World Of Tiers

Ananias and Estela

Ananias’ Arcane Dictation – Entry 201
Location: somewhere in the middle of a sticky walled Terask Lung

What a strange place we have found. Sticky and clothed in a putrid mist, a mixture of living flesh and living death, these walls the very innards of a great creature, imbued with an arcane essence as old and powerful as the world’s creation. What a strange journey this has been. We dare not linger here long, but I take this moment…

Of Estela, our link continues to persist. The blood bond we’ve come to call it. We have grown in our protection of each other. It is a friendship of continual pain and healing, of blessing and curse. I have gained a true friend in this. Afterall, she has saved my life multiple times. However, we have agreed that it is time to pursue to completion the mystery of our connection. Our companions have mocked us for not taking the shaman up on his offer, but as our intuition made known, the twistedness of the cursed Drow lay behind that mask. Peror was watching I believe. Profuse mediation I have given to understanding his claim that I am no older than our first meeting, and I fear if I should believe it at all. Still, though I have no memory of my own origins, my strange but faithful brothers and sister her have given me family enough for peace. Therefore, as strange as this mystical peninsula of Teraskian civilization may be I wonder if we might find an answer, an intimation to affecting this mystery and perhaps encompass a conclusion to the cyclical curse of our shared pain. For now I know the blessing of the test of friendship. Yes, that will endure.

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CHAPTER TWO
From the Biography of Mokill Deathbringer

As related to Dentali the Scribe.

CHAPTER TWO

Mokill, already treated as a hero even in these early days, had grown somewhat tired of all the partying and revelry during the time of night. Since his group had activated the city shield, he had basically become a celebrity. Strangers bought him drinks at every turn. Thankfully, Goliaths can out drink all but the most determined dwarf, so this had been a welcome diversion…for a while. Leisure is all well and fine, but Mokill’s axe yearned for the rush of battle.

Luckily, Darius Argent had need of them once again. A remote village had not lit it’s signal fire, and an imperial patrol led by his brother David had been dispatched to investigate. After many days, they had not returned, and the signal fire remained unlit. An elite fighting unit (Mokill’s party, of course) was needed, so they made their preparations in haste, and set out at once to ascertain not only the whereabouts of the patrol, but to light the fire of protection for the sleepy little town in distress.

Outside the city’s shield, they were quickly attacked by various denizens of the Shadowfell come to lay waste to the land of the living, but this proved to be only a momentary setback. Mokill’s party is the best of the best, and they were more than a match for the evil party that stood between them and their destination. Once they dispatched the various were-creatures and undead, they were able to finally find the village of Turtledove Meadow.

The guards on the outskirts of town directed them to the mayor (the village had an odd name for “mayor”, but neither Mokill nor his companions were able to remember it when interviewed), who was in his office in the middle of town. As they made their way through the streets, the frightened townsfolk could only be seen in glimpses through half-closed windows. A child rushed out to meet them, but was snatched into the air by an unseen hand, and the wailing of it’s mother was the only sound they could hear. The door to the child’s house had swiftly closed and locked, and no answer came from within. The party continued, unsettled by the scene.

The mayor turned out to be quite odd, and only after he dismissed the party with a curt “We’re fine here”, did Erdan Grimstep fill the rest of the group in. The mayor was likely already dead, and being controlled by an invisible spider hanging in the corner of the room. Plans were made to dispatch the beast, but Mokill and Maveith BoneGrinder decided to ignore the mayor and climb the tower attached to the office, for that is where the signal fire was located. Maveith slipped, but Mokill climbed the 40 ft. tower as fast as he could.

By the time the battle started below, Mokill was already halfway up the tower. This tower was barely an anthill compared to the mountains he scaled every day in his youth, and a few moments was all it took for him to reach the summit. As he pulled himself up to the small platform, he was met with an entire swarm of spiders pouring out of the unlit signal fire dais. While his friends were dealing with a single spider below, Mokill swung his axe again and again through the swarm, until all that was left was a sticky, bloody mess. He took a few poisonous bites, but he barely noticed. The destruction of his enemies was once again before him, and he grinned through the pain.

After all of the arachnids (above and below) were dealt with, the signal fire was lit. A wretched “nooooooooo….” was heard from all directions. The wizard Ananias cast a light spell, and thousands of spiders were seen in the shades of darkness above. Things did not look good for our party.

Upon descending the tower, the group decided to investigate once again the house of the abducted child. Maveith and Travok foolishly decided that running would be a good idea, and they were immediately snatched up in the same fashion. Without a method of retrieving them, the party continued, but there was still no one home. Another house was inquired at, and they learned that the spiders arrived as the time of night began, and that many villagers had been abducted in the same manner. It was stated that maybe the priest could help, so the party headed there next.

The priest showed them an even more unsettling site. At the edge of the city, giant spider legs (many more than eight) could be seen rising up to the darkness, and completely engulfing the entire village. There was one other bit of information that proved useful, however. The name of Morgoliant, the King of the Spiders. The party knew that this was the enemy of the dragon/abomination they had dealt with outside Winterhaven a few months before. (For the full story, see the various tomes dedicated to the legend of Slargag and the Fall of Winterhaven.)

The party knew now what must be done. The remaining members, along with the priest, climbed the tower once again, and Erdan addressed Morgoliant directly. The spider king killed the priest in an attempt to speak through his dead body. This sickened and angered Mokill, for the priest had been brave and selfless, both noble traits. To be treated thusly was a tragedy, and Mokill did not intend for this spider king to get off easily.

However, this Morgoliant was obviously very powerful. Erdan manged to strike a deal with him – the village for information about Slargag’s weaknesses and “the thing she holds most dear”. Their associates were released from their captivity (still alive but poisoned and paralyzed), but the rest of the villagers were already dead. The rage within Mokill grew even more fierce. But what he could not see, he could not fight. This realization did nothing to calm him, and he gripped his axe even tighter in fury as Erdan negotiated with the monstrosity.

Information about Slargag’s whereabouts (Winterhaven), her weakness (the circle of runes by the waterfall), and the thing she holds most dear (her egg) were given to the beast, and he released his grip on the town. The signal fire was put out for a moment to allow him and his spawn to leave, then re-lit to keep him out. The village was saved, but at a heavy price. The body of David Argent was found amongst the dead, and the party started their grim journey back to the city of Idoras to collect their reward.

There would be no carousing this long evening.

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The Time of Night

Night and the City of Idoras

The time of night is actually quite pleasant once the shield is up (thanks to you). Each year around this time the city shuts down except for essential services. Colored lights and pyrotechnics provided by mage/sage students at the university of Idoras fill the dark sky. Colored fires and lights make the city almost as bright as daytime.

A popular pastime is party-hopping, with groups of people going from home to home and tavern to tavern and drinking and eating heartily. All one has to do is prepare a feast and hang an amber-colored light in the window and his home will be filled with friendly people eating and drinking, playing music, and playing games. It’s understood by the local thieves’ guild that, unless permitted by special dispensation (which is rare) no thievery is allowed during this time. Anyone breaking this rule is dealt with quickly and brutally, usually ending up on the garbage heap outside of town and his victim overcompensated for his loss.

You are participating in this revelry, enjoying your status as guest of honor at many of the parties you attend. Both common people and wealthy people invite you to their feasts. It is during this time that you complete any in-between adventure tasks you wish to accomplish.

A Summons…

Towards the end of the time of night, a very short time before the two days when the sun “rises” from behind the Markavand (the central column of the World of Tiers), known as the time of dawn, you are again summoned to the office of Darius Argent.

He greets you at the door. It seems obvious that he’s worried.

“Thank you for coming on short notice,” he states distractedly.

“My brother, David, is a lieutenant with the imperial patrol. They’re a very elite bunch, the imperial patrol, but still, my brother is the baby of the family and…I guess I’m worried.”

His hand reaches up to his face and he rubs his eyes with his thumb and third finger. “I’m making no sense…let me explain.”

“Apparently, an outlying township that is beyond the border of our protective shielding during the time of night, didn’t light their signal fire when the time of night fell. The signal fire causes the shield which protects our city to be extended over the township. As dictated by procedure, when it was discovered that the signal fire wasn’t lit, a patrol was sent out in the time of night over to the township to investigate. If everything were fine, they were supposed to light the signal fire. However, the signal fire wasn’t lit, and I’ve had…WE’VE had no word from the patrol.”

“I can’t send out any more patrols, the men are not…trained…to deal with what’s out there right now. Even though dawn is rising, there are still…things…out there…stragglers I guess you’d call them.

“Please investigate for me, it would break our father’s heart if his…if he were lost to us,” he corrects himself.

“The township is called Turtledove Meadow. It lies just several miles outside of town.”

“Please take whatever supplies you need at no charge. If you return with him alive, or at least with a resurrect-able corpse, you will be allowed access to an Argent family treasury for the magic item of your choice. If you return with just his signet ring, I will give you 100 gold pieces each from my personal accounts and I will owe you each a boon, a debt of honor that I will repay when you demand it.”

He turns to face the one window in his office.

“Please return with him. I…I cannot say how dire the consequences will be for my family if you don’t.”

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Sleep Fighting
Maveith's Weird Day

Something weird is going on here. Last thing I remember we were all going to try to find the missing person and save the world (again). Next thing I know, I’m back here and everyone is talking about stone warriors, breaking into places and Mokill wanting to eat someone. (scratching and shaking head in confusion) I think a wizard must have hit me with some kind of dark magic or something. I’ve got bruises and I can tell I was part of the fight, but I don’t remember a thing. It’s like I was being controlled by something…or someone…and I’m not sure I like that idea much. You’d have to be a Goliath to understand what we’re capable of and…wait a second. That Mokill better not have something to do with this. Oh, well. I guess it went well enough to survive it.

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Erdan: an intrepid trespass
breaking into the house of the Imperial Representative

Our mysterious invitation turned out to be from another Argent. Apparently this family is pretty well connected. Our guy’s name was Darius, the older brother and captain of guard. Seems he wanted to be discrete about contacting us. Afraid of getting his hands dirty, well, or at least having them look dirty. I know how these officers of law usually work.

It turns out that we have to break into some construct’s house and flip a few switches or else the world’s going end. Oh yeah, and the Imperials will give us the axe if they find out we’re doing it. Some world to save.

The Representative’s house is in one of the swankier parts of town, though there isn’t much of a night scene. Apparently Darius has arranged for the watch to be light while we do our work. I’m wondering if that’s a deal he pulls often.

We made our way up to the main gate, but there wasn’t not much to see. The guy practically had a forest for a front yard. The fey folk got busy debating the finer points of espionage. Me though, I had a job to do and I decided to case the rest of the place.

I found a servant’s entrance on the east side but it didn’t help all that much, so I decided to jump the wall. Turns out that wasn’t my best choice. Three or four thugs spotted me as soon as I hit on top. The guys were amateurs though, pretty ragged looking too. I almost felt bad about it. They probably hadn’t expected to die when they left home that night.

The rest of the group engaged about that time. Seems there was another set of thugs at the main entrance also. I could hear Quarion beating the shakka out of the front gate. Not sure what was up with that, maybe some sort of diversion. The fight didn’t last too long and when it was over we gathered that they were just a bunch of hired thugs working for some ankle-biter rogue. He was the only one not dead at that point. He claimed he was just interested in the silverware. I figured he might be handy point man, if properly persuaded.

I buttered him up some, while that Mokill kid pretended he was gonna eat him. The old good watch, bad watch bit. I have to say, Mokill is quite the actor for such a big slunk of stone, he almost had me convinced he was gonna eat him. After that the little guy warmed up quick to our proposal. We leashed him up and pushed him through the front door, but as soon as he was out of sight, the rope went slack and he was gone. Oh well, two great ideas for the night.

Quarion slipped into the entry after right him and bolts started flying. Some sort of automated sentry. Quarion seemed to be taking care of himself. In fact, he seemed downright giddy about it. The half-elf dame suggested we try the servant’s entry and I followed her back to the east side of the house.

The door was locked and solid. I put all my weight into it and it didn’t budge. Hurt too. By that time, some of the others had come through and they let us in. Yeah, not my best night.

There wasn’t much to see on the bottom floor when I came in. We’d got the halfling back. Yay. Once again there was some debate. I guess the fey are good at that. I watched the old grandfather clock in the hall for a few ticks and then I headed up the stairs.

We were finally in the tower proper. The place had a different vibe. My guess is that the downstairs was mostly for us flesh-and-bone types. While this upstairs was more what a construct would call “home”. We found a sort of large apparatus attached to a desk; like a mechanical arm. For a moment, I thought it was the remains of our missing friend, but the one of the others recognized it as a writing apparatus. Probably for sending messages over long distance. We found an odd note there too, something about adding up numbers. My gut says that it has something to do with the disappearance. Just don’t know what yet.

There was another door and a couple of statues next it. I think Ananias did something and these statues started shifting around and talking. Yeah, it figures that Ananias would be the one to spark a debate with a cruft of rock. They spoke in riddles. Blah, blah, blah. Every time we answered they moved around, and eventually the door was clear. Not much of a security system. If I were that construct, I’d want my money back.

We went up another flight stairs. Same sort of setup; so I marched right up to the stone guards expecting a few more riddles. Once again, not my night. The fours stonies came at us almost immediately. And there ain’t much that hurts like slate fist to the jaw. We took’em down, but it hurt and boy did I ever need a drink.

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CHAPTER ONE

From the Biography of Mokill Deathbringer

FOREWARD:

My name is Dentali the scribe, and I have been tasked with chronicling the adventures of the Goliath Barbarian known as Mokill Deathbringer. Some of these stories were told to me directly from Mokill himself, but as he rarely speaks in complete sentences, much more has come from interviewing his companions and from my own research. Everything in this biography is true, to the best of my knowledge.

PROLOGUE:

The legend of “Slargag and the Fall of Winterhaven” has been covered by many previous publications, so we will not tell the entire story here. It is enough to remember Mokill’s involvement in the retrieving of Slargag’s egg, and the destruction of the death cult in the area. The real story, the story which the readers of this tome surely wish to hear, is that of the Spire of Idoras. This is where we will join our intrepid hero.

CHAPTER ONE:

The story begins on Thirdday during Early Watch. Mokill and his companions have been summoned to the city guard station by Darius Argent, the captain of the guard. Argent explained that the Imperial Representative has been missing for some time, and with the 30 days of darkness fast approaching, may spell the end of the city unless certain precautions are taken. Since the representative is the only one who can activate the barrier at the top of the spire (the core of the city’s defenses), his absence is cause for great alarm.

Mokill and company have been tasked with activating the barrier, though they may have to break into the representative’s house to do so. The company agreed, and that night, found themselves outside the representative’s deserted abode.

Ananias, a rather stange eladrin, snuck into the complex to scout the area. Multiple bandits were spotted, but he deftly remained hidden. Erdan then tried to go over a side wall, and was spotted. The alarm was sounded and stealth was abandoned, so Mokill leapt over the wall and immediately started dispatching the evil bandits. There were many more than Ananias had spotted, but Mokill’s great axe cut through them like ribbon, and their blood flowed like wine into the grass around them. While some of the elves hid in the safety of the trees, Mokill plowed through the enemy ranks until none were left standing.

As his party gathered around the sole survivor (a small halfling), Mokill’s mouth began to water. A few years ago, someone told Mokill that halflings were “magically delicious”, and no amount of argument has managed to convince him otherwise. He feels compelled to test out this myth by actually eating a halfling, but they have so far outsmarted him. Here was one bound and close to death before him, so the temptation was great. His companions wished to make use of him to get them past the tower’s defenses, however, so he (barely) managed to contain his hunger.

The halfling turned out to be un-trustworthy, and soon abandoned the party. While Quarion foolishly followed the halfling in through the front door (and right into a crossbow trap), Mokill simply broke through the window and walked right into the mansion. They recaptured the halfling and searched the first floor. Nothing of consequence was found.

On the second floor, they encountered some magic armor guarding a door and some weird one-armed writing contruct. There were puzzles and riddles, but Mokill did not pay them heed. He had little patience for such tricks, and only stood there absentmindedly rubbing the fur of his armor, waiting for someone to point to something and yell “Kill!”. He would then spring into action! The puzzles were solved and they continued up the tower. However, the third level seemed to be more of the same. More suits of armor, and some potions on a table. This time, the armor attacked Erdan! Killing time at last! Several of Mokill’s party were slightly injured during this attack, but the armor was soon defeated. Ananias gathered up the potions, and they continued up the stairs to the next level…

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Status of Characters

Used Daily Powers— Christopher—Steel Unity Michael—Hard Whispers

Action Points

Jonathan has 2 action points…everyone else has one.

Healing Surges Christopher—8 remaining Vance—8 Jonathan—8 Michael—7 Rebbecca—6 Rob—8

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Adventure Hook Part Two

The man who introduced himself as Darius Argent stands before you, smiling warmly.

“Please! Come sit by the fire and warm yourselves. I have thornberry tea and hot kaff to take the chill off.”

After a low level guard brings some carafes and cups, Darius speaks again.

“I am an older son of the Argent Family. My profession is the guard captain of the noble quarter.”

He stops, seemingly expecting the importance of his rank to settle into your minds.

“You’ve probably heard the rumors about the Imperial Representative’s absence…They are, unfortunately, true.”

“The Imperial Representative is, as you may know, not a man in the traditional sense, but a suit of armor inhabited by a life force of some kind. I have personally found him to be a humorous fellow and a bright conversationalist…a pleasure to be around, although his appearance does cause some…discomfort among those who see him for the first time”.

“At any rate, besides making the Emperor’s will known, his main function is to activate the barrier of protection that covers Idoras.”

“As you know, the time of 30 days of darkness is coming within the week and we must prepare to repel any raids or infestations from the underdark during this time. The barrier makes this much much easier by protecting us against the more powerful of these forces.”

“However, without the Imperial Representative here to activate this barrier, this makes defending the city from being overrun by evil much more problematic…I daresay impossible!”

“In order to activate the barrier, you must reach the top of the city spire where the barrier lies. Normally, you’d have to climb each of the 100 floors of the spire, each floor more dangerous than the last. However, the Imperial Representative’s home contains a short cut to the top of the spire. Therefore, in the interests of time, I prefer you take this route rather than the more direct one.”

“While you activate the barrier, the more able and experienced warriors of the city will stave off the vanguard of any underdark invasions.”

“Your adventuring company will be paid 1000 gold pieces in total for this endeavor.”

Darius Argent leans back in his chair and sips carefully from his steaming cup. He looks at you expectantly.

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Adventure Hook Part One

You’ve been taking it easy for a few days, using your newly acquired wealth to enjoy some of the finer distractions the city of Idoras has to offer, as well as a little shopping.

After a particularly long night of “celebrating”, you wake up late the next day to an insistent knocking on the door of your luxurious suite of rooms.

“What is it?” you ask, irritated, holding your head with both hands, lest it explode.

“M-message for you,” answers a young, high voice.

“Ugh,” you stumble to the door, loosely pulling on some clothing to cover yourself. You crack it open and look down to see a young blond boy dressed in shabby clothing holding up a sealed letter in one hand. You take the proffered letter and dig in your pockets for some loose copper. You hand over a few copper pieces to the lad and toussle his hair. He bites down on one, testing it, offers a salute, and runs away down the hall.

Looking at the letter, it’s a folded and sealed piece of fine parchment. You look at the seal of red wax and note that the signet consists of an ornate carving of the letter “A”.

You break the seal and read the letter, clearing the sleep from your eyes first:

To Whom It May Concern,

You were recommended to me by a mutual acquaintance, a member of the temple of Bahamut. I believe you’d remember who, if you think about it.

I have a problem with which I require some assistance. This problem requires attention from someone with your particular talents. I assure you that this is not a request of a nefarious nature, but one that involves some simple investigation and perhaps some aid to an individual or individuals deserving of such.

Please meet me on Thirdday at 15 minutes past the beginning of Early Watch at the city guard station located at 15 Bridge Street.

—An Interested Patron

After bringing this to the members of your company, you find that they have all received copies of the same letter. You discuss the letter with your fellow company members and determine that:

1. The letter was written by someone who is familiar/friendly enough with Doria Argent (the “member of the Temple of Bahamut” mentioned in the letter) that she recommended your services to them.

2. The letter was written by someone who wants to remain anonymous.

3. The letter was written by someone who has connections to the city guard and/or is a member of the city guard.

Scouting out the area early, you see that 15 Bridge Street is indeed a city guard station. After some observation, you can detect no individuals of note entering or leaving the building, other than various ranks of city guards.

At the appointed time, you go to the guard station and knock on the door discreetly. The door opens and you and your compatriots are beckoned in.

You find yourself facing a pleasant looking middle-aged man with graying hair at his temples. He greets you with a warm smile and a handshake using both hands. As he shakes your hand, you notice a signet ring on it, at first glance it seems to be the same “A” seal as the one on the letter you received.

“Welcome, good people,” he states pleasantly. “My name is Darius Argent.”

END OF PART ONE

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Conclusion of Adventure

The stalwart crew sallied forth into the cave of the death cult and wiped them out. They were able to retrieve a chest of gold with some magic armor. They were also able to retrieve Slargag’s egg.

The cave began to collapse on them as they grabbed the egg, but they managed to escape with their lives (obviously they forgot about the first 10 minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark that I ripped it off from).

Slargag was waiting outside (in human form) and opened her arms to receive the egg. The adventurers handed it over toot-sweet and Slargag granted them the boon of keeping their worthless lives. All the while the sage looked upon the scene, hidden in the bushes.

Slargag casually mentioned that she had changed her mind and destroyed Winterhaven, as she felt that if she didn’t, her enemies (Morgoliant, Sildurian, Vermithrax Rex, Slagithor, and Nargauzius) would think she was “going soft”. The sage later said that he knows that Sildurian is the King of the Silver Dragons.

She reluctantly agreed that, if the adventurers ever passed through her territory again, that she would “try very hard not to see them”, but that they should get out and never return.

The sage did some research at the University at Idoras, a subsidiary of the mages guild. He speculates that Slargag is an Abomination that thinks it is a Red Dragon, or is deliberately disguising itself as a Red Dragon. Abominations are living weapons that were created during the ancient cosmic war between the gods and the primordials.

You turned your quest to the acolyte who gave it to you. She took credit for the elimination of the death cult and was promoted to priestess of Bahamut.

Her name is Doria Argent. She is the youngest daughter of a prominent family in Idoras (the Argent Family). Currently that’s all you know about her.

ALL PLAYER CHARACTERS GAINED ENOUGH EXPERIENCE TO ADVANCE TO LEVEL 2. That is, you should have 1001 total xp.

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