispatch one of them quickly, and a few seconds later, two city guards arrive on the scene. The last gargoyle is surrounded, so knowing it can’t escape, it mauls one of the guards. They finish off the gargoyle and stabilize the guard.

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Session VI
The Monster Lab
5/13/429, Wednesday

The party wipe the dinosaur blood off of their weapons. They hear the sound of someone walking on the metal bridge. It turns out to be Willow, who was sent by a City Guard to find Sir Frederik Kuhlricht. He is needed elsewhere, so he rushes off. They find another trail of blood leading down a downward-sloped hallway. At the bottom, they find a cockatrice hissing at something around the corner.

They see the flicker of a torch’s light on the wall and the grunts of a man. Working together, they slay the foul fowl and rescue Horace [Dan], a member of the expedition hired by the Thieves’ Guild to sabotage this lab. Once they turned off the defenses, however, some of the monsters broke loose and the place turned into a bloodbath. His comrades were petrified by the cockatrices. They decide to stay together.

Rounding the corner, they enter the large room with glass cylinders. Zion identifies some of the monsters inside, including a hippogriff, a cockatrice, and a minotaur. There is also a door labeled “Maintenance.” They continue down the hallway off the other side of the room.

They arrive at another room with a pit of monsters. Zion spots that the bridge to the west is weakened, so they avoid it for now. They turn to enter the office where Horace had said his comrades were. They see the dead bodies of a pair of cockatrices and three petrified men. There is also a footlocker; Horace unlocks it to find 1000 gp, a Ring of protection +1, a Scroll of lightning bolt, and three more ceramic tiles.

They enter another office to find Prof. Zalomon examining a hole in his wall. He says that it must be a tunnel to the surface, in the Alexian forest, made by the acid-spewing beetle they had. He rummages through a pile of junk and finds a Wand of break enchantment for the petrified men. Dorien Arsisen tells him that he should go to the Hunters’ Guild to post a bounty for this monster before it gets to civilization. Zalomon agrees and runs off. They then open his supply cabinet and find envelopes, paper, other office supplies, and a pair of jeweled white leather gloves. They give the gloves to Zion.

The party returns to the weakened bridge. Dorien begins singing to fascinate the creatures in the pit. Horace leaps over easily and advances toward the room down the hallway. He sees that the walls have been spattered with blood. He sees an odd creature on top of a lunch table, chewing on a body. He quickly drags one of the benches back to the weakened section. Willow leaps over, and Horace sets up the bench to act as a bridge. Zion uses this bench to walk across. Dorien remains behind.

Horace creeps up on the thing chewing on the body and stabs it in the back. It turns to him, revealing his face to be a mouth and a single large eye. Horace stabs it again. Zion and Willow run to his aid, stabbing and slinging spells at the aberration. Zion resists its flesh-rotting gaze, and Horace finishes it with a dagger to its eye. They take a few more ID cards from the bodies, find some more tiles with the janitor, and Horace pockets some gold pieces.

They go to the Maintenance room and solve the tile puzzle to reactivate the magic generator. The lights return and the auto-defenses whir to life. An alert siren sounds and a glass orb descends from the ceiling on a cable, demanding that all personnel present identification. Horace has enough to go around, so the orb scans the ID cards then returns to the ceiling.

Returning to the petrified comrades, Zion uses the wand and returns them to flesh. They all decide to climb the tunnel and take care of the beetle themselves. Willow tracks it through the forest for a while, but loses the trail. Zion finds a friendly badger and asks if it had seen a giant beetle. It gestures in a direction, and within a few minutes, Willow has found its trail again. Before long, they spot the beetle on the side of a tree. They make quick work of it, outnumbering the insect seven to one. They haul the carcass back to the lab and take the teleportation circle back to the city and head to the Hunters’ Guild to collect the bounty. The woman at the desk seemed surprised; the bounty had been posted just a few hours ago. Horace claims that it’s a complete coincidence. She shrugs and gives them a sack of coins: 1200 gp. They distribute the gold evenly.

Dorien decides to visit Captain Kega while everyone else heads to the Blind Flame for dinner. Kega, who now has a secretary (one of Zion’s undergrad students), is having fun poking at Anderson in his cage with a stick. Dorien fills Kega in on what had happened, and Kega decides to send some officers to the lab and to alert the Guardians.

At the Blind Flame, the party spot a man in flashy clothes drinking alone in the corner. Horace approaches him, and the man says that he is a traveler from Tipalia looking for fortune and love. He says his name is Flash. Horace eventually teases out of him that he is looking for his brother, who left home a year ago, wound up in the village of Jonzi, and a few months ago, he stopped contacting the family. Flash visited Jonzi and learned that his brother, Wind, had been run out of the village after he stole something of value. Horace looks at him and sees that he’s magically disguised, and there’s something about his hat, so he grabs Flash’s hat. Flash no longer looks human; his eyes look like gems and his skin is a cobalt blue metal. He reveals that he and his brothers were created by his “father,” a Dr. Otiluk Steelhand. He is afraid that Wind is intending to cause harm in Alexia and wants him found so he can be returned home. They negotiate a price, and decide on 2500 gp, with 25% delivered up front. They ponder how best to proceed, and decide that they shall act in the morning, and the session closes.

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Session V
A Few Innocent Chats
5/10/429, Sunday

The party finish lunch at the Blind Flame and discuss the flowchart note they found in Minister Anderson’s house. They then decide to split up: Sir Frederik Kuhlricht wishes to visit Captain Kega and Belben Nightenhawk, while Dorien Arsisen and Professor Zion head to the Brass Dragon to find information on Lady S.

Frederik fills Kega in on the events concerning Clayton Anderson and suggests that Nightenhawk be sent back to the colony of Ligot soon. He then visits Nightenhawk and informs him that the murderer of his wife was Anderson and he had been apprehended. He then departs to join the party at the Brass Dragon.

Meanwhile, Dorien asks the bartender about Lady S. At the mention of her name, the other folks at the bar quietly back off, suspicious of these newcomers. The bartender points him to a table in the corner by the dartboard, where a hooded figure is talking to a halfling male and two burly men play darts. Zion decides to play with them, winning a small gold wager and overhearing a little bit of their conversation: the halfling is apparently an airship captain whom Lady S is hiring for a trip to Ligot. Zion and Dorien decide to leave and come back later when it is busier.

Rejoining Sir Frederik, they decide to visit Thoendithas Songslayer, who Frederik remembers owns a music store near the elven district. Furthermore, Zion realizes that the store is near the Scarlet Nymph Bar. Dorien enters the store while Frederik keeps watch across the street and Zion investigates the Scarlet Nymph.

Dorien talks to Thoen, noticing that one of the customers is watching him. He asks if Thoen has a more private place to talk, so he leads Dorien into a back room, where he keeps his “special” wares: longswords, lute-bows, and other equipment for the musically-inclined. Dorien asks about the money he received from Minister Anderson. Songslayer explains that Anderson paid for the instruments for the orchestra, a part of the royal Dancing Lights Ball this coming Friday evening. Dorien is a little suspicious, but generally believes him. Dorien leaves, looking over his shoulder to see if the other customer was following him and Convinces himself that he was alone.

Meanwhile, at the Scarlet Nymph, Zion orders the cheapest ale they have. He manages to resist the urge to spit it out in the bartender’s face. A middle-aged halfling seats himself next to Zion, ordering another ale and trying to pick Zion’s pocket. Zion spots him and the halfling aborts his attempt. He leans close to Zion, who can smell that he’s been drinking most of the day. He tries to whisper, “You should watch yourself, this is a front for the Thieves’ Guild,” as if Zion hadn’t already figured that out. He’s a little louder than he intended, so a human walks him away, saying, “I think you’ve had enough to drink tonight, Bank.” Zion drops a gold piece in the coin slot in the nymph and leaves.

The party meet at the Brass Dragon for dinner. It’s much busier now, so Dorien jumps on a chair and starts singing. He fascinates one of the bodyguards and the other tries to snap him out of it. Frederik and Zion use the opportunity to invite themselves to Lady S’s table. She recognizes them as the ones who took care of Anderson, and she thanks them for that. They ask her why she was working with someone allied with evil. She replies that she didn’t know of his associations until recently. Once she knew, she had Nightenhawk sent to take care of him. However, a lieutenant had him also spread the Ignomium stones, something Lady S did not approve.

Frederik asks her what her name really is. Seeing that the bar was still paying attention to the bard, she decides to remove her hood, revealing an incredibly beautiful human(-like) face and purple hair. Frederik and Zion think for a bit; the royal family, reputed to have a divine heritage, all have sky-blue hair, and the Goddesses have dazzling hair colors too. She says her name is Selenia, and they realize that she is a divine being, a fallen cousin of the Goddesses. Frederik asks if she follows the Goddesses, and she replies that she has had a few disagreements with her family.

Selenia says that she was going to return to Ligot to take care of her disobedient lieutenant, but offers them the airship ride in her place, since their answers to the Ignomium problem lie in Ligot as well; perhaps their aims don’t need to oppose each other. Frederik agrees, and Selenia tells them that the airship is set to leave next Monday, after the Spring Festival. She says that she will be in Alexia a while longer now if they need anything else.

Once they leave, they head back to the Blind Flame and head to bed.

5/11/429, Monday

In the morning, Wandalynn gives them envelopes that were dropped off by a Guardian. Inside they find invitations to the Dancing Lights Ball, with directions to RSVP with any Guardian. They go see Anderson, finding a Guardian along the way to tell them that they shall be attending.

Anderson is initially resistant, but a flaming dagger to the thigh by Dorien loosens his lips a bit. Anderson says he fears the devil he worked for would kill him, and Frederik convinces him that he can protect Anderson from the devil. Frederik learns that the devil goes by the name of Louis Candeux, a supposed baker in Alexia who hails from Tellixia. Anderson also relates his tale regarding Nightenhawk’s wife: they were having an affair at the time Candeux offered him riches and power beyond his wildest dreams in return for only his soul. Mrs. Mialee Nightenhawk was afraid when he agreed and said she would go to the Guardians. Candeux convinced Anderson that sacrifices would have to be made and she had to die.

Frederik escorts Anderson to Captain Kega and fills him in, asking him to protect Anderson. Kega is pleased to have something other than paperwork to do and has him chained up in his office. He calls for the Guardian Johann, who fills them all in on how to fight devils.

The party then spends time around the city; Zion researches spells, Frederik goes on patrol and tells the guards at the gate to inform him and the Guardians should Louis Candeux return to the city, and Dorien spends lots of time in the taverns.

5/13/429, Wednesday

Zion goes to the Mages’ College to return the flaming dagger and is given a 200 gp reward. He goes to visit Prof. Zalomon, but finds that he is not in his office, though his door is wide open. He returns to his own office to find Sir Frederik knocking on his door for lunch. They send a freshman to fetch Dorien, and together they activate the teleportation circle to Zalomon’s lab. There, they find all of the lights out or flickering. Frederik lights a torch and they venture forward, following the shouts, snarling, and scent of blood.

They find a dead human body with an ID card with the name Edward Noa. They follow the trail of blood to another small office, where they are attacked by a deinonychus, which they quickly dispatch. They find a cloth bag on a desk with no apparent bottom; Zion turns it upside down and out falls 25 gold coins, a fiery red magic crystal, and three magic ceramic-like tiles with colored lines. They quickly realize that they must be missing tiles, and the session ends.

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