So this week in the Anduwin Chronicles…..
Over the next few weeks, we begin our underwater journey to the yuanti capital of N’Vantis. Some items have been given back to us, but no weapons. Kavan spends his time trying to alter his magic, to create a light spell which would create a mundane darkness, rather than a magical darkness. After a few rough starts, Kavan is able to slowly understand the core components of this spell. He isn’t able to complete the spell, but with the support of a more practiced mage, in the future, he feels he can develop this, and record his creation on a vellum. Farandril is allowed his priest pack, and holy symbol, but keep hold of his tinderbox to prevent flames from damaging the ship. With his time, the Templar prays to his Anduwin, hoping to understand recent events further. Particularly hoping to understand the girl, his duplicate, and the dark voice after his very near death. After speaking and praying for so long each day, he enters a state of a magical trance with blurred visions where he gets bursts of enlightenment. He begins to understand what happened in that cave, and that there was an energy within that entity he tussled with. Against his believes, and all he understands, he relalises this being to be an Anduwin. A possible seventh Anduwin. A forgotten one, buried deep within history, and covered up by the higher ranking Templars themselves. Farandril feels a deep and powerful sense of dread. As he thinks on, he senses a yearning desire for freedom.
Patch spends time maintaining his illusionary disguise for the first few days, before letting it slip and revealing himself in his true form to the party. He is given back his spyglass to repair, as well as his armour and his boots. He goes through his notes for, the dig site that triggered his connection to his patron. He finds nothing at first. But after a week and a half he casts his notes aside in frustration. A calming harp is heard behind him, and he doses off, but in his mind, he wakes seein himself as a huge winged creature moving across the ocean, it swoops up to give a birds eye view of a twisted broken door on an island with a single mountain. The harp ends and a voice whispers “come find me”. Waking, the cat goes to his maps and realises from the birds eye view, this was on Onkonos, and was likely to be the fated and dangerous Tomb of Lesoto. Karl settles into his own knowledge of the Anduwin, and is allowed back some of his items, including a magical map which can always detect any hidden treasure. The paladin continue to socialise and drink with captain Morgan, trying to find out about the captains daughter, and her death. Whilst he is very persuasive his constitution from drinking and the underwater travel takes its toll on him. Eventually, Karl learns that the captains daughter died mysteriously, by poisoning in Booty Bay- also Im Onkonos. However th town appocathary was unable to identify what the poisoning was, and was keen to not be part of this investigation. Morgan believes this alchemist knew more than he was letting on. Karl discovers that the daughter was a whistle blower and often accused templars of acting unjustly. Morgan suspects, but has zero evidence, that it was the templars who killed her. Karl tries to get the attention of his jailers to try to get his armour back. He gets the attention of the lord priest Tandish offering a deal about captain sellmy and Karl’s gear. Karl is provided with a magical air bubble around his head, and taken out of the cell. He water is dark and dense and heavy, and Karl struggles to move in the water, but is escorted and helped along forcefully by two guards, and taken to Tandish’s office, which is dry and has its own air supply. Karl offers information about Morgan’s daughter, and the possible link to the resting place of an Anduwin. If these claims are legitimate, Karl’s thing will be returned. Tandish plans to send men to investigate these claims. Karl speaks of her death, and shares information about the suspect appocathary. Tandish asks where the girl is buried, but Karl does not know this. Tandish warns this information is partial, and incomplete, but further information is needed first. An air bubble is replaced and the paladin is taken back to his cell, trying to locate the resting place of Morgan’s daughter. In deep amounts of alcohol he learns she was buried in the Summit, somewhere near booty bay, because it is protected by magical enchantments.
Abraxos settles and reads through the only item to survive the depths of the ocean. A book about soil. He is unsure why this book survived when other items were crushed and damaged beyond repair. Spending his first week, he looks over the leather which bind it, the vellum and papers, and he spine, but does not find any symbols or oddness. However, after a few days he spots a lot of patterns, and phrases of words repeating over and over again. He wonders if there may be a cypher here carrying hidden meaning. Abraxos spends time trying to figure out the cypher, using own linguistic experience of several different known and rare languages. He is able to confirm there is definitely a cypher, and that there is a subtle magic in the book which protected it, but it is so subtle that it cannot be detected unless it is being specifically looked for. Abraxos gets a sense that the book is indestructible, and it is so well done, that the blandness of the content makes it virtually undetectable. Given this, he thinks the information the cypher holds may be highly important. He thinks back to when he got it in Al’Zeiharia, but does not think there was anything special about where he got it from. Thinking this, he spends more and more time on this, trying to figure it out. Asking others for help every now and then. Whilst he works, he naturally begins to slowly pick up passive conversational nagini. The language is complex, but the basics start to make some sense to him.
Granuelle uses her time on the journey to ask for her smithing tools, but she is declined. She is instead given her magical spoon, which a single spoonful will fill the belly of any solider for a day. We are well fed. She is given her potion of clairvoyance and thinks about looking into the palace to check on Amelie, but the potion would only work for a range of a mile. Frustrated, she begins to train to maintain her strength. Kavan offers to spar with her in the cell. She feels ready for whatever combat awaits them in N’Vantis. She occasionally conjures her jackal, and deepens her bond with it.
Finally, Brant is allowed his Von Spillington instrument. Having this back, he plays music often, and weaves in a Comprehend Languages spell whenever guards pass the cell, to garner information from them. Each day, he uses his music to try to enthrall various guards. They are resistant to magic, naturally, and whilst playing, Brant gets into his music, and his enthralling efforts don’t seem to work. He hears of movement in the north several times but there is no further context, other than it being intriguing. His enthralling works just once, and on this occasion, he casts a Tongue spell, to enable them to understand him, as well him understanding them. He tries to gather information about the Dark Shaper, and her father, as well as what the movement in the north is. He learns the movement refers to the race of Triton underwater, and that the yuanti are about to try to take back one of the ancient cities. Brant also learns of the emperor and his name being Zarkash Takol, and that he has not made public appearances for an “eon”. He asks the guards how long it has been, but they struggle to understand this in Brants terms of what time means to him. He also learns that Ester is known as the Crown Princess, but no one knows why she is called the Dark Shaper.
Just before we arrive, Farandril collects us all after praying and sending magical messages to his superiors. He gathers us all to tell of his most recent message from commander Wigstrum, who shares that the Veil is under attack, and the Grand Emire (leader of Oskil) has died. Not in the war, but still this will likely effect the world. Farandril warns the situation on the surface is taking a turn for the worst. Abraxos suggests we have a conversation about whether we will be honouring our agreement with the Dark Shaper, or betraying her. Karl advises we betrayed her and speak with the king directly. Brant does not want to get involved with this plan either way, and wishes to find his own way out. Patch suggests that we hold a secret vote to decide whether we will follow Ester’s plan or not. The votes are cast, and the consensus is to go along for the plan for as long as it suits, but that we are not assassins, and will not be killing her father.
After two weeks of travel, the lord priest Tandish approaches the cage, and says he is sorry for our experience in the coming hour. The orientation of our cage begins to twist, rotating to the side. Morgan ties himself in a chain to keep himself in place. The floor moves from under us, to our side, slowly at first. Until we notice it happening, and then it moves fast. Karl ties himself on with Morgan, Granuelle holds the bars, and Farandril braces himself with his knees on the bars, to reduce his fall. Abraxos also holds on, and Brant begins to tumble about, to keep his balance. Kavan conjures a rod of darkness between the bars, and braces himself, whilst Patch uses his feline claws to dig into the ships wall. The water level begins to rise forth first time in two weeks. Karl finds he is upside down in he sea water rushing in, and the shock causes his mouth to open. The boat drops suddenly, and we feel a temporary loss of gravity due to th speed of the fall. The ship is nose diving downwards, a sonic boo, is heard, and a shining light ripples through the vessel. Morgan screams out “close your eyes” as we pass through some kind of barrier. Patch, Abraxos, Kavan, Granuelle and Brant don’t close their either in time. For everyone else, an intense heat washes over them, as though they were in the hottest desert. For the five who weren’t fast enough, blindness sets in, as their eyes dry out. It is painful and feels like glass sticking into us each. The water begins to drain from the ship, as the vessel starts to become translucent. There are various vessels poking in and out of the white shining light or a do,e over the city. In the centre of the dome, are two tall towers, looking like a tuning fork, with floating mid sky lights forming what looks to be traffic. Some large buildings are emitting bellowing smoke plumes of industry, which rise up to the dome to fizzle into the ocean. Those who can see notice flying fish shaped vehicles. A hidden and lost civilisation at the night of its technology. After a few minutes of rubbing our eyes, the vision returns to us all.
Granuelle tries to spot a trial or combat grounds, and manages to see a vast collaseum in the distance, looking like it was rebuild from a much older form. Abraxos tries to spot the access and egress through the dome. There are queues of traffic on foot and vehicles at particular points, but no obvious customs or security check. Karl looks about to see where the dome sheild is created and if there is a dispersal point, with any stronger or weaker point. He sees it looking to be evenly strong. Patch finds he is fascinated by this living ancient city. He sees areas of commerce, and trade, as well as dwelling areas. After the initial wonder, he sees a deeper, darker part of the city, and realises that the taller towers and bright lights are for the richer or upper casts of society, but those “less important” live deeper, in the darker parts. Farandril looks about for religious buildings, trying to understand the yuanti culture. He cannot see a single Anduwin place of worship. There aren’t any buildings with any similar architecture, but eventually, whilst the ship moves, he sees a handful of buildings, and one of these may be a place of worship to something or someone other than the Anduwin. Kavan sees it as too alien, and is still blinking the lights from his eyes and cannot make out details.
The water drains fully from the ship, and air hits us. It’s breathable, and not stale, surprisingly. Our vessel lands gracefully on the seabed, and it’s translucence helps us to tell it and its grandness apart from others descending. Guards enter, and release the magically barrier, before we are escorted off the ship by High Priest Tandish, who explains that N’Vantis is the capitol city and is protected with air by a shield made by the old gods. He advises us not to bleep on about the Anduwin, as this is not welcomed here, giving particular warning to Farandril. Karl encourages Tandish to remember their deal. Karl’s items will be returned to him, but Sellmy is to have a procedure where his mind will be read to check for any other secrets. Tandish says we will be assessed to see if we are worthy of the trials, if we fail this we are sent to the depths of the core. Learning this darker news we are disheartened by the chances of ever getting free. More guards lead us through the city, down some stairs and waiting in the dark. A sound hums, and a metallic tube arrives, like a train, on glowing yellow lights. It opens and there are seats inside. We are forced inside without guards. Tandish leaves us at this point. Two fishy elflike being also step onboard this travel craft. Abraxos greets these two in elvish, and we learn they are the other two members of our team of the trials. They feel it is an honour to fight in such a prestigious trial, as well as feeling confident about their chances to survive. They speak of a chariot race, but with seahorses. Stage one is to be a race against the other ten teams, up the hill towards the volcano. We need to reach the top first, and trigger the lava to fall, to slow the other teams, then we are to fell a monsterous beast of the deep. We are told our weapons and armour will be in the arena somewhere and we need to collect them before the race, whilst other teams begin to ride. Kavan, Patch and Granuelle summon their respective weapons magically. We learn these two individuals are known as Sea Elves, and are an ancient race who remained in the water, rather than come to land.
Still on the train, Farandril learns that the origin of the Fallen, the yuanti, May be in question and Ester is trying to start a revolt against her father. Looking around tube, Patch searches for any compartments which could hold our gear. Whilst none do, he does find a small black diamond. Kavan looks over this and we realise it is a summoning stone which call something to us. We are unsure what it will call. After an unending debate, Kavan simply activates the stone, and all our equipment pours out. Everyone begins to don their armour and arm up with blades, including Abraxos in the replacement bone armour. The tube vessel speeds up and the lights dim. We are warned to brace ourselves, for when we arrive we are straight into the fight, in order to qualify to get to the barge stage. The tube arrives and stops suddenly, opening to the sound of chinking armour, and clashing blades. The sea elves and Granuelle rush into the fight, with others following at a bit of a pace, and Brant hanging back still hoping to find other options to get out of here.
And that’s where we left off.