Monthly Archives: March 2014

SOW Chapter16: Legacy of Io V – For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls


 


 

The
Dawnbell Bastion was a light fortification and garrison built off the Whitebell
Bastion and maintained by angels of Pelor upon three small, neighboring
earthmotes. The elegant tower once rose several times the height of its sister
buildings, but it was open at the top, revealing the bastion’s primary function
as the home of the Dawnbell, the bell that lent the complex its name and tolled
but once a day announcing the beginning of each day in a city that knew no
darkness.


 


While t
he
bastion can be reached by a

soft fall


from the base of the Whitebell Bastion that sits in the center of Hestavar’s
lagoon
;


th
is
soft fall


deposit
s
travelers onto the largest of the

three

earthmotes

housing the Dawnbell Bastion, it being the only island which has a landing and
this larger island is connected the others by


g
olden


b
ridges
that look more


airy

than


stable
.


The bridge
s
are

open to the air,


offering a beautiful view and


a long drop

of well over 100 feet



to the nearest earthmote below


 


 


The guardians are accustomed to their bastion being used in this manner and pay
little heed to those arriving or leaving so long as they stray no further than
the entrance a place of contemplation and mediation. The angelic defenders

there have never been

aware that the Dawnbell


Pelor’s


ancient seal, but they

knew who the travelers from Klarn were and they had been


w
ell
prepared, determined to

brook no interference with their master’s rightful property
,
but they were not prepared for what the explorers from Klarn did next.



 



Whitebell Bastion



 


Located at the near center of the lagoon, its towers pointing up toward the
lofty heights of the Aurosion, Whitebell Bastion serves as the single largest
internal garrison of angels in the city. A central edifice reaching more than a
thousand feet into the air is encircled by three sets of three smaller towers
(each one a mere 100 feet tall); the highest of these housed the Dawnbell. All
four structures are independent and each smaller bastion connecting its


various towers by


bridgeworks where angels look down upon


the Bright City

watch
ing
for dangers that only rarely manifest
ed.
Atop the center tower is a large bell made from the purest of platinum—the
Whitebell. The bell is magically attuned to all the various water clocks of the
city, and it rings in a deep and rich baritone with each belling. It is said
that the unabashed ringing of these bells and their echoes throughout the
structures of the bastions was so powerful it could kill mortals trespassing
within the towers.


 

The Party


The people making-up the exhibition from Klarn included Finellior, Klarn’s
master diplomat and the reluctant leader of mission, a half-elven bard,
well-versed in planar travel; the much more enigmatic, Yu Gnuf, Klarn’s master
librarian and scholar, a student of both time and space who wore at least eight
separate known identities, he was originally known only as Jeroen, a simple
farmer with a missing past; the heart of the group is Hagrid, a goliath, on
Klarn he had been a recluse serving as the Warden of the North a stretch of
barren mountain that separated the seven cities of man from the barbarians of
the north, but while he was away seeing to the welfare of others his own family
came under attack and his life-mate was killed, angered and fleeing for his life
his only son left leaving their mountainside home deserted and when Hagrid
return they were already gone … his son Ramok joined Brindol’s Brigade of heroes
as they fought against the githyanki invaders attacking Klarn, but ultimately he
was slain, and as bards filled the land with tales of Ramok’s heroism Hagrid
sought out those see his son alive and ultimately joined their cause filling the
gap left by Ramok, and together with these new allies he had succeeded in
freeing his son’s soul from the purgatory called the Forest of Twisted Souls;
Vani Firestorm, is the groups halfling sorcerer supreme, he had been Lord
Ishtar’s apprentice and legendary Lord of Fate and Destiny had decreed that Vani
should aid and protect this gathering of heroes; and perhaps the most unexpected
member of the group Rikar, a drow, an outcast, a ranger, a slayer, the welder of
the Sword of Kas, a man around who destruction seemed to swirl, death dogging
his trail, the party’s most deadly blade, and most recently a man becoming more
like the bitter betrayer Kas himself, even to the point of severing his own arm.


 


Together they had seemed to have lost their way and maybe even their soul,
having lost Bingus when he was driven out over differences with Rikar. The gnome
wizard had fled after they arrived in Hestavar after Rikar almost killed him,
and he had not been seen since, but soon after they were joined by Bilgamesh, an
elven comrade of both Rikar and Finellior who had led the resistance against the
githyanki becoming the realms most famous protector, a guardian of all the
people of Klarn, humans, dwarves and elves alike; he was the leader of the Order
of the Bronze, the group of daring griffon-riders that had saved many
 lives during Klarn’s war. Summoned to
the Bright City by Finellior, Bilgamesh hadn’t come alone; with him he brought
the Ssarina, Emissary of Majyst, the paladin of dead Bahamut who had dedicated
herself to

Amyria,
and Amyria herself, the self-named, Scion of Bahamut who led Klarn’s coalition,
and seemed intimately bound to the chaos within Klarn these past years.
Bilgamesh had secreted Amyria somewhere within Hestavar where she remained,
guarded by Ssarina. The party has also hidden themselves, they were staying in
one of the hideaways provided by the diabolical scholar Guionne who had aided
their research in the Swan Tower, and without whose aid they might never have
discovered the turn nature of the Arrow of Fate or how to find it, but the quest
itself had given them pause causing them to examine their own beliefs relating
to the morality and methodology of their mission. The party had been tainted,
torn, and disharmonious since they arrived; pangs felt most keenly by Finellior;
and along with Hagrid, he still bore the mark of Vecna, just one of several
things that had already set the goodly protector of Hestavar and even Celestia
against them. These marks were withered grotesqueries, yellow, slitted eyes, set
in the palms of their right hands, and these eyes offered insights, offering
some of Vecna’s own discernments to their own, but Finellior had refused to take
advantage of this ‘awareness’ and had taken to constantly wearing a glove over
his right hand to blind and hide the eye, but it frustrated him still. Making
his unease worse, here in Guionne’s home they were now being served by one of
the devil spawn’s mute cherubs; while it made no sound, and offered no threat,
Finellior could feel Guionne’s eyes set upon him through the cherub’s blank gaze
and it left him ill at ease.


 


With each seal they had opened, the storm that rages perpetually over the
district known as the Salts grew even more violent. The breaking of the second
seal had heralded intense winds an earthquake and the sounding of thunder, and
the uninhabited islands nearest to the center of the gale were now being raked
by great waves. Yu Gnuf had sunk to quiet mediation as he calmly communed with
the other voices that constantly haunted his mind trying to determine their next
move. For his own part, Rikar seemed more animated than he had recently, but
even so he was still keeping mostly to himself. Fin saw the new glint in the
drow’s eye, but he could only guess at its source and it
 was enough that Rikar for the moment
seemed at peace with himself. After a day of rest, Yu Gnuf emerged from his
meditations and announced to Bilgamesh:


 



“I need to see Amyria; I need to speak to her now.”


 


For a moment Bilgamesh looked like he would resist, but Yu Gnuf’s eyes flared
and Bilgamesh acquiesced without further comment; yet another disturbing sign,
but before anyone present could formulate a counter argument they were gone, and
three hours later Bilgamesh returned with Ssarina, who upon her arrival seemed
confused. Bilgamesh announced:


 



“Amyria is fine, Yu Gnuf is seeing to her well-being now. We need to go. There
are two seals left we must strike the Dawnbell first, and we must do it now.
There is no more time to waste. While I was out I reconnoitered the Dawnbell
Bastion and I have drawn up a plan.”


  

The Seal of Pelor

 


 



“We will fly high above the bastion, seeking the very ceiling of Hestavar’s
space, and we will drop upon the angels, heading directly to the tallest tower
of the Dawnbell Bastion, that it the tower that houses the Dawnbell. I have
gathered


elixirs of flight


enough for all of us and wax for our ears. We won’t be able to hear each other,
but it is a necessary precaution given the likelihood of the sounding of the
bells, and the legends of their power. Those of us who arrive first should set
ourselves to the bell’s destruction, and those who come next to the protection
of the others. Hagrid will guide his astral skiff; collapsing it and joining us
only after the rest of us have bailed out of the vessel. We must be prepared for
anything. They are surely expecting us.”


 

From the
Traveling Journal of Finellior:


 

Rikar
and Bilgamesh were the first to leap from the craft, I followed, and we fell
quickly seeming to hang is space. Angels had already taken to air beneath us as
if to catch us, but both Rikar and I had magically rendered ourselves invisible
so initially the angels only reacted only to Bilgamesh and those following
behind him. Bilgamesh deftly fought his way through the angels never slowing his
fall until he had moved well past them; he entered through the tower’s highest
arches straight into the bell chamber itself, and I followed him on the opposite
side of the tower. As I landed still invisible, Rikar was already contenting
with a tower’s guardian, glorious Archangel that radiated a palpable aura of
righteousness. This great angel wore armor, crafted from gold and mithral that
bore an impossibly detailed scene of angelic conflict, and the angel welded a
titanic greatsword. Already they were parrying, bracing and countering,
blow-for-blow against Rikar. Rikar handled himself, better than I have ever
witnessed, as he was locked in mortal combat with the angel, then Bilgamesh
began launching arrows at the angel from the far side of the bell tower. The
angel turned its featureless face towards me and spoke in thundering intones
that sounded clearly through my waxed ears.


 



“The charge to defend the Dawnbell is mine, laid upon me by the lord Pelor
himself, I Memar, lead the Radiant Host, I am the Dawn Bringer. I bring judgment
against, you, against any, who would violate this holy sanctuary! I fear no
evil, nor will you be allowed to stand against his will here; Pelor doth light
my way leading me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea and his
will well be done!”



 


Then the great silver bell before me tolled with terrible power, instantly
wearing at my resolve as its power registered upon my body; I fell to the ground
along with Rikar and Bilgamesh, perhaps it was the wax in our ears that saved
us, but it clear we wouldn’t last long in the midst of such power. With my head
ringing I crawled beneath the massive bell stood carefully and began moving in
time with the swinging of the bell until I was able to grab the bell’s hammer
and climb on, which I did hoping to find a method to still its sounding.


 

Still
outside the tower the rest of the party fared less well. Intercepted by angels,
most of the others had not fared well, injured badly and or cast aside by the
angelic defenders. Alone, Vani had escaped their wrath teleporting his way past,
he made a relatively safe landing in the bell tower, only to be instantly
knocked senseless by the Dawnbell’s first sounding, and both Ssarina and Hagrid
had crashed into the side of tower and fell to the balcony below. Hagrid landed
on his feet but he was immediately surrounded by over a half dozen angels, those
arriving from either of the two other towers that made up the Dawnbell Bastion,
he was in danger of being overwhelmed, but Ssarina was in much more immediate
danger like Hagrid, she was being overwhelmed, but had also bounced off the side
of the tower, and she was prone and almost defenseless, the party’s hulking
goliath was better suited to fighting on his own, even outnumbered the angels
wouldn’t be defeating him quickly or without a substantial fight, but Ssarina
was already bleeding severely, and she was gasping for breath with one of her
lungs having been punctured by an angel’s blade. In both these melees the
collected angels of the sun god began to radiating a great withering heat, an
aura of the Sun God’s own righteousness, and both Hagrid and Ssarina were
suffering under their righteous vengeance. As Vani recovers from the bell’s
tolling he summons his avatars of chaos, and disappears having been replaced by
set the four duplicates set to all corners of the battle site, one at the entry
arch of the bell tower, another in the bell tower, and two others on the
balconies below. One of the duplicates is immediately dispatched by an angel’s
burning blade; the second responds, summoning a group of massive icy stalagmites
and causing them to take form at strategic points of the main tower freezing the
majority of the present angels in place, Frozen in space they vanish defeated by
the stalagmite’s icy embrace, but even a larger, second wave of
 more powerful angels close upon bell
tower, two of these pause hovering blasting the all the visible invaders on the
outside of the tower with bolts of lightning. Two more of the sorcerer’s
duplicates are destroyed leaving the halfling barely consciousness within his
sole remaining agent in the bell tower itself as Ssarina finally collapses.
Hagrid begins pushing back the angel making his way urgently towards Ssarina to
help to the injured paladin.      


 


I was swinging on the bell’s hammer, struggling to catch the side of the bell
with my feet focused on doing whatever was needed to prevent the dreaded toll.
Outside of the bell, my friends, Rikar, Bilgamesh and Vani were fighting for
their lives against the powerful angel that easily held his own, and it seemed
like Rikar was giving as well as he received, both he and the angel were bloody
and injured; the angel’s brilliant radiance shone in stark contrast to the inky
shadowy darkness that shed off Rikar’s person and sword. Looking about the
chamber I caught glimpses of Bilgamesh and Vani but they had once again been
rendered senseless by the angel’s power.  


 


I felt dirty, and clearly on the wrong side of the conflict, like I should be
helping the angel, but I couldn’t let them fall. I healed each of them,
channeling my full efforts even as I held on to the bell’s hammer, and
desperately pulling the wax from my ear, and I called out, not knowing if they
would themselves hear me, trying to tell them to strike now as I set upon the
angel with a stirring shout, laying a network of doubt upon the angel’s mind,
and fueling this refrain with song sung out in perfect melody to feed Memar’s
growing seeds of doubt. Then amid the chaos as the angels allies began appearing
framed in the arches of the bell tower.


 


My allies rose and fought back, but even now I couldn’t bring myself to take
arms against the angels, so instead I turned my attention to the bell, or more
precisely to the mechanism which held it the hammer aloft, then in the opening
set in the floor below me, a large hole egressing this level of the tower from
the floor below, Ssarina appeared and joined in the shell of the bell and began
helping me destroy the metal latch which supported the hammer. 


 


Rikar quickly recognizes the intent of Finellior’s efforts, as with every blow
he lands thereafter upon the archangel he begins to feel stronger. Heedless of
the others he presses his own attack swing wildly even as other powerful angels
begin filling the chamber to overflowing. They shout out terrible, thundering
edicts that threatened to bring Rikar to his knees, and yet another fills the
chamber with a blinding brilliance. The others begin casting bolts of lightning
striking both Bilgamesh and Vani but they respond driving the angels back, the
elf with his deadly hail of arrows and Vani with his own unquenchable arcane
power. Then crawling through the arches Hagrid too makes his presence felt
throwing himself upon their attackers grabbing one angel by the throat a hurling
another to the ground. The other angels close in upon him, and the battle
collapses into a quarrel of giants rolling upon the ground. All the while
Bilgamesh stares at the melee with deadly resolve, picking off one angel after
another with the devastating accuracy. The angels begin vanishing under the
punishment until the Archangel Memar calls out:
    
 


  



 
Verily
I say unto you, there is yet time for you to seek out the light, let it guide
you too into righteousness! I cannot answer for the Sun Father, yet I knoweth in
the end his will well be wrought; and all present, with eyes yet open will see
the truth of things. Here upon this perch, I ask thee, even as I am overwhelmed,
leave the world brighter, even as I have sought to do.”



 


Memar falls, and taking no pause, Rikar immediately turns his attention to the
angels still piled upon Hagrid; one of them jabbing in the goliath with a spear
sending a corona lightening dancing over the goliath’s body. The bell tolls one
final time as it crashes to the ground, those present within the chamber outside
of the bell simultaneously find themselves deafened, weakened, and knocked to
the ground as they are hurled against the walls of the chamber, and still under
the bell Fin grabs hold of the floor’s edge as the bell falls past him with
Ssarina still dangling within carrying the trapped dragonborn with it through
the hole in the floor. The bell tumbles banging out several time at it falls
floor-by-floor bring the tower down in its wake. As it lands with a final
shatter death bang on the ground floor, the tower shudders in its own death
throes and crumbles to its earthmote foundation and sending tons of brickwork
raining down to the lagoon far below. As everyone still present in the bell
tower flees through the air.


 


Sometime later, after an extensive search I found Ssarina. She was still alive
but severely battered. Her ring of regeneration had saved her life once again.
The remaining angels had retreated to the other towers troubling us no more.
Even though we had succeeded and broken Pelor’s Seal, I felt more the loser than
ever, and even less heroic as I witnessed Bilgamesh scouring through the
wreckage of the tower, salvaging those shiny baubles he could find. We had slain
Pelor’s angels, destroyed his tower, now my friend was looting his treasures,
and I was no better, I said nothing, lost in my own disgust. At this point, even
if we somehow save Bahamut think I will fail to understand the justice of this
day. I have held my tongue so far, to the very edge of my own self-condemnation,
but the rest of my party seems to have no more stomach for debate over this
matter than I have any need of this mission. I lack the blind resolve of
Ssarina, or the understanding of Yu Gnuf, but I like the others see no other
course for us now, I am here, but there is no getting away from our deeds this
sad day.


 


The storm’s rage has now reached a new crescendo, and I have notice that below
us, the waters of the lagoon have reversed their course flowing outward towards
the eye of the storm as if summoning us to some final reckoning. 
    



 


 



Treasure


 



Parcel B: Parcel 8:

750 pp, mithral and celestial gold statuette of Pelor inlaid with condensed
astral fire (100,000 gold pieces)



 



Parcel C: Parcel 6:

1,000 pp, one potion of recovery, 5
astral diamonds



 



Potion of Recovery – Level 25 Common


This mighty potion uses your own stamina to restore your hit points and to help
you shrug off harm.



Consumable: Potion   25,000
gold pieces   Power –
Consumable (Minor Action)


Drink the potion and spend a healing surge. Instead of the hit points you would
normally regain, you regain 50 hit points and make a saving throw against each
effect on you that a save can end.