Song-Ling Monastery, near Hanalin, Ralt Gaither, February 9th, AE 420
“That thing dragged away Aris and Batista!” Reana yells. “What are we going to do now?”
Brennen looks around feverishly.
“Did they get the Egg?”
Jalea puts his hands in his pockets, and whistles a tune, looking around at no one in particular.
“Jalea?” Jovah asks. “Did they get the Egg?”
Jalea pats a small bag hanging from his belt, and winks. Brennen walks over to the elven scout.
“Are you saying you went down there and stole the Egg back from the Monastery without telling us?”
“Well,” Jalea starts, “I told Jovah…”
Brennen slaps Jalea on the shoulder. “Good job!”
“What now?” he asks Jovah.
“Well, we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Jovah says. “We kept the Egg safe, but we lost two party members to the enemy.”
“They’re probably dead already,” Gavin says.
“I don’t think so,” Reana replies. “They want the Egg. We have it. We want our friends back. They have them. They’ll probably keep them alive if for no other reason than to try and bargain for the Egg.”
“Then we’ll need to find them first,” Brennen says. “Because if it comes down to that, we won’t give them the Egg. Agreed?”
The others gulp at the thought, but silently nod yes.
They rest up for the rest of the night, and in the morning, Jovah folds them to Fencig. He then casts divination to try and learn where their friends have been taken.
An hour or so later, Jovah finds the others and tells them what he learned.
“They’re someplace called ‘The Great Graveyard’”, the gnomish priest says. “I have no idea what that means or how we find it.”
“Wait a minute,” Reana says. “I’ve heard that name before… That’s it! Remember that gate below Virenzo’s hiding place under Axehead Peak? Erik said that it led to a place called the Great Graveyard. Some kind of purgatory, just this side of Hell, he said.”
“We can go there, and use that gate to get there,” Brennen says. “I bet that’s why Virenzo holed up there. It had easy access to the Loraxites so he could deliver the Egg. That may mean we won’t have to look too long to find them.”
“Um, I just want to point out something,” Gavin says. “From what you’ve told me of that place, it was guarded by a very old, very powerful undead guardian, right? From the sounds of it, we may have more of those to deal with on the other side.”
“One other thing,” Reana says. “Do we bring the Egg with us? If we do, and we fail, then they have the Egg, and things are bad. If we don’t, and they attack here while we’re looking there, they could get the Egg easily, and things are bad. Pick your poison.”
“Yikes,” Jovah says. “I don’t like the sounds of any of this. We also need to figure out what to do with the Egg if we succeed at getting Aris and Batista back. We need to find a place to hide it forever, or figure out a way to destroy it.”
They look back and forth amongst themselves, but no one has an answer to that.
“Alright,” Jovah says. “I’ll do a divination in the morning, and we’ll fold to as close to Axehead Peak right after.”
Jovah wakes up very early the next morning, before dawn, and casts his divination. He does everything as he ordinarily would (Bes’ divinations typically involve the casting of dice), but as he waits to receive the expected response, his thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a knock on the front door of the house, downstairs. As no answer seems forthcoming, he calls out to have someone answer it – but no one in the house stirs.
“Odd,” he says to himself, trotting off to answer the door in his nightshirt, floppy purple hat, and bunny slippers.
As he descends the stairs, he notices that the sounds of the street are noticeably absent. At this hour before dawn, carts of produce headed for market should be rattling down the street. There is no sound, however, but the creaking of the steps of the house. He reaches the front door and pauses.
“The last time I answered my door in my bunny slippers, I was kidnapped by a gladatorial press gang,” he reflects.
A long and involved story. He was 3rd level at the time…
“Ah, what are the odds of that happening again?” and he opens the door.
Standing in the doorway is an elf, someone that Jovah has never seen before. He is a Grey Elf, tall and thin, with a dark green cloak pulled around him to protect him from the mid-February chill. A sword hilt pokes through from underneath the cloak.
“Hi. Who are you?” Jovah asks.
“My name is Janketh,” the elf says with a wry smile. “You asked for help that Bes could not give, so I was asked to come and speak with you.”
“My divination has never done that before… This is very unusual,” Jovah says.
“Unusual times, unusual messenger, unusual message,” Janketh replies. “May I?”
“Uh, sure. Come in.”
Janketh steps in, and removes his cloak, hanging it on a cloak rack by the door. He is dressed for fighting, with a suit of elven chain, and a strange looking longsword at his belt. The hilt has a bat motif to it that unnerves Jovah. But that isn’t even the strangest thing about the visitor. His left arm is entirely mechanical, and plated in gold.
Janketh is an interesting fellow. He comes originally from an old game I ran that ended quickly, due to my moving away to Chicago… The game was very high-level, and set in the far past of this world. Janketh was a character created by Brennen and Aris’ player, with a really cool backstory. He never got the chance to really do anything though, but Brennen’s player had been talking about him, asking if he might still be around – Janketh was a great foe of the Drow, and would have made a powerful ally. Unfortunately, he was long dead, but I decided to use him this way. The players had heard of him, but not the PC’s, so his appearance here was greeted with a suitably impressed reaction.
He sits in a chair, and Jovah sits down near him.
“You’ll have to forgive me for not being able to answer all your questions,” he says. “It was decided long ago that the best way to protect the Egg was to eliminate all knowledge of it or what its purpose is, and I cannot break that decision. It comes from an authority far above mine.
“It is vital that it not be destroyed. The Egg contains something, something unspeakably evil. Well, part of something, anyway. Destroying the Egg would strengthen the evil, and destroying that which it contains would unleash it entirely. It needs a new hiding place. The Monastery sufficed for over two millenia, but it is compromised now. A new spot must be found.”
“How do we find a new spot?” Jovah asks.
“The elven gods are aware of this matter now, ever since you sent word to Tolaro about the Loraxites. He spoke with a High Priest in Cape Varna, and it went up the chain of command, so to speak. A place is being prepared. Find your friends, and then take the Egg to this place.
“You can take it there, so that its precise location remains secret. This will allow you to do that.”
Janketh produces a small diamond from a pouch, and offers it to Jovah.
“What is it?” he asks.
“A memory,” Janketh answers.