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