In Which it is Demonstrated That We Are, After All, Still Children
Waterday, 26 Sunsebb, CY 595 (continued)
The party orders some lead carrying apparatus for the Rod and any future Parts that might fall into their possession and intends to stick around Diamond Lake until they are ready, and to make sure that Allustan is firmly established before they take off again.
Earthday, 27 Sunsebb CY 595
The party separates for the day. Long Fist sets up aid stations in the temple of Heironeous. Jane visits the Bronzewood Lodge and the Old Observatory. Tyrrell keeps his eyes and ears on the streets to find out what might be going on in the underbelly of Diamond Lake’s reconstruction. Archie and Scar-Eater help out at the Garrison.
Towards nightfall, when all are headed back to the garrison courtyard for the evening, Archie and Scar-Eater are both suddenly struck with a foreboding sense of something in the air that isn’t right. Looking through the drizzle it seems as if there are fast—moving little pockets of raindrops being deflected off of things that aren’t there. Both of them shout out warnings as two dozen three-foot-tall red-skinned devils with long, spiky tails bampf into existence in the courtyard, along with one of the barbed devils who escaped from the fight in Icosiol’s tomb. The barbed devil addresses Allustan, “The townsfolk need not die. A contract can be made, if you agree to hand over the Rod.”
From all directions, the missing party members hear the commotion and start running as Archie, Scar-Eater and Allustan try to save as many townsfolk as possible. Riddle is the first to arrive and promptly unleashes a gust of wind strong enough to blast all of the tiny imps into the center of the courtyard and give the townsfolk a chance to disperse. Some are injured, but the damage is insignificant to what it could have been without Riddle’s spell.
With the imps mostly neutralized, the barbed devil becomes the focus of the party’s attentions. He grapples Riddle and attempts to crush him as Long Fist arrives in the courtyard and unleashes Hyaeliotrope from his celestial playground. Riddle escapes the devil’s grasp by using his new ring to turn into a sixty-foot shaft of lightning. Jane arrives in time to stalagmite the thing again but doesn’t manage to pin him to the ground this time. Long Fist turns his focus to a poisoned townsperson. The barbed devil continues to pursue Riddle relentlessly, making sure Riddle knows the servants of Visciannix will never stop and that it is mere days before the pitfiend attends to the matter himself. Tyrrell delivers a strong blow with the Lightning Sword just before Scar-Eater trips and knocks out the barbed devil. Riddle is quick to dimensionally anchor and stabilize it for questioning, but all soon agree it would be safer to question it from beyond the grave. Long Fist sees to the poisoned townsfolk and Riddle sends an urgent message to the blacksmith to make the lead-lined rod cases a priority.
Then onto the devil-questioning. The party learns that Visciannix has been tracking them using a crystal ball (not, as they guessed, by using the second-to-last piece of the Rod); the pitfiend’s plans for the Rod include wresting it from Riddle’s dead, lifeless hands; the pitfiend is vulnerable to holy weapons and spells and that another pitfiend named Cyrilax, also in service to Asmodeus, holds some sway over Visciannix; Visciannix is in Hell; Visciannix’s patience with his hounds is wearing thin and he will soon come to recover the Rod himself; and that if the party chose to give the Rod to Cyrilax, their petty squabbles would be set aside in service to Asmodeus.
Allustan suggests that Tenser’s fortress would be a safe place for the piece of the Rod that the party already possesses, and that solidifies the party’s plan to leave for Magepoint first thing in the morning, with one of the lead-lined cases that can be ready by then.
In the meantime, there is still an entire evening to muck about with the normal course of events.
The party heads to the town proper to deal with the ghost of Jierian Weirus. He’s still spouting off about the sky opening and such, continuing his ghostly, stately march around the ruins of the church of St. Cuthbert. Riddle uses locate object to find his non-ghostly scourge, but the party decides to just try talking him into going away before attempting to destroy him.
Upon seeing Tyrrell he pronounces, “You will unlock the past. You will spread knowledge to every corner of the world.” What’s wrong with knowledge? People should be educated. “You will destroy the world.” That’s not so comforting. “You will feast with the vampire,” he tells Tyrrell, but does not elaborate on the menu. And right there is the trouble with prophecy: too many variables.
Riddle continues to question him about how we can help him rest. He claims a new Age is dawning but that he will not be there to see it. Riddle offers to carry Weirus’ scourge to the dawning of the new Age. “Take me to the library,” he says. “Take me to the spire. Take me to the Rift. Take me.”
He lays down his ghostly scourge and it disappears, and then he sinks into the stone of the church. The party recovers the actual scourge from the ruins of the church, and then does something that seems like a really, really good idea. At the time.
With a couple of hours to spare before bed, Jane scrys Lordren, Dourstone’s former mine manager who sold the party out ot Loris Raknian. The spell is overwhelmingly successful and the image reflected back in the clear water is of a man roughly in his forties with a sour face and dull black greasy hair. He is dressed in plate mail and wears a holy symbol of Hextor. He is sitting in a well-appointed room of some kind of mansion, looking down on a city clustered on cliffs over a natural harbor. The city itself is a montage of architectural styles, predominantly black towers and buildings dotted with golden-domed temples and pagodas. There is a vast network of docks below with hundreds of ships lashed in against a coming storm. It is everyone’s best guess that the body of water is the Nyr Dyv, and the city is Alhaster.
Riddle suggests that the party teleport to Lordren’s location and take care of him. There is a great deal of discussion, but in the end, everyone agrees. Jane loans Riddle her prayer beads so he can take the whole group in one go, and the entire party prepares for the assault.
When they appear in the well-appointed room, both Jane and Archie hold their actions for Long Fist to take the lead. The half-ogre blasts out his aura of justice, swiftly activates it on the enemy, and hits the unsuspecting bastard hard enough to knock him to another world. After a moment of stunned silence in which everyone privately contemplates What Just Happened, Long Fist picks up the body and Riddle takes everyone back to Diamond Lake.
Despite the various personal reactions to this action and all the possible consequences of it, Riddle questions the corpse. He apparently served someone named Mistress Lashanna, who dwells in Old Alhaster, overlooking the Harbor. He doesn’t know much about her plans and associates except that the Faceless One is an acolyte of Vecna (the “Whispering Tyrant”). The party gathers Lordren’s things and Long Fist goes off by himself for awhile, and all told, the 27th of Sunsebb ends on a rather ambiguous note.