The Hands that Move the World

Ordinance II: Divide and Conquer

Nymm 7, 1002 YK

The party visits Merrix d’Cannith in Wroat to inquire about the status of their items. Zil’dejin receives a new crown, Derli gets a new set of armour, and Rilic obtains a new wand, but the rings are not yet ready due to a need for extended production time following a contribution by an unknown benefactor. When they return to the Eclipse Keep, they split into two groups: one consisting of Conlon, Kaleth, and Rilic, and the other consisting of Zil’dejin, Lucan, Derli and Indicus.

Solar Eclipse (aka Team Martial)

Zil’dejin, Lucan, Derli and Indicus join the bladeling ambassador Last Echo as he takes them to his home city of Zoronor in Shavarath, where they hope to use the titan Komios’ Adamantine Fortress to make a stand against the Inevitables. Here, the party goes to speak with Iron Feather, the bladelings’ priest-king, who is the only bladeling that can speak directly with Komios. Because Girrrth is now dead, Komios demands the party exhibit a new display of strength: they are to lead a troop of bladeling mercenaries to aid the archons capture the nearby “Sphere Valley,” where a battle has raged for nearly two centuries between demons, devils, and archons. Zil’dejin persuades the priest-king to try and convince Komios that this is unnecessary, but Komios does not budge.

The party leads a small group of reinforcements for the mercenaries through the Blood Forest outside of Zoronor, weathers a shredstorm (a storm of whirling blades), and meets with the archons’ leader in Sphere Valley, Solas. Solas wants them to perform two tasks: destroy the gate the demons are using to reinforce, and slay the devils’ general Lagrish. After that, the archons will charge in with the party and the bladelings to break the eponymous sphere of the valley and capture its contents. They go for the former first, with Zil’dejin leading the ground troops, Derli clearing a path for them, Indicus leading the ranged troops above, and Lucan scouting. They make it to the gate with heavy casualties and destroy it, with Zil’dejin and Indicus escaping to safety as the gate ruptures. Derli enters the thick of combat and summons a detachment from his daemon army, which crashes in on the Testament of Sin, raining blades on the battlefield before it crashes into the glyph-covered stone sphere (as the ship has no power source).

Meanwhile, Indicus and Zil’dejin attack the devil general, but they are too late; Lucan destroys the sphere, revealing the activated Rage Shard inside. The valley splits open and the Rage Shard falls into the gap, which burns with red fire. Derli and Lucan escape, as do most of the retreating devils and archons. Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame emerges from the gap, holding the Shard in one hand. In a fury, he begins attacking everything nearby indiscriminately.

Lunar Eclipse (aka Team Magic)

Conlon, Kaleth, and Rilic go to Sanzerathad, the githzerai monastery that acts as an island of stability in the chaos of Kythri. They wish to open a breach by enlisting the aid of the slaadi deity, the Lord of Entropy. They follow Issithertha into the monastery, past a now-insane Zitholt, and to a stream of chaos used by the slaadi on their last raid. The party follows this to the strange fortress of Ygorl, the Lord of Entropy, and meet the slaadi god and the fallen dragon-god and probable patron of Tethris: the brass dragon Ryssk.

Ygorl agrees to sending his slaadi in through a breach if the party makes it to the “Obficinium” in Fractal, something like a capital city for the Inevitables. The Obficinium is the birthplace of the Inevitables, and is revered like a holy site. Conlon’s Mystic Arcanum of finger of death is replaced by precipitate complete breach for this purpose. Kaleth shifts the party to Fractal, and they disguise themselves as Inevitables. They make it most of the way to the Obficinium before they are discovered and the cover the remaining distance quickly, closing the door behind them as they enter.

Here they meet Creator, an axiomite who claims to have designed the first Inevitables some 60,000 years ago using the Rod of Order. He wants the Rod back, and the party decides to give it to him in exchange for him stopping Vindicator, another axiomite who is partially responsible for leading the Inevitables’ assault on the party. It is also revealed here that the Chaos Gear is “orbiting” Rilic. Vindicator enters as Conlon is preparing to return the Rod of Order so that Creator can make a new Primordial Inevitable, and tries to stop it from happening. Conlon gives it back anyway and Vindicator leaves, claiming the Collective has “damned itself” by giving power back to Creator.

Creator ushers the party through a portal, which apparently leads to Fort Earthpass in the Mournland. Sturmreiter is there to greet them as Creator fashions a new head for the Becoming God. As it comes to life, it is transformed into a new Primordial Inevitable of unknown purpose.

Main Characters: Zil’dejin Firebane, Lucan Vrinsk d’Medani, Derli d’Kundarak, Conlon Ostrennar, Rilic Balendal, Kaleth, Indicus


Nymm 7, 1002 YK

After the Tablet of Censure falls in Grey Titan’s Hold, the party quickly makes their way back to Wroat to speak with Merrix d’Cannith about the items they commissioned from the Equilibrius. The set of rings are not ready, because they were put back in the device after a “substantial contribution of magic items” by an anonymous benefactor. Merrix does not know the man’s name, but remarks he was wearing a cloak and daggers. The party initially suspects Vice Harbringer (except for Kaleth, who suspects the Prime Jester), but after they discover he was not wearing any rings, Zil’dejin suggests it might have been Talbot. Regardless, the other magic items are given:

  • Zil’dejin receives the Crown of Swords (made from his Golden Crown of Battle Command and his magic horned helm).
  • Derli receives a suit of Fortress Plate (made from his Teleporting Legion PLate, Battleforged Shield, and Bracers of Mighty Striking).
  • Rilic receives a Wand of Confusion (made from a Wand of Silent Image and Tethris’ token).

With these things in hand, they return to the Eclipse Keep. The party’s casters — Kaleth, Conlon, and Rilic — finish collaborating on their research and settle on a trip to visit the slaadi Lord of Entropy, a godlike figure associated with planar breaches similar to the one they are trying to create in Daanvi to draw the Inevitables away. Kaleth plane shifts the three of them to Sanzerathad, while the others meet with Last Echo, who transports them to Zoronor where the Adamantine Fortress of Komios has just passed by overhead.


SOLAR ECLIPSE

aka “Team Martial” : Zil’dejin Firebane, Lucan Vrinsk d’Medani, Derli d’Kundarak, Indicus

In Zoronor, the streets between the spiked buildings are alive with celebration. The Adamantine Fortress of Komios sits above the city, casting a shadow over the seat of the bladelings’ priest-king. Last Echo takes the party members to see this priest-king, a man named Iron Feather. The temple is a tall building, covered in blades of fallen enemies worked into the mortar. Iron Feather awaits them just inside, where tells them that, as the only one of their people who can communicate directly with Komios, he is responsible for passing on the titan’s message. Because Girrrth has died, Komios no longer owes the party any favour, but is willing to allow them to use the Adamantine Fortress provided they can prove themselves with a test of strength and skill.

Zil’dejin convinces Iron Feather that they do not need to do any such thing, thanks to their affiliation with Girrrth, citing his final act of strength. Iron Feather decides to speak with Komios again, and so he calls some of his priests over and engages in a semi-friendly melee with them. Once the battle is over he falls into a fit of religious convulsions, and when this is finally over he regretfully informs the party that Komios does not see things their way. Komios wants them to lead about thirty bladelings to join a larger detachment of their people acting as mercenaries in a nearby valley. The valley is a point of contest between devils, demons, and archons. It is called “Sphere Valley” by the bladelings for the huge, glyph-inscribed sphere that floats above the valley’s center.

The bladelings have been hired by the archons, who believe there is something inside. They want to destroy the sphere and recover the item within so they can move it to safety, away from the fiends. The party members join the thirty archons waiting to join the others, and allow them to lead the way through the Blood Forest surrounding Zoronor: a dense network of vines and trees covered in razor-sharp bark that is hard as iron. Once they are clear of it, they begin heading towards the archons’ fort.

Roughly halfway to the fort, in a space of mostly-open waste near a thicket of blade-trees, the horizon begins to darken and the bladelings start panicking. Zil’dejin orders them to tell him what is happening, and they fearfully inform him that a large shredstorm is coming their way: a storm of animated blades and weaponry. Lucan and Indicus hide among the trees, with Lucan using psionic power to compress his body into a small space. Zil’dejin and Derli begin tearing into the trees in the thicket, shearing off huge sheets of the hard bark and using it to create large wall-like shields. They quickly assemble a moving fortress of spike-covered bark and get inside, with Zil’dejin ordering the men. The shredstorm passes with no casualties whatsoever.

Eventually, they reach the fort being used by the archons. The other bladelings of Zoronor are camped outside the walls, as the archons will not permit them entry. When the party is discovered by one of the legion archons, their commander, Solas, is brought to see them. Solas tells them that they were hired to assist in a move intended to end the two hundred year-long Battle of the Sphere. The party’s involvement is to be twofold: they need to destroy the gateway the demons are using to reinforce themselves, and they need to kill Lagrish, the commander of the devils whom they are extremely dependent upon. Once these two objectives are complete, the archons will charge in with the bladelings and the party to destroy the sphere, grab its contents, and retreat to safety.

The Solar Eclipse decides to go for the demons’ gate first. Zil’dejin, with Derli at his side, takes two hundred of the three hundred bladelings and drives into the valley. Indicus stays up top with the remaining troops who have ranged weapons and boulders to push down below, while Lucan flies above with a couple of archons to scout.

The two hundred bladelings in the valley are hugely outnumbered by the demons, but have a few small advantages. First, many of the demons are distracted by fighting the devils and the archons, and second, they still have the blade-tree shield walls made for them by Zil’dejin and Derli during the shredstorm. Zil’dejin leads an aggressive push with Derli just ahead of the army, clearing a path by cleaving through demons. The bladelings shove through, the shield wall holding but steadily weakening under the force of the onslaught. Indicus’ troops are forced to protect Lucan before they can assist the ground forces, as he and his archon escort come under attack by flying demons. When he is safe, the demons below begin breaking through the shield walls, killing some of the bladelings. One of the archons escorting Lucan is brought down, and Derli begins to slow in his assault. The army, however, is nearing the end of the valley and the gate the demons are coming from.

Zil’dejin rallies the men for one last push as Indicus orders the pushing of the first cascade of boulders down to help the bladelings make it through. Despite the party’s best efforts, most of the bladelings are killed in the final push as the shield walls break and the demons rip them apart. Fewer than ten soldiers are still alive when they reach the gate, but Indicus strategically orders a wall of boulders to be set up behind them, preventing the demons from coming back to the gate from the valley. Meanwhile, Lucan and Derli clear a space around the gate: Lucan with a storm of psionic crystal fragments, and Derli with his axe. As Zil’dejin reaches the gate, Indicus shifts into the Ethereal Plane and shadow walks to the rest of the Solar Eclipse’s location.

They discover four large Khyber shards keeping the gate held open, and decide to destroy them. Each of the four party members present takes a different one. Zil’dejin, Derli, and Indicus manage to smash the ones they chose, each resulting in a blast of force that Indicus avoids, Derli gets hit by, and Zil’dejin partially endures. Lucan fails to break his, so Derli and Indicus rush to the point in the boulder wall where the demons are about to break through and hold the breach while Zil’dejin assists Lucan. Together, they break the remaining shards, causing the gate to burst in a slow-moving but deadly ball of abyssal fire. Derli reaches into a nearby boulder and pulls open a vault door constructed with his pact magic, and opens it, urging Zil’dejin and Indicus through. They escape to safety at the top of the valley. Lucan focuses, altering the timestream around him and pushing his body outside of time to protect himself. Derli moves himself into the middle of the horde of bar-lgura demons, using their bodies to protect himself but endangering his life as they hammer him with massive fists and gnashing teeth.

As he fights, he begins to feel a tense fury rising up inside of him. Realizing this for what it is, he releases it, ripping a burning portal in the sky above him. From this portal, the blade-covered Testament of Sin bursts through, raining blades down on the battlefield and killing demons, devils, and archons alike by the score. Without a source of power, it crashes into the stone sphere at the heart of the valley, cracking it before slamming into the devils’ chokepoint. Daemons pour out of the fallen vessel, joining Derli in combat. He has them clear a path for Lucan, and then orders them to hold a ring around the sphere for them to work with.

Meanwhile, Zil’dejin and Indicus meet back up with Solas, who tells them that with this development they have to act very quickly. The two of them go for Lagrish; Zil’dejin flies over the devils’ ranks while Indicus gathers the shields of a number of fallen soldiers and uses them to construct some temporary heavy (bladed) armour, and charges through the devil legion at full speed. The two of them reach the pit fiend at about the same time and attack at once, each fighter a blur of motion as they lay into the devil, nearly killing him. Despite the brutal assault Lagrish appears more focused on what is happening with the sphere, batting them away idly while he laughs to himself and watches events unfold.

Lucan has just struck the sphere with psionic force, shattering the glyph-covered stone that was cracked by the Testament of Sin. Immediately, the valey begins rumbling and splitting apart. Daemons, devils, demons and archons fall out of the chaos of battle and into the opening chasm, plummeting and burning in the bright right fire leaping from the gap. Derli flees to safety on Ruin with Lucan flying not far behind, while Indicus and Zil’dejin are safely removed. Lagrish sounds a retreat, and the surviving devils pull back, much as the archons do on Solas’ command. The demons keep attacking until they fall into the breaking valley.

The content of the sphere — a spherical Rage Shard — falls into the pit as well, but soon resurfaces with the prisoner it was holding in place: Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame , Derli’s Harbinger. In a rage, he sweeps over the survivors close to the now-ruined valley, slaying everything within his reach indiscriminately with his bare hands.


LUNAR ECLIPSE

aka “Team Magic” : Conlon Ostrennar, Rilic Balendal, Kaleth

The Lunar Eclipse arrives in Sanzerathad, where, just outside the gates of the githzerai monastery, they are met by Issithertha and her Blades of Discipline. She recognizes the party, but is cautious about their sudden appearance. While their last visit to Sanzerathad resulted in the monks regaining control over the Chaos Gear, they lost it not long after under mysterious circumstances, and its keeper, Zitholt, went mad. They explain that they are back only to use the monastery as a base while they go looking for the slaadi Lord of Entropy, a statement which shocks Issithertha. They argue about whether this is a good idea for a while until she finally caves and agrees to let them in to use a transient chaos current created during the slaadi’s most recent attack on the monastery, whom she believes to have been sent by the Lord of Entropy. Evil Iadoes peeks out from around the corner of the gate during the argument.

Walking through the monastery, they see Zitholt, who screams at them and makes a number of vague accusations at Rilic, suggesting that he is somehow connected to the Star of Chaos. The party brushes him off and he is carried away by several of the Blades of Discipline while Issithertha apologizes for his behaviour. They arrive at the far end of the monastery where the slaadi attacked, noticing a visible ripple in the air reaching up and away into the chaos of Kythri. Kaleth focuses and balances his feet on it, effectively “grinding” along the chaos current, similar to how the slaadi travel on them. Conlon uses his magic to lift himself up into the air and decides to move parallel to — but not inside — the stream. Rilic tries to concentrate to shape the raw chaos energies into a vessel of some kind, much as the party did during their last visit, but overdoes it and catapults himself directly into the chaos stream.

Rilic flies past Kaleth, and in his wake is Evil Iadoes. Kaleth races him until he is out of sight. Meanwhile, Conlon is caught in a shredstorm mirroring the one the Solar Eclipse is dealing with in Shavarath, and while he is able to fend it off at first he soon is forced to jump away from it into the chaos stream. Rilic is the first to arrive at the Lord of Entropy’s fortress: a mass of gigantic, multicolored spheres hurtling through the chaos, crashing against each other and sometimes phasing through themselves. A hole opens in one of the spheres to accommodate his arrival, and he is soon followed by Kaleth and Conlon. Evil Iadoes is nowhere to be seen.

Ygorl, the Lord of Entropy, is propped up in what looks to be an uncomfortable stance on the far side of the sphere. In a temporarily-adjoining sphere, an ancient brass dragon sleeps. Ygorl’s skeletal form unfolds as they arrive, revealing it to be almost the skeleton of many different creatures while simultaneously being an offense to the nature of all of them. Sounding bored, he asks the party what they want from him. They explain, and Ygorl expresses disinterest in what they are trying to achieve. He questions them about their motives for a time, and Conlon interacts with the brass dragon Ryssk, realizing that it was an ancient dragon god of the Seren people that went mad and slew its followers save for one. Conlon believes this one to be Tethris. After the side trek and more discussion with Ygorl, the Lord of Entropy at last settles on something: he is willing to push through a breach, provided that the party makes it for him in Daanvi, and that they do so in the heart of Fractal, something like the Inevitables’ capital. Their most sacred site — if they can be said to worship anything at all — is in a place called the “Obficinum,” from which their kind supposedly originated.

Before they prepare to go, Ygorl insists he teach them how to precipitate such a breach. Conlon is the one to receive this knowledge, and he trades the secret of Power Word Kill given to him by Eltimar for Ygorl’s magic of Precipitate Complete Breach. Armed with this power, Kaleth plane-shifts the party to the Obficinium.

Kaleth’s spell takes them to Fractal, but only near the Obficinium, not actually inside. The sprawling, orderly city is fairly monotonous in appearance, but is easy to navigate: the Obficinium’s location is clear, even though the party has never been them before. Kaleth uses magic to disguise them all as kolyaruts, and they begin making their way to their destination. A passing line of kolyaruts stops to observe them, but appear to be satisfied with the party’s deception. One of them even compliments Conlon on his orderly appearance before moving on.

As they descend through a building of unknown purpose and down a ramp to the open circular plaza surrounding the Obficinium, a group of flying centaur-like zelekhuts flies down to inspect them. Unlike the kolyaruts, the zelekhuts possess the power of truesight, and see through the illusions. They sound an alarm, prompting the party to make a dash for the Obficinium. Conlon taps his mythic power for a tremendous burst of speed and sprints across the plaza, arriving at the clamshell-like structure first. Kaleth and his mute time-clone follow, using magic to quicken their step. Rilic takes a meandering path around to avoid the zelekhuts pursuing the Kaleths, and while he is nearly caught himself, he makes it to the building with the others.

The door to the Obficinium opens specifically for Conlon, his hand leaving a silvery print on the door as it opens like an iris. It closes behind them, blocking the pursuing zelekhuts who seem reluctant to come closer anyway. The inside of the Obficinium is a vast, mostly-open space, littered with metallic frames that display images and blueprints in some sort of green-coloured particulate screen. The designs appear to range from buildings to machines to animate constructs, and serve all sorts of purposes. Some prototypes are scattered about as well, and while it is clear there is some sort of system of organization, it is not clear what that system is. The center of the room holds a great machine of polished silver and gold, with cables and pipes that run neatly around the room and either out of the Obficinium or into the floor below. Behind this is a wide platform, connected to the machine in some way.

Sitting at one of the work tables in the chamber is a bald male humanoid with bluish skin and three stark white eyes. He is manipulating the same glowing green dust that floats between the various screens in the room, forming triangles and constructing shapes with them. He remains seated as they enter, but beckons them closer, introducing himself by the name of Creator. The party notices he sheds the green dust when he moves, and Conlon asks him what he is. He says that he is an “axiomite,” a member of the race that created this city and many of the permanent structures in Daanvi. He states that they are few in number now, and many of the surviving axiomites are slaves of the daemons, but does not elaborate further on this.

Creator is quick to cut to the chase, revealing that he is the one who designed the first Inevitables, and that the machine in this building — and all of the Obficinium — was used to create these Primordial Inevitables. He is no longer permitted to leave the Obficinium, but does not elaborate on why. He explains that he used the Rod of Order to create the Primordial Inevitables, and that he believes he was the first to actually use the artifact; although it was given to him by somebody else (whose identity Creator refuses to give), Creator believes that this benefactor did not actually use it himself. He can feel the Rod of Order being carried by Conlon, and wishes to have it back to create new classes of Inevitables he has designed in the 60,000 years since the Obficinium was last active. He also mentions that he can feel the Star of Chaos “orbiting” Rilic.

In exchange for the return of the Rod of Order, he offers the Lunar Eclipse some assistance against the Inevitables that are threatening them. Another axiomite, named Vindicator, has gained leadership over a fairly large army of Inevitables, and is one of the main forces pushing for the Collective’s punishment. Vindicator has made it a point to live to the fullest the standards enforced by the Inevitables, and acts extremely dogmatically. Creator considers himself less dogmatic, but this is still by axiomite standards; he still believes very passionately in the need for strict laws. In discussing Vindicator’s nature, Creator also reveals that Vindicator once held the Rod of Order as well, having reclaimed it from whomever took it from Creator. Again, he does not expand on this point.

The party talks things over and agrees to surrender the Rod of Order, largely on Kaleth’s belief that it rightfully belongs here and on Conlon’s desire to not be tempted to use the artifact again at any point. As he prepares to put it into the machine at the center of the Obficinium — by Creator’s request, so that he will not be tempted to use it for himself — Rilic casually converses with Creator and unveils a secret he has been keeping: the Rod of Order has the power to control the Inevitables. Even in light of this, they intend to proceed, and are just about to when the door opens again.

Vindicator steps through with a pair of Inevitables of a type the party has not yet seen: huge six-armed entities, with four arms holding weapons and the other two holding orbs of energy. They hover above the ground on either side of Vindicator, who demands the party surrender the Rod of Order to him instead. He cautions them that Creator’s intentions are detrimental to the universe, not just to the Inevitables threatening the party, and that it will cost them all greatly if he is allowed to reactivate the Obficinium. Conlon ignores him and does it anyway. Vindicator shakes his head, mentioning that he will probably no longer need to mobilize his forces against the party after what Creator is about to do. He turns around and leaves with the Inevitables he came in with, identified by Creator as lhaksharuts.

Creator immediately sets to work as the complex device spins to life. Grabbing one of the blueprints (greenprints?) seemingly at random, he assembles what appears to be a doorframe, the parts materializing out of thin air on the platform. When it is finished, a misty landscape is visible beyond. He urges the party to go through and “see what [they] have helped to create”. They are suspicious at first, but Creator insists that it is safe, and they have not known him to lie, so they go through.

They find themselves in Fort Earthpass in the shadow of the headless body of the Becoming God, built by the warforged here. Sturmreiter, their priest, meets them, marvelling at its grandeur as another portal opens. Creator appears, towing on a floating disc a huge metal head, somewhere between that of a warforged and a kolyarut. He says something quietly to Sturmreiter, who nods, and cranes are brought out to pull the head up to the top of the body.

Creator explains that he chose this body to be the first of a new wave of Primordial Inevitables, though he does not yet mention what law it is intended to enforce. As the head takes its place on the body’s shoulders, it rumbles to life, pulling itself free of the struts that previously held it up. Rilic muses about the nature of the Becoming God, as it is not fully warforged or Inevitable, while the others express concern over what they have just started.

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