lunes, 14 de diciembre de 2009
After the initiation
When the ceremony came to an end, we all ran to look after Ibizar with concern but it seemed the dwarf was all right. He somehow managed to resist the powerful binding compulsion. Then we all gave our congratulations to the Knight of Abraxxas and had a little chat with the priest Father Angus.
He told us he could consecrate again the altar to Abraxxas but needed the statue to be rebuilt. I asked for resources to the task but this seemed to annoy the priest and refused to give us any monetary help. After some wonderings about what new steps the followers of Abraxxas would take, we all decided to leave the cave and use the arts in order to teleport to Rjurik, to the headquarters of the Church of Good and the Scarlet Brotherhood.
With Malek’s help, we appeared outside Rjurik and started to walk toward the city gates. The guards recognized us and let us pass promptly. An air loaded with sulfur notes could be felt while we were walking down the streets of the city of paladins, although there were too many devils at that time.
While we were advancing through the city streets, Bahmut’s sword, Goldwind, started to shake emitting a bright light, a typical sound when the powerful sword felt demonic presence. Bahmut tried to calm down his sword to avoid calling unnecessary attention to us, but it seems it was too late. A powerful demon appeared from nowhere and challenged Bahmut with contempt. Bahmut firmly told the demon he should take care when addressing a Lord of Rjurik. The demon seemed to be intimidated by these words, mumbled a threat and disappeared from scene leaving behind a fine sulfuric dust as a trail. After this incident Bahmut, Addon and Ibizar decided the city was no more a friendly place for paladins, so they decided to leave the town immediately. The rest of us continued our way alone with Alesco, Father Angus and the knight.
After the incident mentioned above, nothing else happened and we managed to reach the central plaza. There we coordinated with the followers of Abraxxas for future contact and we started our departure from the once bastion of goodness. We started to fly over the city when two vrocks approached immediately arguing it was prohibited to fly inside the city. We identified ourselves as lords of Rjurik and continued our way on foot. It was really sad to see the city ruled by demons, but this problem would not be solved by using brute force.
Outside the city, we found our friends arguing about the new order of things inside Rjurik.
Suddenly, Alesco appeared without notice and asked to go with us to our lands. We agreed and started the two day journey to our keep.
During the two day journey to our lands, we had time to share ideas with Brother Alesco, he confessed to us his feelings about the initiation of the knight. He thought it had not been a good idea. When we asked why, he told us Abraxxas was not exactly a God from the Second Pantheon. Abraxxas was a powerful entity beyond mortals and Gods.
Alesco also told us the Scarlet Brotherhood didn’t worship a single deity, instead they allowed their members to show allegiance for any god of the second pantheon, but it seemed Abraxxas was not on his list. When we asked which god he had allegiance with, he preferred to maintain such information in private. We respected his decision but this episode left us with some questions about brother Alesco and his motives.
We arrived with no serious incidents at our keep and found Arath, the priest of the sun, with good news to give us. His immunity to compulsions was confirmed and we could proceed to remove from his chest the painful dark seed. I immediately contacted Eladan mentally so he could speak to one of the druids. After a couple of hours a giant eagle descended outside our chapel of Moradin. Once over firm ground, Jaana took human form and said hello.
We gave the good news to the druid and he told us about the risks of killing the dark seed. The priest would receive physical damage equal of the one inflicted to the seed. We all helped the priest with items and spells so he could resist more punishment and Jaana started to invoke a powerful incantation, a Horrid Wilting conjure. After the chant, all moisture seemed to evaporate from Arath and the priest screamed in agony. He was alive. Jaana then confirmed the seed was destroyed using a spell for plant detection. Arath smiled and cured himself. I must notice half the damage inflicted to Arath was received for Addon, the peregrine priest. He casted some type of share pain spell over Arath. I was amazed of the sacrifice done by Addon for someone he had just met.
We then gathered at the chapel of Moradin in order to discuss our pending quests to order them by priority. I have written a list to the tasks we had to accomplish:
- Go to the Great Harvest God to look for a new administrator.
- Fix the precarious peasant situation in our lands.
- Gather some wizards from Mathgathmna to help us clean our keep from potentially dangerous spells.
- Implement some sort of security system in our lands and our keep.
- Talk to the student in Mathgathmna that is natural to Antaria.
- Check what’s happening with the gathering of the Horde.
- Find the legitimate heir from King Cyril.
- Find out about the map found by Canrith in the ancient temple.
We decided to start with King Cyril quest and along our way try to complete the minor tasks concerning our lands, our keep and our people. But first I convinced Bahmut and Malek to talk to Alesco about some endeavor of mutual benefit.
I presented Alesco with a proposal for conceding administration rights to the Scarlet Brotherhood in exchange for a royalty fee. They would be in charge of the temple, and their responsibility would have to protect and maintain the relics inside it. They would charge their followers for a tithe and give us a percentage. All the administration plans and preparations would be ready in one month. With this pact, we should better prepare for a big number of visitors to the temple. A lot of people would gather around our lands and this could bring economic prosperity. Maybe we could be the founders of a small city around the temple. Only time will tell.
Visiting Rjurik again
After our conversation with Alesco, we left our lands and traveled to Rjurik one more time. We have found that in order to start with the King Cyril’s quest, we needed the relics we once gave the Church of Good into custody, the sword and armor of the King Cyril.
We had no surprises in our trip more than a couple of bandits that were not brave enough to attack us. But when we approached the city, we could notice the outside farms filled with decadence and poverty. It seemed the peasants were having a pretty bad time with this cambion as king. I knew that wouldn’t be happening under the reign of the old king.
Before entering the city, Bahmut hid himself inside one of Malek’s bag of holdings. We didn’t want to start a fight in the middle of the city. Then we entered the city and went directly to the Church to claim for our possessions.
We found a cleric who promptly gave us our magical items. Everything was indexed in a big book managed by the priests so they could easily find our belongings. We dumped everything inside our bag of holdings and went out to find a secure place to teleport out from the city.
Malek handled the arts to teleport us the best he could near Vazud, because our next destination would be the Great Library of Vazud, a suitable place where we could look for some answers. It would be nice to visit my old man here. Definitely those days I was having more affection to Vazud than to Rjurik. It was a good idea to find a secure place for my father here at the Great Library.
We identified ourselves at the entrance and call the gnomish chariot driven by a dwarf, our preferred form of transport inside Vazud. The driver threw us a happy smile and seemed to be pleased to meet us once again. We headed directly to the Great Library and while the trip took several hours, it was good to witness prosperity had embraced most parts of the busy metropolis.
We arrived at the library and as usual, several people were gathering at its entrance. Some of my friends used their nobility status to claim preference while others paid a hustle fee of 150 gold pieces. At the end of the day, all of them had meetings with the scholars and commissioned them with research tasks of several topics. While we were waiting, my father came out and surprised us. I smiled at him and gave him a strong handshake and emotive hug. As I expected, my old man was more than happy here.
When my friends finished their endeavors, we all went with my father to his private office where we had a little chat. After some considerations, we decided to show our map to the city’s cartographer, who according to my father was one of the best cartographers in the whole world.
We found the cartographer Trevor at his workplace in the central plaza. Of course we got there using the dwarven chariot, our favorite way of transportation here in Vazud. I entered the place with my father alone and my friends waited inside the chariot, to avoid calling too much attention.
My father introduced me to Trevor and he inspected a copy of the map. Unfortunately, the copy was not good enough for him to find some clues about the locations in the map so I had to go out again to ask my friends for the original map. With the original map in my possession I entered the building one more time and showed it to the expert. This time Trevor immediately recognized we were talking about the great mountains dividing Cohen and Rjurik, with the Sea of Sand and the River of Agony as geographical notorious accidents.
Trevor made me notice four thousand years ago, the Sea of Sand was part of the ocean. It seemed the sand had somehow gained terrain to the waters during this period. Another thing that came to light was the big X marking a spot in the map. It seemed the mountain chain was continuous but at some point of time the Dark Passage was created, because the X was marking a location right at the middle of the Dark Passage. We could give no more information to the cartographer and went out with my friends with the news. My father came with me and we all stepped into the chariot for another travel to the Library.
We had to wait several days in order to receive the information from the Great Library, but it seems we were uncovering parts of the ancient history of the world with our recent findings. We were talking about these matters when the chariot suddenly increased his speed noticeably. When we asked the driver about this he was too busy driving with a frightened expression on his face. He only managed to scream two words: “The mist!”
lunes, 7 de diciembre de 2009
An alternative solution for the dilemma
We all knew the ritual concerning the initiation of Sir Sigard could not be performed without an altar, but it seemed Malek had found a solution in our absence. There is another altar, the tomb of the ancient champion known as the Knight of Abraxxas, inside the Silver Lake. We should maintain this in secret if we want to succeed in our endeavor. Right now, I trust no one.
When the battle against the gargantuan psionic worm came to an end, we all decided it would be safer to prevent growing of the dark seed inside the chest of the priest of the sun, to let the priest rest for a couple of days inside the chapel of Moradin. It seems the priest has become immune to compulsions so it is possible he is completely unaffected by the geas spells. However, he will know after a couple of days and let us know so we can communicate with the druids. I hope we could bring our friend back to his normal form without harm.
Preparations for the ritual
After long discussions outside the desecrated temple, the party decided it would be best to go directly to the tomb of the Knight of Abraxxas, hidden beneath the surface of the Silver Lake. So the group chosen to go was conformed of:
- Sir Varen
- Sir Siggard
- Father Angus
- Brother Alesco
We decided to bring Brother Alesco with us, as a way to show our appreciation for saving Sir Siggard’s life. Alesco quickly agreed and seemed to be very happy. We also decided to bring with us no squires and no other member outside the mentioned above, for security reasons.
When we arrived to the temple, the doors were closed but Father Angus prayed to Abraxxas in order to grant us secure passage. We entered the tomb and found it just the way we left it. With the image of a nasty undead behind the doors, the two iron golems flanking the altar and the support for the Axe of Abraxxas above the altar. The dome was supported for several columns and we could hear the whisperings of the water outside the tomb.
Brother Angus claimed he needed another two days in meditation in order to be ready for the ritual. Meanwhile, some of us remained guarding the tomb for possible intrusions and Malek teleported to diverse destinations in order to obtain two more relics: the Coin of Abraxxas and the Axe of Abraxxas, located in the church of Good and the Temple of Life in Vazud respectively. He returned after two days safe and sound and everything was ready to begin with the ceremony.
It is still not clear to me if this was the right thing to do, because we are sure now Abraxxas was not a God embracing goodness or evilness. I personally think Abraxxas is more like a force of some sort, speaking to his followers in the form of a God, yet he seems to be the leader of the first pantheon.
Father Angus dressed himself with clerical attire in order to perform the ceremony. He seemed incredibly weak, probably due to the lack of food and water during five consecutive days. He started praying to Abraxxas in a very special manner, “Oh most holy father, please grant me the knowledge necessary to speak in your name”.
It seemed the words spoken in the ritual had to be an exact duplicate of the phrases spoken between Abraxxas himself and his first knight, more than four thousand years ago. From this moment on, Father Angus seemed to speak with a loud grave voice, not the one we were used to listen from the cleric.
Sir Siggard kneeled before the old man with his face showing expectancy, humility and profound respect. As the priest spoke, we all sensed the cave flooded with a great power of some sort, but I couldn’t assure it was divine. We saw lights from time to time surrounding Father Angus and Sir Siggard as a sign we were waking up something from a very long and deep slumber. I’m not a man who frightens so easily, but there was a moment during the ritual I doubted we were doing the right thing.
Father Angus words described Abraxxas as a god beyond gods, beyond good and evil, even beyond neutrality. This God does not believe in balance, he believes in being loyal to your own nature. Good or evil is not inherent for humans, so this god claims goodness or evilness is not for us to decide. He claims we are confused by the gods themselves who taint us to choose a side. For Abraxxas, humans should have no side as long as we remain loyal to our own nature. Whether humans chose goodness or evilness, they are only compelled to accept the consequences of their own actions. Abraxxas teachings show that if humans do not take responsibility for what they do, they are betraying their own nature and such behavior deserve punishment.
My thoughts were flying high as the ceremony progressed. Sir Siggard seemed to be in some sort of trance that was not to be interrupted. However, in the climax of the situation, Ibizar grabbed his war hammer and charged to the altar with clear intention to destroy it. A quick glance was enough to realize he was in some sort of trance, without complete control of his actions. Nobody was fast enough to react. Fortunately, Ibizar seemed to be strong enough to resist such powerful magic. We all knew what was this all about. The binding spell on him was finally active. Ibizar fell to the ground screaming in agony. Nevertheless the mighty dwarven warrior successfully resisted the incantation. The ritual came to an end and Sir Siggard the Welldoer was no more. Long live the Knight of Abraxxas.
martes, 1 de diciembre de 2009
Somos unos imbéciles. No ha pasado un día desde mi última entrada en este diario y por nuestra falta de visión y fe hemos perdido el templo.
No voy a comentar sobre la batalla con esa aberración gigante en forma de gusano, pues francamente pese a su tamaño huyó al cabo de unos segundos y sus tentáculos no fueron más que un fastidio para mis habilidades. Además estoy seguro que el místico cubrirá a detalle ese encuentro en su diario. No, quiero aprovechar estos minutos de paz para llorar al templo desacrado.
Mi nuevo grupo sigue sin confiar en el Hermano Alesco, motivo por el cual no permitieron que nos acompañe cuando regresamos a revisar el templo. El hechizero pudo abrir la puerta tal como Alesco lo hizo en su momento, con una oración de fe. Creo que se ha convertido a los dioses del Primer Panteón. Una vez dentro uno de sus encantamientos le permitió detectar compartimientos secretos en las bases de las estatuas.
Fue un juego de niños abrir las puertas de estos compartimientos, empezando por el de la estatua de Abraxxas. Encontramos dentro un Libro Sagrado de Abraxxas y varios artefactos divinos con los que los mortales no deben jugar. Estábamos dispuestos a revisar las cosas a detalle cuando el recién llegado Sacerdote decidió salir a tomar aire dado que al parecer no tiene la fuerza de voluntad para romper algunas reglas en busca de lo que es necesario hacer para salvar al mundo.
Fue ahí donde empezó todo. En la puerta uno de los lacayos del castillo nos informó que el caballero que estaba en camino a ser ordenado en el templo había sido atacado. ¿Es que todos los que llegan a ese maldito recinto sufren la misma suerte? En nuestro apuro por salvarlo cometimos el más grave error del día: dejar sólo el templo.
El Hermano Alesco pudo, a pesar de haber recibido insulto tras insulto a su honor por parte de los miembros más desconfiados del grupo, curar al caballero. Pero mientras nosotros estábamos alejados, el templo fue atacado y el altar de Abraxxas destruído.
Lo que pasó después lo recuerdo poco, pues la desesperación me embargaba. Algunos se fueron a buscar al Sumo Sacerdote que venía en camino para la ceremonia. Otros nos quedamos en el templo, donde descubrimos un mapa en partes oculto bajo todas las estatuas.
Tenemos el mapa completo, pero no sabemos a dónde nos llevará. Tenemos al caballero vivo, pero no sabemos cómo hacer para ordenarlo. Tenemos el templo, pero le hemos hecho más daño en unas horas que lo que le pudieron hacer los miles de años que estuvo en espera.
Una sola cosa es clara: Las religiones del segundo panteón no tienen el poder para detener lo que se viene, aunque esto implique salvarse a sí mismas. Ya en estos momentos están haciendo alianzas con representantes del primer panteón y rogando que los ayuden. El cambio está más cerca de lo que imaginaba.
Publicado por JL en 14:55
Prelude before a heavy day
It’s very early in the morning and a pale sun is starting to rise over the horizon, yet we’ve already been in grave danger. The potential first Knight of Abraxxas almost died and Brother Alesco has been severely wounded. However, we managed to survive one more time and it’s time to spend some time writing my journal.
The Party finally joins
Yesterday morning, Malek, Ibizar and the peregrine priest arrived using a teleport spell. We immediately put them up with the latest events and it was time to plan our counterattack. Malek told me one important fact, the Church of Good had requested a helping hand from Abraxxas and they had made a pact. The outcome of such a pact was the next ordeal of the first knight of Abraxxas in many millennia. The chosen one was a knight of pure heart known as Sir Sigard the Welldoer. This event could bring some attention to our lands, so it would be better to be prepared for nasty surprises.
We took some frugal breakfast served by Alfie and then followed the trail of ashes toward the Ancient Temple of the First Pantheon. Nothing interrupted our journey and within one hour we arrived at the temple, only to find Brother Alesco and the rest of the monk, camping outside of it.
When the group finished the proper introductions we asked Alesco to remain outside while we explored the temple for any traps or other perils. Their impatience was notorious. Unfortunately, after several tries we couldn’t open the heavy doors guarding the entrance to the temple and nobody spoke of battering them down. Once again, we recurred to Brother Alesco, he replied it was easy to enter the temple. We only needed “faith”. Unfortunately in my case, my faith in the First Pantheon was little more than nonexistent so I looked to the priests to see if they had any bright ideas.
After several minutes, no one in the party could open the doors. Even some of my friends resulted injured due to some powerful magic protecting the entrance. However, Malek remembered the words from Brother Alesco: “you only need faith”. To our amusement, Malek kneeled before the doors and started muttering some words in a strange language. The doors finally opened and we had before our eyes twelve statues of the gods of the first pantheon, equally flanking both sides of the main god, Abraxxas. Malek took some steps towards the last one and kneeled before him. He was praying showing an intense devotion I have never seen before on the young wizard. The rest of us started to search the place for answers.
Inside the temple of the First Pantheon
We immediately starting analyzing the statues inside the temple, and started looking for secret doors and hidden corridors. After inspecting the enclosure, we found nothing of interest and decided it was secure to let Brother Alesco and his comrades to pray inside the temple. I went out to tell the man the good news. They were very excited.
Brother Alesco also told me they listened by casualty some of our conversation inside the temple and they overheard something about the crowning of a knight of Abraxxas. We made a mistake to discuss these matters with the monks of heightened senses around but the harm was already done. I didn’t know the details about the ceremony so I couldn’t help the monk with more information. However, the monk wanted to know when would happen this event in order to be present. Malek decided we would inform them all in due time.
While the monks were praying, Ibizar continued his inspection of the statues and found secret compartments in two of them. We decided to let the monks pray only for a few more hours, so we could inspect those secret doors alone.
The time arrived and the monks left the place. Before leaving, Brother Alesco asked for clean water and a place free from intrusions for the rest of the night. He argued they needed to perform some sort of purification ritual, so they needed solace and a peaceful environment. They should not be interrupted during the ceremony. I assured him there would be no problem with his request.
After the monks left, we closed the entrance and Malek used a spell to detect secret doors. A strange coincidence surfaced, all statues had secret compartments on their bases. At first we weren’t sure about opening them or not, but he had to take action. The rogue Canrith used his skills to find a way to open the hidden compartments, making sure there was no kind of nasty traps protecting the sanctuaries.
We decided to explore the base of Abraxxas statue first. We found a black book and some other relics. The book had the symbol of Abraxxas on its cover. Nobody wanted to touch the items. The power inside this chamber was overwhelming. We really felt intimidated.
We continued searching the place for a long time but Addon didn’t agree with our methods, he thought we could be desecrating the place. I think there was an obvious danger only by messing around with godly stuff, but we needed to find some answers if we wanted to be useful in this plot.
When Addon left the place, he found Gerald at the entrance, very worried and with ill news to share. He told us a knight in our keep was attacked and he was dying with a horrible wound in his torso. We made a bad mistake here, we all teleported immediately to our keep leaving the temple completely unprotected.
Sir Sigard the Welldoer
Leaded by Gerald, we found in a hut a heavily wounded knight. He was in pretty bad shape. It seemed he was affected by the same extraordinary attack suffered by Seven, Malek’s moondog. Our healing priests didn’t know how to heal this guy. They only knew he could die any minute.
We had no time to waste. Brother Alesco was the only living being around with the knowledge to undo the harm done to the knight. However, we faced a little complication, the monk asked specifically not to be disturbed during the purification ritual he and his comrades would perform during the night. We decided we would interrupt such a ritual because we were facing a life and death situation.
Ibizar and I, with Gerald on the dwarf’s back, flew directly to the hut where the monks were performing their ritual and saw several candles inside the enclosure. We asked Gerald to announce us specifying urgent matters.
Brother Alesco was obviously upset by such an interruption, but we had no time to waste. We asked politely for his help. He accompanied us to the cottage and found the knight lying on his bed.
At this point in time, we suddenly found in the middle of an impasse. Our friend, Arath, the priest of the Sun, invoked an incantation known as Zone of Truth, which creates an area where no one can speak a lie. Obviously, this could be considered an offense by lords and knights, and this was not an exception. We tried to stop him but it was too late, Brother Alesco was visibly offended and started to walk away toward his cabin. His last words were “My honor was been insulted twice tonight. Be thankful I don’t call for a duel”.
I couldn’t utter a sound and so my friends. Brother Alesco continued his path. The wounded knight, who introduced to us as Sir Sigard the Welldoer, could die any minute. We started an argument about what to do, but it seems this was not his time. We were advised Brother Alesco changed his mind and would cure our friend, the knight. We breathe relieved and Malek took the inmate to the monk’s cottage. After a few minutes, Malek and the knight returned and Sir Sigard was walking on his own. We celebrated the outcome and welcomed the knight to our lands, apologizing at the same time for not providing him adequate protection.
We returned to the temple and decided to stay inside until the ceremony of initiation of the Knight of Abraxxas is finished but we found a nasty surprise. When we entered we discovered the statue of Abraxxas shattered down. The altar had been desecrated. The ritual was not going to happen.
One more time, hell unleashed and the Party discussed trying to find the causes. I decided to patrol the roads near our farm in order to find Brother Angus who was the priest sent by the Church of Good, in charge of performing the initiation ritual. Malek and Bahmut joined me and we all departed. The dawn was cold and sad, like our spirits.
We found a white chariot leaded by two knights. We made them a sign to stop and introduced ourselves as the lords of these lands. One of the knights introduced himself as Sir Baren the Heistings and the other one was a Scarlet Brotherhod member who never spoke. We asked to speak with Brother Angus but we were told he could speak with no one before the ritual. We told them about the desecration and decided to go to the temple and think what to do next. We escorted the chariot directly to the temple.
The gargantuan psionic aberration
I contacted Malek and told them we were arriving with Brother Angus, so they could wait for us outside the temple. I received positive answer and we continued our way. What we discovered at the entrance of the temple made our blood freeze and a shivering tremor traversed our spine. A gargantuan worm was blocking the entrance and was clearly attacking something.
We didn’t stop wondering the danger. We asked Sir Baren to remain there while we dealt with the monster. Ibizar, Bahmut and I flew directly to the aberration, but it was still several hundreds of feet away. We saw how the monster grabbed our friends and tried to swallow them. They defended bravely and harmed the monster, with Sir Sigard fighting courageously riding his noble warhorse.
When I approached the aberration, a danger sense clearly invaded my brain as I realized I was facing a creature with deadly psionic powers. The monster seemed to recognize another psionic entity on the vicinity and without hesitation, targeted me with a powerful psychic blow. I had to react quickly and retreat several feet away to avoid my brain being toasted.
A blade barrier spell summoned by the peregrine priest, Addon, was inflicting heavy damage upon the monster. Still the aberration remained alive. Ibizar charged the monster trying to kill it but the monster used one of his numerous abilities to flee from the fight. We have won this battle, for now, but danger was far from over. I could feel it around.
In the havoc of the battle we haven’t realized a body was lying on the ground near the creature. When we approached, we discovered Brother Alesco, unconscious. Bahmut healed the monk and he got up, muttering thankful words. He told us the aberration was a pet trained by the Splintered Mind to do their bidding.