Geneva Scales of War

Playing Politics

After camping back in the anteroom to the temple, disturbed occasionally by the beggars camped in the excavated cavern, Odachi set to work smashing the statue of Tiamat with the type of glee only someone who looks down upon the gods could. Behind, a tunnel sloped down forty or so feet before terminating in a pile of rubble; “Knowledge lies trapped behind the guardian,” Arranis recited. Orsik and Odachi made quick work of the rubble, revealing a wooden door that sticks fast; Orsik mightily pulls it back with a tug, opening into a library. History within was not recorded on scrolls or in books, but on the walls of the chamber itself. A large stone table stood in the middle of the chamber, flanked by skeletal scribes who drew memories from the Wayfarers, inscribing it on their tattered flesh. Following cleaning up the undead librarians, the Wayfarers discovered predictions of Auglos the Seer that particularly seemed directed at Amyria and themselves, and hinted at greater involvement of the followers of Tiamat than just this co-opted temple. Kah chose to stay behind to investigate further, while the rest of the Wayfarers returned to the world above to meet with the Coalition Amyria began to form.

Arriving to the University of Sayre almost late to the meeting, Amyria pulled the Wayfarers aside and both parties quickly updated each other: the Wayfarers on the words of Auglos and the temple of Tiamat, and Amyria on the seven representatives that have arrived and her five goals.

The seven members of the Coalition conference were Kalad, whom firmly stood in Amyria’s camp, almost to the point of excess; Fariex, the Scale-Hammer, whom Amyria feared would fall to analysis paralysis as her looked at all sides of the coming conflict; Caliandra, the wild elf chieftain, whose stubbornness, age, and expectations of being treated with deference, could impede the process of forming the coalition; Lord Torrence, whom, as the consummate politician, was needed to allow the investigation of Telecanthus to move forward; Quellena, who as the head of an Eladrin consortium, could prove difficult to convince her business was threatened; Inogo Dravich, whose background of theological debate could lead to a stalemate; and Odos, who needed to be convinced not to just hunt Telecanthus outright. Amyiria lead the Wayfarers to a small lecture hall, where the seven were seated around the table. The adventurers sat outside this circle, listening to the debate and rising to make their points and focus the Coalition on the tasks at hand: transferring control of the military to the council, electing a leader for the council itself, naming the Coalition, convincing them of the importance of Amyria’s dream, and receiving the approval to investigate Telecanthus. For hours, the Wayfarers listened and responded, focusing on their strengths as Arranis drew tales from history, Orsick recited lessons of the faithful, Mako recounted anecdotes from the natural world, and Odachi appealed to strength, until a vote was called, and the Wayfarers escorted out of the room.

The final results: The committee voted 5-2 to transfer control of all military power to the Coalition, with Kalad as General of the Armies. 6-1, the committee voted Lord Torrence head of the Coalition council. Kalad held out for Amyria, despite her own protests. The other measures were approved unanimously, Inogo and Odos finding common ground on the importance of Amyria’s dream. Amyria was appointed to investigate both Telecanthus and the Spider of Sayre, Lord Torrence deputizing the Wayfarers to conduct the investigation legally.

Tapping the Pig Farmer, or On a Critial, You Hit The Pig

Through the splintered door, a cobblestone street stretched into a rockfall; the Wayfarers had delved into an excavated stretch of old Sayre, long since buried. Three building facades faced the stretch of street. Orsik took quick stock of the excavation, clearly a rush job, and not up to Dwarven standards; mud and silt held the ceiling only ten feet above the Wayfarers. Scattered around the “street” area were sleeping palates, some inhabited by raggedly dressed beggars, none who appeared to be willing to confront those who entered with the shattering of the door. The building that led from the Old Spice House, as well as the building across from it, appeared to be old shops abandoned upon whatever calamity buried them under rock and stone. On the third facade, Kah recognized some of the marks of a temple of Ioun, long since defaced, all markings of the god of knowledge stripped away. In a low breath, Arranis observed, “Knowledge lies trapped behind the guardian…” Large double doors, carved with proverbs of Ioun, such as, “Knowing is half the battle,” “Knowledge is power,” “The more you know, the more you grow,” opened from the street into a small antechamber, some 10’ deep and 15’ across. Along the walls, where once were frescoes of the faith of Ioun were now adorned with crudely painted nudes, standing atop piles of wealth, mirroring each other. Orisk recognized the nude human woman as an aspect of Tiamat, goddess of greed and evil dragons; the Wayfarers noted both walls appeared smudged, as if some of the paint had been rubbed away in benediction. Another pair of doors was set across the antechamber from the Wayfarers’ entrance. Odachi listened at these doors, but could not make out much beyond, “Wealth is yours…” “THEY will come to take it…” “Claim what you want…”. Steeling for combat, Mako threw the inner doors open.

Within an octagonal chamber of worship, a dozen Beggars faced a large, lone man, who cried, “They are here to take what is yours! Slay them!” upon the Wayfarers’ entrance. Many of the rogues drew short swords, but two drew katars, and one quickly jumped across the 10-foot long, 55-foot wide trench dividing the worship area from a sanctuary. That sanctuary held the largest pile of treasure the Wayfarers had ever seen, as well as a small statue of Tiamat in her five-headed dragon form. With what was becoming his signature move, Mako drew, nocked, and loosed an arrow at the large man, knocking him into the trench behind him. Less than a second later, Mako noted the thud, observing, “Hmmm…twenty feet deep.” The Wayfarers quickly funneled through the doors and engaged the opponents within. Mere seconds later, a grapple shot up from the trench, trailed a rope below, and the Filth King raised to rejoin the fray. As combat raged, each hero began to look at the other with covetousness in their hearts, each companion looked slightly better armed, armored, and skilled than himself. The Beggar that fled continued to pepper Odachi with shuriken throughout the battle. Eventually winning the day, using the trench to their advantage, Mako quickly claimed the grapple for himself, and each of the heroes looked on jealously. The Wayfarers stopped for a short rest to catch their breath before continuing across, the whole time keeping a watchful eye on their companions. Odachi took it upon himself to remove the blasphemous heads of Tiamat, and lept across to behead the sculpture. Orsik laid a pew across the trench, and the Wayfarers crossed. Catching sight of a bow within the pile of treasure, Mako reached for it, and the pile came alive, coalescing into the shape of a five-headed hydra. Combat was again engaged by the Wayfarers against what Kah had only heard of as theoretical magic: a treasure golem, the ultimate guardian made of the very thing it was to guard. Driven by magic, the golem continued to take abuse throughout the combat, shrugging off much if the Wayfarers damage until finally, it crashed into a pile of silver, gold, and platinum*, as well as one Ring of Protection and a Talisman of Fortune. After the battle, continued with his original intent, smashing the five-headed statue and revealing a tunnel behind.

*20,000 silver; 10,000 gold; 600 pp.

A Coalition of the (Mostly) Willing

As Amyria and the Githzeri welcomed the Wayfarers to the enclave, Orsik pointed out, with his keen Dwarven perception, “Hey, you’re not a sword anymore!” Before introducing the rest of the Githzeri council, Amyria shared her story with the gathered Heroes of the Elsir Vale: following her release (something I could have taken care of for her in a night), the Deva meditated on her state and received a vision from Bahamut, an recognized her calling as a paladin (disregard previous comment, paladins are too prudish). Taking up sword, she traveled the countryside, from the far reaches east to Overlook and the Elsir Vale, and along her journey, found evidence of a massive planar invasion connecting from Sindruth’s raid on Brindol to the Githyanki assassinations at the Githzeri monastery. Overlook and the Elsir Vale had been somewhat protected by the heightened sense of alert and the actions of heroes like us (you’re welcome, I will be accepting thank you visits from young maidens between the ages of 18 and 21—human years, translate as appropriate—this evening at the House of Sleep).

Seeing the dangers facing the world, Amyria invited rulers from far and wide to a conference in order to determine a course of action, what Arranis called “A Coalition of the Willing.” At this point, four Githzeri peered from the curtained-off conference area; Amyria contacted the monastics because of their experience fighting the Githyanki. Other members of her coalition included:
Odos, the blind Githzeri
Kalad of Overlook
Feryx the Scale-Hammer, an independent trader and diplomat of whom Kah has heard
Kaliandra of the Stag Runner Wild Elves
Inogo Dravich, the high priest of Erathis in the City of Temples
Qualiana Entromele, head of an Eladrin merchant house
Lord Divian Torrence, the elected ruler of Saer. Lord Torrence agreed to host the conference, but with the change in attitudes toward Githzeri beginning six months ago, Amyria now had concerns.

Arranis asked Amyria what brought upon the change in attitudes, but was interrupted by Galot, a gruff Githzeri warrior. Arranis and Orsik responded with boasts, but Odos stepped in to calm all. Mako asked Amyria is the collation was in danger now, and Amyria acknowledged the association with the Githzeri could bring trouble. Mako followed his line of questioning, asking how long Telecanthus has been in town. He was answered by Azit, another Githzeri who clearly looked up to Amyria: Telecanthus came to power 4-5 months ago. He works in stained glass, is well connected in Saer’s upper crust, and there was no specific point at which he orchestrated a change in attitude toward Githzeri, but it happened gradually, with gentrification and hostility, bit no outright confrontation. Galot interjected, “He’s a criminal and should be removed!”

Amyria took this opportunity to share a dream she had before assuming her path as a paladin. In this dream, she was looking down upon the world, and a great web stretched across it. In the center of the web was a beautiful but clearly evil spider, and as it scuttled across its web, it threw webbing to people at the corners, primarily Githyanki who wove the spider’s web, but members of other races as well, including a lone Githzeri. Amyria awoke from her dream knowing the spider resided somewhere in Saer. Galot inferred the spider could only be Telecanthus, but Amyria called for proof before action, a plan the Wayfarers agreed upon. Even the impetuous Odachi knew that this required a softer touch, but it was Odos who again stepped in and soothed Galot. Odos gave Amyria and the Wayfarers one week to find the evidence implicating Telecanthus. Galot bristles at this, but took the opportunity to challenge Odachi to be the first to slay Telecanthus. The meeting now done, the Githzeri filed out, until Odos asked the Wayfarers to attend a ritual he was to perform, calling on departed Githzeri spirits for advice.

In a quiet, out-of-the-way room, Odos invited the Wayfarers to be seated around a ritual circle. As Odos began his chant, Kah recognized the ritual as “Consult Mystic Spirits,” and a ghostly Githzeri appeared in the center of the circle, his gaze staring into the eyes of each hero. Odachi, reverent in the presence of an ancestor spirit, stared back silently. The spirit spoke in a riddle (as the most often do):

Read writing on the wall
You are not far from the place where knowledge turns to greed.
Beneath the spice house lies the profane
Knowledge lies trapped behind the guardian

Odos did not know what it meant, and as the Wayfarers depart the Githzeri sanctuary, they were set upon by a rabble of beggars—well-trained, well-fed beggars who quickly revealed their new short swords and katars and whose chain mail glinted from beneath dirty robes. One held aloft a shiny bauble, that drew the Wayfarers in; they were compelled to move towards the beggars’ leader (I think I need one of those; there’s a few Eladrin maidens here that should follow me around). Each of the beggars smelled of Old Spice. Attacking in three groups, the rabble proposed little challenge. Kah cleared out four of the group to the left with a fireball, leaving one ablaze. With a cry to whatever primal spirits may still lie in the city, Odachi struck his sword to the ground, the shockwave killing three and rocking three others on their feet in the center group. As the battle waged, and one remained standing, Mako leapt upon the dry fountain and pinned the leader to the ground with a point-blank shot to his calf. Still drawn to the bauble, the Wayfarers were beginning to squabble over it, until Odachi picked it up and ground it to dust in his hands; “Fixed it,” he growled. A quick search of the bodies revealed normal short swords, katars, and 10 shuriken on each, as well the mask of laughing comedy tattooed on a wrist. The Wayfarers brought the beggars’ gear and their newly-captured prisoner (I really should have taught one of them some better knots before I left) into the sanctuary, where they questioned the thief: he was sent by the Filth King, leader of the Beggars thieves guild, located at the Old Spice House; the tattoo identifies him as a member of the Laughing Shadows; the bauble and gear was provided by the Filth King, who leads, gives orders, and if questioned, the questioner disappears. The Old Spice House has been the guild’s home for more than two years, and the Laughing Shadow initially claimed there were no traps within. After a little persuasion (mainly Orsik and Odachi glaring at him), he revealed that immediately inside the door was a trap door to a tunnel, the second trap door at the end was trapped, and could be prevented by slipping a coin into the a slot. The Wayfarers initially planned to release him, but Odachi insisted on turning him over to Lord Torrence as a sign of good faith. Amyria agreed, and took charge of the prisoner.

The Old Spice House was exactly ass described: dilapidated and seemingly abandoned, with a faded, chipped sign out front that read “Ridolfi & Sons.” A small girl came up to the party begging for coin, and before Odachi flipped her a gold piece, he looked at her wrist to ensure no mask tattoo. Within the Old Spice House, the smell of Old Spice permeated everything, but nothing was noticeably present. The trap door to the tunnel was exactly where told, and the end trap door and coin slot worked exactly as described. Opening the trap door, a rope hung down into pitch-black darkness. Odachi threw a sun rod down, to reveal the room was 80’ square, the party stood 40’ above the floor. Winding down the walls were 10′ × 5′ platforms at heights of 30’, 20’, 15’ and 10’, and a door at the 10’ platform. Looking down, the Wayfarers noticed that the sun rod was hovering at about 10’ off the ground, its light refracting off the gelatinous cube that it landed on. As soon as Mako leapt to the 30’ platform, piles of trash along the far wall stood up: more Beggars who were camouflaged as piles of trash. Mako took two out almost immediately, but the one right in front of him he couldn’t hit. Arranis pushed one Beggar off of the platform and into the cube, and Odachi tossed another one to the floor. Leaping to the 10’ platform, Odachi realized the door is locked, but without a moment of hesitation, the goliath rammed his fist through the door, blinked, looked to Arranis, and said, ‘Lock pick.’"


After a short rest, the Wayfarers and Takeet continued to sail toward the rock fall above the monastery. Takeet took the ship low, and floundered as if it was going down. On the deck, the Wayfarers prepared to loose the rocks on the Githyanki below. Well, most prepared for battle. Odachi simply tried not to slip around the deck like a newborn mountain goat kid finding its legs. Arriving above the rock fall, the Wayfarers leapt to confront the Githyanki that had been stationed to stop exactly what they planned to do. Most of the Wayfarers landed with stealth and skill, drawing their weapons to confront their opponents. Odachi landed with a prayer thanking the spirits of rock and stone for a successful landing. Orsik landed with the sound of a dwarven cookhall imploding. As the Wayfarers approached, four Githyanki were visible, standing outside the two command huts. The Wayfarers tipped their hand, though, and were joined over the course of the battle by four more Githyanki warriors. Towards the end of the battle, Odachi moved into one hut, Orsik the other, and the avalanche was released on the Githyanki below. After a short mopping-up action, the Wayfarers joined Takeet back on the airship, and lowered to the monastery below. Hundreds of Githyanki warriors were dead, and the Githzeri were starting to clean up, finish off the last of the Githyanki, and begin clearing some of the rocks from the fall.

Odos, a blind Githzeri elder, plays Mr. Exposition to the Wayfarers, as a circle of Githzeri forms around him and the adventurers. His first words to the Wayfarers and his own were, “The decision to attend the conference at Saer has been made for them.” And he ordered the Githzeri to pack up what remained. Arranis told the blind seer of Takeet fetching the Wayfarers, and Odos responded that Takeet acted, as he often did, without thinking. Mako quickly came to Takeet’s defense, pointing out that without his action, there’d have been no victory here at all. Takeet himself was only concerned with the whereabout of one Galia, ah young love. So cute. I’ve been there a few times, myelf. Nightly.

Twenty Githzeri survived the attack, and the Wayfarers decide to accompany them to Saer, where many Githzeri have fled. As Arranis questioned the de facto leader of the Githseri, Odos recounted the Githyanki-Githzeri conflict, and that the presence of so many Githzeri at this monastery was to decide if they should attend the conference at Saer, which he’s been reluctant to attend. Saer is a city closer to the Githzeri monastery than pverlook, and known as a commune of artists and philosophers, and open city where the girls are always willing to try something new. As Odos tells his story, the Wayfarers realized that his likeness if one of the portraits in the ship, and the other two of Willik and Castille the other Githzeri elders killed in the siege. This was more than simply a raid, it was an assassination. As the voyage continued, the Githzeri tended to their death rituals.

In Saer, no restriction was given on entry, in fact, the guards of Saer often seemed uninterested in the Githzeri and adventurers. Saer is a bustling city, spread out, and far less “dwarfy” than Overlook. Odos pointed the group towards a seafood restaurant, the Catcher’s Catch, for dinner. On the streets, a lot of human, elf, eladrin, and halfling, milling about, Saer is always a great place to find locals. Many of those going the streets are well dressed, but many others were beggars. Many more of those on the streets wore the livery of their masters. One such encounter was with an over-excited servant who took us to visit his master, Lord Telecanthus. Odachi and Orsik were suspicious of this, and interposed themselves between his carriage and the Githzeri, who simply continued on their way to Catcher’s Catch. Arranis, Kah, and Mako certainly had more tact, and took audience with Lord Telecanthus, sitting in a black carriage with stained-glass windows, pulled by black horses. From inside, and well-dressed Githyanki greeted each of the Wayfarers by name with a smarmy smile. As he invited the adventurers to stay in the River Jewel, the finest lodgings in Saer, the dwarf and the goliath broke from the group to keep an eye on the Githzeri. The Githyanki lord kept the rest of the party long enough to invite them to tea.

As the Wayfarers arrived at Catcher’s Catch, an incident was brewing on the street out front. No Githzeri were to be found on the streets of the Glassworks quarter, and Odos’ party barred from entry, until Orsik and Odachi “vouched” for them with a stern look and a hand raised to weapons. Looking up, the Wayfarers noticed Telecanthus’ carriage nearby, a cruel, satisfied smile on his face. Once the situation was resolved, the wagon door closed, and he rode on. An angry Arranis and Mako questioned the owner over where the Githzeri are, and were pointed toward River Down, the slums of Saer.

Led to River Down by a young urchin named Peck, the Wayfarers wove their way to the old, decrepit quarter of the town. Led down an alley, Peck grunted, “That’s where the Zeri go,” and ran off. Down an alley, through an empty square where from a dry fountain a bronze wizard reached upward, and to a warehouse, where, with a knock, the Wayfarers were welcomed inside and led to a curtained off area. Entering this sanctuary, the Wayfarers came face-to-face with Amyria, the deva-turned-platinum-sword-turned-deva they once carried, who simply smiled with a look of recognition and relief, “You’ve finally arrived.”

Getting The Band Back Together

After my hasty departure from the group, Odachi found Mako in a less-than-reputable inn, with Arranis not far behind his human friend. Reunited shortly thereafter with Orsik and the newly-added Kah, the Wayfarers, Heroes of Brindol, Nentir Vale, and Overlook found themselves keeping the ranger from drowning his sorrows in cups.

While Odachi held Mako up from collapsing into his drink and down from getting into abrawl with every thug, thief, sell-sword, and gnomish illusionist that walked by, Arranis revived a summons from by a young dwarven page claiming a flying ship was spotted on the horizon approaching the western gate. Slipping out of the tavern unnoticed behind them, I followed as they rushed (and dragged Mako) to the parapets, where the Wayfarers found a large crowd of soldiers, not the least of whom was Kalad, Captain of the Guard, who shrugged, looked at Arranis, and simply said, “I’m not trained for this.” Oh, Kalad, I have a feeling we’re on our way to the start of a beautiful friendship.

And thus, Kalad so deftly passed the copper piece to the eladrin warlord, who looked to the sky to notice the ship was losing altitude fast, and trailing smoke behind. Tattered sails came into view as the ship skimmed the treetops and crashed some 200 feet from the walls of Overlook. Mako went over the edge of the wall, while the rest of the Wayfarers found less impactful ways to reach the ground. As they approached the ship, a weary Githzeri appeared on the decks, and Mako and the big lug immediately drew weapons on him. He called to the party that he sought the general of the forces where Zithruun was defeated. After far too much bicker and banter, the doubtful-looking Githzeri explained that his monastery was under siege by a force of Githyanki, and he barely escaped to seek the now-legendary Silver General of Overlook. He turned out to be…disappointed when he found only Arranis leading a surly dwarf, a pyromaniacal wizard, a drunken ranger, and a goliath of below-average intelligence. 30 minutes later, however, the Wayfarers returned to the ship, climbed aboard, and exited my story.
I do not like flying. I did not like that stupid bet the tribe made when we were children, I did not like flying Lloth’s ship in the abyss, and I did not like flying in this stupid gith ship. Like a newborn ram learning to climb, I slid all over the decks. How did Furry not roll around? He’s boulder-shaped! The gith that brought us aboard, Takeet (Furry called him Concrete, in honor of dwarven stone-paste. I think they eat it) went into a command chamber and from within a spell circle began the ritual that held the ship aloft. A crew of ghostly gith appeared and went to work manning the ship. They ignored us. Seeing them, Kah explained the difference between Githyanki and Githzeri, their war, the Astral Sea, and the relationship between red dragons and the yankis, but as far as I’m concerned, don’t kill Takeet. Everything else is fair game to protect the monastery. Takeet told the story of the assault on the monastery as well: three galleons like the one I was currently tripping through came with a hundred yankis each. Takeet claims he hid, sneaked aboard, killed the captain, and sought help, although he was attacked by red dragons before he outpaced them.

The ship itself held four ballistae, one for, one aft, and two center port and starboard (hey, all that time on Lloth’s ship wasn’t completely ill-spent). Below decks, the captain’s body was propped in the control room, a captain’s quarters held maps and three portraits of yanki heroes (I assume), and the hold was full of provisions. In a quater, aft, we found a complex device of leather, steel, and crystal, that seemed to scream quietly. Clearly not primal in nature, I chose to ignore it.

Mako chose to climb to the crow’s nest on a mast, and I stayed below him in case he chose to leap. Thankfully, we quickly encountered two red dragons and their yanki riders, and waged a pitched battle, slaying two dragons and one rider, and pushing another rider over the edge. As we continued to pass over fields and woods, where I would certainly have rather been, we began to hear the sounds of battle and smell smoke in the distance. Cresting a hall, we find the monastery is a fortress nestled in a mountain-side cave. Another airship flew picket around the monastery, while a third was tethered inside the cave itself. A red dragon flew around the monastery and breathed fire on the battlements below. Takeet explained that a rockslide could be released from above as a last-resort defense of the monastery, and was surprised it had not yet been dropped. As Takeet began to grow impatient as we discussed strategy, Kah caught my eye. Something was clearly wrong with his story, but Orsik and I were unable to press anything out of him other than his desire to save his people.

As we approached and debated our next step, another red dragon and rider approached to attack. Much larger than the previous two, this one begins by setting the sails ablaze, throwing Takeet into a panic, and prompting me to fire a ballista at him. Stupid ranged weapons. That dragon needed to land and fight like any decent creature. He did. And after a pitched battle, with much blood shed on both sides, we defeated the beast.

A Coming and A Going

Dragged through the portal by those Abyss-damned tentacles, Odachi stood face-to-sucker with some form of demonic spawn. Through the writhing tentacles, he glimpsed a small party doing battle with the beasts as well: a group of young humans: a noble ranger, a cowardly knight, a chaos-bringing wild mage, a crafty rogue, a disciplined and agile monk, and an adolescent barbarian whose spirit eclipsed his small stature. Someday, Odachi thought, the little one will grow into a great thane of his people. Accompanied by a unicorn foal, these seven assaulted the abomination with steadfast determination to get to the portal the goliath had just come through, now quickly closing. Surveying the situation, Odachi came to a decision, “If these seven were fighting the demonic horror trying to eat me, we were on the same side.” With a mighty rend, the warden severed the tentacle holding him and hacked my way through the beasts to flank the humans’ attacks.

Following the battle, Odachi stood before the confused humans, covered with the beasts’ greenish-black ichor, and listened to their story. From another plane entirely, these humans were trying to find the portal that would lead them home, to a world they called Earth. The portal Odachi had come through was their most recent hope for a shortcut home, and it crushed the goliath’s spirit to tell them the portal led to another world entirely. The humans told that they stood upon the entrance to the Demonweb Pits, a bridge between the Feywild and the Astral Sea, and the lair of Lolth, the Drow Spider Queen. Their mysterious spirit guide, whom they described in many a conflicting manner, including a master of dungeons, gnome, a wizard, and something called a “Yoda,” had hinted that another portal may lie at the other end of the web. The only way open led into a tunnel, a labyrinth wide enough for four abreast and made of polished stone. A close look revealed distorted faces in the walls; originally, Odachi had assumed a trait of the stone itself, but as they screamed silently he realized these were the souls of the drow sacrificed to Lolth. And so, motivated by a drive to protect these young humans, anger and sadness at the entrapment of spirits, and his own desire to return home, he traded one motley party for another.

The journey through the Demonweb Pits took the nine through encounters with trolls, gnolls, minotaurs, bugbears, a mad cleric commanding werewolves, ogres, jackalweres, zombies and ghasts, and of course, the ever-present drow, driders, and spider demons: the worshippers of the Spider Queen. Through the labyrinth the younglings proved themselves again and again in combat; despite their age, they were battle-tested and skilled. As the party traveled through the Demonweb, they passed—and occasionally through—portals to other planes, including what appeared to be an army assaulting a dwarven city. To that portal Odachi would return, much later. Along the way, the young barbarian and the warden developed a competitive relationship, as the elder taught the younger the ways of the primal spirits.

Our journey took them aboard Lolth’s immense Ship of Chaos, set sail upon the Astral Sea, and from which the queen intended to invade various worlds and bring them under her control. Seven decks of slogging through spidery-themed monsters and demons, as well as the chaos of Lolth’s plane itself; the ship glided through the astral sea closer to Lolth’s own web. The ranger slew the final succubus—who took the form of Jalissa of Brindol—as the ship glided to a stop along side Lolth’s own web. The web was woven over an endless pit, a single portal at the opposite end from the mooring. An immense spider with a elven maiden’s face sat in the center of the web, and was shortly joined by a winged, one-horned demon who rode a nightmare, whom the humans recognized. The battle went poorly for Odachi and the humans, until one of the young ones had the idea to cut the web itself. With the help of the ranger’s magic bow, Odachi’s greatsword severed the cords suspending the web, and the goddess plunged into her own endless pit. However, all was not to be celebration; as the web gave way, it took the portal with it—down to the depths of the Abyss. The young humans watched in horror as the portal, clearly showing their world of mighty towers and broad boulevards, fall into the endless pit before them. Clearly angered that Lolth was not able to dispatch the humans, the demon and his nightmare fled, rather than take them on himself; “A seemingly ineffective way to deal with your adversaries,” Odachi thought. With the weight of knowing their journey must continue elsewhere, the humans guided the ship back to the web maze, and the group explored each portal thoroughly.

One portal would lead to a mighty, but merciless, eladrin nation. One would lead to a cold mountain range that reminded the goaliath of home, but was populated with Lolth’s armies. The others led to an underwater kingdom, an apparently endless swamp, and a deeper labyrinth where spider demons guarded clutches of their eggs, and one to a gloomy castle high atop a stormy mountain. One led back to the village from which the humans began, and they set out to begin their quest anew. Looking through the last portal, Odachi saw what appeared to be Overlook, its mighty walls sundered in places. Stepping through, he found himself back “home.”

Overlook was rebuilding. Odachi found a city both different and the same as the one he had left. Energy filled the city as dwarven artisans worked side-by-side with laborers of other races. The addition of one more adventurer to the city went almost unnoticed, until a guardsman recognized the Hero of Brindol and led him to the captain of the guard, one Kalad, whom the Wayfarers had rescued from the Monastery of the Sundered Chain. Kalad told the tale of the Battle of Overlook, the Wayfarers’ heroism, and the party’s subsequent departure. And so Odachi stayed on in Overlook until the next caravan led to Elsir Vale, to lend his strength to the rebuilding.

In the Abyss, Odachi gained a new greatsword and new armor, and learned to track and identify the creatures of the Feywild, and picked up a drow dialect of the elven language. Despite being away from home, Odachi never stopped hearing the spirits of earth and stone, in fact, their growling rhythm seemed to strengthen him as he spent more time in the Demonweb Pits. It was the call of these spirits that made him realize he would one day return to the mountains and his tribal homelands, and that led the warden to follow the path of the Earth Shaker; the simple application of mountainous might is the quickest solution to most of the Abyss’ problems.

A Temporary Parting of Ways

The light flashed and it seemed that the fabric of reality twisted up upon itself. When the light cleared and the fabric was allowed to spin back into its normal condition the Wayfarers found themselves in the Stone Anvil, the temple of Moradin that served as the center of the Dwarven city of Overlook. The priests rushed to the aid of the band as soon as they saw them seeming to know without being told that great harm had befallen the great archer of the Wayfarers, Mako the ranger. Having been transformed into a pile of sludge, Mako had been carried home in the helmet of the paladin Orsik as a bucket. Rituals were going to be needed to be performed in order for Mako to be restored and they needed to be done NOW.

As the priests rushed around preparing for the rites and incantations they would need to perform the Wayfarers looked on in helpless disgust, unable to be of any aid in the rescue of their brother in arms. While whispering a rare prayer to Corellon, Araannis felt a light touch on his shoulder. Turning around he saw Anna looking at him with tired eyes, rimmed in tears, yet set hard as steel. “We need to talk”, was all she said to him then turning she made her way down a short corridor, so as not to be heard by the rest of the party.

Arannis braced himself. Knowing how protective Mako was of his family, Arannis expected to hear Anna tell him how this was the end of Mako’s adventures with the Wayfarers. When she stopped and turned around Anna began to speak before the silver haired Eladrin had a chance to plead the case for Mako to continue on. “I know Mako, as well as I know myself Arannis” Anna began. “When he is restored by this ritual, he is going to demand that he retire from this group and from this dangerous life that has been his calling for many years.” “He will say that there is no way that he can risk himself and he will demand that he settle down with his daughter and I. He will make himself think for a little while that he can be happy as a farmer, a trainer, or even as my father’s assistant in the leather shop, but you know as well as I do, that he will suffer more greatly caged in this ‘normal’ life than he would protecting the lands against all matter of foul cruelty.”

Arannis draws a deep breath, but again before he can speak, Anna’s eyes tell him she is not done speaking her part, so he swallows his words and lets her continue. “We cannot allow him to quit! Arannis, he has been placed in this world to achieve greater things, and I cannot stand in the way of those things happening! Nor can I be his excuse or his temptation to forsake his destiny. ” Arannis, finally able to get a question in, yet dreading the answer, simply asks “What would you have me do great Lady?” “I need to take our daughter and go somewhere safe, I ask that you look after him for me to ensure I have a husband to come back to and to dissuade him from looking for me. Can you do this for me?” Tears now streaming down her cheek, Arannis is taken slightly aback at the lengths these two humans go to demonstrate their love for each other. “My lady, give me an hour and I will make arrangements for you to travel to Leuthilspar, the Eladrin city. I know some people there that will help you and keep you safe. Take that time and write Mako a letter, telling him why you are leaving, and that you will be safe until the time when Mako has fulfilled his destiny and can come to you.” Hugging Arannis in gratitude tears now streaming freely, “You are truly a Noble Eladrin, one that I can never repay enough. Mako is indeed favored to have you as both a companion and a friend. He is meant for great things, I cannot stand in his way and know that I robbed him of his destiny.” Arannis, disengaging from her hug and holding her at arm’s length replies “You could never rob him of his destiny, my Lady, for it is from you that he draws his strength and courage to meet his destiny.”

Hours pass and the rituals are completed. Mako now whole and healthy opens his eyes and looks around the temple room at his companions; Orsik, Veles, Kha and Arannis. He scans the room with his sharp archer’s eyes and asks, “Where is Anna. Whare is Krissanna? They survived didn’t they?” Veles, looking around bewildered merely states that “Yes, they were both right here a while ago making sure you were going to pull through.” Veles looking to Orsik, “Where did she go?” A look of wildness starting to fill his eyes merely repeats “Where are they?! Why aren’t they here?!?” He again scans the faces of his companions three set of eyes have the same bewildered look in them, but one set of eyes, violet and pupil less, look back at him without the aura of confusion in them as Arannis hands Mako an envelope.

Opening the letter, Mako starts to read Anna’s writing… “My dearest Mako…”

(Thanks to Frank for helping me write this. In truth he wrote most of it, after we brainstormed a bit!)

And this is why we're not allowed any monkey-themed beer.

Travel through yet another portal shocked me into sobriety, as we appeared on a platform floating in the chaos of the aptly-named Elemental Chaos. In the distance, the legendary City of Brass loomed on the horizon, brazen in the surrounding flames. Directly before us, a blackened tower rose into the crimson sky, an obsidian blight upon the burning surroundings. Faint lines of runes flickered against the lava and flames of the elements, battling back the chaos trying to reclaim this clearly “unnatural” addition to the primordial fire. The tower listed upon the lava ooze as its magicks fought against the very foundation of reality.

Okay, too much wine followed by portal travel makes me poetic. I wonder if that works on bards? I know a curvy little Eladrin flautist that wording might charm…

Directly adjacent to the platform we floated upon, a black-skinned Duergar raised his hammer and moved to hurl it at us. As we sought to combat it, another emaciated Githyanki (seriously, do these guys eat?), a crytaline elemental hurling shards of chaos at us, and a Redspawn Firebelcher (is it wrong I’m starting to find these guys cute? I might get a pair as guard dogs when I retire to an estate filled with scantily-clad drow housecleaners) floated from platform to platform with us, shifting on the chaos and drifting nearer the tower’s island. In a breath’s time, Mako feathered the Duergar and dropped him into the flaming lava, the provided cover and protected his wife. Arranis and Orsik engaged the Firebelcher and the Githyanki, hopping and bampfing from platform to platform. Kah pulled out…a frost based-spell?! I was unaware he had learned any of those. Given, I’m unaware of a lot of things from college. With an icy grasp, Kah held the crystalline fiend in place as I peppered it with crossbow bolts. Kill shot on the Firebelcher, too, I might add.

After disposing of the current crop of impediments placed by Sarshan, we leapt to the island. Beneath our feel, we could feel it list on the churning sea below. It appeared the Elemental Chaos was winning the battle. Heading into the tower, up twenty-foot wide obsidian stairs to two massive bronze doors, Mako simply pushed them open and began firing. Within a series of platforms were inhabited by a centaur directly in front of us, a winged devil across the chamber, a demon in rune-scribed skin, and yes, another Githyanki. Charged by the centaur, we engaged the four in combat, as the elemental lava slowly rose, engulfing the platforms from the bottom up. We were able to mop up these four quickly, and get a rope strung from the entrance to a portal across the chamber. As the others climbed across, both Mako and I took a moment to show off, and simply walked across the rope. Good thing I spent some time with those triplet wild elf circus acrobats when they came through the wizard academy’s town all those years ago. Kah quickly deduced the portal connected directly to the top of the tower. As much as I hate to admit it, with a quick prayer to Erathis and Sehanine, I hopped in.

I was drunk most of this adventure.

Apparently the Elven wine found in the Green Dragons’ horde was too much for Veles, as I have no memory of this part of the Wayfarers’ journey. Will someone PLEASE turn off the glow of that Elemental Chaos ooze and allow me to sleep!?

So Goes WITH me?

After Mako’s reunion with his wife, she revealed to us that their daughter has been taken by a Shadar Kai.

The bottom of the tower had completely sunken into the ground, open to a great big hole in the earth. Below, we could see rubble, remains of a ladder, and some movement; one voice echoed a rhythmic chant. Kah identified the chanted ritual to seal a portal from access, and kindly pointed out this was only bad if the little girl was on the other side of the portal. At which point, Mako leapt through the hole into cavern, taking quick aim and unleashing a volley of hell upon the chanter.

AS the rest of us caught up with our agitated ranger, we found a tribe of (stinky) Trogoldytes, another emaciated Githyanki, and a Shadar Kai witch in the hole, as more of the elemental chaos lava-ooze flowed from two giant pipes beneath the surface. With the enraged Mako leading the fray, the witch was knocked into the ooze, and expired before we could question her.

Kah set to work rebuilding the circle, with the assistance of the best knowledge I could muster up from the Rituals 101 class that I believe I only passed because the Tiefling Wizarding Assistant was into humans, and whatever Orsik’s religious training taught him beyond, “If it ‘aint Dwarf, ally or ale, hit it with yer hammer.” We eventually made it work.

Through the looking glass…we find a giant tree afloat on an island surrounded by more of the elemental chaos. Apparently, we were in the Elemental Chaos. Ladders and bridges crisscross the tree, like some Elven playland, but sadly, we had no time to seek elf maids, as a Green Dragon approached and unleashed his toxic breath. He was less than receptive to flattery. Took Mako’s arrows and my bolts pretty well, though, as did his brother. Given a chance to breath, Arranis recognized the tree as a manifestation of the Feywild in other planes, as old as time itself. Comforting. But not as comforting as the dragons’ horde. Newly equipped, and our purses lined with silver, gold, and platinum (I am buying myself a nice, luxurious suite at the House of Sleep and finding every cupcake baking half elf maid in Overlook when we get out of this mess), we rested before continuing on.


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