Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 30 July 2014
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The party follows the elf inside the tower to discover that it is entirely hollow. The icy eladrin reveals that his actual name is is Orr – a representation of Haestus Or’Bethranyl. He says they are at the doorway to Tel’Nix. It is warmer in here, so Maia dumps Faith next to a warm crystal wall to wake him up. A confusing conversation ensues, as Haestus (or ‘Orr’) is an ice construct that appears to have some memories of a long dead or no longer present elf that he doesn’t really seem to know about. He’s only been in existence for about six hours – since the time the party broke the Cap.
Orr explains that the starlight barrier stops the Ia (the virus) from penetrating. He doesn’t know how to leave this land, as he’s the gatekeeper to Tel’Nix and doesn’t need to know anything else. The doorway to Tel’Nix is a purple portal at the very top of the tower (and the origin of the light that is shining into the sky). With Quarlius’s magic up the spout, Maia’s windsoul powers on the fritz and Faith’s wings missing in action, getting up to the portal seems something of a challenge. Maia suggests climbing up the ice wall around the outside of the power. No-one else shares her enthusiasm.
Haestas/Orr makes it easier, and conjures a ladder up the outside of the tower. The trio climb hundreds of feet to the apex where they find a crackling ball of golden energy. Maia runs over and dives in. The other follow more sedately.
At the other end of the portal, Maia notices she’s arrived 50 feet above a similarly designed tower (although not made of ice). Keeping her nerve as she plummets grabs on to the pinnacle of the tower and slides down with all the style of a seasoned pole-dancer. She’s placed her feet safely on an upper done when she sees Faith and Quarlius tumble past her. They slide down the roof and come to rest some way below Maia. They are about 200 feet above the ground on a very thin secondary spire. Maia takes in the view. The sky is still pink. A purplish-whitish mist covers the city below us. The city is shaped liked a snowflake
The three begin to head down the side of the building, some more gracefully than others. Faith simply falls from ledge to ledge. Maia gives the hopeless Quarlius a piggy back. Eventually, they reach the highest balcony, and Maia knocks on the door. A beautiful, yet puzzled, blonde haired elven woman opens the door. Despite her looks, Quarlius doesn’t think that she’s an elf… although she’s not quite an eladrin either. When she speaks, she speaks in High Fey – a language that only Quarlius can understand. She introduces herself as Ylis, and says that we are in the home of Lady Britta of the Houses of Memory. Quarlius recognises the term. It’s an old style of local government in the Kingdom. It’s actually pre-kingdom; he is intrigued.
Ylis goes to get her mistress, leaving us to peruse the small library in the room. Maia looks for books with rude pictures in them. Quarlius has found a tome on the ‘Great Shames of the Kingdom’ when Brytta arrives. She is more mature, bt no less beautiful than Ylis, with blonde hair silver eyes. She has a presence that is close to Thraelian – a certain understated power. Maia thinks she seems nice. Britta tells us that we are on the ethereal plane, but aside from the mythal that protects the city, magic is no longer working for the elves. She doesn’t know how we might get home. However, she’s an historian and not an expert on these matters. She suggests that we speak to the head of the House of Runes.
The best idea is to go and see the chap in charge. This is Coronal Haestus Or’Bethranyl, and he’s apparently more than 17,000 years old. Haestus was an original servant of the Bethranyls and is more eladrin than elf. The nature of this place begins to make more sense in Quarlius’s mind. Britta says that there are seven Moon Blades in the city, as well as an armada of elven flying ships – although of them currently non-functional. Looks as though these elves looted the eladrin treasury when they had the chance.
Soon after, the party have arrived inside audience chamber. Around the throne arguing are three men and two women. There’s a very old eladrin here (Haestus). The others present are introduced as
Captain Agor of the Wild Hunt – light green armour
Captain Sirel of the Wounded Heart – black armour – of the Order of Cold Iron
Captain Immarennis of the Order of Pegasus – sky blue and silver armour
Lady in White is Callana the White – Order of the Unicorn
Yohan Greenheart of the Order of the Millennium Tree – in traditional armour embossed with a tree
Elathia the Icewall Maiden of the Order of the Dragon – dark green armour, dragon emblem
Lady Brytta of the Houses of Memory
Lady Shanree of the Houses of Wisdom
Lady Tendess of the Houses of Creation
Lord Rhuln of the Houses of Art
Lord Oross of the Houses of Growth
Lord Eldora of the Houses of War
Quarlius reveals himself of House Bethranyl – although is an ex-noble now that he has lost Rulissa. Talk turns to Rulissa.
Maia then tells the tale of all the party has done – relieved that she can now speak the truth without fear of it being overheard or stolen from the minds of her friends by the Queen of Air and Darkness.
They speak of the living virus: the Ia. It seems that the elves here know a great deal about it – something that can help against the threat of the virus that is heading south toward Karris’Mhor as they speak. Elathia speaks of the town of Icewall. She says that it was a town built into the side of the glacier. A delerious traveller from Tzina arrived, and was taken to houses of healing with a fever, but the fever could not be cured and it spread. All who have the fever developed a kind of hive mind and engaged in strange and repetitive tasks. They were building a device, beacon, of some kind. This is the work of Ia.
Elathia explains that the virus seems unable to infect those with resistance or immunity to fire. It’s natural predators are the remorhaz, who hunt it. The presence of the Ia in Icewall has greatly increase the number of remorhaz in the town. The elves had no choice but to freeze the city to stop the virus from escaping, but remorhaz generate a lot of heat… too many of them in the town and the virus will escape.
Icewall is within the starlight barrier, on the Anterres coast (not in the Ethereal plane). It can’t necessary cross the water on its own, but these things can find a way.The remorhaz need to be removed so that he town can remain frozen, even though there are many elves frozen and trapped there. The presence of the virus in a controlled area, also makes it easier to study and to possibly find a cure.
Maia volunteers to help. She thinks that she’ll be immune due to her firesoul manifestation. She can go in and get whatever is required to make a cure. The council think this is a good idea. The party is asked to rest before heading back through the portal via giant owl tomorrow.
Before the meeting completely breaks up, the party asks about the Iadon: the are four-armed, two brained spellcasters. It is true they might know something about the virus. They were first people to use arcane magic, and have a connection to Ia. The party knows that there are Iadon in the Nordfel. They were told this by the shifters they encountered at Holdenguard. They were fleeing a growing force in the Nordfel. The Iadon, the spellweavers, were gathering there.
After the meeting breaks up, Maia asks Calanna about unicorns. Is true what they say? Calanna sighs. She tells Maia that a unicorn will accept any rider that is virtuous, you don’t need to be a virgin. This is something of a relief to Maia, as she always wanted to ride a unicorn. However, she doubts that she is virtuous enough after all she’s done. She probably enjoys killing too much. You need to be virtuous, not a virgin. Maia would like to meet one.
Faith says that Maia is one of the nicest people he knows. Maia isn’t sure that this is a compliment considering the company that Faith has been keeping. But Faith is adamant that he thinks so much of Maia that he even considers her to be a person. She is touched.
The party go and see the coin collecting unicorn of Lady Callana, called Whitespear and his companion Snowdream. Maia passes him some coins from the destroyed word and he seems to appreciate it.
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The following day, an elf called Yelth arrives and introduces the party to their mounts – flying giant owls. The trio head to the menagerie in the centre of the city. It is a massive area containing manner of beasts. They climb steps to free floating platforms where they meet the owls Rossht, Quill and Maegar. They take off and fly to Icewall. Maegar carries Maia.
From above the party can see motionless figures through the ice in frozen city. The cold is holding, but it looks as though something got in there (according to Quarlius). He can see a tunnel carved through the ice into the town. It is about 15 feet wide – about the size a remorahaz would leave. Quarlius is worried. The monster radiates enormous heat. It could be melting Icewall from within.
The party look for for the entrance tunnel, and find an opening some distance from the environs of Icewall. The capricious Faith tries to push Maia in but misses and slides in head first into the hole. His companies and the elves mistake his clumsiness for enthusiasm.