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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 1 — Two Quick Side Stops
~ sixth-day, 6th of Tarsakh, The Year of Rogue Dragons, afternoon
Middle City, Bral


Everyone returned back the way they came, past the Interlink Consortium to Grand Street. From here the group split. While most of them, with Martho and the prospective sailor recruit, returned downhill to the docks, Hakam and the three elves turned right and began to follow the main street as it curved around the Great Market.

   "The elves will not let you into their forest," said Belvin to the human among them.

   "I have no intent to follow you all the way to the forest," explained Hakam. "I am looking for another magistrate's office to report the incident at the pub."

   "They are not going to care about a pub brawl," said Belvin.

   "Nevertheless, it is my duty to report the matter."

   "Did we not pass such an office on the way here, further back on this street?" asked Solisar.

   "Yes, but if I am not mistaken, we entered another district of the city," Hakam replied. "Gamalon said that the Consortium was in Middle City. I strongly suspect that each district has its own magistrate's office. They will if they are civilized."

   Just then, a street bum approached them. Hideously ugly and malformed, the man smelled terrible and whined for alms. Hakam reached into his pouch and handed him a copper. "Two more copper pieces if you can show us the fastest way to the Elven Forest and the magistrate's office," he said, while scrunching his nose against the man's vile odor.

   "Ah, ' course I can help ye. Ren the Wretched knows the way 'round the Great Market better than anyone else. Are ye sure ye don't need any goods. If Bral has 'em, Ren the Wretched can find 'em for ye." He looked up at them expectantly.

   "At the moment, all we need is directions," said Solisar. "Perhaps tomorrow or after we may need help finding goods, and if we come across you at that time, we shall ask then."

   "I'll be sure to keep an eye out for ye." Ren the Wretched looked at the sun elf with his only functioning eye. "Ren the Wretched is here every day."

   "Lead on then," said Hakam.

   Ren the Wretched turned to lead them, walking on unbalanced legs. They gave him significant distance before following, so that they could take deep breaths again.

   They really did not need any guidance to find the forest. They never left Grand Street as it continued to follow along the outside border of the market, moving counterclockwise. It then turned sharply to the right. "Keep on up the road," said Ren the Wretched, "and ye'll pass the Festival Grounds. Then the Forest is on the left."

   The elves headed in that direction and Hakam continued walking around the outer edges of the market with their smelly guide.

~~~~

The elves indeed passed by something like a paved parkway with planted trees and bushes on their right, crossing first Low Park Street and then High Park Street. Then there was the forest, coming up the street on the starboard side. The underbrush was too thick to enter at first; they had to walk half a block until they reached an obvious opening.

   It only took several paces into the cover of the trees before they felt like they were in another world.

   The three elves saw ash trees, oaks, laurel, and birch, many looking hundreds of years old. The light had a silvery gleam to it.

   "Elven magic is at work here," Solisar noted. "These trees appear older than the Rock has been settled."

   "It is beautiful," said Leokas, "though only a shadow of my High Forest home."

   Silently, two armed elves, finely crafted mail in perfect condition, stepped out of the tree cover into the path. Whether they had been invisible or simply well-hidden and quiet was not clear.

   "Welcome, ebrath, to the Elven Forest."

   "Alae," said Solisar. "I am hoping that you can lead me to the Elven Fleet. I have been sent from the Isle of Evermeet on behalf of Admiral Icarus."

   The two elves looked at each other. "Too bold a statement to be a lie, I think," said the one guard. "Nevertheless, such a visit requires advanced notice and an appointment. One of us will deliver your message. Can you return on the morrow?"

   "I suspect that I may easily enough."

   "Then, we shall see you then."

   "In the meantime," said the second guard. "Please feel at home among the trees. All true members of Tel'Quessir are welcome here."

   The two warriors stepped aside and let the three visitors pass. Belvin, Leokas, and Solisar walked along the path for a ways, delighting in the peaceful sounds of birds and small animals and taking in the pleasant smells of blossoms and fallen leaves. (The forest seemed to show simultaneously signs of Spring and Autumn.) There was no evidence of any structures or habitations, simply wild forest and the narrow, soft path.

   When they reached a crossroads; they decided to turn and go back. Solisar looked forward to returning the next day, after finishing whatever inquiry they could into Szordrin's rod with Martho's aid.

~~~~

Hakam followed behind Ren the Wretched along the starboard side of the market, avoiding most of its crowd of sellers and buyers. He paused for a moment when he saw a sign that he actually recognized: "Gamalon's Curios". It was the curios shop of that old sage from Tethyr.

   He had to step more quickly to catch up, but it was not much further before Ren the Wretched stopped and pointed with his twisted arm. "Trader's Way. The magistrate's office is down that way on the left." He held his palm open until Hakam filled it with the promised two more coppers.

   The offices of the Middle Magistrate were a complex of connected buildings with simple architecture, one of which was clearly a jail house. It was well guarded by men in chainmail and carrying swords and crossbows. Hakam went in the door that did not enter the jailhouse.

   "May I help you?" asked a clerk at the sole desk in the room. Two other doors exited from the tiny entry room, and there was a bench for waiting as well. A single armed man stood guard.

   "Yes, I am here to report an incident that occurred about 30 minutes ago at the Port Hole, a tavern on the port side."

   "How many people are dead?" asked the clerk, dipping a quill in some ink and ready to record.

   "No one died," said Hakam, "thanks to the intervention of my team and me."

   "Were any fires started?"

   "None."

   "If no one died and there were not any fires, why are you bothering the magistrate? Do you not think that Lady Ketal has better things to do?"

   "Pardon me for my intrusion," said Hakam. "I would have thought that the matter would have been of interest to her. I am new to Bral and also wanted to know more about how law and order were maintained." He kept to himself how disappointed he currently was with how the "system" seemed to work.

   "Well, if she has not the time to investigate non-critical crimes, she surely does not have the time to explain our laws to an off-worlder, no offense. Now, is there anything else that I can do for you?"

   Just then, the door behind him opened and another member of the Magistrate's Watch entered. The two guards nodded, and one bid the other good evening, and the first guard exited the building.

   "No, that is all," said Hakam. "Thank you for your time." He turned to follow behind the guard whose shift must have just ended.

   The off-duty Watch member saw Hakam exit and motioned to him to come over. "The clerk's a clevershank," said the man, "yet completely unhelpful, but he is correct that the magistrate would not have given you any time. How new are you to the Rock?"

   "Just arrived perhaps five hours ago, from Toril." Hakam glanced up at the blue planet hanging in the black sky.

   "Never been," said the man. Then he nodded at the tiny silver balance around Hakam's neck. "You a priest of Tyr?"

   "In my home country of Calimshan, he is know as Anachtyr, but yes."

   "I attend Tyr's temple twice per tenday! You should give the local temple a visit. At least the Tyrrans care about justice on this otherwise gods-forsaken rock. So, you are curious about how the laws work around here? I can fill you in quickly, for what that is worth."

   "I would be most appreciative."

   "Well, first, there are not actually any official law books. The Prince owns the whole Rock, and all the rest of us are tenants, so, technically, his word is law. I know that must be unthinkable to a priest of Tyr, but I am just passing on the information."

   The man lowered his voice and leaned in closer to Hakam. "Now, sure, there are rather convincing rumors that he murdered his brother to inherit his father's throne, but as far as rulers go, he could be a lot worse, so it is not as bad as it sounds. There are three government councils, however, and they in part balance the prince's power and make a lot of the decisions.

   "As far as laws go, the prince has mandated that piracy and slavery are both illegal, but everyone knows that the prince himself is descended from pirates, so that mandate is usually only referenced if the prince has it out to get someone.

   "Treason against the crown and arson are the two most heinous crimes one can commit."

   "How does the legal process work?" asked Hakam.

   The man laughed. "There is a lot of self-regulation, if you know what I mean. Most shops hire their own guards. If you steal, you are likely to get your hand hacked off by a paid guard. However, if the crime is considered serious enough, something that a paid guard cannot handle or that affects the whole asteroid, it can be reported here at the office. If you can get by the lazy clerk, you can present your case to the magistrate or her representative, and they can send some of us, her Watch, to investigate or to arrest the accused. Lady Terissa Ketal handles and presides over cases in Middle City, acting as both judge and jury. If something is too big for her to handle, she can always move the case on up to the prince, but that is not likely to happen unless it is some direct threat against the throne."

   "What sort of punishments does she pass out?"

   "If you accidentally start a fire, you are looking at ten years hard labor on the Underside in the crop fields."

   "What about for other specific crimes?" asked Hakam.

   "Burglaries and common thefts that for whatever reason seem important enough to prosecute earn you one year on the Underside for the first offense and five years on the second or for armed robbery. On the third offense, you are likely to be jettisoned."

   "Jettisoned?"

   "It is the favorite way to execute someone on the Rock, because it is rather cost-effective. You simply launch the criminal from one of the catapults into wildspace. Hopefully, they all suffocate before the scavvers get them."

   "How commonly is this done?"

   "It is the usual sentence for things like piracy — again, in practice, only if the prince wants your head — arson or murder. If you accidentally kill someone — well, someone important — it is usually just five years on the Underside. Since smuggling has to do with the prince not getting tax money, it is pursued more than some lesser crimes, but the punishments are, once again, time on the Underside, along with confiscation of the goods. Basically, crimes are either labor on the bottom of the Rock or taking a ride into space without a 'jammer. I have seen a few cases of 'provocation' that resulted in a sentence of a month on the Underside, but that sort of small crime sentence is very rare.

   "I should note that the convicted who have a good amount of gold are likely to make pleas to 'pay fines' rather than serve time on the bottom. I think that you understand what I am really saying.

   "Oh, I almost forgot. The official punishment for treason is execution by impalement, and your limp body is hung in the Festival Grounds, but I have never seen that done.

   "Well, I am hungry and am going to head home to my wife and kids."

   "Thank you," said Hakam. "You were most helpful."
Session: 104th Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 18 2018 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Meeting Mother
I'm not sure why The Mother took the form of Yvor's mother to speak with us. Perhaps she is the most "motherly", perhaps she is the freshest in our memories, perhaps it was a capricious whim. But I am glad it was her. Or at least, I am desperately glad it wasn't mine.

Even so, the interaction left me feeling a little drained and overwhelmed despite the hearty breakfast and the well wishes. And also... we had been warned, multiple times, by a hearty variety of sources that our path would leave us much changed. And I had taken that to mean that our meeting with Her would change us. Certainly Padhraig was specifically told that he would likely regret gaining the permission to see Her.

But no, it all seemed so... normal? So honest and mundane. The moon I carry feels heavier because of what She did, but I myself don't feel heavier, or changed.

And now, standing back in the real world, I mostly feel like I am waiting for the second shoe to drop.
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Connor
Posted by the GM
The Arrival: Legacy
Session 38: Through the Fog
The session opened with the F.I.A sailing towards the Winter Court of the Queen of Air and Darkness with Lyndra and Miletia in tow. The F.I.A’s only problem, of course, was that none of them were expert sailors. After Thane recounted what he could of the various workings and tasks of his old Vallsan crew, the party gained the ability to pilot their pinnace in what could easily have been mistaken as a straight line. Their Kelkan Folding Boat proved to be more than up to the challenge of crossing the Peacewaters, a fey sea that has been bereft of most of its original inhabitants since the War of Exiles. This distinct lack of life gave the Peacewaters an aura of both haunting silence and ethereal beauty. With the ever-consistent color of the setting sun filling the sky, this journey was not unlike traversing through a watercolor painting.

The F.I.A took an interest in a set of ancient ruins early in their seafaring adventure, and decided to disembark their ship in order to explore them. Leaving Lyndra behind to protect their pinnace, both the F.I.A and Miletia swam ashore to one of the nearby islands. Upon solid land once more, the party discovered evidence of a long since departed fey society. The party deduced that this society once had a symbiotic relationship with nature, indicated by a series of decrepit structures made of a strangely porus purple stone that seemed to absorb the sea’s inherent magics. Thane inferred that the separate islands that made up this cluster were once connected by land bridges, the layout of which demonstrated an intricate understanding of both urban planning and architecture. Through a light rain, Miletia informed the party that elves have long held the belief that the Feywild, and especially their capital city of Londlind, was at the literal center of the universe. As many extraplanar travelers may impart, this belief has had a great impact on some elves’ sense of self-importance. Since the Arrival, of course, this assumption has been factually disputed. Despite the fact that the Prime Material has been confirmed to lie at the center of the cosmos, many elves have simply chosen to ignore this in favor of older wisdom.

Once Miletia finished her explanations, the party split up to explore the ruins. After choosing to fly around the archipelago in search of arcane resources, Zaric and Midzaynov stumbled upon a young halfling girl who was taking shelter from the rain in a crumbling tower. She introduced herself as Ep, and explained that she had hidden in a Janavian oasis in order to escape a sudden sandstorm that was destroying her village. In the process of hiding, she had apparently fallen through a Fey Crossing and ended up on this island. The adventurers agreed to escort her to a safe location, and left to reunite with the rest of the party. Back at the pinnace, Miletia expressed her anguish at the fact that another creature had turned up in the Peacewaters without her knowledge. It was Miletia’s eternal duty to tend to the waters and guide lost souls to safe locations, but she was struggling to accomplish that goal on her own. Apparently, her pleas to the fey queens had gone unanswered, and her ship had been recently taken from her by pirates. It appeared that the Peacewaters, a region that refused to take sides in the War of Exiles, was still a sore spot for the fey queens despite the fact that the ancient war ended thousands of years ago.

About one week after finding Ep (time can be difficult to distinguish in the Feywild, seeing as the sky is permanently set in the shades of a glorious, ever-shifting sunset), the party’s boat made an unsettling lurch. A creature of comically large proportions had apparently just made contact with the bottom of their boat, shifting its occupants to and fro. Luckily, the creature was merely a mischievous whale who wanted to see what kind of large fish could swim above the water as quickly as their pinnace did. Zaric cast charm monster on the beast, and the two conspired in some light whale shenanigans.

A few days after bading their whale friend goodbye, the party passed by a series of coastal mountains on the starboard side of their boat. This prompted Lyndra to inform the group that they had just passed from the Peacewaters into the Ocean of Stars. Almost immediately after entering this new body of water, a thick fog began to roll across the deck of the party’s ship. Despite their best attempts to navigate in the visually-impairing terrain, the party soon found themselves off track. While the party was getting lost, another entity found them. A ship - larger and more menacing than any the party had seen before - suddenly materialized from within the fog, accompanied by the shrill laughter of dozens and dozens of goblinoid creatures. After a brief round of leading questions by the galleon’s hobgoblin captain, Thane unleashed a lightning bolt from the stern of their ship, catching them off guard! The party was suddenly facing down a crew of at least fifty goblinoid pirates at once, and lept into action!

Between the chaos of cackling goblin pirates and the order of strategically-minded hobgoblin officers, the fight was a maelstrom in itself. Wykeera’s casting of water walk allowed the party to sprint between the two ships and board the goblinoids’ galleon, who responded by shooting huge harpoons into the party’s pinnace! Thane strafed around in the air with the aid of his fly spell, launching eldritch blasts and a storm sphere that tore through the entirety of the enemy’s ship. Wykeera spent most of the battle defending against the goblins who had made their way onto the party’s vessel. Zaric cleverly used his wall of light spell to blind the enemy while keeping a safe distance by staying underwater. Midzaynov made quick work of the hobgoblin bosun, who cast a sleet storm on the party’s ship, almost destroying it with one incantation! Thane’s storm sphere was the star of the battle, destroying dozens of goblins by the time the dust settled. Zari’s divinity-infused spiritual weapon combined with Midzaynov’s martial experience fighting against pirates proved to be too much for the swashbuckling hobgoblin captain, and he fell to a mighty blow from the dragonborn’s Instrument of Mercy. With their captain defeated, the remaining goblins laid their weapons down. The F.I.A was victorious!

The party spent the next hour searching the goblin ship and tending to their wounds. They found a stash of electrum coins, the hobgoblin captain's journal, and gallons upon gallons of flammable oil. Midzaynov spent some time carefully placing oil around the enemy ship, lit a match, and let it burn. The Festering Wound, the goblinoid ship, had been disabled! Sifting through Captain Boneslicer’s journal, the party found several references to the Stalking Eye - the apparent name of the pirate cabal that the late captain once belonged to. Back on the party’s ship, Zaric swam through a hole that had been blown in the side of their ship’s hull and noticed that Miletia was missing from belowdecks! When the party questioned Ep, she told them that it appeared that one of the goblins had charmed Miletia, who then cast a spell to teleport them away during the fighting. With the aid of their new goblin captives, the F.I.A managed to repair the damage that had been done to their ship during the battle. With a new heading from Lyndra, the party set sail for a daring rescue mission at the heart of the Stalking Eye’s base of operations: Shipwreck Cove!
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Connor
Posted by the GM
The Arrival: Legacy
Session 37: Aquatic Climes and Sick Rhymes
The session opened with Midzaynov regaling the myconids of Penumbra Grove with her original song, Mushroom Pie. The song recounted the exploits of the F.I.A in shaming Grusktooth the cyclops, just as Bulon had requested. During her performance, innumerable spores were shot into the air from the excited mushroom folk, resulting in a hallucinatory, transcendental, and mind-bending entertainment experience that exceeded the raw psychedelic high of even the most expensive of designer drugs. With Bulon’s blessing, the F.I.A left Penumbra Grove with a guide who would aid them in leaving the Feydark - an unusually aggressive myconid named Jant. A few hours into their journey through twisting, labyrinthine caverns, the party came across an elven outpost. After a tense negotiation helmed by Zaric, the party was allowed entry into the elves’ temporary base camp. Inside, they met a very earnest elf named Finwe who explained he was part of an organization dedicated to researching and documenting flora and fauna across all corners of the multiverse called Elebrin. The party learned about the elf capital Londolind, the fact that the majority of elves believe that the Feywild is the literal center of the multiverse (despite more recent factual evidence to the contrary: i.e the Material Plane), and about the Starblades, an elven faction that appears to be some kind of policing force in the Feywild.

Leaving the relative safety of the outpost behind, the F.I.A continued their journey to leave the Feydark on their way to the Queen of Air and Darkness. Using stealth, the party avoided the attention of house-sized beetles and other colossal chitinous creatures that scuttled across the cavern’s walls. Coming across a narrow tunnel covered in white webs, the party fought a group of spiders that phased in and out of the Feywild to attack their prey! The F.I.A quickly turned the tables on these arachnids, however, and the battle was won. After squeezing through the rest of the tight cavern, the party suddenly came face to face with a wall of water. Looking within it, the party saw impossibly-shaped fish, seaweed, and even sand. The party realized suddenly that the “Peacewaters” that they were seeking was a fey ocean that overlapped the Great Expanse in the Feywild! Their journey complete, Jant bid them adieu, and stomped into the darkness.

Lyndra informed the party that they were looking for an individual known as the Keeper of the Peacewaters, and that this individual would guide them to the Winter Queen. After a quick casting of water breathing by Wykeera, the party began to swim close to the ocean floor in order to make navigation to this being easier. The F.I.A used currents to keep traversal as seamless as possible, and eventually came across towering coral reefs. Behind one such section of coral, a standoff between seelie and unseelie fey was unfolding. Lyndra explained that because it was forbidden to shed blood in the Feywild, their battle was unfolding on a scale of lyrical wit. Taking the side of the unseelie fey, the F.I.A entered into a rap battle with a seelie fey lord named Brycherion. Utilizing a disturbingly high quantity of “your mom” jokes, the party was victorious. Ever the sore loser, Brycherion sicced his nautical elephants on the party and fled. Luckily, Midzaynov used her inherent draconic abilities to strike fear into the ambiphants for long enough to allow everyone to escape to a nearby reef. Inside, the angler-headed unseelie fey that the party aided introduced them to Nenya, a young archfey of the unseelie court, who helped the F.I.A’s spellcasters alter their “known” spells.

After bidding the archfey farewell, the F.I.A continued their journey towards the Keeper of the Peacewaters. While the rest of the party swam, Zaric used his hex-teleport to avoid any exertion whatsoever. Three hours later, the party came upon the first signs of an island. The F.I.A surfaced quickly using Wykeera’s wildshape, and found a dilapidated stone temple sitting on a relatively small archipelago. Inside this temple was a woman with seaweed hair, bark skin, and glowing blue eyes. Although her appearance had changed, Wykeera immediately recognized the Keeper of the Peacewaters as none other than Miletia, the druid that the party had met in the Garden of Deliverance who had been killed by Xeridal over a year ago! Lyndra explained that Miletia had been the keeper of the Peacewaters for about a century. When the party brought up the incongruent timeline, the fey reminded them that time in the Feywild flows much differently than it does in the Material Plane. Addressing Miletia’s apparent demise, Lyndra explained that she and other powerful fey entities had contacted Miletia’s soul and asked if she would like to return to life, albiet with a new purpose. Faced with the opportunity to protect natural landscapes once more, Miletia accepted the fey’s offer. Lyndra’s group had also tried to revive Fia, but their attempt to raise the dead had failed.

Miletia informed the party that she would love to escort them to the Queen of Air and Darkness, but her boat had been stolen by pirates. In response to this, Midzaynov produced her Kelkan Folding Boat! The party boarded with Miletia and Lyndra in tow, Thane set the wind to the correct course, and the party set sail towards the domain of the Queen of Air and Darkness …
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