Uppity Understudies

True to his word, Commander Keffin had positioned us as the understudies in a show in which we portrayed mockeries of ourselves, being defeated by the gladiator Crixus, for the entertainment of Baron Smerdway Vastia III, Argus the Pretender, and the assembled minor nobility of Vastia. We played along with the show for a few minutes as we sized up the situation. Then on Emperor Marcus’ signal we unmasked, called for the surrender of the treacherous assembled nobility, including Smerdway. Naturally they declined and battle was joined.

The Emperor, Oli, and I made fairly short work of the gladiator, who turned out to be Ludus, an understudy of Crixus who portrays him in some public appearances. Ludus surrendered honorably to the emperor and then joined us in pursuit of Smerdway and the pretender, who had fled the theater pursued by Gareth and Terhali.

We caught up with them outside and found Smerdway had accumulated several warforged guardians, along with an array of snipers, and some rather impressive technological personal defenses. It soon became clear that Argus was under some kind of magical compulsion to attack us. Surprisingly he also demonstrated remarkable instinctive facility with arcane magics. As I beat him unconscious the baneful effect of the Brand of Torog was revealed as the cause of his compulsion. The treachery of Smerdway knows no apparent bounds.

Tragically, the Baron Smerdway III was slain as Terhali, Gareth, and Oli combined to prevent his attempt to flee arrest. His human followers surrendered soon after the Baron fell, but his warforged automatons fought to the bitter end.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

A Chat with Caprabax

Cryptic arrived as we were working on our plans for relocating the Elves. She had arranged for a meeting with her ancient dragon acquaintance and we were to come “at our earliest convenience.” Which is apparently polite dragon, for as soon as you possibly can. The timing was not great, as we had hoped to relocate the elves first. Nevertheless we decided to arrange for a quick trip to Vergence to report in on our progress and to allow them to prepare for elven refugees.

We arranged for a quick debriefing due to time constraints. The Oathsworn were happy to hear that we’d rescued some elves, and suggested that they could be resettled in Estonia and perhaps help with the grain harvesting across the fey passage. The elven deputation agreed with our suggestion and were happy to bring the idea back to their people.

Command also notified us that Commander Keffin had reported in and that he would have a very short window of opportunity to insert us into Vastia in a few days. The details of the operation remained shrouded in secrecy, Commander Keffin appears to be quite paranoid about such things. Nevertheless, it left us very little time to complete our objectives in the Feywild. Nevertheless we combine the hints Cryptic had given us with the Oathsworn’s collection of useless Imperial pennies to convert the golden hoard item from the elder green into a magic hoard of imperial pennies and a pile of regular gold.

We returned, as swiftly as possible, though via a somewhat circuitous path as we had to portal to Elvenhome, fey passage to the Feywild, portal to Astrazaelian. We left the Elven delegation to discuss their options, nominally under the protection of the wards and Cryptic. Then Oli summoned phantom steeds who bore us for many hours across the bizarre vistas of the Feywild to meet with the ancient dragon for our audience. After negotiating our way through its labyrinthine caverns, we found our goal.

The dragon, a very ancient copper, introduced himself as Caprabax. He was blind, but his senses and mind were otherwise exceptionally acute. We spent a long evening trading stories and came away with some interesting facts about the breaking of the world.

Before the fall there were many factions of arcanists: Golden Labyrinth, Spiral Spire (warlocks), Imperial Menagerie (Kodanian), Three Rings (Eladrin), Royal Warmage College, Three Rings, and the Temple of Ioun, many, perhaps all, he suspects had been infiltrated by infernalists. War broke out, perhaps started by the Golden Labyrinth, but became massively escalated by the actions of the Spiral Spire, who sought to enslave the Eye and use its power. It was they who unleashed the unraveling which produced the Maelstrom. Seeing imminent disaster, the Three Rings prevailed upon the dragons for aid, the dragons gave some of their powers, having been tricked into believing it would solve the problem. Instead the Three Rings used all of their power, plus all that they could draw from the dragons (diminishing many thereby) to transform the rock of the continents to raise them above the Maelstrom.

The dragons were so enraged by the Eladrin duplicity, that they banished them (killing many in the process) from the Feywild. The elven gods left with the Eladrin. Where they went is unknown, but the most likely place is somewhere in the Astral Sea. Perhaps in a heretofore obscure domain of the elven gods, perhaps they scattered to multiple obscure destinations. In any case this is better news than the second hand word of the Elder Green that they had all been killed. Sadly Caprabax’s memories of his struggles, alongside his Eladrin rider, against the terrible forces unleashed in the arcana wars were deliberately vague. He had witnessed such terrible things that he asked for his memory of the worst things be cleansed before his rider left with the exodus.

We also learned that in the time of the Arcana wars the warforged were not sentient. They had somehow attained sentience afterwards. Caprabax had also not spoken to any humans since that time and had thought us perhaps extinct. It was pleased to learn that we lived and continued to involve ourselves in the affairs of the survivors. So pleased that it insisted, forcefully, though not threatingly, that we return to share the news of our progress. We promised to return in a year and a day, if not before. It had no specific information to address any of our immediate concerns.

We portaled back to Astrazaelian and spent the residuum given to us by the Oathsworn to transport the elves to their new home. Then journeyed to Naveria to upgrade some of our weapons and to catch up with our old friend Baroness Castica. Baroness Castica was quite well, though Baroness Naveria was clearly entering her last days, yet clear of mind and resolute. Castica also presented us with a captive Smerdway the IVth. His churlishness was improved neither by time nor captivity, though we were happy to bring him to Vergence and turn him over to command.

Castica also updated us regarding the current disposition of Lumeria. Apparently an Oathsworn team had been sent to arrest him, but the arrest had resulted in his death without heir. Yet another barony without a baron. Something will have to be done to provide order in the long term.

On the evening after our return to Vergence we were called to the main portal circle, joined by Emperor Marcus, for Keffin’s precisely timed operation. After our arrival we were greeted by Commander Keffin, dressed formally, but without Oathsworn regalia, who treated us like some sort of performers who had arrived behind schedule. He telepathically asked us to play along, so we did. He then outfitted each of us with masks which had been clearly designed to mock us along with outlandish exaggerated costume versions of the gear we were known for in our time in the baronies. For Terhali he provided a jester’s motley and some juggling daggers. He then bundled us into a wagon and conducted us to a back entrance of the palace. We were greeted by a stressed out theater manager who was happy to see us as the “understudies” for the troop who had all suddenly come down with the flu. Clearly Keffin’s manipulation of events would result in our taking the stage in front of the Baron and the Pretender without having to punch through any other defenses.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

Security Through Obscurity

After a modest amount of additional interrogation of the Yaun-ti, we portaled him to command with a summary of the situation so they could consider the diplomatic ramifications of the Yuan-ti empire. From the prisoner we learned that the engine lab one deck above us had been sealed off. The Yuan-ti attempt to seek a solution for that led them to the automated defenses of the base in the level above. Additionally, he informed us that their plan was to use a ritual to put the ancient abominations to rest. I scanned through their encoded ritual book using my translation spectacles. This upset our prisoner greatly as he regarded my reading the text as a sacrilege. He was only half wrong as the thing was just brimming with sacrilegious ideas. He also let slip that their ship should be returning with more Yuan-ti anytime now. Sadly the ritual was incomplete as it contained only the prayers and no other details, so we’ll probably have to rely on a more brute force approach. Also the book had some rather disturbing passages regarding the importance of secrecy, with the rather unmistakable message that the slaughter of many to guard such secrets was completely fine, perhaps even encouraged. It also outlined that it is duty of an assassin to abide by their contract regardless of the target, including infants or otherwise blameless victims. Its going to be rather difficult to come to peaceful terms with these Zahir worshipers given that we’re outsiders who know a chunk of their secrets and have no inclination to join their cult.

Further searching uncovered the journal of Commodore Shrike. In addition to detailing his rather stern approach to command, it indicated that they had picked up the vessel in bone grinder alley, breached it, unleashing the abominations. Then they were able to seal them into the Engine Lab. He considered sealant itself was proof against everything except the solvent locked in the vault. The last entry was that alarms were ringing as something invaded the base.

We proceeded up above and found the next level barred to us by a webbing of thick black strands which proved impervious to our casual attempts to damage it. Above on the next level we found signs of reptilian slaughter and some rubble. Proceeding through another office we found the Yuan-ti sacred vessel. Appearing quite old (sometime after the breaking of the world) it was quite well constructed and had a trace of magic left on it and hints of worn away runes. There was no visible means of propulsion, nor a way for its occupants to see for navigation. It appears to be made of basalt and loadstone and had space enough for two large sarcophagi and shelves of funerary tributes.

Finding little more of interest we moved on to the vault area. The area before the vault still held the remains of a Yuan-ti slaughtfest along with two animated armor guardians and four flying lamp guardians of quite advanced manufacture. I attempted to follow the security protocols programmed into them, even consulted headquarters via sending to get the password from Commodore Shrike. Neither result “Resolve” or “Snakes in my head” was sufficient as the guardians did not consider me authorized and only Commodore Shrike would be able to authorize me. Seeing as how Commodore Shrike cannot be relied upon to feed himself or carry on a conversation, and he nearly went into an apoplectic fit when I spoke with him about the station, let alone tried to place him in it, I found it highly unlikely that he’d be capable of keeping it together long enough to do anything useful here. No point in endangering the poor man further, he’d given the Oathsworn good service in his time.

The time had come for an application of Alpha team’s favorite solution, overwhelming force backed by insidiously potent tactics. Though I cautioned the team that we wanted some of the guardians in a recoverable state, they proved extraordinarily capable, the engineers here at Toymaker station were no slouches in the security automaton construction process (some sort of commemorative memorial should be put up for them), and required extreme force to put down. We did manage to leave a few in a recoverable state. The vault lay behind a caged in bridge across the void. The doors in the area beyond were ajar and there were clear signs of rubble and perhaps a struggle. Two large sarcophagi lay open beyond, though the funerary treasures and many useful things lay untouched, including the solvent and a set of sending stones, which we recovered for the Oathsworn.

- Captain Hibernius

Serpentine Sacrilege

The ship turned out to be a prototype containing new engines, an experimental idea combining an extremely high velocity propeller with directed jet streams. The ship itself is at least a month short of completion and the experimental engines are many experimental refinements, possibly even several fundamental design insights, short of achieving a functional balance. It could, however, be towed back to our shipyards for further study. We collected the available notes and plans and proceeded up the stairs to the next level.

The next level contained workspaces, offices, a small reference library and quite a few very hostile snake people. The latter started their assault with poisoned arrows and serpentine energy beams similar to what we had encountered below. They were soon joined by a Medusa, alog with a Snake headed priest and eventually a large creature with a snake head, humanoid torso, and snake body that assaulted us with a large sword, a Yaun-ti Abomination apparently. They gave us a pretty good fight, the Medusa was especially alarming, though we shook off her attempts to petrify us, but ultimately they all fell to our superior battle prowess.

On questioning the one archer who surrendered, apparently the last Yuan-ti left from their mission, combined with some images the priest sent into my head while trying to ensorcel me, we formed the following narrative of what had transpired.

The Oathsworn of Toymaker station had recovered a large sarcophagus from somewhere in Bone Grinder Alley. Its form was sort of cylindrical and vaguely ship like, though it was not intended to be opened, for it held the “honored dead” of the Yuan-ti. “Honored dead” is somewhat subjective as that was clearly how they regarded it, but the draconic terms seem to translate more closely to “Ancient Abomination” from our perspective. The “Ancient Abomination” slew the Oathsworn who cracked open the sarcophagus, though they were able to contain it eventually. The Yuan-ti we found on station were attracted by the opening of the sarcophagus, which they (worshipers of Zehir) regarded a terrible sacrilege. They had been dropped off to to resealing of the sarcophagus and came into contact with the Toymaker station personnel. The Oathsworn reacted violently to their arrival, blaming the Yuan-ti for the trouble, and fighting broke out. The personnel of Toymaker station fell to the Yuan-ti team, perhaps due to the losses they had previously taken from the Ancient Abomination.

The Yuan-ti then spent the remaining week striving to get to the sarcophagus, but losing many of their number to the bases automated defenses. When we arrived they assumed, rightly, that we were allies of the oathsworn who attacked them and resumed hostilities. It certainly seems true from their perspective, additionally they have no fluency for the language of the empire, and their draconic is quite weirdly sibilant, so the engineers and warriors of Toymaker station likely had little or no opportunity to even try diplomacy.

The Yuan-ti had come from their empire on a continent far to the south. We had no knowledge of it, but Raiden knew of a southern continent with deserts, jungles and Zehir worshipers from before the breaking of the world. He even suggested going on an embassy to them to see if they could be of some aid in our chain related issues. However, Zehir is a dark god of assassination, poison, and treachery, so an alliance would be on extremely shaky ground. They could easily be worse than the Bane and Torog worshiping Craggen. So far we have yet to come in contact with any new power that isn’t fundamentally antithetical to our way of life.

We will continue to explore the base and see what can be done regarding the sarcophagus and its occupants. Though we can recover some interesting research from the station, its location as a secret base is clearly blown. The Yuan-ti empire knows how to find it, it is too far from the Empire for us to defend, so it is unlikely to be useful to us, and dangerous to leave for the Yuan-ti, unless it can be relocated.

- Captain Hibernius

Draconic Comeuppance

The Dragon (in humanoid form) haughtily ordered me to return below. I then sentenced it to death for its conspiracy to destroy a civilization along with its innumerable acts of murder and desecration. As we were technically still in parley, I also offered it the opportunity to surrender and I would commute its sentence to a life term of community service to the elves. It rejected my offer, said it would kill me, assumed its huge emerald green draconic form, swiped at me, and flew up to regard me out of sword range.

A long and fiercely contested battle ensued. Though it took my allies considerable time to climb up and join me in battle, I was able to inflict grievous wounds upon it while sustaining only limited damage in return. My success in withstanding its assaults was due in no small part to Oli’s prowess with protective technology. As my allies trickled in we were able to combine our efforts to turn the tide of battle definitively against the dragon. In the end, I beheaded it just as it sought to fly away in a last ditch effort to escape justice.

We then sorted through its hoard and notes. The notes would be useful for adjusting the wards of Astrazaelian, to protect the city against further violation, and to facilitate our departure with the elves. We were then joined by the mirage Dragon “Cryptic”, who was most impressed by our ability to slay such a mighty foe without any of us falling prey to it. Cryptic volunteered that she had been unable to disclose the nature of the trickery of the hags and dragon in Astrazaelian due to prior agreements enforced by dark magics. Cryptic wished to moved into the city and act as a custodian for it until such time as we could make more permanent arrangements. I was somewhat reluctant on this, but we really had no way to profitably occupy an abandoned city in the Feywild, so putting it in the keeping of a powerful creature that we can at least negotiate with was a reasonable choice. We also agreed to trade Cryptic the green dragon’s lair item for something of equivalent value from her hoard.

The dragon’s notes, supplemented by conferral with Cryptic, led us to the conclusion that the mechanism which used to transport Astrazaelian between the Feywild and our world was connected causally with the changing of the Fey Court from Seelie to Unseelie. As neither of those is readily available (being either missing or dead) it is not at all clear how one would activate the translocation. Terhali gathered the freed elves and we decided to get some rest before returning home, for it had been a long and trying day and the path of the return journey is not entirely clear.

I meditated and felt that I had been a most dutiful servant of the goddess this day. Although the Feywild is a terrible wilderness apparently populated almost entirely by heretical beings with no hope of redemption, we had done great deeds here this day. The capstone being the rescue of the last remnants of one of the great civilizations of the mortal realm. All that despite the fact that we had no idea that it had been imperiled when the day began. Truly the ways of the gods remain mysterious.

Sisters of Astrazaelian

I briefly pursued formal negotiations of alliance with the elves, only to learn that all of their leaders were eaten by the Fomorians, the Sisters, and the Dragon. The remainder are those who were weak enough to be beaten into slavery without magical compulsion. On the plus side it shouldn’t be that difficult to persuade them to do what we want. On the down side, its not at all clear how they will strengthen the empire in the short term. So helping them is both a charity case, to preserve a culture which will otherwise be destroyed, and a long term speculative investment in our shared future, in addition to being a pure exercise in the application of justice. These giants, fake Eladrin, and the dragon have conspired to destroy a civilization, so I intend to make a demonstrative example of all of them.

Terhali and I stealthily scaled the cliff, leaving ropes for our companions, up to the Fomorian camp. Mysteriously, a glowing eye on one of the giants roused it. Terhali whispered that she had been planning to kill a sleeping Fomorian, so I urged her to take down the one which hadn’t stirred while I engaged the waking giant. Terhali’s murderous training proved true and the sleeping Fomorian woke up to find itself dead. The others posed us only a small amount of difficulty when they converged on us. The Fomorians really didn’t live up to their baleful reputation, maybe they put their weak idiots on slave master duty.

On further discussion with the rest of the freed elven slaves they revealed that they’re trapped in Astrazaelian until the Sisters are slain due to some curse. Or at least so the elves believed. I wasn’t inclined to argue as I fully intended go kill them anyway and was happily relieved of the need to convince my compatriots of the necessity.

We approached the tower stealthily and found it to be in significant disrepair. The lower floors had collapsed, leaving the bottommost chamber much of the way up the tower. We entered and the beautiful eladrin woman who had ordered our death in the square greeted us after some tattered curtains pulled back. There was some discussion in elvish that I didn’t understand, but I swiftly made it clear that we were to kill her and hostilities broke out. The Sisters were soon revealed to be Hags. Gaius charged in and got a bit of a thrashing, but then I killed the first eladrin imposter outright in my initial assault and drew the ire of her two surviving sisters and their howling minions. Their peculiar drowsing magic delayed their demise, but it only served to delay the inevitable.

At the end of the fight, we were assaulted by toxic gas from above. Clearly the dragon had been roused and chose to ambush us. I prepared to rush up the tower and assault it, but Gareth opened negotiations in that rustling leaves sounding elvish. Translations of the discussion were sporadic, but Gareth was pursuing his ongoing obsession with draconic wisdom about the time of the Maelstrom’s onset. The dragon believed that all the eladrin were dead because it had heard such from an older dragon who had witnessed the event.

Gareth was beginning to negotiate away some sort of concessions in order to get an introduction to the older dragon, my patience became entirely exhausted. His long winded discussion provided me with a useful delaying tactic to recover and prepare. I flew up through one of the many holes in the ceiling and found a dragon’s hoard and an odd looking man who was conversing with Gareth.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

And So... It Is Time to Fight a Dragon

Joining with these humans (and an eladrin!?!) seems to have lead me to a green dragon. He lives in the ruins of an eladrin city in the Feywild. 

We have fought the fake eladrin—-actually hags—-who have been violating the graves of the dead. We slew fomorian slavers and their cyclops servants, and have freed the remnants of my people, not been sold into slavery. 

I am amazed at the audacity of the humans. The ones I knew in Gloomwraught were sometimes like this, those among the Red Scales perhaps. (Of course, I have not met their peasantry, whom I am sure will be as disappointing as peasants everywhere.) The magical prowess of humanity that released the Maelstrom, however, those are there too. I wish I knew what the Guildmaster would think. 

-Terhali, ex-Labyrinth Forest, ex-Red Scale, ex-Gloomwraught, now of no place in particular.

Science Station Serpentine Strife

The urgency of our mission to recover research from Toymaker Station prevented us from waiting for Ms Fellowsworn’s trial. In preparation for our mission we conducted an interview with Commodore Shrike. We found Commodore Shrike in a set of rooms which were as disorderly as his mind. His answers were not so much evasive as fundamentally confused. He strongly cautioned us against going to the station. He said that none of their research, including such projects as improved engines, and the artificial creation of load stone, ever worked right and none were worth recovery. Though he admitted to no technical proficiency, so his testimony on that count is particularly unreliable. He reported that the problem had begun when they recovered a ship drifting in the Alley that was not a ship. It could not be opened, and then it was. There was nothing inside and then something came out of it. Something maybe pursued even that thing. He said that he didn’t see what came out, he heard the men screaming about snakes in their minds and fled. Given the broken state of his mind and its complete departure with his previous record, it seems there must have been more to the story than that. Perhaps he had blocked out the details of a brutal encounter with something that inflicted psychic damage.

We portaled to the scout vessel approaching Toymaker station and found it had sustained significant damage from the flying rocks of Bone Grinder Alley. We assisted in those repairs and Kong Meng used a ritual to get a direct bearing on Toymaker Station. The station itself proved to be an assemblage of load stone islets rigged together in a somewhat ramshackle arrangement. After being dropped off near the main bay by skiff, we made our way to some heavily reinforced doors.

Thaiel and Raiden attempted to force the doors and managed to wedge open enough space for us to see inside. Raiden and I teleported inside to work on the doors from within. As I began undoing the mechanism which they had mangled we came under attack. Humanoid creatures wielding odd twisty serpentine daggers hurled divine energies at us. The beams created hurtful images of snakes in our minds, which explains some of the story we had gotten from Shrike.

The area proved to be a large bay containing an unusual ship that had downward facing pods where one might have expected engines. The four serpentine dagger wielders were eventually joined by four stealthy archers using some sort of wickedly recurving short bows. The latter fired odd twisty arrows which bore poison. I got the door open for the rest of the team and we were able to overcome all of them.

On further inspection our foes proved to be reptilian humanoids. At no point did we overhear them using a recognizable language, though they fought intelligently and used weapons and armor so we must assume them to have some sort of sentience.

Self Inflicted Wounds

We were able to find a few dukes and duchesses with varying levels of unsavory diabolical blood who would swear loyalty to the empire and work with us on future administration of Lumeria. Lumeria is well supplied with Tieflings arcane warriors, many of whom were willing to swear loyalty to the empire. Despite my misgivings about their religious dispositions, we can at least expect that they are inclined to keep their agreements.

At some point during the night that pirate Orien Blaine made off with our lifepod zeppelin I’d requisitioned for the castle raid, and the young obnoxious consort of lumeria. Something of a mixed blessing, as I’d no good ideas for the disposition of the latter, though I will be greatly annoyed at having to file the loss paperwork for the lifepod. I’ll have that back out of that pirate’s hide if I find him alive. Sadly, he was only the second of our impromptu allies to prove wildly unreliable. Thaiel’s impatience driven murder spree of diabolical cultists of the night before being the first.

Commander Rialle relieved us to head up the diplomatic team. Kissing up to dubious southern nobility is very nearly the task he was born for, so its believable that he won’t screw this up too badly. He also informed me that the Warforged Noname had returned from the scout vessel which had been sent en route to the experimental base and was awaiting us in Vergeance.

I turned command over to Rialle, with a sincere good luck and a warning to watch his back. Not even that sorry excuse for a warrior really deserves to the treacherous political mess in Lumeria. I really wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, and Rialla isn’t competent enough to rate a place on that list.

We portaled to Vergeance, thereby swiftly discharging our promise to Thaiel to deliver her from Lumeria. Oathsworn Auxiliary Noname met us at there and proved to be a very tall battle warforged with an apparently sunny disposition. Raiden and Thaiel wandered off to get drunk, Felicity disappeared, and Kong Men and I went for a brierfing with commodore Shale.

Shale briefly reviewed the tale of how Commodore Shrike had been found half mad floating on some skyborne detritus after the continent shifted. His posting had been a remote Imperial experimental station located in Bonegrinder Alley. They had brought in an abandoned vessel, and then the base had been entirely overwhelmed by something that lay within. Commodore Shrike is the only known survivor and his mind is so fragmented that the nature of the disaster remains a mystery. We will try to extract some useful information from him, as gently as possible, before portaling to the scout vessel which now approaches the station.

Our discussion with Shale was cut short by the delivery of a note to Shale from from Professor Wyndham, chief librarian of Vergeance’s Ioun temple. His note reported that Felicity Fellowsworn had shown up at the Ioun shrine with an unusual and powerful artifact. She had sought its identification and desired the whole project kept secret. Wyndham had advised her to take it to the Oathsworn, but she refused to do so. Shale “suggested”, in the way that only a superior officer can, that my team investigate this immediately.

Kong Meng, Noname, and I proceeded to the bookshop and found Wyndham to be in a rather odd state, very much not with it or entirely himself. He tried to fob the incident off as nothing, then sought to lure me alone to inspect the artifact. On my whispered orders, Kong Meng and Noname followed me surreptitiously. Upstairs I found a novice of the order standing near an odd looking puzzle box, who look at me with surprised recognition and spoke to me in Infernal. It then transformed into the Bone Devil we had slain last night and battle was joined.

It was accompanied by two swarm devils and two odd brain clamping devils who sought to mentally dominate their foes. I retreated down the stairs to provide us a choke point so that their superior numbers would not be so advantageous. By deploying various devices we kept most of them contained for long enough for Thaiel, Raiden, and Felicity to show up to aid us in the struggle. At the end, the craven Bone Devil teleported out, but his flight did not avail him for I brought him down from the rooftops and Kong Meng provided an arcane gate for the team to immediately close the distance and destroy it.

Further investigation found that Wyndham had been under the sway of one of the domination devils. Once freed he was able to fill us in on the fact that as they studied the artifact, one novice sought to take a sample and activated it. The artifact in question is a Ritual Cube, normally not a baneful object, but this one contained a Gate ritual which was connected to Hell. Clearly this was one of the methods by which devils were brought to Lumeria. The resulting gate brought in several devils who then dominated Ioun’s attendants, or slew those who failed as hosts. A dozen citizens lay dead as a direct result of the exceedingly poor decision making of our third unreliable ally, Felicity.

Vehement discussions regarding the situation followed. Felicity spun a hard to believe tale to excuse her theft of the artifact from the vault of Lumeria. She had somehow conflated the fact that the attempted capture of Lumeria resulted in his death as amounting to the Oathsworn not being competent to handle dangerous artifacts. The fact that Felicity made every effort during said battle to kill the Baron did not improve her credibility. The further testimony of Wyndham regarding her desire for a valuation and secrecy was even more damning. Her strongly adversarial manner from the start of the discussion, combined with her flagrant irresponsibility in leaving a mysterious artifact unguarded after obtaining it from a vault owned by a devil worshiper which had been guarded by devils, all spoke ill of her motives and character. Finally, the deaths of a dozen civilians along with substantial damage to the shrine of Ioun led me to the conclusion that formal charges must be brought against Ms Fellowsworn.

Felicity strongly, although ineffectively and combatively, protested her innocence and Noname somewhat inexplicably rallied to her defense. Kong Meng agreed with my conclusion, but chose to ameliorate the impact of the incident by initiating raise dead rituals for all of the fallen using his own supply of materials. Raiden injected a lot of bizarre and unhelpful anti-Ioun pro Kord sermonizing into the proceedings. Like all Kord followers, he’s handy to have on your side in a fight, but an often debilitating wild card outside of one. Eventually an Oathsworn detail showed up and took Ms Fellowsworn into custody.

We might be able to get the charges down to reckless endangerment, but I really don’t know we’re going to manage a trial in the time that we have before the mission to Bone Grinder alley. We certainly can’t take this team on a remote mission, especially not one of the wildly perilous and lacking in tacintel variety generally assigned to alpha team, without resolving some of this acrimony first.

- Oathsworn Captain Hibernius Lapidus

Terhali's Journal: It Just Gets Worse and Worse

I returned to the Feywild. I do not know how many decades it has been. Time has not moved smoothly for me.

 Nonetheless, I have hoped to return to my folk, only to find them taken into the clutches of impostor eladrin led by a green dragon, and fomorian slavers. To make matters worse, the remainder of my folk have been employed to dig up the honorably buried remains of eladrin from centuries ago. I have an understanding of the ways of death, but these impostors, their draconic master and the fomorians they have sold my folk to will come to feel my blade. Hopefully it will be possible to lead the survivors out of slavery. 


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