The Principal Party
Current State of Play
True to past form, it's been a while since this page had its last shake-up. The campaign and our characters' movements continue to revolve around the War between the Alphatian Empire on the one hand and Glantri, Thyatis and the Heldann Territories on the other, which will come to be known as Wrath of the Immortals.
Krakatos And What Followed - The Ethereal Plane - Disruption in Thyatis
Lana - Karnus - Drewen - Vasily - Threy
KRAKATOS AND WHAT FOLLOWED
After weeks of preparation Lana managed to loose one of Bargle's controlled minions - the powerful and deranged werewolf called Silver Eye. Silver Eye failed to get close to Bargle but the event drew the wizard's attention, leading to an impromptu invitation for Lana to meet him in the Glaston Arms, on the male wizard’s terms and fully within earshot of Lana's villagers. The tales can be read HERE and HERE.
Meanwhile in keeping with the treaty between Glantri and Thyatis, Karnus led a team of Glantrian spellcasters to the Isle of Dawn to oppose the Alphatian military and liberate several fortresses in the Province of Redstone. An account of his achievements can be viewed HERE.
Unnerved by her actions having been wrested into the open, Lana thought to enchant items to protect herself and those whom Bargle might target by association. However, she and Karnus had agreed to explore the ruins of Krakatos, Karnus having roused a slumbering hutaakan spirit and onetime pupil of High Wokan Xaphorteq (the tale can be read HERE) and Lana having discovered a secret opening in the bowels of the ruins some time before. A Traladaran archaeologist named Anya whom Ptanophix had for a time possessed recalled the creature’s intent to claim a powerful treasure within the ruins. Accompanied by Anya, Drewen, Piotr, Antonius, Conor and Vasily, Karnus and Lana uncovered a long-undisturbed complex consisting of chambers designed to test intruders' mettle. After passing various challenges (including overcoming a giant-sized, lava-spewing bronze golem in the likeness of Halav) and paying homage to Immortals known as 'the Tarsian Twelve' the group accessed a magical portal (Karnus and Lana postulated that the gate had been created by Petra and Zirchev working in tandem as part of their quests to attain Immortality) and found themselves transported to another region of Karameikos. Their destination was the hitherto unknown Vale of Haven - visited previously by Vasily though his memories of the place were close to wholly obscured. The group met the valley's ruler Princess Argenta and her dragon-riding consort Sir Ellis before making their excuses and returning home. Time was said to operate unusually in Haven and the companions did not wish months to pass in their absence from the 'outer' world. Karnus and Lana especially had pressing concerns. The decision was made to return to Haven at a later date; Karnus along with the magic-user Gelzara (an apprentice of the dottery old wizard Mirabilis) rapidly researched an enchantment to re-open the portal.
Back in Krakatos, Karnus confronted the hutaakan spirit who now inhabited the body of a gnoll and still bore the black-wooded Staff of Hutaaka - twin to Karnus' own. Bereft of her own magic without access to a grimoire, Ptanophix was reliant on her Staff's (finite) power to open great tracts of earth, exposing long-dead remains which she proceeded to animate to do her bidding. Displaced in both time and space, the spirit was in a confused (nigh pitiful) state; desperate to access the lower catacombs she hoped to lay her hands upon the Crown of Petra, believing it would grant her the power she craved though she would not reveal to what end. When parlay failed to achieve a suitable outcome it became apparent that her Staff needed to be destroyed since it would permit Ptanophix to possess other bodies. Karnus incapacitated her with twin stunbolts whilst Lana conjured a towering earth elemental to stomp upon the Staff. It broke apart amid a blaze of indigo energy. When the smoke cleared both the Staff and Ptanophix's body had been consumed, however an opening in the earth could be seen, a tunnel leading into darkness. So oppressive was the aura emanating from the tunnel that Piotr's ability to sense evil was not called for. After discussion, during which several of those present expressed extreme discontent, the decision was made to investigate. Broken amulets littered the tunnel, bearing sigils intended to ward away creatures from other planes of existence. The companions pressed on and found themselves enveloped in misty tendrils... their opponent revealed itself as a poltergeist - detritus such as rocks and bones rising all around. Two such objects hit Lana and Piotr, ageing each of them by a decade. The party's weapons and spells had minimal effect on the creature. Drewen's enchanted hammer proved crucial in the fight; seeing its end in sight the creature enveloped Lana, Piotr and Conor in its net and dragged them to the Ethereal Plane before withdrawing there itself. Lana's dagger finished the creature as it rematerialised, leaving the trio staring at their foggy surroundings and wondering how they might return to the Prime.
THE ETHEREAL PLANE
Mercifully, Lana's flying carpet meant that the three were not stranded. Lana pointed the carpet toward the ethereal equivalent of Thyatis; after not long they encountered a form of malevolent undead which did its utmost to instil fear in the trio, succeeding in Conor's case though the inert nature of the Ether kept him from fleeing off the carpet. Piotr meanwhile withstood the creature's persistent attempts to overwhelm him before the group despatched it with spells and weapons. A short distance further and a cyclone descended; by some miracle all three companions managed to cling to the carpet as they were swept high into what would have been the air, before being deposited an unquantified distance from their point of origin. Further encounters included running into miniature, wrinkled tributaries of a wormhole leading to or from an unspecified Elemental Plane, a leviathan-like 'plasm' (a skeletal entity composed of ethereal 'water') which Lana gated to the Plane of Water only for it to return a short while later whereupon she scarcely managed to immobilise it with a further spell, dancing, multi-hued lights which Lana thought might have been a will-o-the-wisp and a kindly ghost which led the trio through a dark and dangerous location equating to an undersea settlement on the Prime. Finally, days after the group's water supply ran out (despite Lana attempting to condense moisture from the Ether using spells of cold) a familiar figure appeared through the mist - that of Awooshinsi, Demetrion's djinni associate. Having led invisible stalkers summoned by Demetrion at Karnus' behest, the female djinni conjured sustenance and safeguarded the trio on their way to the meeting point where Demetrion flanked by Karnus opened a gate and returned the travellers to the familiar (to Lana and Conor, if not Piotr) surroundings of the Imperial Palace of Thyatis.
DISRUPTION IN THYATIS
On the occasion of Emperor Thincol's birthday the party of four found themselves in the streets of the great metropolis when a shimmering heat-haze passed overhead, followed by hippogriffs flying in formation. They were headed for the stables which the Retebius Air Fleet maintained within the city walls. Karnus and Lana exchanged uneasy glances, sensing that something was amiss, while Piotr confirmed that whatever creature was within the haze exuded the indiscriminate intent to endanger lives. The four gave chase, arriving at the stables as ballistae and catapults were trained upon the aerial assailants though a number of the weapons turned toward the party themselves. Karnus lost no time projecting a likeness of himself through which he spoke with the commanding officer, persuading him that the companions were present to afford aid. His quick-thinking seemed to have proved instrumental. The source of heat revealed itself as an efreeti - a giant-sized humanoid composed of smoke and fire. Only one hippogriff bore a rider - a young man of Ylari descent wearing banded leather armour and bearing assorted weaponry. Lana retreated to a concealed spot to summon an air elemental with which to grapple the efreeti; Karnus picked off hippogriffs while maintaining the distraction of his projected image, and Conor and Piotr engaged the Ylari interloper. After the man inflicted serious injury on Conor, Piotr succumbed to overexcitement - channelling all his physical strength into a great swing which inavertently decapitated his foe. With the threat averted, a search of the Ylari's belongings yielded a potion of blue dragon control... he had meant to access the nearby stables and take control of two young blue dragons, though to what greater purpose would remain unclear.
Without further ado the companions bid one another temporary farewell and went their separate ways.
Less recently: Lana returned from Sundsvall and delivered the Duke's orders to Karameikos' troops stationed in Athenos. Accompanied the army north to Darokin City and fought in the Battle of Darokin alongside troops from Alfheim and the Shires. Defeated the wizard-lieutenant Alrethus. Subsequently requested an audience with Demetrion Karagenteropolous and agreed to investigate the Ylari invasion of Biazzan; deduced that the Ylari's opportunistic manoeuvring was attributable to the influence of a desert prophet of an as-yet-unidentified religion. Was apprehended by the Thyatian State but avoided being dragged before Emperor Thincol right after Karameikos' diplomatic side-stepping. Agreed to perform further service for Demetrion clearing red dragons from Thyatis' northern mountains; was assisted by a headstrong former gladiator-cum-gloryseeker and a priestess of Thor. An operative of Loki escaped the trio and a clue hinted at the involvement of the wizard Wastoure. Returning to Karameikos, Lana moved on to the next stage in her plan but succumbed to distraction and explored Koriszegy Keep alongside Sascia of Luln. The Keep was judged unsuitable for Lana's intentions therefore an alternative site was found at which to engage the foe whom she hoped to confront there. She engaged Silver Eye and his 'Pack', persuaded Sherlane Halaran of Threshold to remove the collar which was the focus object for the curse afflicting the werewolf. Even with Silver Eye’s free will restored, Bargle resisted the attack with ease. After arranging to antagonise Sascia of Luln who had colluded in the scheme, Bargle sought out Lana for a discussion.
Ahead in time, Lana and Piotr (both feeling the strain of unnatural ageing suffered during the poltergeist attack) will return to Glaston, relieve Drewen of 'acting' rulership and deal with Bargle's gnoll cohort (whom Lana's apprentices managed to apprehend in her absence) before proceeding to Korizegy Keep.
Less recently: Karnus remained in Sundsvall after the treaty was concluded and departed aboard a skyship ('the Airship of Love') across a number of kingdoms before Teleporting to Glantri. There, he was charged with investigating the destruction wrought by the meteor strike and led survivors from the ruined Principality of Blackhill to settle in neighbouring Erewan. Around the same time he took up the mantle of a deceased Erewan elf (one Ezekiel Naramis) who had discovered traces of a rare magical ore in the Silver Sierra mountains of Glantri. Having demonstrated resourcefulness Princess Carlotina offered Karnus baronial status however he declined, thinking this personally unwise in view of Carlotina's loss of status within the Glantrian political arena. Karnus attended meetings of the Glantrian Assembly and was charged with escorting Prince Urmahid Krinagar to Thyatis via a diplomatic stop-off in Specularum and a reconciliatory visit to Glaston. A chance encounter in the Dymrak Forest wakened the slumbering spirit of the Hutaakan wizardess Ptanophix. Karnus proceeded through the Duchy of Machetos into the greater Empire of Thyatis where he met with Dame Catherine D'Ambreville. After a subsequent meeting with Thincol Torion and his aides, in addition to an envoy of the Heldannic Knights, Karnus assembled a band of Glantrian spellcasters and travelled by sea to the Province of Redstone, his passage arranged by the Imperial Magist. There his team countered the efforts of the Alphatian military by a variety of means including attempting to control strategic points such as Kilpatrick's Keep and Redstone Keep. He subsequently returned to Karameikos to assist in the exploration of the ruins below Krakatos and uncover the portal to the Vale of Haven. Having despatched the restless soul of the hutaakan wizardess Ptanophix, it was he who alerted Demetrion to the plight of Lana, Piotr and Conor in the Ethereal Plane, and ensured their return home.
Ahead in time, Karnus accompanied by Antonius (and presumably Conor) is bound for Ylaruam (following a map obtained by Antonius in the pyramid of Cynadicea?).
Drewen temporarily left his clanseat to participate in the underground exploration of Krakatos and proved instrumental against the poltergeist. When Lana and the others were transported to the Ethereal Plane he was concerned; having learned Bargle was threatening Glaston he took it upon himself to step into Lana's shoes as overseer until she returned safely to the Prime. Now that she is back, Lana will ask Drewen to accompany her and Piotr to Korizegy Keep with a view to uprooting the evil of that place for good.
Less recently: Drewen has been ensconced in his newly founded clanseat in the Altan Tepe mountain range and dealing with humanoids in the surrounding area. The lands over which Stefan Karameikos granted him dominion are understood to contain veins of precious ore. Lana intends to visit Drewen in the near future.
After participating in the Krakatos exploration Vasily returned to the Church of Traladara bearing the Crown of Petra - a relic of as-yet-untested power. He also received a scroll containing the Speak with Monsters spell. Lana will likely summon Vasily to Glaston and ask that he make use of the scroll to interrogate 'Redcloak' - Bargle's gnoll associate who has been apprehended while stirring trouble among goblin tribes in the vicinity of Glaston.
Less recently: Vasily endured a harrowing journey to the Glantrian principality of Boldavia to retrieve an ancient sceptre believed to have once conferred power over the undead.
After months of dangerous travel through the wilderness of Glantri to Boldavia (he stuck to the territories bordering the Broken Lands and then made his way northwards through the lands that lie between the Colossus Mounts and Ethengar - i.e. Bramyra - where he was given shelter by a member of the Ten Thousand Fists of Khan) he finally found the tomb of the paladin who was last known to carry the sceptre. The spirit of the paladin did not rest easy - although ignorant of changes in the world at large (it had no idea what Karameikos or indeed Glantri were) it had enough awareness to know that the lands immediately outwith the tomb were cursed by dark forces and its people were turned away from the Immortals.
It granted Vasily the sceptre but told him that its power would remain locked without an act of great faith. He was to go before a great crowd and publicly proclaim his faith in Halav, Petra and Zirchev, trusting that they would protect him.
And so one evening during a crowded town meeting in Rymskigrad (the Boldavian capital) Vasily stood up and proclaimed his Faith, imploring the townsfolk to follow the teachings of the Church of Traladara as their ancestors once had. The townsfolk reacted with a mixture of anger, shock and fear. Before anyone could act however the sceptre glowed with a brilliant holy light and revealed the true undead face of one member of the crowd. The vampire flung himself at Vasily but the sceptre's light disintegrated him in an instant.
There was then mass panic and Vasily, feeling he had done as much as was required, escaped in the ensuing chaos. He was of course hounded by the Undead as he fled Rymskigrad and soon became hopelessly lost in the Boldavian Hills.
With the creatures of the night closing in he found himself in a tranquil moonlit vale with all signs of pursuit gone.
He came to learn that this was the Vale of Haven. It was inhabited mostly by elves and members of faerie races but there were also other sylvan creatures such as centaurs and dryads, humans, halfings and even a personable clan of dwarves - all living in harmony.
He spent what seemed like nearly a year here and learned much about the history of the vale. Although each race had a slightly different story about Haven's origins there was general agreement that this was a special place created by Immortals long ago as a refuge for worthy and needful mortals from the dangers of the land of Traladara.
As Haven touches Traladara/Karameikos at a point where Zirchev used to dwell it is thought that he either created it or was the first to discover it. In any case, the vale has been considered to be particularly sacred to him (and Halav and Petra also) for nearly two millenia but the Immortal known to be most interested in Haven in this day and age is Thendara (sometimes just referred to as The Guardian), the patron of the local clan of Vyalia elves.
Before he left Haven he swore an oath to keep it a secret. He invented his story about escaping into Ethengar by drawing from his experiences with the Ethengarian cleric of Cretia he encountered. By the time he finally got back to Specularum, Haven had become like a faded dream and his invented story seemed much more real to him even though deep down he knew it wasn't true and he could still recall Haven when asleep or meditating.
Threy remains on 'lockdown' - preserved in a stasis-like state within the otherworldly bastion of Neutrality known as the Observatory. Whether the Lords of Balance have a purpose in mind for his abilities remains to be seen. It is perhaps less likely than before that Threy will assume the responsibilities of Olmundvar in due course, having been found wanting in past evaluations.
Having escorted Teldon to Sundsvall at the request of Duke Stefan Karameikos, Karnus and Lana participated in negotiations with Empress Eriadna and her team of advisors (these included the ex-Emperor Tylion IV and Admiral Haldemar of Haaken, famed explorer and captain of the Princess Ark, now the Empress' foremost adviser on military matters and foreign policy). A treaty was concluded, whereby Eriadna formally accepted Karameikos' independence and neutrality in the War, and vowed not to allow her forces to enter Karameikos if/when the War spread to the continent of Bryn. In exchange, Karameikos undertook firstly to combat the forces of the Master of Desert Nomads and secondly not to assist Thyatis against the Alphatians. As a final concession, Eriadna agreed to consider gifting resources to bolster magical learning within Karameikos … once the more pressing concerns of the War were out of her way.
The Karameikans were privileged when Eriadna divulged certain pieces of information she had gleaned through her information network, though she refrained from providing much specific detail:-
that evil Immortals were known to be masquerading under façades of benevolence, e.g. legendary heroes such as "Balthac", a figure of darokinian folklore who was believed to have died in single combat with a mighty red dragon, and "Drrynden", a hero of Helskir who was presumed to have vanished long ago amid a mysterious fog. Both these individuals, supposedly, had been elevated to Immortal status and were actively recruiting followers. The Karameikans' exploits in Helskir and Aasla had revealed Hel, Patroness of Death and Re-Birth, to be behind the Order of Drrynden while Eriadna had grounds to believe that Balthac was a sham faith also;
that the conquest-crazed Heldannic Knights had been far more active in recent times than had been presumed, and in Eriadna's view they posed a threat on a level which was equal to the combined might of Glantri and Thyatis;
that the Glantrians have access to dangerous and volatile magics which are threatening the safety of the world as a whole - the Immortals have given her clear indications that the Glantrians cannot be left unchecked, lest their activities trigger the destruction of the planet. She left no doubt that Etienne D'Ambreville was chiefly to blame in her view, labelling the head Wizard-Prince a reckless and arrogant fool.
Whilst the treaty was considered a great success for the most part, Lana was obliged to surrender the magical staff of King Lucinius I to Eriadna, who sympathetically declared herself unable to pass over such a golden opportunity.
Once the treaty was wrapped up, Lana teleported home to Specularum to deliver the news to Duke Stefan but was aghast to find her liege in audience with emissaries of the Master of Desert Nomads, ruler of Hule and conqueror of the nation of Sind. They were accompanied by the Duke's cousin Ludwig van Hendrikks, the Black Eagle Baron. This unlikely pairing sought to convince Duke Stefan that an alliance with the Master was the most sensible option open to him. It was suggested that the Master would be content to stop at the acquisition of Darokin; Lana's eyebrows rose on hearing this. After the Baron and his companions were dismissed from the audience chamber, Lana delivered her report of the new treaty whilst Stefan and his ministers contemplated Karameikos' next course of action.
Stefan seemed pleased with the outcome of the Alphatian negotiations, that much was clear. Lana was left with the impression that the Grand Duchy would not remain as such for long, and that Stefan would proceed to declare himself King, finally autonomous from the Thyatian Empire to the east. It is hoped that the new Kingdom of Karameikos will go to the aid of neighbouring Darokin, its capital city still heavily besieged by the Master's forces. Away from Darokin City itself, the Master is known to have entrenched himself and secured most of the western side of the Streel Plain in particular.
The Darokinians and the Hollow World
Meanwhile months before, the Darokin party had traveled to the Hollow World at the direction of their patron Rheddrian and were astounded not only to discover this previously unheard-of territory, but also to learn that the Heldannic Knights had discovered the Hollow World earlier than the Alphatians and had established a strong presence there. Their disbelief was compounded when the shaft connecting the two worlds collapsed unexpectedly. Seemingly the mis-guided cleric Kelter Zerben, a follower of the Immortal "Balthac", had not only passed information to the Heldannic Knights enabling them to launch a surprise attack on the outpost of Haldemar and set most of the town ablaze, but this unwitting individual had also triggered the collapse of the shaft which had connected the upper and lower worlds. These events brought about the death of hundreds of innocent civilians and, according to the claims of survivors, had been put into motion at the bidding of the pseudo-Immortal "Balthac".
The survivors of Haldemar, bereft of any meaningful offensive or defensive capability and faced with hostility from the local tribes as well as the Heldannic Knights, agreed that it was imperative news of the catastrophe should reach the upper world. So, the Darokins split into two groups - one consisting of Sylarin, Adriana and Jeremy who would make their way in a gnomish tunneling vehicle through the collapsed shaft. The other group consisting of Dudley, Solchia and Giovanni would take a less direct journey aboard the Tipsy Tyrant - one of the few Alphatian flying vessels to have survived the blaze - and would follow the route which Prince Haldemar had mapped as leading back to the surface world through one of the polar openings. Whichever group emerged back into their home world would be charged with notifying the Alphatian authorities, and time would be of the essence.
The first group managed the trip first, and emerged starving and half-suffocated into Pittston on the island of Aegos after weeks of slow progress. They were quickly conveyed to Aegopoli where they were brought before King Heldebaran No-Man's-Fool, who recalled meeting Kelter Zerben weeks before, then they were transported to the Alphatian capital of Sundsvall to a personal audience with the Empress herself. Eriadna informed the Darokinians that Kelter Zerben too had managed the trip back to Aegos in a gnomish vehicle, and had openly cursed the name of Balthac which he now understood to have been a front for a conniving female Immortal. Kelter had managed to slip away from the authorities in Pittston and his current whereabouts remained unknown.
A fuller account of the Darokin party's journey to the Hollow World can be read HERE
Perhaps most significantly, Lana's new pet giant ferret remains in polymorphed form while Immortal interference continues unchecked on the Prime Plane. Stowed inside Lana's tinderbox in the form of a snail, the ferret's gender and name have yet to be determined. Lana isn't sure how she'll go about restoring the animal to its normal state, seeing how she has no access to the Dispel Magic spell, however she is confident that she'll figure something out.
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What lies ahead for our intrepid adventurers, spread as they are across the Known World (or in Karnus' case, on another continent)…?
Newly returned from Alphatia, Lana remains physically drained from having been raised from the dead and would benefit from a fortnight's bed-rest however events at home outweigh her personal needs. Assuming Duke Stefan announces his intention to assist the Republic of Darokin in combatting the Master, Lana will travel on her flying carpet to the port of Athenos where Karameikan troops await instructions, then will Teleport to Darokin City to assist in lifting the siege. The many delights of Sundsvall - in particular a certain enchanted cookbook available for purchase - will no doubt compel her to return in the near future.
No doubt glad to be shot of Lana after weeks confined aboard the flying carpet, it is probably accurate to view Karnus as conflicted - on the one hand, he longs to return to his beloved Glantri and resume study at the Great School, while on the other hand he is enthralled by the wonders of Sundsvall and the ready availability of magical commodities. Having fulfilled the vow he swore to himself that he would protect Teldon and Lana on their journey and having also played a key role in concretising the treaty between Karameikos and Alphatia, it remains to be seen what Karnus' next move will be. A return trip to the home of Myskuramis? Or a visit to the nation of Thothia from which Hutaakan culture is suspected to have derived? Or Glantri to report his findings to the Wizard-Princes…?
Our dwarven hero finds little time for adventure as he continues to oversee construction of the partly-subterranean complex which is to serve as home to the regrouped Goldenhammer clan in the fringes of the Altan Tepes in north-eastern Karameikos. Preliminary investigations have revealed the region surrounding the clanseat to contain valuable metal and mineral ores, which Drewen's clan will likely be charged with mining on the Duke's behalf. It might even be the case that Drewen will be granted a dominion over the outlying lands.
The distrustful cleric of Halav continues his quest for an ancient traladaran relic - a sceptre once wielded by a traladaran paladin on a crusade into the Glantrian province of Boldavia, an area reputed to be haunted by powerful undead. Vasily has been commanded by the Church of Traladara to seek the paladin's tomb in the hope this artifact can be returned to Karameikos. Vasily must tread a lone path and given that Glantrian law outlaws clerical magic on pain of death, his quest promises to be fraught with peril.
Threy was detained while his companions escorted young Valen Karameikos out of Alfheim and back to his family in Specularum. It has now come to light that Threy was subjected to examination by the powers of Neutrality in the mini-dimension known as the Observatory. Having endured a sequence of tests set by the mysterious Olmundvar, including being forced to confront the ghosts of his past, Threy faced one final challenge - that of freeing his twin brother's soul from the evil phenomenon known as Stalkbrow. Threy's brother died during the traumatic encounter but attained peace. For his part, Threy was returned to the Prime Plane but found himself catapulted to a far-flung corner of the Known World where he has been wandering a bleak landscape for weeks, sustained only by his clerical abilities. One can only presume Threy has re-appeared in the Desert of Sind, far to the west, where he will need to keep his wits about him if he is to evade the ever-vigilant forces of the Master of Desert Nomads.
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