Session 58
Place Holder Outline

Session 58

The next day (still on the back of the Zaratan)

  • Hasan and Dendera isolate themselves for the day and have a more civilized discussion about Hasan taking the ring.
  • Sehera throws her iron shoes in the ocean, and enlists Feng’s help to find out more about the ring.
  • Lyr and the Beegowh talk and Lyr finds out a few things.
    • The Beegowh refers to the symbol of the eye surrounded by wings as Maalik.
    • Maalik possessed great wisdom but retreated to the “Red Lands” long ago.
    • The “Red Lands” may also be the Ruby Mountain.
    • Maalik may have been Bahamut.
  • Feng figures out how to cook the “seagulls”, no one else partakes.
    • More for Feng.
  • In the afternoon Sehera and Feng seek out Hasan.
    • Sehera apologizes for yelling at him.
      • Makes it known she is still dipleased.
      • Pringle is not an object that can just be taken to suit someone’s needs nor does Hasan have any claim or right to him.
      • She will not let him intentionally use the ring.
      • Hasan confirms that he does not want to use the ring.
  • Feng, helps to investigate the ring and try to figure out how it works.
    • The ring is magical but not sure how.
    • Will not come off Hasan’s finger.
    • Every time Sehera touches the ring it turns to leathery skin.
      • Might be the flayed skin of Pringle, or a relative… gross.
    • When Sehera is touching the ring it seems to be more susceptible to spells.
  • Feng casts dispel on the ring.
  • Hasan yanks the ring off his finger and tosses it away from him.
    • Sehera uses one of Indira’s arrows to pick it up.
    • She taps the ring, it turns to flesh and adheres to the tip of her finger.
      • Sehera pulls her finger away but leaves behind a layer of skin.
    • Hasan has a greyish black mark on his finger where the ring was.
  • It is agreed that the ring should be held by Lyr for safe keeping.
    • triple bagged.

A day later:

  • The mark on Hasan’s finger is growing.
  • After much deliberation the idea of cutting Hasan’s finger off is brought up.
  • Lyr offers to regrow the finger if it is removed.
    • Hasan agrees.
  • Hasan is drugged, his finger is cut off, and a new one is promptly grown.
    • A few moments after it is removed his finger turns black and then dissolves in to rust flakes.

Over the next five days:

  • Lyr tries to send a message (via the sending spell) to the Effulgent One but is not successful.
  • She tries to send one to Nessisus instead.
    • Through a very round about back and forth Lyr learns:
      • Both Nessisus and Effulgent one are being well cared for.
      • Umaran has been sneaking around and putting some kind of oil on the Effulgent One and Nessisus’ faces while they are sleeping.
    • Lyr tells Nessisus to make they keep their faces clean.
  • The party debates how to get the Effulgent One back and prevent Chalazias from creating a disaster by raising the long dead.
  • Feng comes up with several elaborate heist plans.
    • At some point models are built and partial maps are made.
    • The others are concerned about the success of these plans because the party does not know enough about were they are going or what they will encounter.
  • Syla suggests convincing Chalazias to alter his plan by using the Cintamani to create a Favored Soul. Who, with the help of the saramite, would be powerful enough to resurrect all of those that fell in the battle.
    • The long dead could not be brought back by using the Cintamani. It would just create new people based on the memories of whoever was using it. Their personalities would only be based on what the other person remembered of them and they would have no memories except for the ones they shared with the user of the Cintamani.
  • The party agrees to try Syla’s plan of appealing to Chalazias’ better nature first.
    • Portions of Feng’s heist plans become the back up plan if they fail.

Rendezvous point is reached.

  • When the pirate ship is spotted Feng turns himself into a large seabird.
  • The pirate ship that was sent to meet the party is a little surprised to find an island waiting for them.
  • The party boards the boat except for Feng who follows in bird form.
    • The party is brought below deck and kept out of sight of any windows.
    • Feng has some fun messing with one of the sailors.
  • A day passes on the ship.
  • In the morning Feng observes one of the sailors using a sextant even though it is overcast and daytime.
    • The ship adjusts course and sails through some kind of barrier.
    • Suddenly the ship is in the midst of Chalazias’ fleet, which was not visible moments before.
  • The party is brought on deck and transferred to the Sidero Lykos.
    • Feng remains in seabird form and lands on the deck of the ship while the rest of the party is escorted to the audience chamber.
      • Feng transforms into a deckhand and tries to blend in.
      • He gets yelled for missing a spot mopping up but otherwise avoids detection.
  • The party is led through the ship by Danfyre, a black scale Lizardfolk and Bosun of the Sidero Lykos
    • Also in the escort is Nethkan.
      • He is more than a little creepy and has been hanging out with Nessisus.
      • Danfyre refers to him as “The Fool” but indicates that he is not someone you want to encounter in a fight.
  • When the party enters the audience chamber Pringle starts to whine and hides behind Chalazias’ throne in fear.
    • He seems to converse with Pringle for a moment and then demands to know what we have brought on board that is upsetting the wolf.
      • Sehera, as concisely as possible, tells the whole story about the ring.
        • Makes it clear that they had no intention of using it but brought it with them because it seemed like something that would come back at the wrong time with horrible results, if they threw it away.
        • Offers to hand it over, but warns about it being clingy.
    • Chalazias has Danfyre take the ring from Lyr.
      **They will have it destroyed.
  • Chalazias asks if the party has brought him the Philosopher’s Stone.
    • Party explains that the Philosopher’s stone is not a thing but a formula and for that you need the nameless philosopher’s skull.
      • Makes the additional point that Umaran Comashio should have known that seeing as how he had a hand in the nameless philosopher’s demise.
    • The party presents the Cintamani as an alternative along with the alteration to his original plan.
      • Umaran insists that the original plan will work.
      • Party disagrees & accuses Umaran of using Chalazias.
        • He says he is aware that Umaran is shady.
      • Chalazias wants proof of the Cintamani’s power.
      • Syla suggests he use the Cintamani to create a favored soul right now, if Umaran is telling the truth than there will still be enough power for the original plan to work and they loose nothing. If Umaran is wrong/lying then they still have a way of bringing back those who fall in the battle.
    • Chalazias agrees to try Syla’s suggestion and asks for the Cintamani.
      • Lyr is very reluctant to part with it.
      • Sehera offers to take it from her so that Lyr is not the one who handed it over. Lyr yields and give it to her.
  • The Cintamani is given to Chalazias.
    • Umaran seems rather unconfortable about this.
    • He attempts to get it away from Chalazias.
      • Chalazias tells him not to be fooled by his calm demeanor and back the hell up.
  • While Chalazias is focusing on the Cintamni, Umaran pulls out a vial of something and drinks it.
    • A greenish glow appears over his heart, looks like a fairy fire outline of a beating heart.
      • Reveals that if his heart stops all of the the saramite stored in the hold will explode.
      • Then he transforms into a Death Giant.
    • Members of the crew start to transform into dust wights.
      • Its not pleasant.
  • The ring Danfyre is holding opens up a portal and out pops Ashaphael.
    • He’s not happy with Hasan.
Session 57
Place Holder Outline

Fight With Siúlóir

  • Siúlóir is accompanied by several undead redcaps, and a death reaver.
    • Death reaver: gorilla like body, had two tongues and two axes, the tongues wrapped around its arms and were licking the gore off its axes. It feeds off or gains power by consuming the undead redcaps.
  • Siúlóir immediately throws up a wall of blades and then uses something to send Hasan, Dendera, and Sehera in to a blind rage.
    • Dendera and Hasan attack each other.
    • Sehera attacks Siúlóir.
  • Syla goes after the Death Reaver.
  • Indira discovers that any arrow she shoots at Siúlóir is deflected back at her.
    • Helps Syla with the Death Reaver instead.
    • They bring it down.
  • Lyr and Feng take down the undead.
    • Feng is annoyed by Siúlóir’s spell resistance.
  • Lyr keeps Hasan, Dendera, and Sehera from dying but can not stop them from raging.
    • Uses calm emotions on Hasan and Dendera to suppress their rage, while Indira ties them up to keep them from doing further damage.
  • Something splashes out of a pool in the room but nothing is seen.
  • A few moments later Sehera is bit by something invisible.
    • This cancels the rage effect and makes her immune to any further attempts by Siúlóir to send her back into a rage.
  • Siúlóir address the invisible new comer as the King of the Fomorians.
    • While mocking him Siúlóir reveals that the king was over thrown and cursed to be in his current state.
    • The party realizes that this is non other than Mr. White.
  • With Sehera able to use her fighting abilities and more healing from Lyr. The party defeats Siúlóir.

Aftermath of the fight

  • The Beegowh is released.
    • Lyr converses with it and asks for its help with the Zaratan.
    • The Beegowh agrees to help. It uses some kind of call to communicate the working of the portals to the other Qu’ah Qi in Tir Na Nog.
  • Sehera wanders off and is found sitting on the floor, exhausted, and surrounded by small owls.
    • She inquires after Mion, but he has not been found.
  • The Party returns to the back of the Zaratan.
  • The Beegowh is taken to the head of the Zaratan and begins to speak to it.
    • The party can not hear what is being said but the Zaratan seems cranky at first and then suddenly makes a somewhat panicked noise and beings to move forward at good pace.
    • The Beegowh admits to Lyr that he may have not done the best job of explaining things but the Zaratan will take us to the appointed meeting spot.
      • Apparently he told the Zaratan that Chalizias’ plan would result in the all the fish he ever ate coming back to life and haunting him.
  • Hasan starts to leave the group and head off alone.
    • Dendera follows him and begins berating him for taking the ring.
      • She is mad because he has taken on additional quests when he now has a family to think of.
    • Sehera also starts yelling at him for taking the ring.
      • She is mad because Pringle is not just an object he can give away.
Session 56

September 1, Tír Na Nóg

It is hard to know what time it is, but we were all weary from the events of the day, particularly the rain. Unfortunately, no rest was to be found in the presence of the Hell Forge. Indira and Sehera left the cave to explore the area, while the rest of us stayed put. Eventually Lyr finished speaking with the creatures—evidently they mistook her for someone else, the individual responsible for freeing their charge—and, since we had not heard from them in hours, sent a message to Sehera.

They had found another cave, home to some comparatively friendly creatures called Fomorians, and we joined them. These strange, malformed (to our eyes at least) beings were put off by our numbers and weapons, but gracious enough to let us stay in their cave for a few hours.

Sehera and Indira left again to explore another spot they had found. I think she Sehera is mad at me. She hasn’t said anything, but she’s not been exactly subtle. Dendera too has done little but glare at me for the past few hours. If they want to be angry at me for following the only path open to us, so be it.

September 2

By the time we awoke from our rest, Indira and Sehera had returned. They had found another enclave of fey folk, small creatures called Lilliputians. (We had seen one earlier, when we arrived; Mr. Buckle punted it away like a ball before we had a chance to speak with it.) These little fellows were no mere huddled refugees, but a revolutionary cell, waiting for their time to strike Siúlóir. Seeing potential allies in Indira and Sehera, they gave them a talisman with which to summon their aid and some delicious crumpets.

We returned to the cave of the guardian creatures and found our shoes ready. They fit, though are somewhat difficult to move in. We carried them in my bag of holding until we reached the Bród Neamh.

Indira sniped a redcap standing guard, levitated up to the tower, tied off a rope, and the rest of us climbed up. With the iron shoes on our feet, we found we could walk on the walls and ceiling as easily as the floor, with whichever surface we stood on becoming the new direction of gravity, provided one foot was in contact with the surface. Jumping from a wall would send us crashing to the ceiling. Floor? It’s all very disorienting.

We proceeded up the spiraling central stairway, from the top of the tower which was now the bottom towards the bottom of the tower, which is now the top.

In iron shoes, stealth was never an option, our clanging footsteps echoing through the tower. Eventually, the redcaps in the tower heard us and started hurling invectives, then rocks and filth at us. After Dendera was struck, nearly knocking her from the stairs, we took a detour into one of the floors and stumbled across a room containing a statue, holding an extravagant scabbard. It was obviously trapped, but easily disarmed, so we took the item. We also found a parchment; while marked with illegible text, it was obviously a simplified map of the tower. Some interesting symbols caught our eyes, and we resolved to check on those rooms.

Instead of returning to the central stair, we decided to try walking on the outside of the tower. The boots still worked on the exterior, but as we ascended we began to hear a rumbling, something coming closer from around the girth of the tower. As the rumbling came close, we went back inside and ascended the stairs some more, walking upside down to keep the redcaps from hitting us with their various projectiles.

We heard them clamoring to bring something that would foil our clever and entirely anticipated tactic, a large pearlescent ooze they dropped onto the stairs from a cauldron. It spread, engulfing both sides of the stairs, and began to roll towards us. When it was nearly upon us, we darted into one of the floors, the ooze close behind us. The others ran as fast as they could up the tower, but I lingered, a plan forming.

The rumbling of what we reasoned to be the tower’s external security features growing louder, I lured the ooze along with me, keeping out of its reach. Two massive stone faces rounded the tower, tongues or arms stretching from their mouths with grasping hands.

I held my pace until all three foes were upon me, dodging their grasping attacks until, with a feint, I redirected the ooze’s slapping pseudopods to the face. I dashed back, into a window as the stone faces converged not on me, but on the ooze.

I caught up with my companions, who had discovered one of the landmarks from the map, a room containing murals and a stone device like the one that brought us here.

Distressingly, one of the murals depicted a scene resembling the same prophecy we found in Zarjasz al-Ulaq.

We figured out how to activate the device and found it sent us to another room in the tower. Unfortunately, this room was off the barracks of the redcaps. Through open doors, we saw them gathered at the staircase, waiting for us to show ourselves again. There were far to many for us to fight on our own.

Taking off our shoes, we tried to sneak past, to get to a window, but did not notice a redcap hiding in the shadows. Before Feng slew him, he was able to get off a warning, and the redcaps began to pour in.

Remembering her new allies, Sehera summoned the Lilliputians, who arrived within seconds in the form of owls. Though the redcaps were larger and stronger, the Lilliputians had numbers in their favor, and gave us a window to continue on.

We found our way to a large chamber, a great hall or the like. Here, Siúlóir waited, magnificent and terrible…

Session 55

September 1, Tír Na Nóg

After getting Indira from the other side of the portal, we began a trek to the tower. Mister White assured us we should have little trouble finding some redcaps. Unfortunately, on our trip, it began to rain, torrential, cold rain coming up from the ground, reaching a certain height, and falling back down, soaking us from both sides. Yet again, I was glad to have purchased that cloak before our journey into the desert, though even its protective magic only helped so much from being soaked.

I have rarely seen Feng more miserable than he was in that up-and-downpour.

As we neared the tower, we spotted a group of running figures, about the size of a robust halfling, a band of redcaps. They were headed at speed back to the tower, and we gave chase for quite a while. Unfortunately we were unable to stop them. But that party was not the only, for we could see in the distance other raiding parties, returning to the tower.

We put ourselves between a group and the tower and soon were engaged in combat. The redcaps were brutal combatants, strong and unnaturally tough. But, though the battle was long, they were not a match for us. We slew them, chasing down the few who tried to run, and took their shoes.

We returned to Mister Buckle’s cave, or rather we attempted to. We found ourselves instead confronted by three strange, toothy monstrosities who lingered at the edge of our light. They spoke cryptically, but they offered to assist us, that they would summon the Hell Forge. In return, they only wished to speak to Lyr, who acquiesced under the condition that what they would speak of would be Pelor. This seemed to both confuse and please the creatures.

And so, they went aside with Lyr and, for the rest of us, summoned the Hell Forge.

The name of this entity proved to be entirely accurate, for the Hell Forge was a demon of fire and iron. It would make the iron shoes for us, but demanded a service in return, the return of the “Lodestone,” which we knew of as Chalazias’ magic beast, Pringle.

Over Sehera’s objections, I agreed to his terms. I am sure paying this price will bring us pain. I am also sure that not paying it will bring us greater pain; Chalazias does not need us to return to proceed with his plans, but only by returning can we hope to stop a war, and perhaps a greater atrocity. Not to mention the beegowh, imprisoned by Siúlóir, or our shipmates, marooned on the back of the Zaratan.

The Ordo Clavis, The Black Phoenix, Chalazias, Asha Druj, the Hell Forge, I grow weary of these deals and truces with devils.

Session 54

August 20, Akkarid

Today, we took advantage of being in the city to prepare, for we must continue our journey as quickly as possible. With some advice from the Feshtarken—who were still adapting to life at the docks of the city—we were able to find a fast ship willing to take us on as guards.

I spent most of the day with Dendera and Yashran, as a family. He remains a very shy child, but he did enjoy the serpent market.

It was easily the most stressful day of my life.

September 1

Our journey to this point has been largely uneventful. I have excised the last ten days of my journal from this copy, the content therein little but mundantiy.

Lyr has spent her time mostly in reclusion with the Cintamani, Feng in study, and the rest of us working as necessary. One may not linger idly long aboard a ship such as this one before someone hands you a line or a mop.

When we were not working, I have spent most of my time with Dendera. This is a challenge I do not know how to face.

The expectation for my life was to be quietly useful. I should have been married off to that nice girl I met as a child and lived in a limbo of responsibility, not high enough in the succession to be given an important position, not common enough to be expected to work, beyond some nominal military service and paying others to raise my herds.

My hopes for my life were a fairy story. The other day, when we had our only moment of “guarding the ship” thus far, I stood on deck and watched, with the crew, as Feng single-handedly crippled and terrorized a pirate ship into retreat. My sword hung at my hip, utterly useless. I dreamed of carving a mark into the world with my blade, but I see now that I would have better luck defeating a dragon with a butter knife.

I don’t know what this means for me. For us. I see a similar frustration in Dendera. For years, she has known nothing but battle and a journey back to her son. Now, save for this one final hour detour, she has reached that goal, and has no idea what will come next.

Today, our otherwise smooth travels met with a large obstacle, one the size of an island.

From deep in the waters below us, something rose up beneath the ship, a barren island erupting from nowhere. Our ship was stuck on a rocky ridge, causing great damage, but probably less than if it had simply toppled over.

As we watched, things resembling vegetation erupted from the rocky surface, plants-like structures that we discovered were actually keratinous fibers, like massive hairs.

As the crew scrambled to work on the hole in the ship, we investigated our surroundings. Sehera found a peculiar structure jammed into the rocky surface, hexagonal stones resembling those we saw on the island of the Qu’ah Qi. Something happened and, suddenly, a man appeared, a peculiar, human-looking fellow in unfamiliar clothes. He said his name was “Mister Buckle” and that he was human, an odd assertion. He also said he was not alone, that a “Mister White” was accompanying him, a dangerous, and invisible companion.

After introductions were made, Mister Buckle explained that he was from another place, called Tír Na Nóg and had found his way here quite by accident. He also explained that we seemed to be on the back of a thing called a Zaratan, a titanic, primordial sea turtle.

We surveyed our surroundings; the island did seem to have a strangely regular shape and, imagined at a different scale, the ridges and formations of the surface could be similar to the contours of a turtle’s shell.

We picked the end that seemed most likely to be the head and proceeded to the edge.

Indira dove underwater, finding the creature’s massive face. It seemed to be asleep, likely drifting to the surface on instinct to breathe, like a whale.

We attempted to contact the creature through magic, but it was too deeply asleep, and its dreaming mind too vast, for us to make any sort of impression. Waking the creature through violence seemed a risky proposition. Even if we were to find a way to make an impression on the thing, there was no telling if it would retaliate.

Eventually, on Mister Buckle’s suggestion, we decided to see if there was something that could help us in Tír Na Nóg. It seemed a better use of our expertise than simply helping rebuild the ship.

After determining how the portal device worked, most of us accompanied Mister Buckle and Mister White back.

Tír Na Nóg

Tír Na Nóg, the realm of the creatures known as the Fae, was once a place of light and strange beauty, but years ago something literally turned it upside down.

We found ourselves standing on the dark sky, a glassy substance, with a city of great spires hanging above us like stalactites. As he led us to his lair, Mister Buckle explained that, in the wake of the cataclysm, a powerful Fae named Siúlóir, some sort of embodiment of rage, had taken control of the largest spire, Bród Neamh and the city as a whole, with an army of creatures called Redcaps as his soldiers. These creatures now acted as terror squads, assaulting the other survivors seemingly at random.

These survivors included a population of Qu’ah Qi, who had arrived in the city through unknown means (perhaps the hexagonal artifact on their island). Siúlóir had captured their Beegowh and, as a new one had not been born, it should still be alive. If we can rescue the Beegowh, perhaps it would be strong enough to contact the Zaratan.

To do this, we will need to get to the tower, which descends to about twenty-five feet above what is now the ground, and to scale the tower. To do this, we will need iron shoes, iron having strange properties here. To get iron, we will need to find and defeat a group of redcaps, who use the shoes to travel between the tower and the sky-ground, then we must take the shoes to a being called The Hell Forge, which will make us shoes we can wear.

No problem, right?

Session 53

August 19, Zarjasz al-Ulaq

In the morning, we shared some of the secrets of our shortcut to Akkarid with Lady Laracroix and Bacarhim Zdadegan, offering passage for them and some of their retainers. Lady Laracroix gladly accepted. Though they remain skeptical, even somewhat dismissive of our claims about the skull of the Nameless Philosopher, a portion of Al Haddid Jalut will accompany us as well.

Our party returned to Al-Mhuqtebel. A large mirror was blocking our exit. We moved it aside and looked around the house, finding it entirely empty. A crash brought us back to the mirror, which had been knocked aside. Footprints were burned into the floor, leading to a nearby window.

It was at that moment that the doorbell was rung. A group of priests, as surprised to see us as we were to see them, were without. They had been summoned to exorcise something, something we had, apparently, released. Fortunately, one of them knew where my family had gone.


The Lestoue family was being hosted by another family—or more accurately, allowed to use their townhouse indefinitely—and my aunt and uncle had gone to them for aid. They were, of course, surprised to see us, but welcomed us warmly.

We learned what had happened; in seeking to destroy Kage Okosa’s sword, Lazar had used his most powerful fire magic to destroy the blade. However, instead of destroying the blade’s power, it freed it. Lazar had been laid low by the thing, the spirit of the blade, and was comatose. Lyr was able to revive him, but he was quite disoriented and, despite his cavalier attitude, concerned about what had been released.

There was nothing more we could do at this time, so with Abu’s help we readied things for the other parties’ arrival.

It took several hours to get the others through Al-Mhuqtebel and to Lady Lestoue’s accommodations. By the evening, everything was complete. Lady Laracroix, the Arajnord, and their key retainers were graciously hosted by Lady Lestoue, while the bulk of the tereshal went to a nearby inn.

Over dinner, we shared our tales and were, finally, able to show the others just what we had found. As we had suspected, once we had the opportunity to get The Nameless Philosopher talking, he did most of the work for us. Barlan in particular was fascinated. He and Claudia have a prior relationship of some sort with Lady Laracroix and he seemed eager to give his aid to her. I wish him all the luck in keeping his sanity after prolonged exposure to The Nameless Philosopher.

We learned a few other interesting facts over the course of the night. Syla is, despite their apparent relative ages, Chalazias’ mother. Though she claims not to know him well, hopefully her presence will help bring about a positive ending to this situation. I have my doubts though; even should we reach an agreement with the pirate king, he leads an army of fanatics, who may not accept it should he change his mind.

I had hoped that the Cintamani might prove to be a weapon we could use against the pirates if we needed to, but there we are again denied. With some unexpected insight from Chaim, we learned that the artifact is, essentially, crystallized life energy, like the energies of samsara, but new, untouched. It is more a source of power than an artifact with a purpose.

And so eventually, we went to bed, no closer to any plan at dealing with the Pirate King.

Session 52

August 18, Zarjasz al-Ulaq

I rushed the Dread Reliquary, moving as quickly as I could so to give our spellcasters room to work. I damaged the mechanisms in its head, but it grabbed me in its huge claws, all but crushing the life out of me. I tried to break its grip with my hammer to no avail. The others assaulted vigorously and it dropped me, changing is fighting stance.

By Lady Laracroix was ready for it, and unleashed her fury upon it. Her previous attacks had allowed her magical sword to attune to the Reliquary’s armor, and now her attacks cut through as it was not there at all. The construct shuddered and collapsed.

Victory, though, was not yet at hand, for the crystal sarcophagus opened and the remains of Bennura rose, a lich of no doubt fearsome power. But such might was naught before the will of Pelor. Lyr admonished the creature and it was destroyed utterly in a burst of holy light.

A glowing object, about the size of a large pomegranate, tumbled from where the lich’s heart should have been. We had found the Cintamani.

Searching the room, we found a shaft leading down into another room. Some of my companions descended to investigate, while I planned to ascend, for we had heard shouts of triumph and relief when the Reliquary was destroyed. The Guardian had failed instantly. One of the Marut descended first, simply jumping down. I explained what he was looking at, that the pile of dust was all that remained of Bennura. Eframostis verified this and, once the other remaining Marut were satisfied, they left.

I ascended to inform the other groups what was happening. I made my explanation quick, for the others were calling for me.

In the chamber below was a peculiar apparatus, the teleportation device Mudu had told us about. Feng had tried the apparatus first. While none of us were sure what, exactly, happened, he did disappear… Sehera, determined to reunite Khegan with his sword, tried the apparatus next, taking the key to Al-Mhuqtebel.

The other parties arrived shortly thereafter and we all evacuated the fortress-temple.

In the camp, we were greeted with much excitement, which Asha Druj cut short. With yet another of her peculiar rings, she summoned forth a titanic creature, like an armored jellyfish the size of a ship that hovered in the air. This thing struck Zarjasz al-Ulaq with powerful magic and, suddenly, the entire structure was gone.

The disruption momentarily liquefied the sand and nearly everybody was sent tumbling down into the pit or just vanishing beneath the surface. Feng, in a stroke of luck, had taken a staff from Bennura’s sarcophagus that allowed him to control earth; with a great effort, he caused those buried beneath the sand to be ejected. Many received minor injuries, but none were killed. I do not think that Asha Druj was concerned about violating the contract, though…

Our portal to Al Mhuqtebel was now quite a distance up in the air. Indira and I rallied a few hands and we quickly erected a large net, using some destroyed canopies, to ready for Sehera’s return.

Exhausted, we went to bed.

Later, Sehera described her meeting with Khegan. He had been travelling across the desert, having had some form of vision commanding him to return to his people. He was all too happy for the shortcut Sehera provided. They met with Cressida, who seemed busy but well, and enjoyed themselves for a few hours. Apparently, the Zythu encampment was being broken apart, the tribes separating again and resuming their nomadic way of life.

Session 51

August 18, Zarjasz al-Ulaq

The effect of the trap, fortunately, lasted only a few seconds. Freeing myself, I rushed back to the flying boat and revived Dendera with a potion, and she was then healed by Lyr.

Feng, Lyr, Eframostis, and Indira dispatched the dragons that were harassing us, as Sehera slew the remaining dragons that were overwhelming Lady Laracroix and Syla.

We surveyed the locking mechanisms. There were six, three locked, three unlocked, and we needed to unlock all six. Eframostis found a button on the boat that did something, apparently unlocking the traps. The switches were linked in such a way that throwing them would throw two others, so we had to work together, yelling over the sounds of battle and the racket of the engine, throwing them in the right order.

When complete, a shaft opened in the floor, leading below. We secured a rope to the boat and descended. There, we found the dread reliquary. Or it found us, for it was a massive construct, a gargantuan metal scorpion, with the remains of Bennura cast in a crystal sarcophagus upon its back.

Have I mentioned how much I hate scorpions?

Session 50

August 18, Zarjasz al-Ulaq

The other groups remained unimpressed by our revelation about The Nameless Philosopher and changed the subject. Eframostis took the golden skull, citing his “high tolerance for social interaction.” It seems safer for the skull to be stored in his metal body than in my bag of holding too.

After enough time to catch our breath and for injuries to be treated, we proceeded down the stairs to the engine room. The trip was largely silent, as our fellow explorers girded themselves for battle and considered their lost comrades.

The engine room is a large, open, domed chamber, with a polished, glasslike floor. Hanging in the center was a complicated, massive contraption, the “frictionless double pendulum” that powers Zarjasz al-Ulaq. Periodically, it sent out a massive discharge of lightning, sometimes striking large metal plates that seemed designed for the purpose, but sometimes arcing randomly across the chamber.

Asha Druj’s perfect composure slipped for a moment, and I was reminded that this was what she sought to see. Unfortunately for her, there was no time to examine it.

In the center of the room, under the engine, was a wide, low dome, ringed by devices that appeared to be the locking mechanisms Mudu had warned us about. Near us was a stone boat-like apparatus, which hovered above the floor.

The Guardian of Zarjasz al-Ulaq emerged and launched stone feathers from its wings. Where these landed, dragons of many different appeared. My companions and I piled into the boat and I piloted it towards the center, while the other groups held back the Guardian.

Lady Laracroix and Syla leapt off as we approached the screen of dragons, as did Sehera a moment later. The boat was capable of motion in all three dimensions, and I steered us as quickly as I could towards the center. We did not make the trip unscathed, for Dendera was paralyzed by one of the dragon’s magic, but we made it to the center all the same, with several of the dragons in hot pursuit.

The slick floor, nearly as frictionless as the space occupied by the engine, proved to be a boon for Sehera; shockingly fast in the most mundane circumstances, she glided along the floor at incredible speeds, a spinning engine of destruction. By the battles’ end she slew half of the dragons, several of them entirely by herself, a feat the likes of which I had never heard, let alone witnessed.

With Dendera paralyzed and the others engaged with the dragons—those around us remained airborne, rendering me somewhat useless—I braved the locks. We had been warned they were trapped, but I had not expected anything like what happened. When I grabbed the lock’s handle, I suddenly found myself falling upwards, towards the incandescent engine.

I grabbed on with all my strength, looped the strap of a bag around the handle, and watched as one of the dragons struck down my paralyzed wife.

Session 49

August 18, Zarjasz al-Ulaq

As The Nameless Philosopher narrated the approach of the Adav Nejmakohn, Lyr cast a warding spell. When the ward fell, we braced ourselves. The creature emerged—a tall, fearsome thing, covered in bands of metal that may have been part of its skin, not armor—demanding we surrender Lyr to him. This, of course, was not an option, and so we entered battle with the alien entity.

A mighty foe in its own right, massive, densely armored, and possessing powerful magics, it was accompanied by a peculiar golem, constructed of scrolls, broken magical items, and mold. The two foes bombarded us with devastating magics, but we recovered our balance and fought back.

As Indira peppered the golem with arrows, I did my best to tangle up the Adav Nejmakohn, allowing our companions to assault the thing. It was a brutal combatant, wielding a polearm with a blade of pure energy. It savaged me, but Lyr was able to keep me standing while we whittled away at it.

After nearly a minute of being pounded on by this alien warrior, I realized the golem’s magical assaults were too much to be ignored. I rushed it, holding it back from Indira as she finished it off.

The Adav Nejmakohn did not last much longer against our combined assault. When its armored body was finally broken open, its insides were revealed to be pure blackness. With a horrific howl, it collapsed in on itself until it vanished.

The “King of the Stars” left behind no trace of itself save its weapon. The magic of the polearm was so strong, however, that none of us could wield it save Indiria, who is not inclined to use such weapons.

Most of the components of the golem were destroyed by time and mold, though we pillaged a few potentially useful things from it. We sealed a few of the scrolls in an oilskin bag for later examination. This was Bennura’s workshop, and they may contain information of interest.

The Nameless Philosopher directed us to the forge, and Mudu joined us shortly thereafter. It worked with Sehera to bind one of her swords—the one given to her—to herself. She wishes to return the other blade to Khegan, and asked if there was anything in the fortress that could help her do so. Mudu explained that, one the ninth basement, there is a teleportation device, an untested invention that should allow the user to go anywhere they wish. However, it sounds like it does require an active user; she cannot just send the sword somewhere.

Afterwards, some of the compounds used by the forge remained; one could enhance existing enchantments, the other could remove them. I enhanced Nesr, sacrificing an enchanted dagger as a source of power. We considered removing the dangerous enchantments on the polearm, but decided there was neither time nor necessity to do so. In any case, we may need this power later, perhaps to break the protections of The Dread Reliquary.

Mudu confirmed our suspicions by informing us the Guardian was in conflict with Ahsa Druj’s party. We dared not risk becoming a more tempting target by recklessly experimenting with magic. Fortunately, her group had succeeded in their assignment—as had the other—and were retreating to the safety of the floor above. We hurried through the desolate workshop and beat the others to safety. We had enough time to discuss matters further with The Nameless Philosopher.

By the time the others arrived, we were all so growing so weary of his wandering, contradictory, and often deliberately aggravating personality, that we were ready to pass him on to the others, for he is as close to the true Philosopher’s Stone as we are likely to find. He will be a vital font of knowledge to those with more patience. Of course, he chose that moment to stop talking…


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