Session Twenty-Three Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 23, December 9 2020
We continue at 11AM on the 17th of Tenrilden with the party in their rooms at House Herig after the abortive attempt on Jherlana Thule's life. They are waiting for Aquil Herig to return with guidance on how they can flee Vilgrim without being caught and executed ...
The tea allows Rallion, Brendil, Oskar, and Borthun to travel via Astral Projection to the drow temple area.
The rooms of Jarlana are unoccupied. We follow a drow patrol down.
In the area where the drow had the spider box we observer and see the Dark King, a human wearing a platinum mask with the face of a dwarf.
We think to go to where Jarlana and Vikram are now and appear in a new set of rooms with a lot of drow guards from house Thule (purple). An older female is talking with Jarlana. The older drow holds up a book. Jarlana summons Vikram who reads in common, so we realize it is Laris' journal. Thus they know all that we know from the time of Laris joining the party, our activities on the Xeno Tel station and our role in the end of magic in freeing the demons & devils from the ancient space dwarves.
Brendil tries to chop off Jarlana's hand, but his sword just passes through her. Vikram looks in the direction of Brendil and either chose to hold his silence, or merely sensed something but did not see what it was.
We begin to feel nauseous and think to return to our rooms and when we do, we find Borthan already there, as he was not with us in Jarlana's new rooms. Rallion, Oskar, and Brendil all vomit. We later learn from Borthum that this is common the first time. We also learn, thanks to the half orc Druul who can speak deep gnome, that the tea is made from the dung of a creature from Borthan's home world. It lasts about 30 minutes and when it wears off you end up back in your body. He has enough to make two more pots of tea, enough for 6 each time. The tea does not keep.
Borthun is anxious for revenge for his fallen comrade, even if it means death.
Aquil Herig frees the half orc bard Druul to escort us through the upper catacombs, and sends a representative of the Magisters, Velkin, to explore the condition of magic's change and lead us through the lower catacombs since he has read about them. Velkin has a pech servant, Forcus. Velkin tells us that we are looking for the tomb of the Winter King's Seneschal. Aquil will tell the rest of the drow, when they come looking for us, that we were deluded agents of The Silence (mind flayers), as one of us mentioned that we didn't recognize our face in a mirror. The information from the member of The Silence we slew were also on Laris, so it is even more believable that we were under the influence of The Silence.
We know that there will be guards at a locked gate, and Aquil gives us papers to let us through.
We avoid drow in the catacombs and meet a fungus person, Lungmold. Rallion re-traces Lungmold's steps as he was lost, and it is in the direction we wish to go. Lungmold says he was sent to get us after we passed his people's territory without drawing our weapons. He knows of a crack formed by water.
We surface dwellers and Lungmold hide in a side passage, while Velkin and Druul send the guards after the giant mushroom they said burst in. Velkin outranks them so it was easy to do. The guards gave Velkin the key. We then met up. Lungmold takes care of the guard he injured entering the upper catacombs. Velkin opens the door and hangs up the key with a note, since we can't lock the door behind us.
Velkin's note says:
Fungus guy came back, following him down, lock up behind us we’ll report in when we’re able.
We then see some statues up ahead and a spider appears. Borthun senses it phasing and is ready.
Two spiders appear among us and one bites Druul who falls frothing at the mouth. Lambertus uses an alchemist potion to treat his poison and saves him.
We kill one spider and drive off the other seriously wounded. Lungmold tied a bell to it, so we can hear it coming. We do not hear it after it gets far enough away from us.
The statues are of elves on horseback and we assume they are of Peronelle's people. Between the statues are stairs going down and cold billowing up. This is the way Lungmold came and his feet burned. Rallion gives him two large sacks to use as shoes as there must be ice on the floor. The belts of the elven statues have intricate designs that Azra tell us are snowflakes.
We go down the stairs and find a large room, but it is filled with mist with ten feet of visibility.
To the future purveyor of these writings,
The sudden and unforeseen abeyance of arcane magic is a troublesome thing. I feel it will be a topic of legend for generations. These are the notes of one man’s observances during these times. I sincerely hope these pages survive to one day shine a light through the darkness of your past regarding the happenings known to this seeker of knowledge. I make these notes in deference to those who came before that have illuminated my sight into ages past.
-Velkin of House Herig
I’m not sure what to say. Something is terribly amiss. Magic doesn’t work. The Magisters are in disarray, pointing fingers at the Priestesses for successfully lobbying Lloth to take away any competition for power. I’ve never seen some of these high stationed people unnerved and looking like a slave sent to the Arena. It’s a crazy time right now and I have my gear prepared for a mission, with all the chaos, I’m certain something will be going on soon. Until then, I’m hitting the books and looking for any hint as to what could have set such an event in motion and if there’s any clues to a remedy. News coming from our contacts in the priesthood concerning the Necropolis are troubling.
The Dark King invades Vilgram. Not quite in the literal sense, but close enough. Once he arrived with his retinue of warriors and lackeys, the majority of the younger Magisters conclave aligned with his philosophy. Looking for an ally countering the unbridled power the priestesses have now. Short term goals aimed toward local dominance. The priesthood has other plans. Fighting Those From Beyond. Rumors fly of powerful artifacts and end of the world, but nothing new there with conspiracies, outright fear and unabashed conniving.
After Magic disappeared, all except for the Priestesses, we’ve been scrambling. The manufacture of our racial items has not been harmed, nor has alchemy as far as we’ve tested it. There are stances shaping up on the next direction of goals. However I dislike the priesthood’s haughtiness, the threat they describe seems more existential. The Silence have been a nagging presence for years, not to be discounted, or ignored. They’d need to be dealt with in some way before traipsing off who knows where in the dimensions while leaving things weak here in our home, ripe for conquering. In my humble and insignificant opinion.
The past week and a half have been less than entertaining. I’d been striving to complete my apprenticeship with the Magisters when arcane magic stopped working. Years of study gone to waste. I was sent on various tasks and have been honing my non magical proficiencies that kept me alive and respected during my time here. The contacts and friends I’ve made have come in quite handy in acquiring a few more things to aid my new role. If Magister I am not to be, then gatherer of things for them I will do as efficiently as possible. I’ve put in requests for items to complete my kit. We’ll see what comes of it. House Herig will need all the eyes and ears it can get as well to solidify our hold on trade profits to these warmongers.
News: Lady Jharlanna has acquired an item of great power. What a tool that will be for the Drow. Especially if the Magisters, or better yet House Herig is primarily involved in it’s useful application. I’ll have to work on finding more about the box so if we do get to examine or be involved with it, I can make myself useful. A celebration is being planned for her return with sacrifices even. We haven’t had such a festival in a while. It’ll be a nice change from the scrambling around we’ve been doing with the lack of arcane magic. Say what you will about Jherlana, her current exploits have given us a well needed boost to morale.
The rumor gatherers tell me the Dark King, or his minions, are plotting. Something big. It’s not known exactly what yet, but with all the upheaval, anything is possible. I’ve wrapped up most of my research and consolidated those findings. Tomorrow’s rest period should be fun. A Celebration. Food, fun and festivities! A short respite before whatever comes next with the Dark King and Jherlana’s machinations.
By Lloth’s wispy fang hairs! There is more chaos if that’s possible! The Celebration was going well, fun was had by all until an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Jherlanna A Djinn, from what I can tell facilitated her escape. During the unrest that followed I made my way back to House Herig. Master Aquil arrives and I am volunteered to escort a group of surface dwellers out through the lower catacombs. Druul, the half orc who fancies himself an entertainer is to guide us through the upper chambers and I’m to guide them through the lower. The Tomb of the Winter King’s Seneschal is in the lower catacombs and may have an exit from the city through there. Aquil seems a bit off, but evidently these surface dwellers are worth him sticking his neck out. This will give me a chance to explore the Tomb and see what I can learn there.
They are a motley group. A Githyanki, Lizardman, Troglodyte, and 7 humans, I’m assuming the masked one is human. One human, Rallion, steps forward and speaks for the group. Aquil gives papers to Rallion to pass the guards at the lower catacomb entrance, however if we can avoid using those, it will be beneficial. There’s a story of this group being under the influence of the Silence to cover their actions. Still not clear on what those actions were, surely these were not the assassins at the celebration. It appeared to be a priestess in Jerhlanna’s retinue that made the attempt. I’ll ask once I have them in the lower catacombs as I have been tasked.
We make our way through the upper catacombs, Druul leads, avoiding the high stationed Drow burial ceremony taking place. We come across a fungus in a rough humanoid form. A Mycelian if I recall correctly. It communicates telepathically, handy that. This group from the surface is of interest to the mycelians, as they did not attack them when they went by on the river. So they’re not hostile to all, nice to know. He’s to lead us somewhere, maybe it’s got something to do with the Silence. I’ll be on my guard. Druul and I go to the guards while the group secrets themselves in a nearby corridor. I avoid confrontation by sending the remaining 2 guards to find the Fungus guy who stormed in and wounded one of the 3 guards here. It finishes the job on the guard as the group makes it’s way down into the lower catacombs. I leave a note from Druul stating we’re going into the catacombs after the fungus creature and will report back when we can. I attach the note to the key and leave it in the keyhole.
We make our way down and are attacked by disappearing spiders who ignore my attempts at conversation. Poor things must be hungry, it’s quite barren down here. One is killed and I extract a vial of poison handing it to Druul, who without the ministrations of one of the humans, most likely would have died. The other retreats wearing a bell the fungus put on him.
Further down we come to the entrance to the Tomb of the Winter Seneschal, or so we think. Lungmold, the name of the mycelian, communicates that is where he came up from with dead things chasing him that looked like the statues. The entrance has statues of elves riding horses decorated with these polygonal fractal patterned perforated flat plaques with radial symmetry, no two of the same shape. One of the older humans calls it snow. Falling frozen water from the sky… hard to imagine that. We make our way down the passage flanked by the two statues and it gets colder and the air is mustier as we descend. Ending in a chamber in thick mushroom soup fog with visibility only about 10’.