Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 12 August 2014
23 Stormwrack 1083 PS
Faith slides down the luge. Maia doesn’t hesitate in following him. Quarlius isn’t so sure, and hangs about on the surface just to see what happens next. Maia and Faith arrive in an oval chamber, with three exits, including the one they just entered. There are clusters of crystals in the centre of the chamber – more than twenty. Many more. Above Maia notices a a stunning eladrin entirely encased in the ice of the ceiling. Faith points out that this cavern has been melted away, it should have been solid ice but something has created this chamber…
Faith shouts up to the ceiling and then throws a lump of ice at the figure encased there – but there is no response. Once the pair ascertain that Quarlius is not immediately following, they start to look around the chamber. Maia looks at the crystals, it doesn’t take a druid to realise they’re remorhaz eggs. Maia is peering closely into one when a youngster jumps out an attaches it to her face. She wrenches it off and holds the thing at arm’s length: it chitters and screams and wriggles, wrapping itself around Maia’s wrist. Then the earth starts to shake. It is the unmistakably ominous shake of something very large getting closer. The mother? Maia is distracted enough for the young remorhaz to leap back onto her face.
The sound is indeed the mother, which scuttles into the room on its many armoured legs. It roars and raises its body to strike. The heat is intense. Maia remembers the plan and bolts for the exit, intending to lead the mother out of Icewall when she can do no more damage. She calls to Faith to explain the plan but in that moment the giant remorhaz falls upon her and swallows her in one gulp.
Seeing this terrible act, Faith’s first reaction is to talk to the creature. Meanwhile inside, the pre-digested Maia manages to draw a dagger and starts to hack away at the beast from the inside. The heat is intense, but fortunately Maia’s genasi nature protects. By the time she cuts through to freedom the dagger is little more than molten slag in her hand. She tumbles to her feet ready to fight, but in the meantime Faith has manages to strike up a conversation.
The dragonborn has worked out that the language of this beast is similar to Jotun. He does speak much of that language, although Maia does…. enough to to start up a rudimentary conversation. “No kill spawnlings. Fireheart, no kill spawnlings.” the monster is saying. Faith finally understands, and with Maia’s help the pair start a conversation. The remorhaz says that it has made nest here, eating frozen elves. The virus makes the elves hot. Hot elves are tasty elves. So the remhoraz has the ability to sniff out the infected, although it wants to eat them.
There is a crack from above and the top half of the eladrin woman is freed. The heat from the remorhaz must have melted the ice sufficiently. She swears violently in High Fey. The eladrin is called Siobhan. She was just passing through the town…. she was frozen, but periodically freed by the remhoraz’s heat. It keeps her as a storyteller. Maia and Faith convince remorhaz to let us have a look around the place to see if anyone else is free. We leave the Siobhan ( or “the book” as the remorhaz calls her) stuck in the ceiling.
Finally Quarlius comes down the tunnel to investigate. He sees Siobhan in the ceiling, and she tells him that she is an eladrin adventuress from the Feywild who came to Anteris to see the sights. That didn’t work out too well for her. Siobhan says that Maia and Faith are likely to encounter many of the Ia, as the heat of the remhoraz has partially released some of them – although the remorhaz itself did not notice this.
Quarlius catches up with the party and we compare notes. Maia goes in alone as she is immune to the virus. There’s a 120 ft. ice wall in her way. She chips and climbs 110 feet, but then falls down and is found unconscious by Faith and Quarlius. So close!
The party makes a deal with Siobhan to free her and take her back to Tel’Nix. The remhoraz speaks of the trilla that it is at war with… the frost wyrms… they eat the frozen elves too, but not the infected ones. The frost wyrms are attracted by the mythal that is freezing the place, so the presence of the remorhaz has now become bad for a whole new set of reasons. Siobhan offers to kill the remhoraz if they release her. For the moment she is ignored.
Faith persuades the remorhaz to take them to the origin of the “hum in the larder” (the mythal in the town). It picks up Maia. As they head away, Faith surreptitiously throws an ice axe to Siobhan, but her arms arestill trapped and she cannot reach it.
Faith and Quarlius eventually get to the top of the wall that nearly killed Maia… they arrive in a frozen cobbled area, exposed by the remorhaz but still covered in ice. There are arms poking out of the walls trying to grab Quarlius and Faith. They slip and slide down the tunnel, trying to stay out of the way of the grasping and infected hands.
They arrive at the magic stone that is responsible for keeping Icewall in its frozen state. The remorhaz leaves then leaves them. Faith touches the device, and is almost flash-frozen by it. Faith comes to the conclusion that all the elves are being eaten and the remorhaz should probably be killed. He hates it when Maia is right. They spred out and check around for any further melting. Faith almost stumbles into a grey ooze, that almost immediately attacks him.
A fight ensues, and eventually Quarlius drags Faith out of the ooze’s territory. The remorhaz returns and gives us some extremely important information. The frost wyrms eat the infected elves and get sick, but when they eat the grey ooze it cures them! The ooze is a cure for the Ia virus? It’s something to investigate. The pair return to the chamber at the entrance to the city. The remorhaz carries Maia down the ice wall, just to be safe.
24 Stormwrack 1083 PS
Maia wakes up from her injuries. Faith’s plan is to get the remorhaz to lead Faith and Quarlius back into the town while Maia remains behind and frees Siobhan. Then they should leave. Maia agrees and heads outside to prime the owls. Some are more eager than others be chased by the remorhaz, but Quill agrees to carry Siobhan once she has been rescued.
Meanwhile, Faith is plotting to rob the elven town. He wants the Remorhaz to take him to the temple for some serious looting. Siobhan likes this idea. Faith starts to sketch the Remorhaz, and during the process the creature falls asleep. Taking advantage of the opportunity the group move up their plan to rescue Siobhan. Faith puts on the harness he was given to allow the owl to safely carry him. Maia clambers up on top of this to reach Siobhan. Stretching up she manages to grab her.
It is immediately apparent to Maia that Siobhan is no eladrin. Underneath her long hair, her back is completely hollowed out. She’s a fey. A huldra: something that comes into existence when a dryad’s tree dies, but the dryad survives. It makes her hollow both physically and emotionally. Such creatures become attracted to others with a strong personality, vicariously living through them. Of course, this doesn’t stop Maia from rescuing Siobhan for a moment.
Maia yanks Siobhan down, but the noise awakens the remorhaz. Siobhan sees the danger and uses her superior fey strength to throw Maia over her shoulder and make a run for it. Seeing Quarlius and Faith quickly following, Maia is happy to play the role of the damsel for once. The party get back to the owls in double-quick time and we flee the seen. The remorhaz rages below: it wants its book back! But we escape! And return to Tel’Nix and then the aerie.
Jelith the servant of Lord Oross is waiting for us when we arrive. The three are taken to see Lady Elathia and Lord Rhuln of the Houses of Art. Siobhan is questioned. She admits to be running from the Fens on the Feywild (from the Queen of Air and Darkness). She fled through a portal into Icewall. She had stolen from the Queen’s servant…. Frankly, this only endears her in Maia’s eyes.
We tell Rhuln all that transpired. He intends to return and set up an encampment in Icewall. After the remorhaz is killed, he can then start experimenting on a cure with the oozes and the infected. Maia volunteers to with them. Rhuln says that trhe expedition cannot start for a while, and besides Quarlius has been summoned by the Council of Blades (aka the Moon Blades) that are held in the city. The imperial moonblade, Draiochta, is particularly insistent on it. Quarlius has heard of Draiochta. He is one of the first moon blades with 24 runes running along the blade.
Maia has some rest, is medically attended to, and then then heads off for a ‘massage’ at the local sauna. She takes Siobhan with her. Then Maia hurries to meet up with Quarlius, who has been taken to the reliquary with Gwen. She points out the extradimensional demiplanes that make up Tel’Nix, although they’re not accessible at the moment. The harbour, the gardens etc.
We enter a functional building with overtones of a temple. It’s a temple of the Seladrine, which is far more recent than the moonblades. These eladrin servants stole all this stuff from the Kingdom, now they are the masters. We head to an inverted tower, hanging in the ethereal plane. In the centre are eight stole plinths covered in sigils, with a moonblade half-sheathed in each one. A person is standing behind 7 of the 8 blades.
We recognise six of them as the heads of the fey knight orders. Behind the seventh sword is a robed male with an orange sash, and the there is no-one behind the eighth. That sword is not being wielded at the moment, that is Draiochta.
But all eight are powerful imperial moon blades. They really stole the best! Memory, War, Swift, Pure, Sense, Truth, Swift and Magic. As we approach the blades start to steam and vapourous forms appear over each blade – they are obviously all high mages. The spirits of the blades. The spirit of Draiochta is… Thraelian!? He really does get about.
Maia says “Hello!” to him, which doesn’t go down well. They summon Quarlius into the middle of the circle and introduces the mages who are now the spirits within the blades. They are truly ancient, and some even invented the fundamental spells that are still cast today. These are the founders of arcane magic, the fathers of wizardry. They underpin how magic used to work. Quarlius goes down on one knee. “Rise my apprentice,” says Thraelian.
Thraelian says that circle is turning once again. It’s turning closer to how it once was. Changing into what they once were. They will become more powerful. Quarlius has to learn this, and learn this quickly. He needs to pick to order. Thraelian lists them all. He says that Rulissa must be reformed (again), and that he knows where she can be found. But Quarlius is untrained for what is to come. He needs to learn how to wield the blade, to become one with it. He needs to be able to teach others. He will become a teacher, a sensei, a wandering master…
Thraelian will go on teaching Quarlius. Thraelian commands Quarlius to sit, and a beam of light strikes him in the centre of his head. He needs a kira to store the magic (his is in the bag), then the beam intensifies and knowledge is implanted into Quarlius’s mind. The beam is eventually cut off, and a bamboozled Quarlius is told that he and Thraelian will reconvene the next day. As for her new specialisation, Quarlius chooses Siryl of the Wounded Heart, the Unseelie, the secret police. He will forge a blade worthy of a fey knight when the magic returns.
Thraelian says that Rulissa is in three pieces once again. The hilt is in Karris’Mhor. The point is in Ravenfalens. The mid-piece is in the Shadowfell, at a point Coterminous with Karis’Mhor. So back where they originally were.
Now as Maia and Faith enjoy the comfort of Tel’Nix and magic begins to return to the world, Quarlius embarks a programme of intensive magical training that can only properly be conveyed by way of a montage scene set to a thumping 80s rock track. There is meditation, blood, the ineffectual swinging of a swords, more meditation, magical mojo. The world settles and Magic – the new Magic – finally returns. There are cakes. And eventually at the end of all Quarlius has been remade as someone slightly more effective than he once was.
After the training, which takes about three weeks, Thraelian confirms that the he knew the Kingdom would fall, and that the first eight moon blades would be used poorly in that fight. So he arranged for them to be ‘stolen’ by the arquesir (the people who now live in Tel’Nix – more than elves, but less than eladrin). They take care of the memory. And the archmages that are the blades, skipped all the sin and the shame of the fall. Maia realises that the fall happened many, many thousands of years ago. Quarlius seems to know what Thraelian is talking about, however.
The party is now given a choice. Help the elves in their quest to find a cure, or go by elven flying ship back to the near ethereal around Karris’Mhor. Whatever they decide, the trio is now a foursome as Sioban has apparently adopted Maia.