Muddled Pasts - Pathfinder 3.5


First Post
Interlude: Sins of the Father

A battered fortress dominated the scene, its walls manned by deformed ogres. To the east seven small figures slowly crept up the rocky face, like tiny ants against the immense cliff. The watcher, a tall, stern faced elf with long silver hair, waved his hand in front of the image. The surface of the mirror rippled like water, the scene drawing back, fading to silver. Loric Tinvilludean watched as twelve of the eyes that ringed the mirror closed, then frowned at the thirteenth which remained stubbornly open. That eye, a strange violet hue with three pupils, erratically twitched and shifted. Sighing, Loric draped the mirror with a heavy cloth of gold. That infuriating dwarf had tainted the mirror, using it as a conduit and bridging the gap to the dark tapestry. Loric would have to do something about that connection, but that could wait until later. He had an appointment.

Loric strode to the center of the throne room, where the body of Queen Rhoswen lay where she had fallen. The corpse was bathed in the silver glow of necromantic energy which perfectly preserved her pale features. Even the blood pooled upon the cobbles still appeared fresh and vividly red. For the fourth time that day Loric checked the bounds and wards of the summoning circle, expertly etched into the stone floor a short distance away. Satisfied with what he saw, Loric carefully stepped into the center of the weave and began his incantation.

“Circe, Medea, and Hecate, The Three Fates, Masters of Time, The Three Who are One, by rite of Sinduri blood I summon thee!!”

Loric drew an iron knife across his palm, allowing one drop of crimson blood to fall. At its impact, the floor underfoot rang like a gong and the runes of the circle blazed to life. They traced a dizzying pattern across the floor, walls, and ceiling, centering on the prone form of Rhoswen’s corpse. With the ritual’s activation, a cloud of green-hued mist swirled in the air before Loric, coalescing into a heavy iron cauldron. Within the blink of an eye three women appeared around the cauldron, their gaze settling upon Loric within his ritual circle.

The youngest, a nubile blond teen spoke first “Ooh sisters, it seems my beauty has once again drawn another suitor. These Tinvilludean men can’t seem to get enough of us, right Medea”? Medea turned to regard Circe, hands resting on curved hips “Now child, you know that my bargain with the half elf has nothing to do with our deal with his father, besides we both know that a sophisticated client like Loric would definitely prefer my more worldly charms over your china doll features.” Circe turned upon her sister, eyes hard like green agates, but Hecate interposed her emaciated purple arm. “Sisters! We can discuss the merits of your charms another day. Today it seems we have business to attend to. Loric, why have you summoned us?”

Loric’s piercing blue eyes looked to the crone. “Hecate, I have procured the final component of the ritual, I wish to complete our arrangement.” With that Loric raised his hand, palm upward, and slowly curled his fingers into a fist. Rhoswens body contorted, crushed as if by immense pressure. The body let out one last gasp, a single puff of breath, which rose as a mist to be immediately captured by the swirling energy of the spell. Loric looked to the Fates. “I present the Last Breath of an Immortal Queen, Slain by Mortal Hands! Do you have the other items?”

The three Fates looked at each other. Hecate reached into the boiling cauldron, drawing out a golden crown and a blackened skull. Gesturing with a finger, the objects rose and floated into the ritual pattern, hovering over key points. “We give to you the Crown of a Prince Redeemed and the Head of a King, Freely Given. Are you prepared to pay the price?”

Loric gestured to his left, where his trusty bodyguard lay upon the floor, gagged and bound in chains. The elf looked at Loric, eyes frantic, streaming in tears. Loric’s gaze passed right over the prostrate form, with no more consideration than one would give to a fly. Loric addressed the Fates, “I offer to you the soul of my firstborn son. I admit he wasn’t my first choice, but his bloodline should be more than adequate for your needs. Like the others, he is of a noble mortal lineage and royal Sinduri blood. His loss will pain me but there are others to take his place.”

At his father’s words Maelfas kicked and strained at his bonds. Laughing Circe picked him up by his neck and slowly lowered him into the cauldron, feet first. Brushing his tear streaked cheek with one perfect fingernail, she whispered in his ear “Oh don’t worry my sweet, you’ll have an eternity of servitude to learn to appreciate what we offer.” With one last soul-wrenching moan that even the gag could not mute, Circe forced his head below the cauldrons rim, barely a ripple betraying the half-elf’s passage.

Loric watched him go, face betraying nothing. Hecate pointed a bony finger at Loric’s chest “With that you have given us all the spawns of your loin but one, and that one is already bound to us. Your payment has been given, our business is concluded. As I feel we have gotten the better end of this bargain, we give you this last piece of advice for free. Beware what you awaken here this day, for it is magic of the Eldest, long dormant and almost forgotten. Take heed, for if the scales of the worlds are tipped too far, the ripples will reach much farther than just your death.”

With that the green hues returned, swirling around the Fates, which vanished with nary a sound. Loric looked around the chamber: at the three slowly revolving objects suspended in his elder ritual, at the rune covered walls of of Cildureen, spawn of the world tree, and at the empty throne at the end of the hall.

A smile finally creased his impassive face……

The quake was felt across the Feywild. The leaves were shaken off the eternal boughs of the Summer court, the frost rimed limbs shattering in the Winter Court. Queen Mab stared outward from her icy hall, her eyes penetrating the veil of distance to the heart of the Fellnight Realm, where Cildurheen, spawn of the word tree awoke. Tearing itself from the earth, the newly born Sard, the most powerful of the Tarn, strode across the border into the Shadowfell, leaving a wake of devastation in its passing.

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Session #39 - August 1, 2011 - Like a Baby With a Baby in its Hand

Notes: I know, a few weeks since last time. How DARE our GM take a job that requires him to be out of state for 3 weeks? For punishment we're making him and his wife go to this year! So cruel! In fact, YOU should go as well to help them survive the experience. or possibly you should go because it's one of the coolest things you'll ever do. Either way, you should go.

This write-up might be a bit choppy as I was having issues that kept me running to the restroom all night (I'll spare you details) but we took care of a good deal of things using our heads instead of our muscles, which is good because the ogres have much bigger muscles. Plus Londis has a wisdom of like 6 at this pointand there were a lot of ogres. Ah well, at least they weren't trolls . . . and I'm not responsible for the plethora of dong jokes.

Dinner was GM made burgers, fresh corn on the cob, and a bean salad. Oh, and I replaced a door on another player's car. That's how we roll around here.

From the journal of Grezzalik M'rethen:

Reznak was putting on finishing touches to his disguise when Londis walked up to him. I was seated at the table checking out Lucreza's items, including a very nice, very sharp rapier. As usual, the inquisitor was no-nonsense. "The book."

Reznak put on a blank face. "What book?"

"The book she was reading when she came in and you picked up."

"Oh, THAT book. See, I was going to hang onto it." he pulled it out and started some sort of explanation. "Now, if I keep it here -"

Londis snatched it from his hands and started thumbing through it with a dark scowl. "It's a romance novel, but she's written in the margins. Some sort of code."

At some point someone figured it out - I was busy with the stuff, remember? - and determined it was an extensive list of her lovers. Not shy, this girl. Speaking of not shy, I glanced up at Trixie as she paced the table, no doubt enjoying the chance to stretch her legs out of the shirt pocket she'd been in. "Hey," I said absently as I examined a sehedron medallion that looked like the one I was wearing, "you want to be embiggened?"

She thought for a second or two. "Will you get it done the first attempt? If I inspire you?"

I noted a conjuration aura. 'Uhm, can't guarantee it. The caster that made that rod was no apprentice. Dispelling effects from it are probably 50/50 at best right now."

She shrugged, a movement made no less feminine by her diminutive size. Focus, Grezz. Focus. "Nah, don't waste the spell. We may need it."

"Okay. If you shrink again it might kill you. It would certainly render you unconscious."

"I'll be careful." She danced along the edge of the rapier, every motion smooth and graceful. It was like she was made of water.

While I figured out things the others checked out the cells on the level - empty except for maimed skeletons. Once the rangers made it clear they weren't leaving until this place was cleansed of ogres, we decided to head up, with Reznak leading the way as an eerie copy of Lucrezia. We gave him the rapier more or less by default. The rangers would be 'prisoners' in unlocked manacles. Londis had a disturbing number of sets available.

Trouble was waiting for us at the top of the stairs in the form of ogre guards. they yelled something and Reznak yelled right back. I couldn't understand any of it - I don't speak giant. I was going to take it back at the Academica, but during signups I was behind Fallomina Gracine and she was taking Shoanti, and that suddenly seemed like a great idea for a class. Trixie mumbled something and then whispered up at me, "I cast comprehend languages, I'll translate for you. They just asked what the Oathmistress wanted and whys he was with us, and she - I mean he - demanded ale. So we're waiting for that."

Indeed, an ogre who could almost pass for a very large human except that he'd been disfigured brought a keg and then a glass. There was more talking. "They keep asking if she wants to see the bossman. He's not really answering them . . . oh, okay, now we're going."

We were led upstairs toward the main hall, which is what we wanted. A couple of ogres were on guard outside and as we approached the doors opened and a badly used female ogre stumbled out. There was very loud bellowing from inside, and I felt Trixie shudder against me. "I'm not translating that. that's just gross."

We were ushered in to . . . well. Where to begin? The hall was a mess. Four collared goblins were fighting over scraps in a corner and barely noticed us. The main table was covered with a human body that had the torso torn open and filled with a variety of foodstuff, or whatever ogres considered to be foodstuffs. Next to it was a massive battleaxe, and just the sight of it made me feel faintly uneasy. Londis and I edged toward it as Reznak began talking to a very large ogre. A very large, completely naked ogre. A very large, very naked, very excited ogre. The two of them jabbered back and forth and I was lost. I suddenly gave a small yelp of pain as Trixie tweaked my nipple. "What?"

"Pay attention! I'm trying to tell you what's being said. Quit daydreaming." She gave me a tiny glare. "The big guy is Jaagrath and he wants to know why we're here . . . he's got a thing for Lucrezia in a rapey sort of way and she's - i mean he's flirting with it. The ogre keeps mentioning how tired his work crews are . . . at the dam and that they need reinforcements."

My eyes widened in alarm. "The dam?" I muttered in elven. "They must be trying to destroy it." I looked up. "Is he asking more questions about it?"

"No. She's -uggh - Reznak keeps flirting with him. Oh no, he's noticed the rangers." The ogre walked over to Jacardos, said something in a mocking tone, and then crushed his left hand. "This is getting out of control." The ogre bellowed something to his guards and they closed the doors. "I think she just agreed to be with him. Gahhh."

The gahhh, which I almost followed with a retch, came from the ogre planting a bloody kiss on Reznak. I saw his hand dip behind his back and pull free a blade, and suddenly there was a thunk. From inches away Reznak has somehow missed with his sneak attack and buried his short sword in the table instead of the ogre's stomach.
OOC: fumble! not the only one the rogue would have that night. the dice were not kind

It bellowed and backhanded him, lifting Reznak off his feet and sending him sprawling. From there the ogre reached for his axe but Londis, moving before I could grease it, grabbed the massive thing. He shouted in pain as it burst into sickly green flame and moaned, but nonetheless stuffed it into the bag of holding. I tried not to think about the possibly sentient axe being in there with the book of evil.

I jumped up on the table and, drawing on the staff, formed a ring of fire around the big bastard. because of the nature of the spell it wasn't really flames as much as a mix of fire and shadow, but the ogre didn't realize that and howled as his flesh sizzled. Tofa peered at the flame with a puzzled expression before giving me a quick look, then Hadarga started glowing and her eyes rolled back and the ravens showed up and she started hacking away (part of me wondered what would happen if a lover was too good at satisfying her and had her tip over into a pleasure rage. I mean, the ravens had to be a total damper). Londis and the rangers rushed over to barricade the door and Tofa and the ogre traded terrible blows, the latter hitting her with a massive bench. The flames weren't bothering Tofa all that much - she jumped in and out of them with barely a care - but they were burning the hell out of Jaagrath. Trixie fired off spells and items, with varying success. Reznak went down under a pile of goblins, who had noticed other playthings in the room. Londis moved over and began with the splattering.

The big ogre was starting to wobble a bit, and as Tofa hit him again I blasted him with a pair of shocking rays. She hit it again, sending it reeling and closed for the killing blow. From off to the side an extremely battered Reznak launched himself at Jaagrath, but the ogre swatted him out of the air with a stunning blow. Reznak landed awkwardly and jabbed almost by reflex, but the beleaguered ogre couldn't stop it and crumbled as Tofa, deprived of the kill, howled in frustration.

I ran over so Trix could use a healing wand on the Ulfan before pouring a potion down reznak's unconscious throat. Within a few moments we'd beheaded and castrated Jaagrath and moved to the balcony. When the ogres finally broke in Reznak brandished the head and screamed something. This was punctuated by Tofa throwing Jaagrath's manhood - uhm, ogrehood - uhm, his giant ogre thing - at one of the guards, hitting him in the head. Those who had entered yelled something that sounded like 'Pappy!' and quickly turned tail. Heading to the outside balcony, Trixie cast a major image of a fairly large Lucrezia with the head and screamed at the ogres to get the hell out of here.

In a flood they left, fleeing in terror as Tofa and the rangers shot them with arrow after arrow. The lightning from the storm raged as they vile creatures departed, but Londis and Reznak were looking north toward the dam. 'There's water coming over the top."

A pale Jacardos frowned. "The floodgates should be open."

"Are those the giant skulls? 'Cuz they aren't open."

"Right," I said, "we need to get there. Now."

Tofa pulled out her figurine and a second later the griffon stood before us. "Can't carry us all," she said. "Grezz, you have more of the scrolls that make you fly, yes?"

My turn to frown. "Only one." Then I grinned and opened my haversack. "Got something else that'll do the trick."
OOC: They laughed when Grezz bought 47 scrolls. Let me tell you, I can't wait to buy more. it's very nice to have utility spells at my sorcerer's disposal, especially . . .

The griffon had a ranger in each claw and Reznak dangling from his beak by his belt, but seemed unconcerned by the weight that included the rest of us on his back. i wasn't sure ant haul was going to work in this situation - I had my utility spell class right after lunch and often dozed off - but it was doing just fine. As we drew closer tot he massive dam I realized that while the storm was mundane, it was being summoned by someone or something off to the northwest. I wanted to investigate but the dam was more important, and Londis nudged me and pointed. At one side a dozen ogres were battling a huge, horrible thing that could only be the Black Magra of local legend we'd heard of. it was making a good meal of them when the section of dam they'd obviously been trying to destroy gave way, spilling those uneaten so far and the massive Magra over the side, along with a large amount of water.

"What do we do?"

There was a set of large carved skulls in a location that could possibly be a control room of some sort. "Get us over there," I yelled to Londis. "This is Thasselonian made, I should be able to read whatever's inside and find some sort of manual override!"

In response the griffin banked through the rain and headed that way. Four ogres, clearly exhausted, were sitting where we wanted to land. that proved unfortunate for them. As we hopped off or were dropped off Jacardos climbed up behind Londis. The inquisitor's face tightened as he said, "I'm sorry, but I have to go. I have to try to warn Turtleback Ferry and save as many people as I can."

With that the two of them zoomed off, leaving us standing in the rain looking at two pairs of large doors. Heading to the closest set, we pulled them open. Inside was a large chamber. i wanted to get a look at whatever controls we could find but my gaze was immediately drawn to the mangled ogres in tossed about the place, blood mixing with the inch or so of water on the floor. And even before my eyes adjusted my nose told me what the four massive shapes in here were.

Trolls. And Londis and his flaming mace currently heading far away from us.

Trolls. Dammit, weren't we done with these after the Fellnight? I guess not, I though, as my hands came up to shape a spell. Our work never seems to be done.
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Session #40 - August 8th, 2011 - Did You Say Pit Friend?

Notes: Hmmm. On one hand, we have an ancient, malfunctioning dam loaded with trolls and probably much worse, while on the other we have some massive creature of legend, the living embodiment of chaos and destruction, heading toward the hapless town of Turtleback Ferry. What to do, heroes, what to do?

Split the party. OF COURSE.

As you know from the last entry, Londis took off on his own (just edit it in your head, I'm too lazy to go back and remove Jacardos), astride the griffin, to try to thwart the epically huge Black Maggra. And what happened is . . . his tale. If the player wishes to fill us in on his take of the events (which were awesome to watch unfold) he's welcome to. If he wants me to fill you in later he'll let me know, but otherwise you'll just have to make due with what our characters know. And given the tight-lipped nature of the inquisitor, that ain't much.

The rest of us made our way through more ancient Thassilonian works (seriously, if you didn't have a character who spoke Thassilonian your wizard or bard would be burning every damn spell on comprehend languages). Some nip and tuck stuff, but did our intrepid heroes survive? Maybe.

Dinner was cheddar sausages, chips, and salad. Remembered to toast the rolls this time, so everyone loved the sorcerer, at least for a little while.

From the journal of Grezzalik M'Rethen:

I could bore you with the details of the fight against the trolls: a web; Tofa freezing the floor with Hadarga; Reznak getting clobbered again but also doing a stunning impression of an angry troll; a Hound Archon showing what kind of destructive force it can be; and so on. In a matter of moments all four trolls were dispatched and we found ourselves descending deeper into the dam. The walls were festooned with crude graffiti that those who understood troll writing translated as 'All Hail Gruznaal the Wet One' or something like that. At the bottom we opened doors to find a large room with what looked like flooded stairwells on either side. Across from us was an absolutely massive set of doors with an equally large sihedron rune carved into them. Also impressive was the stack of skulls piled before the door, consisting of more races than I could easily distinguish.

Trixie jammed a tiny elbow into my chest. "There's something in that water," she said. Moments later Reznak said something it what I assumed to be giant speak that included the name Gruznaal, and within seconds a very large scrag rose out of the stairwell, armed with a ranseur that even from here appeared to be made of admantine. Somewhere, I knew, Londis was drooling and didn't know why.

Reznak and the scrag exchanged words for a bit and suddenly we were fighting. Later I found out this Gruznaal wanted skulls as a tribute. Wish I'd known that at the time, I would have Major Imaged him the biggest damn skull he'd every seen before we annihilated his distracted ass. Reznak charged in again and once again was handed his lunch. he hit the thing, but the return stroke was brutal. I realized it was going to be able to heal if it stayed in the water and started trying to figure out how to get the thing out. Lightning seemed to bother it, and I followed up a ray with a ball I wasn't particularly proud of. It smashed Reznak again and then carved the hell out of Tofa's shield. Veil got in a shot or two, but the scrag looked pretty tough.

Then Trixie took over.

Before I knew what she was doing Trixie had scrambled out of my pocket and climbed up on my right shoulder. As she began to shift and weave her kazoo sprang into life, but instead of one of the inspiring songs she played for us something unexpectedly complex started up, a piece that dove over and around itself, somehow telling a story without words. It filled the entire room with layer upon haunting layer, the acoustics somehow perfect.

Gruznaal was simply agog. His jaw hung open, and he gawked at Trixie with . . . well, I'm no expert on the facial expressions of scrags, but it look pretty fascinated. The ranseur has stopped in mid-thrust and hung loosely in its massive hands and it soaked in the glory of her music.

Then Tofa, with Hidarga glowing and her eyes rolled back and those freaky-ass ravens swirling everywhere, stepped up and absolutely leveled the sucker. Sword, shield, sword again, I've never seen anything hit so hard. It reeled back before an extremely bloody Reznak delivered a coup d'grace.

As the scene calmed down I wandered over the the prone, barely conscious Reznak. Leaning on my staff, I rubbed at my jaw and said, "You know, I'm certainly not a warrior or anything, but it seems to be that you keep rushing off in ahead of our more heavily armored friends and winding up either unconscious or close to it. Maybe you ought to rethink your tactics. Just sayin."

That earned me an ugly glare. "Aren't you going to heal me?"

I shook my head. "Not a healer. Might not need one if you, say, hung out in the back with a bow or something."

Now a snarl as Trixie clambered down from my shoulder, pulling out a wand. "That's not what I want to do."

I raised eyebrows and shrugged. "Okay." I looked up the runes over the giant doors. In Thassilonian they spelled out, 'ALL HAIL THE GLORY OF THE GOLDEN LORD.' More Xin, probably. Tofa came up behind me, looking ruefully at the splintered mess that was her shield, and nodded at the doors. "Like under Thissletop, yes?"

"Likely, but I doubt it'll be as easy as dropping a couple of coins in slots this time." Absentmindedly I put a hand on her shield and, as I gazed at the doors, did repeated castings of my mending cantrip to make the shield whole again. I wasn't really paying attention so it was a surprise when Tofa exclaimed, "Da! Is very good, Grezz!" and nearly knocked me sprawling with what I'm sure she considered to be a playful punch to my arm. Massaging what was surely going to be a huge bruise I cast a quick detect magic and the doors glowed so brightly it hurt my eyes. Looking over to Reznak as he clambered to his feet after being healed, I gestured toward the pile of skulls and the doors. "I'm thinking magical traps. Can you do anything with that?"

More glares. "Oh, NOW I'm useful?" We'll see, I thought. He muttered for a few minutes and said, 'yeah, the whole rooms a big magical trap.' If anything physically touches the door, it'll go off. So don't touch the doors."

"Right. But we need to get through. Can you disarm it?"

"Maybe, if I can make myself useful, right? Listen, don't touch the doors."

Right. Tofa, Veil and I cleared away the skulls as he kept telling us not to touch the doors. We didn't, and after the pile was gone we retreated to the stairwell and discussed our options. While we talked Reznak periodically reminded us not to touch the doors.

Finally I said, "Screw it," and started to summon a rhino. I figured it could just batter the damn things open - Trixie had tried an open/close cantrip and I had used my mage hand, but neither had worked. Before I could really get going Reznak picked up something off the floor, tossed it at a specific spot - and said the doors were safe now. Well, okay.

A bird fluttered into the room, quite out of place. Londis' voice emerged, saying simply, "Maggra problem solved. Will be back soon." That was good news, and certainly an amazing story. We opened the doors - with considerable effort, as they clearly hadn't been opened in hundreds if not thousands of years - to find a very odd room beyond them. The long chamber was dominated by eight huge statues of Xin that served as pillars. At the far end were two massive summoning circles. One contained a pile of rather large bones, while the other held what I believed to be a pit fiend - but one that looked emaciated and had clearly seen better days. It leaped up at our entrance and started to chatter in Thassilonian.

I didn't hear what it said because as soon as Trixie caught sight of it she let out an 'eep!' and fired her Rod of Wonder. Nothing came out of it, but she shuddered and slumped in my pocket.

"Shelyn's :):):):)," I said, rushing back outside over the protest of the pit fiend. Pulling her out I saw she was unconscious, her breathing shallow but still alive. I knew my spells were not something I could toss away but soon I'd emptied almost every one I had trying to dispel the effects, but with no luck. Six tries, all failures. I had a couple of higher level spells I could give up, but there was also the small matter of a pit fiend inside, so with a sigh I eased her back into my pocket and headed back in.

OOC: dispel magic rolls - needed a 13, and rolled 2; 4; 9; 4; 10; 3. lovely

I decided to take a little look at the magic here - and woke up a few minutes later, having been knocked out my the raw power gathered. That was . . .impressive. The pit fiend started as soon as I came to. 'FINALLY SOMEONE IS HERE TO END MY LONG AND UNJUST IMPRISONMENT. LET US MAKE A DEAL, MORTAL. SET ME FREE AND I WILL RETURN TO MY HOME. THAT IS ALL I WISH TO DO."

Yeah, right. Ignoring it I asked the others if they'd talked to it at all, but they'd been unable to communicate with it. The entire room was covered in Thassilonian and I was hoping it might be instructions for how to make the dam work again. "Reznak, can you check the room for magical traps? I don't want to do anything to free the pit demon."

"Oh, NOW you know my name. When you need something. Now you do."

I paused from my examination of the runes to see if he was kidding. He wasn't. He'd given me a hassle when I'd asked him to unlock the big doors as well, like he was doing us some sort of cosmic favor. Not the way to fit in, big guy, especially when we're burning our limited healing resources on you at an expeditious rate. I shook my head, took a deep breath, and walked deeper into the room. Nothing happened, except that the fiend continued to alternate between offering me the moon on a string and threatening me. "Oh stop," I said. "if you could have gotten out you would have done so by now. And I'm not interested in letting you out because you've been in here -" I read some runes, did some math - "ten thousand years or so, and I'm sure we'd be a wonderful breakfast for you."

This caused it to switch to bribes only, the usual 'anything you wish' variety, but I'd decided to set my limit of making deals with incredibly powerful yet extremely sketchy characters at one. The others wandered in as I read on. "This was a giant battery. It drew power from the contained creatures when the dam needed it. Since they were pit fiends they were able to heal themselves, but when this place was forgotten there was nobody to tend to them. The bones must have been one that ran out of power and died. This one must have been a little stronger." I looked up at the living captive. "Efficient, but somewhat ruthless."


"Yeah, I'll get right on that. You'd probably love me to offer one of souls here, right?"

"OH, WHAT I WOULD GIVE YOU . . ." I shut it out again and kept reading. "Hmmm." I looked at the bones in the otherwise empty circle.

"What?" Tofa gave me a little shove. "You make that noise when you are thinking, you should speak it out loud."

"Okay." I was still a little distracted with concern over Trixie, and the pit fiend was making me nervous, confined or not. 'Well, if this thing drew power from the confined creatures, we should be able to fire it up again if we get something else in there."

"One of us?"

"No! No, not one of us. I was thinking I should summon something, maybe." I was distinctly pleased I hadn't used EVERY spell I had trying to wake up Trixie. "I think the most powerful thing I can bring up would be either an elemental or a rhino."

Reznak said, "You should get another pit fiend."

I chuckled. "That's a little beyond me. Besides, it probably wouldn't like the celestial blessing I tend to add."


"Everyone wants to give me stuff. Medea, you, Loric . . .I must be so wonderful."

"You should summon a pit fiend."

"Think I'll just go with a lightning elemental. I strongly recommend the rest of you at least back up to the door. i have no idea if this is going to work."


The elemental appeared in the circle and the pit fiend screeched in pain and anger! "FOOL! I CURSE ALL OF YOU, A POX ON YOUR MISERABLE FATES! I WILL - AHHHHHHHHHHHH" Magic swirled in both circles and with a bright flash the pit fiend crumbled to bones. The elemental had a second to look alarmed before it vanished in a flash. Had it worked?

The stone around us shuddered and I realized the sluicegates were opening. I slumped back to the floor, listening to the sound of thousands of gallons of water being properly diverted outside. Feeling lucky, I gently pulled Trixie out of my pocket, get her on the floor, and gave it one my try with my last remaining spell.

OOC: needed a 13 for the dispel. Got a 13 on the nose

Trixie popped back to normal Trixie size, although her skin remained a cheery blue. Her eyes opened and she gave a graceful, catlike stretch. "I miss anything?"

- - - - -

I leaned against a pillar in the church, taking a break as we tried to help the villagers put their lives back together. Trixie had been keeping everyone's spirits up with her music, but now she was in deep conversation with Veil. Magra has killed about 30 or so people, including the mayor-priest, before Londis had somehow destroyed her. On exactly what had happened he was extremely vague, but he insisted both Magra and the Evil Book had been 'handled.' Indeed it was gone from the Bag of Holding, but I would need better answers from the man being hailed as the savior of the town
OOC: I can't stop hearing 'Londis, the Hero of Canton' in my head. Gorram mudders.
. We'd been resting up for a day or so, with me recharging my staff and erasing tattoos from townsfolk. There was an old druid who'd been instrumental in holding back the water, and he'd sort of taken over. It was still raining, and I knew that wasn't natural and in fact had an idea where the cause was coming from, so we'd have to take care of that. We also needed to check out that dam again, especially the battery chamber. Sharp eyes find hidden things.

Reznak had approached us and, lamenting the apparent demise of his brother, asked if he could tag along with us. he sounded earnest, but I couldn't help remembering his attitude in the dam and also his skill at deception that he displayed at the keep. Not sure how I felt about him yet. Not sure we had enough healing to keep him around if he stayed as reckless as he'd been.

Trixie walked up to me as I sat musing, a strange expression on her face. "Hey. Beanpole. Did you really burn up most of your spells trying to save me before you dealt with the pit fiend?"

I winced and prepared for the mockery to begin. "Yeah, I was having trouble concentrating."

She nodded, then grabbed the front of my shirt and pulled me down to her level. She locked gazes with me for a few seconds, then planted a kiss on my forehead before smacking me hard on the ass. "Thanks for looking out for me, you C student."

I stood back up with a half-smile. "Not a problem. Along those lines, I feel i need to talk to you about something."

She put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. "By Calestria's Nipples, Grezz, this isn't the point where you reveal your undying love for me, is it?"

I shook my head. "No, no, I only whisper that to you while you're unconscious."

She studied me for a few seconds to see if I was serious, but I couldn't keep a straight face. "What is it, ya big goof?"

"The Rod. Your rod," I amended. "If it shrinks you again, I'd like you to promise me that you'll hand it over until I can embiggen you again. You could have died when that effect happened again. In fact you should have, and I'm not sure why you didn't."

She snorted. "Because I'm Trixie. Because I'm awesome." She laughed, then sighed and rolled her eyes. "Fine, Mommy, if it shrinks me I'll hand it over until you can make umpteen attempts to dispel it. Are you going to tell me when else I can't use it?"

I held up hands. "No. I try not to tell you what to do."

"Well, maybe you're not quite as dumb as you look then, eh?"

Maybe. Jury is still out on that one.
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Session #41 - Aug 15, 2011 - I Told You I Was Coven Over!

notes: Up to the mountains to find out why the weather is so lousy! So, level 9 for a sorcerer is, uhm pretty damn fun. I'm just saying.

Dinner was pulled pork sandwiches and salad. Dessert was ogres and hags.

From the journal of Grezzalik M'rethen:

We spend a couple of days helping Turtleback Ferry try to recover from the devastation brought on by Black Maggra. With their near worship of Londis as leverage a lot got done, including healing on our part. I spent the days burning through my spells to remove as many of the Sidhidron tattoos as I could. Through group effort the others were able to break Lucretia's code for her book - honey, I know you're dead and all, but next time you might not want to hide the key on the book itself, just inside a false back cover. These lamia matriarchs may be hell in a fight but they seem to have large issues with commons sense. In any case, she'd marked 217 of the townspeople and it seemed like her plan to break the dam would have caused all of them to die at once as a massive sacrifice, probably to Karzuug. Too bad that didn't work out so well for her. We discovered that a Barl Breakbones was 'collecting marks for Lord Mokmurian,' whomever that was. It seemed Barl was a spell-casting stone giant. Fun! Can you say, "Rod of Wonder?"

One of the days we spent escorting a group of townspeople to help restore the keep, and while we were there Jacardos did his best to outfit us with what he could find. From the missing and presumably dead commander he gave us a pair of swamp-walker boots, and a scroll with a nice set of spells that I was only too happy to grab.
OOC: Cone of Cold CL11, Hold Monster CL11, and Telekinesis CL11. Damn right I'll take 'em!

He also offered the lending of his shocking bow, as his hand was still recovering. Londis took him up on the offer and the next day we headed out for Hook Mountain and the source of the storm. The floodgates were open and it seemed unlikely the dam would fail, but the constant rain wasn't helping anything. Overland travel brought us into sight of the mountain, and also a small army of ogres, probably the Kreig clan. Higher up we could see a couple of large caves and a few more ogres. We could have just carved our way through, but that seemed like the hard way. As we studied the place I sighed and said, "Okay, maybe I'll do some recon. I'll be back in a few minutes."

Londis looked at what was passing for the morning sky. "Even with the rain, it's a little bright for you to just fly up there. Do you know invisibility as well?"

"Yeah, but I have something else in mind." I'd had a weird dream our first night back in Turtleback Ferry, and in it I'd danced in the clouds during a thunderstorm, laughing as the lightning flashed around me. I wasn't myself and yet I was, and it was liberating. I'd heard mention there was a spell that could do something like that but I'd never studied it. Turned out I didn't need to. I just knew, somehow.

I cleared my throat and barked out a few guttural words before feeling myself start to spin, and then . . . I just felt light and free, and with a quick glance to see suprised expressions on the others I zipped off into the storm, just another air elemental out for a jaunt.

In a nutshell,t he front route was going to be ugly. There was a goat path up the back of the mountain that would be difficult but certainly devoid of foes. I touched back down as the spell wore off. While I debriefed everyone Trixie was looking at me with an odd, appraising expression. After I finished she came over and poked me in the ribs. "Nice spell. i guess there were no hot girls in that class, eh?"

I smiled, shook my head. "I didn't learn that in a class. I just woke up the other morning and sort of knew I could do it." I shrugged. "By Shelyn's Grace, it was kind of fun."

She tossed her damp hair. "Well, duh. Flying looks pretty cool."

"It is. If you want to fly, just let me know. Not now, of course, but once we get back. I can just cast the spell on you. Uhm, not the one I just did, but just a regular fly spell." I paused. considered. "It might be interesting to see how our styles of flight differ."

"Well," she said with a warm smile, "it's you think it'll help you I suppose I could tolerate it. For now, we should worry about climbing a mountain.

So climb we did. Well, climb Tofa, Londis, and Reznak did. Trixie hung out in Londis' bag of holding reading the romance novel, while I hitched a floating disc to the inquisitor and let myself be tugged along behind him. It looked like a very difficult climb, truth me told. I had to save Reznak's bacon when he almost slid off the mountain and burned a spider climb scroll or two to help get us to the top, but soon we were peeking over the top of the opening of a massively large cave.

Of course it was guarded by the only damn ogre who would ever take guard duty seriously, a commander-type in heavy armor and holding a massive bow. With an evil chuckle he fired and stuck a shaft into Tofa. His two fellow guards, also well-equipped, took shots as well. Londis opened the bag and Trixie took one look, made some sort of grunting sound, and used her Rod of Wonder on one of them, greatly slowing it down. I looked at the commander who was reaching for another arrow with a sneer. Nice armor, oversized, definitely going to be a pain in the ass to go toe to toe with.

So why do it, then?

Tapping into my wonderful, wonderful Crook, I summoned up a heavy gusher of water and directed it right into his chest. It hit him and knocked him back, and for a few seconds he teetered on the edge of the cliff, flailing his arms. It looked like he might be able to keep his footing . . . nah. he lost it and tumbled off with an angry shout, which terminated as he hit some rocks and bounced and hit some rocks and bounced and . . . you get the idea. Scratch one commander.
OOC: A close thing. I beat his CMD by 1. It was awfully nice to complete a successful bull rush by a sorcerer!

One ogre went down in a hail of arrows, but the remaining one took off inside. We couldn't have that and so we pursued, killing it before it could sound an alarm. The massive cave was full of notable things. The entrance was lined with what appeared to be the ribcage of a blue dragon, but ancient ones that bore scrimshaw sihidron runes. What I took at first to be a massive statue of a giant proved to actually be the preserved corpse of a Thassilonian Runegiant. They were the leaders of Xin's armies, but corrupted over time and became dangerously evil. This one was worshipped by the ogres and bore closer examination, but before I could another fight broke out down the hallway. I ran over and found a narrow hallway absolutely jammed with ogres of varying size and armor - possibly as many as ten. As i watched a screaming Tofa hit one with what looked like four attacks at once, and the thing just exploded in a shower of blood and gore while she screamed with triumph. She's my friend but sometimes she scares me, just a little bit. Trixie dropped one with some sort of drum spell, but there were a lot of ogres.

In addition to the air elemental spell I'd woken up with some other knowledge as well. I'd been changing fireballs into lightning balls all along, but now I felt - no, I knew - that I could summon one from inside me that was different from my usual spells. So I did.

Boom. Many dead ogres.
OOC: the majority of the ogres were exhausted from working at the dam but I rolled in the 40s for damage.

More showed up, including a massive one wielding a glowing hammer. I quickly dropped him into a pit and he emerged with a pissed off expression. Reznak spun his way in and threw something at the big dude's eyes. It didn't work and the thud of impact from the hammer echoed through the corridor. Still, it didn't take long for us to overwhelm it, aided by Trixie using the wand of scorching ray, and find ourselves standing in a pile of dead ogres as Londis fondled the glowing hammer. The head was adamantine and yet still rounded a bit. I had some vague ideas of what it was but one tripped something in Trixie's memory and between the two of us we realized this was the hammer of Thorgrim Barcrand, the chief smith to Xin. Wow. We were dabbling in some serious stuff here.

We quickly healed up those that needed healing and tore off in the direction of some chanting. Rounding a corner we spotted three hags around a cauldron, clearly the source of the storm. Something ticked in the back of my head about hags working together and I mumbled a curse. "A coven. Not good."

Londis, bless his Varguile-tinted head,was quick to react. Even as something rose from the floor he blanketed the hags in silence, and the storm began to abate at once. In the meantime something dressed as the Black Arrow commander came into focus in front of us, clearly some sort of undead now
OOC: a wraith. Not sure what kind as he tossed either a spell or a supernatural power at us
. It blasted us with a cone of freezing cold air that despite looking fearsome, did little damage. If an undead can look chagrined, this one did.
OOC: we all saved!

As the others charged forward I tossed a regular lightning ball, giving it an extra little love in the form of disruptiveness. Tofa, her blade twitching in her hand raced forward to attack the wraith. The hags gestured and a shimmering cage of force appeared around the monster and Tofa, with Londis leaping to the side just in time. He and Reznak raced toward the hags as I tried to throw another lightning ball at the hags, only to have it splash harmlessly against the forcecage, or whatever it was
OOC: I had Grezz make a spellcraft check about it and got a 1, so I played him as too dopey to realize what was going to happen if he tried to cast through it.

Leaving the hags to the others I tried desperately to think of a way to help Tofa as she evaded the slashing claws of the horror she was trapped with - and had an idea. I couldn't cast through it, but maybe if the point of origin was inside . . . I summoned a hound archon was was delighted to see it materialize behind the wraith and lay into it. Within seconds it was done, and I looked up in time to see two hags begging for mercy and then Reznak slitting the throat of one . . . for Shelyn's Sake! Not that I was horribly upset with something as evil as a hag dying, but we needed info, and if the other one had fallen . . . it hadn't. Evidently Londis had been wise enough to recognize its value and manacled it instead. Some quick interrogation later and we had a few more pieces to the puzzle - indeed Lucretia had been trying to harvest souls and now we needed to stop the stone giants in the complex, one who was named Relk. Forewarned is forearmed. Time for a deep sigh, some healing, and then once more into the breach . . . and I haven't even gotten to use my fun new spells yet. My tattoos flashed in anticipation.
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Session #42 - August 22, 2011 - They Really Do Grow Up So Fast, Don't They?

notes: sometimes you can get lured into a false sense of security by your GM and totally forget that he's an evil, evil man. Kudos to him for springing a one-two punch on poor Grezz that had to be months in the planning. As we have possibly made 10th level it's interesting to see that yes, we are somewhat of a force? player? meddler? in world events. Quite shocking. Let's just say Grezz had an interesting few hours once he got to Magnidaar.

That's a spoiler, right? That we handled old Barl? Was there ever a doubt? We're heroes. That doesn't mean there weren't hairy moments and scary ego vs ego fights as well. And my, once you get past the inbred ogres and horrible epic creatures of chaos the north really is quite wonderful, isn't it? Makes you want to build a little place of your own . . .

Dinner was kebabs and cous cous. Due to GM work it may be up to a month before we play again. Boo! We're also starting to roll up characters for the concurrent campaign I'm going to run (so the poor GM can finally play!) using the Jade Regent path as the base. Five players tried 4d6, but only one kept what they rolled. The others accepted their kindly new GMs benevolent offer of a 20 point buy. Looks like we'll have a paladin, a fighter, a witch, a ninja/monk, and a spellcaster of some sort. Good mix. My excitement at running is overshadowing my extreme nervousness at running.

From the journal of Baron Grezzalik M'rethen:

I went over to see if there were any sort of useful things among the wight's remains - there weren't - and while I was away Londis' grip on his new hammer 'slipped,' resulting in the demise of the remaining hag. He had the good grace to at least look a tiny bit abashed, but given that a hag is basically a creature of pure evil I wasn't as upset as I could have been. Or maybe should have been. I don't know. I'm learning that there are many shades of gray in the world.

We headed over to find the giants and, yes, there were where she'd said they'd be. A big stone giant hurled a few stones at us, and as the warriors rushed in I zapped it with a wand of magic missile before rushing forward and casting Haste on everyone. The clash of combat sounded from around the corner and I moved over to find a spectral hand waiting for me, no doubt being wielded by the ebony-skinned giant at the other side of the 200 foot long chamber.

"Ah, there's the sorcerer!" A spell brushed against me and my vision flicked for a second before returning to normal. I countered by using a spell through the staff that was new to me called ball lightning. One seemed to bother the giant the others were fighting, but the caster sneered derisively and said, "Pah, shadow magic. Perhaps the stories are exaggerated."

Will they never, ever learn? Trixie was a few feet away from me, having started her song via her kazoo. I pulled her in front of me, the spun her around so she could see the big guy in the back. It was close to fifteen feet tall and Trixie made a sound between a curse and 'eep!' before whipping out her Rod of Wonder. A scarlet beam lanced across the room and hit the massive club he was carrying, and it flickered out of existence. The giant looked at his empty hand and frowned. "Well, that's bothersome." He still wasn't getting it. Like I said, they never learn. As I clapped Trix on the shoulder and said, "Nice job," Barl flew towards us and, producing a wand, zapped Londis with the sickly black light that signifies an Envervation spell. Londis staggered a bit but continued to fight, and while the giant concentrated on him Reznak - finally using the keen rapier - tore it to shreds from behind.

Then it got a little scary.

The giant started to head my way and Tofa, with Hidarga glowing and vibrating like never before, knocked the thing sprawling. She hit it so hard its chest exploded, and, as her eyes completely rolled back in her head, shoved her hand in and pulled out the still beating heart. Then followed a cry of triumph before she crushed it in her hand, and I thought Hidarga was going to shake itself to pieces. But a few seconds later she shook her head and seemed a little more . . . with us.
OOC: it was a will vs will ego fight as the sword tried to take over, But Tofa was able to fend it off and keep control . . in round 1

In the meantime I threw a fireball at the giant, leaving it as fire as I figured if he knew I was coming, he knew I was an air sorcerer. The flames flickers around him and winked out with no effect. Balls.
OOC: Out thought myself there. The ball lightning, as lame as it was because he saved, should have tipped me off that he wasn't warded against electricity.

Barl grunted and vanished as Londis cried out warnings of illusion-covered crevasses. Tofa chugged a fly potion and was able to sense the giant rushing either toward or directly at me and Trixie. With her hovering overhead I stepped in front of the halfling and cast a Web spell - I wasn't sure I'd caught it but it would slow it down at the very least. Reznak and Londis hit him again, and Trixie and I peeled away spells with Dispel Magics. It didn't stop him from reanimating his fallen comrade, who grabbed the inquisitor and started squeezing. Londis had canceled the caster's invisibility and Tofa hit him so hard I was amazed he kept his feet
OOC: 83 points of damage in a single round - hasted raging barbarians are scary things
. Evidently he was of the same mind because he rumbled, "I'm not dying for Mokmorian - I surrender!"

I was more than okay with that - there was surely a font of information in this one - but Tofa, floating over his head and actually frothing at the mouth, wound up to hit him again.

"No, Tofa! We need him alive!"

She looked at me with scary, scary eyes and the gore-covered sword in her hand began to shake more violently than ever. For a good ten seconds this went on as light poured from Hidarga. Then Tofa howled with victory and brandished the weapon above her head. As I watched a rune etched into the blade slowly began to glow, matching three others similarly lit (OOC: Tofa won another ego vs ego will battle and unlocked another power on her blade, Giantbane. that might come in handy. If she'd lost the sword probably would have taken over).

Reznak cut the arms off the zombie holding Londis and said something in a cocky tone I couldn't quite make out. Londis responded by picking up one of the arms and clouting him with it. Yeah, he was fine.

Barl, in exchange for his life, was willing to part with a great deal of information. Mokmorian was the one who was uniting the giant tribes in an ancient city called Jorgenfest, up in the mountains by the Storval Plateau. He was an exiled runt who'd found power somewhere, along with seven lamia matriarchs. Well, five now. He was planning on wiping out all of humanity, blah blah blah, another loon with delusions of grandeur. Barl had been sent down to enslave the Kreig ogres and put them to work forging weapons for the giant army. Lucretia had appeared to work on making a mass sacrifice for Mokmorian, who liked to feed on souls. Something told me we'd be making a trip up to the Plateau soon.

Back in Turtleback Ferry the town was still slowly rebuilding, and it was clear the place has a serious case of hero worship for Londis. He seemed to think it was the natural order. Probably have them all worshiping his one true god before long.

After saying goodbye to Jacardos and filling him in on his stepdaughter, we headed back to Magnidaar. We passed ships heading up with reinforcements who were a little late to the party, but it wasn't like the Black Arrows - both of them - couldn't use the extra hands. I kept picking at the giant for more info on the way down, and also bothered Londis about the Evil Book. He just insisted it 'had been taken care of' and refused to elaborate. Quite frustrating.

Arriving in town, we marched over to the Lord Magistrates's compound with Barl in tow, which drew expressions of wonder from even the jaded citizens of the city. Arriving at the gates we were of course stopped by the guards. "Please let The Lord Mayor know his agents are back from the north." They eyed the giant uneasily and one started to edge away, but Reznak stepped forward and produced a scroll of some sort that he handed to the captain. "You see what this grants me, yes?" The captain read it and nodded.

My jaw twitched in irritation. "What? Listen, we'll wait here until you get us clearance."

Reznak turned and smiled. "No, see, you all work for me. I'm not waiting, but if you want to stand around out here that's fine. I'm taking the giant and going in."

"No, you aren't. And we do not work for you." Tofa spoke in a soft tone but the steel was obvious in her voice. Londis, Trixie and I nodded as we took up positions beside her. I was trying not to glare but probably failing - he'd been lying to us all along, had known who we were and what we were doing and never thought it was proper to clue us in - by Shelyn's Grace, I'm suspicious of others at the best of times. My mouth set in a grim line.

Reznak looked at us for a long moment before throwing up his hands. "Fine, wait out here if you want. I'm going in." And he did, leaving us. After he went the giant chuckled and shook his head.

After about twenty minutes the orders came to let us in, and we followed a large cadre of guards. Barl was led away toward a tower and he gave us a final nod, resigned to whatever fate awaited him. I'd kept my word and kept him alive as long as I could, and I felt no guilt. He might not have been evil by nature, but he was opposed to what was good and right and he'd earned his predicament.

We were ushered in a large room that contained the immensely obese Lord Mayor Haldern Grobarus and a copiously weeping Reznak, who was moaning about his brother. the same brother he hadn't seemed too upset about over the two weeks it took us to get back to town, of course. After his display at the gate I would trust him about as far as I could throw him, and picking up and tossing things is not my forte.

'Well, do make yourself at home and tell me what happened. Don't mind Reznak here, he's just distraught over the loss of his brother."

"Mmm," I said. "You knew his brother?"

Haldern offered a greasy smile. "We're related, yes. Now, tell me of what you discovered."

So we did, which took quite a while. He agreed that news of the giants massing should be passed along to the Queen, but who knows if he'll actually do so. After we'd finished he began doling out rewards - a writ for Trixie allowing her to play anywhere in town; news that Tofa's brother had a ship in town and discussions were undergoing for some freight contracts; and a load of extra cash for each of us as a bonus. He looked at me and said, "Well, thank you all, but I have some business here with Grezzalik, so if you don't mind we'll move to another chamber. Oh, and Londis, would you please join us as well?"

Trix asked me if I wanted her to wait and I said yes - how long could it take me to be made the Assistant Minister of Magic Licensing in the 3rd Ward or whatever pretend political position he was going to give me? Tofa headed off to see her brother.

We were led by the massive Mayor and his assistant through a maze of corridors to a window-lined room with wonderful views of the city and a large bare desk. A door sat in the wall on the far side of the room, oddly sized. "Sit, sit," the Mayor urged as his assistant helped him remove his robes . . . then several layers of padding . . . and his wig . . . to reveal a slim older man, who favored us with a knowing smile. At that moment I knew that if we had a disagreement it was unlikely I'd be leaving this room alive. he produced a bottle of what appeared to be a very fine liquor and poured himself a glass. We were not offered any. After taking a sip he said, "Well, it seems we have some business to settle, Mr. M'rethen. As do we, Mr. Baelarn."

At that Londis went rigid. "How do you know that name?" The Mayor merely smiled and said nothing. "Fine. Where is he?"

In response to that Haldern reached into his desk and produced an envelope, which he handed to the inquisitor after saying, "We're not quite done yet, though. You might want to listen to this. Now, it seems you're quite the hero in Turtleback Ferry, that squalid little dump. When I consider the opportunities available in that region, my mind whirls with the possibilities for improvement. For instance, the potential lumber supply is staggering, and I find the current commodities system in town to be . . . vexing."

I hid a grin. He didn't like the Scarnettis either.

"So I see a chance to make Turtleback Ferry into something better, something wonderful. Of course, it is a large region and that needs governing of sorts. Mr. M'rethen, you are from House Renth, no?"

I snorted. "Was, and only in the vaguest sense. I have no connection to them any longer."

He waved that away. "Regardless. This new asset of Magnidaar is going to need someone to hold sway over it." And he looked at me.

I blinked several times. "You want me to be a regent or something?"

Haldern laughed. "No, no. that's silly. That's not what I mean at all." I relaxed before he added, "I want you to be the Baron."

There was a long, long silence. Finally I said, "You want me to be Baron? To be nobility?"

"Well, yes. I want you to handle the civil side of things. Be the Baron, the ruler. I'd like you, Mr. Baelarn, to be in charge of the military up there. You're popular in the town, so that should help you."

Londis thought a few seconds before nodding. He then cocked his head at me. "I'd have to answer to him?"

"On some things. I'll provide you with a staff, of course, and you'll have several positions of your own to fill, Mr. M'rethen. Now if either of you doesn't want this you can just walk out that door over there and we'll be done. Really." he gave a smile that was supposed to be assuring but was unsettling instead.

I had questions. Londis had questions. I won't bore you with the details but the Mayor would be getting us up there as a buffer while having his own people no doubt in the important positions. Tofa's brother would get the shipping contract for the lumber. There was no doubt I we were being manipulated, but with the assurance we could be absentee leaders to do our own things it wasn't the worst idea I'd ever heard. I still had misgivings as we shook hands, but it seemed like the thing to do. plus, steady income. I had about a thousand things I wanted to buy and they were all expensive. Saving the world is a costly business.

Trixie started to crab at us when we came out, no dount about the amount of time it had taken, but stopped when she saw me. She turned to Londis and asked, "What's wrong with Grezz?"

Londis chuckled, which is actually a very disquieting thing. 'That's actually 'Baron Grezz' now."

Trixie looked at me with a skeptical expression. "Really?"

I nodded, somewhat numb. "Yeah. Gonna move into Fort Rannick. Londis is going to be head of military. You want a job?"

She frowned. "Like an actual job with responsibilities?"

"No. More like a title thing that pays while you do what you want to do." I gave her look that meant there was more to it than that, and she gave me a slight nod. We'd talk about it later.

Londis turned to Reznak, who had also waited, and said, "I might need a Master of Spies. Are you interested?"


"Good. Your first task is to find someone. Immediately. How familiar are you with Korvosa?"

Trix and I wanted to get back to the Heidmarches and check on those important to us - Shotsie and my mother. When he reached the gates of the estate the guard stopped us and suggested we go see the Lord and Lady immediately. Trixie shook her head and said she was going to see Shotsie. I figured another hour or so wouldn't matter, so I agreed to head over to the dining hall.

Waiting for me were Canayven and Sheila Heidmarch, Tinuvel Arundevillan, Joardic Hemurl, and others I hadn't met yet. After exchanging pleasantries they asked me to tell them what we'd found at the Skull Dam and I did, in detail. About halfway through Canayven motioned for me to stop for a moment and whispered into the ear of someone I didn't know, who scurried from the room. I heard 'sending' and 'headquarters.'

When I finished Shelia asked me if I'd told the Academica yet. When I relied that i hadn't she nodded with approval.

"Please don't. A discovery like this, this is what we live for. We've sent message to Absolom and there will be dozens of us up there studying what you've found in a matter of days." She shook her head and smiled ruefully. "You and your friend have a way of tripping over things nobody's been able to find or figure out for hundreds of years, Grezzalik."

I shrugged, uncertain of how to respond. It wasn't like they didn't know there was a huge Thassilonian-built dam up there, but had nobody ever tried to open the doors before?

We chatted for a while about the other events before I asked if I could go see my mother. Sheila's face hardened a bit and she asked, "Has your little friend gone to see after her . . . lizard?"

Uh oh. 'I believe so, yes."

"Good. He's been . . a bit of trouble since she left."

I hid a smile as I left.

My cabin was quiet as I entered, but a light was shining under the door to my mother's room. Knocking a few times, I waited a couple of seconds before opening it and saying, "Hi, Mom. I'm home."

The woman who was standing there was not my mother but in fact was, as she turned around, an extremely attractive young woman with dark hair. he face lit up with a bright smile and she clapped twice before spreading her arms wide. Her eyes flashed with excitement and her hair, well, her hair started to rise up around her head . . . because it wasn't hair. It was a great number of thin black snakes.

Then with glee in her voice she said, "HI DAD!"

more notes: and the session ended. Nice shaking up of Grezz's world, eh? The young lady is evidently indeed my daughter Euyale, the result of the liaison between myself and Medea. As time passes differently around her she's like 15 or 16 instead of a few months old, and she's been watching us and our adventures and she's OUR BIGGEST FAN EVER! Oh, and she may be part gorgon (duh). I knew there would be a kid to complicate things at some point, but not quite like this. oh well, like I always say, what's the point in having imaginary alter egos if you can't make poor life decisions for them? So now Grezz is a baron. And a dad. And probably heading to the center of Gianttown. Oh, and agonizing over his single 5th level spell. Teleport? Suffocation? Lightning Arc?
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Session #43 - September 19, 2011 - Frofg in the Throat

notes: our first session is several weeks was a little disjointed as players arrived late and we had a guest (Hi, Max!) playing an NPC who also arrived late and had to leave early, both times driven by me. Toss into the mix that the GM spent the time during the meal when we would have taken care of certain issues cobbling together his wife's character (he'd forgotten her sheets at home) and we had to make some leaps - as in, Grezz hasn't done any shopping, or figured out what's going on with his mother, or filled out his staff, or had Trixie do what she's going to do, and so on. So I reserve the right to take care of that stuff at a later time and make you read it out of the timeline. I'm that kind of guy.

Dinner was yummy chicken puffs and salad. Dessert was crazy psycho spurned undead girlfriend Fae Queen.

From the journal of Baron Grezzalik M'Rethen:

By Shelyn's Vision, I knew being baron was going to be a pain in the ass. I just didn't know it would start almost immediately.

I stood watching Tofa talking to a bunch of Ulfen who seemed to be in the process of building a shipyard on the southern shore of Claybottom Lake. It was entirely possible that I'd been briefed on this - my new Clerk, Arneist Malgrave, was nothing if not efficient - but somehow I hadn't expected there to be dozens of sailors bellowing as one waved a piece of paper.

They indeed had a writ, and so they and Londis began hammering out details for how they were going to be governed. There was almost a minor riot when Reznek, who was working for Londis, told the Ulfen that he was going to 'interrogate' them. He was then informed that if he tried they'd use him to caulk the hull of one of the ships. While I didn't exactly discourage that threat I did step in and try to settle things down a bit. Euyale was watching all of it with an eager and excited eye, and at some point she slipped off, easily passing as full human by wrapping her snakes up in some sort of hat thingie. I know that as her father I should have been much more concerned, but truth be told it was difficult to feel any sort of attachment to her just yet - she was mine by blood, but I didn't know her at all. She seemed like a nice kid if a little sheltered, but I wouldn't go so far to say I was emotionally bonded or anything so far.

As Londis returned to dictating proper behavior I heard Malgraves politely cough at my elbow. 'Your lordship, I've just received notice that an emmissary from the Winter Court of the Shimmerglens has arrived back at the keep. Do you wish me to send word back that we'll be along shortly, or do you wish to return now?"

I heard Londis tell Dorgan, leader of the Ulfens, that he expected some difficulties because they were godless heathen. "We'll go now," I sighed. I nudged Trixie. "Can you keep an eye of Euyale. And let me know what you find out otherwise, 'kay?" She nodded, then started looking around. My Minister of Internal Affairs asked, "Okay. Where is she?"

We heard a peal of girlish laughter, followed by an approving roar made by several men. "Start there."

I cast fly on Malgraves and myself and we returned to the keep to discover a nervous looking Pixie waiting for us. I brought him to my chambers for a private meeting. "Greetings, Grezzalik Tindelluvian. I am Timminus Thistledown, and I bring a message from my Queen, Myrannia."

That name tickled my memory for a second, but I couldn't remember why.
OOC: We all forgot that we'd found a locket in the commander's room that had the name Myrannia and a picture. To be fair we'd been really busy at the time, but I found the name in my notes later on and felt shame

The pixie continued. "The Queen feels that your recent actions are upsetting the balance of things up here and if they continue, would be considered an act of war. She asks that you present yourself within 3 days to see what can be done." He paused for a second, then added, "Baron, may I speak frankly?" At my nod he said, "We have heard of your group's deeds involving Vinroot and the Lady Fiera, and, well, the Queen hasn't been herself since the keep was taken. I really do hope you and your friends will come out and set things right."

I nodded and called for Malgraves. "Please set Timminus up with guest quarters. We'll leave as soon as I gather the others. We have safe passage from the Winter Court, yes?" The pixie bowed deeply before leaving. I'd have to take that as a yes.

When the others came back I used a spell to share the info with them and we agreed to leave in a couple of hours. While we were talking Emma Val'Dane came in and I offered her the chance to come with us if she wished. I'd brought her on as my diplomat because Trixie had been uninterested in 'talking to mindless boobs and other fops,' but the halfling eyed her with distrust as we discussed what was going on. She opted to pass when I pointed out that she wouldn't have guaranteed safe passage, and as she left I turned to Reznek, who had wandered in with Londis. "Same goes for you. You weren't in the Fellnight, so you're fair game. Up to you."

His response was something flip and dismissive. I shrugged and said, "just making sure you know what you're getting into." To Londis I said, "He's your responsibility. This is a baronial matter, so keep his leash short."

Euyale seemed thrilled we were heading off. "An adventure! I'm so excited!"

Swamp. Yippee.

* * * *

We got ambushed, of course. Not by Winter Court, although the pixie hightailed it out of there as soon as it started. No, it was a large number of boggards along with their pets. I was reminded that's while I'd remembered to cast Mage Armor I'd forgotten to cast Protection from Missiles. I was hit by several darts as they sprang from cover and immediately realized I'd been poisoned.
OOC: Not long ago I got a pound 'o dice and had a roll off to pick a new d20. the winner had been doing very well for me all along - but not in this session. In rapid succession I failed perception and was thus surprised. i then failed SIX saves versus poison in a row - and I only needed to roll a 6. Incredible. I did make my reflex save against a fireball, and that's what kept me upright, but my CON is currently a 6.

It was a somewhat hairy battle, but it ended like most of them do - Londis and Tofa bickering over who did a better job killing things; sizzling remains of creatures I'd pumped lots of electricity into; Trixie doing some healing; and Reznek near death after fighting something one on one. As if by magic the pixie returned with apologies after the boggards had fled. Wonderful.

We arrived at the glorious city of White WIllow and found . . . a dilapidated disaster. The place was run-down, unbalanced, sickly. We gathered together to figure out what to do as the pixie began to edge away, but before we could toss around ideas that blasted fool Reznak moved into a glen and, well, alerted the Queen to our arrival.

The Queen did not look good. She looked pale and, uhm, dead, covered with horrid ogre hook scars and a visage of some horror from beyond the grave. She pointed at us and screeched, "BETRAYERS!"

We get blamed for everything.

more notes: In out of session playing, Grezz and Trixie settled her ire over him hiring another bard by his apologies, explanations, and teaching her how to fly. It also brought about this exchange:
Trixie: You hired a female bard, a female engineer, and a female alchemist. :):):):), Grezz, if you're that desperate yous hould just say so. Get me drunk enough and I'll toss you a pity lay.
Grezz: Can't. It's too dangerous with the Rod of Wonder around.
Trixie: What? Why?
Grezz: because every time you see something huge you freak and use the thing, right?
Trixie: yeah, so what?
Grezz: (struggling to keep a straight face) Well, when I drop my pants and you see what's there, I'm afraid you'll flood the room with butterflies or turn it blue or whatever else that damn rod does.
Trixie: (dissolves into several minutes of helpless giggles)


Session #44 - September 26, 2011 - Yeah, Yeah, Belly of the Beast

Notes: Missing one as Reznek's player had to cancel, but it was easy to fit within the framework of our mission. A good, fun session with my character in dire straits and other events unfolding as well. Londis' player has us cracking up all night. As the GM said, "You wield the truth like a big, horrible hammer!" This will probably be a post heavy on OOC.

Dinner was GM grilled chicken drumsticks and corn on the cob with cherry pie and homemade apple pie for dessert. Yums all around.

From the journal of Baron Grezzalik M'Rethen:

For one second, I saw the eerie, unearthly beauty of Myrannia that was still obvious despite her less-than-alive condition.

Then it all went black. Bloody hell. Blinded again. I heard Euryale yelp in surprise and Reznek yelling, so I knew I wasn't the only one. The ghost continued to berate us, but at least she wasn't attacking.

"You failed! You were supposed to stop the keep from falling, and save my beloved, but I was too late and you were too late and it's all your fault!"

"No," said Londis gravely, "It's your fault. You failed. You failed at saving your lover. It's not our fault at all. That terrible burden of guilt should fall on you."

"No, no!" she wailed. "He is a Tinvalluden, I can sense the taint on him!"

"Excuse me," I said in the direction of her voice, "Loric might have sired me, but I'm not his son and he's not my father. It's an accident of blood and nothing more." I sighed, tripping over something as moved in that direction. "As you don't see to be actively trying to destroy us, am I right that there's some we can do to help resolve all this? Is there something we can do to help you?"

"Yes, yes, betrayers, you can try to erase your stain and - "

"Stop that." Londis sounded like he was scolding a child. "Don't blame others for your failures. Now, your lover was some sort of abomination - an undead one, not a scaly one like Grezz's daughter -"

"Hey! Dad, did you hear that?"

"- that we, uhm, helped assume a less threatening form. Isn't that a good enough job of putting him to rest?"

"No, no, you must bring me his remains, only then can we have peace, only then can my lover be taken care of! You must do this!" She started sobbing again.

"Uhm, okay." I cleared my throat. "I can be up to Hook Mountain and back in a few hours, but I kind of need you to remove this blindness and -"

"I give you three days to accomplish this task, bring my lover back to me. Three days!"

I nodded, shrugged. "Okay. Three days, then." Under my breath I muttered, "Try not to get any more batshit crazy while we're gone."

We left her weeping in the glen and found a nervous Timminus waiting for us. "Well, that went better than I thought. Now I've arranged an escort through the swamp and - " he cut off as Londis grabbed him. The pixie turned invisible and the inquisitor's arm shot in multiple directions as it tried to break free. it was unsuccessful. I believe Londis even growled at it. He kept the little jerkweed close at hand.

OOC: I had been willing to send Grezz up alone to quickly retrieve bones, but the GM was too smart to allow that. I'm forgetting way too much of Londis' hysterical conversation with the mad nymph ghost, but we laughed ourselves sick

Back in town we had Londis' new cleric heal us up. He had enough memorized to take care of Euryale and myself, but Reznek was going to have to wait until he could rememorize the spell
OOC: and thus an excuse is made to leave a PC behind!
. Between my fly spells and Londis' griffon - that used to be Tofa's and I just don't go there - we made it to Hook Mountain quickly and were soon inside the main cave. The blue dragon bones had been destroyed, and a closer examination showed that it appeared they had burst from the inside. The floor was covered with reptilian tracks we couldn't identify, and with a measure of caution we headed to the cauldron chamber.

The room was completely destroyed, bones strewn everywhere and spoor of some sort littering the place. We used a few spells to find and gather the Commander's bones from the long, large chamber with the large fissure in the ceiling.

Then a blue twelve-legged something came in and started rasping at us. It was the size of a puppy and almost cute as it ran over and began gnawing on Tofa's shoe. A few more rolled in and Euryale's face lit up with recognition. "They're behir, Dad. Little ones."

"Can you understand what they're saying?"

She nodded. "Yeah. They keep saying 'food.'"

Oh. A couple dozen more showed up and began to swarm all over Tofa, who grunted in annoyance. There were loud noises behind them. "I think their bigger siblings are coming, Dad."

I felt the same way and made a wall of ice through my staff to block the door opening just before two much larger ones arrived. They howled in anger and began blasting lightning at it. Meanwhile the ones on Tofa were staring to do actual damage as she flailed at them.

"Tofa! Hold still! I'll get them off of you!"

"Da! This would be gudt!"

I picked a spot just far enough away from her that the blast from a fireball would crisp the mini behir but barely singe her. In theory. As I started to cast one of the bigger ones blew a hole through the ice and hit me with a lightning bolt, which tickled a little. The fireball was, I must say, perfectly placed, and suddenly there were lots of dead burned critters. Trixie finsihed them off with a gem from her Fireball necklace, the final one she had. The behir on the other side of the ice let out an irritating wail. Next to me Euryale blanched.

"They're calling for reinforcements!"

Said reinforcement arrived immediately in the form of one ridiculously large behir coming through the fissure
OOC: hey, huge creature! Of COURSE our GM had the exact mini for a huge blue behir
. I summoned a rhino and sent it charging in. It took a savage blow but still opened a large rent with its horn. Trixie let loose with her Rod and shot a steady stream of gems into the behir, with a few pinging off the rhino and taking it out. The giant lizard howled in outrage and let a huge bolt of lightning go that hit myself and Euryale. She yelped in pain and even I had felt that one. If only it wasn't lightning resistant! I knew the perfect spell for this situation but it was useless against it
OOC: against almost anything else I would have went with Detonate - 10d8 to the creature and while I take half, I have resist 20 and would have been okay. Instead I made what would prove to be a noble but poorly chosen move decision
. Instead I Hasted everyone and ran away from Euryale and Trixie, hoping the monster would fix on me.

It did. Oops. Maybe I should have cast Mirror Image instead.

I was grabbed and squeezed. Both hurt. A spell of sound rang off the thing, but it grabbed Tofa as well and me, well, it gave me another squeeze when I couldn't break free and tossed me down its throat.

I wasn't happy about this at all. Suffice to say the inside of a behir is dark and gross and uncomfortable. I was barely coherent and had no hope of casting a spell in here, so I dug into my haversack with a desperate plan in mind. I'd found what I was after and was about to use it when Hidarga suddenly cut through skin and stomach and whatnot next to my face. I slid out, gasping for breath and gently cupping my unused compressed corrupted water elemental. Damn, that would have been interesting. I bet the eyes would have shot a good 40 feet.

We carved the thing up - Euryale had the good idea of saving not only the head, but skinning the whole body for a giant rug in my meeting room. There was also a Decanter of Endless Water in there as well, and Trixie and Tofa began planning tactics and making evil chuckles. We headed back to won, cleaned up, and took the bones to Myrannia, who turned off the 'let's blind the people I need to help me' thing and seemed appeased. She then reincarnated him (!) as a half-elf and named him the new Fey King leader of the Shimmerglens before fading away. A nice gift, I suppose. I opened diplomatic relations as best as I could given the situation, and off we went.

I figured it was time to drop in on the cadre of Pathfinder in the Storval Dam and was a little nervous at the sovereignty they seemed to expect. I was willing to let it slide for now because they were powering the dam, but they were also being a bit presumptuous. Then again they had the numbers to be that way, for the moment.

Back at home we had a meeting. Londis turned to me and said, "I would like to request a troop of Hellknights. I worry about the Ulfens and that they think themselves an independent nation."

"hellknights? Geez. Tofa, do they think that?" I asked.

"Da," she said, then held up a hand. "Well, on ships, yes. On land, they should obey laws. Unless they drink. Yhen they will fight and the guards will fight and everyone will have gudt time."

"See? Lawless barbarians! I need Hellknights for control."

Malgraves leaned over and whispered the mindset of an actual Hellnight to me. I tried not to let the horror show. "Hmm. They might be overkill, Londis, but as we are ruling together it might be worth talking about. Ow!" I glared at Trixie, who had kicked me under the table. 'What?"

"You're not 'ruling together,' you dope. You're the freaking Baron, Grezz. Didn't the mayor make that clear?"

"Uhm, he said I was the baron and that Londis was the military commander."

She gave an exasperated sigh. "Yes, the commander of your military, Grezz. He has to abide by your rulings."

"Well, within reason," protested Londis. Still, he didn't make any stronger objections.

"Okay. Well then, I'm not excited about the Hellknights. How about other elite troops?" The speed in which he provided other options led me to believe he knew the hellknights were a no go from the beginning. I asked him to step up scouting and patrols to the north and northwest, as I expected giant trouble sooner rather than later. For now I was content to watch the town getting rebuilt and repopulated.

Oh, and we also received an invitation to visit Sandpoint as they were planning to unveil a statue of us to commemorate the one year anniversary of us saving the town during the festival. Of course we'll go. What could possibly go wrong?

more notes: we made 10th level, so now I must struggle with the selection of my single 5th level spell. 1st option is Summon V (ankylosaurus!) and switching out Summon IV for Stone Shape. 2nd option is just taking a spell like Hold Person, Suffocate, Feeblemind, Teleport, or something else along those lines. Hold Person is the most tempting, but ANKYLOSAURUS!!!! I'm also going to spend my monies on more metamagic rods, probably Intensify and Selective (or even Empower). Or maybe some nice boots. Who knows? It'll take me forever to pick a spell.
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Session #45 - October 24th, 2011 - Home Cookin'

notes: yeesh! Between sick people, GM work, and Otherworld we missed almost a month! Reznak's player was both absent and incommunicado, so no idea what's going on there. It fit in okay with the direction of the session because he wasn't one of the people being honored anyway and it was a rollicking roleplay-heavy session that saw Grezz catch a lot of abuse. So, business as usual. Good stuff and a load of fun.

Dinner was me making pancakes, sausage, and bacon. My daughter ended her near perfect rolling streak by only giving me a 3 for my hits, but that was still probably better than I would have done. My newish d20 failed to break 7 for the evening and was put aside to be given to the cat.

From the journal of Baron Grezzalik M'rethen:

I think I'm starting to understand political power. Those who don't have any but want some gravitate toward those who have it. Those who have more than they'll ever need seek even more. I don't get it. The whole thing makes me vaguely uncomfortable, to be honest. I can't do anything for myself without tripping over a servant determined to handle it for me. The scraping and kowtowing . . .ugh. it's not like I don't know the Lord-Mayor is pulling the strings behind the scene and that everyone I hired in reality works for him, but still, I'm not used to it and it's disquieting.

That being said, the months we spent in Turtleback Ferry saw great progress. The town is growing by leaps and bounds and despite Londis' constant grumbling and dire predictions, the Ulfens haven't been a problem yet. Things were going so smoothly I felt no qualms about heading down to Sandpoint for the dedication of our statue. To be honest, I was looking forward to just getting out with my friends on our own.

No such luck, of course. Retainers and grooms everywhere. A year ago they would have ignored my existence. Things change.

Sandpoint had done a good job rebuilding but after only a year seemed so very much smaller. We did a lot of visiting and meeting with people at affairs both formal and casual, in addition to seeing old friends. Brodderick Quint was back after working up at the Storval Dam for a while, and was hopeful they'd be able to get more powerful fiends ensconced in the battery jars. Some of the writings had allowed him to figure out that the crumbled light house in town was actually one of dozens that lined the coast and were some kinds of linked weapon used by the Runelord Baharan. I asked if they were still viable and he seemed extremely dubious.

The night ended up back in the Rusty Dragon with the town's movers and shakers, along with people we liked. I was just happy to shed my ridiculous baronial clothes and get into some comfortable stuff. Everyone , it seemed, wanted to cut some sort of deal with me (except maybe Shalue and Beldin) - even Titus Scarnetti, the old fraud. He didn't even flinch when I told him his name has been on Xanesha's list of sacrifices to be. Still, no matter who the petitioner was I at the very least listened politely and told them I'd take their suggestion under consideration. Some were good ideas, actually. Madame Vishnanti asked for increased patrolling on the overland route between our towns, and I managed to stop Londis from haranguing people long enough to understand that I wanted extra military put on the job. Additional trade could only be a boon. I was open to Amieko's suggestion of her goods being sold up by us, although she always manages to stay somewhat personally detached. Our friend Deverain was intrigued by the idea of having a relative open a brewery in the region. Along those lines the evening passed. At one point I heard laughter and turned to see a table consisting of Amieko, Alma the baker, Lyssa Valdemars the guard captain, Trixie, and Eurayle looking in my direction. I wandered over as Trixie was stifling guffaws and heard her whisper to herself, 'Oh wow this is going to be good, I can just tell."

"I feel I'm missing something."

Amieko looked at Eurayle and then at me. "She's your daughter?"

"Uhm, yeah. Didn't I mention that when I introduced you? I'm sorry -"

"Yeah, he's like totally my dad, and I used to watch him, and I've seen all of you in the ball, and it's like so cool to meet you all and stuff."

Lyssa blinked. "The Ball?"

"Oh yeah, the crystal ball, I used to watch with scrying. It's really awesome. Sometimes I can just send the girls out-" At this her snakes spread out in a nimbus, eliciting a gasp or two. Londis happened to be passed by and said, "Oh, I see you've all met the abomination."

Eurayle cracked up as her snakes slid back into hair formation. "Oh Londis, you're so funny!" I made a mental note to see if my daughter's skills could provide any insight on what happened to Londis and the Big Book O Evil, as he would offer nothing beyond, "It's taken care of."

"Okay," ventured Amieko, "but you're still rather young yourself, Grezz." thank Shelyn she'd agreed to drop the damn honorifics, at least in here. "I mean, you can't be more than 23 or so, and she's at least 16, so, uhm . . "

"Uhm," I started, but Eurayle cut in. "Time totally passes differently in Avalon."


"Okay, see, here's the deal," I said with a tight smile. "I had an, uhm, assignation with one of the, well, Fates, I guess. Eurayle, what would you call your mother?"

"Well, a gorgon, to be accurate, but more than that, I suppose. A demigoddess is pretty accurate."

"Right, okay. So there was me and a demigoddess and a deal and then there was Eurayle. I mean, it was like six months ago to me, but clearly it's a little different in Avalon."

Eurayle nodded. Trixie was silently laughing so hard that tears were running down her face. The others had expressions that could have been anything from fascination to amazement to confusion, or maybe just plain stunned. I felt absurdly relieved when Master Pho pulled me away to ask a question.

The party ended, like all do. As we headed upstairs Trixie poked me in the ribs. "You are such a clueless dope, Grezz. I had to convince then that yes, maybe you might like women. You probably could have had your pick."


"By Calistria's Tempting Triangle, Grezz, Lyssa was staring at your ass with such intensity I expected your pants to start smoking. She would have totally been into playing some Siege with you, if you know what I mean."

I stumbled on a stair. "Siege?"

She sighed. "You bring the battering ram, she brings the castle gates and the hot oil . . . Holy Unquenchable Fire, give me strength."

"I . . . ohhhhhhh. I get it." I stopped outside of Trixie's door. "Lyssa's kinda hot, right? And captain of the guard, I could trust her. I should go find her, huh?"

Trixie grabbed my arm. "Settle down, big fella. Night's over. Be subtle and cool during the festivities tomorrow and maybe, MAYBE, try again tomorrow night. This time don't mention banging the snake lady, okay?"

I nodded as I wandered down the hall. That sounded like good advice.


My morning slumber was disturbed by the church bells going crazy, which usually indicated the town was under attack. Of course. Early reports said giants - giants, By Shelyn's Grace - were attacking. We tore off to the north gate, me splashing spell after spell on myself. Sure enough there were five stone giants hurling things over the wall. Invisible, flying, and protected, i zoomed over to take a look. The much improved guard was fighting back, and soon arrows from my friends took down a few of their number as I distracted them with an illusion of a small army racing across the field.

Suddenly a large Tree thing, bearing Telbaine's face, morphed through the gate. In heavy tones it said, "THE MASTER OF THE FIFTH SEAL STIRS. IT SEEKS THE HELLFIRE FLAME. YOU MUST STOP HIM." It then headed toward the remaining giants, who were clearly beginning to question their original plan.

As I headed back over the wall I saw Londis, Tofa, Shalue, Beldin and Eurayle racing toward the center of town and more giants, but a Rod-of-Wonder-shrunken Trixie astride Shotsie and myself raced for the remains of the tower - Quint might have underestimated what was still there and I wondered if we needed to go underground. When we arrived all seemed quiet, but I looked back in time to see a youngish red dragon come screaming out of the sky and unleash as massive plume of flame - right where my friends were heading. I started to head over but Trixie's voice, still carrying despite her teenyness, rang out with a 'No, stay here!'

She was right. We need to stay here and not get sucked in by the distractions. Still, it didn't mean that the dragon wasn't well within the range of my lightning balls . . .

more notes - the dragon blew a 10d6 fireball and did some serious damage - Londis is invisible and out of the way, but Eurayle is only standing due to a resist 5 spell and poor Beldin was insta-killed (which, to be honest, makes things a mite be easier for me when I start running Jade Regent soon. He died using a bodyguard skill to take the damage for Shalue. Grezz doesn't know any of this and aside from long-range lightning bombing is going to trust his friends to handle the dragona nd giants - now, do we stay up here or so look underground? Ahhhhhhhhhhh
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First Post
Whispering Wood

Telbaine the treant glanced back over his shoulder as his old friends raced off into the town. Grezz's voice floated to him on the wind as he instructed his companions, "HURRY WE MUST STOP THIS SO CALLED MASTER OF THE FIRE SEAL!!" as they sped off towards the Old Light. Catching and crushing a descending club from a stone giant, Telbaine shrugged "Funny" he thought to himself, "I could have sworn I told them to stop the Master of the FIFTH seal. Oh well I guess they'll figure it out evenutally", and turned his attnetion back to the stone giants.


Telbaine the treant glanced back over his shoulder as his old friends raced off into the town. Grezz's voice floated to him on the wind as he instructed his companions, "HURRY WE MUST STOP THIS SO CALLED MASTER OF THE FIRE SEAL!!" as they sped off towards the Old Light. Catching and crushing a descending club from a stone giant, Telbaine shrugged "Funny" he thought to himself, "I could have sworn I told them to stop the Master of the FIFTH seal. Oh well I guess they'll figure it out evenutally", and turned his attnetion back to the stone giants.

I can't read my own damn handwriting. Bite me. (editing now)

Voidrunner's Codex

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