The Hands that Move the World

Total Eclipse I: One Way Ticket to Midnight

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

Derli receives a dream from the Millennium Emperor, who has slain Kashanshara, the Walker of Dreams, and Bronzesmith. This leaves only Derli, the Emperor, and Conlon in the Tournament of Blades (plus Dralon Ostrennar). The Emperor, a powerful hexblade who claims to have won the last Tournament, offers Derli a chance to withdraw, lose his patron, and keep his life. Derli considers this.

Lharvion 9, 1002 YK

Demons appear in the Cathedral of Dol Dorn. They appear to have stolen the Rage Shard in Kaleth’s time-plane, but it turns out to be fake. Despite the party’s caution, the real one is stolen by Mordakhesh the Shadowsword as a result of this incident. After this, they go to look for Treona, the witch said to be a living Rage Shard, and find the adventuring party they sent after her to have been killed. Treona’s tower was raided and she was abducted by demons. Returning to the Keep they discover she is being prepared for absorption into a huge mass of Rage Shards, overseen by Mordakhesh in some dark place called “Demon’s Crown.”

Lharvion 16, 1002 YK – Lharvion 17, 1002 YK

Albard Balendal appears at the Eclipse Keep, seeking sanctuary because House Phiarlan is looking to punish him for stealing one of three parts of a ring that can control the Content Not Found: wand-of-wonder. He reveals that the other two parts are in possession of House Cannith and House Thuranni. After speaking with Merrix d’Cannith and Nysthera d’Thuranni, Rilic learns that the Houses are willing to part with their pieces for locating the missing Project Fat Dragon and for killing Merrix d’Cannith, respectively. They pursue the Fat Dragon first, and find it crashed in the Mror Holds, with its power source — a Rage Shard — stolen by Mordakhesh the Shadowsword. Kaleth is able to move the great broken thing with his magic, and begins taking it back to Wroat.

Meanwhile, Derli speaks with Mordakhesh and confirms that he is nearing the release of Rak Tulkhesh, the Demon Overlord known as the Rage of War. He offers Derli a chance to join the forces of War together, but Derli refuses. He is then met by a delegation from the Millennium Emperor, who escort him willingly to the Emperor’s court south of the Karrnathi border. The Emperor asks Derli for a decision, but Derli is still unsure, and so the Emperor calls in his allies. He sends griffon riders to Project Fat Dragon and retrieves the rest of the party except for Kaleth (who sends a time clone instead) to help Derli make a decision. Their arguments for or against withdrawing from the Tournament of Blades mainly center around the fate of Conlon in the Tournament.

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


Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

Their business with the Phane settled, the party settles in for the night in Grey Titan’s Hold. That night, as Derli sleeps, his dreams take a familiar shift away from his usual nightmares to where he has previously met with Kashanshara, the Walker of Dreams. This time, however, she is not there waiting for him. Derli sits down to wait, and eventually a different individual enters. Dressed in regal armour, set with a crown and adorned with a long, flowing cape, the man who enters announces himself as the “Millennium Emperor”: the alleged previous winner of the Tournament of Blades. He informs Derli that he has slain Kashanshara and Bronzesmith, meaning that there are only three legitimate participants left in the Tournament: himself, Derli, and Conlon (discounting Dralon Ostrennar, the second Star Hexblade). The Millennium Emperor casually mentions that the duels were “trivial,” due in no small part to the wish he made after the last Tournament: indestrucbility. Because of their mutual standing in the Tournament, the Emperor offers Derli a unique opportunity: he has a way to simply claim Derli’s talismans as though he earned them himself — including Derli’s Blade of Greed — and allow Derli to effectively step down from the Tournament of Blades, giving the Millennium Emperor the win by default.

This peculiar arrangement would allow Derli to free himself of the Oinodaemon, and secure Derli a supremely powerful alliance. He says honestly that he will take it under serious consideration. The Millennium Emperor leaves the dream room, and Derli awakens.

Lharvion 9, 1002 YK

Derli converses with the others about his dream of the Millennium Emperor. After some mutual research in the library and through personal notes, the party uncovers a probable identity for the Millennium Emperor: a relative of King Galifar ir’Wynarn I, either a brother or a cousin, who was said to have fallen into “dark magics” and “consorting with dark spirits.” He is said to have vanished from any sort of public view and never have been seen again. Although hard to verify, this lends credibility to the Emperor’s claims.

While the party discusses the matter of the Millennium Emperor, with the Collective divided on whether he should accept or refuse — mainly focusing on arguments relating to the possibility of Conlon winning the Tournament of Blades — a crusader of the Hammer of St. Derli enters, out of breath. He explains that the Hammer has just intercepted a demon trying to escape brazenly through the Cathedral of Dol Dorn with a Khyber shard, which it apparently pulled out of a portal of some kind. The party goes to investigate, and finds a huge Rage Shard in the middle of the Cathedral, a perfect match for the one last seen in Kaleth’s time-plane.

They examine it cautiously, and eventually Kaleth opens his time-plane to check if the Rage Shard is, in fact, where he left it. It is, and he quickly moves it to another time-plane without looking, wiping his memory of the process immediatley afterwards. This new Rage Shard is suspected of being fake, but inspection reveals that it does indeed contain a powerful demonic essence of some kind. They decide to guard it overnight, watching it in shifts with the Hammer of St. Derli posted in a perimeter around the Cathedral. Derli does not sleep, but the others rotate in keeping watch on the Shard.

Sometime in the early morning, the orange-red lines on the possibly-fake shard vanish suddenly, and further inspection on it reveals that the demonic essence inside is no longer present. The Hammer of St. Derli reports that nothing and nobody came in or out of the Cathedral during the night. Slightly panicked, Kaleth throws open his most recently-formed time-plane, and sure enough, the real Rage Shard inside is gone. Derli sends the Hammer to go looking around the kingdom, and the others investigate as well, but nothing seems to come up. It is as though the real Rage Shard just vanished without a trace.

Lharvion 11, 1002 YK

Still fuming over the apparent violation of his time-plane, Kaleth is brooding in his tower when there is a knock on the door. Olath, who has been staying in Grey Titan’s Hold since he first arrived a few days ago to speak about the Phane, has come to offer Kaleth a reward for his efforts against the abomination. It is one of the Chronocracy’s greatest spells: major paradox, which will allow Kaleth to rewrite an event he had direct control over up to one year in the past. He begins studying it immediately.

Lharivon 13, 1002 YK

Kaleth achieves control over major paradox. Rilic takes the opportunity to store major paradox in his ring, and promptly uses it to edit the recent past, positioning several of his own spies among the Hammer of St. Derli keeping watch over the Cathedral. Unfortunately, they report no suspicious activity. Kaleth uses a casting of the spell himself to protect the Rage Shard in the time plane personally. His efforts are fruitless, and the Rage Shard inside is still lost.

Now growing concerned, the Collective inquires about the witch Treona, the “living Rage Shard” they sent an adventuring party to retrieve. The party never returned, so they go to her tower themselves, where they discover that the adventuring party was all killed and the tower raided. They soon discover that Treona was captured by demons, and attempt to follow the trail, but it has largely gone cold — they follow it as far as she went before she was carried away somewhere by Tavarthax the Desecrated. Back at the Eclipse Keep, the party decides to use the magic tapestry to scry Mordakhesh. Sure enough, they find him in a massive, dark chamber lined with Khyber shards and dark stone, carved into elaborate and terrifying facades. He is overseeing the absorption of the recently-stolen Zenzatun Rage Shard into a tremendous mass of Rage Shard in the heart of the chamber. Treona is present as well, and appears to be next in line for absorption. The prison seems to be very nearly complete.

Lharvion 16, 1002 YK

With much fanfare, Albard Balendal comes to the Eclipse Keep as a guest. The airs he puts on suggest that he wants to be as famous as his brother, and is trying very hard to achieve that level of fame. He discusses with Rilic the matter of the Content Not Found: wand-of-wonder, as well as the item alluded to in his journals: the Ring of Wondrous Control, an item created hundreds of years ago through collaboration between multiple Dragonmarked Houses to gain a measure of control over the Wand. The Ring itself was to be a joint possession between House Cannith and House Phiarlan, and it was split into two parts to ensure neither could use it without the other’s consent. Unfortunately, the Shadow Schism, which split House Phiarlan into two houses including House Thuranni, broke the ring apart further.

Albard reveals that he has Phiarlan’s piece of the ring, which he acquired with “no small difficulty.” Evidently, he has been imprisoned for some time, which he implies is due to his theft of the ring piece. He soon reveals that his main motivations in coming to the Eclipse Keep are not as altruistic as they first appeared; Albard wants sanctuary and protection from House Phiarlan. Rilic agrees to shelter him, and goes off to the Cannith enclave in Wroat with the others (save Derli) to try and discover the whereabouts of their piece of the ring. Merrix d’Cannith is fairly forthcoming with this information — the fragment is in his possession, but he is not willing to give it up freely. In exchange, he wants the party to discover the whereabouts of Project Fat Dragon, House Cannith’s literal flying fortress, which he believes was stolen.

It was last on loan to a warlord of Karrnath for a heavy price, but the warlord fell under the influence of the new Rebel King of Odakyr (recently revealed to be the Millennium Emperor). The artificed markers used to find the Fat Dragon are no longer working, and there has been no response from its crew. The Collective agrees to track it down, and Kaleth uses magic to locate one of the crew members, pinned beneath some rubble in what appears to be a very extensively damaged fortress. They manage to summon him to their location to question him, but the man is starved and mad from his ordeal, and reveals little. They still do not know the precise location of Project Fat Dragon, but learn that it is on the edge of a volcano in some place that is normally cold. Before going searching for it, they visit Nysthera d’Thuranni in Krona Peak, their only contact in House Thuranni. She offers to give them the piece of the ring in exchange for killing Merrix d’Cannith. Kaleth begins hatching a plan to fake his murder.

While the rest of the party attempts to track down the flying fortress, Derli meets with Mordakhesh the Shadowsword, who appears in Grey Titan’s Hold. Mordakhesh confirms what they already knew: nearly all of the Rage Shards are in his possession, and the numerous wars he has manipulated into starting that currently rock Khorvaire are empowering Rak Tulkhesh for his coming freedom from his prison in a place Mordakhesh calls “Demon’s Crown”. During this revelation, he explains his multiple plots to retrieve the Rage Shard in the time-plane, culminating with the “flesh whip” he sent through time to give to Kaleth to combat the Phane — an item capable of observing its surroundings and reporting the information back to Mordakhesh. He also asks Derli about his Harbinger, Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame, and the currently-underway invasion of archons in the Cinder Furnace. The rakshasa offers Derli a chance to forge an alliance between the daemons of the Horseman of War with the demons of the Rage of War. Derli refuses, and Mordakhesh leaves. Not long after, a delegation of soldiers on strange, ghost-like horses arrives, dressed in gold and black. They represent the Millennium Emperor, and have come to take Derli to speak with their ruler. Derli agrees to see him, and rides on the back of Ruin. To his surprise, the spectral horses keep pace, streaking across the landscape at near-impossible speeds.

Meanwhile, the others track the Fat Dragon down to Mror Holds, over the volcano called the “Fist of Onatar.” The fortress is heavily damaged but still more or less in one piece, and some of its crew members have survived, though with serious injuries and wounds. Most have been killed, dead by varying combinations of magic, claws, and blades. The one Cannith crew member still in reasonably good shape speaks with them, and from him they learn that it was Mordakhesh who attacked the Fat Dragon. He stole the power source for the fortress: a Rage Shard, leaving it stranded and ruined.

With Kaleth’s aid, the fortress gets up and running again to a limited extent, but it moves even slower than it did when the Rage Shard was powering it. He intends to return it to Wroat.

Lharvion 17, 1002 YK

Derli arrives in the court of the Millennium Emperor: a near empty city just south of the border between Karrnath and the Talenta Plains, not listed on any map and containing buildings that look very old, but well-kept. The castle is built more for function than grandeur, and looks to be extremely well-fortified. The Millennium Emperor sits on a throne of gold and black velvet, wearing the same full set of armour he wore in Derli’s dream. He restates his position, and asks Derli for his decision, but Derli is still unsure. The Emperor offers to call in some of Derli’s allies to offer advice, and Derli accepts.

As the Fat Dragon flies over the rebel lands of Odakyr in the south of Karrnath, griffon riders dressed in gold and black fly up to intercept them, waving black flags to indicate a desire to parley. They are almost shot down, but Rilic convinces Kaleth to hear them out. When they learn of the riders’ intent in bringing them to see the Millennium Emperor, Rilic, Lucan, and Indicus decide to go with the riders. Kaleth sends a time clone, but continues forward with the Fat Dragon on its way to Wroat.

In the court of the Millennium Emperor, the party argues about whether Derli should accept the Emperor’s offer to withdraw from the Tournament or not. The arguments mainly center around Conlon — specifically, what happens if Conlon wins the Tournament, and whether the Millennium Emperor is capable of defeating the Black Sky. Derli continues deliberating the decision.

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