The session began with a vignette flashback of the Arkhosia and Bael Turath empire era. The events of the vignette can be found in the following link:
“The Rightful King”
The aftermath of the previous night kept the band of adventurers on edge for the remainder of their rest. Carlisle, being stricken with embarrassment about the lack of security at his hotel, gave them the finest large room he could, and supplied a feast for breakfast. He also delivered a letter to Quinn that had arrived from Feliwyth the previous evening. The group ate, finished tending to their wounds, and then boarded the carriage to the castle when it arrived.
The castle guards led them into a different room than they had been before. King Toma Rostvani was sitting in a larger throne at the head of an elongated oval table. He looked much more majestic and authoritative than their previous meeting. Only a few of the seats were filled nearest him. Belkas, Undicci the guard, and another guard were present. To the left of the King was a handsome tiefling man dressed in a long robe, engaged in conversation with the king. The party waited patiently until the king dismissed the men around him. They bowed and departed.
The king was pleased to see the adventurers again. He invited them to sit near him. He called back the tiefling man and introduced him to Quinn. He was Terulai Haaken, the head of the mages guild in Vandromar. He had recently returned from the northwest, assisting the king with the orc and barbarian rebellion. He knew Krisatra Arroway and was anxious to meet with Quinn when he had a moment. The group than sat and began their discussion with the king. He asked them about their decision with the charter he offered, and they deliberated a bit.
The king told them they would be a formalized group of adventurers, able to get legal contracts and jobs. But most importantly, he told them he needed a group that he could trust. Recently one of the groups he had been contracting has become a bit sedentary. He urged them to strongly consider. Then he presented the real problem on his mind.
“I’ve called you all here because I have a task to ask of you. Until now, you have served me in many ways, but not directly,” he began with his raspy voice. “My oldest son Ilario Rostvani left on a journey to the southwest about a year ago, and was to return no later than a month ago. He still has not come back and I fear for him. I want you to journey to find him. He is an eager man, and fancies himself with tall tales. He was seeking a so-called magical well somewhere in the Dreadwater swamps beyond the Misty Heights.”
The king explained that Ilario took a band of about 8-10 men with him. He was also seeking the Sanctum of the Bela’Thim, but his primary focus was finding this magical well. The king didn’t know much more, but said Terulai might. He urged the adventurers to seek out his son for him. If he was dead, he asked them to send word immediately. He then presented them with a few magical items to assist them in their journey.
He left them with some parting words of advice, “Once you journey beyond the walls of Vandromar, you are heading into unknown territory and perils. In the Misty Heights and beyond, the only support you will have will be one another. Learn to band together, and trust one another. Learn friend from foe, and once you’ve made that distinction be fiercely loyal to it. The hardest realization may be finding if you are friend or foe to yourself.” He told them he wanted Mai’Kai to join them on their travels.
When the group was outside the city walls they began a discussion about how to split party funds from then on out now that they have a formalized charter. Sokuyo intervened saying that selling artifacts or loot should be at the common consent of the group, now that Trel and Nobby were showing an interest in selling the gem-filled skull they found in the depths of the Bael Turath ruins beneath Royal Hill. Sokuyo end up getting disgusted at their lust for money and walked away. Arken attempting to talk to him had his voice just fade to the wind. They agreed to meet at the hotel in a few hours with ideas for charter names.
Quinn headed to the mages guild and met with Terulai Haaken. Terulai had met with Krisatra Arroway when she passed through a few years ago. He said she looked in a hurry, and eager to get to the Sanctum. He gave directions to Quinn the best he could to the Valley of the Fells where the Sanctum was rumored to be, telling him the magic of the Sanctum chose those powerful enough to enter. He gave Quinn a communication crystal to be able to send word of Ilario’s fate, or return. On the way back to the inn Quinn picked up a chopping axe for the journey.
Arken headed to the Temple of the Sun to meet with Ecetti Runegold. There Ecetti asked him about his decision to help the king. He then told him about a village somewhere in the Dreadwater swamps that was originally followers of Pelor gone to settle some of that area. They’ve taken up to dark religious practices and he asked Arken if he would find them and convert them back to the following of light. Arken readily agreed.
Trel and Nobby joined forces to find the best way to sell the gemmed skull. Nobby discovered the gems within the skull were fake, but was pretty convinced he could sell it for a reasonable price. While appraising the skull, a strange phenomenon occurred. Nobby temporarily lost his sight, and got an extremely bitter taste in his mouth. Brushing it off, he was able to swindle two men into bidding against each other and sold the skull for forty gold more than its true value. Nobby then set to the streets and picked a few pockets for money for the road.
The group met back at the inn and had a long discussion over a meal about the name of their charter. After much deliberation, and considering the history of their band, they decided on The Shadow Slayers. They headed to the castle to sign the paperwork. While there they met Belkas in his office. When they finally returned the magical orb to him he smiled and told them now he knew they were truly honest men and he could trust them fully.
A few days later the group organized at the main gates of Vandromar, some curious eyes following them. There Mai’Kai joined them. They decided against the burden of caring for horses in the wild and set out on foot. The first couple days of the journey was fairly easy going traveling through wooded hills. After some traveling they arrived at the large river south of Vandromar some 50 miles. Nobby quickly hopped from boulder to boulder to the other side. The others had to find some other way. Arken approached some tribal hunters down stream that were watching them. He tried to communicate using signs, but most have offended or scared them and they hurried and rowed their raft away down stream. Everyone then turned their attention to helping Sokuyo repair a broken bridge they found. After several hours work, and the trusty axe Quinn purchased, the bridge was repaired and they crossed safely.
Another half a days journey and the group arrived at the impressive base of the Misty Heights. It was now late in the night, but the group caught sight of a few shining lights from the village of Fellwash. Arriving late they knocked on a door near the lumber mill. A gruff looking lumberjack answered, he was barely understandable with his thick wooded accent. He sent them to a hay stack to sleep behind the city. They tried another door and found an old man willing to give them a room to stay for half a days work the next day. They helped build a cabin the next morning, but Trel nearly passed out with exhaustion. The group then departed into their grueling journey up into the rocky mountains.
After another day of traveling they came to a branch point, either to follow a higher ridge above timberline or to descend into a wooded valley with more shelter but less sight. The group favored the high ridge line after a close vote. The group members exchanged advice on how to weather the elements, slept in a cave over night, and the next day spotted the Valley of the Fells. They descended in the next morning, but just then they spotted a tribe of goblins come rushing out of a cave towards them. The group began sprinting across the valley to try to outrun them to the wooded area on the far side. Both Trel and Quinn sensed an odd presence of unexplained magic.
As they drew further into the valley suddenly a shocking sight materialized before them. Quinn, Trel, and Nobby were suddenly able to see a formation of five towers in the middle of the valley. The towers were pitched at a slant, all joining with one another at their peaks, and each had a different form of magic swirling around it. Trel telekinetically grabbed a boulder and threw it back at the goblins killing several of them and scaring the others off. The group was now able to proceed safely to the towers. It was an odd experience for Arken and Sokuyo as they could not see anything the others could see, suspecting they had gone mad. They had found the Sanctum of the Bela’Thim, and it wasn’t until they walked through the front doors that all of them could see the sight.
They were in a courtyard beneath the large room where the far towers connected. A man wearing a brown robe came out of the far doors.
“Lady Itolael has been expecting you. I see the Powers at Hand have chosen you to find us; it is rare. Your companions are welcome, follow me.” He then led them into a tower that was flickering in and out of existence it seemed. Clearly it was imbued with illusory magic. They passed by several curious students in blue robes watching them. The adventurers were led into a large council room, with huge stone chairs all facing each other in a circle. Five of the six chairs were filled, and the man who led them in took his place in the sixth. A curious interview followed where they met the six members of the Bela’Thim. Lady Itolael, an eladrin sorcerer and the head of the Bela’Thim. Aylere, a human mage, the man who led them in. Obwalt, a dwarf mage. Takumi, a human warlock. Cyrus, a half-elf seer who was not pleased to see them. And Artho, an eladrin swordmage whom Quinn caught on with quickly.
Lady Itolael told them about receiving their Theul. A Theul was a powerful arcanic prophesy that gave insight into an individual’s existence. It usually pertained to their future or destiny, but sometimes referred to their past. It was a rigorous preparation experience, but she told them most students only seek the Sanctum just for the purpose of receiving their Theul. Everyone agreed to try over the next week to prepare themselves.
The preparations were grueling and physically taxing. There were different rituals that each member could elect to participate in; they each had to complete three of five. The first ritual involved being set before the members of the Bela’Thim and having magical runes temporarily burned into the subject’s flesh. The second ritual required seclusion and channeling energy from powerful tome’s for a couple days. The third ritual was going into the nearby hills and spending a day and night allowing the elements to consume one’s body and physically prepare them. The fourth ritual required seeking magical components in the nearby valley to aid in receiving a Theul. The fifth ritual was obtaining or crafting some sort of pendant that the Theul could be inscribed in. All the members of the party succeeded in their preparations.
The time came to receive their Theul’s
(The whole account and Theul’s can be found on the following link)
After all the Theul’s were complete the group was exhausted, and had just begun putting their armor back on. Suddenly Nobby got a familiar bitter taste in his mouth. His vision faded for a moment, and then in a horrific burst dark mists began spewing out of his mouth. From the mists swirling around him a rift was opened and a fiery hell could be seen. Out stepped several Legion Devil’s, Specters, and even two Deathlock Wights. The sight was horrible to behold as demons of the underworld came upon them. The wizards of the Bela’Thim, and the adventurers fought furiously in the small tower room. Trel and Quinn utilized the glass tower tops to focus lightning and psychic energy during the battle. Trel was able to mind control several of the enemies and force them to attack each other. Nobby had a hard time against the plate mail of the legion devils.
The Bela’Thim were weakened after performing five Theul’s, but they fought off several of the devils that appeared out of the rift while the adventurer’s were handing others. Aylere was able to suppress the rift so that more of them didn’t appear. Sokuyo jumped around the room helping his allies and striking several foes to the ground. Many of the heroes came close to death, but were able to just hold on and dispatch the sudden demonic presence. Sokuyo ran to the ledge outside where Nobby was killed the devil’s still appearing out of the mist. He was then able to discharge all the arcane energies he had acquired over the past weak and sealed the rift coming out of Nobby’s head.
Aylere was struck down by the blade of a devil and fell to his death. Takumi, the warlock also fell, his cloth armor being no match for the demon’s black blade. The last specter attempted to flee but Arken cut it off and disintegrated it with divine light.
When the battle concluded, immediately Cyrus ran forward and grabbed Nobby by the throat, screaming at him for what he had brought into this sacred arcane sanctum.
XP For Each: 854 XP
Compounded Role Play Award: 750 XP
(King Rostvani, Character Interaction, “The Rightful King” Vignette, Bela’Thim, Terulai, and Ecetti)
Interaction in Town: 175 XP
(Selling Skull, Haggling, Visiting Mages Guild, Temple of the Sun)
Delivered Orb to Belkas Quest Completion: 625 XP
Persuasion to Help Bhenn Lennock: 50 XP
Travel to Misty Heights Skill Challenge: 750 XP
Creation and interaction at Fellwash: 80 XP
Theul Preparation Skill Challenge: 450 XP
Demonic Rift Encounter, in Sanctum of Bela’Thim: 1393 XP
Total XP for Session: 4273 XP
-Sold Gemmed Skull for 90gp
-Leather Armor of Aegis Expansion (LVL 7)
-Shielding Blade Dagger (LVL 4)
-Trel’s Level 6 item