Session One Hundred and Fifty-Three Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)

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Session 153, September 20 2023

Malthus.jpg

Introduction

We continue at 5:30PM on the 4th of Anurilden (00.000.08.26 on the Apocalypse Clock) with the party having just left their back-to-back audiences with Lord Marshal Malthus Torvenkul and the survivors of the Oswithan delegation (Aeda and company). Based on the information gleaned from these meetings, the party now believes there are stone tablets with blood magic rituals sunk in the harbor of Feldmark and a stone bracer with all three stones in the city itself -- perhaps even within the infected monstrosity that haunts that place. The current plan is now to wait several days for Kauri to copy the Nanocarbon-bound book for Caspar and then head to that cursed place to recover those artifacts of the Matriarchs. Will the group survive this trip? Can they recover the items without succumbing to sickness or the giant monster? Will these items allow access to the sealed chamber in Hdrasta? Is it truly safe in Dun'Khel and will it remain so if the infected giant dies? Find out next time; or not.

Larry's Summary

Youri Kehlson (an orphan) leads us to our lodgings.

Reach a nice looking iron bound door with an old clan sigil. Thorfus does not recognize it.

It is one of the old clan compounds no longer in use. It is where those from Midmark are staying.

At the end of the hallway is a balcony with sunlight coming in.

Youri asks if anything else. Asks Ithirialma to go with him to pick out her workshop. She asks Allician to go with her.

Philomanthraxus has the two pints of mercury.

A boat goes out to the ship to see about foodstuffs for trade. It is a little barge from the sea caves with dwarf rowers who calls up asking to speak to the captain about trade.

Captain Chen looks and says, you just want a ship to take you around to Feldmark?

Druul, says we may need a ride to leave Feldmark.

Chen said, my plan was to head back to Armada after that.

The dwarf comes aboard.

Druul suggests we might get some good information on where you plan to travel.

Captain Chen asks Druul to sit in on the negotiations, since he knows a dwarf, Thorfus.

Kull the dwarf says "Your companions said that you might have some food to trade?"

Chen - yes, isn't that right, master Druul.

Druul hypes it up.

Chen - a lot of it is very fresh, which would be good if you haven't had much trade lately?

The dwarf says that is good, how much in foodstuff do you have?

30 days of food for 42 individuals, and keep half to get back to armada.

When Captain Chen says about 15 days of food, the dwarf looks disappointed and says they're still interested in buying it. 7 gp per day.

It goes to 10 gp per day.

Chen offers 1/3 of sale to Druul as a finder's fee.

Druul urges him to try and sell the weapons to the dwarves.

The dwarf says, not interested.

Druul tries to emphasize the craftsmanship.

Druul asks to go in with them. It surprises Chen and the dwarf tells them to join them since there is a lot of room on the barge.

Druul plays to try and charm the dwarf and fails.

Chen looks for a tavern and invites Druul to go with him.

An official looking dwarf comes up and says, excuse me, are you with the party?

Druul says yes, and goes with the dwarf and Chen stays at the tavern.

The Dwarf says, Captain, the tide will be going out, you'll have to wait til morning to return to the ship.

Chen says he deserves a break.

Druul arrives shortly after the rest of the party.

The balcony is set up as a party. Not a bountiful spread.

We have a meal on the balcony and just after we started, Druul shows up.

Mortimer kicks things off to ask what our plan is and expects that is why we are here.

Cvelnid says it is save to talk freely.

The friends we were going to meet were

There's some stuff down there that we have to go get because we need it.

Em puts her hand to her mouth in shock.

Really? says Mortimer?

Some say it is certain death.

Thorfus says, we'll I'm willing to risk it if we can save the world.

Druul says, we can hold things close.

Mortimer looks around and says, perhaps we might have information to help you.

Well, Nigel do you want to fill them in on our mission?

He went with Mortimer and Cvelnid on the Bronze Wizard to see if any place was free of these creatures.

Port is free and hopefully Armada.

They are not free.

Besides Port, any significant port have a DVL presence.

Smaller villages along the shores have been emptied out.

Sent to larger cities to be DVL slaves.

Being sent to mainland for a massive building project.

Smaller islands a mixes bag, some left alone and life as normal, and others serve the DVLs as their new gods. They were promised to be among the first to help serve the DVLs purpose.

A couple thousand refugees from Feldmark. The Lord Marshall has been surprisingly easy to deal with.

With the deals between Feldmark and Dunkhel, this can't last forever, even if the DVLs don't come here.

Druul said that he can help.

What can you do?

Druul says, I can use my time to try and grow food before we leave.

Mortimer says, I know this group. You have some magic beans.

I do have means, I have been blessed by the mothers.

I can't promise a full crop, but I can help it move faster.

Velkin asks how he knows it won't take long.

Cvelnid says, there are planters. If we can be self-sufficient it will help take pressure off the dwarves.

There are all kinds of planters around here. Nothing growing in here, since the compound has been abandoned.

Velkin asks if there are any whole grains.

There are some grains and vegetables.

Velkin suggests starting with seeds and put them in all the planters we can see, then he can play his heart out.

Druul starts to play with a single potato in a planter.

Cvelnid goes around and collects all the useful scraps from this project.

Druul looks around for advanced science. It is not the expectation. Even though underground, it doesn't feel like underground with sun coming in, sea below, and funnel directs the wind.

Velkin uses his spyglass to see if any of the other planters have things growing. Some further away.

Mortimer scratches at his beard, other than hanging out here, that's probably all we have to tell.

Your group did us, I imagine most of us would be dead without you.

Bawick says, "Oh sleepy head is up."

It is an ancient looking dwarf. It is Aldus Runnelbrook.

Is that Thorfus? Thorfus goes up to shake his hand.

So the Starchy Boyz are in town, so are things going to start burning.

Aldus looks around, I don't know how long I'll be awake.

Have you seen my grandson, well,

What about young Em's beau, have you seen him?

I don't know how much help I'll be without my books, you have a plan?

Yes, says Thorfus.

All is quiet and Em says?

Do you know who is responsible about these books?

No.

It's not one of you?

You don't think Aubry has heard the tales?

It gets things wrong.

It mentions Commander Talon and says he's Aubry's father, and Thorful and Axus living on the moon. I wouldn't want him to think I left him for Talon.

Aldus puts down his tea. I looked into it before I left Midmark, but could not find them. Young Em even accused me of writing them

Velkin asks it these are true from other places?

Aldus says, I wonder....

Thorfus facepalms and says, I sure hope not.

Casper and Philomanthraxus and Ithirialma and Alician show up.

Casper says excellent workshop, he can get a lot of work done once the book is ready.

Velkin asks Aldus about the books. They were cheap press. I imagine it's someone in Midmark who heard some stories and made up the rest.

Mortimer says, So how long are you staying?

Thorfus says, At least a week.

Caspar says, oh and pulls out a bunch of parchment, Youri gave this to me for you and passes it to Kauri.

Mortimer says, Well, I guess we're caught up now.

Em, Aldus, Mortimer, Cvelnid. We came over before Feldmark fell when we still had magic. I guess we're the celebrities. Well Baswick was a big shot in Midmark before it fell, and Alesta too. We're the spokesmen for the refugees.

Velkin aks Alesta what she knows of the creature.

I'm the former high priestess of Merendur.

We thought that it best to confront it with those with divine powers.

When it came to the city in the middle of the night, it was already huge.

It kept adding more and more to itself.

When I last saw it, it was taller than most buildings in Feldmark.

Those it kills become part of it, and they pulsate and undulate and make up it's form.

The figures that make up it's body, they move and make appendages and extensions that crush and kill and extend it's body even further.

Not even curing wounds, poison, or disease would stop it. Bits of body would fall from it, but it kept going, but then we ran out of spells and then it subsumed the bodies of the clerics.

Thorfus, I was not here then, and could not help.

Baswick said that is best. If you do go there, quiet and sneaky and avoid drawing it's attention. If it takes an interest in you, run?

Thorfus asks how fast it is?

It can move as fast as the fastest man. It's reach is incredible, it kept getting longer. Hundreds of yards it could lash out.

It was made up of all kinds of sick. The ones with bony plating so weapons either sunk in or bounced off. The noxious miasma comes off it. None could stand.

How far did it chase you?

Baswick said, I don't know.

Alesta said it chased us miles to the foothills of the mountains still picking us off at the time. I don't know why it turned back when it could have killed us all.

Thorfus asks if it was only the clerics or were their wizards. The fireballs seemed to help a bit, but by then it was too big.

Thorfus says, So, it makes sense why the DVLs are afraid.

Velkin flips through Laris' notes and asks about the runes from the area in the underdark with the undead.

Alesta sneers and says they are not undead, or we would have turned them.

Sounds like a job for Nixomanthus? Ithirialma picks up? Do you think, do you think you should travel to Serpent's Tooth Island first?

Won't we need a sample of the thing?

Is it only one creature, or are others running around.

Baswick said that it can split off parts of itself, but it is one thing.

Thorfus, So it chased you from Feldmark to the foothills, how long did that take?

We ran and hid for at least a couple days?

Perhaps it is something about Dwarven settlements since it is an Ancient Dwarven disease.

Kauri thinks something back in Feldmark thinks something called it back.

Why is it staying in the city? It would be roaming the island otherwise?

Mortimer says, you know mask boy has a good point, everything there is dead or part of it.

Something or someone is calling it there so it has a reason to be there.

Kauri wonders what the mineral composition is under the hills?

Mortimer says that the Lord Marshall or some of the other dwarves might.

Aldus says, Mortimer, go find Youri and get and answer for the Starchy Boyz here.

Druul has already had some success with his potato experiment.

Cvelnid starts putting seeds in various planters.

Velkin takes a planter back by the door to see if anything happens.

Cvelnid sticks with Druul.

Nigel shows us the rooms to pick out.

There are many rooms. There is a formal feast hall they decide to use to copy the Nanocarbon book. It will take 4 days. Velkin helps Kauri with the book.

Peronelle looks through the shards to see if anything matches the dwarven book.

Nouri comes in and we ask him about the mineral composition and such of the foothills.

No iron or precious metals, or we'd have an outpost there.

What type of stone? There's quite a bit of limestone. It switches over a bit in the area around Feldmark, this side of the island is limestone.

Thorfus asks if it was settled before or after the fall of the Ancient Dwarven Empire? No, it was settled long after the fall.

So there was never an outpost of the ancient dwarven empire?

Do any mines go towards the foothills. Velkin asks for any connection to the surface, just in case. I can tell you as far as maintenance and upkeep they have not been taken care of.

Lime in an enormous cloud might have some effect on the

Ithirialma says that she knows we have pieces of the plane of stone, if we do that we'll need some nanocarbon, we will use a nanocarbon cube. We give her some mercury and pieces of Lambertus' last god stone.

Druul will work on growing. During day, work on charming merchants to At night will work on growing plants. Druul will look for a specific instrument a dwarven bard will use. Many are wind instruments. Druul buys an Alphorn. 1,200 GP for all the weapons. We hold out items for the Oswithans. Chen gives Druul 600 GP in gems.

Thorfus says that we must get the shard dagger, bracer, plaques without killing the giant to keep the DVLs away, and bring back the shipment of grain.

Druul can play to locate all the items we need.

Velkin can draw the creature away via shadow stepping so the rest of us can retrieve the items we need.

I have a plan to get the shard and bracer, if it's part of the giant.

Also we can't let the Armada ship return to Armada.

Thorfus looks for the clan leader's rooms in this abandoned area, and asks what the name of the clan was.

A dwarven bard shows up to teach Druul the Ballad of Xenilum Khel.

Druul learns the ballad. Thorfus is misty eyed every time he hears the Ballad of Xenilum Khel. He requests it often.

The plants have to be close to Druul to have an effect. We can crowd a lot of planters around Druul so there is minimal room for him to stand.

In four days the nanocarbon book is copied.

On the third day, Peronelle pipes up and the piece of the shard from Xenotel, it perfectly matches the last few lines we have been copying.

Look! What does that mean?

If the orb's writing was static, it would not contain everything.

They mark the place in the book where it matches exactly.

They then try to go forwards and backwards using other shards to try and match them up.

Ithirialma and Philomanthraxus are pretty happy with the work they are doing.

Ithirialma lets us down, they will not be interchangeable, they have to be sealed.

Caspar doesn't have much to do until the book is ready. They send the pages as they are done. They number the pages. So he starts on the second day with the prior day's pages. Renthark spends time in Caspar's workshop.

Does the shard that matches the book? We don't have a transcription to compare.

On the second day Lord Marshall meets with us in private, and has a bit of concern. I've heard of those in quarantine. They were talking. Those humans were talking about you killing this beast.

I wasn't the first one to get word of this. Some of them have forced my hand and I must forbid you from doing so.

Thorfus says that we don't think we can kill it, we were only thinking out loud.

Kauri - we are wondering why it isn't rampaging all over the place. So you're the one having Youri search the archives. We don't have much, but Youri has a theory. Based on some passaged from the earliest documents of our archives, he thinks there may be another Khel further inland near Feldmark. Our records don't extend back that far.

Kauri thinks that we can find some way to control it. If it has no intelligence, it would be rampaging all over the place.

Lord Marshall, well, I guess then. I supposed if you're going to Feldmark anyway.

We are trying to get the food ship.

As a personal favor if you can determine exactly what is keep it there.

Kauri - Yes, if it can leave, or you can control it, you can protect yourselves.

Food is the priority, but if you can learn anything, maybe we can start using the fields again, if it is safe.

Velkin asks what the true limit of food? The Lord Marshall thinks they can make it to the beginning of spring. We will have to start strict rationing before then.

Velkin asks what the Ancient Khel's did for food? They had some rather unusual mechanisms. (Refrigeration and Stove, and flying machines to transport food.)

Clan Haurthul is the clan formerly hear. Thorfus asks why it is now unoccupied. Youri says that a lot of clans have died out over the centuries. At some point they merged with another family, when there were not enough left. Oblivion by marriage. I can look for the specific story. He gestures at all the other balconies that have faded away and merged over the years.

Before Ithirialma heads off to work with Philomanthraxus, she calls us all together.

She says, I know that the time is approaching for the journey to Feldmark. I don't think I'll be joining you. I feel I owe you some explanation. While I cannot argue that what you are doing will help. I feel it is foolish to pin all our hopes on dealing with this creature is quite formidable. It also means an end to an alternate solution this world faces.

So in the same way that we have agreed that Caspar will stay here. I plan to stay with Philomanthraxus and Alician to finish these orbs, but if you don't return, there will be someone left to keep the quest going.

And of course Velkin, if you wish for me to cast invisibility before you leave. I will do so.

Velkin suggests leaving the bracer with the Caspar, in case we don't return.

Shard sword, mercury, god stone shards, nanocarbon cube, gems with bracer.

We plan to leave what we don't need and just take the necessities.

Youri comes on the 6th day with some very ancient looking maps that he shares with us.

He points out, there are mines that extend towards Feldmark, but they don't make it out of the Mountains as far as we know.

We compare our map of ancient khels to see if one shows on Crescent Isle.

There are four red dots on Crescent Isle, on the other side of the Mountains. One more northerly of Dun Khel, and a couple at the lower foot of it. There is also one on the small island to the SW.

None of these ancient khels line up with the exact spot in the foothills.

Clan Harthul was absorbed into another clan a couple of centuries ago. Clan Sankravul absorbed them quite a while ago. A powerful clan that tends to give Lord Malthus a hard time.

Druul also grows some healing potion ingredients. Druul gets 8 doses of ingredients.

Alex can brew them prior to we leave.

We have to figure out how to deal with the Armada ship. 14 sailors and Captain Chen. (13 adults and 2 kids Shemites)

Kauri leaves behind the 9 volumes of spells for Aldus to hang onto.

Thorfus suggests that Druul concentrate on locating the cause of the giant turning around.