Agents of the Prime

Session 20

The children of light entered the cave, ready to face the slaadi and other demons they knew lurked within. Glace immediately noticed another toad-like demon standing in the shadows to the left of the cave entrance, while a wide column hid a raised cove to the right. The slaadi, unaware of the party, were taken by surprise as the children of light attacked. Alec opened the battle by cursing the two blood slaadi guarding the portal as Fas hurled a ball of divine power at them, its crystals slashing the fiends as it exploded. Demarung's form momentarily blurred into a bolt of lightning and before the two surprised demons could react, he flashed through to the other side of cavern and stood before them. Meanwhile, Glace sent a ray of radiant energy at the blue talon slaad hiding in the shadows, searing it and compelling the demon to come forward to face him. Aria cast an arcane spell of fate on the fiend as it staggered forward; her magic slowed its reflexes, making it an easier target for the bard and her allies. Aten spat a ball of fiery lightning at the blue slaad as well, charring the demon, and Ember summoned a gleaming shield of divine energy over herself, protecting the cleric and her allies against physical attacks.

Alec cursed the talon slaad facing Glace and assailed its mind with arcane energy as the demons in the cavern shook off their surprise and began to act. The blue fiend lashed out at the avenger, but he dodged aside and the demonic claws raked only empty air. Glace continued his momentum into a spin, ending with a swing of his icy flail that landed solidly and crushed his foe's ribs. As the blue slaad fell, the avenger vanished and reappeared closer to the portal and its guardians. Meanwhile, the blood slaadi faced a torrent of fire and steel. Fas unleashed a stream of divine fire that seared one demon, then cascaded onto its companion. Holy flame continued to dance across both forms as Demarung attacked, primal fire erupting around his weapon. The warden brought his weapon down with a thunderous blow that and burned the red demons and knocked both to the ground. The attacks on the blood slaadi continued as Aria sang an arcane song of unluck, warping the fortunes of one demon, and Aten charged another and slashed it violently.

The children of light paused in their assault as a strange chittering noise filled the cavern. The sound grew in volume and intensity until a mass of rotting flesh, fragments of bone, and maggots, centipedes, and other vermin flowed out of the shadows near Glace before coalescing into a vaguely humanoid shape. The larva assassin extended its putrescence into a sword-shaped limb and struck at the avenger. The blow landed and Glace felt the creature's vile energies attempting to sap his vitality as he countered with a blow of his flail. Chilled by the frosty attack, the undead creature shambled toward Aria and struck at her as well. The bard teleported to safety as more enemies emerged – a pod demon crawled from a well in the center of the room while another emerged with a talon slaad ally from behind the rock column. The demon nearest Glace lashed out with an acidic swipe that the avenger dodged, then the creature roared and a podspawn arose near Fas, Ember, and Alec, and exploded into a cloud of poison. All three children of light were sickened by the mist, and watched as the pod demon mystically changed places with another of its spawn across the cavern. Seeing their reaction to the poisonous vapors, the pod demon near the rock column flung a gob of green ooze at the three heroes. Fas and Alec dodged the slime, but it struck Ember, burning her with acid. More podspawn rose to attack several children of light around the cavern with corrosive scum; Ember, Fas, and Aria suffered acid burns from the demonlings. Glace swung his flail in a large arc, slaying two of the demon-seed as the pair of blood slaadi stood and attacked. One leapt to attack Glace, attempting to spread its chaos-disease with its claws, but the avenger proved to be an elusive foe and dodged the infectious talons. The other red demon emitted a horrid croak in an attempt to stun the children of light while the talon slaad teleported next to Aria, picked up the bard, and squeezed her in its large fist before flinging her onto the floor.

Seeing his ally lying before the blue fiend, Alec moved to distract the demon. He conjured a mass of fiery scorpions that swarmed the slaad, covering it with a multitude of burning, poisonous stings. Fas focused on the larva assassin, summoning a divine, curved blade that hovered in the air and threatened the undead abomination. Glace, facing a blood slaad, summoned a spirit ally to distract his foe and rained a series of blows down on his opponent. The final swing of his flail slew the demon, and as it fell the avenger teleported to engage the larva assassin. On the other side of the cavern, Demarung swung his sword overhead and unleashed a storm of wind and lightning that slew two podspawn and buffeted the nearby talon slaad and pod demon. Aria continued to feed the storm with her own arcane energy, singing a song that summoned more lightning that struck the pod demon and larva assassin. Lightning continued to dance around the cavern as Aten channeled his own life force into a decisive blow that clove into the blood slaad and slew it. The paladin then moved to face the talon slaad, threatening it with divine light if it ignored his challenge.

Meanwhile, the larva assassin shambled away from Glace and turned to fling a glob of filth that struck the avenger, dazing him. Glace teleported to the undead monster, bashed it with his flail, and teleported himself and his foe next to the spirit ally that began to harry the creature. Aria, sensing an opportunity, used her arcane power to speed Glace's reflexes. The avenger lashed out with his flail twice. Both blows landed solidly; as the larva assassin fell, Glace vanished and appeared next to the talon slaad. One of the pod demons rose from its spawn next to Ember and spewed acid at her. The caustic fluid burned the cleric as the demon spawned two more demonlings. Demarung leapt at the demon threatening Ember and slashed savagely with his sword, slaying the fiend. Alec slew one of the demon's spawn with a spiral of dark arcane energy while Ember called upon divine power to sear the demons in the cavern with radiance. Her attack slew two podspawn, and as the pod demon stood stunned, the cleric summoned a column of divine fire that burned her foe and healed her allies. The talon slaad clawed at Aten, attempting to grab his foe with his crushing fists, but the paladin dodged the attack and answered with a mighty smite that slashed through the demon's defenses. Alec leveled an arcane curse that inflicted wrenching wounds on the pod demon and talon slaad as Fas assailed the blue demon with divine wind, knocking it the ground. Demarung unleashed a burst of primal fire, burning both fiends and slaying the pod demon. The children of light surrounded the prone blue slaad and quickly finished off their foe.

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Session 19

With the defeat of the immolith, the children of light felt its demonic influence disappear from the realm. They rested overnight before travelling to face the other power they had sensed. The group arrived at a wide cave mouth facing a tree-lined pond. A slightly raised pathway split the stagnant water and led to the opening. Aten noticed that the hollow had been dug out by a large creature, while Glace spotted several humanoid skeletons in the murky pond and various tracks on the muddy banks. He pointed these out to Demarung, who examined the imprints and discerned boot marks as well as the prints of a large draconic creature and two odd tracks he could not identify – a smaller set of clawed tracks and a large set of bulbous prints. The party also noticed clumps of green residue on some of the nearby mangrove trees and in one of the tracks.

Alec and Glace began to move slowly toward the cave mouth, investigating the path as they went. As they neared the opening, a blob of green slime rose from the ground near Glace, revealing eyes and a mouth as it crawled forward to attack. A four-headed hydra, its scaly armor enhanced with metallic plates, appeared in the cave entrance a moment later and issued a challenging roar. Glace reacted by smashing the green creature threatening him before teleporting to engage the hydra. He lashed at the beast with his flail, striking it with a divine blow that hurtled the avenger and his foe away from the cave mouth. Three more of the viscous green creatures appeared and attacked. The first dropped from a mangrove and burned Demarung with a blast of acidic slime, while another crawled out of a deep footprint in the mud and spewed its caustic muck on Aria. A third emerged from the cave and charged Glace, but he dodged the corrosive attack. Aria smote the green creature threatening her, and the warden slew his foe before moving forward to face the hydra. Alec cursed the monster and assaulted it with a spell at it as he stepped back, but one of the beast's heads lashed out and bit him as he moved away. Demarung and Glace both struck at the distracted hydra as the warlock teleported to a safe distance. Aten charged into battle and breathed his draconic fire on the beast while Ember summoned a column of divine fire that burned one of the hydra's heads to ash.

The beast moved to pursue Alec, and the party watched in shock as two new heads grew from the charred stump to replace the one that had been destroyed. The hydra's five heads lashed out at the warlock with a flurry of bites. Alec felt the hydra's fangs bite deeply several times, suffering severe wounds that bled profusely. Glace attacked the monster's flank and struck with divine menace that weakened his foes' resolve, making them easier to hit. Meanwhile, Aria used arcane power to heal some of Alec's wounds and chanted a hymn that allowed the warlock to teleport to her side. She then sang a dissonant strain that assailed the hydra's psyche and fouled its attacks. Demarung aided Alec by calling on the primal power of earth to move the warlock to safety and protect him with a barrier of stone. The warden then turned back to his foe and surged into a frenzy, slashing the hydra with his sword. Alec, now safely out of the monster's reach, slammed his fists together and conjured a circle of darkness around the hydra that assailed its mind and crushed its will. Aten circled the beast, trying to draw its attention as Ember used her divine power to heal more of Alec's wounds. The hydra, enraged, unleashed another barrage of attacks at several of the children of light; Demarung and Ember were both bitten by multiple heads but Aria managed to dodge two that bit at her. As the beast regrouped, Glace teleported to face it and unleashed a barrage of his own. The first strike of his icy flail froze and shattered one of the monster's heads, but two more sprouted from the neck. The avenger destroyed both of these as well, hammering each with a frigid, crushing blow, and the hydra fell. Seeing all of its allies defeated, the remaining green slime-creature turned and fled into the cavern. Alec cast a wrenching curse after it, and the party heard its dying scream echo from the cave mouth.

The children of light examined the corpses of their vanquished enemies. Ember recalled vague memories of the strange green creatures. They were the spawn of pod-demons. These demons possessed a madness born of the Seed of Chaos, and their insanity animated the green spawn they left in their wake. The group focused their will on forming their surroundings but still sensed two forces in opposition – the beacon created by Io, and an elemental will within the cave. As the party rested and tended to their wounds, Glace and Alec stealthily explored the cave. They spied a flickering red light leading down long, winding tunnel that descended into the hillside. Following it, the two found a large cavern with tiers formed from the rock around the far edges. On the other side of the cave stood a portal made of jagged, black stones; red flame licked the air on the other side of the arcane doorway, casting dim, scarlet light into the room. Two red toad-like demons known as slaad flanked the portal, guarding the entrance. A trail of green slime lead up into the hidden recesses of the highest tier, and the two adventurers could hear the chittering of unknown creatures issuing from the darkness. Glace and Alec slowly and silently retreated to share what they had seen with their companions.

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Session 18

The children of light boarded the canoes and paddled in the direction of the greatest power they could sense. Soon they spotted a shore lined with partially burned trees. The party landed, noticing that the soil in the area was hard-packed and marked with large, clawed footprints burned into the earth. Glace and Demarung searched the clearing and determined that a battle had taken place, and at least one of the combatants had been a dragon.

A sense of power still beckoned the heroes inland. The group walked toward a ridge of hills they could see over the trees, and as the forest thinned they saw a column of prismatic light shining up into the sky. As they drew nearer, they discovered the source of the beacon – a tower of volcanic rock, shaped like a massive dragon's claw reaching upward from the surrounding hills. The multi-colored beam seemed to emanate from the center of the building, and dragons rested in the palm of the tower's claw. A stone wall surrounded the citadel, manned by dragonborn of various colors who watched the children of light approach. Aten hailed the guards in the draconic tongue and proclaimed himself a son of Io. The guards expressed disbelief, and challenged him to give them a sign of his lineage and power. The paladin spat fire into the air, then told the listening warriors of his battles and exploits. One of the dragonborn, unconvinced, called three dragons from the tower that descended and alit in front of the party. The guard challenged Aten, saying that a true son of Io should show his mastery over dragons. The paladin felt this power rise within him, and commanded the dragons to obey him. All three bowed before Aten. Several winged dragonborn descended from their bulwark, and the guards and dragons carried the children of light into the fortress.

Inside the keep stood several outbuildings, a courtyard, training grounds, and housing for both dragons and dragonborn. The dark iron tower dominated the fortress. Aten asked about the structure and was told that there were no known entrances, and nobody in the garrison had ever been inside. Aten sensed the great power within, fueling the multi-hued beam of light. A guard told him that Io himself had created the great tower and charged the dragons and dragonborn with guarding it. They knew of the race of humans, who dwelt on the far side of this world, but had no direct contact with them. The discussion turned to the signs of battle the children of light had noted in this world. The heroes learned that Io's children fought powerful forces for mastery of this world, forces they described as corrupt elementals. One of these lived in a place called the Pit of Fire, and appeared as a monstrous pillar of flame with multiple claws and a head in the shape of a skull. The monster was allied with a mysterious being the dragonborn called the spawn of black of death. The other power the children of light had sensed was a creature Erek-hus had created from several captured dragons, corrupted and reformed, with several heads growing on a single dragon-like body. This hydra guarded a portal, and the dragon-folk believed the doorway led to the place of Io's imprisonment. Emissaries of Erek-hus had visited the claw tower, demanding the obeisance of Io's children, but the dragons and dragonborn had refused and driven off the corrupt elementals.

The children of light decided to assault the elementals living in the Pit of Fire. A dozen dragonborn warriors volunteered to accompany them into battle, and the party set off toward the pit with their new allies. As they neared their destination, the wilderness grew increasingly bleak. Smoke grew thicker, and the verdant forest gave way to charred stumps and blackened earth. Eventually, the group reached a large pit with an earthen path leading into its depths. In the center of the pit raged an immolith – the corrupted fire elemental the dragons had fought. Around the edges of the great hollow lurked several other creatures, including undead monsters with large, bony claws and flying, vulture-like beings known as vrocks. The party realized they faced not simple elementals, but demonic forces. Undaunted, they attacked.

Aten led the charge against the immolith. The elemental lashed out at his attacker with a curse that seared the paladin's body and mind, slowing him. Seeing her ally's affliction, Ember summoned astral currents to free the dragonborn from his spell and allow her companions to move quickly over the scorching earth. Demarung charged the fiery monster and surged into a primal frenzy, slashing his foe before taking on the bestial features and grace of a great panther. Glace sensed that the immolith was a creature of undeath and fired a brilliant ray of radiant power at it, compelling it forward while the avenger summoned a spectral ally from the Shadowfell to aid him in battle. As Aria chanted and peered into the future to inspire her companions, another foe appeared. The smooth-skinned, dark form of a bodak materialized behind Fas and smashed into the invoker with its fists. The eladrin realized he faced an undead foe of indescribable evil as dark energy from his assailant deadened his flesh and weakened him. Fas vanished and reappeared dozens of feet away, conjuring a sphere of radiant power. The invoker threw it at the inky humanoid, searing the undead with divine energy and slowing him. The immolith's other allies sprang into action as well. The clawed creatures lumbered across the pit toward the heroes, while the vrocks took to the air. One swooped at Demarung, who blocked the attack with his shield, but the other slashed Fas with its talons as it flew past.

As the multitude of demonic foes gathered, Aten renewed his attack on the immolith. He drew upon his own life force and dealt a mighty blow to the fiery elemental, then spat an explosive ball of flame at the approaching boneclaws. The immoleth lashed out with one of its many clawed hands, grasping Ember and pulling her toward its fiery body. Demarung reacted by forcing the demon away from its prey, though its long reach enabled it to keep the cleric held fast. Ember summoned her strength, broke her enemy's grasp, and seared the immolith and nearby bodak with a blast of divine energy. Demarung quickly darted toward the inky undead and slashed it, leaving an open wound that dripped ichor. Sensing the being's weakness, Glace struck at it with his icy flail and teleported the undead next to the immolith. He then appeared next to the death spawn and attacked again, landing another blow. Though grievously wounded, the bodak strode forward and cast a baleful gaze at Fas. The invoker dropped to the ground, his mind and body deadened, and Aria rushed to heal the fallen invoker. Meanwhile, the boneclaws advanced on the party only to feel Ember's divine aura burn their undead flesh. Undeterred, they spread out and attacked Aten and the cleric. The paladin's armor blocked the deathly claws, but Ember sidestepped one attack only to feel another's claws rend her flesh. The vrocks continued their assault from the air. Both screeched with unholy voices, stunning Glace, Demarung, Aten, and Ember. The immolith reached out and grabbed the motionless avenger, but before it could further injure him, Fas spoke four divine verses of doom, dazing the immolith and its allies. The dragonborn warriors leapt into the fray, surrounding the shocked, fiery demon and harrying it from all sides. Three blasted the immolith with frosty breath and its corrupt flames died as it fell.

The tide of battle began to turn with the fall of the immolith. The bodak, wounded and dazed, vanished from sight as it attempted to survive.  Glace, Aten, and Ember unleashed attack after attack of radiant power, searing the undead flesh around them. Demarung knocked the boneclaws to the ground with a mighty thundersmash while Aria sang an arcane spell that impeded the enemies' use of their demonic powers. Fas summoned a stream of brilliant fire that burned the bodak's invisible form into ash. The vrocks and boneclaws continued to fight on, but with the two greater demons slain, the battle was soon over. The children of light and their dragonborn allies stood victorious.

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Session 17

As the effects of the spell cast by the fey council became clear, the children of light reacted in different ways. Alec was furious. Glace expressed outrage at the hubris of the elves and eladrin and foretold that all of the fey folk involved, including the drow, would see generations of hatred and conflict as a result of the decisions they had made. Aria denied the fate Glace had presaged and attempted to tell all the fey folk that they could avoid such a future. Fas asked the Summer Queen what the subterranean elves had done to deserve this sentence, while Glace questioned their right to sentence another people in this fashion. Ember and Demarung told their fellows that the doings of the mortals were none of their concern, claiming that if the elves and eladrin had the power to do this act, they had the right as well.

The conversation continued between the children of light and the fey council. Having spoken his mind, Glace left the room and walked outside. Shadus and the other two shadar-kai appeared, spoke with the avenger for some time, then vanished. A brief, eerie darkening followed their disappearance, then the area seemed to unnaturally brighten for a few moments. An elf rushed into the council chambers, telling all those within that they should come outside with all haste. The fey and the children of light quickly followed the scout out the door. There they saw seven luminous, winged beings hovering in the air above the village square, apparently directing great arcane energies with their gestures. Three of them approached the children of light, bowed, and then stood to greet the group. Glace asked who they were, and one introduced herself as Phoebe and named the two with her as Timothy and Modeus. Phoebe said that they were seraphim sent by the Creator, ordered to organize echoes of the world to mirror the dissension caused by the misuse of power by the fey folk. She told the party that the Creator approved of their work to this point, and added that while they were still free to shape the world, major changes required the group's consensus. Any decisions or alterations made without the consent of all of the children of light would carry possibly dire consequences. Phoebe also told the party that the Creator had instructed them to work with Neri and Aten, who are the children of the Creator's brother Io.

While Phoebe conversed with the children of light, they noted that the four seraphim not speaking with them began to outline the elven settlement with narrow beams of light. Demarung asked Phoebe the meaning of their work, and she replied that the city and they fey folk were to be moved to a parallel plane of the mortal world called the Feywild. As a consequence of their recent decisions, the elves and eladrin banished there would be unable to return to the mortal realm, though their children would not be subject to the same curse.

Demarung questioned the fey council, who stood in astonishment at the future that awaited them and their city. The Summer Queen defended their decision, claiming that the subterranean elves had dealings with the aberrant creatures from the far realms. Demarung asked Alec if this was true, but the warlock didn't know and called a representative of the drow to come and speak with them. A wizened dark elf named Shara arrived, wearing an amulet in the shape of a spider; she said she would answer questions on behalf of her people. Demarung asked the drow why her people had been marked. Shara replied that it was due to the accusations and hubris of her elven and eladrin cousins. Shara said that her people had communicated with the aberrations that had invaded her people's caves, and admitted that the subterranean elves had attempted to make an alliance with the creatures from the far realms to stem their raids and encroachment. The aberrant creatures had initially feigned alliance, but had betrayed the dark elves.

As the discussion continued, Glace felt an intense pull to another area, sensing that he was needed to witness an important event nearby. He left the area and passed quickly through the wilderness until he arrived at an elven burial mound. There he found a lone seraph, seemingly gathering light into his body. The avenger watched as the surroundings grew darker, and the seraph eventually spoke to him. The being told Glace that another echo of the world was being created, called the Shadowfell. This would be a realm where the shadar-kai could dwell in safety, away from the power of the fey folk and magic like that they had worked on the dark elves, and away from the power of time to end their lives through old age and decrepitude. The seraph told Glace that he was to be the master of death and the lord of this new realm, though there would be conditions to assuming such a position. The avenger accepted. He was instructed by the angelic being to guard the Shadowfell, for it would be a world which others would wish to rule, including Glace's eternal foe. The avenger had felt the influence of this enemy, and knew of his existence from the moment of his awakening. He asked the seraph the name of this nemesis and was told that the creature would come to be called Orcus. Glace also learned that both he and those who chose to dwell in the Shadowfell would often be reviled and feared by others, and at times, the avenger's own followers would fear him. The seraph then said that his part was done, instructed Glace to finish creating the Shadowfell, and vanished. Afterwards, an instinctive beckoning to this dusky plane would draw some humans, as well as elves and eladrin who disagreed with their council's decision to mark the drow. They would join Shadus and his two companions in the new realm to create the race of shadar-kai.

Back near the elven village, the children of light continued to speak with Shara. Demarung asked her if her people had indeed taught surface-dwelling elves and eladrin their ways, as the fey council had charged. She admitted that they had, and repeated her claim that the drow had never forced their teachings on anyone. She reiterated that her people had indeed communicated with the aberrations and attempted to ally with them, but only in an attempt to survive and to halt the invasions into their caves. The warden told her that her people had gotten dangerously close to the aberrants, and warned her of the consequences of continued dealings and alliances with any creatures from the far realm. Shara then left. Demarung spoke with his companions, telling them that he thought it was dangerous for any of them to become too attached to any aspect of creation. He feared for the balance of the world, should any child of light too closely ally himself with one race or another.

Further discussion was cut short by a blinding flash that bathed the area in light and sudden silence. When the radiance subsided, the village was gone and in its place stood a simple, flat meadow. Phoebe said that the work of the seraphim here was done; the settlement and the fey folk who agreed with the council's decision were now in the Feywild. Glace returned to the party, stepping out of the Shadowfell, and the children of light realized that they had the ability to travel between the mortal world, the Shadowfell, and the Feywild at will.

Phoebe told the children of light that she was permitted to tarry a while and speak with them. If they had questions, she could answer on behalf of the Creator. Through the information she shared, and the questions she answered, the children of light learned a great deal about themselves and their past before their awakening. They had once been gods who had fallen from power, and creation had been shattered by a Seed of Chaos – the great darkness the party had seen the Creator throw down soon after they had awakened. A god named Tharizdun had sought control over the Creator by harnessing the power of the Seed of Chaos, but he had been thrown down by the Creator and his children. Other gods had been destroyed in this great conflict as well, and while some had been reformed, others were lost forever. Io was one who had fallen, but the Creator had given him new life after the Seed was overcome. Another named Erek-hus had been defeated by the children of light before their own downfall. He had been reformed by the primordials, and now strove against the Creator and his children. The humans had lived before, and held a divine spark which had protected them when so many others had fallen. That race, along with the seraphim themselves, represented the last of what the children of light had created in their lives before.

Phoebe then shared with the party some aspects of their future. She told them that the realm of the humans must be freed of primordials and joined with the civilized world. Phoebe then spoke of a Great Forge the party must find, and said that Ember would undertake a great creation with this artifact. The Mother of Dwarves would forge the Soul of the World and the sun to complete this creation. As Ember thought upon this task, she sensed that the raw materials needed for her work were the metals the party had seen in the Spirit Talker's cave.

The children of light would need to defend this newly created world from the influence of the primordials and the aberrant creatures from the far realm. Phoebe instructed them that the only way to stop the invasion of the aberrant creatures – including the mindflayers, beholders, and spawn of Kyuss – was to seal or destroy the portal under the earth. To do this, the party would need to travel through the portal and destroy its source of power on the other side. The seraph then left with her two angelic guards. The children of light sent out the proclamation that all races, whether living in the mortal world, the Feywild, or the Shadowfell, should remain vigilant against raids and incursions by the far realm monsters. The party then traveled to the portal leading to the realm of the humans and stepped through.

On the other side, the children of light found themselves in a system of caves formed of volcanic rock. They gathered their collective will to sense other influences on this mote of land,  and detected three distinct, hostile powers. Of these, two felt like primordial powers, while the third was unique – neither primordial, nor a being from the far realm. The party climbed from the cavern system, eventually emerging onto the surface of a burned and blasted island rising from the noxious waters of a great lake. They traveled around the shores of the island and soon found an abandoned village. The huts in the settlement were burned, and the party found several skeletons among the buildings, some charred and others badly smashed. Demarung eventually found signs that the tribe that had lived here had hunted and foraged for sustenance. He also discovered leathern canoes and oars, and the tannery where the skins of animals had been cured and treated. Further investigation of the island turned up no other settlements or signs of life – only a single, large scorch mark burnt into the ground in the shape of a massive footprint. The children of light exercised their will, focusing on the dangerous waters around the island, and felt the liquid bend to their wishes. As they watched, the noxious, sulfurous sludge sank into the murk to be replaced by cleaner water that the party could canoe through. They again extended their senses and learned that the hostile powers on this mote of land were each in a different direction, and the most powerful was the enemy who was neither a primordial nor a far realm aberration.

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Session 16
Vecna
VECNA

 

After a period of rest and study, the children of light descended the spiral staircase and returned to the black iron doors. Alec drew arcane runes around the doorway and soon the magical barricade and the massive doors shattered, revealing an ice cavern beyond. At the center of the room stood an altar, and Aten lay atop the unholy pedestal, each limb chained with black iron shackles. Two undead spirit devourers stood on either side of the altar; vile phantasms could be seen within their open ribcages. A massive crystal, pulsing with energy, hung above the dragonborn form. Four beams of necrotic power emanated from the gem, terminating in piles of corpses heaped at the corners of the icy room. A black throne rested against the far wall, and between it and the altar stood the lich Vecna, holding a staff and surrounded by a cloud of dark energy. As the party watched, the crystal pulsed and wrenched shimmering energy from the dragonborn on the altar. The gem then fed the power to the robed figure, and with a gesture he animated several skeletons and two viscera devourers – zombies with large, overextended tongues.

Seeing Aten shackled and subject to the deathly magic, the heroes attacked immediately. Ember used divine power to bolster her allies' defenses while Fas teleported the entire party close to the altar. Alec cursed the two spirit devourers before casting a spell on one of them that burned with radiant energy. Glace ran around the altar to Vecna and struck with his flail, teleporting both the avenger and the lich next to the altar. The other children of light focused their attacks on the undead lord now in their midst. Neri stepped forward and lashed out with her longsword, while Demarung swung his sword with a thunderous smash, knocking the lich and the two spirit devourers to the ground before taking on the war-form of the panther. Ember stepped away from the melee and released a wave of radiant astral energy, searing Vecna and one of his underlings. The lich stood and, as his wounds knitted together, claimed "It is too late. I have already ascended as a god!" The undead lord then tried to move away, but Glace and Neri lashed out to prevent his escape. The spirit devourers struck next, attempting to defend their lord. Glace dodged one attack, a bolt of necrotic energy, but the other devourer struck Neri with a lethal beam and the dragonborn disappeared. A heartbeat later, Neri's face appeared in the chest of the devourer as the creature began to consume her soul. The monster unleashed a surge of dark power, attempting to overwhelm Glace's mind, but the avenger resisted the attack. Meanwhile, the other devourer lashed out again at Demarung. The warden fought back, dealing his undead foe a grievous wound, but the flash of necrotic power struck the warden and he disappeared, his soul imprisoned in the devourer's chest. Aria sang a magical song to aid her allies' resistance to damage, quickly glimpsed into the future to aid an ally's attack, then summoned lightning that crackled around the weapons of the children of light. As her arcane tunes ended, the newly created undead rushed at the heroes from the four corners of the room. The viscera devourers attacked Glace and Fas; the avenger dodged the tongue that lashed out at him, but the invoker felt the cold claws dig into his flesh. As Fas tried to spin away from the attack, two skeletons closed in and tore at him as well. Two more skeletal warriors charged Alec, both slashing the warlock with their claws. Other undead rushed at Glace and Ember; both divine heroes avoided their deadly claws.

Ember had no sooner shrugged off the charge of two skeletons when an assault came from an unexpected source. An arc of unholy energy lashed at her from the great crystal, deadening her flesh and sapping a portion of her soul. As she recovered, Fas unleashed a searing wave of divine power, destroying two skeletons and inflicting holy damage on the devourers before vanishing and reappearing away from the crowd of undead. Alec focused a curse on the spirit devourer holding Neri and struck with radiant energy, forcing the monster to expel the dragonborn. The warlock then uttered another curse that wrenched the forms of Vecna and his skeletal minions. Glace continued his assault of the lich, tapping into Aria's glimpse of the future to blast the abomination with searing white light that charred his flesh and immobilized him. The shadar-kai then released a burst of radiance, instantly destroying two skeletons and withering burning two of the devourers. Meanwhile, Neri breathed a cloud of acid on the two devourers she faced and followed up with a swing of her sword before striking Vecna to draw his attention. On the other side of the altar, Demarung exerted a mighty effort of will to burst out of his captor's foul torso; he then leapt over his foe to threaten both the spirit devourer and Vecna, lashing out with his sword to deal the lich-lord a dire wound. Ember stepped toward the altar and summoned two bursts of radiant power in succession. One skeleton shattered, while both viscera devourers were charred as they were pushed back and stunned by the force of the divine energies. Vecna, seeing his underlings falling to the children of light, raised his staff to cast some unholy spell, but Glace took this moment to spring in and bash the lich with his icy flail. Vecna's putrid form shattered, his spirit screeching a promise of revenge as it dissipated into the cold air.

The undead lord's body was destroyed, but his followers fought on. Demarung and Neri again fell victim to the attacks of the spirit devourers, their souls absorbed into the monster's bodies. Aria attempted to free Neri by slashing at the devourer, but the creature's tough hide turned aside her sword. She then began a battle chant, adding arcane power to any attacks against her foe. A scream rose above the sounds of battle as the gem again drew upon Aten's vitality, channeling the energy to animate more skeletal warriors at the room's corners. The skeletons immediately charged. Glace deftly shifted to avoid the undead who rushed at him, and Ember's stout mail turned aside the hands grasping at her. From another corner, a skeleton charged at Aria and tore her with its cold claws while two of its allies slashed Alec. Fas also felt cold claws rend his flesh, but dodged a deadly arc of necrotic energy from the gem. The invoker then retreated from the undead surrounding him and summoned a stream of fire that engulfed one devourer before cascading onto the other, burning it badly and causing it to expel Demarung. The warden imbued his sword with the light of the sun and slashed, injuring and blinding his foe, then shifted to aid Ember. Glace summoned a spirit ally, and the shade moved to distract the nearest devourer while the avenger struck a crippling blow that freed Neri from her gruesome prison. Ember continued the assault by summoning a column of fire; another skeleton and the spirit devourer facing Neri both burst into flame and disintegrated.

Dodging undead enemies, Aria rushed to the altar to try to free Aten. The chains held him fast. Unable to free him, the bard healed him just before more of his life force was drained by the gem and channeled to the piles of corpses in the room, creating more skeletal warriors. A purplish-black arc of energy lanced down toward Aria, sapping her energy as the newly created skeletons charged the heroes. Two slashed through Ember's armor, and three surrounded Alec. The warlock teleported to safety, but not before his attackers clawed his arms and torso. Fas stepped away from the melee and blasted one of the viscera devourers with a bolt of blue energy that hurled it across the floor. Glace, meanwhile, rushed to the altar and lightly struck Aten, teleporting both himself and the dragonborn to Ember's side. The dwarf invoked a blast of white radiance that burned the nearby skeletons to ash but fortified Aten, healing some of his injuries.

Still fighting near the altar, Neri sliced into the remaining spirit devourer while the spirit summoned by Glace harried its flank. Nearby, Demarung whirled his sword overhead and released a storm of wind and lightning that shattered two skeletons and slammed into a viscera devourer. The warden then surged into a frenzy and slew two more skeletal warriors. The spirit devourer lashed out at Aria with its necrotic energy bolt. The bard's war-chants ceased as she disappeared into the monster's prison of bone. The creature then turned to the altar and egested his prey; Aria appeared on the shrine, chained as Aten had been. She looked upward and sung a dissonant strain, hoping to weaken the crystal, but the gem seemed unaffected and its dark beam descended upon her. She screamed as energy was ripped from her body and pulsed outward, and more skeletons rose with undead life. As the new enemies charged, Neri slew the viscera devourer she faced and spun to engage the spirit devourer. Skeletons closed in on the children of light, inflicting minor injuries on both Fas and Glace. The invoker shouted a divine curse of doom that dazed the nearby undead, while Glace charged the spirit devourer that hovered near Aria's shackled form. The avenger's icy flail lashed out three times, and the abomination fell. Neri slew the final devourer, and she and Glace attempted to free the bard. As Demarung and Ember engaged the skeletal warriors with primal and divine energy, Glace told Aria to strike him. She did, and the shadar-kai teleported them both away from the unholy shrine. Only two skeletons remained standing. Alec slew one with a bolt of dark, crackling energy; the last fell to radiant blades summoned by the eladrin invoker.

The heroes paused for breath, still ready for any threat. However, the attacks ceased. The necrotic jewel, deprived of a victim to serve as a source of life force, ceased to animate new undead warriors. The group focused their collective will and sensed no presence in this realm opposed to them. They merged the world of chilly air and clouds with the civilized lands, bringing a new sky to the lands they had formed.

Upon returning to lands of the elves and eladrin, the children of light found that centuries had passed since their last visit. New leaders now governed the fey folk, and dissension and conflict afflicted the realm. Two hundred years ago, a group of secretive elves living underground had been forced to the surface by horrors from the far realms. They had settled on the edges of elven and eladrin society. Soon thereafter, allegations and rumors began to circulate – accusations that the subterranean elves had tricked or tempted other fey folk into participating in dark magic and the worship of evil. They claimed that they taught only those who came to them with a desire to learn their style of magic and worship. The leaders of the surface fey folk had gathered to counsel among themselves about the subterranean elves' influence. The children of light approached the council chambers, sensing a great magic being wrought by those gathered within. Guards stood outside the room, barring entry and telling the children of light that the fey leadership had prepared a spell to mark the subterranean elves as a warning to others to avoid their dark ways. Neri and Alec forced their way into the room, opposed to any actions taken against the accused. Glace also teleported in, angered by the hubris of the council, regardless of the subterranean elves' actions. A moment after the children of light entered the room, the Summer Queen drew power from Fas, who supported the decision, and the spell was finished. The skin of the entire race of the subterranean elves, and that of Alec, their patron, darkened to an inky black color, while their hair faded to pure white.

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Session 15

The children of light left the humans and traveled west over the frozen lake. They reached the edge of the cavern and spied a ledge above them, and after climbing up to it they discovered the opening to a hallway of stone. This passageway narrowed as it sloped upward, and the party followed the tunnel until they emerged into the cave they had first entered after landing on this mote of earth. The heroes decided to explore the spiral staircase to the north. As they descended, they noticed dark striations in the ice around them, pulsing with light-consuming, necrotic energy that reached from the dimness below. Neri lost her footing near the bottom of the slippery steps and slid to the floor below before slamming into a double door of black iron, a single eye worked into its face. The unholy energies the heroes had noticed on the staircase seemed to emanate from beyond the ominous door, and those with keen ears could hear wailing through the heavy iron. Neri said that the voice belonged to her brother, Aten. Ember summoned sacred flame and flung it at the barrier. A small part of the black door melted, but arcane wards reacted with a blast of necrotic energy that smashed into the cleric. The group examined the door and surrounding area for several minutes before realizing they would never be able to get through this entrance without more knowledge or an arcane key of some kind. Hoping that they might find what the needed in the only part of the cavern complex they had not yet explored, they climbed the stairs and made their way to the hall where the chimera and arcane traps waited.

Alec entered the large room first, treading carefully into the fog hovering near the ground. He had taken only a few steps when tendril of mist extended and wrapped around his leg, its touch leaving numb wounds and dazing the warlock. Glace teleported to Alec's side, and the two made their way carefully to the runes on the west wall. The warlock examined the runes and realized the magical traps were scattered about the room; in order to disarm the floor-traps he would need to find and deal with each one separately. Demarung and Glace, the two children of light with the keenest senses, began slowly moving about the room, finding rune-traps as well as pressure-sensitive floor stones near the portcullis. The rest of the group began to move into the hall, carefully avoiding the arcane traps, when the door behind the portcullis opened and an undead figure emerged, clothed in a raggedly stitched robe and wearing an amulet in the shape of a single, baleful eye.

The follower of Vecna immediately attacked, casting a spell at Glace and pressing a panel on the wall that raised the portcullis. The chimera, now freed, breathed a cone of frost over Glace and Alec as the warlock leveled a curse at the great beast and the robed figure. Demarung hurled his enchanted javelin at the chimera, wounding it as Glace teleported to its flank. The avenger struck with his flail, hurtling the monster to the middle of the room where several arcane traps fired, adding to the beast's injuries. Neri leapt over a trap on the floor to engage the chimera as well, striking first with her acidic breath before slicing the monster with her sword and goading it forward into yet more traps. Ember attempted to follow the dragonborn into battle, but stumbled as she stepped over a rune on the floor; a misty tendril attacked the dwarf, momentarily dazing her. Aria began a battle chant to bolster here allies' attacks, then used her arcane power to heal Glace's wounds. The robed figure avoided direct combat, instead casting a necrotic spell from the far end of the room. The unholy magic burst among the children of light; Demarung, Alec, Ember, and Aria felt the power of Vecna as his priest's spell inflicted deathly wounds. Alec reacted with a dark spiral, momentarily surrounding his foe with a black cloud that assailed the undead cleric's mind. The chimera attacked next in a frenzy, each of its three heads laying about it with tooth and horn. Glace dodged a bite from the dragon head only to feel the lion head's jaws strike true, while Neri blocked a goring attack from the goat head's horns but suffered a wound from the dragon's teeth. Ember, still dazed by the arcane trap, first bore a savage mauling from the lion head before being gored by the goat horns. The dwarf fell, and Alec rushed forward to pull her to safety as Neri and Glace swung at the chimera to distract it. The warlock administered a healing potion to Ember, then stood and cast a curse grind at his two foes, slaying the undead cleric. Demarung swung his sword at the chimera, slicing into its tough hide as spectral thorns sprouted from his weapon and pulled the beast forward. Two more arcane traps fired, further injuring the monster while Glace shifted to the beast's rear flank and launched a flurry of strikes, landing three blows with his chilling flail. Badly wounded, the enraged chimera spewed another cloud of frost at the children of light in front of it. Glace struck again as Demarung and Alec dodged the monster's icy blast. Aria and Ember were less lucky and felt the full force of the chilling cloud. The dwarf lashed out at the beast with a wave of Astral energy while Neri slashed at the chimera's flank and Aria sang a savior's song to help her allies shrug off the effects of the icy blasts. The monster attacked again, each of its heads targeting a different hero. Neri blocked the dragon's maw with her shield, but the lion head's jaws savaged Demarung and the ram head battered Alec, knocking him down. Neri saw the chimera's attention focused on her allies and sliced into the beast's side again with a mighty blow as Alec rose from the ground. The warlock leveled a final curse at the monster, assaulting the creature's minds with arcane power and killing it.

As the children of light carefully moved around the chimera's corpse, Alec attempted to disarm the pressure-plate trap near the portcullis. He triggered it instead, and the two ice statues standing nearest him raised their arms and blasted the warlock with rays of cold. Glace leapt beyond the trap; beyond the door he discovered a small library. As the avenger searched the books, the rest of the party made their way around the runes scattered around the room as Alec attempted to disarm one of the arcane traps. After several unsuccessful attempts resulting in attacks by the mist-tendrils, some palliative healing spells from the cleric, and a few leaps, the entire party made their way to the library as well. Many of the books were arcane tomes, including a treatise on rituals and three volumes on necrotic magic. Another described arcane doors, portals, and wards, and Alec felt sure that studying this book would enable him to open the door at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Further searches in the library revealed a secret compartment containing residuum, and a journal written by Ven Knadal, the human who named himself Vecna after becoming a lich. The diary described Ven's contact with agents of Erek-hus and the process by which the human had become undead – and hoped to become a god. Vecna wrote extensively of the being Erek-hus, noting that he seemed to be undergoing a transformation from his original elemental, destructive nature into something new. The lich's notes revealed that he believed Erek-hus had begun to heed the words of the God of Chaos, at the bottom of the Abyss. The final pages of the journal featured a sketch matching the drawings found on the walls in the lair of the Spirit Talker. According to Vecna's writings, both the stone hand and the clawed, demonic hand represented Erek-hus, and symbolized his transformation from primordial into something more alien and sinister.

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Session 14

The children of light continued through the cold halls, passing the huge forms of frozen dragons. They eventually came to a side-tunnel that led northward a short distance before opening into a cavern carved of ice. A white chimera stood behind a closed portcullis at the far end of the hall, watching the party malevolently. Beyond the monster the heroes could see a door with a great eye carved into it, and four ice statues, each missing a hand, stood in alcoves around the cavern's edge. Multiple warding runes were etched into the walls and floor of the room; Glace noticed a cluster of the symbols on one wall between two of the cold statues, signifying the focus of an arcane trap. A ghostly mist hovered above the ground, adding to the room's menace, and the party decided to explore more of the cave complex before entering the room.

As the heroes continued to follow the main corridor, they passed two more side-tunnels. They passed these and continued toward the east, sensing that the hall was sloping slightly downward. They eventually emerged into a large cavern made of worked rock and ice. Skeletons lay about the room, some partially or fully encased in ice, and the marks of shovels and picks suggested that somebody had been digging the corpses out of their frozen tombs. Among the various skeletons the party found the remains of a dragonborn, an amulet of Io still around its neck. Neri explained that she believed the body to be that of an exarch of Io, sent to this realm with the white dragons.

The party left the cavern strewn with the dead and retraced their steps to a passageway leading to the north. As they traveled down this hallway, several heroes began to hear a humming sound while others noticed a faint purple glow coming from a room ahead. The children of light soon arrived at a room hewn from the surrounding stone. An archway stood in the center of the chamber, surrounded by runes that shone with alternating purple and black light. Ember studied the runes and determined that the structure was a doorway, though it was unlike the portals the heroes had used to travel from realm to realm. Alec identified specific runes as warding symbols, designed to prevent use of the doorway without a specific magical item or key.

Returning to the main corridor, the party backtracked to the final unexplored tunnel they had passed. This hallway ended in a ledge about twenty feet above the floor of a massive cavern. The ground in this cave proved not to be stone, but a frozen subterranean lake. Demarung's sharp eyes picked out unusual structures far to the south and east of the ledge – two cages made of ice, each holding a prisoner. The party made their way down to the surface of the lake and traveled toward the southernmost cage. As they neared, they could see that both cages were built on a rocky shore and each held a bearded human, a race the party had heard of from the shadar-kai. When the men in the cages spied the children of light, they began to yell at them in a language that only Alec understood, but the meaning was clear to all: get off the ice! The group began to run as large forms appeared in the waters beneath their feet. Three massive swimming worms chased the heroes as they ran for shore, but Ember, Aria and Alec were too slow. As their companions watched from the rocks, the worms broke up the ice and attacked the dwarf, the gnome, and the elf as they struggled to stand on the shifting floes.

Demarung reacted first to the danger facing his allies and heaved an enchanted javelin at the nearest worm. Fas hurled a crystalline sphere at another, slicing the creature as it shattered as Alec gulped a potion for protection and cursed the two nearest beasts. One of the worms near Neri and loosed a burst of electricity, shocking the dragonborn. Its two companions moved toward the heroes trapped on the ice floe as Aria, singing a battle chant, positioned herself to strike if the creatures came near her. Glace's form faded and reappeared next to the worm nearest the shore. The avenger struck the beast with his flail, channeling divine power to hurtle both his enemy and himself onto dry land. Neri, positioned across the worm's huge body from Glace, sliced into the creature as one of the beasts in the water hit Aria and Ember with a shocking blast. The gnome immediately vanished from sight in reaction to the danger, while the dwarf summoned a wave of astral energy that lashed out at the two creatures near her. Back on shore, Demarung rushed the grounded worm and surged into a frenzy, slicing into the beast's flesh with two powerful swings of his sword. Badly wounded, the worm released another burst of lightning focused on the warden and Glace. While the avenger and the defenders focused on the beached monster, Fas teleported onto an ice floe to aid his trapped companions. The invoker summoned radiant fire that streamed toward the worms swimming in the lake, scorching one badly. Alec cursed the beast nearest himself, then leveled another spell at the worm on shore, chilling it with an attack of arcane cold. The enraged beast attempted to bite Demarung, but the warden deflected the worm's maw with his shield and Glace seized the opportunity to dart in and again bashed the creature with his chilling flail. A moment later another swing of the avenger's flail finished off the worm and he sprung onto a nearby floe to aid his allies. The two water-borne worms continued to attack the children of light farthest from shore. While one emitted another electrical blast at Ember and Aria, the other lunged at Ember and bit the dwarf, knocking her prone. Aria slashed into its slick hide with her sword, sliding Ember nearer and allowing her to attack the creature as well. Meanwhile, Neri leapt from one floating mote of ice to another until she stood with Aria and Ember just as a worm released a shocking burst that struck at the dragonborn and the dwarf. Ember responded by smashing into the creature and invoking divine power to heal herself, Neri, and Aria. The enraged worm reacted with another electrical bust before attempting to bite Neri, but the fighter blocked the attack with her shield. Demarung leapt onto a mass of ice as he flung his enchanted javelin into the worm nearest shore. Fas summoned a divine thunderbolt that blasted the same beast and Alec cursed it with a spell of deadly judgment. The worm submerged to swim toward its new attackers while its companion shocked Neri with an electrical blast. Aria uttered words of arcane healing that soothed the fighter's wounds. Neri patiently waited to find a weakness in the badly injured worm's hide and struck, slaying the creature. Ember stood and, seeing that Glace was wounded, whispered a healing prayer for him. The remaining worm surfaced near Alec and the two foes exchanged attacks, the warlock striking the worm with an eldritch blast as it shocked him twice with electrical discharges and bit him. Fas summoned a radiant hammer that burst upon the worm's head as Aria attempted to leap to the attack but fell short, slipping into the frigid lake. While the gnome swam to the nearest ice floe and climbed out of the water, Glace bashed the worm with a flurry of blows. Demarung finished off the monster with a powerful swing of his sword, releasing a thunderous smash as it impacted on the worm's head.

The children of light made their way to the rocky shore and quickly dried off. The caged human introduced himself as Koren. He told the party how he and his companion named Ebbis had been captured and brought here by a treacherous human once called Ven. The heroes freed the humans, who explained that they had lived through a timeless era with their people, exploring the mote of earth they lived on, and Ven had met with elementals who promised him power and immortality in exchange for building a portal to this place. Ven had taken the name Vecna and now served Erek-hus. Vecna had succeeded in extending his life beyond his own death by bringing humans here to sacrifice in foul rituals. The undead traitor now dreamt of godhood, and had the promise of Erek-hus that he would attain it. Vecna's servants continued to mine corpses out of the ice to fuel the unclean rites that would make their undead lord a god. The children of light freed both humans, who explained more about Vecna and his power. A powerful priest served the undead lord, who now hated all that was part of his previous mortal life. A previous priest named Kas had rebelled against Vecna, and during their battle the Kas had cut from his erstwhile master a hand and an eye – symbols the heroes had seen in the room with the manticore.

The children of light provided food and warmth for the humans as they shared their history. As time passed and the tales came to a close, Aria developed a sense of kinship and deep respect for the hardy race. Soon the bard's form lengthened and her glittering black orbs grew eye whites around colored irises, sparkling with human resolve and determination.

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Session 13

As the children of light neared the motes of earth, they spotted the mouth of a cave nestled among the peaks. Demarung and Glace noticed two suspicious lumps in the snow surrounding the entrance and realized that creatures waited there in ambush. The heroes flew closer and Glace identified the creatures as ice trolls. As the party landed, the trolls leapt to attack, wielding great mauls. One lashed out at Neri and struck the dragonborn as she alit, then swung again and battered Ember. Meanwhile, the other troll attempted to plow Glace aside, but the avenger dodged the assault and launched a flurry of blows at his foe, striking the beast twice. Demarung sliced into the enemy he faced as Neri spat acid over both trolls and followed up with her own sword-cut. The spell-casters focused their divine and arcane powers on the ice-trolls from several directions: Fas streamed radiant fire over the beasts, Aria afflicted one troll with unluck as she carved into it with her sword, Alec cursed both creatures and charred one with arcane fire, and Ember bathed the trolls in a wash of astral energy. One ice-troll fell, but the other pressed its attack and smashed its great maul into Ember. Glace charged at the remaining ice troll, and his flail erupted with divine light as it struck the beast, killing it.

After the short battle, Glace and Alec snuck into the cave to see what secrets it held. They found a large, empty cavern with two tunnels leading away. One passageway remained level, and from its opening Glace could hear sounds of more ice trolls eating and speaking. The other revealed a staircase curving around a great, icy column, descending into a dark abyss. As the avenger and the warlock returned to the mouth of the cave, Glace spotted another small tunnel hidden behind a stony column. They returned to the party and after a short discussion, the heroes decided to deal with the ice trolls Glace had heard.

The children of light snuck down the tunnel and soon spied several ice trolls and an unusual troll Ember identified as an oni – a creature of supernatural and arcane power. The party decided to launch a surprise attack and form a defensive front in the narrow end of the cavern. Neri lead the way, running into the cave and threatening a nearby troll with her sword. Glace charged next, striking an ice troll as Alec cursed the two nearest foes. Aria and Demarung both rushed in to bolster the line as Fas prepared his spells. On one end of the group's front, Neri spat a cloud of acid at the trolls as they approached and badly wounded a foe with a precise sword cut. Meanwhile, Glace dropped an ice troll near the middle of the line with three swings of his flail, only to see the creature rise again as its wounds knit together. After seeing this, the children of light focused on fire attacks to sear the trolls to prevent their wounds from healing with supernatural speed. As the melee combatants pummeled and sliced at their foes, Fas bathed two of the enemies in radiant fire and Ember imbued Glace's flail with a burst of flame that slew the next foe he smote. Demarung faced several ice trolls on his end of the line, and knocked all three prone with a thunderous smash of his sword as the oni tried to cast a spell to cloud the warden's mind. Demarung shrugged off the mental assault, and sensing the danger posed by the enemy caster, Glace teleported to the oni and began to strike the creature with his icy flail. Alec aided Demarung by cursing the prone trolls with attacks of arcane flame, eliciting howls of rage as the brutes suffered damage they couldn't swiftly heal. The ice trolls went on the offensive, attempting to push back several party members and break their line, but the children of light held firm. Aria began to sing a battle chant as she lit a torch to char the enemies, but soon turned her attention to healing as Ember fell beneath the repeated blows of a troll's maul. As Demarung launched a frenzied attack at the enemies he faced, the oni lashed out at Glace, then stepped toward the rest of the children of light and sprayed them with arcane magic of poison and death. Glace materialized behind the oni and with a swing of his flail, teleported himself and his foe far from the enemy line before landing another blow, channeling part of his shadar-kai soul into his attack. Alec added to the assault on the oni by conjuring a specter that strangled the creature as it fought. The ice trolls pressed their attack on the heroes' line, pushing back the children of light as they attempted to withstand the swings of the mighty mauls and protect Ember. Aria healed the dwarven cleric, then sang a song to boost her allies' defenses before swinging her torch into an ice troll, slaying it. Fas summoned blades of astral fire that sliced the trolls and provided further defense for his allies as Demarung slammed into the two trolls that had pushed him back, hewing into them and pushing them away from the line. Ember stood and called divine fire on the troll that had struck her down, burning the brute as Neri used her breath weapon on two foes she faced; the three trolls bellowed as the fire and acid burned their flesh beyond their ability to regenerate. Alec gulped a potion of dragon breath and covered two more ice trolls in flame; one died, screaming in agony. Another troll, dropped by Neri's sword, healed its wounds as it stood, only to be slain as Aria swung her torch at its massive form. Only three enemies now stood, and Demarung moved behind the oni as Glace bashed the arcane foe with his flail before punching it in the face. The oni lashed out at the warden and the avenger, but other children of light aided the in the attack. Fas bashed the spellcaster with a divine sunhammer, Ember bathed it in sacred flame, and Alec added to Glace's chilling attacks with an icy eldritch blast. The oni fell, and the party focused on the two remaining ice trolls. Fas and Ember seared an enemy facing Neri with divine attacks, and the dragonborn fighter used a torch to burn the fallen corpse. Meanwhile, Demarung used his sword to hamstring the troll facing him, allowing Glace to circle the beast and drop him with a swing of his flail. Alec finished off the downed ice creature with a spell of fire.

The heroes collected the residuum from the slain oni before exploring the cavern. A small passageway led out of the room, heading north and eventually opening into a large hallway. Oddly shaped masses jutted from the walls, and close inspection revealed that the shapes were white dragons, frozen solid and encased in ice. Neri said that these were dragons loyal to Io that he had sent to this world, and she knew that some malevolent force had trapped them here.

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Session 12

After the fall of the giant, the rest of the elementals and genasi attacking the eladrin city were soon overcome. The damage resulting from the invasion was extensive, and discussion of rebuilding efforts produced conflict between some elves and eladrin. The Green Lord and his followers felt that the city should be abandoned altogether due to its indefensibility, while Tiandra and her people wished to repair the burned and demolished buildings. The Summer Queen had changed drastically since the heroes had last seen her. She emanated a distinct aura of arcane power, a quality she claimed as a gift from Fas, and survivors of the battle spoke of their queen raining fire down upon the invaders.

As the children of light rested after the battle they discovered two things. Ember found records describing some of the stone elementals who had attacked the city and learned that they were once dwarves. An entire branch of the race, the rock or Duhr clan, had been captured by primordials and twisted into the stone-fleshed galeb-duhr. They also used their combined will to influence the wild lands, merging them more seamlessly into the civilized lands. As the group united the two realms, they sensed that the power of the primordials over the region had weakened, but it still remained a strongly chaotic domain.

For their next quest, the heroes decided to travel through the sky portal with Neri to find her brother. A colossal red dragon guarded the gate, and the powerful wyrm reported to Neri that all enemy guardians on both sides of the doorway had been slain. Too large to fit through the portal, the dragon had seen the other side and knew of the realm. The creator of dragon-kind, Io, had sent the white dragons into the cold lands on the other side of the gateway. Neri also knew of the place, and told the party that while there was little solid ground there, sentient beings could fly through the air by will alone.

The red dragon lifted the children of light to the portal, allowing them to step through. They found themselves afloat in a realm of vast, cold skies. A few mountainous peaks could be seen in the distance, rising from floating motes of earth, and Neri sensed her brother's presence in that direction. The party began to fly toward the islands of land when Glace and Demarung spotted a creature of some kind flying in the air toward the party's flank. As it neared, the form revealed itself to be a dracolich surrounded by icy clouds and encrusted with rime.

Alec cursed the undead beast as it neared, while Glace and Demarung moved to flank it and Aria began a battle chant. Neri rushed forward to meet the dragon head-on, burning it with her acid breath before landing a solid blow with her sword. The beast clashed with the dragonborn before releasing a frightful roar that momentarily filled the hearts of all nearby foes with dread. Ember seared the dracolich with divine energy, then lashed her foe with a flood of astral energy. As the battle progressed, powerful winds blew the combatants to and fro while the dragon used its mobility and powerful attacks to great effect. Most of the heroes were frozen in place at various times during the combat, some trapped in icy cocoons by the dragon's breath while others fell victim to the dragon's fear aura or frigid blasts. Undaunted, the children of light worked together to overcome the beast's considerable defenses. Demarung thundersmashed the dragon, and while it reeled in the air Alec burned it with radiant energy and Glace abjured the enemy, immobilizing it. Aria sang a dissonant strain that pierced the dragon's psyche and helped her allies shrug off the creature's freezing effects. Empowered by the bard's arcane power, Fas and Ember both unleashed divine power on their undead foe. Neri began to whirl her sword around her in a pattern, slashing the dragon whenever it found itself near the fighter. As the dragon weakened, the heroes pressed their attacks, forcing it to withdraw. While some heroes freed their companions from the dragon's immobilizing breath weapon, others chased the creature through the air and surrounded it. Neri and Demarung forced the dracohich to engage them as Fas struck with divine thunderbolts. Glace, freed from an icy hold by the invoker's magic, pursued his enemy and struck at it, then abjured the undead dragon as Ember summoned sacred flame that charred the beast's form. Aria helped Alec escape a thick layer of frost and healed the warlock; he then cast darkfire on the dracolich, weakening its defenses. Demarung buffeted the enemy with wind and lightning, Fas sliced its wings and slowed its flight with crystalline shards, and Neri clove into the thick neck with her sword. Finally, Glace moved around the beast's bulk and charged, striking with divine light that erupted around the dracolich, and Alec finished the great beast with an eldritch blast.

The party rested for few moments and collected the residuum freed from the dracolich's broken corpse. They then continued toward motes of land in the distance, and as they approached the mountainais peaks Neri could sense that her brother was near.

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Session 11

The children of light and their genasi allies spied the Tower of the Sun as they neared the elven city. The keep, surrounded by a shimmering barrier of arcane defense, was under attack. A giant made of stone beat and pushed against the shield as magic cast by unseen foes pounded the defense. The sounds of battle rang out closer to the party among burning buildings and pockets of fierce combat. Enemy genasi soon spotted the group and attacked, but the escort loyal to Nexus kept them at bay, allowing the children of light to move into the city. The heroes closed to within a block of the Summer Queen's tower when great furrows rose in the ground at the their feet, knocking most of the party prone as an elemental archon and several stone elementals moved to attack.

The party attacked, aided by Fas' teleportation that took them near their enemies and away from the treacherous ground. Alec leveled a curse at the elementals, Ember seared them with divine power, and within moments one of the archon's soldiers fell to Neri's sword. A chilling strike from Glace's flail slew another, and as it shattered a remnant of the warlock's curse leapt from its body to kill one of its allies. The archon raised a massive foot and stomped, sending a wave of thunderous energy through the earth that knocked many of the heroes prone, but Demarung assumed the form of a great panther and charged. The warden sliced one elemental with his sword, then sent his own burst of energy at his foes, dropping the archon to the ground. The only remaining stone elemental smashed Demarung with an earth fist that then grasped him. Alec continued casting his curses at the archon. The powerful elemental rose and again released a wave of energy, but Demarung continued to press him. Glace took the opportunity to flank the archon and struck him with divine energy, teleporting himself and his foe away from the battle. Alec again cursed the enemy leader, strangling with dark energy as Glace battered him with his ice-encrusted flail, and after the third quick strike, the archon fell. Demarung continued to trade blows with the remaining stone elemental, and Glace soon joined in. The stone creature alternative hurled himself at both of his foes with rolling attacks, knocking both the warden and avenger prone, but Demarung cut into the enemy with a mighty slash that slowed it and Glace finished the elemental a moment later.

Meanwhile, a new danger had surfaced near the party's spell-casters – two bulettes, or land sharks. These burrowed underneath the heroes, trying to knock them prone, before bursting from the earth to bite any who stood nearby. Fas and Ember focused their divine energies on the bulettes, searing them with divine power, while Neri charged the nearest beast and Aria used her arcane attacks to foul the creature's luck. Both bulettes continued to burrow into the earth only to surface moments later in a deadly shower of rock and rubble, biting any who stood within range of their jaws. Ember and Aria healed their allies and attacked the beasts as Fas summoned divine bolts of lightning that struck the nearest foe and Neri engaged the two bulettes as they surfaced. The battle continued as the land-sharks continued to burrow and bite and the allies countered with spells, prayers, and martial attacks. Eventually, Fas killed one of the beasts with a searing ray of radiant energy, and the other bulette fled in fear.

The party rested for no more than a few heartbeats before rushing toward the Tower of the Sun. The siege was going poorly for the elves. The magical protection around the keep had failed, and the giant had started to smash pieces from the tower and lean on it, hoping to topple the building. The giant's allies, living whirlwinds, fiery genasi, and living crystals of flame, worked together to weaken and burn the tower as well. Alec began casting curses at the giant while Glace moved in for a flank on the elementals to one side, aided by a soul-seeking ally he summoned. Fas created a blade of vengeance, and with Aria the divine sword engaged two of the air elementals. Three whirlwinds fell in rapid succession to the avenger's flail and Fas' blade. The fourth continued to battle Aria and the divine sword, cutting the bard twice before she dodged under a swing of his falchion and slew him. She then worked with Fas to attack the flame shards as they cast fiery bursts at nearby heroes, one searing Glace and the other burning Fas, Ember, and Aria. Eager to rid the field of the children of light and continue their siege, the enemy genasi rushed forward into battle. Glace faced one, while the other attempted to attack Ember but found its charge interrupted by Neri. The fire genasi facing the dragonborn struck out again at Ember, and paid for his mistake with several slices of the fighter's sword. Alec and Ember cast their arcane and divine spells on the same enemy, who soon fell to their combined attacks and Neri's combat skills. The other fire genasi swung his falchion at Glace as it attempted to move around the avenger. The shadar-kai proved to be its match, as he dodged the blows and gritted his teeth at the barrage of flame bursts from a nearby flame shard. Glace kept the genasi in place, dodged several blows and pressed his attack, slaying the fire genasi before moving to face the nearby flame shard and shattering it as well.

Meanwhile, Demarung charged the stone giant, but the creature cast a rune of stone at the elf, injuring and slowing him. With a defiant roar the warden hurled a whirlwind of storm and lightning at the giant before succumbing to the rune's full effect and turning to stone. The giant then moved to attack Alec, smashing the warlock with his mighty warpick. The elf unleashed a spiral of necrotic energy at the giant before calling forth a cloud darkness for concealment. Ember summoned a column of flame that engulfed the stone hulk; the divine fire incinerated the giant, leaving only a mound of molten stone. Fas rushed across the battlefield to Demarung, freeing the warden from his petrification by taking the curse himself. Demarung charged the remaining elemental, smashing into it with the force of stone and earth, and within moments Fas freed himself of the stone rune's spell. Bereft of allies and surrounded by the children of light, the flame shard was soon vanquished. Seeing no more elemental foes near the tower, the heroes stopped to rest and heal, recovering precious residuum from their fallen foes.

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