The Hands that Move the World

Blood Ties IX: Haka'torvhak — Procession

Zarantyr 27, 1001 YK

The party prepares to fight Rhashaak when an explosion rocks the lair. They find that Harkaj Flamebrow has attacked with his “procession” of Poison Dusk, which is preparing to awaken Masvirik, the Cold Sun in a two-part ritual, one of which he will perform and the other of which is to be performed at the Tower of Night. Harkaj kills Unariel, and Zil’dejin prepares to fight him with some support from Iadoes while Rilic and Derli go to the tower to stop the other part of the ritual.

Derli and RIlic fight their way up while Zil’dejin and Harkaj fight to near-death before Zil’dejin convinces Harkaj to abandon his Poison Dusk loyalty and fight against the corruption. The two go to the Great Circle to stop the ritual, while Iadoes joins Rilic and Derli and summons an ice storm to wipe out the Poison Dusk in the tower. Zil’dejin takes the soul of Jochimus into his body to prevent the ritual’s completion, and leads Harkaj and his remaining men to confront Rhashaak. The demon half of the dragon has been weakened by the ritual’s interruption, and he can be killed without defending himself. Zil’dejin takes this offer and slays the dragon which begins the destruction of all of the Poison Dusk. Harkaj is the last to die.

Masvirik’s fragment tries to convince the party to activate the Tower of Night and even tempts Iadoes with “the box” (which may contain the Chaos Gear), but Derli stops that line of thought and they refuse. They flee the tower as a poison cloud spreads. ZIl’dejin then speaks with part of Masvirik who tries to get him to become the new prakhutu of the Poison Dusk to stop the entirety of them from dying, which Zil’dejin considers.

At the tower, Derli is banished by Iadoes, who does not realize that what should be basically harmless is changed by Derli’s arm transplant, and Derli is sent instead to Gehenna, a subplane of Mabar. He waits with Rilic for a while before they are forced to flee and reunite with Zil’dejin at the Great Circle. Zil’dejin refuses Masvirik’s offer and they speak with Yrkhetep, who has been watching the proceedings. He offers the location of Derli, but trade gets confusing when Iadoes reveals he has the items stolen from Yrkhetep. Iadoes is trapped in a book, then freed, the items are given back to the arcanadaemon, a portal is opened to Derli’s location, Zil’dejin gets his wings, and Yrkhetep gets some of Zil’dejin’s blood.

Meanwhile Derli gets some daemonic lungs under open surgery, and is convinced to meet with the Oinodaemon, a terrifying face in a sea of white. The daemon persuades Derli to make the ultimate sacrifice for his faith and seal the Gehennan Pact, entering him into the Tournament of Blades with the Blade of Greed. He meets up with the party and escapes through the portal. Yrkhetep leaves, and the party raids Rhashaak’s lair, bringing it to the airship which waits outside after it was hijacked by Harkaj. They then meet with Talbot, who is waiting outside, and informs them that their keep has been found in a region of Kythri called “Illandyano”, near a githzerai monastery that is said to have once protected the Chaos Gear. With this information, they return to Eros.

Zarantyr 28, 1001 YK

The party meets with Coref Irvallo and Rickard Mancuso to learn about some political changes. Breland’s parliament is now almost entirely nobles after some walk-outs and deaths, Rein Colworn is gone, and a minister wishes to speak with them about appointing a new monarch of Breland. They go to speak with him while Derli goes to his cathedral, where Ser Tabin Hamson has arrived and is attempting to claim what he has created.

They learn more of the situation in Breland and promise to meet with the two prospective heirs as soon as possible. Additionally, Rilic has been challenged for his title as Archmage of Breland by someone named Saal Perryn, also in Wroat. Zil’dejin then calls the royal council together, excluding Derli (who is preparing to fight Ser Hamson), and arranges deposits to the treasury, as well as accepts some warforged refugees from the Becoming God.

Main Characters: Zil’dejin Firebane, Derli d’Kundarak, Iadoes Lunaformer, Rilic Balendal

Zarantyr 27, 1001 YK

As the party enters the lair of Rhashaak, they cease hearing the drums of the “procession” outside. They ask Rhashaak what Unariel meant, and what the procession is, but the dragon claims to have no knowledge, stating that he has not even interacted with anyone from the outside in months. As they are preparing to proceed with the fight, there is an explosion in the room adjacent. The party asks Rhashaak to open the door, who cautions them that he does not know what is happening and that he cannot guarantee their safety.

On the other side, Harkaj Flamebrow holds an injured Unariel after having destroyed the wall of the observatory. He bears a very prominent Mark of Poison on his bare chest, and he announces that he has come with a procession of the Poison Dusk bearing dusk shards to free Masvirik, the Cold Sun from his prison beneath Haka’torvhak. The ritual has two components, of which he will complete one while his procession completes the other at the Tower of Night. Wanting to settle the score with Zil’dejin, Harkaj challenges him to a fight after demonstrating his new abilities by killing Unariel with powerful magic poison.

Zilde’jin remains in the Demonglass Observatory with Iadoes while Derli and Rilic go to the Tower of Night to stop the other part of the ritual. Iadoes provides a small amount of magical support, but avoids doing anything further to preserve the integrity of the duel and to avoid drawing the attention of Harkaj’s bodyguards. Harkaj demands his weapon back, which Zil’dejin stole after their last encounter. Zil’dejin drives it into the ground and tells him he can “have it back when it’s over.” One of Harkaj’s bodyguards gives him a spear, which he coats in poison using some power from his Mark. The fight begins, a brutal and blindingly fast exchange of blows.

Meanwhile, Derli and Rilic arrive in the teleportation circle on the third floor of the Tower of Night. The procession, consisting mainly of lizardfolk and dragonborn bearing the Mark of Poison and carrying (or bearing in their flesh) dusk shards, is already proceeding in a steady line up the stairs. Derli immediately leaps into combat, hacking away at the lizardfolk, while Rilic blasts them with his “magic.”

Back at the Demonglass Observatory, Zil’dejin and Harkaj continue to trade blows. Both are wounded and tired, and ZIl’dejin’s body is sustaining some of Harkaj’s poison. Iadoes catches sight of the “box” he delivered earlier behind the dragonborn bodyguards and reaches for it, only to have the bodyguards stop him. He casts moonfire, his most powerful spell, killing all of them outright, but apparently destroying the box as well. He falls to the ground and sifts through the resulting sand.

As the decisive blow is about to be dealt by either Zil’dejin or Harkaj, Zil’dejin begins to challenge Harkaj’s intentions. Harkaj responds at first with rage, blaming Zil’dejin for his need to succumb to the Poison Dusk by crippling him, but Zil’dejin persuades him to see that he has abandoned his purpose and his identity as a dragonborn. He convinces Harkaj to abandon the duel and fight back against the Poison Dusk. Harkaj retrieves his weapon.

“As I said, you would get it back when it is done,” Zil’dejin says. Harkaj nods, and the two head to the Great Circle to stop the ritual in progress.

Iadoes teleports himself to the Tower of Night to join Rilic and Derli. Here, he follows them up to the tall section of the tower Conlon encountered before, where a spiral staircase ascends what should be several floors of the tower, and the sponge-like walls hold countless dragonshards. The procession is putting more dusk shards in as they arrive, and Derli can feel a dark power being channeled upwards. He and Rilic distract and engage some of the Poison Dusk before Iadoes calls an ice storm that kills every Poison Dusk creature in the room at about the same time.

While this is happening, Zil’dejin and Harkaj throw themselves through the Poison Dusk gathered around the Great Circle, where the Khyber shard containing Jochimus’ soul has been set. Yrkhetep watches from an easy chair nearby with passive interest. Zil’dejin paralyzes several of the dragonborn there with his paralyzing breath, and grabs the shard in time to see a sort of “cloud” of souls approaching, the result of Iadoes killing so many creatures at the same time during the ritual’s performance. Not wanting to take any risks, Zil’dejin accepts the soul of Jochimus into himself, stopping the ritual as it is.

Back in the Tower of Night, Derli feels a powerful fiendish presence in the floor above, so they ascend the icy stairs (carefully) into the next room, where one of the fragments of Masvirik’s consciousness await. He tries to barter with the party to return the staff and try to activate the Tower of Night, insisting that he won’t awaken, just be a bit empowered. He almost manages to tempt Iadoes by giving him the box, which appears to contain the Chaos Gear, much to Iadoes’ delight. However, Derli snatches it from his hands and the box turns to sand. Iadoes falls to the ground again. They ultimately refuse Masvirik’s offer, and when Zil’dejin stops the ritual, Masvirik’s fragment explodes into a cloud of potent poison, and Iadoes manages to rouse himself before being killed while the three descend the tower.

At the Great Circle, Zil’dejin and Harkaj stop the Poison Dusk dragonborn from ending their lives, and convince them to follow Zil’dejin into Rhashaak’s lair to deal with the dragon and slow or stop the spread of the Poison Dusk. When they enter, Rhashaak appears sickly, and he tells them that the ritual’s interruption has momentarily weakened Masvirik’s hold on him. He says he can be killed without the interference of the demon half of him, and presents his throat to Zil’dejin, who decides to take the opportunity.

After he kills Rhashaak, the Poison Dusk dragonborn begin to burn with green fire that spreads from their Marks of Poison. As they leave the room, which is quickly filling with the corrupt poison cloud, many die before they even escape the lair. Harkaj is the only one to make it back to the Great Circle, where he thanks Zil’dejin for convincing him to abandon what he was doing and wishes him success in his conquests before he, too, dies. Masvirik’s consciousness fragment then appears above the Great Circle’s center, the farthest distance he can extend his influence in his current state.

Zil’dejin says that he didn’t want to kill everyone, he just wanted to save them. Masvirik suggests he might be able to do just that, but the spread of the Poison Dusk requires what he calls a “fulcrum,” a point on which the corruption is anchored. His prakhutu is meant to serve this purpose, which was until very recently Rhashaak. He hints that Zil’dejin could stem the corruption if he became the demon’s prakhutu, at least until he is overtaken as Rhashaak was about to be. Zil’dejin considers this offer carefully.

In the Tower of Night, meanwhile, the party flees down the stairs and arrives at the first floor: the spiraling labyrinth. Derli takes the lead in leaving but triggers a magical symbol trap, and falls unconscious. In punishment for what he perceived as taking the Chaos Gear away from him, Iadoes casts banishment on Derli, failing to realize that his recent arm transplant has shifted his apparent native plane. Derli is transported instead to Gehenna, a sort of sub-plane of Mabar. Iadoes and Rilic wait for a while for him to reappear, and eventually are forced to flee the tower as the poison cloud spreads towards them. Rilic is afflicted by magical fear, but both manage to escape and arrive at the Great Circle.

They speak with Zil’dejin about his recent offer, and he eventually decides to decline. Around this time, Yrkhetep rises from his seat and approaches, suggesting that he knows where Derli is. Iadoes reveals that he has Yrkhetep’s stolen goods, which leads to something of a standoff in trade negotations for the information on Derli’s location.

Derli, meanwhile, awakens to daemons, who appear to be performing open surgery on him, attempting to replace one of his lungs. He sends one running in fear and wards himself with a magic circle created by his Mark of Warding until another daemon, a skeletal one that Derli initially mistakes for death, appears and informs him that his lung has been eaten by the fearful arcanadaemon. He persuades Derli to let the ward down and allow him to replace his lungs with daemonic creations.

The party back in Eberron reaches a conclusion to the negotiations when Iadoes attempts to taunt Yrkhetep by flipping through his stolen book, which captures his mind in the pages. Rilic takes over negotiations and agrees to surrender the stolen items if Iadoes is freed and Derli’s location is revealed, and Zil’dejin tacks on the condition that his wings be attached. Yrkhetep agrees to do all this and even open a portal to Derli’s location, seemingly without further condition, though when he attaches Zil’dejin’s wings he steals a vial of the dragonborn’s blood. He then prepares to open a portal, which he warns he can sustain for only one minute.

In Mabar, Derli is suffering greatly as he resists an attempt to put him to sleep so strongly as to remove all numbness in his body. He is now feeling the entirety of the gruesome procedure. The skeletal thanadaemon is speaking with him the whole time and is trying to persuade him to “submit to his grooming” and meet with the Oinodaemon to form a pact. He speaks of this as a great honour, though Derli does not regard it as such. Never the less, he eventually agrees to meet the Oinodaemon, and he falls away into whiteness at the same time the party enters the portal.

Zil’dejin discovers he can speak Abyssal while he is looking for Derli, interrogating lesser daemons in the tower. Derli, meanwhile, sees a black point in the whiteness form into a terrifying face, which commands him to submit to a pact and enter the Tournament of Blades. Among other things, his arguments include making the ultimate sacrifice in service of his faith and his god, and Derli faces a deep internal conflict which finally gives way to consent to the pact. A golden dagger materializes in the air, and Derli cuts himself deeply with it, feeling the pact setting in.

He returns to the tower in Mabar in time to escape through the portal with the rest of the party, and as he does so, he can feel the power of his faith waning, being replaced by some other sinister force. Meanwhile, Yrkhetep leaves using the magic doorknob to open what appears to be a door to Mabar, and passes through.

Following this, the party finds their airship at the foot of the now mostly-empty Haka’torvhak’s main gate, where apparently Harkaj’s Poison Dusk procession hijacked the ship and landed it. They speak briefly with Frances d’Lyrandar and, with the help of the crew, begin carrying out the contents of Rhashaak’s hoard, including several minor magical items and an amount of gold and treasure equal to more than 2.5 million gold pieces. When all has been loaded, they prepare board the airship to fly back to Eros when they are stopped by Talbot. He mentions that he has found the approximate location of the Eclipse Keep: it is in Content Not Found: kythri, near or in a ruined city called “Illandyano,” which is near a githzerai monastery that was once devoted to protecting the Chaos Gear. With this information, they depart for Grey Titan’s Hold.

Zarantyr 28, 1001 YK

Landing in an open space in Grey Titan’s Hold, the party meets with Coref Irvallo who informs them again that Nimozaran the Green has gone missing. He also mentions some upset in the kingdom with Rein Colworn leaving to take the role of his late father Rand Colworn, an attempt at usurpation of Derli’s cathedral to Dol Dorn, and some instability in Breland. He suggests the council speak with Rickard Mancuso, though Derli instead goes to the cathedral, where he encounters Ser Tabin Hamson again. She is attempting to take over his army and his role as the head of his church, which he challenges, and demands his shield back.

Speaking with Mancuso, the others discover that most of Breland’s elected ministry has either walked out or been killed, leading to an unprecedented huge power imbalance in that the majority of the parliament is now composed of noble ministers. Mancuso informs them that the parliament is making some sort of bid to restore the monarchy and reclaim stability, and that one of the last three remaining elected ministers, Ruken ir’Clarn, is staying at the Pork and Pint, Grey Titan’s Hold only inn. They go to meet him, and he informs them that the parliament has established two candidates for the monarchy: Aejar ir’Wynarn, the one-armed eldest son of King Boranel ir’Wynarn, and Bortan ir’Wynarn, Boranel’s second son who is the minister of finances in Breland. Ruken pleads with the party, as technical members of the noble ministry, to back Aejar. Zil’dejin requests a meeting with the putative heirs, to which Ruken agrees, and tells the party to find him in Wroat at their nearest convenience. He also mentions that someone named Saal Perryn is claiming to the legitimate successor to Jovi ir’Kade, and that he wishes to speak with Rilic. Perryn is also located in Wroat.

Zil’dejin then convenes the royal council, where some minor decisions are made and Farthing Meohlden facilitates the transfer of the party’s recent monetary acquisition from Haka’torvhak into kingdom-usable funds. Some warforged settlers, refugees from the Becoming God, also arrive, and are officially welcomed. They bring with them a finger of the body built for their god.

Finally, at the cathedral, Derli and Hamson square off, preparing to duel for the shield, the cathedral, and the Hammer of Dol Dorn.



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