In Which the Intrepid Band of Infitics Moves On, and Meets a Legend
Freeday, 28 Sunsebb, CY 595.
The party spends the day in Diamond Lake, preparing for the Needfest Festival.
Needfest, CY 595
Starday, 1 Needfest, CY 595
The party spends the day celebrating in Diamond Lake.
Sunday, 2 Needfest – Moonday, 3 Needfest, CY 595
The party journeys, uneventfully, to Magepoint.
Godsday, 4 Needfest, CY 595
Coming on to sunset, amidst a gentle rain, the party arrives in Magepoint, a village cradled by gentle hills and full green trees. There is a sense of peace and ease with a buzzing undercurrent of activity and prosperity. The party notes a rocky island about half a mile to the north in the Nyr Dyv, on which sits a pale blue castle surrounding a tower. There is a causeway from the shore to the castle. Tyrrell expresses interest in a beverage, and the entire group heads to the Inn of the All-Seeing Eye, an extremely well-appointed establishment of solid stone construction.
Inside, an elven woman dressed in black appears to be the sole occupant of the place. She welcomes the party, and when Tyrrell asks for an ale, she says that she believes their beverages are waiting for them. She excuses herself to a private room for a moment, and then returns to usher us inside. Celeste is there, along with two other familiar faces, one the restored Marzena Brevyns, and the other, Eligos Manzorian, back from the dead. Marzena embraces the party, spilling her thanks all over them. “Consider them a gift,” she tells them when they attempt to return the items to her that she gave them long ago. “I owe you more than my life,” she says. “I owe you all that I have yet to do in this world, and that is a debt I do not feel lightly. But tell me, how is Allustan?” She has been in Magepoint since Eligos sent her there.
Speaking of Eligos…it seems he was raised by Tenser’s ally, a mage named Agath, after Celeste brought his body to Magepoint, and he has relocated here for the time being. “Tenser has been expecting you and arranged for you to stay here at the Inn. He is in Sigil at the moment but expected back soon. Do not try to enter his castle,” he warns. “It is heavily protected.”
“Who killed you?” Archie asks the mage.
“An assassin from Raknian,” he replies. “I was…overconfident.”
The mages inform the party of the excellent shopping opportunities available in Magepoint. Also the fault line in Magepoint enhances arcane magic. The Library Temple next door, dedicated to a pantheon of Lawful Deities, is available for research and open all night. Celeste suggests they will likely lower the fee to a reasonable level for their weeklong passes.
Before the party disperses for the evening, Celeste reveals that she is not an elven woman but an Eladrin, with millennia behind her and a great deal of power and experience. Scar-Eater casts ray of frost on his beer and is overcome with a tingling sensation. He feels he could empower, enlarge, or extend any spell just by taking slightly longer to cast it.
As they leave the room, Riddle requests a private meeting with Celeste. “I will call on you,” she says. The party retires to their rooms.
Waterday, 5 Needfest and Earthday, 6 Needfest, CY 595
The party occupies themselves with shopping and research. Research revolves around Lashanna, Kyuss, the Vaati, Spellweavers, the Talisman of the Sphere, the Chaos War, the name “Daughter of the Storm”, Visciannix, and the Rift and the Spire.
Freeday, 7 Needfest, CY 595
The shopping and research continues into the end of the festival week, and that evening, Long Fist hosts a small celebration around midnight. The party gathers in a private room around a fire. Long Fist lights six candles and pours mulled wine. He speaks to the others about this time of year in his youth, and of his shame over the ambush and assassination of Lordren several days earlier. He asks, as a gift on his birthday, for the others to explain to him why it is that they fight.
Scar-Eater replies by referring to Lordren as a “sack of ‘tatoes.”
Jane says that she fights for the natural world, but that she fights with them because they are her friends. Tyrrell says that he trusts us and that we share common enemies. Riddle professes that he doesn’t want the world to end, but what keeps him with them is love. They are his family and he would sacrifice himself for any of them. He has many doubts about his power, where it comes from, what the Vaati want (if it even comes from them), but he is comforted by them turning from him when he chooses something they do not like. “Your heart is so big,” he tells Long Fist, “but we are at war. I will not mourn Lordren. If it disrupts our enemies for any time, I will not mourn his loss an instant.”
Lastly, Long Fist turns to Archie for the final explanation. The young ranger says softly, “I was raised by soldiers, and my life is duty. I go where the fight is. But I’m also trained as a ranger. You hunt from cover,” he says, his voice cold and clear. “I respect your religious beliefs, however, I won’t let your honor threaten the lives of the people in this party or the lives of the people of the realm.”
Fireseek CY 596
Starday, 1 Fireseek
A new year dawns with an invitation from Tenser to the Fortress of Unknown Depths. The party is anxious for a closer inspection of Tenser’s home. The Fortress is far from ostentatious, but clearly an establishment of awesome power. There is a tingle in the air. Guards in white enameled plate mail lead the party through a beautiful open tower into a small study, generously adorned with hyper-realistic paintings and furnished with several overstuffed chairs and a massive antique wooden desk at the far end, cluttered with many things including an expensive dragonchess set.
The wizard himself is quite a normal-looking man of about sixty, slight of frame but in good health. His hair is gray and his nose aquiline, and he wears blue robes inscribed with his personal sigil, the scimitar. A middle-aged human man with a long, severe face and black hair stands behind him wearing a black robe of twinkling stars.
“Welcome to my palace, I am Tenser,” the older wizard says. “This is my associate, Agath. I understand you are here to seek my aid, or question me on some matters? How can I assist you?”
Tenser is already aware of the party’s activities in Diamond Lake and at the arena in Greyhawk, and he is also aware that they are carrying something that draws the eyes of creatures far more powerful than they are. “Is it your wish to safeguard this item?” he asks.
Tyrrell and Jane are quick to reply in the affirmative, and Riddle hands the case containing the Rod of Law to Tenser. “The pitfiend and his minions will not rest. The Rod is a beacon,” he notes, opening the case, “and the last thing you need is more eyes upon you.” He tells them that Visciannix already has four pieces of the Rod and that Tenser is engaged with certain others in an effort to disrupt the Visciannix’s activities. Tenser claims that he can protect our piece; in exchange for the opportunity to study it, he will safeguard it in his vault. “I understand the risks,” he says. “In fact I welcome them.”
No one in the party objects, and Tyrrell rather embarrassingly asks what trinkets he might have for us. Tenser doles out his gifts to each member of the party. Tyrrell receives the starlight chain shirt of gleaming mithril that will not only enhance his stealth, but once per day protect its wearer from the jaws of death. Jane is granted the crown of the wilds, woven of thorny branches and brambles and ever-blossoming flowers, which opens her senses further to the interconnectedness of life, earth, wind and sea. Scar-Eater is bequeathed a flail of dull black cold iron with vampiric enhancements, named Soulcrusher. Tenser gives Long Fist the moonstone bracers of platinum and jagged, uncut gems, infusing the sentinel with lunar energies that enhance his constitution and make him more difficult to clearly perceive. Riddle is given a tome of understanding and the lightning belt to enhance both his wisdom and reflexes. Finally, Archie is gifted a remarkable bow called Greenfang, carved from a single 6-foot-long tooth from the maw of Chartriss, and fiendish great wyrm green dragon that terrorized the Rakers for centuries before he was recently slain.
Afterwards, Tenser changes the subject to that of the Fourteen Prophecies, which he has been studying and which are presently unknown to the party. They are a curiosity, special – no matter where they surface, they do not change, nor have they evolved or been changed by fanatics…but even more interesting, in the last twenty years, many of the predictions have actually proven true. Moreover, he believes one of them refers to the party – and this very moment in time – specifically:
- The Red Scourge shall sweep the lands, slaying both the Worthy and Unworthy. (The Red Plague
; 20 years ago)
- The Black Blade shall Fall to Earth once more. (Aknarmatala; 11 years ago)
- The City in the Mountain of Fire shall suffer ruin from Beneath. (four years ago, through the actions of the Cult of the Ebon Triad, a major devastation)
- The Black Heart shall be Read. (The Tome of the Black Heart; three years ago)
- The Worm-Eaten Dead shall rise and stalk the Hills of the Fallen. (two years ago)
- The Black Eye shall Open. (“The Obsidian Eye”; one year ago)
- The Bindings shall be torn from Time as the Forge is Relit. (The Dread Forge/two artifacts resurfacing; six months ago)
- A Hero of the Pit shall use his fame to gift a City to the Dead. (Raknian, the Champions Games, the Ulgurstasa; last month)
- The Rod of the Duke shall reappear amidst the Seven Corners of Reality. (Last month)
- The Fourteen shall be revealed unto the Six. (The Fourteen Prophecies and the Six Party members; this very moment)
- The Whispered One’s Hand and the Faceless Mage shall seek that which has been Forgotten. (?)
- The Banished Storm shall be Reborn. (?)
- A Tripartite Spirit shall become one, and by it shall the Mighty be Undone. (?)
- On the Eve of the Age of Worms, the Fallen Hero shall summon the Wormlord to the Dark Temple. (?)
Tenser tells the party of his friend, Balakarde, who made the study of Kyuss his life’s work. Two years earlier, Balakarde teleported to Kuluth-Mar (the city ruled by Kyuss as a mortal), despite warnings from Tenser against it. He returned with a wild look in his eye, having discovered something that sent him on a mad trek to the Great Rift Canyon in the north. He has since vanished without a word. Balakarde is about fifty years of age with longish hair. He is always dressed very well and is famed for his skill as a duelist.
Riddle asks Tenser about the Vaati and also gives the arch wizard a piece of the Faceless One’s simulacrum to scry.
At this point, the party must choose their next destination: do they follow the path that presumably led Balakarde to the Rift where he disappeared, or head straight there? After much deliberation, the party decides to retrace the man’s steps, and head to Kuluth-Mar.
Tenser gives the party a couple of scrolls of greater teleport and tells them they can reach Kuluth-Mar through a painting in his study.
Sunday, 2 Fireseek – Freeday, 6 Fireseek, CY 596
Riddle studies his Tome of Understanding.
Starday, 7 Fireseek, CY 596
The party returns to Tenser’s study, where the painting of Kuluth-Mar affords Tyrrell proper study of their destination. Using one of the scrolls of greater teleport, the rogue brings the entire group to the jungle remains of the once–great city. Ahead lies an ancient black stone ziggurat and a towering spire of stone with an apex of blasted ruin.