Episode Eighteen - Karfallun
Episode Eighteen – Karfallun (Level 10)
Before the heroes leave for their rescue mission into Karfallun, they meet with young King Halden Thandemar, influencing the newly forming policies of his reign. He cannot make major changes without losing the support of both the commons and his nobles, but he does agree to several key policy changes. He agrees to improve conditions for slavery, especially the drow, and offers freedom to all the dwarves who fought for him in the battle for his throne. He also outlaws the prisoner’s carnival, and promises to overhaul his country’s justice system. He cannot offer freedom of religion for the Avans and other members of Jharric faiths, but he does agree that on discovery of persons involved in outlawed faiths, the punishment will be banishment, not public execution. He extends the same courtesy to Jharethil discovered in his lands. He advises them that although the policy changes will be in effect within days, the actual application of such policies will be the work of years of hard work. He has to keep the favor of the Etholchan church, and takes the party’s advice on how best to deal with Chorrom Viln, who is a political powerhouse in the king’s court, and must be appeased if Halden wants to avoid a second, bloodier civil war.
King Halden, finding none of the heroes willing to accept major titles or roles in his nobility, knights Vash, Tobias, and Ichtaca, and grants them each a small country estate, which currently lie vacant, but can be claimed at any time in the future. They can now claim the title “sir” and are considered minor nobility.
*The king now introduces them to Baronet Darius Kang, a resourceful nobleman of his court, who has heard of them, and wants to join their group. His motive: finding a cure for the Nemelethe, as a loved one of his has contracted the enigmatic disease. He presents them with the “Drinking Blade” as a token of his sincerity, which he has stolen it from Jodram Zabir Oulethe to impress them. It works, the party is impressed, especially Carmenith. They test his prejudices by asking Carmenith to show him her true glory form, while they all watch his reaction carefully. He is suave and debonair, unaffected by his kinsmen’s normal religious prejudices, and responding with even more delight to her beauty than before. Cautiously, the heroes let him join their group, but his blatant flirtation with the women in the party has already set some teeth on edge.
*Vash, Tobias, Ichtaca, Tuoch, Darius, Carmenith, and Cátzin travel north with Abbott Othemarrel and the 100 Avan warriors, 60 freed dwarves, and Tobias’s 32 warforged soldiers. Their goal is to cross over into the high realm, enter the secret city Karfallun, and aid the Avans in a dangerous rescue mission. The party is specifically interested in finding a specific flower that grows only in Salvendom, but that is present in dried bouquets that rest on altars in the temples of the fallen city. They also intend to rescue Carmenith’s two brothers. Ichtaca is convinced he will find the whip of Imbakao in the city, or at least a clue leading him to said artifact.
First, the group sends a warforged through the wrought-iron gate to investigate. When the golem does not return, Darius creeps through, stealthily reconnoitering. He finds himself on the high realm’s version of Atwall island just off the southern coast of Forteth. He stands atop a huge pile of rotting carcasses, mostly those of huge sea creatures, but all sorts of biological material being gathered up and piled here as well, from seaweed to sacrificed Jharethil captives. Above him on the island is a building-sized altar covered in dried blood. The coastline of the city he knows is replaced with a pristine, forest version of the same topography, scarred by the crash zone where the floating city fell. Karfallun itself, once a huge city and surrounding lands set on a floating disc, has been crashed into the coastline, has broken in half, and is tilted at a strange angle. The eitharmos are everywhere, and aberrant monsters throng the waters along the broken city edge. Darius gathers what information he can, but quickly retreats through the gate to recommend they use the compromised city gate instead.
The gate to the secret city is set into a cleft high up in a sheer cliff face, and appears at first to be unguarded. Tuoch, Vash, Cátzin, Carmenith, and Darius climb up to investigate, while Ichtaca and Tobias manage their forces below, readying them for the sheer ascent. As they examine the compromised magic of the sacred portal, the smaller party above is attacked as the eitharmos spring a trap and close in around them. The fight is nearly lethal for our heroes, cut off from their reinforcements and terribly outnumbered, but the eithalim seem determined to capture them, not kill them. Vash falls, gravely wounded, and Carmenith runs to his side, trying and failing to revive him. Darius is knocked out and captured, and Cátzin barely manages to escape long enough to signal down the cliff to Tobias and Ictaca that they need help. She too, is then captured. Vash, Darius, Cátzin and Carmenith are clapped into manacles of true form, and the others see Darius in his hideous true body, a withered, grey body with sagging, scarred skin, white eyes and small nubs for ears and a nose. Cátzin’s true form is also revealed to those unaware of it. She is a Jháru, a shadow-Jhareth. The eitharmos are still struggling to capture the stubborn Tuoch, who is sniping them from above, when Tobias and Icthaca arrive with reinforcements, including Shollas, the young Avan bard who helped them in the prison break. It’s a close call, but the eitharmos are defeated, interrogated, and executed. The Avans open the portal to Karfallun.
As they arrive in the city, the ghost of Abasi appears, a projection of his true soul, and guides them to people in need of their help. He has been sent by Ava at his own request, to aid them in this final mission. His actions in life contributed to the fall of Karfallun, so this is important to him.
The heroes split into two groups, moving quickly through the city. Abasi leads Ictaca, Tuoch, Cátzin and the Avan task force to group after group of scattered survivors, which they gather up into their numbers, moving fast and taking out several units of Eitharmos. Vash, Tobias, Darius, Carmenith and a few Avans move much faster, using deception, stealth and lots of brute force to create distractions, retrieve the plant and free captives.
Finally, they approach the main holding area for captives being prepped for sacrifice on the great altar. Dressed in Eitharmos uniforms, with the Jhareth as their “prisoners”, they march right into the camp, Darius boldly wearing the face of a man he just killed. Darius moves to the camp’s cliff-side altar, giving an amazing speech, rallying the soldiers to his side for the glory of Daemoth, and calling the priests to his side to lead the soldiers here in a prayer. Meanwhile, the others move quickly and quietly, pretending to add their new prisoners to the cages, but actually assassinating the remaining guards, replacing them, and unlocking cells and manacles as they go. As most of the camp’s soldiers kneel in devotion around Darius and the altar, Tobias and Vash strike suddenly from behind, leading a mob of freed captives to assault their captors. The mob pushes the eitharmos over the cliff and into the sea, where they are torn apart by a throng of tentacles and teeth.
Carmenith’s brothers, Jathollen and Irchal, are among the rescued prisoners from the sacrificial cages. She’s ecstatic, covering Vash, Tobias, and Darius with kisses and swearing to repay them however she can. The men send her through a temporary portal with Shollas, the other avans and all of the captives, staying behind to retrieve Tobias’s warforged soldiers. They move fast, rescue the warforged, and exit the city, destroying the compromised gate behind them.
Ictaca, meanwhile, has greatly impressed the Avans he’s leading, more than half of whom are Norlythin, but he hasn’t found Uremallach Archal, or the legendary whip of Imbakao. He does, however, find people who tell him that the man he seeks escaped the city with a group of refugees through a portal under the Avan temple. Although the portal was destroyed behind them, it’s likely they went to Ithacol, to the same way station where the heroes are about to rendezvous.
Influencing the King: 100 xp
Darius Joins the Party: 50 xp
Eitharmos at the Gate Combat Encounter: 2,500 xp
Interrogating the Eitharmos: 50 xp
Karfallun Skill Challenge: 2,500 xp
Finding the flowers (“tears of the fallen”): 100 xp
Rescuing Carmenith’s Brothers: 100 xp
Roleplay with Abasi and other NPC’s: 50 xp
Killing several Aru of Eitharmos story-mode within the skill challenge: 100 xp
Rescuing 1500 Jharethil civilians from certain death: 100 xp
Destroying the gate: 50 xp
Total XP is 5,700, divided by 3 pc’s, is 1,900 each. Previous cumulative individual total was 20,911, and is now 22,811.
*Ictaca was given narcotic / psychedelic herbs by Mahua, to help him commune with the spirits
*Vash, Tobias, and Ictaca were knighted, and given small estates!
*3 pounds of powdered blooms from “tears of the fallen” flowers, plus several intact bouquets.
*Eitharmos uniforms and weapons. (mundane.)
*The Drinking Blade