Tempest Rising

Chicken Run
Or-- Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn

t2.jpgKallius and Boomah took to the skies to catch the fleeing Tengu, and Saerin rushed back to his bow to strike from the ground. One by one, the bird men crashed into the canopy and did not emerge.

Returning to the group, Luix had freed himself from the gluey mass and had restrained the charau-ka leader. Once awake, the beast loudly demanded his freedom, but was willing to tell our heroes the dangers they faced if they wanted to challenge Verduous.

He told them that the entry was guarded by a man-eating tree, and the dragon is served by a group of bullywugs. He had never been in his master’s private chambers, not had he ever seen a flaming stick floating in mid-air.

He did add that the dragon calls the small blue dragons to his chamber once every day, otherwise they roam the region hunting.

Once again, the group discussed their options ranging from frontal assault to sending in Celeste alone to parlay with the dragon. In the end, they may have settled on entering through the platform halfway up the Temple through a combination of Teleport and Dimension Door. But first, they hoped to rest and regain their strength.

They found an old ratfllk cave that the lizards had already ripped open, and crowded together to sleep in advance of their attack.

Monkey see, monkey die
Or-- Hear no evil

Man-Ape__Conan_.jpgThe fire-lizard-riding charau-ka charged the main group of our heroes, with the apes’ long spears crashing into their defenses. Celeste summoned a frost mephit that seemed to be effective against the mounts, so Boomah started tossing frost bombs as well.

The situation turned more dire when a cloud of ravens appeared above, resolving into a feathered-cloaked charua-ka. he was flanked by three winged creatures with crossbows, who fired down onto the group.

Locked in close combat, the mounted apes were slowly succumbing to the circling heroes.
The airborne leader used a returning bola and attempted to entangle its enemies, and the snipers fired at will among the group.

The embattled apes started shrieking madly and fighting with a berserk frenzy. Kallius struck their leader with his empowered shocking grasp blade and got caught in his stunning barrier. Stunned, the foe drew upon divine power and wrapped him in chains of force.

Celeste shouted to the group that it might be valuable to the dragon if they took its lieutenant alive.

Dremahl cast silence and ended the shrieking and the rage. The lizards were finally beaten down, and the charau-ka warriors were no match for our heroes. The tengu remained aloft and stayed clear of major damage.

Once the shock troops were dispatched, the group turned on the leader. He had been attacking Dremahl, but had not mortally wounded the pries before they took him down. Luix rushed over and tackled the corpse— just to be sure. Not to be outdone, Boomah used adhesive spittle to stick them both the ground.

Animal House Party
Or-- Monkeys, Lizards, and Ox-- Oh My!

ec5d8604e873fa7a0c9d12dd834b38ad.jpgWhen Boomah and Kallius retuned to our heroes camp late in the night, they quickly explained what had transpired in the mine. They had flown, roused and dispatched some charau-ka guards, and led them on a chase before encountering the ancient elephantine creature known as Satao.

It said he had been I’m the area since the Firstborn had ruled, and had seen all the changes. It appeared that one of the Firstborn’s duties was to guard the prisons and graves of the traitorous bloodwyrm dragons, and since their exit some of the seals have weakened or broke entirely.

Lured by the strange draconic activity, the green dragon Verduous arrived a few years ago to seek bloodwyrm knowledge and aid their return. He scoured the mainland for signs of their presence and collected what artifacts he could find. He is not alone in this desire, either. Other dragons have come to this place to consult with the green dragon, and he is building a Dolmen Circle atop the Temple to aid long-range teleporting.

The dragon is talkative and proud, and occasionally brings Satao to his chambers to boast and discuss issues. One time he noted a hidden chamber behind its bookshelves that held a line of flame hovering in space, balanced between a black and a white stone.

They offered to help Satao escape the mines, but he was concerned about what would happen to the others if he was discovered missing. So the goblin and the magus dimension doored out of the caverns and flew back under cover of darkness.

This new information did little to settle the group’s plans. In the end, they hoped to somehow engage this Verduous in parlay to avoid a full-frontal assault. But first they would rest.

Dawn came with a pillar of fire rising up from the direction of the mine. Not long after, another flame shot up closer to the party. They packed up and argued about what was going on. A third flame was spotted, and the rat-man Digbo declared that all of these smoking areas were near watering holes where the wild creatures gathered. It was decided that something was trying to smoke them out.

So they had the rat-man lead them to a watering hole where they would lie in wait. There they found a massive bull aurochs and three cows. Boomah and Digbo went up into the canopy to search the skies while the others waited.

It did not take very long before three massive red-scaled lizards appeared on the edge of the clearing. The lead lizard breathed a gout of flame into the small herd, which scattered to flee. The bull charged the lizard, which had a charau-ka rider carrying a long spear. They crashed together, but the combination of the set spear and the mighty jaws of the red beast proved more than a match for the bovine protector.

One lizard made a move toward the cows, while the other charged across the shallow watering hole where the party was firing missiles at them. Boomah flew down and engaged what appeared to be the leader of the squad.

Battle was truly afoot.

Hanging with the rat pack
Or-- Rodentured Service

ratling_attack_by_cloister-d6ctj5g.jpgFleeing the lamia and their leonine cohorts, our heroes found themselves in the darkness surrounded by rats. Ratfolk, to be specific. It quickly became clear that not all the ratfolk were eager to invite strangers into their midst. The group tried to prove their value by sealing the passage and healing injured rats, and were granted entry into the warren.

They were brought before ratfolk’s leaders — a trio of overlarge rats — and were grant 48 hours reprieve before the rarest decided whether or not to eat them. The strangest part of the exchange was that everyone heard it in their native language, and all could easily communicate with each other. The rat is allowed them into the bolt hole, Digbo, was tasked with keeping an eye on the strangers.

They diligently worked to make themselves of service, healing the sick, trading alchemical formulae, and moving heavy objects, and learned that there was indeed a real green dragon on the old temple of the Firstborn, and that he had a number of juvenile blues as his minions.

They found that there primal rune carvings in many locations throughout the warren, but the rats claimed that they had not carved them. Close inspection revealed that they were natural descriptions and mathematical formulae, but nothing that seemed to aid their mission.

After a day of service they returned to their corner of the warren to rest. The compound erupted in hubbub not to much later, as a rat had returned to tell of a foreign party that had been attacked and slain by charau-ka. This cast doubt on our heroes welcome, and they slinked back to their cave to discuss.

They rested, and left the compound before their welcome could be questioned further. They tracked back to the watering hole where the scout group was slain, and looked for clues. They saw a lot of blood and destruction, no no indication of where to go next.

They needed more information, and did not know where to turn. Digbo suggested talking to the oldest of the slaves, known as Nosefinger. he had been around since the wild time, and light answer their questions.

The problem was, he was in the dragon’s mine compound. Not willing to risk rising the dragon, the group decided that Boomah and Kallius would fly in invisibly and try to rescue the creature. So the group moved up within roughly half a mile of the mine, and prepared the assualt. Under cover of darkness, Celeste summoned two air elementals to carry the magus and the goblin closer to the mine, to preserve their spells until they would be needed.

Lions on the Lawn, Rats in the Basement
Or-- This town is bull

fecd0a22881efa648e334a1bf1571680.jpgOur heroes, leaving Eika and the Wytchport waif, followed the web tendril down toward the mainland, moving through the clouds and canopy at a very high rate of speed. When they reached the ground, they stood in the midst of primeval forest with no signs of civilization at all. They questioned the minotaur Moira, and she suggested that her village may have been downhill toward a stream.

They did that, and came upon some old ruined walls, and could feel some kind of stone under foot. As they began looking for a secure place to rest, they saw a lion prowling around between two buildings. They tried to sneak up for a better look, and when they did Saerin discovered that it was merely an illusion.

Unfortunately, they had moved up far enough to be pounced on by two huge dire lions. Combat began in earnest, and two more lions joined in the fray. To make matters worse, a pair of lamia were spotted on the outskirts of the battle. One fired a lightning bolt through the group, striking one of its own lions in the process.

Boomah spotted a hole open up under a rock on the far edge of the battle, and two beady red eyes glittered in the darkness. It beckoned him forward. Assuming it was a goblin, and encouraged the party to go that way. One by one, they fought their way down, slaying two lions and taking a fair amount of damage, before slinking into the tunnel that the mysterious rat man led them into.

Exit, stage right
Or-- End of the rope

c47dcb50cebc19b44f764e0d77b2d5d8.pngConcerned that the vibration caused by removing the golden ring might draw more spiders, our heroes quickly exited the chamber and moved on. They wandered around the maze of web tendrils, trying to find the center of the weave.

After a hard-to-place amount of time, they found another large mass of webbing. This one did not have any other obvious exits. Peering in, Saerin saw four humanoid figures on the far side of the room. Looking closer, the figures were a human child, a female minotaur, a strand gel grabbed gnome, and Eika. Each one had a large unmoving retriever looming over them against the wall.

They decided to enter, and saw further that each creature was inside a dull, metallic disk, and that an unoccupied matching disk sat opposite of it. Boomah stepped into the disk opposite Eika, hoping to free the spider woman. Both disks became pillars of smoke, and in moment the goblin stumbled out gagging. He immediately ran back in, only to come out again a couple moments later. He said he was transported into a void, and that the suffering almost overwhelmed him.

Kallius tried the same with the circle opposite the gnome, to the same affect. They tried to have someone step into each circle at the same time, only to have four pillars cause the nauseating suffering to each. Then, Boomah and Kallius tried to go into the same circle, only to have the magus’ entry blocked.

A few moments passed, and the goblin did not return. However, a swirling funnel opened a passage out of the chamber from the center. Haze blocked any vision of what was beyond the first few steps.

Celeste tried to enter the child’s portal, and vanished. With two members gone, Luix and Kallius entered the remaining circles determined to see it through.

After several moments of demoralizing pain ands suffering, each supplicant found themselves on a thick strand of web with their opposite — freed from the circles. But before any reunions could be had, the gnome cast a terrified glance at Kallius and began casting a plane shift spell.
Looking to stop him, and find out why he looked so familiar, Kallius struck with his ensorcelled blade. This knocked the gnome unconscious, but suddenly a hound archon appeared and then vanished with him.

Once again, the strange force seemed to overtake Eika, and told the group they had been deemed not an immediate threat, and that the spiders would not impede their efforts to fight against the rising bloodwyrms. Eika’s instincts proved worthy, and she would be freed, along with the others.

Turning to the minotaur. they questioned how she got to this plane of tangled web. All she knew is that her mate had found a clutch of Zika dragon eggs, and they did not know what to do with them. He decided to take them to the Temple of the Firstborn near their village, and he did not return. That night, she was roused from sleep, and was kidnapped by spidery creatures that brought her to that chamber.

Curious about these dragon eggs, and the minotaur’s story, they decided to go back with her (there were two web trails winding downward), and examine this for themselves. Eika and the child followed the other path down to Wytchport.

Tear the roof off
Or-- 'Shelob' you into space

b3b2a7f8aab5105973d85cf7ed0701d7--mystische-wesen-magical-creatures.jpgFollowing their battle with the earth elemental, our heroes thought seriously about their next move to escape the chamber of mirrors. In the end, they chose to set the tokens for each element surrounding the dragon rune all at the same time. Boomah and Kallius were chosen, and took up the items.

Once they set them down, the chamber shuddered again. All of the mirrors that showed the room as it was went misty, leaving only the four previously skewed mirrors now showing the room as it truly is. Celeste noticed that one of them showed an open doorway, and the magus investigated the spot where it would be. He bravely stepped into — and through — the wall.

Free from that chamber, they moved on. Kallius spotted the strange man known as ‘Trapped’ scurrying along the outer shell off the node, but they left him be.

As they moved forward they were forced to make choices on which thread to follow, as the structure of the ‘web’ they followed seem to defy logic.

After an indeterminate time of trudging, they spotted another chamber housing the nexus of three equal-sized web strands. Saerin sent in a beam of light, and saw a number of oversized spiders escaping its bright glare and fleeing into the mist between strands.

He stopped to search for hidden dangers, and could feel a vibration fading away. Soon it was completely gone.

He moved in closer and saw the glint of gold, and a lumpy shape on the ground among a few shattered spider corpses. Stepping into the chamber he saw that the shape was a fallen minotaur, who had apparently taken more than a few spiders out before he fell. He has the goblin spy it out with his magic lens, and he saw that it was dead, but ‘filled with life’. When he stepped around to the far side, he saw that its body was stuffed with spider eggs, growing at a rapid pace.

They chose to remove the body before it could spawn more spiders, so they had Boomah drag it out of the chamber and throw it off the side. Immediately after he removed the egg-stuffed corpse they heard a terrible ripping sound from above. Looking up, they saw the webbed dome of the roof being torn apart by spider legs the size of tree trunks.

One smashed down on Saerin brutally, narrowly missing. The warriors quickly leaped around it and started hacking away. The leg pulled up as others tore an ever-larger hole in the roof. A gigantic spider’s head could be seen in the mist beyond. Once the breach was large enough, it stuck its maw through the gap and spit a mass of acidic poison down on the group. The warriors sidestepped the brunt of the danger, but Dremahl moved to slow and fell victim to the venom. His muscles seized and he could no longer move, while his strength was sapping away.

Kallius grabbed and Saerin, and the two transported themselves magically above the spider. Luix urged Boomah to use his wings and carry them to the beast. Meanwhile, Celeste stepped to ease some of Dremahl’s suffering.

The elves reappeared in the misty void, and barely caught hold of the creature to steady themselves. This, however, did not slow their efforts to slay the beast. Luix was viciously mauled by the beast as he and the goblin closed, but dealt damage in return. Realizing he might not survive another blow like that, he urged the goblin to fly above the spider, which he did.

The priests plied their trade from distance, hoping to keep the fighters in the fray, and the four hammered away at the gigantic spider. Luix poured all of his energy into defeating the creature — and brought it low with a final smash from his flail.

Victory was short-lived, as they quickly realized they were floating off into the mist on the back of the spider. the elves crawled to the other side of the beast, and pushed themselves off as hard as they could, using momentum to get through the gap. Boomah tried and failed to use his wings in the mist, and then used his adhesive spittle to attach himself and Luix got the outer dome of the chamber. From there, they crawled down into the chamber and returned to the group.

With the spider dispatched, they looked to move on from this chamber. But before they could go, Saerin ripped out the massive gold ring set into the webbed flor. Tearing it free seemed to pull on something, and a deep sub-sonic vibration went off beneath them. Fearing that they may have warned other spiders from around this tangle of webs, they decided to beat a hasty retreat.

Time for Reflection
Or-- Throwing rocks at mirrors

c3bd1c7fd6b089e2f6a3a0dcdee7d8c6.jpgAfter defeating the misty spiders, they sent Boomah over to explore the strand they attacked from. He found no lair, but he did find a bulge of woven web stuck under the far strand. Protecting himself as best he could, he tore open the seam to discover a man inside, ready to attack.

Boomah diffused the situation, and questioned why them an was there. He said that he had been lured here by a strange spider woman ands left to die by their cruel ‘tests’/ He explained that he had come from the outpost at Farpoint off the mainland coast, and indicated that he may have been here for a very long time.

Although he had obvious draconic aspects, he seemed to know nothing about the rising dragons and the current state of the world. So, Boomah gave him his leave. The man said he might follow behind, in order to loot their bodies when they failed, but would not hinder their progress.

Moving onward, they came to another enclosed node. Inside they found a collection of strange objects stacked around a table. The center of the table was engraved with a dragon shape that seemed reminiscent of the primal dragon rune. Looking in the mirrors, they could see windows reflected that did not seem to be in the room. And, they noticed that the sun seems to be moving swiftly across the sky, and a complete day would occur in just a few minutes time.

Peering closer, they discovered that four of the mirrors reflected objects on the table that were not currently there. The objects were in the room, and seemed to be tied to four elements. To test this, they placed an earth-crusted spade below the rune in the place seen in the reflection.

Suddenly there was a deep rumble, and the ground below them erupted into the massive humanoid shapes of an earth elemental. While the creature struck with heavy blows, our heroes prevailed and returned it to rubble in short order.

The group returned to their tests.

Creepy crawling
Or -- Pulling the strings

zmistspiders_by_dopepope-d7em4xy.jpgMoving past the destroyed web golem, our heroes found themselves on a massive strand of webbing hanging in a misty void. They quickly found that they could walk around the strand, and ‘down’ was always toward the surface of the strand. Ever curious, Boomah experimented and son n learned this ‘gravity’ dissipated quickly, so they chose to remain planted on the ‘ground’.

After a brief time following this bridge into the void, they came up on another, smaller strand jutting off at an angle. Peering down it with the lens, the goblin saw a couple of the relentless spidery monsters that attacked them in the Vale of the Pale Mother.

They decided not to engage the creatures, and continued on their current path.

Soon they came to a large hollow construct in the web, and could see three other paths on the far side of it. They tried to climb on the outside of the hollow blob, but found themselves quickly drifting into the void just a few steps away from the strand.

Fearing what lay within, they had Celeste summon a pony and sent it inside the hollow. It walked a few steps onto a wide, flat floor made of interconnected web strands and stopped. They urged it forward, and it reluctantly moved further into the strange chamber. Saerin and Boomah followed the celestial pony, and found that the floor was a complex mesh made of one extremely long strand, and five long, valuable objects pierced the plane at various locations. Below the knot workm, they could see some kind of bubbling fluid held back by some kind of magical barrier.

They studied the magic, and tried to discover a way to free the objects without destroying the platform they stood on. In the end, they decided that trying to loot this chamber might be seen as greed, and a trait linked to dragons. So, to prove their commitment to opposing the dragons, they left the treasures behind.

Following that, they continued on with the ranger scouting ahead. He nearly stepped into a web trap, and pulled up short shouting a warning. As he was planning a route through the silvery, sticky webs, three pale shapes appeared from out of the void, plummeting from a web strand a couple hundred feet away.

They fired webs to entangle him, but he deftly stepped aside from the assault. He pulled weapons as all three descended on him, and then filled the area with obscuring mist. The mist and the webs slowed the advance of the ranger’s comrades, but in the end the group encircled the invaders and dispatched them.

One had dissipated into a cloud of mist and tried to float away, but was spotted escaping. Celeste ordered her summoned air elemental to seize the creature, but the powerful winds shredded the gaseous spider before it could be returned.

The shortest homecoming
Or-- what tangled webs we weave

dweb.jpgOur heroes made their way toward the coast, and came upon outriders of the Aerinorn army — finally on the move toward the capital. Seeking to avoid unnecessary conflict, they cut out over the wilderness for the return to Wytchport.

When they arrived in town, it was much less crowded than it had been when they left. The imperial nobility had moved on with their forces, leaving only the logistics and support operations behind. Even so, the group though it would be safest not to try and enter with a massive dragon skull in tow.

So, Boomah and Kallius flew it in invisibly while the others made a more mundane entrance. They regrouped at Ebn’s tower, and shared their tale with the old Valessan. They questioned why many of the emperor’s people were of his race, and he told them that they were a sect of his people’s religion that held secret mystical beliefs, but that he did not know why they were committed to the emperor or his young prince. Many of them work for for foreigners purely for profit, he speculated, and there was plenty of money to be made off the emperor.

Afterward, they went to check in on Eika in the old circus wagon. Kallius and Celeste tried to avoid the spidery woman’s recriminations, but she demanded to speak with the entire party. And when they gathered, she wanted to hear them reassert their opposition to the rising dragons.

They did, and she split open like an overripe pumpkin. A tall spidery creature with a woman’s face climbed out of the shell. It told them they must prove themselves. and opened a long, dark portal filled with webs behind her.

They entered without hesitation. Following down the web-choked passage they came to a low spot with a hulking figure standing in its center. When they got closer it stretched out its long arms threateningly. In response, the magus fireballed it.

The webs went up in flame, but our heroes continued their advance. The smoke was thick and a few them were became sickened. While the webs continued to smolder and the smoke thickened, the golem engaged the fighters.

Thinking quickly, the priests doused the area in conjured water. Even with its protections, the construct soon fell to the blades of the warriors. And they found themselves alone in a dim, otherworldly tangle of webs.


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