So, this week in the Anduwin Chronicles….
Sivaras speaks with Rhogar who tells her that The Queen is pleased with her progress in her quest. She learns that she is to assist the party for the time being, but in time she will need to cross the Storm Scarred Warrior. Rhogar tells her that her ring will grow in power with each success and that the vale is thinner here on Valmora, making it easier for The Queen to send a message. Sivaras turns and walks away once Rhogar seems to regain control over himself. A dark entity shimmers out of him, much in the same way Sivaras’ snake tendrils when she uses certain spells. Rhogar is left shocked and confused about what has happened, where he is and who Sivaras is. She feigns ignorance, and walks away, leaving Rhogar more himself, with his previously warm personality.
428, Granuaile and Journ’ee begin leaving the Hall of Echoes, having spoken to the birdfolk soul. However, 428 asks the hellspawn guide if a greyborn called Zaxis has been interred in the Hall. The attendant confirms Zaxis is here, and the group is turned around, and lead back into the structure. They approach a single grey candle which is listing slightly. Mathias follows along, with Granuaile’s steed Julio, silently trotting behind. Zaxis is summoned in smoke as other souls have been, the listing candle burning faintly. It seems that 428 has questions for Zaxis. The greyborn soul engages, and offers 428 a single question. The giantkin thinks for just a moment, before instantly knowing what he wants to ask. 428 asks about what Stahl, a villainous greyborn leader, asked this departed soul about before Zaxis met his end. Stahl worships the Emperor but is still afraid of a rumour that the heir of Viscaronn survived The Sundering, long long ago, when much of mainland Máurdorne was destroyed. With his answer given, 482 acknowledges this, and the smoke fades and the party leave the Hall of Echoes.
Outside of the Hall, the giantkin realises now that Brant is missing and so makes his way back inside to ask where he went. One of the horned monks leads the warrior down into the deep old chamber that Brant was taken to just moments before. 428 is told that Brant has not come out the way he went in, and so is likely within the city somewhere. When this does not seem to be sufficient answer, the monk explains that souls are in death as they are in life. Those with light remain light, and the dark stay dark and that some folks who exist in these candles are disagreeable types. 428 enters the chamber and asks the robed hellspawn to send word to his friends that Brant is in the city, in case he too doesn’t come out. The light flickers and smoke fills the cavern once more as the shadow of Viscaronn is conjured again. Brant is apparently in a gutter about a mile away, and that he will likely be somewhat confused. 428 says that the whole party will be an enemy and the undoing of the greyborn, and adds that he will also bring about the Fall of the Anduwin. The massive smoky head of a dragonoid pushes up against 428 and coughs some true flames conjured out of his smoky form to scatter 428’s confidence. The shadow pulls back and asks what 428 answers to, and whom does he serve. The giantkin tries to stay calm in the face of such a powerful entity, but is able to answer “loyalty”. Viscaronn tells him that the grey drakes were forged for a single purpose and they chose to ensure their dominion on the world to protect the world and thus fulfil their purpose. Viscaronn warns of a Great Darkness wanting to spill into the world, and that the grey drakes have kept it at bay so far. The smoke begins to dissipate. As it does so the chamber unlocks allowing the warrior to leave.
428 reunites with the other adventurers, and shares what he learned and that Brant is likely to be somewhere within the city. As the city itself is large, and Brant is a halfling, Sivaras chooses to uses her recently acquired scrying chocolate to locate Brant. The chocolate melts, and Sivaras feels her mind pulled up, and out of her body to survey the city from a bird’s eye perspective. She feels the magik moving her, rather than having any control over where she goes. The vision soars across the city, as a bird, and flies to a rooftop, looking down into an alleyway with a sewer grate. Her vision then stays looking into this alley, and she catches movement below, recognising Brant Goldust. Her mind feels like it is being stretches from her body to this current vantage point, and the stretching is about to break. Not knowing what would happen if it does break, she allows her mind to snap back to her body, becoming whole again, before telling the others where she had found Brant. They follow her directions and quickly come across that same alleyway, and spy Brant in a feral state in a gutter nearby. As the halfling notices the party, he tries to flee. Sivaras walks quickly, and presses a deep rune on her staff, unleashing a magikcal sleep over their ally. Brant falls asleep long enough to allow 428 to tie him up and bind the bard to Julio’s saddle. Immediately 428 locks eyes with the horse and is petrified by the gaze being locked. The giantkin falls flat. Granuaile, Journ’ee and Sivaras discuss for a time how to transport the sleeping feral bard, and the paralysed giantkin, knowing that when Brant wakes he will still be feral, and none of the group feel strong enough to lift 428 onto Julio. Sivaras starts to draw runes in the grime of the alley as she has done before, and conjures her invisible cart or wagon under 428, lifting his paralysed form. The wagon lifts the giantkin up, and Sivaras mounts Julio, so the cart will follow her, whilst Brant remains attached to the side of the horse. Granuaile and Journ’ee clear a path before the horse as the party back tracks their route, to return to the Keeper, as it is felt he may be able to assist, having previously witnessed his grasp of mental magiks and the Cerebral Arcanum.
On arrival, Julio is ridden up to the doorway to The Keepers inner Sanctum, and help is requested. 428 is freed easily from the binding magik that had paralysed him, though no one else knows quite how he was afflicted. Keeper Kal’Quim Seldarne then turns his attention to Brant, and tries to restore his mind. The Keeper warns that magikal restoration can be risky, and Brant may notice some changes including possibly losing some memories. The Keeper asks if anyone can assist, as the magik is complex. Both Journ’ee and Sivaras have knowledge and experience in planting arcane suggestions into people’s minds, and so volunteer to assist the ritual of the mind. 428 remains concerned about the risk, particularly having felt first-hand the effects and risks of magik changing the mind. Eventually, all of the candles are places and Keeper Kal’Quim Seldarne completes the ritual. All present wait with baited breath for Brant to wake from the magik sleep, and eventually he stirs, feeling less intelligent but slightly faster, and more dexterous.
After the ritual, Granuaile goes to Brant and offers him a drink, while Sivaras begins reading the book the Keeper had been writing in abysal- a Guide to the Darker Things. She begins reading and sees three chapter titles, one which catches her interest. The Keeper levitates a rare and expensive bottle of champagne seemingly a magnum of platinum. Granuaile grabs it from the air and is immediately draw to the beautiful smell. She takes a swig, despite warnings that the drink may have consequences for none magikally minded. She goes vacant for a moment and when she recovers she has learnt a new spell. The Keeper reveals that Granuaile appears to have gained something from the drink. Granuaile is magikally marked in much the same way as Journ’ee had been, before she is ejected from the room. Sivaras goes after her. Journ’ee argues with the Keeper about his hosting and hospitality before also leaving.
Back in the Keepers chamber, Brant and 428 try to remember what happened tot hem, and how they came to be afflicted in such as way. Brant cannot recall very much from his time with Viscaronn, not sure that that had actually happened. 428 then tells Brant that the Grey Drakes were forged to keep the Darkness sealed away. 428 shares what he knows and tells Brant he thinks that the heir of Viscaronn could help cause doubt in the Emperor’s ranks of greyborn soldiers. Brant and 428 agree there is a need to reach the birdfolk to get the Flute of the Whispering Winds. As much as the pair is in agreement about this, they also worry about spending too much time on this plane, and that this may make it harder to get back to Menosophia, and to get home to save the King of Bukká Mortainé. As they discuss this memories and knowledge The Keeper listens in, and at an appropriate time, he leans forward and joins the conversation. He tells Brant and 428 that Viscaronn is a Grey Drake, and as such was made a demigod. This could be a reason for his magik and indeed his curses being so powerful.
Outside the party gets back together and agrees that now that they know the way here, it will be possible to come back for the Flute afer taking action in Bukká Mortainé. Brant is keen to return to save the king, and so the group agrees to try to get back to their own world. After some discussion between the party members, Journ’ee recalls his urns, and so decides to release the seller from his urn, hoping the man will know of a way to leave Valmora. He is bound in manacles and warned about trying to escape or betray the adventurers. He tells that he knows a way off the planet, and begins to lead the party into the slums of the city. He advises that his friend, Rachel will be able and willing to help. He continues to walk the odd group down alleyways until reaching a dead end, with a squat building sealing the way forward. The seller tells the party he needs to go in alone and that there is only one way in or out. 428 asks Sivaras to shift, and keep an eye on the man. She folds her form and becomes a money spider hiding on the seller’s back. The manacles are removed and he goes into the building. Journ’ee begins to make an item which resembles a crude bomb with a basic trigger mechanism. He does not possess the explosive elements, but is hopeful that the appearance will be enough to deceive the seller expertly drawing on his history as an explosives expert. The man walks off and on his back, Sivaras hears him tell a female giantkin, Rachel he has brought six slaves for her. Sivaras shifts to her natural form and tries to use the urn she has to trap Rachel, but fails, and is grappled by two lizardmen. The party charges in and engages the slavers at hearing the druid’s commotion. 428 rushes into the fray and Sivaras transforms her body into a personal favourite animal- a brown bear. All hope looks lost, but Mathias runs in to assist his rescuers. It transpires that all the years he spent in the urn were used for training. He appears to knoe several types of martial art and is effortlessly combining them in his attacks. Dancing between foes and weaving faster than the enemy can strike. Mathias charges the female giantkin, and begins to exsecute presise strikes against muscle lines where her body’s energy is drawn from and to. He disables her quickly preventing her from overpowering him. His speed allows him to deliver four rapid strikes, to her shoulder, knee and temples almost at the same time. She buckles her weight from the first hit, and sways from the blow to her knee before two strikes to her head discombobulate her and she falls down, critically injured and no longer posing a threat to the party. Three other slavers take down their hoods and reveal themselves to be hallspawn. One with deep red skin and curled ram style horns, where the other two are icy blue and sickly yellow green skinned respectively. Their horns are less curled. The blue having slight wave in her straight protrusions, where the green/yellow enemy’s are sharp and angular, bolts of bone that look like lightning. Each of the three hellspawn hurls untempered magik energy at Granuaile. However, the orcish warrior is used to magikal assaults, and so throws up a shield spell, blocking the arcane bolts and absorbing their energy to better bolster the own forcefield. Brant cleverly throws his voice and tells the slavers that more threats are coming. His skill as an actor comes through and some of the slavers start trying to leave, not wanting to be out numbered. Journ’ee ignites body in a fiery mantle, drawing on his burning magik and tries to burn as many as he can while 428 cuts down the other giantkin he sees, Rachel, with his enchanted storm axe. The hellspawn, feeling thwarted by the half-orc each conjur an elemental magik this time, reflecting their skin, horns and daemonic heritage. They summon fire, ice and thunder respectively before they begin to combine the energies into a single beam of power blasting at Granuaile. Noticing this, Brant calls out an insult towards the hellspawn slaver. The beam would have hit true were it not for Brant being able to distract the hellspawn with his cruel cutting remarks. The beam first low, and scorches the ground, burning and cutting a trench into the stone there. It seems that Brant’s words helped Granuaile avoid a potentially deadly spell. A roguish slaver manages to get past 428, and sinks a dagger into Journ’ee. The fiery dwarf begins to fall unconscious. However, his own flames cautorise the wound, and no sooner does his head hit the floor, does he begin to rise into the air. The flames burn brighter as the dwarf is lifed back to fight once more, like a phoenix from the ashes. As he raises the brightly burning fire immolates the rogue who stabbed him, burning him to nothing more than ash and cinders inside leather armour. He lands from his fiery resurrection and looks about before a bolt leaps from within, sticking out his chest. Fired from a crossbow held steady by a goblin in hiding, and the dwarf falls into unconsciousness once more, this time his flames extinguished. Daggers are thrown and spells hit home and the remaining foes are swiftly dealt with. Sivaras utters a word of shamanistic magik over Journ’ee andn rouses him from his near death state.
And that’s where we left off…