Alternate Earth Campaign

Politicking in Baruk-Tur

After scouring the ship with geysers of blood, Percy and Vonvaka received their various reports then headed to the palace proper. On the way, Vonvaka, as the bearer of a ‘soul drinker’ received a personal invitation to meet with The Halamyrian, evidently to discuss the subject of his soul drinker.

And the Ealiir as a group, or at least the officers of the Unicorn were also invited to meet with a new arrival to the Palace, a regal Lady Who “came on the chariot pulled by lions!”

Vonvaka and Percy took Bennarri’s findings to the vizier, Alraji. He in turn said that he was not particularly surprised. And yet, there’s nothing he can do. He is bound to serve and advise of Viceroy, or Regent, of the Line of Keraptis. With the Viceroy himself perpetually incapacitated, Prince Ari imprisoned for treason and his twin sister held or consumed by the Ba’als, Princess Laria is the only viable option. And there is no one of The Blood to attaint her for treason but herself, which she will certainly never do. And even if she did, that would leave the city functionally defenseless against the Ba’als. He can only suggest that, barring the swift recovery of the Viceroy, that the Ealiir might attend the conclaves for the appointment of the regency council.

Upon leaving the vizier’s chamber, before they could determine which if either of the outstanding invitations to except, Percy and Vonvaka also received invitations to meet with each of Lords Kolriar, Thoth and Ming, individually. Lord Ming’s invitation is sent through Captain Gallotar, The wizard captain who aided fun Vaca in the final defense of the North Gate.

Tharivul’s plan to follow the princess invisibly has not yet come to fruition, because, since your arrival, she has been behind locked and warded doors in the Viceroy’s tower.

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Back to Baruk Tur again

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Having freed the hammer ship from the clutches of the nautiloid, fighting off a second wave mind flayers – including launching Vonvaka by catapult, you return to Baruk-Tur through the astral sea.  Your vessel is laden with released prisoners from the illithid ship, and an irate Lady Oturil imprisoned below.  Though the hammer ship’s original crew sided with you in the chaos of the escape, you have come to learn that Lady Oturil is apparently related to Bralian’s monarch, and there is some unease amongst them for their actions. 

Kheldar, acting as Bosun, reports that there are other hints of unrest amongst the crew/passengers. 

Kheldar’s Report:  “The armsmaster, Kane Bruuder, has raised concerns about the conduct of many of the other freed prisoners on the lower deck.  He believes at least some of the women are being ill-used and the gambling and drinking and occasional brawling is running rampant.  He points to the reaver Alarc Redblade and that greasy Kalamdean as the ring leaders, though everyone seems to remain silent when he questions about any particular wrongdoing.”

The trip takes five days, before you make your translation from the astral sea into the sky of your own world, where you can see the shape of many continents beyond the shores of Atlantis.  With the aid of some sketch maps contained within the Black Book you discover your destination and surface on the ocean out of sight of the city. 

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Many of your friends are waiting on the deck of the Unicorn having correctly guessed commanded the strange new vessel.  All are here to greet you and give tidings of events in the last days.

Bennarri’s Report: Bennarri reports to Aodh, her captain.  “Sir, as you asked I have been continuing to treat the Viceroy, Kheddari.  He continues to deteriorate daily at around noon, then recover overnight.  The Princess Laria visits every day around noon and feeds him broth.  I have sampled some of the broth and discovered that it contains the foreign toxin that is causing the Viceroy’s relapses.  As I understand from Mr. Kharis, the princess is about to be named as Regent for the Viceroy and tempers are quite high now.  I am unsure how to act.  I cannot cure the viceroy without stopping the introduction of the toxin and my polite suggestions on that score have been met with tearful rage from Princess Laria and open threats from Lord Obdurim.  I did not think it appropriate to openly accuse the Princess of poisoning her father.”

Taniel’s Report: “My friends I’m so glad you have returned. Things have become very tense here with giants raiding to the north and the Council seeming to be ready to kill each other. Apparently the government can take no action while viceroys incapacitated until and unless a properly anointed regent of Keraptis’s blood is appointed.  That apparently means Princess Laria, though no one wants her to rule on her own and calls to want to control her.

“Lord Obdurim is the Sorcerer Lord that was put forward as the Chancellor for the young princess, while she is Regent to the incapacitated Viceroy. He used to be aligned with Lord Ming but has taken steps over the last year or so to disassociate himself. The other Sorcerer Lords were not best pleased with this proposal, but ultimately agreed in principal with Lord Obdurim as the Regent and five other Sorcerer Lords to be named to the Regency council. The problem is picking the five.” She looks a little wild-eyed “the vizier seems to think that I should join the council!”

Kharis’s Report: “Gentlemen, as Princess Taniel says, things are very tense.  The vizier has invited the officers of the Unicorn, and several other adherants, to speak at this council, not only for having saved the city, but also as representatives of the Lord Xarot. Apparently, though the Lord Xarot has never built a tower, the charter of the city acknowledges him, or his descendants, as one of the Sorcerer Lords. He seems to think that means Lady Taniel or one of you?”

He draws a breath and strokes the stump of his left arm “I don’t know how far we want to get involved with any of that, but otherwise the Unicorn is serviceable, but still needs special materials to be back in full fighting trim, particularly Red Spear Oak. About half the Ealiir that you rescued were some of our worst malingerers and malcontents, but they are toeing the line right now.  As you can see the Meropian Ships are gone.  Apparently that Meropian Priest wasn’t killed and just walked up in the dark of night and told the brutes to get ready to sail.  And they did. 

“About half the ghothans were aboard when that happened and apparently just cast overboard.  About thirty appear to have drowned.  So we have approximately 25 Ealiir and 70 ghothan crew ready for service.  I am told that this Khalamdea is about 700 miles to the north.  The vessel that our brethren are on will likely only be able to make 30 miles a day.  Still they have a two week headstart.  We might be able to make 10 miles an hour, but there are apparently dangerous shoals that will slow us and it will be dangerous to move with any speed at all at night, so perhaps 120 miles a day? It will be a close run thing.

“What are your orders?”

 

 

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Taking the Illithid Vessel pt. 2
intro

… The vessel is nominally under your control. However, you have no idea whether not you could operate it. The strange gold etchings seem to be some sort of symbol of power that denies you access or usage of any of the machinery. Only Jac, the recent prisoner, seems to be able to bypass any of it. And then only for a few passageways.

Five illithids remain in the sealed capsules on the bridge deck. No telling when, or if, they may awaken. In addition, from the pidgin gibberish of the prisoners, it appears that there are maybe another dozen illithids and their insect excavators.
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The shark-like vessel remains trapped in the giant tentacles of the illithid ship, listing slightly to the side. It reminds you of your trial, running the channel.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha” the head of Sevehn fake-laughs at you. “you did well against the tentacle-faces, but they underestimated you. They’ll not do that again. And more are coming. Many more! With their giant hulking insects to rip you limb from limb. Ha ha Ha ha ha Ha ha ha!”
The annoying fake-laugh continues.

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Taking the Illithid Vessel pt. 1
Synopsis

You stand about in the alien carnage, some of you panting from exertion, some only standing because of the eldritch Power coursing in your veins. The vessel is now under your control. At least for the time being.
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The battle was a difficult one. You realize now that the whole enterprise, from the moment you stepped on the ship was a well orchestrated trap. From the baiting cries of the poly-mouthed horror on the slave deck to the freakish, legged brains leaping from bowls of water in the cargo hold, to the overwhelming mental assault from the command decks above.

Yes. Definitely a trap. But one that underestimated your own potency.

The mouther was destroyed in seconds by the combined magics of Percy and Aodh. Tharivul drew out the brains and the eerily stealthy illithid predators, suffering grievous wounds in the process. But lightning did for the brains and Vonvaka fed a predator to Black Razor, sheathing himself in a nimbus of black soul flame-tainted by a multicolored patina like oily scum floating atop a pool of dark water.
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The other three predators fled upwards to the multi-tiered command decks. You followed. Into another trap. The mind flayers unleashed yet another mental assault. Vonvaka was stunned by the blast, but Percy bathed the upper levels in flame fed by stolen Power. Tharivul, wings of shadow spreading from his back, alighted on the upper tier unleashing Empowered lightning, cutting the Ulitharid captain in two and blasting the figures standing behind. Two dropped into smoldering heaps but the third shrugged off his mortal shell revealing a horrible, winged, tentacled Thing From Beyond.

Tharivul quickly retreated to the bottom deck just in time for the predators re-materialize. Percy and the predator zombie he created in the cargo hold fought off one of the predators while the rest alighted to the top tier again to take the fight to the Thing. Aodh took the form of a dragon then cast the Great Weapon, Wave, into the neck of the abomination. Even as ichor spilled from the wound Wave drew all the moisture from its body ending its life . . . Until it drew yet more Power from the Far Realm standing forth yet again, a vital, enraged Thing From Beyond.

But the Ealiir Potentates would not relent. Though they suffered grievous wounds themselves, they destroyed the Thing From Beyond with ceaseless outpourings of eldritch Power, Blows from ancient Atlantean weaponry, Black Razor and a second Impalement on Wave.

At its death, waves of corrupt, oily energy spilled over the Potentates fueling them, and perhaps tainting them yet further.

The rest of the illithid crew on the command deck fell easily enough, though Tharivul was made into a meat puppet by an illithid wizard for a short time until Aodh finished them off.

Below decks, three more illithids attempted to reassert control over the released prisoners, but they were held off by the valiant efforts of three Ealiir led by Kheldred and few humans. Another former prisoner, an anomaly that seems a cross between an Ealiiri and a human, used her magic Griffons Claw to isolate and defeat one of the illithids, just before the Potentates arrived.

Vonvaka wounded one illithid with Black Razor and Tharivul blew the others head apart with his Moon Lance. Then Jac the prisoner took its face off with the Griffons Claw.

And so the vessel is under your control . . .

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The rescue party
if it can be called that . . .

For the Newcomers:

The vizier Alraji has asked you to go and find your compatriots to bring them back for the meeting of the Sorcerer Lords that is scheduled to take place this evening. Alraji’s mephit scouts reported that your companions entered a townhouse near to the palace this morning. Arriving at the address yourselves, you found signs of forced entry through the front, and further found that the basement had been invaded and occupied by gnolls for some time. Taniel pointed out that gnolls had been outlawed in Baruk-Tur for millennia, upon pain of death.

You also discovered that a hole had been burrowed through the flagstones of the basement into the dirt and beyond into the bedrock beneath the building. Following the tunnel for over a mile, twisting and turning and going ever deeper. At best guess, you are almost directly beneath Palace at a depth of several hundred feet. The tunnel has breached into a cavern system which goes to the right and the left. The left branch is illuminated by curtains of fire in a small cavern across a narrow chasm. To the right you hear yips and barks, shouts in some profane language, and a few calls in Ealiiri. The chambers to the right are littered with bodies of gnolls and praeloryte. Throughout you can hear enraged bellows of some enormous nature.

Roll for initiatve . . .

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Catacombs, Wizards and Dragons

For those already in the dungeons:

Vonvaka the Destroyer and the Giant Slayers (Thurival and Percy) met up with Rorth the Unicornucopia after leaving the Northgate and heading back towards the Palace. They followed the suggestion the Masked One, looking into a building at a particular address near to the palace. There, they found signs of forced entry through the front, and further found that the basement had been invaded and occupied by gnolls for some time. Percy pointed out that gnolls had been outlawed in Baruk-Tur for millennia, upon pain of death.

The party also discovered that a hole had been burrowed through the flagstones of the basement into the dirt and beyond into the bedrock beneath the building. The party resolved to follow the tunnel and did so, for over a mile, twisting and turning and going ever deeper. At best guess, party was almost directly beneath Palace at a depth of several hundred feet. There, they discovered an expansive cavern system infested with gnolls as well as praeloryte, the grey hunters. Tharivul was startled, discharging his blaster rifle at maximum setting (weapon familiarization serves a purpose), reducing his target into a pile of dust.

The rest of the party soon piled in causing death and dreck amongst the gnolls and their praeloryte masters. Black Razor drank several souls as Percy cast lately down one of the passageways. Rorth cleared a small cavern in the other direction with curtains of fire. The party pressed forward to the tunnels on the right, discovering an illithid and its hulking bodyguards. They seem to curiously disinterested in joining the fray, so Vonvaka took Black Razor in the opposite direction, amongst more gnolls and praeloryte. Thurival and Percy followed suit, though Rorth inexplicably chose to beard the lion, banishing the illithid to another plane – temporarily.

Vonvaka finally came close enough praeloryte to learn the each had a brand of the Inverted Omega on cheek or forehead. The Ealiiri and Percy took wounds, primarily from the praeloryte, but three of them were slain along with a fistful of gnolls. Percy animated the corpses of two praeloryte party charged into the largest cavern yet. A masked wizard chanting sibilant profanity was surrounded by gnolls and hulking goat headed brutes with enormous pole-arms. Hovering in the great chasm before them was an enormous black scaled Dragon.

At the party’s arrival, the Dragon screamed in rage. The masked wizard hastily summoned a curtain of force stopping a stream of Dragon acid. The party advanced further, as the wizard and his minions maneuvered towards the exit at the far side of the cavern. Animated blades and a ball of fire from Rorth took their toll on the wizard’s minions – and the wizard himself. The wizards rage was palpable as he stared his hate at the Ealiir. Vonvaka noticed that this wizard wore a mask much like those who murdered his brother, and also bearing the sign of the Inverted Omega.

Roll for initiative . . .

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The Walls Are Held

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Eniki, sorely wounded and charred, staggered away from the corpse of Anaik to gather his son in his arms. But the bellows of rage and sorrow outside the wall had not ceased. Hefting his Dawn Blade, Eniki turned to his son and said “run now! Fetch your uncle Fezzik and any others he can bring! We cannot let them into the city.” Kissing his boy on the head he turned back to rejoin the fray.

Already Avvim were on the battlements inside the walls, moving to take the main courtyard. Percy, a twitching, smoldering, drooling heap on the shattered cobblestones was helpless against them. His sole remaining zombie standing listless atop the gate house. Tharivul dashed to his side and dragged him to the heights of a nearby building to hold him safe.

Vonvaka leapt from the knee of an enraged Rephaim back through the gate as the great giants futilely tugged at the corpse of their master. Even empowered by Black Razor, Vonvaka despaired of being able to hold the gate house by himself. As he turned to look back down the street into the heart of the city, he saw Eniki striding back towards him, and beyond, a squad of soldiers led by Gallotar, a wizard captain to Lord Ming.

Eniki joined the company of humans and marched towards the center of the courtyard. Vonvaka immediately sprang to the roof of a building to his left to meet the first Avvim. The giant screamed in agony as the soul blade began its work, but Vonvaka was wearing down and the Avvim remained standing after two blows. Fleshton moved to engage the Avvim that entered the courtyard slamming one of them with his meaty fists – but their swords quickly cut him down. Gallotar’s squad moved to engage the Avvim trading blows while Gallotar himself lobbed balls of fire at more Avvim that had gathered around the corpse of Anaik.

On the Eastern rooftops Tharivul fought off one Avvim that came for him and Percy. To the west Vonvaka finished the first Avvim as another came to take his place, then yet another behind him. In the yard, an Avvim took a soldier’s had from his shoulders before he himself succumbed to wounds from the soldier’s squad mates. The other Avvim in the yard gave up their efforts to free the corpse and turned on Gallotar’s squad. More soldiers began to die. The Rephaim outside the gate finally took to scaling the walls themselves. Ancient wards worked into the massive stone palisade still held magic causing the giants to scream in agony as they clambered over. One lost his grip and tumbled down into the courtyard below.

Vonvaka, despairing of his allies’ ability to hold the gate, leapt 50 paces from his rooftop to the one sheltering Tharivul and Percy. He demanded the iron flasks from Tharivul and leapt again, to the eastern tower. In the courtyard, the first Rephaim raised himself from the cobbles, strode into the squad slammed his foot down amongst them, knocking them to the paving stones.
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The Rephaim’s attack felled one of his own Avvim and injured another but caused serious casualties amongst Gallotar’s soldiers. Eniki and Gallotar rallied the flagging troops then turned back to the Avvim. Eniki’s Dawn Blade cut down an Avvim, while Gallotar’s magic finished off another.

Two more Rephaim descended to the courtyard below while a third was moving along the battlements towards Tharivul and Percy. Fearing they were about to be overrun, Vonvaka unleashed both iron flasks. With screams of glee and madness, two savage balors leapt wreak vengeance on any they could reach. Vonvaka released one into the inner court and one outside the walls. Flame whips and lightning swords matched against gigantic Dawn Blades in a savage battle that proved to the Rephaim that their fight was lost.
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As the battle between giants and demons raged, the new shadow swept the battlefield as the Sorcerer Lord known as The Halamyrian, Master of the Black Tower, entered the fray writing upon a great silver wyrm, the only Sorcerer Lord to answer the plea of the vizier Alraji. The Avvim were utterly slaughtered, and half the Rephaim with them. The gray clad Halamyrian, himself armed with a black soul blade, turned his attention to the Balors as the remaining Rephaim fled north. Gallotar and Eniki pulled their squad back to shelter amongst the buildings on the Western courtyard while Vonvaka returned to check on Tharivul and Percy. The Dragon dove upon the Balor in the courtyard, slamming it to the paving stones while the Halamyrian slid from the Dragon’s back and thrust the soul blade into the demon’s chest.

Even the Dragon cringed from the shrieks of the Balor as the black blade drank its life energy, yet the Halamyrian never flinched. Outside the wall, the second Balor took to the air, fleeing after the Rephaim. As the corpse of the first Balor crumbled to dust, the Halamyrian took the blade free from the cobbles and remounted. The Wyrm leapt into the sky to give chase to the fleeing Balor. As Dragon and demon dwindled into the distance, the survivors paused to look around at the carnage. Little remained of the citizens the Rephaim slaughtered to sate their gluttony, but now more than a score of Avvim lay dead on the cracked paving stones. And with them seven Rephaim giants at the corpse of the great Melqart, Anaik. Eniki was still sorely wounded, and the golem lay inert where it had fallen. Percy remained comatose as well. Amazingly, only four of Gallotar’s soldiers were slain, though he stalked about muttering his fears of his master’s displeasure, having committed Lord Ming’s troops to the defense of the gate without consulting him.

And while Vonvaka looked upon the carnage at the gate, the masked one again appeared
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“well, you’ve spent great blood that the effort defending the city for these mortals, yet this whole time your kith and kin are being tortured and sacrificed beneath your feet. Do you intend to aid them?”

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The Final Assault
will the Ealirri hold?

The wall is slighted. The stones are charred and cracked from the blast of the falling star. A crater smokes in the middle of the courtyard. The Melqart, Anaik, First Blood Reaver to the Ba’al, Baruk-Tur, brother of the First Ba’al, Zai’bohl, is slain, ignominiously pinioned by the portcullis like a rancor-ous beast from another world, then impaled by his own Dawn Blade. His minions, Avvim and Rephaim, assail the walls to avenge him. The North Gate is not Sealed.

CRACK! The paving stones shudder again as Percy snaps the golden horns off Anaik’s head. Outside the gate, Vonvaka drains Anaik’s soul energy with his Void Sword. Sheathed in black soul-flame, with strange glints of gold, the Khessian turns to do battle with the Melqart’s retinue, hardly noticing that the effects of the Golden Apples have worn off. Tharivul gives a weary sigh as he discovers that the siege engines he intended to use have been destroyed by the falling star. He feels the rush of the Golden Apples depart his system like a physical force, yet he feels somehow refreshed, empowered as the light of the new dawn washes over him.

As he looks, he sees that Avvim have been lifted up by the Rephaim to threaten his battlements. He falls back down to the courtyard below. One of Percy’s Avvite zombies is destroyed, but second is barely operational. Fleshton, likewise is barely operational, probably on the verge of another berserk frenzy.

The courtyard is consumed by a golden flare as Percy presses the sundered horns to his own flesh . . .

Excruciating spears dig into his skull driving down behind his eyes as the golden horns scrabble for purchase in such a puny vessel. Percy is driven to his knees in pain as he struggles with the weight of his Doom . . .or Apotheosis . . .

Outside, Rephaim howl in rage and despair and they drag at the massive corpse of their master, clogging the gate.

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Retaking the Walls from the Rephaim

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Having retaken the Unicorn intact and discovered, in the broadest strokes, the fate of their fellow crew, the Officers met with Alraji , the Vizier of Baruk-Tur. They decided to help him and the city by retaking the Great Gates from the Rephaim who held them. Donar elected to head to the East Gate alone then to meet up with the Atlantean party sent to take the North Gate. The Officers agreed to the plan and set off, though this was likely to only be a temporary measure, since the Vizier has no ability to order the Sentinels so long as the Viceroy is incapacitated and no Regent of Kerpatis’s blood had been appointed.

Thus the Ealiir, and Donar, had effectively undertaken to defend the city alone.

This they did. Vonvaka and his black blade, followed by Thurival, Fleshton and Eniki, as well as a new Barukturian companion, a physicker called Percy, made their way to the North Gate through sheets of rain. Percy, it happens, was an accomplished necromancer who used his arts to animate the corpses of two of the Aviim slain by Fleshton and Eniki the day before. Thus bolstered, the party crept closer, using Thurival’s familiar to scout the area obscured by darkness and rain.

They discovered that the Rephaim, three in number, had rounded up the gate guards and any local traffic to consumed them, one at a time. One unfortunate was screaming his last as they approached only to be silenced by a disquieting crunch as the Rephaim chortled. This resonated with Vonvaka, a mirror of the loss of his brother, who then casually dropped 35’ to the ground and strolled towards the offending giant. The others were either entirely unaware or flummoxed by the bizarre behavior of a runtling, cavalierly strolling towards feasting giants.

Confusion soon turned to rage and fear as Black Razor bit into the Rephaim again and again and again. Using the souldrinker as leverage, Vonvaka scaled the giant from knee to neck, at last severing the spine and riding the corpse back to the pavement – surrounded by a black nimbus of stolen life energy. Thurival began driving arrows into the avvim from hiding above and behind, to considerable effect. Eniki charged into the fray with his looted Dawn Blade cutting into the avvim from behind. Percy’s shambling dead staggered forward, bogging down a few of the avvim, while his magecraft plagued the third Rephaim with blindness and enfeeblement.

But the second rephaim and most of the avvim were drawn to Vonvaka like moths to a flame. And, like the moths, they met their doom upon the black sword, drinking their souls to empower its wielder to slay yet more of them.

The battle lasted some time. Even Black Razor needed to strike avvim and especially Rephaim multiple time before felling them. But finally they were slain, three rephaim drained by Black Razor and many avvim as well. Only two remained alive long enough to escape through the gates, where an even more shocking battle was unfolding.

Donar did not exaggerate when he claimed that he could handle the East Gate alone. He was already speeding along the north road outside the walls on his goat drawn chariot when the Ealiir cleared the North Gate. Aided by the potency of the Golden Apples, Thurival was able to see what unfolded a quarter mile away.

The Melqart and his army were already headed south towards the gates. Donar, a thousand feet short of the Melqart, leapt from his chariot, covering the distance in one bound, and driving his axe into the Melqart’s armored shoulder. The giant swept the man to the ground, slamming him down in a spray of mud. Donar immediately leapt again but was met by the Dawn Blade. 25’ of glowing yellow metal chopped him from the sky, casting him dozens of yards back into the mud. The blow looked as if it could have cut another Melqart in two, yet Donar rose again, leaping through the air in a crack of thunder into the Melqart’s back-swing. Donar’s axe sheared completely through Anaik’s hand sending sword and hand spinning through the rain and darkness to impale the very wall the Ealiir had just claimed.

Maimed, the enraged giant caught up Donar with his remaining hand and threw him into its mouth, gnashing its teeth. Teeth exploded out in splinters as Donar leapt back to the ground. No sooner had the Red-gold brawler touched down than the Melqart began stomping on him with its boots – until a bolt of lightning lanced down from the sky, burning Anaik’s face and chest.

The Melqart staggered back , sorely wounded so many times. Donar lurched unsteadily to his feet. The rains stopped, revealing roiling clouds depicting an angered bearded face. “INTERLOPER!” thunder boomed as a briliant bolt slashed the sky, blasting Donar into a crater dozens of yards wide. The the blast mauled Anaik and his army and even reached a quarter mile to the watching Eliir, threatening to push them off the walls.

All stood in shock while the clouds reached down to the crater picking something from the ruins and receding to the north. Muttered thunder “too soon for you boy. Stay in you own realm.”

The clouds part revealing a watery dawn and a battered, enraged Melqart with a fistful of Rephaim and scores of Avvim looking south to the Gates of Baruk Tur for vengeance. As the Ealiir watched, the sullen Anaik snatched up one of the avvim fleeing from the North Gate, biting his head clean off and drinking the corpse dry. As his followers staggered to their feet he bellows loud enough to reach the walls “Bring me sacrifices! this City will BURN!” Avvim immediately begin scattering to the countryside looking for sacrifices from the many plantations, lest they be added to the menu.

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Retaking the Unicorn

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Donar and Loptr two brothers, a bombastic, brawling warrior and a retiring, sour cynic met the party at the Purple Sails .
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Donar, possessed of delicious apples that glowed with their own golden light, shared them with Aodh, Vonvaka and Thurival. The Ealiir were overcome with a sense of profound euphoria dulling their interest in the mundane world around them. Yet they conspired with Donar and Loptr, or at least Donar, to immediately head out to the captured ship Wylde Unicorn and re-take it. Aodh transformed into a giant Eagle, carrying Donar out to the Meropian vessel, Red Hammer, and dropping him to its deck. Donar smashed through the upper deck and immediately entered the fray, thrashing Meropian brutes with his axe.

After some time struggling to overcome their debilitating euphoria, Thurival and Vonvaka also reached the decks of the ships. Thurival was dropped by Aodh onto the stern castle of the starboard Meropian vessel where he immediately engaged the Meropian captain and ship’s wizard. Vonvaka started on the deck of the Unicorn and held off the advancing horde of Meropian soldiers and brutes from the starboard vessel, standing his ground against the encircling press with the aid of his Khessian training and the Souldrinker Black Razor. Meanwhile Donar boarded the port vessel slaying his way from stem to stern.

In the depths beneath the Red Hammer, Aodh pursued the Meropian Priest who had fled to the water rather than face the Axe of Donar. Taking the shape of an enormous toad, Aodh caught up to the priest, sucking him into his maw. But the priest had been tainted by the malevolence of the Dark Crystal in the caverns beneath Atlas’s Folly. And Aodh was filled with the power of the Golden Apples. Their resulting contact caused an eruption of raw energy that sent a geyser of water hundreds of feet into the sky, shattering the Hammer’s keel and blasting Aodh from his amphibian form and back into the sky.
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After Thurival killed the captain and the wizard, Aodh picked up the captain’s hat and ordered the Brutes to stop fighting, and they obeyed. The fighting on the ships over, they discovered no sign of the Ealiiri crew, though the ghothans remained aboard.

To the North the fires from the ziggurats still burned, the culling unabated. Aodh turned to Donar “you want to kill a god?”

ADDENDUM:

As the unicorn begins to gather way Donar turns to you “It is strange to find you here my friends. I had not expected to see Vanir so far south, or even away from Vanheim at all. Are you related to Frey and Freya?”

Aodh orders the Meropians to unfasten their ships from the Unicorn and being making repairs to their ships under the supervision of a few of the Ghothans. As he mans the wheel of the Unicorn, Donar’s question booms over the sound of the wind and the waves.

“Vanir? Vanheim? I know nothing of these places nor of those of whom you speak. We hail from the island of Atlas. Your language bares some similarity to ours. Perhaps you and your kind are descended from an expedition from our island some time ago. It seems possible that at least one would gain foothold somewhere.”

“Atlas? I have heard tales of him. The greatest giant ever they say. Taller than a mountain. They also say that he was imprisoned eons ago. Bound to bear some great burden into eternity. You come from his island? Have you ever seen him? Is he still bound?”

He stands at the rail and looks out over the water. “My father has told me that I am prophesied to fight the giants of this world and drive them to the farthest reaches, ending the grip of ice, and making the world safe for the race of men. My brother thinks I am a fool for believing it.” He gazes at the city, The red glow of the fire is flickering against the pillars smoke in the sky. “But here, Where the giants call themselves gods and eat their people, I think my father must be right.”

The unicorn is approaching the palace’s private docks. There’s a great deal of activity on the dock, and individuals looking expectantly towards you. Some of your fellow crew members stand there waiting, including your friend Kharis whose left arm just thickly bandaged…

Something doesn’t look quite right about him. Then it hits you, his arm is not just bandaged, it looks like it’s missing above the elbow…

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