The Age of Worms

Session Twenty-Four-Point-Five

Godsday, 25 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Long Fist asks Jane, “Well we got him. Now what do you want to do with him?”

Jane: “We need you to tell us everything you know about Imron Gauthfellow, and now.” Riddle heals Archerus.

Archerus: “Gauthfellow? He’s the madman who sent the painting that trapped us all? I recognized his style the moment I unwrapped the thing. How, I pray, did you get inside the thing so quickly? And where in Pelor’s name are we?”

Jane: “I’m sure we got in the same way you did, by touching it. Do you remember anything of your time inside the painting?”

Archerus, growing more agitated: “But…were you in my studio with me the whole time? Did you come with the painting? How did you get in my house? You didn’t hurt Suzanna, did you? And where the hells are we now? Who ARE you people?”

Jane: “It’s all right, try to relax, Suzanna is just fine…we came to your studio as soon as we realized you had received a painting as well. There were four paintings delivered today, and of the ones that remain, we found them all and brought them here. You’re in a vault at Belfor Vittanis’ house, and you are safe. We went into the painting that was delivered to your studio specifically to find you and bring you back. We have no idea why we were targeted by Gauthfellow, so we need as much information about him as we can get.”

Archerus: “But…but…I was in there for a matter of seconds! How could you have learned I was in there unless you watched it happen? And if this is Vittanis’ house, why isn’t he here? I’ve never seen this room in his manor before! Are you working for Gauthfellow? Is this some sort of kidnapping?”

Long Fist: “Easy, Archerus. Time seemed to pass differently in the painting – we don’t know how long you’ve been trapped in there. Our party was attacked by a painting from Gauthfellow, delivered to our lodgings in town. We knew nothing of the man until we found our lives in danger and began investigating. Our search brought us here, to you, to Gertwright. Many innocent lives have been lost and if it weren’t for our diligence, and my friend Jane’s persistence, you would not be here. We saved you, my friend. Be easy. And help us find out what we need to know. If we can get a handle on what’s happening here, we can escort you home so you can rest.”

Archerus: “All I know about Gauthfellow is that he’s a dangerous, jealous maniac. He couldn’t stomach my success and kept trying to best me, time after time, month after month, with his ridiculous ‘apocalypse art’. And to my shame, I got sucked into his game. I was forced to make paintings in his style just to stay on top of the popular trends he was playing up to. All because of this new sponsor of his.” Pause. “His note mentioned my servant Tharivol. Is he all right? That was clearly a threat.”

Jane: “Unfortunately we don’t know anything about your servant, but we’re not through investigating this yet. When was the last time you saw him?”

Archie: “Sorry to interrupt, but…what ‘new sponsor’?”

Archerus: “The sponsor? Pelor only knows who the man is for real, but Gauthfellow called him ‘Sir Zogg’ or some such nonsense in a sly bit of private gloating to me at an opening last month. Must be an assumed name, I’m sure, for I know no ‘Zogg’ family in the area, much less a knighted gentleman of that name. But I did catch sight of a new tattoo on Gauthfellow’s neck during that conversation – looked like a crest or sigil of some sort. Awful thing. Green and spirally. Like three headless serpents, or tentacles or some such. Like something out of one of Gauthfellow’s paintings. I asked him about it, joked that he’d let himself become ‘branded property’ of whoever his sponsor is, but Gauthfellow simply covered the tattoo with his collar and walked away. The thing that baffles my mind if why this man would NEED a sponsor. I thought his ‘adventuring ‘ had set him up for life. Unless that is just another one of his lies.” Later study determines this mark to be the personal sigil of a mind flayer, though not specifically which one. Three or four tentacles in the sigil, however, indicates an Illithid school in the arcane arts (as opposed to one and two tentacles, reserved for Illithidkin trained in martial pursuits, five or six for those steeped in psychic power, and seven for those infused with the divine power of their foul god).

Jane: You said that you were ‘sucked into Gauthfellow’s game, Archerus. What did you mean by that, exactly?”

Archerus: “You know…outdoing each other…with the graphic nature of the content… and other style considerations that I’m sure would be beyond your experience or interest. We just kept pushing the boundaries…delving into things…You know what I mean, I’m sure. Schoolyard one-ups-manship.”

Jane: “And this was…shameful? What you describe sounds like healthy competition, yet you claimed to be ashamed of yourself.”

Archerus’s face darkens. “There is competition…and there is competition. Sometimes under pressure we find ourselves spurred to better ourselves, improve upon ourselves. Sometimes we are weak…sometimes…we make choices we can never take back.

“Tharivol. I sent him to work for Gauthfellow. As a servant…well, as an assistant. And Tharivol, he has an artistic background. Not in oils or color, mind you, but he has no small skill with charcoal. And he has an eye…

“He was stealing Gauthfellow’s paintings for me. Imron would make them, Tharivol would sketch them and bring the sketches to me. I would turn out my own versions of Imron’s work before he could get them to his showings. Working tirelessly day and night.

“And then Imron caught on, as of course he would. And the pace escalated. But he seemed not to suspect Tharivol of the theft. Seemed. And Tharivol continued his double-dealings at my request…

“And then the paintings Gauthfellow made began to transform. This was around the time of the ‘Sir Zogg’ conversation. Works Tharivol sketched as demons cavorting in hellish torture mines were unveiled as vast salt fields aswarm with giant worms. I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t maintain the theft in face of his magic. And my mind, my true artistic heart, is not foul enough to concoct the hyper-fantastic images of corruption that Imron could…and this is what the public was craving. I was becoming obsolete…

“Then, Tharivol expressed his concern to me. He was sure that Gauthfellow suspected our arrangement…but I would not listen…I would not hear…And now, because of my greed, my weakness, and because of his loyalty to me, Tharivol must be dead. It’s over. It’s all over. My career, my livelihood, the life of my servant, all of it…”

Archerus informs the party that Gauthfellow lives on Sandalwood Lane, but grows more agitated with more questions about connections between Gauthfellow and the party, or Gauthfellow and others. He claims to know absolutely nothing more about Gauthfellow or any of his potential associates, except that he keeps some sort of construct guardian close by when he is at home. When Riddle insists on pursuing the line of questioning further, he grows clearly frustrated. “I know nothing of constructs. This is far outside my sphere of knowledge. Ask a mage. All I know from Tharivol is that the thing is big. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I would like to rest and see to Suzanna."

Riddle snaps his fingers with a crackle of lightning, lets it die off, and then taps the painter in the chest. “Let’s recap. You got stuffed into a demonic extra-dimensional painting due to your art war with Gauthfellow, and after putting your servant at rish to steal his painting ideas. We got targeted by Gauthfellow for reasons unknown. We not only survived our attack, but stopped the attack on the two main critics, and saved your sorry ass from certain death. You wanna go back into the painting? The Greyhawk Watch already gave you up for dead. They don’t care about you. Now us? We’re actually interested in stopping the guy who stuffed you into that painting and saving your servant if he’s still alive. But the only way that is gonna happen is you help us by giving us every ounce of information you can. If you leave out anything, anything at all, that might possibly make the difference between my friends and I living and dying, I’ll stuff you back in that painting myself. And no one will be coming to get you this time. Now. What else can you tell us about Gauthfellow? Details are good.”

Archerus: “I’ve told you what I know! I’ve explained what I can possibly explain. The man is not my friend. My only interest in him has been in his career. If you haven’t heard what you want to hear, then we are at an impasse here because I’ve explained all I know. Now, are you finished threatening me? I didn’t send Gauthfellow after you. Your predicament is NOT MY FAULT. I’m grateful for your aid, but growing less and less interested in being beholden to mercenary monsters such as yourself. What do you want? Is this about money? Is that what it will take to satisfy you? If it will get you out of my life, I’ll give you what I can spare. Come by my tower tomorrow. Now, kill me if you must, but I’m leaving now. Pelor have mercy on your souls. Especially YOU,” he says to Long Fist, “because Heironeous surely won’t forgive you for serving the likes of HIM.” He glares at Riddle.

Jane and Archie do their best to smooth over this rough exchange, and in return Archerus offers up the location of Tharivol’s family, to whom the servant might have fled if he escaped whatever danger Gauthfellow had in store for him, and perhaps a personal possession of Tharivol’s for scrying. He also offers to negotiate the party’s lodgings with Belfor and prepares to leave, but Jane suggests they might not want to let Gauthfellow know his plan has not succeeded yet. The Riddle chimes in again, “That’s pretty rich coming from a two-bit thief. You stole paintings from Gauthfellow. You put your servant in harm’s way to further your own ends. You really think Heironeous is going to look down on my friend for sticking with a friend who has risked his life more than once to save him? Who actually brought him back from the dead? You’re a hopped up artist that saw his career going down the toilet and couldn’t live with failure. You had to steal ideas from someone else because your weren’t good enough. I wonder what Heironeous would have us do with a common criminal like yourself? I mean, that is what you are, right? A criminal? I mean, if we’re gonna bring law and good into this shouldn’t we turn you into the Watch? Or at least make sure that your critic friends know that your latest works have been stolen. My friends want to kiss your ass, fine, let them. You want my help saving your servant, I want some simple courtesy. Now do you think that is beyond your artistic sensibilities or outside your scope of humanity?”

Jane explodes, “Riddle, that’s enough! If simple courtesy is what you desire then try it yourself for once. We are all over-tired and we have ALL been through more today than anyone could stand. Be we do not ALL have to go shouting off at the mouth. You do NOT speak for me, and I would appreciate the simple courtesy of managing to remember that!”

Archerus replies to Riddle, “I’ve shown you nothing but courtesy and you’ve shown me nothing but contempt. But you do make a reasonable argument, despite the arrogance and insanity of your tone. The least I can do at this point is to admit my artistic crimes to Vittanis and let him report the news as he sees fit. I will do so now. It’s the least I owe to Tharivol, regardless of what happens now, Unless, of course, you’d rather just string me up right here?”

Long Fist: “He is clearly unABLE to assist us further, Riddle. And he’s right. Heironeous would not appreciate me backing up a bully, even a friend such as yourself. Archerus, let’s not be hasty. I believe our best course of action is to try and get Suzanna here as discussed and get along peacably as we rest. Who knows what Gauthfellow is capable of – we don’t want to tip him off to your rescue.”

Riddle turns to Jane, surprised, and says, “Jane, I never said I spoke for you. When did I say, ‘and Jane agrees with me’? I spoke for myself and out of a growing frustration with this jerk. He doesn’t care if we live or die, he doesn’t care if we save his friend, fine. His choice. My choice is to call him on his bull. He’s got stones, I’ll give him that, but it’s evident to me that he’s lacking in humanity. You wanna say that I’m lacking in courtesy, fine. I really don’t care too much about courtesy right now.” He turns to walk out of the panic room and throws these words back over his shoulder as he exits, “And just so we’re clear, I don’t take orders from you. The only woman I took orders from was murdered as a message to me while a crappy town full of spineless people just walked away from it. Now we’re in a bigger town full of the same old tiny people…” And he leaves. Long Fist runs after him but soon returns alone, reporting that Riddle needs time alone to work through whatever he’s going through. Archie raises the question of whether or not Riddle can be trusted, and Long Fist assures everyone that he can, and that he is merely overwhelmed at the moment.

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Session Twenty-Four

Moonday, 24 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

After much discussion of how to proceed, Athena flies off to purchase to lesser restoration scrolls and Scar-Eater studies the killer paintings some more. When Jane returns, both she and Archie notice that three more worms have disappeared from Archerus’ picture…perhaps one per hour since the last time they looked at it. If so, it will only be eight hours before the painting’s magic fails.

Godsday, 25 Ready’reat CY 595

At midnight, Jane meditates to regain her spells while the others visit Katarina Gertwright. She is suffering from a degenerative disease but is willing to answer their questions about Gauthfellow. “He’s not open to critique or other ideas.” She claims he has grown increasingly unstable over time, even throwing a tantrum at a recent opening, but also notes that she does not deal with him on a meaningful personal level. Of his work, she says his content is always fantastical; great landscapes, extraplanar, dark, vivid, oppressive – everything that is currently in vogue, like horrible monsters. His work is provocative and well-executed but without soul. He did not take kindly to her criticism. She claims he can afford to be his own patron as he is very wealthy. She doesn’t know anything about how an invisible stalker came to kill the messenger who delivered her painting.

The party uses some divination spells to determine whether or not they should attempt to enter the painting from Archerus’ studio. Meanwhile, Tyrrell strolls around the neighborhood and spots a sparkling silver coin marked with the Moonmeadow symbol and pockets it.

At 1:00 am, the party decides to uncover and enter the painting, where two more worms have gone missing. Upon grasping each other’s hands and stepping inside, they find themselves in a battle with a painted hag and two chain devils. The remaining worms are all screaming and banging their heads against the walls of the cavern. Finding the enemies resistant to his attacks, Archie tries to save one of the head-beating worms. He chooses wisely, and when the battle ends and the party is schlorked back to the vault, Archie finds himself clutching Endrik Archerus himself. It is 11 in the morning.

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Session Twenty-Three

Moonday, 24 Ready’reat CY 595

Archie leads the party to a resplendent manor house on the curve of Peacock Court whose driveway is lined with carriages. A party is in progress. Archie notes the change in footprints – the heavier set trails off, and the lighter set becomes heavier as if it took the other’s burden before approaching the house with the party…

One of the servants at the party informs them that a dainty fellow delivered one painting and then left in Lady Tillanda’s carriage with two more paintings in tow. Scouting the layout of the house itself they see that one side of it is actually a 2-story ballroom, and that is where all the guests are stuffed like sardines. The house belongs to Belfor Vittanis. Riddle tells the servants he believes everyone at the party is in grave danger, and Tyrrell convinces them of the seriousness of the claim. The party is admitted and heads for the ball room doors where Roddick the house castellan hears out their tale of killer paintings. They notice just in time that Vitannis is about to unveil the small painting at the far end of the room. Jane screams “Stop!” but cannot be heard over the unholy din of the party, and transforms into an eagle. Tyrrell runs through the crowd towards the dais screaming “Fire, fire, fire!” Riddle envelops Vittanis in binding winds. Finesse is clearly not the party’s strong suit. Unable to get into the crowd, Scar-Eater and Archie run outside the building, and Archie breaks a window. Everyone at the party now believes the house is under attack. Only Long Fist even attempts to control the situation through diplomacy, herding drunken party guests to the exits.

Some rushed intimidation and diplomacy later, Athena simply grabs the painting and flies out the window with it before it can be opened. But with the bouncers still approaching those inside, Scar-Eater sees little choice but to grapple Vittanis and order him to call off the bouncers so everything can be straightened out. Riddle is able to sweep in and calm things down, noting that Lady Tillanda may also be in danger. But Tillanda is still in attendance at the party, and claims the “Darius” was taking her carriage to Katarina Gertwright’s manor. Vittanis offers the party carriage drivers to follow after the delivery immediately, arriving just in time to witness the delivery boy being knocked to the ground by an invisible being at the gate of Number 14, Burgundywine Terrace. The party jumps out of the carriage. Flying overhead above the carriages, Athena transforms back into Jane and floats to the ground, casting faerie fire as she drifts, illuminating the invisible stalker with eerie gree mist, but the party is not able to stop it from killing Darius. Riddle attempts to speak with it, but before it disappears it will only tell him it was summoned to kill this person. After a thorough search of Finch’s body, they find a map of the Midnight’s Muddle district, showing the locations of where all the paintings were delivered that very day, as well as the words “Sandalwood Lane” on the back. The Crooked House was apparently the second stop on his rounds, so the party immediately set off for the first address on the list.

On the way, the party digs up their knowledge of the local art scene and realize they are headed to the home of Endrik Archerus, a popular local artist, on Blue Sapphire Avenue, and that another artist of recent reknown, Imron Gauthfellow, has a home on Sandalwood. They also know that Gauthfellow was a wizard in his adventuring days.

Upon arriving at Archerus’ home, the party is admitted by his servant Suzanna, who takes them to the top of the tower. No one is in the studio, but there is a new painting there, a hideous image of a hag on a warhorse and masses of worms. They discover a note amongst the vellum on the floor that suggests foul play. Magic radiates from many things in the room, including the painting. Suzanna recalls that the second delivery person may have been a half-orc. She reports that her master is private and unassumin, and that his other servant, Tharivol, had been working outside the house somewhere for the last several weeks. Riddle uses an augury spell to determine whether casting dispel magic on the painting would bring weal or woe, and the forces answer with a decisive “Woe.” Riddle covers the painting with a sheet as Archie notices that one of the worms that was in the painting when they entered is not there anymore. The party checks the room but finds nothing other than the tracks of a bare-footed humanoid walking towards the painting. The party takes the covered painting back to Vittanis’ house.
As they get out of the carriage, Archie checks to see if the tracks of the delviery person who was not Finch are still visible, and finds he is just able to make them out under the snow. Leaving the paintings in the carriage, the party takes off after the tracks. Forty-five minutes later they have reached the Greyhawk docks and a tavern called The Grunting Bunty. There is a big half-orc behind the bar and another ragged one that the barman refers to as “Pissface” at a table. Pikoh tells the party he was paid a gold piece to carry the paintings, and shows them where the paintings were stashed in an alley. Jane casts remove disease on him and the party writes him a letter of recommendation for Tarquin of The Crooked House before returning to Vittanis’ house.

Sergeant Jessup Gandling of the Greyhawk Watch offers the party 2,500 gp to investigate the matter of the killer paintings. The party attempts to find a connection between themselves and the other targets with little success, or to figure out if any of their enemies have ties to Greyhawk ( Shukak, Filge, the Ashborn, Smenk, or even Allustan or Lanod Neff).

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Session Twenty-Two

Earthday, 20 Ready’reat CY 595

Traveling to Greyhawk

Freeday, 21 Ready’reat CY 595

Traveling to Greyhawk, landing in the deep river valley where the City resides. The party spends the night with at a grove of druids, the Dawn Watchers, who have taken a vow of silence. Riddle still feels the need to stay outside. Long Fist exercises with his celestial hyaena. Marzena stares towards the City. There is a mammoth lightning storm to the north over the Nyr Div.

Starday, 22 Ready’reat CY 595

Riddle understands that he is on the cusp of bonding with the diadem and must stay out of doors or he will break it, so the party waits to continue to Greyhawk.

Moonday, 23 Ready’reat CY 595

The party wakes to find Riddle in a trance. With Kullen’s greataxe Facecleaver in his hands, he walks a in a 20’ wide circle, chanting phrases over and over in a language the rest of them don’t understand, until he finally raises the axe and is struck by lightning. When he comes to, he has changed – taller, more muscular, paler, almost blue. And the diadem is awake.

The ritual complete, the party moves on to Greyhawk, in the guise of poor peasants, with Fury carrying all of their valuables. They wait on line for hours and finally make it through without having to bribe anyway, but are noted (particularly Tyrrell) by priests of St. Cuthbert patrolling the entrance area and fondling their holy symbols.

The party proceeds to Eligos Manzorian’s house and are nearly turned away by the butler, Pollard. Eventually the party makes it through only to find he has little interest in helping Marzena and hasn’t read any of the letters Allustan sent regarding their earlier exploits. He casts detect thoughts on Marzena so he can figure out what she wants him to do about her plight, and eventually agrees to send her to Magepoint. He then attempts to dismiss the party without any further aid and Tyrrell makes a big, intimidating speech about the end of the world and people not wanting to help as if Eligos isn’t even there. Eligos seems to prefer this tactic to begging for help, so after grilling the party for more details (specifically things they did not tell Allustan), Eligos says he will look over the letters and see the party again in one week (the 3rd of Sunsebb).

The party secures rooms for a week at the Crooked House, in the neighborhood known as Midnight’s Muddle, making the acquaintance of Tarquin Shortstone XXIV. They note posters for the Champions Games coming upon the 12th of Sunsebb. They learn a bit about Loris Raknian, manager of the Games, and sneak a peak at Mayor Neff’s Letter of Introduction before heading back out to try to get an appointment with Foreign Minister Webb.

Moonday, 24 Ready’reat CY 595

Shopping, errands, and information gathering regarding getting an appointment with Ermaldon Webb. Riddle’s divination (“The soldier battles alone; the guardian’s weakness is his weakness; lash the tongue; flail not the sword; the written word will seal the deal”) gives the party some cryptic advice, but the party at least determines that Archie should go in by himself. Webb’s appointment secretary is a total prick but Archie manages to get an appointment for 9 am on the 27th and is instructed not to miss it. He promises not to and the party returns to the inn.

That evening the party receives word from that a package has arrived for them and they go down to the common room to check it out. Shortstone XXIV is on the bar with a large flat square package wrapped in brown paper. He says, “Your commission has arrived,” and tears open the package. The party gets a only a slimpse of the painting before it erupts and the room fills with two 15’ squelchy creatures with 8 tentacles each. The tentacled horrors manage to kill all the patrons and nearly Tarquin and Archie before they basically annihilate themselves through Riddle’s mark of doom. After some quick healing and discussion with the owner, they go outside in search of the fop and the crudely dressed man who dropped off the package 15 to 20 minutes before they came downstairs, and Archie quickly picks up the trail.

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Session Twenty-One

Freeday, 14 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party spends the night in their old hideout.

Starday, 15 Ready’reat CY 595

Athena scouts around town while Archie returns to talk to Trask at the garrison. Trask wants Archie to report everything to the Foreign Minister, Ermaldon Webb, and to also gather better intelligence. Though he doesn’t believe, as the lizardfolk do, that there is a plot against them, he is concerned about the level of truth in Illthain’s lies. Also, Trask asks Archie if he sees an opportunity to nudge the garrison reinforcements along to please follow up on it. Meanwhile, the rest of the party is discussing history and such when Long Fist says something that sparks a memory from Riddle about the ancient city of Kuluth-Mar and a possible connection to Kyuss.

The party checks up on Allustan who is up in the Whispering Cairn and find that he has been exploring obsessively to the detriment of his own health and well-being. After speaking with him for awhile and performing some augury spells, the party convinces him to rest until morning.

Sunday, 16 Ready’reat CY 595

Allustan takes the party into town for a meeting with Mayor Neff. He warns the party not to waste Webb’s time if they are not able to properly handle the treaty negotiations. The Mayor also promises that the party would not be accused of any crimes in Diamond Lake. They receive letter of introduction to Webb from the Mayor and another to Eligos from Allustan. Allustan also provides advice for getting around Greyhawk, noting Tarquin Shortstone, XXIV and the Crooked House, Elexia Tinge, Painted Man, Ph’xeris, Eligos’ estate, the Great Library, and the Great Hall. Riddle also tells Allustan that he suspects he is related to the Lands, and Allustan notes that the timing does not preclude such. Allustan also guesses that Icosiel could have been the first of the Land geneaology.

The party meets with Balabar Smenk at 3:00 pm and Smenk claims that as far as he is concerned, our business is through. Kullen¸ however, refuses to turn himself in as agreed and the party ends up disposing of him right there in Smenk’s office, despite many bystanders (some innocent and others…not) and a suggestion or two that the fight move outside.

Moonday, 17 Ready’reat – Godsday, 18 Ready’reat CY 595

Traveling to Greyhawk.

Waterday, 19 Ready’reat CY 595

On the road to Greyhawk, the party battles with trolls.

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Session Twenty

Earthday, 13 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party conducts a thorough search of the Keep but finds nothing. However, everyone takes a dagger in the event that the worms are encountered again (daggers being the best defense against a burrowing worm).

Archie makes a point to say that the party shouldn’t tell anyone they encounter what really happened to Ernst Walker. Dobrun Trent relates news of events in Diamond Lake, especially what’s going on with the ghost of Jierian Wierus.

The party decides to head back to Diamond Lake. Marzena wants to go to Greyhawk, and since the party is fairly confident they will end up there eventually, brings her along. She loans Riddle her ring of protection +1 and Archie her dagger +1. They camp for the night, and on Jane and Scar-Eater’s watch, fight a group of wolves and werewolves. Long Fist is injured but immune to lycanthropy.

Freeday, 14 Ready’reat CY 595

As the party moves towards town the encounter and fight a two-headed, boulder-throwing giant that absorbs spells when it isn’t just ignoring the effects. It seems to fighting alongside a messed up grizzly bear. During the fight, Riddle attempts to drink one of the potions the party recovered from Illthain’s chest, and swallows what he believes is a Kyuss worm! He manages to regurgitate it and warn the party about Illthain’s ill-gotten goods. After the battle the party studies the worm for more information.

The party arrives at Diamond Lake around 6:00 in the evening, and they head straight to the garrison to see Trask and Childramun. They learn of Dourstone’s suicide and the ensuing clamor over his property rights. The officers advise that the party take the lizardfolk treaty to the foreign minister in Greyhawk, and if they can get his goodwill on the matter, perhaps they might be able to mobilize into the swamps to investigate the hatcheries of other tribes.

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Session Nineteen
N-n-n-n-nineteen.

Waterday, 12 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

The party learns that the two new Spawn in the Keep are named Blake and Krinn. The party assesses their strength and makes a plan.

Earthday, 13 Ready’reat CY 595

Tyrrell and Archie are unnerved on their watch by the howling of wolves in the distance. It doesn’t take them long to discern that creatures inside the keep are waiting for the howling noises to move around, which makes them smarter than the average zombie. Indeed this proves true, as the party’s careful plan to lure them into the open is thrown out the window by the spawn’s refusing to play along! After eight brutal rounds of combat, that include Long Fist and Riddle digging burrowing Kyuss worms from their own bodies, the party takes down the spawn. After the battle, Jane discovers that Riddle seems to be suffering from a supernatural disease, possibly the onset of dimension. She removes disease from him and the party figures out what to do next.

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Session Eighteen

Godsday, 11 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

Thanks to alchemists fire and a body of the sun spell the party is just able to contain the worms and defeat the spawn they give rise to over the course of the battle. All in all, anywhere from 75 – 80% percent of the lizardfolk eggs are spared.

Archie immediately informs the party there is a Spawn of Kyuss trapped in the abandoned escape tunnel at Blackwall Keep, and that it’s been there for two years. Hishka notes that it’s a good thing it was down here to witness what happened, or the tribe would have blamed the party for both the worms and the loss of the eggs. Jane notices that Hishka looks ill, and determines it is in the initial stages of a rapid-onset disease, which they realize can be caused by another type of Kyuss worm, a “slow worm”, which sounds like the cause for the Spawn currently residing at Blackwall Keep. Archie asks Hishka why the lizardfolk attack the Keep unprovoked two years earlier, and it explains that Illthain told them human wizards had destroyed a generation of eggs with these worms, putting everything both the party and lizardfolk think they know to doubt. Illthain arrived on the heels of the destruction of the eggs. Illthain also treated privately with the battlemage who became the Spawn of Kyuss at the Keep, Ernst Walker.

The party spends the rest of the day either helping collapse Illthain’s entrance to the lair, helping evacuate the eggs from the hatchery, or treating Hishka with long term care.

Waterday, 12 Ready’reat CY 595

Tyrrell finds and loots the harpy nest in the lair, and Scar-Eater contemplates the Kyuss worms again to glean more information through his arcane knowledge. Jane checks the party for infestations, finding none, and then the lizardfolk tribe. One manifestation of the slow worms’ disease is found and removed.

Archie tells the whole story of Ernst Walker.

The party leaves the lair and sets out for Blackwall Keep. After four hours they stop to wake up Marzena. She is hysterical, of course, for some time, but later they are able to catch her up with events. The party continues on to the Keep and finds Dobrun Trent with his militia and most of the boys they left behind on the grounds, and the door barricaded shut. Trent informs the party they found the Spawn in the Keep and lost a few men trying to contain it. He also reports that there are now three of them barred behind the door.

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Session Seventeen

Moonday, 10 Ready’reat CY 595 (continued)

After the big fight, the party confers with Hishka to determine their next move. There is great concern over Illthain and what she might do upon learning of Shukak’s death, so the party decides to at least help Hishka gain control of the hatchery before they leave, so that Hishka might move the tribe to another lair. Archie and Tyrrell scout out the hatchery that night, noting Illthain’s egg, sitting amongst the many lizardfolk eggs, has been left under the guard of several kobolds that appear to have been touched by the same thing as Shukak, giving them a decidedly draconic appearance.

Godsday, 11 Ready’reat CY 595

The party sets off through the underwater passage to the hatchery, accompanied by Hishka and Sharsah, whom Hishka hopes with succeed Shukak, to drive off the kobolds.

A mere twenty-four seconds after Long Fist explodes out of the water with his blinding shield, the kobolds decide the fight is desperate enough to smash the dragon’s egg, causing thousands of glowing green Kyuss Worms to emerge into the water!

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Session Sixteen

Sunsday, 9 Ready’reat CY 595

On the road for several hours, having built a raft for Kushak. Several miles the first day through the swamps, after avoiding an encounter with a crocodile, and deciding to turn back before dark to avoid camping in or traveling through cockatrice territory.

Moonday, 10 Ready’reat CY 595

The party comes within a mile of the tribe lair by 4 pm, and solidifies the plan, which is immediately tested by the unforeseen presence of two harpy guards. However, the party deals with them most effectively and decides to drag them into the lair with them as a show of strength.
The party bullies their way into the throne room where all are gathered. They repeat their demands three times, first in Draconic, then in Druidic, then in Common. There is much debate, but then Shukak ends it by challenging any one of the party for control of the tribe. No one volunteers, so the king offers a five-on-five challenge the party cannot refuse. After defeating Shukak, Kotabas, and Shesht (along with two other warriors), the party makes a deal with Hishka to retrieve a written agreement from Greyhawk to stop the violence between humans and lizardfolk, and the human prisoners who still live are returned. Lieutenant Archie Forrest is dazed but generally all right, but Marzena’s hands have been cut off and her jaw shattered.

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