A Maze and A Vision


They sent off the quiet young lady to fly around and investigate, and when she returns, they all decide the best course of action was to jump off a cliff! Yes, they have featherfall, but in a temple like this, anything could happen! There’s still a Vrock flying around! And it did come in for a swoop, but fortunately, they put it down before it could fly away with the adorable little one.

So many bodies down there. The Cobalt Soul contingent, and a number of Aurora Watch. We walk quickly away, the young lady has already taken from them what might be needed to identify them. There is an unstable gate down here, one the mages had suspected, but left alone. They were more focused inside the temple, what was keeping it filled with demons time and again. I warn them against getting too close, and we head for the path that was found back inside.

Chains covering the floor, and three different paths ahead. Purple, Green, and Darkness. The books from the Cobalt monks mentioned this, but not a solution. The crossing is perilous, but we all eventually enter the purple tunnel. The pressure of the temple is awful in here, I feel sick to my stomach. It takes far too long to reach the next branching. The tunnels have changed order, but the chains remain.

The strange small one goes in, dodging the chains and having a good look around. He notices a nearly worn away symbol of the Chained Oblivion above the dark pathway. We all bolster up and make our way across, some with more difficulty than others, into the darkness. It feels better in here, calmer, though it is difficult to see ahead, and the tunnel changes quite frequently. We do reach the third branching, and spot the symbol above the darkness again. Across we go, pulling a few out of chains, and do an very… well, one would call it hilly outside. Much traveling up and down, until we find ourselves back at the beginning.

It’s much easier now, to spot the symbol above the darkness, now that we know what to look for. We have to take all three dark paths to get through. So, we soldier on, through the chains, and the pain. It’s a good thing Morty has that little heal-bot running, but it still hurts. We finally reach the other side and find a winding staircase further into the mountain depths.

It’s a long, twisty way down, but nothing haunts us, or trips us, or sends us sliding. The chamber at the end is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It is as though the gods themselves struck through this mountain of betrayal and crystalized their love and beauty in the depth of this cavern. Also, their sheer might, as these crystals are razor sharp, and it takes a bit of doing to get everyone down mostly safely.

The altar at the center calls to young Shak’Nul, and his amulet. The Jewel senses the power here, and the moment it touches down, an apparition appears. It is the boy from Question’s visions! Then it is a battle for this very temple, and the boy fights alone, and the very gods fight over him. He is alone again, in a sunken city. Could this be Cael Morrow? Is it all true? Is he trapped for the ages, beneath Ank’Harel?! We have to go home!

Oh. Oh no. Aloysia found us, and demanded the jewel. Fortunately, her crew aren’t too keen on attacking my friends. Kai’Osh begins to beat his drum, and they calm even further. Except for a couple of them, but they are kept at bay. Aloysia was so upset, she tried to bring the entire mountain down upon us before she ran! By the time we got back up the stairs, she and the others were gone. A flash of light, a teleport circle, perhaps, took them all away.

They left behind, a shattered stained glass portal, and six very angry flames, however. One of whom got our little metal cleric on their side for a moment or two of healing, That would have served us far better. They want us to dance with them. I wonder, had we before, if they could have truly shown us the way. Too late for all that now, as we extinguish their flames, one by one.

Now, how do we get out? Jonas opens a door to the right and discovers giant demon flies. Closes the door quickly, but they do not try to follow. Protecting their hive, one might guess. The door to the south opens upon a long hall of flickering torches. This makes Kai’Osh more nervous than the demons, and he may very well be right. Jonas heads back in to deal with the flies, and a droning noise fills the room. Urzu falls unconscious as soon as she enters their room. Little SHAGWIC pulls her out, but the Chasmes just follow. Mimi falls next, and again, but the others cut down the flies before they are able to drain too much life from their fellows. Morty digs through the body of one, but just gets covered in goo. They do find some interesting bits in the next room – some motes of possibility contained within glass orbs, and a ruby vial. Concerned with what might lie ahead, we take some time to rest. Those bugs didn’t hit often, but they hit Hard.

The far door is opened and we reach another intersection, the door to the left begins to glow with the Jewel. We have found our way out! We quickly head that way, and across the stone bridge. Gathering up all our strength, we push the gates open just enough to startle the guards into brandishing their weapons at us. They quickly realize who we are and let us through. No one else has come out since we went in, but they are glad someone has made it out safely.

I explain to the Noble Fragments, for they truly are, having kept me mostly safe through our entire endeavor, what I know of the Vermillion Consortium and the Sunken City beneath Ank’Harel. The power they are trying to usurp for themselves, and the danger, should they get their hands on the Jewel. I invite them to return with me, to find this Alyxian in the depths, and solve the mystery of this power. I also invite them to breakfast after they agree. I am starving!

Cursed by a God

I’ve never been cursed by a god before and I do not ever want to be again. I almost killed that pleasant young fellow, Kai’Osh. Fortunately, he was able to calm everyone down enough to pull through and shake it off. Oh why did I ever agree to come in here?

Three arms and all those chains. Is this Torog or Tharzidun? Or both? Doors without hinges or handles in the middle of a tortured giant’s stomach. Magic, obviously. Oh look, black pustules of evil, and now they’re shooting them. So disgusting and splashy, but at least the sword brothers didn’t climb up there to stab at them. Well, at least it worked and the doors are open now. Fascinating black swirling nothingness. Wait, what? You want to go inside? But there’s two other ways out! Oh dear.

More darkness, low ceiling and crowded with stalactites and stalagmites. Quietly, it says, boiling trouble, and not what it seems. So, we go quiet, until we hit a stream of acid. The little metal one decides to jump it, and makes such a ruckus, that he wakes four ropers! No, no, no, no, no! I do not like this one bit. They kept grabbing us up and trying to bite our heads off!

At least I found competent help, and we all make it through alive. What’s this? Now they want to go get loot out of the acid river?! Adventurers! Poor Jonas keeps tossing images of himself at the acid, and they keep burning up. Finally, the little metal man goes in himself, and comes out steaming with some gold and a sword hilt. And we go onward.

To a room dedicated to Gruumsh! Five massive, fiend-corrupted, orcs with equally massive axes and spears. Oh, and did I mention the boiling blood?? Nope, no way, not going in there. Oh, it’s really bad, they’re falling. That little blue-haired girl pulls them back up though, thank the Primes. The blood finally recedes when the last orc falls.

Everyone is exhausted, so we gather up the loot and head into the next hallway to rest. Urzutha pulls up a rope trick and we have a nice safe rest, identifying all the strange weapons they’ve picked up. Most of them are cursed, of course. This place tends to do that. After the rope trick wears off and nothing has changed, the group decides to take a proper long rest. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea in a place like this, but they are all clearly beat to all the hells below.

By the time everyone is rested, the door back to the blood chamber has resealed itself. The strange little green one says there’s something invisible in there now. So, we leave it be and head down the hallway, and out of Gruumsh’s mouth into a wide and deep chasm. It seems like where we came in might be above us? No way to tell really. Jonas tosses a coin, but no one hears it land below. Then there’s a flash of light and demonic screeches as two Vrocks fly up to attack. They take one down, and the other flies away, but there doesn’t seem to be any way off this ledge other than climbing or flying ourselves.

~Prolix Yusaf

The Rush of Danger

The young rush so quickly toward danger. First Juhka, and now Kai’Osh and his new friends. I was surprised to see them in the demon city. Perhaps as surprised as he was to see me. But Verin asked, and when a Thelyss asks, you can hardly refuse.

They looked to have made it through the Gibbering Mouther attack fairly unscathed. Quite a large group of fighters young Kai’Osh has gathered around him. All so very young. Well, perhaps not the gnomes, it’s hard to tell with their kind. Invited to speak with Verin himself afterwards, so good fighters, at the least.

The soldiers do love to gossip about new comers. One told me the metal gnome impressed Bautha with his healing the wounded. Even pessimistic little Naevyn might survive, if she rests before joining the next fight instead of throwing her life away. Old Kalym said they were very respectful, even joining him in prayers. Foghome told me at breakfast that he’s worried though. Said they seemed to be rushing headlong toward the Betrayer’s Rise. Following visions and relics of the Calamity.

I think he’s right. They had already gone to bed by the time I got to the Ready Room for a drink. Prolix and Question were excitedly talking about having another group on their side. Prolix a little less excitedly, of course. He was bemoaning offering to go inside with them, but it sounded like the only way to keep them away from Aloysia. I thought Kai’Osh was smarter than to take a harpy’s money.

Not a day into their stay here in Bazzoxan, and they’re already heading into the mouth of the Abyss. Looked like an cursed start, they battled demons on the Rise before they even got inside the door this morning. Well, I do wish them luck, they will need all they can muster.


Death and Demons

Poppa said we should trail the Champions when they left today. Not too close, people like that invite trouble, he said. They got themselves some new mounts, too. Some worgs and a horse. The weird little gnome looks even scarier on his big scary worg. Guess Poppa was right.

A couple days out we found a big dead Gloomstalker. Looks like they mighta carved it up a bit to feed their doggos, too. We stayed away from it though, lots of scavengers were tearing up what’s left.

Couple more days there’s the leftovers of a big fire. Looks like they set a wagon on fire with three people still sleeping in it! Wow! Musta been real bad people.

Few more days and there’s a whole Bunch of people all laid out with their eyes and guts being chewed on by birds. Looks like there was some big battle, too. They musta really made the Champions mad. Poppa says it looks like there was some big creature here, too, but it’s all gone now. The ground is pretty gross still where it melted.

We’re almost to the Emerald Loop Caravan Stop now, and there’s some dead Moorbounders, all carved up and skinned, with their heads chopped off. I hope we don’t run into the Champions, they’re a lot scarier than they looked back at the Festival.


Of Satyrs and Shadows

The stone fort felt wrong from the moment we went inside. The darkness was wrong, a twilight that was not real. Our shadows disappeared, and they felt weak in the corners. Or my connection was weak, it was hard to tell. There was no life in here. A verdant forest outside, but not a weed among these stones.

Inside the main building, Red hears tapping upstairs, and in short order, we go. It is more wrong inside, even before we find the satyr on a throne of bones. Red starts throwing questions at him, and he turns to us slowly, like we aren’t really there. He does have the viola we’re after, though it has a blackness to it, too. Page starts playing music to counter the chord he struck, but Red gets bored and jumps him.

It’s a bit rough going, but when we take him down, he melts away, like those devils we fought just the other day. Nevi grabs the viola, but Page makes him put it in her bag. She seems afraid of its blackness, as we head back outside and around to the moonwell.

It’s a natural pool in this manmade fort, though surrounded with stacked stones. The water is dark, but with pinpricks of lightness, almost like sequins. Orange wants to drink it, and it takes all of us to stop him. Red takes him away to go patrol the area. I stay behind and patrol the pool edge to keep Orange from making a break for it. The rest of them study the pool of tainted magic. For a long time.

I tune them out for a while. Tempers are running high when I check back in. Page is playing angry music. Nevi is on about a unicorn again. The Big Guy is reading through a book and every time he suggests a spell that sounds helpful to me, Page just gets angrier. We give him a bunch of gems and magic things, but he just keeps reading for a while. Then Red comes back, confused why we haven’t started, yet, and the brothers add in some magic of their own. The Big Guy finally starts a cleansing ceremony, and we all try to give him what energy or focus we have.

Two hours in, the satyr comes back. Sitting on top of the fort, laughing at us. Those not involved in the casting go after him. It devolves into a game of tag on the roof, but we put him back down again, and get the viola back for Page, again. After another two hours, the Big Guy collapses, the moon shines down, and a geyser of water shoots up from the pool. When everything settles down again, it is purified and clear. The ground begins sprouting new life, and the viola is cleaned of the darkness. We finally let Orange drink, and it knocks him on his butt. He doesn’t seem to mind though. I pull some dinner out of my book and we camp there for the night, just to be sure.

In the morning, we windwalk down to the big lake to go fishing. Orange goes for a swim and Page starts shooting missiles into the water. Orange gets really annoyed, so she walks to another section of the beach. Altogether, they bring in five big rainbow fish. Then we windwalk the rest of the way back down to the Cat Lord. He is very happy with the fish and sent us back home.