Episode Thirty One - Revikoth and The Sword Tower
Episode Thirty One – Revikoth and The Sword Tower (Level 13)
*Darius and Catzin explore the lower levels of Guddrek’s temple, where they find slavers with cages full of prisoners, including the missing wild elves, the missing Gilvingroth humans, and many dark elves. The priests of Guddrek are selling slaves. The stealthy pair eavesdrops, learning that priests are eager for war, and are intentionally ramping up rumors of the eladrin city of Imminaron being responsible for the disappearances. It’s not clear if the king is involved. Catzin scouts invisibly through the prison, and finds a secret tunnel leading out of it. Darius and Catzin slip away, unnoticed, and catch up with the rest of the party.
*King Ozar escorts them to his palace, making it clear that he wishes to speak with them as soon as the ‘handmaiden’ has contemplated the meaning of the vision she saw through her servants. The group gathers in Carmenith’s suite and plan to expose at least the priests, if not the king himself, assuming he’s complicit. They plan to steal exotic brandy from the palace stores, drug it with a sleeping draught, drug the slavers and priests, and then have the “handmaiden” see a vision that will lead her there. They hope to arrange for the king and many nobles of the city to come and see the debacle.
*Vash is sent for medicinal herbs, which is really an excuse for him to search the palace for evidence of any sins of the king, and more specifically, to locate the palace physician’s office, for herbs that would induce sleep. On his way there, he encounters some guards, and accidentally implies that although Carmenith can’t accept “tithes”, the other women of their party can.
*Within an hour, a line forms up outside Carmenith’s suite; off-duty guards and palace staff, eager for the favors of Lyda and Catzin. Ichtaca takes matters into his own hands, strips naked, strides out, and sternly informs them that all three women “are busy.” The men protest that there are three sacred priestesses in there, but Ichtaca repeats in an intimidating way, “they’re all busy.” The men leave, intimidated.
*Determined to call out the priests as murderers and slavers, the party infiltrates the castle, leaving Tobias with Carmenith and Lyda. They sneak down into the lower levels of the temple, where they witness another vision going on in the rune chamber. It seems to be a direct communication from Guddrek, who they realize now is also Gallister. They kill the priests and disrupt the vision, which is a repeat of instructions to capture them and turn them over to the god, especially Carmenith.
*Darius disguises himself as the priest he assaulted before (see previous email), and offers the stolen and drugged brandy to the guards and slavers in the lower chamber.
*Vash uses the shadow magic of his drow heritage, bringing a cloud of darkness into the prison under the temple, one that muffles sound as well.
*While the others arrange the dead bodies around the drunken men, Vash
heads down the secret passage, which leads west and east out of town, with the five rescued elf girls. The group leaves the rest of the hostages unrescued for now, and unaware of what’s going on. The heroes then head back to the castle.
*Meanwhile, back at the palace, two assassins disguised as eladrin attempt to kill Carmenith, but Tobias, Lyda and she are able to dispatch them. Someone is trying to murder the handmaiden, and make it look like eladrin agents from Imminaron did it. It’s another set up for the brewing war, but the three escape, defeating their foes and hiding the bodies. They hide elsewhere in the palace until the others return from their mission.
*Now, it’s time to fake a miracle. Ichtaca reluctantly suggests that the only sure way to do this is to once again tap into Carmenith’s power, making this his first suggestion to do such a thing, rather that opposing it. The group go to the square between the two temples of the city’s patron gods, Hjotra, and Guddrek. There, Vash invokes Carmenith’s power to enhance his fey illusion charm, and creates bright dancing lights in the sky. Tobias taps into Carmenith’s power to speak to every mind within a mile in the voice of “the goddess”, commanding them to come and see the corruption and sins of some of the priests of Guddrek. Both uses of Carmenith’s stored soul-energy leave her glowing and angelic, too weak to stand on her own, and erupting with a column of light that illuminates the night clouds and gives Vash’s visual display all the makings of a true holy miracle.
*The key figures of the city arrive, along with a huge crowd. The nobles and the King come as well, and the guard has a time of it getting the crowd under control. Finally, a select group of the nation’s most powerful men accompany the ‘handmaiden’ and her vassals down to the hidden basement prison of the Guddrekian temple.
*In the sub-basement prison, drugged priests are arranged with dead priests, whom they appear to have murdered. Tobias publically accuses the king, forcing him to admit that he is either corrupt or incompetent. Enraged, the King denies neither charge, and attacks Carmenith. Tobias disables him with an onslaught of sensory torture, making it appear that Carmenith is smiting the ruler for his sins against his own people and the gods. Ozar is turned over to gleeful local noble named Adils Brynholf, who is next in line for the throne. The interim ruler declares a war-trial of the king will be held, gives the party supplies, and sends them on their way to reunite with Vash.
*Vash does not meet them at the agreed upon rendezvous point the next day, but the wild-elf tribeswomen he rescued are there. No one speaks silvandrae, but the girls manage to communicate enough to direct the party to where Vash was when they last saw him. It takes them nearly twelve hours to catch up with him, and they make some shocking discoveries along the way about Vash’s recent activities.
*The group is stalked and pounced on by an ecstatic Snowball, Ichata’s 800 lb snow leopard companion. She’s been tracking them a long way, it seems, with some tracking magic Professor Jennish placed on her. She’s carrying a message on much-chewed, mangled vellum. It’s hard to make out the details from the mostly ruined document, but it’s clear that the Professor is alive, stranded somewhere with the boat, and for some reason, unable to use magic. He says he risked his life to cast even this spell. There’s no time to investigate now, but the group are relieved to know that when they find Vash, the big cat can lead them back to Jennish and their lost airship.
*Meanwhile, many long hours earlier, Vash exits from the east end of the tunnel to find himself in a slave camp. The prisoners are a mix of humans, drow, and wild elves, and the slavers are talking as he listens in. Two separate parties of buyers are due to arrive before dawn, one of them vampire agents from Perrith Gorr. There are signs that the slavers have tortured and killed at least one slave for pleasure, deeming him useless.
*Vash uses the dark shadow magic of his past life. Wanting to save every slave and kill every murdering slaver, he gives in to his inner voice and experimentally channels this energy through the drinking blade, which turns out to be a massive mistake.
*His past life’s personality, the great fey Emperor Revokoth Kavan, a bloody conquerer and tyrant, is brought out in full glory, the alternate personality fully taking over. Vash slaughters every slaver, and then waits for the buyers and does the same to them, using the drinking blade, and channeling vast amounts of stolen shadow magic, taking every shadow from these men as he kills them. He is not witnessed by the slaves, who see absolute darkness descend over them, and then hear horrible screams. When the darkness passes, they have been freed.
*Vash goes under the city to the west end of the passage, where he kills another camp full of slavers, who have also been torturing and murdering the less valuable slaves.
*Then, fully dominated by the sword and his alter ego, Vash heads west into the jungle, where he calls on the magic of the drinking blade, transforming the sword into a great tower. He floods it with the stolen shadows of the nearly a hundred men he just killed. Believing that he can destroy his friend’s foes and help them all, he exults as the sword-tower rings out a call like a great bell, a magical call to summon their enemies, specifically the Eitharmos, the Yaloin and Dythan Mathis, and Gallister, in his meteor-golem body.
*The rest of the party have been tracking Vash, finding the bodies of the men he has slain, and are getting more and more worried. They hear the tower’s call, and arrive to see it rearing up out of the jungle. They enter the tower, and find a pool of pure shadow, teeming with tortured faces of the men Vash just killed. The only way up is to step into the pool and ride a shadow-geyser to the top of the sword tower, where a great storm is striking lightning on the crosspiece.
*Vash stands on the pommel, fully in sway of Revikoth, and now dominated by the sword. He thinks the coming eitharmos will be his slaves, and that he can use them to strike down Gallister and end the Yaloin and Mathis, a gift for his friend Tobias, and a way to assure safety for all his friends. Tobias, Ichtaca, and Carmenith snap him out of the domination and force Revikoth to give way for Vash. (Tobias has already worked with Vash to help him visualize himself as separate from Revikoth, and while he was there he left a secret psionic door in Vash’s mind.) Ichtaca decides to use spirit magic to tear the two personalities apart, and doing this finally turns the influence of Revikoth into a fully formed alternate personality. Vash now has schizophrenia.
*He collapses the sword tower, but it’s too late. The call has gone out, and enemies are converging. Tobias hears Mathis’ voice ringing in his mind, thrilled to know that ‘his vessel’ is still alive, and promising him that he’s coming for him. Gallister’s golem body is close. He’s been waiting in the jungle until he could get a fix on the group through his augurs. The ground shakes as the god pounds through the jungle towards them, in a body now so swollen with gathered meteors that it’s 150 feet tall.
*A portal rips open in the sky, and a huge nassa demon flies through, presumably loaded with hundreds of deadly eitharmos troops. It pounces like a great cat the size of a football field. The demon almost has them, but Gallister dodges in front to protect his prize, grappling the scything dragon-thing. While the two giants duke it out, the heros run to the nearby lake front, where Ichtaca uses Lakhi’s pearl to summon a great pearl dragon. They fly across a great lake, to the city of Imminaron, where the dragon leaves them next to a great, invisible city on a cliff between lakeshore and dense jungle, warded by a magical barrier they cannot penetrate. The nassa and the golem-god have broken off their battle in favor of pursuit, and things look desperate.
*The heroes hail the city, and hundreds of prepared, armed guards march out and promptly arrest them for crimes against the crown of Telgard, the eladrin nation far to the east. They have arrived at Imminaron just after the diplomatic party of Vash’s father; King Ennarron Amraseth, and his Queen Linwë Amraseth. The heroes don’t argue, glad to be taken inside the city’s protective shields before their enemies can reach them.
*Carmenith is again an object of contention here, and is led off to a separate place as the others are imprisoned. After a time, the group is brought before King Idhion, ruler of the city state of Imminaron, a stern man, but one who has won the loyalty of his people through fair rule. He summons his oracle to scan them for deceit, and questions them carefully. This all takes place in the presence of the accusing visiting dignitaries, who are here to win his allegiance as a vassal king in a new empire.
*The party are accused of many crimes, including the kidnapping or murder of Ambassador Losoran Anelathem, who fled with them when they fled Imsund, Telgard. They demand to see Carmenith. The oracle here has also seen visions of the glorious things her king could accomplish with the use of Carmenith, but the king refuses to speak on this matter for now, saying he needs time to consult with his counselors and decide what is best to do. It can wait, he says, until after their trial.
*The oracle scans each of the party magically, and seems sympathetic to them as they plead their innocence. She reveals Darius as a shape-shifter, although she believes he is eladrin, and that this is sorcerous magic she’s not seen before. Queen Linwë seems both upset and intrigued at this news, as she is secretly carrying Darius’ child, not her husband’s.
*The group are taken to a far nicer set of rooms, but are still prisoners there, men separated from women, and Carmenith still missing. They worry that she is in terrible danger, and they can hear the distant sound of the city’s shields being attacked by something huge and terrible.
*Fresh supplies, as much food as can be carried on foot.
*Drugged brandy, enough to put five grown men to sleep or reduce ten to a stupor for a few hours.
*A woven gold belt, crown and other fine Jewelry for Carmenith, along with a fine white gown. (Medieval-Viking-Gaelic style.)