The Shard of Astaroth V

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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Kemian » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:24 pm

Okay I admit it, I completely skipped the alchemical section cause it usually just does not apply to Dev. Dev would like the Quicksilver Ungents and the for dummies manual that comes with them.

[Edit: Dev would like to use the Ungents to upgrade his armor. He is perfectly willing to to hand the item of to Fios when that is done.]

[Edit version 2.0: Dev would like the potion of Haste as well]
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:39 pm

Note: The summary has been posted on the previous page. An epilogue follows.

A few days after the party had left, some of the Bedine began filtering away, going back to their nomadic roots, while most still remained until they could verify that the Palankasha and his Banite henchmen would not return.

Of those that remained, some of the younger sorts requested that Jiriki train them on the bow. Most of them, they explained, were only ever trained on swords and atlatls--spears with crude throwing levers--and bows of any quality were quite rare. Several had been purloined from the Palankasha's armory, however, and the young warriors were eager to put these to use, which Jiriki trained them to do with gusto...

When the party returns, a cry goes up from the Palankasha's former stronghold, as Avarisa's remaining tribemates welcome the group as heroes. Avarisa seems hesitant at first, knowing how badly she has flouted her tribe's customs by acting as she did during the Palankasha's reign of terror, but her fellows of the Ra'ah al-Sedah explain that, while there was some resistance, her tribe has collectively decided that her actions saved many lives. The men before her were those chosen for the honor of escorting her back home.

What comes next is startling, as they reveal that the party has been underground for three full seasons. As evening sets on the desert, however, Number Eight is able to confirm this--he synchronizes his internal clock by the position of the stars, and he returns noting to the second how long the party was underground...revealing that time in Astaroth's bubble plane was compressed by a factor of over five hundred.

That night there is feasting, as Jiriki and the party are reunited, and they and the Bedine exchange stories of what happened while the two groups were separate. Apparently the Banites made a couple of exploratory efforts to find out why they'd quit getting any word from their stronghold, but the remaining men and the Bedine of the desert fought them off, and when their men didn't come back, the Banites quit sending more to this place.

Beyond that, there was one incident while the party was gone, which Jiriki relates:
Filling in for Jiriki's words with what I FPMed her, though she's free to retell this however she wants! wrote:About a tenday after the rest of the party left, Jiriki's ever-sharp ears detected a noise in one of the rooms towards the back of the stronghold. It started like rustling papers and slamming chests, as though someone was cleaning out one of the back rooms in a hurry--but as she worked her way through the labyrinth of corridors to get closer and investigate, it turned into a commotion.

She heard one loud voice--it sounded like the Palankasha!--speaking loudly to someone else she couldn't hear. Something along the lines of:

"Who are you? Did she send you?"
"But...no, that's not possible! How...?"
"Blasphemer! I'll have your tongue for that!"
"No, wait--!"

Then there was a scream, a hideous feline yowling mixed with something far more foul--it lasted but a second, and then abruptly endeds just before Jiriki can make the door.

As Jiriki opened the previously-hidden door, seen now only via the flash of light she noticed around the edges, she saw what appeared to be the Palankasha's study--books and papers and a ritual circle strewn about all over the place, and some green fire consuming the far corner of the room, perhaps where some sort of Banite fire-lance was tossed.

In the opposite corner of the room, meanwhile, it looked like several large buckets of black ichor had been literally sprayed and smeared all over the place--that or something more or less exploded. Even as she looked on, those smeared, oily remains sizzle into the stone a bit, then dried out in a moment and disintegrated into so much ash.

There was no sign of a second person in the room, and after the death of the Palankasha--apparent death that is, since nothing on or of the body actually survived--all was quiet from then on.

After some time to rest and recuperate, the collective groups were ready to go their separate ways.

Avarisa gifts the party with a special war-horn, explaining that the horn is pitched in tune with a noise used by those allied with the Ra'ah al-Sedah; the noise produced by this horn is recognized by most of the region's Bedine tribes, as is the symbol inscribed on its side. Should the party ever return to Anauroch, any one of them is welcome at the fires of her tribe. With her return and the subsequent departure of her and her tribesmen, this stronghold will be abandoned, but the collective Bedine tribes have agreed to cooperate more closely in fighting the presence of the Zhentarim in these lands.

Numbers Eight and Thirty-One follow the party as far as New Ascalhorn. Number Eight requests from Fios the opportunity to read the book her procured from Ephelia's lab on the Dorian series; he copies its contents into his memory, and with it, he says, he will first build a new Persona Gem for Number Thirty-One to correct the flaws obviously present in its current Gem. From there, he plans to work with the sages of the city on building more of the Guard series. It seems apparent from Ephelia's writings that she likely would have desired this, something Astaroth and Rhyl can attest to.

The Holy Judge Dominic is waiting at New Ascalhorn when the party returns there. He is apologetic for not having joined the party sooner; by the time he had finished with his last errand, he says, the party had ventured beyond his reach. He is glad to see you all still in one piece, and that Galamoth has finally been taken care of for good. He is concerned by your story of the Azhi Dahaka; the name is familiar to him, he says, though he doesn't have much more to offer than the party already knows--but he vows to dig deeper.

Erzebet and Elspeth Palfrey follow the party back to Everlund and the Rauvin Vale. Their lives are shattered; with their father slain and their home burned, there is nothing waiting for them, and as even a few of the memories of their time in the hands of the Azhi Dahaka, the Manei Majin, and Galamoth return to them, they seem more and more distressed. Though the Harpers offer their membership and service once they find out what happened, the sisters refuse to have anything further to do with the group. After some long pondering, Astaroth reminds Rhyl and Fios of an old friend of theirs, and a story they heard once on a fateful caravan trip from Silverymoon to Waterdeep to reforge a shattered sword...and recommends to the twins that they get in touch with the caravan-master from that trip, Talya Moonwood. Her sister Clarion, the sword says, knows some of your pain. Speak with her, and perhaps help one another.

Narsingel stays with the party all the way back to Waterdeep, planning to catch a caravel back to Evermeet. He is likewise apologetic for not being of more use on this trip, especially when it comes to combat--something, he says, he has not engaged in for a very long time, and only rarely even then. He does note that he will continue scouring his resources for more information on Sarnath and Acheron, and he reveals a few facts that the party might have missed:

"I think I got an accurate age on the city of Sarnath. The lot of you were busy preparing spells and otherwise getting ready to leave after we fought Xvim, so I had a quick conversation of my own with Asca. It dawned on me that she spoke a lot in terms of the dates things happened, but we never asked her what the current date was to put them in context.

"To the best my math can muster, Asca went live near Midsummer in the year -32,338 DR--give or take a few months. At'ar killed Altixun and buried the city on or around Midwinter of -30,993 DR. Best I recall, the elven repositories of lore have next to nothing from that era, as it predates even the first of the Crown Wars...even the best books I have discuss that era only with a quote from a philosopher from the Crown Wars: 'We live in a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.'

"To the Hells with that, of course. Anything I can find, I will send your way.

"As for Lady Vacia...I recognized some of the items she wore and carried. The staff in her hands? A Aryvandaaran Weave-scepter, which holds some of the most powerful elven magic from before the fall of Netheril. It looked like she had two more strapped to her back, too. All of them are priceless relics, irreplaceable, sacred to the Elven people, and disgustingly powerful, and most of them have been lost for millennia. Her cloak? Looked like descriptions I've seen of the robe of outer night, also an artifact long since lost. And it looked like she wore a telkiira of her own.

"My point is--one, she'll get out of that plane eventually, and when she does, you need to be ready for it in case she comes after you. And by 'ready for it,' I mean ready to flee to a place she can't find out, and to flee from there in case she does. Two, I'm fairly certain she didn't have those when Ascalhorn fell." Astaroth confirms this--aside from the Telkiira, which he notes was that of Lirinet's own house--and Narsingel resumes, "Which means whoever she serves these days, has access to objects everyone on Toril has pretty much dismissed as either lost or mythical. That means something. Nothing good.

"Be very careful. And if you require my assistance further, you need only let me know."

From there, the party is free once more to go about their business...though with the weight of the knowledge they have acquired on their shoulders, and the further unknowns it implies, how free are they?

[Thanks for playing, all. Loot and XP have been awarded, all summaries are posted, and we're done here. It was fun, even if it did take about four times longer than I expected it to.]
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