The Dusk of Kolmhaag
59th and 60th Sessions

The wizards of Assarna aided the Party in their ponderings on how to find the Dragonslayer. While her direct location was hard to find, they did offer their talents in theory and crafting magical items. But soon the discussion headed to Assarna’s future: How the growing safe haven for mages could afford to sustain itself. Due to the deep-seated religious dislike for arcane studies, the only people who would offer to become patrons were unsavory and preferred payment to be rendered in magical mayhem. The Party, acknowledging this conundrum, decided that they would see what they could do.

On the next day, 1st of Hearth, the Party departed for Duskport on the wings of Sparrow. It was a quick flight that led them to the majestic balcony that previously only Khariss had landed. An armed group of guards met them, but after recognising the Heroes of Dusk Coast, they welcomed the Party to the council meeting room. There they met Lord Morgath Kuon, Lady Tuire Winden, Lady Yagasha, Alexha Rivan and Yaris Nailo, everyone pleased to see them again. So with refreshments and fresh food, the exchange of stories began.

Not long after the Party had departed the Realm, the Dragonslayer had come to Duskport to meet the council. Her offers of sympathy and co-operation did not find root, however, since the Temples of the Divines, whose assistance was greatly needed, held her as a heretic. In addition, she told how she had seen the Party sucked into a magical vortex during the fight against Murguax, probably never to be seen again, which was not a message any of the Council wanted to hear.

Soon after her departure into places unknown, the Followers of the Guardian arrived briefly to Duskport. But their presence was fiercely opposed by the Paladins and clergy, forcing the cultists and cult-aligned people out of the city. And, according to popular consensus, this was a good thing, since as soon as word spread that the Dragonslayer had met with the leaders of Duskport, the dragons attacked. Shahrazhad and her northern ally attacked the Long Wall and Kolmhaag, breaching them and scattering the defenders back, allowing the orcish wildlanders to enter Dusk Coast. But, were it the enroaching winter or other reasons, the dire attack did not advance further. The dragons returned to their lands and the orcs were content to raid the villages and take over Kolmhaag. While the defenders appreciated the opportunity to rally, this uncertainty discouraged them from striking back, lest they walked into a trap.

The Party, deciding to trust the Council of Dusk Coast, revealed their knowledge: Without mentioning the existence of the Divine Essence, they explained the Dragonslayer’s plan to destroy the Divines and bring an era of uncertainty to all. Horrified of the possibility, the Council unanimously gave their support to the Party. During this discussion, the Party also offered the services of the Wizards of Assarna to the Council, an offer they accepted, although with less enthusiasm.

Ever since divining revealed the destruction of Kolmhaag’s fabled wall and that a group of people were still trapped in the castle of Kolmhaag, Dulkan ached to save them. So before any larger plans were laid, it was decided that those people would be saved. Althaea, recalling her friend Farpounce, suggested that they summon him and his flock of griffins to carry the defenders to the mountains nearby, where they could be led to safety. So it was decided: The Party, after taking care of errands, headed towards Kolmhaag on the wings of the Sparrow. During those errands, Lady Ashinka, who had been absent for almost half of the meeting, met with Carric. She offered that after the Dragonslayer had been brought to her knees, she could take charge of the Cult itself and mould it into a “useful group”. If the Party facilitated this transfer of power, she could make them very, very wealthy. A bit unnerved by the idea, Carric discussed it later with the Party, who ultimately decided that it was at the moment the best choice.

As darkness fell, the Sparrow took flight. Halfway over Haag river, they landed near the fortification where the operations on the eastern front were organised from. There they met the local commander of the Dragon Knights and a human sorcerer who went by the same name as the cult leader in Nidhi. While remaining cautious around her, the Party discussed strategy with the Knights, arranging a feint to the ‘gates’ of Kolmhaag to draw the Orcs away from the fortress itself and allow the griffins evacuate the people.

Two days further, on the dark, windy night of 3rd of Hearth, the plan was executed. The Party met with King Farpounce and dropped Althaea to fly on his back and coordinate the evacuation. So the rest of the Party flew soundlessly to Kolmhaag on the Sparrow. There they destroyed two siege towers that were erected on the walls of the castle, where people had gathered to the damaged balconies. The bulk of the orcs had amassed to the snowy fields to meet the Knights’ mounted charge. Seeing this as an opportunity, Dulkan swept over them on the Sparrow as Lady Antinua and Carric unleashed their destructive magics on the orcs.

Unfortunately, they were not the only ones wielding magic. From somewhere in the mass of panicking orcs came a fireball that scorched the ornithopter and its riders. The mages responded with magics of their own, but the effort was almost for naught, as their target was shrouded in invisibility. But only almost, since it was perhaps by Ochrana’s guidance that Carric’s hastily flung fiery conflagration managed to scorch the invisible spellcaster. But even after Lady Antinua used her arcane sight to see invisible, the dark mass of orcs made it almost impossible to find their target. After receiving a freezing rain of icicles that further damaged the Sparrow, Dulkan took distance and landed on top of the howling wall, scaring a lone orcish sentinel witless in the process.

Feeling their initiative slipping through their fingers and the evacuation only just begun, the Party figured out their next move. As Zariss would have it, they had just received the crucial part of their puzzle: The Force Cube, the object to trade for late Karanox’s Cubic Gate. Carric would use her magic to fly the Party in a tight formation while Lady Antinua would use the cube to block out the mage’s attack and Dulkan would use his bow to take them out. So they ascended, this time without wings of leather and wood, and found that their gambit worked. As they neared the orcs, another fireball came from the crowd, hitting the cube’s defensive force and dissipating harmlessly behind them. Even the mages’ last-ditch effort to teleport into a safe distance failed, and Dulkan’s arrow flew true, piercing the orc’s back and sending him crashing into the snow.

Not wanting to face the entire orcish army, the trio merely retrieved the body and flew across the Haag river, keeping the invaders’ attention on them while Althaea and Farpounce retrieved the rest of the citizens. As the last of the castles’ holdouts had left, the Party rode and flew to safety, an orcish mage in their custody and the castle Kolmhaag disappearing behind them, now curiously in flames…

The Sparrow
58th Session

The Party boarded the Huntress, greeting the crew in the process and began their return to Dusk Coast. As the land disappeared to the horizon, the crew unwrapped the package on the deck. What lay in front of the Party was a huge wooden birdlike construct with a cage as its face, standing on several legs and wings folded to its side: The flying machine built in Assarna, the Sparrow.

After marveling the vehicle and reading the guide written by the wizards, Dulkan, Antinua and Althaea boarded it and took off. While the takeoff itself was a hazardous process for the relatively narrow deck of the Huntress, all difficulty was forgotten as the Sparrow soared through the air, gliding effortlessly through the clouds, the Still Sea spreading wide below the awed fliers.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klsktSMF8nU)

After landing the Sparrow, the Party could concentrate on the news. The captain of the Huntress confirmed the dark tidings: The dragons Shahrazhad and Zathare have attacked Dusk Coast, demolishing the walls of Kolmhaag and Longwall, and now the countryside was being rampaged by orcs. The Party was concerned by these news and wondered what their plan should be.

As the days went on, the Huntress arrived near Bowmeet. The Party pondered whether they should visit the Patron of Shadow’s island or not, eventually coming to the conclusion that Carric would take the Huntress to load up on supplies and check out the situation, while the rest took the Sparrow to Assarna.

The hidden wizard retreat was bustling as ever. Sunder, Pivot, Kenkirk and even Khiss welcomed the Party warmly, discussing the news and hearing the Party’s stories. The island had managed to stay independent, although Lady Yagasha was pressing them to co-operate with the Sorcerer’s lodge. The question of how the arcane research would be most beneficial lay in the air.

Confiscation in the Night
57th Session

As Dulkan took Reneé to discover new flavors to a local inn, the talking pony drew in crowds. One such onlooker was Vath, a Paladin of Ashanti. The dragonborn demanded to know whose the obviously magical creature was, and Dulkan invited him to ask the Marquis. While this exchange ended in the Paladin’s apology, it showed that the advent of the Followers of the Guardian had placed the faithful in a state of high alert.

With several days to wait until the arrival of the Huntress, the Party investigated the Followers for any leads on the Dragonslayer’s whereabouts. They scried with the crystal sphere Master Oberon, the cult’s second in command, learning that the cult was spread wide and that there was one cell operating east of Maelida. Of the local group in Nidha they found nothing else but that they were busy spreading word and converting people, no doubt growing the Dragonslayers’ power.

While investigating, Dulkan ran across a woman being accosted by the Paladin, suspecting her of wizardry. The woman was terrified as the Paladin brandished a metal cylinder found in her bag. Dulkan interfered, claiming that the woman belonged in the same group as Dulkan and Carric, who was permitted to carry objects of sorcery. He succeeded, allowing the woman to pass. They exchanged few words, as the woman was eager to continue on her way. But out of gratitude, she gave a subtle warning: It would be wise for Dulkan to leave the city as soon as possible.

Back in their aristocratic quarters the Party was curious of this person and their object. Lady Althaea and Antinua wondered on its nature, coming into a conclusion that it might create shockwaves, but for what purpose, they did not know. The mages headed towards the Singing Lotus, a tavern the woman had mentioned. Inside the cozy establishment they did not find anything of her nor the item, but they did discover with magical sight a dragonborn, also looking at them with magical sight. The dragonborn quickly headed away, prompting Althaea to give pursuit. With her magics she was invisible, managing to keep up. The dragonborn eventually went inside a hidden hideout, with Althaea close on his heels.

The hideout contained a group of Ochrana’s servants, speculating on the magical item on the floor. They were planning on using it to cause havoc in the city, although curiously without damaging the temples or other places of value. They also made certain that Oshriss, the Dragon of Nidha, was close by. But before they began their horrific deed they wanted to made certain that the ground zero would be a noble interested in the Cult.
With this information, Althaea headed back and the Party orchestrated a heist. They headed to the second floor of the building, bribing the occupant away. While Antinua coaxed the stone floor to create a hole, Carric levitated the metal cylinder to their possession. It would have been a perfect crime, if not for the fact that the occupant was in league with the secret priests. As the Party left outside, the high priestess confronted them. Not willing to shed blood, perhaps to spite the Divine the priests served, the Party merely escaped unharmed, with the object in tow.

Back in safety the question lay what to do with the dangerous magical item. As it could lure more trouble their way, and as the Party did not trust the officials, a decision was made: They opened a gate to Null and send it there, where its magic could harm no-one. After the curious metal cylinder stand was safely off of Realm, Althaea marched to the Marquis and explained what had happened. The Marquis, horrified of what had been plotted, promised to send word to the Ashanti’s temple, so that they could root out any further unpleasantness concocted by the servants of Greed and Hatred.

And so the remaining days went by with the Party recuperating. And finally, on the 20th of Silence, a letter arrived, addressed to Carric and bearing a seal with a sparrow on it. The Huntress had arrived, just as sleek as they had seen when they had left. The only thing, besides repairs, that was different, was a humongous object, covered in tightly-wound sheets…

Return to the Realm
56th Session

Tired, the Party ascended the stairs that led them to Zandath. On top of the castle was a round room, surrounded by cabinets, bookcases and tables, and opposite the staircase was an ornate chair. On it sat a white Dragonborn, his skin wound tight and its scales curled and dried. His eyes were glowing red dots that observed his guests. With a grand gesture he welcomed the travelers to his home and summoned servants who brought seats.

Zandath, apparently without even a hint of remorse or apology, asked the Party to share their story. As they nearly died to this being’s fancies, they were understandably not very sociable. What Althaea and Antinua managed to ascertain about the being was that he was ancient, fed on pure life force of others and was bored. Not wanting to give any information to this being of unknowable motives, the Party was mum. This disappointed Zandath, who with a flair of annoyance, delivered on his promise. Opening a secret path on the floor, he took them deep down to a very forlorn cavern. Dozens and dozens of shadows, lost souls, were desperately trying to claw their way into a space in the middle, separated by a high metallic cage. From a bridge from above one could drop down into the space, and that is what Zandath suggested before leaving the Party to their own devices. One by one they dropped down into the cage, evading the shadow claws, and they found themselves in another, dark space.

That space turned out to be a divination room in a tomb. The tomb, holding the remains of a powerful warrior of old, was itself in the Neptek desert, near the Than river, in the southernmost edge of the Still Sea. Near the domain of Nidhi, Lady Antinua’s home. As they beheld the Sun staring down at them from familiar skies, the Party let out a collective sigh: They were back home. The cold air and the Highmoon told them that it was the 10th of Silence, almost middle of winter. But this south, the winter merely translated to cold night air.

It was two days when they arrived in the city of Nidhi itself: A stony, geometrically pleasant city in the deltas of Than. Canals separated the buildings and small gondolas ferried nobles and wealthy people from building to building… And from a coal-warmed brazier to another. While Dulkan left to find stables for Reneé, the rest of the Party traveled to Marquis Thahka’s chambers. There they found the jewel-laden Dragonborn sitting near a huge floor-mounted brazier and cololurful silks. The Marquis welcomed the Party, providing them some information on what had been happening: In Dusk Coast the Guardian had revealed her existence to the general public, inspiring the Followers of the Guardian to spread far and wide. Even here, over a thousand miles away from Dusk Coast, their presence was causing trouble with the clerics and paladins.

Now the Party had a week to plan their next move, as it was the time it would take for the Huntress to arrive. If all went well, that is…

55th Session

Lady Antinua’s cube brought the party on a hilltop road. Shadowfell was a bleak place; Rocky, barren and lifeless. The sun was faintly glowing from the grey skies, struggling to get past the dark clouds. Colours themselves seemed to have bled out, apart from the Party, who were still brightly lit. The gravelly road the Party stood on led to a foreboding forest behind them… And to the other side, over a black river to a jagged, uninviting castle sitting on top of a cliff. The cliff was the only place in the vicinity that could conceivably contain a place known as the Bleak Caverns, so they headed out.

As they came to the river, they found one of the plane’s inhabitants: A shadow-like being. It was following the riverbed, ambling along. The Party after a brief debate decided to engage the shadow in conversation. It barely acknowledged them and could not identify itself, only explaining that it was heading towards the castle on the cliff because it was “calling”. The shadow floated along the ground, more briskly than the Party, so very soon it had disappeared into the dim distance.

The Party soon came to a crossroad: The main path headed directly towards the cliff, while there was another, smaller, more disused side road that ascended the cliff to the side. By Zariss’ whim they decided to take the smaller path, which precariously took them to the castle proper, which seemed less like it had been built and more like it had been dreamed into existence: Jagged parapets and sharp towers made the castle very uninviting. But still, they braved inside, heading over the drawbridge and through the main door.

The antechamber was round, dark and contained very grim imagery along with one raised door and an iron maiden in the middle. As they stepped inside, a voice boomed from somewhere above, introducing himself as Zandath and demanding to know who had trespassed into his realm. Listening to the Party’s introduction, Zandath offered them a choice: Either leave his realm or entertain him. After protests and explanations that the Party sought the Bleak Caverns the being offered and additional incentive: Entertain him and he will allow them to pass the dangers of the place they sought. With that, the doors began to close by themselves, forcing the Party to make a decision. They stayed.

When the door closed, the ceiling began to rumble. Sharp tall spikes lowered from small holes in the tiles and the whole ceiling began to slowly descent. The Party dashed to the door on the other side of the antechamber, finding it opening inwards and being sternly closed. As the mages prepared their spells to get out of the situation, Dulkan took the chime he had found from Null and tried it on the door. A slow metallic screech rang, followed by the thud of something heavy hitting the floor on the other side; The bar that kept the door closed had moved! Quickly, the Party opened the door and dashed inside.

The nature of Zandath’s “entertainment” was now clear. The next room on the next floor of the castle contained a statue-filled corridor, which was trapped to the brim. This became apparent after Antinua stepped on a pressure plate that peppered the party with poison needles. Not willing to brave the many hidden traps, the Party used their foldable hole and Althaea’s magic to move beyond the next door, which was a disappointment to their “host”.

As they further ascended to the roof of the castle, they found several dark statues peppered with rain, and another drawbridge to another tower, this one the highest in the castle. Seemingly bored with trying to inconvenience the party with traps, Zandath sent their “dance partners” to test them: On the drawbridge, four strange characters climbed around them silently and attacked: Dragonborn and men, all with ashen skins and scales, sharp claws and teeth and eyes glowing malevolent red. A violent, desperate battle ensued. The beings seized their victims and bit into them, sucking vitality away and leaving behind emptiness. They barely slew three of them with spells and Dulkan’s fiery rapier, and the last one they flung to the darkness below by wrapping it into an animated statue, courtesy of Althaea.

Tired and injured, they could hear the amused and elated approval of Zandath, who was undoubtedly waiting for them on the top of the tower…

The Dragon Divines
54th Session

With everything ready, Lady Antinua cast the Conceptual Reinforcement over the Party. Now protected against the transformative effects of the planes, the Party swam and in Carric’s case, walked into the fog. It thickened around them, enveloping each of the planar wanderers, with the only sound the splashing of water. But soon enough the fog evaporated and the sounds faded into faint echoes. The landscape was milky white, with strands of errant thoughts and concepts floating past and the Party were floating, or rather, existing in some sort of void. They had entered the Celestial Sea.

It was like a mathematical formula without any numbers. There was the idea of gravity, but nothing that it pulled towards. There were concepts of objects and theories, but each one without matter. Althaea’s musics existed when she hummed them, but the sounds itself broke into melodies, then notes, then waves, then nothing. An errant fleck of ink from Carric’s pen left the shimmering field surrounding the Party and then evaporated into a theory. Truly, the Celestial Sea was a strange and unforgiving place.

But the Party was here on purpose and the protective spell wouldn’t hold forever. Dulkan shouted into the void, calling the Divines who supposedly lived there. His mind first went to Ashanti, the one in whose temple he was judged back in Duskport. Without form, Dulkan saw in his mind the symbol of Ashanti, the torch with a sword hilt. This thought faintly swirled in the space without space in front of him… then solidified. A majestic temple, with endless pillars and a hard stone floor came onto being and the Party found themselves standing in it. And in front of them appeared from nothing a massive torch, with an orange leaping flame dancing on it. And it spoke, with a booming voice like rumbling thunder:

You have arrived.

Realization dawned and Dulkan found himself falling to his knees in awe. The rest were dumbstruck while their inner skepticism tried to deflect the fact that they were in the very presence of one of the Divines. Ashanti gave Dulkan permission to rise and he asked where the other ones were. The Divine stated that he had called Ashanti first. Realizing this, Dulkan then besought Mishra to arrive. And immediately a flaming sphere exploded among the pillars, spreading sky around and radiating pleasant, summer-like warmth. Mishra had arrived, greeting the Party warmly. And she called the rest.

It was a swirl of power as the Divines came, one by one, and surrounded the Party. They brought with them their aspects, transforming the empty void into a paved hilltop with vistas of different places of the Realm. The Divines surrounded the Party, transforming into their canonical forms. Cruxis, a blue dragon on top of a small metal tower. Mishra, a golden dragon on a small lively glade. Nissha, a green dragon on a warm clifftop with a single fruit tree growing on it. Zariss, a bronze dragon sitting on a crossroads. Ochrana, a red dragon on top of a mound of gold. Sithrahk, a white dragon on a withered tree. Quirion, a black dragon inside a perpetual shadow. Ashanti, a silver dragon standing proud on top of a throne.

With little formality, the Divines dived into the matter at hand: Why the Party was here. It turned out that the Divines had bent their mutual rules to give incentives and signs pointing the Party to the Celestial Sea for one purpose: To ask them to kill the Dragonslayer.

Divine Essence, the power Thera Ser had learned of and started to gather to turn into the Guardian, was an even more profound feature of the world than even the Divines. According to them, any being that could collect enough Essence could ascend and join the ranks of the Divines. But the Dragonslayer had expressed her fanatic decision to kill them, a feat that seemed to be possible, seeing the Divines’ implied concern. Their claim was that even if just one of them would fall, some of the domains holding the Realm together would be masterless, precipitating the entire world into an age no-one could predict.

While Ashanti at least expressed confidence of their prowess against the Dragonslayer’s plans, it became apparent that the Divines would not directly interfere with any mortal affairs. That is why they could not directly oppose the Dragonslayer, nor could they help nor command the Party. They were under no obligation to do anything the Divines asked them to do. The decision to traverse the planes to the Divines’ home was the Party’s own.

But before accepting the Divines’ request, the Party had one major question: How did the Divines decide which ascendant would they oppose and which they would allow to face them as equals? As Carric asked the question, he saw something few would have believed in the dragonic divine faces: Doubt. It was a debate that the Divines have never resolved, and one that would not ever be, as the group of eight seemed to be in a stalemate. Their answer was that for the moment it would be a case-by-case-basis.

This, however, prompted the Divines to ask the Party a question in return: Would they oppose the Divines? Did they have prospects of grandeur and godhood? Dulkan merely wanted to be left to his own devices. Lady Antinua was satisfied so long as the Divines continued to govern well. Carric too was disinterested in divine matters. Althaea understood that the world operated on a balance; Each Divine pulled and shaped the world in their own image, the net effect being that the world was in harmony. So she too, saw that the Divines’ order was good. This pleased the Divines.

With their primary matter exhausted, Carric used the opportunity to ask the one question that haunted him for a reason he did not remember: Do sorcerers have a dragon’s soul? As an answer, Mishra and Sithrakh explained that the soul is a container for the Divine Essence. There are many different kinds of souls, some with their own properties. When a being dies on the Realm, the Essence it carries is released back into the cycle, and the soul is sent to oblivion, where Mishra takes one and breathes new life into it. There are countless, innumerable souls both old and new, so it might very well be that Carric’s is one that had at least been a dragon one time.

The Party’s final question was how they could get to the Realm. After the Divines stated that they could not help the Party directly, Antinua began probing for a way to obtain the answer some other way. She asked about the planes, learning that the Realm was a unique place in the center of the cosmos, with a couple of planes in close proximity and the rest of the planes far away. Among these far away planes were ones the Divines had crafted alone in their own image. All except one: Shadowfell. It was beside the Realm, as it was the place where dead souls came to relinquish their Essence. And in this plane were many places of crossing, like the Bleak Caverns.

Now armed with a name, the Party bid the Divines farewell. The mighty beings dissolved into concepts, leaving the Party yet again in the void. Their next direction was clear: Shadowfell.

At the Gates of the Divines
53rd Session

In the innermost sanctum of the Gatekeepers, the Party decided to pursue other portals to the Celestial Sea. One such gate that Althaea had taken directions to was in the Forest of Illusions, located on Arcanis. But first, they needed to return to Reneé. Exfiltration of the castle was not without problems; The Party were seen by the Gatekeepers as they returned to the waters of Umbra. A teleportation circle nearby activated, pouring out cultists who threw curses and spells in equal measure. As things turned sour, the Party resorted to violence, and soon the mages’ powerful magics tore the pursuers to shreds and disencouraged the rest. After blasting their way through the guardian sharks, the Party found their talking, yet not talkative, pony. With worries of a more organized pursuit, they decided to use the two-click-feature of the Cubic Gate to head back to Arcanis.

The Gate brought them close to the Forest of Illusions, onto a hill devoid of magic, perhaps with a twinkle of irony. But soon enough the Party got their bearings and rested. Carric and Dulkan did an aerial flyover of the forest to find their goal: A pond filled with a permanent bank of fog.

It turned out that the reconnaissance was for naught: The forest proved to be worthy of its name, as simply following a small stream led them lost. With sight of magic, the Party found out that nearly half of the things they saw in the forest were magical illusions; Either dangerous, predatory things or mere intangible mirages. But solution came as Althaea recovered the rod she had taken from Karanox. One of the buttons had oriented the rod to point to north back on the safe surface of the Realm, so maybe it would do so now. Pressing the button sent the rod twirling, pointing very firmly towards one direction.

While the forest could fool their senses, it couldn’t fool the powerful magical tool. Despite its best efforts, the forest gave way for the Party, who eventually found the small, unassuming pond, with a suspicious, thick fog bank sitting in its center like an obstinate toad. The party made camp and allowed Lady Antinua to copy the spell they had recovered into her book. This waiting allowed them ample time to prepare for the next step of their journey, which would deliver them into the realm of the gods themselves. All evidence pointed towards the legends and beliefs to be true: The Divines indeed could walk among mortals.

What would they see? What would they ask? And what would the Divines tell them, assuming they indeed did exist? After Lady Antinua opened her eyes, mind filled with the power to survive the Celestial Sea, their questions would get answered.

The Castle of the Gatekeepers
52th Session

The journey through Umbra was a long but uneventful one. The Party swam from settlement to settlement, following leads towards ever more informative people. Eventually, after several days’ of travel, they discovered Sut-naggar, the largest city yet. It was built from several domes, connected to each other via pipes made from some sort of leather. Inside they found the Scrollkeeper, a Fae who kept a record of stories and legends in scrolls. He knew where the Gatekeepers’ stronghold was, but was unwilling to give the Party the knowledge without getting a favor in return.

A shapeshifter had stolen a scroll from the Scrollkeeper, and he wanted the thief to be brought to justice and the scroll in question returned. It proved a simple task: Althaea, still in possession of the Crystal ball, discovered the location of the shapeshifter in mere hours. Carric marched to the miscreant’s doorstep and gave a stern talking-to, tugging their heartstrings and drawing a regretful confession of their crime. With everything well, the Scrollkeeper gave them a scroll describing the direction to the Gatekeepers in a form of a story.

So finally they arrived in Lady Antinua’s vision: A huge dome with a tower inside. Leaving Reneé near a strange stone tree, the Party infiltrated the castle. Despite nearly getting caught in an invisibility-shattering lantern, they managed to get inside. The Party rallied in a strange, dome-shaped room of a swirling, cloud-like white patterns on the walls and thick glass panes displaying the achievements of the Divines. In the center of the room Carric found a hidden mechanism that popped open a lever, which the Party wisely decided not to push. With Lady Antinua’s spells and Carric’s invisibility, they headed ever upwards, dodging past members of the mysterious cult, eventually ending up in the turret Lady Antinua had seen in her vision.

The turret only presented a stern door as the final obstacle. Althaea knocked on the only feature of the door: A metallic knocker. A mysterious entity probed into her mind and demanded to know whether she should be there. Deciding to imitate a faithful newcomer, Althaea boldly lied that she had permission to enter. The door tossed her a difficult demand: She needed to recite the three tenets of the Gatekeepers. While she was flummoxed, Carric and Antinua managed to piece the information together from the mumblings and writings they had seen while they snuck through the stronghold:

  • There exists a True Destiny for the entire multiverse
  • The Divines exist, and they are the only ones who can bring about True Destiny
  • Mortals do not know the True Destiny, so we must bar their path to the Divines

Ironically enough, claiming to be a member of the Gatekeepers was the key to open the gate. With enough confidence the Party managed to enter the small sanctum whose walls were filled with statues of dragons and rows of scrolls and books. Antinua soon found the scroll from her vision: A powerful spell, called Conceptual Reinforcement. Its power would protect its users from the transformative effects of the planes and other spells. It was the key component needed to survive their journey to the Celestial Sea. The greedy wizard also sought out the thickest wizarding tome in the stacks and found what sought: A magical artifact, which was, in fact, another Cubic Gate, built to combat the Daemon threat a long time ago.

Carric discovered some magic for himself while Althaea’s attention was drawn by the locked book on display: The Celestial Sea. After defeating the lock its contents were free: Locations of portals to the Celestial Sea from different planes, along with a warning that meddling with them would be a hazard to one’s life, and to the fabric of the universe. Not willing to anger anyone by looting the place too much, Althaea merely copied a few of the portal directions before returning it to its proper place. The closest portal was right under their feet: The white dome-shaped room was apparently a Celestial Sea replica and the secret lever would open a portal to the mysterious and lethal plane.

So the final leg of their planar journey was within their grasp. But there were still several problems: Lady Antinua would need to copy the spell to her book which would take hours and Reneé, their intrepid companion, was still hiding in the water, under a constant threat of drowning. There was also not saying whether their presence had attracted attention…

A Crazy Alchemist
51st Session

Now that the Party was in Umbra, their next problem was to find the place Lady Antinua had seen in her vision; The secret how to go to the Celestial Sea. Without any guidance, they allowed Zariss to guide them. This time, however, Antinua was prepared: She had developed a spell that allowed the entire party to breathe water, which made traversing the watery depths of Umbra much, much easier.

Their wanderings found them a huge kelp forest, with singular kelp leaves long and thick like massive trees. Among the roots of the plants was a veritable graveyard of eaten and digested bones, suggesting the presence of a dread beast. However, with Althaea’s skills the Party harnessed the skulls still intact and learned that there was a settlement near a “Violet Sun”, which was not too far away. The Party swam to discover this object.

Indeed, the Violet Sun existed and was as curious as many other things in the planes. The ball radiated transmutative energies, so the Party had to skirt around it, seeking people to talk to. Luckily, they found one. From a strange device set up to capture the radiating energies in some strange silk strands, the Party deduced the location of a smaller air dome. Inside was a strange and even somewhat frightening woman, clad in fish scale tights, greenish ragged hair, heterochromatic eyes and scaly skin who welcomed the group, after making sure they were not hostile. The rather unhinged woman introduced herself as Nuoja, an alchemist. After enjoying her “tea”, the Party managed to glean the location of a nearby city called Edelweis, and that the group the Party were looking for were a cult called Gatekeepers who collected powerful transplanar magics to “protect the Divines”.

Determined to continue forward after the eccentric woman’s tales, the Party left towards the nearby settlement. However, Carric, interested in her trade, exchanged some of his Dust of Dryness for the recipe of an alleged elixir of life…

A Heartfelt Farewell
50th Session

The Party left for Null again. This time they were prepared and the journey was easier, if not comfortable. Traversing through the snowy darkness, the Party visited the now-diminished Arhok, home to only a handful of die-harders clinging to the settlement. Their stay was short and only a couple of hours later they arrived to Mox.

The small city had changed. Open and welcoming, it was a hotbed of improvement, all sorts of activity and civil, if lengthy, debating about Mox’s future. The Party was warmly welcomed and allowed to rest and recuperate. Lady Antinua shared her spells to help in the construction efforts while Althaea offered her diplomatic skills to speed up the debating. Carric was anxiously waiting for their next move, mostly deep in his research.

But Dulkan had a dilemma. Edessa, now completely free of any burdens, began calmly integrate into the society, helping with sewing and watching after children. She was clearly happy to remain in this harsh place. But while Dulkan wanted to remain with Edessa, something pulled his mind elsewhere.

Dulkan found a small, very small organisation called the Adventurer’s Guild in the city, consisting of only one Dragonborn with several maps. He offered supplies for anyone who would brave the unknown and dark hills to search for new lights where people could settle. Dulkan decided to apply and he was joined by another native… And Khava. Before heading to the journey, Dulkan took Khava to the top of a tall building and told him how he had known Edessa for a long time when he was still in Kolmhaag. After his tale, Dulkan asked the tiefling about his plans… And his relationship with Edessa. Khava told him how he found purpose in his life when he met Edessa, that she was like him: A lonely survivor, flitting between the dangers of the planes. And that he felt himself becoming closer to her every time they had a moment to breathe together. After the tiefling’s story, Dulkan asked finally aloud: Who of the two suitors should Edessa choose?

Khava, after a moment’s pondering, took a silver star Dulkan gave him in Daemonis to defend himself with and extended it back to the man, stating that Dulkan knew Edessa better while he himself was just a wanderer, coming to a stranger’s aid. Dulkan closed Khava’s hand and simply stated that if Khava continued the way he helped Edessa, all would be well. Then he climbed back down from the building, saying that they had a side quest to complete.

The mapping took only about two days, although it was hard to keep track in the perpetual darkness or light of the plane. The journey was uneventful, but they did discover a row of old statues, now covered in snow, leading to one that extended its hands towards the sky, presenting a bowl of some sort. After mapping the area thoroughly, Dulkan climbed to examine the contents of the bowl: A sword hilt and a metallic chime of some sort, covered in writings in high dragonic; Guides to discovering new areas of lights, now obsolete and lost.

But this cryptic message got Dulkan thinking about the one they had received in the cylinder from Umura. It’s hidden meaning was uncovered in Null, their first location, while the cylinder itself was instrumental in taking down Beligandir. It was too many coincidences for Dulkan’s tastes… Was someone, or something, guiding them? Was it destiny that had led them through the planes?

When they returned, Dulkan met with Edessa, who was very content as the chaotic power was not coursing through her veins anymore. After a brief meeting where he witnessed the sorcerer’s happiness, Dulkan mulled over his situation and thoughts through the night. The next day he returned, now bearing witness to Khava bringing Edessa a gift he had most likely traded his rewards for: A warm fur cloak. After the tiefling disappeared back into the bustle of the city, Dulkan finally expressed his feelings for Edessa. Teary-eyed, Edessa answered back: It was heartbreaking to shatter Dulkan’s hopes, but Edessa was finally at peace in Null… And she always loved Dulkan as a brother and a protector.

So it was settled. Dulkan embraced Edessa, now as a brother would sister, and answered that while he would have to go, divines willing he would come back. Edessa smiled through her tears, reassuring that the divines wouldn’t have a say in that matter. And so, they departed.

Now the Party was again ready to travel, this time to Umbra, where they would have to solve their next problem: How to get to the tower that contained the way to the Celestial Sea?


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