The Fog of Ious

Starting on the Mountain Path; Climbing Mountains and Taking Risks
Talking Doors, Stairs and Spiders.

12-13 Palesun, 200

Setting Out

The party began its journey immediately after The Council of Nightstone granted them permission to use the Gnome’s Passage up to the Distant Peaks. It struck several as odd that they’d need any sort of permission in the first place; they were asked to investigate the cause of boulders crashing into the town in exchange for a ton of raw iron, which the mining town has an abundance of. The Council’s stubbornness may be due to the pass’ relevance as a holy site, but it could just as easily be due to their general disorganization. Igan Dunndragon , who literally carted the party out of the city following the events of the Earthrain Address, decided to go along to assist, in his usual arrogant fashion; though he did certainly earn the right to brag. Abandoning Corvale in the chaos will surely cost him his position and perhaps more, should he return.

The first challenge was a bridge, which led to the Gnome’s Passage. A journey of two days, spent in relative comfort, saw you to the foot of the mountain the boulders were coming from.

The Door to the Mountain Pass

Once there, the party encountered A riddle-weaving door with a poor sense of what moral behavior guarded the mountain path. It tried to gauge the party’s reasons for climbing the mountain on some strange moral scale before giving you each a riddle to solve. They were generally very easy to solve with some thought. And though it did chastise the party (with the exception of Igan) at any chance it got, it eventually agreed to let you through. attempting to kick it open may not have been the best introductory action… But! When it opened, it revealed a massive stone staircase that bridged the gap between the start of the mountain pass and the ground below. Doubtless, the Gnomes have cast spells in the area to prevent would-be thieves from simply climbing up.

Spiders, Pillars and Stone Dwarf Faces?

The party continued upward for several hours before finally reaching the first point of note along the trail. Ancient stone pillars lined this pathway. The apparent age of the stone, combined with the party’s dungeoneering sense, led suspicions regarding its integrity. Igan, who was nothing if not eager to prove is heroism, walked through the first set of pillars at Aeson’s behest. Sure enough, the Captain of the Townsguard set off a tripwire that he didn’t notice, and that the party didn’t look for. The pillars came crashing down and would have killed him on the spot if not for Jamster’s intervention. *Be wary that these actions may have consequences in the future. * Exhausted, Igan decided to sit for a while to regain his strength. He seems to have no recollection of what happened.

Satisfied that the remaining pillars would hold, the party continued on. Several Spiders hid in the brush nearby, only to attack the party as they approached; however, they were quickly disposed of. These were the same species of spider the party encountered in a Corvalian alleyway, which nearly killed them. Before continuing on, the party examined a stone face of dwarven make that was mostly buried in the ground. Its left eye bore a sapphire, which Aeson quickly prised from it. Jamster also found a small cask of ale among the spiders’ ill-gotten belongings. It would seem the dwarves also have some history with these mountains.

A giant Boulder and an Angry, Strange Gnome.

An hour later, the party happened upon a door that was set into the ground along path. Treating it with some degree of suspicion, it took a while before it was finally opened. The door hid a small hole, in which an angry, dark blue-skinned gnome lived. He didn’t say much to the party. He spent most of his time complaining about his lack of sleep, with all of the giant boulders about. He also mentioned something else, offhand; Another group had passed along the mountain path a few days ago, an old Tiefling in attendance. * The gnome had a small treasure chest, bearing several *dark-colored crystals that create an impenetrable veil of darkness in a small radius when they are thrown to the ground. The party managed to pocket them thanks to Aeson’s quick thinking.

This time, they may have managed even without it: A giant boulder crashed to the earth just feet away from everyone, sending them flying Though the boulder felled several trees and generally made the party’s escape more difficult, they were able to avoid it. Ciraena’s quick thinking even saved the life of the Gnome, who was seconds away from being crushed. He was saved by means of a Thunderwave spell, which left him dazed but still alive. Any other information you may have received from him is lost, for now. When he wakes up, perhaps he would be willing to talk?

The Narrow Pass; the Hidden Door, and the Cave.

The party continued another hour into their trek up the mountain. At this point, the sheer scale of their climb became apparent. The lush vegetation was no more; replaced with stone, dust, and howling winds. When they came to a small gap in the pathway, the staggering drop to the ground below — easily more than a hundred feet — seemed to unsettle them. A careful mix of happenstance, and the investigative efforts of Jamster and Ciraena revealed a rather large set of tracks leading up the path ahead, which were covered by a thin layer of dirt It’s not certain what made the tracks, but with individual footprints large enough for Jamster and Aiko to stand in together, let’s hope you don’t run into it.

The gap was spanned by a thin, but sturdy bridge. Perhaps used to such perils, it took the party some time to decide to walk across it. They all managed without a bit of trouble — and some party members proved themselves to be unnaturally acrobatic in the feat. Battle-weariness and that stress aside, the party took a short rest, during which Aeson discovered a hidden door behind the rock he leaned against After the rest was complete, the party set about trying various means to open it. *Several minutes of prying with thieves tools, fingers and the correct end of an arrow saw the door open, * which is surely a feat. Whoever placed the door there certainly did not intend for it to be opened in such a way.

The party found nothing but darkness behind the door. Strangely, not even the light outside the opening of the cave pierced it Luckily, the party is adept at seeing in the dark, with the exception of Dio. For him, a torch works fine. Amidst a rather standard array of perils one might find in a dark cave, the party found *Round holes burrowed into the ground which gave off a foul stench. * A bit of investigation caused their owners to surface. Several large reptilian creatures stand, poised to attack. You may have encountered this sort of creature somewhere before…

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Before the Council, after the Troglodytes
Gnomes, Racism and People who are Difficult to Help!

12 Palesun, 200

The party dispatched of the rest of their foes before they could do much more damage to Celbi’s farmhouse and the surrounding areas; though I do suppose she will have to remove the bodies herself. With some of them being more…solid, than others, this might be an undertaking. Regardless she offered the party the chance to stay at her home and rest up – which the party accepted gratefully.

After their rest, it was finally time to speak to the Council of Nightstone. They seemed to have a particular distaste for outsiders, not least of all Dwarves. Perhaps more irritating, the Council seemed keen on asking for help, but was reluctant to let the party take the Gnome’s Passage – a safe route to the foot of the mountains. In any case It seemed like the party had to earn the right to aid the town. The party made various efforts – ranging from simple logic to sheer force of personality. Eventually, the Gnomes were convinced. During the exchange the party learned that there were likely treasures atop the mountain, as well as certain magical gemstones. – though they were warned to keep away from them. Aiko seemed to be keen on this line of information, but the Council was relatively silent on the matter.

The did eventually answer the party’s questions about the mountain – some members more enthusiastically than others. They also learned that the entrance to the Gnome’s Passage was beyond the bridge to the north of town. Unfortunately, a boulder had taken out the bridge several days ago, and it would certainly be an effort to get across. Between Dio’s quick thinking and some now otherwise useless building materials from Celbi’s farm, and Aiko’s decision to create a tightrope across, the party, plus Igan made it across. Those who insisted on taking the tightrope after the Dio’s makeshift bridge was in place saw with some hardship for their stubbornness.

Perhaps the bridge will be repaired by the time you return to Nightstone? If the boulders aren’t stopped, it is unlikely to matter. You have a journey ahead of you now. At least the Gnome’s Passage is the safest way to get there… Right?

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Boulders Falling from the Sky??
At least they've missed you, for now...

12 Palesun, 200

The party encountered an old gnome who told a story of woe: Boulders have been crashing into the town of Nightstone for nearly a month. None of the gnomes in the town are sure what is causing it, but they all have their theories. The boulders are coming from the top of the Distant Peaks – a mountain range known to Corvale as the home of the Gnomes. The old gnome asked if you might be interested in helping the town out, but he warned you that Nightstone is not fond of outsiders. He also suggested you get the approval of the Council of Nightstone. In general, the gnome was unpleasant, but otherwise helpful. As for why, if pursuing the cause of good isn’t enough, perhaps coming events may provide an incentive or two?

The first challenge the party faced was simply arriving to the town proper. A small, relatively shallow river stood in their way. It seems Igan dropped everyone off at a part of the town that had no direct connection to the rest of it. Rather than walk around for a few hours, the party decided to cross the river. After some difficulty including one instance of near-drowning, the party made it across. Igan took a running start, jumped in and quite deftly completed the same task in a fraction of the time. Perhaps he isn’t all ego and bravado?

As the party made its way to The House of the Council, they overheard screaming from a farmer nearby. It seems that this gnome, Celbi, was the farmer whose home was just recently destroyed by the latest boulder. She pleased for help from the party but did so in a rather rude fashion. As several strange reptilian monsters jumped out from underneath the boulder, you found yourselves fighting for your lives if not also to assist the farmer.

Combat has gone relatively swiftly; their numbers quickly proved to be a problem, as did their pack mentality and their tendency to swarm those who looked to be easier targets. However, the party has seen more than their fair share of combat in the short time they have been together, and the tide of the battle is quickly turning.

Finish off your foes, and you may have a chance to learn more about what waits at the top of the mountain!

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The Mindscape of the Timeless Mage
....proving that everything really is out to get you.

9, Palesun 200 – 12, Palesun 200

Your battle with the Elder of Corvale continued. He departed from his long string of praises regarding his power, at first. The more the party managed to injure him, the more that habit returned. He specifically mentioned that he has lived a thousand lives and defeated a thousand foes, a thousand times stronger than you. Whether or not that was an attempt at intimidation, he did seem to have a versatile repertoire of spells. Sometimes, he used his magic to deflect attacks; at others he negated them altogether. When he went on the offensive, the effects were devastating. He Knocked out Aiko Aeson and Dio with single spells. Before that, it was 5 against one, and those numbers eventually became the deciding factor in the battle.

Those who fell in combat found themselves strangely unharmed – at least as far as they could determine. Each woke up in a strange room that seemed to be tailored for them. Aiko found a room covered in oil, with Callin tied up against the far wall. Aeson found himself in a simple, yet somehow maze like room surrounded by shadowy figures. Ciraena found a room reminiscent of scenes from her past, with a shadow chasing her. Dio found himself in the ruins of his home city on the Elemental Plane of Air, and Jamster found himself in a small tavern beset by a cynical talking shadow. Several of the rooms seemed to be designed to psychologically torture their inhabitants. Several members of the party fell victim to a painful psychic attack that took the form of their inner doubts and concerns. Others managed to have the luck needed to subvert such attacks. And others still simply held out until their comrades were able to free them.

Those who freed themselves from the dangers of their rooms found them to be illusory; they received visions of what Malark Sum was currently engaged in and determined that he was not really there with them. They then found themselves in an interstitial plane of existence; not quite reality, but not quite the world of illusions they had been trapped in. Here, Aiko unwittingly uncovered Erathis herself. She appeared to be highly tolerant of most of the party’s antics. She even granted them limited dominion of the plane they found themselves on while they all waited for the others to be freed from the Timeless Mage’s influence. While she did have an air of regality about her, she was much more comfortable with the common behavior of the party than many of you might have guessed. The more observant among you noticed the slightest bit of hesitation in her voice whenever Ioun, or Ious was mentioned. Given that she had no facial expression to read, the reasoning behind this is uncertain.

The party used the power granted to them to simply pull their allies from their rooms, and everyone quickly arrived before Erathis. She described the evil of the Timeless mage, warning you that he is on the verge of destroying Ious – whether he knows it or not. This seems to line up with the warnings given the party by the mysterious Old Man, who seemed concerned with the mysterious box the party left within the Elder’s reach. She asked each of you to stop him. Some of the party accepted the duty with dignity, but where would the fun be in that, exclusively? Others asked what the goddess had to offer. She seemed to have anticipated this; giving you each a divine boon that caused different parts of your bodies to glow. Their effects will become apparent next session.

The party awoke slowly, three days after the events leading up to their meeting with Erathis. Igan Dundragon seems to have carted the entire party out of the city and into a town close to the Distant Peaks. While he was not entirely clear, he seems to have made some enemies in the process. Just before we left off, a boulder came crashing down from the sky, and into the roof of a nearby home. Seems trouble won’t stay away from the party for long!

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Spiders in the Alleway
...And not much else, except world-shattering keys.

4 Palesun, 200

The party remained firmly entrenched in combat this session. While the spiders were small in number, their exoskeletons proved to be difficult to peirce. Their bites didn’t have any problems piercing, only making matters worse. Venom burning into their wounds, the party’s victory was at best uncertain.

Jamster continued to make good use of his newfound magic — as did Ciraena. Wherever these abilities are coming from, they seem to be permanent. More of a seasoned caster, Aiko quickly set things in the alleyway ablaze and proceeded to manipulate the flames on a smaller scale, trapping the one of the creatures where it stood. Dio arrived on the scene briefly; helping the familiar individuals out of harms way before taking off again.

Aeson continued to deftly chip away at the hide of another spider, before finally splitting its head down the middle while Jamster’s magic caught up to it at the same time, sending bits of spider and pale green hemolymph to splash the entire party. Slightly injured, slightly in need of a bath, but alive nonetheless. The party won.

Jamster looked on at the scene — him and nearly everyone ignoring the fires that continued to consume the area (with the exception of Aiko, who seemed to be pleased with herself ) — He found a trail of Gold Pieces leading to another mass of web. Aeson caught on shortly thereafter, and quickly followed the trail. Jamster’s realization that the spiders themselves likely set this trap to lure in prey did not stop him. He found A Pale Green Gem and a Stone key, along with other shiny but otherwise useless objects. The Key made Aiko feel uneasy. Once she was sure it wasn’t just the ale — thanks to Ciraena’s medical examination using her foot — She discovered that the key likely belongs to the box the party left in the Town Hall.

5 days remain until the Earthrain address. Spend them wisely — if Aero’s warning is of any merit, it may be difficult to relax in the City of Corvale before too long.

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Awaiting the Earthrain Address
Drinking, Relaxing and...Spiders?

4 Palesun, 200

The party began its week in wait while the devices they placed around the Town Hall were readied. Coincidentally, the Festival of Earthrain is set to begin in that precise amount of time — the Elder’s Earthrain Address signaling the start of the season. Two days passed, relatively calmly.

Aiko decided to spend at least some time making a living with her prognosticative abilities; foretelling (perhaps incorrectly) futures of doom and destruction for many of those who wished to know their fates. Eventually, Calin arrived on the scene. When aiko read her future, a feeling of dread filled her. Her vision was not detailed — but the word Spiders echoed in her mind. This revelation was undoubtedly upsetting, but not enough to keep the two from wandering off to enjoy a drink or two (or more).

Before they did, though, She lit a nearby tree on fire. This served to distract two members of the Townsguard who had recognized Aeson as an Enemy of the City and made attempts to capture him. Between that, and a wise purchase of a magical pouch of sand, he was able to escape their grasp.

The past few days had been relatively peaceful. And then — when the party managed to group together by pure happenstance while going about their days, things became more dangerous. The party found a trail of SP leading into some dark alleyways and decided to follow it rather blindly; in some case due to intoxication, in others due to simply throwing caution to the wind. There was a web-covered gem at the end of the trail Giant spiders attacked the party as soon as they drew close enough.

One has been killed, but at a hefty cost. Will you make it out of this encounter unscathed?

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The Town Hall and the Shadow of the Divide
..Repairing the former and being confused by the latter.

2, Palesun, 200

The recent shed of Mana Oil in your last battle had Arcanist Folork in a huff. He gradually begin to lose his patience with the party as some of them showed an increasing amount of disregard for the books in the library. Before he lead you down into the library’s scroll storage room, he explained that the suits of Animated Armor that attacked you typically attack Enemies of the City — a distinction typically reserved for the most dangerous of Corvale’s criminal population. He tried to provide a cursory explanation as to how it’s possible, but outside of being related to the Elder of Corvale’s discretion, even he did not know precisely how the statues determined their targets. The entire scene had him so distracted that he never even stopped to think that many in the party are currently listed as Enemies of the City,

Folork’s encroached on his fit to such an extent that he didn’t notice Aiko steal a scroll of Jump or Dio Make off with a collection of books, one of which containing a thin rectangular gem. She received a vision when she touched it — she saw herself flying away rapidly from what appeared to be a web. Dio later learned that at least one of the books contained information on The Elemental Plane of Air, his home. The gem, aside from being thin and transparent and catching the eye of our resident thief, is thus far unremarkable.

The party received scrolls of Fabricate from the library, as they were asked by the Townsguard outside of the Town Hall. On their way back to the site of the repairs, Jamster revealed that his newly-found spellbook came with a voice: The voice of Ignamus Ignamus has been guiding Jamster in small ways over the past few hours. To his dismay, he found that only he could hear the voice.

The party used the repairs on the Town Hall as a way to plant the devices given to them by the person they believe to be Frath Starag — as of this moment, the Mysterious Box remains under the chair inside the building so that the Old Man could presumably spy on the Elder. Various antics ensued; but the party managed to plant the devices with only one carelessly dropped and broken!

The Party was then approached by a robed Elven woman who introduced herself as Aero who came to thank the party for their efforts. she also handed the party Strange Coins bearing a unique sigil — that of The Shadow of the Divide. Not much is known about this organization. According to some, they are the Hidden Heroes of Corvale. To others, they are its greatest threat. At any rate, they seem to be able to bring the dead back to life: Something is amiss here.

Aero told you that the devices would need a week’s time before they could be used. this is just as well — coincidentally, Malark Sum is set to give an address to the people in The Divide’s Town Square in that precise amount of time, to usher in the season of Earthrain as is tradition. Aero assures you that things are going to explode, when the time is right. She advised you to prepare.

How will the party spend their week?

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Suits, Scrolls and Mana Oil
Also books. Don't forget books.

2 Palesun, 200

The party found themselves at the Broken Plate — the same establishment they left shortly before being chased into The Divide by the Townsguard. This time. they found themselves to be labeled ‘Enemies of the City,’ by a proclamation posted on the tavern wall. This is a status reserved for the most dangerous individuals in the city; most in this class are either ousted from Corvale — as was Frath Starag — or they die fighting the Townsguard.

The Townsguard, as luck would have it was spread thin. You were able to overhear the noises of Town Hall repairs just outside of the tavern, and you could safely walk across the street to investigate. Several wizards appeared to be assessing the damage you caused while a member of the Townsguard watched impatiently. It turns out, spread thin or not, not all of the Townsguard seems to have seen the notice. The guard immediately recognized Ciraena, and asked her and “her lot” to go to the Library of Ious to fetch spell scrolls for the reconstruction. Reluctantly, the party went along save for Aeson and Jamster.

The rest of the party was attacked by Animated Armor while at the library, to the dismay of Arcanast Folork. The party triumphed with the aid of Balstiose, and Ixal. What happens next remains to be seen.

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Exploring The Divide
...And Killing a Suit of Armor

2 Palesun, 200

Left with no other recourse except The Divide, the party initially found themselves without much of a sense of direction. With nothing more than Aeson’s sense that the party would do well to lay low, it seemed like things would continue that way for some time. Fortunately for them, there is always something going on in The Divide!

The party re-discovered Dio being accosted by a few children, who were marveling at the unusual creature that he is. For at least one of them, this was nothing more than a ruse; one of the children very nearly made off with some of Dio’s belongings. But Aeson was able to stop the child. After an exchange of goods, the child was sent on his way with a letter of recommendation. This won’t be the last time he tries to pick pockets. The party spent some time getting reacquainted with their new companion.

During these exchanges, Aiko attracted the attention of a mysterious individual while handing out food to…everything. He originally spoke in a tongue that she could not understand, but quickly realized he was not speaking to a thief, and continued on in Common. He wanted Aiko and the party to meet near the Town Square in the next thirty minutes. Aeson overheard the initial conversation, which he knew to be in Thieves’ Cant. This sent him in the direction of the voice while Dio, Ciraena and Jamster went to investigate a contest announced by a citizen.

His challenge was simple: Defeat his champion in exchange for a sack of gold. His champion was not simple at all. The human’s champion was touted a “Gnomecraft Marvel” to the crowd. It was a suit of armor animated by a combination of mechanical and magical means. Dio challenged the strange foe, while the others watched from the sidelines. Magic was forbidden to cross the circle to aid the challenger, but that didn’t stop Jamster from using his newly-discovered magic to cheer Dio on as loud as he possibly could while Aeson and Aiko began to carry on a conversation with the mysterious figure.

Dio made quick work of the construct, although it very nearly bested him. The citizen offering the prize reluctantly honored his word. In a crowd throwing coin during his bouts, perhaps it won’t be too hard for him to re-earn the money. With the flash of a pale green crystal, the suit of armor was once again back on its feet (rather than standing on its hands and feet while being torn in half, which it seemed just as comfortable with).

The mysterious figure finally introduced himself quite bashfully to the party has the crowds settled. Somehow, he had caught wind of the party’s escapades in the City Proper just hours ago. He said that he and his organization were looking for a way to do away with the corrupt Elder. While he and Aeson carried a conversation on in Thieves’ Cant, the man eventually revealed his request to the party: Plant strange devices around the Elder’s office. Compensation was discussed, but the party was mostly taken aback by Aeson’s realization that the devices looked like bombs.

As the man vanished in a flash of light, Ciraena got a glimpse at his face: She saw two scars on each side of his face which she knew to be a defining physical trait of none other than Frath Starag. How in the world did he appear before the party? Will you accept his quest? Just what “Organization,” does he represent?

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Chased into The Divide
...By the one competent guard in Corvale?

The party spent just a bit too much time in the damaged Town Hall, but perhaps it wasn’t wasted? The party agreed to hide the Mysterious Box in the building so that the Old Man could spy on Sum.. Only time will tell what he will discover. Speaking of discovery…. Aeson left the box under a chair with no other efforts made to throw anyone off the trail. He did a pretty good job of it though.

Jamster serendipitously found a hammer in the suit of armor that he…relocated, not long before. When the townsguard (singular) finally reached the scene of the commotion to chase the party, it proved itself useful. One unconscious guard later, there was no doubt that the hammer was magical.

The party entered The Divide covertely thanks to Aeson. With the severity of your actions, it’s likely that you will have to stay hidden for some time before the Townsguard gives up its search. Get ready to spend some time among the rabble!

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