So this week in the Anduwin Chronicles…
Our floating golden platform continues to move, and gradually floats down to join a range of celebrant. We see more mages with the orbed staffs, with long elves faces. We see sea elves and halflings playing somber music on their violins, as we pass through some metal doors. The platform is grabbed by metal discs and arms, and now moves along with the arms. As it moves along, an elderly hunched yuan ti man leaning over a stick slowly makes his was towards us. He tells us it has been so long since anyone last won this trial, and that he was a child when it last happened. We are welcomed as champions, and to be given free reign to walk the city, as well as given free accommodations in the city’s finest hotel. We are introduced to a tall lanky yuan ti known as Mr Stenton, who will be staying with us to guard and supervise our time in the city. He bares a strange forced smile, and we are told Stenton is not a conversationalist. The conveyor belt then starts to move again, as we are taken closer to the city as champions. As we are moved on, a large claw swings down to where we had initially been stood, on our blood ruined platform of gold, destroying it, and sending it falling into a dark garbage abbys below.
The conveyer belt appears to take us directly into the hotel establishment, where several yuanti are trying their best to look suitable in their Bell boy uniforms. This whole floor of the hotel is gifted to us for our stay. Karl asks the location of the bar, and is directed to one side, before he walks away. He elderly man takes his leave after saying that we will be collected in the morning.
In the bar area, Karl finds a small room with a wooden table. A snakish man is slithering behind the bar, with a single drink on the bar. He takes a sip, and finds it tastes exactly as he wants it to. Karl tells the snake to keep it coming, and he is happy with the basic establishment set up. The snake turns around, and a barrel magically appears which he taps and pours out several servings of drinks. Karl starts to store some of this alcohol in his drinking horn, for consumption later. Karl asks if there are games or a casino. The snake gestures to the wall, and a door begins to manifest. The paladin picks up the barrel and walks through the door to see a poorly decked out room with several sorry looking individuals squandering their money on gambling several card and dice games. Karl wins many games, and is soon overwhelmed with vast quantities of platinum pieces. The yuanti are clearly acting to facilitate Karl winning, but in his drunken state he does not realise this.
Back in the main antichamber Kavan immediately detects magic, and realises that all the people, items and places are conjuration and not real, with the exception of Stenton. He senses something similar of a powerful spell by an ancient mage who could create a magical mansion in an instant. But this spell is different somehow. Kavan also looks at casting spells and asks for a book on cantrips and basic spells, hoping to see something he doesn’t already know. He finds many new spells and begins making notes on some real paper.
Granuelle asks for a room, and another large door manifests, leading into a massive throne room, staffed baths, four poster beds. She dismisses the summoned staff. When she is alone, she takes out the Chalice and spends time trying to bond her magic to the cup, so she can conjure it to herself in future if it goes missing. She spends the next period of time meditating on this. At the same time, Abraxos requests a simple room, as he would have at home, with low lighting and an armour stand. He settles in to rest.
Patch remains flustered and asks Brant what he plans to do until morning. Brant is unsure, so Patch settles to a chair in the main antichamber and begins to write into his journal telling Azazel of the fight and his recent events. Brant then asks if he can go to his house, and one of the snaky bell boys conjures another door, and through it, an imperfect, but close enough replica of Brant’s home is seen. He immediately senses it isn’t his home. Seeing this, he goes back out and asks the Bell boy how he knows this, and how they know this is right. Rahj gives the snakes an idea. Brant thinks back and remembers the cobra beast introduced itself as Rahj and hat it’s telepathic abilities would make such things possible. Brant asks if it is Rahj’s magic making this champions chamber possible, and we are told it is, and this is a prize given to anyone who wins or survives. Brant thinks to himself, “Rahj, are you there?” And hears a quiet serpentine whisper of “yes, I hope you are… comfortable”. Brant is unsettled slightly, but chooses to go back into this replica room. Farandril asks for a place to rest and pray and a further door materialises and welcomes him through into a simple chapel.
After an unusual length of time, Granuelle asks just how long it will be until the morning. We are told it will be a Light Cycle, and that this is until the morning. After a brief telepathic consult with Rahj, he tells her this will be seven days. She is given soup and sustenance. She shares this information with us all. She asks if someon can teach her how to use the magical augmentation plates she has on her person. A smith is brought and tells her to wait until she is allowed into the city, as there will be several merchants who can works this trade. She spends the rest of her week training, and does this alongside her magical jackal.
Karl spends his week swinging between really happy and really sad, in his drunken state. At one point he stumbles over and cries over Mr Stenton, and shouts out for boiled chickens whenever he gets hungry. Drunkenly he tells the Bell boys to put his winnings into the bank, not realising its all fake still. On the last night, he goes to the wooden pub, and leans back in his chair, and shouts “home” thinking of Frankfurt Manor. He knows this was destroyed in the last Grey Greyborn war, but in his drunken state, he hopes to see it again. A door opens and he see his Manor restored but like Brant’s it is also slightly different.
Brant chooses to spend his week differently. He approaches Mr Stenton, and says, “what’s going to happen to us in the morning” whilst simultaneously detecting thoughts on Stenton who has yet to speak. He gets the surface thoughts of Stenton leaving the building. Frustrated, Brant tries to probe deeper into his mind, but Stenton resists and just smiles back more, in a more intense and forced manner. Brant then chooses to ask about Ester, the Dark Shaper and detects thoughts again. He sees a tragedy theatre mask shrouded in darkness, before asking about Venracka. This time he is able to see an image of the Greyborn in his mind. Finally, the bard asks about the emperor of the sunken shores, and he sees a temple under the ocean, surrounded by larva and a darkened archway. Learning very little, Brant chooses to try to get to know Stenton a bit more, but learns little else, other than Stenton being an esteemed mercenary. Brant then shares with us all that we can speak with Rahj in their heads at anytime if they so chose.
Kavan spends the week trying to change his light summoning spell to great an area of darkness. Patch is still untrusting of the magical rooms, and so Kavan drafts him into this magical experimentation. Kavan also asks for help from Rahj, as well as the spell book he had from earlier. The cobra entity helps Kavan to solve the equation of mixing magical energies, and the spell is formed, just requiring practice. Kavan spends time continuously practicing in his pockets and when he can.
Abraxos wallows for a few days before asking for books on language and etiquette for interacting with the yuanti people. Books and clothes are provided. Abraxos asks if Venracka could be brought to him, but Rahj says this is impossible, before offering his own knowledge and experience to tutor the samurai on the history of the civilisation and the yuan ti people. Some parts are skipped, as Rahj does not feel he is the right being to tell this information. Rahj does advise not to look directly upon the emperor, as well as to kneel. Some greetings and simple but higher language phrases are taught, that would suit someone of noble caste. Abraxos also learns of the Freeway, which is a magical stream of controlled water and the main means of public transportation within the city. He also learns the more sunken and lower buildings in the city are the more desirable, with the exception of the Conclave of the Deep- the palace of the emperor. He shares what he has learnt, adding manners open many doors, and this will hopefully help if we do want to leave these shores. Finally, he learns of two powerful castes within the city. The Yuan Scree, and the Yuantiva, who have the oldest heritage and most none royal control over the government and the peoples of the sunken shores.
Brant then thinks I’m and asks questions of Rahj, and what he does when the games aren’t occurring. Brant learns that Rahj is free to leave, and is millennia old and powerful. He is able to see everything between games. Watching everything and anyone who connects. Rahj shares he gets access to the “purest source” and feeds on this, but won’t tell Brant what this source is. He has lived a long time and traveled throughout the oceans, but settled here due to the sources presence. Rahj speaks and can see through a series of dark glass orbs throughout the world and he has recently spoken to an ancient king and a man from Bukka Mortaine. This is the King of Nemiscara and a man named Magnus Marché. Brant then recalls that 428 was keen to destroy these orbs, and recognises the name of Magnus, a former party member. Brant asks what the Watcher, known as Rahj knows of Venracka. He is told she has died twice and is now only a shade of her former self. Rahj is unsure of Venracka is here, in the sunken shores willingly. After some questions about Ester, Rahj shares she cannot be trusted and she is scared of what he can do, due to his level of power and influence. Brant is also able to find out that Ester’s father, the emperor is alive, but is cursed with an immortality he does not want to have. He is allegedly unable to die by any means. Brant mentions the special knife Ester plans for us to use. He asks about the Anduwin and learns that the six came from the sky, and two more were born on this world. The newest were called Nezzarh the deceiver, and Issa. Rahj tells Brant of his fight with the female Anduwin, Y’shai, and that it lasted for three hundred continuous years beneath the sea. In his fight Brant senses the Ice Stone was present, and so he takes it out of his bag of ensmallment and shows it to Rahj. He recognises it immediately as belonging to, or having its origin with y’shai, and is more Anduwin than anything else they have ever made. Rahj, a few times mentions he does not feel he has the right to tell us the rest, and that the emperor has that right.
On the morning they leave, Karl wakes seeing a row of heroic historic Frankfurts in portrait in his Manor home, going back generations, until he finds himself standing before a mirror, and looking disheveled and dirty. He tries to make himself look heroic but then exhales and his gut hangs out, showing his slightly overweight and ageing body in its disgraced form. He makes his way into the foyer and sees a small tarnished box which wasn’t there before. It’s colours change through green, purple and orange. No one else is around, other than Mr Stenton, who is trying to avoid Karl’s eye contact. The paladin gingerly opens the box and finds a small, ornate bronze dagger with a bulbous hilt. The hilt has a cap on its base, and within is a swirling storm. The whole peice looks to be incredible ornate. Karl lifts the blade by its handle, and notices the weapon begin to heat up, and a warm energy emanating from the blade. Karl the chooses to unsheathe it, and slash into a random empty direction. As he swipes, a virbrant colour shimmers in the air. The weapon takes effect, but Karl shimmers backwards through time, and separately sees himself carrying out that action. He is freely able to move around. He stands to watch his attach, and sees his original self fade, as he having moved back through time seems to have become the new Karl. Realising this effect, he closes the box, and keeps the dagger, before throwing the box into the wooden bar room. His throw is powerful, but the box is astronomically heavy. He is able to gradually and eventually get the box out of sight.
Shortly after this escapade, the rest of us reunite in the main foyer antichamber. One of the doors opens, and leads into a small room, which forms a lift style apparatus. This appears to be a really exit, rather than a summoned magical way out. We make our way out, and the lift descends and the floor falls out, letting us drop. As we fall. Abraxos points out that the higher buildings looks more delapidated in nature. Abraxos looks up and sees the building we have fallen from has large letters on the outside which roughly translate to “Zoo”. We continue falling, and have our fall magically slowed as we enter the current of the Freeway. The water takes us out to a futuristic looking market place. We see several signs which are written in Naginni, and seemingly only Patch can read these, thanks to his warlock sight. Stenton lands gracefully behind us, still accompanying our group. Drunk and hungover, Karl looks for a bin to vomit into. He sees a pool of water and vomits. A yuanti angrily comes out and shouts at the paladin, before Abraxos tells him that this water is for refreshment and drinking. Kavan sets about magically cleaning the water before we are ushered away. Town guards approach and bare arms, but Stenton stops them with a Yuan Skee seal, identifying us as the champions.
We begin down the through fair to seek out a place for Granuelle to learn augmentation. Patch sees a broken sign which says “mentation”. He points this out to Granuelle who enters the store seeing a range of items from the surface, mainly junk. An enthusiastic sea elf appear and offers a weapon once used in an historic battle on the land. He brandished an old broken walking stick that he alleged used to belong to the “king of the land people”. She browses briefly and tries to leave but the sea elf casts some suggestive spell over her, and she feels compelled to stay and buy a piece of a spinning wheel to improve her homestead. She haggles over the price of the item, and is able to snap out of the suggestive effect. She starts to leave and as she does, turns to open the void urn she trapped the green dragon inside. The dragon erupts in spectral form before becoming physical and growing to its full size, breaking the shop and shattering the building almost entirely. The dragon is thrashing around wildly. Two towns guard turn back around and clash their two blades together. Energy pulses and we see in the distance guards approaching from a range of directions. Karl backflips out of the way and Granuelle is unable to avoid the falling rubble.
Brant walks away, and Abraxos helps Granuelle out of the rubble. While Kavan and Patch take up their weapons against the dragon ready for an assault. Karl helps Abraxos and lifts the stone that’s holding her down, before he hurls the boulder at the dragon, freeing his lady. The boulder connects and gets the dragons attention. Before it can attack us, Granuelle opens the urn once more and draws the dragon back into the void devise. At that moment, Granuelle is struck with a blow by the guards which knocks her prone, but she resists the effects. Stenton runs up to the guards and produces the seal again to diffuse the situation.
We try to move on and get away from the gathering crowd. Karl asks Patch to keep an eye out for a bank, to withdraw his winning sums. A building is spotted called Leading and Loans, which has several coin piles out on the counter. Karl enters and asks to make a withdrawal. A shifty looking character takes a random book off a shelf which he declares is the records, and that a signature is needed for a handling fee. Karl is unable to see through this mans deception, and signs his name on the contract, in exchange for 5000 electrum pieces. He has unwittingly made a deal with a yuanti loan shark.
Patch is then able to more successfully direct Lady Granuelle and Karl to a place to trade in armourments and augments. The half orc approaches a green skinned male who is working on an orange plate of augments. She recognises this being as a triton, an underwater race of people, much like atlantians. She speaks with him about her trial. She learns this smith once competed and survived by crafting a beautiful and powerful trident capable of killing Rahj, and that the cobra was impressed by the craftsmanship. Granuelle asks for augmentation to be done, and for some instruction in augmentation. In hushed whispers, she is warned that the party will never be allowed to leave, but he will help her to learn. His price is 2000 electrum pieces, which Granuelle asks Karl to pay for. Abraxos then joins Karl in the blacksmiths where it is hoped he can trade his bone armour for metal armour. There is a short trade and back and forth where Abraxos trades his bone armour of a champion in exchange, and is able to make a straight trade. Whilst this occurs, Granuelle learns how to attach an augment to her armour. Karl asks for plate armour worth 3000 electrum, and is presented with strong good quality armour, which is guilded in gold and fine artistic embossments. He changes his armour, and sells his old armour for 50 electrum, happy with his spending before returning to the loan shark, who he still thinks is a bank, giving him access to his own winnings. Karl signs another contact for a further 5000 electrum pieces. When he returns we begin to get suspicious about his sudden riches.
Abraxos, Kavan and Patch escort Karl back to the loan shark. Patch changes his appearance into that if an official looking Yuan Ti in fine clothes and makes sure he has the Yuan Skee seal on his breast. He orders the shark to release Karl from his deal, or face the full wrath of the Yuan Skee class. The loan shark is so convinced of this and Patch’s deception, with Abraxos and Kavan providing muscled back up, that he breaks the contacts as well as allowing Karl to keep the money already spent. Through a combination of illusion magic and pretending to be persons of importance using the Yuan Skee seal Patch is able to convince the loan shark to destroy the magically binding contracts over Karl’s life. We quickly leave the area and rejoin Brant and Stenton to head to the end of the thoroughfare. Before us is a huge U shaped building, with a tunnel descending down, and aured by an emberous glow. The various guards are instructed to open a single barrier at the sight of the Yuan Skee seal. Granuelle volunteers to enter first, but before she can move, Kavan moves through and step to the side to wait for his employer. We all step through and Mr Stenton remains behind, as the sheild barrier is closed behind us. We are met with a molten heat, and the only way forward is down, as though burrrowed. The air heats up, and becomes uncomfortable. We move down for around an hour before seeing a huge old temple with an archway surrounded by larva in the otherside of a stone bridge. The larva and heat begin to tired Abraxos and Patch as we start to feel the sulphur take hold of our lungs, and burn our faces. We speed up our crossing and get inside the temple.
Immediately there is an old stone throne still above a series of plinths in an empty chamber. The throne itself is also empty. It is at this time that Brant tells us of what he learnt from Rahj abou the emperors immortality. Karl takes a look around, but his human eyes find it too dark to see very much in the room. Abraxos prostrates himself before the throne with his arms crossed. Seeing this, Granuelle and Kavan follow suit, and drop into a low bow. Patch copies and keeps his eyes averted. Farandril allows bows but appears uncomfortable in this area. Brant conspicuously says we were meant to be given something before we met the emperor, referencing the dagger Ester hinted at. Karl subtly reveals this to Brant from within his cloak, and the final members also bow.
After an hour or so, we hear a dark heavy form pull away from the temple walls, and move to take its seat upon the throne. It speaks in a deep raspy voice, and asks what we as champions expect of him as emperor. Granuelle steps up and says we do not expect anything, and she and her party of Outsiders are all grateful for us to have had the opportunity to compete in the games and be granted this rare and honourable audience with him. She asks if there is anything we can do for him, and the emperor replies that he expects Valour. He demands to know how we came to be in his lands, and who we were before we entered his waters. She tells of our conflict with a dark entity and that we are brought into his seas out of our control, and brought here to compete. The emperor tells that he does not care for ground people, or their dealings. He wishes to know who we fought with that was powerful enough to transport us all. Granuelle tells that we do not know it’s name, but it claimed to be a child of the Anduwin. We start to feel something gripping against the thrown and scraping the walls, intensely. He whisper screams “he deceiver” knowing her identity, and tells he was cursed by the deceiver and it is the Anduwin who turned him into what he now is, and brought ruin to his people. He asks if we align ourselves with the Deciever. Granuelle says no. She is asked if we are aligned with any Anduwin. She says she is, and he tells her she must die. The emperors eyes lock onto Farandril looking uncomfortable in his Templar armour. However, his eyes soften ever so slightly at the sight of the symbols of Y’shai across Farandril’s armour. We learn that the emperor here gave power to the leader of the Greyborn, and that this Power was given so he may resume his duties to protect the world. The emperor tells that the worlds little more than a gargantuan prison for this Deciever entity who claims to be as powerful as the Anduwin themselves. Granuelle tells how the entity appeared to be united with the Greyborn. The emperor tells he does not care for the sea or the ground people, but only about maintaining this prison facility. That the ancient machines on the world are built to maintain the prison facility. Granuelle says that the Greyborn emperor should be stripped of this power and it gifted to his brother, The Seer, who we met earlier with Amelie. The yuanti emperor expresses that he is frustrated that he cannot leave this prison, and that Granuelle’s suggestion of removing the Greyborn emperor wouldn’t help him, as he feels he can control his leader and the Seer is thought to be more unstable recently.
Abraxos speaks up, with permission. He questions the level of control he has over the Greyborn emperor, given his apparent allegiance with the Deciever. He warns that the prison cannot be opened ever, save for if a single being possessed all the Anduwin items. Items which those being supposedly left parts of their souls and powers in. Abraxos warns he has knowledge of the Greyborn emperor is collecting these items, and he already has the Sword of Marr. The yuanti emperor begins to think on about this, and wonders about a possible betrayal. He is unsure if we are the ones to help. We have been searching for them, in the hope that bringing them together will help to undo immortality on the Greyborn. This emperor asks where we learnt of these items, and we tell we spent time in Naramia with some scholars. We are warned not to trust anyone who seems to know too much about these items. Brant begins to speak, and shares of his conversation with Rahj. He tells of the Ice Stone, and asks the emperor about it, as Rahj instructed. The item is slowly unveiled and Brant is told to look upon the emperor. The only one of us allowed to see him, Brant sees a man who is approximately 12feet tall and rotted away to nothing but bone. His wears melted and ruined armour still guilded with fading gold. His face is broken and tormented. The ice stone is magically lifted into the arm, before the emperor and Brant is ask where he found this. He tells the complicated and honest trust that the item sudden appeared in his pocket. We learn this item is the heart of Y’Shai and at that Anduwin tore it from her body when she saw what her child had done to the yuanti, in making them the fallen. The emperor tells how Y’Shai had another child with his father, Tarn Lesoto, who was forced to flee when the other Anduwin turned against her. Brant is told to take the heart to where she rests, to bring her back. She was buried on Onkonos with her lover, in an ancient tomb. It is thought that returning this item to her will bring her forth and allow the Anduwin back into this world. It seems that the emperor has little respect for the Anduwin in general but has least contempt for Y’Shai, given his knowledge of the union between her and his father and their alleged second child.
And that’s where we left off.