The Heir to Disaster

Session 4
Corinth's Meridian

Rothwar is bound and kept near Aelish. A night spent at Rothwar’s camp reveals a changed forest the following morning. Leonidas can sense the Faerie realm pulling close; it is clear this land is forever changed by the magic unleashed at the Lawstone of Imia. The trees and vines have overgrown. Wild Oriss plant, flora usually only seen in the tropics of the Great Archipelago have appeared.

Fendrys picks a safer path back to Polther, away from the strange magics of the forest—the deadly plants and the ghouls they make. Before the town is reached, however, Rothwar, during one of his morning trances, seemingly summons a dread Basilisk from an old tree. Aelish can sense the divine presence of Vartusk at work. A pair of trees are also animated in protectorate service to the Basilisk. Its duty is to freeze Rothwar in stone for all time, the same fate that befell many of his cultists not so long ago. At first, A’Kelah and her Mirror Images prevent the creature from meeting Rothwar’s gaze so it turns its attention instead to Aelish. The priestess is nearly turned to stone herself, saved perhaps only by the grace of Eladriel. Fendrys, A’Kelah, and Leonidas sink arrows, spells, and sword points into the beast clumsily—while trying to avoid its burning eyes. Leonidas is nearly killed, his ribs and face smashed by swinging tree branches. During the fracas, Aodh, wishing to put a stop to this, pin-cushions Rothwar with his sidesword. One blow in particular is deep, gliding between ribs and puncturing both lungs. Rothwar heaps over, using his last gasps of blood-choked air to try to meet the Basilisk in the eyes. Aelish calls upon Eladriel to blind this monstrosity, however, and his efforts are in vain. With the petrifying gaze of the beast nullified by Eladriel’s mercy, it is slain and its tree guardians are halted by Rothwar’s halted breathing. Aelish is quickly able to save both Leonidas and Rothwar from an early death.

After this episode, what scant trust was given to Rothwar is gone and his gagged, half-dead body is dragged into Polther like the lowest form of criminal. The townsfolk are eager to establish that pious Aelish is indeed safe and also to learn as much as they can of the adventure that was had in the deep mountain woods. Leonidas regales all who will listen of the great deeds and daring-do the party accomplished while Aelish keeps a dutiful eye on Rothwar. Cold-hearted Aodh, unconcerned with simple country praise as a reward unto itself, cannot help but relieve these bumpkins of their meager coin instead. A’Kelah and Fendrys keep to themselves amidst so many strangers.

Soon, the road is taken up again, and the party marches south back to the Marquis Almdor to deliver news of Rothwar, of Corinth’s Meridian, an enticing letter from the Dwarves of Kathoom, and the strange occurrence of the orb. Almdor expresses regret that he involved Fendrys in this event, but is able to confirm much of the arcane findings that A’Kelah and Leonidas made while in Imia. With the stolen folio and the other notes before him, Almdor realizes that the orb represents an alien influence, unknowable by the bounds of mortal magic. He supposes that Corinth’s Meridian, the ancient mystic superstructure that has ever provided Rynas with dynastic stability is possibly being usurped in some way. It is presumed more orbs will appear, their locations predictable at half-way points between the capital and each corresponding Lawstone.

If A’Kelah’s sensations are on the mark, Myhta Petraea will activate next at the Full Moon. But first, its orb will fall in less than 10 days on the New Moon. At length, Lord Almdor’s page rushes in, interrupting the proceedings. “A knight is here with some men asking for you, Lord Marquis!”. With measured and deliberate focus, Almdor entrusts his most valuable books and papers to Leonidas and bids he and Aodh make haste to hide them at once. Soon after, a Knight of the Tiger, Sir Vitomir Kalag and three Tarimite Inquisitors arrive. They demand Almdor’s presence in the capital, asserting that the new Provost of the University needs to speak with him in regards to ‘recent events’. Almdor goes calmly and willingly, but not before reminding his allies that the new moon is only eight days away…

At this time, Aelish is torn. She wants desperately to fulfill the wishes of her abbess by escorting Rothwar Whitearm to the Holy Court in Encer where he can face judgement before the divine Reverands. However, she wants also to join in what Almdor indicated must surely be their collective destiny, a fate bound up in the magic of the Meridian itself. Following that path would draw her away from both Encer and Whitearm. Ultimately, she drafts a letter to Abbess Greyheart explaining her extraordinary situation and that she has called upon a favor with her brother, Prince Yuri Samarkov to ensure Rothwar’s route to Encer is secure while she seeks a larger plan, trusting in Eladriel to have made the righteous choice.

While drafting her letter, Aelish uncovers inside a keepsake box given to her by an old friend, a hastily scrawled note penned by a familiar hand. It is that of her fellow sister of the cloth, Her Royal Providence Agrafena Ysaninka Dragomov I. It seems ‘Fenya’ is in danger, ‘taken away’ by ‘men’. Aelish, in total shock and amazement to learn of this unknown sending property her keepsake possesses, attempts a return message, asking ‘where’ and if Fenya is safe.

EXP
A’Kelah 800
Aelish 800
Aodh 800
Fendrys 800
Leonidas 800

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Session 3
The News of Forever

Fendrys ceases to glow when the orb he once held is ripped from his grasp, pulled by some invisible force toward the Lawstone of Imia. In this moment, the birds in the trees and the beasts of the earth sense danger and they take flight. Wild, arcane energies are unleashed with the colision of the orb and the obelisk—all ferrous metal in the area not otherwise held fast soon follows, drawn violently toward the stone. A’Kelah, standing near the obelisk, ducks for cover as a torrent of hammers, nails, swords, and sundry other metal objects clang over her head. Rothwar and his accomplices scatter and flee, some of them taking refuge in nearby ponds. The wild energy surge waxes: time is distorted, the surrounding vegetation writhes and mutates, vines and mushrooms sprout, some of the shoots and grasses are converted to crystal, others explode into puffs of glittery magic gas. At the center of this mayhem, where the Lawstone was is a Fracture in the Veil of reality. A winged Shadow Demon attempts to manifest in this world and it is attended by five lesser Shadows; they rise up from the ground like death-oil overflown from a terrible well.

By some unknown quintessence and instinct, working in concert, Aelish, A’Kelah, Aodh, Fendrys, and Leonidas are able to surround the entity and force the Fracture closed, banishing it to its proper home. A frantic melee with the shadows ensues, with most present splashing through knee deep ponds. Aodh is brought to the brink of death by the enervating touch of a Shadow, surviving only because he is passed over for the ‘easier meal’ to be found in the form of Rothwar’s helpless mistress. Two of Rothwar’s other cultists, a mason and carpenter working on the site are also felled by the dark grasp of the Shadows. What survives of the rest of the cult, within earshot nearby in the forest, can be heard fleeing in terror. It is likely some of them approached the event with the orb, perhaps with caution, only close enough to see the chaos and death spiraling out of control at the scene.

When calm returns, when the marsh waters go still again, only the goons Max and Artur remain. Rothwar is nowhere to be found. Fendrys and Leonidas interrogate them, but come away with nothing from the shocked and frightened men. At Aelish’s suggestion, A’Kelah dives into the pond where Rothwar was last seen and there she discovers a hidden portal to an ancient cairn-like area beneath the Lawstone. Rothwar hides down there, amid more statues of dragon-men and giant, poisonous snakes.

Inside Rothwar’s pavilion the group finds the stolen folio and a good deal of other material: maps, journals, logbooks, and a letter from a dwarven envoy. Whitearm was also sitting on a ‘vigorous tasting’ potion, a magic scroll, and roughly 200 GP in silver coins. The dead are laid to rest, given their last rites by Aelish. Overnight, they examine the materials at hand and make many discoveries. The Lawstone is part of network of obelisks forming ‘Corinth’s Meridian‘, an ancient magic-superstructure built from the bones of the blue dragon Corinth whose death precipitated the founding of Rynas some 3,000 years ago by Oran Dragomov I. There are nine Lawstones in total, eight of which form a wheel with the central, ninth stone resting in the capital, Elansory. Each obelisk is tuned to a specific type of magic. They learn other clues as well, such as the orb falling half-way between Imia (the present location) and Elansory. The appearance of the orb coincided with the repair of the obelisk—something Rothwar and his cult were only able to accomplish with a Vartuskan ritual. Rothwar it seems, was consorting with a demon named ’Hanezal’ in order to learn his secrets. The dwarven letter is from the Dwarves of Kathoom and it is a document of state proclaiming that they have uncovered the remains of the late King of Rynas, Grygor XII as well as the Crown of Rynas. They would return these items to their neighbor and seek the best course of action.

With the overwhelming arcane mystery of Corinth’s Meridian before them, the group concludes they must return to Ormuster to meet with Almdor. A decision about how to get Rothwar before the Holy Court in Encer also must be also made.

EXP
(The discrepancy: extra was earned for killing the Giant Poisonous Snakes)
Aelish 500
A’Kelah 500
Aodh 400
Fendrys 500
Leonidas 400

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Session 2
The Lawstone

Before our investigators, sent forth by the University, could even let their guard down, more trouble arises. A’Kelah disturbs the felled ghoul corpse with her staff, unleashing the parasite within. Bursting from the slashed skin and gelatinized ribcage emerges a violet fungus, covered in the gore of the slain human host. Leonidas, Aodh, and A’Kelah are wounded terribly by the fungus’ writhing tentacles before the foul thing is hacked to bits and finally frozen to a shriveled mush by A’Kelah’s Chill Touch.

They press on, putting as much distance as they can between them and the site of the ghouls until night falls. The following day, they encounter the perhaps familiar scent of the fungus’ aroma, but without the underlying decay. Aodh scouts ahead, reporting sights of a lovely, picturesque meadow home to a number of strange dragon-men statues. The party decides to venture forth but expects trouble. Leonidas and A’Kelah become enamored of the intense floral scent, each pausing before large yellow blooms. Aodh busies himself gathering up religious offerings of gold and silver. Fendrys keeps a wary eye on the perimeter. Eventually Aelish grows worried for her companions and ushers everyone away from the place. As they make their ‘escape’ from the worrisome glade, hanging vines twist into strange effigies and attack! Fendrys is almost crushed to death by the constricting plants. One of the creatures is quickly cut apart while Leonidas is able to charm the one that seized Fendrys, rescuing him.

Once again, the party is eager to keep moving and leave danger behind them. The trail of the cult continues, crossing the claw-tracks of a large beast that also paid a visit to the floral meadow. Further and further north, the terrain descends into a lowland swamp of stony creeks and still, murky ponds. Aodh’s keen attention is first to discover the sound of voices ahead and again he scouts forward. The halfling finds the Whitearm cult, busy at work on a structure at the base of a strange obelisk. The group decides to have Aodh spy for a good while longer, to confirm their suspicions and gather more information. They resolve to spend the night, in secret, about a quarter of a mile away and to approach after daybreak which would surely rouse less caution and fear from the cult.

The dark night passes without trouble. With the sun up, Aodh and Fendrys stay back, while Aelish, Leonidas, and A’Kelah step forward to hail the workers. Rothwar himself appears from his capacious tent and parleys with Aelish. With everyone roused by the religious tension of Aelish and Rothwar testing each other, Aodh takes it upon himself to sneak into Rothwar’s tent. A’Kelah cannot help but look to the strange obelisk. Fendrys, called forth by Rothwar and Aelish in kind, approaches. With each step he takes, however, a brightening aura of blue-light enshrouds him. Something in his pack starts to thrum…

EXP
Note: The (50) XP in parentheses refers to that which was earned from dispatching the violet fungus; what spurred the growth to 2nd Level. You have all earned an additional 400 for the rest of the session. So, while it’s true you all got a total of 450 from the session, you’re only adding 400 more as of this writing. This will put everyone at 700 total.

Aelish (50) 400
A’kelah (50) 400
Aodh (50) 400
Fendrys (50) 400
Leonidas (50) 400

Errata
Maddie, I said “St. Volodine” last night when I should have said St. Volodina. That was an error that I heard you copy back to me a moment later, and I don’t want you thinking I changed the name ad hoc. The saint’s name is still Volodina. ‘Volodine’ is the eponymous term, much in the way Benedictine monks follow the way of Benedict. I apologize for the confusion, I was tired and muddled.

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Session 1
May We Die in the Forest

In the spring thaw, trouble is brewing in nearly all corners of Rynas. Armies muster, seeking to make new claims for their liege lords. Twenty years on, the sages—abandoned by the elder, Marquis Almdor—bicker and squabble over an ancient spell no one understands. Lawlessness and banditry are on the rise; even the old Guideways are not always safe. Most of the Elect have been called away to heal the wounds of soldiers ahead of the common folk.

Far in the north, where much of this trouble has not yet penetrated … A motley collection of persons representing various intertwined interests arrives in the village of Polther, known mostly for its brick works. For a few weeks now, this crew have been tracking rumors of a strange Vartuskan cult lead by one Rothwar Whitearm. The man has grown notorious in recent years, with many unusual and miraculous powers ascribed to him. He offers wealth to the worshipful, he promises brides to bachelors, and he promises that pleasing Vartusk will grant Rynas a ‘true’ Dragomov heir, one that will restore peace to the kingdom.

It seems the cult is heading along a sleepy northern road, gathering adherents and wealth—sometimes ill-gotten—along the way. News in Polther is the cult has trekked off into the wooded Selldust mountains of the northwest. If they go too far, they risk entering ‘haunted lands’, the feared domain of banshees, trolls, and Gods-know what else. None in Polther would dare follow them there and none can be sure why the new strangers in town would either.

The crude human tracks of some dozen or so presumed mystery cultists is easy for Fendrys to track into the mountains. In three days time, they lead directly into the claws of a ghoul! Its tongue unnaturally overgrown, the entire body poisoned by some despicable fungus. The foul creature buries its claws deep into Aodh’s ribs soon after he runs it through with his rapier. He is all but killed, only pulled back from the brink by the quick ministrations of Leonidas. Fortunately, Fendrys and Aelish bring the creature down with well placed arrows. Aodh’s pulse is back for now, but he is paralyzed. A’Kelah looks on, wary of what might be growing inside her halfling companion; the veer examines the ghoul corpse.

EXP
Aelish 250
A’Kelah 250
Aodh 250
Fendrys 250
Leonidas 250

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