Difference between revisions of "The Show Must Go On"

From Ardrana

m (The basement: Correction)
m (Gathering information: Disambiguate)
 
Line 3: Line 3:
 
== In Imor ==
 
== In Imor ==
 
=== Gathering information ===
 
=== Gathering information ===
[[Kessa]] took the opportunity to check in on [[Orpheus]] at the [[Briaridge Repose]], where he was still under the effects of a spell that kept him unconscious. While there, she spoke with [[Phaedra]], who was attending Orpheus along with [[Ebony Ravenwill]], high priestess of [[Hecate]]. Apparently, the high priestess had been mentally attacked by something within Orpheus during her ministrations, causing her to age substantially. Phaedra said she had called the force a "[[Dark Guardian]]", but had no idea what that might be. Kessa was asked to return to the RDI to await word on further developments.
+
[[Kessa]] took the opportunity to check in on [[Orpheus]] at the [[Briaridge Repose]], where he was still under the effects of a spell that kept him unconscious. While there, she spoke with [[Phaedra]], who was attending Orpheus along with [[Ebony Ravenwill]], high priestess of [[Hecate (deity)|Hecate]]. It seemed the high priestess had been mentally attacked by something within Orpheus during her ministrations, causing her to age substantially. Phaedra said she had called the force a "[[Dark Guardian]]", but had no idea what that might be. Kessa was asked to return to the RDI to await word on further developments.
  
[[Judith Scarsdale]] came to the RDI to tell the party that [[Scarsdale Family|her family]] was investigating a possible connection between the [[Out and About|earlier attack]] at [[The Golden Geyser]] and Orpheus' current situation. She and SniffWind returned to the Scarsdale estate, where they met with [[Stewart Scarsdale|her father]] and his servant, [[Efrem Sanders|Efrem]], shortly thereafter. After being praised for rescuing Judy and [[Ashley Scarsdale|Ashley]], he informed them of the group having found the family's crest during the party's previous [[Clear Across the Barrens|mission]] in the [[Imor-Drev Tunnel]]. Lord Scarsdale seemed quite interested in the information, and told SniffWind that he would see to getting the party housed, and potentially employed, at the Golden Geyser.
+
[[Judith Scarsdale]] came to the RDI to tell the party that [[Scarsdale Family|her family]] was investigating a possible connection between the [[Out and About|earlier attack]] at [[The Golden Geyser]] and Orpheus' current situation. She and [[SniffWind]] returned to the Scarsdale estate, where they met with [[Stewart Scarsdale|her father]], Stewart, and his servant, [[Efrem Sanders|Efrem]]. After being praised for rescuing Judy and [[Ashley Scarsdale|Ashley]], SniffWind informed them of the group having found the family's crest in the [[Imor-Drev Tunnel]] during [[Clear Across the Barrens|their previous mission]]. Lord Scarsdale seemed quite interested in the information, and told SniffWind that he would see to getting the party housed, and potentially employed, at the Golden Geyser.
  
The group assembled back at the [[Red Dragon Inn|RDI]] and [[SniffWind]] paid for the use of a meeting room so he could fill in everyone about his conversation with Lord Scarsdale, although he left out the part about telling him of their mission. Judy remained in the common room to await the arrival of Efrem to take them to their night's lodging. Everyone agree to take advantage of the offer and returned to the common room.
+
The group assembled back at the [[Red Dragon Inn|RDI]], where [[SniffWind]] paid for a meeting room in order to tell everyone about his conversation with Lord Scarsdale, although he left out the part about telling him of their mission. Judy remained in the common room to await the arrival of Efrem to take them to their night's lodging. Everyone agree to take advantage of the offer and returned to the common room.
  
 
Phaedra arrived and informed Kessa that Ravenwill would recover from the attack in a day or so, and that those wishing to visit with Orpheus should take precautions before touching his body or casting any spells. Kessa introduced Phaedra to the rest of the group, including their heroic deeds at the Golden Geyser, news of which was apparently making its way around [[Imor]]. Phaedra asked Kessa if, since she had been attempting to treat Orpheus, she might speak with the priestesses at the temple of Hecate.
 
Phaedra arrived and informed Kessa that Ravenwill would recover from the attack in a day or so, and that those wishing to visit with Orpheus should take precautions before touching his body or casting any spells. Kessa introduced Phaedra to the rest of the group, including their heroic deeds at the Golden Geyser, news of which was apparently making its way around [[Imor]]. Phaedra asked Kessa if, since she had been attempting to treat Orpheus, she might speak with the priestesses at the temple of Hecate.

Latest revision as of 16:49, 11 September 2019

Following their unceremonious firing by the Imorian Army, SniffWind and his remaining companions prepared to leave the Red Dragon Inn and find some other means of supporting themselves.

In Imor

Gathering information

Kessa took the opportunity to check in on Orpheus at the Briaridge Repose, where he was still under the effects of a spell that kept him unconscious. While there, she spoke with Phaedra, who was attending Orpheus along with Ebony Ravenwill, high priestess of Hecate. It seemed the high priestess had been mentally attacked by something within Orpheus during her ministrations, causing her to age substantially. Phaedra said she had called the force a "Dark Guardian", but had no idea what that might be. Kessa was asked to return to the RDI to await word on further developments.

Judith Scarsdale came to the RDI to tell the party that her family was investigating a possible connection between the earlier attack at The Golden Geyser and Orpheus' current situation. She and SniffWind returned to the Scarsdale estate, where they met with her father, Stewart, and his servant, Efrem. After being praised for rescuing Judy and Ashley, SniffWind informed them of the group having found the family's crest in the Imor-Drev Tunnel during their previous mission. Lord Scarsdale seemed quite interested in the information, and told SniffWind that he would see to getting the party housed, and potentially employed, at the Golden Geyser.

The group assembled back at the RDI, where SniffWind paid for a meeting room in order to tell everyone about his conversation with Lord Scarsdale, although he left out the part about telling him of their mission. Judy remained in the common room to await the arrival of Efrem to take them to their night's lodging. Everyone agree to take advantage of the offer and returned to the common room.

Phaedra arrived and informed Kessa that Ravenwill would recover from the attack in a day or so, and that those wishing to visit with Orpheus should take precautions before touching his body or casting any spells. Kessa introduced Phaedra to the rest of the group, including their heroic deeds at the Golden Geyser, news of which was apparently making its way around Imor. Phaedra asked Kessa if, since she had been attempting to treat Orpheus, she might speak with the priestesses at the temple of Hecate.

Efrem arrived shortly thereafter, as various members of the group were collecting their things and then everyone was transported to the Golden Geyser via Tenser disc. The Geyser's Head of Security, Royce Clifton, attuned their wristbands for access to the facilities, and they were left to their own devices. SniffWind asked Efrem if there had been any developments regarding the investigation into the statue attack at Judy's party, and was told that arcane magic had been used to animate the statues, but nothing more was known.

The group met the night House Wardeness, Brenna Skyler, who showed them to their rooms. SniffWind stayed in the room to study his spells, Tripper went outside to explore the lush grounds, and WildFire and Thorodin went to the RDI. While sitting at a table there, Thorodin pulled out the scroll he'd found at the gang hideout, but almost immediately was dropped through the floor.

Ralnar and Kessa, meanwhile, went to that evening's Sharing of Knowledge at the First Observatory. There, they heard some interesting talk from Walter Simmons, a gardener at the Golden Geyser, who shared his suspicion of dark magic being used, especially by the Addenberry Family. When he was done, a woman named Belinda Wells rose to defend magic, although not to defend the monarchy.

The next morning, the Geyser's day House Wardeness, Mrs. Chamberlain, gave the party an invitation to breakfast with Lady Clarice Silverwood, the Geyser's director. They went to the dining room, where they were joined by Lords Scarsdale, Waterhouse, and Middlebridge, the other members of the Geyser's board. Lady Silverwood was introduced, and began an exchange with SniffWind. There was much awkward silence during the breakfast, where Lord Waterhouse tried to get more information out of various party members about their presence in Imor to no avail. Eventually, Lady Silverwood was called away to a meeting, but on her way out she offered to pay for the group's continued lodging at the Red Dragon Inn for at least the next week. After the party made its exit, SniffWind was told by Lord Scarsdale that while he and Lord Waterhouse had been at odds, Lord Middlebridge was firmly in his camp politically.

Later, SniffWind met with Strumblor and Drumblor, now calling themselves The Brewer Brothers, at the RDI. He convinced the proprietor, Clive. to allow them to audition to play at the Inn. He then learned that Thorodin had been escorted out of Imor by Lt. Christine Barberry last evening. Dorella arrived and informed him that she would be meeting with their potential replacements on their original mission the next day.

The discussion of politics led Ralnar to seek out Walter Simmons, accompanied by WildFire and Tripper. Simmons told him of his suspicions regarding the Addenberrys, as well as Lord Waterhouse, whom he disparagingly called an "opportunist". He also told them he believed Ms. Wells was an agent of the Addenberrys, and that they were in league with something called the Cornerstone Council. However, he believed that the Lords Scarsdale and Middlebridge and Lady Silverwood could be trusted.

Kessa went to the temple of Hecate, where Phaedra told her that the Dark Guardian was some sort of entity that drains the life from whomever it attacks. This entity was something that was known in Eksaer before the Great Magic War, but Phaedra knew little else.

That night at the RDI, the party ran into Kendra WillowSight, who overheard them discussing Thorodin's departure, and mentioned that a friend of hers, Purzha, was interested in joining their party. Purzha spoke briefly with SniffWind before he and the other bards went up to practice for their audition.

The rest of the group went back out into the city. Tripper went to the Healing Center, where he was told that only locals were accepted for training there without being sponsored. He decided to go back to the agricultural center, where he was given a day job tending the orchard.

Kessa, Ralnar and WildFire went to Imor University's library to research the use of magic in the city before and after the War, and there they discovered to their chagrin that they were a feature in that day's Imorian Gazette. Under the gaze of students, they found little of interest in the books, but WildFire overheard a rumor saying that Orpheus was, in fact, dead. They went over to the temple of Hecate, but left after discovering that Phaedra was not there.

Back at the RDI, The Brewer Brothers were able to secure a gig for the following night. Ashley returned, and asked SniffWind to allow Purzha to join their party as a personal favor to her, to which WildFire agreed. Tom also returned to the RDI, informing Tripper that military officers had been told to avoid the RDI for a while until things had been sorted out with the party.

As the evening wore on, Phaedra returned. She told the party that High Priestess Ravenwill would soon be back on her feet. She also told them that they had, at least temporarily, been denied access to the historical records of the ruling families. Given the urgency of the situation, she asked the group if they could use their influence with Lord Scarsdale to allow them to gain such access. The party agreed to make an attempt.

Later that evening, Judy returned to the RDI and, after being filled in on the situation, decided that it would be best to research the Dark Guardian in the Scarsdale library without her father's knowledge. Purzha mentioned that she was a conjurer, which Ralnar and Kessa realized might be helpful, since according to Phaedra the entity had been summoned, and so she was invited along.

The party met Judy at the Scarsdale estate at midnight, and commenced to researching. In a tome discussing magical history, Kessa located information that Dark Guardians were beings summoned from the outer planes, and they were used by various Eksaerian noble families, including the Scarsdales and several others (but not, as Ralnar noted, the Addenberrys). They learned that the Scarsdales were working on a defense, but any information about it was lost when their holdings were abandoned during the war.

Plans for departure

The next morning, the group resolved to visit the Barrens, and the long-abandoned city of Saeryt, the ancestral holdings of the Scarsdales. SniffWind noted a newcomer to the RDI watching the group, before splitting up to gather information. and thus little of importance could be discussed before the group dispersed to gather information. SniffWind, meanwhile, took the time to copy a map belonging to Strumblor and Drumblor, and asked them what they knew about the area.

Kessa, looking for a map of Eksaer, found that the only maps to the Barrens were in the university library. Ralnar and WildFire went up on the walls to view the city from a distance through the spyglasses, but learned little other than some basic geography of the area. Tripper paid a visit to Granny Rose, who offered to allow him to replenish his supply of herbs on credit. Evadne paid a visit to the RDI that morning as well, and Kessa asked her to rejoin the party.

Just as the entire group had gathered, the mysterious figure SniffWind had seen earlier strode over to the table and offered his services as a guide. The party questioned the newcomer, who said his name was Ar-Fleknor Talag-Janorsson, or "Flek" for short. He claimed to have traveled through The Barrens numerous times as a guide. After all were satisfied that neither Flek nor Purzha was involved in the political business of Imor, both were invited to join the group, and once more the party went information-gathering.

Following up on Kessa's lead, SniffWind asked the librarian about a more detailed map of Saeryt, and she agreed to check the archives for any such document. On the way back to the RDI, however, the three bards were busking in the marketplace trying to generate interest in their concert when the crowd started throwing fruit at them. Strumblor fell, damaging his and SniffWind's instruments. Upon returning to the RDI, SniffWind received a note saying that Judith would be joining the group for dinner.

Meanwhile, the priestesses went to the Briaridge to speak with Johnny Keynote, Orpheus' business manager. He agreed to give them an advance on their reward of 200 gold pieces, repayable if the mission failed. Tripper communed with Vodyus, while the rest checked on supplies. A mule was purchased to carry supplies, and a local named Grover was hired to handle it.

By late afternoon, the group had reformed once again. When Judith arrived, she told them in no uncertain terms that she would be unable to aid them further, as their actions had aroused the suspicion and anger of her grandmother. The group decided that they needed to move quickly, and would leave the next morning. Also, the group decided that they were in need of a rogue, and Flek said he knew someone he could ask.

Tripper told the group that Vodyus had told him he needed to seek out blessed objects to help them on their journey, and to that end he and Kessa went to the temples of Demeter and Athena for such aid. They acquired a magic seed that would instantly grow a tomato plant from the temple of Demeter, but would need to wait for the next morning to meet the high priestess of Athena. While they were gone, WildFire and Ralnar noted a young woman watching them from a far table, although she departed when the bards began their concert. The Brewer Brothers were surprisingly entertaining, earning 20 gold pieces.

The next morning, the group gathered in the RDI's tavern and met Flek's friend, a young woman named Fenestra Brannock. After some discussion, she agreed to join the group. The party decided to split up and meet near Imor's south gate at a Dwarven bar called Rumblor's, run by a cousin of the two bards.

The meeting at the temple of Athena did not go well, as the high priestess refused to give Kessa and Tripper holy water without more information about their mission. The bards were able to get a copy an old map from the library, but it was in poor condition. Ralnar and Wildfire went to the temple of Hecate to find Phaedra, meanwhile, but received a message that a situation had come up and she would try and join them at the gate. They also received devices to allow them to communicate outside the walls, along with four vials of holy water and an aspergillum.

The main party left the RDI and went to Rumblor's, where Fenestra and Evadne joined them. They headed for the gate, where they were stopped by a functionary, who took them to be someone's escort. The guards used some kind of detection device on the party, and they confiscated the dagger that WildFire had found in the River Bottom Boys' hideout while retrieving Tripper's staff. Apparently, the dagger had been stolen from a private collection.

Shortly after, the functionary returned with three people: Phaedra, the young lady who had been watching the group in the RDI the previous evening, and a man wearing the Scarsdale crest on his breastplate. The lady thanked the party for escorting her to her meeting with the Dwarves of the Obsidian Mountains, and bade them follow. Phaedra explained that this was, in fact, Lily Scarsdale, who had arrived at the temple of Hecate that morning insisting that she join the expedition. Phaedra was told to go as well in order to keep the peace.

In The Barrens

The party followed Lily and her guard, Ruben, as they set off southward along a paved road. The two rode silently, and Lily rebuffed an attempt by SniffWind to converse. The party followed, unsure of what to do. When the group got out of sight of the city's scopes, they turned west, and a short time later stopped to rest. At that time, Kessa, Ralnar, and Tripper confronted Lily, asking what her motivations were. She told them that she, too, sought to recover magical lore from her family's holdings, and that she did not care what they did. She also claimed to be working independently of her family, about which Tripper expressed doubts.

Unwilling to discuss things further, Lily departed, although she told the group that Ruben had warned her to take care approaching a small hill not far ahead on their right. The party soon discovered that they were being watched by creatures Tripper identified as jeks. The party debated attempting to contact them, but decided against it and moved on. When the party stopped for lunch, Ruben asked the group about the creatures, and SniffWind took the opportunity to see if he knew anything beyond the map that he had. When he pulled out the map, he discovered that he could not read it.

The party moved on again and, after perhaps an hour, Ruben came back to the main part of the group to let them know that Evadne had veered off the path ahead to check out a partially destroyed building to the north. Kessa asked WildFire to follow her since Evadne had not informed the group of her intentions. He reluctantly did so as the rest of the party came to a halt. Lily, Ruben and Phaedra moved onward and Purzha chased after them to let them know that the group would follow as soon as the situation was in hand.

Encounter with the snakes

When WildFire reached the building, he nearly bumped into Evadne as she retreated from 8-foot-long snakes. While WildFire retreated toward the party, Evadne climbed the side of the building and, when she attempted to pull out a dagger, lost her balance and fell through the decayed roof into the building's interior. This left the rest of the group to deal with the snakes, which they did fairly handily with great help from Kessa's casting of a dust devil. However, WildFire was bitten, and after the battle he collapsed to the ground.

As Tripper rushed to aid WildFire, SniffWind tried to get someone to help Evadne, and Purzha returned with SniffWind's maps. However, as Tripper attempted to counteract the snake venom, something went wrong, and WildFire began bleeding profusely from his injured leg. Kessa used a cure light wounds spell to stop the bleeding, while Tripper and SniffWind made a litter out of WildFire's tent on which to carry the fallen elf. Evadne, meanwhile, returned, but said nothing about what had happened to her.

Encounter with the tyrgs

The party, seeing that Lily and the others had gotten over half a mile ahead, sent Flek to let them know what had happened. After that, things were quiet for a while. Then, Fenestra noted that several four-legged creatures were stalking the group from the south. After some discussion, Ruben identified them as tyrgs. After it became clear that they would be attacked, the party decided to stand their ground, and the battle was joined. Two of the tyrgs were killed, and the third ran off. The party was patched up, and the rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully.

As the party camped for the night, Kessa cast create water to replenish the party's supply. Fenestra laid down caltrops to protect the camp from intruders, while Tripper checked everyone's wounds. Ralnar earned some praise from Lily after his impressive performance in the battle, hinting at the possibility of his being employed by the Scarsdale Family should he continue to impress. After that, the party settled down for the night, with Ralnar and Fenestra on first watch.

The first and second watches passed quietly enough, but during the final watch, WildFire surprised Tripper by waking up and appearing to be nearly fully healed despite the severity of his condition just the day before. As the sky began to brighten, the rest of the party began to rise and go about their morning tasks. The party discussed WildFire's recovery, but came to no conclusion. As they did, Lily approached WildFire and surprised him by asking about his capabilities as a spellcaster, which he had kept secret to that point. Meanwhile, Sniffwind showed Fenestra the map, and she pointed out where she thought they were, and mentioned that they would be approaching a spot on the map marked as the town of Hemerez, on the rim of the Tumerzot River valley.

In Hemerez

The party set off, and as they approached the ruins Flek and Evadne went ahead to check out the town. As they explored, Evadne heard a noise in one of the buildings. It turned out to be a young woman named Isla, who told the party that her caravan had been attacked on the way to Drev, and that she was the only one who escaped. The party decided to allow her to accompany them until they returned to Imor, at which point she could find transport to Drev.

Lily and Ruben went around the ruins on horse to look for the best way across the valley. The party rejoined them shortly, then Kessa, Evadne, Phaedra and Tripper went downriver to continue searching. The group found a spot near a broken pier, and Ruben came to inspect it. However, the bank gave way underneath him, causing him to tumble down and land in a small muddy pool. A pair of mudmen arose out of the pool, and despite Kessa's produce flame and Phaedra's command spell, Ruben was killed.

Flek went back and returned with Lily, who was incensed at SniffWind, who had distracted Ruben on his way down and whom she thus blamed for his death. She then told Ralnar that someone would have to replace Ruben as her personal guard. After she left, the party came to a decision to present Lily with the idea of the entire group serving as Ruben's replacement, but they decided to develop a plan of action for crossing the valley first.

Crossing the riverbed

Ralnar and Kessa went around to the group, getting their input, and they decided that the best course of action would be to send the horses north to find a better crossing place while the main body of the group crossed at the broken pier. With that decided, part of the group went back to present their conclusions to Lily, while the rest set up a system of ropes to aid the party in descending the river bank.

After some discussion, Lily agreed with the plan to cross the river, as long as one of the group accompanied her for protection, which turned out to be WildFire. She also reminded the group that her safety would have to be their primary concern beyond their own effort to aid Orpheus. Toward that end, she also revealed that she had acquired some help from her grandmother in the form of a dust mephit named Liberace.

With that, the group separated. Lily and WildFire rode off upstream with Liberace serving as aerial scout, while the rest commenced to descending into the river bed. Lily questioned WildFire further about his magical abilities, and suggested that he might be skilled in wild magic, which appeared to be the case after testing him. She offered to introduce him to someone who could teach him upon their return to Imor, although such teachings are officially banned there.

A couple party members took spills on the way down the river bank, but made it to the bottom mostly intact. Purzha summoned an unseen servant, which tested the mud of the river bed to ensure the party made it across safely. Just as the party began to climb the other side, a horde of bandits appeared, charging the group. The party successfully fended them off, doing more damage to themselves than the bandits did in the process. Just as the last of the group reached the top of the bank, the party spotted Liberace flying above.

As the group prepared to move on, several took the opportunity to look back at the riverbank and noted the mysterious absence of the four bandits who retreated just a few minutes earlier. The group set out to the east, and about an hour and a half later they met up with Lily and WildFire. Ralnar, with SniffWind's help, brought Lily up to date and she suggested the possibility of the escapees finding a means into the underground tunnels, and thus the group should be on its guard.

Before moving on, Tripper cast animal friendship upon the second horse to ensure its cooperation. They made camp about a quarter-mile from the top of a rise, beyond which lay an expansive valley. Ralnar and Fenestra went on watch, with Fenestra laying down caltrops, while the spellcasters gathered in the main tent to discuss spell preparations for the following day. The three bards also compared notes to try and better coordinate their activities.

Encounter with the broken ones

Meanwhile, Liberace returned from scouting and reported to WildFire that there was a large encampment in the valley. They brought this information to Ralnar, and while they were planning strategy they heard someone climbing up to the rise. Not knowing who it might be, they went up the rise to investigate, and attacked a figure at the top which turned out to be Evadne. The noise attracted the attention of the camp, and SniffWind went out to investigate, only to injure himself on a caltrop. Ralnar, returning to discuss things with the group, also injured himself. Upon hearing a description, Phaedra reported that the creatures in the valley were likely broken ones.

After a short time, Evadne and WildFire, who had remained to watch the valley, saw some figures moving up toward them. Evadne went to inform Lily, while WildFire told Ralnar, and eventually the rest of the camp. Chaos ensued as the party rushed to pack up the camp. SniffWind decided to light a fire to try and distract the broken ones, and the party quickly departed in groups of no more than three. WildFire and the bards went off in a separate direction from the others, skirting further around the rim of the valley.

As they moved forward, Flek noted that the broken ones had begun to follow them. Purzha conjured a mount and loaded most of the party's supplies onto it, then rode forward to find other party members. Ralnar and Fenestra were the first she encountered, and the two returned to the rear of the party, and joined with Flek, Phaedra and Fenestra to make a stand. Eventually they were joined by WildFire and the three bards, and were able to kill or drive off their pursuers. More significantly, WildFire attempted to cast a spell, and while it didn't work the way he planned, it did cause one of the broken ones to disappear. He revealed this only to Ralnar. However, the party's mule was taken, along with some of their supplies.

As the night wore on, the party slowly came back together and made camp just a few hours before dawn. After an uneventful remainder of the night, Evadne spotted Liberace circling the air just before dawn. The mephit indicated that Lily had gone further on, and would return to meet them. When she did, she spoke to Ralnar, saying that without the mule to handle, Grover was no longer useful, and would instead be a burden on the group moving forward. She suggested sending him back to Imor with a message to her family, perhaps to request a replacement for Ruben.

After some discussion, Grover said he would like to return, but would not wish to go by himself, as he did not think he'd make it back successfully. The group set out without settling the matter. WildFire reluctantly spoke to Lily, who told him she would not be responsible for his safety. The party decided to send him off anyway, and when the party stopped at midday Grover left with a copy of the party's map.

Approaching Saeryt

That afternoon, Ralnar and WildFire spotted a brownish, dome-shaped haze measuring several miles across, hovering about ten to fifteen miles away. Once again, WildFire consulted Lily, again reluctantly, and learned that it was something called "the vortex", which had covered the ruins of Saeryt since the days of the Great Magic War. Ralnar estimated that they would reach it sometime the next afternoon.

When the party stopped for the night, the vortex a bit more visible, and crumbled structures could be seen within the haze. Tripper asked Lily about the vortex, and she told him that it is an area of ever-blowing dust, within which lay a portal to the Quasielemental Plane of Dust, which the mephit was sent along to help the party avoid. Tripper walked the camp, healing those who were still wounded and filling some of the party members in on what Lily had told him.

Light in the distance

While wandering around the camp shortly after sunset, WildFire spotted a steadily glowing dot of light near the ground between the campsite and the vortex. He pointed it out to Ralnar, who suggested he once again talk to Lily. Instead, WildFire went to Flek, who came over to where Ralnar was standing watch. As he could not identify it, Flek went to consult the spellcasters. After being barred from entering Lily's tent, he went to the big tent where, when nobody answered his knocking, he yelled that there was trouble and burst in. Isla, Kessa and SniffWind went over to view the light, as did Purzha, who had been roused by Flek's shouting.

At first, Purzha suggested it might be a Will o'wisp, but after viewing for a moment rejected that idea. Isla suggested it might be a continual light of some kind, perhaps cast upon an object or projected through a window. Tripper joined the group, and he placed markers so that the position of the light would be noted in the morning. Flek suggested that a small scouting party should be sent to investigate, but Ralnar declined, concerned about splitting up the group. Finally, Phaedra and Lily emerged, and Lily suggested that she would send Liberace out to scout it in the morning.

Unable to quell her own curiosity, Kessa decided to take Flek's suggestion and assemble a scouting party to go check out the light, and was joined by Isla, Fenestra and WildFire. Ralnar again advised against the idea, but seeing Kessa's determination, did not press further. Drumblor took Fenestra's position on watch until she returned from the scouting mission, while Tripper remained awake until their return in case any healing measures were needed.

The foursome headed out and as they got closer, the dome around the city became more visible. A mile out, the group also noted that the light source seemed to be coming from a second story window in a building. Isla was now even more convinced that it was made by a continual light spell. They discussed the idea of the building being some sort of outpost or perhaps the home for a recluse wizard. WildFire suggested that they move in closer to glean more information, so Isla put out her lantern and the group pressed forward.

As they crept closer, WildFire thought he saw something pass in front of the light, and the group again stopped to evaluate the situation. While doing so, both Kessa and WildFire noted it happen a second time. A short time later, Kessa saw a brilliant flash, and the group heard the sound of shouting voices. Kessa heard one of them exclaim "We did not mean to come here" as several torches flared up on the ground as well as on the roof of what was now revealed as a three-story building on the outer edge of the dust cloud.

At this point, Kessa decided it was best to start back towards camp, as WildFire hung back a bit to ensure they weren't being pursued. He heard a second voice shout what sounded like a command, but couldn't understand what it was saying as he trailed after the others. They arrived back at camp unmolested and filled in those assembled. Isla suspected the flash to be from a magical device, but Ralnar was more concerned about why the people were out here in the first place and what role the tunnel system might be playing in their presence. Lily emerged, and said that the trespassers would have to be removed from her family's land, but that she would not take any action herself until the morning. She would alert her grandmother in the meantime and requested Phaedra's presence.

"Aney"

Frustrated with the lack of useful information gleaned from these forays, Evadne decided to take matters into her own hands and departed without a word to do some reconnaissance. Ralnar noted this and Flek advised someone go after her in case anything untoward lured her. Ralnar sought WildFire's aid, and he once again reluctantly pursued the amazon. After a while, Evadne encountered a gnome heading away from the building, who asked her about both the building ahead and the camp behind, and she told him she was with neither group.

By this time, WildFire had almost caught up to Evadne when he heard their conversation up ahead. He spotted the gnome, and decided to follow him instead. They played cat-and-mouse for a while before WildFire confronted the gnome. The gnome told him that he and several others had arrived mistakenly at the building ahead, and he's now looking for help. WildFire claimed to be out "birdwatching" with Evadne, but agreed to go back to the camp with the gnome.

As they walked, the gnome let slip that they had been brought here by a wizard using some kind of unpredictable teleportation device. The two continued on with Evadne trailing them, which made the gnome suspicious, and he asked WildFire about the party's camp, which lay ahead. WildFire demurred, saying that perhaps they could get help from them. When they neared camp, the gnome said he would check things out and headed off towards the tents. WildFire attempted to warn him off, then to grab him, but when his effort failed, WildFire blew his whistle of alarm.

Chaos ensued in the camp as WildFire didn't explain why he blew his whistle, but eventually he and Ralnar make a circuit of the camp in an attempt to find the gnome. They saw a human-sized shape approaching them and assumed it must be Evadne, but instead it turned out to be Lily. The noblewoman strongly advised them to not scare the gnome away as he may have valuable information regarding the inhabitants of the building. Lily cast a spell to locate the gnome, and directed the two fighters to him.

When they caught up, the gnome tried to hold them at bay with a crossbow, but they soon learned that he was unable to understand either of them. Eventually, SniffWind joined them and discovered that the gnome, calling himself "Aney", was from Kellan like himself -- more specifically from Nazivonema -- and therefore was able to understand him. Aney was still very wary of the elf, and WildFire's continuing confrontational attitude didn't help matters any, but finally SniffWind convinced him to come back to camp. Aney also told them that he had spotted Evadne moving off to the west before the others came out.

Back at camp, the group spoke with Aney further, discovering that the inhabitants of the building had captured four others, including the wizard with the teleportation device. WildFire took one more circuit around the camp and still didn't find Evadne. He joined Tripper and Flek, and they discussed the ramifications of Evadne's sudden departure. Phaedra went to see Lily, and said she would tell her of Aney's arrival. The party and Aney all decided to sleep on it and make a final decision in the morning.

The fourth day out in the Barrens began with Tripper gathering the spellcasters to inform them that he had received a boon from his deity in the form of some new powers. The party decided to help Aney in exchange for possible aid from his wizardly associate in their quest to aid Orpheus, and began to formulate a plan to gain entry to the building.

The Doomguard

Liberace returned from scouting ahead and, after reporting to Lily, emerged with her from her tent. She told those assembled that the building ahead was a citadel of the Doomguard, who Purzha said were an Outer Planar faction devoted to entropy. SniffWind suggested altering the earlier plan slightly, posing as agents of entropy themselves, here on a pilgrimage. Purzha suggested that they pose as tourists coming to see the city, with Flek as tour guide, and the party decided to go with that plan.

SniffWind watched Purzha cast her mount spell and attempted to duplicate it, only to conjure a saw-horse instead. Liberace made one final fly-over at Lily's request to locate the still absent Evadne, and reported that she is ten miles to the west, heading away from them. With that settled, the party set out towards the building.

As the group got closer, they could make out more details, including the fact that the building was actually within the cloud of dust particles. Several humanoids stood outside of and on the roof of the building, apparently guarding it. Those with better eyesight thought at first there might have been centaurs among the guards, but soon realized that they had ram's horns on their heads. Another guard had blue skin with white hair and still another had four arms and wings. Phaedra identified the blue-skinned one as an air genasi, while Purzha speculated that the winged ones and the four armed one might be demons of some sort, perhaps alu-fiends.

At the Doomguard citadel

As the group got within a couple hundred yards or so, Flek stepped into tour guide role, and soon the group was commanded to stop by a voice from within the building. SniffWind tried to address the voice in several different languages, both with and without his ring, but met with no success. Liberace stepped forward and addressed the guards, calling his companions "clueless" and "out-of-touch", earning him a glaring look from his mistress. After a brief delay, a well-armed human named Henrik stepped forward and addressed the party in Elven. SniffWind explained that we were seeking information about the decaying city and Henrik advised we speak to their leader, High Factotum Vikishnya. Lily suggested having the meeting in a neutral location and Henrik, after speaking to his companions, reluctantly agreed.

While waiting for the High Factotum, SniffWind came up with the idea of presenting her with a gift, specifically getting the dust mephit to cause something to crumble to dust before giving it to her. Ralnar instead suggested that the most valuable gift we might offer is going into the city and therefore contributing to its destruction.

Henrik returned and told the group that they would be met by an equal number of Doomguard, and they soon came out of the building. Purzha identified one of them as a bariaur -- the ram-horned creatures -- along with two githzerai and a half dozen or so humans. There were also two creatures that she couldn't identify: a winged serpent with a human head, and a seven foot tall female with ruddy brown complexion, small horns and a monkey's tail, whom she again postulated might be of demonic nature. As the motley crew got closer, the last introduced herself as Vikishnya and welcomed the party.

Once conversation had been magically facilitated, the party told her that they were intending to tour the city. They were asked if they knew anything of the group that appeared the previous night, and in turn asked if they might enter the building and ask about what they might expect while in the city. Vikishnya said that her second, Hakkh, would answer such questions and bade us follow her to the building. Lily told her of her family's claim on the land, which Vikishnya said that would be poorly received by the Doomguard.

As the group were led into the building, they struck up a conversation with Zintar al'Kindor Particulus, a githzerai mage, who took them to a room used for training and bade them wait until Hakkh's arrival. He told them that the citadel was indeed linked to the city of Sigil, the base of the Doomguard, and that they used filtered masks to breathe within the dust.

Hakkh finally arrived, and the group recognized him as the four-armed fellow they had seen earlier. He told them he was in charge of the stronghold's defenses, and that he was "perturbed" at all the visitors arriving recently. He provided some information to the party about some of the creatures they might encounter in the ruins, and of ways to combat or avoid them. The party asked about possibly bringing some of the Doomguard into the city with them, but he told them he would have to speak to either Vikishnya or the High Advisor before exiting.

Zintar returned and informed the group that Lily's presence had been requested by Vikishnya and the High Advisor in order to discuss the issue of her family's claim on the area. Lily took Phaedra and Flek with her to ensure her safety. Zintar then told the group they had permission to see the other visitors, and shortly thereafter Henrik returned with them. There were four of them: Doofenschmirtz, the gnomish mage who had brought them here, his brother Doofenclaud, a human woman named Airlia and an Elven man named Thalvorn. The party spent some time learning about their situation and were just getting the description of the necessary port key when the door to the room opened, and they were greeted by the High Advisor, a man named Lucius Crowley

Crowley informed the group that he had taken Lily, Flek and Phaedra prisoner, and was also the person who summoned the Dark Guardian. He did this to lure one of the Scarsdales here so that he might take his revenge upon them for their role in banishing him from Imor and stripping him of his powers. In exchange for the release of Flek and Phaedra, along with the cure for Orpheus, Crowley asked the group to enter the city and return with the Scarsdale Family crest, which was a major power source created from a substance called Imorite. This crest could only be retrieved by someone marked as a member of the Scarsdale house -- provided by the group's wristbands -- and the presence of wild magic -- which would be provided by WildFire.

This news disquieted some in the group, but after questioning him for a time they told Crowley they would aid him. Crowley also agreed to provide them with magical aid -- specifically enchantments to be added to some of the group's weapons -- and with some members of the Doomguard to accompany them into the city.

After Crowley left, Tripper decided explore the citadel. He went upstairs to a room overlooking the city and cast detect magic on its contents, discovering that there was an overall magical glow in the area. WildFire joined him shortly and the two looked out at the city, where they observed the ruins along with what looked like petrified trees to the west. Tripper inquired about WildFire's wild magic potential, and WildFire demurred. They returned to the group, and after some further discussion the group headed outside and set up camp.

Once outside, the group discussed their concerns about how much Crowley knew about them. Henrik emerged from the building carrying a sack containing some food and the group's weapons. It turned out that the only one of sufficient quality to be enchanted was Drumblor's throwing ax, and that additional magical weapons would be loaned to the group. Purzha provided him with a list of additional supplies the group needed and he said they'd be available in the morning along with the weapons.

Later, Fenestra returned and spoke to Ralnar about her spying efforts. She told them that she had briefly spoken to Flek and Phaedra, who were being held in a locked room, but without Lily. She also had found a secret passage in the stairwell which led down into a tunnel that led north and south away from the citadel where the portal to Sigil was located. The group pondered whether this might be connected to the system of tunnels they had been exploring earlier, but decided not to pursue it as yet. The rest of the night was uneventful and the group awoke, ready to finally enter Saeryt.

The next morning, WildFire, SniffWind and the two bards went to the citadel and collected the requested supplies and weapons. Meanwhile, Tripper took it upon himself to see if he could find any magical explanation for Ralnar's strange feelings of late. Ralnar reluctantly agreed and it was discovered that Ralnar exuded some sort of magical aura. This new development was tabled, however, as the priests discussed their deities' messages. The group concluded that they could be cautiously optimistic about their circumstances, but they needed to present a strong and unified front in their efforts. Somewhat heartened by this news, the group made final preparations to depart. Before they did, they were joined by the other promised aid from the Doomguard in the form of four of their number: Henrik, a fire mage named Iris, a burly fellow named Bodgley and a priest of Loki named Zebulon.

The group headed into the ruins of Saeryt. About fifteen minutes into their trek, WildFire spotted a slightly more dense cloud of dust rapidly approaching the party. Henrik identified it as a dust quasielemental, but there was little time for preparations before the creature was in melee with the fighters. Tripper got off a sunscorch spell, but saw no evidence of it being damaged. Doofenclaud threw an ice knife at the hostile elemental, but his aim went awry. Isla hit with a magic missile, but again no effect could be perceived. The creature got in a fierce attack of its own, taking down Thalvorn and severely injuring several members of the group. Kessa was in the midst of casting a spell when WildFire let loose a burst of magical energy, which screamed into the heart of the elemental, causing it to appear to explode, ending the confrontation.

Thalvorn's injuries were quite serious, so the group made its way back to the citadel hoping to procure additional aid. As Strum and Drum set up the large tent so the wounded would have some shelter, Tripper attempted to bring Thalvorn into the building. However, he was stopped by the guard on the rooftop telling him he had orders to not allow the group back in until the item had been procured. He was given a potion of extra healing, but told that any further aid would have to be discussed with the High Advisor. While Thalvorn received ministrations, Zebulon reentered the citadel as well.

Crowley emerged, asking for an explanation. The party told him of the battle and the need for healing, but Crowley was unmoved. He threatened to kill one prisoner for each day the group delayed, but eventually he acquiesced, giving the group five healing potions before leaving. It was decided to keep the potions until they were absolutely needed due to their questionable source, so Kessa cast two on Henrik and WildFire and then the group set out once again.

In Saeryt

The ruins of the city

They got about two-thirds of the way to the manor when WildFire became aware of the scent of flowers, and moved forward unheeding in an attempt to locate the source of the smell. Isla and SniffWind both expressed concerns about this being some sort of lure, but WildFire urged the group to follow him, saying he heard a child's voice calling for help. He quickly disappeared behind a wall, and the group heard some thumps and the sound of something heavy being dragged away. Henrik came up and looked around the wall, but was attacked, causing him to take cover. Fenestra made a more stealthy approach, but saw nothing.

WildFire found himself face to face with a stranger, with whom he struck up a conversation. The man, who claimed to be a refugee from Imor named Victor Simmons, told him of the lamia, the creature which had lured him, and from which he had saved him. It turned out he had been banished for his own use of wild magic. Meanwhile, the group came around behind the wall and noted a hole, near which SniffWind saw signs of a struggle. Kessa moved in closer and could hear the sound of two voices issuing from somewhere below. A moment or so later, WildFire's head emerged and he bade Kessa and Ralnar join him underground.

As she and Ralnar descended into the hole, the rest of the group stood guard. SniffWind tried, but failed, to overhear the conversation, during which Simmons told them of the area. Simmons agreed to lead them into the manor, but requested that they not use his real name among the Doomguard, and that they should instead identify him by the name of his "uncle", Walter, whom Kessa and Ralnar had met back in Imor. After they emerged, the rest of the group was introduced to "Walter" and were told he would be leading them. Isla and Henrik expressed concern to some of the others about the change, and Purzha warned that Simmons might have beguiled the other three, but nothing came of it.

Old Scarsdale Manor

The group soon arrived at the manor and Simmons warned that the place was said to be haunted, and that there were gargoyles on the smaller building behind them that would animate and attack them should they open the door. Iris told them that this was not the way the Doomguard knew, but the party decided to use it. Claud cast fog cloud directly onto the gargoyles in hopes of obscuring the group's entry, but this animated them immediately and the battle was joined. The party had some difficulty opening the doors, and their weapons and spells seemed to have little effect on the gargoyles. Thalvorn was killed in the first onslaught. Claud attempted a lightning bolt, but got cut off, and Henrik was killed while attempting to rescue him. WildFire again attempted to cast, resulting in a surge that caused one of the gargoyles to double in size (while WildFire's feet also became huge), which was distraction enough to get everyone else inside.

The main floor

Tripper pulled out the light rock, revealing an empty room with two doors, which Tarney checked for traps. Tripper then revived WildFire, who struggled unsuccessfully with his enlarged feet. A knocking sound was heard on the outer door, and SniffWind suggested that Bodgley peek to see who it is. Despite protestations by others in the room. Bodgley complied, and in came the zombified form of Thalvorn. Ralnar, Bodgley, Tarney, Tripper and Kessa took him down while the rest of the group went through the door opposite the one through which they entered.

The room beyond was octagonal, with dusty portraits hung from each of the walls, decaying furniture in the center, a fireplace to the left, and a door opposite. The portrait above the fire was of an old man dressed in finery, but the others were too faded to see well. SniffWind turned his attention to the fireplace while the others entered. Just as Bodgley closed the door to keep the Thalvorn-zombie out, the fireplace sprang to life, singing SniffWind's hat, and the man in the photo above the fireplace began to laugh maniacally.

SniffWind spotted a plaque just below the portrait. The group tried to decipher its faded writing, but could only make out the word "Saeryt". While Tarney struggled to get the next door open, and Tripper noted smoke building up around the fireplace. The group tried to put the fire out, but as Fenestra finally opened it things exploded in the chimney and burst into the room, setting everything therein on fire. The group clambered into the dark room beyond, but WildFire tripped, almost getting badly burned. Bodgley went back and dragged him in, then closed the door behind him.

Light revealed a very large room filled of clay pots along the walls, three more doors, and a strange patch of plant matter on the floor. Tripper moved into the center of the room to get a closer look, but got attacked by the plant patch causing him to seize up. Isla cast a burning hands spell on it, but it only served to fill the room with acrid smoke, sending everyone into choking fits, relieved only by the replacement of their magical filters.

The party rushed for the closest door, which was on the left-hand wall. Fenestra picked the lock, and Kessa opened it. The party scrambled into what appeared to be a smallish storeroom, again closing the door behind them. Fenestra broke the mechanism on the door opposite, and it swung open to reveal a kitchen area and four more zombies. As the party spilled out into the room, Iris identified these zombies as Doomgaurd who had been lost during forays into the ruins. A brief battle ended with Kessa successfully turning the zombies, forcing them back into the storeroom. Bodgley dragged one of the kitchen tables over to the door to block it.

At Ralnar's request, Bodgley pushed through the next door, which splintered and fell into a large banquet hall. Within was a long banquet table that had been prepared for a meal, a serving cart, and a small pipe organ on the right-hand side of the room. High windows took up most of the left-hand wall, while tapestries hung high on the right. SniffWind tested the organ, sending shivers through the rest of the party. He found a small compartment within and, with Tarney's aid, discovered several rolled up parchments within. SniffWind took the only one with a seal and, as he put it in his backpack, a voice was heard by those nearby that warned them to leave the manor.

Putting the voice aside, the party moved on. Tripper looked carefully at the tapestries, noting that the one above the door at the far end had a depiction of the lion-headed creature from the Scarsdale crest with its swords pointing downward positioned over the far end door. Across from this was a coat closet that Isla and Purzha explored. Purzha picked up a walking stick with a lion-head grip, while Isla found several small gems in the pocket of a coat (after finding something slimy in the other pocket).

Bodgley again opened the door to reveal a long, carpeted hallway. Spaced along the hallway were at least a dozen doors, with wall sconces interspersed that sprang to life as SniffWind stepped through. Iris suggested that this was the family's private quarters, and that behind one of the middle doors was a stairway which had been discovered on previous trips. Thinking they were on the right track to the family crest, SniffWind walked down the hall only to be dropped through a trap door, sending him tumbling down a chute. Bodgley made to follow him, but Kessa stopped him so he wouldn't fall through the floor himself. Tarney went instead, and found the pressure plate that triggered the trap.

The basement

SniffWind attempted to call up the chute, but got no response. Claud tried to figure out the mechanism, but ended up succumbing to the trap himself. As the two awaited their rescue, they heard the sounds of moaning, then scraping and sloshing in front of them. SniffWind lit his lantern and saw that they were in some sort of laundry room. What appeared to be three ghostly women were gathered around a large tub, doing the wash.

In the hallway above, several attempts to open and wedge the trap door open failed, so Bodgley went to get something with which to smash it open. Below, SniffWind and Claud attempted to find their own way out through a barred door, but were urged to cease this endeavor or face the wrath of the three washer-women. SniffWind attempted to climb back up the chute, but as he neared the top Bodgley returned with a massive iron pot, which he slammed onto the door, causing a loud ringing that caused the bard to lose his balance and tumble back down, while also nearly deafening him.

After that, Bodgley went and got a shovel from another room, while other party members positioned a table over the trap door so that it could be triggered by jumping on it. Ralnar did so, and Bodgley attempted to break the hinges. This apparently angered the washer-women, and one of them rose through the floor, screaming in the genasi's face before disappearing. Bodgley fell over with blood coming out of his ears, dead.

Strum and Drum went to tell Ralnar what had happened, and he decided that they should try to find the stairs. Kessa sprinkled Bodgley's body with holy water to prevent him from becoming a zombie as Ralnar had Fenestra and Tarney check the doors further down the hall for traps. Fenestra found the stairwell inside a room behind a door on the right-hand wall. The party gathered in what appeared to be an audience hall, with stairs going both up to a balcony and down to a landing.

The group went down the stairs, and Fenestra began working the lock. Simmons recalled that this door led into the Scarsdales' mausoleum, which was in the wrong direction for finding SniffWind and Claud, so the group returned to the long hallway to try again. While Fenestra worked with the lock on the door just past the stairs, Isla, Purzha and the two bards attempted to send a message down through the trap door and discovered they were still alive.

The first door led into a classroom. Drumblor opened another door in this room to reveal a bed chamber. Tripper recovered an old lantern and Isla found a small wooden box with a bundle of papers in it that she could not decipher. Fenestra opened the other door leading out of the classroom, and she heard music. Strum investigated further and found the room to be a conservatory. He procured a trumpet to give to SniffWind, but he and Drum were unable to determine the source of the music. Ralnar suggested that the group try a door closer to the trap door, but that led to a child's nursery.

It was decided that a way to the lower level might be found through the double-doors leading out of the banquet hall, so while the two bards, Isla and Purzha attempted to communicate further with SniffWind and Claud, WildFire, Fenestra, Tarney, Airlia and Ralnar worked their way through the double doors. Those above attempted to bring SniffWind up, using Bodgley's body to block the trap door, but the rope broke, sending both Bodgley's corpse down the chute, knocking out SniffWind while Tripper was trapped dangling from the remaining rope.

Tripper tossed a healing potion down to Claud to stabilize SniffWind. Ralnar and WildFire returned and tried to pull up Tripper, but he also tumbled down the chute. Fenestra warned group of encroaching darkness and the two dwarves re-doubled their efforts to locate a secret door with Tripper's staff-tapping assist from below. Their efforts were interrupted by a little girl's voice inquiring what they were doing. No one could see her, but she advised either going out into the graveyard or going down the chute to the lower floor.

WildFire decided to slide down the chute himself and check out the barred door. This caught the groaning spirits' attention, and they advised him to "open it the Scarsdale way." Not understanding, WildFire attempted to cast a spell at the door, which angered the washer-women. SniffWind's attempt to calm the situation ended in chaos as the groaning spirits attacked. SniffWind, Claud and WildFire were killed, but the barred door was breached and, their task completed, the groaning spirits disappeared. Having heard the commotion, Airlia traveled astrally downstairs and returned a few moments later and filled in the others.

With Tripper's suspicions that something important was down below, the group made their way down the chute to investigate. They donned Scarsdale clothing in hopes of fooling other possible guardians and proceed through the door at the far end of the now-open storeroom, with the two dwarves using Bodgley's axe as a battering ram. While Tripper continued his search, Doofenschmirtz returned with his Transportinator.

All activities were stopped when the ghostly figure of Graystone Scarsdale appeared in the party's midst. The ghost told them that the item they sought was guarded by a celestial creature, but that a book in the library might give knowledge they seek as well. After endless questions and discussion, Graystone grew impatient and disappeared. The group finally went to the library, where Purzha discovered the book, called Disposition of the Infernal.

Doofenschmirtz used his Transportinator to return to Doofania with his brother's body, but also took SniffWind's corpse by accident. Iris continued to amp up the pressure on getting the crest, threatening to blow up the group if they didn't press forward. Just as the confrontation reached a head, Simmons poked his head around the corner and revealed that he was, in fact, Crowley. After telling Iris he had what he needed, both exited through a portal.

As if this wasn't enough, Kessa, Tripper and Ralnar began to hear WildFire's voice and tried to talk to the corpse the bard were lugging about. The two mages decided to reserve judgement and, once the group made their way up the shoot and into the banquet hall, they began to pour over the texts they'd retrieved from the library to find a way out of their predicament.

After Purzha informed them she found a teleport scroll, the group decided to return to Imor and let the Scarsdale Family rescure Lily as they'd have more resources to bring to bear. As Purzha studied the scroll, WildFire talked to the little girl ghost named Katie and informed those who could hear him that the ghosts were getting restless and that they'd attack if the group remained in the manor beyond midnight. Purzha finished her review and the group held hands as she focused her thoughts on arriving at the Briaridge back in Imor and began casting the spell. It was Ralnar's hope that WildFire's soul would be taken as well due to his wild mage connection.

Back in Imor

In the holding cell

The group instead found themselves arriving in a dimly lit, stone-walled room. Lt. Barberry entered shortly and Isla and Airlia were released. The rest tried to explain the situation, and eventually Purzha produced the book to help Orpheus. Barberry agreed to allow Kessa to depart with said book and, if Orpheus was cured, the rest would be free to go, although Tripper would still need to get final clearance for his earlier incident. In the meantime, she bade them tell her in more detail of the events of the past few days.

The party told Barberry of the possibility that Crowley now had the crest. Learning of this serious issue, she reported it to her superiors. The party was introduced to Colonel Marston Easthill, filling him on the matter. He expressed his concerns, including the desire to prevent word of the return of the old magics from getting out to the populace. After he left, Felicity Discwright, a priestess of Apollo, arrived to tend to the group's ailments, and returned to her temple with WildFire's body, to be raised at a later time.

At the Briaridge

Kessa, Isla and Airlia were escorted to the Briaridge past a large group of citizens keeping vigil for Orpheus. They were admitted into Oprheus' suite, where they found Constance Ravenwill attending to the minstrel. She asked to see the book, but Kessa bade her wait until all parties caring for Orpheus were present.

Solaeus, the High Priest of Apollo, and his successor, Mital, responded to Johnny's summons, and the two head priests began to bicker over the book and its contents. Kessa again intervened and reminded them of their common goal and the two seemed to put their differences aside to divine the solution to revive Orpheus, which would have to occur before sunset the next day.

Judy arrived and learned of SniffWind's death. As she prepared to leave, Kessa stops her, having seen a vision of a griffon transposed on her face. She told her of Master Gracey and convinced her, despite her desire not to anger her mother and grandmother, to ask Apollo rather than Hecate for aid.

The next day, Orpheus was restored in a grand ceremony at the end of which the podium on which the book rested erupted in a column of flame. This caused the two High Priests to have words while the military closed in and sifted through the pile of ash. Judy joined the group and they expressed their collective suspicions of what happened and when Judy learned of the crest's possible possession by Crowley, she rushed off to inform her father. The group was then escourted to the Briaridge thanks to Johnny's intervention with a reminder not to speak of their direct role in Orpheus' recovery by the Colonel.

While the group awaited WildFire's resurrection, Johnny asked them if they'd accompany Orpheus across The Barrens back to Greece as their original transportation still hadn't materialized. Those assembled said they'd think about it and let him know in the next few days. Airlia, however, said that she would be leaving via the Red Dragon Inn.

WildFire was resurrected at sunset, and Lastrigon burst into the room and gave WildFire a big hug and insisted that they all come see Orpheus. Later, the group returned to the Briaridge to discover Efram, Judy and Lord Scarsdale waiting for them. Scarsdale invited the group to dine with him and tell him everything they can about their adventure. He also offered to reward them for their efforts as well as having SniffWind revived, but the group's lack-luster response allowed the idea to be dropped quickly. Judy took her leave rather abruptly and the group retired to their rooms for a good night's rest.

The next morning, Ralnar received a summons from Lord Scarsdale and, when he arrived at the Scarsdale residence, he learned that Judy had gone missing. Ralnar had no insights, but he mentioned Samuel Hart's name as a possible lead. He asked if it was okay to bring Fenestra in on things to aid in his search and, again received the okay. Ralnar departed at that point, saying he would contact Lord Scarsdale if he learned anything. On the way back to the Briaridge, Ralnar filled in Fenestra and she will begin her investigation as to Judith's wearabouts after breakfast with her first stop being at the RDI. Meanwhile, the rest of the group took advantage of Scarsdale's offer of payment and shopped in Imor's marketplace.

Later that afternoon, Kessa met up with Ralnar while shopping and let him know that Fenestra had learned from Clive that Judy had indeed been through the RDI, but he would not reveal her destination. They assumed that she was headed for the most likely location of the gnomes - Doofania. After relaying this information to Lord Scarsdale, the party went their separate ways, with some accompanying Orpheus and the rest using the RDI's transportation system to leave the city.

Cast of characters

This adventure was jointly run by Shelley Proulx and John Proulx. It involved the following characters:

Adventure timeline

Previous adventure Current adventure Following adventure
Tripper's Trials The Show Must Go On TBD