Chapter 10:

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Session Number: 140
Date: Sunday 15 July 2012
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd11 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA4 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal11 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz11 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

"We are surrounded," Rowaine says. "At least as far as I can tell. There are tens of thousands of arachtria out there. More than I can count. They seem to be held back. A bit like Sir Veketh's spell - but that was visible."

"It was holding them back?" Troll asks.

"Actually, they didn't seem to be striving against it. They seemed to be inactive, arranged in an arc."

"Let's have a scout," Troll says.

"Not you, Troll," Rowaine says. "Arachtria tend to go nuts when you are around. I'll take Calico."

Rowaine summons Harley, then she and Calico edge their way around the building to the clearing and launch aloft. They spiral upwards, levelling off at a hundred feet above ground and maintaining position above the building's flat, clean roof. The wooded area is arranged in a square shape around the building, spanning out about two hundred feet beyond its walls. Beyond that, as far as they can see, are shoulder-to-shoulder arachtria. The building is in a valley surrounded by hills. The sea of metal does not reach the distant hills, although it is hard to see. The topography looks different to that surrounding Elondel.

"Calico," Rowaine says, "are any of these creatures moving?"

"I don't see any moving."

Rowaine keeps a close eye on the nearest arachtria. They are motionless, and seem to all be of an identical size. She looks up at the sky. It is not dusk. "Not the home of the arcanites, then," she thinks to herself. "Let's head back," she says to Calico.

"We seem to be in a forested square, surrounded on all sides by an inert army of arachtria," Rowaine tells the others when she, Calico and Harley return inside. "My guess is that this building has a sphere of influence."

"Shall we ask the plants about the arachtria?" Troll asks. "And why are the ones outside are not rusting? Is there imithrium here? The fact that there are an awful lot of them out there makes me wonder. Did my family make arachtria, or just find them? If my family made arachtria, I find it difficult to believe that we made that many. Which means that they breed in some shape or form."

"We have only ever seen them do that by eating themselves," Rowaine says. "But maybe there is a source of material here that they can use."

"Elondel and Abbey can answer those questions," Troll says, heading for the stairs.

"Wait!" Rowaine says. "What about the box? What if it is the only thing holding back the arachtria?"

"It's already gone," Troll says, turning around to display the haversack on his back, itself a portal to another dimension.

The party take the risk and head out of the room with the bookcase and table. As soon as Troll enters the oval room, the door opposite snaps shut.

"I'll go back while you stay here," Troll says. "See if the door opens." It does, as Troll passes through the doorway. He re-enters the room and the door closes. Not like a normal door - it is almost as if it rapidly grows into place, from edges to centre.

"It can sense the box, even though it is technically not part of this universe!" Troll exclaims. "I wonder if I could Teleport it through…" He thinks it prudent to ask Elondel first before trying anything of that nature. He returns the box to its place on the table, then all pass through the open door to Elondel. Rowaine fetches her armour and weapons, suits up and guards the circular room as an early warning system in case the arachtria wake up. The door is firmly closed.

Below, Troll describes what they found to Elondel. "Ah, the master's box!" he says. "For some reason, he never wanted to be able to open it himself. He made it so that I can open it."

"We can't get it back here," Troll says.

"Your father never had a problem. The box was often brought out for me to open or close."

"What was in it?"

"He kept books in there."

Troll makes strangled noises, then drags himself back on message. "What do you make of the arachtria?"

"Very alarming, sir. I was unaware of this. But they have had seven thousand years."

"Do they breed?"

"They do have a way of increasing their numbers, but I am not sure of the details of how they do it."

Troll ventures upstairs to get Rowaine's perspective. "Did Elondel say anything about the box?" she asks.

"It contains some personal belongings."

"So he knows what's in there?"


"He has seen it, yet he cannot access it?"

"Apparently my dad was smart enough to be able to bring the box through whenever he wanted."

"I wonder if he used the other door…" Rowaine muses. "Maybe the other door goes to the same place in a different way."

"I suspect there is a way to disable the anti-metal thing," Troll says. "It's a safety mechanism, but there must be an off switch."

"So we either bring the box to Elondel, or Elondel to the box," Rowaine says. "We may not be looking at the only passage through. Maybe we need to concentrate on looking at the other door."

Troll believes the magic in effect on the as-yet impassible door is operational, but triggered by a different condition. He tests the theory by leading Rowaine back into the stairwell. Looking through the open doorway, they both see the door to the overgrown chamber open. The other door remains closed.

"What if you entered, entirely naked?" Rowaine says. Troll smirks at her and starts to disrobe. "Whoa, there!" Rowaine says, almost running down the stairs. "Give a girl a bit of warning!" Troll finishes stripping himself down at the top of the stairs. He enters the circular hall, naked as the day he was born. Still the door remains closed.

"What's happening?" Rowaine yells up the stairs.

"Nothing worth mentioning," Troll says, dressing. Rowaine returns. "Maybe you need the box to get in there," she says.

"Possibly. Maybe I need a big big lump of alloyed imithrium to take through to replace the box. I need to speak to Elondel," he says, heading back downstairs.

Troll learns that Elondel fashioned the box that sits on the table. He has Elondel make another, identical in every way, that only Elondel can open. Troll then settles down and starts perusing the fifty or so books he has retrieved. Rowaine takes Lionel and Calico back to Trina, then settles in to guard the top door. Arrian takes shifts with her.

The books are technical sources of information concerning this odd, old flavour of magic. Though not described as such, Troll likens it to a type of channelling magic, tapping into something referred to as 'the source': a remote wellspring of power that radiates energy, a little like the sun. With hard work and time, Troll believes he could use this information to learn and master this style of magic. It is clear that Troll's family used this source to design and create the arachtria, and that it is the source that powers them.

The tomes also recount how the Roulae attempted to recreate the source. Their experimentation yielded little success. One side effect of their labours were the arcane elves - a mystic blend of arcane magic and sun elves. Unlike the arachtria, the arcanites were not powered by or dependent upon the source; rather, they were powered by arcane magic. After some obliquely referenced event, the arcanites were locked away. The texts make some comparisons between the arcane elves, Trina and the Roulae family towers. The arcanites preceded them all.

The next day, Troll plans to try to Dimension Door through to the other side of the door that prevents the passage of metal, taking the new box with him. Troll places the box in the haversack. Rowaine dons her nonmetal gear and passes through before him. She stands at the other end of the oval room and waits expectantly. Troll does not appear. Rowaine goes back down, worry creasing her face. When Lionel hears of Troll's disappearance, he heads upstairs and checks the rooms beyond the oval passageway. There is no sign of Troll.

"Well, *that* didn't work, did it?" Troll says, shaking his head as he climbs up the stairwell.

"What happened?" Rowaine asks.

Troll's spell was disrupted; he was displaced onto the dusty plains surrounding Elondel.

The party reassemble downstairs. Troll asks Elondel how he opens the box.

"I open it the same way that I make things. It is a very thick metal shell and I open one end the same way that I can manipulate all metals."

The party brainstorm for ideas on how to transport metal through the door that closes in its presence. Troll tries becoming invisible. Lionel removes his metal equipment and enters the hall with no magical dweomers in effect. Troll pushes and pulls on the door in all manner of ways. Nothing they try seems to work. Lionel stays near the open door while Rowaine approaches, wearing her armour. The door closes. They repeat, this time with Lionel holding a wooden pole through the doorway. As before, the door very quickly grows into place, from edges to centre, briefly trapping the pole before neatly snapping it in two.

Troll thinks back to his failed Dimension Door spell. He has a suspicion that it didn't work because even though he could physically see his intended destination a mere twenty five feet away, it was in reality farther away than the spell's range.

"What time of day was it over there?" Rowaine asks the others. "Was it about the same as here, or was it different?"

Lionel thinks for a short time. "It was a different time of day," he says.

Troll finishes Rowaine's thought. "That sounds to me like it was a very long distance away from here, yet still on the same plane."

"…and there is a path between there and here," Rowaine adds. "Albeit the arachtria seem to find it impassible. I guess that we are safe for the time being."

Troll resumes his research. Calico considers talking to the door. He stows his metal gear and approaches it. The door remains open. There is a sense of life about the door - everything, in fact. Calico casts a spell and addresses the door:

"Hello, can you hear me?"

"Hello. I am Door."

"Hello, Door. You are open."

"Yes. Because no metal."

"So when metal you close?"

"Metal closes me. Open when no metal."

Calico walks to the other door and speaks a greeting.

"Hello. I am Door."

"Hello, Door. Why you closed?"

"I close except for key."

"Key open door?"

"My key opens me."

"What is key?"

"Key is thing that opens me."

"Does key have shape?"

"Yes, key has shape."

"What is shape of key?"

"Hard to say shape."

"Big? Small?"

"How big is big?"

"You are big," Calico says.

"Key smaller than me."

"What's it saying?" Rowaine asks Calico. The druid paraphrases his conversation. It doesn't take long.

"Ask what the key is made of," Rowaine suggests.

"Key like me," is the door's reply.

"Is it near?" Rowaine asks, through Lionel.

"Key not here. Door not open!"

"Does key need touch you?" Calico asks.

"No. Key needs to be here."

"Is there only one key?" Rowaine asks.

"I only know key," the door says. "I open when key here. Closed when key not here."

"Is it the same material as the door?"

Calico relays Rowaine's question. "Key like me," is the reply.

"Exactly like you?"

"Smaller." The door almost sounds proud that it has grasped another means of distinguishing objects.

"It can't just be the same material," Rowaine says to the others, "because there is another door scarcely ten feet away. Perhaps Troll's parents had something that would open the door - a staff?"

Rowaine heads downstairs, locates Troll and appraises him of their conversation with the door. Together they ask Elondel about any particular items Troll's parents regularly carried.

"They had staves of imithrium alloy," Elondel replies, "and amulets made of some kind of strange wood."

"Can you make more of this wood?" Troll asks.

"I cannot. It was something that Troll's parents made."

"Where are these amulets now?"

"I believe there is one in your father's box."

So, solving the riddle of the first door gets us through the second door.

The party discuss creating a wing on the other side to access the box. An expensive, and possibly horrendously dangerous option. There must be a simpler way, given that Troll's parents did it regularly.

Rowaine suggests putting the box on a Disc and pushing it through the door. Troll tries this; as soon as the Disc and box are within thirty feet of the door, it closes. Searching around the door reveals nothing of use. A Divination spell? Arrian has one available. Rowaine suggests ways to open the box: acid, their Pigments. Troll is worried about damaging the box's contents. He wants to try things that aren't destructive first.

The party fall back to their research tasks while they wait for their spell inventory to refresh. The topics Troll reads about are along the lines of altering humanoids to make them align with the source.

At the end of the day, the party meet with Berathoin and Khordarum at the monastery. The dwarves express a desire to extend their familiarisation and teaching regime for a full week, and also to include teachers of other races - elves and humans at first - to expand their pool of knowledge and provide different perspectives. There are some likely candidates in the lands surrounding the monastery that they are able to send word to. Troll mentions the wing in Ashhope, the human capital, and his connections there. The Roielles can probably source elven teachers for the mission. Rowaine suggests visiting Fort Rannick and asking for the Silver Arrows' assistance.

Word is sent out. The next sojourn to the land of the arcanites is planned for two days hence.

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