Eyre 5 – Eyre 12, 1001 YK
The Eran Royal Council is convened. Improvements and explorations are ordered, and a new settlement called Edroin is founded north of Grey Titan’s Hold. Derli and Girrrth attempt to locate a serial killer on the loose in Vrinsk, but fail to come up with anything.
Dravago 1, 1001 YK
Derli nears completion on training the new members of his army of crusaders, the Hammer of Dol Dorn. Baalondorus and Nimozaran the Green inform him that they have made preparations for the Phoenix Eclipse to fly to Syrania, so that Derli can locate the Sword of Dol Dorn. He is given portal stones to summon (and return) the Hammer of Dol Dorn on his arrival. The party departs for Syrania, and finds the crystal palace from Derli’s vision, but approaching it reveals it to have been an illusion. They instead end up in Mabar, the Endless Night, in the daemonic subplane of Gehenna. Here, they find a giant castle built out of a mile-high volcano.
Derli gives the order to assault the volcano, and they pierce the front gate with the plane-enhanced negative energy cannon, punching through under an assault of daemons until the airship stops in the volcano’s caldera, where a daemonic army awaits. The party disembarks and the army is summoned, crusaders supplemented by war mages, the latter of whom are led into combat by Rilic. Zil’dejin rides in alongside the Hammer of Dol Dorn, and assists them by attacking and killing the daemon’s commander. The crusaders are triumphant after a bloodied battle, providing access to the keep. Kaleth shows up as the army returns tothrough the use of the portal stones. He frees the Phoenix Eclipse from the magical force and the party heads inside.
Most of the keep is a huge forge worked by slaves. They encounter the forgemasters, a pair of olethrodaemons named Pyre-death and Furnace-wail, who recognize Derli as a daemon, but he attacks them anyway. The olethrodaemons are killed, and the party proceeds up a spiral staircase to the demiplane that acts as a throne room. On top of a mound of skulls is a red throne, on which Szuriel, the fallen paladin-turned-angel-turned-daemon waits with the Sword of Dol Dorn. Derli fights her, one-on-one at first, until the tide of combat shifts against him. Ser Tabin Hamson arrives to offer support and the party soon pitches in as well. Szuriel is laid low, and Derli beheads her. The party argues (along with Ser Hamson) about whether he should sit on the throne, but Derli mostly ignores the argument and sits, allowing his Ascension to take place and making him the Horseman of War.
Dravago 3, 1001 YK
The rest of the party returns while Derli acclimates to his new position. Two days have somehow passed, and Baalondorus has found and captured the Dragon Prophet, a Seren human who offers her help only on the condition that she become Zil’dejin’s queen. He reluctantly accepts, and she translates the passage of the Prophecy pertaining to his Ascension.
Eyre 5, 1001 YK
The Royal Council is convened for the month of Eyre. Plans are laid for expansion further east towards Metrol, some improvements (mainly in the way of housing) are built, and foundations are set up for a new settlement north of Grey Titan’s Hold, to be called “Edroin” after Tam’elanath Edroin d’Thuranni.
Eyre 11, 1001 YK
A serial killer strikes a second time in the town of Vrinsk, revealing that his crimes are not isolated. The killer leaves behind rag dolls crafted in imitation of his victims, and thus has earned the name “Ragdoll Killer.”
Eyre 12, 1001 YK
Derli and Girrrth, in their capacity as Marshal and Royal Enforcer, arrive at Vrinsk and begin investigating to find the serial killer. They come up empty-handed, instead finding the dead captain of the guard with a ragdoll near his body. They return back to Grey Titan’s Hold as the path has gone cold for now.
Dravago 1, 1001 YK
Baalondorus and Nimozaran the Green find Derli overseeing the training of the new members of his crusader army, the Hammer of Dol Dorn. They inform him that preparations have been made to allow the Phoenix Eclipse to shift into Syrania. Unlike the airship’s ability to shift to Fernia, the preparations allow the shift to occur in exactly one location in the Azure Sky, which is the destination determined by Baalondorus to be the most probable location of the Sword of Dol Dorn. The Eclipse Collective is gathered in the war room to brief everyone on the situation and make necessary preparations, including readying the Hammer of Dol Dorn for transport into the plane, using a pair of special portal stones Nimozaran has prepared. Finally, they down to the airship hangar, where Frances d’Lyrandar and his crew are already present.
The party boards the airship and take to a rainy, overcast sky. Rilic is asked to perform the ritual necessary to shift the airship into Syrania, which he is hesitant to do, but manages to achieve successfully. The party perceives flying through a clear blue hole in the clouds above, and come out in a different plane, and endless blue expanse in all directions. Immediately in front of them is the immaculately-constructed crystal palace from Derli’s version. The Phoenix Eclipse is brought towards it, but instead of arriving at the palace, they are shaken by turbulence as the blue sky turns a deep red of volcanic clouds, flanked by total darkness. A quick assessment by Rilic reveals that they have travelled to Mabar, the Endless Night — specifically, the subplane known as the Bleak Eternity of Gehenna.
The airship now hovers before a massive volcano in which has been built a castle of sorts. Derli recognizes this, too, but from his drug-fueled violence with Grundak Droranath. Frances is ordered to have the ship hover in place while the party discusses their plan. They believe they have fallen into some sort of trap, and consider leaving, but Frances expresses concern that this could be dangerous; it is unlikely that such an elaborate trap would have been set that the party could freely escape. Derli instead orders the ship to circle around, and they locate the towering main gate of the castle. After some further discussion, Derli finally gets tired of planning and issues a command: the Phoenix Eclipse is to get as close as possible, while he moves to the forecastle of the airship to fire the negative energy cannon as they approach the gate. Rilic and Zil’dejin take positions in side cannons, alongside some of the Lyrandar crewmen.
The approach goes perfectly, and the firing of the cannon reveals that the negative energy-infused nature of the plane “supercharges” the weapon to an extent, punching a massive hole in the wall of the volcano, sufficient for the airship to fit through. From his position in the forecastle, Derli commands Frances to fly through the opening, and the airship grinds through. Passages opened by the destruction are filled with daemons who attempt to jump onto the ship, but careful work with the side-cannons and Derli emerging from the cannon chamber to fight in melee combat ensure no real harm is done.
Soon, the airship comes to a halt, despite probably being able to go further forward. Frances informs the party that they appear to be clamped in place by some sort of invisible force. The bow of the ship is just past the interior side of the volcano wall, allowing them a clear view of the bottom of the mile-high volcano’s caldera: a keep, also carved out of volcanic rock, stands in the middle. In the clear space around it, an army of daemons has massed, several thousand strong. More are attempting to rally in the chaos caused by the ship’s sudden attack, but this army is somewhat organized, commanded by a purrodaemon, a large creature with a vulture-like head impaled by dozens of weapons.
Zil’dejin leaves the fire cannon pod and rushes down to the cargo hold, where he mounts Rum Ham the rime hound, readies his weapon, and waits. Rilic moves down as well. Derli surveys the situation in front of him, and leaps to the ground from the bow of the ship, throwing down one of the two portal stones he was given to allow the crusaders passage into the battlefield. With this, Zil’dejin requests the House Lyrandar crew open the front door of the cargo hold, and he rides out on Rum Ham. The crusaders arrive, followed by the untested Eran Royal Warmages, whose command is taken up by Rilic while Derli quickly organizes his forces.
Derli leads the charge into the army surrounding the central keep, supported by the war mages’ magic, which clashes with the terrible daemonic magic levied against the paladin’s army. Zil’dejin rushes in alongside the Hammer of Dol Dorn astride his mount, and when the front line arrives, Zil’dejin begins carving through the daemon soldiers to reach one of the ultrodaemon lieutenants of the force. Derli, meanwhile, is pushing brutal tactics and aggressive strategy, mirroring that of the daemons. The ensuing violence is incredible as daemonic power and holy smites rip across the battlefield while long-range magic falls down around the crusaders.
With the Hammer struggling, Zil’dejin finally creates an opening to not just the ultrodaemon he sought to target, but also to the purrodaemon commanding the army. He chooses to go for the latter and engages it in combat, throwing the daemons’ forces into sudden disarray and providing an advantage for the crusaders. They trade blows, with the purrodaemon ripping free the weapons impaling its flesh to attack Zil’dejin before replacing them and drawing more. Soon, Zil’dejin kills the purrodaemon (though not without personal cost), and one great push by the Hammer of Dol Dorn and the Eran Warmages finishes off the daemon army, providing them clear access to the keep.
Derli uses the other portal stone to send the crusaders and the war mages home, and this time, Kaleth emerges from the portal while the army moves back. He dispels the magical force holding the_Phoenix Eclipse_ in place, and Frances is ordered to circle the volcano until a signal is given for him to land again and pick the party back up. Then, Derli and Zil’dejin step forward to the gate to the keep, and with great strength, lift it up. Kaleth produces an adamantium crate from some point in the past and places it in the door, allowing it to be held up while they pass through.
Inside the keep is a colossal forge being worked by countless slaves, who produce weapons, armor, and devices of war without end. The party decides to take a breather here for about an hour, immediately after which they are approached by a tremendous creature with four arms, four stout legs, and two massive, gaping mouths. This daemon, an olethrodaemon named Pyre-death, questions Derli while his allies hide nearby. It perceives that Derli is a daemon, but asks about who the dwarf belongs to. Derli refuses to speak of his daemonic nature, angering the olethrodaemon until the point where Derli cleaves its face, driving a deep gouge across its visage. Combat erupts as Pyre-death summons its companion, another olethrodaemon named Furnace-wail. The first is brought down quickly, though the second takes longer as it manages to grab and swallow Derli and Zil’dejin in two of its many stomachs, gradually consuming their souls. Attempts to tear through the stomachs simply find them in different stomachs. Rilic paralyzes Furnace-wail, but it breaks free briefly by absorbing more power from Zil’dejin and Derli to expel a blast of corrupted souls. Soon enough, though, Furnace-wail is felled as well, brought low by Kaleth’s whip while it is paralyzed. Derli and Zil’dejin escape the stomachs, and complete their rest.
Before ascending the single huge spiral staircase leading up, Rilic and Kaleth attempt to rally the slaves, but find that they are virtually soulless, bound to this place for eternity. The slaves cannot be persuaded to leave, or do much of anything save the orders of those who run this place. One, a recent slave, reveals some information when questioned by Derli (whom he, too, perceives as a daemon). He informs them that the strange volcanic castle is owned by Szuriel — the very “angel” Derli came to Syrania to seek. A picture begins forming of Szuriel’s corruption as they ascend the stairs.
At the top, a great door leads them into a demiplane where silent daemons rage in constant battle in a blasted wasteland. Sitting atop a mound of skulls on a crimson throne is Szuriel, who wields in one hand the Sword of Dol Dorn. She reveals to Derli her past: she, too, was a paladin of Dol Dorn, swearing an oath of vengeance. She ascended to become an angel but fell, far enough down to become an archdaemon, the Horseman of War. She has remained among the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse since. She tells Derli that if he defeats her and sits upon her throne, he — as a powerful daemon-blooded himself — will become the Horseman of War.
Derli insists on fighting her alone, which even Szuriel cautions against, as she has no reservations about personal honour and worries that Derli will be too easy a fight without his companions. Never the less, he stands firm, and Kaleth shields himself, his clone, Zil’dejin and Rilic with a bubble of magical force to protect themselves while the fight begins. Derli is subject to magical haste, and Szuriel is naturally fast, causing the exchange of blows to take blinding speed with staggering force. Derli combines a powerful array of divine magic, daemonic magic, and martial prowess, but Szuriel shares all of these abilities herself. The fight seems to be turning against Derli.
Unexpectedly, Ser Tabin Hamson arrives one the scene. Kaleth would later be blamed for this, though he denied any direct action on the matter. She is no match for a Horseman of War, but she assists Derli as best she can, throwing the fallen angel off balance. Zil’dejin, furious at the imbalanced nature of the fight, finally demands that Kaleth release the shield, and the rest of the party attacks with magic, wands, and force. Zil’dejin makes a strong surprise attack against Szuriel, who kills him outright in her rage, launching him off the mound of skulls. She is brought down soon after through a powerful flurry by Derli, falling down to one knee and supporting herself on the sword.
She makes a feeble attempt at sparing her own life, but Derli beheads her, taking the blade in hand. Hamson revivifies the fallen Zil’dejin before she pleads with Derli not to sit on the throne and forsake Dol Dorn. Kaleth takes this stance as well, but Zil’dejin argues in favour of sitting upon it. Derli weighs the two options, but says little as Kaleth and Hamson argue with Zil’dejin. Finally, he speaks:
“Dol Dorn forgive me.”
As he falls back into the throne, black fire runs over his body while golden light emits from his eyes and mouth, the dual nature of Derli becoming manifest. He takes his first step down the Path of the Saint, just beginning to realize the power afforded to him by his Ascension. The Cinder Furnace becomes his to command, and all the daemons in it. When the Ascension’s effects subside, he quietly asks that the party leave him to his throne. They accept, and pass by the silent daemons who now salute Derli, as well as a projection of the Harbinger of War, Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame. Derli remains behind as the party departs in the Phoenix Eclipse, and shifts back to Eros.
Dravago 3, 1001 YK
Here, several days have passed, despite appearing to be only a matter of hours. In this time, Baalondorus has tracked down the Dragon Prophet and captured her. She is awaiting their attention in the prison of the Eclipse Keep.
The party goes to visit her there. She speaks Common, but is loathe to do so, so Zil’dejin speaks with her in Draconic, and Kaleth uses magic to follow the conversation. Baalondorus and Nimozaran are there to support as well. The Dragon Prophet is a human from Seren who has an extremely rare talent to translate fragments of the Draconic Prophecy. However, she hates the idea of doing so for any Blooded. Zil’dejin tries reasoning with her, but soon finds that she does not care for her own life, and believes the world is not doomed by any course of action that is taken. In this case, the world just changes form.
Zil’dejin continues to plead with her, claiming he will do anything within his power to see the fragment on the pearl translated. The Dragon Prophet asks first for citizenship, then immunity, then finally to become Zil’dejin’s queen, so that she may bear a prince to the throne that is half-human and half-dragonborn. He is very reluctant to do so — he is very attached to Mishva Garodya Stormhorn, to whom he has already promised the role of consort. Still, he decides that this is the best course of action in the context, and hesitantly agrees. The Dragon Prophet is let out of the cell and taken to the throne room, where she translates the passage of Prophecy on the pearl:
When the Silver King defeats the Usurper on the field of battle, an Awakening will take place.
Zil’dejin thanks her, and Nimozaran begins making preparations for the wedding. Meanwhile, Derli remains in the Cinder Furnace, contemplating his situation and becoming accustomed to his new role.