The party follows the masked man through the portal and finds themselves in a cavern with a flowing river. The man in the mask is up on a ledge. He complains that this is tougher than anticipated and none have been such a nuisance before. Combat starts and as the party rushes forward, he raises his arms above his head and part of the cavern turns to lava, burning some of the PCs. Dante’s animal companion cat Toron jumps into the fray and attacks the man in the mask but the man gets several swings in with his bastard sword and after 3 strikes, plunges the sword into Toron and the cat disappears. Maka succeeds in magically compelling the man in the mask to come closer which allows a full on assault and the party eventually gets a good hit in and stab him in the side, causing the man to stagger in pain. Clutching his side as falls he focuses his energy and they watch his wound heal, but as he does his visage is withdrawn and the person in front of them is no longer a man in a mask. In front of them on the ground is an old wrinkled woman with dark hair and dark skin; she cackles, sputtering blood and tells them that it’s no good, they will have to sleep sometime and she’ll be back. Desna can’t protect the Everwood forever, and soon Alazhra will show her dominance. She then furrows her brow and disappears. The party rushes over to where Toron was but he is gone. The world starts to lose form and the party wakes up.
Back in the Temple of Desna, as the party wakes they notice Toron at the food of Dante’s bed, bleeding out. Dante goes to his companion and discovers that Toron is indeed dead, with several gashes alongside his abdomen. He remembers when he first found Toron is was back in Almus next to a seemingly magical pool; he feels he may need to go there again and perhaps he can somehow reconnect with his friend.
The report back to Tessara, who says her trance out in the desert went well; she suffered no dreams or sleep. She asks if they have solved the issue plaguing the Everwood and Faun steps forward to say they have failed. She recounts the story of the wrinkly old woman and the statement about Alazhra. Tessara and her servants don’t recognize the name or the woman. Tessara suggests they consult the Keeper of Records in the Archives below the city. She states that the Archives contain vast stores of information but also warns this is where they keep things that should be locked away. Several of these artifacts in storage have evil or pervasive auras and can sometimes cause things to be summoned or necromantically raised around the items; she informs them that typically their court mages keep tabs on these threats and conduct routine cleanings of the rooms to avoid things escaping or causing damage. She urges extreme caution and hands them a key.
The Archives are at the base of a large tree with double doors leading to stairs going down below the roots. The party enters a well-lit room with a human girl looking to be around 19-20 years old sitting at a desk. She stands as they enter and raises her hand in greeting, introducing herself as Ette, the Keeper of Records. Margit immediately notices the joints on the girl’s arms are unnatural and look remarkably like her own marionette body. She immediately bursts out with a list of questions such as “Are you a marionette? How did you get your body? Did you die? Who made you? Where did you come from?” Ette tells Margit that she is indeed inside a marionette body, however she doesn’t know who made it. She used to live in Almus long ago (she mentions a totally different city, underground with no one going to the surface due to dragons up above, so the party assumes she’s been away for a LONG time). She remembers getting sick and dying once, but her next memories are inside this marionette body. She has trained the body to not require sleep, food, or water, and she is happy to stay in this little room as it reminds her of “home” back in Almus. She is apparently unaware of the situation in the Everwood. The party asks her about information on Alazhra, and she thinks for a moment. She remembers there are likely 3 books in the Archives that mention that name. She gives the locations. When the party asks if she can help them get the books, she declines, stating that the mages haven’t been down in some time, and she fears what has spawned behind the locked vault doors. She says if they want to go find the books, she will give the descriptions of them, but they PCs must be prepared to deal with whatever has popped into existence in the rooms since they were last cleaned out. She also warns the party of various artifacts that are locked away for a reason and are much of the cause of the things that appear (and are also why the doors are locked). The first book in in the library through a door, the next is in a room housing the remains of Marceliel the Berserker, and the last is in the tomb of Ixibel the Blood Drinker, Protector of the Everwood (and 3rd Seneschal of the Everwood). Faun notices a cute doll on Ette’s desk and inquires about it; Ette states it keeps her company but Faun is welcome to it if she wants. Faun accepts the gift. Dante notices it’s magical.
The first room they look in is a vast library covered with bookshelves and books. As they open the door, lights appear in the room and moans can be heard. Zombies! The party quickly dispatches the zombies and searches the room. They find the first book they were looking for, a magical bag, magical boots, magical bracers, and a magical belt. Faun inspects the items and states they are a Bag of Holding Type 2, Boots of Elvenkind, Bracers of Armor +5 (!!!), and a Belt of Giant’s Strength +2. The party is wary due to the warnings and tests the bag; it doesn’t appear to be one that devours any items. Maka puts the Belt of Giant’s Strength +2 on and as he does, its form immediately changes and so does his. The party watches as he transitions from a man to a woman. He quickly takes the belt off, but it’s too late. He puts the belt back on but nothing happens. The party realizes the items they have may be cursed. Faun has tried the Bracers of Armor +5 on; Maka throws an object at her and the party watches as it accelerates towards her unnaturally and strikes her. She can’t get the bracers off and notices they are in actuality Bracers of Defenselessness. Margit has already put on the Boots, but she can still take them on or off so they aren’t sure if they are cursed.
The PCs step back out into Ette’s room and she notices Maka has changed gender. She is enraged that they have plundered the Everwood’s artifacts and asks what else they took. They for the most part stay quiet and don’t let her know they’ve taken anything else, but she is highly questionable of their motives now and calls them thieves. She doesn’t seem to want to help them much anymore, but the party decides that they already got the info they needed from her and decide to press on and perhaps just not take anything else due to the curses. They unlock the next door and notice a room in utter disarray; Ette looks in and appears sad, stating it appears whatever is in there has been there long enough to wreak havoc. There is a gaping hole in the floor and things are torn asunder. The PCs notice two fiendish looking things in the back of the room. As no book is supposed to be here, they decide to just close the door.
The last door leads to chamber with a fountain and pool of water and lots of bones up against the walls; apparently the mages have dealt with a lot of creatures here but don’t clean up as well as they should. As they enter the room, lights magically turn on. Inside the pool are several coins of various denominations; Dante looks closely and notices several he recognizes but several appear to be from kingdoms he doesn’t recognize or may be lost to time. His detect magic sense notices 4 magical rings in the pool. Margit is wary of the water and pokes it with a long bone and the bone is sucked in and appears to dissolve. Suddenly, the pool erupts with skeletons who attack the party. Faun sees a growing horde of skeletons and casts fireball, which causes many of the books and furniture in the room to catch on fire, but manages to destroy all of the skeletons and blasts most of the water out of the fountain. All that is left is a small pool of writhing jelly that Maka quickly squelches. The party takes the rings and the gold, but Faun refuses to identify the lucre as she is starting to agree with Ette about the party’s intentions and is highly distraught with the damage she caused. She starts casting mending on as many objects as she can. Weir locates book 2 in the first tomb room; no monsters are present. Dante notices heavy magical auras coming from inside the coffin but the PCs decide to leave the dead alone, fearing the dead may be displeased. They go into the last room and find the 3rd book; again there are no monsters and a strong magical aura coming from in the coffin. They again decide to leave the dead be. They exit back to Ette’s room where she continues to ask them what history they have stolen from the elves and what curses they are loosing back into the world. The party decides to just leave, with Faun mending as many things as she can and apologizing to Ette for the rest of the party. (They never entered a 3rd tomb room which is labeled in the pics as Tomb 1)
The party reads the 3 books, written in Elven.
Book one is a children’s book detailing a story of Alazhra the Dream Eater and how she comes to bad elven boys and girls in their sleep and can scare them to death! She is an enemy to Desna, who protects the Elves and the Everwood.
Book two is a book about Night Hags; creatures from outside the material plane. They worship Alazhra who in their beliefs is a night hag ascended to godhood. Night hags apparently can enter into dreams and can steal souls and store them in gems. They usually are solitary or associate in a coven of 3.
Book three is about the City of Abaddon in the outer planes. It details information on the Four Horsemen and a passage states that Alazhra has brokered a deal allowing for the free trade of souls in Abaddon so the daemons there can feed on them.
They bring this information back to Tessara who especially finds the information about storing souls interesting, as the elves do the same thing with the necklaces they wear to protect themselves from the dreams should they be killed. Weir takes his necklace off, suddenly uncomfortable. She says that the necklaces are made by a young acolyte of Desna name Este; she summons Este to the palace.
Upon meeting with Este, the PCs learn that Este learned how to insert soul fragments into objects like a magical basilisk horn from an old woman that lived around her. The old woman noticed latent magical ability in Este at a young age and started training her in various magical arts until Este’s mother found out and forbade her from associating with a “witch.” The party asks what this old lady looked like and Este states she had dark, wrinkly skin and dark hair and the party thinks this is likely the person they were fighting in the dream world. She gives the location of a cave where this old lady lived, and Faun knows the general area. The party decides to go see this old lady and get some answers….
To be continued!
Last edited by AnimeSensei
on Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
106 Resin and 145 Dwarvenite Sets/Packs Owned