The Hands that Move the World

Judicium Mortis I: Difficult Decisions

Eyre 12 – 15, 1002 YK

Back in Eros now, the Eclipse Collective gets word that tensions are mounting between Aundair and Thrane over the city of Thaliost. To help avert a war, Zil’dejin pays a visit to Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn in Fairhaven. She is extremely rude to him and refuses his help, but her brother, Adal ir’Wynarn offers Zil’dejin a chance to get involved by sending the Eran Legion disguised as mercenaries for the war effort in exchange for the aid of the Arcane Congress. Meanwhile, Rilic sends out word that he is looking for Talbot, and has a meeting with the man, where he learns that his brother’s journal was sold to Tamztur a few years back.

Eyre 16, 1002 YK

Kaleth and Derli go back to Hopelorn. Kaleth tries to learn an alternative way to defeat the atropals from Daroon, but the price of the Chaos Gear remains the same, so he changes the topic. Kaleth asks about Talbot‘s history instead, and trades his hourglass for it. He learns a bit about Talbot’s strange history and connection to the Staff of Three Dragons. At the same time, Derli goes to see Mellifleur in an attempt to recover the Ragdoll Killer to restore the power in the Amulet of Dol Dorn. Mellifleur refuses, but offers Derli a chance to become a death knight. Derli almost gives in, but refuses and joins Kaleth. He asks again for the Ragdoll Killer’s location, and Daroon offers it in exchange for the secret of the White Mountain, a volcano in Gehenna which is said to have a great mystery in its heart. Derli says he will investigate, and Kaleth trades the Rainbow Scarf of the Traveler for information about impending threats. Daroon mentions Mordakhesh the Shadowsword attempting to gather the pieces of his master’s prison, and notes a “shard” Mordakhesh has not found in the form of a human witch named Treona. He also mentions a group called the “Inevitables” which are considering persecuting the Collective for violating universal laws.

Eyre 19, 1002 YK

Zil’dejin meets with Jaela Daran about the Thaliost situation. She asks him to pledge political support to get Aundair to back down, which he will consider. He also goes looking for Vice Harbringer and is directed to High Cardinal Krozen. Krozen looks ragged and has a short temper, but Zil’dejin cannot prove a connection despite suspicions that he is being corrupted by the Dreamheart. Jaela tells him not to worry about it.

Eyre 22, 1002 YK

The party meets with Mordakhesh the Shadowsword and another prakhutu, Hektula the Bloody Scribe, about the ritual. Hektula suggests giving Charon the Chaos Gear to balance Mellifleur having the Rod of Order. Mordakhesh disagrees. They leave, and the party talks to Nimozaran the Green and Coref Irvallo. Coref suggests they stop allying with demons and seek help from angels instead. The party considers but refuses, and goes to the Teardrop Palace to begin the journey to Charon. Kaleth goes to look for Treona.

In the Teardrop Palace, they encounter Tamztur. He has sold Rilic’s journal, and when Derli trades his Helm of Teleportation he reveals that the buyer was Saal Perryn. Moving on, they find that the thanadaemon boatmen wish to charge them 200,000 g.p. per person for passage down the River Styx. Tamztur has come here on business of his own as well and offers to pay for the party if Derli uses his Horseman powers to interpret something for a client of his. Alternative offers include Yrkhetep trying to sell them a thanadaemon’s skiff in exchange for stealing a soul from another merchant and a boatman selling passage at an outrageously low price, supposedly to ingratiate themselves with Derli. They end up going with Tamztur’s offer.

They travel on the Styx to the Common Grave of Sheol, where the thanadaemon tries to charge them double with the threat of dropping them. Indicus ends up surrendering his soul for continued passage, and is promised he can buy it back later for a considerable price. They make it to the Oblivion Compass, where Tamztur wants Derli to do a reading. They go up with Zil’dejin and Derli interprets it, but goes mad and forgets what he saw, giving him an urge to kill to silence the ticking in his head. He tries to read back what he wrote but goes briefly mad again, remembering only enough to recall that it is (in part) a measure of the Horsemen’s progress. They go back to the boat.

The party makes it to Charon’s realm, the Drowning Court, a huge whirlpool peppered with chained islands. They must jump in to speak with Charon. Derli is the only one to do so, and finds out that Charon’s Harbinger, Hirnahdus, has committed a serious crime by killing one of the thirteen Grim Reapers. He is on trial in Dolurrh by three planar powers, and Charon wants the party to tilt the decision towards one of these powers and free Hirnahdus. Derli agrees, and rejoins the party after a week of subjective time during which he feels like he is drowning. It has actually been a few minutes.

Eyre 23, 1002 YK

They return to the Teardrop Palace and rejoin Kaleth. Indicus tries to buy back his soul, but it costs 2 million g.p. Tamztur offers three quarters of this fee, but Indicus must provide the rest. The party tries to sell the lamp containing Durzu Vatan, but instead end up bartering with a devil who wants to see somebody make a wish with it. Indicus wishes to become a king and is rewarded with 1 million g.p. worth of coins, but begins turning into High King Shaeras Vadallia of the Valenar elves, which will soon be irreversible.

Tamztur offers a solution: he has a genie that hates his corrupt cousins and will reverse the wish, but Tamztur wants something first. He wants all of Vice Harbringer’s magical items after learning that Zil’dejin was seeking the assassin out. The party grumbles but agrees, and Indicus goes to buy his soul back.

Main Characters: Zil’dejin Firebane, Derli d’Kundarak, Rilic Balendal, Kaleth, Indicus

Eyre 12, 1002 YK

Now back in Eros, the Eclipse Collective learns of mounting tensions between Aundair and Thrane, apparently concerning Thaliost again. Rumours suggest the tensions might lead to war, so Zil’dejin boards the newly-built lightning rail in Grey Titan’s Hold (in lieu of an airship), bound for Fairhaven. Rilic dispatches spies to Thaliost to keep an eye on the situation. He also sends agents out to various settlements, particularly in Eros, to spread word that he is looking for Talbot to find information on his brother Albard’s second journal.

Eyre 14, 1002 YK

Rilic is visited in his office by Talbot. Rilic asks Talbot about his brother Albard’s journal. Talbot tells Rilic that he was friends with Albard, but he had to sell the journal to the mercane merchant Tamztur a few years ago when he was in a difficult situation. Talbot asks Rilic if he would like Tamztur to be informed that Rilic is looking for him. Rilic tells Talbot that he would like just that, and Talbot takes his leave.

Eyre 15, 1002 YK

Zil’dejin reaches Fairhaven by lightning rail. When he disembarks, he heads for Fairhold to try and arrange a meeting with Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn. He is told at the gate that he must seek audience with the rest of the public, and will be given no special priority. He waits for more than two hours before he is finally waved in to the throne room. Aurala appears not to know who he is at first, and then “remembers” that he is king of Eros. She speaks of his kingdom with less than disdain, as though she does not recognize its legitimacy.

Zil’dejin offers his aid in the situation, and Aurala is quick to refuse. She knows of Zil’dejin, and feels that Eros’ armies are more like a barbarian horde than a military force. She feels distaste for what she feels are brutish and aggressive tactics, especially when a more gentle hand is needed, and believes Zil’dejin is not suited to diplomatic cunning. He leaves empty-handed and irritated, but before he gets out of Fairhold, a small escort of royal guards come to take him to see Adal ir’Wynarn, the queen’s brother and First Warlord of Aundair.

Adal looks the same as the last time Zil’dejin saw him, save for a scar on his face gained during his failed assault on Thaliost. He wants Zil’dejin to help him reclaim Thaliost for Aundair, against his sister’s wishes. To do so, he plans to disguise the Eran Royal Legion as a mercenary company. For this, he cannot give Eros any public recognition, but because he is the Minister of Magic he can give Eros the full cooperation of the Arcane Congress in any of its endeavours. Zil’dejin leaves, but promises to consider it.

He takes the highway to the east, bound for Flamekeep in the hope of a more fruitful visit to the leader of Thrane.

Eyre 16, 1002 YK

Kaleth and Derli return together to Hopelorn. Kaleth goes to the ghost-king Daroon’s sanctum, while Derli heads directly to the Circle of Silent Screams.

Kaleth has come to press Daroon about his secret alternative to defeating the atropal. As before, Daroon offers this knowledge only in exchange for the Star of Chaos. Kaleth briefly considers this but ultimately refuses. Recalling Rilic’s recent encounter with Talbot and his unanswered questions, he decides to ask for information on the agent instead. Daroon claims to know much about Talbot, having looked into him after he came to visit Daroon himself. For most of the information Daroon has to offer on that subject, Kaleth gives away his hourglass. In exchange, Daroon reveals some facts about Talbot: while he was working for Remelius Artauche, he was simultaneously working for the Chamber. In the past, he has worked for many such organizations, including even the Lords of Dust. Talbot’s employers are almost always secret or semi-secret organizations, and his work has usually involved the components of the Staff of Three Dragons in one way or another. As far as Daroon knows, he is human, and he is very old — much older than the average human, but Daroon does not claim to know his exact age. And, while Talbot presents himself as a rogue with martial talent, he is also a competent magic user, but again, Daroon does not know the depth of his abilities. Finally, he cautions Kaleth not to trust the man, as he is known to eventually betray those he aligns himself with.

Meanwhile, in the Circle, Derli finds the Cabal absent. Mellifleur appears after a moment, holding the Rod of Order like a scepter. Its usually-shining platinum is slightly tarnished near where he grasps it. Derli asks that Mellifleur release the Ragdoll Killer to him, because he wants to execute the man in order to allow himself to attune to the Amulet of Dol Dorn. Mellifleur refuses, offering no explanation. Derli asks again a few more times, and finally Mellifleur appears to reconsider. He mentions to Derli that, in the wake of the coup, a number of seats in the Cabal are still open. Derli lacks the arcane understanding to become a lich, but Mellifleur offers him the opportunity to become a death knight, earning immortality and a seat in the Cabal. In exchange, he — like Conlon — is subject to summons whenever Mellifleur deems it suitable, and is to be considered subservient to Mellifleur. Additionally, though such a pact would render Derli’s artifacts of Dol Dorn inert, Mellifleur promises to find him new ones suited to his new station. Derli considers this for a long time, almost bending when Mellifleur notes that Conlon will gain power unequal to Derli from his rise in the Cabal, but Derli continues to refuse and goes to meet Daroon with Kaleth instead.

Derli enters Daroon’s sanctum just as he finishes relaying information about Talbot. Derli asks Daroon for the location of the Ragdoll Killer, but Daroon is only willing to part with it in exchange for another secret: he wants Derli to go to the White Mountain of Mungoth, the volcano of Charon’s realm in Gehenna, and discover what lies at its heart. According to Daroon, this is a very well-kept secret. Derli tells Daroon that he will discover this for him.

Before they leave, Derli suggests they try and pry more secrets from him, and is especially interested in looming threats to them and to the world. Kaleth agrees, and Daroon demands a steeper price. Kaleth reluctantly gives him the Rainbow Scarf of the Traveler, much to the ghost’s delight. He reveals two important threats on the horizon: first, Mordakhesh the Shadowsword is gathering Rage Shards to attempt to free the Rage of War, and has already accumulated the majority of the fragments. There is one that he has not yet been able to find, but Daroon knows of: a witch outside the small fortress of Kiris Dahn named Treona has apparently absorbed the contents of one of the shards, which was split into nine fragments during the Giant Empire and used as weaponry called “Slaying Stones.” The last of these Slaying Stones was apparently recovered a few years previous, and Treona absorbed its power, effectively becoming a Rage Shard. The second threat Daroon describes involves some faction called the “Inevitables” from the plane of Daanvi, the Perfect Order. Apparently, they have set their eyes on the Eclipse Collective, believing them guilty of violating some essential laws of the universe, and are preparing to react.

With this new information, Derli and Kaleth take their leave of Daroon and Hopelorn, a few magic items lighter.

Eyre 19, 1002 YK

Zil’dejin arrives in Flamekeep by road. Upon arrival, he goes directly to the Cathedral of the Silver Flame, where he is met by a number of Knights Militant who inform him that if he wishes to speak with the Speaker of the Flame, he should arrange the meeting at least two weeks in advance. Just as he is about to be turned away, Jaela Daran, now a girl of sixteen, walks barefooted into the Cathedral’s nave to greet Zil’dejin. They speak informally about the situation between Thrane and Aundair, and Jaela expresses that it would be helpful if Eros were to pledge political (not necessarily military) support in an effort to get Aundair to back down. Zil’dejin says he will consider this, and takes his leave of Jaela.

Because he is already in Flamekeep, Zil’dejin decides to investigate the long-missing Vice Harbringer. He scours the city, inquiring with underworld and law enforcement alike, until finally one Knight Militant directs him to High Cardinal Krozen. He refuses to give more information, but suggests Zil’dejin look to Krozen. Zil’dejin returns to the Cathedral and seeks out Krozen, who he finds in the same office where Zil’dejin last spoke to him after giving up the Dreamheart. Krozen looks somewhat worse for wear compared to their last meeting — in particular, his nails are cracked and split in multiple places, and he keeps picking at them. Zil’dejin begins to grow suspicious of him as they talk, but Krozen does not yield any knowledge of Vice and begins to grow angry at Zil’dejin’s accusations. Before long, he surrenders the Knights Militant, who escort Zil’dejin out of the Cathedral again. Before leaving, he speaks with Jaela once more, and tries to warn her, but she seems unconcerned. He cautions her that the Dreamheart may be driving him mad with powerlust, but Jaela laughs it off and tells Zil’dejin not to worry.

Having no further leads, Zil’dejin boards the lightning rail once again and departs for Eros.

Eyre 22, 1002 YK

Nimozaran gathers the party in his usual way to inform them that Mordakhesh the Shadowsword has returned to the Eclipse Keep, and that he has brought another with him that Nimozaran believes to be a wizard of some sort. The party goes to the war room, finding the two rakshasa present in disguise. The newcomer appears to be a woman wearing heavy, dark robes and carrying an assortment of scrolls and tomes. Mordakhesh introduces him as Hektula the Bloody Scribe, prakhutu of a Demon Overlord called the “Keeper of Secrets”. The party relays to them the events that transpired during their visit to Hopelorn, selectively omitting certain details but letting slip that Mellifleur now holds the Rod of Order. Mordakhesh immediately chastises them for giving the Rod of Order to the Lichlord, telling them that giving him that degree of power could severely disrupt the ritual which requires careful tipping of the balance between death and undeath. Mellifleur having the Rod of Order could permit him to choose how the balance is shifted, which may have dire consequences. Hektula explains that there is no time to seek another to replace him, and suggests giving the Chaos Gear to Charon to even things out, explaining that they can set up the ritual such that they can at least hope to reclaim one of the artifacts. Mordakhesh is opposed to this, but the party appears to consider it. They speak for a time on their next move, and the party decides to continue forward with the original plan and retrieve the Horseman of Death for the ritual.

The rakshasa leave, and Nimozaran enters the war room with Coref Irvallo. Coref wants to caution the Collective against their current course of action, suggesting that the aid of the Lords of Dust is something they should avoid seeking entirely. He proposes that if they require help from supernatural entities, then they look to beings devoted to causes of good as opposed to evil, such as angels or archons. Nimozaran disagrees, stating his belief that they should continue on the course they’re on due to limited time, sunk cost, and the possibility of dead ends if they change the plan now. The party debates this for some time, with attending member taking sides with either Nimozaran or Coref and changing frequently throughout the discussion. Finally, they agree to continue as they were, and go on to meet with Charon. Kaleth uses a spell to plane shift the party to the Teardrop Palace in Gehenna, in order to find passage on the River Styx to get to Charon’s realm. After the party is sent off, Kaleth goes to investigate the witch Treona that Daroon told him was essentially a living Rage Shard.

The Collective arrives right in the middle of the Teardrop Palace, where all sorts of fiends wander the bazaar, mixed with the occassional human and other strange creatures. A variety of exotic and questionable goods are being hawked in a completely disorganized fashion, and thieves act openly, preying on consumers and vendors alike. The River Styx cuts through the central marketplace, where several skiffs are tethered in place, attended by thanadaemon boatmen offering their ferrying services. The party starts heading straight for the boatmen, but is cut off by a group of humans wearing armor that conceals their bodies and faces completely. They are escorting Tamztur, who has come here partially on business of his own and partially to seek out Rilic, as requested by Talbot. Rilic asks him for Albard’s journal, but Tamztur explains that he has already sold it to somebody else, but is not willing to give up the customer’s identity. Derli gives him his Helm of Teleportation, prompting Tamztur to reveal that while he does not know the client’s name, he was a mage of Breland who sought to depose Rilic as archmage and expose him as a fraud. Rilic quickly comes to the conclusion that the journal is being held by Saal Perryn. He thanks Tamztur, and the party goes to where the boatmen are waiting.

One of them quotes a price: 200,000 gold coins per head. The thanadaemons will only accept coins or souls, not trades or services. The party does not have this kind of money on hand, but Tamztur saunters up and offers to pay the full price in exchange for the party’s help in his business here: a client of his is looking for some information that can only be required from a certain location in Charon’s domain. This information, aside from being strictly localized, can only be acquired by one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and for this he needs Derli’s help. Tamztur is deliberately vague about the details, which makes the party uneasy, but seeing no alternative they agree. Tamztur claps his hands and announces that he must make arrangements for his men to deposit his dimensional chest safely in his home in the Drifting City of Union, and offers to meet them again in an hour. While they are waiting, they meet again with Yrkhetep, the arcanadaemon merchant they first met in Hakatorvhak. Yrkhetep offers to give them a skiff of their own with which to navigate the Styx. He suggests heavily that he has a thanadaemon bound somewhere while he uses the skiff, and he will sell it for the sum of 100,000 gold pieces, the equivalent in trade, or a service involving stealing a soul from a rival merchant. The Collective is skeptical, so Yrkhetep shows them the boat but refuses to offer any further information on the soul they are being asked to steal.

They go back to meet with Tamztur and are now leaning towards taking the arcanadaemon’s offer, an option pushed for particularly hard by Rilic. As they discuss this with Tamztur, trying to pry more information from him, a third offer appears in the form of a second thanadaemon, who offers to take them for one quarter the price. The only catch is that his boat contains others, and he “must make some stops.” The party still cannot afford this, and disregards it for now. Yrkhetep takes them aside and tells them that Tamztur is looking to visit a place called the Oblivion Compass, which, when mentioned to some other daemons present in the bazaar, yields mocking laughter and gleeful rubbing of hands and claws. Now feeling some distrust for Tamztur, the party argues about whether to go with him or steal the soul for Yrkhetep. Soon, the second boatman offers to take the entire party for 500 gold pieces total, mainly seeking to ingratiate himself with Derli, which most of the party finds to be extremely suspicious. This leads to a long argument about which way to approach the matter of transportation before they finally settle on going with Tamztur’s offer.

The Collective boards the skiff and heads down the river. After some time they approach a fork in the river. To the left, they see what appears to be an endless range of hills and mountains that on closer inspection reveal themselves to be mounds of fiendish corpses, mainly demons. Occasional movement stirs the Common Grave of Sheol, and periodically burrowing horrors break the surface before heading back into the depths of bodies. To the right, there is a serene-looking, calm lake with white shores, a sharp contrast to the hellish surroundings. The party chooses to go left, avoiding the Mere of Broken Angels. Midway through the open grave, they notice undead demons looking upon them hungrily, and the boatmen casually mentions that he believes now is a good time to renegotiate the terms of their arrangement. He wants double, but they still have no money and Tamztur no longer has access to his chest, so he has no money either. The boatman is willing to take a soul instead, but naturally the party is reluctant to offer one. Tamztur says he’s already sold his, and Derli offers his, but the grasp of the Oinodaemon prevents the thanadaemon from taking it. Finally, Indicus offers his and the thanadaemon takes it, offering to sell it back to him (at a high price) when they return to the Teardrop Palace.

After several hours, the skiff exits the Common Grave and winds around Mungoth, the White Mountain, the volcano Derli was asked to investigate by Daroon. From here, the Styx rolls down into the floodplains of Charon’s domain, a putrid flat waste from which a huge granite plateau rises. This, the boatman notes, is where the Oblivion Compass is found. He moves the boat ashore a short walk from the plateau’s base. Derli and Zil’dejin get off the boat with Tamztur, while Indicus and Rilic remain with the thanadaemon in the skiff. Derli’s group ascends a huge staircase that winds around the plateau, reaching the top after about an hour and a half. Tamztur steps off the small magic carpet he rode to avoid doing any sort of physical work and surveys the scene. While the plateau appeared from a distance and from below as a huge spire of solid rock, it is actually hollow, extending at least as far to the ground from the top with about two feet of space between the outer and inner edge. Near the top, a huge orrery turns with dozens of hands, pointers, and models of stars and planets, some unfamiliar. There is a clock of sorts at its heart, counting down slowly and intermittently. While it is unclear what it is counting down to, it is clear that there is a defined endpoint, and it is much closer to that than it is to the startpoint. Beneath the face of the orrery, countless gears and cogs of all sizes turn, driven by enslaved humanoid creatures who shed some sort of golden dust when they move.

Tamztur hands Derli a book to write his findings in, and asks him to focus and record what he sees. Derli concentrates, and begins to interpret the meaning of the device, writing almost automatically in Tamztur’s notebook. It does not take long before he is overwhelmed by what he sees and falls backwards. Tamztur pries the book from his grip while Zil’dejin helps him up. Derli retains no memory of his findings, but his mind is filled with a ticking, resembling the sound made by the clockface of the Compass. Instinctively, he knows that the only way to silence it is with mortal blood. He mentions the ticking dully while Tamztur prepares to lock up the book. Before he does, he hesitates, and asks if Derli or Zil’dejin would like to see what was written. Zil’dejin looks to Derli and then quickly refuses, but Derli insists he has to make sense of what he saw. He looks again, and spends the next ten minutes weeping, screaming, and laughing. He still remembers little of his interpreations, but has a sense of the Oblivion Compass’ purpose, or at least part of it. The clock is something of a progress meter for the Horsemen and the completion of their plans. Tamztur locks up the book, and they return to the skiff, where the thanadaemon is in the middle of telling Indicus how his soul is “stained with blood” when the others arrive. They waste no time in pushing off, and a couple of hours later, arrive at the Drowning Court.

The heart of Charon’s domain is at the confluence of six branches of the Styx. Where they meet, they fall away into a massive, pitch-black vortex of water, in which several masses of stone drift. Several more of these islands float through the air, and all are held together with huge chains of blackened iron. Most islands contain buildings, while the largest, which hovers in the exact middle and does not move, contains an immense black fortress. There appears to be no way to reach it, except perhaps for climbing the chains. The thanadaemon tells the Collective that, to obtain an audience with Charon, they must jump into the vortex. Derli leaps into the water almost immediately, resisting the initial shock and focusing to avoid the worst of the Styx’s memory-stealing effects. The others, seeing him plunge into the blackness, decide to just wait in the skiff.

In the water, Derli is visited mentally by Charon, who he feels as a presence but sees no image of. Derli concentrates, struggling to pull up the memory of his reason for coming there while the Styx attempts to tear it away. Finally, he reveals to Charon their intent. The Horseman of Death is willing to help, provided that the party bring his Harbinger, Hirnahdus, back to the Drowning Court. Hirnahdus has killed one of the thirteen (now twelve) Grim Reapers, symbolic representations of death, and is being brought to a trial of sorts by three cosmic forces of death. These forces include the reapers, emissaries of the Keeper (Dark Six god of death), and a group of beings called the “maruts”. Each wants a different punishment for Hirnahdus. Charon suggests that the murder was a terrible offense, and so it is very unlikely Hirnahdus will escape one of the three punishments, but hints that the party should try to sway them towards whichever punishment they will find easiest to undo. Derli agrees to this, and feels the presence leave him alone in the churning waters. He feels on the edge of drowning for what seems to be days, swirling around in the vortex before finally being thrown on shore, bedraggled and drained. To the rest of the party, Derli has been gone for a few minutes. They help him onto the boat and leave the Drowning Court to return to the Teardrop Palace.

Eyre 23, 1002 YK

When they get back to the Teardrop Palace, the Collective finds Kaleth waiting for them. He does not yet mention any of his findings regarding Treona, but offers to help the rest of the party recover Indicus’ soul from the thanadaemon. The daemon is charging two million gold coins for Indicus’ soul. Tamztur offers to pay three quarters of this, but says that he cannot offer more because his assets are mostly not in coin. The party is left to produce five hundred thousand gold coins on their own. Before they do, they encounter Ozorr, and purchase some narcotics from him: experimental stimulant from Vult he purchased from Tamztur for Zil’dejin, and pa’kkkh for some of the arcane casters.

Derli attempts to gain some of Indicus’ soul-fee by selling the lamp containing Durzu Vatan, but rather than a buyer, he finds a corruptor devil who is open about his nature, and tells Derli that he will pay him the coins he wants if he makes a wish — decided by the devil —using the lamp. The amount he pays, he says, will be proportionate to the wish Derli must make. Derli quickly refuses, but offers it to Kaleth to make a wish instead. Kaleth considers it, inquiring about some prices and the wishes they would give, but rather than accepting the consequences himself, gives the lamp to Indicus. He eventually settles on one million gold, which requires that he wish to become a king. He summons the corrupt genie from the lamp and makes the wish.

His body is enveloped in dark smoke, and when the smoke retreats, he has changed to the form of High King Shaeras Vadallia of the Valenar elves. The devil gives him his money and goes about his way, laughing gleefully to himself. Durzu informs Indicus that he will soon lose himself to the transformation and literally become the High King, except with all of his combat skills intact. Tamztur looks on with shock, and tells Indicus that he has a bottle in his possession containing a djinni that hates his corrupted kin and would gladly undo the wish. All he asks for the use of this bottle is that Indicus track down Vice Harbringer and retrieve all of his magic items, giving them to Tamztur instead.

The party grumbles about this and the unpleasant situation that just occurred, but agree to it anyway. Before they depart the Teardrop Palace, Indicus goes to the thanadaemon and purchases his soul back, pocketing the remainder.



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