Episode Nine - The Order of the Silver Hand
Episode 9: The Order of the Silver Hand (Level 6)
Still at the monastic temple of the Order of the Silver Hand, the adventurers enjoy the grounds and discuss their situation as the monks prepare to bid farewell to their dead and abandon their temple. After the funeral, Master Temu Jenmai and several others will cast a ritual over the fallen stars, shrinking and shielding them.
Lyda convinces Tobias to speak with Master Vennas, a psionic healer, about his condition, but when Tobias approaches the old man, he recognizes him as the son of Eleya Orindel, with whom he has a history. He refuses to speak further with Tobias, to treat him, or to train Lyda, but Jenmai intervenes and takes the two visitors aside to tell them a disturbing story. Eleya was a psionic prodigy, a member of the order, and a pupil of Vennas. After years of training and hard work, she won the respect and love of her misogynistic mentor, who came to look on her as a daughter. Then she met Ober Orindel in town, and fell in love. The night she asked Master Jenmai for permission to marry, every monk at the temple, including Eleya, had the same dream; a horrible vision. They saw her bearing two healthy children, but then, in childbirth to a third, she dies, screaming in agony. The child rose up above its dead mother, a twisted aberration, something not meant to be, its very existence a danger to all natural life. Jenmai and Vennas begged Eleya to forsake her love, to remain with the order, and to swear a vow of celibacy, but she refused. She instead forsook her power, and left with Ober. Vennas took this as the ultimate betrayal.
As Jenmai tells this tale, he disrobes, revealing himself to be a mimmesarch, with a twisted body of tentacles and too many eyes. Tobias and Lyda are horrified, hiding their eyes. Many of the monks of the order have become mimmessarchs, infected with the taint in their battles with their enemy. It is time for him to leave his brethren and join a mimmessarch commune his order runs in Syrikule. Tobias that he is the child of the vision, and Jenmai can sense an aberrant taint in the young psion’s blood, though he cannot explain how or why this happened. He urges him to seek out his father and find out more about his heritage, or he will surely succumb to a far worse fate than Jenmai. The disease that wastes him is due to his immense psionic power being at war with an unknown aberrant taint in his blood. When Tobias denies any malady, Jenmai reaches out to him psionically, his mind triggering and sharing in the pain that wracks the human’s muscle and bone. Tobias is stricken with pain and horror, unable to respond.
After these disturbing revelations, Jenmai tells them the true reason for the eitharmos attack on their temple. One of the monks here had a fallen star, shrunken and set into a bracer. The moment the eitharmos had killed him and taken the artifact, they withdrew, taking their dead with them. Unsure if the military order would return again, the monks are all preparing to leave the temple in small groups. Master Jenmai is losing his ability to communicate along with his humanity, and he has failed to communicate this to Casimir and Mozral, each of whom blame themselves for the attack. As a favor to him, Tobias agrees to take Vash and try to convince each of the wayward young monks that they will be safer to leave their brothers, and go to a secret psionic community in Ithachol. The master monk agrees to train Lyda in the basics of psionic healing for a few hours, and a shaken Tobias leaves her with him.
Later that evening, after the funeral, Jenmai and several others work through the night, casting their ritual over the fallen stars. Tobias and Vash seek out Casimir and Mozral. Vash easily convinces Mozral of the truth of the eitharmos attack, but Tobias struggles with the lovelorn Casimir, who he catches in Daemonic form en-route to visit a lover in town. Unwilling to abandon his visit, he carries Tobias with him, saying they can talk along the way. Tobias makes some headway with the daemon, but is forced to listen to the endless virtues of Purathi, a local beauty. In town, Casimir meets with Purathi in the front hall of her home, while Tobias charges into her bedroom and drags out the half-dressed man exiting her window, forcing Casimir to realize he is one of many being led on by the coquette. The heartbroken young man is much easier to sway, and he agrees to do as Tobias suggests. Casimir and Mozral will go to Ithachol.
That night, as everyone sleeps, Vash, Tobias, Ichtaca and Lyda each suffer through another round of strange dreams. Vash rises early and seeks out the two psions he met earlier, both of whom are dreamwalkers. They shared in the party’s dreams involuntarily, and both are convinced that these are not ordinary dreams, but rather a side effect of being exposed to the meteors for so long. Divine power cannot pass easily through the worldfire, but, using the meteors as a conduit; powerful beings are trying to communicate with them. The psions have also walked the dreams of several people infected with the Némelethe, as a recent outbreak in the Norlythe has drawn their attention. Some entity or force is drawing away memories from the infected as they dream, taking them somewhere, though neither men knows to where.
Master Jenmai presents the group with the three fallen stars, shrunken down to small crystals and set into bracers. The artifacts still radiate power, but the power is shielded so that they no longer act as psionic beacons. As they thank the monks and bid them farewell, the ground begins to shake, and a huge creature plows towards them through the trees. It’s the crystal Golem, reconstituted, and much bigger, faster, and more deadly. Tobias and Vash spring into action, aided by their friends, and a bevy of warrior monks. Though several monks are injured, no one dies. They shatter the golem, and again it melts into the ground. Jenmai confronts Vash, the obvious target of the attack, and examines the stolen gems. He warns the party that the golem will reform again and again, no matter how many times they destroy it, unless they turn the gems themselves against it as a weapon. Although the gems radiate aberrant divine energy, he and the other monks are able to fuse them together with psionic power, making an unstable, vibrating spear out of them. If Vash can kill the golem with this weapon, both it and the gems will be destroyed. The gems of the spear cannot be contained long with the psionic energy, Jenmai warns. If not used for this purpose soon, it will explode.
Returning to Midwell Bridges, the guards confront the adventurers, arresting Lothand, who has been accused of murder. Two young lovers of trentsmund nationality have been slain down on the docks, and somehow the young scribe has been both implicated, and revealed as a Jhareth. The trentsmin district of town is near riot, and are putting heavy diplomatic pressure on local officials to extradite the trial to Trentsmund.
Vash and Tobias move quickly to help. They interview witnesses, examine the planted evidence, plead with local officials, and examine the body. Tobias and Lyda make considerable headway with the unlikeable judge, who is easily convinced that not only is Lothand an unlikely murderer, but that helping these young visitors with the case could win him some private time with the lovely Lyda. Gritting his teeth, Tobias encourages this fantasy, while keeping things from going too far. Meanwhile, convinced that the nameless eitharmos hunter with Viln is involved, Vash goes to confront the man, but the tense conversation reveals no more than a smug satisfaction at the Jhareth youth’s fate. Very narrowly avoiding a death match with the hunter, Vash leaves and moves on to investigate his second suspect; Anotros Bartoli Ciprano. Vash stealthily searches the suite shared by the Mottan ambassador and the Bithrodori, none of them noticing the drow passing among them. Observing the ambassador, he hears a strange overlay of sound as the man meditates; hearts beating. He finds a map of the town with several circled locations, including the docks.
Together, Tobias and Vash are able to turn the tide of the trial in favor of young Lothand, and he is released. Although they are unable to prove anything about the nature of the true murderer, they now believe that neither the eitharmos nor Anotros Ciprano is the culprit, but the Mottan Ambassador Sansochin Vitali. Frustrated with the man’s diplomatic immunity and his importance to the upcoming peace negotiations, they can do nothing more for the moment.
Abasi, meanwhile, has asked Vash to take a note and one of the aberrant mouths cut out of the dead eitharmos to his contact in town, a man named Andasterral Bell. The tiefling is a skilled tailor of some local renown, catering to the upper classes. His religion and true work as an Avan assassin are a closely guarded secret, and Abasi cannot approach him openly in Ravari garb lest he compromise him. Vash gives all of the mouths to Andasterral, who is eager to get them into the hands of his compatriots. He hopes the Avans can use them to find out more about the Eitharmos’s devastating new power source, perhaps even a weakness. The tiefling also agrees to smuggle young Lothand out of town, and take him to the safety of an Avan enclave.
Wayward Monks Skill Challenge: 250 xp
Crystal Golem encounter (story mode): 100 xp
Dockside Murders Skill Challenge: 1250 xp
Extensive Roleplay with Master Temu Jenmai: 100 xp
Roleplay with several other NPC’s: 100 xp
Tobias learning of his mother’s past and the taint in his blood: 50 xp
Vash avoiding combat with the eitharmos hunter: 500 xp
Total XP: 2,350, divided by 2 PC’s, is 1,175 each. Previous cumulative individual total was 9,745, current is 10,920. You are level 7! (Level 8 comes at 13,000 xp.)
Custom meteorite bracers based on Gleaming Diamond Bracers (level 9)
3 action points to Adam and 2 to Mike for participation in the email