Privateer

Episode 135 Recap
Balls the size of a Mote, Old/New Frenemy, Tentacles reach

The battle is over, the heroes have one, Zinn is dead. Suddenly a Flame Strike, fit to destroy us all is screaming down upon us. And a shield of protection intervenes and saves all our lives.

Then Orborus speaks to us.

He laments about Galenthia opposing him, and the loss of his young spawn. Then he asks us what we want. We all pause for a while, then Deagha speaks first, he wants the world and the motes to be restored, put back together. Shah hesitantly echoes the same. Another long pause, and Rand says he wants nothing from him. Another long pause. Then he says “even now one of your hearts turns towards me, interesting…”

We go about the cleaning out the rest of the tower. The Orcs kill themselves to get out of our way. Gradually we explore this new fertile open land.

We establish New Grifton, lay out the structure of the baby city with organized streets, sanitation and clean water for all. We build a void dock and design safety measures for it. We create a market square to rival any that exists. We make place names and a statue in honor of Zinnaerriss. We explore the rest of the mote and establish where the best mining, pasture lands and farming is. And every time “we” is used it’s mostly Deagha. Who knew druids were well designed for city building?

In the meantime we invited all the Scimitar Rock refugees to the new city and the mote, newly renamed Galenthia – in honor of our miracle that saved our lives. The goddess of all goodness.
They all come, and with them most of the inhabitants of Ash Cliffs come as well, seeking a fresh start.
The mayor however, is not allowed to come, for his crime of turning a blind eye to the abductions against his people. Yet he was deeply repentant, and opted to stay on the Ash Cliff motes to try to make things better, and improve the lives of the folks in the wilderness who stayed.

We send the word out to all the motes. New Grifton, on the mote of Galenthia is a bright new spot to begin a good life. We seek highly skilled people of all types to come, contribute and prosper. Beck and other go out and spread the word. And gradually the people come. The population is already at 800 or there about.

Draugarland comes to the mote, and waits patiently on our ship. He has clearly charmed everyone on the boat. The group prepares for battle, goes into the great hall in the ship, we dismiss all the others and get down to business.

Draugarland, curtly named as just Garland by Rand, due to the loss of the title when Scimitar Rock fell, tells us why he came. He was intending to have our heads, in revenge for the death of his people, but when he arrived and saw so many of his beloved people from Belheim he suspended his hostility and instead was just wanting to find out what happened.

We told him all the bloody details about what happened first to Belheim after his death. About Thoko and the Torc, and eventually about Frass and the Torc and the destruction of the mote. He was deeply grateful for our rescue of so many. In exchange he told us much as well. For instance he never planned on killing the townsfolk of Grifton, he told us how he is the new leader of the Southern Dragon motes.

He told us how came to Scimitar Rock, and how Evil Rand has been pulling strings for eons of time. A great and terrible enemy. He believes the libraries he has access to might hold the key to returning Sentinel from unlife back to life, and he will investigate. In thanks Rand even invited him to come ashore so long as he only comes in peace, to visit with his loved ones from Belheim. And Rand even expressed willingness to support Garland in his leadership of the southern dragons.

Garland gave us his perspective of just how amazing and intense it is to have deities interacting against us and for us in our plane, even showed a hint of fear about what we did with Orborus. Galenthia is something of a secret god, and to name our Mote after her is pretty bold. “How bold?” Well we’d have to ‘have balls the size of mote’ to do it. We all felt the fear of that, but there’s no way to take it back now.

After the peaceful completion, and new almost-friendship forged with Garland, and after all the magic item creations were complete by Deagha and Moir we prepared to set sail. With Evil Frass still at large, as well as Evil Rand, we want to see about the other aspects of the heart. We suspect the two of them might have bad intentions for them. So Moir uses our one single Miracle scroll to return the artifact spyglass to us so we can find the heart’s pieces.

But instead of the spyglass returning, Moir has the exact knowledge of where it is and where to find it placed in his mind. It is in the possession of something big and bad and lurking down in dark storms at the bottom of the void. We load the ship with only the essential crew and combatants and we set sail on our newly rechristened void ship “the Scimitar”.

We go to where Scimitar Rock once was, then we circle around descending in elevation to come to rest at the lowest level of navigable winds, just above where the storms and clouds rage constantly. We look down and out into the void but cant see a thing. Then once again Deagha answers the unspoken call, cast a mythic spell to control the weather, and all the storms beneath us for a mile in ever direction immediately obey. The winds calm, and the clouds part. Giving us a wonderful clear view.

A wonderful clear view of the terrifying Shadow Squid/Kraken hurtling through space directly for us. Tentacles reaching, seeking us. The whole of it much larger than our ship, moving at blazing speed. It’s still far off in the first instant we see it, but its speed will put it upon us in only a split moment. On its back it carries 4 riders. They are masked and cloaked, they can fly as well.

The exciting conclusion to follow in the next episode.

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Episode 134 Recap
Goodbye Zinnaerris, hello New Grifton

Deagha and Sentinel quickly capture the two Orcs outside the secret passage. Deagha investigates the small void skiff (sail/row boat) tied off at the motes edge, then notices the Orc hiding among the trees watching him. Deagha unleashes a furious storm of heat, wind and thorns against this loan Orc. Overkill to be sure, but then suddenly not so sure. The Orc is overjoyed to see him, is immune to fire and Greater Teleports away. We have a new enemy on the horizon.

We question the captured Orcs, they confirm that they were working with the evil young woman. She’s been supplying them with people, so they can be sacrificed to the Blood God. Who has a very tall, unpleasant, darkly ominous tower at the neighboring mote. The home of these Orcs. The woman confirms the story after returning to consciousness and is bound, tight. The overpowered Orc that got away is the leader and a ‘chosen’ of the blood god. We condemn the Orcs and slit open their throats.

The woman is arrogant and unafraid, taunting and beguiling. She was hot. Yes actually hot, and heating up more. We take her out back and to throw water on her but to no avail, it steams off. She says she is being called home by the blood god. In an attempt keep her from the Blood God, Rand takes off her head. But even after that her whole body continues to heat and evaporated away.

Before she left however, she also revealed the mayor of the town has been willingly turning a blind eye to the disappearances caused by her. We would deal with him later. And the Blood God is drawing his power together, working towards something. And we can’t stop it. We’ll see.

After some debate the group decides to take the skiff to the Orc mote on the next day. But that very night the Dark tower in the distance on the Orc mote lights into a devastating inferno. Still there but engulfed in flames. So intense it cast shadows on our mote miles away.

We make our plans and head over. Korrak staying behind to sail our ship if need be, watch the suspicious mayor and be the rear guard.

We arrive at the mote, with mostly Moir and Deagha casting all kinds of buffing spells we teleport to the top of the Tower. We are faced with an enormous demon, which we recognize as the overpowered Orc Deagha first met. He is sucking souls from the orcs below and channeling the energy to crack a divinely encased, huge egg suspended in the air above the tower.

We go to battle immediately, Sentinel slamming away, and Moir casting. But the demon has complete control over Orcs, even beloved, heroic goodly half-orcs. The monster magically picks up Zinnaerris and brings her close, despite her struggles she was helpless in the face of his power. To all of our horror, we watched as the demon sucked the soul right from Zinnaerris. Her body turned to ash and wisped away. The demon was gleeful as he channeled Zinnaerris’ life force towards the egg. We heard a great crack, and the magical runes encasing the egg shatter and fall off.

Rand comes to his senses, charges the brute with his own great and terrible divine fury. In a small moment he slays the vile demon dead.

But the battle has only begun. The Egg falls open and from it emerges the spawn of the Blood God. The babe of Orborus himself. A dragon made of fire descends to the tower top. Breaths a wicked fire upon Rand and Deagha. And from the flames crops up fire elementals. The group, undeterred, closes in on the Seed of Evil. But it enshrouds itself in dark smoke, intending on this fight being one in which we are blind.

Deagha has other plans.

He summons the fury of nature from miles in every direction, channeling all the wind to the top of the embattled tower. The dark smoke is feeble in comparison, is blow away, and reveals the young God’s Spawn; suddenly afraid. We see the enemy, it knows it, and so do we. It’s done for… In the end it was Shah who got the final blow. The Spawn of Orborus died on the top of that black tower.

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Episode 133 Recap
Mourning, Moir and a dangerous Woman:

The party along with the remaining survivors begin to settle in to their new lives. Meeting people and slowly integrating. In order to help with the grieving, Rand creates a stone memorial for the people lost along with Scimitar Rock. With the help of all the survivors, he compiles a list of all those lost and with the help of Balin, his dwarven father, carves the names of everyone who was lost, on a large memorial stone. Include at the bottom, beneath all the names is the inscription:

“Our mothers, our fathers, our children and our friends; we shall carry you in our hearts. Your lives mattered, and we the living shall remember you. AR 352(the exact date). The day Scimitar Rock fell into the void.”

The group builds up the nerve to scry on Frass. Is he insane? Is he evil? Is he a danger to other motes? Where is he? Are all the unanswered questions that fester for the group.
Deagha leads the group to a suitable forest pond that can serve for the druidic version of scry. A gnomish hermit lives in cave adjacent to the pond, which proves to be rather inconvenient for him in moment.
When the spell is cast, no vision of Frass appears but the sounds of his child-like laughter fills the air and swarms of demonic rats come spilling out of the previously pristine pond.
Taken by surprise it turns out to be an intense close fight for the group. At one point Korrak takes cover in the Gnome’s cave. Suspecting his foul involvement with the rats, she bodily expels him from his cave and into the fray. He survives, barely, as does the group with the help of a new comer.
He arrived on the scene just in time to be of help, Moir a skilled and versatile caster of both divine and arcane spells. Like many in the group he seems human, but is not completely. His blood is mixed with stranger stuff. And like the rest of the group he too was struck by a type of light, giving him far great powers, and was drawn to the same area as the group. When he heard the sounds of battle he came to help.

Prior to that he was among the Ash Cliffs towns folks preaching a positive message and passing out small metallic amulets for those who like his message.

After some time and camaraderie the group invites Moir to join in and adventure with us. He accepts. And then he lets us in on his secret that all the amulets he’s been passing out are means for him to magically listen in on the wearer.

Sentinel and Zinnaerris have been taking the time to teach and tend to the many poor and neglected children of the town. Rand tends to many with diseases. Deagha is hard at work crafting upgraded equipment for the group. Korrak and Shah spend time getting to know many in the town.

Shah in particular meets a young woman who has a skeleton in her closet. No really, it turns out she really did have a skeleton. Or at least a dead body. After there tryst came to an end, and with some investigation in the local graveyard the group discovers she has been abducting people, and also exhuming bodies from their grave site. To do with the body, was as yet unknown.

With Korrak’s help Shah instigates a party among the social elite, as a cover for the group to get close to this young woman and investigate her more directly. Everyone brings tasty cuisine to the party. The woman in question brings some delicious sausage. Rand and Moir enjoy extra helpings as the woman’s evilness is noted by Rand. A drunken dwarven woman is seduced by the suspect and sent to her home. The evil woman being the daughter of wealthy merchant in town. After she leaves the party and heads to her home, to do what ever vile thing she had planned for the drunken she-dwarf, the group follows and then quickly pursues as she makes a break for it, detecting she is being followed.

The fleeing woman proves to be very quick and capable, but with the speed and decisiveness of Sentinel through the door, and Zinn smashing through the window, the intense fight is over quickly. The young villainess ultimately being subdued and overwhelmed by the group in the kitchen. Preventing her escape down a hidden passage in the kitchen floor.

Deagha in hummingbird-of-death form quickly scouts the passage, leading to the outer edge of town and the mote. He hears Orcs waiting outside the passage. Deagha returned to the group and with Sentinel as reinforcement the struck off after the Orcs.

The rest of the group searched the house and questioned the servants. A butler and footman. Both of which had sweet feelings for the necrophilic young woman but were innocent of any of her doings. Rand and Moir were particularly disturbed to find where she hid the body of her latest victim – who knew cadaver sausage was that tasty.

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Episode 132 Recap
The Fall of Scimitar Rock

It is morning on the airship. Sieffre is up, shaved, looking like a high-schooler before prom, nervous, pacing. Rand arranges to meet with him and Elin later this afternoon after they have their reunion. In the meantime, the group assembles to go and meet the orc camped in front of the town. Rand asks Bjaritte to gather the town guard just in case.

After a few minutes of walking, they reach a tent in a clearing. An ornate, red & gold striped pavilion, flag atop, white, with a red crossbow bolt insignia. Sounds of soft lute music, smells of roasted meat. A squat muscular humanoid shape is seen at the tent flaps, an old male orc, white hair, handlebar mustache, looks well-groomed. He wears no armor, but noble garb, hands up, makes a slow move to toss the dagger from his belt to the ground. He introduces himself as Smar, “It appears you have freed my people from their enslavement. I come bearing gifts and thanks.” He invites the group in to meet his tribe, gesturing to the tent, where a young adolescent half-orc opens the flap. Inside the tent, there is Smar, the adolescent half-orc with pointy ears, an elven woman dressed in finery playing a loot, and a teenage half-orc girl holding a baby with greenish skin. Carpeting is laid out, braziers afire, chickens roasting on spits, a table is set, nice wooden chairs, enough for everyone. In the corner a pile of wooden crates, bedding, comfortable tent furs. Smar offers a gift of a crossbow (“with this I have slain many giants”). He reports that orc and giant alike, have gone back to their pre-Thoko state of squabbling amongst each other and that the white dragon has not returned, some saw him fly away.

He asks to join the town of Griffton, leaving his people behind. 70 years ago he was struck by a beam of light. An invader was attacking his tribe on this very mote. This invader called himself a palladin, and single-handedly committed mass genocide. “It took dozens of our best warriors to bring him down. When he died, this light left him and struck me in my chest. I became better, more able, more skillful.”

The discussion proceeds toward talk of the Thoko. His Torc is inhabited by part of the soul of a giant deity and can infallibly control Kostchtchie and enslaves a single draconic thrall of the wearer’s choice. Smar mentions the artifacts from Thoko’s throne room, artifacts that were perhaps gathered over centuries by the white dragon and his predecessors. He had kept hidden, something too dangerous for the Thoko to know about. He reveals something small and flat, wrapped in cloth. Two copper plates, etched with writing. “I made these; two pages from a book that I found in the treasure chamber.” The content involves the opening of portals. The illustration on top, an oval shape, depicts two figures holding half-spheres beaming open the rift. It takes a powerful force to hold portals open. A powerful being has to remain alive to keep it open. To open, need both halves of a magical key, on each side of the portal. Upon closing, “assorted dangerous magical effects may occur”. Lastly, Smar mentions aerum, which is horded in a storeroom in the city. This was mined in an attempt to build an airship to leave the mote, but it has yet been unclear on how to refine it.

Fraas and Deagha stick around to finish off some wine, while everyone else heads back to town with Smar and his family to see about him joining the community. Durri & the Beck seem okay with idea. Timmy looks less happy about it. Rand asks him to bring Bjarrite to discuss this. Bjaritte, “you can never trust an orc”; Zinn grunts disapprovingly. Eventually everyone agrees to welcome Smar into the town.


Rand calls together a committee of notables to discuss how to close the portal. Given what they have learned from the plates, the larger the rift, more powerful the anchor, and they must remain close.

Fraas and Deagha rejoin the group and conversation moves to a discussion of the use of the Torc, given a potential dragon threat from Draugarland or something even more formidable from the portal. It is eventually decided they will journey to Jack’s tower to have Fraas try on the Torc.

Upon reaching the tower, as a precaution Korrak flits up to the top of the tower. The rest gather around Fraas as he places the Torc around his neck.

In an instant, a flurry of hurricane force, everyone is flung away from Fraas. Zinn, Shah and Rand are tossed 50 ft backward, tumbling like a leaves in a storm.
Sentinel & Deagha manage to set their feet. Funnel clouds form and descend. The tower crumbles around Korrak who quickly casts feather fall, but still is swiftly flung sideways by the winds. The sky goes dark, tower is hit by lightning, rocks explode everywhere. Uprooted trees are flying everywhere.

In the distance, a fearsome sight, as the mountains appear to crumble and fall off the mote. Deagha senses the mote is suddenly falling faster into the void.

The winds around the adventurers suddenly subside, as if they are in the eye of a storm. At the center is Fraas, who appears changed. All of his tattoos are flung off and hit the party members, burning and wrapping their skin. Fraas appears as his much younger self, about 6 years of age, but as naked as the day he was born, a sun symbol exactly like Rand’s marking his chest. In an youthfully pitched voice Fraas speaks, “I will see you soon my friends”.

He teleports away and the hurricane winds fills in the eye. The gale force winds are still present, but no longer emanating from where Fraas was. The group collects themselves and they teleport to the center of Griffton. Funnel clouds are approaching nearby on the outskirts of town. Townsfolk are flying through the air. Nearby, Bjaritte is holding on to the ground with one hand, hanging desperately to Timmy with the other. Dead bodies slammed into things, boards in torsos.

Inside the barely still standing tavern, the Beck is corralling people into the storeroom and into the tunnels. Deagha casts a druid spell to quell some of the winds around him within the town walls. Zinn is scooping up people and carrying people to the dock. Korrak comes out of the bar carrying an unconscious Archibald, shouting for people to head to the docks. Shah helps corralling. Sentinel searches through rubble pulling people out and getting people to safety. Rand runs to his home, sees his father carrying Bas. When Rand shouts “Where’s mother!?”, his father just shakes his head and tries to pull Rand with him toward the dock. Rand summons Qas and heads to his home, but finds his mother’s limp body — her neck has been gruesomely twisted. He picks her up, and as he makes his way out, behind his house, in a refuse barrel, little Zinn is cowering inside. He pulls her to his side and rides his griffin toward the docks. Deagha is dispersing control wind spells repeatedly to cover the entire town with a safe window to move about. Every time one of the adventurers tries to use mythic abilities, Fraas’ tattoos burn into their bodies and make it harder to do so. Everyone is scurrying to carry, usher, drag people toward the docks.

After quickly scouting beyond the town wall for stragglers, Sentinel comes running back toward the docks shouting, “GO GO it’s coming this way!” The pace becomes frantic, everyone is trying to get people safe on the ships. Smar is hauling Durri. There is no sign of Jackmerius; Rand and Deagha go back looking for him. All they see is a rapidly approach chasm, splitting in pieces. They can see the cross sections of the tunnels and dungeons revealed, kobolds and subterranean creatures falling off ledges into the void below. Water is draining out of the bay. The cliffs of the bay shatter; one of the boats is crushed, and those aboard fall into the void. All creatures capable of flight within sight take to the air. Deagha casts eagle aerie to save as many fallen people as possible.

Korrak goes to look for ‘Cats in Hats’ in the guarded saferoom, but instead finds one guard with a broken jaw, another unconscious and flung down the hallway. The room is in a state of disarray. She finds everything, but that particular book. Rand finds Sieffre below decks tending to the wounded to ask him to help Zinn pilot the ship.

When they return above deck to see if there are any signs of floating outcrops, remaining rifts, or the heart; all that can be seen is empty space and void.


Only 120 townsfolk have surived. Archibald, Beck, and Zidane have all survived. Durri is fine. Arwellan had to have her legs amputated. Her mother didn’t make, nor did the son. Quinnla did not make it. The spice merchant from Belheim was blown off the side of the mote. The baby who was born during the night of legendary music survived, but its parents did not. Balin and Bas are safe. Rose, the smith is not, but her body is aboard. Beck’s uncle was the first person on the boat. The old crone that Shah knew, had died of natural causes the prior day.

It is two weeks sailing to the nearest mote. Rand heals his mother, Rose, and he and Deagha make rounds curing wounds.

After much discussion of what to do next, they are unable to locate the spyglass within range, and decide against scrying Fraas. Instead they make plans to head to Zinn’s home mote. They scry Zinn’s mother using the book to help enable the spell and make way to the Ash cliff motes. After ransacking Fraas’ chambers the only things missing are vials of orborus’ tears missing.

Elin gives Rand her holy sword. Rand tingles. Rand says this is too generous, “may I trade you instead?” Sieffre is helping teach Zinn how to navigate by the stars. After nine days of sailing, see a large flotilla of ships sailing north toward them, the caravan that would be sailing to Scimitar Rock. After a few days, the Fraas’ tattoos burnt into the adventurer’s flesh fade and dissolve into scar tissues.

A few days more reach the Ash Cliff Motes. Smoke-fires, stone houses, a rustic community. Rand tries to bully the party to spend their money to help the refugees. Korrak and him argue (hilariously). Korrak physically halting Rands progress, eventually he relents and says, fine I’ll spend my share, to which the others state he already spent all his share and beyond on gear. Disgruntled, Rand goes to look for a tavern to help feed the refugees.

Zinn reaches her parent’s home. “How fortuitous, you father is gravely ill.” She makes note to have Rand and Deagha have a look at him later.

Lamps are strung up, sounds of merriment, a garden party. A butler with a tuxedo answers the door, “The mayor is busy please come back tomorrow”. Shah offers a fancy bottle of wine and uses his charismatic way to enter the foyer. Cork pop, squeak, scurrying. Shah invisibly sneaks to see the butler get told to not bother “him”, the mayor. Though, the mayor is eventually persuaded to come out and chat about the recently sunk mote and Rand asks for a place for the refugees to stay.

A sonorous drunk wealthy person overhears and heads toward the dock, “oh ~refugeeeees~”.

There is a definite contrast in moods between these rich folk — who are competitive to see who gets to ‘save’ the most refugees’ — and the haggard survivors of Scimitar Rock. “Oh you got dwarves, I don’t have any dwarves. You!” a fashionable woman pointing at Rand’s family.

Wandering the streets, there are evident signs of poverty. Farming and forestry are the key exports of this mote. This region is aristocratic, stratified, like a company town. There is a frontier aspect to the separate group of motes. They hear tales of orcs “over there” where a tower has been under construction for about a decade. Many years ago when they first tried to connect the motes together, they built a big bridge “over there”, but soon found out what orcs were like and then tore down the bridge.

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Episode 131 Recap
The Possessed, The Husk

Rand finds the Cambrian reeks with a strong aura of evil. “Keep your hands up. Come forward”

He introduces himself as Mutasoffen. He is lightly armored, chain shirt, magical baubles, sword on hip, vials and potions.

Sensing they may need more strength, Fraas sends for Zinn who soon thereafter swiftly teleports outside and makes her way down to the grinder chamber.

Mutasoffen was forced to labor in this place. “What is this thing?” “The grinder.” “What does it grind?” “Typically objects, sometimes people when it need lubrication. Reagents, crystalline powders. The giants find it very amusing.” Rand orders him to turn it off. He struggles to pull up the lever, popping a tendon and unable to comply with all his strength.

Rand attempts to diplomatically convince the alchemist demon to disarm himself. Korrak uses her intimidation to speed up the process.

Mutasoffen’s job is to construct an elixir. His master is on the other side of the rift, an abyssal realm, the rasping rifts, a gateway between the planes. He says he’s expecting someone to return in six days. “The dragon statue up front is built to honor our father. A golem, an alarm, shouts very loud, will attack anyone near it. It’s mostly there to alert if anyone would enter.”

Korrak, offended with Mutasoffen’s casual tone, grasps him and shakes him compliant. He mutters about his task, to make use of the crystallized tears of Orborus, the essence of which awakens nearly impossible to understand power. He mentions that the four succubi are his assistants, the 3 surviving are likely eavesdropping from his lab. He claims there are 5 other than him here: the 3 succubi; his employer, a Lamia (she), body of a human, anaconda at the waist; the fifth is Minagho, the bosses’ lackey, with the body of a holy warrior by some magic he doesn’t understand.

The group has him chart out a map of the chamber. When asked more about the tears, he points to the storeroom and says that the tears make him nauseated to touch. He tells the group that this is the largest rift, that this place is important. The stone of this mote plus orborus tears are used to manufacture the walls. The abjuration is making the wall stronger physically. “The stuff that gods are made of”.

Mutasoffen compels us to kill his assistants before they alert others. They tie him up and leave him before moving forward, stripping him of his gear and gems. Sentinel and Rand turn off the machine, the grinding halts. Voices from the rift start speaking, murmurs like unformed thoughts.

They enter the prep room and he into the storage room, strewn with a wide variety of magical reagents. Next, into the laboratory, a vaulted room with purple smoke miasma spilling from glass cauldron, a sludgy material, glass tubes that snake away from it to eight different vials. Fraas notices the chunks of crystal look like the heart of the mote material.

Down the hallway, they can hear scrawling in the next room. Opening the door to the antechamber, they hear “who is it?” Rand proceeds down the hall, the door is barred from the outside. The door looks old, lock looks new. “Help me out and we’ll defeat our captors!”

Korrak suspects they’ve been duped by Mutasoffen. Korrak rushes, raging, down the exit and coup de graces Mutasoffen, her sword inserts into his neck, and with her sword being substantially bigger than the Cambrian’s neck, a wet sploosh of blood, spurty neck. Fraas hears and smirks.

Fraas uses his wind to move the flammable purple gas toward the exit by the prep room to prevent any unwanted explosions. Shah, Zinn and Sentinel head down the hall, while Deagha and Fraas remain in the lab. Sentinel unbars the door. Rand opens the door

Inside they find a battleworn human, wearing shiny fullplate, adorned with an unrecognizable religious symbol, scratched out. The armor is well-worn, and has clearly been through a lot of battles. The woman has scars, short dark hair. A sword hang over the mantle in the room. Acomfortable bed, writing desk, drawers, quills, antique armoire.

“Arms up. what’s your name?” … “Elin”

Rand quickly says, “we don’t know if we can trust you yet, but we must leave now”. On her table is a spellbook missing a cover. They gather it and the papers as well as her sword. Fraas opens the armoire. Its shelves have been ripped apart, inside a withered husk version of Elin. Nimbly, the creature revealed as Minagho posing as Elin steps back begin casting a dominate spell at Zinn.

Sentinel tries to grapple, but Minagho slips his grasp. Korrak arrives back in the room and strikes hard, but Minagho resists most of the attack. Notice that Minagho has no problem warding off flanking attacks. Zinn hears a voice in her head and teleports.

Rand recalls this mode of possession and determines Minagho is a Lilitu Demon. She can create husks by killing creatures, that act like a phylactery. Fraas casts break enchantment on the husk body, it lurches forward, bleeding near death. Minagho’s true form is now revealed. Eyeless, horned, tailed, studded leather armor.

Minagho.jpg

Rand moves, smites and attacks, but it glints off her armor. Minagho starts casting a spell defensively and teleports out of existence.

Sentinel rushes back out to the grinder room where he finds only Mutasoffen’s headless corpse. Deagha heals Elin. His summoned dire tiger pops into existence without an enemy to bite. Elin manages to speak, “where am I?”

Zinnaeris reapparates back in the room, defensively, “I’m me I’m me!” She declares that she had been ordered to teleport to Thoko’s chamber, remove Lord Garland’s ring and smash it. Lord Garland then appeared in dragon form and spoke, “Thank you, I have business to attend to”.

Stunned by this news, the group makes haste to get back to town. Fraas mage hands some tear fragments into a vial. They collect the papers from Minagho’s chamber, dossiers for the adventurers. Elin offers the sword as a gift to Rand.

As they make their way out, Fraas lures out the purple cloud to enshroud the grinder and lights a flint. Loud explosion! Clank! Just as they are leaving, Sentinel thinks he hears a quiet hissing sound in the distance.

It is a beautiful day outside. Eight giant eagles appear.

They proceed to ride them back to Griffton. Just over the town wall they spy a huge giant fixing roofs, a small boy on her shoulder.

They quickly gather up town principles, Durri, Archibald, The Beck, Jackmerius. Archibald is agape at the sight of Elin. They ask The Beck to prepare the town for evacuation drills.

Meanwhile at Archibald’s, Elin recants her story. She was taken captive in some sort of iron prison, very hot. They, her bestial orc captors, would take her blood for some purpose, as if she was just a chicken with eggs to collect. Luckily, one day the door to her cell was left open and she escaped. Somehow she managed to survive, wandered through many planes found the sword, and slew someone to get armor. She survived hunting as she could, but was eventually captured. She remembers dying and then remembers being in the room where we recovered her. She remembers the black tower, deep within the earth, filled with long passageways. She looks wounded, sallow, pale, but not aged. Also, something about Rand seems very familiar to her.

Rand tells Elin about Sieffre’s current whereabouts and promises her to check on him tomorrow in the scrying pool.

To preempt the morning, the adventurers alone go to the pool to scry Sieffre. He appears in a asleep on a blanket, as part of a small encampment in the Heart chamber. Tools scattered around, Gaston on watch. Fraas sends Gaston a message through the scry that Elin is safe and back in town. When Sieffre arrives in town he shows his nervous joy, but doesn’t want to wake Elin while she sleeps.

Everyone but Korrak (who goes to the ship) heads back to Archibald’s to drink

Timmy and the Beck approach in the morning. “we may have another issue. we’ve received a message, there’s an orc in the pavilion outside of town that wants to speak with you”

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Episode 130 Recap
Pus, Thorns and the Teeth of the Grinder

Shortly after arriving, Zinn returns to Griffton at the request of her supposed relatives.

It is middle of the day, slight breeze.

The grasslands become grainlands, atop a hill, what looks to be a stone structure. It looks like, not exactly a tower, but with a cuboid appearance. Featureless, almost a little too perfect. Distant cries of birds.

They approach closer rustling through the sorghum. There is a doorway built into the base. The stone itself looks different than the typical cut stone; it is more perfect. Fraas flies above and detects a strong abjuration magic on the walls. In the stone are little flecks, that seem to match the dragon metal. The door looks like two slabs of stone, no handle.

Deagha walks up and touches the wall, just as Korrak throws a pebble at it, glancing off. It is warmer than the ambient temperature.

Rand uses all his might to shove the door, but it doesn’t budge. Sentinel touches it and the door opens softly, steps descending below. It is dark inside beyond the range of Korrak’s darkvision. Taking up almost the entire opposite wall is an immaculately carved stone symbol of a dragon eating its own tail. It is warmer the closer they get to the symbol. Rand checks, and it is overpoweringly evil.

Down the steps there are murmuring sounds, pretty far away, fairly quiet. Deagha notices there is no dust in the room and the symbol is impeccably clean. Deagha focuses on the sounds below. Hears a pair of voices, in giant, “I’m hungry”. “Me too”. Deagha casts communal protection from fire energy.

There is a bit of light in the passage. From the stones themselves, there is a luminescence, as if the stone flecks glow. Descending, a room opens up below, and on the left side of the room the muffled voices appear to be coming from behind a door or wall.

Off to the right, no sounds. Once it levels off at the bottom, the path ahead proceeds for another 100 feet. The room at the bottom is roughly octagonal. Sentinel caulk marks the ingress.

Deagha is unable to discern how old this place is, due to its pristine character.

To the right, on a dais, a regular gray stone of an enormous dragon. The circular pedestal is inscribed, “Orburos”. This dragon looks like its joints and plates could’ve been formed from magma.

Shah scuttles along the wall to the door on the left, where he can hear the sound of weapons being unsheathed. They hear two screams of giant rage and pounding footsteps toward the door. Fraas shouts to them in giant, “Halt! Your Iron Lord has returned!” In response, laughter, “our food is talking. Sound the alarm!”

Shah does a backflip as the metal doors swing wildly open. Two ash giants emerge. 15 feet tall, pale, misshapen, open sores, bulbous tumor, with large heavy picks, oversized, adorned with black scale armor.

The first giant charges forth with a bloodshot look in its eye and strikes at Korrak; pus begins to fester from her wound. Fraas returns with a mythic cone of cold, partly encasing it in ice. Sentinel rushes it behind, and after getting hit by a defensive strike unleashes a flurry of blows. Deagha transforms into a menacing hummingbird. Korrak swings and hits a critical strike, but her following strikes are not as successful. Shah sneaks up and lands a strong hit with his dagger.

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The second giants rushes forth, flanking Sentinel and striking with its pick. Rand moves forward, emanating an aura for all the fighters to use his smiting powers on the giants. He then power attacks and vital strikes a giant that is now barely hanging on to life. It lashes out at Rand, who defensively responds by cutting the giant down.

Fraas emits another cone of cold at the second giant. Sentinel turns around and attacks. Korrak, Rand and Shah join the fray, first getting hit with attacks of opportunity, but then commencing with their smiting attacks.

The doors further down the hallway open and the sound of wings flapping echoes forth. A sensual voice in abyssal tongue, “let’s go greet our guests”. Four succubi enter the octagonal chamber. Sentinel finishes off the other giant, cracking its neck.

Deagha sends a mythic wall of thorns entangling the succubi. Three of them disapparate, leaving one still grappled in the vines. Korrak and Rand move forth, Rand healing Korrak’s health and removing the giant-borne infection. Shah moved close to Rand so he could too bask in Rand’s healing glow. Deagha casts a blazing rainbow at the remaining succubus.

Down past the thorns, there is a crackle of dark energy. Deagha, standing next to the entryway to the room with the dragon statue, notices that it has a pair of ruby eyes. Fraas doesn’t recall any spells that require gem encrusted eyes.

The remaining succubus eventually dies, but the body doesn’t disappear. Suggesting that it was not summoning, but actually present on this plane. Deagha dismisses the wall of thorns.

Rand enters the room from whence the giants came, a barracks, where it is clear they have been eating other giants. Alcoves are piled with reeking piles of furs.

Shah leads the march further down the hallway where the succubi appeared. Shah sneaks further forward and approaches the open doorway, he sees the chamber inside is much taller than the one before, a vast chamber. In the center of the room, a large house-sized combination of metal gear pieces, things that look like massive humanoid teeth and belts of leather that connects everything. Beyond it, from the floor to the ceiling, there is what looks like an enormous curtain of fire. A maelstrom of black, red and white. A portal Strange whispers. On the right side of the machine, there is a platform with two very large chairs, with two more Ash Giants. One of them is looking off into hallway, past the stealthy Shah. The one next to him is pulling onto a level, he yanks it, and the machine starts to grind with a horrible wrenching sound like grinding plates. When Shah tries to listen to the whispers, they seem to get louder in his ears. The words hit his mind, he feels a bit of nausea, but is able to shake it off.

The group charges down the hallway into the room. Fraas disappears from sight along the way. When the adventurers enter, the giants see and scurry away. Sentinel rushes back to grab a freshly killed giant head and the body of the fallen succubus. After tossing trying to toss them into the machine, the laughing of the giants gives away their positions flanking the entryway. Deagha yells, “CHARGE!”

Fraas from above the entryway sends a mythic cone of cold at the giants. Immediately after, Deagha summons six Ettins that swarm one of the giants. Sentinel invisibly sneaks behind the other giant unleashing a flurry of blows. Rand flanks the giant and attacks. The giant strikes back in turn. Korrak critically strikes it back. Fraas lightning arcs the two giants. The adventurers and Ettins proceed in rounds to chip away at the giants’ health until they both fall, with the loss of only one Ettin and some small scrapes of flesh. Korrak deals a critical blow to one, it crumpling after her strike and meeting death when the subsequent cold damage takes effect. A series of Fraas’ fireballs and Ettin blows finally brings the remaining giant to an end.

Shah notices fine white powder on the floor. He can see more closely the two chairs and a lever; not a complex mechanism at all. As he walks that direction around that machine, the whispering gets harder to ignore as he moves toward the curtain. Again Shah shakes off the suggestive powers of the whispers.

As the combat ends, one of the chamber’s doors opens and a Cambian walks out with his hands up.

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Episode 129 Recap
A Deal with a Devil

The slain Thoko lies broken and lifeless mere steps from his throne, which is fashioned of pieces of metal armor, weapons, skulls and festooned with gems.

The pile of coins, desiccated bodies, bones and treasures that surrounds his throne like a snowdrift is roughly 30 feet across and 6 feet high at its highest points.

Beyond the pile, at the back of the room, is an imposing feature, a small set of steps leading up to a dais, upon which is a stone pedestal 10 feet square. On the pedestal is an enormous book, which is closed, and measures about 6 feet by 4 feet. The cover of the book is quite clearly coated in ash, and the dais and steps are littered with bits of scorched bone.

On each side of the steps, there are long rows of shelving carved into the stone. Many strange curiosities — many of them magical — line the rows, and a few shelves are quite conspicuously empty. Near the empty shelves, sits a small writing desk (fit for a human-sized humanoid) with an ink well, a quill, and a roll of parchment, all placed very neatly, with the corners of the parchment exactly squared with the corners of the desk. The desk has several drawers. They are labelled with cards of vellum attached by wax. On the cards are written words in an elaborate, pristine script. The language is Orc. One is labelled “wands,” another “rings,” and another “bolts and arrows.” On one side of the desk is a small wooden cart with four wheels and a handle-bar to push it around. On the other side is a wooden rack with many small compartments, containing what appear to be dozens of scrolls. Next to that is what seems to be an apothecary’s shelf with many rows of potions, some of which are clean, and others still coated in blood and other muck (There is a wash bucket on the floor nearby). By the desk is a comfortable-looking wooden chair covered in white furs.

Lining the walls on either side of the shelves are weapon and armor racks, filled with fine quality gear, much of it magical. A row of hooks holds up several staves. There are masks, a cloak, strange hides, etc. Magical item auras abound, including those emanating from the Thoko’s gear.

Rand detects evil throughout the room. Particular attention is paid to the altar and tome atop it as well as the shelved thin red leather one with the emboss of the dragon eating its tail. The only evil in the room is a faint emanation from a gnarled and twisted, sturdy, stout staff of dark wood, clearly of gnomish make.

Sentinel addresses Jack. “First things first. How safe do you think we are here for the time being and what do you know of how Thoko became trapped here?. The safest place on this mote is wherever we are clearly but I think it is best to move as much of this treasure to our ship as quickly as possible. Can we do anything different to being cursed?”

Jack is distracted for a moment as he is fiddling with his small tusks. He then casts a spell and appears as his old (young) self.

“Sorry, I was distracted. I think we’re as safe here as we are anywhere. Well, you are, anyways. Who are we worried about, exactly? Have you made any more powerful enemies?”

Jack seems distracted again.

“Thoko! The trap, right. From everything I gathered, the pool itself was opposing Thoko. I cannot say for certain, but I know he hated it. He would sit in that silly throne and just seethe, staring at it. So the ‘trap’ he mentioned must have been related to the pool.”

“I’d be glad to help in any way I can, but my own abilities are limited, at the moment. In fact, I don’t feel great. But what’s the plan?”

Sentinel replies, “Sorry, I know it was disorienting for me when I was returned to life as well. The white dragon under thoko’s control is the only possible enemy that might be a problem at this moment that we know of. He offered us assistance or at least a lack of opposition while we worked to take down Thoko but now that the Thoko is dead I am uncertain how friendly we still are. Also I’m using the title Thoko without fear since we just killed him – do you know if the title is automatically transfered upon death like the title lord garland had or if there are more specifics to it? All this true name stuff still doesn’t really make complete sense to me. Back at the ship we can discuss more obscure enemies and our future needs.”

“Garland’s title transferred upon death? I’m not really sure what you mean! I think you probably know more than I do when it comes to names. For instance, I don’t even know the name of your new allies!” Jack responds, looking at Daegha and Korrak.

Rand steps forward, “Well Jack, let me introduce you. Daegha is a powerful druid, perhaps the most powerful druid on the Rock and a true bane of giants. He’s helped us over and over again since the fall of Belheim. And Korrak is a savage skilled warrior, she can mix magic and combat too, a little like Zinn but still different. She is a terror to negotiate against, a principled and wise voice. They both are a welcomed, immensely valuable new members of the Knights of Griffton. They have filled in exceptionally after the losses of Bork and Laush – rest their souls.”

Rand continues, now address the whole group, “You know, I still feel a sense that we got lucky against the Thoko. It’s a lot like our fight against the Slorath. Everything went our way. Korrak, I think you were right. I personally didn’t show enough caution testing our pool. I’m glad things went well, but they might not have easily enough. I’ll do better listening to your caution in the future. I’m sorry to you, and all of you. And most of all, thank you all for jumping in after me. He sucked 100 years of my life away, but I’d have been doomed if you all didn’t come.”

Again to Jack, “Is there anyway you can help us start transporting this trove of loot? As Sentinel said, the White Dragon is free and he knows it I’m sure. Let’s not linger on his turf if he comes calling.”

Rand speaks at the large pool, “Is it true that it was you that held Thoko captive all this time?”

As the others sort through the bodies, coins, gems, and various other treasures, Fraas starts scanning the racks and shelves of the room for magic items, identifying as he goes. He is visibly stunned after scanning the ash-covered book in the back of the chamber. After a moment of pondering, he continues his identifications for the next 20 minutes. Surprisingly, the torc does not read magical. His curiosity is palpable. The blood on the old breastplates with the crow insignia looks long-dried.

Shah detects good on the whole room with his nearly empty wand. He seems very intrigued by a creepy mask.

Rand looks over the piece of parchment on the desk. On the parchment is written a list of numbers in very neat script, and next to each number is a description of a potion, and a place seemingly to record each effect; none have yet been recorded. The title atop the parchment is “Potions & Oils: Belheim Lot 32”

Rand starts looking for religious indications in the piles but pauses. “The more I think about it, the more it concerns me. I really don’t think we have much time before we’ll need to deal with the White Dragon. He knew what we did to Thoko’s forces at the guard tower from miles away. We are in his mountain now and he must know. His collar and chain must be broken. Jack, did you ever see the White Dragon around this chamber?”

“No, he was never here. I only heard him in the distance a few times.”

Rand gets on his fire griffon and prowls over to the edges of the treasure room looking around, speaking to his griffon, “be on alert for dragon.”

Suddenly, some of the coins on the pile start rolling off. Rand walks over to the source of the noise. One of the coins hops up on its side, Rand steps on it and it wiggles. He frees it and watches more coins follow and start to amass. Deagha looks at Jack who shrugs. The coins start to form four posts, about waist high. A piece of the mundane armor jumps across the room along with other pieces of metal.

Zinn’s mentions that her new intelligent armor, just declared, “let’s feast!” Her armor is possessed by Ganar, a priest of Kathla, the “wild beard” dwarven god, possessing a beard that grew across the land from whence all barley grew, and then most importantly, Kathla taught the dwarves to brew from it.

Out of the ether, shadows coalesce, giant flagons of ale and ham appear on the table. It takes about 10 minutes, ornate comfy chairs appear, lots of furs cover the chairs. A hero’s feast. Rand toasts to great heroes. “A toast to us all!”

After a short discussion of theories of how the pool got changed, Fraas reveals how it really happened. How he was under the throes of the Thoko and how it seemed like a great idea at the time to send Rand into the lair.

They chat with Jack about the devil that he made a deal with. He had sold his soul upon death in exchange for the townsfolk’s safety. After dying, he had been pulled out in the nick of time, from a cold grey plane. Jack says they can get these people back, but doesn’t recommend we go after the devil, nor mess with the large book in the lair. Fraas uses a spectral hand to insert the bookmark which transforms the tome into “Fancy Hats For Cats: A Guide to Knitting”.

Rand tells him, “By the way, your Zinn is safe in town with her husband”. Though, Korrak bluntly states baby is dead. Jack refutes this, stating the child is squirreled away safely.

There is a lengthy discussion with Jack chatting about everything from the Frost Giant General Smar and a potential treatise with the giants, the unknown purpose of the Aerum mining, Sieffre, Elin, the White Wyrm, the legends of Heart and how it can grant certain people its soul, and how he had spilled the beans of the Heart to Thoko.

The table falls apart after the meal. The room is comfortably warm. Night passes uneventfully.

The next morning, Rand goes to the pool envisions the ship’s storage room. Sees one of the suspicious crewman. Fraas tosses a coin to alert the thief before Korrak can leap at him. After a quick test with a handful of coins the adventurers then proceed hauling everything through the pool. They make their way to Quinnla’s temple, Fraas toting the deceased on a floating disk. She drops her mop, stunned and lays them out in a respectful manner, covering them with fabric. Rand asks her to seek the Belheim natives to mourn their dead.

After some time in town, Shah is no longer to be found (probably galavanting in some bedroom). The rest head out, with the intent to resolve the matter of the devil-protected refugees. They go far from town, near Rand’s family’s grove. Jack casts the rope trick. Rand scuttles up, Fraas fyling after. Everyone follows. Korrak, the last one up and displaying obvious distrust of Jack, throws a magic rope to bind Jack to a nearby treat.

Inside the rope trick, they see Jack’s bachelor pad, except there is a new area that looks like the facade of a palatial mansion, a giant door with knockers, smells of delicious food, and echoes of the sounds of merriment. Fraas cloudshapes, flies through the keyhole, unlatches the door and opens it. When everyone steps in, the devilish attendants (that look human) are visibly startled when Rand enters, “Back so soon?” After some discussion, it is arranged that all the refugees start heading back down the rope trick. Korrak speaks infernal to one of the devils in order to trick him into confirming that evil Rand was the master in charge of this infernal place.

After the quick trip, they make it back to Griffton, where day goes by with a mix of merriment and funerals.

That night, Jack is on the ship with Zinn, Olaf & their daughter. Korrak splits from the group to go get Shah for something. The rest of the adventurers confront Jack about how the servants recognized Rand. He claims that he seen the dealing devil as a pit fiend. “How did you originally hear about this name?” Jack supplies a wildly exaggerated story.

Debating what to do next, they eventually decide to investigate Sentinel’s parcel of land. Korrak comes in dragging Shah, who waves his detect good wand, and then says “It’s fine, can I go now?” Zinn teleports Rand and Korrak to Sentinel’s Reach; Fraas ferries Sentinel and Deagha. After a short mishap Fraas’ group joins Zinn at the reach.

Amber waves of grain, purple mountains to the west. To the north, the grasslands become hills, and atop a hill they see a stone structure.

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Episode 128 Recap
The Battle of The Thoko

Rand asks one the Half-orcs in the group if he knows of the young Zinnaeris, suspecting this is her husband. Indeed it is, and he, Olaf, is overcome with joy and Rand offers to reunite them back in town.

With all these new folk back to town, the group coordinate their immigration with Druri & Azariah.

Olaf & Zinn reunite in a running embrace. Outside of earshot, Olaf tells her something and she bursts into tears. They walk back to the airship together. Rand attends to Zidane, offering him lodging in either Archibald’s or the airship. He points to the docks. The Belheim group from town mixes with the incoming slaves, joy, tears, embraces. Rand arranges for a banquet in town.

Rand goes to his mother’s to tell her about the state of his father’s rescue. Mentions that Zidane is in town. Rand then goes to the main dining area on the ship and approaches Zidane about talking when he is ready. For now, rest. He then checks with Fraas about other ways to communicate, to which Fraas suggests a telepathic bond. Fraas goes off to find some eggs for the spell.

Looking closer at the slaves, they are mostly elves; the non-elves were slaves in Belheim, the really brave one, was a weaver of baskets. The gang asks these Belheim folk about Thoko’s pet, a.k.a. Jackmerius. No one really knows much.

Rand finds Fraas holding two eggs in the airship stateroom, a bit drunker than before. Rand asks Fraas if he can de-stone the statued child. Fraas with barely a pause, casts stone to flesh. The boy shrieks, cowers, asks in elven “who are you people!?” Rand speaks to him in common, reminds him of the basilisk, and asks him if he remembers being taken to his mother and father. Shah goes to get Zidane, who upon hearing about the boy, faints. He awakes with a joyful solemnity. Then hugs Rand and Shah. Rand starts to tells Zidane about what’s been happening. He states he knows he is his biological father and that he thinks he knows of the circumstances around it and that he knows about the prophecy shadowing over him. Rand states that he has no ill will toward Zidane. None. He tells of the groups adventures: the death of Draugarland, and subsequent defeat of Saharin and liberation of Griffton; Rand’s own death at the hand of the White Dragonness and his adventure while dead; The heart and the mythic power; Evil Rand at the Dawn of time; Seiffre’s search; The imperial Dragon and the portal in the dark tower; and finally, the growing conflict with the Thoko. Rand emphasizes how his time as Evil Rand, and the moment of temptation to mercifully kill the imperial dragon, might have been when he was closest to fulfilling the dark part of the prophesy.

Eventually Rand gently broaches the subject of Taghen’s death. Zidane implores the group to bring the child, Belinor, to his mother as soon as possible. However, when we proceed to tell the boy about what is going to happen, Zidane nervously scratches tomorrow.

Sentinel pensively climbs the crow’s nest. Shah recants stories in the galley late into the night.

The next morning, as Fraas is preparing his spells, he suddenly loses focus. A strange daydream emerges in his mind. He imagines himself encountering the Thoko and comes to the realization that he’s not really a bad guy at all. The dream proceeds as if he is having a conversation with his closest trusted friend and ally. In the conversation, Thoko asks Fraas to bring him his friend, the paladin. Intellectually Fraas knows that this is against the group’s plans, but after thinking about it for a bit, Fraas sees how incredibly rational it is. It’s not that he wishes his friend to die, but that maybe just sacrificing one of the group to the Thoko would make perfect sense. After all, Rand has the potential to destroy everything, and he couldn’t just sacrifice himself; his soul isn’t pure enough.

Fraas gets up to go tell the others about his new plan, but he feels suddenly as if he simply could not tell them about it. They just wouldn’t understand. Thoko’s voice mentions how it would be smarted to keep this idea quiet for now. Fraas agrees and returns to his wizardly morning preparations.

Later that morning, Rand retrieves Fraas and to go speak to Zidane. Fraas is eating a scrambled egg, “give me five more minutes.” They meet in Fraas’ room, and commence a telepathic bond with Sentinel, Rand, Fraas & Zidane.

“Bad news first, Jackmerius is almost certainly dead.”
“Why?” "
“I heard some of the giant’s speaking of it. He was outed as a spy and put to death.”
“Did they know what he was doing?”
“Not sure, but once I heard his name retold, I assumed he was trying to help.”
“Do you know anything about those secreted away?”
“Not really. They’re probably somewhere good.”
“Was Jack secretly executed?”
Shrugging, “the giants were laughing about it”.
Rand suspects Jack is wiry enough to maybe still be alive.
“What became of you, and maybe you can fill in some blanks about this child?”
“Retrieving this child was the mission Taghen gave me before. After he became stone, repairing him was my new mission. If something were to happen, I was to bring him to Triawathien.”
“How did Taghen discover his stillborn child was still alive?”
“I’m not sure. Taghen’s wishes were for the child to be reunited with his mother, although it’d be difficult. I was already captive in Belheim when the winter army stormed the city”.
“Do you know why they are mining aerum?”
“Whatever they were digging out, they stopped finding it; more of them disappearing each day, via ‘the pet’. After he stopped coming, giants were taking people like fruit from the market.”
“Do you know anything more of the Thoko’s army’s strength?”
“I never saw Thoko. I speak a bit of giant, so he knew there was a bit of a desertion going on.”
“Why now?”
“Not sure, they were leaving through the mine, some sort of beast was dead and it was safe to go that way.”
Rand tells him about the slorath.
“Not only giants, many more orcs.”
“Do you have any more info from your distant past? In other words, what are the circumstances of the gael of the north, Rand’s mother. How did you come to meet her, and how did this transpire, and why why why are slaves being transported through the portals?”
“I only met her twice, on another mote, one quite different from this one, sandworn and full of camels. As I was traveling in the dunes, came across a tent with a most beautiful woman lost in tears. She was married at the time, but felt compelled to break her vow. I woke up the next morning in the sand and the tent was gone. The second time I was again traveling, she handed me Rand, and said that I was responsible. The prophecy is something she told me at that time.”
“Was this how you lost your powers?”
“My infidelity was not how I lost my powers.”
Sentinel asks him to continue.
Zidane is silent for a moment. “Rand, I’m so sorry. I saw you as my shame, so I abandoned you somewhere, to the fates, in the wood. At that moment, that’s when everything changed. I realized my mistake and went back for you, now knowing I should not have a part in your raising. I had encountered Bethel & Balin before, and I knew them to be good people and I brought you to them.”
“And the slave transfer in Belheim?”
Shrugging, “she seemed callous and dismissive, almost like this was something that has happened before with her. When I first met her, I could sense she was not of this world”.
Zidane says he knew nothing of her imperial dragon mate, “Though I know of the legend of the massive portals.”
Rand tells about the captive, de-tongued imperial dragon.
Zidane makes the pithy comment, “that seems to happen to all the Gael’s mates”.
“Do you know about Rand’s true name?”
He shrugs.
Rand asks about the magical pool under Griffton and the Oracle, though Zidane has never encountered the pool and had only heard whispers of the oracle.
Fraas asks about (!!!!!INSERT NAME OF Zinneraeris’ mote!!!!!)
“It’s a small mote far to the South, but I’ve never been”.

While still telepathically linked, they all decide to take Zidane to reunite Belinor with his mother. Upon arrival, Arwelen answers the door, blushing at the sight of Shah. “Who’s this?” she says referring to Zidane. Rand asks her to get her mother, to which she shouts upstairs, “MOOOOM!!!!” Triwathien arrives downstairs.
“It may be hard to understand, but this is your son.”
“It’s not hard at all, this is my son.”
She embraces the child, uncontrollably crying. She thanks everyone, especially Zidane. Zidane overwhelmed, just nods and leaves. Arwelen watches in happy shock, then runs forward and hugs her new brother. Rand stares at the boy for a moment and gets a tinge of evil.

The adventures meet up at the Chamber of the Heroes for some scrying to help discern whether they can use it to teleport. They perform a test with Sentinel in the town square above and are able to throw a pebble at him while scrying. Rand goes to jump through, but Korrak grabs him. Instead Deagha flies through as a hummingbird and ends up right next to Sentinel in the square. Fraas convinces Rand that it’s now safe and he should try jumping through, but just as he does, no one sees Fraas wince, and the pool changes suddenly, redirecting to Thoko’s chamber. Rand is through, and the pool is starting to dim.

They can see Rand fall into the room, shouting “QAS AM UNAT!” sending a flaming burst directed at the Thoko. Zinn shouts up to Sentinel and Deagha. Deagha rushes down as a hummingbird and flies through the portal. Zinn featherfalls through. Fraas jumps in, flying, but as he does the Thoko’s enchantment on him breaks and he suddenly regrets everything that just happened. He drinks a displacement potion.

The Thoko is sitting on a throne of treasures and skulls, his torc is glowing. Thoko’s brothers are crouched next to the throne, held with translucent magical chains.

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Sentinel finally makes his way down jumps in and flits down using magic robes. Shah jumps in, goes invisible, featherfalls.

Rand stops his charge suddenly and speaks kindly to the Thoko, as if he is enchanted.

Korrak’s sword jumps out of her hand. She picks it up, slams it against the wall and jumps through the pool. She hears a loud angry giant voice in her head, saying something that she’s sure is about her mother. She featherfalls into Thoko’s lair.

Deagha gives everyone resistance to fire. Zinn sends a snowball at the giant, but he is immune to cold damage. Thoko stands up, bones clatter down the throne pile. He walks through the air toward the pool. A voice in rand’s enchants “come closer palladin” A voice resounds in Zinn’s head, “go rest on the other side of the room”. She shrugs it off and continues her advance.

Fraas sends acidic spray at Thoko. Rand is aghast that we are harming his “friend”. Sentinel fleet charges Thoko, his first strike glinting off Thoko’s tough skin. His second punch does some serious damage, with a third punch narrowly missing its target.

Rand moves in front of Thoko, who is holding out his hand to Rand, “STOP! STOP! STOP! SENTINEL! FRAAS! You’re hurting our friend!”

Shah and Korrak advance. Korrak barely ekes through a swift hit with her sword, then power attacks with a critical swing. Deagha shoots a lightning attack, but the giant is immune, then sends an insect plague upon him of 3 wasp swarms. Zinn pool strikes to deliver a burst of acid.

The Thoko shuffles forward pushing Rand’s griffon out of the way. With the paladin in hand, he leans over and puts his other hand in the pool, which starts abubbling. Everyone sees Rand’s body start to change and shrivel, a whooshing sound, air pressure in the room changes — it feels icy cold — they see wrinkles appearing in his skin, his beard growing. Thoko chucks rand into the pool, many of Thoko’s wounds appear to heal, but he is still a bit haggard.

Fraas quickly sends another acidic spray. Sentinel gets a blow through. Rand leaps from the pool, swinging a mighty blow with his holy great axe. Qas tries to attack, but its claws and beak clang off the natural armor. Shah stabs twice, but the hits also clang off. Korrak swings thrice, hitting solidly once.

They can all hear sounds outside the room, people yelling “THOKO!” in a triumphant manner, large numbers approaching. Though in the chamber, Thoko has a look of abject terror at the adventurers.

Deagha’s insect swarm attacks again as he casts another 4 more wasp swarms.

Thoko slumps to his knees, completely staggered.

Deagha strikes with holy damage, as the Thoko crumples to the floor. Fraas flies over and removes his torc. Sentinel punches the giant’s corpse in the face.

Rand mounts his griffin, shouting “ALL YE GIANTS LOOK UPON YOUR THOKO IN DESPAIR!”

Shah situates himself toward one of the entrances. Korrak goes to inspect one of the Thoko’s brothers. The waves of frost giants that were rushing toward the room, skid to a halt, drop their weapons, and begin backing up and start to run away.

Rand approaches the brothers trying to talk to them. Detecting evil, the two brothers glow powerful evil, but nothing else in the room does. Shah detects good, when he looks at the pool he’s overwhelmed. Deagha performs a coup de grace on one of the Thoko’s brothers. Fraas commences a telepathic bond with the remaining brother, but all he says “kill me” over and over. Deagha ends him with his sword.

As this is all going on, the sounds in the surrounding caverns are receding.

Deagha flies out one of the entrances, sees a big opening, and seeing a palacial structure surmises this leads to the top of the waterfall town. Natural tunnels lead out, orcs are scurrying off fearfully.

Rand puts his hand in the water of the pool, “sweet creature, you can be at peace now. can you help us get back to…” Before he can finish, the moment his hand touches the pool he blips back to the chamber of heroes. He then scries Deagha and goes through the pool to return to the Thoko’s chamber.

Sorting out husks of bodies interspersed in the treasure, Shah finds Jack’s body. Most of the bodies were dried and withered, but Jack’s was missing digits, wounded, indicating torture. Korrak opens his mouth to see if he has a tongue. There is none.

Deagha begins casting a reincarnation spell.

A young, strapping half-orc stands before the group, as naked as the day he was made. “Ha! This is pretty neat! Who did this? … Um, it’s very cold.”

Deagha says, “I have reincarnated you, by your actions you have certainly earned a second chance.” Deagha then casts Endure Elements on until they can find him suitable clothing. Jackmerius casts a spell as well, and he is now tastefully obscured by a fig leaf. “Thank you, stranger.”

Then, to everyone, “Your group seems to be a little different than when we last met! I imagine we have much, much to discuss. And it looks like you have a treasure hoard to move. Unless you wanted to live here, of course. That’s an option, I suppose. A bit chilly.”

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Episode 127 Recap
Roped and unchained

Rand removes paralysis from Fraas and makes for the exit. Fraas lightning arcs the two bats and quickly flies down to follow Rand. Korrak, still confused and raging with blood, thwacks herself with her flaming sword. Deagha beast-shapes into a direbat, flies past Thellan’s skeleton to retrieve Thellan’s swords, and books it toward the exit. One of the bats swoops down at Zinn. When its wings unfurl the wingspan is dozens of feet long. It bites Zinn’s sword. They all notice that as it bites the sword its wounds heal; Zinn senses that the sword seems like is now merely a normal weapon. Zinn rushes for the exit. One of the bat starts spellcasting; Fraas & Deagha recognize that it is summoning something. Sentinel grapples Korrak and runs outside. Rand readies to attack the dire bat wielding swords, which shouts back in Deagha’s voice, “Shut the door! It’s summoning something!”

Fraas begins casting a deep slumber spell for Korrak. Sentinel pins her, ties her up, and all of a sudden she’s asleep. Rand heals the group. Zinn suddenly hears Babdan’s voice in her head, “What happened!?” Her swords regains its glow. Zinn takes a couple rounds teleporting the group to their ship.

Rand seeks out Quinnla for some restoration. Back in town he find Bjaritte helping rebuild the bar, Timmy riding on her back, barking orders. Rand asks around town to find Shah and have him meet everyone back at the ship.

Deagha tosses Thellan’s sword to Fraas, who identifies them as a +1 flaming burst scimitar and a +1 scimitar with a baleful polymorph on critical hits.

After a short discussion, the group decides to head out to save the mining slaves, going through the tunnels after a short excursion to Sentinel’s Reach. Rand asks Drury and the Beck to see about commissioning townsfolk to help excavate the sunken top of Griffton tower.

To help coordinate the mission, Fraas sends a message to Zidane: “On our way to save you via tunnels. Can you give us details of those guarding you? We have a frost giant ranger helping us.” Zidane replies immediately, “Hurry. They are taking us faster and faster. We are guarded by only a few frost giants at night when they let us rest in…”

They rest in town for the night, which passes uneventfully.

The next morning Rand makes arrangements with Durri to have Bjaritte on leave from the town guard to assist us. They equip her with Thellan’s flaming burst scimitar.

They gather to teleport in two groups — one ported by Zinn, the other by Fraas — to the further point they reached in the tunnels after the slorath battle. Korrak, Deagha, Bjaritte, & Fraas teleport, but something goes wrong. They apparate in freefall over the boundary of the mote. Fraas immediately casts featherfall and then teleports again, this time they appear in front of the rest of the group, slowly descending to the floor. Bjaritte is hunkering in fetal position. Rand goes over to help her shake it off.

Bjaritte leads the group, carrying Sentinel’s ever-burning torch, further toward the mining tunnels. On the way she stops the group occasionally, when she hears something that no one else can apparently hear; when she steps, she moves with complete silence. After traveling for a day, the group makes camp in a natural offshoot in the tunnels.

During the watch, Fraas suddenly lets out a blood-curdling scream. The column in the middle of their encampment appears to have Fraas in its bite. Fraas looks to be heavily damaged and staggered.

roper.jpg

Deagha backed away preparing to cast a protective spell for Fraas. Zinn moves toward the creature, it snaps at her and misses; Zinn attack clanks off the rock like creature’s stony skin. Korrak lights up her sword but it suddenly extinguishes. She still strikes at the beast twice once, missing once. Fraas unleashes a fireball which scorches the creature more than expected, implying a vulnerability to fire. Rand strikes, chipping away more hunks of its rocky flesh. Sentinel flurry of blows but misses the first two, hitting it square on the third swing. The roper tries to attack Fraas, but Rand intercedes, causing the beast to miss and giving Rand a chance to strike back, but he also misses. The roper attacks again, but again Rand defends Fraas, this time he successfully strikes back, lopping off a tentacle. The creature crumbles and dissipates into shadows. It leaves behind the corpse of a previous captor, which yields the group coins, gems, various art objects, a scroll of mending, some splint mail, a wand of ray of enfeeblement and an oil of purify food.

The rest of the night passes uneventfully.

They spend the day making their way further toward the mines. After a whole day’s travel, Bjaritte announced that they are about 10 minutes from the slave’s location. Deagha scouts ahead as a hummingbird. Upon his return he reports there is a large room with a 200 foot deep open cavern, barricades and charge-preventing spears pointing in the direction of the adventurers approach. At the far end, a 20 by 20 foot opening, with a frost giant sitting upon furs, brazier with mostly human body parts, he is eating some and tossing pieces to his winter wolf companion. Post with a bell hanging from it. Further into the hallway, are some scattered baskets and tools, stalactites and stalagmites. They ask Bjaritte about the guarding giant, who she thinks is Thurysk often attended by one of the stronger winter wolves.

Shah and Sentinel creep to the edge of the cavern. Fraas cast greater invisibility on Shah, who starts making his way silently through the barricades. Sentinel bounds over the barricades. Simultaneously, Fraas casts an aqueous orb on the bell and Deagha blocks the giant and wolf’s escape with a Wall of Fire. Everyone else is rushing forward to close the gap. The frost giant and wolf are looking aghast at all the things happening around them. Shah makes his sneak attack twice on the giant with scorching weapons. Fraas unleashes a fireball, blowing the wolf to bits, the giant is afire and terrified. Sentinel lands right next to the giant and lets loose three solid blows. Rand, Zinn & Korrak charge into the cavern. Bjaritte shouts “immolate!” in abyssal and fires an arrow and while its in midflight fires another toward the smoldering giant. The giant just slumps over into a pile of hot corpse. The brazier is tipped over and one can no longer tell what parts are giant, elf, human or wolf within the flames.

Fraas disables the bell mechanism. Deagha hummingbirds further up the passage, seeing lots of piles of tools, baskets placed along the wall. He sees a passage that breaks off from the main tunnel. From that direction he hears giants talking, laughing. Sees the passage goes into a larger room, two giants facing away, one sitting on a lip of a pit, throwing rocks into it directed at several malnourished slaves attempting to sleep. Zidane is among them. Deagha flies into the alternate branch, this time picking up a multitude of voices, then returns back to the cavern where everyone else is.

Shah detects invisibility, while Fraas detects scrying; both see nothing, for now. They make their way down the passage toward the room with slave pit. Deagha stays back at the junction to scout for any oncoming backup forces. As they sneak down the corridor closer to the room, Fraas starts the melee with a mythic fireball. Sentinel rushes in power attacking the bigger giant wielding an axe with two blows. Rand closes in to smaller spear-wielding frost giants, smiting, with his glowing holy great axe. The giant drops its spear, but is barely hanging on to life. Rand takes another swing decapitating the giant, its head rolling into the slave pit. The headless frost giant slumps to the ground. Zinn sends a lightning bolt at the remaining giant, but it ducks out of the way of most of the blast. Korrak charges in, sword aflame, striking once, and again with a critical strike, swinging vertically down into the giant’s head, frost giant blood splattering, raining down into the pit.

Down the corridor, Deagha hears some giant voices moving down the tunnel, attempting to move silently. The rest start moving the slaves out of the pit as fast as possible up the ladders. Shah checks the giants for treasure finding various potions and combat gear as well as a pair of belts of incredible dexterity, amulets of natural armor, and rings of protection, and two sets of boots of the winterlands. On the wolf he finds a ring of retribution, thankfully yet unfired. Zidane and Rand are helping the slaves up. Sentinel is gently tossing some of the slaves out. Fraas heads back toward Deagha, who has since laid thorny traps and an obscuring fog cloud. Fraas readies a fireball, Deagha readies a lightning storm for the moment they breach the fog.

All the slaves that were still alive make it out of the pit. Rand casts an aura of courage and rallies them back toward the cavern entrance. Zidane, Rand and Korrak form a rear guard. Six frost giants come into view of Deagha and Fraas. Deagha springs his spike stones trap, Fraas sends his fireball at them. They start screaming in terror, running the other direction. Someone says, “Captain Smar is an idiot — we needed more guards.” They smolder as they scamper slowly through the spikes. Fraas and Deagha take turns unleashing fire spells and eventually finish them off with magic missile and a coup de grace with Deagha’s spear. Deagha quickly loots the bodies. He finds six sets of combat gear including belts of giant strength +2, cloaks of resistance and rings of protection +1, and myriad potions.

Rand does a mass heal of all the now-freed 50+ slaves. Rand asks if Zidane is sick, he nods silently. Korrak walks over opens his mouth and sees his tongue is missing. Zidane embarrassed, withdraws. No evil auras. About 10 have slight magical aura. Fraas separates them from the rest of the group. Made of plain iron, they all seem to have the same magic, each shackle lets the controller of them more easily target the shackles with scry or teleport and lets the controller know the status of the shackled. After some discussion of things to try, Rand speaking “Qas!” takes his heavy maul from his summoned griffon’s gear holster, using all his skills of accuracy to strike off the manacles, but it does no damage to the item. Rand tries again with a couple power attacks, finally breaking off the manacles. After confirming a lack of evil or magic auras, Rand proceeds to work through the shackles of the remaining nine sets of manacles, successfully breaking them all without hurting nary a one.

The group quickly gathers and distributes gear and finally make their way out of the tunnels.

For the next few days, Zinn and Fraas take turns teleporting groups into town. On the second day, Fraas mishaps and apparates into an unrecognized, bustling town square with humans shopping. The mote is very small with a connecting bridge. In the distance he sees a temple to a familiar deity. When he asks one of the townsfolk where he is, they respond with a furled brow, “INSERT NAME OF ZINN’S ORIGIN TOWN HERE”. On the third day, a small miscalculation leads Fraas slightly off target into a cave system where he overhears some cave trolls speaking giant: “don’t mess with them, we’ve heard about them. The great grinder of meat”. On his penultimate trip on day 5, Fraas mishaps, finding himself in the beach caves. Fraas walks towards the patch of black flowers that give him stronger control of the winds and notices the strange breeze that Bork had seen previously. After collecting a few stems, Fraas moves toward the hidden source of breeze and after touching the wall, suddenly appears on a raised stone circle, hundreds of yards wide. Over the edge, he can feel the wind. Also on the platform is a pile of mechanical bone-like structures, perhaps a deflated mechanical device, each single piece larger than Fraas. It has a similar magical intensity as the overwhelming aura of the heart. Before investigating further, he decides to first head back to the others.

After five days of teleporting everyone has returned to Griffton safely.

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Episode 126 Recap
The scrying pool of Thoko

Bjaritte says it will take roughly 2 days to get to the parts of the tunnels that link to the mines where the captives are.

Q: Are your people under Thoko’s thrall or willing?

A: Not sure, but kind of both. He’s able to command magically, but most wanted to follow him, as he brought a sense of organization. He has always been trapped in his chamber, for several centuries, only those who he wishes to do so can enter.

Q: What can you tell us of your people’s history?

A: The frost giants have always been on the mote. They knew of the storm giants; in fact the city on top of the waterfall used to be in the realm of the storm giant. They were run off before the frost giants came about 1000 years ago. Tribes of frost giants were mostly fighting among themselves until Thoko came.

Q: What is the white wyrm’s role in this?

A: The white wyrm is used to compel via fear, but not in the way thoko can.

Q: What about Belheim?

A: Belheim has always been a threat to them. Its seat of power was the tower that predated the town. Both the wyrm and thoko want it.

Q: Do you know of other dragons?

A: Just the white wyrm, and formerly the green wyrm.

Q: What is the status of Thoko’s army?

A: Their most powerful soldier is the white dragon. There are at least 100 frost giants who live in the city atop the waterfall. The orcs, who used to be slaves under the frost giants, now allies under Thoko, live in the slaves quarters. They are situated mostly in the mountain, and Thoko has imposed a chain of command upon them.

Q: Are there other places of note that the tunnels connect to?

A: They connect to natural caves, mines, but no one giant knows all paths.

Q: What is the status of Thoko’s brothers?

A: They are wrapped in chains and magically held by Thoko. Thoko’s torc is what he used to restrain them.

Q: Do you know of a white bearded sorcerer from Belheim?

A: Thoko’s pet? He groveled for his life in a pitiful fashion, a wicked awful person.

Q: What do you know about the Torc?

A: It is an ancient artifact. Legends say that it houses the soul of a giant god, Skov, and allows the command of many things, but greatest command over dragons.

Q: Do you know how to get to the sending pool?

A: Certainly, but we can only go in if Thoko invites us. He has sacrificed his own troops many times to fuel the pool. When going through the pool they give up a portion of their life and age rapidly. The pool loses power without souls. The amount of people sent depends on this power. It is almost as if the pool doesn’t want him to use it.

=============

Bjaritte occasionally glances over to korrak’s sword with coveting looks

Rand addresses the group, “In my opinion the first priority of our mission is to rescue the captives. The second priority is to destroy that pool. The third priority is to get us and everyone else back safely to Grifton with our lives. The showdown with Thoko can wait for round two. He’s not nearly as big of a threat without souls to free himself or a pool to send troops anywhere.”

Zinnaerris receives a sending, “There’s no time, can’t teleport in here, made deal, moved everyone I could. They’re safe. Maybe yannick can help locate. Love to both my Zinns.”

Fraas sends to Yannick, “Jackmerius’s in trouble, and has been freeing captives of an evil rune giant on our mote. He said you’d know how to locate or help. Please advise?”

Yannick replies, “I’d rather not get involved with giants, but tell me more. Maybe I can help, if you can help me.”

Fraas back to Yannick, “What are your terms and when will you be back in griffton? Jack said to make haste.”

Yannick, “Don’t know. Don’t know what I’m doing yet. Arriving on tomorrow’s caravan.”

Bjaritte and Korrak talk about the Jarla’s sword. It seems to want Korrak to have it, with a will of its own. Korrak insults Bjaritte’s family and their inability to take hold of their heirloom.

The night passes uneventfully.

The next day they teleport to the center of town. Merchants are setting up stalls for the market. Tradespeople are startled by the group’s sudden appearance. Turnips roll across the ground. There is yelling, screaming in reaction to the frost giantess.

Zinn walks up to Yannick poking him on the shoulder, “you’re gonna help us…” Sentinel with a bit more tact, politely asks for assistance. He asks the group (with the exception of Rand) onto his ship. There is a slight smell of sulfur. Rand begins a spiel about not trusting devils, but the rest end up convincing him to give Bjaritte a town tour while they do business with Yannick.

Yannick’s dhampir shipmates have an offputting sense. They have pallid, grayish skin, tall and slender, keeping to shadowy areas of the ship. They get a bruised tint when standing in the bright light, some with elongated incisors.

In Yannick’s quarters there are mahogany shelves of books, curiosities, including a humanoid fetus, weird skulls and pieces of beast, reptilian claws, candles. After Yannick lights some incense, no sounds can be heard outside the ship.

Fraas describes the situation Yannick. Yannick claims to know little of magic, but he makes introductions to friends of his family. Jack had asked to know the name of his most powerful family friend, Beelodohr. After hearing this, Korrak goes to talk with Archibald about the meeting.

At the arrival of the caravan, a significant amount of townsfolk are buying passage offmote.

The group rejoins with rand, who wants to talk with Yannick. Rand convinces him to be let aboard to chat. After a short diplomatic chat, Korrak loses patience and picks him up and slams him against the wall. Yannick starts squealing, says contacting Beelodohr would be a bad idea, doesn’t know what would’ve happened. Korrak shakes him more; Yannick wets himself. The person he introduced Jack to, had told him to give this name to the adventurers. He offers the name of his true contact in exchange for the ring & spyglass. When they inquire why the ring is so valuable, Yannick claims the ring confers the magic of Lord Garland; bounty hunters, the Westfalls, hired by dragons, will pay a fine price for it. The price for this name is so high, because if we know the name, then that person knows how we found out. In spite, Fraas knocks something else on his shelf on the way out.

Not knowing what to do about Yannick’s deal, the group decides to investigate the scrying pool, whether it is somehow connected to Thoko’s or has a will of its own. Things that are intelligent often conceal that fact. An artifact level object may be overwhelmingly magical, or in some cases, not appear magical at all. Sentinel starts talking to the water in the pool, “I want to help save my friends and save this mote.” Deagha speaks to it as well, “We would like to interact with the portal of souls that the Thoko is using.”

A 60 foot tall charcoal, skin-covered giant appears in the pool. He is adorned in full-plate, has a long sword, and is covered in runes. Around his neck is a very shiny torc of reptilian scale. One hand of his is dipped down in the pool, shaking, the other hand holding an elf by the neck. The water is choppy. As the elf shrivels away Thoko discards the elf. Several more figures cower next to the pool, chained together. As Thoko does this, the runes on his body glow, and after he sacrifices this elf he moves to the next room, a room filled with treasure, perhaps the dragon’s horde. He tries to walk through the arch but cannot. Two other rune giants are wrapped in some kinds of bands of force.

Fraas tosses a pebble into the pool, much to everyone’s panicked chagrin, but it goes unnoticed by Thoko, as the pebble travels through the scrying pool and into Thoko’s chamber, creating a tiny ripple in his pool.

The scrying pool returns to normal and they go out to talk to Bjaritte about Thoko’s powers. He has been able to summon things to his side, some kind of giants, none like she’d ever seen before. Larger than frost giants, faces of boars, an evil planar chaotic demon. One was able to incinerate frost giants just using the magic of its body.

The decide to head to the ship to use Jack’s mirror to scry. Once aboard, Niowen reports on a recent prophecy she delivered, which caused her some considerable pain to retrieve, “The orc master’s progeny will return.” They reach the mirror. It’s midday; Ropey’s tying his knots.

In Shah’s quarters where the mirror was being stored, they attempt to scry Balin. They see a very happy looking Balin sitting at a wooden table. He is playfully biting on the leg of buxom, scantily-clad, dwarven lady. Figures, mostly elves, are eating delicious salads, music playing, it is well lit. Everyone seems well-mannered (with the exception of some playful nibbling), regal even, elven and dwarven languages being spoken — Fraas thinks the accents sound infernal.

When they try to scry Boko, nothing.

Scrying Zidane, they find him manacled, in a dark tunnel, hitting a wall with a pickaxe.

Deagha, Sentinel & Korrak head to the market toward Yannick’s stand. They find he is offering an evocation and necromancy staff, a staff of many rays, a longsword of black iron with a necromantic aura that drains life & restores health on critical hits, as well as a pale white wooden trident, goldish prongs, carved in aquatic scale patterns, with the capacity to command aquatic creatures.

Yannick is not around, but the salescreature states, “You know what my boss wants.” “Do you know what we did to your boss?” “(whisper) no, but I saw.”

Rand, Zinn & Fraas head to Rand’s mother’s house. Korrak reaches them before they get there to retrieve Fraas’ help in appraising items. Rand & Zinn chat with his Rand’s mother, then swing by Bas’s to say hello and see if he can start making alchemical fire to help ward off frost giants.

On the way to the market, Korrak asks Fraas to study her sword. While Fraas inspects the staff, he hears a commotion in Yannick’s tent. He moves to check the tent, but the attendant says, “you can’t go back there!” Fraas just keeps walking in. He sees Yannick on the ground, Korrak “negotiating”; she asks Fraas for some privacy.

Sentinel obtains from the market a scroll of restoration, which Rand casts on him. Everyone eventually meets up at Archibald’s. Korrak comes back saying the negotiations could knock the staff down to 60,000 GP. A precautious Fraas detects scrying, but sees nothing.

The next day is a festival day. The farmers come in bringing their crops, kind of subdued. People seemed worried, tense. Bjaritte is commissioned into town guard. Timmy begins ordering her around.

The group teleports outside of Thellan’s Cairn. The door is still ajar, just as they last left it. Air blowing out of it has a cold tinge to it, and the smell of a decaying swamp. It seems like there are undead inside. The room is very dark. A set of bones lay a bit up the path, two shiny scimitars laying next to the bones.

There seems to be shadows within shadows. Upon entering a chorus of wailing, a couple of sources, getting louder, unseen for the moment, but Zinn recognizes them as banshees. Out of the darkness, shadows start to swarm; one big one, many smaller ones. The big shadow reaches out and touches Zinnaerris.

Sentinel leaps up and flies down the pathway landing right in front of a shadow. Zinn & Fraas unleash lightning bolts on some shadows. Korrak charges at a shadow with her sword. Two large bats appear from behind stalactites. One of the bats blasts a cone of cold at Deagha, Zinn and Korrak, the other emits an enchanting sound at them & Fraas, but they all shrug it off. The banshees move forward. Deagha summons a manticore which spewed spikes at one of the bats, clanking off its natural armor.

Deagha unleashes a storm of lightning on every shadow in combat. The shadows swarm in toward Rand. Sentinel punches a shadow into oblivion and leaps at a banshee, but misses with his flurry of blows. Zinn zaps a banshee with a lightning bolt. The bats attempt to enchant Fraas, Zinn & Korrak, but only Korrak is affected. Confused, Korrak hits herself with the sword. Fraas lightning arcs between the two banshees. Rand and Korrak barely suppress the effects of the banshee’s wail. Deagha’s manticore attacks a bat, then Deagha unleashes more lightning bolts to finish off the shadows. Rand smites one of the banshees with a holy strike, its wailing stops; mythic sudden strike, another attack. Sentinel hits the same banshee with an unarmed strike. Zinn lightning bolts the other banshee. Korrak, still confused attacks Zinn. Fraas is paralyzed in place from a confusion attack from the nearest bat. Deagha sends a flame attack centered at his manticore, which hits both a banshee and a bat.

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