Fallen World

Regroup

The Heroes made their way from the Welcome Hearth with their bedraggled mages in tow. Conjuring up a team of Phantom Steeds, they all mounted up and made their way for Peton. Before they could arrive, they came across a melee between followers of The Ocean and those sworn to the Mother. Deciding that their interests lay more with the Oceanites, the heroes swooped down. In Adar‘s case, literally. His battle with Charles Autumn had more fully awaken his angelic nature and one shadowy wings, he flew into the combat, pinioning one of the Mother’s priests with his spear. Caelon managed to dispatch one of the horrible summoned creatures and Hadrian used his magics to freeze a patch of land where some of the Mother’s minions were trying to flee. The followers of the Ocean thanked the heroes, saying that their captives would make good sacrifices to the Ocean. Before they could be flung bodily into the sea, the surviving Mother worshipers were questioned by the heroes but all they would allow was that the Mother was coming…soon.

The heroes left the grisly tableau and made their way into Peton which had become a full to bursting shantytown with refugees spilling out of any available housing. Father Drey welcomed them after they were initially questioned by The Children of the Dragon who have continued their defense of the town against all comers. Father Drey explained that tensions were high, resources scarce, and the raids by the followers of the Ocean were not helping. The heroes learned of the high priest Rourke who sat in the Ocean’s cathedral in Meshev and how he was conducting his side of this religious conflict. Deciding that they needed to have words with them, the heroes began to discuss how best to go about it.

Adar explained that ever since fighting Charles Autumn and dealing with those stones from The Aboleths he had lost his connection with his past selves and needed to be made whole. He explained that Blackhaven held the secret and urged his companions to make their way there next. Coming to the conclusion that they needed better transportation with their Goblin submersible still chugging its way back from Lilly’s Town, Caelon decided to try to ask a boon of The Lady de Winter. She heeded his call and, pleased with how he and his allies had dispatched Charles Autumn, gave him use of a white bird who could guide them through the world between worlds and allow them to pass great distances. She warned however, that those realms would take them dangerously close to Mister Springfield and danger…

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The Fall

Caelon, Adar, and Hadrian made their way into the inn, the Welcome Hearth and soon met Struthers and Amily, the proprietors. After being fussed over, fed, and set by the fire, the heroes began exploring the grounds and questioning the smiling couple, eager to find some clue of The Bright Ones. After learning from Amily that various followers of the Mother and The Ocean had been sniffing around, Adar and Hadrian sensed a magical presence in the vicinity and tried to ascertain its source despite the late hours and the pounding rain.

After much finagling, they managed to learn from Amily and Struthers that there were sinister dealings afoot and heard tale of a lost girl and a mysterious cave that held a troubling box. Determined to find out what was going on, the heroes set out into the night and found the cave with ease, the magical power shining like a beacon from the unadorned, basalt box that sat in the centre of the cavern.

Casting a Knock spell on it, the heroes saw the box open and inside were an acorn and a strange stone. As soon as the box opened, they felt their magic leave them and Adar was cursed by a terrible silence as all the voices from his previous lives ceased their constant chorus of encouragement and wisdom. Robbed of their magic, they could only watch in horror as the acorn hopped out of the box, smashed against the ground and from its leaving arose the form of Charles Autumn.

Shedding his more urbane guise, Charles Autumn grew to a monstrous size, his feet transforming into hooves and terrible horns spilling from his head until he resembled a huge satyr. In his baneful voice he offered them the choice to join him. The rest of the Bright Ones, including the dissembling couple of Amily and Struthers appeared out of the gloom and held the heroes tight while Autumn spoke of his plans to remake the world using the stones which fed off the belief of the Bright Ones, causing their innate hatred of magic to banish its presence. The stones came from The Aboleths and Charles Autumn seemed assured that soon they would have enough to change the entire world.

Stripped of his comforting voices, Adar went into a blind rage and snatched at the stone which led to a terrible melee between the heroes, the Bright Ones, and Charles Autumn facing Adar in hand to hand combat. As the Heroes held the stone, their powers slowly returned and they were better able to take on the smiling cultists until it was just them and Autumn who seemed unkillable. Then, Caelon, his wintry powers newly granted him by his new patron, The Lady de Winter cast an icy spell that seemed to sap Charles Autumn of his vitality but it was Adar who speared the beast, leaving him to explode into a cloud of leaves.

The heroes’ magic returned and they boxed the stone back up and began to explore the cave. They found where the Bright Ones lived and held their strange rites before four thrones which seemed to correspond to the four who lived on The Other Side of the Hill. Finally, sensing magic again, they discovered a dungeon where a dozen mages and sorcerers were chained up in various states of mental and physical decay. The most lucid, Doctor Orsi seemed very excited to see them and explained that all of them had come searching for Valos and his promised magical kingdom but had been lured and trapped by the false power source of the black box. Taken back to the inn, the heroes pondered just what to do next…

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On Dragons, Women, and Other Dangers

Fire blasted from Kraxnanymos’ maw and the heroes were engaged in mortal combat. As they fought the fierce beast, their thoughts turned to the many adventures they had undertaken under Mount Peril that brought them here. As Primrose the minotaur found himself suddenly fighting for his life inside the dragon’s fiery mouth, they recalled the treacherous cave in which trapped them in the cave, their becoming trapped in ancient spider webs, and almost falling to their doom over terrible chasms.

Their path through the caverns had them dealing with puzzled ant men, fending off the madness of the Temple of Lolth, and finding their way around the flaming corpse of a fire giant which stood between them and the dragon they were now fighting valiantly against.

Fire and spells ricocheted around the chamber but when the smoke and steam cleared, Kraxnanymos had fallen and the prince was soon rescued and then the story ended.

The heroes suddenly found themselves looking as they normally did in the smokey world between worlds where Mr. Springfield had taken them before they fell off the path. The white raven who caused their fall transformed into the Lady de Winter and she told them many things, some too terrible to countenance but in the end, Caelon agreed to switch his pact of allegiance from his father to her and in return, she answered their questions and transported them to where the wanted to go: the base of the Bright Ones.

Which is how the heroes foundthemselves on a forested hill top outside a lonely inn.

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Three Months Ago

Three months ago, the Heroes were back in Peton when a young member of the Sons of the Dragon came barrelling into town and went straight to Father Drey with alarming news. The priest of Pelor asked the Heroes in and told them the dire news. A young Son named Gavin had been stationed in a small inland village of Civelek for the last two weeks to keep an eye out for raiders and cultists. The previous day, a young girl died and Gavin was accused of commiting murder and was going to be “strung up.” Not wasting a moment, the Heroes set off to find out the truth.

Passing a covered wagon whose rider pointed them in the right direction, they soon came to the village. Setting up camp, they opted to approach on foot an not make a great display of their arms. It was dusk and the village was empty save for lights on the hillside. As the Heroes approached, they saw a mighty tree and a figure dangling from it. They arrived just in time to see a bear of a man pronouncing judgement. Hadrian set his staff alight to grab their attention and Akradar proved mighty fierce. The executioner, seeing the distraction, steeled himself and kicked the stool upon which stood the poor lad the Heroes had come to potentially exonerate. Caelon, nimbly running towards him, used his magics to transpose his location with Gavin’s and he wound up in the noose but through a remarkable display of acrobatics and forward momentum, he managed to swing the rope up and wrap his ankles around the branch. Gavin was teleported back to safety, hurt but alive.

The heroes then undertook unravelling the mystery of this small town. It seemed a young woman had been murdered and this young dragon had been the last one seen with her and the swift, brutal judgment of the community had fallen on his neck. The heroes set about proving his innocence with Hadrian chasing down the covered wagon they had passed which turned out to be the village priest who had followed the dictates of the Ocean and thrown the girl into the wet arms of their god. Hadrian followed suit and recovered the body before interrogating her corpse through his alarmingly arcane means. Back in town, the others began trying to piece together what was going on.

In the process, they discovered an old hedge mage who had been secretly teaching the young woman how to harness her inner magical skills. It seemed she was being secretly harrassed by some menacing foe whom the heroes discovered to be agents of the Bright Ones. Their investigations led them to the horrible truth that the young woman’s own brother, little Cagdas had been the murderer, egged on by some invisible friend of his whom he only called “Charlie.” The true killer found and the young dragon saved, the heroes left the sad town behind and carried on with their efforts to keep Glasdrigal from slipping into madness.

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Down Down

Having made their way to the Consortium, the Heroes met up with Flavio Marcocchio, the director and he listened to their request to venture down the shaft. Hesitant at first and cagey with the details, he hemmed and hawed and many of the heroes began to grow suspicious of him. Finally he laid out what he wanted. The mine had been plagued with gnolls and Marcocchio told the heroes that if they wanted access to the further recesses of the caves below, they would have to clear out the gnolls first and help recover stolen mithryl. Still uncomfortable with the arrangement but seeing no other choice, the heroes agreed.

Given healing potions and a scrappy guide named Preeti Torul, they descended the elevator down into the depths, still uneasy with their agreement with the Consortium. When they arrived at the right level, they met Kalev Hunt who was in charge of security and told them that the gnolls had been skirmishing with the Consortium for some time but that there had been fewer attacks recently but that they were still a threat. The heroes learned of one particularly nasty gnoll who dressed himself in bones and seemed to be followed by wicked looking hyenas.

Traveling past the stockade and into the scratched out caves the gnolls had made, they came to an area past giant holes in the earth and were set upon by the gnolls who were defending a little scrabbled together bulwark. Archers and slavering fighters launched their attack followed by a hulking brute and this strange, cackling bone-clad leader who shouted, “Treachery!” when combat began. After a brutal fight where monstrous undead hyenas were raised from the very earth and Caelon fell to their deprivations, the heroes managed to conquer the beasts and made ready to see just what more lurked in the dark.

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At Their Own Peril

The Heroes, having sworn to help King Rydiger find his missing son and having been introduced to Primrose, split up to explore the castle and find out what information they can. Adar and Hadrian decide to see what secrets Mabruk the Magnificent held in his tower. Finding it magically locked they burned through the door’s defenses with their own arcane might and trudged their way up the dark, sinister stairs. Meanwhile, Melwyn asked Primrose about the prince and what might have occurred. Primrose was somewhat cagey with the strange little man but eventually divulged the prince’s obsession with his Uncle who, along with a group of knights, sallied forth from Castle Perilous to see what secrets were held under Mount Peril and were never seen again.

Akra Darr went off to the library and poured over the maps of the land, trying to find the path that led them here but to no avail. What she did discover was the layout of the kingdom and of the whole discovered world which only reinforced the strange, stylized quality of this land. One thing that drew her attention was the political curiousity that was the Consortium. Her further research showed to her how they had maintained neutrality with the denizens of Castle Perilous since they were both founded centuries ago but how they came to prominence relatively recently with the discovery of Mithryl which they mined to great success.

Caelon had been traipsing through the forest, communing with the oddly comforting surroundings when the white raven flew towards him. While it stayed silent, it responded to Caelon’s questions with seeming knowledge and certainty and seemed to be directing his attention towards the volcano.

Meanwhile, in Mabruk the Magnificent’s tower, Hadrian and Adar had discovered the cold dark lab where the thing must have worked. The remnants of evil looking experiments were left behind, the sole living occupant a giant black spider which Hadrian took immediate fright of. They came across Mabruk the Magnificent’s notes and after casting a spell to decipher them, discovered the history of Mizzlegraxt. It seemed to be an ancient dark elven city which, at its inception, made a diabolical pact with the mysterious Kraxnanymos before flourishing over the many centuries into a dark and twisted metropolis. It had two colonies, Svaldatak and Wexl which were based around the mining of precious metals and minerals and the increased wealth only made them more powerful and decadent. All this ended when they finally broke through the surface to the sunlit lands and fell to civil war and strife, ending when Mount Peril erupted. Mabruk the Magnificent spoke of how they would return and how it was somehow tied to this entity Kraxnanymos. He also spoke of the strange religion of his people, devoted as they were to a terrible pale, arachnid goddess known as Lloth. The writings descended into madness and aside from one cryptic remark about the prince “looking for his own doom” there was no light shed on his disappearance. Hadrian even cast a spell of seeing to discern hidden doors or portals but to no avail and, grabbing the caged spider, they sought out their comrades in the library.

Everyone had come together to the library to pool what they had found but as soon as Hadrian stepped in, his eyes which were still under their ensorcellment detected a hidden door in this very room. As they went to examine it, the door swung open and he and Primrose went in to see where it led while Adar and Akra Darr noticed the librarian acting very suspiciously. They questioned her as the others came to the end of the tunnel and all discovered that it led to the prince’s chambers and that she had known about it. The prince had some interest in the library and on discovering this passage existence, had used it for secret research. The tunnel also led to an exit outside the castle walls. The heroes realized it would easily have allowed the prince to slip out undetected or to possibly allow someone in.

Armed with knowledge of this strange land and determined to solve the mystery, Primrose revealed that the Uncle and his men had secured passage below with the aid of the Consortium and with a sense of trepidation, the heroes decided they must do likewise.

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Straying From the Path

Mister Springfield explained to The Heroesabout the arrival of the Mother to Glasdrigal and offered them direct transportation there via a door between the ruins of Lilly’s Town and his home on The Other Side of the Hill. They debated what would be the wisest course of action but decided in the end to take Mister Springfield’s offer and let their comrades back on the submersible take the long way home, hoping they might arrive when the time is right. Mister Springfield warned them to stay in a straight line and to just follow the person in front of them without straying the path. With that, he opened the door and took them into a mist-shrouded world.

Despite the fog that surrounded them and their limited visibility, the heroes managed to stay on the path and made their way forwards. Time and distance seemed to blur together and they weren’t sure how much time had passed when [[Melwyn] heard a strange flapping noise and then saw a flash of white feathers before his face, making him lose his footing and fall into the mists with a squeak. Akra Darr reached out to grab him by the hair but only managed to be pulled off the path herself. Adar‘s eidolon fell likewise and through their reciprocal nature, Adar found himself falling. Caelon and Hadrian heard and saw something of their comrade’s distress but tried to keep up with Mister Springfield, hoping to somehow convince him to stop and help them find their friends. Mister Springfield pronounced them lost and just moved ever onwards. Hadrian willfully made his way into the mists while Caelon fretted over what to do, shouting at his father to help them. As he made his way forwards, he too caught a glimpse of white and soon he fell away.

When the mists parted they all found themselves in a strange land where colours were more vibrant everything seemed to have a stylized, intensified look to it. They spotted a white raven which quickly perched on Melwyn’s shoulder and after questioning it in various languages, it looked down the road to the sounds of approaching horses. The heroes decided to stand firm and meet these riders head on and so met Captain Salam of the royal guard of the Castle Perilous ruled by King Rydiger. He escorted them towards the palace which sat at the base of Mount Peril, a quiet volcano all the while explaining the local politics and economy. When asked about a local mining concern called the Consortium, he grew quieter and directed the conversation elsewhere. It became very apparent that wherever the heroes were, they were nowhere near home.

Soon they arrived at the throne room of King Rydiger who seemed a dour and sullen man though he was interested in the strangers and where they came from. He summoned his court magician and adviser Mabruk the Magnificent who immediately began to cast suspicions on the heroes, accusing them of arriving right when the king’s son went missing even going so far as to lie about seeing them when the son disappeared. The heroes and Mabruk the Magnificent bandied words, each trying to persuade the king to their cause when Melwyn stepped forward and gave an impassioned plea, aided by his comrades. The king was moved and denounced Mabruk the Magnificent, saying he preferred the hope offered by the heroes than the perpetual gloom whispered by his sage. Mabruk the Magnificent then altered his appearance, going from a wizened old man to a tall, elegant dark elf who declared himself to be in the service of Mizzlegraxt and then brought out his dark elf henchmen and the fight was on.

As the fight progressed, it became clear that these were no ordinary dark elves. Whenever the heroes struck them, their colour faded and their weapons passed through them, revealing them to be ghosts. After much combat, Caelon cast the final spell which weakened Mabruk the Magnificent who as he began to die a final death warned them that Kraxnanymos would rise and when it did, Mizzlegraxt would be reborn and all would suffer. He then turned to chalk and disintegrated. King Rydiger looked on with an ashen face as the heroes tried to figure just what these things were before he finally said that he had heard legends of the ancient dark elven city of Mizzlegraxt and now realized it must be under the very feet of the Castle Perilous. With a pleading look to the heroes he simply said, “Help.”

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Weaving a Tale

Lilly’s Town was a mess of destruction that seemed months old. Once the Heroes docked and entered the city, they saw a host of figures in robes of the Swarm battling against horrible creatures found only in nightmares. Before the heroes could rush in, several of these horrors materialized out of the thin air and the battle was on. The heroes rushed to dispatch these creatures of teeth and malice before they could kill all of the Swarm acolytes and indeed, they managed to rescue two of them. Once the battle was over, they noticed peculiar things. The bodies of the fallen acolytes showed no blood and the two survivors ignored the heroes and began walking silently towards the centre of the city. Adar noticed a fine thread pulling these two along and when they examined one of the fallen, they saw that it was a skeleton. Sure enough, the two ambulatory figures were likewise skeletal and unresponsive to any of Hadrian’s questions. The heroes followed the thread.

As they walked through, they saw a scene of peculiar destruction. A gaping hole was made in the town, large and circular like a footprint. Everything in this circle was crushed completely flat. It became apparent that this was where the Temple of the Mother landed. They soon came to the city’s main temple and found it a dilapidated structure. Walking through its dark tunnels, they found even more skeletons and even more strands all working their way into the centre. At the centre, they found what looked like a trash heap until it moved. From this heap, they saw the withered remains of the Orb Weaver. In a tired and strained voice, he told them of what befell Lilly’s Town.

The Mother’s Temple arrived out of the morning mist and then slowly lowered itself on the Eastern Quarter of the city, crushing all beneath. Shortly thereafter, monstrous creatures burst forth and attacked the town and the Temple took off into the sky. The Swarm fought back and began to make headway until the ancient undead enemies of the Swarm took the opportunity while their guard was down to attack. The Swarm fell and the Orb Weaver was twisted into an undead minion. The undead, led by a mad ghast were not prepared for the spawn of the Mother and soon they, too began to fall. Once the ghast died, his control over the Orb Weaver collapsed and, with free will, he took over the remaining undead and organized resistance to the spawn. Once the city was somewhat secure, he sent undead agents into the rest of the mainland to find allies but wherever they went, the Mother and her envoy had been and had made converts or destroyed all in her path. As tales of her coming grew, fewer and fewer folks resisted until the capital city of the Karak Empire bowed to her without bloodshed.

The heroes listened to this tale with a mixture of shock and disbelief. Needing to corroborate, they used rituals both to see with their own eyes and to hear from the mouths of the dead, both of which showed the Orb Weaver to be telling the truth. In their hunt for materials for their rituals, they came across great treasures now lying unregarded in the old reliquary of the Swarm. This moment of celebration was soon cut short by the sounds of crunching coming from the corridors. With weapons drawn, they crept towards the noise and rounded the corner only to find Mister Springfield enjoying an apple. He informed them that the Mother had returned to Glasdrigal.

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Meeting Steve and Coming Home

The Heroes, heady with victory over the squid flashed back to a week earlier when they were brought the sad and pathetic figure of the Grellk. He told them of how he was rejected by the Mother and her new consort before being flung out of the flying temple and into the ocean where he was tempted by The Angel of the Ocean into betraying his erstwhile god. Refusing, he made his way to Peton and found our heroes who wisely mistrusted this pale creature. From his speech, they learned of two things. One: the temple and its inhabitants were making their way to the mainland to do all sorts of mischief, they had no doubt. Second, they learned of the Aboleths who dwelt deep in the waters and who had contact with the Mother. Adar remembered the Aboleths from a great crusade on which his god sent him and his angels to save the world from their insidious and terribly cruelties. Banished to the waters they remained, biding their time. As they were about to leave, strange magicians and wizards appeared, seeking Valos’ promised magical kingdom.

Back on their submersible, the heroes went down and down into the watery depths into the hole left by the Mother’s temple’s ascent, their kraken-damaged vessel the worse for wear. Despite the waxing gloom and groans of the ship, they descended further and further into almost pitch darkness. At the point when they could go no further a flash of white brilliance blinded them and they found themselves on a featureless white plane populated by only by themselves and an approaching stranger. He wore strange yet formal dress and called himself Steve and suggested that maybe they were lost. Before he could do anything else, he recognized Adar and with a shouted prayer from Akra Darr the pure white world began to shudder and bruise. Steve and Adar traded harsh words of old compacts and promises kept and broken. It soon became apparent that Steve was unaware of the passing of Adar’s god and Adar and the party decided not to correct him. He spoke of the water as their domain and of his interactions with the Mother. Before they were sent away, Steve turned to Hadrian and told him, “I’ll give you this for free: the Ocean is not the Servant but the Servant is the Son.” With that enigma, they found themselves back to reality and on their way to the mainland. To Lilly’s Town.

Melwyn described with great pride and wonder the glories of his town for those who had not been there. The spires, the streets, the people. As they came into dock they saw those same spires as he described them. Between those spires, they saw only destruction and fire and despair.

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We Return in Medias Squid!

After six months of shoring up Peton, our heroes took to the seas only to find themselves beset by the terrible Kraken. During their long and arduous battle defending the submersible, they each thought back to how they had occupied their time since rescuing Caelon‘s mother from the insidious clutches of the Church of the Mother. Caelon had been catching up with his estranged mother who still would say little of his father. Hadrian had been doing more research into the island’s history trying to find some way of ending the conflict between The Ocean‘s and the Mother’s followers. Adar sat in quiet contemplation, meditating on the distant past and searching for glimmers of reflections of his dead god. Melwyn had no difficulty spreading the word of The Swarm to the refugees pouring int Peton and the mysterious sorcerer found himself tormented by visions.

All these insights and adventurers aided the heroes and eventually led them to triumph over the mighty Kraken thus freeing them to pursue their quests.

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