Alternate Earth Campaign

Expedition to . . . the Stump

The party then determined to press on to the newly discovered ruins in the side of the Mesa. They learned that other groups, probably sent by sorcerer lords from the city had beaten them there, some by days.

Having left the white plumed mountain they headed south towards the great Plateau. Along the way they discovered evidence of other groups moving south towards the same destination. As the Unicorns drew closer the evidence was more obvious – other expeditions had beaten them here. Some may have been here for days.

they climbed the rubble from the rockslide to an opening in what appeared to be a great metal wall. The wall did not appear to be made of iron, or at least the Ealiir felt no effects. However, crossing the threshold they felt as if they had walked through some sort of energy field . . .

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The inside appeared to be made of much the same metal, though there appears also to be some sort of paint upon it. The interior was dark and passages lead away into further darkness. Just inside the entrance was a strange round pit. they found a strange device in a pile of rubbish at the mouth of one of the passages to the right. Occasionally they would hear sounds like some sort of movement on the ceiling above, but when they look up nothing is there…
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Leaving half of their group with the baggage and horses, Aodh, Captain El, Vonvaka, Rorth and Thorival entered the ruin. Progressing through the strange metal halls, they were attacked by some strange enveloping creature on the ceiling, then heard voices in the language of the Giants from a partially obstructed doorway.

After some reconnaissance, they arranged an ambush, cutting down the two giants who emerged. However, more Giants emerged from another room further down the hall, behind them.

Rorth’s unicorn was badly injured by their weapons but managed to escape to safety. The rest of the party slew both Giants, but then Rorth was attacked by some strange red toadlike creature hanging from the ceiling. Their weapons drove it off, but they were then ambushed from behind by an oni. The blast of freezing cold it unleashed upon them hurt, but was not debilitating. It attempted to escape but they foiled its plan. Ultimately, Rorth lifted it from the ground with his telekinesis, holding it immobile while it was finished off.

Having slain the Giants, they freed the little vegetable people that the Giants had enslaved. These people gave the party a map depicting what was to be found on this floor. The party then proceeded to move into the core of the derelict.

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As they reach the core, the party split up going to various different rooms of interest as indicated on the map. Aodh discovered a strange, synthetic female dispensing medicine. Thorival discovered a room with two stout, tubular automatons speaking to him, menacingly, in an unknown language.
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Rorth went into a room with a variety of strange metal and glass boxes, some of which displayed moving images and could be interacted with through strange knobs and buttons and other controls. Captain El found something that they later learned was a library, but it was already inhabited by a number of soldiers and a wizard from the city. Over half of the soldiers were very sick, possibly from their wounds. They learned that the soldiers of been attacked by creatures hanging from the ceiling (toadlike and blue).

Rorth wandered off on his own downstairs to an enormous terrarium and was accosted by a grey hunter, somehow summoning yet another unicorn and fleeing back up above.

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Eventually, the party got some highly potent acid from one of the laboratories and use that to unseal the doors that they had entered. They escaped the ruins with some exotic equipment and the synthetic entity, then returned quickly to the city. Rorth was certain that something dire had occurred in their absence.
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Returning to the hill overlooking some of the port, they saw that their ship had shifted it’s Anchorage and was now surrounded by three meropian vessels. Excessive amounts of smoke could be seen billowing from the northern quarter of the city as well.

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To the White Plumed Mountain

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The officers of the Unicorn braved the White Plumed Mountain to retrieve three weapons of power. Brobdingian crustaceans, vampires and ogre Lords were no match for them; neither was a lake of boiling mud nor an inverted ziggurat filled with ravenous monsters.

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The grey hunters attacked them as well with their hyena headed minions … But proved no match.

Aodh released an imprisoned balor, that was ultimately destroyed. The vampire retreated further in mist form. Keraptis was not seen.
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The party recovered Wave, Whelm and Blackrazor. Vonvaka wields Blackrazor, though it is unclear who bears the other great weapons of power.

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Thwarting the Coup

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The Unicorns thwarted a coup led by Prince Ari and supported by terrible demons and Praeloryte, grey-skinned hunters in the city of Baruk-Tur.

Thanks to Aodh, the prince has been captured. The uprising has been defeated, though there were many casualties, including the Viceroy. He is mostly sequestered with his physicians. His vizier, the djinn Alraji, has been your liaison.

The Viceroy still greatly desires that you head to Keraptis’s mountain of power to retrieve the artifacts. Time is of the essence because there’s no telling how long princess Arellia has in the clutches of the Ba’al. But, once the mountain of power is breached, The Ba’al will surely know and the truce will be broken. He could come at any time to destroy the Viceroy and reinstate himself his direct divine ruler of the city. The Viceroy needs you to collect up the weapons of power, and anything else you can get your hands on, to challenge the Ba’al and return princess Arellia. He promises to pay you handsomely for your assistance.

It is unclear whether the Viceroy will survive his wounds. Princess Laria is apparently not competent to take over rulership. And with the Prince imprisoned, things are starting to look bleak. Some of the other Sorcerer Lords of the city have apparently realized (probably through imp spies) that the royal family is in trouble.

There were reports, a few days earlier, of some sort of earthquake or landslide on the edge of The Stump, the great Mesa to the south and east. Apparently, there is a belief that an intrepid group could enter the Mesa and come back with powerful magics and artifacts, rather like Keraptis, Iggwilv and Xarot did so long ago.

Vonvaka spent some time doing research in the Library of the Viceroy of Baruk Tur:

As for the library, you dig around in there but it’s tough to read much of the books since they’re not written in your language. Giants apparently don’t write too many books.

There are some in Ealiiri, evidently written by Xarot himself. He says that the giant plateau to the south (which measures approximately 300 miles x 600 miles) is believed to have been much taller once. That is why they call it the stump. He references even more ancient writings (which you do not find copies of) the call the previous formation “The Boil.” Apparently it was a giant dome of stone peaking about 5 miles tall.

Ancient myths say that that land was once a cradle of civilization, but fell to debauchery. Divine beings came from the sky to destroy wicked cities that were found there. The earth boiled up around them to entomb the wicked cities.

Apparently Xarot, Keraptis and Igwillv found a secret entrance to the plateau and began hunting around for powerful magics to use against The Ba’als.

He mentions a tomb that he warns others away from, that of Acererak. He generally describes a war against the Ba’al that was fought to a stalemate. A truce was reached. Keraptis agreed to be sealed into his mountain of power. Igwillv retreated to a mountain fastness to the north. In return, The Ba’als would allow humans to opertate as their viceroys, so long as their preists still provided a steady supply of sacrifices. Keraptis’s son became viceroy of Barak-tur. Others became viceroys to other cities.
There is brief mention of two other cities to the north. Khaalamdea peopled by humans, and Caras Viel populated by the most vicious of Druthgar’s followers, the adherents of Ursynic.

Finally, there is some mention of a cult that is focused on releasing some ancient power from the boil. That cult bears the sign of an inverted Omega and apparently came into direct conflict with Xarot’s people, creating demon spawn praeloryte to hunt them to extinction.

There is a little other writing in Ealiir apparently by someone else lamenting the fact that Xarot had succumbed to the Fugue, implying that if he had not, the outcome of the war might have been different.

Other Developments:
Aodh gained:
a Djinni Ring
4 iron flasks – 3 with Balors, 1 empty. 1 has since been used. The flasks are now missing.

Party met Eniki an Enkidu giant and owner of a grog shop near the Purple Sails.
Party also met Taniel – a later generation Ealiir and descendant of Xarot.

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Landfall

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It is been 10 days since you ran the channel. The unicorn has been repaired as much as it can be while still at sea. Oceanus has been kind to you since the shark-man attack.

The masked one has not given you further directions to his island, though he does still appear from time to time to talk to the officers or the crew.

Everyone had begun to notice a chill to their blood the first day out. Aodh is certain it has nothing to do with the weather, yet all of you begin to feel lethargic and chilled for several days, though that is beginning to fade.

“Land Ho!” From the crow’s nest.
“Where away?!”
“Due east! 15 miles!” Then “I think it is a city!”
The deckhands begin to murmur with anticipation.

After the reconnaissance team develops their plan of action, Aodh motions for them to spread out, give each other plenty of room. The druid stands inside a ring of eight small circles painted on the deck.

“Once we begin,” he explains, “This should give us an hour to travel to the city, scout, and get back. At the half hour mark, we can follow the captain’s signal whether to return to the ship or remain overnight on the island. It is paramount that we do one or the other before the, um, spell is expended. Now, this might feel a bit strange at first, but, trust me, it is worth it.”

Aodh places a single berry in each of the eight small circles. He utters a phrase in Sylvan that sounds more like the ringing of a bell than any actual words. Then, he claps his hands eight times and POP! Each circle is suddenly occupied by a tiny, bewildered pixie. Their confusion lasts only until they see Aodh and relax. Curious, they begin zipping around the ship, examining the rigging, the sails, various members of the crew.

One pixie, the toes of his floppy, red shoes dangling as far below his body as the point of his hat rests above it, flutters in front of Aodh. They exchange a few words in Sylvan, and the long-toed pixie whistles to his companions who cruise over to him for instruction.

“OK,” says Aodh to the team. “Like I said, this will feel a bit weird. But you’ll get used to it quickly.”

A pixie zips over each other member of the reconnaissance team. Aodh stands grinning, his smile a mirror to the long-toe pixie’s who flutters nearby. Each pixie shakes their wings, and a stream of dust falls upon the reconnaissance team’s heads.

The transformation isn’t painful. In fact, it feels almost like a relief as your limbs stretch and your toes merge. It is a bit strange to have your nose and mouth combine into a beak, but soon that is easily ignored as you enjoy your suddenly unimaginably precise vision. In a moment, though your razor sharp talons dig into the deck, you simply cannot wait to stretch your wings and take to the sky.

That’s when you realize you and the rest of the reconnaissance team have been turned into giant eagles. Aodh stands before you, still grinning.

“Well, shall we go?” he asks. “This is going to be so much fun. Remember though, follow the captain’s lead. 4th Lieutenant, you have the conn.” Then, his body swiftly shifts to the shape of a giant eagle with fiery red feathers. With a triumphant screech, he leaps from the deck, soaring into the sky.

Thorival snaps out of his daydream and shakes the cobwebs from his mind. “Ugh, transmutation magic” he mutters to himself as he sees Aodh preparing to cast his spell. “If it’s all the same, we don’t need a lot of people for an aerial recon. And I have misgivings about the crew. I’ll stay here and mind the store while you guys are on your mission.” Still muttering under his breath, Thorival goes to a less crowded portion of the deck to relieve himself over the side.

From your incredibly high vantage point, aided by your exceptional eyesight, you are able to see a great deal about the city and its environs. The city appears to be a substantial port. There look to be about a dozen ships in the harbor, as well as numerous smaller craft. The city is walled in light brown stone, and many structures seem to be built at the same stone. Others appear to be made of some sort of brick. The most affluent structures appear to be clustered around a number of tall towers, 17 altogether. Three major gates pierce the walls, north south and east. The landscape nearby us peers to support a great deal of jungle, much of which has been cut back four fields.

To the east and southeast, many miles away, you see an enormous plateau, hazy in the distance.

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Land stretches to the north and south as far as you can see. This is no island.

The inhabitants of the city appear to be quite varied. Humanoids appear to come in many sizes, some close to your stature, some about the size of a Meropian brute, and some even larger, though not so big as a Fomor. The climate appears to be very hot. The wealthier individuals seem to wear silks. The poorer individuals wear rougher garments, but very little.

No one seems to care very much about a new sail seen on the horizon.

As you watch from far above, a misshapen, two headed giant skulks behind a building near the quays. His furtive movements seem laughably inept, as he approaches a cage full of smaller humanoids. Suddenly, he lashes out breaking a wooden bar, and grabbing a smaller figure. the woman’s shrill screams reach even your ears.

One head looks around frantically while the other bites the woman’s head clean off. The two headed giant slinks back behind the building with its prize.

Now you can hear a bell ringing and large metal clad figures are racing to the area. A half dozen of them converge on the alley, closing quickly on the two headed giant. It shuffles back in obvious fear . . . the metal figures pinion it – then rip off the head that decapitated the woman. They take the remains and leave the giant retching and hemorrhaging from the stump of his other neck.

The city’s business resumes.

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Vonvaka's Conversation with the Masked One

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It is a clear evening, and the only sounds are the sea, the rigging, and faint boasts among a small gathering of the crew playing a dice game on the quarterdeck. Vonvaka silently approaches the intruder on the forecastle, and the masked one turns, anticipating his arrival.

“Speak plain, mirage, and speak to that symbol,” Vonvaka points to the mask. “I promised the gods a tapestry of blood and skin from the men that hide behind it. What know you of Fate? Speak on it, now, mask, as ours is as tangled as any two men’s can be. Truth! Here! Mark you under this black canopy of creation [waves toward the sky] that Maiden Death’s judgment will seem a painless rend of your soul in contrast to my dissatisfaction. Satisfy me, wraith, or so I vow on brother’s blood, I shall make a gift of you to Her.”

“Ah, Petulant child. You threaten me with harm, but lack the power to carry out your threat… So what is that but a tantrum?” Somehow, behind the mask you are sure that he’s sneering. "But I have told you and all of your crew that I bear you no ill will. So . . . You wonder of fate, and point to the heavens but you do not know the fate of the heavens themselves. I shall tell you…

“Eons ago the king of heaven learned that his fate was to be castrated and supplanted by his son. He tried to change his fate by eating his children.

“But you cannot change your fate.

“By treachery, one of his children remained free and did castrate and supplant his father. The father was cast away, but sought vengeance. The son and his 11 siblings defeated their father again and imprisoned him so that his consort, the earth, could not comfort the king of heaven.

“But they failed to remove him completely from the embrace of the earth, and still he reached out to impose his will on the world.

“In time the son of the king of heaven was himself supplanted by his own son in much the same way as he had supplanted his father. The grandson of the heavens became the father of the sky, and he knew the danger of the king of the heavens, so he decreed that Atlas, his father’s strongest warrior, would bear the burden of holding the vault of heaven from the embrace of earth.” The masked one chuckles . . .

“So you see boy, the wretched Fomor who called himself Atlas stole that name as a reign name, pretending the island had been named for him. But in his hubris he forgot that he was a jailor and was punished by the Sky Father, paving the way for your people. And now, how many of them remember the reason they were granted their lands? You have seen this symbol before.

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It is the seal your house protects. What are your lands? You live upon the vault of heaven.

“But now your leaders send you into near certain death. Why? Who is pulling their strings? Are they trying to avoid their fate? It has been written, you know, your fate. Your people will drown in the restless sea. Unless you find new friends. Conquer new lands. And now, here you are, out of the control of your elders, upon the back of Oceanus, with an offer of friendship to hand.

“So, what will you do?”

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Running the Channel
Kraken Up!

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after 6 months, the crew of the Wild Unicorn was finally ready for their voyage. But, two nights before the scheduled departure, a brawl between Ealiir and Meropian brutes started on the docks near the ship. The officers of the Unicorn worked hard to suppress the riot, but it was only after Tharivul tweaked an erudite coin purse that the brawl finally ended.
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Tharivul recovered papers from the erudite that indicated the brawl was a cover for some larger plot. The officers of the Unicorn expended considerable effort from that point attempting to uncover the plot, but to little avail. They only discovered that it was being carried out from the Meropian Warship Red Hammer, which had left the quay immediately after the brawl.

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The Crew Pressed on with their preparations.
Two days later, at dawn, they departed. The Unicorn was travelling in company with the Honor of Illimar, escorted by the Saphire.

They raised the channel in less than two hours. The Seas began to roil and the sky darkened. Soon the Unicorn was battling heavy weather. Then it struck.

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After much trial and tribulation, with the aid of the heavy Sun Lance batteries of the Saphire, the crew of the Unicorn drove off the attack, then turned to aid the beleaguered Honor.

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But, despite heroic efforts by the Unicorn and her crew, the Honor of Illimar was dragged beneath the waves by the creature.

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The Bosun has drafted this report

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The Final Briefing
Meeting Admiral Manaen

Manaen, the Lord Admiral of the Ealiiri Fleet, Son of Lir, of the house Saeril, Great Grandson of Elir, has taken a personal hand in training the officers set to lead these expeditions. As the day of departure approaches he calls you into his office to give you a final briefing personally.

“You are the officers of the expedition vessels. There will be five in all. Yours” looking at El “and another will run the south channel. The warship Sapphire will support you. The other three will run the North Channel supported by another warship.

“We’ve chosen to attempt to run these two channels because these are the channels that have seen successful expeditions in eons past. We’re splitting the effort, on the same day, in the hope that the creatures of the deep are not numerous enough to infest both channels at once.

“One of the citadels is still in the north suppressing the Dragon. I have been forbidden from detaching a second citadel to cover either of these expeditions. Both the Fomors and the Meropians are always looking for signs of weakness in the councils refused to give them another one.”

He looks out the great cabin windows to the calm seas. “This may be a forlorn hope. You should run the channel with all hands on deck and at that their battle stations. These channels are subject to flash storms and the seas can get very rough at a moment’s notice.”

He looks at each of you directly. “I hope you find lands that could be of use to us, I hope that you or Lord Tolurin discover some method of running these channels safely. But most of all, I hope that I see each and every one of you again here in a years’ time.

“May the founders watch over you all. You are dismissed”

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The Proclamation

You flew south with Laicath and Lithot in their uncle’s sky coach. The team of eight Pegasai pulled mightily away as flashes of brilliant gold faded into the background. “That Citadel is really pouring it on to that old Dragon isn’t it?” Laicath grinned.

“Laicath, leave off now, we have things to tell them.”

Laicath nodded to his sister “Lithot is right. We wanted to let you know that we are going to be leaving in a day or two with our uncle. The Council has been debating for quite a while a new proposal for dealing with the newest generation, but that proposal might affect late-borns like ourselves.”

Laicath drew breath. “Frankly Tolurin is worried about the inherent danger of this new proposal which he expects will pass easily given these new events.” He shruged and noded his head over her shoulder to the flashes in the darkness behind you.

Lithot nodded “He’s worried enough about it that he set up his own expedition and has arranged for Laicath and I to join him. We asked him to add you all to the crew as well, but apparently the Council refused. No fifth-generation are allowed to leave with us.”

“In any event, there’s nothing we can do about it now” Laicath chimed in. “We just wanted you to know that we will be heading out, perhaps as much as half a year before you do. Here is our intended destination and route of travel. If you find yourself in trouble on the Eastern continent please come find us.”

“Yes,” Lithot spoke up. “Please come find us.”

The coach fell silent as it passed over Druthgars Ruin on the plain below.

. . .

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You returned to the great city, the Capital of Atlantis. It’d been sometime since you’ve been in the city, decades for some of you, with its soaring towers andthe concentric rings of canals; it’s three great walls white, gold and red –the last supposedly made of pure orichalcum and utterly priceless. Perhaps two million souls lived in the city, with griffons and pegasai flying above as messenger imps darted to and fro between the majestic towers. Two floating citadels still orbited the great city, ever vigilant, while their companion dealt with the Dragon to the north.

As the twins had said, you did not see them again. Lord Tolurin did come to find you shortly before the pronouncement. All fifth-generation were ordered to meet in the great squares of the city to listen to the pronouncements of the Council read-out.

You learned, finally and officially, that all fifth-generation’s would now be required to undertake an expedition off the Island of Atlas. Such an undertaking was mandatory, and no house could accept a fifth-generation into its ranks until the expedition had been completed.

As the firstborn of this generation, you will be the first to undertake this expedition. Apparently it is incredibly dangerous. You are scheduled to leave in six months’ time. The expeditions are to be crewed entirely by fifth-generation Ealiir. Your group has been selected as the officer cadre for one of the vessels.

You will be training under Lord Manaen. The total expedition will be made up of five ships, each soundly built from the timber of the red spear oaks, with ribs and keel of Titans’ bones. Each ship will have approximately 100 crew in addition to 20 officers and specialists.

Your training begins immediately…

The Final Briefing

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From the Depths into the Light
Death to worm-gods!

The party gathered together in the gloomy confines of the buried ziggurat. Rorth felt that he could sense the way back to the surface. He led them through dusty old chambers and around dark passages until they came to a closed stone door from which they could hear chanting in a foreign tongue.

Rorth opened the door padding quickly to the left, only to be accosted by a pair of animated stone gargoyles then quickly blinking away. The rest of the party leapt into action: swords flashing, Ealiir darting to and fro; Vonvaka dashing into the hall with a flurry of gray steel chipping away at a gargoyle’s stone body then dashing back out of reach; (Ed) headed toward the chanting, entering what looked to be a slighted temple of fallen Gods
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– he blinded the executioner who was readying to slaughter a sacrifice; Aodh took the shape of a bronze dragon and began bathing enemies in lightning and ice.

The high priest, wearing a golden mask of some hideous, tentacled, horned creature shouted commands in his alien tongue to his followers.
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Most of the followers seemed barely aware, clearly under the influence of some sort of hallucinogenic beneath their strange beaded and feathered animal masks.
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Six heavily armored humanoids were quickly ready for action drawing their swords and moving to attack.

The blinded executioner swung his sword but missed his mark, biting into the stone. One of the armored figures, however, stepped forward and threw the sacrifice, screaming, into the pit. (Mike) bolted into the room before any of the cultists could react, summoning a powerful tendril of animate water to fling the priest into the pit. He could be heard, continuing his chants, until some awful wet crunching silenced the litany.

The dais shuddered, shaking loose dust to the floor – (Mike) slew the next sacrifice and one of his captors; (Meg) finished off the gargoyles; (will) shrouded the temple entrance in mist then proceeded to ply his blades on the armored figures; (Ed) bathed half the room in fire, burning down a half-dozen cultists – the dais shattered.

A colossal, slimy, white worm 1 with thrashing blade-like appendages burst through the stone, roaring with hunger and rage as it struggled to lift the rest of its bulk from the ruins.
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Blades flashed – biting into its slimy hide, then balls of flame blossomed along its flank, one exploding in its maw. Chunks of flesh blasted away. Shrieking in outrage it slammed its fanged maw down onto (Meg) who nimbly stepped aside, feeding it a flaming brazier instead.
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The flailing bladed limbs skewered one of the armored humanoids, punching it through the masonry. The other wounded (Ed) unto death opening a savage laceration along his flank, cracking multiple ribs.

More fire blossomed, lightning flashed, (Mike) ran along the creatures back gray steel slashing. Icor flowed, flesh charred, ancient godling writhed in agony and outrage – until, at last, (Meg) stepped beneath the creature, thrusting her blade up behind the maw. Twisting, with a mighty heave, decapitating a God. As the ravaged bulk shuddered and twitched in death throes, (will) hastily scooped up treasure from the dais while Aodh treated some of the worst injuries.

Cracks began to appear throughout the temple as ancient stone shifted in response to god-death. The earth began to shudder. The party wisely fled.

Rorth led them through tunnels and caves until at last they came to a large cavern near to the surface. Daylight could be seen from the cave mouth. But the cavern was occupied. Two hungry fomors were rooting in small crevices for wild ghothans.

“Eh, what are you doing over there? They’s all on this side, see? Ow! He stung me” dreadful crunching cut off the ghothan’s shriek.

“Silence you fools! I know you hunger, but I am trying to see what the dragon is doing . . .” The stunted greater fomor, Balor, stooped his 40 foot frame to peer out the cave mouth.
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Rorth quickly hatched a scheme to get past the Giants by pretending they were prisoners of Aodh in a dragon’s form. At first, Balor accepted the ruse that the small silver dragon somehow served the great one. But Balor’s nose could not be fooled for long. He sniffed out the ruse and sprang to the attack. Armored in strong metal chased with orichalcum, the grandson of Atlas, great-grandson of Poseidon, was a far more dangerous foe than some pasty worm-god.

Ealiiri spellcraft had little effect and his armor turned much of their weaponry. His wailing flail sorely wounded (Ed) and Rorth, while his minions began flinging about clouds of fist- and skull-sized rocks, pelting the rest. Rorth’s link to the infinity fortuitously manifested a unicorn whose magic whisked away those few who had not already fled out of the cave mouth.

Outside, over the ruins of Rath Kambalt the Dragon spent its fury and fire on Ealiiri Sky Knights
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who stabbed back at it with energy lances of their own.
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Several plummeted from the sky. Finally, lumbering free of a cloud bank, an enormous floating citadel joined the fray.
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Brilliant beams of golden light stabbed out, bridging the thousands of yards between the citadel and the Dragon, burning into its flanks. Sorely wounded and outmatched it finally retreated back to the mountain.

“Thank the stars we found you!” Lithot and her twin Laicath galloped through a fog bank leading a string of horses.

“When we heard of the trouble appear, we thought you might be in the thick of it.” Laicath looked to his sister “It’s a good thing Lithot’s such skilled scrier. But, come! We should leave before any more patrols arrived. They are mustering legions. The Dragon has not come down off the mountain for millennia. The Council is certainly in an uproar. That new proposal that they’re all so concerned about, I think this incident is going to push it through. They are going to order the Exodus.”

“Enough Laicath. Can’t you see they have had a difficult time? Come friends these horses are from the estate not far away and we have our uncle’s sky chariot waiting there to return us to the city.”

1 Older editions of Zargon

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To the Rescue!

It was a slightly chilly morning but that’s all gone now, thanks to the dragon. You were deep into your cups last night in anticipatory celebration of your “coming of age” ceremony next week. You and your classmates are the first of a new generation – far more vigorous and adventurous than your forebears. That has gotten some of your classmates (maybe even you) into some trouble in the past.

Sort of like your current predicament. You and your friends came on a dare to the ruins of Rath Kambalt, where the Sky King slew old King Atlas 50 millennia ago. The ruined cyclopean city has been declared strictly off-limits to the youngest generation. That means you. So of course you all wanted to come here. Last night Kharis said none of you had the nerve to enter the city and bring back an artefact.
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Aodh and Rorth decided to prove him wrong. They went into the city and all sorts of hell broke out. They had been gone for hours, circling the city to East. The sun rose higher in the sky – then flashes from the ancient court in the North half the city. Another flash, then another. Bursts of fire? That’s when you saw it. The great swooping shadow of the dragon coming down off the mountain. The searing light of its fire was intense. It was as if you could feel the heat of its breath even here, miles away.
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Were your friends still alive?

Patrols arrived. The dragon roared its defiance and launched into the sky. Some of the more intrepid souls determined to go find your friends while the dragon was occupied elsewhere. Darting from cover to cover as drake riders dashed overhead, you tracked your friends from Atlas’s Folly to a ruined building, half melted and smoldering from Dragon’s fire.

Digging through the rubble, you found an exit from a subbasement into some sort of caverns below. Thoroughly soaked by water chutes and the underground pool at the bottom, you emerged into a cavern teeming with phosphorescent life. But, the dreadful noise… Creatures, all manner of creatures: tentacled and writhing; skittering hard carapaced things; deformed giants; gaunt, stunted humanoids; all were slaughtering one another.
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Then, suddenly, a calm voice of amidst the hellish tableau.
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An ancient Ealiir, raggedly cloaked and blindfolded, yet bearing a strange, cracked sword, appeared and beckoned you to follow him to find your friends. He led you past the worst of the carnage to a steeply sloped tunnel. “Your friends await you below.”

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