Dragonrealm

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…

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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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Reincarnation
49th Session

It was a moment of grief for the Party. Carric had perished in the fight against Beligandir, and despite Althaea’s magic, they could not rouse him back to life. After giving their respective eulogies, the Party built a litter with which to carry his body to the invisible village they had previously traveled through.

The village took the Party in, paying their respects to the fallen friend with their own silent ways. Asking about a place to bury Carric, the invisible beings informed them of a group of pyramids beyond a hill. Khava, Lady Antinua and Dulkan hiked to the curious pyramids that were built with supreme craftsmanship, where the dead were laid on top. There their flesh was eaten by beautiful, ethereal butterflies which were sadly too invisible.

But as the group was investigating his last resting place, Carric stirred back in the village. With a pained gasp for air, the Party’s trusted sorcerer sage had returned to the realm of the living. Althaea, standing vigil over his body, rushed to soothe his pains, overjoyed at this miraculous return. And when the rest of the Party came back, Carric could himself deliver the good news… And what he had seen.

According to his tale, he had been awakened from a thoughtless state by a being, who offered him a chance to live. As Carric agreed, the being had expressed hope that Carric would use his second chance to bring down that who had climbed high over the others… The Guardian. To give him an extra incentive, the being reached inside Carric and removed his memories of Edin, his mentor and unfulfilled love, stating that a way to get them back would be to fulfill the being’s desire. After this, it had summoned another one, who took Carric to another place, where he ascended again to oblivion… And to life.

Despite the mysteries, the Party refused to ponder on them, and instead they decided to feast on the best rations they could muster, play, sing and dance. The sounds of merriment were silently accentuated by the villagers joining the dance, spots of playful light circling and framing the Heroes who let their minds rest. An additional pleasant surprise was had: Renee, their lucky pony who had survived the terrors of the planes, spoke that he enjoyed their dancing. Apparently the power of Arcanis had awakened the pony’s mind, which was now enjoying the music and party for the first time.

After a thorough rest from their celebration the Party turned somber again. Edessa, now free from her obligations, wished for one last favor from the Party: To be brought to Null, where she could be safe from her own, chaotic power. This request framed the Party’s conversation: What next? Clearly some forces, maybe even the Divines, wanted the Party to enter conflict with the Dragonslayer. But for what purpose? And would the Party even want to fight the woman, who was doing the right thing, albeit from her perspective?

Eventually they decided to continue to follow the message that was in the cylinder that had been instrumental in the defeat of Beligandir: Seek the Celestial Sea. But to do that, they would need to return to Umbra, where they would find the power to go there, maybe even to return back to the Realm. On their way, they would leave Edessa and Khava to Null and close this chapter of their adventures.

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Beligandir's End
48th Session

Maril

The day had begun like any other, so it was a surprise that Muralca had visitors. Her demons had captured a group of armed infiltrators that had attempted to sneak into Maril’s domain. Strangest of all was the fact that they were not demons, but people from the Realm. Being busy with planning the next move in the eternal war of domination, Maril initially deemed the group as a small pile of flesh and maybe some entertainment. But when questioned about their reasons for being there, the group made a bold claim: That they were allies of Beligandir and held his valuable secrets.

This claim, of course, was quite preposterous. But what if it were true? If they did hold her rival’s secrets, Maril could use this to her advantage. Maybe if the secrets were valuable enough, Beligandir would risk an obvious trap to gain them. And thus, a wicked plan began to form in her mind.

Leaving the group to her arena under guard, Maril gathered a group of her strongest winged warriors and decided upon an ambush location: Serpent Artery, a river that marked Beligandir’s borders. Trusting that her double agents would bring the information to Beligandir post-haste, Maril arranged for the prisoners to “escape” and cordoned them to the Serpent Artery. If they spoke the truth, Beligandir or his minions would appear and Maril would slaughter them. If they lied, then, well, they would make good target practice.

And so it was done. As Maril and her forces hid in the plains, she could hear the commotion from the city as the escape was arranged. And soon enough, Beligandir himself and his fastest followers had arrived to the bank of the river valley. They were looking for the prisoners, clearly, unwilling to cross the border. With the winds and the terrain, a trap like this would be deadly for anyone who crossed the river.

They waited. And waited. Maybe the Realmfolk had outsmarted them? Just as Maril was ready to abandon the plan, Beligandir sent a scout over, maybe to find a disturbance. Then half of his group. Then the rest, along with himself. Amazed that the plan worked, Maril pounced, her group flying in the air and descending upon the demons in the riverbanks. Maril herself, feeling confident, charged the Pit Lord himself, smashing him to the ground. But something was off. He was too light, and half of Maril’s weapons sunk into the demon without finding purchase. An illusion!

Realizing this, her eyes disarmed the ruse and she stared at Beligandir’s lieutenant. “You poor fool. Your mind was in the right place, but your competence was lacking”, he mocked. “Beligandir’s real prize is in your undefended, unguarded Pit!” Her home! As Maril was taking into the air, the fake Pit Lord charged her and took her tumbling down. As she fell, cursing the weakling, she could see the tiefling and the half-elf flying off into the direction of her home.

Beligandir

The plan was taking too long. How could have the half-elf avoided capture this long? Centuries of waiting, just to have his prize squirm through his fingers like the flesh ooze. While he wanted to deny it, it was really getting on Beligandir’s nerves.

Then, a break! One of his agents in Beligandir’s neighbor’s Pits sent him urgent information: Maril had captured a group of Realmfolk, who claimed to hold important information. Pressing for details deflated his initial joy; None of them were the sorceress. Just some fools, come to Daemonis to die.

But still, Beligandir decided to be thorough. He demanded his arcane mages to scry for Edessa in the long shot that she was on this plane and visible. She was. Unbelievable! Beligandir had risked everything to spread his planar networks to their breaking point, and now the sorceress was here, in his grasp. The only problem was that she was in Maril’s city.

But wait, no-one apparently knew about the sorceress. How could this be? Maybe… Maybe the sorceress was hidden even from Maril, while her companions were caught in her web. Yes, this was it. As Beligandir pondered on his plan to extract the half-elf, maybe even with bribery, another gift from the fire came: His agent told him that the realmfolk had escaped and were heading to Serpent Artery. A plan came to Beligandir’s mind: If he sent the bulk of his flying forces to search for these escapees, along with “himself”, that could draw Maril’s defenses away from the city, allowing him to quickly snatch the sorceress.

So he deemed. He sent his lieutenant to lead his forces, under an illusionary guise. Beligandir took his most trusted, and most powerful, guards with him and flew to the highest point he had ever flown to get over Maril’s watchers. The plan worked, and he could barely see Maril engage his decoys. While they were busy, Beligandir descended to her Pit. This would be it, his finest moment!

Diving down, Beligandir saw a human and two elves sneaking about. Probably they were a part of the escapees. Despite the questions why they were here and not in the ambush point, Beligandir was glad fort them, because they most likely would lead him to the sorceress. As he landed like a comet from above, the small beings scattered, hiding in Maril’s spiky stronghold. With little difficulty, Beligandir tore the doors open and gave chase.

Ending back in the courtyard, Beligandir surveyed the area and deemed that the hiding places were running out. He gave them a few moments to surrender. And just as he was rising to his wings, the human man came out of hiding, challenging him, claiming that he was from the Kiln family. Wondering about the man, Beligandir walked casually to the small being, asking why he was resisting Beligandir’s plans so.

This was a distraction, however. Edessa had gone to the Shaper’s ledge, a stony outcropping over the Pit and apparently had decided to make her stand there. A foolish mistake, Beligandir thought as he brushed her lightning spell aside. A greater annoyance was the Kiln human, who attacked the demon with a silvered weapon, burning a deep wound in his thigh. His second attack was with some short baton, which feebly stuck inside the wound. Beligandir smashed the man aside with a slash of his lightning sword and crack of his flaming whip and flew towards his prize.

Edessa put up quite a fight, managing to somehow cover the entire tip of the ledge in a thick fog. She slipped through his grasp annoyingly as her companions’ attacks were getting irritating. And in the end, it was the rock beneath that crumbled first, the final stroke being the sorceress throwing herself at the ledge. The tip detached and Beligandir, the sorcerer and the annoyingly persistent Kiln human fell into the Pit, where the flesh ooze started to eat at them all. But it was not the first time Beligandir had fallen into the Pit; He was tougher than the ooze and could just rise to his wings and take off with Edessa.

But that did not happen.

The Kiln managed to do something with Beligandir’s leg and suddenly there was an immense weight anchoring him to the pool. Confidence turned into panic as Beligandir realized that he could not move without the baton inside his wound sending flaring hot tendrils of pain through his body. As he trashed in the burning juices of the Pit, he realized that he was outsmarted by the group of realmdwellers. In desperation, he cut off his leg with the lightning sword underneath the ooze as survival instincts kicked in. As Beligandir looked above, he could see the battered Kiln with a bow and an arrow, pointing it at him. The arrow flew into Beligandir’s forehead, and suddenly the world got searing hot. Panic turned to fury as the demon realized that he was dying, and with his last might, he wished death to all and everybody.

And with a searing hot explosion, Beligandir was no more.

Party

After the smoke had fallen, only Althaea, Khava and Lady Antinua rose up. The rest were lying on the ground, unconscious and gravely wounded. Around the Pit, demons were staring at the battlefield that had just consumed, quite literally, a PIt Lord. The three exchanged a single glance and started working: They took the foldable hole from Carric’s backpack and threw everyone inside. As Lady Antinua folded the hole, Althaea opened a dimensional doorway to the edge of the Pit’s hill where their lucky Pony Renee was waiting. And with a flick of Antinua’s wrist, she opened a gateway with the Cubic Gate to Arcanis.

Finally in safety, they folded the hole open and checked on their unconscious friends. Of the three fallen heroes, only two hearts were beating.

Carric Tannyth, a sorcerer and a Hero of Dusk Coast, had perished.

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Fire and Brimstone
47th Session

After defeating Azul, the dreaded dominator of minds, the heroes were invited to the Merwyrm castle for celebrations. One of Azul’s thralls, a wise sage of the Merwyrm, knew of a Nexus path to Daemonis and could provide the directions to it. But before they left, Carric asked the Merwyrm about something Azul had tempted him with: A way to turn back time and see his mentor again. According to all arcane knowledge, such power was impossible, but the sage did mention a legend of a pearl that could turn back time: The Time Ebb. But without any further information but the name, the Party continued on.

Pausing only to briefly explore a haunted underground ruin, the Heroes of Dusk Coast found the Nexus path: A cramped tunnel that angled upwards, through the mysterious swirling Nexus to a smell of fire and brimstone: Daemonis.

An inhospitable plane where black stone and glowing lava battled for dominance under a blood-red sky, Daemonis offered the Party their next challenge: What next? Without any further guidance, except the hiding spot of Beligandir’s escape tunnel, the Party sent Khava flying up to find any landmarks. He found only one place that seemed to suggest some sort of life or civilization. With only that direction to go, the Party set off into the heat.

After some difficulty with a heated crystal, the Party found an observation outpost, manned by 3 winged demons. To gain more information, Khava and Althaea, under a spell of invisibility, went closer to investigate. Not getting anything relevant out of the demons’ discussion, Althaea decided to try the oldest trick in the book: A flying rock. One of the demons took flight and did investigate the disturbance from above. Remembering that Althaea could change her appearance, Khava concocted a plan: He lured the scout out of sight where he and the elven bard stabbed the demon to death. Then Althaea musicized her appearance to that of the demon, intent on covert interrogation. But the tiefling’s plan failed; Althaea couldn’t create the creature’s wings.

Before they were discovered, Althaea used her dimension door to teleport herself and Khava to safety. There they performed another, more familiar interrogation: They spoke with the demon’s corpse. From that brief questionnaire, they gathered important information: The name of the Spawning Pit nearby, Muralca and its leader, Maril. They also found out that they were enemies with Beligandir.

But as their activities were attracting attention, they decided to continue to Muralca from another direction. Khava managed to find a narrow canyon that led the group to the Pit of Muralca; A round pond filled with organic sludge, surrounded by spartan, stone-hewn platforms and ledges. But alas, their approach was noticed, and the Party emerged to a trap of demons at the ready, demanding them to drop their weapons. Everyone complied, except for Edessa, who was made invisible by Carric and the sorcerer himself. His refusal to give his staff was met by a shower of spikes from the tails of the guardian demons and the sorcerer fell. Thanks to Althaea’s quick healing, his wounds were not fatal.

Now disarmed, the group were paraded in front of an entire city of demons into an arena in front of the Pit itself. The jeering crowds fell silent as a winged, pale woman, clad in black and red platemail emerged, demanding to know who had walked into the heart of her domain. Dulkan answered, telling that they were as what they seemed: A group of planar travelers and asked her name in return. The woman chuckled, answering that she was Miral, the Pit Lord of Muralca.

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The Mind Dominator
46th session

Exul was an aquatic, alien monster, yet intelligent and cunning. It spoke to the Heroes with a telepathic link, cruelly informing Khava that the favour had lost its value due to Edessa’s newfound high demand. Exul demanded a bigger favour; The King of a nearby merwyrm castle. Thoroughly disgusted by the creature and its demand, the Heroes faced a tense moment: To deny Exul’s offer was to invite trouble and conflict.

But Carric figured out a plan: He accepted the deal to bring the King to Exul… But under what circumstances, he purposefully neglected to describe. Exul, surprised but pleased, gave the Heroes a direction and let them go. After a short, uncomfortable swim, the Party found a small air pocket cave where they discussed their plan further. They would invite the King to play along so that they could then attack Exul and kill the beast, hopefully with support from the King’s soldiers. With this plan in mind, they headed on.

Soon enough the Party found the merwyrm kingdom: An impressive coral castle inside a huge stone bowl, illuminated by luminescencent pearls and fish. With Lady Antinua’s noble heritage the Party secured a meeting with the King… Only to find that the merwyrm accused Khava of kidnapping one of theirs to Exul! He was to face trial for his crime, and the Heroes agreed to defend him. As time was of the essence, the trial was organised very soon. While they waited, Khava described what had happened:

As he had been travelling Umbra, Khava discovered the smashed bodies of a couple of merwyrm, along with one who was badly injured. Going against his better judgement, he decided to try to help the wounded one, carrying her towards hopeful safety. He followed some lights and discovered Exul’s lair, where the creature attempted to dominate him with his mind. But Khava resisted, impressing the monster who in turn offered him favours should he hand the merwyrm to it. Not wanting to confront the creature, Khava agreed, stating that he would return for the favour later. As Exul did not object, Khava left, intending to never return unless the situation was dire.

Called in front of an elder of the kingdom, the Party gave a spirited defense against the prosecuting family member of the kidnapped merwyrm. They defended his actions and his character, both of which were called to question. In the end, their words saved their tiefling friend, whose judgement was to swim through the Clear Tunnel and be cleansed of his past actions. Khava did so, clearly affected by the experience… somehow.

Now they could discuss their plan towards defeating the evil Exul. The King was on board, seeing an opportunity to ascend into a legend as the king who defeated the evil monster in their border. The Party would take the King, rendered unconscious by a potion, to Exul. Carric would use his spells to pry the location of the entrance to Daemonis from the creature’s mind and after that the Party would attack it, while the merwyrm would seal off the exits from its lair.

The plan worked flawlessly. With spells and arrows the Party attacked the beast furiously and despite its best, lethal efforts, Exul fell. And best of all, Carric had the location of the Nexus path to Daemonis…

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Umbra
45th Session

The Detritus was chock full of people of the planes. Mingling with the crowd, the Party managed to find out that the tower they were heading to, Gimmerwald, was experiencing tower quakes and the people were evacuating, crowding the neighboring towers. Regardless, they needed to go. After resting away the harrowing escape from the replicators, the Party began to collect equipment for their trek through Umbra, where Khava was leading them to.

In Umbra they would have to dive a long, long way to find Khava’s contact. While according to the tiefling breathing wouldn’t be a problem for the heroes themselves, Renee, their lucky pony, was a different matter. He couldn’t use the same method to breathe and he couldn’t dive properly. But the Party had a partial solution; The ring they found in Assarna would allow the pony to swim and one of Carric’s potions would allow him to breathe. Now they would just need to get the ring to their equine friend’s hoof and they would be set.

While Dulkan, Khava and Edessa bartered for goods, Carric, Antinua and Althaea went to the Well itself to see if they could create some object to help in their predicament. As the Party had rested, Carric had perused the tower’s small library and found a travelogue of the planes, by a gnomish adventurer. One of the gnomes, the most numerous people of Forgewell, had told Carric that the Well was a place where everything invented is created. The sorcerer was eager to test that theory. While his tests are futile, the mages did use their magics to fish some objects from the well. Along with some trinkets and a gem, they managed to get an armour made from magical seashells. Their success allowed them to trade for a gnome craftsman to attach the ring to Renee, which was a success.

Thus equipped, they left for Gimmerwald. The long bridge journey was too much for Carric and Khava, who were still tired after the events of the previous day. Dulkan, relishing the challenge, took Carric to his back while two spears and a tent became a stretcher for the tiefling as the two slept soundly. Althaea eased the dull monotony of the kilometers long bridge with her songs. At the apex of the bridge Gimmerwald’s problems became apparent: The bridge was cracked in the middle, yet still solid enough to walk on. Hurrying forth, the Party found a couple of diehard residents still living in the otherwise-abandoned tower. Khava, now awake, led them to a discreet side corridor that eventually ended in a room with a gang of gnomish thugs who demanded payment for the hidden gateway. Parting with some trinkets, the Party headed through a door, just as another tower quake rocked the room.

On the other side of an ethereal, floating pathway was another dome of Umbra, this one empty. Not wasting any time, the Party followed Khava as the tiefling swallowed a tall seaweed and dived into the water. Renee, now able to breathe underwater with Carric’s potion, nearly managed to escape in his panic. The Party attached themselves to him while Althaea attempted to control the pony. While she eventually managed to calm the beast, he had pulled them off-course. Khava, now in unfamiliar waters, led them to a gargantuan reef where they found some sort of sunken ship… and sharks. Racing away and blasting behind them with magic, the Party managed to escape the predators, yet they were lost again.

Before all hope was lost, a group of merborn, dragonborn with fish-like tails instead of legs, approached. Sympathetic towards the curious band of land-dwellers but wary of their goal to reach Khava’s contact, they led the group back to their proper path. Galloping towards their goal before Renee began to drown, the Party witnessed a great shape stalking them just at the edge of their vision and a group of other merborn escorting them towards another dome.

With only minutes to spare, the Party surfaced in a bleak but impressive underwater dome, with an ornamental staircase leading to Khava’s contact. Visibly worried about his meeting, Khava gave the Party the option to remain near the pool while he talked. But even as he ascended the slippery stairs, the Heroes of Dusk Coast followed, eager to meet this… Exul.

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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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