Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 27 May 2015
Phiksday, 19th of The Settling 1083 PS
The Secret City and a good portion of Bartertown are floating 200 feet in the air. The hole in the ground beneath is filling with water from the swamp… it’s a glowing, cavernous pit. There’s an iridescent orange dome over the floating palace that is winking on and off. There’s a roar coming from within the golden dome. All of this is lost on Maia who is yelling at Faith. They were trying to get the help of the elves to relieve Holdenguard! All he had to do was wait five minutes! They just needed to get Siobhan and leave!
Dusarr (who isn’t used to being ignored) is backed up by a team of various clerics and paladins. They immediately arrest Baron Faith, he is under a charge of treason! Maia notices that there are even some clerics of Moradin in Dusarr’s company (although no-one from the church of Venta). What’s going on? Dusarr says that all the Royal Family is dead. He seems to hold Faith responsible for everything that has happened.
Maia is happy for Faith to be arrested and taken out of her sight! She wants to head to the Church of Venta and find otu what is going on… Quarlius suggests going back straight back to Tel-Nix. He has the power.
But the pair are not destined to do that.Chronicler V’parr has arrived to ask us some questions about Faith. Maia lies, trying to land him in it. V’parr is a servant of Chronopsis, he warns us about teleporting because of the trouble in the weave, especially around Karris’Mhor. Then he asks us to come with him to our temple. He says that there are currently no rulers to the city… the vast majority of the city is monster infested ruins. We begin to realise the charges against Faith. He set up all these teleportation circles around the city and they all went off like a bomb when the cap was broken. They summoned oodles of monsters on the Day of Change. A third of the population are gone. Of the 106,000. Initial explosions caused death of 15-20,000 people. All of Bartertown is destroyed.
V’parr continues his tale of what has happened in Karris’Mhor:
Eight columns of fire erupted out of the ground, there was huge explosions. Two in the isle of Comet, two from the Secret City, One in the centre of Crucible, One in Graves, One in Arms District, and the large complex in the Rice District. All the portals went up. Eighty percent of the Orchard District is gone. The Arena is a monster infested hell hole. Duke Crucible assumed dead (so not all bad news, says Maia). Fortunately, the refugees in Gateway and Tradetown are relatively safe as are the Reed People and Lizard Men who live in the swamp.
After the initial panic people tried to flee to the docks. That’s when the Plaguefire was discovered. Horrors were coming through the portals, but the fire that came with them infected the population, twisting them in some unknown manner. About 40,000 more never made it out. So nearly two-thirds of the city is gone.
Sickle and Crucible have been wiped out.
Cross and Comet forces are holding The Head of the Comet island. The party remember Erkath who was Cross’s son (one of the Gentlemen of the Black Rose who Faith did a deal with long ago). He married Comet’s daughter Evanessa. Well Erkath is now dead. Comet is dead. It is Evanessa is in charge over there now. We assume Akartz is hiding over there.
Scythe survived the explosions, but they fell to the Iron Legion.
The floating citadel or the maw seems to be keeping the monsters that came through the portals into the city. The Undercity is swarming with the undead.
After the explosions. Only 100s survived from Crucible district. The Great Wizard Kryalkal arrived in the Temple “She was like an angel vengeance rising up from the flames of the Central City”. Talkaria rose up and defended the city, but was eventually struck down. The flesh flayed from her bones, but she still flew. Kryalkal sacrificed himself to bind the city in a wall of force. Dracolich Talkaria is trapped in there…
Five power groups have now formed in the city:
Iron Legion: mixture of borderline criminals controlled by the Mercenary’s Guild. They took over after the assassins from the Graves (the Dog Brothers) assassinated the Scythes. Raymond Croix, head of the Mercenary Guild. Some of the Braxans that came over as part of Faith’s exhange programme have also joined the Iron Legion. The legion hold Scythe and the Iron Docks.
The Temples of Concordance: The entire Temple District united. The Field Commander of the Force South is Dusarr. Force North is Bretaine. Force East is more Braxans.
Braxan Battlion: Basing themselves out of the Astradan Embassy in the Orchard District. They’ve picked up any embassy guards etc.
The Cross Regiments: “The Royal House of Cross”. Cross is the only Duke who didn’t obviously die. They are the only organised force of Dragonborn left. They hold the Roads District and Cross. Duke Tannash, lost his son indeed all the Keys. Most powerful force on the island. Nominally he rules Cross and Comet lands.
Harlequin’s Alliance: Hold the Red Docks. They’ve kept their people save. The Knight Noctuns, Sesnic Nor, Brotherhood of the Black Rose and Streetsingers have got together.
Refugees fled south, rather than north. Non-humans went to Tradetown. Count Tzarn of Tradetown is considered the new heir to the throne, although he’s not resident in the city and doesn’t want the responsibility.
Maia has had the wind knocked out of her sails. So much death. They caused all this by breaking the cap. Was it really worth it? Was the slow victory of the Queen of Air and Darkness worse than Moradin’s solution? It wasn’t for all the people who have died, or who loved those that died, or have been infected by a terrible magical disease. What the hell have they done? Quarlius doesn’t see it that way. They did want they had to do he counsels.
Meanwhile, Faith is presented to his advocate: Hermandus a paladin of Tyr. Faith tries to convince him that he did not know what would happen. He also says that he has a magic bracelet given by Dusarr that has the power to defend Karris’Mhor. Of course, that bracelet stopped working when magic stopped working.
Officials come to summon Maia and Quarlius. Hemandus wants to question them. Turns out that Archbishop Brinnick Sond is behind the charges and wants Faith dead as soon as he can. Maia respects Sond, so she decides to go along with the officials even though she fears that she and Quarlius are going to be locked up.
Hernandus questions Maia, she explains her mission and that Faith was left to “deal with Karris’Mhor”. What preparations were made? Obviously not enough. Maia is not prepared to bend the truth to exonerate Faith. In fact she’s feeling guilty about the whole thing. Faith tries to be conciliatory, but Hernandus recommends that dragonborn stick to his strengths of outrage and arrogance during the trial – he’ll be more convincing that way.
Because Faith is primarily a supporter of Asmodeus, Hernandus decides to step down from position of advocate. He’ll send in a replacement. However, he thinks that Faith is innocent of the crime of treason, for whatever that is worth. The replacement is Secretary Dusaar.
Dusarr says that the old Procreator Regal and the Inspector General are dead… so the judge will be the Commander of the Order Vigilant – a human called Ross Zerik. Lord Prosecutor Aramis Venturo a highly influential, accomplished and successful prosecutor. He’ll be working against Faith.
We need evidence of innocence under Juris Primis (both sides need evidence to prove their point of view). Juris Regal is Dusarr’s choice. Maia suggests killing Faith and then speaking with dead. That would prove the truth. Dusarr believes that once Faith is dead no-one will bother to resurrect him.
Dusarr thinks we need to get hold of a powerful character witness. Perhaps Duke Cross… but getting to him will be very hard.
Maia and Quarlius are frustrated by this delay. The priority needs to be to get the cure from Tel Nix and then get it to the front line.
Maia goes and sees Brinnick Sond with Quarlius and Faith… he’s happy to see Maia, but not really Faith! The front is holding at Holdenguard. We ask about the spell plague and he takes us east to a collection of houses in the Temple District perimeter. There we meet some of the Plaguetouched. Their eyes are burning blue – almost eladrinesque – but they pulse in intensity. Sond introduces us to Corporal Ivan DeLord – formerly of the Cross Guard.
Ivan is a young, well dressed human male. He has moving tattoos a lot like Maia’s szuldar. He’s Chesame. Ivan says that someone with the plague can use the plaguefire to create spellfire that has a number of magical applications. When Ivan works the spell fire his tattoos are almost readable in Ignan. Very like the szuldar. It’s almost as though he’s becoming a genasi.
It seems that those strong of body and will are better at resisting the plague. Others may be consumed by the spellfire. But the disease is not communicable between the infected. Quarlius has heard of spellfire. It’s essentially raw magic, untainted by the person who weaves it. It’s the basic stuff of magic that is formed into spells by anyone who is trained. It’s a blunt instrument.
Maia thinks it is extra-dimensional in nature. It comes from the breach, from the palace that Kryakil sealed up before he died. Because of its link to the Forge of Moradin, it’s very similar to how genasi came into existence in the first place.
Quarlius learns (from a Limited Wish spell) that there is a cure that can be used to stop the sufferers of the spell plague from dying. And he knows that studying Maia’s mark will help in divining the cure.
The group head to Orchard District to check out the status of the Explorer’s Society. How are Pixis and DeMonton? What about Baxter Llewellyn? He and Tristram should be with the Iron Legion, Quarlius hopes.
We arrive in the Orchard District – there is a heavy Braxan presence here, as well as humans of other races (Astradans). The Explorer’s Society has been boarded up fairly securely. We are assailed by Renfrew Deeplock from the Dwarven embassy. He says that Major Tarrascor could know more. Who’s he? The commander! Tarrascor thinks they could push out and expand their holdings – either north and link up with Cross, or east and link with the Iron Legion. However, they would have to go through areas of high spell plague.
Inside the Astradan embassy is another dwarf who knows Maia (and who Maia doesn’t recognise) Rezzak Redhill! Tarrascor was the leader of a famous adventuring band called the Waterbourne Swords, eventually killed putting down a couple of green dragons. We are should through to see Carlian Tarrascor… and are surprised to discover that he is DeMonton!
It is good to see him again, and now removed from the Explorer’s Society and his previous role DeMonton reveals many of the secrets he’s been concealing. He says that Pixis is his brother’s wife’s best friend’s daughter. His brother’s bastard, in actual fact. He sent her to safety in Gateway.
DeMonton knows about Chu’nire’s connection to the underground slave railroad. Blakeney (the man who originally rescued Maia from the arena) was working for DeMonton! Jozan (Maia’s lover from the arena) had a sister in the real world – Chu’nire! That perhaps explains why Chu’nire was so keen to keep Maia safe. Maia is speechless at this news. It makes Chu’nire kind of her sister in a weird sort of way.
DeMonton says he had a relationship with Dowager North Lagoon in his youth. DeMonton himself is the Secret Master of the Order of the Lily (aka The Marshal). The true goal is the overthrow of the draconic state and the end of slavery of man and the companion races. He says that Chu’nire wanted to take special care of Maia, to protect her and make her a free woman.
He takes Quarlius and Maia to see something… someone… Elevarr – a young woman. She is not asleep, she is an elf, no! an eladrin! Her voice seems very familiar. It is Rulissa’s voice. She recognises Quarlius’s voice, but she says that she has forgotten much. What’s going on? Could have something to do with the soul forge? How can Rulissa exist outside the sword?
Back at the war table, DeMonton says that Cross is a reformer. He’s a Royalist so if there was an heir apparent he would feel obliged to back him, but if there is no heir Cross would take control of the city. DeMonton thinks this is a good thing. He would probably want to put in place a constitutional monarchy with a titular draconic head. Under him would be the tradesman, the ‘franklins’ – those under a binding contract to work the land. It could be the best way to emacipation.
DeMonton not happy that Faith is back. If he had stayed away another 3 months then Cross could be in power and slavery would be over. Talk turns to Faith’s trial. DeMonton says that Night Nocturns not responsible to the crown. They are roaming judges, their power comes from Queen Henna. Current Lord Nocturns is Duhath. He could be the judge at Faith’s trial.
If we follow through the plan to get something from Cross to save Faith, then Cross will side with Faith and therefore not be become ruler and not to reform the city. The best thing would be for Faith to abdicate all claim on the throne.