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

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Session 152, September 13 2023



We continue at 12:30PM on the 4th of Anurilden ( on the Apocalypse Clock) with the party arriving at Dun'Khel on the northwestern coast of Crescent Island. So far the dwarven fortress seems a welcoming place, accepting Thorfus as a lost brother and housing several individuals known to the group from their earlier adventures in Midmark and Feldmark. Can it be that the party has found a safe haven? A place where the Shemmites can settle and Caspar work on the stone blade's inscription? Does the settlements Lord Marshal have information about the current situation in Feldmark? Find out next time; or not.

Larry's Summary

Druul stays behind on the ship and keeps an eye on things to prevent the ship from leaving us.

Velkin is invisible and will try to blend in with the party and mass of refugees, if needed.

Captain Chen wants to know how soon we will be leaving. We tell him it could be a few days, as we need to get information and supplies.

He doesn't mind waiting a few days. He has weapons and some foodstuff for trade. Or find out if there's anything they need, I'll find a way to get it.

The boats are rowed in through the sea caves. The ceiling is rather low. It opens into a large open area, and way up the sky is visible. A natural spout of chimney. Carved into the walls we see different layers of Dun Khel. Almost like Malgrim in a way, but no pinched center like Malgrim.

There are stone piers here, built pretty tall off the water with tall ladders for the tides. A lot of the carving is higher up.

Individual balconies for various residences and buildings.

It is slightly reminiscent of Xenilum Khel for Thorfus.

There is a crowd on the pier, mostly dwarves, and others.

As we are looking, there is a harbor area, there are quite a few non-dwarves.

Thorfus uses his spyglass to listen for any interesting conversation. The dwarves are just standing around. He sees Em and her baby, who seems a little fussy. Also see Cvelnid Pierson and Mortimer Fennec and Nigel Arkenstone. We don't see the Bronze Wizard in the harbor.

Em asks if it is the Starchy Boyz and Thorfus is wearing his Starchy Badge.

They are looking as best they can.

Cvelnid thinks that might be Thorfus, I don't see anyone else I recognize.

We dock and they dwarves point out which ladders to use.

The party and Shemites (neo-Montoans) climb up together.

There are three more formally arrayed dwarves, and two salute and the third one is not armored performs a very formal bow as we arrange ourselves on the pier.

Speaking Welcomes us to Dun Kehl in name of the Lord Marshal Malthus Torvenkul.

The Lord Marshal looks forward to welcoming you. But you are welcome to meet your acquaintances before going.

They step aside. And the group of mostly non-dwarves move forward.

Em comes forward and says, Thorfus kneels and lays his sword before her and says, "I've failed you many times. But if you want my service, it is yours."

I thought you died? I got better and helps him stand.

She presents, please meet my son, Aubry. and shoves a baby into Thorfus' arms.

"I'm happy to see you." Lambertus, Kauri, Nash?

Thorfus, abruptly says, "We're it." Even the halforc is gone, "I'll miss Brittany."

The others come forward. Cvelnid reaches out her hand and introduces herself. I'm no longer an innkeeper, but you'll find this is a good place to end up.

Mortimer edges forward and says, "Aldus will want to speak to you too. You probably want to talk to the Lord Marshall first."

Then come all the questions about what's boing on, Thorfus says, "Not here."

Nigel Arkenstone( captain of the Bronze Wizard), I imagine you didn't find much more good news than we did.

Lambertus holds the baby and says that we don't know of Aubry whether he's alive.

It's been a month to several weeks. Em - So you've run into him.

Em - Monsters and demons everywhere, not here though. Some people have thoughts about why they're not here and they're not reassuring theories.

High Priest of Merendur Alesta Drakul.

Baswick Tellman - former harbormaster and mayoral candidate of Midmark, and part of Shadow Guard of Feldmark.

Admiral Quinnel Frank of Midmark.

Admiral Brigita Dykenson not here.

Thorfus slips a 1,000 gp gem into Em's hand. Oh, you don't have to, the Lord Marshall has been very generous. It's yours. I can't take it back. Well then, I'll be cooking for you.

Mortimer says, it's a bit crowded, but when you talk to the Lord Marshall, pointing up to a balcony, you'll be staying with us? Thorfus - We'll discus plans when there are fewer ears.

Malthus, he's a good guy, very generous.

As if hearing their queue, the dwarves steps forward. So are you prepared for your audience?

Velkin whispers in Thorfus' ear, asking if he should come visible. Thorfus goes to scratch his ear and gives a thumbs up.

Velkin goes into the crowd of Shemites and bops one to be visible and emerges from the crowd.

The party and those from Shem follow along.

Messenger, "Follow us then. I know the Lord Marshall is impatient to meet such heroes."

We follow along.

As we are going, Cvelnid says We'll meet up with you outside the audience chamber.

Down the docks to the harbor. Separate piers with separate areas. Not an overwhelming number. Not all dwarves, there are several humans. Everyone looks a bit on the thin side, even the dwarves.

We are marched straight through, and those working stop to watch this crew of adventurers and villagers.

We can hear some whispers wondering whether we bring any news, and what is going on our there.

No visitors in a while, so our showing up is news.

Into the caves and roomy enough, but not the massive thoroughfares of Malgrim.

Turns, gates, doors, stairs, etc. Winding up the edge of the chimney but enclosed in walls.

Go up about ten flights of stairs with caves in between.

Turned back to central chimney and a roomy balcony several floors down below.

It is a lot more like Malgrim, this balcony area and larger gates and doors for civic buildings of importance.

Eventually, turn inwards, cleared like a gallery ending in double-doors of silver maybe even platinum.

As we reach the doors, the messenger turns and says, this is the audience chamber of the Lord Marshall. I will introduce you. He will want to get to the point right away.

Where do you hail from? We are currently traveling? Just say that we are the Starchy Boyz formerly of Midmark. The Lord Marshall will want to know the specifics. These people are seeking sanctuary, and we have intentions to benefit the island, the captain of our ship is a merchant and has a few weapons and some food. At mention of food, it gets their attention.

I should also mention. The initial audience will be in the open court with other clan leaders so any delicate matters that might cause anxiety should be saved for the private audience to follow.

Just a moment.

He pushes the doors open and the door announces in dwarven, The Starchy Boyz, formerly of Midmark.

Among the pillars holding up the hall is a significant number of dwarves, and a dais with a throne, that looks like Silverthrone on which sits an older dwarf and beckons us to step into the center.

Come forward, Starchy Boyz, I've heard much about you. The renowned Thorfus Ironhand of Xenilum Khel. I now it won't assuage the pain in your heart.

We've had very little good news and very few visitors in the last month and especially since some of your friends on the Bronze Wizard.

Is the tide turning?

We brought these survivors that we rescued might found a refuge here.

The Lord Marshall switches to common and welcome them and grants them refuge.

Matching the stories I've heard, it speaks well of your character. Merchants of Armada you say. What cargo?

Some amount of weapons and some food.

Very well, Thorfus and the rest of the Starchy Boyz, we will see to these regugees, and this merchant.

Anything you need from us? Of course, if you require a place of refuge, you are welcome. Yes, your friends also of Midmark have offered to host you.

Perhaps once our wanderings are done, we'll find ourselves here.

The Lord Marshall stands and says, I think that's plenty of excitement for one afternoon, yes?

Why don't we close out this audience out early. In fact, I'll declare the rest of this day a holiday in honor of all that the Starchy Boyz have done for Curabel and its people.

Run along now.

Bring the Starchy Boyz to my chambers and we'll have some refreshments. He and his advisors step out.

The messenger steps forward. The villagers will be found accommodations. The party is lead back to the audience with the Lord Marshall.

Velkin whispers to Thorufs, you know these people don't have to be skinny, there's plenty of people around.

There is a side door and we turn off and shuts and bars door behind us and down some winding hallways.

Deposits us in a dining room where the Lord Marshall is with a single secretary and the messenger steps out.

Malthus gestures to the chairs around the table and we can have a more open discussion where politics won't get in the way.

I can tell you don't have good news for me, that's for sure. Thanks for not blabbing in the main hall and riling up the clan leaders. It's hard enough to keep order as it is.

The leader of the DVLs has a plan that will destroy all life on Media on 1st of Tenrilden (10 months) to open a portal to another dimension.

You have a plan?

We have more than one and some have been denied to us and those that remain we are working.

I suppose your showing up here is part of one of these plans?

Yes, our friend here, Caspar is an engraver who needs a space and perhaps some helpers to engrave this, motioning to the shard sword that Renthark puts on the table.

Master Artisan would a shop with a dozen apprentices work.

Casper, "A Dozen? Yeah." It would help a lot with the grunt work and points to his secretary and get that arranged immediately. Master Casper one unused workshop for indefinite use. Round up a dozen apprentices and swear them to secrecy. Keep it secret that the shop is being put back to use.

We should have come here several weeks ago.

Master Caspar is staying here? Yes, we hope to retrieve the sword when he is done.

Captain Arkenstone is eager to repay his debt to you. Apparently he owes you a debt and was supposed to pick us back up. He has his ship hidden down the coast, but if you're

We have reason to believe potential allies are near Feldmark, or something to aid us. They came by a ship. Recently? Yes?

The Lord Marshal sits back. He says, are you aware of the situation on Crescent Island and Feldmark since your group was last here.

I should say that nobody blames you, not really. You may hear some grumbling if you spend any time with the refugees from Feldmark. It's not really blame, despair maybe.

So the last time your group was here, so excuse me, this is secondhand information. You lead a campaign against a large group of infected. Yes, that is what I was told, as Thorfus looked around the table.

It was a large battle and you sent some of your friends here.

Through some planning you overcame the odds and were able to defeat this force marching to Feldmark and plow the bodies underground.

The defeated infected didn't stay under the ground. It is unclear, these things didn't die but dug themselves out of the ground and glomming onto each other in this huge creature of sickness that marched on its own to Feldmark and killed most likely thousands. Sparing only those who hid and fled when it looked elsewhere.

It is a wasteland now. Nothing lives there except a creature of sickness.

It is hard to image there are any allies. It can walk through the Feldrun with ease. It sits like a diseased king attacking all it sees.

We believe they have magic. That would be something.

Is there anything I can say to change your mind.

Unfortunately not.

So if there is any information you have, we would appreciate it.

There isn't much to say, we have sent some scouts. After a few failed attempts, we don't send anyone near the city at all.

I don't know how it works. In the beginning when we sent scouts to search for survivors, very few returned.

Velkin says it is an unholy abomination, if we can defeat it, we will.

With no ability to trade anywhere and not access to fields and foodstores of Feldmark, in the past we never had to worry about feeding our people. We won't last til the Spring with all the refugees. My people, not quite 8,000 and half again refugees and no food coming in.

We can do some fishing, without merchants or caravans from Feldmark. Things will fall apart sooner rather than later if that creature isn't taken care of.

The prevailing word among the council is that the DVLs may be afraid of it.

If we don't take care of it we starve, if we do, the DVLs come for us.

I think it wise to share some failures. Some went their own way until they ran up against the power of the DVLs.

The Winter King and Summer Lord are the source of the elves.

Looking at his hands then says it is ridiculous, dumb elven stuff.

Winter King invaded the deep gnomes and DVL worship Silence/psycics.

The Winter King made a deal with the DVLs because we had something he wanted.

The elves on this world broke from the two entities eternally at war.

I guess all these potential alliances ended badly.

You think you have more reliable allies in Feldmark.

We hope.

Ithirialma raises her eyebrows at that.

Velkin asks if he knows of any underdark here. We don't dig very deep here with all the water it's unsafe. We dig back into the mountains. We have not encountered any deep tunnels, it's just been us for centuries.

Ok, so uh, and says, yes, I know to his secretary.

I have to ask this, it's my duty to keep this khel going as long as possible.

Assuming this creature is not something you can deal with, there is one thing you can possible do.

What is that?

The refugees from Feldmark, you should speak with Baswick, There is a ship packed with food ready to go out when everything happened.

Based on what our scouts see, the ship is still there.

It would be suicidal as it is in the heard. If you were to bring that ship here, we could hold out for months more.

Thorfus says, "If not the group, I'll do it myself."

Velkin says, "If possible, we will certainly try."

The ship should be ready to sail. It's a big ship, but you're a large group.

Assuming you can get away from Feldmark, limping along the coast up hear, I'd send Captain Arkenstone with the Bronze Wizard to meet up with you.

I will definitely talk to your Armadan friend to buy what foodstuffs, but I doubt what he has will make a dent.

The numbers of trying to feed everyone here doesn't work. We won't make it to Tenrilden.

Enough about our problems.

Is there anything else you need?

Thorfus, A warm welcome is most needed.

Velkin asks about healing potions and if there is an herbalist.

He shakes his head, we are down to the dregs on that.

I can't in good conscious give away what little we have.

Perhaps if you return, especially with the foodstuff, maybe.

It is not fully in my control, the clan leaders will insist that you will be quarantined. You will have to stay in the bay for at least a week in the bay before you'd be allowed to return.

Individual infected join and become part of the giant abomination.

How soon will you be leaving?

We need to consult with our friends.

Kauri slips out the book.

Velkin asks if there is enough blank parchment to make a book this big.

That should be no problem.

Would you like it delivered to the residence where you will be staying.

(It took 4 complete days before, so at least 4 days.)

At least 4 days.

So you'll have time to spend with your friends before you go.

I can't deny that I was hoping for more concrete hope.

At least you're doing something.

He stand, I won't keep you any longer.

Thorfus also stands, and asks if there are any Ironhands here.

There are no Ironhands and no others from Xemilum Kehl.

The other kehls that Mortimer went to, they could not approach due to the DVLs. We could

Thorfus asks if there are any Dwarven singers of songs. We can send as many as you like.

Thorfus asks for one who knows the Ballad of Xenilum Khel and the bard keeping an eye on the Armadans. They will send one to teach Druul the Ballad of Xenilum Khel.

Take any opportunity you can for good song and good drink.

A tray is passed through and the guide comes in with another tray packed with tankards.

One for each at the table.

The guide whispers something to the Lord Marshall.

Really? That's quite a coincidence.

Lord Marshall does a dwarven toast, to ancestors, fallen khels, and the kingdom that was.

We drink and then depart.

Velkin toasts, hope for the future and success in the days to come.

Malthus drains his tankard and wipes his mouth.

Funnily enough we have visitors from Feldmark from an expedition. Lept in quarantine near the surface. Perhaps these are the allies you are seeking and you don't need to go anywhere?

Yori here will lead you up so you can speak with them.

We will make enough space that you'll be safe.

Perhaps they knew where we were.

I'll leave you to that.

Yori once they have spoken to the new arrivals see that they are taken to their friends.

Thorfus, if there is anything else you need, send word.

I fear I'm not doing a good job.

Not a word of this, the clans will close off and lock themselves away and hoard their resources and the end will come even faster.

Do not despair you are doing an excellent job, you still have a Khel.

We could have Caspar make Starchy Badges for us, since we need to wait

Actually, if it's OK with the group, rather than talk to these diseased I can check on this workshop.

Will it be close to where our friends live?

Fairly close, the workshops are not in the residential area.

Philomanthraxus says he wouldn't mind checking out the workshop when Velkin suggests it.

Yori grabs another dwarven guard to lead Caspar and Philomanthraxus to the shop.

Velkin whispers to Philomanthraxus to ensure it is secure.

There are four individuals. We have a way to keep you separate and safe.

Lots of walking to go up to where the others are. It seems pretty empty. Perhaps in the past, there were a lot more dwarves in this Khel.

Eventually the dwarves have to unlock doors.

Finally a room with metal bars dividing it in half.

I recommend staying back from the bars. Some infected have unusual abilities and can reach quite far.

Of course if you are touched at all by them you will need to be quarantined.

I will be on the other side of this door.

When the door is closed, we are alone for a few moments.

Thorfus suggests that the clerics be ready to cast cure light wounds.

Velkin sees a few shadows among the bars.

The doors beyond the bars open. 4 beat up individuals. 3 men and 1 woman with simple clothes, most likely from the dwarves.

They look around fearfully, and then to us.

Velkin says in common, greetings.

The woman steps forward and says, greetings, are you with the Small People?

We are visiting, we hear you come from Feldmark, what news do you bring?

We come across the far ocean to the South, and seek the - Velkin interjects, The Wardens of Medeia?

We just arrived today, it seems that fate has brought us together.

You say you are the Wardens of Medeia, can you prove it, there are signs that they carried.

Renthark, pull our the sword.

Renthark proudly pulls out the giant shard and turns it sideways to display the infinitely thin edge.

The stone weapon, yes, much like the Matriarchs chosen carried.

Velkin says in Ancient Common, the Matriarchs have been helping us, guiding us.

We seek allies in the fight with the DVLs.

You speak the old language of the Mothers, again, like the chosen.

You were to be carrying a token, something that the blessed bird mentioned a token.

Thorfus says that Rallion fell and the feather he carried is no more.

And his name, "Rallion of the Wode."

We understand the bars due to the creature in Feldmark. I am afraid we have failed you.

We are all that's left of our group from the Southern Tribe. We were 100 in number, lead by the Matriarch's chosen, who has also fallen.

Was it the giant abonimation? Yes, the giant creature of sickness, from the city of Feldmark as we understand it.

The dwarves? We only have very old stories of such creatures, and elves?

We must, I don't know.

Whatever the Chosen meant to do, we, looking to her companions who clap her on the shoulder.

We're sorry, but we only came to support the Matriarchs Chosen, We don't know what she intended or how we can help?

Velkin - Would you consider joining us. The bracer and the weapon? Not as big a weapon as that, but like this. There is a bracelet to use such weapons, it had 3 gems. But the chosen has been taken and is part of this thing now.

She has a bracer with three stones and a shard.

The thin dagger. Thorfus says, "I had one of those."

A companion steps forward, she spoke a little, not clear. She had visions from the Mothers.

She told us there was a door she had to open.

Velkin - We know of the door. She had a feeling of what direction it was.

Well, we know where it is, we've seen it.

So, that does it, we have to kill the creature.

Velkin asks about the creature.

It is huge, much larger than the tallest buildings in the dead city. Have you ever seen ants crossing a body of water? They can't swim, but they can hold on to each other and create balls and roll across the water.

It is like this creature is like that, like a ball of ants, teaming with small creatures that writhe and move about. Now that includes our former companions as well.

Its body's shape shifts and can extend multiple arms from itself.

It's like nothing I've ever seen before.

Were any of you touched or come in contact from this creature? Velkin asked.

No, we hid we ran and kept going North and it found so many of our companions and not us.

Maybe 5 days or 6. the woman nods, six days.

Their ship was destroyed by the creature. That's where they lost so many from the beginning.

Are there any practitioners of magic? The Chosen was.

Her magic uses ancient runes daubed with blood. None of them have this magic.

There were tablets though, on the ship. They must have sunk with the ship.

Aeda - Woman and Derile, Gartnaith, Eoganan. The men defer to her unless they have something to add.

The name of the Chosen was Amira.

There is only one Chosen at a time.

The Mothers chose them. A dream comes and they go and learn from the Chosen, usually when the Chosen is near the end of her life. But now the cycle is broken.

The Golden Spot is on the map over Feldmark, so we need the bracer, shard, and the tablets.

Ithirialma whispers that this plan may be at an end.

We have a map.

Thorfus says, well at least we know where this is, and some of us have been there.

Velkin mentions making a detector while we're here. Ithirialma starts reviewing her notes.

We just came upon this place when the dwarves found us.

We don't think we are sick, it's been many days.

We told a week if we came back.

You will have food and shelter, it is not the most pleasant, but you will be safe.

Your people have been kind here.

We have other plans that will take about a week, and then you should be able to join us.

Velkin asks if the Mothers have a strong presence where you are from. The Mother's bless all of our stuff, they are among us constantly. A strong presence? Is there a place they are not strong?

All of us among the Southern lands acknowledge the Mothers. It is a harsh land, but all who live there acknowledge them and pay our respects to them.

How best to show respects? We weren't raised in their traditions. We've left items important to us along the paths. What is proper?

She thinks for a moment and says, flowers, anything to do with sailing. Those are the things most loved, but especially flowers.

We have one of us who offered up a musical instrument and it can grow and create flowers.

Their eyes get big? He can grow flowers. But flowers, there are so rare.

It is a lot warmer here. To the South to nurture a flower is almost impossible, it is a sign of much grace if you succeed.

We would speak with him if we could.

Thorfus asks if they have run across any of the demons?

When we passed and island to the South of here, a large one, there were creatures of evil. But the Chosen saw them and we avoided the island. She said there were no creatures like that here. Yes, that is not one of those creatures.

We think this creature keeps the DVLs away.

So Amira saw true, just not all. Yes.

Aeda says that our hosts have been generous. These are good clothes for the weather here.

We require nothing except to do right by the Mother's Chosen to recover the items sunken or taken by the creature.

Velkin asks if they need weapons? They will need them, armor and weapons, yes.

We had nothing except our clothes we wore on the ship when we arrived.

Are you keen on any type of weapon or armor. Spears would be best. What about armor. Normal armor whatever hides you have.

Like this, and Thorfus taps his chainmail.

Metal armor? I suppose, if that is the custom here.

They are willing to try, if that is the custom amongst your people.

We will do all we can to

Druul is our bard, a singer of song and keeper of memories.

And a blood sorcerer? Yes, he can do that, and Felix, Lambertus, and Kauri.

We will rest now and speak again later.

She leads the men out the door.

Thorfus says, so know we know what we must do. We have to destroy the abomination and get the shard, gauntlet, and tablets.

Then get the ship with food and bring it back.

We'll have to kill the pirates.