Silt Striders of Balic

Sarcos Jessara, Time Mage

The travels of Althaea, Vorelixen, and Vintner were troubling. Vintner’s close association with the stars and their effects had damaged his mind greatly, as Allabar the Star of Madness was already a dangerous entity to the uninitiated. However, their trek through the sands was largely uneventful otherwise until they happened upon some soldiers of the Oba trying desperately to dig a siege engine out of the sand. The group set upon them with powerful magics and maddening visions, and were able to rout or slay the soldiers and destroy the engine. They continued on towards the city limits, which they found still guarded but not by sane guards.

The architecture in Urik was, by their king’s decree, extremely uniform and made out of the same semi-reflective yellow materials. This material captured the light of Allabar perfectly, rendering the entire city in to a maddening deathtrap. Entering the city past the guards was not difficult, but enduring the effects of this reflection and surviving the maniacal occupants proved to be a much greater challenge. In the chaos, they bumped in to Inquisitor Randall Sapesh, who had gone quite mad but was still in control of his mind enough to know an opportunity when he saw one. He joined up with their ranks, though his parrot was noticeably absent. When pressed he explained it was still there where it should be, though some investigation proved that quite false.

Making their way through the city proper, they found it to be an absolute disaster area, as the new denizens of Athas were also affected by the Star of Madness and the streets were wandered by insane devils, demons, elementals, and even formerly imprisoned djinnis. They checked out the palace of Hamanu, though it had been ransacked and abandoned long before the group had arrived. Eventually they happened upon a proselytizer shouting on a street corner, and they found it to be crazy old uncle Archeffon of the Library, apparently escaped from Hell and doomsaying. His mad rants about the city being run by “marble men” proved surprisingly accurate when the demonstration was set upon by massive marble golems. Dispatched with some heroics, they were able to probe Archeffon for information and determined he was really throwing darts in the dark and got lucky. However, there was enough in his ramblings to encourage them to check out the old Library.

Arriving there, they found it to be the home base of these marble warriors. Penetrating deep in to what could now be considered eladrin catacombs they found a powerful time mage known as Sarcos Jessara, who was slowly being turned to green marble. In his hands he held a familiar marble orb, the Sargessa itself. At this moment it dawned on the group that this mage was released from Balic’s Ivory Prison and should not even be in this time line, for in the future the marble illness claiming his body converts him fully and he becomes the artifact he has in his hands. When the fight breaks out, Sarcos uses his time magic to travel back in time several seconds multiple times to assist himself in killing them. It proves to be too much for him anyway though, and with the Sargessa itself trapped in a bucket of sticky arcane sludge and Sarcos cut down, the threat was ended. In so doing, they also prevented him from completing a ritual to rip the plane apart at this location, as his last ditch effort to destroy the entire plane and eliminate the possibility of winding up an artifact enslaved to “idiot wielders.”

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The Grasp of the Oba

The world has taken a strange turn since our heroes find themselves dumped unceremoniously in to the sands in a way only Althaea really finds familiar. The dunes are lit with violet light that causes the mind to swim and sanity to erode, and though they find themselves at Altaruk they see it is guarded not by the usual human or elven guards but by devils, apparently displaced from their own plane. They quickly find out that many extraplanar creatures have had to find ways to be at home here, as their own realms have been either shattered or occupied by the Far Realm. Within Altaruk, they see devils, demons, elementals, and the usual slew of Athasian sentients and even some races thought to have been extinct, and likely would still be if not for escaping their eternal torment in Hell’s detonation.

Seeking to regroup and dig up information, they set up camp at the bar stools. Samm realizes at this moment that he fought, and won, his war. He was going to wait out the Star of Madness’ prophecy and drink until death claimed him. Disgusted the other three followed a lead to an abandoned storefront in Altaruk leaving him there. Within they found some old friends and a lot of information – Apparently according to Ganus, Kik’oda, Arthur, Tomm, and Gazbordical, the world has changed pretty radically even beyond what they’ve already seen. It’s been six months since they were lost in planar space, and in that time the Oba has laid claim over almost the entire world. She has been thus far unable to conquer Nibenay, and her claim to Urik is being contested by the locals, but known civilization otherwise belongs to her. Further, she is regarded as a saint and a hero for holding back the incursion of the Far Realm, known to be amassing at a tumor in the world where Raam once stood. Hamanu’s location, as well as Ared’s and in fact the entire city of Xanthus, are completely unknown. It was believed that Xanthus had planar traveled in the past and potentially had done so again.

With few leads as to stopping the apocalypse, the group decided they had unfinished business and set out to accomplish their final desires before regrouping to face the end. Althaea and Vorelixen, with Vintner close behind, set out towards Urik to see what damage the war between the locals and the Oba had occurred and to hopefully track down their missing sorcerer king to be finally dispatched. Rikard traveled to Gulg, perfecting his ritual for the creation of deadly fungal spores to combat the Oba’s unnatural plants. Samm, thoroughly inebriated and without speaking to the others, set out to the grove at Balic to dig his own grave.

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The Sundering of Hell

Fleeing desperately from the portal to Lutherna, Samm, Rikard, Tarek, and Tan dive through in to Dispater’s iron tower once more. Tan’s escape is cut short by the talons of an angel of the Raven Queen, and they dig deep in to his calf shredding the muscle. He cuts the leg off at the knee to escape, being carried by his able-bodied friend Tarek.

Realizing very quickly they need someone who knows portals to shut down this entryway before both armies can spill in to Hell, Rikard begins rapidly casting the Raise Dead ritual with the trapped remainder of Althaea’s soul. Samm bottlenecks the encroaching horde and puts himself between Rikard and them, while Tarek and Tan hold off the forces of Dispater from the other end. Eventually, Althaea’s soul is raised and the portal is sealed, for now.

Meanwhile, back in Dispater’s chambers Vorelixen, Titivilus, Baalzebub, and Keltinjin leap in to action, trying to secure both Dispater and Hamanu before the two can flee. It becomes readily apparent that these two beings are far too powerful to be corralled in this way, and that they’ll have to focus on a single one to apprehend allowing the other to escape. While this scrambling fracasse is going on, the heroes downstairs have split up to navigate the treacherous and winding route through the Iron Tower, relying on their muscle and wit to defeat the many obstacles set by the paranoid devil lord above.

Eventually the group arrives, just in time to see Hamanu cement his escape through powerful planar magic Althaea has trouble tracking. When the brawl ensues between the group and Dispater, Dispater stands little chance and is eventually beheaded by Vorelixen, who claims his skull as part of her trophy collection. The crumbling of the rulership of Dis has other repercussions however, as the constant planar tweaking by creatures like Althaea and Hamanu and the dissipation of the protective wards weaved by Dispater himself has exposed the plane to outside invasion. The planar tearing accelerates ripping massive holes to the far realm and other places already conquered by it, and all of Hell goes to war on multiple fronts. Demons sense the time is right to invade and in mere minutes the plane is a whirling maelstrom of demonic shock troops, infernal defenders, devil lords including the mightiest Asmodeus, millions of unknown Far Realm creatures, and at the head of it all is Mara riding an enormous and bloated Beholder going toe to toe with the prince of Hell himself.

The group is swept up in it while trying to make their escape, and while they’re able to watch the trapped souls of Hell escape they shortly find themselves in a ruined village. Corpses piled up appear to have been partially eaten, while thatched roof homes are on fire. Numerous other corpses are here as well, horrifically tortured troll victims. Althaea is quick to point out that this appears to be a realm of Hamanu’s construction, where he must vent his anger and frustration on these trolls. This miniature plane appears to be the village of Deche, a long forgotten hamlet that Hamanu dwelled in before discovering the power that made him a sorcerer king. Following them here was Vintner the star cultist and the one-legged Tan, though the rest of their friends and allies were nowhere to be found. Though a few other Hellish denizens wound up deposited there as well, Althaea’s grasp of planar travel enabled them to return to Athas.

They found themselves in front of the city of Altaruk, though the night sky was dotted by an ominous purple star that seemed to hang low in the sky, tempting stargazers to look upon it. The Star of Madness had arrived, and to view its light was to go insane.

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Dispater's Fall

Though the armies cheer for their successes on Avernus, the group is in a period of mourning and honest surprise at Althaea’s death, as she had survived so much that seemed impossible for her to fall. Their various attempts to scry or raise her had failed, and the only means that detected her was a very special ritual performed by the vizier of the Imperator – Vintner Al-Ghaz, with a dark scry from his order.

This scry backfires, colossally, as the sensor works both ways and they are beset by the Raven Queen’s talons. Vintner suffers extensive injuries from her wrath before the scry is dispelled, and the challenge is made to Samm – if you want her soul, come take it.

Rikard reclaimed Althaea’s Bloodstone weapon after she fell, and on contact with the kin of its creator a new planar power was revealed to him – like a compass, it would point directly towards the nearest planar disfunction. In this case, down through the plug and in to Dis, towards the Iron Tower of Dispater.

As the army descends through the ruined plug of Avernus, their soldiers are assaulted by winged predators, choking ash, devilish assailants, and other horrors. The survivors regroup at the base of the landing before the main gates of the Iron City of Dis. In an instant, Samm observes a grinning devil with a hand upon a lever on the walls above. As instinct he uses his Boarding Boots and launches himself up the wall to prevent this satisfied devil from enacting whatever plan he’s hatched, and this moment everything begins to go haywire.

The lever is one of many which causes the landing to tip and bob in to the molten rock below it, where Rikard and Vorelixen still stand with most of their troops. Samm is unable to stop the horde of devils from reaching levers, but he can delay them. Meanwhile, Kwalish in his massive construct is attempting to smash down the gates of the city, but he is attacked by an enormous devilish creature some 60 feet in length. As the construct battles the devilish Kaiju, more and more of the troops (not to mention their Imperator) are overwhelmed by thousands of devilkin though eventually the mad inventor is able to dispatch his opponent and obliterate the gates permitting entry for their armies to penetrate Dis’ outer walls.

In the chambers of Dispater, the devil lord holds conference with a number of other figures. He spits some venom at one of his female guests before ordering his right-hand man, the Nuncio Titivilus, to claim a favor owed by the devil lord Glassya. Their conversation is interrupted by Mara, who is aware that Dispater will need something of value to offer Glassya in spite of this favor. She offers up none other than the tainted acorn used as Rikard’s phylactery, which she has looted from the old Bloodstone complex during their months away.

The protections of Dispater’s Iron Tower prevent any groups of interlopers from reaching his chambers with a number of sneaky ways thought up by its paranoid leader, though the greatest hindrance is that no group of 3 or more beings can find their way anywhere in there, often dying from the suffocating heat, enclosing iron walls, or simple starvation. To thwart these protections, Vorelixen and Hamanu move through the keep with the intent of finding Dispater at its heart, while Samm and Rikard split off to go find whatever temporal disturbance the Dolorous Blade directs them to.

The Blade leads them directly to Lutherna, where they are surprised by two friendly faces – Tan and Tarek, who’ve somehow out-stealthed the protective magics of the Iron Tower and tailed Samm and Rikard. The four of them enter in to the plane with an explosive arcane device created by Kwalish with the intent of staging a prison break for Althaea’s soul. With surprising effectiveness, they are able to break in to the Raven Queen’s museum of death and elude the attention of her or any of her guards until the very moment that their device is activated. At the same time, for reasons none could explain, a second device was activated causing the entire plane to split and a horde of far realm creatures to descend on it like vultures. While angels dueled far realm horrors, the four made their escape with a glass case containing Althaea’s soul.

Meanwhile back in Hell, Dispater’s chambers were tossed open by Hamanu and Vorelixen who had found their prey, though it was revealed to be a ruse as Hamanu had made a deal to bring Vorelixen to her former master in exchange for favors regarding the future of his city. The betrayal was short-lived, as Titivilus revealed his own betrayal bringing not Glassya, but Keltinjin of Cania back to the chambers. Another unwelcome guest was the devil lord Baalzebul, who also appeared at this time. With realization none of his plans will come to fruition, Hamanu’s shoulders drop.

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The March on Avernus

In the aftermath of Demogorgon and Eiber’s defeat, Althaea begins the laborious process of refinishing the layer of the Abyss in reduced horrific decor. She meets her new advisor, the obnoxious and egotistical quasit Gazbordical. Content with the idea she’s made the plane a better place after observing a unicorn foal settling in, the group sets off to meet with Hamanu’s troops at the Red Obelisk.

Their army is daunting, composed of thousands of troops including elite Urikite soldiers, Xanthusine devil hunters, a grove of Druid acolytes, cultists of Althaea, Thri-Kreen clansmen, gladiators loosed from the slave pits, and even constructs built by the inventor Kwalish who rides a massive construct of his own.

Samm issues a rousing war speech and gets the troops fired up, though he falls to heat exhaustion when drilling with soldiers literally several days straight. He rises from his chair on the final day before the attack in good health, raising the morale of the troops, and Hamanu opens the portal to Hell that they will march through.

They arrive on the other side in an absolute maelstrom of swirling blades, hellfire, and infernal bodies. Hamanu orders the assault on the high ground, to leverage the army’s siege engines and wizards most effectively. The group eliminates the horde of devils defending a guard tower on a nearby hill, cutting down hundreds as they push through the crowd and claim it for the army’s heavy hitters.

They then engage on a campaign of war that takes several weeks, advancing across the ruinous terrain of Avernus, the first layer of the plane of Hell. Casualties are great as they wage this campaign, but the heroes persevere in spite of it and some warriors make it all the way to the mighty plug between the layers of Avernus and Dis, guarded by the finest of Hell’s warriors the devil lord Bel.

The fight with Bel is incredibly dangerous, and many of the surviving warriors are cut down either by Bel’s minions or his mighty flaming greatsword. In the end, the most surprising cost is the life of Althaea, who is beheaded by his infernal blade. However, Samm and his allies are able to claim vengeance, killing the general of Avernus and laying claim to Hell’s outermost layer.

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The Grand Cleric Eiber Schance

The group has become irate with Eiber’s off-again on-again betrayals, and patience has been running thin. When the cleric’s notes are deciphered fully using the group’s various rituals, they decide to march right in the front door in spite of the obvious nature of a trap being laid out by their old friend.

Arriving at the structure in the letter, they find it packed with elite guards wearing fine winter gear, some of which are manning an enormous ballista atop the building. They discuss their options once they actually get there, and wind up half-attempting a sneaky entry only to be relieved when it falls apart and they’re able to just cut up the guards. The ballista proves to be a difficult combatant as it is a sentient creature, and requires the attention of Vorelixen to neutralize by quite literally filling it with self doubt.

Entering the building, they find the interior strangely quiet and begin looking for clues. They find a few traps, easily thwarted, and begin looting Eiber’s supply of tomes and destroying his guardsmen’s supply of shoes by throwing them in to the fire. What they discover is that Eiber has been playing both the Raven Queen and this poison deity, with the aid of a different power that is known to be demonic in nature but is otherwise obscured.

Eventually they come upon Eiber drinking a glass of wine in one of his chambers, ignoring them as they enter. When they do, they find this layout is an illusion and they have entered in to a pocket plane Eiber controls in the Abyss. They battle him and his demonic coterie for a time, until Eiber’s vigor fails him and he cashes in his pact with his dark master. At once, the pocket plane is absorbed back in to the domain of Demogorgon and the demon prince assaults the group, primarily to claim the head of “that devil bitch” Vorelixen.

The fight is bloody and strenuous, and though Althaea is trying to convince Demogorgon they have the same enemies, the group is forced to dispatch him, leaving his layer of the Abyss masterless. An argument breaks out immediately after, as the group is aware that unless this layer is claimed by one of Demogorgon’s killers and defended it will be absorbed by one of the other demon princes. With much deliberation, the group eventually convinces Althaea to take on the responsibility and she lays claim to it.

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The Poison Cult

Having endured the most harrowing elements of the salt flats, the air dropped supplies from Rikard atop his phoenix mount help the few survivors to escape. On the way out, the magical relics wielded by the group slowly begin to regain their powers and the sentient weapons appear to have experienced, for the first time since their creation, fear.

The group made a brief detour to Balic to check up on old friends and leads, but had found the city basically moved on without them. While they have been heroes to the people on more than one occasion, no city can rest on its laurels in Athas and with their periods of absence they’d developed some independence, and even a bit of resentment.

Their travels then took them to Urik, where they were surprisingly welcomed by the agents of Hamanu asking them to an audience with the King. They spent the day about the city, resupplying and renourishing, before meeting with their contact at sundown. They were met by High Inquisitor Randall Sapesh, who had become the de facto right-hand man for Hamanu.

Led to the palace, the group meets with the King of Lions, who is surprisingly weary-looking. He holds conference with the group and his highest advisors as he discusses the very strong possibility that devils and demons are looking to reignite the Blood War, and plans must be taken to keep this war from spilling out in to Athas. His plan coincides with Samm’s, as he wishes to take a large contingent of his city’s most elite troops and march to war on Hell. His hope is that overpowering the front line defenders of that realm will make the devils look weak on their own turf, persuading the demons to war there instead of the plane of Athas. Though nothing can be done at this exact moment, Hamanu gives Samm a location (the red obelisk, east of Urik) and a date to meet him there with his own contingent of Xanthusine warriors. The group agrees, though Althaea shows some hesitation.

With pressing matters in both Xanthus and Raam, the group has to make a decision to which is more important. With some resignation they dispatch a message with war details to Xanthus and set out to fix their problems in Raam.

Arriving, they find the city under a thick cover of snow in spite of the temperature outside the city limits being the typical Athasian heat. Within moments of entering the city, they find posters with their likenesses as wanted dead or alive for a host of crimes, most of which are legitimate, as well as the strung up corpse of Ramali, formerly of the Veiled Alliance. Finding the city to be oddly quiet, they follow tracks in the snow to a repurposed shrine of Abalach-Re which has been reconstituted as a church for some unknown entity. The group sneaks in and discovers that a new cult has formed, and its clerics and guards are made up of Yuan-Ti practitioners, worshipping some deity of poison. The group dispatches the guards and descends in to the basement level, overcoming some minor tests of “faith” to uncover the cult’s treasure room. Laden with loot, they discover the lead cleric of this church in her chambers and duel her and her snake minions, eventually dispatching them and poking around in her belongings. What they discover is a letter from the grand cleric, partially destroyed by fire. It is authored by Eiber, and details a meeting place in the former noble district.

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Bodach, Ruined

When the Tragic Hero finally comes to a stop, it is a ruined vessel. Its cracked hull slowly spills sand in to the interior and after a few minutes to patch up the people who were injured in the landing, Samm pokes his head above decks to see what’s going on outside.

What he sees is an endless, featureless salt flat. The ship is torn in to multiple pieces, the masts snapped off, sails missing, and the wheel Husk once manned transformed in to nothing but a splintered crater lined with crusted rime and blood that stinks of alcohol.

After a little investigation, they find that they’re in the midst of the Salt Meres. Known for some immense magical catastrophe in ages past, the result is an enormous, multiple hundreds of miles wide salt flat that thwarts attempts to use magic and contains only the most deadly (and inedible) of Athasian predators. The cruel revelation that the ship’s ruins do not contain enough food and water for the entire contingent of survivors to escape this desert alive is kept secret for now, though most people have figured it out and begin looking for opportunities to extend their own lives.

Meanwhile, Vorelixen happens across a very strange feature in the gray – A fortress wall, complete with banners of the far realm and specifically She Which Bleeds. Investigating further, she finds none other than the ghost of High Praetor DeConste who swears fealty to her before they all (with Vintner and Ared) enter the strangely unguarded fortress. What they find is a series of nightmarish, reality-breaking hallways and stairwells, which eventually empty out in to a ruinous hall of far realm creatures and cultists from different worlds, many of which the group had never heard of. At the end of the hall was a stage containing a familiar figure: Mara, who had claimed the title of She Which Bleeds albeit a bit more viscerally than her predecessor.

Deciding escape was more valuable than an assassination attempt, Vorelixen, Vintner, and Ared made a break for it while DeConste drew steel to do battle with whoever would follow them. Escaping by the skin of their teeth, they found their way to the surface back in to the gray where two humongous funnels of souls had formed like tornados of the dead. Vorelixen’s heightened awareness of the gray determined these were portals to other worlds – One smelling of the Raven Queen, and the other of cheap kank nectar. She picked kank nectar, and her cadre followed her in.

Back in the salt flats, the heroes were assaulted in the night by an enormous Nightmare Beast. Used to being an apex predator, it was quite surprised when a quartet of irate and hungry adventurers dispatched it easily, oddly led by a psionic dwarf named Priscilla. They left the corpse in the desert to attract other would-be predators from their group and began a forced march through the night, coming upon actual structures by morning. Along the way, the murmuring of Gebak and his halfling ways (specifically claims of cannibalism) would eventually lead to mutiny, and in a power struggle to regain control of his own pirates Gebak demanded he take over the expedition to show his strength. Unwilling to relinquish control (or let pirates take food from the mouths of other starving people) Samm was forced to kill him.

The remnants of a ruined city, it appeared that the place had been blown out by some very powerful force from the center of it outward. With a functioning well, it was as good a camping spot as any and the group set down to replenish their water supply still in great need of food. Their solution was to kill Rikard, causing him to reform in some unknown amount of time at his phylactery, where he would then call his phoenix, load up on supplies, and return to the group. They would keep a torch lit until his return.

In the night, the curse of the ruined city manifested. The dead do not rest well in Bodach, and as the sun descended past the horizon the corpses under the sand arose to extinguish all life in their lair. The draw of their souls from the gray formed a thick funnel of souls, which Vorelixen had followed directly to Samm and his odor of kank nectar. Needing to do battle to survive the night, Samm, Priscilla, Vorelixen, and Althaea took positions atop the nearest building and tried to hold off the seemingly endless horde of the undead. Though it nearly killed Priscilla, they would eventually need to take shelter in Vorelixen’s Shadow Mire, suffering the impact of zombies being thrown by their companions and arcane undead that could survive her warlock magics.

At dawn, a phoenix arose with the sun, and atop it sat Rikard, who air dropped enough food for a small army. The few survivors, it seemed (roughly twenty of them) would actually escape the Salt Meres.

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Lutherna, Realm of the Raven Queen

Trapped in a room with this disembodied voice, the group was assaulted by the same black clad person that had been watching them in Abalach-Re’s palace. Playing a sort of cat and mouse shell game with the group, he swapped places with the other suits of armor regularly, obscuring his position until it was time to strike. He was eventually trapped and overpowered, and after his defeat the group discussed healing him enough to interrogate him before he died. However, the trap was already sprung and Eiber at the top of the staircase referenced a tome that looked very familiar – a holy book of the Raven Queen herself. The black clad man, Lutherna’s champion, met with the divine transformation from human body to angel of the Raven Queen, and in so doing created a portal to that realm through which the party was dragged.

Arriving separated in Lutherna, each person surrounded by snow drifts, pine, and darkness, they began searching for each other.

Meanwhile, Tomm was dragged before the Raven Queen, broken and battered, attended by two Revenant agents. In his hands was a message from the artificer Kwalish – his friends were on the way to rescue him.

The Tragic Hero departed the group’s old base of operations in Thorin Bloodstone’s manse, and made haste with everybody they could fit on the ship – pirates, Xanthusine warriors, gladiators, Kwalish’s constructs, the artificer himself, Captain Husk, first mate Gebak, Praetor Moon, Priscilla, King Ared Kalid-Not, the druid Dorean, Vintner the Star Cultist, and Tarek all in tow. They used one of Kwalish’s oddly useful devices to track the abduction of Tomm the fallen angel, and crashed through the library that housed the portal to Lutherna the group had only descended in to moments before.

Piercing the veil in to Lutherna, the group was assaulted by a massive wave of angels who were only held off by the work of numerous ballistas, crossbows, throwing daggers, magic spells, and brutal punches from Moon and Tarek. They eventually arrived and landed before the mighty citadel of the Raven Queen herself – the castle Repentia.

Breaking through the gates they dueled the elite guards of the Raven Queen and overpowered them, spilling in to the castle and crushing all the angelic resistance. Angels were tricked, overpowered, and dispatched in rapid succession, and in one case an angel was even fooled in to getting itself locked out of its own patrol.

Meanwhile, Samm came across the clearing where Tomm and his captors remained. Recognizing the Raven Queen’s inner sanctum, Samm dispatched the two revenants with little effort and challenged the Raven Queen to claim him, if she could. In perhaps the most hectic thirty seconds of anybody’s life to that point, Samm was cut down and somehow regained his posture several times. The wave of support from the Tragic Hero arrived at the clearing, in time for the rest of the group to follow the sounds of struggle as well. Realizing their hopes of actually dispatching the Raven Queen in her own home were slim to none, they decided to beat a hasty retreat taking Tomm’s tortured body with them.

Vorelixen opens a portal to the gray, with the assistance of Ared and Vintner who descend through it with her in haste.

The rest get on board the Tragic Hero, everybody taking shelter in the armored hull except for the Captain, who was required to steer its bulk back through the portal as waves of thousands of angels, petitioners, priests, and a goddess herself assaulted it. In a large commotion, they heard howling winds, screaming challenges, a salty pirate, and then, ultimately, silence.

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Icy Grasp

The slowly building cold hits Raam fiercest in the early morning, with thick snow falling heavily and skin-numbing winds blasting between the buildings. The group pushes through the storm to meet with Ramali to be debriefed, and they find him in his home coming down off an adrenaline high. He feeds them fine liquor and offers them a place to stay for the night before they resume their quest, and he promises to dispatch his agents to assist the group in their own personal aims now that their primary goal is accomplished.

Samm departs for the nearest crappy bar, unsatisfied with actual liquor, and drinks himself to a stupor while waiting by the fireplace with an extra glass of wine for his divine patron. She never shows, but her agents do – All the group are assaulted in the night by furious angels who seek to claim the man the Raven Queen could not. They fight in the streets, the wind and snow constantly blasting the group and causing them more harm than the deadly katas of the angels do.

After they’re dispatched, several hours pass before Ramali’s spies return. Evidently, one was tailing a man who matched Eiber’s description, who walked in to an alleyway and quite literally disappeared. Unable to figure out what happened, he reported to the group and they set out immediately for the site of this disappearance. After doing some magical investigation, they found a hidden portal and dove in to see what awaited them at the bottom. Surprisingly, they descended directly in to a jail cell, held shut by a single lock on a length of small chain. Posing no threat to them, they simply broke the chain and walked out, where the cell spilled in to a hallway of enormous depth, flickering light, tile floors, and a complete absence of people.

They would eventually come to a room with suits of ceremonial metal armor on display, which they believed was trapped. Althaea used her planeskipping abilities to teleport to the front of the room, where a booming voice addressed them. With a portcullis dropping and the erecting of a power magic ward, they were stuck in here with whatever they spoke with, and beyond the portal: Eiber, attended by the highest ranking cultists of the Broken Builders themselves.

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