The Hands that Move the World

Blood Ties VIII: Haka'torvhak - Dragon's Lair

Zarantyr 26, 1001 YK

The party delivers the prisoner to Talbot and ask for information on the location of the Eclipse Keep in exchange. He agrees, and tells them that the Chaos Gear has gone missing. He mentions he will keep them posted before he leaves. Meanwhile, Marlamin fights Ser Tabin Hamson, and is narrowly defeated. Yrkhetep nurses him and Derli back to health, and demands Derli’s arm-ring as payment, which he receives. The rest of the party then arrives and deals with him for a time, and he eventually decides to give Derli a new arm. Marlamin cuts off the old one, and he receives a new daemonic arm, to his displeasure. Zil’dejin requests wings, which Yrkhetep agrees to if they bring him the soul of Jochimus.

The Collective finds Jochimus at the Great Circle, conducting some sort of ritual to weaken Masvirik’s bonds. They fight him here and trap his soul, and soon after fight the vavakia overseer of the Hall of Watchers. Unariel then arrives, asking for the soul, but they refuse. She instead asks them to get a package for her from the Temple to Khyber, which is controlled by a beholder. They agree to this, but first deliver the stone back to Yrkhetep. Zil’dejin gets wings (though they are not attached to him in any way) and Marlamin is taught the blood rage spell. During the night, Namfoodle and Iadoes try to steal from Yrkhetep and get the stone back, but Namfoodle is killed by a trap in the process.

Zarantyr 27, 1001 YK

The party regroups at the Great Circle and enters the Temple to Khyber. Iadoes makes himself invisible and attempts to find the man with the package while the rest of the party stalls the self-important beholder, Sekarva. Iadoes then has a bizarre and hallucination(?)-filled conversation with Raveth Funa’Koshe, but retrieves the package. The party then leaves the beholder’s presence with some convincing by Rilic, and deliver the item to a confused Unariel. She takes them to the Demonglass Observatory, where Rhashaak awaits. He says he will welcome death but doesn’t know what will happen if he dies, and that he probably can’t stop himself from fighting his death.

As he enters his lair and waits for his death, Unariel comes in and pleads with them not to kill the dragon. The party decides just to incapacitate him instead, and as they enter his lair they hear the sound of drums outside. Unariel mentions something about a procession arriving, before the doors behind the party are closed.

Main Characters: Zil’dejin Firebane, Marlamin Tarmikos, Derli d’Kundarak, Iadoes Lunaformer, Namfoodle “the Badger” Nackle, Rilic Balendal


Zarantyr 26, 1001 YK

Zil’dejin, Iadoes, Namfoodle, and Rilic descend the low mountain bearing Haka’torvhak and arrive in a cleared section of the jungle, seemingly host to dozens or perhaps hundreds of battles in the past. On the edge of this huge clearing, a campfire is visible in the approaching dusk. A small tent stands beside it, and they approach. When called, Talbot appears from the shadows themselves. The party then presents him with the demonmarked human they recovered from the city the day previous.

Talbot thanks them and explains that he was not entirely honest before; the Chaos Gear is not, in fact, intact. It has gone missing some time ago, despite the supposed impossibility of that happening, and he tells the party he will let them know more when he discovers it. In exchange for delivering the man to him, the party asks for him to locate the Eclipse Keep, which he promises to do. Talbot then opens a shadowy portal and steps through with his prisoner, while the party goes back to Haka’torvhak.

Meanwhile, Marlamin Tarmikos faces off with Ser Hamson of the Sovereign Host. The fight is shot and brutal on both sides, but Hamson triumphs.

Derli and Marlamin awaken to Yrkhetep. Yrkhetep demands payment for restoring them to health, and asks for Derli’s new arm-ring of regeneration. Derli eventually caves and gives it to him, and Yrkhetep casually mentions that he has taken vials of their blood while they were unconscious. The rest of the party returns to the city at about this time, and arrives in the Hall of Commerce. Here they briefly confront Yrkhetep, who weasels his way out of the situation and offers Derli an entire new arm to replace his hand (though he will not give back the ring, as he wishes to return to the Teardrop Palace as soon as possible). Derli is eventually pressured into accepting, and Marlamin cuts off his arm at the elbow. Yrkhetep immediately inserts some sort of daemonic insect into the wound, which grows a new daemonic arm covered in metallic scales and tipped with claws. A small eye opens on the back, which Yrkhetep explains is a sort of tracking mechanism.

Zil’dejin barters for some wings like Derli’s arm, which Yrkhetep agrees to, provided they get a soul for him. He gives them a soul-trapping stone, and they are given two options: get the soul of the vavakia demon overseer of the Hall of Watchers, or get the soul of Jochimus, the general of Masvirik, the Cold Sun. For the latter, they are offered an additional favour, so this is what they choose. They learn that Jochimus is currently in Haka’torvhak, to be found at the Great Circle conducting some kind of ritual. They go there at once.

Jochimus is sacrificing lizardfolk and dragonborn by the dozens to power the dusk shards surrounding the Great Circle, though the purpose of it is, at this point, unknown. The party pushes through the crowd (save for Rilic and Iadoes, who stay towards the back) and engage him in combat. All around them, lizardfolk and dragonborn kill themselves and each other to further the ritual, gradually powering the pillars. A well-placed paralysis casting by Rilic freezes Jochimus in place, allowing the party to damage him enough that his body is destroyed. His soul, however, is captured in one of the dusk shard pillars. At the same time, the vavakia demon shows up with an escort to stop the party, so some of them engage him while Derli works on shattering the pillars. The vavakia breathes a cloud of corrosive spent souls, which nearly kills Iadoes and eats away at his own essence. When the fight is over, he discharges one of the pillars and absorbs the souls into himself to repair the damage done.

Derli manages to shatter the pillar containing Jochimus’ soul and traps it in the stone given by Yrkhetep. They are then visited by Unariel, whose residence is on the edge of the court of the Great Circle. She asks for the soul stone in exchange for both an audience with Rhashaak, and a sealing on one of the crystal flame daggers used by Jochimus for Marlamin to use as a greatsword. They consider it, but instead decide to perform another favour for only the audience: they will retrieve a package for her, delivered by a human in the beholder-controlled Temple to Khyber, also near the Great Circle. She also reveals that the “poison” delivered to Marlamin was in fact completely harmless; she was lying about it killing him should he leave before Jochimus’ death.

Before doing this, however, they return to the Hall of Commerce to trade away the soul of Jochimus and rest for the night. Yrkhetep gives Zil’dejin his wings by ripping them from one of his nycadaemon guards (though does not attach them in anyway), and teaches Marlamin a spell called blood rage. During that night, Namfoodle and Iadoes conspire to rob Yrkhetep in hopes of getting the stone back to trade to Unariel. Iadoes makes Namfoodle invisible, and Namfoodle enters Yrkhetep’s chamber, distracting his guards and picking the lock on his chest of goods. However, opening it triggers a symbol of death, killing him outright. Iadoes watches as the nycadaemons take his body away, and sneaks in to loot the chest moments before escaping himself. His first teleport leads to him ending up in the wrong place, just in position to witness the daemons dumping Namfoodle’s body behind the Hall of Commerce. He teleports himself away again, this time to the Tower of Night, while the rest of the party sleeps at the Hall of Commerce.

Zarantyr 27, 1001 YK

The next day, the party finds Yrkhetep gone, as well as Ozorr, making them the only occupants of the Hall of Commerce. They leave the Hall (and Iadoes leaves the Tower of Night). They meet up outside of the Temple to Khyber, and find that the doors open for them as they approach, with sinister laughter coming from within. Various light spells are cast, and they enter to find a domed chamber patterned with obsidian “dragon scales,” at the center of which is a huge statue representing Eberron and Khyber. A beholder hovers behind the statue, providing the sinister laughter, and floats out when the party approaches. It announces itself as “Sekarva the Mighty,” and the party coaxes it into speaking about itself while Iadoes turns invisible and goes to explore the temple.

He arrives in a torus-shaped chamber with two doors: the entrance on the outside edge, and another door on the inside edge. The room is lit by purple candlelight, and coming around the chamber, he sees a tanned, bald human sitting at a desk, riddled with scars and tattoos. As Iadoes approaches, the man’s head turns around 180 degrees, and a confusing conversation begins that leads into a strange and twisting pathways of hallucinations (?) and confusing false outcomes, before he finally retrieves the package: a verdigris-covered copper box.

Iadoes leaves to rejoin the party, who then attempt to leave. Sekarva nearly stops them, but Rilic convinces him to do otherwise, and they depart. The package is delivered to Unariel, who seems a bit confused by its contents, but accepts it none the less. She sets it down and takes them to Rhashaak’s chambers, which are sealed off to outside access. Unariel confirms that they are certain about their choice, and then opens a portal to the inside. They pass through, and the portal closes. They arrive in a huge room, the walls of which are covered in shards of black glass of various size. The glass, called demon glass, displays images from all around Eberron in fleeting sequence. The massive half-fiend form of Rhashaak dominates most of the room, looking intently at one of the pieces of glass. He towers over the party, but leans in close to inspect them when he has finished observing whatever it is he is looking at.

Rhashaak greets them and confirms some of the information provided by Unariel: he was the guardian of Haka’torvhak thousands of years ago, but has slowly fallen to Masvirik’s corruption to the state he is in now. He hates what he has become, but seals himself away to prevent his situation worsening any further. He claims he would welcome death, but admits he does not know what effect this will have on the Poison Dusk — will it abate, or run rampant?

The party discusses their options for a while, and Rhashaak eventually opens a door to his personal lair, filled with his hoard of centuries. He lies down upon it and tells the party to come when they are ready. Unariel then enters, and pleads with them not to kill the dragon. They decide to try and incapacitate him, as was done some fifty years ago, which at the time slowed the corruption before Rhashaak regenerated and accelerated it further. As they are about to enter his lair, they hear the beating of drums outside, loud and rhythmic. Unariel mentions something about the “procession arriving,” but she cannot elaborate before Rhashaak closes the lair’s entry behind them.

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Manannan

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