Session One Hundred and Seventy-Five Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)

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Session 175, April 3 2024

Lolth2.png

Introduction

We continue at 8:30AM on the 26th of Anurilden (00.000.08.04 on the Apocalypse Clock) with the party having just entered the web portal spun by the spider Lolth assigned to Velkin. The group hopes to secure an audience with the Spider Queen Daemon and negotiate both the rescue of the Dun'Khel dwarves from the imminent DVL invasion led by Mephistopheles and safe harbor for Caspar Dealbator to continue his engraving work on the Stone Sword. Can the party convince Lolth to save the last dwarves on Meidia? If so, what will her cooperation cost and can she really shield so many from Asmodeus? Find out next time; or not.

Larry's Summary

Session 101 was the last time we met with Lolth, about 5 weeks ago in game time.

Standing in the webbed hallway emanating away from the door, Velkin speaks to the little spider asking about Lolth who does not reply.

The spider turns and heads towards the door.

The door reluctantly opens with a squeal. It is open enough that we can slip through.

A bit of chilled air flows. There is a bit of a catwalk and empty space. Only the faintest bit of light illuminating the catwalk. The rails and stanchions have fancy patterns.

It is a crossroads of passages in a huge circular room. In center of open area is a mass of web shaped into a thick platform that is attached to the catwalk by various strands with a glow from the center. The glow lets see the room and strands and thousands of spiders.

There are five figures in the central platform arrayed around a hole in the center of the platform. They are wearing robes and have not turned to look at us yet.

There is a sound from down deep below, a horn or bellows and a blast of warm are shoots up, shaking the platform, not phasing the five figures on the platform.

A drow priestess with adamantium armor and purple gemstones turns and sneers in our direction. It is Jarlana. She beckons us to the platform.

As we stand there debating which way to go an iris opens above and something down below rumbles and shakes the entire platform as another blast of hot air rises. One iris shuts and another one opens followed by the blast of air.

We wait for Velkin to quickly move on the strands before the next blast of air to ensure it is safe and it can be done before the next blast of air. It isn't an issue is we are careful and move slowly.

A new screech of metal and openings change above with the next blast of air.

Velkin keeps his feet and Jarlana gives a nod then turns to stare into the center of the hole with her sister priestesses.

It seems safe to get two people across at a time. Thorfus helps Em across. He doesn't want her left behind on her own.

Renthark and Druul, then Kauri and Caspar, then Aeda and Glompus, then Prix and Alesta, finally Thorfus and Em.

Snuffles stays at the side.

There is a stead stream of spiders at our feet constantly moving everywhere.

Velkin walks around the priestesses and the light is from it. A large figure pushes itself up from the hole.

The creature crawling from the hole is like a drider but much larger in scale. Features similar to Velkin, but the upper part of the face is covered with dozens of arachnid eyes.

Lolth towers above us looking at us.

Velkin takes a knee, puts his fist on his knee, and lowers his head. Jarlana also prostrates herself.

Caspar follows Velkin's lead. Prix takes Renthark's stoic lead. Thorfus stands in from of Em and Aubry in a protective stance. Em looks away fussing with Aubry. Druul looks at her feet. Kauri is neutal, as is Aeda. Glompus copies Velkin. Alesta crosses her arms and gives Lolth the same look she gave us when we bothered her about the tablets.

After Lolth looks at us a moment. Lolth opens her mouth and a small spider enters and a voice emerges from the area of her head and her lips don't move.

Last time we met we viewed the weft and weave with a plan and allies, we wonder what progress you have made, have you found a weapon of the highest reality and the true name.

We have a weapon and had the name, but it was destroyed.

Velkin explains that the last dwarven khel was protected by a generator in an ancient dwarven khel where Jubilex was, but it exploded so the khel is no longer protected. We seek aid or refuge for about 8,000 dwarves. Mephistopheles said that the destruction would happen in 3 days.

Lolth looks confused and another spider swaps out and then she says that she knows of Jubilex who cast himself free and re-wrote his own name. We explain that Jubilex is now being tortured in the Brass City by Asmodeus.

We are sorry that another of our kind

Mephistopheles told us that he is also free of Asmodeus. She gets an angry face from a larger spider. We know the brother, we suspected he evolved enough

Exploited a blindspot in the pattern to betray us and we wish not to speak of him.

Velkin reveals that Mephistopheles warned that you should move.

We knew that when we sent word to our envoy to create this portal it would be compromise.

You wish us for a boon to save the enslavers? Thorfus speaks up that they are the descendants of the slavers, not the slavers.

How would saving these monsters.... What recompense have they made for their ancestor's sins.

Velkin says that the dwarves of this khel aided us and shared their food. The craftsmanship of the dwarves speaks for itself to work with our two races.

Lolth raises herself up and says that we care not what these creatures can do for us. You speak in vague terms we are unmoved.

Jarlana appears to be chuckling under her breath.

Thorfus says that I am a dwarf and why would you help this party if I am a member. The largest spider yet, we know what you are, since your group may be instrumental in cutting the weave of our enemies plans. Beyond that, dwarf, I care not for your life.

Velkin says that their skills as armorers could help us with the construction of the weapon to take care of Asmodeus. Lolth sits back. We think this is a more moving rationale.

Glompus says, I'm new to your whole family drama thing, have so few allies, that we can afford to cast them off. They are good craftsmen and fighters.

How should we save these dwarves that they would be safe from the enemies' gaze and not draw attention to ourselves?

Lolth says, we have no place to take or keep refugees that they would be safe and not endanger our safety, not have we enough servants. We have not nearly enough to make the portals that would save these dwarves.

Velkin asked if any spiders are able to open these portals. A smallish spider enters her mouth. All spiders belong to us, they are us, we are one. Velkin raises and eye and looks at Thorfus. Thorfus says I don't know anything about it.

A small spider that Velkin recognizes. We know the artifact you carry, it has legions enough to weave connections to everything. We would have no problem controlling this box. We are the spiders. We would be their mistress, their ... We are them and they are us.

We would with infinite spiders reach across into multiple places to weave a path for your friends to escape their well deserved fate in addition to places to strike the enemy and hide. We know no limit to all planes, all spaces, are known to us.

Under his breath, Renthark says in gnome, I'd be happy to no longer carry this box. It is uncomfortable to carry around. Do we really want to give infinite power to Lolth?

Thorfus asks how can we trust you? You, dwarf can trust us as far as our interests align. We only wish to rule our followers in the underdark. We have no interest in Asmodeus' crusade. We would go on, we would survive, we would rule. Velkin requests that House Herig have your ear in perpetuity if the box is to be used.

Lolth says, we ask then, do you offer this artifact as a gift from House Herig? This is what I say, House Herig is now first among houses.

Jarlana is not a happy camper now.

Thorfus asks where the dwarves would go? Lolth can pick or she can pick. Thorfus argues for freedom and safety and continuance of way of life. We can guarantee no safety and will put them where we can so they will survive. We could bring them back to your world once Asmodeus is defeated.

Velkin mentions that Caspar is working on a project, if he is safe and retrievable we may have an answer to our dilemma. It is a weapon of highest reality, show us. Velkin pulls out the wrapped sword and reveals the unetched end. We are pleased. We see that you did find the strand that could bring us to victory.

We will aid Caspar. Make it known anything needed for completing this project. let us know what and we will get it. Druul asked if Lolth can restore his family? Do you have them? No, they are buried. Do you know where they are buried. If you can bring them back, I'm sure he will do his best. Lolth looks at him and says if you exert yourself in the utmost and tell us where they are, we will bring them back.

Glompus says, You rule the underdark, right? I should. As a noble vassal of House Herig, some friends of ours got sucked down into the underdark, can you tell us if they live? We will search for them once you hand over the artifact. We should be able to do so if you can tell us where they are. We pledge our best effort.

Lolth continues, we will raise up House Herig, first among houses, but we have no priestesses of House Herig. We need a solution.

Velkin kneels down before Lolth and says With House Herig bringing change to our people, I will offer to be the first priest of Lolth. She physically recoils away from him. An angry looking spider enters her mouth. We ask for no priest, heresy.

Thorus says that Velkin has been hit in the head too many times. Can Jarlanna switch houses? Velkin Herig do you have any female siblings, or other relatives. I did. I don't know if they're still alive. We don't know ourselves.

We like the dwarve's recommendation. An albino spider crawls into her mouth, Jarlanna Thuul step forward. She does. We just barely make out the mumble and she still has her hand on the dagger and steps up next to Velkin. Lolth says, Jarlanna Thuul, now Jarlanna Herig, by marriage.

Several spiders crawl up both Velkin's and Jarlanna's legs. With an inexplicable look on her face, she reaches out her hand. The spiders weave a web connecting their hands. Lolth says, we are pleased, Jarlanna Herig is a good high priestess, we did not wish another.

Jarlanna says, Mistress of the Web, may I speak? We grant it. Is Velkin Herig first of House Herig. Lolth nods and says we deem it so. He brings the artifact and raises his house. Jarlana smiles and it gets bigger as she pats the pommel of her dagger. I look forward to our honeymoon once our current trials are over. It will be the sum total of your life.

Jarlanna, I couldn't imagine a more deserving woman for me. She draws her dagger brings it towards Velkin and she neatly slices part of it and Velkin does likewise. She steps half a step away and bows to Lolth and returns to her position.

Can you open a safe path in and out of Asmodeus' vault? We can undo many of his plans. A largish spider in her mouth. We know the vault and it's location. We could connect it, and make a path to it. We could not guarantee it would be safe or a place you could return from. Thorfus says, I think that is an option if all others fail.

Velkin says with your blessings and powers, the ability to move from place to place is a blessing to our cause. Is there any danger from the other DVLs. We know that they can see and follow the strands. You were told by the enemies' brother that we were no longer safe due to our portal. Stitches leave a mark on the in-between. With enough of us, and countless legions of us, and strands binding together so many places, the enemies' eyes will be confused.

Could you return our Wizard Jaxx to us? We don't know this Jaxx. But depending, if you know where he is. Does your reach hit other planes and realities. The threads between other realities are few and far between. If this Jaxx is beyond our reality and it is not adjacent, if there is no continuity between the strands, then no, I would not be able to return him to you.

Velkin asks if the Wardens of Medea can use her boon of portals to travel as needed. We will send servants as before.

Thorfus asks for cure disease, remove poison, and healing potions. Lolth suggests that we ask the High Priestess of House Herig.

Lolth's eyes wander over us, and asks if there is anything else. Thorfus asks if she can bring our friend Aubry, Em's husband, also known as the Righteous Hammer. He also fought against the remnants of the ancient dwarves. Thorfus turns to Em and says, Lady Em, I don't know who else to ask, or what else to do, but that is the best I have to offer.

Thorfus says we need a safe place for Lady Em and her son Aubry. We will find her safety. We will be keeping Caspar close to us and your Lady Em as well.

Druul pulls out a fine dagger and asks Lolth if she would bless it as a wedding present for House Herig. Lolth says we would be glad to and reaches for the dagger. She bends over it and a large spider enters her mouth and she takes the dagger and shoves it into her mouth then pulls it out with the spider on it and hands it back. Druul presents the dagger to Velkin with the spider that was his friend. The dagger has a sheen to it now, a green oiliness.

Thorfus looks at Prix and Alesta and wonders about asking Lolth about solving the riddle of the tablets. Both Prix and Alesta ask if we want to give her more power.

Velkin mentions that a lot of the stuff we have to carry is rather bulky. Do you have the ability to make a localize portal. Lolth says we remind you that they can see the strands.

Thorfus asks Lolth if she can stop the living undead infected to end this disease. It isn't clear to us how we can help, we can think on it.

We could ask if Renthark wants to go recruit a bunch of his buddies. Velkin says that our influence extends to the Astral Plan. We would point out though that the Astral Plane is ever shifting. We doubt you would have a location for us to connect to. Renthark looks a bit deflated by that.

Druul asked if the servants she sends can stitch portals to other places. Are you able to stitch to the plane of time? We don't know, where is this place? Velkin says that it is one avenue we encountered, but we don't know where it is.

Thorfus asks, where will we go from here?

Last time, we put you on the strand that you needed to be on, but now we are not sure.

Velkin says where I want to go next, but I don't know the wisdom of dropping us directly there. (Hdrasta).

Velkin asks, would I be able to command, with your blessing of course, Mistress, and army of these spiders? No, but we will be looking for other survivors of House Herig, and we will let them know that you are first of the house. Those we deem suitable, we will send to you.

Velkin says, perhaps it is best if my house stays close to your to help protect you, then open a path to me when needed. Lolth nods. We are agreeable to that.

Jarlanna steps next to Valkin and says Mistress Lolth. You may speak high priestess. I cannot help but worry for my husband. He goes to face the enemy to risk his life. Clearly, I am required here to serve you. Would it not make sense for one of my handmaidens to accompany him and keep him safe. It would put my mind at ease to have him in the care of someone I trust so completely. Traveling with these non-drow and no religious direction to keep you on the path. Lolth nods.

Velkin asks to choose the handmaiden, if it is Lolth's will. I have no objection if Mistress Lolth agrees. My faith in Lolth has been reinforced by my adventures. Clearly it would benefit my handmaiden. I can see that there are others in your group who believe differently. Perhaps an actual handmaiden would be helpful. Velkin proposes since Jarlanna is the only priestess of House Herig, as soon as Lolth's minions locate a priestess of House Herig, she can be sent to me.

But darling, due to the great urgency of the quest you are on, perhaps Lolth would seconds a member of House Thuule to House Herig. Velkin says that we have reduced House Thuule. Lolth says, perhaps not one of the handmaidens of which we have so few. What about one of your other servants. Jarlanna loses her smile. Mistress Lolth you would, he's so useful. He was freed. Lolth says, that's fine. As you said, it's important and for your worry for his safety it makes sense to send your servant with him.

Velkin bows his head and says I think that is very wise mistress. Very well, Jarlanna takes off the ring and hands it to Velkin. (Did she recapture Vikram.)

With that out of the way, let us present this artifact as tribute from House Herig.

Velkin asks Renthark to step forward and he unshoulders his pack and unbinds the Spider Box and sets in in front of Velkin and Lolth. Lolth caresses it with all her arms and she puts her head on it whispering.

Velkin leans in and says to Jarlanna that you can hear them whispering. Isn't this what you wanted.

Lolth flips open the lid of the Spider Box and they slowly and hesitantly crawl our and onto her arms and all over her and into the web beneath our feet. This goes on for a while until she gently closes the box.

then she remembers that the rest of us are here.

With a new spider in her mouth. We are please with this tribute, House Herig first among houses, Velkin first among Herig.

You wish to return while we prepare a portal for the dwarves.

Velkin says that we should probably let them know what is happening. Yes, and a huge swarm of spiders open a portal on the platform.

Go make your arrangements, we will open a strand from that place to this and then elsewhere.

We mention if the dwarves are in a safe place, perhaps Caspar can work with them. We will consider this, the place we have in mind could be use to Caspar.

Thorfus asks if we can arrange for updates from Caspar on his progress and how Em is using.

Thorfus looks at Em and says this is the safest place I can think of. I will do all in my power to find Aubrey. She looks at baby Aubry and says, at least he won't be afraid of spiders.

Renthark looks at Snuffles, and says, I can carry him.

Renthark grabs Snuffles and times it to get over with us.

Velkin leans over to Caspar and says keep it secret, keep it safe. Velkin slips the book into Caspar's pack while handing him the sword.

Caspar whispers back, I will, I understands. Velkin says don't be afraid to ask for help and whatever you need.

Velkin goes first into the portal. It looks like the same place in the dining room from which we left in the dining room or whatever where Alesta was working on the tablets.

Velkin asks where should we send the dwarves and when? The center of their Khel in twelve hours. Is there anything special they need to bring besides food and weapons? No.

We pass through the portal. It is 10:40 AM on the 26th. So about 11:00 PM the dwarves need to gather.

Jarlanna with the sweetest smile waves and Velkin reciprocates.

Nigel is sitting at the table with some tea, almost to his mouth.

Thorfus says we've got twelve hours to gather the dwarves. You all can go with the dwarves or take your chances on the ship. Nigel says he'd rather take his chances on the ship.

Alesta says good luck (with the Lord Marshall), I believe I'll wait here.

Alesta keeps studying the tablets. Aeda stays to keep guard with the chosen one's holy writings. Renthark can stay and help keep watch.

Prix stays also, since the Lord Marshall seemed suspicious.

Velkin motions towards the portal. and says that my lovely bride is a selfish, self-righteous bitch.

We go to the Khel guards and let Yuri know that we are on our way and will meet him since time is wasting. Yuri is surprised we are there so soon. Thorfus says we need to see the Lord Marshall now. Yuri says he is in the public audience chamber. We have to speak to him now in private. We have 12 hours.

It is about 11:45 AM when the Lord Marshall is able to come through the door. Torvinkul comes sweeping in. Sorry, the heads of the clans. I think they suspect something is up. Some of their people tried to delay me.

Thorfus says, then I suggest that they

The Lord Marshall places the circlet on the table and looks at Thorfus.

Let me understand if I understand this correctly.

The DVLs are coming in twelve hours? No, the DVLs have orders to come here and destroy the last dwarven khel. A way out, a portal to another location will be opened.

How did this happen? Velkin explains that it is Lolth. The demon lady of the drow.

Where? We don't know for sure where or your level of freedom,

So I need to go to the public audience chamber and tell the heads of the clans that the DVLs are coming, and that we need to leave in a few hours into a portal in a few hours. When we defeat Asmodeus they will be returned.

I will be laughed at and there will be pandemonium as people panic and flee.

Velkin says we made a grand trade with the demon lady and her goals are very limited.

So she's been paid? Yes, she has been paid to provide a safe place for the dwarves.

He pulls on his beard, and says, Master Glompus, can you speak with your people? Yes, I planned to do so, as they are amenable to leaving. I also suspect that, well I know Baswick Telman have a lot of influence with the refugees from Feldmark and see that he speaks with them. I feel better about those two groups.

It is the heads of the dwarven clans, I just don't know.

Would any of you be willing to speak? Thorfus says, I will speak.

I would not expect a warm welcome or a pleasant reaction.

It might be helpful to argue the case.

We've been sheltered from the DVLs. The larger clans might feel they have better options. Either stick it out here, or run.

You can explain to them what they can expect.

Twelve hours, we have to go now. Master Glompus, go talk to your people. Is someone willing to go back to get master Telman and the others to talk to the Midmark and Feldmark refugees. Kauri goes.

Velkin suggest we seal the chambers until a decision is made, and the lord Marshall nods to Yuri who heads out. We end up on the dais and all the different factions are grouped.

Guards thump their spears on the floor to announce Lord Marshal Thorvenkhul. Just before he sits, he says, "We have news."