Moraday, Septantus 4, 1017 A.G. – late evening at The Garden of Graves in some other plane of existence!
That Boldra, she is still at it! Now she’s off on her own, going around corners, trying to get Ungus to follow her. Kuiperia is closer so she follows her and they come into another, very dark room. There she watches Boldra jump up on top of another cairn, sniffs at it then heads back to see why Ungus wasn’t coming. Kuiperia follows, meets Ungus waddling along in the corridor and tells him what she did.
While Boldra and Kuiperia are playing jigsaw puzzles, I ask Lady Itzehl if she is still in contact with Gabbe. She initiates contact (good sign!) who tells us that she is 97.8% certain we are in the Shadowfell but The Bringing will still work. When Itzehl asks if we should be afraid, she tells her that Kuiperia can tell you.
Kuiperia is doing more exploring, going into another big room and finds 5 more cairns. She checks a set of double doors and see the same green mist thru the crack. She puts a sun rod in the room and then reports back to us. Itzehl sends Basil to retrieve Kuiperia and then she tells her what Gabbe said. Kuiperia immediately says the Shadowfell is the home of her goddess, The Raven Queen. Meanwhile, Boldra is getting anxious, pacing the floor, moving back and forth between the cairns and Ungus. All these cairns are like the other ones – the bodies gone, broken lids, scattered shrouds, etc. Under the dust, Kuiperia finds humanoid footprints carved into the stone floor. While Kuiperia is examining the prints and cairns, Boldra runs over to the cavern room, the rest of us following. A raven appears to Kuiperia, pecking at the floor. Scraping the dust and dirt away, Kuiperia sees a face of an undead creature staring up at her. Looking just like the skeleton warrior we fought a few minutes ago, it spits worms out of it jaw and warns her to “Restore our graves quickly or you will be attacked again!” Basically it wants us to go to the cavern, collect all the desecrated pieces of the cairns, bring them back to the cairns and reassemble them. After telling Kuiperia what to do, it then bites her! In retaliation, the raven pecks at its eyes and then disappears as does the face. Kuiperia rushes back to us in the cavern and tells us what needs to be done. We all then work together to sort thru the rubble and find all the pieces we need. We all carry them back to the cairns and we put our heads together and piece by piece, we manage to restore the graves as Kuiperia puts the lids back on them. Evidently Ungus did something wrong and pissed off somebody or something off as another Boneclaw Daggerhand emerges from the ground. Even though Kuiperia calls out to the Raven Queen for forgiveness, it attacks some us with an array of bone shards. OUCH! But with Kuiperia channeling words from her goddess, it quickly retreats and crawls back under the floor.
We look at the tombs and know they have been re-consecrated and Boldra is happy. Now the floor begins breaking up in several areas as 8 undead emerge but show no signs of hostility. They are actually going into their tombs to lay down. All except for the one Kuiperia chased away. This guy is now motioning for Kuiperia to follow it to the cavern where she finds a metal lid in the floor. Once opened she finds a treasure chest. The undead dude leaves and Kuiperia makes a quick check of the contents, finding gold and silver pieces and a head circlet, possibly made of Mithral. She sadly notes there is one undead in the corner, turning to dust because this is the one we previously hacked to pieces. Kuiperia scoops up as much of it as she can and reverently takes it to the last empty cairn.
With us joining her in the cavern, I assist Kuiperia in lifting the treasure chest up. The chest itself is rusty and breaks apart, spilling its contents on the floor. Sorting thru it we find 300 gp, 1000 sp, the circlet and 16 strange black coins. The black coins have worn markings on them and they are standard coin size but 3 times heavier. I look at them and can’t place them. They are not Eladrin. Itzehl looks at the circlet and notes that it is magical. As we see a blue mist approaching us from both directions, Kuiperia quickly wraps the coins and circlet and stows them away.
With that sickening, lurching motion overtaking us once again, we finds ourselves in the same spot, same structure but now it has solid marble walls. As we hear a scream, despair floods over and thru us, tormenting us with melancholy thoughts. As it fades away, we are left with a lingering gloom in our souls. Just like in the Fey Wild room, the same statues are apparent. I open the corridor door to see if the green mist is still there and it is. Beside each statue – one in the cavern and one in the cairn room, a huge angel like creature appears, very similar to the fallen angel in the pool at Pomora Wood. But these guys are not friendly at all. They simultaneously bellow out “You dare invade the crypt of our god, slain by one that a member of your party worships!” They are wielding long scythes. Kuiperia, quite brazenly tells the one near her to be more specific. He looks at her disdainfully and tells her that her goddess was once the concubine to Nerull and she slew him. He then tells Kuiperia to “crawl out of here and do not return!” Still being brash, Kuiperia tells him that we did not come here willingly and how should we leave. He just points with his scythe to the door with the green mist. As he does so, Kuiperia notices the band of metal connecting the blade to the handle is made of the same metal as the black coins.
Itzehl uses a new trick and calls to Ungus telepathically to join her. He is in the cavern and he notices the same metal band on the scythe. But he notes that it is the same metal that the polyhedron Eldritch Engine is made from. As he thinks we should take the scythe back to the council, the angel warns him not to try it. Kuiperia telepathically relays that we can take the black coins that she found.
Itzehl tries again to contact Gabbe who says she can barely hear her. But Itzehl requests Gabbe locate us. While Gabbe is processing, both angels move over to the main corridor and yell at us “Leave NOW – this is your last warning!” Having left the end door open, I quickly jump out thru the green mist and find myself on a beautiful grassy lawn. I expect the others to follow me, but instead they all pile up on the rope bridge, causing all kinds of problems. In the middle of this foolishness, Gabbe tells Itzehl that we are in the domain of Pluton in the Astral Sea, land of the dead god Nerull. She tells Itzehl that she can’t do The Bringing from there! Oh no! Shaken up by that, Itzehl falls off the rope bridge, landing 60 feet below. As she falls, she screams telepathically so I know she is in danger as I mentally call out to her. The others of course, have seen her fall. We are all in the Fey Wild again but I am on the other side of the building, all alone. The green mist is gone and both doors are open, so I can see straight thru to the other side and see Etupio on the rope bridge, looking down. I run through the corridor, asking him what is going on. He squeals that “My Lady fell”. I tell him to go across the bridge to the column landing where Kuiperia and Ungus are standing. When he gets moving, I quickly teleport across, getting there before he does. Kuiperia lowers a rope with her grappling hook attached. Thankfully Itzehl is not hurt that badly and can manage to climb back up using the ropes for support. Ungus looks about ready to collapse from the stress so I grab his waist and teleport him back across the bridge and into the building. Kuiperia assists Itzehl and Etupio back across, then she crosses easily.
Ungus wants to explore more of this area that we didn’t get to previously, so he starts walking down the corridor. Kuiperia goes to the cavern and finds the same statue there and finds a wooden trap door in the floor with a pull ring. Meanwhile, Itzehl and I feel the life force still swirling around with no discernable starting point.
Holy gods now a freaking RED mist is coming at us. What now! Kuiperia starts to lift the trap door up but is not quick enough as it overtakes us with that sinking, lurching feeling followed by a feeling of vast emptiness. For some reason we feel we might be back in the mortal world. Kuiperia, who had her hand on the pull ring, lifts up the trap door and we see the green mist is there. In the center of the cavern is a pool of filthy, stagnant water. We can’t feel any life force here at all. I ask Itzehl to once again check with Gabbe. When she does so, she tells her that we are indeed back in Arantus, but in this world, this dangerous place is called Skull City. Not wanting to linger here, Kuiperia lowers her grappling hook down thru the trap door, then climbs down. She finds a 5 foot wide shaft and wood ladder. She says she popped her head back up to tell us but in her view, we were not there and in our view, she did not come back up. Although Ungus would have liked to stay and explore, I recommend we follow Kuiperia. There is no reason for us to stay here. Etupio reminds us Skull City is extremely dangerous. We all climb down the 60 foot shaft and then Kuiperia cuts the rope and closes the trap door. We find ourselves in a dark dirt tunnel. Itzehl checks with Gabbe and says we are back in the Fey Wild. With Itzehl and myself meditating aware for 4 hours each and awake the other 4 hours, we all overnight here in this relatively safe place. The night passes uneventfully.
Korday, Septantus 5, 1017 A.G. – early morning in the Fey Wild tunnel
You would think that being in the Fey Wild, we would sleep or meditate peacefully. But NO, evidently not while this life force energy is being drained away. Although our wounds are healed and powers restored, we had a restless night. Ungus wakes up with uncontrollable projectile vomiting while Itzehl is coughing up granules of black dust. Both Kuiperia, Etupio and I are horrified to find our beautiful hair has turned gray and patches are coming loose. Kuiperia knows for certain that this is not connected to the black coins, but Itzehl knows that they can carry magic. In between coughing fits, she then asks Kuiperia to let her see the circlet. One close look at it and she realizes it is a powerful and valuable Circlet of Mental Onslaught. She puts it on her head and feels it power. We discuss and agree that she should keep it. After a hearty breakfast of battle rations, we decide to head out thru the tunnel. With my Eladrin sense of direction, I am confident it will bring us thru one of the tunnels we explored the other day and out into the valley. And of course it does, as we emerge into fresh air. Itzehl and I feel the life energy still flowing as before. We discuss our experience with the life force energy swirling in each plane we visited. We are pretty confident it demonstrates the energy is being drained from multiple planes, all converging here in the Fey Wild before being sucked out to Arantus. We’ll report all this to the Council.
At talk of going back to the mortal world I begin to feel a little knot in my belly and a light sweat break out. Now normally I don’t sweat at all so this is bothersome. I take the lead as we pass back the way came, thru the tunnel under the smaller hill, past the three stone statues with no trouble. Hiking up the hill going toward the Pool of the Fallen Angel, I find my heart beating fast and my face flushed. I spot a flat rock next to the trail and sit down putting my face in my hands. I realize how much I love the Fey Wild and miss my home as a tear runs down my cheek. Lady Itzehl strokes my head and I blurt out to her that I can’t go back – I must stay here! I am so fortunate to have found such loyal and true adventuring companions, as they rally round me and convince me of how much I am needed and admired. Thank you guys! The moment passes as I gather my strength and resolve to go forward.
We arrive back in the pool in Pomora Wood as the elves Gwaelon and Tralf appear. The kid is still bound and ready for us to take him to the Font of Ioun at Gardmore Abbey. We discuss the need for serious healing for us too and whether it would be more effective in Gabbe’s pool or at the font. Taking into consideration we need to report to the Council and show them the black coins, we determine we need to go to Hammerfast first. While Ungus is checking Tralf’s bindings, the kid spits white froth on him. Oh this is going to be fun! After we all say goodbye to Etupio and hug him, we realize he too is going to need healing, so his training with the elves is postponed – again. I grab Etupio and Kuiperia grabs Tralf as Itzehl performs The Bringing and we teleport back to Gabbe’s pool.
Gabbe is there to greet us and tells us she was worried about us. Itzehl describes the “angels” we encountered and Gabbe says they were badly corrupted Angels. Then Itzehl points Tralf out to Gabbe who says he needs mental healing that she cannot provide. She also notes our deteriorating condition and says we also need the healing that the Font of Ioun can provide. Itzehl also talks to Sir Grails as she leaves the pool. Gru and Surina are doing well. There is no need for them to burden us on a journey to Gardmore Abbey. I just want to hang out here in the pool for a while and soothe my nerves as Itzehl and Ungus go for a walk.
The Council is convened at The Black Cat where Kuiperia is asked to join them but not the rest of us. I am still at Gabbe’s pool. Ungus and Itzehl leave after making statements and she reminds Kuiperia that if she needs her, she can call her telepathically. Kuiperia shows them the black coins and relays its possible links to the Eldritch Engine and the scythes we saw. During the meeting they discuss many things and ideas. Kuiperia, in her enthusiasm and passion, causes a lot of chaos and almost gets thrown out of the meeting! But cooler heads prevail and the meeting is adjourned until tomorrow.
Meanwhile Ungus has been at the Guild Library studying up on the different planes of existence. He hears that Pluton is the domain of Nerull, who was once the God of the Dead, killed by his consort The Raven Queen. With his divine insight, he postulates what if the divine power of the dead god was captured and utilized to power the Eldritch Engine. He rushes to tell the master of The Lore Guild about his eureka moment who tells him he will relay his theory to The Council. Coming back to us at The Blue Grotto, he tells Kuiperia of his theory who thinks it is a good idea but is not sure.
They come back down to Gabbe’s pool where I am still soaking and feeling a little better. Thanks for asking! Ungus bends down and is ready to fill his flask with some of the pool water when Sir Grails stops him. So he goes upstairs and fills it with Stonevein Stout. When he comes back he and Itzehl say they are ready to go to Gardmore Abbey but Sir Grails reminds us that if we go now, we can’t come back via The Bringing until 12 hours have passed. That might put us danger if we need to exit quickly and can’t. Kuiperia and I argue it is better for us to wait 18 hours and then go – our safety being more important than haste. Emotions are high but finally we decide to stay the rest of the day and night and leave early in the morning.
Pelorday, Septantus 6, 1017 A.G. – early morning at The Blue Grotto
We experience another restless night of bad dreams as we awake to find more distasteful things done to our bodies. I won’t go into it here, but they are nasty. Grails says we are suffering from necrotic poisoning and we need to do something about it quickly because we only have a few days left to live! Itzehl talks to Gabbe about our destination and she tells her we have two options: First option is we can arrive in a pool about one or two miles away from Gardmore Abbey. The second option is we can arrive in a small pool within the grounds of the abbey. But this option comes with a small risk of being injured upon arriving due to its small size. We discuss the options and the no risk pool will also give us the opportunity to advance undetected. Unanimously deciding on the no risk pool, we indicate to Gabbe that we are ready. In the blink of an eye, we arrive, prepared to find the Font of Ioun first and then Berrian Velfarren at the Fey Grove.