For the Glory of the Empire!

January Gaming
Splitting up the party is always a good idea!

After the defeat of the red dragon, the guild explored its lair. They discovered two portals. Zarik went through the first. He ended up in Panmorn, where the emperor had declared allegiance to the red dragon(s). The citizens were in revolt, and ready to go to war rather than serve the dragon. Zarik decided that his place was in Panmorn, helping the revolt. He took his share of loot and left.

Damien entered the second portal, which led to Vashra. He saw slaves mining an ore used to forge magic weapons powered by souls. After debating whether or not to try to disable or block the portals, the Broken Talons decided to let them be. They returned home.

Most notable of the items recovered was the ancient hilt of a sword. Telios received a vision, describing how it might be reforged.

The guild was joined by Jonar, an old mercanary companion of Cedric’s. Given that they had an opening and that Cedric already knew him, they took on Jonar as a probationary member.

After division of loot and an entertaining Norrin’s Run, the guild tried to figure out its next moves. They spent a few days in Karad, during which Quentin managed to obtain a set of bracers belonging to the Lantern Bearer armor, and Cedric learned that some old enemies of his from Targrath were bidding in the auction of Targrath. He and Jonar went to Anathelas. They arrived too late to intercept them, but did manage to discover that the Targrathians had offered to purchase the Broken Talons—and for an insultingly low price. Cedric revealed that the man who had been at the auction had framed him for murder.

The guild later spoke with Duke Kanhilas, who asked them to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a group of enemy soldiers, and to figure out how to prevent its happening to his own forces. The soldiers had literally had the ground drop out from beneath them. The guild headed out to the site of the sinkhole. There was a tunnel at the bottom, which they followed. In the tunnel, they heard a voice whispering “Far enough.” Disregarding it, they soldiered on. They eventually came to a small, strange little man (surmised to be a gnome or a copper dragon) who admitted that he had caused the sinkhole because it amused him, and because he was angry with Targrathian forces because of their sack of the temples of Ollatowan. The Talons asked what could be done to make sure that the Anathelian forces did not suffer the same fate. “Don’t be penis heads” was the answer, which the guild assumed to mean, “don’t disrespect the gods.” They left, and the man disappeared—he had been a simulacrum.

As there was not much else urgent on the war front, the guild decided to take some time for personal business. Damien had received a tome that would benefit him greatly, but he needed 12 days to study it. As he also wished to learn new spells, it was determined that the guild would work on various projects for a week or so. Damien settled in to learn. Telios and Araceli decided that they’d like to do research on where the remaining pieces of Lantern Bearer armor might be. Cedric had a personal visit to make. So, Telios, Araceli, Quentin, Mirimmae, Cedric and Jonar traveled to Iris, a city in Karadon. Cedric met up with his sister and her new husband. Jonar hit the taverns. Telios and Araceli went to the university, where they discovered the possible location of several pieces of the armor. The belt was in Velos.

As they had some time to kill, the group left Cedric in Iris and decided to head to Velos to see if they could find out more about the belt. After unwisely engaging in a drinking game in a Viakan tavern, the guild arose the next morning and figured out who had the belt. It belonged to an elite Viakan warrior, who wouldn’t part with it for money. Quentin suggested combat.

The warrior agreed, and Quentin, Telios and Mirimmae agreed to fight. Joran found (or started) a betting pool. The odds were 3:1 in favor of the Viakan. A member of the Black Council of Siride bet on the Broken Talons, saying merely that he had come to expect strange things when this guild was involved. To the dismay of the bettors, Araceli refused to let Mirimmae fight and took her place. (Odds: 1.5:1 against the Talons) Spells, swords and black magic filled the ring. The trio won, and received the belt. The Viakan warrior, shamed by his loss, agreed to sacrifice himself to the Oblivion Sphere.

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Sa'Areladarin

Over the course of several days the guild members of the Broken Talons have pooled resources to find out information about their next mission. The takedown of a red dragon that has been plaguing the shipping routes and has been helping to hold the seas for the allied forces of Targrath, Labrylla and several of the Panmornian clan mercenaries.

They were pull together several key pieces of information, including the name of the fortress where the dragon Keristrazix was holed up. The fortress of Sa’Arlearden was historically the seat of the noble dragonborn clans. Before their time during the wars between the dwarves and elves it was built as an elven fortress. Fortuious for the group as there was a dwarven tunnel that led into the fortress from the sea floor that was still accessible.

The group was then preparing for how to arrive at the island as covertly as possible and get in. After teleporting onto one of the beaches the group was able to wind walk towards the sea. This was not before Zarik, was able to latch onto something most foul. He smelt what he was best able to tell was burning flesh. He was able to sneak inland and saw a group of Darastrii, nobles with a group of wingless darastrii that were doing the burning and ordering the nobles around. The bodies being burned were that of Wujen that appeared to be clerics or at the least worshipers of Halik.

The group then wind walked to the sea, flying high over the island to avoid detection. With the aid of a water elemental they were then moved down to the entrance of the tunnels. The tunnels entered the group spent the night to recover lost spells. The tunnels some 10 miles out to sea were in remarkably excellent condition considering the amount of time they had been present. The group reached the end of the tunnels to find a series of rooms that were tunneled into the basement of the fortress.

We then encountered a earth elemental that with the way it presented asked us if we were dwarves and was supposed to keep the dwarves out of the fortress. After tricking the elemental we continued on. Amongst the oddness of the basement was a pair of Fire elementals with brushes, what could only be interpreted as some sort of red dragon spa. We then found a room that was some form of hatchery for some oddities that the red dragon was experimenting with, which we termed as dragon chickens.

We then continued up a series of stairs to the fortress itself and caught a large number of normal darastrii in the mess hall. These darastrii were made short work of by Araceli and a couple of neatly placed spells. We continued on to examine the kitchen and quarters areas to find nothing of note outside of a scared cook. There were some discussions about whether to wake and scare of a pair of sleeping darastrii or just remove them. We then encountered what appeared to be a hallway setup to be a massive trap and death zone. However that seemed to be the front of the fortress so we left it alone.

We then continued to the second floor where we encountered a group of the wingless darastrii. Arcane casters of some power all it was a close fight at several points. We continued on found a small armory of mundane items. Then we came up on what appeared to be a throne room. Inside were several darastrii in livery, pages and the like with what appeared to be a pair of oni playing stones.

After the pages left we exchanged some idle banter to find that the oni were actually the twin children of Keristrazix which we knew were going to be in residence. A fight ensued where the female was dropped, whether she was killed or not is not sure. They escaped though when the male teleported out when it was apparent that the fight was not going to go their way. At this point we camped down for the night using some rope tricks in a barricaded armory.

The next day, upon leaving our area where we holed up we encountered a pair of the wingless darastrii with a pair of iron golems. The Wingless darastrii teleporting out of danger seemed to be the token of the day as they left. The third and fourth floors were almost entirely ruble. Though on the fourth floor we encountered another group of the darastrii, they let off a volley of disintegrates but were unsuccessful and left. They had a line of blast disks sitting in front of them as a trap which we managed to avoid.

We got up to the fifth floor and were presented with an odd sight. Six noble red darastrii lined up on the way to a portal. The darastrii did not touch us as we continued through the portal. On the other side we found a tunnel that ended in lava. Damien was able to get the group past a lava trap through the use of an arcane eye and dimension door.

Then came the moment that the group had been both looking forward to and dreading for some time. While only one minute in length spells flew, lava rolled, fire was breathed and swords and hammers swung. Keristrazix sat out on a small island surrounded by a moat of lava. Zarik was instrumental in allowing many of the party to be able to fly out to get to the island. Keristrazix was large and in charge and thanks to a pair of crucial misses the fight was as short as it was to allow Quentin and Telios to get in close to support Cedric. While Damien, and Aracelli rained spells from afar, Mirimae and Saak closed. Zarik after his flying effects cast closed the doors to the chamber to prevent more lava from coming up on us from behind. He then performed what can only be described as a mildly suicidal invisible drop from the ceiling shortly before Keristrazix’s life was ended. With that end Keristrazix exploded leaving items strewn about the room. We were also able to find a large collection of coinage in an adjoining chamber.

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October 10
Post-Adventure Clean Up

Once in Oganis Ford, the guild did their best to heal the celestial being, who remained asleep. They attended to their separate businesses around town. The town had grown, and had more land to grant and protect, while the exiled mages were constructing a tower. A scout group brought in the corpose of a Oni scout. Zarik and Araceli went to Risothyr to give the scout group’s report to the head of the military. Zarik decided to try to find whoever was supplying the Oni with information, and he was perhaps more successful than he had thought he’d be.

The next day, the erelim awoke. He was confused that he could no longer contact his deity, and was not happy at the explanation. After reclaiming his equipment, he let the guild take the rest from the portable hole. He decided to call himself Jamlamin Pegason, or Jim for short, and disguised himself as a youth of about eighteen or so. He then wished to be taken to one of the temples and left to meditate.

Telios, Damien and Araceli took the loot to the temple of Ollatowan, with whom they have a standing agreement regarding the identification of magical items. It did not take the temple very long to identify the items, although the guild will likely have to renegotiate its contract. A message was left for Zarik, informing him that the elerim had awoken.

The ritual of loot division, redistribution of current items and selling items that were no longer needed began.

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Oct. 3 & 10
Dungeon Time!

In the third room were four spectral figures, each standing and chanting over a bowl. Black, smoky blood flowed from their wrists into the bowls, and from the bowls into grooves in the floor. The channels led to an abyss, with the blood ever-flowing into it. Suspended above the abyss was a box with a tile on it. Zarik cast a spell that summoned a hand to remove the tile, and then remove the 28 quartz pieces from the box.

A celestial being was in the fourth room, along with spectral petitioners. None of them seemed to notice us. Telios approached it, at which point it exploded into putrid goo and then reassembled itself. The fight against the angel of decay was tedious, as the sludge on the floor drained health from our heroes and gave it to the undead creature. It was defeated at last. Another tile and 28 more quartz were collected. The guild decided to rest, although the casters were plagued with bad dreams.

The next “day,” the Broken Talons advanced to the fifth room. From a portal emerged a bizarre creature—the shell of a snail with tentacles emerging from it, each tentacle with a void at the tip. A magical barrier snapped into place behind our heroes—retreat was not an option. The fight was fierce but relatively quick. The shell of the creature was apparently made of dwarven steel, which the guild took. Tile and quartz pieces were taken, and the guild moved forward.

The sixth room was filled with spectral figures waiting in line. At the front of the room was a large statue of a dragon’s front. Resting on one claw was an orb of annihilation, into which the spirits were walking. The other claw held humanoid statues, attached to which was another tile. To either side of the carving were bas reliefs. One side depicted a city and creatures. The other showed destruction. Telios collected the tile; more quartz pieces were found. The group moved to the next room.

Four shadows and two nightshades awaited in the seventh room. They were defeated; tile and quartz gathered. Wounds and other damage were healed. After a little debate, the Talons decided to advance.

Down a long hallway they went, with the walls looking more like bone than stone. At the end of the hall was a portal. Through the portal was a room with seven altars, each with a large, tarnished chalice with writing and a slot. These altars were arranged in a circle around a dais, which was veiled by shadows. Eventually, the Broken Talons figured out the key to the riddle. They placed the tile into the slot with the matching inscription, and placed in each chalice a multiple of seven quartzes—seven for the first altar, fourteen for the second, etc. In front of each altar a shadowy figure emerged, reminiscent of the contents of the corresponding room. The guild spoke the name inscribed on the tiles, and the shadowy figures vanished, as did the veil around the dais.

After some experimentation and thought, it was decided to have Damien cast the first scroll of freedom, using the name pieced together from the tiles. A figure appeared on the dais. It appeared to be an angel of Philenon, the dead god of good. It was unresponsive, and seemed to be in great pain. On its belt was a portable hole full of various treasures. Determining that the creature was under a spell of eternal torment, the guild had Damien cast the second scroll of freedom on it. Though it seemed to relax, it did not wake up. The guild worked their way back through the dungeon, and teleported back to Oganis Ford.

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September 26

When last we left our intrepid heroes, they were awaiting the return of Damien from his sudden “business”—inferred by all to be some sort of confrontation with his father. While waiting, the group discovered that getting to the “prison” wasn’t as easy as just touching the large stone—someone had to cast plane shift. As Telios had not memorized that spell for the day, they would have to wait. Further discussion brought to light the fact that in Velos, children, even adult children, are technically considered the property of their parents. This meant that when Damien went charging off to resolve (or exacerbate) his familial issues, Grimskull could harm or kill him with impunity from Velos’s laws and swift justice. Most of the guild took off to find him. Cedric and Sak stayed behind, in case Damien returned.

Damien was found, and by dint of greater invisibility and wings, was able to elude his father’s minions. Debate at the main Viakan temple ended with the determination not to spend the night and allow Grimskull more time to seek out Damien. Araceli, Zarik, Cedric Sak purchased the appropriate scroll, and also discovered that a Black Minister had a hold placed on an ancient Elven scroll.

The guild finally made it through the portal, where they were met by a spectral image of a Araun Gem Knight and walls with carvings in something like ancient Darastrii with the usual warnings to turn back and beware. The Gem Knight demanded that we state our business. They complied, and she faded away.

They walked down a long hallway. Also in the hallway were spectral beings, murmuring a chant and moving slowly forwards. At the end of the hallway was a room with and altar and four spectral guards. The door that lead onwards was locked. Telios stepped forward to investigate the altar, and the wraiths took this as a sign to attack. The wraiths were defeated, although not before they had grievously injured Zarek. When the last of them had faded to normal specters, 28 quartz stones dropped to the floor. The altar now contained small plaque that had what seemed to be a name and a syllable from a language related to Celetial. The plaque opened the door to the next room.

In the room were two skeletons made of dragon bone, reinforced with steel. They could not be damaged by spells, so the party had to damage them the old fashioned way. Fortunately, Cedric and Sak were actually trained for this sort of thing, so the dragon bone golems were defeated before they did much harm. After the second dropped, 28 more quartz stones fell to the floor. Two identical plaques, one of which was removable, appeared on one of the walls. This, too, contained part of a name and a syllable in not-quite-Celetial. The guild is catching its breath for a moment before seeing what lies in the next room.

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Stember 19th

Previously on X-me……Broken Talons

After receiving a fairly cryptic vision, Telios mentioned that before continuing our adventures, we will need to acquire two scrolls of ‘Freedom’. Being a high level spell, it would be difficult to simply get one of these scrolls, let alone two. The question was where to get them.

Our discussions ran us to a couple of different places, but in the end, it was decided that we would visit the White Robes to the north.

With the aid of Telios’ wind walk, we made it there in hours what would have taken days.

The White Robes had what we were seeking and asked simply to arrange a resupply of arrows to help them in their cause. This, and some favors, was a more than reasonable request so the two scrolls were ours. Now the actual leg of our quest could begin.

With that, we made our way back to Organis Ford long enough to ensure we were all ready. With that, Damien teleported us to his home of Moroe Manor. We stayed there the night, going into town briefly to take in where we were only to teleport twice more that night to finally find ourselves in Velos, for good or bad that was to be determined.

We began in Velos searching for our contact that could lead us to the Dragon Steel weapons. Though it was tough to see the horrible things that were common place in this area, we pressed on. The idea that any harm or stealing was wrought with a quick death also helped us keep our tongues and weapons sheathed.

Our contact had sadly sold the weapons around a month ago to the high priest at the main temple. What was this temple, we did not know for sure, the symbol of a black orb gave some an idea.

Making our way there, we happened upon another figure, Damien’s Father. Covered in all black and wearing a mask of bone, you’d think the man was scary. The four skeletal trolls around him didn’t hurt either.

Oddly enough, we left him alone, hoping he wouldn’t noticed and continued to the temple.

Once inside, many of our thoughts and fears were confirmed, it was an orb of annihilation they were worshiping. We even saw an old man go to his own death by touching it.

Finally we met with the head priest, a man with no eyes or tongue. He said he had them, but we had to go get him for he was ‘told’ that we would come for them. He was also told that, for us to get them, we must go to the ‘dungeon’ or ‘prison’ to get them. He led us to a large gem and said all we had to do was touch it to get in.

We were about to go in but we had to wait for our newest member. Damien said he would wait out front for him to show him where to go.

When our new friend the oni got back, he told us that Damien had left to go do ‘something’. We can only hope that it goes well enough for him to get back…

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September 5

While the rest of the group waited in Bellond; Damien, Zarik, and Muriel left for Athela to deliver the captured Illithid.

Subtle never being a word for Damien he played it with a flair. They delivered the Illithid and were received by the Emperor Aleric III. During this conversation Damien mentioned that as this was done at our…instigation Duke Kanhilas was moving to secure the rest of Bellond as they were speaking. A fact which…the Emperor was not pleased by.

Back in Bellond the rest of the party was using the Arunadan constructs to demolish the statues to lessen the depressing influence within the city. During the investigation of the city many disturbing things were found. The city guards that only recently lined the walls were now all dead of dehydration, with water supplies so near at hand only magic could have accomplished this task, most likely dominate spells.

Next, as we were moving through the city we investigated several houses. Inside we found all of the inhabitants dead, meals for Illithids. There was the same kinds of odd flowers and herbs that we saw out on the island near Llorkh’Yar. There was also an odd black sand. We figured that this was something that was used to preserve the minds or something of the kind. “Brain Jerky” became the macabre term of the day.

Duke Kanhilas arrived to take hold of the city with his advanced guard. After briefing him in and upon the return of Damien and Zarik the party left for Karad for some shopping with their new gains.

The next day was spent shopping and processing things, when we heard from Jerem up in Oganis Ford. There were some new people up there that needed to be seen. The party quickly went up to Oganis Ford where we found a contingent of Arunadan refugees, lead by our ally Arzalenos.

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August 22

The long awaited Illithid confrontation.

During our preparing for the coming fight we decided to give Duke Kanhilas one additional day to get closer to Belond with his forces to be able to secure the city.

That night, all of the casters felt something become…off. The stars in the sky turned green, the moon was also a green. The guild collected at Berem’s tower to discuss the issue. Berem observed the moon through a telescope and was able to see black flecks also on the moon.

We then saw a the sky…ripple and a purple star appeared in the sky. A vision and a pair of Communes later we had some answers and more questions regarding what was happening. We were able to ask several pointed questions regarding the origins of Mil’Averon, and the Divine Prison.

We then prepared for the next day and setup for the encounter.

Part of the group wind walked in with the other portion teleporting into the city. The guild with the Arunadan and Naratani assistance prepared for the fight and started in on the pillars. During our preparation we saw that the Temple of Ollatuan that had been a sanctuary had been breached.

After the ensuing fight one of the illithids was able to escape, however the second was captured alive. The one we captured was also the illithid that had been previously encountered and had almost decimated us.

Damien, Zarik and Muriel teleported to Athela with the captured illithid and turned it over to Aelric III directly.

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August 15

Still riding the high of having taken down Duke Devis Belerim the Broken Talons planned a Norin’s run. To acknowledge the worlds loss of Decklin and the worlds gain through the loss of Belerim.

In the time leading up to the run the guild was thinking of the best way to tackle the task Belond. During this Mirimmaebrought up an idea to use Arunadan Shield guardians instead of just normal undead, or to use constructs like Durkaren.

At this point a pair of sendings went out, one to Durkaren and one to Nigel Morieu. Durkaren was to the surprise of all, still alive though at this point with Cagarnrhakin.

General Morieu came through for the guild in epic style. While the guild rented the two shield guardians there were a pair of Narutani Manticores as well as a Arunadan evoker that will be joining the guild for the attack on Bellond.

Duke Duren Kanhilas also came through in epic fashion and is rallying a force to march on Belond to take the city after we get rid of the Travelers from within it.

There was also a Commune used and noted.

The day after the Norin’s run the guild talked directly with Cagarnrhakin at the Yellow Diamond. He proposed a pair of trades. One money for information on the red dragon down in Walleda. The second being a straight trade for Durkaren, in kind and gave the guild a lead on where to find more of the dwarven constructs. The rest of the day passed in tense anticipation of the coming day and the attack on the Illithids.

That night something truly odd happened. The sky turned green. More specifically all of the stars in the sky turned green. The moon gained some black specs and later in the night a singular purple star joined the sky.

The party, scattered though it initially was all started moving towards Berem’s tower as it was the most logical place to be on an occasion like this. During this it was found out that Zarik is a Wu Jen. Though to be honest Telios didn’t notice…too many things to research at the time. With some information in hand a pair of commune spells were used and we found that there are things that tie a dieties hands when communicating to their followers.

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July 25 & Aug 1

The Broken Talons were debating the best method of assaulting Bellond in Damien’s apartment when Amsar of Nowhere heard steps on the stair. There was the sand pouring in through the cracks in the door (a herald that Olladawan is unhappy about something, or that our heroes are about to have another group -hallucination- vision). A group of extra-planar creatures, mezzoloths, attacked. As the enemy used cloud kill in such close quarters, most of the guild ended up jumping out the window to escape it. There were more of the creatures below. More cloud kills were released. In the end, the creatures were defeated. The Talons worked to save the citizens of the Tradesmen’s Ward from the poisonous clouds.

The guild argued almost all through the night. The use of mindless undead was brought up as a way to have reinforcements that could not be influenced by the Travellers. The use of the Juryani was also brought up, as a more battle-worthy yet still unlikely to be influenced group to take to Bellond. Upon discussion with Duke Kanhilas, this idea was ditched.

Still debating the best course of action, the Broken Talons returned to Damien’s apartment. While there, Amsar noticed a small eye watching them from the window—odd, because Damien lives on the second floor of his building. Amsar shot it. Between the casters, they figured out that the eye was a part of a spell used to spy on them, and that there were likely more out there.

The guild determined to try to find another of the eyes, and track it back to the person who had cast it. They were eventually successful, and tracked the eye to the Silver Ward before it was lost. The group determined that the eye had likely gone down to the sewers, and they followed.

They had found Belerim, mage and former duke of Bellond. The battle did not take very long, but it was costly to the Broken Talons. Deklin died in the first wave of spells that Belerim unleashed. The Talons did triumph, and they paraded Belerim’s body through the town to the palace of Duke Kanhilas. Amsar took his leave.

The guild was then accosted by their hired -publicity agent- bard, Lydia. Since the deaths of Adolphus and Norrin, the group had not been good about filling her in on their exploits. And without material, how could they expect her to promote the guild? To remedy this, she insisted that the guild bring with them Reynold. Reynold claims to be an unemployed scribe with no combat skills, although Mirimmae’s instincts say he is not telling the truth. The guild thus far has not been convinced to bring him along, as they don’t wish to be even partly responsible for another ally’s death.

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