Edge of Darkness: The Broken Circle

Kel'Dan's General Part 2
Wrong Door

After a brief rest, the party prepared to assault the ziggurat itself. There were two options available: either open the door near the bottom, or climb up to the top. After examining the door and not finding anything on it but a basic lock (which was done with easily enough by Simon’s Knock spell, the party burst open the doors…

…and were swiftly attacked by four black dragon skeletal guardians. The fight went well enough, until the very large dragon skeleton in the middle was about to attack, and an invisible winter wight from the top joined in. As a blizzard hit. Bad news all around. Using all available effort (and some rare af Hero Points) the party managed to barely escape. Not all to the same place, or completely intact, but alive.

While recovering in Xethis, many of the party members were approached by… interested parties. How will this affect the oncoming invasion? Will everything still go belly-up?

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Kal'Dan's General Part I
Ziggurats and Corpses.

The party teleported to a point just outside of the ruins of an old Dirisskilssi city in the Blood Plains. It seemed to have been recently inhabited, but the creatures who had been operating out of there (likely sinspawn) had left.

While making their way through the ruins towards a large temple ziggurat, a large stone slab came to the attention of the party. Based on its construction, it appeared to be a vault in which a large creature was being contained, and the inscription revealed that the vault’s creators believed that the vault would open at the “end of times.” A large gem had been recently attached (recent being a relative term) to the vault, that seemed to allow telepathic contact with the thing in the vault. This gem was quickly thrown in the volcano near Mystryl Keep (?).

As the party prepared to enter the ziggurat at a door near its base, a mound of corpses half buried under the snow animated and began to stomp the party into oblivion. While several party members went down, final death came first to the corpse construct/flesh titan.

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The Fall of Vadraco, from the journal of Takeo Cae'Arytiss

After the events at the Platinum throne. On the betrayal of Blackfang and Klintendekendor. On the ascension of Takeo.

The party was preparing to gather, at Aurenia where the armies would muster to march into Wayreach to confront the Source. Fate had other plans. As Simon was preparing to bring the rest of the party to meet up in Aurenia, Lady Fireborn went to Simon and said that she needed to see Takeo immediately. Upon the party reforming, Lady Fireborn informed me that Vadraco had need to speak with Takeo as soon as possible and that she needed us outside of the darkness to be able to shift us to the Platinum Throne.

The party left with all haste and were shifted into the heavens, or more specifically Bahar’s former seat of power in the planes. All around were figures that looked like a cross between a dragon and a human fighting with little green men and with chromatics. Suddenly in the sky we saw the largest dragon we had ever seen, more something of argent force than of any true type. He crossed the sky and tore apart several red dragons as well as some silver triangle things that seemed to fly that were piloted by these little green men. Klint and Black Fang were attacking Vadraco in a direct assault. Some round object shot a rather large green beam at Vadraco and he fell to the ground where we rushed to his side.

To preserve some of his power and shelter it away from Black Fang and Klint, he imbued it into Takeo making him a proxy of his power. Then he said to flee, as fast as possible. After doing some searching around within the main temple grounds, and aquiring some diamonds, the party was able to find a way out to the Astral plane as a direct route back was locked. However, before they were able to affect their escape, Black Fang and Klint backed Vadraco into the temple. They offered Vadraco the chance to join them, or to die. He stood his ground but was cut down by Black Fang. The party made good their escape and then returned to Ondoron and the material plane.

After returning Ral’Tandrack wanted to speak with Simon and Takeo. They again left the sphere and were given a portal to go visit. We told Ral’Tandrack what had occurred and what we had seen. We were then told that Mithos Ironhorn had also been attacked and was wounded and missing. Again, returning to the material and bringing everyone up to speed a short visit was payed to the Dark Elves marching with the forces from Phoenix. The news of Mithos was shared to be passed to Jagdar.

Deville and the black dragons joined up in Aurenia, and presented an offer to bring the orcs in to join the Army of a Thousand Lights. With the Emperor’s agreement and a teleportation circle from Simon the orcs were brought in with a promise of a land grant in Milas Hostium. Simon was also able to use a circle to bring in the elves from Qual’evan.

With roughly two days until the forces from Phoenix arrive, Lady Fireborn again presented unique options to the party. Some time back, Dusan had been told that with a collection of Seraphim statuettes he would be able to find the blade that was his birthright. The emperor’s blade of Luminairre that had been missing for over 100 years. The last of these statuettes had been located, the most difficult of them because it was lost in the Blood Plains. Currently in possession of a general of our enemies. Lady Fireborn had a location for this draconic entity. Now it was time for the party to act. To reclaim Dusan’s birthright and push forward. We leave for the Blood Plains.

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Unlikely Alliances

As plans were being drawn up for marching west, a flight of blue dragons landed in the snow just outside the gates of Phoenix. Their riders, a group of armored dark elves, requested to speak with the leadership of the new kingdom. They informed the ruling council that Dracnus wanted the situation in Trigonum and the Blood Plains dealt with, and offered to send troops to help with the situation. Dracnus also wanted to set up an embassy in new kingdom. Both of these terms were debated and eventually agreed on by the ruling council. Dusan’s efforts to convince the Lord Knights of the benefits of the arrangement did not finish nearly as quickly.

The agreement with the black dragons and their orc allies was finalized. They would have control of the land, and have the opportunity to investigate claims of damages. In return, we would charge them a certain amount of gold for damages done by their dragons or orcs. They would purchase food, rather than steal from neighboring areas. Again, trying to convince the Lord Knights took nearly as long as finalizing the agreement.

The party has split up. Takeo is marching his constructs toward the meeting point in Aurenia, along with the other Trigonum troops that are marching into Wayreach. The remaining troops are marching to Aurenia from Phoenix.

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Concessions and Compromise

The first few days of the new government in Free Luminairre were focused around preparing for troop movements and attempting to arrange agreements with the other powers in the area. Attempts to determine how to resolve the divided Miles Hostiam situation led the current ruling council to come to the conclusion that some concessions were needed to both sides, but that securing the western border remained the biggest concern for the moment. Messages to the rulers of both sides were drafted, and the possibility of recognizing the land claim of Warlord Charon was set into writing.

Negotiations were opened with the black dragons of Trigonum for setting aside the province of Wayreach for the dragons after the threat on Wayreach’s soil had been cleared. No final agreement had been reached before the troops of Ashwick began to make their way westward, into Trigonum.

Numbers for troop distribution had been provisionally decided upon, and the first set of orders had been sent out to the troops loyal to the regency. The lamps necessary for the safe passage of troops in Wayreach were being produced.

Next up, final arrangements for the continuity of government in Phoenix must be determined before the ruling council prepares to take up arms and march on Wayreach and the Source.

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Deal with the Devil, Dead Gods, & Politics
The Party Broke the Campaign Setting

From the Journal of Malaena Lucidius

We returned from the siege of Redwall last night. May I never live to see another! So much loss at a time when we can ill afford it. But it is taken, and one less enemy lies at the gate.

We have news of another loss—Lord Demonbane. He was assaulting Fort Adamant, from whence disturbing news had come. Given what we guessed of his nature, though, I wonder if he is truly dead. I devoutly pray not; that would be a blow indeed.

There still has been no sign of Wren. Tomorrow we go to Phoenix, for the conclave of what remains of the untainted Luminairre. Leaders must be raised and paths chosen…

…I should not be surprised anymore when Wren is involved with the dark Watchers. This time, through no fault of her own. We were about to leave for Phoenix, taking with us Baron Gorgonmaster and Duke Ashlane, when a mysterious woman accosted Simon and told him that if he wished to find Wren, we should follow. The Baron and Duke were asked to wait for us while we investigated.

The woman was Ylchia. She had taken Wren during our travels north, and offered her now as a gift for hearing out the watcher’s deal.

The deal. Oh Mirala’ana, what shall we do about the deal? It is true that Rozerus is ill, and keeping him alive is draining more and more resources from Heaven. Resources that are sorely needed in the battle against the Outer Evil. Ylchia offers us Britteron and information that would stop the war in Qual-Evan (thus allowing the elves to join our fight against the threatening invasion) and that would allow us to rescue the priest from Takeo’s dream.

The price, though. Ylchia can bring Dusan to the mind of Rozerus. Dusan must only speak the truth of the situation. We all know what the likely result is: the suicide of Rozerus. We are now in Phoenix, and trying to focus on politics. But I doubt that any of us can truly think of anything else but what to do about the deal…

I don’t believe I have slept in 36 hours. Yesterday, it must be yesterday, was full of politics. There are the expected factions here, of course, along with observers from the Orcs and the black dragons. There are two from Milas Hostium as well, one who styles himself Warlord and who has brought about half the country under his command. Another is a former duke struggling to keep what was his.

That night, we received a summons to meet someone at a keep not far off. I was not familiar with it, but it seemed to make everyone else nervous. We rode there, and waited in the courtyard. The walls above were lit here and there by torches. Something large was flying, occasionally blocking the moon as it circled closer. At last it landed, and the dim light glinted off of gold scales.

The reports of Lord Demonbane’s death had been greatly exaggerated. He shows himself now in his true form, and we are to call him Primus. He also brought Dusan two Knight Lord swords: his own, and Octavian Luminairre’s. Primus, it seems, has also dealt with Octavian. The man is not dead, but will not be troubling us for some time. I take that to mean that Primus has Octavian locked in some other dimension for a time.

We paraded back to Phoenix at dawn, the red sun giving a ruddy glow to Primus’s scales as he flew above us. Dusan led, carrying the swords before him. Simon conjured some sort of drumming sound, almost at the edge of hearing, to accompany us. Our appearance made a sensation.

Today, more politics. Dusan’s name was now one of those spoken of as a potential leader for this true Luminairre. He does not say much, but I know that he must be troubled about whether to accept, and whether to accept in his true name.

And…we have decided. Simon spoke with his Ral’Tandrack, and apparently Ylchia has been making the same argument in Heaven, only also adding there that the bones of Rozerus could be used to make the weapons that can harm the Outsiders. We spoke to Serena also, who said that she could serve as a conduit to Rozerus, thus ensuring that what Dusan says to Rozerus will not be twisted. We go tonight….

It is done, and may Mirila’ana never discover my part in it. We summoned Ylchia, and took her deal. Dusan spoke to Rozerus. He has not done anything, but a wild storm is sweeping in. I do not doubt that Rozerus will do what has to be done.

We have Braterion, although Wren has been warned against using it? him? until we are within Wayreach and it is too late for the guardians Kal’Dan placed about it to discover the theft. We also know that Kal’Dan is behind the war between the hobgoblins and the Qual-Evani. His forces have been pillaging the black dragons, stealing their treasure and forcing them out of their lands. The treasure in turn has been used to pay the hobgoblins for their war. We have a schedule of the shipments.

We intend to intercept some, to create a payment for the red dragon that currently holds the trapped priest. He wishes to get back at his father, and what better way than to let it be known that his father disobeyed a direct order from the emperor? I’m unsure how Takeo will take the idea of letting the red dragon live, but it a less risky path. Eventually, we do plan to let the black dragons know where their treasures are being sent. Not, however, until the forces of the true Luminairre have taken their finder’s fee. I’m both amused and a bit remorseful for this omission of truth, but we need the funds too badly to immediately tell the black dragons about it. I believe Primus and others will be dispatched to handle the raiding of the shipments…

It is done. Rozerus is dead. It is done. My poor goddess. I spent most of the day on my knees, praying for forgiveness. But she does not know. Rozerus awoke one last time, to bid his family goodbye. Simon speaks sense, and I must keep this thing to myself. Mirala’ana does not know the part that Ylchia played, or that we played, and if I wish to be able to go to the final fight against the Source, I must not betray it. Ylchia must be pleased indeed.

A more ordered telling of events, before I forget. The storm raged last night, and in the morning, those who follow Rozerus were…strange. First as though nothing was there, and then, as though the full power of Rozerus flowed once again. Telarus fully took the mantle of his father. I can but speculate what that will do to those who are yet uncorrupted in greater Luminairre. Will they be able to see the evil their fellows have fallen into? Will they return to us?

Anyway, the Lady Fireborn summoned all to a great meeting, where she told all gathered of Rozerus’s death and the ascension of Telarus. Or, it would be more proper to say that Telarus himself spoke to us through her. The Watcher is dead. Long live the Watcher…

More politics. I weary of it, to be honest. But, there is momentous news: Dusan Luminairre has declared himself. He is trying now to see what his chances are of leading True Luminairre, trying to sway others to support his cause. I have been doing my part in this, but as a common-born cleric, I have not the facility for the work that others do. Still things look promising at this stage. More tomorrow, after I have slept away this boredom…

And today Dusan has been chosen. We could not win the support of either faction from Milas Hostium, which is not surprising. Our travels have not taken us back to my home, and Dusan’s deeds do not echo there. We may be able to win one side or the other, but that depends on how Dusan decides to deal with the Orcs and black dragons.

The Duke is opposed to any such alliance. I understand his point, but I think such an alliance will be necessary to front the forces coming from the Blood Plains. The Warlord, on the other hand, sees the necessity of such an alliance. indeed, he already has…permitted might be too strong a word…Orcs to settle in parts of Milas Hostium. Also, and perhaps more worryingly, he as been approached by ones with the strange symbols on their foreheads. From Rozeril. He has promised not to ally with us, in return for non-aggression from Luminairre. He…does not seem to trust those representatives, but neither does he have reason to trust us.

Have I not spoken of the news from Rozeril? With so much else ill, I might not have. Rozeril is shut down. The capital demands more and more tribute from other provinces, but provides no services. Knights and other have disappeared. And agents of the Red Friars have appeared, people with a strange sign on their brows. It is a grief to hear, and we know but half.

We work now on our final assault on the Source. Lady Fireborn says that she can use the last of her grace to create torches that the darkness of Wayreach cannot quench. The party sent to raid the ships has been dispatched. Once the treasure has been secured, we go ourselves to rescue the priest. I don’t remember if anyone will be speaking with the Qual-Evani now, or if we shall wait until several shipments have stopped paying the hobgoblin army.

We are running out of time. May all the Watchers grant that we have enough to do what is needful.

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Wandering Around, Kicking Our Heels
We Need to Level Before We Can Do Our Stuff

After another day of exploration, the group found the secret entrance leading to the guardian hydra, Bronzinger. He let Takeo plead his case, and asserted that he would need to test our power before giving us the staff. The Elder Evils did not know exactly where the flights of old dragons rested, but had guardians nearby. We would have to defeat the guardians to awaken the flight(s).

We got our asses handed to us, but the existence of divine magic did surprise and somewhat impress the hydra. Bronzinger refused to give us the staff. He was not amused by Takeo’s telling of the Council of Wyrms.

We returned to Cor Draconis, got some (sort of) answers regarding Bahar’s actions if he ever came back; and decided to go look for a person imprisoned by a red dragon about a hundred years ago. Takeo had seen him in a dream from Vidrako, and the hope is that this silver warrior will give us the strength we need to face the Elder Evils.

Fortunately, some of the troops in Cor Draconis had been stationed near the place and were able to give Simon descriptions and a map. The teleport there was…imprecise, and it was discovered that Wren had been taken from the bag of holding in which she was travelling. Eventually the party made it to the valley. Using wind walk to conceal themselves, they scouted the valley.

It did not look good. Watchtowers and narrow, winding paths guarded the valley from the top. Roughly two dozen fire giants, plus trolls bred with fire giants, patrolled the paths, along with Saran foot soldiers. The only bit of good news: the valley floor itself was relatively unguarded, though the exact spot where the man had been imprisoned was buried under rocks.

After wafting back out, the team discussed the next best option. It was decided to approach the Quan-Evan to see if their forces would be willing to aid us in taking the valley. We found one of their leaders, and convinced him that it was a doable feat. He said, however, that he would need some time to get troops and resources together.

At a loss of what to do for another week of waiting, the party decided to return to Trigonum to help in the siege of Redwall. Though costly in lives, the city was taken and the vampires and followers of the Panther defeated. The party debates what to do now, as there are many things that need to happen; several things we’re waiting to have happen, and increasingly little time to accomplish it all.

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Oasis under Dragon Mountain

From the journal of Takeo Cae’Arytiss Brightleaf the 23rd

Our journeys continue and we plan for the next move. I write this night due to a very surprising event that happened today. While many of the days traveling with Dusan, Wren, Simon, Derek and Malena have been interesting and have had their up moments and their down this day was marked by something almost as wondrous as the opening of Dragon Mountain itself.

The day started simply enough, with a conversation with Lord Demonbane about our next steps. The Lord Knight was playing coy around a subject of some import, namely conversations with the Dragon Council to bring the metallic dragons out into the light and to get their help moving forward. Through this we decided on our course of action. Awakening and gaining the assistance of the Jao Lung, one of the flights of ancient dragons, children of Bahar. While we had some information about them it was not enough, simply a general location. Through research Simon was able to find that there was a staff, held here, in trust by Bronzinger a Hydra created by Ylchia but supposedly loyal to Bahar.

Ylchia, of course she is involved. She brought up a deal to Wren, in an attempt to take out of play a resurrection of Bahar. This plan was vetoed by the group however I have stepped up security around the sanctuary regardless.

It is thought that this Bronzinger is lairing within the mountain to preserve its current state of agelessness. We started a search in the hopes of opening a dialog to retrieve the staff to awaken the Jao Lung and the Tien Lung. We started in the throne room of the old dragon council. While we suspected many things, and many passages what we found simply amazed us. Near the throne of the Jao Lung we found our first passage that lead down through a watery route. Simon and I swam it while the rest of the party were secreted in our bags for the transit. After something of a 10 minute swim in the dark we emerged on the other side of the passage.

We emerged in a pool surrounding and within a very large garden in what appeared to be the sun of midday. Exiting the water and retrieving all of our members we began to look around. The grass was short and tidy, the fountains in perfect working order and the shrubs all immaculately kept. Looking around further explained how this had staid to be in this secluded environment. Kobolds. Many many kobolds. After scaring them with our appearance we took up conversation with them and learned many things. We took a tour of their holdings and normally I would not refer to something underground as such but it is simply amazing. Multiple large chambers, some acres large showed farmed land, and herd animals, sheep, goats and aurochs. We were shoed one of their objects held in high regard, another sphere of annihilation. It was obvious at that point that the kobolds had been locked in here from before the closing of Dragon Mountain those many millennia before.

Possibly more amazing was what we learned after Malena offered healing to any wounded kobolds. The chief of the tribe we had been talking to, apparently one of a dozen or more produced a gold ingot the size of a human fist. When we questioned them further the kobolds revealed that though control of the mines and various resources alternates between the different tribes, his currently held possession of the gold mine. And that there was a silver mine as well. And one of Adamantine. To put it mildly we were shocked.

When asked of Bonzingen the kobolds said that he only appeared when the kobolds were straying and not appeared to them for several generations. We left promising to be back soon. Tomorrow brings more exploration.

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Ritual to restore Duke Ashlane

The group returned to Phoenix to gather resources and to try to find someone able to cast the Miracle needed to get on to the demi-plane. After selling a few items and a little collection plate work we were able to gather the cash and other materials needed for the ritual. During that time, Dusan visited his estates to check in. Also Malena and Simon undertook a remarkable task to save Wren’s life.

Materials and cost in hand the group set about finding a cleric of Mir’alana that was able to cast the miracle. Pulling the cleric off of the front lines of the conflict was not the easiest of processes but was able to be accomplished. After some Simon Teleports the group was back in the Fortress of Animus. After a night’s rest and some recuperation for our erstwhile cleric we were able to talk to the draconic protector and obtain a scale and the portkey.

From there we transported to the demi-plane with the healing waters. We gathered enough for both Duke Ashlane as well as some extra for our cleric to use. After some negotiation with the dragon the portkey will be secured in the citadel at Cor Draconis under the protection of the Hiskarssii.

The group returned to Cor Draconis and found a room within the citadel to do the ritual with some interesting possibilities. The ritual was prepared for and Lady Fireborn and a group of clerics were gathered to perform the healing ritual which was successful.

The portkey was secured in the temple within the citadel under guard of several golems.

With Duke Ashlane recovering the party plots its next moves.

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Sanctuary of Animus part vier

The party prepared themselves for the worst, and opened the door into the dragon’s room, waking it up. While we were unable to get a name from it (we were attempting to appease it so it wouldn’t simply attack us) we did answer some basic questions. Things like who we were, where we were going, what our quest was, etc.

In talking with the dragon, we discovered a few important items. First, the dragon was willing to cooperate with us up to a point. It didn’t seem eager to get into a fight with us, but it would not allow us to open the door to the inner sanctum. We did convince it to burrow past the sanctum and into Animus’s library. There we found the directions for creating the elixir needed to heal Duke Ashlane. Unfortunately, the elixir required access to the healing wellspring that Animus had warded in its own separate demiplane, the only portal to which was in the Inner Sanctum.

At this point, we party traveled back to Takatenu. There, Takeo used the Sending Stone to contact Lord Demonbane to ask for his potential help in taking on the Demonlord Ebboleth. He said he was willing to assist, but wanted time to wrap things up in Luminairre before he left. His tone did not convey confidence in his or the party’s ability to subdue Ebboleth.

From there, the party went to meet with the High Priestess of Ankhus (Mirala’ana) in Takatenu. She said she would be able to create a key to the demiplane if we were able to acquire a small piece of someone or something that had been to the demiplane at some point. The party left without making any commitment to an answer, as we recalled that Animus did not want Xethans to have access to the wellspring. Apparently they had plans at some point to use it as a weapon, and Animus highly disapproved.

Afterwards, the party met the Pharoah of Xethis. While the meeting had first been set up as a possibility to gain his help in creating a key to Animus’s wellspring, the party came to the conclusion before the meeting to try to keep the Xethans out of it if at all possible. Dusan instead used the meeting as an opportunity to inform the pharoah about the capabilities of the invading outsiders, and an advisement to keep watch. While the outsiders hadn’t made it to Xethis yet, there was still the possibility that they could.

From there, the party made their way back to Animus’s fortress and spoke to the dragon again. We discovered that it had, in fact, been to the well’s demiplane, and we were able to convince it to give up a scale on two conditions: 1. that we were able to find someone to create the key, and 2. that said key would be immediately returned to the dragon after we got what we needed.

Afterwards, the party headed to Phoenix. The search was on to find someone able to create the key to the wellspring who could be trusted. Oh, and (for some of the party) help where they could in preparation for the coming war.

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