Episode Fifteen - Prison Break
Episode Fifteen: Prison Break (Level 9)
The cathedral is a mass of panic, as a stampede of panicked worshippers tear, claw and trample each other in a deadly crush towards the doors. Fires bloom along tapestries, and Ichtaca, Abasi, and Vash balance precariously on a narrow ledge, dodging Eitharmos fire and lances of unholy darkness from Etholchan Preists on the stage. As Vash continues to bluff the eitharmos into thinking he is aiding them, he sees Jodram Zabir Oulithiri’s eyes on him, impressed with his skills. Tobias, meanwhile, concentrates on floating the king to safety without giving away that he is the one doing magic. As he concentrates, pressing humans spill over into the balcony, and Lyda cannot hold them back from Tobias. They are pressed up against the wooden balcony railing with crushing force. The railing snaps, and both fall towards the screaming crowd. Tobias flies them both to safety, but looks around desperately for young King Halden, whom he dropped involuntarily into the throng.
Ichtaca, meanwhile takes the rope from Vash, and he and Abasi swing towards a huge stained glass window, but Abasi takes a crossbow bolt to the arm, slicking the rope with blood. Both men fall into the panicked throng below. They muscle their way up onto the stage, where Icthaca opens the window the old-fashioned way; by tossing an eitharmos assassin through it head-first. Abasi, guarding Ichtaca’s back, takes a near-fatal wound, a sword protruding from his chest. Ichtaca grabs his friend, running towards the window and leaping through it. He lands on the roof of the monastery next to the cathedral, stabilizes Abasi as best as he can with field medicine, and climbs down into the alleyway below. The eitharmos catch him there, and a desperate battle ensues. Climbing through a small window into a study on the Cathedral’s second floor buys them some time, allowing Ichtaca to defend a small aperture while Abasi watches the hallway behind them for the inevitable reinforcements.
Tobias becomes desperate now, and tries to save the king with brute force of mind, sweeping aside mob members with a psionic wave of energy that mows through the crowd with lethal force. More than fifty people fall dead, wealthy people who paid well for front row seats to the human sacrifices. Feeling wretched, Tobias guides Vash telepathically towards the struggling King, and the drow runs along the ledges and balconies, dropping into the mass and plucking the monarch away to safety. King Halden is shaken and injured, and staring at Tobias with shock. The psion spoke into his mind, guiding him towards safety, and trying to mask it as a normal voice raised above the cacophony, but Halden saw through the deception and viewed it as forbidden magic. He seems uncertain how to react, but Vash diffuses the situation, getting him to Ambassador Anelathem, and safety. The duke, his assassination attempt foiled, has left, and it is unclear if he believes the King survived the fall or not.
Meanwhile, on the dais, the new Chorrom, Ramadhani Banesal, speaks with Jodram Zabir Oulithiri, as their respective followers scramble to catch the reviled Avan Ravari and the traitorous Norlythin barbarian. Seeing his opportunity, Tobias assaults the Chorrom’s mind again, overwhelming him with the vision that the Oulithiri is the “night-witch”. The Chorrom strikes out at this sudden foe, and the Oulithiri effortlessly catches his arm, watching in confusion as the Arrochulean priest convulses with psionically induced anguish, and dies. Magistrate Viln, spared by the Exarch on a whim, still struggling with the realization that his church is now served by an exarch of Maruma’e, sees this latest event as the final confirmation he needs of his divine calling. He begins to strip, advancing towards the bloody font with the intention of baptizing himself into the office of Chorrom. Arch-chancellor Salomor Zoterra from Motta and Arch-chancellor Celwyn Path see him, and also begin disrobing. Soon, the three holy men are caught up in a desperate, bloody wrestling match, undignified and desperate, all dignity of the previous scene removed by the mass confusion of unfolding events.
Carmenith, meanwhile, calls out to Vash as she is captured by the eitharmos. He sees her wings expand and her skin shimmer in a halo of light as they force manacles of true form onto her, forcing her into her angelic true glory form. The drow cannot reach her in time, and knows that he is vastly outnumbered. Banking that they will not kill such a high-profile prisoner as “the night witch” right away, he forces himself not to respond as they drag her away, even though it is wrenching to watch, with her reaching towards him and desperately calling out his name, begging him to forgive her.
The king leaves with the Ambassador, and Tobias and Lyda go searching for Abasi and Ichtaca. They find them, coming into a strange vignette. As Ichtaca staggers back from several slicing cuts, his shadow materializes into a three-dimensional creature, absorbing one of the blows and tearing the life from a shadow-magic using assassin. Tobias notices that his shadow is visible, even in the dark room, and that it doesn’t quite move with his actions as it should. “What are you?” He asks, but “This is hardly the time” is the only reply he receives, and the shadow is right. Together, the heroes slay a wave of the assassins, as Lyda heals Abasi with psionic magic. It’s a brief respite, however. Ichtaca and Abasi make their escape, but more eitharmos are pouring into the alleyway, and another group arrive just behind Vash, who is still pretending to be on their side. Tobias, Lyda, and Vash convince the assassins that they are the victims here, and exit the cathedral relatively unscathed.
As Abasi and Ichtaca seek shelter in the sewers with the Avans, the others return to the palace, where they meet with Ambassador Anelathem and King Halden Thandemar. Losoran and Tobias convince the King that he was mistaken about Tobias using any magic. Duke-Regent Bergeth is searching the palace, so, assuring Halden that they have a plan to thwart his uncle, the heroes smuggle him out of the palace, take him to the slums and hide him in the hidden apartment where they found the Jharethil refugees. They find some military police loyal to the king, and set him up there with supplies and a few loyal men.
Tobias’s mafia contact is available tonight, so they approach his home now, hoping to complete the prison break and hopefully save Carmenith at the same time as her brothers. Tobias goes in alone. Maellechath is a swarthy heathfolk brute of a guard, who tells him that the weekly shift change is in a few hours, at dawn. In this weekly exchange of boats, the guard changes, and prisoners are exchanged between the mainland holding cells and the island prison. What with the prisoner’s carnivals being temporarily shut down, there will be quite a few prisoners going to the facility this week, including the newly captured, high-profile criminal, the “night witch”. Tobias is in a bind. He wants to rescue Carmenith, but she will be at the mainland docks right during the prime time for a prison-break on the island. He convinces Maellechath to arrange for an “incident” at the ferry exchange, to let her escape in a way that makes it look as if Maellechath has killed her. The heathfolk reluctantly agrees, though he gets the impression that this elaborate scheme is all because the young lady in question is one of “the boss’s girls.”
That done, and with prison blueprints in hand, the team steals a small boat and approaches the south side of the island from a roundabout approach. Vash, Tobias, Ichtaca, Lyda, Abasi, two Avan assassins, and a young heathfolk bard, also an Avan, make up the party. The Avans have magic to create a portal escape route once they find the Jharethil. Vash cloaks the vessel in shadow, concealing their approach, and they climb the walls and assassinate their way in with brutal efficiency, leaving no guard they encounter alive. Quickly, they locate Thoelerren Mollathe, who is arrogant and spoiled, grateful for their arrival, but sure he has a far better plan than what they’ve come up with. He refuses to leave without all the other Mollathe prisoners in the prison. The heroes intimidate him into behaving, convince his men to wait half an hour before they start a riot, give them the keys, then leave with Thoelerren. Once out of sight of his men, they are forced to blindfold and gag the troublesome man, and drag him along with them. Stealthily, they descend into the prison’s off-limits, secret facility; a subterranean level set aside for the use of the eitharmos.
They wait for their moment, hiding amongst gruesome torture equipment. When the alarms sound out and the riot is in full swing above, most of the eitharmos below rush upstairs to help. Quickly, Tobias kills the entry guards with a sweep of psionic magic, and Ichtaca and Vash charge into a large round room centered around a huge pit with a crank operated elevator. They make short work of their unprepared opponents, and descend into the shaft. Below they find a large natural cave, flooded with sea-water, with rocky islands full of miserable prisoners. The only light comes from the jharethil here, trapped in elder form by their manacles, every one with his wings sawn off by eitharmos torturers. Most of the prisoners are humans, however, torture-scarred survivors of overthrown jharric communities and Avan enclaves. Carmenith’s brothers are not here, and the prisoners point towards an iron archway surrounded by glowing sigils in zoroch. It’s a portal, used by the eitharmos, presumably leading to some unspeakably hellish location. Carmenith’s brothers, along with thousands of other wretched captives, and crates of confiscated magical items, have been taken through the portal, through which more eitharmos may arrive at any moment.
Tobias studies the portal, taking note of the sigils before he deactivates them. Abasi, Ichtaca, and Vash take it down, determined to carry the thing with them. The Avans open a portal, and everyone hurries through, leaving a prison in chaos, with a full-scale prisoner riot raging upstairs. The heroes have saved every surviving Jhareth, Jharric-worshiper, and Avan in the facility, but they don’t yet have Carmenith’s brothers, or Carmenith herself.
Cathedral scene problem-solving and skill checks: 1,000 xp
Killing the Chorrom: 50 xp
Manipulating Viln: 50 xp
Saving the King: 50 xp
Ichtaca and Abasi escaping the Eitharmos: 50 xp
Vash and Tobias bluffing the Eitharmos: 50 xp
Prison Break Skill challenge: 2,000 xp
Rescuing Thoelerran Mollathe: 50 xp
Rescuing 43 innocent captives: 500 xp
Total XP: 3,300, divided by 3 PC’s, is 1,100. Previous cumulative total was 16,695, current is 17,795.