Players: Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Maia), Neil Simpson (Quarlius)
Date: 16 September 2015
Zethusday, 20th of The Settling
Dispatching Akartz (even involuntarily) is a big deal, so Maia and Quarlius decide to report back to Faith and give him the good news. Maia reflects that their actions have inadvertently strengthened Faith’s hand when it comes to the succession, which was not what she intended. Although she isn’t altogether sure what she intends. Will things necessarily be any better under Duke Cross? Does any dragonborn have the right to rule anything after the evil mess they’ve made of this city for generations? Quarlius continues to be aloof from the concerns of petty mortals.
Cross has lost two sons defending Karris’Mhor from the horrors that have been unleashed. His third son is now the heir. He’s a tactical genius and siege engineer, and is apparently making a big difference in the city.
Maia and Quarlius return to Faith and tell him what has happened. They tell him that they both want to go Tradetown so they can teleport back to Tel’Nix. Time is running out to stop the Iä, and they have to get cracking on a cure. Maia also seems very keen to get back to Chu’nire. Faith is of course full of excellent and logical reasons why they’re both wrong and he’s right. The group seems to have so many claims on their time, that Maia decides to write a list of them. It goes like this:
- Find and rescue Chu’nire
- Get the cure for for Iä plague
- Stop the Great Mother from burrowing down to the Soul Forge
- Deal with the Illithid in the Orchid District
- Destroy the dracolich in the flying palace
- Destroying all three Lords of Madness saves Karris’Mhor from Krollick Katarn
- Cure the Spell Plague in Karris’Mhor
- Save Kramen
- Defeat Tanmash
- Find friends lost in Karris’Mhor: Tristram and Baxter Llwellyn
- Return to Elysia Llewellyn (see how pregnancy is going)
- Find out what is going on with Elevarr/Rulissa
- Determine who rules Karris’Mhor
- Emancipate the slaves
- Make sure Duke Crucible is really dead
- Spread the word of the New Arcane Magic (Quarlius)
- Return to Siobhan in Tel’Nix
- Assassinate Prime Minister of Church of Asmodeus
- Attend to Faith’s Trial
- Find Kothdan
- Check in on lizard-people villages
Of course, that’s not in any order. What can they do first? What’s most important? Maia just wants a to be able to settle things and retire somewhere. Maybe across the ocean in that land of bronzed elves… she shakes herself from her revelry and takes a deep sigh. She has come to a decision and doesn’t like what it is.
Maia thinks that regardless of the issues around who rules Karris’Mhor… Faith is innocent and doesn’t deserve to be convicted. So therefore Maia can’t do anything else except make sure that justice is done. Dammit. Faith smiles in that slightly patronising and parental way of his that seems to say: “I knew you’d get there in the end.” Damn him too.
The decision is made to go to Tradetown after the trial. So what can the team do in the meantime? We have two days. Maia puts a pin in the list. “Can we sort out the Mother of Beholders in that time?”
The Mother of Beholders is a Lord of Madness that spawns beholders. This spawn can work together because they are identical… like clones. Usually beholders don’t get on together because of their instense racial hatred of anything that isn’t absolutely identical to themselves. These clones are are slightly more powerful than your average beholder and there could potentially behundreds of beholders. Quarlius is not liking the odds, but Maia is undaunted. This Mother is a creature of myth. She must have some sort of weakness that they can exploit. They need a library. To the Temple of Thoth!
The front of the library is still standing, unfortunately the back isn’t. The trouble is that this Temple is at the edge of the Temple District and was in a position where the fighting was at its most intense. We see scorch marks, in patterns… spellfire burnt through the building very rapidly and then retreated. The closer we get to the middle of the building, the worse the burning becomes. The shelves look as though they have been partially looted – an attempt to save the books and scrolls? Maia is suddenly grateful that Kothdan was reassigned to Braxa all those months ago.
In the middle of the remains of the temple is a crater filled with rubble. At the centre of the crater odd bits of universal magic bubble to the surface. Plaguefire. An eerie blue glow is emanating from below… that’s where the Mother is… we’re staring down at the walls and remains of the original eladrin fortification. The Temple of Thoth is close to the edge of the island, and the water from the swamp is flowing into this pit.
We’re no librarians so we go to the nearby pyramidal temple of Thoth adjacent to the library to ask for help. There are many soldiers and priests here. After asking around we are directed to Word Drusilla who is at the Conclave at the Alderman’s House.
The Alderman was a representative of the Elder Gods in Karris’Mhor… Maia met him before the trip to Brokengeld. Back then the Elder Gods did not interfere in the world, but since the dimensional cap was destroyed that has all changed – as is reflected in the tone of the Alderman’s building. It was a glorified W.I….. but now the house is much grander. It seems almost too large for the space it is occupying on the street. Quarlius surmises a dimensional effect of some sort. We walk through a haze and the building seems more real. We have crossed a dimensional boundary. The house isn’t in this street. It’s occupying a dimension that is off-set to our won.
The party recognise the figure on the door: it is Alderman Tarrogorn. Maia greets him in a friendly manner. She notices that he has scars around his wrists and neck… such as Frankenstein’s Monster. “I am Tarragorn of Castanamir. I hold the door against the Aberrant Hordes”. Much has changed here.
Drusilla is upstairs on the fifth floor, having a big discussion about the upcoming trial. It would of course be totally inappropriate for the accused to gate-crash. The Alderman’s House is currently the HQ of all the temples of concordance. They’re working together, but there are some stresses and strains. Some of the followers of the elder gods seem to embody their god in their appearance (such as Tarragorn) while others have more conventional holy symbols.
We reach the 5th floor and head to the largest doors surrounded by the most guards. Many temple guards are here. We brazen in out and walk through the guards and march straight in through the doors. Well, Maia and Faith go straight through, the guards think Quarlius seems a bit shifty but they let him in anyway.
The conclave is gathered around a grand table, and seems to have separated into three factions: the Alderman, Dusarr and the darker gods, then Venta and Tyr and the more respectable gods. They are discussing matters of great import. “And I say we order sandwiches for lunch, as a full meal will get us all tired…” says one of the Alderman.
The party watch for a moment. The Aldermen are not used to these positions of responsibility and are treating the whole thing like a jolly parish council meeting. Progressive, Divergent, Stasis, Scourge: the four categories of Elder God…. but their earthly representatives are just bureaucrats for the most party. Maia recognises Drusilla. She’s in charge of her church now. She was of the lowest rank the last time that Maia saw her…. Karris’Mhor has been put through the ringer.
An attractive, angular woman, exposing very much cleavage with very long black hair looks at us… “Ruhanda’s Blessed” she says of Faith. The elder god of destruction and oblivion. Seems appropriate. Like Tarrogorn, she has been remade in the image of her god.
A Minister of the Ninth (Asmodeus) is here. As is Brinnick and Bretaine. Eminence Van Haugh (Raven Queen). Suffice to say that we don’t make a good impression. “High Tome” Drusilla is apparently busy. Faith whips out of his journal and begins to make the case for his innocence. One would think that building a case on a tome that he has written and cannot corroborate would place him at a disadvantage, but he blinds them with his babbling. While the assembled are staring at Faith agog, Maia leans in and talks to Drusilla. Irritated, she says the library (what’s left of it) is on the 4th floor. Tome Therris will help us find what we’re looking for.
Eventually Faith is made to understand that the clerics have not gathered to talk about him. There are other things going on in the city! Faith finds this almost impossible to understand. Brinnick Sond is cross Faith for turning up and hijacking the meeting. Maia calls for the trial to be brought forward, but this is refused. The Alderman of Iä has forseen our quest to destroy the plague and says that there’s more to it than that. His name Alman… we’ll need to speak to him later.
Faith’s blusters, demonstrating his utter arrogance and tempt for the proceedings. He rubbishes the law and due process in Karris’Mhor. Then before the clerics can realise how offended they are he storms out in mock outrage.
With that little scene out of the way, we follow Drusilla’s directions. If we can’t find the info here then we need to travel to Thoth’s home plane to visit the House of Beasts, House of Thought or House of Forgotten Truths.. assuming we can find a portal. There are seventeen libraries relocated to this building. The Library of Thoth may not be the best one for our needs. Maybe the Library of Balkoth or even Iä. We follow the advice of a functionary in the amoury and get directed to the Tome Therris. Maia bursts in and surprises him, destroying a delicate scroll he was trying to conserve. Quarlius repairs it with magic and then volunteers to help repair some of the other delicate scrolls. At least one of us makes a good impression. Therris doesn’t think there is anything much here. But advises the the library of the Ia.
Maia is confused by this whole Ia and Iä thing. Therris explains: Ia is the first elder god. Iä is the sentient virus, the disease. That was the first child of Ia. Then there’s the Iâ, they are the followers of the Don (the creed of Ia). The Iadon are spellweavers who follow the creed. Maia’s head hurts.
Go to library of Iä. The functionary there cannot help. The librarian has been lost in the stacks he has been for three days. There’s evidently something a little extra dimensional about the library here. We mount an expedition with a ball of twine to try to find the information we’re looking for.
Eventually, we do find books on the Great Mother. We discover that she is not immune to the rays of her children. She is otherwise immune to “all magic”. Any natural enemies? Other solitary beholders… some could be much more powerful than her children. A marut, a large mechanical creature of law drove her off in the past. Legend has it wielded a swordof a sword of pure Order. This great battle is believed to have occurred in the Outlands, on the edge of the city of Sigil. The marut cut off six of the Mother’s eye stalks. If those could be found then they could be used against her.
This is the sort of information Maia was hoping they would find! We need to find these stalks… First step should be to find the marut.
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