Campaign of the Month: April 2011

The Spelljoined

The Spelljoined Book II: Prologue

Maelstrom spheresThe Year is 5,052 in the Olven Calendar of The Elven Imperial Navy

In the two years since their adventures with the Dreamstone much has passed for our heroes.

Since Kenari now possesses the Deck of Harrowed Tales needed to consistently access it the group have been slowing cleansing the evils from the Harrowing. As the new acknowledged rulers of the demiplane they have seized control of the Walking Castle and now use it as their main base on the plane.

In 5,050 Elliwinkle passes on, having attained the great age (for a giant space hamster) of two years old. She is buried in The Harrowing.

The EIN is not very happy with The Spelljoined these days. Ever since “losing” the Witchlight Key they have been viewed with suspicion. Even so, they still occasionally do work for the Elves, although usually through proxies.

By 5,052 It has become an open secret that a portal to Sigil now exists in the Temple of Celestian on Bral. It was created by House Seven Stars, who count two priests of Celestian among their number. For a small charitable donation, if approved by the Celestians, one can step through the arch in their sculpture garden and come out in the Lady’s Ward of Sigil. A combined guard force of Seven Stars marines and Celestian clerics guard from both those who would pass without permission and those threats that might come from the other side.

Two new Phlogiston rivers have been discovered leading straight out from spiral – one to a cluster of spheres known as The Maelstrom, another to large nameless sphere that seems to be a crossroads to whatever’s on the other side.

The Pragmatic Order of Thought have become loose allies, attracted by the anti slavery stance of the group. Several of Kenaris followers have become members of the organization.

The fact that your group has long been friends to the halflings of Bral brings you into contact with Mereydin Sandyfoot, the Underbaron of the Halfling Thieves Guild. He is particularly fond of Kenari and Ef Utan.

Captain Vedis Valentine
Vedis has now gained a reputation as an up and coming Venture Captain and Privateer on the Rock of Bral. The crew of The Nomad often find themselves invited to The Edge (a place to see and be seen for venture captains), where the ongoing party can often last for days at a time. She no longer takes shifts at the Laughing Beholder, although she is still a regular and has a great relationship with Large Luigi.

When taking a break from captaining the Nomad, she works in their Demi Plane, and whenever they make port in Greyspace, she studies the Psionic arts at the school there. She’d also have been searching different libraries for information on planar travel and making maps and such of the different places they’d use the sails to go if there didn’t seem to be any before. She’s made it her mission in life to ferret out the secrets of the planes, but it’s slow going between legitimate jobs. She did manage to make it back to Rajrin once or twice. The maps she makes are copied and donated to the Seekers guild and also to the temple of Celestian. She makes regular stops in at the temples to Morpheus, hoping to be given visions to aid her in her quest.

Poor Simmi passes away in early 5,052 O.C. No one is sure whether it is old age or too many tanglefoot bags. Before his demise he lays a single egg which Vedis keeps in a pouch around her neck. While it still shows no sign of hatching it does change colors on a monthly basis and occasionally smells like ham.

Recently Vedis has begun an affair with Corwin Shirpwright, who goes by Random. He is the Captain of the Squidship Fortune’s Embrace. He is the son of Irdana Shipwright who owns and operates the Bralian shipyards and wields considerable political clout.

Kenari Sanura
Kenari splits her time between Toril and the Rock of Bral, having become very involved with the Temple to Bast in Ghedaneth which she uses to funnel money and aid to Mather Esseylnn, a halfling who uses a portal to Tethyr as an “underground railroad” for escaped Mulorrandi slaves. In 5,051, shortly after the Olympiad, she was visited by a vision from Bast in which she was shown that the cat goddess had merged with the Realms deity Sharess.

Ef Utan Izenik
Melchior, Word and Ef Utan spent a year in the Outer Planes and have only just returned from a series of forays into Acheron where they encountered the edges of the Bood War. The missions were on behalf of Estevaan of the Planar a trade Consortium.

Lenatta
Lenata has continued to helm The Nomad for Vedis. As she has spent more time on the ship she has become aware that the haunting effects only seem to occur in the Flow. Kenari often travels with them when not on Toril or in The Harrowing, particularly on the Realmspace / Spiralspace run. When not engaged with shipboard duties she has been working in the College of Celestian on Bral.

Previously on The Spelljoined

After an encounter and a rooftop chase through Bral our heroes manage to come into possession of a black pearl that reeks of abyssal magics. On Lenatta’s suggestion they go to the Celestians. In short order they are questioned by a group of high level Celestians and Mardan Rhome, Right Hand of Prince Andru, who takes possession of the shadowpearl. They also learn that the figure they encountered was an Insectare, an unholy fusion of elf and insect with a penchant for plots that would almost put the arrow to shame. The EIN has a reward for any found in known space, dead or alive.

Catching up to their usual contacts – Luigi, The Edge, Meredyn Sandyfoot the Underbaron, etc. – they learn the following: there are two new phlogiston rivers outbound from Spiralspace; thre has been some sort of disaster in Krynnspace making it a psi dead sphere, and the main front of the Unhuman War II has moved into Realmspace where there are rumors of ascro smuggling firearms to the native goblinoids.

Vedis secures a mapping charter from the Seekers and they set sail for The Maelstrom, a newly discovered, turbulent series of flow rivers connecting a whole new array of spheres. After a very unpleasant incident where the phlogiston activated haunts appear, more powerful than they have ever seen them, one final specter appears pointing a skeletal finger towards the path of the ship.

“You must lay us to rest. Take us to Songspace.” It says and then fades from view.

-——————————-
Word and Melchior, entranced by tales of The Gun With No Name, decide to seek the legendary firearm and satisfy Melchior’s homesickness at the same time. Petting ways with the others before the Nomad launches for the Maelstrom they book passage to Oerth and the City of Greyhawk.
__
Their adventires will be chronicled in The Gun With No Name.

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The adventure begins again...
Buggy Bar Crawl

Kenari journal

“So what have you been doing in the last nine months since we parted, Kenari?” asks Vedis as she waives her hand over at one of the waitresses in her new favorite haunt, a fancy Captain’s bar called The Edge on the outskirts of Bral. “Last I saw you had a bit of an entourage, didn’t you?”

“Yeah… after rescuing all those slaves from the 10th Pit I couldn’t just leave them now, could I? Once I discovered what happened to Bast I figured it was time to go home again and let the temple know, so I took them with me in case any of them wanted to return.”

“So what happened?” Vedis prompted after she took the new mugs of ale from an outstretched tray and slipped the waitress a nice tip.

“Well… before you knew it Irisi was spreading stories of our adventures in the bazar, Shariti & Raziya got the rest of them together to clean and fix the temple and people started knocking on the door for help…”

“That you provided for a minimal fee, I’m sure,” chuckled Lenata.

I affect a look of surprise on my face for a few seconds at least before I lose it and laugh. “When it comes to freeing slaves I’ll gladly waive my fee. I figure we’ve got to keep up appearances now that the Pragmatic Order of Thought are such fans, right?” I wink as I take a gulp of ale and wipe my chin with the back of my hand. “Now if they wanted to donate to the temple rebuilding efforts, though, I wasn’t about to stop them. Turns out Shariti has a talent for the paperwork, so I left her and Irisi in charge for a while."

“So tell me…” I lean forward and rest my elbows on the table as I set my mug down. “What happened to the boys?”

“Off on some male bonding trip in Acheron, last I heard,” mutters Vedis.

“Actually…” says Ef Utan as he drops a pouch of coins in the middle of the table and pulls up a chair along with Word and Melchior, “we were sent on a bit of an errand by Estefan to pick up a chalice for him.”

“Next to round is on you,” Vedis replies as she waives over another waitress.

“Well that’s interesting…” mutters Ef Utan as he unfolds a piece of paper that was stuck to his mug.

“I swear… five minutes back in town and the girls are already throwing themselves at you,” I laugh.

“Trust me,” replies Ef Utan with a concerned look as he reads the note, “Luigi isn’t my type. Apparently people are asking about us and we should be staying alert.” He scans the room with an expert glance before leaning in to whisper into Vedis’ ear, “Male elf in a large cloak at 2 o’clock.”

Vedis closes her eyes for a moment and takes a deep breath as she grabs her head and pretends that the alcohol is getting too much for her. Lenata and I lean in to check on her as she mutters “cold focus tinged with disgust… definitely watching us.”

“See your problem is that you’re getting sober! I’ll go get us some more drinks,” I say aloud as I get up and squeeze Vedis’ shoulder, acknowledging our target. I make sure to stumble in a drunken stupor as I make my way to the bar for a handful of ales, and as I head back towards our table I trip and spill my beer on him.

“Oh my goddess.. I’m so sorry for my clumsiness!” I exclaim loudly as I grab a rag from one of the passing barmaids and attempt to clean the beer from his boots as I get a closer look at the stranger. Odd… I’ve never seen armor like his… it’s something strange and green all the way up to his neck and it’s practically form-fitting to his skin. The man growls in displeasure and I figure I’ve only got a few moments more, so I lean in and use the arms of his chair to help myself up to get one last look at him… as well as a pouch that seems to be easily detached from his belt loop. What the heck is that thing coming out of his neck? It’s long and thin and…

“Get off. Now.”

“Yes sir… so sorry sir…” I mutter as I bow repeatedly and stash the pouch in my sash before returning to our table.

“Sorry about the beer, but…” I begin as I sit down, but I’m interrupted by Word.

“Our friend seems to be leaving.”

“Crap… Kenari, see if you can get a better view while Lenata and I follow him,” Vedis replies sternly before she gestures to Lenata and they both head out the door.

I quickly follow and scamper up the drain pipes to the roof for a better view, but I can’t seem to find any trace of him. I do manage to overhear a rather disgruntled patron complaining about a rude wizard who ran into him, though. I remain on the roof until Ef Utan and the others walk out of the bar and jump down to land beside them.

“Let’s head back to the ship… it’s obvious that vacation time is over.”

Once we get back to the ship we all gather in the galley with cups of coffee in hand as I pour the contents of the pouch onto the table between us.

“Hmmn… gold is gold… but that black box…” Vedis begins as she points at it.

“… is trapped more than a rich man in a cathouse,” I warn as I prevent her finger from getting any closer to it. “There’s bad mojo all over this thing. I’ll see what I can do with it once we’re done here.”

“I did a little research as your description of our stalker struck a chord, Kenari… and I think I’ve found something,” says Lenata as she lays open a book to show an illustration of the strangest looking Elf I’ve ever seen in shiny green armor with those odd things coming out of the back of his neck.

“What the heck are those?” Melchior exclaims.

“Insectare,” Lenata answers grimly. “An unholy combination of insect and Elf, the Insectare are amongst some of the most racist creatures you’ll ever wish you never met. They have a deep-rooted hatred of Elves, and after trying to infiltrate the EIN there’s quite a bounty out on them.”

“So do you think they’ve got a problem with us helping out the EIN in the past?” wonders Vedis, “or were they just being their usual asshole selves?”

“No telling… but if they’re here on Bral, I should let Aladan know,” Lenata replies.

“Ok… let me take this in the back room and see if I can get this box open before we head out,” I say as I gingerly pick up the box with a silk handkerchief and head back to my room with Dassam so he can assist me.

“There…see? It wasn’t that hard…” I chuckle wryly after an hour as I wipe the sweat from my brow and set down my tools.

“Yeah… piece of cake..” mutters Dassam as he puts the fire blankets and emergency med kits away. “So what’s in there, anyway?”

“Something very shiny… and very nasty,” I reply as I gaze at the large black pearl sitting inside the padded box practically radiating necromantic energy. “I think we’re going to need some help with this one.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“We need to get rid of it,” says Lenata as she looks at the pearl in barely concealed disgust. “The aura from this thing…it…”

“Makes you feel like you need a shower?” I offer.

Lenata shudders and rubs her arms as she nods in agreement. “Perhaps Gamelon Idogyr can dispose of it properly?”

“He’s been busy with the Inhuman War last I heard,” replies Ef Utan. “What about the clerics at your temple?”

“It’s as good a place as any to start.”
~~

It doesn’t take long for word to spread once we show the black pearl to the priests of Celestian, and soon we’re joined by the Bral Guard and Mordon Rhome, the Right Hand of Prince Andru himself.

“We can’t thank you enough for your service to Bral, and the Prince himself is grateful for bringing this dangerous object to our attention,” Mordon announces in a tone so pandering that I have to stop myself from rolling my eyes.

“Hey… isn’t that what took out Dragon Rock?” I hear one of the guards in the back whisper before Morden looks back with a quick frown. Goddess… if this thing is similar, it’s capable of decimating the population of an entire town and turning them into an undead army in moments.

“If you obtain any more information, I trust you will report it to the guard directly,” Morden continues with a bow before taking the pearl and leaving with his guards.

“Dammit… what do we do now?” asks Vedis. “I trust them with that thing only slightly more than I do the bugs.”

Lenata takes the pouch the pearl was in and talks to one of the clerics for a moment. The cleric then takes the pouch and nods before retreating into the temple. “We’ll see if they can scry anything from that pouch… but until then, it’s time to start asking questions.”

“Excellent,” I say as I clap my hands together excitedly. “I’ve been wondering how they’ve been doing over at the Shady Rest, and I hear they’ve got some fantastic mutton this week.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“Balon? I’m afraid he retired… moved back to his summer home with the family. Meridan is the Guildmaster now, but don’t worry… the family doesn’t forget their friends,” says the Halfling bartender of the Shady Rest as he pours a round of drinks.

“Afraid we’ve been out of the loop for a while… anything interesting happening lately?” I ask as I lean against the bar and spin a gold coin on the counter.

“Lots of people coming and going these days… they discovered a pair of new flow rivers, so now that the war has been sticking to Realmspace people are getting brave and going exploring.” He scratches his beard for a moment. “Now that I think of it… there was somebody asking about you guys the other day… some scruffy blonde human.”

“Always appreciated,” I reply with a smile as I push the coin across the bar and take the drinks. “Let me know if you hear anything else, would you?”

“Well… there’s not a whole lot of scuttlebutt going on here, anyway,” I say with a sigh as I sit down at our booth with the drinks. “Some blonde guy is asking about us, but other than that, it’s your typical day. You guys have any luck?”

“Other than a lady complaining about a weird lack of psionic activity in Krynnspace, not really,” Vedis frowns.

“Well you know what that means then…” says Ef Utan as he passes on the ale I try to hand him.
Vedis eyes light up. “Woo! Bar crawl! Let’s hit the Rock Rat next!”

~

The seedy dock bar is quite busy tonight… probably because of all those “brave explorers” coming to check out the new flow rivers. I take advantage of the crowd and do my best to blend into the shadows so I can listen in to the latest news without being observed. There’s the usual arguments between clerics of Celestian and Ptah and Seekers and POT-heads sharing meals… but when I get to the table of EIN soldiers that my ears perk up; apparently the Elves have been talking about us back in port. Interesting…

Melchior, however, heads straight to the bar to ask some buxom ladies for any information. Heh… probably not the information we’re looking for, but you never know. I stop to watch him when he suddenly goes silent, and notice that he’s staring at a cloaked individual in the crowd who seems to be watching us. He makes to move his duster to the side to show his guns… and then turns a lovely shade of pink as he remembers the rules of Bral.

Yeah… I didn’t like having to leave my guns on the ship either… but you know… fireballs.

I move closer through the crowd and try to get a better look at the cloaked person… but try as I might all I can see is their heavy brown cloak and their very nice boots made out of iridescent reptile skin. Everywhere else I look it’s like it’s just a blur…

Suddenly a (what do you know) scruffy blonde human along with his entourage of friends strides into the bar and dumps a bag of gems on the counter.

“Drinks are on the house, thanks to me… Captain Random!”

I take this as my cue to head back to our table as a rush of people push their way to the bar for their free drink. “Dig the ego that just walked in,” I joke as I sit next to Lenata.
“That’s what happens when you’re related to people in the Palace,” she replies. “That’s Corwin Shipwright, Irdana Shipwright’s son.”

“Who?” asks Vedis.

“The woman who designed the Dolphin ship? One of the best ship makers in all of Bral? Leader of the Shipwright Guild?” Lenata offers.

“I think he’s cute,” replies Vedis distractedly as she watches him gesture wildly and regale the bar with a story. “I’ll be right back…”

“Here we go… might as well order food then as we’re going to be here a while,” I say with a roll of my eyes as I grab a menu.

The evening passes relatively uneventfully as we eat dinner and pick up on the latest news: Apparently the influx of explorers is partly because of the Seekers, as they’ve been commissioning ships to map the new flow rivers… particularly an area where wild flow rivers lead into a group of spheres called the Maelstrom. An inebriated Scion verified the news about there being no psi powers in Krynnspace… and wouldn’t stop talking about how the Mind Flayers stuck there have turned into primitive beasts. Realmspace is indeed the hotbed of the Unhuman War between the Ein and the Scro… and if ships try to take it into Greyspace they quickly get destroyed by Mordenkainan and the Circle of 8 patrolling its borders. And lastly, an old summoner informed us that Vedis’ asteroid home of Suvah will be coming back into phase in 6 months.

When I tried to share the news with Vedis, however, she was nowhere to be found.

“Don’t bother… she went home with Random,” Lenata informs me with a gentle hand on my arm. “She’ll meet us at the ship in the morning.”

“Well, I’m feeling restless… I’m going to take a shot and see if I can find any leads on our mysterious man with the nice boots,” I reply as I stand and leave a few coins on the table.
Melchior finishes his shots before standing up and only swaying slightly with the help of Word. “We’ll join you…”

“I’ll make sure Lenata gets back to the ship then, and we’ll meet up in the morning,” says Ef Utan. “Be careful.”

~~
“Well damn,” I mutter as I walk out of a shop to rejoin Word and Melchior. “It doesn’t look like our mysterious stranger got his boots here on Bral, anyway. Let’s head back to the ship.”

“I do believe we are being followed,” warns Word when suddenly a slender human male bumps into Melchior before moving on.

I may be tired… but this rogue wasn’t born yesterday. “Hey, stop that guy!” I yell just as the guy breaks into a run. Word stumbles over the drunken Melchior as they try to follow. No wonder he was marked… still… a drunken Inquisitor is nothing to try your luck with.

Thankfully for us, the thief isn’t much better as he trips and falls on his face in the road. We finally catch up to him and Melchior steps on the thief’s wrist as he returns his stolen coin purse to his belt. “CRIME DOES NOT PAY, AND ALL EVIL-DOERS SHALL BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE BY MERLYND’S FAITHFUL!” Melchior announces loudly to any passer-bys in the street.

“Come on, crime fighter… it’s time to sleep off those drinks,” I chuckle as I pat him on the shoulder and we all make our way back to the ship for a good night’s rest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After a long morning of hangover cures administered by Ef Utan and Word the next morning, we all gather at Luigi’s for a much needed steak lunch.

“I seriously need to get a license for my guns… I feel naked without them at my hip here,” laments Melchior.

“My luck with guns, every time I get to a planet where I can legally use them I find they won’t work because of magic or something,” I chuckle ruefully.

Vedis, Ef Utan sit down at the table with Ef Utan’s right hand man Takero joining soon after.

“We managed to make a decent profit selling the cargo we’d picked up,” says Vedis as she pours herself a drink. “Man, the service here stinks! I could show these barmaids a thing or two…”

“Did you find out anything, Takero?” asks Lenata to hopefully change the subject from Vedis’ displeasure.

“I made inquiries in Shu Town and heard news of a ninja there making a name for herself… but nothing of the Insectare.”

“It seems that it’s going to be difficult to find any information here,” says Lenata. “The tension in the air from the Unhuman War and Bral’s strained attempts at neutrality is palatable.” She removes a parchment from her jacket and unrolls it on the table. “I received this notice from the Seekers that they are paying for any maps that can be made of the new flow rivers, however. Perhaps these new rivers and our new enemies aren’t a coincidence?”

“At the very least it’s a good chance for us to not only make some money, but get in good with the Seekers,” agrees Vedis. “Do you think we should upgrade the ship before we head out there?”

“Well you’re the one spending time with the shipwright’s son…” Ef Utan interjects with a barely concealed smirk behind his napkin.

I nearly choke on my coffee. “I’ve heard from the POTs that the Chain Men are out there making new maps too. I wouldn’t mind if we happened to disrupt a few of their activities while we’re out there…”

“Then it’s settled then. We’ll gather whatever cartographer equipment we need and see if we can hire a few Seekers as map makers once we’re done with lunch,” says Vedis.

“Word, Takero and I will make sure the ship is stocked and we’ll meet back at the ship,” says Ef Utan with a nod.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We end up getting two cartographers from the Seekers to join us, with the warning that we need to keep an eye out for EIN and Scro ships as they’re interested in scouting out the new rivers as well for potential strategic strongholds. I’d tell them about some of our previous encounters with the Scro and the last guide we picked up… but that’s best saved for when we’re in mid-flight.

Apparently these new rivers head straight out from the Spiral, with one heading to the Maelstrom and another to a large nameless sphere that seems to be a crossroads to whatever is on the other side. I’m all for exploring the nameless sphere… because ‘Kenari Crossroads’ has a nice ring to it.

Lenata plots her course and we’re smooth sailing…

…for a while, anyway.

We’re barely into one of the new flow rivers when the atmosphere starts to get thick up on deck with swirling clouds.

“Somebody…anybody… you need to get on deck and see this!” a crewman warns over the tubes. The mists don’t stick to the deck, however… and soon seep into the bridge.

“On your guard!” shouts Ef Utan as ghostly skeletal apparitions in ragged uniforms swirl around us.

“I’ve never seen them manifest so strongly,” says Vedis worriedly as she summons her psiblades.

My hand itches to grab my pistols, but damn it… we’re in the flow and I just can’t risk it. Instead I grab my wand of healing in the hopes that its positive energy can keep the ghosts away from Lenata while she pilots the ship.

“Tell us what we can do to help you rest,” pleads Ef Utan to the spirits, but it does no good as it screams and its torn flesh falls from its face.

Lenata grips her chair tightly in concentration before sending out a wave of positive energy that rips through the mist and dissolves many of the ghostly figures. The ones that are left fly about the bridge and slam into me, Takero and Word.

I can’t speak for the others… but I’m nearly sent to my knees with nausea and an inescapable feeling of doom that has me gripping the back of Lenata’s helm tightly lest I run away. I zap one of the spirits coming near her with my wand, and nearly shout in relief when I see our Positai crewman joining the fray and chanelling his own energy against them.

A slightly more intact spirit of of a male dwarf tears into the room as Vedis’ mindblade flies through it and hits the wall. The spirit stops and turns to us with wild eyes as he yells, “What are you doing? Run for your lives before they eat you!”

Eat me? I can’t let them eat me… I’m too pretty! Besides, my fur would cause all kinds of… what am I saying! I’ve got to get out of here!

“No way you freaks are getting a hold of me!” yells Vedis as she makes her escape off the bridge.

“Wait… it’s a compulsion!” Ef Utan yells after her.

“It’s a trap, is what it is, and you’re not catching me, you cannibals!” I yell as I follow after Vedis. I’ve got to get off this ship!

Word flies past me and manages to wrap his arms around Vedis. Damn… the warforged must be working for the cannibals! I try and roll past them in the hallway but something hits me on the back of the head and I soon fall unconscious. Hopefully I don’t wake up on a spit…

Well I’m not on a spit… but I am tied up in my room. Dassam is standing by the door and looking at me with a concerned look… probably because he’s wondering what to do with all the fur when they skin me, the bastards. Thankfully there isn’t a rope that can hold me for long… and when he’s listening at the door I take my chance and leap at him.

“Dammit, love, I’m trying to help you!” Dassam growls as he flips me over his shoulder to the ground. I hiss and snap as I struggle, but his strength is no match for me as he wraps his arm around my neck.

“Sleep love… I will watch over you and keep you safe… I promise,” he whispers before I black out once again.


  • Nomad lost in the flow – souls stuck from their gods
  • Dreamspace destabalizes Helms

Compulsion fades in 4 days. 1/2 day later another one appears to the captain and extends a skeletal finger in her direction. “You must lay us to rest!” “SONGSPACE

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Google+ Gaming
The Spelljoined Go Online- Hangout Gaming

Tonight we cast resurrection on The Spelljoined and bring it screaming back to life as a Google+ based game. With the DM in New Orleans and the players in Cincinnati it seems the best option.

We will be testing a beta of Tabletop Forge – an app dedicated to assisting with tabletop roleplaying over the Hangout environment. I’ll post follow up notes about what we learn and how we approach Hangout Gaming

For those interested I’ll be using Chrome as my browser for maximum compatibility, and will have tabs open to Obsidian Portal and the Hypertext Pathfinder SRD .

In game time two years have passed since our heroes defeated the Patchwork Lord and disposed of the Witchlight Marauder Key. The events of that period are outlined here – In the Year 5,052…

And now we begin the next book in the Saga of the Spelljoined! The Khan of Nightmares and Queen of Thistles are waiting in the wings watching their potential candidates for the Damnation Epoch…

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In the Year 5,052...
What happened over the last two years?

5,052 O.C.

In the two years since their adventures with the Dreamstone a lot has happened for our brave group of adventurers.

  • Since Kenari now possesses the harrow deck needed to access it the group have been slowing cleansing the evils from the Harrowing. As the new acknowledged rulers of the demiplane they have seized control of the Walking Castle and now use it as their main base on the plane.
    *In 5,050 Elliwinkle passes on, having attained the great age (for a giant space hamster) of two years old. She is buried in The Harrowing.
  • The EIN is not very happy with them these days. Ever since “losing” the Witchlight Key they have been viewed with suspicion. Even so, the Spelljoined still occasionally do work for them.
  • Vedis has now gained a reputation as a Captain on the Rock of Bral. The crew of The Nomad often find themselves invited to The Edge (a place to see and be seen for venture captains).
  • In 5,051 Bral’s Planar Church of Olympus put on it’s first Olympiad. Including everything from gladiatorial events to a spelljammer regatta it consumes the Rock for nine days.
  • Vedis no longer takes shifts at the Laughing Beholder, although she is still a regular and has a great relationship with Large Luigi.
  • Poor Simmi passes away. No one is sure whether it is old age or too many tanglefoot bags. Before his demise he lays a single egg which Vedis keeps in a pouch around her neck.
  • It is an open secret that a portal to Sigil now exists in the Temple of Celestian on Bral. It was created by a local trading company called the Seven Stars, who count two priests of Celestian among their number. For a small charitable donation, if approved by the Celestians, one can step through the arch in their sculpture garden and come out in the Lady’s Ward of Sigil.
  • Kenari spits her time between Toril and the Rock of Bral, having become very involved with the Temple to Bast in Ghedaneth. in 5,051, shortly after the Olympiad, she was visited by a vision from Bast in which she was shown that the cat goddess had merged with the Realms deity Sharess.
  • Melchior, Word and Ef Utan spent a year in the Outer Planes and have only just returned from a series of forays into Acheron where they encountered the edges of the Bood War.
  • Lenata has continued to helm The Nomad for Vedis. As she has spent more time on the ship she has become aware that the haunting effects only seem to occur in the Flow. Kenari often travels with them when not on Toril or in The Harrowing, particularly on the Realmspace / Spiralspace run.
  • The fact that your group has long been friends to the halflings of Bral brings you into contact with Mereydin Sandyfoot, the Underbaron of the Halfling Thieves Guild. He is particularly fond of Kenari and Ef Utan.
  • Kenari has started funneling money and aid to Mather Esseylnn, a halfling who uses a portal to Tethyr as an “underground railroad” for Mulorrandi slaves.
  • Word of Wisdom has failed utterly to find a way back to Eberron, although the expanse of planes now open to him distracts him from searching too hard for one.

This is where things stand for our heroes are we begin The Spelljoined – Book II.

View
Kenari's Journal Part 68
Epilogue

Kenari journal

BOOM

If the loud noise that rung out over the ship hadn’t already woken me from my nap, the group of teenagers stumbling over each other to get to my door first certainly would have. Just when I was getting to the part where Tain gave me one of those planets he won, too.

“Kenari… come quick!” one of the older girls who ended up on top of the pile announced in a rush.

“By Bast’s left whisker… what’s going on now, Jadana?” I muttered as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and stumbled after them down the hallway towards the stairs to the upper deck.

“It’s the Dwarves!” said one of the excited boys behind me. Adanu… I think that’s his name. “One of them started throwing these things off the side of the ship, and before you know it…”

“They started exploding!” finished another one of the boys.

Raelin, maybe? I’m too tired to remember names this morning. Silly me, thinking I’d finally get to sleep in after finally getting everything straightened out with the Dream Stone. Last time I let Hatuk convince me to join a game of Dragon Ante when his firewater is involved.

“And why did you guys come get me for this?” I moaned as I shielded my eyes from the bright morning sun shining down without pity upon the main deck.

“Well that big man with the swords, he yelled at the Dwarves, and when he asked them what they were doing…” Jadana replied.

“They said they were doing it for you!” Janros finished with a grin as he pointed across the deck at the two Dwarves, one of them bent over the rail laughing with the other slapping his back.

“And why would they want to do that?” I groan as I rub my forehead.

Dassam lands (thankfully quietly) next to me on the deck from the rigging above and smiles as he points towards the group of female elves talking on the upper deck and wraps his other arm around my waist. “It seems that the Emerald Scarab is full of stories about you and your friends, love… and when she talks about you, things tend to explode.”

“Like with those monks!” says Jadana excitedly.

“Or against those pirates!” offers Janros.

“I like when she used those Thunderstones against the slavers the best,” says Raelin with a grin.

“Okay…okay,” I chuckle. “I just hope that for all that noise they’ve come up with something good. I’ll go talk to them and see what’s up.”

Dassam looks to the Mulhorandi teenagers with a raised eyebrow. “And now that you’ve retrieved her, I know some people who are supposed to be helping me repair the sails,” he says with mock sternness.

“Aw Dassam…” they moan.

“No complaints…it takes a working ship to have those adventures, you know.”

I grin lopsidedly and walk over to the two Dwarves who have finally stopped laughing and caught their breath.

“Oh, that one is definitely a keeper, Atsu,” Azibo says as he wipes the soot and tears from his eyes with a hankerchief he pulls from his pocket.

“But what do we call it?” says Atsu.

“How about we call it a day, guys?” I reply. “I love new inventions… really, I do… but do you have to test them so early in the morning?”

“Early?” scoffs Azibo as he whips out a pipe from his apron and lights it. “It’s mid-afternoon at least, missy!”

Afternoon?” I repeat incredulously. “That’s it, Hatuk… no more of that firewater!” I call up into the rigging to a chorus of laughter from above.

“Yes, afternoon,” says Ef Utan as he comes through the door from below decks and holds it open for some of the older Mulhorandi who have their arms full of food. “Now that you’re finally up, why don’t you help your new friends since they were nice enough to make us lunch.”

The delicious scents of figs and meats tickle my nose as my stomach rumbles. “Ah… real food… magic rings are a blessing, but they can’t beat a well-cooked piece of meat!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A few hours later plates are emptied and bottles start to get passed around the circle of companions, crew and ex-slaves… but skip over the younger group to many moans of disappointment.

“How about a story, at least?” asks young Adanu as he yawns and lays his head in Syana’s lap.

“Yes, I’d love to hear more about Sapphira,” says Kagiri, a female Tiefling from the group of Mulhorandi slaves we saved. “Did she take out many of these slavers before she passed?”

“Monk Surfing!” shouts Raelin and Janros together.

Lenata coughs and sets down her cup of mead as she clears her throat. “What was that?”

“Monk surfing!” cheers Raelin. “That’s when you were all chasing those monks on the rooftops when Vedis fell and Kenari took out that monk by grabbing his…”

“What exactly have you been filling their heads with, Kenari?” Lenata asks as she looks at me doubtfully.

“Wasn’t me, honestly,” I laugh as I lean back in Dassam’s arms. “I kind of want to hear this one, though… it’s one of my favorites too!”

“Afraid it’s my fault,” says Irisi, a bronze-skinned female elf with long dark hair. “My friends and I had been talking to the Emerald Scarab for the past few days, and she shared many a story with me about your adventures.”

“But… how are there so many stories about us?” Vedis asks in wonder as she sips her drink.

The Emerald Scarab leans forward and shows her Seeker pin to the group. “Word tends to get around when members of our group do amazing things,” she replies with a grin.

“Oh you’ve got no idea how right you are about that one,” I chuckle to myself.

“So does that mean we can have a story, now?” begs Reilin.

“As much as I would love to hear more about what Kenari did to irritate the Shu,” Lenata says with a roll of her eyes, “I think what we really need to talk about is the future, instead of the past.” She looks around at her companions and the group of freed slaves. “Now that we’ve stopped the 10th Pit plots with the Dream Stone and freed you from your imprisonment… what are your plans?” She gestures to the Emerald Scarab. “We are currently on our way to the asteroid city of Bral in order to reunite her with the Seekers, if any of you wish to depart there.”

A low murmur fills the air as people shrug their shoulders and begin to talk amongst themselves. Irisi and the two elves on either side of her lean in close to whisper to each other before nodding in agreement.

“If we may ask… what are your plans, Kenari?”

“Me?” I say in surprise, as I wasn’t expecting to be asked so soon. I sit up and look over my shoulder at Dassam, who nods in approval. “Well… I was thinking of returning back to Mulhorand, actually.”

“I thought you hated that place?” Vedis asks as she leans back and rests on her elbows.

I tug on my ear and laugh. “Not so much the place as the people… which is exactly why I want to go back.” I clear my throat and do my best to put on my serious face. “After what I saw the 10th Pit do to so many innocent people… to all of you,” I gesture to our new friends, “and to our lost friend Sapphira, I’ve decided that I want to continue aiding the anti-slavery movement. I mean really… who needs that kind of help more than the people of Mulhorand, right? Besides… I need to see if the Temple of Bast is still there, because I’ve got a doozy of a story to tell.”

Lenata smiles. “I am pleased to hear you’ve taken up such a good cause, Kenari.”

“Now don’t think that this means you can leave me out of it if you guys come up with our next grand adventure now,” I joke with a wag of my finger.

Someone’s got to go first to check for traps,” Ef Utan replies.

“Well good… as long as I know I’m still needed,” I chuckle.

“I too would like to fight the slavers,” says Kagiri, the female Tiefling. I had seen her in the battle around the pyramid… she fought with determination and not without a sense of joy from what I could tell. Something tells me she didn’t have the best of times with her captors.

“You’re going to need new weapons in that fight now, so you better be taking us along!” pipes up Azibo to the agreement of his brother. “Besides, we just got the first prototype of the Boomer Bomb to work!”

Irisi laughs. “You will need a storyteller to chronicle your adventures, will you not? I have longed to be able to tell the stories of true heroes again.”

Ef Utan snorts. “That’s all she needs,” he mutters.

“We want to come too!” announces the group of younger Mulhorandi.

“I don’t know about that, guys… this isn’t exactly going to be the safest thing for kids, you know..” I begin.

“Compared to being a slave for a bunch of foul demon worshippers who could send you to your death inside the pyramid at any moment, you mean?” replies Marosia, one of the older teenagers who has taken on a bit of a den mother role to the others.

“Well… when you put it that way…”

“Besides, we could help! You will need eyes and ears in town who can run messages, right?” continues Janros.

“Okay… okay… you guys have a point!” I reply as I raise my hands in surrender to their cheers.

“Mmm… temple ladies…” mutters Caelin, a male Tiefling. “I wouldn’t mind coming either,” he says with a wink as Dassam growls low behind me. I reach back and give his hand a reassuring squeeze.

“Okay… what about the rest of you? Is there anyone who doesn’t want to come with me?” I ask, my brain running through ideas of what we could do with so many people willing to help.

One of the older humans named Ellatar stands up after talking to the remaining ex-slaves. “While not all of us are interested in battle, we too would like to aid the temple and give thanks to the Goddess for sending you to help us, Kenari.”

“She didn’t send me anywhere,” I scoff. “I just got tired of waiting.”

Lenata smiles as she gets up to return to the helm and pats my shoulder. “Mysterious ways, Kenari… mysterious ways.”

View
Kenari's Journal Part 67
Dream's End

Kenari journal

“Ok… so what about the Dream Stone?” Vedis asks a few days later as we finally start our journey back to Braal. “I think we should take it to the realm of Dreams… I mean, that’s what it’s made from, right?”

“Sounds like a good as an idea as any,” I reply. “Besides, I don’t want to take my chances getting stuck in the flow and having that thing blow up. I’ll go get the special sails!”

I head down below decks as Hatuk and his crew start removing the current sails, and Ef Utan hails the bridge over the pipes and lets Lenata know of her next destination.

Thankfully with our now experienced crew the change doesn’t take very long… and with the proper recitation of a few special words, we find ourselves in the swirling mists of the realm of Dreams.

“Woaaah…. that’s some good stuff!” Melchior mutters from his reclining seat on a pile of ropes on deck.

“I told you we’d show you some great things,” I chuckle.

“Allright then… let’s get this over with,” Ef Utan mutters as he walks to the edge of the deck and hurls the small crystal pyramid into the mists… where it rapidly expands until with a small POP it disappears.

The sound of clapping rings out behind us as we all turn to find the hazy image of Tain, that over-the-top Reigar with a love of interdimensional closets, and a mysterious woman with a large floppy hat and a feather in it. I’m about to ask who she is when I hear Vedis gasp and whisper behind me.

“The Queen of Thistles!”

Ah… this is the woman in Vedis’ vision that holds those gladitorial games in the realm of Dreams!

That’s my team!” Tain says in glee as he elbows the woman in the side. “You owe me three planets, now!”

That… that bastard! This was all for a BET?!?

Before I can let loose my anger, however, the hazy image of the two fades into nothing yet again.

“Well that’s just bloody fantastic,” I growl as I slap my hands to my sides and walk off. “I’m going to be below decks. If anybody needs me, they can wait till the noises stop coming from my room.”

~~~~~~~~~

A few days later Dassam and I finally decide to take a breather from showing just how much we missed each other, and I walk up on deck to find the familiar swirling skies of the Ethereal Plane. “What’s up?” I ask Vedis as I join her on the bow of the ship with Melchior smoking his pipe nearby.

“We’re heading back to the Sapphire Mage in hopes that he can properly dispose of the Witchlight Marauder Key,” she explains. “Considering his access to the demiplane of Time, he should be able to make sure that nobody can get their hands on it.”

“Sounds good to me… nobody should have access to that kind of destructive power, no matter what they say they’re going to do with it.” I clap Melchior on the shoulder and smile. “Hey, maybe we’ll get lucky and Murlynd will stop by again!”

His eyes bulge and he rears forward in a series of coughs, nearly causing him to drop his pipe. “Easy Mel… don’t forget to breathe,” I chuckle as I sit down with him to share the pipe. “So tell me… what happened to you back with the zombies, anyway?”

“Craziest thing,” he manages to say finally. “You know how theatre stages usually have an underneath for all the prop people and such?” I nod and exhale slowly, the swirls of smoke joining the other patterns in the ethereal. “I got grabbed by one of those zombies and pulled underground to find that the whole blasted realm was just one big stage! It was like a whole bunch of extras waiting for their turn in the spotlight down there. Thank Murlynd I was able to make my way through that mess and get back above again to rejoin you all.”

“You have my sympathies and my apologies that we weren’t able to find you, Melchior,” I reply as I hand him the pipe. “Have I ever told you about the time when I got seperated from the group? Floating alone in the flow isn’t fun, I can tell you…”

~~~~~~~~~

What I can only assume is a few days later (hard to tell in the Ethereal) we return once again to the tower of the Sapphire Mage, who is more then willing to send the key back to the beginning of time itself. When Melchior asks about Murlynd, however, he shakes his head sadly. “I’m sorry, noble one… but Murlynd doesn’t usually tell me ahead of time when he’s going to walk through my doors; he just shows up when he needs me.”

“Gods… never around when you need them, are they?” I chuckle as I wrap my arm around Melchior’s shoulders and do my best to console him. “If it makes you feel any better, I’m still willing to listen to what you have to do to get one of those shiny star badges…”

“Well, what now?” Vedis asks as we return to the ship.

“I don’t know about you all… but I’ve got a certain Reigar in mind that needs to answer a few questions,” Ef Utan says grimly.

“Refuge it is, then…” Lenata says with a nod as she takes her familiar seat at the helm and we’re travelling once again… but this time staying in the Ethereal Plane in order to make the trip go (hopefully) quicker.

~~~~~~~~~

Luckilly for the Reigar, we found him at one of the fancier bars around town instead of having to go to his place… and after a few drinks (on his tab of course) I’ve calmed my anger down a bit. “Look, all I’m saying is… if you’re going to make a bet on my life, you could at least cut me in on a percentage next time!”

The Reigar chuckles. “Duly noted… duly noted. I can’t thank you all enough for coming through like that… I needed that planet for my new party house!”

Ef Utan rolls his eyes and Vedis stomps his foot under the table. “So.. who exactly was that other Reigar we saw?”

“Ah… that was Rakshen… more the fool him, thinking he could win a bet against me. Where is your lovely angelic companion by the way.. the one with the white hair?”

“She went to speak with the EIN and let them know that the key was ‘lost’ to everyone involved,” answers Vedis. “I think she’s also asking about the engineer they loaned us… she fit so well with the crew, it would be a shame to lose her.”

“I think she’s looking for you-know-who,” I joke.

“Well we all can’t be as fortunate as you to have our loved ones on board,” Vedis replies with a snort. Dassam squeezes my hand under the table as I try to hide my blush by taking a long gulp of beer.

Once we’ve had our fill of drinks and finally unwinded, we head back to the docks to find Violetta talking with Lenata by the gangplank.

“Thank you again for all of your help,” she says as she shakes each of our hands. When she comes to me she pulls the deck of Harrowing cards from her pouch and puts them in my hand with a grin and a wink. “Be careful with these, now.”

“Why don’t you come with us on our travels?” offers Lenata. “Your skills would be incredibly useful, and we’d love to hear your stories.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I’ve got my own family of freaks I need to watch over,” she jokes as she waves a hand over her shoulder and walks away. “Besides… you’ve got your own stories to write!”

View
Kenari's Journal Part 66
Slavery is Revolting!

Kenari journal

With a whoop and a holler I land on the side of the pyramid near the top and begin a controlled slide. Ef Utan begins to slide down the pyramid not far from me and launches one of his TK punches into one of the overseers at the bottom. I take that as my cue and begin to yell…

“People of Mulhorand, your freedom is at hand! Rise up and take back your power from your oppressors!”

There’s a second of shocked silence and then the crowd of slaves below goes wild as they use shovels, picks and whatever else they can get their hands on to break their chains and join in the fight. I hit the ground running once we reach the bottom and weave my way through the crowds looking for that elf I talked to before… what was she called… The Mithral Scarab. If I can find her, she can help be organize the resistance and rescue of the people once we’re done with these slavers once and for all.

Ef Utan reaches the bottom and barrells through groups of slavers as golems and their 10th Pit riders are pulled down like the statues of deposed leaders. “What in the hells are Doomguard and Fated doing here?” I hear him yell in confusion before he begins to question their ancestry in Lower Planar Tongue.

I run past the offending bodyguard and dodge out of the way as Violetta focuses a blast of psionic energy into the crowd of slavers and golems before she collapses once again. We need some more help here… I know… we need a stampede! I turn quickly back towards the pyramid, grab Ef Utan, and slide down the edge of the hole to where the remaining large beetles that the slavers were using to dig are huddling from the noise and confusion. “We just need to give them some good incentive to run that way,” I suggest.

“Leave that to me,” Ef Utan says with a grin as he holds up a hand crackling with electricity. The large beetles squeal and chitter as he slaps each one of them on their hind quarters and charge up out of the hole in the sand at full speed in order to escape Ef Utan’s makeshift cattle prod.

I grin wildly and charge up the hill after them with guns ablaze as I shoot at two Doomguards at the top of the stairs, with Melchior following suit and Vedis hurling her mindblades. Lenata finishes the last one off with a barrage of magic missles as we get to the top to witness the chaos we have created. Overseers are being torn to pieces as dead slaves litter the sand. I whisper a prayer that Bast might guide their souls to the afterlife… for they fought well for their freedom and fought to their last breath against this unforgivable evil.

“Hey, it’s that guy I told you about!” yells Vedis as she points to a well-dressed man walking through the battle totally uneffected by the destruction around him. He stops and lifts his arms in a gesture before a large metal lion appears at his side.

“It’s a Shakti!” gasps Lenata in amazement. I can only assume she meant the lion.

Ef draws his sword and growls before charging towards the stranger. “And he’s got blasted Fated with him too!”

I’m about to run after him with the others when out of the corner of my eye I finally catch sight of the beaded hair of the Mithral Scarab in a struggle against a green-haired woman. She believed in me when none of the others would… I owe her! Making a quick decision I run through the battlefield and leap with claws drawn onto the unsuspecting woman’s back and quickly finish her off as I grab her hair and embed my claws into the back of her neck.

“You have returned! I am glad to see that you are well,” she says with a smile.

“As am I… time became very unpredictable inside that pyramid,” I reply. “If you still have that vial I gave you, gather the survivors and meet us behind the dune I told you about while I look for that sorceress leading these 10th Pit bastards.”

The Mithral Scarab nods and smiles wryly as she pulls an ornate dagger from her belt and tosses it to the ground at my feet. “No need… consider it a gift for all that you have done for us.”

I grin and put the dagger in my sash as I run back to check on my friends. The stranger has disappeared, and the lion, it seems, has returned to its original state of a small metal statue on the ground. I reach down to pick it up, but get stopped by Ef Utan’s hand on my shoulder. “Bad idea,” he warns as he shows me the burn marks on his hand.

Suddenly there is a cheer in the distance. I look to see what the cause could be… and behold a sight for sore eyes as a saber-wielding Hadozee, a well-dressed Shou… and a black-furred Catfolk lead the charge of a group of armed slaves into the battle to clean up what’s left of the 10th Pitt slavers.

Oh Gods… is it?DASSAM!” I yell as I run towards him and leap into his arms, knocking us both into the sand.

“You’re supposed to take me with you, remember?” he chuckles as he rubs his cheek on my hair and wraps his arms around me.

I swallow the tears that threaten to fall as I smile into his chest and clutch his shirt. “I couldn’t help it… I’m sorry… I didn’t know…”

“Sssh… it’s ok… time to talk to your people, love.” He stands up and helps me from the sand before gesturing to the remaining Mulhorandi slaves gathering around us.

I quickly wipe my eyes before turning to the Mithral Scarab and the rest of the slaves who are beaten…battered… but free.

“It’s time to go home.”

~~~~~~~~~

“The Nomad? You all came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought!” Violetta laughs as we get the last of the slaves through the portal and prepare to load them onto our ship. Space ends up being a bit limited… but considering the alternative, I don’t hear anybody complaining.

“So…” Ef Utan begins after everyone gets settled in. “We’ve got a Dvati missing his other half who is going to die a slow painful death if we don’t do something about it. I suggest we put him out of his misery.”

Word and I nod in agreement as Vedis and Lenata gasp in surprise. “I’m not to comfortable with that…” Vedis begins. “How about we take his body and brain to the Temple of Nephtys where I can try to commune with this lands representation of my god? Melchot was a Dreamer, after all…”

“Can’t argue with that I guess,” Ef Utan replies. “Just as long as we do something before he starts to suffer.”

After a few hours we return to the planet in the Shadowsphere with the Mulhorand outpost and Vedis and Lenata take the body of Melchot to the Temple of Nepthys. Prayers are said… offerings are made…and POOF! Melchot’s body and the canister with his brain in it disappear in a cloud of smoke.
Vedis sighs in relief. “There… now we can go.”

On our way back to the ship we pass the Temple of Maat and Ef Utan suggests we go in to make sure that everything is ok between the goddess and ourselves. “Last thing we need is for her cosmic foot to go stomping on us.” The others agree… but personally I can’t wait to get out of here and leave these temples behind.

Everything seems normal inside the temple this time… and when Ef Utan climbs into the scales, this time it balances. “Should we all take turns getting in again?” Vedis asks.

“Knock yourself out if you want to but I’m not doing it,” I scoff. “There aren’t any magical barriers keeping us in here this time, are there?”

“No…but…”

“Great, then the gods can keep their opinions about my personal life to themselves!” I roll my eyes and stomp out of the temple back to the ship. “I try to be good… I try and help people… travel across the galaxy to find them…” I mutter to myself.

When we get back to the ship I leap into the scaffolding and make an announcement to the ex-slaves looking at the settlement in wonder. “Those of you who wish to stay here in this city are free to remain. Once we leave with the Dream Stone the sleep should end and life should return to this sphere as it once was. Those of you who wish to stay, however, or go to somewhere else… arrangements can be made.” Cheers go up in the crowd as those who wish to stay start filing down the gangplank. When they are done, 15 slaves remain as well as the Mithral Scarab.

“What about you?” I ask as she walks over and I leap down to the deck. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to go to Braal. Like you, I am a Seeker… and I have much to tell.”

“You and me both, sister,” I smile.

View
Kenari's Journal Part 65
Violetta the Hellbred Bard

Kenari journal

“We’re on one of the turret balconies of the Walking Castle in the Harrowing fighting off a bunch of Scro looking for the Witchlight Marauder Key. Any of that ring a bell?” Ef Utan grunts as the Scro below push at the trap door and he reinforces it with his weight.

“Right… right…” she mutters as reflexively pats her waist looking for her gear that is no longer there.

“Oh, I imagine you’ll be wanting this stuff back,” I say with a start as I pull out the beaded mask, Black Nib & paper, and the scroll with the bard song.

She smiles and strokes the mask fondly before putting it in her sack, mutters something about how her song about Zagyg was much better, and then looks up with a start. “Wait… you have the Black Nib? There may just be a chance to fix things after all! The question is… do you trust me?”

“My magics revealed that you have a good heart, even if your appearance might not suggest it so,” Lenata says with a smile and a nod.

“Hey, if Lenata trusts you…” Vedis mutters and the rest of us shrug and nod in agreement.

The Hellbred sighs in relief and smiles a toothy grin. “Great! My name is Violetta, and we really need to get to the basement where the Dream Stone is if we’re going to have any hopes of making things right.”

“The Dream Stone? It’s in the basement of this castle?” Vedis exclaims in surprise. “But I thought it was huge?”

“Moot is what it is if we can’t find a way through these Scro,” Ef Utan mutters as he struggles to keep the trap door closed.

Hmmn… teleportation…transportation… I know I’ve got to have something… wait! What about that tapestry?

“Will this do?” I say as I sling my pack onto the ground and unroll the Tapestry of Psychoportation that we removed from that hallway in the Wax Works.

“I can’t believe you have one of these!” Violetta exclaims in excitement. “Hmmph… this one is better than mine,” she mutters as she skims over the symbols with her fingers. “Ok… this just might work!” She scoots over to Ef Utan. “I’m going to start singing, and I want you to count to 5. When you’re done, we’re all going to join hands as quickly as possible and hope to the gods that this works!”

Everyone nods and kneels within reach of each other as Violetta places her lips near the crack of the trapdoor and starts to sing a moaning dirge I have to struggle not to listen to.

“1…2…3…4…5!” Ef Utan shouts as we quickly grasp hands around Violetta as she manipulates the symbols on the tapestry and we disappear in a flash of light… to appear again in a large circular room with doors at the four directions that I haven’t seen since the vision we beheld around the thrones in the pyramid before we came to the Harrowing.

Except this time… there seems to be a 20ft tall pyramid of crystal floating in the middle of it.

“Now I know my pack is bigger on the inside… but I don’t think I can carry that,” I joke as I move to investigate the doors.

“There’s something odd about it…” Vedis mutters as she stares at the crystal pyramid in fascination. “It’s like it’s here… but not here.” She reaches her hand out like she’s in a trance and suddenly the pyramid flickers to reveal an odd shaped key in the middle of it.

Wait…was that what I think it was?

The pyramid flickers again, but this time stabalizes for a few seconds to reveal the key inside… just long enough for Vedis to lunge forward and remove it before it reverts back to the crystal pyramid. "Well there’s that, at least… now what about the Dream Stone itself?

“This thing was supposed to be huge, right?” Ef Utan asks.

“The Imaskari wizard did say it was quite vast,” Lenata nods.

“Hmmn…” he mutters as he walks around the stone and looks at it from different angles. “It’s definitely not as big as it was described now… so perhaps…” he steps back to the edge of the room, covers one eye and reaches out to grab what has suddenly become a much smaller crystal pyramid that he puts in his pouch, “it’s all a matter of perspective?”

I have to fight the urge to applaud the bodyguard from Sigil for his ingenuity as I refocus my attention on the doors in this room. “Just so everyone’s aware… don’t touch the doors. It seems that each of these babies has some wicked fireball traps rigged to them. It would be all well and good if they were pointing out… but these things are pointed in… probably to destroy the artifacts before anyone like us got our grubby paws on them.” I chuckle. “Not that it did them much good.”

“Okay… now that we have the key and the Dream Stone, we need to focus our energies on trying to get out of here,” Violetta announces as Lenata gently helps her to sit on the floor with the tapestry. “Vedis, Word, I am going to need the help of both of you if this is going to work.”

“I see…” says Word as he floats over to Violetta and sits cross-legged beside her. “You plan on pooling our energies in order to power the tapestry enough to return us to the Shadowsphere? I had tried this on my own previously…”

“As had I… but alone we were no match for the powers of the dimensional anchor. With this tapestry, however… and the added energy… we just might be able to make it work this time.” Violetta grins hopefully as Vedis sits to her other side and they all hold hands. Their eyes close as a humming in the air starts to pick up… the vibrations getting stronger and stronger to the point that it makes me feel like my fur is going to stand on end. Hands begin to glow and spread as the energies of the three psions combine… and with a great flash of light and crescendo of noise we are suddenly falling through the air… towards the pointed top of a pyramid surrounded by Mulhorandi slaves and 10th Pit slavers.

Honey… I’m home!

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Kenari's Journal Part 64
The beginning of the end...

Kenari journal

The succubus steps aside with a smile and a wave of her hand and I leap past to strike Ef Utan across the chest with my claws in glee. Seeing his blood on my claws is so beautiful… I hope she likes it…wait… it’s Ef Utan! Come on, Kenari!

I shake the strange thoughts out of my head and refocus on the deeds that my mistress commands of me. These people are a danger to my mistress! But the white haired one… she is the one my mistress hates the most. “I will make you happy, mistress,” I cry out as I roll and slash my way past the others towards the offending cleric, “If I have to kill everyone here to do it!”

“Of course you will,” she replies with a sly smile and disappears in a puff of brimstone.

Word teleports again down the stairs and I can hear him yelling that my mistress hasn’t gone far as he proceeds to attack the two other men who had shown up down the stairs. Good… I don’t know what I’d do if she left me!

Suddenly there’s a scream as the tips of fingers go flying by. Apparently Word struck true with his halbred. I just hope they weren’t friends of my mistress… because I might have to make him pay next.

Strange… either that man was hurt more than I thought, or there’s something weird going on as the screams haven’t stopped.

In fact, the screams of the man Word attacked begin to change from screams… into roars as I look over my shoulder to witness the beginnings of a frightning transformation. Mistress protect me… is he… a dragon?

Ripping fabric is soon followed by exploding brickwork as the force of the wizard’s transformation proceeds to blow out the walls of the stairway in a massive BOOM! Friend and foe alike drop to the ground as shards of stone fly through the air. When the dust settles, there is now a massive blue dragon hovering over the stairs of what used to be a hallway.

I think….I think that’s the Patchwork Lord? Doesn’t matter now though… as I must kill the cleric! I seize my opportunity while the cleric is still shaken from the explosion and pounce, knocking her to the ground for the killing blow. I thrust my claw towards her exposed neck, but she manages to twist in my grasp and the claw merely scratches the side. The site of blood on the Aasimar’s neck, while what my mistress wants…. but a voice in my head gives me pause. This is the woman who has helped me so many times… I’d be dead without her… and now I’m trying to kill her? This isn’t right! I shouldn’t be doing this… I shouldn’t….can’t….I won’t

I grab my head in pain and growl before reaching to my sash for my healing wand. “I’m so sorry, Lenata! Please forgive me…I couldn’t help myself! It’s not my fault!” With shaking hands and a few muttered words of activation I’m able to heal the wound to her neck as Lenata smiles in relief.

“Thank Celestian you’re back to normal, Kenari…. now look out!”

There’s a giant WOOSH of air as the dragon beats his wings, knocking Ef Utan off his feet towards us. I dodge the flying warrior with the thanks of Lenata’s warning, but Lenata is not as fortunate since she was already knocked prone. She’s sent flying by the weight of Ef Utan’s armor and falls off the edge of the stairs with a scream into the now open air below.

“NO!” I scream in fear and look around frantically for something I can do. It’s then that I catch the flash of the glimmering stones of the Psiforged’s body and I get an idea. He can fly! I quickly focus my thoughts on Word, as well as a few prayers that I might do this in time… when with a pop of air and a THUMP, the cleric lands on the remnants of the stairs behind the dragon and Word of Wisdom, I hope, is flying somewhere below us.

Fire launches all around me as Ef Utan regains his feet and launches his attack with Flametongue, followed by an enraged Vedis with her energy attack. The dragon, nonplussed at this feeble resistance, shows his disdain by breathing lightning down upon us. I just manage to roll down the stairs under it as the lightning once again strikes Ef Utan. I swear, if we survive this, we’ve got to get him some protection towards that.

Suddenly amidst the fire and lightning, I just manage to pick out a strange thing… I think… it’s a flute? As I look past Ef Utan and Vedis I can just make out the red skinned woman at the top of the stairs wearing a white feathered mask with a flute to her lips. Well that’s a relief… if we survive this maybe we can finally talk!

There’s another smaller explosion, then I hear a Scro scream behind me and turn just in time to witness its doom as it falls off the stairs by Lenata. The flutter of a cape zooms by me towards the dragon as Word charges the monster… only to be slapped back through the air by it’s tail.

Thinking quickly, I grab the Tyrant card from my sash and pray as I concentrate over it… hoping in my heart that whatever power that’s in these cards might help us in our darkest hour. A ball of light shoots from the card, hovering in front of me as it grows in size and then shoots towards the dragon’s chest. There’s a blinding flash of light as it strikes… but as I clear my vision I see that it didn’t harm it, per se… but it definitely changed it. The blue dragon is replaced by a sewn together golem that reminds me of the ones we saw on the Demiplane of Dread when this crazy adventure first started so long ago… but that’s as much a I can describe as it’s now falling towards the castle below.

“What in all the spheres just happened?” asks Vedis incredulously.

“I swear he was wearing the clothes of The Fated!” exclaims Ef Utan in doubt as he looks over the edge of the stairs.

Word of Wisdom returns through the air and lands next to us on the stairs. “I saw him teleport about half way down… I did my best to trace it, and believe he is in the bottom of the tower over there.”

Multiple shots ring out and we all turn in surprise to see Melchior at the top of the stairs with gun in hand as he takes out more Scro snipers. “The battle is still going, people!”

There’s a whiff of brimstone in the air and I turn back in fear to see that the succubus has returned with a wide grin behind Lenata. “My mind is my own, you undead skank!” I back peddle as fast as I can up the stairs to join Melchior and the red-skinned bard to try and help from a distance as Lenata dodges the monster’s now clawed fingers. I can’t help but grin in satisfaction as the air pops around her and suddenly Ef Utan is in her place with sword in hand. He swings it towards her midsection… but at the last minute turns it to the flat of the blade and launches her through the air towards the castle below like a ball and bat.

“Let’s see if you can fly, bitch!” He yells down.

Word’s eyes glow for a moment. “No… but she can teleport. I believe she is now in the same area where the golem retreated.”

“Well here’s hoping we don’t have to go there, because we’ve got other fish to fry right now,” Vedis replies sarcastically as she shoots an energy attack towards more Scro filling the other turrets. “By the way… there’s a Reigar in the courtyard holding an unconscious Melchot captive… just in case you all might want to know.”

There’s a groan from the red-skinned woman as she collapses and her legs go out from under her. Lenata quickly wraps her arm around her shoulders to hold her up. “Come on, let’s try and at least get some cover from these gunshots,” she says as we return to the ruins of the room of cells to take cover behind a remanant of the wall.

“So… what is she?” Vedis asks curiously as Lenata tends to the unconscious woman. “I thought she was a Tiefling… but… she looks different.”

“She’s not a Tiefling… but she’s definitely been touched by them,” Lenata offers.

“She’s a Hellbred,” answers Ef Utan with a shrug of indifference. “Repentant evil souls trying to be good supposedly getting another chance, if you believe in that kind of thing.”

“As a matter of fact I do,” Lenata replies with a pleased smile.

Suddenly there is a great tearing sound as a chunk of the staircase we were on crumbles to the ground far below. “Great…anybody got another rope?” says Vedis in frustration.

“No need… looks like Kenari’s is still here,” Ef Utan calls out as he returns from the other balcony with rope and grappling hook in hand. He and I then return to the stairs to scope out the damage as the others discuss transporting the red-skinned woman. With a grunt and a heave the grappling hook soars through the air to catch on a large piece of rubble on the other side.

Once it’s pulled taught and secured, I give it a test and with a wild grin run across the line with claws outstretched. With a leap and a roar I pounce on one of the hapless orcs and plunge my claws through his spleen with a satisfying crunch.

“What the hell,” I hear Ef Utan say before he runs after me along the rope and follows with his own attack as he bull rushes one of the other Scro into falling off of the side of the tower.

The remaining Scro lunges at me with the bayonette on his now empty rifle, but I manage to twist to the side and avoid it as it chinks into the stone behind me. “One blade? Hah, I’ve got six!” I taunt as I flaunt them in front of my face. I am denied the satisfaction of seeing the Scro’s response, however, as he’s more occupied with the bullet that just appeared in his forehead.

“Dang it, Mel… that was a good taunt wasted!” I tease as the gunslinger and the others make it over the rope to join us with an out-of-breath Vedis bringing up the rear as she carries the unconscious Hellbred.

“Stow it, Kenari… we’ve got more coming!” warns Ef Utan as he kneels down to check the trap door to the balcony. Lenata quickly pulls a Tanglefoot bag and thunderstone from her pack and nods to Ef Utan, who opens the trap door just enough for her to toss them in and then closes it.

“Ummmn…. my head… where am I?”

All heads turn from the sounds of Scro below as we realize… the Hellbred woman is finally awake.

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Kenari's Journal Part 63
Finally...The Walking Castle

Kenari journal

After the 3rd hour I am shaken by my daydreaming thoughts of furry embraces by the rumble of thunder yet again… but instead of lightning the noise is followed by a crashing shriek of metal on metal as the setting prop sun in the sky stops moving and the rising prop moon crashes into it, causing bits of the sun to crumble and fall to the ground in yellow chunks of wood and metal.

“By Celestian… look at the sky!” Lenata calls out as the sky turns blood red and the moon begins to grow.

I am more concerned, however, with the increasing number of moaning sounds as the ground around us shifts from the sheer number of zombies starting to come out of it.

“This way!” yells Ef Utan as he holds up the collection of tokens pulling towards the east. With a blast of golden light Lenata clears a momentary path through the zombies as her divine light crumbles them to dust around us, and we all run to keep up with Ef Utan as he charges past the thorns and grasping hands of the undead.

With a quick thought I pull “The Eclipse” card from my sash and whisper a prayer to any god that might be listening that it helps. Instead of the usual sparkling lights, however, a single ball of light forms in the clearing ahead and shoots straight into the moon, causing it to begin to crack and crumble. That’s it! “We have to destroy the moon!” I yell to the others before I pull a Potion of Tumbling from my pack and gulp it down in the hopes that it will help me dodge their cold touch of death.

Vedis and Lenata do their best to launch attacks at the moon with missiles of light and fire while the rest of us keep the ever growing zombie swarm away. Suddenly a large chunk of the moon falls and crushes a particularly fast zombie that had its eye on Ef Utan (figuratively, folks). I look up and notice that the moon is not only missing a few pieces… but it’s beginning to spark as fissures spread through what is left.

“Get ready to duck!” I yell out in warning as the moon explodes into fragments and rains down debris. Lenata thankfully manages to dodge out of the way thanks to the auspices of her god I am sure… but Vedis seems to have a rather stubborn zombie holding on to her ankle. I curse profusely in Abyssal as I focus on the Maenad and manage to switch places with her just in time to roll out of the way of a jagged piece of metal that imbeds itself into the unlucky zombie (are there lucky zombies?) with a thud.

As the dust of the moon finally settles, I look around with relief to see that everyone seems to be okay… and that the zombies have stilled and returned to their graves. Except… wait a minute…

“Where’s Melchior?”

“Shit! We must have lost him when we ran from the zombies!” Ef Utan replies.

“We have to go back for him!” Lenata pleads. “He could still be alive!”

The ground shakes around us with the echo of a loud WHOMP.

“I have to say it,” says Ef Utan, WHOMPWHOMP “but I think we’ve got bigger concerns WHOMP right now.”

Trees crash down to the ground east of us as the thumping noise increases and large mechanical legs storm through the brambles bringing the Walking Castle into view for the first time. I pull the self-named card that I had been saving for this occasion from my sash and play it as the sparkling energy falls over us all and disappears. We all then proceed to take cover in the trees, hopefully out of view of the Scro on the turrets above as we let the castle pass and scope it for alternative entrances.

“Did you see who was on that main balcony?” exclaims Vedis. “I swear I saw another Scro wizard and a sparkly guy like Tain the Reigar holding a body by the hair! I’ll bet a week’s tips that was Melchot the Dreamer!”

There’s a whistling in the air interrupting Ef Utan’s reply just seconds before the bombs start to explode around us. I dodge for cover as Vedis gets knocked onto her rear and lashes out with her Energy Push at the castle above. The resulting scream of the gnome falling to his death and the subsequential explosions tell us she must have hit her mark.

“I think that’s our way in!” I declare as I pull my rope and grappling hook from my pack. Lenata hands me her rope as well, and with a few deft knots we’ve got a rope that’s sure to be long enough. Ef Utan mutters a quick spell as he takes the grappling hook, and with a few quick swings for momentum he launches it into the air with a satisfying clang of metal on metal. A quick tug confirms that the rope is secure.

“You’ve still got those vials of gaseous form, right, Ef?” I ask and he nods. “Why don’t you three drink those and get up there safely while I draw their attention on the rope?”

“A bit dangerous, don’t you think?” he asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Hey, it’s me!” I joke and begin my climb. “See you at the top!”

Bullets zing by me from the multiple Scro snipers in the turrets above, and I keep my toes crossed in hope that I’m not forced to eat my words with a side helping of lead. A cloud of purple mist passes by me and I smile in relief knowing that they’ll make it up there without harm. Eventually I make it up to the slightly splintered balcony, just in time to get a good view of the Scro mage Vedis mentioned waving his arms in incantation and sending a ball of energy our way. I don’t even want to find out what that is! Some of the purple mist follows me as I quickly make my way down a set of stairs from the balcony to take cover and find myself face to face with a locked door.

One of the forms of mist, however, floats down towards the wizard. “That must be Vedis…” I mutter. “I just hope she doesn’t do something stupid… that’s my job!”

I do my best to keep at the task at hand, however, as a potentially dangerous spell is coming our way and we’ve still got a locked door in front of us. Thankfully I work best under pressure, and the door is soon unlocked to reveal a large round room bisected by sets of iron bars to form prison cells. In one of the cells hangs an unconscious red-skinned woman in black leathers from chains on the wall. From the look of the vivisection tools and bloody table nearby, we probably got here just in time.

I quickly make my way in followed by the mist that turns into Lenata & Ef Utan, and close the door behind me in hopes that the spell will activate in contact with it before it contacts us.

“Can you unlock the cell so I can check her wounds?” asks Lenata.

“Stand back just in case,” I warn as I pull out my tools. “Ef?”

“Do what you can to help here… I think I’ve found that brain cylinder over here from the vision!” he calls out as he investigates a large metal cylinder resting on an obsidian altar.

I nod and carefully investigate the lock to her cell. “Woah… check this out!” I say as I step back and point to some of the tiny runes inscribed on the bars. “There’s a dimensional anchor on each of these cells to prevent teleporting abilities from getting you out… but if I fail the lock, something is definitely going to come in and make me pay for it.”

“Can you unlock it?” Lenata asks worriedly.

“Well yeah… I just wanted you to know how hard it was,” I chuckle as I use my picks and with a click the door springs open.

My fur stands on end and I can’t shake the oddest feeling. Wait a second… I know I disarmed that trap correctly, so why does it feel like… “Someone’s coming!”

Energy crackles and forms into a ball of light in one of the other cells as it coalesces into a humanoid form… and with a POP Word of Wisdom, the Psiforged who had gone missing soon after we first arrived in the Harrowing, collapses in the cell.

“Where have you BEEN?” I ask in surprise as I hurry over to unlock his cell and Lenata begins her spells on the unconscious woman.

“She’s been damaged in ways I am not strong enough to repair,” Lenata laments as she lowers the woman to the ground and waves her glowing hands over her body. “While her physical wounds will be healed, her soul has been damaged by these abhorations.”

“Where am I?” asks Word. “The last I recall I was trying to teleport out of the Harrowing when I felt my essence… grabbed… and then found myself here.”

“It looks like the dimensional anchor of this room brought you to the Walking Castle,” I explain as he looks at me with what I can only assume is confusion. “Look at it this way… you’re where you need to be, you’re with us, and you got the short trip.”

“Just in time, too,” says Ef Utan as he stands near the exit down another staircase on the other side of the room. “From the sound of the voices below, I think we’re going to have company.”

“Let’s be sure to give them a proper welcome, then!” I reply as I toss a thunderstone down the stairs. Ef waits for the resulting bang, smiles, and then charges down the stairs with a battle cry, mug and Flametongue in hand.

Vedis suddenly forms out of mist beside me with a pleased look on her face and I almost pop my neck doing a double-take as I swear I heard the words “Kiss me, Big Boy!” from down below.

“Guess what I did!” she exclaims as the Psicrystal leaps from her shoulder to run to her mistress resting on the floor.

“Can’t talk… fighting…” I reply as I leap down the stairs to the oddest sight of a naked and rather voluptuous brunette smiling at Ef Utan and beckoning to him seductively with her slim fingers.

Word uses his teleportation powers to appear down the stairs behind the woman and warns us of the presence of two more men further down the stairs past him. I focus my abilities on the Psiforged and switch places with him to try and get a sneak attack on the woman, but unfortunately for me she’s not just exceedingly beautiful… she’s quick. She turns on her heel and easily dodges my claws before sticking out her bottom lip in a rather sexy pout.

“Now why would you want to attack little old me? Don’t you want to attack them instead? It would make me ever so happy… and you know you want to make me happy.”

She reaches up to caress my cheek and I shiver in anticpation and what else she might do… because Gods help me, I find she’s right… I would do anything to make her happy.

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