Avlis Campaign 2, Part 3
|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|
|Avlis Campaign 6||Daggerspace||N/A|
The battle with the orcs was quick and dirty, though it inflicted a small share of casualties on Solerion Rinthon's patrol. Immediately after the carnage was through, the elf leader put his men to work cleaning up the bodies and tending to the dead and wounded while he inspected the mysterious new heroes that arrived just before the battle.
After a long conversation, the heroes proved to Solerion that they were indeed from some time in the future. Showing him that Aratelda carried the same exact sword as he, minus one stone, went a long way towards getting the point across. However, he managed to remain skeptical that she was indeed his descendant. Still, he thanked them for their efforts in the fight and asked them why they came. When Vanoviel reported that they were accidentally drawn back to that place by a Negerai, Solerion was not pleased. It was well known, especially in that time, that Negerai were bad news.
Needing some time to think, Solerion assigned one of this battlemages, Fain, to attend to the heroes and try to extract more informmation from them. He then went off. Fain proved to be very useful in informing the adventurers what was going on currently. He was also very suspicious of their story but gave them the benefit of the doubt as best he could. By the time everything was cleaned up in the forest, Solerion decided they should all head away from the battle site to rest and recuperate. Everyone agreed that it was a good idea, so they set off to the southeast and made camp a few hours later.
That night it was quiet, however just before morning everyone was awoken to an explosion of rock and heat on one side of the perimeter set up by the elven soldiers, followed by a whooshing sound. The blast annihilated every soldier that was on that side of the camp in one fell swoop. The heroes and Fain were immediately on their feet to see what went on. They saw Solerion Rinthon looking in the opposite direction as the blast and wondered why. They did not have time to wonder long, however, because behind the flames started by the blast were five robed figures rapidly approaching. Raven identified them as orcs in gold robes.
When they came a bit closer, Vanoviel started casting a spell and so did the orcs in robes! At that point, the whooshing sound was heard again. Everyone looked behind them to see the source: a very large dragon attacking the camp along with the orcs.
The battle hardened elves did not falter and instead took up their bows and let loose with volleys of arrows at the orcs and dragon as it whizzed by again. At this point, one of the orcs spells went off and sent a chain of lightning crackling through the ranks of elves and into the party of heroes. Fain went down in a sizzling heap. The rest of the heroes were more or less untouched, but angered.
Soon the battle turned ugly as Vanoviel's spell went off, causing a swarm of insects to appear around the orc mages thereby disrupting their spell casting. They started scrambling in response. The dragon behind them took that time to land.... on top of one of the elven soldiers, crushing the life out of him.
As the orcs tried to scamble out of the cloud of insects, Arie closed with them, her ancestor on her heals doing the same thing with the same sword. Tupaia did her best to summon help and tend to the wounded while Kung and Raven did what they did best... took a few potshots and hid.
The battle raged on with the dragon destroying most of the elven contingent. Eventually the orc mages were slowly being destroyed one by one as they tried to re-establish their strategy. One of them managed to sting Arie with a fireshield before leaving the world of the living. Another managed to get a few spells off at the elven group before succuming himself. However, the dragon remained healthy and in control. His granite scales moving with a flowing motion, yet retaining their rocky hardness, he systematically wiped out anyone in his path.... working his way slowly towards the heroes with combinations of land and flying attacks.
At last, with all but Solerion, Fain, and the heroes dead, the dragon closed in. Van and Arie were almost immediately wiped out by its powerful breath weapon of lava, yet they managed to cling to life. With a summoned lava elemental, the dragon laid down destruction on the party. Tupaia summoned elementals in response as well, but they were quickly dispatched by the powerful beast. Still, those efforts bought the team some time and they were able to take out the lava elemental, leaving the dragon by itself.
Taking serious wounds, the dragon decided it was time to leave. However, as it tried to fly away, Tupaia called on O'Ma's power and touched the dragon, draining almost all of its life from it. This wound was grievous, and the next hero that landed a blow felled it.
Exhausted but angered at the destruction, Vanoviel consumed the dragon's heart as a sign of victory. But the damage was already done to Solerion's men. Fain was the only one among them who remained, and he was hurt. Tupaia and Vanoviel's magic healed all wounds of the body, though not of the mind.
During that battle, Solerion ordered one of the orcish mages captured alive, and one of them was. This mage, Guissan, was questioned by Fain and the heroes. Through that discourse, everyone learned that the orc mages were up to something. The heroes, having studied history, knew what this was, but they dared not tell Solerion. They wished only to get the Negerai and leave.
Solerion was distressed up on learning that the orcs had some sort of plan. He decided that it would be best to head to Le'Or T'Nanshi and visit the Fold of Nine, a meeting of all nine magical orders that takes place periodically. Setting out on the long journey to the elven capitol was painful, but their spirits were lightened a day later when another contingent of elves met them. They had a Silver dragon in tow, who offered to take them the rest of the way on his back. Solerion accepted and the heroes were soon walking the wooden plank streets of the tree city.
Having some time to relax, the heroes sorted out their goods obtained from the orc mages and other battles. Raven upgraded some of her equipment as well. The next day, Fain led them to the building in the Capitol District that housed the Tower of The Nine. There they met Solerion, and a seneschal ushered them into an audience chamber where they saw the heads of the Nine Orders: The White, The Silver, The Green, The Blue, The Gray, The Yellow, The Gold, The Violet, and The Ebony. Vanoviel and Arie were amazed to see a Gold Order wizard sitting at that table, for in their time there was no Gold Order, only The Fold of Eight.... there was also no magical tower in the Le'Or T'Nanshi Capitol District.
The heads of the orders took turns questioning the heroes about where they came from, and what they were doing there. They too were distressed upon hearing about a Negerai coming to the area, though they were able to determine from Van's description that it was a Lesser Negerai, and not one of the different types of Greater Negerai. This was a relief, but still nothing to ignore. While doing some scrying, the mages also learned that the Negerai was working with the orcs on something on the west coast of the continent. They questioned the gold order wizard about it, but he gave no useful information.
So the council decided that the heroes were to take Fain as the elven representitive and go to the orcish enclave on the west coast to see what they were up to, and to get rid of the Negerai. The heroes accepted the task, and Fain was glad to help.
After accepting the mission to head to the east coast to uncover what the orc armies were up to, the heroes stocked up on supplies. Solerion told them that they would be taking one of his ranger guides along with them to get them through the hilly plains approaching the main army stronghold. He further informed them that they would be making most of the journey on dragonback, though not completely. It was too dangerous to fly dragons over the orc-held lands, so once they approached the border, they would be left to their own means of travel.
The flight over to the coast was leisurely at first, but the peace did not last. Enemy dragons had sighted them and were closing. As expected, a large battle erupted in the sky with the heroes' dragons barely supplanting the resistance. Fain spent a lot of time unconscious, though he was sharing a dragon mount with Arie who kept him more or less safe, though not out of danger.
As the dragons alighted to the ground and let the adventurers go their way, the main dragon in the bunch gave Vanoviel a small crystal. He said it was a powerful device that had only one use, so she should be careful. If they found great evidence of what the orcs were up to, they should break the crystal and be prepared for a lot of confusion.
Being led through the area by their ranger friend, they circumvented a lot of trouble from passing patrols and small outposts. However, as they got closer to the central orcish stronghold, reputedly by the sea, the resistence became more intense and harder to avoid. The heroes knew this orcish stronghold to be the future site of the city of Brekon, though there was no city there yet. They decided it was time for Tupaia's help in the matter.
Tupaia was able to call up on O'Ma's blessing and transform the lot of them into birds to fly the rest of the journey, though they had to be careful because her spell had limits to its duration. Once they got close to the area, they decided to hunker down and take some more cautious scouting measures.
With only a little exploration, the heroes found something amazing. In the center of the stronghold, there was a gigantic glowing hemisphere of energy. It appeared as some kind of shield, however, when Kung transformed into an owl and flew into it he was able to pass right through and back again with no problem. It did not impede movement whatsoever. The only strange thing they found was that no form of detection or scrying could penetrate the bubble. But after a few moments, Kung realized that the bubble was not the main issue. It was what was inside the bubble that was the problem.
Contained within, was a gigantic crystal seething with energies crackling about. To each cardinal direction, there was an altar with all sorts of robed figures surrounding them. Surrounding the altars were summoning circles of all sorts with groups of wizards working furiously to bring in denizens from the planes. These denizens were summarily being sacrificed on the altars, along with a few war captives here and there, visibly giving up their unholy life energies to the crystal focal piece. In the meantime, orcish magic users of all kinds who were not busying themselves with the sacrifice were channeling their own magical energy into the crystal.
Kung was enthralled. He exited the dome and changed into the form of an orcish sorcerer whom they had enountered back in T'Nanshi. Then he entered back in. Clandestinely taking out the crystal the dragon had given Vanoviel, he broke it on the ground with a swift stomp, and then gingerly turned around to exit. Getting past a few individuals who seemed to know him, he managed to leave and get back to the others.
The rest of the crew decided to check it out for themselves. Gor the timid korobokuro elected to stay behind. Morphing into birds through O'Ma's magic once again, they surveyed the crystal. It looked as if the orcs were channeling energy for a great invocation spell of awesome destructive power. The heroes did not know what do to, and then they spotted the Negerai standing there. He was directing parts of the operation!
Deciding to make a distraction, the heroes changed into their true form.... all hell broke loose. At that instant, elements of the elven army began to teleport in to the sphere..... including their dragon cohorts. A fierce tangle of good and evil dragons, wizard spells, and footsoldiers enveloped the area with the heroes caught in the middle. All they could do was fight furiously to stay alive.
In the fighting, they noticed that the negerai was nearby and they attempted to get closer. As he spotted them, the fighting was getting worse because more and more elves were teleporting in with dragons, and more and more spells were flying back and forth in answer. Deciding this was too risky, the Negerai shook his head and once again reached for the pendant at his neck.... uttering a command word, he attempted to disappear, and succeeded.... but there was a price....
To the heroes' eyes, everything went white. They saw the magical emanations from the Negerai's artifact and the crystal focal point collide and explode.... The explosion was worse and more powerful than anything they could have conceived, but it did not hurt them because they were so close to the Negerai that the magical field from his artifact enveloped them and ripped them out of timespace... but not before they saw a fading after image of Solerion Rinthon's head being ripped off in the blast.....
When the white light faded, they were in a forest. By the looks of it, Tupaia determined it was a very old growth, and was in good shape. But on closer inspection, there was a problem with it. Animal carcases littered the place... they all seemed to be torn apart with tooth and claw.... possibly from each other.
This puzzled the heroes. They looked around and saw no one but themselves. The Negerai was not found.
Then they came upon a fairy in the woods. The fairy was immediately hostile and asked them to state their business. Vanoviel and Tupaia presented it with their O'Ma holy symbols, thinking it a gesture of good faith. However, upon seeing the symbols, the fairy bolted away screaming for help.
Slowly piecing it together, the heroes had a bad feeling about where they wound up in time... for they were fairly certain there was another time shift when the Negerai used his artifact.
After the heroes found themselves in the forest of T'Nanshi in the time of the Fairy War, they quickly set out to look for some kind of civiliation where they could pose questions as to the Negerai's whereabouts.
Kung was able to spot a small village nearby, which Tupaia deduced was occupied by O'Ma fairies and a few other types of O'Ma fairy-kin. The heroes made for the place, which was not more than a day away, and they found an Inn there. It was the only building big enough to accommodate them.
There they deduced that they were someplace in the Northwestern part of T'Nanshi, and that the war was raging all around them. There were no battle lines in this war.... only mixed chaos as the two races fought for dominance.
In the tavern, Tupaia met a charismatic half-dryad named Lineus, who happened to be the local commander of O'Ma's forces. He told the heroes that lately an O'Ma dryad grove was found to be destroyed. In this particular grove, Lineus had lost his mother, a dryad herself. He was aching for some kind of answer as to what happened there, but all he knew for certain is that the trees were turned to ash and the dryads were found laying next to them dead. Though his sorrow over his mother was great, he realized that help was needed and he could not tackle the issue alone.
Thinking that this might have something to do with their dreaded enemy, the heroes took the job of finding out what happened to the grove. They told Lineus that they would report back to him soon, and they set out for the grove. Upon reaching it two days later, the heroes found what Lineus described. Additionally, Thalen was able to ascertain some carelessly made tracks coming out of the remains of the grove and heading more or less southward. The heroes folllowed this trail for another two days, and came to a second destroyed grove.
This grove seemed to suffer the same symptoms as the first. The dryad trees were reduced to ashes, and the dryads themsevles were dead next to them. All of the dead were O'Ma dryads. Perplexed, the adventurers searched the area and once again Thalen found a path leading out.
Expecting to find a third grove, the heroes were ambushed along the way by a pack of fairies, and later at night they were assaulted by some mysterious large brown bears that seemed to be possessed in some way. When the fray ended, a small dimensional door appeared in front of the crew and through it stepped a woman of unimaginable unearthly beauty. Her beauty was deadly in fact, and this rang true with Kung and Raven who toppled over in place. At the sight of seeing two of her friends die, Arie swiftly cut the head off the figure and it too fell dead.
Destraught and filled with grief over what happened, the party pulled together and Vanoviel called upon O'Ma's will to restore them to life. Miraculously, it worked for both of them, yet they were not feeling so strong as they did beforehand. After a rest, they then moved on to regain the trail.
Coming to a third grove some time later, the party found some curiosities there. More dead dryads were found, however one was blackened and burnt, and so was a smoldering tree found nearby. Another pile of ash was too small to be a tree, and looked much as if it had been a dryad instead. The tree which it had adored was represented adjacent to it as another pile of ash. Overall, the dryad bodies were in close proximity as if they had been rounded up for the slaughter. This made Vanoviel and Tupaia's blood boil, for again, they all appeared to be O'Ma dryads. At some prompting from Vanoviel, Tupaia used her druidic abilities to change into a Silver dragon, so that she could take the chase to the air and carry the heroes on her back.
Immediately, they set out for the next grove, which turned up some more of the same oddities. The heroes agreed to fly over the grove and come back later to bury the bodies, but at that point they saw something moving below. It turned out to be a surviving half-dryad. The addled female told the crew that she had been attacked by a party of evildoers that were led by a powerful fairy wizard. It seemed the fairy was testing some sort of wand artifact that would separate a dryad from its tree, without killing the tree. Yet it was not working the way she had planned, apparently. It needed more testing. The poor half-dryad wound up as a test subject. The fairy pointed the wand at her, and she immediately fell unconcious, and was left for dead, she suppoed. Curious, the party searched around and only found some traps that had been set by somebody. Hastily departing on dragonback, they asked the dryad to bury the bodies. As they flew off, they saw the dryad accidentally fall dead once more by an arrow through the neck from one of the traps.
Moving on to the next grove was again very easy to do through the air. Following the trail was a bit harder, but they managed. When they came to another grove, they found more evidence. There were dead dryads, howeverr, among them was a tree that had not been killed. Its dryad was dead however, or apparently in some kind of stasis. Whatever the fairy was testing, she had finally succeeded. The revelation was short-lived however, because out of thin air stepped a curious looking brownie type creature with a blood-red cap. He held up a ring and casted a spell at the heroes, which almost killed a few of them as they were assaulted by shadowy shapes. Fain was the only one among the dead. Promptly after that, the redcap dissappeared.
Taking the time to call on O'Ma once again, Vanoviel brought back the dead. They rested and then moved on to catch up with whomever was doing this.
Later that day as they were flying through the air, they came to a grove that had not yet been destroyed. However, standing in the grove was a centaur that matched Thalen's description of the kind of beast that would make a trail like the one they were following. The party immediately attacked the centaur.
The retaliation came swiftly. O'Ma dryads in the grove fled the scene for safety, while invisible foes from all around pelted spells up at Tupaia's dragon form. Once again, Fain fell to a chain lightling casted from a wizard below. Thinking quickly, and taking more spell damage from other assaults, Tupaia landed on top of the wizard who just struck at them, crushing her almost to death. The heroes who were left tried to dismount the dragon. Thalen quickly dispatched the wizard under Tupaia by stabbing her through the neck with his sword.
All the while, spells rained down on the party. Vanoviel botched an attack on the centaur, and had to retreat. Arie took up the fight as well with another foe. Kung tried to circle around for a better look with Raven, who pelted the scene with her fireball arrows.
But the party's luck did not hold out for long. A shadowy attack of illusions much like the one casted by the redcap was casted at close range from right in front of the party. Tupaia fell over dead at the sight, as did Kung and Raven. Desperate, the heroes fought on. Vanoviel managed to pinpiont the location of the fairy wizard who casted the last spell and wounded her severely. In retaliation, she casted a spell on Van, striking her dead as well.
The battle was not going well. Thalen heroically held his ground at the dead dragon's side while Arie made a last stand. At this time, the dryads of the grove realized what was happening, and decided it was time for a hasty retreat. Dispatching the badly wounded fairy wizard with their magic and using their ability to travel through plants, they quickly snapped up the heroes, both living and dead and removed them from the scene.
But the damage was done. The grove perished, and with it, many dryads. The wand fell back into the hands of the Titanian fairies. Titania had won that day.
The fairy wizard Shalkes, having run into more resistance than she hoped in her initial tests of her experimental wand, went back to the Titanian Court, and was granted help. This help took the form of Lord Barun, Centaur Hero of Titania, Robelard, a quickling of the Seely Court, and Mishlek, a Redcap. In addition she hired several non-fey mercenaries, Tiwanda, a male Titanian druid, Sylvestra, a female elven wizard, Morgan, a male human fighter, and Jack, a male human pirate who seemed to wield a whip like it was alive. Noone would ever have known their names if not for what came later.
Shalkes impressed upon her minions the importance that no witnesses were left behind, and that she be allowed to perfect the wand, using living dryads as test subjects. Coming upon the first grove, the group took a moment to plan, and then ruthlessly carried out their mission, annihilating every creature in the grove that was not a dryad, and capturing the dryads. First, Sylvestra cast an unusual spell in the air above the dryads to destroy the fairies and pixies flitting about, while Shalkes and the warriors concentrated on the 2 Brownies below, using the advantage of surprise and the quickling's speed to silence them before they could call for help. Tiwanda was charged with capturing the dryads using his power over the plants, and it worked well enough. Shalkes moved in and experimented with her wand, and the dryads died in gruesome ways, but so did the trees, so the wand was a failure. Determined to continue trying to adjust the wand, she called for the group to move on to the next grove.
The next grove was a bit larger, but the story was the same. The dryads and fairy-kin were no match for the brutal assault. The assassins even had to take special measures to save the lives of the dryads, protecting them with a magical wall of force, while every other living thing in the grove was destroyed. One of the four dryads perished in the assault, but the three that remained were enough for three more tests, each stranger than the last. Shalkes seemed eager to move on, and there was another small grove nearby, which was taken even more easily than the last. Here she had her first true success, and was able to test her wand twice, slaying the dryads with its touch, but leaving the trees alive, and unharmed, for Titanian dryads to occupy.
Elated, she chose a more militarily significant target for her final test, hoping for one last confirmation, but also to cause as much devastation as possible before returning to the Council. This proved to be her undoing, as a group of adventurers riding atop a silver dragon swooped in just as her group's attack was about to commence, disrupting the surprise. Her wand was perfect though, and the quickling managed to retreat with it to safety while the warriors battled it out over the corpses of the slain adventurers from both sides. The O'Ma dryads intervention brought the combat to a premature halt, but it cost them their lives, as Lord Barun chopped and burned their trees before bringing the corpses of his comrades back to the Council.