Ferros

Bluesky City: Episode 1
Monks and Golems

With Valorie safely captured and contained within the Resistance HQ, Twilight debriefed Team RYSN on her status. She wasn’t sure if Valorie could be restored, but research would require carinite and captive antitheses. The team agreed to get on that as soon as never and, ignoring the boon of an item from the dragons, they left for Bluesky City. Upon arrival they concealed themselves and set about gathering information. Niachi and Rom learned that since Zerstorung the clerics of Olim had become a mysterious group known only as The Monks. The Monks ruled the city now, but aside from commandeering the local construction golems, the city had been mostly left alone. Guards were posted, of course, but most of them appeared to be un-corrupted. The feel of the city was remarkably more relaxed than Aventurine had been.

Yasuo spent his time interrogating a homeless person. Aside from several strange things regarding his grandmother, he learned that The Monks were building a temple on top of the mountainous city (as did Niachi). Yasuo went to investigate. Instead of gathering any information, he simply looked around for the foreman, a monk on a ledge, and attempted to push him off. The monk kicked him away instead. They had a short battle and while Yasuo defeated the Monk, the local golems came to his aid and chased the psion away (due to their natural invulnerability to spells and powers). He returned with little to show for his efforts, but it was good exercise. He also introduced the party to his thrall, whom they proceeded to ignore.

With nothing else to go on, the party assaulted the temple. They beat up some misplaced battlemaidens and some golems and obtained a small amount of loot. The Monk from before was not present.

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Defense of the City
Valorie Returns!

“Attack on Jik’Ton! All hands to battle stations! All militia members take up arms! Non-defenders shelter in place or make way to the nearest temples. All kin to report to temples, Gynari and mortal casters to report to Resistance of Manny HQ! … Repeat, attack on Jik’ton!…”

The sirens wailed and the bells rang. Every man and many women took up arms, spellbooks, and wands and took to the streets. The half-dragons took to the air to coordinate the draconic in clearing the streets. Overhead, an enormous sapphire dragon flew and bellowed a rallying cry. From around the city dragons and half-dragons of all colors flew to join him. The Pendragon, commander of the defense of Jik’ton, quickly took a position for himself high above the city, a little ways outside. From there he ordered the flying kin into battle formation. The flightless kin were assigned to valuable targets in the city: city hall, the harbor, and the temples. Not that the temples needed much defense, but they would need time to situate themselves. The citizens were to shelter in the temples of Savannah, Sarah, and Paijara while the followers of Caleb and Erick mobilized under Uther’s command. The remaining clerics either migrated to protect the civilians and set up field hospitals.

On the ground the Resistance of Manny divided the city into sections. Hirzon and Wilhelm had been quick to organize the mortals, as per their contract with the dragons, and now mobilized their forces and the people of the city to protect it. Attacks like these were either bombing runs or, especially recently, assaults. In the case of the latter, as now, Wilhelm took strategic command from the air. As a master of the air he was in as much danger as Uther. Hirzon, St. Amoss, Mother Lomasi, Father Arroway, Perilune Claire, and Sister Elone each led the defense of a section of the city, each contigent designed to fight off whatever Ur-Lord Sid summoned down, while Brother Thom was given defense of HQ. Team RYSN took a section neabry HQ and prepared for the creatures.

Ur-Lord Sid began his assault with a large number of Lifael and Warless to wreak havoc on the town, but the people were prepared. One does not attack the town over and over without the inhabitants learning to prepare additional fire and energy protection. The first wave was over in less than a minute and the defenders had hardly worked up a sweat, but then explosions lit the sky. All across the city the defenders stopped and watched as fireballs and lightning bolts flew at the dragons around Sid, driving them back and killing a few. The people watched in shock as the smoke cleared to reveal two new figures in the sky: an elf in robes with a grand staff, arcane energies swirling about him, and a woman in the vestments of a druid with bands of light about her wrists and holding a golden orb.

Together the two mages cast a powerful summoning spell, bringing forth meteors from the heavens upon the city. Where the fell opened portals to the Abyss and demons began to poor forth. But they were only the guards. From where the meteors had fallen rose a new foe. Armored humanoids wielding large weapons, all made of a black metal. Zorite steel. Take cold iron to it’s extreme and you obtain a substance that is anathema to magic. Somehow these creatures were animated by magic to the point of life, and yet were untouchable by all but the most powerful of spellcasters. The people and dragons of Jik’ton were not prepared. Many of the kin fled to the temples and many of the mortal spellcasters were struck down. Across the city the dragons fought defensively pulling back into the temples of Shiarn and Savannah as the armored creatures advanced. And then, as they drew closer to the temple of Sara and refuge of the citizens, one was struck from behind. It screamed in pain and imploded in a burst of dispel. Behind it was a bard and a thief from a nearby tavern. Together they outwitted the constructs, so that when Hirzon’s party arrived the battle was over and the bard was humming a merry little tune. Before Hirzon could ask, the gnome hopped to his feet and said, “Hail Manny, full of Smash.”

Team RYSN also faced one of these creatures, which the dragons later named Wolfrau (meaning unmelting, in reference to wolfram, a metal which cannot be melted by any fire of mortal or dragon). Their encounter was not that much different from the rest of the city as the demons they faced nearly incapacitated Rom. He narrowly avoided being encased in their webbing—there is no escaping the web of a Bebilith—was crushed and had his shield removed, though his armor survived. The single Wofrau they encountered was quickly dispatched by Niachi and Titus, just as the mysterious thief had done so earlier. Knowing the weakness of the Wolfrau, Team RYSN began to co-ordinate with Hirzon and Wilhelm, who quickly re-organized the defenders to make better use of their rogues and duelists. As the battle appeared to wind down, an amethyst dragon approached Team RYSN.

She named herself Mylanth and though young, had been chosen by Uther to bring a message to Team RYSN. The two people who had appeared in the sky were Ur-Lord Severus and Valorie, who now wielded the Orb of Brass Dragonkind. This item was an artifact of the greatest power: giving her the abilities of an ancient brass dragon doomed to eternal imprisonment within the orb. But it also gave her the unholy ability to dominate any brass dragon who approached. Such an Orb exists for each variety of dragon, though most are controlled and protected by the dragons, themselves. The Resistance had known for some time that the Brass Orb was missing, along with certain others. Because the dragons dared not use the orbs for themselves, Uther could not have seen Valorie’s possession of this one and didn’t know if Severus or Sid possessed any others. Thus he split his forces. Any dragons or kin that could be spared in the fight against Sid were sent back to protect the council and the vaults of the remaining Orbs. But all other dragons or kin who could still fight were being kept to hold off Sid. That left none for Valorie, who had taken up hold of a hill outside Jik’ton and was assaulting the city from the rear.

He commanded Team RYSN to dispatch Valorie. He had no other forces to spare and he could not risk her or Severus holding another of the Orbs. Already Mylanth reported that Valorie had captured a young adult brass dragon named Jura and one enslaved dragon was too many. Wilhelm and Hirzon agreed with Uther’s plan, especially since they were bound by contract, and so Team RYSN went out to face their old friend. Their objectives:

  1. Retake the Orb
  2. Rescue Jura, if possible. Kill her if not.
  3. Rescue Valorie if possible, and kill her if not.

The battle began with the now corrupted Valorie taunting them. She came with a slave of a dragon and three Wolfrau, but no companion. Instead twisted growths had burst forth from her body, her skin was twisted and gnarled into the hardest of bark, and her eyes were nothing more than pools of white noise. Titus could tell that she had prepared herself with plenty of abjurations to protect her. Jura opened with her breath weapon of sleeping, which failed on all but Sara’phiem. Valorie placed a large cloud of acid fog on the field to prevent any paladins from reckless charging and let Jura run interference on the werewolf while she dealt with the rogues. Titus was trapped in the fog and Niachi, though he narrowly avoided her disintegrate, was put to sleep by her awesome breath weapon, granted by the Orb she carried. Niachi’s sword refused to let it end like this and woke the cat with a great bolt of lightning. He and Titus closed in, but were once again stopped, this time by a field of black tentacles.

Despite her advantages and her plans for each of the party, they slowly overcame her obstacles. Rom beat down Jura to an inch of her life. She tried to break free of her dominate, but was unable and continued to attack. In his bloodlust, Rom killed her, not realizing she was only a pawn. Immediately divine lightning struck down some of his power, including his ability to shift form, but this only served to motivate him to finish the battle that much quicker. He blasted the Wolfrau away with a prismatic spray, and nearly caught Valorie in the blast. She resisted and attempted to retreat into the fog, but Raniy, after waking Sara’phiem, dispelled the fog. This allowed Titus and Rom to flank her. The ninja poisoned her and Rom knocked the Orb from her hand, taking it for his own. Raniy swooped in from the side to cast harm upon the former druid, but she found the last bit of strength in her to resist, and lunged for the Orb. She nearly grabbed it, but Titus’ poison and the toll of the battle had made her too weak and she fell to the ground as they knocked her unconscious.

With the defeat of their former ally, the party watched as Uther, Wilhelm, St. Amoss, and Hirzon routed Ur-Lord Sid from the sky. He escaped, of course, and in the aftermath it seemed Severus had as well, or at least no one had seen him since his initial arrival. Security was high for the rest of the night, but the battle was definitively won.

Back at Resistance HQ, Valorie now rests imprisoned in an anti-magic cell and warded with carinite. Twilight, Hirzon, and the clerics now ponder what to do with her and whether or not her soul can be saved…

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Merry X-mas!
The X stands for Xark ;)

On the 25th day of the dodeca-month,
The season of being ecstatically drunk,
On this very day, all over the world,
Who should arrive to each boy and girl,
But a merry ole’ scamp and his really wyrd sleigh!

He hops down the chimney, taking 20 with ease
To find all the kidlings asleep with their Z’s.
And while they sleep tight he quick steals their dreams!
(In case they contain inappropriate themes.)
He watches each one like he watches a play.

And once he’s observed all the kid’s desires,
He returns their dreams and stokes up their fires.
He hangs bags of holding, filled to the top
With stuffing and turkey and toys that go pop!
Then jumps up the chimney, all up and away.

This time he circles all ‘round the world,
Seeking a strange little psionic girl.
She’s a scout with powers that come from the mind
And that makes her not a real easy find
But this rogue can find her, every day!

While she dozes, her mind still blessed
By a goddess whose power will surely be best
The rogue leaves a bag of only type one
With a Ring of Fast Healing 5, oh what fun!
(And it casts Cure Moderate two times per day.)

On to the next, a dour old soul
Whose paladin brain is no fun at all.
Following the rules the best he can,
He leaves a gift for the furry lycan:
A thrice-useful brooch with prismatic spray!

The lizard-y cleric is not hard to find
After each day she has to unwind.
As a cohort she knows her chances are slim
So he gives her a stone to help her win.
A +1 to luck is a nice gift today!

One ninja hides in darkness so great
That even this rogue must resort to bait.
He leaves out a saucer of catnip and fish
And five oils of lightning for his sword’s wish.
With five extra dice his sword will slay.

The ghostly psion is hard to resist
But Heimdall’s heir must not be missed.
To risk it would be to invite much ire,
So he left the gift of resistance to fire!
Ten points from a belt made from a ray.

Lastly the soul who’s been here the longest.
He survived that fight but isn’t the strongest.
So here is a poison made of the cold
A DC of 20 plus 5 for the bold.
Twice, 2d4 drain to dex right away.

And with all his presents given and gone
Our rogue must quickly go and move on.
To each little kid in Manscell and Marth,
To every elven and dwarven hearth,
To every soul this X-mas day…

A thousand XP to all,
and long may you play!

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Claire!
Finally

The party sneaked into the Palace of Aventurine. Once the home of Queen Miku, and later the home of Alice and the city administrators and probably some homeless bum, now a fortress to Lady Thatcher. Except that she’s dead. And it’s a really bad fortress. So they climbed a rope and got in through a window. Not knowing where to go, the team split up and wandered a bit. Luckily one of the servants was studying to be a foppish wizard and had left a map of the palace in the most secret of hiding places: under a stack of bills.

Even better was that this servant had marked Claire’s room for some reason. Probably because there were guards around it. Anyways, Niachi, Raniy, Sara-phiem, and Rom went to go rescue her. She was well-guarded, though, and they nearly lost the day. Well, Raniy and Sara-phiem nearly lost the day. Anyways, they killed 12 guys, rescued Claire, and escaped back to Kal’renth. There, in the de-briefing pub, Claire said that the Wyrd had stopped trying to break the Great Seal and said they were holding something hostage. But she was too enigmatic for the team and so she left to go tell Hirzon instead.

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Hijinx in Aveturine
What's the quest, again?

With the loss of Valorie, Jill left the party to return to Kal’renth. The druids there would help her with her trauma. While there, Hirzon was approached by a shadowy person who made a deal with him.

The rest of Team RYVN traveled to Aventurine in an attempt to figure out what they were supposed to be doing. Rom and Raniy spent some time converting people to the religion of Manny while Titus and Niachi infiltrated the military district. While there, they assassinated the apparent leader and left fake orders from Lady Thatcher dismissing the military and dismantling the section of the city. During their absence, Sara’phiem appeared to Rom and Raniy and introduced herself as a new Sister sent by High Father Hirzon to replace Valorie. When Niachi and Titus returned, Titus demanded Sara’phiem prove her usefulness to the team by making some bombs to blow up the military HQ with, not believing that his ruse had worked.

The next day Titus and Niachi went back to the military district only to be turned away. The guards were refusing entrance to everyone and wouldn’t say why, nor would they be bluffed, being Dreamless. Titus snuck in through etherealness while Niachi watched from a rooftop and the rest of the party waited in a small building a few blocks away. Titus placed the bombs and let them blow, completely destroying the central building. This didn’t have the desired effect, though, as immediately guards poured out of the district, capturing, killing, and converting every citizen they could find. In the time it took for Titus and Niachi return to the group, two circles of Dreamless battlemaidens found them and attacked. The party easily killed most of them, but two escaped, making them highly wanted criminals in the city.

As they hunkered down in a cellar somewhere they debated what to do. Rom and Raniy spent the night spreading the word of Manny throughout the town. The first two inns they visited were too raucous and loyal to the Wyrd, but eventually they corrected their disguises and made several converts in the town square. Titus had finally examined the paperwork from the military HQ he had stolen and noticed that there were a few references to a Perilune Clair. Some asking around of the wealthy revealed that the Perilune was the head of the church of Echoe before Zerstorung but they thought she had been dead for a while. Sara’phiem discovered the existence of a divine black market through her contacts but neither of them could gain any information there.

The next day they took the rest of the group to the black market to see if there was anything else to be learned. Titus purchased some Echite, Niachi a bunch of gems, and Rom revealed some important information. First, he found that Perilune Clair was still alive and being held in the castle. Secondly that he could use his blood to transmute base gems into Carinite via the gift of his Zohar. Titus grew greatly interested at this and offered to help him, financially speaking. When finished, the party returned to their hidey hole to prepare their rescue of the Perilune.

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The Isle of Dreams
A demonstration of power

Team RYVN arrived 50 miles north of Aventurine, approaching by sea. As they flew closer they debated their plan of attack. As they approached to 10 miles out they took a moment to pause and plan. From here they could see the Palace of Aventurine, the city beyond, and a rock protected by incredible Abjurations. The rock had a small temple on it. Instead of being warded off, they approached from the water. Upon landing they found it had no beach and only a single set of ancient stairs worn into the rock that led into a small cellar beneath the temple. A quick investigation of the cellar showed nothing was present but the divine casters in the party knew this had once been a site sacred to Echoe and was now held by the Wyrd. Fearless, they climbed from the cellar into the main room.

The temple consisted of a large chamber with mosaics of the stars and moon and Echoe’s symbol, now defaced and profaned with symbols to the Wyrd, Lachesis, and Sithern. Doors led to a kitchenette, some bedrooms, and the ruins of a lighthouse. To the north lay a shrine, most holy to Echoe, now profaned. An altar of Echite stood sundered and leaking corruption. To the south was a simple path that led to a granite plinth, opposite a similar plinth attached to the Palace. A cursory investigation revealed it was a bridge, but not how to activate it. Upon entry, Valorie reported that they were being scryed upon and even a casting of nondetection did no good. Seeing nothing here, they investigated a path from the cellar that led into the rock, hoping to find a captive cleric of Echoe present. Instead they found a pool of glowing red liquid, cool to the touch and full of power. Valorie took a small sample, but fumbled and let a few drops touch her hand. As it did, she felt a rush of incredible power through her. She tried to channel it to purify her corruption, and it did, but she was unable to completely control it and it turned two of her fingers to stone. With nothing else to do, the party settled in to wait while she prepared stone to flesh.

Just as she was ready to finish, however, a rush of power flew to them from the temple; a warning from the small pool of Earthpower. Valorie broke her meditation and they went to investigate, sending Yasuo to scout around. The power was caused by Ur-Lord Sithern’s arrival. Foolishly, Yasuo went out to meet her and taunt her. She quickly subdued him with wrack, pain coursing through his very being. At his cries, the rest of the party quickly came upstairs and began the fight. At first it seemed she had the advantage, but then Blitzcrank appeared and began to crush her, piercing her mighty armor. The party gained ground, but as her health fell, she cast a mighty spell that erased all of her wounds and then summoned Lady Thatcher to her aid. Even that was not enough as Valorie summoned a great air elemental to toss them around like dolls and create a great cloud of dust and debris. Blitzcrank, not knowing what else to do, charged into it, forcing Sithern to vanish and allowing the rest to concentrate of Thatcher.

For a round or so, they held off Thatcher’s strange bloody blade, but Sithern had not left the battlefield. She appeared to Valorie and reached through the Void and into her soul. When Valorie had been resurrected, her soul had been touched by Lachesis and corrupted. So long as that corruption remained, terrible things were to happen to her and now Sithern demonstrated that power. She began to corrupt Valorie’s soul even father, darkening her world and twisting her mind. Desperately she fought it off, terrified, but her bravery was such that she did not flee. Disappointed, Sithern tried another tactic and cast a terrible spell, the ultimate expression of destruction and divine might: implosion. With a thundercrack, Blitzcrank’s body exploded in upon itself, killing him and Sithern threatened to kill her friends unless she joined.

Even then, Valorie refused, casting everything she could at the Ur-Lord, even commanding her elemental to toss her about in its whirlwind to break her concentration. Yasuo saw a momentary break in her defenses and burned her with a massive psionic blast. It overwhelmed her concentration and she lost the spell, but then put the elemental to sleep with a spell of her own design. On even ground she healed again while the rest of the party focused their attention on Lady Thatcher. Just as they nearly had her, she attempted to seduce Yasuo to help, but a bloody half-dead woman is of little persuasion to a psion and he resisted and she fell to Rom’s claws and Raniy’s soulstrike. With her lieutenant dead, Ur-Lord Sithern faced uncertain odds. Angry, she turned back to Valorie and demanded a replacement, twisting her hand through the Void into Valorie’s soul. As brave as she was, the corruption’s grip on her soul was too much and Sithern forced her to become an Antithesis, devoted to the service of herself and the Wyrd. This was too much and the party tried to attack her, but their blows fell by the wayside as she teleported out with her new pet. For all her courage, Valorie was lost and Jill inconsolable.

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Darkness in Selindion, Episode 3
Light at last

With all the clues assembled, Team RYVN went to confront Lyvax. They found him in the graveyard, preparing to unleash a horde of undead on the town and challenged him in broad daylight. This time they came in prepared with death ward and prominence, and it was highly effective. Lyvax’s host of shadows and wraiths and even his bodaks were all made useless against the magic. The bodaks fled and the shadows sacrificed themselves to create a field of darkness for Lyvax and his Dread Wraith commanders, but even that was undone by Toby and a quick casting of daylight. Alas, though the fear around Lyvax had melted away in the sun, Toby’s light was his last as a Dread Wraith struck him in the heart, squeezing every bit of life out of him. Lyvax didn’t last much longer, falling to the righteous anger of the group.

As Rom blessed Toby’s body, a light shone from the graveyard’s mauseleum: the Book of Exalted Deeds. Not knowing what to do with it, but knowing that reading it would cause it to vanish, Team RYVN took it back to headquarters in Jik’ton after a quick nip over to the mayor telling him all was now well. At base, they spoke with St. Amoss and HFr. Hirzon but neither of them knew what to do with it, but their visitors did: Lady Nyphistra, Goddess of Common Sense, and Lord Vardalon, God of Magic. She explained they had been watching the party for a while and needed them to obtain the book so as to keep it out of the hands of the Wyrd. Vardalon promised to keep the book safe and explained that Lachesis had done something to prevent the older gods from interfering with the world even more than usual. He also revealed that spells such as miracle and wish do not exist because he does not allow them to under the pretense that they would cause too much destruction of the material plane (in addition to the fact that the Great Seal prevents gods from answering miracle directly).

With the mystery solved, he granted each of the party a boon. Rom received more charisma while Yasuo a new spell-like ability. Titus asked for more dexterity and experience and offered to trade some of his ki power for it. Vardalon sent him to the god Darteryu, who told him that if he wished to give up his ki then he would have to give it up himself (he did). Valorie and Niachi took theirs in a bento box for lunch tomorrow, and with that the gods vanished. The party took a look at the quest list and decided that next week they would return to Aventurine, rescue a cleric, and assassinate Lady Thatcher.

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Darkness in Selindion, Episode 2
Was it Plum or Mustard?

Last time, Team RYVN had forced Lyvax into retreat. The mayor confirmed that pursuit was impossible as the network of tunnels beneath the surface led for miles and miles with multiple entrances. So, that left the team with few options. They began by herding the children of the town into the center, moving a good 40 of them into the town hall and other larger buildings run by private business owners. Then they kept the town warded, searched for clues, and patrolled at night. Hunting for tracks during the day didn’t work, but hunting at night allowed them to intercept a few raiding parties. Mostly the undead fled when faced with the PCs, but people still disappeared on occasion. Still, morale was greatly improved until late on the fifth night. Team RYVN had gathered many clues over the week, and were almost ready to face Lyvax, when they encountered his strongest raiding party yet.

It was led by two bodaks and encompassed wraiths, shadows, and their captains. Together, Titus, Yasuo, Rom, Valorie, and Toby stood firm (Niachi and Jill having seen them in the forest earlier). Perhaps it was because of their clues, or their past accomplishments, but they did not ready themselves to face the undead and they paid for it. Titus was the first to act that night, but as he dashed forth, his eyes met the soulless white gaze of the bodak and the cold of the grave gripped his heart, stopping it. He fell, dead. The bodaks were amused and left to kill villagers. Yasuo destroyed the wraiths and shadows in one violent burst of cold while Valorie and Rom split up to chase the bodaks. Both were confident and Rom rightly so. When the bodak’s gaze met his, his strength and faith easily pushed aside the chill of the grave and he smote his enemy rightly. But Valorie charged in alone and unprepared and when she looked into his eyes, she too was slain. Yasuo mopped up the remaining enemies while Toby cast a protection over the bodies and spirits of the fallen that they would not rise as undead the next night.

Their spirits, though, were borne through the ether up into the heavens. Titus found himself in the Court of Stars, in the presence of the Blessed Manny. Manny welcomed his friend in his usual manner, though they did not have long to talk. He presented Titus with a gift of the heavens, a starberry, but before he could warn the ninja, Toby called him across the veil with the power of resurrection. In the same vein, Valorie found herself in Arborea, speaking with the fauns and the spirits within and mourning the loss of her companion. Before she could meet Ehlonna, though, she was also called back by the power of Tobias, and chose to go, looking forward to seeing her beloved raptor once more.

As they flew down to the material plane, though, something sinister waited for them. A shroud of corruption was draped over the world, and in the middle of it stood a man in white robes. Titus knew him and was prepared to fight. Lachesis gloated about his power and reached out a hand, grasping Titus in his fist. The corruption called out to him, meaning to ensare him, but just then a light burst forth. The power of Manny, through the starberry had protected him and Manny waved to Lachesis with a little ‘fuck you’. Angered, the man in white aimed one last shot at Titus and as he awoke he felt an arrow pierce his soul. Valorie, though, did not have the protection of Manny to rely on. As Lachesis approached her, she shifted into a great dinosaur, ferocious and magnificent, but it wasn’t even a fight. The man in white teased her, saying she would be his agent and she was foolish to accept the resurrection. The cold and pain of corruption oozed into her soul and he laughed as she fell to Ferros. Upon awaking, both Titus and Valorie were frightened, but none of Tobias’ divinations revealed any more evil than had been there before. Concerned, Titus and Valorie teleported back to Jik’ton to speak with the experts privately.

In the meantime, the remainder of Team RYVN assembled their clues and pieced together the location of Lyvax. They waited until daybreak and began their preparations to destroy him and claim the Book of Exalted Deeds!

Oh, and they also met a charming, if ineffective, rogue named Jeff Rhee. He’s gonna go with them when they go back home so he can actually get some levels.

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Darkness in Selindion, Episode 1
It's spooooky

Twilight Sparkle told the team that the Book of Exalted Deeds was to be found in the small village of Selindion in the forests of Calisaele. They traveled and began to investigate. The town looked normal enough, but Rom smelled fear in the townsfolk. Despite their fear, they spoke readily of how people had been disappearing at night for the past two weeks. They traveled to the first house, haunted by a powerful wraith. Yasuo cleverly thought to speak with the poltergeist with a Luigi board. The being spoke of its master, Lyvax: he who waits in the shadows and steals the breath of your soul, he who reaches into your chest and crushes your heart while you feel the cold and fear of the grave, he who lives in dark, creepy places and looks suspiciously like General Grievous. Anyway, Toby realized they could exorcise the wraith and then smash it in the name of Manny, may he smash forever for we lift up our axes to the Blessed One to give him thanks and ask for his blessing in smashing our enemies and doors which stand in our way.

After that little excursion, Team RYVN had a nice dinner with the Mayor, who continued to reveal the backstory. They were slightly interrupted by some undead eating people’s souls again, the result of a careless Lyvax sending his minions out too early. The team arrived in time to save the parents, but the wraiths had already consumed the children. Niachi tracked them down to a crypt in the forest where they burst in on Lyvax bathing in the blood of the unborn with bubblegum-scented bubblebath. He was slightly upset, particularly when Niachi somehow used his weird Cantus powers to move the darkness away (which is getting some real mechanics and possibly nerfing, btw). They fought some bad guys and Yasuo blasted the shadows. Rom stood at the entrance to the crypt and looked scary while Valorie and Jill played whack-a-mole with the wraiths (a surprisingly good tactic). Lyvax escape, much to the frustration of the team, but his darkness still hangs over Selindion like a really big cloud of ominous doom which defies normal weather patterns causing massive thunderstorms to the east and west as it breaks up warm fronts coming from Jeberra.

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Shardenon's Sphere, Episode 3
Secrets and Faith

Having found the incomplete scroll for Shardenon’s Sphere, the mystery gang scoured the dungeon for the remaining Cantus gems. On the east side they destroyed a few statues and found various pieces of treasure and a sinister trap. In an adjacent room sat a fancy bed, dresser, and nightstand. At first it appeared quite innocuous, but then Titus looked under the bed. Hearing a scream, Rom entered the room to find it empty, until he looked under the bed. Yasuo followed, also looking under the bed. Niachi decided to wander in a different direction and activated a magical bomb, found some treasure, and a puzzle. Toby took a look in the creepy bedroom, saw nothing, and decided to hide from the bomb.

In the meantime, the three who had been taken found themselves in strange situations. Titus was now in a place of shadows made real, with haunting eyes glowing in the dark fog. Rom appeared to be on a gray plain with the world of Ferros floating in the night sky above and Sartra glowing nearby. And Yasuo found himself on a boat with a madman who began to sing as the boat sped through a tunnel full of violent hallucinations. Then he plane shifted away and promptly began to burn the bed, which screamed with an unearthly wail. Titus roamed the darkness, taking power from Nyx to resist the shadows. Eventually he found a magic circle. It was solid-ish, but he passed through to examine the other side, which turned out to be a large featureless plane of shadows and grays. He returned to the magic circle to examine and eventually break it, sending him through a howling vortex and back to the group. In the meantime, Niachi and Toby had found a wand of lightning bolt and a Lesser Rod of Quicken (metamagic) as well as a missing gem. Yasuo had torched the bed and killed the creature. They waited for Rom, but when he didn’t return they moved on.

On the other side of the dungeon they found a similar layout. Some statues, a creepy bedroom (which they ignored) and a puzzle. There was also a magic circle of death, but everyone just stepped around it until Toby scraped the paint away. As they waited for Rom they found the remaining gems and a ring of swimming (it wasn’t very exciting).

Rom wandered the gray surface. The only defining feature was a large hill and on top of that hill he found a small crystal. Taking it removed the veil protecting him and he was forced into his hybrid form. He wandered then, trying to reach the blue orb in the sky which he thought to be the Soulvoid, the home of Allistiel. But when he couldn’t reach it, he began to pray. The light of Allistiel came forth and embraced the crystal, but Rom didn’t understand what it meant. After further meditation and prayers of intercession offered on his behalf, the Blessed Manny spoke one word to him, “Smash.” Realizing his duty, he crushed the crystal and found himself transported back to the dungeon in a heap of clanking armor.

The party reunited, they placed the remaining gems into the western door, but were disappointed to find that it led to the same magic circle the other one had. The team left the dungeon and, two days later, arranged an appointment with the dean of the school. The dean revealed that the college had known about the scroll the whole time and that they maintained the dungeon as a test for prospective professors. Obtaining the scroll meant an offer of employment. But to maintain the illusion of secrecy and specialization about the whole affair, the college had sworn every member of the faculty and most of the town to absolute secrecy. Instead of telling the truth, all everyone would ever say was that the only copy of Shardenon’s Sphere was lost, stolen by Zidane (who was probably unfairly maligned for this). To maintain the secrecy, the dean swore the team to the same oath, but offered to give them a deal: the key to the spell in exchange for 100 farmers and mentors in Cantus from the dragons. High Father Titus signed the deal and gave it to Wilhelm to work on.

The party was nearly done. They shopped around for some adamantine and some diamonds to resurrect the Blessed Manny, but before they could return to their plane, they were intercepted by an angel of Elohim. The angel brought them to Celestia to face St. Kinover Olxanis. There he charged them with defeating Ur-Lord Vespa to restore the light to Ominia and with finding the Book of Exalted Deeds. Apparently, the actions of the Wyrd had rendered the gods nearly powerless to affect the world. Even the saints were being blocked, though the power and strength of the gods was still being siphoned away somehow. In addition to the quests above, St. Olxanis charged the Resistance of Manny to continue to spread the faith and inspiration of the Blessed Manny so that he might gain enough power to rival Lachesis. Niachi and Titus agreed right away and Yasuo agreed after seeing that the Saint worked for the Seamstress. But to convince Rom and Toby, St. Olxanis summoned his brother in duty, St. Salazar Sarvolis of Allistiel. St. Sarvolis reassured the paladin that by spreading the word of Manny he was helping Allistiel and would not be punished (provided he didn’t go overboard). With these reassurances, St. Olxanis gave the party a final gift: a fragment of the Zohar to use in freeing Ominia. The party returned to Jik’ton with new power and purpose: to find the Book of Exalted Deeds!

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