Loraterra

Waking Dream

Since then, a lot has happened.

After receiving word that the cultists’ plan to bring their dark god into the world was nearly complete, the party traveled through the sewers to the central warehouse out of which the cult operated.

Their plan? Simple: blow up the warehouse from beneath to cripple the summoning ritual. Kiliko, his goblin crew, and a team of bombardiers from the Thieves Guild went along with them to set up charges at the four corners of the building along with a huge central payload.

Just as the party was set to escape, a spectral serpent welled up from within the dark depths beneath the warehouse and attacked the party.

The charges set, Kiliko began the detonation sequence and warned Siobhan, Carwyn, and Sacha to run for it. Unfortunately, the party blacked out trying to escape and Kiliko was lost in the explosion.

Upon waking, the party found themselves back in the Guild, resting from their injuries. Devi arrived to inform them that their plan had worked—and better yet, the scheming Duke of Marlais’s corpse was found among the rubble and his entire estate was seized by the state. The cultists disappeared along with the Duke’s Black Guard.

All seemed well.

Too good to be true, in fact.

After recovering, the party began to notice that things were not all that they seemed. Carwyn outright attempted to slay a young member of the Guild in an attempt to provoke a response from what he perceived as an illusion—and yet the world around them held together.

Investigating the ruined and abandoned holdings of the cult revealed them to be abandoned, while an investigation of the central keep’s courtyards revealed strange inconsistencies in reality: birds flying backwards—water flowing in reverse through a fountain.

And through all of this, the strange notes of a flute echoing in each adventurer’s head.

The prince was set to be crowned later in the day after a funerary service to Orlandon V, and naturally the party decided that this would be the best place to test the boundaries of the world they lived in.

Upon arriving at the ceremony, the prince and his guard invited the party inside to celebrate. The feasting hall was closed off and the trap sprung.

Out of the bodies of the prince and his guard emerged hideous serpents made of bone—and out of the fireplace a specter of the dead king himself astride a nightmarish horse.

After a desperate fight with the creatures, Ziva manifested herself inside of the illusion through the calling sound of her flute. The party managed to survive, waking up in a dark, dank room in one of the cultist’s churches about the city. The burned corpse of the Eyes of the Serpent, yet another of the leaders of the cult, greeted their view as the illusion was broken.

There was still much work yet to be done.

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Plans Are Made

Stuff happened.
— More to come

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Going Bananas

After a few hours of flight the party arrived at the manor home of the Necromancer, who had been expecting the party. After a night’s rest the group broke fast with the house’s master, servants, and a foreign face called ‘Ziva’. After discussing the trustworthiness of this unexpected companion the assembled entered into a discussion about the current situation, the plan from that moment, and the Necromancer’s observations that the cultist activity had created a magical circle of sorts around the castle itself. He expanded on this by telling the assembled that he believed the purpose of the cult was to resurrect their dark god, to which end they’d need a royal sacrifice. The king was apparently deemed to unpredictable, so was removed in favor of the prince. A further complication arose in the missing mirror of souls, which might have the ability in the right hands to bypass this necessity. It would have to be the goal of the party to reclaim the mirror before the time was ripe to leave for San Saramel, and the safety of their unspoken allies.

With this on their mind the party set off immediately for the capital, stopping only for a short moment on Siobhan’s demand so that she might release her animal companion to the wild because ‘it was time’. With the Necromancer’s carriage the group was able to get back into the city without qualm, returning immediately to the Thief’s Guild headquarters to retrieve their gear. While taking the time to rest before meeting Devi the group overheard a ruckus from some younger thieves in the main den, reporting that a gorilla had escaped from a street circus and was running wild. Siobhan instructed the thieves to show her to the scene, and while the party distracted the guards she calmed the creature, guiding it underground. Carwyn kept the guards busy while everyone else escaped, then lost the knights chasing him in the streets before happening to meet up with Devi to discuss their plan of action.

Once Carwyn’s plotting was finished he returned to the headquarters with task number one of garnering disguises for the group. They were directed to a particular salon where a large, bearded man took stock of them and provided them with new cuts and colors of hair while his lackeys disguised the party’s gear to something more low key. In the end Carwyn left black of hair and garb, Siobhan lost a great deal of her wild mane in favor a more common Sarameli look to make her less distinct, and Sacha left with a lighter hair and darker accoutrement to round out their disguises.

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A King's Death and a Prince's Escape

A hush settles over the crowd only for a moment as Van and his compatriots hit the dusty floor of the arena. A deafening crash of cheers returns as Siobhan, Carwyn and Sacha bask in the glory of victory. It all seems like a dream as they are swept back to their quarters and revel in their triumph.

That night, the adventurers are called to the head table at the victory feast, given a place of honor not far from the King himself. Devi meets them there, feasting alongside them and introducing them to a friend – the Sheik Visarr of San Saramel, brother to the late queen and ambassador to Ser’Rael. He is a jolly enough man, and invites the adventurers to come to his estate when they are next in the area.

Many people the adventurers know come by to congratulate them, and all seems to be in perfect order.

That evening, a young attendant gives them the form for which to fill out their boon from the king. The party settles upon titles – and land, though in no particular order.

The party speaks with the king after a brief encounter with Devi, and find themselves in a simple room with the man whose childhood name was Antonio. He seems pleased to see them, and reveals something altogether amazing to Carwyn and the others after granting their titles and lanes in a place called Rivell and sending his guards away – that the man who presented himself as the King’s brother – a man calling himself Lorenzo who was brought back to life by the power of the Jester, is also inhabiting his body, and that the two have acted as one for some time. He also confirms that the cult that has plagued the city for so long and that has been in multiple conflicts with the party is deeply tied in a financial sense to Marlais.

Just as the party begins speaking to him in a more casual manner, the unimaginable happens. His head falls to the floor, leaving a bloody stump that is quickly seared shut by the appearance of a devil – one announcing himself as Kelvar’ak of Ranatt. After a brief exchange of blows between the devil’s minions and the party, Kelvar’ak disappeared, leaving the room in flames and the party squarely in a highly suspicious position.

Devi, who had been eavesdropping on the party, helped them escape to the roof from the room’s balcony and get back to the Thieves’ Guild underneath the city. For a brief period the party recuperates there before going to visit Torq, Kiliko and Dessango and sending a message off to Lorren of the bookstore for more information on devils and a letter to the Necromancer explaining their situation.

After a brief discussion with the somewhat confused former servants of Lorenzo, the former hand, the party agrees to meet Kiliko at the prince’s balcony in the palace to spirit away the young man and save him from his highly ambitious uncle, the Duke of Marlais. Further, the party learns of the king’s contingency plan to take his son to San Saramel and to his mother’s family to raise an army and take back the throne should the need arise. Upon their return to the Thieves’ Guild, the party receives a letter from the Necromancer telling them that he will offer sanctuary if they need it and pointing out several sites of murders and atrocities committed by the cult. The party then agrees that, for the time being, the best place to hide the prince would be with the Necromancer.

Guided by the ebony-skinned Malik, a man of few words and of strange humor, the party sneaks into the royal apartments in an outfit of traveling performers – clown, juggler and musician. Convincing the guards at the prince’s door that they were expected, the party enters and encounters the prince.

Lucania stands not far from his bed in the lavish room, and his bodyguard Durante stands at the wall, armed to the teeth to protect the prince. While disbelieving at first, the two guards in the prince’s chambers transform their visages and attack the party with a monstrous, cloak-like being, dispelling all doubt for the two. Soon enough, Kiliko arrives in a floating basket held aloft by a shard of the ore brought from the mines and the party escapes with minimal casualties, taking Lucania and Durante with them.

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The King's Tourney

Following their return to the city Hien became deathly ill, burning up and murmuring to himself, so the party put themselves back in their room at the Lusty Queen to let him rest while they tried to discern what was wrong with him. While watching him Siobhan noticed a dark claw mark on the back of the dwarf’s neck, and when the rest of the part returned she checked to find the mark faintly on the necks of each of them, a physical marker of the curse left upon them by the cult wizard they had slain. Sasha went at Siobhan’s urging to find an experienced healer from her order of Clerics but the man they found had no power over such a curse, and they were left with little choice but to tend to their friend’s symptoms as best as they could.

During this time Carwyn met again with Devi to discuss the upcoming tourney, and his requests for information and/or sabotage of the other tourney players. Some information was provided.

The following day the three left Hien in the care of the colorful innkeeper to attend the King’s Tourney, hoping to be victorious and win both the prize and the king’s ear. After registering with a man who referred to himself as ‘Bang’ they were escorted to a room inside the arena to await their first matchup.

The first match put the party against a pair of martial artists who wielded flames as well as fists. Through solid tactics the party managed to quickly down the first of the two, which sent the other into a literal fiery rage. However when the man was about to unleash his most powerful attack he was stopped by his elderly master, who declared his disciples forfeit for his student’s intent to kill. Though bewildered, the party moved on to the next rung of the tourney and returned to their resting area to await the next challange of the day.

The second fight was against a trio who had been wandering the Azure Wasteland, a staff wielding monkey man, a green skinned barbarian woman, and a kindly looking old Priest of a Sarameli appearance. The fight began difficult for the party this time as the green woman transformed into a variety of fierce beasts which dealt an enormous amount of damage while the party struggled to contend with the quick fighting style of Waka the drunken monkey. However fortune turned to the party’s favor when the wild transformations of Jun the shapeshifter left her in the form of a forest faerie, allowing the party to overwhelm their enemy while they had the opportunity.

Two matches concluded the first day of fighting, and the party was treated to a kingly feast along with the other competitors, where they were allowed to mingle with the party from the Wasteland, and afterwards meet Devi for new information about their fight the next day. A successful day of fighting left the party to rest, recover, and prepare themselves for the second and final day of the tourney.

The morning matchup for the group was against Alistar the Beastmaster and his large animal companions, a great eagle and a dire wolf. Through clever spellwork Carwyn and Sasha managed to lock up Alistar and his eagle while Siobhan and her own animal companion contended with the dire wolf. After leaving the eagle asleep in the stands and bringing the dire wolf down the party easily dispatched the ranger, though not without him displaying a valiant attempt through swordplay and clever use of the pit terrain on the field. After the match the group was sent one final time to the waiting area to recover, where they met Devi once more for information about their last fight: ‘Prince’ Van of the sands.

In the very final match the group entered a large flat arena at the end of which awaited Van, a dwarf wielding a bow, and a man in desert robes wielding magical sand. Siobhan split off from the group to avoid having them all caught in the path of the mage’s magic, and was met in the upper half of the arena by Van. Carwyn and Sasha made their way to the south end to contend with the sand mage while the dwarf enjoyed an unmolested freedom with which to pepper the party with arrows from the edge of the arena. After enduring many rounds of cuts, spells, and having the cat repeatedly dropped by Van and the dwarf’s combined attacks Sasha managed to put the finishing blow on the enemy team’s mage, allowing them to gang up on Van. The remaining pair still put up a hard fight, dropping the weakened Siobhan repeatedly with her many wounds and forcing Carwyn to restore her to consciousness with his Lay on Hands. Finally from the ground Siobhan managed to strike Van true, sending him down to the ground beside her. The party managed to quickly corner the dwarf and finish him as well, ending the match and resolving themselves as the champions of the tourney to the roaring applause of the crowd and crown.

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Wrecking Rekk and Burning a Shadow

The adventurers, following their encounter with the Tragedian, agreed to take along a member of the cat-like people, a small fellow named Ny-An – apparently able to breathe fire and something of a student of lore.

The party retrieved the large floating rock previously requested by Kiliko for his “airship,” and soon were on their way back to Kosch’Rael. When they neared the city, a man in armor calling himself Rekk insisted that the party meet with the Duke of Marlais – and asked that if they refused, they give him the Gem of Life.

Rekk seemed familiar with Hien – and things quickly turned sour when Rekk grew more insistent. The two groups fought, with most of Rekk’s followers quickly falling to the party. One of the more cunning members of Rekk’s group attempted to take Ny-An hostage, and in exchange Rekk and the man were allowed to leave for letting Ny-An go.

When the party returned to the city, they dropped off the floating rock at Kiliko’s laboratory before being taken back to the Pale Shadow with Torq.

The Pale Shadow had been burned in their absence, and Hashmir’s corpse was found in the rubble along with the ominous symbol of the cult burned into the stone.

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The Tragedian

Following their battle with the serpent in the cave, the party was welcomed into the cave’s inner reaches by the cat-like creatures previously encountered. Unlike those that attacked the party, these seemed less like demons and more like bipedal felines, all wrapped up in their own society below the earth. An elder reveals that they have been largely confined inside for some years due to the corruption of the serpent – a former guardian of the caves that was driven mad by the consumption of the strange, floating-rock material.

After being ushered into a room to meet with the elders, time seemed to slow down and altogether stop for the adventurers. A wall in the back of the elder’s room now contained a door not previously there – a shining rectangle of light in the relative darkness of the torch-lit room.

Curious to see what was inside, the party into the light and came into a strangely dark room, lit only by a gigantic bell jar with strange floating lights inside. Before the jar stood a great statuesque humanoid figure of some seven feet in height – with skin as smooth as polished stone and midnight purple in appearance. He wore no clothes and had no noticeable features other than a pair of glowing blue eyes.

The name he gave when asked was The Tragedian.

He gave a warning to the adventurers: that great tragedy would come about and that they must have a hand in further tragedy to stop it – all of it centering around the bell jar itself. He claimed that they were too early – and when asked about the Azure Lady’s involvement, he seemed show a sign of recognition and acknowledged her part in the events surrounding his warning.

At one point in the conversation, the color of the Tragedian’s eyes changed to red. The figure cut the meeting short and sent the party on their way.

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The Slaughter Continues

The snake wasn’t quite so cooperative in their plan. Their bait was taken by some small cat-like creatures with the ability to teleport. The party decided to follow them into the cave. Surrounded by glowing, floating crystals, they were attacked by the cat-creatures. Slaying two of them easily, the fight was joined by an enormous snake, which used ingested crystals to fly about the battle. The adventurers dispatched the cat-men and the snake without too much difficulty, following a few misadventures in flight due to vomited up crystal shards. As they were deciding what to do with the remains, an entrance under the waterfall opened up revealing more of the small cat-like creatures. These seemed somewhat less diseased and a lot more interested in discourse rather than combat. In awe of the party’s might, they invited them into their cave…

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Wyrmlord Slain

Fully rested from their previous exploits under the gracious hospitality of The Necromancer, the adventurers headed to the mines to take care of the giant snake mentioned by the goblin. While they were discussing the details of their plan they were approached by a group of wyrmkin and an obviously evil wizard. Under a flag of truce, he asked them to retrieve for him the blood of the snake. Carwyn’s negotiations broke down rather shortly, and the adventurers leapt upon the wizard, taking him by surprise. Carwyn called upon previously unknown powers to put the wyrmkin to sleep, leaving the wizard undefended. They quickly surrounded him and finished him off, but not before taking some rather nasty injuries and a dark curse, the effects of which are still quite unknown. They decided to camp out that night, to heal and prepare a plan to lure the snake out of its cave.

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Bellario Defeated

Inside the vault lie dozens of masks, supposedly all belonging to members of the necromancer’s line. The mask of Bellario spoke mockingly, and then joined with the other masks to form a giant golem of masks. After a pitched battle against Bellario’s golem, evil masks which attempted to take control of the adventurers’ actions, and a couple of dancing skeletons the heroes emerged victorious. Grateful for their help, Balthazar granted them full sponsorship into the tournament.

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