Realm Runners

CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE: Aces' Story
On a Boat


Aces stands on the bow of a small single mast ship, gulls scream and circle in the clear, sunny sky above. The cool wind and fresh salty spray feel refreshing on her skin. Behind her, on the deck of the vessel, she can see a number of fishermen, gutting and preparing the catch for sale on the city docks in Waterdeep. It has been almost a year since she and Ree’vr became crew members on the “Flounder.”

After Sigil


When Aces, Ree’vr and Scribnib jumped through the portal in Sigil, they found themselves suffocating on the other side. What they expected to be the arid desert landscape of Athas, was in reality, an ocean of salty water. They were drowning! Their vision growing dark, they are pulled upward. In their heads, the Mul and Thri’kreen hear a calming voice “Struggling is unwise.”

When they awoke, they found themselves on the deck of the Flounder with four bushy bearded fishermen and a young girl staring down at The two. Scribnib was nowhere to be seen. The captain, Benburt Brinebrow, told them that he and his crew rescued them both from an aquatic tentacled monster. They took them both on as members of their crew. Conveniently, they had two spots open, as they had recently lost a pair of brothers…to an aquatic tentacled monster.

They picked up swimming and then swabbing, and then fishing, and eventually sailing. The young girl, Sinna Brinebrow, with her father’s permission has taken to learning how to fight by the outsiders and even more impressive, she seems to have some latent psionic ability.

During the nights at anchor, Aces is always accosted to share the stories her adventures, and were told tales of the high seas in return. The majority of which unfortunately devolve into arguments about who caught the biggest fish.

That evening in a secluded cove, after sail has been stowed and anchor dropped, over the fire and fish and drink, they tell stories once again.

Story Time


Nick stands, nearly falling overboard and yells out…

“Okay okay! I’ll go first! Once upon a time, I caught a fish so big and so ugly…” He points to Benburt… “I thought I’d saved your mother from drowning!”

Benburt shrugs his punch off and replies “Your mother drowned years ago! She drank herself to death after havin’ you pop from’er slimy bilge!”

Nick, noticeably annoyed, jumps over the side and heads toward the shore to gather herbs and coconuts.

Sinna pushes Aces to tell a story, and the Mul jumps up and claps her hands together, Sinna pulls out her waterlogged journal and gets ready to take notes.

The Mutant Mekillot


Aces and fourteen other gladiators rush the pile of weapons she dove for the rope expecting to pull a bladed hook, but when it came out of the pile, it was, in fact, just a rope.

Sinna interrupts and asks that Aces tell the story in her native accent, because it sounds more epic. Aces nods in agreement and continues.

The sand in the center of the arena bulged, as something huge began to pull itself up from under the arena floor. The other gladiators rush the creature and find their weapons useless against it’s domed carapace. It moved quickly, faster than any other Mekillot with it’s extra legs. This was the fabled many legged Mekillot! Aces laughed at the stupidity of the other gladiators and ran around to the right, the Mekillot attempted to follow, but even with it’s extra legs, it could not keep up, and turned back to crush a few of the other gladiators beneath it’s belly.

Aces jumped up on the beast’s tail and rolled onto it’s carapace. She sprinted over it’s back, right up to the back of it’s head and flipped the ends of the rope around her arms. With a quick movement, she turned the length around and wrapped it over it’s beak. As it fell back under it’s neck, Aces yelled out “This is how you kill a Mekillot!” and threw all her 300 pounds backward onto it’s shell. The creature howled and gurgled, lifting it’s head and body in attempts to relieve the tension, but only making it worse by dangling Aces over it’s back.

She heard the snap of it’s gullet and it began to roll to the side, crushing two more gladiators on the ground. Aces let her self be rolled along it’s shell until she could catch her feet and run off it’s side as it crashed to the sand. The dusted herself off and ripped the rope off the thing’s neck.

Everyone on the Flounder cheered excitedly.

The Starseed


Sinna finishes writing something in her journal and thanks Aces, then she stands…

“I have a story!” She says.

“Long ago, there was a girl, lost on the tides of Faerun. She was said to have drowned somewhere in this very sea, and carried with her to the bottom, a treasure of many worlds. The Starseed it was called! Many a sailor, pirate and treasure hunter have since hunted the tides for her bones in hopes of discovering her secrets.”

“But the allure of her invaluable treasure was only half of what drove men to their deaths upon the waves in chase. Beyond what she carried, she herself was a treasure, because this little lady had special powers.”

“Every time someone would get too close, the girl would jump away! To be chased, again and again…for all of eternity!”

She pauses, a look of disappointment across her face, then says "OR! orrr, until she finally finds love, and then she could take them jumping with her…for all of eternity! Yup!

Benburt interjects “You made that up!”

Sinna throws a glare at her father. “Nu-uh! I heard it from Mr. Gusterson in Molden Port, it’s a true story!”

From the island, Aces, Ree’vr and Sinna hear a yelp from Nick and then silence. Sinna puts her journal away and pulls her cutlass, diving into the water. Aces follows and Ree’vr jumps from the boat to the shore.

Strand Hunters


The three follow Nick’s tracks along the foliage line until they find a grouping of tracks eventually leading to three foul smelling creatures dragging Nick’s body behind them. Aces rushes in with her maul and Snna follows waving her cutlass. Ree’vr jumps after them stabbing with his Gythka. The two larger Troglodytes head off their attackers biting and swinging their clubs. Behind them, a Tide Chanter uses his staff to channel poison rays and spur on his guards. It is a bloody fight, and before it ends Aces and Sinna are knocked unconscious and revived, and Ree’vr falls after a nasty bite from one of the Trogs. Aces is distraught at the loss of her friend. She pouts.

Benburt and the rest of the crew bring Ree’vr’s seemingly lifeless body back to the boat to put on ice. Aces and Sinna search the Trogs and take the Tide Chanter’s clothes and helm. They discover that Nick is still alive and was only paralyzed from a nasty bite.

Ree’vr awakens in darkness to find himself ice cold and surrounded by fish. He pushes open the doors to the hold and bounces off the Flounder to catch up to his friends. Benburt and crew are confused.

A Treasure of Many Worlds


Following the Troglodyte’s tracks back to their origin they discover a horrifically smelling lair. Inside are the rotting corpses of many dead animals and humanoids. In the back of the cave is a pile of gold. When they begin to collect it, Aces notices, there are athasian ceramic pieces among the gold. Sinna points out that even some of the gold pieces are foreign to her and she quickly draws parallels to her story and the great treasure that the girl sank to the bottom of the sea with.

They return to the Flounder and give some of the gold to Benburt to buy out the next day of fishing to explore the island a little more.

The Last Troglodyte


The next morning, they set out to explore again. When they come across a Troglodyte eating a deer, they assassinate him and raid his lair, discovering more rotting corpses, and this time, there are dead Troglodytes among them.

They make their way around the small island, and eventually up it’s single craggy peak, rising just over the top of the canopy. From the vantage, Sinna can see the other surrounding islands as well as a swirling tornado over the water about two miles out. She hops down and grabs the hands of Aces and Ree’vr running them back to the beach.

Fish Vortex


Sinna pilots the Flounder through the turbulent waters towards the fish vortex. A swarm of hungry seagulls spins above creating a cyclone of white feathers, Aces and Ree’vr prepare their nets while Benburt and the crew ready the hold for stock.

Circling the edge of the funnel, Aces and Ree’vr haul in net after net full of fish while Sinna does her best to keep the boat on a steady course. She does an expert job until something starts crashing against the hull. Nick yells from below that the boat is taking on water and Ree’vr heads down to attempt a patch. Sinna feels the boat right itself as it drifts out of the vortex uncontrolled. The rudder is gone. Aces jumps into the water and as the fish begin to disperse, she can see two Sharks swimming towards her.
The first one manages to take a bite out of her before she is able to teleport it onto the deck of the Flounder, where Ree’vr is quick to put it to death. Sinna jumps in to cut off the second and with the help of the Mul, they leave it belly up.

Now that the vortex has cleared, Aces and Sinna notice a dark shape far below them. It looks like the sunken wreck of a ship…

Wreck and Rescue


Sinna spots a three masted sailing vessel emerging from behind one of the nearby islands. With a spyglass, Benburt identifies the ship as “The Maiden” a fast attack pirate killer from Luskan, coming to lend aid.

Sinna and Aces throw each other an excited look and rush to grab the anchor. Aces jumps in holding it to speed her descent. Sinna watches the line She knows she can’t make it to the drowned ship but hopes she can get close enough to discover it’s name. The wreck is mummified in seaweed. It’s writhing stalks twist and turn trailing off its stern as in an eternal plunge towards a bottom long since hit.

Aces can make out just the last three letters of it’s nameplate. “-EED

Sinna bugs Aces about what she saw and she tells her it was a nameless wreck. Sinna twists her face in disappointment.

Moments later, the mul gets back to the deck and The Maiden arrives. It’s captain, a man named Cave Wygarthe offers to tow the Flounder back to Waterdeep.

That night, Aces tells Sinna and Ree’vr that the wreck might have been the Starseed. Sinna gets excited but then upset that Aces kept it from her, breaking her trust. The woman tries to explain that she had to keep it a secret so as not to fall on the ears of the Maiden’s crew. Sinna pouts.

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CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR: Assault on Baldur's Gate Part II
The Feypoppies


Aces, Modreg, Sam and Lythannis chase Sparky and Radar through the streets. Ahead, they can see the wizard’s tower walls. The pugs zip past the two guarding swordmages and continue towards the tower through it’s gardens but stop when they realize they are no longer being followed.

The swordmages halt the heroes as they approach. Sam informs the guards that they believe their friend Mentathenis to be in danger and need access to the tower. The guard informs them that the tower is closed to all coming or going while the city is under attack, but that one of them would go fetch him for the visitors. The second elf heads towards the tower while the other stands to watch the battle across the city.

Becoming impatient, Sam uses a diplomatic approach to finally persuade the guard to allow one of them through. Sam catches up to the pugs and heads into the tower, following them through the halls and downstairs into the wizard’s library, where she finds Mentathenis, a ghost, the second elven swordmage and a guard, pondering over a chest at the back of the library.

Aces waits outside with Modreg and Lythannis. More soldiers and guards rush passed them towards the front gates of the city, catapults and other devices of war are being rolled by. Townsfolk are running up and down the streets in a panic and women are drag their children behind them in attempts to keep up with their husbands. Amidst the chaos, the mul spots three very colorfully, well-dressed elven girls making their way quickly through the crowd. They are chased by four dwarves, all with large gear sacks slung over their backs and hauling suitcases behind them. One of the elven girls drops a piece of paper and it floats across the street to land in a puddle in front of Aces. the girl falls out of line to go after it and yells out “Oh no, Sona! Guys! Wait!” The other two girls and dwarves slow for a moment as she fetches the paper, frowns at it being soaked through and catches back up to the group. They continue rushing through the crowd.

Upon hearing the name Sona, Aces chases them down. When she catches them, the rearmost dwarf notices the large woman approaching and gives her a nod. “What do ye want?” he asks.
Aces inquires about Sona and this draws the attention of the elven girls, who turn and walk back in curiosity. “Do you know Sona Summergale?” The one with the soaked paper asks excitedly. Aces responds with a yes and asks who the girls are. They line up and pose in front of the mul. “I’m Teena Tigerlily! I’m Vitnee Moonshale! I’m Chael Starwind! and we are The Feypoppies!” they all say in unison. “And these are our supporting dwarves! Rumburt, Raggert, Radnor and Rimblenose.”

When pushed for more information about Sona, Aces reveals that she knows the woman very well but that she was taken by the forces of Shade. She learns that the Feypoppies are searching for her in interest of having her lead their musical group, and that they are currently rushing towards a chartered boat called “the Tombstone” that is soon to be returning to Neverwinter. Thinking quickly, Aces promises many stories about Sona to the girls if she and her friends could accompany them on their boat to Neverwinter. They agree, and tell the mul that the boat is at dock number four, leaving in 30 minutes time.

Aces heads back to the wizard’s tower and asks Modreg to gather their things along with Megilwath and Fanidea from the Gatehouse Inn, and sends Lythannis off to get Terrlen and the others towards the gates of the city.

Dark City


Krushi fires herself into the sky. a lightning bolt sizzles the ground where she stood while Ehd, Cliff and Ree’vr turn to face down a Knight of Shade and a Shadow Spreader. In an instant the halfling is flying high above the dark city and it’s swarm of gargoyles looking down at its twisted architecture. She heads down towards the tower line for a better look. Among the bizarre layout of alleys, hallways, tunnels and thin bridges, she can see many shadows milling about along walls, but no physical beings within it’s commons. As she is exploring, a Gargoyle spots her and before it can fly towards her, she disappears in a forked lightning strike to duck into one of the old towers. Inside the tower is mostly empty save for a few dancing shadows. Much of the cities inhabitants seem to exist somewhere between the prime material and the shadowfell.

She pauses to focus on the energy empowering her, and feels drawn towards the largest of the city’s towers, a black windowless spire rising far above the rest. She follows the draw of power down to the maze level and through it’s twisted passageways, she finds a path from below up through the hollow structure to it’s top, where she threads a small crevice and finds herself on the only floor of the tower. Strangely, the floor is open to a ghostly fog below, and a bridge extends from the tower’s side into nothingness. There are two decaying thrones and what appear to be twelve gaunt shadowy human-like figures carved from the walls in some sort of relief. A shiny dark faceted stone floats on a center island over the fog, surrounded by four statues.

Krushi can sense that the crystal she seeks is being held in an ornate chest placed off to the side of the room. She moves over to it and opens the lid to find the tiny black shard, it’s edges glowing faintly with radiant light.

She snatches it up and turns towards the floating dark stone in the center of the room…

Another Taken


Ehd, Cliff and Ree’vr, injured as they may be continue to fight against the Knight and the Spreader. Cliff is careful to keep hitting the shadow creature so it can not raise more than one Blazing Skeleton during the battle. Ree’vr assists Cliff and Ehd does all he can to see himself and his friends through the battle, healing and calling out strategy.

Just when they are able to put down the Shade Knight, Pyraxis and another imp carrying an hourglass, rise from the shadow. The Balor slashes Ree’vr with his lightning sword, pushing the Thri’Kreen off balance and then quickly bearing down on him for another attack. Ehd crushes the imp with a powerful attack and it struggles to stay airborne. Pyraxis grabs Ree’vr by the neck and drops into the shadow, taking the mantis with him. The imp follows and soon after so does the Shadow Spreader. Shade drifts to a point just over Baldur’s main gate and slows to a stop.

In an Instant


Sam makes her way into the wizard’s library with her two dogs to find Mentathenis, a ghost and a young man pouring over a chest. The eladrin greets the changeling and refocuses his attention to the magical seal upon the box. He has dealt with arcane seals of this power before, and recalls enough to break it handily. When he lifts the lid, a blindingly bright light explodes into the library. Sound is sucked from the room and beyond the growing light and flame, Mentathenis squints his eyes to make out the shape of a dagger laying at the bottom of the chest…

Aces feels a tremor beneath her feet and the gardens around the wizard tower are sent into the air as a bubble of stone and earth explodes from beneath the massive tower’s base. Aces is blown back nearly a block and debris is sent halfway across the city. The tower drops, and it’s base shatters outward under it’s own weight as it begins to crumble into its own footprint. Aces pulls herself to her feet and rushes towards the crumbling structure. A huge piece of wall riding the wave of destruction rolls towards her and she is buried under it.

Krushi’s Stand


As Krushi moves towards the black stone, the shadowy image of Symernia appears on the island below it. She speaks…“We have everything we need, it’s time.” and then fades away. Above the stone, the shadowy image of a blighted desert landscape comes into view and Krushi begins channeling her powerful lightning attacks into the dark object, damaging it and sending it spinning slowly in place.

Around the room, the eyes of all twelve gaunt shadowy figures open, and gaze into the now wobbling implement. Shadowy streams of dark energy flow between each of the figures eyes and the orb as Krushi continues to lay into it with her magic.

Gate’s Destruction


The earth begins to shake and the ground opens in a gaping maw tearing towards the gates of the city from Ehd and Cliff’s position. They watch Shade climb into the sky forming a vortex beneath it that shreds through the city walls lifting stone steel and hundreds of soldiers into the air. what isn’t lifted, falls into the wide crevice below. When the enclave disappears into a point the shock wave nearly throws Ehd and Cliff into the hole, but they manage to avoid plunging to their deaths. They run passed the carnage and ruin to seek their friends.

Regroup



Aces hears voices and the sound of rocks being thrown around. a shaft of light pours in on her darkness and she can see Modreg clearing away rubble along with Lythannis, Megilwath, Fanidea, Cliff, Ehd and Terrlen. Modreg extends his little green hand to hep her out and then dusts her off. All that’s left of the wizard’s tower is a giant mound of destruction.

The mul looks around to take inventory, asking about Mentathenis, Sam, Krushi and Ree’vr. Lythannis shakes his head in a sorrowed response about Mentathenis and Sam, and Ehd and Cliff tell her Ree’vr was taken by the shadovar and Krushi disappeared in a bolt of lightning. Aces turns and starts digging through the rubble and Modreg jumps in to help but Lythannis steps in to place his hand on the woman’s shoulder. “I don’t think anyone could survive that Aces, no survivors have yet been pulled save for you.” She swats the archer’s hand aside and continues to dig, the thought of losing her friends weighing heavily on her, then she remembers the boat. Struggling emotionally, she decides it best to get everyone out of the city and on to Neverwinter, appointing Lythannis to see through the excavation and regroup with the others when he discovered the fate of Menatathenis and Sam. He agrees to that plan and stays behind with Celestine as Aces runs everyone across the bleeding city of Baldur’s Gate towards the docks.

Into Darkness


Shade starts to tilt to the side as the halfling continues to light up the room with her abilities, further disrupting the black stone. A huge crash is felt throughout the tower and the floating city seems to stop, listing to one side. The image of the arid desert fades away, the dark figures stop channeling, and a shadowy barrier surrounds the stone. One of the twelve figures rips himself from the wall to approach the meddling halfling. “Intruder, what do you hope to accomplish with your weak magic?” Krushi turns and scowls at the wretched man. “What do YOU hope to accomplish? What do you WANT?” The figure grins, his teeth rotted.

Demons and Undead emerge from the walls and floor. Krushi can feel hot breath bearing down on her from behind. A deep voice answers “The Wraith Blade halfling, and we are now one step closer to acquiring it, thanks to you and your friends.” Krushi turns just in time to see the swing of a lightning sword, knocking her in the chest across the room. She falls near the crevice that she came in through and for a moment thinks about flinging herself into it to escape but realizes that the shard’s power has greatly diminished and so has her own. She knew would not survive a fall to the bottom without flight.

Pyraxis stalked towards the halfling, his flame whip crackling about as he whipped it menacingly. Krushi, weighed her options quickly and as the balor’s whip pulled back for the killing strike, the girl gathered her remaining energy and flew through the floor into the extra dimensional cloud space beneath the black stone…

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CHAPTER THIRTY THREE: Assault on Baldur's Gate Part I
The Crow Flies at Dawn


Early the next morning, Mentathenis and Lythannis are roused from their slumber by a rapping on their window. A large scraggly crow pecks away until the wizard opens the window to let it in, when it flies up to perch on his shoulder and continues it’s pecking on his head. Words begin to form in the eladrin’s mind, in broken common but readable enough…

“Come wizard library, check book, Saranine request.”

Mentathenis tells Lythannis he has been called away to check out a book and leaves immediately.

As the others wake up and prepare to head out, Lythannis let’s them know about Mentathenis’ errand. Aces has a feeling of dread fall over her. It feels like the night of the card game in Sigil. Townsfolk gasp in fear, women grab their children and run, men point to the sky over the city gates where the black silhouette of Shade hangs menacingly. War horns are sounded and guards begin to mobilize. Krushi can feel the same energy she felt at the goblin tower. As she moves towards the dark enclave, that power grows stronger. She can not take flight yet, but she is already feeling lighter on her feet. The group decides to split up. One group to go after Mentathenis and the other to follow Krushi into battle against Shade.

Aces, Modreg, Sam and Lythannis along with the help of Sparky and Radar head after the wizard. Krushi, Ehd, Cliff and Ree’vr move towards the main gates where a massive battle has begun for Baldur’s Gate. Megilwath and Fanidea, stay hidden at the Gatehouse Inn so as not to be seen and mistaken for the enemy. Terrlen helps get people to safety.

The Fields In Shadow


As the Halfling and her companions muscle their way through fleeing townsfolk, and charging soldiers, they can see the scope of the battle come into full view. Hundreds and hundreds of men of the Gate fight off a massive army of undead lead by Pyraxis, barking from the rear. A tiny imp flutters about him carrying a small device.

Boulders soar over head from the catapults of the city. A circling swarm of hundreds of gargoyles work to stop the attacks. A few at a time turn themselves to stone and dive bomb the approaching projectiles, knocking them off course or turning them to much smaller rocks upon impact.

Cliff and Ehd can see the enclave gradually sneaking its way forward towards them. Krushi feels herself gaining more energy and realizes that every time she has been in the presence of shade, her hair has gone static. She focuses on that energy and dark clouds begin to form in the distance. The four rush into battle where the enemy has broken through the lines. They take on a group of skeleton warriors and archers, chill born zombies, and blazing skeletons.

Cliff beats into splinters the many who swarm him, becoming enraged, he rips through the undead, until finally having to retreat to be healed by Ehd. The Warlord calls out tactics and inspires his friends to attack with a vengeance and keeps his eye on Krushi, who waits for her clouds to roll in, casually flinging her magical lightning across the fields and blowing up skeletons. Ree’vr jumps around the battle in strides, cutting down undead left and right with his Gythka and spinning his Chakras with deadly accuracy. Before long, the undead in their area have all become dead. Pyraxis yells out “This city’s end has come! Baldur’s Gate will fall!” He and the rest of his army sink into the shadow, leaving the soldiers on the field to look around at the ready. Rain begins to fall.

Krushi’s eyes narrow and ignite with electric energy, she looks into the sky…

The Wizard’s Library


Mentathenis makes his way swiftly across the city, his robes flowing behind him. He had been to the Royal Wizard’s Library before and knew where it was, but decided to follow the ugly black bird on the path it thought best through the crowded streets. War horns sounded in the distance and gradually drew closer, then receded again west over the city. As he approached the gates of the wizard square, he glanced behind him to see Shade in the distance. He knew he would have to make his visit to the library brief…

The two armored elven swordmages held up their hands at the approaching wizard, their gazes locked into the distance at the looming darkness. “What is your business here…wizard? Oh.” They apologetically bow and stand aside to let Mentathenis pass, then return to their stare.

He makes his way through the great doors and into the bowels of the massive tower. The eladrin wizard grins in excitement to be amongst so many of his arcane endowed fellow once again. Down the spiral stairs into the Wizard’s library he goes to greet the ghostly librarian, Andurel.

“Ah, Mentathenis, yes. The book that Saranine requested be saved for you…just came back in. It has been quite popular as of late. I didn’t know when you would make the gate, so I placed it back on the shelf…” the elven spirit said.

He motions for Mentathenis to follow him and the eladrin turns to walk after the specter. Without warning, the four large, lit braziers are snuffed out and the library is plunged into darkness, save for the blue glow of Andurel. Mentathenis casts light, and hard shadows of bookshelves are painted in broad strokes around the room. The sounds of hissing can be heard, and the animated dark of some small, quick nightmarish creatures scurry about…

“I do think…we are not alone in here right now.” Speaks the ghost.
“You are not wrong my departed friend, your assistance would be most appreciated.” as Mentathenis draws his wands.
“And you shall have it! I’ll not have my library disarranged!” Shouted Andurel!

A group of Runespiral Demons and Skulkers rush out of the darkness towards the two. Mentathenis launches a Scorching Burst on the creatures and fey steps to the top of a bookshelf, Andurel flips a book off a shelf and whacks one in the head, then follows the eladrin above. The demons scurry after them clawing biting and arcing lightning bolts out of their faces.

Guard #327


Reginald stood at the top of the library stairs. He spun his halberd between his hands, watching it skitter across the stones of the floor as it twisted on end. At 16 years old, he was new to the Bauldur’s Gate Guard, and knew that his guarding of the library was only a temporary step in his long but ultimately rewarding career in the military. If only something heroic were to happen to him…

Suddenly, he felt a large rumble and heard an explosion downstairs. He knew Andurel always kept his library quiet, “Something must be up!” He said to himself and rushed downstairs to see strange creatures running about. He remembered his training and rushed in fearlessly, yelling out “Everyone take cover!” He swung his halberd towards one of the small shelled ones and it’s head found purchase in the demon’s hide, causing it to screech in pain.

Andurel and the Eladrin were fighting off the monsters further in, and Reginald set to fighting his way over to them.

Mentathenis notices Symernia the Nightbringer near the back of the library accompanied by an imp flitting about her carrying an hourglass. He fends off the smaller demons and turns his attention towards the hourglass, using mage hand to wrestle it put of the creatures hands. This draws the attention of the succubus, keeping her eyes fixed on the hourglass. Andurel pulls a number off books from the shelves around the woman and they swarm around her, causing her to become slowed. When the eladrin discovers the timepiece to me non-magical, he shatters it on the ground, and Symernia immediately calls for a retreat back into the sewers. Mentathenis, Andurel and Reginald manage to kill off a few of the creatures during their escape, but can not stop the succubus fro getting away.

With his attention returned to the library, Andurel knows immediately that one of the books has gone missing, The exact same book that he was to give to the eladrin at Saranine’s request, in fact. He also notices a strange chest sitting against the back wall…

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CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: The Crystal and Krushi's Awakening
Still Climbing


The party spreads out to take on the goblin workers. Aces and Modreg work to flank and take out the melee attackers while Sam and Mentathenis work to take out the two goblin archers. Very quickly, they best the enemies and explore the compactor level. Modreg and Sam discover two heavy lift elevators that appear to be used to ship trash up the tower to be sorted through and compacted. Sam wants to disable the lifts just in case, so she hops over the compactor walls from above and sifts through the junk to find a nice couple of wedges and happens across a Rope of Climbing. They jam the pulleys on the elevators and head up to floor 11.

As they head up to level 11, they notice a horrendous stench, and through quick investigation, Modreg warns his friends that it is the goblin potty floor. They carefully but quickly move across the floor, avoiding the small stink boxes and head up to the next floor.

On level 12 they walk into a bizarre scene. There is one goat here, tied up and strung from the ceiling. It looks beaten and very tired. A host of strange devices lay about the room, it vaguely resembles a torture chamber. Sam browses for some kink while here, but doesn’t find anything that suits her needs. Modreg scouts out the next floor.

On the 13th level there is anther door at the top of the stairs. This door is locked. Through window in the door, the quartet can see a circle barrier in the center of the floor, surrounded by a dozen or so small tables and stools many of which have been over turned or are covered in junk. At one of the tables closer to the middle sits a humanoid skeleton, hunched forward. The back of it’s skull is bashed in. A thick smell of home cooking permeates the air and a single goblin female can be seen rummaging around behind the barrier.

Bellga’s


When Modreg unlocks and opens the door, it rings a bell above, to which the goblin woman yells out “We’re closed! Come back later!”

The party attempts to sneak by to the next stairwell but the goblin catches sight of them.

“Hey! I said! Gasp! …”CUSTOMERS!" She jumps down off of the counter and knocks a bunch of pots and pans aside as she runs out behind and then around towards the four. A cleaver is in one of her raised hands and she waves it around wildly. Before she throws it into the table before the group, hops next to it and then flips it back onto it’s legs. she kicks junk off of four stools and dusts them off before she smiles a wide toothy grin and motions for the heroes to sit, and in interest of not being rude, they do.

She rips her cleaver from the table and darts back around to the far side of the center bar, throws boxes into the air in search, then comes running back waving a few parchment. She stops, takes a deep breath and stands as tall as her 3 foot height allow. “Welcome to Bellga’s masters. Tonight we have a few new entries on the menu that I think you will enjoy. Our special for this evening is Crab Paste Loaf, one of my personal favorites.”

Aces, Mentathenis and Modreg open their little menu’s awkwardly and browse the selection.

Bellga stands patiently. “Take your time, please!”

Modreg orders the Crab Paste Loaf, Aces orders everything on the menu, Mentathenis orders the Gorgik Stew, and Sam picks Slug’s Super Spicy Soup. Everyone decides to go with Wildgrove Mead for a drink. Bellga thanks them for their order, takes their menu’s and wakes up her two assistants, who help her cook and set the heroes table.

During the meal the party asks Bellga about her regular customers, where the Lobster came from and discover the origin for the meat in the Gorgik Stew is very nearby, uncomfortably so.

After dinner, Aces starts to hallucinate from the Queen Mushricka Salad seeing dancing mushrooms, and both she and Sam are trying to cool off from the Spicy Soup. The Wildgrove Mead also allows for a limited blind sight in the form of glowing shapes through closed eyes.

They thank Bellga for the meal, and head to the next floor

The Upper Levels


On the 14th level they are perplexed to find a boat construction facility. Four skeletal boat hulls in various stages of their crude construction lie in the room. Piles of wood and tools lay around. It won’t be too hard to move across, but they hear the hammering of steel somewhere on this floor. As they are moving through, they catch the eyes of a goblin shipwright who watches them confused for a moment, but lets them pass and returns to his work.

They discover that the 15th floor is largely non-existent. There are only 9 large pillars that separate the floor below from the floor above. On the center pillar the party finds some writing. “E murj-en c x-it” They decide not to take the exit at this time and continue to the 16th level.

This floor is nearly empty save for a small team of goblins who quickly form up to get ready to fight. Aces charges into the room after the lead goblin and a giant door opens out from under her. It’s a trap! She manages to catch herself before falling down to the floor below. Modreg tries to cut off a goblin coming around the side and also finds himself dangling by the fingertips. Mentathenis and Sam do their thing from the stairwell. Aces spits the soup she’s been swishing around her mouth since dining at Bellga’s. It splatters all over the boss goblin and burns his belly.

Modreg pulls himself up and charges down the goblin on the left. Mentathenis launches a Stinking Cloud on top of the goblins and they begin to choke and wheeze. Sam sings a tune of sorrow that makes one of the goblins turn his knife on his own heart, and cut it it out for her. Aces spews the rest of her soup onto the goblin boss’s face. It melts off and falls away, splatting on the floor. She rips the faceless goblin’s legs out from under him with a swing of her maul to end his life. A few seconds later, without their leader, the goblins are defeated. Aces feels dizzy.

She looks up to see Jax coming down the next flight of stairs, he is holding his chest, doubled over, but smiles in seeing his woman and extends his hand in aid. “Aces, baby, are you okay?” And she is too shocked to say anything. “Aces, do not go upstairs, whatever you do, do not go upstairs.” And then he disappears in front of her.

The Old Outpost


The 16th floor is dark save for a single candle light. When Aces is given a headlight by Mentathenis, the floor looks like another tower altogether, a mage tower perhaps. There are the sounds of birds chirping and Mentathenis thinks this may be where T’waat is being held. The party sees a red robed person seated at a desk in the middle of the room, who draws the flame, walls up to the party and introduces himself as Dormin’thal the wizard.

“Ah! You’ve arrived, good. Which one of you is Aces? I’m not sure who you are or why she has taken interest with you so suddenly, but whatever you do, don’t make her upset, she has made a lot of progress and I don’t want a regression.”

The party asks who he is referring to and he says “Magdrea Smartypants, the Goblin Queen.” When Modreg hears this name he asks again “WHO is upstairs?!?” Dormin’thal looks towards the goblin.

He notices Modreg. “Goblin! What are you doing up here? Shouldn’t you be working to better yourself and your people? I’m so sorry, has he been bothering you? Some of the goblins haven’t adjusted well to all the changes.”

Sam in the guise of Sona tells the wizard that Modreg is a member of their party and a hero. To which he responds in awe. “Facinating.”

Mentathenis inquires about the birds and Dormin’thal kindly abliges him, and shows him to the cages. The group sees that T’weet is standing atop of one. Inside, the eladrin can see the magical glow of one of Saranine’s messages. He tells Dormin’thal that the little blue one is his and the red robed man is happy to help his fellow wizard. Mentathenis reads the message and urges the party forward.

Aces is hesitant, but follows as Dormin’thal leads the group up the next two skeletal floors that creak and wave in the rain. They pass two royal red goblin guards and up to the top floor of the goblin tower, rain pours down heavily from above. And a blindingly bright light blazes above.

The Storm


Down below in the pouring rain, Krushi, Ehd, Cliff, Megilwath, Fanidea, Ree’vr and the two pugs are watching the dark tower above when a huge light blooms at the top. They notice that the goblins in the quarry are watching, transfixed. Krushi feels strangely energized and thinks she can hear music on the wind.

The others watch as The halfling lifts herself off the ground and hovers there for a few moments as Sparky and Radar run over to lick the rain off her boot tips. Ehd, Cliff, Megilwath, Fanidea and Ree’vr attempt to voice their concern, cheers, and utter shock at what they are seeing, but with an explosive thunderclap, Krushi fires into the storm above. The concussive blast knocks her friends squarely on their butts.

Magdrea Smartypants


The little goblin turns from the blazing light and walks down the stairs towards Aces, Mentathenis, Modreg, Sam and Dormin’thal. She holds her arms from her sides in a gesture of kindness. “Welcome Aces, I’m glad you have come.”

Dormin’thal taps Mentathenis and points to the light, “That thing! That crystal…is something that I have never seen before! It pulses with light and yet it is not magical, at least not magical in any sense that I can determine…it holds energy though! Warm to the touch! And do you feel it? Hear it? It really is beautiful! Magdrea told me that her clan found the crystal years ago and only within the last two years did it start emitting…well, this! And this is the brightest I’ve seen it! Holy Bahamut!”

Aces thinks she knows what is behind the whole thing and calls the goblin’s feign of friendship. Modreg steps up and says hello to Magdrea, but there is no look of recognition in her eyes. Aces is ready to end it, and quickly, at the head of her maul.

“Are you so ready to die Aces? We can do it as quickly and easily as you like…”

The light above flares in an eye searing pulse, a beam of pure incineration rips across the top of the tower in a fan of white hot death. Before they are cut in two, they are turned to ash. Nothing but black dust remains of the party, drifting into the wind…

Snapping back from her hallucinatio, Aces draws her maul to charge down the goblin when a ball lighting fires out of the sky, exploding the crystal perch, and blowing Aces, Modreg and Magdrea nearly to the edge of the tower. A blade of fire rips past Krushi in the air, turning the rain into a veil of mist.

Darkness.

A light sparkles into existence amid the rubble and Krushi begins to cast another spell, but just before she releases it, Aces dives on top of the thing with her bag of holding. Krushi sighs and drops to the roof of the tower.

Modreg scurries over to Magdrea and helps her up. She appears to be released from the influence of the crystal, and is happy to see him. Krushi can feel her powers fading now that she is cut off from the crystals energy. She asks Aces to take it out but the mul refuses and says it’s too dangerous. Dormin’thal, Mentathenis and Sam join the others and Magdrea, like Krushi, really wants to see the crystal again. Aces tries to lie and say that it was destroyed, but Smartypants calls her bluff and figures that it was taken by the bald woman. Sam and Modreg intervene and persuade the goblin to let it go and return to leading her people with the smarts she already has.

Krushi and Aces want to investigate the crystal’s origins, they get directions to the cave it was dug up in from Magdrea and they head off again, leaving the goblin clans to continue their city planning.

Origin of the Shard


In the old hills of the 38 clans, the party wanders through a few small goblin retirement villages and finds the entrance to the cave. It appears to be an old mine. They look around but can’t find anything out of the ordinary. Krushi requests that Aces show her the crystal again. When she pulls it out, it’s light is shining brightly and starting to regain it’s energy. The mul sets it on the ground and Krushi can feel it’s power flow into her, but too soon, it is ready to launch another attack and Krushi zaps it with a spell in attempts to stop it. Her magic is too powerful though and it is blasted into oblivion. She looks down with a disappointed frown and scoops up the crystal powder that remains of the thing, getting as much back into the bag of holding as she can.

Modreg mentions that this all reminds him of a story about another crystal and tower somewhere to the distant north.

Baldur’s Gate


They all head on to Baldur’s Gate where Mentathenis puts everyone up at the Gatehouse Inn, his go-to quarters in the city. He also brings the rest of the party out to the newly opened Magic Boutique. They run across Gendar from the Seven Pillared Hall and he takes them to his newer and secret underground magic shop. The party spends quite a while digging through the Drow’s stock and in the end, Aces has to be pushed out of the store to get her to stop. After shopping, everyone retires to the Gatehouse Inn for drinks and turns in for the night.

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CHAPTER THIRTY ONE: Achievements of the Bloodskullbreakerbonecracker'snap Clan
Saranine’s Message


The journey west has been thankfully, encounter free, as though the gods have been watching over the party, or it might just be because there are twelve heavily armed individuals and they scare everything away. The band is on the last leg of their trip west now, only a hundred miles or so from Baldur’s Gate.

Aces and Ree’vr catch their breaths after another flash of memories, this one ending with a crushing wetness of the likes neither of them have ever experienced. During the evenings, along their journey, Aces reads the pages of the Telaric Codex that Ree’vr left for her when she awoke in Iriaebor.

Anyone who as ever traveled the road to Baldur’s Gate from the East can’t say why but the road seems wrong, different somehow but no one in the group can put their finger on it. Something is out of place, the treeline maybe, or the color of the sky perhaps.

A tiny bluejay with a bright orange belly flies out of the sky chirping up a storm and nearly knocks the wind out of Mentathenis. It flops to the ground and he recognizes it as T’weet, one of Saranine’s twin bluejays. There appears to be a small spinning blue magical ring floating around it’s leg. The Eladrin removes it and holds it between his thumb and middle finger. When he snaps. It unscrolls in a burst of floating blue text that can be scrolled just as easily as it’s non-magical counterpart, but can only be seen by the Wizard.

Sara message


Mentathenis pokes the little bluejay to wake it up and relays the message to the rest of the party and Lythannis leans into the other Eladrin and says “You know, I could think up a few quests you and I can do together that don’t involve T’waat and are far far easier…and give bigger reward.” As they continue over the next hill, Mentathenis works to convince Lythannis that he shouldn’t be jealous.

When the mob crests the hill, the tower Saranine spoke of is unmissable. What was once just a single story, stone building that served as an outpost, has been crudely transformed into a giant teetering monstrosity of a tower. Each of it’s wide levels looks forced upon the level below it and a host of ballista and catapult are shoved into into it’s sides seemingly haphazardly around the length of its height. Its base descends into a quarry filled with hundreds of goblins, they work to continue the tower’s construction. Now it becomes clear why things felt different. The goblins have done a thorough job of clear cutting the surrounding forests, going so far as to rip out their roots in addition. “Trysta would not be pleased.” snarls Mentathenis as he glares at the twisted tower. Modreg stands in awe, as he has never seen such construction undertaken by his kind. “This a great goblin achievement!” he says to Aces. T’weet hops off Mentathenis’ shoulder chirping, and flies towards the top of the tower.

Seeing the hundreds of goblins working in the quarry between them and the front gate of the tower, Aces and Modreg agree that sending him in to do some investigating before charging in may be beneficial. The little goblin steels himself and strolls over to the quarry, attempting to be as inconspicuous as possible. One of the goblins in a two story rickety wooden watch tower calls over to him and asks what he is doing. Modreg says he has a special message to deliver to the tower and the guard goblin replies “You have message for crystal? I give message to crystal, you give to me first, then back to work.” He leans in and touches his forehead to Modreg’s. Immediately he pulls back and says “You have no message for crystal! Why you lie?” Modreg comes up with a quick explanation and the guard lets him pass, but keeps his eye on the strange goblin. He makes his way down into the quarry and explores, discovering that many of the goblins are wearing symbols of formerly rival clans, now joined together as one. He also notes that none of the goblins appear to be slaves, working by their own will save for the slight purple glow in their eyes. He he has access to the tower with no issues, but decides to head back and consult the others.

On his way back, as he is leaving the area of the quarry, the guard goblin watches him intently. When he gets back to the group they decide to try the old pretend prisoner act, and Modreg leads Aces, Mentathenis and Sam back towards the tower. The guard goblin calls out again and Modreg says he is delivering prisoners to the dungeon. They are allowed to pass, and make their way down to the gate, it begins to rain.

The Goblin Tower


Inside the tower, Sam notices the quick release lever for the front gate and points out the rope lining the walls that leads to the next story attached to bells at random intervals, the alarm system most likely. There are a host of goblins on the bottom floor, milling around and playing cards. A larger goblin sits at a small desk near the stairs leading down to the dungeon. Modreg is directed to lead the newly acquired prisoners down the stairs and down below they find a few other goblins in cells. When asked why they are being held captive, they reply that they were tired and could no longer work, so they were brought down into the dungeon to rest. The four move back towards the spiral stairwell and draw their weapons, Aces leads the charge and they engage into combat with the goblins on the first floor. Aces fends the attackers off, Mentathenis rips them to shreds with magic, and Sam works to control the field and keep her friends alive. Modreg sneaks past and around the floor sneakily. One of the goblins manages to sound the alarm but before the quarry workers can run in to aid their comrades, Sam drops the gate locking them out. Modreg moves towards the stairs heading to the second level as four goblin reinforcements make their way down the stairs, he manages to slice the bellies of each one, sending them falling forward and spilling their intestines all over the floor, dead. They find 20 gold on the table, 1 deck of goblin playing cards, 1 leather belt, and the key to tower levels 1-5.

On the second floor they find a goblin bunk room, most of the goblins are sleeping, but one is sitting up in his bed polishing a small gleaming goblin dagger. The four heroes sneak past very quietly to the third level.

On the third floor they find a weapon storage with an unused catapult as well as piles of Goblin swords and armor. One goblin is sleeping in the catapult bowl, aimed out one of the windows. They sneak past and head to the fourth level.

On the fourth floor is a supply room, containing vats of crab paste and padded helmets among other seemingly worthless trinkets and items. A goblin is sleeping in one of the crates with the lid closed snoring loudly. They sneak past and head to the fifth level.

On the fifth level is a large stable area containing cages for hyenas, timber wolves and two large dire wolves. Two goblins are in this room, one of them is mounted on a wolf and the second is cleaning cages. As the party of four engage the wolf rider, the cage cleaner runs to open one of the wolf cages and moves on to another, but he is only able to open the one, before Aces and Mentathenis put him down. The dire wolves attempt to break out of their cages, but Sam moves over and works to sooth them. She succeeds and they lie in their cages quietly. Modreg moves around the room stabbing to death a hyena and getting revenge for his untimely death in the Thunderspire Labyrinth. Aces Mentathenis and Sam finish off the rider and his wolves. They find 2 small squeaky animal toys, 6 spiked collars, 1 dog grooming brush, 4 chewed bones and the key 1 to levels 6-10. They continue to the sixth level.

On the sixth level they find a sign that reads “Mess Hall” This level is a mess of twisting maze-like hallways for no apparent reason whatsoever. Aces leads them through without much effort and along the way they find a small pouch of 50 gold tucked in a corner and a scroll of Fey Passage lost in a dead end. They head to the seventh level.

On the seventh level they find a goblin alchemy lab. hundreds of glowing vials and pipes lay scattered around the tables and floor, bubbling over and dripping. There is one goblin mixing strange glowing potions in this room. They sneak past and head to the eighth level.

On the eighth level they find a large glowing magic circle with two dead goblin bodies in it’s center and two goblin ghosts who float up to the heroes and appear to mouth something which the party can not make out. Mentathenis uses mage hand to disrupt the powder forming the circle on the ground and the magic dissipates, causing the two goblin ghosts to disappear along with the magical effect. They find A pair of Spell Anchor Gloves and Storm Gauntlets. The trap door leading up into the next level is barricaded from the opposite side somehow, even heavily enough that Modreg and all his goblin strength can not pry it open. There is one window on this level and Aces checks outside to see above, it appears to be open to the air on the next floor and she climbs outside the tower into the rain with a grappling hook and rope. On her way there is a loud scraping sound and rumbling, the tower seems to shift and sway a little as something large moves above. When she reaches the next level, it is open fully on one side and can see two large walls crushing together a large amount of goblin junk into a bundle. Some sort of trash compactor she thinks. The two walls slowly pull away and the third wall begins to push the trash pillar towards her. She drops back down to the eighth level as the giant pillar flies past and crashes to the ground below. Sam understands what is happening and tells her friends to try the trap door again quickly, now it is loose, they climb to the ninth level.

On the ninth level they emerge from the trap door behind the walls of the compactor and find 10 goblins turning huge wheels and pulleys to work the crude machine. The goblins stop and turn towards the intruders.

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CHAPTER THIRTY: Aces' Vision
Finding Eve


After emerging from the sewers of Iriaebor the group watches as Shade teleports away again. This time, the pull of it’s energy does not cause quite the spectacle that it did over Arabel. They realize that the Shadovar didn’t flatten Iriaebor, and can still hear voices from the village.

Cassi wants to return home and see if Eve is alright. Ehd’s siblings also want to return and see if there is anything to sweep up. The Solivan house is still there. The door to the cellar is covered in blood and bits of bone. Cassi gasps, “Oh my baby! Evie!” Around Eve’s “coffin” box is absolute carnage. With the exception of a single drop of black blood on her cheek, the rest of the inside of her box is pristine, and she is wearing a white dress, There is nothing left to kill. “Such a sweet little angel, let’s not disturb her.” Says Cassi as she closes the lid and leads everyone out.

The Solivans decide to take their chances and stay in Iriaebor to fix the house and everyone says their goodbyes.

As the band continues on their journey towards the sword coast, Something sweeps into Aces’ mind, another memory perhaps…She notices that Ree’vr is looking at her. It appears that he is having the same recollection.

The Vision


Aces finds herself sitting in a strange tavern, or bar, or something. There are dancing girls and it is massively crowded with all sorts of strange creatures. Vaguely familiar music plays from a performer she can not see. Across the table from her sits a man with a wide brimmed hat and a crooked smile. Half his face is hidden and he holds five cards in his hand.

Filling the seats between she and him sit a brown eyed brunette woman in her mid thirties who has folded but still appears worried. Her eyes meet Aces’ for a moment and she tosses her a defeated smile.

To her right, a bluish tinged and oily creature with a face-full of writhing tentacles, taps its long fingers on it’s own face-down cards, it’s big black eyes dart back and forth between Aces and the man in the hat. It appears perplexed at it’s bad luck.

On the other side, a strikingly beautiful girl with jet black hair and almond shaped faintly glowing eyes leans far over the table clapping her hands in excited anticipation.

To her right, a half humanoid, half animal. As if someone cut the torso off an elf and sewed it to the neck of a four legged hoofy thing, this one appears to be the dealer. Aces remembers the Jester on the bottom of the deck at the start of the deal.

She looks again at her hand, and holds a Queen of Spades a Queen of Diamonds and a Jack of Spades, she is dealt a Jack of Diamonds and a King of Hearts. The wide brimmed hat awaits her show and as she reveals her cards, the crowd awes.

When the wide brimmed hat slowly lowers his own cards, a rumble and loud crashing sound rips through the entire room, causing everything to shake, no one else in the establishment seems to notice or care. The cards hit the table, and as his hand pulls away, Aces can see them. The crowd whispers “All four Aces!”

The front doors are thrown open, a gust of icy wind blows in, and the crowd turns in their direction, the music stops. A woman’s voice screams out. “Aces!” a clear line of sight is parted between she and the door as people are literally thrown out of the way.

A wretched, olive skinned woman with a tattered, webbed black robe, long, dark dread locks and one open clouded white eye stares in Aces’ direction. She appears bathed in shadow and dark tendrils stretch across the floor from under her dressing. She moves towards the Mul with a gnarled finger outstretched and she can feel something digging in her mind causing her to become frozen in her gaze. She glides up to meet Aces eye to eye and whispers in her ear “Sona…needs your help.” She looks deep into the woman’s soul, and her lips peel apart in a hideous grin revealing sharpened teeth and blackened gums. A dark spittle drips down her chin, and with a cackle, everything around Aces turns to red. Mutilated bodies cover the floor, entrails hang from the ceiling and drip down the walls.

The woman continues her maniacal laugh and Aces feels a pressure in her mind and body. Blood sprays out of her every pore and her flesh rips apart like wet parchment. The walls around her explode away and the wretched woman howls in pain as an unseen force lifts her into the air and shreds her to pieces before Aces’ eyes. As her heart slows and her vision grows dark, she catches one last look at Sigil and the silhouette of a robed figure, standing in mid air, a crown of wicked blades wreathes it’s head.

Cold of Sigil


Aces wakes up to the sound of a baby crying. The diffused light filters through the slit windows of her Kip. Her pet inix, Jack, Looks up at her lazily from under a pile of blankets, doing it’s best to keep warm. It yawns, tongue curling in his maw, and lowers it’s head back down, returning to it’s slumber. She knows that this past year has been hard on the lizard, as it struggles to keep warm.

Through the window, she can see the vertigo inducing ring of Sigil through the light fog. It’s been a year and she still gets cage struck from time to time. Below her window a plump woman dressed in an extravagant gown attempts to calm her child.

Aces can see Jenn, her dark brunette hair blowing behind her as she moves with purpose towards her stairs…

For the past year since landing her butt in the cage, Aces has been working as a bouncer along with Ree’vr working as a bartender at a Sensebar named the “Tiefling Princess” located in the Clerk’s Ward of Sigil. It is owned and run by a githzerai named Ter’lin. The bar features gambling, drinking and dancers of all types, the star of which is a Tiefling girl named Ember. It is situated at the edge of the city in the Clerk’s Ward and boasts a window that supposedly faces outside the wall of Sigil, though nothing can be seen through it but a horizon-less smoggy sky.

When the three came through, Ter’lin helped she, Ree’vr and D’evon up and offered them all jobs working at the Princess.

They learned that they stood too close to an unstable astral conduit rift for too long, got the suck, and when it broke down, they were ejected into Sigil. No one knows why they exist, but some believe them to be rips in the multiverse caused by powerful magic at some point in time. There are twelve points around Sigil where these ejections happen. The one from the large cave on Athas ejects someone through the wall of the The Princess and out onto the street.

Jenn Knocks on the door and Ree’vr answers, greeting her warmly with his clicks and motions. Aces Wander over and welcomes her as well. Jenn let’s the two outsiders know that she has a lead from the gambler Fait, on a portal that may possibly send them back to their home world of Athas. She also tells them about an issue that she overheard earlier in the day with Ember having a necklace and a bank of jink stolen by a group of Plague Rats, a street gang that have moved in from the Hive.

Aces steps over to attempt to help the plump woman calm her baby, and sings a song from her youth in the slave pits of Athas to do so. She brings up the topic of the Plague Rats and the woman is disgusted by the mention of such, telling the three that she has seen them hanging out regularly in an ally behind “Angel’s.” A rival Sensebar of The Tiefling Princess. Through the crowded street glides Scribnib, who is bid hello by Jenn and Aces. The Mind Flayer drifts over to the gathering and probes their minds, offering a hello in return, and is met with field’s of daisies from Jenn. As the group talks about the Rat problem, a Dabus comes up to trim the Razorvine growing dangerously quickly into Aces’ and Ree’vr’s door jam. The four decide to head over to the alley to see what they can find out. On their way, they run across D’evon, who offers up a “Morning Losers!” on her way to Angels. Aces and Jenn are quick to throw out insults about the woman and her new position as star dancer at the other club. She is just as quick to throw insults back and eventually she makes her way into the club and the four head around back.

Jimbo and The Plague Rats


It doesn’t take long for them to find the alley that the woman was talking about. There are small scratched symbols of a diseased Plague Rat on many of the buildings in the area, and sure enough there are four of them hanging near a pile of barrels and crates. They greet the group and have a polite conversation about Ember’s missing necklace. The one doing most of the talking they learn is named Jimbo and he seems to be telling the truth when he says he hasn’t heard of any necklace stolen on the part of the Rats, but he will be sure to investigate further and report back with any information he can regarding the lost jewelery. The two groups say farewell and Aces and Jenn decide it best to hunt down Ember to question her.

The Princess and a Xeo


In the Princess, Ter’lin finishes pouring a drink for a regular and says hello to the four as he passes them by to go sit with Meeks at his personal table. They can overhear him complaining to the Bariur about the deteriorating state of the ward, The Angels’ competition and the Plague Rats, their typical topics of conversation.

Raszcal, a small ferret creature called a Xeo or Quickling dressed in a little leather vest and carrying a few dozen tiny throwing knives, hops up on a table in front of Aces, Jenn, Ree’vr and Scribnib to say hello. He is excited to see his friends, and wants to know what they are up to. They all know the Xeo to be exceptionally skilled in the art of stealth and information gathering, and ask the little guy if he would be up for a bit of investigation into the dealings of the Plague Rats in exchange for some shiny trinkets and berries. He quickly agrees and bounces from table to table on his way out the door.

Rat Den


When Raszcal returns about what he discovered and he says he can lead them to an entrance to their hideout. There are a few trap doors hidden in back alleys and he managed to find one of them. He tells them that their lair is a maze of twisting passages that extends nearly under the Princess itself, and that there are a few dozen of the gang members wandering about down there. He came to only one door that he was unable to get through. Aces finds this to be interesting, and asks that the Xeo lead them on.

They head back through the alleys to the trap door and Aces opens it to drop in, landing very nearly on a table with four Plague Rat members playing dice. They greet the large woman warmly and invite her friends down as well. They ask if she is interested in playing dice and she turns down their offer saying she has business with Jimbo. One of them calls out for Jimbo who wanders in from a side passage to greet the visitors. He says he questioned the majority of the Rats and none of them knows anything about a stolen necklace. Aces starts to get the sense that someone may be trying to smear the Plague Rats “respectable” name, and offers to look into the matter.

They leave the Den to return to the Princess and find Ember, when they find her not present, they decide it best to call on her at home…

Ember’s Kip


Aces knocks on the door of Ember’s Kip and after much struggling and knocking things over, she cracks the door and glares through the many locks holding it shut. She does nothing to hide her annoyed state that Aces has come to her kip to fetch her again.

Ree’vr and Scribnib decide to search around back and see if anything is going on and can hear another body inside, also sounding frustrated and annoyed. They don’t sense an immediate threat, and move around through the dancer’s front door to join the others.

Jenn persuades Ember to allow them entrance to have some drinks and talk. and they all sit around her large table. Jenn knows her way around Ember’s kip well after having catered and mixed drinks for many of her after hour parties and proceeds to make everyone some Tea.

A demon appears in a doorway from many of Ember’s bedrooms and looks positively mortified at the group gathered in the tableroom staring him down in his shorts. Ember teasingly asks the hulking beast to join them and he does so, awkwardly.

In questioning the red skinned Tiefling she offers up the same story that Jenn heard from her earlier in the morning. Her necklace was stolen by the Plague Rats. Aces can tell that she is hiding something and asks her again. Jenn also urges her to tell the truth and after some hesitation, she does.

What actually happened, was she was given the necklace by an admirer the previous night, and when she left, she pulled it off and crushed it under her foot then kicked it aside in a drain. When she was visiting the Princess earlier for her jink, the same admirer was there and she had to make up an elaborate story as to why she no longer had his cheap necklace on her person and never would again.

When the four are satisfied with her truth, they make sure she will be in on her dancing shift and bid her and her friend farewell, heading back to the Sensebar.

Fait and the Game


Ree’vr and Jenn head behind the bar to start their bar shifts, Aces takes up post at the doors and Scribnib enjoys probing Raszcal’s thoughts, while massaging the ferret with gentle mental tentacles.

It’s not long before Fait shows his fashionable hat and face in the bar, he nods to Aces on the way in. The two talk about pricing on his information to her portal and he quotes her around 4,000 jink for both the portal and the gate key. He asks if Aces would be up for some cards and she agrees. As they play, Jenn forms some pictures in her mind that Scribnib can pick up on from his seat in the corner. She expresses to him that he should pay attention to the minds of those who can see Fait’s cards and relay the information to Aces. The bar gradually fills, and there is a large amount of Plague Rats visiting.

Meeks sits down to deal, and an hour later, the pot has grown quite large, and Fait admits that he is cleaned out, but wants to play one more hand, raising the stakes just a bit. The Tiefling Princess for the Portal. If Fait wins, the Princess becomes his, with the stipulation that Jenn keeps her job and is promoted to bar manager. Fait agrees. If Aces wins, she gets the location of the portal, the gate key and all the jink on the table. Aces goes to persuade Ter’lin about the deal, explaining that in his later years, the bar has caused more trouble than it’s worth for him and she would give him the entire pot of Jink to retire with. Ter’lin is won over and urged Aces to play out the hand and win.

When Fait slowly lowers his own cards, a rumble and loud crashing sound rips through the entire room, causing everything to shake, no one else in the establishment seems to notice or care. The cards hit the table, and as his hand pulls away, Aces can see them. The crowd whispers “All four Aces!”

The front doors are thrown open, a gust of icy wind blows in, and the crowd turns in their direction, the music stops. A woman’s voice screams out. “Aces!” a clear line of sight is parted between she and the door as people are literally thrown out of the way.

A wretched, olive skinned woman with a tattered, webbed black robe, long, dark dread locks and one open clouded white eye stares in Aces’ direction…

Ultimate Retro


Aces wakes up to the sound of a baby crying. She jumps out of bed, and this time, greets Ree’vr and Jenn at the door and before either of them can utter a word. Aces runs out into the foggy streets of Sigil with Jenn and the Thri’kreen in tow, picking up Scribnib who is perplexed by all the rushing. She avoids the distraction of Ember and her necklace and leads the four directly into the Den with the Plague Rats, plays a few games of dice, and with the help of her Illithid, she wins nearly every game and walks out with a large amount of the Plague Rat’s Jink.

She arranges to purchase the bar from Ter’lin and pays for her friend’s drinks until the time that Fait shows up that evening. She sits down to play with him but is careful to watch the gambler to see if he is cheating. It doesn’t appear so, but she catches, out of the corner of her eye, Meeks’ subtle hand move across the deck.

She finishes the hand but stops the game before the big one where the wretched woman appears. She gathers her friends and heads outside to wait for the rumble. Sure enough, it comes, and through the wall a Gith is ejected into the street. Aces turns and crushes the confused Gith and is relieved it is not the nightmare woman.

They all head back inside, Jenn and Ree’vr return to the bar and Aces approaches Meeks to speak with him. He agrees and she leads him out behind the Princess to confront him on his cheating. Scribnib ducks into a shadow to watch the conversation, ready to back the Mul up. Meeks denies the accusations at first but eventually admits that he was bought out weeks ago. His family was set up for life. Ter’lin could retire and everyone wins.

From around the corner stroll four members or the Rats. Scribnib glides from the shadows and mind blasts the gang members, who each draw their blades. Ree’vr and Jenn run out to lend a weapon and very quickly one of the Rats get’s his brain sucked out and consumed by the Mind Flayer. The others yield in defeat and sit quietly until the matter can be resolved. Ter’lin comes walking out expecting to speak with Meeks alone and sounds much more well spoken than usual. Aces and Jenn turn their attention back to the Bariur and want the name of the man who bought him. Before he can answer, Ter’lin slices the man’s throat. Aces pours a healing potion down his gullet and revives him. Meeks says it was the Leader of the Plague Rats, and points to Ter’lin. They stand up to Ter’lin and intimidate him, causing the Leader of the Plague Rats to remove his Ter’lin mask and confess. “I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

Jenn marches up to the man and demands to know where the real Ter’lin is. The man says he is quite safe and is willing to lead them to his location.

Mount Celestia (Almost)


The Leader of the Plague Rats leads the group back into the Rat Den and to the locked door where he opens it with a key. Inside are four illusionists channeling imagery around what appears to be the real Ter’lin in bed with two extremely hot succubi. When they are interrupted, the illusionists drop the show and the succubus wings and tails pop out of existence. Ter’lin pops up laughing “My friends! Ohhh! Thank you so much for such a wonderful vacation! I haven’t felt this renewed in a long time, what are you doing on Mount Celestia?!” Jenn explains to the man that he was kidnapped, and he has trouble believing the story. Stating that he “Won the sweepstakes for a vacation on Mount Celestia.” After a while they make him understand that he was had, and he admits that it’s the best “hadding” he’s ever experienced and begs of them to allow him to finish the illusory vacation for the remaining two days. The girls agree and the illusionists also agree, the Plague Rats don’t mind either as the room they were holding him in was just storage.

Scribnib takes leadership of the Plague Rats and all their assets, including the Angels sensebar.

On and On


Aces buys Fait’s portal map outright and they collect the 3.5 cranium rat tails in order to open it. Aces leads, Jenn, Ree’vr, Scribnib, Ter’lin and Raszcal to the location marked with she and Ree’vr’s names. It appears to be a mirror frame that has long been without it’s reflective parts intact, a small amount of sand lays below the skeletal frame. As she approaches, the portal opens and glows blue. A swirling vortex leads into the nether. Everyone bids the two farewell and Scribnib expresses his intent to accompany the two outsiders to Athas, they agree and Jenn gives Ree’vr a tight hug and nearly tears up in saying goodbye.

As the three dive into the portal, Jenn, Razscal and Ter’lin watch as a small amount of sand and water pours into the room from the portal. The Xeo cocks an eyebrow in confusion, looks up at Jenn and they both shrug.

The Princess Restored


On the way back to the Princess with Jenn and Raszcal, Ter’lin finds a small piece of paper blown against his leg. He snatches it up and turns it over, his eyes grow large when he realizes what it is…

Excitedly, he climbs a ladder outside the Princess to the magical glowing words that make up the signage for the Sensebar. When he sticks the piece of paper back onto the sign, more glowing words magically appear, changing the full name of the bar back to it’s original…

THE TIEFLING
Sensebar at the Edge of Sigil
Starring PRINCESS Ember
(With a Window!)


As Ter’linath Delraxianus’itanisan climbs down, Ember places her arm around him and escorts the old but recently renewed githzerai into the bar with a look of happiness plastered across his face. Jenn nods to Raszcal and he scurries up to the sign to remove the magi-note once again. This time, he runs into the bar and over to the window looking outside the wall, wads up the paper and tosses it through, where it blinks out of existence, he brushes off his paws and shines an adorable toothy grin back at Jenn.

Jenn winks at the Xeo, walks behind the bar, gives it a good wipe down and yells out.

“Okay all you cutters! Welcome to The Tiefling Princess! Who wants a drink on the house!?”

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CHAPTER TWENTY NINE: Shade over Iriaebor
House of the Dead


After finishing their meal the party continues to talk about their next moves. Cassi and Cliff finish their play in the back yard and she returns to let the friends know that she had Peggy prepare the 3rd floor guest beds for their night’s stay at the Solivan house.

When it is time, everyone heads to their bedrooms. Cliff is invited to stay in Cassi’s bed with her. Aces and Ree’vr talk at a table in the next room and everyone else meditates or sleeps in the guest bedroom.

Just after midnight, the party feels a pressure in the air and the shadows in the room seem to get a little bit darker. Mentathenis immediately recognizes the strangeness from the battle in the Arabel graveyard, when Shade appeared overhead.

He alerts the others, and a group of zombies and skeletons rise from the shadows of the 3rd floor inside the Solivan house. No sooner do they begin to hear the tell tale signs of an all out attack on the city of Iriaebor. Over the screams of the women and children of the city, they can hear a booming voice, the voice they know to be Pyraxis’ who yells out “Find the blade, bring it to me!”

Aces, Krushi, Mentathenis, Fanidea and Modreg spring into action while Megilwath, Cliff, Sam, Ehd, Lythannis and Ree’vr help Cassi gather her things and protect she and Oopsee from danger. Terrlen pulls out his map to plot an exit and Cassi quickly brushes it aside to tell him she knows the way out of her own house. Mentathenis and Krushi launch their devastating magical abilities upon the undead intruders while Fanidea and Aces attempt to keep the evil creatures away from the others. Modreg sneaks around in the shadows to help distract where needed for an upper hand. Without too much trouble the mass of undead is destroyed and the party heads downstairs to help Ehd siblings.

On the second floor of then Solivan House, the heroes encounter more zombies, three burning skeletons, two chillborn zombies, and two skeleton warriors. After finding Mana hiding in a corner near her bed, Aces quickly makes her way through the rooms and around the main staircase to locate Brandis and Peggy to make sure they are okay and the rest of the party follows to wipe up. At one point during the battle Aces flies a zombie through the banister to the first floor, it returns with five runespiral demons in tow. Fanidea manages to take control of one of the chillborn zombies and use it against her enemies and Krushi and Mentathenis use their destructive magic to wipe out the evil creatures a few at a time.

As they head down the main staircase to meet Garren, they are spotted by a heavily armored knight of shade standing in the front door threshold, who’s eyes glow a deep purple at sight of Fanidea. It whispers “Drow.” and in the distance the party can hear Pyraxis yell out again, “Get the blade, I am coming!”

Sune’s Intervention


Suddenly Mana stops short and her eyes begin to glow. Her childlike image blurs and is partially replaced with a beautiful grown woman. Hair of orange flame licking about her face and body. Though the light is blinding, the party finds themselves transfixed upon her perfection.

In a soothing tone, it the image speaks, “Stand strong, for even the shadow of the Mistress of the Night can not block out all light. My gift is upon you now. Smite the denizens of the dark and be free of this death.”

Orange flames surround each of the heroes. they feel stronger, faster and more focused, the urge to create a little chaos seeps into their minds. Their bodies change slightly, physical forms are brought closer to perfection for each, clothing and armor become spotlessly clean to a degree they have never seen before. Mentathenis and Lythannis seem unaffected and this prompts the fairer eladrin to nudge the other “There really IS no room for improvement in that department.” he says with a wink.

Fanidea However, howls in pain as the ethereal orange engulfs her. The drow woman’s dark skin begins to wrinkle and sag, her bone structure shifts, she becomes a wretched shadow of her dark elven beauty. She falls to her knees and stares beyond the physical realm in effort to focus. Her eyes turn a blood red just before a web explodes around her, cocooning her entire form. Then, as the fires of Sune are extinguished, the webs turn to black and begin to drip from her body. Creating a puddle of sludge at her feet.

She stands, slightly out of breath. Her youthful appearance returned. “If someone would be SO kind as to warn me the next time one of your goody goody dieties intervenes and throws their…”blessings" around. I would greatly appreciate it. Oh, and don’t step in that, unless you want to be a permanent resident here, it’s a little sticky."

Mana returns to the form of a child. “Oh Sune! Ehd! I think she just talked to me!”

Ehd smiles proudly “That’s my little sister!” he yells.

Symernia, Nightbringer


As the party moves to engage the undead on the first floor with the gift of Sune. They can hear the sound of Pyraxis’ footfalls, moving closer through the city of Iriaebor. Garren fights off a pair of runespiral demons and yells to his family “Take the sewers out! Go! I can hold them!” Cassi turns to Ehd and tells him “We have to get Eve!”

With the blessing, Aces, Mentathenis and Krushi are able to do a lot of damage early on in the fight, though once the gift has dissipated, they struggle to fend off the remaining enemies inside the house. Aces and Krushi are knocked unconscious during the chaos. Sam jumps into the fight and manages to help Aces back to consciousness.

Through the windows of the Solivan house, the heroes can see a glow of flame approaching. Pyraxis stops and looks to the succubus at his side. “Symernia my pet, retrieve the blade, kill any who stand in your way.” She replies in a seductive voice, “With pleasure Pyraxis, the Nightbringers are eternal.”

Sam, overhearing the demon’s exchange, thinks to throw Sona’s Songblade through the front door, in hopes that maybe it’s the blade they are looking for. It sticks in the ground at their feet and Pyraxis is confused at why people are throwing weapons at him. Symernia walks forward to pick it up and looks it over. She turns to show it to the Balor and shrugs, sticking it in her belt. She walks towards the front doors.

Ehd picks up Krushi and leads the rest of the group through the main foyer and into the kitchen area and out a window to the sewer drain. On his way out of the main entry, Brandis stops to cast a spell. Aces and Fanidea are able to regain consciousness and Mentathenis continues to blast through the undead. When Brandis finishes his casting, a glowing barrier flies up around the house, preventing Symernia from getting through. She begins to pound on it relentlessly, slowly weakening it. Sam runs back through the entry way to meet back up with Aces and Fanidea and Mentathenis. As a group, they slowly make their way through the kitchen trying desperately to keep the enemies at bay. Garren appears to be killed under the attacks of the undead and demons. Outside Peggy removes his wooden leg and pulls out his flute to begin playing a tune. For a few moments, the undead and demons seem confused and start bumping into the walls.

Symernia however is not effected by such weak magic and she smashes through Brandis’ barrier. The front of the Solivan House is blown in under the force of her attacks. In a single bat of her leathery wings she soars through the entry way and into the kitchen to land behind Fanidea. The Nightbringer lifts the drow into the air by her neck and turns her to look into her eyes. The succubus’ bladed wings lash out and skewer her prey from both sides dropping the drow to the floor and holds out her claws as if to catch something. Then, with a look of rage she asks Aces, in a rabid hiss she screams. “Where is the other drow, the one with the Wraith Blade?” Aces feigns clueless, but the demon is not fooled. “Drow! If you do not present yourself to me I will kill each of your friends, ever so slowly, and then when their hearts stop, I will rip every vein from your body and strangle you to death with them. Then I will take the blade, and bring your corpse home to use as a puppet!”

Sam jumps in to ask why the demon wants it, and she replies that it is Pyraxis who wants it. Sam explains that the blade can not be taken without it binding to her, and that the Balor would have to kill her to make it his. Aces continues and tells her “We only have one shard and it’s not even that powerful. The other shards aren’t even on this plane, but one was probably on Athas somewhere.” Symernia smiles and thanks them for the information, then she zips past them to find her way into the sewers, behind the rest of the group. Aces tries to swing at Symernia but she easily parries her attack with a wing. Fanidea regains consciousness by the magic of her medallion. She stands, extremely pissed off.

Sona’s Necklace


Symernia flies into the sewer and makes a quick left at the first bend, she almost misses a second branch back to the right, but the glow of a torchlight catches her attention. She twists back, and ducks under some attacks launched by the pests following her in at the entrance. A magic missile slams her in the back, searing one of her wings and causing her to find footing on the ground for a moment. She beats her wings to lift again, bearing down on the group ahead. From behind her she can hear more casting and quickly dives into a pool below her.

The water is thick, murky, and something large swims past her legs. Squinting through the liquid, she can make out a dark shape. It turns towards her in a flash, and just as it’s jaws widen to snap down, she pushes off the bottom and explodes out of the pool, the giant sewer alligator follows her upward but she whips her tail to swat it’s toothy maw aside. Another magic missile slams into her belly and she feels the pounding of fists on the backs of her legs.

In a blur of six attacks, she rips into the crazed alligator sending pieces of reptile flying across the room and into the water. She can taste the creatures’ blood on her lips and hardly notices the sting of a third magic missile and more beating from behind. Again the Nightbringer cuts into her attacker. This time thoroughly dicing its body into small chunks.

Now only a few yards from her prey, she pushes through the meager attacks of those between she and the drow. Before her feet touch the ground, her claws are tight around his neck. She savors each puncture of his flesh. Her bladed wing tips move in a dance of streaming blood. As she feels his heart begin to slow, she notices a light shining on his chest, something attached to a chain. An unbearable pain rolls over the succubus, she feels as though her flesh is being stripped from her and bones being flung in all directions. She feels what her victims have. Unable to focus, she wildly flails about trying to hit whatever she can in attempts to free herself of the torture. More attacks hit her from all sides, now easily avoiding her defenses.

She flaps her wings to fly away but finds herself quickly thrown underwater, unable to move. She struggles, her breath nearly gone, The murky green of the water starts to darken, slowly fading to black. With her lungs burning up, she attempts one last kick off the floor, and it works, she launches herself up and into the darkness above slamming onto the roughly cobbled passage of the sewer. Her ribs ache, and her darkvison is only slowly beginning to return. She expects to be slaughtered, then and there, but no attacks come.

Panicked she screams out in a feeble attempt to threaten her unseen enemies. “I have all the information I need, Athas! The Shadovar will get the shard on Athas, and I will kill each and every one of you!”

She only hears the sound of footsteps down one of the corridors and tries to force herself up in effort to chase them down. Before the demon girl can move, she feels a snap on her lower leg and is pulled back into the water. Though severely weakened, Symernia is able to kill the second alligator before it can rip off her leg.

She claws her way out of the pool and rolls to her side, catching her breath. Standing up she wobbles and falls against a wall. The vision of the necklace around the drow’s neck shines in her minds eye. She tries to push past the blaring chromatic light and sees a beautiful mystic quartz stone. A woman’s voice sounds in her head. “Take my necklace, let this be a symbol of my love for you. May it protect you from darkness, no matter what happens, I will always be yours.”

Symernia whispers “Sona Summergale…”

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CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT: Aces' Dream
Blackout


Lythannis and Mentathenis take to the sky on Celestine to survey the floating city and test it’s defenses. Krushi and Aces notice that the remaining undead and shadow spreaders slip back into the shadows and everyone in the area can feel a pressure building in the air. The rubble of Arabel is drawn up into a vortex towards the city. The Eladrin feel the pull as well and Celestine struggles against it’s draw. A band of gargoyles flies out of Shade and circles in it’s defense. The structure turns to black and disappears into a point causing everything in the air to explode outward. The party on the ground is blown backwards and have to find cover from the rocketing debris. Celestine is flung forward over herself, and the two Eladrin are thrown through the trees and crash to the ground, the Pegasus with them.

The shock wave continues to roll over Aces. She begins to feel sick as it falls into a rhythm and causes her heart to speed to a race.

Awakening


A searing pain on the back of her head causes her to wince. The pounding becomes clearer, the sound of a thousand stomping feet all in unison. The clouds and rain are gone now, giving way to a blazing yellow orange colored sky. A giant sun looms overhead. It’s corona wreathed in fire. While it’s flame burns blindingly bright it’s core is blackened and dark. The top of Kalak’s multi colored ziggurat intersects its lower edge..

Each stomp from the stands sends ripples across the arena floor, the searing sand burns against her back as a shadow falls over. Aces recognizes him. Jax. Her friend, trainer, fighting partner, lover, and father of Sona, her newborn daughter, he extending his hand to help her.

“On your feet Aces baby. We ain’t outta this yet!

His sculpted arm flexes and with little effort, he pulls her to her feet. He then turns to face their enemy. As she looks past him, she realizes they are surrounded by other gladiators, both dead and alive.

Aces recalls that the odds are against her this day. This is the fight of her life. Her final fight, live or die, on the sands of this arena. Reunion with her child, the first-ever born child of two Mul, are only a few more glorious kills away. Both she and Jax spent their entire life savings of ceramic. Fifteen years of winning arena battles and gambling, to buy Sona out of slavery upon her birth. Their allies and friends, two ‘Kreen named Ree’vr and Nee’sa took care of the transaction and once the two Mul are freed, Ree’vr will guide them to the location of Nee’sa and Sona.

Aces struggles to shake off her dream of freedom, otherworldly places and strange characters, and against five other gladiators she and Jax are overwhelmed. They manage to take out two of them, but Aces is knocked unconscious, again. Jax to flies into a rage, and takes out the remaining few, then races to his lover’s side to wake her up.

The crowd of their section of the Tyr arena cheers, and from the gates, two new challengers emerge. The two recognize them as Sh’reevot the Dray, and his human apprentice, Tiernan.

The Dray barks orders at the human woman and she moves in to net Aces. Jax intercepts Sh’reevot and the fight gets bloody quickly. Aces is still unfocused, but is able to injure Tiernan before she is again knocked unconscious. Jax continues to beat in Sh’reevot’s head and chest until the scaled one is killed, and then The Mul turns to Tiernan and crushes her head with his Warhammer. Jax helps Aces up.

The horns of victory are sounded and the crowd quiets to the voice of the announcer.

“Two gladiators have fallen! Alas! There can only be one released of a freedom match! Continue slaves! Show us who will walk out those gates, and who will stain the ochre in crimson!

Jax at first, refuses to face Aces. Then hesitantly, he turns and looks into her eyes, with a sigh and then a grin. The grin that tickles her heart.

“They won’t let you live if this looks thrown baby. Tell Sona that her daddy died a hero, and her mother is the most beautiful creature to ever grace the sands of Athas. Now come at me, and make me proud woman.”

Aces knows what she has to do and steels herself. She Hooks her maul under the lifeless body of Tiernan and flings it against the wall of the arena, spraying her blood into the crowd and sending them into a riot of excitement. Knowing that Jax always swings for the head and chest, she manages to dodge every one of his attacks and finishes him off in a couple of swings. As Jax hits the ground, his muscles relax and he gives her one last wink before his eyes close. The sound of the crowd is muffles, hardly able to hear the announcer, she unceremoniously find a wooden sword shoved into her hands. The arena gates are opened and she is escorted out. As she approaches her staging cell, it feels like only minutes ago she was inside, a slave. she can almost see the image herself with Jax, just as they had been before the fight.

Tizz’ler, the arena staging slave and friend of Aces and Jax walks by her side, escorting her through the staging pit towards THE exit of the arena. This is the exit she has never been through, never seen, and only heard about.

Tizz’ler attempts to comfort the Mul on their way through the underbelly of the arena. He reminds her of her daughter and asks her about the promise she and Jax made to him if they were ever to get free, they would find a way to free him. He also talks about his sister Sizz’ler, who work at an herb shop in the Elven Market. He tells her that she would be able to help her with a place to stay until she adjusts to a life of freedom. Aces says she will honor their promise as soon as she can as they reach the gates into the city. She hesitates for a moment before stepping out into the free air.

Dressed in a dirtied tan hooded robe the Thri’Kreen, Ree’vr stands just beyond the doors. Aces can tell by his antennae movements he is pleased to see her, but he looks past in an effort to locate Jax. When he can’t find him, his eyes search her for answers. His antennae stop moving and slowly droop to the sides in painful understanding and he moves to hug her with his four chitinous arms. Aces knows this is something Thri’Kreen only do to members of their clutch. Those they hold in the highest regard. But without hesitation, and without attempting to keep one arm free with a weapon in claw, the insectoid holds her.

Aces leads Ree’vr to Sizz’ler’s herb shop and they talk to the woman about Tizz’ler. She mentions having saved up a large amount of ceramic from working at the herb shop and selling her body but doesn’t think she has enough to buy his freedom. Aces ensures her that when coupled with her diplomatic skills, it just might be.

They all return to the arena and ask the guards to fetch the slave manager. When he emerges, Aces proceeds to bargain with the stubborn man and manages to pursuade him to part with Tizz’ler for 10,500 ceramic, around 1,000 less than Sizz’ler had planned for, saving her some coin.

The Mul, ’Kreen and two elves buy supplies and head out of the city of Tyr. As they turn the corner to see through the great arena gates and into the vast wastes of the Table Lands, Aces realizes that this is the farthest distance her eyes have ever lay upon. The world stretches out before them and fades almost seamlessly into the yellow orange sky.

Ree’vr conveys to the group, that Sona and Nee’sa are safe, hidden, and wait for them in a large abandoned cave at the base of the Ringing Mountains. He wants to travel into the eve, and half to the mid dark, then make camp for the cold. Towards red up, they will continue on, and find covered shelter before the high burn. They should get to the cave sometime in the next eve.

They travel through the afternoon and during early dark, they set up a camp in a sandy depression surrounded by rocks. Ree’vr and Aces stay awake and talk under the sickly yellow green light of the two moons Ral and Guthay when they are raided by a group of starving gith looking for a meal. They cry out and attack jumping about and slicing wildly, but Aces and Ree’vr kill them off one by one. Tizz’ler watches and cowers near the camp fire, and Sizz’ler sleeps through the entire thing.

Just before red up, they continue on and encounter a blind Inix with three hatchlings in tow, they attempt to feed the creature but it appears to be picky with it’s meals. Aces, thinking the three Inix babies will be hard pressed to survive under the protection of a blind parent, snatches one of them up and takes it with her.

That night they reach the mouth of the cave and Aces thinks it may have been a lair of a Mekillot at some point judging by it’s size. As they enter, they are attacked by a silent assassin. Tizz’ler and Sizz’ler retreat towards the darkness in search of Nee’sa and Sona for safety. As the three fight, Aces tries to find out who the woman is and why she is trying to kill them. The woman does not answer. Aces can hear the sound of a baby crying and turns to catch a glance of Nee’sa with the little Sona in her arms cradling her tightly watching the fight.

Suddenly, a reality distorting ripple bursts through the cave from entrance to end towards where Nee’sa and Sona stand in wait. The three fighters are ripped back towards the mouth of the cave. and find themselves tumbling and falling through what appears to be a tunnel of swirling blue. Stars zip past them like grains of sand in a storm.

The three continue to fight as best they can in the midst of what is happening, but then the assassin, D’evon, slings her blades and says she is done. In judging their current situation, she feels there may no longer be any money in killing her target.

The tunnel begins to collapse and they can feel themselves slowing down. The twisting blue nearly fades away entirely before the three are ripped violently in another direction, crashing through a wall and out into a busy city street.

As Aces tries to get her bearings, she mistakenly glances down the cobbled road she lies upon. her eyes follow it’s zig zagged path up, up, up into the distance until it is lost among other criss crossing streets and bizarre architecture. The horizon is once again, non-existent. In glimpsing the whole of the ring, it’s reality falls over her like an impossibly large slave collar and just before she passes out, a humanoid silhouette appears over her.

“Welcome to the cage berk!”

House Solivan


Aces awakens to the sound of a baby crying out. She sits up in her cozy bed and sees a disgruntled male child staring back at her. She attempts to hand the child it’s sucker but it refuses and just glares. A gust of cool wind blows through an open window and a pile of cloth scraps blows into the Muls lap, she picks one up and discovers them to be pages of the Telaric Codex, a highly sought after ancient book on Athas. She is unsure where they came from.

A large woman opens the door and looks pleased that Aces is awake. She picks up the child, whom Aces learns is named Oopsee, and introduces herself to be Cassi Solivan, Ehd’s mother. The Mul is in the Solivan house. Cassi calls down to the others and Krushi, Mentathenis, Terrlen, Modreg, Sam, Ehd, Cliff and Lythannis crowd into the room to welcome the Mul back from her deep slumber.

She learns that after the Shadovar city teleported away, the cloaked figure, and friend of Lythannis became very protective of her in her sleep, and as the group began their trek westward, the mysterious humanoid carried her the entire 300 miles from the ruins of Arabel to Iriaebor. While passing through Iriaebor, against Ehd’s best hopes, they were caught by friends of his mother’s and were forced to pay she and his family a visit.

After reuniting, the whole group heads through the twisted stair wells and hallways of the Solivan household to the floor level dining room and kitchen area, where Cassi is planning a dinner for the party. On the way, they pass one of Ehd’s sisters, Eve, a 12 year old girl with raven black hair and pale skin who shrugs off Ehd’s attempts at sibling playfulness. Cassi informs Aces that she is a mute, but the best assassin the family has. Krushi is disgusted that a 12 year old anything is an assassin but Cassi ensures the halfling that Eve wasn’t happy unless she had a couple daggers in her hands.

Aces wanders around the house and sees Megilwath sitting in solitude, she is reminded about their lost friend, Sona Summergale and decides not to interrupt the man in his thoughts. In the back yard, she is greeted by Fanidea, who is also sitting alone and sharpening her sickle, squinting in the sunlight. On a log sitting quietly, she sees the mysterious cloaked figure who notices her approach. As she sits next to him, he puts his arm around her and without a word, she and Ree’vr have an understanding.

They spend the next few moments before dinner talking about what each of them remember about their past and how they ended up on Toril. Strangely, it seems that Ree’vr has the same dark spots as Aces.

As Cliff and Sam help Cassi finish the dinner, the woman shamelessly hits on the shifter, talking about wanting a rematch with the man and how she desires a few puppies of her own someday. The shifter raises an eyebrow and Sam pretends not to hear the two. Ehd however, does and voices his protest from the next room, but is shushed by his mother in a playful manner.

The front door flies open and in strolls two more of Ehd’s brothers. Garren, a jerk-faced, hulking 16 year old wearing full plate, and Brandis, a robed 10 year old with a silly pointed hat and his nose shoved in a book. Ehd and Garren, as usual immediately get into a scuffle and Cassi has to break it up as they sit down for dinner. Another brother, a dirty little 8 year old nicknamed “Peggy” hobbles over and plops himself down at the kiddy table on the floor and waits patiently for dinner to be served.

Once again, the front door is opened and in a blinding light glides Mana. A beaming 14 year old with white hair, white robes and a set of beautiful golden pauldrons covering her shoulders. Excited to see Ehd, she runs up and jumps into his arms with a smile. Eve appears in her seat and dinner is served.

During the meal, the group talks about their next move, Cassi pressures Cliff into joining her in the back yard mud pit, and Sam tries to figure out where Eve’s food is going, as she never makes a move to eat, but her food is seemingly disappearing from her plate.

Mana inquires about Ehd’s love life and makes the connection between he and Krushi. Garren pesters the group about their makeup and why they have no cleric of use, and Fanidea resists slicing off the boy’s head and sending it to Lolth.

Brandis asks Mentathenis about his spells and rituals and offers to teach the eladrin some tricks and Lythannis recounts his stories about Ree’vr who he believes to be a scared kindred spirit of the Feywild. Megilwath keeps to himself while Modreg and “Peggy” have a food fight and Terrlen polishes off his mapping of the Solivan House.

Ehd and Garren get into another fight and Aces rises to her feet to put the bastard in his place. Krushi, noticing Eve is suddenly standing behind Aces with her daggers in hand and glaring up at her back, calls her out. Ehd tells the dark haired girl to stand down and that the Mul woman in not a threat to her brother,but he needs to learn respect. Garren continues to spout out insults until Aces calls him little and he pouts, flops back in his chair and sits quietly for the rest of dinner.

Mana notices Krushi struggling with her mother’s cooking and with a smile she leans in and whispers, “I understand, it’s always bad!”

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CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN: Shadow of the Shadovar
Malakai and the Brigade


As the group starts to climb out of the remains of the Tiefling Princess, Sona falls to her knees ad starts coughing up black goo, her face is pale and the color drains from her eyes. She starts to pass out and Megilwath catches her, Aces offers to carry her. They remove the discs from their alcoves and replace them into the ornate sarcophagus.

When the main doors are opened, there is an old man standing before them. He introduces himself as Malakai, and is curious and shocked to see the tombs doors ajar, Aces gets the sense that he is not being entirely truthful. He asks that they allow him entrance into the tomb and they recommend that he forget about it. They push past him and Mentathenis leaves him with the room well lit, to make sure he can’t see the music. Malakai, in defeat, follows the group out.

As they make their way out of the Tomb, Aces and Ehd notice a rattling of bones across the floor. Soon after the rest of the group also catch the bones skittering about. Aces runs ahead with Sona in her arms to stand guard and Ehd moves to help the rest get through the room safely. Three skeletal tieflings rise up behind them and shamble forward. They open the entrance doors and run through, closing them behind them and Modreg quickly locks up. They turn to find themselves surrounded by the Silverymoon Brigade.

Sam’s trip to the “Noble Cart”


Berend, Sam, and the mysterious cloaked figure walk swiftly along the East Way, headed west, towards Arabel. Lythannis, mounted atop his beautiful pegasus Celestine trots to their side and Berend’s two tracker pugs, Sparky and Radar are in tow. Berend and Lythannis tell Sam stories of their travel’s and their greatest hunts. Sam begins to respect the three friends on their trip back to the Brigade. As they approach, the guards fall into place, two move to escort the group to Aramil’s tent, a few others bow and take off their helms.

Aramil emerges from his tent to feign thanks to the three for bringing back his bride to be. He reveals that he knows all about their plan to pass a changeling off as Sona and orders Berend executed. The dwarf struggles to free himself but he can not get away from the eladrin soldiers. Aramil orders that Lythannis and the vampire be locked up so that the Summergale family and Silverymoon can decide their fates.

Sam, in Sona’s guise stands with her jaw open in shock of what just happened, but decides to keep up the act to see if she can pull the con through. She tells Aramil how vile she thinks he is and that she absolutely refuses to marry him. Aramil brushes it off as more changeling trickery but she continues and eventually convinces him to return her to her father. Aramil agrees and has her taken over to the noble cart. As Sam and her escorts walk away from Aramil they are passed by a sickly looking man with yellowed skin, before they are out of earshot Sam can over hear Aramil say “Malakai, find the others.”

Sam is secured inside the cart for their trip back to Silverymoon, she attempts to get her robe caught on in the doorjam, but soon realizes it to be magically locked. She sits back to think.

Sona’s Fall


Aramil confronts the party, threatening to kill the treacherous adventurers if they do not hand Sona over. He is displeased with her condition and blames them for her illness. Aces takes Sona’s head in her hand and threatens to crush it if the Silverymoon Brigade tries to attack. Tensions run high, and to add more, Krushi explodes a ball lightning in her hands causing the bridage to flinch back. Sona begs Aces to let her down, she wants no blood spilled on her account. More black drips from her pale lips, and she clutches her chest screaming out in pain.

Cliff glances at the sky to notice a sort of distortion just before a shadow is cast over Arabel. A huge, blackened floating city looms overhead, casting it’s darkness across the area. Everyone looks around trying to piece together what is happening. Demonic creatures begin to emerge from the shadow swarming the heroes and the Silverymoon Brigade alike. A huge three way battle ensues. Aces, Ehd, Megilwath, Mentathenis and Fanidea stay together protecting Sona. Krushi and Cliff work together to chase down the escaping Aramil. During the battle Modreg is narrowly missed my a swift dagger from Malakai. He turns to release the skeletal tieflings from the tomb on the deceitful man, and retreats behind Terrlen. The guide, angered that someone just tried to kill the his little green friend transforms into his large wolf form to protect him. The entrance to the tomb is shattered as he grows to full size, ripping at the betrayer.

The party watches as many of the Silverymoon brigade are sucked down into the shadow that they stand in, the remaining brigade forces quickly panic and begin to flee, rain starts to fall, a thunderstorm has come.

Dodging the Demonic creatures and the fleeing brigade, Krushi and Cliff catch up to Aramil and manage to bloody him. Just before they can make the killing blow, a huge Balor rises from the darkness in front of them in an explosion of shadow and flame. It’s lightning sword rips from the air and it’s fiery whip follows into existence. The whip is spun around Aramil setting him on fire and pulling him towards the huge creature. Krushi and Cliff look on as the eladrin is brought to his knees in pain. Before the balor can raise his lightning sword to make the killing blow, Krushi explodes the Eladrin in a mess of liquified bone and flesh. Her hair crackles with light as Cliff tells her they should retreat back to the group. The balor takes out a group of Silverymoon when they dare to wander too close to it, it walks after the Halfling and Shifter.

A small demonic creature rushes up on Aces and knocks Sona out of her arms, causing the sickly woman to fall to the ground. Megilwath struggles to get to her but is not fast enough. His beloved Sona is pushed into the shadow by a second demon. He falls to his knees in rage.

The balor yells out, rumbling the ground “Pyraxis rules you! Return to Shade, the spreaders will handle the rest!”

One by one the demons melt back into the shadow of the floating city. The balor gives out a sinister laugh as he announces “The time of the Shadovar has come, the darkening of this planet has begun, all shall bow to Shar!” and he follows his minions into the shadow.

A Shadow Spreader and five of Aurgloroasa’s dwarven skeletons rise from the black to raise the dead. The group engages, and kills off the dwarfs pretty handily with Mentathenis’ help. Before the Shadow Spreader can be taken down, the group is bloodied. Cliff and Terrlen cross paths and get into a scuffle.

Sam is still sitting in the noble cart when the shadow falls. She watches through the windows as demons fight the Silverymoon Brigade, her cart is rocked a few times and she decides it best to give unlocking the magically sealed cart doors a shot. She manages to remember enough about the arcane to do so and she is released into the pouring rain. She ducks low to avoid being seen and quickly moves to get out of the city. To her left, she notices a sparking sound and sees the beheaded body of Berend Irongullet. His two pugs, Sparky and Radar, catch up to her and she scoops them up. On her flight, she passes another “Noble cart” and thinks that may be where Lythannis and the mummy are being held. She makes a note of it and keeps running.

Up ahead, she notices familiar faces. Ehd, Cliff, and the others. She adjusts her path to head towards them, dodging through ruined buildings and into the graveyard. She comes upon the group just as Cliff falls to the claws of Terrlen, who turns back to the Shadow Spreader with a howl.

She heals him and Ehd is sure to redirect the Shifter to the real problem at hamd. At first everyone thinks Sona has somehow escaped and gotten amazingly better, but then they realize it’s Sam still playing her role.

The group manages to defeat the spreader and help Megilwath out of the mud, still rolling in his own anger for losing his girl. Krushi sends a spark at Megilwath’s rear end to snap him out of it. She tells the drow and the rest of the group that they will find a way into the city and get Sona back. Her hair stands on end.

The group sneaks it’s way through the wet remains of Arabel, avoiding the other spreaders and undead. They make their way to the other cart and release Lythannis and the cloaked mummy. Lythannis expresses his gratitude and calls for Celestine and the pegasus joins them, emerging from a partially collapsed stable structure.

Above them the dark city looms.

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CHAPTER TWENTY SIX: The Tomb of the Tiefling Princess

Megilwath falls into an ocean of fire. There are no boundaries, extending as far as the eye can see. His ebon skin burns off in flakes, but there is no pain, only terror and dread. The flames burn brighter and brighter until he can no longer see through his tears, turning to ash as they leave his eyes. At the moment of his death, he is awakened from his meditation.

He turns to see Sona next to him, her hand upon her forehead, as if having awoken from a nightmare. He asks her what it was and she describes exactly what he saw in his own vision. They talk about it for a bit and he comforts her.

Mentathenis awakes from his meditation feeling right as rain. Just a little upset that it continues to drizzle in the lower sections of the peaks. He can hear the voices of Saranine and Modreg, and his brow furrows,“Too early for either of those.” Especially after his keen hearing picks up what the two are speaking of… “Modreg’s personal mating customs.” The clearly excited goblin talks of “Goats, padded helmets and dollops of crab paste, his favorite romantic setup!” Sara scribbles notes in her journal as fast as the little green guy can talk, and catches Mentathenis’ eying her. She politely thanks Modreg for his exciting information, and walks over to the Eladrin. She bids him a good morning and asks that they take a walk together. He accepts, knowing the Silver Dragon in Eladrin form has been a loyal friend of his family for years.

They walk up around a ridge overlooking the north. The skies are mostly darkened, The clouded peaks still cast their shadows over the land and beyond, the great Netheril, home of the Shadovar. Sara asks Mentathenis about the details of the Wraith Blade and it’s vault. She talks about her studies, locating an island that holds secrets, one that disappeared. She thinks she has placed the island within a 500 mile area, somewhere beyond the Trackless Sea, halfway to Returned Abeir. She also mentions the security of the vault, and says she knows just the thing. She summons a dove to her from the forest below, and whispers it a message. She waves it away and turns to Mentathenis to tell him that she sent message to Trysta Riversong, and that as the best Ranger Sara knows, she could get them a worm.

She tells Mentathenis that she will go on ahead to the Sword Coast and secure them a ship, bids him farewell and asks that he avert his eyes as she transforms. Her shining silver wings beat once and her long slender body is sent diving over the edge. The Eladrin watches as she banks west and disappears from his view. He walks back to camp.

Sona and Megilwath talk about her situation and what the bounty hunters are willing to do for them. She says she wants to stay with him, her love, but is scared. She also mentions to Megilwath about Fanidea staring at him while sharpening her scythe. She looks irritated and gloomy, her shifting chromatic eyes squinting in the overcast light.

He approaches her and asks her again why she is with their party. She tells him that her guild in Menzoberranzan assigned her with the task of watching over him and that he is in danger. She did not choose it, but could not refuse it. She stands and walks a ways out of camp Megilwath follows and they both pass Cliff, returning from his circles of the camp through the mountains. He reports to Ehd and Sam that he didn’t see anything to stir alarm. Aces, Krushi and Terrlen awaken and start breaking down camp.

Megilwath watches Fanidea as she sits on a stone and continues polishing her scythe. The group finishes breaking down camp and decide to head west along the Vale Road in the direction of Arabel. A little ways down the mountain road, Megilwath and Modreg pick up the sounds of battle and barking dogs somewhere below them. A Pegasus carrying an Eladrin rider zips past above them, raining fire arrows down on an unseen conflict. Megilwath climbs to get a better view but can not see the fighting from his position. He sees the Eladrin notice him and train an arrow on the Drow, he waves and when the Eladrin sees this he turns back to loose it into the fray at hand.

The group continues down to see a dwarf and a cloaked humanoid joined in battle with three skeletal dwarves and a skeletal hound. A large black swirling orb of shadow floats off to the side. A blackened trail of death lay behind it. Shadowy tendrils writhing and twist in search of flesh to feast upon. They find a recently slain body and begin stripping it’s flesh away, leaving only bleached white bones behind. Aces, Sam, Terrlen and Modreg stay behind to watch over Sona. Megilwath, Fanidea, Cliff, Ehd and Krushi engage to help defeat the undead. During the battle, a lot of blood is shed, and the black Shadow Spreader manages to be a challenge for the party to take down. Two small pugs run up on Sona’s group, one of which sparks when walking through shadow. The elf recognizes the two small dogs to be Berend Irongull’s. An old friend and servant of the Summergale family. She begins to fear that Sam’s plan will not work.

Before the battle draws to a close, Cliff is knocked unconscious, and when the Spreader is finally defeated it’s darkness explodes away revealing a hideously gaunt cloaked figure to be at the center of it’s evil, who falls to the ground in a crumpled heap.

Cliff and Ehd come to recognize that the dwarf is indeed Berend Irongullet of the Silverymoon Brigade, who thanks them for their assistance and asks about Sona. The mysterious cloaked figure stands near Berend and is as still as a statue, it’s bladed staff sticking in the ground at it’s feet. The Pegasus mounted Eladrin lands nearby and strolls up, introducing himself as Lythannis Ech’thilion. Cliff and Ehd give the dwarf good news. The group gathers, and with Sam’s help, persuades Berend that using Sam in place of Sona would work out to benfit everyone. Sona gets to stay with Megilwath, The Bounty Hunters get their 10,000 gold, Berend gets his bonus, Sam gets to play nobility and Aramil will get what he wants.

Sam takes the guise of Sona and Berend uses a piece of Sam’s equipment to home the two pugs “Sparky” and “Radar” to her scent. Sona hands Sam her Songblade, as it was given to her by her father, and he would expect her to have it on her person. Soon after, the elf drops to her knees, clutching her chest in pain. Her skin pales and she begins to sweat. For a moment, the color drains from her eyes. Megilwath, Sam and Krushi rush to her side to offer aid and help her stand. She says it is alright, and that she didn’t know what that was, but she feels okay again. She grabs Megilwath’s hand and pulls off her necklace, handing it to him. She says she still fears for the future, and her dreams. She promises that she will always love him and wants him to have her necklace so that it may be a symbol of her heart gifted only to him.

Lythannis finishes flirting with Mentathenis and catches up to his friends and Sam, who continue along the road west toward the Brigade. The band, leaves the road to travel in an arc, around the Brigade and back to Arabel.

After a three day journey, they arrive in the ruins of the city. Mentathenis wants to investigate the Tomb of the Tiefling Princess. A place of ancient mystery that his father, despite having tried many times failed at discovering. Cliff and Ehd are interested as they have a map taken from the ogres describing the same place. Everyone ends up following the Eladrin.

When they reach the entrance to the tomb it has been boarded up with three signs…

“By order of the Arabel Authority
these doors are to remain sealed at all times.
Forgive us the inconvenience.”

“We beg of you,
please stop desecrating the princess’ tomb.
There is NO ancient magical treasure inside.”

“No Seriously, the magical doors do not open.
People have tried for years, and many have died in the attempt.”


It doesn’t take much for Aces to smash the boards, Megilwath to pick the lock, and Mentathenis to disable the magical seal. Mentathenis strikes up a light, and playing guide, leads them through a room that his father explained as having a poisonous cloud trap and skeletal tiefling guards. Much of the tomb has collapsed under Aurgloroasa’s attack, and many stains of blood and chips of bone lay about. The eladrin takes his friends through a small trap door in a small alcove to the lower level, where he lays eyes on the doors that have denied so many before him.

The large double doors have graceful dancing engravings flowing throughout their surfaces.
A man’s body lies at the base of them. His skull is crushed in and in death, he kneels before them, his head rests gently against the door. A long dried puddle of blood lay around him.

After a little investigation the group figures out that the doors function through contact with living flesh. In order to open them, a beautiful song must be played through tracing ones fingers with the lights pulsing along their seemingly whimsical paths. Mentathenis snuffs out his light so they can see all of the song’s movement and requires nearly the whole group to play the song. Once started, it feels less like they are being mimics to the door’s playing and making the music themselves, as if having heard the song before, a lullaby perhaps from childhood. Even Aces thinks she has heard it before.

When the song is finished, the doors open to reveal a large room with a skull pit in the center. Behind it, lie an ornate sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is magically sealed and four blue rune discs glow on top of it. After having to stave off a fight between Cliff and Terrlen who nearly get into a scuffle in the skull pit, the group discovers that the runic discs can be removed from the sarcophagus by spinning them off. They place them into round indentations in the walls which activate glowing patterns like waves of light along the walls and across the floor into the skull pit, releasing the skulls into a hidden chamber below and off to the side to reveal a hidden trap door below.

They open the sarcophagus to find a small orb. Blue sky and swirling clouds are enclosed inside. When Krushi picks it up, it activates! The clouds and blue sky explode out of the orb and fill the room with light. A Tiefling-like woman appears before them and speaks…

“Well, here she is.
Body broken beyond repair.
She’ll probably look pretty bad by now.
Skeletal and rotting. Oh well.
I tried to arrange everything as we agreed.
It sure was a pain to get her buried, hopefully she’s not petrified or anything.
I still don’t understand why we needed the skull pit though, it seems a little excessive…
Now, when you meet Desper, make sure you give her this orb, she’ll understand…
Don’t forget to lock up when you leave, can’t have anyone else getting in here
So…yeah! Good luck, and I’ll see you soon! I’m really excited!”


The daylight is sucked back into the orb and the Tiefling woman is gone.

Megilwath, Modreg and Cliff notice that while she was shaped mostly like a Tiefling, she has strangely colored bluish skin and green glowing geometric patterns and designs crawled about her skin.

The party heads into the large trap door in the floor to enter a small area below. It’s dusty and dirty, and while some of the intricacies remain in the strange skeletal beam’s framing, much of the room has collapsed in on itself. There are a bunch of random items of little value scattered about the room. Carvings of foreign landscapes. Scattered parchment. A ship’s helm. Some old books, who’s pages are also faded. A single chest lies hidden underneath some junk, behind the ship’s wheel.

Cliff and Megilwath notice some writing on one of the beams above. It reads…

“O come from afar, from those ages away.
O don’t ever yon wander to return there someday,
O the great wheel beyond, must be held sway,
O through spaces between, we will find our way.”


The party starts to suspect that this small room may actually be a ship of some kind. Megilwath grabs the wheel that when touched, glows in chromatic waves, the whole room shifts and rocks begin to fall and the wheel tears itself free of it’s base. They open the chest and find only 3 gold, and an old spool with a single length of thread still wrapped around it’s core.

Aces wants to take the entire wheel with her but the others point out that it won’t fit through the upper trap door, and can not be placed into the bag of holding.

Mentathenis takes a piece of the wreckage and wipes the dust away. He cannot identify the strange material, it is neither metal nor wood but somewhere in between. on the back of the piece, carved in elegant script are the words “The Tiefling Princess.”

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