Atlea and Beyond

Session Thirty Seven: The Dead Rise
Half the group wander the Grey Wastes, the other half fight in a deadly abyssal jungle.

Rolan, Seven and the Githyanki White Ravens, led by D’keth arrived in Pluton, the Grey Waste. Before them stretched endless grey, a landscape devoid of features except dying trees, a few scattered bones and rusted weapons. Colour was drained from everything, including themselves. The group had been followed, they soon discovered. A half-fox, half-human bard joined them, but gave little information about herself other than that she wanted to help. As they wandered the Wastes, they found themselves struggling more and more with each step. Eventually, they were unable to bring themselves to move, losing their will to continue. The mysterious stranger helped them, encouraging them to move forward. Wispy apparitions appeared in front of them, each attempting to convince one of them to stay here and give up on their quest. One by one, the stranger managed to convince them that the apparition was wrong, and they found their will strong enough to move them again. As the apparitions dispersed, a town began to fade into view before them. The residents were grey and so were the bone-and-mud buildings. They tried asking for directions, but the citizens of the town were apathetic to their concerns, and really, anything at all. The only information they could glean was that this settlement was named Desolation. After a few minutes, a grey female giant made its way over to them, asking why they were here. When they replied, she told them that they still had souls and demanded that they relinquish them to her. She attacked them to take their souls by force, attempting to cleave them in twain with her axe. The fight was interrupted however, when a human-sized insectoid creature intervened. It told the giant, named Willow, to lower her axe. It introduced itself, telling them it was called Illaxis and was a Yugoloth, as well as the ruler of this settlement. When they told it why they were in Pluton, the creature offered for a small fee to take them to the temple used by Vecna’s worshippers.

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Illaxis led the group through the Grey Waste for a long time, telling them that this plane was the site of The Blood War, an eternal battle between Tanar’ri and Baatezu (other names for Demons and Devils.) It told them that the Yugoloths tried to stay out of it and hid mostly from the conflict. It told them the war went on for eons until finally it came to a stalemate when Asmodeus became a god. The bones of that war lay here in the Grey Waste eternally, a relic of history. Eventually, they came to a grey building with big stone doors built halfway into the ground. Illaxis led them inside. They realised it was dark and had to light sunrods to see. In the room was a chair, with a book sitting open on a table in front of it. The table was stained with blood and there were bones lying about the room. The book read:

a “Seven.”
* Then more writing appeared once Seven began to read it. *
“I should thank you. After all, I owe the success of this plan to you and your continued survival. I’ve tried with others many, many times. Most were not powerful enough to contain such a power within their own head. And barely any could make it through this plane with their willpower intact. Being here destroys the very hope in you, your willingness to do anything. But finally, the power is here, where it belongs. A nexus of all the planes. I apologise in advance, because this will be a painful process.”

Suddenly Seven felt agonising pain in her head. Visions of thousands of places flashed before her eyes. In every single scene, there was one common element: the dead were rising from the ground. The pain built as even more places flashed in front of her. She felt like every single plane in existence was flashing before her eyes, often too quickly to comprehend them all. Then finally, the pain stopped. She felt like an energy was sent out from her head in all directions. Then there was a terrifying noise, as if a million demons were roaring all at once outside.

While all this happened, the other group were recovering from being dropped in a thick jungle. Oizo, Char, Silver and Ralan’daak decided to start moving, to find a landmark or settlement. The jungle was overgrown, denying the leaf-littered floor much sunlight. The group came to patches of mud, which Oizo discovered were not stable footing. A group of demonic frog-humanoids across the jungle took notice of the group, immediately making their way over. Large carnivorous plants also took the opportunity to attack the travelers. Eventually the denizens of the jungle were defeated and the group finally crossed the mud.

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They saw something unusual in that moment. Before their eyes appeared a familiar woman they had met before. Alicia Dalamar, reluctant inter-planar traveler stood before them, obviously shocked to see them as well.

a Alicia Dalamar “Wait, you’re real? This has never happened. EVER. I’ve been around for thousands of years, I was born in the year 2286 in the fourth age. I’ve been traveling the planes, stuck in this endless journey to find a way to restore Rosaline…I’ve met hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people. I’ve met the same person maybe twice, maybe even three times. And now I’ve met you twice in the same week!
WHAT ARE YOU?! WHO ARE YOU?!
* She slowly calmed down.*
Okay. This place looks like…the Abyss.
* She stopped for a moment and looked around herself*
If I had to guess, I’d say this is Abysm, the Screaming Jungle. The 90th layer of the Abyss. This place is incredibly dangerous. We need to be careful.”
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Session Thirty Six: The Rage of Shothragot
The group prevent a war from breaking out, but are eventually divided across the planes.

The party noticed a shadowy figure watching them as they went about the city. They stayed the night in Ghalem’Ka and woke up to find Trolol gone. He left them a note:

Dearest friends (and silver),
I have meditated on this for months. You must understand the decision I have made is for the good of not only the party but for people as a whole.
I have to leave. I am a danger to everyone. The fires of destruction that rage through my body are too much for the party to handle.
I know that losing a great leader such as myself will be of unparalleled detriment to the quest at hand. Don’t worry though I believe in you and think you’ll do great.
Please try to understand this is not goodbye. Just goodbye for now.
Your friend and former party member, Protector of the Fey, Arcana Expert and all around nice Eladrin,
Trolol Olol.
P.s. I’ve gone to live with the merpeople. I have named myself their ruler. Ciao..

Emperor Ralan’daak called the group to speak with him. He told them that political tensions between The Empire of Khosh and The Amrelnian Kingdom had heightened. He was to speak today to the King to alleviate his concerns. The group agreed to go with him and help negotiate. They got a message from Hanael telling them about a lead on Vecna. The party sent Rolan and Seven along with the Githyanki they had recruited a while ago to investigate it on the ruined plane of Pluton.
The King met with the Emperor and they exchanged words. The King was convinced that Khosh had been sending spies into his city and he had confessions from three of them. Becoming frustrated with their arguments, Char psionically teleported itself between the two rulers, ordering them to cease. This brought the situation to a new height of tension, but it was slowly defused as the group arranged to go and interrogate the spies themselves in the Emerald City, under heavy Amrelnian guard. Thanks to some trickery by Silver, they managed to get the information they needed. The spies had been sent by the Cult of the Elemental Eye underneath Ghalem’Ka in the drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu to disrupt the two nations and begin a war. The King and Emperor managed to make amends, agreeing to Oizo’s suggestion that it might be time they made an alliance.

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The group returned to Ghalem’Ka and were confronted by an enraged and rampaging Shothragot.
The avatar attempted to destroy them as revenge for them giving the gems over to Vecna and thus setting back his own plans. After a long battle, the group managed to weaken Shothragot, forcing him in desperation to open a portal and fling them through it to an unknown plane.
They found themselves lost with an ill Emperor Ralan’daak in a deadly jungle, stranded on an unknown plane of existence. Their ears filled with the terrible keening of a million wild animals as they began to search their surroundings.

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Session Thirty Five: Patricide
Seven assists Mordenkainen and confronts her father, Dominicus.

The group headed through the portal to Atlea, deciding to check up on Ghalem’Ka. They saw that nothing was amiss at first, then went to the palace. Emperor Ralan’daak was still bedridden, recovering very slowly from his incredible injuries. Ralan’daak seemed concerned that he might not have long to live.

A short time later, Mordenkainen spoke to Seven again inside her head. He told her that since her mind was a nexus and connected to everywhere at once, she might be able to use it to teleport (with some magical assistance). Trolol obliged and Mordenkainen described a place vividly to her so she could teleport there. It was successful and they appeared suddenly on a tower balcony overlooking a mountain. Mordenkainen asked them to go inside, where they would find a small scroll container amongst the rubble with his final unfinished work on it.
He asked Seven to dictate to Trolol so that they could complete his final work. He told them that this was his legacy and would preserve his lifetime of magical research. They completed the scroll and it disappeared in a flash of magical light. They returned to Ghalem’Ka.

After speaking with Seven extensively about her situation, Mordenkainen found out Vecna was involved and that he had been seen killing the Raven Queen in a vision. He suggested that perhaps Vecna planned to use Seven’s mind to cast a spell over the whole world at once, as it was connected to everything.
The group went to a temple of the Raven Queen to get another confirmation that Seven’s vision was correct and Priestess Aryllan told them they seemed to have lost contact with the Raven Queen. Back in the street, Seven’s father Dominicus arrived, claiming that he was there to take Seven back with him to Vecna. A fight erupted and Dominicus revealed that Seven was only one of many children he’d created in an effort to make them into weapons for Vecna.
After a difficult fight, Seven and the rest of the group managed to kill Dominicus. She took out his heart and they burned the body afterwards. She then took the heart to get protected by clerics so that Dominicus could not be raised from the dead.

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Meanwhile, in Malbolge, the sixth hell of Baator:
Silver expected for the call she received to be from Asmodeus as usual, but she found herself talking to a young woman instead. The young woman that stood before her had bat wings on her back and bright red hair. She was adorned with lots of expensive looking jewellery.

She snapped her fingers and the environment around Silver changed. She arrived in a beautiful garden bordered on all sides by pillars with struggling humans chained to them by their hands. The humans cried out in pain as their flesh on their arms and legs seems to be seared by a red runic mark. The garden featured an astonishing array of different flowers, trees and vibrant green grasses home to small wildlife vaguely reminiscent of squirrels. The garden would’ve been almost peaceful if it weren’t for the screaming of the people around it.

a Glasya “Silver. I am Glasya, Princess of Baator, the Nine Hells. Daughter to Asmodeus and heiress to all you see around you. Queen of the sixth, Malbolge. I have a proposition for you.”
She walked along a path lined with brimstone through the garden and beckoned for Silver to walk with her. She leaned down to one of the squirrel-like creatures and called it up to her arm. She stroked it down its back as she spoke.
a Glasya “I’m aware of your pact with father, he is very proud of those souls whom he has bound to his service. You no doubt know that we deal in souls. They are a source of power unparalleled in all the planes, but to accomplish anything…noteworthy, many, many of them are needed. My sources tell me that father has given you a ring, a powerful thing, that uses souls. I suspect he wanted to introduce to you what it feels like to manipulate them. But he holds back your potential. He fears you, as he fears all others with power. Even that ring has greater potential which he has yet to unlock for you. But I can. Father, for all his power, is getting old. Though he would never admit to it, his time as ruler of the Nine is coming to an end.”

She casted her hand over the little creature on her arm and it squealed a shrill sound as it burst into flame. Within mere seconds there was nothing left but charred remains, which fell to the ground and crumbled to dust.

a Glasya “If I unlock for you the ultimate potential of that ring, in exchange I would ask you for a favour. The power of that ring to manipulate souls is a function of its ability to store them. But it can only hold so many souls. I can make a small adjustment to it that would enable the surplus of souls to be directed here. Father could never know about such a thing, he would consider it a treason against him. But I know that you do not wish to be held back by his lack of ambition any further. What do you say? I can unlock the full potential of the ring for you and as a small repayment, the excess souls you cannot hold within it are directed to me.”

Silver accepted the offer and Glasya touched the ring, changing it.

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Session Thirty Four: God of Death
The group heads to Pandemonium and Seven has a disturbing vision.

Hanael asked the group to travel to Pandemonium, the former home plane of Tharizdun, to see if they could uncover anything useful. Hanael suggested that Char travel with them as his psionic powers may prove useful. He provided them with a scroll for travelling to Pandemonium and they used it to open a temporary portal.

Pandemonium:
As you arrive there is no light here. You can hear the dreadful howling of winds blasting their way through the tunnels. The winds give you shivers as they sound like the tortured screams of victims of some horrific unseen crime. You almost feel like the caverns around you are shifting and moving, contorting and twisting like great writhing worms. The constant winds chill you to the bone.

As they travelled through the endless tunnels, they saw ghastly figures that appeared as grey-skinned humanoids, but their skin looked like it stretched too thinly across their body. The creatures lurked just at the edge of Trolol’s light at all times. After a short time, they gathered the courage to attack the group.
The fight was quick and very dangerous. When the party members looked into the creatures’ black holes where eyes should be, they felt the strangehold of death attempt to overwhelm them. When the fight ended, everyone was left standing, though severely injured.

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Luckily, it was not long before they found an ancient temple to Tharizdun. The temple was a black two-stepped ziggurat with a massive pair of iron double doors.
Entering the building, they found the dead bodies of paladins of Pelor, obviously killed during a raid on the temple. Upon blood-stained altars, they found prayers to Tharizdun scrawled in Deep Speech.

One of the prayers they read:
May our offering to the end of all things be taken with open arms by the lost, the nameless one, the chained god, the black star, the undoer, he who is entropy, the dreamer in darkness, dread Tharizdun! We carry out your will: The very threads of existence must be torn asunder, then burned, then the ashes scattered, until all is nothing and no one exists to remember existence. We work to find the key that will shatter your prison!

Venturing further into the temple, the group found rows of destroyed pews for gatherings of cultists, until finally they found stairs leading down into a large hall.
In the hall sat a massive crystal ball in the centre of the room. The walls of the room were covered with rotted bookcases, their books all but destroyed.
Lying in an obsidian container at the foot of the crystal ball, they found a scroll entitled “The Revelations of Melech.”

On the scroll it said:
Beware. The contents of this work are dangerous. It catalogues the names of some of the stars.
I can write very little concerning these matters in the interest of safety.

Acamar, the corpse who devours all. A black star.
Caiphon, the treacherous guide. A purple star.
Delban, the winter’s eye. A white star.
Gibbeth, the horrific. A green star.
Hadar, the ebon hunger.
Ihbar, the eater of light.
Khirad, the portent of doom. A blue star.
Nihal, the writhing traveller. A red star.
Ulben, the deceiver. A blue-white star.
Zhudun, the dead prophet. A black star.

After reading the scroll, Char looked at the star mapped ceiling in alarm, as the stars appeared to open like eyelids, revealing thousands of peering eyes. A second take proved this untrue, and the ceiling appeared as normal. A second slip of paper fell from the scroll container, which read:

I have more information on the key. The gems we seek form a larger gem, which is the key itself. Even combining a few of the gems together could become a weapon of unimaginable power. We must keep our activities a complete secret, lest an army of paladins be raised to destroy us.

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As they retrieved the paper, they noticed that underneath it was a card with the word “ruin” written on it and a picture of two broken swords. After a few moments, Seven’s head began to hurt. The group could see a picture appearing in the crystal ball, while Seven saw a vision.

You see a great black hall made from obsidian, where a couple of dozen black-winged servants lie motionless. You can see a cloaked figure holding a staff out toward a beautiful dark-haired woman who looks pale, but almost human. The cloaked figure’s staff seems made from bone except for the top of it, which looks like a big black crystal with hints of red swirling beneath the surface.
The woman looks defiantly at him and says “You are strong to have eliminated my guards, very strong. Some of them even rival my strength. But this is the end. You cannot kill death.”
She swings her arms over her head and toward the cloaked figure, and hundreds of ravens seem to batter him down, but in a matter of seconds they begin to be pushed back by what looks to be a magical shield. He casts the mass of ravens back and from his staff shoots a sizzling red magical bolt. The woman throws her hand up to shield it, and from around her back comes a massive black wing which easily blocks the missile. She then launches both of her arms forward together and out of her hands come forth a torrent of spirits, which wail and moan “leave our queen be! The Raven rules you, as she rules all fates! Your winter has come!” The spirits slam into the figure, knocking it back several metres as it recoils.
The Raven Queen says: “Begone, creature! I am the balance of the planes. Nothing escapes their death!”
The cloaked figure throws off its hood, revealing a skull in place of a normal head, adorned with a black and gold headdress and crystalline earrings, along with an assortment of other jewellery and beads coming off the headdress.”Except a lich,” he says.
The woman gasps “Vecna!” and looks genuinely terrified.
The cloaked figure says menacingly “You may be death, but I am undeath. Your power cannot hold me at bay. Be destroyed, Queen of Ravens!” He lunges to stab with the end of his staff, which trails smoke as it makes contact with the woman’s stomach and black smoke begins to make its way out of her mouth.
“This…isn’t…possible! You never…. had the power… to come here…to face me…..” Screams the woman through the inky black smoke.
Vecna says triumphantly “I do now.”
The staff passes through her stomach and Vecna begins incanting something that you can’t hear clearly. After a few seconds the woman goes limp, then her body erupts into a plume of black smoke and feathers. The shockwave causes the walls of the great hall to shatter and in mere moments, Vecna is standing alone on a flat obsidian floor with a view of the valleys of the Shadowfell behind him. Vecna stands the staff on the ground and laughs, first quietly, but soon he is laughing maniacally as the sound of his evil voice echoes through the valleys.

Seeing this and thinking they had gathered all the information they could from the place, the group returned to Hestavar. When they arrived, Hanael told them that he had found a being called Itrius that fell from the sky the same way that Char did. Hanael suggested they confer to see what they could learn from each other. The group told Hanael about what they had seen, including the vision. He was horrified at the prospect of Vecna having killed the Raven Queen and immediately left find out from his contacts what had happened.
When Hanael was gone, Char walked over to Itrius and for a moment. Then Char put its hand on Itrius’ head and used psionic energy to sever the bond between the creature’s crystalline form of its mind. Itrius’ energy disappeared up into the skies of Hestavar, then out beyond into the Astral Sea.

A short time later, Hanael returned, panicked. He told the group that the Raven Queen’s servants had lost contact with her. Hanael’s normally stoic angel demeanour had transformed into an almost manic state. He accused the group of being responsible for all of this, but soon regained his control and apologised to them. He urged them to travel back to Atlea, the material plane as soon as possible. He told them that if Vecna had become the God of Death, it could mean dire things for their world.

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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.

a

a

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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.

a

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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