"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)

log in or register to remove this ad


Moderator Emeritus
Session #24 – “Dreams of Fire, Dreams of Ice” (part 1 of 2) 1

The burning horse cut through the plaza, turning back down another narrow street to the west, to avoid the screaming and surging crowd. Timotheus ran in its direction, noticing the young man being dragged behind it, a foot caught in a stirrup.2 The horse’s confusion and pain caused it to hesitate and turn when faced with the crowd and closely packed buildings, giving Timotheus a chance to catch up to it. He leapt onto the rearing horse’s back, and it whinnied and reared. Barely able to hold on he, threw his arms around its neck, smothering the fire with his cloak. It reared again, but again he managed to hold on and draw a knife, cutting the dragged man free.

The third time the horse reared, Timotheus leapt off and let the horse go. It ran out towards the center of town with another group of young men chasing after it. The man on the ground was severely wounded, bleeding from the back of his head. Tim gently scooped him up in his big muscular arms and carried him over to Victoria, who used a cure minor wounds spell to keep the man from bleeding out.

Bleys the Aubergine’s deep voice boomed out over the crowd giving orders to the townsfolk fighting the fire. Enlarged by Markos’ spell, he stood above the crowd intermittently obscured by billowing smoke, his dark purple robes flapping in the breeze. “You people!” Bleys pointed to a group milling around at the back of the plaza, not sure what to do with themselves in the limited space. “Grab some buckets and follow him!” The watch-mage turned to indicate Markos, who was at the western side of the plaza, waving for them to follow. “We must close the fire in a ring and keep it from spreading!” Bleys said.

The people obeyed, joined by a group of older men that Laarus of Ra gathered up and sent along with them.

“I’ll be able to make a large portion of fire disappear with a spell,” Markos explained as the led the way west. “You follow it up with buckets and make sure it is all out.” The diminutive mage ran as hard as his skinny legs could take him, his permanently sun-burned face covered in soot. As the sounds of the crowds fighting the fire died behind him, there was a new sound coming from ahead as he turned them up a narrow street to the north. Banging, chopping and grunting echoed off the stone walls of the buildings in this area, and as he came out into a wide street where there were more wooden buildings with access to the burning part of town, he was amazed to see a great number of dwarves chopping and knocking down wooden houses with great speed and efficiency.

“What are you doing?!” Markos called to the dwarves with alarm. He gestured for the people behind him to form a line from the small well about a block away to the west.

“Creating a fire break!” One of the dwarves called back. “Fire can’t spread if there is nothing to burn! We were told by Floris Tenbrook to come and do this…” He went back to chopping.

“Good idea!” Markos called back. He moved to check on the fire’s progress and saw that while the dwarven effort was a good one, there was a lick of fire curling in on the right flank. “Get the buckets ready over here!” he called to the townsfolk.

Incendia fumo! Markos intoned and a twenty-foot cubic area of fire snuffed out, sending a plume of black smoke to spread out along the ground and get whipped by the breeze. “Now! Get the buckets in there now!” The townsfolk did their best to douse the area around it, though getting more water was slow going because of the distance of the well they were using. The dwarves cheered as another house collapsed. Half of them moved to clear the debris, while the other half got to work on the next wooden building.

Meanwhile, as Timotheus gathered a group of young teenagers to send them out to the furthest part of the town to recruit more firefighters, Victoria was leading a group of five or six dozen townsfolk past the ring of stone buildings that created the plaza they worked from to a row of wooden buildings not reached by fire yet, and had them douse them with water to make it more difficult for them to catch. She happened to look out towards the center of the conflagration as the wind blew the flames and smoke down and caught sight of something unusual. It was a black tower at the western end of the burning quarter, just north of center, about six long blocks away. It was taller than all the buildings immediately around it and seemed to be free of fire. Instead, the top of it was encrusted with ice, however, before she could get a very good look at it, the wind died again and the smoke and flame rose up, obscuring it, but she could have swordn there was some kind of strange black glow emanating from beneath the ice.

“Did anyone else see that?” she asked the townsfolk helping her.

“Yeah, I saw it,” said a middle-aged man, leaning against a low stone wall to catch his breath. “I think that was old Jakos’ tower…”


“Some wizard that lives in this part of town, mostly keeps to himself, I think,” the man answered.

Victoria Ostrander ran back to the plaza to tell the others. Bleys did his best to catch sight of it with height advantage from being enlarged and his perch on the cart, but could not.

Making sure each group of firefighters had a trustworthy and capable leader, and giving them encouraging words to keep them on their tasks in his absence, Bleys the Aubergine hurried over to where Victoria emerged from, but even from there he could not spot the tower.

“We might be able to make it through that way,” Victoria pointed to a narrow alley between two burning buildings.

“I am too large to fit through that way,” Bleys said with a sigh. “I need to dismiss this spell.”

“Anhur! Shield my companion from the lapping flames that threaten to engulf him,” Victoria called to her god, and water crashed over him, dousing his robes.

“Thank you… But, chances are there will be other narrow ways beyond, we need to try to go around…” Bleys said, he led the way back to the plaza and rounded up Laarus and Timotheus to tell them about the tower Victoria had spotted. “We need to see if we can reach it,” he said to them. “My instinct tells me that tower is the key to getting to the bottom of this.”

“Where’s Markos?” Victoria asked.

“I haven’t seen him,” Timotheus replied.

“He led a contingent to the western well to fight the fire from there,” Laarus said.

“We should be able to get to the tower from that side if Victoria’s description of it location holds true,” Bleys said. “Let’s go!” He ran and the others followed.

“I wish I knew where Telémahkos was…” Timotheus complained.

“Unfortunately, we have to leave Telémahkos can take care of himself,” Bleys said. “He is either hiding, or doing his part to fight the fire and is lost amid this chaos… Either way, the best we can do is get to the bottom of this and look for him later…”

“I saw it, too,” Markos said when the tower was described to him. He dismissed the enlarge person spell on Bleys. “I think we can reach it easiest from this area. The flames have not gotten as thick over here…”

Victoria and Timotheus led the way, finding a narrow smoke-filled alley that the militant was sure would lead in the direction of the tower. Unfortunately, the thick smoke constricted their lungs, causing them to hurry past as fast as possible, not noticing the thin wall of flame at the end of alley until it was too late. They barreled through knocking over the debris of a wooden framed house in hopes of making passage easier for their coming companions.

The two noble adventurers winced and patted at their singed clothing, in a narrow spot where two alleys crossed, and the smoke swirled up in a channel keeping the air relatively fresh where they were, waiting for the others.

Markos tried to use prestidigitation to keep his clothes damped, but as he leapt through the flames the agony made him realize that it was too little to do much good.3 Laarus of Ra grunted as he stumbled through, his armor glowing red in spots and looked up to see Bleys throwing his still wet cloak over Markos, who had caught fire, to put him out. The priest of Ra pulled himself to his feet and coughed, feeling his skin crack painfully in the places he was burned.

“Which way now?” Timotheus asked.

“I think this should lead us to the tower,” Victoria said, leading the way to the left up a slightly broader alley and to a wide street that was flanked by several burning buildings. They dashed under partially collapsed stone wall, burning pieces of its thick wooden supports hanging through holes in the brick. Laarus was staggering, and soon he was being left behind. 4

“C’mon! Hurry! It is not safe to stay back here,” Markos said to his cousin, slowing to let the priest catch up. “You either need to keep up or go back!”

“I am coming as fast as I can…” Laarus croaked.

“Bleys! Hold! Laarus is hurt! I have no potions of healing left. Do you?” Markos called. The watch-mage hurried back. He shook his head.

“I left mine with my pack back at the inn,” Laarus said.

“Can you not call on your god?” Markos asked.

“I could… But I fear the next set of flames will end me in regardless…” Laarus answered.

There sound of collapsing wood and roaring flaming echoed from the narrow alley behind them. Laarus used one of the last healing miracles available to him that day, and was only marginally better. 5

Bleys took his still damp robes and draped them over Laarus. “You cannot stay here and you cannot go back, so you are coming if it means dragging you…” He lent an arm to support the priest on one side and Markos moved in to the other and the three of them jogged along awkwardly to catch up with Tim and Victoria. “Do not mistake my efforts for actually liking you, Laarus,” Markos said to his cousin as they ran. Burning debris fell on them, and both Markos and Bleys were injured, but while Laarus managed to avoid the worst of it, as they stumbled into the arms of Victoria and Timotheus, he was once again staggering at the threshold of death’s door.

“Take strength in Anhur, Brother Laarus,” Victoria called on her god to heal her fellow priest and some of his burns slowly faded away. Meanwhile, Timotheus was leaping away from a wall he had considered climbing to get a view of above. It was so hot; the flames on the other side must have been an inferno. “We have to keep moving,” he said.

They jogged two more blocks, avoid two collapsing buildings and dashing under a thick stone black wall made it around a corner and for a moment above them, they saw the glint of ice. “The tower!” Victoria ran that way and everyone followed.

There was one last smoke-filled street to pass through before they could reach the tower. “We must steel ourselves to pass through,” Victoria said, turning to heal Markos of some of his wounds, but the mage was still looking in poor condition. They ran through Markos leading the way this time, followed by Bleys, Timotheus, Victoria and finally Laarus. The thick smoke squeezed their lungs as they held their mouths and nosed closed with a free hand, and bracing themselves for more fire they could not see. It was a long way to run, crouched with lungs burning and fighting to keep their eyes open.

They burst out of the smoke gasping and tearing, collapsing in the fine layer of snow on the semi-circular paving stones that marked this round plaza.

“Isis wept!” Timotheus swore.

They all lay there for a moment, enjoying the soft cold, before looking up to see that the round plaza was more of a cul-de-sac, not being accessible by any other streets as the curved rear walls of some stone buildings enclosed it. The other buildings were smoldering, but their rear walls stood fast against the fire, as did the tower. The tower was round and made of great carved stone blocks and was over four stories high, but the topmost section was crusted over with a great cap of translucent ice that sweat off billows of snow that floated softy down to the plaza, or drifted off into the black and gray smoke of the burning town.

“Wow… That’s magical,” Markos said.

“The locals called it ‘Jakos’ Tower,’” Victoria replied.

“So what do we do now that we’re here?” Timotheus asked.

“Knock on the door,” Bleys the Aubergine replied, striding over to the great door on the eastern side of the tower, facing them. He knocked heavily with the side of his fist and his entire forearm. “Jakos!”

“Who goes there?” It was a man’s voice calling through a narrow stone window about six feet off the ground, to the left of the door.

“Sluetelot is burning!” Bleys said by way of answer.

“Yes… Yes, we have noticed the conflagration,” the man replied with some evident regret in his tone.

“You might want to get out of here then,” Victoria said. “Your whole tower is surrounded by fire…”

“My master’s orders were that we should continue to guard the tower no matter what…” The man said. “The fire has been kept at bay so far…”

“Well, if you have such powerful magic at your disposal, how about lending us some to put out the fire?” Markos asked with disdain.

“No… that would not be possible,” the voice on the other side was even-toned.

“So where’s your master?” Markos asked.


“If they are not causing the fire and cannot help us fight it, there is no point in us staying here,” Timotheus said with obvious frustration. He left to walk around the tower and have a look around the plaza, while the others quietly discussed the situation. Realizing that the grooved bricks of the tower wall made them accessible to a skilled and strong climber, he scaled its side for a better look around.

“Do you think your master would want to see his hometown burn to the ground?” Laarus asked.

“This is not his hometown.”

Markos threw his cousin a glare. “Cloistered?” He asked. “In what capacity?”

“I do not know the specifics, only that he is deep in research and contemplation of an arcane problem of some kind and I gather of some importance,” the guardian on the other side of the window answered.

“So you master believes this problem to be of greater importance than all of Sluetelot burning down?” Victoria asked.

“Apparently so.”

“What type of arcane problem?” Markos asked. He gestured to Bleys. “My companion here is a watch-mage and I have some small talent in the arcane as well having graduated from the University at Moon City, perhaps we can aid your master in this matter…”

“Yes, what matter of problem is it?” Bleys asked. “As acting watch-mage of Sluetelot, such things fall under my jurisdiction if it should prove dangerous to the people of this town.”

“I am not apprised of the specifics,” the guardian said. “Some form of arcane mishap…”

“Mishap? Perhaps having to do with magical sleep? Or its lack, perhaps?” Timotheus asked. He had just gotten back from his climb and look around.

“The plague of insomnia was the temporary solution,” the man replied.

“What is your name, acolyte?” Victoria asked.

“I am not an acolyte. I am Tellum, sojourner of Ptah,” the guardian replied.

“Well, Tellum, if your master’s research has affected the town in this way then I must see him,” Bleys said. “Retrieve him now…”

“I cannot do that.”

“Alright, you know what?” Markos was suddenly raving with anger. “Fnck this!” He raised his gnomish repeating crossbow and fired a bolt into the door. “There! I am attacking the tower. Now go fetch your master!”

Tellum did not respond.

Materia maxima!” Markos chanted for a few moments, and suddenly he was a looming ten feet tall or more. He leaned in over the window. “Come here! I want to talk to you!”

“Master Watch-mage, please have your rude companion back away,” Tellum said, still ignoring the mage.

“He just seeking to parley,” Bleys replied. “In his own way…”

“If by parley you mean insult and threaten,” Tellum replied.

“He is generally insulting. I will agree with you about that,” Bleys said, and Markos shot him a glare of anger and disapproval. “How long will your master be unavailable?” Bleys asked.

“For as long as it takes.”

“How long has he been seeking a permanent solution to the problem?” Bleys asked.

“Four days straight.”

“If there is nothing to be done here then we should return to aid in the effort against the fire,” Laarus said.

“HE JUST ADMITED TO BEING BEHIND THE PLAGUE OF INSOMNIA,” Markos was shrill, enunciating each word with an exaggerated show of holding back his utter disdain for every word that ever came out of his cousin’s mouth.

“It doesn’t matter anyway,” Timotheus said, much more relaxed after his climb. “I saw two things out there when I climbed. One was that the fires have pretty much closed us in here until they die out or someone comes and puts them out, and secondly, I saw great plumes of steam at the edges of the quarter It looks like someone broke out the big magic against the fire. It seems to be under control for now, at least…”

“Good,” Bleys said. “This makes our choice easier. We must enter this tower and get to the bottom of this sleeplessness and the possessions that led to disasters like this fire in the first place.”

“Bleys, do you have the power to investigate homes?” Markos asked. “I mean, in your role as acting watch-mage of Sluetelot?”


“So you can circumvent the law and propriety and break in there if you are not allowed in then,” Markos smiled and looked at his cousin.

“I see no reason to break in,” Laarus said, and Markos began to take big breathes in exaggerated disbelief.
As Bleys began to explain to Laarus the legal necessity of breaking into the tower, Timotheus yawned, covering his mouth with the back of a meaty hand. He kicked at the snow and looked around absently.

“Hey Victoria! Wanna spar?” He reached for his sabre. The militant shook her head. “This is not the appropriate place or time.”

“I’m bored!” Tim complained.

“Timotheus, would you like to break down this door?” Bleys asked the brawny warrior. Tim shrugged. “I don’t not want to… You just give the word, boss…”

“I wish you wouldn’t call him boss,” Markos said, sullenly. He scooped up a handful of snow and packing it into a ball hurled it at the tower.

“There is no legal jurisdiction this monk has that supersedes yours, Bleys,” Victoria said. “You are well within your rights as I know them to use force to get in there if what is within represents a danger to your charge.”

“We do not know that it does,” Laarus said.

“Tellum!” Bleys called through the window. “If we were to try to force our way in, would you try and stop us?”

“I would be forced to try,” the monk replied. “I have given my word.”

…to be continued…


(1) Session #24 was played on February 3rd, 2008 in Brooklyn, NY.

(2) This was going to be Telémahkos if his player had made to the session. He did not.

(3) I allowed dampness to grant a small circumstance bonus to the Reflex saves made to avoid fire as they ran through the burning town. Running through smoky areas required Fortitudes saves.

(4) Laarus was staggered, meaning he could only perform either a standard or a move action each round, and if he did a standard one he’d lose a point and drop to negative hit points.

(5) Cure minor wounds


Moderator Emeritus
Session #24 – “Dreams of Fire, Dreams of Ice” (part 2 of 2)

Bleys turned to the others. “Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to break into a wizard’s tower…”

“I know that!” Markos was loud again. “Who do you think you’re talking to? But we have to do what we have to do! This bloody assh-le monk won’t let us in!”

“I shall contemplate the situation as I take some moments to prepare a different spell in place of one I prepared this morning,” Bleys said, and he walked off to one side, and squatted in the snow, with his spellbook across his knees.

“Are you done yet?” Markos asked the watch-mage when he thought fifteen minutes had passed. Bleys just shook his head. A few minutes later the former sailor asked again and Bleys looked up with an uncharacteristic expression of anger. “Stop your incessant pacing and badgering! It is annoying!” Markos snarled, but walked away to argue some more with his cousin, while Timotheus had finally managed to get Victoria to at least go through some spear forms with him while they waited.

“You know,” Markos said as soon as he saw Bleys close his book and put it away. “I was looking up at that black light whatever it is up under the ice, and I got to thinking… Tellum said that the plague of insomnia was a temporary solution to the problem… What if Jakos accidentally summoned something that drew its power from people’s dreams somehow? Depriving the thing of sleeping people might keep it weak enough to be trapped up there…”

“So, do you have theory for dealing with it?” Bleys asked.

“By no means I have at my disposal,” Markos replied. “But if I could get at Jakos’ notes…”

“Your arcane curiosity is no reason to break into this home,” Laarus said, walking over.

“I was not talking to you, cousin,” Markos sneered.

“What I don’t understand about this theory is why he didn’t warn the town?” Victoria said, joining them.

“Perhaps he did not have time,” Bleys replied.

“And maybe he wanted to solve it before anyone knew he was responsible,” Victoria added, thinking on it more.

“If we were to accept Markos’ theory, and it does seem sound based on what we know…” Bleys began.

“I also have a theory about the refractory nature of the black light beneath the ice…” Markos interrupted.

“The refractory what?” Victoria asked. “You’ve lost me…”

“That one can wait,” Bleys replied. He took a deep breath and continued. “As I was saying, if we were to take Markos’ theory as accurate, or at least close, and keeping in mind that the monk said that Jakos has been working on this for four days, I think we can surmise, and it is my contention that, without further help he will make no headway. And since, Tellum will not let us in, we must break in and use force if necessary…”

“But what if interfering with Jakos makes things worse rather than better?” Laarus asked.

“I would sooner apologize for making a bad decision than be damned for making no decision at all,” Bleys replied.

“Tellum!” Laarus walked towards the window. “Is there anyway you will let us speak to your master.”

“I asked him that already…” Markos said.

“If he leaves sequestration,” Tellum replied.

“And there is no way to reach him in order to get him out of it?” Laarus asked.


“Enough!” Bleys barked, taking on a practiced authoritarian tone. “Tellum, I, Bleys the Aubergine, as acting watch-mage of Sluetelot am now asking you as an official representative of legitimate law to open the door and allow me and my companions passage.”

“I have told you. I cannot,” The monk’s voice grew sorrowful. “I have no desire to hurt anyone…”

Bleys turned around and drew his companions away. “We are going in. Fight to subdue. They are only following orders. We shall only resort to lethal means if there is no other way, or if they resort to them themselves.”

“Maybe we can get around him,” Tim said, pointed to the large shuttered window on the second floor of the tower, over the door. Bleys and Victoria boosted the large man, straining under his weight, and Timotheus wavered back and forth, tearing the shutters off by brute strength.

“I do not find this action fully justifiable,” Laarus said. “But I can do nothing to stop you…”

There was a curtain behind the shutters. Timotheus leaned forward awkwardly, drawing protests of pain from Bleys and Victoria below and grabbed the curtain, yanking it free. A blast of frost came exploding through the window, knocking him back to the ground, cursing as he felt the biting burn of cold on his skin, shivering.

“That’s it!” Timotheus stood and ran to the door, putting his shoulder into it. It shuddered and gave a little bit, so he slammed it again and yet again. Bleys the Aubergine stepped over and examined the door as Tim got his wind back. It was askew and a crack showed along the frame. He gave it hard kick and they heard the pins of the hinges snap. Now only the bar was hold in the door up, and there was a good four-inch gap along the left side.

Timotheus stuck his hand into the gap to heft the bar and felt someone grab his fingers in a tight two-handed lock.1 He grit his teeth against the pain that flared up his arm as he tried to break free, but Bleys came to his rescue, kicking the door again as he drew his sabre and knocking the bar on the other side free, even as the monk was forced to drop his hold of Tim, or else be struck by the heavy door as it tipped open. Bleys pushed through the door and slapped his blade at the figure he sensed in the dim entryway, but looking up he could see the Sojourner of Ptah blocking the blade, scissoring it between two fingers, stilling it reverberations. Their eyes locked for a moment and then Bleys’ world went topsy-turvy as he felt Tellum sweep his legs out from under him, sending him to the ground.

Tellum was a man in his middle-thirties, but with pre-maturely gray hair that was shaved all the way around, but for a long braided mess on top tied with brown ribbons. He had a wiry, but athletic physique. He had leather sandals tied to his feet, and loose-fitting clothing of gray and brown silk. He had bright hazel eyes.

The watch-mage looked up in time to see the monk tumble through an inner doorway as a door shut behind him. But Timotheus did not hesitate, he rushed in leaping over Bleys and kicking open the inner door to see a wider room lit by smoky lamps beyond. There were two egresses on the far wall covered by thick tapestries of burgundy trimmed with gray, and the one on the left wavered slightly. Tim stepped into the room, but paused. There were double doors directly across, between the two curtained passageways, and flanked by two statues. One was of a bearded elder man, but with the broad body of a warrior, dressed in plate mail and wielding a flaming great sword. The other was of a bald man in royal clothing and holding a mace-like scepter. Markos was soon right behind Tim, as Victoria helped Bleys to his feet, and drew her morningstar. She followed Markos into the room and Bleys followed her, and moved in front of the others. “Remember. We are looking for answers, not a fight,” he warned.

“I saw that curtain move!” Timotheus pointed to the left. He moved over and pushed it aside. He spotted a set of stone steps going up to the left behind them. He hurried up the steps, looking around and ignoring the door across from where the tiny curtain hallway let into this area. Bleys walked in and took a few steps up. Victoria moved in right behind him, followed by Markos who pointed to the door and stepped to one side. The militant stepped over and kicked open the door to reveal some kind of small sitting room. Tellum was in there, but before she could react he stepped over and put a few punches and forearm blows into her face, driving her back. Her cheek bruised. 2

Markos leapt into the gap that Victoria left, punching out with his dagger in his hand to give his blow some weight, and got a punch right on the chin harder than he had ever felt in his life.

“To Set with it!” Timotheus swore. He charged down the steps shoving both Victoria and Markos out of the way, and somehow managing to duck to avoid a punch from Tellum. “Laarus! Where are you? We need you!” he called.

The young priest listened to the battle from out in front of the tower, still refusing to enter.

Precipio!” Bleys cast anticipate as he came back down the steps to support Timotheus, the world around the monk slowing down to his heightened senses, just barely perceptible.

“Drop!” Victoria commanded the monk, but he scoffed as he raised a finger as if to indicate he were teaching an important point. “That only works on the weak-minded,” he said to her.

Ebdus Ostos!” They looked up to see a man dressed in black, with long black hair and pale skin. He tossed a chunk of ice at the bottom of the stairs, and suddenly there was a slick of ice across the bottom and in front of the door. 3

But Markos had retreated to draw his gnomish repeating crossbow and Timotheus was too quick on his feet, barreling over the monk, and knocking him to the ground.4 He ran clear of the monk, avoiding getting grabbed, and spun around. Telleum sprang to his feet and leaped forward pummeling Timotheus in the face and chest with heavy blows.

Victoria staggered in the doorway, falling to her knees on the ice, getting up and falling again, as Bleys crawled clear on the other side. “This is no time for genuflecting, Bleys,” Markos looked down at the prone watch-mage and winked. Bleys scrambled to his feet and hustled back out of the curtain and across the central room to the other curtain, hoping there would be a staircase up on that side as well, and he might come around the spellcaster above. While his instinct for architecture proved right about stairs, unfortunately the set he found went down, not up. He ran back to the others.

“Sorry about this!” Timotheus said to the monk and whipped the flat of his sabre across the man’s head painfully. He drew blood. Victoria got to her feet and swung at the monk, as he had been backed up to the doorway. She lost her balance and fell again.

“Stay down militant and you will be allow to simply leave,” the man at the top of the steps said, but before Victoria could even look up to address him, she grunted as Tellum was pushed over her, tumbling back onto his side and onto the slick of ice in the hall. Timotheus now stood in the doorway. 5

“We are here to help!” Bleys said. He dropped his sabre and grabbed at the fallen monk, who turned on to his back and reach up, locking his fingers around the watch-mage’s keeping him at bay with a twist of that sent shivers down his wrist. Tellum arched his back and flipped into the air, letting go of Bleys and leaping free of the scrum, and barely managing to avoid another dagger-hilt punch from Markos. Victoria rolled off the slick of ice and swung her morningstar from her back at Tellum, but the monk easily avoided it. He slammed a fist into Markos’ face and then turned to grab at the withdrawing watch-mage, but Bleys could still anticipate the monk’s actions, and easily dodged the monk’s grasp’ from his point of view it seemed slow-moving. The distraction allowed Tim to slam a meaty fist in Tellum’s lower back as he slipped and fell on the ice as he came back out into the hall. Victoria sucked in a sharp breath as she felt the burn of a ray of frost from the warlock on the stairs.

“Oh forget this! I am useless here!” Markos swore, and he hurried past Bleys back out into the central room.

Timotheus growled as he barely sidestepped as he stood to avoid another ray of frost from above. The ice on the ground vanished.

Bleys the Aubergine stepped back into the melee, now with his military pick in hand, and trying to use the blunt end to strike Tellum on the head. The monk turned around. “I am sorry Master Watch-Mage,” he said, as he caught the pick between his open palms and then sent two kicks towards the purple-robed wizard’s legs. Once again, Bleys was able to leap ahead of time and avoid the potentially crippling blows. He was learning a new appreciation of this spell. 6

At the top of the stairs, the warlock began the long drawn out chant of a summoning spell. Bleys broke off from Tellum, ducking instinctually (again, with the aid of his spell) to avoid an errant blow from the monk, and bullrushed the summoner, knocking him away from the top of the stairs. Unfortunately, the warlock was an expert at keeping his concentration, and was still able to complete his spell. There was snap and a pop, accompanied by the smell of sulfur. A red and black wolf, with glowing red eyes appeared at the top of the steps and snapped at Bleys. Tellum ducked and rolled past Victoria and Timotheus, avoiding their blows, seeking to flank Bleys, but it was as if the wizard had eyes in the back of his head when it came to the monk. Timotheus gave chase and slammed the hilt of his sword into the back of the monk’s neck. Tellum nearly crumpled.

“Just stay down!” Timotheus commanded as Victoria hurried up the steps as well. She swung her morningstar awkwardly, and Tellum reached out with an open hand between its deadly tines and sent it flying back out of her hands and down the steps. 7

Bleys whipped his pick back and forth, keeping Tellum at bay while slamming the summoned fiendish wolf in the side of the head. Timotheus took a kick to the gut, and he gasped, but despite being staggered, he managed to slam the monk again. The warlock ran off to his right, out of view on the second floor, as Markos returned from his brief exploration of the lower level, to reassess the fight. 8 He hustled up the stairs to help pen in the monk, even if he felt his combat skills were not up to actually making much of a difference. Victoria and Timotheus knocked the monk between them with heavy blows, and dark bruises were now visible on face and around his eyes.

Bleys cried out as the wolf grabbed him around the calf and dragged him to the floor. This allowed Tellum to make a leaping flip past Victoria and over the watch-mage and land at the top landing and withdraw.

“fncking dog!” Markos stabbed at the wolf and missed, but Timotheus was more successful, drawing its steaming coppery blood with his sabre. The wolf snapped at Bleys, but the watch-mage shoved the handle of his pick in its mouth as he pulled himself to his feet.

“Hey Victoria! Got any of that healing mojo left?” Timotheus asked the militant. “I am seeing stars and lights…” He shook his head, as he swung at the wolf again. It withdrew a bit, allowing Bleys to hurry past it after the monk.

“Not now Tim!” Victoria answered. She brought her morningstar down on the wolf’s skull and there was a resounding crack. Less than half a moment later, it was gone in puff of acrid smoke.

The watch-mage came around the corner to see a similar central room to the one below. At the far end, Tellum was raising a potion vial to his mouth. Bleys did not hesitate. He charged and slammed them blunt end of the pick under the monk’s chin, and Tellum collapsed. The potion resting gently on his chest, with only a couple of drops spilling. Bleys scooped it up and put the cork back in it.

“Here,” Bleys said to Tim as he, Markos and Victoria came around the corner at the top of the stairs. “The monk was about to drink this…” He gave the brawny warrior the potion. It was mustard-colored and viscous. The vial was frosted glass.

“Ugh! Smells nasty!” Timotheus made a face after uncorking and taking a whiff. Bleys took it back and took a whiff, and then passed it to Markos who did the same. No one could tell what it was.

“Drink it anyway,” Markos told the warrior, but Tim looked to Bleys. “Save it for later…” the watch-mage said. Tim nodded. Meanwhile, Victoria hustled back down the stairs and retrieved Bleys’ sabre for him.

The chamber up here had two statues flanking double doors further into the tower, though here one was a young woman dressed in garlands with birds nesting in her hair, and two wolves at her heels, and the other was of crone dressed in skulls and a jacket of sewn human hides. 9 There was a curtain off to the right similar to those downstairs, and a door to a room that they assumed led to where Timotheus had torn the shutters from the window.

Bleys opened the door. Within was a pentagram drawn on the floor with white and red candles set at the points where it touched a circle. At the far end, the black-garbed warlock, a rapier in his other hand, was scattering gray chunks of salts across it as the whole thing frosted over and mist began to rise from the circle.

“You left me no choice,” the man said. Bleys slammed the door shut, and looked at the others. “Get ready!” But there was no time to get ready, as the summoned creature burst through the door.

It was a squat creature about four feet tall, but crouched and packed with muscle. It was covered in dirty white fur and had small black hands that ended in sharp black talons that matched those on its feet. It snorted through the long flayed nostrils of is bald hide-covered gray face. It opened its mouth, revealing an underbite of sharp rows of teeth. It shivered with uncontrollable energy, leaping at Bleys, driving him back.

“Laarus! They’re summoning demons on us!! Get your ass in here!” Markos screamed. Below, the priest heard the cries, but the meaning of the words was lost in the echoes and the creature’s snarls and barks. He took a deep breath and kept his emotions in check. Markos fired his crossbow at the monster, but in his fear he only managed to shoot a bolt into the floor.

Timotheus hung back by the staircase and guzzled down the potion, grimacing against its vinegary taste. He felt the painful warmth of his wounds closing, his burns disappearing, his bruises fading, and his energy returning. 10 He rushed in gaining the slashing beast’s attention, but batting away its blows and slapping his sword against its thick skull. It moved with unbelievable speed, despite its lopping movement. It snarled, and barked, drooled. Bleys was able to move away to cast anticipate again, this time with the creature as his target.

Frigidus armes!” The warlock chanted and pointed at Timotheus. He felt a chill down his spine for a moment, but then nothing. “Come on, Bleys! Let’s give it the double team!” Timotheus moved to pen the creature between them. But the creature moved too quickly. Bleys chopped down with his saber, clipped the ground. It shook in his hand and he had to grab it by the hilt with the other to steady it and keep from dropping it. 11

“Anhur! I know not what demon madness this is, but help me smite it in your name!” Victoria implored her god, and a silver and black shining spear appeared in the air on the opposite side of the creature from her. The thing dodged to one side and snarled, still trying to get at Tim. He drove at it with his blade drawing blood. He shivered. He noticed his armor was getting colder.

”Victoria! Move the spiritual spear to the warlock!” Markos said, shooting at the feral slashing creature from a corner of the room. He had been waiting for an opening, but despite doing so, he still missed. But the militant did not obey the wizard, nor did the creature let itself be hit by either the magical spear or her actual spear, which she now thrust at it. It slapped the shaft away and croaked with renewed madness, driving its fangs into the warrior’s calf.

“Ow!” Timotheus chopped wildly about its head, until it was bloody mess, but it was oblivious to pain. The warlock moved into the melee, drawing his rapier, and revealing a light-footed stance. His other hand in the air, fingers fanned. Bleys, tuned in to the creature’s chaotic movements, nearly didn’t get his sabre in place to block the man’s rapier thrust. Another bolt from Markos landed in the floor between them. The spellcasting swordsman twirled around stabbing at Bleys again, but the watch-mage was moving in time with the rhythms of the fight. He turned and once again parried. Victoria took the opportunity to thrust her spear in the warlock’s direction, but he whipped his rapier across to knock the weapon off alignment. The spiritual weapon continued to stab at the hairy white creature, but it kept avoiding it again and again, locked in combat with Timotheus and getting the worst of it. Flick. The rapier blocked Bleys’ follow-up cut.

“Anhur! Let me not fail my fellows!” Victoria bellowed, and the divine fury of her god filled her. She fell back half a step and thrust again, and this time the shaft of the spear scraped across the rapier and stabbed into the warlock’s side. He grunted, his studded leather jerkin beneath his black clothing was sliced open and oozing blood. He wavered, and then raised his thin blade again, flicking at her wrists and drawing blood. The militant just grunted and thrust again and again. “Down, summoner!” She commanded as her spear caught him in the thigh, and he stumbled sideways, dazed – somehow still managing to avoid yet another bolt from Markos.

Timotheus was driven from the cluster of fighting by the beast’s ferocity. He felt burning wounds on his legs, and swung defensively, getting some lucky shots in the thing’s face, flicking his wrist with all his strength whenever he felt the sabre bite. A blur of speed and strength, he blocked its teeth and fangs from pure instinct, and then saw the opening, driving the sabre into its mouths and yanking back hard as he pushed down. Its lower jaw fell off. Timotheus grit his teeth, for the cold he was suffering was like nothing else he had ever felt, surpassing winter on Westen-Scherp Muur.

“Duh-Die already!” He chattered. The monster looked like it should be dead, or at least dying, but it shook its bloody fur like big wet dog and leapt at him again, ignoring Bleys behind it. It grabbed at the bottom part of his plate mail as if it wanted to tear the flesh from underneath. The warlock twirled back towards Bleys, trying to get away from the raging priest, and the watch-mage had to quickly turn to avoid being stabbed. “Stay away from Bleys!” Victoria ordered, stepping forward and thrusting her spear. The warlock fell to the ground bleeding. She turned to the monster. It and Tim were exchanging blows in flurry of blood and fur and flesh. “Die! Die! Down! Die!” Timotheus chopped at it again and again, and suddenly it stopped and fell, transforming into a puddle of icy water as it did.

Timotheus began to strip off his freezing armor as quickly as he could.

End of Session #24


(1) The monk used the Locking Block special martial arts feat to accomplish this.

(2) The monk was fighting to subdue.

(3) Slick is another form of the spell grease.

(4) Timotheus performed an Overrun.

(5) Timotheus performed a Bullrush.

(6) Bleys learned this spell from Cwell the Hawk during his training for spells of the Second House (see session #22).

(7) Victoria fumbled and suffered the following effect: Hard Parry, Make opposed Strength check with opponent or weapon knocked away. Roll d8 for direction. Roll for 1d4 for distance in 5 foot increments.

(8) During this time Markos explored the lower level, finding the same steps as Bleys did and making a quick survey of a large kitchen behind the double doors and took the time to cast detect magic and take a quick sweep of the area.

(9) These statues were of the northern gods Mielikki and Tuonetar.

(10) This was a potion of cure moderate wounds.

(11) Bleys suffered a fumble result: Lose Grip on Weapon. Make Dexterity check (DC 15) or drop weapon. – He made his dexterity check.
Last edited:


First Post
Great battle! Was Laarus's player at this session, or did he really decide not to go in with the rest of the party? Who were the statues in the lower central room?

Last edited:


Moderator Emeritus
Nice battle.
Nice cliffhanger

is flick the name of the rapier

I don't know if that was really much of a cliffhanger, but I did like the battle a lot (see below).

As for the name of the rapier, I guess you mean the warlock's blade? Well, it doesn't have a name "flick" was just a description of its action in that moment - however, it is a good name for a rapier, or perhaps "flicker" - though there is already an NPC (that will at least be mentioned in an upcoming installment) named "Flicker" after the character from Sagiro's Story hour.

Great battle! Was Laarus's player at this session, or did he really decide not to go in with the rest of the party? Who were the statues in the lower central room?


I will answer these backwards:

3) Oops! I meant to add a footnote for these as well. The statues were Ukko and Hiisi.

2) Laarus really sat out that entire battle, delaying every round. You would have to ask him why he did this, as I still am not 100% I get why he did. But at least Jesse is not the kind of player to make a choice like that and then complain that he has nothing to do, though that would have been of little solace if someone in the group had died while he remained out there.

1) I guess "Great battle!" is not really a question, but I did want to address this since Darkhall-Nestor brought it up as well. I thought this was a very fun battle and to me an example that playstyle has a lot more to do with the perceived problems of 3E combat (and the fixes put forth in 4E) to make it "dynamic".

Here we had a battle through a broken down door and curtained alcoves. There was positioning for advantage on the stairs, environmental hazards in the way of the "slick/grease" spell. There were bullrushes and overruns, foes fleeing and regrouping and of course the whole attempt to not actually kill the guardians of the tower which made it more difficult.

For those who are curious, the first part of the battle took 14 rounds and the second part took 8.

Thanks for reading!


Moderator Emeritus
Session #25 – “Smoke & Ruin” (part 1 of 3) 1

Meanwhile Telémahkos had been having some adventures of his own. After quickly dispatching the wild dog in that had cornered him in the alleyway, he had the unfortunate experience of being chased by a whole pack of them, possessed of great strength and intelligence, their eyes glowing red, their fur and color shifting in the lights and shadows. Eventually, he hid, only emerging when he began to smell smoke.

The burning of the seedy quarter of Sluetelot sent him running to Death & Taxes to find the others, but only found Barton cleaning blood off the floor of the abandoned common room.

“What happened here?” he asked.

“The priest of Ra… He killed Anouk and one of the patrons…”2 Barton said, looking up with teary eyes. “He went with the others to Havesting…”

But before the blond Briareus got the fortress gate, he heard word of them leading the efforts to fight the fire, but no one at the plaza was quite sure where they had gone. Instead, he ended up rounding up a group of the town’s kids and bringing them to the Temple of Isis. Upon his arrival, the priestesses ended their sequestration and opened the doors to the temple to the children and refugees, administering to the injured, and creating food and water for all of them.

He befriended an urchin girl named Mirth, and used her help to round up more people that needed aid, and got some of the older kids to help against the fire. It was when he was making his third trip leading people to the temple that he ran into Floris Tenbrook. Telémahkos threw his floppy feathered hat atop Mirth’s head and sent her along. 3

“According to some dwarves I had fighting the fire, they headed right into the middle of it,” Floris said, when asked if he has seen Bleys and the others. “They must have had a pretty good reason to do so…”

Telémahkos was distracted, for he caught sight of a huge wave with vague bulging arms and a swelling chest rising from the gates of Havesting and smashing into the edge of the fire. The waveservants of Tefnut had conjured elementals to fight the fire, and now the tide was finally turning.

“Maybe I’ll be able to find a way in that way…” Telémahkos mused aloud.

“Your funeral…” Floris shrugged. “But listen, your cousin… You’d better tell him he had better watch his mouth. He challenged my authority in public, and if he doesn’t apologize, I am going to have to challenge him to a duel.”

“I’ll talk to him…” Telémahkos sighed, he took off where a great wall of steam now rose, the huge elemental and several smaller ones plunging into the walls of flame.

In Jakos’ tower Bleys bound the wounds of the warlock swordsman.

“I wish we still had the Amulet of Fallon,” Timotheus said with an edge of complaint in his voice. 4

“Laarus has it,” Bleys replied.

“What? He not only refuses to aid us, but he has the Amulet and hasn’t been using it?” Timotheus voice grew deep with rancor. “Does Ra want us to continue to suffer our burns and bruises or something?”

“You and I agree,” Bleys said. “I believe we should use it in case of an emergency, and this is one…”

“I hate my fncking cousin,” Markos said.

“Well, we are in no shape to continue as we are,” Timotheus added.

“Again, I agree,” Bleys replied.

“Is everyone alive in there?” It was Laarus of Ra calling into the tower from the doorway below. The sounds of the fighting had died and he grew worried about his companions.

“Barely, no thanks to you,” Markos called, coming to the window with the broken shutters. He called down. “You bald fnck!”

Victoria made her way back outside to inform Laarus as what had happened in the tower. The others followed.

“Laarus, will you heal us, or would that be aiding and abetting?” Markos asked.

“There is also one of the guardians above who I have bound, but is close to death,” Bleys said. The watch-mage kneeled down and scooped some of the snow, rubbing it against a bruise on his face. “The monk has been vanquished, and should not awaken for some time.” 5

“He should be fine as long as he is not moved,” the priest said coldly.

“I still don’t understand why you will not come in and help us,” Timotheus said. “It is like saving people from a burning building, you don’t wait to ask permission if you can come in…

“Yes, Do you feel Timotheus was trespassing when he saved that old woman and the child…” Victoria argued.

“That is different,” Laarus replied.

“That is beside the point,” Bleys interrupted. “We require the Amulet of Fallon.”

“That is not for us to use,” Laarus said.

The watch-mage’s eyes narrowed. “Laarus, I do not know why you will not use the amulet, whether it is pride or piety, but I am asking now that you either use it or to give it to someone who will…”

“If I truly believed it would help the people of Sluetelot then I would do so, but I do not.” Laarus was resolute.

”What do you think we are trying to do here?” Timotheus anger brimmed over. He turned to Markos. “Why is he even part of this group if he is not willing to help us?”

“He’s a cock, a fncking cock,” Markos replied. “There is no other answer…”

”The amulet is the property of the church of Fallon and not ours to use,” Laarus added.

“You will not give it to me?” Bleys the Aubergine asked.

“No, I will not,” Laarus said.

“This is our own fault,” Markos growled. “We thought he would be the best judge of its use, and we were clearly wrong…”

“We may have to wrest the amulet from him by force,” Bleys said to Timotheus when he took the brawny warrior aside while Victoria tried to reason with Laarus about both the amulet and the entering the tower.

“Fine,” Timotheus said with finality. “I’m disgusted with him. I mean, Medicus will heal goblins for Fallon’s sake! Are we less than goblins? Just give me the word…”

“What? What’s going on?” Markos came jogging over, attracted by their sharing quiet words as they walked back into the tower.

“I want Laarus out of the group,” Timotheus complained. “He’s breaking the oath we all made when we signed the charter that we would help and support each other.”

“I may hate him, but I think you are wrong,” Markos replied. Timotheus’ jaw dropped. He had never heard Markos defend his cousin.

”He is zealous, but he is nothing if not sincere in his belief,” Markos continued. “He is not being selfish.”

Timotheus sniffed his disapproval. “It’s in Bleys’ hands anyway…”

They came back outside, but Bleys told the others he was going to think it over as he looked around the tower some.

“Aren’t you the one always telling us not to go off alone?” Timotheus replied.

“I am not as reckless as some,” Bleys said not looking back.

“From what I know of the Church of Fallon the welfare of the people comes first. Not using the amulet helps no one,” Victoria was saying to Laarus as the watch-mage passed them. “I do not think the Fallonites would mind our using it to heal ourselves that we might get to the bottom of this threat to Sluetelot.”

“That is for them to decide,” Laarus said. “Not us…”

Bleys did not go far. He noted the kitchen Markos had discovered before and found some servant’s quarters and dry storage. Upstairs were some spartan guestrooms and more storage for things like bedding and housewares. There were stairs leading up to the tower’s upper level, but he did not go further. When he came back outside Victoria and Laarus were still talking, while Timotheus did what he always did when bored, he practiced his sword forms. Markos was observing the dancing black light behind the great encasement of ice atop the tower.

Great walls of steam were rising from the far edge of this quarter of Sluetelot near where they figured the edge of the fire would be.

“Laarus, I will ask you one last time, because you are a priest of Ra and I respect you and your office, but it is imperative that you allow us to use the amulet even if you are unwilling to use it yourself,” the watch-mage said.

Laarus shook his head. “I will not.”

“If you think that doing nothing will serve Isis, Ra or Fallon, then by all means continue to do so, but if you will not use the amulet hand it over before anyone else dies!” Bleys the Aubergine’s normal calm demeanor had vanished. He was barking his words with deep anger, his hand open waiting for the priest to comply.

“Who has died?” Laarus asked, his voice growing terse as well. His face revealed his dislike of being yelled at.

“The two people you killed in Death & Taxes! Among others! Do you think we managed to rescue every single person from that fire? Think on that while you wait outside. Now, will you hand over the amulet or must I take it from you?” Bleys continued to yell.

“And is that what you will do?” Laarus asked, growing calm again. The others looked on with growing tension. Markos’ hands were balled into little calloused fists at his sides, and his face grew red.

“Yes! I have made that very clear, I think,” Bleys spat back.

“Cousin, can you just not be an obstinate fool for a moment?” Markos asked through clenched teeth.

“You are overstepping the law,” Laarus replied quietly.

“I AM THE LAW!” Bleys yelled.

Around this time, Telémahkos was atop the roof of a smoking building, looking for a better vantage point from which to plot a route through the burning streets. He’d spotted the tower with it great cap of ice at the center of the fire and knew that that had to be where the others had gone. He leapt into a cart full of damp hay and the shrieked as he did not notice how it was smoldering below. He leapt out and hustled down a narrow alley and leapt through a curtain of flame and past the collapsing frame of a house. On the other side was a thick wall of smoke. He covered his mouth and sprinted blindly, brushing against a hot brick wall.

Telémahkos tumbled to one side making a dash across a street and leaping over a low crumbling wall. He took a risk of squeezing between two close buildings and cried out when a jet of flame licked out of a small window. He leapt and rolled patted at his clothes, but finally he spotted a street leading to the tower plaza and made a break for it. He arrived at the edge of the round plaza and noticed his fellow Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland yelling at each other in front of the tower door.

“You know what? Fnck the law!” Markos said, and he stepped in and swung a fist at Laarus’ face. The priest of Ra easily sidestepped it, allowing himself a smirk. Victoria immediately stepped between them grabbing at Markos, but the skinny mage shimmied away. “Markos, stop! This never ends well for you,” she said. 6

“Get off me!” Markos whined and shoved his palm right in Victoria’s face and pushed her away, swinging around her to slam a fist into his cousin’s face. Laarus took a step to regain his balance. “You gangrenous cock!” Markos swore. He looked around wildly. “This is between him and me and has been a long time coming. Everyone stay back!” He moved in again, fists raised.

“Quarreling and fighting among ourselves serves no purpose,” Laarus said. He began to chant, calling on Ra to enthrall the hearts and minds of his companions with divine truth. However, despite his prayer, he had enough presence of mind to leap back and avoid a punch from Bleys. Unfortunately for him he did not realize that Timotheus had moved in behind him, and he stepped right back into arms of the brawny man. The priest’s arms were pinned. “You can take that amulet from him any time you want now,” Timotheus said to Bleys.

“Good move, Tim!” Markos said. He reached for the priest’s belt, having to push Victoria away once again, as she grabbed at him. Her efforts seemed a bit half-hearted. Laarus was still squirming in Timotheus’ pin, so Bleys slammed another satisfying fist into the priest’s face. Markos pulled the amulet free and stepped back, and Laarus managed to burst from Tim’s grip. As Bleys moved in again, his anger getting the best of him for once, Tim stepped around Laarus and put his hands up. “Stop! I think that’s enough. It’s over! They have the amulet now, Laarus doesn’t, that’s all there is to it.”

Laarus did not look like he was going to continue the fight, but Markos kept his wary eye on his cousin.

“You are all beating on Laarus without me?” Telémahkos asked with a wide smile and a wink. “I feel so left out!”

“Where have you been?” Timotheus scolded. Telémahkos gave a quick recounting of his adventures with the wild and seemingly possessed dogs, his gathering of the children and leading them to the temple of Isis, and about the elemental creatures the waveservants of Tefnut were summoning to fight the fire.

“So, why are you fighting Laarus?” Telémahkos asked unable to hide his smile, shining bright from his soot covered his face.

Laarus walked off as the others told Telémahkos what had happened, the events leading them to the tower, those within and Laarus’ refusal to use the Amulet of Fallon. Telémahkos just shook his head.

“Here…” Markos handed Telémahkos the amulet, as he walked to intercept Laarus. Telie and the others went back into the tower covering some more details of what had been happening.

“Is it true Laarus killed two people?” Telémahkos asked.

“Yes, at the inn,” Bleys replied.

“He didn’t mean to, he was possessed,” Timotheus clarified.

“Right… So maybe his reticence to act here is because he feels guilty and worries he might do something else that would endanger innocents,” Telémahkos suggested

“That is irrational,” Bleys said.

“Okay, let’s see if we can get this thing to work,” Telémahkos put the amulet around his neck and held it to his heart, calling to Fallon. He felt his burns and bruises lessen ever so slightly, recognizing the comforting warmth of divine healing magic.

“Thank you, Fallon…” He said, and then handed it to Timotheus. “It works… Kind of… Just hold it and pray to Fallon…” Timotheus did just that, but nothing happened. He shook it and looked at it and then clasped it in his big hands, held to his chest. Nothing happened. He let out a frustrated sigh and passed the amulet to Markos as the mage walked in. Markos Ackers had been trying to convince his cousin to accompany them while they finished searching the tower for Jakos and the source of the sleeplessness. Laarus Raymer of Ra continued to refuse.

Markos put the amulet chain over his head and held it to his heart. “Oh Fallon, please ask the gods to grant some wisdom to my cousin Laarus. I want this not for myself, but to aid others…” Nothing happened. Shrugging he took it off and passed it to Bleys but as their hands brushed, Bleys felt himself begin to slowly and steadily begin to heal. Soon it was as if he had not been leaping through fire and fighting monks and warlocks all day.

“I humbly thank you Fallon,” Bleys said aloud, and then he put the amulet around his neck and was able to heal some small wounds on Markos and Timotheus with a touch. Tim was obvious annoyed that his own attempts had not worked. The watch-mage gave it back to Timotheus.

“I must not be doing it right,” Tim said after he tried again, disappointment in his voice. He handed it to Victoria. She slipped the amulet around her neck and soon was able to dispense small amounts of healing, and then nothing…

“Fallon has spoken,” the militant said, and began to put the amulet away.

“Wait!” Timotheus protested. “I want to try again. I never put it on. No one told me you had to put it on for it to work!”

“Well you saw everyone else it worked for put it on,” Telémahkos replied.

“You were the one that told me I just needed to hold it!” Timotheus complained. He slipped it over his neck and soon he was able to cure some minor wounds as well. It was passed to Markos who finally managed to use some as well. It was given back into Victoria’s care and she carefully wrapped it and put it away.

“Maybe we should have used it on those fellows we hurt,” Timotheus suggested. Instead, Victoria called on Anhur to make sure the warlock swordsman’s wounds did not re-open and then they carried the two guardians down to the lower level to leave them with Laarus.

“If we end up releasing some great evil in here and have to flee we want them out of harm’s way,” Markos reasoned.

…to be continued…


(1) This session was played Sunday, February 17th 2008 in Brooklyn, NY.

(2) See Session #23 for the tragic events.

(3) These events were determined over email/IM discussion with Telie’s player. We came up with actions that made sense to cover for the character’s absence during the player’s absence. I told him we would start with him at the point where he ran into Floris Tenbrook and asked after the other Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland.

(4) The Amulet of Fallon was retrieved from the Tomb of Dalvan Meir in Session #20.

(5) Tellum was beaten into unconsciousness. See Session #24.

(6) Victoria is of course referring to Markos’ two other fistfights with party members in Sessions #4 and #5, both of which Markos lost.


First Post
Wow! That was not what I was expecting at all. I agree with HalfOrcHB, it will be tough for the party to resolve this.

I love that line from Bleys, "I AM THE LAW!"

I can't wait to see how all of this turns out.



Moderator Emeritus
Session #25 – “Smoke & Ruin” (part 2 of 3)

Bleys, Timotheus, Victoria, Markos and Telémahkos made their way up to the third floor of Jakos’ tower. The stairs opened onto a dimly lit broad hallway decorated with dark wood paneling and cutting across the tower from east to west. To the right, the hall went twenty feet to large oaken double doors carved with the relief of a city upon a mountain surrounded by storm clouds.1 To the left the there was an alcove that led to another smaller oaken door. Across the hall was a linen closet, which Telémahkos checked out first.

“I would bet money that we are going to have to go through those double doors,” Markos said, as he and the other came into the hall. Bleys moved to the door in the alcove and Telémahkos cut him off. “Let me check it first!” he hissed. Markos came over and watched as Telémahkos inspected the seam, the floor in front of it, and then began to examine the lock, pulling a bundle of narrow tools from his sash.

“What does that one do?” Markos leaned in close and badgered Telémahkos with a plethora of questions regarding picking the lock. Victoria was standing facing the double doors while Timotheus kept watch at the top of the stairs.

“Markos… Move away,” Telémahkos said. After a minute’s work, he felt the lock click and he stood and backed away from the door. “It is unlocked,” he told the others.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” Markos asked.

“No… I checked it… I think it is free of traps, but… you never know…” Telémahkos answered. Bleys brushed past him and turned the knob. There was a sound like rushing wind and a blast of frost blasted out of the doorway, sending the watch-mage reeling. He huddled against the wall blue and shivering.

“Quick! Everyone huddle around him! Warm him up!” Timotheus ran over and wrapped his arms around Bleys holding his cloak around him and rubbing up and down.

“I am fine…” Bleys croaked, he pushed free of Tim’s bear hug and took a couple of staggered steps away. He shook his head clear and then stood up straight.

“Books!” Markos was looking into the room beyond, his eyes widening. “Spell… Books!” He lifted a foot to take a step in.

“Stop!” Bleys and Telémahkos said simultaneously. “There are bound to be more traps,” Bleys continued. “We may find answers in those tomes, but we must find Jakos before we risk looking into those.” Markos continued to look into the room longingly.

“It just struck me that Jakos may be possessed by whatever was possessing others like Laarus and Captain Firth,” Bleys said. “I need to change a spell I prepared… protection from evil will be more helpful. Stay alert.” And with that he sat at the top step, pulled his spellbook from his satchel and got to preparing a spell in place of another. 2

Telémahkos took this time to creep up to the double doors and press his ear to it. It took a moment to grow accustomed to the position and make out the faint chanting that was coming from the other side. The voice grew louder and there was a sound like rushing wind and a snarl. Telémahkos turned away from the door and alerted the others as he ran in their direction. “There is someone summoning a demon in there!” He cried, but it was too late. In that same moment the double doors burst open and through them leapt two of the dirty feral slashing creatures.

One of the little hulking monsters chased Telémahkos with its ape-like gait and tore into his backside with its black claws. Telémahkos yelped, and spun around, rapier in hand. “I can hold them back while we retreat!” he told his friends and he thrust the thin blade into the side of the creature’s head. It scrambled back, clawing at the blade, spitting and snarling. Telémahkos was startled when the second creature leapt past its companion to land on the fop’s left. He thrust awkwardly with his blade. The thing landed atop it, wrenching his arm with the weight of it, as he frantically yanked back to get into a defensive posture.

“Markos! Stay behind me!” Victoria moved around the skinny mage, spear thrust before her. “Anhur! Grant me strength!” She cried, calling on Anhur’s righteous fury. She shoved the other feral slasher away from Telémahkos with the tip of her spear, drawing blood as it was driven to the ground. 3

“Master Jakos!” Markos cupped his hands by his mouth as he yelled towards the open doors and moved to get down the steps. “We would parley! We have stolen nothing! We are here to help!”

Timotheus moved into the melee, ducking under Victoria’s spear to slash at the thing and drive it back before it could get at Telémahkos again. “Get out of Victoria’s way!” Telémahkos admonished his cousin, whipping the Steel Whip as he stepped towards the creatures and then deftly leapt and twisted to land behind them, flicking the blade on the back of the other’s head as it turned around.

The one on the ground scrambled to its feet, ignoring its opponents to its detriment. 4 Tim, Telémahkos and Victoria all drove their weapons into its muscular body. It screamed and snarled and sunk its huge teeth into the flesh of Timotheus’ calf.

“Stay down beast!” Victoria grunted stabbing it in the side again. Blood spurted everywhere and its organs pulsed with savage life. It would not die.

Bleys, still gravely injured from the ward upon the door, hung back reaching for one of the spears on Victoria’s back, but she moved with too much speed and violence and could not get at it. 5

“Master of the Tower!” Marko continued to call over the sound of crunching sinew, tearing flesh, the knock of weapons and the snarls and barks of the slashers. He also loaded his crossbow. “Hear me! We come to aid you! Call off your guardians!”

“Ah-ha!” Timotheus grinned as he cracked the skull of one the creatures and it finally fell dead.

“Stand down and tell me what happened to Tellum and Crispin and I shall send my creatures away!” Bleys looked up. He had finally grabbed a spear. Standing in the doorway was a tall old man with long white hair and beard. He wore long red robes, and his skin was weathered and cragged. He had twinkling blue eyes. He had foreign accent, like a lilting sing-song to his pronunciation of Thrician common.

Telémahkos was busy keeping the remaining slasher at bay. He turned to put it between him and Tim, and it clawed him. “I will be more than happy to stand down as soon as these things stop trying to kill me!”

“We will stand down, but are force to defend ourselves against your minions,” Markos called back as Victoria shouldered her way between Timotheus and Telémahkos to drive her spear into the arm of the remaining creature, momentarily pinned the arm to its body. Timotheus took advantage of its pained distraction to thrust his sabre through its throat, killing it. It, like the others, melted into an icy puddle.

“You are Jakos?” Bleys the Aubergine asked the old man.

“I am Jakos Ilmari,” he answered. Victoria of Anhur shuddered and braced herself against the wall as she came out of her holy rage.

“Tellum said you unleashed the plague of insomnia,” Bleys said.

“Where is Tellum? I hope he is not hurt…” Jakos replied.

“We had to subdue him,” Markos answered. “It was the other that suffered more grievous wounds, but our priests tended to him and he is stabilized and being looked after by my cousin, Laarus of Ra.”

“Speaking of Laarus, does he have your leave to enter the tower?” Telémahkos asked as politely as he could. “He did not want to enter the premises without permission…”

“I assume you represent some authority?” Jakos asked.

“I am the current watch-mage assigned to Sluetelot,” Bleys replied.

Jakos reached under his beard and scratched. His eyes were bloodshot and there were dark puffy circles beneath them. “I don’t see what different it makes now,” he said. “You all broke in already and apparently have the authority to do so… Have him come in…”

Telémahkos went downstairs and informed the young priest of Jakos’ permission. He helped Laarus carry the injured guardians back into the tower, before leading him back up to the others.

“Master Jakos, you have still not addressed my statement,” Bleys said sternly. “Is it true what Tellum said? Did you unleash the plague?”

“Yes… I did it. I had to…” He seemed to grow more haggard in the moment of admission.

“And why was that?”

“My experiments led to accidentally allowing a nightmare demon into our world,” Jakos explained. “It controls people and feeds off them when they sleep… The plague of insomnia was a way to keep it from running rampant and endangering people while I sought away to send it back… But so far, nothing viable…”

“How can we help?” Markos asked.

“There is no helping,” Jakos replied. “I have gone through my tomes for days, the only hope is an impossibility.”

“Tell us of this impossibility,” Markos said.

“No! Start from the beginning,” Bleys insisted.

Jakos Ilmari led them into his study. It was paneled in stained oak, with countless nooks and shelves along jutting stone supports for the tower’s outer wall, and tall narrow windows with panes of blue-tinted glass. There were streaks of ice from that which encased the tower above. The shelves were packed with books, jars, bottles, skulls of animals, knick-knacks, statuettes and a myriad of other strange little things shoved sloppily here and there. Jakos made his way around a large desk piled with dozens of tomes, opened to various pages and pinning down scrolls and long rolls of parchment. At one corner was an opaque crystal sphere about six inches across. Markos’ eyes grew wide. He cracked his knuckles and walked nonchalantly over to the desk to get a look at the bizarre writing on the pages.

The old wizard gestured to some stools, but no one sat down but him. He searched frantically for a moment and then pulled a pipe out from under a pile, snapped his fingers and took three long puffs, the herbs inside crackling. A minty smell filled the room.

“I was seeking a way to reach Untamo,” Jakos finally began to relay his tale to the impatient adventurers. “He is the lost god of sleep and dreams of the great north. My research led me to believe he was somewhere in the Abyss, and when I discovered an incantation for piercing the veil to where he might be, that I might contact his power of prophecy for the first time in centuries, I tried it… Unfortunately, it seems that if he is where I hypothesize he is, he is guarded by these nightmare demons, or perhaps one demon that can send multiple aspects of itself though the rift I created and that threatened Sluetelot…”

He cleared his throat and continued, “As soon as I realized what had happened I used an item I had in storage to confine it to the roof which I had enclosed in the magical ice you must have seen atop the tower…”

“We thought the ice was in order to keep the fires at bay,” Timotheus said.

Jakos shook his head. “The secondary powers of the item I used proved useful in that regard, but that was just serendipity… However, the demon’s influence could still be extended beyond the rift, and the plague of insomnia was the quickest and most effect solution to the problem that I could think of…”

“How did you effect the plague?” Bleys asked.

“I had a ritual that summons it in one of the books on magic of the north I have been studying,” Jakos explained. Markos began to bite his bottom lip, eager to sate his curiosity regarding arcane magics. The old wizard continued, “I figured it would give me time to research a way to give it some kind of corporeal form so it can be banished or fought, but… but the only power I have been able to find that could accomplish this is impossible to find…”

“What is this power you need?” Markos asked.

“No!” Bleys froze his fellow mage with glare, and then he turned to Jakos. He was taking charge of the interrogation. “Why did you not send word to Havesting for help?”

“Or to the watch-mage’s council?” Laarus added.

“He thought he could…” Victoria began.

“Let him answer!” Telémahkos whined.

“There was no time to discuss the solution. I had to act quickly, and once the plague of insomnia was in place, there didn’t seem much point in involving the authorities… I mean, I was certain I could find a solution… And even if Barakis were not dead, he and I never got along… So, I wouldn’t go to him…”

“And because of that the blood of innocents is now on your hands,” Laarus replied.

“Let’s castigate him later…” Markos rolled his eyes.

“Did you not know that I was appointed interim watch-mage?” Bleys asked.

Jakos shook his head. “I am a recluse. My guardians and servants are my only real contact with the world beyond.”

“Can we ask about what he needs to banish this demon now?” There was an urge of pleading in Markos’ voice as he turned to Bleys. The watch-mage nodded, and the old wizard spoke. “I need ‘the blood and light’ of a member splinter group of Ra-worshipers who have not existed since the Time of the Six Kingdoms,” Jakos explained. “The Order of Epiphany’s Dawning…”

“I know the name, but not much else,” Bleys said. “Were they not a heretical cult?”

“They were named as such and eventually expelled from the Sunra Kingdom, but it was not always like that,” Jakos said. “They were an order that are said to have had the blood of the Mystics and saw their powers as a reflection of that holy light within all good mortal beings as placed in the mind and heart by Ra himself…”

“The Blood of the Mystics…?” Markos asked.

“The Mystics were known for the powers of the their mind; their use of the third eye which is neither arcane, nor divine…” Jakos said.

“What? There are only two powers, the arcane and the divine,” Markos scoffed.

“It is sometimes called ‘psionics’, and I assure you that while rare, it is real and neither arcane, nor divine,” Jakos said. “But it is academic, the Order of Epiphany’s Dawning has not existed in fourteen centuries!”

“You need to let me read your notes and look over your research,” Markos said. “Uh… I mean, let us read them…”

“Can you read Seriph?” Jakos asked, cocking an eyebrow.


“The language of the Northern Reaches and the people of the Kalevala,” Jakos answered. Markos stood and turned one of the books on the desk around towards him. It was written in long boxes of a curling baroque script he did not recognize.

“Surely not all of your books are in this tongue?” Markos asked.

“All of the relevant ones…”

“What about Laarus? Maybe he has the blood…” Timotheus offered.

“I am not a member of this lost order,” Laarus protested.

“You can summon the light of Ra right? You…” Timotheus began.

“That will not be enough,” Jakos interrupted. “We need the blood, too…”

“I can only suggest that since there is no one here smarter than me… though some more knowledgeable,” Markos began, smiling at his companions, before looking back at Jakos “…that you share your knowledge with me and we can work towards a solution together…”

“If you remove the insomnia effect can we perhaps sleep and enter the dream world they dwell in?” Victoria suggested.

Jakos shook his head. “It doesn’t work that way…” 6

“If it will get rid of this demons I will offer up my blood for this purpose,” Laarus suddenly said.

“You are descended of the Mystics?” Jakos asked.

“I have some connection to them,” Laarus explained. “I receive visions…”

“Are you sure you are not suffering from dementia from lack of sleep?” Jakos asked.

“He’s always suffering from dementia,” Telémahkos winked. “But the visions are real… If not specific…”

Markos grumbled his unwillingness to accept the veracity of his cousin’s visions of the future.

“And he talked to an ancient Mystic oracle on the way back from the Disputed Territories,” Timotheus added. “Or rather, it talked through him…” 7

“I guess it is worth a try…” Jakos replied. “If his blood works and he summons the light of Ra we should be able to make it take a physical form and kill it…”

“Can demons be killed?” Telémahkos asked with trepidation in his voice.

“Oh sure!” Timotheus answered for the wizard. “You can kill those things! Heroes do it all the time in the stories!”

“This is just a piece of a larger and much more horrible creature that dwells in the Abyss,” Jakos explained. “Detached from the rest of its body, it should be defeatable… Essentially we will be forcing this sentient dark energy to return to its source, as it will be unable to withstand the amount of effort it needs to remain here and fight us at the same time.”

“Do we have time to recuperate before we try this?” Markos asked.

“The sooner we solve this problem, the sooner the people of Sluetelot will be out of danger from this demon and from themselves,” Bleys said.

“I have some potions…” Jakos said, standing. He walked out into the hall an to the door the party had opened earlier. “Oh! You set off my glyph of warding!”

“I’m good at that,” Bleys said flatly.8 He had followed the older wizard out into the hall.

Jakos returned with several glass vials and described their healing properties to the young nobles. They distributed them among themselves according to whom was most injured, and the final potion of cure light wounds was given to Markos. “If one of us goes down, use this,” Timotheus said as he handed it over.

Bleys the Aubergine expressed a desire to hold off the ritual that would coalesce the demon that he might change some of the spells he had prepared that day for others. There was some disagreement about taking the time for this, and Jakos seemed irritated with the watch-mage, but in the end the party insisted.

Markos retrieved some extra crossbows from the tower’s armory on the lower level with Jakos’ permission in preparation for the fight.

…to be continued…


(1) This is a depiction of the Holy City of the Kalevala, home of the gods of the Northern Reaches, but not to be confused with the City-State of the Kalevala, which is a mortal city in north.

(2) In Aquerra, wizards may trade out an uncast prepared spell for another, but this takes 15 minutes per spell level.

(3) The feral slasher failed its save versus knockdown.

(4) Getting up from a prone position draws an attack of opportunity if one does not use a full-round action to get up.

(5) Bleys needed to makes a touch attack against AC 10.

(6) As a side note, I originally considered writing the adventure to have the final battle occur in some kind of ‘dreamscape,’ but then rejected the idea as too “high magic” and out there for my players to enjoy and out of scope for the flavor of adventures at this level in the Aquerra setting. Surprisingly, more than one player said afterwards, that they would have been fine with that. Just goes to show how bad I am sometimes at predicting my players’ tastes and ideas.

(7) This is a reference to the Mind of Oberah. See Session #21

(8) Bleys us making a bitter and facetious reference to the sepia snake sigil he set off in Session #8.


First Post
(6) As a side note, I originally considered writing the adventure to have the final battle occur in some kind of ‘dreamscape,’ but then rejected the idea as too “high magic” and out there for my players to enjoy and out of scope for the flavor of adventures at this level in the Aquerra setting. Surprisingly, more than one player said afterwards, that they would have been fine with that. Just goes to show how bad I am sometimes at predicting my players’ tastes and ideas.

As a rule, I am generally against all sorts of high fantasy and extraplanar wonkiness as it never really jived with what I wish to get out of my D&D experience. That said, I guess all rules are meant to be broken. In this instance I could see how that final battle would have been a lot of fun and would also have liked to have seen that come to fruition. Given the context of Untamo and the general overtones of the adventure I feel like it would have been very appropriate and satisfying. I am sad to see that you did not follow your hunch.

Aside, I still wish 'summoned monsters' weren't all 'celestial' or 'fiendish', not every motivation is good or bad or necessarily, intended as such. This was of course one of the newer changes that I never liked.

GREAT POSTS! Keep up the good work!


Moderator Emeritus
I am sad to see that you did not follow your hunch.

No, I did follow my hunch. My hunch was that you guys wouldn't like it! Thus proving that much hunches suck sometimes. ;)

Aside, I still wish 'summoned monsters' weren't all 'celestial' or 'fiendish', not every motivation is good or bad or necessarily, intended as such. This was of course one of the newer changes that I never liked.

Are they all celestial or fiendish? Aren't there elemental types on the list? If not, we can easily add some.

To me, the planes stuff has always been a part of D&D and thus seems very natural to use as a resource for these kinds of spells (i.e. from both a designer and flavor point of view). It is the traveling to planes that I am more leery of, but even that is okay to me at higher levels.

GREAT POSTS! Keep up the good work!



First Post
I love that line from Bleys, "I AM THE LAW!"


That was actually awesome. The player uses a deep, brook-no-argument voice that is pretty loud to start with and this came out like a real bellow that silenced the rest of the table.

Alas, it had no impact on Laarus. Fist-to-face negotiations had to take care of that. ;)


Moderator Emeritus
Session #25 – “Smoke & Ruin” (part 3 of 3)

Jakos Ilmari led the Signers into his laboratory. It was a large room, noted for the far wall being made of thick panes of frosted glass on a metal frame set in the stone supports of the tower outer wall. There was also a large window adjacent to it that led out to a small balcony, but this and the larger structure were covered over with ice from above. To the right of the door was a metal spiral staircase that led up to the parapet above; the area that was enclosed by the ice. There were several stone tables, a hearth, two small iron stoves, and the left wall was covered in shelves and cabinets filled like those in the study, minus the books.

As Jakos explained how the ritual would work, Markos climbed to the top of the spiral staircase with two crossbows. He left them loaded at his feet and prepared his repeating crossbow. He would be the one to open the trapdoor to the top of the tower allowing the nightmare demon back into the lab to be sucked towards the protective circle that would be made with Laarus’ blood. Bleys set up on the left side of the room by one of the tables, with a spare crossbow at his side as well, while Victoria, Telémahkos, Telémahkos and Laarus stood around where Jakos would draw the circle, one at each compass point.

“Victoria, put the amulet on as long as you are going to carry it, you might as well benefit from it,” Bleys said to the militant, but when she took it out she passed it to Timotheus, who smiled and slipped it around his neck and tucked it under his shirt.

Laarus Raymer of Ra held out his hand, and Jakos began to chant and grabbed hold of it with his right hand and quickly dragged a curved knife across the priest’s palm. Laarus winced. Jakos held the hand open and shook it, letting the blood pool. 1 He then dipped his fingers in the blood and got down on his hands and knees and began to draw the circle lined with Seriph runes. He renewed the bloody ink from Laarus’ hands a few times as he worked, still chanting the whole time. As he stood, still in it, the circle began to glow.

Victoria called on Anhur to bless their efforts against the demon, while Timotheus grimaced and gulped down a vial of the blood of Ashronk.

Laarus of Ra took a step back away from the circle as Jakos’ chanting became more frantic, and he readied himself to call on the glory of Ra at the proper moment as Jakos had instructed before the ritual started. The old wizard’s voice became a high-pitched indecipherable wheeze and then he threw both arms in the air and pointed to Markos at the top of the spiral stairs. “NOW!”

Markos unlatched the trapdoor and it opened with bang, as he ducked reflexively from the sudden sound and violence of its dropping.

The thing came down, an inky black tear in the very fabric of reality that was vaguely shaped like a man, but with undulating limbs that grew and shrunk and merged and separated again. It’s very presence hurt the eyes and fogged the brain of the onlookers as it crackled with purple and black lightning flashing disturbing scenes of twirling pulsing tentacles covered in puss-oozing suckers beyond its being/non-being.

“RA!” Laarus called out to his god. “Use me as a vessel for your holy light to help drive this creature from our world and back to the foul realms from which it emerged!” There was a pulse of light as he clutched his holy symbol and the strange creature let out an echoing sound like metal scraping against metal that warped into a monstrous bellow.

The creature went hurtling down towards the circle of blood, leaving a sizzling smell of sulfur as the air around it curdled. Jakos moved to step out of the circle as the creature flew down, its flashing and changing fading to pure black as it fell, and just as the wizard was stepping over the threshold, the thing fell inside of him, disappearing into his very flesh. Jakos’ flesh rippled inky black, and his eyes turned bright burning red. He snarled and looked at all the young nobles around him. The nightmare demon now had a physical form; Jakos’ form.

Telémahkos was the first to act. He tumbled towards the possessed wizard and thrust at him with his rapier, but the creature bent its elbows back and leapt towards Laarus.

“Wait! Was this supposed to happen? Do we have to kill him now?” Timotheus was unsure of himself, but Laarus did not hesitate he swung his morningstar the Jakos-thing heavily, and it yanked its arm back as the tines on the club scraped its swirling forearm. It fell into a tumble, avoiding a follow-up swing from the priest as it spun around Timotheus and revealed gleaming fangs in the middle of its featureless face as it bit his shoulder. Tim turned around and out of the way, withdrawing to put himself between the thing and Bleys. The thing’s red eyes glowed more brightly and Tim felt a tickle in his mind, but shook it off. 2 At the same time, Victoria felt some foreign will press itself against her own as she ran through the circle towards the changed wizard. She shook it off.

“Stay away from the circle,” she warned the others, but it was too late. Her companions could see a trail of shining black and purple motes hovering about her head. Markos and Bleys sent crossbow bolts into the combat, Bleys’ nicking the thing as it dropped to the ground from the weight of Laarus’ morningstar falling on its shoulders. Telémahkos danced around and thrust at it with his rapier again, but was being too cautious. “Victoria! You have something floating near your head!” He warned the militant without looking at her.

“Seriously! Do we have to kill him?” Timotheus asked his companions as he slammed his flail into the creature as it stood, and it bent backwards as if broken, its legs morphing into the top of its body as its arms, head and shoulder became legs.

“Anhur!” Victoria cried out, letting the divine fury of her god fill her. “Give me the might to strike this thing from beyond!!!” In her rage she over-extended the thrust of her spear at the thing, and Timotheus barely stepped aside to avoid the blow. 3 The motes about her head trailed over to Timotheus and suddenly his eyes glassed over. His muscles bulged and he immediately crouched and drooled and howled.

“What in the Hells happened to Tim?” Telémahkos’ eyes widened. He circled about the far end of the possessed wizard Jakos trying to pen him in, while waving to Timotheus with his free hand. “Over here!”

Bleys chanted as he cast protection from evil, but Timotheus jumped away before he could be touched by the spell that would break the possession. He snickered and then guffawed as he charged towards Telémahkos, obeying his cousin’s summons. He wore a lascivious look, licking his lips repeatedly. Timotheus grabbed at Telémahkos, “Come ‘ere!”

“Eek!” Telémahkos shrieked and barely leapt away in time, feeling the tug on his toga. Tim ran after him, shrinking and growing fat as his form rippled and turned, avoiding Bleys’ attempts to imbue him with the protection from evil spell. “C’mere ya little turd! I’m gonna slap your ass raw!” Timotheus now looked like his uncle, Telémahkos’ father, Agamemnon. Again, Telémahkos was able to avoid Timotheus’ grasp, and he danced around flicking his rapier in front of him to keep his cousin, now looking like his father, away. “Somebody do something!”

Meanwhile, the possessed form of Jakos was reeling from a heavy blow from Laarus and started moving towards the spiral steps. Startled by the thing’s sudden approach, Markos dropped his crossbow and hurriedly slammed the trapdoor shut. He pulled a dagger.

“An injury may give him another chance to shake off the effect,” Laarus suggested as he took off up the metal steps after the demon-possessed-Jakos. He slammed him in the back with his morningstar once again and the form collapsed on the stairs, sliding painfully down the stairs a bit and becoming tangled in the priest’s legs and the metal railing. A black living figure of swirling shadow emerged from Jakos’ twisted form and began to fly back towards the circle. Markos shoved his dagger through the latch of the trapdoor, to wedge it shut even more tightly and then, picked up one of the loaded crossbows and fired. The quarrel few through the living shadow to no effect. Victoria roared as she thrust her spear up at it as it flew past her, but like the crossbow bolt, the weapon seem to have no effect despite the violence of her blow.

“Huh? What happened?” Timotheus shook his head a moment after Bleys touched him and he changed back into himself. The watch-mage had finally gotten the protection from evil spell to at least temporarily ward him from the possessing influence.

“You’re lucky,” Telémahkos quipped to his cousin with a wink. “I was about to run you through!” He skipped over towards the shadow and whipped his magic blade through its essence feeling the slightest resistance as he cut shadow stuff from its insubstantial form. Telémahkos felt something enter his mind, but he shook it off, encouraged by Laarus’ words to Ra, as he channeled divine energy through his holy symbol, filling the room with a pulse of it. The shadow turned and reached for him but he backed away, as Timotheus rejoined the fight, and Victoria and Laarus came clanging down the metal steps to surround it. Finally, one of Victoria’s spear thrusts seemed to have effect, while Tim’s mighty blows seemed to do nothing.

Bleys made his way around the melee, scooping up one of the spare crossbows on his way, and spotted Markos doing what he was on his way to do, checking on Jakos. The smaller mage poured a potion of cure light wounds down the older wizard’s throat, and in a few moments he was sputtering to consciousness.

“What should we do? The creature seems mostly unaffected by our weapons!” Markos asked, shaking the man by the collar of his robes.

Tutila ex malum!” Bleys spun around and cast protection from evil once again. This time he touched Telémahkos as soon as he noted the slender Briareus had been overtaking by whatever malevolent force was flittering around the room in the form of the shining motes. He picked up his dropped sword, and it was only Bleys’ spell that kept the thing from possessing him once again, as he left himself open to its attack.

The shadow creature swept down at Laarus and the priest of Ra crumpled to the ground asleep.

Markos looked up from where Jakos was giving him advice on how to handle the situation in a raspy whisper and ran over to his cousin, and began to shake him. “Wake up! Jakos says you need to use the power of Ra to drive that thing back into the circle!” Laarus started awake again, and Markos left him to go back to Jakos, who handed him a wand he pulled from his belt. “Just point this at the thing and say ‘telectus!’” he croaked.

As Bleys dropped the crossbow and drew his saber, Victoria and Timotheus had the creature between them. The militant priestess was still having more luck than the brawny warrior, but still her spear thrusts were not as effective as if she had been stabbing at a corporeal body. The motes floated over to Bleys and he felt a malevolent tickle in his mind that he was barely able to shake off. 4 Telémahkos danced around, paranoid of the motes, but trying to drive the thing towards the circle, keeping it between Victoria and Tim.

Telectus!” Markos flicked the wand and three magic missiles flew from the wand and burst as they passed through the shadow. It shuddered and shrunk visibly, spinning around as if in agony.

Now on his feet, Laarus of Ra grasped his holy symbol one more time and called out, “Ra! Send this creature back to my circle of blood!” He felt the energy of his god pass through him and the thing moaned as it flew towards the great arching window, and bounced against the glass twice like confused fly, and then swooped back towards the circle.

“Now! Now!” Jakos called. Timotheus dropped his weapon and drew a dagger throwing it at the shadow as it bounced around in the circle, trapped by some unseen force. The dagger seemed to slow as it passed through and the thing fell to the ground transforming into a blonde young woman. It was Timotheus’ sister Ivy… “Please Tim! Please don’t kill me,” she begged through tears.

Telectus! Three more arrows of light flew from the wand Markos was using and Ivy shuddered. “No, Markos is trying to kill me! Stop him!” She cried.

“Let this travesty end now,” Victoria said. She stepped back and hefted a short spear and threw it right through Ivy’s chest. She fell back and melted back into a liquidy shadow form, and began to dissipate, leaving behind a pile of black ashes.

“Good try, but my family doesn’t beg,” Timotheus said, stepping over to spit in the ashes.

“We should go and see how the rest of the town fares,” Victoria said.

Jakos Ilmari was able to get to his feet with help from Markos, and took back his wand, shoving it into his belt. He began to walk out towards his study, but Bleys the Aubergine stepped in front of him.

“Before we go anywhere, I need to remand you into custody,” the watch-mage told the old wizard.

Jakos nodded. “I understand, but I would like to break the plague of insomnia first…”

Bleys nodded and let the man by, but followed closely, as did the others.

“All that needs to be done is to break this,” he lifted the crystal sphere from his desk.

“Then break it!” Markos said. Jakos let it shatter against the floor, and amid the tinkling of glass was the sound of a chime. Suddenly, Laarus, Victoria and Telémahkos collapsed to the ground asleep, as the others felt a wave of fatigue wash over them. Jakos stumbled back against the desk, his eyes heavy.

“I need to sleep,” the old man said.

“Why don’t you sleep now? We are done here,” Markos suggested.

”I thought I was being remanded,” he replied.

“Can’t that wait?” Markos asked, turning to Bleys.

“No, it cannot,” Bleys said in his usual flat tone.

“Come on, give the man a break,” Timotheus said. “Think of how much more difficult this would have been if he had not cooperated.”

“Very well,” Bleys acquiesced. “You have earned a temporary reprieve. Timotheus, you shall stay here and watch over him, while I run to retrieve Captain Firth, and inform the authorities at Havesting what has occurred.”

“I’ll stay too and look through some of his books,” Markos added.

“No sir, you will not…” Jakos replied. As Bleys left, he heard Markos go into a long-winded argument meant to persuade Jakos to give him access to his tower’s secrets and lore.

Soon after, Tellum woke up, and came rushing to his master’s defense, but Jakos calmed him down. 5

Out in Sluetelot the danger of the fire had been averted. All that was left were several smaller fires surrounded by townsfolk with pails, and priests of Tefnut from the temple in Havesting creating water to fill the buckets. There were people scattered in various places having fallen sleep where they stood, and some were being carried off by friends or family. Bleys found Captain Firth and informed her of what had happened, and how the magical plague had been banished. He told her of Jakos and his henchmen, and how they being held back at the tower. She dispatched some guards to the tower immediately, and filled Bleys in on the efforts to fight the fire as they walked. She told him how Holy Admiral Korwait Tenbrook had opened Havesting and sent out Waveservants of Tefnut to help. Now soldiers were being mobilized to prevent looting.

The Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland made their way back to Death & Taxes, where Victoria, Laarus and Telémahkos were put to bed and put under the watchful eye of Timotheus. As they walked Markos was curious as to what would happen to Jakos and his tower.

“Jakos will be imprisoned in gaol and his tower will be locked up pending his trial and the ruling of the Lord of House Tenbrook or his agent,” Bleys replied.

“As acting watch-mage of Sluetelot could you not request that the tower be placed under your command for now?” Markos asked.

“No,” Bleys said flatly.

”There could be other dangerous magics in there that could endanger the town,” Markos tried a new tack.

“All the more reason to not go poking around in them,” Bleys said.

“We’d be careful!” Markos grinned and then bit his bottom lip imaging what secrets he might find there,

“You just want all his stuff!” Timotheus admonished.

“No! Uh… No!” Markos protested. “We did not even gather any of the ashes that remained of that nightmare demon creature, for example…”

“Oh come on!” Timotheus smirked. “Are you even trying to be convincing?”

Bleys ignored them, and at the inn Markos changed his strategy roping Tim into a conversation regarding sneaking in by means of being boosted through the broken shutters.

“Tim!” Telémahkos called from his bed, still half-asleep. Timotheus went to his cousin’s side. “I forgot to tell you…” Telie rolled over and pulled a blanket close under his chin. “Floris is going to challenge you to a duel if you don’t apologize to him for whatever it is you did to him…”

“Oh for gods’ sake,” Timotheus muttered.

“And don’t leave me alone with assassins around,” Telémahkos’ voice grew sharp as he climbed back towards full consciousness to emphasize the point.

Timotheus sighed his grudging agreement.

From Death & Taxes Bleys went to Havesting where he spoke to Delilah Fairbanks, seneschal of the fortress. They made arrangements for camps to be set up for the refugees from the fire and for food to be moved from Havesting’s stores to the camps. Some of the displaced townsfolk would be allowed to use empty barracks in the fortress until they could reconnect with family living in other parts of the town or in nearby places. The rest would be brought to field in New Sluetelot and given tents and other means of making temporary shelter.

Over the next couple of days the extent of the fire’s devastation became clearer. The dockworkers were freed to help with the clean up effort, and while grumblings of a Weirspierogen plot were to be heard here and there in drunken anger, most people came to accept the fire as a consequence of Jakos’ actions. The young nobles found themselves at the center of attention for their efforts against the fire and the stories of them running off towards the center of the fire and certain death in order to find the source of the curse of insomnia. However, not all of the attention was good, as many people gave Laarus wide berth once news of the people he killed got around.

During this time Markos tried to visit Jakos in the gaol, but the warden insisted on permission coming from Bleys, and the salty mage decided against pestering his companion on the issue of the Jakos and the tower any longer. Laarus Raymer of Ra did visit Jakos 6, and as a priest of Ra no one denied him the opportunity. He also had Euleria find out as much as she could about the two people he had killed while possessed so he could make some form of remuneration to their next of kin.

Bleys wrote up a detailed report of the events of the plague of insomnia, Jakos Ilmari and the fire and encouraged his companions to do the same.

“We may be on the road by the time they get around to giving him a trial, our signed and witnessed affidavits will be useful to his prosecution,” he said. Laarus agreed.

But mostly they rested… 7

End of Sessions #25


(1) Laarus took 4 points of damage from the cut.

(2) Timotheus had to make a Will save to resist the effect.

(3) Victoria fumbled getting the following result:Reflex save (DC 20) or hit friend, normal damage. – She made her Reflex save.

(4) Bleys’ player chose to use an action die for this save, and as it turned out it made the difference.

(5) Tellum had been defeated with non-lethal damage and tied up. He successfully escaped his bonds when he woke up.

(6) See InterSession #25.1

(7) I advanced the calendar a couple of days to reinforce the party’s fatigue and aching lungs from all the smoke they inhaled, etc…


First Post
Whoa. I am sure that was a tense fight for the group. Perhaps Laarus's willingness to sacrifice himself for the circle will help to make up for the stubbornness earlier.

Where to next?



First Post
As a player I am unaccustomed to 'power' and/or any measure of 'authority'. As a result I initially struggled with certain aspects of being 'provisional Watch-Mage'. Also, I found the nature of the predicament to be dichotomous as in Aquerra this is usually not the case and often it seems (at least in my experience) it is this very same 'power' that we are at odds with.

That said, once I got into the rhythm (and over my paranoia) I thoroughly enjoyed Bleys' position and felt that he was given an opportunity to shine as a PC - which is harder to do with a non-combat focused character. Of course, the internal conflict with Laarus - " I AM THE LAW! " aided in this.

Again, kudos to a great arc and a trusting DM who had the foresight to trust in the role-play of some players; that no matter how tempting Jakos' tower and the corruption of power can be, it would not become a temptation that he would rue.


Moderator Emeritus
InterSession #25.1 – “Laarus Visits Prison” 1

Osilem, the 24th of Keent - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

A couple of days later, Laarus Raymer of Ra arranged for an audience with Jakos Ilmari. He was led into "the Cross;" the interrogation and visiting cell at the Sluetelot Gaol. Jakos looked haggard and tired, pulling at his beard frequently and not very happy about being pulled from his cell.

‘The Cross’ was the inner building in the gaol where Victoria, Markos and Bleys had fought the possessed Warden and prisoners.2 The center of it was enclosed with bars, allowing access to a prisoner from all sides and no privacy. A guard stood behind Laarus as he approached the bars to address the droopy-eyed old wizard.

After looking over Jakos, Laarus turned to the guard. "I would prefer to speak with him in private."

"I am sorry, Sir. . . But that is against regulations. . ."

"What I have to say is for his ears only. You have my word that I will not see him come to any harm. Inspect me for weapons and contraband, if you wish. I do not require for you to leave the premises. If you could take your post on the other side of that door, it should prove sufficient."

"I'm sorry, sir, but…" The guard was clearly uncomfortable refusing the priest. "It is not just for his safety, but for yours… Also, legally he has a right to someone present in case he decides he does not want to talk to you anymore… I mean… He has that right, but…You give me the word and I will leave… I just always thought priests of Ra were 'by the book'."

Laarus nodded. "You are versed in the law. And you seek to uphold it. But you would still defer to one of higher station. Those are virtuous traits. You see the worth of law, truth, and honor." Slowly turning around, he continued, "And you are correct. I cannot deny this man the rights granted to him by the law. But you, Jakos…" He motioned to the prisoner. "…can waive that right. Would you accept to speak in private? I give you my word it shall end should you wish to continue no longer. Though, I suspect you'd have some interest in what I have to say."

"Yes… Fine…It matters not…" Jakos replied, clearly dejected. The guard nodded and stepped out.

Laarus turned to face Jakos full on. There was no where to sit, though the prisoner had a low stool on his side. "You had mentioned briefly that this chaos you caused was due to your desire to contact a god. To awaken him and powers you believed to have been forgotten. Powers you believed may be connected to those of the ancients known as the Mystics…"

Laarus paused for a moment, examining Jakos' countenance. "I've come to tell you that these powers which you sought are not lost. Are not forgotten. Even today, there are those among us who wield these powers. Though, not to the extent as during the days of the Mystics."

"You misunderstood me," Jakos replied. "I was not trying to access these powers, which are known to some as 'psionics' and are clearly still used to some small degree throughout Aquerra. Rather, I was seeking make contact with Untamo to see if I might probe the power that keeps him cloistered - whether it be by that god's will or by some other. . ." He swallowed loudly and sighed. "Anyway, even if I did not know of the existence of these powers, I would have taken your obvious bloodline as evidence of them…I take it you use these powers?"

"The power I possess manifests itself without my control. I do not use it. I only experience its effects." Laarus cleared his throat. "But, then, what interest did you have in contacting Untamo? What did you hope to find? What did you hope to gain?"

"To sate my curiosity… To explore the mysteries that might keep a god in check…" Jakos shrugged.

Laarus nodded, disheartened. "And has your curiosity been sated?"

"No…Though obviously whatever power it is, is demonic. . .or at least employs fiendish servants to do its will. . . If I ever get out of prison and can establish myself somewhere more isolated than here… Well, then I may try again by other means. . . though I am not sure what those means would be. . . I would have seek out someone with your powers, and with control over them… Do you plan to follow in the footsteps of the forgotten Order of Epiphany's Dawning?"

"What path would that be? I no nothing of this order other than what you've mentioned." 3

"I don't know specifically…I only meant if you planned to improve and expand your psionic powers as a way to engender your devotion to Ra, as that order once did. Yes, they were declared heretics and exiled, but before that they were an accepted order in the social and political structure of the Sunra Kingdom… I assume their excommunication had more to do with politics than faith…" Jakos looked at his feet, or absently at places on the floor as he spoke.

"This power does not spring from Ra. So, I do not see how its development would further my devotion. With it, I only see death and destruction. Perhaps the powers of this lost order came forth through the glory of Ra. Or they were mistaken about its origins," Laarus replied.

"Death and destruction?" Jakos looked up at Laarus with his deep-set sad ice-blue eyes. "You have the power of prophecy? Mmmm, yes…A burden by all accounts, but that is just one among many powers available to such practitioners… Of course, your view of your faith is your own, but the Order believed that in perfecting themselves and this internal power they were reflecting the glory of Ra who infused them with the fire of a spirit. . . But little is known of them in actuality…Legend… Rumor. . ."

"I am aware there are variety of these powers. Though, I've not known any others than the Mystics to possess more than one. I wonder if this Order became too devoted to these powers and began disregarding other duties and responsibilities," Laarus speculated as he paced a bit, but then stopped and shook his head. "I do intend to use what I see to aid me in enforcing Ra's will. But I cannot fathom that the glory of Ra has infused me with such ... darkness."

"Heh. Call it darkness if you like, but it is only as dark as the man it emerges from," Jakos replied. "I cannot tell you the true reasons for their exile… Perhaps they can be found among the ancient archives in the tombs of the High Temple of Ra in what was once Heliopolis…Who knows? Perhaps such knowledge is inscribed in the High Temple of Thoth in Moon City? Again…I do not know…I do know however that when they left it is said they followed the course that Ambrose and his people took centuries before… and according to legend returned from exile to fight in the Battle of the Fire Gods… But who knows the truth of such things? There are those with many of these powers… It is up to you to decide to seek them out. Now, was there something else…?"

"No. You have provided me with the information I wished to know. But, what I came here for can not be done." Laarus turned to leave, but stopped and asked, "Unless there is something else you wish to talk about?"

"What did you come here for?" Jakos’ eyes narrowed.

"I had hoped to be able to stay your further experimentation in this area. Experimentation that conjured great chaos; that harmed many innocents and endangered many more and even sent some towards Anubis' Realm. That blood is on your hands… Yes, but your actions have stained others' with it as well." The priest's glance fell down to his palms, held out before him. "But, I was misinformed of your intentions. What information I would have to share would do nothing to sate your curiosity and halt your endeavors."

Raising his head, he returned his focus to Jakos' eyes and concluded, "And you have expressed your desire and intention to continue along this path, in spite of what your actions have wrought. That was the information I wished to know."

After standing there for a moment, looking over Jakos in silence, Laarus made his way to the door behind him and rapped on it with his fist. "We are done here."

End of InterSession #25.1


(1) This scene was played out using our messageboards.

(2) See Session #23

(3) Jakos told the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland of the Order of Epiphany’s Dawning in Session #25.


Moderator Emeritus
Session #26 – “Challenges, Trials & Tests”(part 1 of 4) 1, 2

Tholem, the 25th of Ese - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The young nobles of the Charter of Schiereiland spent the couple of days after the fire was finally put out doing what they could to help organize and undertake the cleaning effort, and keeping whatever smoldering piles of debris that were still around from re-igniting. Old Town was quieter than usual, with nearly a quarter of its population temporarily re-located and with the strong presence of soldiers from Havesting in the streets.

Markos Ackers took to hanging out at a tiny tavern called Bilgewater’s near the harbor, and not far from the line of where the fire reached. His normal haunt for information and an opportunity to be around fellow sailors and low-lifes, The Sign of the Black Sword, had been destroyed in the fire. Victoria Ostrander of Anhur was not around very much either, as her mother Miranda came with a delegation of noble ladies from Schiereiland to see the devastation for themselves and lend what aid they could to the town. The militant of Anhur accompanied her mother and these other women to the various places they visited. 3 Laarus Raymer of Ra was able to pay some form of reparation to the family of the waitress he had killed while possessed, but Euleria was unable to find any next of kin for the gambler who had also been killed, despite several reports that he had a wife and children in Moon City. The young priest of Ra asked the group’s steward to continue with inquiries. 4

Telémahkos and Timotheus were spending all their time together at the former’s insistence. They were sharing a meal and some drinks in the common room of Death & Taxes when the silhouette of Floris Tenbrook darkened the wide doorway and he walked with purpose over to their table. The place was mostly empty, as it has been during the fire, and this was the first time they had seen Floris since that awful day. He wore a bright yellow shirt lined with frills, and deep purple leggings under a tartan kilt. His rapier and main-gauche slapped against his hips, his hair was trimmed, and his face clean-shaven.

As soon as he noticed the arrival, Telémahkos stood and greeted him effusively, calling him over. “A round of drinks for the house on me in name of my friend Floris!” Telémahkos announced.

“Only one round? Are you saying I am not worth more?” Floris flashed his smile.

“Uh… Two rounds!” Telémahkos coughed out, and Floris laughed, but as he gaze fell to Timotheus, who was still sitting as if deep in thought, his face grew stern.

“You sir, impugned my honor when you questioned my authority…” Floris said, eyes narrowing.

“Do you plan to challenge me to duel?” Timotheus asked, only now raising his head and standing to meet the swordsman’s steady gaze.

“If it comes to that…”

”Well, first, I would like to apologize,” Timotheus replied. “I was overwrought with concern for Laarus and the danger to the town and did not realize that running out into the street covered in blood and half-naked might not have helped to calm the situation…” 5

Floris nodded.

”But secondly,” Timotheus continued. “I accept your challenge!”

“What!” Telémahkos was shocked. “Have you gone mad?”

“No…” Timotheus smiled. “I have no grudge against Floris, but I figured a friendly duel would be fun…”

Floris’ smile grew wider. “I accept, though I am sure I need not remind you, but duels, friendly or not, can still be dangerous… What shall be our terms? To first blood? Until someone yields…?”

“Yielding is fine…” Timotheus agreed.

“In that case, I choose Telémahkos as my second,” Floris said, slapping a hand on Telie’s shoulder. Telémahkos smiled weakly.

At that moment Bleys the Aubergine and Markos came into the common room and were called over. They were informed of the duel and its terms.

“You should have chosen first blood,” Markos admonished. “You are so hard-headed you might end up dead before you are willing to yield…” Timotheus frowned and gave Markos a friendly push that masked aggression. “Bleys, will you be my second?” Timotheus asked the watch-mage.

“Surely you can find someone better…” Bleys demurred.

“No worries! It is just a formality, you won’t have to do anything…” Timotheus explained. 6 The duel was arranged for the day after next in a field not far from where the fire’s refugees were camped out.

Later that same day, the young nobles gathered for dinner and to discuss their next moves.

“What do we plan to do when House Tenbrook’s hospitality runs out?” Markos asked his companions. “These suites are paid for through about mid-winter and then…?”

“We should find out how much it will be for us to continue to pay for them,” Telémahkos suggested.

“Are we sure we want to stay here?” Markos asked. “I mean, perhaps we can find a more permanent headquarters in Moon City, not far from the University and its resources…”

“I have no problem with that…” Bleys replied.

“And seeing as how recently one of our number emphasized half the name of this place under its very roof, it may be time to move on…” Markos added, looking at Laarus.

“Furthermore, if we pay our own way we do not have to feel beholden to any particular noble house,” Bleys added. “I would like to avoid any Tenbrook entanglements.”

“What about Azure or somewhere else in Schiereiland?” Timotheus asked. “I would like to be closer to home if possible.”

“Moon City is just across the way from Azure,” Laarus said. “And it the home city of our liege house, perhaps they can aid us in finding a place…” 7

“I would rather that Euleria do it for us,” the watch-mage said.

It was agreed to let their steward look into possibilities for them, and after a quick discussion regarding bringing horses with them to the Kingdom of Red God of the West to seek out Stanislaw Torn8, Telémahkos expressed his feeling that everyone should have a horse trained for war, as steady and reliable mounts might mean the difference of life and death in that foreign land.

Balem, the 26th of Ese - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The next day after purchasing horses, including a deal wherein Timotheus traded in his ailing horse in order to get Markos a good deal on his warhorse, and took the diminutive wizard’s riding horse for himself, renaming it ‘Sandy’. There was a shortage of good warhorses, and Timotheus decided against getting one. They were referred to the Dry Estates of Lilly City as the next closest source of such horses.

In the afternoon, while Victoria was off with her mother, the rest of the Signers headed out to Havesting and Sluetelot Harbor. Word had come to them via Euleria that Holy Captain Esperson Wetherwax of RMN Spiritwind wanted to speak to them. He had been among the Waveservants of Tefnut who had lent their aid to Sluetelot during the fire. Esperson was the cousin of Lord Falkoner Wetherwax, Lord of the House that bore his name and ruler of Tribunisport and its surrounding lands. He was also responsible for a large portion of Thricia’s standing navy.

The Sluetelot Harbor was as impressive as they remembered it from their arrival nearly five months before.9 Coming out a gate on it southern end, they walked along the wharf in the shadow of the masts of merchant cogs and caravels. The place was alive with sounds, voices calling as crates were hauled and nets lowered, boxes carried and decks swabbed. They made their way to the center where an immense sea wall reached into the harbor from the ramparts of Havesting. There was a great beacon light atop it, and a pool of water surrounded by statues acted as the shrine atop a temple of Tefnut built into the wall. It was also the center of the harbor’s defense. The wall split the harbor and when they climbed the narrow winding steps up to the top of it, they could see the far side of it was a more spacious set of docks where naval ships, caravels and carrocks, were moored.

As the young nobles came to the marble pool, seeing that the statues surrounding it were of Tefnut in her various guises, a whale, a spout of water, a kelpie, an armored merwoman wielding a trident, they found the place mostly empty save for two priests, a man and a woman, praying silently, facing away from the pool and out towards the harbor. The man stood and looked at the party, smiling. He tapped the woman on the shoulder, and she stood, saluted him and headed out towards the stone building that held the beacon.

The man was about six feet tall, with long black hair and hawk-like features and dark eyes that gave him a passing resemblance to Bleys, but clean-shaven. He was dressed in a toga of a soft sea blue, tied with a dark green sash, and wore sandals tied up to his knee. Around his neck was silver charm of an ankh in a stylized wave upon a silver chain.

“Welcome! You must be the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland!” the man greeted. “I am Esperson Wetherwax of Tefnut, and you must be Bleys Winter, called ‘the Aubergine’.” The priest stepped forward and took the young watch-mage’s hand, shaking with enthusiasm, as his smile grew wider.

“Yes, I am Bleys the Aubergine, acting watch-mage of Sluetelot and one of the signers of said charter,” Bleys replied in his even baritone. “We are honored at your summons…”

Timotheus stepped up and gave Bleys a friendly elbow. “This is Timotheus Smith of House Briareus,” Bleys introduced the occasionally oafish companion at his elbow, and then the rest of the group; each in turn shaking the priest’s hand. “Victoria Ostrander of Anhur was called away on family business and could not join us,” Telémahkos said. “She sends her regards and regrets…”

“I am happy that any of you came,” Esperson replied. “My house and kin are grateful for the warning you sent us regarding an attack on our fleet, but my cousin, Lord Falkoner could wait no longer for your many journeys to bring you to Tribunisport, so he asked that I might intercede on behalf of House Wetherwax and get more information from you about it.” 10

Bleys turned and looked to Laarus. “We never asked Brother Eubren to not mention whom the warning came from… We were told to expect it…” The priest said to the watch-mage. 10

“We do not know much,” Telémahkos offered.

“But we need to know all you do know, or else how can we begin to protect ourselves against this attack?” Esperson grew serious in his tone. “For example, how did you come to learn of this threat to the Wetherwax fleet?”

“Are you familiar with the Vanderborens?” Telémahkos asked. He went on to explain about Lavinia request that they seek out his brother and keep him getting involved in criminal enterprise, but it was too late, as Telémahkos said to Esperson, “He is bad seed.” Any mention of the pearl was omitted from the retelling.

“Unfortunately, in trying to find and stop him at his sister’s request, we followed him to Kraken’s Cove, and got unintentionally embroiled in the war between the thieves’ guilds,” Telémahkos went on to explain, but Esperson asked for more detail about the guild war, and Telie’s opinion about how things stood with it.

“Lord Falkoner sent ships to patrol the area around Kraken’s Cove and keep others from taking it over as their own base,” Holy Captain Esperson said to them.

“Good,” Bleys replied. “They may relocate to Haffar’s Port or Herman Land…”

“And then it’ll be someone else’s problem,” Timotheus added with a smile. Bleys actually laughed, dismissing the brawny warrior’s suggestion.

“What do you know of the Pillars? The ones drawn all over Thricia,” Bleys went on to ask the naval priest. “Could they have something to do with the guild war?”

Holy Captain Esperson Wetherwax of Tefnut looked surprised. “I am shocked you even mention it,” Esperson said. “Do you have reason to think it is related? It matches no organization I know of, and I figured it was some kind of prank…”

The young nobles denied any knowledge of the Pillars. “There are just too many things going on for it to be a coincidence,” Markos said.

“Let me ask you this,” Bleys changed the subject back to the threat to the Wetherwax fleet. “Could the fleet be wrested from the control of House Wetherwax?”

“How do you mean? Politically or physically?” The captain asked. A wind came in off the harbor, blowing his hair in his face, and he raised a hand to brush it away.


“Well, who else has a naval background?” Timotheus jumped in to the speculation. “Clossen?”

“Tenbrook…” Bleys said.

“Swann, Devenpeck…” Esperson added.

“Oh, okay… So I guess that doesn’t really narrow anything down…” Timotheus said.

“Do you have reason to believe it is from one of the other houses?” Esperson seemed to address most of his questions to Bleys, and this one was no exception. “Perhaps we were wrong in assuming it was a physical threat, and Lord Falkoner would want to know of the possibility that the enemies to House Wetherwax are internal.”

“Honestly, we don’t have much lead one way or another,” Telémahkos interjected. “As I said before, all we have to go on is the overheard assertion that ‘when the Wetherwax fleet is crippled, then our work will really begin. . .’”

The captain was quiet for a long moment, looking out at the sea as he thought. “Very well… The warning is appreciated. I only wish there was more to go on…”

“As do we…” Laarus said.

“… Lord Falkoner will still want to speak with you about this in person, but he has no intention to summon you officially,” Esperson said. “But if and when you get even the slightest chance, it would probably be best to visit him… The Lord would be happy to entertain the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland regardless, but with this possible danger looming, he is all the more eager…”

“We understand,” Bleys said. Esperson Weatherwax turned away as a woman appeared at the door to the beacon and the inner shrine, and began to walk in their direction. Timotheus’ eyes widened and lit up as he took notice of her. She was a couple of inches short of six feet tall. She wore tall boots and woolen leggings of a reddish brown color, and a slightly shinier bronze-colored short robe-like dress tied with a black belt that held up a sabre in its scabbard. The belt accentuated the delicious curve of her hips, and pinched her waist, giving her toned arms and shoulders an even wider look. She wore a brown fur cloak, open on her shoulders and held together by a bronze chain dangling a silver version of the sigil of House Wetherwax. Her brown hair was chopped right at the shoulders, but part of the back was longer, reaching halfway down her back when not flicking in the harbor wind. She had large bright green eyes, tanned skin, and a rounded earthy beauty that arrested their conversation.

“Gentlemen,” Esperson gestured to the woman as she approached. “May I please introduce, Charlotte the Bronze…”

She looked them all over with a smirk. There was thick cigar in one corner of her otherwise perfect mouth, and she wrapped her fingers about it and took a few long lascivious sucks on it, before pulling it out and blowing a long stream of smoke to disintegrate in the swirling winds up there. Timotheus noticed her take extra long in looking him up and down, and his smile grew wider, and shot her the ole waggily eyebrow.

“You must be the famous Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland,” Charlotte purred. “I am honored.”

“It is we who should be honored to meet a member of the Firebrands,” Timotheus had heard some of the tales of her adventuring band’s heroics in the North Sea, around the Hammer and in the U.K.S.F.

“And a senior alumnus,” Bleys nodded his head respectfully.

“Not too senior,” she chided playfully.

The two watch-mages talked with the familiarity and respect common to those of their order.

“I have come here as a favor to a friend of mine, and well… He was trying to do you a favor, and now it seems I must do a favor for him for it to be fulfilled,” Charlotte said to them all.

The Signers of The Charter of Schiereiland were puzzled, unsure of what she spoke of.

“Sir Gregos Harrold of House Wetherwax, a cousin… Commander of the Quillton Harbor Fortress… It seems he was keeping your boat, Sea Wyvern, in impound,” Charlotte explained. The young nobles nodded with realization.11“He took it upon himself to send it here to Sluetelot for you with a crew he trusted looking for passage here… Unfortunately, the ship was impounded by a patrol ship of House Devenpeck at the north end of Drie-Hoek Bay. Since it did not have an official register, and they refused to accept the letter from Sir Gregos with his seal, they took it in…”

“How long ago?” Bleys asked.

“A little more than a week ago,” Charlotte replied. “You will have to go and explain and pay a fine and impoundment fee to get your boat back, and actually register it…”

“So it is in Weirspierogen?” Bleys asked. Charlotte nodded.

“I’d be happy to go and get it the day after tomorrow,” Timotheus said. “I am sure my cousin would be happy to accompany me, and I guess you should come as well, Markos…”

But Markos wasn’t paying attention. He had gotten a whiff of Charlotte’s cigar and asked her for a puff. She looked startled at the request, but handed it over with a sly smirk. Markos puffed on it eagerly, savoring the taste for a moment before coughing and becoming lightheaded. Timotheus gestured to the cigar held in Markos’ fingers as he leaned over, hands on his knees. Charlotte nodded and the brawny warrior plucked it from its place and took a few puffs himself.

“Sure, I’ll go…” Markos croaked out.

“That is not all the news I have,” Charlotte continued, turning to Bleys. “It has come to my attention that the lord of House Swann has sent word of an official summons for you to appear at his court…”

“Regarding what?” Bleys asked.

“Some foolishness, I am sure… That boy-lord is all about exercising his power,” Charlotte rolled her eyes. “My advice is that you head out of Sluetelot and take care whatever business or adventures you have planned before that summons gets to you, so you won’t get embroiled in whatever local politics Lord Swann considers so important.”

When it became clear that Charlotte the Bronze was not going to give any more details about the summons even if she knew them, Markos and Telémahkos began to ask some about her adventures with the Firebrands. Realizing that she might have more information useful to the party, Bleys asked some questions about Puntos Negros. 12

“You know, we should get together and swap stories some day,” Timotheus edged over to Charlotte with a wide smile, but her own smile developed a cruel edge.

“When I’ve heard of one your stories from some other source first I’ll consider it,” She sidestepped, widening the gap between them.

“I am eager to hear more of the Hammer and perhaps to discuss magic some time…” Markos tried quite earnestly, but Charlotte had to bite her lip to hold back a laugh. Timotheus gave Markos a jealous glare. Telémahkos laughed at both of them, but Bleys and Laarus were as placid as usual. “I spent time up there and have some stories of my own…”

“I wonder if you’ve shared these stories with your companions,” Charlotte replied cryptically. “They might see you differently if they knew some of them…”

Markos frowned, and opened his mouth to speak again.

The wind picked up some more and Charlotte the Bronze bid the group farewell. Shaking each of their hands in turn, but stopped at Bleys. “Could you show me out? I have watch-mage business to discuss with you that we should talk about in private.”

“Of course…” Bleys turned and began to walk out with Charlotte. She took his arm, but when she noticed Markos following them out, she stopped and gave him a withering look. The diminutive mage, stopped and turned back.

Once they were at the threshold of entering the fortress, she said, “Actually, is about your little kidnapped Raymer friend that I want to talk to you about…”

…to be continued…


(1) This session was played on Sunday, March 2, 2008 in Brooklyn, NY.

(2) Experience points were awarded between Session #25 and this one, but no one advanced a level. Everyone is still a 4th level character at this point.

(3) Victoria’s player could not make it to the session that day, so this was a convenient way to keep Victoria occupied without having to run her as an NPC.

(4) See Session #23 for a description of the events.

(5) Again, see Session #23 for these events.

(6) The “second” in a duel fights in place of the duelist, if he or she falls ill or is injured in some way that does not lead to defeat but does not allow them to accomplish the conditions of the fight, etc…

(7) House Curen.

(8) The party found the name “Stanislaw Torn” from both the Mind of Oberah (Session #21) and Joezyn Barhyte (Session #22)

(9) See Session #1.

(10) Upon first arriving back in Sluetelot from the Disputed Territories the Signers were told that a message had been sent from Lord Falkoner asking that they come and see him when possible. They had sent warning of the attack to Tribunisport with Eubren Winter of Ra.

(11) Between Sessions #8 and #9, Lavinia Vanderboren awarded the party with the Sea Wyvern as a reward for their efforts to save her and to find her brother. However, since the boat had been impounded as part of the investigations of what happened at the Vanderboren Manse in Quillton, Sir Gregor Harrold continued to hold on the boat as a favor, in order to save them the expense of keeping it docked somewhere. (See InterSession #8.2)

(12) Stanislaw Torn is said to spend half the year in Puntos Negros.
Last edited:


Moderator Emeritus
Session #26 – “Challenges, Trials & Tests”(part 2 of 4)

The remaining Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland discussed more details of what they had found in Kraken’s Cover with Esperson of Tefnut as they waited for Bleys to return. However, the watch-mage was gone for some time, so they said goodbye to the waveservant, and walked down the sea wall towards the fortress. As they walked, Timotheus leaned over to Markos, “You set your sights too high…”



“You are assuming Markos had prurient intent,” Telémahkos said, overhearing.

“Yeah, I meant what I said, I was just interested… you know, magically,” Markos sputtered.

“Even Markos know when some is out of his league, unlike you, cousin,” Telémahkos laughed.

“Uh-huh,” Timotheus gave him a nod and a wink.

“You make me sick!” Markos said, getting close to Timotheus as he bristled with anger. “You are just as bad an elitist as any other noble despite your background… How dare you say I am not in her league?”

“Oh yeah, that reminds me,” Timotheus replied grinning. “You are way too on the fragile and sensitive side for her…”

“We should have told Esperson about Harliss,” Laarus said, changing the subject. When Bleys caught back up with them, they had stopped at near one side of the seawall ramparts and were arguing about what information could be safely given to whom.

Timotheus stepped away to catch the watch-mage up.

“Laarus wants to tell Esperson about Harliss and her role in what happened at Kraken’s Cove and at the Vanderboren Manse,” Timotheus said. “Amazingly, Markos agrees with him, but Telémahkos is against it.”

“And where do you stand?” Bleys asked him.

“I’d rather not rat her out,” Timotheus said. “Better the devil we know and all that… She may not be the most honorable person, but at least it was possible to negotiate with her, that may prove useful in the future if we ever run into her again… Anyway, she has a soft spot for me…”


“Sure! You could see it in her eyes,” Timotheus stood up straight, puffed out his muscled chest and grinned. “You could totally tell she wanted a big ole piece of Timotheus…”

Bleys the Aubergine walked past his companion and began to listen in on the others. Markos was once again going over why he felt they should let Esperson know about Harliss and the involvement of the Red Lanterns, Laarus nodding.

“If we rat her out she will never trust us if we are ever in a position where we need to cut a deal with her again,” Timotheus said.

“What kind of a deal would we possibly want to make with her? I was reluctant the first time, I cannot imagine agreeing to it a second,” Bleys protested.

“And yet, it did happen once,” Telémahkos smirked.

“We should tell Esperson not only of Harliss, but what we know of the pearls that caused the change, and Vanthus’ search for more…” Laarus of Ra asserted. “He has come offering help and is a loyal follower of a noble goddess…”

The discussion began again in earnest, this time with Bleys’ input. Suddenly, with a spontaneity and lack of reasoning that only one who venerated the cat goddess, Bast, Telémahkos walked away from his companions, hustling out on the sea wall to look for Esperson and talk to him on his own.

“Um, Captain?” Telémahkos said when he found Esperson still out on the wall looking out at the sea. “We were talking over what we knew and decided it was important to give you more information, that at first we thought might not be relevant… but perhaps it is…”

Telémahkos went on to explain about the pearl that had affected the transformation on the people of Kraken’s Cove, and of the bullywug shaman’s warning regarding ‘the savage tide.’ 1 “But we aren’t sure what that means…” Telémahkos added. “Have you heard that term before?”

“No…” Esperson answered as if trying to figure out what it might be. He shook his head and looked to Telémahkos again. “I am glad you have shared this with me…”

“There is more…” Telémahkos went on to explain that the party speculated that Vanthus Vanderboren was looking for more similar pearls, and mentioned the map with the notes and pinholes.2

“I want to see that map…” Holy Captain Esperson replied. “And if possible to have one of the navigator on my crew make a copy of it…”

“I would have to ask my companions, but they should agree…” Telémahkos sounded unsure.

“It would be a great favor to House Wetherwax, as I think these pearls and this danger to the fleet are related… I know that I would be personally grateful and would do what I could to return the favor… Perhaps arrange passage for you when you take some long journey that requires a sturdy ship?”

Telémahkos hustled back to his companions and explained Esperson’s request, but expressed his own reservations. “We cannot necessarily trust House Wetherwax…”

“We should let him copy the map in return for letting us copy some of his,” Markos said.

“He offered passage on his or another ship which is something we know we need as opposed to maps that may or may not be helpful…” Telémahkos replied.

“Maps are always helpful!” Markos protested.

“It doesn’t matter… I am still not sure… What if the map falls into the hands of someone else, someone in House Wetherwax that is seeking the pearls?” Telémahkos speculated. He and Markos fell to arguing, drowning out the suggestions of the others.

“I wish you’d keep you gods-damned voice down!” Telémahkos snapped.

I wish the two of them would fnck and get it over with already,” Timotheus complained, leaning over to Bleys with a smirk. The watch-mage made no sign of acknowledging the warrior’s bawdy words.

“Look!” Timotheus finally spoke up. “If Wetherwax are traitors we are screwed already, so if we have to trust someone this seems like the people to trust…”

“I agree…” Bleys intoned.

“If you say so…” Telémahkos turned to hurry off and bring the message of agreement to Esperson, but Bleys and Markos insisted on accompanying him. After a brief pause, Laarus and Timotheus followed as well.

“To not hand over this map would be negligent,” Esperson said, when everyone was gathered out on the wall again. A light rain began to fall, but the Waveservant of Tefnut did not seem to mind. “It is a critical piece of information in our defense…”

“Why critical?” Bleys asked.

“The pearls must be the means of attack against the fleet,” Esperson said. “Imagine several of these pearls set off at once on different ships or ports… Imagine the carnage as you described in Kraken’s Cove spread out throughout Thricia…”

“Yes… It makes sense…” Bleys brought one of his large calloused hands to his chin and smoothed the beard he was growing in.

An agreement was made. Markos would meet Holy Captain Esperson Wetherwax’s navigator at the RMN Spiritwind in a couple of days, and would sit with him while he made the map. On the way back to Death & Taxes all the slight mage could talk about was his hope to get a look at the navigator’s maps while he was there, and perhaps copy some. If his companions listened to his hurried monologue, they gave no indication.


Hours later back at the inn, a tipsy Telémahkos arrived with a buxom woman on his arm, while a drunken Timotheus made his way up the stairs to sleep it off. Telie and the perfumed and thickly made-up woman joined Bleys where he was nursing a bowl of soup and a large mug of warmed milk. The affable-ne’er-do-well and the watch-mage fell to talking about the latter’s sister.

Telémahkos grew uncomfortable as he feared he heard points on the ends of Bleys’ words and the woman, whose name he could suddenly not even remember clutched at his arm and pawed his chest, giggling at everything he said whether it was meant to be a joke or not. He stood up to fetch more drinks and as he came back he felt the back of his seat get slammed by someone sitting at the table behind theirs and he was awkwardly pinned there for a moment. He squeezed out and stood, turning around.

“Excuse you!” said the young man at the next table. He spoke roughly, standing as he did so. If he were taller than Telémahkos it was not by much, but he had dark brown curls to Telie’s golden blond, and he was paler. He wore a wide brimmed velvet jacket over a frilled off-white shirt and brown breeches tied into tall boots. He wore a rapier at his side. It was tied in a peace knot as local ordinance demanded. 3

“I think you mean ‘excuse me,” Telémahkos corrected him.

“No, it is you that needs the excuse,” the young man’s grew flush. “For you are a sorry excuse for a swordsman from what I hear!” His hand dropped down to the hilt of this blade and Telémahkos took half a step and made ready to pull his own. The man let out a nervous laugh of derision.

“Listen here, boy… Perhaps you should run along before you get entangled with a noble from House…” Telémahkos began to bluster with bravado.

“Tenbrook?” The man suggested.

“No, Briareus… You?”

The young man relaxed and smiled when he heard the answer. “I am of House Kilgante!” He announced proudly.

“House Kilgante? Should I know this name? I know no such house…”

“The man who ran Kraven’s Cove,” Bleys said, calmly. He had pushed his chair back to keep the angry young man in his vision, but continued eating his soup. The common room was growing crowded and people were looking over at the commotion. “The man whose sword you carry…”

“And by what right do you carry that sword?” The young swordsman’s voice grew louder, and a bit shrill.

“Because I found it,” Telémahkos was dismissive.

“I am Danser Von Huet Blued! I was Kilgante’s last and only student, and as such heir to that blade,” Young Danser explained. “Will you hand it over to me?”

“I have won it by right of salvage and by virtue of surviving the horrors of the massacre at the cove,” Telémahkos explained.

“Give it up or duel for it,” Danser replied, his voice finally coming to an even tone.

“Go back to Lilly City!” The voice was a heckler from the crowded common room. Everyone was paying attention now and discussing the situation. “Take your duels elsewhere or you’ll get the bum’s rush!”

“I ask you again, are you prepared to hand over the Steel Whip, or shall we duel for it?” Danser asked again.

“Let us go, now… Outside the city…” Telémahkos suggested.

“No! We will duel in Lilly City,” Danser said. “I know you and your friends have pull here and I am not going to be tricked into entanglements with the local law. It will be Lilly City.”

“I don’t have time for these games,” again Telémahkos had a dismissive tone.

“Then give me the sword.”

“You know I will not do that,” Telémahkos said. “And I will not go to Lilly City…”

“Then everyone shall know of your cowardice,” Danser replied.

“I am a signed member of a chartered group,” Telémahkos explained. “I cannot simply get up and go where I please…”

“That is of no concern of mine.”

“Bleys?” Telémahkos turned to the watch-mage. “Do you think we could take a quick trip over to Lilly City, for… business…?”

“I do not see why not,” Bleys replied.

“Fine. Lilly City it is,” Telémahkos said to Danser. The young man smiled, showing a gold tooth.

“Seek me out there within a fortnight at the Silver Harbor, and it shall be arranged,” the swordsman replied. He picked up his drink and finished it, and then took up his floppy hat from the table and put it on.

“It shall be no great feat to take the sword from a weakling such as you,” Danser gave on final jab.

“Leave, for if you continue to insult me we shall have to fight here and now,” Telémahkos barked. Danser flashed his tooth and skipped out of Death & Taxes.

“Lilly City’s local laws being as they are…” Bleys said to Telémahkos as the swordsman left. “If you end up killing him the consequences will be somewhat mitigated there…” 4

…to be continued…


(1) See Sessions #6 through #8.

(2) Lavinia Vanderboren found this map among her brother’s things in the Vanderboren Quillton Manse. Click here to view it.

(3) In Sluetelot all weapons are to be worn with peace-knots at all times. However, as nobles, this law is never enforced on the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland.

(4) The laws of Lilly City are such that duels are allowed as a legitimate means to settle disputes, and have even been used as means to enforce laws or enact punishment by more traditional legitimate authorities, like judges, priests of Ra and watch-mages.

An Advertisement