Friday, 27 May 2011

Chapter Six: Netheril - Session 45 - All the petty lies of Carlin the Grey part 2 of 3

Connal Ragnirsson - Jarecki
Jarod - Jacek
Ren Howl - Adrian
Steven - Leon

Heroes stepped once more into a portal. They chose to arrive in ruins of Al-Asif, one year after it's fall. What they found, were a ruins of once domain enclave. Party made camp among the devastated towers and walls. Surrounding country looked the same as they remembered it. While heroes prepared for night, Steven tried to reach Iolaum via magical crystal but instead found no one linked to it.It was definitely strange, but wizard concluded it could be connected to magical whirlpools or changes in time passage.

It was about midnight, during Connal's watch, when he saw something disturbing. All around lights and shades were creating. Transparent at first, they solidified and became more substantial. When he awoke rest of party, streets and houses were visible. Ghostly human figures moved around, carrying about their business. When party readied themselves, all around them was Al-Asif again, reliving it's last day of existence. Connal tried contact spectral humans, but was pierced by cold and grave chill. when heroes discussed, what should they do, Ren saw that Al-Asif inhabitants began to notice them. soon crowd gathered around and murmur spread, saying" It's them!" Heroes decided it is time to flee. Steven cast a teleport spell and transported whole group to village, where he spent some of his pastimes.

It turned out, village was small, clean, peaceful community. while heroes mad a big entrance, materialising inside inn, they were quickly accepted, served meals and rented rooms. After a full night rest heroes decided to contact Jamal and find out, how to meet Iolaum one more time. Arcanist has not responded immediately. Instead, next morning he sent heroes familiar looking box with scroll. It was spell of teleportation to fixed location. Alas, it has not worked as intended.

After completing the spell, heroes found themselves in dark cave. At first glance there were no exit but soon the found a passage, leading to much larger chamber. Flying familiar reported strange things: valley, fields of wheat, river in middle of cave, along with the village. Soon heroes found that land too. They speculated it could be an illusion or pocket plane but came to no conclusion. Instead they found village and it's inhabitants. All butchered without mercy. Connal ordered burial and for few hours heroes gathered dead bodies. When they finished task and were cleaning themselves, Jarod heard cries for help. From underneath pile of dead he rescued a girl. Stiff and scarred she was alive... at leas she looked like living being, until she tried to tear rouge's throat. Suddenly all of dead rose and attacked heroes.

It was first combat on such a scale. Connal was channelling positive energy time after time and Steven burned marching dead with area blasting spells. While Jarod and Ren fought single enemies, it was area effects that allowed heroes to defeat undead. When finished with wights, heroes moved on and found a corridor, leading up. There was a steamy, hot and humid air coming from it and soon the emerged in middle of... jungle. Travel through it was difficult but proved to be fruitful. In swamps heroes found tracks of village butchers. It was one big hove like of oversized bull. Before the had time to inspect it, whole party was attacked and swallowed by giant fly-trap. It's poisonous lashes stroke, flowers tried to devour heroes but once again magic and fists proved to be able to defeat even most inhuman monster. What more, inside of i's stalk was a half digested, winged Minotaur.

Soon heroes escaped from savage garden and found a gazebo with teleportation circle. It was place the were meant to arrive but for some reasons spell had malfunctioned. Reaching gazebo was not a finish of adventure. In halls of place above it a viscous battle raged. Human screams mixed with bull-like bellowing. Waves of magical energies engulfed a crystal dome above great hall. At first heroes dealt with blood-mad Minotaurs. They were brutal adversaries but spells and arms felled them one by one. After dispatching three of ravening monsters, heroes moved upward and soon arrived on balcony.

Upon a platform a raven-haired man with beard, fought a hard fight using waves of magic in way, no hero except of Steven has witnessed. It was magic in Netheril's Arcanist way and it's target was flying warship. contrary to "Sky Mill" it used balloons and sails to raise into air. Before heroes had chance to join combat, it was struck down and cast out of heavens.

Meeting with mysterious wizard had place after mess was cleaned and wounded treated. To heroes (and players!) surprise he introduced himself as Iolaum, tutor of Jamal and first among  Netherils's Arcanists. He had no recollection of heroes, claimed never met them and certainly hadn't given them crystal. He explained the war was waging between Arcanists and Grey Wraith, who crowned himself emperor of Magic. In reality it was petty magician, even not considered Arcanist, but with sheer of luck or moreover lies and intrigue he came into possession Cylinder of Nether. It was stuff of pure magic, potent artefact, able to redefine laws of Wave and magic. With it he was trying to usurp rule over Netheril.

Heroes in meantime explained (once more), why they came to Netheril. Iolaum deduced the can join forces and solve their problems at once. If heroes were able to take possession of Cylinder of Nether and removed it from Netheril, it would not threaten it's magical nature. What's more, if they define magic according to their desire, the would be able to prevent Spellplague, save Mystra or even halt colliding worlds. The only obstacle wa Carlin the Grey or isn't him, like Ren deducted?