Atlea and Beyond

Session Thirty Three: The Vacation
The group take a well-deserved rest, but more mystery seems to surround them even as they relax.

The group and a lot of bystanders made their way to the ruins of Hestavar’s Great Hall to find a large crater was created by the falling object. In the smoking crater they saw a red crystalline rock that appeared as a human body if it were curled up. Slowly the body began to uncurl and made its way to the semblances of feet it possessed.

Hanael warned everyone to stay back to let angels search the ruins for survivors. A follower of Ioun recognised the crystal, retrieved the appropriate book via magical means and told them the crystal was from the legendary Living Gate. Hanael asked the creature to communicate and it replied telepathically. Hanael asked the creature permission to study it further, but promised it no harm. The follower of Ioun continued to tell them that the Living Gate was built to stop an incursion of a dangerous realm into the Astral Sea. Apparently the gate had splintered or broken and they were looking at a fragment of it. Hanael escorted the crystalline creature away.

Shortly after, Sehanine arrived and asked the group if they would like a reward for their work defending the Feywild. She told them that she could take them to Arvandor, a beautiful astral dominion of nature and magic. Most of them agreed to go and travelled with her to Faen Verdaya.
When she arrived, Seven began to have visions.

In her first vision she saw a dark scene of a massive mountain. On top of the mountain was a fortress that gave her chills. She could see the forms of souls flowing through the sky towards the fortress. Before the mountain, she saw a cloaked figure that raised its hands in a magical gesture. Then hands began to reach up out of the ground and undead bodies came forth, slowly making their way to the mountain.

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In her second vision, she saw a massive plain that met with the edge of a desert. An army of humans, dwarves and halflings stood on the grassy side, while a contingent of drow met them on the desert side. These were clearly the forces of the Amrelnian Kingdom and the Empire of Khosh. The Khoshian side demanded answers from the Amrelnians about why their army was bordering their land. The Amrelnian side replied that there were suspicions that the Empire of Khosh had been sending spies into their kingdom. It went back and forth, with the Khoshian side revealing that their Emperor was unable to come to the border to discuss this and both sides deciding to send messengers to their superiors.

In her third, she heard a voice speak in her head that sounded like an old man. He introduced himself as Mordenkainen. He told her that he was trapped in a magical prison and only able communicate with her (the first in thousands of years) because her mind seemed to be a “nexus.” He rambled on for a while, but eventually asked Seven for a favour. He asked her to find a scroll for him in his old tower, his legacy, and complete it on his behalf. In exchange her suggested that he could give her any information he possessed, as he was an educated and sage user of the magic arts. He left her with that thought and she returned to reality.

Silver was visited by Asmodeus, who asked her about the ring he’d given her. He told her that her new mission was to kill a man named Rolan in the Shadowfell city of Gloomwrought and retrieve Asmodeus’ amulet. As a final note, he asked her also to kill Alathar. He told her that upon completing these tasks, she would be rewarded well.

In Faen Verdaya, the party found a few enjoyable distractions, like the local alcoholic beverages and a lake of mermaids to swim with. Soon, at Corellon’s invitation, they went on a hunt to destroy an abomination made by the Primordials and the Gods that had gotten loose in the plane. They defeated it and relaxed before their return to Hestavar.

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Session Thirty Two: The Fate of the Feywild, Part Two
A race to protect the Heart of the Spirit World and a mysterious falling object from the sky.

Seven heard a voice in her head which revealed itself to be an entity named Entropy. It told her that her mind was a nexus waiting to be unlocked. It said that entropy was the inevitable destiny of all things, it tried to convince her to stop fighting, to give up this life and revel in the chaos that was coming. Seven was unswayed by the entity and found herself in the Spirit World alongside the rest of the party.

The Spirit World was a scene of a greyscale forest and sky. A bark-covered figure began to appear from one of the trees nearby, which the group recognised to be Fern. She told them that there was a malignant presence in this realm that needed to be destroyed before it could corrupt the Heart of the Spirit World. They followed her through the forest, finding that the trees behind them as they ran were being corrupted. The forest itself began to attack them, making passage difficult.

Finally the group made it through the forest to a clearing where a massive hole lay in the ground. From the earth streamed forth thousands of spirits in a massive column into the sky. Fern told them that this was the Heart of the Spirit World. She began to cast a protection over the well of spirits. Behind them, the corruption had caught up. The trees rotted before their eyes and the corruption gathered together in the clearing, forming a solid shape. Before them, the corruption transformed into a many-limbed, terrible monster wreathed with black flames.

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They fought against the creature, finding it to be a dangerous opponent. After a heated battle, the creature was finally destroyed and the corruption disappeared. Fern thanked them for saving the Heart and Zola began to fade before their eyes. He was being taken by the Raven Queen, as he had died in the battle in the Feywild. The rest of the party opened their eyes to find that they were in the Feywild again, next to the Sacred Tree. The tree seemed to be casting some ward that kept the Void from advancing any further. The battle against the Void had finally ended. Everyone involved in the battle returned to the group and they gave their condolences about Zola’s death.

Hanael appeared in a flash of bright light, asking them to return to the City of Hestavar so that they could discuss what to do next. In Hestavar, tents were set up to help the wounded and those who had been evacuated from the Feywild.
Nine spoke with the group, thanking them for everything they’ve done. She told them that she was proud of them for constantly fighting to help the world. She then turned to Seven.
She told Seven that she felt responsible that she had grown up without parents, living on the streets. She told her about how Dominicus changed when she grew pregnant and simply disappeared one night after kidnapping Seven.

The group noticed a bright light in the sky that looked like a falling star.
It grew closer until suddenly they realised it was going to hit Hestavar’s Great Hall.
They heard an earth-shattering sound as it hit the Hall and the building completely collapsed. A huge cloud of dust was thrown up into the air.

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Session Thirty Two: The Fate of the Feywild, Part One
The party fights back the monsters to defend the Feywild from the void!

The group had arrived in Mithrendain to meet a gathering of many fey. They introduced themselves as Corellon Larethian (fey god of magic, arts, spring etc), Sehanine Moonbow (fey goddess of the moon, autumn, illusion, lovers and of one’s own chosen destiny), the Archfey Jalfarian Khaldros, Tiandra the Summer Queen, Zebechial the Lord of Lightning, The Prince of Hearts and Sarula Ilien the Pixie Queen.

a Tiandra, the Summer Queen “The time has come. Wenraldio, Trolol, and Illvanuel. You each possess a corner tree. You may not know this, but they serve a defensive purpose here in the feywild. They attach themselves to people whom they deem worthy. There are four corner trees, but one of them, the tree of summer, was destroyed and hasn’t reappeared. But the ancient tales say that the corner trees will appear to stop the feywild from being destroyed. You see, the feywild is a mirror of your plane (Atlea) and the shadowfell is the other mirror. They each hold each other in balance. The feywild keeps the shadowfell’s necrotic energy and death from enveloping the world, and the shadowfell keeps the light and magic of the feywild from burning the world with their pure energy. I have faith that the last corner tree will reveal itself to us.”

Rolan and Oizo had not reappeared, each floating in different parts of the Astral Sea.
One of the angels in golden armour activated an orb in their hand and spoke quietly into it. He turned to the group and said: “Hanael in Hestavar has arranged for a scrying of the Astral Sea. If your missing friends are found, they will be sent here as soon as we can. Now. To battle! We must save the Feywild from the void!”

The group all marched to where the battle was already taking place in the forest. The void had advanced far from Forever’s Edge and threatened to keep moving toward Mithrendain. In front of the advancing nothingness, the group could see an army of creatures: Aboleth, Gricks, Beholders and other monstrosities. The two gods joined the battle by fighting off a gigantic worm creature that threatened to single-handedly destroy the fey defenders. The Archfey jumped into battle with other monsters, followed by Gardryx, Illvanuel, Alathar and Nine.
Shortly after the battle started, the angel that had the orb from earlier told them that Oizo and Rolan had been found. They joined the battle as quickly as they could. The fight was deadly, almost resulting in death many times for the party. The Aboleth ability to control the minds of others proved to be an incredible challenge. Slowly however, the group gained the upper hand.

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a Vecna “Defenders of the feywild! Hear me! You are hearing the whispered one. Vecna!
I have an offer to make you. No doubt that Tiandra has told you all about the tales of the Corner Trees. You currently have three of them. I have the fourth. The only way to stop the void’s advance is with the corner trees. Tiandra knows this to be true. There will be a price however. I will give you the last Corner Tree in exchange for all of the gems you have acquired and are now stored in Hestavar.”

They another voice as clearly the message was shared between here and the city of Hestavar.

a Hanael “No, Vecna. We will never give you the gems! You cannot be trusted with them!”
a Tiandra, the Summer Queen “We must! If we do not have the tree of summer, we cannot stop the void! The feywild would be destroyed!”
a Hanael “I am sorry, but this is no time to be sentimental. The fate of the entirety of existence is at stake here!””
a Tiandra, the Summer Queen “No, the Fate of the Feywild is at stake here. Even if we give Vecna the gems, he will not have ALL of them. There’s no guarantee that will cause us harm. He may even keep them safe. But if we don’t act now, the Feywild will be destroyed forever! Why lose something now, acting out of fear? And let me remind you that the Feywild is a mirror plane! If it is destroyed, it will have devastating consequences for the Prime Material Plane!”
a Hanael “Archfey, I know you love your home. But you must see reason! Even if it results in the destruction of the Prime Material Plane, we MUST protect the rest of the Astral Sea! There are innumerable beings living here!”
a Sehanine Moonbow “Angel, if we have the corner tree, we take fate into our own hands! We can turn back the void! If we don’t, we doom the feywild to a meaningless destruction! Hundreds of thousands will lose their lives and the beauty of this realm will be lost forever!”
a Corellon Larethian “I agree that Vecna cannot be trusted. But we have no choice in the matter.”

Hanael and Tiandra asked the group, trying each to appeal to them. Eventually the party decided that it was more pressing to stop the destruction of the Feywild. They figured that they could recover the gems in the future if they had to. They convinced Hanael to side with them.

a Vecna “I see that you’ve made the best choice. Hanael, fetch the gems for me and send an escort to the edge of Hestavar. I will be sending Dominicus again to retrieve them for me. Once I have received the gems, I will deliver the final Corner Tree to the feywild, to you all.”
a Hanael “ [sighs] I’ll go and retrieve the gems. Just a moment.”

In moments, the form of Fern appeared nearby, but she looked strange. They could see the glow of her eyes was bright green and light began to shoot out of them. Suddenly her Wilden bark skin broke and out of it came a massive branch. Then her feet began to crack and her spirit companion leapt into her body. She grew taller and taller. Finally her form stopped and she had transformed into a massive tree. Trolol turned to see his corner tree glowing bright green as well, and suddenly it leapt from where it stood across to join with Fern. Wenraldio’s corner tree leapt from beside him to Fern as well. Finally, Illvanuel turned to see his corner tree glow and fly over to Fern. All three of the spirit-trees encircled Fern’s now massive tree-trunk and were absorbed into it. The tree grew larger and seemed to be filling with energy from the feywild around it slowly.

A huge screeching sound could then be heard from the void. A gigantic insectoid creature with bulbous eyes and at least a hundred little chittering mandibles came through the void towards them. It screeched loudly causing everyone, including both Corellon and Sehanine to recoil in pain. The massive hulking carapaced body rumbled and flew towards the group. They could all hear a terrifying voice in their heads:
“PATHETIC, DISGUSTING CREATURES! YOUR TIME HERE HAS ENDED! THISARTIFACT THAT YOU BRING TO FIGHT US WILL BE CORRUPTED AND DESTROYED FROM THE INSIDE OUT!”
The thing shook and the carapace cracked. Out of the carapace came a massive dark shadow, which flew at supernatural speed towards the gigantic tree and became absorbed by it.
The massive tree appeared to visibly wither and rot, getting worse by the second.
Three more of the gigantic insectoid creatures emerged from the void and crashed into the armies, knocking down the Archfey and the two gods.

a Tiandra, the Summer Queen “Quickly! We will hold back these new invaders! You have to purify the Sacred Tree! You can enter the spirit realm by touching it! Go NOW!””

Each of the party entered the tree.
As they looked around, they saw endless greyness in every direction to the horizon, with trees and mountains in the distance. When they looked at their fellow party members, they noticed something strange. They seemed somewhat transparent, like spirits. Zola, who they thought had bled to death in the battle, seemed to still be conscious.

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Session Thirty One: Dominicus

Asmodeus appeared and spoke to Silver.

a Asmodeus “Congratulations, Silver. It seems you were successful in the Abyss. Someday I should send you back there on another mission. Ruthless ones like you always do well in such places. Here, this should help you in the future.”

Asmodeus handed Silver a small ring encrusted with seven green jewels.

a Asmodeus “This magic ring will let you absorb the souls of those who die around you, which you can then destroy to unleash a torrent of energy at enemies. I wouldn’t tell anyone you’re using souls though. Some of these ‘goodly types’ would be offended by it and might try to take the ring off you. I’ll be leaving now. Bear in mind, you’re not being granted your freedom just because you’re roaming the planes, shapeshifter. You have a job to do. Step just one foot out of line and you’ll know exactly what it means when I say that your soul still belongs to me.”

Then he clicked his fingers and disappeared in a plume of flame and smoke.

Trolol, Zola and Silver returned using the ritual to Hestavar, finding out about what happened from Hanael. Hanael invited them to attend the remainder of the meeting with the Divine Concordat. When the meeting gathered again, Hanael informed Dominicus that the Divine Concordat had come to an agreement: they could not trust Vecna and would not accept the offer. Hanael asked angel guards to escort Dominicus away from Hestavar.
Dominicus replied:

a Dominicus “Ok, if this is how it must be. I will return to my Lord.”

He turned to leave, lingering his gaze on Seven for a few moments, then finally walking away. Hanael dismissed the Divine Concordat, who all went their separate ways in the city. Hanael then led the party to Lyraldanis, wanting to stow the gem safely away inside the vault.

As they walked, an elf dressed in fancy clothing walked up to Hanael, handing him some paper.“Here’s the most recent report, sir.” Hanael turned to the party and handed them the paper.

a Hanael “Thank you. I would suggest all of you look over this, just to see if you can gleam anything important from it.”

The pages read:

“What follows is a report on the recent happenings from our network of contacts. I think it’s obvious that this report should be only be viewed by those who work with the divine concordat in official business and if you do not match that description, it is requested that you close this report now and return it swiftly to the angels of Hestavar.

Report from the information network on the Prime Material Plane:

-It’s been reported that King Wilbur III has moved a large number of Amrelnian kingdom soldiers to the edge of the Khoshian desert and the Duke of the north, Dothlar has marched soldiers from Erun to north of Uldraas.
-It’s also been reported that a group of representatives of Emperor Ralan’daak have been sent to the borders to enquire about the soldiers from the Amrelnian kingdom.
-There are stirrings in Ghalem’Ka that some believe Emperor Ralan’daak is unfit for rule with his recent injuries.
-Our contacts in Vor Rukoth, Sehanine’s Reach, Ojira, Ikvegn and Torlmayne have nothing new to report.
-The angels stationed in the feywild report that recently there have been a number of monstrous incursions from Forever’s Edge, but they have all been dealt with.

Report from the network in the Astral Sea:

-Overall, it seems that rumours about the gems abound in the Astral and elsewhere, especially amongst the rich and powerful; some claim that the gems can grant immortality, some claim that they have the power to claim an Astral dominion for oneself, others still say that the gems could bring balance and peace to the Astral dominions.
-The Planar Trade Consortium has strengthened its hold on trade in the Astral Sea lately and a massive payment of 100 astral diamonds (or 1,000,000 gp) was made recently to them from an Efreeti named Abdul-Azim. Abdul-Azim is reported to reside in the City of Brass in the Elemental Chaos.
-It is reported that the Doomguard faction in Sigil have received an abnormally large shipment of weapons this past month.
-Reports say that the Harmonium faction in Sigil have been cracking down on planar drug trade, making a raid on a warehouse filled with Dla’iss Dust worth 43 Astral Diamonds (430,000gp).
-Rumours also stir that there has been a sighting of a giant earthmote floating through the Astral that has become a mind flayer colony. These rumours are dubious, however.
-Reportedly, a number of red dragons from Tytherion have left for Tu’narath."

Hanael suggested the group take a break for a bit.

a Hanael “We’ve kept your rooms ready for you, and there will be servants along shortly. We have heated baths, comfortable beds and food can be prepared at a moment’s notice.”

He then took the gem to the vault and left them.

In Trolol’s quarters, he heard a strange voice whispering to him. It told him its name was Entropy and it was speaking to Trolol through Seven’s mind, claiming it was a nexus. Entropy asked Trolol why he fought, offering him the alternative of simply pursuing worldly possessions and power. Trolol was defiant and the entity disappeared.
Later, Trolol studied his Grandfather’s tome. He uncovered a number of secret pages, reading from them he discovered research on the corner trees:

“To whoever may read this. Congratulations, your magical skill must be considerable. I’ve placed a great many wards and invisible pages in this book, this being the first. Here follow the research notes I have made regarding the unusual “Corner trees” of the Feywild.

As you know, there are four corner trees, one for each season and the four largest Archfey Courts.
The corner trees have historically been claimed by each of those Courts. However, under certain circumstances, they have been known to leave their associated Court and link themselves to a specific person. It has been said that when a corner tree links with someone, it is an omen. For generations, my family have been protectors of the feywild, maintaining wards at Forever’s Edge to stem to tide of the Void beyond. It has been speculated by scholars that the corner trees serve some purpose in protecting the feywild and it has been long believed that since the feywild is a reflection of the prime material plane, the corner trees also protect the Prime as well."

Half a day later, Hanael called them all from their rooms.

a Hanael “We’ve just received a planar sending from the Feywild. It’s Forever’s Edge. Apparently the creatures have increased in number dramatically. But it’s more complicated than that. The void is moving past the wards and has begun to fray the feywild, moving towards Mithrendain. At the rate that it’s moving, they estimate we might have an hour before Mithrendain in consumed. Trolol, I understand that your home is in Mithrendain, so I wanted to come to you all first. I’ll be sending angels with you as well. I still haven’t seen any sign of Oizo or Rolan, but if I see them I will send them as well.”
a Illvanuel Olol “I will come along as well. Though I’ve lost my vision, I am the most skilled at warding. I feel…responsible for this, as my absence must have contributed to the wards weakening. Son, let’s get back there and save our home!”
a Alathar/Hayne “I’m going too. We need all the people we can to fight this and I want to make reparations for what my people did to the Fey. We drow have a long and terrible history and today, I will help write a new chapter by fighting alongside my cousins.”
a Nine/Sharaea “Don’t think you can count me out!”
a Alathar/Hayne “Sharaea, if something happens to you…”
a Nine/Sharaea “Yes, I know. My deal with Asmodeus to kill the Prince of Frost. I remember. If I die, my soul will…be trapped in the Nine Hells.”
a Alathar/Hayne “So it’s absolutely out of the question!”
a Nine/Sharaea “Hayne! This is not your decision to make! It might put me in danger, but I will not be enslaved by my fear! If you truly love me, you’ll understand. This group saved me from Najala. And Oizo isn’t here. Somebody HAS to fight in his place! I owe them so much!”
a Alathar/Hayne “ * Sighs * Okay. We’ll fight together.”
a Gardryx “Master Zola, let me fight too. All those stories about your kin, how they defended their land. How they fought with honour. I want to carry their legacy."

Zola reluctantly agreed that Gardryx could come too and the group gathered the ritual they needed to return to Mithrendain.
Trolol activated the ritual and the scenery around them changed. They could see the familiar golden and green city of Mithrendain. Illvanuel, Nine and Alathar decided to head to the Olol manor to warn Lieryn, Trolol’s mother about the coming danger.
Trolol heard the familiar voice of Wenraldio behind him.

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Session Thirty: Plague-Mort
Arena combat and a meeting in Hestavar.

Approaching the crumbling town of Plague-Mort, Silver, Trolol and Zola noticed two demons fighting outside a bar with a sign calling it The Bloody Blade. Soon though, four-armed guards came and brutally killed the two demons who were fighting and told them to keep it inside the bar.
The group spoke to a nearby terrified citizen of the town who told them that the Bloody Blade was host to daily arena combat. Intrigued, the party decided to go inside.
Inside the bar was a massive bloody arena where two demons fought and onlookers cheered. On the other side of the room were guards and a large green demon that sat on a throne. They inquired about the arena finding that they could compete. They made a bet with Ral’tad, the previously mentioned green demon and the guard demons began the pairings.

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Silver was the first to fight, quickly defeating a demon named Irrikor with guile and magic. The second round began and Trolol fought a demon named Reedim. He could not fight for long however, as the vicious demon closed the distance between him and Trolol.
Trolol did not move on to the next round. The third round was between Zola and a large demon named Puadros. The battle was close, but Puadros would not relent and kept Zola from moving to the next round.
Things looked dire, but Silver won victory after victory, eventually winning the whole competition. Begrudgingly, Ral’tad handed over their prize. They asked him about the gem they came here for and he told them he did possess such a gem. He would not simply give it away however. He told them that he would trade it to them if they could retrieve a sword for him named Tanar’ribane that sat at the bottom of a necrotic energy-filled pit. They agreed, making their way over to the pit at the edge of town. They discovered that if they simply went into the pit, it was likely they would die. Trolol cast on them a strong resistance spell to keep the necrotic energy from rotting their flesh. Zola barely flew over the pit carrying Trolol and as he did, Trolol reached down to grab the sword.

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They returned to Ral’tad with the sword. Trolol suggested they both walk to the centre of the room, lay down their object each and circle around one another to get what they seek. Ral’tad agreed, walking over to lay down the gem on the floor. Trolol did the same with the sword.

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They each circled around and picked up their item, but as Ral’tad grasped the sword, he leveled it at Trolol. He demanded that Trolol give back the gem and the money they won from the competition. Trolol did not hesitate and began to run, gem in hand. The group managed to outrun Ral’tad quite easily; it was evident the big demon was not used to running. They escaped Plague-Mort with the gem and started to consider how they would return to Hestavar.

Meanwhile in Hestavar, Seven blinked back into existence to find Hanael looking at her with astonishment.

a Hanael “You’re finally back! You’ve been gone for most of the day! The ritual malfunctioned and didn’t send you to Pazunia. It simply delayed you by several hours. Darn. The others must be still delayed by the ritual. They should arrive in the next few hours sometime. Meanwhile, we have a new arrival.”
a Dominicus “Hello, I’m Dominicus. I’m a representative sent here by Vecna to negotiate with the Divine Concordat.”
a Hanael “We should head to the Great Hall quickly. I’ve invited the other members to join us as well.”

In the Great Hall:

There were numerous angels sitting down at the white and gold table, as well as some other creatures.

a A dragonborn (Khadrael) in silver-coloured plate armour bore the symbol for Bahamut on his shield, a an angel of Moradin (Dalmissa) bore a bronze anvil on her shield,
a an angel of Kord (Yliel) had a sword, the hilt of which was made up of a fist holding a thunderbolt. She had shield with thunderbolt on it as well. a Avandra’s representative (Larisa) was an elven woman with a cloak sporting three wavy lines representing Avandra’s holy symbol,
a Erathis had an angel (Malro) with a blue half-gear that looked like a rising sun on his golden chestplate, a Ioun had a dwarven woman (Fossa) with a heavy purple cloak around her sporting the book and eye symbol of Ioun,
a and Pelor had Hanael. a There were also a few long rainbow snake creatures with tiny wings floating in the place chairs would be (Ithris, Rothris, Esmis).

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a Hanael “Now that introductions are over with, let us all be seated! We have come here today to hear from the representative of Vecna, Dominicus.”

At that, everyone immediately looked like they put up their guard and looked suspiciously over at Dominicus.

a Dominicus “I have come here today with a proposal. You’re all aware of Vecna and his portfolio, I’m sure-”
a Fossa “Vecna is not to be trusted! He is scheming and secretive! We here are all open and honest! That is why we can be trusted! I don-”
a Dominicus “Ahem, if you’ll listen to me. You’re aware that Vecna is the god of secrets. He has asked me to make a proposal to you all today about the gems.”

At that, everyone in the room immediately erupted in loud discussion.

a Hanael “Quiet everyone, now… Dominicus. What does Vecna know of the gems?”
a Dominicus “Fossa said it herself, you’re open and honest. Vecna knows everything about the gems that you’ve uncovered so far, and more.”

Fossa sneered at him.

a Dominicus “Vecna knows you have a secret location that you store the gems in and he also knows that storing them all in the same location is foolish.”
a Khadrael “Pah! You would call us fools and yet until now, Vecna has kept his hand out of these affairs! He had his chance to join the Divine Concordat and has since tried to take gems for himself elsewhere!”
a Dominicus “Vecna IS the god of secrets. It is not simply a title, he seeks to keep things away from prying eyes and to keep that hidden which is dangerous. Which is already what you have all TRIED to do. But you made a fatal flaw in not only organising this amongst so many, but in storing all the gems in a single location.”
a Khadrael “Bah! No army could ever march on Hestavar! There are too many angels and warriors standing between them and the gems!”
a Dominicus “Oh, you are so naïve! Do you not think that those we oppose have equal forces? Shothragot has at it’s command more power than you can imagine.”
a Hanael “So Vecna proposes that he takes the gems to hide them. How?”
a Dominicus “The details could not be known by any but him. After all, the more who know the details, the greater the risk. And he does not propose that they be kept in one place. He proposes that they be scattered in a large number of secret locations. You are aware that there are hundreds of gems, yes? Then there would be hundreds of locations. "
a Larisa “What does Vecna give us in return for this? Perhaps we could offer a few gems and keep the other here as a security measure.”
a Dominicus " * sighs * You know so little, yet assume so much. There would be no exchange of goods here, this would be protection guaranteed for the gems. Nobody in existence is more qualified to keep these most dangerous of objects secret and safe. No doubt you are aware Shothragot is on the move constantly. But not only that, it can trace where the gems have been. That is why Shothragot already possesses two hundred gems or so. Even for Vecna, information like that is tough to keep current. "
a Hanael “TWO HUNDRED GEMS! Heavens, how did Shothragot get so many so quickly?!”
a Dominicus “I told you, it can sense them. And since you have not come to realise it yet, I will point out the obvious. That would lead it here, to Hestavar. Even now, Shothragot is gathering forces for an assault on this city. It should come as no surprise that the (he whispers) ‘Avatar of Tharizdun’ (stops whispering) brings forth such destructive power.”

At the mention of Tharizdun, the whole room shakes and the name seems to be carried on the wind leaving the room.

a Fossa “You know?!”
a Dominicus “So, so naïve.”

At this, the Couatl’s perk up.

a The Three Couatl “Ithris: What is thissssss?
Rothris: Whyyy were weeee not told about thisssss?
Ithris: Who is thissss you ssssspeak offfff named Th-”
a Dominicus “DO NOT SPEAK THE NAME. Living in the Astral, you should know that some words hold power. Now imagine that a god once existed, a massively powerful god whose incredible threat brought the wrath of all the other gods down upon him. Imagine that this god was insane, bringing nothing but destruction everywhere. Imagine that this god was imprisoned, never to be free again. That the gods themselves were so afraid of it they erased almost all the evidence of his existence.”
a Khadrael “The gods fear NOTHING! They are almighty.”
a Dalmissa “Celestia stands strong against all threats!”
a Yliel “The divine concordat would defeat any foe they encountered!”
a Dominicus “I can see that the gods have chosen fools to be their representatives, then. The reason you are all guarding the gems, the reason that you are HERE, is because the gods know they cannot afford to let Shothragot attain them all. Know this, Vecna desires the destruction of all things no more than you. Vecna would keep the gems from Shothragot by confusing the creature until such a time that it can be destroyed forever. You may not know this, but as an Avatar of the chained god, it can be reborn. It has already, actually. In the long past, it was also known as Shothragot, but in it’s defeat it lost power. It was reborn more recently, taking on the form of a demon named Im’Azhral. But it was defeated, thanks to our friend over here and her allies (gestures to Seven). It has been reborn again however, but now has the strength to assume its strongest form. And that form seeks a battle with us here. I cannot be sure how long it will take before it is ready to confront us.”
a Hanael “I think we need a recess to discuss this.”

The group slowly got up and leave the room.
Outside, Dominicus approached Seven, mentioning that she looked familiar. He asked about her birth, saying that he had a daughter with similar circumstances. He tried to raise his daughter to become a weapon for Vecna, but she was too rebellious and he cast her out to grow up on the streets.

Seven was overwhelmed by this. She knew she had grown up on the streets, but the idea that she was brought up by an agent of Vecna and then abandoned was too much to bear right now. She decided to be alone for a while to mull it over.

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Intermission between session Twenty Nine and Thirty

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Vecna, talk to Fern (a chilling voice): “You must be wondering why you’re here. It might seem like an ordinary ransom, but that is not the case. I observed you all during your time in the feywild. You saw that Illvanuel (Trolol’s father) possessed a corner tree. You may not have noticed that Wenraldio had one as well at your trial. Trolol also has one. Haven’t you ever wondered where the fourth tree is? And why the spirits transformed you into…this thing of bark and leaves? Oh, the spirit world has been sensing the coming threat for a long time now and has brought forth the sacred trees in defence. The Aboleth tried to steal away Spring and Winter using that long-dead fomorian king, Buarainech. So, figured out why you’re here yet?”

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Session Twenty Nine: Pazunian Badlands
A sabotaged ritual sends half the group to the Abyss and half to places unknown.

The group used the plane shift scroll to get back to Hestavar, where they met again with Hanael. Hanael claimed to have met Alicia before, some one hundred years prior. After explaining that they were headed next to Pazunia. the first layer of the Abyss to find the gem there, Alicia told the group that the airship would attract too much attention there. She and Hanael explained Pazuzu, a demon lord of the air who is said to appear to those who repeat his name three times in succession. Illvanuel, Gardryx, Nine and Albi decided to stay in Hestavar for a while and the group sent a captive Ulben to a holding cell in Hestavar’s prison. Hanael deposited the gems they had in Lyraldanis and fetched for them another ritual scroll to use for their travel, speeding them on their way. They discovered that the ritual had been tampered with, as it only sent Alicia, Trolol, Zola and Silver to Pazunia, but sent Rolan, Oizo and Seven elsewhere (as yet unknown).

The group in the Abyss decided to search for the gem anyway and Alicia suggested they head to a town named Plague-Mort. She told them that it is a fairly safe town (if you don’t pick any fights), but it planeshifts between here and The Great Ring in the Astral Sea. Alongside them was a river of blood that Alicia said they could follow to Plague-Mort.
They travelled across the cracked barren landscape for hours, when they noticed that Alicia seemed to be troubled by something. When they asked, she revealed that she hadn’t been completely open with them. Rosaline, the sphere she travelled with, was her sister. She had been trapped in the sphere by a sorcerer a long time ago and cursed to teleport to a random plane and location once every twenty-four hours. To avoid losing her sister and to attempt to find a solution, Alicia stayed with her and has travelled with her for a long, long time. When they made contact with the ball, the group heard the voice of a little girl. Alicia told them that by her reckoning she would only have a matter of hours remaining and they still had far to travel.

Meanwhile, Fern awoke to find that she couldn’t see. She discovered that she had a spell cast on her by Vecna, who held her prisoner inside some kind of cell. He told her that she would be free soon, if her friends were smart.

The group in the Abyss struggled to travel Pazunia, finding the desert unbearably warm, but after a long and difficult journey they found a pit. To their dismay, it was inhabited by demonic scavengers and flocks of flesh-eating birds. A battle ensued, but the group prevailed.

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In a nest made of bones in the pit, they found a small card with “Talons” written on it.

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They travelled another long distance before finally the bloody river intersected with a normal river of water. Alicia told them that this was where Plague-Mort normally lay. She told them that Rosaline didn’t have much time left and she would have to leave soon, but waited long enough to see the half-ruined town of Plague-Mort fall from the sky. Alicia wished them good luck, then she and Rosaline disappeared.

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Session Twenty Eight: Ghalem'Ka
A new party member arrives, a gem is retrieved and a visitor appears aboard the airship.

The group said their goodbyes to Valia in Norjal, and returned to the airship.
Once on the airship, a flicker of flame in the air appeared and teleported in a powerful-looking devil creature and a young woman with dark skin and grey hair. The devil introduced itself as Asmodeus and the woman as Silver. He offered the party Silver to aid them in collecting the gems, saying that it was in his best interest to help them. Though skeptical, the party accepted their new member and made their way to Ghalem’Ka.

In Ghalem’Ka, they were met by the sight of a damaged royal palace. Once inside, they spoke to Emperor Ralan’daak, who told them that it was attacked by a creature they knew from the description to be Shothragot. They saw that Ralan’daak had lost both his arms and there were banadages covering his whole upper body. He told them that Shothragot demanded that he give up a gem to him, but he refused. Shothragot punished him with his injuries. Ralan’daak told the party he wanted them to make sure that the city of Ghalem’Ka would be safe, but they said they could not. There were bigger concerns. He relunctantly gave up the gem to them, and they climbed aboard the airship again.

Before they could travel anywhere else, a strange figure appeared before them on the airship. It was a young human woman with colourful robes holding a metal sphere. She told them that she was a traveller named Alicia Dalamar, and that it would be 24 hours before her sphere would let her teleport again. She told them regretfully that she had been running from a horde of undead Vrock and warned them that they would be here soon.

After a short bit of conversation revealing that she had just come from the Abyss, a ripple in the air could be seen and through it flew several vulture-like creatures that appeared to be rotting. A humanoid figure also came through and jumped down to the airship. Alicia told them that he was Lathandar Forlin. Lathandar demanded that she tell him a piece of information she knew, bargaining that Vecna would be merciful if she gave it up now. She replied that she wouldn’t cooperate and that she would defend herself if necessary.
The Vrock and Lathandar attacked, and eventually the party along with Alicia managed to defeat them.
Zola noticed that one of the names, that of Lathandar, was gone from his blade.
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Session Twenty Seven: The Llewellyn Forest
A destroyed village and some old friends.

The party took Ulben captive onboard their airship, finding a comet card as they dragged him and eventually heading north to Norjal. During their travel, they were attacked by a group that called themselves The Ebony Guard. They claimed that Zola, as a paladin of the Raven Queen was working against her by allowing himself to be brought back to life (in a previous session). They believed that this was against the Raven Queen’s tenets and that she needed to be shown that Zola was not worthy of having his mission to hunt the cult of Vecna.
They were defeated and Zola retrieved the blade of the leader, which glowed with three lines of draconic runes.

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The group all arrived finally in Norjal and entered the Llewellyn forest. They found that they were greeted by familiar faces, at least to Rolan and Fern. Valia and Nedraso were childhood friends of Fern and Rolan, living in the same village in the forest. Nedraso had accused many elves of being responsible in part for the destruction of their home, finding a small black gem on them that he claimed corrupted them. He and Valia argued for a short while and Nedraso threw the gem to the ground in frustration, storming off. The group picked up the gem, which they identified for be one of the gems they were looking for. Valia asked them to follow her to a grove she always visited, where she reminisced with Rolan and Fern. She told the group about the legend of an ancient tree that grew in the grove, that it could tap into the spirit realm every 200 years and answer three questions. After a short time, the waters in the stream began to move and formed a whirlpool. It whispered to them to speak and Valia knew that it was the legendary tree.
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They asked the tree what the significance of the gems were, to which the tree answered they were keys.
They asked it what the keys unlocked and the tree answered “The Demiplane of Imprisonment.”
They asked what was trapped in the demiplane and the tree stopped for a moment, the forest around them seeming to darken, then finally said “Tharizdun.” The waters returned to normal.
Valia inspected the gem they had picked up, then threw it and shattered it. She told them it was a fake, but wondered why Nedraso would thrown down a fake for them to pick up.

They heard a yell from further in the forest and quickly hurried towards the source.
When they came into the clearing, there was a sunken temple and an altar stained with blood. Around the altar were a lot of tied up elves and many small demons. At the altar on a hellish rocky disc was Nedraso. He told them that he would drown Norjal in the waters of the elemental chaos and opened up a portal in midair. They fought the demons and Nedraso, felling them one by one. Eventually they were forced to use the Donjon card to release the Void they had previously trapped inside it. The Void swallowed up the portal to the elemental chaos, but the Donjon also trapped Fern when she used it to call back the Void. Inside the Donjon she was swallowed up by the Void.

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Session Twenty Six: The Ethsmas Mountains
A dwarven city and a madman after a gem.

The group headed to the Ethsmas Mountains on the prime material plane of Atlea.
They were met in the dwarven city of Nurenhal by Terris Halfjaw, a dwarf they’d first met in Coyote’s Refuge. He, his wife Nina and their kids lived in the settlement with Ulben. The party discovered that they had beginning to garner a following, as many of the dwarven children of the city recognised them from rumour and story, albeit the details were exaggerated.

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Terris asked the group what business brought them here, and upon learning that they were searching for a magical gem, he suggested they speak to the village elders. They made their way across the city to the elders, asking them for assistance in locating the gem. The elders replied that they needed more information before they would be willing to give assistance or resources, to the frustration of the group. Suddenly, a loud noise brought everyone to their feet. They investigated outside to see that the city had been attacked. The elders split up, each following a different direction to look for survivors, but the party followed Terris, who feared for the safety of his wife and children.
They arrived back at Terris’ home to discover a green portal similar to that which had appeared at the Dancing Lizard months ago. Ulben revealed himself to be a powerful magic-wielder and took Terris’ kids hostage floating above his home, but a swift axe cleft his arm, dropping the kids into Nina’s arms. Ulben had told them that he had gained his power thanks to a green meteor that had come from some time in the future (DM note: the same meteor that had knocked the white dragon out of the sky and that the party had sent into the void in the feywild).

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Ulben revealed that he had the gem he had come here for, but sought personal revenge since he had lost his arm. A battle ensued, and Ulben summoned terrible creatures from the green portal, as well as creating tiny star spheres that burned the group when they grew too near.
In some time, the heroes managed to weaken Ulben a lot, and he turned to leave with the gem. They knocked him from the sky however and took him prisoner.
Terris thanked them for saving the city and his family. The ‘gem’ card activated and displayed a few visions for the next gem locations:
-A gigantic barren plain with a great river of blood ending in a huge waterfall
-Ghalem’Ka, the desert city (prime material plane)
-A lush forest with gigantic wooly beasts roaming around
-The Emerald City (prime material plane, capital of kingdom of Amrelnia)
-A near-destroyed forest with elves marching in chains(Norjal,prime material plane)
-A valley of grey with a black palace (Letherna, Raven Queen’s palace, shadowfell)

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