Fallen

An Amazing Adventure
...and back

Ar'kle-mens, a tall, white Abishai, greeted the adventurers before the Portal. It introduced itself as the guardian of this Portal, not showing any hostility at all towards the Primes. The pursuing Abishai broke off and began to circle at a  respectful distance, but keeping a close eye on what transpired below.

The Devil offered a simple deal to the adventurers, it would allow them safe passage through the portal to Sigil in return for a small favour. All it wanted was for them to carry a simple black orb through the portal with them. That was all. Thanks to the massive levels of paranoia the party debated, inspected , identified and argued. Finally they agreed to take the orb, and Rynn led the group through the portal.

In a rash act of defiance Sendrina used her Mage Hand to flick the Orb back at Ar'kle-mens before she stepped through the portal. The Portal closed before they could hear it's screams of rage.

Stepping through the portal the party found themselves in a very plain dungeon, and that somehow Bruce had not come through the portal with them. Moving forward they found evidence they were somewhere in Sigil; a marble statue of the Lady of Pain. They also found evidence they were not alone. Indeed they soon met a Tiefling called Rendella, a soldier in service of the Fated leading a small expedition into this Maze.

Rendella offered yet another deal, for the adventurers to help The Fated in their mission. They sought a  warrior, Timlin, banished to this maze years ago for some slight against the Lady. He had brought with him Lightbringer, an incredibly powerful magical sword that several of Sigil's factions were now hunting. She warned there may be other factions in the maze, and when they had acquired the sword she would take them out of the maze and return to Sigil with them.

Moving cautiously the adventurers soon found a large room that appeared to be used by Timlin as his chambers. Before they could investigate further Sendrina noticed several people approaching from a different direction. Turning invisible she waited for them to enter the room, one of them found a sword under the bed just as Saggy tried (and failed) to sneak into the room. The leader of this new group, Kayle, quickly got his troops in formation and began to question the group. Taking advantage of the distraction Sendrina attempted to steal Lightbringer from the soldier holding it. Sadly she was too slow,and as the soldier turned to hand it to Kayle he hit Sendrina. 

Enraged by this deception Kayle ordered his men to attack. They fought well and held their own, but in the end were no match for the experienced adventurers. Inspecting the sword revealed it was most certainly not Lightbringer, just a decoy that it seemed Timlin used to throw intruders off.

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Into the Torus
Out of the Maze into the Cage

Resting after the fight with the Mercykillers the adventurers were disturbed by an unexpected guest: Bruce. He had somehow been delayed coming through the portal, and emerged several hours after everyone else. Pleased to be re-united the party barricaded doors and settled down for a long rest.

Their peaceful rest – and dreams of a Dwarven/Golem Voltron Creature – were interrupted by Timlin himself returning to his chamber. He took a few moments to size up his new opponents and then launched into a reckless attack on the group. Refining his strategy Timlin carefully selects his targets, taking down Rynn and seriously hurting the others before a new faction bursts into the room. At the entrance of new enemies Timlin retreated back into the Maze.

The newcomers introduced themselves as from the Harmonium Faction, and of course the adventurers wanted to kill them instantly. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and the group 'accepted' another faction deal; if they found the sword they would seek out the Harmonium. Their new deal struck the adventurers continued to explore the Maze.

After some time they heard sounds of battle, seeking it out they found Timlin fighting the remnants of the Harmonium agents. Although the party joined the fray they could not save them, but they did finally end Timlin. With Lightbringer safely in hand the group found the Fated and Rendella who lived up to their end of the deal. Leading everyone to a small alcove they uncovered the secret door to the exit portal, and bravely Sendrina was the first to step through.

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A Misplaced Spirit
Little Petitioner Lost

Passing through the portal the adventurers were greeted with sights they never expected to see. A street full of ancient buildings covered in blades and spikes; a cafe where an Abishai and Tanar'ri casually shared a meal; a frost giant using its coat to shelter several dragonborn from the drizzle; and around it all the great city of Sigil stretched above and away from where they stood. Rendella guided them through streets full of every species known, and some seemingly unknown, just as she had promised.

After some hours and quite a few unbelievable sights the party found themselves at the gates of the Hall of Records. At sometime in its past the Hall had been a college of some type with several buildings surrounded by a high wall. Once in the gate Rendella led them to the central building, where dozens of Fated members moved back and forth carrying scrolls and books that must have held decades of Sigil's records. With little fanfare the adventurers were ushered into a small side room to meet a higher agent of the Fated, a Chaond named Serrin.

Serrin gratefully took the sword from Sendrina so he could Identify it, as he expected the dark was that it was not the powerful artifact it was claimed to be but rather a quite 'ordinary' magical sword. Still pleased with their work Serrin offered the party music and further work if so desired. After much rattling of bone-boxes, just a few ales, and with nothing else to do, they took the job.

Across the square in the college's old food hall the Fated has established their mess hall and temporary accommodation. It was here that the party found Faithful Servant Li, a bureaucrat from the Palace of the Dead. Li happily relayed his chant that he had sadly 'misplaced' a Petitioner, Golden Morning Radiance, and was desperate to return her to the Palace before Yen-Wang-Yeh returned to find his mistake. The Judge of the Dead was sure to write Li in the deadbook if he was found out. Li's only lead for the adventurers was that Golden Morning Radiance had found her way into the Hive, and that several other Factions knew she was in there and would also be seeking her out. Li was adamant that Golden Morning Radiance had to be returned to the Palace.

Traveling through the Hive was not without danger. Seeking guidance Saggy questioned Doug, the first Dwarf they met, if he had seen anyone that could have been Golden Morning Radiance. In a stroke of inexplicable luck he had! Given that he lived on this street, and that seeing a beautiful petitioner from the Palace of the Dead was not an everyday occurrence it really wasn't that surprising. Even though he directed the party to exactly where he had seen her they were a little too peery to immediately act on his information.

The alley had little except two Dabus' trimming an outcropping of razor vine, who quickly left when fire bolts began to burn away the vines. Continuing along the alley Sendrina was ambushed by dozens of Cranium Rats, who were able to confuse and almost take down some of the adventurers. But their attack was in vain, as the rats were beaten off and given the laugh. Deeper in the Hive Saggy was again able to gain important chant from several beggars gathered around a burning brazier. It is amazing what a little bub as music will do. Even the ground could be dangerous, with the party encountering what looked like an ooze spread out on the ground. Although they were able to get free the party left convinced it was a simple green ooze creature of some sort, but the dark is so much more.  

In a random street market they spied a basher from the Red Death, and Bruce decided to attempt to give him a peel. Walking behind the sod Bruce began bragging about how east it was to find the girl, and was glad no other bashers had found her first. His curiosity piqued the Mercykiller enforcer turned and demanded the chant off Bruce, who was able to drive home the peel that Golden Morning Radiance was back at the Hall of Justice. Although he considered a fight, the dark of it was that the Mercykiller knew he could not win, believing his quarry gone he departed.

Bouyed by the lie the adventurers continued on and soon spotted the Petitioner being escorted by a couple of Dusters. Although bone-boxes rattled there would be no negotiating. The Dustmen had to take Golden Morning Radiance to the Mortuary, and the adventurers had to return her to Faithful Servant Li. The fight was short and decidedly one-sided, with the Dustmen quickly put in the deadbook. Sendrina argued that perhaps Golden Morning Radiance did not want to return, but even the humble Petitioner knew the dark of the Planes. In an effort to return quickly Bruce used his magical repertoire to fly Golden Morning Radiance back to the Hall of Justice, leaving his companions to walk slowly back. 

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The Sword and Buckler
An Old Friend Returns

Faithful Servant Li was more than happy to see Bruce return successfully. After a brief meeting with Serrin, where a fair payment was received, Bruce returned to the Mess Hall and waited for his companions return. Their reunion was punctuated by the exchange of loot, and Bruce informing everyone that Rendella wished to see them in her chambers. They shw could wait until the next morning.

The next morning was the beginning of a pleasant day in Sigil, the temperature was comfortable and the air was reasonably clear. Rendella was located in the 10th floor of the Hall of Records, and informed everyone that a Dwarf named 'Jack' wished to see them at the 'Sword and Buckler', a tavern just inside the Lower Ward. 

Journeying across Sigil is never boring, and the adventurers took time out to stop at the Grand Bazaar to browse. There was much selection and ordering of special items, some of which was in stock but a lot that they would have to wait for. Once selections were made and deposits paid the party continued across the Market Ward to find the waiting Jack. But of course it would never be that simple.

Somewhere on their journey Saggy heard a Dwarven child calling out for help, and being the type of Dwarf he is he had to investigate. The girl claimed that the Dustmen were trying to take her Grandfather! For some reason they were trying to enforce their contract before he was actually dead. Unable to resist any Dwarf in distress Saggy immediately followed her a few streets away to her Grandpa's old shop, the rest of the party reluctantly following. For some reason all but Saggy suspected some sort of trap.

Indeed it was a trap. The girl led them to the store and much to everyone's surprise she actually went inside first. Hearing a scuffle at the rear Saggy leaped to the offensive, quickly discovering a handy spike trap. The dwarf girl was soon revealed as a polymorphed mage, and another nine Dustmen agents revealed themselves in ambush. Fireballs, lightning bolts, and ludicrous gibs punctuated the fight, but in the end the adventurers prevailed. It seemed these Dustmen were seeking revenge for the 'incident' yesterday. It did make the party cautious of possible Mercykiller retribution as well.

Finally free of trouble they arrived at the 'Sword and Buckler', having time to order food and ale before Jack made his entrance. He was finally able to explain why they had been brought to Sigil, and the convoluted path they had taken to get here. Brastan was one of many 'recruiters' on the various Prime planes, finding and testing adventurers before sending the successful ones to tasks on other planes, in this case the Shadowfell. (Sometimes he does so without asking, to see how people handle unexpected planar travel.)

Their destruction of Velspar was only a small part of a larger problem. An unnamed evil force was attempting to return to the multiverse, and Jack's master was doing whatever he could to stop it from happening. Jack offered the group a trip home, to be done with Planar adventures, but also offered more quests with information as payment. Given the payment on offer the party decided to stay. Jack provided two leads, and left the adventurers to decide where to head to first.

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An Ancient Secret
What's in the church??!

Leaving Jack in the Sword & Buckler the party traveled deeper into the Lower Ward, having decided to investigate the trouble at the old Church first. Although they still looked like outsiders, and clearly were still Clueless, the crowds of the Lower Ward paid them little attention. As soon as the party reached the area of the Church they formulated a plan to find out everything they could about it.

An initial recon resulted in a visit to Skamos' Bookstore, one of few shops still active in the area. The old Tiefling had no magical books, much to Argos' chagrin, rather a vast collection of reference books. With such a varied range the party was able to find several very useful books on the nature of the planes, Sigil, and factions. (That was an Oxford comma, and a very useful one at that.)

Further along Nickle Road Sandrina found Kruthar's Import/Export Emporium. Here she was able to get quite a bit of information off of the helpful half-orc. He was so helpful that Sandrina offered her services as a porter but was quickly forced to stop due to her inability to lift. Next came some subtle walk-bys of the Church revealing the Athar guards on the door were vigilant and seemingly loyal to their cause. Having found what they could here the group moved on the the Ubiquitous Wayfarer.

Only a few blocks away the Wayfarer promised to reveal even more secrets of the Old Church. It did not take long for the party to pick out Hulester, an agent of the Athar that was tasked with watching the Wayfarer for anyone getting too interested in the Church. He was drinking quietly looking quite depressed and not willing to talk to anyone. Luckily Sandrina was able to determine that he had a crush on the Wayfarer's barkeep, Riaen. Through smoothtalking and out-right lying she was able to get Hulester to open up. While getting a 'haircut' from Bruce and some dating advice from Sandrina Hulester revealed everything he knew about the situation at the Church. 

Hulester reveals that a Harmonium member owned the church and surrounding land, he desired to demolish it all and build some investment properties on the site. Soon after demolition began the crew disappeared inside the Church. Soon after a Harmonium investigation team vanished looking for the crew. In response the Athar sealed off the Church, forbidding anyone from entering. For some reason the Signers had taken an interest in the Church and also wanted to get in there, but he didn't know why.

Meanwhile downstairs a confused human called Phol was puzzling over the riddle statue that occupied the center of the tavern. Somehow Rynn was able to solve it for him and in gratitude Phol had some extra information. He had overheard some Signers discussing a plan to get into the Church. Their leader seemed to be an Elf called Elchis that could be found at the Faction HQ, the Shattered Temple.

Buoyed by their now found knowledge the group, minus Rynn, made their way to scout around the Church again. Saggy and Bruce created a distraction involving vomit to allow Sandrina to sneak into a nearby storehouse. Suitably purged they continued around the Church and onto Nickle St. Here they ran into an old friend, a Mercykiller Knight and several of his friends. Frantically calling Sandrina and Argos for help the party fought for their lives against the Red Death. 

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New Faces & Old Places
Beauty is fleeting

Exhausted from battling the Mercykillers the adventurers quickly looted before looking to return to their stakeout of the Church. As they looted however they noticed their usual elvish monk had been supplanted by a different elvish monk. The newcomer introduced himself as Talvec, an agent of the Sensate also sent to investigate the Church. Together they moved to a storehouse across the road from the Church to continue investigations.

Unable to travel by rooftop due to the infamous blades and spikes of Sigil they needed another plan of attack. Sandrina and Talvec maxed out their stealth and made their way to the rear of the Church. In the alley they found a small hole in the stonework covered by Razorvine, which was easily cut away allowing ingress to the Church interior. Inside they found a shell of a building, no internal walls or structures just the outside walls and the collapsed dome. The only things out of palce were the five giant standing stones that once held up the dome.

Unable to interpret what was going on Sandrina took a rubbing of the stones markings and returned to the rest of the party. They were also unable to make sense of the markings and decided they needed to see the stones for themselves. Using Talvec's skills they were all able to sneak down the alley and enter the Church. Even Saggy was unable to identify the stone used, so instead he dug down to the bottom of one stone which sadly revealed any new information. Having collected all they could the group returned to Jacobi and gave him the chant.

After resting for the night the party returned to the Lower Ward to complete Jack's second task, to get to the bottom of rumours of disturbance deep in the Ward. On the way they dropped into the Wayfarer to try to find Rynn and follow up on Hulester. Sadly he had vanished after his 'date', and Rynn had left a note stating she had a lead on where her Silver Dragon was and had left to find him. 

 

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Old Faces & New Places
Don't Khassta the First Stone

Reeling from the apparent desertion of Rynn the remaining adventurers are quick to welcome the Sensate member Talvec into their ranks. It is almost as if they can't tell elven monks apart. At the behest of Jack they journey across Sigil into the Lower Ward, seeking any sign of the trouble that Jack had mentioned. Soon enough they found a young half-elf, hideously disfigured and hard to look at, stumbling through the streets. Before they had a chance to ignore him a human woman, Tiandra, approached the boy and sought aid from the party.

Tiandra was similarly afflicted as the boy, although not ugly it was as if all her beauty was taken away. She gives the dark as she sees it: a group of Khaasta, lizardfolk, have been porting in to the Lower Ward and using some sort of device to steal cutter's beauty. There are dozens now that have been left devoid of any spark of attractiveness, and there seems to be no end in sight. She doesn't know where they come from but does know they patrol around anti-peak, which would be a good time to try and stop them.

Several hours and many ales later, the adventurers finally leave the Red Pony and begin their own patrol of the Lower Ward streets. They soon encounter a lone Githzerai down an alley, begging for help to save his daughter trapped in a nearby house. Being thoroughly paranoid Sendrina runs him through and sends Talvec into the house to investigate. Proving Sendrina right he finds a pit trap hidden by a rug, and sadly no loot to be seen.

Another hour and another alley they overhear a scuffle and the sound of many booted feet running. Investigating they find an unconscious bariaur who seems to have had his beauty taken. Quickly following the footsteps they find a dozen Khaasta beginning to use a portal to leave Sigil, the largest and meanest looking carrying a suspicious looking wand orders a few of his soldiers to stay, and then departs. 

The fight is short and relatively painless, with the adventurers capturing two of the Khaasta, Zar and Krut. Deciding torture is the best course of action they return to the Githzerai's trap house, place them in the pit trap, and begin to rain down insults upon them. The two Khaasta are more than happy to talk, revealing that their boss, the Toilmaster, has a wand that can steal beauty. They come to Sigil, collect some, and return home through the Outlands before selling the beauty to any interested party. With no reason to doubt their story the Khaasta are released, and the adventurers return to the Sword and Buckler. Seemingly under the impression their task is done.

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The Plane of Concordant Opposition

Jack is less than pleased. He expected the party to complete their mission, not to decide it was too hard and return for further instructions. He at least provides a small item that can reveal how to use the portal the Khaasta used, but he expects them to put a stop to the Toilmaster's shenanigans post haste. Soon enough the adventurers find they need a Silver Arcadian Dovehawk Feather, and spend some time at the Bazaar to purchase one. Feather in hand they make way to the portal and to what they assume is the Outlands on the other side. 

Stepping through they find themselves on a blasted plain, what was once a pit mine now a muddy, windswept gravel pit nestled in a wide mountain valley. Quickly locating the Khaasta's trail they set out in pursuit. Soon they encountered a sunken building, ancient and worn and clearly older than the mine they were still in. Although the track's went around the party could smell loot and went in for a look. Before reaching the temple an Illithid came running from the temple, quickly followed by another. Barely taking the time to react the two creatures attacked.

The fight was almost the adventurers final one. Taking out the first Illithid had taken its toll, and the second was gaining the upper hand. Copious use of a Psychic Blast hampered the party's efforts to fight effectively. Saggy had been caught by the Illithid, his brain about to be extracted, when the Illithid chose to turn and blast the others. It knew that even if it took Saggy's brain it would die moments later. The last ditch Psychic Blast stunned everyone, allowing the Illithid a moment to recover but it wasn't enough. By itself the Mindflayer could not resist the party's sustained attacks.

Shaken by the Illithid's ferocious attack the party took a moment to rest, while debating if they should investigate the sunken temple before them. Although full of doubt the party advanced and entered the temple, the floor at a strange angle and the entrance now at ground level. As they approached they heard a voice scream into their heads, full of sorrow and rage, announcing that the god Maanzecorian had been slain and all his secrets lost. Entering the temple revealed another Illithid, but this one was already dead slumped over the central Dias. The far side of the Temple appeared to be a portal, with tracks indicating it was where the Ilithid had come from. It seemed they were fleeing in terror.

Pondering the portal the party was suddenly bombarded by information seemingly beamed directly into their heads. Random tidbits and facts that by themselves seemed to hold no meaning, as if the multiverse was spewing random information into the planes for anyone to discover. Confused, but unharmed, the party used their Ring of Warp Sense to discover the portal was a one-way from Gehenna, there was no way they could go through it from here. Disheartened they continued following the Khaasta's tracks.

At some point a Beholder attacked them, but we don't talk about it anymore, before finally coming to the small settlement of Ironridge. Here they could rest, recover, and resupply.

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Circean Embers
The Peril's of Bottled Beauty

Entering Ironridge the party was greeted to a small, yet quite successful, settlement. Populated by a roughly even mix of Humans and Dwarfs sustained by trade with Planar travelers and some nearby Dwarven kingdoms. Weary from their travel and battles the party simply wanted to find a tavern and rest. Of course they heard a disturbance down a side street, and of course they went to investigate.

The scene was confusing to way the least, a dozen or so commoners fighting bitterly over an elderly man and woman lying on the ground. Thinking quickly Darkness and Sleep were cast on the melee, with most of the combatants succumbing to the spell. With the commoners subdued the adventurers were able to investigate what had happened. Talvec's eye was drawn to the unconscious woman on the street, and he knew he had to have her for himself. Moving quickly he scooped her up and made way to the nearest tavern, the Redmarch Inn. Here he sat comfortably with his prize while he waited for the others.

Argos and Sendrina were left to sort out the rest of the fights remains. Both lay eyes on the elderly man in the center of the bodies and both immediately knew what they wanted. They were both overcome with a desire to possess the man, they knew they needed to have him by any means necessary. With the desire so great they turned on each other, unleashing their martial and arcane powers.

Saggy meanwhile was enjoying his ale at the Inn with everyone else when Talvec's 'companion wakes up. She reveals the cause of the trouble, she and her husband had traded some Circean Embers from the Khaasta and had immediately partook of them in the street. Their newfound beauty had caused to people to riot in an attempt to have them. Thinking quickly Saggy cast Dispel Magic on the woman which removed the Ember's effect. Realising why his companions had not returned Saggy ran to find them, arriving just in time to Dispel Magic on the old man. Thus ending the fight between Sendrina and Argos.

Battered and embarrassed they all return to the Redmarch Inn for a well earned rest. The following day Balin and Kris, the couple that caused all the trouble, treated the party to breakfast and all the information they had. They had traded ale for some Circean Embers, as they had done in the past, but this time they couldn't resist and drank it all at once. The addiction had become too much for them, it was only the spell cast by Saggy that seemed to free them from the curse. The Khaasta came through every few weeks, always trading for supplies but not always using the Embers. When they did the price always went up. The Khaasta did not live in the Outlands, but traveled Spireward to the Norn forest where there was a portal to their actual home.

The party spent some time shopping and selling harvested monster parts before departing to continue hunting the Khaasta. On the second day out they encountered several Nycaloths, which did little but delay them an hour or two. The journey continues…

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Can't See The Forest For The Tree
Going out on a limb

Continuing on for several more days the terrain finally changed from the undulating planes so prevalent  around Ironridge to a more forested realm cut with many small creeks and ravines. Early on the third day they finally reached the Norn forest, a seemingly impenetrable wall of trees and brush stretching hundreds of miles in either direction. In a stroke of pure luck they decided to enter the forest with caution and respect, and found the foliage seemed to flow around them allowing them smooth passage through.

Pushing into the forest the party soon noticed the trees becoming larger, some soaring seemingly endlessly into the sky. Eventually they reached one that was hundreds of feet across and fallen over to form a ramp leading up into the canopy. Quickly checking they found that the Khaasta tracks continued up the trunk. Along its length they came across another portal, this one revealing itself as leading to Yggdrasil, the World Tree.

Yggdrasil was all encompassing. Everything the adventurers could see was the Tree. The ground was a branch hundreds of yards across, the sky was nothing but giant leaves, and the air was filled with the sounds of nature. Another days march across the natural but stark landscape brought them towards the trunk of Yggdrasil. They could see another branch next to theirs that joined the trunk to form a fork, with what looked like small city nestled against the trunk where they met. Before it however they came across a knot in the wood, and by climbing in they found another portal that the Khaasta had used.

The journey through the portal was…interesting, and deposited the party in a demi-plane some that looked like a black dome some thousand yards across and home to the Khaasta. There did not seem to be much here, a few buildings, a tower, and a slave pen. Seeking allies the party made for the slave pen. Here they took a good-cop, bad-cop, sensible-cop approach; Saggy created food and water for the slaves, Bruce set the fence on fire, and Sendrina opened the gate. Somehow in the confusion the slaves began to escape and the Khaasta took an interest in the commotion.

Almost twenty Khaasta ran to intercept the escaping slaves, and instead ran into the steel and fire of some well-armed adventurers. Although fighting bravely the Khaasta were overrun, but not before eliminating at least a score of the slaves. As the last of the Khaasta fell the adventurers paused to take stock, and saw another few dozen Khaasta pouring from their barracks.

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