Chapter 18: Tying Loose Ends, Tying Knots

Previous · Next

Session Number: 89
Date: Sunday 6 March 2011
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr8 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Feren Rog9 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal9 (Craig) (kills: none)
Tomen Rgr9 (Ash) (kills: 1 morkoth)
Troll Wiz9 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

Rowaine and Feren continue to wrestle as they drift to a stop. It is pitch black inside the pipe; neither of them carry a light source. The current starts dragging them backwards. Rowaine can just make out the slightly lighter circle indicating the pipe's exit. She cannot talk, let alone cast a spell. "I need to see!" she thinks, rummaging for one of her sunrods. She keeps her other hand firmly clasped around Feren's wrist.

Feren grasps the yoke with both hands. "What are you doing, Rowaine?" he says when he is able. "We need to get down this pipe!" Rowaine cannot respond. "If only I had a light," Feren thinks. Instantly, illumination shoots out from the front of the yoke. "Interesting…" Feren thinks, adding a thought about Rowaine letting him go. Rowaine does not loosen her grasp, but stops searching for a sunrod and shields her eyes from the bright light.

"I'm worried about Troll and Tomen," Feren says. "C'mon, let go!"

Rowaine punches Feren's jaw. His head swings around but the slightly dazed expression on his face is still there. "Perhaps I hit him too hard?" Rowaine thinks. She takes a quick look further down the pipe then moves in front of Feren, attempting to block his path.

Feren cries out in exasperation. "OK, I'm not moving, but we should go down there! It's a nice place to go!"

Rowaine beckons for the yoke. Feren passes it to her.

"Feren, you know what we were talking about up top, about people jumping into places where it's really dangerous and dark and they shouldn't be? And we were thinking something is playing with their mind? That's you right now!"

Feren hears the words but they fail to impress him. Rowaine notices. Feren beckons for the yoke; Rowaine hands it over, keeping a hold on its tether.

"Tomen's in trouble. We should go there right now!"

"You are right," Rowaine says once she regains the yoke. "But you don't just want to go down there because your friends may be in danger, do you?" Feren shakes head. "Hang on a sec, I'm going to cast a spell. Don't worry, it's not going to hurt you. I promise." Rowaine casts Protection from Evil, gently reaching out for Feren's elbow to target the spell. Feren flinches but allows the touch. His mind roars, then is suddenly quiet. He wonders where he is, then sees Rowaine looking on with concern.

"Feren? Do you know where you are? Why are you here?" She hands the yoke back. She senses no evil about him.

"I… I remember seeing you outside the pipe, then a great need to swim inside - is that where we are? Why does my face hurt?"

"Sorry, that was me," Rowaine says. She looks him in the eye. "Are you ready to go on? Are you keen to?"

"I don't know about 'keen'," Feren replies, but Tomen has gone down there? We should help him." No mention of Troll. Rowaine figures Feren is back. She locks eyes with the elf.

"The minute you sense anything trying to ensnare your mind, you let me know and I will help you. I trust you will do the same for me. We are each other's lifeline back to the surface." She pulls out a sunrod, activates it and tucks it into her belt. They begin swimming farther into the pipe, soon arriving at a T-intersection branching left and right. Rowaine suggests heading left, reasoning that it leads into Aquilla rather than away from it.

Meanwhile, Tomen has negotiated his way down hundreds of feet of pipe, his addled mind guiding him at the many intersections he strikes. He sees a dull glow ahead. The pipe exits into a near-spherical chamber with many such pipes dotting its curved walls. A fan mounted at the chamber's base slowly spins. Suspended above it is a fish, the most lovely fish Tomen has ever seen. But wait, hang on… Is it? Tomen's mind tries to reconcile what he sees and what he feels. His eyes win and his adoration turns to dread.


'Discretion' takes hold of Tomen and he turns around, ducking back inside the pipe. He looks behind in case the creature has chosen to follow him; so far it has not. The current pulls him inside. He sees a figure ahead: Troll, closing fast. Tomen plasters himself to the side of the pipe. Troll rockets towards him, propelled by his yoke. He seems not to take notice of the 'danger' signal Tomen is making. Tomen realises that Troll's momentum will likely carry him straight into the fish's maw and dives ahead of him. The yoke bashes into his midsection; Tomen manages to steady himself and draw a rapier as they burst into the spherical room, coasting to a stop before the fish.

The creature swipes a lobster-like claw at Tomen but misses. Tomen's rapier punctures its shell-covered abdomen. It retaliates with a bite, which Tomen dodges. Troll targets a Fiery Burst behind the creature. Steam, rather than flame, billows around the creature and it squeals in pain - or was that just the air escaping from beneath its shell?

Neither Rowaine nor Feren hear the sounds of the battle. Tomen activates his Boots of Haste and lets loose. Three of his six attacks mark the creature and it dies.

Densial throws his Monster Manual to the floor in disgust.

Troll lights a sunrod and the pair start searching. Many humanoid body parts litter the floor.

Rowaine and Feren continue along the pipe. It turns towards Aquilla's bow, branching left and right again shortly thereafter. Rowaine turns left again, based on the same logic as before. Feren yells out Troll's name; Tomen hears and gets Troll's attention. Troll hands Tomen his sunrod, indicates which of the many pipes they came in through and the pair backtrack, Tomen leading the way. They rejoin Rowaine and Feren.

Rowaine advocates checking for more of the creatures. Troll leads the way back to the chamber. As they start moving, Feren describes the yokes' light feature.

"Interesting," Troll says. He looks ahead and concentrates. After a few seconds he turns back to Feren. "No weapons, then."

Rowaine covers the rear, leaving a lit sunrod on the floor of the pipe leading up to each intersection, indicating the way out. She uses five more sunrods before arriving at the chamber, and leaves the one tucked in her belt at the pipe entrance. Everyone looks around.

The chamber is not a perfect sphere, around sixty feet wide and forty feet tall. Many similar pipes dot the walls with luminous algae growing in between. A fifteen-foot wide fan is mounted in the chamber's lowest point, its eight blades spinning slowly.

Rowaine swims towards the fan, which drives water into the chamber. The current increases the closer she gets, making the last few feet rather difficult. The fan's driving shaft extends into the pipe on the opposite side, disappearing into a metal box that appears to be held in place with springs. The fan itself is enclosed in a cage consisting of eight radial bars. Rowaine swims around the horizontal circumference of the chamber. Water appears to be flowing out equally.

Tomen mentally counts the skulls and decaying heads he sees; there are at least thirty five in varying states of decay, with who knows how many more swept into the network of pipes. The remains all appear to be humanoid in origin. Rowaine wonders whether that is because the magical compulsion only affected humanoids.

Rowaine wonders where other such creatures might be hiding. There are far too many pipes to search in the time afforded them by their water-breathing potions, and in any case, it seems reasonable that they merely lead to exits, similar to the pipe the party traversed. Rowaine considers the fan. Though it is spinning at a reasonably slow rate, its size and number of blades would make it near-impossible for a man-sized creature to safely negotiate. Rowaine looks at the fan's cage, wondering whether the fan might be able to be jammed. The gaps are too large for a sunrod. Rowaine asks Troll to try and disable the driving mechanism with his Mage Hand. He cannot, saying that it seems to be held together with powerful dweomers.

Rowaine retrieves the fish's body and pushes it into the fan cage, but its blades simply chop the fish in half. An intestine wraps around the fan's hub until it pops. Clouds of gore billow into the chamber.

"Ah," says Rowaine. "We'd better go." The group vacate, following the sunrods and leaving them in place. They swim beyond the dock and rejoin Arrian.

Rowaine heals Tomen and Feren while explaining their adventure to Arrian. He thinks the victims' next of kin deserve to know the fate of their lost ones; Rowaine agrees. Arrian wonders what story they might tell the guard to explain their presence in the city's sewer system. Rowaine says she will tell Fallowhay of the incident; he can relay information to the authorities in any manner he chooses. Arrian expresses interest in looting the bodies.

That's Arrian… Care for the person, but their stuff is fair game!

Rowaine suspects that the mystery of the disappearing people has been solved. She wants to lead her team back inside to confirm as best they can once the gore has sufficiently diluted.

The group wait an hour. Arrian casts Magic Circle on Rowaine and he waits while the rest return underwater. Troll finds the way by memory. The blood and flesh wafting around the spherical chamber has dissipated. Rowaine Detects Evil around the walls of the chamber but discovers nothing further. Troll's Detect Magic shows the same magic imbuing the wooden walls and three other items: a wand, a ring and a potion. Rowaine searches for any items that might help identify individuals: rings, holy symbols and the like. Tomen joins in. Together, they find:

  • a gold vestment
  • a black velvet mask studded with citrines
  • a silver chalice with embedded gems
  • a fire opal pendant
  • a painting frame
  • an ivory harp encrusted with zirconium
  • a gold idol of an unknown serpent-like deity, weighing ten pounds
  • 30,000 copper pieces

The party leave the coinage and stow the rest. Rowaine says a lamentful prayer for the departed and the group leave. They arrive at their lodgings, still dripping wet.

This isn't the first time. What must the proprietor think?

Troll Identifies two of the magic items as a Ring of Feather Falling and a Wand of Charm Person. He later identifies the last item as a Potion of Cure Light Wounds.

The next day, Rowaine visits Fallowhay and explains their aquatic encounter. He congratulates Rowaine, saying that he will tell the guard that his own security personnel found and dealt with the problem.

Rowaine, Arrian and Tomen notify the harbourmaster's office that they are leaving, then Feren leads the group back to the hidden alleyway where Trina's branch lives. They transport back to Trina's grove.

Rowaine summons Harley and they catch up after their long absence. Troll stays in the grove while the others travel to Follyhall, the queen's southern residence. Tomen is visibly overjoyed to be surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of the forest again.

After they arrive, Rowaine stays close to K'at but spends some time in the queen's court. There, she learns that Shalélu and the queen are in negotiations. She asks for an audience with the queen, giving her account of Aquilla, for which the queen offers her thanks. Arrian serves at Corellon Larethian's temple and spars with the other priests. He expresses to the party a growing desire to encounter his family, but is prepared to wait. Feren learns that Elysia, a priestess and his master, is at court. He spends time with her, then busies himself reading about his family at the queen's library.

Over the next two weeks, the party find out that Shalélu has been negotiating the terms by which Troll and Ethalyn are to marry. Arachtria activity has been increasing, particularly around the border towns. Oddly, they have been employing hit-and-run, commando-like activity, a tactic the party have not seen the constructs use before. No matre have been spotted. The queen and council are under pressure to respond. The marriage negotiations are likely a part of that response: a bid to control the Roulae towers. Word of the proposed marriage has apparently leaked, dividing the elven people. One third are in favour of the union because of the protection and resource it brings; two thirds are opposed because of the stigma of the Roulae name. Arrian points out that once Ethalyn marries, as far as the towers and Trina are concerned she becomes a Roulae, with full control of each.

Rowaine asks Tomen to send an Animal Messenger to Troll about the arachtria movements, with a suggestion that he considers beginning to arm the elves appropriately.

Another week passes. The queen announces that the deal has been brokered. The marriage will happen inside the week, at Trina's grove.

K'at reports that his ritual is progressing. Rowaine hardly sees him, and he is beginning to look a little haggard. He expects the ritual will be complete in about ten days.

Shalélu travels to Trina's grove and the party accompany her. She mentions that the queen was very generous in the negotiations, eventually agreeing to all of Troll's terms and only asking for arms and armour in return. Troll becomes a member of the royal family, landed gentry with an income. Part of his holdings include Trina's grove and its surrounds. In return he takes on a duty to protect the elven lands. He gave Shalélu strict instructions not to grant the elves control of the towers, or even access - a term that the queen finally accepted.

Two days later the troop arrive at Trina's grove. Troll has visited the floating mountains. They are dangerous. He says the new ring will probably come in handy.

After Shalélu has had a chance to meet with Troll, Rowaine asks how Troll feels about the arrangements.

"If I die, that's it, innit?" he says. "I tend not to be the one at the back of the party."

"Why Ethalyn?" Feren asks.

"She is a member of a powerful family, interested in the welfare of their people rather than extending that power."

Troll says that the grove will be his sanctuary in the elven lands; he will not attend court or venture forth beyond Trina's barrier. He doesn't want to expose himself to elven bigotry and prejudice. Beyond that, he will continue to do what he is doing, fighting evil where he finds it. Arrian expresses concern about Ethalyn having unfettered access to the tower network. Troll explains that he is trying to ensure the towers carry on forever, to their purpose.

"The towers aren't just our personal revenue stream," Troll says. "They have a purpose, and so far we aren't using them to that purpose. This decision is a step towards having the towers be what they are meant to be - and not just for our lifetime, but for all time."

The party hear unexpected wisdom in Troll's words. "As I have always said," Rowaine replies, "the towers are yours, Troll, to do with as you will. I do have a request, though. Might you extend a wedding invitation to Sir Veketh, to represent the monastery?" Troll agrees.

Hurried preparations are made and the wedding ceremony takes place a few days later. The following morning, the queen and her retinue return to Follyhall. Rowaine requests that she accompany them, to stay for the duration of K'at's ritual. She is welcomed. Two days later they arrive. Rowaine checks in with K'at. He thinks he will be done in a few days.

The next day, Ethalyn arrives. Rowaine notices the atmosphere around court becoming edgy. She talks to some of the servants and learns that the queen is in a very foul mood.

Rowaine is summoned for an audience with the queen. When she arrives, she witnesses the queen and Ethalyn yelling at each other. The queen calls Ethalyn a "stupid girl." Rowaine maintains a polite distance. Ethalyn storms out, muttering something under her breath. The queen regains her composure and beckons Rowaine closer.

The queen describes Ethalyn as stubborn, and says that her loyalty to her family has been usurped by her loyalty to her new husband, putting the queen in a difficult position.

"There is a saying in dwarven," the queen says by way of explanation. "'You cannot tell the seam where to go, you must follow the seam.' Is that right?" Rowaine nods recognition, saying the words in the dwarven tongue. The queen continues. "We have a similar saying: 'You cannot tell the branch where to go, it grows where it will.' Equally, so it seems, you cannot tell a Roulae where to go or what to do. You can only ask. You can mistakenly think that you control a Roulae when in fact you do not. Ethalyn is incredibly loyal, now she is choosing to be loyal to her husband. I have requested things other than that which was granted in the marriage negotiations and she is denying me."

"Might I ask what you have been requesting?"

"Access to the towers. Backpacks. Arms and equipment. I must protect my people! But you can't control Troll."

"I often find myself in a similar position, your highness," Rowaine says. "I can't control him either. I trust Troll has his reasons."

The queen looks at her and nods, then sighs. "Hopefully he will do good on his own. Look after my family, paladin of Moradin."

"With my dying breath."

Ethalyn leaves Follyhall and heads back to Trina's grove. Three days later, a servant bids Rowaine meet K'at in his quarters.

Has K'at been successful? Find out next week in the beginning of a new episode, DMed by Yeran - his inaugural stint!

Previous · Next

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License