Monthly Archives: April 2012

SOW Chapter11: I am Jeroen

Off to find our friends
attacked by assassins again

but turned the tables

I am Jeroen

In the aftermath of coalition’s mission into the Feywild something unexpected happened.

Heroes

The Party Speaks to the Coalition

Bingus, Lucian, and Bairdyn appear before the full house of the reconfigured coalition, their current members including: Amyria, the Scion of Bahamut; Odos, of the House of Reprisal; Fariex, the Scalehammer; Trellara Nightshadow, Druidic Envoy of the Stagrunners; Simberious, Deacon of Pax Tharkas; Bejam, Sixth Thraxus of the Thraxinium; Ian Whitestone of Sayre; and their guests Elletraius and Serennel of the Frostwhite Forest along with the coalition’s acting Secretary, Finellior.

AmyriaAmyria: Please tell us what happened after Telicanthus and his cronies fell.

Lucian: Strider and Maxyzne were bloody and near death, Bingus had also been beaten unconscious, the rest of us hadn’t fared much better. We were too spent to fight … We had no choice but to surrender as the king’s guard arrived.

Bairdyn: As the guard approached I noticed a fine looking cloak upon the dead githyanki assassin. And I figured, well, she was already dead, so no harm in trying it … then presto, that darn cloak hid me. So thinking fast, I whisper in Lucian’s ear, “Hey, why don’t you plant that seed here?” … After all we’d been through I was sure he wouldn’t want the guards to take away the only leverage we had left to us. 

Lucian: I gave the Seed of Winter to Bairdyn.

Bingus: After I woke up I guessed that I had been taken prisoner and I wasn’t alone, but evidently everyone still thought I was my brother, Manne. And I didn’t have to open my eyes to know where I was. The place stank with the taint of lingering death and there was an unmistakable pall of oppression that hung heavy in the air. I heard a shout of pain and the ringing of weapons, and that was followed by gasps and cries of exaltation–the arena crowd. I didn’t know how long I had been out but I knew I was in the cells. For the most part I had recovered by the time I opened my eyes. I saw Lucian and Chen, along with these our two guests, Elletraius and Serennel; but each of us were confined within our own solitary cell. Ssarina, Maxyzne, and Strider hung together along with the king’s former advisor, the cyclops named Talyrin. They were all still unconscious, but they looked almost dead, I couldn’t really tell. They had all been strung together up, linked by chains and hung high upon a great pillar.

Harlequinade GnomeBairdyn: I was outside in the hall that approached the arena dungeon with the gnome I’d met in the hidden dungeon, he was named Kimdal. The outer hall was guarded by two cyclops guards. That Kimdal was a mean character, and he sure did hate the king’s guards. By this time he and I had already stolen back the gear the king’s men had taken from the others, and we had just worked our way back to the cells. When we saw the guards Kimdal said he had a plan. As if on cue a pack of Marrot’s harlequinade gnomes appeared on the far side of the hall and both the guards took off after them. Kimdal looks at me and asks me if I’m ready; I nod and he runs off calling, “Aye yew overgrowed, one-eyed squinty bastard, comeback here and get wot ye’ve got comin to yew. I don’t ‘ave all day to be chasin’ yer arse ’bout.”  The guard hesistated and one of them turned back racing towards Kimdal who slid right through his legs. When the cyclops spun about I jumped to the opportunity to take him out from behind. Our guard fell and the opposite side of the hall was empty for a second, but pretty soon the other gnomes reappeared carrying a big bucket of the king’s famed fried chicken.

Lucian: There were another pair of jailors in the dungeon guarding us but suddenly two quicklings appeared, Gosh and Freak, the same ones we had seen at the Summer’s End portal to the Feywild. They  appeared in a blur and took out our jailors before the cyclopses knew what was happening. Then that bunch of strangely dressed gnomes entered from the dungeon’s entry and the quicklings raced over and handed the jailor’s keys to the gnomes. The gnomes started singing and prancing about, handing us chicken while making a mess. They discarded half-eaten chicken bones hither and yawn trying to juggle at the same time they were fumbling with the keys trying to open our cells. It was a bloody mess. Bairdyn was running about trying to pass out our gear but it was a mess and crossing from the direction of the animal cells a great, heavily tusked boar appeared. The beast had a fearsome demeanor and it was headed straight towards us chasing after the gnome’s chicken. The gnomes screamed and disappeared dropping the keys and causing more of the chicken to rain down upon us. By this time I was already free and I blasted the pig while Bingus continued to free the others.

Bingus: That I did, but a huge fight was breaking out! It became obvious that the quicklings had released all of the arena animals. Lucian’s attacks only caused the massive boar to grow larger … I recognized the monster, it was Cachlain’s prized three-horned, pig of thunder! And as if things weren’t bad enough, three huge dire winter wolves showed up chasing the pig! And a few seconds later they were followed by a former friend, Notaku, but now the king had named him ‘The Crowned Beast’. He had obviously lost his mind to the troll-king’s evil crown, I had told him not to wear that but he had changed. He was darker, bigger and certain he had a crueler more wild appearance, but it was clearly too late to worry about that. Luckily that’s when Shaden finally showed up, without him and Chen we would have all been killed, but working together they managed to capture Notaku but by then the king’s guards had arrived in sufficient number to quell the riot and we were dragged off to see the king.

Bairdyn: So Shaden shows up and he tells us if we come along quietly he’ll let us keep our weapons. So we do as were told and he leads us back to the throne room leaving Notaku back to fret over his dead beasts. When we enter the throne room that dick Sovacles raises his scepter and the huge doors slam shut behind us, and he looked furious. Shaden tried to say something, but Sovacles told him to shut-up and take his post to the left of the king or to stand and be judged with the rest of us. Shaden listened but this whole time the king was barely paying attention at all, he’s just sitting on his fat tuckus, and I swear I saw a bit of drool pooling on his slack lower lip. Then Sovacles started shouted accusations, Sovacles“The gracious king invited you into his palace, and you use trickery and deceit to compromise the security of his domain. Worse, you aid his great enemy, Sangwyr, in your plots against our brave, wise king! At every opportunity you’ve allowed his enemies into the king’s home, leading their assaults! Now, you will submit, turnover the seed, and our king may yet spare your lives.” … or something like that.

Lucian: I admit, I tried to give him the seed, but I had forgotten I had handed it to Bairdyn. I had reached into my pouch before I remembered. When I failed to immediately produce the seed Sovacles lost it and  both he and the king attacked me, but the king just seemed do be doing whatever Sovacles suggested.

Bingus: It was very clear that Sovacles had great sway over the king’s thoughts, I turned my own focus to breaking down the advisors arcane strangle hold upon the king which angered Sovacles even more, but the more irate he became, the more his power began to slip.

Bairdyn: The king started to hear what I was saying, and if I do say so myself I was saying a lot and the king was at paying a little attention. Then Sovacles told the king to start using his power to throw us into the arena. The next thing we knew Chen disappeared, but we saw him fall into the arena in the reflection upon the crystal looking glass on the throne room floor. That’s when I started convincing the king that Sovacles had gone bad and that he was being manipulated. Of course I had to say it simpler to the king, I told him, “He (Sovacles) is not the boss of you!”

Bingus: I was the next to go. It was clear the king was fighting Sovacles’s control, even while he continued to attack us. He was squinting his eyes, sparing us the power of his dreaded evil eye. He began shaking his head about as if he was trying to banish unwanted visions but then he banished me too. I found myself within a kaleidoscope of multi-colored light and I appearing high above the arena and I started floating to the arena floor thanks to my featherfall spell. Below me Chen was fighting against a squad of four drow gladiators, and they were pushing him towards a horrid looking treant that radiated a deathly aura.

Dead Treant

Lucian: Shaden, Bairdyn and I were the only ones left in the throne room with the Sovacles and the king. Sovacles was already losing control when the door to the throne room began to shake from thunderous blows from the antechamber beyond. The crystalline wall had begun to crack, but then the hinges gave way and the doors burst inward. In the outer chamber a beastly female giant stood, taller and bigger than even the king himself. She wore a visage of palpable rage. The king yelled out “SANGWYR!” and she rushed towards him, exposing Sidgevin who had been hidden behind her. He was reveling in the moment, standing resplendent in a fine mithral chain … He was the very picture of calm, and he wore his contempt like a cloak when he saw us.

Madness had overtaken Sovacles as he stared wide-eyed and yelled, “None of you have any idea who you’re dealing with! My Queen has given me power beyond your imagining, power enough to destroy you all! Tiamat will have all you possess and more. Your blood will be my gift to her! You will soon see Cachlain’sCachlain replacement upon the throne and she be even more amenable to our will.”

Cachlain exploded, “NAY! NOT THE GODDESS OF GREED, NOR YOU, NOR ANY REGRETTABLE, VAIN, HALF-FACED, TICKLE-BRAINED, BITCH SHALL STEAL THAT WHAT IS MINE!”

The last thing I saw was the king’s eye flash green and then the throne room burst into a brilliant display of colorful light as I too fell into to the arena joined by both Bairdyn and Sovacles.

Bairdyn: We landed hard in the arena. There we were with the handful of black-skinned, drow elves who had surrounded Chen near the undead treant. Thankfully, the treant was held in place by massive iron chains. The king has two arenas, and I had been there before, both are huge, but this time we were in the biggest one. It has a high domed ceiling. This arena is called the arena of blood. Overhead there were dozens of cave mouths, set like terraces, and all were filled to overflowing with the vociferous crowd. The cave mouths amplified their shouts turning them to thunderous howl on the arena floor.

Bingus: I was shocked when I saw that Sovacles had plummeted down with the others. His body snapped loudly as it struck the hard purple crystal of the arena floor. The crowd’s applause exploded to a deafening level but then the advisors body evaporated and forming into a wispy green cloud filled with sparkling lights like a night sky. The cloud spread and congealed, becoming a large dark … very dark, green dragon rising from the arena floor. The dragon called out,Virizan

"It is time to end my human guise! My power goes far beyond that most puny disguise, I have five greater forms that can defeat you easily! Know now you face Veri-zan, exarch of Her Dark Majesty Tiamat! And tremble in the knowledge that all of you in this room will take this secret to your graves!”

“Even now, Cachlain is dying, and trust me, he won’t last long! For Sangwyr has at last arrived, and with the king’s weakened forces and you trapped here, there is no one left to protect him now. For Tiamat covets this domain and it will be hers and Sangwyr will be her perfect puppet upon the amethyst throne.”

“Do not for a moment think that I ever underestimated you. I know you better than you know yourselves. After all, you truly defeated Chillreaver, an obvious testament to your skill, though honestly, I always knew he had escaped. Still it couldn’t have been easy to drive him off, for none of Tiamat’s exarches welcome defeat easily!”

“No, I have no illusions, and I know that I am not the strongest of Tiamat’s exarches, yet even if I were fall, know now you can never win, this time your end is surely upon you!”

Looking down towards the ground Bingus continues: I was outcast by my own clan. I have been held hostage in the twilight realm of Shadowfell never knowing if would again see the light of day, I battled a behir in the desert when all hope was lost, and I’ve dove head first into the Sea of Fire … All of this I faced in good cheer, and I think I speak for us all when I say what followed was the most difficult battle of my life.

Bairdyn: I don’t know about all that, I’ve been face-to-face with death more than once myself but I will say our backs were up against the wall, literally. I mean this Virizan was tough … No joke, and we couldn’t get close to that treant. The first thing I saw when I fell into the arena was that damn tree crushing the life out of one of those drow, worse was sucking the life out of him. I will never forget his screams.  Those drow were no pushovers, they had been given Chen everything  he could handle, but this Virizan, he was different. For a long time we just couldn’t seem to hurt him and he kept changing forms.Virizan, Snakeform

Bejam: Could you describe these forms?

Lucian: I can, as Virizan had claimed he seemed to have five distinct forms:

The first was a nebulous, vaguely human-shaped cloud that had bat-like wings, and it’s body was fill with twinkling stars. The substance of the cloud was poisonous to breath, and it was impossible to avoid as it cast itself quickly while it flew through the air.

The second form was a naga-like, an enormous, coiled serpent with a humanoid face. It’s back was lined with spines that grew longer near it’s tail. It’s voice was monstous, it echoed like thunder rivaling the roar of the crowd above. It was strong enough to toss us about and when it struck the ground with it’s tail it caused the earth to tremble.

Bairdyn: And it’s face was horrible, but familiar.

Bejam: What do you mean?

Bairdyn: He looked like a friend.

Lucian continues: The third form looked the most like Sovacles, it was a humanoid shape with scaled skin and a forked tongue. His scepter became a long staff that looked like a stiff hooded serpent, it’s face thoroughly steeped in evil. He attacked with the staff projecting coils the full length of the arena and it used these dragging us about.

When he took the fourth form his body ripped open shredding into countless pieces, each of which writhed about until they had become a swarm of venomous snakes. They attacked any who came near.

And the fifth form was the worst, most dangerous of all. It was the in the form of the dark green dragon.

Bingus: By this time I found myself surrounded by the drow, but by then it was evident that if we didn’t work together we would all die, a point I illustrated clearly to the drow. They agreed and from that point they worked with us against Virizan.

Bairdyn: Virizan had taken the snake-tongued form and he threw me to the treant. It would have to killed for sure if Chen hadn’t sacrificed himself . He broke me free but he couldn’t escape himself.

Lucian: Then suddenly, Shaden and Sidgevin fell through the sky landing on Virizan, but they were focus on each other, caught-up in a death match of their own, a fight that Sidgevin seemed to be winning, but Shaden wasn’t backing down.

Bairdyn: My grandpa alway says the cooler heads prevail, so ignoring that I hate Sidgevin myself, I said to Sidgevin, “Hey unless you want to prove you are exactly as stupid as everyone thinks you are, maybe you should join us and battle the real foe (pointing out Virizan) … You know, the one who is causing all of our problems.” 

Virizan, as if on cue, slapped the ground with his tail again hitting us all with a wave of force which no doubt added substance to my argument. I have to admit, I was surprised by Sidgevin who actually seemed to listen to me. He turned all of his attention to killing Virizan and his bravery even rivaled my friend Bennie’s courage. He fought fearlessly, selflessly, time and again placing himself in harm’s way leading our attack. Without him I don’t believe any of us would have survived. He died a hero.

Bingus: Every time we destroyed one form which ever form Virizan took came back stronger. We were all pushed to our limits and beyond. I fell and Lucian saved me, carrying me out of harm’s way while using his potions to save me.

Lucian: And as brave and Sidgevin was Shaden was his equal, if not in stamina than in his courage. In the end, even with Sidgevin’s help all of the drow had been savaged, and if it hadn’t been for the intervention of the crowd Virizan’s dragon-form would have killed us by attacking us from the air but the cyclops guards started throwing their hooked nets upon the dragon which forced him to land.

Bairdyn: Shaden called out Virizan, as a coward and a fool. The dragon leaped upon him crushing Shaden but providing the opening I needed to bury my blade to the hilt between the monster’s shoulders. He groaned and shrank, becoming only a man, my friend Jerion. He grinned horribly, blood spilling from his mouth and said,

“You still lose, for you have killed your friend.”

He died his form evaporating, only this time he didn’t come back.

Bingus: In the aftermath of the battle with his autonomy restored, Cachlain released Talyrin from the prison and reinstated her as his main advisor. She vouched for our innocence in regards to the various assaults that had occurred upon the court over the course of our visit. Through it all, the king still believed I was my brother. Later, we found out there had been quite a fight within the throne room after we had been tossed into the arena. Sangwyr and Sidgevin had attacked the king, but luckily Shaden had been there. He told us that he had fought Sidgevin long enough to figure out that he couldn’t beat him.

Bairdyn: Frankly I had never believed Shaden gave anything that much thought.

Bingus: After he figured that out, Shaden had shifted his attacks to Sangwyr who up until then been soundly beating Cachlain. Sangwyr apparently had trouble hitting Shaden, and with his speed Shaden had an easier time battling the giant; likewise Cachlain easily knocked Sidgevin about the throne room. Soon Sangwyr retreated, which gave the king ample opportunity to throw both Sidgevin and Shaden into the arena.

Lucian: After our victory, Cachlain became convinced that Sangwyr and the githyanki were his true enemies. He had grown eager to ally himself with Inzira, so much so that he offered our Seed of Winter as a token of his sincerity. Obviously, he still thought we had the real seed.

Bairdyn: If I might be so bold, what were you thinking about when you sent us into the Feywild with a fake anyhow?!

Bejam: The real Seed of Winter had not been recovered when Chillreaver was defeated, he escaped with the real Seed of Winter. Yet we knew the matters pertaining to the Stone-skinned King were at a critical juncture, we could not survive long against the githyanki while they had freedom to come and go via the king’s portals. So in desperation we planned the ruse and given that the githyanki are as capable of reading our minds as you or I might read a book, no one sent to the Feywild could know the truth. Only Lucian knew the seed was false, and only we knew the Bingus had taken his brother’s place in your party. We opted to send Bingus because no one had more experience fooling the king. It was Bingus who discovered that the githyanki were using the king’s portals in the first place, but he needed your help to foil the githyanki plot and he requested you himself.

Dumbfounded and for the moment forgetting his place Finellior speaks up: So exactly why wasn’t I included on this mission surely I could have been an asset in such a diplomatic setting?

Trellara: We couldn’t include anyone who had been on the mission to Nefelus. We feared the githyanki might gleam the truth of the mission the moment you entered the court. Lucian was protected by a unique magic item, and Lucian was prepared to die to protect our secret. We wouldn’t ask that of you, nor could we afford to lose you. As it was, the real Seed wanted to go back to Inzira anyhow and Fariex has seen to it’s recovery. I had contacted Inzira prior to your departure and I revealed the truth of your mission. The eladrin Tulani of Winter was already aware the party’s Seed was false. All of her actions were taken to insure that the Stone-skinned king believed the heroes carried the true seed. Likewise we felt it was important that at least one of the member of Brindol’s famous Brigade was present to add credence to the mission. So we sent Bairdyn as Bingus had requested, while he went disguised for obvious reasons. To maintain the deception Inzira insisted on the Seed’s return as a condition of the new alliance between the Stone-skinned King and the Frostwhite Forest.

Amyria: Thanks to your effort the king is now refusing to help the githyanki, but he still hasn’t agreed to take up arms against them. Sangwyr has escaped for now and her forces still represent a threat to Cachlain’s realm but now there is an uneasy truce between the king and Inzira. The king will be preoccupied with the destruction of Sangwyr’s forces for some time. The king has also provided some information about githyanki’s activities while they had access to his portals. He has provided creditable information about a githyanki outpost in the mountains northeast of Elsir Vale, including a fairly detailed map on how to reach it.

Cachlain's Map

Elletraius and Serennel of the Frostwhite Forest: To settle the specifics of the alliance, Druemmeth Goldtemple will be spending time in Cachlain’s court. We thank your brave heroes for their timely rescue. Know that Inzira sympathizes with your alliance and she may yet be persuaded to join the coalition. Druemmeth will make himself available to the council, effective immediately once he finishes the negotiations with Cachlain.

Bingus: Cachlain allowed us to return here using one of his portals and in reward he has given me the sigil sequence so I can use a linked portal or similar ritual to travel back and forth to his court whenever I want.

As the heroes complete their retelling of their adventure, Ian bangs a gavel, drawing the the attention of the assembly. He rises from his seat and bowing his head, first to of the other esteemed members the Platinum Shields Coalition and then to the assembled guests before he addresses everyone present:Ian 

“While I am sure that I speak for all here when I thank the heroes for their excellent report and their brave service to the Vale, I am sorry to announce that I must resign my appointment to this august assembly. Our work here has only just begun and it is more important than it has ever been. Times are ever becoming ever more perilous given the path of this war and the fact that our survival seems to hang by the thinnest of thread, whether by the favor of fate or the will of our lords, a light comes to me in this most unexpected of hours. I can no longer carry on my duties here. I have a message that I must read that will make sense now that we have heard of the fate of your friend Jeroen.”

Ian extracts a piece of paper with writing on it and begins to read:

"I am Jeroen and this is my will that the bearer of this letter proceed to the Crystal Caverns and lay my sword there."

Ian continues: As fate would have it, I have this lost hero’s sword. I recognize my duty to this august assembly but, my duty to its heroes is also paramount. Perhaps once I have completed this request for this hero we morn for I will be able to return.

 

Additional Treasure:

From Talyrin, the king’s advisor: Magic weapon, level 19. Manual of Expansive Learning +4,

 From the king for your victory in the Arena of Blood: A Magic item, level 20.

a Diamond Cincture
 
And a bag of precious gems worth a total of: 26,500 gp

 

Manual of Expansive Learning   Level 19+ Rare 

+4 105,000 gp

This tome expands your ability to prepare and use spells.

Implement: Tome

Enhancement Bonus: Attack rolls and damage rolls

Critical: +1d8 damage per plus

Utility Power Daily (Minor Action)

Effect: You regain the use of one wizard encounter or daily utility power that you have already used. The power must be in your spellbook, and its level must be lower than the tome’s level.

Utility Power Daily (Minor Action)

Requirement: You must be taking a short rest, have a spellbook, have at least one healing surge, and have expended all your wizard daily attack powers.

Effect: You lose a healing surge, but you gain the use of one wizard daily attack power from your spellbook that you did not prepare after your last extended rest. The power’s level must be lower than the tome’s level.

 

Diamond Cincture   Level 20+ Uncommon

Each gleaming diamond on this belt is a powerful conduit for healing energy.

Lvl 20 125,000 gp

Waist Slot

Property

This belt holds Two diamonds, and you gain a +2 item bonus to Fortitude.   

Utility Power (Healing) At-Will (Minor Action)

Effect: You spend a healing surge. One diamond on the belt cracks and darkens, becoming worthless. Each time a diamond is expended in this way, the belt’s item bonus is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 0). If there are no unexpended diamonds on the belt, you can’t use this power. After an extended rest, each expended diamond is restored.