Alternate Earth Campaign

Shuffling the Princesses

Rescuing the Princess Arellia

Aodh and Tharivul with help from Athena, rescued Princess Arellia. Initially abandoned by Vonvaka and Percy, Tharivul nevertheless alighted upon the roof of the safe house by himself. He was shocked to discover how easily his Druthgari saber cut through mortal flesh, leaving the three sentries dismembered. Tharivul’s attack was so sudden that the sentries had no time to raise the alarm. Tharivul then proceeded into the building sneaking about, avoiding other guards and discovering an argument between what appeared to be a masked human woman and masked Praeloryte Warlock. The human appeared to be giving the warlock orders. Tharivul attempted to sneak further downstairs but was scared off by a trio of large black hounds glowing red eyes and mouths. Their barking some in the warlock and sentries.

Tharivul quickly hid himself above the arched doorway, at several centuries were burned to death by the hounds warlock went down to calm them. Tharivul quickly retired back to the roof where he was shortly joined by Aodh in the form of the great eagle, carrying Athena on his back. The Ealiir chose to assault the warlock and his mistress through the window into his chambers. Athena agreed to join the assault. Tharivul’s attack on the warlock was turned by his superior skill, though Aodh was able to seriously the warlock with wave. They also discovered that the masked woman was merely a magical projection. The warlock’s counterattack savagely wounded Aodh but he drew upon his eldritch power to remain conscious. At the same time the Warlock unleashed bolts of eldritch energy towards Tharivul who had attempted to hide behind the bed, causing him some injury.

At this point Athena rushed into the room having smashed a guard through wall with her shield, she then cast her spear with exquisite form, piercing the warlock and impaling him and the stone wall. Tharivul and Aodh took a moment to recover, as Tharivul looted the room, then, after being healed by Athena, they continued to search for the Princess while the goddess interrogated her prisoner.

Downstairs, they cut the hell hounds to ribbons and met little resistance until they discovered the Princess held by a cult leader with a knife to her throat. Four thugs attempted to block their advance. The cult leader babbled in Ba’alic while Aodh chanted a spell, paralyzing the leader and staying his hand. Tharivul flew over the heads of the thugs, killing a few. The cult leader was quickly disarmed, and the Princess freed. When she was given the cult leader’s knife, she turned it on him to bloody effect.

One cult thug surrendered, and Aodh turned him into a draft horse to carry the chest of silver and copper, and box of gold that Tharivul had discovered. The horse was ordered to take the treasure to the palace and await them there or he would never return to his natural form.

Upstairs, Athena apprised them of the results of her interrogation, and some ancient Olympian history. They discovered that the prisoner was a Warlock of Praelis, the original praeloryte. The warlocks of Praelis are high-level servants and enforcers for the Cult of Ouranos. His maser here in the city is a woman. He did not reveal a name. The cult of Ouranos is dedicated to releasing the primordial, Ouranos, Athena’s Grandfather from his prison the Vault of Heaven, which is the Isle of Atlas. Ouranos, seeking revenge against Kronos and the rest of the Titans for his castration, subjected himself to the will of the Malevolence became its avatar, the Destroyer. The Titans were hard pressed to defeat the Destroyer but finally succeeded and sealed it in the Boil, the remains of which are in the Stump, the great plateau to the south. They then sheared off the top of the Boil and transported it to the embrace of Oceanus. Euenor, a son of Gaia, was named king and high guardian of the island. Later, Poseidon fathered 10 kings of Atlantis with Kleito, Euenor’s daughter. These were the Cyclopean Fomors, Atlas and his brothers.

Getting Arellia Elected

After their little history lesson, Tharivul and Aodh, escorted Princess Arellia back to the palace. There, they discovered that deliberations were already underway to establish a new Regency Council for Princess Laria. Aodh and Tharivul were nonplussed to discover that the vizier had not arrested Princess Laria they directed. But, as the vizier explained again, he was devoid of authority to act without an order from the viceroy or a properly designated Regent, which he did not have.

In any event, Princess Arellia’s return disrupted the proceedings. After some wheeling and dealing Aodh and Tharivul arranged for the Lord Ming to the Chancellor’s position and for Lord Thoth to choose the successor to Lord Obdurim. With further support from the Halamyrian, Gwaerohg and Taniel exercising Xarot’s Vote, Lord Kolriar’s faction could not stop the appointment.

As Lord Ming, the Vizier and the rest of the Sorcerer Lords began the ritual ceremony, dozens of imps rushed through the door and were set upon by scores that had been waiting invisibly in the rafters above. During the commotion Tharivul noticed that Princess Laria was missing. Aodh and Tharivul searched frantically for the missing Princess, even calling upon Aodh’s mentor. Eventually they discovered that she had stepped out an open window feather falling to the ground below and reentered the palace, apparently heading down the passage to the kriodaimone vault. They pursued, along with Athena for one last jaunt.

Pursuing Princess Laria

They pursued the Princess as quickly as they could, but the tightly turning spiral staircase prevented them from gaining significant ground. Eventually they came out into the vault with the four kriodaimones still locked in their frozen prisons. Ahead from the Dragon’s cave they heard ominous crunching noises. Apparently, Princess Laria’s co-conspirators forgot to mention the fact that a Dragon laired below. The Ealiir shortly resolved to end the beast. Aodh immediately tried to bond with the great cystal in the chamber. Tharivul launched a pair of blasts from his moon Lance into the Dragon’s face then took cover in the vault. The Beast lashed out at Aodh was savagely wounded by Athena then finished by two blows from Wave that it was impotent to overcome.

Aodh took the remains of the princess upstairs to her sister and called upon the powers of nature to reincarnate her as a half-elven woman. Athena informed them that she needed to take her leave, as her father was already likely to be very unhappy. She asked them to keep a lookout for more actions by the cultists and also her missing cousin Prometheus. Finally she left them with a gift to communicate their findings with her, a bronze figurine of an owl.

Speaking with the Halamyrian

Percy’s Investigations into Lord Kolriar

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Your Voice is Ambrosia
or How Vonvaka gained a Griffin

Synopsis of stomping arch mages and rescue/capturing princesses after killing Sith Lords:

Politicking was avoided – or perhaps pursued by other means…

The proposed Chancellor was crushed to death – the proposed regent was rescued/captured and left with the Vizier. The party is on the way to try to rescue the elder princess. It is unclear whether there will be any vote at all tonight.

The party first communed with Aodh’s ancient Ealiiri mentor, summoning the tree-bound Founder through his Staff of the Woodlands. She told them that, contrary to what they had originally been told, Princess Arellia was not a captive of the Ba’al. She also discerned, evidently by scent, that Aodh and his companions had partaken of the Golden Apples that her cousin long ago cultivated. Evidently the apples come from the world tree, the closest shoot of which is somewhere “in the ice to the north east of here.”

The party next chose to accept the invitation from “the Lady.” Upon arrival they discovered that the Lady was tall (for a human), regal and elegant. In fact, she seemed taller than anyone in the room, though in truth she was barely over 6 feet, reminding them of their friend Donar. She wore flowing white garments over light golden plate. A heavy apis and long spear rested in the corner. She turned to regard them with her calm, measured gaze, the owl on her shoulder doing likewise. “So, you are my uncle’s foreign tenants from the Isle of Atlas. I am wondering why you are here?”

Aodh explained that they were sent from their island search for new lands…Vonvaka explained that they were there for revenge, and showed her the disembodied head of Sevehn. She remarked that this head was of a different character than those she’d seen before, not only because it was still alive. She then pulled out three other masks similar to the one on Sevehn.

The Ealiir, particularly Vonvaka, began sniffing out a substance similar to the Golden Apples and attempted to partake, but the Lady, whom they deduced was Athena, was not sharing with such obvious addicts. Yet, Athena was willing to attempt to scry the location of the missing princess, if they brought her something of personal significance. They then proceeded to rifle through the young lady’s underwear drawer.

In doing so, they found a secret passage that led to the viceroys tower. Tharivul snuck in and eavesdropped on Princess Laria and Lord Obdurim. Percy and everyone but Tharivul was seriously interested in mayhem, death and destruction. So they went to Athena to butter her up and also to get some ambrosia and nectar. Which they devoured.

Amped up on the food of the gods, they leapt into the fray. Tharivul was nearly shredded by the masked blade master at the top of the stairs, the whole time shrieking “This is impossible! I’m invisible!” Apparently having never been told that there are countermeasures to invisibility.

As Tharivul’s blood was sent flying from his invisible, incredulous self, Vonvaka dashed forward and fed him ambrosia, like a little chick, healing his wounds and suffusing him of an apparent understanding of the universe. The supreme skill of the blade master threatened them, but after a cast of Wave, a powerful duel between Blackrazor and the foe’s soul-screaming ember blade, and profligate expenditure of power, the potentates finally won through.

Though Aodh’s scheme to feed his summoned pixies ambrosia from the pickings of his teeth lead to five of them exploding in ecstasy, ultimately his potency overwhelmed Lord Obdurim, reducing him do a crawling insect which, oh so soon, met Aodh’s boot. In the aftermath, as reality righted itself, Obdurim returned to human form as a pulverized sack of meat with a boot-shaped hole through its middle.

Upstairs Tharivul tripped the princess as she attempted to mount her trained griffin, instead falling headfirst from the tower. Tharivul the Winged leapt after her and rescue-captured her moments before she joined her putative chancellor as a meat sack. Vonvaka expended copious Power to subdue the griffin as his very own.

Back downstairs, Tharivul then attempted to retrieve the soul-screaming ember blade from the corpse of the warlock. The malignance of the blade attempted to overpower his mind, but he was able to fight off the assault and drop the blade.

Tharivul, Percy and Vonvaka, On his new Griffin, then proceeded north to the address that princess Laria provided as the last known location of her sister.

Sorcerer Lord Vacancy
It dawns on Percy, as he is being carried through the sky by Tharivul, that with the death of Lord Obdurim, there is a vacancy amongst the sorcerer lords. Traditionally that vacancy is filled by the Sorcerer who killed the incumbent. Technically the new Sorcerer Lord must be approved by the Viceroy, but in historical practice it almost always has been rubber-stamped. Of course only the four of you know who killed Lord Obdurim.

Exposition from Athena
Meanwhile, Aodh dragged the shattered, severed remains of the masked foe through the hallway to Athena’s chambers. Behind him, servants silently cursed lamented the streak of gore that painted the path from the tower to Athena’s rooms. While the severed head of Sevehn spluttered and cursed, in what seemed like shock, Athena unmasked the corpse. The mask had concealed a grey skinned praeloryte with yet another profane graft replacing his left eye with something resembling a cat’s. “Well, this is a new one.” Aphena shook her head “and this one expended any Power it still possessed. I don’t know how much I will be able to glean from it but I will try.” Aodh also went to retrieve the sword taking precautions not to touch directly and returned it to Athena. Upon some examination she explained that the sword was forged of blood steel and alloy of iron ingots made from the congealed agony and blood of tortured victims. “This is the most powerful example of this weaponry I have seen. It seems clear that this organization, the Cult of Ouranos, is more powerful and more widespread than my father let on.” Her face hard and so she looks back to the East “I wish I new more of their organization and plans. I think they may need to be exterminated.”

Description of the safe house/prison
The building at the address Princess Laria gave you is about 40 feet tall, flat topped and made of stone. It appears to be an old cyclopean structure. You cannot tell from above whether or not it has been converted for use by humans. There are two centuries on the roof both looking to the south west towards the section of the city that was destroyed by the rampaging sentinels. It is now full dark And they appear to have no idea that you lurk in the skies above them.

SPOILS:

Essence:
200 each from ambrosia and nectar
241 each from killing ‘darth revan’

XP: 8050 each

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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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