Return to Daanvi
The white light radiating from the Occularum washed across the room in the top of the tower in Dragons Roost. The new assembly of the party was transported from the spires of Sharn to the flat, orderly, green fields of Daanvi. The field they found themselves in was lush with stalks of some strange vegetable growing just below the waist. Sera reached back into the portal and drew in the eye piece, ensuring they would be able to return should anything go wrong.
Everyone took a moment to assess the situation. Selwin, feeling once again close to a more natural setting took in a deep breath and then suddenly took flight as a hunting bat just above the party. With in a short time of his take off Selwin spotted what appeared at first to be two small ranks of cavalry, one from the north and one from the south, each closing in on the central point of the road. It became readily apparent that this center point was the field that the party stood in. As they drew closer, Sera was the first to notice that they were in fact, Zekylhuts. These machines apparently meant to enforce the banishment enacted on them by the Quarat.
As the hooves of the Inevitables came to a halt in front of the group, the now combined band of eight of these creatures closed ranks around the party. They formed a perfect circle around them and raised their palms to the group, ready to engage any member of the group who moved a bit to quickly. One of the Zekylhuts moved slightly forward and, without moving any part of his metal visage, spoke in an even but powerful voice. “You have no business here. The Quarat has forbidden you from returning. Leave immediately.”
“We have something the Quarat may want back.”, Sera retorted back.
As She said this, she tossed the eyepiece up and down in her hand. The Zekylhuts pondered for a moment taking in the situation and seeming to process all possible outcomes. They pressed in and began to extend the chains hidden inside their wrists. One aimed upward in circling motions, tracking Selwin with both chains. They did not grasp what Sera was implying but, after some quick pleading the group was able to convince the Zekylhuts that the item they had would change the opinion of the Quarat. The gears and mechanisms clicked and whirred in all the Zekylhuts’ head and after a few seconds their assessment of the situation lead the party to the Quarat’s Hall.
Changing the Quarat’s Mind / Receiving the spark
The group stepped into the Quarat’s Hall and once again were witness to the intricate ornamentation set into the large golden walls. The dais at the far end of the hall was empty but, as they approached closer to it a small shimmer of green light began to grow from the air about four and a half feet from the ground. The shimmer grew into a glow and then, small tendrils of metal sprouted from the light. They swung around each other in chaotic whipping motions. The party watched in a mixture of awe and fear as the tendrils began to shape into a rib cage of sorts. They then formed appendages and all the other parts of the Quarat. As the building of his body came to completion the light began to concentrate in his head forming the hourglass that sat just behind the lenses of his eyes. As they peered closer though, they once again saw the missing left eye of the Quarat.
Sera came forward with the lens piece then spoke softly, “We have come to believe that this is something that was taken from you.”
The Quarat looked at the lens, examining it carefully with his remaining eye. He took it and attached it to his left eye socket. As he attached the piece, the Quarat seemed to jump and twitch. It was almost as if a great power had surged through his body momentarily causing all his extremities to flail in some random pattern. After the short outburst, the Quarat fell limp. He slowly raised his head. The timbre of the Quarat’s voice changed. He spoke with an even tone and what seemed like an inflection of regret, “How could this have happened. I have made many incorrect assumptions. I have been viewing the timeline only from perspectives of the past tense. peering backwards and shaping the future on a single set of variables.”
The group looked upon the Quarat. There were a wide array of emotions displayed on the faces of the party. Frost stood with a confused and slightly incredulous look on his face. Anemone shared the confused expression only to a more intense degree. The wilds of the Eldeen reaches had fostered a profound knowledge of the wilderness but, knowledge of variable timelines was not something generally taught amongst shifter clans. Selwin, who shared Anemone’s affinity for nature, saw the Quarat as a strange being similar to the machines made by men. As such it was an abomination and the fact that it was making decisions that shaped Eberron was a frightening prospect. Sera however, looked on the Quarat with what appeared to be a sort of sympathy.
“Shim beholds the Quarat.”
The Quarat is certainly a masterwork of war forged construction. The whole experience of interacting with the Zekylhuts was surely an experience for Shim but, to witness a possible future of his race must have left a profound impact on Shim. Write a brief description of Shims thoughts upon beholding the Quarat for the first time below this achievement box. (600 XP)
The Quarat righted himself and looked upon the party. “You have returned my left eye which I am able to use to see into possible futures.”
“We learned about this property of the lens while exploring the strange markers in The Faded Forest. It allowed us to see the area as a very different state.”, said Sera.
“What you witnessed was a glimpse into a possible future of that place, the most likely possible future given the current state of in-numerous amounts of variables.”
“We had assumed as much.”
Sera spoke this last bit with a certain flair of arrogance that probably stemmed from people underestimating her due to her age. The Quarat seemed unphased by this subtle display. “My course of action has allowed Lady Omaren to corrupt a small contingent of my forces. She has learned about the inner workings of my Zekylhuts and must be taken back to the Prime Material Plane. I will see that she is removed from Daanvi. After this task is completed I will be destroyed and rebuilt as a more complete and capable version.”
For a moment, the Quarat seemed to freeze in place. His body began to twitch and pulse. As this escalated the Quarat brought his hands up to the center of his chest and began to pull the plates of his chest away. Beneath was an infinitely intricate system of wires leading into a central contraption roughly the size of a fist. The contraption was made of a golden metal similar to that of the Quarat’s body but, the central point let out an ominous whirring sound. As the sound grew in both volume and frequency, the device began to glow with a brilliant white light. A soft warmth was cast across to the parties faces, which all gazed upon this process in a frozen stasis. Just as the heat threatened to become uncomfortably hot, the spark of light began to shift from the core of the Quarat’s “heart” down the network of wires. As it moved along the circuit, it’s intensity was occasionally lessened as it weaved behind other pieces of the Quarat’s workings. It finally came to rest in the glass of the left lens.
At that, the Quarat again removed the left eye piece and gave the lens back to Sera. “Won’t you be needing this?”, she asked.
“I have seen the path, and course of action is already decided. Besides as I have seen things you will need this far more than I will.”
The Quarat turned around revealing the network of spiraling wires that formed all of his pieces. The wall behind the dais started to shift, opening up into a large room that was crowned with a network of armatures that positioned a series of lenses that focused several beams of light into a single powerful beam in the center of the room. This single beam shot into a set of brass rings that seemed to be attached in someway to the lenses above. The Quarat adjusted these rings and turned to Sera, looking at the lens piece still in her hand. She handed it back to him and he placed it into the device.
The familiar white light washed over them and the party nervously awaited the next part of the jump. Each held thoughts of what exotic worlds lie beyond this portal. As Sera secured the lens to secure their return, the white light of the Occularum faded. The party stood in absolute darkness.
Jump to Mabar, Shadows descend
In Mabar there was no light; blackness permeated all that the party could see. This startling loss the the ability of sight brought the sounds of Mabar into a painfully sharp focus. Strange howls in the distance chimed between strange whispers. Sera and Selwin attempted to create light to no avail. Then Sera recalled the new spark in the lens piece. She attempted to focus on the lens, the spark cast out a cone of light in front of the group. The light fought against the dark of Mabar and, as its glow pushed forward, it revealed the pale outline of the shadows that now surrounded the party.
“Can I Attack the Darkness?”
The first jump into Mabar was a rough experience for the group. The shadows began to drain the group and threatened to leave the group as new recruits to their ranks. Write a brief detailing of the encounter with the shadows, from your characters point of view. Keep it under 250 words and do it right under this text box (within the div tag). Only the first two descriptions will earn XP. (100-300 XP)
Seeing a chance to escape and a slim likelihood that they would survive if they pressed on, the group decided to retreat back to Daanvi to lick their wounds and regroup.
Return to Daanvi, Again.
With a slight tumble the group once again found themselves in the gilded golden hall that was The Quarat’s Occularum. The Quarat still stood at the controls of the device. It seems their second foray into inter-planer jumping was very quickly proven unsuccessful. The Quarat’s emotionless, synthetic voice broke the short silence. “Your transit time was a mere thirty point eight seconds. It seems rather unlikely that you were able to complete all required tasks in this amount of time.”
“We ran into some complications.”, Frost said through gritted teeth, nonplussed by this statement of obvious facts.
The next couple days was spent healing, studying, memorizing and refocusing. The group made use of the time but knew that they had a limited time before the window allotted for this series of jumps. They drew in a breath, readied the lens, and raised their blades. They once again beheld the white light of the Occularum, hoping that this time they were ready for the darkness on the other side.
Mabar Again, Inside The Dark Monolith
The group moved with purpose toward the doors of what seemed to be a rather towering structure, though the darkness of the plane concealed its true shape. Selwin used his abilities of echo location in his bat form to draw up a general shape of the structure. From what he assessed, the structure was a series of eight rooms in shapes that Selwin described as honeycombs. They were symmetrically situated along a central hall that culminated in a large towering monolith that seemed to pulse with a strange energy. The group pushed the doors open and entered.
As they stepped in the first area they were confronted with a carved message. Viva politely demanded the lens, now infused with the Quarat spark, and used it to examine the message. The symbols that were carved into the stone were beyond even Viva’s skills at deciphering strange foreign languages. The party, undaunted, proceeded left.
They came to a room that was, as Selwin described shaped like a honeycomb. Selwin, trapped in dark in a strange place devoid of nature and sun, fondly remembered days of stealing bits of honeycomb from the bee’s of the jungle. Each time he would reach into the nest a frenzy of bees would give him a flurry of stings, despite the discomfort the sweet treat was always worth it. He strongly wished that he were there now, stingers and all.
The room seemed devoid of any features save a small half pillar in the center of the room. The pillar was comprised of three separate rotating sections, each of what seemed to have a series of grooves carved vertically along the side. The grooves seemed to extend into the floor into two separate lines one that extended out into the wall to the north and to the north east. These directions, of course, were just relative to the direction that they entered the temple. The pillar was crowned with a small indenture that seemed to be about the size of the lens piece. Viva placed it into the the indent on the pillar. The pillar began to twist and move; it absorbed the light of the Quarat’s spark and its circuits came to life. After the pillar competed its motion, the light returned to the lens piece. The pillar retained a soft glow in all of its grooves.
The group investigated the room after and noticed no change in the area, with the obvious exception of the dimly glowing half pillar. The proceeded right from their original entry point to find another room of similar shape and make up. They activated this pillar as well and at its activation there was a loud sound of something shifting near by.
They returned to their original entry once again but, this time, the wall that bore the strange message in unknown script was gone, giving way to a new hall. This hall had four additional rooms of similar makeup, two on each side of the main hall, and another strangely scripted message at the end. Not caring to get involved in attempting to decipher the message, the group instead began lighting the pillars. They noticed that the pillars appeared to work on a toggle system. As they switched certain pillars on, others turned off. After some calculating and planning the group was able to light all six. The new wall with the foreign script had vanished, opening up into another room with a pillar that also had an additional exit north. Viva immediately turned the lens to the pillar and tried to activate it. This pillar did not begin to glow or turn, instead a set of blades emerged and sliced all in their range.
The group pressed on, slightly worse for wear but still diligent in their task. Beyond the trapped room they found another marked wall and paths to the east and west. The marked wall here was covered or damaged in parts making the script even less intelligible than it already was. The group did not care to even bother with attempting to decoding this wall and proceeded to the left. They found here another pillared room, and another down the hall to the east. These pillars were connected to the toggle system of the other six pillars. Using their previous knowledge of the way the toggles operated, the party was easily able to get the last of the pillars lit. With all the pillars lit the last wall moved and opened up a new room of mystery for the group to prod around in. The party crowded together in the dim light of the Spark and moved into the next room.
They were once again confronted with a half pillar. There was a brief moment of disappointment at the absence of vast riches but, the group set on to activate the pillar. As Viva applied the Quarat’s Spark, it came to life with a whir. This was a different sound than the other pillars made she thought for the split second before a flurry of sharpened blades spun out from the short column. Several of the group deftly dove out of the way and, save some minor scrapes and scratches, everyone was okay. They were definitely shaken as they exited the small room to a northward passage. Here they once again found a wall with strange carvings, though the bottom of this wall seemed to have been corroded or somehow damaged, making the last part of the message almost impossible to decipher. Not that the party had any intention of attempting to do so.
They trudged on to the West to find another pillar as before. It interacted with the other three westerly pillars that they had already lit, creating a more complex toggle puzzle. The path east from the corroded message lead to a similar room that interacted with the eastern toggles in the same way. As all eight now were lit, the final door opened and the party stepped in.
Unheeded Warnings, The Bodak, & Dark Vapor
The room beyond this last door lead to the tall monolith of The Dark Tower. The room was encircled by seven tall columns that reached up into the top of the tower. Each was crowned with a small iris like aperture that was closed. At the base of each of these was a small indenture similar to the one on the half pillars. Around this intent there was a series of strange lines that seemed to connect to a central large pillar. The large central pillar was just under ten feet in diameter and emitted intermittent burst of light from between swirling spots of black. Above, there was a complex network of lenses held in place by moving arms that constantly repositioned them. Then the party’s eyes moved to the base of the central column. A single figure strolled casually toward the group.
At first the shadowy figure appeared to be human, then, as it drew closer into the radius of light cast out by the spark, its face was revealed. It was a hollowed out shell of what a human face was and as its gaze fell upon the first in the pack, Viva began to feel the creature attempt to influence her will. She resisted fiercely and, in doing so, alerted all the group to the mind affecting powers of the Bodak.
The group set to work attempting to obliquely attack the creature without meeting its gaze. They started to attack and seemed to be succeeding. Then matters got slightly more complicated. The central pillar flared with energy and four shadows came into the room. Recalling the difficulty that the shadows had caused earlier, the group knew that they had to prevent the column from creating more of these creatures.
Viva moved like a flash to the nearest aperture topped column while the rest of the group held off the onslaught. The party battled valiantly, attempting to keep both the Bodak and the shadows at bay. Viva deftly activated the first device. As she did the aperture at the apex of the column opened, casting a beam of brilliant light that shot across the room directly into the center column. The fluctuating pattern on the center column shifted and moved. As soon as this happened Viva noticed the rhythmic tick of a mechanical device and looked up to notice the aperture slowly closing. Blade and spell flashed through the room as Viva moved to continue the sequence knowing that time was of the essence.
With each new column activated a new beam of light cut through the darkness and shot directly into the center column, which seemed to pulse with more energy. The group’s vigor grew as they saw more and more light in this land of blackness and, eager to leave this horrid land refocused their efforts on destroying the Bodak.
As the creature fell, The final aperture was opened. As the seventh beam was brought upon the center column, a great cacophony rose in the room. The center column shattered in its place and sent a central pillar of light upwards into the array of lenses lying in wait above. The light suddenly filled the room as a portal opened in the center of that room. As the portal rippled open a swarm of strange glowing orbs emerged from it. Equal in quantity, a swarm of opposing orbs of darkness filled the tower from above. The swarms collided and spread about the entirety of the room as they began to engage each other. The sight of the two swarms caused some alarm in the group and Selwin saw a chance to make an exit. He dove through the portal.
Anemone heard the pounding of what she first perceived as a war drum. As she strained to listen over her heavy, exhausted breathing, she realized that it was, in fact, the heart of the Bodak still pounding in its chest in a feeble attempt to keep the creature alive. She soon noticed that she was not the only one hearing it. Viva passed the eye piece back to Sera who notice it pulsed with the beat of the Bodak’s heart.
In a very brief time after the connections met in the party’s mind, the Bodak’s viscera was opened amidst the chaos of the battling orbs and it’s heart was removed. As Sera held the heart in her hands, it almost instantaneously became a somewhat incorporeal dark vapor. Sera placed this vapor into the eye piece and the group set off into the portal, fearful of what terrors lay in wait for them in Irian.
The Pain of Pleasure & a Glimpse Into the Future
The group arrived into Irian to find Selwin crippled by some force with a scattered number of the strange glowing orbs around them. As they moved to assist him though, his pain seemed to lessen and the strange orbs began to move away from the group. His muscles relaxed and he drew in several exasperated breaths. Selwin began to explain that when he first came through the portal he was overcome with an overwhelming sense of well being. His body filled with life and energy until that energy started to become to intense. Waves of pleasure so incredible that they soon became agonizing. At this point he began to go on in describing the entire experience to exasperating detail. While he did this the group took a moment to survey the new world that surrounded them.
Irian was filled with lush vegetation that seemed to be shaded in hues that none in the group had ever seen in simple plant life. The sky was as a perfect cloudless day with the intensity of several suns. The entire world around them carried an almost surreal sheen of brilliance from the extraordinarily luminescent sky. In the distance they spotted a small town that appeared to be home to a moderate population of denizens. The buildings, constructed of a glass or crystal like material, rose in simple, yet elegant rows. West of the town, in the far distance there was a single creature flying some distance above the ground. At first the group thought the creature to be a young dragon but, as they studied it they realized that the creature had no appendages, save a large arm and hand extending from the crown of its head.
Knowing that some knowledge of what was to happen here maybe helpful, Sera peered at the landscape through the lens. As she brought the eye piece up to her socket, the orderly and pristine town that lay before them vanished into a smoldering pile of rubble with several of the strange dragon like beasts presiding over the ruins. The whole group took a turn peering into the future state of this scene. Not whole heartedly wanting to press on into this place, but certainly not wanting to return to Mabar, the group begrudgingly moved their feet forward.
A Strict Moral Stance, Meeting with Aldarin
As the group traveled down the small mountain that the portal had spit them out on, they noticed that the strange glowing orbs followed at a distance. The group began to discuss the reasons for the creatures keeping their distance and the only conclusion that they came to was that the Dark Vapor now placed in their lens piece was acting as a sort of barrier for the positive energy in the plane. On the journey, Sera began to experiment with the Vapor. She found that, just like the Quarat’s Spark, the Dark Vapor could be focused through the lens creating a beam of dark energy.
After a few hours of travel and discussion, the group finally arrived at the boarders of the small town they spotted from the top of the mountain. The town itself was truly a sight to behold. The crystalline structures that made up the town, cast flares of light that reflected as prismatic projections across the ground and adjacent structures. The perimeter of the town was surrounded in a faint glow that formed a barrier of energy.
Hesitant, but seeing no alternative, the party cautiously stepped past the barrier. The glowing light seemed to part as they approached, presumably thanks to the power imbued in the Dark Vapor. As they entered the city proper, the group came upon a strange humanoid creature. The “person” stood at an average height, and bore upon his person heavy plate. The body of this person also cast off a glow from every part of exposed flesh. The strangest part though, was the creature’s head which hovered over its torso with no neck to connect the two parts of his body. When the creature became aware of the group, he turned to face them. As he did, his head swiveled with a slight delay to the motion of his body. His stern face suddenly became an expression of bemusement. “Who are you and how were you able to pass through the array?”
“We are travelers from another plane seeking passage to our next destination of Lammania,” said Sera.
“How were you able to pass through the array?”, insisted the Lumi.
The group went on to attempt to explain the powers of the Dark Vapor and their previous travels. The Lumi scratched his head, which made it bounce slightly in its place. “You must be taken to meet the Elder, Aldarin.”
The group, sensing no immediate danger, followed through the town. They were led to a central hall and ushered inside. A large entryway greeted them but, as it was cast of the same crystal material, it still was open to the bright sunlight beaming through which made it appear as though they were still out beneath it. At the culmination of this plainly decorated room was a simple, but well made dais. Behind this dais sat three Lumi. The Lumi positioned in the center of the three wore armor that was different, but not any more ornate, than all of the other Lumi. The Lumi the group first encountered motioned for the party to stop, gave a short gesture to the Elders that the party assumed to be some kind of salute or other honorific greeting. The Lumi then began to state the nature of his business to the elders in a clean, concise set of phrases that laid out the exact situation that was presented to him, the actions taken, and no real sense of emotion or concern. After the short tale of the breech of the array and his encounter with the party, the Lumi once again performed some strange salute to the elders and stepped back. This was all performed with an almost military like precision that the group found both fascinating and disconcerting.
The Lumi in different armor stood, “I am Aldarin, Elder of this Lumi installation. You have caused us a sense of concern. Clearly you bear no resemblance to any of our kind, nor do you appear to be one of the wretched Ravids, or the strange Energon. Also you were able to pass across a very efficient form of protective measure that we thought impenetrable. You can understand that your mere presence within our city is a cause of alarm to us.”
Aldarin paused briefly as though he expected a response but, just as Viva, Selwin, and Sera attempted to chime in, he continued. “The fact that you are not hostile makes us believe that you are not uncivilized and immoral beasts, like the Ravids beyond our protective array. Be aware though that this does not yet establish an appropriate gauge of your total moral purity. It is the intent of this collection of Elders to establish a strong understanding of said purity so that we may cast a judgement in whether you should be welcomed or cleansed.”
The Lumi’s Moral Code, Aldarin’s Offer
Aldarin proceeded to interrogate the party with a vicious torrent of questions. The topics of their business, travels, race, odd traits, and stance on several moral issues were but a small part of the overall line of inquiry. Occasionally Aldarin would take a moment and mumble quietly into the ears of his nearby “advisory”. The two Lumi that flanked him, to his left and right, would then mutter into the ear of Aldarin and he would resume his line of questioning. This went on for some time, and the group grew weary of the incessant quandaries of Aldarin. Sensing their exasperation, Aldarin stood. “We will now take time to evaluate your statement and make a decision about your need for cleansing.”
“Questions of Scruples.”
The Lumi spent several hours investigating the moral fiber of the group. Though the “in game” session was fairly direct, take an opportunity to pose a moral question to your character asked from the point of view of the Lumi’s and their code. Include your response from your characters point of view. The Question should be Bold and the response italic. Individual awards will range from 200-500 Xp, and I will offer a bonus 1000 for the group if Every Member Post’s their response by 11/15/2012, after that date the group bonus will drop to 250. Please see above for div formatting.
The group took repose in an adjacent room. This room was furnished with simple, yet elegantly constructed furniture and dressings. It was comfortable, but by no means cozy. The glean of the light beaming in from the crystal gaps between the occasional drape on the wall. The surface of this structure seemed to bound the light from casting a solid beam into the room. It allowed a glow to permeate the entire structure with out allowing its blinding properties. It also allowed the viewer on the inside to see out while preventing the viewer on the exterior from seeing in. The glow would pulse occasionally, as if powered by some distant heart pumping life into it.
The Group took the time to recount their ideas on what to do about the situation. Weariness, most likely due to heightend stress and wear from inter-planar travel, got the better of the group and their discussion was overridden by desire for sleep. They made the best of the down time and rested.
Slumber was disrupted by a heavy knock on the door. The sound shook the group into instant alertness but, as they opened their eyes, the light in the room blinded them. When their eyes began to adjust, they saw the faint outline of a slightly brighter glow in the room. The blurred outline eventually took the shape of one of the Lumi attendants. “Aldarin and his council have come to a decision. They will receive you in the main hall”
The group took a moment to collect themselves and then followed their Lumi usher to the main chamber that Aldarin had used to question them. As they neared the room, the usher stopped just short and motioned them in. They proceeded cautiously, still weary of what would happen when they entered.
The familiar dais was occupied by the three Lumi, Aldarin still sandwiched in the middle. The solemn faces of the Lumi did not betray any emotion as the group filed into the room. The tense peace felt to the party as though it may turn at any moment. Aldarin was first to speak. “The council has decided that you are creatures of a flexable moral standard and must prove your allegiances and purify any past transgressions. Being that your impurity has been deemed a small portion of your being, we have decided that rather than sacrifice a piece of each of you we will take a single member of your band as a sacrifice to the light. After the sacrifice is complete you will be tasked with ridding a scourge of Ravids that still lurk on the ruins of one of our ‘pre-array’ cities. At the completetion of this task you will be taken before the hierophants in the Occularum of Light.”
A Sacrifice to the Light
The gravity of the Lumi Elder’s offer left each member of the party slack-jawed. They were meant to allow the Lumi’s to sacrifice one of their troupe to appease their notion of morality. As the reality of the situation hit the jaws raised and moved to form words of protest. Almost as if their protest was directly counteracting the downward pull of disbelief. They all chimed in simultaneously with their rebukes to Aldarin’s proposal. Their barrage of words brought a sour expression to Aldarin’s face. He raised his hand and opened his palm to the party to silence them. “The decision has been made. If you refuse the terms we will deem you unworthy and immoral. Then you will be cleansed.”
Viva’s eyes shoot up as an idea struck her. “May we have a moment to discuss who will be sacrificed?”
Aldarin nodded and made a dismissive gesture, allowing the group to congregate.
The group looked at Viva in disbelief. How could she possibly be entertaining the thought of allowing one of these “moral beings” to destroy a member of their band. “I’ve been thinking,” she started as the group huddled in, “this ‘sacrifice to the light’ will probably employ some type of positive energy force. All the buildings and even the perimeter seem to feed of some huge source off it. If that is correct I believe that the Dark Vapor may be the key.”
The group nodded in agreement, silently urging her to continue.
“If we protect the person to be ‘sacrificed’ with the Dark Vapor, we might be able to over come the positive energy.”
“The only controllable variable remaining then is, who will be the test subject for your hypothesis?”, Shim said dryly.
At this the group began to eyeball each other and silently contemplate who amongst them should assume the risk. Each member of the group evaluated the contributions, or lack there of, made by each member of this tenuous fellowship. They had no strong events truly tying them together as a band and as such there was a strong chance that this decision might become problematic. With somber even tone, Shim’s voice drew all stares to his expressionless face. “It seems only fitting that as the hypothesis was presented by Viva, she should be the one to test the validity of the experiment.”
All eyes shifted to Viva, whose face muscles twitched to form words to dispute this. Before those words could come out though, Viva knew she would have a hard time disputing the simple logic presented. She opened her palm to take the Dark Vapor from Sera. They completed this exchange with a small gesture that they hoped concealed the transaction. Viva turned and stepped forward to Aldarin. “I will be purified so that we may proceed.”
Without pause, Aldarin stood and snapped. The small noise summoned two Lumi who escorted Viva to another room. The party followed behind and Aldarin moved from behind the dais to join with them, his two councilmen in tow. They moved out of the hall and through the streets of the shimming Lumi city. Viva’s anxiousness became apparent; beads of sweat began to slide down the side of her brow. Her expression remained stoic though.
Aldarin’s body language was a polar opposite. His face was not strained into any specific display of emotion, though it did convey a certain casualness with this situation. His motion was efficient and relaxed. He seemed almost satisfied that someone was going to be sacrificed today. This indifference sent a chill through most of the party. All, that is, except Shim. He strolled in a manner that mimicked Aldarin’s but was uniquely Shim. It might have been a comical sight if the circumstances were different.
The building that the group was led to was the only structure in the city that was taller than the hall they had just come from. It was crowned with an single spire that seemed to shimmer with energy. This shimmer radiated around the city forming the protective barrier that the Lumi spoke of. The doors of this structure were vast in size. They led into a room that was almost empty and seemed far more vast than it truly was, thanks in large part to the lack of adornments. There was a central circle carved into the crystalline surface of the floor. Two arms reached from the tall ceiling extending down to points at exact 180 degree opposition on the left and right of the circle. They stopped about four feet from the floor, each one glowing ominously and emitting a faint hum. Viva was ushered to the center of this device.
“That’s one less to split the gold with…”
The party is no stranger to loosing party members but, usually they leave of their own volition not by sacrifice. Give the account of Viva’s “sacrifice” from your characters point of view. Individual awards range from 200-600xp, Plus a 600xp bonus if the entire party posts their account by 11/24/2012.
As the smell of singed flesh and hair filled the room, Viva collapsed in the center of the circle. She just was weak, but alive. All the Lumi stood for a second as though they were taking the scene into their memory for permanent storage. Viva’s companions rushed to her aid. Frost quickly relieved Viva of the Dark Vapor. “Away from her.”, Aldarin commanded. The group froze for a second and, in that fraction of time, the Lumi regained their momentum. Two grabbed Viva and began to haul her away. The group began to rebuke this action but they were cut off promptly by Aldarin.
“No one has ever survived a full showing to the light. Your friend has some sort of strange quality that we must learn about. Seeing as you had already offered her up for sacrifice, you are not losing anything more than you have already agreed too.”
The party looked longingly on as Viva was removed from the room. A last flash of her eyes gave the party the small comfort that Viva was at least alive. The terror of what the Lumi might do to her to learn her “secret” quickly washed that small comfort out of their heads. Aldarin march out of the hall with no further words for the party. Their moment of silence was brief, but there was work to be done if they were ever to escape back to Eberron.
A Ravid Double Cross or Trouble With Tables
The party fell into step as they caught up with Aldarin’s lengthy stroll. The inclination to berate and question him about what was to be done with Viva was, eventually, suppressed by the groups knowledge that it would only slow their progress. Viva had proven herself capable, especially when it came to the art of using her words to keep herself from trouble. Aldarin moved swiftly out of the hall with the group in tow. As they proceeded Aldarin began to lay out the second part of the plan that would prove the party’s worth.
“Beyond the perimeter of the array, there is a city left in ruin. This place was taken by a group of Ravids before we had perfected the array’s technology. The ruins of this city must be reclaimed in order to allow for the construction of an array segment there. You will be tasked with ridding the ruins of their Ravid problem. When you have completed this then, and only then, will you be taken before the Hierophants. Do you have any questions?”
As he spoke the last question, Aldarin came to a stop. They had reached the edge of the city. The faint glow of the array cast a sort of curtain at this boarder. The group could think of no questions to ask so they set out of the city’s protective wall of light.
They proceeded west for several hours until they saw broken spires of similar construction to that of the Lumi city they had just come from. The buildings lay broken, strewn across the width and breadth of the city. Not a single Ravid was spotted, so the group entered cautiously. They came to a large central street that lead to the ruins of a large hall. They peeked into a couple of the buildings that lined this street. The entire city appeared to be abandoned.
Noting a complete absence of any forms of life, the party grew bolder and entered into some of the buildings. The rooms inside seemed destroyed, save for some overturned furniture and evidence that some terrible occurrence had happened here. Frost and Anemone both began to prowl through separate structures. Almost simultaneously, two pieces of furniture, a table and a chair to be specific, came to life with a flurry of motion and began an attack. Within seconds virtually every discarded furnishing was moving in on the party. Selwin took to the skies as a bat, desperately seeking to find some other method of controlling the rogue ottomans, dinning tables, and chairs.
As Selwin ascended higher, a large dragon like creature came into his field of view. He circled trying to double back and end up in a flight path behind the beast. He was mildly successful but ended up flying next to the beast rather than behind the creature. The Ravid turned and attempted to knock Selwin from the sky. In his nimble bat form Selwin ducked his head and adjusted the angles of attack in his wings, causing him to dive just below the coil of the Ravid’s body.
Selwin began to excitedly think and transmit his thoughts through the almost constant mind link that had become a standard safeguard from Shim. As the rest of his compatriots valiantly battled the ruined furniture in the abandoned Lumi village, Shim looked up to focus on what Selwin was going on about. As his thoughts now turned to the Ravid, this pulse of information now carried on more strongly to the rest of the group. They bashed at the last of the tables and chairs then began to shout out pleas for the Ravid to stop attacking. Intrigued, and most certainly not intimidated, the Ravid took a moment to hear the pleas of these small strange creatures.
The party took time to delicately lay out the orders they had received from the Lumi. They also told the Ravid of how the Lumi forced them to sacrifice Viva and in doing so, they clearly conveyed their shared contempt for the neck-less barbarians hiding behind a so-called “moral code”. With a bit of convincing, aided in great part to Frost’s silver tongue, the group persuaded the Ravid to temporarily clear out of the Lumi ruins so that they could have an opportunity to destroy the Array, and allow the Ravids to raid the Lumi cities.
All they had to do now was take down the Array.
The Temple of Light, Hierophants
After their return from the ruins, the group was subjected to another line of questioning by Aldarin. This time though the group knew they had an upper-hand. Aldarin was unable to uncover their deception despite hours of questioning their methods. Eventually he had to relent, and ushered the party from the central hall in the Lumi Village. He ordered his two attendants to take the group to meet with the Hierophants in The Tower of Light.
The walk to the tower was an uncomfortable one. The Lumi guards did not trust who they were guiding, and the contempt the group they were guiding held towards them was readily apparent as well. The long, awkward march came to a stop at a land bridge that went on for some distance. The bridge led to the base of a tall tower that cast out rays of light in multiple directions. The guides turned, “This is where we leave you. Cross that bridge and you will find the entrance.”
Eager to part ways with the Lumi guides, the party trudged up the bridge. Soon they found themselves in a tunnel. It lead from one side of the base of the tower, clear through to the other. No doors were present upon first inspection. The walls of the tunnel were made of a crystaline material not unlike that of the Lumi villages. These walls however were cluttered with flashing bits of light that seemed to form strange shapes in irregular flashes of light. This created a sort of disorienting effect in the tunnel. Shim began to examine the light patterns, attempting to pick up a pattern. Although he was unsuccessful in doing so., he was able to discern that the shapes the light was forming into was, in fact, some form of text. It was a text that he had encountered before while recording the carvings in Mabar.
The group began to study the walls, carefully attempting to find a door or entrance of any variety. While attempting to store all the flashing text he could, Shim ran his hands across a section of wall only to find that it had no solid properties. This hidden path led them up into the main chamber of the tower.
The main chamber gave way to a receiving room. In this room stood three Lumi dressed in white robes. They stood stoically as the party approached. “You were able to absolve your sins by making a sacrifice to the light and you have rid the eastern ruins of the Ravids that plagued them for some time. Aldarin has allowed you access to see the Occularum of Light but, let it be known strangers, should you intend harm or damage to the device you will be destroyed on sight.”
After accepting the warning from the hierophants, the party was led to a staircase that spiraled up the inside of the large tower. The walls of the inside occasionally lit with some little flash of the strange writing. They emerged in the top of the tower expecting to see an Occularum. What they beheld was similar to what they had come to know of other Occularums but, rather than taking the light of several sources outside and focusing them to a central point inside, the device took a solid beam of energy and spread it outward in all directions. The beam of blinding light came from a central hole in the tower that ran downwards to a room deep below the base of the tower. A complex series of lenses refocused and broke the beam into multiple beams that stretched out to all the Lumi cities. It soon became clear that what ever the source of power that was emerging from beneath this upper lens set, was also giving power to the “array” that protected the Lumi cities.
“May we see the source of the light?”, Sera queried.
The Hierophants talked amongst themselves for sometime. “No outsider shall be permitted to see the lower chambers. That room is sacred and may not be sullied in any way.”
“But… ", Sera begin to plead as she stomped a foot.
“It is forbidden.”
Sera persisted, “Your Occularum functions in a totally contradictory way than yours does. If we cannot examine and study its function we will not be able to leave your world.”
This stirred a new round of discussions within the triangle of hierophants. The further delay began to unnerve the party. Sera, in an attempt to make the hierophants progress the situation, blurted out, “We may be able to improve the function of your array.”
This claim led to a termination of the discussion between the Lumi wise-men. They gave each other a knowing look and motioned to a stair well leading down in a reverse helix along the diameter of the central energy well. At the bottom of the helix the spiral grew wider. The stairs seemed to plunge into the earth itself; the pristine crafted walls gave way to expertly hewn stone. The helix terminated in a simple archway. The party followed the hierophants through this archway. The sight that awaited them was strange indeed.
The room had with in its subterranian walls a vast body of water, an underground lake. In the depths of the water were large glowing orbs of light. The orbs radiated bright light that split into waves of shimmers as the surface of the water refracted the light. The glow was focused into several lenses suspended by apertures similar to the other Occularums that they had seen. Rather than being focused into a scrying pool however, this light was focused into a concave lens. Just before the light contacted with the concave lens, there was affixed to the device a connecting socket about the size of the eyepiece they already had. They knew what they had to do, but still had some reservations in doing it. Would this Occularum, with all its differences, function in the same manner as Solaruun’s or the Quarat’s device? If not, what consequences would activating the device hold.
The group stood at the edge of the water and contemplated their course of action via a linking of their minds, thanks to Shim. They talked of the possibilities that might come to pass if the device was activated. They debated leaving their friend, Viva, in the hands of these creatures if she might still have life within her. The debate went on for sometime, causing the hierophants to grow increasingly curious of the group who stood there on the banks of this lake in silence, casting looks at each other. Knowing that this debate must reach a culmination sooner rather than later the group decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt to activate the device.
Sera approached the water and began to assess the best method of climbing to the lens fixture. She motioned towards the device and the hierophants caught her meaning. One of them motioned with his hands and a set of crystalline blocks emerged from below the surface and suspended themselves in mid air, forming a stair case up to the fixture. The group looked on as Sera walked up the stairs. The hierophants looked on even more intently as the small female creature approached the lens array. Frost occasionally looked over at the hierophants with his hand close to his blade, in the event they tried to somehow harm Sera.
Sera carefully attached the lens piece to the array. Her hands shook with nervous anticipation of what the activation of this device would bring. She finished securing the lens and looked back over her shoulder at her comrades.
“Ready?”, she thought through the mind link.
The group nodded. Sera took in a sharp breath and attempted to activate the device.
At first she thought that the device was not able to be activated here. Nothing happened. Then suddenly the light refocused through the new lens in the array, It focused the light from below into a more intense beam on the concave lens and from there a solid, warm pillar of light upwards into the top light dispersion array. Sera almost tumbled back as the device kicked on. The light seemed to fill the cavern and presumably was causing the upper array to send out a brilliant stream of omnidirectional light. At that thought, the room shimmered with a bright bluish light and went dark. As the lights went out, the feeling of weightlessness kicked in. They were falling with no idea where they would land.
Into the Wilds, A Broken Lens
Sera almost lost her footing as the floor dropped. She thrust her arms out hoping to find something to hang on to. Her hands found a cold metal bar to that she proceeded to cling to for dear life. Her body tensed as she braced for some impact. The party suddenly found themselves to be wet as a huge amount of water moved towards them. With no light at all coming in, it was hard to determine the source. As they landed, the group was again awash in a deluge of water that seemed to come from above this time. Sera held to the bar tightly but, as the decent came to a stop, her own weight pulled down on her arms in a sudden jerking motion that threatened to send her plummeting down. Or was it down?
As she took in a moment to regain her composure she started to take in the signals that her brain was receiving about her surroundings. She noticed that the angle that she was hanging at seemed to differ from what she had expected. She hung at what she guessed to be approximately a forty five degree angle from what she thought should be down. The rest of the party was tossed for a moment and came down with a sudden impact in the corner where the wall met the floor. At first the water covered them but, in seconds, it began to drain lower and lower.
Out of the darkness there came a small glimmer of light from on Sera’s direction. She had summoned a small amount of light but, with the addition of low light vision and mind link the group came to a quick concensus that they were still within the Occularum in the Tower of Light but, something was wrong with the structure. The lights that once emminated from the lake were gone. The water that covered them was draining through the floor and the room now sat imbalanced from the intended angle the structure was constructed at.
Points to still be covered:
- Transit shift to Lamannia / A cracked lens
- Carin Stone Clearing, Druids, The Traveler
- A long first night in the wilds / Clarion, were-tiger & betrayer
- Ghost Bears! & the Traveler
- Sara Gets the Gift/Curse of Lycanthropy
- Confrontation & Exodus of the Lumi
- A week outside of space and time.
- Sara Learns More of her Curse / Repairs the Lens
- The Traveler reveals the Name of The Metatron.
- Plunged into Chaos.
- The Blue Slaad / Anemone contracts Slaad fever
- Shim Loosens Up / Chaos Beasts
- The Chaos Occularum and the Quaraphon
- The Device is absorbed.
- The Golden Cube and The Keeper of Time
- A brief debriefing about possible consequences of the party’s actions.