Ubin

Kusanagi's Log: Session 14
Treachery in the city

Immeral’s guild has hidden us in one of their safehouses in the city. Tirrigeth and Knell are being smuggled in separately. Plintoch is running the safehouse, and the rogues here assure us all is going as planned. As we’ve been gathering information in our various fields of expertise, we’ve been solicited as a group by a shady character looking for a meeting in a local inn. The neighborhood in which we’ve found ourselves is called “Griple”. I do not know the correct spelling of it. It matters little to the inhabitants, as it is a somewhat sordid place.

We are worried enough about Tirrigeth and Knell that we finally force a meeting with Plintoch. He is entertaining an Avergene named Vridich. More than that, he has arranged for Tirrigeth and Knell to be transferred into Avergene custody. We seek to convince them both that this is unwise. The discussion is conducted with steel and spells. The Avergene contingent contains a spellcaster that, for some reason, particularly infuriates me. I rashly charge in amidst our enemies, and I’m reminded that it is never a good idea to turn one’s back on a rogue. When I regain consciousness my friends have defeated both the Avergenes and Plintoch. It turns out that Tirrigeth and Knell were in the safehouse, but still sequestered in the crates that had been used to smuggle them. They were able to shake of the effects of the soporific that had dulled their senses, break free, and join the battle just in time to turn the tide in our favor.

I wonder if my rash and willful behavior in the fight was a result of the taint that I received in the mountain? We have learned that the Avergenes are looking for tainted individuals, and have the means to detect them, in the form of visual knowledge and magical sensing. We must be wary.

John, the naive contact who was so eager to meet with us, is revealed to be an agent of Zafrael. Zafrael is apparently the entity from the mountain, and a dedicated servant of Kolrog, favored of Bane. John is looking for Kolrog’s Fang, a sort of cup that is also a mighty artifact. It is apparently hidden in the ruins of one of the ancient houses of the city. He has urged us to retrieve it. The quest promises riches and perhaps more power that can be wielded against the Avergenes. But at what cost?

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 13
No good deed goes unpunished

We have decided to return to the city of Rivelda. Immeral feels his contacts there may be of assistance. There is a pain that courses across my back. It relates to the mark of darkness and power that has been placed upon us, a kind of taint. I feel the urge to draw on the power it represents, but I hope to resist that urge. My heart tells me I should seek to remove this taint.

As we move purposefully through the wilderness we step into a clever trap laid by the duergar that we allowed to flee from the mountain. This is how he chooses to repay our mercy. We defeat his allies, and a troll that he had captured and bent to his will, and finally the duergar theurge himself. It seems that our power has accelerated unnaturally.

In the village of Grind, little has changed. Our contact in the Avergene force, the dragonborn Star, has been ordered back to Rivelda. There are 2,000 soldiers camped near the city and the road will be thick with Avergene patrols. We will need to disguise Tirrigeth and Knell. They will be immediately identified as enemies by the Avergene.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 12
Against the Avergene

The mountain, or the force it contained, has left it’s mark upon us. I can feel it like a dark presence in my soul. Yet it also promises the power I feel I will need to overcome our enemies. It has presented me with a quandary. I pray to Bahamut that I make the right choices in the tests ahead.

Free of the mountain, we circle round to the Avergene camp. We meet Biri, the Iron Dragon again. He agrees to distract the other dragons so we may assault the camp unhindered. Our plan is simple and we charge in, confident in our new powers. They are much needed as the foe is stout. After my initial charge, I use nearly all my healing resources keeping Tirrigeth and Knell in the fight. Immeral and Crythis often seem to be able to keep themselves safe or healed, and I’m thankful for that. We eventually overwhelm the Avergene camp and loot the remains.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 11
Welcome to the Terror Dome

We found a chamber wrought of the remains of an army. Armor and bones formed its walls and vaults. In the center stood a great prize. A maul of divine power, and a box of stone covered with arcane glyphs. The chamber was doubly guarded: a band of constructs representing the ancient powers that sealed their treasure here; and another band of fell guardians, or perhaps seekers of power. I do not know their purposes. They were a sorcerer, a crazed goblin, an undead abomination, and a half-orc adept of the art of archery.

Though we were weary and wounded from the trials that brought us to this place, we pressed on and entered the chamber to fight the constructs. They fell before the flashing blades of Immeral, Knell, and Tirrigeth, and the destructive magic of Vorn, while Crythis bathed the chamber in Melora’s light, preserving us and harming our enemies.

Listening in the strange domed chamber, we could hear the Avergene (I assume) digging towards us. The second band appeared in a burst of necrotic power, ripping the fabric of reality and stepping through from whatever dark hell they called haven. They too were slain, though it was a near thing for us all.

Lifting the great maul from the stone box it guarded released a burst of ancient power. We were flung about like leaves in a torrent. We heard or felt some kind of release, and the sense of foreboding that darkened the heart of the mountain was greatly lessened. When consciousness returned, we found that we and our equipment, had been transformed. Clearly some divine favor had been granted us. I pray to Bahamut that we will be able to wield these new powers, and this new resolve, in the cause of justice.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 10
Doubts in the darkness

I’m a good soldier. A good soldier does all he can for his squad. I know that I have done this, and by the grace of Bahamut, I will continue to do it. However, my sense of purpose is clouded, as if the darkness of the caverns under this mountain is soaking into my soul and poisoning my resolve. I find that I have doubts.

We met a band of constructs first. They are soulless devices. Animated by ancient magics and set to forbid passage to any who would seek to disturb this epic cairn. Crythis seeks to reason with them, explaining that we are their allies against the invading Avergene. They know nothing of anything beyond this curious cavern, and so we are again forced to fight. Those of us who prefer to fight toe-to-toe rush forward, which has the unfortunate effect of exposing Vorn and Crythis to direct assault by several of the constructs. Crythis’s wall of light, and Vorn’s powerful elemental blasts protect them well enough to hold until we can fell the others.

Crawling through the exit tunnel, we find ourselves in an unstable chasm. As Immeral, Knell and Vorn climb the wall, looking for some way across, Crythis, Tirrigeth and I ease our way out onto the cleft chasm floor. It gives way and we are cast down. A woeful spirit greets us, lamenting our choice of routes. Crythis again seeks to persuade the specter that we do not intend any sacrilege, but to no avail. Immeral drops heroically down to aid us, and is promptly struck down by our assailant. I am able to get Immeral back on his feet, and our combined might destroys the sorry undead. He seems to take some solace in being destroyed, and so I assume that it is Bahamut’s will that guides our blades true.

The burial ground beneath our feet writhes, and a horde of zombies rises from the crumbling earth. Crythis puts many of them to rest with a mighty surge of power, courtesy of Melora. But another, greater foe rises. A massive undead abomination. In the chaotic battle that follows, I falter once, and am raised by Tirrigeth’s inspiring words. Knell is able to deliver several heroic blows, until the thing grabs at him and binds him. I knock it over, and the party finishes it. It rises once from its seeming-death, and we are forced into the fray again, but we prevail.

There is nothing for us here but darkness and death it seems. If we find the secrets of this place will we even know? Or will the Avergene find them first and use them against us? I must pause soon for rest, and a chance to pray to Bahamut. May the Dragon guide me, and forge my resolve anew in this crucible of darkness. Experience is a great teacher. In darkness and despair, it is hope that will guide my blade and lead us to the light again.

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Darkness
The beginning descent into the mountain

Immeral, Crythis, Knell, Kusanagi, Tirrigeth, and Vorn started into the mine shaft along the northern slope of Mount Hublia. Moving quietly out ahead Immeral discovered that a number of Deurgar were camped in a large man carved chamber.

However the parties’ close proximity kept him from setting a proper ambush. Turning and running to the party the rogue tried to quiet them. Only it was too late. Even as he instinctively dodged two crossbow bolts pierced his armor. The bolts only made glancing blows against his skin but he was off balance from there. Turning back to the room the party charged into battle.

It was soon apparent to Immeral that the Duergar Scouts would pin cushion the party to death should they be allowed to continue to fire upon them. From in his pouch he produced a nearly forgotten bauble the Drow had given him. Darkness engulfed the room protecting the party and blocking the sight of the Duergar guards.

As the fight continued magic and mayhem commenced. A heroic effort was produced by all. But soon the party over came the Duergar and the Thermogen along with this remaining scouts surrendered.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 8
On the Mountain

Sometimes choices that seem simple have consequences that are decidedly not so. Take the example of fanatical cultists summoning a demon in the name of Bane. I thought it was a simple choice: Stop them at all costs. And so we did. The consequence that has since been revealed to us, is that the Avergene army slaughtered the occupants of a village that the cultists had sought to protect. I can only pray to Bahamut for guidance, and hope that in the end the choices we make will be towards some greater good.

And so we found ourselves in the company of Grok, a pitiful scavenger, an outcast of the orc village. Immeral persuaded him, at swordpoint, to lead us to a secret entrance to Fort Grimstone. (I have since heard it referred to as “Greystone”. Grim or grey, it bodes ill.) We sought to avoid the main body of the Avergene force, and perhaps beat them to their objective: The fort conceals some lost artifacts of power, doubtless protected by Bahamut-knows what.

Clambering up the mountain path we encountered an Iron Dragon, a mercenary creature full of avarice and spite. Treachery too, it seems, as the thing unleashed a swarm of miniature drakes upon us that felled Crythis several times. We fought well, in particular Immeral and Vorn. So valiant was the gnome, that as the dragon staggered in defeat, he was able to rebuke the thing, and it became craven, yielding the fight. Impressive. I admire Vorn’s confidence, which despite his stature, seems boundless.

We gathered some intelligence of the Avergenes from the dragon. There are four other dragons in their employ. All are in thrall to some matron-dragon who, by the sound of it, remains far away in their homeland. She must be fearsome indeed to compel them from so great a distance. It seems that the Empire force was fighting constructs and powerful protective magic further up the mountain. No doubt we will encounter similar things as we seek to penetrate the ancient fort and loot its treasures ahead of the Avergenes.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 7
The road to Fort Grimstone

We returned the Orc child to the relative safety of Grind. The town is in a state of military supervision, under the administration of the Avergene crusaders. They have implemented efforts to co-opt members of the local populace, and so we must keep a low profile. Crythis is not immediately recognizable as a member of our company, so he conducted necessary reprovisioning, while Immeral used his stealth capabilities to gather information.

We received our first report from Star, the Dragonborn trooper. Tirrigith expressed some doubt about some of the facts therein, and we were not able to confirm their veracity. Despite that, we opted to pursue the intelligence, heading into the wilderness of the Silvermoon Valley towards a possible trap at “Fort Grimstone”.

In the wilderness we encountered some cultists of Bane in the process of summoning an infernal being. It was refreshing to deal with a situation with little ambiguity for me. The opposite was apparently the case for Knell. Now it was his turn to face adherents of his own faith, but he made it eminently clear through his actions where his loyalties lay. He offered to act as a decoy, and suffered the attentions of the adept who had summoned the minor devil for the entire encounter. The adept was later to regret his singular focus. His remains carpeted the hillside.

Crythis was quick to respond with a wall of light when a pair of imps appeared in our midst. His quick thinking saved several of us, I am sure. Tirrigeth and Immeral focused on the devil, and the cultist guards. The warlord and the rogue wove a dizzying web around their targets, shifting in and out of range. The devil attempted to overwhelm Tirrigeth, but Immeral was able to free her.

Vorn aided Knell in his battle with the adept, peppering the foe with magical blasts. I did little but offer myself up as a distraction, and grant the healing power of Bahamut to my allies as they needed it. In the end, only one cultist guard remained standing. I subdued him, and we questioned him.

We gained little from the fanatic beyond the knowledge that Fort Grimstone was in fact real. Apparently the Avergene are mounting an assault against it. It is held by dark dwarves, the Duergar, and other cultists of Bane who are seeking some legendary artifact in the earth below. Whether the Avergene seek to destroy this thing, or use it themselves, I do not know. Thus, I am again conflicted.

This is the sort of cause that fueled my early zeal for the crusade in Ampara. A target worthy of the justice of Bahamut. But my fellow crusaders lost their focus during the long fight. Too often they indiscriminately turned their weapons against the common people of this land. The mandate of racial purity that the Holy Empire follows is, in my opinion, flawed. There is evil to found among folk of the “True Races”, as well as there is good (or at least non-aggressive neutrality) amongst the “infernal” races. May Bahamut guide me through the darkness that is to come.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 5
Rescue and further peril

After a night’s rest, we pushed open the heavy doors of the chamber into the tunnel beyond. The architecture continued to be ancient, rather than the more modern tunnels that I now assume were dug to grant alternative access to this underground realm.

In a bizarrely tilted chamber we encountered a haughty drow and her minions. She had the orc child, was the master of the kobolds we were pursuing, and despite her clear disdain for us, was willing to talk. We were able to convince her that our opposition to the crusaders of Avergene who threaten her realm would be advantageous to her. In return, we asked for the orc child, and passage out with the pledge that we would not return. That oath is one that I may have to cause to regret later, but necessity is a cruel master. The drow have a reputation for deceit, and I suppose I would regard any such transgression as a breaking of the oath on their part.

The drow revealed that there was a conflict brewing nearby that included a crusader force vying for some relic that she regarded as worthless. She gave us the child and agreed to lead us to the conflict, I suppose to confirm our oath through our actions. On the surface, in a forest glade, we encountered a hideous band of demons who had summoned some corruption from the ground itself, which seethed with worms and grubs.

We advanced hesitantly after Immeral reported them, and got hammered by lightning strikes. Immeral, Vorn, Crythis and Knell launched an all-out assault on what appeared to be the leader. One of the demonic minions engulfed Knell, and perished. This appeared to be some foul tactic of these creatures. The demon leader and two lightning wielders bloodied us with their strikes. Our stamina was being severely tested, and we had yet to do more than bloody the leader.

In a bid to grant us reprieve, Crythis conjured a wall of light to protect us. Knell was engulfed again by another of the demonic minions. I was again astounded by the bladeling’s tenacity. I was able, through the grace of Bahamut, to grant Healer’s Mercy to all of us who were bloodied, but the respite was short-lived.

Tirrigeth, Vorn, and Crythis were felled by another lightning blast, and Immeral – who had darted in amongst the enemy – stumbled as well. I was able to uplift Crythis, and turned my attention to Vorn, and Tirrigeth while he and Knell continued the fight. I was focused on healing, and so I was not able to witness the heroic efforts that turned the tide against the demons. Having aided Tirrigeth, I took the time to knock down one of the lightning-wielders as she assisted Immeral. We cleansed the battlefield of the taint of our foes, and staggered clear of the befouled glade to rest.

Ahead of us we saw a twisted tower of some strange design. In the ruins at it’s base Immeral reported an Avergene patrol. It was not until we had sprung our ambush that I saw that they were Dragonborn, whom I consider my kin.

In the battle that followed I did what I could to grant healing to my friends, while I urged my kin to retreat. To no avail. When the last crusader fell, I was blinded by anguish, and called upon Bahamut to grant him healing from my own life force. My prayer was granted. May my new found friends forgive me for my seeming betrayal, and grant me the time to explain to them, and to my egg-brother, why I have done this thing.

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Kusanagi's Log: Session 4
From one trap to the next

I’ve found Crythis to be a worthy addition to our band. He projects some of the same “confidence” that Tolan did, and backs it up with deeds as well.

I fear that as each hour passes, the likelihood of finding the boy alive grows ever more dim. One small advantage to our sojourn here is that we will have vanished from the world above. The forces of Avergene that sought us will likely find further searching fruitless. Hopefully they will discover other, more urgent matters that require their attentions.

The march through the caves is wearying and difficult. It is clear that some of these passages have been dug between chambers that were created by some ancient civilization. Such enclosed spaces were the last place I expected to encounter a ballista, but so we did. And a flame-rigged bridge as well as a well-placed net. It is clear that these “kobolds” are adept at setting traps, something of which we must beware. The party was quick to move towards the ballista, eager to shut it down. Myself, I was perhaps too eager, and I found myself in the river and out of the fight for the first few rounds. Knell, Tirrigeth, Immeral, and Crythis acquitted themselves admirably, despite the traps.

By the time I was able to join the fray, there was little more to do than heal the impetuous Knell and Immeral, who chose an odd time to combine napping and swimming. A dangerous combination of pastimes! I did attempt to persuade the two surviving kobolds that their cause was lost, but they fought on and paid the price.

After a brief respite, we encountered one of the ancient chambers occupied by what appeared to be a lone madman. Again, we focused on the lure, and quickly found ourselves enmeshed in a rather devious trap consisting of multiple swarms of rats. I had not realized how deadly rats could be, nor have I ever encountered them in such numbers and so frenzied a state. Several kobolds appeared, one of whom had some eldritch connection with the rats. I was able to knock him down, but the combination of rat swarms through which I had to pass to accomplish the feat, led to my own collapse. Fortunately Tirrigeth was there with an inspiring word.

Knell, Tirrigeth, and Immeral were in the center of the fight, occupying the attentions of our foe. This allowed our spellcasters the time to determine which of their powers would be useful against the swarms. I stepped clear of the melee, and switched to my crossbow, while Crythis and Vorn bathed the chamber in destructive magics, eventually vanquishing the foe.

We have chosen to rest here in this chamber. Two of the kobolds fled through a pair of nearby doors. They will bear intelligence of our party to their allies. The foe will be ready for us when we resume our pursuit.

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