Author Archives: Dennis

Defeating the Sanctum Guardian

Previously, the heroes had made their way into Dr. Arkenward’s sanctum by way of a hidden portal in the study of his home in the Old Town ward of Kingsport. There they had engaged and defeated a stone golem which was keeping watch over a stone door that lead deeper into the sanctum

Ninth Day, Third Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

After the heroes had defeated the golem, slowly they noticed a green glow coming from the defeated golem’s crystal which had been embedded in its chest. The same glow could be seen coming from the other golem, which had been destroyed before the heroes arrived in Arkenward’s sanctum. Within moments, the magic radiating outward from the crystal reconstituted both golems until they were completely mended.

Emrys and Luca both took their positions on each side of the room, atop the platform, in front of the orbs and both simultaneously placed their hands on the wings on each side of the orb. They felt a resistance as they attempted to take control of the orbs, and both were able to overcome that resistance. When they opened their eyes, it felt as if they had moved in the room. Looking down, they noticed a crystal embedded in the chest and they recognised that they had taken control of a golem.

James and Quentin looked on as the golems started to move, but this time without the intent of pulverising them. Instead, the golems moved to the door, whose crystals had been shifting between red and blue. When the right crystal had turned blue, one of the two golems charged its crystal with a magical blue light and discharged a lightning bolt at the crystal on the door. The crystal turned clear and went dull. Luca, who had been directing the golem was quite happy to see that it worked and he stood aside, waiting for Emrys to attempt to take care of the other crystal on the door.

When the other crystal on the door turned red, it was Emrys’ turn and he directed his golem to charge the crystal in his chest with red energy, and a blast wave erupted from the golem. It hit the crystal on the door, and the crystal turned clear and dull. Immediately a satisfying sound of a mechanism hidden in the walls could be heard and the door raised up into the wall above, opening the doorway into a short passage, which in turn opened into a large room beyond.

Unfortunately, the blast wave also hit Quentin and Luca, who had been too close to Emrys’ golem. The force of the blast was so powerful that Luca lost consciousness and could no longer control the golem and it once again retained control of its faculties and immediately recognised the heroes as intruders.

Between James’ archery, Quentin’s sword-work and the golem that Emrys still controlled, the heroes managed to defeat the hostile golem. Emrys moved his golem as far away from the door as possible while Quentin and James carried Luca through the door and into the room beyond. Emrys then relinquished control of the golem and it immediately ran for the heroes. Emrys found a mechanism with a lever on the other side of the door, and before the golem could reach the heroes the door closed again.

Quentin took Luca aside and channelled his grim determination, born from his nobility, heritage, bloodline, and his renewed purpose in life, into Luca’s bruised body and to everyone’s surprise he opened his eyes. Luca was still weak, but in turn Luca called upon the radiant splendour of his devotion to Aurion in order to heal his wounds even further. This brought about a conversation about Luca’s changed demeanour, but it had to wait until a better time to continue it.

The room the heroes found themselves in looked an awful lot like a throne room. It was surrounded by a large balcony and at the far end there was a throne. It was raised on a wooden base which was of a slightly different, darker wood than what the throne was made of, and inspecting the setup the heroes found that there some inscription on the back of it in a script that they could not read but guessed to be one of the northern languages. In a last ditch attempt to divine whether there was something important about the throne, the heroes decided to allow Luca to take his time to perform a ritual to check whether the throne was magic, which it turned out it wasn’t. It was at that time that the heroes missed Astrid’s company as they had to leave the throne behind.

Before the heroes continued, they took a moment to rest up. James had already investigated the balcony above while Luca performed his divination ritual and had found that there was a doorway at the rear of the balcony, behind which there was another large room, filled with large barrels, like those used to store wine or beer. When the heroes had rested up they went up to that room and took a look. They saw another doorway in the far end of the room, as well as a large bonfire with two bedrolls near it and some personal items around; it seemed that the people who entered Arkenward’s sanctum before them, had taken some time to rest before venturing onward, and the heroes were on their heels.

The Entrance of Arkenward’s Sanctum

Previously, the heroes had found their way to Dr. Arkenward’s house in the Old Town ward of Kingsport and spoke to Vydia, his wife. She revealed that she had met her husband while they were studying. She was a talent diviner, specialising in oracular precognition and revealed that she was born into the same tribe of elves as Emrys, the aen adhar, and was in fact the daughter of Voriel, the mentor that Emrys had vanished. Vydia had also been assaulted by intruders, who had disappeared into a secret, extra-dimensional space accessible only through Arkenward’s study. The heroes quickly followed into the portal, which promptly collapsed when Emrys jumped through it.

Ninth Day, Third Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

On the other side of the portal the heroes found a corridor that sloped upward and resulting a doorway to a room which was lit up. All of them needed to gather their senses somewhat, especially Emrys, who was upset at Vydia for revealing that her father was his former mentor just as he entered through the portal. Luca tried to engage Emrys on the subject by asking him what he thought it meant that in Vydia’s vision her father was screaming Emrys’ name. Emrys could not explain that.

James started to explore the corridor and found it to be made of the same kind of masonry that he’d seen in the ancient waterways underneath Kingsport. As he crept close to the exit of the corridor, he could see more of the room beyond; a high ceilinged room with chandeliers along the top which lit the room. Two platforms stood on either side of the room, each with a strange statue with an orb embedded in it; one orb was red, another was blue. On the far side wall, directly opposite to the doorway he was standing in, James noticed a large stone gate. On each side of the gate were alcoves all along the wall, each with a statue of a winged warrior in it.

Just off the centre of the room stood a large statue made entirely of stone, in the shape of a humanoid, with a strange clear crystal embedded in its chest. Another statue had collapsed into a pile of rubble close by. The two statues reminded James of the guardian he had seen in the Crimson Tower and he decided that the two arcanists in the group were better suited to determine the next course of action. Luca moved into the room and up one of the platforms to get a better look at the pillar and the orb on top of it.

In the meantime, Quentin carefully moved into the room, inspected the stone statue as he passed it and he got a distinct sense of anxiety at the thought of the enormous statue coming to life. Quentin noticed a body, behind the statue, at the base of the platform that Luca was standing on. He called everyone attention to it, and quickly it was determined that this was the man who had threatened Vydia. Searching his body, the heroes found that possessed thieves’ tools as well as the tools of a forger.

Emrys anticipated that something was going to happen and he used his arcane abilities to allow himself to fly. As the rush of magic coursed through his body he felt it well up and he could scarcely control it. In a flash, Emrys appeared to be flanked by two radiant figures; one was clearly Lauriel Skycaller, also known as Moonwhisper; the other was a pale and slender elven woman, with long, white hair, alabaster skin, wearing a deep midnight blue robes. Her eyes were like deep pools. Neither of them spoke, but they hovered on either side of Emrys. When the initial shock of their appearance wore off Luca used Blackstar to detect souls, but could not find any besides the ones of his companions.

Quentin investigates the statues in the alcoves on the far wall and saw that they were celestial warriors, each with a set of feathery wings that reminded him of some of the magical armour he recently found. When he went to inspect what Luca was doing he noticed that the statuettes that were holding the orbs were also winged and it was James he noticed that there were designated places on the wings where one could place their hands.

Luca had performed a ritual that allowed him to sense magical auras and based on his analysis he decided to place his hands on the wings of the orb. Immediately the statue came alive and threatened the heroes. Luca felt a contest of willpower emanating from the orb and let go of it to engaged the golem. A the same time on the closed gate one of two crystals started to glow with a red glow. Like the guardian at the top of the Crimson Tower, the golem possessed a ferocious power and the crystal embedded on its chest occasionally flashed an angry red or blue before erupting in a flash of force or electricity damage. The golem was seemingly also capable of charging itself with green light and using the magic inside of it to repair itself. Regardless, the four heroes were able to damage the golem enough to break and become dormant once again.

The heroes were still stuck in the room, now with two damaged and powered down golems and a dead body, and none the wiser on how to open the gate and continue on to find the tablet.

Abjuration and Divination

Previously, some of the heroes were afflicted by what felt like disturbing, prophetic dreams. Luca was the exception, and he woke up with a content, radiant warmth inside of him instead. The ones afflicted by the dreams discussed their possible meaning, but decided to redirect their attention to the tasks at hand; get Astrid a new weapon, while James visited the day master. After that, they stopped off at Dr. Arkenward’s home in Old Town, where they met his wife, Vydia, a member of the aen adhar and oracle. She was injured and had a bandage across her eye, but was kind enough to invite the heroes into her home and have a conversation.

Ninth Day, Third Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon is waxing. Bloodmoon is waxing. Darkmoon is waxing.)

The conversation with Vydia had mostly been an introduction to her and her relationship with her husband and James, who had not taken a seat and had been standing in a corner, had run out of patience and asked her directly about that tablet Dr. Arkenward had retrieved from the royal art collection. He assured Vydia that the heroes only cared to keep the tablet safe.

According to Vydia her husband had kept the tablet in a hidden chamber accessible from his study. She had never been inside that hidden chamber for reasons she remained vague on, so she couldn’t explain on how to find the entrance. She did admit that while her husband was standing vigil over the queen, intruders had come to find the tablet and she had lead them to her husband’s study.

She explained that there were at least three people who came; two were wearing strange, elongated hoods which reminded her of the plague masks she had seen during the lockdown of Grimsdown. There was another person, a man with a black, scraggly beard and foul breath smelling of wine. She didn’t remember getting hit in the head, but she remembers coming to and not being able to see out of one eye due to swelling.

James expressed his concern for Vydia’s safety and suggested she leave Kingsport and not return for a while. She was visibly warmed by his concern and asked him his name. James hesitated for a moment but eventually shared it with her.

It was at that moment that Luca convinced Vydia to let him look at her eye and see if he could provide her with some aid. They both went upstairs to the front room where there was more light. When asked if he was a healer, Luca was evasive. When he had cleared her eye from the bandage he saw that her eye was swollen completely shut. He managed to feel around Vydia’s eye and could have sworn he felt something wriggle underneath her skin. Luca managed to pry the eye open and he found that her eye was so completely bloodshot that her entire eyeball appeared black.

After sharing his concerns with the rest, both Luca and James tried again to convince Vydia to leave her home. She was unwilling to do so, not least of all because of her husband. Luca performed a short ritual, calling upon the warm, radiant light of Aurion to relieve the swelling in Vydia’s eye. To his delight, and to Vydia’s comfort, the swelling went down significantly and inspecting the eye more became possible. It was clear to Luca that there was significant damage to Vydia’s eye which had left a hole, and it explained why she still couldn’t see much.

The conversation turned to the Steady Hand; Luca remembered that when he had joined James to visit the day master when they went to retrieve James’ mother, that the conversation between him and the day master had turned to a person by the name of the Upright Man and his interest in the tablets. Unbeknownst to the rest of the heroes, James had found one of Atilesceon’s journal entries that mentioned that the Upright Man had more than one tablet in their collection of antiquities. Quentin wanted to know what James’ position in the guild was and why they could be after the tablets, to which responded that he didn’t know and thought it might be for monetary gain. Emrys concluded that Quentin’s silence meant he did not have any heavy moral objections.

It was time for the heroes to inspect Dr. Arkenward’s study, especially in light of the intruders that had entered before them, but had never returned. Vydia had given the heroes the steer that there was a blank wall that they should investigate and quickly a ring of tiny, coloured crystals could be found on the wall. Emrys concluded that if Arkenward would cast the same translocation spell over and over, like he must have done in his chambers in the castle, he probably had a magical item nearby that would make it easier. Luca immediately started to perform a ritual that would expose him to the weave of magic.

Once done, he found that there was a brass statue of a carp which emitted a magical aura. The statue was set on an ebony base carved in the shape of waves, and had a glass waterspout coming from the mouth of the fish. The aura was one of faint conjuration and abjuration magic. After experimenting with it, James went to ask Vydia whether her husband had a phrase she had heard him repeat, or if she knew some other way that he used to activate the portal.

While Luca was investigating ways to activate the statue, James asked Emrys to talk to Vydia about possibly asking Dr. Arkenward, if he’s awake, some questions. Vydia engaged Emrys about his name while Luca continued dressing her bandage. She knew it to be an aen adhar name meaning “endless one”. She also remembered his parents name and asked after them, not knowing that Catriona had died a long time ago.

Soon after, she started opening up about her own upbringing as a child being magically gifted in the environment of the aen adhar, and the inevitable disappointment she turned into. This resonated with Emrys, especially when she asked him if he, too, had been brought to an elder, a mentor, with the intent of finding what it was that the Mohiam were looking for. Emrys explained that during one of the sessions with his mentor he lost control of his magic and made his mentor disappear. This made Vydia fall silent for a moment.

In that moment, Luca asked about the prophecy that the aen adhar believed in, and Emrys decided to open up to Vydia about Lauriel, whom she knew as Moonwhisper, the founder of the aen adhar and all of the machinations of the Mohiam. Vydia said she did not care about the Mohiam or their prophecies. She was too concerned with the visions she had herself to care about the visions of a long dead progenitor of the tribe. She started to weep and explained that for nine days she has had dreams about her father. He was stuck in a bleak, dark landscape, behind bars. His voice was raw from screaming, over and over; Emrys, the ever-living. Emrys was overwhelmed with emotion, and he made his way downstairs and into the kitchen.

Quentin followed Emrys and tried to console him. He asked if Emrys was alright, and the half elf said that he was unable to accept that all the actions he’s ever taken were predetermined by someone who’s been dead for thousands of years. It made him feel powerless. Quentin was unable to offer him anything but sympathy; “I know a bit about the weight of expectations resting on your shoulders, so if you ever want to scream into a pillow, let me know.” Emrys thanked him and stalked around the ground floor for a little while before going back upstairs.

All the while, James went to visit Dr. Arkenward in his bedroom and spoke to him. He seemed to be doing better, but only barely. After finding that the bed-ridden abjurer could only make moaning sounds, James instructed him to moan once for yes, and twice for no. Once that was established, the young rogue started asking questions. His first question was to ask whether the queen was okay, to which Dr. Arkenward moaned twice, indicating that she wasn’t. James then established that Arkenward knew that there had been intruders who had been after the tablet.

When Luca joined James at Arkenward’s bedside they quickly discovered that either a conjuration or abjuration spell cast upon the brass statue would open a portal. Luca used some of the radiant powers bestowed upon him by Aurion to ease Arkenward’s suffering, and James told Luca that they would have to have a conversation about those new abilities some day soon.

The heroes gathered in Arkenward’s study in front of the door, while Vydia stood in the doorway, unwilling to enter the chamber. Once Luca cast a simple conjuration spell on the statue, the familiar sound of an ever-receding wave filled the room while an oval, black disk with a rim of shimmering light being sucked inward opened up. Quentin decided to test his bravery and entered the portal first, after which James quipped to Luca by asking him if he could close the portal then, so as to be rid of the knight. Before Luca could answer, James went through the portal. Emrys encouraged Luca to go next.

 

When Luca was through, Emrys turned to Vydia and said that he hoped the portal’s collapse wouldn’t damage the house, and stepped through. As the portal began to collapse, Vydia suddenly stepped forward in a panic, and revealed at the last moment that her father, who had been her mentor, was Voriel Moiranach.