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Pointer-left Investigator__male_2_thumb
Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 1 — Treat for the Trash Monster
"We need to pass through your sewer drain," said Hakam. "If you let us through, I will stop my spell."

   "Or," said the monster, "I eat you; that also stop spell."

   Hakam calmed the winds, and the water flowed back, covering the creature, but it kept its tentacles out of the water. They noticed that only two of its three tentacles had the thorny growths; the other, shorter one had a column of two eyeballs, with which it observed each of them. When it seemed convinced that the wind was stopped, the tentacles moved forward and half of its body emerged from the water until they could see its ridiculously wide mouth again.

   "What do you need to let us through?" asked Hakam, assuming that its ears — or whatever it used for hearing — were also above the water.

   "More food," said the bizarre beast.

   "How about him?" said Szordrin, motioning toward Martho.

   The eyeball-containing tentacle focused on Martho.

   "What? No!" Martho protested.

   Hakkam chided Szordrin for this comment. "He is only joking, Martho. Pay him no heed."

   "Living food not tasty," said the monster. "Too clean!"

   "Hakam, you should create some of that delicious juice with your magic!" said Szordrin.

   Hakam seemed to understand Szordrin's bluff. "I shall do that." He pointed his finger in front of the monster. "Anachtyr, grant thine water to quench this creature's thirst."

   Gallons of pure water flowed out of nothing a foot above the murky pool and poured into it just in front of the creature. It dunked one of its longer tentacles into the water, and then rocked back and forth in anger.

   "Now pool taste worse! You made my water cleaner!"

   "But it has a terrific aftertaste," said Szordrin, "Just wait five minutes."

   "I wait," said the monster, who seemed to believe the lies that Szordrin was telling it wholesale until its own senses told it otherwise.

   Martho went up to Hakam and whispered, "I do not think that it fancies the same kinds of food that we do; it swims in sewage after all!"

   "We bought ourselves sometime for the others to arrive at least," said Hakam.

   "How do you know they are not dead?"

   "For all their faults, they have their talents," he answered.

   "How do you know that they will not continue on to the ship?"

   "They will either see the error of their ways and join us soon or they will find their own way out. I assume the latter, but it will not hurt to give them five more minutes."

   "I will check back to see if the others have come down the ladder," said Szordrin. "If not, we just continue without them from here."

~~~~

The three elves and the minotaur reached the bottom of the ladder in safety with the sole survivor, whose name was Barth.

   "I can walk on my own," the man said, "you can put me down now."

   Kytharrah did so.

   "Where did they go? Kytharrah, can you hear or smell Hakam or Szordrin?"

   "Too stinky," said Kytharrah. His nose was overwhelmed by the stench of the sewage. He did, however, see a gate with his darkvision. He bounded to it over a metal, grated walkway over the sewage.

   Solisar made his staff glow with magic, so the others could see where their minotaur went.

   "I think that I hear voices in the other direction," said Leokas. "Over that lowered bridge there."

   At the gate, Kytharrah looked through a tunnel and could see a waterfall pouring down, which intrigued him.

   Suddenly, from out of the corner of his eye, what looked to be puddle of water on the stone ground formed a sort of slimy pseudopodial tentacle that struck against his left leg. He barely felt the blow, but his leg began to sting, and the skin beneath the fur began to sizzle.

   Kytharrah grunted loudly. Solisar heard it and looked in that direction. He noticed that what looked to be a gray puddle of water was definitely moving, most likely some sort of ooze. He did not have time to warn Kytharrah, however.

   The minotaur swung down hard with his axe. It cut right through the puddle and drove into the rock below. The puddle was definitely not water at all. It was about three inches thick and jiggled all over when struck. It was moving as if it were alive. It had some sort of thick membrane, and gray slime was now oozing out from where he had severed it. Part of its surface was rising up to form a snake-like "arm". Kytharrah also noticed that the surface of his axe blade was bubbling and foaming. He tried to yank it back out of the ground as quickly as possible.

   Kytharrah looked at his axe. The cutting edge was flattened and distorted and still foaming. Perplexed, Kytharrah rushed away. Another yard-long pseudopod lashed out, but Kytharrah was too quick for it. Before the pseudopod could recede back into the puddle, it was splattered apart by three simultaneous arrows. The ooze, whatever it was, stopped moving after that.

   "I will not be recovering those arrows," said Leokas.

   "Good, you are here," said Szordrin. He had come around the corner, looking for them, while they waited for the trash monster to taste the water again.

   "We think that we found a way for all the water here to exit," he explained to them. "It might be a way out for us as well."

   They followed the wizard around into the large chamber with the pool. As they walked over the metal grating, Szordrin explained to them the situation. Kytharrah looked at the ruined blade of one side of his axe, still confused as to what had just happened. At least the other side was still sharp.

   When they joined with Hakam and Martho in the alcove, the monster was submerged again, except for its single eye tentacle, with which it continued watching them. Szordrin explained how he planned to magically suggest that the monster move somewhere else.

   "Then what?" asked Barth, whom they had rescued. "What is this monster blocking?" He seemed unnerved by the brown leaf shape with two eyeballs in it that was poking out of the murky water and staring at him.

   "Martho told us that the sewage is vented into wildspace," said Hakam. "I suggest that we go down the drain and let it take us outside the asteroid."

   "Yes, we do vent our sewage, but...."

   "Smells bad!" said Kytharrah.

   Barth nodded.

   "How do we know that any of us will fit through the drain?" asked Solisar. "Or more importantly, Kytharrah?"

   "I saw the opening with my magic," said Hakam. "It was about five feet in diameter. He could fit."

   "Perhaps those manhole covers that I found are another way out," suggested Szordrin.

   "I think that we should explore more before we resort to flushing ourselves out with the waste!" said Solisar.

   Hakam turned toward the eyestalk and spoke to it. "Monster, where does this drain take the water? Does it lead outside?"

   Barth jumped back, bumping into Belvin, as the creature's mouth raised up out of the water and bared its teeth to speak. "It goes away."

   "I am not one of the maintenance workers," said Barth, "but I know that we vent our waste into wildspace. The sewage probably falls down to the gravity plane and then flows out of the asteroid. I never stopped to think about where we get our fresh water...."

   "How long is the drop?" asked Hakam.

   "We came down one level, so we are five stories above the gravity plane now," said Barth.

   "Ask it if there are other exits beside the drain," said Solisar.

   "How you get here?" asked the monster. "I not fit out any holes here," it added.

   "Then how did you get in here to begin with?" asked Martho.

   "My home!" said the monster, as if that answered the question.

   Szordrin once again repeated the idea of examining the manhole covers, and Solisar suggested opening the gate that they had foubd. The monster then interrupted them. "Drink still tastes bad! I waited!" It was sounding rather grumpy now and began to rock back and forth.

   "The magic drink must only work for humanoids," Hakam tried to explain.

   "Okay," said the exceptionally gullible monster, "but still hungry." At least it stopped rocking.

   Kytharrah tossed some rations from his pack into the pool.

   The monster gobbled them down in one messy chomp, which almost splashed all of them. "Food disgusting! You try poison me!" Once again, it rocked back in forth, which seemed to be how its kind expressed displeasure.

   Kytharrah slouched his shoulder's feeling a bit dejected.

   "You, what is your name?" asked Hakam.

   "Barth, saer."

   "Barth, do you have any ideas what we can feed this thing?"

   "Well, this is a sewer; perhaps someone could just urinate in the water."

   Kytharrah and Belvin, both wearing kilts, each took a step closer to the water.

   "No! No!" The monster rocked back and forth. "That boring, every-day taste; want new and special taste. Give me new, good taste!"

   "We could feed it the dead ooze that we just killed," said Solisar.

   "Can you summon something dirty for it to eat, Belvin?" asked Hakam.

   Szordrin removed a vial from his potion belt and dumped a little bit into the water. "I have some of the werewolf blood," he explained to the others. "Let us try a little of that and see if it likes it."

   The monster slurped the area up. "Yum!" said the monster, now bouncing up and down as if its legs were made of springs. "What is it? It very yummy!"

   "Tell it that if it moves out of the way, we will give it the rest of it," said Hakam in a lower voice to the others.

   "Even if it moves," said Szrodrin, "how to we go through. It is a 50-foot drop!"

   "Yes," said Hakam, "but we will fall with the water and then hit a harmless gravity plane at the bottom."

   Few of the rest of them were keen on holding their breath long enough to get flushed down a drain with raw sewage to fall for five stories.

   "We need to get more of this yummy drink for you," said Szordrin to the monster. "We will be back in a short time."

   The monster continued to bounce, which they assumed meant that it was content for the time being and would not try to eat them.

   They began to head back along the grating to where the winch and ladder were.

   "We should split up," suggested Szordrin. "We have been wasting too much time finding a way out."

   "I do not think that it is wise to split up," said Leokas. "We know that there are acidic blobs around."

   Solisar warned the others, "They look like moving puddles of water. Be careful."

   They went to the gate first. It was locked with a padlock. Szordrin tried to pick it, but he failed.

   "Minotaur, bust it open."

   Kytharrah pounded it with a heavy blow and knocked it clean off its hinges.

   The tunnel behind the gate went through stone and led to a narrow metal platform. From the platform, they looked over at the waterfall of sewage. Up above about one story, where the dirty water poured over, they could see another metal platform, but they would need a ladder or something, placed at an angle, to get up there.

   So, they went carefully past the remains of the acidic ooze to the manhole cover that Szordrin had earlier found. (Kytharrah was still carrying one half of the gate with him, in case he needed to whack a monster with it.)

   Szordrin used his grappling hook like a crowbar to lift open the access cover, revealing another ladder going down into the darkness.

   "Who wants to go down?" asked Szordrin.

   Belvin climbed down the ladder with Kytharrah's everburning torch. It descended for about 20 feet. There was a small crawlspace at the bottom and he followed it for 30 yards or so. He shouted back what he could see and then began crawling forward. Leokas, having waited long enough to satisfy his superstition that going second could result in being killed by timed traps, followed down after his friend. At the end of the five-foot-diameter crawlspace, they found a large metal valve wheel. Leokas relayed this back to the others.

   They were in favor of turning the wheel to see what would happen. So, Belvin gripped it and slowly turned it clockwise. Within the tunnel they heard the sound of creaking to their left and the tunnel began to rumble.

   Belvin turned it is far as it could go. Leokas crawled back to see if the others could observe any change. The water was still pouring over the falls, which disappointed them. They couldn't yet notice any other changes.

   "Has the water level changed?" Szordrin asked, but this did not appear to be the case.

   "It may just be me," said Solisar, as he was looking around for a difference, "but I think that the current has changed somewhat. See, the current on that side is moving faster than the current on this side of the bridge."

   "Was the wheel turned to an intermediate setting when you found it?" asked Szordrin.

   "No, Belvin said that it was all the way on or off to begin," said Leokas.

   Upon exploring further, they found that the wheel had caused a sluice gate on one side of the large collecting pool to close, blocking the flow of the water into the pool from the one direction. This forced the water to flow along the other alternate path.

   "Presumably, there is another sluice gate on the other side," said Szordrin, "controlled by a wheel down the other manhole cover, but if we close both gates, the water will not be able to reach the drain, and then this whole sewer will flood."

   "But we did not close the drain," said Solisar. "If we close both gates, the water in the pool will drain, leaving an open exit tunnel."

   "The water level would begin to rise until it poured over the sluice gates to refill the pool," said Hakam.

   "We would have five feet of water level to work with before the water would overflow," said Solisar, looking down. "So, we would have a temporary window of time where we could exit through the drain, before the water would overflow over the gates. We can ensure the monster that its sewage will return shortly after we leave."

   "It does not sound like the smartest of creatures, though," said Hakam.

   "Is this monster even a threat to us," asked Leokas, "even if it does try to attack us?"

   "We can appease it by giving it the rest of the werewolf blood," said Solisar.

   "Yes, let us do that," said Szordrin.

   "I still say that we just go through the sewage and not risk angering this monster unnecessarily," said Hakam.

   Kytharrah shook his head. He had a hard time following most of the time when his little friends talked about plans, but he was relatively sure that Hakam was suggesting that they jump into a big toilet.

   "Do not you mages have cantrips that can clean us all off afterward?" asked Leokas.

   "In limited amounts, yes," said Solisar. "Presently, I would only have the arcane power to clean my own person."

   Leokas sighed. "I think that Hakam may be right. Time may be running out. Who knows what the neogi have already done here by now or how our sailors and our ship have fared. I think that we just need to overcome our emotions of disgust and jump in that pool."

   "If your concern, Hakam, is the monster's reaction," said Solisar, "let us just get it to move over to the other side of the gate and give it its 'snack'. We close the second gate while it is distracted, and even if it notices and is upset, it will not be able to come over to the other side until the water level rises high enough to refill the pool."

   At last, they had a solution that satisfied all of them.

   They set their plan in motion. Szordrin talked the monster into following him into the tunnel and around the U-turn all the way up to the metal drawbridge, where it could not see the sluice gates or the pool. Then he offered it the rest of the werewolf blood as a reward, in small samples to buy them as much time as possible.

   Meanwhile, Belvin, down the second manhole cover, turned the wheel that they expected to find there. Sure enough, a second sluice gate closed. Now, the water had no where to go and began to rise on one side of the gates, as the waterfall continued to pour. They all rushed to the pool and watched as it drained, hoping that it would drain before the water on the other side of the two gates began to overflow.

   The monster seemed to have enjoyed its treat and did not seem to be making any efforts to follow them or worse.

   A stone "ramp" descended down from the alcove where the monster kept its recovered trinkets, so they all could easily walk down to the drain hole, just as the last of the dirty water poured out. The rocky bottom of the pool was dirty and slippery, but less so than they might have expected, perhaps because the monster had scraped any "food" from the surface of its pool with its scraping tentacles. It was still going to be a gross plan of escape, but at least the sewage wouldn't be going into their ears and nose and threatening them with the potential for disease.

   "Hey!" said the monster. They turned back and saw its two eyeballs raised over the sluice gate. "Where my water?" It was time to go.

   Hakam sat at the edge of the drainage hole and then dropped himself in, falling slowly by the power of his magic ring. He descended 50 feet to emerge out of the ceiling of a circular tunnel, about 15 feet in diameter. He stopped falling in the center of the tunnel and floated there in open air, almost as if he were floating in water.

   By the light of his glowing shield, he could see ahead of him that the tunnel indeed seemed to open into the blackness of space, about 40 feet ahead, and he was bobbing and drifting toward it. Spinning himself around, using his arms and legs to get momentum, he saw, also about 40 feet away, a round metal hatch with a wheel for opening it.

   He needed to be able to reach something to stop from drifting out too quickly. He clutched his holy symbol and prayed. Now, he was able to stand on air as if it were solid ground, and he stopped drifting.

   Solisar appeared, using his flying spell to descend in a controlled manner and hover beside Hakam.

   One by one, all the others plummeted down the shaft, entering the air-filled tunnel, slowling suddenly upon crossing the opposing gravity beyond the gravity plane, and striking (safely) the bottom of the tunnel to spring back.

   "Praise Celestian!" said Barth. "I am still alive."

   "We are on the same level as our ship now," said Hakam. "Do we go outside and try to move around the asteroid? or do we try to pass through that hatch? Martho or Barth, do you know where that round door leads?"

   "If we are at the gravity plane," said Barth, "it may enter the shipping facility."

   "The company is run from the upper half of the asteroid," said Martho. "The lower half is the warehouse and the production chambers."

   "There is a central shaft through the entire warehouse half of the asteroid," continued Barth. "When orders are being filled, crates are dropped down the shaft to the gravity plane and floated out to the docks to be shipped."

   "Does the warehouse area connect to the corporate offices?" asked Hakam.

   "Not directly," said Barth. "The only entrance to the headquarters is from the stairwell running up from the docks."

   "The ones that I led you up," said Martho.

   "So, there is a chance that the invaders will not be in the warehouse and shipping areas," suggested Hakam, "at least not more likely than anywhere else in the asteroid. Although, they can tunnel...."

   "The alternative is climbing or dragging ourselves along half the circumference of the asteroid while in the gravity plane," said Solisar. "It is a large asteroid. I can fly, but there are eight of us."

   "It is for certain the more direct path to go through the door," said Hakam, "but is it the safest?"

   "The water is going to pour over the gates soon," said Belvin. "We need to move before sewage starts coming down on our heads."

   "And we need to get to the ship before the invaders do, if it is not already too late," said Solisar. "I can fly to ship around the asteroid and have it come around."

   "If it has not already been boarded," said Hakam.

   "Yes, it is a risk," said Solisar. "We have our sending stone; why did we not use it yet?"

   The sun elf sent a brief message to Oma, who kept the sister stone.

   There was no reply.

   "Our ship must indeed be boarded already;" he said to the others. "We should go through the center."

   They flew, walked on air, or used the stone walls of the carved tunnel to drag themselves along to the circular hatch. It was on the bottom side of the gravity plane, so they also flipped themselves upside down.

   Behind them, water began to pour out of the ceiling — which from their new perspective was now the floor. It was a strange sight to see the water pooling together and floating in nothing. It was coming toward them. Belvin grabbed the wheel and gave it a quarter turn, unlatching it. They pushed the door open and climbed through.
Session: 107th Game Session - Wednesday, Mar 13 2019 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
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Pointer-left Investigator__male_2_thumb
Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 1 — Umber Hulks
Kytharrah bounded into the hall and turned his head quickly to look in both directions. In both directions, the minotaur saw a hulking, black and brown insectoid creature, as large as a gorilla, not skinny and lanky like the bouncers at the Port Hole but with thick, round, beetle-like exoskeletons. Further down the hall, the one creature had clearly just crashed through the brick wall and was shaking the dust and rubble from its body. Up the hall, from the way that they had earlier come, the second monster held a human in its grip. Before Kytharrah could make a move, he saw the gruesome sight of the human being ripped in half like a sack of thin cloth.

   The monster dropped the gory halves of what was once a person and clicked its enormous mandibles together. It seemed to have two sets of eyes, two large compound eyes like those flies that annoyed Kytharrah so much. These were mostly on the side of its head. In the center of the head was another pair of tiny black eyes.

   Kytharrah heard the one behind it lumbering toward him, but he was much faster. He lowered his head and horns and charged forward like a raging bull toward the one that had just killed the poor human. His horns gored into the thick exoskeleton of the monster, puncturing a deep hole. Green hemolymph began oozing out. The monster made an earthy growl, and its giant mandibles vibrated rapidly with a whirring sound, just missing the top of Kytharrah's head as he rose himself up to a defensive stance on his hooves.

   "Rightly terrifying!" said Martho. "Rightly terrifying. Get a hold of yourself, Martho! Plan something!"

   Leokas and Belvin poked their heads into the hall, seeing the massive, chittering, insectoid aberrations. They had two different sets of eyes. (This reminded Belvin of some spiders.) One pair was compound, the other was simple.

   Both elves stood at the doorway ready to defend.

   Back in the hall, Kytharrah felt a funny feeling in his head as the monster looked him in the eyes. (The two were almost exactly the same height.) It then slashed out at him with the claws at the end of its bulky, armored forearms. Kytharrah dodged the slash from its left arm, but the right claws took a tuft of fur from his arm.

   Kytharrah snorted and swung his axe. The monster rose its arm to defend, but the axe splintered its armor, and a sizeable chunk of chitin clattered to the floor. On the back swing, Kytharrah's axe dragged against the ceiling, giving his hulking opponent time to avoid the second blow. Then came another strike from the minotaur's horn, and now green ooze was spurting out of its other forearm.

   Back at the door, the second umber-colored monster came into view. It swung a bulky arm at Leokas, but he was protected by the corner of the door frame. Wood splintered as the monster struck it. Hakam saw a chaotic aura with his divinely affected vision. Sensing no caution from his phylactery, he shouted out, "Feel order's wrath, space monster!"

   Blue-violet beams of energy slashed in orthogonal directions across the bipedal insect, scorching its exoskeleton. It seemed to stand there wobbling, its mandibles twitching every few seconds.

   Leokas spun around and launched three arrows simultaneously from his bow at the creature's head. It instinctively rose its thick arms to defend itself. An arrow deflected harmlessly from the armor of each arm, but the third punctured the monster's skull, directly between its two black simple eyes, going deep into its head. It gurgled something that might have been a language and stumbled back against the wall, jerking as if it were being electrocuted, likely from having a shaft of wood embedded in its brain.

   Hakam took this opportunity to squeeze past the others into the hall and by the dying but still not dead hulk with the arrow in its head. He saw Kytharrah's opponent slash and snap at the minotaur. Kytharrah knocked away one claw but stumbled back from two other blows. Hakam saw red blood splatter on the floor.

   "Quick, help me move this desk in the back!" Martho yelled at Szordrin at the back of the room. "There is a sewer access point underneath. We can escape!" Szordrin obeyed and started shoving the desk.

   "You go!" shouted Leokas, as he grabbed another arrow from his quiver and spun back around to take partial cover from the door frame. "We shall stay and defend." Next to him, Solisar rushed up. A strange square-shaped blue field of force floated in front of him, looking like liquid sapphire.

   "Gainful ratty governor!" shouted Belvin, but he just stood there by the door.

   "What are you saying, friend?" Leokas said. Then he spun around again with his bow, taking aim at the dying monster in the hall to finish it off.

   Before he could take the shot, however, Belvin slashed at him with his scimitar. "The cherries are not finished yet!" he screamed in anger.

   Leokas dodged the unexpected attack and jumped back. "Belvin, it is I. What is wrong with you?"

   Out in the hall, Hakam was also shouting again. "Feel order's wrath!" Searing beams of violet appeared, caging in Kytharrah's foe. The now-sizzling beetle-like creature wobbled and turned sideways, its arms hanging limply to drag on the floor. Kytharrah's axe came down with full force, splitting the monster almost in two. Its back shell cracked and fell nearly off, and buckets-full of green fluid splashed unto the floor in a gory mess.

   Martho had the grate open and was crawling down a ladder. He shouted back at Leokas. "This will not be the only two! The neogi never have only two."

   Just then, the brain-impaled hulk stumbled through the doorway, zombie-like, and inadvertently kept Belvin from slashing at his friend again. From the back, Szordrin sent bursts of force over the shelves and across the room. There was an awful crunching sound, as the monster's chest cavity imploded. It fell forward to the ground and began to ooze insect blood.

   Belvin tried to move around the large body toward Leokas, a crazed look in his eyes. Solisar darted around behind Belvin, and the blue shield of force kept itself between the two of them. "Hakam! We have a problem with Belvin," he relayed to their cleric.

   Hakam stepped back and saw immediately that Belvin was under some magical compulsion. "Kytharrah," he called up the hall, calling him by his name for perhaps the first time, "come grab Belvin!" He held his holy symbol toward Belvin and ordered him to calm his anger, but there seemed to be no effect.

   The minotaur came bounding back, and Hakam stepped aside to make room for him. His long, hairy arms were around the wild elf in moments, and despite Belvin's thrashing, he was unable to get away.

   Solisar cautiously stepped into the hall. Seeing both creatures dead, he scanned the area for invisible creatures. He saw nothing, but his elven ears could hear more screams and commotion back in the direction of the open office space. He looked back at Belvin. There was an aura of magic around him. Solisar waved his hands and called on arcane power to free his friend of confusion.

   "Belvin, do you know where you are?" asked Leokas. "What is the name of your camel?"

   But Belvin continued to struggle against Kytharrah's grapple. "Let me free! Let me...!"

   Kytharrah squeezed more tightly, silencing him. Hakam began preaching to him about the sin of anger, and Sordrin tied a second time to dispel the magic. Finally, Belvin calmed, and Kytharrah let him speak. "Why are you holding me?"

   "Let him go," said Solisar. "He is freed, but others are in danger. I hear more of the monsters. Do not look into their eyes; avoid that at all costs!" He began to move down the hall, with his liquid force shield in front of him.

   Hakkam looked toward the back of the room. Martho and Szordrin were gone, but he saw Solisar already committed to helping any others. "This is not our business," said Hakam. "We have what we came for, and we did our part to protect Martho. Come, let us follow him and escape."

   Belvin, while no longer under any magical enchantment, was still too confused to have an opinion on the matter.

   Solisar paused. "Our ship is also in this direction, is it not?"

   "Our guide knows another way out," Hakam protested.

   While the others argued about the correct course of action, Kytharrah returned to where he slaughtered the one giant beetle-monster and gently picked up the two halves of the torn human, bringing them back to Hakam.

   "Fix, like little sister?" he asked, referring to how Hakam had once restored Cassiera to life after a bearded devil had gutted her.

   Leokas looked to the cleric, wondering how he would respond to this moral quandary. He knew that they now had the diamond dust and the divine power to bring the victim back, but it would take great time and resources.

   "The gods have a plan that is beyond mortal understanding," said Hakam. "I cannot interfere in matters of life and death, except where Anachtyr directs me. Besides, even I cannot bring someone back whose body has been so terribly mutilated."

   Leokas seemed satisfied with Hakam's answer.

   "Death is the way of nature," said Belvin, seeming to agree with Hakam on this rate occassion.

   "I am more concerned with helping those who may still be living," said Solisar, "who may not be living for much longer if we tarry here!"

   Hakam frowned at this statement, but Solisar placed his hand upon Leokas' shoulder.

   "Come, let us protect those in the other room."

   Leokas nodded and headed out the door with Solisar. Belvin, too, followed. Kytharrah gently set the broken body down and patted Hakam on the head. Hakam sighed, but he reached out and touched the minotaur, magically closing his bleeding wounds, before Kytharrah went after the elves.

   They carefully moved down the hall, as quickly as they could. It was impossible to avoid stepping in the pool of sticky green and red blood, which had mixed together into brown swirls. The sight and smell of the gore was enough to make them all retch.

   By now, much of the noise seemed farther away, but there were still clear sounds of moaning ahead and some chittering. Kytharrah moved into the lead, and Solisar made sure to keep checking behind them.

   Kytharrah's ears perked up as he heard the loud sound of chitinous steps approaching. He peeked around the corner and saw another monster coming. The minotaur lunged back, just in time to avoid the full force of the creature's swing around the corner. The claw still snagged him in the arm, cutting him.

   Kytharrah stepped out and began swinging and goring. Solisar let loose five magical force projectiles. Leokas moved to the wall and launched several arrows, amazingly aiming underneath Kytharrah's arms and striking true. The heavily wounded monster fought back, but it only could manage one more solid blow against Kytharrah, while chittering with its ferocious-looking mandibles. The claw attack cut a slit through Kytharrah's magic leather armor, but he seemed to be standing his ground.

   There was a cracking, rumbling sound behind them, and suddenly, a second monster burst through the wall, its mandibles vibrating back and forth so rapidly that they were a blur. Solisar spun around in reflex, and accidentally looked into the black eyes of the new opponent. He felt a strange feeling in his head, but his sapphire screen flashed before him, just as a clawed "hand" swung at him. The force field held back most of the force of the swing, but the edge of one claw gashed across Solisar's forehead, and the elf felt blood drip down into his right eye.

   Belvin gave a tribal holler, and a column of ice erupted from the floor to the ceiling, filling the whole hallway, knocking back the burrowing monstrosity from Solisar by about ten feet and barricading the hall. "Do not look at me, bug! Not again!"

   "Thank you, my friend!" said Solisar, turning to put distance between him and the ice column, for they could already hear the creature chiseling rapidly away at the ice with its vibrating mandibles.

   At the corner, Kytharrah smashed his foe with another solid blow, as Leokas drew another arrow. The monster stumbled back. Solisar rushed up, drew a wand from its sheath, and waved it. The thing's head imploded, and its lifeless shell of chitin clattered to the ground like a suit of armor. Solisar continued past around the corner and into the hallway. Leokas was just behind him, arrow nocked and ready to free.

   The hallway was clear until where it opened into the large workspace. All that they could see was a chaos of shattered furniture and at least one still body in the middle of the floor.

   Belvin appeared beside Leokas. "How long does your spell last?" the wood elf asked.

   "Until it melts, I suppose," said Belvin, "but it is going to gnaw its way through in about ten more seconds."

   Leokas stepped back into the corner, and pointed his arrow toward the ice. "Solonor have mercy on his insectoid soul," he prayed, "and guide my shot."

   Ice shards began falling from the column.

   "Help me!" came a weak voice from the hole in the wall where the one monster had tunneled through.

   "We have a survivor," said Belvin.

   Kytharrah rushed over to the hole and poked his head through. He recognized that this was once one of the wings of the large workspace that they had earlier passed through. There were overturned desks and splintered wooden dividers scattered about chaotically. He saw blood and bodies and body parts but no one living.

   "Minotaur, the ice!" Leokas warned. What remained of the summoned column looked like it was about to crumble apart allowing the digger on the other side through. They could see its hulking from through the thinning ice. Kytharrah took a defensive posture and gulped down one of those tasty drinks that made his cuts go away. Belvin squeezed past Kytharrah and through the hole in the wall.

   With a crack, the ice shattered and clattered to the floor. As soon as the monster appeared, magic missiles of force shot forth from Solisar's fingertips. Leokas released his arrow. Once again, the arrow punctured the monster's skull between the eyes. The creature danced about wildly. It managed to strike Kytharrah with one more desperate blow before the minotaur stuck it with a final swing and dropped it.

   In the room on the other side of the wall, Belvin searched among the carnage for the source of the cry for help. He located the worker hiding behind one of the sideways desks. He was an older gentleman, and his arm had been severed off at the elbow.

   Belvin crouched down and laid his hands on the man. The worker looked on in shock as the spurting blood stopped and skin formed rapidly around the stump. "You healed me!" he exclaimed. "I..., I have never felt better!"

   "I will get your arm," Belvin said.

   The man looked down at his healed stump and over at his severed forearm and just stared at Belvin confused, as the elf picked up the fallen body part.

   The man crawled through the wall into the hall. "Thank you! Thank you!" He was nearly crying. Belvin followed immediately behind him, carrying the bloody arm.

   "Are there others living?" they asked him.

   "I do not know," said the man.

   Belvin shook his head.

   "There are clearly more of the monsters," said Solisar. "They can tunnel through the walls, and we were almost surrounded. I hate to say it, but I do not think that there is much more that we can do. We should get back to the others and to the ship. All that remains here is devastation."

   "Kytharrah, carry him," said Belvin.

   Before the man could protest, Kytharrah scooped him up in both arms.

   They all hurried back down the hall to the receipt room.

   "Where are you taking me?" asked the man. "They caved in all the exits. There was nowhere for us to flee while they slaughtered us."

   "Go to friend," said Kytharrah.

   "We know an exit through the sewer system," explained Solisar.

   The man seemed content with this answer.

   They reached the ladder and one by one climbed down into what they hoped was safety.
Session: 106th Game Session - Wednesday, Sep 12 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Lhynard
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Per Multiversum
Chapter 1 — Void Scavver
Back at the docks, Szordrin, Jayce, Nargroth, Oma, and Kytharrah arrived, bringing with them both Martho, from the Interlink Consortium, and the simian sailor, whose name they learned was Bansh. They had made a quick stop at Martho's apartment in Low City for him to grab some maps first, but otherwise took the same route back as they come to get to the Interlink Consortium store.

   As they passed through the crowds of sailors and dockworkers, they noticed a new vessel now tied off there, a metal and wooden conglomeration with towers, steampipes, and massive waterwheels on each side. A crowd of gnomes were leading four monstrous-sized hamsters off the vessel, each larger than brown bears.

   "Giant hamsters?" asked Jayce, who still looked like a drow.

   "Giant space hamsters," corrected Bansh. "They make tasty sandwiches!"

   Martho explained things a bit more. "It is how the gnomes at least partially power their spelljammers, instead of using sails or wings, but they still have helms, too. I do not pretend to understand it." Martho shrugged. "That is gnomes for you!"

   When they reached the Frihet, they found Ombert deep in conversation with some men on the docks. They overheard him discussing how he might sell their Lantanese clockwork toys and smokepower for profit. They waited for the men to leave and then were welcomed back by their ship's Captain. Upon spotting Jayce, Ombert had a sudden look of fear or discomfort.

   "Good Captain, it is only I, noble Jayce," explained the drow.

   "Oh, yes, Jayce, I did not...," said Ombert.

   "I know! I am barely recognizable in this new outfit that I purchased at market, no?"

   Martho did not seem to suspect anything, thankfully, but Szordrin quickly changed the topic to their next plans. "Hakam and the elves will be back shortly, but they are running some side errands. We found someone who can guide us to the Interlink Consortium Corporate Asteroid. How soon can we set out?"

   "Now? Seriously?" asked Ombert. "How long is the voyage?"

   Szordrin looked back at Martho. The cloaked man answered, "How long? Oh, almost no time at all. It is in the Tears. Perhaps an hour, tops. The trick is navigating from rock to rock correctly to find the right one. Its location is not on any commonly sold maps."

   Ombert shook his head in surprise. "I am never going to get used to how things work in wildspace! To think that one would leave for a second destination in the very same day!"

   "I know! I love the Sea of Night!" exclaimed Nargroth.

   "Even so, I will not be able to take you anywhere for a while;" Ombert said, "I have to finish setting up a vendor's booth in the market. The men that you just saw me speaking with will be returning in a few hours to finalize some details with me. However, the ship is emptied of cargo, except that your mounts are still onboard, and we paid the berthing fees, so I could send her with Loreene in command and most of the rest of the crew, if you are in that big of a hurry."

   At this point, Ombert slowed his speech a little, having noticed the upright baboon with droopy skin standing there. Bansh stepped forward and introduced himself with a bow, extending one of his wing flaps like one might bow with a cape. "Bansh nee Rainbowchild, at your service," the creature said.

   "At my service, eh?"

   "He wants to join our crew," said Oma.

   Ombert yelled up at one of the sailors, who was working at the railing. "Frath, did everyone return yet?"

   "Nay, Cap'n. Patrik and Shemus came back just before the Mis..., just before our passengers, but Gorji still isn't here."

   "Well, Bansh, is it? It seems one of our crew could not count his hours, so Tymora may have smiled on you. What can you do?"

   "I grew up on deck, Captain. I can do almost any task that you ask of me, but I am no cook nor can I navigate."

   "Stern sails?"

   "Since I was four years old!"

   "I shall let you work with Loreene's crew on this short jaunt out and back, as a test, and if she likes what she sees, I shall consider taking you on for the long haul. Fair?"

   "It is most fair, Captain!" said Bansh, bowing again. "I thank you. It will be a pleasure to serve." The simian hurried aboard the vessel.

   "He did not even ask what I pay," Ombert said in a low voice. Then he yelled up to Frath again. "Frath, set this one to work with Guttar." Frath nodded.

   "Gorji is missing?" asked Jayce. "Do you think that he was kidnapped? Should we go looking for him?"

   "It has only been five hours," said Ombert. "He is very late, but I am sure that he just had too much fun on shore."


   Everyone else also boarded the vessel, and Solisar began to look over the Martho's map of the Tears with him.

   An hour later, when Hakam and the elves returned, Gorji was still absent. Ombert was more angry than concerned, but Hakam offered to pray for the means to locate him in the morning.

   "That will also give him time to show up," said Solisar.

   "I do not know...," said Jayce. "This worries me."

   The sailors, however, shared Ombert's lack of concern. "He never really loved the sea enough to be a sailor anyhow," said Bollus, a young and bald crewmember from Calimshan with a dragon turtle tattooed on his back.

   "Probably found a pretty spurnarmor at a festhall and lost track of time," said Brad.

   "You always suspect a conspiracy, Jayce," said Leokas.

   "And I was correct the last time that I did, was I not?"

   "Forget about the missing sailor for now," said Szordrin. "Let me tell you what Martho explained to us about the rod of retracing. He said that the it was not a normal rod of retracing but rather a rod of intraplanar retracing. The rod would have functioned somewhat differently than we were told in the store. It still locked onto 'residual threads' in the Astral Plane and could then be used as a spell focus, but it did not retrace to the last cosmological plane that the target was on; rather, it retraced to the last gravity plane of the target within the same plane of existence, whether that be a planet, a worldlet, or even the deck of a spelljammer. This all means that the murdered started from somewhere in our own plane of existence, somewhere in Realmspace."

   "Realmspace is still very, very big," said Oma.

   "Would such a rod give further information beyond that?" asked Hakam.

   "As far as I understood it," replied Szordrin, "it could place you anywhere on the gravity plane, so let us hope that your target was on a small worldlet like the Rock of Bral and not on a full-sized planet like Toril. We still would need to know how the murderer found out that my master was in the Underdark."

   "How expensive is such a rod?" asked Hakam. "Do we know?"

   "We asked him that, and he said about 500 platinum trade bars."

   One of the nearby sailors nearly choked upon hearing the sum.

   Loreene came up to them. "Are you ready to head out, gang?" She already had her vest on that she always wore over her bandeau when it was her turn in command.

   They nodded. "If possible, we hope to be able to return back to the Rock to find an inn before nightfall," said Solisar, "assuming nightfall is even a thing on the Rock."

   "It must be," said Nargroth, "can you not tell that the Rock is revolving? The sun has moved, just like it would have on Toril."

   "You are right, Nargroth. Indeed, it has. At about the same rate as on Toril too, I think."

   "Well, let us sail, then!" said Loreene to the adventurers. "It is a good thing that I held back at the bar with Gren; no one told me that we would be setting sail again so quickly! But, I'm happy to take you where you need to go."

   As they waited for the sailors to untie the vessel from the dock, Szordrin asked Martho a question. "Are fires forbidden on the Interlink Asteroid?"

   "Generally, that rule is held on any small worldlet, yes."

   Jayce took the spelljamming helm again, since it was still linked to him from in the morning. Loreene assigned Rimardo, the Turmish fellow with dreads, as pilot. Solisar and Martho stood behind Rimardo at the map table and prepared to guide the Frihetfrom asteroid to asteroid in the cluster. Loreene began to issue commands to her fellow sailors, and soon, they were rising from the docks at the edge of the Rock of Bral and into the black sky of wildspace.

   Martho would explain to Solisar and Rimardo to which asteroid they should point next, Rimardo would issue commands for heading, which would be relayed, and the sailors would adjust the sails, pointing the spelljammer toward the destination, which was often invisible at such a distance. Then word would be relayed down to Jayce in the forecastle and almost instantly the rocky form of a small asteroid would be some hundred yards in front of the ship. Most of these asteroids were very tiny as far as asteroids go, some only hundreds of yards across.

   When they were about half way to the Consortium's headquarters, Szordrin, who was standing at the port-side railing of the main deck, was enjoying the view. Suddenly, from somewhere below the boat, a 20-foot-long, jet-black form emerged. Szordrin found his head and upper body held sideways in the gaping maw of some creature and felt countless teeth puncturing the flesh of his shoulders and upper chest and back. He struggled with his partly free right hand to press against the monster's pointed snout, which felt like sandpaper. His body went into so much shock, that he did not even feel the pain of the bite.

   Kytharrah spun around, hearing Szordrin's yell. He saw what could best be described as a black cyclopean shark, seemingly able to swim through empty space. Szordrin's entire head was currently in the beast's mouth. The minotaur bounded over and grabbed the "shark's" snout and lower jaw, struggling to pry open the mouth, but even Kytharrah was not strong enough to force the clamp open.

   Leokas launched a volley of arrows from the forecastle into what he hoped was the creature's vital organs.

   "Positively terrifying!" exclaimed Martho. He rose from the map table and covered his eyes. Oma gasped. Solisar looked over. The space shark's body was easily three times as thick as a man's. Its single eye strangely glowed. Solisar's magical vision showed an aura around the whole body as well. He rushed down the starboard steps from the sterncastle, extracting a bit of licorice root from his pouch as he descended. Several standing around him felt a sudden surge of energy and motion, but this transmutation magic was not soon enough for his friend.

   Szordrin continued to struggle, but to no avail. "Ormur!" he shouted, hoping to summon their magic rope from within its pack. The black, one-eyed shark opened its jaw rapidly, surprisingly wide, and its teeth jerked forward before the wizard could respond. In about three seconds, Szordrin's entire body was gulped into the beast's mouth.

   Szordrin was gone.

   Belvin appeared beside Kytharrah and laid hands on him. A surge of strength rushed through the minotaur, but the minotaur had no idea what to do. The monster had just eaten his friend! Belvin began screaming threats and obscenities at the beast in Sylvan, commanding it to spit out his companion. Leokas continued to shoot arrows, now aiming for the shark's tail so as not to also strike his swallowed friend.

   The sailors only just recognized what was happening and began screaming out, "Shark!" Nargroth roared in rage and charged down the steps from beside Oma to the main deck, but he could not reach the shark-like creature in time. It lifted its large head from the railing and was turning in space, about to "swim" away.

   From the top of the mizzen-mast, Bansh dove down recklessly, wings extended and cutlass drawn. He struck the side of beast, slashing its flesh open behind its tail fin, but the four-inch deep gash was not even enough to draw blood. Bansh continued to shoot past the shark into the reverse gravity below the ship's central plane.

   "Man overboard!" shouted Rimardo.

   Hakam burst through the port-side door from the forecastle, having no idea what the commotion was outside on the deck. Seeing a massive shark directly in front of him, he called on power from Anachtyr and boldly pressed his open hand against the shark's side. Black, crackling energy spread through the monstrous shark's body, and it twitched and writhed, but it was still not dead. Only then did Hakam seem to process how large and dangerous his opponent seemed. He stumbled against the railing and grabbed hold tightly.

   The shark flapped its tail to jet away from the side of the ship, but it was pummeled by two blasts of force from one of Oma's spells. It rolled to the side a bit, giving Kytharrah clear access to its thick neck.

   Hasted by Solisar's magic, and strengthened by Belvin's spell, he drove his blade down with great speed and power. The first swing opened up its neck, spraying blood on everyone nearby. The eerie glow in its one eye immediately faded, but not before Kytharrah could stop his second swing, which almost entirely cut the shark's head off.

   The massive, limp form of the beast slapped against the side of the ship and then tumbled. Bobbing in the gravity plane, it began to drift away, but Bansh, also bobbing, grabbed its tail and heaved it back. He reached his hand into the exposed gullet of the shark and tugged an unconscious Szordrin from the creature, covered in vile ooze. Gore and mostly digested bits from earlier meals now floated out of the shark's body to spread out over the invisible gravity plane.

   Sailors and adventures all hurried to help get the bodies of Szordrin and the shark back onto the ship, and they tossed ropes out to Bansh.

   "That was verifiably terrible!" exclaimed Martho.

   Belvin and Hakam were both examining Szordrin on the deck. "He still has a pulse," Belvin said. Oma gasped in relief.

   The druid neutralized the poison that Szordrin had inadvertently ingested, while the cleric used his magic to close the multiplicity of dagger-like bite wounds.

   Szordrin came to consciousness and coughed up a mess of stomach acid from the shark. Thankfully, his fiendish blood granted him magical protection from many acids, granting him the few more seconds that his teammates had needed to free him.

   "Is this dinner?" asked Kytharrah.

   "Might not be safe to eat, my man," said Diero, another Turmish man.

   "Certifiably not!" said Martho.

   "No, I have eaten void scavver meat," said Bansh. "It is not as delicious as night scavver meat, but it is still delicious."

   "A scavver?" asked Belvin and Solisar together.

   "The smaller ones are just annoying scavengers," said Bansh, "but these kind are person-eaters. All scavvers hang around the air envelopes of small wildspace objects, hitching rides on passing vessels. The small ones are actually nice for tossing waste out to, and the night scavvers are, as I said, delicious, but these big ones,..." He didn't finish his thought.

   Szordrin stood silent, still in shock, as the others discussed eating the monster that had so nearly eaten him. Belvin finished decapitating the scavver, and more of its stomach contents oozed out. There was something shiny there. Out of habit, he swiped it. It was coin. He wiped the poisonous goo off and saw a woman's face on the coin. The iconography looked familiar. He went below deck without saying anything else to the others. He had a lot to think about.
Session: 105th Game Session - Wednesday, Aug 22 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 5 — An Anticlimactic End
~ eighth-day, 8th of Hammer, The Year of Rogue Dragons, highsun
Spinning Keep of Siri'wadjen


The spelljammer hovered over the surface of the dried sands of the Calim Desert. Solisar, Belvin, and Leokas had followed the gnomish illusionist's map to the Spinning Keep of Siri'wadjen without issue.

   The keep was not like any structure any of them had ever seen. To call it a structure at all was perhaps not the right language. The Keep was essentially an outer shell to the infamous Calimmemnon Crystal, the magical prison of the greatest two genies of Calishite history. The Keep was itself crystalline, a dodecahedron of pearly, translucent material, which was hard to spot in the day's sunlight until they were rather close.

   The twelve-sided keep magically floated some fourteen or fifteen yards from the surface of the sand and rotated on multiple axes simultaneously. It was more than 20 yards in diameter.

   About 100 yards west of the Spinning Keep was a large, circular tent.

   "Allu and his goblin archwizard are already here, as we expected," said Szordrin, standing at the railing of their spelljammer.

   "Let me take a look," said Solisar, as he removed a bit of bat fur from his component pouch. They waited for ten minutes for him to complete his divinatory spell, after which point he seemed to enter into one of his trances.

   "I am entering the tent. There are two cots here. One of the cots is occupied by a small goblin in robes."

   "The archwizard," said Hakam, "but who sleeps on the other cot, and where is he?"

   "Durbuluk?" suggested Belvin.

   "No, he stayed behind," said Hakam. "It is likely Allustairimarinastralmindivu's cot, and he has already entered the Keep."

   "He cannot enter the Keep," said Solisar. "The elven high magic prevents it, remember. Only the goblin can enter the keep."

   Belvin said, "Allu is gone, and his wizard is asleep — this is either a trap, or we are exceptionally fortunate."

   "Could the tent be an illusion?" asked Hakam.

   "If I were closer in body, I could scan it for auras," said Solisar.

   "We have to take the risk," said Szordrin. "This could be our only chance. Lunk, lower us to the ground."

   Kytharrah lowered them in one of the rowboats to the sand, then lowered Kamil, and finally came down one of the ropes himself.

   Szordrin stealthily approached closer to the tent and then returned to the others. "The tent itself has no magical aura, but there are some inside. The wizard likely wears some sort of magical items."

   "I can encompass the whole tent in silence," said Hakam. "The wizard will not be able to use any verbal spells or hear us as we approach."

   "Do not silence the flap of the tent, so that I can stand at the entrance and use my own magic," said Szordrin.

   "If the goblin is asleep, I can take it out with a single arrow," said Leokas. "Mark my words."

   "I can call on the winds to further guide your shot," said Belvin.

   "I can approach the tent invisible and open the flap," said Szordrin. "The moment that I do, let loose your arrows."

   Everyone agreed with the plan.

   Solisar granted Leokas the ability to see invisible creatures, while Belvin blessed him and enchanted everyone's ranged weapons. Leokas himself called for a blessing from Solonor.

   The others protected and readied themselves in other magical ways. Szordrin created illusionary duplicates of himself, and he and they all turned invisible. Belvin mounted Kamil. Kytharrah drank one of his potions.

   "Kytharrah, stay by my side," Hakam commanded. Then he completed a brief prayer that created a bubble of silence around the whole tent.

   "Follow my footprints," said Szordrin, and he moved quickly toward the tent. Leokas followed.

   The flap to the tent was whipped back, and several Szordrins appeared. They and Leokas took aim at the goblin. As the arrow left Leokas' bow, a powerful gust of wind rushed past the wood elf and visibly spiraled around the projectile as it traveled. Simultaneously, rays of fire erupted from the fingertips of the Szordrins.

   The flames enveloped the goblin, but seemed to do nothing to him or his robes, except to startle him awake. The arrow, however, struck through the goblin's right arm, through his side, and into his spinal column, striking with enough force to knock the tiny humanoid from the cot and unto the floor.

   Leokas nocked another arrow and took aim toward the ground. The goblin was not dead. Instead, he seemed to explode into a cloud of black smoke. The cloud was vaguely humanoid and much larger than a goblin or even a hobgoblin, filling half the tent. Red fire glowed for eyes.

   "He vanished into black smoke! It is Allu!" shouted Leokas in warning to those on the other side of the tent. He let fly his arrow, followed by two others, as the cloud immediately flowed under the tent and outside. The magic enchantment in his arrows caused the cloud to break apart with each hit. Szordrin tried to bind the gaseous form of the genie to the earth, but he could not overcome the efreeti's magic. Free from the confines of the tent, it rose into the sky.

   Hakam and the others outside the tent saw the smoke cloud rising and could make out the shape of arms and horns. The cleric touched Kytharrah and an aura of blue, watery mist formed around him. Belvin rode up and instilled him with extra strength. Everyone felt a surge of speed, as Solisar hasted them. "Attack the genie if it comes near enough to strike!" ordered Hakam, and Kytharrah took an offensive stance and waited.

   But the genie rose higher into the sky, far out of reach of any melee weapon. "You! You are the mortal scum who stole my gem!" came a booming voice from the cloud, just as Leokas and Szordrin appeared back outside the tent. The upper portion of the cloud formed into the bare upper torso of a muscular humanoid with bronze-colored, metallic skin, black, magma-like blood pouring from a wound in the side and arm. The blood struck the sand and sizzled and hardened. A ball of fire ignited in Allu's left palm as he opened his tusked mouth and roared. "Give it... ugh!"

   Surrounded by another tunnel of wind, a magical arrow escaped from Leokas' bow, piercing the efreeti's neck.

   The genie fell from the sky like a meteor, bursting into a black cloud on impact, which dissipated into nothing.

   They gathered around the scorched sand where the efreeti had fallen. "That was anticlimactic," said Belvin.
Session: 100th Game Session! - Wednesday, Jan 24 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Lhynard
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De Exilio
Chapter 5 — The "Preparation Room"
They climbed up the stone steps into the ceiling some fifteen or twenty feet above, rising into another dark and massive chamber 50 feet high. The glowing omlar gem was able to illuminate most of the 50- to 60-yard cavernous room. It was empty of any visible life. Stalactites hung from the ceiling, but it appeared that any stalagmites had been broken off and filed down to make the floor as flat as possible. Large boulders and natural stone columns were distributed about the room, but the object that caught everyone's attention immediately was the portal gate in the center.

"The same black metal as what Samber uses," said Hakam.

They all approached the giant ring. It sat on a crude dais made of slabs of stone and was haphazardly embedded in concrete. It was about fifteen feet in diameter.

Szordrin, now holding the omlar gem, looked at the metal of the ring. It was made from five separate pieces. Each piece had the symbol of the Interlink Consortium of Bral etched into it. The discovery immediately triggered feelings of anger in the tiefling.

Solisar also looked more closely. "The metal is marked with the rune for fire," he explained, "just like on the odd faces of the omlar gem. It must be a portal to the Plane of Fire, though we have a scroll from the gynosphinx that we encountered that can help me identify this portal's properties more completely."

"At last," said Leokas, "we have found the portal for which the omlar gem is the key."

On hearing this, Szordrin stepped off the dais and handed the omlar gem back to Leokas. "I do not want to get too close while holding this then.

"Solisar," Szordrin continued, "use the scroll. I shall investigate the rest of this chamber in the meantime with my darkvision."

"I see in the dark too!" said Kytharrah.

"Come along then, Lunk, and I know that you are fast."

Kytharrah seemed confused but followed.

Solisar began reading the incantation from the scroll, while the other two elves and Hakam stood by. It took him about a minute, and during that time, he removed a small mirror from among his belongings. When he completed the final words, the glass of mirror began to glow a deep red color, and it looked to be covered in smoke.

"It is as we suspected," said the sun elf. "The portal activates for anyone passing through while holding the key. Actually, the key is only needed on the Material Plane side. That is, once through, the portal remains open back to the Material Plane, and, yes, its destination is on the Plane of Fire, though I cannot see through all the smoke to make out any details about the specific destination.

The others returned to report that they had found a tunnel on the opposite side of the cavern from the stairs. It seemed to slope uphill and curved to the north.

"What did the scroll reveal?" asked Szordrin.

"It leads to the Plane of Fire, but we cannot tell exactly where," Hakam replied. "I suspect that we would not be likely to survive travel through the portal at this point. That realm is not hospitable to most mortals of our kind, and I do not think that we have the magic to protect us from its heat."

"The Plane of Fire is more hospitable than many of the other Inner Planes," said Szordrin. "The Plane of Earth is just a big chunk of infinite earth and rock; the Plane of Air is just a big collection of infinite water, but at least the plane of fire has a bottom, has land to stand on. Because of the genies, there are even cities."

"You seem to know more about the place than I," said Solisar, somewhat surprised by this observation, "but is not the City of Brass still unsurvivably hot?"

"Well, yes."

"Hakam is right then," said Solisar. "We cannot pass through this gate now. We would have to come back with magical protections for all of us. Perhaps I could research such spells in Silverymoon...."

"Even with protective abjurations," said Hakam, "I will not pass through the portal without a backup plan for getting home. I shall have to acquire another planar fork tuned to the Material."

Kytharrah suddenly snorted loudly. He had spotted someone coming up the stairs. Belvin also noticed and watched as a hairy humanoid ascended. Short, pointed horns sprouted from his head, and he had long ears like an elf or goblin. The creature was garbed in leather armor, covered in studs and spikes, and carried a longsword in one hand and a handaxe in the other. When he reached the top of the steps, batlike wings unfurled behind him.

"It is Durbuluk," said Belvin. He raised his shield and scimitar.

Solisar heard the newcomer call out "Nomog smite thee!" in a fiendish tongue while pointing his sword toward Belvin.

A column of unholy fire enveloped the wild elf, and he screamed in pain as he hurriedly tried to extinguish the flames, only to find that they were no longer there; the magic was instantaneous. He dropped to his knees, his skin burning in pain.

Durbuluk leapt into the air, with a powerful flap of his wings, shooting up to the ceiling before any of the others could reach him. He hung with his axe arm around one of the stalactites.

"Belvin, are you...?" Leokas began.

"Do not talk to me; take him out!" shouted the druid. With that, he called out a frantic druidic chant, attempting to magically bind the half-fiend's wings, but he was in too much pain to complete the spell properly.

Leokas nocked an arrow.

Szordrin called out to the others. "Half-fiends have strong resistances, much stronger than tieflings!"

"Then aim for the stalactite!" Belvin replied.

Szordrin followed Belvin's advice and sent a series of force bursts at the stalactite, but the blasts did not break the stone. Leokas tossed the arrow that he had nocked to the the ground and reached for another one, silver tipped, more useful for injuring certain beings of the planes. Hakam moved off the portal dais and offered a prayer to Anachtyr to protect his companions, while Solisar rushed to Kytharrah's side.

"This is not play!" the sun elf instructed, pausing to enspell his own eyes with some divinatory magic. "Can you hit him with your 'goo bag'?"

Kytharrah tossed his last tanglefoot bag up with a powerful underhanded lob. It shattered and covered the hobgoblin cleric with a sticky mess. "Yes!" shouted the minotaur happily.

Solisar also tossed something up into the air, a tiny fragment of broken glass, which vanished.

"Try to fly now!" Leokas taunted, and he unleashed three shots of silver-tipped arrows in rapid succession. The first punctured Durbuluk's leather, but the second was deflected by either armor or magic force, and the third embedded itself into the stalactite.

Having caught his breath, Belvin retreated further back from the battle, easing his own pain with positive energy as he did so. Then, he began a summoning chant.

Durbuluk cried out in the same awful language as before, but this time, fire immolated him, thin, wispy flames of dim, purple light.

Again Solisar understood the words: "Nomog protect me with warm flame!"

"He is protecting himself from cold magic!" Solisar relayed to the others.

Hakam drew his sword and yelled out a command meant to dispel the enemy cleric's protective magic, but there was no response, and Szordrin, too, failed at attempting a spell of his own.

"I can shatter his stalactite," said Solisar, "but I need to get closer. Kytharrah, lift me up!"

Kytharrah grabbed the elf by the waist and lifted him nearly over his head, but it was a wasted effort. Two more arrows from Leokas found their target in Durbuluk's side, and then the fiendish hobgoblin let go, falling into a glide as a third arrow whizzed past him harmlessly. He glided directly at the opponent who had stuck him thrice with arrows, sword extended. Durbuluk came to the ground directly facing the wood elf, and drove his sword up with the added force of his quick descent. The blade plunged through Leokas' gut and the tip came out his lower back.

"I tried to fly," said Durbuluk in Common. He yanked the blade back out. "Did it work?"

Leokas could taste blood in his mouth, and he could feel the heat from the magical fire surrounding the evil cleric burning his skin. Time seemed to slow for Leokas, but in an instant, Hakam was at Leokas' side, before Durbuluk could take another swing, and positive energy surged through the wood elf. Durbuluk raised his sword again, but was distracted when a vial of some alchemical substance struck him, tossed by Szordrin.

Kytharrah set Solisar on the ground, grabbed his axe, and rushed over to flank the hobgoblin, while the sun elf tried to dispel the violet flames around the hobgoblin but failed to succeed.

Leokas, however, sprung back to land on the dais and drew an arrow.

"I know...." Twang. "...the most painful parts...." Twang. "...on your goblin body." Twang. Three more arrows joined their partners, and Durbuluk was beginning to look like a pin cushion. His attempts to deflect the arrows with his weapons or to strike the elf a second time failed.

"I feel no... ah!" Durbuluk's retort was cut off as a long-necked, blue-scaled, yellow-feathered creature with four sets of wings took a chunk of flesh and hair from Durbuluk's skull with its sharp beak as it swooped by. Belvin's summon from the Plane of Air had arrived. The four-eyed creature gave a high-pitched screech, as the flames about Durbuluk had burned it, and flew off to recover and circle about the massive cavern. Durbuluk now nearly stumbled over as dark goblin blood flowed onto his face from the head wound. He jumped into the air again and flapped his powerful wings to carry him some five yards into the air, but an arrow from Belvin now joined the others, puncturing one of the wings.

"Bree-yark! I yield!"

"Kytharrah, stay," said Solisar, but he readied a spell of his own just in case.

The elemental creature circled back for another nip at Durbuluk's head, as the half-fiend struggled to hover above them with powerful downward strokes of his wings.

"There are more where that thing came from," taunted Belvin.

"Spare my life, and I shall tell you everything that you want to know!"

"Tell us of Allu or I shall strike you with the wrath of the gods!" Szordrin shouted, pointing a wand of magic detection at the severely wounded foe and hoping that the half-fiend would not know the difference.

"This one is not a creature of chaos;" said Hakam, "we may be able to listen to him."

Leokas shot another arrow directly into Durbuluk's gut, precisely where the hobgoblin had stabbed him moments earlier.

"Now, I will listen." He lowered his bow, and Belvin dismissed his strange summon.

"Drop your flames, and tell us of Allu!" repeated Szordrin.

The fiendish hobgoblin dropped back to the ground, his goo-covered, arrow-punctured wings barely preventing him from crashing. Landing on one knee and bent over in pain, he dismissed his spell. Then, he strangely began laughing.

"I find it humorous that even his enemies do not know his actual name."
Session: 98th Game Session - Wednesday, Dec 06 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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