Chapter 10:

Previous · Next

Session Number: 196
Date: Sunday 22 December 2013
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Ariel Sor13 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd13 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA6 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal13 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz13 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd13 (Tammi) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

"If I do not know who you are and why you are here, I cannot let you get closer to Harkon," Ezalor says.

Rowaine Detects Evil on the muscular, dog-headed creature. There is no sense of evil, but plenty of menace. Lionel confirms with Calico that this is indeed Harkon and that he has met Ezalor before, an archon of the celestial realms. Ariel Detects Magic, concentrating on the emanations from the archon as the conversations ensues.

"We don't know who you are, or what you are doing," Troll says. "We are going to have to remove you from Harkon. Is that the way it works?"

"Would you like to fight me, wizard?"

"We come in peace," Rowaine intercedes. "We mean no disrespect and no violence. That is not our purpose in being here."

"Well I didn't come all the way here just to get told off by some red dude!" Troll blurts.

"By what authority are you the caretaker of this tree?" Rowaine asks.

"I do so on a celestial authority."

"Easily said," Rowaine challenges.

"Very true."

"Is there some way that Harkon could corroborate your claim?"

"I doubt it," the archon replies. "Harkon has not been the most communicative of late."

"It spoke to our mate," Troll says. "Spoke to you lately?"

"Not so much, no."

"There you go."

"You are alone," Rowaine says. "Guarding a tree against..?"

"…Untold evil. Like the paladin," Troll finishes sarcastically.

"The paladin is not what I'm protecting it from."

"Oh, so she can go up and have a chat with Harkon then?"

The archon pauses. "I see your point. Perhaps I can let you commune with Harkon."

"Oh, thanks!" Troll says and starts walking forwards. Ezalor stands down, looking slightly defeated.

"Don't harm Harkon," Ezalor warns.

"It is not our intention," Rowaine answers.

"Unless it is evil, right?" Troll adds.

"Don't test my patience!" Ezalor replies.

Rowaine looks for evil on the tree and finds none. She asks Calico to Speak to Harkon and relay the conversation to the others.

Ariel Detects that Ezalor has Tongues and Magic Circle against Evil upon his person. She asks Calico what species of tree Harkon is. It is the root system of an endotaa. Ariel suggests that Troll speak to it normally. Troll knocks on an exposed root as if it were a door.

"Wait, what are you doing?" Ezalor says.

"Trying to wake it up. Wake up!"

"It's a tree."

"Well that hasn't stopped them talking before."

"We have had the experience of there being a humanoid creature associated with such a tree," Rowaine explains. "This is not Harkon's way?"

"No. You have come across a tree such as Harkon before?"

"Not completely dissimilar. A tree with exceptional qualities."

"Made good bows," Troll adds. Rowaine glares. "She did!" Troll adds.

"That is strange," Ezalor says. "I assumed Harkon was the only one of his kind."

"Shall we continue?" Rowaine says.

"Sure," Troll says, turning back towards the root.

"Wait!" Lionel hisses. "Something glinting, over there, just inside the treeline. The others follow Lionel's outstretched arm and spot the play of light off something metallic. Rowaine senses no evil. Lionel readies his bow.

"Hello," Ariel says. "You there in the woods!" No response.

"Let's go investigate," Troll says. He walks towards the phenomenon. Ariel casts Protection from Evil on Troll as he walks past. Rowaine quickly falls in line with Troll.

There is a glint of metal behind a tree… Perhaps a box or chest?

"Remember, Troll," Rowaine warns, "We do not resort to violence unless absolutely necessary."

As they get closer the object resolves into a wooden box with a lid on top, with coins.

"It's a trap!" Lionel ventures. Rowaine checks the scene behind them. The box remains…

(cake)

(None of the above actually happens in game)

"Calico," Rowaine says, "would you please identify us to Harkon, especially our esteemed dwarf over here?"

Calico casts a spell, then touches the root. He removes his hand. "Harkon wants you to touch the root," he says, indicating Troll. Troll kneels.

and touches Harkon. He slumps to the ground with Harkon's root in his hand.

"Archon?" Rowaine says in a worried tone. "Has this happened before? How long have you been here?"

"This is the first time this has happened."

"Oh dear," Ariel comments.

Rowaine checkes Troll's vitals, assisted by Ariel. He appears to be unconscious.

"Calico," Ariel says, "can you ask Harkon what's going on?"

"Harkon told me not to touch him after Troll touched him."

Rowaine looks for evil and finds none. She continues to monitor Troll's physical condition, ready to drag him off the root if he worsens in any way. She is prepared to accept this state for two minutes.

Troll 'wakes up' in the dark. There is a flickering light in the distance. He is propped up against a hard wall and floor, possibly stone. He can see the distant light - a torch - illuminating vertical metal bars. He stands up and walks towards the light. The bars appear to be anchored top and bottom in rock; it appears as if Troll is in a rough stone dungeon with a barred wall ahead. Maybe a prison cell? He raises his arms and is surprised to see that they are a very dark shade of green. Some of his skin has peeled back; underneath looks like the indentation of leaves. He also sports very long, green hair. He is male, but not Troll. At least not physically.

"Well, that's interesting", Troll thinks to himself. He investigates his surrounds. A figure suddenly appears on the other side of the bars: tall and thin with long black clothing and pale skin. Bald with completely black eyes. The figure walks the short distance to its side of the bars.

"I see you have met Harkon," it says in common. "He is here with me. Come find me."

Troll then collapses to the floor, awakening on the grass surrounded by his anxious party members.

"Are you OK?" Rowaine asks.

"Yeah, I'm good."

"What just happened?" Troll explains the odd scene he was party to.

"That's weird," Ariel says as Rowaine examines the back of Troll's neck. There is no new injury.

"Because I was covered in leaves and green stuff, I suspet I was emulating an imprisoned Harkon," Troll posits. "My guess is that the person with the black eyes has somehow imprisoned Harkon."

"Does any of this make any sense to you, Calico?" Rowaine asks.

"Not a thing. The images Troll describes are much more vivid than anything I have ever experienced of Harkon."

"Did the figure look at all dracolichy?" Ariel asks.

"No. Menacing. The last dracolich I met didn't look menacing."

ro asks Ezalor about Troll's experience with Harkon. "Do you have any idea whether Harkon has a presence that is not here now?" she asks.

"I don't know," Ezalor replies. "The ones that brought me here told me that Harkon had more influence than what I have seen of late."

"And you have been brought here because of some threat to Harkon? Can you tell us anything about that threat?"

"It was infernal in nature. Something demonic sought to possess Harkon's power."

Troll describes the figure he saw to Ezalor. "That is not a creature I know of," the archon replies. "The sort of threat I anticipated was with more horns and wings."

"Does Harkon exist on the celestial plane at all?" Rowaine asks.

"He has a presence there."

"Is there any way you could check what's happening there?"

"Not currently, but I can soon."

"We could try … asking around," Troll offers, by which Rowaine infers that he means the towers and Trina. "How long, Ezalor, before you can tell us what is happening in the celestial realms?" she asks.

"Harkon has not changed in the celestial realm for a long time. I could check soon but my duty is here right now."

"I understand," Rowaine says.

"We can look after this side of things if you like," Troll offers.

"Only if I get the paladin's word."

"We will stand here and defend Harkon with our lives," Rowaine says.

"Thank you," Ezalor says. "I shall depart." He disappears.

Troll starts looking for a suitable place to deploy a backpack. Ariel suggests an aerial survey, which Rowaine and Harley provide. The nearby forest is fairly thick and the cliff face fairly sheer. Troll decides to deploy the backpack just inside the treeline. While it is deploying Rowaine asks Lionel and Violet to scout the area. The forest is fairly typical with known flora and fauna known. The mountain range continues in a northeast direction and is very difficult terrain, almost unclimbable. Violet, in bird form, flies higher and notes animal trails higher up where the range plateaus.

Axe starts babbling. Ariel casts Tongues.

"So! This talking tree, right?" Axe says.

"It doesn't seem to be here," Rowaine offers.

"We suspect the spirit of the tree has been captured," Ariel adds.

"Spirit tree can no talk? What now?"

"Find the spirit of the tree."

"Where is that?"

"Don't know. That why have to find. Understand 'find'?"

"How you find spirit of tree?"

"Good question."

"If you need to find spirit inside tree, I can chop down. That what Axe is for! Not just me, but actual axe!"

"No thanks."

Rowaine describes to Axe the figure in Troll's fugue state. "Do you recognise this figure?"

"Sounds puny and weak, but menacing and magicy. I don't know."

"Is there any centre of magic, maybe in Grinon lands?"

"I don't know! I not from here!"

"Maybe we should ask them," Ariel suggests.

"Maybe there's something in the rock face," Rowaine suggests. She summmons Harley. The stone flyer stretches and yawns, communicating nonchalance. "I have a job for you, love," Rowaine says in terran. She describes what she wants: a quick sweep for subterranean caverns near Harkon's root structures. "Be careful," Ariel adds in fluent terran. "There could be a dangerous person around."

"You speak rock?" Harley says.

"Only when I have a spell in effect. But it is a pleasure to say hello."

"I like speaking rock. I'm gonna go now, mistress wants me to. See ya!"

Harley dives into the cliff face and emerges five minutes later. "Big mountain," she says. "Lots of different creatures. Lots of holes and caverns and caves, it's very exciting!"

"What sort of creatures?" Rowaine asks.

"All sorts! Worms, birds…"

"Birds?"

"Yeah!"

"Do these caverns have exits to the outside world?"

"No. There are heaps of caves though. Nothing that anyone like you can get to though."

Rowaine explains Harley's findings with the others. "Happy to investigate further, but after Ezalor returns.

Everyone settles down into guard duty. After two hours Troll's backpack deploys; he makes the newly formed wing look like a tree. Troll immediately calls for Abbey's anthropomorphic personification. "Abbey, what do you and the others make of this? Please relay this to all the other towers." He describes the scene after touching Harkon.

"That's quite interesting… Saju wants to talk to you in person."

Troll transports to Saju, who asks him to be put unconscious so that his memories might be better accessible. Troll agrees.

"The rock and dirt appears to be that of Lanuan," Saju says once Troll regains consciousness. "The cavern looks like a dwarven or human dungeon. There looked to be no way in or out, from the images I saw in your mind. It appears to have some sort of magic in it, the magic of containment. The creature you appear as reminds me a lot of Trina. The creature you see reminds me of sun elves, but it is not one. I don't know what it is."

Troll crossreferences the creature's description with Trina. "It is not natural," she offers. "Other than that, I do not know what it is."

Troll returns to Harkon and tells the others of Saju's insights.

"Would Trina be able to locate Harkon?" Ariel asks Troll, who then asks Trina.

"I did not know where Harkon was before you described him. I still do not know."

"Would one of those spells like on Calico's necklace help find Harkon?" Lionel suggests.

"Find the Path," Calico says.

"Saju now has the memory," Troll says. "I could get him to impart it to one of the druids."

Ezalor reappears. "There appears to be no change to Harkon in my realm," the creature says.

"Has he changed, though?" Rowaine asks.

"He used to have a much greater influence on the world. Now it is tamed back."

"How long ago did this happen?"

"Beyond your parents' generation."

Rowaine suggests triangulating Harkon's position using multiple Find the Path spells cast in different locations: Elondel, Trina and Ashhope, for example. Calico can prepare two such spells.

The party decide to camp in the woods until tomorrow morning. They ask Axe, Zhar and Wyr whether they wish to accompany the party on their quest to find Harkon's imprisoned spirit. Their responses range from Zhar's quiet acceptance to Axe's ebullient affirmation.

Troll transports the party to Saju so the tower can provide Calico with Troll's memory of Harkon's essence. That complete, they transport to Trina for Calico to cast Find the Path. Nothing.

"What - Harkon is not here?" Rowaine asks.

"That's what it looks like," Troll says.

"Then where is he?"

"On another plane, perhaps. Ezalor said he was here because of an infernal threat; perhaps he is there."

The party consider how to access the infernal plane for a considerable amount of time before thinking of asking Ezalor for help. They return to Harkon.

"Ezalor, could you transport us to the infernal plane?" Rowaine asks.

"What?"

"We think that's where Harkon is."

"I could, but it will take me several hours to prepare. And I would not wish to linger.

"Can you get us back again?"

"Of course."

"Then let's do it."

Ezalor takes the party to the infernal plane. Calico casts his remaining Find the Path spell. Again, it offers no guidance. At Rowaine's request Ezalor returns the party to Harkon's root.

"What's going on here?" Rowaine asks.

"Hmmmmm…" Troll thinks.

"What happens when we cast a spell to find something that doesn't exist?"

"Maybe the place Troll saw only existed in his mind?" Ariel says.

"What if it's inside an Antimagic Shield?" Lionel asks.

Troll's eyes glint. "Not an Antimagic Shield. But there is something else. My guess is Harkon is either not on either of the two planes we have tried, or that his location is protected from divination."

"So, best guess is that Harkon is in Lanuan somewhere. But how do we track him down?" Rowaine asks. She turns to Troll. "Harkon communicated with you once, through this root. Maybe you can do it again, find out where he is."

"The druid can Speak with Plants," Troll suggests. "Calico?"

Calico casts his spell. "What are your questions?"

"Do you know where you are?" Ariel asks.

"No."

"Do you have any memories of being taken to where you are?"

"No."

"Who has you?" asks Rowaine.

"I do not know. Someone powerful."

"What plane are you on?" asks Lionel.

"This one."

"How can we find you?"

"I don't know."

"Has your captor mentioned any names?" Ariel asks.

"Only mine and Etella."

"Does your captor come to you regularly?"

"No."

"Can you hear anything?"

"No."

Speak with Plants is still in effect…

Previous · Next

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