Dragonrealm

Forgewell
44th Session

The Party pondered how they would get to Daemonis, as the planes held many lessons and secrets that they were not privy to. Khava offered a solution: He knew of an information broker who owed him a favor. The broker had their lair in Umbra, a plane of water, but a more landlocked path went through Forgewell. Not willing to get wet, the Party decided to use the Cubic Gate to travel there.

Forgewell was another plane of strange beauty: The skies above were dark and the gently curving ground below was a roiling, fiery ocean. Shafts of light rose from the surface towards the skies, bringing with them matter, objects and plain stuff. Round towers, kilometers high, were built around these “wells” as the denizens of the planes called them, connected to each other by thin, unfathomably long bridges.

The Party emerged in a balcony overlooking the mesmerizing landscape. After getting his bearings, Khava brought them good news: They were very close to a tower called Gimmerwald, from where he could guide them to his informant. Now they would just need to find a bridge to the tower.

The interior of the tower, haphazardly but very sturdily built from the random construction that the well spews forth, was curiously devoid of life. Their planar guide was worried, telling the party a story of replicants, small beings that infest the towers and use everything they find to build more replicants. With a possibility of a new threat, the party kept moving.

After navigating the ascending tower interior and using their wits to overcome obstacles both mundane and magical, the Party came upon the center of the tower itself: The well. A stream of objects of all kind streamed quickly upwards, impacting to each other and hitting the already-damaged interior wall of the shaft. After wondering and researching the well, the Party started shimmying along the interior towards their ultimate goal: A bridge to another tower. However, halfway across they awakened a small group of cat-sized stuff-spiders: Replicants. Carric and Althaea easily blasted the things to pieces, but the commotion awakened the rest of the replicants. Which numbered in the hundreds, maybe even thousands. So the Party ran.

Using their magic and the grim knowledge of their fate should they stop, the Party reached the bridge and began running across, drawing after them a veritable sea of the scuttling replicants. After a grueling run they nearly reached the safety of the next tower… But there was a final obstacle in the way. A single humming copper rod, surrounded by broken pieces of replicants. Their suspicion was confirmed when Dulkan tossed a piece of bread towards the rod and it was met with a crack of lightning. It nearly seemed that the Party was trapped, but a solution finally presented itself: Their foldable hole could accommodate a lot of people, along with their lucky pony. So the Party climbed into the hole and Althaea used her dimension door song to move herself beyond the troublesome turret.

And with that the Party was safe. The turret began performing its function and blasting the incoming horde of replicants with lightning and the Party could walk to the tower. There they were greeted by a gnome with a lot more humour than the party after their harrowing flight who, after introductions, let the Party into the tower. There they headed to an inn with the name of “Detritus” for some well-earned rest and a promise that they could finally explore the strange plane of Forgewell.

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Carric's Curiosity
43rd Session

Carric, more liberal with his curiosity than his compatriots, browsed the Citadel of Secrets. A lot of what he was searching for were information about magical knowledge, which were things the Citadel did not collect.

But this search led the sorcerer to Ixthoth, the lich. Desiring to know where he resided, Carric discovered a ruined castle somewhere in Snogaard where the lich had set his workspace. Another important secret was the fate of Ixthoth’s phylactery: The lich had placed it in a lead box and sunk it in a stone cylinder whose destiny was apparently a ship. As that was the last secret about the phylactery, maybe it’s eventual resting place was in the bottom of the sea somewhere. The last secret that Carric allowed himself privy to was that of a young boy, bringing stolen wine to a outcast drunkard, asking him to bring the boy’s cat back.

Next was Thivaraxia and her dealings. The only worthwhile secret that Carric discovered was a glimpse into her most recent plans: Healing in her lair, Thivaraxia was coming to grips with the fact that she most likely had lost the Party. They were either dead or not coming back to her aid. But since the Dragonslayer was growing in power somehow, she would need a new ally. And she happened to have narrowed down the location of a powerful undead wizard…

After exhausting her list of important figures, Carric went to his personal memories. He seeked out his father’s feelings when Carric left: He was glad, but for himself or his son he could not say. The only thing he was missing was his human wife, whose hectic life made existence interesting.

And finally, Carric wanted to know what Edin, his mentor and teacher, thought. Edin held only one secret from the sorcerer: That he wanted to love him more as a lover than a father. But that was a secret he took to his grave.

Despite the temptations to find out more secrets; Of his companions, his family and others, Carric pulled himself away and returned to the entryway and the party could consolidate all the information they had found. They also decided on their next path: Towards Daemonis, where they had a meeting with Beligandir…

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A Champion's Ancient Knowledge
The Divine Essence

A woman clad in fine, yet utilitarian clothes sits in an old study by candlelight, reading an ancient, frail journal. The study looks like it has been only recently inhabited, cobwebs swept in corners, dust gathering in some places. Her thoughts, following the lines on the book echo in the room.

Why do some people lead and others follow? Why do the tyrants inspire such fear, how do the veterans survive such fierce battles, why some sorcerers reach legendary powers while others can only cast the simplest cantrips? Some call it fate, others chance, yet others self-made superiority. I believe these are all correct interpretations of the same phenomenon.

Time passes. The study is more clean, the candles more numerous, the woman more engaged in the subject.

Based on my observations, and the descriptions offered by the Divine Canon, I have come to the conclusion that there exists a force in the world that allows us to bend our fate. This force works in ways that are difficult to directly observe: A chance meeting with someone who can help in one’s work, a correct thought, a tiny slip in your foe’s defenses that brings you victory. But when you know what to look out for, you can start determining patterns that do not exist with people who do not contain this force…

Again time passes. Now the study is filled with books pertaining to arcane matters, scrolls and parchments. The woman sits by a floating ball of light, reading the journal further.

I finally have chosen a name for this force: Divine Essence. It came to me when I was reading on the birth of this world, when Io created their children: Tiamat and Bahamut. In the text it was said that ”Io bled his life into his children”. This was the key that I had been missing, this was how the Essence seemed to collect into a few individuals, like dew that collects into the bottom of the windowsill. The Divine Essence cannot be taken, it can only be given. Respect, worship, love…

Time passes again. Now the study is dark, only illuminated by a single candle. Dressed in traveling clothes and a thick cloak, the woman writes a letter on the table, next to the journal and the candle.

It is with great sorrow that I about a terrible accident at the Ser estate. As you know, Lady Thera was reclusing herself into her books more and more. Well, the reason was that she was practicing wizardry. On the 23nd day of Ascension, her spell misfired and started a blaze most terrible. I attempted to help her, but to no avail; The manor burned down and I barely escaped alive. The Lady’s final words and screams will undoubtedly haunt me to my grave.
As you undoubtedly understand, I do not wish to testify about this matter further, as I know the fate of those who assist wizards in their matters. So for my sake, I hope you will not try to find me.
Your friend,
James Kessynder
Butler of late Lady Thera Ser

The woman sprinkles a handful of sand over the letter, allowing the ink to dry. Then she folds the letter to her shoulder bag and with a sigh tips the candle over to the journal. As the paper catches fire, rapidly spreading throughout the study, she raises her hood and exits the study.

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A Dragon's Dying Wish
Khariss' demise

Khariss felt cold. She attempted to lift her wings, her feet, her head, but did not have the strength. It felt like she had lain there for years, bleeding on her lair’s floor. The only thing stronger than the pain was her rage.
”Why won’t you let go?” A voice, a thought came. With immense effort, Khariss opened her eye. Everything was blurry, the only thing in focus was a dark, majestic dragon.
Because I can’t die.
”Everything dies. You are only delaying the inevitable.”
I cannot die like this! In my lair, slain by some human.
”That was not just some human.”
Khariss closed her eye. The effort was too much.
Is it still alive?
”Yes.”
This cannot be allowed. I want vengeance!
”That is beyond your power.”
Khariss mustered a snort. No matter who or what the figure was, she refused to believe it. So she clinged on, aware of the presence who awaited patiently.
An eternity passed. Then a sound, a tremor, a feeling pierced through the dark, cold mist.
What was that?
”Your tribute.” The presence said, directly into her mind. So the yearly tribute had arrived. A show of fear. Respect. Maybe even… honor?
Will they avenge me?
”That is unlikely.” Yes… of that the figure was correct. But Khariss realized that she did indeed not have much time. She could not feel her body anymore. Soon she would be gone. This was her last chance. She forced herself back to the pain, to the coldness to become aware of the beings in her lair. She could feel their steps on the stone through the cold, could hear their distant words through the silence, smell their smells through the blood.
You are my champions now. I will give you my everything I have… for the chance that you will avenge me. You are my legacy now. Go with my blessings.
With the effort spent, Khariss felt empty. She had done everything she could.
”Are you ready to leave now?”
…yes.
Finally, Khariss allowed herself to die.

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The Citadel of Secrets
42nd Session

The lights that the Party had seen was an invisible village, filled with invisible beings, all using dots of lights to communicate and mark objects. Using their magical resources and cunning, the Party decoded their completely light-based language. They found out that the village was preparing for a monster horde that was going to pass through it. Unwilling to head towards places unknown, the Party rested in the safety of the village and decided to stay and protect it.

Indeed, a monster horde passed by, consisting of dozens, if not hundreds of flying brain-like monsters that attacked with wicked tentacles. With a spirited defense by the Party, the monster attack was deftly handled and the villagers suffered no casualties. The beings were jubilant, giving the party an invisible gift and showing what affection they could. The Party asked the grateful beings about the Citadel of Secrets, and as providence would have it, one of them led the Party to a portal deeper in the valley.

The portal took the Party to the edge of a humongous crater, inside of which was an impressive citadel, with a single tall bridge leading to it. Apart from an encounter with a magical device that transformed them to cats for a stint, the journey to the doors of the citadel was uneventful.

A stone dragon above the citadel doors awoke, warning the Party that for every secret taken from the Citadel, one would be left there, from the memory of the user. Knowing this, the Party thought about the secrets they would want to find out. Each one of them, par for Khava who did not wish to head into the citadel, took one and entered the misty interior.

Althaea took the cylinder’s message: Seek the Dragon’s dying wish. As she thought about dragons, the mist solidified into the visages of many different dragons, enticing her with their secrets. But there was only a few dead dragons Althaea knew, so her mind went to Khariss. As the dragon who started this all entered her mind, she found herself on a corridor with many doors, each leading to a singular secret of Khariss. One of them was about her death, so that was the one Althaea stepped in. Inside, she found an exchange between dying Khariss and a mysterious entity… A Divine, perhaps?

Lady Antinua sought a way into the Celestial Sea. She found herself witnessing a tower inside an air dome of Umbra. A dragonborn, clad in robes, took several scrolls to the turret, remarking in his head that the planar protections spells are safe in this room. The seal in the spells, a swirl inside an octagon, was a visible clue to what the place was and who the dragonborn was.

Dulkan, curious about the Champion’s ancient knowledge, thought about great people. Along with heroes of legend, there was the Dragonslayer, a woman clad in a golden mask. Dulkan started looking at the doors to her secrets and discovered one containing a woman reading a book. This vision was one of the greatest secrets in the world, one that allowed a human woman to challenge dragons… And maybe even gods.

Edessa sought a way to Beligandir, so that she could slay the Daemon and free her life. Carric meanwhile found a memory of Beligandir: A moment when the Daemon was afraid. It revealed the merciless politicking that happened even in Beligandir’s court: A close cut moment when Beligandir’s rule was challenged.

One by one the Party returned to Khava, waiting patiently outside. All except Carric.

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Arcanis
41st Session

Time passed, maybe couple of days. Gorn was imprisoned and the heroes installed yet another council to Mox. But the presence of Demons continued to bring worry to the party, and they had to turn their attention back to the task at hand: How to destroy Beligandir. While tackling a Demon was going to be hard, the most difficult part would be to engage him in a level playing field. Beligandir was likely to sit on a throne on Daemonis somewhere, and the least of the Party’s problems was how to get to the plane itself.

But the answer was found in a surprising message: The cylinder the party had received from Umura had stopped moving in Null. The shifting patterns in the surface had formed into a message:

“Seek the Citadel of Secrets
Seek a dragon’s dying wish
Seek a Champion’s ancient knowledge
Seek a way into the Celestial Sea”

While the names in the message had little meaning for the party, par from Antinua who recognized the Celestial Sea as a plane, Khava knew of them. The Celestial Sea was indeed a plane; It was, according to legend, the place where the Divines live. But it was also a dangerous place where no matter existed and where visitors would dissolve into mere ideas and rules.

The Citadel of Secrets was apparently a location in the magic-filled plane of Arcanis. It was Quirion’s repository of all secrets in the world, where one could find any secret for the price of divulging their own. This was an interesting prospect; Perhaps the Citadel would hold the knowledge on how to defeat Beligandir.

Arcanis was their goal, but before they could leave there, the Party needed to make sure that the Cubic Gate worked. They tested it on the beam of light and opened a gate to Arcanis. After making sure that there were no problems, they returned to gather their supplies. But they were interrupted by a message from the Demons, who wanted to speak with them. Deciding to lay a trap, the Party arranged for a meeting where they could eavesdrop on the Demons’ private conversations. But the infernal beings were disciplined and tight-lipped, and once they sat on the table, they asked about Edessa. Dulkan, the primary speaker, could not contain his emotions and reacted to the Demons’ etched image of her. After seeing his reaction, the Demons offered power and wealth for her location, an offer that the party “considered”. After figuring out their approach and how best to use the situation for about a day, the heroes returned to the hunters, but they declined all offers.

Fearing for the worst, the party quickly gathered themselves and left for Arcanis, waving one last goodbye to the harsh city of Mox. The plane of magic was a completely different place: Although it too was mostly dark, the skies had impressive aurorae in multitude of colours. The foliage was exotic and felt alive, the air was brimming with static and magic, and tiny dots of light in all colours swirled in the air. The mages felt the environment all in a different way: For Althaea the air was filled with melodies and music, for Antinua it felt like a dirty glass was taken from her eyes and for Carric the bubbling source of magic was bursting through his skin. Even Dulkan could feel the difference in the air, though for the moment he was unaffected by it.

Without any further direction, the Party followed a path to a valley, taking in the strange sights. They saw a lot of curious things and found a path to a circle, higher up a ridge. From there, Althaea spotted lights in the distance, lights that seemed like it could be a settlement.

Not wanting to rest in the wilderness, the party headed towards the lights. Their trek took them to a more open space, where only a few wide trees were growing. Before they arrived, however, they happened upon a tree, one that was curiously devoid of lights. As he approached the tree, Dulkan started hearing a voice in his head. The voice told a sad tale of a man who was trapped by the tree. Despite the protestations of his companions, Dulkan decided to help the voice by chopping down the tree. Without any proper saws, he used a lantern to burn it, as guided by the voice. But as the smoke arose, the spirit did too. It was a trapped spirit that immediately gloated over the party and stated that it thirsts for vengeance. But Carric, remembering Borel and the Lich, trapped the spirit by a bubble of force. The entire party gathered around and readied their attacks, and the spirit was utterly destroyed when Carric allowed the wall to disappear. It was an unfortunate reminder that not all good deeds have pleasant outcomes.

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A Show to Remember
40th Session

Carric, after briefly acquainting himself with Khava, decided to search for Riedan, the elf from Arhok who had brought the Party to Mox. Avoiding the demons that were searching for Edessa, he followed a trail of witnesses who had seen Rizal walking with guards towards the pyramid. One of the witnesses, whom Carric had to grease, had a worrying statement: Rizal was gone, as had others that the guards were leading. If Carric wanted to find them, he would have to “follow his nose”.

Carric wasn’t long alone with the ominous clue; Dulkan joined him. The swordsman had talked with Edessa, hearing her tale and her new aspiration: To kill Beligandir. Edessa finally felt at home in Null, where her wild magic was gone, and she was tired of running. Dulkan agreed to help, but first they needed a way out of Null.

The duo headed to the pyramid, where they met Gorn. The orc leader had given Antinua and Althaea a place to rest and now made a generous and good impression on Carric and Dulkan, hoping for their co-operation in the matter that he avoided disclosing yet. The pair met with the elves in a spartan but comfortable room, where they shared their knowledge and rested. Except for Dulkan. He headed back to the hiding place of Edessa and Khava, failing to notice Gorn’s minions following him…

After resting, the mages of the party decided to follow Carric’s clue before they would meet with Gorn to discuss his request. Evading the orc’s minions’ stalking, they found a curious smell: Cooking meat. Now riddled with gruesome thoughts, the party found a hidden vent in an out-of- place warehouse. Breaking in the warehouse, they found a hidden underground basement. And in the basement, they found pigs in a sad, dark pigsty: Luxury for a harsh place like Null. Additionally, they found a kitchen and a dungeon, lined with manacles. Shackled to the wall was a grim skeleton and Rizal, who was badly burnt and injured. He was taken to the dungeon by Gorn’s guards and he was angry and hurt that the Party was not there to protect him. But now they were there, and with Antinua’s surprising lockpicking feat they liberated Riedan and took him away, but not before Althaea took the skeleton’s skull, for a purpose that was cooking in her mind…

The party convened in Edessa’s hideout. They agreed that Gorn was a menace and his dark secrets should be shared with all, despite the fact that the orc was their best way out of Null. Althaea devised a plan that they would hold a huge performance in the magic light that would wow the crowds, and in the middle of that show, they would use her ability to interrogate the dead to expose Gorn’s dark doings. The Party agreed, and the plan was formed. But first, they would need to talk with the chief to arrange the meeting.

It turned out that it was an expedient process. Gorn was already anxious to meet the Party and explained his request in a discreet location: He wanted the Party to perform and convince the people of Mox that the refugees from Arhok were a threat to the security of the city. And in exchange, he would grant them whatever they wanted: Access to the magic light, exotic foods… Despite the tempting offer, the Party kept true to their goal and with cunning words managed to veil their true plan.

After nearly a day of practice and preparation, it was time for the performance. Crowds were gathering in the pyramid and the mages were preparing themselves in the light. Dulkan, whose job was to smuggle Rizal in to testify for the crowds, noticed that Gorn, despite his allegations of trust, was preparing for a betrayal with the power of a hidden ballista.

Then the show started. With the grace of a true artist, Althaea managed to direct a magnificent show of magic and music. Lights, illusions, fire and lightning danced on the small stage, in the warmest light of Mox. Lady Antinua raised a shaft of rock from the ground, conveniently to block the shot of the ballista. After the crescendo of Althaea and Carric flying and spiralling through serpentine streams of fire, they began their true show. Althaea raised the skull and asked the memory of the person it once was questions: Who they were, who killed them and what did they do to deserve it. The memory answered that it was a messenger from Arhok who was slain for delivering a plea from his people. As the crowds gasped, the Party took Rizal to the stage to testify about his own mistreatment and the presence of animals of luxury in the hidden dungeons.

At this point Gorn stepped in, accusing the Party of spreading uncertainty and division to Mox. His own boasts of security and fearmongering were no match to the show of compassion and equity by the Party, and he decided to attack them. By his signal a hidden cauldron of oil was dumped on the throne, but this was thwarted by Carric, who used Adalrik’s Protector to shield them from the rain. The liquid sprayed on the people who started panicking away from the pyramid. And once again, a lone dictator was faced with the
heroes of Dusk Coast, and once again that dictator fell to their martial might, as Dulkan knocked Gorn unconscious with a spear. And thus Mox’s journey from fortress into a sanctuary could begin.

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A Tearful Reunion
39th Session

Null was a harsh place. The cold, blowing wind was slowly freezing the Party, prompting them to press on. Nearby in the twilight they found some strange roots that had broken through the frozen land. After a quick investigation they found that the roots burned, bright, hot and long. But it was a false respite; The sound, heat or perhaps the glow attracted a huge, monstrous, searing hot centipede from beneath the snow. Without the mages’ spells nor their magical equipment, fighting the beast was a futile effort, so the Party ran. The beast was content to just devour the flaming piece of root, which was a mixed blessing.

Now aware of the frozen wilderness’ dangers, the Party began the long, cold and dark walk to the nearest shaft of light. As they approached, its nature became apparent: It was a beam of pleasant warm light, shining down from the skies, wide as a small town. Where it shone was a small settlement of stony buildings and curious deep holes with vegetation growing. Approaching the settlement, the Party noticed that the settlement was larger than the beam itself, as if the light had begun to shrink.

As for the people, two friendly guards approached, wary of the Party but welcoming them into their midst after Carric’s friendly greeting. The place was Arhok, one of the scattered dots of civilization and life on Null, and it was slowly dying. The shrinking light had squeezed the population together and fears had began to rise. Althaea, wanting to make an impression, performed several songs to alleviate the feeling of the people who were strange and varied. Rare were the dragonborn and humans among the bird-like people, tieflings, curious, glowy-eyed elves and other otherworldly folk.

While the bard played, the others talked with the guards about the surroundings. The guard spoke of Mox, the nearest other settlement. It would be the place where the people of Arhok would want to go, but it remained steadfast in its refusal to not take in refugees. But a more relevant tidbit was that one of the oldest Arhok citizens, an elf called Rizal, supposedly could know how to leave this plane. Luckily, Rizal was already enamored by Althaea’s songs and was more than willing to divulge his knowledge. The elf told them that without powerful magic, the only way to leave was by a gateway into Nexus, a plane that connected the other Outer planes together. But those gateways were jealously guarded information, and they had a habit of winking in and out of existence at their own will.

Rizal themselves had been torn from the Center Plane and after a long journey had ended up in Null. After expressing melancholic desire to be back home, Althaea asked if the elf would wish to join them on their journey. Fire returned to Rizal’s eyes and the elf agreed, although first they would march to Mox and persuade its chief to help Arhok. And to the great delight of the Party, Rizal had one more surprise: He had seen Edessa. The girl had appeared in Arhok several revolutions ago, along with a tiefling friend. The pair left as quickly as they arrived, as a group of Daemons were hot on their tail.

So the Party left with haste to Mox, with a new friend. Mox’s gates were closed and the walls were tall. After being introduced as the envoy of Arhok’s diplomat, the Party was let in, although they had to relinquish their weapons at the gates. Inside, Mox proved to be an impressive town, with several smaller towers and columns heavy with fruit-bearing vines and holes that contained growing greenery in the perpetual light. In the middle of the town was a pyramid, and according to the locals, the middle of the pyramid was the only place where magic existed.

Again, Althaea decided to make a good impression on the rather upscale locals with her music. In a small, humble bazaar she discovered a duo of musicians with whom she joined, filling the air with sounds of Dusk Coast. Her performance gathered a group of spectators, along with two surprises: A group of Daemonic hunters, and a curious, familiar face: Edessa! Soon confusion reigned as each member of the Party spread out, with Dulkan stalking the Daemons, Carric giving chase to Edessa and Lady Antinua remained with Althaea.

Dulkan, unaware of Edessa’s presence in the crowds, stayed hidden and sharpened his old trinket, a silver star, with deadly intent. After the Daemons spread out to search for Edessa, Dulkan followed. After the group consolidated, one of the hunters was missing. The Daemons discovered evidence of fighting in an alley, in a direction where their comrade had gone. There, Dulkan lured one of them to his reach and fearlessly attacked, slaying the Daemon with a swift, decisive attack. Another one noticed him, but never had time to charge, as a tiefling fell on him from the shadows, stabbing the Daemon with a silver knife. He called out to Dulkan by name and commanded him to follow before the rest of the Daemons could give chase.

In a secluded alley they stopped, and the tiefling gave a knock on a nondescript door. Inside was a small room, and a surprise that sent Dulkan’s heart pounding: Edessa. The two wound in a tight embrace, grateful of seeing each other once again. After the Tribute, after the unification of Dusk Coast, after all their adventures, Dulkan could once again meet his closest friend.

After the tearful moment passed, Dulkan realized that Carric had already found his way to Edessa. She introduced the tiefling to them: He was Khava, a planeswalker who apparently had saved Edessa and kept her safe on the planes. They were both hunted by the Daemons, who still needed Edessa to build their nefarious portal. While she wished to tell her tale, they were in an inhospitable plane, in a suspicious town and still chased by Daemons. But now, they were together.

Meanwhile, Althaea and Antinua were intercepted by a being calling himself Sbub, who wished to offer the sweet-singing bard a job among the court of chief Gorn. Eager to get their magics back, the elf women went with the finely-dressed gentleman into the pyramid. Inside they found a throne room, lavish with exotic goods, the smell of cooked meat and an impressive orc sitting on the throne. Despite his crude looks, Gorn proved clever and observant. He granted the mages access to the center of the shaft of light that shone to the middle of the pyramid in exchange for a favour he would yet disclose. The throne itself was moved from the way to allow for the ladies to tap into their own magical powers. Now, maybe, they had a way out of the plane…

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The Planes
38th Session

A moment of uneasiness passed between the Dragonslayer and the Party, as both sides assessed each other and their opinions. But eventually Dulkan stated that their goals didn’t align, although they neither crossed. Rescuing Edessa and stopping the daemonic invasion was more crucial than the Dragonslayer’s “ascension”. After a moment’s pondering, she agreed.

While Althaea and Antinua were both eager to plunder Karanox’s magical items, so was the Dragonslayer. She strode in and began perusing the mighty objects of power arrayed on display stands in the cave: A deck of cards, a black sphere, a ring large enough to be a headband, a pure crystal ball and a black morningstar. She unfolded a scarf and began to collect items that interested her. But Althaea was unwilling to let the so-called “Guardian” run unopposed. The bard took the crystal ball and the morningstar after seeing the Dragonslayer’s interest, defiantly ignoring her warnings to bring them to her. Frustrated at the meddlings of the party, the Dragonslayer allowed them to take the items, so long as they went far away, somewhere where they would not interfere with her plans.

And so the ended the first meeting of the Dragonslayer and the Heroes of Dusk Coast: An uneven parting, both to their own tasks. The Party returned to Kalrathia, and on the next day, 17th of Barren, they began gathering supplies for their upcoming journey to the Planes. They gathered everything they needed from the Huntress, which was still dry-docked as her hull was being repaired and bought a lucky pony to carry it all.

The moment of truth arrived. The Party traveled to a secluded rocky area further into the Drylands and activated the Cubic Gate. The powerful relic sprang to life and created a portal to another plane: A dark, shadowy land where specks of blue and purple light floated in the air. But as it weren’t Daemonis, they allowed the portal to close and tried another side. This one led to a stony balcony, overlooking a curious sky and distant, impossibly tall towers. As the Party realized that they could test out the cube, they decided to see where all the sides would take them. The next one led to a clearing in the middle of some sort of forest, illuminated by a red light.

But the next attempts produced nothing but soft clicks: The Cube had run out of power. So the Party returned, both disappointed at the slowing of progress, but grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the planes.

Althaea used the crystal ball, which was a powerful scrying tool, to contact her mother and tell her of their progress and ask if she or Yaris would know of the symbols etched on the sides of the cube. While Anthea could not help with their problem, she was surprised to learn of the Dragonslayer. Armed with the fact that she existed and that Karanox was dead, she could warn the Council of the upcoming storm.

The bard also contacted Sunder, who was teaching in Assarna. While he too was unfamiliar with the knowledge of planar travel, he did have something for Althaea: His drawings from the circular “book” from Gwyn’s forest. The drawings were maps of the the planes. Several of them had the same symbols as the cube. Althaea memorized the maps to the best of her ability.

Dulkan, emboldened about the spell he used to contact Edessa in the past, asked Antinua to create a sending scroll for him. Despite her doubts of Dulkan’s ability to harness the necessary knowledge to cast it, she began to write.

On the next days they investigated the view behind the rest of the portals. They saw a snowy wasteland, a windy hill with floating islands in the skies and a wet cave within a gargantuan spiderweb-like dome.

On the last day, 20th of Barren, Antinue finished the spell. Dulkan, with the wizard’s instructions, managed to cast the spell, sending his thoughts to Edessa:

“Coming for you,
Describe your location.
Have faith.
Dulkan and friends.”

She answered:

“I’m in Null. Demons are chasing me.
It’s cold but I made a friend.
I hope it’s really you.”

It was all the clue they needed. Instructing the Huntress to return to Dusk Coast, they opened a portal to the snowy desolation and headed in.

Beyond, in the plane of Null, they fell victim to its most malignant feature: Magic ceased to work. The mages’ spells evaporated from their minds, but the most worrying reaction was their portable hole: All the water it had taken when the Party was saving the Huntress exploded out. The entire Party was drenched, and the cold air began slowly but surely biting their skin.

Despite the desolation and endless piles of snow, there was a ray of hope: Several shafts of light were visible in the horizon. What they were, the Party could not say. In the planes, they had to rely on their own wits, courage and hope.

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Karanox's Death
37th Session

The Party reviewed their options and decided against the long trek through the Drylands, opting to sail through the Haag river. So they headed back along the coast, making a stop at Assarna on the 1st of Barren. The wizards there had finally received their supplies and began crafting the Force Cube and the flying machine. Khiss, being accustomed to the splendor of a sorcerer, was clearly feeling uncomfortable, although this was a place of safety.

On the 3rd of Barren the Party stopped at Duskport to learn news, and for Dulkan, perform a service for the Temple of Nissha, who could help him heal from his injury, sustained from the guardians of Adalrik’s Paradise. The Temple wished to acquire one of the everburning braziers from Khariss’ lair. Dulkan contacted the Lodge of Sorcery, created by Lady Yagasha to find out their fate. Yagasha wasn’t in control of them, instead redirecting his inquiries to Lady Ashinka. Dulkan, remembering Khiss’ plight, asked if the Lodge would accept the problematic sorcerer in their ranks. Lady Yagasha was intrigued and accepted, granting Dulkan a boon with which he was ultimately able to acquire the brazier and get his cure.

On the 6th of Barren the Huntress docked on Kolmhaag. The Party met with Lord Uratha Kiln to plan how they were going to get through the Orc-infested canyons, where catapults and bowmen were lying in wait. Meanwhile, Althaea was saddened to find that Farpounce was nowhere to be found, even though she had presented one of the balconies as a place where the griffin could rest. Fortunately, Dulkan knew of a woman who was wise in the ways of the winds. Althaea met with the woman and pleaded her to help. Trusting in the elf’s sincere worry, the woman sent a bird to take a message to Farpounce. And some time later, the griffin arrived, informing Althaea that he had found a pack to lead. With eloquent flattery, Althaea managed to convince the griffin king to grant her a favour: Help with getting over the mountains.

The next day, 7th of Barren granted the Party an unexpected boon: Strong winds and heavy sleet. The winds would grant them speed to crash through the greenskin’s defenses and the sleet would cover their approach. The party installed a ballista on the Huntress, a gift from Lord Uratha and prepared to sail the gauntlet while Althaea covered them from the air with burning oil.

When the gates were discreetly opened, the Huntress sped through the canyons, too fast for the orcs to react… and too fast for the helmsman to keep up. The first steep bank took the edges of their port booms and scraped their hull. The second they crashed full on. The hull was breached and the ship started taking in water. With a combined effort by the mages they managed to jury-rig a fix that allowed for emergency repairs. The very dust of dryness that the Followers of the Guardian’s assassin attempted to sink the Huntress with was their savior, as they cleared the hold of water with a pinch of.

The rest of the journey to Kalrathia was relatively uneventful. The greenskins were unprepared for a fast sailboat to sail eastward from the mountains, so the Huntress was unmolested through their journey. After nearly a week of traveling, on the 15th of Barren, the Wessar-river the Party reached Kalrathia, a city in the shores of Trisan: The only inhabitable area in the Drylands. The city was inside the territory of Karanox.

In the Lucky Pony, the Party made themselves welcome by telling stories and in Althaea’s case, performing musical feats. Quite soon Thivaraxia’s agent, a dragonborn guard called Noxis, contacted the Party and offered his knowledge on Karanox’s lair. With the sending stones the Party had summoned Thivaraxia, who would arrive on the following night. So the Party prepared as best as they could.

The night of 16th of Barren, the Party met Thivaraxia on the edges of Karanox’s lair. They followed her lead as Thivaraxia met with the older, more powerful dragon. Karanox was fearsome and prideful, and even though he clearly held the green dragon in very low regard, Thivaraxia managed to intrigue him of the importance of her message. She revealed the existence of the Dragonslayer and offered to join forces with Karanox to defeat the threat, the Party backing her claims. But soon as the tense negotiations were underway, a fateful coincidence interrupted them. A group of masked people, led by a figure in a golden armour arrived, brandishing weapons.

The Dragonslayer had arrived.

Karanox was furious of this interruption, but his confidence was shaken by Thivaraxia, who exhibited a rare emotion for a dragon: She was wary. Carric jumped to the opportunity, heading over to the Dragonslayer to plead with her. The Guardian stopped and cast a spell of divination, scanning over the Party. She took her mask off, showing the features of a rather pretty, and a very human face. The Guardian marveled at the Party of some property only she could see and offered them a chance to join her as she intended to kill Karanox. Even though Carric put all his efforts and Althaea’s assistance in convincing the woman to step down, she refused, stating that she needed to kill the dragon. Karanox’s patience ran out and he attacked the woman, confident in his victory. The fight between the Dragonslayer and two dragons had begun.

Reluctant to allow neither side to kill each other, Carric could only use Adalrik’s Staff to encase the Dragonslayer in a field of force to offer a temporary reprieve. It did nothing to slow down Karanox, however, and the dragon tore into her retinue, littering the cold ground with bodies. As the Party figured out what to do, Althaea used the diversion to head into the lair. Inside were multiple artifacts, tomes and objects of power, displayed as trophies. One of these was a little cube with six buttons, hanging from a chain. She took the the Cubic Gate, as it was now a way out of the situation, should they need it.

Outside the group was in a tense standoff. Karanox was furious, impatiently waiting for Carric’s spell to run out. Thivaraxia was asking the Party to join in the fight, as this was her chance to kill the Dragonslayer. The Party was unsure on what to do. Antinua sent messages to the Guardian, demanding to know what she was doing and that they stop the conflict. But the Dragonslayer was adamant in her desire to kill Karanox, as it was instrumental to her plan to replace the Divines.

Eventually the spell ran out and the battle continued. With nearly inhuman strength, grace and endurance the Dragonslayer fought, cutting, somersaulting, dodging and casting spells. She held her own against two dragons. Carric, desperate to stop the fight, sprayed all the participants with frost. But the best she could do was to wear them both down even faster. After sustaining grievous injuries Thivaraxia pleaded with the Party to contribute, but after receiving no aid, she took to the sky and fled into the night.

Her flight was the point where the battle was decided. Karanox, battered and bloody, froze for a moment and allowed fear to take root in his heart. This was all the Dragonslayer needed, and she rolled under the dragon’s guard and pierced his chest with her glaive. The force of her thrust threw Karanox on his back, prompting his final word: “Impossible!” As the Dragonslayer tore her weapon out of his chest, she retorted: “Not anymore.” The mighty dragon Karanox was dead.

Battered and leaning on her blood-soaked glaive, the Guardian took her mask off and headed towards the Party. Again she marveled on their “power” and extended her hand, asking for them to join her cause. She would replace the Divines with herself, finally granting the world a reprieve from the dragonic rule. With them joining her she could finally challenge the Divines.

The Party looked at each other.

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