The Hands that Move the World

Timeout II: Darkest Conlon and Defamed Rilic

Lharvion 4, 1002 YK

In Conlon’s “star” timeline, the party speaks with an impoverished-looking man named “Groab” to learn some facts about this timeline. Conlon won the Tournament of Blades here and made the other Hexblades into his thralls, called the “Broken Blades.” Eltimar killed every other star in the sky, including the sun, and Conlon became absolute ruler of Eberron and many of the planes. The party encounters one of the Broken Blades: Tethris. Mainstream Conlon convinces Tethris that he is Darkest Conlon, and has Tethris take them to his headquarters. They arrive at Darkest Conlon’s castle and speak with him, only to learn that most of his magical possessions (and those of the mostly-deceased Eclipse Collective) were broken down in the Equilibrius to make his Dracolich Throne, allowing him to read the thoughts and feelings of his subjects. All that’s left are the severed and scattered pieces of Morgue Conlonnar, which act as his living phylactery. The party leaves Darkest Conlon, and Kaleth teleports them to the Eclipse Keep, where an insane and drunk Lucan is partying with the dead bones of this reality’s Zil’dejin and Kaleth. Nimozaran the Green is here as well, crippled and blind. Nimozaran helps them find the hand of Morgue that Conlon left in the library, but their discovery of the item prompts the arrival of several of the Broken Blades. A fight ensues while Kaleth works on opening the slip gate, which he accelerates by allowing the Phane to pass through. The party escapes as the reality begins to be destroyed behind them.

Lharvion 5 – Lharvion 5, 1002 YK

Conlon and Lucan, who were killed in the fight against the Broken Blades, are restored to life by their connection to the Draconic Prophecy. Kaleth casts reality jump on Rilic, showing him two symbols: a manacle and a staff. He chooses the manacle, and they arrive in Breland in a reality where Rilic fled with the Phoenix Eclipse during the fight against the atropal Suhnen. In this reality, the Eclipse Collective was wiped out by the atropal, which then (together with Zenza) destroyed most of northern Khorvaire before being stopped by the Silver Flame. Rilic was exposed as a fraud and blamed for the destruction, and locked up in the notorious prison of Dreadhold. The party disguises themselves — some as prison officials, some as prisoners — and goes to Dreadhold, where they locate Defamed Rilic and become involved in his escape plot. The plot involves retrieving his staff and some mysterious packages (later revealed to be black mould biscuits to subvert antimagic). The party retrieves the items from their storage in the prison but causes a great deal of commotion. They manage to escape the prison by using the black mould biscuits and using a lot of sleight of hand on Mainstream Rilic’s part. On their return to the Eclipse Keep, Defamed Rilic’s staff is revealed to just be a container for the legendary Content Not Found: wand-of-wonder.

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


Lharvion 4, 1002 YK

In Conlon’s “star” timeline, the party rounds a corner in a darkened alley to find a man who kowtows before Conlon, begging for his apologies. He is worried that Conlon thinks him a rebel, and that he has come for another purge, where this world’s Conlon — Darkest Conlon — arrives and kills anyone he believes to have rebellious thoughts. Conlon has the man sit up, stand, sit down again, and finally rise. The man, whose name is revealed to be “Groab,” refuses to look Conlon in the eyes and is obviously terrified. Kaleth asks several questions of him to learn more about the timeline, but Conlon tells Groab to ignore him, which he does… pointedly. By questioning Groab, the party learns that Conlon has effectively dominated Eberron and a number of other planes, and is working on expanding his reach further. The Eclipse Collective is dissolved, and most if not all of its members lie dead. Even worse, the sky — which appears to be a dark night sky with only one star — is permanently blackened. The sun and all stars are gone, save that one. Groab also makes mention of something called the “Broken Blades,” apparently Conlon’s elite force of lieutenants.

Groab is allowed to flee while the party contemplates their next move. They realize that they will have to find this world’s Conlon to get something of value, and catch up to Groab again to ask him where Conlon can be found. As he reveals the answer (a stronghold somewhere in Argonnessen, and he rarely visits Khorvaire), a beating of wings is heard overhead. Tethris, undead and tarnished, drops down and slays Groab for offending Conlon with his filth. Conlon assures Tethris that Groab was “of little consequence,” and asks Tethris — one of his Broken Blades, the undead thralls that once participated in the Tournament of Blades — about the whereabouts of Derli. Derli, called the “Horseman” by Tethris, is revealed to be in Irian, fighting angels who resist Conlon’s dominance and gradually building up enough angel wings to build an entire small palace for Darkest Conlon. Mainstream Conlon asks Tethris to take them to his stronghold in Argonnessen, and he does so, opening a portal for them to pass through. Rilic and Kaleth, who were hiding in the shadows when Tethris arrived, are turned invisible by Kaleth’s magic before they pass through.

They arrive in an antechamber in a dark, architecturally-plain stronghold in which the colour black is the overriding aesthetic element. Various tapestries are illuminated by the eerie blue-white braziers spaced throughout. The antechamber has numerous exits, but the most notable is an archway blocked by huge doors of blackened iron, leading to the throne room. After their arrival, Tethris departs to return to his patrol in southern Khorvaire, and Morgue, aka Devilslayer, shows up. Here, he is something like a bodyguard and steward to Darkest Conlon. He detects Kaleth’s and Rilic’s heartbeat, and makes mention that it is suspicious that Derli’s heart is beating again, but Conlon tells him to stop thinking about those things. Devilslayer is sent away, and he “wards” the room by blocking other exits with infernal fire. Alone again, the party briefly discusses their next move before deciding to enter the throne room.

Darkest Conlon’s throne is situated on a long, narrow platform of clear diamond in the middle of what appears to be deep space as the stars were going out. Darkest Conlon sits on a throne made of dragon bone, illuminated by the countless stars exploding silently around him. He looks identical to Mainstream Conlon, except for his eyes, which reflect a scene similar to the one taking place all around them. Without rising from his throne or saying a word, he casually regards the party, and gestures with two fingers for them to approach. They do, and he begins to speak just as tersely as Mainstream Conlon, guessing that, because Kaleth is with them, they have come from an alternate timeline. In this reality, all other members of the Collective are deceased except for Lucan — who went mad after Eltimar became the only star in the sky — and Rilic, who is Conlon’s prisoner.

The Collective doesn’t deny this, and Darkest Conlon guesses that Mainstream Conlon has come to usurp him. Mainstream Conlon explains plainly their reasons for being there, but Darkest Conlon is not willing to offer any assistance, save that he “might” be willing to part with something if Mainstream Conlon can defeat the strongest of the Broken Blades, currently leading a campaign to conquer Risia. Mainstream Conlon is in favour of this idea, but as they speak, the Broken Blade is killed, something which Darkest Conlon explains “happens fairly often,” and that the Blade will not be reincarnated for some time. Mainstream Conlon tries to pry into what magical or valuable items Darkest Conlon possesses, and learns that there are, in fact, very few; most of his magical items, as well as those of the former Eclipse Collective, were combined in House Cannith‘s Equilibrius to form the Dracolich Throne that Conlon current sits upon. He claims that the trade was worth it, as the throne lets him pry into the emotions and surface thoughts of anyone in his domain. The only thing that might be of any use is part of Conlon’s phylactery, which in this reality is also Morgue Conlonnar, except that he has been split up into several undying pieces and spread throughout the planes.

Not willing to parley with Darkest Conlon any longer, the party takes their leave. Kaleth scries Lucan, one of the last living members of the Collective, and finds him in the Eclipse Keep, mostly mad and completely drunk. He is having a party with the bones of Zil’dejin and Kaleth. With this as their only lead, they decide to teleport to the Eclipse Keep and perhaps speak with Mad Lucan. The teleportation circle no longer exists in the keep, and the building is in a poor state. Nimozaran the Green shows up to greet them, though in this reality he is blind and crippled, a fate he claims to deserve to the point where he refuses healing offered by Lucan. Here, he takes care of the Keep and of Lucan, which he claims is his responsibility no matter what the state of the Collective is.

Conlon asks Nimozaran if a piece of Morgue is here in the Keep, and he is taken to the throne room to speak further along with most of the others. Kaleth decides to go to the kitchens to speak with Lucan, who tries to get Kaleth to go out drinking and whoring with him. When he goes off to “get three forties — two for us and one to pour out for ”/characters/taldor-d-medani" class=“wiki-content-link”>Taldor", Kaleth quickly leaves and joins the others in the throne room. The throne room was apparently warded on Zil’dejin’s orders in the last days before Conlon’s rise, and is immune to the effects of the Dracolich Throne. Here, they learn from Nimozaran that there is a piece of Morgue somewhere in the Keep, but he doesn’t know its precise location as Darkest Conlon would immediately become aware if he were to go looking for it.

Lucan and Kaleth immediately set out into the keep to look for it, with Conlon in tow. They find it in a book in the library, apparently a copy of the final volume of Rilic’s biography. The pages are hollowed out, and a single writhing hand is bound to the cover with thin leather straps. Conlon examines it and finds it is powerfully magical, and confirms that it is, in fact, Morgue’s. As he grabs the book and Kaleth begins opening a slipgate to restore them to their timeline, the wall bursts open, and four of the Broken Blades stand in the rubble: Valanthe Siannodel, Tethris, Bronzesmith and Iskandar. They attack, trying to stop the party from stealing Morgue’s hand. The Collective fights back while Kaleth focuses on the five-minute process of opening the slipgate.

The fight is difficult, as the Broken Blades still possess the majority of the powers they had in life. Mainstream Conlon is killed, as is Mainstream Lucan. This reality’s Mad Lucan rolls in on a library cart to replace him, wielding bottles of some strange, home-brewed liquor strapped to either hand. He puts up a surprisingly good fight with these. Meanwhile, Kaleth tries to accelerate the process of opening the gate by various questionable means, including tapping into the Chaos Gear’s power and eventually pulling the Phane itself through the slipgate, relying on the ripples in time it produces to throw the gate open wide.

The phane’s arrival throws the battle into greater chaos, and the creature is able to freeze Kaleth in time stasis again. Derli manages to free him just narrowly before throwing Conlon’s body — with Morgue’s hand — into the slipgate and jumping in after it. The party follows suit and the slipgate is closed behind them as the phane begins breaking apart that timeline. The party returns to the Eclipse Keep.

Lharvion 5, 1002 YK

The next day, Conlon and Lucan make it back to the Eclipse Keep, reincarnated by strange workings of the Draconic Prophecy. They are dazed and disoriented, but alive. The party takes a day of rest before preparing to jump to a Rilic-based reality. Rilic spends some time honing a disguise to use.

Lharvion 6, 1002 YK

Early the next morning, Kaleth opens a new reality-jumping slipgate. Rilic sees a symbol of a manacle and of a staff. He chooses the former, and the party arrives in a version of Wroat similar to the one in their own present. They make their way to the castle, where they are given an audience with King Bortan ir’Wynarn. Bortan is surprised to see them, as he thought them all dead. Apparently, in this reality, Rilic fled rather than face the atropal Suhnen, taking the Phoenix Eclipse with him and leaving the others behind. The entire party is believed to have been killed by the atropal before it moved south, where — together with Zenza it destroyed the majority of northern Khorvaire before being sealed by the Silver Flame through “great sacrifice,” according to Bortan. Rilic was held accountable for this, and blamed also for the deaths of the Eclipse Collective. He was stripped naked and asked to perform magic to prove his powers at the behest of Saal Perryn, and it was concluded that he was not a mage at all. For this, he was thrown in Dreadhold, Eberron’s most secure prison.

The Collective hatches a plan to get to Rilic and acquire something of value to him. They know that they need to get inside Dreadhold, and for this Kaleth teleports them to the prison. The prison itself is extensively warded against teleportation, however, and they end up on a nearby island instead. Here, Kaleth disguises himself and Conlon as inmates, while Rilic takes the appearance of a doctor. Kaleth also uses magic to make Derli look more like a typical dwarf of House Kundarak who might be stationed at Dreadhold. Lucan is left unchanged. A boat is conjured, and they row over to Dreadhold’s dock, where they are greeted by a House Kundarak dwarf.

The prison guard recognizes Lucan as a member of House Medani‘s Basilisk’s Gaze, allowing Lucan to assert that Conlon and Kaleth (in their disguised forms) are notorious war criminals. Rilic elaborates on this, allowing his perfect lies to convince the guard that Kaleth is in fact “Sticky Twig,” a serial killer who stabs men in the eyes, and Conlon is an unnamed thief who would steal entire platoons’ rations during the Last War. Derli takes the role of a new transfer to Dreadhold, and informs the guard that these two “prisoners” are to be taken to the securest part of the prison. The guard leads them in, and takes them to the same block where Defamed Rilic is being kept. He expresses a deep hatred of Rilic, who he blames for effectively destroying half of the continent. When Kaleth (as Sticky Twig) suggests that he and Conlon be put in Rilic’s cell, the guard does so, hoping they will kill Rilic. Lucan is also let into the cell, as he claims to wish to question Rilic on behalf of Basilisk’s Gaze. Derli is let in as a guard and Mainstream Rilic to supervise in case there is a need for medical attention.

In contrast to the bare, nearly-empty cells Conlon and Kaleth were first put into, Rilic’s cell is quite well-appointed with a variety of comfortable furniture, a writing desk, and a fully-stocked bookshelf. Despite his situation, Defamed Rilic greets them with much greater self-importance than even Mainstream Rilic tends to give himself. He claims he was falsely accused of his crimes, and explains that he is working on new volumes of his autobiography even in here, where he has accumulated a wealth of finer things not offered to other inmates from guards in Dreadhold who are still his fans.

Away from the ears of the House Kundarak guard, Mainstream Rilic (in disguise) explains to Defamed Rilic that they are planning on creating a Museum of Rilic, and need something of personal value to him to act as the centerpiece of the collection. Rilic says that most of his things were taken away, except for his staff and a few minor possessions. His staff, he believes, is somewhere in the vaults of Dreadhold, but he is not certain where as items are frequently rotated between different units so that prisoners would not be able to find them as easily. If the party finds the staff, he says, he will appraise it and provide a certificate of authenticity for it. Defamed Rilic goes so far as to offer Derli a signed copy of his new autobiography if they bring the staff for his examination.

Lucan, Mainstream Rilic, and Derli take their leave of the cell, leaving Kaleth and Conlon behind. Outside, Rilic tells the guard that Lucan has been poisoned in some way, and that the only antidote is in one of Dreadhold’s vaults, whichever one containing Defamed Rilic’s belongings. The guard explains he doesn’t know which vault that could be, especially as Rilic’s belongings — like those of every other prisoner — are in separate vaults to prevent them from being stolen back all at once. With the help of another guard and a lot more lying, they manage to track down two probable vaults that might contain Defamed Rilic’s staff. Derli goes to one, while Lucan and Mainstream Rilic go to the other.

Meanwhile, back in Defamed Rilic’s cell, Defamed Rilic reveals to Kaleth and Conlon that getting the staff back is all part of his escape plan. All he needs is a small, circular package that he had smuggled in by another prisoner. As this prisoner is nowhere near as notorious as Defamed Rilic, it is likely to be kept somewhere with less security. He reveals that behind one of the books on his shelf he has a key capable of opening the cell door, acquired by cashing in a favour he claims to have earned through “unspeakable means.” They acquire it, and together go to retrieve the package, which Defamed Rilic describes as “extremely oily.”

The commotion caused by the supposed poisoning of Lucan gives them a window by which they can move up to a different level of the prison. They are stopped by a prison guard before they reach their destination, but Conlon reveals his fangs and spits poison in the man’s face, followed by producing a shower of acid from the symbiote in his throat (acquired from Iskandar after their duel). As other guards charge in to apprehend him, Kaleth uses the distraction to find the oily, wax paper-wrapped object (actually bringing back three), and goes with Conlon back to Rilic’s cell as fast as they are able to go.

At the same time, the other separately narrow down a selection of six staves to three that might belong to Rilic, and bring them back as well. The entirety of the party arrives in Defamed Rilic’s cell at roughly the same time, and gives him the staves to look over. He seems uncertain which one is the correct one, which aggravates Derli. As the guards give chase, Derli braces the door and yells at Defamed Rilic to choose the correct one. Soon, Derli — angered at Defamed Rilic’s inability to choose the right staff of the three, which he believes is a lie — takes one of the staves and breaks Defamed Rilic’s nose with it. Eventually, Defamed Rilic manages to find the right one, and eats the contents of one of the oily packages, revealed to be a black mould biscuit, capable of temporarily subduing the effects of the prison’s antimagic. He then uses the staff to produce vines which help to hold the cell door shut.

Kaleth takes Defamed Rilic’s cue and eats another of the black mould biscuits, vomiting for a moment before starting to open a slipgate. Mainstream Rilic throws another of the staves at Defamed Rilic, attempting to catch him off guard. Three staves spin to the ground, but Mainstream Rilic, knowing himself well enough, realizes that one is a decoy and the real staff is hidden up Defamed Rilic’s sleeve. With some very elaborate sleight of hand, Rilic manages to acquire the real staff just as the cell door breaks open and the slipgate is complete. The party piles through and closes the slipgate behind them.

Back in the mainstream timeline, Rilic opens up the hollow staff he took from Defamed Rilic, and discovers it to just be a vessel meant to contain the legendary Content Not Found: wand-of-wonder.

Comments

Manannan

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.