Agents of the Prime

Session 1: In the beginning...

The heroes awake. Everything is still. They find that they are lying on smooth, flat sand. As they open their eyes, they see above no sky, no sun, no moon. All beyond is in chaotic motion – flame and lightning, lands and waters, and what stars there are seem to wander from place to place.

The heroes find they are lying in a circle in the sand, heads pointed outside the circle. They cannot discern exactly what they are – their skins glow with internal light. They each wear armor or bear a variety of equipment.

Standing in the air, in the middle of the circle, is a humanoid being of light – who is so bright that it is hard to look upon. This being of light and glory speaks to those in the circle with a voice at once soft and yet full of power: "I am your father. I am the creator. I have worked with the primordials to bring this land, this domain, out of the chaos that surrounds us. But it is in flux. Some of the primordials see the good in this organization, but seek to have their children gain dominion over and master the land so that they may claim this creation for themselves. Some seek to destroy the land. There are many elements, independent powers, and creatures here. Some of them were created by me as you were, some by the primordials, and some have come from realms where sanity and structure as we know it do not exist. I wish you to master them. Do battle with them, persuade them, but do what you must to bring form to this creation and progress toward your destinies and the destiny of this place."

(He pauses, turns to the vista of the swirling chaos around you. A black meteor, a comet, a world, plummets through the chaos of the elements in the distance, billowing clouds of black detritus as it falls, infecting the elements in its path.)

“It is done. We have thrown him down. Now I must chain him. Beware the destroyers which he will send. Now explore, discover, create, build and become… what you are destined to be. I will send word from time to time to guide you." With this, the being of pure power streaks outward from where the heroes now stand, then plummets downward and out of sight. A great echoing crash reverberates through the cosmos, bringing the heroes to their knees.

The heroes rise and take stock of themselves. They each know certain skills and talents, and have the accoutrements to use those talents, but otherwise cannot remember anything before the time they awoke. Peering about them at the flat desolate desert, they sight a flicker of fire somewhere out from where they are, directions having no real meaning to them.

As they approach the fire, they see more than a dozen figures sitting around the fire. These figures appear to be dimmer versions of themselves – children of light. A structure stands to the left of the fire – it looks as though it was once made of trees lovingly grown from the earth and coaxed into the form of a building.  Those trees are now dead, dry, and shriveled. The structure is only partially there – it seems it is being used to fuel the fire. Nearby, a field of stumps testifies to this place once being a verdant land.

One of the group speaks to one of the figures sitting around the fire. He says that he is "waiting to die." He claims they have no food, no water. They had begun to grow plants in this once-beautiful place, but the primordials, on a whim, decided to change the climate. Now they only wait for their deaths, having no where else to go. The creator has told them to wait, and they obey. The heroes volunteer that they have come from the creator. A spark of hope arises in some of the dim ones.

There is a water hole to the north and over the dunes, but "children of the primordials" guard the hole, and those at the fire have no talents, weapons, or motivation to take the water. To make matters worse, every once in a while the "mind takers" come to take some kind of sacrifice from them. These strange beings live somewhere to the east. What they are or look like, none can say – only that they make others into themselves.

Which is the more dire problem? The lack of water. The children of the creator begin to collect themselves to fight for the watering hole. But before they do, they look at the structure. There is a dimly skinned woman inside. She appears to be praying. She claims she has been in contact with someone or some entity that will save them, but it wants her to sign a contract, wants them all to sign a contract. The heroes ask if she will wait another day or so to let them try to solve the problem before agreeing to the offered contract. She agrees, though time is impossible to measure. The heroes stalk off toward the north to find water and fight these primordial spawn, whatever they are.

Session 2

The heroes, resolved to confront the primordial creatures who had deprived the dim children of light of water, headed north over barren sand dunes. The party eventually reached a mud flat surrounding a small body of water fed by a deep spring. A cluster of muddy burrows sat on the far side of the pond, and Glace spotted primitive, amphibian humanoids moving amongst the dwellings. The party also noted that the body of water had once been much larger, and had emptied into a streambed that led south. Demarung warned the party that the swamp and surrounding vegetation was a perfect site for an ambush.

The warden's insight proved to be accurate. A giant frog and two of the amphibious humanoids-an aberrant and destructive species called bullywugs-attacked the party from the water and surrounding reeds. The enormous frog seized Klar, and while the fighter fought to free himself the rest of the party slew the beast's bullywug masters and moved to aid their comrade. As the initial enemies were defeated, more bullywugs charged from the mud burrows while another giant frog, a bullywug spell-caster, and two large, powerful looking bullywug warriors emerged from the deepest part of the pond and attacked. The party quickly felled the bullywugs charging from their dwellings, then dropped back to form a front against the stronger foes. The bullywug warriors charged the line, knocking Aria prone, but the bard's companions were able to quickly pull her to safety and kill the two brutes. Ember was then grasped and mauled by the remaining giant frog, while the spell-caster attacked the party from a distance with spells of fire. The melee fighters in the party swarmed the enormous amphibian, freeing the cleric, while Alec and Fas traded ranged spells with the enemy caster and eventually slew him.

With the primordial minions removed, the group experienced a sudden insight: working as a group with common consent, exercising nothing but their collective and harmonious resolve, they had the power to reshape the land and return it to its verdant, fertile state. The party discussed their vision for the land and, experiencing no primordial will to oppose theirs, saw the land molded into their combined vision. Their surroundings soon resolved into a lush valley, fed by a river emptying from the growing spring. Nestled against the foot of a majestic, snow-capped mountain, the rejuvinated dale teemed with animal life and great stands of trees.

Returning to the children of light who had resigned themselves to death, the heroes discovered that great changes had been wrought on these beings as well. Their love for trees and nature had grown, manifesting itself in their home and forested surroundings, and they had begun to take on a lively and decidedly elfin aspect. Fas, Demarung, and Alec felt an immediate affinity for these fellow children of the creator and began to reflect many of their traits in their own forms.

Session 3

Having aided the children of light (now elves) by vanquishing the evil primordials who had troubled them, the heroes then asked about the "mind takers." The elves related that these creatures were unnatural and corrupt, neither primoridal nor children of light, and that they attacked from the east in various forms, taking the weakest or most fearful of the children of light when they left. Of those that had been abducted by the mind takers, none had returned. The party set out eastward to find these monsters, and after hours of travel through heavily forested lands spied a clearing in the distance, dark and bereft of life.

Glace and Alec silently stole up to the edge of the clearing to investigate. They immediately noticed a large hole in the earth at the center of the lifeless glade. Glace's sharp eyes perceived something more sinister as well-the ground surrounding the hole was covered with a black, viscous substance, and two writhing masses of tentacles hovered near the opening. The two heroes returned to their companions and related what they had seen, and Demarung realized that the two creatures were invaders from some realm of madness and chaos.

The group chose to launch an attack on the tentacled creatures, only to find that the black slime made movement difficult, often preventing even a single step. Nevertheless, the party slew the two creatures swiftly. Within a heartbeat, several more of the beasts emerged from the hole in the ground and Klar used the opportunity to kill or wound several as they flew by the fighter. The monsters' numbers proved a challenge, as multiple party members were either immobilized by psychic attacks or knocked prone into the black, clinging substance, preventing them from standing or moving. After a tense and deadly battle, the party prevailed, with Klar slaying the last tentacled monstrosity as it attempted to flee back into the hole.

Thinking that, perhaps, the last hostile foe had been slain, the group attempted to exercise their collective will to reshape the land. They felt opposition, and though they found themselves unable to mold the land to their imagination, they were able to sense a cavern below them. Glace nimbly dropped down into the hole to investigate, and discovered a horrific sight-several more of the tentacle creatures lurked in the large underground chamber, many of them feeding on captured children of light.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party used ropes to try to descend into the cavern. The rope, covered in black slime, proved difficult to grasp, and the first few party members to attempt the climb fell to the cavern floor. Alerted by the sound, the tentacle-creatures attacked. Some used the same psychic touch attacks as the first monsters the party fought, while a few assailed the heroes with black bolts of energy and two animated the barely living bodies of captured children of light. The battle was deadly, the black slime and psychic attacks combining to greatly hamper movement. Alec and Tempest strove to assail the monsters with ranged magic while avoiding the onrush of the tentacle creature-controlled corpses. Demarung marked numerous enemies as he waded into the fight, and Aria's healing powers proved invaluable in keeping Klar and Glace healthy as they faced their foes.

The heroes eventually prevailed, slaying all of the monsters and saving the life of a single child of light. Though driven somewhat unstable by his ordeal, he told the party that the tentacle-monsters came from a distant land of madness, traveling here through a large portal in the cavern. The companions also note that the large cavern is unfinished, one large end opening up into nothingness. After using their combined will to finish and beautify the cavern, the children of light noted that the troubled survivor has taken on a decidedly dwarf-like appearance. He soon disappeared into the newly created series of connected caverns, and the party set off toward a new destination-another portal they sensed, standing in a far-off glade.

Session 4

Determined that their work was done in the land of the elves, the heroes traveled to the portal standing in the middle of a glade. They stepped through the magical doorway and found themselves in another forest, this one populated with pines rather than the leafy trees of the elven woods. A glimmer on the horizon, appearing as a flickering light reminiscent of lightning, caught the eye of several party members. Unsure of how to proceed, the group decided to attempt to exercise their collective will to learn about the lands around them. They immediately felt consciousness opposing theirs, and also sensed that this mote of earth was unnaturally divided by a barrier of some kind. As they deliberated the meaning of this revelation, two heroes heard a noise in the nearby trees, and the party went to investigate. Demarung and Glace soon found a small, humanoid footprint on the forest floor. Unable to find the source of the track, the group resumed travel toward the distant light.

As they traveled through the woodland, the party spotted a large, flying creature overhead, moving swiftly on a path perpendicular to theirs. However, another incident drew the heroes' attention before they decided whether to follow the creature-humanoid voices echoed through the trees, mimicing bird-calls and soon surrounding the party. A hippogriff ridden by a small man-identified as a gnome by Damerung-dropped to the forest floor. The gnome identified himself as Lem and challenged the heroes, claiming they had come, like others before them, to despoil the forest and raid his people's villages. The party convinced Lem that they had come for benevolent reasons, and he agreed to lead them to a village of the invaders who had fortified themselves across a river of lightning.

As the heroes approached the river, they saw a bridge constructed of vines guarded by a strange humanoid similarly made of plant matter. Another vine-creature as well as several beings in war-gear, revealed to be orcs as the party drew closer, lurked on the far side of the river. The group approached the bridge and the nearer vine-creature bellowed an alarm. One of the orcs across the river challenged the heroes, and combat ensued. The vine-creatures called up entangling plants from the ground to immobilize party members while several orcs attacked with battle-axes and two orc leaders remained on the far riverbank, wielding longbows. The heroes slew the first vine-horror, and Glace began to fight his way across the bridge. He soon learned the danger of the crossing as lightning leapt from the river below and struck him. The heroes fought their way over the bridge, inch by inch, and after a short but vicious battle, the second vine-creature fell, soon followed by the last of the orc leaders.

The land on the orcish side of the strange river proved to be harsh and barren. The party spied a collection of rough huts in the distance, crowded around an outcropping of rock on which sat a much larger hut. When the group approached the primitive village the women and children hid in the huts while the men, armed only with basic clubs, moved to address the approaching party. The orcs offered no challenge, but reacted to the party's request to speak with their leader by saying that Brun, their chief, lived in the large hut atop the rock. They also warned the heroes not to cross Cora, the woman who had the chief's ear.

As the group approached the chief's hut, an aged orc woman emerged and told them Brun didn't wish to meet with them. When the party insisted, four orc warriors from the hut gathered around the old woman, and she threatened the heroes. They refused to back down, and the woman's form changed into that of a hag while the four warriors at her back transformed into rat-men. A swarm of rats joined them from the hut, and combat ensued. Tempest opened the battle by calling down thunder and lightning on his foes, and Klar rushed forward to engage the hag and two of the wererats. She retaliated, as did two of her guards, inflicting a fast-acting disease on the fighter. Demarung entered the fray next, circling around the wererats, as Glace swiftly dropped one of the guards, then teleported to engage the witch. She reacted by teleporting into the hut and releasing a cockatrice. Fas and Alec focused their spells on the cockatrice, hoping to slay the creature before it turned any of the heroes to stone. Klar soon killed another wererat, but one of the beast's companions attacked Aria, inflicting her with disease as well. Demarung took the form of a panther, lending his aid in assailing the cockatrice, as did Aria. The creature managed to bite Klar, and the hag loosed an unnatural howl that damaged the party members closest to her. The heroes soon prevailed, slaying the hag and her pet cockatrice before surrounding and finishing off the swarm of rats.

Following the battle, the heroes learned that Brun, the orc chief, was actually dead. They decided to reshape the land for the benefit of the gnomes as well as the orcs, who had been lead to make their raids by the hag posing as one of their own. In addition to reforming the land and destroying the river of lightning, the party joined this land populated with gnomes and orcs with the land of the elves and eladrin. The uniting of the lands took hours, but when finished, the heroes saw that they had also formed the beginnings of a sky, sending the lightning there. Klar found himself intrugued by the ferocity of the orcs and began to take on an orcish aspect to his form, while Aria and Tempest started to assume gnomish traits, feeling an affinity with that small race.

Session 5

The party returned to the lands of the elves to find a great deal of progress among that people. The community had grown, technology had advanced, and the villagers now filled various roles according to their abilities and desires. It was apparent that time has passed more swiftly in the elven forests than it had for the heroes. Some among the fey folk had started to train in the martial arts and organized themselves into a military company to guard the woods, while others pursued arcane and divine vocations. They had even begun to separate into the races of eladrin and elves. Orren the Green Lord, leader of the Glade Guard, spoke to the group regarding the measuring of time and the erratic passage of the seasons, and asked to speak with Demarung alone when possible.

The heroes then travelled to the site of the battle with the bullywugs in order to explore a portal they had sensed in the depths of the spring. They exercised their collective will to reshape the land, providing access to the doorway which appeared to lead to an underwater location. The party stepped through and, though momentarily disoriented, noticed vague shapes lurking around a volcanic vent on the ocean floor. The sea dwellers attacked. Water elementals opened combat by hurling dense blobs of water while several sahuagin closed to strike with tridents. Another of the scaly humanoids, wearing a crown and bracers, lurked behind the seething vent and cast a spell at Klar, summoning a pair of spectral jaws to speed toward the half-orc and close on him. After recovering from the portal travel, Glace drew first blood, slaying a sahuagin, and he and Demarung rushed forward to engage the water elementals and close in on the priest. Meanwhile, the rest of the party focused first on the combatant sahuagin who had flanked the group on both sides and pressed their attack. The water elementals continued to attack with thrown globules of water and physical assaults, while the priest maneuvered in an attempt to avoid close combat. The heroes slew the sahuagin first then concentrated on the elementals. Klar and Demarung dropped two of the water beings, while Glace and Fas used their weapons and spells against the third, eventually forcing it into the boiling vent and killing it. The sahuagin priest proved a strong foe, but alone and outnumbered he was no match for the party, and finally fell to one of Alec’s spells.

As soon as the battle ended, the heroes swam toward the surface for air. The ascent proved to be a struggle for some, but soon the entire party reached the surface and saw a nearby cliff. A few more minutes of swimming and searching revealed a cleft in the sheer rock face which the group could climb. As the group swam toward the shore, they noticed a waterspout and several water elementals swimming swiftly toward them. The party quickly scrambled up the crevice, though not before Ember was attacked by two of the elementals in the sea. After a short rest, a search turned up footprints along the coast-one set of booted feet, and another larger set made by heavy, blocky feet. As the heroes followed the tracks, they also heard a repetitive noise in the distance, sounding like metal striking stone. More large footprints, muddy and indistinct, joined those the party tracked, and all three lead to a chasm in the cliff face, leading downward and inland. Glace quietly slipped up to the chasm to investigate. Within the cleft he saw children of light, shackled and forced to excavate the stone by several mud-men and two large humanoids made of solid rock. He crept back to the party and told them of what he had seen, and the group planned a surprise attack on the slavers.

Glace and Klar were the first to charge into the chasm, focusing their attacks on a single mud-man and damaging him badly. Demarung took the form of a panther and rushed in, challenging several foes and striking another near the back of the cave. Alec and Aria joined the battle next, concentrating on a second mud-man near the entrance standing near the enslaved children of light, while Fas and Ember fought one of the massive stone elementals. Glace dropped the mud elemental he faced then moved to engage the large stone being Fas and Ember had attacked, to be joined by Klar moments later. The mud-men responded by lobbing globs of mud, while the stone elementals used their powerful fists and reach to attack the heroes. Demarung and Alec attacked separate mud monsters, and Aria and Glace combined to slay one of the oozing elementals. Fas and Ember both called on divine fire to attack their foes. The two standing mud elementals then closed with Klar and Ember, attempting to drown both heroes in mud, but both fended off the sickening attacks. The stone elemental facing Klar and Glace struck at its two opponents, but soon fell to Alec’s eldritch blast. His nearest opponent down, Glace charged and slew another of the mud-men while Klar engaged the remaining stone fiend. Ember eliminated the last mud elemental standing, leaving only a single foe. The stone elemental, however, had a surprise in store for his enemies. It grabbed Klar, slammed the half-orc into the ground, and created a protective shell of rock around itself and the fighter. Weapon and spell pounded into the stone shield while Klar and the stone monster fought within. A stroke from Glace’s flail finally shattered the defense and the elemental itself, freeing Klar.

With the elementals defeated, the heroes helped the enslaved children of light out of their shackles. Ember felt an immediate bond with the newly freed dwarves, who in turn saw her as the mother of their race.

Session 6

One of the newly freed dwarves introduced himself as the chieftain Clagdain, and addressed Ember as the Mother of Dwarves. He told her that his clan had been enslaved by primordials upon awakening from a sleep, and they had been brought here to mine and create fine weapons, armor, and other items of worth. Six other clans of dwarves exist, but these were not captured and Clagdain knew nothing of their whereabouts. He also spoke of two other children of light, a brother and sister who, like Glace, still wore their original forms. Both had been captured by primordials and taken away in shackles of fire and lightning. Clagdain then told the heroes of a race of bird-men living in hills to the northeast, created by the primordials but bearing no true loyalty to them. The avian humanoids had often stolen from the dwarves, but the chieftain believed they would sell their allegiance to any who offered them items crafted of metal. He also surmised that the bird-men may have seen where the abducted children of light had been taken.

The party traveled to the northeast, and within hours spied the black-feathered creatures and their cluster of nests crowning the hills. A small band of the avian humanoids approached, seemingly willing to talk, though some carried weapons or magical implements. Tempest told them that they must cease stealing from the dwarves, and the party offered them some small valuables in exchange for any information they had about the abducted siblings. One of the crow-men stepped forward and related that the male child of light had been taken through a portal in the sky by a winged traitor. The sister, betrayed by her own offspring, was taken to the nearby mountains where she was bound with chains of fire.

The journey to the mountains was uneventful. An initial search turned up no clues as to the location of their fellow child of light, so the heroes gathered their collective will to sense their surrounding mountains for wills in opposition to theirs. Feeling such a presence emanating from a specific mountainside, they sought the source of the malice there and found a large gash in the rock and a woman chained to the rock nearby. As they approached, a robed humanoid of some kind stepped out of the cleft, spied the heroes, and quickly disappeared back into the cave. Within moments Demarung spotted a strange, winged creature flying above the party, enshrouded in mist and seemingly made of the very air. The beast dove at the party, and battle was joined.

The elven warden rushed forward to engage the wind dragon as it neared the ground. Alec followed up with by casting a curse on the beast, which responded with a deafening roar that stunned the warlock as well as Aria. The robed figure the party had spotted earlier then emerged from the cave and called down a rain of acid, burning several of the heroes. Glace teleported to engage the caster, landing a serious blow, but another dragon-creature, this one seemingly made of volcanic lava and emanating fire, followed the robed humanoid out of the cleft in the mountainside and attacked Glace. Tempest moved to assist the avenger, striking the enemy caster with a spell of his own. The robed figure responded by unfurling a large set of wings, buffeting his attackers while he attempted to retreat, but Glace took advantage of the momentary opening and snapped off a quick strike, slaying the sorcerer. Meanwhile, Aria cast a spell at the wind dragon facing Demarung and Alec, fouling its next attack. Demarung followed up with a strike at the wind dragon, and followed up by forcing it into the rain of acid when it attempted to claw Alec. Enraged, the dragon breathed a whirlwind of air at his assailant, blinding the warden. Seeing the creature's battered state, Tempest called lightning down on the beast from across the battlefield, slaying the dragon.

The battle grew deadlier for the heroes as yet two more dragon-creatures emerged from the gash in the rock. These moved toward the party with an unnatural, boneless crawl and reeked of decay – undead dragons had entered the fray. Glace reacted by calling down divine power to injure one of the abominations. The creature charged, but the avenger slipped away from the claws, while the other undead dragon spewed fire, scorching Tempest and Aria. Demarung, still blinded, stepped forward to engage the beast facing Glace, and Alec began casting his curses at the same dragon. Glace then summoned a soul from the land of the dead and struck his foe while the spirit diverted the dragon's attention. The volcanic dragon took to the air and hovered over Glace, Demarung, and Alec, burning them with fire and lava but also killing its undead ally. Tempest sent his wyrmling familiar to harry the fiery dragon, forcing it toward the ground, while Aria took a moment to heal herself and the avenger. As the remaining undead dragon closed to attack, Demarung transformed into a mighty panther and assailed both of his remaining foes, striking them with lightning and driving them into positions to allow the party to surround them. Alec and Glace (and the avenger's spirit-ally) moved around the volcanic dragon and attacked from all sides. The beast responded with a blast of flame and lava, striking Alec and Aria, but Glace and the warlock reacted to the momentary opening following the burst and bloodied the creature. Enraged, the dragon again belched fire, badly burning Aria. Tempest shouted a spell at the beast, but missed and struck Aria, who dropped to the ground. Poor Aria. All she was doing was trying to help! Really sucks, huh? Can't a gnomelette catch a break? Anyhow, I was just wondering if anybody actually reads these summaries. Moving on… While the rest of the party continued to press the attack, Alec ran to Aria, pulling the gnome to safety before giving her a healing potion. Demarung fired a thornstrike at the volcanic dragon, while Glace flanked the great beast and struck it with his flail, teleporting it away from Aria and Alec. The enraged dragon again exploded with fire and lava, striking the enemies surrounding it, but Glace followed up with another blow his flail, slaying the beast. Tempest and Aria turned their arcane spells onto the lone remaining foe, while the undead dragon seized Demarung, biting and burning the panther in its foul jaws before he could escape. Alec cast a spell of radiant power on the dragon, and the creature fell.

The children of light approached the woman chained with fire to find her unconscious. They gently roused her and explained that they had slain her captors, and had been sent to cleanse the lands of primordials and their creations. They then summoned water to shatter her bonds, and while doing so sensed that the land still held foes who opposed their purposes. After being freed the woman introduced herself as Neri and told the heroes that her father and creator, Io, had also created the dragons, some of whom who had rebelled and captured her. She and her brother, Aten, had been charged by Io to explore and shape the lands they found. When they came to this realm, the primordials had overpowered them, aided by rebellious children of Io. The heroes agreed to aid her in ridding this land of the taint of the primordials, and to help her find Aten. Grateful for the offer of assistance, Neri assumed the form of a dragonborn and accompanied the children of light off the mountainside.

Session 7

As Neri, the dwarves, and the heroes left the scene of battle, she explained more about the surrounding world and its inhabitants. Two powers still vied with her for control of this realm. Of one she knew nothing, save that its will strove against hers as she worked to cleanse and reform the land. The other was the Spirit Talker, a servant of the primordial Erek-hus, the Lord of Terror. Erek-hus reveled in creating worlds of elemental violence, and in all things opposed the gods, particularly Io. Neri also told the party that she had undertaken her labor in this land of her own will, without Io's approval.

A powerful mental presence interrupted the conversation. The heroes each felt the strong and unmistakeable pressure of a hostile will exerting itself on their surroundings. The unseen foe sought to overwhelm the party and corrupt the land around them, and the children of light perceived an enemy far to the south. Through their contact they glimpsed a vision of writhing tentacles, a malevolent being from a far realm striking at the children of light. The heroes bent their own wills against their distant attacker, first learning about their enemy and then crushing its assault. No sooner had they repelled this attack then the party felt another presence touch their minds, this one closer than the first and more familiar – a primordial, in the mountains nearby. The children of light sensed surprise in this new mind, surprise at their own presence in the land and at the will of their attacker.

The party journeyed in the direction of this new antagonist, and soon discovered a large bonfire burning in a shallow vale. Partially eaten mountain goat carcasses surrounded the pyre, and Demarung noted that the local flora had withered and the ground itself was blackened in spots. Glace caught a glimpse of a shimmering line surrounding the fire, identified by Alec as an arcane ritual circle, used to create a magical gateway. Glace slipped closer to the scene, hiding among the brush and moving silently, and soon spotted several objects of interest around the bonfire – the mouth of a cave, two unnaturally burning boulders, and a dragonborn on the opposite side of the basin, hiding among the bushes. The dragonborn was soon joined by another, and the avenger determined that both had spotted his companions. Glace stealthily crept closer to the pair and realized that one was moving his hands in arcane patterns toward the fire, awakening two fiery stone elementals from the burning boulders and attempting to summon a volcanic dragon.

Sensing an opportunity to foul the spell, Glace charged. He took the dragonborn by surprise, striking the caster twice and teleporting himself and his target into the open. On the opposite side of the vale, Fas teleported the entire party closer to the bonfire and Alec hurled an arcane curse at one of the burning stone elementals. The stone creatures attacked in turn, hurling stone spikes; Ember's armor deflected one of the missiles, but the other wounded Fas. Klar strode up to one of the elementals, cleaving into it with his axe while drawing its companion closer. When the second had closed with him, the fighter swung his blade in a sweeping blow and hewed both. Aria cast a spell of protection around her, strengthening her allies' defenses, and then prepared another enchantment to bolster an ally at need. Demarung sped past Klar to aid Glace in his fight with the dragonborn, but not before one of the stone elementals smashed into him with a dense fist.

The battle now raged as another enemy entered the fray. A bellow issued forth from the depths of the cave, and out strode a two-headed giant – the Spirit Talker. The hulk showed how he had earned his title, summoning hostile spirits that assailed Glace and Demarung. One of the specters struck the avenger, sliding him into the summoning circle, but Fas reacted and teleported his ally back out. The dragonborn summoner stepped back from his attackers and bombarded them with magical shards of ice, cutting into Glace but missing Demarung. The avenger called forth his own spirit-ally from the lands of the dead, and the specter distracted its foe while Glace moved into position for a better attack. Across the fire, Klar clove into one of the stone creatures, slaying it, then dodged an attack from its companion. The elemental attempted to step back, but the fighter pressed the attack and hewed into it again. Meanwhile, Fas summoned divine fire to burn the Spirit Talker and Aria cast a spell assaulting the giant's psyche. Demarung, spotting the dragonborn still lurking behind the brush, changed into a mighty panther and charged the spell-caster. The dragonborn still facing Glace sidestepped the avenger and called down acid rain on the heroes, searing Alec, Fas, and Aria. The warlock recovered and pronounced an arcane curse on the dragonborn as Glace shifted forward to strike him with his flail, and the sorcerer fell. The dragonborn facing Demarung saw that the battle was going poorly for his allies. He spewed a cone of flame, burning the fighter and Glace, and resumed his attempt to summon a dragon. Sensing the dragonborn's distraction, Glace teleported behind the enemy and slew him before the summoning was complete. The Spirit Talker now launched a series of attacks at Ember, cursing her with gruesome images of her own demise while smashing her with his great club. The cleric was thrown backward, but the giant pressed his advantage and struck again; only Ember's well-made armor saved her from further damage. The dwarf and her spell-casting allies assaulted the giant with divine and arcane powers, but he shrugged off most of the damage and continued his attacks. The Spirit Talker again bashed Ember with his massive club, knocking her backward; he stalked forward and followed up with a final swing, and the dwarf fell. The remaining stone elemental burned Klar with a fiery fist-strike, but the fighter hewed into it, shattering it, and rushed forward to face the giant and draw his attention. Demarung approached the Spirit Talker from the opposite side while Aria cast a spell of unluck on the enemy, fouling his reflexes and injuring him. Alec and Fas assaulted the giant with magical energy, and Klar finally landed the killing blow with his two-handed axe.

Aria rushed to Ember's form and quickly healed the cleric while Neri approached the summoning circle. The dragonborn stretched forth her hand to the arcane outline and summoned a red dragon. The beast bowed to its summoner, and Neri explained that the creature would have been corrupted into a volcanic dragon by those we slew.

After Ember had recovered enough to walk, the party entered the cavern with Neri and the dwarves. Inside they discovered piles of raw metals and items crafted by Clagdain and his clan. On the cave walls they found drawings depicting several events that Neri helped to decipher. One scene represented the elemental land where dragons and their kind had been created. Another featured several humanoids, formed of the elements by the father of the children of light, but stolen and corrupted by primordials. The final drawing depicted a shining dragon, which Neri said represented her father, Io. The dragon was in chains, being given to a blackened, clawed hand by a hand formed of flame and rock. Neri explained that the fiery hand represented a fire giant, a race that served Erek-hus, and she expressed surprise that his servants would give up an enemy as important as Io after they had captured him. The dragonborn did not know the identity of the mysterious clawed hand.

Session 8

As the party left the Spirit Talker's cavern, Neri told the children of light that the dragon she had summoned could take them to the portal in the sky. However, the heroes felt that they should first rid the land of the influence from the far realm they had sensed, and with the dragonborn and the dwarves they traveled southward toward that vile presence. Neri rode aloft on the flying dragon to survey the land ahead, and soon spied a cave in a hillside; foul, viscous liquid drained from the opening, gathering into a fetid pond. The dragonborn told the party of what she had seen, and also shared that she had sensed the sky portal nearby, surrounded by hostile guardians. The red dragon left the party to deal with these enemies alone while Neri accompanied the children of light to investigate the cave. The ground grew increasingly barren as the party neared the hill, and several party members found large worm-tracks leading toward their destination. As the group neared the hill, they spied several loathsome gricks – giant, aberrant worms with powerfully beaked maws surrounded by tentacles, creatures of the far realm. The worms carried plant matter and animal carcasses into the cave, and deep within, the children of light could sense the hostile far realm presence that had assailed them as they walked the mountains. Alec and Glace quietly moved closer, hoping to learn more of the abominations, but the gricks sensed their approach and moved to attack.

Alec and Tempest reacted first, the warlock cursing a grick while the sorcerer struck another with lightning. The wounded creatures screeched with unnatural, keening voices that were answered from within the cave, and two large forms moved in the darkness of the sludge pond as well. Undaunted, Klar charged the two gricks, but their thick hides turned the blade of his axe. Glace darted in to aid the fighter, and with the strike of his flail he teleported one grick into the oozing stream, teleporting himself on the near shore to continue his attack. Aria stepped forward, singing a heartening song to bolster her allies, while Neri stood firm next to the pool, prepared for the beasts in the muck as they neared the shore. As the gricks on land attacked Glace and Klar, more of the worms crawled from the mouth of the cave and joined the battle. Two struck Klar, while a third slithered toward Alec. The warlock summoned a cloud of inky darkness to hide himself, stepping back to launch a psychic attack on his foe. Tempest conjured a whirlwind around Klar; the mystical burst buffeted the three gricks while the fighter stood against them in the eye of the storm.

The battlefield rumbled to the sound of deafening bellows as two massive gricks emerged from the slimy pond. The first, in a frenzy of rage and hunger, struck the grick facing Glace; the avenger saw his enemy disappear down the larger worm's maw. The other behemoth rushed Neri, and only the dragonborn's quick shield-work blocked the grick's sharp beak as it sought her flesh. Aria cast a spell of unlucky magic on the giant grick as the dragonborn clove into its rubbery hide with her sword, and Ember seared the beast's tentacles with holy light. Alec cursed the beast and assailed its mind with psychic damage, slaying it. Meanwhile, Klar coaxed another of the smaller worms into axe-range with a mighty, challenging shout, and with two stout sweeps of his blade he hewed into the foes surrounding him. Glace circled around one of the gricks wounded by the fighter, striking it with his heavy flail while it was stunned by the axe-blow. Fas blasted the gricks with blades of divine light, burning the creatures and adding holy power to his allies' defenses. The group of smaller gricks dispersed before the combined attacks. One charged toward Alec, Fas, and Tempest, attacking the sorcerer who managed to evade its tentacles. A second worm sidled around Glace, who struck it once before dodging its beak. Two more of the gricks tried to scatter, but Klar's axe struck them down as they turned to flee. Tempest cast a spell on two of the worms facing the group of spell-casters, striking them with lightning and forcing them back, then shifted the magical storm he had summoned to center on Glace. Klar and Glace launched attacks on the three worms caught by the arcane whirlwind; two fell to the fighter's axe and the third dropped soon after, its head crushed by the avenger's flail. The remaining small grick charged the sorcerer, but Tempest dodged its tentacles while searing it with lightning. Klar engaged the enraged creature, chopping off tentacles while Aria wounded it with arcane song and Ember called down sacred flame on the grick, slaying it. The remaining large grick finished gulping down its smaller kin and left the oozing stream, charging the dwarf, but her armor spared her from the beast's bloody beak. Aria assailed the worm's mind with psychic damage while Fas lanced its hide with divine shards, and Neri and Glace harried the beast from opposite sides. As Glace smashed two of the tentacles seeking to grasp Neri, Alec choked the massive grick with a curse. Neri struck the beast once, batted aside a lunge with her shield, then slew her foe with a final swing of her sword.

Inside the cave, the party found piles of rotting vegetation and carcasses and a nest of grick eggs. Glace smashed most of the foul eggs, but Alec saved one for…um…you know, the narrator isn't really sure why. Maybe he'll get hungry…? Ooze dripped from the ceiling, and when Alec and Glace investigated a passage upward they discovered a stone shrine, carved with rough etchings of worms. The crude altar oozed slime. Glace smashed the shrine, satisfied when the oozing stopped, and when he described the carvings to Aria she identified them as symbols of Kyuss, known as the Devourer and the Great Wyrm. Following another passage leading downward into the earth, the party discovered several humanoids covered in slime – worshippers of Kyuss. They were gathered in a large cave, many of them chanting around a raised sinkhole while two larger foulspawn guarded an exit from the cavern.

Alec, Glace, and Tempest quietly snuck into the cave, taking positions while the rest of the heroes prepared to rush in. Glace opened the battle, leaping at one of the creatures and smiting it with his heavy flail as Alec cast spiteful glamour at another. Aria, Fas, and Ember rushed into the cavern, and Klar charged into the center of a group of the Kyuss worshippers with a mighty swing of his axe. Neri moved to engage another of the foulspawn as Glace again struck his foe, pulling it toward the edge of the cave. Aria sang an arcane song of war, wounding her opponent and weakening his defenses, while another foulspawn further in the cave found his breath choked out of him by one of Alec's curses. Fas focused his divine energies on the two larger creatures guarding the tunnel across the cavern, hurling a crystalline sphere at them that splintered into radiant blades. The foulspawn surrounding the sinkhole recovered from their surprise and took action. Two pulled large daggers made of jagged bone and attacked, moving quickly around the cave and striking multiple foes in a deadly dance. The first wounded Glace, Fas, and Tempest, but not before the avenger landed a blow of his own. Another sliced through Aria's armor, then swung at Klar who managed to dodge his blow. The spawn's momentum then carried it to Neri and Ember, but both were able to fend off the slicing dagger with their armor. Another Kyuss worshipper pulled a pair of daggers from its belt and hurled them at Klar and Aria; the first throw missed, but the blade aimed at the gnome struck true. Ember swung her weapon at the foe facing her, imbuing her blade with holy power, but the creature's slimy hide fouled her shot and it shrugged off the divine energy. Standing near the center of the cavern, Klar issued a throaty challenge at his foes, drawing them closer. He swung his axe in a full circle and two of his foes felt the blade bite. One of the foulspawn across the sinkhole cast a spell on the fighter, arcane power burrowing into Klar's mind and slowing him. Meanwhile, the two larger enemies charged into battle; one rushed Ember, missing in his haste, while the other struck Glace.

An eerie, unwholesome noise filled the cavern as the children of light paused for breath. A viscous, oozing monstrosity emerged from the sinkhole, covered in dozens of mouths that gibbered wildly, bewildering Fas, Neri, and Ember. Glace reacted by teleporting to the abomination and attacking it. His flail struck true, damaging the slimy creature, but acid sprayed from it as well, splashing onto the avenger and burning his skin. Glace again struck the beast, this time teleporting it to his right, where the monster would be harried on the other side by Klar. Aria sang an arcane song to strengthen and inspire her allies, while Alec assaulted the gibbering mouther with a curse. The monster shrugged off the warlock's spell and cast one of its own, summoning dozens of tiny mouths on Fas, Neri, and Ember that bit into their flesh.

Undaunted by the dreadful enchantment, Neri and Ember pressed their attack on the large foulspawn facing them near the cave entrance. The dragonborn swung with precision, slicing her enemy several times, while Ember struck a solid blow of steel and divine energy that burned the creature. With a roar the foulspawn struck back at the dwarf, but Neri used the diversion to quickly cut her opponent twice more. The great foulspawn staggered as Ember reflected a psychic attack from another of the creatures, the spell meant for her searing into the brute's mind instead, and with a powerful swing the dragonborn slew the creature.

In the center of the cave, the struggle with the gibbering mouther and the other foulspawn continued. Tempest, cloaked with invisibility, cast lightning at two of the creatures, and two of the spawn fell to Klar's axe. The fighter was again slowed by a psychic spell from one of the enemy spell-casters, but still attacked, wounding another foulspawn and hewing into the oozing mass facing him. Pressing the attack from the opposite side, Glace unleashed a mighty swing of his flail at the viscous slime, slaying the horror. Aria focused her attacks on the remaining warrior foulspawn, and the creature soon fell to her magic and her blade. The surviving worshippers of Kyuss continued their attacks, but without their soldiers or their foul, oozing pet, they proved no match for the children of light. Tempest rained down lightning on the creatures, Fas stunned them with divine peals of thunder, and Alec leveled powerful curses at them. As Glace and Klar slew the spell-casting foulspawn, ending the assaults on the heroes' minds, the final dagger-wielding creatures fell to arcane and divine magic.

Their foes slain, the children of light tended their wounds and searched the room. Two tunnels opened on the far side of the cavern. The larger of the two led downward, and the entire party could sense a malevolent will beneath them, deeper in the earth. A smaller opening extended outward from the cavern, and Glace felt a strange impulse to explore this smaller tunnel. As he crept down the passageway, the avenger heard movement and discovered three men, pale and slender with dark hair. They challenged Glace at first, and after learning that the worm-spawn were slain they told him that they had been separated from their people and trapped in these caves for some time. They called themselves shadar-kai, and in them Glace saw a reflection of his own character. The avenger's hair darkened and his skin paled as he led the men out into the cavern.

Session 9

The shadar-kai explained to the heroes that they were once children of light who had become humans. An entire village of these humans had been captured by a tentacled far realm being called a mind-flayer, and the creature had brought them here through a portal found in a chamber below. Six humans escaped their captor, and of these, three died during weeks of lurking in the tunnels. The surviving escapees had become shadar-kai. While evading detection, they had witnessed villagers being eaten by the mind-flayer; other humans were transformed into foulspawn. The three escapees had also learned that the mind-flayers themselves were once human, their brains eaten and replaced by larvae originating in the far realm – or their heads consumed by tentacled masses that attached themselves to their hosts' necks. In addition to the portal, the shadar-kai told the party to expect undead Kyuss-spawn and a multi-eyed beholder in the large cavern below.

Glace and Alec crept down the large tunnel leading downward, and soon found the cave described by the shadar-kai. The room was full of Kyuss-spawn, undead of various forms with worms dripping from their mouths. As they watched, they heard a strange voice speak from the far side of the cavern, where the children of light spotted a portal, and two of the Kyuss-spawn moved toward the children of light. The avenger and the warlock retreated to tell their comrades what they had seen, and the party decided to attack without delay.

Neri led the charge into the Kyuss-infested cave, slaying several of the spawn with her dragon breath. Glace attacked next, compelling an undead dragonborn to come to him and burning it with divine power. Several Kyuss-spawn fell within the blink of an eye as Ember unleashed a wave of searing holy energy and Fas shattered a crystalline sphere of magic among the abominations, shredding them. Demarung moved to shore up the front battle line with Neri and Glace, marking two opponents and preparing to punish them for attacking his allies. Glace and Alec heard the voice they had perceived earlier as a beholder emerged from the portal across the cave, hissing orders to its undead servants. The horror focused its great eye on Ember, enchanting her with vulnerability to flame, and one of its eyestalks issued a ray of fire at her. The dwarf continued to burn as another eyestalk turned to Demarung and emitted a wave of fear, compelling the warden to withdraw. The dragonborn Kyuss-spawn facing Glace sprayed out a mass of worms at the avenger, but the shadar-kai dodged the filth. Alec cast a spell on the undead dragonborn, his spell boiling his enemy's blood. The warlock then leveled a curse at the beholder, but the monster shrugged off its effects. Several spawn of Kyuss rushed into battle next. Two assailed Glace, one slashing with claws and another spraying worms, but the avenger dodged nimbly evaded both attacks and one foe was forced back by Demarung's mark. Another pair assailed Neri. The dragonborn fouled one foe's strike with her shield but felt the sting of the other's claws bite into her arm. Aria moved into the cave next and sang two arcane songs of power, the first bolstering her allies' determination and the second slaying one of the spawn of Kyuss.

The beholder's central eye emitted another wave of fear as Neri prepared her next attack. The fighter momentarily lost heart and retreated, suffering strikes from two foes as she fled. She soon regained her senses and rushed back to the line of battle, but her sword blade was unable to bite into the unnatural hide of her opponent. The beholder then turned its great eye on Glace, but he shrugged off the arcane fear and summoned a soul-eating spirit from the land of the dead which began to harry his foes. As Ember began to summon divine power to turn some of the undead, the beholder turned one if its smaller eyes and spewed fire at the dwarf. The cleric focused her will; despite the pain, she seared the spawn of Kyuss with radiant energy. Her prayer slew two of the lesser undead and pushed the two dragonborn atrocities back against their master. Seeing the three most powerful foes grouped together, Fas summoned blades of radiant energy which struck the far realm abominations, then transformed into spectral shields offering protection for his allies. The invoker then rebuked the two undead, lancing them with divine light and dazing one of the dragonborn spawn. Demarung rushed to rejoin the fight and whirled his weapon overhead. Lightning summoned by the warden struck out at his enemies, forking out to strike the beholder and dragonborn undead and slaying the last of the minor spawn of Kyuss. Demarung then assumed his guardian form, reflecting the fangs, fur, and grace of a great panther. The beholder, enraged at the loss of so many of his servants to Ember's divine power, again gazed at her with its large eye and discharged fire at the cleric. As she burned, the eye-beast aimed another baleful eyestalk at Demarung, attempting to push him well away from the battle. The panther-like warden crouched and held firm. The beholder pressed his attack, sending rays of arcane fire and fear at Demarung. The warden's hide resisted the flame, but fear gripped his heart and he was again forced to withdraw. One undead dragonborn tried unsuccessfully to free itself of the immobilizing force that held it, but its companion broke his divine bonds and charged Demarung with a spray of worms that the warden dodged. Alec aimed curses at the beholder and one of the spawn of Kyuss; he then assaulted the eye-horror's mind with psychic damage. Aria moved to Ember's side and quickly healed the cleric's burns. She turned her attention to the beholder and smote the creature, calling Neri to her side to attack her target. Neri's blow landed as well, but her attack drew a fiery burst from the beholder which burned the dragonborn and Aria. As the flame subsided, Neri struck the abomination again while the bard teleported behind her enemy.

Only the beholder and its two undead dragonborn remained, and the children of light pressed their advantage. Neri swung a mighty blow at the beholder's hovering form, drawing foul liquid from the deep wound, but her foe responded with a ray of arcane fear and the dragonborn was forced to retreat. A dragonborn spawn of Kyuss reacted by lashing out at the fighter as she passed; Demarung punished the undead with a powerful strike. Glace moved to close with the beholder but one of its eyestalks gazed at him, throwing him backwards through the air. The avenger regained his momentum and charged at the creature. His ghostly ally harried the eye-horror allowing Glace to land two solid hits with his heavy flail. The beholder, bruised and oozing ichor from multiple cuts, once again lashed out at Ember with a ray of fire, but the dwarf resisted the magical attack and called her own flame strike down on her foes. The beholder screeched in pain and rage as the cleric's divine blaze engulfed it. The eye-horror died with a fiery blast. Ember took a moment to heal her wounds; she then summoned a burning column of light that engulfed the immobilized Kyuss-spawn. Sensing its vulnerability, Fas called more divine fire and streamed it at the undead dragonborn. The flame burned the creature then cascaded onto its companion; radiance danced over both forms, guiding others' attacks at them. The Demarung-panther darted across the battlefield, slashing at the dragonborn and leaving open wounds that continued to ooze foul, worm-infested liquid. The mobile dragonborn turned to attack Ember, but the cleric's lasting fire burned it and with a final slash of her sword, Neri slew the monster. The lone remaining spawn of Kyuss continued its assault. Unable to move, it lashed out at Demarung with its claws, drawing blood and spraying worms onto the panther-form. Demarung struck back with his sword as his foe spewed more worms and filth from its mouth, the refuse corrupting where it found unprotected skin. Alec directed a curse of judgment at the creature while Neri deftly struck at a weakness in its armor, and the avenger's ghost ally flowed behind the spawn as Glace positioned himself for an attack. With a final swing of his flail, the shadar-kai slew the spawn of Kyuss. Powerful magical residue remained after the fall of these far realm abominations, which the party collected to forge into magical gear for later use.

The children of light quickly sensed their surroundings and detected no meaningful resistance to their collective will. They focused their resolve and merged the land they stood on with the realm they had previously shaped, adding oceans and great seaside cliffs to the new world. In doing so, the group sensed that another land was now attached to their realm, one that had not been connected before. This new region featured wild elements; Neri told her companions that it was possibly under the control of Erek-hus, as was the similar land depicted on the Spirit Talker's cave walls. The children of light also detected a new influence in their world – that of the primordials. The dwarves left to settle in the mountain range as the children of light set off to visit the fey folk. The elves and eladrin had once again flourished since the heroes had last seen them. New towers rose over the towns, new works of wood and glittering metal adorned their dwellings, and the elves themselves had aged. The leader of the fey folk told the children of light that a generation had passed since their last visit. Trade had commenced with the gnomes, the orcs had multiplied, and communication had been established with an elemental race inhabiting the new wild lands. These genasi, led by one of their kind named Nexus, had forged defensive pacts with the elves and warned them of incursions by mysterious invaders.

Session 10

As the children of light visited with the elves, they learned much of the progress that all of the civilized races had made. They also recognized that leaders of the various peoples had emerged. Some had survived since the heroes last visited the civilized lands and still served their people. These included Oran the Green Lord, Tiandra the Summer Queen, and the Prince of Frost among the elves and eladrin, and Clagdain, King of the Mountain Dwarves. Other leaders had more recently stepped to the fore. Grun, the strongest of the orcish warriors, was now Chief of his tribe. Liri of the Fey lead the gnomes, Shadus was Lord of the Shadar-kai, and Duran, the grey dwarf the party had rescued from the tentacled monsters in the cavern beneath the elven lands, lead the duergar. In the mysterious new realm that now bordered the elven domain, a being named Nexus held the title Emperor of the Wild Lands.

From Shara, an elven agent of Alec, the group learned that a new threat faced their creation. Grey-skinned duergar, descendants of Durgan, now wielded a dire and evil fire magic agains the fey folk. Also, the stone wall covering the portal the heroes had created was now occasionally melting, allowing monstrosities to enter these lands. Some of these invaders were stone elementals, while others were elves with tentacled heads.

The children of light traveled to visit the Wild Lands to speak with Nexus. They wished to speak with him about his lands and its proximity with the world they had shaped, and hoped to learn more of the invaders the genasi envoys had warned the elves about. A visible rift marked the border of the Wild Lands, and as soon as the party stepped across the boundary they could feel the alien nature of their surroundings. The same sky stood overhead, but the ground resonated with fundamental chaos and the group realized that the lay of the land shifted here, slowly but constantly. The sensory powers the children of light used still functioned, but their ability to shape and form their world held no efficacy in this elemental realm. After walking for hours through barren and hostile landscapes, the party spied scouts ahead – genasi, humanoids with bodies comprising the basic elements. Alec sensed they had once been children of light, changed by contact with elemental chaos and primoridals into their current form. The scouts disappeared into the distance, and as the party followed their path they could feel an area of stillness and stability ahead. A massive stone wall came into view, seeming to span miles and standing over a hundred feet tall. The children of light realized that only mighty magic, similar in nature and scope to their ability to shape the lands they tamed, could have created such a structure. They approached a colossal gate, passing genasi farmers working fields with tools and implements formed of stone. Guards manned the walls, and the children of light addressed them, asking to speak with Nexus. As the guards asked the reason for the audience, the group sensed that their people in the civilized lands were in danger. Somebody had launched simultaneous attacks on the leaders of each race. The party told the guards that the time had come for the genasi to honor their defensive pact with the races of the civilized lands, and within a few moments the gates opened. An honor guard of genasi soldiers lined the street inside. As the children of light walked past th elemental warriors, they noted that some seemed curious of the heroes, some barely concealed hostility, and others had a somewhat dazed look in their eyes. Alec determined that these were under a voluntary magic of some kind which seemed to draw upon their will to stabilize the city and its surroundings.

The honor guard escorted the children of light to a great stone hall with massive doors. They waited within for a few minutes before a strange giant entered the room, his translucent body made of roiling elements. "We are Nexus," the giant said by way of introduction, and related to the party that the genasi had moved their land here and are in danger, possibly the same that threatened the leaders of the civilized races. Nexus offered to ask for volunteers among his people to aid the beleaguered leaders. The heroes then had another vision of the attacks, this time clearly seeing that the perpetrators were genasi. Most of the leaders were safe, having driven off or evaded their attackers, but Fas saw Tiandra the Summer Queen, trapped in a tower of wood being put to flame by fire genasi. Her prayer for aid resonated in the invoker's mind, and he sent her mental reassurance and insight as the vision faded. Fas informed Nexus that the attackers were genasi, and the giant said that they were Agents of Cataclysm, genasi who remained loyal to Erek-hus. Nexus related that there were still genasi in the wild lands who sympathized with the Agents of Cataclysm, and also warned that if he sent too many of his followers with the party it would weaken the stabilizing magic in the city and provide an opportunity to Erek-hus' followers to take control. The children of light asked for twelve genasi to aid them. Nexus granted their request, and soon a dozen warriors entered the hall with four red dragonkin mounts. The giant summoned a portal and the party stepped through.

The heroes emerged from the gateway in a field of steam vents, surrounded by enemies. Four of the genasi and three dragonkin that had stepped into the portal, all loyal to Erek-hus, threatened the children of light. Quickly assessing the danger, Glace reacted by teleporting to the nearest threat, a stone genasi, and lashed out with his flail. The blow landed, teleporting the elemental into the nearest vent, and the avenger teleported beside his foe and struck again. Alec leveled curses at three enemies, then cast a shadowy spell that wounded them with necrotic damage. Klar charged the nearest dragonkin, biting into its scaly hide with his axe, then pulled two fire genasi to him and hewed all three opponents with a wide swing. Ember summoned divine power to turn the elementals facing the party. Four were seared by the radiant energy; of these, three were forced to flee, then froze with fear. A dragonkin spat a fireball which exploded in the middle of the fray, burning Ember, Alec, Aria and Fas. Alec teleported away from the continually burning flame only to be targeted by the other wyrm; the blast burned the warlock as well as Ember and Demarung. Fas focused his divine power to teleport the warden near one of the drakes, and Demarung assailed his new foe, landing two sword-slashes in quick succession. Meanwhile, the dragonkin facing Klar took another wound from the fighter's axe as it attempted to disengage, then reacted with a belch of flame, burning the half-orc. Fas again drew upon divine power to cast a glyph of imprisonment on one of the dragonkin, lancing the beast with power and threatening more pain if the creature moved. Aria turned her attention to the drake facing Demarung; she sung an arcane dissonant strain which assaulted the reptile's mind and aided Demarung. She then sang a song of healing for Fas, who (like most of the party) was ablaze. The fiery assaults continued as one of the genasi threw a burst of arcane flame at Klar. The other fire genasi swung a falchion at the fighter, but Klar twisted away from the blow. Two stone genasi still stood, one locked in place by Ember's divine power, and Glace slew the one he faced then moved to engage a dragonkin on the other side of the melee. Alec cast a spell on another dragonkin, inflicting psychic damage while blasting its body with darkspiral power. Klar again stepped up to the dragonkin two fire genasi facing him and swung axe in a sweeping arc. His blade bit into all three. One of the fiery elementals reacted, adding to the flame already engulfing the fighter. Ember unleashed bitterly cold energy from the Astral Sea at the dragonkin attacking Demarung and one of the fire genasi, then pronounced words of healing on Fas. Another fireball spat from a drake's maw exploded near Klar, adding to the fires on the half-orc even as the beast on his other side bit into his torso. The third dragonkin bit into Aria, breathing fire onto the wound before Demarung reacted with a counter attack to draw the beast from the bard. The warden pressed the attack and sliced into the drake again, then moved to engage another foe as the beast fell. Meanwhile, Fas summoned blades of astral fire that sliced into the two fire genasi and shielded Klar from their attacks. One of the fiery elementals moved to engage Ember while his companion continued to swing his falchion at Klar, but the fighter continued to parry his attacks. Glace charged one of the remaining dragonkin; three quick strikes with his heavy flail dropped the beast, leaving only one drake standing. The lone wyrmling didn't last long, as within seconds it also fell, slain by Alec's curses. The two fire genasi, undaunted, continued to attack the children of light. Alec withered the flesh of one elemental as Klar struck the same enemy with his axe. Ember bashed the other, then Demarung moved between the two and struck the earth with the force of thunder, knocking one off his feet. Fas called down the radiance of the sun, searing an enemy and forcing him between the two defenders. Enraged, the genasi lashed at Klar with his falchion, adding elemental fire to the attack, but the traitor soon fell as the half-orc's axe bit deeply into his neck. The final genasi fought on, though he soon met his fate as well as a wraithlike creature summoned by Alec choked the life from him.

Their foes vanquished, the children of light healed their wounds and caught their breath. As they gathered residuum from their fallen enemies, the portal reappeared. Wary and prepared for another ambush, they stepped through but found allies awaiting them on the other side of the gateway. Eight genasi and the remaining dragonkin, all loyal to Nexus, accompanied the heroes as they crossed the border into the civilized lands to learn the fate of the races they held dear.


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