27th Kuthona, 4715
The Heroes of the Everflame spent an uneventful week in Magnimar waiting for their next assignment. The time off gave them a chance to rest and lick their wounds from their recent battles with the Goblin Guild and the King of the Storval Stairs. Venture-captain, Sheila Heidmarch, called on the help of an old friend from the local Shoanti tribe. Thousand Bones, the shaman, arrived a few days later to help Sheila and the pathfinders examine the dangerous new scroll that was discovered upon the death of the King of the Storval Stairs.
Even Thousand Bones’ magicks were not strong enough to properly identify the scroll, but he was able to determine that the script on the surface was a constantly changing mix of celestial and abyssal. Thousand Bones could not decipher it, but he knew of a Wise One in the nearby Cinderlands that would have the power to do so. Sheila requested that he take the Heroes of the Everflame to meet with the Wise One posthaste.
The adventurers were given the day to prepare and gather whatever supplies they needed from the shops of Magnimar. That evening, a messenger arrived in the form of Wen Histani, priestess of Abadar from nearby Korvosa. Wen rushed into Heidmarch Manor with a matter of grave importance. The Heroes of the Everflame were asked to join them in the study a short time later.
Wen Histani revealed that the vaults of Abadar in Korvosa had recently suffered a break-in. The only item stolen was one of the fabled Seven Swords of Sin that had been placed there for safe keeping. This was apparently the last of the Seven Swords that had been liberated from their current owners over the course of the past few months. The agents of the Church of Abadar had been able to trace the events back to a Varisian sorceress, Tirana. Word has it that she had holed up in the outlaw city of Kaer Maga while she worked to unlock the full power of the Seven Swords of Sin.
The Pathfinders were instructed to travel to Kaer Maga, stop Tirana and retrieve the Seven Swords of Sin at all costs. They set off the next morning heading north. The Shoanti shaman, Thousand Bones, led the warriors into the marshlands north of Magnimar and through a section of ancient Thassilonian ruins.
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There, they met a young boy who, Thousand Bones explained, would lead them to meet the Wise One. The heroes traversed the ruins until they found an ancient open theater, where the young boy instructed them to leave their offerings for the Wise One. Once the Heroes explained their reasons for seeking the Wise One, the young boy disappeared in a burst of brilliant flame, replaced by the brilliant visage of a mighty feathered serpent, a couatl.
The Wise One stood revealed before the Heroes of the Everflame and offered them thanks for their service in ridding the Storval Plateau of the King of the Storval Stairs. The Pathfinders laid out the artifact for the feathered serpent to examine. The mighty couatl unfurled its wings and transported them all to a pocket dimension inside it’s home, the cosmic egg.
There the creature examined the strange parchment closely only to find that it was a page from the cursed Book of the Damned from the very depths of hell. The Wise One revealed that the ever changing script of celestial and abyssal that danced across the surface of the parchment could only be read once the other pages of the book were collected.
Armed with their new-found knowledge, the Heroes prepared to set out for Kaer Maga. The mystic couatl offered to help transport them by way of inter-dimensional shortcut. The winged serpent loaned the Pathfinders an astralabe to navigate through the pocket dimension to their destination outside of Kaer Maga.
The adventurers followed the astralabe to a standing menhir that when touched, transported them to the top of the Storval Plateau just yards from the entrance to Kaer Maga outside the Warrens district. The heroes immediately set off to find their guide, Gav Nahli, who welcomed them with a greeting of “Pathfinders! I knew you’d be back for more!”
Gav led the pathfinders to meet Jacobi the boatman who agreed to transport the group through the canals of Kaer Maga once more. Gav revealed that Jacobi was revered among the halflings of Kaer Maga as the “Giantslayer”. He had recently returned from Belkzen and Trunau where he helped repel an orc and giant invasion. Jacobi transported the group through the streets to their various destination sites. Ken used his contacts and gift of gab to find more information on their target Tirana. Not long after, a child approached them with a scroll containing a message – with a time and a place.
“I know what you are looking for. Meet me at Mauldrin’s Icy Cantina on the morrow for an exchange of information.”
The Pathfinders were dismayed that their purpose had already been discovered, but apparently someone with knowledge and perhaps connections had taken interest in them. They planned to attend the meeting as directed and returned to the Warrens to rest.
29th Kuthona, 4715
Mauldrin Ice-biter was a retired Ulfen barbarian that set up a tavern on the water’s edge of Kaer Maga. It was a well known watering hole that was quaintly referred to as Mo’s Icy Cantina. To say it was a hive of scum and villainy was to put it lightly. The Heroes of the Everflame arrived to find an assortment of strange characters ranging from moon beasts bartering with orc slavers, bloatmages drinking blood wine, a yeti bouncer and various unsavory types.
As they entered the bar, the gruff eye-patch wearing bartender called out that their animal companions were not welcome inside pointing at the ranger Morgolar’s wolf companion and Eletho’s faire dragon. Ele instructed his faerie dragon, Bubbles, to turn invisible to avoid confrontationt .
Waiting on them in the corner was none other than Emmerick Trommler the Grand Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus flanked by a large girallon that eyed the Pathfinders hungrily. The Heroes were surprised to see their old nemesis waiting on them. They had not seen Trommler since they left Kaer Maga almost one year earlier.
Emmerick offered to parlay with the adventurers and to exchange information. Trommler revealed that his spies had alerted him both of the arrival of the Pathfinders to Kaer Maga, but also of the secret hideout in the Undercity being used by Tirana. When the heroes asked what Emmerick wanted in return for this information, what he said next shocked the warriors to their core.
Trommler suggested a simple exchange of information. He would point the Heroes to Tirana’s hidden base and they in turn would tell him where they hid the remaining fragments of the Key to Xin-Grafar. With that he pulled a fragment of the Key to Xin-Grafar from beneath his breastplate and showed it to the Pathfinders.
During the transaction, Jacobi, the skiff driver, quietly walked in the back door to the cantina and nodded to the fighters. Patrons migrated to the far end of the bar where they continued to order drinks.
They stood in disbelief as Trommler then motioned for his comrade to come to his side. Telez the Tengu that the party had befriended during their time in the Godsmouth Ossuary walked out to greet them. He revealed that he gave Emmerick the key fragment in exchange for his freedom. Trommler revealed that he honored the agreement by destroying Telez’ contract – effectively giving the tengu his freedom.
The Heroes of the Everflame were shocked at this revelation, but they had no choice but to go along with Emmerick’s suggestion. Rather than give over the information directly, field-captain Eletho suggested a trade off of information after Emmerick made good on his promise. Trommler agreed and Ele proceeded to write the information on a piece of parchment – to be handed over once the Pathfinders were led to Tirana’s lair.
Emmerick agreed to meet the travelers the next morning and left. No sooner had the Inquisitor left the cantina, than a trio of strangers arrived thru the front door. Captain Rasteen Glixxor cast aside his dark cloak to reveal a strange glowing wand in his hand. The Technic League captain called out in a commanding voice and demanded that the android Meleren be returned to him.
Ken, the kitsune, turned to their companion Meleren and asked if he knew what Rasteen was talking about. Meleren said he had no idea. Rasteen warned the Pathfinders to step aside once more, as the Technic League had created the android Meleren and they would now reclaim him. The Captain’s companions cast aside their cloaks revealing them to be Machine Soldiers of Karamoss armed with lethal blades and rapid fire crossbows mounted to their shoulders.
The Pathfinders immediately sprung into action with Ug and Ken squaring off with the Captain as his clockwork companions rushed forward swinging with deadly precision. The crowd part slightly as the fight began, the patrons eager to see blood spilled. Behind the bar, Mo stopped counting piles of golden measures and tapped the nearby metal man construct on the shoulder, causing it to rumble to life and walk toward the commotion.
Ug, the barbarian, lunged at the Technic League Captain with his magic blade, Asterion’s Soul. The Technic arcanist slipped away from the raging warrior with dimensional slide and teleported to higher ground on top of the bar nearby. He flipped a strange new wand into his grasp as he swung a glowing black and green blade in the air before him.
Eletho and Ylderic took advantage of the machine soldiers’ weakness to electricity by blasting them with shocking grasp and lightning bolt, respectively. The machine soldiers were no match for their combined arcane fury and collapsed in small explosions of sparks and metal.
Rasteen blasted Ug with a blast of burning energy from his metal wand. The rear door of the cantina swung open and more machine soldiers marched into the building. Captain Rasteen turned with a slight bow to the dark figure that loomed ominously behind the constructs.
“Lord Vayndaal, we shall strike down the infidels in the name of the Technic League!”
The large yeti bouncer and clockwork construct began gathering up the fallen machine soldiers from their current place as fallen heaps on the bar room floor. As the fight continued to escalate, some of the bar patrons began filing out the side door to safety. The moon beast seemed to conclude his business with the orc slavers and moved out into the street.
Lord Vayndaal produced a small rod made of skymetal from his belt which suddenly exploded into a brilliant blade of red plasma. The machine soldiers lurched forward at the Sith Lord’s command, surrounding the Pathfinders. Suddenly, a red haired young woman in Varisian garb and purple cloak sprung forward and attacked the machine soldiers from behind with a small dagger.
Eletho evaded the deadly swings of Karamoss’ soldiers and swung at the dark lord. The Technic League warlord evaded and parried the elf’s strikes with his burning red blade. Ken, the kitsune, bounced between the machine soldiers and stabbed at the black robed figure, but found himself catching only air as the man stepped nimbly to the side.
The yeti and clockwork construct carried the fallen machine soldiers outside and dumped them in the nearby canal. The machine soldiers turned their attention to the lithe rogue that attacked them from behind. With a snake-like quickness, Jacobi, the halfling. rolled forward between the dueling combatants and flanked the constructs with the red-haired girl. Using his sczarni slayer trained skills and his magic dagger, Bryna’s Love, the halfling skiff driver struck down the machines from behind.
Vayndaal flicked his deadly sword in an arc around him and struck Eletho, Ken and Ylderic each in turn. Standing atop the bar, Captain Rasteen dropped his wand and grabbed a strange metal flask from his bandolier. The small orb began beeping as the man rolled it across the bar onto the floor between Ug, Ken and the rest.
The ball exploded in a burst of electricity shocking everyone inside it violently. Ug regained his feet and leaped at the Technic League Captain and plunged his sword into the man’s chest – killing him instantly. Not to be outdone, Eletho parried and struck back with a skillful riposte with the strong metal of his Azlanti ward blade. With a powerful swing, he struck the dark warrior across the chest, cleaving his head and one arm from the rest of his body.
The two pieces of Lord Vayndaal’s body slid to the floor in a pile of bloody flesh and strange metal. His burning sword extinguished into silence, leaving the strange rod to roll across the floor. As the smoke settled, the Pathfinders stood in the sudden silence of the cantina and readied for further challenges from the bar, but the patrons merely turned back to their drinks and gossip.
The next day, the Pathfinders arrived at the arranged location in the Bottoms district which apparently housed one of the Council of Truth’s abandoned research facilities. Waiting quietly in the side alley nearby were Callen Bellevaux, former shipman on the Black Mist, and Stinger, one of the ratfolk siblings of Bassam the Pestilent.
The two thugs escorted the Pathfinders down to the entrance to the research facility. Ken, the rogue, kept the scroll with the location of the Key to Xin-Grafar hidden inside his tunic, refusing to give it away until asked. Strangely enough, neither of the mercenaries requested to see the information to complete the transaction.
The duo nodded to the main entrance, turned and left the party behind. As the Pathfinders debated whether or not they should trust this information not to be a trap, a small colorful gnome draped with bands, vials and bubbling potions bounced past the group, went down the steps and walked through the door into the Undercity.
The Pathfinders entered the door to find an open sitting room with a bubbling aquarium in the center of the room. Ken’s keen senses noticed a small hole in the wall and surmised it was a peephole from an hidden room nearby.
The adventurers sneaked around the corner only to discover an empty hallway extending in both directions. Ken continued his scout of the walls nearby and noticed a secret door. The pathfinders rushed inside to find a set of guards armed and waiting.
A deadly skirmish ensued leaving the Pathfinders victorious. One of the guards, a young woman named Jendra, threw down her weapon and asked for mercy. The warriors questioned her for information about the dungeons ahead and Tirana’s defenses, but the guards knew very little as they were paid to watch the entrance only. The gnome, Trapper Gaxx, was the only one that seemed to come and go at will, aside from Tirana of course.
The Heroes allowed Jendra to leave and continued their trek into the facility. They scouted the rooms ahead to find a room filled with gold, weapons and various treasures and another room which contained a strange circle of crystals that sparked and leaped with electricity.
And this was just the beginning.