Roll for Salsa

good ol' Tondriel hospitality

(Placeholder. Full log post incoming.)

King's Contrivance
a Shrewdness of Adventurers

Roll for Salsa awaken early and make ready to depart New Nerath by ferry. The trip itself is uneventful and it is not long before the party disembarks and steps into the City of Waffalls in the country of Tondriel. Mid-morning finds a surprising few townsfolk around. An utterly savaged tangerine cart is being fretted over by a distraught merchant speaking to a man in a suit. Kyrrox ducks into a nearby tavern. Mialee approaches the suited man, trailed by a marginally interested Ralts, Zed, and Gord.

According to the few coherent words stammered by the tangerine merchant, he was attacked by bandits along the coastal road from the citrus farms to Waffalls. The man in the suit references his clipboard and does not bother to hide a look of disgust mixed with skepticism. Mialee tries to calm the tangerine-monger and buys a bag of the fruits from him. Kyrrox finally appears, reeking of rot-gut whiskey. When it is clear no additional information is going to be offered by the tangeriner, R4S turn their attention to the suited man. They inquire about local work, and Mialee introduces them. His eyebrows shoot up in surprise at the name Roll For Salsa. He flips through a few pages and scans the document in front of him for a moment, then speaks.

I am the claims adjuster of one David L’Tremaine, alias ‘Famous Dave’. According to the claims submitted by him, as well as other individuals and institutions throughout the Nentir Vale, the group known as Roll for Salsa – categorized as a non-natural semi-sentient mobile disaster zone – is responsible for 66,500gp worth of damages to property and countless personal grievances. The suited man stares down the speechless group, expectantly.

Gord very persuasively asks the man if he hadn’t actually just hallucinated, because they are the group known as “King’s Contrivance”. The man apologizes and goes on to tell them that he himself does not have work, but there are local bounty boards in most taverns, and informs the party that market day is tomorrow. He nods to them and excuses himself to attend to other business.

With a sigh of relief and a few shared looks of worry, the group enters the tavern closest to them to check what work might be available. Nothing grabs their interest. A wanted poster depicting a nightmarish creature sparks some interest from Zedra, but the others protest adamantly. The bar is nearly empty, save a woman in the corner penning a letter. Seats are taken and drinks are ordered. Zedra is aghast at the choices between terrible beer and not quite so terrible beer. He asks for a wine list and is met with a blank stare. Zed decides he needs to learn to brew his own beverages. How hard could it be to make something more palatable than this swill? He gives the last of his moonflower tea to Mialee and studies the ale in front of him. As evening progresses to night, the party requests rooms and Kyrrox attempts to secure a room for herself and Griffy. The barkeep laughs. Kyrrox is disappointed and takes Griffy to the stables nearby, where she sleeps spooning her dear griffin. Zedra grumpily stakes out a chair in one of the rooms and tops it with an embroidered silk cushion he brought with him from Astrazalian. The rest of King’s Contrivance are unfazed by the very basic furnishings.

Morning’s light sees KC (the group formerly known as R4S) picking through a continental breakfast offered by the inn. Market day is already beginning to gather foot traffic and the party make their way out into the street stalls. Mialee buys a few fresh fish. Kyrrox finds some inexpensive jewelry and proceeds to pierce her own ear with a kitchen knife then brutally shoves a new earring into place. Zed purchases ingredients and a large corked bottle to begin brewing mead. Ralts notices the woman who’d been writing a letter in the tavern last night. He approaches her and chats her up. He finds her to be extremely enthusiastic about corn and regrets engaging her in conversation after a few minutes.

Once the market had been explored, KC decide to help Ralts’ new friend, Eryn. She claims she and her sister Sane keep written contact, but despite the distance of only a few days ride, Eryn has not heard from her sister in over a month. She asks that if Ralts and his friends are going that way, could they deliver the latest letter. They oblige and set off as the sun begins its descent from noon’s height.

A day passes with no incident along the road heading south. A meal of seared fish with tangerine glaze, prepared by Mialee, is a welcome highlight of the day. Zed adds some of the citrus zest to his brewing mead. Early afternoon of their second day travelling, the road now heading west, and the party hears a frantic scream coming from the woods nearby. Investigation yields a terrified merchant with a destroyed cabbage cart. He points to the pass leading through the woods and shakes his head with quailing admonitions to avoid it. The merchant stammers out a vague description of the birds going silent and his cart being bitten in half by some unseen monster. KC naturally take the path into the woods.

The forest path, at first, is quite pleasant. Kyrrox keeps her ears attuned to the birds. As the horses and griffin walk along the trail, a faint but noticeable rumbling begins underground. The party stops to take stock of their surroundings. The rumble subsides but the birds have halted their afternoon songs. KC decide to dismount and examine the area on foot. Kyrrox stays on Griffy and the pair fly above the treeline to see if they spot movement from above. Nothing. Mialee and Zed move to one side of the path while Gord and Ralts cross to the far side. More rumbling gives way to the forest floor bursting under Ralts and Gord, sending soil and rocks into the air and the two men tumbling to the ground. A large, fierce looking bulette surfaces. With their combined might, KC take care of the hostile creature with surprising ease. Just as Kyrrox and Griffy land and the group begins to brush dirt from their clothing, three more of the underground monstrosities attack.

These brutes prove to be more challenging. Constant burrowing and resurfacing cause KC to loose their footing and much time is spent simply regaining verticality. By the time the group take out two, Gord is dying. Kyrrox passes the revival shroud to Zed, who drapes it over Gord hoping to keep the warlock from passing on while the rest of the party kill the last beast. KC finish off the last bulette just in time and are able to force feed Gord potions enough to revive him.

With haste, KC reclaim their mounts and exit the woods. The small farming community of Spethorph lay out before them surrounded by rows and rows of corn. Sunset’s blush spreads across the face of the heavens as KC eagerly approach civilization to heal their injuries and rest.

Beyond the Vale
it's a whole new world

It is an average day at Fiveleague House, if a bit slow. Barton wipes down glassware and hums to himself to pass the time. Talk of the Last Stand of Fallcrest has tapered off a bit in the month since Orcus was felled. A few scattered patrons rest their travel-weary feet or enjoy a drink before resuming their journeys.

The heavy oak door swings open and a slender elf woman enters the tavern. Mialee Woodsinger walks by in silence and sits at a corner table. Barton notices the sparkle in her violet eyes is dimmed and her usual friendly smile is gone. She looks as though she’s been fighting a hard battle within herself. Barton wonders what kind of hardship could extinguish the warmth he knew in Mialee, and why she was travelling alone. Roll For Salsa used to frequent Barton’s establishment and always appeared together.

A few moments pass, and the door is flung wide as another visitor arrives. Impeccably groomed and keeping a haughty posture, the eladrin pauses briefly to scan the tavern’s occupants. After spotting Mialee, Zedra Ivnaoth walks with an ever-so-slight swagger to the corner table, acknowledging Barton with a nod and a smile as he passes. Someone’s feeling pretty good about himself… Barton observes while watching Zedra take a seat next to Mialee. The pair greet one another in their native Elven.

A painfully slow hour ticks by. Barton looks up from reading his inventory reports when the familiar creak-thud of the door announces the presence of another customer. A statuesque Earth Genasi man takes in the layout of the room and though he is unfamiliar with the place, walks with solid sure strides. Barton does not recognize the man, and he would remember a Genasi if he’d ever seen one in person before. The man joins Zed and Mialee at the corner table and Barton overhears the name Ralts as the trio exchange salutations.

Afternoon’s light surrenders to evening and the early patrons have retired to their rooms, except the party at the corner table. A handful of locals sit around playing cards near the fireplace and a lone human sellsword downs ale after ale at the far side of the bar. A cool breeze whistles outside and scatters a few autumn leaves across the worn floorboards as soon as the door opens. The long curved horns and red complexion of a tiefling cause some uneasy whispering among the group by the fire. Gord moves past them to warm himself by the flames. Barton shakes his head in amusement as Gord leans into the hearth, resting his hands directly on one of the logs and allowing the fire to lap up around his face. Once satisfactorily warm, Gord turns to the corner table and pulls up a chair with the group.

The wind picks up and thunderheads blot out the moonlight filtering in through Fiveleague’s time-weathered windows. A flash of lightning and a bang of thunder seem to announce the bodies of a griffin and a dragonborn several yards distant. Both the beast and his rider are unusually marked with faintly glowing patterns. They begin to stir and both take a minute to look around. The dragonborn woman strokes her mount’s feathered head as she leaves him at the stable. Barton watches, curiosity piqued, as the black and purple clad dragonborn pushes though the door to the tavern. She reminds me of Kyrrox a bit, but older… I wonder if they’re related? Barton puzzles over the new patron as she weaves between tables to the corner.

Mialee has little to share with R4S regarding her month-long journey. She is visibly dispirited. Zedra had invited her to Astrazalian when they were all parting ways, but she had declined. When asked, she admits her acceptance of Rhyder’s right to make his own way in the world and that she no longer pursues him.

Zedra, however, gladly informs his companions that his trip home to the City of Starlight was both enjoyable and productive. Zed goes on to describe Dakyr being reinstated as heir of the House and enrolling in the Military Academy. Neither of Zedra’s parents are particularly happy about the practice of Blood Magic, but understand that he is more than capable. Zedra proudly recounts his meeting with the heads of the government and military to report on R4S encounter with Orcus. He concludes by announcing that he is now a field researcher with his alma mater and seen as somewhat of an ambassador of Astrazalian. The rest of R4S can’t help but notice Zed has had both his ego and his pretty-boy image recharged.

Ralts gives a succinct retelling of his travels with Ted, one of the more capable Guards from Fallcrest.
Nearly a week passed before I saw the opportunity for my journey. A large storm cumulated over the ancient Carngorn peaks and I was able to use my last remaining possession from The Elemental Chaos to pull myself and Ted into my home Plane. We traversed to The City of Brass, where I sought out the War Academy. Almost no record of my mission exists and the Marshal had no orders or further instructions to offer. Ted and I were allowed to stay in the barracks and participate in some drills during our stay. As a final request of the Genasi to whom I no longer felt any ties, I asked a few spellswords-in-training if they might create a portal back to the Nentir Vale so that Ted and I could return to our respective groups. Ted headed back to Fallcrest and I took the Trade Road to Fiveleague…
Ralts’ low, unwavering voice tapered off into a sigh as he concluded.

Gord’s month-long hiatus consisted of some relaxation time lounging in every fire he encountered (or created). In the northern woodlands, he learned to fish and spent the remainder of his time off as a fishmonger in a secluded town. Gord admits to keeping a low-profile. Without the protection afforded him with R4S, he was nagged with worry that the tiefling mafia out of his native Gashur would track him down. The rest of R4S are less than thrilled at this news.

The dragonborn woman affirms that she is in fact Kyrrox and goes on to describe her adventure.
Desiring to return to Sigil, Kyrrox hired a sorcerer to conjure a portal for her. She and Griffy eagerly leapt through the glimmering portal and landed in a desolate region of The Shadowfell. Kyrrox cursed herself for spending the last of her gold on a con-artist. She and her beloved griffin wandered aimlessly for a few hours, until they were intercepted by a Shadar-Kai scout team. Kyrrox’s own bravado amused and impressed the warriors. They agreed to bring her back to their settlement. What started as simple story-swapping and shows of skill turned into intensive training and integration with the tribe. Kyrrox has also embraced The Raven Queen as her deity of choice.
She informs R4S that she spent five years with the tribe, and that only with their superior ties to the Shadowfell’s warped passage of time was she able to return here and now. R4S look at her with a mix of disbelief and awe.

It is established that each of them wishes to continue as a united faction, but not here in the Vale. Ralts and Zedra reason that if there is any additional information about Orcus, it would be in New Nerath. The city is also a busy trade port for travelers of the world and R4S feel confident that they will be able to decide on a destination from there. A conclusion to their past and a waypoint to their future. The conversation then turns to reaching New Nerath. By road, they would pass through Fallcrest – Seylene’s turf. By boat, the journey is long and expensive.

The group mulls over their options as they head over to gear up with Mad Hamish. Gord cashes in his astral diamond and spends some gold on new armor. Ralts, too, makes some hefty purchases. Mialee refused her diamond as well as the vial of poison antidote from Seylene. She discreetly buys more of the medicine created by Dr. Wellbrew. As is common, chatting with Hamish turns to bargaining, and R4S is pleased to work out a deal to be flown to New Nerath. A week and a half of air-travel is spent recounting stories past and imagining what the future holds.

Mialee carefully avoids interacting with Huge, who meets the lack of attention with disappointment. She does seem to cast fond gazes his way when he is not looking, and still helps stock shelves as she always did. Zedra takes notes on the strange activity.

As the magic house descends towards the merchant district of New Nerath, Herman makes sure their former plot is clear. They land and Hamish thanks them for their business. He briefs them on the expected range of Herman’s Bell and wishes them well on their journeys. Mialee approaches Huge, kisses him, then runs outside. The party makes a stop at the library near the center of town. Ralts and Zed learn a bit more about the location of Orcus’ mind and his history in general. As the sun is setting, R4S find an inviting tavern called The Cat and Hydra, bustling with patrons of varying races.

Gord claims his spot in the fireplace and relaxes. Kyrrox sits at the bar and insists on a never-ending queue of shots. Gord rasies his hand and asks for a shot be tossed his way. The bartender shrugs, pours, and tosses the glass. Gord catches it with minimal spillage. The bartender tries to cut Kyrrox off, and she replies with cold precision. “If I cut off your head, will two assholes grow in its place?” She sneers and walks towards the rest of her companions.

Mialee sits at a table in a sparsely populated end of the room. Zed joins her after trying to order “some fancy-shmancy fey concoction” that makes the bartender roll his eyes. Zed sighs, pulls a flask from his jacket, and pours some Astrazalian moonflower tea for himself and Mialee. He asks about her unusual behavior regarding Huge and she tells him she is in love with Huge but fearful that she will hurt him. Mialee discloses how guilt-wracked she is for the knowledge that in saving a child, she made it possible for someone as twisted as Seylene to live. Zed nods and takes notes, apologizing at his inability to offer comfort or advice.

Ralts stands nearby, observing the new surroundings and speaking with various locals about the travel options from New Nerath. Kyrrox leans on the railing and takes in bits of the conversations around her. She hears Mialee speaking her woes about Huge and mutters “You should just fuck him.” in a matter-of-fact, almost dismissive tone.

Before retiring for the evening, R4S decide their next move will be a ferry ride across the Strait to The City of Waffalls in Tondriel. Rumors of the vast southern land of Urendi sound fascinating. It is said to be devoid of civilization and inhabited by beasts of unusual size. R4S move forward with open eyes and ears, for whatever may tug their collective desires.

The Last Stand of Fallcrest
and the last mysteries resolved

Dakyr on horseback reports 10 flying skulls moving ahead of Orcus in formation through the trees. Mialee and Rhyder avoid the horrid creatures and begin their ascent of the Keep. Atop Griffy, Kyrrox flies up to Orcus with Krystryd in search of a suitable drop point. It seems the joints are weaker stone, but there are no real openings to the Keep in its current form. She lands on the flat surface of Orcus’ head and observes that the eye sockets are spawn points releasing the flying skulls. Kyrrox also finds that one cannot enter through the eyes. While Mialee and Rhyder climb, the ground forces hold fast and wait for their targets to move into range.

Kyrrox charge attacks Orcus’ neck and opens a hole in the masonry, Orcus swats at them but misses. Kyrrox and Krystryd enter the Keep, Griffy is sent to retrieve the Woodsingers and bring them up to the entrance point. Mialee and Rhyder make it inside the Keep through the neck wound and fall, landing approximately hip height inside the animate stone. Kyrrox and Krystryd cling to the rock nearby. Griffy flies around Orcus’ face to distract The Demon Keep. Griffy is brutally swatted and sent careening into the air past Orcus’ shoulder. Ralts, Gord, Barry move up a bit to intercept the flying skulls.

Zed casts Mass Resistance to necrotic damage on all the ground forces. Soon the skulls are engaged and are found to explode into a necrotic cloud on hit, blinding and dazing those nearby and damaging to those not resistant. Zed takes potion of levitation, aims for Orcus’ eyes and lands some hits.

Inside the Keep the 4 find a circulatory system of sorts, turbulent dark smoke snaking through the stonework. They climb up to where the “heart” is found and strike at it. A solid mass starts to form in the black. None other than Ro’Thax emerges and viciously bites Kyrrox. The dracolich then bursts from the chest of the Orcus construct. Mialee, Rhyder, and Krystryd sling a rope around the jagged rock and climb out of the hole. Mialee takes one final shot at the exposed heart before descending. Zed sees his opportunity and delivers a devastating blow to Orcus, empowered by the Radiant Sunblade and Ralts’ inspiring leadership on the battleground. Ro’Thax is not happy about the attacks on his master and drops Kyrrox mid-air in favor of catching Zedra in Domination.

Kyrrox lands hard but takes negligible damage. She re-mounts Griffy and with the Green Thumbs is able to create the bramble wall across Orcus’ eye sockets, preventing more flying skulls from exiting. Ro’Thax forces Zedra to drop from his levitation. The wizard takes significant damage from the fall, breaking through the roof of the inn. Zed is attacked by two hooded figures inside the building. He regains control of himself and feysteps back to the roof next to his Iron Cohort Tony Stark. Zedra succeeds in casting Visions of Ruin on Ro’Thax as soon as the dracolich lands, effectively trapping him in place with no line of sight to any of them. The ground troops rush the dark dragon and attack him while he is vulnerable. The ballistae hit with standard bolts. Ro’Thax does not last long after that. Zedra uses the Mind Prism on Orcus and he is noticeably bloodied.

Krystryd and the Woodsinger siblings make their way out of the woods. Mialee sees Zedra fall as a second section of the roof collapses under him. She runs for the first-floor window to lend aid. Zed finds himself grabbed by the hooded figures and one takes the Prism. Zedra recognized Selos, who dashes out of the inn and runs towards Orcus with the Prism; somehow already recharged and glowing vividly. Zedra, released, pursues and tries unsuccessfully to hit Selos with a cloud of poison. The others are too far to stop Selos as he holds the prism above his head, chanting in an ancient dialect even Ralts does not know. He resolves his speech in Common: “I am Selos Kalton, descendant of Shala van Tibalt, last Psion of Fastormel.” He goes on to declare his duty to destroy Orcus and Ro’Thax with the Prism, and make right the historic destiny that should have occurred centuries ago.

Standing next to the recently fallen Ro’Thax was the last mistake Selos would ever make. Orcus raises his trusted dracolich, who immediately swipes at Selos with a mighty black claw. The man is torn asunder, prism tumbling from his hands. Orcus recognizes the power within the Psion’s crystal weapon and claims it. Now with a mind – even a mind not his own – The Demon Prince is transformed into a full being.

R4S and their allies focus all their might upon the Demon. Amid gaping maws to Hell’s depths they strike with their combined ferocity. The Ballistae fire their Radiant bolts and both strike solid and true. Orcus does not enter the city of Fallcrest that day. R4S and the former Hidden Hand bloody the Demon with strike after strike and a fiery blast from Gord brings the Demon Prince to the ground. Ralts steps forward to complete his life’s purpose, and to avenge the deaths of his brothers. A final swing of steel, and Orcus is reduced to pieces once again.

The Soul of The Demon Prince of the Undead swirls in an impotent knot of clouds. Ralts is able to call upon his duty-bound power and binds the soul to the brooch clasping his cloak around his shoulders.

The Mind Prism of Fastormel is utterly obliterated. A shimmering pile of crystalline dust is all that remains. Zedra claims a small vial of it for what many might call a “memento.”

The body, now crumbling stone, is broken apart. Each member of the party takes a few chunks of the stone to cast away in the far corners of whatever places or planes they travel to. The rest is scattered in the river and woodland, a few ornamental pieces of horn or wing may have ended up in Septarch’s Tower Library.

Lord Markelhay rushes to greet them at the gates amid a swelling throng of townspeople. His praise and thanks are punctuated by cheers and joyous weeping from the crowd. He offers a humble chest of coins, donated by the citizens. R4S decline the gesture, asking only that Fallcrest use their funds to continue to rebuild. Markelhay again thanks the heroes and assures them they will have every amenity available now and always in Fallcrest.

R4S and the former Hidden Hand decompress at the tavern of the Silver Unicorn Inn. Gord lounges in the hearth’s sizable fire, and falls asleep in short order. Zedra, the fullness of his ego restored, hires some local girls to tend to his wounds while Dak orders a round of ale. Suzette, cured of The Curious Malady, can speak now in Common. She chats with Krystryd about returning home. Barry tries to impress Kyrrox with his promotion to the Captain of the Guard in Winterhaven, but Kyrrox waves him away almost instantly.

Through the excitable crowd, Mialee notices Seylene Kalton sitting by herself, sipping a drink. Mialee approaches and sits, offering sympathy. At first Seylene seemed glad for the company, but soon the woman’s demeanor becomes somewhat… off.

Ralts and Kyrrox approach as Seylene offers a satchel to Mialee, who opens the bag to find 5 perfect Astral diamonds. Seylene begins emphatically speaking about men taking control from the Gods and being free. She talks of vast wealth and power, Kyrrox is interested. Ralts agrees with some of her points. Zed joins the table now, along with a drunk Dwarfie. Mialee stands and sets the satchel on the table, Ralts takes possession of it. The elven rogue demands respect be shown the Gods and speaks a prayer to Sehanine Moonbow. Zedra is not known to pray to nor renounce the Gods, but respects the Radiant power he just wielded against a Demon Prince and says as much.

Seylene’s mania grows and she laughs. Dwarfie slams his tankard down and draws his blade, but before he can make a move further, he freezes in place. Seylene smiles and lays a hand on his cheek. Calling him “Diana”, Seylene claims services are no longer needed and rebellion will not be tolerated. “Dwarfie’s” face loses shape and sags into an old woman’s. The Doppelganger, under Seylene’s employ. Seylene goes on, saying she will always be “ Your Sincerely Devoted Friend. ” She proceeds to kill the doppelganger without so much as batting an eye.

Seylene continues her tirade, energized all the more by R4S’s collective attention and the psionic power she holds over the rest of the bar patrons. She admits to manipulating multiple factions and individuals to act in accordance with her plans. Plans culminating in this defeat of a Demon Prince. She congratulates R4S in their valiant triumph and ask them to join her in uniting all men against the oppressive whims and control of the Gods. Mialee has had enough. She flings her magic dagger at Seylene and it hits square in the ribs. The elf then moves away to stand in the doorway, beckoning to her brother. Rhyder, along with the rest of the tavern’s patrons, are held in place by Seylene’s psychic grasp.

Zedra is not at all interested in amassing wealth nor gaining power over men or Gods. He states that he sides with Mialee. Seylene hisses insults about the stupidity of mortal minds and how easily they are tricked into action or belief. Kyrrox is a fan of power and money, but not of being manipulated and insulted. She thumbs her sword out of its hilt a few inches with a satisfying ”sshhnk” of metal on metal. Ralts does not appreciate the manipulation and the hypocritical position Seylene has taken. Mialee draws her longbow and buries an arrow in Seylene’s shoulder. She winces, and the entire room of people wince with her. Still seated and calm, Seylene pulls the arrow from her flesh with a smile.

Seylene reminds the party that she now controls the multitudes of The Children of Selos and has all the financial resources she could ever need. Her offer is simple: Join her cause as “Roll for Salsa the heroes” or become enemies of her’s and feel the full extent of her influence against them. Roll for Salsa declare they will leave the Vale completely and take no side or action in her dealings. She recommends they never meet face to face again. As a condescending parting gift, she leaves 3 vials of blue-green liquid on the table, releases her psionic lock on the room, and departs. Zedra confirms the vials contain an antidote for Selos’ poison still afflicting Mialee, Gord, and Kyrrox.

With the cold weight of truth on their minds, Roll for Salsa, Adventurers for Hire, Demonslayers and Saviours of the Vale, turn to one another. It is decided that all among them who wish to continue together as an allied faction will meet at Fiveleague House in one month’s time.

Best Laid Plans
Schemes of men, whims of demons.

Upon returning to Winterhaven, Loki and Patyen are lain in the crypt of town’s small temple as fallen heros. Marcus’ sword, the Sunblade, is taken up by Zedra. While resting and tending their wounds, the party discusses a plan of action regarding the Orcus construct as well as suspicions regarding the factions in play and who is pulling who’s strings.

Ralts and Zedra put their heads together, using their shared fields of expertise to shed some light on the knife-masked lady, and on some other revealing truths involving other factions they’ve encountered: The knife-masked lady is a being of rumor, said to either be the sentinel of Sigil, or a prisoner there. She is not involved in the factions wishing to bring back Orcus or Vecna, but her true motives for guiding R4S are unclear. Ralts realizes The Hidden Hand is a subtle reference to Vecna, and some higher power must have been guiding that hand. The lower ranking members may be unaware of the influence they worked for.

After reviewing the various notes they have found along their journeys, an impossible connection rouses Ralts’ suspicion. The note on Priest Turnblatt ends with “Vecna be praised! Orcus shall rule!”, yet the two would never be working in tandem. R4S believe the note, and possibly others, could have been planted.

Zed uses his Sending ritual to contact Dakyr, who responds saying he and the other 3 HH members are at Fiveleague House. Zedra asks them to meet R4S in Fallcrest as soon as possible. Next on the list is Lord Markelhay, ruler of Fallcrest, to warn him of the approaching threat and to prepare the city to make a stand against Orcus. Zedra then contacts his father in Astrazalian giving warning of Orcus and of the Library’s true nature. Quick farewells to Valthrun and the townsfolk, and R4S rides with unparalleled haste to Fallcrest as Orcus lumbers slow but direct on his path southeast.

In Fallcrest, Markelhay meets them at the Silver Unicorn Inn, where R4S give the Regent a quick briefing on what will be needed for the stand, with 12 hours until Orcus reaches the city. He assigns as many able-bodied men as the town can muster, along with two Ballistae on the gate’s towers. Fallcrest, unfortunately, is only just recovering from the undead attack a few months past. Clerics and other divine magic users fled the city and have not returned.

After Markelhay exits the Inn, a hoarse gravelly noise begins to grow in volume. Closer inspection of the room’s occupants reveals none other than Dwarfie Hammersmash drunkenly sleeping at a corner table. R4S awaken him and only the briefest of explanations is required before Dwarfie eagerly volunteers. Within an hour, the HH members (including Suzette) arrive and the group delves into pressing discussion.

Upon seeing his brother face-to-face, Zedra confirms beyond all doubt that no, Dakyr and the others are not in league with the Death Cult of Vecna, nor were they even aware of the true allegiance of the Hidden Hand. Mialee asks her brother about their departure from Gloomwrought and he reveals that they followed a doppelganger impersonating her. Rhyder explains that they left The Shadowfell through a strange door. They were instructed to wait at Fiveleague and rooms had been reserved for a week’s time. R4S tell of the Orcus situation and all make suggestions and battle plans.

At the city gate, Zedra enchants two log-projectiles with Radiant power – one for each Ballista. Ralts instructs the Fallcrest guards that he will give a signal when they are to be used. Supplies are purchased from Mad Hamish (mainly in the form of Potions of Vigor), and Fallcrest’s finest take up their positions as the hazy silhouette of the Keep becomes visible in the distant wooded hills.

Mialee and Rhyder head into the forest. Acting as the infiltration team, they plan to climb up Orcus’ stone legs and enter the Keep itself before the attack begins. Kyrrox and Griffy will deliver Krystryd to join them, then stay at the ready to strike at Orcus from the air, or swoop in to rescue if needed.

Dakyr on the magic bridled horse will scout the woods as Orcus approaches, on the lookout for minions that the Demon Prince may attract or call up.

Two Fallcrest archers take up support positions on either side of Zedra on the roof of an Inn just outside the city wall. The Wizard will be a potent damage dealer with the Sunsword imbuing all his attacks with Radiant power. Zed summons his iron cohort Stark to absorb incoming damage. A small guard station on the other side of the road becomes the post of two more rooftop archers.

Dwarfie lends his support as a Paladin amid the ground troops at the forest edge. Barry stands at the ready near Dwarfie, to defend him in close quarters. Ralts stands behind the front line, at a point where he may survey the battlefield, oversee the rooftop strike teams, and signal the Ballistae at the gate. Gord assumes a position behind the ground troops to aid in possible crowd control and to dispatch any minion that might breach the front line.

The ground quivers and leaves tremble with each footfall of the Demon Prince’s hulking form. Muscles twitch in anticipation, swords and bows gripped tightly. The Woodsinger siblings move quickly and silently through the underbrush, skirting around to either side of Orcus’ path to ascend a craggy limb.

Shadows of the Keep
Orcus' Moving Castle

When Roll for Salsa awaken the next morning and head downstairs, Valthrun and Seylene are waiting. Each express concern over the recent activity at the Keep, Selos has guards swarming in and out. Seylene reports her brother’s growing interest in Vecna and the cult. Valthrun describes a large statue covered in a tarp, very likely depicting Orcus, taken by Selos’ men into the keep a few days previous. R4S investigate.

The Keep’s entrance is heavily guarded, but Kyrrox finds a trickle of drinking water coming from a collapsed wall on the side. Gord slips in as mercury and reports on the few guards patrolling. Kyrrox and Ralts move the rubble away so the rest of the group can enter. Mialee goes first and stealthily hits the guards, who start believing arrows are coming out of the boulders. “Ancient traps? Magic?” they speculate. As they leave for either the infirmary or for reenforcements, R4S make their way down the halls. Mialee sucessfully snipes a few more guards. Eventually, the group is discovered and a full fight breaks out. Zedra uses his newly mastered blood magic. When the guards are dealt with, R4S continues further into the keep making their way to where they know the portal chamber to be.

The Keep is in disrepair and piles of rubble and skeletons lay in heaps all around. The party finds the room located directly over their destination. Just as they remember, there is hole in the floor where an eariler iteration of R4S gained entrance to the portal room the first time. Below is pitch dark. Zed casts light but it does little to improve visibility. No sounds can be detected, but an unfamilar source of magic is felt by Zedra. R4S agree they must descend. The party ties off some rope and all climb down. They crack a few sunrods in supplement to Zedra’s cast light and toss them around the room. It appears to be empty, save for the familiar rift gate and a large stone statue of Orcus facing it. Piles of bones lay to one side, and the at other sits the altar Kalarel once used.

Suddenly and without warning Zedra is hit over the head with a sap and knocked unconscious. He was standing closest to one of the bone piles, and Kyrrox investigates the location but finds no hint of the assailant. The party puts Zed on Griffy’s back and all cluster against the wall next to the rift gate. The stronger members try to topple or crush the stone of the gate, but it does not yield. The air seems to thicken and the light of the sunrods dims. Kyrrox has Griffy flap his wings to stir the air, but the effect is not enough. Griffy tires quickly and lays down. The party members, too, feel grogginess set in. Soon the haze overtakes them and everything fades as one by one R4S fall unconscious.

Mialee and Kyrrox are first to wake, and they each find themselves bound, gagged, and blindfolded on the ground – weapons and equipment gone. They and the rest of the party seem to be piled against a wall. Dextrous Mialee wriggles one hand free and uncovers her eyes and mouth. She dares not make a sound. They are behind the altar, which is now occupied by some bones and offal. A robed figure approaches, muttering, he places a small satchel on the altar and walks to the rift gate. She recognizes the robes from her vision: The figure running from Valthrun’s tower to the Keep…

The portal itself is active now. When Zedra wakes, he is able to use Fey Step to escape his bonds and begins to free the rest of the group. Kyrrox arms herself with a large bone from the altar and Gord does the same. Mialee grabs the satchel. They spot their weapons in a corner. Griffy is bound on the other side of the room, near the bone piles.

The robed figure places something in front of the gate and Zed realizes it is another portal cube. When the figure turns and walks to the room’s center, Zedra expediciously makes his way to the cube in order to ascertain its configuration and countdown. Kyrrox and Mialee bolt to the equipment while Ralts heads off the robed man, Gord follows soon after. Kyrrox brings Zed his items before taking a combat position. Mialee shoots at the robed man in asssitance to Ralts, while trying to make her way to him with his gear. Zedra hears familiar noise coming from the portal, and though he cannot see through, recognizes their own battle with Orcus in the storm prison in the Shadowfell. Disturbed by this, he focuses all the more on the cube in his hands and is able to pause the cube’s countdown, but only temporarily.

The robed man proves difficult in combat, and the group feel they must act quickly to stop what is happening. Zed shoots the Orcus statue with the Mind Prism and it shatters on impact. The robed man is unhooded and all are shocked to see Marcus. His anger at the disruption is clear as he screams for them to stop and calls them idiots. With no other viable options, it is decided that Zedra should throw the cube into the portal. I really don’t want to do this… Zed thinks as he tosses the active cube into the rift. R4S and Marcus are struck down and rendered unconscious by a blinding blue flash and bang of thunder.

The keep is shuddering violently when R4S begin to awaken and untangle themselves from the heap they were thrown into. Marcus is dead. More troubling are the two additional bodies – Loki and Patyen. Stones shake loose from the Keep and R4S clamor to escape the crumbling ruin. Kyrrox grabs Marcus’ sword on her way to unbind and mount Griffy. Zedra, very bloodied, struggles to carry Loki with him. Ralts assists, upon seeing the eladrin’s pathetic attempt to move with the body. Mialee scoops up Patyen and drapes the lifeless form over her shoulder as the group makes their way to an exit.

Guards are panicking and running from the quaking building. At the entrance it becomes evident the Keep has risen 20 feet and continues its ascent. R4S make their desperate escape. Once on the ground, they are horrified to see the hilltop erupt in dust and debris. The entire structure, risen from its foundation, now moves on legs of tree roots and stone. Zedra’s arcane intuition gives him the insight as to what formed the monstrosity. The keep itself was built incorporating the dust of Orcus’ long destroyed corporeal husk. When the portal cubes detonated on both sides of the rift, a singularity merged Orcus’ soul with his body. The party watches in stunned silence as the animate Keep lumbers towards the Southeast.

A new and even more grim realization hits Zedra: The Orcus-Keep is headed to his home city of Astrazalian. The Demon Prince’s mind must be somewhere in the city. Or part of the city… Zed and Ralts wrack their brains for all their knowledge of history and conclude it is very possible the Library of Astrazalian itself may be Orcus’ mind.

As the slow-moving Orcus plods away, R4S solidify their own churning thoughts into determination, and turn towards Winterhaven to heal their wounds and plan their actions.

From Suspicion to Sigil
the knife-masked lady is watching

(quick and dirty recap incoming, will flesh out later)

M and K wake to knock at their room. a package is left at the door for pyrrex. mialee is suspicious of it, box is a trap. kyrrox constructs a rube goldbergian method of remote-opening the box using her executive desk toys. mialee wakes the boys. all leave the rooms, kyr activates device and dives out of window (3rd story). box explodes. several men come out of nearby rooms and block r4s exit. fight ensues.

kyr calls griffy. she’s hit with an arrow from a sniper on a rooftop. breaks window and re-enters inn. flamethrower man after her. uses green thumbs on some hotmen on the second floor balcony. meanwhile, z casts mass resist to fire. r4s fights their way down, gord falls thru floor and onto thorn hedge. kyrrox conjurs horses.

group meets up in alley, find new inn. go to munroes office, secretary says he’s out. pyrrex asks that he meet her at theatre. ralts indimidates by proxy. later, pyrrex makes appearance at theatre. thru techie friends, gets outfit from wardrobe – same type of portal door with same security system as munroe’s warehouse door. munroe shows up, they talk.

later, overhears munroe say he doesnt want her and her father getting their filthy beaks into his operation. does he know that she’s kyrrox?

confrontation and she comes clean but assures munroe she’s separated herself from her father and his shameful reputation and actions. they end up striking a deal by which munroe allows r4s access to his portal to Sigil, but he cannot help them any further once they’re there.

sigil is a planar in-between. a massive city built inside a torus shape. kyr & griffy fly up to scout and have fun in the cancelled-out gravity effect. mialee sees the knife masked lady, she watches them curiously. a humanoid man approaches them (he wears an amulet that resembles the knife lady’s mask), does not seem to be able to speak, but writes some graffiti on a wall before walking away. r4s decode it to mean winterhaven this way and an arrow. similar graffiti leads them further to a specific door, which they open. a 10 foot drop awaits, and they land in winterhaven. ralts crashes into a cart of glassware belonging to none other than famous dave. apparently they’ve arrived just in time to see Thunderspire sink into the ground, the very event that pulled R4S into the Shadowfell several days previous. They end the night and get rooms in wrafton inn.

Fountain of Opportunity
All Work and No Play makes for a worker's strike

(quick and dirty recap incoming, will flesh out later)

return from the battle with orcus’ soul, kyrrox ferries party + ralts back over the wall on griffy. zed determines the undead clamoring at the wall are drawn to the city against their will.

r4s return to the inn, where in innkeeper seems to think mialee had already been. the hh members went with her somewhere. (doppelganger’d) r4s decide to mark themselves discreetly to be able to verify identities. secret handshake agreed upon. kyr also manages to mark the back of the innkeeper’s neck.

meet up with munroe to find out he promised nothing and has no idea what r4s is talking about with the storm. (doppelganger’d) Pyrrex reschedules her appt. munroe is seen headed upstairs talking to a man in work coveralls. mialee sneaks up to eavesdrop and scout out the upper levels of munroes office. Zed fails at stealth and is caught by some guards. he bluffs that he is the “arcana inspector” and is told he is needed at the docks, warehouse 16. ralts stands outside, not wanting to be too closely associated with r4s. gord steals a fountain from the office lobby.

the group reconvenes and decides to go to the docks. they see the same man in coveralls, and zed introduces himself, asking directions. the man is the foreman and brings zed and mialee (“his apprentice”) to the warehouse. the rest of r4s follow nonchalantly. gord brings the fountain. sells fish out of it. ralts stands watch outside the warehouse, kyr and gord bring the fountain in and are hassled by workers. Zed and mialee are instructed to look for any magic items in the recent shipments, and get to work.

the shipments are all random mundane items from the prime. there is a residue of arcane magic from the transfer between planes. Zed does find a magic horseshoe, and slips it into his tunic. mialee stealths into a back room she’d seen the foreman come out of. a door to nowhere is the only thing present, and the lock has a sophisticated alarm system. zed comes over to check it out, and believes the door is a portal.

back at the entrance to the warehouse, the foreman is called over to deal with kyr, gord, and the fountain. they distract the foreman and claim the fountain was just received. foreman disagrees. Zed “checks” the fountain – actually casts enchant on it. kyr stages a sit-in strike. ralts comes in, and is hassled until zed claims him as an assistant. Zed then reports to the foreman that the fountain is the only magic item in the place. in the confusion, mialee grabs the foreman’s dropped clipboard and finds the security codes for the portal door.

a black wagon is pulled up and the fountain put inside. the machinery inside crushes the fountain and extracts residuum. zed hands in his detailed report of the warehouse contents and the foreman pays him, mialee and ralts for their work.

kyr and gord ‘quit’ and leave. back at inn, still no sign of hh. that night, no one has a vision.

Changing of the Guard
the tank, the healer, and the elemental

That night, Mialee has a vision: I saw Winterhaven. Hovering over Valthrun’s tower I saw a robed figure running out of the building. Inside, Valthrun lay near death – stabbed. The fleeing figure headed towards the Keep just outside town. A thundercloud gathered above, and it seemed to smile at me. Then I saw a robed female form, humanoid. She was tall and wore a mask bristling with knife points. With her, I noticed a stone statue depicting a warrior. Looking at the warrior’s face, I couldn’t help but feel he was important somehow…

Day breaks, R4S and HH make their way from their rooms to the dining area of the inn. As they consume whatever passes for breakfast in The Shadowfell, they notice copies of the local newspaper to skim over. Mentioned are the deaths of several Shadar’Kai within the city defense power plant and the destruction of a few isolated areas of machinery. Gord’s picture is included with a write-up that “an unnamed prisoner” was killed in the accident. His personal effects will be sold at a police auction this morning. The clock on the far wall indicates they only have 10 minutes to get to the other side of town for the auction. R4S decide to try and make it, minus Zedra, who stays behind and works to replicate more of Doc Wellbrew’s medicine using his newly mastered Brew Potions ritual.

When the party arrives at the auction house, a large ornate jade tiger is being bid on. Gord changes to shadow form, so that he may be present without being recognized. A quick scan of the building’s layout, and Mialee is sure she will not be able to steal Gord’s items unnoticed. A nicely dressed man, identified by the auctioneer as A.H. Munroe, wins the jade tiger. Next up is Gord’s equipment. Mialee makes an attempt but is soon outbid by Munroe. She and the rest decide to let him win and steal it back from him later. The final item for auction is a stone carving of a male warrior. Mialee’s jaw drops as she recognizes the face from her dream the previous night. Almost without thinking, she bids. No other bids are cast, and the group heads towards the claims area for pickup.

Mialee claims her win, though completely unsure of what to do with a life-sized statue of a warrior. In an attempt to get close enough to steal back Gord’s items, Kyrrox offers her services helping deliver things for Mr. Munroe but is assured by the auctioneer that their delivery staff is more than adequate. R4S head outside with Mialee’s statue on a cart. The strange pink storm is noticeably turbulent, pulsing with lightning and thunder that echoes through the narrow streets of Gloomwrought. Even more unnerving is the speed at which the storm is moving inland. Townsfolk start milling around outside nervously, staring and pointing.

With another thunderclap, Mialee’s statue begins to move. As the party watches in surprise, the stone warrior awakens. He looks around bewildered, then fixes his gaze upon them. “Where am I? And why am I on a cart?” Mialee explains that she just purchased him at auction. The stone man gives an unamused look and identifies himself as Ralts, an earth Genasi. He and his three brothers, Air, Water, and Fire Genasi, originated in the Elemental Chaos. The four of them were charged with imprisoning and guarding Orcus’ soul here in the Shadowfell. Ralts impresses upon R4S his need to get back to where he is supposed to stand vigil. The storm seems to be headed in that direction.

Townspeople cluster around Munroe, begging him to do something about the worsening storm. He reminds them that he is not a government official, but they persist. He approaches the group of adventurers nearby, asking if they would consider investigating the stange occurance if he conpensated them monetarily. In the negotiations, the topic of Gord’s belongings comes up and Munroe is confused as to why they’d want the secondhand equipment. Gord sees this as his cue to come out of shadow form and it does not take much to sway Munroe after that. They secure Gord’s items, with the promise of 10,000gp upon successful return. With Ralts, R4S go back to the inn for Zedra and give him a hasty explanantion as they pack up to trek out to the storm’s location. HH members stay in town to see if they can figure out where Munroe’s copious amounts of Prime imports are coming from.

R4S quickly realize there is no practical way out of the city, due to the defensive wall keeping out the undead. It is decided that Zedra casts a portal on inside of the wall, and Kyrrox takes him on Griffy outside to an undead-free area, where he casts the other portal. Curiously, the undead seem disinterested in them and claw frantically at the town wall. Kyrrox summons her two spectral horses. She then takes Ralts and goes ahead on Griffy while the rest of the group mount up and ride out to where the storm is making landfall. Ralts recognizes the pedestal where he was supposed to be. The storm is close now, and lightning strikes nearly hitting Griffy.

Ralts drops onto the pedestal, hoping to activate something. Nothing happens. The Demon Prince’s power is overtaking the elementals imprisoning him. Undead swarm around the area, attracted to Orcus’ presence in the storm. Ralts soon finds himself surrounded and fights off the horde. Loki with Action-Patyen in papoose jumps down from his steed and rushes in to take on a larger zombie. Kyrrox and Griffy see Ralts being overpowered and swoop in to grab him out of a mass of undead. Loki and Patyen head nearer to the pedestal and Patyen takes out 8 as he Splits the Sky with divine magic. Mialee stays concealed and rains arrows upon the enemy. Gord and Zedra keep defensive positions and use their ranged magic.

The storm grows in size and intensity, swirling above the pedestal. Zed manages to teleport it a few meters away with Twist of Space. The prison seems to be losing to Orcus, and black lightning lashes out at the party. They fight back with everything they’ve got, Zed uses the Mind Prism. Exhausted and battered, R4S destroy the storm prison, controlled by Orcus at this point. The knot of red clouds and black lightning continues to grow and Zedra sees clearly the face of Orcus himself within. Loki asks Zed about using the Portal Cube, and upon glancing at it, Zedra is surprised to see it glowing brightly.

With a look of intense concern, Zedra extracts the Portal Cube from his bag and turns it over in his hands, gaining a feel for its potential power. Following a few calculated twists of the cube’s face and incomprehensible uttering of magic phrases, Zed holds it out on an open palm with a sigh of apprehension. “I have managed to rework the device such that it will open to another plane. I cannot guarantee where, save that it will not be the Prime nor The Feywild. Someone must take it into the storm and activate it. Whoever does so will… not make it out.”

Ralts stands tall and squares his shoulders. “This is my task, as it was my duty to guard the storm prison.” He reaches for the cube with a sure and steady hand. As Ralts speaks, Patyen whispers into Loki’s ear, and he whispers back. They nod to one another. Loki dashes forward in fierce determination, snatching the cube from Zedra’s open palm just before Ralts can take hold. He and Patyen let loose their battle cries in unison as Loki rushes into the middle of the growing storm. He steps right into where Orcus’ mouth can be seen. The winds pick up and Loki musters all his strength just to stay standing. He thrusts his sword into the ground to steady himself while Patyen takes the cube and activates it, holding it aloft and glaring defiantly into the eyes of The Demon Prince’s soul. A deafening thunderclap echoes off the stone and a radiant blue light erupts from the cube in Patyen’s grip.

The brilliance of the blue-violet ring vortex dissipates quickly. No bodies are left behind to bury, no fragments of sword or staff to mourn over and keep as mementos. In an instant, a blinding flash, Roll for Salsa lost two of their own, and naught but memories remain.

At this point Zedra decides it necessary to commit their past and future exploits to parchment. He begins transcribing a log immortalizing Roll for Salsa: Adventurers for Hire, so that future generations may revel in the ridiculous, the lucky, and the heroic tales they forge.

“Patyen’s tenacity was rivaled only by his mystery. The beer will make it better, comrade, the beer will make it better.”

“Loki, you magnificent bastard, you will live on in my memory, and my pants.”

- Zedra Ivnaoth: Excerpts from the eulogies of Patyen Benko, Cleric of Sehanine; and Loki, Fighter from the Hidden Hand.

Gloom and Doom
Wrought in the Shadows

After begrudgingly signing duty visas granting entrance to the city, R4S scout out their new surroundings. They make their way through poortown to the surprisingly rich district within Gloomwrought. A posh store called A.H. Munroe’s looks inviting, and inside the party find all manner of Prime imports. A few minutes worth of browsing is disrupted when Loki takes offense to being called “rabble” by the maître d. They get into an all-out brawl, right in the lobby of the store. Krystryd and Barry leave, not wanting to be associated with the rowdy patrons. Mialee sees an opportunity and helps herself to some fine imported silk, from a supplier called “Fameux David”. Kyrrox pries herself away from the locked jewelry case and loads up on executive nick-knacks. Zedra looks disapproving and flips through some interesting ritual books. As the fight involves more of the staff and security personnel, Mialee nabs one of the books Zed was reading. Dakyr splits his time between looting and leching. After some time, Zedra feels left out of the crime spree and slips a book into his bag. (What a rebel!)

The local constabulary are called, and fearing for Loki, Zed teleports him to the second floor of the store before exiting (but declares Loki “owes him a hooker”). Mialee and Kyrrox manage to slip out the front door in the confusion. Gord attempts to set fire to the establishment. Kyrrox hops onto Griffy and they fly over to the second story windows to see where Loki ended up. On floor 2, in the lingerie section, Loki is seen by security, but is able to dive out the window and onto Griffy with the greatest of ease. Dak and Rhyder escape, but Gord is caught by the police and taken to the station for processing. R4S and the HH scatter.

A few hours of cooldown, and R4S/HH reconvene at an inn in poortown. Zed, Loki, and Dak go to a whorehouse across the street. Rhyder tries to follow but is stopped by the I-don’t-think-so stare from his sister. Mialee spends the evening forming a pattern and beginning a lovely flowing gown for Kyrrox, using the lustrous green silk she acquired. Kyrrox is thrilled.

Zedra, Loki, and Dakyr return late after whoring it up. Morning breaks, and the duty roster for the day is announced: Patyen, Mialee, Krystryd, and Barry are selected. They head to the power dome, sulking. Gord, as a prisoner, is obligated to participate in the duty call. They enter and are each led to a separate cubicle within the dome. A simple repetitive task is assigned to all the day’s participants. Mialee shrugs and begins her task of turning a crank, singing in elven as she does so. Gord the rebel pedals his flywheel backwards. At another location and unaware of this, Patyen also fights the system and turns his knob the incorrect direction. Krystryd and Barry adhere to their duty and begin their day’s work.

Meanwhile, the off-duty party members make the best of their day in Gloomwrought. Zedra happily spend the entire day in his room reading the new books in his possession and mastering the rituals found therein. Kyrrox and Loki (disguised by Zedra to look old) head back to poshtown, and Kyrrox speaks with Mr. Munroe’s secretary. She sets up an urgent appointment with A.H. Munroe for tomorrow evening, claiming she would like to open a franchise location and gives the false name “Pyrrex”. She then spends some alone-time at the park, and meets some members of a local theatre troupe. Dakyr and Rhyder pay a visit to the ladies of the night across the street.

Mialee’s singing becomes less cheery and more akin to a timekeeping chant, but she endures. Gord and Patyen find their opposition brings about the fall of their cubicle walls, revealing ominous red-hot grinding gears. Patyen stops, and manages to right his actions. Gord is not dissuaded and backpedals until the gears begin to come loose. He deftly turns to mercury and slips out of the crashing machinery like a quicksilver ninja. He hides from patrolling guards and overhears some of the other duty-bound citizens talking about R4S, in less-than-fond terms.

A whistle sounds, heralding the end of the six-hour workday. Participants file out of their cubes and head towards the exit. Mialee and Patyen are stopped by a Shadar-Kai woman they do not recognize at first. She identified herself as R’Khell, and the R4S members recall her from their first visit to the Shadowfell. She had possession of Griffy, and mistakenly believed R4S was an invading force from the Prime. Needless to say, she is less friendly now than she was then. She and her Shadar-Kai allies attack, and a fight breaks out among the gears and catwalks of the machine’s innards. Gord joins in, as well as Krystryd and Barry (whom the Shadar-Kai didn’t have quarrel with until now). Mialee sounds the Summoning Horn. Loki and Zedra each head towards the dome on foot, Kyrrox rides Griffy.

The battle rages, Krystryd is grabbed by R’Khell, making attacking the Shadar-Kai difficult. Gord creates a necrotic cloud and Mialee damages a steam pipe, giving R4S some tactical zones of damage. Kyrrox arrives and breaks through a high window, seeing Griffy enrages R’Khell further. Kyrrox’s warlord training comes in handy, as she is able to show R4S how to navigate the turning gears as if they were not difficult terrain. Loki and Zedra show up a few minutes later, and it is not long before the fight is finished.


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