Edge of Darkness: The Broken Circle

Session 58 (restored)

The dragon hinted at previously indeed made its way down into the fray, mauling Millaena as it landed. Caiden, seeing the party faltering under the burden of enormous amounts of negative energy, sacrificed what magical power he had remaining in order to restore everyone present to their fullest strength.

Caiden’s sacrifice worked, but it left the remaining party members without any dedicated healers. Arrayed against them were a corrupted dragon that could inflict negative energy in addition to its already incredible attacks, and the undead avatar of Kel’Dan Melir, a powerful spellcaster in its own right.

Things reverted quickly to their previously horrible state.

Caiden’s sacrifice did allow the remaining party members (Dusan, Derek, Takeo) to distract the dragon and avatar long enough for Simon to destroy the focus for the anti-life shell around the fallen monastery, as well as destroy the altar maintaining the unhallow spell the party had been fighting inside. Simon was swiftly grappled by the dragon afterwards. Takeo and Derek had already fallen to the beast. The fly spell Simon had cast on Dusan turned out to have been for naught, as the avatar channeled enough negative energy into Dusan to put him near death.

Thankfully, a miracle occurred: a small group got the drop on the avatar and the dragon. The black dragon (who insisted we refer to it as Agnes) came down with a human male and some sort of fey female, who held the two creatures at bay long enough for Simon to port back to his volcano lair with the unconscious party members.

The fey female (who goes by Dax) met with Simon the next day to arrange for healing for the unconscious and near-death members of the party. Everyone was transported to a forest where Dax’s “people” had already been at work healing Lady Fireborn after rescuing her. The fey set about beginning the long and involved attempt to heal the party.

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Session 57
Congratulations! You Found Kal'Dan and Triggered His Trap!

The party stepped into the opened temple door and found an area of darkness in the back and center of the temple. Those with darkvision found the darkness seemingly centered on an altar, and there appeared to be a shadowy cloaked and hooded figure standing by it. Moments after stepping in, bones from the dead citizens of New Templeton came flooding in through the front doors in a tidal wave of death, pushing Takeo, [[:malaena-lucidius | Malaena ], Simon Dameir and Ser Derek Crownguard out of their delicate formation as they passed. All but Simon lost the protection of the invisibility sphere as the bones rolled by into the darkness to form a massive pile around the altar.

As soon as the last straggler bones rolled into the temple, the massive doors slammed shut and green runes flared to life on the walls. A moment later, a wall of force went up around the room.

Takeo saw that Serena Fireborn appeared to be nailed to the wall at the back of the church and approximately 20 feet off of the floor. The wall of force was between the wall she was nailed to and her – making her seem like some kind of insect that was pinned in a display case.

Caiden attempted to call his weapon Mercy, but it did not come to him.

There was a little bit of banter in which the party discovered the shadow was the semi-presence of Kal’Dan himself. It did not last long. Dusan and Caiden were released from their bags of holding. Kal’Dan seemingly ignored Simon’s spell and made a gesture. The bones of the dead compiled into to massive humanoid bodies that radiated the eternal hunger of the starved thownsfolk. There was smiting, there was sharing smiting, and there was positive energy. Takeo was eaten temporarily, but he clawed his way out.

The party’s victory over the massive hungry skeletons was short lived. Kal’Dan gestured again, and 6 specters of dead Knights of Luminairre and 1 specter of a former cleric of Rozerus rose up from the altar and leaped to the attack. There was severe damage as the specters rapidly drained the life force from the party. Caiden and Malaena tried to keep death wards up on the party, but the cleric and Kal’Dan himself regularly dispelled them. Dusan managed to get a few decent hits in on Kal’Dan before the shadow of the Watcher got irritated and sent an energy drain his way.

After a tense and pitched battle, the 7 specters were at last defeated. The party stands facing Kal’Dan while near death and with dwindling resources.

“You have fought surprisingly well. But in the end it matters not. For I have one more surprise for you. Allow me to introduce you to Flash, the draconic guardian of this corrupted temple,” Kal’Dan said. Above them in the bell tower, a loud roar echoed down into the sanctuary of the temple.

Does the party have enough resources left to face this new threat? How many more waves does Kal’Dan have in reserve? Could this be the end of our intrepid heroes? Will our heroes be hoisted up and nailed to the wall next to Serena? Will Kal’Dan start to really monologue?

Find out next week when our heroes battle the corrupted metallic dragon and guardian of the temple of former New Templeton!

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Session 56

The next day, the party mounted up and headed towards New Templeton. On the way, they found the tracks of someone who had left town and was heading away. Deciding to follow, the party found none other than Tumbler. After a very brief negotiation, Tumbler agreed to accompany Simon into custody at the Not-A-Bond-Villain Volcano Fortress.

At the fortress with the rest of the party, Tumbler shed some light on the defenses of New Templeton and the Temple of the Inner Eye, including: some sort of anti-life field around the temple, anchored in New Templeton; a dragon in the town itself, near the anchor; corruptiforms patrolling the town at night and sewers at all times; other assorted fun times.

We also learned: Rashid et al are expecting the party, and deliberately set up the situation to wear the party down; Fireborn is still alive, crucified in the temple and continually injured; more about Rashid than we really wanted to know.

After ensuring that Tumbler wouldn’t escape or loot the fortress, Simon prepared to bring us back to Wayreach. Unfortunately, the teleport failed to secure Takeo, and he was stripped away mid-astral. By some heroic coincidence, Rangarok was able to figure out where Takeo was, and Simon ported in and rescued him, bringing everyone back to the fortress.

The next day, the party ported back near New Templeton. Using Wind Walk, most of the party (minus Dusan and Caiden, who were bagged) entered the city. On attempting to breach the town temple, an alarm went off, leaving the party likely at the receiving end of a slaughter.

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Session 55 (reunited?)

After leaving Simon’s stronghold and returning to Cor Ferrea, the party soon discovered that a prisoner had been captured who was asking for Dusan by name. When Dusan made his way to the dungeons of Cor Ferrea, he was greeted by his lost uncle, Edward.

Edward had recently been corrupted into an undead form by the taint-mentals of the area at the order of Baronet Leakybritches. He had escaped service at the influence of Lady Fireborn, who had asked him to make his way into the city to speak to Dusan.

Edward regaled Dusan with stories of the latter years of his service in the Red Friars, as the order was being corrupted from the inside out. He mentioned the operation the Red Friars had informed Lord Octavian of, rumors of the Empress’s Blessing being seen in the Blood Plains (the same operation Dusan’s father had died in). In the aftermath of the operation, Edward had lost faith in the order, and left, but not before removing an artifact from the Westmarch vaults that he had seen in a vision: a skull with an artifact blade. Edward was allowed to leave the order with little fanfare; the corruption had taken hold of the leadership, but the rank-and-file would need years more before they had been completely replaced, and one Friar leaving the order just made the outsiders’ job easier. He hid the artifact in a certain temple that the party, coincidentally, was on its way to.

He also informed Dusan that Rashid, his inner guard, Lady Fireborn, and others would be at the temple in order to conduct the ritual.

After this, the party made their way north. The first evening, they were harassed by flying undead. The next day brought a black dragon that was doing its best to “persuade” Caiden to come with it to heal its patriarch. The party, led by Simon, was able to get the dragon to agree to delay any action until after we had dealt with the temple.

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Session 54 (?)
Information Dump

After digesting the crushing information that Lady Fireborn had been taken by Rashid, Dusan read the letter left for him, which instructed him to find her journal, in which she had constructed a ritual to summon the Archseraph, Telarus. Journal was found, read, and the various items needed for the ritual were settled on. Several of the items were in Ashwick, and, since Simon’s ability to teleport into and out of Wayreach was questionable, it was felt that the best course was to leave Derrik, Takeo, and Caiden in Cor Ferrea, along with most of the party’s loot, and have Simon take Dusan and Malaena (who were likely necessary for the ritual) to Ashwick for the supplies.

Items were gathered. Dusan revealed himself to Malaena. The rest of Luminairre had finally heard of the problems in Trigonem, and troops were building on the borders of the troubled province, ready for any spread of unrest. The Inquisition had been declared legitimate, and the fighting had subsided in all places. Fortress Adamant and Bloodmark were the only to areas with active violence—that could be contacted, at least.

Then, the ritual trio departed for Simon’s volcanic lair to construct and conduct the ritual.

After a day and a half of preparation, the ritual was final ready. At that point, bells started to sound. Someone was approaching the fortress!

That “someone” turned out to be Ral’tandrack, who had come to tell Simon that Telarus was willing to speak to the group, but that it might be best if everyone was gathered, as the archseraph hated to repeat himself. Simon had his orders, and went to fetch the remaining three who could be fetched.

The ritual was successfully completed, and Telarus appeared, willing to answer any questions that the group had for him. Those answers are summed up below:

1. Rozerus is deathly ill. One of the Elder Evils poisoned him, and the deity was lying in a fever dream, with Mirila’ana pouring forth all her power to keep him alive. Telarus had assumed a portion of his god’s portfolio, which had resulted in his relative inactivity in the affairs of mortals. The only likely cure for Rozerus is the defeat of the Elder Evils.

2. The Lady Serena Fireborn is alive, and being held in the undercity of Cor Ferrea. Telarus thought that is was unlikely that she would be killed in the immediate future. Her inability to remember anything of her life as Sephara was a self-imposed amnesia. Telarus explained that it was common for fallen angels to feel confused or even go mad from the sensation of dying—something that all mortals are accustomed to by the time they have their first coherent thoughts. Both he and Sephara thought that, in combination with the taint upon Wayreach, such confusion could quickly overcome the mortal Sephara. Hence the amnesia.

3. While the sword that Malaena currently has could eventually be used to destroy the Source of Kal’Dan, it would take more bonding time than the group really had. Telarus did say that part of the Source’s power came from the object upon which it was placed. In the absence of Braterion, the best hope for the destruction, or at least the weakening of the Source, is to remove it from it’s current position. In the best case scenario, this would disrupt the taint enough for an angelic being to come through and destroy the thing. Worst case, it would lessen some of the effects and slow the spread.

4. Duke Ashlane and Will Wolfson are on their way back to Trigonem. The Duke’s mind has been broken by what he had to endure. An angel of Mirila’ana might be able to help heal him.

The group decided to first deal with the Source, then rescue Lady Fireborn, and finally attempt to find succor for the Duke.

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Session 53
It's A Tr...Wait, What?

The decision having been made to transfer the people and sacred items to Cor Ferrea, the Temple of the Three began to buzz with activity. The group went to Cor Ferrea to begin preparations for the showdown with Rashid. It was going to be a trap, of course.

The Knights Arcanum were gathered and briefed; a scroll of anti-magic field was purchased; the group set out for the appointed meeting place. The bells struck midnight. Nothing. Minutes crawled by. Finally, someone approached from the north. It was the Corbin girl. Malaena talked to her and brought her into the group. Simon teleported her to his secret volcano lair for safety, still anticipating that a great fight was about to begin.

Nothing.

After about a quarter of an hour, the consensus was that no attack was forthcoming. The Corbin girl was returned from the lair, and she gave Simon a scroll. After ensuring that everyone had backed off at least 30 feet, Dusan read the scrolll, which promptly blew up. Everyone was thoroughly confused—this had been too easy. What had been missed?

As the party split and began preparing for the night, alarm bells began to ring. Takeo headed to the walls, where he found out that in the distance, the bells from the Temple of the Three had been heard. Leaving the Corbin child at Cor Ferrea, the group gathered with about 25 Knights and headed out into the darkness towards the Temple.

At the Temple, the sight was horrible. Legions of the tainted…things were assaulting the walls and the main gate. Fearing that this was a diversion, the party headed towards the back of the Temple defenses. After fighting their way through several of the tainted spirits, they were finally able to reach the Temple walls. Judicious use of a spell and bags of holding allowed the group to enter the Temple without having to have the doors opened.

Inside, bodies lay everywhere. New walls of stone covered what looked to be holes in the original walls. As the party met and talked with survivors, the story they found out was this:

An invisible spell caster had used the disintegrate spell to blast holes into the walls surrounding the Temple. The tainted creatures oozed in, along with a giant snake/human form. The fighting was fierce and awful. In the midst of it, the Lady Serena Fireborn had been taken by the snake thing. Eventually, the invaders had been driven out, but at a high cost.

The captain of the Knights begged the party to find and bring back the Lady Fireborn. The group was stunned by their lack of foresight and the continued cunning and perfidy of Rashid.

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Session 52

The party’s evening at the Temple of the Three started with a few discussions between party members before Serena Fireborn became available to speak with us. We shared with her what we had discovered. Troubled, she took to her room for the evening. Meanwhile, the party came up with a series of questions for Malaena to ask Mirala’ana the next morning.

Before the Commune started in the morning, however, we discovered that Wren and Thomas had snuck out in the middle of the night. A question was added to the Commune about Wren’s likelihood of success (which was answered No). A brief summary of the Commune follows:

Our only good chance of destroying the source requires Malaena to bond with the sword Mithra Lumos. Serena Fireborn was once the Archseraph Sephara, but is no longer. The Source is the only object or creature we need to destroy to stop the corruption of Wayreach. Duke Ashlane will either not be alive or not be of sound mind if he is returned.

(Oh, and there was some forced discussion in which at least four characters and three players first learned about the Crown of Kel’Dan’s existence and that the Hand was very likely the proxy of Kel’Dan, leading to one of the Commune questions.)

The party was then conscripted into taking part in the debate between the various leaders of the Temple and Cor Ferrea about defensive plans for the upcoming siege. After hearing various good arguments for all sides, the consensus (not unanimous, but over 2/3 of the party) was that 1. The Temple could not hold all of the people of Cor Ferrea and the Temple 2. The people of Cor Ferrea should not be left undefended 3. There wasn’t enough trained guards to guard both sites 4. The Temple could not be left intact for the Corruption ritual. At the insistence of Lady Fireborn, the party was left to persuade the leaders of the necessity of taking the relics of the temple to Cor Ferrea and retiring the Temple with respect. Which they did.

The session ended with plans being drawn up to move the refugees and relics to Cor Ferrea.

Addendum: Prince Rashid lost no time in sending a ransom note to Lady Fireborn, demanding the sword of the seraph in return for the life of the Corbin granddaughter. Actually letting Rashid have the sword was out of the question, even for Lady Fireborn. The note stated that the swap is to occur at midnight, in the courtyard of the temple of Rozerus in Cor Ferrea. The party requested, and will receive, support from the Knights Arcanus. The plotting on how to best deal with the servant of Kal’Dan also continues.

Addendum 2: Another factor in choosing Cor Ferrea over the Temple: wall height. With ogres and giants anticipated to be in the siege forces, the Temple’s wall height of 15 feet would not be enough to fend off foes of greater stature.

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Session 51

The next morning, the party headed north of the Temple towards the Corbin farmstead as a favor to Lady Fireborn. When they arrived, they discovered the bodies of Lexius and Margaret Corbin. The other Corbins weren’t to be found at the house. The party chased after relatively fresh footprints, following them out into the Corbin farmland.

There they discovered none other than Archduke Panthershite and seven of his minions in and around the crater where Lady Fireborn was found. Also present (under guard) were Elton and Genevive Corbin. Alexis Corbin, the youngest, was being detained by Viscount Pumascratch, who held a knife to her throat.

The largest of Comte Restes de LĂ©opard’s escorts found something in the dirt of the crater. Baronet Lionhairball began to fly off with Alexis, while the Beldarian who found the item made to leave by land. Battle was joined. Hostages were grievously injured. Weretigers… were’d? In the end, the weretiger was slain, Raugraf Weakbowels Ocelet teleported with the girl, and the item they found confiscated by force.

The item, it turns out, was the handle (and possibly the entirety) of a Sword of the Heavens wielded by Archseraph Sephara. Pieces began to fall together. The party returned to the Temple with the survivors and the item.

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Session 50
Sanctuary

The group spent the day and night at the Temple of the Three, all doing what they could to help refugees, train guards, stand watch, and inspire hope. First, however, they were summoned to meet with the Lady Fireborn. She was dressed in white, with a veil covering most of her face, and walked with a definite limp. They spoke with her of their business in Wayreach, and she asked them a favor. She sensed that the family who had found her and who had taken her in, the Corbins, were in imminent danger from Rashid and his Panther cult. She asked that the adventurers find the family and bring them back to the temple as soon as possible. Lady Fireborn also apparently still has a connection to Rozerus, and offered to answer questions. The two most pertinent answers were that the Red Friars had indeed been taken over by the Outside Forces, and that Briterrion could shatter the artificat of Kal’Dan, but was unable to do so yet.

Caiden revealed himself to the Medicus, and spoke with her of the dangers of the Panther cult.

News also came that the civil war had ended.

The party retired for the night, intending to travel to the Corbin farm the next morning.

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Session 49 (Reunited)

In Cor Ferrea, Dusan, Takeo, Simon, Thomas, and Milaena decided to wait until the remaining members of the party returned before leaving the city and making their way north to the Temple of the Three. While there, Dusan, Milaena, and Takeo did what they could to put the people of the city at ease and help the beleaguered guards.

Meanwhile, Wren, Caiden, and Derek had convinced as many of the civilians of Grimsteer to come north to Cor Ferrea as they could. The journey was perilous, including problems from the corrupted civilians and an attack from some sort of stitched together monstrosity (Three guesses who was responsible for that) made from the corpses of dozens of knights, an attack that nearly killed Caiden.

The smoke from the fire lit to burn those corpses alerted the northern party of the possibility of their companions’ presence. The group gathered their mounts and rode south, meeting Caiden, Derek, and Wren on the road.

By the time the party made their way to Cor Ferrea, it was nearly dark. The party decided to stay in the city overnight and ride north the next day. The journey to Temple was, thankfully, relatively boring.

The session ended with the party reunited inside the gates to the Temple of the Three.

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