Session 46 - Sethi

These last few days have been a whirlwind of activity. Finally, our goal was in sight. We had obtained the final components of the ballista and dealt with the demons seeking to retrieve the whip. Our next task was to assemble the artifact.

Knowledge of such weaponry and magic falls outside my usual scope of expertise, and it is probably the same for Jaz and Maxwell. However, none of us could contain our curiosity now that we had the long sought components right in front of us. After many fruitless hours, Ivan had a flash of insight and reversed the orientation of the arch of the bow. Suddenly, its power burst alight!

With the construction of the artifact complete, we simply needed fit it upon a base, then to move it and what remained of the army to the battlefield. It was time to put an end to Skrull’s colossus.

When we arrived, I immediately regretted my decision to forgo a stiff drink beforehand. Arrayed before us was a massive army of Juju zombies accompanying the construct. Jazz set to work manning the ballista but that army would need to be dealt with, else we would be overrun.

Max charged into the fray without a second glance. Though his silhoutte soon vanished amid the throngs of undead, I could follow his progress by the trail of bodies he left. Ivan found himself a suitable vantage point and begain raining fire and brimstone upon the approaching army. The ranks of undead thinned, but not quick enough.

I stepped up beside Ivan and closed my eyes, beseeching Desna for aid. Offensive combat was never my forte, but against the undead – perhaps I could help. As I opened my eyes to focus on the horde, Desna answered. Ivan and myself began to strike in tandem, corraling and slowing the army’s advance even as we destroyed their ranks. I could hear the ballista thundering in the distance.

Sweat began to obscure my vision as the battle dragged on and my repertoire of spells continued to shrink. The rhythmic beat of the ballista paused for a brief moment, then a loud crack echoed across the battlefield. The base had shattered! At that moment, I saw Max teleport up to the ballista and lift it off the base himself. One final shot was all it took to fell the construct.

I turned back to regard what remained of our foes, but there was no army left. Ivan had cleaned up the stragglers and was dusting off his hands. He looked sigificantly better than I felt.
After the battle, Ivan set about studying the construct while Jaz, Max, and I considered our next steps. The immediate threat was over, but the leaders of Skrull continue to hold sway over their capital. Until they are brought to justice, this war cannot end.

Still…I find myself dreading this final battle. Ending zombies and demons is one matter, but actually killing another living soul – my stomach turns at the thought. Perhaps the prince, at least, could be captured and rehabilitated as the king has requested. No parent should have to bury their child…

Session ??? - Max

I’ve lost track of time. But they finally figured out how to put the weapon together. And just in time too. We’ve gotten word that the golem is on the move. And we also luckily know where they are coming from, since it’s really the only way. Not only did they figure out how to get it working, they also figured out how to make it resize bigger. I mean, it resized when I held it, but they were able to create a base that supported it resizing even bigger than I could carry easily. That took a little time but it was all hands on deck, for the grunts at least. but we were all barking orders to get it right and get it done fast. There was no time to waste. With a joined effort, we teleported the weapon and base to where we knew they wuold be coming and we waited. We didn’t have to wait long. Jazz manned the ballista, which was sad. But she had the best chance at hitting the construct than the rest of us. I missed my killing buddy on the field. but our job was to protect bad guys from getting through. And there was a LOT. Just a ton of undead accompanying the golem. but those cowardly bastards the witch, king and the ex-prince, were nowhere to be found. We still had a mission though. I teleported into the thick of things after getting some help from Ivan, and then Ivan, myself and Sethi went to work protecting Jazz and she bombarded this thing with shot after shot, although it seemed like about 1/3 of them were missing. Maybe the base wasn’t as good as we though. And just as it seemed like the battle was about to be won, the unthinkable happened…the base broke! Seriously? On the verge of victory? Luckily, we had taken out the undead and kept them off her back. Alot of area spells by Ivan and Sethi mostly. I took on the ones that made it past them as well as my warcat joining in the fun with Jazz being busy. but after the base broke, I had to dimension door to her. With my increased size and strength, I took up the ballista myself and fired. And just in time too. It was right on top of us but luckily Jazz had done just enough that one more shot was all we needed and it came crashing down.

After it ended, we determined that they must still be holed up in their castle and received some confirmation after some interrogations. Now the big question…do we sneak in and catch them off guard, which I doubt will happen anyway, or just storm the castle? Maybe both? It appears that Ivan and the wizard may be able to reprogram the golem to be on our side. We could use that as a distraction while we sneak in. No concensus on what to do yet but we need to make a decision. And fast.

Session 46 - Ivan

AHA!!!! Finally it’s assembled. I was thinking the weapon must have been created like a modern crossbow, but I was wrong. It was a REVERSE crossbow from the old days. Once we assembled it this way, the ancient weapon was finally ready. Also, this was the exact thing I needed in order to finally crack the Gnoll language as well. I was thinking logically when I should have been thinking illogically. The last of the known languages is at my disposal, with the exception of the dead languages Druidic and Drow Sign Language. After this war I will settle down and see if there is a way to resurrect those somehow. Now that the weapon is assembled, we needed to find a way to move it. It wasn’t too difficult. We took a wagon and repurposed it as fast as possible to make it a base so it could travel. The scouts managed to give us the path of the enemies, so we set an ambush.

When we got there, we were in for a rude awakening though. What we did not expect were the sheer numbers of juju zombies in full sprint around the massive constructs feet. If the weapon were to be overrun we would not have stood a chance. It looked like it was solely up to me to keep them at bay. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to handle them all, but I was ready and willing to sacrifice myself in order to protect my team. I’m not really sure how it came to be, but it seemed Sethi nearly heard my thoughts and came up beside me. While I started unleashing some Fireballs and Walls to prevent movement and slow them down, Sethi started unleashing spells I had never seen him use before. This passive healer was now standing toe to toe with me and was taking out just as many of the enemies as I was. If not for him and his new found offensive capabilities, I think we would have been done for.

While Sethi and I were laying waste to the juju horde, Max was busy cutting down anything that got past us, as Jaz took up the mantle of firing the weapon at the giant construct. Jaz had to get in a few practice shots it seems before finally zeroing in on it. She is amazing with a rapier, but a ballista was definitely out of her comfort zone. While the Max and Jaz show continued down below, the Ivan and Sethi hour was just getting good. He kept up with me blow for blow, and just when I thought I was pulling ahead, he unleashed something new. As the battle ensued I released one of my new spells that I was sure would grab some attention. A Lighting Meteor Swarm pelted the ground with outrageous force. I looked over to Sethi with a grin on my face just as he cast a new one as well… and opened the earth to swallow just as many as I had taken out. It was most impressive. We went back and forth, literally. He would cast, then I would cast to make sure we were not targeting the same locations. We were in sync like never before. I have a new found respect for Clerics.

Just as it seemed we were in the lead, I heard a loud CRACK behind us. Afraid that some enemies got through I took my eyes of the battlefield to see the repurposed wagon had broken under the force of the ancient ballista. I had prepared for a horde, so my normal means of assisting in this area were out of reach. I was trying to think of another way when Max came in and saved the day. He picked up the ballista off straight off the base and fired it at the heavily damaged construct. Down the massive hunk of metal went, as the arrow crashed against the armored plating. The behemoth construct was defeated and the juju zombies were retreating. Sethi and I mopped up what was left, but I could tell he was nearly out of power, while I had barely used half of my reserves. I guess that is the difference between his training and mine. I had him take a break and see to it that the others were ok while I pelted the last of them with a few more Lightning Spheres.

We had won this battle, but the fight was not over. Honestly, I think this construct was taken down way to easily. Why make it so blunt? Why make it so easy to track? Built out in the open, for anyone scouting in the hills above to see. We obviously knew it was coming… and hordes of juju zombies tearing things apart and making a ton of racket? A blatant disregard for any attempt to hide this almost makes me think… Wait, who’s guarding the King?

Session 45 - Ivan

I finally cracked this Boggard language that has been giving me a headache for some time. It seems that each time I learn a new language the next is easier, but these last two are really stumping me for some reason. Now I can focus on trying to get this damn weapon assembled and learning the last of the known languages.

We at least got a week of downtime before everyone starts freaking out about demons coming through a gate… Figures we would get all the pieces and they would come looking for it. At least we don’t have to fight them on a pile of bodies anymore. It might be somewhat of a fair fight now, without Daemons and Angels fighting over top of us. We gather up our gear and I let Toron know that we can resume our game of chess as soon as I return. At least someone else around here likes to employ strategy rather than brute force… Oh who am I kidding, if it was legal I would shock the chess board too, haha.

We gather together in the courtyard and make a plan. Those who don’t get a transformation get to be invisible and flying. We then teleport in and assess the situation. Many daemons are here, but not the big guy. Its fine, there are more than enough targets around here for us to take on, and I have a few spells I would like to try out. Of course, since I am a caster I get hit with a wonderfully placed Greater Dispel Magic, and almost fall. It’s a good thing I forgot to take Featherfall off my list today. I am able to catch myself then use a new one called Fiery Body. I become a more potent elemental force, burn exceptionally brightly, and am able to heal myself with fire. I light these guys up with me by slamming us all with an actual fireball, thereby making me invisible thanks to this cloak I have.

Just as we seemed to be wrapping it up, something spooks the daemons. Lo and behold, here comes the big guy. I assumed he would rally his troops, but all of them seem scared of him. They take off running/flying in the other direction, so everyone turns their heads toward the leader. After a few well places spells and then polymorphing him into a sparrow, Max and Jaz were able to carve him up like a turkey dinner.

Seems the daemons wanted to move in since they were about to lose their own war on their turf, as we found a vast amount of treasure not far from them. We split it up, and I think I now have some really nice plans on what I can do with this idea I have for a demiplane…

Now if I can just get this darn weapon to assemble we would be fine.

Session 44 - Sethi

We continued down the long, straight, boring tunnel into the heart of Aerta. Eventually Lang noticed something ever so slightly different ahead of us. None of the rest of us noticed at first but upon further inspection, the next step led us through a portal, but to where. Seeing no real other choice and knowing that the whip we needed was somewhere up ahead we went through. What was on the other side was too much to behold. In fact, it took all of us by surprise and awe. We could do nothing but stare at the scene in front of us. Or I should say all around us . We were standing on what appeared to be an invisible floor. We could see straight down below, hundreds of miles perhaps to what we later figured was the plane of Abaddon. Home of the Daemons. Fire and brimstone. Death and destruction. All of those things you hear about in the tales. And coming up from those depths were hordes upon hordes of daemons. But on the other hand, above us was pure heaven. Literally. Pure bliss. And flying down was hordes of angels apparently ready to do battle against the evil hordes. We watched as the battle played out. None of us able to avert our gaze or look away. The battle was not going well though for the angels. The battlefield was being dominated by a single powerful daemon who placed himself atop a pile of dead bodies, rising 30 feet in the air. He wielded our whip. And with it he lashed out, often for hundreds of feet away striking a single target. But that target was then pounced upon by the daemons until it quickly met its fate. Seconds later a new victim was chosen. This daemon was protected by a ring of monstrous beasts preventing the angels from getting too close. It was clear we would need to stop him and recover our whip.

Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity a stray fireball came too close and blew up beside us. The damage was not too bad and it snapped most of us from our fascination. Luckily we had been ignored for this whole time, and we had time to prepare ourselves for battle. The plan was simple. I would teleport all of us in side the head daemon’s ring of thugs. The gang would beat the crap out of him and we would get out of dodge. It didn’t quite to that way of course. Climbing the mountain of bodies was harder than it seemed. And his brutes hit like a ton of bricks. Jaz came up with a new plan all of a sudden. She disarmed him, bringing the whip within our reach. But before she could get it he knocked her off the pile and stood over his prize. Leave it to Ivan to pull out one more new trick. He used Telekinesis on the whip, and managed to maneuver it just out of the daemon’s grasp. We had our prize. It would have been nice to turn the tide of this eternal war between good and evil. We could have helped good reclaim this demiplane. Maybe we did by getting the whip out of there. Regardless, our mission was to capture the whip and save Kaliz. This battle will have to wait for another day. I grab everyone’s hands and we teleport back to the portal. Stepping through, we teleport one more time to Kaliz.

I sure hope the Daemon’s don’t try to follow us….

Session 43 - Ivan

Once we rested up and it was the next morning, we performed our usual rituals and exited the mansion to continue down the tunnel. Eventually we came to a cave in. I turned Max into an Earth Elemental just in time to see a Lava Child “swim” through the other side of the cave in. That’s when we were ambushed by quite a few others. Max went toe-to-toe with the one swimming through the cave in, and the others decided to flank us in this small corridor. Their first mistake was hitting me with fire, because as soon as they did I was invisible. However, they had Tremorsense so they knew where my feet were. I took a few hits. The main issue was the inability to deal any sort of damage to these things with metal. Any metal they come into contact with, they completely ignore. Their only weakness was cold, and unfortunately I was the only one versatile enough to do anything about it… as long as they were not inside the walls. Then, I had an epiphany. Jazz was completely helpless at this point, as her sword was incapable of dealing any kind of damage. So I took one really good look at her sword and then stone shaped one exactly like it. I can craft rods in my sleep, so a basic representation of a Rapier was not difficult. This allowed Jazz to make use of her uncanny ability to find any weak spot in anything and exploit it drastically. In the end, we survived.

After this, I had to spend 10 minutes memorizing a spell I had not used in a VERY long time… Transmute Rock to Mud. It was nasty, and took more than one casting of Prestidigitation to clean it all off, but we found some nice magical items that the Lava Child’s were hiding it seems. Continuing down the tunnel we eventually encountered some Cacodaemons. Small, flying, and mouths full of teeth. I did not want to get bit by those things, so I blasted them as fast as I could. I even dusted off my Widen Metamagic Rod and used it. It worked rather nicely.

Then, 10 separate pops announced the arrival of new enemies, Venedaemons. We were surrounded in this tunnel by a bunch of outsiders we had not seen before… well most of us. I had researched them a lot back in the days. Page 347 of the Daemon book my father forced me to read on a particularly sunny afternoon. It only stuck in my head because Conner made a shadow twin of me and took me outside that day. I wonder if I will ever see him again? Alas, it was not the time for a trip down memory lane. It’s a good thing I was holding this Widen Metamagic Rod in my hands. No sooner had they arrived I was able to cast a serious Shocking Fireball among all of us. I am just glad I can prepare it selectively or I would have roasted my allies as well. 10 come in, and 7 of them are taken out instantly the minute they show up. Max and Jazz each get one as well. The last one was able to get away before Jazz could react. Still, it seems some nice free loot was delivered to us. How thoughtful of them.

Session 42 - Ivan

After finding the entrance to this cave through the side of the mountain I began to realize that there was an order to these clues from the tapestry. I started with alphabetical, but that wasn’t right. I tried a few different ways after that until it finally started to make sense. It was some kind of prophecy, but of course it wasn’t very clear. I’m not sure why all prophecies sound like absolute gibberish but make sense after the fact. I assume that is the point, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

After finding the entrance and a lot of enemies surrounding it, we landed behind the tree line to strategize. It was a really large enemy force split down the middle by a river, so naturally I took one side and everyone else took the other. I normally hold back and let the Max and Jazz show commence, since I am the backup plan in case everything goes awry. However, this time I was really able to let loose. I didn’t hold back at all this time.

We didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to buff up, since Jaz wasn’t able to hide when turned into a Fire Elemental. Still, it was enough to let the others loose and I ended up planting myself right in the air above the river and cut off the bridge. After that, it was a simple combination of Lava Wall, Clenched Fist, a Quicken Rod, and a lot of Shocking Fireballs. When shock didn’t work, I changed them to acid. All in all, the fight went well… but Jazz was seriously close to dying. If not for that Phoenix tattoo she would have perished. We need to be much more careful.

We were able to clear out the enemies; however the blink dog in the cage did not make it. I should have put a barrier around it. Hindsight sucks… Regardless, we were able to figure out a way to open the passage into the mountain by speaking the word Nerostrix in Aklo. The passageway took a long time to open, so unfortunately the spells I cast before were long gone. I even had to recast a few on myself while we waited.

Eventually it opened up, but it was getting late so we decided to rest for the night in my mansion. Through there we teleported to town and got a few items we were missing and I found a new cloak that was very nice. Now, every time I take any sort of fire damage, I will turn invisible. I figure in a volcano, it might come in handy…

Session 42-Jazz

We were wind walking along. There is a lot of time for solitude and reflection when you cant communicate with your traveling partners, and you are left to alone with your own thoughts. I thought a lot about Max, and how much he’s changed over the time we have been together. Seriously, I mean he went from a normal sized man to a beast in a cod piece. He’s huge. When I think about his wandering eye, I am reminded of the little pip squeak that I almost overlooked when we first started out, before we ever went to Nacatose. I remembered the prince of that area that treated me so very well. That prince was the type of man that I imagine ever woman dreams about. He was rich and powerful obviously, and he was kind. He even came and rescued us many of times, and each time we were friendly and seemingly a pretty good match as lovers. He even enjoyed my cooking style. Somehow however, I was more than willing to leave him behind and let my heart be opened and stabbed time and time again to someone who seemed to prefer me out of a matter of convenience. And if I would have allowed myself to fall for a Prince, would he have done the same as many royals do and cast me to the thousands of women cast as nothing but notches on the bedpost. Instead I made him a notch on mine and never even asked. Then it happened. We rolled up to beat up the bad guys and do our job, and it happened.

I died. Yep, it happened. We figured out that we needed to go to the volcano with all this strange scryig and voodoo of object. Honestly, all that was just over my head. Ivan really was the one figuring out where the heck we were going, and apparently he was right. We came upon this odd looking development in the side of the mountain where the river was just spirting from the base of the mountain, and settled there was what looked like an evil cult.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the blink dog. I’ve never seen one before and it was mysterious and beautiful. There were three humans in there with the dog and at first I didn’t know if it was evil or good. Once they saw us coming in, after Ivan announced us with a lava wall, it was clear the dog was being held captive. It was eventually sacrificed to draw more power to the magic wielders or something.

Now that I have died, this is disturbing. My body was healed and my soul returned immediately so dying didn’t feel like anything but a spell being cast. That poor blink dog and the three other people who were most likely innocent were not so lucky to have an arcane mark of the phoenix to save them. My phoenix is gone now, much like the blink dog, and life feels much more delicate for the experience. We found some soul stones, which apparently the underworld type like to use as commodities. I wonder if one of the souls is the blink dog. I wonder if one of the stones would have been my soul, trapped and encased in glass.

The millisecond I was dead, my life did flash before my eyes. There was more than just men, or lack of men or even the occasional woman. There was my Mom, and the neighbors I used to play with as a child. There was the kind words and looks of longing from others who were in my training courses. It occurred to me that everything that seems like it matters in certain moments is nothing lasting, and that each moment should be valued just for what it can offer. The idea of marriage or fidelity obviously are farce hoods, and if a moment comes by in that a person can connect, as long as its not hurting anyone else, that should be taken for the moment it’s given. It was an intense millisecond but it was freeing from my distracted mind.

Now we are entering into the volcano and where we are of course going to have to battle some more underworld soul stealing demons. I am weaker and stronger at the same time.

Session 42 - Max

Nobody had a clue where to find the last piece. All we knew was where the last location was and then, after some serious deep thought, it came to us. That crystal ball we obtained SOO long ago. It was in the same room as the string. Back to the old trick of Ivan focusing on something and seeing things around it and where it’s been. It’s nice to have someone who is worldly(and wordy) smart with us. All those clues about where the final piece is at was hurting my head. At least I figured out it was about a volcano, but where? That’s where Ivan came in. He was able to read all of the clues that were in different languages and we figured out where we had to go. Aerta. The biggest volcano around. But we are running out of time. We couldn’t teleport directly there since we’d never been there. However, we did realize we could cut out trip time in half at the very least by teleporting to those weird woods we went to when we were escorting the princess. From there..WHOOSH! Wind Walk all the way tot he volcano and make our way around, inspecting as we went. We eventually came to a place where we saw a bunch of not so good looking guys doing something, along with some people and some sort of dog locked in a cage. After some recon, it was determined that these guys weren’t very nice, especially since they had a very nice blink dog locked up in the cage with the people. And whatever they were doing to the side of the volcano wasn’t very good either. Almost like using ritual sacrifices to open a portal or something. That was not something we could abide. We did our normal preparations, came up with battle plans, and zoomed into action. Ivan put down a wall of lava to help prevent people getting from one side of the river to the other while Jazz, me, and Lang teleported(using my new nifty skill) near the cage so we could help free the captives while taking out the people around it and Lang could get the cage open. What we didn’t count on was that EVERY ONE of the bad guys was a damned cleric. Spells were launched at us left and right, but Jazz and I were able to deflect and waded in and did our thing, tearing up people left and right as we could. Her as a fire elemental and me as an earth elemental. Unfortunately, the guys in the cage were much worse off than we had expected and the clerics we couldn’t get to murdered them right in front of our eyes. That REALLY pissed me off. Ivan took care of his side while we took care of ours. Some of his guys managed to actually jump the river to our side but he kept on them as well. It was a long and hard-fought battle, both physically and mentally. But persistence pays off(as well as spells and just good old fashioned beatings) and we eventually took them out. After tending our wounds, we decided to take a look at what they were doing. On a workbench they had something that apparently was some gems that had souls stored in them. We took those in hopes to figure out how to release the souls properly, either to return to their bodies or to be set to rest in peace. Using what we thought sounded like a password from the clues, as soon as it was repeated a hole opened up in the side of the volcano, like a portal or a doorway. Well, with the clues we’ve gotten so far, this seems like the right way to go. And we really need that string. So, down the dark corridor we went. Eventually though, it ended in a cave-in. After the last battle though, I’m thinking we should just rest for a minute before Sethi starts moving and sculpting the stone out of the way….

Session 41 - Sethi

Our mission here with the elves was over. We had acquired the trigger mechanism and it was time to go back to Kaliz. Lisentilathul has decided to remain with him people and not return home. I cannot say that I blame him but King Elmenor will surely be disappointed.

Unfortunately the anti-teleportation ring around the Elven Woods requires us to walk back across the bridge over the anti-magic field. We could all sense that this might be a problem. The bridge and neighboring border towns were all abuzz with activity. Apparently a 1000 new elves is good for trade. As we start walking across, Lang spies someone strange on the opposite side. It is, or was, a shrouded mysterious figure who teleported away as soon as he/she spotted us. Not good. We pick up the pace but before we get back she reappears with some friends (of hers, definitely not ours). It is that witch, Darlina, and some of her disciples. And we are stuck in the middle of an anti-magic field. We move forward. They move to the edge of the magic field and wait for us. Battle ensues. Darlina disappears again, only to return a few seconds later with more of her friends. These guys hit really hard with their battleaxes. Really hard. We try to focus on Darlina but the bitch flies up and teleports away. Again. We will get her some day. But for today her disciples will have to do. And, of course, we prevail. We loot their bodies quickly and get out of there before she comes back with more of them.

Back home, King Elmenor is once again happy to see us. The war is not going well. Magrith has lost their greatest hero, General Ling, so died in battle. They are barely holding on. King Elmenor fears that without Nacatost’s limited army propping them up, they would fall. The elves said they would only help in small ways. Maybe we need them there and now? And, even though Prince Aerethor the traitor knows of the plan, we are ready to enact Prince Silaught’s bold plan to attack through the Sakerin Pass. Many fear that it will be suicide. But the construct is nearly complete and we must not let that happen. And it gets worse. Toron has been unable to find the last piece of the ballista artifact. All he has is some ancient history ending with the string (now used as a whip) in the hands of Clerics of Urgathoa.

We recall that we are still in possession of a crystal ball that we recovered from the Urgathoan temple oh so many moons ago. Ivan uses his scrying ability on the crystal ball and sure enough gains sight of the tapestry left behind by the last known owner of the whip. But what a riddled jumbled mess of a clue. Seven different languages all mixed together. Than goodness Ivan is a super genius. He is able to decipher the riddle’s clues, but what do they mean?


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