Pathfinder 1E "Murder, Lies and Civic Duty."


First Post
Over the next week Eadric and Rambalt set about putting together a 'Fire Plane Survival Kit' from the various potions that Rambalt has sitting around his lab. In the end, they manage to get together 5x Endure Elements, 2x Protection From Fire, 2x Elemental Speech and 4x Cure Moderate Wounds potions.

Eadric spends the next few days sparring with Junior who now wields his 7-Branched sword with enough skill to actually threaten the nimble kobold; while Rambalt assembles a strange device which looks like a pair of 6' steel rings overlapping each other.

"This will bring me to the Elemental Plane and back?" Eadric asks, eyeing the machine incredulously.

Rambalt nods. "It will, though you'll only have a five day window before it burns itself out. After that...well, it may take some time to find replacement parts."

Eadric nods. "Five days will have to do then. I may need a party on the other side, how many more potions could you brew for me?"

Rambalt shakes his head. "Without pushing back your departure time? Maybe two."

The kobold scratches his chin in thought. "That would severely cut down on how long I could comfortably about the golem? How would your patchwork man fare on the Plane of Fire?"

Rambalt looks at Junior with a tinge of worry in his eyes. "About as well as anyone else I'm afraid. However..."

Rambalt walks to the back of his lab and pulls a sheet off of a pair of robotic velociraptors, their metallic skin and claws glimmer menacingly in the dim light of the lab. "THESE should be just fine."

Eadric's eyes light up at the sight of the raptors. "They'll work." he says beaming, running a hand over their plated armor. "You are not appreciated enough my friend."

Rambalt wipes a bead of sweat off his brow as he flicks a switch which causes the the rings to begin spinning in place, a shimmering image of a land of fire and ash fills the machine as Rambalt chuckles. "No arguments here."

Without another word Eadric leaps through the fiery portal, followed by his two robo-raptors.

One second Eadric is in the Keep's basement, the next he's standing in a cavernous wasteland that seems to stretch as far as the eye can see. A stench like rotten eggs permeates the air, though the heat is to painfully intense that it's hard to breath deeply enough to notice.

The kobold struggles to breathe in the overbearing year, the air itself feels thick as though he's stepped into an oven. As the sweat begins to rapidly accumulate along his mottled scales, Eadric downs his first Endure Elements potion and almost gasps in relief as the temperature feels as though it's normalized.

The smell however is MUCH more pronounced.

Eadric covers his snout with one hand while glancing around at the steep hills and slopes which make up the area. As the wizened kobold tries to get his bearings he suddenly notices a boulder roughly 20ft behind him that wasn't there a second ago.

No...not a boulder.

As Eadric begins backing away he realizes that it more closely resembles a sphere of magma, and the heat it's emanating is brutal; even for here.

Eadric spends a long moment simply staring at it, trying to figure out where it came from his catlike reflexes kick in and he finds himself in midarir, flipping over the sphere as it barrels over where he was standing less than a second ago.

As he lands he assumes a fighting stance, though isn't quite sure what exactly this thing is or how he could hurt it.

Eadric chugs the Elemental Language potion and shouts "STOP!"

Surprisingly, the ball of molten goo stops in its tracks and gurgles. "....why?"

Eadric is actually kind of surprised that worked, but holds up his hands and relaxes his stance. "Answer my questions and I will reward you; if you don't like what I have to say or what I have to give you then you can resume your attempt to devour me."

"What give me?" the thing demands.

"Depends on how you answer my questions." Eadric replies.

The strange creature gurgles angrily. "Me eat and take it anyway."

Eadric nods, his hands remain up and relaxed. "Perhaps... Or perhaps I'm more than a match for you and you die? Or perhaps I'm too quick for you and you get nothing? You lose nothing but humoring me; but win, lose or draw you walk away with at least SOMETHING for helping me."

The creature says nothing, but continues gurgling. Since it doesn't leap at him immediately, Eadric assumes this means it's willing to parley. "What are you?" Eadric asks.

"Magmoid." the creature responds impatiently.

"What of the Azer?" Eadric continues. "What is the relationship between Magmoids and Azer?"

"Magmoid see Azer, Magmoid eat Azer." the Magmoid replies.

Eadric nods slowly. "I...should guessed that. Where are the Azer?"

The Magmoid seems genuinely confused. "Away." it explains. "Azer don't live here. They live away."

"Of course they do." Eadric says. "Just one more thing and you can have your reward, do you know what water is? Is there water here?"

The Magmoid seems even more confused. "Water...?"

"Of course not." Eadric laughs. "Well, here's your reward!" he exclaims, hurling a Burrow extract into the monsters face; as the liquid washes over the Magmoid is screeches in rage and pain.

Eadric nimbly leaps upon the back of one of his robo-raptors and the trio of outsiders race away before the betrayed Magmoid has time to compose itself enough to retaliate.

Kavos lingers with Arvyle several more days, until the clones begin taking shape. Finally satisfied that the senile alchemist still knows his stuff, Kavos settles his debts in town and and sets out for his Keep once again.

The trip back is rather dull, especially as he's making it alone, and just as long as before. By this time Kavos has been absent from his duties nearly a month and he hopes that his clone army will be worth the time expenditure. He's more than a week behind Eadric's return at this point and Eadric himself has been gone for three days.

As Kavos grows closer to the Keep he notices that his likeness has been carved into the walls as requested and large banners fly from every corner...banners of the Duke. As Kavos approaches the gates, he finds them overran with the Duke's men; dozens march the courtyard with impunity.

Shocked at this turn of events, Kavos telepathically calls out for Hezrael and is answered almost immediately.

"Things have turned...interesting here boss. An actual s***load of men showed up about two days ago, waving a letter signed by YOU asking for peace." the imp's gruff voice says in Kavos's head. "Adrian wanted to drive them off or die trying, but the orc and the ranger talked him out of it."

Kavos glances around nervously as half a dozen men bearing the Duke's insignia march out from the gates, demanding to know his business. "This is unfortunate, but not unexpected." he replies silently to Hezrael. "We knew the Duke would send a response...stay out of sight until we have the details."

"Gentlemen, I am glad to see that my letter reached the Duke safely. I assume that means my men did as well?" Kavos asks, hands up in the universal symbol of 'don't stab me bro'.

One of the men whispers something to another who sprints away, the rest remain quietly where they are; their spears leveled at Kavos threateningly. After a long moment several more men return, including a beast of a man who easily rivals Longarm in size. Kavos groans inwardly as he notices the almost nonexistant blonde hair quickly turning to grey, the grotesque crisscross of scars and burns which make up the man's face and the massive suit of armor the man wears.

"Captain Lesain, it's good to see you again." Kavos says with a forced smile, grateful he didn't actually choke on the words.

"Somehow I seriously doubt that Dasgrograv." the man says with an expression somewhere between a sneer, a grin and a dog baring its teeth.

"What brings you to our humble Keep?" Kavos asks, attempting to maintain his pleasant air.

Lesain scoffs. "We were sent to help this area reaccustom itself to high law. Hang the bandits, slay the monsters and raise the taxes. You remember the drill...except these men aren't going to join the bandits and steal the taxes."

"Whatever you think of me Lesain, we appreciate the assistance. The surrounding area has become quite volatile." Kavos says, feigning nonchalance.

Lesain sneers again. "I'd have to agree. We found quite a few of our men lodged over in what's left of East bank, hiding from some ghouls. In fact..." his sneer subtley shifts into a s***eating grin, "I'd say it might be bad enough we're gonna have to declare martial law. You know, for y'er safety."

"Of course." Kavos replies, bowing humbly. "The safety of the citizens is our top priority. If you have the time, I could brief you on the surrounding ailments. I'm surprised they'd send a man of your station Lesain, this isn't the usual turnout..."

Lesain chuckles. "These are unusual circumstances. For old friends like you and Gandil, I thought it prudent to pull out ALL the stops."

"It seems you've come a long ways for nothing Lesain," Kavos says, a note of satisfaction in his voice. "Gandil is dead, by MY hand."

Lesain nods bitterly. "Truly sorry to hear that... I'd hoped he'd die at MY hands 'fore this was through."

"There's no vengeance to be had here Lesain. You may have men inside my walls, but just remember that they ARE my walls." Kavos says, dismounting his horse. "We would not have reached out to the Wandering Duke if we didn't feel secure, there will be no winners here if a battle erupts. Just the dead and the dying."

Captain Lesain looks at Kavos with something almost akin to respect and nods his head. "What's the situation then, as you see it?"

Kavos sighs in relief inwardly. "Devils, undead and creatures of legend are rampaging in this area. If you were hoping to find me a resistant host you will be disappointed, we need as many men as you can bring to bear."

The captain nods. "The same thing that others say, more or less. We've assembled regular patrols in the area and have begun to investigate the occupants of Blackstone Keep itself. Can you vouch for the mean we find here?"

Kavos shakes his head. "We've taken on too many refugees in the transition, there are many I still haven't even met." he admits. "But more importantly, before you send your men out there however, you need to know what you're dealing with."

"Such as?" Lesain asks. "We've already seen the dead. East Bank was crawling with them when we got there."

Kavos glances around, taking note of nearly two dozen soldiers in the courtyard and only a scant handful of West Bank civilians. "It isn't wise to discuss our business out here and worry the citizens. Let's confer inside, I have a sitting room prepared for matters such as these."

Kavos leads the way to the room and says "You've heard of the Mindflayers?"

Lesain shrugs. "The same as any school kid. Boogeymen that used to eat brains and hide in closets. Don't tell me you believe in that tripe."

"I killed one, a month ago in the forest." Kavos says abruptly.

Lesain is shocked into silence for a moment but then scoffs. "Do you really expect me to-"

"This town was plagued with nightmares for a time." Kavos interrupts. "We all saw the same thing, the same creature...the exact description of Mindflayer. He slew men outright, without ever even getting close enough to stare them in the face."

"And now you're a grand hero, right?" Lesain sneers.

Kavos shakes his head. "You don't understand Lesain, I'm not telling you this to impress you. I'm telling you this to impress UPON you the situation we find ourselves in. The Mindflayer is dead, THAT nightmare has ceased, but the others... Lesain in my time in West Bank I have met ghouls with the minds of men, horses from hell itself, dark magic and cult activity, man-spiders, cannibals hiding in the lake..."

"And?" Lesain asks irritably.

"Sending a handful of patrolmen out into the forest isn't a bad idea, it's a death sentence." Kavos warns his former commander. "We even found pentagrams and strange sigils in the basement when we arrived, for all we know the mountain itself is crawling with unseen dangers."

Captain Lesain looks up with sudden interest. "Funny you should mention the seems to be sealed off. Your Pelorian priest seemed to think that the doors were jammed when you got is it that YOU saw the basement?"

"Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap." Kavos's mental alarm goes off, cursing his failure cross-reference his lies with the lies of his men. Outwardly however Kavos simply smiles. "As you know I am a man of no small ability. I can pass through stone as easy as others walk through a door. I haven't shared this information with the others to avoid a panic. We have nowhere else to go one way or another, the pentagrams would only worry them needlessly."

Lesain nods thoughtfully. "Sounds reasonable."

Kavos nods in turn. "You will find I am a reasonable man. Now, if you don't mind I would like to retire for the evening. I have been away for far too long and my travels have caught up to me."

Lesain smiles. "Of course...oh, but I suppose you were in the lord's apartments? We've had to move your stuff tot he chapel to make room for our accommodations."

"No problem, I'll just have my things returned now that I'm back." Kavos replies flippantly as he turns to leave.

Lesain's iron grip catches Kavos by the shoulder and spins him around. "I believe it would be more convenient if you joined your priest for the time being." the large man says, the civility quickly dissipating from his voice.

Kavos nearly turns red. "Accommodating your men isn't an issue, martial law isn't an issue, sharing a roof with the man that drove me out of the service isn't an issue...but taking my quarters? Dismissing my authority for all my citizens to see? THAT is an issue Lesain, and you have NO RIGHT-"

The aging cleric is interrupted as one of Lesain's meaty hands slams a sealed envelope into his chest harshly. It bears the seal of the Duke.

Opening the letter it reads "Your request for vassalship has been accepted, pending review. The Blackstone Keep has been considered a priority acquisition for a number of years and we are pleased to learn that it has once more been placed into active service. Captain Lesain has been appointed Blackstone Keep's warden until law and order is established and you swear your formal oath once more."

Kavos's mouth gapes open as he reads the letter, his heart sinking.

"We're going to get something straight now Kavos." Lesain says, the pompousness Kavos remembers so well shining through. "By Gallorean law this is MY keep until the situation here is resolved and I return to Lone Gate. I decide when and if the situation is resolved and whether you are fit for Lordship or the gallows based on how accommodating you are to the Duke's representatives. So...accommodate us from the chapel."

As Lesain smugly storms off Kavos rests a hand against the wall to steady himself, his heart pounding painfully in his chest.

"They aren't going to kill me..." Kavos mutters softly. "That would set the citizens against them... They're just going to erode my authority until I might as well be dead."

Kavos leans heavily against the stone wall, his head in his hands as he considers his options and quickly realizes he doesn't actually have any. The citizens may swarm to his defense if he was attacked in the courtyard, but would they be willing to throw away their lives, not to mention the lives of their families, to try and drive out the 'guests' that Kavos himself had invited in? Unlikely.

With a final curse Kavos feebly strikes the door and then has a thought...

"Hezrael," Kavos calls out telepathically. "Get in touch with Rambalt and let him know that I'll be at his lab in five minutes, I don't know why he's got it barred but I expect him to let me in."

"On it boss." the imp swiftly replies.

Just as Kavos stealthily arrives at the basement entrance it swings open for barely a moment, just long enough for Kavos to slip inside and the terrified form of Rambalt to immediately begin placing every manner of mundane and magical lock imaginable on it.

"We have to get rid of these people Kavos!" Rambalt literally hisses, his already pale face as white as a sheet. "We have to get rid of them, kill them; lose them; drive them off. Burn down the castle if we have to but they HAVE TO GO!"

Kavos is taken aback, having never seen Rambalt in such a state of agitation. "I agree, in fact I was hoping you might have an idea as to how we could accomplish that. They're going about this smart, removing my authority and slowly tightening their grip."

Rambalt shakes his head. "I don't know...i don't know...but we've got to do something. They want down here Kavos and they aren't going to accept no for an answer. I've heard them talking, they're debating on digging through the wall to get in."

Kavos places a hand on Rambalt's trembling shoulder and says "It's ok Rambalt, calm down! Worst case scenario we can hide or disguise your research; this isn't the end of the world."

"No, no, no...this is going to get SO much worse before it gets better. If they find a way in here, I'm dead." Rambalt says, collapsing into a trembling pile.

"Don't be so dramatic Rambalt," Kavos says reassuringly. "They may not look kindly on your proclivities, but I'm sure I can reason with them before they-"

"I'm wanted!" Rambalt blurts out.

Kavos is shocked speechless, at least at first. After a moment to think about it however, he realizes how ridiculous it would have been to find a man of Rambalt's talents in a backwoods place like this if he WASN'T avoiding society.

" wanted exactly?" Kavos inquires.

Rambalt sighs painfully. "A lot, actually. If they weren't looking for my face I would have already fled south to Dera Morea."

Kavos winces. "What did you do?"

Rambalt shifts uncomfortably. "I..may have been partially responsible for...the..dissolution of Lone Gate's magical college..." he mutters.

Kavos shakes his head in wonder. He remembered the college, one of only three such establishments in all of Gallorea and by far the most prominent. One of the senior professors had supposedly been caught misusing the schools' funds and status for grisly, blasphemous experiments...of the three professors to confront him, 2 died during the escape. The college was burned to the ground to prevent rioting in the streets.

"Rambalt..." Kavos says softly, realizing the weight of the company keeps. "There is nothing that you or they can say that will change my mind. I won't let them kill you, regardless of what you're accused of. You're one of mine now."

Rambalt sighs in relief, looking altogether too pathetic for his supposed infamy. "Thank you Kavos...I don't believe these men will be so level-headed however. If they start to get through I'm taking Junior, my notes and this scroll and fleeing through the portal. If they connect me to this place mine won't be the only neck on the chopping block."

Kavos twists his head. "Wait...Eadric's what?"

Rambalt leads Kavos into the lab to reveal the swirling vortex to the Fire Plane he created. "Eadric came to me with a request several days ago. He needed access to one of the outer planes for some scheme he was concocting. He went through just before the soldiers arrived. The portal's still active, but only for a couple more days."

Kavos nods and holds a hand close to the portal, feeling the intense heat drifting off of it. "And what is that scroll?"

"Sending." Rambalt replies. "Once I'm on the other side I'll alert Eadric of the situation."

Kavos stops in his tracks, a smile playing over his face. "Sending you say? I believe this day just got a little brighter."

"It's Kavos, I've put myself in a corner. I mismanaged a situation and now an asset has become a liability, I need an ally soon!"

Kavos focuses on the words until the sending spell is cast and then takes a deep breath as he expectantly waits for a reply.

"Well that's never good." the cheerful image of Salish says, appearing out of nowhere. "You! Kill him and then him and then if you've still got it in you, that guy. You! When he's done, kill him!" he calls out over his shoulder. From the leather armor he wears and the bloodied short sword in his hand it appears he's in the middle of directing a battle.

Rambalt is shocked enough by the elf's sudden appearance that he falls out of a chair.

Kavos glances questioningly at Salish's projection for a moment and then proceeds to explain. "I took an ill-timed vacation and when I came back it seems I've been kicked out of my own Keep."

"Ewww..." Salish says, turning away from whatever fight he was involved in and wrinkling his nose disfavorably. "That would be irritating, wouldn't it? You inviting us over then?"

Thinking better than inviting these people to start a civil war on his doorstep Kavos quickly shakes his head. "I can't physically force them out or the Duke will return in force. If I start a fight here my people have nowhere else to go. I need somebody to help us...reach an agreement."

"Yeah...if only somebody hadn't killed my psychic squid man huh?" Salish replies.

"I was actually thinking that maybe you might be willing to help me with this?" Kavos asks. "Give you a break from waging war for a day or so."

Salish looks at Kavos quizzically for a moment and then at his sword and laughs. "Oh this? it's basically my bachelor party!"

It's Kavos's turn to be confused.

"I'm getting hitched tomorrow morning, and you know what they say about dwarf chicks!" the grinning elf says with a lewd wink.

Kavos shakes his head. "I'm...afraid I don't."

Salish sighs petulantly "Kuran was right, they don't say s*** about dwarf chicks. This whole continent sucks."

"'ll help?" Kavos asks hopefully.

"Well...I mean, I'd like to. But I already took the time to burn down her neighborhood and get a'd kind of seem like a waste of a night if I didn't go through with it at this point." he says with a shrug. "I'll tell you what though, my brother isn't doing much; how about I send him?"

Kavos sucks his teeth thoughtfully. "Is he subtle?"

"Oh yeah, sure. Samiel's a real pro. Just settle in somewhere secluded and we'll have him out in a flash." Salish assures him before parrying an invisible attacker's blow aside and ordering the man to drink lamp oil.

With a sigh of desperation Kavos nods. "His help will be greatly appreciated. Though won't he be missed at your 'wedding'."

Salish shrugs cheerfully. "He'll catch the next one. I think we're hitting orcs in a fortnight...and you know what they say about orc chicks, right?"

Kavos and Rambalt wait patiently for more than an hour, wondering if Salish was just wasting their time. Just after midnight however a portal opens itself in the middle of the lab what appears to be a mist begins quickly passing through it, thickening as it goes.

As more mist drifts in, a form begins taking shape in the midst of it that makes both Kavos and Rambalt more than a little nervous. The form is large, easily dwarfing Junior in both height, even though it's severely hunched, and especially width. The creature has pale green scales, a snoutful of needlelike teeth and a suit of immaculately tailored fullplate armor. A pair of longswords hang at its waist and its red slitted eyes seem to regard both Rambalt and Kavos as potential prey. Junior whimpers at the sight of it.

"It is customary to wait until AFTER initiation to call begging for help." the creature says, its voice cold and hollow.

Kavos steps forward boldly. "I'm running out of options I'm afraid. I've backed myself into a corner and I'd like to resolve this without a bloodbath."

The creature, Samiel, growls distastefully. "A pity....bring me the puppet." it says, its gaze seeming to settle on something far beyond Kavos's physical form.

"I seriously doubt he'll follow me down here." Kavos replies. "There's not all that much trust in our relationship."

"Then take me to the puppet." Samiel insists passionlessly.

"I think somebody might notice an eight foot lizardfolk stalking the halls." Kavos points out.

With a growl of irritation Samiel seems to burst into the mist once again. Kavos's eyes grow large as he realizes the mist IS Samiel and what that implies.

It takes Rambalt several minutes to undo his locks and let them out and Kavos rushes towards the lord's chambers with Samiel following along the ceiling.

Kavos finds a pair of guards outside Lesain's room and immediately demands to be admitted entrance. It takes a bit of cajoling, but once he mentions he's found a way into the basement they awaken Lesain and usher Kavos inside.

"Warden..." Kavos says, feigning utmost respect. "I can get you into the basement."

Lesain smirks. "Oh, you know a way in after all?"

Glancing around, Kavos suggests they talk in private. Lesain motions and his guards step back into the hallway.

"I have a tool which could easily create an entrance to the basement, it was given to me by a colleague some months back." Kavos explains.

"And you just remembered this now?" Lesain scoffs.

Kavos shakes his head. "I just tested the device, I had to be sure it was up to the task before mentioning it; otherwise you might believe I was simply wasting your time due to...past animosities."

" wouldn't do that. Right?" Lesain says, buckling his sword to his side.

"Of course not. Hand me something you won't miss and I can demonstrate." Kavos insists.

Lesain reaches for a serving plate, however he never gets to witness the demonstration as a clawed hand larger than his head snatches him by the shoulder and slams him against the wall. Before Lesain can utter a word Samiel bites into the captain's throat with enough force to cause the man to squeak.

For a long moment there's ony the sound of Samiel feeding and Kavos gazes on in horror. This being the exact opposite of what he asked Samiel here to do.

The door slams open as the captain's guards charge in, however Samiel glances from his meal and says "Leave this place and go south, following the road. Walk for exactly one mile, kill anyone you find there and wait for me."

The guards have a dull, vacant expression come over their faces as Samiel drops the now drained corpse of Lesain and begins wiping off his goresoaked maw with a strangely elegant handkerchief.

"You killed him!" Kavos hisses.

"Yes." Samiel agrees, tossing his soiled cloth into the unblinking face of Lesain. "I did."

"He's going to be missed." Kavos says angrily, his teeth clenching of their own accord. "I could have killed him. What does THIS accomplish?"

"Put him someplace cool and out of the way, in a few days he'll get better and be more...agreeable." Samiel replies, pushing past Kavos.

"Wait..what are you doing?" Kavos demands.

"Dealing with the witnesses. When he comes to, they'll be able to corroborate his story." Samiel says, licking his lips. "More to the point, I'm still hungry and I'm missing my dear brother's party for this; so I intend to enjoy myself."

Before Kavos can say anything more Samiel disappears in a cloud of mist, and he's left looking at the freshly murdered corpse of one of the Dukedom's most highly decorated officers.

Eadric continues his mad dash through the fiery wasteland until his raptor mount slips on a loose stone and throws him off. The little kobold glances behind him, realizes the Magmoid is nowhere to be seen and starts to laugh.

At least until he feels his scales blistering out of nowhere, causing him to flip instinctively out of the way. He looks up curiously, not noticing anything off the top of his head. Furowing his brow curiously, Eadric takes a step forward only to be greeted with the horrible sensation of intense heat once more.

Leaping away once again he suddenly notices that the robo-raptors look strange and distorted, he realizes that he's looking at a wall of intense heat. He rubs a claw across his singed flesh as he searches for the origin point, swearing he won't get near that again...

Then he notices that the shimmering effect is moving closer. Quickly.

Eadric dives out of the way, just in time to feel it pass by him; regaining his feet he barely has time to leap again. It's fast.

He glances around, looking for what could possibly be controlling it, when it hits him: Nothing is. This is the plane of fire, and apparently sometimes the air comes alive and tries to burn you to death. This is probably like rain around here.

Eadric bolts along the cliffside as fast as he can, but the heatswarm easily keeps up and even outpaces him.

"Why did I have to throw Burrow?" he asks himself through painfully clenched teeth.

As the swarm charges him once again, Eadric takes glance down the steep cliffside and decides to risk it; diving off the side and relying on gravity to give him a head start. At the last minute he twists to land gracefully and sprints around the next bend, his robo-saurs scurrying down after him.

Eadric downs an Expeditious Retreat as he runs and sprints ahead even further, until he finds a small crevice that he can just barely squeeze into. He huddles inside, completely silent as the swarm passes by. He stays in his little hidey-hole until the familiar form of his raptors finally catch up. With a sigh of relief, he crawls out and shakily climbs onto the back of one of his silent companions.

Eadric wanders for what seems like hours, ducking out of sight every time he sees one of the Fire Plane's strange and dangerous natives, always heading due Northwest, even though he has no way of knowing where it leads.

Eventually the land becomes less desolated and the stench begins to abate, in the distance Eadric can see what appears to be desert like structures. An Oasis, if you will, amid the desert like sands.

The kobold secures the robo-raptors well outside of the town, covering them with a blanket and as much of the unpleasant sand as he can shovel over them to make them less noticeable; he then sneaks forward, nerves on edge.

Hundreds of voices seem to try to shout over each other while strange and wondrous creatures of all shapes and sizes line the streets, hawking their wares and boisterously proclaiming their services the finest in the land.

Eadric hides in the shadows of an alley and simply gawks at monstrous, snake-like men with numerous arms using them to promote strange skins and furs; floating columns of living flame arguing over prices; metallic dwarves with fiery beards and other bizarre creatures that make him feel very, very flammable, all trying to take each other for all they're worth.

Taking a deep breath to prepare himself, Eadric downs a potion of Elemental Speech along with an Alter Self extract to assume the form of an Azer and then steps out among the natives.

A 7ft, horned giant seemingly made of smoke nearly shoulders Eadric off his feet and the disguised kobold presses himself to the side to get a better view of the bazaar. He takes notice of several Azer merchants, particularly an older. scholarly looking Azer tending to a table of scrolls made out of exotic skins.

Approaching the scholar, Eadric puffs out his chest and says "You're so f***ing stupid, you don't even know who the Architect is, do ya?"

"Excuse me?" the older Azer says, nearly sputtering.

Eadric smirks and quickly jerks a finger over his shoulder at a comrade that doesn't exist. "My pal over there says you're all show and bluster. Says you couldn't even pick The Architect out of a lineup. What'cha got to say about that?"

The scholarly Azer composes himself. "I'd says: 'And who is your friend that he's so worthy of being impressed?' Unless you or your friend want to make a purchase you can get the hell out of here before I fetch the guards."

"Watch yourself buddy!" Eadric growls. "My friend isn't just any schmuck, he's The Architect's illegitimate son!"

The scholarly Azer looks at Eadric with wide eyes for a moment and then bursts out laughing for a solid minute. Every time Eadric attempts to interrupt, the Azer simply laughs louder until even Eadric's false flames can't hide his blushing cheeks.

"And I'm his estranged father! The bastard never writes!" the Azer says, laughing uproariously.

"How dare you speak of the Architect that way?!" Eadric shouts, caught up in the moment as he cracks the old man in the side of the face and lays him out cold.

As someone in the crowd begins shouting 'Guards! Guards!' Eadric backs away from the surprisingly frail elemental and tries to casually jog away from the scene of the crime. No sooner does Eadric slip away than one of the horned, smoke skinned giants appears and begins taking statements.

Eadric starts to curse until he hears "Psst." and ducks into an alley to see who it is.

A young man with red skin who would barely look out of place on the Material Plane motions Eadric in close and says "I hear you're looking for someone?"

Eadric glances around before nodding. "Not me, but my employer. He's willing to pay handsomely for any information about this 'Architect.'"

The young man nods. "Well I happen to know where to look for the fella. I heard mention of him some few months back."

Eadric's eyes widen, but he tries to maintain his composure. "Where can I find him?"

"Pfft." the young man says with a laugh. "Wouldn't do me much good to tell you without getting paid, now would it?"

Eadric tosses a handful of coins to the lad who drops to his knees to pick them up in a hurry.

"Within the hour there will be a caravan leaving for the city of Del Alai, join it. The Architect is somewhere in the big city; he frequents the local markets to purchase material for his craft." the young man says as he scoops up the last of the coins.

"Thank you." Eadric says, before getting directions to the caravan.

"Make sure to have 10 gold ready and remember that name now, Del Alai." the young man says.

Eadric smiles and lunges forward, grabbing the boy by the throat in a chokehold. "Oh, aye. I'll remember, even if you don't."

The young man was quicker than he looked, and Eadric winces with each hurried step. The sound of the young man shouting "Guards! Guards!" in the distance the only thing preventing him from sitting down and nursing his bruised balls.

Feels like that little assh*le was wearing steel toed boots.

Seeing no point in wearing a wanted face Eadric dismisses his extract and makes his way out of town to recover his raptors, then doubles back. Finding his way to the caravan just before it departed.

The journey is unremarkable, the guides having enough sense not to walk into environmental hazards and the numbers keeping away the petty predators. The sky never darkens, but the accumulating weariness make Eadric acutely aware that it SHOULD be night time by now.

They rest and continue the next day. By the time they reach Del Alai Eadric has already drank his second Endure Elements potion.

The city is massive beyond the kobold's reckoning, with high brass spires which gleam brightly in the heavens. The ornately wrought walls which encircle the city are several feet thick and the gates are large enough for a dragon many centuries Ro'than'dur's elder to pass through with ease.

The city's population is easily several thousand strong and they seem to tightly packed with multitudes of visitors and guests. If the bazaar was overwhelming, Del Alai is downright stifling. The noise is almost a physical thing and simply being in the city feels as though the weight of its inhabitants is pressing in on you.

Having a rather weak lead, Eadric heads to the markets and more or less stops at every stall and shop he comes across to ask if they know where he can find The Architect.

Most of them tell him to piss right off, and with the heavy guard presence he feels compelled to oblige them. The ones that don't tell him to piss off have no idea who he's talking about, then when they realize he's not interested in buying anything tell him to piss off anyway.

He spends the better part of a day in this manner until he finds himself in the ritzier part of the market; an area with no open air stalls but packed with beautiful structures housing strange materials and goods he can barely wrap his mind around, being from a different dimension and all.

Entering one at random, Eadric meets a brawny Azer shining a case full of strange minerals and metals that defy logic. When Eadric asks if he knows the Architect the Azer nods, friendly enough.

"Aye, I could direct ya. But what business do you have with him?" the shopowner asks.

Thinking quick, Eadric opens his satchel to reveal his potions and extracts. "Delivery. He ordered these potions, but some fool lost his address. I've been wandering around all day looking for him."

The Azer chuckles. "Well, you're a ways off. He lives on the north side, in the red-gold spire."

Eadric pops himself on the forehead. That damned spire is visible from every corner of this city, why didn't he think of looking there?

Eadric thanks the Azer for his assistance, and then mostly as an empty courtesy decides to look over his wares. However his eyes settle on a gem that looks like a solid flame, reaching out to touch it it FEELS like a flame, but doesn't actually seem to be burning.

Thinking it would make a fine souvenir for Rambalt he purchases a pound of the stuff and a container to hold them in for his last 10 platinum pieces and then sets out towards the spire.

"Dropoffs Here." the sign reads at the base of the spire, but it appears smooth...seamless. After 20 minutes of walking all the way around the structure, Eadric fails to find so much as a single crack.

Scratching his head in confusion, Eadric looks up and then smiles. However flawless a structure it might be, NOBODY builds something like this without considering the view. Whether they're 10ft off the ground or 200ft, there's going to be a window up there somewhere.

Clacking his spiderclimb slippers together an dsecuring his raptors at the base, Eadric runs straight up the side of the spire with a chuckle.

He continues running straight up for almost five minutes before he realizes just how high he's climbed. With a little gulp he hugs the spire a little tighter and continues up, careful to avoid making a misstep.

Just as he's starting to doubt his window theory, he all but tumbles head first through one and lands in what appears to be a combination library/trophy room housing rows and rows and rows of books, as well as a number of glass cases bearing strange mementos.

Among the cases is an exquisite hammer and chisel, a strange schematic that Eadric can't make heads or tails of, what looks like useless scrap metal, a beautiful mirror with glass that seems to glow and dozens of other treasures that likely mean nothing to anyone but the Architect himself.

"Can I help you?" a stern, but weak voice asks.

Eadric spins around and assumes a fighting stance, mentally kicking himself for letting his guard down.

He finds an ancient Azer with dim, receding flames and a stooped back standing there and relaxes a bit.

"Do not be alarmed." Eadric says, holding up a hand peacefully. "I've come to speak with you, not harm you."

"Then speak trespasser." the Azer barks irritably.

Eadric smiles. "I've come to speak with you about 'the Bastille', I have to don't make it easy to find you."

The Azer waves a hand at Eadric dismissively, "My clients know how to reach me fine. As for the Bastille...why would you want information on such a thing? Leave them be!"

"I've found one of them. It houses a creature who offers powerful boons, at a dear price." Eadric replies. "Ring a bell?"

The Architect almost turns pale. "Rings several bells... I don't know how you people found it, but I suggest putting it back!"

"I don't want to put it anywhere." Eadric says. "I want it destroyed. Help me and I'll see that you're rewarded."

The Architect scoffs. "If it could be destroyed, it would have been! The Bastille is the best we could managed...the only way we limit their destructive power. Keep them from interfering with our lives."

"Pathetic!" Eadric snaps back. "Your prison barely holds them. This creature is able to perform astounding magic, turning kobolds and beasts alike mad with desire."

"Trust's a significant improvement." the Architect says with a sigh. "He and his brothers once tormented whole existences. That he's now limited to annoying a few beasts if of no concern to me."

Eadric shakes his head. "You said he has brothers. How many?"

"In all?" the Architect asks. "Perhaps twenty. As far as I know, yours is the first to be found."

"How did it wind up on my plane if it's one of YOUR enemies?" Eadric demands.

The Azer glares at him, eye to eye. "Because I sent it there. I scattered them from one side of creation to the other."

"You...just scattered it onto my plane?!" Eadric stammers. "You lazy bastards couldn't just bury them somewhere?"

"That's exactly what we did!" the Architect barks back. "Why the hell are you people digging up random hills?"

Eadric starts to reply, but then realizes that's actually a good question.

"Well...what's done is done." Eadric says. "It's been dug up, and now you people are taking it back."

The Azer shakes his head. "I'd sooner die. Bury the monster if you want him gone, he will NEVER return to this plane."

Facing the Architect, eye to eye, Eadric clenches his fists. "I guess we'll see."

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First Post
Welp, that was the last of them for now. No idea when we'll play again, but the Journal's caught up to the last session. Hope everybody that kept checking in here enjoyed it and we'd love to know what you thought so far.

Voidrunner's Codex

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