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 A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five

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Posts : 383
Join date : 2014-09-12
Age : 36
Location : Germany

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  Empty
PostSubject: A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five    A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  EmptyThu Jun 15, 2017 1:54 am

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open

Through Black Expanse

The Heroes of Salvana’s Oasis suffered the Black Expanse, but did not allow it to defeat them. The noxious, never-ending swamp did its worst. It was a physical manifestation of the Lady of the Dead and the swamp made clear the corruption in the rotting mind of the dracolich. Mik’tek’huatl shared her madness through obfuscating mists that clouded the mind and laid a shroud on the eye.

Onward the trek, like walking on a wet sponge, the Heroes sure in the knowledge of the terror before them. The future uncertain, the Heroes were buoyed by the staunch surety of Agrykos, Champion of the Queen of Air and Darkness. With each step, the tiefling felt destiny’s call. Each encounter that slowed their progress was a rusted razor across his nerves. The Night Diamond pulsed with life, as ready as the warlock to finish its journey.

The Warlock was not alone. Many threads interwove into the tapestry of this story:

The young ward Fioren observed the obsession of her father with trepidation. She knew he longed to complete this mission. She knew nothing about what would happen next.

Madness held Radegast. Half-memories led to whispered declarations of little sense. Displaced from time, the warrior saw future in the shadowed fog, the past behind every tree. He could hardly remember if these were new companions or reborn versions of friends of old.

Amid the confusion strode the pure, certain light of the priest from the Far North. It was shared by the staunch need of the dragonborn to save his master’s progeny. Dax and the Ghesh each knew one thing: the darkness ahead was an Enemy that must be defeated.

For her part, the mysterious Rianor could only ponder the future. She felt the desire of Agrykos and the pull of her Queen, but she was out of place. Sole representative of an entire race, she sang her desperation. Transformed it, shared it with her erstwhile companions, and felt it wash away.

At last, the paladin. Of the Keladr’rhem, the People of the Wood, Orion felt a call to come to this jungle, to witness the history of the Star and Dark elves. That call led to this chaotic road on which the weight of balance began to fall on his shoulders. He was no champion of the Sylvar’rhem, yet it seemed the People of the Stars thrust their expectations at his feet each day.

                                         A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  300px-10

Death of the Dead

From mixed beginnings these companions chose to combine their futures in this journey. They trod through sweltering heat, bodies drained by the liquid pull of moist air. The mists fogged their minds as the will of the dracolich pressed back against their intention.

From out of the deadly swamp they discovered:

  • the grave of one of the Five Houses of the Sylvar’rhem, its treasures and curses
  • the existence of a cursed Duava’rhem house, the Yumi Cicil (Lords of the Underworld) and their Mistress of Suicide, Lady Ixtapa
  • the prison of a volunteer sold on the promise of sacrifice, instead given a lie
  • the hidden tomb and residence of a frightened dark elf nobility striving to resurrect his ancient Queen

Out of this darkness the Heroes transported their way to the heart of the dragon’s lair and the waiting stair beyond.

Mik’tek’huatl, the Lady of the Dead, corrupted by the touch of Xibalba the Dying Star. The Heroes strode confidently into her waiting trap, gave righteous battle, and purified the deadly beast before laying her lo.

Yet the curse of the Black Expanse was not done. Two lay dead from the heated battle, Fioren and the rescued Princess Yaretzi. The priest Dax gave them the gift of his god, Conn, but the black dragon’s necromancy demanded a sacrifice. The dead energies filled Rianor, pulling breath and blood alike from her form, and she fell dead. They sought the same with Orion, but the paladin knelt in prayer and was protected by the call of the ancient fey and the wards of the Lady of Summer.

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  The_to10

The Infinite Staircase and the Tower of the Five

Dragon defeated, our Heroes stood before the wide and empty staircase. It rose up, up, into the sky, past the clouds and beyond all vision, an infinity of winding stairs fifty feet across, protected by ancient elven wards. The journey ahead should be impossible. And with that though they took the first of many steps.

In time, they came to understand the truth of the corruption of the Dying Star. The stair, once intended to lead the unwary into an eternity of torturous climbing, now demanded sacrifice of those upon it. The air thinned, heat dwindled away, and exhaustion set in, but on they ventured, ever forward.

The Empty Voice came to them then, an avatar of the Coming Darkness, Xibalba. “A sacrifice of the things you love, the things that tear you apart inside just to think of them coming to harm.”

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  The_em10

A sacrifice to proceed, it said. Some refused outright and others turned away after moments of hesitation. A few, to protect other things they cared for, to finish their journey, or just to be done with it all, gave just enough to open the way:
from Agrykos, “a thing you love,” the image of a blighted creature from the stars wrapped about the form of his one-time friend, Lieutenant Tolic
from Radegast, the memory of his fallen companions risen in service to the Dying Star
from Princess Yaretzi, star-creatures unleashed upon the various nations of the world

The madness relented and the endless stair gave way to the promised Tower of the Five.

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  Space_10

The Stars Themselves

To enter the Tower without knowledge of the Five Houses of the Sylvar’rhem would be death. Fortunately, over the long weeks, months, and years of their journey, our Heroes had acquired such knowledge. The paladin Orion strode boldly through the door to test their theories and found himself still alive on the other side.

They entered a vast temple, a tower of impossible proportions. It was obsidian and diamond, pillars of viridian light and azure glow, the most beautiful prison imaginable. The ruins of pirate ships and sea creatures riddled the ground, fodder for some enormous beast above. Murals of the Elven War stood as testament to the crimes of the Queen of Air and Darkness .

Up, still up, the Heroes rose upon the blue stairs and only Radegast saw the empty portion at the top prophesizing the destruction of the multiverse and the Lady of Summer bound in chains. Dax’s sure thinking (and no small amount of fire) ensured a quick resolution to uncovering the last secret path. The Book of Infinite Wisdom revealed an inverted summoning circle etched upon the wall.

Blooded hands pressed and those who touched transported into oblivion.

Our Heroes stood amidst the stars. No more stair, no more Tower, no more world, except far below. They appeared upon a platform floating out in space, surrounded by the universe. Three of the golden eggs of Ghesh’s Lady lay threatened amid the shadow-tentacles of the Enemy. A dragon of emptiness, all void and death, rested calmly upon a ledge without a care.

The Heroes rose up in challenge, yet the dragon of void cared not, dismissing them as insignificant.

They tried again, threats and bluster, and finally a certainty of action.

The beast rose up in anger and the priest of Light, Dax dared dominate its mind. The unfathomable entity within it broke free these chains and the would-be avatar of Xibalba revealed its true form.

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  The_st10

The Star Spawn sought to send them into space, suffocate them in void, enfeeble their minds and banish them from this world. It set loops of psychic feedback upon them in the hopes of driving them out of their mind and forced a miniature black hole of its own to draw them close. With one blast from its disintegrating gaze it ripped asunder the fabric of the paladin, Orion.

The beast was not strong enough.

Radegast drove home his spear again and again into the heart of the monstrosity. Dax, Ghesh, and Agrykos blasted it with their violent magics. Each time the Star Spawn reacted, gave a new tactic, the Heroes countered. Dax forced it to kneel and when its submission gave rise to anger, Agrykos blasted it out into space.

The beast laughed, looking down to the warrior upon its chest digging in his spear. “You were brought back for a purpose, little one. While you are here, I will always have anchor. I will always return.”

Radegast knew then his purpose. Long hours of contemplating why he had sacrificed his friends, or they him. Long days spent facing off against the madness. It had all come to this.

He drove his spear home, deep within his own chest, and fell back upon the world. Hands outstretched, he collapsed. Upon his chest, the tattoo read: “I am the wall upon which the Darkness breaks.”

The beast was gone.

But the beast was not alone.

A Final Fall

In the moments after victory a lull set in and Agrykos moved to place his ancient artifact, the Night Diamond. One step and he saw the trap which had been set. The Three Grand Ladies, a coven of wicked hags, had come to this place before him and set a trap. He knew not how. He did not know their true power. He knew only that it was unlikely for his friends to survive yet another battle.

The fight was over. Everyone was exhausted. Shadows poured from hidden places threatening to transform into monsters and death. Spiders, undead, driders, or some other darkness? It mattered not, for it would be hopeless.

Agrykos sighed, gave one last look to his ward Fioren, mocked the darkness, then reached out with the full force of his soul and blasted back the shadows. The tiefling fell, the Night Diamond bounced away, and the hags screamed their terror. They flew out into the stars alongside the Star Spawn. Shadows stretched back and all eyes witnessed Fioren kneel beside her father, raise the blade made from his own horn, and drive it deep into his form.

The dagger cracked. Agrykos crumpled. Shadowy forms, small puppies, raced out of the tiefling and to Fioren. They did not stop, but instead merged, vanishing against her skin.

Fioren rose with the Night Diamond, the power of the Queen of Air and Darkness in the palm of her hand. She knelt at the keyhole and set forth the gem.

No grand display came forth. In one breath there was nothing. In the next, a throne. Sat upon it was the Queen herself:

“A prison no longer, but a dangerous breach in the sky. Huitza Lopakti, the Left-Handed Hummingbird and the Lady of Summer, did her work well. Yet even she must know that this Tower and these Stairs can exist no longer. Take my hand and follow.”

A Key is Turned, the Way is Open - Aftermath of the Tower of the Five  The_qu10

After the final battle, the Queen of Air and Darkness transported them all from the impossible Tower in the sky. Agyrkos had used the Night Diamond in recent years to fashion a holy temple for her out of its obsidian tree in the hidden port near Salvana’s Oasis. She claimed it immediately as her new, but temporary home. Other noteworthy moments took place as well:

  • The Queen of Air and Darkness gathered the body of her Champion, Agrykos. She reformed it into a pleasing shape and inhabited its form. Unable to fully claim her godly powers, she settled into this new body as best she could.
  • The Night Diamond broke into its many parts. The Queen reclaimed her scythe, Mav, the Blade Between the Stars. She gifted the Blanket of Stars (portable hole) to Fioren.
  • Ghesh returned the two remaining golden eggs to his mistress, the Lady of Gold.
  • The Queen offered blessing upon the Heroes as her saviors. It is likely she will reward them further, but her immediate bequest came in the form of luck (see deck of many things reward).
  • The Queen blessed Agrykos’s horn, Fioren’s dagger. “I gift the blessing of my Champion. Let this be his last word.” (see The Warlock’s Last Word” below)

A Word on Coryn
While in the Feywild, Coryn experienced a strangely disjointed time. Though he has been gone for years in the world of Rhetaea, less than a month has passed in that strange domain. While there, he discovered the strange machinations of the Five against their Lady of Summer, Huitza Lopakti, the Left-Handed Hummingbird. He also discovered the druids who have vanished from the Prime Material Plane into the Feywild and what has become of them. Reference below:

  • The Five were diminished as only 4 of their number survived into the Feywild (the Fourth of Five was the one the PCs discovered in his tomb).
  • The Five Houses felt betrayed by the Lady of Summer and her choice to banish them all instead of killing the Duava’rhem outright. Huitza Lopakti led them to believe her powerful spell and the sacrifice of 1,000 Sylvar’rhem would kill their enemy, not lock them away.
  • The Five Houses rose up against Huitza Lopakti using their various powers and the laws of the Feywild to bind their queen in cold iron chains far into the heart of the Feywild.
  • When the Heroes of Salvana’s Oasis freed the Queen of Air and Darkness and subsequently all the remaining Star and Dark Elves, the Lady of Summer did not return.
  • The forgotten druids, stolen from the mortal world, were each bound to the Feywild for a time. Coryn was able to find a way to free those who wished to leave just before his return. Most of the druids chose to remain behind in the beauty of the Feywild.
  • 7 druids of varying ranks (variety of level) came back from the Feywild with Coryn to form the first druid circle of the island


  • The Queen blesses the deck of many things so that any single card may be ignored upon its draw. This will only work once no matter how many cards are drawn, no matter how many people draw from the deck. (meaning: it will not work once per player, only once ever)
  • Link to Other Treasures

C Thomas Hand
GM/Storyteller/Swell Guy

The wisest words fit into pithy sayings.

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