Elder Players' - Interlude 23
(from Brian) As Casiel's druidic tendencies are exerting themselves, he is beginning to see Olidammara's love of life more as an excellent role model, and much less as a religious calling. He is still always willing to tip a cup to salute Olidammara with any decent rogue fellows who feel the urge, but Casiel actually stopped praying to Olidammara some time back. He actually prays and worships to Obad-Hai at this point, who Casiel sees as an Elven God of the natural/nature who was somewhat claimed by some of the other races. Casiel currently believes that by living in harmony with nature as best he can, and by protecting it from the abominations of nature that somehow seem to come into existence on a rather regular basis, he is praising/serving the best aspects of Obad-Hai's religion on an everyday basis. Thanks for all this. Brian
(from Scott) META-ALCHEMIST
A Meta-Alchemist is able to take the innate magic from a particular item and transfer or reverse its properties
into a potion. They must be at skill level 8 in alchemy, 8 in apothecary will having the brew potion feat. They
do not need a spell to make a potion of Regeneration. The cost of the potion is the same in experience points unless
the main component is acquired free of charge. You can go by the scroll creation chart. This will reduce the cost
by half. The draw back is there is always a 1-4 chance for failure that can only be reduced to 1-2 by a successful
concentration role or an item. There is always a 1-2 on a 20 sided of failure.
Brewing potion thru Meta-Alchemy Take your Alchemy and Apothecary skill levels, add them together then divide by 2 and add it to a 20-sided role. DC of potion is 9 plus the level of combined abilities, multiply staked abilities and add 1 per each ability if more than 1. A successful concentration role will add 1 and an focus item can reduce it by another 1, a 1 or 2 is always a failure and a 1 can have explosive affects to varying degree. Cost is taken from the Scroll chart. This will last for the levels in hours. Level
Potion of the Pentagram: It gave the powers of protection against Evil and Law that stacked so as to give double protection; it gave a SR of 20 toward Devil Spell like abilities. Once per use it gave the ability to cast Hold Devil (as Hold Monster) DC 24 (Kits Spell DC) Finally the potion upon consumption performs an Dispel Evil on the imbiber to remove any existing affects on them from a devil per the spell.
Level of abilities; [(1+1) X2]+5+5+5=19 + 9 + 5 DC of 32 [Protection from (Evil+Law) Staked] ,Hold Devil, Spell Resistance, Dispel Evil.
Cost: 25+25+1,125+1,125+1,125 = 3,425 GP Halved for having 7 hearts. 1,713 GP per potion.
EP: +90+90+90= 278 EXP points cost
Once again the Finders were arguing about what they should do. Primarily about how they should fix the isolation
of the Azure Kingdom and secondly on how to remedy Ruahdin's falling from his Gods grace for coveting the Dragon
Tear that he carried. The power of the tear had been influencing his feelings toward it and this was unacceptable
for one who followed the Narrow path. The stalemate for both subjects were that Ruahdin wished to find a way of
destroying the Amulet right away but refused Jerimiahs offer to keep it in his other dimensional safe do to some
past false statements Jerimiah had given him. That and the fact that Oren had decided at this time to become a
born again Dragon Dwarf and practice his long forgotten religion saying he forbid the destruction of the Tear.
The group had mostly agreed to travel to Hell using the scrolls Zeek had acquired after Jerimiah had communed with
his God and felt the answers showed this to be the more favorable course to follow but only slightly. The party
still could not come to agreement as to whether to enter the shield of Kordasha and go to Hell from within it or
would it be better to go in from outside.
This is what I did not miss during the six years away from the Finders. My name is Kitzrnycz Xerax-Infernus, most people call me Kit. Though only 60 days passed for the Finders I was on another plane where I experience 6 years of motherhood. I missed the comradory of what I considered was my extended family but I did not miss the squabbling and one-upmanship that always reared its ugly head in the group. Teamwork seemed a hard concept to grasp in the party and I had less conflict between a bunch of children playing with one toy than with this group deciding on one course of action. In an attempt to find some middle ground I chimed in to the debate. I offered to cast Legend lore on the Dragons tear so as to possibly gain more information that we might work with. I had had little luck before when trying this when we were looking for it but now with the item before me I hoped to have more success.
Ruahdin agreed to this and I went into the trance that opened up to me all the legends and lore's about the item that had been told of it. It took near an hour but I was able to piece together some of its history. The Dragons Tear was used by the Azure Kingdom as a defense to the great threats around it. A brotherhood of Paladins was raised from childhood to use the Amulet if needed one time and only for a short time. Their faith would hopefully protect them from its influence. This worked for the most part but a few were said to have fallen from their beliefs and never to take up the mantle of their god again. Only a select few knew of its powers and how to use them and even they were not privy to its complete history. It was rumored that the only way to destroy the Tear had something to do with one of the Planes of Hell but the exact details were said to be locked away in a manual call "A Dragons Sorrow" this Book was last rumored to be kept in Walpole Abby, taken there by Dutton Hobbs over 500 years ago. Morvin Barsew, master instrument maker, now resides in the Abby where the Finders had found the Sonnet of the Peaks.
After imparting this information to the party I expressed my concern to Ruahdin that if he did not give up the Amulet today he might never regain his paladin hood or even be able to relinquish it at all without his faith to keep him from being possessed by it. I asked Jerimiah if he would swear to his god an oath that if Ruahdin that if he put the Dragons Tear into his extra dimensional safe that he would only allow him to take it out as long as he lived. Jerimiah readily agreed and offered to cast a spell that would help nullify the powers of the amulet for a short time so as to help remove its influence and aid Ruahdin in relinquishing it. Oren once again piped up that his religion to the Dragons would not allow the amulet to be destroyed at which I told him I had resided close the Dragon society for 6 years and that the tear was more a prison to the soul of the Evil Dragon soul it held and releasing it was the thing to do. Also Evil Dragons were often outcast from the Dragon society and they would probably wish for its destruction either way. Oren thought for a long moment and said he would no longer interfere unless he found just cause otherwise. I hoped the matter would be lost in the jumble of what had to be Oren's eclectic consciousness. So with this agreed upon in part Jerimiah cast a spell nullifying the powers of the Dragon tear temporarily. Ruahdin took a deep breath and grasped the Amulet only to hesitate. Then with a wince of agony he removed it. Jerimiah opened his extra dimensional vault and reach up into it as the party watched his arm disappear from sight them pause for another long moment before drawing back. As Jerimiah closed the opening Ruahdins had a look of panic that slowly became an air of fatigue as he sank to the floor. He had the look of someone who had had a great burden removed from their shoulders. Zeek then said he was gladdened that now he would not have to activate the Quivering palm he had placed upon Ruahdin which brought a shocked glance from the weary man but he seemed not to have the strength to muster any retort.
I made the point then that if we were going to Hell and that was where we needed to go to destroy the Tear we needed to get the manual from the Abbey first since making a return trip to hell was not something I would wish to do. I was also concerned for Vikos and others on the other side and I had a premonition that Grinvall could be instrumental to our success in Hell. Oren commented that he might have to kill anyone who tried to destroy the amulet before he gave his permission. I then looked him in the eye and asked if that was like the permission he got from me to make me the breeder for a Dragon. Oren shruged his shoulders as he gave a grin and glanced away. I called him a "Short, Bearded, Son of Wyrm, Psycho, Dragon Pimp". And a volley of five brightly glowing missiles that sank into his chest despite his magic resistance. "Damn Kit" he said with a wince. I told him if he ever did anything like that again he would get more of the same. I looked at the rest of the party and said emphatically that we had to work as a team and follow others leads if we were to succeed or even survive in Hell. If we made any mistakes or had any conflicts in the party it could mean the end of us all.
Will spoke up at this time saying he did not wish to sway our decision on this matter but he would not go against any decree that should come down from his Emperor as to crossing the Shield but would be willing to accompany us should we proceed from this side. With this said the party began to ponder what their final decision would be.
(from Scott) Kit looks at the other Finders lounging around in the empty hall on the Mound of Kordasha. "Well as you have heard the path I think we should take. So what do you all think of it. I would like to hear suggestions or alternate plans on how we should proceed to regain our reputation if that is what you want and which path is best for us our for you as an individual."
(from Chris) If Kit would stop lamenting about how bad of a team we are, we might be able to figure out
what she is saying. After reading 'Turmoil' three times, I think I understand what she is trying to say.
Zeek generally agrees with the plan. Zeek offers a modification to the plan:
1) Ruadin puts his destruction of the tear on hold by putting the tear in the extra-dimensional space.
2 The group goes to Walpole Abby to research the destruction of the tear and/or the use of it.
3) The party enters the seal and learns what is going on.
4) The Finders go to hell using Zeek's scrolls.
5) Take the tear to hell and use it to vanquish our enemies, as we have to take it there anyway to destroy it.
6) While in hell, try to rescue Jack Skull and/or have him aid us.
7) Determine if we can destroy or disrupt She that suckles' power.
8) Rescue the lost souls of Phineous Thorn and the captured paladins.
Sounds like it is up to the Paladin. The paladin has stated he must DESTROY the tear to remain a paladin. Does Ruadin want to remain a Paladin? If he does not care to continue his walk in faith, we could use the tear to help us.
I know this comes as a huge sacrifice. Could we use the power of the tear in our Journey to hell? The power of the Tear appears to be resisted by only the will of the holder. Are there magiks that can aid him in this area? I know Vikos has a pearl of wisdom. What else do we have?
1)Did that in story.
3)Abby is inside of seal, Agreed.
5)Will have access to it through Jerimiahs Extra dimentional safe hopefully.
6)Jack, Thorn and enslaved paladins also.
8)Are they not where they deserve to be?
(from Scott, also) Also as to Kit's Lamenting. As a Woman Kit has the right to lament whenever the mood hit's her. Asking her not to lament will only increase the frequency of such lamenting and will trigger the automatic mistake reminding Gene in all women that will drudge up the memory of every mistake you have ever made. Her mistakes she will gladly admit to but will not lessen this process because she has come to terms with them as you obviously have not. To lessen this inevitable and reoccurring event you must answer "Yes Dear, I am sorry." and leave it at that. Any further comments starting with "but..." or "I was only trying to..." Will negate the previous statement and double the time of the Lamenting. Please take this statement as advice and proceed with caution. You should read it twice as it takes most men some time to grasp the true essence of it. Some, will never.
(from Chris) "But...doh!!!"
(from Mike H.) Oren looks over to Kit. "Shut up you whore! We don't need you complaining on why
you are complaining! If you are going to bitch and moan, do it while you are geting me another mug of ale, you
wench! Then bitch all you want while you are cooking us some dinner!"
Oren then turns to the party, "Who is in the mood for soup?"
(from Scott) Kit hands Oren a Mug and smiles, "Remember Orendegar of Dumathoin, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
(from Brian) I'm sorry but I just do not have time to reply today. If I have the opportunity I go seek out my new friend sage Demetrius in Cornwalsh and pick his brain as to does he know of any special weapons or items that the Devils fear that possibly we could go in search of-such as a lost dungeon party or rumored artifact. I will reply further at my first opportunity. Thanks Casiel
(Later) Casiel's first reaction is that he would prefer to not go against any decision of the worldwide devil council. If possible, maybe sage Demetrius could point us to a way to help the council rid itself of the devil problem, such as researching anti-devil weaponry and or history. (CAN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THE ARM OF WORMIUS...MARK) Casiel is willing to go to Baator by any means available if that is our group's decision. As to the Tear, possibly we could determine what training the original Tear Paladins went through. This training could possibly be arranged/undertaken in some fashion for Ruadhin. (NO SOURCE MATERIAL HAS BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE PARTY ON THIS TOPIC...AND YOU FIND LITTLE MORE DETAIL FROM DEMITRIUS).
(from Mark, DM) Elders, Hi. Several things I wanted to cover. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
1. Several people seemed unhappy at the last game. Please do whatever it takes for you to have fun. If it is something I am doing...let me know. I play the game to have fun. I want you to have fun. Please have fun...and don't take it too seriously. If you hate me as DM after my 4 hour game, then please make moves to replace me or form a new group. I like you all, but I would hate for it to be me making anyone unhappy....
2. I would like a list of all your MAGIC ITEMS. Some players have magic items I don't know about. I need to know about them. If you send me a list, and leave something off of it...or forget to mention something...then your character has lost that magic item forever. So, please be complete and accurate.
3. Usually in Interludes, when players write stuff to me, I get a chance to edit it and send it back out corrected to match the actual campaign. Scott recently sent out TURMOIL to everyone, and some of the "facts" within it are actually not true. But, I didn't get a chance to edit it...so we'll assume that Kit is just mistaken on the matters that are incorrect. When writing about your character, take some liberties. When writing about the campaign, allow me to edit. Base your decisions on Scott's TURMOIL, at your own risk. It is not correct...but I guess its all you got now that its out there. Lets not do this in the future....Mark
A VISITOR TO KORDASHA
Oren smiled a wry little smile beneath his beard, "If we could get Kit to do more cooking and less talking,
my stomach would be full and my mind clear!" Kit shot an evil look Oren's way, but said nothing.
Will shook his head. "If you all seek to enter the Seal...I will not come with you. It is illegal to breach the Seal, and I will not violate a decree from my emperor. In truth, I am just short of turning you all in for even considering entering the Seal of Kordasha. You have learned nothing...."
Zeek spoke quietly, but with a steady confidence. "I respect your convictions, William Fitzpierce, and would not ask you to violate the laws and codes of your culture. We will all respect whatever decision you make...but, please...with a mind towards the many months you have spent with us...do not turn us in for whatever our decision may be." Will nodded.
There was a distant voice from down the hall leading away from the magically protected room. "You have a guest...shall I let him enter?" The party looked on to the other, each one making silent guesses as to who had come to visit them.
Finally it was Oren who answered. "Send them in...be they man or devil...we are ready for a guest! We could use a fresh addition to this tired conversation!"
The iron-bound rune-covered wooden doors creaked open, and after a moment's pause, The Hooded Mage walked into the room. "When last we talked...you were headed to Birchmont...much has happened since those fateful days."
At this point the party gathered into a tight little group. Spells were cast, spirits consulted, and a few minutes of discussion, and it was credibly determined that this was indeed the Hooded Mage that had brought the party together so very long ago. Gone was his light manner, and subtle smiles...replaced with grim tired face and exhaustion in his voice.
Kit stepped forward and shared some of the details of the party's discussions prior to the arrival of the Hooded Mage. He looked at Kit with very little emotion, but appeared to be listening. Kit finished up with some of the plans the party had made based on her Legend Lore spell, and other information at Kit's disposal.
This at last caused a reaction from the Hooded Mage..."Ha! A Dragon's Sorrow...no such book exists, except perhaps in the library of Tomes-Yet-Written in the City of Gellhorn. I've spent some time with Morvin Barsew at the ruined abbey he calls a home. I was well aware of the legend of the Dragon's Tear...and I'm quite sure I would have taken note of a book called A Dragon's Sorrow" if such a book was kept at Walpole Abbey."
Jeremiah scratched his head. "Actually, we took a pretty good look around that place also. We would certainly have noticed such a title...it paralleling so closely the name of the item for which we looked. If it is there...it must be carefully hidden."
Zeek took a step forward. "The Raksasha baited us with innocent victims, and had a bit of a conversation with me. He seemed to be urging us to fix the problems at Birchmont...and prevent the Red Queen from entering our world. His motives were so odd...an our meeting seemingly pointless. All we got from it was a cookbook for preparing human flesh."
The Hooded Mage's response to Zeek was quick and businesslike. "The Raksasha has no motives, except to help himself and his interests. He seek to bring the Red Queen into the world of his own accord. For Brother Simm's 600 year old plot to succeed, takes the love of She Who Suckles the Hoards of Hell away from our tiger friend. Look more carefully through the cookbook, Zeek. I'm sure he has provided you with some help in countering the Devils...and restoring the Azure Kingdom." Zeek began digging through his backpack for the book entitled "How to Serve Humans."
Oren began to bluster a bit. "All-knowing mage...masked-one, answer me this...What should be done with the Wyrm's Tear?"
The masked mage closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them, his gaze fixed on Oren throughout his answer. "It is evil...you must destroy it. It cannot be used...but instead will use its naive user. Do not trust it...do not tolerate it...do not give yourself to it. Only through great sacrifice can its powers be utilized...and then only briefly."
Will's tone was not sarcastic, but the meaning of his words were meant to sting. "If you are so wise and knowledgeable...why were you not invited to the Conference of Kordasha? Are you outcast...like us?"
The Hooded Mage did not answer right away. "I was invited and did attend the Conference. It was my uncle that sent me here to speak with you. The Conference was completed several days ago...for it was secretly scheduled a week prior to this decoy Conference. A vast army of elves has begun massing in the East...they are marked with red...and their shields and tunic bear the black sillouette of a jackel. Dragon ships from Swaldune have been skirmishing with Empire war ships in the Northern Waters off the Kingdom of Bantroth, and it is said that dark magics are at work in the Mad Duke's tower. Yellow devil-worshiping ninjas have been striking at will in Cornwalsh and at guard camps along the northern edge of the Seal of Kordasha. Lord Dumit has gone missing...and his men are in disarray. Much is happening in the world. There is even talk again of rebellion in the Duchy of Grey in the Empire."
Ruahdin frowned, and rubbed a hand through his hair. "The chaos that has been cast upon us. The world is being turned upside down...we must stop these devils...we must fix what is broken."
The Hooded Mage let his chin sink to his chest. "Some prophets and soothsayers are saying it is the end of our Age...and that all must wither and grow gray before the spring may come, and a new Age begin. If this is true...then this may be the end of all things."
Players...Scott has raised the idea of entering the Seal of Kordasha, and then entering Hell. Please voice an opinion on this, taking into account all that you now know. Feel free to e-mail me (and the other players) with more questions for the Hooded Mage. I would like to have the party's basic plans in place within the week. If you don't voice an opinion...the decision will be made by those that do voice theirs....Mark
(from Chris) "Surprise is our friend. We should travel to hell and find out what we can. If we go
into the seal first, we may compromise our intentions. As for the tear, I have asked what items we have to aid
the Paladin. I have not heard back. I would be willing to carry the Tear to hell. (Zeek has a +20 Will save for
mental attacks, i.e. possession, mind control, etc)"
Zeek looks at Ruahdin. "I've brought this up before, but you did not answer. Sounds like it is up to you. You have stated you must DESTROY the tear to remain a paladin. Do you want to remain a Paladin, Ruahdin? If you do not care to continue your walk in faith, we could use the tear to help us."
"I know this comes as a huge sacrifice. Could we use the power of the tear in our Journey to hell? The power of the Tear appears to be resisted by only the will of the holder. Are there magiks that can aid him in this area? I know Vikos has a pearl of wisdom. What else do we have?"
(out-of-character, but also from Chris) Very cool story! "...A vast army of elves has begun massing in the East..." Now you're talk'n! (THANK YOU CHRIS...NICE TO GET COMPLIMENTS SOMETIMES...AND TO HAVE PEOPLE NOTICE THE DETAILS!...MARK)
(from Mike C.) Will replies: "Zeek, about what we talked about a little earlier...don't fear, I will not report your violation should you decide to enter the seal. The trip itself would likely be punishment enough and I know at least your intentions are noble. After listening to our old friend here," he says pointing to the hooded mage, "I'm not sure what you have to gain from entering the seal. While it is true that should our friend Ruahdin wish to retain his Paladinhood he needs to destroy the Tear, it is also clear that he will have to bear this burden a little longer as we have no clear indication of the way the thing can be destroyed. While I will not stand in your way should you enter the seal, I will promise you this. Should you choose the fiery path outside the bounds of the seal I will pledge to you my sword and my sacred honor to see this noble quest completed."
(from Steve) Jeremiah concurs. Let's just leave for hell now from where we stand and be done with it. We can leave the Tear in the space I provided or do with it what you will but destroying it will have to wait unless we can find away along the trip to hell. But lets not put off the primary goal any longer.
(from Brian) I believe Will is right. I do not think we should go against the council's orders and enter the seal. Plane shift to Baator is not a difficult spell....Casiel
(from Scott) (1)Kit seemed frustratated that her Legend lore spell (YOUR LEGEND LORE SPELL GAVE YOU MUCH MORE INFORMATION THAN THAT SPELL NORMALLY DOES. IT OFTEN SPEAKS IN VERSE, AND HAS A NASTY HABIT OF SOUNDING LIKE RIDDLES. READ ABOUT IT ON PAGE 219 OF THE P.H. YOUR INITIAL RESULTS WERE EXTREMELY DETAILED) seemed to be having so much trouble seperateing truth from fiction (WHAT FICTION? YOU WROTE THAT THE SPELL REVEALED TO YOU THAT A BOOK CALLED THE "DRAGON'S SORROW" WAS SAID TO BE AT THE ABBY...AND I WROTE THAT THE HOODED MAGE TOLD YOU HE DID NOT SEE IT THERE. THESE TWO BITS OF INFORMATION DO NOT A FICTION MAKE.) about the Dragons Tear. The spell accessed al the legends and known tales of the item and it took some time to sort through them and assertain what was fact or fiction. She now sees that her feelings as to which way the party should proceed may have caused her to overlook some information while focusing on what she wanted to find. She confered with the hooded mage asking if he would mentor (THE HOODED MAGE REPLIES, "I DID NOT COME HERE TO MENTOR...NOR TO TEACH. I HAVE FOUND THE LEGEND LORE SPELL TO BE SOMEWHAT TRICKY TO INTERPRET...BUT I'M SURE WITH SOME WORK AND EFFORT, YOU WILL GET THE HANG OF IT.") her as she would cast it once again on the amulet. She know sees that there are a number of complex and inticate lies about the Tear placed there to hide the truth (AS LONG AS WE AGREE THAT THIS IS KIT'S WAY OF LOOKING AT THIS. A REASONABLE PERSON COULD CONCLUDE DIFFERENTLY.) She focuses her consentration on her spell and attempts to find the information that shows its true origin and where further information might be found. (YOU GET BASICALLY THE SAME INFORMATION.)
(2)When Kit is first able she would like to find a spot on this side of the shield as close to Tunis as posible hoping he is there where she could release the Mechanicle Beetle to send a message to Grinval. She would like for him to meet her at this location the day before the group goes to Hell. (SO THIS IS WHAT SHE WRITES ON THE NOTE, CORRECT?) She wants to tell him she has the potion she has promised him and wants to find a way to give it to him, she also wants to tell him some other important information. (I would like to role play this converation if possible.) (ROLE-PLAY AT THE GAME YOU MEAN? KIT WAITS AND WAITS AT THE MEETING LOCATION, BUT GRINVAL DOES NOT SHOW UP. KIT IS UNSURE IF THE NOTE REACHED GRINVAL...OR IF PERHAPS HE CHOSE NOT TO COME...OR WAS UNABLE TO COME TO HER PROPOSED MEETING.)
(from Scott) Hmmm, maybe we should let Vet..Zeek carry the amulet. I am sure a Jed...Monk would not fall victem to the Dark Forc...Spirit that would possess him. I Kinda get a fealing of Deja-vue. (For those not in the know this references to certain Star Wars Characters that are being brought back up, In Chris's case pieced back together.;-)
(from Chris) Wait a minute!!! Vette, (jedi character), and Zeek both had their right side of their face blown off. This is a little too eerie.
The Hooded Mage rubbed his eyes and cleared his throat. "Well, Finders. It seems that several of you have
weighed in with what you feel should come next. Zeek, Will, Jeremiah, and Casiel have all stated they favor going
to Hell from outside the Seal of Kordasha. Your good paladin seems exhausted from the burden he carried until recently...and
does not seem willing to share his opinion...if he has one! And Kit...Kit may have let herself be led astray by
a spell that can often be befuddling to one unpracticed in divination."
"It sounds like come the 6th day of the Month of Iron...some 12 days from now, you will be entering Hell by way of the spell from the Librum Nefarium. I will research the Wyrm's Tear for you...and report back any information I learn about how to destroy it. I care not for such evil items of power...and would gladly see it removed from existance."
The Hooded Mage turned to leave, but then stopped in his tracks. Without turning back towards the party he spoke. His words were hushed, and quickly spoken. "Prepare as you might for the rigors of Hell. But, beware the agents of the Jackel...I fear a new Dark Lord has accepted his role, and seeks to exploit the current chaos to his advantage."
Several party members opened their mouths with questions brewing in their minds, but the Hooded Mage had passed the doors, and his heavy footfalls could be heard in the hallway beyond.
(Anything further anyone would like to add to this Interlude?)
(from Jeff) Staring at the ground, Ruadhin finally speaks. "I apologize for my silence. I have been
too long of two minds, and gathering my thoughts is more difficult than I would wish."
Knowing that the Hooded Mage is likely still listening, Ruadhin speaks to the air, "I will welcome any knowledge you may gleen about the cursed item that has tainted my soul, Learned One. Only though wisdom and faith can one overcome a greater adversary."
Ruadhin raises his head to look into Zeek's eyes. "Monk, it is not so much my wish to remain a Paladin, but my calling that must be met. I would not and could not ever knowingly throw away the life that has been laid before me. I cannot use the Tear without Divine guidance, nor can I knowingly allow the use of the Tear." He turns to Oren and continues, "It must only be removed from it's hiding place to be destroyed."
Ruadhin then turns to Will. "Good Sir. I know what pain it must cause you to leave our group, because I feel that your concern for our numbers is there, no matter our differences. I too have questioned whether I should pass through the Seal, thereby breaking the laws of your Empire. However, my belief is that the laws of Heironeous supercede the laws of man. It is my belief, that He bids us do everything in our power to rid the land of these demons, even if the Empire would not have us enter. Your quick mind has aided us as much as your arm, and if this is your decision, both will be much missed."
Turning to his comrades, Ruadhin finishes, "Better if we were to go straight to the Hellish plane, but if our path takes us through the Seal, then so it must be. My heart is my God's, and my sword is yours. A Paladin I believe I am, but even though it seems Heironeous deems me unworthy of His blessing, you shall have me with you. I only pray I can redeem myself in your eyes, and in His."
The party stands silent, waiting for anything else the Paladin may say, but he once again sinks back into himself, in body and in mind.
(from Mark) The other party members looked one to another, but Zeek...Zeek just stood staring at the now silent paladin. Everyone's attention was quickly gained once Zeek spoke. "Good paladin...while Will and I have had our differences in the past...and somewhat heatedly just recently...I would not say my goodbyes to him too quickly. Will, Jeremiah, Casiel, and myself all have said we wish to enter Hell WITHOUT entering the Seal. You have remained silent on the matter until just now...and Kit has stated her willingness to enter the Seal. By my count that's four of us against two of you. The two of you should decide now, before we leave this place whether you are willing and able to compromise, and follow the majority opinion of the group. Since we are leaderless...a majority opinion will have to suffice...."
(from Jeff) With eyes still closed, Ruadhin responds, "Sir, perhaps I was misunderstood."
Oren snorted and muttered under his breath, for once he kept it low enough even Kit's ears could not pick out the meaning. Ruadhin's penchant for avoiding the familiarity of addressing someone by their given name annoyed the Dwarf. Using titles seemed to him an overly formal affectation, a fact of which the paladin was entirely ignorant. The fact that he sometimes needed to stop and think who Ruadhin was addressing didn't help his opinion of the practice, either.
"I apologize for being vague. Never did I mean that it was my preference to enter the Seal. On the contrary, it would ease my mind for us to bypass it entirely. While His laws are above all, I am happiest when they walk hand-in-hand with man's laws, as well. I only meant that I would follow the group, regardless. However, if you require a side be chosen, I choose to avoid the Empire's wrath."
(from Chris) "Well said, (Ruahdin)." Zeek turned from the paladin to Kit. "What do you say, Kit?"
(from Scott) Kit speaks as if thinking out loud. "I will go with the party to hell in whichever way they choose. My Legend lore spell still points to the Abbey as having the information about the Tear stored there in some form. If we do not go in that direction I hope the Hooded Mage can find it in some other way or maybe you know of other sources. What do we know of the Order of Fate and why exactly are they helping us and toward what fate is that?
Beyond wanting to stop Gorin from turning the world into his Domain of the dead what do we know of the Hooded Mages plans, with his checkered past he might be an agent of the Red Jackal or even the Jackal himself for that matter. What are the Rakshashas plans for us since drawing us to him seemed what he might have wanted and how do we avoid being pawns in his plans. I was brought up in a overly paranoid society but that was because everyone was out to get you so I cannot help looking for an underling motive in things. Would we rely on the information we have been given or should we exhaust our other avenues?" Kit sits down and starts reading from her spell book contemplating to herself her own words.
(from Scott) Kit sits and begins memorizing the Improved scrying spell she has finally unlocked. Her scrying skills were good from all the practice she had had when being scryed by the Demons and others in the past (Scry mod 16). Now it was time to test it out in the other direction. First she would choose a target she hoped would be not to good at detecting it. she was sure Kerbach in his Evil reencarnation might be around doing work for whatever Gorin had now become. She wondered if they had a hand in what had happening with some form of dopplegangers following the party in the guise of the Band of Nine. Next she would look to veiwing what the Raksasha was doing, to see how he might like being spyed on. She might get lucky and catch him in a overconfident mood.
(RESULTS from Mark) Kit focuses on the evil incarnation of Kerbach...the one the party fought and killed
at the Battle of Greenmark, when the city was burned to the ground. A dusty hotel or apartment room comes into
view, a room filled with shadows. Sitting on the torn bedspread, sharpening a blade, is Kerbach himself. His features
appear gray and emotionless, and his eyes are dry and lifeless. This is not the Kerbach that Kit knew...no, there
is no mistaking it. This is not the defender of Widow's Grove.
Kit maintains the spell for quite some time, and this dark fragment of the man named Kerbach stays in the small room the entire time. First sharpening his blade, then polishing the leather of his gear, then working on various other pieces of his adventuring equipment, and finally coming back to sharpening that same blade. The lighting conditions do not change the entire time Kit watches, and she gets the feeling she is watching someone who is a mere shade of his former self.
Kit then casts a second spell, focusing on the Raksasha. An odd sitting room of sorts comes into view. Rich carpets cover the floor, and the furniture is all rich dark leathers and brass tacks around the edges. The walls appeared to be quite insubstantial, with a dark void stetching on forever beyond its limits. Seated around the room is an odd assortment of folks. There is the Raksasha of course, wearing a mid-thigh length embroidered smoking jacket, a small red cap, and smoking from a long stemmed pipe. At the Raksasha's feet sat two perfect specimens of the human race, one male and one female. Both were barely dressed, which clearly showed off their extremely detailed and arcane tattooing.
Seated on the couch next to the Raksasha was a swarthy skinned man with a goatee and beard, and short black
hair. The dark man's clothes were black, with a sun-burst symbol upon the right side of his chest. A hooded individual
in dark brown robes sat in a chair nearby, his or her face completely obscured by the darkness within the opening
of the hood. An older man with gray hair and a clean shaven face sat on another couch, and only after a few moments
did Kit recognize him to be Ashe...dark lord of a former age, now assistant to the Red Jackel of Aranonri.
While Kit was quickly taking all this in, she could hear Ashe speaking in a low voice. "...going as we expected. Chaos spawns chaos, and..." Ashe stopped speaking, as the Raksasha jumped to his feet and a roar escaped his mouth...Kit's spell was dispelled...and she had learned a great deal in the six or seven seconds it had lasted.
Kit shook her head. "If I only had a few more seconds...damn them!" There had certainly been others in the room with the Raksasha, but she had not had time to focus on them...too little precious time. "Damnit!"
(from Chris) I'll just outline what Zeek tries to find out (ANSWERS FROM DM ARE IN CAPS):
He goes in seek of Degan, the young priest of the Order of Fate. YOU ARE ABLE TO LOCATE HIM, THOUGH HE APPEARS UPSET THAT YOU HAVE RE-CONTACTED HIM. "YOU RISK EXPOSING ME TO THE PRIEST OF MY TEMPLE, AND THOSE THAT STAND AGAINST THE ORDER!"
If need be, Zeek pushes Degan to bring him to the inner workings of the Order of Fate. HE SAYS THAT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE.
If need be, Zeek will threaten him with his Quivering Palm if neccesary with a Question: "What will be your fate?" "YOU UNDERESTIMATE MY DEDICATION, MONK. YOU MAY TRY TO KILL ME...I LONG AGO RESOLVED TO FACE MY ULTIMATE FATE WITHOUT FEAR FOR WHAT MAY COME."
Or to a higher priest within it. "I WILL NOT RISK OTHERS OF MY ORDER WITH YOUR RECKLESS ACTIONS. WE SOUGHT TO HELP YOU...AND YOU SHOWING YOURSELF TO BE VERY BAD AT RETURNING FAVORS. BARBARIC...."
Ask him what he knows of the Wyrm's Tear and how to use it and destroy it. "I HAVE HEARD STORIES OF THE WYRM'S TEAR, AND ITS POWER. THOSE THAT USE IT WILL SURELY BE TAINTED BY ITS POWER...AND THE EVIL TRAPPED WITHIN IT. THOUGH I AM NO EXPERT ON THE MATTER...THOUGH I HAVE HEARD THAT THE POWER OF CORRUPTION OF THE ALTERS OF THE LORDS OF THE NINE CAN DESTROY ANY ITEM...NO MATTER ITS LEVEL OF POWER....BUT...BUT THE RISK OF SUCH A QUEST..."
Can the extradimensional space be accessed in Hell? "HELL CORRUPTS...IT CORRUPTS EVEN SPELLS. I BELIEVE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS IT...BUT THE RESULTS MAY GO AWRY IN SOME WAY."
Can Jeremiah plane shift us to the proper place in hell? "EXTREMELY DOUBTFUL...WHY DO YOU THINK WE TOOK THE CHANCE OF CONTACTING YOU, AND GIVING YOU THE CALCULATIONS TRANSCRIBED FROM THE LIBRUM NEFARIUM...WRITTEN BY WAHLQUIST HIMSELF!?! PLANESHIFTING TO HELL...YOU COULD END UP IN IN THE IRON CITY OF DIS...OR MAMMON'S BEJEWELED PALACE...OR IN THE ICE OF STYGIA. THINK MAN! THINK!"
If we die there, do we become trapped there? "WHAT DO YOU THINK? DO ANY SOULS ESCAPE THE FIERY PIT? WHY SHOULD YOUR SOULS FARE ANY BETTER THAN THE REST? TO FAIL IS TO FACE ETERNAL TORMENT. NOW LET ME BE...AND BE ON YOUR WAY!"
(Chris responded to my responses, my responses to these responses in CAPS again!)
Zeek tries to appologize. "I'm not very good at returning favors. I acted with only our goal in mind, forgive me. I am in your debt. I admire your dedication. It reminds me of my time at Wudan. But, that is another story. If I survive this quest, I am at your disposal. You are worthy of Wudan, as we say. Thank you." DEGAN STRAIGHTENS HIS CLOTHES AND BRUSHES HIMSELF OFF. HE HAS A HURT LOOK ON HIS FACE. THEN HE THINKS BETTER OF THE SITUATION, AND SMILES. "I CAN IMAGINE THE STRESS YOU ARE UNDER. I APPRECIATE THE FACT YOU OFFERED YOURSELF TO BE AT MY DISPOSAL. YOU OWE ME NOTHING...BUT THE OFFER MEANS A LOT. MAY YOUR FINAL FATE NOT COME EARLY! MAY PO WATCH OVER YOU. WE PART AS FRIENDS...."
"HELLBOUND" (by Mark Stinson, with prodding from Mike Cross!)
Will walked from the heavily rune-protected room where he had been talking with the Finders. Knight-General Mumford, the head of Will's Order was waiting for him outside in the hallway. "I'd like to talk to you in private Mr. FitzPierce. I have some important business to discuss with you." Will understood the request to actually be an order, and not a true request. Such was the nature of command...and military orders. "Yes, sir," was Will's response and he fell in behind General Mumford as they walked away from the Finders.
Climbing the bare stairs to the second floor of the large empty building, General Mumford got a bit out of breath, and had to stop at the top of the stairs to rest for a moment. Will took this opportunity to say his peace. "General...I know that I was provided the Sword of Westron as a gift from the Emperor...and I was given the assignment of taming and making profitible the Province of Valender for the Empire. Well, I'm sure it is no news to you that our quest to purify an ancient Abbey in the Azure Kingdom went awry, and a great tragedy was set in motion. I have failed the Most Holy Order, and I am currently in the process of laying my life, no,...my very soul...on the line in order to set things right...."
Mumford had caught his breath, and he interupted Will. "Now, now. It is true that politically you are much damaged...and that were you in Citadel rather than these backwards lands, you might very well be placed in an Imperial jail for a decade or two. But the path to becoming a powerful Crowned Knight of the Most Holy Order...if you live long enough to one day be deemed worthy...is a rough path, with many sharp turns and pitfalls. You were acting out of pure intentions, and this mitigates your guilt...in my eyes at least. But come...enough talking in the hallways...to my quarters."
General Mumsford and Will entered the first furnished room that Will had encountered in the building. It was a sitting room done in a wonderfully ornate Empire style, with an equally elaborate bedroom visible through a set of double doors, set with many panes of clear glass. "Sit...I will have servant's bring tea...and some sweetbreads, directly brought here from Citadel. Drink...eat, then we will talk."
Will was happy to be warm, dry, sitting in a heavily padded leather chair, with a belly full of cakes and tea. The General finished brushing crumbs from his lap and turned his eyes to Will. "I've been asked to retrieve the Sword of Westron from you."
Will's mouth dropped open. "Sir...I...I need the sword in order to have even the slimmest chance of setting things right." Will caught himself. His words were bordering on disregarding or disagreeing with the General's wishes, and he was well aware this was unwise. Will dropped his eyes to show respect, and then unbuckled the sword in its scabbard, and pulled it free of his belt. Holding the magical Sword of Westron out towards Knight-General Mumford, Will said only, "The sword, General."
Mumford took the sword, and leaned it up against the small table beside him. "I trust is is no worse for wear from when you received it?"
Will was careful to keep his voice neutral. "Of course, Sir."
Mumford clapped his hands, and his man-servant reentered the room with another sword in a scabbard laid out across both his hands. Mumford waited until the servant was beside Will, holding this new sword out for Will to take. Then the General spoke. "We are well aware of what you and your comrades are planning. I must warn you again. Do not enter the Seal...for any that do so without the Emperor's permission, and survive to reenter our world...will be punished by death. But you are not without sympathy among the members of the council...as well as the Imperial Court. I have been instructed to present you with this sword...an ancient power retrieved by Jestak himself from the tomb of an elder god. I present you with 'Hellbound...'"
Will took the sheathed sword from the servant, and drew forth the blackish red blade...and the steel hummed and vibrated with power. "General, this sword appears to be not of heaven, but of hell."
Mumford laughed a quiet laugh. "Worry not of its origins. It is yours to wield. It will slay whole cities...whole nations...of devils by your hand if you command it. Infernal powers despise this sword...and they will despise you for bringing it in their midst. Rejoin your friends, Will. Fight proudly for your Empire."
Will looked deeply into the sheen of the highly polished blade...imagining fire and smoke swirling across its surface. "I can't imagine that the Most Holy Order...or the Emperor would trust me with such a horrific relic. It is not my place to ask, but please allow me the indulgence of asking why this gift...and at this time? Why?" During his question, Will never once looked up from the sword.
General Mumford was quiet for a moment, sipping down the last of his cup of tea. "There may come a day when the Azure Kingdom is freed from this Seal that binds it. And when that day comes...heroes of this war will be needed to rule it for the Emperor. You are being given a chance to be one of those heroes, Will. Its as simple and straightforward as that. Now, rejoin your friends."
(from Scott) Kit writes down all the details of her scry while they are fresh in her mind. (COOL...CONSIDER IT DONE.) She will then cast detect scry on herself and tell the party the information she found out. (SPELL IS CAST...PARTY IS INFORMED.) Kit will spend the time between now and when the party goes down to Hell looking for any information about She that Sucks (Kit's name for the Devil Queen) and any prophecies about her and also the Darklord and the End of the Age. Kit has Knowledge of the planes (19) and Knowledge of Religion (19). She has been looking into prophecies since her encounter with Kuda-Gar and Ashe. Kit will keep Nondetection and Detect Scrying on constantly. She will try to get the info to Vavasha about her scry ASAP. (I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU PLAN TO GET A MESSAGE TO VAVASHA, BUT HE IS UNAVAILABLE.) She will make the one side trip in hopes to contact Grinval as was discussed. (O.K....AND AS DISCUSSED, GRINVAL DOES NOT SHOW UP). SEE MY RESPONSE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION...
(reply from DM - Mark) Kit struggles with her books and her notes. The words come to her easy enough, and they spill through her mind like a raging stream. But the meanings...the gist...the point of what she reads is elusive. Kit in no way regrets the 6 years she spent on the plane of Draecin...helping to raise her child with Grazum Infernus. Those six years...the growth of the spriritual child within her...the preparation for the Parting...the "birth itself"...and watching the child grow and learn...a blessing indeed! Only 3 months passed on Kempin...but six long years passed on that other world.
In those six years, Kit had not gained one wrinkle on her face...not one ounce of fat from aging...her step was as loose and confident as it ever was. Six years is nothing to the body of a drow...or half-drow. But the mind...the mind is a different sort of organ altogether. Kit read the words of her notes, but the truth behind the words was more difficult to capture.
Yes...there had been the time she spent with Ashe...at the Mountain of Man...the Red Jackel's home and lair. Ashe, as past Dark Lord...a failed Dark Lord, but still hanging on to some semblance of power all the same. Cozied up to the new Dark Lord, Ashe was able to share in the planning, the plotting, and the implimentation of all the Red Jackel chose to do. Kit remembered the amusement in Ashe's voice when he described how naive this new Dark Lord was. Ashe laughed when he said to her, "Its as if he hasn't figured out his role in things...like he needs someone to remind him that he is this Age's Dark Power...the one to end all things." Now those words made Kit shiver a bit.
Here it was...in her notes. Some things that Ashe had said to her during a short conversation they had shared. "In the Hall of Lords beneath the Mountain of Man sit 18 Dark Lords of past ages. All of them had varying degrees of success, but all of them eventually shared the same fate. Death and stately 'storage' on a meaningless throne beneath the current Dark Lord's base of operations."
Kit had put a hand on Ashe's arm and asked, "There are 20 chairs down there...one completely empty...and one that looked once occupied, but now empty. Which one is your's?"
Ashe had smiled his quirky little grin. "The one once occupied...but no longer."
Kit had pressed further. "And what happens when all 20 chairs are occupied? Will there be 21 Dark Lords, and where shall the 21st Dark Lord sit when his day is done?"
Ashe seemed to never miss a beat. "Who is to say that those 20 chairs will ever be fully occupied? I'm in no hurry to take my place in that dead hall!" Ashe looked away from Kit for a moment, and then looked back into her eyes. "Are you serious? Do you really want me to answer this question?" Kit nodded. "There were once 10 chairs in that hall...and there came a day when all 10 chairs became occupied. 10 more chairs were acquired, and then the hall held 20 dead Lords. So...it is fair to say that if the 21st Dark Lord...if one rises up to fill that role...wishes for a place to eventually sit out eternity, it will fall to him to complete the mundane task of acquiring more chairs."
Kit sat staring at Ashe with a questioning look. "Now it is my turn to ask this...Are you serious? Is that the true answer to my question?"
Ashe laughed and walked away without answering.
Kit ran a hand over her handwritten notes, feeling the indentation and ink on the paper. She thought to herself, "Time to get serious about my studies again...time to get down to business...."
(from Mark) Mike, Steve, and Jeff, Each of your characters (Will, Jeremiah, and Ruahdin) have heard of the Order of Fate. They are seen by some as being meddlesome...and they are distrusted because they are a secret order. The Order is known to have members in many different priesthoods, and this is very upsetting to the powers that be within those churches. The Order of Fate is rarely called evil...but its motives are often questioned, and it is not particuarly trusted.....Mark
(from Chris) I came across this bit of information in 'Hellbound'. Once we return from Hell, we might
want to consider getting permission, or maybe legal council.
"...the General spoke. 'We are well aware of what you and your comrades are planning. I must warn you again. Do not enter the Seal...for any that do so without the Emperor's permission, and survive to reenter our world...will be punished by death.'"