Atlea and Beyond

Session Eleven: The Pact
A flayer of minds and a scroll of riddles.

The group headed inside the Dancing Lizard to investigate the strange sounds they heard. When they entered, Terris Halfjaw told them that the portal they discovered earlier had disappeared from the basement.
The group noticed a cloaked figure across the tavern, and decided to buy them a drink and began to take it over to them. Suddenly a large number of strange creatures blinked into visibility in the tavern and began to attack the group. The cloaked figure remained seated, seemingly oblivious. The group fought back against the strange floating creatures and eventually attacked the cloaked figure, which revealed itself to be a humanoid creature with a squid-like head. It attacked the group with psychic attacks, and in short order a larger beast also attacked them from the kitchen with huge claws.
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After a long and painful fight, the group managed to make the mind flayer give up, and it revealed that it knew where Najala’s phylactery was located, and divulged to them that the puzzles they had collected were part of a group of 5 items, necessary to destroy Najala’s phylactery.
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The mind flayer also told them that it was attempting to find the fourth item, a scroll.
The group decided to get the mind flayer to use its thralls to search for the item, and they also searched for the item, asking around the town to find leads on where the scroll had been.
Eventually they came to find out that a man named Garthel had the scroll, though they allowed the mind flayer to turn a shop keeper into a thrall to find him.

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They headed to the Scorpion’s Claw, a tavern in the Outer Ward of Vor Rukoth, to find Garthel playing Three Dragon Ante. They challenged him to a game and eventually forced him to bet the scroll in order to keep playing. They won the game and took the scroll as a prize.
The scroll seemed magical, and words began to appear on its surface. It was a riddle, and the group solved it fairly quickly. A second and third riddle also appeared, and after Trolol solved the last riddle, new words began to show on the scroll. It told them that the pact was now complete and an emissary would be with them in a moment.
Trolol and the scroll glowed with green light, and a strange power entered Trolol. When he recovered, a cyclopic figure appeared before them, telling them that he was the emissary of Buarainech, an arch-fey from the feywild.
He told him that Trolol was now imbued with power from his master, but it would come at a cost. His master would come eventually to reclaim his powers, and maybe more. Buarainech enchanted the scroll as an experiment and sent it to the world. The emissary bid them farewell and Trolol began to feel his new power. They found a spirit within the scroll too, the Dwarven spirit of Ulrak Stonewall.

The group told the mind flayer about having retrieved the scroll and he congratulated them coldly, and left.
They headed back to Coyote’s Refuge to tell Coyote about the 5 items. As they approached, he looked worried and told them that his men had stolen the plans for an airship. Najala had been building an airship, and he suspected she was going to leave Vor Rukoth. They told him about the items, and alarmed, he told them that he had to leave and gather the forces to find the last item.

Soon, in the Refuge the group were approached by a large flying creature. The blue dragon flew down, and atop its back was Najala! She told them that losing the blueprint for the airship was a minor setback, and she threw down red crystals to the street below. Out of the crystals came demonic creatures that attacked the group as Najala flew away on the dragon.

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Through the fight, the characters became injured but fought hard. Rolan contracted an elemental infection from the touch of a demon. They used the Demon King’s Claw they retrieved earlier and took control of one of the demons, and eventually defeated them all.
Coyote returned and asked them what happened. They told him Najala came and attacked them with demons. He replied that it’s clear at this point that she is feeling overconfident, and that means that she can’t be far from success. He told them that they must gather all forces they have and march on the city to retrieve the last item and find the airship she is building, and in the process, find Najala.

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Session Ten: The Temple
A temple of evil beneath the sand.

The first group, comprising Rolan, Fern, Oizo and Zola, were asked by Coyote to retrieve a valuable artifact called the Demon King’s Claw. It was said to have the power to control demons.
They set off to find it, having been told it was rumoured to have been stolen by the Slavers in the city of Vor Rukoth.

The second group, comprising Albi, Seven and Trolol had just escaped from the Slavers and made their way back to Coyote’s Refuge. They found out that their friends had gone ahead of them, and Coyote asked them to follow. He provided them with magical steeds to catch up. They found that they had been overheard by Ulben, a strange man who worked at the Dancing Lizard tavern. He had scrawled a message in his own blood after cutting off one of his fingers, and it spoke of the demons.

“The day of demons had begun
The world was cleft in twain
No strength to stop this wicked plan
If any should remain

The kings and queens of times now lost
Took up arms in desperation
A clash of blades, blood paid the cost
For the hopeless situation

World at end, the last warriors fought
They toiled tooth and nail
They pushed back the demon lords
But ’twas to no avail

Resounding cheers, people did rattle
They could not know before
The Atleans had won the battle
But they had not won the war

Plan, even now, the demons doth
The fallen city of Vor Rukoth
They who would wander this ruined land
Stir a temple of evil beneath the sand.”

Ulben told them that “the cult” possessed the object they seek, not the Slavers. The group decided to bring him along as a guide to show them where to find the cult.
After riding for a few hours, they soon found their companions outside the entrance to the city.
Having heard what happened, the party decided to investigate the cult that Ulben spoke of.
Albi, having noticed Nine’s absence, told everyone that he would ask around the city to see if he could find any rumours or anything to let them know where Nine is.

Ulben led the group to a place called “The Blood Grounds,” and entering a ruined building previously used as a bank, showed them the way to the cult’s headquarters. Upon reaching a vault without handles or any other obvious mechanism to open it, he spoke the words “Acohs, Veli, Nadsems, Coref, Tredtusonic!” The vault slid aside and revealed a spiralling stairway down.

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At the bottom of the stairwell, the group found themselves in a small hallway. In one direction there was the rubble of a statue, and in the other, a door.
The group headed to the door and opened it. They found that it was behind a red curtain. Peeking through, they discovered a strange creature that was eating the remains of a sword. The room beyond was some kind of throne room, with broken pillars lying strewn across the floor.
The group approached the creature cautiously and headed to a chest they noticed on the other side of the room. It allowed them to pass until it finished eating, but then made towards the paladin, Zola, greedily looking at his metal armour. Inside the chest, the group found a map, which seemed to show the rest of this floor. The small rust monster attempted to rust Zola’s armour, but was quickly dispatched by the party before it could do any permanent damage.

The group moved down the stairs to a dark region of the room, finding two pools, a bridge between them, a set of doors and statues either side behind the pools. They discovered that the area on the bridge was covered in pressure plates, and all of them needed to be pushed down to open the door. The group had slightly less weight than they needed to push all of them down, and decided to use one of the statues. In the process, they were attacked by 3 snakes that sprang up from the pools. The whole battle was over in less than a minute, as the party expertly defended themselves.

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Once the door was open, the party pushed through to the next room, finding that magical fire was being used as a protective measure to halt intruders. Trolol used his magical abilities to hold back the fire long enough to let others pass through and knock the next door open. He then attempted to run through the passage himself, becoming badly burned in the process.

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The group then decided to turn and explore the kitchen area of the headquarters. Upon entering the kitchen, they noticed it was very long, but soon discovered the length was due to an illusion. After you reached the edge of the kitchen there was a deep drop to a monster.

The group left the kitchen and continued moving through the halls. Fern went ahead and found herself stuck in a strange transparent ooze. As it began to burn, she freed herself of the danger and took note of its position in the hallway.

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The party entered another room that had both two furnaces and two large goblets of water in it, along with some crates and boxes. With a little experimentation, the group discovered that in one of the goblets was a water elemental, a being that flowed as it moved. Fern used her spirit companion to distract the creature and drew it away from them. The creature followed it, and led the water elemental into the gelatinous cube from the hallway. It became stuck and sizzled as the acid of the cube and the water clashed.

The group then decided to split up. One group went to the suites on one of side of the headquarters, searching for anything of use. Rolan sent his avian companion down a well to see what was there, and it came across a quiver that appeared empty. When Rolan reached into the quiver, however, an arrow magically appeared in his hand, and he discovered that he could create as many as he desired.

Trolol and Fern discovered a mechanism where they could not move closer to the door to the suites, as stepping on the floor forced the door closed. Trolol used his ability to levitate to cross the floor and enter the room. He used magic to hold the door open while Fern entered the room. On some lounges they found a bag, and upon inspection, it appeared to be magical. Trolol remembered that he had learnt about bags that could hold far more than appeared possible, and decided this was one of those bags. Fern inspected the next room to find a container that had within it a lotion. When it was applied to the skin, it made the user surge with power and gave them further reserves of strength to tap into.
In the last room, the dining area, they found a small magical die and a canteen(flask) that contained seemingly endless amounts of water. The magical die had some strange powers that activated when it was rolled.

On the other side of the headquarters, Zola, Seven and Oizo explored numerous bookshelves. They decided that it was worth seeing if there were any secret passages, and knocked them over. Upon searching the ruins, they found a small figurine that looked like a mechanical creature. Seven activated it and it grew to full size. The creature stood about three and a half feet off the ground and had four metal legs.

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They all regrouped and entered the furthest door along the hallway, to find themselves in a room with spider webs strewn along the floor, a few braziers that lit up the room, the bones of some ancient creature, a small lever and two statues. Entering the room, they activated the lever, which open the doors on the other side of the room. Something stirred, however, and they found themselves facing large spiders. Two of the spiders pulled Zola and Seven into a pit using their webs, but they both escaped and soon the party had destroyed the spiders.

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In the next room they found a platform several metres tall suspended on the far corner of the room. Leading to the top, there were stairs, and sitting at a desk on the plateau was a person dressed in purple robes. He greeted them, and summoned a large scaled creature from one of the circles found on the floor. The beast had four heads, and the group recognised it as a Hydra. They were cautious, as cutting off one of its heads caused it to grow two more. The group stopped this a few times by using fire to cauterise the wound before additional heads could grow. The purple-robed cultist was easily taken down, but the hydra continued to rage. At the conclusion of the fight, Oizo hit the creature with a deadly punch that ended its life. Exploring the area further, the group found various strange scrolls and books on the tables, most written about nonsense, like : “Rocks make a fine stew finer.”
The group found a journal written by someone who was a part of the cult, and it read:
“Najala, my master, was once the beautiful queen of the Turathi Empire. She was to be married to her love, Albrecht. He was taken ill and soon passed away, however. In her grief, Najala turned to dark forces to discover that there was a way to bring Albrecht back! She made herself into a lich by pledging herself to evil. It is unknown how, but she gathers power even now to try to bring back her love. She once told me ‘If I have to rip him from the arms of the Raven Queen herself I will.’
I fear for her sanity as she has become completely obsessed with this idea. I fear though, for my own mind as well. Some of the things she has shown me are so disturbing and unsettling that I cannot recount them here. I cannot write much more on this, but I will continue to serve my lady, as it is my duty.
Esgarn."

The note was dated to Twentyfifthday, Harvest, 1479, a few weeks ago.
The group searched the cultist in purple robes and found the clawed hand they search for. The Demon King’s Claw was a red claw on the end of a chain that could be worn as a necklace.

The group headed back to Coyote’s Refuge, but as they neared the Dancing Lizard tavern, they heard strange sounds coming from inside. The sounds were like nothing they’d heard before.

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Session Nine B: The Captives
Slavers

Albi, Trolol and Seven woke up to find that they had been stripped of their weapons and thrown into a cell by slavers. The half-orc slavers were sold them by Najala, after she teleported them from Eiswin’s Tower. In the cell with them was a dwarf from Turak-Tol. Using guile and stealth, the group managed to steal the guard’s key and break the necks of many of the other guards. Seven found a shard of glass and some leather gloves to use as protection, and utilised the shard as a makeshift dagger. The group found a chest and upon opening it, discovered the pieces of a strange wooden puzzle. Deciding to inspect it later, they made their way through the underground cavern, taking out guards as they went using a construct that Trolol imbued with his arcane magic. The group spotted a Grell with some Troglodytes near the exit from the area, and used the spider-like construct to distract them and the half orcs while they snuck away.

Upon reaching the open air, they found a group of ruined buildings. They heard a group of half orc slavers coming their way and hid, waiting for their chance. The slavers carried with them a chest of the group’s belongings. After coming out into the open, Seven tricked them into believing she was sent by Najala to retrieve the chest, and they continued marching past the group without the chest. The party then opened the chest and got their belongings back. The dwarf told them that the safest place to head was outside the city of Vor Rukoth, only a few miles away, to Coyote’s Refuge.

Upon reaching the refuge, the group went into the local inn/tavern, the Dancing Lizard, to discover that their friends had been through here. Upon mentioning their friends to the innkeeper, Ferris showed them the strange portal that was the result of their friend’s stay. They experimented with it, to find that they were unable to enter it, floating above it instead.
They sat down and solved the puzzle, forming a small pyramid shape, and it began to glow with a red light. They heard the voice of a dragonborn, who told them he was Dralmar Wyrmskin. He said that he was trapped inside the puzzle when he was fighting the demons. Then he began to feel strange, saying that he could sense something. He asked if there were any like him in the world, trapped in puzzles. The party told him yes, and he said he could sense their presence, not so far away. The group asked him to lead them to the source of the sensations, and they went to look for their friends.

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Session Nine A: The Portal
Coyote's Refuge

The white dragon flew Oizo, Rolan, Fern and Zola across the sea and towards the sandy deserts of Vor Rukoth. Overhead glowed a green light from the sky, becoming brighter and brighter, and as the light came closer, it was revealed to be a huge rock emanating a green glow. It zoomed down and struck the white dragon in the back, causing it to drop the party to the sands below. They saw a green mist pass over the land as they fell into unconsciousness.
Upon awakening, the party found that they were in the care of three strangers, a halfing named Coyote, a dwarf named Terris and a tiefling named Inferna. Coyote told them that he was gathering a group of like-minded warriors so that they could take back the city of Vor Rukoth from Najala, who presided over it.

The group went to Coyote’s Refuge, a small town made mostly of tents and only a few buildings. They slept overnight at the Dancing Lizard, an inn and tavern run by Terris.
In the dead of night, Oizo, having only needed a few hours sleep, heard a strange noise coming from down the hall, and decided to investigate. He found the entrance to a cavern that seemed not to be a part of the inn. Upon exploring the cavern, he discovered some strange creatures that crawled upon the ground with many legs. Another of the creatures had a terrible great maw. He called for the others, and they investigated as well. The largest of the creatures spat a black goo upon the floor of the cavern, slick and moist. The creatures charged at the party, and after a long battle, the group was victorious.

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The goo, however, did not disappear. From the centre of the substance, a small rift appeared, and began to expand rapidly. It stretched to the edge of the goo, then ceased expansion. The others decided to get some sleep, while Oizo kept watch, in case another of the creatures appeared or something happened.
In the midst of the goo, Oizo observed strange outlines of spiderlike creatures with heads that ended in spiked tails, and others horrific visions.
Upon awakening in the morning, the group questioned Ulben, the man who tended to beds, about if he knew anything of the strange vortex. He seemed interested in it, and then answered that he knew nothing of it. Oizo deduced that he wasn’t lying, even though he seemed suspicious.
The group told Terris about the happenings of the evening, and he told them it was probably linked to the mists that visited them when the green tinted rock fell to the ground.

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Session Eight: The White Dragon
To Norjal!

After returning from the Shadowfell, Albi got to work on creating a suit of armour for Oizo‘s soul to use. After completion of the suit, Eiswin spent the next few hours fusing Oizo’s soul with the new armor so that he could have a physical body. During this magical infusion, Oizo saw visions. He saw a battlefield sided with elves and eladrin, and on the other side, small demons and a horrific-looking human figure.
The demons attacked, and the Eladrin and Elves did their best to meet them in battle. Shortly, the human figure on the demon’s side opened a huge portal behind her, spilling out of it various demonic creatures.
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She soon changed her form as well, taking on the form of a demon with a flaming whip and a lightning sword. The Elves and Eladrin were slaughtered by the demonic forces, and his vision ended. He awakened to find himself in his new metal body, unsure of what to think. He told the others about his vision, and they recognised the horrific woman from his descriptions…it was Najala!
As the group gathered around Oizo, a grey mist began to cluster in the corner of the room. Out of the mist materialised the form of Najala, and she angrily greeted Oizo, “How good to see you again.” She pulled her hands toward her and suddenly Nine, Seven, Trolol, and Albi began to slide towards her. As if being pulled into a rift, they blinked into thin air in front of her and disappeared. “If you want to see your friends again,” she cackled, “meet me north, in Norjal.” She blinked out of the room and disappeared.

“So you met her too,” Eiswin said. He told them that when in the shadowfell he brought back a small piece of one of the small demons they defeated, and had been experimenting on it. He told them that when he scried using it, he found a huge power of seemingly demonic origin emanating from Norjal. Eiswin told them, “quickly, find your friends, hasten to Norjal!”
So the group set off on the backs of their red and green dragons north to Norjal. Upon arriving at Norjal, they encountered a village covered in snow near the edge of a wood. Here they saw Najala, along with several demons. Najala said to them “welcome!” and from behind her, a huge white dragon arose from the snow. They began combat, and soon the group found that small demons were coming from the houses in the village. Upon further inspection, it was seen that the elves that had lived here were slaughtered and their bodies were used as a means to spawn more demons. Najala used her shapeshifting abilities to change into a beholder, and she created havoc with her powerful eye rays. The red and green dragons they had used to fly here then fought the white dragon.
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The group slowly took down each of the demons, lighting the houses on fire to destroy the demons as they were being born. They killed the last of the demons, and destroyed Najala in her beholder form. The white dragon knocked both of their dragons unconscious and turned to face the party. It used its powers to create a blizzard, sending each of the party unconscious, except for Oizo. Oizo spoke with the dragon, asking it who it served. It told him that it served the Elder Elemental Eye, and that it is rumoured that the entity created the demons. Oizo asked the dragon what he could do to let it spare he and his friend’s lives. It told him that it must come with him. Oizo agreed, and the dragon scooped him and the rest of the party up, flying them to some unknown destination. It is unknown what has happened to Trolol, Seven, Albi and Nine.
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Session Seven: The Shadow
Shadowfell

The group reached a graveyard, and the mage spoke strange words, raising an invisible tower from the ground. He told that that here, the veil between the world and the shadowfell was weaker, and that here they could make a portal more easily. He introduced to them a woman named Fern, who revealed herself to be Rolan’s friend. She said she barely escaped as their village was burned to the ground. The group then opened the portal to the shadowfell. Fern and Nine stayed behind to ensure that the portal was kept open, and the rest stepped through.

There in the shadowfell, each of them began to feel strange. Various afflictions ranging from mania to depression affected them and weighed heavily upon their minds. In the distance, they could see a gigantic creature moving across the endless grey plains, and eventually after a long walk, came to a group of Shadar-kai. They revealed that they were servants of the Raven Queen, and that they kept souls safe until they could pass to the other side. They told them that they would not be able to retrieve their friend, but they should go to the city of Gloomwrought nonetheless.
In town they approached a temple to the Raven Queen and speaking to the priest there, they affirmed that they could not simply ask for Oizo’s soul. Suddenly, huge soul-eating creatures burst into the city, and while the Shadar-kai could deal with a few of them, the priest beseeched them to help defend the city. The undead giant spewed out demonic creatures, which Eiswin thought unusual. After a long-fought battle, they finally defeated the titantic undead creature and the demons, but unfortunately, lost Isis in the battle. The priest told them that she could not be brought back, as her soul would not pass through the shadowfell as she died here. It would simply pass straight through to the other side. In exchange for helping defend the city, he gave them Oizo’s soul and commended their service to the Raven Queen, protecting the souls of the dead from the titantic soul-eating creatures.

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Session Six: The Castle
Ikvegn

On the way to Ikvegn, the party encountered Nine and Albi again, this time far below, resting with their dragon. Upon seeing the party, they attempted to fly away, but the red dragon could not outrun their green dragon, who they had named Twelve. They managed to get Nine to notice that Oizo was gone, and she asked Albi to stop the dragon. They landed, and the group told them about how Oizo had died, and about their travels. Albi showed them a strange cube he possessed, which he claimed had the spirit of the Empressthey thought they met in Ghalem’Ka within it. Seven revealed that she was the daughter of Nine, and asked her if she remembered her. Isis hit her husband, demanding an explanation as to why he left with Nine. He told them that he was given this cube by a strange merchant months ago, and upon solving it, the spirit of the empress awakened. She told him about the demon portal and that Nine was one of the descendants of the royal families who sealed the demon portal those years ago. She told him to seek her out because Najala was bent on killing her. They had been on the run, even from the party, because they wanted to stay separated for safety’s sake. If Najala caught them all together, they would be in big trouble.

After talking, the groups decided to stick together until they got to rescue Oizo. They headed north to Ikvegn and discovered through asking around that the powers that be in the town resided in Castle Harkenwold. The group went to the castle and attempted different methods of getting into the castle. Albi used a disguise kit to convince the guards to let him through the front door by doing an admirable impression of a woman seeking shelter. Meanwhile the rest of the group scaled the walls using their ropes, taking the guards out one by one. Eventually, they all got into the castle keep to discover that the ruler here was Lady Najala! A battle ensued, and midway through, Najala showed her true form. She was a lich! Upon defeat, Najala collapsed into dust. The dust flew out the window and across the sea. The group knew that was not the last they would see of her. They checked the castle and found a prisoner in the dungeon named Eiswin, who claimed to be a mage. They told him they were seeking a way to the shadowfell, and he told them he was the mage who could transport them there. They made their way back to his tower.

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Session Five: The Library
Party member death?

The group sailed until they noticed a nearby island and heard Alandra speak to them. She told them that somehow she could hear Nine and Albi, Oizo’s sister and Isis’ husband respectively. She tried to attune herself better and made it audible to the whole party. They immediately recognised the voices. Alandra told them that it seemed to be coming from the island close by, but she could not tell why she could hear them. The group went ashore and encountered a mechanical humanoid named Tuln, who asked them what brought them here. When they told him about the Empress, he seemed shocked, and told them that there was no Empress in Ghalem’Ka. He said he was a librarian who kept tomes of historical significance and that her line was supposed to have ended hundreds of years ago. He took them to the library and showed them the tome that said so. The library was home to dwarves as well, who had created the mechanical man to help tend the library. Suddenly, a loud crash ushered in a large green dragon who entered through the side wall. Tuln told them that he was a dragon that they had bought to help transport large numbers of tomes between here and the capital. He said that they had had no luck in keeping the dragon until control though. The dragon attacked the group, and in the ensuing battle, sprayed the party in its acidic breath. Unfortunately, it sprayed another acidic blast at Oizo and he died, leaving only bones. After a tough battle, the group made the dragon submit. Tuln suggested that they keep it, since they protected the library and it seemed to be willing to let them ride it. Tuln told them that in the city to the north, Ikvegn, they could seek out the mage who knew how to get to the shadowfell, where they could rescue Oizo’s soul before it passed to the other side. They began to head north on the back of the dragon.

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Session Four: The Kraken
Street Chase and Seabound

The group finally solved the puzzle of the sphere, and found that a spirit was trapped inside. Her name was Alandra Eldarkin, and she claimed to be the spirit of the warrior who defeated Im’Ahzral all those years ago. The group travelled through the city towards the docks and noticed a familiar face. Oizo immediately recognised his sister, and Isis recognised her husband. They raced after them, and the pair ran into an alley. They climbed a tall fence and continued running through the city. The group failed the jump the fence quickly or knock it over, and it took a short while for them to proceed. Meanwhile Seven, the rogue, climbed onto the roof of a building and tried to catch up to the pair. The wizard Trolol used fey step to blink through the fence and continued his chase, attempting to catch up to Oizo’s sister. Rolan eventually managed to climb onto the roof and jumped down onto a horse to try to ride and catch up. After the rest of the group got through the fence, they tried various tactics to try to slow down Isis’ husband and Oizo’s sister. Eventually Isis and Seven caught up to the pair, and Isis hit her husband with her mace in an attempt to send him to sleep. Unfortunately, the pair were quick and managed to escape via a horse of their own. They continued running until they reached a cliff, and jumped off the horse, leaving it on the top of the cliff. After a few seconds, the forms of the two could be seen rising quickly on the back of a large red dragon. The group cursed their luck as they watched them fly away across the sea.

Heading to the docks, the group set sail away from Ghalem’Ka and out to sea. They sailed for several days with no trouble, but eventually encountered a Kraken at sea. The group struggled to attack it as its various tentacles threw them across the deck and pulled some of them underwater.
Krocken
Eventually, the party forced it into submission, and it quickly retreated away from the ship with its life. The group sailed on.

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Session Three: The Empress
Ghalem'Ka

In the large warehouse, the group encountered an elf named Rolan(do(mando)), who had come here searching for answers about who destroyed his home in the north. They told him that they were going to seek an audience with the Empress, and he asked if he could join their group. He said that he was a skilled archer and had a strong affinity with the creatures of nature.

The group noticed that a band of drow had been going from table to table, offering help getting in to seeing the empress. They were turned away with accusations of being criminals multiple times, until they came to the group’s table. The group heard them out and decided to give their method a try. They said that they would “arrange” to have another group’s appointment “replaced” with their own, and that they could break into the palace from underground. One of the drow led them to a sewage pipe underground, and led them through a cave. In the cave they encountered aberrant creatures: Grick and Grell, as well as several tentacled Darkmantle that fell on them from the roof. Making their way through the caves, they eventually came to a broken entrance into the palace from underground. Making their way through the palace, they came to the throne room in time for their appointment.

Attempting to impress the Empress with shows of acrobatic skill, the group made their way into the throne room. The Empress revealed to them a great deal about the history of the world. She spoke of the Primordials that were said to create the world, and of their war with the gods, who gave life to the world. She also spoke of the betrayer of the gods, one who was sealed away because he fought alongside the primordials. She spoke of a great war between the Dragonborn Empire of Arkhosia and the Tiefling Empire of Bael Turath. She said that a woman named Najala was responsible for opening the demonic portal in Bael Turath brought demons into the world and destroyed many of the ancient empires, such as the Aalreoni. The royal families of the empires sealed away the demons and closed the portal, swearing on their family line that it would never be reopened. Najala now seeks to destroy the descendants of the royal families, including the Empress, in order to reopen the portal. It is unknown, at least to the Empress, how many still live.
Suddenly, strangely dressed magi appeared in a blink, and began casting a ritual. They also summoned small spider swarms that exploded and killed the Empress’ guards. The ritual the magi were casting seemed to be opening a large demonic portal at the entrance to the room. Acting quickly, the group took out the magi and ceased the ritual, preventing the large demons behind the portals veil from getting into the world. The Empress thanked them for saving her, and granted them a ship to travel across the sea to Bael Turath to hunt down Najala. The group then learnt to sail from the shipwright and his sailors over the next few weeks.

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