Skystorm

Treachery, Skullduggery, and Slavery in Astrazalean

I was right to mistrust our hosts, but judgment regarding the Eladrin’s worthiness must be withheld. The creatures we found in Astrazalian have been revealed as imposters.

The beautiful Eladrin woman returned after an hour and said they had decided to kill us. We had the option of succumbing to her sleep powder and dying with beautiful dreams, or simply being cut down. Terhali tried to talk her out of it, but she was unmoved. She then called forth several more knights and some sort of priestess who all had the same oddly mute, undead looking, yet breathing, characteristics as the first armored figure to greet us. She cast a powder over us which knocked half of us into a deep slumber. Then she sashayed away as the priestess began slaughtering those who slept, starting with the centaurs.

Miraculously, a previously unseen, tiny faerie creature came to our rescue by cracking the magic circle. Those us who remained standing, Terhali, Gareth, Giaus, and I immediately fell upon our would be murderers. They proved to be extremely skilled warriors, though their equipment was largely decorative funereal items. As we fought, I found that the divine light hurt them and they attacked us with the corrupting taint of the grave. When we cut down the priestess she turned out to have been a dead eladrin who had been animated by an odd glowing ghostly wormlike parasite which arose from her body. Each of our foes arose again in turn as floating insubstantial worms when we had struck down their animated bodies. Fortunately they remained vulnerable to my divine assaults, and Gormek Uzaq’s when he finally woke up, and so we were able to dispatch them all.

Once peace was restored, and we woke Oli up, the fairie returned to talk to us. It had hoped that Oli was the vanguard of a returning force of Eladrin. Feeling somehow beholden to serve Eladrin, Flutterby the Faerie, chose to serve Oli. She informed us that Astrazalian is now the domain of a great ancient green dragon. The “Sisters” serve that dragon and appear to be leading the Eladrin imposter conspiracy. Under that guise they were able to convince the entire elven nation to follow them into the feywild. Once in Astrazalian the Elves were overcome and largely sold into slaver to Fomorian Giants. The latter being some sort of subterranean race of evil magical giants native to the Feywild. Some number (thousands?) remain in Astrazalian and are chained as work gangs to disinter Eladrin from the catacombs.

Flutterby led us through the deserted city to a large ruined temple complex. There we found a team of elvish slaves, asleep in the pit, with Fomarians encamped above Map of Camp

We plan to save these elves. Perhaps we can use Astrazalian as a fey passage to get them away from here. We should negotiate terms of alliance with them when we find a representative with the authority to do so. Historically the elves have chosen to avoid all contact with humanity. Clearly their policies have utterly failed them and it is time for them to work with us. Saving them from extra-planar enslavement should be a good opening move. Erathis counsels us not to rely on gratitude when a firm contract can be arranged.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius.

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Fearsome and Fearful Fey

After dividing up the treasures recovered in our journey, we discussed meeting the Bright Ones with the centaur, Heather, and eventually convinced her to guide us all (instead of of only Terhali and Oli) to the rendezvous point in the Feywild intended for straggler Elves. Our transit to the feywild via a Fey Crossing outside of Elvenhome was then accomplished fairly easily. Though the experience itself is somewhat alarming in that it lacks the swift motion of a linked portal and is instead a more subtle transformation of the landscape until one finds oneself in a very different place.

Heather guided us through a forest of miniature redwoods for a full day’s journey by phantom steed. The transit occurred without incident, aside from the unusual flora and fauna. We made camp as dusk settled within sight of a swamp that lay between us and the barely visible distant towers of a fey city. A strange figure approached us and spoke to us in elven, common, and apparently in draconic to Gourmek Ouzak.

He/She offered us the use name Cryptic, and was keen to have us trade all our weapons to it for safe passage through the swamp. Over time it became clear that it claimed, to Gourmek Ouzak, to be some kind of dragon, and its rapacious nature lent some credence to the claim. Gareth prevailed upon it for a further introduction to ancient dragons of its kinds who might be able to further inform us about the breaking of the world. Cryptic agreed to provide a letter of introduction and safe passage for the price of all our worldly possessions. We greeted this offer somewhat coldly and noted that we did not consider slaying it beyond our capabilities. Negotiations proceeded, and when I illustrated the majesty of high default load stone we were able to persuade Cryptic to accept a few acres of it as a basis for a floating lair in lieu of other payment.

Further study made it clear to us that cheap and common low default loadstone is good for hundreds of feet of lift here, so the only real expense will simply be in transporting enough of it to the Feywild. Similar payment may be viable as bribes to other dragonkind as necessary.

I would rather have slain the beast, for I have yet to count a dragon amongst my vanquished foes. However, establishing our first relations with natives of the Feywild on a peaceful basis is a good first foot forward for the Empire of Avernus. Acceding to Gourmek Ouzak’s request, Cryptic then revealed herself to be a large mirror plated dragon. A beautiful and deadly creature whose defeat would have been glorious.

Cryptic’s word was good, so our passage through the swamp was peaceful, if slow and uncomfortable. A closer view of the city triggered Oli to remember that she had the portal coordinates for the city of Astrazalian. Which she was also sure to be the city at the end of our path. The temptation to skip the rest of the swamp was overwhelming, so Oli setup the portal and we stepped through.

We found ourselves in very large abandoned city with a beautiful, but alien, architecture. The Eladrin had also completely warded the circle against everything. So we found ourselves trapped. Eventually we were approached by a bizarre man/elf/thing? in black plate who moved with some of the exhausted shambling of an undead, but clearly breathed. He was called off by a beautiful Eladrin woman. She then spoke at length and with clear discomfort with Oli, Gareth, and Terhali.

The details of the talks escaped me as they were held entirely in elvish. The occasional translation made the following items reasonably clear. The Eladrin still want nothing to do with humanity, hold no prospect for preventing the escape of the prisoner within the maelstrom, want us to go away and never darken their door again, and are generally a bunch of standoffish useless jerks. The only concessions we were able to wring from them were that Terhali and Oli might be allowed to visit their kin, and that she would bear Gareth’s message from Torog and our embassy to the others.

So far my every instinct about the Eladrin has proven 100% true. I take no joy from being right in that regard so far. Had my foresight extended to realizing that our quest for extraplanar disappointment would require only peaceable diplomacy, and a lot of sitting around listening a lot of jibber jabber in moon man language, I’d have sent one of Erathis’ extremely capable negotiators in my stead. They are great at these boring all talk no killing situations. At least I should be able to catch up on my reading.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Overly oculated occult horrors from across the 5th dimension

After hastily packing up what could be recovered of the treasury, we headed to the immense runed doors through which the tentacle had pulled the hapless devil. Though of immense weight, Thaiel Two-Swords opened them without much strain. Beyond them we beheld a large cavern, perhaps a bit over 100’ in diameter, rough hewn from the rock of the mountain. A metal ramp led down to a bizarrely twisty spire that rose up 20’ above us.

The plinth ( building? / tower? its purpose was unclear) appeared to be the tip of a much larger structure which had been excavated, probably in the time of Lumeria I. The plinth itself was of much more ancient contruction, bearing some sigils reminiscent of the tentacled brain eating flayer noted in Emperor Marcus’ ascent through the underdark. Kong Meng had a disturbing insight into it and asserted that the construct itself preceded the Dawn War and was associated with aberrant entities that are not from our universe. Regardless, the structure itself had an uncertain geometry and was eye watering to behold due its corners and curves refusing to conform to proper rules.

Orien fearlessly moved up to the top, following the trail of blood, to investigate an indescribable anomaly there where the tracks simply ended. His movements attracted the attentions of the bizarre entity which touches upon our world in this place. The main manifestation of it took the form of a flying 15’ diameter blackish grey spheriod creature primarily composed of an immense eye above a mouth surrounded by additional smaller eyes on stalks. It attacked us by casting various baneful magical rays at us from its many eyes, and beset us with more of the free floating tentacles we had encountered above. It gave us a hard fight, but was eventually smashed by our combined might. It then bellowed and the remains retreated from us in some impossible direction. We had the sense that we had driven away whatever motivated it, but that it was part of some much greater whole beyond our comprehension.

We debated various ways to deal with it. Raiden favored massive excavation to drop the entire thing through the bottom of the continent into the maelstrom. I am skeptical that we even possess the means to do that. Pondering the list of experts remaining in the empire we could not think of any better suited to the task than we are. Nonetheless we doubt our ability to restore the wards at the strength that had been maintained by diabolic compact. We initially tried to place a magic circle on the pinnacle of the plinth, but found it impossible to draw a circle on that impossible geometry.

We settled for placing a circle against aberration upon the doors, sealing the doors with arcane lock, and then shielding the doors from intrusion on our side with an arcane barrier. I activated a ritual candle Keffin had lent us to aid our efforts. (Next time I see him I will upbraid him for his insolent instruction labels. “apply fire to wick” indeed.) Our results seem strong and sound, if somewhat less potent than the previous hell powered wards. Perhaps the empire yet contains someone capable of reinforcing these efforts through divine agency.

On returning to the main room above we found our captives still bound. Thaiel insisted upon rousing them for some ill considered attempt to sway them from their diabolic devotions. She slew them when they did not. Had either of them given honorable surrender, and/or not been Fiends, I would have felt obliged to intercede. I judged that following the letter of the laws regarding the lethal exception regarding dealing with fiends was best served by not wasting our time or subjecting command to whatever tempting lies they could manufacture if given time and opportunity. Those two were assuredly more fiend than man.

Regrettably, the girl consort of Lumeria was brought down from the dirigible just in time to witness Thaiel putting “Rose” to the sword. She seems entirely deluded by this whole diabolic sham. She’s going to need extensive counseling. It seems as though many of those here will need extensive rehabilitation and reorientation. Those who are in power have so far all been true believers in the lies of Asmodeus. Those who serve here, like the girl, know nothing of freedom or the outside world, only the iron hand of subjugation.

I issued a sending to command asking for instructions. “Lumeria regrettably slain resisting arrest. His death unleashed unspeakable horror formerly bound by diabolic pact. Aberration slain and contained. Barony not yet secured. Orders?” All I got back was an apparently astonished “WTF?”. We really need someone with more aplomb to report to than Rialle, as that was entirely unhelpful.

Given that a rabble outside had begun to shout and hammer upon the doors, and that command was unlikely to issue useful instructions any time soon, I gave the following orders. We would announce that:
1. The otherworldly threat had been put down and so the city is now safe.
2. Baron Lumeria has been deposed
3. Lumeria is now under martial law under Emperor Marcus and the Oathsworn.
4. Lumeria is free of baronial control.
5. We will accept deputations regarding ongoing administration and organization of Lumeria in the morning.
6. Everyone should peacefully return to their homes and think about their new found freedom.

This was sufficient information and reassurance to turn away the crowd and leave to rest from our long day of many battles against the infernal and aberrant.

We chose not to make any pronouncements regarding their religion as that isn’t a problem we will be able to solve by decree. We’ll try to get some divine orators in here to give these ignorant folks some ideas about a different way of life.

Several notes arrived from various nobles. We will no doubt have to suffer through some tedious discussions with them. Regrettably, anyone in the city with any rank or experience is extremely likely to be a diabolist. If not, then they must have been sufficiently convincing liars to play along with the centuries old Lumerian state sponsored heretical religion. In neither case are they particularly trustworthy. This leaves us with the difficult situation that anyone here who had the merit to rise to power is almost certainly not someone we want to leave in charge of anything important. Anyone they know and trust is not someone we would want to trust, so a compromise position will be difficult to reach.

Installing someone from outside will be an imposition requiring the deployment of additional forces to maintain security against insurrection and betrayal. If the Oathsworn has anyone trustworthy who ran away from the horrors of Lumeria, who is savvy enough to survive this vipers nest, they might be a suitable middle ground. Someone like Quartermaster Infierna might be our best choice as interim governor.

Kong Meng has some crazy idea about these people developing their own form of government. I seriously doubt enough of them have the mental frame of reference with which to do such a thing. They have known only the hierarchy of master and slave enforced by tyrannical authority and diabolic heresy for centuries. Maybe they can get there some day, but we need to replace the current power structure first and then educate them about options, or this place will collapse into dueling factions of power mad nobles in a hot messy second.

- Oathsworn Captain Hibernius Lapidus

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Dueling Devils in the Deep

As we rested and prepared to go below, Felicity called out that we had company. This was followed by the sighting of a truce flag. Held out by Thaiel Two-Swords, a well reputed duelist of the southern lands. She had been here under contract to Baron Lumeria to train him at fencing. Her lessons had taken well, but the terms of her contract held her in Lumeria beyond her taste for it. She was happy to be freed from her contract by the recent death of the Baron and agreed to fight by our sides in return for passage to Vergence.

We elected to rouse the priestly devil to learn a bit more about what we faced. He knew little of value other than the basic layout of the catacombs and that the thing which had been unleashed was beyond the powers of the most powerful devils that could be summoned. So we put him back under. Our attempt to setup a portal back to Vergence was interrupted by acidic tentacles phasing through the floor. We dumped the consort on the dirigible and left the devils trussed up on the levitating floating table.

We headed towards the sound of screams, but they soon stopped. We then heard talking in Supernal, which Raiden indicated was devils looting the treasury of artifacts. I ordered that those artifacts be requisitioned for the Empire and battle was joined. We found ourselves fighting two more soldier demons, a kyton, and a misfortune devil, backed up by two bone devils. It was an extremely difficult fight and we were lucky to have a new ally freshly rested up for battle. During the battle several more tentacles appeared which attacked us and the devils without regard. Each time the tentacles attacked they sought to grab one of us and drag them off to the runed double doors at the end of the hall. We witnessed one dissolving the dying misfortune devil to bits to haul it through the doors.

Regrettably, some of the treasury was burnt up as collateral damage while we destroyed the bone devils. We recovered some priceless artifacts and gold (see invoice) and prepared to face whatever tentacled horror lies beyond the doors.

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Delousing and Dousing Deciduous Defenses

Once we had the sniper teams in place we set about neutralizing the other Firbolg ship and in dispersing the Firbolg camp. The mortar and rocket rounds, along with range extended bolts, proved quite effective on both counts.  Though the Firbolg are remarkably tough, they were not up to withstanding Oathsworn teams when the latter have air superiority.

We then descended down our anchoring tree and scaled up the newly smoldering guardian redwood. We entered the tree through one of the huge holes which had been bored through the living wood.  Through the smoke I heard the sounds of the insectile skittering, but on an unusually large scale. Gaius moved in and the sounds stopped and shifted to a more urgent rhythm. Gaius charged into the smoke and our battle began.

The creature the Firbolg described as a fire wyrm was identified as a Remhoraz, a natural creature of sorts rather than something corrupted by the maelstrom. It swallowed Marcus and then spat him back at us.  Meanwhile the insubstantial raven cloaked figure returned to harry us. Though beset by flame, fangs, trampling, and the sniping of that Firbolg, we overcame all and slew them both. Though Gareth only survived by dint of Oli’s timely application of healing technology.

Oli doused the flames of that tree and we turned our attention to the one which was burning brightly. Gareth suggested an application of the frost magic ring which we  had recovered from the Centaurs. After applying some Oli’s protective magics, Gareth walked into the heart of the fire and quenched it through frost emanations. It was refreshing to see Gareth using magic to help a living thing, after his career of leaving a trail of burnt earth in his wake as The Heretic. Oli then doused the remaining flames.  

The tree itself still seemed too weak to withstand a storm, so we spent the next day patching it with wood recovered from scrapping the other Firbolg longship.  Oli reapplied the runes to return the tree to a reasonable level of bulwark functionality.

Additional support then arrived in the form of scout destroyers and a supply ship. Gaius transferred local station responsibility to it’s captain to continue hunting Firbolg and to protect the trees from further assault.

Arguments regarding our next move wrt to Feywild and Eladrin issues then ensued. Oli and Terhali favored an immediate departure for the Feywild. Gaius preferred a return to Vergence for debriefing.  

I have not yet expressed my full feelings on this matter to the others. For my part I do not feel particularly drawn to the feywild. Nor do I share their optimism that contact with the fabled and long missing Eladrin will greatly benefit us. They left and stayed away for their own reasons. They sent emissaries only to their elvish kin and none to Avernia or our  allies. Based on all available evidence they are planning to abandon us to our face our fate, Presumably, they hope that the Eye will be sufficiently distracted by devouring us.  Perhaps we can persuade them to aid us with more information that has low risk for them.  If we are subtle in our negotiations, they may come to the conclusion that they can strengthen us to impede the Eye at little cost to themselves. I think that is best we can hope for from them.

I counseled for a cautious approach, for running heedlessly into the feywild hoping to attract the attention of the legendarily fickle Eladrin is a high risk action with low probability of success.  Our only reasonable chance of success depends on the captive centaurs, currently in Vergence, being able to make good on their mission of delivering Oli and Terhali to the centaur’s Masters. Determining the viability of that scheme, now that the last prearranged fey crossing pickup has passed, requires us to go to Vergence to interview the centaurs and take them with us.

Oli agreed with me regarding the necessity of an interim stop in Vergence with extreme reluctance and expressed her angry frustration with such delays. Terhali was even more reluctant, for she has her own agenda in the feywild independent of our concerns. She agreed to come with us and give testimony to the oathsworn only after demanding  assurances that she would remain free to go as she would thereafter. 

Oli portaled us to Vergence where we were exhaustively debriefed by command regarding our experiences with the Firbolg and the labyrinth wood. Terhali gave additional testimony wrt to her personal history both in Gloomwrought and long before that in Elvenhome.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Terhali's Journal
It has been some time since I returned from the Shadowfell to the lands of my home. Things appear to be quite a disaster here. It seems that all of my folk have departed to the Feywild. Where did they go?

Since returning, I have been chased by centaurs in the service of "the masters" from the Feywild—-presumably some of the long-lost eladrin—-dodged annoyingly rhyming firbolg giants in the service of the thrymspakers (who are they?), killed several of the firbolg in a brutal fight, and questioned a berserker firbolg who got sent through a magical gate(!?!?!) with Geormek Uzek. (Who are these folk I have fallen in with?)

Visiting the capital was disturbing, though it is clear my folk left voluntarily, though perhaps they were deceived. However, we used one of the observation balloons to examine the Guardian Redwoods, and were able to determine where the remaining firebeast and firbolg were. We went and took one of the ships from the firbolg, at which point another of these potent magical gates opened, revealing Geormek Uzek and some gnomes with more apparatus, which proved to be fire casters of great potency. 

I need to find the raven-cloaked giantess as well. Are followers of the Raven Queen involved with the thrymspakers? That would be most disturbing, if so. Or perhaps she is a fallen one? 
 
Now we are going to attack the remaining firebeast…. 
 
 
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Fiery Firbolg Ship Stealing

After conferring with command in Vergence we determined that it would be beneficial to obtain the coordinates for the circle at Elven home to facilitate securing Elven home in the future. However, the long ride by phantom steed would not be feasible for our centaur prisoners, so we portaled them to Vergence, accompanied by Gormek Uzak who took the opportunity to visit the library. Terhali then led us to the arboreal city of Elvenhome.

It was much like the smaller settlements, concealed in the treetops and entirely abandoned. The only additional information we found was a note in elvish stating that they were all emigrating to the Feywild at the behest of beings who they chose not to name, but which must have been the aforementioned Eladrin masters of the Centaurs we captured. They also left a schedule of fey crossing pickup locations hidden in trailsign, all but one of these, one far to the west near the great tree rimwall, had already passed. A bit of high altitude scouting, aided by a telescope recovered from a leftover elven spotting balloon, revealed the flaming trees at the rimwall signifying the invader’s activities. We located the portal and shipped the coordinates through. Command recommended that we proceed to the trees and do what we could to intercede.

We spent the rest of the night and much of the day flying westward on phantom steeds. We found a large camp, with approximately thirty Firbolg resting in it, two giant ships anchored above the trees, and two guardian redwood trees on fire north of the camp. The northernmost one appeared to have some kind of creature burrowing through it and a few Firbolg were in each flaming tree, though we were not close enough to determine what they were doing. Given that the camp was only a few hundred yards from the camp it was clear that they would be able to reinforce the wyrm’s position swiftly and with overwhelming force.

We decided to go after their ships. Being too far away for the camp to reinforce and only lightly manned, these would be the easier targets. Furthermore, once taken they could be reinforced by oathsworn with siege weapons who we could reverse portal into position. After apprising command to be ready, Terhali, Gareth and myself climbed an anchoring tree and the immense rope while Oli and Commander Gaius flew up on Oli’s clockwork hippogriff.

We faced two hunters and one elite hunter who were swiftly joined by a shaman and some sort of raven cloaked woman who alternated between solidity to attack and ghostly immaterial form for defensive evasion. The Firbolg proved again to be strong combatants, but we eventually overcame them after a pitched battle. Except for the insubstantial female who escaped me by trying to set the ship on fire, and then falling through the floor towards the maelstrom before flying off towards the camp to raise the alarm.

After Oli quelled the fire, we secured the ship and portaled in a few oathsworn sniper teams. Along with them came Sprocket the gnome who was armed with numerous rockets and extended range crossbow bolts that he was keen to field test, and we were rejoined by Geormek Uzaq.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Coitus Interruptus with Extreme Prejudice

On interrogation of the lone survivor of the relief for the gate guard it became clear that state religion of Lumeria is the worship of Asmodeus under a false name. They believe that their worship of this being will save them from the Maelstrom. They also label the other gods “the ignorant”, which while insulting is not entirely inaccurate with respect to the matters covered in other eyes only reports.

After crushing the changing of the guard at the wall we proceeded to a high hilltop to survey the capital city. Being built into the side of mountain it proved to be a very vertical city with the palace at the top of many switchbacks through the town. The town itself was odd for having no civilian activity after dusk. Just patrols along roads and walls well lit by gas lamps.

We considered several approaches through the town and I ultimately overruled these ground pounding approaches. We’re the Oathsworn, we do not sneak up fortified emplacements like thieves in the night when we can simply drop down on them from above. I ordered up a lifeboat dirigible via reverse portal. I then applied field upgrades to silence the engines and the anchor grapples. Orien capably piloted it down onto the roof of the palace without detection. Felicity easily overcame the rusty old locks barring the roof entry into the palace and we secured access into the main hall with none the wiser.

There we came upon a shocking scene. In a hall lit by sweltering bonfires, beneath a pentagram symbol, and accompanied by the use of blood magic by athame, and ritual incantations in Supernal the Baron Lumeria was poised on the verge of coitus with the young maiden mentioned in earlier reports as his new consort. The latter incantations were spoken by a horned devil (the archetype of a Tiefling) and a woman of diabolical beauty. I interrupted the proceedings by proclaiming our arrest warrant for him.

A brief negotiation period followed wherein it became clear that they sincerely believe in their false religion and regard mixing with fiends as part of their holy duty towards some sort of salvation. Lumeria stated that the diabolic assassination team that went after Marcus had been given over to Vastia for his own purposes. Thereby giving us Lumeria’s statement in front of witnesses to an officer of the empire regarding the depth of Vastia’s treasonous behavior. After being presented with the arrest warrant, the Baron resisted arrest by stating that Emperor Marcus is a pretender with no authority to issues such orders. I commanded Alpha team to attack and to take him alive if possible. Battle was swiftly joined.

The Baron proved quite proficient with a flame sword and certain domination powers as he ordered previously unseen full blooded devils into action against us. Despite their best efforts, the Baron was felled. Regrettably, he fell at the feet of one of my devices and slain by it before I could order it off. I take full responsibility for falling short of the mission objective in this fashion, but circumstances were extraordinarily trying as two members of alpha team were nearly slain in the conflict. The palace itself shook with a momentous boom when he fell and his horned devil ritualist entered into an animated dialogue in Supernal with Lord Raiden whilst trying to carry off the supine maiden. We knocked him, and the devil woman, out for later questioning. The maiden was knocked unconscious as a side effect of preventing the horned one from making an escape by teleportation.

Though I am not entirely clear on the details of the devil’s brief discussion with Raiden, it seems as though the death of Lumeria without heir has broken a diabolical compact they had made and freed some trapped horrors below. As we cannot leave even these misguided, and dramatically impure, citizens of Lumeria to the merciless onslaught of whatever was trapped by compact, we ready ourselves to destroy whatever lies behind the inhuman howls and cries we hear coming up from below.

signed,
Oathsworn Captain Hibernius Lapidus

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Rocking Roadblock Rumble

After we defeated the Lumerian patrol (refer to copy of note attached to prisoners deposited previously) we continued our mission into Lumeria. En route to the sentry point we were joined by Felicity Fellowsworn an adventurous young woman who had previously accompanied Alpha team on their pre-Shadowfell missions. Though unexpected, her arrival was most welcome. Our Barony conquering team was made 20% stronger by her addition, for though she is a mere slip of a girl, she proved able to hold her own in a fight.

Proceeding up the road we took on the guise of the patrol and this got us within striking distance of the Lumerian sentry point. Lumeria has erected a 70’ tall wall across the main pass guarded by a huge clockwork siege tower of the fine Neverian craftsmanship of Esquire Arms. Our ruse did not fool the tower for we did not have the password. After it initiated hostilities, we soon found it was backed up by two large tesla coil emplacements within the wall. They fought competently, but were no match for the ferocity of Alpha team and my toys.

We questioned the one soldier who surrendered and found him cooperative. He was keen to be away from Lumeria and I recommend charges not be laid against him for actions taken as a sentry. Whatever terrible liberties might be taken by Lumerian soldiery, this one seemed to have potential for redemption in the service of the honorable Oathsworn at some future time. He gave us directions to an abandoned farmhouse, warned us of the imminent (dusk) changing of the guard, and told us what little he knew of the enslavement that befell the refugees who were unlucky enough to reach Lumeria. He also plead convincingly that the diabolical excesses of the nobility should not be held against the bulk of the citizens of Lumeria.

A program of interbreeding with devils is quite widespread and advanced in Lumeria. The previous policy of non-intervention did not serve us well, for it left Lumeria to fester for nine generations. Indeed, if that soldier can be believed, then the Oathsworn estimates of Lumeria’s population underestimate it by a factor of 4. The diabolical infestation of generations has resulted in a population where nearly as many citizens have a touch of devil’s blood as not. Lumeria selects those with the most potent, and physically subtle, traits for special advancement. Anyone who tests positive for significant fire resistance should be considered highly suspect. Winnowing out the unrepentant and unredeemable from the hapless innocents will not be swiftly or easily done. Alpha team will aim to defeat the worst of them, but a team of patient, incorruptible, and ingenious members will be necessary to handle those that escape us in the aftermath. That is not a task which plays to Alpha team’s strengths. Qualified divine authorities who can be convinced to take up the task would be invaluable.

Contemplating the palace in the distance we consider that our best course will be a fast assault to deny their leaders the time to organize a defense against us.

signed,
Oathsworn Captain Hibernius Lapidus

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Current Events

The GIPTA have not yet discovered a clear solution for the sinkhole through which the Karad River is draining. Sereral ideas seem promising, but nothing practical yet. Restoring this flow would allow them to start rebuilding the Oathsworn Fleet. The most promising idea to date involves floating over several lodestone masses from Bonegrinder Alley that would find the correct equilibrium to help plug the hole.

The Techpriests of Torog specialize in enslaving the will of their slaves. In particular, they seem to have had a particular hold on securing Warforged. Recent Oathsworn-funded research has discovered their method involved partially dismantling them and reconnecting some sort of command override circuit with their own dark splicing, including a lethal self-destruct mechanism to prevent tampering. This connection was apparently voluntarily disconnected within all Warforged long ago, at least within the half-dozen volunteers to undergo the procedure so far.

Currently, Vergence, its allied Baronies, and the GIPTA all have food to last only a few more weeks. The dwarves have not as yet disclosed or been asked to disclose their current stockpiles. It is well known that Vastia siloed considerable amounts regularly, and was barely affected by the plunge into the Maelstrom, protected as it is by its guardian pillars, modeled after the redwoods of the elves.

A GIPTA expedition has found hundreds of square miles of unharvested wheat in a part of the Feywild corresponding to Castica and Neveria in the Prime Material. It seems to have been recently abandoned by some sort of giant tenders. They currently are seeking a way to harvest it and bring it back to the Prime Material. It would benefit the Oathsworn greatly if it crossed to the Prime Material in their location, they was distributed to the GIPTA, rather than traveling all the way to the GIPTA first, then having to travel back at their behest.
Lt. Emelia Vale and the Quartermaster Infierna continue their research to try and find a nearby Fey crossing which would allow the crops to come over directly to the allied baronies, rather than traveling to the GIPTA first.

The continent has almost finished shifting. It seems to be shifting a full ninety degrees, making the Cragg and Vergence some of the furthest South points on Zhia, while the Labyrinth Wood now faces West, the GIPTA East, and presumably leaving the Goblin city of Promontory Point far, far to the North.

The forces of Baron Vastia continue to fight against the guerrilla forces of the Castican Guard and what Oathsworn can be spared within Castica. Three ships from his mostly merchant-converted flotilla have laid a seige to the Castican seat, a maneuver which has yet to erupt in bloodshed. The Pretender Argus VII continues to be ensconced within the Vastian seat with the former and current barons Vastia. In a strategic gamble, the Oathsworn have requested their Dwarven allies pull back from harrowing actions against the Craggen, in preparation for a move against Vastia.

Kodanian refugees have begun leaving offerings on the curb just outside the temple of Bahamut in Vergence. These seem not to focus on veneration, but rather prayers of thanks for the “Black Wu Jen.”

The docks at Vergence have been busy building and converting anything they can beg, borrow, or steal. They seem within a few weeks of completion on two stripped-down scout destroyers, though they might lack the original model’s stealth capability and mount fewer weapons.

An as-yet unknown Commodore Thaddeus Shrike arrived at Vergence, fully ignorant of recent events and more than half-crazed. Apparently, he had been assigned to a secret Imperial research facility deep within Bonegrinder Alley. Amongst his many ramblings, command has determined the facility brought a derelict ship of unknown design aboard for study, though empty. Apparently, whatever was in the ship escaped and started massacring the base personnel. The Commodore escaped, only to crash and drift on an islet for weeks until he was found by a passing merchant ship. A captured Craggen vessel was sent with No Name to investigate; they are to report when they are close to on-site, so a team may portal in to their ship.

The Shadar Kai have agreed to stop raiding outlying settlements and kidnapping people, in exchange for an envoy to Vergence to learn how to make their ships run on energies other than pain, and permission to openly proselytize their way of life and seek voluntary converts. Their first visit is expected within the week, providing the captured priest can be taken at his word.

Javelin, a Warforged and long-time Oathsworn auxiliary, is still AWOL. He did not show up for his watch on the walls one night, prompting a fruitless search of the city. A month later, they have yet to turn up anything regarding his whereabouts.

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