Firofel

26. Conning the Comte
The One Where Sid Becomes the Party's Face

Following months spent on the lam after inadvertently killing the Duke of Merenthia, the party finally reunited. Gan and Sid had been holed up in Knott, performing oddjobs for Lana and following up on their own leads in an attempt to plan their next move. Arden and Maz, meanwhile, had stayed behind with the druids of the Roivelle in an effort to help them solve their own issues and center himself.

Upon learning from their contacts that Orenwell had spent time in Westings as a youth, and that his political philosophies leaned towards establishing a benevolent dictatorship, the gang decided that the most expedient thing to do would be to journey to the Free Cities to track down the plate of the golem Safa. The plate was in the possession of a noble lord, the Comte de Sandre.

The party set sail for Westings, befriending the colorful folk on the boat and learning more about the nature of Westings’ black market. Upon landing, the party set out for the Comte’s mansion to speak with the man about possibly purchasing the plate of Safa from him.

Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan. After knocking the Comte’s porter unconscious, Sid quickly quaffed a Potion of Glibness and charmed his way into the Comte’s good graces. Gan and Arden (unwillingly) posed as Sid’s man-servants, as Sid and the Comte discussed matters mundane and supernatural. Sid ultimately convinced the Comte to hang the plate above his manor door so as to frighten away superstitious peasants, where the party easily retrieved it later. As a final step to ensure that the party would escape in the confusion, Sid convinced the local peasants that the Comte was giving away free gold.

However, the magic in the plate was weak, as if it had already been tapped or was being redirected elsewhere. Sid focused on divining the direction in which the plate’s energy was being drained, leading the party deep into the woods…

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25. Return to the Roivelle

The party returns to the Roivelle and encounters Joules Kryx hiding there.

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24. The Lords' Summit

December 31, 213 XT – February 14, 214 XT

The party arrived at the Summit to little fanfare, and given the slow pace of the opening days, took the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with old friends. Cirily was there, peddling his wares of questionable value; Lana, Sir Reed (now Lord Reed,) and Alroy had already been there for some time; the elder Duke Hanley, father of the disintegrated-by-Joules Lord Hanley was also there, to the party’s consternation.

Seeking to endear themselves to the jaded, joyless nobles of the Commonwealth, the party pooled together some of their wealth to throw a raging party. The Commonmirth performed, seven courses were served, oiled slave men and women served the food. Truly, it was the talk of the early weeks of the Summit. At the party, Gan recognized a figure from his past, Zaraan, the wife of Lord Ashworth, vassal to Silvas, Duke of Merenthia. Still reeling from the trauma of dying and being resurrected, Gan found himself an emotional mess for days afterward.

For most of the Summit, the party watched from the sidelines. Scrying by Arden revealed that Orenwell was at the Summit posing as Lord Marsh, vassal to Duke Logan of Hensworth. Sid participated in the joust, Gan sponsored Justicar Qiram as his champion in the same joust, and Lord Ashworth ultimately won. As the Summit came to a close, the Adendir’s Tempest gave a presentation on the nature of magic. Their experiments and observations had revealed fundamental similarities in the neural architecture of magic users, regardless of the type of magic they employed. Whether or not individuals with certain brains are predisposed to magical potential or the use of magic alters the brains of those who wield it was unclear, but the Tempest seemed to believe the latter.

With the summit coming to a close and the party no closer to finding the plate,

Broke into Marsh’s room
Confronted Silvas about wife, he flipped out
Told Lana what we were planning (Gan tracked down Zaraan, told her that he still loved her, found out he had a kid)
Teleported into Silvas’ tent, killed one guard, Silvas sacrificed himself in vain to save his “wife,” the gang ran off into the night

In the aftermath of the Summit, Lord Bowen Ashworth assumed the Dukeship of Merenthia, Lord Hanley became Archduke of the Commonwealth, and Lana seceded (with Hanley’s blessing) from the Commonwealth. The party, meanwhile, ventured north in the dead of winter with no provisions, no friends, and no plans.

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23. Showdown at Troll Gulley

December 26 – 27, 213 XT

An army of 300 Nuar warriors is assembled to assault Troll Gulley.
Gan convinces Meli’s eight Justicar to follow them into battle.
The party clears out three “watch towers” with a fair amount of success.
The army marches on the Gulley.
The party cuts a path to the Troll chieftain and slays him
The party captures an escaping troll carrying the demon Anteer in his pack
There is a disagreement as to what to do with Anteer
Sid kills Gan
Arden kills Anteer
Arden knocks out Sid
Arden sets out with the remains of the party toward Eaglecrest
Sid taps into mysterious arcane energies to raise Gan

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22. The Village of Kursh

November 15 – December 7, 213 XT

The party convinces Meli to deny the paternity of her child and she is released from prison to house arrest in her former village
Quinos Tetro and Meli both provide a small number of Justicar to accompany the party- Quinos’ are led by Captain Tijon
The party sets out for the Lords’ Summit by way of Eaglecrest
In Eaglecrest, Grandmaster of Divination Meddle helps to research the lore behind the plate of Anteer and suggests that it was held by the Strozugs of Kursh
The party travels three days to the mountain down of Kursh
They discover Strozug has been ousted by the new chieftain Bansick, Strozug’s sons accidently summoned the demon Anteer and allowed him to escape into the wilds of the Skyrake
The party convinces Bansick to open the path to Troll Gulley and attack the trolls, whom they believe are being led by Anteer
Over the next couple weeks, Bansick summons an army of Nuar warriors

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21. The Quarterlies

November 14, 213 XT

While the party was busy uncovering the truth about the Emperor’s seeming immortality, the High Lords were planning how best to secure the favor of the citizens of Tyr. Each High Lord approached the party and invited them to be their champions in the match, and after much discussion (including the possibility of being the champions of House Maro,) the party decided that Quinos Tetro’s viewpoints were most in line with their own, and so fought on his behalf.

In the first round of the Quarterlies, the party faced the sons of House Arvina. They were strong boys, and perhaps the toughest of their peers, but little match for a group of seasoned warriors.

In the second round, the party faced a band of Black Wind mercenaries from the Great Eastern Desert. They put up a better showing than the Arvina boys, but were still summarily bested. That night, the party traded stories and drinks with the mercenaries, learning a bit about what the situation to the east was like.

In the third round, a mysterious orc that called himself the Crimson Priest was the party’s opponent. He fought alone, but attempted to separate the party with a wall of conjured flames and a great summoned wolf. Still, the party was able to overcome his tricks and his beast, securing victory.

In the fourth round, the party faced off against the hired champions of Huitzul Malcus, a duo known as the Sound and the Fury. The Sound was a comely female bard from Westings, and the Fury was a raging barbarian of the Medijir tribe. The Sound was isolated from the Fury and quickly neutralized, but it took the combined might of Maz, Sid’s magic, and Gan to restrain the Fury. Gan, in a display of unthinkable recklessness and bravado, climbed atop the Fury in the bedlam and rode him around the arena as though he were a raging bull. The crowd ate it up.

In the final round, the party faced Xolec Patros’ champions, the Unstoppable Force. The Force proved to be dangerous combatants; in the first round of combat, one of their member sprinted across the battlefield and disarmed Gan, although he earned a mountain-shattering punch to the snout for his troubles. The Force’s wizard rained fireballs down upon the party and their crusader was able to stand toe-to-toe with Gan, Arden, and Maz. Sid was knocked unconscious, and it was only through luck that Gan and Arden were able to defeat the crusader. Still, victory was achieved, and the party stood as the champions of the Quarterly.

As promised, Quinos granted the party a small parcel of land in the nation of Tyr, a manor in the city proper, and noble titles. The party threw a grand celebration that night, replete with ample drinking, debauchery, and broken furniture. All was well. One barbarian was changed forever.

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20. Imperial Secrets

October 27 – November 13, 213 XT

Following the party’s return to Tyr, a meeting was held with the three High Lords to discuss the results of their fact-finding mission. The party didn’t mention that the Emperor was almost certainly dead, but instead said that they had been unable to find him and had no further solid leads. Inquiries were made as to the possibility of raising the dead under the pretense of speaking with someone who had been found on the island, but nothing conclusive was said.

The three High Lords seemed to take the news quite well, an unexpected and unsettling reaction. They quickly agreed that they had to work together to lead Tyr to continued glory, and they dismissed the party to discuss how the news would be broken to the citizens of the city. The day after the party’s return, all three High Lords appeared before the gathered citizenry and told them that their leader was off on a crusade and they could not say when he would return. They also praised the party for their efforts in the service of the Empire, and there was much cheering.

Desiring further answers on the nature of the Emperor’s longevity, the party headed to the Imperial Palace to speak with the ministers. It took some convincing, but the party eventually gained entry into the palace. The party was more forthcoming with the ministers than with the High Lords, and the ascetics they spoke with were quickly overwhelmed by sorrow at the death of their lord. Sorrow turned to shock, however, when a small boy entered the room and revealed himself to be Catzin the 8th, heir to the throne. He reveals that Catzin the 1st began his dynasty with the discovery a Belxic machine that could produce a fully formed human child from a drop of blood. Every thirty years, a new Catzin ascended the throne, young and full of vigor once more. Catzin the 7th was a troubled man, deeply saddened by the death of his predecessor whom he viewed as a father-figure. While going through the Imperial Codex (the collection of documents, books, and wisdom that each Catzin has given his successor,) the 7th learned of the various demonic artifacts that Orenwell and the party have been working on recovering. Believing them to be a threat to the Empire, and perhaps longing to embark on a glorious quest as his predecessors had done, the 7th set out to find them, which lead to his death.

Shocked by the discoveries they had made, the party quickly dissolved into an argument over whether or not the Belxic machine should be dismantled. Arden argued that it represented a perversion of the natural order and that it was responsible for the calamity Firofel was now facing. Gan said that a machine could not be blamed for the actions of men, and that there may yet be some use for it. Catzin agreed, and the machine was left alone for the time being. Catzin turned over pieces of the Imperial Codex to the party, and a foster home was secured for him with the House Maro. Meanwhile, the High Lords were preparing for the Fall Quarterlies…

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19. A Pirate's Life for Me

October 6 – 20, 213 XT

Following the party’s capture, a deal was negotiated whereby Gan, Sid, and Arden would accompany two of Jacken’s most trusted lieutenants, Kohr Greywater and Jean LeMarque, on an away mission to recover treasure from an island off the coast of Otilan.

The island turned out to be the home of an ancient temple dedicated to long forgotten sea gods, Much of the labyrinth was flooded with water, seemingly be design. The intention was to challenge the faithful to demonstrate their devotion with a physical test. A seemingly endless maze stretched underneath the island, with corridors upon corridors and ancient, faded bas-reliefs carved into the walls. Being entirely uncertain of the extent of the corridors or their swimming capabilities (despite Kohr and Jean being seasoned pirates and presumably quite good at swimming,) the party stood around for quite some time looking nervously at each other and uncertain of how to proceed.

Arden was able to use his mystical druidic powers to temporarily breathe as the fish do and explored the underwater catacombs. He found that the passage was blocked, and after some debate, the party used a combination of muscle, fish-breathing, and bear to clear the passage and begin their explorations in earnest. After overcoming some gated passages and a few elemental guardians left over from some combat concluded months prior, the party came to find a scene of unimaginable carnage. Burned and battered corpses were strewn across a great ceremonial chamber, armor and weapons pitted by exposure to salt water, features dissolved by time and microscopic organisms. The only two items that seemed to be spared from the decay were a short sword (which Gan took) and a coronet (which Sid grabbed.)

Unsettled by the implications of their discovery, the party conducted an impromptu funeral service for the deceased and returned to the ship. They were placed back in stocks by the cruel drunkard Jacken, but springed shortly thereafter by his two treacherous henchmen. A battle ensued between those loyal to Jacken and those sick of his mincing, poetic ways, and he was quickly deposed and feld (although not before Arden was unceremoniously knocked into the sea.)

The Emperor’s whereabouts ascertained and Jacken’s reign of terror ended, the party parted ways with Kohr, Jean, and Sebastien after extracting a promise to head elsewhere. The only thing left to do was to return to Tyr and inform the High Lords of what they had found.

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18. Yo Ho Yo Ho!

September 22 – October 5, 213 Tyr

During the group’s leisure time in Tyr proper, they find themselves enjoying the finer things the city has to offer, filling their days with lavish meetings in the company of the High-lords of Tyr. That is until word reached them of someone seeking the ‘heroes of Eagle Crest’. With further investigation into the inquiry on their behalf, it becomes painfully clear that their few precious days of relaxation has come to an end.

Deeper probing reveals that if they are to get to the bottom of this request, they may find themselves further from the reputable Tyrish districts. The investigation leads to t small Nassari themed pub, smack-dab in the middle of a sea of peddlers hawking poorly made ‘relics’ from the desert. Upon entering the bar and making a spectacle of themselves… at least Sid did… They get re-directed to the single authentic Nassari landmark in the district, the Temple of the Sun. Complete with sand-laden floors to the ornate carvings dedicated to the sun, sand, spiders and the like, the temple’s authenticity is confirmed.

While killing time until the predetermined meeting time with their anonymous caller, they shop around the stalls temple adjacent uncovering what seemed to be the only worthwhile trinket among the sea of knockoffs: a small vial containing sand said to have a ‘nigh unquenchable thirst’.

While the sun lazily dipped below the high terraces, the group made its way back tot he temple, and before a plan of any sort could be concocted as to how to deal with the meeting… a familiar voice croaks out from a large imposing cloaked figure, Sebastien knew just how to drag them from the Terraces and into his realm, and had done it again. They where caught by surprise and at his mercy.

Luckily he came armed with only a proposal, granted a selfish one but as far as the group saw it, any cut of action is far better than none at all. The plan was to assist Sebastien to getting what he deserved from a swarthy captain Tumblers who failed to repay a debt. He promised the group a good sum to take part in a scheme to catch Jacken by surprised and deliver him into the mercy of Sebastien. While Arden, Gan and Sebastien where making a diversion, Sid was to sneak in undetected upon his ship moored in a private cove and take him hostage, simple enough.

As the ship came into view, Sid bit the guys adieu and took position readying himself to get aboard the ship at the first opportunity. The plan goes off without a hitch… probably because it was all a setup at the group’s expense. It wasn’t until Sid was humiliatingly walked down the gangplank at sword-point, complete with dozens of bows trained on him; did they realize that the proverbial excrement had hit the gyroscopic wind-conjuring mechanism.

The group had been sold down the river, it wasn’t until Jacken explained the situation did it become clear that Sebastien had been indebted to the good captain and used Sid’s life as payment to free himself from the bonds of Mr. Tumblers. Gan made a bet on a game of dice pitting the remaining group’s freedom in exchange for Sid’s, and being a gambling man at heart, Jacken could not acquiesce to his request. The game was cut short due to a terribly misguided, yet well intended, ambush of the captain, rending the entire group clasped in irons.

Miraculously and while being in NO position to negotiate, they are able to work out an arrangement to uncover a treasure-trove for the good captain in exchange for their freedom… this trove happens to be the same location that jacken and his crew dropped off a detachment of Imperial agents about a month prior…

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17. Sacrifices

September 14 – 16, 213 Tyr

Just before sunrise, the fourteenth of September, our heroes disembarked the Ameliorant some distance outside the imperial capitol, the city of Tyr. They strode proudly to the banks of the river Xele where it flows into the flood plain surrounding the city. After an icy winter in the Skyrakes and a warm, wet summer, the twin rivers were still flowing heavily and the flood plains held standing water. To avoid fording the waters, the party commissioned a simple raft from one of the poor farmers tending the lowland soil. As the party paddled into deeper water, the raft, more a few unsealed logs lashed together with reeds, was promptly attacked by river crocodiles. Arden was pulled to the bottom of the river and might have drowned were it not for his unique abilities. After dispatching the crocodiles, a kind farmer advised them to cover themselves in river mud to mask their scent and avoid the “snappers.” This advice proved most helpful.

Sid, Gan, and Arden proceeded to the great Library of Tyr in the hopes of finding further information on the mysterious cube they recovered from the Inoxorium. Along the way they discovered that the Emperor has been missing from the city of Tyr for nearly four months. He departed on a secret campaign in late May, was expected to return in June, but has not been seen or heard from since. At the Library, a vast collection of all the relevant records and documents in the Empire, the party commissioned an archivist to research Baalon and related artifacts.

The following afternoon, Xolec Patros- the Lord High Arbiter- visited the party’s suite. Ignoring the overturned Cup of Many sips and the drawn shades, Patros invited the three of them to join him in a stroll through the aristocratic hilltops of Tyr. There they discussed many things: the party’s liberation of the Eaglecrest Arcanum, the missing Emperor, and the power struggle between the various Lords of Tyr. Over dinner at Patros’ estate, he requested their assistance in resolving a delicate situation. An Imperial Justicar, pledged directly to the Emperor, has reinstated the age-old Tyrish tradition of human sacrifice in a village near the city. Because the political ramifications of Xolec acting directly would be severe, he requested that the party put an end to these sacrifices.

Thus, under cover of darkness, the party infiltrated the village. They discovered that the villagers were not being put to death, but were rather volunteering for sacrifice. The party employed a ruse to convince the villagers that the Emperor disapproved of these actions, with considerable success. However, the Justicar was not convinced and engaged Gan in combat. However, she was quickly subdued and agreed to return to the city to face trial. Along the way she explained that she had grown up in the village and that they had always practiced human sacrifice. With the Emperor missing and the village’s crops failing, they merely increased the rate of this tradition under Justicar Meli’s supervision. She proceeded to explain that the Emperor would not return because he is dead. She is certain of this fact because of the bond of love that they share.

Patros and the other Lord of Tyr were pleased to see Meli returned to justice- her trial will be held in the ensuing days. In a meantime, the Lord High Arbiter is commissioning the party to search for the missing Emperor.

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