Monday, November 2, 2015

10/28/15 Virtues Session 24: On This Day the Duke is Betrayed

Dramen’s eyes took on a devilish gleam as he entered the searing temple chamber. Besides the near unbearable heat the hallowed halls thundered with the sounds of dwarven chanting to the Builder- Dumathoin god of craft and protector of the dwarven hearth. 

Around the perimeter of the chamber were statues of volcano dwarves in honor stances with weapons raised to unseen foes and where there were none, complex runes etched lessons of honor and craft reminding the worshipers of the tenants of their faith. And in the center of it all, the focus and the direction to which each dwarf prayed was an immense pool of simmering magma. It steamed and popped with its own life and radiated an orange glow lighting the worshipers in fiery illumination while filling the chamber with acrid smoke.

Dramen’s mischievous grin did not escape his closest friend Syrendross who watched the Traveler rock back and forth on the toes and heels of his magical boots. But once Dramen saw the drow was watching him the ginger-mage paused his rocking immediately and shrugged innocently.

The drow subtly shook his head unable to conceal his own thin smile.

As this silent exchange between friends took place Dramen was only peripherally aware that Dolgrin was making some sort of paladin speech; however Dramen was more concerned about putting his magical footwear to the ultimate test by walking like a messiah across the liquid magma. 

As we step out of the Ways certain things become apparent; first, we are back to the time when Syrendross, Dolgin, and Kyras was killed at the Count’s wedding, this slip backwards in time reverted Dolgrin’s ring back into a Ring of Spellstoring. Second, Larson and the other 49 of the Duke’s most trusted that we saved from Tenebris were fully restored to existence. Third, seven other unknown individuals previously trapped in the Ways also became aware of this exit from the Ways which was located Sky High on the pass between Hollow Mount and Roc's Nest  The sundering and volcanic eruptions caused many rock slides completely covering the previously sealed portal.  

When we emerge through a tunnel of fire leaving behind normal looking stone, we encounter the Volcano dwarf Barit Coinmail with greetings of “you are real!” and “my vision is true.” He briefly explains his meaning and offers to lead us to Embassy Mount. Syrendross is careful to conceal his drow heritage, freely giving his weapons to Dolgrin. We hastily explain the reason of our arrival and immediately begin asking for key individuals.

As Barit leads us onward we now come to appreciate the enormity of Bouvet Keep, the buildings of stone, temporary structures of commerce and the shrines of faith from faraway lands. As we pass onto Hollow Mount Syrendross begins searching for symbols of Kimit.  Leaving Hollow Mount we avoid too many interactions until we arrive at Embassy Mountain where we are brought before a 60 foot diameter pool of magma around which are eight praying clerics observing the dwarven holiday hoping for a vision from the Builder.

We are introduced to Torck Meerclaw who begins questioning us about the ‘old broken elven byways’ but is quickly interrupted with dire news of the Dukes impending betrayal. Therein follows several hours of calling certain trusted individuals: the Loyal Men, 13 high priests.  A plan is made to uncover the possible corruption of Carvanatos Tramore as well as a timetable of two days to plan before the formal announcement of the Duke’s death is received.

Syrendross scrys on the Castle Keirken allowing many individuals to witness the Duke’s battle wagon explode and the assassins bearing down on the soon to be murdered heroes of virtue. Our discussion allows us to confirm for the dwarves that the Inquisitor, Zaid Aclair is a follower of Orcus, while also revealing that Zaid and Count Keirkin are brothers.We win the trust of the dwarven faithful, but we are cautioned this will not extend to all of the dwarven population. 

The discussion regarding the possible corruption of Chief of Staff Carvanatos leads to some disagreement regarding the mysterious appointment of the Sea Master Ralikanthae as  Knight Protector, half the dwarf high priests think Ralikanthae is being set up as a scape goat; while the other half are convinced the wizard is also demon worshiper.

Over the next two days Barit is inaugurated as Dolgrin’s cohort and we are given an area to rest and recover.The next morning Barit takes us to the baths and later to the residence of his romantic interest’s 
Perunia for a meal. We decide to embrace our merchant cover and spend most of the day selling our extra items in exchange for Bouvaldian tender. Dolgrin takes a walkabout, Dramen spends the next two days crafting a wand of haste; Syrendross and Rydin keep a low profile as Kyras scribes scrolls. At the end of two days bells ring as expected signaling a gathering to hear the news of the Duke’s death. The news brought mixed reactions from the 2 to 3 thousand citizens spread across Roc’s Nest- some expressing sadness, others silent reflection; some who didn’t agree with the Duke’s policies were even relieved.

By this time 40 of Larson’s men are assembled with the overall feelings of worry about how to approach the machinations of the impending transition of power. We as well as the high priests decide to separate objectives: they would gather information on Ralikanthae, Larson and his men would prepare for the intrigue that is to come, and we would seek out the Chief of Staff Carvanatos as Mythic Merchants.

More horns sound giving the call to arms and to man all posts and to close the bay as we enter Cloudhome where we hear the ‘order 66’ thereby activating anti-Duke sympathizers. As we near the secure walls we run into Havisail who tries to diminish Barit but was eventually charmed by Dramen to lead us to the Chief of Staff. This leads us to a human Xavier along with two guards who tries to undercut Havisail with his authority and after a few brief tense moments of would-be conflict- we are warranted an immediate visit with Carvanatos.

We pass security eventually finding the Chief of Staff. This prompts Dramen to seek thoughts to determine the Chief’s political alignment, but to no avail. We raise some key points to Carvanatos but like his thoughts we don’t get many answers to the facts as we know and present them. He departs claiming to want to report our claims but we find ourselves locked in the office while he tended to the news.

We are able to escape our impromptu prison by use of some magical transportation. From here we head off into the city noticing that we are being watched and followed...