Athos: The Return

Session XXVIII: The Tale of the Rat Tail's Inn
Chapter 28: The Tale of the Rat Tail's Inn

A tale, a tale of the Rat Tail Inn,
whence our Comedy from arose.
Our tricky tongues,
our lengthy prose,
abandoned for this tune,
of blazing fists and hearty laughs
what bellowed from our soul.
The slapstick night,
blaze of inferno’s blight,
that comedy of flight.

Aye, tis true, that there are gods among you,
cloaked in light, or bound in leather
could even be your great-aunt Heather!
But these true children,
though they be,
the heroes greatest sprung from you and me,
err hard too, and god or men,
not everything is left to end.
For time may take and reap and sew
but it cannot erase what we’ll always know,
that the tongues of fools and heroes alike,
are equally immortal.

It began, to tell you,
on one hazy night when tired,
ill, and storm-stricken,
our heroes wandered in.
Along the streets,
Vulternian heat,
the summer drifted by.
Doofelmyer they call me.
Dingus, Dulfus, Drexel, and Claude.
Papers printed, notes well forged
the Doofelmyer’s fortune in gold.
It let them pass through plague-rotted pastures,
and through the marshes to the Sovereign’s hill
the gate then opened to their thrill.

Beyond the castle, into the Quarter,
And there he sat, that mad blue
god and pondered to himself.
His brother lost,
the battle strained,
nothing in this world was gained
from the flash of lighting,
roaring thunder,
Simon Bloom’s electric wonder.
And so he sat quite close to bursting
when suddenly a drifting spark
struck Oberon right in the butt,
and laughing now just by the window,
Valenae slammed her face into a pillow.

If I could relate to you,
The dreaded stare,
the beams of light from Anatolius’ flaming hair,
radiating burning passion
oh Athos was he ready t’ levy a thrashin’.
And like a drunken tavern wench
who sees her man a huntin’,
reins him in and twists his balls,
sends all her patrons groanin’.
Bootstraps flutter,
not a mutter,
the fire god stood up,
grabbed his kin and tossed them out,
“We’re going to the inn.”

What inn you say?
That famous inn,
the one that scurried away.
The one, it’s said,
down by the harbour,
that moves from place to place.
Never here and seldom there,
it’s known to all who go.
The fighting games!
The golden ale!
The infamous Rat Tail Inn!

They’d heard the story,
had no worry,
and traced the cobbled streets.
At the portal,
over one hurdle,
a burly Vulturnian said:
“Who is here, at the Rat Tail’s Inn,
garbed in such fine metals? Here
for the fights? If bets are right,
you could lose more than just
your steel.”
A steady laugh by fair Valenae,
and then they knew it true.
The story the old barkeep told,
seemed surly then that it would hold.
“A fight,” he said, “to test your metal.
Bare fists, and feet, and breasts are
level.” He sputtered with drunken
slur, eyes levelled. “And then,”
he said, “you’ll get your way,
and meet the Spider. You’ll
get your way.”

And so within the demi’s sat,
with beer and meat and feet laid back.
As Sister Valenae stepped on stage,
and with her golden arms undrapped.
Her flowing breasts,
my Athos, yes,
such sights as drive men mad.
But say no more and speak no evil,
lest there be some greater upheaval.
And then her opponent, large with hair,
some say his mother was a bear.
But so it goes, as heaven knows,
one swing was all it took.
And down he went, silent as death,
Simon Bloom had made a mint.

So down then went into the lair
of the Spider woman, Proud
and rare. And when Valenae crossed her
eye, her vision drifted rather far.
A blush of rouge, oh if he knew,
Anatolius might have ceased to rush,
but so it was and he had had it,
the day was over before it was through.

As she flirted, knowing much,
Anatolius continued in a rush,
demanding knowledge asking such
that finally, she’d had enough,
and spider woman though she be
angered a god and shot one off
just by the face of Anatolius.
And just like that her goon
was ash and fire blew the
passion up.
And in a flash of blackened smoke,
the prideful demigod sat dumbfounded,
left alone he was confounded. The
Rat Tail’s Inn, went up in smoke,
and dismal was how all things looked.

And running back after the crook,
whom angry Anatolius never took
the party livid, morale below,
oh Anatolius, sinking ever low.
And in his wrath and utter failure,
of course the tale turns into murder,
when cornered in an abject ally
more men were added to the tally.

A note, it said, left in the morning,
told the Doofelmyer’s to get packing.
And in his wrath, at the Spider’s words,
Anatolius marched them out again.
A futile band they made.
And when Deus Doofelmyer found his mark,
oh my was it a sight.
A legless man, an armless man,
a tiny, rolling stump.
Tortured high and tortured low,
a Doofelmyer day.

Simon sick, Oberon wept,
and Valenae didn’t say.
It just kept going, never stopping,
Anatolius cut away.
When it ended,
left in the trash,
their dignity and fame.
A tiny man, made tinier now,
the Doofelmyers reign.

A tale, a tale, of the Rat Tail’s Inn.
The Doofelmyer’s reign.
Drenched in blood or wet with gold,
they’ll always rue the day.
Never forget, sing of the day,
of Doofelmyer’s birth and decay.
The moral high road,
always low,
the Rat Tail’s Inn will show,
that never from the tongues
of gods will ring their lowest
moments. But from your
faithful bard, do trust,
that never shall it die in us.
The tale, the tale of
the Rat Tail’s Inn.
Never shall it die.

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Session XXVII: Bystanders Beware
Chapter 27:Bystanders Beware

“I’m putting my faith in you.” Simon Bloom looked at his brothers and sister, and took up the crackling ring that lay on the floor. “No!” A cry of despair raged out from Anatolius, but it was too late. The ring had been placed on Simon’s finger. A crackle of lightning shot up his body, and he twisted and contorted, the lightning travelling up and through his body. The ring became a burn on his finger, and the image traveled up his arm leaving a scar of a great storm across his arm. Pressure pushed against the inside of Simon’s eyes, and after what seemed like ages it stopped. New power flowed through him, and the position of Herald of the Storm was filled once again.

“Take your gold and leave now. I will return Thunder to you in three days’ time.” The Oncoming Storm remained above the party, now with Simon by his side. With disgust, Anatolius turned and left immediately, while Oberon and Valenae took the treasure of the room and left, leaving Simon with his new master.

The next three days of travel were painfully silent. Simon Bloom’s new position had many possible aspects, and the loss of his pure freedom worried the party. Anatolius in particular had difficulty with his brother’s choice. After all, if we sacrifice our freedom, then what do we have left? The three remaining party members faced a journey simple in travel, but with thoughts heavy on their minds. While they passed several Ice Giants and creatures of lightning, the minions of the Storm let them pass by without a second glance as was promised. After a long three days passed, the party had nearly reached the edge of the mountains. Determined to push through the night to camp outside of the mountains, they pushed onward. As the moon began to rise high into the sky, a cloud formed above the party, high in the sky. A great bolt of lightning crashed down from the sky, striking the ground next to the party. Momentarily blinded, they blinked their eyes to eventually see their brother Simon returned to them. A few short words were exchanged, with Simon telling little about what he had experienced and only that he had gained new power. Still upset over what had occurred, Anatolius urged them to push on to the edge of the mountains. Late into the night they arrived, and there they made camp.

“By my estimates, we should be able to reach Sovereign’s Port by the twenty fourth, one day before the Day of Flowers. Let us press on.” Oberon’s words encouraged the party, since they had not expected to have the holiday on their side. The next several days of travel through The Arrows were relatively simple, until they encountered a small town where a man came running to them. “Please,” he cried, “I need help! My sister and her husband are trapped in the town of Ridge to the north, you must help them!” After a few questions, the party learned that a quarantine had been laid down onto the town by The Church of Athos Dominus due to a rise of undead. “We have no time for this, we must leave.” Anatolius had the party’s approval, and they left the man to seek another hero to save his family.

During their travel through The Arrows, they encountered several towns that seemed to be under quarantine like Ridge. While this concerned them, time was of the essence, and on the third Valean of Athostus, they arrived at Sovereign’s Port.

“State your names and your business!” A guard shouted down to the demigods, and for a moment they were dumbstuck. But quickly, they weaved an excellent tale and fooled the guards with their well spun words. “We are the Dufflemeyer family, merchants travelling from Meridem. We are here to celebrate the Day of Flowers!” Anatolius’ words stuck true on the guard, who responded to them, “Very well. Just show us your merchant papers and you’ll be on your way.” A momentary stop, simple for the demigods to overcome with their wit. “They’ve been stolen, unfortunately. Bandits!” The guard fell straight for the Dufflemeyer plot. “Don’t worry. If we see another person enter with your papers, they’ll be arrested on the spot.” And with that, the party entered the city.

The Red Dragon Inn took the party in, but informed them that they were full. The innkeep asked for their name, to check for a reservation. Lo and behold, the Dufflemeyer family had a room for five reserved for a week, paid in advance. The party retreated to the Dufflemeyer’s room, and planned to seek out the priest Laiko, a close friend of the Padros, and interrogate him to learn what they could. With their plan set, they headed off towards Laiko’s church.

During their walk to the chapel, they passed by the front gate where they could hear a man shouting. “I’m Dufflemeyer I tell you! Dufflemeyer!” The guards’ voice shouted back, “Sure you are! We already have the real Dufflemeyers in here. To the prison with you, bandit!” The party quickly moved away from this occurrence.

Arriving at the small chapel, the party entered and saw only three different persons praying silently. A young Human boy, a teenage Half-Elf girl, and an older High-Elf. The party split to ask the patrons to leave. “Please miss, we are clearing the chapel to prepare for a special service tonight.” Oberon’s words were easily accepted by the young Half-Elf, and she thanked him for his kind words, finished her prayer and left. Anatolius went to the young boy, telling him a similar story and asking him to return home. “But sir, I have no home. My parents are dead.” Without dropping a beat, Anatolius responded by handing him a single coin. “Too bad.” And with that the boy left, leaving only the High-Elf man.

Simon Bloom gave him the same speech that had been given, asking him kindly to leave. “But sir, isn’t there supposed to be mass soon? If you need any assistance preparing, I would be glad to help!” The High-Elf offered his assistance, but Simon turned him down. “Have I met you before? I am Elian.” Simon introduced himself as a Dufflemeyer, which instantly drew Anatolius’ attention. The Azure Inferno came up the man, and began asking him things. What does he do here? His profession? “Well sir, my name is Elian and I am but a simple tailor in these parts. I learned from my father in Elandir. I sell clothing to the middle class man or woman, clothes fancy for the less fortunate, but common place for the wealthy. I enjoy this chapel in particular because Father Laiko is such a great man. He helps me connect to Athos in a way I never have before.” And now learning his story, Anatolius summoned shadows from the ground, climbing up Elians body and down his throat, suffocating him and dropping his body, once full of life, to the ground. Anatolius then took his body to the confessional, and looked at Simon. “You can’t use the name Dufflemeyer, we can’t have anyone looking for us after this interrogation.”

Father Laiko stepped out from behind the alter a moment after, and immediately sensed something was wrong. “May I help you?” Anatolius teleported next to the priest in a burst of flame, “Yes. Yes you can.” A bout of interrogation began, with the priest being stabbed on several occasions. From their questions they learned that the Padros has spoken on a few occasions of a great connection to Athos, deep beneath the Great Cathedral of Vulturnus. The Padros had mentioned that a second swearing in of the Archknights occurred there too. With a few more questions about the quarantine ending with no solid leads, Laiko’s throat was cut. His body was hung over the alter in such a manner to make it appear that it had been done by Nox cultists. And with that, a plan began to be formulated.

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Session XXVI: The Calm Before
Chapter 26: The Calm Before

The stairs to the top floor of the Gate were hard, the weight of the battles weighed heavy on The Party. After three solid fights, a short rest was in order followed by the ascension to the top floor. While Anatolius has sensed the presence of gold on the floor above them, none of them expected what they saw.

A monstrous storm rested over the Gate, and had cleared the entire roof off. A smaller, more condense version of the storm rested above a throne of bones. Clearly, this was a sentient being of great power. And before him stood a giant, with a hammer and shield of solid ice, crackling with the power of lightning and the storm. A crackle of lightning bolted down from the sky, and as if in response the giant slammed his hammer onto the floor.

Addressing The Party, the Storm spoke. “Children of Athos, you stand before a power much greater than your own. I am he, the embodiment of storms and the sky. Created when Athos’ universe was born and finally free to flex my powers once again. I am ancient and undeniable, I shall retake what was once mine. I am the The Oncoming Storm, and I am above all mortals. My Champion Joritah will destroy you.”

A great battle ensure next, with the Champion Joritah standing strongly against a group of four demigods. But eventually, he could not hold up. “Please master, slay these creatures!” He begged his master on his knees, and before the killing blow could be delivered a bolt of lightning came down from the storm and turned Joritah into a pile of dust. A rumble of thunder mixed with laughter came from the Storm. “A show of power unseen since the battle of Nox and Athos! I should have known based on your clear lineage to the Creator. Very well then, having defeated my champion I offer you two options. You face me in battle, ending with your bodies turned to ash and left to scatter across the winds. Or, considering you have killed my past two Heralds, one of you takes his place as Thunder, my Champion and the Herald of the Storm.”

This left the party with a difficult choice. To sacrifice freedom and gain power? Or to face destruction at the hands of this creature. Perhaps had they been better rested a fight would be more viable, but as the circumstances were it would have been quite difficult. After much debate, the Storm blew a gust of wind over the dust remains of his past Champion. In the remains laid a crackling blue ring. “Place the ring on your finger to accept my offer.” The party continued to debate, and a worried Simon Bloom stepped forward and looked down, picking up the ring.

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Session XXV: Battles Never Come in Threes
Chapter 25: Battles Never Come in Threes

Excerpt from the last page in Simon Bloom’s journal that doesn’t give the reader a static shock

Athos, this has been our third battle of the day. An ooze and several lighting elementals, stand between us and our escape from these mountains, though if I’m being realistic this day won’t end with just three battles. None of us even hesitate by this point; we just walk out into the open. Stealth and strategy require more effort than I am willing to give.

Bigby’s Icy Grasp is a spell I haven’t used in a while and it’s appropriate enough for the situation. Grabbing the ooze wasn’t much of a problem, keeping it grabbed is where things fall apart. The ooze worms its way out of Bigby’s hand, jumps into the air, spins and lands without the slightest effort; a most graceful escape, for a giant gelatinous blob. Things just keep getting weirder and weirder, but it’s nice to see something new after living for 6000 plus years.

Anatolius takes a beating; both him and Valenae get consumed by the ooze. They escape, not nearly as gracefully as the ooze though. In general the battle carries on like all others. We get hurt, lots, then Oberon saves us, like clockwork. Anatolious though, seems shaken. He has spoken of his mortality in our last few battles. We came close to death against the Ice Witch, closer than ever before. It’s not surprising that our confidence wavers, but Anatolius needs to sack up! His strength hasn’t wavered any, but hearing him get so easily depressed bugs me.

Alas, my patience is wearing thin, I must be tired. I probably fell asleep while fighting the ooze because I can’t remember much about it. We walk up to the next floor, where the treasure and a massive, terrifying, talking cloud deity await. Lightning strikes and suddenly there’s another monster facing us. I knew that this day wouldn’t end with just three battles.

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Chapter XXIV: Izh greesh vo'lieyev
Chapter 24: Izh greesh vo'lieyev

His hands ached, raw from the battle that had transpired. The frost clung to Anatolius’ hair and he reclined on the thigh of the ice giant, burying his tired eyes in the palms of his hands and chasing the snow from his brow. A stream of inky blue shot from the deep wound under the giant’s jaw across the field. He remembered fighting had never been so exasperating, not for many ages. Not since youth, real youth, not the agelessness but youth itself. Anatolius grasped for it but could not fully remember. A broken glass. Blue eyes. Moonless sky. An onyx knife. Images of a warped memory, verifiable no longer. Strong memories inevitably devolve into a chimera of imaginative fabrication and facts too definitive to character to leave uncensored.

Oberon patched himself quickly, merely a scratch on his body but his eyes were bloodshot and his wings beat with wide intervals. Simon Bloom wrenched his feet through the snow, thick up to his knees. His robe soaked through from the waist. Valenae wiped the blood from her sword and looked back to the road. The mountains danced at the horizon as the Sun traced the sky. It would soon join the ritual and then burn out from Athos Terrarum.

Night. A quiet campfire. Sound of snow. Wind on bone. Watch One. Watch Two. Watch Three. Watch Four.

Above the mountains swirled a vortex. Clearer now than it had been leagues back. It crackled lighting through the nimbi that flew around it like the tiny moons to a great planet and roared thunder. The road led to a bend. At the turn, the small forest we had been passing through broke into a wide field of crystalline blankness. It was as if Athos himself had come to this small place and reached down with his hard hands to push the mountains aside that guided our way to the Gates of Frost. Sharp peaks stretched into the sky like rows of teeth where only cheek to cheek would allow passage from the gaping maw. At the other cheek, the vortex raged, as if just behind the doors of the far off towers now looming like ants against the pass leading from the valley.

The Mouth of God passed by quickly but at the gate there was silence. Anatolius considered his options as did the others. As the destroyed village behind, circumvented in an agreed skepticism, signaled, this gate was like to be abandoned. Or not.

From the gate poured forth more drones from the some unknown hell. The beasts proved lasting and patience was worn thin by failed strategies and the unrelenting assault from the unforeseen, monstrous enemies. The battled took far more resources than expected.

When it was over, Anatolius looked out over the carnage in the field, already half buried in the white snow that whipped off the towering stone walls and caught in the blood pooling before his feet. He remembered the cold day at the shore when a messenger of the six millennia late first councilman of Cachaca. The sand surrounded the soft skin of his feet. The first wave reached his toes as the messenger collapsed before him and announced himself. The wave cleansed his feet and travelled through the tingling spaces of his toes. It drifted without direction in front of him shaping the dome of wet sand marrying him to the earth. The sand was up to his ankle by the time he heard the messenger’s voice again. Anatolius saw him mouth the words but the sound was deafening. The messenger dismissed himself quickly and sprinted across the beach. Serpentine motions. Anatolius looked out to the moon and let the waves wash over him a few more moments.

As he looked out now, on blood and bone and ash strewn across a blackened field, and watched the snow blanket over it, covering the scene like a plague sheet. Anatolius felt the pooling warmth of his most recent victim wash over him like soft aimless waves and a chill flooded his spine down into his nerves.

Anatolius looked to his brothers and sister and struggled to make out their obscured bodies in the heavy gusts of snow that had begun to pick up as if upon the moment of relief.

As the snow picked up denser and denser the party entered the gate, tied up the horses, and ascended the stairs. Though the demigods resisted taxing the lands around their fortress, the costs of biblical war were far more dire than they had anticipated. Anatolius looked once more at his family and wondered how far they would have to go to win.

Above all, Anatolius’ head ached with the burden of thoughts and memories. Complacency had damned him. These were the demons of his youth, lost in its ultimately infinitesimal span. The weight of failure pressed down on Anatolius’ mind. In his last moment before they reached the top of the stairs, Anatolius recalled what the Rakshasa Majinn told him the last time he looked into his mirror, “Izh greesh vo’lieyev.” ‘Your debt is not yet paid.’

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Session XXIII: On the Road Again
Chapter 23: On the Road Again

Excerpt from “Random: An Autobiography”

I could just skip ahead to the battle at the stronghold, you know. I wasn’t even invited on this part of the adventure. To be fair, being turned to stone for what amounts to several months really puts things in perspective and I needed the time off. I’m sure Simon felt the same way, even if this time it was much shorter. I needed the time off, and I’m thankful for it. After all, if I hadn’t stayed at the stronghold I would’ve missed everything that happened while they were gone. Marik and I had quite an interesting adventure on our own. But back to the point.

I slowly began to feel my body loosen, the rock turning back into skin. This was my only chance, and I had to strike swiftly and true. As soon as I felt I could move, I let off my most powerful blow, attempting to give me a fair shot at taking out whoever it was who had taken my body. Unfortunately, I struck true on my brother Simon. With him were Harker, Anatolius, Oberon, and Valenae. I hadn’t seen Valenae, the Siren in quite some time. It must’ve been at least fifteen years, more like eighteen judging on the way these Urns have been distorting time. She looked different. Stronger and like less of a loner. Happier too.

“Oh shit. Sorry about that!” Realizing my mistake, I apologized quickly to my brother. Seeing that no serious damage had been done, we rejoiced. It had been quite a long while since I had been able to move, or seen my brothers. The last time I saw them I was falling into the mud, watching our valiant group fall to monsters long believed to be lost to time. We quickly exchanged laughs and hugs, then I filled them in on everything I knew. I could only remember a few moments where I was removed from stone form in a room that seemed to be pure blackness. I assumed that I was merely blinded from being turned to stone, and that I was being saved. Instead, a strange High-Elf voice commanded me to pose, as if I were some doll a young girl would play with. (Side note : You can find a licensed Random-The Wanderer figurine at any reputable toymaker in the Realm of Athos. Not for children under the ages of 12) He forced me to move into a position he deemed “heroic.” At the last moment before I was blasted into stone form once again, I puffed out my cheeks and crossed my eyes. No one tells Random what to do.

After filling in The Party on what I knew, they began to resuscitate our brothers Marik and Zaebos who has also fallen under a condition similar to mine. It seemed that we all had been used to show on display by some unknown man known as The Collector. The party had stolen us back in the night, and after much time they were able to bring us back to the world of the moving. They then filled me in on everything I had missed since I had been gone. Vinsanthius accusing us of destroying The Conclave? A stronghold under our names in the works? The death of several, if not nearly all of the demigods? Another Urn? Things were not looking good. And when awoken, our brother Marik had only more negatives to add.

Unlike myself, Marik was more hesitant to attack the second he awoke. He too exchanged hugs and the like with our siblings and was filled in on what had occurred, but he had also seen many things we had not. By this point, I had already pulled out my pipe but I still remember the details of his story. It seemed that Vinsanthius had called yet another emergency meeting of The Conclave, this one to discuss the return of our father, Athos. When arriving at our home, the sons and daughters of Athos gathered to discuss this incredible message. But according to Marik, before anything could happen a single boom echoed from outside the chamber’s walls. A frightened [[Deva] ran into the chamber, shouting to all those gathered, “The first wall has been bypassed and the second is under attack!” Ul-Nagor stood and left to activate the defenses of The Conclave. Several other demigods also stood, and Elander commanded everyone to prepare themselves for battle. During the fight, Marik turned to stone when shot from behind by a Beholder.

Zaebos was risen next, and gave a story identical to the one given by Marik. However, unlike Marik he had no direct ties to any of us more than those under Vinsanthius who were out to kill us. After much deliberation, he decided to seek out Vinsanthius, hopefully to convince him that his decision to kill us was a poor one. He left, and we had no choice but to hope he would be safe and maybe even convince Vinsanthius of our innocence. We could only hope for the best.

With Uruhua off with Vondal fighting in the gladiatorial battles and Marik not powered by Spirit Fuel, it fell to me to defend our rising home. The rest of the party headed north, to Sovereign’s Port to see what they could learn of the goings about in the world as well as see if the Spirit Fuel source that Simon sensed there was indeed another Urn. They left through the mountain pass hoping to make it to the city before the Day of Flowers festival. Little did they know that they would be missing the better story. But I’ll share their experience first.

They rode out into the mountains, a well-traveled road that occasionally has disturbances due to the mountain path. As they met the start of the mountain path, they noticed it seemed to be less traveled than usual. The first day’s travel was luckily met without any disturbance, but the second day was less than simple. A usually simple stop at a pitstop along the road turned quite sour for the party. What was expected was a nice cup of mead and a warm meal, but what was found instead… Death and destruction. The inn laid in ruins, and while attempting to pass by unseen a trap caught the party unawares and they were attacked by creatures more powerful than even things they had seen on Sysitar. An ancient Winter Witch and her five minions emerged from the snowbanks, two wizards, two slashers and a giant. A vicious battle ensued, with the party covered in blood by the end and nearing the finish of their resources. As the final slasher fell, he looked at Anatolius in pure confusion. His Elven tongue’s last words, “What are you? We’ve waited for millennia to emerge after the death of the demigods. We are ancient and we are powerful! What could you possibly be?” Walking in stride with his blade in his hand, his fury tangible, Anatolius grabbed the slasher by the throat. “Shut up and die.”

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Session XXII: Buttery Fingers for 5 Weeks
Chapter 22: Buttery Fingers for 5 Weeks

Excerpt from the symbolic buttery pages of Simon Bloom’s journal

Our problems seem to be increasing exponentially. In our main tent we have 3 petrified Demi-Gods that we stole from a mysterious and powerful man named The Collector. I have no way of releasing them from their petrification, so they’re pretty much just some stolen statues. Anatolius has a jar of time dust, which in reality could prove to be incredibly useful right now; Oberon would ruin me if I touched the stuff, though. And not to forget that both Anatolius’ armor and MY STAFF have been rusted into dust! Casting spells is a wizard’s bread and butter, and my staff is the butter knife. Performing my normal spells is now as effective as spreading the butter with my fingers. Oh and no change on the whole our siblings want to kill us while Nox continues his masterful plan of evil misdoings. By Athos, we’re fucked.

Immediately we went to work: arguing till we gave the job to Harker. He was sent to Seol, where he could pick up the cure ailment spell book, the supplies required, and get my staff and Anatolius’ armor restored. Anatolius sent Miok, the scout that told us of the statues, with Harker. Said it was for his redemption; I let it go, he probably had just as many buttery fingers as I did without his armor. I keep expecting to turn a corner and find a pile of ashes of some worker who looked Anatolius in the eyes for too long.

Demi-God to-do list #2: Get more info on the Collector. We found a worthy scout, a Half-Orc named Martin. Over the course of the 5 weeks it took Harker to return, Martin got word that the Collector is hiring people to find the thieves who took his statues. If he wanted us, he should have found us before my staff returned.

The 5 weeks dragged on, watching workers build day in and day out was making me antsy. That and the close proximity of the time dust. I’ve been aware of that jar the entire time; always in the back of my mind. Oh and if that wasn’t enough I had to look at that stupid face Random made before being petrified, every damn day! Fucking Random.

Anatolius and I decided to alleviate the boredom by testing the time dust. First things first though, we put it in a magic wall to stop it from randomly attacking us. Or maybe they were more afraid of me taking it all for myself right there. Either way, a shield seemed like a good idea till I removed it and the dust nearly burst from the jar. Demi-God tip: don’t put a magic shield around a brutal, psychotropic pile of arcana hating dust. That is unless your power is near god-like and you are into that sort of thing, you know like me.

Finally Harker returned, it took longer for our magic items to be rebuilt than we thought. My staff buzzed in my hand. It cleaned the butter off my fingers. The Collector’a window had closed. I didn’t waste time though, as soon as Harker gave me the cure ailment spell book I disappeared for 8 hours studying it. There was no outside world, Anatolius could have taken all the time dust and stuffed it up his nose. Nothing matched doing something useful again. Random was the first one we brought back. I saw that ridiculous stone face one last time before he smacked me away. Insult and injury, fucking Random. Marik and Zaebon were next. They told us that our siblings had been called back to the Conclave because Athos was said to return; that’s when Nox attacked. Zaebon left to try and talk Vinsanthius down. I do not expect to see him this side of the picket again.

We lost a lot of time, but we’re all together again. And I realized something as I watched Anatolius yell at Random for something stupid. I’m happy Random’s back. He’s our first real win in a while and it gives me confidence. Fucking Random.

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Session XXI: The Quest For Random
Chapter 21: The Quest For Random

Excerpted from the journal of Oberon

Today, I am happy. Our operation today was successful, though it rides against my morals. Normally, I would never suggest stealing things of massive worth from someone who obviously values them very deeply. However, when the things in question may or may not be the petrified bodies of three of my dear brothers and sisters, I make an exception. A man who goes by the name of “The Collector” has got Random, as well as two of our other siblings, on display as art at his private collection. Our scouts informed us of this while we constructed the Stronghold. We decided to take action immediately.
The success in our mission wasn’t that it came without a hitch. No, there were hitches. Several, to be frank. The mission, in fact, came with total cooperation from everyone. It hasn’t been since before we’ve been blessed and cursed with the mighty Spirit Fuel that we’ve all gotten along this well under such pressure. It was almost as if we and Anatolius were allies; I chuckle at the thought.
We disembarked from the construction site on horses we borrowed from the stable at the Stronghold. In an act of generosity, I tipped the stable man a few gold for his excellent service to our operations. Anatolius sassed me for our supposed tight budget, but I decided not to take offense. Anatolius decided to take his own personal horse. Simon and Golagoraraxx each rode stable horses, and I sat on the shoulder of the minion, commanding him as he controlled the horse.
After a day’s travel, we came across a small village. We rented a room in the inn and laid out our plan: We were to go to the tavern, where I would pose as a rich, famous art collector, traveling to see the collection of the Collector. Simon and Anatolius were my “associates”. As soon as we walked into the tavern, I bought everyone there a round of drinks. Once the patrons were liquored up, we were able to talk to a human man extensively about his knowledge of the Collector.
The next morning, we departed from the Inn and made the days travel to arrive at the home of the Collector. We decided to leave Golagoraraxx outside with the horses. He could attract unwanted attention. We donned the same aliases as before and entered the museum-like home, where we commandeered a tour. The Collector’s home was full of extravagant art, the quality of which surpasses almost any museum in the entire realm. Perhaps the most extravagant piece was an actual, living elder gold dragon, tamed to complete obedience and sitting in the lobby. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Scattered throughout the house, Simon detected deadly traps that made the Drow guards, employed by the powerful Collector, extra strong and combat-ready. We discussed with the Pixie tour guide the possibility of gaining an audience with his boss. He informed me that unfortunately, the Collector had just left town, and won’t return for a while.
I noticed something that caught Simon’s eye specifically. A vial of that terrible substance we know as “Time Dust” was sitting on a table for display. I could tell Simon was having difficulty controlling his urges, so I tried to cut our visit short as soon as possible. We exited the house and headed to the nearby town, opting to wait until nighttime to begin our heist. We couldn’t afford to wait for the Collector to return. In the late hours of the night, we returned to the Collector’s home. We informed Golagoraraxx to wait with the horses, a safe distance from the museum. He was to watch out for our exit from the house, and come swiftly with our horses when we do so. Thanks to brother Anatolius’ superior thieving ability, we were able to enter through the front entrance without much difficulty. When we entered, we encountered the elder dragon we had seen before, in a state of deep slumber. In the distance, by the dragon, I spotted a small vent. I informed my comrades to quietly wait behind as I inspected the situation. I was able to quietly remove the grate on the vent without disturbing the dragon from its sleep. I flew down the vent until I was faced with another grate, this one leading into what seemed to be a guard post. Several Drow guards sat around a table and conversed amicably as they waited their shift away. I attempted to remove the grate quietly to gain entrance to the room, but I couldn’t hold a firm grip on the metal plates, as they made a clamoring fall to the ground. This startled the guards, and I was forced to hide up in the vent where I couldn’t be seen. After about an hour of bickering and deliberating, the guards had installed a new grate on the vent, this one too secure to move. I returned up through the first grate to the ground floor, where my siblings remained patiently waiting, although perturbed.
I informed my comrades of what I saw below, and we decided that finding another entrance to the floors below would be to our greatest advantage. Using his supreme arcane senses, Simon Bloom was able to follow a faint aura of spirit fuel and locate the entrance to the depths below, hidden behind a massive depiction of our dear Father engaged in battle with Nox. Moving the painting revealed a large door, through which we were able to pass without difficulty.
As we descended down the stairs, I immediately recognized the room as the one on the other side of the vent I was spying from. The Drow guards I recognized earlier were now significantly more intoxicated than I had remembered. Simon, with his expertise in the area of trickery, was able to prestidigitize something that would distract the guards while we sprinted the 20 feet necessary to reach the next floor. The guards, caught up in hysterics from the phallus that had suddenly graced their friends’ forehead, took no notice as we snuck past their post. We stepped through the door to find ourselves in a long, narrow hallway with very high ceilings. As Valanae led the party down the passageway, she was suddenly launched into the air by a strong gust of wind coming from directly below her. Simon was able to attribute this result to a series of traps set all across the hallway. Thankfully, with his superior ability of detection, we were able to determine the locations of the other traps and pass through with no problems.
The next room was also clearly trapped. A larger, square room, this one was outfitted with a few small urns in different parts of the room. Once again, we called upon Simon to tell us the nature of these impediments. He was able to determine a path through the room that would get us through without passing through the area of magical influence from any of the small urns. It truly was a shame that we never saw what they could’ve done to us.
The next room was significantly stranger. It seemed to be occupied by a large pit of rusted armor and weapons. There seemed to be no other path to the exit than to wade through the rusty mess, so we proceeded accordingly. Suddenly, the objects beneath us began to rustle. The true feature of the room, a giant rust construct, revealed itself to us shortly thereafter. We felt fairly confident fighting this monster until it was able to strike at the armor of Anatolius. What at first seemed like a small amount of damage to his breastplate soon turned into complete disintegration. Soon, all that was left of Anatolius’ breastplate was a non-distinct pile of magical dust. Anatolius, now completely exposed to the elements, moved to the back of the room to distance himself from the rust monster. Simon Bloom’s architect staff soon met a similar fate at the hands of the abomination. Perhaps this was motivation for my two siblings, as they soon took out the monster with great haste.
We hoped that the next door we would open would be the last one necessary. Unfortunately, we were wrong. On the other side of the door we encountered a beholder. This caused Simon, now disarmed, to quake in his boots, fearful of becoming an inanimate statue once again. Thankfully, although it wasn’t easy, the beholder gave us much less trouble than his counterpart at the Conclave. Keeping our fingers crossed, we exited the room, only to find exactly what we needed: three statues, each depicting a different one of our siblings. The first was a statue of Random. At first sight, it didn’t appear that this statue was in fact a petrified version of his body. In fact, he was making a goofy pose in his current state, while I had remembered his petrified body being frozen in the act of combat. Beside him was a statue of another brother of ours, Marik, best friend to Anatolius. For once, Anatolius gave off a look of slight happiness when he caught sight of Marik. Beside Marik was a statue of Zaebos. A brother by blood and also in flight, Zaebos and I were never especially close, but I was intent on saving him as well. We stuffed the statues in our bags and returned through the path we took in.
We encountered no issues in returning to the surface; we were able to navigate our way through the traps using the same path. When we returned to the guard post, we discovered the guards, now in a drunken slumber, some of them lying in their own vomit. They posed no threat to our stealthy escape. As we tiptoed through the museum area of the Collector’s home, careful not to wake the dragon, Simon strayed off from the group. He was gone for long enough that only a couple of us noticed, but we were all aware of his intentions: to grab the “time dust” that was on display. If it weren’t for the dormant dragon, I would’ve voiced my displeasure, but the time wasn’t right. Exiting through the front door, we made haste, signaling down Golagoraraxx to gather our horses. As soon as we mounted, we rode off into the night, returning to the Stronghold to free our fallen brothers from their slumber in stone.

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Session XX: From the West and then Straight Up
Chapter 20: From the West and then Straight Up

When all the men had left, the gods stood alone. For a moment, the majesty of creation seemed to glow as it did in paintings, in a perfect radiance amidst swirling tempests of chaos. The silence resounded for a moment. Bird chirps screeched a greater catharsis than we could ever expend. Anatolius stared into the sun, soaking it into his retina.

“We have to go,” Oberon spoke, but by no means easily. He nodded down the road where we would find the coast and the nearest port. “We should make it by sunfall.”

Valanae untied Vondal. Reintroductions, a fond and all-too-frequent occasion. Random, it was said, was lost. One prophesy fulfilled. Must they all? On the road we spoke no words. As the hill cruxed, Simon lifted his head and said concernedly, “What now?” Downcast eyes looked at the road, an ancient cobbled limestone. In each step the image of the Dwarven patron who payed for its construction and reconstruction. The stones now bore the images of countless kings, princes, merchants, and the stately who had commissioned their replacements. Anatolius counted few matches. What a pity, Anatolius thought. Death’s no good if you’re forgotten.

“We have no choice,” Uruhua spoke. “We must consider fortification.”

“We’ll need an army.” Anatolius interjected quickly. A fortification would need defending, and it would need the very best.

“Open war against our brothers…” Oberon pondered this a moment. Then he stopped and descended headlong towards the ground and buried himself in the bud of a rose. He sat there a moment. And then emerged and spoke, “It must be so.”

It was decided. There would be no other choice. Failure meant annihilation without it. Failure is our most likely scenario. Anatolius considered this thought deeper. No one spoke against it. Not a single voice. This was a long time coming. We have the taste of defeat in our mouths and it has driven us to the water. Now shall we drown ourselves or drink?

Drink. Anatolius thought.

And I have the water…

INTERLUDE: Within the port the party discussed their plan further. Anatolius would take Simon Bloom and Golagoraxx to the Isla de Cachaca on secret business. Meanwhile, the remainder of the party would sail immediately for the frozen coast where construction would begin in secret for a fortress to defend ourselves. There were heated debates that lasted for hours that oft felt more like months of planning. In the end they decided that the fortress would be built on the Frozen coast by the sea with a double wall. The stores, living spaces, and military infrastructure would be housed within the mountain. From this fortress they would be able to launch a campaign against the forces of Nox. That is, should they survive the potential consequences of failure to prove Nox’s existence. The fates seemed to deign that the latter seemed the most likely outcome. The party slept and prepared their charter for the next day.

-The Cachaca Affair-

A letter from Anatolius to Simon Bloom:

Dear Simon,

I feel the need to explain myself. Our incident and the resulting catastrophe over the Shard of Power may have left a bad taste in both our mouths. I wish for there to be no ill will between us and so I will attempt to alleviate this by explaining my actions to you properly. Maybe this will clear up why things turned out the way they did.

Firstly, when we left for Cachaca and I didn’t tell you about what we were going for. I hope you understand that was simply me looking out for us. Not telling anyone about this was the best option. We may be brothers but we’re also the most powerful beings in the Realms of Athos and don’t really have the best track record for getting along. I hope you understand that I like you more than most but this was a very sensitive issue.

At this time, so to follow a linear structure of events, I would like to thank you very much for and congratulate you on your spawn. The Family Bloom is a wonderful community and people. The fact that they have taken such great lengths to assist us and the illustrious Harker in obtaining a massive fleet may have turned the tide of this war. We now have a chance at victory and we shall not squander that opportunity. As your family has helped us, they shall be rewarded with interest. Pass along my utmost regards and let them know they have the favour of The Azure Inferno.

Now, about Cachaca. There were mistakes that were made. Namely the door, and more importantly going back at all. I see how going back may have been ill of us. However, I was under the impression that we could have fought them off quick enough to get into the room so to take any potential clues as to our current situation. I see now that we should have made a better plan to do that. Also about the door. I should have been more careful.

Now, about the Shard of Power. I’ll be honest with you. I kept it because you know what I deal with on a regular basis. Commanding a network of Hellspies? Not simple. Keeping tabs on the underlords? Harder than you’d think. Especially when everyone I know seems to be dead or disappearing at a rather exponential rate. My channels are off, in hiding. And they do some serious shit on a regular basis. Now, I’m again going to cite what I said before about trust and a demigod’s chiefest talent being watching out for being stabbed in the back in order to make a point about not telling you guys then about the Urn piece. If I told you, you would have said no. That was a discussion we just didn’t need to have. However, due to this Nox deal being the worst setback I’ve had in four thousand years, I’m willing to use it a little early.

Now, when you decided to use it on Golagoraxx, the husk abomination you created, what the fuck were you thinking. You do realise we’re going to have to put it down? Right? We’ve killed things for less as regulators. I know, I’ve read all of your files. We had a good thing and now its gone. Obliterated and used on the most unholy creation on this planet since the Shadar-Kai crawled from the muck. This is being discussed. Very soon.

So, I hope we can come to terms together, you and I. To let bygones be bygones and to move on. We have both made careless mistakes that we must, and will, pay for. But we need not loathe each other for it. You may not realise it but I like you. You’ve been a good brother and I would help you achieve whatever it is you desire with all our years. So let us put any desire to squabble aside and look towards the future. We have a navy, a fortress, and a path ahead. We may lose this war, but Athos be damned we will give them all something to remember.

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Session XIX : Surrounded
Chapter 19: Surrounded

Golagoraraxx had left The Party with many questions, and few answers. Two riddles echoed in their minds. “The Stone and the Shield are separate, one is as he was in the past while the other has found inner peace.”

and a second riddle, more precise

“A heaven child will come, followers unaware of their true purpose. From three cries of help you are helpless to stop there will be eleven months, two weeks, four days, six hours, forty-two minutes, 12 seconds and he will arrive.”

The party took the first to be an indication of something concerning Vondal Kildrak, The Shield of Athos and Random, The Petrified. The second remained a mystery. Surrounded in a room of solid gold, the party’s enemies fell at the loss of a game to the death. The one known as Golagoraraxx fell, his last words echoing, “And he will bring armies.”

Anatolius lead the search of the room, taking all the gold and valuables that he could find. The total came out to an insurmountable sum of 694,830. The loot was divided evenly, and Simon Bloom led the party to the cage with the downward leading spiral staircase. Wearing the trench coat and amulet left by the fallen dragon, Uruhua pushed the amulet into the keyhole, and watched in amazement as the spiral staircase in front of them ceased to lead downwards, and begins to rise up. Higher and higher until it rose to reach the ceiling of the Labyrinth and beyond, and then the gate before them opened.

They climbed the staircase, rising steadily higher and higher. A solid golden door stood at the top of the staircase, a soft blue light emitting from the room. Spirit Fuel. Sneaking to view the room, Uruhua saw another Urn in the center of the room. Standing beside it, a man appeared to be reading something off of the Urn. Uruhua caught the last words, spoken in a clear and arrogant Elvish. “…glow of destiny.” Simon Bloom let out a soft cough, and alerted the man. With a wave of his hand, he pushed open the door from across the room, with sheer force of will. “Stay where you are, I’ve got big plans. You can’t even begin to grasp everything that I’ve got going on.” The distinct, undeniable tone of Nox. He stood up arrogantly, ignoring Anatolius’ attempts to gain knowledge. Waving his hand across the Urn, he waved at the party, and vanished. Simon Bloom felt a strange new energy inside him, but unlike his siblings he was unable to resist toying with it immediately. He began playing with the new energy, while his brother Anatolius inspected the Urn. He sensed two things, that this Urn was The Urn of Creation, and that Nox has set it to explode in only fifteen minutes. An inscription was engraved upon the Urn. Seven lines in seven different languages. After writing the inscription down, the party, with the exception of Simon, began desperately looking for a way out. With only a few minutes left, Oberon found an escape, but Simon had pushed himself to the limit, both creating a new life and knocking himself out in the process. The newly created life grabbed Simon’s unconscious body under command by Uruhua, and the party quickly followed Oberon’s discovery of Nox’s escape, and followed him to teleport away.

Outside The Labyrinth, the party regained their composure, and heard shouts in Draconic from across the island. Screams. Chasing towards where their boat and dragons were left, they came from out of the edge of the trees to see destruction before them. Nox sat on the back on his golden dragon, seen previously by the party long ago. The boat that they had brought with them was destroyed, and their dragons laid slain before them. Azulith, the blue dragon that bore Simon was barely alive. Oberon was able to stabilize him for a moment, and he breathed out three words. “Help. Help… help.” and the dragon slept for the last time. Could this be the sign mentioned in the dragon’s riddle? The party took it to be so.

With Nox gone and the party in shambles, when a woman ran from the remaining boat crying out, “Master! Come back for me!” Naturally, this was a cue the party couldn’t resist. Chasing after her, with Uruhua in the lead, the old woman had no choice but to run. She hid behind a tree, and Harker came out from the tree she had just hid behind. He tried to trick the party, but Oberon was having none of it and knew immediately that it was not truly Harker, but only an imitation done by the woman who had tricked them at the island of Nox’s inbred spawn. Anatolius struck her in the back with a perfectly aimed firebolt, knocking the woman out cold. The party reached her, and Anatolius severed one of her legs, marking the Changeling forever, and waking her up in a blaze of pain. To her credit, she immediately shifted into Nox trying to trick the party one more time to letting her escape. But she was met with a slap to the face, and her disguise fell once again. Oberon, furious now after being mistreated by his siblings, finally released his anger on this women. Grabbing her by the collar and flying upwards, he began to shout at her to reveal everything she knew. A pixie hand flashed across her face, leaving a small, but deep red handprint on her left cheek. After this blow, the woman was broken. But through only a few moments of questioning, it was clear she knew nothing useful. Oberon made a short comment, “I don’t think we’re gonna get much out of this one.” Anatolius took this as a cue, and in the middle of the woman’s next sentence, her mouth was filled with a blast of fire, and she spoke her last word.

Now stranded on an island with no clue of where to go next, the party’s next move was chaos. Among one another, fighting began to break out. Who was responsible for the lack of knowledge? Simon was accused of wasting precious resources while on his dust-induced trips, but was still unconscious and unable to defend himself. Anatolius and Oberon began to bicker. And the bickering began slow, and only grew larger and larger as Uruhua joined in. Anatolius’ decisive action of attacking Golagoraraxx without asking the party was called hasty and unnecessary. Oberon’s fury was unleashed at the party for taking advantage of him, making unnecessarily stupid decisions and depending on him to save them. Angry words were spoken, and eventually Anatolius stormed off to investigate the remaining boat. He found it to be empty, and it seemed that about four months of supplies had been used. Anatolius also took this time to test the power that Simon had used to create new life, but didn’t focus fully and stopped once he began to feel dizzy, creating a mess of blood and guts on the floor around him. Uruhua also took it upon herself to name Simon’s new life, naming him Golagoraraxx after the dragon.

Once the arguing subsided, the party decided that their best bet would to be stop at the nearby port city of Archon on Athos Terrarum‘s northern coast. A chain stopping all incoming traffic during times of emergency existed, that may very well have raised due to Nox’s recent return to the world. Uruhua assured them that her experience as a pirate had granted her ways to circumvent the chain, should need be. The party set off, and the next dawn on the ship Simon Bloom awoke. Upset to learn that his creation had already been named, he took some time to reflect, and asked himself why he had been so reckless recently. Was it really necessary to test that power to his limit, when he knew there were only a few moments to escape the Urn’s holding chamber?

After about a week’s time, they arrived at Archon’s coast. Strangely, everything seemed normal. Only a few guards at a post, as would normally be standing during a day that was open for trade. The party sailed in optimistically, and landed their boat at the port. Uruhua paid an exorbitant fee to stay for two days, and then Uruhua set out to find a ship to her specifications, and Anatolius searched for the nearest scum hole.

Anatolius and Simon Bloom entered the bar, and Anatolius set out to find information while Simon stood watch. First listening in on some regular theives, and then moving towawrds a more certain source of information. Two sketchy Elves and a hooded man and a surefire source of the goings about. After greasing the wheels of the Elves with some gold coins, Anatolius learned that it seemed most believed all the demigods were killed in a battle started between one another. Once the third party sat down and was revealed as a Tiefling, well… Anatolius was in his element. He learned that The Church of Athos Dominus was building some sort of army, growing every day. In addition, a weak rumor was being scattered that someone was finding all the living demigods. With this knowledge, Anatolius and Simon left to join Uruhua, who had picked out a specifically made ship, with speed and offensive capabilities. With their new ship and crew, the boat supplied, the party left to head to Brimir to find Vondal Kildrak and bring him back to the fight. A two week sail, and the party arrived on their brother’s homeland.

But as was so often the case, things were no longer easy, and Vondal was not where the party expected him. They came to his house, and entered. His home seemed untouched, and as if no one had visited it in over a year. After a few brief moments in the home, a knock came on the door. And someone that no one would have guessed stood outside.

They opened the front door, and standing outside in all his glory stood Vinsanthius, The Shimmering Blade with Vondal bound and gagged on his knees in front of him. To his sides stood Gabriel and Jin, as well as Ophelia and Jorah. Around the building were twenty-five crossbowmen, all bolts aimed at The Party, and then they were accused.

“These are all of our brothers and sisters that still live after your attack on our home! This unholy power that you have found does not entitle you to destroy us, and we will avenge our fallen siblings. I, Vinsanthius, leader of the remaining children of Athos hereby call you traitors! You stand accused of breaking the second and fifth laws of The Conclave. How do you plead?”

And then began the attempt to prove that the party was innocent, and the the destruction of The Conclave was not caused by them, but Nox. Several more demigods came out from the woods, Lysidia, Thanduil, Vinsanthius, Tak, Dak, Cassiel, and Araris came out to bring the total number of demigods to eleven, not including the party’s own numbers. Vinsanthius told them that these were the only remaining demigods living after the attack on their home. And the trial began, with the party telling their whole story to Vinsanthius. But accusation after accusation continued. Nekolaj‘s fingers were not enough evidence to prove their innocence, and in fact only helped the cause mentioned by Thanduil. There was a clear link between the party’s Spirit Fuel and the kind shown at The Conclave. Eventually, an offhand comment was made that snapped the tension too hard. “What are you hiding from us Vinsanthius, we must know!” And revealed to the party was Vinsanthius heavenly form not seen since the first day The Conclave was formed. “I have spoken to our father Athos, and he has told me of your faults. We will bring this trial to a close, and have a vote on your guilt.”

Minutes seemed like days, and every second dragged on longer and longer. Far from their weapons, the party had almost no opportunity to fight, and would be hard pressed to survive. They decided their only chance would be to hope to get to their weapons as quickly as possible. Finally, Vinsanthius came to the party, with a decision. By vote of 7-4, they had been found guilty. But they were given under a year to prove their innocence, as a final chance to be saved. After discussing the riddle given to them by the dragon, Vinsanthius chose that to be their final time. To be proven innocent, they were running out of time. Or would they instead attempt to defend, and fight back against being killed? Ten months, three weeks, two days, six hours, seven minutes, and nineteen seconds. And he will bring armies.

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