WORK IN PROGRESS…
The earth opened and from it swirled a vortex of earth, rock, and grass. As the dirt settled, the party from Greyhawk stood together, fronted by the Geomancer, Laterius. In the distance was the kingdom of Yggsburgh, surrounded by channels of water and walled from the rest of the Kellaghan wilderness.
The peculiarly well-dressed Geomancer turned to Vetnik and revealed in his hand a small stone medallion with strange crystallized patterns covering its surface.
“When the march on Morgoth begins, knock this stone against the earth three times and I shall appear.”
“Thank you, stranger,” Vetnik said, taking the stone with a gracious warrior’s bow. Laterius nodded his head respectfully before, in an instant, his body burst into a tall column of dirt that was just as quickly carried off by a gentle afternoon breeze.
The path to Yggsburgh was narrow and quiet, with a small outpost set up to assist travelers to the city. It was Abigail who took note of the last carriages into town, and noting their collective exhaustion, took it upon herself to book it for the team. The party split in two, with Vetnik, Moira, and the Twins in one carriage. Once alone, Moira kept up a brave face in front of the others and let the hope for her brother’s life keep her calm. In the other carriage, Abigail joined both Lyssa and Trisoll – as well as an apathetic Grunt. She revealed that her co-operatives would be waiting at her childhood home along with her mother. The others were typically mum and withdrawn, but Lyssa showed a curious (though almost fleeting) interest in Abigail’s history. She revealed that her mother was a patient woman, who dealt with life as a single mother the best she could, despite all of her daughter’s efforts to fight it. Abigail continued to reminisce and told the others of her own troubled past which began as an overly aggressive and belligerent young girl whose tendencies towards hotheaded violence sent her on an even more destructive path.
“How destructive?” Lyssa inquired.
“I sold myself with those who dwelled in the city’s underbelly, taking contracts. At first, I was just strongarming and shaking down where I could. It didn’t take long for my employers to exploit my strength, and eventually I was taking lives for the highest bidder. It was only thanks to the pleading of my mother and finding the light of my life, Maja, that I found a better way.”
Underwhelmed, Lyssa replied. “That was it? Hmph.”
The party entered into Yggsburgh with ease, and Abigail quickly led them through her old stomping grounds towards her home. Occasionally, she pointed out different smiths and craftsmen who might be able to aid them while they gathered themselves before going into battle. It wasn’t long before they made it to Abigail’s home, which was located in a cluster of apartment buildings and relatively windowless. As she opened the door, the apartment seemed noticeably quiet. Especially given that not only her mother, but also her trusted companions were to be waiting for their arrival. The party gathered together in the long, dim corridor leading towards the center parlor of her home, when suddenly, a series of magic mouths began to burst open along the walls. Each of them seemed to possess a different yet familiar voice but all of them carried with it the same message: terror. The walls nonsensically cried out for mercy, screaming and hollering as if the walls themselves were enduring unimaginable brutal acts. Abigail called out to her friends and her mother. “Where are you? I’m here, it’s Abigail! Where—“
As she sprinted past the shrieking mouths, she stopped at the end and saw the shimmering silhouette of two figures. Both were well known to her. The first was the Drow himself, Kr’zzt, his hooded cloak and blackened, web-patterned armor coated in fresh blood. In front of him, on her knees, was Abigail’s mother, her spine rigid and straight as he cupped her jaw in one hand and held an ornate dagger against her throat with the other.
The projection began to speak and as it did, the arcane bodies glicthed and fickered.
“This is no longer a warning. You will not stand against us, but fall beneath us. I have already taken your men.”
Abigail’s stern demeanor shattered before the others. She feebly pleaded with the Drow to unhand her, all while the screams of her companions echoed throughout the home.
The phantasm was a recording, and she knew deep down that her pleas would be in vain. Kr’zzt continued, “I have taken your mother. It is only a matter of time before I take you as well.”
Abigail helplessly watched as Kr’zzt took the dagger across her mother’s wiry neck. Her body convulsed as she watched the crimson seep from the neck wound her mother now struggled to reach for. Abigail scrambled towards the parlor, where the projection of her mother laid chest down on the floor, gripping at its throat. “No, no, no, no, no!”
Kr’zzt raised his dagger and pointed it at the party and continued. “And let this serve as a warning for not only you, but your sister, the witch, as well. Your mother will meet a similar fate should any of you continue!”
The phantasm vanished in a blink of cyan energy, leaving Abigail trembling on the floor. She slowly turned her head round to see Lyssa now at the front of the party, her eyes seething with wild magic.
Without missing a beat, the four closed doors surrounding the parlor burst open and each emptied with a large figure shrouded in black robes and hoods. In their wrapped hands, they charged with glass short swords. Lyssa lined up a trio of them and focused all her rage on a single spell. The rage seemed to cloud her head too much, and to those around her, nothing seemed to happen. That is, until, the first assassin rushed the party and before reaching them, seemed to crash full speed into some unseen barrier. So hard, in fact, that he fell prone to the ground. Just as the assassin fell, Grum fired an arrow at the assassins and watched as the arrow bounced off the invisible barrier surrounding them. As the arrow collided though, he noticed the slight flicker of red wild magic. Thom stood back and began to drum for the party as Grunt took up Hank and fired off a test arrow into whatever kept the two warring parties at bay. The white energy of the arrow crashed against the barrier and seemed to be consumed by the brief flash of red chaos magic before disappearing.
“No!” Lyssa hissed before creating a small arcane rift around her, which put her behind the assassins on the other side of what she could see: a wild wall of force. The other members of the party looked around but could do little, as they remained trapped in the hall. With no other escape option, Vetnik and Grum began to kick at the thin wooden walls surrounding them with hopes of creating a tunnel into the parlor. Meanwhile, Lyssa began her face-off against the masked creatures, whose bulky bodies seemed to possess a strange gait that was hard to discern. Before they could attack, Lyssa raised her hand and released a line of roaring fire that coated the creatures, but wasn’t enough to fell them.
The party broke through the walls and managed to enter the house through the walls, slaying the assassins. They were revealed to be dark Geldan, agents of Kr’zzt.
Lyssa finally reveals after pressure from Abigail that she is in fact her half-sister, and promises that she will do everything in her power to avenge her mother.
The party splits in two. Lyssa stays behind at Abigail’s home where use cloaks herself from detection and uses the Eye of Modius in an attempt to contact their father. She’s unable to receive an answer but does receive a boon (teleport without error spell), and leaves Modius a message, “You owe the both of us now.”
Meanwhile, Trisoll used his speak with dead ability to tap into the mind of the slain Dark Geldan. While most answers were vague, he did glean that the best way into the Kr’zzt’s encampment was from beneath the black ice of Morgoth.
The rest of the party visited the town’s mayor, a half orc who granted them access to their potioners and weaponsmiths, as well as promised them her armies to aid in battle. They pulled their funds together and received the following items:
Oil of High Conquering (+2 to THAC0 to applied weapon) 3600gp
Potion of Black Dragon Breath 2800gp
Oil of Carnation (cures all non-magical diseases, immune to all forms of disease for 24 hrs) 900gp
Portion of Storm Giant Strength 2800gp
Liquid of Metal Fatigue (4 ap, causes metal to rust in 1d4 rounds, save v disintegration) 2400gp
The party regrouped and Vetnik contacted Laterius in order to transport.
On the outskirts of the barren, black wastes known as Morgoth, the party stood together with Laterius once more. Cresting over the icy horizon, plumes of dark smoke cut through the otherwise dull cement sky. The landscape was dismal and monochrome, only interrupted by briefs glimpses of blood red banners bearing the symbol of the Circle of Bones. Others were charcoal and bore a single X on them while the last few were more ornate in nature, built from the silken bulk of the giant spider. Those shredded banners flew highest and flapped in the wind, their web strands creating an almost specter-like effect over the battlefield. There was no music, only the sound of the various evils moving across thick black ice. Evils of all shape, size, and nature: from the combined armies of the Sun and Moon Elves; the orcs, ogres and giants wielding crude and massive weapons; the giant spiders and druegar; and finally, flanking the hordes, two dragons. More massive than any creature the party had ever come across in their adventures. One was slick and black, like a living shadow, while the other was more familiar to them. It was a massive blue dragon, whose throat seamed to glow from within with searing electricity.
Vetnik and Moira took each other’s hand for one last time before drawing their weapons. They turned to each other and for a moment, took in every last detail of each other’s face. Grum and Thom stretched their limbs, readied their weapons, and in a feat of twinness, cocked their heads at the same time. As Grunt began to gather the arcane energy used to wield Hank, Trisoll turned to Lyssa with a mix of helplessness and excitement.
“This is it!” Trisoll said, his adrenaline going and his breath heavy. “Everyone, listen, if we don’t make it back together, I just want you guys to know—“
“Save it,” Lyssa interrupted as she drew a small glass orb from her satchel. Inside the bottle, the dusty, cloudy blue liquid occasionally seemed to flicker with small bursts of light. She downed the strange potion and tossed the bottle over her shoulder. Her once glowing red eyes suddenly changed to electric blue. “Just save me that Blue Dragon.”