Chapter 12:

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Session Number: 182
Date: Sunday 7 July 2013
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Ariel Sor12 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd12 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA5 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal12 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz12 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd12 (Fergus) (kills: none)

Special Guest NPC: Arrian

XP Awarded: TBA

at this stage decide not to investigate the Karak or Ardella. What to do with the rest of the day? The party still have questions:

(1) For what length of time is Ruelock vulnerable to the rod?
(2) How will the orcs of Moradin know when the rod is activated?

Clarify entry into Ruelock's palace: the party don't have to go through the front gate, one of the orcs will transport them inside using their disc devices…

(3) Where will the party arrive inside Ruelock's palace?

ro I think we've bothered Krag and Manion enough, who else might we ask? cal Seebel. tr I don't trust him. ro If Krag trusts him, I'm inclined to. Would he know what we are asking? We can but try. ask the attending orc if they might speak to Seebel. orc I can find Seebel. I go. Wait here. Come back in five minutes. He returns in the allotted time. orc Have told Seebel you want, he coming. ro Thank you. Seebel arrives twenty minutes later. You wanted to see me? ro Yes, thank you for coming. I didn't wish to disturb Krag and Manion any more than is necessary. We have a few other questions which I am hoping you can answer, but if you can't, if you might be able to find the answer I would appreciate it; it will help the plan. sb Certainly, I'll do my best. ro Firstly, we understand that once every ten years Ruelock is vulnerable, and the next occurrence of this is at midday tomorrow. Do you have any idea how long that window of vulnerability is? sb I believe it is about 90 minutes. We say about midday because we are not one hundred percent sure exactly when it is. Midday is in the middle of that. It is around 90 minutes. It could be 60 minutes, it could be 120 minutes. ro But the closer to midday this happens, the better. Presumably at midday when we are doing this, you will be at the citadel awaiting some sort of sign to start evacuating your people. How will you know when the device has been activated? sb We won't. At this point the decision has been made that we need to go tomorrow. If we can't hold Ruelock, we'll still evacuate. It just means that we probably won't be able to destroy the portal behind us. ro So some of your people will be able to leave. If this is the case, will Ruelock pursue them into the plane of shadow? sb Almost certainly.

ro Then we have to do our absolute utmost to ensure that Ruelock is trapped, because if he isn't, and does cross over to the plane of shadow, I can't see it stopping there. Even if we get people out to our world, it will follow. tr I could set up one of Elondel's backpacks at Trina, and one of Saju's, hmmm… I reckon the four of them would have a good chance of stopping this Ruelock. ro Three wings and a tree? Do you have those two backpacks? tr Not on me, but I think Saju has another. ro Third question - where do we end up in Ruelock's palace? sb I can introduce you to Arkg, who will be taking you there. He doesn't speak common, so you may have to settle on some basic signs, but he can get you straight into the menagerie. ro Do you know where? sb Yes - the portal has been programmed to access the overseer's office. lio Will the overseer be there? sb Not if he does what he usually does at that time, which is go out for lunch. There will be some orcs there and not all of them are ours. ro How will we know the difference? sb You won't, they will. The job of the orcs with us is to take out the orcs that aren't. ro So anything that attacks us is bad, anybody that attacks things that are attacking us is good. Pretty clear! sb That's as much as you are going to know. Arkg will signal that to start. Their job is to leave the menagerie as passable as possible and then all our people will exit with Arkg, using his portal. ro Roughly how thick are these walls? Specifically that wall there, under Ruelock's throne? sb About a foot. ro I'm thinking of putting the rod in the ceiling. It's thicker and closer. One disc, one rod, one Stone Shape. ro turns to her cohort. Anything else arisen from that? lio When does Krag do his ceremony? sb He will be doing it in the late morning; he needs to do it not long before you leave. ro And sb, I'm sorry to voice this out loud, but it's my understanding that Krag will give his life in the process? sb He will, and my family have been … we understand it is necessary. tr Oh, don't worry about it, I've died before. It's nothing. sb If it would be that way, it is Moradin's will. ro sb, will it be only your family there? sb Yes. We want to have that last moment with him. ro I understand. tr Well, I'm like family. We grew up together. sb You are, but not quite in the same way. tr No, I'd be closer, eh? ro Might we have an opportunity to say goodbye? sb Certainly. I think tomorrow after you have met the other family, my father has expressed the same desire, before he is closeted with my family. ro Thank you. sb You are very welcome. I know that while it was a long time ago, my father's friendship with you was very important to him. ro (choking) He is like my brother. sb Is there anything else I can help with here? ro No, thank you. I will not take any more of your time. sb goes.

Mid afternoon. cal Shall we go over the whole plan, see if we can find any holes?

- Orc taking us to the office.
- Go to east wall under throne and when rod is active, bury the rod in the ceiling with Stone Shape.
- One of us is going to be talking to the animals to see if we can get them out. Anyway, we'll gloss over that part.

tr Invisible, on a Disc. That's the way. ro We can't just embed the rod into the ceiling and leave, with the vain hope that it entraps Ruelock. We have to keep the rod in hand so we know it's ensnared. lio We could just leave it, the orcs are going to be leaving either way. tr We need to be back there. cal That's true. We have to put it in and leave. They are going to leave this plane regardless of whether Ruelock is contained. We have got to support them. tr A plan works if everybody does their job. We have to assume that other people are doing their job. ro Our job is to neutralise Ruelock. cal Our job is to put the rod in the ceiling. ro No… our job is to neutralise Ruelock. It is not just dumping it into the ceiling and walking away. Ruelock could be on a house call, for all we know. lio Actually, we do need to know it is working, so we can tell the orcs to begin destroying the portal. cal How do we know it has worked? ro The rod gets cold. tr So does it only get activated if it gets within 60' of Ruelock? ro Yes. tr Well, then we'll know. We'll just sit under its throne, invisible and on a Disc, until the rod goes cold. ro And it may be that we will have to move around if nothing happens directly under the throne. As soon as it does activate, we bury the rod so no one can get to it, then evacuate. cal do we tell the orcs not to destroy the portal until we turn up? Because if they try and Ruelock is still free, it will just come and kill them all. lio Can we ask them to wait 15 minutes? ro They may not have the time to spare. They think they can evacuate their people in 15 minutes, and they think it will take half an hour to destroy the portal. That leaves things quite tight. tr Can they go through the portal while they are destroying it? ro Yes, they have said that is an option. tr So they're going to start destroying the portal right on midday, right? ro I don't know. lio If they start too soon, Ruelock may never come to the throne room. ari They said they were going to delay attacking the portal for as long as possible so as not to alert Ruelock. They felt they could delay for 15 minutes before commencing destroying it. lio so we have 15 minutes to make sure Ruelock is captured. And we can't do it too much earlier or Ruelock breaks free and gets to the portal. A quarter hour before midday is the earliest we can act. lio that gives us half an hour to get the job done, then we Teleport to the orcs and tell them it is done. cal So do we tell the orcs not to begin destroying the portal until we get back? lio No, I say we go back then either way. If they were to just leave, would Ruelock know? If it is not going to get Ruelock's attention, what's to stop the orcs leaving early? ro There may not be a particular reason why they can't start evacuating early, although if they could, I expect that would be their plan. It is worth asking. So we get there, there are dozens of orcs. Some of them are trying to kill us. Do we use lethal force against them? tr Sure. lio It's better than them being trapped here with Ruelock. tr Not necessarily, but I'm still OK with it. ro In some ways I see them as servants of the enemy. tr They're soldiers. lio Haven't they already been given the option to join Moradin and leave? Haven't they already spurned that option? ro We could try and knock them out. It would take longer. cal But then we end up leaving them here with Ruelock. tr We are in battle. You can't save everyone. And it's really hard to risk the people who want to be saved to try to save the people who don't. cal I don't mind what happens to those orcs. tr Don't get me wrong, I mind, but I'm not going to give up my life or somebody else's life just so they don't have to die. lio Killing them could be a lot kinder than what might happen later. tr I don't even think about it like that. We're in battle.

ro Killing orcs: regrettable, but it may be necessary. tr Killing orcs: make your own damn mind up. Don't know, don't care. ro I feel more passionate about not killing orcs than I do about not killing giant flowers, polar bears and dire tigers. cal Interesting. I'd still like to have a conversation with these animals. cal Right. Nightwing. How do we deal with that? ro The last one wasn't that hard… Hopefully we won't even meet it. It is supposed to be in the centre room, I'm not intending to go in there. lio And we'll be invisible (12 minutes), on a Disc (12 hours). tr Yeah, coz no multidimensional demigodlike creature sees the invisible…

lio Do we want ro to go on a surgical strike when she's really loud?

Talk about getting cal to use Stone Tell to perhaps determine where Ruelock is. cal will prepare the spell. How noisy will the conversation be?

tr thinks about preparing Rary's Telepathic Bond so that he + 4 can communicate silently. One of which could be include someone that goes to the planar portal - good way to communicate to the orcs when Ruelock has been neutralised. ro listens intently to what the spell can do, thinking that she would like something similar to communicate with har. tr plans also to prepare one Teleport as backup to Ariel.

ro will direct har to the planar portal. She can aid with its defence, and will be too large and noisy to easily conceal.

Do the party have to worry about Krag's orcs in Ruelock's palace? No, Arkg will be evacuating them pretty much immediately after dropping off the party. His magical disc is needed to evacuate the rest.

only bury rod in the ceiling once party knows it is active. If the rod is still inactive at 12:15, really should take it back with them to the planar portal.

After Ruelock is incapacitated or 15 minutes elapses, Teleport to the planar portal.

lio wonders about attaching rod to an arrow and directing it unerringly at Ruelock.

Where are the arachtria in all this? They might be in the palace for all we know, or they might interfere with the evacuation at the planar portal.

ask to see sb again. ask him if there is any reason not to evacuate early. sb We thought of that but are concerned about concealing 700 people moving through the portal. Ruelock has agents at large through its realm; we want to keep the amount of exposure time as small as possible. That is why we planned this to happen concurrently. ro But the portal is 20 miles from Ruelock's lair? sb Indeed. Some of Ruelock's agents have the means to travel that distance very quickly, or in no time at all. Just about all the beings that live in this place are in some way allied with Ruelock. Some come and go through the portal so we don't know what's going to be there at any time. ro Out of interest, have your scouts reported in regarding the arachtria situation? sb The aractria took off after the Karak which headed back towards its master's stronghold.

Next morning. Prepare spells as discussed.

arr points out that he cannot prepare a Plane Shift spell today, meaning he cannot get them back to the material plane. Hopefully this won't be a problem.

Breakfast provided. ro not very hungry. Attendant orc Grak lets them know that the family will be gathering in the temple of Moradin in about an hour. ro dresses in the dress that was prepared for her and has a heavy heart. cal asks which bits the rest are supposed to go to; ro says that she thinks all should be present for both the Raising and the final meeting with Krag.

Head to temple, guided by Grak but pretty much know the way now. Taken into space. Dead orc on bed. Adult female orc standing next to him. A little way away stand two other orc females and a male - the first raised orc and his two wives. He seems a lot calmer now. Manion stands in another corner of the room. ari offers to cast Tongues on ro, tr and herself. ro warns her not to expend too many spells; this is the day. tr They didn't organise this very well, did they? Making us cast all these spells on the day we are supposed to go into battle. ro It can't be avoided. The two packages that ro brought yesterday are not in sight. The family of the orc raised yesterday seem to be more positive towards ro than previously. As does the female standing beside the dead orc. ro As promised, we come before you and I thank you the family of the fallen from yesterday for coming again today. I appreciate you returning to see this. I am very sorry for the loss that you have suffered at our hands and we aim to make it right. We will raise your fallen and though it will not turn the blow, nothing can, I hope that you have received another offering of mine that I hope will go some way towards restitution. The woman next to the dead orc nods. wom Yes Marb told me of the gifts that you made. ro Those gifts are for you. I also mentioned yesterday another gift to you all. You have have lost one who was very dear to you and we intend to remedy that; both you and I will lose another who is very important to us both: Krag. At Krag's name there is much ululation and grief - but not surprise. ro The sacrifice of Krag offers you a great opportunity but it is at immense cost to you. You will lose a great follower of Moradin and you will be led into dark times and dark places. I have offered you my most prized worldly goods. The only thing more I have to offer is myself and that I offer now, freely. You will lose a great warrior of Moradin, if you will have me, you will gain one. For as long as you need me, I will stay with you in shadow. I pledge you my life and my services for as long as you need it. Manion watches, silently. Orcs Thank you. ro arr, would you? arr performs the rite. A rather alarmed orc gets off the bed and is comforted by the woman. ro Lays Hands on him to restore him to full health (3 points).

Manion I believe you wanted to spend some time with Krag? ro Dearly. manion I believe Krag would like to see you all. If you would come with me? party follow, to central pillar and Krag's quarters. Living area has been cleared and see there has been some spell preparation going on. Krag is in a chair at one side, directing things: there are a number of orcs doing a number of tasks throughout the room. sees the party and names them. kra Welcome. Ro, it has only been a short reunion but my heart is fuller for it. But know this: this shall not be the last time we meet. We shall meet again in the halls of the All-Father. ro I believe it. kra Troll, I'm glad you are here, you shall be needed. tr Oh, that's good. I still think you're stupid but you know. kra Arrian, it does me good to see that your heart has changed, and that you have decided to make amends for the wrongs you have committed against Moradin and his monastery. The rest of you I do not know you but know that my gratitude is with you. lio Anything for a good story later on. ro runs to Krag's side and embraces him, crying. kra I can only say all the blessings of Moradin upon you all in this endeavour, and for the rest of your lives. I want you all to know that I go to this last service I owe to my god in full gratitude to my god for a life served well in his service. Now I must go. And we shall meet again. Manion? manion directs the party to another door. Inside are some piles of armour, a dwarven waraxe, and a belt that looks very familiar. manion ro, we appreciate your willingness to give all that you have. But we are followers of Moradin, as are you. And we believe this armour was never yours in the first place, but Moradin's, and I think you'll agree. And we believe the best place for it is with you. Use it in his name, serve our god, seek justice and do good. ro As it is written, and well said. May I ask a question? manion You certainly may. ro Do the families return the gifts with their blessing? Will they be looked after? manion They do, and they will. It is our community's commitment to them to look after their spouses and any extra need they have. They will probably be less hardy than they were, and we hold that. But we hold that in Moradin's name, and we believe that Moradin would have this with you. ro Well said, good dwarf. manion I'll take that in the spirit in which it was intended. ro Manion, I meant what I said in front of the families and I am glad that you were there to hear it. I offer myself. You will face darkness and the things that hide in it. You are losing a mighty warrior that serves in the name of Moradin; I would gladly offer you another. I suspect you might need it. manion I have thought on this since your good words at the temple and my experience of Moradin's call on paladins is not to tie them to one place or to one people, but that he calls you to where he would have you. And that may be at times with us, but we would see you do greater good than merely for us. So we believe you should not stay with us and that we have our own calling as a people. You are welcome to stay if you want to but we do not believe that is Moradin's call for you at this time. I understand if you disagree, but that is our assessment. My fellow priests and I will care for this family. ro As you wish. manion But now we have tasks to do, you and I. I must organise the evacuation and the defence of the portal. For I think there will be a defence necessary.

Ruelock, if all goes well, will not be able to attack us at the portal but his allies may. ro Has there been any word of the arachtria overnight? The metal constructs? mani We have an agent in place in Ardella's stronghold. He reports to us that the arachtria siege Ardella's stronghold. ro How interesting. I am glad of this news. It is well to have the arachtria well away from the portal and if they are trapped here with Ruelock, then Moradin's praises sing! This Ardella is an agent of evil, in Ruelock's power? mani He most certainly is. He is not a minion but certainly seems to be an ally and we have seen such viciousness from him that… Well, he is not our friend. tr But hmmmm… If the arachtria are attacking him and he is a sun elf, he may be a relative. lio An evil relative. lio When did you last hear from your agent? mani Two hours ago. The arachtria arrived there yesterday evening. lio How long will it take for them to get back to the portal? mani At least a couple of hours. cal Will Ruelock defend Ardella? ro Does anyone have information on Ruelock's location right now? mani Ruelock has not deviated from his routine, according to my people in his palace. In my experience Ruelock would not go to the aid of such as Ardella. It would expect him to fight and either win on their own merits, or die. Ardella is not an ally so much as an occasionallly useful tool. lio So there is the possibility of the arachtria showing up as we are trying to Yes, if they start moving about now. Time grows short. We have at most an hour to an hour and a half, and Ardella's stronghold is how far away? Twenty miles? I am dead set on being focused on the task at hand. cal I agree. We are not here to discover information about Ardella, we are here to help Moradin's orcs escape the Rue. ro Ardella has chosen his fate, being in the service of such as Ruelock. mani Krag's final act of service will take about an hour; the rod will be ready about half an hour before midday. ro We owe it to Krag to stick to his plan. Where do we need to be? mani Return here slightly before 11:30. At that point, we will be needing to move quickly.

party return to quarters. ro spends time mourning the loss of her brother Krag. All meet up. Who is going and who is staying?

ro You can Teleport five, and you can impart five with Telepathy, tr. Shall we take vio with us also? tr Should we take more people? We're not supposed to. In fact we don't even need you, ro. You're just coming along because you're the leader. ro Yes, but try and stop me. tr The people that are going to the portal are the people that aren't coming with us because there's not enough room. ro Perhaps then we should only take the number of people that will safely fit on a Disc: three. ari Myself, tr and cal? I don't like that idea. ro You must understand this: I'm going. This is Krag. This is my task. tr Don't be stupid. You don't need to come. ro Of course I need to come. tr Why? Are you going to cast the Invisibility? Are you going to cast the Discs that are going to get us up to the ceiling? Are you going to bury the rod into the stone? Or are you just going to take up a spot that we could use for somebody who could actually be useful? ro You did hear that there is almost certainly going to be some up close and personal fighting down there? Who is going to protect you? The other spellcasters? You propose to take yourself, cal and ari? tr Yep. ro I don't see any metal protecting any of you. Trust dwarven steel! tr My point is that you want to go not for logical reasons, you just want to go because it's Krag and you think it's your job to do it. It's actually your job to get the rod in there, even if you are not the one that does it. ari If ro is not going, I'm not going. I think we need her to make decisions. cal I vote we take her. ro I'm going. tr I think it's wrong that you made this decision and it makes you a bad leader. ro Sure. Go and find another one. tr No no, what you're doing is you're saying you're going because you think you should, not because it's the right thing to do. ro I think it is the right thing to do, and I most certainly should do it. tr You said 'This is Krag, I'm going.' So you're going for emotional reasons. You've been around long enough that you shouldn't be doing that. That makes me mistrust your decisions. cal What's wrong with an emotional decision? tr It could get us killed.

lio So could a logical one. tr I'm not saying it couldn't. But ro's not being tactical. She is basically doing something because she wants to do it, not because she thinks it's the right thing to do. ro I trust my emotions. Logic is not the only way to make decisions, you know! We're running out of time. tr OK. You win. You're the leader. Oh great leader, we shall do whatever you say. ro gazes upon tr with steel in her eyes.

Palace: tr (Discs and Teleport), cal (Stone Shape), ari (Teleport), ro, vio
Portal: arr, lio, har

Telepathy: tr (he is moving the Discs), ari, ro, vio, arr

The remainder of the hour passes and the party return. On the way, they notice that most of the orcs are now packed up. Manion with some reverence passes ro a familiar black rod - the same rod that was the symbol of Krag's imprisonment. ro takes it reverently. ro ari, vio, tr and cal will travel with me to Ruelock's palace, the others will go with you to the portal and assist with its defence. I would like to leave har, my stone flyer, in your care at the portal. She might be a useful ally should you meet resistance. mani Leave her with me, tell her to stay with me. ro introduces mani to har and tells her to follow him, that he will take her to the portal out of this place, and that her mistress will meet her there soon. ro tr will link a number of us, including arr, with Telepathy so we can communicate amongst ourselves and with you. You will know when our task has been completed. tr? tr casts Rary's Telepathic Bond on himself, ro, ari, vio and arr. Grak takes those going to the palace and introduces them to Arkg. ari casts Tongues on the orc.

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