After a lengthy rest period that lasted a day and a half we wake in the ominous and dreadful presence of our mother Avaricia in her royal court surrounded by six titled adult dragon servitors within a volcano so hot it threatened to burn the scales from our bones.
Avaricia (large as a fleet of trade ships set end-to-end) was immense, terrible beyond description, and very pregnant with gods knew what. We felt, for the first time in our albeit short time since our awakening in Twilight House, insignificant in her regard. We could feel her ponderous occupancy in our minds searching our thoughts with virtually no effort on her part. Master of her domain she affected her environment more so than the environment affected her. All about the lair large lava tarns reflected images and scenes like molten scrying pools, tailor made rock formations to suite her needs added to the décor, as well as a hoard so vast and amazing no single item of treasure came into contact with another. It was impressive.
It was clear that we were the first half breeds allowed in her sacred court. We were summarily introduced to her six dragon servitors as the ‘architect’s mistake’ but were nevertheless treated as royal princes and were not disrespected by the six.
Her plan for us: Avaricia would claim the volcano dwarf’s islands to expand her personal domain and Kazzurog the elven lands as her dowry. If successful we will have offerings to Tiamat in the way of souls to buttress her goals of retaining the first layer of Hell. Then we will be duly rewarded with the task of returning to Stormhaven to kill Kazzurog’s current queen Katarina. Lucky us.
Two of Avaricia’s red servitors were assigned as guides and advisers to us, each with devil-possessed riders: Vovere and Expugnatio who took us on a tour-de realms to the seat of the Dwarven kingdom and then to the mysterious forested elven lands.
The dwarves proved to be stout and sturdy creatures in a volcanic region rife with stone and earth creatures, constructs, and machinery as well as areas of dead-magic.
Then it was off to the elven territories where we discover a canopy of forested lands so thick the ground evaded our notice. Flight would be near impossible were elves (akin to assassins) waited with deadly bows and deadly skill. After all, mother’s retinue once numbered twelve. The elves were also masters of their environment and held a special hatred for our kind with some individual elves being immune and resistant to dragon magic. The elven population was spread out through a large area and it is not known by our guides of any central civilization.
After a short respite in the salt flats where Sarosh rejoins us. He arrived speaking of a trap laid for us and where only a being of air had any hope of escape. The Rakshashas and their devil masters were angry with us it would seem. We then travel to a Temple of Tiamat, a plinth-like structure in the middle of a burned out area of destruction bordered by enemy druids on each side. During our travels we observe a preternatural land untouched by civilization and populated by dinosaurs, titanic spiders, and strange flying menaces.
But before our guides depart they inform us of only one encounter with a Virtue in the last ten years- a being allied with the elves: Industria (diligence); as well as teaching Jaren and Auge an invocation to Tiamat in order to identify a fallen soul for her purposes.
Sunday: Arriving at the Plinth of Tiamat we were approached by an honor guard of fifty half dragons/half devils led by the High Priest of Tiamat Galazel who greeted us with a prayer to which we responded in kind.
The temple zealots proved to be heavily militaristic and completely structured, speaking exclusively in infernal they laid out the red carpet for us, held a feast in our honor, and indoctrinated us with gifts and tokens of Tiamat. The Plinth temple housed over thirty humanoids that served as ambassadors from other lands and city-states including one from Kazzurog.
During a banquet we were introduced to the guests, converts, zealots and builders of other future temples: Gulam Laqueo’ from Nimbus, Fruges Sazo from Shabad, and Morantem Mero or “Diem” from Darkell (who was able to ‘see’ Versel). Jaren gifts these builders with a 1,000 gold gem for finery and improvements to the future temples- however each react to the ‘monetary’ gift differently.
During the banquet the sermon from Galazel was non-stop; for them it is not about faith but about absolutes against Barbatos and the war for Avernus. “Life here is a means to victory in Hell.”
When asked about information on the lands and culture we were introduced to three half-elf prisoners. Mapmakers who were forced to work and then punished for it, captured while running trade out of Shabad along the north east coast of the continent. The map they provided was exquisite and provided invaluable information including the territories of three nearby druids: Artol (fighter), Damid (sorcerer/fighter) and lastly Foxel a rogue who did all of the groveling.
After talking with Foxel and appraising his value we agreed that they should be allowed to live for now hoping they could be of some future use.
High Priest Galazel, doing his best to keep his composure, uses our interrogation with the three slaves as an object lesson into the wisdom that our mother has in enlisting our aid in this war. He gives his Tiamat’s blessing, however without her mark the blessings benefits are lost to us but we are protected from the pain and suffering others would have experienced. It does however ‘recharge’ our rings of sustenance and will thus provide its magical benefits even on Avernus.
We begin next session Monday as we arrive to Nimbus (100 miles NE of the Temple), a human city of 5,000 among the mists atop a ridge where all manner of gargoyles, flying horses, and drow lived along with other races of culture. It is here we hope to establish a base of operations and to discover where the dwarves get their supplies and learn more of the elves who we must bring to an violent end.