Return of the Runelords

Law and Order
Temple of the Peacock Spirit, Part 5

The Black Cats confront Aucien Woode at Roderic’s Wreck. Lucia gives a lesson on demon anatomy.

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Roderic's Cove by Night
Temple of the Peacock Spirit, Part 4

The Black Cats tie up loose ends in Roderic’s Cove. Rita makes a startling discovery at Roderic’s Manor. Lucia gets her mother situated.

More to come!

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Salvaging the Starkissed
Temple of the Peacock Spirit, Part 3

The Black Cats launch a salvage mission to recover petrified sailors from the sunken ship the Starkissed. It’s market day in Roderic’s Cove. Someone from Lucia’s past returns.

More details soon!

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On to Jorgenfist
Temple of the Peacock Spirit, Part 2

Wealday, 17 Calistril, 4744

After updating the party on their newest member, the simulacrim Elle, Vicky asks Udrexa about obtaining a vial of Belawara’s blood to use in a spell to repair Elle when she is harmed. Udrexa invites the group to come along to see her mentor. Gwen and Audrahni stay behind.

Udrexa, Vicky, Elle, and Lucia go to the Monastery of the Scarlet Sun in Magnimar’s Underbridge District. They find Belawara as she is finishing up her lecture to a group of students after a training session.

Udrexa introduces her companions. Belawara quickly realizes that Elle is not the real Lea. Vicky explains that she needs a sample of devil’s blood to use the spell infernal healing to repair damage to Elle.

Belawara warns Vicky against the logic of “doing what is necessary” and suggests that Elle cannot serve as a plausible check on the wizard, since as a simulacrum she must obey her creator’s commands. Rita laughs at the sight of a devil giving moral guidance to a paladin and Vicky.

But Belawara agrees to donate blood, so long as the party does something for her. Udrexa suggests they find a way to release Belawara from the contract restricting her from leaving the Monastery. Belawara is concerned that she might not be ready to get out in the world, but acknowledges that things are different now with Runelords rising and the Sihedron heroes missing.

Vicky and Lucia determine that Belawara is bound by her own innate devilish contract magic, which can only be undone with the participation of the signee, Zavian. Vicky suggests creating a simulacrum of him to release her from the contract. Belawara thinks that might work, but they would need a piece of him to focus the simulacrum spell. Udrexa recommends they visit his family at the King and Axe Tavern and Inn.

Belawara then allows Lucia to drain blood. The halfling pretends to slip up in order to “accidentally” drain an extra pint of blood.

As the party prepares to leave, Udrexa pitches Belawara on her sponsor, Gilandro’s.

From there, they decide to sell the remaining loot. As they travel around town, they run into a few unusual sights and smells.

They run across a yellow slug eating contest, and Lucia wins 50gp betting that the dwarf woman would beat a half-orc man.

They also witness an overloaded wagon’s axel snap, spilling pottery and glass onto the roadway.

Vicky helps mend the wagon while talking to its owner, a gnome merchant named Tomlin Nickleplenty. Once helped, Tomlin provides the party with a box of empty bottles and vials, as well as a business card!

That night, Lucia slips into the bathroom in the Gryphine to drink her stolen pint of Belawara’s blood, only for Rita to angrily remind her that the blood transcription spell only works if the subject is dead. They decide instead to find a merchant to sell the blood to.

That night, everyone beds down to rest. They are greeted in their dreams by the Runelord Sorshen. She congratulates them on their victory over Runelord Zutha, but says that was merely an audition for a far more dangerous task.

Sorshen says that Xanderghul, the Runelord of Pride, did not waken from his metaphysical slumber with the same grace that she did. Instead, Runelord Alaznist ambushed and killed Xanderghul, siphoning off a portion of his power. Xanderghul has returned to life, but his strength is at least temporarily diminished. Meaning the time is right for a strike against him.

Sorshen believes that Xanderghul has taken refuge in the Grand Temple of the Peacock Spirit, hidden in the Kodar Mountains. He seems unable to leave the temple at this time. Sorshen urges the party to research the magic ritual the Peacock Spirit cultists have been using to escape combat, the viridian transcendence. The ritual will take he adventurers directly to the hidden temple, where they can confront Xanderghul.

Details on the ritual likely reside within the ruins of the Therrassic Library, located under the old giant fortress known as Jorgenfist that the Sihedron Heroes cleared out a decade ago. Once the party knows how to reach the temple, Sorshen promises to reveal herself to the world. This will distract Xanderghul so that his attention remains fixed on her until it is too late.

Oathday, 18 Calistril, 4744

The next morning, the adventurers begin planning the trip to Jorgenfist. They will sail north aboard Tyalee’s Whim and disembark at Roderic’s Cove. From there, they will head inland to the village of Ravenmoor, then travel north to the Storval Stair and the Iron Peaks. It will be a journey of two weeks.

Lucia goes to sell Belawara’s blood at a shop called Ermunid’s Mystical Arcana, run by the strange half-orc Ermunid and his monkey familiar Shorty.

Fireday, 19 Calistril, 4744

That morning, Tyalee’s Whim sails from Magnimar with the party aboard. They are also greeted by another passenger, the halfling merchant Hardo Diggly. He manufactures strange trinkets and tries to pitch the party on his wares. Vicky purchases a reinforced slingshot from Hardo.

Udrexa brings Ghera back to her room, where the two are distracted for a few hours. After coming back out, the monk notices something odd — most of the ship’s crew members have deep pink scars on both sides of their necks. Only Ghera, Captain Sursha, and Shira Harbuck aren’t affected. None of those with scars remember them, or even realize they have them until it is pointed out.

Vicky determines that the crew are also under the effects of a dominate person spell. She uses greater dispel magic to release them from the spell. The crew says that the night Ghera was carousing with Udrexa, Elbows Eddie treated the crew to a night at the Sly Scoundrel tavern. There they were approached by three attractive but pallid people, two men and one woman. The adventurers suspect these were vampires, and wnder if there is a vampire on board.

Hardo offers to sell the party a silver pocket watch that detects vampires. Gwen decides to purchase it. The druid and a very excited Elle hunt through the ship, following the watch down to the cargo hold. There, in a crate bound for Roderic’s Cove, is a well-dressing halfling vampire. Caught by surprise by the entire party, he puts up little resistance before being destroyed.

After searching the rest of the ship, they confirm there are no other vampires. They decide not to turn back to Magnimar, but Vicky asks Audrahni to send a warning back to the city that there is a vampire cabal running around.

With that, the party goes to bed for the night.

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Requiem for Heroes
Flashback Epilogue

Castle Korvosa, Rova 16 AR 4735

Princess Ecclesia paused for a moment as she looked out the nearby window. Fireworks of brilliant red and gold sparks streaked into the air, delighting all in attendance to the grand ball at the palace. The world-renowned minstrels played popular jigs and ballads, though with an ever-increasing complexity and strange instruments. The beats of the drums seemingly in time with the fireworks, the two melded in her mind as musical strings droned together in a crescendo.

Her thoughts edged back to the meteors crashing against her armor, metal clanging loud in her ears as she kept fixated on its source. The roar of the Blue Dragon right before it blasted her and the other Wardens with lightning, their painful screams as they reeled from the attack. The familiar pulse of her life force pulsing through the edge of her holy blade as it viciously cut into the chiseled gargantuan frame of a Rune Giant. Her vision darkening as she was pulled out of existence…

She felt a familiar hand on hers, caressing the engagement ring on her ring finger. Ecclesia drew her eyes away from the fireworks and back towards her fiancé.

“Are you enjoying yourself, darling?” Ameiko asked.

Ecclesia smiled, “Yes, of course, I was just-“

“In Xin-Shalast, no doubt, you’ve been visiting quite a bit lately,” Ameiko stood up from her chair and led Ecclesia toward the dance floor, “Come now, and let’s bring you back to your party.”

“Our party, my love.”

“Yes, but your birthday. I didn’t splurge on these dresses so you can sit behind a dining table all night. Dance with me.”

Ameiko lead her to the center of the hall and signaled to the minstrels to start up a cheerful jig. Ecclesia’s crimson and gold sequenced dress twisted and spun, the light catching on amethyst gemstones not unlike the streaks of fireworks earlier. It was complimented by Ameiko’s own dress, which was inspired by her own native Minkaian fashion but styled to her eclectic tastes. The silk print showcased a Ruby Dragon spewing forth golden threaded flame upon a black field. As they danced, the couple held bright smiles in their picturesque performance. A few words were exchanged, though between the continuing thunderous explosions of the fireworks and the spirited minstrels nothing could be discerned by those observing. They remained on the dance floor for a spell before retreating graciously towards an empty side hallway. The couple moved up a flight of stairs and further away from the party until at last they were alone on a balcony overlooking the fireworks.

Ecclesia once more looked out to those streaks of light, as they continued to burst in the night sky.

“You were wonderful out there, my love,” she said at last, “I can already tell my people will love you once we are married.”

“You’re sounding more and more like your father the longer we’re here,” Ameiko replied, playing with Ecclesia’s engagement ring as she held her hand, “To say nothing of that furrowed brow now that we’re alone.”

“I’m not—“

“I’m teasing,” Ameiko chuckled. “But seriously, what’s troubling you?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Did the party not meet your expectations, my love?”

“Yes, of course, everything came out just as you described it to me, Ameiko, I couldn’t be more pleased with it.”

“Then why the long face? Have I offended you?”

“No, of course not, it’s just—,” Ecclesia paused, straightening up as a dignitary rounded the corner and she gave a solemn nod as they passed, “Let us continue this in the parlor.”

“As you wish,” Ameiko said as Ecclesia took her arm and led down the hall. The smile and statuesque serenity returned to the princess’ face once more, as they passed more well wishers and esteemed guests around the first floor reception halls. They passed up a 2nd flight of stairs, retreating further into the castles more intimate spaces, and while the vibrant murmurs of the party downstairs could still be heard, there was a sense of solitude that occupied this floor. It wasn’t long before they found the parlor room, lit for privacy, and slipped inside.

Ecclesia went over to the small cabinet and fashioned a pair of drinks. She handed one to her fiancé before she curled up on the opposite couch. She took a long sip before setting it down. A silence hung over the pair, until at last Ecclesia spoke.

“It’s just the usual ‘Weight of the World’ worries. Father has seen fit to entrust me with additional responsibilities now that we’ve announced our engagement, on top of the usual hunt for any signs of the other Runelords stirring, organizing our efforts for expeditions into other Thassilonian sites, crusading against those Lamash—"

“Please don’t utter that vile name, you know how worked up you get when you say it,” Ameiko interrupted, setting down her own glass. “So, my soon to be father-in-law saddled you with this today? He does know it is your birthday, doesn’t he?”

“It is his way of expressing his love in lieu of a card or present,” Ecclesia replied, taking another long sip. “Ask my brother Telus if you don’t believe me.”

“Well, he must really like me then, seeing as he agreed to foot 70% of today’s bill,” Ameiko said, her glass hiding her bemused smirk.

“What?” Ecclesia blurted, nearly dropping her drink, “That’s—I, mean—what?”

“You’re so cute when you’re flustered,” Ameiko chuckled, “you know he’s really not so bad—“

“Unless it’s me.”

“Yes, well, you can be rather difficult to deal with sometimes.”

“Ah, so that’s how he got to you then,” Ecclesia pouted, though a small smirk tugged at the corner of her mouth. “You’re the one responsible for my additional duties then?”

“No more than you can handle, and it’ll keep your mind off of your visits to Thassilon.”

Her smirk vanished. A lump in her throat squeezed against her words, “I’ve told you they’re not an issue! My mind wanders in our idleness, that’s all.


“Your mind is replaying those moments, over and over again, you even do it in your sleep,” Ameiko rebutted. The words cut into Ecclesia like an ogre hook. She struggled with a response, moving from a half-hearted explanation to a reassurance, though none escaped her crimson stained lips. She felt Ameiko’s eyes on her, and had to say something, anything, to break the tension before—

“You have to learn to let me in; I can’t be the one to drag it out of you all the time. Trust me I know what it’s like to have those kinds of visits. Talk to me or at the very least talk with your Knight-Captain about—“

“I can’t. There’s still so much we need to do, so much I need to accomplish, so many—”

“You’re no good to any of us if you’re falling apart inside Lea.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” She said, her tone uneven and high, “I need to be fine, I need to be better than fine. I can’t for one moment have any doubts on my convictions!”

“Then talk to someone dammit! Surely there’s one person you’d listen to!”

“There’s—wait.”

Ecclesia rose suddenly from her chair, her gaze fixed on a dark corner of the room. She crept towards a barely visible purplish green shimmer, like a lioness waiting to pounce. In a flash she pulled out her hairpin, its form warping and extending into a familiar runic great sword. It slammed hard against the object, shattering the ethereal eye into purple and greenish bits. Ecclesia’s eyes darted around the room as she took a defensive stance. Her eyes and hands locked in unison as she slowly made her way back to her fiancé, who was also on alert. A moment passed before there was a small knock at the door.

“Elle, are you in there?” said a voice from the door.

Vicky?” Ecclesia asked, her stern countenance softened as she shifted the blade back into a hairpin as she walked to the door, “is that you?”

“Do you know anyone else who can use an Arcane Eye within these walls? Anyways, open up already!”

Ecclesia opened the door and a young woman garbed in a silver and amethyst dress rushed in, shutting the door behind her. She had raven braided locks and deep oceanic eyes. Her frame was slight yet soft, and quite pretty even by the current company’s standards. She had an enchanting aura about her, one that was hard to pinpoint but was clearly felt. Perhaps it was her small, pouty lips, or the beauty mark just below her the corner of her left eye, or even the slight rosiness of her cheeks. Whatever it was, it had a pacifying effect on Ecclesia, a smile once again returning to her face.

A look of relief washed over the young woman’s face as she brushed few stray strands away from her face. She held a silver ring up to her eyes, her brow furrowed for a few moments before the emerald in it glowed. She clasped her free hand over it and looked up at the royal pair.

“Am I interrupting something important?”

“As usual,” Ecclesia said as she pulled in the uninvited guest into a hug, “come here you big nerd.”

“You’re one to talk, are you gonna introduce me to your lovely fiancé or should I?”

“Right,” Ecclesia said, turning back to Ameiko, her arm outstretched, as she motioned between the two ladies, “this is Vic—“

“—toria Thassil, of Absolom,” the woman said, extending a hand to Ameiko, “I’ve heard so much about you Lady Kaijitsu.”

“Vicky, she’s going to be my wife, you can tell her,” Ecclesia held a complaint back, though it wasn’t serious enough to break her grin.

“You can have the King tell her once she’s officially part of the family, until then, you know the rules,” Vicky replied, giving Ecclesia a knowing look.

“It’s… nice to meet you too Miss Thassil, it’s not often I get to meet friends of my fiancé that weren’t part of her band of heroes,” Ameiko said in a stilted tone, taking Victoria’s hand and giving it a light shake, “May I ask what brought you to this private parlor?”

Vicky felt Ameiko’s annoyance dripping from her words. “Oh, my apologies, just a rather unsavory suitor that was a bit too forward and needed to hide for a little while, Elle knows the drill,” Victoria said, as she looked upon her silver ring again, “he is a persistent little man.”

“Was it the balding fat bloke from Taldor?” Ecclesia asked.

“No, it was the impish devil-worshipper from Westcrown; said he could smell magic on me, among other things,” replied Victoria. Without prompting she walked over towards the cabinet to pour herself a drink, “Figured it was best to hide with you seeing as your aura is blindingly bright.”

“I see,” Ameiko said, resigned to the interruption as she took a long sip from her drink, “Sounds like you two go way back. As long back as her and that Endrin girl?”

“Oh! Nononono that’s not what — ,” Victoria stammered between chuckles, “— Gods no! I love Elle like a sister. Her whole ‘Queenie’ phase was without my knowledge as well Lady Kaijitsu; that I can assure you. We practically grew up together, here in the castle.”

“It wasn’t a phase,” Ecclesia protested, “You make it sound like I’m a spoiled child or something.”

“You are a spoiled child,” Vicky and Ameiko said in unison, catching them both off guard, followed by a tension breaking laugh.

“Especially considering this is your third stay in the city since your first disappearance and yet this is the first time I’m seeing you,” Vicky said, her eyes fixated on her drink.

Right ,” Ecclesia said with a somber tone, “Listen, Vicky, I didn’t mean to—“

“Its fine Elle, I know the whole story. Heck, I’ve been following your adventures since that business in Sandpoint with the goblin attack. It’ll be a bard’s tale soon enough, if it isn’t already one. Part of me regrets not going with you, but I wasn’t ready yet. I’m still not ready, but I don’t have much of a choice now.”

“I’m not sure I follow,” Ecclesia said, taking a seat next to her fiancé. Victoria took the seat opposite of them.

“Geez you really don’t think before you do anything do you. I’m being sent to stay with my father up north, something you’re responsible for, in case you’ve forgotten. Not my first choice of locales to see, but those are the cards I’ve been dealt. Tonight’s my last night in the city.”

“Oh, that business with your mother, right. I’m sorry I should have—“

“I said it was fine, Elle. Besides, I’m sick of this cramped old castle. Getting some fresh air, no matter how frigid, will be good for me. And thanks to you and yours, it’s safe for me to travel now.”

“It’s a shame you have to leave so soon,” Ameiko chimed in, “I would’ve loved to hear stories about Lea when she was little.”

“Pretty much the same as she is now, just with less plate mail. She had a habit of saving every stray animal she came across, heck I think her stray cat in Harse is still kicking around.”

“Mr. Frumpterkin’s still alive?” Ecclesia asked, her grin started to slide.

“Yeah, no thanks to you. I’ve had your aunt look after him for you as well after you left the first time. Still as blind and mean as you left him, it’s like he’s getting stronger with each passing year.”

“Sounds like I really owe you a lot,” Ecclesia said, her eyes fell toward her lap and the corners of her mouth dipped, “I’ve been a terrible friend.”

“You do and you have been. Par for the course, seeing as you never let anyone in nor are you capable of asking for help when you’re in over your head,” Vicky said, her eyes grew cold and stern as they intensely focused on Ecclesia, who was still staring into her lap, “you’re stubborn and prideful too, and by all accounts damn lucky Ameiko is long suffering and patient with you.”

“How long were you watching us?” Ecclesia said, still not meeting her gaze.

“Long enough,” Victoria said flatly, “though I didn’t need to see what I saw to know there was trouble: You’re drinking the 13 year your father drinks when he’s upset. You hate the stuff, but not as much as you hate yourself right now. Something messed you up really good out there, and you’re unsure on how to deal with it, so you’re not dealing with it. It’s not working out well.”

She took a moment to let the words sink in, a tip of her glass upon her lips before she spoke again, “How am I doing so far?”

Ecclesia’s face contorted, her mind raced for a response, a rebuttal, anything. Everything Vicky said was true, as usual, a lump in her throat burned and her lip quivered. I hate this so much is all her eyes managed to convey as tears slid down her cheeks. Ameiko held her hand, pulling it close to her, and bowed her head along with her.

“This feeling you’re feeling, remember it well. Anytime you’re not facing things head on, like you should, like you’re good at, this is where it’ll lead,” Victoria said, her eyes still fixed on Ecclesia as she took another sip. Her gaze shifted briefly in the silence toward Ameiko, who was still providing a comforting hand and who’s head was also still bowed.

Ecclesia’s tears streamed in silence, and silence hung over the room like a pall. Victoria poured herself another drink and sat across the pair. A distant sound of applause at the conclusion of the fireworks eventually broke the silence.

“You’re such a bitch sometimes you know that right?”

“Yeah, I know Elle,” Victoria said. A weak smirk tugged at the side of her mouth as she spoke. “Talking to your Knight-Captain will be good for you. She seems to know quite a bit about what you’re going through. Failing that, I’m sure someone within the Pharasmin Temple can help.”

“You both are right, of course,” Ecclesia said as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “ Gods I hate that you’re right. I’ll set an appointment first thing tomorrow morning.”

“Would you be angry with me if I said I already set one for you?” Ameiko asked.

“Normally, yes but after what I’ve been putting you through, I’m more grateful that you did so I can’t back out of it tomorrow.”

“It’s good to see I’m leaving you in capable hands, just promise me you’ll listen to her,” Victoria chimed.

“It’s in my vows for when we do get married.”

“I’ll hold you to it,” Ameiko said ribbing her softly.

“Well then, can you get me a glass of something more palatable, or are you going to make me drink this and ruin my birthday?” Ecclesia said to Victoria with a small smile.

“You did that to yourself but since I’ve already made you cry once this evening I suppose I’ll let you off easy,” Victoria said as she took the glass and replaced it with another.

Victoria took a final swig of her own cup before setting it down. She had a wry smile on her face, as she pulled out two identical boxes from a silk pouch. One was wrapped in a red and gold bow, the other silver and black.

“Now then, before I go I have something special for you both; an engagement gift.”

The pair looked at each other and smiled. “‘You shouldn’t have’ is something I would have said but honestly I’m hoping this makes up for earlier.”

“I think it will Elle; in more ways than one.”

“Can we?” Ameiko asked, sheepishly eyeing the red and gold box.

“I’d be offended if you didn’t.”

Simultaneously, they opened their gifts. Inside held strange, though nearly identical golden contraptions. At the front was a golden cylinder encased in a piano-like frame, with the lid secured by a golden swan with a single jewel at its breast; one held a ruby and the other a sapphire. A small, wind up winch attached at the rear is the only clue on its operation.

“It’s a prototype of sorts, the very first of its kind from the Enchantment Department at the Academae: an Orchestrion. I simply call it a “music box”. If you wind the winch there, it’ll start to play a ballad I’ve heard you both enjoy. The two…well, it’s probably best if I show you.”

After some instruction the two boxes stirred to life, playing harmonic chiming tune. The pair, initially discordant with one another, soon found their harmony and was in fact two halves of the same song. The gems glowed a soft scarlet and azure as the boxes played. As the song ended, Victoria continued.

“They’re attuned to each other now, so long as they are in your possession, if you play them, it’ll allow you to know the status of the other one. You can send a short message through the box as well, so long as the connection is maintained.”

“This is amazing Vicky, how did you manage this?” Ecclesia asked.

“Oh I didn’t do anything; just pulled the right people together to have this little trinket conjured up.”

She either stole it or had someone steal it… Ecclesia thought to herself. Ecclesia pushed the disappointed thought out of her mind as she gave Victoria a hug. “Thank you, I love it.”

“This is quite the interesting curiosity,” Ameiko said with a puzzled look on her face, “won’t these anger performers if anyone can conjure up music in this way?”

“Perhaps, but I doubt we’ll be seeing them out in open market very soon, dreadfully expensive to make and takes skilled craftsmanship in both the goldsmithing and enchantments involved. But don’t worry about that; enjoy the gifts for what they are: my sincere hope that you’ll have a long and happy marriage.”

“Thank you,” Ameiko said with a small smile, “for your gift and intervention earlier.”

“It’s the least I could do. As I said, we’re family in all but name, and I hope in time you’ll see me as a sister as well. As much as I would like to spend the rest of the evening here, I must return to my dreary part of the castle. I still need to pack up my things before my father comes in the morning for me. Take care of her for me, Lady Ameiko, and keep each other safe,” Victoria said as she stood up and made way for the door.

“We’ll be fine, Vicky. May the Gods watch over you on your way North. Make sure to bring extra warm clothing,” Ecclesia said, once more bringing her into a hug.

“Don’t worry, I’ll have it all covered by tomorrow. I’ll only be a way for a little while, I’m sure. I’ll be back here before you know it.”

“I’ll still miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too Elle. Have a good night.”

The parlor door swung open once more, letting Victoria slip out into the hall, leaving the royal couple alone to enjoy their new gifts.

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Games and Secrets
Temple of the Peacock Spirit, Part 1

Sunday, 14 Calistril, 4744

Victoria has ventured into a semi-submerged tower, investigating lumps of barnacle-encrusted gold coins. Tentacles write out of the murky water, one of them slapping her. She retreats to a safe distance and tosses ball lighting at them. This initially causes the tentacles to retreat and she sends them deeper. She follows them up with an electrified fireball and destroys what appears to be a giant squid.

The rest of the party flies across from the Tarnished Temple to assist her. Lucia takes a moment to summon an incubus to assist. The incubus flies over the water and spots another kraken beast in the cloudy waters in the center of the tower. The demon is not able to cut into the tough, leathery hide.

Udrexa dives into the water to fight what turn out to be three more squids hand to hand, while Lucia, Gwen, and Vicky bombard them with magic. After the squids are dispatched, the Black Cats loot the lumps of gold coins, totaling 10,000gp.

Udrexa and Lucia also decide to search the submerged section of the tower. Udrexa gets just a few more gold coins. Lucia finds a platoon of intern clockwork soldiers, some of them carrying magic weapons too heavy for her to lift. She and Udrexa touch base at the surface, but before they can come up with a plan the tower starts to light up with ancient magic and go on alert. The adventurers quickly retreat.

The Black Cats reunite with their ship, the Lightning Lasher. Vicky unsuccessfully tries to convince Captain Varia to retrieve some of the squid meat from the tower to sell in Magnimar. That night, the wizard also sends a message to Runelord Sorshen to alert her of their success destroying Runelord Zutha.

Moonday, 15 Calistril, 4744

On the second day of the trip back to Magnimar, a rain storm rolls in. Vicky stays below, but uses message to communicate with the others, playing “I Spy” with Lucia and Audrahni.

Around midday, Lucia notices that the ship has been boarded by a familiar figure. It is the nereid that had followed the ship and scrawled designs on its side the other day. She introduces herself as Harpina and claims that she had placed wards on the ship to protect them. She now wants compensation — entertainment playing a version of deck quoits. They will play for best of three rounds, with the loser being “punished.”

Lucia, Gwen, and Udrexa take her up on the challenge while Vicky investigates her wards on the ship’s side. The Black Cats win the game, but time suddenly seems to rewind and they are back at the start of the game.

Vicky hastily investigates the ward and determines that there is temporal magic on it. She uses greater dispel magic to banish it. Convinced that Harpina is cheating, they trick her at her own game to defeat her.

The nereid is at a loss to what her punishment should be. The adventurers suggest that she share an embarrassing secret. She tells them how one time, a group of mortals managed to defeat her at her own game of deck quoits. To build trust, Vicky also shares her own secret — she is a virgin. They bid the nereid farewell, but are left wondering if the ward they dispelled was helping to ward off creatures from the dimension of time, as the fey woman claimed.

That evening, as Lucia gets ready for bed, Rita tells her that if she is going to continue summoning demons, she should not believe anything they say about the familiar. She insists that the demons can’t be trusted, and that many of them are likely to abandon the Redeemer Queen when the chips are down.

Rita also reveals that she was demoted into this form after questioning Nocticula’s decision to ascend into being the Redeemer Queen. Like Lucia, she is trying to get back to her original form, by helping the halfling carry out an important mission for the goddess. The familiar insists that so far, they are on the right track.

Toilday, 16 Calistril, 4744

Around midday, the Lightning Lasher arrives at Beacon’s Point in Magnimar. Vicky offers more entrepreneurial advice to Captain Varya. Udrexa goes off to make some sales of their loot, while Lucia goes shopping.

After arranging to meet Sorshen, Vicky teleports to Korvosa. She asks to speak to the Runelord privately, and Sorshen takes her through a hidden door in the base of the Gatefoot ruin.

Vicky asks Sorshen about what can be accomplished with simulacrums. She learns that Sorshen creates them using a powerful artifact called the Everdawn Pool, which is unfortunately not available to Victoria at this time. Instead, the Runelord will help Vicky in casting a scroll to create a simulacrum of the missing Sihedron Hero Lea Kroft-Nox. Sorshen warns that the next major mission facing the party will likely take them far from civilization, so they decide to cast the spell today.

Sorshen takes Vicky to the Acadamae to purchase a scroll of simulacrum. She also takes her to visit the Dean of Necromancy, Ered Anghert, who Sorshen has charmed into being willing to cast a clone spell on flesh donated by Victoria. While there, they secretly learn that the Headmaster Toff Ornelos has also commissioned a custom, younger clone body. Ered promise Vicky that within 2 – 4 months the clone body will be ready to receive her soul.

Per Sorshen’s direction, Victoria also slips into Castle Korvosa to find some of Lea’s hair from her chambers. They spend the rest of the day weaving the spell, crafting an ice sculpture likeness of Lea around the sample of hair and infusing it with magical energy. Finally, the spell is complete and a confused simulacrum of the paladin is created.

The likeness seems accurate, and the simulacrum appears to have the memories and persona of her progenitor, as well as the same connection to Iomedae (although greatly reduced in power). They get the simulacrum clothed and then catch her up on the situation. Sorshen places Vicky and the simulacrum in a guest room in the hidden chambers below the Gatefoot.

Back in Magnimar, Udrexa returns to the Gryphine after a day at the bazaar and finds her girlfriend Ghera waiting for her. Tyalee’s Whim arrived that morning, and Ghera has shore leave. She invites Udrexa to go carousing with her. They have a good time hitting the town, but things get out of hand.

Wealday, 17 Calistril, 4744

Udrexa wakes up in an alley with a pounding headache and wearing nothing but a fancy ball gown worthy of a noble woman. Ghera groggily comes to beside, wearing a crimson tuxedo in a woman’s cut. They nervously scope out the area and realize they are in an alley behind a fancy tailor’s shop called Gilandro’s, somewhere in the Lowcleft District.

Udrexa curses her luck at being led astray by alcohol. She is determined to deal with the situation above board, and leads them both into the shop. Inside, the pink-haired half-elf tailor Gilandro is giving a statement to the city watch.

After some lengthy back and forth, they manage to talk their way out of trouble by agreeing for Udrexa to enter a sponsorship agreement with Gilandro. She is to wear and promote his tailored clothes, as well as invite him to any major social gatherings that she gets access to. Udrexa and Ghera get to keep their fancy outfits. From there they head back to the Gryphine. Udrexa is troubled by the fact that she can’t seem to remember Zavian’s name.

Meanwhile, in the vaults below Korvosa, Vicky wakes up in the guest room. She realizes she has spent the night sharing a bed with a strange woman she does not recognize. The Lea simulacrum is confused and tries to remind Vicky who she is, but Lea’s name always seems to slip from the wizard’s mind. All she can remember is the letter “L” and decides to call the simulacrum “Elle.”

Vicky finds that she can’t remember details about any of the Sihedron Heroes. Sorshen suspects this is related to the temporal distortion that is affecting Vicky and the others. She tries, unconvincingly, to reassure a panicking Vicky that the party will be successful in resolving this situation. Sorshen promises to contact the entire party tonight with information for their next quest.

After breakfast, Vicky and Elle teleport to the Gryphine arriving just after Udrexa and Ghera’s return. Vicky introduces Elle. Rita takes an immediate dislike to the paladin. The rest of the party confirm that they can’t remember the details of the Sihedron Heroes either, although Audrahni and Elle can.

With this disturbing revelation, they ponder their next options.

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Death Rising
Runeplague, Part 18

The Black Lions confront Zutha’s fragment.

More coming Soon!

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Defiant's Garden
Runeplague, Part 17

Emeq confronts his brother about the family’s schemes. Udrexa makes a difficult choice. Vicky goes to far.

More coming soon!

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The Exquisite Triple Cross
Runeplague, Part 16

The Black Lions prepare to reclaim Baraket. Vicky proves to be popular with all the wrong people.

More Coming Soon!

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Dead Things
Runeplague, Part 15

Wealday, 10 Calistril, 4744

The Black Cats return to Magnimar on a cold, overcast morning. There is an atmosphere of anxiety that hangs over the city, exacerbated by the town criers on seemingly every street corner who are denouncing the Lord-Mayor for the loss of Ilsurian.

The criers, who all seem to be employed by the same organization, allege that the Lord-Mayor has been spending too much time chasing relics and phantoms with the Sihedron Council to properly defend Magnimar from the number one threat next door—Korvosa.

Victoria takes a moment to contact the Sihedron Council secretary, Welben, via sending and schedule a meeting the following morning at 10am sharp. She then proceeds to get the party settled back into their rooms at the Gryphine while Udrexa and Gwen stable their horses.

The adventurers spend the rest of the day shopping and trading their goods. They decide to sell the enchanted leaves that the Erlking Vulpin gave them. Vicky has a strange momentary sensation that someone was trying to magically observe her.

That night, after the rest of the party is asleep, Vicky hears a strange tapping on the window pane of their suite. It turns out to be an intelligent juju zombie named Sebastian, who politely asks for Runelord Zutha’s Bone Grimoire on behalf of the nameless entity that commands him. After some back and forth, they arrange for a midnight parley the next fay with his master at the ruins of the Shadow Clock Tower in Underbridge.

An hour or so later, Udrexa quietly rises and slips out of the suite. She travels to the Friendly Merchant tavern in Underbridge and asks the tavernkeeper Siov Cassimel to arrange a meeting with her old contact at the Night Scales thieves’ guild, Orin Rasp. A meeting is set for 11 o’clock at night the following day.

Oathday, 11 Calistril, 4744

Over breakfast, Vicky updates the others about her encounter with Sebastian. They try to figure out what could create juju zombies in order to determine what they are dealing with, but the list is too long and includes everything from powerful undead to oozes to the fabled Sword of Gluttony.

The adventurers teleport in to Heidmarch Manor for their meeting with the Sihedron Council, but find only Lady Sheila Heidmarch waiting for them. She explains that the political fallout of the invasion of Ilsurian has poisoned relationships on the council. Ser Chammady insists it was not a sanctioned attack by Korvosa, but Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras refuses to believe her, which offends the paladin’s sense of honor. The Council is not meeting until things cool down.

The Black Cats update Lady Heidmarch about the high points of their activities—their alliance with Sorshen, the Cult of the Peacock Spirit attack in Korvosa, the destruction of the Brotherhood of the Seal, and the capture of Zutha’s Bone Grimoire.

Lady Heidmarch alerts them to another complication. Looking at Udrexa, she says that there was an attempted burglary of the Council’s vault several months ago. The burglars, agents of the Night Scales, failed to get in, but their mission appears to have been a distraction.

That same night, someone slipped a cursed paper into Lady Heidmarch’s desk. When she read the paper, she was afflicted with an enchantment effect that compelled her to remove Baraket, the Sword of Pride, from the Vault and deliver it to the Night Scales. It is now in the clutches of the thieves’ guild, if they haven’t already sold it to the most likely buyer, the Cult of the Peacock Spirit.

The Night Scales are a sizable organization and would be challenging for the party to confront head on. They could try to outbid the Cult, or simply kill the Cultists to take away the buyer.

Udrexa admits that she is meeting with her Night Scales contact that evening, and suggests that they could offer to hand Vicky over since the guild seems interested in the bounty on the wizard’s head. Udrexa insists this would simply a ruse.

That evening, the tiefling monk returns to the Friendly Merchant to speak with Orin Rasp. She gives him the Abyssal Runestone and asks what the Night Scales plan to use it for, but he refuses to tell her. However, her debt to the thieves’ guild is repaid.

Udrexa asks about Baraket, warning that the Night Scales are in over their heads with the Thassilonian relic. Rasp obliquely confirms that the Cult of the Peacock Spirit are the buyers. However, he hints that the Night Scales are planning to double cross them.

Rasp is willing to help lead Udrexa to the Peacock Spirit Cultists, for a price. Udrexa offers to give the Night Scales the chance to kidnap Vicky when the Black Cats crash the handoff. Rasp takes the deal and tells Udrexa about the meeting taking place the following night.

Following her meeting, the tiefling hurries to join the rest of the party at the ruins of the Shadow Clock Tower, where they are scheduled to parley with Sebastian’s master. Just before the appointed time, Lucia and Audrahni cast death ward on everyone to shield them from the negative energy and death effects undead are so fond of.

Sebatian’s master initially contacts them telepathically, but they manage to coax it into showing itself. The creature is an intelligent necromantic ooze known as a gravesludge. It is dead set on retrieving the Bone Grimoire in order to usher in the return of Runelord Zutha and a glorious new age of undeath.

With negotiations at an impasse, a fight breaks out. Sebastian reluctantly starts things by casting a powerful a cone of cold spell. Vicky quickly paralyzes him with a halt undead spell to shut down any further magic.

But the gravesludge has other juju zombie servants. Agatha, a berserker girl armed with a strange glowing falchion, rushes out to help the ooze fight Udrexa. Agatha also immediately starts flirting with Udrexa. Another zombie, the pirate Warrick, ambushes Vicky in midair but can’t get through her unflappable mien spell.

Gwen unleashes flame strikes on the ooze and Agatha. Rita, transformed into a sinister fey creature know as a whisperer, attacks with her tentacle arms. Lucia unleashes healing magic. Udrexa takes a beating from the ooze, saved only by the death ward. She finally turns the tables and destroys the gravesludge with a devastating blow.

At the destruction of the entity, Warrick immediately backs off from his attacks. Agatha, badly injured, sidles over to Udrexa and hits on her.

Vicky promises to help the juju zombies regain their mortal forms. But Lucia and Audrahni warn that it doesn’t work that way.

As they argue about the next steps, a trio of greater shadows attacks. One of them tries to strike Victoria with a fatal blow, but its negative energy attacks are useless against the death ward. The shadows are unable to do anything to the warded party.

Lucia unleashes her positive energy, wounding the shadows and destroying Agatha. Audrahni joins in. Gwen calls down a flurry of lighting from the sky. Udrexa finishes off the last shadow and Rita hunts down the fleeing Warrick to destroy him as well.

Vicky is furious that the others broke her promise to the juju zombies and storms off. The remaining Black Cats destroy Sebastian and then loot the zombies’ bodies. They realize that even Gwen’s reincarnation won’t work to restore creatures that were tainted by undeath. They collect the corpses for burial.

When they return to the Gryphine, they find Vicky sulking. She is also physically ill at having her promise broken.

Lucia studies the glowing falchion that Agatha had wielded and makes a startling discovery. It is in fact the legendary Sword of Gluttony, but the artifact is currently dormant with only a fraction of its power available.

Fireday, 12 Calistril, 4744

The next morning, Lucia reveals the sword’s true nature to Vicky and they have a serious conversation. Vicky explains how she is literally bound by her promises and recognizes the need to be more careful in making them. Lucia won’t budge over the issue of destroying the undead, despite Vicky’s protestations about free will.

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