Avlis Campaign 2, Part 2
|Avlis Campaign 1||The "Jade" Campaign||Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Avlis Campaign 2||The West End of Time||Part 1, 2, 3, 4|
|Avlis Campaign 3||Vanoviel and The Godslayer||Part 1|
|Avlis Campaign 4||Rune Quest||Part 1, 2|
|Avlis Campaign 5||The Western Underdark||Part 1, 2, 3|
Upon returning to the Daimyo, the adventurers relayed all the information they heard in the village to the west. The Daimyo, Horokoshi, was pleased. He let them know that his spies have found an area with a large concentration of spirits, and they uncovered news that the spirits indeed were serving a powerful creature who was controlling them all and helping them to spread the taint.
He also told them that the Uraki-Oni was reportedly in that same area, but if they were to go after them, they would need protection from further tainting. The Vanara, he said, were a race of monkey-like people who lived in the trees. They had a large establishment called simply Monkey City at which many of them lived.
The journey to Monkey City was long, but easy, and the heroes were stunned at the reception they received. None of the Vanarans had never seen an elf or fairy hybrid before. This caused the whole entire village to come out and see them, bombarding them with zilliions of questions about everything imaginable. Between the barages of questions, the heroes were able to get some small information on blocking taint. They found that high quality jade was good at this sort of thing It can absorb taint before it infiltrates a person's being. After more questions, the PC's requested some jade which the Vanarans gladly gave. It was their pleasure, and if they had more jade left they would have all joined the party and set out to fight evil spirits alongside them. However, they did not, much to the heroes' relief.
Continuing on their journey, they reached the designated area and found many spirits there, most of whom were not pleased to see them. After a brief fight with some particularly powerful Gekido-Oni, the Uraki-Oni appeared. In their parley, he revealed that he was the one called Neeldrick Volray, who recovered the stone for Ari's sword 1000 years ago after the explosion that ended the Great War. He no longer possessed the stone, however, because his master took it from him for his own purposes. The master was revealed to be a Negerai of great power. Volray was now intent on destroying the heroes for crushing his life stone, which was the focus of his power and immortality.
Another battle ensued, and it was hard fought. Derick the Champion of O'Ma, who had been faitfully attending his master, Vanoviel, was killed by a Gekido-Oni fighting on Volray's side.... mauled to death. A bolt of earth coming up from the ground sent by Volray brought death to one of Tupaia's druid acolytes. Arie was also nearly killed by the Gekido-Oni and their claws and teeth. Another spell from Volray trapped Vanoviel in a wall of bone with a very frightened Gekido-Oni. After killing that, she worked herself free with help from Kung. The battle did not look good, but eventually after a series of flamestrikes from Tupaia, and a lucky sword cut from Arie, Volray died.
When we last left our heroes, they had just defeated the evil Neeldrick Volray. In order to do this, they had to travel to the very heart of the land occupied by the tainted spirits. After meeing much resistance, and defeating Neeldrick, their suspicions about an even darker foe were confirmed. Their next task was to find out who this mysterious Negerai was, and where he resided, so they could retrieve the stone taken from Arie's family and remove this awful threat.
As they were in the woods contemplating their next move, Raven and Tupaia Dagroth heard a twig snap behind them. Wheeling around with their weapons at the ready, they did not see any great foe. Instead they spotted a strange little girl with busy hair.
Gor, the acting guide for the heroes, immediately recognized it as a child of his own race, the korobokuru. He immediately began to chatter with the young girl in their strange racial language. The girl revealed that she had been living in this area her whole life. Her parents came from a village that was nearby. Gor knew this village, for it was also where he came from, and he told the adventurers that he left it when it was destroyed by the spirits some time ago. When the girl's parents were killed, she took up residence in the woods with her brother.
The party asked her many questions about her ability to survive in the woods, which was almost uncanny, but they also found out that this girl had seen much in her 10 years of life. She knew of a great monster that sometimes dwelt in the forest. This monster was in control of all the evil spirits of the land, and he seemed to be very evil himself. She described him as being around 12ft tall, with glowing green eyes, and two spiral horns coming out of his head. From the way she talked, the creature was half beast, and half humanoid... walking on twos or fours whenever it suited. The heroes had their first description of the Negerai!
But the girl's problems were many. She was not alone in the woods, for she lived with her older brother. Gor found out that the brother had been captured by an evil band of samurai who were based nearby. They were Lord Oroki's men, and their base seemed to function as some sort of liason point between the human inhabitants and the evil spirits.
Being of kind heart, Vanoviel and her friends said they would rescue the young lass' brother. So, they set off to the south after the girl, who was leading them to the outpost.
On their way to the outpost, Raven scouted ahead and spotted some more evil spirits called Gekido No Oni. They were lying in ambush over a small mountain pass. When she reported this to her fellow travellers, they all decided to try and go around. when they got up and over the hill bordering the pass, they ran headlong into another group of the evil creatures, however, these were dispatched in no more than 18 seconds by shots from Raven's bow and a barrage of cuts from Arie and Vanoviel.
Continuing on, they spotted what they were looking for: A lone samurai guard manning an outpost gate that led into a fortification. The heroes made a plan. Tupaia would transform into a mink using her druidic powers. She would then run down to the man on guard and disable the man using a prayer from O'Ma which would reduce his health to almost nothing. Then when the man was helpless, Raven would finish him with her bow before he could ring the bell nearby and sound the alarm.
Tupaia went about the plan without a hitch, but when it came to for Raven to take the shot... she missed wide. The startled man was just about to ring the bell when the next arrow from Raven finished him.
Relieved, Kung grabbed the body and dragged it back into the woods. They were just about to enter the now abandoned post when more trouble arrived. The guard's overseer came to check the post. Jumping back into the woods, the party saw that the overseer was looking very alarmed. He was just about to ring the bell, when Kung did some quick thinking. He transformed into a copy of the guard they just killed. Using the guard's voice, he told the overseer that he was in the woods taking a piss.... quickly, he donned the dead man's armor and came straggling out of the woods looking like the dead guard.
The overseer was furious. He reprimanded Kung for leaving his post, and told him to kneel down. Drawing his sword with the intention of beheading the guard for his misconduct, the overseer raised it over his head. Just then, three arrows pierced his temples in succession, rendering him dead. Kung was saved....
Having averted the alarms, the heroes planned another attack. They would hold their ground at the outpost gate and wait for the samurai to come to them. The battle was begun by a flurry of fireball arrows from Raven and flamestrike spells from Tupaia. All hell broke loose in the compound as Samurai charged up to the gate, and archers appeared at the top of the building.
The battle was fierce, and the heroes took some injuries, but the samurai were eventually cut down or burned to death. The heroes cautiously made their way into the compound, knowing that the samurai were not the only occupants because they had seen Gekido-Oni around the place earlier.
When they opened the door to the main building, they found the spirits standing there at the ready. However this time, instead of a fight, the spirits wanted a parley. They put a protective covering of darkness over themselves and negotiated from the doorway of the building.
Van wanted to destroy them for their evil nature, but the spirits wished to go free. They would agree not to harm any of the prisoners inside the compound if the heroes would let them go. This was a dilemma for the party. They wanted to destroy the evil, but they did not want to bring harm to the prisoners. A few of their attempts to use clerical magic to break the stalemate failed. So they were forced to comply and give their word.
The spirits were allowed to walk past them, and they left the prisoners in their wake.... many of the prisoners were tainted and evil themselves. Among them was the little girl's brother. Gor took them under his care and thanked the heroes for their bravery.
The compound was searched for information and equipment, and the little girl's brother was tied up in order to be de-tainted later.
The heroes realized that the Negerai must be near, and that he was probably a ways to the south.
Once the heroes secured the bunker and rescued the little korobokuru girl's brother, Lok, they settled down to rest. While helping Lok with his taint, they stumbled on some information inside the bunker they just liberated from the evil tainted samurai. The information was in the form of correspondance between the bunker and a nearby village.
The party ascertained that the Negerai himself, the creature behind this whole taint epidemic, and the possessor of Arie's stone, was in a village not too far to the south. They decided to head there immediately but first there was the matter of the kids.
Tupaia Dagroth used her druidic abilities to walk on the winds, and with her she took the kids, Gor, and Vanoviel to a village far to the north. This village was inhabited by other korobokuru, and Gor knew it well. He said the children would be safe there and they would be taken in by the locals and raised kindly.
Having completed that errand, Vanoviel suggested that Tupaia use the remaining time on her prayer to scout out the village they heard about. It was located about 20 miles to the south of the bunker and they made it there with ease.
The scene they saw was horrible. Some of the village buildings were still standing, but many were either knocked over, crushed, or burnt to cinders. The inhabitants of the village, though they were all tainted, looked hurt in one way or another. Some nursed scrapes,and others broken bones. There were also many dead visible among their number. Even many of the tainted samurai who lurked in the village did not seem well.
They also noticed a curious feature. A patch of woods extending southward from the village was knocked over and a bit crushed, as if something very big hand crash landed there. However as they scouted that feature, they found no evidence of what made it. They then returned to the bunker to collect the rest of their friends who were waiting for them.
Together the heroes set out on foot towards the village. Once they were within 5 miles of it they rested in their collapsable tower owned by Raven. In the morning they set out again.
About one mile from the village they were accosted by a patrol of dark samurai. When the samurai inquired the purpose of these strangers, the heroes answered that they wished to speak with the Negerai. This was not the right answer, and the samurai attacked. Unfortunately they never reached the heroes. Tupaia and Vanoviel toasted them with flamestrikes, and Raven picked off the leftovers with her gem bow.
After this they entered the village proper, and they were greated by stares and dirty looks from the inhabitants. None of them, however, seemed interested in fighting. They were more concerned with nursing their wounds recieved from whatever incident just occurred there earlier.
Vanoviel accosted one villager and asked them to see the person in charge. The villager agreed to take them to the lead samurai, Daimyo Yatoshi Oroki. As they marched togethor towards Oroki's dwelling, many samurai started falling in line with them until they were surrounded. Eventually Oroki stepped out of his dwelling and asked the heroes who they were and if they had come to pledge allegience to the Negerai.
"Yes", Vanoviel lied. They said that they were very interested in joining the dark cause. The samurai was suspicious, for his scouts had reported to him about the decimation of one of his patrols. He however saw the power of the group and did not want to tangle with them after having lost so many of his men and receiving so much damage to his village.
He told them that the Negerai was busy at the moment, so they could not speak with him. He was elsewhere. Through more conversation the heroes found out that a fight just taken place in the village between the Negerai and one of the Tien Lung (celestial dragons). The dragon lost and was carried off by the Negerai to his cave to complete the tainting. Apparently the Negerai wanted to completely taint the tien lung instead of killing it.
Appalled, but hiding their disgust, the heroes asked where this compound was and they received directions to a site not far to the south.
As they set out, they soon came into view of a cave. Outside the cave sat a tainted samurai sharpening his sword, and a few gekido no oni. Deciding not to parley, Vanoviel and Tupaia once more unleashed their terrible flamestrike prayers on the unaware enemies. This turned out to be unwise. Upon being attacked, the samurai rushed forward to meet his assailants, and as he did so he called forth about 17 more samurai from the cave behind him and a few who were tailing the adventurers from the village. The heroes were surrounded by the samurai and the gekido no oni.
Not knowing what to do, Arie suggested that they put up the tower and run inside it so they can think for a moment. Raven gave the command word to open the tower on top of two unsuspecting samurai who were hurt badly in the process. They all then rushed inside.
This did not prove to be a good strategy either. The samurai began to use their infernal ki powers to chip away at the tower walls. Something had to be done because they would be knocking down the tower in a matter of seconds. Raven wanted to take the tower down, but Tupaia began casting a long spell. Vanoviel stood guard over Tupaia inside the tower and made sure Raven didn't bring it down prematurely. The rest of the heroes did what they could to hold off the enemies through the arrow slits of the tower, to llittle effect.
Finally Tupaia's spell finished. A terrible rain of fire descended on the samurai and the fiendlike gekido no oni. The fire purged everything in its path, and many of the samurai went down, though many did not. This bought the heroes time to leave the tower and face their foes head on.
It was a tough battle. Kung had just started to notice that his taint that he received earlier had caused him to grow obsidian claws which he could retract at will. However, doing so would increase his taint. In a moment like this, however, he was left with no choice and he used his claws in conjunction with his martial arts learned at the monastary. He succeeded in taking down a gekido no oni, and the rest followed on the edge of Van and Arie's blade and one last fire storm from Tupaia.
None were left standing. It was at this time that they noticed a man standing at the cave entrance. He was watching calmly throughout the battle. When it was over he clapped his hands.
He introduced himself as Ashamius, the Dark Oracle. He was the direct servant of the Negerai, and he was impressed with the heroes' prowess. However he was a little angered at the loss of good men. He told the heroes that they should leave immediately and he would spare their lives.
The heroes talked a little with him first. They found out that the Negerai wanted to taint the tien lung so he would have an ally on the Celestial Council. This would enable him to move forward with his plans for creating dark versions of the five major clans. These clans would be ruled by him, and they would spread the taint everywhere, including the main continent of Avlis far to the northeast.
The heroes decided that he was too dangerous and should not be allowed to live to carry out these plans with the Negerai. They attacked with menace, but to little avail.
Ashamius reacted more quickly than any of them had anticipated. His skin became solid and augmented his armor, yet he was still too fast to be hit. Even when he did get hit, his wounds would close up almost immediately. On his first counterstrike, he drew his sword in a trained samurai fashion and gutted Arie right up the middle with it. She staggered back but recovered well and continued the fight.
None of the heroes were able to kill this man or even harm him with their weapons. At that point Vanoviel decided to grab him. Kung had a similar idea. A big wrestling match ensued. Ashamius would pin Van, only for her to escape and pin him back, and so on. Eventually Tupaia added two giant constricter snakes into the mix, and Are kept wailing away with her sword in the hopes of scoring a lucky shot. Raven would chime in with arrows when a shot presented itself, but all of this was having little effect.
However, eventually Ashamius began to tire and he was soon pinned by Van. This enabled the others to score some seriously deadly hits on him. Even though he fought hard against these hits, he eventually succumed after a very long fight. The heroes were battered, but ok.
As they searched the battlefield, a reptilian head popped out of the cave. It had wispy hair and a goatee of gold. It regarded the heroes with its swollen bloodshot eyes that dripped with blood. Then it flew off out of the cave, with its serpentine body and tiny wings. It seemed to have other business.
Soon after, a horrific creature emerged from the cave. It was about 12 ft tall with long spirally horns. The whole body was covered in dark green scales, and its eyes were glowing red. It had black claws that looked extremely deadly and it walked on two or four legs as it suited. It was the Negerai himself.
He too regarded the heroes. "So you are the ones that have been causing me so much trouble lately. I will remember you, and this incident. We will meet again. You just wait."
With those words his touched a pendant on his chest and disappeared. The pendant seemed to contain a stone remarkably similar in description to Arie's lost bauble.
The heroes bided their time and decided what they would do next to find the Negerai and defeat him.
After securing the outside of the Negerai's compound, the heroes decided to step inside the cave and have a look around.
Within the complex they found a deep cavern that seemed set up to serve as a prison and arena for the Negerai. Massive shackles were present that were presumably used to tether the Celestial Dragon for its tainting. Remnants of a battle in the cave were visible all throughout. On one wall, there was another smaller dragon still chained in place.
The dragon looked visibly tainted, however the heroes were not sure if it was completely turned yet. They managed to strike up a conversation and learned that the Celestial Dragon had been completely tainted by the Negerai and was on its way to make some demands on the Council, while the Negerai was to go off and start uniting the newly forming Dark Clans. This dragon, known as a Spirit Dragon, was designed as a messenger and explained that letting him go would be very useful for staving off the impending evil being propogated by the Negerai. So the adventurers compliled with some trepidation and managed to free him. He left without incident, apparently intent on some other great matters.
Upon further inspection of the cavern, the group found that it was also used as a makeshift command post and camp for the Negerai's humanoid minions. Discarded items were strewn about, as well as some freshly burning campfires that were seemingly abandoned in haste when the minions were attacked from the outside. While collecting some of the finer trash, Raven stumbled upon a peculiar black laquered rod with a few incscriptions and runes carved into it. There was an oriental common phrase engraved on the side, "toki auto".
Much discussion ensued about what this rod was. Vanoviel determined that it was VERY highly magical, and this made Raven even more curious (and greedy). After a time, the curiousity got the better of her and she held the rod while reciting the phrase.... amid the ducking and scattering of the rest of the crew. Instead of reigning down complete destruction, the rod did something else. A shimmering bubble appeared over Raven and enveloped her and anyone standing nearby. Looking outside the bubble, time seemed to pass very slowly. Those who were looking into the bubble saw time on the interior passing very quickly. Apparently, they had discovered a powerful artifact with the ability to manipulate time. Painstakingly, they figured out some limitations on the item, such as the fact that it would not stop any missle weapons or magic from comine inside the time bubble, yet casting magic or using ranged weapons from the inside was hindered.
Around this time they realized that they needed to confront the Negerai, and quickly, for he was about to tear the ruling celestial council of Khanjar Kuro apart very soon. From their conversation earlier with the dragon, they decided that they had no way to destroy the Negerai in a frontal attack, yet they may be able to think of some way to immobilize or imprison him, so they had to try. They set out back the way they came.
The way back was dark and tiresome after their ordeal. As they were about to rest, one of the heroes spotted a shadowy figure tailing them not far behind. The adventurers immediately took up a battle position when they got back to the abandoned village at which point the shadowy figure revealed himself. Dressed from head to toe in a tight fitting black suit with a face covering, the sleek ninja approached them while keeping a safe distance. It was clear from the way he evaded the party's attacks that he was there to parley.
After some toying with the party, he informed them that the Negerai, his leader, was on his way to meet them there to "deal with them". He made it quite clear that he was very angry with their meddling and they were to be summarily put to death. The ninja was there to shadow them and make sure that the Negerai could find them when he decided to come. This did not go over well with Vanoviel who tried in vain to "deal with" the ninja before the Negerai got there, however it was no use. The wily figure was too fast and too nimble.
Forgoing their nightly rest, the heroes decided that their best bet was to keep moving in order to find a more defensible area. So they set off with the ninja back in tow somewhere nearby.
The trip did not last long. Using his amazing powers of teleportation, the Negerai found them weary and mostly unaware. The heroes were cornered.
A grand fight ensued between the heroes and the Negerai. At first, neither side could gain the advantage, however after a time the adventurers got a rhythym going in their battle plan and managed to make the Negerai become very concerned about his own health. He fought like the infernal fiend he was, and after some nearly lethal swipes from Arie's sword, he decided it was time to exit and try another plan.
Reaching down to the amulet he wore around his neck with the curious stone in it, he said to the heroes, "If I can't kill you NOW, I will kill you THEN. hahahaha!" Unfortunately, at the very same moment he was winking out of existence, Raven activated her temporal rod while standing next to him......
The explosion nearly ripped them all to shreds. Bumped and battered, and moderately bleeding, the heroes picked themselves up off the ground, wiping blood from their ears and noses. Not long after that, they noticed that the Negerai was gone... and something was very wrong. The trees around them no longer showed any taint... in fact, they were not even the same trees. The species of trees that now surrounded them was not of Khanjar Kuro at all... in fact it was a common species found in T'Nanshi.
This puzzled the heroes tremendously. Why did the area they now stood in look so much like the forests of T'Nanshi? Even Tupaia recognized her home flora immediately. Even stranger were the more subtle signs arrayed nearby. Some treetrunks were chipped. Some had arrows lodged into them. A small way off, Kung found the dead bodies of 3 orcs killed in battle. It was all very strange, since they had seen none of these things in Khanjar Kuro. The answer came in the sound of hoofbeats.
Riding towards them were a large unit of elven soldiers... except they were a bit different than the elven soldiers that the heroes knew. In the lead horse was a dazzling figure of an elf with silvery hair. At his side he carried something very familiar. It was a sword, remarkably identical to the one carried by Arie in every detail except one. When the rider rode up and stopped before the party, Arie could see that this sword contained 4 stones while hers only contained 3. She stood there staring dumbstruck along with her friends.
The sharp-mannered elf demanded their identities. Not knowing who they were, he then introduced himself as Solerion Rinthon.
The revelation struck the party like a meteor swarm. They WERE in T'Nanshi. The forest was damaged and there was orc carnage everywhere. The great Solerion Rinthon stood before them. Though this was the land familiar to them, it was not right. They had travelled back in time, and by the looks of it, the times were not good. By all clues, they surmised when they were... the Great War was just about to begin its final battle.
The shocking realization did not have long to sink in however. Soon after introductions were made, the advanced unit of the fleeing orc army from the east came charging through the grove......