The Hands that Move the World

After It All Ends

The unleashing of the Staff of Three Dragons’ power marked the end of the Eclipse Collective, as its many members went on to fulfill their destinies.

  • Zil’dejin Firebane sacrificed himself to assemble the Staff, also clearing the Mournland with his power and leaving a legacy to last for ages.
  • Derli d’Kundarak died in battle against Rak Tulkhesh, the Rage of War, but came back to fight as an Avatar of Dol Dorn until his mortal form was burned away, allowing him to ascend to godhood and take the mantle of Dol Dorn himself. His death triggered a release of power that turned his remaining crusaders into nearly-immortal beings charged with the protection of the weak.
  • Conlon Ostrennar used the power of the Staff to turn the tides of his and the Son of Caiphon‘s war against the dragons of Argonnessen in the warlocks’ favour. He then went back to rule over his subjugated people, and continue his conquest of the mainland.
  • Rilic Balendal finished the final volume of his autobiography before vanishing overnight, taking on a new name, a new appearance, and starting a new legend for himself after realizing he had reached the pinnacle of fame.
  • Kaleth used the power of the Staff of Three Dragons to assemble all of his timelines into a singular point, transforming himself into something resembling a lesser god (similar in power to Mellifleur). He then took over the Temporal Prime, balanced by the opposing force of the Prime Jester.
  • Indicus, after reaching the peak of his power, became a Grim Reaper himself, taking a place of command above the others and calling himself the “Prime Reaper.”
  • Lucan Vrinsk d’Medani was recalled by Charon, in order to begin combating a great threat to her power: Indicus, the Prime Reaper.

While they may not have achieved as much fame or power, the other surviving members of the Eclipse Collective were equally as important to its success. They met their destinies in other ways.

  • Elyas reincarnated after his death at the hands of Lythanis Zyk, and was found by the scholar-monks of Moon’s Gate, whom he continued to lead into uncovering the secrets of the world.
  • Eshunu was taken to Sarlona by the mysterious force known as the “Dreaming Dark,” where he was placed under the control of the forces that created his body and made an unwilling slave once again.
  • Captain Paddy Grimm usurped Prince Rygar for the position of High Prince of the Lhazaar Principalities.
  • Vice Harbringer left the Evening Star Company to pursue his own dark goals, including trying to assassinate Jaela Daran. His first move here failed, and he was imprisoned, but soon after escaped from Flamekeep.
  • Xulgos Adinimys, now transformed into a bizarre but powerful demon, remained on Kapaerian Island, protecting it and his people from outsiders.

Though the Eclipse Collective dissolved on Barrakas 18, 1002 YK, their contributions and impact will not be forgotten for a very long time to come. Theirs were the Hands that Moved the World, more so than any before them, and perhaps more than any that will ever come after.

Total Eclipse IV: Noise

Barrakas 18, 1002 YK

Still in the bowels of Dragon’s Crown, the Eclipse Collective confronts Mordakhesh the Shadowsword, their archenemy for years. Mordakhesh has just absorbed the lingering souls of some of his greatest foes, while Rilic has stolen his moment and taken some of those souls himself. Because Mordakhesh has had time to prepare, and is in his base of power, the fight proves very difficult, but the party defeatrs him without loss of life. Mordakhesh is ultimately finished by Derli, leaving behind only ash and the Shadowsword itself. Rilic pockets it, and the party is restored to a limited extent by what they believe to be divine intervention.

They proceed into the last unexplored room in Dragon’s Crown other than Rak Tulkhesh’s inner sanctum, which contains a pillar of fire, mixing abyssal and divine energies. They contemplate removing one or the other from the unstable equilibrium, but ultimately decide against it and approach the inner sanctum. There, they meet with Talbot, who gives them a coin capable of restoring or obliterating its user, depending on the coin’s result. Indicus takes it, and Talbot takes his leave after refusing to answer some questions about his identity. Indicus dons the Demon Overlord Armour, and Zil’dejin is given the Shadowsword by Rilic. They then proceed inside.

Rak Tulkhesh, the Rage of War, is present within. He attempts to tempt some of the party members away at the last minute, but all refuse, so he emerges into the chamber to fight them. The battle claims Indicus’ life early on and sees many of the party members frenzied by bloodlust, a power that comes as easily to Rak Tulkhesh as breathing. Derli is killed when he attempts to flip Talbot’s coin, but is brought back with a surge of divine power by Dol Dorn from the alehall in the Plains of Hal’deth. He lasts only as long as he can keep his form together against the surge of divine power, but it is sufficient; the others are able to assemble the Staff of Three Dragons in the time that he buys for them before Derli is destroyed, leaving the mortal plane to assume the mantle of Dol Dorn.

When the Staff is assembled, they use it to destroy Rak Tulkhesh, killing a Demon Overlord for the first time in Eberron’s history. Then, they tap into its residual power as it fades away, each of them making some change to the fabric of Eberron before the Staff’s power vanishes. Zil’dejin, having been the central sacrifice needed for the Staff’s assembly, fades away with its power, and the world is restored to some level of normalcy.

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

Barrakas 18, 1002 YK

The Eclipse Collective stands in the chamber of Mordakhesh the Shadowsword in Dragon’s Crown, the resting place of Rak Tulkhesh, the Rage of War. Mordakhesh’s attempt at consuming the greatest of the souls of his defeated opponents has been foiled by Rilic, who, using his Mythic power, stole the effect from the rakshasa to take the remaining souls himself. Not daunted by this setback, Mordakhesh blinks out of the veil of souls using the power of the Shadowsword and, with the antimagic field still surrounding him, appears next to Kaleth and his time-clone.

The antimagic surrounding Mordakhesh immediately dismisses Kaleth’s time clone, and with Kaleth backed against the wall of the arena-like chamber, he has little recourse but to try and whip Mordakhesh with the very same whip Mordakhesh gave to him. It soon becomes apparent that Mordakhesh is moving at inhuman speeds, channelling vestiges of two of his greatest opponents: Baelin Bronzesmith and Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame. He takes Kaleth down quickly before moving back over to the others. Rilic, meanwhile, interrupted Mordakhesh’s absorption of souls, and so he too is channeling vestiges of two of Mordakhesh’s greatest opponents, including a former Keeper of the Silver Flame and a legendary assassin.

With Mordakhesh having had ample time to prepare for this battle, and being in a base of power — and with the party having already been worn down by their trek through Dragon’s Crown to this point — the fight proceeds much differently than the party’s previous encounters with the rakshasa. He easily keeps pace with the entire party with the vestiges he holds, and in one stroke takes down Conlon, Indicus, and Derli. Rilic, channelling the former Keeper of the Flame, manages to periodically restore fallen party members back to health, which provides a small advantage in fighting Mordakhesh. Initially, he focuses on restoring Kaleth, but Mordakhesh, expressing a hatred for spell casters, keeps cutting him down before he can act.

Soon, only Rilic and Derli stand against Mordakhesh, but both are near the point of defeat. Rilic has staggered to his feet after being unconscious, and Derli is trading blows with Mordakhesh one-on-one. Mordakhesh swings his blade at Derli, but Derli gets one more strike in before the sword connects, and this is all he needs. His axe strikes Mordakhesh under the arm and carves a path upwards, destroying Mordakhesh in a burst of red-orange fire as it moves and leaving nothing but ash and the Shadowsword behind. Rilic puts the demonic weapon in his sleeve dimension, and helps Derli get the others back to their feet. They prepare to go back out to the bivouac for one final rest before attempting to reach Rak Tulkhesh’s final room, but are restored by a burst of what they interpret as divine intervention before they do.

Other than the room in which Rak Tulkhesh’s prison is situated, there is one room in Dragon’s Crown they have not yet explored, and the Collective chooses to examine it before moving forward. After carefully examining for traps and successfully removing an arcane lock and a mechanical trigger in the door, the party reveals a steep staircase leading down to a column of fire. The flames are composed of the deep red-orange power associated with the Rage of War, and a whitish fire resembling the actual Silver Flame. After some careful inspection, coordination, and consulting Eltimar, they determine that their suspicions were correct: the white flames are pure and essentially divine, while the other flames are demonic in nature. Though the party cannot discern their purpose, they realize that this is an unstable equilibrium, and that they could probably remove one of the two forces. However, this would cause the other one to break free.

They debate for a while on the possible consequences of removing one or the other, knowing from Conlon’s consultation with Eltimar that either way it would have an effect on the Rage of War. Conlon and Derli are poised to make an attempt at removing the pure force while suppressing the dark force, and Kaleth is preparing to lock them in the room for everyone else’s safety during the attempt. At the last minute, however, they decide the better of it, and choose to leave the pillar of fire alone.

The Collective returns to the giant black doors that provide access to Rak Tulkhesh’s inner sanctum. Talbot waits outside, and congratulates the party for getting so far. He offers them one final gift: a coin, which when flipped will either obliterate the user or restore them to full strength. They ask him a number of questions about his identity, with Rilic proposing that Talbot is actually the Traveller, but Talbot makes no comment towards any of this and walks back out towards the bivouac. When Talbot has left, they take a deep breath. Indicus dons his Demon Overlord Armour, against the possible consequences, and Rilic gives Zil’dejin the Shadowsword, which he has coveted since he witnessed its use in killing Baelin Bronzesmith. Once all is in readiness, they place the last balor lord glyph into the door. It opens quickly and silently, and once they have stepped through, closes behind them just as fast.

The inner sanctum of Dragon’s Crown is a large, mostly-empty space set into a shallow pit, the floor engraved with some ancient and now-unreadable markings. At the far end is the towering mass of Khyber shards that is the reunified prison of Rak Tulkhesh. As they enter, Rak Tulkhesh speaks to each of the Collective members in turn, urging them one last time to join his side in the coming war on Eberron. Some are tempted — Zil’dejin is offered sanctuary for the rest of the Collective and his family during the war, and Derli is given the opportunity to retake the position of the Horseman of War. Kaleth is offered assistance in conquering the Temporal Prime. Ultimately, though, they all refuse.

With his last attempt at persuasion over, the Rage of War appears in the center of the room, emerging from his prison. He resembles a balor made perfect: Rak Tulkhesh is, after all, the template from which all other balors are made. He wields a whip of demonic fire in one hand and a pitch-black sword emblazoned with fiery runes in the other. Before the fight begins in earnest, Rak Tulkhesh uses his innate power to force many of the party members into a state of frenzied bloodlust, compelling them to attack whatever is closest to them.

As Zil’dejin, Derli, and soon Conlon begin attacking one another, the Rage of War shows the power of his fire whip, lashing out at the Collective members not affected by the frenzy. Indicus, now wearing the Demon Overlord Armour, gets close enough to attack Rak Tulkhesh with the armour’s claws and does a great deal of damage before being cleaved with the demon’s blade. When Indicus has fallen, Rak Tulkhesh absorbs his soul, using it to heal some of his wounds. As the fight goes on, Conlon manages to break his frenzy (and two further attempts at the same) with the power of his Lunar Eclipse ring, while Derli and Zil’dejin continue to drift in and out of rage. Kaleth and Derli cast remove curse spells when they are able to keep the party in the fight against the Rage of War.

When the Demon Overlord is sufficiently weakened, Conlon, Rilic, and Kaleth bring together the Rod of Order, the Chains of Balance, and the Chaos Gear, respectively, intending to use Zil’dejin as the willing sacrifice needed to complete the Rite of Assembly for the Staff of Three Dragons. Derli gathers Talbot’s coin from Indicus’ body and tries to flip it, but it lands on tails, and Derli is obliterated. He finds himself in the Plains of Hal’deth once again, meeting with Dol Dorn, who informs Derli that he can send him back to the Material Plane one final time. After that, Derli will either fade away or become the next Dol Dorn. Derli agrees to this, and manifests back where he stood as a shining avatar of Dol Dorn. The divine power coursing through him is limited, and when it fades, he will die permanently, but his only intent at this point is to keep Rak Tulkhesh from interfering with the 30 seconds needed to complete the Rite of Assembly.

Derli holds back the Rage of War while the others carry out the ritual. Zil’dejin and Rilic provide support, as Zil’dejin does not need to participate until the end, and Rilic is quick enough to act even while contributing. The ceiling is collapsed on the Rage of War twice by Rilic’s wand of disintregation, and Zil’dejin manages to impale the Rakshasa Rajah with Glanvar’s Glaive. Derli prevents Rak Tulkhesh from moving closer to the others and forces him gradually back, managing to bring him down and stun him twice throughout the battle. As he goes on, however, it becomes progressively more difficult to maintain his physical form with the divine power in his body, but he holds out much longer than expected, up to the absolute limit before delivering one final strike and vanishing in a burst of brilliant light.

Though their protector is gone, the others are prepared to finish assembly of the Staff of Three Dragons. The Rage of War manages one final strike with his whip, intended to kill Kaleth before the last piece can be put into place, but in an unexpected turn of events, Conlon leaps between Kaleth and the whip. With guidance from Deril, who has newly ascended to the mantle of the Sovereign of Strength and Steel, Conlon moves his blade almost effortlessly to intercept the whip, causing it to wrap around his blade before he pulls it free of Rak Tulkhesh’s hands.

A moment later, Kaleth contributes the Star of Chaos to the Rite of Assembly, and the Staff of Three Dragons is formed. Zil’dejin takes it in his hands and, knowing instinctively what to do, taps into its power. Indicus’ soul is ripped free of Rak Tulkhesh’s grasp, and all present have the perception of being pulled up and away from Dragon’s Crown, into the sky and seemingly out of reality, looking down upon the world of Eberron. In a blinding flash, Dragon’s Crown is destroyed, and its contents — including Rak Tulkhesh — are obliterated, marking the first time in all of the world’s history that a Rakshasa Rajah has ever been slain.

As the last of the Staff’s power fades away, and Zil’dejin begins to fade with it, each of the members of the Eclipse Collective present retains a small portion of the Staff’s power. They each possess a small portion of the basic essence of the world, and are each able to influence it in some way.

  • Zil’dejin Firebane uses the power to restore the Mournland in its entirety, undoing the last attempt at using the Staff of Three Dragons.
  • Indicus uses it to transform himself, using his current wraith-like existence subservient to the Rogue Reaper, into what he calls the “Prime Reaper”, filling the spot of the reaper killed by Lucan Vrinsk.
  • Conlon uses the power to rapidly accelerate his campaign against the dragons of Argonnessen, allowing him to conquer fully half of the continent extremely quickly alongside the Son of Caiphon.
  • Kaleth subdues the influence of Culdrathan the Judge in the Temporal Prime and effectively usurps him, attaining the status of something like a demigod by collapsing all of his disparate timelines into one being.
  • Rilic reverses most of the damage done to Fernia, pushing Levistus, the Bringer of Ice out of the City of Brass and restoring the control of the efreet, preventing the rapid freezing of the Sea of Fire.

Additionally, Derli, who has just assumed the mantle of godhood and still retains some power to influence the world directly (before falling back to subtle pushes and pulls, as with the rest of the Sovereign Host), turns his surviving Crusaders into immortal guardians of the faith.

With all of this done, the power of the Staff of Three Dragons fades away. The three pieces vanish, and Zil’dejin Firebane goes along with them. When the smoke clears, Dragon’s Crown is free of the numerous factions fighting over it, and only Conlon and Rilic stand in Grey Titan’s Hold. With little fanfare, they go their separate ways — Rilic to the Eclipse Keep, and Conlon to his new domain.

Total Eclipse III: Heavy Metal

Lharvion 21, 1002 YK

The Eclipse Collective deals with the Cultists of War that are massing in Grey Titan’s Hold. Lucan and Indicus finish dealing with Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn, knocking her out and bringing her back to the Eclipse Keep for judgment by the others. She is wiped of memories but is taken Mellifleur (whose Cabal she belongs to) before she can be sent back to Fairhaven. Conlon is given an obelisk to place when the party faces Rak Tulkhesh, the Rage of War and loses.

Lharvion 22, 1002 YK – Barrakas 11, 1002 YK

The party prepares various armies for marching to Dragon’s Crown, where Rak Tulkhesh is imprisoned. Derli rallies an army of crusaders, Zil’dejin restores the Devilkiller Legion, Indicus teaches a militia how to fight dirty, and control is gained over the Academy necromancers and the Eran War Mages. Kaleth meets with the Prime Jester, Indicus trains with the Exorcists of the Silver Flame to protect himself against demonic influence, and Zil’dejin goes to see Mishva Garodya Stormhorn. Conlon meets the Millennium Emperor, who offers to withdraw Conlon from the Tournament after the business with the Rage of War is finished, and they can both conquer their respective domains and re-enter the Tournament of Blades after a thousand year alliance. Conlon agrees. He then fights Dralon Ostrennar, and both die at the same time. Eltimar restores Conlon to life, but Morgue Conlonnar is sacrificed to make this happen.

Barrakas 12, 1002 YK

The Collective meets with Talbot to discuss the Staff of Three Dragons. Kaleth and Rilic go to get the Chains of Balance from House Cannith’s Equilibrius, and the others hatch a plan to get the Rod of Order back from Mellifleur, which is narrowly successful.

Barrakas 13, 1002 YK – Barrakas 18, 1002 YK

Training continues for the armies being raised. At the end of the month given to them by Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame, the Eclipse Collective is shown the daemons’ attack on Dragon’s Crown. Kaleth and the War Mages create a portal to move the armies into Starilaskur, and from there they use the Chaos Gear to connect the town to the front lines and march the armies to Dragon’s Crown in what will come to be called the March of the Damned.

A bivouac is set up when the armies arrive at Dragon’s Crown, and the armies hold it while the Eclipse Collective enters. They fight a balor lord to gain entry, and after clearing some Cultists of War residing in the entrance of the dungeon, they learn that four of these balor lords — the first balors created by the Rage of War — must be killed to gain entrance to Rak Tulkhesh’s final prison chamber. They proceed through the dungeon, destroying one renegade balor who is imprisoned, fighting another in a summoning chamber, and taking down the last one in an arena kept by Mordakhesh the Shadowsword. When the last one is defeated, Mordakhesh steps forward and begins absorbing a huge volume of souls in his chamber, but Rilic steals the effect from him midway through and starts absorbing those souls instead.

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

Lharvion 21, 1002 YK

After stealing Merrix d’Cannith‘s Arcane Fortress armour, Kaleth and Rilic have returned to Grey Titan’s Hold, where Zil’dejin and Derli are preparing to deal with the Cultists of War, who are climbing to the rooftops of the city to enact a demonic ritual of some sort. Approximately one hundred cultists are scattered throughout the city. Zil’dejin and Derli begin leaping and climbing among the rooftops, each taking about a third of the city, and Kaleth takes the remaining third, flying about instead. Zil’dejin slays the cultists, but Derli knocks them unconscious instead, and Kaleth blasts them with spells, causing considerable damage. The apparent leader of the Cultists, as well as one other, is located by Rilic, who convinces the auxilliary cultist to give up and go home, and the leader to go to Trolanport where the “ritual has been relocated.” With this, the four of them settle the matter of the cultists.

Meanwhile, Lucan and Indicus are in a visiting chamber in Fairhold, where Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn is trapped under a force bubble with Indicus while Lucan and Baalondorus look on from outside. Though Indicus and Lucan came to kill Aurala, Indicus decides to take a different tack, and knocks her out with a backhand to the jaw. Baalondorus drops the force shield, and Indicus collects Aurala before Lucan can kill her, fleeing with shadow walk to return to Grey Titan’s Hold. Lucan catches a ride back with Baalondorus (in his dragon form).

When everybody has reunited in Grey Titan’s Hold, the party meets in the Eclipse Keep, where Indicus drops Aurala on the war table, much to Zil’dejin’s and Derli’s ire. He asks them to vote on whether she lives or dies, and while Zil’dejin and Derli refuse to even entertain the idea with a vote, the outcome is a virtually unanimous decisionto not kill the queen of Aundair. Kaleth wipes her memories of the recent past and prepares to send her back to Fairhaven via a discreet carriage, but before he can do so, she vanishes. Conlon is soon to follow, revealing that they have both been summoned to the Circle of Silent Screams in Hopelorn to attend their roles in Mellifleur’s Cabal.

In Hopelorn, Mellifleur announces to the Cabal that he is aware of what is about to happen, including Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame‘s attack on Mordakhesh, and the looming release of Rak Tulkhesh, the Rage of War. In the wake of this, he says, his Cabal will be the only power group great enough ot stand against the apocalypse, as Rak Tulkhesh’s war will only fuel the armies of the Cabal. To this end, he gives each of them a small obsidian obelisk, which they are to place in the ground on one of the many stages of battle where the dead are in great abundance. Doing so will cause all dead in the area to rise under the control of that Cabalist. He also asks Conlon specifically to save his to be planted in the heart of Dragon’s Crown, to which Conlon replies that he will try.

Lharvion 22, 1002 YK – Barrakas 11, 1002 YK

In the days that follow, leading up to the warning given to the Collective by Zelishkar, Zil’dejin begins reforming the Eran Royal Legion back into its original form, reaffirming the training of the Devilkiller Legion. He also rallies a militia from the citizens of Eros, which are given to Indicus, who trains them in some basic gladiatorial combat methods, including how to fight dirty. When not training the militia, Indicus spends his time in Flamekeep, training with the Knights Militant and the Exorcists of the Silver Flame to learn how to control himself when wearing the Demon Overlord Armour.

Derli goes across Khorvaire, gathering the faithful of the Sovereign Host under his banner. By the time he returns to Eros, he leads an army of crusaders nearly 30,000 strong, which he immediately begins training for the coming battles with the help of the Hammer of St. Derli.

Rilic returns to Nysthera d’Thuranni] with the Arcane Fortress armour, presenting it to her. She recognizes it and requests it as proof for her superiors in the House, but Rilic refuses to give it up. A compromise is eventually reached wherein he gives up the right arm of the armour. Nysthera accepts this, and gives him the last piece he needs to reassemble the Ring of Wondrous Control. Then, with Derli’s help, he begins crafting a replacement arm, using the negative energy cannon from the bow of the Phoenix Eclipse. He also subtly frees Merrix d’Cannith, and soon after receives a new wand, created in the Equilibrius from his wands of fear and confusion. The result is a wand of disintregation. At the same time, Lucan also collects a “rocket-fist” formed from the combination of the two metal arms he acquired from his alternate timeline self, and Indicus receives a set of reassembled Demon Overlord Armour, to the rest of the party’s horror.

Kaleth spends the time visiting the Chronocracy to meet with the Prime Jester, and discuss plans to either dominate or collapse the Temporal Prime. They talk for a time about being opposite forces in regulating and controlling time. Then, he retires to his tower and spends several weeks improving his attunement to the Chaos Gear, reaching near-total attunement and gaining the ability to weave a shield of pure chaos around himself.

For a short time, Zil’dejin takes a break from preparing the newly-reformed Devilkiller Legion, leaving them in the hands of Coref Irvallo while he goes to visit Mishva Garodya Stormhorn. He brings his son, Zil’temeris, with him. Mishva is glad to see Zil’temeris and expresses a desire to have seen High King Shaeras Vadallia‘s death herself. She tells Zil’dejin she cannot send forces to help him against the demons, as she cannot march an army across Valenar even if she could spare the men. They do, however, have another romantic encounter, with the possibility of a fourth child for Zil’dejin coming to bear.

Conlon has a vision similar to Derli’s from a short time ago, regarding the Millennium Emperor, who asks Conlon to come meet with him in the “Kingdom of Odakyr”. Conlon agrees and goes to visit the Emperor, where he receives an offer different from Derli’s. If Conlon withdraws from the Tournament of Blades, the Millennium Emperor offers to help him attain immortality, and to forge an alliance with Conlon when the Emperor conquers Khorvaire and Conlon conquers Argonnessen. Then, when the next Tournament of Blades comes around in 1,000 years, he will help Conlon rejoin so that he can win and attain any power he may have been unable to acquire in the time between. Further, because Conlon is vastly more dependent on his warlock powers than Derli was, the Millennium Emperor offers Conlon the chance to withdraw after the Rage of War is dealt with instead of beforehand. Conlon decides to agree to this, on one condition: that he be the one to kill Dralon Ostrennar. The Millennium Emperor is more than happy to satisfy this condition.

Soon after his meeting with the Millennium Emperor, Conlon goes to Argonnessen, where he meets with the self-styled barbarian king Dralon. Dralon wears a “clock of stars” that is a mockery of Conlon’s own, and carries a blade very similar to Conlon’s own in full view, rather than waiting to summon it. They exchange some terse words, and immediately begin fighting. They fight is quick and fierce. Conlon shuts down Dralon’s magic early on, forcing his brother to fight as a pure melee combatant. Ultimately, the two kill each other at the same time. Each of the warriors’ consciousness is brought before Eltimar, who chastises them for somehow simultaneously eliminating one another, which Eltimar apparently considers a slap in the face for all of the efforts he put in to cheat the system. Because of the way in which he bent the rules of the Tournament, he can bring back one of them. HE challenges them with some cryptic questions to decide who will go back, and ultimately, Conlon is decided as the chosen. A sacrifice is necessary, however: Conlon’s and Dralon’s physical forms effectively vanished from existence when they killed each other, so Conlon needs a vessel. His son, Morgue Conlonnar, is chosen for this task. Morgue is eradicated as a person, with Conlon occupying what was once Morgue’s body, which reforms into Conlon’s own with all of his possessions intact. He turns to drink to help manage the resulting guilt and anger.

Barrakas 12, 1002 YK

Talbot arrives at the Eclipse Keep in response to the Collective’s summons. The meeting is taken to the warded throne room. The party asks Talbot some questions about his background, which he refuses to answer, and then decides to abandon that line of questioning and ask him about the Staff of Three Dragons instead. He confirms some aspects of the assembly the party already suspected or figured out on their own, including the need for an Ascended (Mythic) sacrifice, and the participation of three individuals, each attuned to one piece of the Staff. The power of the Staff ,he believes, is not limited to what was seen on the Day of Mourning; according to the legends of the dragons, the Staff of Three Dragons is built from the raw essence of the three Primordial Dragons that built the world, and is capable of reshaping it. The Chaos Gear is the essence of Khyber, the Chains of Balance the essence of Eberron, and the Rod of Order the essence of Siberys.

They ask for any other help he can offer, and he decides to let them draw from a special tarot deck which he carries. Everyone but Rilic draws from this deck, resulting in a mixture of strange and varied effects, few of which turn out to be particularly helpful for the coming days. Talbot also offers to join them when they go to Dragon’s Crown, where Rak Tulkhesh is imprisoned; he also confirms the location of the prison, and marks it on their map.

After meeting with Talbot, the party decides to move forward with their plan to acquire the three pieces of the Staff as a contingency plan. They already have the Star of Chaos, attuned to by Kaleth, leaving only the Rod of Order and the Chains of Balance. Rilic and Kaleth decide to pursue the Chains, which are currently in House Cannith‘s possession, built into the Equilibrius which they believe to be somewhere under the sea. The others go after the Rod, which is currently held by Mellifleur the Lichlord. The plan is to summon him and confront him, while Indicus goes to Hopelorn in Mellifleur’s absence and find the Lichlord’s phylactery to use as leverage against him.

Rilic and Kaleth disguise themselves as rakshasa: Rilic takes the form of Mordakhesh the Shadowsword, while Kaleth appears as Hektula the Bloody Scribe. His clone, a Kaleth who supposedly has seen the end of time, is disguised as a generic rakshasa. So disguised, they teleport back to the Equilibrius, appearing just outside of the monolithic structure. They head in, where they are immediately set upon by the adamantine golems who protect the place. Kaleth and his clone make a break for the quaternium sphere containing the Chains of Balance, and are beaten ruthlessly by the golems. Meanwhile, Merrix d’Cannith appears to demand information about what is happening. “Mordakhesh” disappears behind a piece of machinery and Rilic drops his disguise to look like a hero, come to stop Hektula and the other rakshasa from stealing the Chains. Mainstream Kaleth soon follows Rilic’s lead. Final Kaleth is killed by the golems, but not before he breaks the quaternium shell, exposing the Chains. Rilic announces that they need to take the Chains to prevent the end of the world, but Merrix pleads with them not to. His warnings are not heeded, and the two take the Chains of Balance and leave, returning to Grey Titan’s Hold.

At the same time, Indicus is dropped off in Hopelorn by Frances d’Lyrandar, who gives him a sending stone to call him back after Indicus is done. Back on the Material Plane, Conlon summons Mellifleur in a ritual devised he devises with the help of Nimozaran the Green, attempting to reconstruct what he did to summon Mellifleur during the invasion of the Inevitables. They are successful, but Mellifleur does not appear as expected; instead, he takes over the body of Nimozaran. The party is frustrated by this twist, but elect to depend on Indicus, while trying to convince Mellifleur to lend them the Rod of Order.

Mellifleur pays little attention to the party’s pleading, as he adamantly refuses to surrender the Rod. While the party speaks with him, Indicus tries to sneak through Hopelorn in search of Mellifleur’s phylactery, but is soon caught by Narcisa, the vampire agent of Mellifleur, who apparently survived the awakening of Suhnen with some substantial injuries. She claims to be taking Indicus for imprisonment and surrounds him with a large number of undead, but is soon revealed that she is aligned with an new faction of dissenters in Mellifleur’s Cabal, and she “accidentally” lets Indicus go. Unfortunately, he is soon after caught again, this time by Zogugbu, who is less sympathetic to Indicus. He demands to know why Indicus is in Hopelorn, which the gladiator responds to honestly. Zogugbu finds the idea amusing, and informs Indicus that Mellifleur’s phylactery is actually split into nine parts, and contained among the members of the Cabal. Discouraged by this, Indicus decides to go after the Rod of Order instead, which Zogugbu reveals is not with Mellifleur on the Material Plane. The orc thinks this is funny, and so he takes Indicus to the Circle of Silent Screams.

At the Circle, Indicus clambers up to Mellifleur’s raised throne, and notices the wall behind it is solid but loosely shaped like a door. He tries to punch his way through, going through solid stone very slowly. Zogugbu calls up Tristuro to watch the proceedings with him. Eventually, Indicus shifts into the Ethereal Plane, and realizes that it is actually a passage specifically built to be accessible in the Ethereal (while the rest of the Circle extends into that plane). He finds Mellifleur’s sanctum, where his body is slumped in a chair, currently unoccupied due to his spirit’s presence in the Eclipse Keep.

Back in the Eclipse Keep, the party continues pleading with Mellifleur, and eventually stumble upon an arrangement Mellifleur will agree to: he will lend the party the Rod of Order if, when the Staff is assembled, Mellifleur can take control of Conlon’s body, assuming his place in the Ritual of Assembly. The party is pretty set against this, but continues talking about this for a while to stall him while Indicus remains in Hopelorn. While this is happening, Indicus searches the sanctum and finds a hidden passage to a small crypt, where he trigges a necromantic trap that nearly kills him. The Rod of Order is concealed inside a casket, rigged to absorb the Rod in darkness if an attempt is made to seize it. Indicus overcomes the pull of the dark magic with sheer strength, and once the Rod is in his hands, he immediately begins running.

Realizing that his attempt to negotiate with the Collective is going nowhere, Mellifleur decides to vacate Nimozaran’s body and return to Hopelorn. There, he teleports himself back to his throne in time to see Indicus attempt to bolt past him, carrying the Rod of Order. Mellifleur stands to kill him, but for reasons unknown decides not to. Zogugbu and Tristuro still give chase, however. As soon as Indicus is out of the Circle, he shadow walks to his landing zone, which is at the edge of the city overlooking the darkness of Mabar. He can faintly see the lights of the Phoenix Eclipse in the void, so he calls for Frances. Tristuro and Zogugbu appear out of a dimension door, and just as they prepare to destroy him with dark magic, Indicus leaps gracefully off the edge of the city, landing on a pile of clothing and straw provided by the Lyrandar crew on the deck of the airship below.

A few hours later, Indicus drags himself into the Eclipse Keep, carrying the Rod of Order. The party has thus acquired all three pieces of the Staff of Three Dragons in preparation for the freeing of the Rage of War.

Barrakas 13, 1002 YK – Barrakas 17, 1002 YK

Training continues for the myriad armies being brought up by the Collective to build up against the Rage of War. Kaleth takes charge of the Eran War Mages, while Zil’dejin prepares the Devilkillers, Indicus continues to instruct the militia, and Derli prepares the crusaders. While training the crusaders, Derli realizes that he can probably achieve an effect similar to what the ancient coatls managed during the Age of Demons, and that he may be able to reseal Rak Tulkhesh with a mass-sacrifice of his army.

Other last-minute preparations are put in place, and the party gets their affairs in order, knowing what is to come.

Barrakas 18, 1002 YK

Nimozaran summons the party, who have all been staying in the Eclipse Keep in order to be close at hand for when disaster strikes. He takes them to the tapestry room to show them what is currently happening on the scrying tapestry. Dragon’s Crown, a structure comprised of a ring of monoliths set into a hill among the plains of eastern Breland, becomes visible to them. They watch the scene unfold.

A rift opens in the sky, from which the Testament of Sin descends, bringing with it a rain of blades and countless daemons. As they fall, a great explosion rocks Dragon’s Crown, destroying one of the monoliths and opening a hole in the hill. From this hole pours demons to meet the daemons, beginning the war. As this occurs, rifts to Shavarath are pulled open, drawing out more demons, as well as devils and archons. The tremendous influx of extraplanar forces ripples out like a terrifying blossom as the scrying tapestry zooms back to show the surrounding area, which is soon covered for more than a hundred mile radius by a writhing mass of violence.

The Collective knows that they must now react, but they are unsure of what approach to take. They cannot teleport into anywhere protected by the Rage of War, but over the past week, Kaleth has prepared the War Mages to open a great portal through which to move the armies, but the cloest they can safely get is in the town of Starilaskur — a considerable distance from Dragon’s Crown. There is also a forest nearby, which is not visible on the scrying tapestry; Nimozaran suspects it may be protected by some magic, and while it is a gamble, they can attempt to open the portal there to be closer to the action. Kaleth chooses to open the portal in Starilaskur.

The War Mages teleport there using regular magic. Signs of the Rage of War’s influence are present in the town, even if the demons are not; civilians and soldiers are fighting in the streets for no reason at all. The War Mages fend off outside parties and open the portal, allowing a progressive march to pass through. It begins with Conlon’s Mellifleur-provided army of undead, followed by Zil’dejin’s Legion (joined by Coref Irvallo), then Derli’s Hammer and Crusaders, then Indicus and the milita, and finally the Academy necromancers, led by Rilic in Conlon’s absence.

Once the army has amassed in Starilaskur, Kaleth proposes an alternative to a long march — using the Chaos Gear, he can warp space to connect the front lines to their current location, putting Starilaskur at great risk but allowing them to arrive at Dragon’s Crown by nightfall, rather than in hours. Zil’dejin approves this plan, and the points are connected. The armies proceed through in the same order, beginning the March of the Damned.

March of the Damned

The army is first met by a wall of demonic fire, conjured around the merged points in space to stop the Collective’s advance. The undead are ill-equipped for this, and so they call forward the War Mages, who use their magic to dispel the wall of fire. As they do, however, they are set upon by daemon mages. The undead protect the War Mages as they cast their spells, causing considerable losses to the undead army, but avoiding significant casualties among the mages. While they struggle with this, war devils (malebranches) leading legion devils attack the Devilkillers. They have dealt with their like before, during the Starpeaks Invasion, and Zil’dejin is ready, using well-known tactics to defeat the war devils and scatter their armies. Eros’ armies march forward, but are soon flanked by larger demons: barlguras and goristros. To protect the others, Derli’s Crusaders split into two columns alongside the rest of the ranks, and fend off the demons according to some strategies similar to what Derli used during the Starpeaks Invasion. Even with the flanks protected, however, the armies are still vulnerable to attacks from within, as a strange type of demon appears from the soil and shadows of the marching militia. Indicus recalls some education on the weaknesses of shadow demons during his recent time spent with the exorcists of the Silver Flame, and tries to rally the militia to take advantage of these. However, they are slow to react — while the demons are defeated, many of the militia’s men are lost. Behind the militia, the necromancers are bickering with each other too much to actually do anything; Rilic fixes the problem by giving a rousing, but largely pointless, speech.

With the armies now moved into the fray, they continue forward towards Dragon’s Crown. They are first confronted with some devil necromancers, who raise their own undead from the bodies of fallen fiends to combat Conlon’s undead. Conlon forces his will upon them, taking control over the entire rival undead army for just long enough to disband it, causing the corpses to collapse uselessly. The devil necromancers flee at this point. A short time later, an army of archons arrive from Shavarath, passing over the heads of the undead and attacking the Devilkillers. Seeing the approaching danger, they form a phalanx with a shield wall, and have their archers fire into the archons’ ranks. The archons are broken quickly, and some even turn coat to fill in some of the losses suffered during the war devils’ attack on the Devilkillers earlier. In the wake of these archons, some other archons, led by Solas and corrupted by Zelishkar upon his ascension to become the Horseman of War, attack the split Crusaders, trying to kill Derli. Derli calls Kaleth’s war mages in to assist, forming walls and barriers to push back the archons so they cannot expose weaknesses in the Crusaders’ two-column formation. Derli himself attempts to call divine strength, but cannot find it among the chaos. The Crusaders suffer great losses.

Meanwhile, flying demons pass overhead, throwing fire down upon the militas. They use slings, crossbows, and assorted ranged weaponry to repel the demons, with Indicus splitting his army into two groups for attack and defense, the defense group deflecting some of the fireballs. The demons are pushed back and fly on. The necromancers attempt to raise some of the dead Crusaders and militia men, but the weave of magic is tainted in their area by the infernal and abyssal magic. A madness begins spreading through their ranks, brought on by this tainted magic, but Rilic manages to lie to them so convincingly that he restores their sanity. Some undead are restored to bolster the ranks of the armies.

Back at the front of the March of the Damned, a group of pit fiends approaches the undead army. Conlon attempts to threaten them into submission, speaking through all of his undead at once to seem more imposing, but the pit fiends care little for his threats and destroy the majority of his standing undead before they rally and defeat the pit fiends. Further back, the Crusaders are still locked in battle with corrupted archons, and Zil’dejin attempts to send Derli aid from the Devilkillers’ cavalry. As they ride, however, they are intercepted by succubi and incubi, who attempt to pull them away. Zil’dejin calls down the war mages, who save the cavalry but are tempted themselves. The cavalry, now free, then turns to save the mages, leaving the Crusaders to their own devices for now. Derli tries to inspire his men by felling Solas in a single stroke. He manages to do so, but only after his Crusaders have suffered great loss; however, the display bolsters their morale by a great deal. The militia fends off artillery strikes by spined devils out of view, protecting themselves and the Crusaders by using the bodies of their fallen as shields.

At the back of the ranks, the necromancers attempt to cast a powerful spell, but accidentally set themselves on fire. Rilic has them raise the dead to smother the fires, which is not a successful endeavour. A large portion of the necromancers are lost to this disaster. Conlon has a vague sense of what is happening, but cannot go back to relieve Rilic; Infernal constructs, resembling flame-possessed suits of dark armour, set upon the undead. Conlon has them “play dead” until they are close, and then launch an attack. The constructs, however, have no sense of distinction between the undead lying down or standing up, and wreak havoc through their prone ranks, destroying the undead army completely and forcing Conlon himself to retreat. He enters the ranks of the Devilkillers, who then must deal with the pursuing infernal armour animuses. Zil’dejin launches a tactic he devised, a “shield charge,” which causes some losses but destroys the infernal armours. Coref is brought down and critically wounded during the charge, and is placed on the back of Rumham for the time being.

Meanwhile, the flanks are assailed by a tremendous swarm of dretches, the lowest form of devil, bearing the faces of the dwarves Derli lost during the Starpeaks Invasion (although these are not the devils from Baator — this is likely just an intimidation tactic). Derli is taken off guard by this, and calls the War Mages for assistance. The War Mages attempt to shift many of the Crusaders into the form of bears, but are distracted by the effort and attacked by demons, losing many. Left alone by the mages, the Crusaders take the devils on their own, and manage to break the dretches. Horrified by what is happening, the militia attempts to rout, and Indicus — not really knowing much about large-scale command — steals a number of inspiring speeches he heard from Zil’dejin and Rilic, and manages to prevent most of the routing.

Further back, the Academy necromancers, trying to recollect themselves, try to summon a mortuary cyclone. Realizing this has often been met with disaster in the past, Rilic decides to allow them to proceed anyway, with one condition: he wants it on fire. The necromancers provide this, creating what Rilic calls “Hurricane Conlon.” Seeing what is happening, Conlon rushes back to the necromancers’ ranks and takes command from Rilic, then uses the Rod of Order to try and raise more dead. He overshoots it, and ends up turning the remaining necromancers into undead instead. This leaves Rilic alone to command Hurricane Conlon, but he somehow manages to convince it to move forward just by ordering it. It sweeps up to where two separate armies of flanking demons are attempting to clash against one another in the middle of the Devilkillers. Zil’dejin orders a false retreat, intending to push them forward again once the demons have started killing each other, but the militia sees the retreat and tries to make up for the Devilkillers’ “failure.” They try to rush in as the Devilkillers pull out, and Indicus tries to pull them back by appealing to their sense of faith. This is not very successful, and most of the militia men are lost. The Devilkillers are, nevertheless, able to recover from this, and by carefully using the position of Hurricane Conlon they destroy the two clashing demon armies.

The Crusaders, meanwhile, have been split off and are being attacked by balors. Derli calls up the War Mages once again, who create mirror images of the advancing crusaders to confuse the balors. The spells are successful, but the last of the War Mages are killed during their efforts. The Crusaders take advantage of the brief lull, and circle around, coming together to crush the balors. This is all that is needed to provide a clear path to Dragon’s Crown, ending the March of the Damned. The undead and War Mages have been destroyed completely, while the Devilkillers and Crusaders are down to half strength, the necromancers have been turned into undead, and the militia have roughly a quarter of their original numbers.

Dragon’s Crown

The remains of the armies reach Dragon’s Crown by nightfall, where they immediately begin setting up a reinforced bivouac. It will not last forever, but it will hold for as long as the Collective should require. They intend to use it as a base to rest and recover in, and as a fallback if they need to retreat from Dragon’s Crown at any point.

Just beyond the camp, at the blasted-open entrance to the dungeon within, a balor stands watch, staring at the party. It is covered in the markings normally seen identifying the far-gone bears of the Mark of War. Evidently, some of the soldiers of the Legion tried to approach it and were killed in the space of seconds. After speaking with Talbot, who was not seen on the battlefield but is now with them, the party goes forward, assured of his help. When they meet in battle with the balor, Talbot is nowhere to be seen. Of course, they must fight it anyway. This is the first time the party has fought a balor at full strength, and this one is unusually strong even for its kind, throwing the party off-balance to some extent. It is lethally skilled with its flame whip and lightning sword, and does considerable damage to the party before they bring it down, culminating with Zil’dejin slicing through its arm and shoulder before propelling Derli up into the balor’s head to hack through its jaw and decapitate it. As it dies, it leaves behind a smouldering Khyber shard resembling a Rage Shard, covered with Abyssal glyphs. After some debate among the party, Derli takes it.

With the balor felled, the party enters into the breach, stepping into a series of caverns. Here they find an abandoned campsite with a body of a drow that has been dead for several years, and come across a structure being used by a number of Cultists of War. The structure is protected by a portcullis, which Derli and Zil’dejin attempt to breach and surprise the cultists. They are not able to break it, however, and instead warp and damage it, creating a great deal of noise and alerting the cultists within. In response, Kaleth pulls them forward with telekinesis, knocking them into the bars and dropping them down, where they are killed by Derli and Zil’dejin. The cultists fight back to an extent; they are marked with the Mark of War, and are possessed of demonic strength, but their bodies do not match their force and they are quickly taken down. After a great deal of work, Zil’dejin and Derli are not able to fully break open the portcullis, instead just bending it to the point of uselessness. Kaleth teleports himself inside, and Derli manages to pull open a space at the base of the portcullis just large enough to crawl through. In the structure, the party finds some religious documents and an altar dedicated to the Rage of War, from which the Cultists were drawing their strength.

They choose to leave the altar alone, and Derli flips through the texts. They are mostly mad ravings, but there is some pertinent information within; in particular, the party learns that the balor lord they killed was one of five. Of the five, they killed one at the entrance, and another one before (which previously was jointly sealed in Derli and Xulgos Adinimys, and summoned in a ruined tower south of the Keep). This leaves three, each of which bears a glyph that can be used to open the final prison of the Rage of War. Armed with this knowledge, they proceed back through the caves and to another structure of intricate dark masonry, containing the greater interior of Dragon’s Crown. It is here that they meet with the first of many traps in the dungeon, a simple but potent mechanical dart trap of sorts triggered by the door. As they walk in, they note that some of the other traps have already been triggered and have claimed victims.

The Collective is soon met with a four-way junction in the hall. From the left comes the echoing sounds of tortured screams, while from the right there is a putrid stench. Ahead of them is a closed door of blackened steel. They elect to go left to begin with, where they find a marilith demon rotating between three heavily-tormented prisoners, taking delight in torturing each of them for nothing but the pleasure of it. They ambush her, with Rilic paralyzing her with his wand and Indicus rushing forward to finish her off. He triggers a trap midway through but avoids a series of needles fired at his throat, and kills the demon. The party then questions one of the prisoners, learning that he has been here for decades. They are about to free him when they realize his body bears some kind of potent demonic magic, and choose not to risk it. The other two prisoners exhibit the same sort of magic, but one is incoherent and the other does not have a tongue, so they are not questioned.

After leaving the torture chamber, the party goes toward the room with the putrid stench. Here, a huge pile of debris, refuse, and bodies occupied a pit which dominates the majority of the space. They notice that it occasionally moves subtly, so Kaleth uses his magic to create a protective barrier over it. The far side of the room has a passage to another chamber, but it is obstructed by a huge statue of what appears to be a priest. After some careful searching, they find a pressure plate next to the statue, and by triggering it remotely, discover that it causes the statue to wheel about and pour a cascade of negative energy on its unfortunate victims. They circumvent it by using magic and natural abilities to fly over top and squeeze past, avoiding the pressure plates.

On the other side, they arrive in a small tomb with two sarcophagi. The images on their lids are vaguely familiar, and are matched by statues. One statue is the priest that they passed to enter, and the other obstructs a hallway to a different room, appearing as a heavily-armoured warrior. They are soon recognized as Thoman Lander and Marlamin Tarmikos. Almost in a frenzy, Kaleth quickly arcane locks the two sarcophagi, and the party begins a very gradual sweep of the room to locate traps and the like. They find nothing within the room itself, but as Zil’dejin attempts to move past the Marlamin statue, it strikes at him with its huge sword. Indicus soon follows, taking the hit against Kaleth’s and Rilic’s protests, who suggest that there was probably a better way than to just charge forward after learning that the statue is dangerous. An assortment of magic is used to get the others through, with the exception of Rilic, who tumbles acrobatically and avoids the statue’s attacks.

The next room contains a huge brazier, once used to contact Rak Tulkhesh during his imprisonment. Rak Tulkhesh speaks to the party through the brazier, informing them of their impending doom and offering them a chance to extend their lives by a short while if they turn and leave immediately. They, of course, refuse, and Kaleth anticipates what is about to happen, throwing up a wall of force to protect them from impending disaster. Sure enough, the brazier explodes with demonic fire, and indeed appears to keep exploding perpetually, leaving them somewhat pinned. They eventually manage to temporarily disable the magic fuelling the brazier just long enough to escape. Derli lags a bit when everybody makes an escape attempt, leaving Zil’dejin to toss him over to Kaleth, who takes him out with a dimension door.Demon

They then enter into a collapsed stairway, beyond which is another four-way intersection. Ahead is a room from which emininates considerable heat, and which clearly contains a pit of lava, fire, or the like. To the right is an ordinary-looking corridor, and to the left is a room that eminates soft light. Careful examination (by peeking around a corner) reveals that the chamber to the left contains a summoning circle of some sort. They decide to leave this alone for now, and head towards the right, down a series of stairs. Here they find a massive, towering door of metal with four holes in it, believed to provide access to Rak Tulkhesh’s chamber. Derli inserts their first glyph into it, while Indicus examines the unlit braziers outside the door, discovering them to contain impossible darkness. The hallway continues around and up some stairs on the other side, while some short stairs into an unfinished cavern in front of the doors lead to a number of Khyber shards, glowing faintly.

Derli recognizes the small cave with the Khyber shards — he was imprisoned here, several years ago, before he was freed by the Grey Company. With this information, the Collective realizes that these shards are used to contain high-profile prisoners of the Rage of War. With some further inspection and examination, one of them is found to have a familiar presence: a balor lord, mentioned briefly in the religious texts Derli seized from the cultists as having rebelled against Rak Tulkhesh. Its presence — as with the souls of the other prisoners — appaers to jump around between the four different Khyber shards in the chamber. Kaleth attunes himself to the essence of the balor lord, and coordinates with Derli to destroy all the shards not containing the balor lord.

Once the last shard is isolated successfully, they take it over to the braziers containing pitch darkness and drop the shard in, just to see what will happen. It is soon discovered that the braziers contain spheres of annihilation: concentrated negative energy that destroy anything coming in contact. The shard, along with the balor lord, are obliterated, but its death burst is still experienced by the party, burning several of their number. They do, however, acquire their second glyph, and place it in the door before proceeding back in the direction they came from. They intend to go back to the bivouac to rest, but want to stop by the summoning circle first.

There is another altar in this room, this one with a more refined image of Rak Tulkhesh. Derli inspects the book on the altar, which is written in Abyssal script with some passages translated in Common. It appears to have been prepped to summon another of the balor lords. There are some images suggesting he can read it if he prays at the other altar (in the cultists’ base), but they decide against it. Before actually summoning the balor lord, Kaleth and his time-clone attempt to sabotage the circle. They are partially successful, doing some damage to it but also triggering a burst of illusory fire, which burns Derli who is hiding nearby (even though the fire is not real). With this, they all prepare an ambush, and trigger the summoning.

The balor lord is brought down quickly, and quick use of magic protects them from the worst of its death throes. They are then able to proceed back to the camp, which they manage without incident. The war camp is still holding, although the outermost picket line has fallen.

Once they have rested and bandaged their wounds for about an hour, they go back into Dragon’s Crown, again proceeding without incident. They go back to the hallway beyond Rak Tulkhesh’s door, where they trigger another trap they miss in their search, covering them in a sweep of liquid fire that drains out in the cave that previously held the Khyber shards. With this out of the way, they move forward, entering a room that somewhat resembles an arena. Beyond a raised platform is a wall of writhing souls, built by Incarnum, beyond which Mordakhesh the Shadowsword sits on a throne. He speaks with the party for a time, and proves that he has killed Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame, before summoning the last balor lord for the party to fight.

They take it down with some difficulty, but manage it even with Mordakhesh summoning another demon to aid it in the fight. At this point, Mordakhesh speaks with them for a short time longer, apparently stalling for some reason, before being pressed by the party to “play his hand.” He shrugs, wraps himself in some sort of antimagic shield, and steps into the screen of souls, where he begins absorbing its power. Not wanting Mordakhesh to become any more powerful, but fearing what will happen if they step into the wall, the party hatches a plan. Rilic is capable of stealing magic, so suggests stealing the antimagic which they believe is protecting Mordakhesh. Kaleth uses the Star of Chaos to connect their side with the interior of the wall of souls where Mordakhesh stands, and Rilic reaches out to touch Mordakhesh.

To the party’s surprise, he does not steal the antimagic effect, but rather the soul absorption — Incarnum magic, not affected by the antimagic field. Rilic begins absorbing the souls in Mordakhesh’s stead, even after Kaleth collapses the wall of souls, while the party looks on in horror and confusion.

Total Eclipse II: Call It

Lharvion 17, 1002 YK

The matter of the Millennium Emperor’s offer to Derli to step down from the Tournament of Blades is settled as Derli agrees to surrender. The ritual involves Derli’s death, allowing him to speak once more with the strange dwarf in the tavern he believes to be Dol Dorn. Here, it is revealed that Derli is on track to become Dol Dorn himself, according to the nature of the gods in Eberron. He comes back to life, pure once again, but Derli having lost the Throne of War to another. He believes the usurper to either by Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame or the archon Solas.

Lharvion 18, 1002 YK

The party visits Merrix d’Cannith to get another piece of Rilic’s ring and commission some enhancements for their equipment from the Equilibrius. They learn that Zelishkar is the new Horseman of War and has given them the opportunity for a month of preparation before he attacks Mordakhesh the Shadowsword, throws open gates to Shavarath, and begins the “ultimate war.” The party discusses assembling the Staff of Three Dragons in the event that Rak Tulkhesh is freed. Baalondorus goes to Aundair to speak with Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn, and Lucan and Indicus join him, both intending to kill Aurala for their respective patrons.

Lharvion 19, 1002 YK

Lucan and Indicus get into a thick situation with Aurala and Baalondorus after learning that Aurala is a new member of Mellifleur’s Cabal and Baalondorus wishes for them not to kill her.

Rilic, Kaleth, and Zil’dejin assume disguises to infiltrate the House Cannith enclave in Wroat as part of a plot to fake Merrix’s death by stealing his prized Arcane Fortress armour. While in disguise, Kaleth and Rilic are taken to the Equilibrius. Zil’dejin goes back to Grey Titan’s Hold and speaks with Mordakhesh for a final offer of turning coat.

Lharvion 20, 1002 YK

Kaleth and Rilic arrive at the Equilibrius. Rilic manages to steal the Arcane Fortress armour to bring back and show House Thuranni in exchange for the final piece of the ring. Kaleth helps him escape by teleporting them back to the Keep.

Derli meets with Jaela Daran to warn her of the situation and learn a bit more about the sacrifice of the coatls that led to the imprisonment of the Rakshasa Rajahs. High Cardinal Krozen stops him and attempts to imprison him on his way out, but he quickly escapes and returns to Grey Titan’s Hold.

Lharvion 21, 1002 YK

With everyone reassembled in the capital, Mordakhesh makes good on some threats he made to Zil’dejin on his last visit as the Cult of War prepares some sort of dark ritual, with participants spanning rooftops the city.

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

Lharvion 17, 1002 YK

Zil’dejin arrives at the court of the Millennium Emperor on the Phoenix Eclipse, joining the others who are helping Derli decide whether to accept the Emperor’s offer of withdrawal from the Tournament of Blades. Zil’dejin adds his voice to the opposition to withdrawing, while Rilic remains the firmest supporter of that choice. Kaleth’s time clone vanishes (presumably taken by another Kaleth), while Lucan and Indicus offer only passive support one way or another. Derli voices a number of concerns to the Millennium Emperor, but the Emperor addresses them all. Zil’dejin also inquires about the fate of Eros in the Emperor’s new continent-spanning utopia, and the Emperor informs him that it will likely be made a semi-autonomous province, similar to what existed in ancient Galifar.

Derli finally makes a decision: he chooses to accept the Emperor’s offer. The Emperor dismisses his soldiers and then steps forward, summoning real blades from the talismans he carries, jamming them into the ground. He then takes Derli’s talismans, doing the same and forming a circle around Derli. Finally, he has Derli summon the Blade of Greed and hold it out before him, and then summons his own weapon, the ornate but clearly well-crafted Blade of Kings. He then prepares to behead Derli, as death is an important part of the process, when the party cries out for him to stop. They question the need for Derli’s death and his fate afterwards, and Rilic asks about where this ritual fits in with the Tournament of Blades. The Emperor explains that it exists on the border of what could be considered a duel of the Tournament, treading a very fine line. Zil’dejin wonders about his odds of coming back, and the Emperor suggests that they are roughly 90%. The party seems to accept this, and he carries forward, slicing off Derli’s head in a single stroke.

The soul of Derli finds itself confronted with two doors, which he now knows well correspond to the Oinodaemon and to Dol Dorn. Despite angry insistence bleeding out of the Oinodaemon’s door, Derli enters that of Dol Dorn, joining a muscular dwarf in a huge, busy drinking hall. “Dol Dorn” congratulates Derli on his decision, and mentions that he knows it wasn’t easy. He tells Derli to be at ease, and that the path to godhood isn’t further away — it is, in fact, closer. The nature of gods, according to the dwarf, is more a series of titles than immortal individuals, and the mantle of Dol Dorn has been worn by three separate entities since the ascension of the silver dragon Dolonoth An’dorrn, whose scale, fang, and shrunken heart Derli carries with him. Derli is on the path to ascending as Dol Dorn himself, it seems, and that provided he keeps on this path, now free of daemonic corruption, he will find himself a permanent ruler of the Realm of Sovereigns on his death, joining with the Dol Dorns of the past.

“Dol Dorn” then awakens Derli, restoring his body in a burst of holy fire. With blazing wings, Derli settles down to the floor of the Millennium Emperor’s court, now fully restored to his original form. The Emperor congratulates him on his return and his decision, and offers him a chance to rest before setting off again. He does, and the party is soon on their way. As they go, Derli notes the feeling of loss, as though there is a void in him. It dawns on him that he is no longer Horseman of War, and that somebody else has taken his place. On the trip back to Eros, the Collective briefly debates whether the new Horseman is most likely to be Solas or Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame.

Lharvion 18, 1002 YK

The party visits Merrix d’Cannith in Wroat. He gives Rilic a fragment of the Ring of Wondrous Control in exchange for Kaleth’s return of Project Fat Dragon, and they inform him of House Thuranni’s contract for his life. Their initial plan is to either remove part of his body and have Lucan restore it, and bring the body part back to Thuranni, or to bring something that is uniquely his. However, Merrix refuses to part with any of his limbs or appendages, and the only item he believes could truly identify him is his signet ring, which he explains is a major part of his claim to legitimacy as the rightful Baron of House Cannith, separating him from his rivals in Cannith’s other two splinter factions. He explains that he will go into hiding for a time, and spend most of his time in some Arcane Fortress armour he acquired somehow from the Arcane Congress, which he will reinforce with the Equilibrius for his own safety. The party asks him to alter some of their equipment in the Equilibrius when he departs: he is asked to combine Indicus’ armour with the Overlord-possessed harnesses and padding, to combine Lucan’s magitech arms into one, and to combine a couple of Rilic’s wands.

The Collective returns to Grey Titan’s Hold, where they are soon met by Zelishkar, Derli’s former Harbinger. The mystery of who is now the Horseman of War is quickly resolved — Zelishkar announces that the role now belongs to him, as he seized the throne during Derli’s brief state of nonexistence after being slain by the Millennium Emperor. As repayment for all Derli did for him, Zelishkar offers Derli a month of time to prepare before he makes his great move against Mordakhesh. At the end of that time frame, Zelishkar intends to throw open rifts to Shavarath and the Cinder Furnace and drive the Testament of Sin into the Material Plane, beginning the “ultimate battle.” With this, he departs.

The party discusses some plans for their month of preparation, and at Nimozaran the Green‘s prompting, hatch a loose plan for what to do if Rak Tulkhesh is actually freed. Zil’dejin suggests assembling the Staff of Three Dragons, which leads to a lot of vocal debate. As this subsides at something of a stalemate, Rilic announces that he is unsatisfied with the conclusion of their visit to the Cannith enclave. He proposes an alternative plan: they steal his Arcane Fortress armour and bring it back to show House Thuranni, avoiding the murder of Merrix d’Cannith and gaining a powerful item in the process. His plan involves disguising himself as a mid-to-high ranking member of House Cannith, and infiltrating the enclave in Wroat. Kaleth and Zil’dejin decide to join him in support of this plan, while Derli goes to Wroat to speak with Jaela Daran about obtaining the Church of the Silver Flame’s support against Mordakhesh in the coming days.

At the same time, Baalondorus takes his leave of the war room, as he must attend to an appointment with Queen Aurala ir’Wynarn of Aundair. Lucan and Indicus join him, raising some confusion in the other party members and in each other. As it happens, Lucan and Indicus have each just had private visits: Indicus with the ghostly shadow of the Rogue Reaper, and Lucan with the voice of Charon. Both of these dark patrons have ordered them individually to kill Queen Aurala; Indicus for more of the Reaper’s power, and Lucan for command over Charon’s armies in one month’s time. They do not reveal their purposes to each other or to the rest of the party, however, and fly on the back of Baalondorus in his true form as he flies to Fairhaven.

Lharvion 19, 1002 YK

Rilic, Kaleth, and Zil’dejin, using a mixture of disguises conjured from the Eclipse Keep’s magic mirror, Rilic’s disguise kit, and Kaleth’s magic, re-enter the Cannith enclave in Wroat. They are stopped by a few high-ranking officials of the House, who do not recognize them. Rilic’s ability to flawlessly lie allows him to pass near effortlessly, citing “unstable quadranium” he left on a workbench that could be disastrous if not attended to. Kaleth follows up on this by persuading the officials that he has to assist Rilic, while Zil’dejin claims to be an apprentice and note-taker for the other two. His efforts to get in are not as successful, but he makes it in eventually none the less. In the central workshop, the party discovers that Rilic’s lie was actually true: there is an ingot of unstable, magic-infused metal on a particularly messy workbench. The other artificers seem grateful for the party’s arrival, as it was a source of considerable concern for them. Meanwhile, Merrix makes his way out of the workshop, presumably bound for the Equilibrius.

The three Collective members gathered in the workshop hastily identify the unstable metal, and Rilic sweeps it into his extradimensional sleeve to a collective sigh of relief and round of applause from the spectating artificers. With that taken care of, they head through the side corridors to catch up to Merrix, who is preparing to board an extravagant self-propelling carriage. Rilic — in the guise of “Geoffrey Mechanomics” — claims to be an expert on antique magic armours, and can assist Merrix in augmenting his recently-acquired Arcane Fortress armour. Merrix, of course, believes this implicitly, but is extremely suspicious of Kaleth… or “James Arcanomancer,” a colleague of Geoffrey Mechanomics. Merrix asks a number of difficult and trick questions to try and expose his lack of knowledge. Eventually, Kaleth manages to satisfy him to an extent, but he still sends Zil’dejin (as “Erik the Notary”) away, asserting that he can’t take anybody to the Equilibrius who is not absolutelly cleared to be there. With this, they get in the windowless carriage and head off.

Meanwhile, Lucan and Indicus arrive at the Royal Court of Fairhold. They are taken in with Baalondorus, and instructed to wait in a sitting room while Baalondorus goes in to a separate chamber to speak with Aurala. As soon as the door closes behind him, the two set about quickly searching for an alternative or hidden way in, and discover such a route: an adjacent passage, opened with a mechanism several rooms away, leading to a dead stop behind a large portrait with removable eyes. Looking through the eyes of the painting, the watch the conversation take place, but the two are conversing in Draconic, making comprehension difficult. They do, however, manage to catch the name “Mellifleur” mentioned several times by each of them. They appear to be arguing, and it escalates until Baalondorus feels compelled to leave. They watch him slam the door and hear him calling for them in the sitting room, and Aurala immediately pulls a candle out of a drawer and lights it, giving rise to a black flame.

At this point, Indicus and Lucan burst out of the painting, weapons in hand. Indicus begins to have second thoughts and hesitates a moment while Lucan rushes forward, but Baalondorus charges back into the room and creates a force barrier around Aurala. He cautions Lucan and Indicus against what they are attempting, suggesting that Aurala has become a member of Mellifleur’s Cabal, but may be working against it from within. Indicus decides to question her, and Baalondorus gives him a chance to do just that by allowing him to speak with her through the shield. This is somewhat fruitless, and he ends up passing through the Ethereal plane using his ghostlike abilities to walk through the shield and enter the dome with her, much to her surprise. As the candle burns down, Lucan realizes it is probably going to summon something, and he attempts to snuff it, spreading the black flames to himself.

Elsewhere, while the artificed carriage appears to passing either underground or underwater, Merrix gives a simple test of artificing ability to Kaleth, who attempts to deceive Merrix and narrowly manages to convince him of success in the task.

At the same time, Zil’dejin meets with Mordakhesh the Shadowsword, who has come again to visit the Eclipse Keep in Grey Titan’s Hold. Because Zil’dejin has previously had the Mark of War on his flesh, Mordakhesh offers him the opportunity to take it again and lead the armies of the Rage of War in the battles to come, in exchange promising safety for him and his family when the world descends into violence. Zil’dejin adamantly refuses, and Mordakhesh assures him that he looks forward to killing him with the same blade that ended Baelin Bronzesmith‘s life. He also learns from Zil’dejin’s threats exactly how long Zelishkar gave them to prepare (and by extension, how long until he launches an attack against Mordakhesh), and notes that Mordakhesh will be intiating something much sooner.

Lharvion 20, 1002 YK

The carriage carrying Merrix, Rilic, and Kaleth arrives at the Equilibrius. They get out of the carriage and see that it is in the midst of some tall mountain peaks with a single, narrow path leading up to a huge, faintly glowing central structure surrounded by a number of satellite buildings floating in the air. Some of these satellites float freely, and others are anchored with chains. It emits the constant sound of machinery at work.

Because Merrix is still suspicious of Kaleth, he asks the mage to wait in the carriage while he and Rilic go into the Equilibrius to deal with the Arcane Fortress armour. Kaleth waits until they have gone most of the way up to the central structure before turning himself invisible and pursuing, almost immediately triggering a variety of wards, prompting several powerful adamantine golems to give chase to him, creating a distraction. Merrix leads Rilic quickly through a series of catwalks in what turns out to be a very cramped space inside the machinery, which Merrix mentions offhand “mostly built itself.” They arrive in a small storage room with a suit of Arcane Fortress armour. Rilic offers to modify it, and ultimately knocks out and magically imprisons Merrix (using a spell acquired from Kaleth stored in his ring) before stealing the armour and making away with it. Kaleth follows him, and once they are relatively clear, he teleports them back to the keep.

Derli, meanwhile, manages to get into the Cathedral of the Silver Flame in Flamekeep, where he meets with Jaela Daran and informs her of what is happening. She thanks him for his dilligence, and confirms that, according to the precepts of her faith, the Silver Flame is indeed what is left of the pure souls of the coatl sacrificed to contain the Overlords, given voice by the saint Tira Miron. Jaela explains she has to speak with the Silver Flame to discover more about this matter, and Derli prepares to leave when he is stopped by High Cardinal Krozen. The High Cardinal accuses Derli of causing trouble and spreading lies to instill panic, which Derli denies. However, seeing the situation as pointless, Derli tries to leave, when he is stopped again and surrounded as Krozen calls for the Knights Militant. Derli knows he can easily defeat the knights, but doesn’t want to create any unnecessary violence, especially with Krozen wielding the Dreamheart, so he begrudgingly agrees to go to the cells below the Cathedral to await an inquisitor.

The inquisitor eventually arrives in Derli’s cell, a heavily warded and scripture-covered room with a single tiny window and a thick, rolling door. Derli refuses to cooperate and attempts to simply walk out the door, at which point a smile spreads across the inquisitor’s face, and the wards trigger. Large silver chains shoot up from the floor to bind Derli, but he powers forward, snapping the chains to the inquisitor’s shock. He then walks out and slams the door behind him, and hastily makes his way out of the Cathedral. He takes the road south to Olath.

Lharvion 21, 1002 YK

From Olath, Derli is able to catch a trading vessel back to Eros, and makes his way back to the capital.

In Grey Titan’s Hold, Mordakhesh’s foreshadowing comes to fruition, as dozens of cultists from the Cult of War climb to the rooftops and begin the casting of some sort of terrible ritual.

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.

Timeout IV: Kalethopolis and the Phane

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

The Eclipse Collective visits a reality related to Kaleth in order to find an item he can use to help fight the Phane. His reality is one populated exclusively by Kaleths. After messing around in this reality for a while, Kaleth is given a whip made of human flesh by a Kaleth covered in the markings of the Rage of War. The party then discovers that this reality was created by the Overlord after he left the time-frozen Chronocracy, and Kaleth tries to acquire another item from him by slaying Culdrathan the Judge. The party decides not to pursue this course and instead returns to the Mainstream timeline.

In the Mainstream, the Phane has frozen time around the Eclipse Keep and is awaiting the party’s arrival. They quickly leap into a fight with it, and though most of the party members are brought down (but not killed) during the fight and the melee combatants aged substantially by the Phane, the party triumphs when Rilic turns the tables by summoning Culdrathan using the token given to him before. Derli deals three massive finishing blows to the Phane, and the party absorbs its Mythic power, achieving their maximum potential as living elements of the Draconic Prophecy.

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

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

The final reality the Eclipse Collective visits to collect items to help them harm and ward against the Phane revolves around Kaleth. The symbol he chose to focus on in entering his reality was an hourglass filled with smaller hourglasses, and the timeline the party arrives in appears to be populated by nothing but Kaleths. They arrive in the vast, sprawling city of Kalethopolis, conveniently on market day. Mainstream Kaleth joins a number of other Kaleths in visiting the Kaleth market, where countless Kaleths hawk time-related wares, while even more Kaleths peruse and purchase them using coinage stamped with Kaleth’s face.

The Kaleths in the market are very surprised and taken aback to see the other party members as they haltingly approach. They are immediately accused of being “non-Kaleths” and thus unwelcome in this reality. Zil’dejin manages to persuade the assorted Kaleths that he is a “dragonborn Kaleth,” which is quickly transformed into a Kaleth literally born of a dragon. Indicus convinces all that he is one of the “martial Kaleths,” among the lowest caste of Kaleths, and that he fights for sport. Derli fails to come up with even an unconvincing lie, and refuses to pretend that he is a Kaleth. Rilic announces that he is the “Judge Kaleth,” which all gathered Kaleths are immediately inclined to believe. The Kaleths begin calling out for Kaleth mob justice against Derli, culminating in general agreement when Zil’dejin suggests they put him in a giant hourglass and let him be gradually crushed by sand.

Derli continues to refuse to offer a defense even when prompted by Rilic, eventually leading the party to take an alternative tack. Rilic demands that he have a chance to “further interrogate” the non-Kaleth by taking him aside and then casting judgment later. The Kaleth mob is disgruntled, but soon forgets the matter after Mainstream Kaleth suggests a “time jog.” Here, dozens of Kaleths open slipgates and pour through them, emerging apparent seconds later with various souvenirs lifted from places in time, which are then quickly distributed in the marketplace. Against his better judgment, Mainstream Kaleth finds himself becoming quickly swept up in the flow of Kalethopolis and its many Kaleths, making it difficult for the party to persuade him to focus on the task at hand. An item of value to another Kaleth should be easy to find, but it is quickly apparent that most of these Kaleths have little attachment to their things, instead preferring to trade assorted time-souvenirs back and forth for the sake of novelty alone.

Eventually, the party is brought into the Dark Zone, where they believe they might be able to find Kaleth Prime, the original Kaleth in this reality. The Dark Zone is where assorted reject Kaleths are kept, and where Kaleths with some darker desires come to get their kicks. Dinosaur fights and battles using weapons as-yet undreamt of are taking place all around as they arrive in the Dark Zone, so called because it is essentially a Kaleth settlement in a huge, poorly-lit dome. Here, the party is introduced to “timeball” (a game where a ball is thrown through a slipgate to emerge somewhere randomly, and then thrown through by the nearest Kaleth available), prompting Derli to fashion a set of blinders for Kaleth to keep him on task. They are moderately effective, but Kaleth is quick to be absorbed in what he refers to as the “time mind.”

During a game of timeball, a slipgate opens to reveal a new Kaleth, covered in the markings of the Rage of War. He grabs the timeball and sets it ablaze before asking Kaleth a few questions to determine his identity. Once he has confirmed Kaleth’s place in the Mainstream reality, Rage Kaleth hands him a whip, apparently crudely fashioned of human flesh. Rage Kaleth mentions vaguely that he was under specific instructions to give it to Mainstream Kaleth, who accepts the whip. Mainstream Kaleth then accuses Rage Kaleth of “time crimes” for “violating the sanctity of timeball.” Rilic, under the guise of Judge Kaleth, prepares to preside, when a new Kaleth approaches: it is the Overlord, here known as Kaleth Prime.

The Overlord apparently created this reality after fleeing the time-frozen Chronocracy by systematically seeking out the dawning of all other races he could find and eliminating them, replacing them with Kaleth time-clones to create a reality consisting of nothing but Kaleths. Time is incredibly fragile here due to the massive abuse of chronomancy, but for some reason this does not appear to bother the Overlord. Kaleth questions him, asking him about an item he might use to potentially combat the Phane, and the Overlord offers up his hourglass (more or less the same as Kaleth’s old one, which he gave away to Daroon). For this, he wants the Collective to eliminate Culdrathan the Judge, who has been causing problems for the Kaleth world. Kaleth is inclined to do so, and the party prepares to accompany him, but Rilic vocalizes opposition. Kaleth claims that he needs something else to fight the Phane, but Rilic counters that he already has the flesh-whip and is “just trying to double-dip in [his] reality.”

Ultimately the party decides to side with Rilic, and chooses not to engage Culdrathan in battle. Kaleth grumbles, but he still opens a slipgate to restore the party to the Mainstream timeline.

Arriving back at the Eclipse Keep, the party finds that the Phane has already arrived, and is waiting for them. The area in and around the Keep is frozen in time, and all people in the vicinity are in stasis as the Phane gradually feeds off of their future. The shadowy, shifting abomination regards them, telepathically displaying to each of them images of the destruction of the timelines they visited and finally, the destruction of the Mainstream timeline. Kaleth is quick to attack the monster, beginning a bizarre battle.

The Phane is surrounded by a null-time field that catches Zil’dejin and Indicus relatively early in the fight, and its stasis touch freezes Derli, who is thereafter unable to be freed except by counteractive magic. Kaleth does considerable harm to the Phane with his magic but is frequently hammered by the Phanes “chronal blasts,” twisting and distorting time around Kaleth. This damages him to the point where he is forced to resort to his contingency, transforming into a Timeasaurus Rex, which he quickly abandons to use more magic. This mistake proves costly, as the next chronal blast knocks him out. Zil’dejin frees himself from the null-time field effect shortly after to attack the Phane again, doing further damage to the dark form, but soon he too is affected by the stasis touch. Lucan is also taken down by the chronal blasts, leaving only Rilic standing.

He resorts to the Wand of Wonder multiple times with variable effectiveness, and then finally in desperation summons Culdrathan the Judge using the token given to him by the time dragon. Culdrathan emerges from a slipgate and engages the phane in battle, periodically stopping to free Zil’dejin and then Derli from temporal stasis. Culdrathan is himself eventually frozen in time stasis, and the Phane feeds off of its future, but despite is capacity to regenerate in this way Zil’dejin and Derli manage to take it down, with Derli dealing a trio of tremendous blows to finish the abomination off, his axe flashing with radiant might and the darkness from the talisman seized from Cassianus.

With the Phane destroyed (and Derli, Zil’dejin, and Indicus considerably older for the Phane’s time-consumption), time restores itself around the Eclipse Keep. Nimozaran congratulates them, expressing that he did not see any part of the fight but that he saw the Phane one moment and the party the next, correctly assuming that the Phane did not destroy time. For the party’s efforts in stopping the Phane, Culdrathan decides to call it even between them, and that he will restore all of their lifelines… except for Kaleth, whom he still deems to be a major threat. He mentions that he will be keeping an eye on them from now on.

In the meantime, the Phane’s mythic power is absorbed and distributed among the party, allowing them to reach the pinnacle of their Blooded abilities.

Timeout III: Death-killer Lucan and Tyrant Zil'dejin

Lharvion 6, 1002 YK

To find more items to help combat the Phane, the Eclipse Collective visits a reality related to Lucan. His symbols are a pentagram and a cracked skull, and he chooses to focus on the latter, leading to a reality in which Lucan has effectively killed death by destroying all of the thirteen Grim Reapers. This reality is suffering, as nobody can die, and the problem is clearly only going to compound with time. After speaking with a decapitated Zil’dejin and a Derli that is more scar tissue than dwarf, they track down Death-killer Lucan in a church in Fairhaven. They are joined in seeking him by Kaleth-Rilic, whose bodies were fused in a magical accident. Kaleth ends up binding Death-killer Lucan (who is now trying to find and kill the gods) in unbreakable chains, and Conlon and Zil’dejin chop off his arms at the elbows, freeing his artificed prosthetic punching-arms, based on Zan-kyri’s designs. Mainstream Lucan gathers up the arms, while Kaleth tries to open a slipgate back to the Mainstream Reality and the others fight off Kaleth-Rilic and their enslaved, braindead Indicus. Ultimately, they manage to escape back to the Mainstream.

Lharvion 7, 1002 YK

The next reality the party visits relates to Zil’dejin. The symbols he sees are a crown and a book, and he chooses the former. They end up in a reality in which Zil’dejin has conquered all of Khorvaire under the banner of Eros, here called the Eran Empire. They appear outside of the capital of Grey Titan’s Hold, and enter through the only gate, which is extensively guarded. Through a combination of trickery and violence, they escape the watchful eyes of Prophet Elyas and High Inquisitor Mikhal Thanesman into the streets, where they make their way to the Keep. Tyrant Zil’dejin does not take audiences, so they break into the castle through various approaches, and find Tyrant Zil’dejin and his seven wives in the throne room. Numerous trades are negotiated for items to combat the Phane, but all fail. Ultimately, the Zil’dejins decide on a duel, where the winner takes the other’s weapon. The fight is brief and terrifying, but ultimately Mainstream Zil’dejin is the winner. He takes Tyrant Zil’dejin’s Thundering Halberd, and the Collective returns to the Mainstream Reality.

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

Of all the currently active members of the Eclipse Collective, only Kaleth does not yet have something from an alternate reality. He casts reality jump on himself, seeing two symbols: an hourglass filled with other hourglasses, and the swirling shape of an eye. He picks the hourglass, and the party ends up in a reality in which, apparently, everybody is Kaleth.

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

Lharvion 6, 1002 YK

The Eclipse Collective gathers in the Eclipse Keep as Kaleth casts reality jump, using Lucan as a focus. The two symbols visible to Lucan are a pentagram and a cracked skull, and he chooses to focus on the latter. The slipgate opens and the party passes through, ending up in the streets of Grey Titan’s Hold in a different reality. Everything seems fairly normal, if perhaps slightly busier than usual. They grab a random passerby — as they are so fond of doing — and he recognizes the party members, but notes they are looking “much better,” and comments that it’s “amazing what magic can do.” The literal dirt farmer doesn’t elaborate on this much further, and so the party leaves him and heads for the Eclipse Keep, where King Zil’dejin of this reality is holding audience.

They meet Nimozaran, who has a fierce-looking gash down his face and is wearing an eyepatch. He seems confused for reasons similar to the farmer the party spoke to, noting that he is particularly impressed with what Rilic and Kaleth have done. He takes Zil’dejin to the throne room, believing him to be this reality’s Zil’dejin, and lightly chastising him for not being in his throne room when he is supposed to be holding audience. Here, they see this timeline’s Zil’dejin sitting on his throne, looking fairly similar to Mainstream Zil’dejin except for a few prominent scars on his chin and jaw. He does not rise as they enter, nor does he seem especially surprised.

The Collective speaks to him, eventually growing suspicious about him not moving in his throne and some vague comments he has made about the state of people and their health these days. Kaleth asks if he is capable of standing at all, and in answer, this reality’s Zil’dejin calls forth Derli. A creature that is more scar tissue and wound than humanoid shambles into the room, and with a heavily-calloused appendage, lifts Zil’dejin’s head off the dummy body sitting on the throne. This reality’s Zil’dejin explains that he was decapitated, but Lucan has killed all of the Grim Reapers in this reality, effectively destroying the universal concept of death. Nothing dies anymore, nor does healing magic work. People live with their injuries, as they have no recourse but to do so. Derli should have died “between twenty and forty times,” according to Decapitated Zil’dejin. The only member of the Collective not still alive, he reveals, is Conlon, who was killed in the Tournament of Blades by “that king guy” — a contestant neither Mainstream Derli nor Mainstream Conlon are familiar with. Apparently, he was the previous winner of the Tournament of Blades, and Conlon sought to fight him to deliberately end his own life rather than living in the nightmare Lucan created.

On Decapitated Zil’dejin’s leave, they go to the scrying tapestry in the Keep, and Kaleth views Death-killer Lucan. He is in a church of the Sovereign Host, pummeling priests who cannot die with huge spiked gauntlets, and demanding to know “how to reach them.” Derli and Kaleth discuss the appearance of the church and settle on one of the more prominent establishments to the Sovereign Host in Fairhaven. Kaleth attempts to teleport them there, first missing his mark enough to land them over Lake Galifar, and then teleporting them to somewhere in rural Aundair over a lightning rail track, with a train approaching.

After realizing the train is probably headed to Aundair, the party jumps aboard the train. Kaleth uses magic to teleport himself up to the roof, while Zil’dejin and Conlon attempt to leap up. Conlon misses narrowly, but is pulled up by Zil’dejin. Derli jumps on the caboose after wrestling with the decision of whether or not to hop aboard, and Lucan grabs his heels. While they pull themselves up, Rilic walks gracefully up their backs, and is welcomed into the caboose by an appreciative audience who does not extend the same courtesy to Derli or Lucan.

Kaleth and Conlon, currently on the roof, end up climbing down into the train, where they learn that this reality’s Kaleth and Rilic are supposed to be in one of the cars. They go to the indicated car and find a canopied bed, around which a heavy curtain has been drawn. Laboured wheezing is coming from within, and after Conlon speaks, Kaleth’s voice from in the bed expresses surprise that Conlon is alive. Mainstream Kaleth decides to pull back the curtain dramatically, revealing what at first appears to be an obese Kaleth, lying supine on the bed. It soon becomes clear that this reality’s Kaleth is not obese, but rather that his body is actually two bodies fused into one; Rilic is melded into his back. The two were apparently merged through a terrible accident of magic for which they were mutually responsible. The accident should have killed them, but instead combined them, and as healing magic no longer works, they are without recourse but to go on living like this.

Apparently, Kaleth-Rilic are on their way to Fairhaven to meet with Lucan, and offer for Mainstream Kaleth and Conlon to join them. They make small talk while the train makes its way to Fairhaven.

When it arrives, they disembark. Bored Aundairian Soldiers ask their ages as they get off the train, initially intending to throw the oldest member of the party, Kaleth, into “the pits.” Conlon tries to probe the soldier’s minds for more information on what this is, but does not glean anything. Kaleth escapes, and everybody else makes their way to the church where Death-killer Lucan is currently beating up priests. They find him in there, finishing making a pulp of the last priest, an expression of dissatisfaction on his face.

The party questions him for a time, discovering he has no remorse about what he has done, and learning that he now intends to slay the gods, just to prove that he can. The spiked gauntlets the party saw him using on the tapestry are revealed to not be gauntlets at all, but rather construct arms, based on designs by Zan-kyri. Kaleth ends up binding him in unbreakable chains using some of his most powerful magic, although Kaleth-Rilic attempts to counter him. The counterspell fails, but Kaleth-Rilic expresses that Death-killer Lucan, even despite his apparent madness, is the world’s only hope at being able to die again.

Rilic ends up paralyzing them (separately — the Rilic half takes longer to paralyze, and gets a few shots off using the Content Not Found: wand-of-wonder), while Zil’dejin and Conlon simultaneously sever Death-killer Lucan’s arm-gauntlets from his restrained body. Kaleth-Rilic summons their bodyguard, a six-armed Indicus with a knife in his brain that can no longer do anything but obey their commands. Rilic ends up confusing him to the point where he just leaves, and does not return. Kaleth manages to cast restore timeline, allowing them to return to the Mainstream and escape the deathless reality.

Lharvion 7, 1002 YK

The next day, the party is quick about jumping to a new reality. Zil’dejin is the focus this time. His symbols are a crown and a book. He considers the latter, but ends up going for the former. After going through the slipgate, the Collective finds themselves outside of what appears to be Grey Titan’s Hold, only much larger, and surrounded by a tall wall made of overlapping metal blades. Eclipse Keep is situated on the top of an artificial hill, and looks far more imposing in this timeline. The party decides to try and find a gate leading into the city, and discovers that there is only one. It looks to be very well guarded, but they approach nonetheless.

The soldiers at the gate wear the colours of the Eran royal legion: black, crimson, and gold. They ask the party some routine questions, but as this reality is so different from their own, they are not able to answer to the soldiers’ satisfaction. Most of the party members convince the soldiers they are simply drunk, and are brought in to a cell to await sobriety to decide later if they can be let into the capital. Derli and Zil’dejin, however, fall under greater suspicion, and are led elsewhere to await the judgment of a “High Inquisitor” — apparently, the Tyrant Zil’dejin of this reality borders on god-emperor status, and has a literal cult of personality centered in Grey Titan’s Hold.

Kaleth slips away by making himself invisible while the guards are escorting them. Outside the drunk tank (a literal tank full of some kind of alchemical fluid), Rilic convinces the soldiers that he actually represents an internal government agency, and that Lucan is with him. They are permitted to leave, while Conlon — who announces that he comes from Argonnessen, currently outside the Eran Empire — is taken to speak with the Prophet, who turns out to be Elyas (whom Conlon has not met). Meanwhile, the High Inquisitor is revealed to Derli and Zil’dejin to be none other than Mikhal Thanesman.

High Inquisitor Mikhal Thanesman asks a long series of questions, intended to identify whether Zil’dejin and Derli are actually citizens of the empire and worthy of entering the capital. The questioning reveals some considerable gaps in their knowledge, as well as some points of history in this reality. Typhus is alive and is some sort of villain, while Derli is more zealous and righteous in this reality, but is also viewed by the Eran Empire at large as an enemy for betraying Zil’dejin. Mikhal is prepared to let them in with the “brand of suspicion,” which is a literal brand on the face indicating that the two are to be watched by inquisitors and guards. He explains that this can be recovered later through magical healing. After this is revealed, however, Derli falls under additional suspicion. Mikhal changes his mind, and decides to brand Zil’dejin but subject Derli to further, more involved questioning.

Zil’dejin manages to persuade High Inquisitor Mikhal to be the one to lead the additional questioning, which Mikhal finds amusing. Apparently, he had no real intention of additional questioning; rather, he wanted to neutralize Derli, and to this end offers Zil’dejin a glass jar containing a burlap sack, tied closed with a rope. Zil’dejin is instructed to put the sack over Derli’s head, under the Inquisitors’ supervision: this, evidently, is part of a process called “gentling”. Zil’dejin goes back into the interrogation room with Mikhal in tow, and prepares to put the sack on Derli’s head. At the last minute, however, Zil’dejin yields the sack to Derli, who jams it on Mikhal’s head and pulls the drawstring closed. He flails for a moment before going perfectly still, at which point Zil’dejin throws Derli through the window the other Inquisitors were watching through, causing them to scramble. They then escape.

Conlon, meanwhile, speaks with Prophet Elyas, who collects, maintains, and supervises the greater knowledge of the Eran Empire. He is aware of the party’s purposes (dimly, but well enough), and of the existence of the Phane. Conlon convinces Elyas to let him seek an audience with Tyrant Zil’dejin, although Elyas cannot arrange such an audience himself, and assures Conlon that the Tyrant Emperor does not typically take such petitions. Conlon waves him off and goes to join Kaleth, Rilic, and Lucan, who are browsing in the marketplace (which Kaleth notes, with some admiration, shows evidence of “actual city planning”). Soon, Zil’dejin and Derli arrive as well, and they quickly make their way to the Eclipse Keep before the Inquisitors can track them down.

The Keep is extremely well guarded, even more so than the gate. A long flight of tall stairs lead up to the entrance, and guards are posted all along the steps. The soldiers are quick to inform the party that nobody is permitted in the keep without the emperor’s explicit permission. Even most soldiers are not allowed in, save the Honour Guard, hand-picked by Tyrant Zil’dejin from the Eran Imperial Legion. Kaleth decides to circumvent this by transforming Mainstream Zil’dejin into a toad, pocketing him, and then stopping time just long enough to get inside. Rilic uses a spell stored in his ring to turn invisible, and Conlon and Derli simply teleport their way up the steps and run through the keep, trying to evade the pursuing soldiers. Lucan stays outside, providing a distraction by flying around the keep using his psionic powers.

Eventually, everbody manages to end up in the throne room, where Tyrant Zil’dejin sits with his seven consorts. Tyrant Zil’dejin recognizes Mainstream Zil’dejin as the version of himself that freed the Phane, and ends up waving off the soldiers to permit them a rare audience. It quickly becomes apparent that Tyrant Zil’dejin is really not so far removed from Mainstream Zil’dejin, and that neither would be willing to part with anything that they hold dear. The party keeps suggesting they trade weapons: Mainstream Zil’dejin’s glaive (once wielded by Glanvar Soranath) for Tyrant Zil’dejins Thundering Halberd. However, both value their items too closely to allow such a thing. Tyrant Zil’dejin requests Zil’temeris be given to him to raise, as he ate his son in this reality (per the traditions of the Firebane clan), but Zil’dejin naturally refuses. After a while, a duel is proposed, where the winning Zil’dejin is to take the other’s weapon. They naturally both think this is a good idea.

In typical Zil’dejin fashion, the fight is incredibly violent and extremely brief. Roughly thirty blows are exchanged in very quick succession, until Tyrant Zil’dejin is incapacitated. Lying on the ground, he grudgingly submits his Thundering Halberd to Mainstream Zil’dejin, and as the party prepares to jump back to the Mainstream Reality, Tyrant Zil’dejin expresses his wish that Mainstream Zil’dejin also be able to expand his empire.

Lharvion 8, 1002 YK

On the following day, the party prepares to jump to the last reality they require: one connected to Kaleth. The symbols he sees are an hourglass filled with smaller hourglasses, and a misty, swirling eye. He chooses the hourglass filled with hourglasses under pressure of the party, and they arrive in some sort of settlement filled with simply-shaped but ornately-decorated round huts. The doors of one of the huts opens not long after they arrive, revealing a Kaleth, who is on his way to the “time market.” Kaleth joins him, and soon they are joined by two other Kaleths. They arrive in a marketplace packed with Kaleths, making it quickly apparent that in this reality, everyone is Kaleth.

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.

Timeout I: Saint Derli

Nymm 8 – Lharvion 2, 1002 YK

After the fall of the Becoming God and the defeat of the axiomites Creator and Vindicator, the party meets with Mediator to settle the matter of the Inevitables. Afterwards, they handle their own business for about a month’s time:

  • Zil’dejin begins cleanup in Eros, retrieves the party’s rings from House Cannith in Wroat, and goes to get his son Zil’temeris back from the elves of Valenar.
  • Lucan goes to the House Medani enclave in Wroat, where he finds files from Taldor d’Medani‘s oldest case in the Basilisk’s Gaze: the Masked Flayer, a famous torturer during the Last War. He tracks him down in Sharn, discovering the criminal to be none other than Professor Mordecai Ayel Moriarty d’Medani.
  • Derli finally duels Tethris and wins. He also takes Lavrenti on a short journey to educate him on matters of knighthood.
  • Conlon meets with Mellifleur’s Cabal and discovers that the next step in achieving lichdom requires that he kill his adopted son, Morgue Conlonnar. He seeks an alternative, where he intends to turn Morgue into a living phylactery.
  • Rilic goes on a book signing tour for the newest volume of his autobiography: Stopping the Inevitable.
  • Kaleth attunes himself further to the Chaos Gear.
  • Indicus goes to Xen’drik to find a descendant of Erlandur to either fix or remove his accursed armour, damaged by Vindicator‘s hammer Metalshape. He finds a fire giant that removes it, but at the cost of the giant’s life.

Lharvion 3, 1002 YK

Olath arrives from the Chronocracy to reveal that the Phane has begun unwinding time. To fight it, the party needs weapons from another timeline, and to protect against its powers they each need something valued by an alternate version of themselves. Olath gives Kaleth two spells to facilitate jumping between alternate realities, and the first reality is Derli’s. They visit a timeline where Khorvaire is covered in poisonous fog, and in which Derli is leading a “High Crusade” against Zil’dejin Firebane, who is the prakhutu of Masvirik, the Cold Sun. The Demon Overlord is free, and Derli is pure, called “Saint Derli” here. In a battle against the Poison Dusk, Saint Derli is killed by Poison Zil’dejin, who is then defeated by the party. They gather Saint Derli’s Blade of Dol Dorn and Poison Zil’dejin’s terrible poison glaive before Masvirik himself shows up. They then flee back to their own reality.

Lharvion 4, 1002 YK

The party enters Conlon’s reality, where the sky is pitch dark save for a single star. The only person on the street in the city they arrive in throws himself to the ground and prostrates himself before Conlon.

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

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

The party regathers after the Becoming God has fallen. Derli introduces them to Mediator, who wishes to discuss any reasons why the Eclipse Collective believes the Inevitables’ assault was unjustified. Zil’dejin jokes that it will take a long time if she wants them to go through every point on the Tablet of Censure; Mediator explains this is exactly what she wants. Zil’dejin, Conlon, Kaleth, and Rilic spend about two weeks in meetings with Mediator, providing a case for every single one of the offenses on the Tablet of Censure being unjust, including arguments both cogent and fantastical, and a spectacular but pointless performance by Rilic. After the two week span, Mediator appears satisfied to leave things as they are now, and withdraw the Inevitables. However, she offers no guarantee that their pursuit will not continue if more violations of the Six Axioms are committed by the party.

Nymm 20, 1002 YK

Zil’dejin begins cleanup and damage control in the area of the city impacted by the fight against the Inevitables, picking up scrap metal from the Inevitables and the Becoming God, and recovering blades from the Testament of Sin. He begins a project of using these to assemble a wall on the northern edge of Grey Titan’s Hold.

Meanwhile, Kaleth locks himself in his tower, working on attuning himself further to the Chaos Gear. It is a process that will take a week, but will improve his power over the artifact, granting him the ability to confuse all those around him… including himself.

Nymm 21, 1002 YK

Lucan and Zil’dejin go to Wroat. Zil’dejin visits the House Cannith enclave, where he picks up the rings created in the Equilibrius. It is a set of nine magic rings: one for each member of the Eclipse Collective believed to still live. He returns to Eros to distribute these rings among the party, taking his Ring of Dawn for himself.

Lucan, meanwhile, returns to the House Medani enclave to deliver the news about Taldor d’Medani. He is shown Taldor’s old office, where he discovers a set of old files: Taldor’s longest-running case for the Basilisk’s Gaze. The case regards the “Masked Flayer,” a freelance torturer and interrogator during the Last War, wanted for war crimes. The nature of his interrogations is unknown, but it is known they were heinous and unforgiveable. To honour Taldor’s memory, Lucan picks up the case where Taldor left off, and begins his pursuit of the Masked Flayer.

Nymm 22, 1002 YK

Derli releases Tethris from the jade prison Rilic put him in. They begin their duel for the Tournament of Blades. Tethris immediately uses a Mystic Arcanum to transform into an ancient brass dragon, but Derli’s aggressive assault soon forces him out of this form, ignoring his own wounds the whole time. Not long after Tethris returns to mortal form, Derli rips off his wings and beheads the Brass Knight, taking his talisman, which temporarily grants dragon wings similar to those seen occasionally on Tethris.

Nymm 24, 1002 YK

Indicus sets out to find a descendant apprentice of Erlandur, the fire giant blacksmith who made his accursed armour which was damaged by Vindicator‘s hammer, Metalshape. When asked if he wants to find the armoursmith to have the armour removed or repaired, Indicus responds that he won’t know until he gets there. He then leaves to catch a ship to Xen’drik. Metalshape is taken as a trophy, as it cannot be used by a non-axiomite.

Nymm 25, 1002 YK

Lucan tracks the Masked Flayer down in Sharn, where they engage in a dramatic fistfight on top of a tower during a storm at night. The Flayer ends up falling off the tower, but Lucan catches him by the wrist, dangling him off the edge. With his free hand, he removes the mask, discovering the Flayer’s identity: Professor Mordecai Ayel Moriarty d’Medani. Still holding the mask, Lucan drops him, letting him fall away into the night.

Nymm 27, 1002 YK

Conlon is summoned to the Circle of Silent Screams in Hopelorn by Mellifleur. Here, the Cabal is gathered, including Tristuro, who is back at his seat under unknown circumstances. The Cabal discusses The Weeping Widow briefly, and Conlon discovers that she is being held by a powerful archon for reasons unknown, and that she is beyond the Cabal’s reach at this point. With this matter shelved for now, Mellifleur takes Conlon aside to start him down the next path in lichdom. He must make a major sacrifice to seal his soul in his phylactery by killing something to which he has a real mortal attachment. The only person for whom this truly applies in Morgue Conlonnar. Unwilling to kill his adopted son, Conlon demands another path, but Mellifleur tells him that all paths to lichdom (except becoming an archlich) share the need for such a sacrifice in common.

Conlon then goes to Tristuro, seeking another path even if it’s darker; Tristuro tells him the same thing. He returns to Eros, where he consults with Zil’dejin. They come up with a new plan: rather than slaying Morgue, perhaps Conlon can turn Morgue into a living phylactery, framing the sacrifice in that way. After a meeting with Rave, Conlon believes that if kills both himself and Morgue at the same time, his new road to lichdom can be realized. Rave begins making the appropriate preparations, a process that he claims will take at least a month to be sure.

Nymm 28, 1002 YK

Lucan visits Taldor’s grave and places Mordecai’s mask upon it, saying: “I caught him, Taldor. I finally caught him.” Somewhere in the distance, there is the sound of a sad saxophone riff.

Lharvion 1, 1002 YK

Indicus locates a descending apprentice of Erlandur, living a hermited life at the base of a mountain. The smith still holds the remnants of the Demon Overlord armour from this timeline, where it was forged partially to completion before the prakhutu of the Broken Shield destroyed the Khyber shard portion of the armour, essentially leaving behind everything needed to restore Indicus’ armour. Indicus takes a long time to think about this, and then finally decides to ask that the smith remove the armour. The fire giant begins the removal process, but midway through its evil overtakes Indicus, causing him to black out. When he comes to, he is standing over the dead body of the giant smith, who has been ripped apart by the armour’s claws, but who apparently managed to remove it during the struggle. Indicus carefully takes the shard portion of the armour, and dons the inert metal part (which retains some enchantment, just as every suit of armour made by Erlandur). He then goes to catch another airship back to Eros, leaving the body of the blacksmith behind.

Lharvion 2, 1002 YK

Zil’dejin resolves to at last get his firstborn son back. He goes to the mirror of disguise in the Eclipse Keep, taking on the form of a Valaes Tairn elf. Then, Kaleth turns Zil’dejin invisible and teleports him to the heart of Taer Valaestas, capital of Valenar, where his son is believed to remain. Zil’dejin witnesses a procession of Valaes Tairn cavalry returning wounded and broken from the frontline agaisnt Mishva Garodya Stormhorn, while High King Shaeras Vadallia oversees. Zil’dejin quickly makes his way to the palace, and though it takes more time than he has invisibility enchantment, he locates the nursery where his son is being kept. Two nursemaids overlook the boy in a basinet, and the room is bedecked with elven antiques and artwork.

The nursemaids question him in Elvish. Zil’dejin, unable to speak the language, breaths his paralyzing gas over them, knocks them out with the haft of his glaive, and then gathers the child, noticing that the elves have tattooed its chest. He recognizes the styling of the name, even if he cannot read it; Vadallia has devoted Zil’dejin’s son to an elven ancestor famed for being one of the greatest cowards in their history. Frothing with rage, Zil’dejin swaddles the child and slings him over his back before returning to the gate where the High King was watching the return of the cavalry.

As he approaches, the High King yells something at him in Elvish, apparently commanding him to stop. Zil’dejin keeps going, his glaive in hand, and the High King’s honour guard encircles him. With this, Zil’dejin charges forward, toppling the horse and rider in front of him and leaping up to the High King, who has only enough time to utter “the baby!” in Common before Zil’dejin utterly destroys him. Then, with the baby still on his back, he flies up into the air. The Kel Gryfaen, the Valenar griffon cavalry, gives chase, prompting Zil’dejin to throw one of them off its magebred griffon in mid-air. With its accelerated speed and Zil’dejin’s experience in flying such creatures, he outpaces his pursuers and flies back to Eros with his son, whom he can finally name. He calls the child “Zil’temeris Firebane.”

Lharvion 3, 1002 YK

Kaleth is paid a visit by Olath, now the First Magister of the Chronocracy. Aside from informing Kaleth that he has recently been named First Khan, he has come to reveal that the Phane has begun unravelling time. Entire branches of the Temporal Prime are collapsing or darkening, threatening all realities. The Prime Jester has conceived of a plan to defend against it, which Olath has approved. Apparently, the phane can be harmed only by weapons forged in a timeline other than the one it is fought in, and the worst of its powers can be nullified by wearing or holding equipment belonging to a version of oneself from a different timeline.

To help the party acquire these things, Olath has brought with him a book containing two powerful chronomantic spells: reality jump and restore timeline. The former opens a slipgate tunneled directly to an alternate version of the present, using an individual as a focus. A version of that person is guaranteed to exist and be alive in the reality jumped to. Two options are presented to the focus, representing the nature of the realities they can go to; they must focus on one for the spell to work correctly. Meanwhile, the latter spell opens a slipgate back to the caster’s native timeline.

The first casting is used with Derli as a focus, who sees before him the Mark of War and the symbol of Dol Dorn. He chooses to focus on the symbol of Dol Dorn, and the party enters the slipgate created by his focus. They pass through a sort of tunnel in the Temporal Prime, and arrive in the middle of some sort of dense fog with the sounds of heated battle echoing nearby. As they try to identify where they are — believed through a group effort to be somewhere on the edge of Q’barra — a group of lizardmen leap out of the fog and attack. They are intercepted mid-leap by a squadron of men and woman in shining armour, who make quick of the lizardfolk and turn to the party. Derli is condemned for his daemonic appearance, and Conlon is accused of being an “unholy revenant.” The party convinces the knights to take them to see “Saint Derli” instead of just trying to execute them, and they are taken further into the fog.

Eventually, they reach a clearing in the middle of what appears to be a war camp. Torches that burn a bright red but shed little light are spaced around the camp, apparently pushing back the fog. The camp is full of people equipped similar to the party’s escort, identified as the “men and women of the High Crusade”. Here, astride a brilliant white horse and wearing armour that shines even in spite of the great amount of blood on its surface is this reality’s version of Derli, equipped with the full set of Dol Dorn’s artifacts. He recognizes only Rilic and Conlon, but believes them both to be dead — Rilic killed by the lizardfolk and their demons, and Conlon by Derli’s own hand. He points to the Starshadow Blade talisman on a chain around his neck as proof. Conlon makes a vague response, suggesting that the grave cannot contain him, and Rilic indicates that he made a daring escape after faking his own death.

Saint Derli seems suspicious that the party is not aware what is happening, especially at Kaleth’s constant questioning. He reveals that Eros exists, but it is governed by Coref Irvallo, and that, like the rest of Khorvaire, most of its able-bodied people have left to join the High Crusade against the Poison Dusk. Before much more can be revealed, Saint Derli gets word that the Poison Dusk is making a move on the camp. He orders the retreat of the wounded and demoralized, gathers up the Hammer of St. Derli (one of many such armies, which are all part of Derli’s High Crusade in this reality) and tells the party they can join him if they have a thirst for battle. The party does, and he distributes some alchemical masks to them. Once the party has put them on, they enter the fog together with Saint Derli.

They clash against a mix of demons and lizardfolk of the Poison Dusk. The crusaders handle the lizardfolk while the party takes on the demons, using the combined power of their rings to launch a concerted attack, speeding them forward, empowering them, and inspiring fear in the few surviving minor demons, causing them to turn and run. As they clean up the attacking force, the approach Saint Derli, but his attention is focused on something they cannot see in the fog. He says “he is coming,” and hops off his horse, holding his shield up to the mist.

Soon, a somewhat familiar shape emerges. It is this reality’s Zil’dejin, who became the prakhutu of Masvirik, the Cold Sun and was gradually corrupted by the influence of the Cold Sun. Over the course of about a year, he strengthened the Poison Dusk and managed to free Masvirik, who created the poison fog that is now sweeping the world. A two-faced Iadoes Lunaformer, also corrupted by the Poison Dusk, is escorting him. All of Iadoes’ cold-based spells have been replaced by similar, poison-based spells.

Saint Derli enters combat with Poison Zil’dejin, but is quickly cut down by the fearsome poison glaive. Poison Zil’dejin bites off Derli’s face and strikes him down with his bladed tail before turning his attention to the party. Even as their alchemical masks begin to fail, they managed to fight Poison Zil’dejin to the death, but he does not seem particularly fazed by his death. As Zil’dejin falls, Iadoes flees, and from the direction that he is running towards comes a swarm of snakes, forming a slithering carpet beneath the party. In the fog, a dark form begins approaching, causing immense panic among the few High Crusaders left.

Mainstream Derli gathers the Blade of Dol Dorn from the fallen Saint Derli, and Zil’dejin takes the poison, corrupt blade from this reality’s version of him. Kaleth prepares to restore themselves to their timeline, against Derli’s and Zil’dejin’s protests that they are obligated to save this world. The others insist that this reality is already dead and well beyond saving, and eventually persuade Derli and Zil’dejin to join them. They return to the Eclipse Keep with items for Derli’s and Zil’dejin’s protection in hand.

Lharvion 4, 1002 YK

The next day, the party gathers again. Kaleth chooses Conlon as a focus, and he sees two symbols before his eyes: a star and a blade. He chooses the former, and a slipgate is opened again. The party arrives in what appears to be a city lit by torches in the midst of a very dark night, in which only one bright star is visible in the sky. The streets appear to be completely abandoned, but they hear footsteps in a nearby alleyway. As Conlon turns into it, a middle-aged man sees him and falls to his knees, prostrating himself before Conlon.

Ordinance IV: Ceasefire

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

Before the Inevitables arrive, Indicus goes looking for a new set of armour and offers Tamztur half a million gold for one. Tamztur fetches Kaleth, and takes them back in time to the Giant Empire, into a desert city in Ammul‘s kingdom. Here they meet Erlandur, a legendary fire giant blacksmith, who offers to forge the suit — his masterwork — out of a piece of a Rakshasa Rajah’s prison that he has acquired. Indicus is all in favour of this, so he begins work, but soon realizes that he cannot finish it. It will take thousands of years of reforging and periods of dormancy. Kaleth assures him that his is no problem and takes Indicus to a future of this timeline, where they find the volcano the suit was to be stored in. An evil version of Indicus, terribly corrupted by the armour, has set up an arena in the volcano and is forcing people to fight him. Main Reality Indicus fights him and loses, so Kaleth steps in and manages to just narrowly succeed. They escape with the armour.

Back in the main timeline, Zil’dejin is leading the Eran troops against the main body of the Inevitable forces, and Conlon is leading his undead from Mellifleur against the Becoming God. The others are holding a fortified tenement in the evacuated area of Grey Titan’s Hold against Vindicator‘s honour guard. Conlon’s undead do well against the yantaruts, but his ribs are crushed and he is left dying on the ground by the Becoming God as it marches towards the city. Rave brings him back and, with the Becoming God distracted by a mortuary cyclone summoned by the Academy, he joins the others in the tenement. After Taldor d’Medani’s probably-unnecessary sacrifice (one goddamn day from retirement), Vindicator arrives. Kaleth and Indicus are soon to follow from their trip through time.

The battle against Vindicator reveals the power of his hammer, Metalshape, which can process any metal out of existence… including the metal worked into Indicus’ new Demon Overlord armour. As he recites the Axioms of Law, he paralyzes party members and beats them with his hammer. Conlon is knocked out, and Derli is killed as a part of Vindicator’s attack, but is brought back by the Oinodaemon — with Mediator, the only axiomite capable of stopping the Inevitables’ assault, previously enslaved by the daemons — in exchange for allowing Solas to capture the Cinder Furnace. He comes back near where the Becoming God is destroying things.

Meanwhile, Rilic overcharges his lightning wand and shocks Vindicator enough to distract him and take Metalshape, but is soon after paralyzed. However, Sturmreiter — having second thoughts about the matter at hand — brings an unconscious Conlon is brought back by divine magic. Sturmreiter demands he summon Mellifleur to push Creator out of the Becoming God. Conlon manages to summon Mellifleur but instead convinces him to subjugate the Becoming God.

Mediator goes to stop the main body of the force (the one fighting Zil’dejin and the Eran Legion) in preparation for a trial of sorts where the party will be allowed to speak. Derli hits the point where he can summon his daemon army at about the same time Vindicator dies, and calls forth the Testament of Sin. Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame, wielding a giant axe made of a Rage Shard, collides with Mellifleur, pushing the lich into retreat. He then joins Derli on the back of Ruin, and the two fly up to the Becoming God, aided by magical force provided by Conlon, and tear off its head. It drops to the ground, effectively ending the last of the three forces of Inevitables challenging the Eclipse Collective.

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

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

Once the Eclipse Collective has reunited in Grey Titan’s Hold and preparations are underway to face the Inevitables, Indicus goes to the markets to look for a better set of armour. Unsurprisingly, the mundane blacksmiths and minor artificers of the kingdom do not have armour suitable for a mythical gladiator, but Tamztur, who is in town on other business, offers him the chance for trade. Indicus gives the merchant the entirety of the wealth he gained from his deal with the corruptor devil in the Teardrop Palace, amounting to exactly five hundred thousand gold pieces. For this much of an investment, Tamztur offers to call in a favour he is owed by a legendary blacksmith. Indicus approves, and Tamztur gathers Kaleth for some assistance, as their destination is in the past. Tamztur produces a small hourglass, similar to Kaleth’s old one but smaller and more ornate. He uses this to open a slipgate, and screws a ring onto his finger that guides them along the correct time-stream. In the Temporal Prime, they nearly have a run-in with the Phane, but it is run off by Culdrathan the Judge, who eyes Kaleth and Indicus warily as it fends off the Phane.

Nymm ?, c. -55,000 YK

They arrive in a thriving city in Menechtarun during the Age of Giants. Kaleth asks Tamztur if this is in Ammul‘s kingdom, to which Tamztur replies that he doesn’t know. On some investigation, however, Kaleth decides that it is, in fact, that era. Tamztur leads them both to a fire giant blacksmith whom many have gathered around to watch as he forges a set of armour. Tamztur cashes in his favour, and the blacksmith — the legendary smith Erlandur — brings out a special material he had been saving for this occasion: a piece of the prison of a Overlord. It is a strange alloy of Khyber shard and metal with a silvery-black appearance, worked into the rough shape and size of a man. Erlandur claims it was payment to him for some other work he completed, and that is one ofa set of similar statue-like shards, acting as the prison for an Overlord called the “Broken Shield”. Erlandur begins working it before their eyes as Kaleth attempts to create a divergent reality by interacting with the giants as much as possible.

While attempting to prematurely begin a slave uprising among the giants’ elves, Kaleth encounters the Prime Jester in disguise, who chastises him and reminds him that all he’s doing is branching reality more and more. Kaleth asks if the Prime Jester came to stop him, but the Jester mentions that it was just a happy coincidence, and that he was “just stalking Kaleth normally.” He makes mention of the armour being forged for Indicus and how shards of a Demon Overlord’s prison are singular across reality, such that multiples of a given shard cannot exist in any particular timeline, and that it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the set of armour once it is brought into the “main” timeline. The Jester also says that he will be seeing Kaleth and his companions again soon, and that he will probably keep stalking him in the meantime. Kaleth curses at him for a while before returning to Indicus.

After about an hour of forging, Erlandur shakes his head and informs them that he cannot complete the set of armour. He can forge it into something usable, but preparing it properly will take centuries if not millennia of reforging and refining, punctuated with long periods of storage in an active volcano. He claims that because this is to be his masterwork, he can set his descendants about it, but worries that the many years this will take could be too much. He knows that Tamztur has come from out of time, but is unsure of Kaleth’s and Indicus’ relation to him. Kaleth assures him it’s fine, but worries about the fate of the armour, as he knows that the Giant Empire falls in fifteen thousand years, which is still many thousands of years before the present. Never the less, they agree to this. Tamztur explains he is not a chronomancer and cannot move them ahead in this timeline (or one branching from it) to a point where the armour exists. As Tamztur returns home, Kaleth thanks him and takes Indicus through a slipgate, navigating to a present that has branched off from the past they were just in.

They arrive in the Menechtarun desert in 1002 YK, which appears more or less identical to the desert in their own timeline. Realizing that Erlandur made no mention of which volcano he would use to continually reforge the armour, Kaleth opts to investigate a trio of volcanoes in the east, splitting up if need be to find the correct one. He uses magic to teleport himself and Indicus to the mountain range of interest, but overshoots the teleport. By sheer coincidence, they end up above another volcano in a different range of mountains, and, noticing some sort of structure built into it, decide to investigate it.

Descending into the volcano, they find that it has been fashioned into some sort of arena, based around a pit formed from some kind of metal over the lava in the caldera. There is a large crowd of spectators from various races gathered to watch some sort of fight happening in the pit between multiple contestants, although oddly, most of the spectators are positioned higher in the stands and away from the action. Kaleth and Indicus land in a clear spot near the front, and watch as a dwarf who looks remarkably like Derli finishes off the other competitors. He is announced as “Earthsmiter,” and named the victor of the melee, eligible to face the champion. This reality’s Indicus then emerges, still in his original pre-Reaper form and wearing the giant-forged Demon Overlord armour. The battle against Earthsmiter is swift and brutal, ending with Indicus sprouting terrible claws from the gauntlets and using them to tear Earthsmiter’s flesh apart and throw him into the lava below.

As they watch the violence, they are approached by this reality’s Kaleth. He is a meek and timid man here, and appears malnourished and exhausted. He explains that in this reality, he and Indicus came to the volcano to retrieve the Overlord armour, and Indicus rapidly became corrupted by its influence and power. He took over the Eclipse Collective and built this arena, where he periodically gathers individuals from across the planes to compete unwillingly in battle. Everyone watching from the stands is just awaiting their turn to be forced to fight. For Kaleth’s assistance in retrieving the armour he is allowed to serve Indicus, but the other members of the Eclipse Collective have mostly been killed or otherwise neutralized by Indicus. Girrrth Thicktrunk, for example, was castrated and made into an “equipment boy”. Indicus decides to face himself for the armour, and Kaleth is willing to help.

Indicus goes through the equipment room where he discovers only mundane equipment has been left by previous competitors. He enters the ring with this reality’s Indicus, and while Kaleth attempts to aid him with magic, the pit is a magic dead-zone created by this reality’s Kaleth over the course of a year and a day, in a process that he has deemed too dark to explain. Kaleth describes the fight as a “bunch of slow haymakers back and forth” and Indicus and Evil Indicus battle it out with greatswords. Towards the end of the battle, Evil Indicus throws his blade away and unsheathes his claws again, and is able to bring Indicus down. Main Reality Kaleth jumps in, but as he cannot cast spells, he uses his whip (transmuted into a blade through some chaos magic resulting from the Star of Chaos) to take out one of Evil Indicus’ eyes. Evil Indicus retaliates, but Kaleth survives and semi-intentionally taps the power of the Star of Chaos, summoning lawful creatures bent on destroying Kaleth in huge numbers: devils, Inevitables, and archons. Kaleth then uses this opportunity to take out the other eye from Evil Indicus and take him down.

Main Reality Indicus is still unconscious, however, and the lawful creatures are closing in. A rat-shake vendor is going through the stands, and takes the opportunity to offer Kaleth a rat-shake to get Indicus back up. Kaleth asks if it’s medicinal, to which the vendor replies “maybe.” He throws a few down but has terrible aim, and even manages to briefly revitalize Evil Indicus with one. Eventually, however, Kaleth is able to get Main Reality Indicus back to his feet. As the volcano is warded against teleportation, escape now seems impossible, and Indicus dons the armour to prepare to fight his way out (already succumbing to some of its corruption). However, the vendor offers Kaleth a black mould biscuit. Because the rat-shake worked, he tries it out and is violently sick, but briefly immune to the anti-magic field. He quickly creates a slipgate and escapes with Indicus.

Nymm 8, 1002 YK

Back in the regular flow of things, Zil’dejin has led the Eran Legion into battle against the Inevitables’ main force, while Conlon has taken his Mellifleur-provided army of the dead to face the Becoming God and the yantaruts. The others have fortified a tenement in the evacuated area of the city and are preparing for Vindicator and his honour guard, which shows up in waves. The first wave is of zelekhuts, who batter down the door but are held at the stairs and destroyed by the party, particularly Derli’s axe, Lucan’s thought-spears, and Rilic’s lightning bolts. They have sustained some injuries from the effort, and Derli hovers on the precipice of death, so he uses the power of his amulet to summon an archon to his side. The hound archon offers to help in exchange for one month of battle-service in Shavarath, which Derli agrees to.

Meanwhile, Conlon’s undead are being quickly crushed by the Becoming God, although they are immune to the Perfection and are able to severely impact the yantaruts’ numbers. Conlon attempts to face the Becoming God directly, but the huge construct just grabs him and crushes his bones, pushing his ribs into his lungs before dropping him to the ground, unconscious. Rave arrives not longer after with some students from the academy, who revitalize Conlon with a potion. Rave indicates that a mortuary cyclone has been summoned, and indicates where the Becoming God — with Creator now on its shoulder — is entering into battle with the conjuration. With the Becoming God distracted, Conlon joins the others in the tenement. The next wave, consisting of maruts and kolyaruts, is held off initially by the hound archon, but he is soon killed by a marut. Conlon stands on the roof, firing eldritch blasts and magic missiles into the approaching forces, while Rilic and Lucan fire out the window.

As their numbers reinforce again, Taldor d’Medani sacrifices himself with a massive burst of psionic energy, despite Lucan reminding him that they still have to find Taldor’s daughter and despite the fact that he was only one day away from retirement. The final wave, as Lucan falls to his knees to scream at the sky for Taldor’s death, consists only of a lhaksharut — the most powerful of the Inevitables — and Vindicator himself. Kaleth and Indicus return just as Vindicator arrives, and a brief, futile discussion begins where they try to dissuade him. He explains that even if he wished to stop the onslaught, only his own forces would obey; the only one who could stop the whole army (save Creator’s) would be Mediator, who was enslaved by daemons. With this, the fight continues. Vindicator begins reciting the Six Axioms, and all non-lawful members of the party (everybody but Conlon) are overwhelmed with the contradiction they pose to the universal laws, and are paralyzed by the revelation. Vindicator takes the opportunity to reveal the power of his hammer, called “Metalshape”: he drives it into Indicus’ new Overlord armour and destroys the metal component of it, leaving behind only a fragile armour made of Khyber shard and various straps, tabards, and leather bits.

He continues reciting the Six Axioms, slowly walking through the party’s ranks and hitting them with Metalshape. The hammer is revealed to not be a hammer at all; much like the axiomites, it is a living mathematical expression of order. Created by the legendary axiomite Reducer, the hammer is the equation for the essence of metal, and is essentially an algorithm that processes metal out of existence. As the party regains themselves (all save Indicus, who spends nearly the entire combat paralyzed by the Six Axioms) they engage Vindicator and the lhaksharut. The six-armed Inevitable is a major threat at first, but Kaleth manages to trap it in a Chronocracy maze, leaving only Vindicator behind.

Around this time, Vindicator kills Derli, who finds himself again confronted with two doors. Knowing fully what they signify, he goes to speak with the Oinodaemon. The Oinodaemon will return him to life, and even bring back Mediator to settle the matter with the Inevitables. All Derli has to do is allow the Cinder Furnace to be taken by Solas and his archons, because, as the Oinodaemon explains, the reclaiming of the Cinder Furnace is essential to moving the Oblivion Compass forward. With this, a vision of the Compass appears below Derli, and the Oinodaemon appears to pluck away one of the countless axiomites driving the machine forward. Derli returns to life on the main avenue leading up to the Eclipse Keep, where the Becoming God is continuing its path of destruction after destroying the mortuary cyclone. Derli speaks briefly with Mediator, who agrees to hear his case once things have settled down a bit. For the interrim, she goes to where Zil’dejin’s forces are fighting and stops the Inevitables.

Back near Vindicator, Sturmreiter begins having second thoughts about the happenings and approaches Conlon, who is unconscious at this point from a hammer-blow. Sturmreiter brings him up with divine magic, and demands that he bring Mellifleur to push Creator’s influence out of the Becoming God. Conlon manages to summon Mellifleur, but instead pitches the idea of controlling the Becoming God. Mellifleur agrees with his plan, and goes for it, flying off toward the Becoming God. Sturmreiter howls in rage, and goes in the same direction as Mellifleur.

The fight against Vindicator continues, meanwhile, as Rilic overcharges his wand of lightning bolts to the point of instability, and stabs it through Vindicator’s hand. As electricity courses through him, Rilic manages to seize Metalshape, but once Vindicator has recovered he again recites the axioms, paralyzing Rilic. Before he can take the hammer, however, the newly-awoken Conlon runs past with blinding speed, grabbing the hammer himself and running away. Vindicator is then blasted with anti-time by Kaleth, and finally finished off, leaving his forces without a leader.

Back in the vicinity of the Becoming God, Derli feels a similar burning sensation within him, and realizes he has come to a point where he can summon the Legion of War again. He thinks on this for a moment and decides to do so, ripping a burning rift in the sky that the Testament of Sin begins plunging through, on course to hit the Becoming God directly. Although the Testament has no external deck, Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame rides on the outside, near the front-blade, brandishing his tremendous axe he has made with the Rage Shard that imprisoned him. At Derli’s direction, he jumps off the front and flies head-on into Mellifleur, attacking the lich with glee. The airship continues on, meanwhile, having no power source again and raining blades down upon the city.

Mellifleur decides to retreat, as he does not want to fight the Harbinger of War in personal combat (although Conlon tries to dissuade him), and returns to Hopelorn. Derli summons Ruin, and hops on with Zelishkar. The two of them ride up to meet the Becoming God even as the Testament of Sin crashes into it. The impact and the blades drive it mostly through the Becoming God’s chest as it slides backwards through the streets, toppling and crushing buildings in its path. Derli uses its backwards momentum, along with daemonic magic provided by Zelishkar, telekinetic force offered up by Conlon, and his own raw strength to push forward with enough force to rip off the Becoming God’s head (which now also contains Creator, who effectively merged into it).

As the massive form of the Becoming God collapses onto Grey Titan’s Hold and the head is dropped to the ground, the last of the Inevitables — the yantaruts — scatter, ending the battle in Grey Titan’s Hold.


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.