Chapter 5 - Reflections (Part 2)
An unexpected trip to Flamekeep leads to strange occourances before setting out on the next Jump.

Rude Awakening

After more than a week at sea, the comfort of stable footing and steady horizon lines was a great relief to the group. Once again, their travel across Thunder Sea afforded them some time to ponder the tasks that lie before them. As the ship came to rest in the busy harbor of Sharn, a flock of ships clerks were working in tandem with city watchmen to carefully inspect all travel documents and letters of marque. Ships manifestos were compared with thorough visual and verbal conformations. The group proceeded through the check point, there was a careful inspection of all their documents. They moved on to the customs cargo area. After their crates were inspected and the statues accounted for the group made arrangements to have them delivered via porters to Vundry’s shop.

Food and strong drink were next on the list of items. After their voracious appetites had been sated, the group went on to their own various errands. Glorian set out with Anemone and Selwyn to antagonize a few members of the Deathsgate Explorers Guild into a street brawl. Glorian gave a valiant effort, even going so far as to unleash a stream of urine upon the wall of the guild whilst standing directly adjacent to a junior guild member that was paralyzed with fear from Glorian’s mastery of the fine art of intimidation.

Frost took a trip via sky coach to once again visit with his mentor, Ranger Brad. Frost was eagerly anticipating news from Brad as to the movements of his uncle. The thought of gaining vengeance against Delmarong for his crimes moved closer to the forefront of his mind as Frost drew ever closer to pin pointing his uncle’s location.

Brad opened the door, Frost quickly strode in. After the obligatory pleasantries and friendly banter, Frost pushed to the crux of the conversation. He asked about the location of his uncle.

“I have some reports,” began Ranger Brad as he looked down at his feet for a moment, “that are lacking it what I would call solid information. They do however point to the fact that Delmarong has been headed west towards Moonwatch. Presumably to some how cash in on the finacial matter that we had discussed in our last visit. I don’t know the nature of your mother’s transaction but you should be cautious.”

Frost simply nodded and then moved on to telling Brad about the strange shift that they had experienced and how House Philarn was being marginalized in Stormreach. He went on to plant the idea that Stormreach was in fact, ripe for an uprising. Brad needed only to nod and Frost knew his point had been made.

The group gravitated together as it came time to sleep. They found lodging at the Adventurer’s guild. The beds were more comfortable than they remembered them, though that may have simply been because they were not in a constant battle with the swells of the sea. Everyone, save Shim, fell promptly to sleep.

It was just after sun up that there came a booming knock on Sera’s door. Sera came to the door expecting to find a surly Glorian but, she was instead confronted with a troupe of four members of The Silver Flame.

Chapter 4 - Reflections (Part 1)
With multiple interests in Stormreach, the group transitions back to the jungles of Xen'drik.

Across Thunder Sea

Anemone ducked her head over the side of the ship heaving out hearty belches of the simple rations she had just consumed in an attempt to quell her already nauseous stomach. The sickness was a combination of high breaks in the ocean and withdrawal from the dream lily she had ingested during the previous night at Brewfest. The waif, or Lilane Montdragon as the party now knew her, had tempted Anemone with the substance and now it was Anemone who was learning the responsibility that accompanied a drug habit.

The group mostly kept to themselves during the voyage as they each contemplated their return to the place where this journey had originated; They would soon be in storm reach. Sera spent several nights in her cabin pacing around it as a tiger. Frost stayed in his cabin for most of the time recounting the events and pondering how to best use them to his advantage. Occasionally he would take such pondering topside for a walk around the deck. When she wasn’t liberating her lunch from her insides, Anemone slept in hopes of sleeping away the symptoms of her choices.

Shim would often take walks through out the ship in an attempt to count the total number of planks that went into this fine Lyrandar vessel. As he would walk back to the stern to begin the next count he reflected about his opportunity to experience what the humans referred to as “intoxication”. He tried to find equivocations between his experience and what he understood about Solaruun’s condition. After hundreds of counts of every various piece of hardware that the ship was comrpised of, he was still no closer to a solid conclusion. He was also full of questions as to the changes that were developing inside him. His systems were somehow broken into by the strange professor, Siviroth, the man in the silver robes. How had he been able to take control of Shim? What was the noise that the group said Shim had emitted and what was the nature of the information it conveyed? More observation would be required.

On one day of their trip, Sera and Frost set to learn more about the new device that they had created from the pieces collected in their journey. The “Chaotiscope”, as they now called it, seemed to have several properties. The pair started by examining the individual components. The initial convex lens piece that they discovered seemed to show blurry visions of what Frost and Anemone agreed was most likely a nearby narrative. The Spark emitted a small radius of light and offered a protection from negative energy. The Dark Vapor functioned in a similar way but with darkness and positive energy. Both could be focused through the convex lens to form a beam of light, or dark depending on the component utilized. The concave lens spread the beam out into a wide cone of light or dark and the two together could be used to focus the beam into an intense ray. The chaos fluid that surrounded the device was the strangest aspect of the whole thing. It pulsed and moved almost of its own volition. Sera learned that when both lenses were present, the chaos fluid seemed to be able to move them to create the various light patterns without disassembling the device. The most interesting aspect was what happened when the entire device was used to look at their surroundings. Frost peered into it and was able to see the ships walls in various states of dry rot or disrepair. As he tried to focus farther out all object became blurry. It became apparent after much conjecture and debate, that the chaotiscope was able to focus on the near by narratives much further than the convex lens alone. It could see through a wide array of possible states of items gazed upon but, it began to lose focus when pointed at people or narratives to far flung from the current one.

Another topic that was often at the forefront of the groups thoughts was Lady Omaren. What would she be like in this new narrative? Would she have them killed on sight? Would she still be trying to craft her own Inevitables? Would she even be in this telling? These questions swirled into a tempest of musings that broke as the ship pulled into the harbor of Stormreach.

Heavy Handed

The harbor of Stormreach was a welcome sight after the days at sea. The view of the ramshackle
structures seemed to have changed a bit in their absence but, the smell of the harbor was still a strong olfactory trigger to memories of their time in Stormreach. The heavy brine in the air matched the heavy anxiety in the group as their ship came to dock.

They made their way down the gangplank as their goods were taken from the ship. They then followed the worn wood planks to the noisy din of the harbor district. As the pier gave way to land, the party came to a band of six warforged that wore the symbols of the Iron Watch. The warforged though seemed to be of a strange construction. Their arms held a mechanism for some sort of chain weapon and their backs had a pair of odd raised areas just next to the shoulders. The group recognized these modifications as being very similar to hardware they had seen on the Zekylhuts of Daanvi.

They cautiously approached and were asked for their travel papers. The formalities were fairly routine; the party was asked about their reason for travel and to provide letters of marque for their plan to export artifacts from a giant ruin. Sera and shim inspected the new style of warforged intently, each formulating a battery of questions that they knew would have to wait for a more appropriate time.

After the interrogation by the new Iron Watch, the party collected their papers and made way to the first familiar site, The Wavecrest Inn. On the short jaunt over to their first meeting place the group took notice of the shear amount of Iron Watch presence in the cities streets. Stormreach, the pirates bastion, home to countless scoundrels, and a den of the most devious thieves, was now a well patrolled and orderly city. The streets pulsed with the heavy feet of warforged marching in bands of two. Their patrol paths were incredibly efficient, leaving nary a blind spot or hiding place.

The group put their heads down and made haste towards The Wavecrest. They met a familiar face at the door. The doorman cast them a slight nod of recognition. After some pleasantries were exchanged, Sera finally asked about the new warforged. “How long has there been such a heavy patrol of warforged in Stormreach?”

Sera’s question caused a look of confusion to appear on the doorman’s face. “The Omaren’s have kept patrols around Stormreach for protection from criminals and the like for some thirty years. Lady Paulo Omaren maintains order throughout the city.”

With this, the confused expression dropped from the doorman’s face and transplanted itself to the faces of all the party, save Shim who just stood there taking in the odd displays that the fleshlings kept trading.

Quickly and silently the group came to the same conclusion, this was a variation in the new narrative that they had entered. They gave each other quick glances and made their way inside and too a table near the back of the room.

The look of The Wavecrest was just how Anemone, Frost, and Sera remembered it. The tone of the once lively tavern was vastly different. A somber mood hung like a noose around the bar. There was no music, only muted conversation, and quiet drinking. The group stood in disbelief while Shim casually took in the scene. Having no basis for comparison, Shim took the scene as totally normal, albeit unique among the taverns they had visited.

Anemones voice suddenly reverberated over the low din of the muted murmurs. She called for strong drink and food. As the server came to the table she politely asked Anemone to lower her voice. The poor girl looked almost panicked as she did so. Anemone, either indifferent or unaware, continued to speak in a voice that carried easy across the room. “Where is the Wavecrest I knew? Where are the drunken arm wrestling matches? Where are the bards?”
“Bards have been forbidden from entering the city for some time.”
“…”, a slack-jawed silence was all that Anemone could muster.

When she regained her composure she turned to the group and whispered, “We cannot let this stand, Omaren must pay for this.”

The group urged Anemone to wait for an appropriate time, and wait she did. She waited an unfathomably long five minutes, during which she angrily tapped her foot while contemplating how to usurp this imposed somberness. When she could not take it anymore she stood up and burst into song.

At first the crowd only looked on shocked. The bar maid shirked back into the kitchen and even the bartender moved back from the bar, keeping a cautious eye on Anemone. Anemone sang a triumphant song that she had picked up along her journey. Her rousing performance led to another patron picking up with her in song at the second verse. He stood from the bar and sang even above Anemone’s voice. He gestured wildly along with the lively meter of the song, seeming to be free of what ever inhibitions had kept him silent and still before.

As they moved into the chorus Anemone let the man take the lead while she pounded her feet and clapped, attempting to rally more singers to their cause. Suddenly, with great clamor, a pair of warforged with Iron Watch insignia burst in with heavy steps. They moved immediately to the singing man and as they did his song abruptly ended. Anemone, at the silent behest of her comrades, quickly took her seat.

One of the machines stood before the man. The metal man opened his mouth wide and a strange sound, very similar to the one that Shim emitted in the Moregrave library, emanated from his throat. The patron seemed to fall somewhat limp; his shoulders dropped and his spine began to slump. He moved lethargically back towards his bar stool and took his seat, once again quietly sipping on his drink.

The party decided then and there that they would have to investigate what Omaren had been up to while they were away. They rented rooms for the night and listened to the metered march of the metal enforcers as they drifted off to sleep.

Divergent Ways

The next morning the party convened in the common room of the Wavecrest. The remains of an evening of drunken revelry were strangely absent in this room. No dents on the arm wrestling table, no stains of spilled wine and blood, and most strangely, the same number of chairs around the tables that were there the night before. Shim counted and verified this fact.

After a brief discussion the group came to a consensus, gaining knowledge of what changes had happened was priority. Two main points of interest came to their attention. Was Solaruun’s house still safely hidden in the jungle and what were the marked houses doing about the state of things in Stormreach. Sera and Frost set out to investigate the Citadel of the Twelve and possibly speak with Sera’s grandfather. Shim and Anemone were off to investigate the old man’s house to ensure that the Occularum would have a housing to be setup in.

As a precaution for their separation, Shim attempted to link the minds of the group so they could communicate. As the bond was established, Anemone reached for her ears and let out a resounding roar of pain. After a moment the pain dimmed but, at the moment that Sera asked as to her well-being across the mind link, a blaring wall of static noise filled Anemone’s eardrums. Shim relinquished the effect.

This was a curious state of things for the group to adjust to. The mental bond that the psiforged produced had oft acted as a safety tether when the group was forced to part ways with each other. Something was interfering with the effect here. Though unspoken, the group all came to the conclusion that this was caused by some strange machination of Omaren’s new stranglehold on Stormreach. The group split and nervously set out on their respective missions left free to wonder in this new iteration of what was once a free, albeit dysfunctional, pirate city turned into a prison of brainwashed people corralled by new metal shepherds that the party now dubbed “Reach Forged”.

Frost and Sera set out to the citadel. As they passed through town they spotted familiar sights of broken relics from the collapsed giant ruins, floating islands of flowers bound by chains to keep them from flying skywards, and ramshackle buildings built atop all of this. The buildings though, had a uniformity about them that was not there previously. Even though their construction was still thrown together from scraps, the scraps seemed to be of the same materials. The metals, woods, and other elements seemed to be relatively mundane in their make up and, as Sera noted, they were all materials used in the construction of warforged.

As they finally arrived at the area where the Citadel of the Twelve should have been they were instead confronted with a large industrial complex that could only be described as vast. The perimeters were protected by a large wall and heavy patrols of “reachforged”. The main building in the complex was an incomprehensibly large structure that seemed to glisten with a strange, viscous moisture that clung to the sides of the building. There were tall smoke stacks that, guessing by the smell and smoke rising from them, were used in the smelting and reforming of metals.

Both being marked members of the Houses, Frost and Sera proceeded past the boundary towards the main building. The moment that they passed that edge a small troupe of metal guards were upon them. One of the guards approached and asked that they produce “work authorization papers” before they proceed. Both highlighted their dragon marks which were plainly evident as they were both upon their faces. Despite their clear affiliation with the two houses, the guard balked their entry. Sera pleaded to speak with her grandfather. “Without papers there is to be no entry into the main facility.”, the guard coldly repeated at their every attempt to gain entry. They soon realized that no amount of bargaining would convince the patrol to let them through. Accepting the small defeat they retreated to a short distance away to formulate another plan of action.

After reaching a suitable distance between themselves and the complex, Sera summoned up a small lemur messenger to fly above the building and provide a bit of recon. The lemur took flight and made way towards the complex from a high angle. As it neared the complex to begin recon it suddenly vanished in a small cloud of smoke. Sera attempted to sus out the nature of this magic and found it to be some intense form of anti-magic field protecting the complex from the top.

Something huge had changed here. Both could not help but wonder what work was being conducted inside this new complex. What change could have happened to bring about a narrative with no Citadel of the Twelve? The two backed away from the site quietly and made their way back to the jungles to meet up with their troupe at Solaruun’s house.

  • Shim and Anemone Investigate Solaruun’s old Occularum housing.
    • Find an “echo” of Solaruun.
    • Find copies of Solaruun’s books, arrived well ahead of him.
    • Anemone Investigates the housing (no occularum), gets a blast of fire while opening the door.
  • Good Friends Stick Together
    • Group reunites at Solaruun’s house.
      • Shim and Sera investigate “echo”
    • Patrols Arrive
      • Shim gets a shock to the system, Covers group in Ectoplasm. (Ectoplasm mysteriously does not cover patrols.)
      • Group is bound and put to sleep. Except Sera.
        • Sera wills herself into a were-tiger and destroys several of the warforged.
        • Warforged partol turns shim against sera.
        • Sera Subdued.
  • Black and White, Red and Yellow.
    • Lady Omaren disects shim, questions group
    • Talk of warforged as living beings v. constructs.
    • Darkness
    • Programming Languages (Duality of Shim)
      • Party is taken to the Lower hub.
      • discussion about how Omaren uses the Chain drive to program the “reach forged”
      • Omaren reveals that Shim is guided by two separate systems of language.
    • Relay and the Beacon, over Chicken
      • Party discusses things further with Omaren.
        • Learns of her creation of the reach forged.
        • Sera accidentally reveals that the group has changed the “narrative”
        • Omaren Takes an interest in the Key @ Mi’la Au’roth and the ability to “program the narrative”
    • A bargain for release.
      • Omaren keeps a part of Shim and allows the group to go with the promise that when they set out on the next jump she is allowed to accompany them.
  • Spiders, Driders, and Clerics
    • Party Sets out to Giant temple to collect statues for vundry.
    • Followed by Drow
    • Encounter Glorian
      • Glorian attempting to lead a rebellion through his connections in the red ring.
      • Just slaying evil in the mean time to keep his skills keen.
    • Enter ruined temple and encounter Driders
      • Driders attack party, 3 statues broken in the battle.
  • Mi’la Au’roth
    • Party arrives and notices distinct style of temple.
      • Resembles Tower in Kythri in its disjointed structure.
      • Has strange polished plates along the towers sides and reaches.
    • The problems with doors…
    • Lights
    • Order of being puzzle
    • Slit pattern
    • The Key
    • A slippery situation
    • Traps and lights
    • Jeweled Mural
      • Depicts a battle between Cyclops, Dragon, and Giant over seen by a strange figure of a solemn faced woman looming larger than even the dragons.
    • Opening the final door
    • Death in Giant form.
  • Singing and Selwyn
    • Party hears strange tones
    • Encounter outpost.
      • Outpost members report that several of their band have disappeared. Commission party to go and investigate.
    • Find hidden path and encounter 2 Stone singers (MM3)
      • Traveler arrives with Selwyn to investigate the nature of the Stone singers.
      • Group investigates temple and finds more Stone Singers. Glorian rains destruction upon them.
      • Discover trapped members of outpost and lots of great loot.
  • Plotting and Departure
    • Group returns to stormreach
      • Glorian begins plottings with red ring members for “Two Prong attack”, makes plans to appear in Tournament the next day.
      • Frost Does the same with House Philarn
      • Sera & Shim return to Solaruun’s, the rest of the party reconvene later.
    • Sera, Shim, Anemone, & Selwin go to bargain with Omaren to get Shim’s piece back.
      • Omaren balks their attempt, saying that she will give the piece back when they go on the jumps.
    • Glorian competes in the red ring, Frost spectates.
    • Group oversee loading of goods into transit and leave on chartered boat to Sharn.
Chapter 3 - Return to the Prime
The search for the next key begins.

Shifting Concerns or, A Hairy, Sticky, & Slippery Situation

In Solaruun’s Occularum, Vult 1, 998 YK, 6:00 pm

The bluish white light of the Quarat’s portal began to fade, leaving our group in the basement of the Occularum housing in Sharn. Their arrival was harkened by the slamming of the trap door into the Occularum’s main chamber. Solaruun’s voice came from the behind the door.

“You can’t get blood from a stone. I’ve got nothing to give to you so leave. No more galifars to give!”
“You old fool,” Anemone began, “it is us just returned from our jump.”

The room stayed silent for a moment. Realizing that the door was not opening, the group set out to inform Solaruun of who the “intruders” were in a strong chorus of shouts. The process proved to slow for Anemone and she swiftly climbed the ladder and began to open the trap door. The moment that the latch was turned a burst of flame shot out, engulfing Anemone and singeing many of the crates and antiquities laying about the room. Solaruun let out a wicked laugh.

The party once again raised their voices in effort to beckon the old man out. Sera sent a small messenger, in familiar winged lemur form, to speak for them. Solaruun attempted to destroy the messenger as Sera attempted to communicate. Anemone, slightly burnt and increasingly impatient, was now angry. She bellowed a roar and set up the ladder with more determination to open the hatch. Just as her hands once again moved to open the latch, the door was pried open from above. The round, wrinkled face of Solaruun peered down at her intently examining the contorted expression of frustration etched into Anemone’s face.

“You’re back! Back at last… the jump i thought killed… but that is irrelevant now… much work to move on… time to find the key… move more… you’re back!”

Solaruun attributed his actions to the recent arrival of “collectors” from the landlord. During the span of the journey Solaruu’s funds had run out leaving him 6000 galifars in debt to the landlord. He quickly dismissed the concerns of having hired henchmen coming to collect and the old man pleaded for the group to tell him about their journey. Solaruun was adamant about learning the intricacies of every action the group took on their journey. Anemone was beginning to burn up, her flesh growing hotter by the moment from the Slaad Fever she had contracted in Kythri. Shim expressed similar concerns, in a most calm and polite way, about his limited time frame to be solidified before becoming an amorphous blob of jittering chaos fluid. Sera cheerily revealed that she had become a lycanthrope of the were-tiger variety. Solaruun’s jaw dropped almost fully agape. It took what seemed like several minutes for him to muster up the strength to draw his mandible back in disbelief of the state of his self-proclaimed saviors of Eberron. As the realization that his champions had not performed as he expected Solaruun began to question what other follies the party had made in their trip.

Solaruun’s demands of a full recounting of the tale became less of a demand and began to teeter towards an ultimatum. Reluctantly, but quickly, Sera began to recount the tale. As she began to spin the yarn of the groups clumsy stumble through the planes, each member called out minute additions to the story; each addition seemed to tie an unsightly tangle in the thread. Solaruun listened in disbelief, occasionally yelling exasperated protests against the decisions (and accidents) the party had made.

As his questions grew more and more aggressive, the group began to turn the questions around to him. Questions were fired from both sides in a violent barrage.

“What are we trying to accomplish?”
“How could you have transported a whole civilization to another plane?!”
“What do you know about other ‘polycosms’?”
“Aren’t you concerned with the fact that you have become a ‘were-beast’?”
“Why didn’t you tell us what we were ‘supposed’ to be doing?”
“Did you retrieve the device?”

This question brought a stop to everything. Sera checked her bag, heart racing for a moment as she tried to recall if she had recovered the device. Her pulse slowly returned to a more moderate pace as she found it. She removed the Chaotiscope from her travel bag and presented it as if it were a prized holy relic recovered from a lost temple. In the groups mind it had almost become a god-like trinket, snatched from the hands of powerful creatures in a crusade to save the whole fabric of reality. It was at that moment that the party began to process the events of what they had done. In what seemed to them like a couple weeks, but was in fact four months, they shifted the orbits of four planes.

Their lack of knowledge as to what possible purpose it could serve in whatever demented endeavor Solaruun had convinced them to embark upon began to trouble them. The words of the Quarat echoed in their head. They had changed the path of existence for the entire world. The decisions they made, good and bad, had changed the whole of Eberron. The ways in which these changes would effect their surroundings and situation were yet to be felt.

Solaruun gave few answers to the questions of the group. He ranted and babbled on, almost incoherently. Shim extended a hand palm out to calm the old man. He focused and connected Solaruun’s mind to the rest of the party. There, in their minds, they could fetch the answers to their questions with some chance of getting a decipherable answer. With a calm stream of thought coming from his mind, Solaruun revealed the motivations behind his plotting.

“Long ago, the Daelkyr, a race of horrible creatures crafted from pure madness, were sealed out of Eberron by The Gate Keepers. They stewed in their mad rage trying to find some way to once again step into the prime material plane, if only for a second, to bathe this world in flame for the shear joy of watching it smolder. These beasts take great pride in the beauty of the absolute destruction of worlds. They view it as we do fine art.

While I studied with my peers during my time in Arcanix, I befriended a fellow researcher by the name of Felix Ir’Lemna. We became great partners while working out new arcane theorems and practices. He was intrigued at my ability to divine, and I was amazed by his proficiency with alchemical substances and implementations. We soon began to see ways in which we could overlap our research in these areas to accomplish great feats.

We found marvelous new applications for alchemical substances to be used in enhancing and perhaps, even augmenting the powers of my scrying pool. While perfecting the mix of magics and substances, we encountered a brief vision of one of these Daelkyr followed by flashes of what appeared to be a world in ruin. The smoldering earth patrolled by strange beasts of the Daelkyrs’ mind. The Vision shocked me and I lost concentration. The images in the scrying pool shocked my mind, freezing me in my place for a moment. Felix rushed to my aid. I tried to tell him about what I had just seen but the words became jumbled.

Over the next weeks Felix and I researched what we could. We then tried to recreate the circumstances of my first vision in hopes of getting a better understanding of the events that would lead up to this horrible conclusion. Despite hundreds of attempts we were never able to recall that vision for any duration. I got the same vision I had before, several times over, but still only as small intense flashes. On occasion those visions did not come though. I saw flashes of a world much as we know it today. We took this result as a fluke at first, a miscalculation in our methods. We tested even more feverishly. Hundreds of tests turned into thousands. The results showed the same sprinkling of one or two flukes among a string of horrible visions of the Daelkyr and their minions.

Felix and I debated what these results meant and we weighed what would bring about each of these possible courses. We could only come to one agreement, the vision of a world in flames did not have to be a reality, it was merely a plausibility. We differed in how we sought to avoid this end and our disputes led to our separation as a team."

With this Solaruun let out a deep sigh within the mind link. The group was silent for a moment. Then Sera chimed in, “How do you think we are going to accomplish this goal?”

Solaruun took a moment to collect his thoughts and began, “I believe the one of the Daelkyr sealed in the depths has found a way to draw Khyber into Eberron. If he is successful he will disrupt the delicate balance that maintains the orbits of the planes. Eberron will become a gravitational magnet drawing in all the planes at once. Imagine the effects of Risia during the early parts of the year, the chill it brings to the areas it touches. It cools even the hot temperatures of Sharn. Now imagine that across the whole of Eberron combined with the forces of Fernia blasting areas, shades creeping in from shadows, forces of order attempting to control violent bursts of chaos and madness. There is no way the world can survive in that state. I must calculate where the next key is, all is not lost. The path has just changed.”

“How has the path changed?”, Frost asked.
“Does this have something to do with a plane cut off from this ‘polycosim’?”, added Sera.
Solaruun spoke, “Yes, I believe that by changing the orbits of the planes in conjunction with returning the multiverse to its original state will be able to off set the plans of the Daelkyr.”
“You mean to return the connection to Dal Quor.”

Solaruun did not move. He paused a moment to let the group soak in the gravity of what he hoped to accomplish. Then he stood with out a sound and moved to his journals, tapestries, and artifacts to search for clues.

“Mind Fudge!”

The revelation of what the group is hoping to overcome must surely seem daunting to the group. Destroy or at least subdue a beast who views the destruction of worlds as an art form. Not to mention restore the connection of Dal Quor to the prime material plane. The giants closed the connection for good reason. Describe below what your character’s thoughts were after hearing a conformation of the suspicions the Quarat raised. Doing so will reveal a character specific secret that may come in handy later. The best entry will earn 800 XP. Deadline is 12/7/2012.

Extraplanar Fears   Sera Kaylee Edison d'Cannith

This…this cannot be good. What kind of power could pull Khyber into Eberron? What does “Drawing Khyber into Eberron” even mean? Certainly can’t be good, that’s for sure. That would most definitely upset the balance.

But the balance is already upset? Could Dal Quor’s presence fix the balance so that it would not end in obliteration? Possible, I suppose. Too much unknown. Much more must be learned about Dal Quor, and these creatures called Daelkyr. What connection, if any, do they have with each other?

And what of this Felix ir’Lemna? What was his plan? Why did it conflict with Solaruun’s so? Why would an alchemist and a diviner be working together? What crosses existed? Too much unknown.

The metatron may have some answers. I need to…to write her a letter. They certainly won’t appreciate me in Thrane given my current condition, therefore a letter will be necessary. It’s the only way, right? I’m not ill.

But I spend my evenings with out thumbs. How can I be productive without thumbs?

I have devices to allow me to be productive even without thumbs…and thumbs never stopped me from thinking! And now I have first hand experience on what it means to be a cat. This information is invaluable. I can improve my designs for Mr. Snuggles. I have clarity of mind like I’ve never known. I can see, hear, smell, and taste far more acutely. This is good.

But sometimes notes must be made…sometimes…sometimes there is not time to waste. Sometimes you must fly by the seat of your pants and pray to The Sovereigns that your pants still have a seat by the end of it. Sometimes something must be sacrificed for the greater good…for progress…like Viva.


Is the multiverse worth clarity of mind?

Shaking her head, Sera mumbles “Too much is unknown.”

View Sera’s Revelation.

Maybe I should start hitting the books, not the weights… Anemone Shadowborn of Clan Charix

None of this is making any sense. The gatekeepers are holding the seals together keeping The Mad Ones locked deep in Kyber, and the moons will fall before they would leave their post. So is Soloruun wrong… or has something happened to the Gatekeepers? I remember last time I spoke to one in the western woods he lamented the fact there are far too few recruits. Has it finally reached a tipping point and they can’t stop Xorait any more? Would they tell anyone if they did?

And speaking about the Dragon Bellow, how in Kyber would a Mad One be able to get Kyber into Ebberon? Is that even possible? How? And why aren’t the dragons getting involved? I’m sure that would be part of their precious prophecy.

We need answers, and all this thinking is making my head hurt. They never mention this part in all of the stories, being totally out of your element and having no clue what to do next. I’m still not sure that Soloruun isn’t still crazy, or worse, but without him we have nothing to go on.

We need outside information, and I don’t trust anything those silvered bastards in Thrane have to say. I’ve had it up to here trying to figure out which strangers to trust. We need to go back to the Reaches and speak to the Greensingers where at least I know the people there. No one alive knows more about the planes then they do and they have great relationships with the Gatekeepers and with the Fey Court. Some nutters still hold to the line that all planes should be connected, but we’ll have Puck on our side, and that should be enough.

Man, I’m tired and my head is pounding. All of this thinking is exhausting, I have no idea how Sera dose it. But she is far too young to be carry this much of a burden. Its time to start working harder fuzzbrain so she won’t have to…

View Anemone’s Revelation.

The Long View Delarrion Frost

We’re going to what?!? How does he expect us to accomplish this? This is what I get for ignoring those lessons when I was younger. My knowledge of history may not be great, but legends suggest that the magic the giants used to send away Dal Quor was one of the causes of the downfall of their civilization. Do we have to do something similar, and if so, could it have similar results to our own civilization?

Does it count as saving the world if we destroy civilization in the process? No, lets avoid that option. Let’s not ruin the world to save it.

Soloruun said that the future he saw was only a possibility, and the Quarat said that the changes we made effected this plane as well as the others…
Maybe, we could replace this civilization with a better one…
This requires further thought, but not now.

I need to focus on ensuring we have a plane in the future, the civilization thing will solve itself. We need to speak with the metatron, we need some guidance. Maybe she’ll speak to me, considering I’m one of the few members of this party without some form of Lycanthropy.
I’ll take the long view on the civilization issue, after all I’m one of the ones making the changes…

Curing Ills, Catching Up with Friends

With Solaruun’s nose buried in his tomes, the party once again turned to face each other. Anemone’s fever had only worsened and the time frame to restore Shim was growing more and more narrow. Sera was also growing increasingly concerned that at least one, if not several, of the moons of Eberron was bound to be full. Sera hastily provided Shim the funding to be healed at a proper Jorasco House of Healing. Selwin set to work curing Anemone’s Slaad Fever. After some prayer and transference of divine energies he was able to relieve her affliction.

Frost grew restless and wanted to accomplish something. His mind was still racing from the delivery of Solaruun’s motives. He decided that perhaps something less strenuous could be handled in the immediate future, something to give his mind a chance to process what they were attempting to accomplish.

They had the A.A.R.P. for far longer than they were supposed to and Frost was sure that there was some word around the adventurers guild in Clifftop as to how this “extended borrowing” of the prize possession of the guild was being viewed. Tired of listening to Solaruun mumble to himself, and sick of smelling Selwin, Frost began to head to the door. Once again feeling more spry, Anemone leapt at the chance to walk around somewhere she was able to procure a strong beverage. She followed and they headed to the Dragon’s Roost in Clifftop for a little listening and a lot of drinking.

Once in the doors, the pair took in a lively bar scene. Several members of the guild, of a wide range of grades, filled the cozy bar causing it to feel like a cramped shed filled with a tribe of savages. Loud songs rose up from patrons drinking at a nearby table. A small littering of guild member ‘admirers’ were intently listening to greatly exaggerated stories from members, many of whom only appeared to be recent additions to the guild. Anemone and Frost made their way through the crowd, narrowly avoiding having drinks spilled on them multiple times.

On their battle to get to the man dispensing hard liquor, they both took a moment to scope the make up of the crowd and find a possible source of information. They spotted a couple higher ranked members of the guild conversing at a table. Frost made note of them, but at the moment drink was first on the agenda. They beckoned the barkeep and were promptly presented with two chilled mugs of strong spiced ale. They sipped at first but that soon gave way to simply pouring the beverage down their throats. After ordering another round, they made their way to the table of higher ranking members that they had sussed out.

They approached and began to strike up conversation with the members. They learned that Guild Master L’Blaugh had been overheard talking about the theft of the device. The members began to question how this slightly singed shifter and dark clad, white haired elf, came to know about the A.A.R.P.. Anemone did not care to have her ethics, or those of the members of her group, called into question. She began to vocally and vehemently defend the group. She explained how the group had not expected to be gone for as long as they were. Her defense became more aggressive. Frost attempted to cool the situation and was mildly successful in this endeavor. They quietly exited the situation and headed back to the Occularum housing, after one last ale.

Persistence Makes the Door Frame Weaker

Shim moved through the layered towers of housing and businesses in the middle wards of Sharn on his way to Sera’a Apartment. He took in the sights of the denizens filtering out of the taverns in their inebriated states. Occasionally he would stop and watch a small group of them talking loudly as they stumbled through the streets making their way to the elevators, spiraling staircases, and air coaches that would get them home.

On his walk Shim stumbled upon a discarded edition of The Sharn Inquisitor. He stood for a moment to read the stories. The major news told of a recent raid on a Daask warehouse by the Sharn watch. The raid was lead by a lone guard that heroically took on the ogres, medusi, and other miscreants that worked in the warehouse. Large amounts of silver statuettes were found along with some controlled substances. The article went on to discuss the great victory on the drug plague that had taken hold of Sharn. Shim read on.

In the top portion of the next page was a simple ad touting the “superior sausage” at Philantrup’s Sausage and Banger Emporium. Spiced sausages, mild sausages, kielbasas, and custom orders were no trouble for these “Sultans of Sausage”. All meet processed in house, and discounts offered for large orders. Located in the Bazaar! Mention this ad for a 10% discount!

Shim pondered the system of selection by which one becomes a “Sultan of Sausage”. Was it something that was selected by birth, social status, or election? What were some of the responsibilities and privileges that came with the title? Questions that would be stored in his banks for future research. He moved on to the next article.

The next story was a tawdry gossip article about about the upcoming Tain Gala. There was great discussion as to who would be attending, who would be performing, what food and spirits would be served, and what the theme of the gala would be. Shim committed the list of possible attendees to memory and moved on to the next article.

A full page ad with color printing, magically animated, announced the recent opening of a new tavern in the heart of Haereth’s Folly. The Saucy Wench boasted spirits from around the whole of Khorvaire and beyond. Food that rivaled that of the restaurants on the sky deck, and was more affordable too! A Festival, to be held the last week of Vult, included singing competitions, arm wrestling, and selections of beer and ales from all the land. This “Brewfest” was to be an event not to be missed.

The final article was another rumor and gossip column which, as Shim was beginning to realize, was typical for The Inquisitor. Apparently there was talk that the High Cardinal of the Church of the Silver Flame was to come to Sharn. The idea that a man in such a high position would ever leave the security of Flamekeep was rather odd. Shim took a moment to process how likely it was that this particular article held any validity to it. Still, the thought intrigued Shim. The possibility to encounter a person in such a prominent position and perhaps peer into his mind sparked a string of internal questioning that Shim stored in his memory.

Shim neatly folded the paper and tucked it into his armor. He then proceeded on his way to Sera’s. As he arrived at her stoop, Shim took a moment to listen at the door. He sensed a movement in the room, a light pacing sound. He turned the knob but, the door was locked. Shim stood for a moment and debated bashing in Sera’s door. He glanced at the construction of his body and judged it against the steadfastness of the wood in Sera’s door. The conclusion of that evaluation was that, it would likely be more devastating to his shoulder than the door if he were to use brute strength. Preferring to err on the side of caution, and what he had learned to be “polite”, Shim began to knock. He chose a spot on the door that would optimize the sonic resonance of the wood and minimize stress on the hinges, frame, and overall structure of the frame.

The first knock went unanswered. Shim tried again. Still there was no answer. Shim settled into a steady rhythmic beat. He began to count the knocks so that he could evaluate a common knock to answer ratio for predicting the answering patterns of non-metallic beings. It soon became apparent that this ratio would be severely weighted on the side of knocks.

“Sultan of Sausage!”

Shim has made a point of determining what changes the group has made on the prime material plane. In this effort he has drawn some interesting conclusions as to what causes have led to what effect. One of his more outlandish assumptions has been the idea that their jump has caused the quality of the sausages in Sharn, if not the whole of Eberron, to greatly improve. Describe his chain of logic that led to this presumption for 250 XP and a 10% Discount on all local meat markets in Sharn.

Respond Here

A Shady Meeting

Vult 2, 998 YK

Frost, Anemone, and Selwin awoke in the lower chamber of the Occularum. Beams of light shone in through the small windows in the bottom of the housing. Solaruun still was sitting at his table looking through several tomes and journals. Occasionally getting up to examine a tapestry, taking a few notes and returning to his spot at the table. Frost stood up, stretched, and glanced around. “I’ve got some business to take care of. Make sure he eats something, I’ll be back in an hour or so and we will head out to Sera’s.”

Frost was out the door before Anemone could respond. He walked briskly through the streets and made his way to the residence of his former mentor, Ranger Brad. Frost was anxious to see him after all this time. A familiar face would certainly be welcome after this last “expedition”.

The staircases on the sides of the towers seemed to go on forever as frost trudged his way upward. Finally he came to the door. He quietly opened the door and made his way inside. Frost knew Brad would be alone, he usually was. He walked in to find his mentor pouring over purchase forms for his next trip. Brad looked up, slightly older than frost remembered him. They embraced before the first hello was spoken.

“My boy, its been sometime! How are you?”
“Generally speaking, I am well.”
“Excellent!” Brad said as he sat again and motioned for Frost to do the same.
“I have come today though to ask a favor.”
“You know that you have only to ask…”
“I need to request a meeting with The Serpentine Table.”

Brad stopped for a second at the open utterance of such a secret group. He cast his eyes over Frost for a moment and took in his demeanor. Brad knew by the expression on Frost’s face that whatever news he had to share with the table was something that was causing Frost some distress. Frost told the aging ranger about the task that he and his traveling companions had been charged with. The tale kept Brad completely motionless as he focused intently on the unbelievable course of events that he had participated in.

Brad was just overcoming his restricted motion as Frost came to the conclusion of what he hoped to accomplish with his meeting. As the temporary paralysis was disappearing, and the conversation turned to him for response, Brad was rendered speechless. “The Table would indeed be interested in the implications and possibilities of the magics and power you speak of. I will attempt to arrange something soon.”

“My thanks to you for that. Tell me what other news you have of happenings here in the ‘real world’.”

Frost said the last part of the phrase with a sort of beleaguered frustration due in part to his recent inter-planar hopping. He sat back and waited for news that would be more “normal”, and with any luck good.

“Sharn has been fairly quiet. There have been a couple new establishements opened, ohh… and the raid. A rather inept guard, Harris I believe is his name, was credited with discovering and almost single handedly destroying a huge Daask drug warehouse. I believe that the story is at very least embellished, if not an out right lie. Harris is a known junky and has barely kept his post over the years. Several condemnations and even a demotion speak to his work ethic. His propensity to take bribes is not unknown either.”
“Interesting to know, though I fear that this is something that I need not concern myself with at current, considering my current endeavors. I will keep this though; as you know, you never know when information may prove useful.”

Frost stood to leave, Brad followed suit. “Oh, I nearly forgot, your mother and sister will soon be visiting back to moon watch to see to some financial affairs they have there.”

Frost took the news with a somber face that showed little emotion. “I will have to arrange a trip then.” He shook Brad’s hand and gave him a parting pat on the back. Frost stepped back out down the spiral of stairs to meet back up with his companions.

Mi’la Aur’oth

Frost reentered the Occularum housing to find Anemone following Solaruun with a piece of bread that she had buttered and constantly attempted to get him to eat. She let her arms drop in defeat as Solaruun bounced between piles of “artifacts”. Solaruun’s pace was frantic as he leafed through a few pages of one tome before dropping it and moving on to the next. At the sight of Frost, Anemone threw her arms up in defeat and set the bread on the table.

“He has been like this the whole morning! He refuses to eat. He keeps claiming that he has almost found the key.”
“Well where is it?”, asked Frost, attempting to hold in a laugh at Anemone’s frustration.
“Ask him yourself.”, Anemone retorted.

Frost moved towards Solaruun, but each time he approached Solaruun would move on to an adjacent pile of books. Solaruun collected what appeared to be a journal and began to flip through it. He scanned each line with the tip of his finger, mouthing each word as he did so. Frost approached cautiously. Closing a foot of space between them with each step, Frost was almost upon the old man when Solaruun let out an exclamation. The old man’s beady eyes caught Frost’s eyes and he spoke, “I need another book!”

Frost looked around the room at the collection of books that this strange hermit of a man had already put together. Surely this was the largest collection of books that Frost had seen outside of any major institution with a library. What tome could possibly add any information that could not already be found in this collection.

“There is a tome… a book… a book… regarding the the giant societies… giants in the southwest reaches of Xen’drik… giants… giants that built Mi’la Aur’oth! Sera… sera… at the library… Moregrave…”

Frost focused in on Solaruun’s words attempting to decipher the stuttered rambling. Believing that he had gathered the gist of what the old man was saying, Frost told Anemone to get ready to go collect Sera and Shim. “Now old man, you should sleep.”

“No time… must start… must start… must start…”, Solaruun trailed off and sat in slumber, mouth agape, drooling on the journal. Selwyn stayed to watch Solaruun as Frost and Anemone went to meet their comrades.

They made haste to Sera’s apartment and came to the door to find a small dent along the right side of it. The dent had four segments to it, almost like a fist. Had someone come to hurt Sera? Had the adventurers guild found her and come to collect the A.A.R.P.?

Anemone readied her blade and Frost opened the door. As Anemone lept in the room she found Shim, taking books off of the shelves in Sera’s room and stacking them into neat piles according to some system not known to Anemone.

“Welcome Anemone, Welcome Frost. Sera is in her study putting together her notes on the A.A.R.P. before its return to The Clifftop Adventurers Guild. She has instructed that she is not to be disturbed in the course of her work. Upon completion she will emerge from her study.”, Shim reported while taking a small break from his dubious stacking.
“We have some new information on where to get the next key but, we need Sera to get us into Moregrave.”, said Anemone.
“Sera has instructed that she is not to be disturbed in the course of her work. Upon completion she will emerge from her study. Her books may offer a source of information. I have also learned of several various stories of relevance from a local news source.”

Shim went on to regurgitate all of the stories he had read in The Inquisitor to painstaking detail. As he drew to a close, he spoke of his revelation, “It appears as though our actions have vastly improved the qualities of processed meats in Sharn. Further research needs to be done in order to evaluate how wide spread this phenomena has spread.”

“Shim, we need Sera”, pleaded Frost.
“Sera has instructed that she is not to be disturbed in the course of her work. Upon completion she will emerge from her study.”, retorted Shim.

Realizing a futile effort when he saw it, Frost said, “Well, let’s go find something to fill our time then.”
“Hazjrak!”, exclaimed Anemone.

Anemone & Gunfer, The Wench & The Waif

On the way to the western wards, Anemone excitedly explained the finer points of the game to her compatriots. “Its almost like the game you call capture the flag, but instead there are totems on either end of the field. Oh, and the field is a treacherous obstacle course covered in all manner of physically trying challenges. Plus there are two Razorclaws for each team that attempt to balk the advancement by ravaging the runners.”

As she spoke this last line, Anemone mimed the pouncing and clawing manuvers that she was describing, causing several passers-by to jump away from her to avoid being hit. As they drew closer to the field, they saw posters proclaiming the battle between the two shifter teams.

The favored team was captained by Gunfer, a legendary player of the game. Gunfer was also the topic of many of the conversations amongst the other fans that now were flowing into the arena. The crowd was comprised mostly of other shifters but, there was also a sprinkling of humans, dwarves, elves, and even a few half-orcs. The teams did warm ups on the edge of the obstacle course.

Shim, Anemone, and Frost procured beverages and places to sit. The group watched the teams stretch as they discussed their attack routes among the array of physical challenges. Suddenly, a great fanfare of music was started. Shifters sounded trumpets fashioned from animal horns as drums of various makes were pounded in a rising beat. The pulse of the drums grabbed hold of the crowd. Many fans stood and clapped in unison with the drummers until the stadium threatened to collapse from the thumping stomps of feat, cheering fans, and visceral percussion.

The song came to a powerful and sudden stop. The sudden conclusion was followed by a loud thunderous voice booming over a magically amplified system. The announcer began to announce each team…

“Gunfer’s Victory!”

The Sport of Hajrak is truely a violent and wild sport. The constant struggle to capture the Idol of the other team. We only covered the game in short while “in session” so, use the space below to tell your characters account of the Mighty Gunfer’s Victory. This challenge is open to Frost, Anemone, and Shim. A good description will net you 500 XP, but the best one will get an additional 500 XP. If you want some additional info to go off of, please view Races of Eberron, pg.30 Deadline, is 12/14/2012.

All is fair in love and Hrazhak

“Hrazhak is a really graceful game,” Anemone insisted, her paws warping the stadium seat’s armrests in anticipation.

“Oh?” intoned Frost, dry and full of humor.

“Yeah! Its not a brawl like everyone thinks it is! If you focus too much on fighting the other team, then you run the risk that your opponent will slip by and steal your idol. That’s the name of the game; you don’t get any points for knocking the other guys out. You need to work as team and get your opponent’s idol and keep them from getting yours.”

“But if you knock out the other team,” Shim wondered, “would that not make it easier to get the other their idol?”

Grinning, Anemone winked, “That’s not as easy as you’d think.”

An eruption of cheers and jeers announced that the teams arrived on the pitch. Each team brought their own idol shaped like their mascots. The team closest to our adventures was a snarling weasel painted black and red, the colors of the Skirmishers. “A nasty looking group,” said Frost to much agreement.

Then came the star. Gun Fur head his team’s idol over his head, a displacer beast signifying their allusive talents, pumping up the crowd with cheers for the men and blowing kisses to the swooning women in “Gun Club,” his traveling group of female shifter fans.

When each teams idols were placed on platforms, an enormous war horn sounded. The hunt was on.
(the rest will come later, I am having troubles w/my comp and will see if I can upload this from work)

ShimIt is an intriguing… sport, they call it. A challenge primarily of strength, resilience, and finesse. These are respectable qualities, but it seems nonsensical to risk physical damage to one’s body – the vehicle of the mind – both willingly and needlessly.

How the game is played has a certain logic to it, but why they play is harder for me to understand. Is it to prove their abilites to themselves, their fellow competitors, the overall shifter community? Perhaps it is to keep in shape for an occasion when combat may become a real necessity. Some competitors might simply enjoy putting on a show, or just getting caught up in the chaos of it all. Likely it is a combination of all of these things, with individuals placing emphasis on some aspects more than others.

One thing I do know is that everyone involved – the competitors and the spectators alike – were extremely excited about it, and especially fervent vocalizations and gesticulations were produced for the one they call Gunfer. He was very good. Anemone was even compelled to acquire his “autograph.” The prospect of his name written on a piece of paper was so enthralling that she was willing to knock over several people to obtain it.

I wonder what that feels like.

Cultural Differences Delarrion Frost

“Hrazhak is a really graceful game,” Anemone insisted, her paws warping the stadium seat’s armrests in anticipation.

“Oh?” I said, trying desperately to keep my sarcasm from coming out. It mostly worked, Anemone didn’t seem to notice. She just continued on and on about this silly game. Grab totem, put it next to your totem, score points, have most points. Seriously, it’s not complicated.

The teams where announced, the skirmishers were a fierce looking team with a weasel idol and black and red colors. “A nasty looking group there.” I muttered. Gunfer’s team was introduced next, and soon the great horn sounded to signal the start, and the bedlam began.

Perhaps I was wrong, there certainly was more strategy than the shear brute force that I thought. The action at least keeps the people entertained, or at least keeps them from rioting, which I suppose is just as good. I bet Glorian would have loved this if he was here. Perhaps it would remind him of some of his bouts in the Red Ring.

Watching Anemone’s reaction to this sport, I bet she would have loved watching the Red Ring. There’s certainly an aura of similarity between this match and some of Glorian’s fights. I’m almost positive I’ve seen one of the other fighters using that same hold that Gunfer seems to be employing. “Arms aren’t supposed to bend that way.” I pondered out loud, Anemone seems to engrossed in the game to notice. “I believe you may be correct.” Shim chimed in. Yep, Glorian would have loved this.

Despite my initial misgivings, I soon find myself engrossed as well, cheering along for this Gunfer character. Even to the untrained eye, he is clearly the most talented on the field. Also, out of all the other players, he’s clearly the least injured, which I assume is good.

After the contest, Anemone begins to regale us with tales of playing Hzarhak as a young girl, and how good she was at the game. I don’t doubt it. Seeing her in the vicinity of so many other shifters makes it obvious. Anemone is at least a foot taller than the other women in the crowd, and taller than most of the men too. Being the biggest no doubt has its advantages.

I began to recall games I played in my child hood. Mostly tag and hide and seek. I was good at both, being quick has its advantages. I cannot imagine any good elf woman letting her children play something so dangerous… Then again, I’m from Aernal, the highest ambition you can have as a child is to die and resurrect as an undying. I doubt any shifter woman would ever tell there children that.

As the crowds emptied from the arena Anemone spoke in fervent praise of the amazing skill presented on the field by the mighty Gunfer. Frost looked at her with a dismissive glance and then attempted to tune her out on his path to the nearest tavern. Shim listened intently, hoping to gather more information on the strange, brutal spectacle that they had just witnessed. Anemone reenacted several impressive plays from the match. Her relentless praise of the majesty of the mighty Gunfer drew the cheers from other passing fans. One shifter approached the group, “You know that Gunfer is going to be imbibing at the new tavern in Hareth’s Folly? The Saucy Wench I believe its called. I’ll be there for sure!”

And with that, the shifter dove back into the crowd and pressed forward towards the nearest stairs leading down the towers into Hareth’s Folly. Anemone’s eyes lit up at the thought of being able to meet up with the star of today’s match. She turned to Frost, He waved his hand forward with a belabored nod approving the question he knew Anemone was about to pose to him. “Thank yo…”, Anemone started.
Frost jammed a finger to her lips to silence her, “Just don’t talk until we get there.”
Shim stared strangely at this interaction, but then proceeded to follow as they made their way to the newest drinking hole Sharn had to offer.

The Saucy Wench was not the typical watering hole that they had anticipated entering in Sharn’s middle wards. The tavern took up what looked to be three stories of a newly remodeled tower. A small bridge led to the entrance, forcing you to walk by a large sign hung to the wall, lit on either end with two ever burning torches, proclaiming the name of the establishment.

Take a Virtual Tour of The Saucy Wench.

The Saucy Wench

The smells that emanated from the kitchen in the establishment were nothing short of intoxicating. The place sounded lively from the outside, and the smells overcame any question as to whither or not they should go in. As they entered they were immediately confronted with a large orcish bouncer who eyed them all suspiciously.

“Chud no allow weapons in The Wench.”

Frost looked to his side and Anemone to her blade. They reluctantly surrendered their weapons and entered in. They made their way downstairs to the main bar where a very skilled dancer was being aided in her performance by a small gnomish illusionist. He created embellishments to her dance by leaving sparkling trails of light tracing the paths of all her appendages. They grew more intense in color and shimmer as the movements of her dance grew more erratic and lively. Music seemed to fill the room but, there was no band in sight.

The group found a table and took a moment to order some food and drink. The place was a buzz with energy and the spirits were poured liberally. Quality ales, some harder liquors, and a bounty of food was soon presented to the table.

Shim watched the crowd and took in the sights of the performance while Frost and Anemone began to gorge themselves with the cornucopia of delicacies set before them. As he turned to see his friends stuffing their face, Shim decided to attempt to sample the “food” that his counterparts were so greedily inhaling. He took a sliver and chewed it between his mechanical lips but, was relatively nonplussed by the experience.

The Dancing gave way to live instruments as a bard took the stage and began to sing. Frost sat back for a moment to rest his meal before finishing off the rest of the delicious food. A murmer began to take hold around the place and several patrons stood up and began to move back upstairs. Gunfer had arrived. Anemone took the news with great enthusiasm and pushed past other patrons to make her way up the stairs.

Soon a crowd was clustered at the top of the stairs spilling over into the nicer section of the bar upstairs. Anemone was at the head of the pack in accosting Gunfer. She presented herself with a chant of “Gunfer, It’s me. Anemone! You were so great on the field, the way you… grrr,” and with that she once again launched into a miming of one of the more impressive maneuvers pulled off by Gunfer.

Frost, having already witnessed the reenactment, scanned around the crowd. The bulk of the clientele had been at the match just a few hours before; many of their faces were familiar to Frost. One patron stood out though. A young waif like human female pushed against the crowd to make her way down the stairs and to the bar. Her dark hair was matted and wild, her clothes were destroyed and appeared to have old blood stains on them. She stood at the bar and demanded something but Frost was unable to pick out the words. He watched as the barkeep took two galifars from her and in exchange, presented her with a small vial of a milky white substance. As Frost attempted to catch a better glimpse, the waif palmed the vial and headed upstairs. Once again she shoved her way through the crowd. Most of the patrons were unphased by the slight jostle because they themselves were jostling to get closer to Gunfer. As the waif passed the top of the stairs, near Anemone she came on to a particularly dense clog of people barring her exit. The frail looking girl gave a sharp elbow that moved the group of fans forward, right into Anemone’s range of motion. Anemone’s blow by blow reenactment for Gunfer was interrupted and her position to talk to Gunfer was challenged. Anemone gave a mighty shove back to maintain her spot. Her own strength got the better of her though as she ended up knocking back the whole group of patrons strewn along the stairs.

As the cacophany of groans and disgruntaled statements started in from the crowd, Frost saw it was a prudent time to make their exit as well. He left some coin for the meal and drink, then stood up with Shim in tow. They carefully stepped over the guests trying to regain their footing until reaching the top of the stairs. Once there Frost grabbed Anemone’s arm and politely insisted that they head out.

Sleep Troubles

After catching the sky coach back to Menthis Plateau, Shim left the company of his two friends to check in on Sera. Anemone and Frost made their way to Dragon’s Roost and then to the Occularum Housing. Upon entering, Selwyn stood from his vigil over the still sleeping Solaruun. “He has been asleep since you left, he has been talking in his sleep and occasionally shouting as if stricken by a nightmare. He doesn’t appear to be in any actual pain, and I have done what I can to calm him. After a day indoors though, I long for a return to the wilds for a time.”

With that Selwyn took the form of a hunting bat and took to the skies. Anemone and Frost looked to Solaruun to check on his well being. He seemed to be resting quietly atop the table in the basement area. They each found a place to rest their bodies and slipped into a deep slumber after the day’s intrigues.

Anemone, Frost, were all startled by a sudden gasp for air from Solaruun. The old man began to flail and twitch as he gasped for air. Books that were stacked on the table toppled over as he clawed at the air in an attempt to catch his breath. Anemone and Frost rushed to his aide. Frost moved to hold Solaruun still. Anemone pounced on top of the table to look at his face. Solaruun’s eyes twitched wildly under their lids. He appeared to be having a dream that was stealing his breath. Frost had just gotten him under control when there was a violent knock at the door. “Great…”, Frost uttered with a heavy sigh.

Another knock. Solaruun began to twitch and convulse even more violently. Frost shoved all his weight on him to hold him down while Anemone grabbed his legs to prevent any flailing. The door was pounded on once again, but this time with a heavy boot. The thug outside was attempting to break in the door! Anemone snapped to the ready and cast a sharp glare at the door. She moved through the piles of books and detritus with an animal like posture until she came to the door and ripped it open. She was surprised to find not one thug, but instead three. She balked for a moment and the three thugs pushed in. “We’ve come to collect the rent old man!”

“He’s preoccupied at the moment.”, Frost said, holding Solaruun down.
“We are not leaving with out the money.”
At this Anemone slipped the blade from her back and grinned at the two thugs closest to her. Sensing the situation was not going to be conducive to their victory in a hand to hand, Frost shouted.
“Just wait, as you can see our friend is poorly. We have just returned from a long journey and are amiable to settling any debts but, at this moment our friend’s life may be in danger. Tomorrow, We will meet with you tomorrow.”

As frost finished this statement, Solaruun let out a gutteral gasp while his eyes rolled back. The thugs took a step back. The combination of the violently thrashing old man, the strange elf, and the hairy woman with a sword seemed to unsettle the thugs and divert their one-mindedness. “Tomorrow, [i forgot this guy’s name] will meet with you. Be at the tavern four towers south and 2 levels down at dusk. Be there, with the money, or we come back.”

Frost nodded and motioned for them to leave. Anemone smiled at each of them as they left, bearing her teeth ever so slightly while turning the blade slightly at her side. “See you tomorrow.”, she said.

As soon as the hired help left, Frost told Anemone to collect Sera and Shim in hopes one of them would be able to formulate a plan to save this enfeebled lunatic.

Anemone returned with Shim and Sera in tow. Anemone and Sera were visably winded from the expeditious nature of their sprint to aid Solaruun. Recent doubts in the old man’s true motives lead them to question their feelings for the eccentric geriatric. If nothing else though, they needed him to operate and maintain the Occularum.

Shim, not prone to the effects of being ‘winded’, was quick to Solaruun’s side. He approached to find Solaruun’s eyes violently flicking back and forth beneath his wrinkled eyelids as his body contorted in spasms of what he approximated as pain. He immediately began to process the situation and his logic systems began to fire rapidly. He began to assess the variables and eliminate improbable or impossible explinations thus deductively arriving at the appropriate action.

The untiring psiforged had observed this type of eye movement before while he took his turn at watch over the party’s camp. This is what the fleshlings called “dreaming”. Shim had discussed dreaming with Sera at a point during their travels. He had deduced from her description that this state was a random flux of thoughts drawn from a pool of the said human’s experience. Occasionally these sporadic patterns of thought would induce sensations that the human types found unpleasant. They called these variations “nightmares”, or occasionally, “bad dreams”. Shim had never seen any of his band froth at the mouth like Solaruun was. Sera did occasionally secrete small quantities of spittle in her sleep but, Shim had concluded this was just an effect of gravity and an open mouth with a slight excess of unswallowed saliva. The old man’s violent convulsions had not been witnessed by Shim before either. Anemone did occasionally move her arms and legs in a vaguely canine or lupine manner. Shim had concluded that this was most likely Anemone reacting to a perceived change in reality and acting out a portion of her “dream”. If Solaruun was acting out a part of his dream it must have been the effect of something terrible happening in his thoughts. Logically, the first thing Shim needed to help was to understand what in these thought patterns could cause this reaction. In what was mere seconds to the rest of the party, Shim fired off a set of models based on his comparative observations of normal “dreams” versus whatever kind of “nightmare” Solaruun was experiencing. This equivalence test led to Shim’s decision to delve into his mind with his psionic abilities.

As he entered Shim started to recieve the information that made up the world of Solaruun’s dreams. He was confronted with an image of a terrible beast, the likes of what he had never seen before. With no physical creature to draw direct comparisons to, Shim broke down the various parts of the creature. The bottom portion resembled a serpent that moved with its top half upright. Shim had read about a creature called a “naga” in a book that covered the more unusual creatures of Lammania. The eight eyes that made up a large portion of the beast’s crown were almost exactly like those Shim recalled from illustrations from a tome in Solaruun’s collection called “Large Arachnids of Xen’drik”. The hands of the creature, if they could be called hands, resembled that of an odd insect called a “praying mantis” as depicted in “Common Gardening for the First Time Horticulturalist”. The maw of the beast was, in Shim’s opinion, the most fearsome part. It resembled nothing that Shim had encountered in his reading. It was a vertical opening lined with sharp teeth and six “hands” at its sides to help shove things into it.

In the vision the beast moved forward to attack, this sudden disruption forced Shim out of Solaruun’s mind. As it did Shim jumped back in his seat.

Vult 3, 998 YK

  • Solaruun Hospitalized
    • Solaruun put in Jorasco house to be cared for
  • Group returns the AARP
    • Ra L’Blaugh Spends the deposit, Interest
  • Moregrave research (Madam Moi’sel)
    • Books On southern giant culture
    • The page & The Silver robed man.
    • Shim’s “emittion”
      • Sera knows about I/O of Warforged
    • Transcription of Mabran/Irian texts
    • Talk with Planar Professor
      • Points on astral plane & Magic
      • Prof reveals that the language pops up across artifacts on several planes.
      • Discusses limited knowledge of the Giant magic that Sealed Dal Quor.
      • Questions Sera’s mental state
      • Ask about man in Silver robes, works with Pilah Aruun, head of artifact research @ moregrave.
  • Twilight Meetings & Leavings
    • Sera gives frost money, goes home, dyes her hair & goes to the wench.
    • Anemone & Frost Visit with their creditors, bad meeting, get one week to come up with the money.
    • Shim goes to the OH and encounters the traveler.
      • Selwyn is to leave to train as a planar shepherd.
      • Traveler tracked down Frosts Uncle(communicated via ML, traveling into wroat, then further westward.
      • Traveler evades shims questioning, telling him that it will be important to let him discover answers for himself.
  • Frost Rallies Ranger Brad
    • Tells ranger brad about his uncle, ranger brad says it may not be wise to attack in Wroat as it is a tumultuous place at present.
      • Reveals Demonoc
    • Frost reveals true inventory at the wench, has Brad scout the purchaser.
  • Wenchy Woman
    • Sera’s new look, Zippers, & Spiderlegs
    • Meets Torwin
    • Gets room at an inn in Tavicks Landing.
  • Organization
    • Shim begins to organize the journals in solaruun’s Collection

Vult 4, 998 KY

  • Sera peddles her “weres”
    • sera doesnt return to the group & is ellusive.
  • More Morgrave
    • Solaruun Pleads with shim & frost to get the book as the pick him up from the JHH.
      • Anemone tracks Sera
    • Talk with Pilah Aruun
      • Learn of Siviroth, the man in the silver robes.
    • Office locked
    • Book Deals.
  • Book Report
    • Solaruun gets the book tracks location of Mi’la Aur’oth, several days hike south west of Last Chance.
    • Attempt to track sera but no posessions.
    • Scry on viva’s coin purse.
      • Viva affixed to machine.
  • Stacking Galifars
    • group attempts to make some coin.
      • Shim Learns of a high stakes game of liars dice in Hareths Folly.
      • Frost & Anemone learn of a less than reputable Gnomish artifacts dealer, Vundry, @ Dragons Roost Tavern.
  • Vundry
    • Frost prys about “extra work”
    • Vundry makes him earn her trust by recovering an artifact that is in the posession of one Duke Bronson.
    • Anemone & Frost investigate in Oak Towers
  • Bronson, Duke Bronson
    • Frost’s “Inquisitor Impression”
      • A paragon of society.
    • Getting the orb. Aliases
    • Solaruun appraises the Orb (8000 gp)
  • Liars Dice
    • Shim goes to “The King of Fire” Gambling hall in Hareth’s Folly
    • Shim loses to the table and decides to pilfer the coin purse of a drunken friar.
      • Shim was only lucky, not so much successful. He was noticed by the house.
      • Bag only had 2 FF Tokens, 50cp, 10sp, 2gp, 1pp, and a jade symbol of Onatar

Vult 5, 998 YK

  • Peter
    • Friend of Sera’s come to find her.
    • Points out the sleeping bag that Sera left behind in OH,
    • The Occularum is modified
    • Group Scrys on Sera.
  • How to Haggle with Gnomes
    • Frost visits Ranger Brad to find a fence.
    • Frost and Anemone resign to actually take the device to Vundry.
    • Frost convinces Vundry to add an additional 100 gp to cover his “extra costs”.
    • New work to recover some “artifacts” from Xen’drik
      • Group advanced 5000gp for expenses including Travel Papers, Letters of Marque, Transit, and supplies.
      • Party required to leave in < 2 weeks.
  • Two Metal Heads Look for a Girl Dressed in Black
    • Shim and Peter go to Tavicks Landing to find Sera.
    • They spot her first on the small sky coach landings.
    • Tell her of the need for her to return.
  • A Melding of the Minds
    • Shim and Peter get to know each other.
      • Accomplishment: Metal on Metal
    • Frost and Anemone Return. Tell of Xen’drik side mission.
    • Solaruun begins repeating himself, more than usual.
      • Shim uses mind link to understand Solaruun.
      • Solaruun, becomes evasive when asked about his research in Arcanix.
    • Shim Probes deeper
      • Solaruun reveals his quantum mind state
      • Solaruun reveals why he and Felix split
        • off and on
      • Solaruun is questioned on the topic of ir’Gannik.
  • Research
    • Shim begins to search through Solaruun’s journals.
    • Sera spends time with Peter. / Anemone and Frost pay debts.
    • The group reunites, Discussions of Lyn’Esta (The ship in the boat house)
    • Sera goes to Moregrave w/ Anemone for more info.
      • Sausage is purchased.
      • Info on Ship, a former member of a fleet of Xen’drik catalogers.
      • Sausage is dropped off.
  • Redirect
    • Frost goes to Ranger Brad, calls off search for the waif.
    • Redirects the efforts to figure out more about the wench, as he put together that Vundry was among the wenches VIP.
    • Frost tells RB about mentions of Felix being associated in some way with the group of evil doers.
  • Breakfast Studies, Office Hours
    • Party conducts surveys and info on and enhanced qualities of the sausage.
    • Visit with Siviroth.
      • Fr & Se track page before Siviroth arrives. See book of maps.
      • Anemone & Shim learn about giants.
      • Group reunites. more talk of giants & nature of their magic.
      • Shim attempts to detect thoughts, is balked and reprimanded.
      • Shim gets status reported.
    • Sera & Shim do more research.
      • Learn more about the boat and its strange properties.
  • Collecting the Dossier & Sending a Letter
    • Frost & Anemone See vundry, get info.
      • 20+ Giant idols in temple w/ a payout of 7000 Galifars for each one recovered.
    • After collecting info, Sera sends a letter to Flamekeep.
      • Achievement: Letter to the Metatron.

“Letter to the Metatron”

Your Emminence,

We must speak, as I’m sure you know. The world is in flux, and your guidance will be crucial in ensuring the continuation of the cosm. I write to you now because, as I’m also sure you’re aware, I’ not what would be referred to as “welcome” in your nation, let alone the capital. I request amnesty to come and speak with you. The fate of everything depends on it. Help me Jala Duran…you’re my only hope.

S. (cat sigil)

  • Preperations, Brewfest, The Waif and Substance
    • Party secures gear for trip
      • Travel papers, letters of mark, etc.
    • Hires group to ship occularum back to stormreach
    • Brew Fest
      • Shim indulges
      • The Waif Approaches
      • Anemone & Lily
Chapter 2 - Jump One: Order to Chaos
The group resumes the jump, into Danvi and Beyond.

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)

Anemone’s Account Anemone Shadowborn of Clan Charix

When we arrived, I was reminded by something that father had said about Mabar: “It was like light never had arrived, that people could live and die in total darkness. Light was not necessary for life.” There he met that scum, there he became the Darkheart. I could never show it in front of Selwin or Sera, but I was more terrified in that moment than I was in my whole life. Not of any monster of fiend. That I would become a fiend and destroy everything I once held dear lie father had done before me.

No. I would never hurt my friends. Not on purpose.

When I was trapped in my head, Sera raised a glowing in the darkness. For a second it was a relief to see anything. Then, shadows came out of nowhere, moving and wheeling about with nothing to cast them. Blades passed right through them no matter how hard I tried, and when that evil touched me, I felt my strength fade away. The more they drained, the more desperate I felt. “Not me strength,” I thought, “not the only reason why they keep me around.” That’s when I got angry, and when get angry, people DIE." I was going to tear into these wimpy shades, but I felt my strength leave me. I fell and all was black.

Awarded 300xp

Frost’s Account Delarrion Frost

I am no stranger to darkness. Since the day my mark manifested, I have always felt a connection to darkness. My training taught me to control the darkness, taught me the power darkness can bring. Growing up taught me that there was no reason to fear the dark. Mabar taught me that I was wrong. Very very wrong.

I have seen many creatures in my travels, but this was the first time I’ve fought a creature that I could stab right through the chest… and it not even be phased. A creature that can suck the very strength from your body is a truly horrifying experience.

Watching Anemone, a woman of crazy strength and emotion, be rendered almost helpless was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever experienced. The realization that we very likely will not all return on this trip was truly horrifying. I’m no stranger to loss, but that doesn’t make the thought any easier.

Perhaps though, it was a teaching moment for all of us. We could all learn from this. I know Anemone won’t attack one of these bare handed again. I learned two things, one that the darkness can be just as much my enemy as my friend. And two, exactly why the organization calls us Shadows.

Awarded 300xp

Shim’s Account   Shim

At this time, all I have at my disposal to interact directly with the world are my senses. I prefer not to have any of them taken from me. It’s not as disconcerting as complete unconsciousness, but still certainly not ideal. While absolute darkness is an interesting concept to consider in controlled circumstances, this particular circumstance was not under my control, nor the control of my companions.

When my sight was partially restored by our device, and the strange creatures partially revealed, at first I thought we just had another fight to fight. But the shadows were not affected by the physical attacks of my cohorts and even seemed to drain our strength.

I greatly value the unknown – it is an opportunity to learn – but when the unknown threatens my continued existence, it must be dealt with.

Fortunately I am able to protect myself and fight back with nonphysical methods, but my efforts were not adequate, and we had to retreat through means which I still do not fully understand. Not every battle can be won, but I am sure we will return to continue moving forward.

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.

Frost’s Questioning Delarrion Frost

What is your role in the party?
Strike quick, strike hard, strike unseen.

So you fight from behind, like a coward?
Better than fighting like a corpse.

There is honor in dying in battle, there is none in fighting without it.
Anemone fights with that honor, and has plenty of scars to prove it. She’s been close to death on more than one occasion. I have to ask though, how do you expect to conquer the other realms if your busy dying in battle for honor?

The questioner at this point let out a frustrated sigh.

Moving on, that strange mark on your jaw, what is it?
It is my dragon mark, it grants me the power to summon darkness.

You expect us to trust a person with dark magic literally on his face?
Why not, are you afraid of the dark?

The Lumi fear no beings and certainly no darkness
Then what is there to fear from me?

The questioner again let out a frustrated sigh.

Our moral code is built on honesty and the truth, have you told any lies recently.
Define recently.

Have you told any of the Lumi a lie since you got here?
No, of course not. A lie never comes out of my lips.

So you never lie?
The better question is, if I have, could you prove it?

The questioner let out another frustrated sigh and left the room.

Awarded 400xp

Questions for Anemone Anemone Shadowborn of Clan Charix

I. Your mother and father are going through a rough patch in their marriage in which your mother accuses your father of adultery. You catch your father sneaking into the house late at night and he makes you give your word that you will not tell your mother about this. Do you reveal this incident to your mother or keep your word to your father?

I never knew my father but if I ever caught him sneaking out on my mother, I wouldn’t bother telling her, I’d thrash him myself. A man is someone who respects his family, his tribe, and himself, but someone who cheats on his wife isn’t a man and shouldn’t be treated like one.

II. You have an enemy who has clashed with you on several occasions and after being defeated he surrenders and states he is willing to face the consequences for his crimes. However he escapes from prison and becomes a danger to your family and community. You are finally able to subdue him and he surrenders again. Knowing that he may escape again, do you accept his surrender?

No, I’d put him in the one prison where he can’t escape, Dolurrh. There is no honor in killing a man who surrenders, but I’d trade honor to keep my tribe safe any day of the weeks and twice on Sulday

III. After a raavid attack, yourself and another member of your party are injured. Your are more damaged than your compatriot but you are charged with protecting them and are better able to defend yourself incase of an attack than they are and there is only one healing potion left (and no other way to heal in this incident). Do you heal yourself or give to your companion?

I can’t protect anyone when I am dead so I guess I’d take the potion and make sure that they’d stay near. I am more than capable of taking care of just about anything as long they’re not chairs.

IV. You are fighting a far more powerful foe that is attacking your community and the fight is going poorly. However, your foe trips and is unable to defend themselves. How do you react?

Hit hard and fast! That maybe my only shot in changing the tide of the battle! That’s the best time fight, when the other guy can’t defend himself!

V. Walking down the road you see your rival being mugged. While it dose not seem he is in any kind of physical danger he is losing all of his worldly possessions. Would you intervene?

I’d definitely step in, if only to rub it in their face! There would be no better revenge than someone you hate needing you. By the end of the taunting I’m sure they’d be wishing I let them be mugged!

VI. A priceless object is stolen and a local thief is arrested with out any evidence. While he has bragged about stealing similar objects in the past he claims that he did not steal this object. Do you believe him?

There’re thieves and then there’re thieves. If he says he didn’t steal this one but admits to stealing others, why lie now? Unless he really did steal this one, since he ‘s not going to admit to the authorities would he? Still, until any proof is found I’d believe him.

VII. You are offered a job where you are told you will be compensated after the job was completed. However, after the job is completed but before you are paid you are transferred to another job under the promises that you will receive payment for both jobs and a bonus. Do you continue working or refuse until you receive payment for the work already done?

How big is the bonus? Unless its big enough to make for not being paid when we expected to, there is no way in Kyber that I’d keep working. Even then there’ll be threats involved.

Awarded 400xp

Questions of Shim   Shim

You are an unusual creature, even unusual among your companions. What moral code do you follow?

I do not support or oppose any morals. I merely seek understanding.

Not supporting our code is just as bad as opposing us.

Not necessarily, you will do as you wish. (unspoken: As long as you do not inhibit my experience…)
In fact, I am quite curious to learn more about your rules of moral conduct.

If you will aid us in removing wickedness from the world, we will share our code with you.

I am curious to learn more. (though not really inclined to help you with your goal.)

Awarded 400xp

Sera’s Interrogation   Sera Kaylee Edison d'Cannith

You travel with all maner of different creatures. How is it that you know you can trust them?

Fate brought us together. I seem to not have a choice but to trust them. They have certainly helped keep me alive when the goings got rough, as I have done for them. They seem to be genuine people trying to make their way in a very hectic world.

You are so young. How is it that you so often speak for the group?

Well…I am the only one who has any idea of whats going on…and I’ll admit I’m bewildered most of the time. I’m quite well informed on a number of relevant subjects for this particular journey. What does my age have to do with anything?

The question is whether you have yet developed the moral fiber necessary to “save the world”, as you put it.

Moral fiber? Do you mean whether or not I try to do good? I certainly do try. I figure saving the multiverse from utter destruction is a good thing…but who’re we asking? Do you think saving the multiverse is a good thing?

You do right, or you do not do right. There is no try. Why do you speak as if the Rules are not firmly defined?

By “Rules” I assume you mean “Laws”. And so the question becomes “Who’s laws? Your laws, or mine, Joker?”

Why should The Rules be different? They are The Rules, and transgressors must be punished.

But what rule was broken? Certainly not all rules deserve the same punishment. The young boy who steals a loaf of bread to feed himself and his younger sister after their parents were killed defending your birth city that eventually fell to the enemy is far less deserving of punishment than the person that steals others coin pouches rather than doing an honest days work, and even he has not transgressed anywhere as far as the person who randomly selects and then murders individuals.

But a transgression is a transgression. Should they not be punished?

I fear we’re talking in circles. On your world there are your people, and the Ravid’s. On my world, as you can see from the small sample that are my companions and I, there are many different types of people. Even more than are present here…far more. Each race has its own, unique history, and they now live together on one continent, sharing multiple countries, which are collections of cities still amazingly diverse, and all of these groups and sub-groups possess their own set of values. Obviously different values would intermingle better than others, so the sets of values, Laws, Rules…whatever…they’re expressed differently from one area to another. Yours are not the only Rules out there. Many rules make sense, and many do not. No one set is void of senseless rules. No one set is absolute.

I suppose, child, we should then query what your values are, should we not?

I value many things. I value knowledge, friendship, creativity, and sense. I value compassion and love.

Do you value honesty?

I do. I recognize that at times being dishonest can help achieve a greater good. Would it not be right to lie to an evil countess about her husbands demise and accept the bounty that she had placed on him, but actually you secreted him away to testify before the allied nations of the light or his wifes treachery, and then using her own money to mount an offensive against the evil…vampire!…yea, vampire. Would that not be positive? I figured something like that wouldn’t have crossed your mind. It again boils down to what’s a transgression, and what is the punishment? It is wrong to treat all transgressions equally, and what constitutes a transgression is still hotly debated.

You’re evading the answer. What is right, and what is wrong?

Depends…what’s going on?

Awarded 400xp

Group Award 1000xp

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.

Viva’s Sacrifice Anemone Shadowborn of Clan Charix

When Viva took the Darkness, all I could think was “Don’t screw this up!” I couldn’t stand still, my hand stayed on my sword handle, fingers strumming the grip nervously. I’ve had friends die before, but I never offered a member of the tribe up on platter before. We can do this, I told myself, Viva can pull this off, and when she dose we can get these guys on our side we’ll be one step closer to going home! But there was what made me so nervous: it wasn’t up to me. This wasn’t something I could punch into submission. I was out of my element yet again, a dear friend is most likely going to die, and there is nothing I can do about it. I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach; I had dragons.

When she was being lead up to the alter, I had flashbacks of when Grimm use to sacrificed captives before a battle back home. They were Audrain scouts trying to expand the country’s reach and fill their coffers off our land’s natural resources. Before every battle Grim and my father would before some grizzly ritual to their dark god, and after every battle they came home with more and more defeated captives.

When Viva stepped on the platform, she gave us a look that broke our hearts. She was smiling and trying to reassure us that everything will be fine, being so brave in what may be her final moments. She can do this, I whispered to myself. The priest starting praying in a language I couldn’t understand. The light started to get brighter and brighter as the praying got louder.

“Oh gods, I hope she can do this,” I shout

When she was flooded with light, there was a point when we couldn’t see her any more.

When the light had dissipated, we saw her again: she was suspended in the air but quickly falling and heavily damaged. We had no idea if she was alive or not. Sera’s scream snapped me back and I sprinted to the platform as fast as I could before anything else could happen. I caught her in time, and checked for a pulse.

“She’s alive!” I can almost weep I am so happy.

When those no-necked fanatics wanted Viva back, I almost lost my mind. This is your fault! I wanted to scream. “This didn’t need to happen!” I snarl as they started to approach with their weapons drawn. The others are arguing with the Lumi and I don’t care what they are saying, all I want to do is see how far one of these heads will go if I get a solid swing on it.

Frost walks over, grabs me by the arm, looks me dead in the eye and starts speaking to me in a voice full of steely resolve. “We have other things to do while we are here, and the Lumi are going to take much better care of her than we can. Lets do our job and deal with them later. “ I reluctantly agreed and turned her over to those glowing fanatics, warning them if she died so would they. That seemed to puzzle them.

“You agreed to have her sacrificed, did you not?” The high priest mused, curious at out concern.

I did agree. That’s what makes me mad the most.

Awarded 600xp

Shim’s Observations   Shim

Knowing that one of us might be destroyed for the sake of the group, Viva willingly volunteered herself as an experiment. We had given her the dark vapor from our device to protect her, but no one could be sure of its efficacy. I assume she was curious to see what might happen, but she may have had other motivations which I may never understand.

The ritual commenced, the Lumi chanted in synchrony, and Viva raised into the air surrounded by interesting phenomena. Energy coalesced around her, presumably to remove her from existence. It was all very intriguing. I had not experienced anything like this before, and probably never will again.

The reactions of my fellows were as compelling as the event itself. They seemed to care so much about this person who they barely knew. I believe her willingness to sacrifice herself reinforced the intensity of emotion that shown on their faces.

While she was damaged by the energy that surrounded her, she was not completely vaporized as the Lumi anticipated. They did not know how to react to this – it had never happened before. Not knowing what to expect, this outcome seemed as reasonable to me as any other. But the Lumi seemed to regard her survival as either the work of a heretic, a goddess, or possibly both.

To me, she was simply a person who was very lucky to be alive.

Fortunately, Frost and Anemone managed to retrieve the dark vapor in her purse before she was taken away, or we may not have been able to proceed on our journey.

Awarded 600xp

Losing Viva Delarrion Frost

Loss. I’m no stranger to loss. No stranger to the smell of burning flesh. It’s strange what can cause the mind to reminisce, even at the worst of moments. Viva’s scream, the smell, and my mind drifts back to Sophia and Selena, whose screams still haunt my nights.

Viva’s scream takes me back to that time. I can remember vividly all of us running for our lives. Father, Mother, and I riding in the first wagon, while Delmus, Selena, Sophia, and little Delman riding in the second wagon. We were fleeing to the shipyard, where we would meet Khazim who was readying the ship. Our pursuers where fast on our heels, we barely got to the shipyard a minute ahead of them. But it was already too late.

It wasn’t our shipyard anymore, those we had once called neighbors… once called friends, had already killed Khazim and were waiting on us. We fought, scattered those we could, and found a ship we could man on our own. The other wagon was overtaken just outside the shipyard, brother Delmus fighting bravely to protect them, but it was for nought and they where taken. Father launched the ship, saving mother and I. As we sailed away, fire lit up the night sky, and I could see our families legacy, our shipyard that had been in Aernal for eight generations, burning in the night. The sea breeze brought the smell, and the unfortunate truth, by burning the bodies they could not rise as undying. They where truly gone forever. When I had asked Father why he took us and left at a later date, he told me, “It was a matter of saving what part of his family I could than dying trying to save what was already lost.”

The ritual has stopped at this point, and during that reminiscing Anemone had picked up Viva, who despite the smell and the burn marks appears to be alive. The Lumi do not seem to appreciate Anemone’s action. If I don’t intervene, this will all be for nothing.
“We have other things to do while we are here, and the Lumi are going to take much better care of her than we can. Lets do our job and deal with them later.” I told her, grabbing her arm to prevent her from escalating this further, spinning her away from the Lumi as I said this. With her back to the Lumi, I subtly grabbed Viva’s coin purse containing the Dark Vapor. After all, what is important is that we save those of this party I can, rather than us all dying trying to save the one whom we lost.

Awarded 600xp

Sera’s Account   Sera Kaylee Edison d'Cannith

I can’t believe that they want to sacrifice someone! Not even the Silver Flame would stoop so low as to engage in human sacrifice, let alone human sacrifice to aide in genocide. Phaw! Foolishness.

Viva thinks that carrying the dark vapor during the sacrifice might help protect the individual. I’m not so sure. It seems to protect us from the positive energy that permeates Irian, as the spark did on Mabar, but if they’re going to sacrifice her with some piece of extra-planar artifice, who knows what will come of it.

The vapor could save her, but what would that imply. What would the Lumis think of someone living through one of their sacrifices? Or, it could do nothing, still allowing the rest of us to continue on our quest. Or, it could be destroyed right along side her. If that happens we’re all doomed. Of what we’ve thought there’s only a 33% chance that anything good comes of it, but the Lumis will certainly not be pleased if the sacrifice…isn’t.

Sera sighs audibly, looking around at the others.

It is obvious that, for the greater good of all worlds, one must be sacrificed before these foolish men to see existence continue. Right? What we’re doing is not only saving ourselves, but every creature everywhere. That makes it justified.

Grabbing two fistfuls of her own hair she shakes her head vociferously. Sacrificing a friend for foolish beliefs is never justified! This is madness, and we’re no where near Xoriat.

A few tears spring from the corners of her eyes as she continues to shake her head more slowly. I thought…I hoped I would have a big sister in Viva. Sure she’s been obnoxiously foolish lately, but that’s no reason to send her to her death. These neck less, thick headed, wool for brains think sacrificing their own, or their allies to achieve genocide is moral…is justified…is the right, and honorable thing to do.

I could blast them all to Dolurrh…I could…I should…do something. Blinking tears from her eyes she looks around at all the Lumis gathered for the sacrifice.

I’ll die. There’re too many of them. What would all of us dieing prove? That I believe in principals more than anything else? That I’m brave?

Standing in the sacrificial chamber, arms limp at her sides, Sera weeps silently, lower lip quivering slightly, and mutters “Chikohk wux, Lumis! Nomag wux waph vin tiselaiw persvek whedabra ihk nomeno!

Awarded 600xp

No Group Award

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.
Chapter 1 - Shift, Shim, Sham...
Sharn looms on the horizon offering new opportunities and dangers.

The City of Towers / One In, One Out.

Solaruun, Glorian, and Frost watched over as the dockworkers loaded the last crates filled with the Ocularum’s vast array of mechanical parts on to the wind galleon that Glorian chartered using the winnings from his recent foray into bloodsport for pay. He had spent the last month insisting that they travel in style to join up with the rest of their party in Sharn.

Over the last months Glorian and Frost had formed a strong friendship as they bonded over strong drink and the money they made placing bets on Glorian’s performance in the Red Ring. Solaruun has spent the last months feverishly disassembling and taking inventory of his attic observatory. He had carefully packaged and sealed several of his maps, tomes, and tapestries in preparation for the long journey ahead. The past months had passed rather swiftly for all three of them. Now that their journey was upon them, time seemed to stretch out into lifetimes while as they made their way north.

The heat was relentless and showed no signs that it would allow much respite as the wind galleon arrived in Sharn. The City of Towers rose up from a great distance. The Skydeck of the city rose from a great distance. It looked like a floating island across the surface of the the ocean in the distance. Then below rose a forest of stone spires that stretched up, reaching for the cloud island of the Skydeck. The wind galleon pulled up to the dock and the porters set about the arduous task of unloading the ship. Eager to get a warm meal in their bellies and a soft bed under their bodies, Solaruun, Frost, and Glorian groaned as the dock clerk inspected the unloaded pieces of the Ocularum and compared the pieces with the ship’s manifesto. After what seemed like an eternity of signing and stamping, the threesome was allowed to leave the docking area and venture into the city.

After a short bit of inquery, Glorian and Frost were able to sus out the location of the strange young artificer. They found her in her new apartments near the Cannith Tower. She invited them in and they began to catch up.

Sera told them of her arrival in Sharn a few months ago with Selwin, Anemone and Exartash. Apparently, as they came to shore, Exartash calmly explained that the party’s motivations had become to chaotic and the slaughter of innocents that Glorian had led them into was more than he could abide. With little fanfare Exartash left Sera and Anemone standing at the docks.

Sera found accomodations near the Tower where she worked part time crafting items for other adventurers. She had also begun to take classes at Moregrave University to better understand the planes that they were to encounter. Anemone had taken up residence at the local Adventurers guild. She busied herself with a routine of drinking at the Dragon’s Roost, watching Hajzerak games, and showing off her scars to members of the guild. Selwin had ventured off to explore the city’s many arboretums, often being shooed out of them due to the guards mistaking him for a vagrant looking for a pleasant napping place. As Glorian and Frost began to excitedly recount Glorian’s victory in the Red Ring, there came a knock at the door. Sera went to answer it.

Emerging from behind the door was a metallic body. Clearly, one of the war forged that Sera had befriended during her time in Sharn thought both Frost and Glorian. As they got a better look at him though, they began to realize that he was different. His body did not have the same robust construction that was typical of his breed. Beyond that his upper torso was covered in strange glinting gems that were cut at odd facets casting an irregular shimmer across the floor as the light occasionally hit them. The machination turned to face Frost and Glorian, crooked his head slighly to the left and gave a small wave. Glorian gave a small, puzzled wave in return as Frost glared with a quizzical expression on his face.

“Who the hell is this?”, Glorian brashly demanded.
“I am an unnamed unit. No memories are contained with that information. I was either not given a designation or an unable to recall it at this time.”
The metal man continued in an even tone, devoid of any emotional inflection, “This small human child known has Sera has most frequently referred to me as ‘Shim’.”
“That’s short for ‘Mr. Shimmers’, because of the way that his jewels shimmer.”, Sera chimed in in her bright voice, her statement reminding both of the men in the room that Sera was still a child. Her valor and ingenuity often caused them to forget the fact that she was still so young but, occasionally her choice in dress and diction revealed her.

Points to still be covered:

  • The Unnamed machination, Sera’s new friend
  • New home for the Occularum
  • The Adventurer’s Guild / Death’s Gate Explorers Guild
  • Viva Nox
  • The A.A.R.P. Recovery
    • Testing The A.A.R.P
    • The Faded Forest / Observatory south of Nowhere
    • Glorian’s departure
    • Solaruun’s Progress / Divination #1
    • Valerian Vally, Jon, & Giant Fish
  • Completion of the new Occularum housing.
Prologue - Upon the shores of Xendrik
After a long journey from distant shores, the party meets for the first time.

Uneasy Meetings and Talk of Fish

The thick brine that hung in the air was always the first thing that adventurers arriving in Xendrik noticed. The air was heavy, almost like breathing in a wash of sea water with each breath one took. Three figures waited on the docks in the Harbor Disctrict of Stormreach. One a young artificer, about age 15, was continually observing the ships and strange rigging as well as the warforged dockworkers that loaded and unloaded cargo. The other two figures looked suspiciously at each other. The druid covered in dirt and other filth of the forest eyed the Cleric who stood with a proud arrogance well above his station, their mutual distrust for each other was palpable.

A ship pulled in carrying a mentalist from the far off continent of Sarlona and a female barbarian covered in hair, with slightly lupine features to her face. The Barbarian was clearly a shifter from the northern reaches in Khorvaire. The mentalist however was harder to read, he wore light clothing, presumably because of the unbearable humidity in the air, and his figure looked like he ate a meager diet. They approached the others waiting on the docks. After brief and nervous introductions the group discovered they had all recieved the same letter calling them into Stormreach. The letter was signed with the name Solaruun but, had no surname or directions on how to find him. The party decided to get their bearings and see what they could learn of Solaruun. They wandered through the docks making their way to the center of the Harbor district. On their journey they took note of a large boat house that jutted out into the water. Its connecting slip was guarded by three members of The Iron Watch, a group of warforged enforcers used to bolster the other “efforts” to enforce law in the city by the sea. The boat house seemed to have fallen in disrepair, its planks dry rotted and covered in unfortunate marine life that was left exposed to the blistering sun while the tides were low. The light of the four moons that hung in the sky exposed the falling, sun bleached roof and the gigantic steel lock that adorned the main doors.

The Party passed on and found their way to The Wavecrest Inn, one of the finest establishments in the area. As they entered the establishment the door man took notice of the motley band that was now coming in through his doorway. He said nothing but the stout, odoriferous, human looked sternly at the group. They sat and set about to order food. As they did the druid spoke up about the fact that the nature around the city provided all the bounty the party could ever need. The cleric spoke up, “I can order just as easily. Glorian is a great paladin of Dol Arrah and has no need to hunt while in a city with a fine tavern.”

Selwyn, the druid, chose to prove his point by collecting a bounty from the water itself. He darted out of the Wavecrest and returned a few moments later with a fish held in his lips. Selwyn dropped the fish on the table with a heavy thunk and set about to cleaning and preparing it. This action, of course, drew the attention of the waitress who in turn called for the doorman. There was a heated conversation about the appropriate decorum in this particular inn that almost lead to blows. Exartash attempted to influence the doorman’s mind. A chime sounded in the groups’ head. Suddenly the doorman seemed to shift in demeanor, Exartash convinced him that the group were friendly and did not wish to cause any more harm to the establishment or any of its patrons.

After a good meal, the group proceeded to ask around about the mysterious sender of the notes that drew them together. It was not long after that they were able to sus out where Solaruun was taking up residence. The Party decided to make haste to find their unknown patron.

Meeting the Madman, Solaruun’s Home

Sweat beaded down the heads of the whole group as they made their way on the hour long march through dense jungle. The humid air gave off indications of a downfall to soon come and about midway through their journey to Solaruun’s home. The last leg of the journey became rather unbearable but the group trudged on for fear of what might crawl out from the depth of the jungle.

After some time they came upon an overturned boat. The bottom, which now served as the top, was dotted with several holes, some of which were covered with aged and tattered tarps. The doorway was a rather hastily installed door set into an even more hastily cut frame. Sara reached up on her tip toes and knocked at the door. There was a long pause and then cacophonous a clamor followed by another long pause. Eventually the door cracked open and they say a small man hidden behind the door. Upon setting eyes on the group, the old man quickly swung the door fully open.

“Finally! You have arrived, just as I had seen… I’ve made so many preparations… The moons are correctly… the keys can be found… "

The words flowed endlessly from the little mans mouth. He stood almost at the height of a gnome but shared none of the distinguishing characteristics of the race. He was human, but his short stature and stout build made him look funny. He spoke in a frenzy of words and drew in quick breaths between outbursts. His Energy was impressive, especially considering the number of years he seemed to posses.

The Party stood at the doorway, gear covered in mud, bodies soaked to the bone, eagerly awaiting an opportunity to interrupt and make their way inside. After a few minutes of the old man’s babbling, courtesy was overcome by discomfort. Sara began to speak but could not utter the words quickly enough before Glorian pushed forward into the house.

The old boat was more spacious than it looked from the outside. Actual space, however, was rather limited due to the gargantuan collection of tomes, tapestries, and scroll tubes. Most of the collection was covered in thick layers of dust with the occasional set of finger prints disrupting the thick layer of filth. Almost hidden among the menagerie of texts was a small round table set with an assortment of potables that immediately drew the group to squeeze together at the table. Solaruun stood, bemused for a brief moment, as the swarm of mud drenched adventurers stomped through his usually quiet home.

Sera reached out and grabbed a small piece of fruit and jammed it in her mouth. As she chewed her eyes suddenly looked up at the small man, as if she had just had a revelation. “We all got these letters, and heard in town that you were Solaruun,” Sera blurted out with small chunks of fruit flying out of her mouth with her words.

“Yes… I suppose I do have a bit of… explaining to do.”

Solaruun sat and begin to talk quietly to himself for a few seconds, as if he was relaying what he was about to say to himself to make sure it made sense. As he collected his thoughts, the party looked at Solaruun then at each other with quizzical expressions.

Solaruun began to talk and with each word picked up momentum. By the end of his first sentence the old man was already speaking so incoherently that the entire band sat slack-jawed as the stream of words flowed from his mouth. His rambling covered a wide spectrum of topics including planes of existence, the moons of Eberron, causal effects of inter-planar meddling, and of impending doom. After several minutes of this, Exartash intervened, “If you would allow me, I could link to your thoughts through your mind to perhaps have a more clear picture of what you mean to convey.”

A small bell seemed to chime then for several moments Exartash and Solaruun just stared at each other. The group fell oddly quiet as they watched to see what would happen. It was Exartash who returned first. He shook his head for a second as a bemused expression took his face. He began to explain Solaruun’s reasons for summoning the party.

The Occularum

Talk of the influence of the planes of existence being linked with the influence of the moons of Eberron still rung through the heads of the group. Exartash expounded a wealth of information regarding the transformation of the prime material plane by making small changes in the outer planes. They would use a device that Solaruun had built, to chart their course. Though Exartash recalled the details of Solaruun’s plans clearly to the group, no one, including Exartash, fully understood exactly what it was that Solaruun had in mind. Curiosities had been piqued though; the thought of being able to influence the world around them in a profound way had already started minds working. That was when Solaruun invited them to his “attic”.

The group followed the stout little man up a ladder and through a narrow hatch into a large room. As they emerged from the hatch they stood it what would have been the cargo hold of the boat that made up Solaruun’s home. Built inside this room was a fantastic device of immense scope and grandeur. The floor of the “attic” was actually a rotating circular platform with a simple, but well crafted, scrying pool filled will crystal clear water at its center most point. Above the platform was a complex network of moving brass arms holding various apertures and lenses. On the far side of the platform was a series of pipes that led to an area just below the floor. Solaruun explained that this was connectors and vents from an everburning furnace to power the mechanical aspects of the device. After answering a barrage of questions from Sera about the specifics of the device, Solaruun moved to the scrying pool. As he touched the sides of the basin, the water began to shimmer.

With a sudden loud whir, the device above began to spin. Its lenses seemed to find the dim moon light that cast into the attic and render it into a brilliant beam of radiant energy bent by mirrors until it came to rest on the surface of the scrying pool. Solaruun chanted strange arcane phrases that seemed to be controlling the device. As he finished each phrase, small symbols began to glow around the edge of the basin. The machine came to an abrupt halt and only the dull hum from the furnace vents filled the air. Solaruun peered deep into the pool which now reflected 12 circles across its surface in what seemed to be a completely random pattern. Solaruun quickly took in the image and gave a sigh as he relaxed his concentration and the glow of the pool dimmed. He moved across the room slowly, as if fatigued, and moved to reduce the power from the furnace. He then moved towards the party and ushered them back down the hatch.

The group reconvened around the crowded table on the ground floor. Solaruun began to write feverishly on a piece of parchment. He used a stick of graphite that chipped as he wrote leaving his hands, and consequently his face, a mess of black smudges. After a few moments, the small man let out a gigantic shout as he exclaimed, “I know the next piece now, a map to the keys!” The party was quite befuddled at this point. The long journey and the strange man’s rambling about their apparent “fate” made the words blend into each other as he laid out the plan to recover this “map to the keys”.

Solaruun allowed the party to take a nights rest in the crowded basement of his home. Selwyn chose the respite of the jungle he was familiar with. Exartash and Anemone each found a small clearing of space on the floor in semi-secluded areas. Glorian took a small amount of time constructing a miniature fort from the books and claimed it as “Fort Glorian”. Sera’s eyes and body spoke volumes of her need for rest. Her mind wandered though and the allure of the vast collection of tomes was to great. She kept a small light lit on the table as she poured through as much of the texts as she could before finally falling asleep in the pages of one.

Journey to the Jungle, Mosquito Bites, Giant Problems

The next morning Solaruun woke early. The clamor that he created whilst packing a small pouch with various scrolls, tapestries, and books, awoke the party. Selwyn meandered into the room after spending the morning appreciating the sun rise over the thick jungle mist that he had come to love. As he entered, the sound of Solaruuns voice streamed on in a constant flow of almost incomprehensible words. What Selwyn gathered from the speech was, Solaruun had chartered a small airship to fly the group to an encampment of giants that lived deep within the jungles of Xen’drik. These giants apparently possessed a map that would lead them to the first “key”.

The group trudged out in the damp jungles to make their way back into town. For such a stout man, Solaruun moved with a swiftness that shocked most of the group. As they arrived in the Harbor district they made their way to the airship tower, boarded and eagerly looked over the starboard banister as they began to fly above the canopy.

When they neared the site, the pilot of the airship lowered the ship and cruised through the open areas in the canopy at a reduced pace. Solaruun peered over the banister, reaching up on his tip toes to do so. He would occasionally look at a scroll from his pouch or pull a small piece of tapestry out and count stitches. That is when the party began to hear the buzzing. A quick look to the aft of the ship revealed a small swarm of stirges that were quickly decending upon the small airship. A short battle ensued that left Anemone wounded and the party slightly shaken. As the excitement subsided Solaruun shouted, “There! Stop there!”

The Group disembarked the ship and journeyed into the thick of the jungle. They made their way through a maze of branches and mud. Along the way they were occasionally followed by a stray pack of dark elves. The drow seemed to keep a fair distance but kept a watchful eye as they party stepped deeper into the thick of the jungle. Various tracks, Solaruun’s direction, and shear luck led the group on their way. They eventually came upon an old structure, presumably left over from the age of giants. The structure was a strange obelisk that stretched up just below the canopy line. As they approached, a group of giants surrounded them. Solaruun quickly took the lead and began to spout a flurry of words. The giants gazed at him with befuddled looks on their faces. Exartash took the opportunity to take the lead in the conversation. He communicated the parties need to recover a lost “map” that the giants were rumored to posses.

The Giants demanded that the group complete three tasks over the course of three days: forage for a days worth of food for a giant, convince an ursine intruder to leave without violence, and finally climb the tallest tree in the jungle. The first task lead to a spider attack, the second allowed Selwyn a chance to show the party his usefulness, and the final lead to an exahusted and slightly frustrated Anemone. After the completion of their final task the group was presented with a strange box that was hidden within the obelisk. Inside this box was a strange diagram of a series of orbiting spheres. The party bid their hosts farewell and made way back to the city of Stormreach.

The Boat House

On the trip back to Stormreach, Solaruun began to examine and decipher the strange tablet that the group recovered from the giants. Its diagrams clearly were a depiction of some sort of astrological system, at least that was the best guess that Sera could muster from her over the shoulder examination of the tablet. It depicted a series of circles that appeared to be orbits around a central point. The orbits had upon them a total of thirteen circles. Drawn across the backdrop of this was a smattering of blue stones. They formed a central axis across the largest of the orbits. Their resemblance to the rings of Syberis on a clear day was clear. Solaruun was silent as he traced his fingers across its surface, attempting to understand the strange arrangement of the carvings.

As they approached the perimeter of Stormreach proper, Solaruun tucked the tablet into his pack. He turned to speak. His voice was clear and his tone was direct. “I must take this back to the Occularum immediately upon disembarking. I will need an amount of time to align the lenses and incorporate the tablet.”

With that he bounded to the docking area. The group decided to take a moment to enjoy the comforts of the city while the strange little man rushed off to his overturned shack in the woods. The thought had arisen in the back of everyone’s head, “Why are we following this stout lunatic?”
The thought was not vocalized but there was a lingering quandary as to the motives of their patron. Those thoughts were washed away as they approached the Wavecrest Inn. The thought of strong drink and warm food washed the troublesome pondering of Solaruuns mission away for the moment. The scintillating aroma of the fish being cooked with strong spice wafted though the doors at the Wavecrest.

After Anemone and Glorian had destroyed a veritable banquet of dishes and enough mead to kill lesser adventurers, they relaxed for a moment. They took in the sights of the Inn and the people coming into Stormreach from the harbor.

Points Still to be covered:

  • Boathouse discovery
  • Iron watch / Stormlord Omaeren
  • Frost Joins the party
  • Sahaugin Encounter / “Lokta”
  • Rangers, tiger rugs, and freedom of movement
  • The Boat House
  • Repairing the Lens / Zekelyhuts
  • First jump into Daanvi
  • Kolyaruts / Quarats, Banishment
  • Riots and destruction
  • Parting ways
  • Arena Battle

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